Friday 30 September 2011

Best Of The Bunch- September 2011

Best of the Bunch is a monthly award ceremony hosted at the end of every month by Lyrical over at Lyrical Reviews where we can look back over all the books we read the past month and award a Best of the Bunch prize to our favourite book of that month.
This month I have reviewed on the blog-
  • Huntress by Malinda Lo (3.5 of 5 stars)
  • Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini (4 of 5 stars)
  • The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa (4 of 5 stars)
  • POD by Stephen Wallenfels (4.5 of 5 stars)
  • Intertwined by Gena Showalter (4 of  stars)
  • A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (5 of 5 Stars)
  • Supernaturally by Kiersten White (3 of 5 stars)
  • Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck (5 of 5 stars)
  • Tris and Izzie by Mette Ivie Harrison (1.5 of 5 stars)
  • Eve by Anna Carey (4 of 5 stars)
My Best of the Bunch award is going to go to...


Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck!
For me this was such a wonderful book because it was a big romantic mysterious, magical adventure with such vivid description of time and place. The main character was a strong, independent, sweet, smart girl, and the love interest was gorgeous and charming. Colleen Houck has written a novel that is beautiful and moving, and will have you completely absorbed in this wonderfully vivid magical world that she has created. She will make you fall desperately in love and then rip your heart out! I was consistently late for work while reading this book, for always wanting to read just a little bit more!
Read my full review of it here.

Synopsis from Goodreads:
The last thing Kelsey Hayes thought she'd be doing this summer was trying to break a 300-year old Indian curse. With a mysterious white tiger named Ren. Halfway around the world.

But that's exactly what happened.

Face-to-face with dark forces, spellbinding magic, and mystical worlds where nothing is what it seems, Kelsey risks everything to piece together an ancient prophecy that could break the curse forever.

I loved Tiger's Curse (as you can see) and have started reading book 2 in the series already. Can I just say that A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness was a very close second for this prize- fantastic book!

I would love to see what your favourite book of the month was- so hop on over to Lyrical's blog to check it out, and add your post to the linky!

Thursday 29 September 2011

The Time Will Come #33

The Time Will Come is a weekly meme hosted by Jodie at Books For Company, where we can spotlight those books that we've had sitting on our shelves for too long. Books that we really want to read but never seem to get around to.

I was so excited to read this book when it dropped through the letterbox earlier this year, but I still haven't gotten around to reading it. This is the first in a series and the sequel has just come out, so I still really need to read it! It's about a camp for teenagers with powers.
Born At Midnight by C.C Hunter

Synopsis from Goodreads:

One night Kylie Galen finds herself at the wrong party, with the wrong people, and it changes her life forever. Her mother ships her off to Shadow Falls—a camp for troubled teens, and within hours of arriving, it becomes painfully clear that her fellow campers aren’t just “troubled.” Here at Shadow Falls, vampires, werewolves, shapshifters, witches and fairies train side by side—learning to harness their powers, control their magic and live in the normal world.

Kylie’s never felt normal, but surely she doesn’t belong here with a bunch of paranormal freaks either. Or does she? They insist Kylie is one of them, and that she was brought here for a reason. As if life wasn’t complicated enough, enter Derek and Lucas. Derek’s a half-fae who’s determined to be her boyfriend, and Lucas is a smokin’ hot werewolf with whom Kylie shares a secret past. Both Derek and Lucas couldn’t be more different, but they both have a powerful hold on her heart.

Even though Kylie feels deeply uncertain about everything, one thing is becoming painfully clear—Shadow Falls is exactly where she belongs…

Wednesday 28 September 2011

Waterfall Wednesdays read-along Discussion #5 and wrap up

Waterfall Wednesdays Read-Along Event

Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren

Discussion 5- Chapters 24-28

This weeks questions hosted by Nic at Irresistible Reads

1. After Gabi is injured, the doctor gives her a tonic. Gabi questions the doctor several times what is in it but he refuses to tell. Would you have taken the tonic in Gabi's situation?

No way! Didn't doctors used to put all kinds of weird things in their potions? That song about the witches- eye of newt etc. is for a reason! Doctors didn't know anything about the human body and what made it tick.
I know even as late as the 1920s doctors were giving out all kinds of strange things in their medicine. I just saw an article about wealthy socialite Eben Byers, who was given bottles of mercury to drink to improve his health- and then he died of radiation poisoning- with the newspaper headline "The Radium Water Worked Fine until His Jaw Came Off". And that was less than a hundred years ago!

2. Before the games Gabi asks Lia to let Lord Foraboschi win in the archery event as people especially Lord Foraboschi are becoming suspicious of them. But during the games Lord Foraboschi upsets Lia trying to throw her off her game. So Lia decides to win. Do you think she did the right thing by not letting Lord Foraboschi bully her or do you think she took an unnecessary risk?

That's a toughie. On the one hand they are in such a precarious situation already, and really don't need any more enemies. But I also respect Lia for showing off what she can really do and putting those arrogant men in their place! She had to do it!

3. When Gabi is dying and she and Lia decide to return to the tombs so they can get the cure at home but they have to tell Marcello the truth. Even though Marcello thinks that it is madness that they are from the future he believes in Gabi because he loves her. Do you think this is believable? What would you have done if you were Marcello?

I think it would be hard to believe it without seeing it. What makes it slightly easier to believe though is that it explains a lot of their weird behaviour- like their odd clothes, the holes in their story, their unconventional attitudes and educations. She also has no reason to lie about it, and in risking her life to help Marcello and becoming wounded in the process she has proven to him that he can trust her.

4. In the end Gabi and Lia return home. Do you think Gabi will return to Marcello? Would you go back?

I think that she will return to Marcello. The pull is too strong to ignore.
As for me- I want the best of both worlds. I'd want to stay in medieval Italy (with Marcello) for most of the year but be able to take regular trips back to the modern day to stock up on supplies, take a hot shower or bubble bath, eat some chocolate, spend time with my family, catch up on my television shows- and then go back again. And I want modern doctors and medicines if I'm ill!

5. Looking back at Waterfall what was your favourite moment?

Can I pick 2? I love the bit where Luca is teaching Gabi to dance, then asks her to close her eyes, and Marcello takes over. I think it is the first time where he has really shown that he cares more for her than for his fiancee (and he doesn't guiltily pull away.) Everything from the way he holds her to the way he looks at her reveals his true feelings. And it is so unexpected and romantic.
I also love any scenes with Luca and Lia together. Luca is such a joker and so funny and sweet, and a perfect partner to Marcello's seriousness. Luca is so completely smitten with Lia but she is so determined not to fall for him back, because she wants to go home. I love this couple and any pages where the two of them are together sparkle for me.

This is the last Waterfall Wednesday, but it has been so much fun joining in and reading everyone else's answers each week. This feature has encouraged me to read a book that I probably would have put off reading for a while (due to time constraints) by cutting it into a few chapters a week, making it feel much more managable, and I've really enjoyed discussing a different part of the book each week. I've also found a few more blogs and bloggers to talk books with! Thanks!
Luckily (and perfect timing), I won a contest over at The Story Siren and won a set of the complete series, so I'm really happy that I can now keep going with this fantastic series (and I've started book 2 already!) 

Mini review

This has been such a fantastic new novel for me, and a brilliant start to the series. We have a spunky kick-ass modern heroine who is smart and feisty, travelling back in time into medieval Italy, and some very nice knights looking after her. Gabi finds herself in the middle of sword fights and political intrigues. This book is so romantic, and a fun read, but also action-packed, and dangerous.
History+ adventure+ spunky girl lead+ heartbreakingly good love story= win!

Tuesday 27 September 2011

Review: Eve by Anna Carey

Eve (The Eve Trilogy, #1)Eve by Anna Carey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads:
The year is 2032, sixteen years after a deadly virus—and the vaccine intended to protect against it—wiped out most of the earth’s population. The night before eighteen-year-old Eve’s graduation from her all-girls school she discovers what really happens to new graduates, and the horrifying fate that awaits her.

Fleeing the only home she’s ever known, Eve sets off on a long, treacherous journey, searching for a place she can survive. Along the way she encounters Caleb, a rough, rebellious boy living in the wild. Separated from men her whole life, Eve has been taught to fear them, but Caleb slowly wins her trust...and her heart. He promises to protect her, but when soldiers begin hunting them, Eve must choose between true love and her life.

I really liked this story a lot- I felt it had a lot of adventure and heart. There have been a lot of dystopian novels out this year, but I thought that this was a good one. This is set not too far into the future where a plague has killed off the majority of the world's population. I thought that the back story, the reasons why, and history of the spread of the original devastating virus was well explained.

The main character Eve has been raised in a walled off school for girls, cared for and educated, but has never seen a boy and has been taught to fear them. Eve discovers, by accident, that after they graduate they are going to be kept in a prison and used for breeding, so she escapes the school the night before graduation with one of her classmates Arden and starts to run. The focus of the book is not about the society, or the girls kept for breeding, but about Eve's new life on the run, as a fugitive hiding from the soldiers who are pursuing her, and about the people that she meets along the way.

I thought that Eve was very sweet but naturally naive, but I liked her a lot and sympathised with what she was going through. She fends for herself in the woods and manages to hide out in a few abandoned houses, when she has never had to do anything for herself before, and copes well with how devastating it is when everything she thinks she knows is wrong. She is very lucky in that the first boy she meets is Caleb- someone with a good heart who is willing to try and help her even when doing so puts himself in danger. Eve is prepared to be afraid of Caleb and immediately assumes the worst of him, but Caleb is one of the nice guys and his humourous attempts to reassure her added a breath of fresh air to the story.

Caleb takes her to a secret hideout of a kind of resistance movement where they are safe from the soldiers, but where she is also met with suspicion. As she tries to help and fit in, she gradually feels more at home there. At one point she becomes a figure like Wendy to the Lost Boys with the children of the resistance in hiding- she starts to teach them to read and civilises them. Eve is spoilt by having Caleb as a friend, and starts to assume that she has been lied to completely about all guys, letting her guard down a little, and making herself vulnerable again. This book is suspenseful, tender, harsh and romantic and has the best and worst of human nature shown in it. There are betrayals and cruelty and heartbreaks, but also acts of bravery and selflessness, and a determination of spirit. Eve is a survival story, and a love story, and a story of struggle, and Eve and Caleb fight soldiers, and hide, and develop codes and try to find each other again. Their goal is a place called Califia, told about in stories, where they will be safe from the soldiers.

Although I liked this, the book was, however, very short and could have been expanded upon a little more. Even though this is the first book in a series, this still felt a little like the skeleton of a story and could have done with a little more flesh to it. I enjoyed it though, and will read the sequel when it comes out.

Thanks to HarperCollins and netgalley for the advance copy.

Monday 26 September 2011

Review: Tris and Izzie by Mette Ivie Harrison

Tris & IzzieTris and Izzie by Mette Ivie Harrison

My rating: 1.5 of 5 stars

This is such a shame because I was really looking forward to reading this book. It is a re-telling of the old German folk tale Tristan and Isolde, and I'm not going to sugarcoat it- this was pretty dire.

The teenage characters in this are incredibly dumb and fickle, and just fall in and out of love with each other at a snap of their fingers. Izzie also foolishly plays around with magic and love potions (which was another ridiculous concept). I know that the characters are meant to be only 16 and in high school, but their personalities were too silly to be believed.

There was barely any plot or background, and the idea of witches and potions seemed to be just thrown in- a little jarringly. The writing was bad and there were too many times when I thought, why are you doing that? By the end of the book when it was time for the showdown fight with the Generic Big Bad Thing I just honestly didn't care enough about them enough to be bothered if they lived or died.

The best thing about this book? I'll let you know when I think of something...

Thanks to Egmont publishers and negalley for the advance review copy

Sunday 25 September 2011

In My Mailbox 25th September 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.
I got some more great books to read this week-

From the Library:

  • Unravelled by Gena Showalter. This is the sequel to Intertwined which I read recently and really enjoyed. Hopefully I'll find time to read this one soon before I forget everything that happened in the first book!

For Review:

  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. I'm so excited to read this, it sounds fantastic. I love this cover with the feather- very pretty!
Thanks to the girls at UK Book Tours for arranging the tour of this book.



  • Waterfall, Cascade, and Torrent by Lisa T. Bergren. I won this from a contest hosted at The Story Siren and was so excited to win because I've been reading Waterfall as part of the Waterfall Wednesdays read-along and loved it, and now I have rest of the books in the series to read as well- yay! I read the first one on kindle, but I prefer to own paper copies of books I love because it's easier to re-read my favourite bits. So chuffed to win this- thanks to Lisa and to Kristi for hosting!
Those were the books I got this week- what did you get in your mailbox?
Happy reading!

Saturday 24 September 2011

Review: Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck

Tiger's Curse (Tiger Series, #1)Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads:
The last thing Kelsey Hayes thought she’d be doing this summer was trying to break a 300-year-old Indian curse. With a mysterious white tiger named Ren. Halfway around the world.

But that’s exactly what happened.
Face-to-face with dark forces, spell- binding magic, and mystical worlds where nothing is what it seems, Kelsey risks everything to piece together an ancient prophecy that could break the curse forever.

Book 1 in the Tiger series

A-mazing book! This book is the perfect example of the way novels are supposed to be- original, very in depth, with a rich plot-line and lovable well-developed characters. This is easily one of the best books I've read this year. I could re-read it over and over. Love it!

The story focuses on 17 year-old Kelsey, who finds a temporary job working with a circus for the summer before she is due to leave for university. Among the many duties she performs, her favourite task is working with the white tiger, who she has a terrific rapport with. When a wealthy benefactor buys the tiger- Dhiren- he offers Kelsey a job escorting the tiger back to a sanctuary in India, offering to pay all her expenses, first class travel, and take care of all the plans for her. It turns out that the tiger is an Indian prince who has been cursed for hundreds of years, and can only be a man for 20 minutes of each day. Dhiren (nicknamed Ren by Kelsey) is warm, kind and determined to lift the curse upon him with Kelsey's help, and become a man again permanently. He is crazy about Kelsey and although he sometimes puts her in danger in their quest through caves, and tunnels, and enchanted forests, he is also extremely protective and would never want to see her hurt.

The two of them travel through India, deciphering a prophecy, and trekking through jungles hunting for lost treasure from the stories that can help them to break the curse. They also have to look for Ren's brother Kishan who was also cursed to be a tiger but who has preferred to stay hidden. He is cheekier than Ren, and perhaps where he has been left alone for so long it has made him coarser and a little rough around the edges. But I did enjoy the rivalry between the two brothers and the bickering between them, but also the loyalty that is there.

The best thing about this novel is the vivid detailing and the rich descriptions of the places, and people. We get such a constant insight into Kelsey's thoughts and feelings, and why she is always so conflicted. I also enjoyed all the myths and legends woven into the tale, and the old Indian stories that Kelsey is told, which had an impact on what was happening with her and Ren, and which sometimes gave them some clues as to how to break the curse. All the old stories of the magic are interwoven with the modern day, and a strong modern heroine.

I love Ren, the cursed Indian prince/ white tiger, and the slow boil of their affection for each other as they gradually learn to trust each other and the friendship between them turns to love. It's not all plain sailing between them however, and Kelsey is determined to keep her head rather than let herself be swept away, and is constantly questioning her feelings, and the right course of action. Ren though is everything you want the romantic lead to be, thoughtful and with a good heart (and sexy of course!)

I adored this book so much! This is everything that books are supposed to be- well written, descriptive, thrilling, heart-breakingly romantic, and full of action and magic. This book blew me away! Everything from the characters, the setting and the story just kept me engrossed in this beautiful and mystical world. I want the next one NOW!

View all my reviews

Thursday 22 September 2011

The Time Will Come #32

The Time Will Come is a weekly meme hosted by Jodie at Books For Company, where we can spotlight those books that we've had sitting on our shelves for too long. Books that we really want to read but never seem to get around to. This feature is perfect for me because I've got lots!

I bought Chime back when it was released in April, and it was top of my reading pile for a while. I think it looks interesting and magical, but it has since slipped down in my list of reading priorities. I wrote out a list today of all the books that I own and never get around to reading because I keep ordering library books and requesting books for review- it was quite a long list! In a couple of weeks I'm going to stay at my Mum's for a week, and I've resolved to only bring with me these books that I own and never get to reading. I'm determined to get some of them read!

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

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

Wednesday 21 September 2011

Waterfall Wednesdays read-along Discussion #4

Waterfall Wednesdays Read-Along Event

Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren

Discussion 4- Chapters 18- 23

This weeks questions hosted by Jenny at Supernatural Snark
[Ok- the plan when I started this read-along was that I was going to only read along with the chapters needed for each week, so I could just take the book a bit at a time and wasn't too far ahead, but last week it got too good- I couldn't put it down and I actually finished the book!]

1. Gabi and Lia both face several life and death situations in these chapters, having to pick up weapons in defense of those they love and experiencing first hand the brutality of close combat. If you had the choice between picking up a weapon and standing on the front lines or staying behind to tend to the wounded as necessary, which would you choose?

I would be useless at tending to the wounded- I can't stand injuries and blood and would be thrown into a panic not knowing what to do. I think I'd rather be out there, knowing what was happening and doing what I could.

2. Both girls get to wear extraordinary gowns to their victory celebration; what would your dream medieval gown look like?

I would love to wear a dream medieval ballgown! I never get to wear pretty clothes and want a good excuse to wear something like this:
(I know it's not very medieval looking but humour me!)

3. Gabi has crude stitches put in and must endure both their removal as well as the cauterization of the wound. How is your threshold for pain? Do you think you would have simply gritted your teeth as Gabi does?

OW! She is brave. I was gritting my teeth just reading about it! I have no threshold for pain so wouldn't last 30 seconds under any kind of torture. I was cringing the whole way through reading this scene, scrunched up face and everything- it's a good thing the wind didn't change!

4. Marcello wants to properly court Gabi after they express mutual feelings of affection, wanting to speak with her mother about his intentions. What do you think is the most romantic aspect of medieval courtship?

I think it's that sense of involving the whole family, and the courtship feeling like a union of the two families and not just the two people. I personally now would hate it if a bloke asked for my parent's permission to marry me- after I've been living on my own, earning my own money and supporting myself for years- I'm my own person and make my own choices- but I like the gesture in Gabi's case and it is appropriate for the time. It shows that Marcello has good intentions and that he's serious in his declaration.

5. Gabi and Lia find themselves with conflicting desires toward the end with Lia wanting to return home and Gabi hoping to stay. Do you think that Gabi is being unfair to Lia for wanting to stay, or is Lia being unfair to Gabi for demanding they go? A little of both?

A little of both maybe. Lia doesn't really know everything that Gabi has been through with Marcello, but at the same time I agree with Lia that she can't stay- they have to try to find their way back. They have been gone long enough and it would be horrible if they had disappeared and their mother had never known what had happened to them. Lia is thinking logically, with her head, and Gabi is thinking emotionally, with her heart. I do sympathise with Gabi, and her feeling that she has found this perfect love, and may never find anyone like him again.

Last Waterfall Wednesday next week hosted at Irresistible Reads

Tuesday 20 September 2011

Review: Supernaturally by Kiersten White

Supernaturally (Paranormalcy #2)Supernaturally by Kiersten White

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Evie finally has the normal life she’s always longed for. But she’s shocked to discover that being ordinary can be . . . kind of boring. Just when Evie starts to long for her days at the International Paranormal Containment Agency, she’s given a chance to work for them again. Desperate for a break from all the normalcy, she agrees.
But as one disastrous mission leads to another, Evie starts to wonder if she made the right choice. And when Evie’s faerie ex-boyfriend Reth appears with devastating revelations about her past, she discovers that there’s a battle brewing between the faerie courts that could throw the whole supernatural world into chaos.
So much for normal.

Book 2 in the Paranormalcy series

First off- I loved Paranormalcy, the first book in the series, and this second one did have some of the humour, and spunkyness (if that's a word!) that made the first book great, but just not enough of it I didn't feel.

What happened to funny, feisty, spunky Evie? Who is this whiny new Evie? The carefree girl who spun herself on a wheely chair all the way through the corridors of the Paranormal Containment Agency to visit a prisoner her age (just because it was fun) is gone. I didn't think this book had any of the comedy or the spark of the first book. Capable Evie and her pink rhinestone encrusted taser "Tasey" have morphed into a girl who can't do anything for herself. She is sharing an apartment with Arianna, and she finally gets to attend school and have a 'normal' life (and a locker) but it's not quite as she expected. And she will complain about it.

Evie herself seems to have no real dreams or goals- she works hard to improve her grade and applies to Georgetown University, not because she has a passion for the subject or because she has a dream goal/job, but because that's where her boyfriend is. Clingy much? Also sweet boyfriend Lend has become really possessive of Evie and suspicious of any boy who talks to her. And he doesn't want her working part-time at her old job with the Agency because it might "be dangerous". Never mind the fact that Evie has been bagging and tagging vamps, werewolves and other beasties that go bump in the night since she was a child.
Those were my only complaints with the book- rant over!

The plot itself is gripping and entertaining, there are some tender moments, and a heartbreaking back-story from Arianna. The faeries are still as sneaky as ever and you never really know what side Reth is on. And we are introduced to Jack- a human who can walk through the faerie paths (a useful talent when you need to get somewhere fast) but who annoys the crap out of Evie. Jack actually seems to get most of the funny one-liners in this book.

This book is good but it didn't blow me away.

View all my reviews

Sunday 18 September 2011

In My Mailbox 18th September 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.

These are the books that I got over the past fortnight (I didn't do an IMM last week).
I got some good'uns!


  • Vanish by Sophie Jordan. This is a preorder that I've been waiting for for ages, and I'm so happy that it's finally come! This is the sequel to Firelight and continues Jacinda and Will's story. Dragons, magic and forbidden love (plus these covers are just gorgeous).

  • A Small Free Kiss in the Dark by Glenda Millard. This was a charity shop bargain that I grabbed while I was just browsing. I've seen it about on a few people's IMMs lately and like the look of it. A rag-tag band of survivors take refuge in the ruins of an abandoned fairground following a sudden war.

Bought for the kindle:

  • Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen. I've had my eye on these books for ages- I loved the Luxe series by this author and I'm sure that these books will be just as filled with intrigues, betrayals, secret affairs and scheming. This is set in the 1920s and follows a group of flapper girls. This is free for kindle at the moment.

  • Demon Girl by Penelope Fletcher. Demons, faeries and humanity on the brink of destruction. I'm not sure about this one but it was free, so...  :)

  • Hurricane by Jenna-Lynne Duncan. This one wasn't free but still pretty cheap. About a girl who is kidnapped by one of her classmates during Hurricane Katrina and kept in a house surrounded by a swamp and alligators. I like the sound of this one (even though it does sound pretty sinister) and it's getting mostly 5 star ratings on Goodreads.

From the Library:

  • Birthmarked by Caragh O'Brien. A dystopian adventure story. Set in the future in a world gone wrong and following a young midwife trying to rescue her parents.

For Review:
  • Crave by Melissa Darnell. The tagline on the cover says "Bloodlust, Magic, Forbidden Secrets" sounds cool but I just liked the pretty picture! Gorgeous cover and a story about vampires, witches and a forbidden romance.
Thanks to Harlequin publishers and netgalley for a review copy of this book

  • You Are My Only by Beth Kephart. A young mother whose baby is kidnapped. This book focuses on 14 years later.
From Goodreads-Sophie, a homeschooled, reclusive teenage girl is forced to move frequently and abruptly from place to place, perpetually running from what her mother calls the “No Good.” One afternoon, Sophie breaks the rules, ventures out, and meets Joey and his two aunts. It is this loving family that opens Sophie’s eyes, giving her the courage to look into her past. What she discovers changes her world forever…
The riveting stories of Emmy and Sophie—alternating narratives of loss, imprisonment, and freedom regained—escalate with breathless suspense toward an unforgettable climax.

Thanks to Egmont Publishers and netgalley for the review copy of this book.

Those were all the books that came into my house the past two weeks. I'm really excited to read all of them. What did you get in your mailbox?

Saturday 17 September 2011

Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

A Monster CallsA Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads:
At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting – he’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. The monster in his backyard is different. It’s ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth. From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd – whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself – Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined.

First line:
 The monster showed up just after midnight. As they do.

This is such a moving, and touching story, and told in such a simplistic yet beautiful way.

The writing is just perfect- simple and childlike yet almost poetic, and so many times I re-read the page I had just read to let the words sink in and savour them. All of this is accompanied with stunning black and white illustrations which complement the style of the book perfectly. The story tells of 13 year old Conor, who is trying to come to terms with the fact that his mother is dying of cancer. One night, he sees the old yew tree across the graveyard grow in size, grow limbs and call out to him.
"It's only a dream," Conor said to himself in the back garden, looking up at the monster silhouetted against the moon in the night sky.

But what is a dream, Conor O'Malley? the monster said, bending down so its face was close to Conor's. Who is to say that it is not everything else that is the dream? (p40)

You never know if the monster is real or just a figment of Conor's imagination- a coping device- but it never matters. The way he speaks to Conor, logically and frankly, allowing Conor to vent his fear and anger, gets him through some tough times, and gives him the courage to stand up to the bullies at school. Despite the simple, detached style of the narration you get a powerful sense of Conor's loneliness and anger, and his frustration with the unfairness of his situation. Ultimately he finds the courage to accept what is happening, stop lying to himself, and let go. I was completely sobbing by the end of the book- totally touched by this story.

A Monster Calls is an amazing book that easily deserves 5 stars.

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Friday 16 September 2011

Review: Intertwined by Gena Showalter

Aden's world is one where absolutely anything can happen! We have demons, faeries, witches, vampires, werewolves, zombies and people who can raise the dead, people who can travel back in time, and people who can see the future- you name it this book has it- even dragons are alluded to (although not actually in the book). It works though, and I liked the way the different mythologies all had a back story and were all mixed together, hidden from the rest of the world.

The main character in Intertwined is Aden Stone, who actually has four characters with voices and powers of their own living inside his mind. I was really intrigued by the idea of this, but couldn't really picture it until I started reading it and seeing what Aden has to go through. Aden has had a hard life, passed from foster home to foster home, labelled as a problem child and diagnosed with mental problems because of his habit of zoning out and talking to himself (really talking to the personalities inside his head). Aden is now in a new place with a fresh start and makes some new friends (and a few enemies), but I loved all the characters in this- Aden, Victoria, Riley, Mary-Ann, Shannon, and even the characters inside Aden's head. Once Aden meets his new friends they have a great connection and work really well as a team. Aden had been having visions of himself in the future in a relationship with beautiful brunette and so when he meets her he is desperate to make that future come true. But he has also seen his own death in the not-too-distant future, and that is one future that he tries hard not to make come true.

For me this book did take a while to get going, but then I absolutely loved it- action packed and gripping. It's good fun with lots of twists and surprises. I like the relationships Aden has with the others- his budding relationship with Victoria, his friendship with Mary-Ann, and the even the relationships he has with the people in his head- he depends on them for advice and they are like a part of him. The only problem is that nothing is really resolved at the end- so now I have to get book 2!

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Thursday 15 September 2011

The Time Will Come #31

The Time Will Come is a weekly meme hosted by Jodie at Books For Company, where we can spotlight those books that we've had sitting on our shelves for too long. Books that we really want to read but never seem to get around to.

I really want to read Revolution , I just don't know when I'll get around to it. I read Donnelly's other novel a few years ago, which was published under the title A Gathering Light here in the UK, and can remember thinking it was the best book I'd read in ages. She has a way of writing which really lets you inside the characters head, and rooting for them all the way. The book made me angry and sad, and feeling as if I knew the people in real life. I always think that this is the mark of a great book. Revolution also looks like a fab story. It weaves together two different stories from characters in different points in time.

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Two girls, two centuries and an ocean apart, are thrust together in this gripping novel by the award-winning author of A Northern Light. Brooklyn high school student Andi Alpers feels at the end of several tethers when her father rescues her for a winter break excursion to France. When the ever-curious Andi discovers the ragged journal of an ill-fated Parisian actress, she falls under its thrall. When that emotional connection jolts into the presence, Alpers matures in sudden, unexpected ways.

Wednesday 14 September 2011

Waterfall Wednesdays read-along Discussion #3

Waterfall Wednesdays Read-Along Event

Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren

Discussion 3- Chapters 12- 17
This weeks questions hosted by Joy and Serena at Edgy Inspirational Romance

Oh my gosh- I'm so hooked on this book now I love it! Gabi has attended a fancy ball, been attacked by a loathsome lord and found out that her sister is there and is the prisoner of the Paratores! I'm so glad that Lia has also fallen through time, and that Gabi has found her, it definitely adds something to the story having two of them there.
The drama has really got going now and there are plots and scheming and double-crossings.
Most touching is Fortino suffering through a severe asthma attack and Marcello's concern for him, and Gabi's wonderful pratical advice. She is ordering the servants about and preparing herbs to help him breathe and all sorts! She really cares about helping him. I've just had a wisdom tooth pulled today, so all I can say is I'm so grateful for modern medicine and painkillers! I'm still dopey and pretty out of it- so this post will be brief.

In Siena, on her way to the ball at Palazzo Pubblico, Gabi likened her experience to being on the red carpet at the Academy Awards, the goal being "to see and be seen." If you were a peasant, watching from the crowd, what would you be thinking as this procession passed by?

It must be like seeing rock stars or actors- people that you know about and whose lives you talk about, and be really exciting to see them so close and talk about what they're wearing etc. But it also must make you really angry, to be so poor and have nothing, and yet to see so much wealth, jewellery annd extravagance pass by.

The kiss. Oh, the kiss. When Marcello finally kisses Gabi, he believes the experience to be proof that they are meant to be together. What did you think about his assumption? Were you surprised at Gabi's reaction to it?

The kiss was so dreamy. They both can see a future with the other and this throws Gabi into complete turmoil because she is also worried about leaving her mother alone and never knowing what happened to her. She wants to stay but can't stay, but will be heart broken if she does leave. She is so torn! Gabi is also very aware that Marcello is still engaged, and that his family, and all the people under his family's protection need that marriage as a political alliance.
I love that Marcello is so proud of her fighting by his side, calling her "she-wolf" and "warrior woman". He is in total awe of her, but he is also terrified for her safety- very sweet.
Luca's reaction to Lia was also perfect. He sees her fire her arrows and is in love!

Many go through their teen years with a subdued sense of immortality. Do you think Gabi has a sense of this teen feeling? And did you think Gabi's converse observation, "Sometimes death came hunting and there was no way to cut it off at the pass." was informed more by the experience of losing her father, her self-admitted closet hypochondria, or the forced maturation of being transported to a different time? How does this observation show Gabi's growth as a character?

I think Gabi is actually very aware that she could be killed by a sword point at any time in this new world that she's landed in. When dealing with the rough men of the Paratore clan she is very brave on the surface, but also constantly aware of her actual vulnerability.
Since landing in the past she has definitely grown and matured as a character- she will always stand up for herself and her friends, and has had to find a way through the maze of problems and threats. She stands out as very capable.

[sorry if nothing I've said makes any sense- I've had a tooth pulled and can't get my brain to function properly since!]

Monday 12 September 2011

Review: POD by Stephen Wallenfels

PodPod by Stephen Wallenfels

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars


From Goodreads:
PODs - strange alien spheres hover menacingly in the sky, zapping anyone who ventures outside.

Josh is 15 and stuck in his house with his OCD dad. They're running out of food... Megs is 12, alone and trapped in a multi-storey carpark. The hotel next door is under the control of dangerous security staff, but Megs has something they want, and they'll do anything to get it...
When the aliens invade, the real enemy becomes humanity itself.
What would you do to survive?

In this new YA sci-fi thriller, Earth has been invaded by thousands of giant black hovering pods in the sky, and anyone who was outside on the morning they arrived just disappears. Anyone who ventures outside also disappears. None of the phones, radios and TVs work. Anyone who survived is trapped where they are.

POD is told through the eyes of two characters completely unconnected and miles apart- 15 year old Josh who is trapped inside his house with his neurotic father, and 12 year old Megs, who is left in a multi-story car park. Megs is so naive and this makes her very endearing but she quickly toughens up and learns to fend for herself and scrounge/rummage through the other cars for supplies, and new hiding places from the hotel security staff next door who have taken advantage of the situation and become little dictators. A lot of Meg's story os focused on the security staff as the enemy, and not the PODs at all. Josh's main enemy is boredom, and trying to live with the company of just his father- who has very set ideas about what they should be doing. Because I loved and connected with these characters I spent the book tense with fear at what was going to happen to them.

I really liked the dual narrative of this book. Because the narrative is only told through these two voices we have no idea what is really happening, what the strange noises mean and what is happening in the wider world- what the governments are doing about the PODs and how far reaching it is. There is no TV news, no radio, and no phones, and so the range of Josh's knowledge about what is happening is limited to how far down the road he can see through the window. It is the unknown that makes this such a good and tense novel. As the weeks drag on and food and water starts to run low and there is still no sign of the aliens advancing any further, the sense of desperation and frustration increases and the worry over what will happen to them next is a constant theme. Despite the narrowness of the setting (some people trapped indoors), I found the whole book really pacy and exciting, and the constant switching between Meg's story and Josh's worked really well.

This is a fantastic, gripping, emotional and thought-provoking book that is sometimes harsh but ultimately very clever. I loved it. And I think it would appeal even to those who are not usually fans of sci-fi novels simply because the focus is on such a small group of people and their battle to survive- showing us the best and worst of human nature pushed to the limit. There is a great sense of humanity and solidarity that is universal. A stunning debut novel.

Friday 9 September 2011

Review: The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa

The Iron Knight (Iron Fey, #4)The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book 4 in the Iron Fey series

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Ash, former prince of the Winter Court, gave up everything. His title, his home, even his vow of loyalty. All for a girl… and all for nothing.

Unless he can earn a soul.
To cold, emotionless faery prince Ash, love was a weakness for mortals and fools. His own love had died a horrible death, killing any gentler feelings the Winter prince might have had. Or so he thought.
Then Meghan Chase—a half human, half fey slip of a girl— smashed through his barricades, binding him to her irrevocably with his oath to be her knight. And when all of Faery nearly fell to the Iron fey, she severed their bond to save his life. Meghan is now the Iron Queen, ruler of a realm where no Winter or Summer fey can survive.
With the (unwelcome) company of his archrival, Summer Court prankster Puck, and the infuriating cait sith Grimalkin, Ash begins a journey he is bound to see through to its end— a quest to find a way to honor his solemn vow to stand by Meghan’s side.
To survive in the Iron realm, Ash must have a soul and a mortal body. But the tests he must face to earn these things are impossible. At least, no one has ever passed to tell the tale.
And then Ash learns something that changes everything. A truth that turns reality upside down, challenges his darkest beliefs and shows him that, sometimes, it takes more than courage to make the ultimate sacrifice.

The Iron Knight is a great addition to the series and a fantastic ending to Meghan and Ash's story. This book has the same depth of detail in describing the faery realm and the same sparkling banter between Ash and Puck. I love the detailed description of the world, the humour, and the amazing epic romance. We are taken on a dangerous journey through the Nevernever meeting all kinds of fantastical creatures, dangers, and put through a heart-wrenching rollercoaster ride of emotions! As well as meeting up with sarcastic cat Grimalkin there are a couple of surprise new characters, who are fantastic additions to the group.

I liked hearing the narrative told from Ash's point of view for a change, but Meghan is absent from most of the story and it just seemed that without the bond between them it was missing something. Ash though, is his usual honour-bound self, and I liked him more in this book, perhaps because we see more of his thoughts, the depth of his feeling, and his drive to be with Meghan. We also see memories of his long past life, and glimpses of what he has had to deal with from his family in the winter court and also many past regrets. We see his guilt and vulnerability, and how his love for Meghan has redeemed him.

This is a fantastical, imaginative and romantic series, and my favourite faery series. I liked the way that the story ended, and put this book down feeling all snuggly and contented. What a fab series!

Thankyou to Harlequin and Netgalley for the advance copy.

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Thursday 8 September 2011

The Time Will Come #30

The Time Will Come is a weekly meme hosted by Jodie at Books For Company, where we can spotlight those books that we've had sitting on our shelves for too long. Books that we really want to read but never seem to get around to.

I've had this book on my kindle for ages, since I saw some fantastic reviews for it at the beginning of the year. This is the first book in a trilogy. It's an independently published book, a modern story with elements of Arthurian legend woven in. It's a love story and an adventure story and it sounds great- and reviewers that I trust have loved it. I just don't know when I'll get around to reading it!

The Forest Of Adventures by Katie M. John

Synopsis from Goodreads:

For seventeen year old Mina Singer, falling in love with an Arthurian Knight on a white horse was never part of the plan - especially being that she's an ordinary college girl living in the twenty first century.

As Mina finds herself catapulted into a land she believed only existed in the bedtime stories of her childhood, she soon discovers that Fairyland is not quite as innocent as she imagined.

The question is...who will come out alive?

Haunting, beautiful and sexy, The Forest of Adventures, is a dark romantic quest into the land of true and forbidden love.

Wednesday 7 September 2011

Waterfall Wednesdays read-along Discussion #2

Waterfall Wednesdays Read-Along Event

Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren

Discussion 2- Chapters 7-11

This weeks questions hosted by Missie at The Unread Reader

Gabi's search for her sister is made increasingly difficult by the fight for territory between Castello Forelli and Castello Paratore. At this point, do you think the rivalry is warranted? Why or why not?

A lot of the politics and rivalries is going over my head at the moment I'll be honest. I get that they are against each other and there is a fight for land and power. It kind of reminds me of the battles between the houses of Capulet and Montague in Romeo and Juliet. There is no higher law to come and arrest them, no-one to say where legally the property boundaries are. If they see each other they will fight to the death- with no consequences.

Gabi aids Fortino by having his sickroom cleaned out and using steam to loosen the phlegm inside his lungs so he could breathe better. Have you ever found yourself in a situation that required you to rely on home remedies to aid yourself or another? What are some of your favorite home remedies?

Sometimes the old remedies are the best! Like using steam when you're blocked up with a cold. My favourite home remedy is to use lavender or lavender oil when I've got a headache.
I felt really sorry for Fortino. It was almost as if in the minds of everyone in the castle he had been written off and just left in his room in the castle. Gabi's ideas to help him were really simple yet practical, and showed that just by moving some of the things in his room, or bringing him food that was easier for him to eat, she could actually start to make a huge difference- without modern medicines.

Marcello and his men don't hide their surprise when they learn that Gabi is skilled with a sword. What did you think of this development? Has your initial impression of Gabi changed? Do you have any secret skills?

I love that Gabi can use a sword! This just makes her even more of a kick-ass character! I think her ability to constantly shock the men with her modern ways makes this story so great.
I have no secret skills. At all. If I landed in fourteenth century Italy I'd be dead by now!

"Our lips were so close, I could feel the heat of his breath on my skin." Gabi and Marcello's feelings for one another are beginning to stir. What do you think of Marcello as a romantic interest thus far? What do you think of his intended?

I like Marcello- a lot! He seems like a good guy and very protective of Gabi, and very determined to do right and help her. He is shocked by some of the things she comes up with (like riding a horse like a man, and the sword fighting) but I also think is secretly impressed by this and a little in awe of her.
At first I couldn't stand Lady Rossi. She was the epitome of high-school cheerleader bitchiness in the packaging of a wealthy fourteenth century lady. She made constant snide remarks or sarcastic comments about Gabi, about the way she dressed, how she behaved, and was always trying to pick apart her story and expose Gabi as a liar. After the incidents with the bandits in the woods though I warmed up to her a little. She was very grateful to Gabi, and really starts to be nicer to her.
Marcello and Luca take turns teaching Gabi the dances of Toscana. Would you have liked to attend a ball like the one Gabi was practicing for? Do you like to dance? Do you know any cool dance moves? Extra (not really) points if you YouTube yourself dancing and share the video. Come on, it will be fun! :)

I would love to attend a ball- just for the clothes and the chance to dress up! There is a shop near my house that sells ball gowns, evening dresses, prom dresses etc. and I always gaze in the windows wishing I went to more places where I need to wear a pretty evening dress! I cannot dance at all though- I'm too self-conscious and have no co-ordination whatsoever! Maybe dances like Gabi's ball where I know the steps wouldn't be too bad, I think it's when you have to make it up yourself that I struggle. Missie, I am NOT posting a video of me dancing, trust me, I look too silly- this is just a representation of how ridiculous I'd look!

I am loving this book so far! I can't wait to find out if Gabi finds her sister and if something is going to happen between her and Marcello.

Waiting On Wednesday #10

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine where we can spotlight those upcoming book releases we are eagerly anticipating.

My pick for this week is Enshadowed by Kelly Creagh. This is the sequel to Nevermore, a spooky but romantic read that I fell in love with earlier in the year. It's about blonde cheerleader Isobel, and goth guy Varen and how they initially hate each other but are thrown together for an English project on Edgar Allan Poe. There is an alternate reality dream world and a whole back history in this book that really worked and a love story that was so sweet. I loved quiet tortured soul Varen (he climbs up to her window to bring her ice cream!) and after the cliffhanger ending in Nevermore I am dying to know what happens next.

This is published in 2012

Tuesday 6 September 2011

Review: Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini


Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads:
How do you defy destiny?

Helen Hamilton has spent her entire sixteen years trying to hide how different she is—no easy task on an island as small and sheltered as Nantucket. And it's getting harder. Nightmares of a desperate desert journey have Helen waking parched, only to find her sheets damaged by dirt and dust. At school she's haunted by hallucinations of three women weeping tears of blood . . . and when Helen first crosses paths with Lucas Delos, she has no way of knowing they're destined to play the leading roles in a tragedy the Fates insist on repeating throughout history.
As Helen unlocks the secrets of her ancestry, she realizes that some myths are more than just legend. But even demigod powers might not be enough to defy the forces that are both drawing her and Lucas together—and trying to tear them apart.


Starcrossed is based around Greek Myths and the idea that some people are descended from the Greek gods (and called Scions). Aspects of mythology and elements from old stories are interwoven into this modern day re-telling. Helen has never known her mother and has grown up not knowing the reason for her weird powers. She has always been very self-conscious, feeling that she must be a freak because she is incredibly strong and can run very fast. She has always shied away from revealing anything about herself. She starts having vivid nightmares, and waking up in the morning with muddy feet like she really has been walking through a desert, and then having hallucinations of three women everywhere she looks.

When a new family moves onto the island it is big news. There are 5 new teenagers in this family and starting at the local school. But the first time Helen meets Lucas Delos it doesn't go well. Lucas and Helen's story is loosely based around the story of Paris and Helen of Troy, in that if they fall in love and run off together they will start another war. However, the Fates are determined to see them repeat the mistakes of the past and make it difficult for them to stay away from each other. This explains their instant and powerful attraction to each other. I liked the way the relationship between Helen and Lucas kept changing, and taking unexpected turns.

I also liked the contrast between their families- Lucas has always been part of a large extended family, and they are very close, they will do anything for each other and are very bound to each other by their secret and by a sense of duty, whereas in Helen's case it has always been just her and her father. Lucas's cousin Hector was a great character as he is so tough and unpredictable. Lucas and his family teach Helen about her powers and how to use them to defend herself from the other Houses. And as events take a sinister turn and Helen is hunted, Helen has to let her friends Claire and Matt in on the secret as well. Claire was another of my favourite characters- she is very funny and feisty and determined not to be left out of anything.

I really liked this book- an engrossing fast-paced read with plenty of action, twists and turns, and forbidden romance. I'm curious to know what will happen in the next book.

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Sunday 4 September 2011

In My Mailbox 4th September 2011

In My Mailbox is a weekly event hosted by Krisi at The Story Siren whre we can can showcase all the books that we received during the week.
I'm trying not to get any more books at the moment to try and catch up on my mammoth reading pile, but I just can't resist the draw of books!

From the Library:

  • Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement- Moore. The cover for this is much prettier in real life, the picture doesn't really show just how bright green her eyes are, and it matches the green of the author's name at the bottom. This is about witches and looks like a really good book.


  • Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz. I won my choice of book by participating in a weekend read-a-thon hosted by Amber at Down The Rabbit Hole. I chose this book after reading some good reviews. Thanks Amber!

Okay, someone from work came into the staffroom with a couple of massive boxes of books that she didn't want anymore and just said for us to help ourselves. They all looked brand new with no creases on the spines or anything, and of course me being the booklover that I am dived right in for a good rummage and came away with excited squeals and armfulls of books! Some of them I had already read and they will probably get added to my swapping pile. Here are the best of the rest-
  • Dark Matter by Michelle Paver. A ghost story by the fantastic author of the Wolf Brother series. I really want to read this but had forgotten that I had wanted it!
  • Trash by Andy Mulligan. I've seen this about on a few different blog posts lately, so I might get around to reading this at some point.
  • White Cat by Holly Black. I like the positive reviews surrounding this book at the moment, but I once started reading Tithe by this author a while back because so many people said that they loved it, and I had to stop after the first couple of chapters- I couldn't stand it (and I always try and finish a book even if I'm not enjoying it). This is a maybe book.
  • X-Isle by Steve Augarde. I really liked the Various trilogy by this author, and this new book for younger teens looks really good as well- about a post flood world where survivors try to get to the island after rumours that life is easier than on the mainland.

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


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