Sunday, 29 April 2012

Loss - Jackie Morse Kessler

Title: Loss
Author: Jackie Morse Kessler
Publisher: Graphia
Date of publication: 20th of March 2012
Pages: 251
Series: Riders of the apocalypse
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Also known for: Hunger, Rage.
Rating: 4

Loss is the third installment of the Riders of the apocalypse quartet and focuses on Pestilence. Billy is a bullied fifteen year old who is suffocating in his life. He has to deal with his feelings for his best friend Marianne, the bullies at school and his shattered home life where he is regularly stuck taking care of his Grandfather who suffers from Alzheimer's. Then one day Death comes for him because it turns out that Billy made a deal with Pestilence when he was five. He promised that he would wear the crown when the time came. As this bullied teenager struggles to come to terms with his new responsibilities he doesn't realise that he may be all that stands in the way of the end of the world.

I love this series. Each book deals with a relevant and difficult issue. I loved Billy and from page one and my love for him grew with each page as he developed and grew into a stronger more confident person. The storyline was fantastic and original. I have no unfulfilled wishes for this book. Perfection. I cannot wait for the last book - Breathe as it features my favourite character - Death. 

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Hollow Pike - James Dawson

Title: Hollow Pike
Author: James Dawson
Publisher: Indigo
Date of publication: 2nd of February 2012
Pages: 314
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Rating: 4

Lis London has moved to a new town to escape her past in Wales. She has a whole new wardrobe and a new outlook on life. She is surprised when the most popular girl in school takes her under her wing but she cannot help but be drawn to a group of misfits. Word around school is that they are witches but Lis doesn't believe in them. Does she? When a student turns up murdered, she soon realises that the nightmares that have plagued her could be warnings and that someone might actually be trying to kill her.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I read it on a dark stormy night and have decided that this is the perfect book to read on such an occasion. It had mystery, horror, romance... everything. I loved Lis and her new friends, they were colourful and did not lie flatly on the page. The ending was totally unexpected! I'm rarely blind-sided.  Read this one if you have the chance!

Poison Heart - S.B. Hayes

Title: Poison Heart
Author: S.B. Hayes
Publisher: Quercus books
Date of publication: 1st of March 2012
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Rating: 3.5

‘I’m everything you’re not and I’m going to take over your life… I’m your worst nightmare.’

Katy is convinced that a girl she had seen on a bus is following her every move. She believes that she is stalking her. Katy's life is almost perfect. She is dating the boy of her dreams and has great friends but that all changes when Genevieve turns up. She starts to flirt with her gorgeous new boyfriend and has turned her friends against her. What does she want? Why does she hate Katy so much? With the help of her childhood friend Luke who is a reporter she goes on a journey to discover what Genevieve wants but what she discovers will change everything forever.

This was a great psychological thriller. I thought that Genevieve had a certain vulnerability to her that stopped the reader from completely disliking her. Katy was a strong character who did not give up without a fight. Great characters overall.

This was not unpredictable but I was still impressed by some of the plot twists just the same.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Forbidden - Syrie James & Ryan M. James

Title: Forbidden
Author(s): Syrie James & Ryan M. James
Publisher: Harper Teen
Date of publication: 24th of January 2012
Pages: 410
Series: possibly?
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Rating: 4

I was immediately entranced by Forbidden's beautiful cover. I love it.   Thankfully the story was just as engaging. While the story is told in third person, each chapter alternatives in perspective.

Claire Brennan goes to Emerson Academy where she works hard to maintain a high grade point average in order to retain her scholarship.  She has two great friends - Brian and Erica and has a huge crush on Neil, a fellow classmate. When Alec turns up with his good looks and Scottish accent her world changes.

As she begins to have visions of the future, Alec's secrets come to the surface and the love they begin to feel for one another becomes more and more forbidden and dangerous.

Overall this book had a fresh perspective on Angels (yep, its about angels if you hadn't already deduced from the cover =P). This is the first in a possible trilogy, it all depends on whether they will be signed on for a further two books, which I think the duo will be. The story has real possibility to develop further and become even better. I liked both Claire and Alex as characters, though I thought that they fell in 'love' way too quickly. I look forward to reading more about Claire and Alex and finding more about this exciting new world.

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Sunday, 22 April 2012

Croak - Gina Damico

Title: Croak
Author: Gina Damico
Publisher: Graphia
Date of publication: 20th of March 2012
Pages: 311
Series: Croak
Format: Softcover
Also known for: Scorch
Source: Library
Rating: 4

Croak is the first installment of a fresh new series. Lexington Bartleby is a right little terror. She is known for her volcanic temper and her violent inclinations. Facing expulsion her parents decide to send their wayward daughter to her mysterious Uncle Mort who lives in the country. Soon she discovers that everyone in the town of Croak is in the death business. Lex finds her calling and relishes her new role as a reaper.

This was a deliciously dark humorous novel. I absolutely loved Uncle Mort and the rest of the colourful supporting cast.  While I did not love this novel, I thoroughly enjoyed devoting a day to this wonderful world.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Don't breathe a word - Holly Cupala

Title: Don't breathe a word
Author: Holly Cupala
Publisher: Harper Teen
Date of publication: 3rd of January 2012
Number of pages: 299
Format: Paperback
Also known for: Tell me a secret.
Source: Library
Rating: 4.5

Don't breathe for me is a incredibly powerful and raw novel. It's sheer realism can be brutal and upsetting but it is done tenderly. The story revolves around Joy who is in a abusive relationship with her boyfriend Asher. She is suffocating both physically from her asthma and emotionally. Finally she has had enough and runs away in order to find the homeless boy who had offered her help upon witnessing Asher's controlling and abusive behaviour. He seems to be the only one who can really see her. She quickly discovers that street life is very difficult and Creed the homeless boy is none to pleased to see her.

Holly does not shy away from the realities of street life and it really pulled at my heart. I cared so much for the vulnerable teens at the center of this story. It really made me want to go out and volunteer at a shelter. Joy's tender relationship with Creed was wonderful and a pleasure to read. This book does address a number of issues that homeless teens face - sexual assault, physical assault, prostitution, drug addiction, hunger, illness and desperation. These teens are invisible. No one can see them, or people are quick to assume and label them with stereotypes. Absolutely must read if you like hard hitting but compassionate books.

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Scattering like light - S.C Ransom

Title: Scattering like light
Author: S.C Ransom
Publisher: Nosy Crow
Date of Publication: 1st of January 2012
Number of pages: 287
Format: Paperback
Series: Small blue thing
Also known for: Small blue thing and Perfectly reflected
Source: Library
Rating: 4.5

Scattering like light is the final book in the small blue thing trilogy and by far the best with regards to certain aspects. If you haven't read this trilogy, I highly recommend it. It is a sweet and lovely story about a girl who finds a bracelet in the Thames and finds herself able to communicate with a spirit - Dirge - who must steal the happy memories of strangers in order to stave of madness. Finally Alex thinks she may have a chance to save Callum, the boy she loves from his horrible fate. A new character is introduced - Max - who makes Alex think long and hard about her future relationship with Callum. If she can't save him then how can they be together? I know some readers may have been displeased with Max but I thought he was necessary for Alex to really question her feelings and relationship with Callum. I think that their relationship became all the more stronger.

There are some answers! Yay. Some of the plot twists caught me completely off guard which was certainly a surprise because this is a generally predictable kind of series. I think readers will be satisfied. I was sad to see the end of this series as I had really come to love Alex and Callum. I'm pleased with the way it ended.

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Thursday, 19 April 2012

Unraveling Isobel - Eileen Cook

Title: Unraveling Isobel
Author: Eileen Cook
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Date of publications: 3rd of January 2012
Number of pages: 290
Format:  Hardcover
Source: Library
Also known for: Getting revenge on Lauren wood, What would emma do?, The education of Hailey Kendrick
Rating: 3

This is another example of underutilized potential. This could have been epic, creepy and Gothic if certain aspects of the story line were expanded on but we will come to that in due time.

Isobel's mother has just married a man she met over the internet three months ago. Naturally she has concerns about leaving her comfortable life and moving into her new step-father's estate. Imagine a large 19th century English manor.   Her step brother is seriously hot but off limits and gives her a rather chilly welcome. Isobel soon finds herself wrapped up in the dark history of the estate. Less than a year ago Dick's (her step father) wife and daughter were killed in a boating accident but word around town is that he had a hand to play in their demise. It also doesn't help that she begins to see ghostly figures and fears that she is beginning to lose her mind like her father. In the background we have Nicole, a preppy cheerleader who has her eye on Nathaniel (step brother) and is used to getting what she wants.

Overall this was entertaining but it could have been so much better! I loved the idea of this book. I thought that there could have been more about the history of the estate and more ghostly appearances. Her relationship with Nathaniel and her semi-battle with Nicole dominated the story. I found these sections rather dry and boring. The house really was the big star of this novel. How amazing would this have been if it had been longer and more developed? Focusing more on the mystery and the sheer awesomeness of being on a island. I also would have loved to see and learn more about her Dad, but sadly this was just brushed over.

A fair read.

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Monday, 16 April 2012

Magic under stone - Jaclyn Dolamore

Title: Magic under stone
Author: Jaclyn Dolamore
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Date of publication: February 28 2012
Pages: 291
Series: Magic under
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Also known for: Magic under glass, Between the sea and sky.
Rating: 4

I really enjoyed Magic under glass and so I really looked forward to reading this one. Isn't the cover gorgeous? This is a fun and fluffy read about a lost fairy prince trapped in a clockwork body and the young dancing girl who set him free. Erris is unhappy and tortured in his fragile body and not even Nimira can break him out of his funk. Nimira in turn fears the Erris is changing and starts to wonder if they can truly overcome this obstacle. I liked this aspect of their relationship because it was very realistic. We also have the introduction of a couple of new characters - Erris's niece Violet and the Jinn. I did not particularly care for them. I also thought that this was rather rushed and cramped. I know that Jaclyn was asked to wrap it up in this book but there were some unanswered questions and it just wasn't enough to satisfy me completely. This could have been perfect! I wanted to see more of Erris and Nimira at the end. Overall, I really liked this one. Well worth the read if you have read the first.

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Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Katana - Cole Gibsen

Title: Katana
Author: Cole Gibsen
Publisher: Flux
Pages: 375
Date of publication: 8th of March, 2012
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Also known for: Breathless.
Series: Possibly?
Rating: 3.5

I was not sure what to expect from Katana but I was pleasantly surprised. It is a quick, fast-paced action - filled read about a young skater chick who discovers that she has a 15th century samurai warrior inside of her from a past life. She finds she can kick some serious ass. Then we have Kim her gorgeous instructor who has a hidden past with her and some hot chemistry.

I can only describe this book was fun. It's a great way to pass 3-4 hours when you have nothing to do and want something purely entertaining. However there was nothing special about this story. No meaning. Which is perfectly fine because not every book can be meaningful and life changing. I liked the characters, even though they were rather one dimensional. The most colourful character would have to be her gay best friend Quentin. He just popped off the page. Overall, this was a fair read that satisfied my entertainment needs, but sadly forgettable.

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Sunday, 8 April 2012

The Emerald Flame - Allan Frewin Jones

Title: The Emerald Flame
Author: Allan Frewin Jones
Publisher: Harper Collins US
Pages: 344
Date of publication: October 26, 2010
Series: Warrior Princess
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Also known for: Faerie path series, warrior princess series
Rating: 4

The emerald flame is the third installment in the warrior princess series.

If you like your heroines' covered in blood and able to weld a sword and shield then this is the book for you. You won't find any pampered princesses within these pages! Branwen is our barbarian princess, who under instruction from the Shining Ones (gods) is dead set on riding her country of the murderous Saxons who threaten to overtake her beloved Wales.The gorgeous and infuriating Iwan is now with her and it seems as if everyone else can see something between them that she cannot see herself.

The romance in this book is perfection. It is not rushed and each scene is something precious. I cannot wait to see this develop further in the next book!!

While there is a lot of violence in this book, it was not overly gruesome. The action scenes were well written, my eyes could not move quickly enough to keep up with all the action!

There were also some great twists to the story. It just keeps on getting better. Branwen is growing up into a strong and well rounded young woman and I can't wait to see what happens next. Read this series!

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Wednesday, 4 April 2012

The other life - Susanne Winnacker

Title: The other life
Author: Susanne Winnacker
Publisher: Usborne
Release date: February 21 2012
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback
Series: The other life
Source: Library
Rating: 3.5

Sherry lives with her family in their bunker, life is tense and rations are tight. It's been 3 years since a 'rabies' outbreak struck the US and sent many families into hiding. Three months after radio contact is lost their food supply has finally run out, forcing Sherry and her father to leave the bunker in order to find food to feed their family. Only L.A. is now a decimated wasteland and there is no sign of life. While scavenging for food a creature attacks the pair and Sherry's father is kidnapped. With the help of Joshua, a Avenger she sets off on a journey to rescue her father and come to terms with the horrors of this new world, in particular the creatures called Weapers.

This book was overall a very entertaining book. It sucked me from the first chapter and did not let go. I loved how fast-paced it was and the idea of emerging from a bunker to find everything changed. I thought the characters were a little shallow, I did not really connect with any of them, they were just kinda there. The book has a pretty good cliff-hanger so I will definitely be reading book 2.

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Try not to breathe - Jennifer R. Hubbard

Title: Try not to breathe
Author: Jennifer R. Hubbard
Publisher: Viking
Release Date: January 19 2012
Pages: 233
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Also known for: The secret year
Rating: 4

Try not to breathe is essentially about a young man named Ryan who is fresh out of a mental institution after attempting to kill himself. He has to live with a stigma over his head and finds that his life is no longer his own to control. He finds little ways of defying this like his trips to the waterfall but he is no longer a regular teenager. One day he meets Nicki, who seems fascinated by his past and wants to get to know him better. Bit by bit his past his revealed, showing the readers that sometimes actions and feelings cannot be explained so simply. Depression simply happens and there does not necessarily have to be a reason why.

I thought that this was a very necessary book. I, myself have worked in a mental institution and people with depression do not have to have a tragic background, abusive parents, etc. They could come from the most normal and loving families. I thought that this book represented this very well. I also liked her positive outlook on this story. Yes,  life does get better. It may not get easier but hopefully the good days will more than make up for the dark ones.

This was a short but offered a real glimpse into the aftermath of a suicide attempt and also the effect depression has on the family unit. Ryan's isolation really illustrated the misconceptions that many teens have about mental health, which was great. Overall, a very pleasing book.

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Tuesday, 3 April 2012

A beautiful Evil - Kelly Keaton

Title: A beautiful Evil
Author: Kelly Keaton
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 285
Release Date: February 21st 2012
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Also known for: Darkness becomes her.
Rating: 4

A beautiful evil is the second installment in the Gods & Monsters series. It managed to out-shine its predecessor in every way. I was not to impressed with the first installment but I always believe in second chances so I picked this one up in the hopes that it would be better. It took me a little while to get back into the story after a year but this was done smoothly.

Basically the story picks up where Darkness becomes her left off, with Violet and Ari's father in the clutches of Athena. She also has to come to terms with the reality of her destiny and fears that this will drive the gorgeous Sebastian away.  Her training continues and she tries to gain control of her powers in order to rescue her loved ones and defeat the evil Athena.

The story was fast-paced and action-packed, I powered through this without rest, so great was my need for more. Ari is still the same sassy girl as always and despite her own self-doubt she is one of the strongest heroines in YA at the moment. After reading this I can see what she is going to do in the next or few next installments. Is this a trilogy? I'm not sure. In any case its going to be EPIC. Cannot wait!

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Monday, 2 April 2012

Bittersweet - Sarah Ockler

Title: Bittersweet
Author: Sarah Ockler
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release date: January 3rd 2012
Pages: 378
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Rating: 4.5
Also known for: Twenty boy summer, Fixing Deliah

Hudson Avery is a former competitive figure skater who is ultimately dissatisfied with her lot. She works at her Mum's diner where she bakes cupcakes. Dani her best friend works with her at the diner and really helps to keep Hudson positive. Soon she finds herself literally colliding with a cute hockey player named Josh and somehow is roped into coaching the flailing hockey team. Hudson soon begins a journey trying to discover herself and what she wants - is she the cupcake queen or the ice skater and how can she be both?

Hudson is a flawed character and there were times when I wanted to smack her. I'm namely talking about her treatment of her best friend Dani. She really took her friend for granted and mistreated her on a number of occasions. However, I like flawed characters and I couldn't help but love Hudson anyway.

The cupcakes were delish. I absolutely loved imagining these creations while reading about them. Pure fun! Certainly stimulated the taste buds.

This was a cute a fluffy novel about first love and really just navigating the mine field of impending adulthood.

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Sunday, 1 April 2012

Illuminate - Aimee Agresti

Title: Illuminate
Author: Aimee Agresti
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release date: March 6th 2012
Pages: 534
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Rating: 4

Description: Haven Terra is a brainy, shy high school outcast. But everything begins to change when she turns sixteen. Along with her best friend Dante and their quiet and brilliant classmate Lance, she is awarded a prestigious internship in the big city— Chicago—and is sent to live and work at a swanky and stylish hotel under the watchful eyes of a group of gorgeous and shockingly young-looking strangers: powerful and alluring hotel owner Aurelia Brown; her second-in-command, the dashing Lucian Grove; and their stunning but aloof staff of glamazons called The Outfit.
As Haven begins falling for Lucian, she discovers that these beautiful people are not quite what they seem. With the help of a mysterious book, she uncovers a network of secret passageways from the hotel’s jazz-age past that leads her to the heart of the evil agenda of Aurelia and company: they’re in the business of buying souls. Will they succeed in wooing Haven to join them in their recruitment efforts, or will she be able to thwart this devilish set’s plans to take the souls of her classmates on prom night at the hotel?

Review: I must admit that the sheer size of this book was daunting. Don't let that put you off though! I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Haven was a fantastic heroine. She was strong and not shallow as many girls in her position would have been. Dante and Lance were great supporting characters as well. I loved Dante's flamboyance and Lance's quiet strength. This book held my attention and did not let go. It did take me a while to get through this but I never once felt the inclination to drop it and move onto something else. Overall it was a cute well written debut. I look forward to book 2!

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