About Me

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I'm a librarian based in the UK who loves books. I'm happiest when I'm either talking about them, reading them or buying them. This blog is dedicated mainly to my addiction to YA fiction but you will also find some adult and non-fiction book reviews as well.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Review: Forgotten - Cat Patrick

Forgotten by Cat Patrick, published by Egmont on 6th June 2011

Goodreads synopsis:
With the intrigue of "Memento" and the romance of "The Time-Traveller's Wife", "Forgotten" is the perfect YA novel.

Each night when 16 year-old London Lane goes to sleep, her whole world disappears. In the morning, all that's left is a note telling her about a day she can't remember. The whole scenario doesn't exactly make high school or dating that hot guy whose name she can't seem to recall any easier. But when London starts experiencing disturbing visions she can't make sense of, she realizes it's time to learn a little more about the past she keeps forgetting-before it destroys her future.

Part psychological drama, part romance, and part mystery, this thought-provoking novel will inspire readers to consider the what-if's in their own lives and recognize the power they have to control their destinies.



Review:
I'm in love.  With a book.  And it's name is Forgotten.  This is such a stunning debut novel that I was compltely blown away by it.  I don't think my review will be able to do justice to just how amazing this book is and how much I loved it but I'll try and put into words how incredible I found it and what a phenomenally talented writer Cat Patrick is.

From the first to the last page this was a stellar read.  I rushed home from work to finish reading it immediately, after daydreaming over the book all day.  Even now, after a couple of days have gone by, I'm still thinking about the story and the characters.  I'm jealous of people who will get to read this for the very first time and discover just how fantastic the experience of losing themselves in it is. 

The concept is brilliant and really piqued my interest when I first heard about the book.  London Lane is an average teenage girl in every way but one.  Every day at 4.33am her memory resets and she's able to see events that will take place in her future but cannot remember anything about the day before.  She has to write herself long detailed notes of everything important that she needs to know so that she'll be able to live as normal a life as possible.  The idea of this actually happening to someone is incredible.  Obviously London gets to choose what she does and doesn't want to be reminded of the next day, which certainly solves the problem of embarrassing incidents - they can just be wiped from memory.  The insights that London gets into her future lead to her questioning the people around her as she tries to work out the meaning of her visions. 

I loved the character of London.  She's the kind of person that you'd love to have for a best friend.  She's true to herself and follows her own path but she's also incredibly loyal and will stand by your side no matter what.  She's extremely likeable and I really identified with aspects of her personality. 

Although the hook for this novel is the idea of a girl who has no backwards memory, what made the book for me is the central relationship between London and her incredibly hot boyfriend Luke Henry!  I was absolutely sucked into the romance between them as they go on their first date and share their first kiss.  Their relationship is very mature for a couple that are still at school and I like the fact that it's simple and easy between them without too many big dramas. 

I have to say that as London fell for Luke, I did too!  He's at the top of my literary boy crush list!  He's gorgeous but also caring and kind, sensitive and romantic.  He's the sort of boy who'll be polite to your parents, remember your favourite movie and always be in exactly the right place at the right time.  I loved the way in which their romance was written and there are some seriously heart fluttering moments between the two of them.

Simply put, this book had it all.  It manages to combine an intriguing mystery with a strong romantic undercurrent, a fresh and appealing female protagonist and a sucker-punch ending.  I was blown away by Cat Patrick's debut and I shall be recommending this to everyone I know.  We may only be a few months into the new year but I think I may have found my book of the year already!  If love was a book then it would most definitely be 'Forgotten'. 

I received a proof copy of the book which has a plain red cover but I definitely need to get my hands on a finished copy because the UK and US cover art is gorgeous. 

The film rights for 'Forgotten' have been sold already and Hailee Steinfeld is attached to play London.  I can't wait to see who they have lined up for Luke. It's so exciting that it's going to be on the big screen :) 

Thanks to the publisher for sending this book for review

Monday, 28 March 2011

Review: Chime - Franny Billingsley

Chime by Franny Billingsley, published by Bloomsbury on 4th April 2011

Goodreads synopsis:
 Before Briony's stepmother died, she made sure Briony blamed herself for all the family's hardships. Now Briony has worn her guilt for so long it's become a second skin. She often escapes to the swamp, where she tells stories to the Old Ones, the spirits who haunt the marshes. But only witches can see the Old Ones, and in her village, witches are sentenced to death. Briony lives in fear her secret will be found out, even as she believes she deserves the worst kind of punishment.

Then Eldric comes along with his golden lion eyes and mane of tawny hair. He's as natural as the sun, and treats her as if she's extraordinary. And everything starts to change. As many secrets as Briony has been holding, there are secrets even she doesn't know.


Review:
I had really high hopes for this book.  The synopsis sounded enchanting and the cover art is so striking that I fully expected to end up loving this.  However, I have to say that I had quite mixed feelings about it and actually really struggled to finish reading it.  I'm still not sure quite why I didn't connect to the story but I'm going to try and sum up my thoughts on the book.

The story centres on Briony and her twin sister Rose.  Briony believes that she is a witch who's responsible for her stepmother's death and is convinced that she's intrinsically evil and good for nothing.  She fails to see any good in herself at all and is always punishing herself inside for the despair that she feels she has caused to those around her.  She's full of self-hatred and believes that she should be made to pay for what she's done.  When the mysterious Eldric enters her life she has to consider the question of whether or not she should let him share the secret of who she really is.

When I first read the blurb of this book I thought it sounded amazing.  I was excited to pick it up and start reading.  The main problem I had was that I just felt disconnected from the story and from the characters.  I struggled to actually understand what was happening a lot of the time and I had to go back and read chapters again when I realised I'd finished one but still didn't know what was going on.  This may have partly been to the original and unusual style of writing which I found very difficult to read.  It was extremely lyrical and just didn't enthrall me at all.  Although it picked up a bit in the second-half, I never fully engaged with the characters and what was happening to them.

Saying that, I did like the magical and fantastical elements of the book and I enjoyed the burgeoning romance between Briony and Eldric, although it took quite a long time for this aspect to take off.  I would have liked more attention to have been paid to this in the first part of the book. 

I am truly disappointed that I didn't connect with 'Chime'.  I wanted so much to be able to give it a five star review.  However, although this book wasn't for me, I know that a lot of people have enjoyed it immensely so if I've got you suitably intrigued then pick up a copy and make up your own mind!

Sunday, 27 March 2011

In My Mailbox #20

Thanks to Kristi at The Story Siren for holding this meme every week.


I love seeing what everybody else got in their mailboxes. 

          All links go to Goodreads, where you can add the books to your wishlist if you like the look of  them.

I've been on a self-imposed book buying ban this week, while I try to read some of the books which have been sent to me for review.  I don't think it will last very long though (!) as I can never resist new books.

I received two books for review:
(I was really pleased to get a copy of this book as it sounds exactly like the kind of story I love)

(I haven't heard of this title before but the lovely people are Egmont sent me a signed proof)

Friday, 25 March 2011

Review: The Lost Saint - Bree Despain

The Lost Saint by Bree Despain, published by Egmont on 7th March 2011

Goodreads synopsis:
A family destroyed. A love threatened. An enemy returns.

Grace Divine made the ultimate sacrifice to cure Daniel Kalbi. She was infected with the werewolf curse while trying to save him, and lost her beloved brother in the process.

Desperate to find Jude, Grace befriends Talbot, a newcomer to town. But as the two grow closer, Grace's relationship with Daniel is put in danger - in more ways than one.

Unaware of the dark path she is walking, Grace begins to give into the wolf inside of her - not realizing that an enemy has returned and a deadly trap is about to be sprung.



 Review:
'The Lost Saint' is the deliciously dark and mysterious sequel to 'The Dark Divine' by Bree Despain.  I was really eager to read this book and was most definitely not disappointed.  It was an absolutely thrilling read and has now just made me even more impatient for the last installment in this fantastic trilogy.

The story focuses on Grace and her fight to keep the wolf inside her at bay.  She wants to become a Hound of Heaven and use her abilities for good but her struggle is going to be tougher than even she anticipated.  Grace is such a brilliant protagonist.  She's brave and strong and self-less and extremely headstrong which often leads to her putting herself in harm's way.  She doesn't always make the right decisions but her heart is always in the right place and when it really matters she can definitely be counted on.

Grace is desperate to find her brother Jude after he succumbed to the wolf and disappeared.  When she tries to find him her path crosses with a mysterious stranger called Talbot who seems to know an awful lot about Grace and her secrets.  I loved, loved, loved Talbot!  Seriously!  I have to admit that I wasn't actually a huge fan of Daniel from the first book but he's definitely growing on me.  Talbot on the other hand I fell in love with straight away.  I loved the way he was described when Grace first met him and I really adored the air of mystery and intrigue which surrounded him.  I think he's a great addition to the series and a good instrument for stirring up Grace's romantic feelings and emotions.  More of Talbot in the next book please!

There's a lot more action in 'The Lost Saint' which I enjoyed and I was totally gripped during the second half of the book.  The ending was so exciting and I found myself literally holding my breath as I read it.  I was shocked by the plot twist which comes near the end and left on absolute tenterhooks.  I need to know what's going to happen next! 

I also enjoyed finding out more about the history of the Urbat and discovering details of some of the character's family histories and backgrounds.  This helps in understanding a lot about the motivations and ambitions which drive a lot of the characters.

Bree Despain must be applauded for gripping the reader from the very first page and writing an amazing story which combines romance, mystery, action and danger.  If you like your romances dark and complex and you're looking for a book which will blow you away then look no further than 'The Lost Saint'.

Thanks to the publisher for sending this one for review

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Review: Jenna and Jonah's Fauxmance - Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin

Jenna and Jonah's Fauxmance by Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin, published by Bloomsbury on 7th March 2011

Goodreads synopsis:
Teen TV celebrities Jenna and Jonah make more money in a month than most people do in a lifetime. They can't stand to be in the same room as each other, but to boost the TV ratings their agents make them a 'real life' couple. Then the deception is uncovered by the paparazzi, and Charlie and Fielding have to disappear to weather the media storm.


Review:
This book was a light, fun and frothy read which was also extremely entertaining.  It's quite a short book and I finished it in one evening but it certainly fed my guilty love of celebrity gossip!

Charlie and Fielding are two American teenagers who happen to star in a hit TV show where they play the characters of 'Jenna and Jonah'.  To boost ratings and to ensure interest in the show, they pretend that they're boyfriend and girlfriend, even though in real life they can't actually stand each other.  As you can imagine this makes for a difficult situation at times.  When their secret 'Fauxmance' is revealed, they have to work out who they really are, what they want for the future and in what direction their relationship is now headed.

The book consists of alternate chapters told from the point of view of both Charlie and Fielding who seem to have contrasting views about their secret finally being exposed.  Whereas Fielding feels that he may now get to choose his path in life, Charlie fears that her career might be over.  Although they're big stars who have made enough money to set themselves up for life, I think the dilemma they face is one that most young-adults go through at some point in their life, which made their situation more realistic and gave me something to identify with.  I particularly enjoyed the chapters which were narrated by Fielding as he came across as a much more likeable character.  He was more down to earth and easier to relate to than Charlie who was a bit of a spoiled diva at times.  However, I did like the evolution of her character and the way that she grows as a person throughout the book.

I haven't read many books which have been co-authored but I thought that Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin did a fantastic job of blending everything together well.  I liked the direction in which they took the story and without giving anything away, I thought the second-half of the book rocked!  The way in which they drew on a famous couple in English Literature to mirror their own characters' complicated relationships was so clever.

For those that like romance, there's a healthy dose of it included and I adored the middle section of the book which placed Charlie and Fielding alone together, confronting their real feelings for the first time. 

I thought that the ending was a little abrupt as I wanted to see more but maybe there will be a sequel at some point?  What Jenna and Jonah did next!  I'd read it!

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Waiting on Wednesday #20

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted at Breaking the Spine that spotlights eagerly awaited upcoming releases.  Head on over there to take part or to check out all the other fabulous books that people are looking forward to reading! 
Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on 4th October 2011
 
 
Grace just moved to San Francisco and is excited to start over at a new school. The change is full of fresh possibilities, but it’s also a tiny bit scary. It gets scarier when a minotaur walks in the door. And even more shocking when a girl who looks just like her shows up to fight the monster.

Gretchen is tired of monsters pulling her out into the wee hours, especially on a school night, but what can she do? Sending the minotaur back to his bleak home is just another notch on her combat belt. She never expected to run into this girl who could be her double, though.

Greer has her life pretty well put together, thank you very much. But that all tilts sideways when two girls who look eerily like her appear on her doorstep and claim they're triplets, supernatural descendants of some hideous creature from Greek myth, destined to spend their lives hunting monsters.

These three teenage descendants of Medusa, the once-beautiful gorgon maligned by myth, must reunite and embrace their fates in this unique paranormal world where monsters lurk in plain sight.
 
I'm loving the sound of this title!  It looks like being a perfect blend of myth and magic which is exactly the kind of combination I like.  The cover art is very striking as well.  I need this book now!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Review: Zenith - Julie Bertagna

Zenith by Julie Bertagna, originally published by Macmillan in 2007 and reissued in February 2011

Goodreads synopsis:
In this compelling continuation of Julie Bertagna’s timely trilogy, the search for a future remains a terrifying fight for survival.

Sixteen-year-old Mara and her ship of refugees are tracking the North Star in search of land in the mountains of Greenland to call home. A Gypsea boy named Tuck, orphaned when Mara’s ship plows through his floating city, becomes inextricably linked to their fate. Meanwhile, back in the drowned ruins at the feet of the towering sky city, Fox begins his battle with the cruel, corrupt rulers of the New World.

Forced to make their own new beginnings in a savage world, three teens must struggle to make sense of the past, overcome the harsh dangers of the present, and build a future worth living.


Review:
'Zenith' is the sequel to 'Exodus' and continues the story of Mara as she searches for a home in the North.  Now aboard a ship with refugees from New Mungo, Mara has a terrifying journey ahead of her as she seeks to find Greenland and a safe place where she can begin to build a new home.  Having left Fox behind to fight his own battle, she has to face loss and heartbreak as she clings to survival.

When the ship she's aboard crashes into a city of boats, barges and bridges, they cause untold chaos and destruction.  Tuck, a gypsea who has only ever lived at sea, joins the chase for revenge as they hunt down the ship.  But new struggles face both Mara and Tuck as their paths cross and they face new dangers and challenges to their very existence.

The book's chapters alternate between the stories of Mara, Tuck and Fox and their viewpoints are told in the present tense as they cope with an uncertain future.  I did find that in places the story was a little slow and not quite as exciting as the first installment.  A lot of plot threads were set up but a lot was still left hanging at the end and I didn't find the ending satisfying at all.  There's so much that needs to be sorted out.  I can only imagine that people reading this book back in 2007 must have been tearing their hair out at the end!  Luckily, I don't have long to wait as the final part of the trilogy, 'Aurora' is published on 3rd June 2011. 

This is a brutal depiction of a future which has been marred by environmental devastation.  Stark and terrible, the book itself is a warning about the treatment of our planet.  Although I didn't enjoy it as much as 'Exodus', I thought that the character development was extremely good and there were a number of surprising twists which kept me in suspense.  There's a sense of adventure and excitement throughout and I found all the new discoveries that they made extremely fascinating. 

The second book in a trilogy is always difficult but although I think it suffered slightly for this reason, I'm definitely still looking forward to seeing what Julie Bertagna has in store for the big finale. 

Thanks to the publisher for sending this one for review

Monday, 21 March 2011

Review: Exodus - Julie Bertagna

Exodus by Julie Bertagna, originally published by Macmillan in 2002 and reissued in February 2011

Goodreads synopsis:
Less than a hundred years from now, the world as we know it no longer exists. Cities have disappeared beneath the sea, technology no longer functions, and human civilization has reverted to a much more primitive state.

On an isolated northern island, the people of Wing are trying to hold onto their way of life - even as the sea continues to claim precious acres and threatens to claim their very lives. Only fifteen-year-old Mara has the vision and the will to lead her people in search of a new beginning in this harsh, unfamiliar world.

This compelling and powerful story set in the near future will hit home with teens, especially those who are ever more aware of the increasingly controversial climate crisis we face in our world today.


Review:
'Exodus' takes a giant leap into the future and is set in 2099 at a time when global warming has wreaked havoc on the planet and the melting of the polar icecaps has led to mass flooding and destruction.  The story begins on the island of Wing which is in danger of being engulfed by the rising sea level.  When the situation worsens the residents of the island have to set out to seek new land and a new life.

The story is told through the eyes of Mara who has never known a life beyond the one her and her family have led on Wing.  One night when she is wizzing through the Weave (which seems to be a version of the web), she stumbles across a Fox who shows her evidence that the mythical Sky Cities really do exist.  She convinces the other islanders to leave their homes behind but what they find may not be the safe haven they were hoping for.

Julie Bertagna has written a fast-paced story which is both immensely enjoyable as well as educational.  A serious ecological and environmental message is conveyed throughout and provides a warning about the sustainability of the earth and how we look after the planet.  This is done in a way which doesn't come across as being too preachy but actually makes you stop and think about some of the issues which are raised. 

I found the plot totally absorbing.  It really kicks into gear in the middle section of the book where the islanders arrive on the outskirts of New Mungo.  The nightmare which faces them is both horrifying and shocking and I ended up turning the pages faster and faster as the story progressed, right up until the climatic finale. 

Mara is a great central character.  She's intelligent and brave and a born leader and she has a well-honed sense of survival which stands her in good stead for some of the situations she has to face.  She has to make tough decisions at times and find a strength within her which she never thought she had.  Her friendship with Fox develops near the latter part of the book and he is a bright spot for her in an otherwise bleak world.   I found some of the scenes between the two of them heartrending but also hopeful.  I like the fact that even amidst the devastation around them, they manage to find each other and each inspire something in the other.

The predictions made in 'Exodus' about the future are terrifying and appalling and the themes and issues are extremely thought-provoking.  I thought that the story was full of suspense and action and was fantastically imaginative and inventive.

You can read an extract from 'Exodus' here

Thanks to the publisher for sending this one for review

Sunday, 20 March 2011

In My Mailbox #19

Thanks to Kristi at The Story Siren for holding this meme every week.


I love seeing what everybody else got in their mailboxes. 

          All links go to Goodreads, where you can add the books to your wishlist if you like the look of  them.

It's been another good week for books with one or two unexpected titles arriving!

I received these books for review:

  
(This is actually book 6 in the series but it looks awesome so I'm going to need to hunt the others down too)

Defiance by Lili St Crow
(This one was a complete surprise when it arrived but I LOVE this series so can't wait to start it!)

I got a couple of books as swaps:

The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade
(I've wanted to read this one for ages so I was thrilled to finally get a swap)

My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent

Plus a book I won from Kirsty at The Overflowing Library also arrived:

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Trailer: Haunting Violet - Alyxandra Harvey

Take a look at Alyxandra Harvey talking about her new book 'Haunting Violet' which is due to be published in the UK by Bloomsbury on 4th July 2011.



You can also find Alyxandra on the web at:

http//alyxandraharvey.com/

www.alyxh.livejournal.com

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Review: Across the Universe - Beth Revis

Across the Universe by Beth Review, published by Puffin on 3rd March 2011

Goodreads synopsis:
Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.
 
Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.
 
Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.


Review:
If you like your romances with a twist then this is the book for you!

The advance hype for 'Across the Universe' has been massive and I've been eagerly awaiting getting my hands on a copy for several months now.  When it finally arrived I was torn between wanting to pick it up and tear through it in one sitting or just savouring the delight of having it on my bookshelf and then reading it very slowly to make the enjoyment last.  My strength of will didn't last very long however and as soon as I did start it everything else was forgotten.  When I'd finished I was left with a feeling of stunned amazement and its taken me several days to put coherant thoughts together about it.

For a start, the story itself is just so original that it's unlike anything else I've read on the teen market.  It's described as a cross between Titanic and Avatar and combines romance and aspects of science-fiction.  I found myself absolutely immersed in the world that Beth Revis had created and gasping in shock at the many twists and turns and unexpected revelations that occur throughout.

The book gets off to a very strong start with one of the best openings I've ever read.  The reader's senses are assaulted with the horror of teenager Amy and her parents being cryo-genically frozen so that they can be transported into space onboard a ship which will take them 300 years into the future where they will re-populate and colonise a new planet.  The process is described in pretty graphic detail and is horrifying to witness.  This is an example of the way in which Revis doesn't pull any punches in the book. 

Each chapter from then on alternates between Amy's point of view and that of Elder who is second-in-command to Eldest the commander and leader of the Godspeed ship and the man responsible for ensuring that everyone onboard the ship gets to their new location safely, even though many will never see the new planet.  I found the idea of living onboard the Godspeed and never being able to leave terrible to contemplate.  The thought of not breathing fresh air or seeing natural light or feeling real rain or sunshine is horrible.  I can understand the depth of despair that some of them feel and the sense of claustrophobia.    There are several layers to the Godspeed including the Keeper level, Feeder level and the Shipper level.  I enjoyed learning about each of these and the people that live on them.

The book deals with the power of knowledge as well as the danger that too much knowledge can bring.  The question of whether or not it is better to know or remain ignorant is touched upon and this is central to the plot of the story. 

I enjoyed the burgeoning relationship between Amy and Elder and the gradual blossoming of their friendship.  Although Elder experiences romantic pangs for Amy, I'm glad that she's not won over quite so quickly and longs instead to have her parents with her.  As this is the first book in a trilogy there's plenty more time for their story to be explored in greater depth.

'Across the Universe' also contains adult themes of rape and incest, although these are written about sensitively and carefully.  Still, the inclusion of topics such as these, do mean that the book would probably be more suited to a slightly older teen audience.

I was completely blown away by this book.  The ending shocked me, as well as the beginning, and I was sucked into Amy's story from the word go.  If you're looking for a mind-blowing read that I would describe in one word as phenomenal then grab a copy of this now!

Monday, 14 March 2011

Review: Diary of a Parent Trainer - Jenny Smith

Diary of a Parent Trainer by Jenny Smith, published by Scholastic on 3rd March 2011

Goodreads synopsis:
A must read novel for anyone requiring tips on how to control this bizarre species by (undiscovered) genius Katie Sutton - a fabulous, funny new teenage character who rivals Georgia Nicholson with her wit.

Katie is an expert on operating grown-ups. She knows exactly how to get the best out of them, so she decides to write a guide to help the world's long-suffering teenagers do the same.

But then Katie's mum starts dating the awful Yellow-Tie Man. Suddenly Mum is acting completely out of character and totally out of control! For everyone's sake, Katie needs to use all her expertise to get rid of him - and quick!


Review:
This was a lovely little book which I think will definitely appeal to a slightly younger teen audience.  I found it a quick and enjoyable read which I'm hoping might be the first in a series as I'd really like to read more by Jenny Smith.

Ever wondered how to cope with your parents on a daily basis?  Wonder no more, because thirteen year old Katie Sutton has all the answers in her operating guide for grown-ups.  The book consists of a series of diary entries containing advice and hints on how to handle your grown-up when they're in a range of different moods.  Katie thinks she knows it all but when her Mum starts acting out of character she suddenly has to throw the rule book out the window! 

Katie is a wonderfully fresh and original teenage voice.  Her character is extremely realistic, experiencing all the same emotions that teenagers the world over face and I certainly found myself identifying with some of what she has to go through.  She's an appealing narrator because she's funny and witty and a great central character.  I also loved her younger brother Jack who tells it like it is, her older sister Mandy who has boy troubles of her own and her cute west highland terrior Rascal.  They make a great family unit and really pull together when it matters most. 

The book touches on serious issues as well, such as the death of Katie's father and the siblings having to adjust to there being a new man in their mother's life.  These were handled sensitively and realistically and were a nice balance to the lighter aspects of the story which covered dealing with the opposite sex and the pangs of first love.

This is a brilliant debut novel which made me laugh and smile and is sure to appeal to a wide female teen audience.  

Sunday, 13 March 2011

In My Mailbox #18

Thanks to Kristi at The Story Siren for holding this meme every week.


I love seeing what everybody else got in their mailboxes. 

          All links go to Goodreads, where you can add the books to your wishlist if you like the look of  them.

It's been an absolutely awesome week for books!  I've had so many exciting parcels waiting for me each day and am beyond thrilled at some of the books which I've received.

First, these are the books which I was sent to review and a huge thanks to all the publishers who have fed my book addiction this week :)


Starcrossed by Josephone Angelini
(I screamed very loud when this dropped through my mailbox.  This is a UK proof and I'm hoping to start it very soon)

Chime by Franny Billingsley
(I haven't heard of this book before but it looks great and is a beautiful hardback copy)

The Lost Saint by Bree Despain
(Yay!  I loved 'The Dark Divine' so am beyond excited about the sequel)


Ondine: The Autumn Palace by Ebony Mckenna
(I haven't read book 1 in this series yet so I need to get my hands on it before I start this one)

The Fool's Girl by Celia Rees
(I've actually already read this one.  You can read my review here)

I got one swap this week which I've been wanting to read for ages!



I won a signed book from Book Chick City



And if that wasn't enough I couldn't resist picking up these two books as well which have been on my wishlist for a while.  So much to read!!



Saturday, 12 March 2011

On My Wishlist #9

On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City and runs every Saturday. Each week I'm going to choose 3 of the books on my wishlist that I am dying to get my hands on but haven't bought yet.  These will be a mixture of released, unreleased, old and new.
As usual, I've added a lot of books to my wishlist over the last few weeks.  There are so many brilliant books being published this year that I keep vowing to stop coveting more until I've caught up with my massive TBR pile but I can't help it.  I want them now!



For budding costume designer Lola Nolan, the more outrageous the outfit—more sparkly, more fun, more wild—the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins move back into the house next door.

When the family returns and Cricket—a gifted inventor and engineer—steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

This is a companion novel to Stephanie Perkin's stellar debut 'Anna and the French Kiss' which was my favourite book of last year.  I'm so excited about this one although the hardback edition isn't published by Dutton until September 29th 2011.  That's far too long to wait!



Phoebe MacIntire, who is a servant to her father and sisters in her own house in Scotland in 1855, is an ordinary girl, with no big dreams for the future. She's perfectly happy in her humble life, with her cot in the basement and her little garden in the backyard. But when her father up and sends her to Newfoundland to be the lifelong servant to Lord Jacobs, she finds her life gets turned upside down.

Her journey across the Atlantic to her new home is long, scary and very unpleasant. When she arrives at the manor on a small island, she finds the beautiful place abandoned and only a note waits for her explaining her duties, the strange dietary requirements, and sleeping habits of her new master.

The very first night in her new home she's haunted in her dreams by a woman who clearly does not want her there and a strange blue-eyed man-wolf creature that follows the woman. Her dreams become more and more violent and mysteries start to be uncovered about a woman who was killed in a fire on the island, a creature that preys on anyone that comes to the island and a love story gone wrong that dates back over a hundred and twenty two years.


This book caught my attention because of the extremely striking front cover.  I read the blurb and really liked the sound of it so I just had to add it to my wishlist.  The paperback was published by Troll Publishing on 17th December 2010.



A modern retelling of the German legend "Tristan and Isolde", "Tris and Izzy", is about a young witch named Izzie who is dating Mark King, the captain of the basketball team and thinks her life is going swimmingly well. Until-- she makes a love potion for her best friend Brangane and then ends up taking it herself accidentally, and falling in love with Tristan, the new guy at school.

This is number one on my wishlist at the moment.  Yet another amazing cover which looks quite different from a lot of other books on the market at the moment.  As far as I know it doesn't have a UK release date yet but it's published in the US by EgmontUSA on 11th October 2011.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Review: Desires of the Dead - Kimberly Derting

Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting, published by Headline on 17th March 2011

Goodreads synopsis:
The missing dead call to Violet. They want to be found.

When Violet Ambrose's morbid ability to sense the echoes of those who've been murdered leads her to the body of a young boy, she draws the attention of the FBI. She is reluctantly pulled into an investigation that will endanger more than just her secret...but her relationship and possibly her life as well.

Review:
'The Body Finder' was one of the best YA novels by a debut author in 2010.  Kimberly Derting has managed to exceed all expectations by writing a stunning knock-out sequel.  It's gripping, exciting, full of twists and turns and an all-round amazing read.

'Desires of the Dead' delivers what every fan of the first book wanted to see, Violet and Jay finally together as boyfriend and girlfriend.  If you love this couple then you're definitely going to be picking this book up for repeated readings.  There are some wonderfully romantic moments between the two of them that are sure to satisfy fans of theirs and if possible, Jay is even more delicious this time around!  He's perfect boyfriend material and is so loving, caring and attentive that it's a shame there isn't a Jay to go around for everyone.  The book shows them adjusting to life as a couple instead of just best friends and navigating the ups and downs that this leads to. 

Although their romance does take centre stage, there is plenty more to keep the reader's attention riveted.  Violet is being plagued by eerie and threatening notes and strange echoes, as well as having to deal with a persistent FBI agent who seems to know that Violet's hiding a big secret.  Violet's gift is further explored as well as the issue of whether or not she should keep it from the people around her.  Is there a way that she can actually use her ability to help those in need?

Several new characters are introduced throughout, including Sara Priest, the FBI agent and Rafe, the strange boy who may also have a psychic talent.  Is there a future love triangle on the cards?  Jay and Violet's romance seems so solid that maybe a couple of obstacles are going to be thrown in their path at some point.

I found myself completely absorbed by Violet's story and unable to put this book down. It's paranormal romance at its very best - suspenseful, addictive and sexy!

Thanks to the publisher for sending this one for review

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Waiting on Wednesday #19

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted at Breaking the Spine that spotlights eagerly awaited upcoming releases.  Head on over there to take part or to check out all the other fabulous books that people are looking forward to reading! 
After Obsession by Carrie Jones and Steven E. Wedel
Published by Bloomsbury on 5th September 2011
 

There is a river spirit tormenting a town in Maine. Two teens named Amie and Alan, battle it when it tries to possess Alan’s cousin and Amie’s best friend.
 
I want this book!  I need to have this book!  I'm such a massive fan of Carrie Jones and I absolutely adore her Need series.   This book is co-authored and I haven't been able to find out much information about it at the moment but look at that divinely gorgeous cover and then tell me that you don't want it too!! 

Sunday, 6 March 2011

In My Mailbox #17

Thanks to Kristi at The Story Siren for holding this meme every week.


I love seeing what everybody else got in their mailboxes. 

          All links go to Goodreads, where you can add the books to your wishlist if you like the look of  them.

I got sent two books to review:

The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens
(This book has such a lovely cover and sounds like it's going to be a magical read)

The Shadowing: Hunted by Adam Slater
(This is a horror which isn't usually a genre I like so I'm not sure how I'm going to get on with it but I'm willing to give it a try)

I also received a book from Kirsty at The Overflowing Library which I can't wait to get started on.  Thank you so much Kirsty.  I'm going to start this one soon :)

Belle's Song by K.M. Grant
(I loved K.M. Grant's Perfect Fire trilogy)

I couldn't resist the 3 for 2 in WHSmiths as they had so many books that I've been wanting to read!

Darkest Mercy by Melissa Marr
(I haven't actually started this series yet but at least I have the whole set now)

Wood Angel by Erin Bow
(The cover of this book is absolutely gorgeous)

Raising Demons by Rachel Hawkins
(This is the second book in the Hex Hall series)

Rosebush by Michelle Jaffe
(Like a lot of people, I really wish that I reviewed for ATOM because they have some fantastic books out at the moment.  I enjoyed 'Kitty Kitty' and 'Bad Kitty' by this author so I thought I'd give this one a try)

Mortal Kiss by Alice Moss

Friday, 4 March 2011

Review: Night Star (The Immortals #5) - Alyson Noel

Night Star by Alyson Noel, published by Macmillan in 2011

Goodreads synopsis:
Haven still blames Ever for the death of her boyfriend Roman, no matter how hard Ever’s tried to convince her it was an accident. Now she’s determined to take Ever down…and destroy Damen and Jude along the way. Her first step is to tear Ever and Damen apart—and she has just the ammunition to do it.

Hidden in one of Ever’s past lives is a terrible secret about Damen—a secret that illuminates new facts about her relationship with Jude, but that’s so dark and brutal it might be enough to drive her and Damen apart once and for all. As Ever faces her greatest fears about the guy she wants to spend eternity with, she’s thrust into a deadly clash with Haven that could destroy them all.

Now it’ll take everything she’s got—and bring out powers she never knew she had—to face down her most formidable enemy. But in order to win, she must first ask herself: is her own survival worth dooming Haven to an eternity of darkness in the Shadowland? And will learning the truth about Damen’s past hold the key to their future?

Review:

Warning that there might be spoilers from previous books in the series.

I was so excited to receive the fifth book in The Immortals series.  It's turned me into a huge fan of Alyson Noel and I want to get my hands on everything else she's written now as well.  I love paranormal romances and the one between Ever and Damen is captivating and thrilling and warms my heart!  Ahhhh! 

One of my favourite things about this book was getting to find out more about Ever's past lives and the truth that Damen had been hiding from her.  I think that for them to be together properly, they need to be absolutely honest with each other and have nothing standing between them.  So far, numerous obstacles have been put in their path but 'Night Star' seems to take a definite step towards resolving this and clearing the way for their love to grow.  The love triangle angle with Jude is also resolved and Ever's indecision is finally put to rest.  I have to reiterate (from my previous reviews) that I love Jude!  I think it would be interesting if Ever would give him a proper chance but then I'm sure that there would be a lot of Ever/Damen fans who would be very unhappy if they didn't finally get to be together. 

The main storyline revolves around Ever's relationship with her former best friend, Haven who is intent on destroying Ever in revenge for the death of Roman.  I like the way in which Haven becoming an Immortal is such a complete contrast with Ever's transformation.  Haven has always been a bit of a lost soul but with her newly gifted powers she's in danger of getting out of control and ruining the lives of those around her.  This nicely illustrates the way in which people are affected and influenced by those around them.  Ever has always had Damen by her side to guide her and help her on her path but Haven was under the influence of Roman who seems to have left Haven to fend for herself.  The question is: can Haven still be saved?

I'm also intrigued about the dark side of Summerland which is depicted in the book.  Questions surround what it really is and how it came into fruition but obviously these are all going to be answered soon enough.

'Night Star' plunges into the action from the start and the pace keeps up until the very end.  There's little preamble and the story is gripping from start to finish.  There are plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader entranced and the overall message of the book is one about being positive and learning true acceptance.  Ever has struggled at times throughout the series with these particular aspects but her character has grown and matured and she finally seems to be putting into action the things she's learnt and not making the same mistakes again and again. 

This series is addictive and unputdownable.  The romance between Ever and Damen is completely engrossing and not only is there a wonderful cast of characters but also an exciting and thrilling plot.     

The last book in the series 'Everlasting' is published on 7th June 2011, so luckily not too long to wait.  The cover art is absolutely gorgeous!  I can't wait to get my hands on it and discover if Ever and Damen do end up being together for all eternity.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Review: Dark Flame (The Immortals #4) - Alyson Noel

Dark Flame by Alyson Noel, published by Macmillan in 2010

Goodreads synopsis:
Ever is trying to help Haven transition into life as an immortal.  But with Haven drunk on her new powers and acting recklessly, she poses the ultimate threat—exposing their secret world to the outside.  As Ever struggles to keep the Immortals hidden, it only propels Haven closer to the enemy—Roman and his evil companions.

At the same time, Ever delves deeper into dark magick to free Damen from Roman’s power. But when her spell backfires, it binds her to the one guy who’s hell-bent on her destruction. Now there’s a strange, foreign pulse coursing through her, and no matter what she does, she can’t stop thinking about Roman—and longing for his touch.  As she struggles to resist the fiery attraction threatening to consume her, Roman is more than willing to take advantage of her weakened state…and Ever edges closer and closer to surrender.

Frantic to break the spell before its too late, Ever turns to Jude for help, risking everything she knows and loves to save herself—and her future with Damen …


Review:

Warning that there might be spoilers from previous books in the series

So far, this series has had me completely entranced but I have to say that although I enjoyed 'Dark Flame' it wasn't a stand-out installment in The Immortals series.  I felt that there was very little plot progression at all and it feels like Noel is starting to string the story out to keep it going for the final two books in the series.  Saying that however, I still enjoyed it enormously and the plot although slow, was still fascinating.  I'm really rooting for all the characters now and I will be so upset if they don't get a happy ending! 

In book four, Ever has to cope with the repercussions of turning Haven into an Immortal.  She's also dealing with the threat of dark magick and her evergrowing attraction to Roman who she has bound herself to in a spell gone awry.  In addition, the love triangle between Ever, Damen and Jude is ramped up a notch and if that wasn't enough she has family problems too.  Poor old Ever, nothing ever seems to go right for her!

I'm still enjoying reading about Ever's tangled love life.  Boy, is it getting complicated though!  Damen loves Ever and Ever loves Damen but...Jude also loves Ever and Ever's attracted to him because of their past lives, plus Roman wants Ever and she wants him but only because of the mistake she made in binding herself to him.  Did you get all that?!  I have to say that I love Jude.  He's so easy-going and simple and what you see is what you get with him.  He does quite often seem to be in the wrong place at the wrong time but I think he's beautifully characterised and has such a pure soul. 

Love is a key theme throughout the book and throughout the whole series.  'Dark Flame' focuses on the many forms in which love can take: pure love; the love of a soul mate; of a friend; unconditional love; selfish love.  Ever has to learn in which direction her heart is going to take her and discover what it is she truly desires.

I'm loving the characters of Romy and Rayne and an interesting secret about them is discovered in the book.  The plot surrounding them makes a nice contrast with Ever's story.  They're fun and witty and I think are going to prove to be very key to the conclusion of the series. I also thought that the development of Roman's character was handled well.  Yet again, it's shown that everything isn't always black or white; good or bad and that there's always a reason why people do the things they do or why things happen the way they do.   

Although I didn't find this one quite as gripping as other installments, I'm still dying to know exactly how everything's going to turn out and what Alyson Noel's masterplan is for concluding Ever's journey. 

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Review: Shadowland (The Immortals #3) - Alyson Noel

Shadowland by Alyson Noel, published by Macmillan in 2010

Goodreads synopsis:
Ever and Damen have traveled through countless past lives—and fought off the world’s darkest enemies—so they could be together forever. But just when their long-awaited destiny is finally within reach, a powerful curse falls upon Damen…one that could destroy everything. Now a single touch of their hands or a soft brush of their lips could mean sudden death—plunging Damen into the Shadowland. Desperate to break the curse and save Damen, Ever immerses herself in magick—and gets help from an unexpected source…a surfer named Jude.
 
Although she and Jude have only just met, he feels startlingly familiar. Despite her fierce loyalty to Damen, Ever is drawn to Jude, a green-eyed golden boy with magical talents and a mysterious past. She’s always believed Damen to be her soulmate and one true love—and she still believes it to be true. But as Damen pulls away to save them, Ever’s connection with Jude grows stronger—and tests her love for Damen like never before…


Review:

Warning that there might be spoilers from previous books in the series

This series just keeps getting better and better.  I am well and truly hooked!  So much so that I don't want to leave the house now until I've finished the remaining books!

In 'Shadowland', Ever has to deal with the consequences of her actions at the end of 'Blue Moon' and is desperately searching for a way in which she and Damen can be together.  She has to find the antidote for Damen, as well as face up to the mistake she made in trusting Roman.  The plot sounds a little repetitive with yet another obstacle coming between the two of them but their relationship is central to the whole series and I'm desperately rooting for them to get their happy ending. 

As much as I like Damen, Noel introduces a new character into the mix and he certainly stole my heart.  Jude is a laid back and relaxed surfing fanatic, who also happens to be super hot with psychic abilities which interest and intrigue Ever.  She finds herself being drawn to him and it looks like Damen might finally have a proper rival for her attentions.  I absolutely loved the twist which is revealed about his character.  It works perfectly with the story but is also so unexpected that you'd never guess his secret.  I really hope we get to see lots more of Jude throughout the rest of the series.  His character also compliments Damen's nicely - one dark and twisty and complicated and the other light and simple and straightforward.  Which one will Ever choose?  This love triangle is absolutely intriguing. 

I love the fact that Ever has to deal with supernatural problems as well as everyday issues such as her Aunt dating her teacher, who incidentally, just happens to know her secret!

One of the things I particularly liked about 'Shadowland' is the idea of karma and the notion that every action has a consequence.  By the sounds of it, Damen has quite a chequered past and has done several things roughout his 600 years which he now regrets.  He tries to put right some of those those things although he doesn't always go about it in the best way.  Questions are also raised about the sanctity of the soul - Damen is determined to protect his and Ever's souls at all costs so that they don't end up alone for eternity in Shadowland.  The issue of living forever is touched upon and the downside depicted; having to face seeing everyone that you love die eventually and knowing that you can never join them, plus having to keep on the move so that people don't suspect you're not capable of ageing.  In addition, there's the issue of living through so many technological changes and advancements throughout the centuries and being witness to major historical events.   

The ending of the book yet again took me completely by surprise.  I didn't see the twist coming at all but it should mean that 'Dark Flame', the next book in the series is going to be very, very interesting.  So far, this series has entranced and amazed me and I have a feeling that there are plenty more shocks in store.  I'm enjoying sharing Ever's story and being part of her exciting journey.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Review: Blue Moon (The Immortals #2) - Alyson Noel

Blue Moon by Alyson Noel, published by Macmillan in 2010

Goodreads synopsis:
Things have changed for Ever since she met her beloved Damen - not least because she's got a whole new set of powers, courtesy of her new Immortal status. Just as she's getting stronger, though, Damen seems to be weakening. Panicked at the thought of losing him, Ever finds a path to the in-between world known as Summerland, where she learns the secrets of Damen's tortured past. But in searching for a cure for him, Ever accidentally discovers a way to twist time so she can save her family from the accident that killed them. It's all she's ever wanted - but so is Damen. And Ever must choose between them...


Review:
Warning that there might be spoilers from the previous book in the series.

Ever and Damen's captivating story continues in 'Blue Moon' the second book in The Immortals series by Alyson Noel.  At the end of 'Evermore' it looked like they were going to get their happy ever after but I have a feeling that there are going to be plenty more obstacles for them to overcome first.  I think that will only make it so much more satisfying when they do finally get to be together with nothing keeping them apart. 

The story begins with a stranger called Roman arriving in town.  His arrival signals the start of everyone around Ever behaving strangely and acting out of character - including Damen.  Ever has to figure out what's wrong and how to put things right before she loses Damen...forever.  The plot is quite simple and at times is secondary to character development but I liked the fact that it was easy to follow and didn't get too complicated.  I also thought that the introduction of Roman shook things up nicely and he looks like he's going to be a fitting adversary for the happy couple.

I thought that this was a fantastic sequel which really built and expanded on the first book in the series.  I was looking forward to seeing more of the relationship between Damen and Ever now that she finally knows the truth about him and I was pleased that some light was shed on how they first met and all of Ever's previous incarnations.  I enjoyed discovering more about Damen's history too and how he first became an Immortal.  Several questions are answered but several more are raised and left for the reader to puzzle over.

Ever is growing on me more now and I admire many of the qualities she has such as her single-minded determination and grit.  She comes across as being very real because even though she's immortal, she makes big mistakes at times, just like any other human.  She also has to rely on her own instincts and not her boyfriends.  The relationship between her and her Aunt Sabine is well written - but I would love her Aunt to find out her secret because I think it would be interesting to see how she'd handle the situation.     

The climax of the book was very exciting and the suspense is ramped up to an unbelievable level.  I whizzed through the last few chapters in the book, immediately reaching for the next installment so I could continue the story.  The Immortals is shaping up to be a fantastic series and exactly what fans of the paranormal romance genre are looking for.  I can't wait to see what Alyson Noel has in store for readers next!
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