Review: First Command by Alex Lidell

About the book:

Master and Commander meets Tamora Pierce in a seafaring adventure of duty, love, magic, and a princess’s quest to protect her kingdom on her own terms.

Born to privilege, called to service, trained for command, seventeen-year-old Lieutenant Nile Greysik finally gets the chance to prove herself a leader. As she takes charge of a captured enemy ship, her orders will take her through hostile waters and stormy seas with a hold full of prisoners, a skeptical crew, and a handsome first mate whose every move undermines her confidence.

To navigate to safe harbor, Nile must earn the crew’s trust . . . but first she must dare to trust herself.

Cover of Alex Lidell's First Command

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Review by Katy Haye:

First Command is an assured, well-written novella that sucked me straight into a world I’d be happy to spend a lot more time in (and it looks, I’m pleased to say, like there is more to come). The writing was excellent, effortless to read and well-paced with plenty of twist and turns. I found my heartrate picking up as I sped through the pages.

I really liked Nile’s character, and was convinced by the dilemmas she found herself in. I was rooting for some things to happen – and for her to avoid others! The plotting was smashing – I knew something wasn’t as it should be, but I was still taken by surprise by the excellent twist.

I can’t wait for more from Alex Lidell!

Get a copy FREE!

If you like the sound of First Command, you can grab a copy FREE. Check out this Instafreebie giveaway featuring 30 young adult novels and novellas. As well as First Command there are lots of other YA novels across lots of genres, so you’re sure to find something you’ll like. How Instafreebie works: you’ll need to join the author’s subscriber list, but you can always unsubscribe later if you don’t want to hear from the author again.

Katy Haye writes speculative fiction for young adult readers. Her latest novel, Discord, is also available through the same giveaway.

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Review: The Kitty Peck Mysteries

About the book:

Kitty Peck is taking on the underworld of London’s East End.

The Music Hall Murders:
It’s 1880 and dancing girls are going missing from ‘Paradise’ – the criminal manor run with ruthless efficiency by the ferocious Lady Ginger. The Lady devises a singular scheme to discover the secret to the mystery, and suddenly seventeen-year-old music hall seamstress Kitty Peck is drawn into a web of blackmail, depravity and murder. Bold, impetuous and blessed with more brains than she cares to admit, Kitty, with the help of her stagehand friend, Lucca, is left to unravel the truth and ensure that more girls do not meet with a similar fate.

The Child of Ill-Fortune:
A year later, and Kitty Peck is the reluctant heiress to ‘Paradise’. Far from the colour and camaraderie of the music hall where Kitty had been working, this new position brings with it isolation and uncertainty. Desperate to reconnect with Joey, her estranged brother, Kitty travels to Paris, but the joy of the reunion is overshadowed by his request for her to take a child back to London. Within days of her return it’s clear that someone has followed them – and that this someone is determined to kill the child, along with anyone who stands in their way…

Cover of Kitty Peck and the Music Hall Mysteries

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Review by Katy Haye:

This came to me as a recommendation and I’m glad it did. I bought the boxset of two mysteries and devoured them in two days. The Music Hall Murders was an excellent yarn combining mystery, thriller and historical within YA. I liked Kitty and there were plenty of twists and turns to keep me interested. I kept predicting who she could trust and who she couldn’t – and getting it completely wrong. The world-building was absolutely glorious, I was transported to Kitty’s grubby, gritty London. And the resolution was good, tinged with sadness but realistic.

And then The Child of Ill-fortune. Well. I’ll admit, this niggled a bit while I was reading. I thought Kitty was getting distracted and that the barons would make mincemeat of her. I also thought the premise of the child didn’t hold up (sorry to be cryptic, but I don’t want to spoil any of it). Now, don’t worry because it does hold up in the end, although if Kitty’s as smart as she needs to be the truth about the baby’s parents should have occurred to her. I still think the barons might make mincemeat of her, but, oh my, that ending! That’s going to stay with me quite some time. Absolutely heartbreaking.

Recommended!

Katy Haye is reading her way through the alphabet during 2017. Check in next week for her review of her “L” read. When not reading, she writes speculative fiction for YA readers. Creeping sci-fi mystery, Discord, is now available.

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Book Blitz: Bellamy and the Brute by Alicia Michaels

Bellamy and The Brute
Alicia Michaels
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: March 13th 2017
Genres: Fairy Tales, Retelling, Young Adult

A fresh twist on a classic story, Bellamy and the Brute proves true love really is blind.

When Bellamy McGuire is offered a summer job babysitting for the wealthy Baldwin family, she’s reluctant to accept. After all, everyone in town knows about the mysterious happenings at the mansion on the hill—including the sudden disappearance of the Baldwin’s eldest son, Tate. The former football star and golden boy of Wellhollow Springs became a hermit at the age of sixteen, and no one has seen or heard from him since. Rumors abound as to why, with whisperings about a strange illness—one that causes deformity and turned him into a real-life monster. Bellamy wants to dismiss these rumors as gossip, but when she’s told that if she takes the job, she must promise to never, ever visit the third floor of the mansion, she begins to wonder if there really is some dark truth hidden there.

Tate’s condition may not be the only secret being kept at Baldwin House. There are gaps in the family’s financial history that don’t add up, and surprising connections with unscrupulous characters. At night there are strange noises, unexplained cold drafts, and the electricity cuts out. And then there are the rose petals on the staircase. The rose petals that no one but Bellamy seems to be able to see. The rose petals that form a trail leading right up to the 3 rd floor, past the portrait of a handsome young man, and down a dark hallway where she promised she would never, ever go…

As Bellamy works to unravel the mysteries of Baldwin House and uncover the truth about Tate, she realizes that she is in way over her head… in more ways than one. Can her bravery and determination help to right the wrongs of the past and free the young man whose story has captured her heart?

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Author Bio:

Ever since she first read books like Chronicles of Narnia or Goosebumps, Alicia has been a lover of mind-bending fiction. Wherever imagination takes her, she is more than happy to call that place her home. With several Fantasy and Science Fiction titles under her belt, Alicia strives to write multicultural characters and stories that touch the heart. V-Card, the first book of the Sharing Spaces series, was her first Contemporary Romance.
The mother of three and wife to a soldier, she loves chocolate, coffee, and of course good books. When not writing, you can usually find her with her nose in a book, shopping for shoes and fabulous jewelry, or spending time with her loving family.

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Review: Connected by Kat Stiles

Anyone following my reviews with a keen eye (hi, mum!) may be expecting a review of a book beginning with “J” this week, as part of my alphabet challenge. Well, that book was Jane Eyre. It is so unutterably awful (truly: steer clear) that I couldn’t finish it and I make it a rule never to review books I haven’t finished. Which gets me off the hook nicely.

Instead, I’d like to share with you a book I couldn’t fit into my “C” week as it was already occupied: Connected by Kat Stiles.

piranha stars turquoise 4

About the book:

High school is hard enough, Em knows. Her freshman year introduced her to all the cliques, annoying teachers, and tough homework assignments. But discovering you have super powers and not knowing how to control them is a whole new level of complicated.

Thankfully, Em isn’t alone. Her best friend Roz starts having unusual dreams that come true, and Tommy, Em’s secret crush, can hear the softest whispers in class.

A romance blossoms with Tommy. But just as things are looking up, people start dropping like flies. A telepathic serial killer is on the loose and only Em and her friends have a hope of stopping him.

Or do they? If they don’t figure out the killer’s identity soon, one of them could be next.

Cover of Kat Stiles' Connected

Click to try it.

Review by Katy Haye:

Connected was a real pleasure to read. It offered a fresh and different take on some tried and tested ya tropes – high school with puberty prompting the arrival of strange new powers.

What set this apart was the writing, which was effortless to read. The dialogue, in particular, was an absolute treat and I loved any time the three main characters were together. The spiky relationship between sisters was also well-depicted.

The mystery provided a seriously creepy villain that you wouldn’t want to be in the same room as. Occasionally, I felt the characters were a little slow to pick up clues, but overall this was a real treat – and I’m intrigued about what’s going to happen next!

When not reviewing YA books, Katy Haye writes speculative fiction for YA readers. Her latest, Discord, is currently available.

Posted in fantasy, fiction, friendship, magic, review, supernatural, teen, thriller, YA, Young Adult | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

The RoNAs 2017 – Romantic Novel Awards

Each year the UK’s Romantic Novelists’ Association gives out awards for excellence in different categories of romantic fiction – the RoNAs!  One of those categories is the Young Adult Romantic Novel award, and tonight is the night we find out who the winners are.  The winners of each category also go forward to compete for the overall prize of Romantic Novel of the Year and two years ago this was won by a YA book – Struck by Joss Stirling.

This year the books that are shortlisted in the YA category are as follows:-

Love Song by Sophia Bennett (Chicken House)

Lydia: The Wild Girl of Pride & Prejudice by Natasha Farrant (Chicken House)

New England Dreams by Pia Fenton (Independently Published)

Instructions for a Second-Hand Heart by Tamsyn Murray (Usborne Publishing)

All About the Hype by Paige Toon (Simon & Schuster)

The Piranhas will be reviewing some of these books in the near future.  In the meantime you can find more information about them, plus mini interviews with the authors, on the RNA blog here.  And if you want to know who the winner is, keep an eye on Facebook and Twitter this evening! #RoNA17

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Book Blitz: Daybreak by Cheree Alsop

Daybreak
Cheree Alsop
(Girl from the Stars #1)
Publication date: October 7th 2015
Genres: Action, Adventure, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Liora Day, half-human, half mess-with-her-and-you’ll-die Damaclan, had been thrown onto a rough path at a very early age. But when she is broken out of a cage by Devren, the young captain of the SS Kratos, she is shown that perhaps humanity does have a heart. The Kratos is set on a mission to rescue fallen surveyors from the Revolutionaries, and Liora is given the choice to follow her Damaclan instincts, or trust Devren’s dark eyes and captivating smile that promise an adventure unlike any she has ever experienced.

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EXCERPT:

Liora twisted the bent end inward until she felt the teeth slide free. She slipped the bar from the handcuff and let it fall off her wrist. In two more seconds, the other cuff was on the floor.

The lock of her cage proved to be more difficult. Luckily, Liora had the two pieces of the tweezers to work with. She bent the second one to match the angle of the first. Following the same steps the apprentice had done so many times, Liora pushed the bent end of the first piece into the lock opposite the pins. She turned it slowly upward until it was in tension.

Inserting the second piece, Liora raked it slowly along the pins. The small metal on metal sound set Liora’s nerves on end. If Malivian found out what she was doing, she would be tortured again. The voice in the back of her mind whispered that perhaps she wouldn’t survive a second round.

A subtle, metallic click sounded. Liora’s heart jumped. She pushed at the bars. Her breath caught in her throat when the door swung outward. Liora stepped onto the cold floor and stumbled lightheadedly. She caught herself on the next cage, pushed upright, and ran down the hall.

The alarm sounded when she hit the button for the hatch to open. As soon as the gap was wide enough, Liora jumped out. Her feet, then her knees, hit the deck of Gaulded Zero Twenty-One. She shoved up to her feet once more and ran past the other starships.

Even at the late hour, the Gaulded’s landing deck was filled with activity. It appeared the Kratos and Kirkos weren’t the only ships who had been attacked. Blow torches, plasma cutters, and blazers filled the contained air inside the Gaulded’s hold with the acrid scent of metal. The sound of mallets and hand saws sounded from every corner.

Crew members of the ships Liora passed turned to watch her go. She felt conspicuous and alone as she darted between space crafts and around repair gear. A giant pallet of artillery swung over her head. Liora ducked and made her way along the stripped hull of a Copper Crow painted to look like an iridescent fish. The name Space Poseidon glowed near the hatch.

Liora ran around the corner and slammed into Devren.

“I was about to come looking for you—” he began.

Tariq cut him off. “Dev, her face.”

Devren gently pushed her back so he could see her better. Liora dropped her gaze at his gentle probing.

“Malivian did this to you?” he asked.

The anger in his voice made Liora look up. Devren appeared ready to kill someone.

“Calm down,” Tariq told him. “Let’s get her to the ship. It’s the only place we’ll have leverage.”

Devren put a protective arm around Liora. Tariq walked behind them like a bodyguard. Liora felt as though she had entered some different reality. Somehow, even with the thought of Malivian coming after her, she felt safe between the two humans who had entered her life by accident.

Author Bio:

Cheree Alsop is an award-winning, best-selling author who has published over 30 books, including two series through Stonehouse Ink. She is the mother of a beautiful, talented daughter and amazing twin sons who fill every day with joy and laughter. She is married to her best friend, Michael, the light of her life and her soulmate who shares her dreams and inspires her by reading the first drafts and giving much appreciated critiques. Cheree is a fulltime author and mother, which is more play than work! She enjoys reading, traveling to tropical beaches, spending time with her children, and going on family adventures while planning her next book. Cheree and Michael live in Utah where they rock out, enjoy the outdoors, plan great quests, and never stop dreaming. You can find Cheree’s other books at http://www.chereealsop.com

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Spring Fever Giveaway!

Welcome to the Spring Fever Giveaway Party!
A dozen authors over at YA Author Rendezvous have put an awesome giveaway together – with over TWENTY chances to win!

One grand-prize winner will walk away with a signed, first edition hardback of Witch and Wizard which just so happens to be written by one of the biggest names in fiction – JAMES PATTERSON! On top of that, they get a $100 amazon gift-card!

And all if takes is a minute or two and a few clicks of the mouse.

DON’T MISS YOUR CHANCE!

Check out these other amazing prizes they have for you here.

Spring Fever Giveaway!
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