Friday, September 30, 2011

The Damned by Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie

Release Date: 27th October, 2011

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Books

Pages: 384pgs

The Story

There is a fine line between love and sacrifice . . .

Antonio would do anything for his beloved fighting partner Jenn. He protects her, even suppresses his vampire cravings to be with her. Together, they defend humanity against the Cursed Ones. But tensions threaten to fracture their hunting team and his loyalty - his love - is called into question.

Jenn, the newly appointed Hunter, aches for revenge against the Cursed Ones who converted her sister. And with an even more sinister power on the rise, she must overcome her personal vendettas to lead her team into battle.

Antonio and Jenn need each other to survive, but evil lurks at every turn. With humanity's fate hanging in the balance, they must face down the darkness . . . or die trying.

The Review

A big thanks to Caroline from Simon & Schuster for sending me a review copy of this book!

THE DAMNED is the sequel to the book The Cursed Ones and if you haven't read my review on the first book, you can read it here. When I read the The Cursed Ones I was a little confused by the premise and all of the points of view displayed throughout the novel, but since I've gotten used to the way it was written, I absolutely LOVED this book compared to its predecessor . From my 3 1/2 star review to a five star review, I was very surprised by how well this book had turned out because THE DAMNED is packed with a whole lot of punch and will shock you to the very bone. For me, the strength of the sequel lies with the heart-stopping action (which was spot on) and the relationships between the characters (which was also spot on). I loved every moment of it - including the high drama elements that were equally as fantastic as the bloody fights - and the series has developed into something so, so good that I thought wasn't even impossible.

Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie do wonderful things in building a great book atmosphere that is ruled by vampires and vampire hunters alone. Oh and some werewolves and witches along the way. THE DAMNED is incredibly believable which makes it even more frightening to witness and I often found myself putting the book down, just to take in everything that these two authors have written. And personally I think without the main character Jenn Leitner, this book would not be what it is. I loved her character more in THE DAMNED, because her human-side personality used to be weak and she wasn't so sure of herself as a hunter. However in THE DAMNED, readers will get to see a whole new side to Jenn. A badass. A girl trying to survive in a broken world. She fights back twice as harder, and with the love of her hunter team and with the love of Antonio, I just found her such a strong female heroine that you will admire far more than the old Jenn you've seen back in The Cursed Ones. She has changed for the better and not to mention that she get's to throw far more PUNCHES compared to the boys, the ones who didn't respect her as much as they should have. Like Jenn, I'm glad to have more of Antonio in this book. Despite his religious ways, I love him as character and I love him for loving Jenn. Sure, you will get frustrated by the way he tries to "stay away" from Jenn - due to him being a vampire - but I love him for that too. Same goes for Holgar, Skye, Eriko, and even the baddies who were well-written.

I won't go into too much detail because there's a lot to go through plot-wise, but if you loved the first book The Cursed Ones or are not sure whether to continue with this series, then please do because from my average star review to a very high star review, if THE DAMNED can surprise me then it will surprise you in many ways. Truly. Quite frankly this has been of the best books I've read in the vampire genre and I'm eagerly looking forward to reading the third book of this non-stop action series! So be sure to check this baby out!

The Rating

5/5 stars

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik

Release Date: 2nd August, 2011

Publisher: HarperTeen

Pages: 288pgs

The Story

Will Elise's love life be an epic win or an epic fail?

At Coral Tree Prep in Los Angeles, who your parents are can make or break you. Case in point: As thhe son of Hollywood royalty, Derek Edwards is pretty much prince of the school - not that he deigns to acknowledge many of his loyal subjects. As the daughter of the new principal, Elisa Benton, isn't exactly on everyone's must-sit-next-to-at-lunch-list.

When Elise's beautiful sister catches the eye of the prince's best friend, Elise gets to spend a lot of time with Derek, making her the envy of every girl on campus. Except she refuses to fall for any of his rare smiles and instead warms up to his enemy, the surprisingly charming social outcast Webster Grant. But in this hilarious tale of fitting in and flirting, not all snubs are undeserved, not all celebrity brats are bratty, and pride and prejudice can get in the way of true love for only so long.

The Review

Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is one of my absolute favourite classic novels and when I found out this delicious young adult tale was a contemporary take on my favourite tale of all time, I knew straight off that this book was going to make me smile and giggle like crazy. Like a girl. Yeah I know what you're thinking. Prepare the eye-rolls, the face palms and the shaking of heads. Indeed I did all of those smiles and giggles - far more than I expected to - and it's far from an epic fail. More like an epic win for this delightful and highly entertaining author!

EPIC FAIL is the story told from Elise's point of view. She's the second oldest in the family, with her sister Julianna being the oldest. So when Julianna falls for a guy named Chase, and then Elise is forced to awkwardly hang out with the two of them, little did she know that it included the company of the high school's prince of all princes, Derek Edwards. Derek is not only rich but he is the product son of two very famous movie stars. Elise thinks he's a snob but when an unexpected 'friendship' forms between the two of them, things are about to become very complicated as Elise befriends Derek's enemy, Webster Grant, who is charming like the famous Mr. Wickham (you know who I mean Austen fans!). The characters are the reason why this book is such a winner and everything inside this refreshing story will thrill readers, and clearly I'm one of those readers who wants more from this author! I'm expecting big things from her after finishing and devouring this sweet-loveable-gorgeous story!

Overall, EPIC FAIL is everything you want in a young adult contemporary novel and it's by far my favourite contemporary novel of 2011! You have characters that are the modern versions of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice's cast of characters, you have blossoming love found in unexpected places, and of course, fun-but-so-very-cutsey-flirty read that will make you crack up in all laughs and smiles! It's a very big win for Claire LaZebnik for sure!

The Rating

5/5 stars

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Release Date: 7th October, 2011

Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books

Pages: 307pgs

The Story

What if you were bound for a new world, about to pledge your life to someone you'd been promised to since birth, and one unexpected violent attack made survival - not love - the issue?

Out in the murky nebula lurks an unseen enemy: the New Horizon. On its way to populate a distant planet in the wake of Earth's collapse, the ship's crew has been unable to conceive a generation to continue its mission. They need young girls desperately, or their zealous leader's efforts will fail. Onboard their sister ship, the Empyrean, the unsuspecting families don't know an attack is being mounted that could claim the most important among them . . .

Fifteen-year-old Waverly is part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space; she was born on the Empyrean, and the large farming vessel is all she knows. Her concerns are those of any teenager - until Kieran Alden proposes to her. The handsome captain-to-be has everything Waverly could ever want in a husband, and with the pressure to start having children, everyone is sure he's the best choice. Except for Waverly, who wants more from life than marriage - and is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth.

But when the Empyrean faces sudden attack by their assumed allies, they quickly find out that the enemies aren't all from the outside.

The Review

A big thanks to Macmillan Children's Books for sending me a review copy of this book!

When I first heard about GLOW being compared to classics of The Handmaid's Tale and Lord of the Flies - even to the popular Hunger Games trilogy - I had a lot of high expectations for the book, especially when you see such a beautiful starry cover that would make any reader pick it up at first glance! Now in some young adult books I respect all the angst it contains because you as a reader, you start to then sympathize for the characters and even end up loving them. Unfortunately all of my expectations weren't met and I may have set my standards a little too high in this case.

With the first few chapters of GLOW, I was off to a rocky start and that's not a good thing when the main goal of an author is to draw you in and be invested in the story at the beginning of the book. I liked Waverly as our main heroine - at least for a little while - but the character development was the problem for me. And not to mention the way the story was written in third person perspective. Firstly let's talk about the characters. What really threw me off with the storyline was the confused feeling I got. You had weak characters who became strong, the strong ones who became broken, the good guys turned out to be bad guys, and then the bad guys were actually 'good' . . . it just frustrated me. I admit, I admired Amy Kathleen Ryan's ability when it came to writing Waverly's character and she was probably the only character that I cared about as all of the others lacked with an instant connection, which sadly for me, was very disappointing. The boys more so - Kieran and Seth. They were nothing special through my eyes but I did like Seth more compared to Kieran's god-praying ways. Much like the lack of connection, its the same with the way it was written. I've never been a fan of the third perspective but ever since reading Cassandra Clare's writing, I've been forever hooked on it and only a few authors I know can actually pull it off. For GLOW however, I found the third perspective made the book just . . . not work and clearly it was meant for first person. Everything of the third perspective was muddled and woven between characters and most of the time I found myself - again - confused. This was a pity on the author's part because this book had a lot going for it and if it was written in first person, then through my eyes it would've been a winner.

When it comes down to it, I was still entertained by the overall storyline and was interested enough to keep on reading since I was a big fan of Across The Universe, which this book reminded me a lot of. Towards the end, I think the way it ended was the redeeming factor of the entire book and I suddenly had some love for it. But then a certain 'something' happens and ruins the scene completely. Now as an avid reader, I expected something-of-an-ending that convinced me to read the second book - and maybe I will change my mind in continuing this series in the future - but I don't know how to describe it except that it didn't cut it for me. While the suppose and promised 'love triangle' didn't interest me at all, I can still see why people would find this book very appealing as I am a lover of the sci-fi genre. If you're wondering whether you should read this book or not, it's kind of up to you as a reader to take a chance on it. There are a lot of mixed reviews floating about on GLOW and I would recommend you to borrow the book at the library instead of buying it straight away. So overall, my advice to you is read it if you're a sci-fi fan and/or love the idea of travelling in space and seeing the best and worst of human nature. But note to the wise: don't expect too much of a love story because there's hardly any of that that I hoped for.

The Rating

2/5 stars

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fury by Elizabeth Miles

Release Date: 1st September, 2011

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Pages: 352pgs

The Story

Emily Winters has been in love with Zach for a while. The only problem is that he is going out with her best friend Gabs. But when Gabs goes on a family holiday, Em just can't resist temptation and hooks up with Zach behind her back.

Chase Singer's life is full of secrets but his harassment of a social outcast, who had spurned him before her fall from grace, spirals out of control when she tries to kill himself.

Now it's time for Em and Chase to discover that a little guilt isn't the only consequence of doing wrong, when three mysterious beautiful women - the Furies - come to town to make sure that they both get what they deserve.

Not everyone will survive and those who do will realise there are worse punishments than death. But when Em discovers more about who and what the Furies really are, she becomes resolved to take them down and stop their plans. Little does Em know that, by confronting the Furies, there will be hell to pay.

Seductive, dark and utterly unputdownable, Fury is a spellbinding story of love, backstabbing and revenge.

The Review

A big thank you to Caroline from Simon & Schuster Australia for sending me a review copy of this book!

FURY was a young adult debut novel that I was really looking forward to this year because of its gorgeous cover (I mean look how captivating it is) and because I've always had a huge fascination with the myth of the Furies. The whole concept of revenge and karma being mixed into this paranormal twist is something readers will definitely love about this book. However, while I loved the idea of the storyline and the direction it was leading towards, but the characters themselves have a lot to answer for.

Cheating, back-stabbing, attempted suicide, more cheating, I-like-then-love-then-like-then-love-then-hate hookups, some added fist-fighting, and some other random keg parties . . . FURY is nonetheless quite a dramatic book filled with dramatic characters. Let's just say that it wasn't exactly my type of book. Emily Winters, the main character, was someone I loved and hated. You see she has a crush on her best friend's boyfriend and when her suppose 'best friend' goes away, she ends up hooking up with her crush Zach. I don't know about you guys but I don't condone cheating - no matter how you feel at the time. You can have feelings for someone but there's a complete difference in acting on those 'feelings'.

Much like the other supporting characters, I didn't feel any connection to them whatsoever and I was endlessly questioning their behaviour which is sometimes not a good thing when you're reading a book like this one. But what I did appreciate with FURY was that the book was in third perspective and continued swapping perspectives between Em and Chase's heads, however I had to say that I wasn't a fan of Chase's point of view and the book should have - in my opinion - be only in Emily's head for the book to work out well. Now while I couldn't relate to any of the characters, but maybe other people can. Word to the wise though - don't cheat or lie or do anything that can and will potentially ruin your life. What goes around comes around.

Although the book was not my cup of tea, I couldn't say that I didn't like entirely. Because the book did have all sorts of redeeming qualities. One of those was when the Furies came into the picture and disturbed the peace. Once they entered the scene, everything started to come together and make the events a little more interesting. The twist at the end was bittersweet revenge and I loved every moment of that ending! For those who've already read this book will know what I mean when it came to the ending. Despite some flaws, Elizabeth Miles's debut novel FURY was still a very entertaining and suspenseful tale, and it's a promising start to a trilogy. Just think of the likes of Gossip Girl and Mean Girls with a little naughty twist of the Furies, where a world isn't safe and that every action you do will always have some consequences along the way.

The Rating

3/5 stars

Monday, September 26, 2011

Devoted by Hilary Duff

Release Date: 29th September, 2011

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Australia

Pages: 416pgs

The Story

Dark forces and powerful people are on a mission to destroy Sage and the mysterious elixir that gives him immortality. When Sage is kidnapped, Clea feels certain that he is still alive and she will stop at nothing to save him.

Clea turns to her friend Ben for help, and together they form a dangerous but necessary alliance with the ancient faction Cursed Vengeance, whose information can lead Clea to Sage. But if Clea fails to locate Sage before Cursed Vengeance does, she risks losing Sage forever.

As events unfold and she gets closer to her goal of finding Sage, Clea begins to question just who she can trust. Has Ben played a part in Sage's kidnapping, and in their past lives? Will Clea manage to save Sage before it's too late, or are their dangerous and tragic past destined to repeat all over again?

The Review

A big thanks to Caroline from Simon & Schuster for sending me a review copy of this book!

When readers hear about their favourite and least favourite celebrities writing a book, you immediately think that it isn't possible that you would enjoy it, let alone think they can actually write something decent. Some celebrities get a book deal because of the enticing printed word of their famous name, but unlike some celebrity books I've read in the past, Hilary Duff can actually write a pretty fun and entertaining book. Plus it helps being a fan of hers. DEVOTED is the sequel to Hilary Duff's debut YA novel Elixir and while I wasn't a huge fan of the first book, but the ending itself was enough to get me wanting to continue with this series.

In this second installment, Clea - the novel's main protagonist - returns and she has finally found her soul mate in the handsome and yet dangerous Sage. After discovering that she once loved Sage through many past lives - lives that ended tragically by the way - Clea is more than determined to stop history repeating itself, so she can be with her one and true love forever. But when her soul mate is suddenly kidnapped, Clea has no choice but to team up with her friend, Ben, whom has a 'thing' for Clea. So it only proves that this new alliance forming between them is going to get a hell of a lot more complicated.

Truth be told, I loved the sequel DEVOTED compared to the first book Elixir. For me personally, I found this book had much more intensity about it - in a good way - and what with our leading man Sage missing, there's all this questioning and high emotions running about and for once I could actually connect with Clea as a character rather than continue to pull away from her. She has grown as a character and despite her flaws, many readers can relate to her. Same goes with Sage. Even though his character doesn't get the spotlight (he's kidnapped after all) as much as Ben does. But not to worry Sage fans, he's still in there. As for our dear Ben . . . well he's gorgeous and I'm glad to have more of him in this book. [I'm a big fan of his] Now regarding the storyline on a whole, it was a very exciting adventure this time round and there's a lot more on the line for Clea and for those around her. I admit readers will have some shocking moments in the book - some that may make you mad - and talk about a major cliffhanger! So evil . . . so evil . . . [Afraid I'm not allowed to spoil here]

If you have read Elixir and you're not entirely sure whether to read its sequel - or perhaps you are already a fan of Duff's books - then be sure to pick yourself up a copy of DEVOTED. It's everything a young adult book should be and will entertain fans that love twisty-shocking turns, thrilling epic adventure and heart-stopping action. And some romance. But be warned readers: the cliffhanger is very, very cruel and will leave you questioning on what's going to happen next to our heroine Clea. Because trust me here - the ending was a complete turn around.

The Rating

4/5 stars

Friday, September 23, 2011

Follow Friday

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

This week's question: Do you have a favourite series that you read over and over again? Tell us a bit about it and why you keep on revisiting it?

My answer: That's an easy question for me. It would have to be ANY book written by Jeaniene Frost, an author best known for her Night Huntress series. The series is about a young woman named Cat who is a half-vampire and just so happens kills vampires in her spare time. For the sake of revenge for her own mother. But then she meets the absolutely smoking and gorgeous vampire named Bones, who I guess kind of recruits her help and well . . . things get very complicated and they end up falling in love. That's the main gist of it. So if you haven't read this series then I seriously don't know what's wrong with you. Anyway, the reason why I read this particular series over and over again is because it's just so bloody fantastic! There's many elements of the book that you love to death - you have humour, sexy times, fantastic characters, complex plots and it's the kind of book series that makes you laugh, cry, and smile. Love this series to bits!

Have a great weekend you guys!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Nightspell by Leah Cypess

Release Date: 31st May, 2011

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Pages: 336pgs

The Story

Here be ghosts, the maps said, and that was all.

In the haunted kingdom, ghost linger - not just in the deepest forests or the darkest caverns, but alongside the living, as part of a twisted palace court that revels all night and sleep through the daylight hours.

Darri's sister was trapped in this place of fear and shadows as a child. And now Darri has a chance to save her sister . . . if she agrees to a betrothal with the prince of the dead. But nothing is simple in this eerie kingdom - not her sister, who has changed beyond recognition; not her plan, which will be thrown off track almost at once; and not the undead prince, who seems more alive than anyone else.

In a court seething with the desire for vengeance, Darri holds the key to the balance between life and death. Can her warrior heart withstand the most wrenching choice of all?

The Review

Being the stand-alone companion novel to Leah Cypess's debut novel, Mistwood, I had a lot of high expectations that needed to be met since I really enjoyed Mistwood. But unlike its predecessor, NIGHTSPELL had no romance whatsoever - which rather disappointed me since I expected some romance to develop - however, the book offered a refreshing and alluring magical journey about the depths you would go to for family, as well as the powerful elements of death, love and sacrifice.

My favourite part of NIGHTSPELL was the originality concept of Ghostland. It was something that I've never read before, but it was really interesting to see how this type of world-building would develop along with its complexed and well developed characters. NIGHTSPELL opens to a story about a girl named Darri and her brother, Varis, who are riding to Ghostland in attempt to rescue their younger sister, Callie, who was taken from her homeland and be brought up in this frightening kingdom where the dead roam by the living. With a plan set, Darri is determined to take her sister back home, but things don't turn out the way she planned.

The thing readers will appreciate most about NIGHTSPELL is all the action. There's tons of it. Same goes for the plot-twisting that weaves through this magical world! There's tons of that too. Despite my want for more romance, the action and the suspense made up for it, and I love a good book that keeps you guessing, especially when you don't know which character is dead or not. Same goes with the characters - both the main and the supporting cast. All of these characters - whether they were annoying or damn right brave - had a purpose in the story and were extremely surprising when you find out their hidden secrets. Readers will definitely not be disappointed, so be sure to grab a copy of NIGHTSPELL when you can! You'll be captivated by the mysteries in this well-crafted book and be left wanting more Cypess magic!

The Rating

4/5 stars

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Winners of Hades & Fateful!

Okay before I announce the winners, I just want to say thank you to everyone who entered my giveaway and for supporting my blog! Now unfortunately I couldn't pick everyone and while I would've LOVED to give you all a copy of these two recently released books, but I'd chosen the best answers that I felt deserved a copy!

The Winners of Hades Are . . .

1. Chandra

2. Saskia

3. Marissa

4. Charlotte

5. Emily

The Winners of Fateful Are . . .

1. Liz. R

2. Kat

3. Siobhan

4. Shirley

5. Lauren

Congrats to all the winners! I've contacted you all by email and you have 72hrs to reply or else the book/s will go to another winner. Once again, a huge thank you to everyone who'd entered and thank you to HarperCollins for allowing me to hold this amazing giveaway!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Circle of Fire by Michelle Zink

Release Date: 4th August, 2011

Publishers: ATOM

Pages: 352pgs

The Story

Two sisters. United by blood. Divided by a prophecy.

Lia Milthorpe's determination to end the prophecy that has divided her family for generations is stronger than ever. With time dwindling, Lia sets out on a journey to locate the missing pieces of the prophecy needed to close the Gate, and to persuade her sister Alice to help - or she will have to risk her life trying to close it herself.

Lia has Dimitri by her sisde, but Alice has James, the man who once loved Lia - and maybe still does. James doesn't know the truth about either sister, or about the prophecy that divides them. And Alice intends to keep it that way.

There are some things sisters aren't meant to share. And some secrets that could destroy them both.

The Review

Yet another conclusion to a popular young adult series. I admit, I wasn't a huge fan of this series but when I read the second book, Guardian of the Gate, I was immediately drawn back into this world created by the author.

CIRCLE OF FIRE takes readers onto a whole new level and fans of the series will be shocked - well it was predictable but nonetheless shocked - by the final-showdown-of-an-ending. What I'm grateful of Michelle Zink is the way she stayed true with the novel. After all, this book is about the powerful bond between sisters - the love sisters share - and how easily something can tear them apart. My favourite character of all would have to be Lia herself. She's a strong heroine despite the whole fate-and-destiny thing, and she's still able to pull through the darkness even with her sister being her enemy. As for another favourite of mine . . . it would have to be Dimitri. Unlike James - a supporting character that never really appealed to me - Dimitri made it easy to fall in love with. I have a well-document case of loving fictional boys who are devoted to the right cause and it also helps that he's hot. I mean, what's a love interest without the hotness? Plus I fall hard for boys with the name Dimitri.

Overall if you're new to this series, then please read it or if you're a follower of Michelle Zink's Prophecy of the Sisters then be rest assured that you won't be disappointed by this conclusion. Despite the ending and a couple of little things that I found a little predictable, however everything that happened was exactly how I wanted it to end and I thank Michelle Zink personally for writing such a beautiful and mesmerizing series! I'm looking forward to future novels written by her!

The Rating

4 1/2 / 5 stars

Monday, September 19, 2011

Ripple by Mandy Hubbard

Release Date: 21st July, 2011

Publisher: Razorbill

Pages: 272pgs

The Story

Lexi is cursed with a dark secret. The water calls to her, draws her in, forces her to sing her deadly song to unsuspecting victims. If she succumbs, she kills. If she doesn't, the pain iis unbearable. To keep herself off, refusing to make friends or fall in love - again. Because the last time she feel in love with a boy, he ended up dead.

Then Lexi finds herself torn. Against her better judgement, she's opening up again, falling in love with someone new when she knows she shouldn't. But when she's offered the chance to finally live a normal life, she learns that the price she must pay to be free of her curse is giving him up.

Mandy Hubbard spins a sea-ravaged tale of melancholy beauty, and the choices one girl makes between land and waves, love and freedom, her future - and her heart.

The Review

There has been a lot of rave reviews on Mandy Hubbard's writing and with this being the very first book that I've read of hers, I'm proud to say that it won't be the last. When I heard about RIPPLE, while the storyline itself intrigued me since I love anything to do with sirens but I have to hand it to the publisher's cover artist - the real reason why I was going, 'I want that book'. The cover is just utterly stunning in person! It really draws you into this book and it's no wonder why so many people loved this awesome YA story!

RIPPLE follows a small heartbreaking story about a girl named Lexi, who is ultimately paying the price of the boy she loved - a boy she killed. With this loss and guilt hanging over her head, not only has Lexi lost someone she once loved but she has also lost her best friends and is constantly being pulled through the agony of the want of water; something she can't deny herself of needing. I can definitely say this book was a very easy-paced and an interesting take on Sirens. While the pace of the story was a little slow and lacked a couple of things from its characters, but overall I really liked the emotional build up to the novel's drive. Also, I loved the innocence Lexi had - even if she was naive - and of course I couldn't help but fall for the the hunky Cole. Honestly Cole was the perfect love interest and even with his faults, he's just the kind of guy you love all the way through. He was very understanding, despite the crazy situations Lexi was putting him through.

Okay so people might say . . . 'is there a love triangle?' Yes and no. Sometimes you have hints that it might be a triangle equation involved but to me it was not the case. I found Lexi's attraction and love was more aimed towards Cole's character than of Erik's. But Erik. Geez he was an unpleasant one to read about and he's not really worth mentioning . . . so you'll have to read the book to find out more about him. Anyway for those who've read a Mandy Hubbard novel in the past or if - you're like me - you have a love of Sirens, then this book is the perfect one for you! RIPPLE is about one girl's personal growth and how she overcomes loss and grief, find new love, and ultimately find the second chance she deserves!

The Rating

4/5 stars

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Insurgent Cover Reveal

Veronica Roth made her YA debut earlier this year with Divergent. Now the sequel won't be out until May 2012 and while the wait might be a killer . . . but to keep your excitement under control, let me present to you the cover of INSURGENT!

So what do you think? Personally for me I love that they kept the city down at the bottom of the page and I love the beautiful Amity symbol . . . but I think this sequel's cover isn't as strong as Divergent's fiery flame. Nonetheless I'm loving the vibe of this cover and I'm looking forward to seeing what Tris and Four will be up to next. Also be sure to check out an exclusive interview with Veronica Roth at EW which you can find here.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Vampire Academy Graphic Novel by Richelle Mead, Leigh Dragoon and Emma Vieceli

Release Date: 23rd August, 2011

Publisher: Razorbill

Pages: 144pgs

The Story

After two years on the run, best friends Rose and Lissa are caught and returned to St. Vladimir's Academy, a private high school for vampires and half-bloods. It's filled with intrigue, danger - and even romance. Enter the dark, fascinating world through a new series of 144-page full-color graphic novels. The entire first Vampire Academy novel has been adapted for book one by Leigh Dragoon and overseen by Richelle Mead, while the beautiful art of acclaimed British illustrator Emma Vieceli brings the story to life.

The Review

Now it's no secret that I'm an obsessed fan of Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series, and of course, I'm also a huge fan of graphic novels. I know I'm such a geek when it comes to those two things. So when I found out that yet another Richelle Mead book series was going to be made into a graphic novel form - for those that don't know her Dark Swan series was also recently adapted into graphic novels and they were just awesome - I was really, really excited to see our beloved characters drawn onto full-colour pages.

First off, before I talk about the plot, I want to talk about the artwork itself. For those worried about how their characters will turn out, not to worry though because while a couple of characters were a little different to my own interpretation of them in my head . . . it was nonetheless an awesome graphic novel for those desperate for more VA action. For the past year or so I've been a fan of Emma Vieceli's artwork and followed her more closely as soon as I heard she was to be the illustrator for Vampire Academy, and I'm so glad she was chosen to undertake such a difficult task - you know, since this YA series has a huge following and all. There's no doubt that this girl has talent and the character designs were just phenomenal. The details within themselves were exceptional, and while the scenaries were beautifully drawn, but what I loved most was the raw emotion displayed on the characters faces. Especially when it came to Rose's humour and Dimitri's ever-so-seriousness.

Moving onto the storyline. Look when it comes down to it, not every single scene in Vampire Academy will make it to the actual graphic novel. While many loved scenes were not in the book, but a lot of fans like myself will recognise the most important scenes that were featured - one including a favourite scene of mine, that being the Rose and Dimitri 'bandage' scene which a lot of you will know about. So in terms of the plot, I thought Leigh Dragoon - the person in charge of putting the entire story together - did an amazing job in grabbing the most essential scenes and laying them out clearly for readers to understand what was going on.

Really, my only complaints about the graphic novel was Rose herself (not to mention her chest size) and a couple of other supporting characters. They were not how I imagined them to be, but everyone has different versions inside their heads but I still loved their character designs no matter what. Rose facial expressions were well captured and so damn classic. And MASON! What surprised me the most was that when I read the first Vampire Academy book I thought Christian was supposed to hot, but in the graphic novel form I thought Mason was way hotter than Christian. So kudos to Emma for drawing a very hot Mason for the world to see! *hugs*

In the end if you're a fan of Vampire Academy than I have no doubt in my mind that you will want this for your own personal VA addictive collection. Beautifully depicted with great action sequences, intimidate details, and a whole lot of epic fun and adventure, this graphic novel shall not disappoint you and you will fall back in love with this series. All I can leave with you guys is - beware of the half-naked Dimitri. I swear, fangals might have a heart-attack after reading this book and seeing his 'naked' side. Just giving you a heads up is all . . .

The Rating

5/5 stars

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Possess by Gretchen McNeil

Release Date: 23rd August, 2011

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Pages: 384pgs

The Story

Fifteen-year-old Bridget Liu just wants to be left alone: by her overprotective mom, by Matt Quin, the cute son of a local police sergeant, and by the eerie voices she suddenly and inexplicably hear. Unfortunately for Bridget, the voices are demons - and Bridget possesses the rare ability to banish them back to whatever hell they came from. Literally.

Terrified to tell her friends or family about this new power, Bridget confides in San Francisco's senior exorcist, Monsignor Renault. The monsignor enlists her help in increasingly dangerous cases of demonic possession, but just as she is starting to come to terms with her freakish new role, Bridget receives a startling message from one of the demons. And when one of her oldest friends is killed, Bridget realizes she's in deeper than she thought possible. Now she must unlock the secret to the demon's plan before someone else close to her winds up dead - or worse, the human vessel for a demon king.

The Review

How would I describe this book to you? Creepy and suspenseful - and bloody brilliant of course! I followed Gretchen McNeil for a while since the YouTube channel group called YA Rebels started up and she's pretty hilarious and when I found out her book POSSESS - originally titled Banish - was coming out this year, I knew straight away that it was my type of book and a must read for all paranormal lovers. I mean, look at its cover! It's absolutely beautiful and not to mention haunting compared to most YA covers. Within this tale you have a sassy, intelligent, and very witty heroine, along with some wicked scenes of demon possession, and a lot of unexpected things lurking within the dark shadows. It was needless to say . . . a thrilling debut novel from Gretchen McNeil!

Now let's talk about Bridget Liu, the main protagonist. I've come across a lot of female heroines in my time with a smart-mouth, but I really, really loved - no, adored - Bridget as a character and if Nancy Drew and Buffy had a baby together - not like it's possible or anything but you get the idea - then Bridget would be it! Still struggling in grief over her father's murder, trying to deal with her mother dating again, and watching over her little brother Sammy, she was a character with the right amount of snark, wit and vulnerability, and I loved every moment of her on each and every page.

Personally for me, her interaction with her friend Hector was a real delight throughout the book and not to mention her interaction with gorgeous Matt - the person Bridget least expected to fall for. Ah, how I loved Matt and his greatness. Their relationship alone never sidetracked the overall storyline (thank God because a lot of romances distract me from the inital plot) but you still felt attached to these two teens and what was going on with them. Same goes with Bridget's relationship with her brother, Sammy, who was such a wicked kid by the way! I loved the way Bridget wanted to protect him and her family and friends . . . it felt real and honest. And of course, we must not forget Bridget's new powers like . . . whoa. The demon kick-butting scenes were the best part of the book and I felt Bridget was really growing as a character, one you can't help but love.

From what I understand, POSSESS has a sequel in the works and I'm definitely looking forward to more Bridget adventures and more Matt-loving! But what I love most about this book is that it could quite easily be a standalone and not many young adult books can be written like that - having a clearly explained novel from start, middle and end. So to those wondering whether they should read it or not, I recommend this book to anyone who loves some good evilness with not-so-trusting priests, demonic exorcisms and some really damn scary possessions. But this tale could not have been successful without a refreshing female heroine and some beautiful friendships all round. If you love any of those elements that I've mentioned above, then POSSESS is your book for sure! It has a little something for everyone who likes a good scare! Trust me here . . . you too will be possessed by this book! By the way - don't trust the priest!

The Rating

5/5 stars

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wildcat Fireflies by Amber Kizer

Release Date: 12th July, 2011

Publisher: Random House

Pages: 528pgs

The Story

Meridian Sozu is a Fenestra - a human-angel link between the dying and the beyond. It is her calling to help souls safely make the transition into the afterlife. Though she appears human to the living, she is the light that the dying see as they prepare to leave this world. But she and all Fenestras are threatened by the Aternocti, dark forces who snatch souls from the Light and suck them into the void of Evil, causing chaos.

At Meridian's side, Tens Valdes, her Soul Mate and destined Protector, must learn his responsibilities not only to Meridian but also to the humans who need them. Still mourning their beloved Auntie - the woman who taught them everything they know - Meridian and Tens have hit the road seeking another Fenestra. Their search leads them from Colorado to Indiana, to a dilapidated facility called Dunklebarger that houses foster children and the dyying elderly, as well as a corrupt system set up by the Aternocti to find young Fenestras.

Dunklebarger is the only home Juliet remembers. Surrounded by death and illness, she struggles to make a loving home for the youngest kids and to protect them from the violent whims of the headmistress. As she nears her sixteen birthday, Juliet's light and her will to escape weaken with each passing day . . . and she feels a seductive pull toward the dying, whose sickness seems to infect her, forcing her closer to the end . . .

Will Juliet hang on long enough for Meridian and Tens to find her? Or will the Aternocti that lurk in the very house Juliet calls home to get to her first?

The Review

I loved Amber Kizer's debut novel Meridian and now after a few years fans will finally get to read the much anticipated sequel WILDCAT FIREFLIES. When this book landed on my doorstep, I was pretty much over the moon with excitement and had this buzzing feel when I held the book with my two hands. I've been waiting for this book - soooooooooooooo bloody long - to come and now that I finished it, I thought I would be dancing by now. Unfortunately for me and unfortunately for my love of Meridian, this book wasn't all I hoped it would be.

Before I get into that, I was looking forward to meeting back up with Meridian and Tens, whom from the first book, were really strong and well-minded characters. Not only that but I was looking forward to getting back into the creative mythology Kizer created. Sadly I didn't like Meridian and Tens in this sequel. The characters I knew back then to the characters I know now have changed. Meridian turned into a paranoid teenage girl with too many irrational thoughts - and was a little immature at times - whereas Tens, whom I absolutely loved from the first book, changed into a guy that well . . . let's just say he's not the guy I knew him to be from Meridian. But the huge disappointment for me was Juliet, another Fenestra character you're introduced to and this time round - inbetween Meridian's point-of-view - we get chapters through Juliet's eyes. Which I wasn't a fan of as I didn't care about her nor did I want to read her POV. I skimmed most of her POV. I wanted everything Meridian.

Another pet peeve of mine was the ending. The ending. Sigh. When we finally get our bad guy out into the open, readers will rejoice and ask for a showdown of some sort to occur and to create a spark of tension. Sadly you'll be disappointed. The whole plot get's swept under a rug and the bad guy is defeated but not the way you imagined. This certain someone is scared off in the matter of one paragraph. Not exactly what I wanted. Not at all what I wanted. I've heard there's another two more books in this series, so it'll be interesting what Kizer will do next with the story. Anyway, the positive thing about WILDCAT FIREFLIES is that Amber Kizer still manages to create a dark story, and she does that really well much like she did in Meridian. She doesn't shy away from anything which I love her for as an author and I also still loved the chemistry she put into Meridian and Tens. For me, it was the only real excitement in the book. The hot and almost sex scenes. Though I do admit they were a little verbose for my liking and I recommend this for older teens. But nonetheless they were hot, hot, HOT and I was surprise by these scenes happening so quickly. But I wanted more of them. *smirks*

Okay, so where does this leave us? If you're a fan of Meridian like myself, then be sure to check out this book as you will want to continue the series and to see what happens to Meridian and her hottie protector/boyfriend Tens. I like the bones of the story and while I didn't love it as much as I loved Meridian I still highly recommend this series!

The Rating

3/5 stars

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Blog Tour Day 2: Mammon - Creating a fantasy world

Hello again and welcome back! It's Day 2 of the Mammon book blog tour and just in case you've missed the Day 1 post, you can check out the Ivan character interview here and also be sure to read and/or comment on my Mammon book review here and the author interview that is posted here.

For today's post, J.B. Thomas has kindly gave me an insight into creating a fantasy world - one about her very awesome and interesting Mammon world. So here's what the author herself has to say:

Creating a Fantasy World

One of the magical things about fantasy fiction is the opportunity to build worlds. In Mammon, I wanted to create a world that was based on the real, but one that had hints of the supernatural poking through.

Border City is a critical part of the story and the setting itself tells the story of a great divide between rich and poor. The City is an oasis that one reaches after traversing the long, interminable Red Desert. The Wasteland, in the north, is a dead zone pillaged by excessive mining, and now, abandoned. Within the mesmerizing glow of the neon lights of the entertainment district, demons rule, trading in the pleasures of the night.

This is Mammon's city. It is through his influence that things have become this way. And let me tell you - they're about to get much worse.

- JB Thomas

Once again, I just want to say a big thank you to J.B. Thomas for letting me have the opportunity to be apart of this Mammon blog tour! Now the next stop of the tour between September 14-15 is at Book Probe where the awesome aussie blogger Braiden will be giving posts of a character interview, a guest post about a new take on demonology, and an author interview with JB. So be sure to check it out and thanks again for those who've come by my blog and reading the posts!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Blog Tour: Mammon - Character Interview

Hello to everyone! Today is the first stop of the Mammon blog tour and I just want to say a big thank you to the author for giving me the opportunity to be apart of it, and of course, allowing me to be the first blogger on the schedule! For today's post I have asked J.B. Thomas to have an exclusive interview with one of her characters - Mr. Ivan the Terrible himself - and also be on the look out for tomorrow's post where J.B. Thomas gives us readers a post about fantasy world-building which I'm looking forward to. But let me introduce you to the sexy russian love interest, Ivan, from Mammon who has kindly joined us here today!

Erin: Hi Ivan. Thank you for joining us.

Ivan: Hello Erin. Or as we say in Russia, privet.

Erin: It's been an interesting adventure since the Callahan siblings - Grace and Joe - turned up onto the scene. What was your first opinion of these two teens? Were they what you imagined them to be or were they completely different?

Ivan: Quite frankly, they were both a little different. When you're told that a youth has the powers of a Ferryman, especially one with the cookie-cutting power of Joe (he can really carve a crater, da?) you think he's going to be twelve feet tall and breathe fire. Although, he can be a handful! He will calm down. He has a lot to handle for one so young. And as for Grace, let me say this: I was very happy with how she looked. (Laughs) However, I was a little worried about whether she could fight. I have had very close one-on-one combat with the worst of the corruption. It's scary, and I felt very protective of Grace from the moment I met her. Maybe I like her a little . . . hmm - what do you think?

Erin: Haha. I think you do like her. Now Ivan, for people who have read Mammon, they will know that you and Grace have grown closer throughout the book. When you first noticed Grace and now actually knowing her as a person *winks*, has your opinion of her changed much? Also what type of qualities do you admire most about her?

Ivan: Da. Grace is a very strong woman. I like that. She has gained my respect as a warrior. I would feel very disoriented in the realms that Grace seems to thrive in. Her powers give her the ability to save many lives and that makes me proud. She has a kindness and giving spirit that I admire. Since sharing intimate moments with Grace, I feel a very deep connection. But I wouldn't like to get on her wrong side. I think she can make you do more than just a teapot dance, da?

Erin: True, true. I wouldn't want her to make me do a teapot dance. Now according to some people you used to be with Spetsnaz - the Russian special forces. Grace thought you didn't look like the military type. So, how exactly did you get into that? Sounds like tough work to me.

Ivan: I believe Grace was looking at me through, what would you say - glaza lyubvi - eyes of love. At least, I hope so! So maybe she was kinder on me than she should have been. Anyway, I joined Spetsnaz after my father was murdered. After that night, I would not have any man or demon take me without a fight, so I wanted to be the best I could be, the hardest trained. Spetsnaz is the elite of the Russian military. They make you swim through rivers of blood. They try to make your heart cold, lethal. Good training for killing without mercy, without thought. But my destiny was not with them.

Erin: I just had to ask - Any tips for people who ever come across a demon? You know, just in case we see something out of the ordinary.

Ivan: Anyone can become a demon. Slowly, each dark thought pulls you into a tar pit of ever-deepening stickiness. So, keep your eyes peeled and try to do as many random acts of kindness as you can - this helps balance the scales. But, if you meet one up close, face to face, follow your instinct. Run, Erin. Run.

Erin: And lastly, be honest and tell me what you think of the woman who helped put part of your story to life? Has J.B. Thomas told the true events of Ivan the Terrible? *smirks*

Ivan: I have known JB Thomas since I was a very small boy - when I was really just a thought! Ha! But did she tell the truth when she spoke about my past? I can only say this, Erin. To paraphrase Shakespeare's Henry V: 'In peacetime, nothing so becomes a man as gentle spirit and kind heart. But when the trumpet of war sounds, imitate the actions of the tiger.'

Do I like doing what I have to do? Niet. But someone has to do it.

Do svidaniya and spasibo, Erin.

Thank you Ivan for chatting with me, and thank you for stopping by Tales of the Inner Book Fanatic!

And thank you to the author J.B. Thomas!

Be sure to read my MAMMON book review here!

And my recent interview with JB here!

Friday, September 9, 2011

One Grave at a Time by Jeaniene Frost

Release Date: 30th August, 2011

Publisher: Avon Books

Pages: 358pgs

The Story

The grave is one wrong step away.

Having narrowly averted an (under)world war, Cat Crawfield wants nothing more than a little downtime with her vampire husband, Bones. Unfortunately, her gift from New Orleans' voodoo queen just keeps on giving - leading to a personal favor that sends them into battle once again, this time against a villainous spirit.

Centuries ago, Heinrich Kramer was a witch hunter. Now, every All Hallows Eve, he takes physical form to torture innocent women before burning them alive. This year, however, a determined Cat and Bones must risk all to send him back to the other side of eternity - forever. But how do you kill a killer who's already long dead?

The Review

As a long-time and loyal fan of Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress series, I was absolutely thrilled to hear she would be writing yet another Cat & Bones book! Now I don't usually read adult paranormal romance books but Frost is an exception because every time I pick up one of her books, I know straight away that I won't be disappointed and that I'll be always entertained - whether it's by the action scenes or the hilarious banter thrown between characters. While this book may not be the strongest point in the series, as I felt something was missing from this particular installment, however this adventure definitely had its great moments.

Without giving away the storyline, I have to say that this series would not be successful without their main characters and their supporting ones too. Without Cat and Bones, together as a couple, this book series would not work. The thing I love about Cat and Bones is that from the beginning of the series to the very point here in ONE GRAVE AT A TIME . . . we've seen them grow and overcome all sorts of struggles, and see them be stronger as a couple and also individually. So it's great to see them finally come together and kick some major ass. They're probably my favourite fictional couple ever which is saying something since it's not common to love a couple so much like I do with them. Then of course, one of the book's strongest elements is the supporting characters. Fans of this series will be glad to have appearances from Ian (missed you Ian!), Spade (Spade!!!!!), Denise (Denissssseeeee you're awesome in this book), and even meeting a few new and hilarious characters. And I'm talking about you Tyler. The only real downer for me was that there was no Vlad! How could you forget one of my favourite characters?!?! But since he's getting his own spin-off series, I will try to forgive and forget.

While we've seen a lot of villains in our time, but nothing can compare to the evil and perhaps the most disturbing villain of all - Kramer. He was really evil! The things he would do to women . . . well, no wonder why Cat was so angry about him. Now as for the love scenes - which Jeaniene Frost is famous for - between Cat and Bones, I can say to you all that you will be disappointed by this book if you expect more from those type of scenes. From what I can recall, there's only one love scene in the book and it was - for my taste - a little crazy than I'm used to and I wished it was set in a way more intimately. But nonetheless, ONE GRAVE AT A TIME is another great installment to my beloved Night Huntress series and I'm seriously looking forward to the next book Jeaniene Frost puts up . . . which I'm sure will involve a lot of high stakes and more Cat & Bones love that all readers love her for!

The Rating

4/5 stars

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Interview with J.B. Thomas

J.B. Thomas is the debut author of the recently released MAMMON book. If you haven't read my book review of this refreshing and awesome aussie talent, then you can read it here. So I just want to say a big thank you to J.B. Thomas herself for answering all my questions! Anyway, I hope you guys read and enjoy!

1. MAMMON has my two favourite book elements - fantasy and demons. Where did the inspiration come from for MAMMON?

JB: Hi Erin! In regard to inspiration, I started to think about the manifestation of evil within humans, and how several human beings have displayed attitudes and actions that, in any theology, would be considered demonic! Human beings can aspire to great heights of goodness, or great depths of evil - and it's the influential people that can sway the masses towards one or the other. Influential people, such as a certain high demon . . .

2. I absolutely love the cover for MAMMON. I thought it really captured the essence of the storyline. What was your first reaction in seeing the finished product? Was it everything you hoped for?

JB: Yes, it was. I did want it to be a 3D hologram with flashing lights that jumped out at you, but we can't have everything. [Now that would've been cool!] No, seriously, it was a great concept and I thought the artists at Random house did very well. I am very happy with the colours used on the colour and the way that the rift, the City and the siblings are portrayed.

3. I loved the interaction between the characters, more importantly I loved the interaction between Grace and Ivan. Out of everyone, which character was your favourite to write and why?

JB: I did like writing Ivan, especially in the creation of his history. That's something I'm looking forward to expanding on in the sequel. There's a lot more to his background! It's hard to say that I liked writing one character in particular, but if I had to pick, I would say Mammon. [Didn't expect that answer! hehe] Yes, Mammon. He's a Shadow creature, from a cold, hostile dimension. He's brutal and ruthless when he is going after something he wants, yet patient enough to endure over the centuries. I wouldn't want to meet him in a darkk, frost-ridden alley...but he is fun to write. Oh, and he's a sharp dresser [True, true . . .]

4. Do you have any favourite scenes in MAMMON?

JB: I like Chapter One, because of the sense of foreboding. Grace has just seen someting strange pass by the window . . .

5. Any advice to aspiring writers such as myself?

JB: Write about what you know and love. Don't be too precious - editors may ask you to cut out an entire chapter - and you need to trust that they know what they are talking about. Persist, but don't worry if you need to take some time away - the best ideas can crop up when you're away from the high-pressure zone of your writing area.

6. Lastly, how many books will be in the series? After the major cliffhanger at the end of MAMMON (a killer one for me by the way), what can readers expect from MAMMON's sequel? Can you give any hints and/or little teasers?

JB: The Ferryman Chronicles have a deep story arc, and there's a lot more to explore. There are quite a few adventures to come. That's all I can say now! As Dr Who's River Song would say: 'Sorry, spoilers!'

Thank you J.B. for letting me interview you!

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

Follow JB:

Be sure to add Mammon to goodreads.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hades by Alexandra Adornetto

Release Date: 1st September, 2011

Publisher: HarperCollins

Pages: 496pgs

The Story

Hades, the second book in Adornetto's captivating series, is a riveting story that explores the sacrifices we are willing to make in order to save those closest to us.

On the night of Halloween a foolish prank goes horribly wrong. Jake Thorn, banished to the fiery abyss of Hell, is accidently summoned back to Venus Cove. When Jake snatches Beth from the arms of her boyfriend, Xavier, Beth finds herself dragged into the nightmarish underworld of Hades.

While the angels call on higher powers to help recover Beth, Hell goes after the one thing Beth loves more than anything. But to spare Xavier's life, Beth must make the ultimate sacrifice.

Will she make a deal with the Devil? And what will happen to an angel in Hell?

The Review

A big thanks to Lara from HarperCollins for sending me a review copy of this book!

Now while I wasn't a fan of Alexandra Adornetto's Halo book - at least of the characters more so than of the actual angel-falls-to-Earth kind of concept, I thought that I should at least give this series a second chance and try out its sequel. Judging by the beautiful cover, I assumed this book would offer more action considering its backdrop is mainly set in Hell, and in its own way, I guess it did deliver in terms of an action-packed adventure. The characters still annoyed me as Hell would itself, but I did find myself liking this far more than the first installment.

Truth be told, HADES had improved as the story progressed, but what still didn't work out for me was the main heroine herself - that being, Bethany. I don't know about you guys but I don't like over-the-top nice characters. Maybe that's not the right words to say, but there's just something about her that I don't like or even try to like. I admired her strength towards the end of the book and the way she proved herself to the others who tried to bring her down into Hell-ish corruption, but much like in Halo, I disliked the way she pines over her boyfriend, Xavier, whom to me was just as annoying.

Throughout the book in Bethany's eyes she thinks Xavier is making himself stronger for the sake of protecting her from evil forces, when really, he's not. I think he should focus more on making himself less of a target by staying clear of Bethany. He's mortal, so what can he really do that could possibly effect Heaven and/or Hell? I mean think about it. Xavier really needs to rethink his situation and say to himself, "What's the point of protecting my weak girlfriend - who is supposed to be an angel that SHOULD be stronger than me - when I can't even protect myself?" I don't know, but that's just how I feel. But when you overlook the lovey-dovey stuff (trust me there's plenty of 'Honey Bear' moments), what I loved the most about this book and its sequel is Jake Thorn himself. As soon as Jake makes an appearance, I'm sooooooo there! When he brings Bethany into Hell - in the most laughable way possible and on a motorbike no less - that's when the story really takes off in an interesting-twisty turn. It's Jake after all and he's probably my favourite character in the entire book series. He's bad but he's good at it.

Look, when it comes down to it, even if you weren't crazy for Alexandra Adornetto's Halo book, HADES delivers a cinematic book with enough action, romance, and suspense for readers. Sure, I can't promise that you won't be driven crazy over Bethany and Xavier's 'romance', but you will have a much better time than Halo.

The Rating

3 1/2 / 5 stars

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Fateful by Claudia Gray

Release Date: 1st September, 2011

Publisher: HarperCollins

Pages: 356pgs

The Story

The RMS Titanic is the most luxurious ship in the world, but all Tess Davies wants to do is escape the overbearing family she works for. Travelling as a maid for the Lisles, Tess is trapped amid painful memories and twisted family secrets. Once their ship reaches its destination, Tess plans to strike out on her own.

Tess's single-minded focus shatters when she meets Alec, a handsome and mysterious upper-class passenger who captivates her instantly. But Alec has secrets of his own. As she uncovers what he has been concealing, Tessa quickly becomes entangled in the mystery surrounding Alec's fate.

Soon Tess will learn that the danger they face is no ordinary enemy: that werewolves exist and are stalking him - and now her, too. Her growing love for Alec will put Tess in mortal peril, and fate will do the same before their journey on the Titanic is over.

The Review

A big thanks to Lara from HarperCollins for sending me a review copy of this book!

When it comes to Claudia Gray, I wasn't a fan of her Evernight series however in her new book FATEFUL, she has clearly won me over both in her writing and in her ability of storytelling! You see I'm a real history buff and I've always adored the tale of the Titanic, as it's so very heart-breaking and there's just something about it that captivates you. Mind you, when I first heard about the book and it being about werewolves and set in this period of time, I was a little skeptical because I didn't know how well Gray could pull it off. But indeed she did. Very, very, very well too!

First off, let's talk about the storyline. I loved it very much and honestly . . . I couldn't get enough of it. While the romance was the main part of the book, but to me, one of the best elements of the story was already knowing what would happen - what with the Titanic sinking and all. Knowing in any moment the large infamous ship would sink, it made the book so incredibly exciting and adventurous. I was just waiting for the iceberg to hit . . . allowing each and every chapter to thrill to me. Gah! It was just amazing and I'm glad Gray had set it against a very amazing backdrop. Not to mention it was so romantic - well, you know, sort of.

When it comes to the characters, unlike in Evernight, I loved every single of them - the good, the bad, and the ugly. Tess in particular was my favourite heroine in the book. Tess is the sweetest girl you will ever meet, a simple servant girl - both smart and kickass - trying to make her way over to the US. One of the things you have to admire about Tess is that she's not your typical servant girl. She's one who dreams and sets high expectations for herself, in hope of making a better life for her own future. The true moment where I loved her completely was when she 'dared' herself to dress up - go beyond her servant self - and come aboard to the first class deck. In that moment I knew she was gusty and truly inspiring. Same goes with her love interest, Alec. Before you think werewolves are overdone in young adult fiction, you must devour this book to meet the handsome and delectable Alec. I just loved his and Tess's interaction with one another, and while their love develops into something so much more . . . ah, their love alone made me love this book entirely! Even before I finished the book. And those implied 'scenes' . . . perfect Claudia Gray!

I never thought that I would love this book, but when everything clicked into place, FATEFUL worked out and became such a mind-blowing experience for me. With the perfect balance of action, danger, historical fiction, myths, and a beautifully-crafted romance, FATEFUL is the type of book you will never ever want to put down! Once you start, it will lock you away until you finish the very end. Dark, engaging, and suspenseful, FATEFUL is a must read for everyone looking for the next big thing!

The Rating

5/5 stars

Monday, September 5, 2011

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Release Date: 29th September, 2011

Publisher: Dutton

Pages: 338pgs

The Story

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn't believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit - more sparkly, more fun, more wild - the better. But even though Lola's style is outrageous, she's a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket - a gifted inventor - steps out from his twin sister's shadow and back into Lola's life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

The Review

It's no secret here but it's now totally official. . . . I love Stephanie Perkins! No, I didn't say like. I said LOVE. I LOVVVVVVEEEEEEEEEEEEE this author so much that words cannot describe because she writes amazing books just like Sarah Dessen and Elizabeth Scott, with amazing characters, with amazing romances, with amazing settings, and did I mention amazing characters? Yes. I think I already did. For lovers of Stephanie Perkin's debut novel Anna and the French Kiss, make no mistake that this book too will make you fall in love all over again with Perkin's words.

I admit that Anna and the French Kiss can never be beaten in its awesomeness but this book follows close behind. It's unique, light-hearted, funny, sexy, and is pretty much everything you want in a young adult book. LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR - to me - had a different feel compared to Perkin's debut novel, which I think is always a good thing considering this is based on a different character entirely. Some readers may find themselves unrelatable to the main character in this installment . . . I mean after all Lola is really out there - what with her colourful costume designs, her dramatic personality, and her tad bit of selfishness - but she's loveable either way. Compared to Anna though - the character readers had grown to love in Anna and the French Kiss - she's very different. But readers will love this different character and fall in love with her too!

For readers eagerly awaiting my opinion on Cricket, well, here it is. CRICKET! If you thought Etienne was hot in Anna and the French Kiss then you haven't seen the last of adorable-and-hot love interests. Cricket is every guy a girl wants - the good kind. And yes, the nerdy kind which is my favourite. A lot of young adult novels that I have read portray love interests in a bad light since we rarely see a down-to-earth sweet guy get the girl in the end and I'm glad Perkins has written her boy characters so innocently and so swoon-worthy . . . so real. Well, except Lola's boyfriend but he's not worth mentioning. Cricket is of course! He was just so . . . I can't describe him to you without totally gushing so I must stop before this review breaks down on me. But overall all of the characters - the good and the bad - were awesome and not to mention Lola's two dad's who were equally fantastic as Lola herself!

What I really loved about this book (must not mention Cricket here or else I won't stop talking about him) was the themes of relationships and the general 'boy next door' story. I've always adored that concept and Perkins does an amazing job in capturing the 'boy next door' feel, making it somewhat magical and so damn special. The stolen glances, the talking through windows, the long neighbourhood strolls . . . I loved every moment of it! For those fearing Anna and swooning St. Clair are long gone, not to worry because the two of them make appearances throughout the book and you see plenty of them too. It was nice to see them viewed by a different character and revist this couple that readers loved from the beginning. This book may not be the romantic Paris but San Francisco is just the spot-on place for our crazy Lola!

All in all, LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR was everything I hoped for and I think readers - after they finish this book - will start to think about their own first childhood crushes! While this book may not have won me entirely like Anna did, but it was just as good and I literally can't wait until I get my hands on Stephanie Perkin's third book installment Isla and the Happily Ever After, which is scheduled to hit our shelves in 2012!

The Rating

5/5 stars

Friday, September 2, 2011

Hades & Fateful Giveaway

How would you like to win a copy of Alexandra Adornetto's Halo sequel HADES or a copy of Claudia Gray's FATEFUL book? Well, thanks to the lovely publicist Lara from HarperCollins Australia I'll be giving away 5 copies EACH of these two amazing upcoming books! Beautiful covers aren't they? So right now I'm guessing you want to enter this pretty cool giveaway . . . so here are rules you need to follow:

1. I would love you to be a blog follower, but it's not required. (An extra entry if you are one!)

2. In the entry form below, you must answer a question or two, which is required along with some of your own personal details in case you win.

And finally . . .

3. This giveaway is ONLY open to residents of Australia, the US, and the UK.

So that's all you need to do.

Just click here and fill in the entry form.

Good luck to everyone!

Contest ends September 19th 2011.
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