Friday, 21 February 2014

MacKinnon Curse book 2

The Haunted

(MacKinnon Curse #2) 

By J.A. Templeton 

After battling a malevolent ghost that held the spirit of her friend Ian MacKinnon bound to the land for two hundred years, sixteen-year-old reluctant psychic, Riley Williams, felt as if she was finally easing into her new life in Scotland.

Or so she thought.

Laria, the spirit of the witch who had cursed Ian wants revenge for Riley’s interference and she’s bringing along friends—dark entities who thrive on evil.

The one bright spot in Riley’s world is Ian’s descendent, Kade MacKinnon, who could easily be Ian’s modern day twin. The parallels between the two guys are undeniable. As Riley’s relationship with Kade blossoms, she begins to realize Laria has grown in her power since their last confrontation—a power that could very well manipulate the living just as effectively as the dead. 

Source: Goodreads
My rating: 4.5/5 

My Thoughts: 
At the end of the last book we see Ian’s spirit passing on to the ‘other side’ once Riley finds Laria’s journal and breaks the curse. Riley is heartbroken but can’t exactly tell anyone that her ghost boyfriend has now left and so tries to grieve silently. Soon after, two of the younger MacKinnon’s return to school from holiday; Kade and Cait. Kade’s resemblance to Ian both physically and emotionally shocks Riley, but they get along immediately. 

Their immediate attraction infuriates Laria, the evil spirit, who has also returned, albeit in spirit form. This time Laria is even more evil and dangerous than before, furious that Ian’s soul has returned and that he’s back with Riely. Laria manages to hurt Riley and her family in a number of ways, often not caring about having an audience. 

Kade feels a connection with Riley but he has no idea that Riley can see ghosts, that she was in love with his ‘ancestor’ ghost Ian or that Riley cuts. In this way Kade is different to Ian because Ian knew all Riley’s secrets, mostly because he could spy on her!

This book was scarier than the first because Laria possessed quite a few people, and physically hurt Riley on several occasions. Plus there are other dark spirits around that are trying to cause trouble. Hopefully in the third book we’ll finally see Riley able to protect herself in some way, rather than getting hurt or being saved by friendly spirits. 

Zed (:

Favourite Quotes:

Despite the fact that Kade was at practice, which was a relief in itself, I had to be sure not to say anything or let on that this wasn’t my first visit to their home. It’s not like I’d blurt out, “Hey, I’m the one who broke into your home while you were on holiday to perform a ritual to free your ancestor Ian from a curst put on him by a dead, but very evil witch.” Yeah, that’d go over so well.

Tempers ran high, especially in the city where everyone was in a hurry to get where they were going. It didn’t matter if you were halfway around the world. People were people.

At least I was having a good hair night. I couldn’t say the same for Dana, who had gone with an updo that made her nose look bigger.
“There are mean spirits everywhere...just as there are mean people everywhere. A person doesn’t change who they are when they die. If an earthbound spirit was cruel in life, then that spirit would be cruel in death.”

I knew too well the feeling of having someone you care about die. A piece of you dies with them.

Review of the deepest cut

The Deepest Cut

(MacKinnon Curse #1) 

By J.A. Templeton 

Sixteen-year-old Riley Williams has been able to see ghosts since the car crash that took her mother’s life and shattered her family. Guilt-ridden over the belief that she’s somehow responsible for her mom’s death, Riley is desperate to see her mother’s elusive spirit to gain her forgiveness.

When her father moves the family to Scotland so they can all start over, Riley believes her life couldn’t get worse––that is until the ghost of nineteen-year-old Ian MacKinnon catches her purposely cutting herself. An uneasy truce quickly turns into friendship, and soon Riley’s falling hard for Ian.

Riley believes her gift could help Ian end the curse that has kept him tied to the land for centuries, but that would mean letting him go forever and she’s not sure she is strong enough to do that. As if her life wasn’t complicated enough, the spirit of the woman who killed Ian returns and she’ll stop at nothing to keep Riley from helping Ian find eternal peace.
Source: Goodreads
My rating: 4.5/5 

My Thoughts: 

‎Ghost stories aren't really my thing (aside from nearly headless Nick in HP) but I'm glad I read the deepest cut by J.A. Templeton. This book was creepy enough to be believable but not so bad that I was scared out of my wits. 
The story is about a girl called Riley, who has been able to see ghosts ever since the car accident with her mother, where her mother died but she survived. Generally Riley tries to ignore the spirits because if she pretends not to see them they leave her alone, and if she acknowledges them then they don’t stop harassing her.  
Riley is American but she, her brother Shane and her father move for her fathers work to Braemar, a village in Scotland. There she meets Ian, the resident castle ghost.  
Ian was poisoned by a psychotic servant who fell in love with him, and to make matters worse she cursed him so he can’t ever move on. Riley befriends Ian and vows to help him any way she can. 
In addition, Riley self-harms by cutting herself when things get tough. This added factor makes Riley more real to the reader, because not many can see ghosts, or survive a car crash where their parent dies, but I'm sure many can understand depression or self-harm.  
Ian helps Riley deal with the guilt of her mother's death, and her cutting addiction, while she tries to help him move on.  
Unfortunately, the spirit that cursed Ian, Laria, is still around and she's determined to make Riley's life hell if she helps Ian or gets close to him. This isn't as easy as it sounds since Riley and Ian are falling for each other and Riley knows that once Ian goes, she will be all alone...  
Zed (: 
Favourite Quotes: 

He reached out, his hand resting on my shoulder. “Yer mother died as she was supposed to. Fate decided that. Not you.” 
“It’s probably just as well that you don’t like him. He’s a heartbreaker, that one.” 
Weren’t they all? 
“Then what are you so afraid of? I asked, terrified of the answer. 
He reached up, cupped my face with his large hands, and said, “I’m afraid of not being able to leave you when the time comes.” 
I hated sneaking into the castle again. If I were caught, a breaking-and-entering charge would be the least of my problems. I had no idea if I could explain to my dad, or the cops for that matter, why I had done it. If I said anything about searching for an eighteenth-century journal that belonged to a witch who had cursed the ghost I had fallen in love with, my dad would have me committed on the spot.  

Friday, 14 February 2014

With this Curse review

With This Curse
By Amanda DeWees
In the tradition of Sea of Secrets comes a new historical gothic romance by Amanda DeWees, With This Curse.

In 1873 Cornwall, seamstress Clara Crofton gets a second chance at happiness... or peril. Eighteen years ago, the curse on Gravesend Hall killed the man she loved and forced her into a hostile world alone. Now she has the chance to return to Gravesend as the bride of the heir, Atticus Blackwood. But is the curse finished with Clara--or does it pose an even greater danger than before?
Source: Goodreads
My rating: 4.3/5
My Thoughts:
The main protagonist, Clara, used to work as a servant at Gravesend, whilst her mother was the housekeeper. There is a long curse on Gravesend so that anyone who lives there will lose what they love most. Just under 17 years old, Clara falls for Lord Telford’s youngest son, Richard, and their secret rendezvous, convinces her that he is just as much in love. Once the Lady of the house hears about their closeness she dismisses Clara of her duties and Clara is forced to leave Gravesend. A short while later, Richard dies and so the Gravesend curse causes Clara to lose what she loves most.
Many years later, Clara is approached by Richard’s twin brother, Atticus, who makes Clara an offer of marriage. But this isn’t a normal proposal because Atticus’s father is dying and to make his last days happier, Atticus decides to get married. Clara has never liked Atticus, mainly because Richard didn't like him when they were in love, and as a result, Clara is very suspicious about his true motives. To Clara, Richard is the hero, and Atticus is the evil brother, but we soon learn that not is all as it seems.
The arrangement between the two is more like a business arrangement because once Lord Telford dies, Clara is free to leave and Atticus promises that she will be provided for so that she wont need to work.
When Atticus approaches Clara for marriage, I had a feeling that Clara would fall in love with him but I wasn’t sure if he would like her in return but Atticus, it seems, was in love with Clara from her time as a servant.
Clara’s time as Atticus’ wife was fun to read, mainly because she used to be the servant of the house she becomes the head of. Her witty remarks and her easy banter made this book an easy read. There were many surprises, plenty of misunderstandings and for a while I feared that the curse would get Clara twice, but for once, we have a nice happy ending.
Zed (: 
Favourite Quotes:
“My Clara,” she said. “I shall miss you.” A quick, fierce embrace, and she whispered, “Be better than you have been, and be safe.”
I dropped my gaze to my cup and saucer as I fought for control over my emotions, and he said, “I discovered some time ago that if I couldn’t laugh at myself, every burden that life handed me would be all the heavier.”
Lukewarm water brought for washing. Mail “forgotten.” Gowns singed by the iron... no, that I had never done. Surly and rebellious though I had been at times, I would not have harmed an innocent garment- not unless it had first committed the cardinal sin of being ugly.
“But no one is safe from regret at any point in life. One may regret ordering lamb for dinner instead of mutton. All of life is a succession of risks, and each of us must judge for ourselves which risks are worth the taking.”
“Lord Telford,” I began, “I’m sure you’ll understand that to request to see such an intimate exchange-“
“Good God, woman, I’ve not asked you to strip naked. A kiss is nothing. Why, you kissed me on only the second time we met.”
I liked her more at that moment than at any time since meeting her. “My parents, rest their souls, were English.”
“Oh they were, were they? And just what do you know about them? Were they married? To each other?”

Tolomay's World - The Splitting of the Trunk review

Tolomay’s World The Splitting of the Trunk
(Tolomay's World #3)
By M.E. Lorde


In this third book of a wonderful series, Author M.E. Lorde creates a gripping story set in the Earth’s future, where the youth of the world have the privilege and burden of saving humanity from extinction.

Tolomay Ramey trained her entire life to do one thing... to travel to the future ‘clean world’ of Earth and keep safe all citizens who will begin humanity anew.

A brilliant and giving soul, Tolomay was alone for three years, before others finally arrived, her days surrounded by little more than nature. Things have changed. After falling in love with Kenter, the stubborn first male to swim through the Pool of Light, she has endured horrific trials with her newly discovered ‘family’.

While Eric, a male she met along the way, vy’s for her affections, the dreaded Sandra has eyes only for Kenter. What will happen when Tolomay is forced to make a disturbing choice regarding her and all others living in the new community?

There is a greater threat to all, when those from The Mountain of Tegi refuse new citizens ‘Peace of Life’. Will ‘She’ make the right choice for the entire community?

Can she survive her decisions? Find out, in this third novel of a seven book series.

Source: Goodreads

My rating: 4.25/5
 My thoughts:

‎The last book in the series told us about how Tolomay was kidnapped and taken to her Father's underground kingdom. We learnt that Tolomay has an actual family who she never knew about and slowly she wins her brothers' hearts over. Her father is pure evil and he has fed his people with lies about the overground world, so as to keep his people confined underground and therefore under his control and rule. There are levels of class, with the dark haired people living at the lowest levels in the worst conditions. Tolomay also learns that Tarron the man she always believed was her father is alive and kept prisoner in the mountain. Tolomay manages to escape in the last book and we see how that escape goes in this new chapter.

After a lot of struggle Tolomay manages to leave the mountain with many of her people, her dear brothers, David's secret child and Tarron's child. Unfortunately her father does not survive but urges her to find the scroll and read it alone, again, in order to direct her on the upcoming war.

Tolomay fights for her life when she is bitten by a poisonous insect and in her delirious state mutters her love to Kenter, who tends to her throughout the entirety of her unconsciousness. Once she is well she reads the scroll and has to make the most difficult decision ever. She must choose a match, but the one she chooses will die. Tolomay knows Eric and Kenter both love her but she cannot bring herself to match Kenter, knowing he will die as a result and so chooses Eric.

The war approaches and we finally see Eric's true colours, and that his death is his own doing. I can't wait to know what happens next and how the war goes. Are the goldhoarders really as bad as they are believed to be or can Tolomay win them over too?

Zed (:

Favourite Quotes:

“All things are possible and no one thing is lives truly separate from another. All life must be treated with the same respect. Remember my words in this: kill only to protect, and never for another reason. Let your heart be the rule, my precious, precious child of spirit and light. You are more loved than you know.”

“Child of my heart, I do not wish to see pain in your eyes regarding this. We must all grow, each of us able to hold our own weight, or humanity is indeed doomed.”

“We all make choices, some more difficult than others. Still, we can choose them each, one at a time. Even difficult choices must be made, my wonderful child of spirit and light.

So do not avoid them. Do not overlook them. They are great gifts, indeed.”

“She would understand that each act in one’s day sends a million ripples to others, beyond an imaginable reach, causing a great change and shift in the current of the waters of all. Everything is connected and there is never truly an end to anything. All are as one.”