Shieldwall by Justin Hill

Shieldwall by Justin Hill

The year is 1016 and England burns while the Viking armies blockade the great city of London. King Ethelred lies dying and the England he knew dies with him; the warring kingdoms of Mercia, Wessex and Northymbria tremble on the brink of great change. One man lives to bear witness to the upheaval: Godwin, barely out of boyhood and destined to become one of his country’s great warriors. When Ethelred’s son Edmund takes the throne, determined to succeed where his father failed, he plucks Godwin from domestic peace to be right-hand man in his loyal shield wall. Godwin must traverse the meadows, wintry forests and fogbound marshes of Saxon England, raising armies of monks, ploughmen and shepherds against the Viking invader. With epic courage and ferocity, Godwin and Edmund repel the butchering Danes in three great battles. But an old enemy, the treacherous Earl Eadric, dogs Godwin’s footsteps, and as the final battle approaches, around the valiant English the trap begins to close. (Goodreads)

After Godwin’s father falls out with Alderman Eadric, he is held as hostage at King Ethelred’s court. The king’s son Edmund saves his life and they become friends. Godwin rises from being the second son to be the king’s right-hand man. They have the same vision of England and Godwin stays loyal to him even when things go from bad to worse.

I’m having some troubles writing this review but I’m not sure why is that.

To say this was action packed is an understatement. There was battle after battle and while I do like battles it really took the center stage when someone dies it’s told in great detail. The problem is that I didn’t get to really know the characters besides Godwin or what they were thinking. Lot of back-slapping and other manly activities but I kept missing for something else. I did like Kendra who first nursed Godwin’s father in the end and became Godwin’s mistress after that. But I would have liked to know what happened to her later on.

I know this gives the idea that I hated the book but I did enjoy it. It just had the action as the main point instead of historical things. I liked Godwin and Edmund but Knut was just like a spoiled brat. Haven’t read many books about this era and some of the characters were so different from what I’ve thought them to be.

Published: Little Brown and Company (2011)
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 402
Source: publisher

Wake by Lisa McMann

Wake (Dream Catcher 1) by Lisa McMann


For seventeen-year-old Janie, getting sucked into other people’s dreams is getting old. Especially the falling dreams, the naked-but-nobody-notices dreams, and the sex-crazed dreams. Janie’s seen enough fantasy booty to last her a lifetime.

She can’t tell anybody about what she does — they’d never believe her, or worse, they’d think she’s a freak. So Janie lives on the fringe, cursed with an ability she doesn’t want and can’t control.

Then she falls into a gruesome nightmare, one that chills her to the bone. For the first time, Janie is more than a witness to someone else’s twisted psyche. She is a participant…. (Goodreads)

Janie was 8 years old when she discovered that when she is close to someone who is asleep, she gets sucked into the dreams. She slowly starts to learn more about how to control it and then she meets Cabel who can speak to her in his dreams and remember it. Janie has never told anyone what she can do, nor even her mother, but is forced to told Cabel after he sees Janie getting paralyzed while getting into a dream. She gets to know Cabel better and learns that he is hiding something.

I hadn’t read many reviews about this before reading it and had vague idea about what’s it about. And what a mistake that was.

I had problems with the writing style which was choppy and there was lots of short sentences one after another and there’s date and time told when everything happens.

She sees it, vividly.
Cabel, leaving the house. Slamming the door.
The man on the steps, yelling. Following.
The punch to Cabel’s face.
The lighter fluid to his belly.
The fire and screaming.
The transformation.
pg. 168

It grew old very quickly and plainly started to annoy me pretty soon. It also made it sound like children’s book more than ya book. Actually my friend saw me reading it and seeing how the pages looked said that it looks like children’s book.

I absolutely loved that after reading few books from library about dreaming of course solves all the problems and she learns all about her gift and all. Why is it never that easy in real life? And the twist near the end is the most ridiculous and so not needed in long time I’ve read.

I believe this is the first in a trilogy but I’m not planning to read the rest. This was more than enough for me.

Published: Simon Pulse (2008)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 210
Source: my own

Delilah by Eleanor De Jong

Delilah by Eleanor De Jong

Maligned as the courtesan who revealed the mighty Samson’s secret for money, Delilah has become synonymous with treachery. But behind the myth is a tale far more tragic! From the moment they met, there was a fire in their relationship, with Samson pitted against Delilah’s family. But Samson soon develops an overwhelming passion for Delilah; entranced by her beauty and passionate nature. Meanwhile the Israelites and the Philistines are in a state of constant conflict, with Samson a seemingly unbeatable warrior. The Philistines are desperate to learn the secret behind Samson’s power and enrol Delilah as a pawn to bring him down. Driven by misplaced anger, Delilah agrees to use her wiles to discover the secret of his strength. But Delilah finds that Samson is far from the ogre that she had assumed. But a sequence of events have been set in motion which both of them are powerless to stop. The consequences of her mistake have gone down in history and this wonderful novel is as alluring and beguiling as Delilah herself. (Goodreads)

After Delilah’s father dies her mother remarries their employer. But he is Philisetine while Delilah’s family is Israelite and there’s no great love between the cultures. Her new stepsister Hemin seems to hate her and everything she represents but Hemin’s brother adores her.

Hemin is about to be married to Samson, young Israelite who people look as their leader. The wedding doesn’t go through and Delilah takes great dislike to Samson when they first meet. When her stepfather offers her as a wife to Samson instead of Hemin, she makes it clear what she thinks of him. But Samson can’t get her out of his mind and then Delilah gets on offer she can’t refuse.

I’m surprised how much I liked this. I’ve heard of Samson and Delilah before but didn’t know anything about them so I didn’t know what to suspect.

Delilah was strong, willful and brave and I liked her from the start. She grows in a Philistine family learning their culture and ways and has never really felt the need to learn the ways of her people. When she meets Samson she thinks he’s brutish barbarian but there is spark between them from the start. I didn’t always agreed what she did or how she did but I understand her reasons.

I liked Samson and how he believed in what he was doing. He was definitely no barbarian but not an open or easy man either. He was said to be violent man but he also cared for his mother and gave great balance. But I did wonder that Samson being no idiot how easily and completely he fell for Delilah so quickly. He suspected everyone and everything of betrayal but never even thought she could betray him?

Delilah’s brother Ekron is first rather weak and gives Delilah puppy eyes and I wasn’t prepared for the change for what he became. Not sure if everything he did to her at the end was really necessary but it showed how far they had became while choosing sides.

I liked the book and it was great debut for the author. While the characters are from the bible it’s not very religious and I felt like I was reading just historical book.

Published: Avon (2011)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 377
Source: publisher

Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay

Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay

When Nina Revskaya puts her remarkable jewelry collection up for auction, the former Bolshoi Ballet star finds herself overwhelmed by memories of her homeland, and of the events, both glorious and heartbreaking, that changed her life half a century earlier. It was in Russia that she discovered the magic of dance and fell in love, and where, faced with Stalinist aggression, a terrible discovery incited a deadly act of betrayal—and an ingenious escape to the West.

Nina has kept her secrets for half a lifetime. But now Drew Brooks, an inquisitive associate at a Boston auction house, and Grigori Solodin, a professor who believes Nina’s jewels hold the key to unlocking his past, begin to unravel her story—setting in motion a series of revelations that will have life-altering consequences for them all. (Goodreads)

Former ballerina Nina Revskaya has decided to auction off her jewelry collection. Once a prima ballerina for the Bolshoi Ballet now she is confined to a wheelchair.Growing up in Soviet Russia under Stalin, she has learned to keep her secret and thought to herself and doesn’t like to speak of her past.

Then an anonymous donor gives the auction an Amber necklace, a piece that seems to match Nina’s jewelry. The donor is Grigori Solodin who got the necklace from his adoptive parents. He thinks Nina is the key for solving who his parents is, but Nina isn’t cooperating and refuses speaking to him. Drew Brooks is the representative from the auction house and she’s trying to learn more of Russia because her grandfather came from there. Drew and Grigori tries to find out where the necklace came from and getting to know each other.

I had so much trouble writing this review and I’m still not quite sure what to think of the book.

I liked it when I first started it, then I didn’t like it, then it was better again and then not so good. It just kept changing. There was few times I thought of giving up and the only reason I didn’t was because this was for review. And I can’t really point what the problem was. Maybe because besides Nina I just didn’t connect with the characters.

I liked Nina and the best parts was the scenes in the past with her. It would have been pretty scary living in Stalin’s Russia! But I didn’t find Grigori and Drew interesting enough and present day Nina was just mean. And the switches of povs got on my nerves pretty soon. It changed multiple times in one chapter – between characters and between times. Just made my head hurt and annoyed.

Didn’t like the ending either; it just ended suddenly and I felt like “Is this it?” And so many things were left unanswering.

Can’t help but feel disappointed and I really wanted to like this. It had very interesting topic but it just couldn’t carry it through. I was going between giving this 2 or 3 but since I thought of giving up I’m going with 2. But because I liked the past times I’ll give extra half points.

Published: Harper Perennial (2011)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 496
Source: publisher

Bitten by Kelley Armstrong

Bitten (Women of the Otherworld 1) by Kelley Armstrong

Elena Michaels seems like the typically strong and sexy modern woman, She lives with her architect boyfriend, writes for a popular newspaper, and works out at the gym. She’s also a werewolf.

Elena has done all she can to assimilate to the human world, but the man whose bite changed her existence forever, and his legacy, continue to haunt her. Thrown into a desperate war for survival that tests her allegiance to a secret clan of werewolves, Elena must recon with who, and what, she is in this passionate, page-turning novel. (Goodreads)

When the book starts, Elena is trying to live anormal life in Toronto after leaving her pack. She has a boyfriend and a job but she doesn’t feel comfortable. Then she gets a call from Jeremy, the Alpha, and she hasto go back with pack. There she meets her ex-lover Clay, who turned her into a werewolf, and they clearly have some unfinished business. And then dead human bodies starts to pile on the pack’s area and it looks like Elena has to stay longer than she wants.

I loved Armstrong’s young adult serie before and I was really curious how her adult books would be. And I wasn’t disappointed! I enjoyed this from the start.

I liked Elena and I think she made great narrator. She was strong, kick ass-woman and no damsel in distress. And I was pleasantly surprised that while she is the only female werewolf in the world, not every single man was drooling after her and trying to get her to bed. Elena has been a werewolf for 10 years but she’s still trying to come to terms with it and hasn’t forgiven Clay for what he did. But during the book she’s finally starting to accept it little by little and noticing that the pack is her true family.

I loved Clay! He could be really rude at times but he clearly loved Elena. It was fun to read about their love/hate relationship and it felt realistic. Clay has some problems to accept the fact that Elena was living with a human man but finally tries to save his life because Elena would want it. Poor Clay, he tries so hard to win her back and she’s not making things easy.

What a great book and I love the writing style. I need to get the next book soon!

Published: Orbit (2008)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 448
Source: my own

Die for Me by Amy Plum

Die for Me (Revenants 1) by Amy Plum

My life had always been blissfully, wonderfully normal. But it only took one moment to change everything.

Suddenly, my sister, Georgia, and I were moving to Paris to live with my grandparents. And I knew my life would never feel normal again. Then I met Vincent.

Mysterious, sexy, and unnervingly charming, he put me in danger of losing my heart all over again. But I was ready to let it happen . . . until I realized that Vincent Delacroix is no normal human–that he has a terrifying destiny and enemies who are determined to destroy him and all of his kind.

Can I risk everything for love? (Goodreads)

Sisters Kate and Georgia has lost their parents in a car accident and they move to Paris to live with their grandparents. Kate has hard time moving on and spends her days mostly alone reading books. Her sister tries to drown her sorrow with parties and dancing.
Kate starts to spend at at a cafe reading and that’s where she meets Vincent, who isn’t what he seems. Their feelings starts to grow but when Kate starts to learn more about Vincent, she starts to have second thoughts and to think if it’s safe to be together.

When I first heared about this book the first thing I noticed was that it’s set in Paris. It really doesn’t take much to get me interested and I’m happy to say I enjoyed it! I liked the idea of Revenants. Their basically people who die intead of others and they come back to life. They spend the rest of their life trying to safe people and after they die they always come back to life. They do age but after dying they come back at the age they died the first time.

Vincent was so adorable and nicely romantic. I’m not usually big fan of that type of men but I liked him. And he really knows how to handle a sword! Loved those scenes.
Sure there were moments where Kate just can’t take eyes from him because he’s just so gorgeous but gladly she has brains too. And she doesn’t run head over heels in love but thinks is it safe and how it will affect her family.

I also loved the relationship between the sisters. They’re always been close but after their parents death their been even closer and are really friends. There was great cast of supporting characters and I loved Jules. I wish there would have been more of him!

Great debut from Plum and I’m waiting for the next book!

Published: Atom (2011)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 344
Source: publisher

Letters from Home by Kristina McMorris

Letters from Home by Kristina McMorris

Chicago, 1944. Liz Stephens has little interest in attending a USO club dance with her friends Betty and Julia. She doesn’t need a flirtation with a lonely serviceman when she’s set to marry her childhood sweetheart. Yet something happens the moment Liz glimpses Morgan McClain. They share only a brief exchange–cut short by the soldier’s evident interest in Betty–but Liz can’t forget him. Thus, when Betty asks her to ghostwrite a letter to Morgan, stationed overseas, Liz reluctantly agrees.

Thousands of miles away, Morgan struggles to adjust to the brutality of war. His letters from “Betty” are a comfort, their soul-baring correspondence a revelation to them both. While Liz is torn by her feelings for a man who doesn’t know her true identity, Betty and Julia each become immersed in their own romantic entanglements. And as the war draws to a close, all three will face heart-wrenching choices, painful losses, and the bittersweet joy of new beginnings. (Goodreads)

Betty has a singing gig at a USO dance and her roommates Liz and Julia has promised to come there. During the night Liz ends up dancing with Morgan, who leaves to war the next day. They instantly feels connection but when Liz sees him dancing with Betty later on, she thinks she must have been wrong and leaves home. Betty promised to write to Morgan overseas but she isn’t a writer and needs Liz to help her but Liz ends up writing the whole letter herself. When Morgan answers, Liz starts to writing letters to him without telling Betty about it.

I haven’t read much World War II related books so I was interested to read this and I was happy that I did.

The book is told from Liz, Julia, Betty and Morgan’s point of view. It was intresting to read about them all and they were in different points in life. Liz is engaged to a childhood friend, Julia’s fiancée is at war and she is falling in love with his brother and Betty enlisted as a WAC and gets shipped off to field hospital.

I’m not usually fan of books that has lot of letter writing but it worked here. And it was great to see how they got to know each other so well and falling in love through letters. And how much comfort letters gave to men at war and far away from families.We see all the characters to change during the book, and not only for the wartime experiance.

I really liked this and was curious when I read that the author’s grandparent’s love story inspired the book.

Published: Avon (2011)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 384
Source: publisher

Shadow Chaser by Alexey Pehov

Shadow Chaser (Chronicles of Siala 2) by Alexey Pehov

Saddened because they have left one of their number in a grave in the wilderness, Harold and his companions continue their journey to the dreaded underground palace of Hrad Spein. There, knowing that armies of warriors and wizards before them have failed, they must fight legions of untold, mysterious powers before they can complete their quest for the magic horn that will save their beloved land from The Nameless One. But before they can even reach their goal, they must overcome all manner of obstacles, fight many battles…and evade the frightful enemies on their trail. (Goodreads)

The first book started little slow but I felt this has more action. There doesn’t actually happen all that much but there was still many battles. I should have re-read the last book because I had forgotten who was whoand what happened but it didn’t take long to remember everyone.

Harold isn’t too happy to be the supposed hero and thinks his life was much more simple as a regular thief. But he’s also started to wonder if he has changed. He didn’t have any friends or family, which he thought was a liability, and now he has whole bunch of outcasts who he can call friends. Has this made him softer?

Harold doesn’t have as much spotlight as in the last book but I didn’t feel like anyone had real spotlight over others.

I couldn’t help but laugh at Kli-Kli the goblin jester . But it seems like there is much more to him than just being a fool. Can’t wait to find out what he really is about. But my favourites were the elves. I wish there was more about them in the next book! I love it that elves resemble orcs with fangs and all.

I had some problems with one battle, mainly with the outcome at least but it’s better not to speak more about it here. I really liked this and you gotta love good fantasy book! Can’t wait to read the next book!

Published: Simon & Schuster UK (2011)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 357
Source: publisher

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy 1) by Deborah Harkness

Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell. (Goodreads)

The book starts when Diana Bishop discovers a bewitched manuscript,called Ashmole 782, in a library at Oxford. It has been lost for centuries and soon all kind of witches, daemons and vampires are trying to get it. One of them is Matthew Clairmont, a scientist who is also vampire.
Diana is from a powerful family of witches but after her parents’ death she has refused to use her powers. But when things starts to take dangerous turn she learns that she can’t ignore her heritage anymore.

Book is told from Diane’s point of view and it worked here. She’s strong, brave, intelligent and she’s historian. What’s not to like? It was interesting to see how she grew during the book, fing herself again and learning to control her powers.

Matthew is over 1000 year old vampire who takes interest in Diana. At first he is just looking for Ashmole 782 but soon finds that he can’t keep her out of his thoughts. But vampires and witches aren’t supposed to be together as they are about to find out. I liked Matthew and the chemistry between him and Diane. Sure he had this medieval thing about protecting women and stuff but I thought he was still quite adorable.

There was quite a lot talking about DNA and alchemy and I have to say that it went way over my head. But it was still interesting and it didn’t made m enjoy it any less.

And there was a finnish witch called Satu Järvinen :) That doesn’t happen often and just made me happy. Of course she was one of the bad guys but you can’t have it all, can you? She kinda leaves a lasting impression on Diane, not to mention traumas.

I really liked this book! I liked the first half book better with Matthew and Diane getting to know eachother. In later part things started to move much faster and while it was fun it didn’t feel the same.

A word of warning: the books has much detailed telling about things. How wine or food tasted and or smelled and their reactions to it. So if you’re not into that kind of thing you should be warned.

Published: Viking (2011)
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 579
Source: library

The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong

The Reckoning (Darkest Powers Trilogy 3) by Kelley Armstrong

Chloe Saunders is fifteen and would love to be normal. Unfortunately, Chloe happens to be a genetically engineered necromancer who can raise the dead without even trying. She and her equally gifted (or should that be ‘cursed’?) friends are now running for their lives from the evil corporation that created them.

As if that’s not enough, Chloe is struggling with her feelings for Simon, a sweet-tempered sorcerer, and his brother Derek, a not so sweet-tempered werewolf. And she has a horrible feeling she’s leaning towards the werewolf…

Definitely not normal. (Goodreads)

Chloe, Tori, Derek and Simon are safe now with Andrew, a friend of Simon and Derek’s father. Andrew introduces the kids to group of supernaturals (necromancer, witch and shaman) hoping they could teach the kids and helping them to control their powers. They don’t seem to believe that the Edison Group is actually trying to kill them. And when they found out how powerful the kids really are without training, things are starting to go from bad to worse.

Chloe has always been little too nice and I’m happy she’s finally learning to stand up and not letting others run her down. She finally stands up to Derek who seems to take out his frustrations on Chloe more than anyone else. Derek has his first Change and I love how supportive Chloe is about the thing. But I found it little funny how well she seems to understand Derek in his wolf form. How many different snort/frown can a wolf have? I love it how in books everyone knows what others are thinking and how eyes seems to show everything…

Tori has made some growing up and while she’s still bitchy she seems to be more part of the group. And the thing about her dad was so unexpected! I wish there would have some more information on that.

Simon wasn’t much in the book and it seemed his only purpose was to be a part of a love triangle. But for once the triangle didn’t bother me and the guys weren’t really fighting each other for it.

I still wish there would have been more about their powers. Like why were they given the experiences? What was the ulterior motive?

I enjoyed the book but it left the feeling that it was unfinished. As far as I know there’s no more books but I could be wrong though.

Published: Orbit (2010)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 391
Source: my own