Friday 25 February 2011

'Inside Out' by Maria V. Snyder

Inside OutInside Out by Maria V. Snyder

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love Maria Snyder's books- as soon as I start reading one I can't get anything else done until I've finished it. The Poison Study series is one of my favourite series of all time, and here we have Inside Out written for the YA market, one of my favourite genres to read, so I had very high expectations for this book. It promised me intrigue and romance... and didn't disappoint.

Trella is a scrub- the lowest of the low of Inside, and her job is to clean the pipes and passageways to keep everything in Inside running smoothly. All the scrubs have to hard all day without days off to keep the system running for the uppers, the richer citizens of inside, and there are harsh punishments for anyone who breaks the rules. As a result of her work Trella knows every air duct, water pipe, laundry chute and heating vent in Inside. She knows of gaps between the walls that have been forgotten about, and secret spaces, hatches and storage rooms. Trella keeps to herself and has no real friends except for Cog who she grew up with the care facility. When Cog introduces her to a "prophet" who tells them there is a secret gateway to Outside, Trella determines to prove him wrong but ends up setting in motion a stream of events that changes everything. The other scrubs end up covering for her and lying for Trella to the "Pop Cops" in charge at risk to their own lives, all because they believe that Trella is key to freeing them from the drudgery of their lives as scrubs. They hide food for her and cover her work shifts to disguise what they are up to. Because of her detailed knowledge of Inside Trella becomes the unwitting leader of a revolution. The story moves at quite a pace, and Trella seems to be all go all the time. They uncover a corrupt government, secret parentages, invent new technologies to communicate and use as protection in their rebellion. All throughout the book is this detailed description of where they are, and their struggle to find a way out and you can't help but wonder where they really are. What has happened on Earth to force everyone to live in an emormous metal cube, what has happened to the world outside and what will they really find when (and if) they find the way out. This metal world and their strict way of life is all anybody has ever known for generations. The reveal is a bit of a shock.

A lot of the description of the quads and segments that make up "Inside" plus all the description of how they measure time (centiweeks etc) went completely over my head, and this was one instance where I wished the book had come with maps and graphs to explain- but despite that the story itself was excellent, action packed, well-paced, with such great characters.

My favourite character is Riley- an upper that Trella befriends who talks to his stuffed animal "sheepy", and who helps Trella break into some offices in the upper levels. He is confident and kind and the romance between them is very lovely. He becomes very protective of Trella, and is very sweet. But formerly friendless Trella quickly makes lots of new alliances among the scubs and the uppers and has to learn who to trust. All of the characters are so well written and the warmth and humour between them all is the most uplifting feature of this book.

I really liked this book and after a cliff-hanger ending am looking forward to the release of the next installment Outside In soon.

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Thursday 24 February 2011

The Time Will Come #3

The Time Will Come is a weekly meme every Thursday hosted by Jodie at Books for Company, where we spotlight books that we have had on our shelves for a long while and that we really want to read/ keep meaning to get to.
My pick this week is Glass Houses by Rachel Caine (UK cover)-

So many people love this series and I think I'll really enjoy it too- I'm just a little daunted by the fact that it's a nine book series (and counting) which is a lot of books when my pile of books to read is so huge already. It looks like a funny paranormal romance, just the kind of thing that I love. I do really want to read this, and I own the first four books, but I just can't bring myself to start such a huge series when I have a massive to-read-now mountain of books already. . One day though...

Synopsis from Goodreads:
It's a small college town filled with quirky characters. But when the sun goes down, the bad comes out. Because in Morganville, there is an evil that lurks in the darkest shadows - one that will spill out into the bright light of day.

Claire Danvers has had enough of her nightmarish dorm situation. The popular girls never let her forget just where she ranks on the school's social scene: somewhere less than zero. And Claire really doesn't have the right connections - to the undead who run the town.

When Claire heads off campus, the imposing old house where she finds a room may not be much better. Hew new roommates don't show many signs of life. But they'll have Claire's back when the town's deepest secrets come crawling out, hungry for fresh blood...

Wednesday 23 February 2011

'By Midnight' by Mia James

By Midnight: A Ravenwood MysteryBy Midnight: A Ravenwood Mystery by Mia James

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Basically, April has had to move away from her friends and her school in Scotland in the middle of the term to Highgate in London when her conspiracy-mad Dad gets a new newsapaper job. She is not happy about this and even more so when the only local school that will take sixth-formers in the middle of the school year is the elitist Ravenwood school. Something is definitely weird in her new school, and April and her new BFF the quirky Caro can't work out what. At school she also meets mega-rich Davina and Benjamin, violent bully Marcus, and shy strange, gorgeous Gabriel. April's socialite mother wants to drink and shop and mingle and drag April along with her. April attends school and parties and keeps bumping into Gabriel, while wondering about a couple of local murders that have taken place, shocking the local community- one of which she almost witnesses.

Bad Points: (whilst trying not to give away spoilers)

  • April has important information that connects the victims of the local murders. She knows what at least two of the victims were killed for researching, but she doesn't tell the police. Why? She wants to look into it herself. Yeah, that's a great idea :/

  • The love interest. "I love Gabriel, I hate Gabriel, I love Gabriel, I think Gabriel might be a murderer, I hate Gabriel, I love Gabriel". It got annoying.

  • April repeatedly will not believe in vampires despite masses of evidence right in her face to the contrary. This did make me want to shake her a couple of times.

  • The ending was a bit abrupt.

Good points:

  • Entertaining.

  • It flows.

  • Believable supporting characters.

  • Very spooky atmospheric setting with a lot of history behind it (real reports in the newspapers of the Highgate Vampire in the 1970s- this story is based on an existing myth). It made me want to visit Highgate cemetery myself.

  • Very emotional in parts. The fact that I was nearly in tears shows that I connected to the characters and cared what happened to them, and I was gripped by the writing.

  • A back-story and mystery that we are exposed to gradually, solving some questions piece by piece.
To sum up- I liked this but didn't love it. This story is well- paced, but with not really enough to keep you guessing- it is fairly predictable.

By Midnight by Mia James (book trailer)

Tuesday 22 February 2011

'Reckless' By Cornelia Funke

RecklessReckless by Cornelia Funke

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Cornelia Funke is the queen of dark fairytales. She writes new stories that make you feel as if you've heard them all your life, as if they are centuries old, but with the modern world woven in seamlessly. Funke has created a believable new magical realm beyond a magic mirror. The world of the fairytale is not childlike and simple, but harsh and dangerous and evil lurks around every corner. You also know that the author will not go easy on the characters just because it is a children's tale, and main characters can and do die. Bad things can happen in the real world, and fiction is no different. This leaves you feeling tense and emotional the whole way through the book- genuinely not knowing if they are going to make it through the next danger.

Jacob has been travelling into the world behind the mirror since he was a child and is an expert treasure hunter finding things like rapunzel hairs, a glass slipper and other magical objects. He knows which trees will bite you if they get the chance, which stream is safe to drink from and which will enchant you, and which variety of snail you should collect for it's invisibility slime. Jacob feels more at home in the mirror world than he does in his own world, even though he recognises its dangers. Jacob's brother Will is not so savvy, and as the tale starts off Will has been poisoned by the goyle- an angry warrior race with skin as hard as stone. Formerly sweet Will is slowly forgetting everyone he knows and is transforming into a hostile jade goyle, but Jacob is determined to find a cure for him no matter what it takes. Clara, Will's girlfriend also stumbles across the mirror world and joins them on their quest, along with Fox, Jacob's best friend who can transform between a woman and a vixen and who has always been in love with Jacob. Their journey takes them across the mirror realm meeting money-loving traitorous dwarves, seductive fairies that would enchant them and a whole cast of other characters.

This is a unique and dreamlike story set in a magical world where absolutely anything can happen. There are familiar elements from the tales of the Brothers Grimm woven into this story, and names or stories that you would recognise (such as cinderella, sleeping beauty). It is part 1 of a series, but could work just as well as a stand-alone book. If you are a fan of Funke's Inkheart series (which I loved), or a fairy story retold then I would recommend this. A perfect book for 11-17 year olds, gripping, pacy, dark at times, but with a smidgeon of romance thrown in.

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Friday 18 February 2011

Authors/ Publishers

Edit 5/6/11- Update- I am too busy at present to accept review copies of books, and currently have more to read than I can cope with. Thankyou for thinking of me anyway. I will update again if circumstances change.
I am happy to consider receiving copies of books for review in the genres of young adult fiction, paranormal romance, fantasy, urban fantasy and children's books (11+). I can accept books in paperback or hardback, or kindle editions. I will give an honest and unbiased review of any books received, and will try to read any books given to me for review as a priority. Any ARCs received I will aim to read before the publication date, however, this does depend on what I have time for, and other reading commitments. If you would like a review by a particular deadline please let me know in the original email.

Reviews are posted here on my blog and on my profile at I try to read and post at least 2 books a week. I'll also post positive reviews on, and at to increase awareness of my very favourite books.

I understand that ARCs are a privelege and would never sell an ARC copy of a book.
If you are an author wishing to promote a book I would be happy to host an interview and giveaways/ competitions.

Be aware that I am not a professional reviewer, I read for pleasure and I only read what I enjoy. My blog is for fun and because I love discussing books with like-minded people who read the same sorts of things that I do.

Please feel free to contact me at

Thursday 17 February 2011

The Time Will Come #2

The Time Will Come is a weekly meme every Thursday hosted by Jodie at Books For Company, where we spotlight books that we have had on our shelves for a long while and that we really want to read/ keep meaning to get to.
My choice this week is Voices of Dragons by Carrie Vaughn.
I bought Voices of Dragons back in September after reading Leanne's excellent review of it on her blog- Magic of Reading (review here). I was in the mood for something sweet and light and easy, and this looked like such an excellent story. But since then I still haven't gotten around to reading it. One day!

Synopsis from Goodreads:
On one side of the border lies the modern world: the internet, homecoming dances, cell phones. On the other side dwell the ancient monsters who spark humanity's deepest fears: dragons.

Seventeen-year-old Kay Wyatt knows she's breaking the law by rock climbing near the border, but she'd rather have an adventure than follow the rules. When the dragon Artegal unexpectedly saves her life, the rules are abruptly shattered, and a secret friendship grows between them.

But suspicion and terror are the legacy of human and dragon interactions, and the fragile truce that has maintained peace between the species is unraveling. As tensions mount and battles begin, Kay and Artegal are caught in the middle. Can their friendship change the course of a war?

In her young-adult debut, New York Times bestselling author Carrie Vaughn presents a distinctly twenty-first-century tale of myths and machines, and an alliance that crosses a seemingly unbridgeable divide.

Wednesday 16 February 2011

Waiting on Wednesday #1

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, which highlights any upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating.
My pick this week is Defiance by Lili St.Crow. This is book 4 in the Strange Angels series. I have loved the rest of the books in this series, and am really looking forward to reading this next installment, which is published March 31st. Team Graves!

Synopsis from Goodreads:
The heart-stopping fourth novel in New York Times bestselling author Lili St. Crow's Strange Angels series.

Now that sixteen-year-old Dru's worst fears have come true and Sergej has kidnapped her best friend Graves, she'll have to go on a suicidal rescue mission to bring him back in one piece.

That is, if she can put all of Christophe's training to good use, defeat her mother's traitor, Anna, once and for all, and manage to survive another day . . .

Tuesday 15 February 2011

'Angelfire' by Courtney Allison Moulton

AngelfireAngelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ellie is an immortal mythical creature, but she doesn't know it. She is an angelic warrior who has died and been reincarnated over and over again, with no memories of her former lives until she turns 17 years old and they start coming back to her in dreams. Each time she returns she becomes more and more human, and when we see Ellie at the start of the book she is just a normal typical teenage girl who wants to just pass school and hang out with her friends.

I thought it started off quite slow in the beginning, and seemed to be just another book about a teenage girl who meets a bad boy with powers and has a best friend who's in love with her and she's clueless about it, and it's up to her to save the world (same old thing)- but I did like the second half of the book a lot better as Ellie grew in confidence at her powers, and began to trust Will more. I didn't actually like Ellie at all at first, just finding her quite shallow and full of teenage attitude, but she grew on me, as she seemed to mature more as the story went on. She is determined to do the right thing, even if it means risking her life, and I liked that she grows more comfortable in Will's company- answering him back and trying to find out more about his life.

Will is her Guardian and has stood loyal to her for more than 500 years to fight beside her and protect her if he can. It is up to Will to help her remember her past, and to re-train her to fight and use her swords. The angels are at war, and there is a whole mythology and backstory that we learn as Ellie does.

My favourite part of this book was Ellie's flashbacks. We see glimpses into her memories of her past lives with Will, which show the connection that they have to each other, and the true depth of Will's feeling toward her.

I think that the next book in the series will be even better as Ellie comes into her powers more. The backstory behind the setting is already esablished, and we already know about the different monsters that are fighting in this war. I would also really like to see more of Ellie and Will and their relationship.

To sum up- This book is well-written and full of lots of action and fight scenes, and a forbidden passion.

ARC thanks to HarperCollins Publishers and

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Author of ANGELFIRE Courtney Allison Moulton

Monday 14 February 2011

On My Wishlist #1

On My Wishlist is a weekly meme hosted by Book Chick City, where we spotlight new or old books that we really want, but haven't gotten around to buying yet (just can't get them all).

My choices this week are:
Unearthly by Cynthia Hand- I've read so many excellent reviews about this one, and I love books with a strong heroine, and a brewing romance so this sounds right up my street.

Synopsis from Goodreads-

In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees . . . .

Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn't easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place—and out of place at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make—between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart.
Timeless by Alexandra Monir- Time travelling main character, mystical powers, and a chance meeting with a guy with striking blue eyes- yes please! This is another one that I've been hearing really good things about, and I really really want.

Synopsis from Goodreads-

When tragedy strikes Michele Windsor’s world, she is forced to uproot her life and move across the country to New York City, to live with the wealthy, aristocratic grandparents she’s never met. In their old Fifth Avenue mansion filled with a century’s worth of family secrets, Michele discovers a diary that hurtles her back in time to the year 1910. There, in the midst of the glamorous Gilded Age, Michele meets the young man with striking blue eyes who has haunted her dreams all her life – a man she always wished was real, but never imagined could actually exist. And she finds herself falling for him, into an otherworldly, time-crossed romance.

Michele is soon leading a double life, struggling to balance her contemporary high school world with her escapes into the past. But when she stumbles upon a terrible discovery, she is propelled on a race through history to save the boy she loves – a quest that will determine the fate of both of their lives.

That's what's on my wishlist this week- how about yours?

Sunday 13 February 2011

'The Vespertine' by Saundra Mitchell

The Vespertine (The Vespertine, #1)The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell

3.5/5 stars

'The Vespertine' is a dreamily elegant and haunting historical romance set in Baltimore in 1889. It starts off with our main character Amelia Van Den Broek in the autumn of 1889 locked in an attic-almost mad and suicidal- lamenting the summer gone past, before she was "ruined". We then jump to the Spring of that year, and are introduced to Amelia as a sunny, excited, optimistic young girl arriving in Baltimore for the season, awe-struck by her surroundings, sent by her brother to hopefully make a good marriage match. The tale then begins to show how she went from hopeful, happy and naive, to alone and despairing. We begin to discover what happened to her that summer.

It is a little slow to begin with, but the story does pick up the pace, so it is worth sticking with, and it begins to take you in an unexpected direction that you wouldn't see coming at first, and I loved the ending. There is a small element of magic and mystery in the story, but not enough to distract you from the historical. The author has weaved the supernatural seamlessly into the story, while still leaving you with the impression that you are actually there in nineteenth century Baltimore. Amelia has a gift of seeing glimpses of the future at sunset, but it is her innocence, in how she uses that power and others judgement/perception of this power that is her downfall.

The forbidden relationship that gradually forms between Amelia and Nathaniel, a struggling artist is moving and beautiful. She is drawn to him even though she knows that she shouldn't be, and their meetings and interactions are limited by the expected propriety of the time. But their feelings quickly advance to love and Amelia finds that she can't give him up. You feel an ominous sense of looming disaster from knowing from the first chapter that their romance cannot end well, yet you are compelled to know what happens. Amelia's cousin Zora who she quickly forms a warm friendship with stops her from making too many mistakes and guides Amelia through the ettiquette of society, helping her choose her cards and dresses. These two genuinely look out for each other, and when tragedy strikes, leaves you feeling in pain for their suffering.

If you love a victorian setting, lyrical prose, and a mystical love story, give this one a try.

ARC thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishers and

Synposis from Goodreads:
It’s the summer of 1889, and Amelia van den Broek is new to Baltimore and eager to take in all the pleasures the city has to offer. But her gaiety is interrupted by disturbing, dreamlike visions she has only at sunset—visions that offer glimpses of the future. Soon, friends and strangers alike call on Amelia to hear her prophecies. However, a forbidden romance with Nathaniel, an artist, threatens the new life Amelia is building in Baltimore. This enigmatic young man is keeping secrets of his own—still, Amelia finds herself irrepressibly drawn to him.

When one of her darkest visions comes to pass, Amelia’s world is thrown into chaos. And those around her begin to wonder if she’s not the seer of dark portents, but the cause.

Saturday 12 February 2011

'Raised By Wolves' by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Raised by Wolves (Raised by Wolves, #1)Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

'Raised By Wolves' is a good book because it was sweet, funny in parts, had an engaging storyline, and hooked you into caring about what happens to the characters.

I like the main character Bryn because she is feisty, rebellious, "scrappy"(her word, not mine), but also vulnerable and down to earth, and she cares deeply about the people closest to her- her foster mother Ali, her baby brother and sister, her best friend Devon. Bryn is a human who was rescued by a pack of werewolves when she was four years old from a rogue lone werewolf (or Rabid), who attacked and killed the rest of her family. She is adopted into the pack, and learns to live by their laws and mannerisms where dominance, pack protectiveness and pack possessiveness rule. Callum is the pack alpha, and although he is good and cares about Bryn's wellbeing, he is forced to behave like the alpha of the pack, and keep her in line- even harshly. I liked the whole cast of characters in this book too, from Bryn's young sarcastic but lovely foster mum Ali, Bryn's protective musical-loving best friend Devon, and her other friend the barefoot free-spirited gun-loving Lake. Together they are snarky, witty and very funny.

The bad guy in this book is the rabid werewolf who attacked Bryn and her family, and then when Bryn is 15 comes back and attacks another boy- Chase, leaving him on Callum's territory, bloody and with a mental bond or allegience to him as his pack alpha. Callum and Bryn work to change this, but it is his affection for Bryn which forges a closer bond of loyalty between Chase and Bryn- rather than a loyalty to Callum as pack alpha. Even when they are separated Chase and Bryn can still communicate telepathically, and can share their memories and ideas. They and their friends plot to go after the rabid wolf who altered the course of their lives, but he has a secret...

Bryn forms a bond with Chase, but it makes them equals and determined to help each other. They both feel very protective of each other, but there isn't a dependent attachment- like with Edward and Bella. The only negative thing is Chase himself. He is very 2D as a character and doesn't really say anything. As the love-interest in this story he is very disappointing, and never really there (except in Bryn's mind). He doesn't much do anything or contribute (except to want to protect Bryn), and we don't find out much at all about him. He and Bryn are just drawn to each other, and their only real connection is being orphans and both victims of the same man.

I did enjoy the book and will read the sequel- 'Trial By Fire' when it comes out later this year.

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Thursday 10 February 2011

The Time Will Come #1

The Time Will Come is a new weekly meme hosted by Jodie at Books for Company every Thursday, which spotlights a book that we've had for ages and really want to read/keep meaning to get to. This idea is perfect for me because I've got lots!
My Time Will Come choice this week is 'The Fetch' by Laura Whitcomb. I've had this book sat on my shelves for about a year and a half now, and still haven't got to it yet. I asked for this book for my birthday (last year) with only really a vague idea of what it was about- but I absolutely loved Laura Whitcomb's other YA book 'A Certain Slant of Light', and seeing that this one was supernatural and had a forbidden love story to it I was sold. It's a beautiful hardback book as well, with an embossed cover and deckled pages, that is sadly gathering dust on my bookshelf while I'm too busy lining up newer books to read. One day I will pick up this lovely book, and hopefully write a review on it... eventually!

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Calder is a Fetch, a death escort, the first of his kind to step from Heaven back to Earth.The first to fall in love with a mortal girl. But when he climbs backwards out of that Death Scene, into the chaos of the Russian Revolution, he tears a wound in the ghost realm, where the spirits begin a revolution of their own.

Tuesday 8 February 2011

'Crescendo' by Becca Fitzpatrick

Crescendo (Hush, Hush, #2)Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It says a lot about my expectations about this book that after I finish it I can honestly say this- it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be! Sure, I wanted to slap Nora a couple of times, but only a couple, and the plot isn't too contrived. I've been pondering how to write this review for a couple of days now, and in that time I can't honestly remember a lot of what happened in the story!

Okay, so Patch and Nora are in love but they argue a lot and have their differences, and Patch has his secrets and keeps mysteriously disappearing. Nora and Vee run around shopping and sunbathing and talking about boys, and in between all this there is the mystery of who killed Nora's father, the question of is the killer back in town, and the world is in danger from fallen angels and nephilim. I think that about sums it up.

One thing that bugs me about these types of books is the over-protectiveness of the love interest. Daniel from Lauren Kate's 'Torment' has the same problem that Patch has. I hate all this "It's too dangerous for you to be in there- but I'm going in there". I hate when Patch doesn't tell Nora about ANYTHING that is going on, to 'protect' her, and I was actually quite proud of her when she broke it off with Patch mainly because of this. I am so sick of reading about girls who are scared to lose their first relationship. Girls who think that they can't possibly live without or move on from this boy that they just met. And Nora was actually quite sensible and mature in my opinion, in deciding to break up with Patch when she learned that he would go to hell if they stayed together, and that despite being in love, they would be better off calling it off and moving on to other people.

I'm not sure that I can write a fair review of this one- seeing as I am not really the target teenage audience, and in my opinion the characters, plot, action, romance, ending, everything- was just ok.

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Sunday 6 February 2011

'The Chosen One' by Carol Lynch Williams

The Chosen OneThe Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a very short but very sweet and powerful book, that will shock and provoke you and leave you thinking about it all the time you are not reading it.

Kyra is nearly 14 years old and has grown up as part of a polygamous cult. Her mother is her father's third wife, and Kyra has grown up knowing that she must obey the commands of her father, and their leader, the Prophet. Kyra's whole world is shaken one day when Prophet Childs comes to her house and announces that he has had a sign from God- that Kyra is to become the seventh wife of Hyrum- Kyra's uncle.

You completely feel for the situation that Kyra has been put in. The terrifying dilemma she is going through at such a young age. Should she do as she is told, and marry her cruel uncle who is 50 years older than her, or try to escape- leaving behind everything she has ever known and abandoning her beloved sisters, to disappear to the complete unknown when all her life she has been told that she will go to hell if she disobeys.

I loved Kyra as a character. She is kind and considerate to her family, but also wants to be able to do more on her own. She sticks up for herself in situations when many people wouldn't have, and her many quirks- such as sneaking out of the compound to visit the mobile library and read books that have been forbidden- just make her stand out as being determined, smart and unique. The story is told completely from Kyra's perspective, and many times even as if directly through her stream of thoughts. The narrative of her present situation is broken up with pockets of memories- some recent, some from when she was a small child that detail events in her life that have shaped her, and introduce us the reader to the way of life for her community. We see through her memories the progression of her relationship with Joshua, and her family life, her first meeting with Patrick at the mobile library, and her impressions of the Prophet. This book details the cruelty and corruption of a people who believe themselves to be doing God's will.

This story is scarily believable, very moving and thought-provoking, and will make you want to keep reading right up until the end. My heart was in my mouth at several different tense times throughout this book, while my brain was trying to read faster, and desperately hoping that everything would work out well for Kyra. A very good book.

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Friday 4 February 2011

'The Iron Queen' by Julie Kagawa

The Iron Queen (Iron Fey, #3)The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5/ 5 stars

3rd in the Iron Fey series

This series has been going from strength to strength with each book. This was the best one so far. Ash and Meghan are together (aww), and along with Puck and Grimalkin they journey through Faery, first to rescue Meghan's human father, and then into the iron realm to halt the Iron King's advance into the Nevernever, meeting some new and interesting characters along the way. This is action packed, emotional, funny in parts, and leaves you yearning to know what will happen next. Bring on book 4!

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Wednesday 2 February 2011

'Lost Voices' by Sarah Porter

Lost Voices (Lost Voices, #1)Lost Voices by Sarah Porter

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In ancient Greek myths there are creatures called Sirens- beautiful mermaids whose singing lures sailors onto the rocks and drowns all the sailors aboard. No-one before has ever asked why they do this. What is a siren's motivation for luring people on ships to their deaths? Even today, fishing boats mysteriously disappear, or ships crash into rocks despite experienced captains on board. What happened to them? 'Lost Voices' begins to answer this with a story about a group of young girls who have been wronged or harmed in one way or another by mankind, left for dead and transformed into mermaids. Believing that all people are essentially bad and deserve to die they use their powerful and hypnotising voices to sing the ships onto the rocks, or sing people into the water where they drown.

I was attracted to this book because it looked like an interesting twist to the mermaid genre and an angle that I had never really considered before. I've read a few mermaid stories for the YA market lately and have really enjoyed them- but this was just ok.

Once the girls were mermaids and had sunk a couple of ships I did think "where is this story going". I was only half-way through and felt that there couldn't be much more to tell, surely? But the author keeps telling the background stories of other girls, and creates a conflict and power struggle between the tribe of mermaids. It became more of a story about how a group of young girls can become quite bitchy, and manipulative, and form into cliques. The writing was quite haunting and mystical and sometimes felt like being in a dream. You can almost feel the cold salty greyness of the sea, but it also had that disjointed feel that dreams have, slipping about all over the place, and a bit disconnected at times. The ending was very abrupt and felt like it had no resolution, and was sorely missing- something.

Luce occupies her time by practicing her singing, and in training her voice she discovers new powers of controlling the sea and ways to manipulate the human's emotions, to make it easier for them. She does want to use her voice to help people if she can- even if all that means she can do is to make people feel at peace when they die, or make it less traumatic. I love the description of the power of the singing voices, the way it is described as a caress or like tendrils creeping into people's minds and affecting the way they make people think and feel. Some of the girls' voices are cruel, and some, like Luce's are more tender. The singing can be shaped and moulded and controlled.


They were all caught in the exaltation of their own voices, mad with the joy of power. She felt a rush of compassion for all the girls singing now: after all, they'd spent their human lives being so utterly helpless; how could they fail to be delighted by their ability to dominate anyone who heard them?

After sinking the ships Luce begins to question the life she has fallen into, and wants to do what feels right to her- even if that means trying to protect some of the humans.


"I just..." Luce didn't know how to say it. "I feel like maybe we could figure out another way? I know they do all kinds of terrible things..." But so do we, Luce thought. A bizarre, unwelcome idea occurred to her: that mermaids were really just as human, just as brutal and destructive as the humans themselves.

Overall, I loved the idea behind the plotline, but just felt that it didn't really promise anything or lead anywhere. I'm not really sure how I feel at the end of this book- whether I'm saddened by all the events that have happened or elated at the prospect of hope. There is no real resolution to any of the problems in the girls' lives, and still so many unanswered questions.

ARC thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishers and

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