Saturday, 25 July 2015

REVIEW: Darkmere by Helen Maslin

DarkmereI received an ARC of this book from Chicken House Books for free, in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect the content of my review in any form.

Author: Helen Maslin
Published by: Chicken House Books on 6th August 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Thriller, Mystery, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Links: Goodreads | Wordery | Kindle


A castle. A curse. A dangerous summer. Leo has invited Kate and a few friends to spend the summer at his inheritance, Darkmere Castle: as wild and remote as it is beautiful. Kate thinks it will be the perfect place for her and Leo to get together - but instead, she's drawn into the dark story of a young nineteenth-century bride who haunts the tunnels and towers of the house. And whose curse now hangs over them all.

Ever read one of those books where you had no idea what to expect, but you knew it was going to be awesome anyway? Darkmere was that, for me. Only, better. Better how? I'll explain. 

Upon first hearing about Darkmere (take note, this was only about a month or so ago), I was completely fascinated. You could say that I was ensnared and perhaps a tad bit excited. A gothic romance set in a castle? YES. SIGN ME UP. I was just as excited about reading this as I was about seeing Jurassic World for the first time, and we all know how that went. I barely spared the rather beautiful package this proof was delivered in and dived straight in to reading, and in doing this meant that over the course of the next day or so, Darkmere was all I could think about. It was utterly addictive and just so good. Totally unputdownable!

When Leo inherits the Darkmere castle, the first thing he does is invite his little band of friends and Kate to spend their summer holiday in his new establishment. But the castle is rumoured to be haunted, a curse placed upon the castle and it's heirs by the first mistress - Elinor. Dark secrets of the past surrounding Leo's ancestor's are uncovered resulting in a chilling and dramatic discovery.

Yes, it's as good as it sounds. Better, even. Our protagonist is Kate is a marvellous teenage voice and alongside Helen Maslin's spectacular writing talents spinning stories that shift between past and present, it adds a special touch to the tale and works perfectly. With a great mix of mystery and somewhat angsty romance, there is a chunk of good ol' humour. Honestly, I laughed out loud more times in the first quarter than expected, it was a great surprise and definitely a highlight of the book! The characters were a mixture of charming, witty and full of life and you can't help but cling to them and growing an attachment!

It's seriously great how the plot thickens and slowly unravels in ways that makes your heart jump and stomach lurch. Even if you're not a fan of spooky thrillers or horrors, I strongly suggest you try Darkmere. I can't promise that your heart will remain intact by the end of it, but that's the fun part. I'm not as twisted as I sound. Honest.

I especially enjoyed being thrown back into the past and reading Elinor's tale. There was anger and passion, jealously and hurt, tension and drama. A bold mix of feelings and events that really had me hooked! I just loved this book so much, it contained all of my favourite elements that I love in a book which has resulted in Helen becoming one of my new favourite authors ever. She's absolutely lovely too! So if you're looking for a brain-busting and mindblowing read - GO READ DARKMERE.

After that ending, I promise it'll be worth your time.

Golden Wreath

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

REVIEW: The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

The Invasion of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #2)I received an ARC of this book from Transworld Publishers for free, in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect the content of my review in any form.

Author: Erika Johansen
Published by: Bantam Press on 16th July 2015
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Dystopian
Pages: 528
Format: ARC
Series: The Queen of the Tearling #2
Source: Publisher
Links: Goodreads | Wordery | Hive | Kindle


With each passing day, Kelsea Glynn is growing into her new responsibilities as Queen of the Tearling. By stopping the shipments of slaves to the neighboring kingdom of Mortmesne, she crossed the Red Queen, a brutal ruler whose power derives from dark magic, who is sending her fearsome army into the Tearling to take what is hers. And nothing can stop the invasion.

But as the Mort army draws ever closer, Kelsea develops a mysterious connection to a time before the Crossing, and she finds herself relying on a strange and possibly dangerous ally: a woman named Lily, fighting for her life in a world where being female can feel like a crime. The fate of the Tearling —and that of Kelsea’s own soul—may rest with Lily and her story, but Kelsea may not have enough time to find out.

Wow. Just wow. I'm pretty stupefied, if not lost for words and left feeling quite overwhelmed after finishing the masterpiece that is known as The Invasion of the Tearling. Not only was this book right up there in my list of highly anticipated reads of 2015, it pretty much surpassed all of my expectations with an added bonus of fireworks. Talk about an electrifying sequel! This book was even better than its predecessor, in ways that is difficult to describe.

To begin with, we're left in quite the dramatic dilemma at the end of The Queen of the Tearling what with Kelsea's actions leading to a full-out invasion being curated and war being declared on the Tearling by the Red Queen of Mortmesne. I was left hanging with an overload of questions that I am desperate in need of answers to! AND AGAIN, I am in the same situation. Deja vu guys, with The Invasion of the Tearling, I'm practically going insane from wanting to know how everything is going to play out. Who would die, and who would win? 

Book 2 holds more action, more magic and the Fantasy element is truly highlighted which I am very pleased about. The world building continues to impress and grow and it's extraordinary, making me fall in love with this staggeringly evocative and vivid fantasy era. Characters continue to develop and flourish and has caused me to grow attachments to a number of them to a point where I'm quivering with fear in case anything bad happens to them. I basically want my favourites to be happy and for everything to be okay.


Also, let's talk about Kelsea. Our reigning young Queen of the Tearling. Sometimes I could barely recognise her, in a good way. Gone is the naive and young girl and here is a new headstrong and brutal young woman whose actions and behaviour are both frightening and epic, making her someone that is to be feared. I loved her, and despised her. A mix of both but ending with me wishing she was someone I could have created myself. I am envious of Erika for having such an imagination. I long to see what will become of Kelsea in the final installment of this whirlwind of a series!

The pacing is a little faster, there are more POV's to read from and we shift between past and present that molds the story into a twisted and highly intriguing tale. I devoured this book in its entirety. I longed for there to be more, I'd happily accept for this series to become as long as the Game of Thrones books, just so I can hold on to this fabulous world and its characters!

I'm already having major withdrawal symptoms which probably means I will be reading this series again sometime soon. The sequel just made my love for this series blossom, I cannot begin to explain just how grateful I am that Erika has kindly shared her faultless work with us readers. I just want everyone to read this series and fall in love with it. It's the perfect Fantasy to start off with if you're new to the genre. It's perfect for all.

Intense, heart-stopping and utterly addictive, this is one series no one should miss out on reading.

Golden Wreath

Did you expect anything less?