Review: The Messenger by Leah Rose

The Messenger by Leah Rose

Publishers: Lands Atlantic Publishing
Published Date: May 22nd 2011
From: Author
My rating:
4 out of 5
Sixteen year old Jeilin leaves the ordinary behind when she's inducted into the king's service as a horseback riding messenger. She expects a life of adventure and freedom, but those hopes are shattered after being captured by a foreign army.

Given the choice between death and conversion, she swears service to the enemy even though, in her heart, she remains loyal to her kingdom.

As Jeilin's youthful innocence crumbles, she wonders if the prince will still be fond of her; if she can even find a way to help place him back on his rightful throne.

Full of turmoil and sacrifice, The Messenger is a powerful tale of survival, bravery, and loyalty.

I didn't really know what to expect when I started The Messenger. All I knew was the synopsis sounded intriguing and I just had to read it, and I'm so glad I did!

Set in a fantasy world, Jeilin, from a very young age, always wanted to be a Messenger, and to ride across the country delivering messages, warrants and orders on behalf of the King. She sees a life of excitement, challenges and adventures. A life that means an escape from marriage, cooking and raising kids, as her mother thinks she should do. An opportunity arises and soon she's competing with 200 other men for a chance to join the Kings Messengers. After she wins she's paired up with the only other female messenger and together they start Jeilins on-the-job training. Soon she presents her first message to a young prince who catches her eye. But he also sees her as more than just a farm girl. He sees a young woman who's brave, strong and courageous.

Jeilin’s thoughts of Prince Raihnin are put aside as another journey means another message has to be delivered. Only this time it puts her in peril. A war that was not foreseen erupts after twelve years of peace and Jeilin is in the middle of it and right where the most danger is. 

From the start of the adventure my excitement grew. I couldn't put this book down. I just had to find out what happened next. Jeilin's character also grows so much in this story. She's got guts to start with, she clearly isn't a sissy girl but she's young and you can feel her intimidation when she's in a group of men who laugh at her, such as the tavern scene. She knows she's earned her place as a messenger but she's still a little afraid or even naive about the true dangers of the job.

A character who I loved was Olwen, Jeilin's older female trainer. She allows Jeilin to come into her own and make her own decisions. She never offers unnecessary advice when it comes to matters of the heart, especially when Prince Raihnin is concerned. She's experienced in her work but knows when to keep quiet. And although initially I thought they wouldn't get on I'm glad I was proved wrong.

But the real stars of the book are the horses, especially Fringe. If you're a horsey person you'll love this and it’s plainly clear that the author has a strong bond with horses. The descriptions almost ensure you're able to smell the saddles, bridles and feel the horse’s movements as you ride with Jeilin and Olwen across the plains.

The story sweeps over towns, cities, kingdoms and near oceans. The harsh life of the Ryelnish soldiers really affects Jeilin, not to mention the nasty tattoo she soon wears with shame. The tension towards the end increases as war is at its most aggressive and I almost held my breath in places such as Olwen and Cai being left behind, and Cai and Jeilin heading back behind enemy lines for the final assault.

This is a stand alone book and certainly one of the best I've read this year. And I'm absolutely sure I'll want to read it again soon!


You can reach Leah Rose here:

Review: Patrick Patterson and the World of Others by James Fryar

Guest Reviewed by SCD Goff
SCD specialises in reviewing self-published books, in fact she thrives on it, preferring it to more traditionally published novels. Her reviews are thorough, with good tips for debut authors on what worked well and what didn't, and overall I can guarantee your novels are in good hands.
-SCD Goff's Blog
Patrick Patterson and the World of Others by James Fryar
Publishers: Self-published
Published Date: Oct 3rd 2011
From: Author
My rating:
3.5 out of 5

For almost thirteen years, Patrick has lived a quiet, simple life in the boring town at the Texas border called Farwell...with big dreams and small hopes of fulfilling them. He’s bullied by the biggest kid in school, constantly singled out in class by the scariest teacher, and has a crush on the prettiest girl, named Cameron. It all seems to be too much for him to handle, when suddenly, he is whisked away by a rag tag group of warriors and others on a quest across the United States to discover his true identity and a destiny clouded in mystery.

Never in his wildest dreams did he think that he'd walk through an underground city filled with citizens from across the universe, contend with powerful enemies from the edge of the galaxy, or travel to the Arctic Circle on a high speed train.

Now, he must decide what he truly desires and whether he even wants to take up the mantle of hero...or alien.
An ordinary 12-year-old boy in America has weird neighbours, a bully of a coach, and a giant crush on the girl next door. That is, of course, until he finds out who he really is – and what he is destined to do.

So far, ho hum, but the author offers a new take on the ‘I’m a –what??’ story. He interacts very directly with the reader with a distinct narrative voice which is fresh and energetic. A good sense of humour helps the story zip along, and the story itself is pacey and well-structured. The author sets scenes well, has some imaginative flair and the narrative is kept fairly lean, with nothing there but the essentials.

And now for the ugly bits.

First, the writing is not always clear, and this rankles with the reader from early on in the novel: ‘In Farwell, the tiny town on the edge of Texas where our story starts, nothing ever was really a secret anyway. You see, in a city (if you could call it that) of just a few thousand, not much happened, and what did happen was common news the very next day in which a thing of importance did happen.’ I’m not sure what that means.

The author uses some terrible English – for example, ‘would it be possible if I make my speech tomorrow?’ There’s also some very weird phrasing where the author uses words he hasn’t quite got the hang of: ‘I dare say you have had an entire semester to gather all your thoughts into one report …’

It’s hard to know whether to put these glitches down to poor writing or poor editing, so let’s give the benefit of the doubt.

But besides this, there are other, larger problems, such as a lack of development in the secondary characters, and some difficulties with writing action scenes.  And to be honest, I have a few pet peeves, such as - why do boys get to laugh and chuckle when girls only ever seem to giggle?

Altogether, the author shows some real promise. The story can be unexpectedly touching (for example, our hero’s teacher insists that he consider a more sensible career than ‘astronaut’, something most young adults will probably relate to), and there’s good use of simile and fun, very light references to pop culture phenomena such as Star Wars. Finally, a good, gorey finish with a light-touch last chapter will keep you reading happily enough til the end.

A very solid 3.5/5, and good value for your buck.
SCD Goff's Blog

You can reach James Fryar here:

Cover Reveal - Shadows in the Silence (Angelfire #3) by Courtney Allison Moulton


 Cover Reveal!

Shadows in the Silence by Courtney Allison Moulton

  Just announced by Courtney's website, here is the cover reveal of the the third and final book in her Angelfire Trilogy. I can't wait to read this one. Wings of the Wicked had me emotional for days after finishing. I know this one is going to be as epic as the first two and it such a shame this great series will be at an end :(

 This cover is by far the best one in my opinion. What do you think?


Expected publication: January 31st 2013 by HarperCollins

Latest Blogs from our Favourite YA Authors - 11th June 2012

Here's a weekly round up of blogs from our favourite YA authors:

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-CB xx

Review and International Giveaway: Burn Mark by Laura Powell

Burn Mark by Laura Powell

Publishers: Bloomsbury
Published Date UK: June 7th 2012
From: Publishers
My rating:
4 out of 5
Thanks to Emma at Bloomsbury for allowing me to read this book and give my honest opinion
Glory is from a family of witches and lives beyond the law. She is desperate to develop her powers and become a witch herself. Lucas is the son of the Chief Prosecutor for the Inquisition—the witches’ mortal enemy—and his privileged life is very different to the forbidden world that he lives alongside.

And then on the same day, it hits them both. Glory and Lucas develop the Fae—the mark of the witch. In one fell stroke, their lives are inextricably bound together, whether they like it or not . .
Firstly, let me just say that Burn Mark by Laura Powell is no light or fluffy read. If its quick reading you're after then this isn't the book for you. But what you do get is such an intricately detailed quasi-London world that is rich in description right down to the English language and slang used by the east end people of London. And it’s about modern day Witches, lots of them!   

Personally I loved this book. An alternative England, run by Parliament and Ministers with Witchkind Inquisitors and a Directorate to keep the witchy people abiding and on the right side of the law. This is an England where every teenager will dread the day that they may find the Devils Kiss on their body, and feel the witchcraft soaring through their veins. That day their lives will change. That day happened to both Glory and Lucas. Both on each side of the law line. Gloriana, who prefers to be called Glory, comes from a witchkind background with famous Aunts who used their gift for personal gain. She lives in the Cooper Street coven where illegal trafficking rackets are a daily occurrence and every member of her family has a police record. Lucas comes from a long line of Inquisitors. Gentlemen of esteem who hunt out the witches who do wrong and burn them on a balefire. Their punishment after trial, the burning, is available for the world to see as a lesson.

Lucas and Glory are brought together, both flawed by personal tragedy, and form an unlikely union to eek out an undercover plot that's been trying to blame witchkind for terrorism on the London streets. The Inquisitors want to blame the covens and the covens want to blame the Inquisitors. There's family pride at stake on both sides but only together can Lucas and Glory play both sides of the witch/inquisitor fence to uncover the truths behind the terror acts. If the acts continue, and people continue to get hurt then the Witchkind Directorate will pass out Acts of Parliament that will eventually diminish the Witchkind forever. And it will be brutal.

The lives of Lucas and Glory are expertly written. They both clearly have flaws from the beginning. Glory with her attitude, dark hair roots and heavy make-up. Lucas has a privileged upbringing from a family whose roots lead back to the original Inquisitors. Family pride and a stiff upper lip is all that counts in his father’s eyes, so Lucas bends against the tradition and gets on with his life as best he can. When he discovers with horror that he's turning into a witch, its shame and humility that clouds his judgement as he faces his father.

As Glory and Lucas's lives merge together in the conspiracy plot the story screams from the pages. We have high-flying mobsters, car bombs and family secrets all being unravelled as the two get to the bottom of the murky waters that reveal more than a few surprising twists.

As I wrote earlier Burn Mark is a serious read. For those reading this that aren't English, you might find the book even humourless in its extent. However the brilliance of Laura Powell’s writing is that she intersperses what we Brits do best. Sarcasm and Irony. And there's plenty of it. This very British book may not appeal to all but under the plot lines are incredibly well thought out sentences with amazingly creative writing. You can't miss a word or a sentence without feeling like you're about to miss something from the story.

A modern day, modern world story of Witchcraft that should not be missed!

Burn Mark comes out on 7th June 2012 in the UK.

-CB x

 About Laura Powell
 Laura Powell was born in London but spent most of her childhood in the Brecon Beacons. The Welsh side of her family are direct descendants of the Physicians of Myddfai, a family of twelfth-century herbalists who claimed to be the offspring of the Lady of the Lake.

Laura studied Classics at Bristol and Oxford before going on to work in the editorial departmend of both adults and children's publishers. She now focuses on her writing, but has a part time job at English National Ballet, which she loves as she gets to spend her office hours surrounded by tutus, sequins and exquisite people in leotards!

Want to know more? Just ask!
You can reach Laura Powell here:

Enter here for you chance to win an ARC copy of Burn Mark by Laura Powell

This giveaway is International!!
End date July 30th
Winner will be announced on this blog and via email.
Only a few options on Rafflecopter are mandatory. Enter as little or as much as you like. More entries means greater chances of getting your hands on this great book!

Review: Lady Languish: An Irish Vampire Novel by SCD Goff

Lady Languish: An Irish Vampire Novel by SCD Goff

Publishers: Self-Published
Published Date: March 20th 2012
From: Author
My rating:
5 out of 5
Thanks to SCD Goff for allowing me to read this book and give my honest opinion
After her Uncle Malachy terrifies Evangeline Languish on her 16th birthday, she is abandoned at a boarding school by her parents. But when Evangeline discovers a strange young man, injured and alone, she is forced to change her mind about everything she knew.
Could Malachy's stories be true? Evangeline must face her uncle once more ... can she get to him before he kills everything she loves?
Review:This is the second of two self-published books that completely blew me away. I recommend bloggers to read and review them. The authors deserve full credit for their awesome stories.

As many of you know I'm not a big fan of vampire books, I've read so many and after a while they all read more or less the same. But I was honoured to be asked to read Lady Languish and after being told it was more in the same vane as the great Dracula I happily obliged. But nothing could have prepared me for the most beautifully written piece that should surely go down as proper YA literature. SCD Goff has such a way with creating imagery that once I was into the story I felt my world around me dissolve and I was actually in the story as an observer. Not many authors have this strong writing ability but if that isn't recommendation alone to read this wonderful piece then I don't know what is!

Lady Languish is the story of a young girl, Evangeline Languish. Her privileged upbringing and doting parents have kept her away from all forms of society, even denying her the pleasures of shopping or visiting the local village except once, which caused a family uproar.
She lives in a castle on a huge estate and has yet to make any friends. Sad? Not really. At no time do you get the impression that Eva is lonely, or pining for an escape. She's content and happy with her life and truly loves her parents. An incident on her 16th birthday throwing everything into the open. An uncle, Malachy, arrives. An uncle she has never met before and one that makes her queasy when he's near. He seeks an opportunity to get her on her own and then makes her drink a red liquid that she's never drunk and almost instantly she feels awakened. The uncle gets sent from the castle immediately but shortly after, and without any explanation, Eva is sent to St Rita's boarding school.

Sooner after she hears about the death of her parents and after arriving back at her family castle strange events start to occur. The mysterious Lorcan shows up, injured beyond measure and she takes taking him back to the castle to get proper care. Soon she realises that he's not normal and he in turn predicts that her life is in incredible danger. A vampire hierarchy going back to the first vampires is now under the leadership of Slane, a young power-hungry woman whose second in command is none other than her uncle Malachy. And Slane wants Eva dead.

This isn't a story that has been rushed in any way. The pace doesn’t canter along losing your perspective and instead you get to savour the different characters, all well thought out and that spring to life in the story at opportune moments. Especially Eva's friend from school, Sive. I have a soft spot for her. Sive's father was a close friend of Eva's parents but little did Eva know this until their terrible death. Sive doesn’t shirk at the sound of danger; she helps Eva unravel the conspiracies occurring with the aid of Ann, the housekeeper who enlightens Eva to her past.

Another great character was Lorcan that I loved. His history is undeniably horrid, and he's tortured by his past life. But slowly he begins to open up a little with Eva and there's a connection that neither of them expected.

And the bad guys? They are really bad and nasty. I even felt scared just reading about them!

The book is set in Ireland which helped create such a stunning, almost Gothic, backdrop inviting in the beautiful descriptions that take you to another place entirely, and Eva has to be one of the loveliest heroines I've ever read. And if you think she's had her fair share of heartache then just wait till you get to the end. An ending that will lead you to desperately wanting the second book!

It isn't often that I gush about a book but there aren't enough good words to say about Lady Languish. This is definitely one of my books of the year so far.

-CB x

 About  SCD Goff
 I work in the publishing industry by day, but at night I join the legions of YA writers and fans online to talk about books, writing, What the Industry Wants, the day that's in it, vampires, banshees, and how I want to be a writer and not just talk about being a writer..

Want to know more? Just ask!
You can reach SCD Goff here:

Latest Blogs from our Favourite YA Authors - 1st June 2012

Here's a weekly round up of blogs from our favourite YA authors:

Is there an author you'd like to see updates from?
Just let us know and we'll add them to our list!
-CB xx