Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma

Release Date: 14th June, 2011

Publisher: Dutton

Pages: 352pgs

The Story

Chloe's older sister, Ruby, is the girl everyone looks to and longs for, who can't be captured or caged. When a night with Ruby's friends goes horribly wrong and Chloe discovers the dead body of her classmate London Hayes left floating in the reservoir, Chloe is sent away from town and away from Ruby.

But Ruby will do anything to get her sister back, and when Chloe returns to town two years later, deadly surprises await. As Chloe flirts with the truth that Ruby has hidden deeply away, the fragile line between life and death is redrawn by the complex bonds of sisterhood.

The Review

The first word that comes to mind when I think about this book is . . . odd. It's not necessarily a bad thing because it's good to have something different. With the cover itself being beautiful and mind-blowing, readers will know instantly that it's the type book that makes YOU want to pick it up, just by judging its cover. But IMAGINARY GIRLS is not your typical young adult fiction. At least not in the way you would expect. It's dark, eerie, mysterious, and it's something that really get's your mind thinking. And perhaps it's a little bit disturbing. Reading this book and all it has to offer, it was like waking up in your own nightmare and no matter how hard you try . . . you just can't wake up! Then when you eventually wake up, you still can't shake off this haunting dream. And, that my friends, is exactly what you get from this book!

In IMAGINARY GIRLS, readers will know straight away that Chloe's sister, Ruby, isn't your ordinary girl. Despite her being controlling, mesmerizing, and hell-ish demanding . . . there's something not right with her. Something that could be deadly. These two sisters - Chloe and Ruby - have been separated for almost two years - ever since Chloe's classmate's body was found. But when the sisters reunite after these unbearable years, Chloe knows something is going on with her sister since Ruby's friends will do just about anything for her and she uses and abuses that power of hers, to get what she wants when she wants it.

To be honest, I had zero clue about the book and what it's about. I knew other readers said it was a paranormal book, but when I was reading it the paranormal 'twist' - if that's what you call it - came in just after 75 pages or so. I mean I knew something was terribly wrong with Chloe's sister, Ruby, but again, I had zero clue what was going on with her. I thought she was possessed or something and even after finishing the book, I still have little clue about what was wrong with her. At times I found myself frustrated with having so little information about what was going on, but Suma's vivid surroundings kept me there til the end. Like I mentioned at the start of this review, it was an odd book. And by that I mean it's very hard to describe the book let alone tell you what happens and what I thought of it cause I'm still confused by the ending.

The novel was captivating, I admit that, from the beginning but most of the time the book was very unpredictable. However, the real downer of IMAGINARY GIRLS was the ending. Sometimes when it comes to standalones there's very little explanation for things and that's what I wanted from this book. More explanation. I wanted more to happen. What I needed was more conflict, suspense, tension . . . There was a 'hope' of romance but that didn't turn out into anything I hoped for which ruined it for me. Sigh. Anyway readers will get the fact that something is wrong with Ruby and also see how strange Chloe's adoration for her sister was, but ultimately the ending made me feel very disappointed. Nonetheless Nova Ren Suma has a great eye for detail and knows how to create such a disturbing book . . . a fairly good one at that.

The Rating

3/5 stars

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Richelle Mead's Storm Born Issue #3

Book format: Graphic Novel

Publisher: Sea Lion Books

Pages: 32pgs

The Story

Eugenie Markham never asked for any of this. Up until now, she's been content with her job as a freelance sharman, battling and banishing Otherworldly creatures. When a prophecy suddenly makes her the Otherworld's most popular bachelorette, Eugenie finds herself fighting off unwanted supernatural suitors, as well as the evils that begin to emerging from her past . . .

The Review

A big thanks to Patrick from Sea Lion Books for sending me links to this issue!

When I received an email from Sea Lion Books with links to the latest STORM BORN issue 3 graphic novel, I was very, very excited to review this! Being an obsessed fan of the graphic novel series so far and of Richelle Mead herself, I was super stoked when I finished reading all of this third issue. Not only has the artist upped their game in terms of colourful graphics and wonderful drawing depictions of the characters, but they have also created a really great adaptation of this book series.

I think what I love most about this graphic novel is Eugenie herself. I just love how her character was drawn and her facial expressions are just really spot on! In this issue, unlike the other two I've review here and here, we finally get to meet the beloved king, Dorian. Now I don't know about you guys who've read the book series, but my absolute favourite character is Dorian himself, and while his character was drawn a little different to the Dorian stuck in my head, but the artists still kept his wit about him which I loved. And of course I just had to mention something . . . the COLOURS! With a fast-paced storyline and wonderful character drawings, the colours alone totally blew me away! So two big thumbs up for the artist who drew and inked these graphic novel pages! You are so talented!

Overall if you're a fan of Richelle Mead and of her Dark Swan series, then seriously start reading this graphic novel series.

The Rating

5/5 stars

And here's a little treat for you guys desperately wanting to read this third issue of Richelle Mead's Dark Swan graphic novel. Sea Lion Books has given me the first 6 pages of the third issue for your own viewing . . . so enjoy!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hunger Games Teaser Trailer

So there you have it! You have Katniss and a Gale voice over!

What did you think? Love or hate it?

Personally for me . . . it was awesome. Some people are complaining about the length of the teaser but that's the point of it being a 'teaser'. Anyway, I LOVED it! Jennifer is rocking Katniss all the way and having Liam/Gale's voice in the background . . . totally worth the wait!

Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

Release Date: 12th July, 2011

Publisher: Scholastic

Pages: 390pgs

The Story

The thrilling conclusion to #1 bestselling Shiver trilogy from Maggie Stiefvater.

In Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grave and Sam found each other. In Linger, they fought to be together. Now, in Forever, the stakes are even higher than before. Wolves are being hunted. Lives are being threatened. And love is harder and harder to hold on to as death comes closing in.

The Review

The Shiver trilogy is over? *pouts for a little while* The thing about a series ending is that all the fangals and the fanboys that were in love with a particular series are left feeling scared and having the need to hyperventilate whenever they think about their favourite series ending. . . you feel lost somehow. Thankfully Maggie Stiefvater delivers a satisfying conclusion to one of the most amazing and captivating wolf stories of all time!

When Sam and Grace found each other in Shiver, he was a wolf and she was a girl and one knows when two worlds collide it's both heartbreaking and makes you feel torn for these young lovers. But as time passed, Sam became human for one reason and one reason only: the magical pull of unconditional love. Grace. But unfortunately for him it seems that fate had other plans. Grace wasn't meant to remain human and with her now a wolf, and with all the other wolves in Mercy Falls, they are about to be slaughtered. This is the moment of truth - with many high stakes and lives on the line - of whether love can truly conquer all.

What I loved about FOREVER this time round was the refreshing take on different character perspectives and while it may confuse some readers - with a lot of situations to take in and make note of - I felt it was absolutely necessary for the novel's drive and to keep the readers engaged with its sweet sweet tale. And of course, what I love most is Sam and Grace! Seriously you guys . . . I'm going to miss these two characters because they're so well . . . awesome. As a couple and as individual characters, they are like your best friends in real life and they've grown a lot since the trilogy first began.

Getting down to the point, FOREVER is everything I hoped for and more. With its richness in a multi-layered tale of pulse-pounding action, heart wrenching narratives, and two stories that mesh delicately with one another, it's no wonder why Maggie Stiefvater herself has become one of my ultimate favourites in young adult fiction. She's gifted with the talents of making you laugh, making you cry and making you feel whatever the characters are feeling - feelings that are so true, pure, and real. It's rare to possess these writing gifts. Without revealing the entire plot because you will have to find out for yourself how utterly beautiful this series is, I can say that all readers will be left with a smile and perhaps a tear or . . . two. With stories brilliantly woven with each and every scene, FOREVER's final conclusion will leave you breathless and hungry for more Stiefvater author power!

The Rating

4 1/2 / 5 stars

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Lottie Biggs is (Not) Tragic by Hayley Long

Release Date: 5th August, 2011

Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books

Pages: 256pgs

The Story

Just when things were starting to look up for Lottie her life's gone a bit pear-shaped, wonk-ways and downside up again. Her mum's all soppy over a bloke with a horrible shemo daughter, her best pal Goose has disappeared in a cloud of nerd-gas and Lottie's in the midst of an existential crisis. There's only one thing to do - get the hell out of Cardiff and go on the road with the gorgeous Gareth Stingecombe (and his manly thighs). But things don't go to plan, and Lottie starts to realise she might have been a bit me me me lately . . . a female emo, obviously. The wit of Louise Rennison meets the depth of Jacqueline Wilson.

The Review

A big thanks to Lauren & Hattie from Macmillan for sending me a review copy of this book!

It's worth noting that this is the third book in the series, but since reading only this book, I was thankful it's the kind that you can pick up and not have to read the entire series.

Now I haven't heard of this author except on a couple of blogs that have reviewed this book and when you look at the cover it instantly pulls you into the story - there's just something about it. Sure, I did enjoy some parts of this book but I hate to admit that I didn't like it as much as I wanted to. The reason for this is because the events of the book were quite random, although the book did have its witty moments that readers will love and Lottie was a fun character also, the person who will be relatable to a lot of its readers. Especially to people who take a small situation and blow it out of proportion. The only real problem for the book was its randomness. It didn't have a steady plot as I'm used to and perhaps if I read the first two in the series . . . I may have be able to prepare myself for this third installment. What I did love was the pictures inside the book - which were hilarious, but it didn't necessarily keep me connected with the story and with its characters.

Overall, I recommend this book to readers who have read this series or to people of a younger audience. The book definitely had this fun-loving moments about it and while I may have not connected with the story as well as I wanted, but I did appreciate its quirk and uniqueness of the stories contents! Once again, thanks to Lauren and Hattie from Macmillan for sending a review copy of this book!

The Rating

2/5 stars

Friday, August 26, 2011

Follow Friday

Today's Follow Friday is hosted Samantha by at Parajunkee's View.

This week's question: In books like the Sookie Stackhouse (True Blood) series the paranormal creature in question "comes out of the closet" and makes itself known to the world. Which mythical creature do you wish would come out of the closet, for real?

My answer: Oh that's easy! Vampires all the way! From a young age I was always interested in vampires especially when Buffy was made known to the world and now with my favourite show being True Blood and my favourite book series being Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead and the Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost - all of which contain vampires - I was and still AM loving vampires. Don't roll your eyes . . . because while vampires might sound cliche to you, but for me they will always remain a myth that everyone will find fascinating! ;)

So, what's your Follow Friday answer?

Let me know in the comment box!

Have a great weekend you guys!

Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley

Release Date: 8th February, 2011

Publisher: HarperTeen

Pages: 289pgs

The Story

Meet Corrinne. She's living every girl's dream in New York City - shopping sprees at Barneys, open access to the best club and parties, and her own horse at the country club. Her life is perfectly on track. At least it was . . .

When Corrinne's father is laid off, her world suddenly falls apart. Instead of heading to boarding school, she's stripped of her credit cards and shipped off to the boonies of Texas to live with her grandparents. On her own in a big public school and forced to take a job shoveling manure, Corrinne is determined to get back her life she's supposed to be living. She doesn't care who she stomps in the process. But when Corrinne makes an unlikely friend and discovers a total hottie at work, she begins to wonder if her life B.R. - before the recession - was as perfect as it seemed.

The Review

I came across this book on Goodreads and I think the only thing that attracted me to the book was the hot Texan cowboy model on the front cover. I love anything to do with COWBOYS . . . what can I say? They're hot, always have a gorgeous accent . . . and well I have a weaknesses for them in young adult book settings. I also love the whole riches-to-rags kind of storyline and while it 'sort of' reminded me of Miley Cyrus's Hannah Montana film, what with her being super rich and moving to an odd nowhere town, I still enjoyed some parts of the book. It has a little Texan charm that a lot of readers will enjoy and appreciate.

WHERE I BELONG is about a naive teenage girl named Corrinne who lives in the big and busy city of New York. Her father makes a lot of money and she spends most of it on clothes and other you-don't-really-need-these type of items. When it comes down to it - she's a spoiled brat. So Corrinne's everyday shopping sprees soon come to an end when her father loses his job and she and her younger brother are forced to adapt themselves to the slow life in a small Texas town by staying with the grandparents they barely know. Unlike her younger brother, Tripp, Corrinne is living her worst nightmare. And she's more than determined to hate everything about Broken Spoke. But as she makes unexpected friends and starts living the country life, she begins to reconsider that her so-called 'perfect' life wasn't as perfect as she'd first thought.

Readers will appreciate the book's variety of relationships. You have your mother-daughter, grandmother-granddaughter, grandfather-granddaughter, sister-brother, and the ultimate one . . . . your bestfriend relationship. I really liked the way the author, Gwendolyn Heasley, dealt with these different types of relationships and they felt pretty genuine. But I also had a lot of problems with the book. I knew right from the very beginning I might not like this book because the main character is a total snob, and for me personally, it's very hard to like a character that is UP themselves. However, when it came close to the end, it was a nice change to see Corrinne in another light. She was no longer the snob. Sure, she made a lot of mistakes throughout the events of the book - what with falling in love with the wrong guy, for judging people, and even not seeing the true beauty that lies within the small Texan town - but characters can always have a second chance to improve themselves. And for me, she got that chance.

But there's also another slight problem. It was the transition Corrine went through, from the Big Apple to the small I-don't-where-I-am town. Like most of the events, it happened far too quickly and I wasn't entirely convinced that she had a change of heart about the small town . . . since it only happened right at the end. At least that's what I think. Anyway, the major thing that I didn't like was the falling in love bit. In WHERE I BELONG, Corrine has a guy that's straight way interested in her. That being a guy named Bubby. Please don't laugh. It's seriously his name. And while readers may not be totally convinced that he's into her - since he always makes fun of her and where she's from - but you're definitely aware of his feelings when he keeps making jokes out of her. Teasing turns into love. Almost always. But being the clueless one, Corrine is head-over-heels for another town hottie. I won't mention his name cause he was a jerk and not worthy of his name being typed up on this blog. And well . . . you get what happens. She falls for the wrong guy. *gasp* Despite this hiccup, it was still very cute to see Bubby and her tease each other.

Overall, if you're looking for a book away from the paranormal genre or something to pass the time or perhaps something that has the Texas charm like this book does, then this book is for you. But be warned, sometimes the character can get frustrating.

The Rating

3/5 stars

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Interview with Tara Hudson

Tara Hudson is the brilliant author of HEREAFTER. If you haven't read my book review you can read it here. I just want to say a big thank you to Tara herself for answering all of my questions and I hope you guys enjoy!

1. Hereafter includes my favourite elements - ghosts and the afterlife. Where did you get the idea for this story? Did you always intend for it to become a trilogy?

The idea for Hereafter came from a short story I wrote in college, told from the perspective of a young woman who does not yet realize she is dead. I set the original story in a place I only vaguely remembered - a Choctaw Indian cemetery to which my grandparents had taken me as a child. I could only recall how strangely quiet and overgrown the place was, and how I wondered whether anyone had visited those graves in this century. Only later did I learn this cemetery was my family graveyard.

The image of that place stuck with me for many years. So, I wrote a spooky story about it for a college-level fiction workshop, and then promptly forgot the whole thing. A decade passed, and after one too many work-related memorandums, I remembered how much I loved writing fiction. I started a number of different stories, but the rural cemetery kept returning to me. One rainy afternoon, I wrote the opening chapter of a ghost story for my two best friends, to distract them on their lunch break. Within twenty minutes, they both demanded more, and Hereafter was born.

As for the length of the series, I've always known how Amelia and Joshua's story would end and that ending certainly lends itself to a trilogy!

2. What i loved most about Hereafter was the intense relationship between Amelia and Joshua. Where did you get the inspiration for these two characters?

Amelia and Joshua have a unique connection that develops over the course of the novel. As I wrote HEREAFTER, I certainly let their relatonship build on its own, but I definitely drew upon some of the emotions I felt when I experienced my first love. I also infused a little bit of the trust and acceptance that I've learned throughout my marriage - acceptance of each others' quirks (including death!) is a key.

3. Tell us a little about your path to publication. Was it a wonderful experience as you hoped for?

Even better! I started HEREAFTER on April 14, 2009 (I still have the email I sent, the day I wrote the first chapter), and had an offer from HarperCollins on April 30, 2010.

The Official Publication Events happened after I'd been querying HEREAFTER for about two months. I decided to go for broke and query my dream agent, Catherine Drayton. When she requested the full manuscript, I honestly thought I'd have a heart attack. A few days later, she called me to ask if I'd work on some revisions before she agreed to represent me - I said yes, of course. Two days after that, I received the most exciting email from her: HarperCollins, one of the most amazing publishers ever, had contacted her requesting something in the vein of HEREAFTER. Eight days after that, we had a deal on the basis of nine chapters!

4. What is the most surprising thing you've learned since becoming a published author?

That it's not all sunshine and rainbows and unicorns? (Seriously, where are the unicorns?) In all honesty, a lot of writers' blogs helped me mentally prepare for the process, so nothing was a nasty surprise. But I've had lots of positive surprises. The way I felt when I got "The Call" is probably the best one - I had no idea just how awesome it would be.

5. Any advice to aspiring authors such as myself?

Keep at it! Whether you're on a first draft, a querying spree, or submission, there will be days when you feel like giving up; where it feels like wasted effort, or too much work. When those moments strike, remind yourself that unlike most "day jobs," writing is calling - oit's something you do for the sheer love of it. Take a break from it whenever you need to but make sure you stick with it; even if you never get published, hold tight to the fact that you're doing something you love. And thigns like that are always worth the effort.

6. And lastly . . . the sequel to Hereafter is called ARISE. What can readers expect to see happen? Can you give us a little teaser?

Only a little one! [I know I can't help it!] In ARISE, the stakes are a lot higher for Amelia and Joshua when the demons make a nasty reappearance. Amelia and Joshua travel to New Orleans [one of my favourite places people!] and participate in a dark ritual [I love dark rituals!], set in one of the creepiest places in the city: St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. And that's all I can say!

Thank you Tara for letting me interview you!

Be sure to check out her book and look out for her future sequels!

Follow Tara:

Be sure to add Hereafter on goodreads

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Rogue Princess by Eve Edwards

Release Date: 7th July, 2011

Publisher: Razorbill

Pages: 257pgs

The Story

London, England, 1586

Sixteen-year-old Mery Hart is the daughter of one of London's richest - and strictest - cloth merchants.

Kit Turner is an actor and the illegitimate son of the late Earl of Dorset. A chance encounter finds Kit falling for the beautiful Mercy's charms, but their love is forbidden. A merchant's daughter and a vagabond - it simply cannot be.

If Mercy chooses Kit she must renounce her family name and leave her home. Will she favour duty over true love, or will she give Kit his heart's desire?

The Review

Eve Edwards is a historical genius! In the previous books of The Other Countess series, we've seen Will, the young earl of Dorset fall in love with a girl of no fortune and whom was a personal favourite coupling of mine, and then in The Queen's Lady we've seen James, Will's younger brother, whom falls in love with Lady Jane, the young girl whom Will was supposed to marry. However, this time round we hear the story of young Kit, the illegimate son of the late Earl and also the stepbrother to Will and James, who also falls in love with the wrong girl.

In THE ROGUE PRINCESS, Kit is a player in the theatre. Somewhat flamboyant and a bit of a loveable young man to the ladies, Kit soon transforms his devilish ways when he crosses paths with the pure and innocent-hearted Mercy Hart, the daughter of a rich cloth merchant. The pair quickly fall in love and now it's up to reckless Kit to win her father's approval - a hard man with his own set of principles, even though it seems near to impossible since Mercy comes from a very strict and religious background. Ahhhhhhh . . . don't you love it already? *nods* I think you do readers!

I love Eve Edwards as an author. She writes romances that make your heart flutter - no matter how cliche they sound - and while The Other Countess remains my favourite out of the whole book series, I thoroughly enjoyed this one too. Perhaps more than the second installment, The Queen's Lady. It was amusing to see Kit wooing Mercy over and make her fall helplessly in love with him. Their courtship was pure and readers will love reading about their longing glances, their stolen-but-gentle little kisses, and of course, their undying devotion that these two lovebirds share for one another.

Since the story is set in 1586, readers will also see glimpses of some real life historical accounts of figures such as Shakespeare and Statford. Even the small mentionings of Queen Elizabeth which a lot will appreciate with its realism. Nonetheless, if you're not familiar with some of these historical mentionings, you'll still enjoy the great scenery details that capture readers from the very beginning. Personally for me, I love anything historical. And because of that well-known fact about me, Eve Edwards makes me love it even more! The thing I love most about Eve Edwards's writing is how much research she manages to conjure up for her novels and she writes them successfully. So if you enjoyed the previous novels of The Other Countess series, then you're going to be swept away by the romantic and the lovely tale of THE ROGUE PRINCESS.

The Rating

4 1/2 / 5 stars

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

Release Date: 23rd August, 2011

Publisher: Razorbill

Pages: 432pgs

The Story

Blood Doesn't Lie . . .

Sydney's blood is special. That's because she's an alchemist - one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets - and human lives. But the last encounter Sydney had with vampires got her in deep trouble with her other alchemists. And now with her allegiances in question, her future is on the line.

When Sydney is torn from her bed in the middle of the night, at first she thinks she's still being punished for her complicated alliance with dhampir Rose Hathaway. But what unfolds is far worse. Jill Dragomir - the sister of Moroi Queen Lissa Dragomir - is in mortal danger, and the Moroi must send her into hiding. To avoid a civil war, Sydney is called upon to act as Jill's guardian and protector, posing as her roommate in the unlikeliest of places: a human boarding school in Palm Springs, California. The last thing Sydney wants is to be accused of sympathizing with vampires. And now she has to live with one.

The Moroi court believe Jill and Sydney will be safe at Amberwood Prep, but threats, distractions and forbidden romance lurkk both outside - and within - the school grounds. Now that they're hiding, the drama is only just beginning.

The Review

A big thanks to Penguin for sending me a review copy of this book!

Vampire Academy is the only young adult book series that has made me completely obsessed and nothing can ever compare to its epicness. Honestly . . . truly. With Last Sacrifice being the end of Rose Hathaway's journey - a real sad moment for me and for many readers around the globe, I was extremely happy when it was announced that Richelle Mead was going to be writing a spin-off series and that Sydney Sage - a beloved supporting character of mine - was to become the next leading lady. And it would have Adrian in it. Adrian was another ultimate favourite character of mine and every girl will be pleased that we haven't seen the last of this broody, sexy, and perhaps 'damanged' boy. Though we love him for being damaged, that's part of his whole appeal isn't it?

After helping rogue dhampir, Rose Hathaway, evade justice being served, Sydney Sage is now in serious trouble with her fellow Alchemists. With her career tainted, to a point where everyone doubts her abilities and where it may result with her being brainwashed to hate all vampires again, Sydney has a lot to do before anyone can really trust her. The unexpected thing to happen to Sydney was to be woken up in the middle of the night to the news of posing as Jill Mastrano's (illegitimate sister of Queen Vasilissa) sister at a boarding school in Palm Springs, California. The last place people would expect a Moroi vampire princess to be hiding at - you know, with sunlight and all. But when Jill's life is on the line, Sydney will have to do everything within her power to protect her, while keeping herself on track in proving herself to the Alchemists.

Unlike our beloved Rose and Dimitri main chracters, in BLOODLINES Sydney, Adrian, Jill, and Eddie are our leading stars of this next adventure. To be honest here: I loved BLOODLINES more than the first Vampire Academy book. I don't know why exactly but I think it's because I connected with the characters more, more so with Sydney herself. When it comes down to it, I'm more like Sydney - in terms of her personality and the way she see things in the world. Her maturity. Her knowledge. Her quirks. While Rose Hathaway was a kickass chick and I have her every wit to the bone, but Sydney seemed more like my kind of gal. And I love her for it. So, so much! Some people may think Sydney will never be Rose, but don't doubt this girl when she's in a fight or winning her way in an argument. She's a smart-mouth and totally kickass when she wants to be and I can't wait to see what she brings to the next sequel.

Now let's talk about Adrian. I know you're all dying here. The last time we saw Adrian we saw a guy's heart being broken into little pieces. But not to worry . . . he's coping. In his own way. In Last Sacrifice I was disappointed how he reacted with Rose but I'm finally glad to see my Adrian is back for the better. I love him more in this book compared to the Vampire Academy books and trust me when I say this . . . he's better off without Rose. He's a ray of sunshine throughout the book and whenever he's around Sydney - bantering like crazy or sharing little secrets between the two of them - he's just a whole bucket of FUN. Sure he's still mending a broken heart, but he never fails in making us laugh! So if you're worried about his character, rest assured he remains the same charming, witty, funny, sexy Adrian that we know and love. Despite his party boy ways, he cares a lot about the people around them, and it'll be interesting how his relationship with Sydney will develop. Same goes for Jill (who was a little annoying at times for her own good reasons) and Eddie. Oh Eddie I love you too! *hugs* And don't worry, you get to see some small appearances of other VA characters. Abe included, who is still a lot of fun to read about.

Now let's talk about the storyline itself. It was fast-paced, made you laugh, made you hang on the edge of your seat, and most importantly, it was so very entertaining! It didn't matter that BLOODLINES lacked in sexytimes - that being any romantic scenes - because who needs them when you have awesome characters like Sydney and Adrian?! The thing I love about Richelle Mead's writing is that she rarely disappoints us readers - if not at all - and with the forging of interesting myths, some sexy bantering, and an epic adventure thrown into the mix, there is always going to be a strong bond with anything related to Richelle Mead. Inside and out. The thing I want to know is: How does she do it? How does she write so fast and how does she make every book of hers a success? It's magic I tell you. And don't get me started on the one-liner cliffhanger - just when she got to the good part . . . it ends. Now that's just plain old torture!

BLOODLINES on a whole was so awesome and it's truly a great start for this new spin-off series. I hate to admit that I'm liking this better than Vampire Academy. Sure Rose Hathaway and Dimitri Belikov (one of my fictional husbands mind you) is going to be missed, but move over and leave room for Sydney Sage and our dear funny-dreamy guy Adrian. With some shocking secrets revealed and loose ends tied up, if you're an obsessed Vampire Academy fan like myself or are new to this series (which I doubt because it would be crazy if you haven't read the series yet), then be sure to pick yourself up a copy or at least try and stake a person like a Strigoi if they grab the last book off the shelf from you. Kidding of course! Or am I? *winks* NO SERIOUSLY! PICK. UP. A. COPY. NOW. Epic fun awaits to be read by you!

The Rating

5/5 stars

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore

Release Date: 29th August, 2011

Publisher: Penguin

Pages: 352pgs

The Story

We Are Hunted. We Will Fight. We Have the Power of Six.

In the beginning we were a group of nine. The first three were killed in the order of their numbers. They caught Number One in Malaysia. Number Two in England. And Number Three in Kenya. They tried to catch Number Four in Ohio . . . and failed. There are six of us left. And we are ready to fight.

We're hiding, blending in, avoiding contact with one another, but our Legacies are developing and soon we'll be ready to fight. Is John Number Four? And what about Number Five and Six? Could one of them be the raven-haired girl with the stormy eyes from my dreams? The girl with powers that are beyond anything I could ever imagine? The girl who might be strong enough to bring the six of us together?

The Review

A big thanks to Tina from Penguin for sending me a review copy of this book!

Okay so last year when I read I Am Number Four I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and of course I loved the movie adaptation of the book. As far as readers know, in the first book we were introduced to Number Four, John Smith (don't you just love that name), a young alien on the run and after his people, The Lorien, whom one-by-one are being wiped out by the brutal Mogadorians. Then we met the lovely human friend, Sam, the human girlfriend, Sarah, and of course the unforgettable-but-very-kickass chick Number Six who brought this awesome YA story to life. So now you're wondering . . . how does the sequel measure up? Well, let's just say when it comes to THE POWER OF SIX book . . . this much anticipated sequel blew the series out of the water!

THE POWER OF SIX picks up almost after the events of I Am Number Four. John has recovered from the battles fought in Paradise, Ohio, and is now on the road with his friends - Six, Sam, and Bernie Kosar the dog. Now unlike the first book in the series, THE POWER OF SIX's perspective shifts between John and his friends travels around America to the newcomer Marina (Number Seven) who lives in a convent in Spain with her Cepan Adelina. After learning the events of John Smith, Marina is eager to join the fight and unite with her fellow Garde's. But with her guardian Adelina losing the will to fight and refusing to teach Marina of her legacy, it's up to Marina to find John and the others.

I admit it was great to see John and the others again. However the gang had a different feel in this sequel and maybe that's because something changes within the group of friends. John still loves Sarah - the girl he left behind in Ohio - and then there's Sam who has a boy crush on Six, but then things start to get complicated when Mogadorians are chasing them and then John gets a little closer with Six. Which is a problem for my dear boy Sam, whom I love so much and despite my sad feelings for his "crush", I was glad to see he played a much bigger part in the book and he still cracks a few good one-liners!

Without giving away too much of the storyline, I can say while readers will love the return of John Smith, Sam, and Six, but I must say I loved LOVED number seven's (Marina) point of view! My heart went out to her because of the way she was hidden away in Spain and because of her reluctant guardian, whom had fallen for the church rather than follow through with the plan of saving Lorien. Despite her troubles I loved every once of her personality - with the willingness to fight! Truth be told, I loved her the best of all the characters . . . shhhh don't tell anyone! I also loved her little friend, Ella, who was the ultimate sweetheart throughout the book and when secrets are revealed about her . . . it was just awesome!

Anyway this book is by far the best one of the series and talk about a major cliffhanger! So cruel author . . . so so cruel! With enemies coming from every direction, new characters you will grow to love (I'm talking to you Number Seven, Number Nine, and Number Ten), with shocking reveals and powers developing, I can definitely say that the author has outdone himself with this amazing action-packed adventure! I demand the sequel to be made into a film. If you were a big fan of I Am Number Four then you'll have to read and devour the words of THE POWER OF SIX. Trust me when I say this: You won't be disappointed!

The Rating

5/5 stars

Friday, August 19, 2011

Follow Friday

Today's Follow Friday is hosted by Emma at Parajunkee's View.

This week's question: If you could write yourself a part in a book, what book would it be and what role would you play in that book?

My answer: I'm the type of person who has an opinion. My views might not be shared with others, but that's just me being me. So if I could write myself into any book it would have to be something of the dystopian kind. Something to do with fighting the system and being kickass while I'm doing it. The likes of the Hunger Games, Matched, Divergent, and Legend would be my ideal books. Now what role would I play? Hmmm that's a tough one. But I would probably be the main heroine or at least be their trusty sidekick who could kick as much equal asses as the heroine would. Preferably I would love the be the heroine and then fall for some other kickass guys who also wanted to fight for the cause! Because I'm cool like that. haha.

Have a great weekend you guys!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Mammon by J.B. Thomas

Release Date: 1st September, 2011

Publisher: Random House Australia

Pages: 376pgs

The Story

Forget anything you ever heard about exorcisms and pentagrams.

The modern demon is far more difficult to catch and even harder to destroy . . .

After the savage deaths of their parents, Grace and Joe Callahan learn that they are descendants of the sarsareh - mercenaries who hunt very special prey. Grace and Joe take their place in the Order but are treated with hostility and fear by others recruits.

For the Callahan sibilings have powers that fascinate and terrify.

Joe is a Ferryman, capable of opening demensional rifts, while Grace's telepathic abilities surpass anything the Order has ever seen.

But none of that will matter if the powerful demon Mammon manages to convince Joe to open a gateway to his demon world and overrun Earth with his enemies.

If he succeeds: game over.

The Review

A big thanks to Dorothy from Random House for sending me a review copy of this book!

You know what? I'm very surprised by how good this book is. When I was sent a package from the lovely Random House Australian publishers and seeing this book waiting inside it, I was very excited to read it! The first thing that attracted me was the cover - an eye-catching-wow-of-a-cover - and since the plot sounded interesting . . . I was very glad that I got the chance to read it early before September came around. So again, thank you Dorothy - the publicist of Random House - for sending me a review copy! Totally worth reading this book here!

MAMMON is a book crossed between Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series and oddly enough it had a likeness of Vampire-Academy-and-Strange-Angels-esque to it. Just minus the vampires and add a hell of a load of demons. MAMMON is a story about two 'typical' teenage siblings, Grace and Joe - whom discover they have powers. Grace is a telepathic whereas her brother Joe has the ability to open rifts and move between dimensions. Then something rocks their world completely - their parents are brutally murdered and now they must seek help from the Order, people who are like them and must help the siblings train to become demon fighters. As you can clearly see this book is going to be awesome.

So what did I love about MAMMON? I admit the beginning of the novel fell a little flat - in terms of the pacing - however after you read a few chapters, things start to get interesting and you begin to fall for the book. One of the standouts is Grace herself. The main heroine. She's your average teenage girl - brave, strong, witty, and can hold her own. I instantly connected with Grace and she never disappointed me. Her brother however, that being Joe, was the major iffy thing I didn't like. He was impulsive, had a big ego, and rarely listened to anyone. Not that he didn't have any appeal, but let's talk about Ivan. Ivan. What can I say about Ivan? He is your G.I. JOE who has a tough-as-nails-but-secret-sensitive-side of a personality and I believe he will appeal to anyone who loved Dimitri Belikov from Vampire Academy. Yup you heard me ladies! You'll love him if I compared him to my dream man. *smirks* With the perfect action sequences and the cool demons wrecking havoc around this world of J.B. Thomas, I absolutely loved the interaction between Grace and her potential love interest Ivan. It was divine. The banter shared, the stolen kisses, the longing stares . . . ah the list goes on with how much I love those two.

Overall, I loved MAMMON as a whole. It offered everything a demon/action/fantasy fan could ever possibly want in a book. The major thing that I hate was the cruel cliffhanger! How could you do that to me J.B. Thomas?!?! You're killing me here. But all-in-all I recommend this book to Cassandra Clare, Richelle Mead, and Lili St. Crow fans out there! You'll love this gripping, action-packed read and you won't be able to put it down. MAMMON is the first book in The Ferryman Chronicles and I'm looking forward to reading the sequel! So definitely pick up a copy of this book and find out how cool it IS!

The Rating

4/5 stars

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson

Release Date: 4th August, 2011

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Pages: 320pgs

The Story

17-year-old Lila has two secrets she's prepared to take to the grave. The first is that she can move things just by looking at them. The second is that she's been in love with her brother's best friend, Alex, since forever. Or thereabouts.

After a mugging on the streets of South London goes horribly wrong and exposes her ability, Lila decides to run to the only person she can trust - her brother and Alex. They live in Southern California where they work for a secret organisation called The Unit, and Lila discovers that the two of them are hunting down the men who murdered her mother five years before. And that they've found them.

Trying to uncover the truth of why her mother was killed, and the real remit of The Unit, Lila becomes a pawn of a dangerous game. Struggling to keep her secrets in a world where nothing and no one is quite as they seem, Lila quickly realises that she is not alone - there are others out there just like her - people with special powers - and her mother's killer is one of them . . .

The Review

Is it wrong to love a book so much? With HUNTING LILA, Sarah Alderson delivers on an electrifying debut novel that takes you on an epic journey from the first to the very end page, with some non-stop action, suspence, and some serious hot romance that will take your breath away. Literally. I couldn't get enough of this novel and I can guarantee that all you readers will love this utterly amazing novel! Gripping pages . . . a fiesty heroine . . . hot boys . . . and my GOD it was just one hell of an adventure!

Our main heroine, Lila, has two secrets. 1) she has an ability to move objects with her mind and 2) she's in love with her brother's best friend since like . . . forever! Throughout the book Lila's courage will be tested when these two secrets collide into a series of events that will change her life forever. When a mugging attack went wrong, Lila's so-called 'ability' was exposed and in a panic she runaways to California where her brother, Jack, and his best friend, Alex, live. The only two people she can trust. Or so it would seem. Jack and Alex have been working for a secret organisation called The Unit and while it seems to be a military organisation, however there is more that lies beneath this unit. Something unexpected to Lila. With lies and many secrets revealed, one that has a lot to do with Lila's mother's death five years ago, Lila is bound to have her world crashing down.

I admit, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect with this book. All I knew was it was a book crossed between X-men (which I LOVE) and something of the likes of '24', which all up I knew was going to be an epic read for me. And GOD it was everything I hoped for - if not more than I realized. From the first chapter that hooked me . . . what really did it for me was Lila's love for her brother's best friend, Alex. Alex . . . ALEX! GOD! I will not stop gushing over that guy. He was just - gah! The first time you meet Alex, you can easily tell why Lila fell for him so hard since she was a child and it didn't matter whether he was older than she was . . . I mean, isn't that the attraction of him being older, wiser, and hot? *nods* Damn straight. Alex was so dreamy, caring and considerate, and did I mention hot? I think I did. Anyway if you want a hot romance entwined with an epic adventure then be sure to pick up this book and dive into the non-stop action sequences that will leave you wanting more!

HUNTING LILA is a wonderful accomplished novel with major sex appeal. Yup, I'm just laying it down onto the table. Sarah Alderson has such an amazing talent in engaging the reader and is definitely someone you ought to be watching out for to be the next big thing! While I saw this novel as it if was a movie, I'm super excited to know that the movie rights are being discussed for this book and all I can say is, 'move over Twilight and let HUNTING LILA break down your fangal battle fort'. A sequel for HUNTING LILA is currently in the works and be on the lookout for Alderson's second book Fated which will be released in January 2012. *forces hands away from the keyboard to avoid extra gushing*

The Rating

5/5 stars

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan

Release Date: 22nd March, 2011

Publisher: Delacorte Books

Pages: 377pgs

The Story

There are many things that Annah would like to forget: the look on her sister's face before Annah left her behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, her first glimpse of the Horde as they swarmed the Dark City, the sear of the barbed wire that would scar her for life. But most of all, Annah would like to forget the morning Elias left her for the Recruiters. Annah's world stopped that day, and she's been waiting for Elias to come home ever since. Somehow, without him, her life doesn't feel much different than the dead that roam the wasted city around her. Until she meets Catcher, and everything feels alive again.

But Catcher has his own secrets. Dark, terrifying truths that link him to a past Annah has longed to forget, and to a future too deadly to consider. And now it's up to Annah: can she continue to live in a world covered in the blood of the living? Or is death the only escape from the Return's destruction?

The Review

Okay, so, have you ever picked up a book and once you read the last few chapters . . . you straight away put that book down because you don't want it to end? That's exactly what happened to me here. THE DARK AND HOLLOW PLACES is the third installment of Carrie Ryan's The Forest of Hands and Teeth series, and the final conclusion to her EPIC zombie trilogy. For those who know me I love myself some zombie - whether it's books, movies, graphic novels or anything zombie-related - and when it comes to Ryan's story, she does a bloody fine job in writing zombies. All her books are full of adventure, darkness, and heart-breaking emotion. It's no wonder why this particular book series has captivated manys hearts and has become everyone's personal YA favourite.

In THE DARK AND HOLLOW PLACES, Annah has lived on her own in the Dark City for almost three years, after Elias left to join the Recruiters. Ah, Elias, how I love you. With a dark past and clearly a very bleak future ahead, Annah is merely survivng. But when her everyday routine changes she meets a girl who shares the same face as her: Abigail/Gabry - her twin sister. And not only that, but Elias has also returned along with Annah's twin and a boy named Catcher. CATCHER! I love you also. Because of their sudden return, Annah will need to decide whether there's still some hope for the future.

For me, what really stood out in this installment was Annah herself. I loved the fact that she's as tough-as-nails and has this intense longing for freedom, which I think most teens would feel if they were in her situation. However, the only thing I didn't like about her was her hate for Gabry, who I've come to know and love when I was inside her head in The Dead-Tossed Waves. She's was a great favourite of mine and with her in a love triangle between Catcher and Elias, I didn't understand how Annah could pine over these two boys . . . KNOWING they were her sisters past lovers. *shakes head* It just didn't seem right at the time. But there's no denying that I loved the relationship between Annah and Catcher. It's sort of a broken love, but a very hopeful and intense one, which I loved. The two of them really understood each other and I'm also glad to see Gabry and Elias were apart of the story as supporting characters. Missed the two of them.

Overall, like in Ryan's previous books, this one is very dark and I love that because most of the time I didn't feel hope for any of the characters but that's because the world is full of zombies. How can you feel hope when they're involved? Anyway, the author Carrie Ryan did such an amazing job in crafting a world like this one. She portrayed the feeling of aloneness so well . . . and I hope our own future doesn't end up like this world of hers. As in the previous books, readers should expect a lot of running away from the Unconsecrated, hiding in the likes of forests, and fighting off unwanted attention. That's what you get in Ryan's books. THE DARK AND HOLLOW PLACES isn't for the weak hearted, but if you've read the previous two installments, do NOT stop now! Or if you're new readers then give this one a go!

The story moves like an action movie clip, and with its descriptive narrative writing and its awesome sequences to add into the mix, it's nonetheless a bittersweet end to a series that we've grown to love.

The Rating

5/5 stars

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young

Release Date: 21st June, 2011

Publisher: Balzer & Bray

Pages: 272pgs

The Story

We all want to be remembered.

Charlotte's destiny is to be Forgotten . . .

Charlotte's best friend thinks Charlotte might be psychic. Her boyfriend thinks she's cheating on him. But Charlotte knows what's really wrong: She is one of the Forgotten, a kind of angel on earth, who feels the Need - a powerful, uncontrollable draw to help someone, usually a stranger.

But Charlotte never wanted this responsibility. What she wants is to help her best friend, whose life is spiraling out of control. She wants to lie in her boyfriend's arms forever. But as the Need grows stronger, it begins to take a dangerous toll on Charlotte. And who she was, is, and will become - her mark on this earth, her very existence - is in jeopardy of disappearing completely.

Charlotte will be forced to choose: Should she embrace her fate as a Forgotten, a fate that promises to rip her from the lives of those she loves forever? Or is she willing to fight against her destiny - no matter how dark the consequences.

The Review

I would hate to classify this as an angel book because Suzanne Young has written something completely different to the trending genre, but by god this is one of the best "angel" books that I've ever read! At least for the year of 2011! Everything I love in a book is RIGHT HERE so if you love something that can pull your heart strings and something that is part-aspiring . . . then this book is the perfect one for you!

A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL is mesmerizing beyond words. Young has captivated me from the first page to the very end of the novel, and I admit, it's rare to find a book like this. At first I wasn't too sure whether I would love this book but by the time the first chapter flew by . . . I enjoyed every single moment of Charlotte's journey of love and sacrifice. The whole concept behind Charlotte's consuming Need was not only heartbreaking but it was a very clever concept. While most angel books are all about the likes of demons, wings, and true love that can never be . . . this novel is a refreshing take on the term "angels" and it's by far one of the most creative things that I've read in a short while.

One of the best things I loved about A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL is the relationship between Charlotte and her boyfriend Harlin. Finally an author has blessed me with a couple pairing that seems real and honest! For once I didn't have to worry about a romantic relationship being rushed or unrealistic, so it's a big win for Suzanne Young here. The couple here are just perfect for each other and I loved all the interactions shared between these two main characters. Gah! I just couldn't get enough of their story! When you read about their relationship and the struggles Charlotte faces as she tries to hide the Need from her boyfriend . . . you just FELT for her in the moment she experiences this Need and you FELT for Harlin as well. Anyway, enough of the gushing here because I won't stop otherwise.

With a beautiful story like Charlotte's - a character facing difficult decisions that could ultimately change someone's life - it's no wonder why I love these characters and its story! But there's only two problems with the book: 1) The cliffhanger was a major killer! Why must you do this to me Suzanne Young?!?! and 2) I have no idea what will happen when it comes to Charlotte's fate especially after what I read from that cliffhanger! I just want her to have a happy ending already! After reading the last page, I just loved how everything turned out, though I can't be the judge if it was for the better or for the worse. Overall, A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL is such a delightful read and I'm looking forward to its sequel!

The Rating

5/5 stars

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Shimmer by Alyson Noel

Release Date: 5th August, 2011

Publisher: Macmillan

Pages: 208pgs

The Story

Having solved the matter of the Radiant Boy, Riley, Buttercup, and Bodhi are enjoying a little time-off. But then Riley encounters a young ghost named Rebecca. Despite Rebecca's sweet appearance, Riley soon learns she's not at all what she seems. As the daughter of a former plantation owner, Rebecca is furious about being murdered during the slave revolt of 1733. Her uncontrollable anger is keeping other ghosts, who also died in the revolt, trapped in a shimmering bubble. And when Bodhi and Buttercup inadvertently fall into Rebecca's trap, Riley is the only one who can save them.

The Review

A big thanks to Lauren from Macmillan for sending me a review copy of this book!

If you haven't read my review on the first Riley Bloom's book, Radiance, you can read it here. For the second installment of Alyson Noel's spin-off series, SHIMMER, after a well deserved 'vacation', Riley runs into a vicious black dog and now she wants to help that dog cross over. But when she crosses over into a place controlled by the whims of another ghost . . . things are bound to get into more trouble than it's worth. This other ghost, Rebecca, seems sweet and trusting, but she lives off fear, hatred, and any other negative emotion. And now it's up to Riley to figure out how to help Rebecca cross over - at the bridge - as well as stopping other ghosts being trapped by Rebecca herself along the way.

I admit, I was a 'little' disappointed by the first book in the spin-off series, however SHIMMER manages to pull off another great Riley adventure. Plus there were many underlying messages throughout the book - including forgiveness - that a lot of younger readers will take away and really think about. The only reason why I'm giving this book three stars is mainly because of it being a middle grade novel. I rarely read middle grade novels as they tend to be too young in 'feeling' if you get what I mean. Other than that, this book was enjoyable. Riley especially was a fun character to read about and it's great to see that she's coming into her own . . . which is why readers love her a lot.

So if you're a fan of Noel's previous Immortals series or have read the first book Radiance, then be sure to check out this book. However, it might not be for everyone. Unless of course you enjoy a quick and fun-paced light adventure!

The Rating

3/5 stars

Friday, August 12, 2011

Alpha by Rachel Vincent

Release Date: 1st July, 2011

(AUS paperback)
Publisher: Mira

Pages: 441pgs

The Story

The unscrupulous new Council Chair has charged Jace, Marc, and me with trespassing, kidnapping, murder and treason. Yeah, we've been busy. But now it's time to take justice into our own hands. We must avenge my brother's death and carve out the rot at the heart of the Council.

It's not going to be easy, and loss seems unavoidable, but I have promised to protect my Pride - no matter what. Then there's Marc. And Jace. I need to choose between them.

With a target on my back, I'm heading for a final showdown that can and will - change everything forever. No decision will be easy, and not everyone will survive this epic fight to the death . . .

The Review

I'm obsessed with anything Rachel Vincent. I love every single book she brings out and I think I'll love them forever. Now I've been waiting and waiting for ALPHA to come out - in the new Australian paperback - and finally I got a copy. Bless the bookstores. Once I got ahold of this book, I literally stopped everything that I was doing and sat down . . . just reading this book and this book only. The Shifter series is one of my absolute favourite adult series, not because of my obsession with Vincent's books, but because in this series there's a strong heroine - not some male figure - right here and because it has an awesome story to add to that great heroine.

Note to self: This is the last - yes the LAST - installment to the mind blowing Shifter series and I'm so sad to see it all end. ALPHA continues almost right where we left off in Shifter, and now it's time to face the Pride Council where they must decide on who the next leader is. A lot of things happen, but what most readers like myself care about is Faythe's decision on her lover - between Marc, the person who probably loves her the most out of everyone and not to mention a longtime boyfriend, and Jace, someone Faythe least expected to fall in love with but has.

The reason why I'm giving this book 4 1/2 stars is because Faythe sits on the fence too long, deciding who she loves the most. It's unfair to the two boys she's in love with and it's unfair to the whole of humanity - that being ME! I was screaming in my head saying the likes of, "PICK HIM ALREADY!" and "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!" I wasn't too impressed with the way she handled things - her relationships. We had Marc whose heart is broken continuously and the amount of pain he was feeling . . . I WAS FEELING! Then there's Jace. Sweet, caring, breath-of-fresh-air Jace. While my heart will always be Marc's, but Jace is the kind of character you just can't help but love. He doesn't share the intense history like Marc and Faythe share, but he's giving it his all to be with Faythe. My heart goes out to him for trying. In the end, no matter who she chooses, readers will have to appreciate that Faythe has grown and evolved so much from the first book Stray and I just want to hug her for being such a kickass heroine!

I don't want to give away any spoilers, but I can definitely list some things that you should expect to come: 1) You'll cry like a baby, 2) You'll end up finding out who Faythe chooses to be with, and 3) Did I mention you'll cry like a baby? Yes I think I did. I was upset through most of the book - all through the good and bad things. But that's because the strongest part of Rachel Vincent's writing is how she's the Queen of all writing Evils. She can make you laugh, she can make you cry, she can make you yell, she can make you sit on the edge of your seat and make you fall of it. *smirks* As for the ending, while it ended quicker than I thought it would, but it was the most adorable thing I've ever read in a conclusion to a book series. So two big thumbs up for Vincent!

It's not a Shifter novel without big action sequences, romantic one-liners, and some little twists along the way. And that's what you still get from ALPHA. The action from this novel is phenomenal. Really. Rachel Vincent has taken it all to the next level and I love her for it. If you're an obsessed fan of Vincent like I am, than pick up this EPIC conclusion to one of the best adult series EVER! You'll not be disappointed! Here's my favourite line:

"Marc didn't want to win by default. He wanted to win for real. Forever."

The Rating

4 1/2 / 5 stars

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Interview with Kelly Gardiner

Kelly Gardiner is the Australian author of the recently released book called Act of Faith. If you haven't read my review on this supersweet read then you can read it here. Thanks to the amazing publicity team of HarperCollins - Lara who forwarded my questions - I was able to interview Kelly herself! Enjoy!

1. What inspired your novel Act of Faith?

Isabella. She just appeared. I started writing the shipwreck scene, and I didn't really know who Isabella was - only that she was a political refugee in a time of great turmoil, sometime in the late 17th century. It took a while for me to place her precisely in that moment in history. But I've always been fascinated by the history of the book, and its impact on the world and our communities, and everyone at present is talking about books as if they're doomed. So I thought about how the impact of the printing press seemed such a similar process to the rapid rollout of the web and other digital technologies, and how sudden changes in the way we access and use information are often accompanied by a backlash from authorities trying to shut it all down. (That makes it all sound much more conscious than it was. Really, it just kind of happened.)

2. How much research was needed to create your story?

Tons. Months and months of researching everything from what kind of buckles would be on her shoes (if any) to the great economic and political movements of the time. But I love it, so it's all fun. I am often heard to shout out loud in delight at discovering some new fascinating piece of information - of course, you only ever use a fraction of it in the text.

3. What do you hope your readers will experience in Act of Faith?

I'd just like them to enjoy the adventure, and hopefully see something of themselves in Isabella - and vice versa.

4. I loved Isabella's character. She's smart and definitely challenges the ideals of men being the dominant sex. What inspired her character?

There were quite a few extremely talented and well-educated women in England and Europe at the time - and of course in many other places such as China, Japan and the Ottoman Empire. And there were many women who worked hard for a living - in trades and professions, such as printing.

Also I get grumpy about historical fiction that makes women like Elizabeth I or Lady Jane Grey or Mary Queen of Scots - all formidable, multilingual, and highly trained intellects - out to be merely the puppets of male courtiers or fools for love. Isabella is my antidote.

Having said that, I didn't want her to come across as too perfect. She can be a bit of a snob at times, a bit precious, and she's quite rude to Willem at first. So one of the important things that happens is that the process of the printing - the physical act of book creation - grounds her and helps her understand a world from which she'd always been aloof.

5. Any advice to aspiring authors such as myself?

The first thing is to read - everything you can, but especially if you want to write genre read as much as you can in that style. Each genre has a formula or code that you have to know deep inside you before you can crack it. The second thing is to write whenever you can, even if it's stuff that nobody will ever read. Thirdly, don't get too worried about all the other bits - pitches to publishers and slush piles and all that. It's too easy for people to write more query letters than stories. Start anywhere. You don't have to know what happens next. Write your story. The story that only you can write. Then think about the rest. Oh, and turn off your web browser and phone.

6. That's a great answer. And lastly, Are you working on any other novels at the moment?

I'm thinking about the sequel to Act of Faith. The working title is The Sultan's Eye and it is set in Venice and Istanbul, with some familiar characters and a few new ones. It will be out in 2013. I'm still in the planning stages, but the contracts are signed!

I'm more advanced in work on an adult novel, based on the real life of the remarkable Mademoiselle de Maupin, someone whose adventures are so wild I couldn't make them up! She was a 17th century swordswoman and opera singer who dressed in men's clothes, and once duelled three men at the same time and beat them all. I've been working on that part-time for over a year now as part of my PhD and it'll be fair while before I'm finished, but she's excellent company.

I actually heard of Maupin! So very exciting! Wants it now! ;)

Thank you Kelly for letting me interview you!

Be sure to check out her book Act of Faith which is out NOW!

Follow Kelly:

Be sure to add Act of Faith on goodreads

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong

Release Date: 12th April, 2011

Publisher: ATOM

Pages: 359pgs

The Story

Maya lives in a small medical-research town on Vancouver Island. How small? You can't find it on the map. It has less than two-hundred-people, and her school has only sixty-eight students - for every grade from kindergarten to twelve.

Now, strange things are happening in this claustrophobic town, and Maya's determined to get to the bottom of them. First, the captain of the swim team drowns mysteriously in the middle of a calm lake. A year later, mountain lions start appearing around Maya's home, and they won't go away. Her best friend, Daniel, starts getting negative vibes from certain people and things. It doesn't help that the new bad boy in town, Rafe, has a dangerous secret - and he's interested in one special part of Maya's anatomy: her paw-print birthmark.

The Review

If you're looking for an interesting adventure, than look no further. Here we have THE GATHERING by Kelley Armstrong! This book has everything a book lover will always love to read about: a great cast of characters, a small isolated community, supernatural elements, and a secretive scientific company that have secrets of their own, ones that you must decide whether to trust or to expose.

Honestly, I have to say that I was surprised how much I liked this book. Sometimes the YA paranormal genre offers nothing really new and uses the same cliche storylines . . . and to me it sounded like another shapeshifter story. However, since being a huge fan of Armstrong's previous YA series, Darkest Powers, I knew that she would write another great adventure since this book is a spin-off. And she did just that. Much to my surprise after the first couple of chapters, I quickly found myself immersed with the storyline and the mythology Armstrong crafted in this little gated community. And with the element of 'bad boy Rafe' entering the picture, let's just say the book can do no wrong.

What really captured me was the cast of characters. All of them - not just Maya - are completely engaging and it didn't matter if a couple were annoying little pests . . . they were nonetheless interesting and very multi-layered. Maya in particular was a great heroine. She's strong, smart, witty, and can definitely hold her own. Sure she has a lot of emotions and maybe not so lucky in her choices of men, but she's a great character that readers will like. Anyway like I said before, I was very surprised by the appeal of this book. This now brings me to the writing. I love Vancouver. I haven't had the pleasure of travelling over there, but one day I will have to! The imagery Armstrong weaved into her writing was a great pleasure to read about. Through the writing itself I could actually visualize the trees and the cliffs, the lake, the forests, and even the collections of small shops that made the town's 'downtown' area. The town seemed so real to me and Armstrong's writing made it all come alive.

THE GATHERING is a great book, really. Some readers may be tired of the paranormal aspect in novels but be sure to check out this one. From what I know, this book is the first of a trilogy, so even with a lot of questions unanswered in this installment, I'm still looking forward to the sequel!

The Rating

4/5 stars
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