Monday, 30 April 2012

Review: Dark Heart Surrender - Lee Monroe

Dark Heart Surrender by Lee Monroe, published by Hodder Children's Books on 5th April 2012

Goodreads synopsis:
Jane's world has changed now that Luca, love of her live, inhabits it, and she's happier than she ever thought she could be. But how can a werewolf survive in the real world? When an immortal lives in the mortal world, the natural order of things must change. And what seems perfect, becomes destructive. They've overcome different worlds. But nothing could prepare Jane for this ...

* There may be spoilers from previous books in the series.

Lee Monroe's enjoyable trilogy comes to a close with 'Dark Heart Surrender'.  I was looking forward immensely to reading this one and finding out whether or not Jane and Luca would get their happy ending.  The two have had many ups and downs throughout the series and obstacles have constantly been put in their way but regardless of that it's always felt like they were destined to be together.

The story starts with Luca now living with Jane on mortal earth.  He's sacrificed a lot to be with her and has left his family and true heritage behind in Nissilum.  I've always liked the character of Luca who is kind, noble and good.  In this book a different side of him is shown, although without revealing anything about the plot, there's a very good reason why.  Jane too has shown a tremendous amount of growth and character development throughout each book in the series.  She started off as quite shy and withdrawn but has gradually become more confident and self-assured.  I've really identified with her and desperately wanted everything to work out for her and Luca. 

Two new characters are introduced early on in the book, a brother and sister pairing called Ade and Polly.  There's a lot more to them than first meets the eye and at times I found them really creepy and quite unsettling. 

Unlike the previous instalment, most of the story took place on earth rather than in Nissilum.  I thought this was a good choice because it was interesting seeing Jane and Luca starting off having everything they thought they wanted and being a proper couple at last, only for their lives to be turned upside down. 

I think my only criticism of this book would be that the ending was a little abrupt.  Without spoiling anything I kept waiting for a big romantic moment between Luca and Jane which never really came.  I found it a bit disappointing because I'd invested so much in their relationship.  Saying that though, the final few chapters were very exciting and full of intrigue and suspense. 

Overall this was a fitting finale to the series and a great send-off for the characters.  Apparently Lee Monroe is already hard at work on her next novel which is a 'fated' love story.  I can't wait!

Sunday, 29 April 2012

In My Mailbox #60

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

I love seeing what everybody else got in their mailboxes.

I've been busy this week trying to sort out my bookshelves which are literally overflowing.  I've been attempting to clear enough space to have a spare shelf for all my review books but it's just not happening at the moment!  The main problem I have is that I just can't stop buying more and so here are the awesome books I got this week. 
(I've seen mixed reviews of this book so I'm looking forward to checking it out for myself.  Not too keen on the cover though)
(Love the premise of this one - sounds brilliant)
(I was so excited when this book arrived that I wanted to start reading it immediately)
(A debut novel which looks like it could be a sweet love story with a twist)

Friday, 27 April 2012

Review: The Wood Queen - Karen Mahoney

The Wood Queen by Karen Mahoney, published by Corgi on 2nd February 2012

Goodreads synopsis:
Donna Underwood is in deep trouble.An ancient alchemical order is holding her accountable for destroying the last precious drops of the elixar of life. Never mind the fact that Donna was acting to free her friend, Navin, from the dangerous clutches of the Wood Queen at the time. But what the alchemists have in store is nothing compared to the wrath of the fey. The Wood Queen has been tricked and Donna must pay. Get ready for all hell - quite literally - to break loose...

I previously enjoyed the first book in this trilogy so I was looking forward to the sequel and finding out what was going to happen to Donna Underwood next.  'The Wood Queen' was an extremely entertaining read and I think even better than it's predecessor.  I picked up the thread of the story right away and immediately felt plunged back into Donna's world.  She's now on trial for her involvement in destroying the last remaining drops of the Elixir of Life but is still intent on finding a cure for her institutionalised mother who she believes is under a curse.

I love the world that Karen Mahoney has created in this series.  Vivid imagery made the wood elves and Ironwood come alive on the page and made me believe that there are more things out there than humans can normally perceive.  The four Orders of the alchemists - Crow, Lion, Dragon and Rose are equally fascinating and each have a hand in the book in deciding Donna's fate.

Donna's best friend Navin really grew on me throughout the story as I wasn't too keen on him in 'The Iron Witch'.  There's a very amusing transcript between him and Simon Gaunt at the end which made me laugh.  I admire his loyalty to Donna and the courage he shows, plus the way she can spring almost anything on him and he'll try and take it all in his stride. 

There's romance in the book as well between the mysterious Xan and Donna.  He's definitely hiding things from her and I can't wait to find out what they are, but in the meantime there's also trouble in paradise with the introduction of a new character called Ivy who shares past history with Xan. 

'The Wood Queen' is a dark and bewitching tale of magic and power and an impressive sequel which has left me wanting more.  Donna is faced with trying to sort out her future and what path she should take and I'm intrigued to see where Donna's adventure will lead her next.  I hope that the story will relocate to London as it would be brilliant to see her on British soil.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Review: The Alchemy of Forever - Avery Williams

The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams, published by Simon and Schuster on 26th April 2012

Goodreads synopsis:
After spending six hundred years on Earth, Seraphina Ames has seen it all. Eternal life provides her with the world's riches but at a very high price: innocent lives. Centuries ago, her boyfriend, Cyrus, discovered a method of alchemy that allows them to take the bodies of other humans from jumping from one vessel to the next, ending the human's life in the process. No longer able to bear the guilt of what she's done, Sera escapes from Cyrus and vows to never kill again.

Then sixteen-year old Kailey Morgan gets into a horrific car accident right in front of her, and Sera accidentally takes over her body while trying to save her. For the first time, Sera finds herself enjoying the life of the person she's inhabiting--and falling in love with the boy who lives next door. But Cyrus will stop at nothing until she's his again, and every moment she stays, she's putting herself and the people she's grown to care about in danger. Will Sera have to give up the one thing that's eluded her for centuries: true love?

When I first heard about this book the synopsis reminded me a little bit of the Immortals series by Alyson Noel.  As I started reading it and as the storyline and characters developed, it held a charm and brilliance all of it's own.

Sera is an immortal.  She has to keep switching bodies as each one will only last for so many years.  Saved by her boyfriend Cyrus she's lived this existence for hundreds of years but decides at the beginning of the story that she wants to die rather than take another body.  That obviously doesn't happen and after a tragic accident, she finds herself in the body of sixteen year old Kailey.  The story follows Sera as she adjusts to her new life and gains a family, friends and cute boy next door.

That cute boy next door is called Noah and was definite romance material.  I loved Noah and enjoyed seeing how Sera interacted with him which is harder tfor her than you'd think because she's trying to be true to herself as well as impersonating the person everyone believes her to be.  I can definitely foresee some road bumps along the way for the two of them.

I would have liked to have known more about Sera's first life with Cyrus and what really caused his character and personality to change.  He came across as quite sweet in the beginning so I found myself wanting to know if he'd always had an evil and vindictive streak inside.  The way Sera was so afraid of him and the way he sets about hunting her down was chilling and pretty scary at times.  I would also have liked Williams to have dealt more with the elixir itself and how it creates immortals as there's very little explanation of how this came into fruition in the first place.

My only real complaint with this book was that it seemed too short!  I would have liked it to have been double the length as it was addictive reading.  The ending was one of those moments that you can't believe has just happened and has left me on absolute tenterhooks.  I need to know what's going to happen next and I need to know now!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #60

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!

Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Published on 1st May 2012 by Harper Collins Children's Books

War looms in sixteen-year-old Tris’s dark dystopian world as disputes between the factions grow. Tris must now fight against all odds to discover the truth that can save her and the people she loves. Sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge – and the choices she makes will have devastating and unexpected consequences.

I'm really looking forward to 'Insurgent' which is the second book in the series by Veronica Roth.  I'm a massive fan of dystopian novels and this is one of the best new series around at the moment.  Only another week to go!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

A Million Suns - Beth Revis giveaway winner

Thank you to everyone that entered my giveaway to win a copy of 'A Million Suns' by Beth Revis.  If you weren't successful this time then check back again soon when I'll be having another giveaway on the blog.

 I'm pleased to announce that the winner is:
#16.  Beverley

Congratulations!  You will be receiving an email from me shortly requesting your postal details. 

Monday, 23 April 2012

Review: Dear Dylan - Siobhan Curham

Dear Dylan by Siobhan Curham, published by Electric Monkey on 2nd April 2012

Goodreads synopsis:
A first crush. An unexpected friendship. A dream come true. Dear Dylan! Thanks so much for your email and I'm sorry about my last one when I said I love you. I hope you don't think I'm a weirdo mentalist?!!! It's just that I was watching Oprah yesterday and she said we should all say we love each other a whole lot more. Not to everyone of course. There's no way I'd tell my scummy step-dad that I love him because that would be lying. But the thing is, sometimes when I watch you on TV, I feel as if you're talking just to me and it makes me feel less alone. I know you probably get loads and loads of fan mail but I wanted to ask you - could we be e-mates? Yours hopefully, Georgie xxx

'Dear Dylan' was a surprising and delightfully heartwarming read with a wonderful central character who by the end of the book felt like an old friend.

The format of the story is a series of emails over a period of three months between Georgie and her e-mate.  Into her emails, Georgie pours all her thoughts, feelings and emotions about her life and is able to express all the things that she'd never be able to say in read life.  Her emails are funny, thoughtful, amusing, insightful and frequently made me laugh and smile, as well as cry and feel genuine empathy and compassion for her situation.  I was slightly wary of the email format initially as I haven't always enjoyed books which are set out like that but I needn't have worried because I was hooked on 'Dear Dylan' almost immediately.

I loved the way that Georgie and her e-mate each helped the other through a difficult time and taught each other valuable lessons about living and enjoying life.  Of course, the dangers of corresponding with people you don't know on the internet can't be ignored but in Georgie's case she acquires a beautiful new friendship.

I really admired Georgie who was desperate to have the normal life of a teenager that all her friends seemed to have but had to deal with looking after her little sister, as well as coping with an angry step-dad.  She seemed absolutely genuine and was true to herself always.  Her crush on Jamie, dubbed 'the boy with the sorrowful smile' was touching and sweet and I couldn't help but keep my fingers crossed that something good would happen between them.

'Dear Dylan' was an amazing and poignant debut title which really touched my heart!  I can't wait for Siobhan Curham's second book 'Finding Cherokee Brown' which I can only imagine will be just as good. 

Sunday, 22 April 2012

In My Mailbox #59

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

I love seeing what everybody else got in their mailboxes.

I've had a good week for books and got some great titles in the post!  Some of these I've read already because I just couldn't wait to pick them up.

 We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han
(Read this one as soon as it arrived because I was desperate to find out how Han was going to conclude this amazing trilogy)

Dark Heart Surrender by Lee Monroe
(This is the final book in the trilogy about Jane and Luca)

The Duff by Kody Keplinger
(I've only heard good things about this title which I hope to read soon before getting my hands on the author's next book)

Starters by Lissa Price
(I love dystopian fiction and this one sounds really intriguing)

Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter
(I'm a massive fan of the Gallagher Girls series!)

Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen
(Yay!  A twist on the traditional Robin Hood story)

How to Keep a Boy as a Pet by Diane Messidororo
(What a great title for a book - can't wait to start this one)

Friday, 20 April 2012

Exciting upcoming titles from Hodder and Orchard

I was recently invited to attend a blogger's brunch by the lovely people at Hodder and Orchard Children's Books.  Although I wasn't able to attend, I thought it would be nice to highlight some of their upcoming YA titles which are all due to be published between July and December 2012.  These are some of the fabulous books which I already have my eye on!

I loved 'A Witch in Winter' which was romantic, magical and exciting and have really been looking forward to the sequel which is due out on 5th July 2012.

This is the second book in the Heist Society series and is out on 5th July 2012.  I adore Ally Carter's books which always make incredibly addictive reading.

Sounds pretty scary and creepy but early reviews of the book have left me very intrigued about this one (although probably not one to read right before bed!)  It's out on 5th July 2012.

The Hunting by Sam Hawksmoor

This is the sequel to The Repossession which had so many twists and turns and ended on a real cliffhanger.  Can't wait to read this one which is out on 2nd August 2012.

What better description could there be of a book than 'Lost meets The Hunger Games'.  Wow!  I want this one!  It's out on 2nd August 2012

'Ultraviolet' was one of the best books of last year and seriously messed with my head.  This is the sequel which promises to be just as amazing reading.  The wait is far too long though as this title isn't out until 1st November 2012.

As well as all these wonderful books, I'm also excited about 'Graffiti Moon' by Cath Crowley, 'The Blessed' by Tonya Hurley, 'Shut Out' by Kody Keplinger, as well as new books in The Vampire Diaries and The Secret Circle series by L.J. Smith. 

2012 is shaping up to be another fantastic year for YA.  Which books are you looking forward to the most?

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Review: Dreaming of Beauty - Kristen White

Dreaming of Beauty by Kristen White, published by Createspace on 15th September 2011

Goodreads synopsis:
A three hundred year old curse, a timeless legend, a love strong enough to last forever...

Fifteen year old Chloe Duncan finally has her Prince Charming and life could not be more perfect. But after she meets a mysterious new boy on the first day of school and has the first of what become increasingly haunting dreams of the ocean, her story-book romance quickly unravels. Certain that the dreams and other bizarre things that have happened to her are due to an undiagnosed brain tumor, Chloe struggles with school and her relationships. Fate sweeps her across the world to France, and it is there, at Manoir de Kergrec, the enchanting castle by the sea, that she learns about Camille Deveraux, a girl who lived at the manor over three hundred years ago. But things are stranger in France then they were back home, and Chloe soon discovers that she was Camille Deveraux, the real Sleeping Beauty.

I'm always drawn to stories which rework traditional fairy tales and give them their own unique spin.  Kristen White does this in 'Dreaming Beauty', the premise of which is a modern day twist on the classic tale of Sleeping Beauty.  Chloe is your average fifteen year old teenager who loves her adoring boyfriend Evan but becomes unsettled by the arrival of new boy Logan.  Desperate to resist him, Chloe starts having vivid dreams of another life and finds herself caught in an ancient love triangle.

The plot of this book sounds good and on the whole it was a fairly enjoyable read but in some areas it fell a bit flat and didn't always work for me.  I thought that the characters were quite one-dimensional and the dialogue was sometimes too stilted and unnatural.  This meant that it didn't always flow on the page.  I also didn't feel entirely invested in the romance between Chloe and either of the two male characters which was a shame as I'm a sucker for a teenage love triangle. 

The book is split into three parts.  The second part is set in France and centres around Camille Devereaux, the original Sleeping Beauty.  I was a little confused at first because of the change of narrative although I soon adjusted to this but I think the transition between the three parts could have been slightly smoother and more seamless so that it felt more like one story rather than separate parts. 

The ending was intriguing and seemed to set things up for a sequel about Evan and Logan's big sister Ashley.  I haven't heard anything about this though so I'm not sure if the author is planning to write another book about the characters.  I loved the idea for the story of 'Dreaming of Beauty' but overall it failed to sweep me off my feet.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #59

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!

Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen
Published on 7th June 2012 by Bloomsbury Children's Books

Many readers know the tale of Robin Hood, but they will be swept away by this new version full of action, secrets, and romance. Posing as one of Robin Hood’s thieves to avoid the wrath of the evil Thief Taker Lord Gisbourne, Scarlet has kept her identity secret from all of Nottinghamshire.

Only the Hood and his band know the truth: the agile thief posing as a whip of a boy is actually a fearless young woman with a secret past. Helping the people of Nottingham outwit the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham could cost Scarlet her life as Gisbourne closes in.

It’s only her fierce loyalty to Robin—whose quick smiles and sharp temper have the rare power to unsettle her—that keeps Scarlet going and makes this fight worth dying for.

I'm a huge Robin Hood fan and knew instantly that I wanted to read this book when I first heard about it.  It's a spin on the traditional tale but features a female heroine.  All the reviews I've seen so far of the book have been positive and I'm so excited for it's release that I'm counting down the days!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Review: The Last Echo - Kimberly Derting

The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting, published by Headline on 29th March 2012

Goodreads synopsis:
Violet kept her morbid ability to sense dead bodies a secret from everyone except her family and her childhood-best-friend-turned-boyfriend, Jay Heaton. That is until forensic psychologist Sara Priest discovered Violet’s talent and invited her to use her gift to track down murderers. Now, as she works with an eclectic group of individuals—including mysterious and dangerously attractive Rafe—it’s Violet’s job to help those who have been murdered by bringing their killers to justice.

When Violet discovers the body of a college girl killed by “the girlfriend collector” she is determined to solve the case. But now the serial killer is on the lookout for a new “relationship” and Violet may have caught his eye....

This is the third book in the Body Finder series by Kimberly Derting.  I'm a massive fan of this series and have been eagerly anticipating the release of 'The Last Echo' for months.  I'm pleased to say that it didn't disappoint at all and I think it might actually be my favourite so far.

Violet is now working for Sara Priest's organisation.  It was interesting seeing her having to adjust to other people knowing about her abilities outside of her family and Jay.  She wants to try and use her ability to prevent people from dying, rather than just finding their bodies after their deaths.  She has her toughest job so far to face when she tries to stop a serial killed nicknamed The Collector.  The book is interspersed with chapters from his perspective which made for some really creepy reading.

Now that Violet is part of a team, the story focused much more on her relationships with her new friends and colleagues, rather than her romantic relationship with Jay.  He is still present in the book but is often on the periphery.  There are still plenty of sweet, romantic moments between the two which made my heart flutter plenty and I have no doubt in my mind that they belong together, but Violet is also having to face up to the feelings that she may have developed for Rafe.  They do after all share something that Jay can never experience and it's this which seems to draw them together a lot.  There are some intriguing revelations about Rafe in the book and sufficient time is given to developing his character further but I couldn't help wishing that there was less of him and more of Jay. 

Violet has always been one of my favourite heroines in ya-literature.  She's grown and developed so much throughout the series so far.  Sometimes she does rather recklessly put herself in danger but she always does it for a good reason and you can't fault her for her desire to want to help others. 

The story itself was absolutely gripping and a real page turner.  Clear your day because once you've picked this book up you won't be able to stop until you've reached the end!  Kimberly Derting has pulled out all the stops to create a plot which is thrilling, heart pounding and exciting. The final page by itself is jaw-droppingly good and I'm thrilled that there's set to be another book in the series.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Review: Immortal City - Scott Speer

Immortal City by Scott Speer, published by Scholastic on 5th April 2012

Goodreads synopsis:
He's days away from becoming a full Guardian, and people around the world are already competing for the chance to be watched over by him. Everyone's obsessed with the Angels and the lucky people they protect - everyone except for Madison Montgomery.

Maddy's the one girl in Angel City who doesn't breathlessly follow the Angels on TV and gossip blogs. When she meets Jackson, she doesn't recognize him. But Jackson is instantly captivated by her, and against all odds the two fall in love.

Maddy is swiftly caught up in Jackson's scene, a world of glamour, paparazzi - and murder. A serial killer is on the loose, leaving dead Angels' wings for the police to find on the Walk of Fame. Even the Guardians are powerless to protect themselves in the face of this threat & and this time it's up to Maddy to save Jackson.

I'd heard about this book prior to publication and really loved the idea of angels living among humans and being given celebrity status.  What a cool idea!  The angels act as guardians to those who can pay for protection or those who are lucky enough to be gifted with a guardian.  I really liked the way that Scott Speer discussed the culture of celebrity status through the role of the angels with them being placed on pedestals and worshipped because they happen to be in the public eye and are rich and privileged.  It was also refreshing to read an angel book where the angels are actually out in the open and not a big secret.  All in all, I thought it was a unique and interesting spin on the traditional angel story.

This is actually Scott Speer's debut novel and has already been optioned for television development by the producers of Gossip Girl and The Vampire Diaries.  So we may soon be seeing angels on the small screen!

The two main characters, Maddy and Jackson Godspeed, offer alternating third person narratives and I enjoyed getting to see events through their eyes.  I really liked the character of Maddy who is down to earth and sensible, until she begins to lose her head over Jackson.  She doesn't have as privileged a lifestyle as some of the other teens at her school but she never complains and always seems to take things in her stride.  It took me longer to warm up to Jacks but he had grown on me by the end of the book.  On the other hand, I felt that Maddy's other friend Ethan was a bit underdeveloped and at times seemed too much on the periphery.  He does have an important part to play in the story but I would have liked to have seen his motivations explored a little more. 

The story started slowly but the action picked up from the middle of the book and the ending was brilliant.  The plot was entertaining and engaging and sucked me in as it progressed with it's equal measures of romance, action and adventure. 

I'm looking forward to seeing how Maddy will cope with the hand that fate's dealt her in the next in the Immortal City trilogy.

Here's the awesome trailer for the book which if I hadn't read it already would definitely make me want to pick up this title.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

In My Mailbox #58

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

I love seeing what everybody else got in their mailboxes.

I only had a couple of new books this week but they're good ones!

(Sounds like a brilliant contemporary romance.  I'll be reading this one for the British Books Challenge)

(I love her adult historical fiction so very excited about her first book for young adults)

(This is an amazing fantasy adventure - I've read it already so expect my review closer to the publication date)

I also couldn't resist buying this Gale Hawthorne bookmark yesterday.  I've just finished reading all of The Hunger Games books and as much as I love Peeta it's Team Gale all the way for me! 

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Review: Bound - Sarah Bryant

Bound by Sarah Bryant, published by Snowbooks on 1st February 2012

Goodreads synopsis:
All Sophie Creedon has ever wanted is a normal life – but normal life doesn’t seem to want Sophie. Strikingly pretty, a top student, with unique musical talent, the London schoolgirl has always stood out from the crowd. But it’s the Revenants that truly set her apart: creatures not quite living, not quite dead, and visible only to Sophie. Hard as she tries to ignore them, her haunting has cost her friends, opportunities, even her parents’ trust.

In a last-ditch effort to free herself of it, she foregoes a university place in favour of a waitressing job in the tiny village of Ardnasheen, on Scotland’s wild northwest coast. Though at first Ardnasheen seems to offer exactly the refuge Sophie has been looking for, she quickly realizes that it harbors dark secrets of its own. Barely a week into her new life, she finds herself caught up in a bitter rivalry between Sam and Lucas, two young landowners. One is charming, the other brooding, and both irresistibly compelling. But the roots of their hostility run deep into a mysterious past that seems to involve Sophie. As they vie for her attention, she is forced to choose which one to trust.

Sophie is about to discover the love of her life – and a secret to die for.

Very occasionally you come across a book which you know almost nothing about but which ends up amazing and surprising you with a story which you fall in love with.  'Bound' by Sarah Bryant is one of those books.  I picked it up to read one evening and curled up in bed planning to just read a couple of chapters.  Those couple of chapters turned into a few more and then a few more and I found that I couldn't actually go to sleep until I'd found out how the plot was going to unfold and what was going to be the fate of all the characters.  Needless to say I didn't get much sleep at all that night!

The story is set in Scotland, in a small village called Ardnasheen.  Situated in the middle of nowhere with a very small population who all know each other, the atmospheric setting nicely fitted with the feeling of isolation that the protagonist Sophie experiences when she first arrives.  The weather is miserable and unwelcoming but Sophie is running away from something that scares her more than being on her own in a strange place. 

She's drawn towards the local Laird, Lucas Belial, who we get to hear about before being introduced to him.  There's a connection between them which is unexplained at first but gradually revealed over the course of the book.  I loved Lucas who is gorgeous and passionate, dark and mysterious and I really liked the theme of forbidden love which is woven into the plot.  The romance in the novel came across as genuine and real and made me believe and hope for the happiness of the characters.  There's a mini love triangle between Sophie, Lucas and another local resident, Sam Eblis, but there was no doubt in my mind who she should pick. 

Angels, revenants, demons and faeries - this book has them all and Bryant does a brilliant job of combining them all into a story which utterly captivated me.  There are so many interesting and surprising revelations that 'Bound' is a genuine page-turner. 

This is Sarah Bryant's fifth book (I've actually read a couple of her adult novels) but is the first which she's written for a young-adult audience.  Angel lovers will adore this story of good and evil and forbidden love and will be gripped by the intricate plot, with layer upon layer of the story unravelling with plenty of exciting twists and turns.  There are still lots of questions which remain unanswered at the end - one of the reasons why I'm absolutely desperate to read the sequel 'Riven' which luckily is due to be published summer 2012. 

Here's the gorgeous trailer for 'Bound' which should have you rushing out to get your hands on a copy of this amazing book!

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #58

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!

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Published on 5th July 2012 by Orchard Books

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn’t expect anything outside of the ordinary: move, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, but now stained red and dripping blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

And she, for whatever reason, spares his life.

This one sounds like a really spooky and ghostly read.  I've seen some great reviews of the book already, so I'm looking forward to getting my hands on a copy.  I don't normally read horror but the description really appeals to me so as long as I don't read it late at night I should be alright!!

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Trailer: The Lorien Legacies - Pittacus Lore

On 12th April, Penguin Razorbill will be publishing the paperback edition of 'The Power of Six' by Pittacus Lore. 

I've seen him on the news. Followed the stories about what happened in Ohio. John Smith, out there, on the run. To the world, he's a mystery. But to me . . . he's one of us.

Nine of us came here, but sometimes I wonder if time has changed us—if we all still believe in our mission. How can I know? There are six of us left. We're hiding, blending in, avoiding contact with one another . . . but our Legacies are developing, and soon we'll be equipped to fight. Is John Number Four, and is his appearance the sign I've been waiting for?

They caught Number One in Malaysia.
Number Two in England.
And Number Three in Kenya.
They tried to catch Number Four in Ohio—and failed.

I am Number Seven. One of six still alive.

And I'm ready to fight.

This is the second book in the series and is a fantastically thrilling read.  The Lorien Legacies is one of my favourite series and each installment seems to be even more gripping than the last.  You can read my review of the book here

Here's also the brilliant trailer for the series which offers a tantalising glimpse at 'The Rise of Nine' which is due out on 30th August 2012. 

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Review: The Intern - Dillon Khan

The Intern by Dillon Khan, published by Puffin on 5th April 2012
Goodreads synopsis:
When Jay Merchant lands an internship for the best job in music television, he is given a backstage pass to the biggest gig of his life. The velvet rope to the biggest VIP parties and hottest celebrities has been lifted and now he's got to capture it on camera. But with only six months to turn his intern dream into a real job, does he have what it takes? It's time to face the music...

Jay has landed an internship at Total BEATS and gets to live and breathe music all day long.  Although he's thrown in at the deep end and basically starts off not having a clue what he's doing, he eventually finds his feet and is soon immersed in his new job to the exclusion of all else including his long-suffering girlfriend Sophia and his mother.  He loves music and has the opportunity to turn his passion into a paying occupation but finds that his dream job may not be such a dream after all.      

'The Intern' is Dillon Khan's first novel and offers a behind the scenes insight into the world of music.  Khan himself worked at MTV for eight years so knows all the ins and outs of the industry and provides a realistic and honest portrayal of the highs and lows of working in such an environment.  Jay faces long hours, little praise for his work and is surrounded by people who always put themselves first.  On the plus side, he gets to meet musicians who he admires, is showered with freebies and never knows quite what he's going to be doing from one day to the next.  Although he's living his passion, I like the way there's always a fine line drawn between enjoying his job and hating it.

I think Jay came across as very reminiscent of many young adults who leave university after finishing their degree and then either don't have a clue what they want to do or have the relevant qualifications but are unable to get a job in their chosen field.  Although I found Jay's struggle to make a mark for himself in the music world interesting, I didn't one hundred percent connect with him as a character.  Admittedly he had grown on me by the end of the book and I'm glad his story ended on a high note but I have to say that he wasn't always that likable and I didn't like the way he sometimes treated the other people in his life.  I also found some of the parts in the narrative where he has repeated imaginary conversations in his head with music stars such as Eminem, Whitney Houston and Dido amusing but a bit distracting at times. 

Set in the year 2000, my favourite thing about this book was reminiscing over some of the music that was around at the time.  Like Jay, I can remember taping songs off the radio onto cassette tapes so that I could listen to that week's big hits over and over again.  It's hard to believe now in such a digital age but back then that was the best way (even though it may have been illegal!) to get your hands on all the current songs.

'The Intern' is an enjoyable and fascinating account of what it's actually like to work in the industry.  Music lovers in particular will find this an interesting read.  However, although I found it a refreshing change of pace from a lot of the paranormal books which are on the shelves at the moment, I just found that all important spark with the main character missing and I do so like a character who I can really root for.  This was still an accomplished and impressive debut which I think will appeal especially to the older teen audience. 

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Review: A Million Suns - Beth Revis

A Million Suns by Beth Revis, published by Puffin on 5th April 2012

Goodreads synopsis:
The ship's ruler is dead and a rebellion threatens. Amy wants to help Elder as he tries to take charge, but she's torn between her feelings for him and the chaos that's pulling everything apart. As more harrowing discoveries are made about Godspeed, Amy is caught in a desperate race to unravel its secrets. Only one thing is certain.

They have to get off this ship.

'Across the Universe' was an outstanding debut by author Beth Revis.  I loved it and couldn't wait or the second book in the trilogy.  I've had a long wait was worth every second because 'A Million Suns' was an incredible read full of mystery, danger, romance and excitement, tempered with the allure of space. 

I actually reread 'Across the Universe' before starting this book and I'm glad I did because it helped me to pick up where the story left off.  There's no recap of events at the start so I would recommend reminding yourself of what happened previously.  This also gave me a chance to reconnect with the characters before following them on the next stage of their journey.

The narrative is once again shared between Amy and Elder.  I particularly enjoyed seeing events onboard Godspeed through Amy's eyes as she begins to unravel the secret that Orion had kept hidden for so long.  It's a secret that had me on tenterhooks throughout the book.  I was dying to know what it was and how it was going to influence all their future plans as well as their actual existence.  Revis ramps up the suspense from the opening chapter which left me in a state of great anticipation and wanting to keep on and on reading until I discovered what it was. 

The book deals with life on Godspeed and shows what it's like with Elder now in charge and the population of the ship off of the drug Phydus.  Unfortunately things aren't going so smoothly for Elder and he has to cope with the threat of mutiny and general unrest among the people, as well as the food supply running out.  It was interesting seeing the kinds of decisions he made, as well as the fact that although he may not always make the right choice, he's always thinking about what's best for the people in his charge.  He's still growing on me as a character but I like his relationship with Amy and the romance between them which always seems to be bubbling just under the surface.

I was amazed and impressed all over again with the world that Beth Revis has created on the ship, as well as the detail that she applies to every facet of the characters' lives.  I felt totally immersed in the story and the various twists and turns of the plot.

The third book in the trilogy entitled 'Shades of Earth' is published in May 2013.  It's going to be another long wait and I don't know how I'm going to hold out until I get my hands on a copy but I have no doubt it will be just as good if not better than the preceding books in the series. 

The wonderful people at Puffin have very kindly provided me with a copy of the book to giveaway.  This giveaway is UK only at the publishers request.  Please fill out all the details required on the form below and good luck!

Giveaway rules.
  • There will be one winner.
  • Open to entrants with UK addresses only. International entrants may enter, provided they have a UK address to send the books to.
  • Please fill out the form completely - including email address 
  • You do not have to be a follower to enter but it's always appreciated
  • Deadline for entries will be 23 April 2012
  • Winner(s) will be drawn by
  • Winner(s) will be contacted via e-mail, and will be given 48 hours to response. Otherwise, a new winner will be drawn.
  • Any details will be deleted after use and will not be passed on to any third party.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Review: Surrender - Lee Nichols

Surrender by Lee Nichols, published by Bloomsbury USA Children's Books on 6th December 2011

Goodreads synopsis:
After a devastating battle at headquarters in New York, the ghostkeeping world is in shambles. When Emma and Bennett return home, they are determined to defeat the wraithmaster, Neos, forever. But it's not going to be easy. Bennett's parents kick him out when they realize he is still using drugs to enhance his powers. Emma is convinced her aunt has come back from the dead to warn her of a new threat. And worst of all, Neos is using wraiths to possess the students at Thatcher Academy. If the ghosts manage to take over the entire school, even Emma won't be strong enough to stop them. But if either she or Bennett sacrifice his or her powers, they might be able to save the ghostkeeping world once and for all-and break the "ghostkeepers lose their powers when they fall in love" curse. The question is: who will be the one to surrender all power?

I'm a massive fan of the Haunting Emma series by Lee Nichols and have eagerly followed Emma's battle to defeat Neos and win the heart of the gorgeous Bennett.  She may have achieved the latter but she still has a fight ahead of her to find Neos's ashes and end his reign once and for all.

Emma's story has had so many ups and downs.  She's had to deal head on with tragedy, death and loss and has coped with discovering who she really is, as well as being left by her family and learning how to deal with ghosts who want her dead.  Her one constant throughout the trilogy has been the wonderful Bennett.  I adore him so much!  Left me assure you now that there's plenty to satisfy fans of Bennett and Emma in 'Surrender'.  They know they love each other and want to be together forever but to stay together one of them has to lose their powers.  If you're hoping for kisses, then yes there are kisses and lots of them!  Without trying to give anything away, they also get the most perfect ending which made me so happy to read.

I love Emma's bravery, her determination and her strength.  She treats all her friends and family and the ghosts she's surrounded by with respect.  She has some tough choices to make in the book but she always tries to do what's right.  Her friends are wonderfully characterised too, including Natalie who becomes like a sister to her, as well as Lukas, Sara and Harry.  She may not always have her real family by her side but she can always count on her friends to be there.

The final part of the trilogy tied up all the loose ends and concluded the story brilliantly.  Pacy, action-packed and a real page turner, I only wish the book has been longer.  I literally devoured it in one sitting! There's no doubt that this series really does have it all.  An unbreakable love, a fight between good and evil, mystery, adventure, action and romance.  I'm sad that a wonderful adventure is over but I'm so excited to see what Lee Nichols will turn her hand to next.  You never know - there might even be a Bennett/Emma sequel at some point in the future where we get to see if they really are living out their happy ever after!
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