Friday, March 30, 2012

Choker by Elizabeth Woods

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Pages: 233pgs

The Story

Sixteen-year-old Cara Lange has always been a loner, even more so since she moved away from her best and only friend, Zoe, a few years ago. Cara mostly spends her time avoiding the popular girls who calll her 'choker' after a humiliating incident in the cafeteria, and watching Ethan Gray from a distance, wishing he would finally notice her.

Then one day Cara comes home and finds Zoe waiting for her. Zoe's on the run from problems at home, and Cara agrees to help her hide. With Zoe back, Cara's life changes overnight. Zoe gives her a new look and new confidence, and before she can blink, Cara is flirting with Ethan and getting invited to parties. And best of all, she has her best friend to confide in again.

But just as quickly as Cara's life came together, it starts to unravel. A girl goes missing in her town, and everyone is a suspect - including Ethan. Worse still, Zoe starts behaving very strangely, and Cara begins to wonder what exactly her friend does all day when she's at school. You're supposed to be able to trust your best friend no matter what, but what if she turns into a total stranger?

The Review

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

Don't let the pretty face of a girl or that swirly fancy font fool you . . . because this young adult novel is far from the sweet nothings you first expect from a book like this one. But it worked its charms on me and that is for certain as I reached the final pages.

CHOKER tells the haunting tale of a sixteen-year-old girl named Cara whom has always been the outcast of her high school and she doesn't seem to have any friends whatsoever no matter how hard she tries. Except for Zoe, a girl she left behind when her and her family moved houses. When a few years have past, Cara receives an unexpected surprise of Zoe's arrival and as much as Zoe shouldn't be staying there . . . Cara just cannot say no to her. But when some girls from her local high school begin to disappear one-by-one and when everybody - including the hottie boy named Ethan - suddenly begins to take notice of the new and improved Cara, Cara herself is soon second-questioning whether Zoe is the same Zoe she knew once before . . . or could this new Zoe be a killer that everyone is looking for? Someone a little too close to home? Maybe or maybe not . . . you'll just have to read to find out for yourself!

One of the greatest things about Elizabeth Wood's writing is her ability to engage with her readers and keep them there til the very end. You know, those rare moments where you find yourself turning those pages - no matter the drama - just to see what happens to your favourite characters? The good and the bad. Yup, those moments and boy that is exactly what happened to me with this title. For all of us readers, our job and what we choose to do is read something on the surface and look at it in one way to get a clearer picture of the book and predict what could happen. However, it is also our job to investigate further and think beyond those smooth surfaces, since everything is not what it seems and all YA books lately - especially the twisted and the thriller ones - will always contain several layers until everything is revealed all in one at the very end of the book. When it came to CHOKER, Elizabeth Woods definitely proved to be a great thriller writer and delivered a shocking Shutter-Island-like result to please - and confuse - her readers.

The main character, Cara, is someone you immediately feel some sympathy for. The poor girl is lonely and all she wants is a friend to confide in (who doesn't want a friend), and someone to accept her for who she is as a person. I mean, underneath it all she's genuinely a nice girl and everyone - if they looked hard enough - could see that side of her too. But when the storyline takes an interesting turnpoint with Zoe turning up on her doorstep, I could understand why Cara was drawn back to her old troublesome friend and I could also understand why Cara was worried about why Zoe was there . . . because Zoe is known to be a very, very unpredictable young lady. She scared the crap out of me to be honest but despite those eery circumstances surrounding Zoe's arrival, I just couldn't help but love the friendship bonded between Cara and Zoe but again Zoe scared the crap out of me. For another mentioned character, a boy named Ethan, while Cara and his romance was shortly-lived (because the ending kind of ruined things), I still wished it was more developed between the two of them but it was still nonetheless a great element to add.

The only real complaint I have with CHOKER is the lines of story predictability. While the book is smoothly-paced, short in length and overall a great read, but sometimes I didn't feel satisfied when I easily guess on what the big twisty reveal would be at the end of the book. Sure, the ending still had really threw me off because I called on it earlier in the book but I was hoping for the author to take the story on a completely different angle. After all, there wasn't enough closure and I was left with too many unanswered questions. But Elizabeth Woods managed to write a great ending so I'll give her that - one that ultimately changes everything single thing you read in this book.

Overall, CHOKER was a fantastic young adult thriller and the author is the real star for creating some heart-pulsing tension. If you like to be stunned beyond words and be left with your head still spinning, then I definitely recommend this novel. Trust me - you won't regret it!

The Rating

4/5 stars

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama

Release Date: 4th September, 2012

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Pages: 295pgs

The Story

Fierce, seductive mermaid Syrenka falls in love with Ezra, a young naturalist. When she abandons her life underwater for a chance at happiness on land, she is aware that this decision comes with horrific and deadly consequences. Almost on hundred forty years later, seventeen-year-old Hester meets a mysterious stranger named Ezra and feels overwhelmingly, inexplicably drawn to him. For generations, love has resulted in death for the women in her family. Is it an undiagnosed genetic defect . . . or a curse?

With Ezra's help, Hester investigates her family's strange, sad history. The answers she seeks are waiting in the graveyard, the crypt, and at the bottom of the ocean - but powerful forces will do anything to keep her from uncovering her connections to Syrenka and to the tragedy of so long ago.

The Review

A big thanks to the publisher on netGalley for accepting my request in reading this book early!

MONSTROUS BEAUTY is a very dark and seductive read filled with a very heart-wrenching prose and a fantastic set of woven fantasy elements that I'm sure will please a lot of its readers. While I haven't read too many books based on the mermaid mythology (though I should definitely start to read more of them) however this story was still a pleasure to read and the author did such an amazing job in alluring her readers into a mystery with just the right amount of deep hidden secrets, an intriguing set of characters, and of course, delivered a thought-provoking tale unlike any other mermaid tale I've read so far. So that is its good points and now onto the bad points . . .

I won't lie to you here - this book was very hard to get into. At least towards the beginning of the novel. With so much going on, from ghosts to family curses to the mermaids themselves, I sometimes had trouble in keeping record of what was exactly happening and what was going to happen which I believe is the book's weakest point in my mind and it was probably the main reason why I'm giving this book a lower star rating than I originally planned to. For such an amazing-sounding concept, it was unfortunate that the writing dragged a little too often and I often found myself confused now and again. Not the mention the ending was quite disappointing and sad as well, however I do understand why the author chose to write this particular ending of hers because everything has their consequences.

But despite those elements I've mentioned, when it comes down to it I really enjoyed the way Elizabeth Fama incorporated a love story with a bit tragedy and a non-typical mermaid tale that we see get a happy ending. It's a rare thing to find in young adult books because when I think about mermaid stories I think of the Disney version of The Little Mermaid, so I'm glad this author chose to end her novel with something like the sad and original Little Mermaid storyline. For those who know of the original mermaid tale, you will know what I mean. Anyway, I also even loved the way Fama wrote about her main character's desperation, that being Syrenka, and the heart-breaking love she shared between her and a boy named Ezra . . . even the consequences of blindness revenge and the loneliness of immortality that affected Syrenka's character . . . it was all very well written and will strike a cord with anyone who reads this book.

Overall, while readers are left with some unanswered questions and perhaps an unsatisfying ending (it was a little unexpected for me), I thought MONSTROUS BEAUTY was still a fantastic novel and I'm looking forward to seeing more from this author. With action-packed adventures, love and heart-break, and cunning villains with strong and awe-inspiring heroines and their heroes to lead the way of this adventure, readers will definitely not be disappointed with this novel that Fama has managed to woven together!

The Rating

3 1/2 / 5 stars

Monday, March 26, 2012

Immortal City by Scott Speer

Release Date: 3rd April, 2012

Publisher: Razorbill

Pages: 336pgs

The Story

Jackson Godspeed is the hottest young Angel in a city filled with them. He's days away from from becoming a full Guardian, and people around the world are already competing for the chance to be watched over by him. Everyone's obsessed with the Angels and the lucky people they protect - everyone except for Madison Montgomery.

Maddy's the one girl in Angel City who doesn't breathlessly follow the Angels on TV and gossip blogs. When she meets Jackson, she doesn't recognize him. But Jackson is instantly captivated by her, and against all odds the two fall in love.

Maddy is swiftly caught up in Jackson's scene, a world of glamour, paparazzi - and murder. A serial killer is on the loose, leaving dead Angels' wings for the police to find on the Walk of Fame. Even the Guardians are powerless to protect themselves in the face of this threat . . . and this time it's up to Maddy to save Jackson.

The Review

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

Even though I was looking forward to reading this book, but in all honesty I still wasn't expecting anything fantastic from it . . . partly because of angels being the main theme and partly because they're becoming a not-so-new popular trend in the young adult market. However with all expectations aside and eating my own words, for this new upcoming author, Scott Speer, I certainly give him many high praises for this novel because he knows how to entertain his readers and quite frankly - to my surprise - this is the best angel book I've ever read in my life. Seriously. It is.

IMMORTAL CITY is the first book of the series and it tells the tale of where angels are literally worshipped by 'ordinary' people (just like you and me) and like all famous people around the globe from the glitz and glamour to the reality shows, they're considered celebrities. But unlike your average angel tale where angels are unknown and hide their identities in secret, in this new and freshing take on the genre, angels are instead paid for their protection services by wealthy citizens and it's considered an honour to be protected by an angel, a Guardian Angel. While everyone is swooning and squealing over SaveTube or are sighing over the hottest and youngest angel in the city, Jackson Godspeed, Maddy on the other hand couldn't care less and when the hottest angel of all and your 'average' teenage girl meet in the strangest circumstances . . . everything changes for them both and the world.

The greatest element of the book was the characters and I just loved every single thing about them - the frustrations they experience, the emotions they feel, the lives they live . . . all of it. I immediately took the liking to Maddy's character in particular, the main heroine of this story, because she's living the simple life, appreciates what she has in that life of hers rather than dwell on her misfortunes and is for the majority of the book unfazed by the Angels within the city. In other words, she's different from most girls. Without needing too much effort, her character was probably the easiest to relate to and she soon became someone I wanted to learn more and more about. Her innocence, her strength, her maturity of most situations . . . I can definitely see many readers loving her also. But then there's Jackson Godspeed, the hottie on the block and whom happens to be the hottest angel in the city. Much like Maddy's character and judging by that awesome name of his, Jackson Godspeed (isn't it an awesome Captain American-like name?) was such a fantastic character and he was just as easy to love as Maddy was. Sure, this Jackson of ours had a large ego of himself but he's basically a celebrity in this book and while a large ego can distract a reader at times, but in this case he was the shining star of the novel and when both of these character's - Jackson and Maddy - lives collide, sparks begin to fly off them and pretty much from then on . . . everything else is a goldmine for me.

If you haven't already noticed my profound love spreading across this review, I can tell you straight off that I'm deeply in love with this book. This review could go on and on - it could you know. This author right here, Scott Speer, is clearly one of those great authors that comes around so unexpectedly and possesses a wonderful talent to pull off something so cliche but mold it into something of his own right. I just couldn't get enough of this world he pulled me into and it actually gave me high hopes for the future of angel novels coming our way. So thank you for that dear author.

Overall, there was never a dull moment in this book and rest assure there is a million love hearts floating above my head as I write this because for once in an angel story, the mythology and the stories of where these celebrity angels came from - the histories and origins behind them all - were so original, detailed and interesting that it took the angel world to a whole new level of EPICness. IMMORTAL CITY is everything you want in a young adult novel. From the glamorous world of the elite immortals to the thriller mysteries that will send you flying on a fast-paced romantic whirlwind, this debut novel is definitely something you sure wouldn't want to miss out on and it has definitely has earned its shiny 5 gold stars from me! It deserves it!

The Rating

5/5 stars

Friday, March 23, 2012

Titan Magic by Jodi Lamm

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Jodi Lamm (self-published)

Pages: 393pgs

The Story

Mute, heartless, and tormented by auditory hallucinations, Madeleine Lavoie never questions why her family has hidden her from the world. But the night her brother casts her out, she learns the mysterious voice she thought existed only in her mind is no delusion, and no matter how hard she tries, she can never disobey it.

Now Madeleine must find her own voice in a cacophony of powerful tyrants, monsters, and gods. If she fails, she will forfeit her life and the lives of everyone who loves her. But if she succeeds, she may finally gain the ability to love someone in return.

The Review

A big thanks to the author, Jodi Lamm, for sending me a review copy of this book!

This book is one of those rare reads that doesn't get the recognition it deserves by the general public and maybe they should since self-published books have rocked my world for the past year or so, as they're sometimes better than the books published by big publishing companies. But this book in particular is also one of those reads that completely takes you by surprise and you often wonder why you didn't come across it any sooner than you did. And judging by the beautiful cover and the kick-ass first line of the blurb, and with me already being a huge fan of different folklores, mythologies and storylines that take on their own unique surprising spins . . . I have to say TITAN MAGIC was such a pleasure to read and Jodi Lamm manages to weave an incredible story blending three of my favourite elements together all in one - action, fantasy and action. The best of any book combination.

Without giving away spoilers, the world of TITAN MAGIC contains quite a number of characters but my favourite one of all was Maddy herself - the main heroine of this tale. At times she may come across as an odd sort of character, but as she travels through self-discovery and learning shocking things about herself and about her family, she soon becomes one of those characters you feel instantly drawn to every time they appear on your page. The same goes with the supporting cast of characters mentioned throughout the book. Like the main heroine, Maddy, all supporting characters served their own purpose to the storyline and you'll be hooked through beginning to end with them along for the ride.

The only thing that affected my book rating - from a 5 star to a 41/2 star - was the romance department, which happened to be the only let down for me. Much like the storyline I'll won't give anything away here, but personally I was hoping for more romance from the book but since I equally warmed up to two boys vying for Maddy's affections and while I do understand Maddy is in a dire situation where she can't love anyone and all that . . . but if there is a romance coming, then I'm really looking forward to seeing if Jodi Lamm writes another sequel to this potential series because I could see her taking this book one step further.

Overall, Jodi Lamm's TITAN MAGIC offers up a fantastic fun-filled fantasy adventure and I highly recommend you to go out and read it whenever you get a chance to! It's definitely worth the read if you love fantasy and a bit of myth! Once again, a big thanks to the author for sending me a review copy of this book! ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT!

The Rating 4 1/2 / 5 stars

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Mini Movie Review - Hunger Games

Thanks to the brilliant Famous Magazine on Facebook, I was able to attend an advance screening of Suzanne Collins's best-selling series, The Hunger Games. Like so many fans across the globe, I've loved this series for a very long time and like so many of us (you know who you are out there), I was so excited and fully pumped to see this book come to life and be able to see my beloved characters on screen and fall back in love with them yet again. So what's my overall verdict on the movie? Well, let me quickly respond through GIF form - the first gif being me walking out of the cinema, the second gif being what I thought of the movie on a whole, and the third gif being me on what I thought after that second gif reaction which is plenty much self-explanatory to most of you.



To be honest with you all here, there's not one book-turned-movie adaptation that I've been fully satisfied with. Harry Potter for one was a great film series and I certainly give them that, but they weren't as EPIC as the books. However, the Hunger Games has proven to me that the director and everyone else involved in this movie project (actors and all) have truly listened to the author - like really, really listened - and followed the correct protocol on pleasing its huge fan-base of readers. There's nothing bad I could say about this book and I'm glad.

As soon as the movie came on with words speaking of the Hunger Games, everyone was sucked in with eager eyes and everyone - judging by the applause that ended the advance screening session - was amazed by this film and were left with a smile on their face. It wasn't hidden and that's for sure. As I was seated (in a really comfortable chair mind you) and began watching the film, I was glued to the screen within a second and for those who weren't lucky enough to attend an early screening (which I'm sure will change because some of you are seeing the midnight sessions as we speak) and are not sure if the film was worthy of all the hype or will make the book proud . . . well let me tell you something . . . the hype was spot on. Twilight never impressed me with the films but boy Hunger Games . . . you were awesome and indescribable. Sure there were a few changes with scenes (a little sad on my part but hey what can you do?) and even the ending was slightly different compared to the book, but the movie has stuck to the book which is the main thing we all want and I found myself whispering inside my head the same lines that were in the movie from the book, and the director himself has created something so honest and true. So well done for that, Gary Ross! Well done indeed.

Concerning the scenes and the ending changes, it was no big deal. Really. I understand you can't put every single detail into the movie because of the time slot and everything, and while it may be a little 'awwwwww' for us fans but really it was no big deal and anything that was left out wasn't needed in the end and you got the gist on what happened with those missing scenes. I mean, pretty much the majority of the movie was the same as the book itself and it was awe-inspiring to see my mind of the Hunger Games, from the words spoken by the characters to the surroundings that were once in my head but now are not, come onto the screen.

When it came to the casting, it was perfect. Bloody perfect. Katniss played by Jennifer Lawrence was just how I imagined Katniss to be like and nobody else could've played her character any better than Jen did. She captured every single emotion Katniss felt in the book . . . you could just see it in her eyes. Then there's Peeta played by Josh Hutcherson whom was just as good-looking, sweet and beautiful as the one in my head, and I just love you Josh for bringing him to life. *sighs thinking about him* And of course, Gale played by Liam Hemsworth, man I love you for bringing my man onto the screen. While Gale doesn't have much of a part - if not at all in the book and film - but Liam . . . I'm definitely looking forward to seeing much more of you in the next film because you and Gale are just as gorgeous and are the perfect suit, and you're exactly how I saw Gale in my head. And yes, clearly I'm a Gale fan readers. And there's no Hunger Games without some laughter and heart in it, and all my high praises go to the actors playing Haymitch, Cinna, Effie, President Snow, Rue . . . all of you were perfect and were EXACTLY the characters in my head. Haymitch in particular . . . oh Woody you made me smile and laugh every single time you came onto the screen and since Haymitch was one of my favourite supporting characters . . . you certainly did him justice. Bless you!

Overall, without breaking blogger with an overload of my feelings and reactions towards the film, I can say without a doubt in my mind that the Hunger Games is definitely my favourite book-turned-movie and bless the whole cast for making everything so spot on and making me have so many conflicting thoughts and feelings about it. I admit the book may have been heaps better than the movie (the books always are better) but overall this film has become one of a kind for me and will be a classic and an unforgettable hit for all. *fangal freakout continues*

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

Release Date: 22nd May, 2012

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Pages: 324pgs

The Story

Galen is the prince of the Syrena, sent to land to find a girl he's heard can communicate with fish. Emma is on vacation at the beach. When she runs into Galen - literally, ouch! - both teens sense a connection. But it will take several encounters, including a deadly one with a shark, for Galen to be convinced of Emma's gifts. Now, if he can only convince Emma that she holds the key to his kingdom . . .

Told from both Emma and Galen's points of view, here is a fish-out-of-water story that sparkles with intrigue, humor, and waves of romance.

The Review

A big thanks to the publisher on netGalley for accepting my request in reading this book early!

Anna Banks's debut novel OF POSEIDON is a rich and enthralling tale revolving around two main characters, Emma and Galen, whom share a powerful combination of secrets and lies. Only . . . they just don't know it yet. Set against the beautiful backdrop of Jersey Shore, this refreshing young adult romance novel is wrought with all the right elements in all the right places - including tragedy, mystery, adventure, mythology and of course the best one of all being the romance. This book definitely has it all through my eyes!

Emma's life changes at her local beach, when her best friend Chloe was attacked by a shark and died on the scene. Unable to save her friend from a horrible tragedy, Emma develops a new power - literally scaring off the sharks in the murky waters - and with it comes a new discovery that connects her to something of the unknown . . . something we would only believe in fairytales themselves. Syrena, another word for mermaids. As Emma grieves for her lost friend and tries to move on with her life as much as possible, a strange but an attractive young boy continues to watch over her . . . perhaps a little too closely than she would like him to. But the question is why is he stalking her? What could he possibly want with her? Galen on the other hand, the boy who is intrigued by what he witnessed beneath the waters and of Emma's "power", is the prince of Syrena and is sent on an urgent quest to prevent a marriage and find a mate to be bonded with for life. Only the last thing he expects is to have a connection with a forbidden human, Emma, and as he struggles with this undeniable connection, it's up to Galen to save his people and ultimately his future.

I was really excited to have the opportunity to read this title early and I'm so ever thankful that the publisher accepted my request on netGalley. So what did I think of it? Honestly I wasn't sure at first when I read the opening lines of the book. I admit, I was a little confused by it. But once I got my bearings straight and understood what was going on in the scene and where exactly I was, my opinion soon changed of it and as I imagined - what with me already having a fair love of mermaid books in the past - the end result was me loving every moment of it! Sure, the book may contain a couple of cliches here and there, and a romance like most others . . . but the main thing was enjoying it and that's exactly what happened right here!

For me the strongest element presented in the book was the main characters. Emma, the stubborn girl who'd always stood her ground, was an absolute pleasure to read about. She was smart, strong and tough-skinned, which I admired deeply and never did these traits falter. Not even once. And she also had the surprise of being easy to relate to as well and that's quite hard to find in young adult literature, so again I appreciated this in her character. Galen, the boy with enough intrigue to remind you of most heroes, was definitely a boy you could love and hate (but mostly love). Galen may have been naive for the majority of the book and cared too proudly of his duty to his people, but once you put him together with the fiery-tempered girl Emma, everything they are about to discover about themselves will set off a great set of intense drama, spark-flying romance and a quick-humoured dialog which everyone will love. Like I said before, the relationship between these two main characters was the strongest part of the book.

Another thing that connected this wonderful mythological-based story, was how it was told in two perspectives between Emma (in first-person) and Galen (in third-person) and I love any author whom adds this depth to their books. When you write about one character alone, you would think it would be hard to do so. But to be able to write about two characters and actually pull it off . . . to me that's quite a talent to possess and in this case I thought Anna Banks did an amazing job in engaging her reader with two very different people from two very different worlds, and still manage to pull them together successfully. And to be honest with you, I don't think I would've loved it any other way if we had only been shown one side of the story.

Despite my dislike of the cruel cliffhanger that I was delivered with (it was totally unfair and uncalled for if I do say so myself), but overall I thought Anna Bank's debut novel OF POSEIDON was a well-balanced book with just the right amount of romance, lies and mysteries, and was a whole ball of fun. Honestly there's not a single bad thing I could say about this book except that I am now left empty-handed with no sequel and when can I possibly get one in the near future, Ms. Banks, because I'm dying here? If you love mermaids or love the simple joy of reading about strong very strong heroines falling for their gorgeous-but-sometimes-frustrating-heroes, then I would recommend this book in a heartbeat. Both original, fast-paced, engaging and romantic, this book will have begging for more secrets to be unlocked!

The Rating
4/5 stars

Monday, March 19, 2012

Tempest by Julie Cross

Release Date: 17th January, 2012

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Pages: 352pgs

The Story

The year is 2009. Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy . . . he's in college, has a girlfriend . . . and he can travel back through time. But it's not like the movies - nothing changes in the present after he jumps, there's no space-time continuum or broken flux capacitors - it's just harmless fun.

That is . . . until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this not like his previous time jumps. Now he's struck in 2007 and can't get back to the future.

Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities.

But it's not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these "Enemies of Time" will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler. Recruit . . . or kill him.

Piercing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far he's willing to go to save Holly . . . and possibly the entire world.

The Review

Julie Cross's debut novel TEMPEST was on everyone's lips. With so many high praises floating around the blogsphere - from my favourite authors to my fellow bloggers - and even with the film rights now being bought for this new trilogy, I thought it was going to be minding blowing since I love myself some time travel if it's written right. However, despite those glowing reviews there were still some mixed ones that I've come across before the book's release and I completely understand where they were coming from. On a whole, TEMEPST was a decent read with enough elements to satisfy its readers and I can see its appeal, but if you're looking into the inner core of the book and seeing what it has to offer, I sadly found myself disappointed. Though I already prepared myself for this disappointment.

The story was fresh edgy and certainly had potential, and the author Julie Cross definitely takes the time travel genre to a whole new level. After all, it's a very different type of time travel so forget what you know about it. But for some reason . . . I don't know . . . it wasn't exactly the storyline itself that made me feel bleh it was the characters and the rushed situations they'd constantly found themselves in. Even parts of the dialogue had put me off. But first off, let's talk about Jackson - the main heroine of this tale.

Jackson was a very likeable main character. He was easy to get to know and relate to because he was good at being such a boy if you know what I mean, even though at times he didn't feel like a boy to me (I did question his sexuality at times with the things he says. Haha). But the main problem for me was how Jackson didn't exhibit normal teenage behaviour and it was a little strange for me to read. Maybe it was just me feeling this way, but when it came to love in particular, he was the boy who shoved those mushy feelings away and while that's completely understandable cause love is scary for a guy to experience, but then the next moment, without any warning, he was all like, "Okay bring on the love. Let's be with each other even though I don't want a serious relationship and have intimacy issues." I don't know if I'm asking for a little too much here, but I kind of wanted more development with his character and be more real and honest with his feelings . . . it just seemed unrealistic and forced at times. But never you fear readers because I still liked him and his relationship with his twin sister, who'd suffered frm cancer and died a few years back, and I admit, that was a pretty sweet relationship and probably one of the reasons why I connected again and again with Jackson.

Then of course there's his girlfriend, Holly, the one who gets "hurt" in the beginning of the novel and the sole purpose of why Jackson suddenly jumps back a few years into the past 'accidently'. Holly for me is difficult to describe with my feelings. I mean, am I the only one who didn't like her? She's pretty, she's popular, she's understanding, she's supportive and I get she cares about Jackson and all that . . . but seriously? I didn't like her one bit and didn't really care what would happen to her by the time I finished the book. I'm a meanie here, so I'm sorry about that. I think the main problem about her was that there was a lack of life and personality that I wanted so, so much from her character considering I, as a reader, wanted to feel what Jackson was feeling about the possibility of losing her. I honestly wanted to know why she was worth saving . . . so if she's indeed present in the sequel then I hope there's more to her than meets the eye because I didn't see the special side of her. She annoyed me, sadly.

Apart from her and Jackson, I did enjoy Jackson's friend Adam (he was pretty hilarious for the majority of the novel) and even Jackson's creepy Dad (yes I found him creepy for always finding an excuse to interrupt sexy-times between his son and his girlfriend and I found him pretty peevy haha). However, having a science geek for a friend and (slight spoiler here) a CIA-sort-of Dad was a little too convienent for the plot. But nonetheless they were a great addition to the supporting cast and I'll be looking forward to seeing more of them in the next book.

Now let's talk about the story itself. The storyline was a great, fun read but I was - now and then - confused by the events of time travel. First you're here and then you're there, and at times I questioned who's who and where the hell I was. Especially when it came to 009 and 007 Holly. I sometimes forgot which one was which. So it definitely does your head in this book, but in a good way I suppose because it get's you thinking and staying focused with each chapter that passes you by. But I found the events of the storyline too rushed and all over the place . . . but that still did not distract me from the book. It certainly had its fun moments, its sexy-times, its heartbreaking lines, and its cool action fighting sequences . . . so it get's bonus points from me for that. But unfortunately it doesn't go down that road of all fantastic-ness because I did skim through pages and got bored through scenes so I tended to put the book down and not have that feeling of excitement about it which is a shame.

Overall I didn't love it but I didn't hate it either. The bottom line is: If you're desperate for a teenage version of The Time Travellers Wife with plenty of adventure, lies, deceit, and mysteries, then TEMPEST is definitely your kind of read. However, when you do dive into this book, don't go into it with a lot of high expectations (which I did for myself) because it can go in either direction for you of loving and not loving it.

The Rating
3/5 stars

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Wood Queen by Karen Mahoney

Release Date: 1st February, 2012

Publisher: Random House Australia

Pages: 321pgs

The Story

Donna Underwood is in deep trouble. An ancient alchemical orrder is holding her accoutnable for destroying the last precious drops of the elixar of life. Never mind the fact that Donna was acting to free her friend, Navian, from the dangerous clutches of the Wood Queen at the time. But what the alchemists have in store is nothing compared to the wrath of the fey. The Wood Queen has been tricked and Donna must pay. Get read for all hell - quite literally - to break loose . . .

The Review

After loving the first book in the series, I've been eagerly waiting to get my hands on a copy of THE WOOD QUEEN. When I finally got my copy, I tore through the endless of pages and just like I expected, the sequel picks up not too long after the ending of The Iron Witch, where Donna finds herself on trial with the alchemists for the shameful loss of the precious elixir. Not only is Donna in trouble yet again but she has also been paid a visit by the Wood Queen herself and this time round . . . the Queen isn't backing down without a fight and using Donna's mother no less as her bargaining chip until she gets what she wants.

I don't about the other readers of this book but I found there was a slight change in tone with this sequel compared to the exciting feelings I'd gotten from reading the first book in the series. I couldn't exactly put my finger on it - on what the 'slight change' was - but if I had to guess it was probably the slow pace of the storyline that distracted me the most. While we get to learn many other secrets of The Iron Witch world, some secrets and lies that are quite shocking to the reader, however the disappointing element of this sequel for me was what occured in the novel with so little progression. I was really hoping for more romance too and was hoping for more . . . oomph from the storyline. You know, something to get me desperately wanting the third book more and more. That might not have happened in my case, but I'm still interested in what the last book in the series has to offer.

Now on the upside, Donna remains the same snarky young heroine we all know and love, and I'm glad to admit she has finally become a much stronger character in this sequel than the girl we previously saw in the first installment. Navin on the other hand, Donna's best friend, was brilliant as always and honestly what's not to love about his character? His relationship with Donna never falters and you can definitely feel the love shared between them . . . a lasting friendship. So a two thumbs up for the author in keeping that friendship formed.

And, of course, like in any young adult story, you have a love interest and that love interest is Xan, the half-fey boy we met in The Iron Witch. Now I was a huge fan of Xan and while fangals will appreciate a fabulous steamy makeout scene in this sequel . . . but unfortunately other than that scene . . . I didn't really have much faith in Xan this time round. He was always pushing away from Donna and kept his secretive side once again. Don't get me wrong here, I like a bit of mystery to my fictional fellows but pleasssssssssssssssseeeeeeeeeee NO MORE! I'm tired of mystery. But not to worry Xan fans if you think I've lost faith in young Xan, because I haven't completely written him off yet since either way you look at it, he's the reason I want to keep reading the series. So I hope in the last book of the trilogy that I can fall back in love with him.

Overall, THE WOOD QUEEN may not have impressed me like The Iron Witch had done last year but it was still another great installment. If you loved the first book, you'll love this! If you have yet to read this series . . . GO READ IT NOW!

The Rating 3/5 stars

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Cover Reveal - On Demon Wings by Karina Halle

If you haven't heard of the self-published series, Experiment in Terror, then you're definitely missing out on some exciting and haunting adventures written by the amazing Karina Halle. And thanks to the author herself, Karina has kindly allowed me the opportunity to reveal her new book cover! Without further ado, I will now present to you the cover of the 5th installment of the series called On Demon Wings!

I personally adore this cover and it's probably the best cover of the series. I love the colour, the girl floating off from the ground . . . the overall shine to it is brilliant. Gah! I can't stop staring at this book cover!

About On Demon Wings:

Everything has changed.

When the life you wanted has crumbled beneath your fingers, there’s nothing left to do but pick up the pieces and soldier on. You’ve done this before.

But what happens when you no longer feel like yourself anymore? When fires spontaneously start-up around you, when you hear growling coming from underneath your bed, and you no longer recognize your face in the mirror. What happens then?

Ghost-hunter Perry Palomino doesn’t have much time to find out. Now, the evil she used to hunt is a lot closer to home. It’s inside of her, taking over her life bit-by-terrifying bit, and there’s only one person who can help her.

If part of her doesn’t kill him first.

On Demon Wings Exclusive Excerpt:

We turned our attention back to the stage as the guitarist blasted out a generic solo.

“What did you do today anyway?” he asked conversationally, eying my beer like a hungry dog. I took a sip and handed it to him again.

“Not much. I went for a jog. Then ran into someone I didn’t want to see.”

“Ooooh,” he said with wag of his eyebrows.

“She’s a girl.”


“No, she has a girlfriend.”

“Triple ooooh!”

I laughed and punched Ash in his arm, causing his beer to spill out sideways and onto his skate shoes. He looked down with acute disappointment, probably more for his lost beer than his shoes.

“Well, I guess that’s a sign to get another one,” I said and turned to make my way to the bar.

His face lit up. “Get two this time!”

“Yeah, yeah.” I waved at him and squeezed my way through the crowd to the bar at the side of the room. With the concrete floors, fold-up tables and drinks kept in camping coolers, the whole venue had this “let’s throw a party in my parent’s basement” kind of vibe.

Of course when the music is bad, the drink lineup is longer. There were five people in front of me and the ordering was going slow. I was tapping my combat boots impatiently and adjusting my Mastodon shirt when the dread-locked girl in front of me turned around and gave me the eye.

“Nice shirt,” she said. I couldn’t tell if she was being sarcastic or not. Her voice was very low, almost manly. Her eyes were red.

Not because she’d been crying. Her actual pupils were red.

She was wearing vibrant red contacts with streaks of gold in them. They were beautiful but deadly-looking and sent a shiver down the back of my spine.

“Thank you,” I said, my voice trembling slightly. I was suddenly very afraid and I didn’t know why. They were contacts, right?

She smiled, her red lips spreading slowly, until I saw all of her teeth.

Her very misshapen, sharp, dagger-like teeth.

Aside from the lipstick, she had the exact grin of a shark.

My eyes widened at the sight and a stabbing pain erupted from my stomach.

She continued smiling. A whiff of that foul, rotten smell that plagued the Port-Town bathroom came back and swirled around her, creating a wave of nausea throughout my body.

Then she took her eyes off of me and looked past my shoulder and smiled again. A tall, beefy man with long hair and a pentagram shirt walked up to her and put his arm around her shoulder.

“Hey babe,” he said. “Still waiting?”

She nodded and they both turned around so I was staring at the back of their heads and chatted to each other about how crap the band was.

For some reason I felt shaky at the incident and the stabbing in my stomach intensified. What the hell? Did that girl actually get her teeth shaped to look like that? Who in their right mind would do such a thing? My god, Portland was fucking weird sometimes.

So what do you guys think of the cover and the storyline?

Add On Demon Wings to your GoodReads:

Paperback, epub and mobi copies will be available May 13th at Amazon, Amazon Kindle and Smashwords. You can pick up the rest of the series, starting with Darkhouse, for just 99 cents:

Don’t have a Kindle? Try downloading the Kindle app for you iPhone, Blackberry or Android.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton

Release Date: 31st January, 2012

Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books

Pages: 528pgs

The Story

Life as the Preliator is harder than Ellie ever imagined.

Balancing real life with the responsibility of being Heaven's warrior is a challenge for Ellie. Her relationship with Will has become all business, though they both long for each other. And now that the secret of who she really is has come out, so have Hell's strongest reapers. Grown bold and more vicious, the demonic threaten her in the light of the day and stalk her in the night.

She's been warned.

Cadan, a demonic reaper, comes to her with information about Bastian's new plan to destory Ellie's soul and use an ancient relic to wake all the souls of the damned and unleash them upon humanity. As she fights to stay ahead of Bastian's schemes, the revelations about those closest to her awaken a dark power with Ellie that threatens to destroy everything - including herself.

She'll be betrayed.

Treachery comes even from those whom she loves, and Ellie is broken by the deaths of those who stood beside her in this Heavenly war. Still, she must find a way to save the world, and her love for Will. If she fails, there will be hell to pay.

The Review

Last year, I read Angelfire and expected a fantastic and EPIC young adult read! Unfortunately, I was quite disappointed in Moulton's debut novel - more so with the main character Ellie's believability rather than the storyline itself. However, I can't complain when it came to her action scenes since they were something to die for and she sure knew how to entertain her slice-and-dice fans such as myself. You just have to admire the gore. But with Moulton's next sequel, WINGS OF THE WICKED, I have to say I'm immensely immensely impressed with this book and you can clearly tell that this author has grown in her writing abilities! I mean, WOW! It takes a lot to surprise me . . . especially with a very young, young adult novelist.

One of the things that surprised me the most was the characters themselves. While I wasn't a huge fan of the characters in the previous book Angelfire, everything soon did a complete turnaround and I became so invested in these characters of Moulton's. More than I thought I would be . . . Let's admit, Ellie is a hard character to like: She's someone I wouldn't be friends with, she's someone who makes mistakes that could be easily avoided, she's someone whom can overreact on matters, and she's also the type of girl who should think before she acts if you catch my drift. But much like the storyline, I actually came around to liking Ellie a hell of a lot more and of course loving her powerful kickass side which certainly shone some light in this second installment. For once in herlife, Ellie began to embrace her powers and believed in herself and in the cause, and in the sacrifices for others in order to protect them from greater dangers . . . finally she gets it. Here is the Ellie I wanted to know for so long now! And alongside with Ellie, I absolutely loved Will too (just had to mention him) even though he never truly gave into his desires like I so desperately wanted him to and I even loved the deeper introduction to Cadan's character, the boy we only got to see a little bit in the first book. Now I adore him to the bone . . . so all you Cadan fans will be very, very happy!

With the world-building of WINGS OF THE WICKED, it continues on the same lines as seen in Angelfire and is still beautifully crafted, and well thought out compared to most young adult novels that I've read in the past. It's good to finally see author's planning their mythologies more without going too overboard for a change. And as for the romance department, again you won't be disappointed because it's the best part - and the most frustrating part as well - of the book but it doesn't make the book lose its focus at all. I mean, one of my major concerns as seen in book one was the romance lingering between Ellie and Will . . . since Ellie was all about lusting for a strange boy and Will was just being Will thinking his duty of protecting his beloved was all that was required of him and nothing more could come of it. Sighs. Boys being boys, right? Gosh it was frustrating . . . however Moulton continued to surprise me yet again in developing this complicated relationship and bringing out more sexual tension that was needed for these two main characters. . . I absolutely loved it. There's a hot scene and it gets two thumbs up from me! So well done Ms. Moulton for impressing me element after element.

Overall, I loved WINGS OF THE WICKED and while there were a few scenes (in particular an attempted rape scene) that I thought wasn't exactly necessary and lines that were a little bit iffy-cheesy for me, but at least this sequel blew me away compared to the first book and made me WANT and NEED to continue with this young adult series. Not only was this a great sequel and offered a killer cliffhanger, but this book wasn't a filler book that bored me. . . it was something that evolved this series and pushed it further into its full potential and all the high praises are very much deserved in this author's case. So if you loved Angelfire, there's no question in my mind that you will adore this book. If you haven't read it, get it soon. And if you had concerns like I did with the first book, I assure you this one right here will prove you wrong and you will be dying for the last book in the trilogy . . . because that's the feeling I'm left with right now and I don't like it one bit!

The Rating

4 1/2 / 5 stars

Monday, March 12, 2012

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

Release Date: 31st January, 2012

Publisher: Katherine Tegen

Pages: 384pgs

The Story

New Soul

Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

No Soul

Even Ana's own mother thinks she's a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from the society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she'll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylphs attack the city, is Ana to blame?


Sam believes Ana's new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana's enemies - human and creature alike - let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else's life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

Jodi Meadows expertly weaves soul-deep romance, fantasy, and danger into an extraordinary tale of new life.

The Review

Jodi Meadow's debut novel INCARNATE is a beautifully unique and compelling story about reincarnation, theology, romance, and is so much more than you first expect.

Before opening the pretty pages of this book (yes they have butterflies on the chapter pages and again yes I couldn't stop staring at them), sometimes you have to set your expectations lower than you want to especially when it comes to readers praising a particular book title to a point where it overwhelms you. Now I don't know about you guys . . . but I don't like feeling disappointed in a book and find myself questioning what people saw in them. It has happened to me on many accounts and I don't like it one bit. However in this case, I went into this book with no high-set expectations and surprisingly I came out with a great result. With the reincarnation element being overdone nowadays in young adult literature, that my friends had no real effect on this book whatsoever and it rather made the storyline stand all on its own.

One of the clear standouts INCARNATE gets right is the high fantasy world Meadow's has created. Reincarnation. Slyphs. Dragons. You name it. I mean, the complexity of it - while it can be disconcerting at times - was both intriguing and fascinating and exciting, and I desperately wanted to know more and more of the history behind the worlds of Heart and Range. However, the only problem I had was the whole gender-changing concept for the character's reincarnations. So for example, when a person reincarnates each and every time, apparently their soul can come back as either a boy or a girl which changes overtime of the reincarnation obviously, and sometimes I felt that was to be a little 'strange' through my eyes. While I accept reincarnation (at least from my understanding of it) can be pretty unpredictable but I don't know . . . I just got weirded out by it. Especially when it came to the present time boys in the book, who were girls beforehand and la-de-da . . . yeah you get the drift. I've found the boys less attractive that way.

Aside from the technical side of the storyline, I really enjoyed unfolding the layers of the sometimes-endearing and the sometimes-complicated love story between Ana and Sam. With Ana being shunned and forever known as the 'nosoul' - as she supposedly took the place of Ciana's soul whom was supposed to be born but instead Ana was - I truly understood why she acted the way she did when it came to Sam wanting to get to know her and with her always being the one to pull away from him. After all, for her whole life she was miserable and her whole society and even her abusive mother for heaven's sakes thought her to be worth nothing . . . and Ana was made to believe this. So while Ana may seem reclusive, defensive and unattached from the people trying to connect with her, she has her reasons and has a lot of things that she needs to resolve for herself, and I guess that's what made her such a believable and an enjoyable young heroine. But then of course we have Sam - the love interest and just about the only person whom is willing to put aside what Ana is and focus on their new friendship. I admit, at first it was a rocky road for Ana and Sam to admit their feelings for one another, but thank god for no insta-love being involved. I was kind of worried for that. But without explaining the whole ordeal between them, I'll just say . . . everything worked well for their relationship and it was written in a way that you could respect it. Again, thank god for no insta-love.

The romance and the world weren't the only things I loved about INCARNATE. It was the element of music that had truly moved me. The music featured in this book was what helped stitch this book together and added such a great depth to the storyline. I loved it so much but not because I love music myself but for the mere fact that it made us readers forget about what Ana went through in her past and rather brought out a whole new side to her that is secretly hidden beneath all that pain of hers. The idea that music can change someone's world forever . . . it was clearly shown through this novel and I loved it a lot.

Overall, this is a great start for a series. While I found some scenes happening too fast and were created for the sake of more action sequences (the main reason for why I'm given this book 3 1/2 stars), however I still enjoyed everything this debut novel had to offer. With a well-developed plot, a slow-burning romance and with plenty of things to keep you guessing until the final pages . . . INCARNATE is definitely something you don't want to miss out on. I mean, just look at the beautiful shining cover!

The Rating

3 1/2 / 5 stars

Friday, March 9, 2012

Nightshade Trilogy Book Giveaway!

The amazing publicist Laura at Hachette Australia is giving away all three books from Andrea Cremer's Nightshade trilogy series for one incredibly lucky aussie winner! So that means . . . one copy of Nightshade, one copy of Wolfsbane and one copy of the newly released and final installment book Bloodrose! Sounds good, right?

But before you go and enter, also be sure to check out my recent character interview with Nightshade's two main hottie boy characters, Ren and Shay, which you can check out here. They are very hot boys . . . so be prepared if you have yet to read this thrilling YA series! Now onto the giveaway rules . . .

Here are the 3 rules:

- Contest is ONLY opened to Australian residents!

- Ends 31st March, 2012.

- Fill out the form with the mandatory entries: Name/Email/Address!

And that's all you need to do! Good luck!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Witch in Winter by Ruth Warburton

Release Date: 5th January, 2012

Publisher: Hodder Children's Books

Pages: 368pgs

The Story

Anna Winterson doesn't know she's a witch and would probably mock you for believing in magic, but after moving to the small town of Winter with her father, she learns more than she ever wanted to about power. When Anna meets Seth, she is smitten, but when she enchants him to love her, she unwittingly amplifies a deadly conflict between two witch clans and splits her own heart into two. She wants to love Seth, to let him love her - but if it's her magic that's controlling his passion, then she is as monstrous as the witch clan who are trying to use her amazing powers for their own gain.

Although a perfect fit for the paranormal romance genre, A WITCH IN WINTER avoids fangs, excessive body hair and submissive female leads, and tells the heart-wrenching story of a couple meant to be together, but being forced apart. Seth is utterly irresistible and Anna is an empowered, proactive young woman with unimaginable magic inside her. This is fast-paced, sensuous writing with believable incantations inspired by Warburton's research into witchcraft legend and old English.

The Review

Okay for once this year I'm totally impressed by this title - one I didn't expect to like nor even love. Now after hearing nothing but great things about this book and by the time I got this book into my greedy little hands as all books eventually find their way to (by the way it's a beautiful book cover and I know the model or rather know of her) . . . I have to say the wait was well worth it. But damn damn damn, I wished I had picked this book up a lot sooner than I did and discovered for myself what this book was all about . . . and its epicness! It had plenty of that to offer!

A WITCH IN WINTER tells us the story about a young girl named Anna whom has recently moved with her father from London to the coastal village of Winter for a fresh start since her father had lost his job. While Anna isn't exactly thrilled by this recent change in her life, however she settles in quite comfortably and eventually makes friends for herself along the way. But after an innocent sleepover and a few drinks later, Anna's new friends find a spellbook hidden away in her new home and decide - forcing Anna to play with them - to cast a love spell which like all love spells go . . . goes completely wrong. With her friends little knowing of what they've unleashed, thinking they were just mucking around, the spell actually worked and it was all because of Anna. The day she returns to school, the boy she thought of while creating the spell and the boy she happens to have a crush on since moving to the town, that being Seth, suddenly starts declaring his love for Anna and begins obsessing over her every need. After all, he did say this, "Anna, I know this sounds crazy but - I love you." Honestly what's a girl to do? How can a girl with no power undo this crazy love spell that was never meant to be casted in the first place? Or . . . is there something more to Anna than she first realized? Guess you'll have to pick up the book to find out.

I have to say this book was utter awesomesauce and it really set itself apart from your common young adult reads that we have nowadays on our shelves. But what I loved most was the fact that the book focused far more on the witchy side rather than on other paranormal creatures side, and it's not too often a paranormal YA story has that type of element about it. It was sure a nice change and it really hit close to home for me. The setting especially was what made me want more and more of this story . . . but also the characters as well.

Anna, the main heroine, was one of the best characters I've read in a while. The fact that she was so normal and easy to relate to on a teenage level (what with her trying to fit in and make new friends), I thankfully didn't have to suffer through too much teenage angst so well done to the author, Ruth Warburton, for that! As far as Seth goes, Anna's crush, I felt sorry for the poor boy. I mean, the love spell didn't exactly do him any favours at first. But the moment he stepped onto the page was the moment I fell for his character and I felt instantly drawn to him almost within a heartbeat. Sure, he didn't seem like your average 'nice guy' and he had his own personal issues to figure out, but what matters here was liking him and liking him - and loving him - I did. Not only did the love spell create an interesting storyline but it also helped these two main characters, Anna and Seth, confide in each other, form a friendship, and find a sense of trust. But honestly it was more than that . . . it eventually help them find themselves and who they want to be . . . so the love spell was a kind of a blessing in disguise for these characters even though it was awkward at times. The love declarations and all . . . very awkward.

Overall, I thought A WITCH IN WINTER was a fantastic debut novel coming from the very talented and engaging Ruth Warburton. With a wonderful haunting setting, interesting characters with many different layers and with an action-edgy-packed finale, I'm definitely excited to continue with this trilogy and if the first book was awesome . . . I'm expecting to be blown away by its sequel. I highly recommend this book to anyone with a love of witches and unexpected romances . . . along with a little bit of everything hidden inbetween!

The Rating

4 1/2 / 5 stars

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Darkness Falls by Mia James

Release Date: 1st March, 2012

Publisher: Gollancz

Pages: 352pgs

The Story

April Dunne is having a rough time. There are vampires in her school. Not Goths, or Emos in fancy dress. Dangerous, blood-sucking semi-immortals. They run the school. They pretend to be students at it. And they're using their influence to recruit smart, rich students - aka 'bleeders' - to their own cause. What is that cause? April isn't sure. But she knows they killed a rock star for it, and innocents who got too close to the truth. One of them almost killed her. But that's nothing to what's coming next.

Gabriel, her kinda-boyfriend, is dying and unless April can find a cure then not only is she going to be boyfriendless, she's also going to lose one of her major allies in the school. And she really needs allies. Because it turns out April has an ability of her own, one that could prove leathal to the 'Suckers' who've taken over the school. If any of them figure out what she is, then losing her boyfriend will be the least of her problems . . .

The Review

DARKNESS FALLS is the second installment in the Ravenwood series and the book picks up right after the events of By Midnight. Now for me, I really enjoyed the first book (though I wasn't exactly a 'huge' fan of it but it was still good) but I was very hesitant in starting this sequel because so many sequels lately have fell flat for me, especially in regards to the storylines and its characters. As much as I wanted to love this sequel and have everything prove me wrong, unfortunately I was disappointed in this sequel even though it had some good points as well. Sad but true.

For the majority of the book, I felt like nothing much had happened within the first 200 pages and I wished there was more to get me into the book. Mostly I found the pacing and the romantic relationships were the main problems for the book. When I say problems I mean there was a lot of running around going on, a lot of characters talking to various people that I found were quite unnecessary, and there were others things like figuring out answers and other related events that were in place just to give the story enough amounts of mystery and tension . . . so like I mentioned above, I was quite disappointed. But in saying that, once you reach closer to the final pages, the pacing soon begins to pick up and excite me by delivering such a great finish!

However, while the ending pleased me, but the only other problem I had was in the romance department involving the two main characters, April and Gabriel. I loved them in the first book (I got why people fell in love with them too) but in this sequel . . . not so much. Okay so we have Gabriel who is the typical gorgeous, sexy, brooding, and mysterious young fellow with a lot of hidden spark underneath it all, but as much as you love his looks as described in the book, and even his romantic feelings that he constantly expresses throughout the book, but in the end his overall relationship with April's character was a little 'complicated'. Gabriel . . . I give you praise for being there for April, but I cannot forgive you for always giving April a chance when she has so little trust in you. Personally I felt like April, the main heroine of this story, jumped too many conclusions and rather too quickly too when it came to Gabriel, and considering she's supposed to be in love with the guy . . . I just didn't feel the connection between them as I've previously seen in the first book, By Midnight. There just wasn't enough to make me feel satisfied.

Overall, while the majority of the book had disappointed me on a couple of levels but I still enjoyed that explosive ending of Mia James's which will make all readers happy. If you love a book that's Buffy meets a little bit of Veronica Mars (only with a mystery revolving around the supernatural) or have already started this series, then DARKNESS FALLS is definitely your kind of book!

The Rating

2/5 stars

Monday, March 5, 2012

Jessica Rules the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

Release Date: 10th January, 2012

Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books

Pages: 320pgs

The Story

It's one thing to find out you're a vampire princess. It's a whole other to actually rule. Newly married Jessica Packwood is having a hard enough time feeling regal with her husband, Lucius, at her side. But when evidence in the murder of a powerful elder points to Lucius, sending him into solitary confinement, Jessica is suddenly on her own.

Determined to clear her husband's name, Jessica launches into a full-scale investigation, but hallucinations and nightmares of betrayal keep getting in her way. Jessica knows the with no blood to drink, Lucius's time is running out. Can she figure out who the real killer is - and whom she can trust - before it's too late?

The Review

JESSICA RULES THE DARK SIDE is the sequel to Beth Fantaskey's much loved and praised debut novel, Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side. Like many fans of Fantaskey's first novel, I absolutely loved the book and it easily became one of my favourite vampire stories told in young adult fictio0n. When I first heard the news that the author was to be writing a sequel to this potential series, I was very excited - jumping for joy that is - to finally see how much our beloved characters have grown and to see what danger awaits them on the royalty side of vampire life. And, while it was enjoyable in its own rights and delivered another great continution of the storyline, but it unfortunately did not meet my very high expectations.

The book begins shortly after the events of where Jessica's Guide had ended, where Jessica and Lucius are now officially married, living in Romania, and are now trying to prove themselves to the other court members that they have what it takes to rule the vampire community as their vampire King and Queen. In this book what suprised me the most was the four perspectives told throughout the story - which can be good for a book as we get to explore other characters minds and see what they think of the main characters current situations, but personally for me I found it was a bit pointless and boring. Especially with the added perspectives of Mindy (Jessica's human best friend) whom I didn't like so much and Raniero (Lucius's man-friend) who was alright in the beginning but in the end he didn't really add much depth to the book that I expected of him. I didn't mind their views but I don't know . . . I just wished the book would focus more on Jessica and Lucius's lives as they're the main characgters and all.

Despite that small matter, when I started this book I was glad to see a different change-in-tone to the book than seen in the previous one - one that was completely darker and dangerous. While that may keep readers entertained, but the most disappointing character of all was Jessica herself. She wasn't very strong in this book as she was back in the American life of Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side and I was expecting a different Jessica this time round. She does, however, eventually built up the strength she needs but I found she had too easily allowed others to make decisions for her and she trusted the wrong people at the wrong possible times. Literally speaking . . . I could see the deception of one of the characters and I just wished Jessica saw who that was before everything unravelled. Lucius, however, is brilliant as always. He can see right through Jessica's faults in a Queen and he's always there to encourage her to move forward when she made mistakes. I love that sensitive side to him. While we don't see much interaction between the main characters, Jessica and Lucius, but I loved their sweet but small moments together. That alone made the book worthwhile. If only there was more of them . . . if only . . . just love love love them together!

Overall, it was not a bad book. It was just a little disappointing on my side of things. It seemed more of a piece-together-the-clues mystery than anything else I was expecting from the sequel. But not to worry my fellow readers, even with a predictable plot there's always something there to keep you both entertained and happy. If you loved the first book of this series, then you'll love JESSICA RULES THE DARK SIDE no matter its smallest of flaws. It'll be interesting whether or not the author decides to write a third book to this series because I could definitely see it as a possibility considering the opened ending I was left on.

The Rating

3 1/2 / 5 stars

Friday, March 2, 2012

Character Interview with Ren & Shay from the Nightshade Series!

If you know of Andrea Cremer's wonderful and bestselling YA series, Nightshade, then you would already know of the two hot boys featured in this series . . . I'm talking about the gorgeous-protective-and-sexy Ren and the cute-but-sometimes-shy Shay! So I had a great opportunity to catch up with both of the boys (they're on a busy schedule here) and I also got a chance to ask some grilling and personal questions too . . . anyway enjoy this exclusive character interview!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Erin: Hello boys and welcome to the blog, Tales of the Inner Book Fanatic! It's a pleasure to have you here!

Ren (slow smile): Hey.

Shay (open smile): Nice to meet you.

Erin: Ren and Shay . . . how do you two feel about each other? Are you merely fighting because of Calla's torn-heart and want to prove yourself to her - that you're the better man - or it is just a male thing. . . to hate each other for the sake of it?

[The boys exchange an uneasy glance]

Ren: Wow. You don't ease in to the personal stuff.

Shay: Uh. Yeah. This is just awkward.

Ren: I actually agree. Next question.

Erin: Sorry guys! But I just had to ask. Okay then . . . next question. If Calla was out of the picture - not that I'm plotting her demise or anything - would you two actually become close friends? And if so, what do you two admire most about each other even if its only one quality?

Shay [raises brow]: Wait. First you want us to hate each other and now you want us to praise each other. [Glaces around the room] Is this some kind of psych experiment we're not in on?

Erin: Maybe it IS one. Or again, maybe it isn't. You'll never know. *winks*

Ren [laughs]: I'll bite. [Jerks his thumb at Shay] He's got moves, but I'd prefer he put them to use elsewhere.

Shay [laughs]

Erin: Ren, you call Calla 'Lily' as her nickname - a very cute endearing nickname by the way and I love you for it. Did you do that on purpose to annoy her or was it a signal to give to her . . . telling her you liked her more than a childhood friend should like LIKE her? And Shay, what about you? Do you have a nickname for Calla or does she secretly have one for you behind closed doors?

Ren [half smile]: A little of both.

Shay: No nicknames. At least if she has one for me she hasn't told me.

Ren: I can think of a few.

Shay: I'm sure you could.

Erin: I think I could too. [laughs] Speaking of Calla, what was your first impression of her for the both of you? Was it insta-love like in the movies or did it take some time to have true love sneak up behind you when you least expected it?

Ren [sighs]: You know we're guys right? This is not the stuff we usually talk about. Soul baring: not a habit.

Shay: While I agree with Ren, I can tell you that I had a hard time believing what Calla was really. That took some time getting used to before I got to any of the feelings stuff . . . she is hot though. There was no denying that from the beginning.

Ren: Yeah she is.

Erin: So hypothetically speaking, if you knew Calla's decision between the two of you, knew whom she wanted to be with the most for the rest of her life, would either of you accept her decision and walk away with some pride left on your side, or would you go to great lengths and fight to the death to be with Calla? After all . . . she needs a strong Alpha male (I know Ren has what it takes) to help her lead the others.

[Shay and Ren look at each other for a long, very awkward pause]

Shay: If we start talking about this we'll fight.

Ren: Yes. Definitely.

Shay: I don't think you want to see that.

Erin: I won't argue with that. [daydreams for a second of two hot boys fighting each other and shakes head] Okay then, I'm going to play a quick game with you to take away all this tension. A game I like to call 'Fill in the Blanks' game . . . are you game enough to play it?

[Both nod]

Nobody knows I am . . .

Shay: An expert at picking locks.

Ren: Thinking of becoming a vegetarian.

[Shay laughs and Ren joins in]

Ren: Yeah, I'm kidding. Can't think of anything else.

I secretly wished . . .

Shay: That I could live with my parents and not move around all the time.

Ren: That I could just be a wolf and not deal with all this war, school, humanity bullshit.

My biggest pet peeve is . . .

Shay and Ren [in unison, pointing at each other]: Him.

The only thing I think about is . . .

Ren: Calla, and the pack.

Shay: Calla, and my family.

When I think about true love I think . . .

Ren: See above, still guys.

Shay: Nah. I'm gonna go with Shakespeare.

Ren [growls]: Fine. I kind of liked The Proposal.

Shay [begins to laugh]: The Proposal?

Ren [glares at him]: I mean, for a chick flick. It was pretty funny.

My perfect date would be . . .

Ren: A hunt and skinny dipping in a mountain pool. It would have to be summer, or that last bit wouldn't be much fun.

Shay: Anything that lets me be alone with her. Just time with her is all that matters.

Ren [growls] and Shay [bares teeth]

Bonus Question - Boxers or briefs (this question is just for the ladies)?

[Question distracts both boys from menacing each other]

Shay [with a slight blush]: Boxers.

Ren [eases back in chair]: Boxers. Wanna see them?

Erin: Well, if you want to I guess you could -

Shay: Oh give it a rest.

Erin: And just before you go, can you tell my blog readers what to expect in the third and final installment of the Nightshade series, Bloodrose?

Breakneck action, sexy times, and the final battle!

Erin: Thank you both darlings for stopping by! *winks at Ren while shaking hands with the two boys and quickly walks out of the room*

Whew! I'm glad that's over. Too much hotness in the room in there! Am I right, folks? I would like to take up this opportunity to say a big thanks to Ren and Shay for the interview! I'm quite amazed by how long they stayed together in that room alone. You know . . . without killing each other! Anyway, there you have it folks! Be sure to pick up a copy of Andrea Cremer's last installment of the Nightshade series, Bloodrose, because it has a killer of an ending! I should know . . . I've read it and cried over it for days!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...