Saturday, 27 February 2010


Okay, so for months now (literally) a friend of mine has been pushing me to read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. It's been sat on my shelf for a couple weeks, but yesterday I finally picked it up. I just finished it about 20 minutes ago and all I can say is Wow. I completely love it and owe Nikki a big apology for a) being doubtful of it's awesomeness and b) not reading it sooner despite her assurances it was awesome.

I will do an actual review soon, just want to say if you've not yet read the books, read them. Now. I've got the second one sat beside me now and I can't wait to dig in, but honestly, even if I don't like it as much I won't care, because book one is awesome!

More awesomeness:
That's the cover for Rachel Vincent's final (sob) Shifters book, due out Oct 1st and every time I look at it, I fall a little more in love with it! Chances are you've seen it already if you're a fan of the series, but I don't care, I'm posting it anyway.

Rachel also recently posted the (not quite final - it's got to have a quote added to it) cover for her third Soul Screamers book, My Soul To Keep:

Pretty sure it's my favourite of her SS covers so far. I love the purple so much!

Also, I'm much in love with the Korean covers for Vampire Academy. They're so freaking cool! but trying to limit the picture heaviness of this post, I'm just going to link to Richelle's blog where they are posted in all their glory: here! I want them simply to look at the covers. Couldn't attempt to read any of it, but I want the covers! Badly! lol

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Bad Blood by Mari Mancusi

Bad Blood is the fourth book in the Blood Coven series, and like the books before it is a bit of light fun with some semi-dark twists. This time it's back to Sunny's story as she finds herself facing competition for Magnus' (leader of the Blood Coven) affection. It has been decided that Magnus requires a blood mate to rule with him, leaving his human girlfriend Sunny, feeling left out. But his 'perfect match' doesn't seem to be quite what she says, at least not to Sunny and she's determined to find out the truth.

Along with her twin sister Rayne, they sneek after Magnus, the potential blood mate and several other vampires to Las Vages where the blood mate cermoney is going to be held. Once there, Sunny does her best to find out just what Jane is hiding, whilst dealing with some unforeseen family issues that she finds start to come between her and Rayne.

The Buffy references here are fewer than the previous book, but there are a few subtle ones. But even without them, this book made me laugh out loud repeatedly. The characters are a little shallow and flakey but they have their deeper moments too. I hope this isn't the last book because they really are fun shorter reads. 7/10

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Richelle Mead Signing Southampton

Richelle is easily one of my most favourite authors. I am completely obsessed with her Vampire Academy series, and her other two adult series are well up there on my faves list as well. Hearing she was coming to the UK for signings made me scream. Literally. I was ridiculously excited and text my best friends and we all agreed we'd have to go. No way could we miss this chance! So we made our way on Thursday to Southampton from where we live a couple hours away. Getting to Southampton was easy, but we were not so good at finding our way to the car park and got turned around a bunch. I think it took us about half an hour but never mind, we made it.

We got to the Waterstones where the signing was being held and headed downstairs to where it was being held. There we sat and filled out a quiz for a prize draw, and also took part with this:

It's a 'find your vampire name' spinner...thing. And when you'd spun it and gotten all the parts you needed for it, the 'name' was filled out on one of these enrollment forms:

If you can't make it out, my name came out as Mistress Camilla Dashkov The Wrathful. Not happy about having 'Dashkov' in my name, but 'Cam' is pretty close to 'Cem' so its kind of fitting. E, got the best name though, with both 'Rose' and 'Ozera' as part of it. Tough the end of R's was 'the Everlasting' which was pretty cool to! They also had a disk that you could spin, one side had 'Moroi' on it, the other 'Strigoi'. For those who haven't yet read the series (what the hell are you waiting for?!) Moroi are good, mortal vampires and Strigoi the evil killers. Both E. and I got Moroi and R, who is probably the sweetest of us, got Strigoi. Which amused the three of us no end! There were little badges for this too, being Moroi, I got a Moroi one where as R. got a Strigoi one:
The pen was free too, we picked them up when Richelle signed our books. They're actually a soft pink color, but for whatever reason it came out orange on my phone.

Then finally Richelle came out and did a reading from Spirit Bound. A spoiler free one sadly, though she nearly said the spoilery bit of the scene she was reading, but she caught herself just in time ;) [fyi it was the same reading that's been online for a while, you can see it here:] She also said that (her mistake) she had an old version of that scene, and she told us a little about what happened at the end of it.
After the reading she did a short Q & A session which was cool, got some interesting answers but nothing revealing about any of her series, as always! Then it was on to the actual signing and pictures with her:

Before heading home. We actually manged to get more lost getting out of Southampton because of lack of good signs! Took us about 40mins to actually be out on the road, but we were all pretty giddy anyway and didn't care all that much. We all agree it was a great time and Richelle was really, really sweet!! I really hope that her publishers bring her back to the UK some time so we've got a chance to go and meet her again. One thing only could have made it better for the three of us, and that would have been our other best friend being able to come with us. The whole thing was run really smoothly and was a good laugh from start to finish. So anyone who is a fan already, you should try and meet her if you can, anyone who's yet to read her books, read them! ;)

First Drop of Crimson by Jeaniene Frost

First Drop of Crimson is the first book in Jeaniene's Night Huntress World series, the spin off from her main Night Huntress series. It follows Denise, Cat's best friend, about a year after the traumatic death of her husband at the hands of vampires. She wants nothing to do with that world and just wants to be left alone to grieve. But a couple family members have died suddenly from heart attacks, and Denise is suspicious. She doesn't want to call Cat though, or her husband Bones, so instead she calls Bones long time friend, Spade.

Spade is a vampire who has lusted after Denise since he first laid eyes on her. But she was married, and his best friend's wife's best friends, automatically off limits. When he gets the call from her he first suspects she's seeing more than there is. But when he arrives at her house and finds a demon recently left, he realises that it's a whole lot worse than either of them knew. He's determined to help her and keep her alive, but the more he's around her, the harder it is for him to resist her. And that could be deadly for both of them.

I loved the first two books in Jeaniene's Night Huntress series, but I didn't enjoy 3 or 4 as much and I wasn't sure I'd like a book with Spade and Denise as the leads. I was wrong, I loved this book! I love Spade a lot more than I do Bones, and Denise has grown on me hugely too. The book is told in third person, but switching between Spade and Denise's perspectives giving the reader a clear view of what they're both going through and how they feel.

The action starts up pretty quick and doesn't really let up. I liked the plot and how it all worked out, along with how both Spade and Denise grew through the book as they dealt with their personal issues as well as the demon ones. They're both strong characters, but with painful pasts that consume them. I really felt for Denise as she struggled to come to terms with what happened to her husband and her feelings about the supernatural world. And I totally fell in love with Spade as more of him was revealed and his actions explained.

Overall, a really great book with some interesting hints at some other side characters already met in the Night Huntress books. I'd love to have more books about Spade and Denise in the future. It could probably be read just fine as a standalone book, but I think readers would benefit from having read the first four Night Huntress books first (Halfway to the Grave, One Foot in the Grave, At Grave's End, Destined for an Early Grave). There was real tension and feeling to the book, and I loved the ending. I'm looking forward to the next books in this series now, and the original one. 8/10

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

This and That

So I owe a review for First Drop of Crimson by Jeaniene Frost, which I read a week ago, but I've yet to get round to writing. Apologies for that, I will try and get to it in the tonight or tomorrow. Other than'll be a week or so at least before anything else gets reviewed, for the simple fact that I'm not reading much new stuff right now. I'm reading A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray (thanks to a certain Pride Mod who is awesome!) and really, really loving it. I'm not big on historical stuff normally, but this is really great!! But it takes a lot of concentration for me to read, and that's something that tires me quickly, so it's slower reading than anything else.

Around that, I'm rereading the Georgina Kincaid series by Richelle Mead ahead of the 5th book, Succubus Shadows, being released next month. I may write reviews for them, I may not. Will depend if I can be bothered lol. I will say if you've not read them, you really should! They're a great read with some fantastic humor thrown in. I'd forgotten just how good they are in fact!

One thing I am MEGA excited about is that Richelle Mead, who is one of my most favourite authors, is doing a couple signings in the UK this week. Me and two of my best friends are going to one of them on Thursday and I'm beyond excited about it! I can't really believe I'm going to get the chance to actually meet her! The trip though, is a couple hours one way, so add it all together and it's going to be a very, very long day for me and I'm going to be really ill afterwards for several days. I'm pretty sure it'll be totally worth it though! I've promised several people to take pics, so I may try and do a mini recap of it here, for ease, but it won't be until Saturday at least in all likely hood as Friday I will be curled up in bed in pain watching various DVDs.

And that's the end of my rambling hyper enduced post, to your relief I'm sure. Apologies again for the lack of reviews.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Girls That Growl by Mari Mancusi

"Rayne McDonald thought getting in to the Blood Coven was the hard part. But now there's a new breed of trouble in town...and the former slayer and her vampire boyfriend may be the only ones who can stop it.

Now that she's an official vampire and full-fledged member of the Blood Coven, Rayne assumes her vampire-slaying days are over. Sure, she doesn't have any vampire powers, thanks to a mutated blood virus, but she and Jareth can go out in the sun, which is a pretty good trade-off. But just when Rayne's starting to enjoy her afterlife, she's contacted by Slayer Inc. once again. It seems that a member of her high school's football team has disappeared and the powers-that-be think the cheerleaders had something to do with it. Now Rayne has to infiltrate the squad before the cheerleaders have a chance to sink their teeth into someone else..."

Girls That Growl is the third book in the Blood Coven series by Mari Mancusi. It follows Rayne who is both a vampire and a slayer, as she works her latest assignment: figure out where the missing football player has gone, and if the cheerleaders (who have been heard growling) are involved. A goth girl who is normally tormented by the cheerleaders, try out for the squad? Sounds pretty much like Rayne's version of hell.

I love this series for it's Buffy references. This book has obvious ties to episodes The Witch, Phases and Ted, with some slightly more obscure references to other episodes. And all this is ignoring Rayne's opening letter to Joss Whedon. The series isn't very serious or deep, the characters are a little cliched at times, and the plots little silly. But they're really good fun anyway. They make for great light reading for a couple hours. And being a big Buffy fan myself, I like the reminders of great episodes that I love. 7/10

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Will you be my Valentine? [Edited]

So for the latest Richelle Mead blog contest, she's asking fans to create Valentine's related works of art based on her books in one way or another. Art is in no way my strong suit, but hey, it's got good prizes and (like with the lolcats version of her books) I fancied having a go. So here is my Dark Swan entry:
With my non-existent photo shop skills, I decided to go the old fashioned route and cut stuff out and stuck it all together. Do I sound pathetic when I say I had great fun with it? Like being a little kid in school again! hehe

Now just about anyone who's spoken to me any time about books away from this blog will know that I'm completely obsessed with Rose and Dimitri from Richelle's Vampire Academy series. So why did I pick to do one from her Dark Swan series? Because simply, this idea hit me and a VA one didn't. Though I'm tossing a few VA ones around now, and I may spend tomorrow working on a R&D one too...

EDIT: I WON I WON!! When Richelle finally picked winners, she picked 6 of them, and I was one of them with the above entry. Am so beyond thrilled about it :) Prize: Signed ARC of Succubus Shadows and any of the other books from her back list, I chose Succubus Dreams as my second because I adore that book too. And I already have all VA's signed. And Storm Born. Just need Thorn Queen, Succubus Nights (On Top) and Succubus Heat signed now...

Also, on a completely unrelated note, my 'Currently reading' thing ---> is not correct. Was going to read Bad Blood next, then didn't, and...haven't bothered changing the thing yet. Will when I get in to something new, right now I'm rereading Richelle's Succubus not completely unreleated I guess.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Nora Grey is annoyed when her biology teacher changes the seating arrangements. Now instead of sitting beside her best friend Vee, she's sat by the very hot bad boy Patch. It doesn't take long for it to become obvious he knows far more about her than he should. Creeped out but attracted to him she tries to keep her distance from him.

Vee hopes that new transfer student Elliot will help with that. And it gives Vee an excuse to hang out with Elliot's best friend Jules, who she's interested in. Both Elliot and Patch are hiding secrets and as Nora finds herself in a few strange and dangerous situations she doesn't know who she can trust. Or where to turn to for help.

Okay, this book is far from perfect. The characters are a bit 2D, Nora is a little passive and not always that smart. She seems to let herself get pushed around by Vee, guys, her counsellor etc. Patch is pretty much your classic bad boy: mysterious, dark, dangerous, brooding and kind of a jerk. There are aspects of the story that are a little cliched and predictable too.

But I don't care about any of that or it's other little flaws. I really, really loved this book. It sucked me in quickly and I had a very hard job putting it down. Yes Nora verged on annoying and too passive at times, but again, I don't really care. I really liked the plot with the fallen angels and how everything fitted together. The book moves along at a really quick pace, twisting from one thing to the next right up to the pretty intense ending. It's easy to read and easy to get lost in and I'm really looking forward to the second book, Cresendo. 8/10

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

"In a world where people born with an exceptional skill, known as a Grace, are feared and exploited, Katsa carries the burden of a skill even she despises: the Grace of killing. She lives under the command of her Uncle Randa, King of the Middluns, and is expected to carry out his dirty work, punnishing and torturing anyone who displeases him. Breaking arms and cutting off fingers are her stock-in-trade. Finding life under his rule increasingly unbearable Katsa forms an underground Council, whose purpose is to combat the destructive behaviour of the seven kings - after all, the Middluns is only one of the Seven Kingdoms, each of them ruled by their own king and his personal agenda for power. When the Council hears that the King of Liend's father has been kidnapped Katsa investigates . . . and stumbles across a mystery. Who would want to kidnap him, and why? And who was the extraordinary Graced fighter who challenged her fighting skills, for the first time, as she and the Council rushed the old man to saftey? Something dark and deadly is rising in the north and creeping across the continent, and behind it all lurks the shadowy figure of a one-eyed king . . ."

Graceling is Kristin Cashore's debut novel and I'm not that sure what to make of it. It's written with beautiful, descriptive and expressive prose, but I found it a little hard to get in to and very easy to put down. Katsa is an interesting character. Shunned for her 'Grace' and unable to hide with her one green eye one blue, she knows her physical strength but is unaware of the real power she holds. She has a pretty strong sense of justice and right and wrong though, which helped her character to grow on me.

The story starts pretty well but then drags a fair bit, before picking up again for the last 1/3 or so. It was a little predictable at times, but there were a couple twists I didn't see coming. A good portion of the book had Katsa travelling with Po (a Graceling prince from another kingdom) and there were times when I was thinking 'just hurry up and get there already'. And there were incidents that happened very suddenly, with little explanation, after a fair bit of build up. And while the end tied up the loose ends pretty well, I found it a bit unsatisfying.

But I liked the characters and the way the different kingdoms came across with their differences. I also liked the idea of Grace's and how anyone with one has one eye one color, and the other another. This book wasn't enough to put me off reading other titles by this author, but I'm also in no hurry to read her other book.

Rating: 4/10

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Kate Daniels Quiz

Over on Ilona Andrews blog there is currently a quiz to find out which faction you'd belong to in Kate Daniel's world! Here's my result:



You are a shapeshifter of the Pack. Family is the most important thing to you. You don't trust outsiders and while you're fanatically loyal to your friends, you're courageous and aggressive and emotions tend to occasionally get the better of you. You value loyalty, obedience, restraint, and duty above all.

More about the Pack and other factions:

Which Faction do you belong to?

Saturday, 6 February 2010

The High Lord by Trudi Canavan

"'Why are you showing me these books?' Akkarin's eyes bored into her own, and she looked away. 'You want to know the truth,' he said. He was right. Part of her wanted to ignore the books. But she did want to know.
Sonea has learnt much in the Magicians' Guild. Over the past year, Regin has come to ignore her and the other novices treat her with a grudging respect. But she can never forget what she witnessed in High Lord Akkarin's underground room, or his warning that Kyralia's ancient enemy is watching the Guild closely.
Her old friend Cery now has an influencial position among the Thieves, and good connections in high and low places. When an exotic stranger offers to help him with a secret task, Cery knows he should refuse, but then . . .
As Akkarin reveals more of his knowledge, Sonea does not know who to believe, or what she most fears. Could the truth be as terrifying as the High Lord claims? Or is he trying to trick her into assisting him with his dark schemes?"

The High Lord is the final book in the Black Magician Trilogy. It's been a year since Sonea defeated Regin in the arena and life has settled down for her. She's not happy, still living as the High Lord's favourite when she's anything but, and unable to talk with her friend and mentor Rothen, but she's learning a lot. High Lord Akkarin isn't satisfied with her distance from him though, and begins to request more of her time. He tells her stories behind his use of black magic and despite her fear of him, Sonea finds herself wondering if they could possibly be true. And if they are, what they mean for the Guild.

Meanwhile Cery, her old slum friend, has found himself in a high and respected position among the Thieves. He's been hunting those responsible for the ritualistic murders and been successful, but now they're coming more often and he's approached by a stranger who offers him help with them. But could this 'helper' actually be working with the killers? And what do the killers have to do with Akkarin and his stories?

I loved the first two books in this trilogy, and this (happily) wasn't a let down in any way! Actually, it's easily my favourite of the three, I completely love it! Like the previous two it's told in third person, from the perspectives of Sonea, Cery, Lorlen and Dannyl for the most part, with a little from a couple others. All blended together carefully to make a great story, with some good twists along the way.

The emotions the characters were going through came across well through the book and I couldn't help feeling for them as they all made tough decisions. They all wanted to do what was right, but not always with all the information they really needed. The unfolding events built increasingly to the action packed ending. I both love and hate the ending because there is one thing I wish hadn't happened, yet I know it wouldn't have been right happening any other way. It wouldn't have had nearly the same high impact, or been so good either. I think that this is the best put together of the three books, blending together the stories of the various characters and tying up loose ends. I had a really hard time putting it down, despite it's length. I'm really, really looking forward to the Traitor Spy trilogy which follows some of the characters from this trilogy, several years later.

Rating: 9/10

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Fang by James Patterson

Maximum Ride is used to living desperately on the run from evil forces sabotaging her quest to save the world—but nothing has ever come as close to destroying her as this horrifying prophetic message. Fang is Max's best friend, her soul mate, her partner in the leadership of her flock of winged children. A life without Fang is a life unimaginable.

When a newly created winged boy, the magnificent Dylan, is introduced into the flock, their world is upended yet again. Raised in a lab like the others, Dylan exists for only one reason: he was designed to be Max's perfect other half.

Thus unfolds a battle of perfection versus passion that terrifies, twists, and turns...and meanwhile, the apocalypse is coming"

This is the sixth book in the Maximum Ride series. The first three books were a really great trilogy, the 4th was basically a lecture about global warming with a real sense that it had been written without an idea, but simply because the first three were popular. The 5th one was a slight improvement, but not by much. I wasn't expecting much from this book, based on the previous books and most of JP's recent books, but I loved the first three books, and I love Max and Fang so I wanted to see if there was any chance the series could improve.

Based on the blurb for the book I assumed it would be more romance that previous books, with some crazy life and death stuff thrown in on top. In reality, I wasn't far off the mark. Max and Fang are officially a couple now, and very happy about it. They and the rest of the flock start out in Africa on a mission for the CSM (coalition to stop the madness) giving out food to refugees. But they're quickly inturrputed by Dr. Gunther-Hagen and a new bird kid, Dylan. Max gets a bad feeling about this Dr and his claims to want to help them and quickly takes the flock away from him, and Dylan. They're soon back in the US by themselves not really caring about much of anything, but then Jeb reappears and has Dylan with him. It doesn't take long for things to go downhill and the flock find themselves in big trouble again. This time, it looks like one of them really won't make it out alive.

Plus points: There was more of a story here than the past two books. The characters don't develop any strange, convinent super powers in time to save the day. There was a little more than a hint of the first three books with a crazy Dr. wanting to experiment on the flock again, adding to their DNA. And as a nice change, Max isn't running from Fang whenever he kisses her.

On the downside: The kids are still sheltered, spoiled, bratty versions of themselves instead of the sassy, tough kids from the first three books. Max seems to have let leadership go to her head and lost some common sense. Angel is creepier than ever and not in a good way. Fang was a little 'off' at times, and the others didn't get too much page time. There is a completely unexplained reappearence of a few erasers, who were then promptly forgotten. Pretty much all over the drama is over done to the point of annoyance and plenty of characters had big blowups when they really weren't warrented. The plot jumped around a little too much, it was one thing then suddenly another, then another, with little explination along the way. And when Max was talking about the evil doc, she used a different nickname just about everytime, which got tired and a little confusing at times.

Overall, this is an improvement on books 4 and 5. It's not a particularly coheasive story, and it's certainly got it's flaws, but it did get better as it went on and the ending was actually pretty good in many ways. Can't say I'm 100% happy with it, like many things it was a little over dramatic, but I still liked it. 5/10

Shift by Rachel Vincent

Quick note to those couple people not speaking to me at present because I got Shift before you: I'm fine with it, love you and speak to you when you do get it! In the mean time, I'ma go read it again ;)

Spoilers for previous books, but not Shift!

Shift is the 5th book in Rachel Vincent's Shifters series and picks up a week or so after Prey. Faythe and her Pride are still deep in mourning for the loss of one of their own and busy plotting their revenge against Calvin Malone and his supporters for that death. But things take an unexpected and very dangerous turn when they are attacked out of the blue by Thunderbirds. Giant bird shifters with deadly hooked wings and talons, putting the werecats at a big disadvantage by their ablilty to fly. Faythe is determined to get to the truth behind the attacks, but can she do it and take care of teenage tabby Kaci? With her personal life in turmoil and Malone determined to have both tabbies for himself, it's going to be far from easy. But Faythe's never been one to back away from a fight.

I loved this series from the first book, and it's grown on me with every book. The characters are vivid and flawed, but have grown a huge amount throughout the series learning from mistakes and the difficult decisions that have been made along the way. Shift sees Faythe trying to deal with the consequences of one of her biggest mistakes, sleeping with Jace, without hurting either him or Marc. Jace has grown and changed a whole lot since Ethan's death as well. He's not content with playful flirtation with Faythe anymore, or being a low-ranking enforcer. He's showing potential that shocks those closest to him and gives greater depth to his character.

I couldn't help but feel for both Faythe and Jace as they worked together through this book, against the thunderbirds and Malone's cats. My heart ached for Marc and his place in the situation too, loving Faythe and wanting her to finally commit to him, unaware of her actions with Jace. And Kaci, a young werecat who knows little of their world and yet finds herself in the middle of a war, trusting in Faythe to keep her safe. Faythe is facing huge decisions, both personally and professionally, in the hunt to save those she loves and I felt every up and down, twist and turn along with her. I love how she's gone from a mouthy brat in Stray, to someone who has great potential to be a very good leader.

The action started on page one and never really let up. The thunderbirds were well described bringing them to vivid life, and something that gave me chills. There were some really great twists and I was never sure what was going to happen until the end. The tension built through the book right to the intense ending, but there were a couple good lighter moments that made me laugh too. I think this has replaced Prey as my favourite book of the series, although it doesn't hold quite the level of shock Prey did, it was so well put together and created a real tension that made it impossible for me to put down. I really feel for all the characters and the troubles they're in, and Faythe in particular, as she makes some really tough decisions. Things are a long way from over for any of them, and I really can't guess what's going to be thrown at them next! I'm really, really anxious to read Alpha, the final book in the series, and find out! 9/10

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

I am hopeless

I keep meaning to review The High Lord and Graceling and not. I will try and get to them soon though. I'm nearly done with Fang, the new Maximum Ride book, so I'll owe a review on that soon too. But the great thing? Shift by Rachel Vincent, one of my 'most wanted' books this year, is in the post early!! UK release date is stated as 19th Feb, but (assuming nothing goes wrong) it'll be in my hands tomorrow!!

I am ridiculously excited about this! And I promise to post a (spoiler free) review of it once it's finished. No waiting, I will ignore the other lax reviews, and review Shift cause hey, how could I not? lol

Makes a nice change for a book to be out in the UK well before the US too. I like that I can tease my US friends that I know what happens in it before them. But I also know it's going to be tough keeping my mouth shut too for so long! Thank goodness for my RL friend who loves the series almost as much as me!