Monday 30 May 2011

Review: My Soul To Keep by Rachel Vincent

My Soul To Keep (Soul Screamers Book 3) (MIRA)My Soul To Keep (Soul Screamers Book 3) by Rachel Vincent

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book 3 in the Soul Screamers series

So I finished my next Soul Screamers fix with this book, becoming completely addicted again, and having to keep going until the end of the book. I think this was the best book in the series so far, feeling so much more emotional, and emotionally draining. The storyline flowed better, it was slightly darker than before, and there was more going on.

The characters in this book are more developed as well- we have steadfast Kaylee, who again proves her selfless determination to help her classmates, and even those ones that she can't stand like the arrogant wealthy football players, placing herself in harms way at times to try to protect them from the toxic Netherworld substance "Demons Breath" that they are taking like recreational drugs. Kaylee sets herself on a new mission to find out where they are getting it from and stop the supplier before it goes too far. Kaylee has always been strong and determined, but lacks confidence and has never believed herself quite good enough. I like her moral fibre, and her insecurity makes her very relateable.

Then we have Tod, who is still my favourite character in this series- always trying to protect Kaylee, Emma and even Addison who he has never given up trying to save. Tod clearly cares a lot about Kaylee, and his protectiveness over her is very endearing to read. He drops everything and calls in favours in order to help her, risking his job and his existence. He even punches Nash in the face over the way he treated Kaylee (I cheered), but also frequently intervenes to try to help when he thinks Emma might be in trouble, and unwaveringly always does what he thinks is the right thing to do.

Nash (who for the record I have never really liked, as I've always felt the only reason he wanted to date Kaylee was because they were both bean sidhes) begins to get involved with Demons Breath, and it changes him. Nash shows a secretive conniving side more in this book, telling Kaylee lies, using his power of Influence against her, and ultimately breaking her heart. I hope that Kaylee won't go crawling back to Nash just because he is the popular football player and such a catch(!), but I think that her experiences will make her even more of a kick-ass character.

This book sees Kaylee once again forced to make a trip into the Netherworld, and facing off with the demon hellion Avari (who is so nasty and creepy he makes my skin crawl), to save her friends and save the day. The book ends on an emotional rollercoaster and I really want book four right now!

View all my reviews

Sunday 29 May 2011

In My Mailbox 29th May 2011

In My Mailbox is a weekly event hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren, where book bloggers can talk about the books they've gotten the past week- whether bought, borrowed, swapped or given for review. This feature was started to increase interaction between bloggers and increase our awareness of all the new books coming out.
This week was another good week for me, I got...

  • Entwined by Heather Dixon. This looks like a really good book, and one that I've wanted for a while. The Book Depository have still got their 10% off offer on so I just couldn't resist! But in June I'm honestly not going to buy any more books- really! (lets see how long that lasts!)
  • Wolves, Boys and Other Things That Might Kill Me by Kristen Chandler. I like the look of this book too, about a loner girl who comes out of her shell and starts a romance while volunteering in a project studying the wolf packs in Yellowstone National Park.

  • Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon. I just know that it's YA, romance, and some kind of supernatural. But it looks beautiful and eerie, and it's getting great reviews, and I'm looking forward to reading it. 
  • Evercrossed by Elizabeth Chandler. I really loved Kissed By An Angel so I was really pleased when I found out that there was going to be a sequel. I'm looking forward to reading about Ivy, Tristan and Will again.
  • The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. Horror in the woods- another zombie book :-)  It seems like a lot of people are reading this at the moment, but I love the sound of it.

These are from Audible- a company linked to Amazon. 

From the Library:
  • Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma. This is another book that I never would have picked up without encouragement and recommendations from fellow bloggers. This is a story about an incestuous relationship between a brother and sister. I wasn't sure about whether I will like this one but I will give it a go.
  • Numbers by Rachel Ward. I hope to start reading this one soon- it's about a girl who can sense numbers in her head whenever she meets anyone new- it's the date when they will die. Out one day she senses that a tragedy is about to happen.
  • The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde. Dragons and magic spells (but don't forget to fill in magic release form B1-7g!) This authors writing is always very witty and funny- I ordered this one all the way back in October, but now it's finally come I don't know if I'll get a chance to read it. Too many books, not enough time!

For Review:
  • Gravity by Abbey Boyd. I like the sound of this book about a girl whose best friend goes missing, and after mysterious things start happening to her, she starts to wonder if she is being haunted. For review from the author with thanks.

Those were my books! Anyone read any of these? What did you think of them? What books did you get?
Happy reading!

Winner- Paranormalcy giveaway!

... And the winner is...  


Mel S at Mel's Random Reviews

Congratulations Mel, an email is on it's way to you now

Thank you to everyone who entered- I'm hoping to hold an international giveaway in the next few months, so watch out for it!

Saturday 28 May 2011

Giveaway- Paranormalcy- Last chance!

Last chance to enter to win Paranormalcy by Kiersten White- contest closes today!!
To enter you must be a follower, and have a UK address that I can post the book to.

Read the full contest rules and enter here

All you have to do is fill in the quick form on the post- Good luck!

Friday 27 May 2011

Review: Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

The Goddess Test (Goddess Test #1)The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The Goddess Test is a story about Kate- an 18 year girl who has spent the last few years in New York caring for her mother who is very ill. When her mother is close to dying she uproots them both to a small town to be closer to where she had lived as a girl, and there at her new school Kate meets James, a nice but lonely boy who wants to be her friend, and Dylan and Ava, the beautiful popular kids who are initially not nice at all to Kate. Kate is an almost unbelievably kind and patient heroine- very stubborn, principled, and incredibly selfless (a lot more so than I would've been in her situation). Exactly the kind of girl you would want fighting on your side. You get the sense that she has had a hard life the previous few years, sacrificing friends and school to spend time with her mother, and is now facing the hard prospect of being alone.

This book is essentially a re-telling of the myth of the Greek Gods, especially the story of Hades and Persephone. (Recap!) Hades was in love in Persephone and kidnapped her away to the underworld, but her mother was so upset that it plummeted the world into winter. They formed a bargain where Persephone would spend 6 months of the year with Hades and 6 months of the year with her mother. This book shows us thousands of years later, and Hades (now named Henry) offers Kate a chance to help her mother through a bargain- she must spend 6 months of every year with him, and earn her immortality as his queen by passing 7 tests, of which she is not allowed to know anything about.

In some ways this also reminded me of Beauty and the Beast- being locked up with someone you initially don't like to help a parent. However, Henry isn't the beast in this. He is a very good and lovable character, very kind and eager for Kate to be happy, as well as desperate to protect her from the unknown traitor among them who has killed previous girls that have come close to passing the tests. He is not your stereotypical ruler of the underworld at all, and I did actually feel really sorry for him. As it turns out, Kate is not only trying to pass for her mother's sake- she needs to pass to protect Henry as well. The ending is full of many revelations, and surprises, and links back again to the prologue, which doesn't make sense until right at the end.

I liked this because I loved the IDEA of the story, but I was a little disappointed in the execution of the telling of it. It's difficult to explain what I mean without posting spoilers but I'll try. What I loved was the idea of a story based around Kate being locked up with Henry for 6 months, and gradually starting to fall for him. I wanted to feel the progression of the relationship between Kate and Henry, and be there with them for the significant conversations- to start to fall in love with Henry myself through what he says and how he acts. Instead, Kate more or less just tells us that time passes and she and Henry spend a lot of time together in the evenings chatting and playing cards and that she grows closer to him. As such I felt a little detached from the situation and the characters. I could understand her starting to fall for him, but I couldn't feel why.

I hope I don't put you off reading this book as I did really like it, and it did feel very fresh and new, with plenty of shocks, surprises, twists and turns. I would recommend it to fans of an unusual love story, and I will be reading the next book in the series- Goddess Interrupted when it comes out next year. This looks like it will be where Kate has to spend 6 months away from Henry, and where (I suspect) she will grow closer to her friend James and be forced to question her feelings all over again.

Verdict- A good book, I liked it.

Need a second opinion?
Goddess Test Review at Magic Of Reading (Leanne) 5 stars
Goddess Test Review at The Reader Bee (Christy)

Thursday 26 May 2011

The Time Will Come #16

The Time Will Come is a weekly meme hosted by Jodie at Books For Company where we can highlight some of those books that we really want to read but don't know when we'll get round to reading them.

My pick this week is Stray by Rachel Vincent. This is book 1 in an urban fantasy series about shifters. This is one that I've wanted to read for absolutely ages, and I've got the first one on my kindle somewhere. I love the sound of this book, and have heard so many people say they love it.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

There are only eight breeding female werecats left . . .

And I'm one of them.

I look like an all-American grad student. But I am a werecat, a shape-shifter, and I live in two worlds.

Despite reservations from my family and my Pride, I escaped the pressure to continue my species and carved out a normal life for myself. Until the night a Stray attacked.

I'd been warned about Strays -- werecats without a Pride, constantly on the lookout for someone like me: attractive, female, and fertile. I fought him off, but then learned two of my fellow tabbies had disappeared.

This brush with danger was all my Pride needed to summon me back . . . for my own protection. Yeah, right. But I'm no meek kitty. I'll take on whatever -- and whoever -- I have to in order to find my friends. Watch out, Strays -- 'cause I got claws, and I'm not afraid to use them . . .

Wednesday 25 May 2011

Waiting on Wednesday #5

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine where we can spotlight those upcoming book releases that we are eagerly anticipating.
This week for me it's The Pledge by Kimberley Derting. I loved the Body Finder series by this author so I already know I'm going to love the writing style and the storytelling, but it sounds really interesting as well. It looks like it could be another dystopian-type novel, but with politics and a love story as well. Here's what it's about-

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Words are the most dangerous weapon of all...

In the violent country of Ludania, the classes are strictly divided by the language they speak. The smallest transgression, like looking a member of a higher class in the eye while they are speaking their native tongue, results in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina has always been able to understand the languages of all classes, and she’s spent her life trying to hide her secret. The only place she can really be free is the drug-fueled underground clubs where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. It's there that she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy named Max who speaks a language she's never heard before . . . and her secret is almost exposed.

Charlie is intensely attracted to Max, even though she can’t be sure where his real loyalties lie. As the emergency drills give way to real crisis and the violence escalates, it becomes clear that Charlie is the key to something much bigger: her country’s only chance for freedom from the terrible power of a deadly regime.

This is published in Novemeber 2011

Tuesday 24 May 2011

Review: Siren by Tricia Rayburn

SirenSiren by Tricia Rayburn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's not spoiling the theme of this book if I say that this book is about sirens (the supernatural beautiful women who lure men into the sea, not the noise on a police car!). You can probably guess this from the cover and the title. This makes quite a refreshing change from some of the usual themes of YA paranoramal romance novels. We are slowly drawn into this mystery story as men start mysteriously drowning, and are found washed up with a big smile on their face. Vanessa has to learn who she can trust and discover that not everyone in the small seaside village is what they seem...

The cover is creepy, but it really matches the tone of the story. The writing is haunting and sometimes dreamlike. The description of the place also pulls you into this vivid setting- this beautiful seaside town- and draws you into the tragedy of pain of the loss of her sister. But Vanessa is such a wonderful character, instantly likeable, timid and vulnerable, and you really feel right there with her through everything. Her insecurities made her endearing, and her character and her sisters' really complemented each other. Vanessa has to adapt and learn to cope alone, and it's wonderful to see her grow into somebody stronger, braver and capable. Some of the flashbacks into the past show us hints of Vanessa's memories and the deeper connection between Vanessa and Justine.

I liked the main characters in Siren. The sisters have been childhood friends with brothers Simon and Caleb for many years. I liked that the nerdy guy gets the girl (again, this isn't a spoiler this happens near the beginning). Simon is warm and kind and such a caring sweetheart. Okay- so he occasionally wants to interrupt their date to take tide measurements, but I still really liked him! Simon is very sweet and protective and romantic, and I liked the slow building of their relationship, their initial uncertainty around each other. Again, this made a nice change from reading about childhood nice-guy best friends who are ignored in favour of the new bad-boy in town. Hooray for the geeks! Simon has a great relationship with his brother Caleb that was lovely to read, and these good sibling relationships contrast with Vanessa's friend Paige and her sister. There are many quirky characters in this small town, and Vanessa and Simon work together to uncover secrets about them from the past.

My only complaint is that the storyline seems to jump around occasionally, just hopping from place to place and some things happen with no explanation- events are just implied. Also the mythology of the sirens is never really explained (perhaps it will be further explored in the next book). But other than that I liked it. There is drama, action, mystery and romance, and some unexpected twists and surprises- all mixed up together in a story with a lot of heart. This book is very unique, very spooky and atmospheric, and a good read. There are still some unanswered questions by the end of the book, and although this book could stand alone fine, I'm glad that this tale will continue, and we can read more about these characters and their lives again.

View all my reviews

Sunday 22 May 2011

In My Mailbox 22nd May 2011

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren where we can show off all the books that we got this past week, whether bought, borrowed or given for review. This feature was started to increase interaction between book bloggers, and increase our awareness of all the new books coming out at the moment.

 Books, glorious books! I really have no money at the moment so I was trying to be so good and not buy any books at all this month. Then I got an email from The Book Depository saying that they're offering an extra 10% discount off everything for the month of May. Curse them! This prompted me to order a load of books that were on my wishlist, that I was worried might go out of print soon. This week I got-

  • Liar Society by Lisa and Laura Roecker. I've wanted this for ages, it looks so fun.
  • Born at Midnight by C.C Hunter. Another one off my wishlist, heard good things about it. It's about a camp for teenage supernaturals, and includes a love triangle.
  • Tempest Rising by Tracy Deebs. I know it's silly to say that I have no money, and then confess that I spent more money on this book because I preferred this US cover to the UK cover. But look at the pretty! Romance story with mermaids.
  • Timeless by Alexandra Monir. Ok- I've really wanted this book since it came out in the US in January, and when TBD offered 10%  off I really couldn't resist! This is a romantic story with a time-travelling element.
  • Dark Heart Rising by Lee Monroe. Book 2 in the Dark Heart series. I just finished book 1 in this series and liked it. I saw this book at the supermarket quite cheap and added it to my trolley.

From the Library:
  • Married With Zombies by Jesse Petersen. If it weren't for all the excellent reviews that I've seen on blogs praising this book I never would have ordered it. I wouldn't have thought it was my kind of thing. Now after hearing how much people love it I really want to read it. Humour with zombies. Bring it on!

  •  Moon Called by Patricia Briggs. Book 1 in the Mercy Thompson series. I've wanted to read this series for ages, and after mentioning on my IMM last week that my bookshop had books 2 and 3 but not book 1, lovely Ellie over at Curiosity Killed the Bookworm offered to send me her old copy to read. So now I have the first 3 books- Thanks Ellie! I swear book bloggers are just the nicest people in the world!

So those were all the books that I got this week. What did you get?

Saturday 21 May 2011

Giveaway- Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

To celebrate reaching 50 followers and my (nearly!) sixth month anniversary of the blog I'm holding my first giveaway!
I have a brand new shiny copy of one of my favourite books of this year- Paranormalcy by Kiersten White to give away to one lucky UK follower. This book is sassy and fun and I just loved this- read my review of it here.

What's it about?
Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours.

But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

So much for normal.

To be in with a chance to win read the rules of the competition and fill in the form below.

The Rules:
  • You must be over 13 years old to enter
  • This  is a UK only contest as I'm posting the book out myself and watching the purse strings
  • Winners will be chosen at random
  • One entry per person
  • Contest closes at midnight on Saturday 28th May and the winner will be notified by email on Sunday 29th May.

    Fill in the form here-

    Thursday 19 May 2011

    The Time Will Come #15

    The Time Will Come is a weekly meme hosted by Jodie over at Books For Company where we can spotlight books that we've had for a while and want to read but never get round to.
    I can't remember how long I've had Mistwood sitting on my shelf for but it's definitely since before christmas. This looks like an interesting book- it's a YA romance story with shifters. It's got castles and princes and people with powers. I have to admit to being a sucker for the pretty covers as well, and this is lovely, with a sea of bluebells in the foreground, a fairytale castle, and a woman with green eyes and red hair, all shrouded in mist.

    Synopsis from Goodreads:
    The Shifter is an immortal creature bound by an ancient spell to protect the kings of Samorna. When the realm is peaceful, she retreats to the Mistwood. But when she is needed she always comes.

    Isabel remembers nothing. Nothing before the prince rode into her forest to take her back to the castle. Nothing about who she is supposed to be, or the powers she is supposed to have.

    Prince Rokan needs Isabel to be his Shifter. He needs her ability to shift to animal form, to wind, to mist. He needs her lethal speed and superhuman strength. And he needs her loyalty—because without it, she may be his greatest threat.

    Isabel knows that her prince is lying to her, but she can't help wanting to protect him from the dangers and intrigues of the court . . . until a deadly truth shatters the bond between them.

    Now Isabel faces a choice that threatens her loyalty, her heart . . . and everything she thought she knew.

    Wednesday 18 May 2011

    Waiting on Wednesday #4

    Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking The Spine where we can spotlight all those not-yet-published books that we are eagerly waiting on.

    This week I wanted to gush over Vanish by Sophie Jordan. This is the sequel to Firelight which I loved (read my review of Firelight here) and which ended on a bit of a cliffhanger. I can't wait to immerse myself in this world again (which is our world but with shape-shifting dragons called Draki) and find out what will happen next to Will and Jacinda. Plus the covers for these books are just so beautiful!

    Synopsis from Goodreads:
    To save the life of the boy she loves, Jacinda did the unthinkable: She betrayed the most closely-guarded secret of her kind. Now she must return to the protection of her pride knowing she might never see Will again—and worse, that because his mind has been shaded, Will’s memories of that fateful night and why she had to flee are gone.

    Back home, Jacinda is greeted with hostility and must work to prove her loyalty for both her sake and her family’s. Among the few who will even talk to her are Cassian, the pride’s heir apparent who has always wanted her, and her sister, Tamra, who has been forever changed by a twist of fate. Jacinda knows that she should forget Will and move on—that if he managed to remember and keep his promise to find her, it would only endanger them both. Yet she clings to the hope that someday they will be together again. When the chance arrives to follow her heart, will she risk everything for love?

    Published in September

    Tuesday 17 May 2011

    Review: City Of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

    City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments, #4)City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    4.5/5 stars

    Book 4 in the Mortal Instruments series

    I love this series and this fourth book did not disappoint. This is the kind of book I'm talking about when I say the writing and dialogue has to have a spark. You could fill pages up with your favourite Jace or Simon quotes- it is witty, funny and sparky, and that is what makes this so fun to read. The story also flows so well- the writing is fantastic, and pulls you into that world. I want to be a Shadowhunter now!

    I am so glad that Clare wrote a fourth book in this series after the dramatic ending of City of Glass. We get to hang out with all the fantastic characters again- Jace, Clary, Simon, Isabelle and all the rest, and all their associated love life dramas in the midst of demons attacking and everything going wrong. The story picks up pretty much where book 3 left off and it is so easy to slide right back into that world again. I thought the books had finished after book 3 and didn't realise until I started reading this one that there is still so much tale left to tell, still so much that can (and does) go wrong for everyone.

    Jace is haunted by nightmares that put a wedge between him and Clary. Simon is torn between whether he should be dating Maya or Isabelle, in the midst of struggling to come to terms with his new abilities (and how to deal with his family now), and Alec begins questioning his importance to Magnus and what kind of future they can have. Then there is still the big question- is Sebastian really dead and gone?

    This book has everything- shadowhunters, demons, vampires, werewolves, romance and heartbreak. It is sassy, funny and kick-ass with characters that we love for being real, and tough and hilarious and vulnerable all rolled into one. Just brilliant!

    View all my reviews

    Monday 16 May 2011

    Review: Dark Heart Forever by Lee Monroe

    Dark Heart ForeverDark Heart Forever by Lee Monroe

    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    Book 1 in the Dark Heart series

    I don't really know what to say about this book, I really don't! I loved it- by the end, but it did take me a long while to get into it. I have wavered at times about whether or not this book is a three star or a four star or a four and half star title, and I still don't know! In this book we have a whole variety of our favourite paranormal misfits from werewolves and vampires to witches and fallen angels, but it isn't immediately obvious who is who, and who can be trusted. There is also a whole alternate dimension- a completely other magical world called Nissilum that the main character Jane can travel to.

    I think the main story of this book is set somewhere in the UK, but the place is never really elaborated on- just that they live on a mountain. However Jane is studying for her GCSEs, and talks about pounds and pence, which makes me think that it's the UK. BUT then they say that the car "ran out of gas" which no-one that I know would say, you'd say you ran out of petrol. And Jane starts learning to drive at 16 (I just realised that I'm waffling...)

    Jane is plain and a little dull. She avoids school and hanging out with kids her own age after being bullied and prefers to spend time with her immediate family, especially her little sister Dot. Before her 16th birthday Jane starts sleep walking and having dreams about a boy with vivid green eyes. When Jane turns 16 she suddenly has two gorgeous guys both vying for her attention. I'm possibly a little cynical about the reality of this happening (or just jealous) because this has never happened to me! So starts the love triangle between Jane and two guys Evan and Luca. Evan is the new guy in town, an australian surfer type who has run away from home and his drunken mother. He doesn't really like to talk about himself, but is interested in getting to know Jane, and spends time helping out and getting to know her parents. Evan is also very cute and good with Jane's sister Dot. Around the same time, Jane also meets Luca- the green-eyed boy from her dreams. Jane has the opportunity to go to Nissilum with Luca to meet his family and attend a ball full of witches, vampires and werewolves. I liked Luca as a character, he was sweet and kind but also brave when he needed to be. He cares about Jane as a friend but accepts that they cannot be together because he lives in a parallel world. There is a lot of mystery around both boys and we don't find out much about them until late in the book when true colours start to be revealed...

    Even though I'm not sure if I loved this book or not, if you asked me if I would read the sequel (Dark Heart Rising out 2nd June 2011 in the UK) the answer is a definite yes. This book is mysterious and romantic with a hint of danger, and some unexpected twists. We get a glimpse into another magical and fascinating world. I feel like the relationship aspect of the story is just getting started (I'm not going to tell you with who), but also I would like to read more to find out some more about the magical world of Nissilum.

    Sunday 15 May 2011

    In My Mailbox 15th May 2011

    In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren, where we can show off all the books we got our hands on during the week, whether bought, borrowed, or given for review. This feature was started to increase interaction between bloggers and increase awareness of some of the new book titles coming out.

    This week was another slow book week. I got...

    I had a good rummage through the 3 books for £5 offers at The Works bookshop again and bought
    • Blood Bound and Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs. These are books 2 and 3 from the Mercedes Thompson series which I have wanted to read for absolutely ages. I was a little annoyed that they didn't have book 1 in stock, as it always helps to read the first book first, but it means that I'll keep having to go in there and checking to see if it's come in (whilst trying not to buy any more books- I'm on a book buying ban!) This is an urban fantasy series about shifters.
    • Masquerade by Melissa De La Cruz. This is book 2 in the Blue Bloods series (vampires and high society-oh yeah). I have book 1 already but still haven't gotten around to reading it yet.


    • Mercy by Rebecca Lim. I have a friend at work who has been nagging me for ages to read this book, and it looks very good. This is a YA title about angels. That's all I really know about it! (The girl's feet on the cover look really huge to me- I'm assuming it's a girl. I must just have really tiny feet!)

    So, those were the books I got this week- what did you get?

    Saturday 14 May 2011

    Review: I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have To Kill You by Ally Carter

    I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You (Gallagher Girls, #1)I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter

    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    Book 1 in the Gallagher Girls series

    Going into this book I half-expected it to be only ok- a bit childish and silly, a little bit of light reading- but it way exceeded all my expectations. This book was hilariously funny, very clever, and very sweet. My advice- don't read this book while eating your lunch, unless you like snorting apple juice up your nose (you have been warned!)

    The Gallagher Academy is a school for training future spies masquerading as a snooty boarding school for exceptional young women. Right from the beginning of this novel, I couldn't help feeling a kind of excitement like I was diving into a brand new Harry Potter- it's a fantastical school where absolutely anything can happen. There's a nuclear powered hovercraft in the basement, the statues carry enough electricity to set your hair on fire if touched, and notes are passed in class on evapopaper which can be eaten if you are caught. As the daughter of the headmistress Cammie has spent her holidays at the school, and now knows every secret passageway and trick of the school- which comes in handy when you need to sneak out.

    Cammie has spent her high school life training as a spy. She can speak 14 languages, is trained in martial arts, can crack codes, absail down buildings and follow a target through a crowd without being seen. But when it comes to talking to boys she is completely out of her depth! Cammie is used to being unnoticed, blending in, so when a hot guy notices her and tries to talk to her, her first thought is that he obviously must be honeytrap! This launches Cammie and her friends into an hilarious investigation into Josh's life, hacking into his computer emails and breaking into his bedroom. Finding out more about him also involves explosives, sneaking a tracker into his shoes, and hardest of all- trying to decide what to wear for a date. Cammie is helped by her best friends who are clumsy computer whiz Liz, and tough-talking Bex.

    What happens when you are dating someone who can never know anything about your life or who you really are? Loved this book- its funny, cool, and smart and I'm definitely going to read book 2.

    View all my reviews

    Thursday 12 May 2011

    The Time Will Come #14

    The Time Will Come is a weekly meme hosted by Jodie at Books For Company where we can highlight any books that we've had sitting unread on our shelves for ages- books that we really want to read and never seem to get around to reading.
    About September/ October time last year I kept seeing reviews on the blogs for Sea by Heidi R. Kling, and it looked like such a good book, very emotional and romantic- that I went ahead and bought it. Unfortunately I still haven't found a chance to read it yet, and it's still sitting on my shelf. I love the cover for it too, it looks like a photograph underwater with daylight shining through. I think it looks like a modern love story about a teenager in Indonesia following the tragic aftermath of the 2004 Indonesian tsunami.

    Synopsis from the book cover:

    Sienna Jones has had a hard time dealing with the loss of her mother three years ago in a plane crash over the Indian Ocean. Nightmares and fears of the ocean and planes haunt her. So when her father asks Sienna to join his international relief team for two weeks of her summer vacation to help tsunami orphans cope with their losses, she thinks he must be kidding or crazy or both. But wanting to help wins out over her fears, and she makes the long and frightening trek to Indonesia.
      What she finds there is the most handsome boy she's ever seen- Deni. He's mysterious and brooding. Everything about him and the way Sienna feels about him is intense. Their connection is instant and true, so when he hears word that his father may have survived the awful tsunami after all, Sienna doesn't hesitate to run away with him into the epicenter of the tsunami disaster. She knows about the kind of hope that's driving Deni, and she wants to see him through whatever he'll find back home. She knows they're taking a huge risk, but she doesn't expect that what they find might break both their hearts...

    Sunday 8 May 2011

    In My Mailbox 8th May 2011

    In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren where we can show off all the books we got our hands on during the week. This feature was started to increase interaction between bloggers and increase awareness of some of the new book titles coming out.
    I didn't expect to get any books this week but it ended up that I got...


    • Solid by Shelley Workinger (kindle edition). This looks like a good book and the reviews on blogs for it have been positive. It's about a camp of genetically modified teenagers. I entered every competition going to win a copy of this book but no such luck! It will probably take me a long while to get around to reading it as well (maybe the other books in the series will be out by then and I can read them all in one go).


    • My Soul To Keep by Rachel Vincent. This is book 3 in the Soul Screamers series and I liked the first 2 books so I'm looking forward to reading this one (although I've heard it gets a bit darker in this one? Anyone else read it?)

    • My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares. This is a love story with reincarnation, about a guy named Daniel who remembers all his past lives with Lucy, where they keep falling in love and keep getting torn apart. (OK- anyone else, does this sound exactly like Fallen, even the names and the cover?!)

    For Review:

    • Hereafter by Tara Hudson (due to be published 7th June). Gah!- I'm so excited to get this book about a spirit, Amelia, who can remember nothing about her life or death, but when she saves a boy from drowning in the river they start to uncover the mystery together.
    For review from the publisher

    Those were the books that I got this week! What did you get in your mailbox?

    Saturday 7 May 2011

    Review: Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting

    Desires of the Dead (The Body Finder, #2)Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting

    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    Book 2 in The Body Finder series

    Diving into Desires of the Dead and reading about Violet and Jay again, was like hanging out with old friends that you haven't seen in a while- it was comfortable and familiar, and just clicked straight back into place. This story starts off a few months after the events of the first book and immediately launches into another mystery. Violet finds another body in a way that she couldn't have known was there, and this time in the city, without her uncle the sheriff of her small town to cover for her unusual knack of discovering murder victims. This time Violet has attracted the notice of the FBI, and she must decide between keeping her powers a secret as she has always done, or using them to try to help the FBI solve murders.

    In the first book The Body Finder the story was told from alternating points of view, shifting between Violet and the unknown serial killer. The author has adopted the same technique in this book as well- shifting the perspective between Violet and everything going on with her, and an unknown stalker following Jay and plotting against Violet. This adds another element of mystery to this story- as we the reader are left wondering who the evil-minded stalker could be, and (if you're anything like me) coming up with all sorts of theories and guesses (which again I got completely wrong!).

    All the characters in this book are wonderful- especially Jay, who is fiercely protective of Violet, and so sweet and giving- the kind of idealised boy that I'm sure doesn't exist in real life! Violet's best friend Chelsea also gets more mention in this 2nd book- and her quirky antics and cracking one-liners are the kind of real spark that give the reader a break from all the danger in the story and really bring the fun side of it to life- adding an edge of humour to the book and making it a fun story to read.

    I really enjoyed both these books as they are so gripping, full of suspense and creepy, telling a really intriguing story while at the same time being sweet and funny. It is also such a unique concept, and the way the story unfolds is not at all cliche. I just love all the characters as well- from Violet and Jay to Violet's mad best friend who tells it like it is, the stiff FBI agent Sarah and her quiet associate Rafe (I hope we see more of him in book 3!), and mystery new-guy at school Mike. The other reason that I like these books is that they are self-contained stories that both could work well as stand-alone books. At the end, the mystery is unfolded, there is a big drama and a stand-off but everything is resolved. I eagerly await the next book in the series- not because it ended on a cliff-hanger, but because I love the writing, and the characters and the whole mystery/drama in the way the story is told- excellent.

    View all my reviews

    Friday 6 May 2011

    Review: The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney

    The Iron WitchThe Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney

    My rating: 2 of 5 stars

    From Goodreads:

    Freak. That's what her classmates call seventeen-year-old Donna Underwood. When she was seven, a horrific fey attack killed her father and drove her mother mad. Donna's own nearly fatal injuries from the assault were fixed by magic—the iron tattoos branding her hands and arms. The child of alchemists, Donna feels cursed by the magical heritage that destroyed her parents and any chance she had for a normal life. The only thing that keeps her sane and grounded is her relationship with her best friend, Navin Sharma.

    When the darkest outcasts of Faerie—the vicious wood elves—abduct Navin, Donna finally has to accept her role in the centuries old war between the humans and the fey. Assisted by Xan, a gorgeous half-fey dropout with secrets of his own, Donna races to save her friend—even if it means betraying everything her parents and the alchemist community fought to the death to protect.

    I really wanted to like this book but in my honest opinion it was only ok. This wasn't a bad book it just didn't feel like anything new or different or original, and the characters just felt like obvious cliched rehashes of characters from other YA books. There is the main character- the girl who doesn't think she is very pretty and is a bit of an outsider with a secret power, the guy best friend who is secretly in love with her, the idealised bad-boy new boyfriend who is instantly madly in love with her and is of course perfect...

    Throughout the narration of the story and even in the dialogue between them, parts of it felt really forced and there was just never any real spark in the writing. Other characters in the book like Donna's aunt (who she lives with)- we never really find out anything about her- I can't remember if we even meet her in the story or if we do only find out about her through Donna briefly mentioning her. Then we have Donna's guardians Quentin and Simon- She has known them most of her life but I never got a sense of a history there, I still feel like I know nothing about them.

    Even with plot elements like a secret society called the Order of the Dragon and a rescue mission into faerie to save a kidnapped friend I still struggled to get lost in the world of this book and kept reading just to plow through it (because I hate to leave a book unfinished). Problems were solved quite quickly- to save their friend they had to obtain a secret and hidden alchemist potion, and they seemed to just break in and take it. I did like the character Xan (the new boyfriend one) who has a secret power all of his own, but he just felt a bit unreal to me, and again I just didn't feel a spark.

    My verdict- meh :-/

    But I hate writing negative reviews for anything because I always feel that just because I didn't like it it doesn't mean it's a bad book- it just means that I didn't like it (and wouldn't the world be a boring place if we all liked and disliked the same things?) So to even it out here are some reviews from my lovely blogging friends who DID like this book-
    Iron Witch Review from The Slowest Bookworm (Karen)
    Iron Witch Review from Magic of Reading (Leanne)
    Iron Witch Review from Book Chick City
    Iron Witch Review from Excellent Reads (Arjun)
    Iron Witch Review from Heaven Hell and Purgatory (Lyndsey)

    Thursday 5 May 2011

    The Time Will Come #13

    The Time Will Come is a weekly event hosted by Jodie at Books For Company where we can spotlight those books which have been sitting unread on our shelves for too long. Books that we really want to read and never seem to find time to get around to.
    This week my book is Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles. I bought this book and the sequel Return to Paradise in about January after I kept seeing so many rave reviews on blogs, and Amazon had them on offer quite cheap. I really want to read this and it sounds excellent, but I have sooooo many books! I need to read more contemporary real-life romance books like this to give my brain a break from all the sci-fi/ fantasy/ vampire/ demon books I keep reading! One day...

    Synopsis from Goodreads:

    Nothing has been the same since Caleb Becker left a party drunk, got behind the wheel, and hit Maggie Armstrong. Even after months of painful physical therapy, Maggie walks with a limp. Her social life is nil and a scholarship to study abroad—her chance to escape everyone and their pitying stares—has been canceled.

    After a year in juvenile jail, Caleb’s free . . . if freedom means endless nagging from a transition coach and the prying eyes of the entire town. Coming home should feel good, but his family and ex-girlfriend seem like strangers.

    Caleb and Maggie are outsiders, pigeon-holed as "criminal" and "freak." Then the truth emerges about what really happened the night of the accident and, once again, everything changes. It’s a bleak and tortuous journey for Caleb and Maggie, yet they end up finding comfort and strength from a surprising source: each other.


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