This is One Moment by Mila Gray (Sarah Alderson)

Gorgeous- full stop.
Gorgeous- full stop.

Published by Pan Macmillan, 6th August, 384 pages, £4.31 (Kindle).

Quick description: Contemporary NA, ultimate swoon-fest.

Steam?: Plenty to go around, it is HOT in there…

Plot: A spin-off to the amazing Come Back to Mealso see my cover reveal for plot and information on the author.

Oh Sarah… how do you do it? The only complaints I have are- the book isn’t long enough and now I have to wait for the next Mila Gray book. This book is so good, so delicious, its one of those that you purposely stop so you can savor it as long as possible. Come Back to Me fans, enough said- you and I both know, you will not be disappointed with this. If you haven’t read the fist book, I think you would still enjoy this in its own right. However, I would highly recommend you reading it first, to understand the recurring characters and get the full impact of the environment. Last I heard it was only 49p on Itunes, so come on there’s no excuse really.

O.K, we are back in the military zone- the aftermath and healing that attempts to function after war. Sarah skillfully addresses serious issues like post-trauma, depression, family break-downs, which add a layer of complexity to the romance. There are some pretty heavy emotions swirling around which makes the story so interesting. It isn’t as much of a tear-jerker as Come Back, which does packs more of a punch.

Didi and Walker are fantastic. The best romances are the ones that start off with hardly any connection, to being inseparable. We get a glimpse of Didi in Come Back, but her character here was not what I expected. This book starts after Uni, she is more mature, experienced and has a strong career plan. There isn’t the stark vulnerability that Jessa had. But she is kind, thoughtful and struggles with many uncertainties.

Walker is reserved, unapproachable- almost aggressive, dealing with multiple ghosts in his past. The uncontrollable feelings Didi feels towards him is forbidden if she plans on becoming a doctor. What was it?-‘Attraction plus obstacle in the way equals the most erotic encounter’. This line in the novel, very meta, pretty much sums it up. There’s plenty of the latter… And its not that easy to create such a scenario and have your readers fall instantly in love with everything.

All I can say is one day I hope I can write like this.

Many thanks to PanMacmillan for my review copy xx

@Sarah Alderson

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Skin by Ilka Tampke

skin.jpg
Wondrous

6 August 2015 by Hodder and Stoughton, 368 pages, £6.99

Quick Description: historical fiction mixed with fantasy and romance.

Steam?: moderate, but watch out for fish that’s all I can say…

Plot: Imagine a world where everyone is born with a ‘skin’ name. Without skin you cannot learn, you are not permitted to marry, and you grow up an outsider amongst your own people.

This is no future dystopia. This is Celtic Britain.

It is AD 43. For the Caer Cad, ‘skin’ name determines lineage and identity. Ailia does not have skin; despite this, she is a remarkable young woman, intelligent, curious and brave. As a dark threat grows on the horizon – the aggressive expansion of the Roman Empire – Ailia must embark on an unsanctioned journey to attain the knowledge that will protect her people, and their pagan way of life, from the most terrifying invaders they have ever faced… and it is this unskinned girl who will come to hold the fate of her people in her hands.

Following on from the Skin book party two weeks ago I couldn’t really wait any longer and bumped this up my reading list. If there ever was a book that was an eye-opener it would be this- such beautiful prose woven about a time I had never thought of and never will if Tampke hadn’t introduced it to me. Her meticulous research and dedication to detail transports us instantly into the setting. I was able to ease myself into the language, the rural homeland, the food- but the culture! A few pages in and I was like woah- that is something. So if you are squeamish, this novel may not be for you. It is full-blooded and dives head first into the customs and rituals of Caer Cad; some empowering, some brutal. Now I am so fascinated with ancestry, British history, just in time for the British Museum’s exhibition on Celts.

Many of you, like me, would have read the plot and was totally on board. There are so many YA post-apocalyptics that we sometimes forget the real deal. The concept of ‘Skin’ reminded me of a more extreme version of Zodiacs and Chinese star signs. The people of Caer Cad believe that you are born physically and spiritually. The animal identity of your soul determines your social standing and your fate. But I wouldn’t say that this way of living is dystopic. The Celts pay great respect to nature; the knowledge that is embedded in the earth. I was really interested in their reverence towards spirituality and religious figures (Druids) who still remain a mystery today. Tampke blends in fantasy and magic into Ailia’s story which both confuse and fascinate the reader.

Ailia is a strong protagonist; young, intelligent, kind and bold. She represents the idea that, even since AD 43, things have hardly changed today. She desires to belong, to love and be loved, and to know beyond the confines of her homeland. Having lived with the scar of being identity-less and invisible, strange things starts to happen as she reaches marriageable age: she meets a new comer who seems to have a vengeance for her but knows about her past, she falls into a love triangle (love it!) with two different men- a warrior who is seduced by Rome, and a mysterious and guarded figure she meets in a forbidden forest. As she starts discovering the secrets of her past and her own hidden abilities, the town prepares itself for an invasion that threatens to wipe off not only their people but their entire connection with the spirits. Exciting stuff!!

Connect: @ilkatampke

The One by Kiera Cass: (Book 3 in the Selection Series)

theone

Published by Harper Collins, June 5 2014, 336 pages, £6.39

Quick description: Third installment in the dystopia/fairy-tale Selection Series, click here for review on Book 1 and 2

Plot: *Spoilers* look away if you haven’t read the earlier books.

THE SELECTION changed the lives of thirty-five girls forever. Now, only one will claim Prince Maxon’s heart…
For the four girls who remain at the palace, the friendships they’ve formed, rivalries they’ve struggled with and dangers they’ve faced have bound them to each other for the rest of their lives.
Now, the time has come for one winner to be chosen.
America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown – or to Prince Maxon’s heart. But as the competition approaches its end and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realises just how much she stands to lose – and how hard she’ll have to fight for the future she wants. The breathtaking third title in THE SELECTION series will make you swoon!

I was a little disappointed with this book compared to the rest of the others I have to say. I absolutely loved the first and the second was very exciting. Not too much happens in this one. America is still hopelessly confused as she was in The Elite. The depressing and unresolved conversations she had with Maxon and Aspen in the previous book become more frequent and do drag a bit. It does get to the point when its like- make a decision girl!! Whenever you are torn between two things you will end up losing them both…

Things that happen:

The friendships between the girls start shifting around. Even with America being so flippant, we still root for her. Eurgh, I hate Kriss, why is she always around?? To be fair, the situation with Maxon having his own mini harem activities (I’m exaggerating but it really is quite colonial) is tough. Would I myself pluck up the courage and just tell him my feelings? Probably not.

The King become creepier and we get a bigger glimpse into the world they live in. The duties they would have to perform as Princess are pretty grim. We also get more information about the Northern Rebel activities as America, Maxon and Aspen start becoming involved…

Its towards the end that things really start happening. A major bombshell is dropped for America with news back home forcing her to leave the palace for a while. When she returns she is met with violence and a long awaited swoon fest!

Despite my review I am really looking forward to reading The Heir because there is definitely unfinished business and America was always The One.

@KieraCass