Review: Gifted

giftedTitle: Gifted (The Hayven Series #1)
Author: J.A. George
Pages: 287
Release date: 13th April 2016
Synopsis:
There is no chosen one in this story.

Avery Gray was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and happened to make a decision that altered her future forever. It happens to all of us every day.

Avery is a size twelve university student with a penchant for dry humour, and she’s as normal as they come. Up until now, the biggest choice she’s had to make was glasses or contacts? At the moment, it’s stay and save, or leave and be saved.

Allow me to explain. One rainy afternoon, Avery had to make a choice: go through the alleyway or around it. Two possible options. One would have had her future continue on as planned, the other would ensure that her future never remained the same again. She unknowingly went with the latter.

But change is not always bad. Avery meets Theodore-James Connors, an enigmatic young man who takes her to Hayven, a city separated from the rest of the world, where only gifters – ordinary people with extra-ordinary gifts – can go. She soon finds herself in a close-knit group of friends she’d never have imagined herself in. Friends who are diverse in every possible way, from their ethnic backgrounds, to their personalities, from their gifts, to their life stories. Friends who make her laugh, who make her cry, who make her think and who make her…her.

However, change is not always good. The beautiful, golden city of Hayven has its dark side – Cliders. Gifters turned rogue, aka, Cliders are determined to aid fallen Clider, Madrina, return to rule Hayven. They will stop at nothing to make that happen, including harming those Ava has grown to love.

Again, Ava is faced with a choice: spend her days finding a way to inhibit Madrina’s return, or walk away. After all, she isn’t the chosen one. Yet, there exists a third option – rig the future itself and make it work for her.

Purchase from: Amazon

Goodreads

Firstly, a very big thank you to J.A. George, who was kind enough to send me a copy of Gifted to review!

Review:

Gifted was a great book with upbeat, fun and realistic characters and an interesting plot that I thoroughly enjoyed.

The first thing that hit me, from the very first page of Gifted, was the powerful sense of atmosphere. The glum and rainy day, the way it was described, really set the tone for the first chapter and made it engaging and interesting, something that carried on throughout the novel.

I really liked Ava as a character – she was so real in that she struggles with issues such as body image, and is learning to accept herself, something that so many people can relate to, connect with and take inspiration from.  

Besides Ava, there was an interesting and fun cast of characters in her friend group in Hayven and I really enjoyed reading about them all, despite feeling at times there needed to be more to show the development of their friendship with Ava. I feel like there was a lot more development in Ava’s relationship with Theo (who I loved) and I adored their friendship at the beginning of the book. I did, however, feel like their chemistry lacked somewhat a little further in the book, before picking back up towards the end. I would have loved to have gotten to know each of the other characters more slowly, like with Theo, and to flesh them out a little more, yet from what I do know about them, I loved. I loved how each character was so different and unique in their own ways, and remained a vital part of the story instead of being pushed to the side in the midst of the plot. 

The writing style was very engaging but, I found, a little over descriptive at times. I liked the unique plotline, and the idea of Madrina and the Cliders, but there were also times when I wished for more action or something to drive the plot forward – though it never got boring. Gifted seemed to focus more on setting up the context and suspense for the upcoming battles that Ava must face, and I feel like there’s going to be a LOT more action in Book 2. I am very excited to see more of Ava & co in the next book!

Rating: Gifted was the intriguing first book in the Hayven Series, which sets up the rest of the series for a lot more action, suspense, romance and epic battles.★★★☆☆

Waiting on Wednesday: Stealing Snow

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Breaking the Spine which spotlights exciting up and coming releases.

My pick for this week:

Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige

Stealing Snow

Release date: 6th October 2016

Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Snow lives within the walls of the Whittaker Institute, a high security mental hospital in upstate New York. Deep down, she knows she doesn’t belong there, but she has no memory of life outside, except for the strangest dreams. And then a mysterious, handsome man, an orderly in the hospital, opens a door – and Snow knows that she has to leave …
She finds herself in icy Algid, her true home, with witches, thieves, and a strangely alluring boy named Kai. As secret after secret is revealed, Snow discovers that she is on the run from a royal lineage she’s destined to inherit, a father more powerful and ruthless than she could have imagined, and choices of the heart that could change everything. Heroine or villain, queen or broken girl, frozen heart or true love, Snow must choose her fate …
A wonderfully icy fantastical romance, with a strong heroine choosing her own destiny, Danielle Paige’s irresistibly page-turning Snow Queen is like Maleficent and Frozen all grown up.

Goodreads

Why am I excited?

I love the sound of this book – it sounds so  dark and interesting and magnificent!
I’ve heard such great things about Danielle Paige’s writing – I can’t wait to get around to reading her books and I am beyond excited to get my hands on Stealing Snow!

What releases are you waiting on?

Author Interview with J.A. George!

Hey everyone!
I’m so excited to share my interview with J.A George, author of Gifted, with you all today!

gifted

Firstly, can you tell us a little bit about Gifted?

Gifted is all about a nineteen year old university student who meets a silver-haired woman a little on the strange side before meeting a young man a little more on the stranger side.
These meetings lead to the eventual discovery of Hayven – a city separated from the rest of the world where only those with gifts can go. She makes an eclectic bunch of friends, who, even though I’m biased, are just awesome. But Hayven has its dark side and they’re called Cliders. Gifters turned rogue, Cliders are determined to see Hayven return to the way it was one thousand years ago when the city was under the dominion of Madrina. Want to know more about her? Read Gifted!

 

When did you decide that you wanted to become a writer?

I was on a train returning from university one day when I suddenly realised that the course I was doing was making me miserable. A few thoughts, a few quiet whispers to myself and a few odd looks from people on the train later, I came to the conclusion that life is too short to spend another minute not doing what I love. So many people truly believe that if they eat healthily enough and don’t play in traffic, they’ll live until at least eighty and so put off making their dream come true because they keep telling themselves they’ll have plenty of time. I don’t believe time is guaranteed to anyone, so I got home, purchased a mini laptop and spent my ninety minute journeys to university writing. Soon after that, I left my course to study one that had more to do with what I wanted to achieve and…the rest is history.

Where do you get inspiration for your stories/ characters?

My inspiration for Gifted was the idea of people being normal and extraordinary at the same time. Most people believe you can only be one or the other, but I believe you can be both. Extraordinary in the sense that there is something about you that sets you apart from everyone else, but normal in the sense that…you know… you’re not a serial killer or anything.

Do you have a favourite character in Gifted?

I actually don’t! A lot of readers say their favourite character is either Ava or Baleigh because in Gifted they’re the most dominant characters. Since I know how each character develops in the series and the roles they come to play, they each become dominant in their own way so they’re all my favourites!

Do you have a favourite scene in Gifted?

I do! I’ll add it here:

‘Basically that I should stay away from Theo because I’m fat, bland and not his type,’ I answered.
Baleigh laughed again. ‘Of course she called you fat. It’s a petty girl’s go-to with anyone over a size ten.’
‘You don’t think I am, do you?’
‘No, I don’t,’ she answered, ‘and if I did, I’d tell you.’
‘And you don’t think I’m bland-looking, do you?’
‘I do not.’
‘You’d date me, right?’
Baleigh slowly turned to look at me. ‘I fear this conversation has taken a turn for the worse. Where are you going with this, Ava?’
‘What?’
‘It sounds like you’re coming onto me.’
‘What? No!’
She propped herself up on her elbows. ‘Now, don’t take it personally. I think you’re great and everything, but you’re just not my type.’
I paused. ‘You could do a lot worse,’ I said. ‘And why aren’t I your type?’ I asked, suddenly offended. First guys and now girls were closing their doors to me. ‘What’s wrong with me?’
‘Well, for starters you have boobs and various other lady parts that I’m not interested in. I shoot my arrows in straight lines, if you know what I mean.’ She bounced her eyebrows up and down.
‘You’d be lucky to land a girl like me,’ I said.
‘Would I?’
‘Yes, you would! I can cook,’ I said, ‘…and I’m very clean; I shower twice every day.’
‘That’s quite a list you’ve got there,’ Baleigh said. ‘How are you in the bedroom?’
‘Baleigh!’ I blushed red and looked away.
‘What?’ she asked. ‘If you want to be my girlfriend these are the kind of things I’ll have to know!’
‘I don’t want to be your girlfriend,’ I mumbled.
‘You’re blushing so I’m going to have to disagree.’
‘Okay, let’s change topic, please.’
‘Fine, but it’s the twenty-first century, Ava. Embrace your sexuality,’ she whispered.

Do you have a particular writing process?

I write whenever something pops into my head. I try not to force it because then I wake up in the morning, re-read what I wrote and it’s terrible!

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I like to eat, hang out with friends, read, bake, visit food markets and go to the cinema. It’s actually on my “should-do-at-least-once” list to go to the cinema by myself. I haven’t done it yet, but the new X-men movie is out…

Who are your favourite authors? Would you say that they have influenced your writing?

My favourite author is Roald Dahl simply because I’ve read and enjoyed more of his books than I have any other author. His theme of the extraordinary happening to the ordinary (think Charlie & the Chocolate Factory and Matilda) is something that has subconsciously stuck with me for many years and I think has majorly influenced my writing.

Are you working on anything else? Can you tell us a little bit about it?

Yes, book 2 of the Gifted series! I don’t want to spoil anything but I will say that the POV’s will alternate in the second book.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Keep writing because if you want to be an author, you literally have no other choice. Don’t write only to please the book market because it will show in your writing and remember that people’s thoughts on your book are opinions, not facts – even the good reviews!

Finally, where can readers find out more about you and your books?

Blog
Twitter
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Goodreads

Feel free to contact me. I’m super friendly!

***
Very big thank you to J.A. George for answering my questions and I hope you all enjoyed reading them! Stay tuned for my review of Gifted soon!

Waiting on Wednesday: Replica

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Breaking the Spine which spotlights exciting up and coming releases.

My pick for this week:

Replica by Lauren Oliver

Replica

Release date: 4th October 2016

Synopsis:

Gemma has been in and out of hospitals since she was born. ‘A sickly child’, her lonely life to date has revolved around her home, school and one best friend, Alice. But when she discovers her father’s connection to the top secret Haven research facility, currently hitting the headlines and under siege by religious fanatics, Gemma decides to leave the sanctuary she’s always known to find the institute and determine what is going on there and why her father’s name seems inextricably linked to it.

Amidst the frenzy outside the institute’s walls, Lyra – or number 24 as she is known as at Haven – and a fellow experimental subject known only as 72, manage to escape. Encountering a world they never knew existed outside the walls of their secluded upbringing , they meet Gemma and, as they try to understand Haven’s purpose together, they uncover some earth-shattering secrets that will change the lives of both girls forever…

Goodreads

Why am I excited?

The first thing that interested me about Replica was the way that it is written – half of the book written in Gemma’s POV, half in Lyra’s POV. And you can either read one person’s side of the story, then the other, or you can alternate chapter by chapter – it’s so much different than any other book I’ve read. And it sounds amazing – I can’t wait!

What releases are you waiting on?

Pre Order Blitz: Hidden Wings Series Box Set

 

Cameo Renae (Hidden Wings Blitz)

Title: Hidden Wings Box Set
Author: Cameo Renae
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Publisher: CHBB
Cover Design: Regina Wamba at Mae I Design Photography
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR

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Blurb:

Hidden Wings:

What happens when Darkness and Light collide?
Seventeen is a life changing age for Emma Wise.
As her family’s sole survivor in a car crash, she is left with a broken arm, and a few scrapes and bruises. But these are only outward marks; inside, her heart is broken and the pieces scattered.
Whisked away to Alaska, to an aunt she’s never met, Emma starts over. Secrets unveil themselves and now…she doesn’t even know who or what she is.
A centuries old prophecy places Emma in the heart of danger. Creatures of horrifying and evil proportions are after her, and it will take Emma, her aunt, and six, gorgeously, captivating Guardians to keep her safe. But, if she can survive until her eighteenth birthday… things will change.
Bonus Material: Hidden Wings Inspired Poem by Amber McCallister.

***BONUS MATERIAL***
Descent
, A Hidden Wings Novella is included:
In the beginning…the start of it all.
Deceit.
Betrayal.
The Fall.
Take a journey back in time, to a place where Emma’s lineage begins, and where answers lie in unraveling secrets of the past. This is a story of forbidden love, an unbreakable bond, and the start of a dark adventure that will fill your heart with many emotions.

Broken Wings:

Emma’s world is falling apart, and Kade, the only one who seems to hold her together, is missing. With death lingering right outside their door, decisions must be made before it’s too late.
The Midway has refused to send help, so they are left to seek out the only other who can stop Lucian.
A perilous quest sends Emma and a few Guardians into the Underworld, where the unimaginable abide, to beseech the Prince of Darkness himself. Lucifer.
Now, they must endure the deadly levels of Hell, which not one …mortal or immortal… has ever survived.
Prepare for love, loss, and the unexpected.

Tethered Wings:

Back from their quest into the Underworld, with the threat of Lucian hanging over head, Emma is faced with yet another problem—the Immortal Bond. The bond surpasses any reason and is something so complex, not much is known about it. Once an Immortal Bond is made, it is forever. A conjoining of two fated hearts, destined to be perfect companions.
Emma’s heart, already bonded with her Guardian, Kade, has unexpectedly and inconveniently bonded with Ethon, the son of Lucifer. Now she is faced with a decision she doesn’t want to make. Both want nothing more than to love and protect her.
With the arrival of new company and old friends, things are bound to get heated.

Gilded Wings:

As the final battle draws near, Emma finds herself bound under an unbreakable oath. She must seal the bond with Ethon before her transformation, or risk her life and the lives of those she truly loves. Who she wants is no longer an option.
Lucian has unleashed troops of evil beasts from the Underworld, making it impossible for Emma to leave the protective barrier of Alaine’s home. War is inevitable. The Guardians will need to stay and fight their ground, hoping Lucifer keeps his end of the deal and comes to their aid.
In this epic series conclusion, burning questions will be answered, lives will be lost, and sacrifices will be made.
But who will survive, and at what cost?

Releases June 18th!

Goodreads

 

Author bio:

Cameo Renae

Voted 2013 Break Out Author by Young Adult & Teen Readers, and 2013 Book of the Year (Hidden Wings).

Cameo Renae was born in San Francisco, raised in Maui, Hawaii, and recently moved with her husband and children to Alaska. She’s a daydreamer and a caffeine and peppermint addict who loves to laugh, loves to read, and loves to escape reality. One of her greatest joys is creating fantasy worlds filled with adventure and romance and sharing it with others. One day she hopes to find her own magic wardrobe and ride away on her magical unicorn. Until then…she’ll keep writing!

HAPPY READING!

For updates on Cameo you can visit:

Facebook | Blog | Website | Amazon | Twitter

Pre order:

Hidden Wings Box Set Amazon: http://amzn.to/1sqbHCB

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Waiting on Wednesday: Stalking Jack the Ripper

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Breaking the Spine which spotlights exciting up and coming releases.

My pick for this week:

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Stalking Jack the Ripper

Release date: 20th September 2016

Synopsis:

Presented by James Patterson’s new children’s imprint, this deliciously creepy horror novel has a storyline inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion…

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

The story’s shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.

Goodreads

Why am I excited?

Stalking Jack the Ripper sounds so creepy, mysterious and wonderful – and just look at that cover!
I read an excerpt from it (read it here) when the cover was revealed and I think I’m hooked already. I can’t wait to get my hands on it this september! 😀

What releases are you waiting on?