Thursday, 29 April 2010

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Kiss of Death by Rachel Caine

"Claire Danvers has a few things on her mind. First of all there is the laundry, which is now an unfortunate shade of pink. Then there is her boyfriend, Shane, who is never far from her thoughts. Finally, there is her best friend Eve's relationship problems. As if life as a student wasn't complicated enough, Claire just happens to be studying in Morganville. A town run by vampires.
Trouble seems to follow Claire and her friends like a shadow and tonight is no exception to the rule. They must find the most difficult documents for a vampire to acquire; people passes that will allow 'bad ass' Morley and his friends to leave Morganville. But it's proving incredibly problematic, and with the odds seemingly stacked against them, the biggest question of all is...

Will they survive?"

This is the 8th book in the Morganville Vampires series. It's been a series that's been hit or miss for me, I've often read them and felt there was something missing. The previous book, Fade Out, I didn't much like at all, but I have a hard time dropping a series, even if I'm not much liking it any more. I'm glad I didn't, because this is one of my favourite Morganville books.

It starts out a little slow, with a couple things happening that seem unconnected to anything else in the book, and a little too much Eve/Michael and Shane/Claire. But by the 1/3 mark it picked up, and just got better. This book is really different because for the first time, the gang are outside of Morganville. They may not like it much, but they're used to Morganville rules, even Claire who only moved there a year or so ago. Living in Morganville changes you, and it's something these guys have to learn to deal with. But just because they're out of Morganville for a little while, doesn't mean the trouble stops following them. In no time at all, they're back in trouble, way over their heads. But whats new there?

Once it got going, I really did enjoy this book. It flowed well with a strong plot, and there were a couple things I really didn't see coming. I really liked Claire in this one, she really showed how strong she is and how much she's grown from the girl she was in Glass Houses when she was just arriving in Morganville. It was a tense ride towards the end, with some interesting character development and some surprising outcomes. Overall, definitely one of the best Morganville books to date. I'm now looking forward to the next one, Ghost Town, in November.

Rating: 8/10

Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves

"Love...can be a dangerous thing.

Hanna simply wants to be loved. With a head plagued by hallucinations a medicine cabinet full of pills, and a closet stuffed with frilly violet dresses, Hanna's tired of being the outcast, the weird girl, the freak. So she runs away to Portero, Texas, in search of a new home. But Portero is a stranger town than Hanna expects.

As she tries to make a place for herself, she discovers dark secrets that would terrify any normal soul. Good thing for Hanna, she's far from normal. As this crazy girl meets an even crazier town, only two things are certain: Anything can happen and no one is safe."

I heard about this book after author Karen Mahoney mentioned on Twitter that it was one of the best books she'd ever read. I checked it out, thought it sounded interesting so bought it. I wasn't disappointed!

I was hooked from the very start, Hanna creeping through the dark, looking for her mothers house, the mother she's never met, and having a conversation with her dead father. Color me intrigued, and it only got better and stranger from there. Her mother doesn't want Hanna around, but Hanna makes a deal with her: if she can't make a place for herself in town (make friends etc) within two weeks, then she'll leave. And so Hanna starts school in an attempt to find that place in Portero. But almost instantly she begins to realise that Portero may just be stranger than her.

I completely love this book. It's fast paced, dark, funny, serious and you're never sure what's going to happen next. Or if what is happening, is actually happening. Is it reality or in Hanna's head? Hanna is forthright, brash but with a sensitive side. Mostly, she desperately wants to belong, to be loved, for people to see her as normal again. In a genre filled with sappy, weak 'heroines' who care only about The Guy loving them, Hanna is a breath of fresh air. She's a very different character to anyone I've read before and her issues are very real. There is a love interest in this book and while he's a big part, he's not the main focus. Hanna's attempts to get her mom to love her are heartfelt and painful, but very well played out. Wyatt (the love interest) is tough and smart, thought not so much when it comes to girls. Which is very entertaining.

This book wouldn't be for everyone. It's definitely up there on the strange and crazy scales. But it's a well written story with plenty of action, interesting characters and lots to get your teeth in to. I had a very, very hard time putting it down. It is a stand alone book, but I will definitely be looking out for other books by this author! A great read, would highly recommend it. 9/10

Spirit Bound Teaser Quotes!

Penguin Australia, the Aussie publishers of Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series, are going to be posting 7 quote from Spirit Bound from now until it's release. They're free of spoilers, names and context, so lots to guess about them. The first one went up on YouTube yesterday, and will be up every three days. Check it out:

Maddyme on Rachel Vincent's forum first pointed these out to me, and I wasn't going to watch them. I hate reading spoilers before a book is out, and quotes out of context drive me crazy. But Richelle blogged the first one last night, and I couldn't help myself, I had to see what it was. I have my suspicions on who says this particular one, but for now I'm keeping my speculation to myself. Feel free to speculate in comments though if you want. Or here on the Richelle fan forum. I'm soo desperate for this book!! Only 20 more days to go!!

Thursday, 22 April 2010

New Books!!!

Yesterday was my 22nd birthday and it was an awesome day. I did indeed go on a total splurge for new books. 18 in total as it turned out. Safe to say I'm not going to be short of new reading material for a little while ;)

I bought 7 books when I was out, came home and ordered another 11 online. 9 of those turned up today from Amazon (prime membership at work) and the other 2 will arrive some point next week seeing as they had to come from Book Depository not Amazon but it's all good. So a run down of the titles that will be read and (almost certainly) reviewed on here:

Bluemoon by Alyson Noel
Shadowland by Alyson Noel
How to Ruin a Summer Vacation by Simone Elkeles
Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves
Mark of the Demon by Diana Rowland
Soulless by Gail Carriger
Rumours by Anna Godbersen
Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning
Valiant by Holly Black
Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn
Evernight by Claudia Gray
Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
Vacations from Hell (anthology featuring Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Claudia Gray and more)
Magic to the Bone by Devon Monk
The Better Part of Darkness by Kelly Gay
Dark Lover by J. R. Ward

And the others were some general YA fiction and a horse book, none of which are likely to make the blog ;) I'm currently reading The Luxe by Anna Godbersen and very much liking it. But I'm still very anxious to get in to this new pile of books! They're calling to me...

Oh and also, Book Depository had 'The Demon in Me' the first in the new Living in Eden series by Michelle Rowen instock today, so that's been ordered to and will also be here some time next week. Yay!

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

"The pack circled around me, tongues and teeth and growls.

When a local boy is killed by wolves, Grace's small town becomes a place of fear and suspicion. But Grace can't help being fascinated by the pack, and by one yellow-eyed wolf in particular. There's something about him - something almost human. Then she meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away..."

Shiver is the first book in the Wolves of Mercy Falls series. When she was about 13, Grace was attacked by the local pack of wolves, but survived. Since then she's always been completely fascinated by them. When a local boy is killed by the pack, most of the town turns against them, but Grace is determined to protect them. There is one wolf in particular who's been the one she obsessed over. A yellow-eyed one. And when a yellow-eyed boy appears, she knows that it has to be her wolf.

This book is told in first person, from both Grace and Sam's (the yellow-eyed wolf) POV, giving a better view of the world and what both characters are thinking. The book started well, and held my interest, but I made it about a quarter of the way through and while it was holding my interest, I couldn't decide if I liked it or not. By the halfway mark, I still couldn't decide and my interest was fading rapidly. I forced myself to skim the final 100 pages to finish it, or I wouldn't have. There isn't anything particularly bad but for me, it didn't work. There were a few good moments, but overall I felt it could have been better. There was such a push early on for how the town were against the pack, wanting them dead or gone, then it just...stopped. And soon the whole book became about the angst between Sam and Grace and the 'situation' (not saying more for spoilers sake).

I can take angst, I can read something that is simply a love story. I can't take a wishy-washy love story that is only angst. From the review stats I've glanced at, and the opinions of some book buddies who's opinions I value highly, this is not the general opinion. But it's how I saw it. I got tired of the back/forth on certain emotions/problems and I found it repetitive. Grace isn't entirely passive, she does have some strong moments, which is good to see because most heroine's in young adult fiction right now seem to be far too passive and weak. But it's not nearly enough to make up for the over the top, constant angst. As hero's go, Sam really isn't one and I tired of him very quickly. I did like the werewolf lore here, but overall I felt the book could have been much better than it actually was. A shame, I was looking forward to this book. Won't be bothering with the next one. 3/10

Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles

"Carlos Fuentes idolized his older brother, Alex, when he was a member of the Latino Blood. So when Alex chose to get jumped out of the gang for a chance at a future with his gringa girlfriend, Brittany, Carlos felt shocked and betrayed. Even worse, Alex forced Carlos to come back from Mexico to join him on the straight and narrow path. Trouble is, Carlos just wants to keep living on the edge. And ties to his Mexican gang aren't easy to break, even hundreds of miles away in Colorado.

In Boulder, Carlos has to live with one of Alex's college professors - and he feels completely out of place. He's even more thrown by his strong feelings for the professor's daughter, Kiara, who is nothing like the girls he's usually drawn to. But Carlos and Kiara soon discover that in matters of the heart, the rules of attraction overpower the social differences that conspire to keep them apart."

Rules of Attraction is the second Perfect Chemistry book, the first book followed Alex and Brittany's story, this one follows Alex's younger brother Carlos. It's written in first person, switching each chapter between Kiara and Carlos. Like Perfect Chemistry and Leaving Paradise before it, the changes of narrative tell the story incredibly well. It's easy to see where the book is going, there aren't really any big surprises, but once again it's written so well, that I just don't care.

If I'm being picky, this is my least favourite of the three of Simone's books I've read so far. Kiara and Carlos are fantastic characters, with a great story to tell and there are some great side characters as well. But for me, I didn't like it quite as much as Perfect Chemistry or Leaving Paradise. However, it is still a fantastic read and I'd highly recommend it! I did find it quite a bit funnier than both Chemistry and Paradise. It had a slightly lighter overall tone, and Carlos in particular had some hilarious moments. In some ways he's very different to Alex, he likes having his fun and while he's smart enough to know what needs to be taken seriously, it doesn't make him serious 24/7. Kiara can never back down from a challenge which, seeing as Carlos can't either, also makes for some entertaining moments between the two as they get each other riled up. It was very easy to get caught up in Kiara and Carlos' world, and I loved getting to know them, just like all of Simone's other characters.

Well written, great characters and a great story. Would recommend reading Perfect Chemistry first, simply because it explains Alex and Britt's story, plus a little of Carlos' background, but it's a complete story in its own right, so it's not necessary. There is going to be a third Perfect Chemistry book next year, I don't know who it follows, but I still can't wait for it. If you've not yet tried any of Simone Elkeles' books, I strongly suggest you do asap! 9/10

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles

Caleb Becker and Maggie Armstrong grew up together. They're next door neighbors and Maggie was his twin sister Leah's, best friend, they hung out a lot of the time. But then one night changed everything. Caleb got behind the wheel drunk when leaving a party. He lost control and hit Maggie. Worse, he drove away from the scene without stopping.

Caleb's spent most of the last year in juvie for the hit and run. Now he's out and he wants to prove their hometown, Paradise, still can be home.

Maggie has spent most of the year in hospital and physical therapy, relearning how to walk and planning her escape from Paradise before Caleb's release.

But then Caleb's released early and suddenly they have to face each other again. To deal with the aftermath of the hit and run, the effect it's had on their families and friends as well as themselves.

I completely love this book. I picked it up and didn't put it down until 3 and a half hours later, when I finished it. I thought Simone's book 'Perfect Chemistry' was great, but this was better. It blew me away. It's fairly predictable, you can figure out what's going to happen pretty easily, but it just doesn't matter. This is a heartfelt story where the characters are very real. It's told in first person switching smoothly every chapter between Caleb and Maggie, so you know and feel the full confusion of all the emotions they're going through. They're both very easy characters to relate to and empathise with as they work through their problems and issues. The side characters are well drawn as well, and I couldn't help loving Mrs. Reynolds (Maggie's employer), she is fantastic.

This book is angst heavy, and pulls no punches, but there are some really sweet lighter moments as well. But more than that, it's a story of hope, self belief and the power of forgiveness and acceptance. The ending was painful, but brilliant leaving me close to tears. I am very glad that I knew there was going to be a second book before I read this one, I just wish it wasn't so long to wait for it. I can not wait for 'Return to Paradise', the continuation of Caleb and Maggie's story. This book is a must read in my view. Amazing. 10/10

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Tales of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong

Tales of the Otherworld is the second collection of short stories from Kelley set in her Otherworld. All but one of these stories first appeared on her website several years ago as free extras for her readers, but then she was offered a deal where the profits when to a charity, so they were taken off and put in to two collections. Men of the Otherworld which has been out for a year, and this one.

I love this collection! Some of the stories are only 15-20 pages long, but even those contain a lot and give some great back ground to some characters we don't see much of. As well as those set before or between her main Otherworld books. A fantastic addition to her series.

The stories:
Rebirth: the story of how Aaron became a vampire. Outside this, don't know much about him, this short story made me really love him.
Bewitched: the all new story for this collection which follows black witch Eve Levine as she meets enemy and potential ally sorcerer Kristof Nast. Brilliant back story for the characters which explains a lot and made me really want to reread the books where both characters appear, even if briefly.
Birthright: Logan discovers his heritage with an...interesting meeting with alpha werewolf Jeremy Danvers. One of the only times we really see Logan, and I love his characters. Wish there could be more of him.
Beginnings: how Elena Michaels meets and falls in love with Clayton Danvers, and his ultimate betrayal. Oh my gosh. Quite possibly my favourite of Kelley's stories full stop. A fantastic addition to the series all on it's own.
Expectations: Lucas Cortez is feeling the weight of his family's name, despite trying to escape it. Set well before we meet Lucas in Dime Store Magic, giving us a decent insight in to some of his motives for how he does things. I liked this story, but not one of my favourites. I like Lucas fine, but don't find him as interesting as some other characters. His interaction with Eve is well worth reading though.
Ghosts: Set during some events near the end of Bitten (1st Otherworld book, I don't want to give away spoilers) from Jeremy's POV. I love the insight to the Alpha's head.
Wedding Bell Hell: Lucas and Paige planning their wedding. Funny and sweet story which again adds to their overall story in the series.
The Case of El Chupacabra: Sean Nast (son of Kristof Nast, half brother to Savannah Levine) brings a case to Lucas and Paige to investigate. Didn't actually read this when it was online, but having read it now, I wish I had. Fantastic short story.

Overall, a must have if you're a fan of the series.

Rating: 9/10

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Looking, looking...

So a week today it's my birthday, and while generally speaking hate my birthday, I'm really looking forward to it this year. For one simple reason: I get to buy books. My birthday pressie from my parents is some money for a book shopping spree, which I've known for a couple months, so I've really restricted my book buying habits for a while, and I can't wait to splurge again. I keep looking through my wish list on amazon thinking 'that's a must have, so is that, should that be one too? Hmm...' and so on. So ahead of time (cause when I get them, I'm sure to lose myself in them all for about a week) I thought I'd share some of what I'm planning on getting, so the reviews you can expect to come. If anyone has any comments on any of this list, I'd be more than happy to hear them :)

A couple must haves for me, having read Perfect Chemistry last week, are Simone Elkeles' Rules of Attraction and Leaving Paradise. Both contemporary young adult fiction. Likewise, having really enjoyed Evermore by Alyson Noel, I'm intending to get books 2 and 3 of the Immortals series, Bluemoon and Shadowland. On recommendation from Jess at A Great Read I'm getting Soulless by Gail Carriger, a 19th century set story with vampires and werewolves (I think? lol). And having seen a contest for this (and the second in the series) on Karen Mahoney's (who's debut YA book will be out next year and I'm really looking forward to) blog, I'm getting Incarceron by Catherine Fisher. I thought they sounded interesting, so I'm giving it a try!

Also planning on getting Evernight by Claudia Grey (YA UF), Mark of the Demon by Diana Rowland, the first in the Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward 'Dark Lover', Valiant by Holly Black (YA UF) and Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning.

Then there are the others I'd like to get, if I get given enough money (or simply decide to not save at all this month): Magic To The Bone by Devon Monk, Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev, Firespell by Chloe Niell, The Better Part of Darkness by Kelly Gay, Inside Out by Maria V. list goes on, and on, and on, and on...

Right now, I'm also currently reading two books, Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater, which I'm almost halfway through and can't decide if I'm liking it or not, and Kelley Armstrong's Tales of the Otherworld. Hoping to finish both by Friday, so expect reviews for them soon!

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Magic Strikes UK

The Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews are due to be released later this year in the UK (finally), and they're getting different covers to the US. I already posted the cover for Magic Bites (book 1) and Magic Burns (book 2) but now the third one is up on AmazonUK.
My thoughts for this runs similar to the previous two. She just doesn't look tough enough to be Kate. Must prefer the US covers myself, think they're much nicer. Though I do like the design of the titles on these ones. They're not bad covers really, just...felt they could have done more with them.

However, if you've not yet read any of the Kate books, I highly, highly recommend you do!! As soon as possible! They are truly fantastic books. Dark, gritty and with a great tension and humor to them. A UF series not to be missed! They are, along side Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series, my favourite series full stop.

UK release dates for the Kate books:
Magic Bites 9th September
Magic Burns 14th October
Magic Strikes 11th November

There isn't (that I can find) a UK date for the fourth book, Magic Bleeds, yet but it's out in the US May 25th. Not long now!! I can't wait!!

Sunday, 11 April 2010

The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong

SPOILER WARNING!! Unavoidable spoilers from the previous two books.

The final part of Kelley's Darkest Powers trilogy.

"My name is Chloe Saunders. I'm fifteen, and I would love to be normal. But normal is one thing I'm not.

For one thing, I'm having these feelings for a certain antisocial werewolf and his sweet-tempered brother - who just happens to be a sorcerer - but, between you and me, I'm leaning toward the werewolf.

Not normal.

My friends and I are also on the run from an evil corporation that wants to get rid of us - permanently.

Definitely not normal.

And finally, I'm a genetically altered necromancer who can raise the dead, rotting corpses and all, without trying.

As far away from normal as it gets."

Chloe, Derek, Simon and Tori have escaped the catches of the Edison Group with the help of Andrew. A former employee of the Edison Group, and a friend of the boys' dad, he and a small group of other ex-employees want to stop the experiments the EG are preforming and feel the kids may just have the information they need to do so. But Chloe and her friends are cautious. They've been through a lot, escaped and been caught repeatedly, and betrayed by those they trusted completely already, is Andrews offer of help too good to be true? And even if it is, do they have a choice about staying with him?

I liked the previous two books in this trilogy, but I didn't love them. I always felt like they were lacking something. But this one I liked a lot more. It felt smoother, like the series really hit it's stride. It's well paced with a fair bit of action and some good twists and turns. A couple things along the way I really didn't see coming.

The love triangle between Chloe and the brothers, Derek and Simon, played out really well and I love how it worked out. Chloe grew up a lot through this book and it really showed. Not to mention she finally learned to stand up for herself. Aside from Chloe, I felt Derek and Tori grew a fair bit through this final book as well making them that bit more 'real' to me. Simon is pretty much the same, but his character serves his purpose just fine, without being forgotten.

Aside from the romantic entanglements, the plot is not so cleanly wrapped up. The biggest things are dealt with, but not everything. Why? Because while this is a trilogy, it's the first part of a series. The second trilogy is titled 'Darkness Rising' and the first book, 'The Gathering' is due out in about a year (I think). The second trilogy follows different characters, subjects of a different Edison Group project. Kelley recently said on Twitter than right now Chloe and her friends are plotted to appear late in the second trilogy, but that it could easily change as it's not written yet. Personally, I really hope they do cause I want more of these characters.

Back to this book. While there are certain things left open ended, the majority of plot threads are tied up in this book, or at least enough to give a satisfying conclusion. I would have liked a little more in some ways, but given this is actually the start of a series, which has at least three more books to go, I can't really expect it to be all tied up. Easily my favourite of the three books, and admittedly not my favourite YA series, but still worth reading. And if you've read the first and second books, you definitely don't want to miss this one! A great read.

Rating: 8/10


Yesterday the cover for Crescendo, the follow up to Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, was revealed:
Is it just me, or is that not gorgeous? Hush Hush has a fantastic cover too, but I think I prefer Crescendo. Either way, they're both awesome. If you've not yet read Hush, Hush my (spoiler free) review is here. And I'd recommend reading it! It's not spectacular, in fact in some ways I found it very flawed, but I just didn't care. I loved it. Really looking forward to Crescendo and finding out more about Patch and Nora!

Crescendo is out 16th November.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

"Brittany Ellis seems to have it all; wealthy parents, the perfect boyfriend and the "right" group of friends. But when Brittany is forced to become lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the wrong side of town, her perfect life starts to unravel. Alex is a bad boy, and he knows it, so when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it.

But as Alex and Brittany grow closer, sparks begin to fly and they both realise that sometimes appearances can be deceptive. Will their emerging feelings be enough to keep them together when the world is determined to tear them apart?"

Perfect Chemistry is about two very different people. Popular, rich, blond hair, blue eyed has-it-all girl Brittany Ellis. And poor, Mexican gangbanger with little to his name, Alex (Alejandro) Fuentes. But despite their very different circumstances and backgrounds, they both hide big secrets.

The blurb of this book, and it's title, lend itself to the impression that this could be a cheesy, cliched love story. But it's not and I love it! Both Brittany and Alex are very realistic, well rounded characters and it's hard not to empathise with them both as the story unfolds. It's told in first person, both from Britt and Alex's POV's, alternating every chapter. Which, to my surprise, flows very smoothly. It doesn't feel like it switches too often, or jarringly, it's just a smooth transition from one voice to the other and back. And they have very different tones to them as well, the different way they both think. They both have some good (and not so good) friends, who make up a decent secondary cast, adding to the depth of the book nicely.

There is a tension that builds slowly throughout the book as Alex and Britt deal with their various problems, the stereotypes and misconceptions that surround them. And their growing feelings for each other. As the reader, you know what both characters think and feel, but that's not necessarily how they come across to the other. Both of which, reality and the way they hide the truth, play very well and very realistically form start to finish. They play off each other so well, and with that tension, it made it very hard to put this book down!

I suppose in someways the outcome is predictable, but I wasn't reading this book to be surprised. It's a book about two different worlds colliding, and two teenagers growing up and discovering the world around them is bigger than first thought, and the lessons they learn along the way. And it's very well done! Well written, great character, paced just right and with some decent surprises along the way. And the only slightly cheesy thing about it? The epilogue, which made me laugh, so I don't particularly care, and it takes nothing away from the greatness of this book. I've not read any of Ms. Elkeles books before, but I will certainly be getting more, in particular the follow up book following Alex's younger brother, Rules of Attraction, just as soon as I can! A fantastic read! 9/10

Friday, 9 April 2010

Evermore by Alyson Noel

Evermore is the first book in the Immortals series.

"Sometimes love is eternal. For good...for evil...for ever.

Sixteen-year-old Ever Bloom is the sole survivor of a car accident that killed her family. Exiled to sunny California, Ever is haunted by her little sister and by the ability to see people's auras, hear their thoughts and know their entire life story by touching them. She wants to hide from the world, but when a stunningly handsome new guy arrives at school, she can't seem to keep away. Falling in love with Damen is dangerous - he's not what he seems. But if Damen is her destiny, how can Ever walk away?"

I really liked this book! There are a lot of young adult books out there right now with sappy, passive female protagonists who suddenly find themselves the love interest for a too-hot-for-words, centuries old immortal being. And suddenly he's all she can think about and no matter what he does, how strange he is, she'll do anything for him. I tire of reading about girls like that quickly. I like protags who kick ass, or at least call the guy out on his 'weirdness'. Which Ever does.

There is a lot more to this book than just a love story as well, something else I like. It's also the story of a teenager battling the pain, grief and guilt of being the sole survivor of a car accident that killed her family. Something that is sensitively and realistically handled. It also doesn't help Ever that she can see auras, hear other peoples thoughts and is visited most days by the ghost of her little sister, Riley.

Then enter Damen. The super hot new guy whose aura and thoughts Ever can't see or hear. With Damen around things start to get even stranger for her and Ever finds herself finding out that seeing auras isn't the only thing some people can do. And the more she discovers, the harder she's pushed to make some tough decisions.

This book is a pretty fast read, filled with angst but without dragging. And there are some good funny moments as well to break the tension. Ever is a pretty well rounded, realistic character and you can really see where she's coming from and why. She's smart, but still makes mistakes, and is very much a typical teenager in many ways, stubborn, rebellious, and obsesses on the hottest guy in school a fair bit. Damen and the side characters aren't quite so well rounded, but there is enough to them to make them stand out and add depth to the book as well.

Overall, I thought it was a very good read. Well written, fast paced and some good twists I didn't see coming as well. Really looking forward to picking up the rest of the series!! If you like Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series, Lili St. Crow's Strange Angels or Rachel Caine's Morganville Vampires series, there's a good chance you'll like this one! Or if you liked this, then I'd really recommend you give those others a shot too. 8/10

The Forest of Hands & Teeth by Carrie Ryan

"In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent.

And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

But, slowly, Mary's truths are failing her. She's learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future - between the one she loves and the one who loves her.

And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded by so much death?"

Mary has grown up in the village, since the Return the village has been the only safe place. Inside the fence, away from the Unconsecrated, a village run by the Sisterhood, where marriage is about need for survival and not love, where the world only extends as far as the fence, to the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But Mary has always dreamed of more. Of finding the ocean, beyond the Forest. She wants to marry for love, not because she must. She wants the guy she loves, to love her back.

This was a really good read. It's dark and emotional, and the feelings of desperation and isolation come across very well. It's a lonely, heartfelt story of Mary's struggle to survive. It unfolds slowly with some great twists as Mary discovers the secrets the Sisterhood tried to hide and battles to find a real life for herself. It's a rough ride for Mary and the ones she loves, but it's one I found hard to put down. I don't want to say too much because it would be easy to give things away, and would be far better to just read it. It's a very well written and put together story that I'd really recommend. It would be easy to over do the gore and horror, or shy away from certain aspects too much, but for me I found it a very good balance between the two making it a tense read as you will Mary to succeed.

The only thing I didn't totally like, was the ending. There was a lot left unsaid. I hope that there is some explanation given in the second book, The Dead-Tossed Waves. If not, I'll probably be a little disappointed, but it won't stop me thinking The Forest of Hands and Teeth was a good book. Very good book actually. I like that it wasn't a neatly tied up ending, I just would have liked a little more than there was. Overall, a great book. Read it now! Looking forward to the second one very much! 7/10

Thursday, 8 April 2010

The Mage In Black by Jaye Wells

SPOILER WARNING!! Unavoidable BIG spoilers from the first book. No spoilers for this one.

"Things To Do:
1) Survive Magic 101
2) Bond with long-lost sister
3) Stay alive

Sabina Kane doesn't have the best track record when it comes to family. After all, her own grandmother wants her dead. But when Sabina meets her mage relatives in New York, at least they put the fun in dysfunctional. Though, bizarrely, everyone seems to think she's kind of 'Chosen' who'll unite the dark races. Sabina doesn't care who chose her, she's not into destiny.

But the mages aren't Sabina's only problem. In New York's Black Light District, she has run-ins with fighting demons, hostile werewolves and an opportunistic old flame. Sabina thought she'd take a bite out of the Big Apple, but it looks like it wants to bite back."

The Mage In Black is the second book in the Sabina Kane series. The first book, Red-headed Stepchild, was really good, with great characters and plot, despite a few slower moments of world building. One of the real high points of the book, was the humor. In particular where demon cat Giguhl was concerned. So I was really looking forward to this second book and learning more about the mage race.

It starts up quick with a lot of action, picking up just after the events of book 1. Sabina is thrown in to the Mage world, so different from the life she's known under the Dominae. She's confused, resentful and desperate for revenge. But quickly finds herself in trouble again, with new foes and old.

I really liked this book. It was fast paced, fun and had a good plot with some great twists and turns. Several threads from the previous book were picked up and explained further, giving a much better sense of the world Sabina lives in, as well as giving us a better look at Sabina herself as she struggles to find a place in this world that seems so new to her. The romantic subplot with Adam is fun and hot, but doesn't take away from the main plots. It actually adds to it very nicely. Giguhl is once again the real comedy relief from the life and death fight Sabina is constantly in. There is the introduction of several new characters in this book. I like that they're not all rolled out at once, but given more detail over time so they're not 2d but without dragging the story down with information.

However, despite the good characters and plot, I didn't find myself getting lost in this book. It was good, very good in places, but unlike a few I've read lately, I didn't feel that desperate need to finish it and I found I could put it down quite easily. Despite that though, I finished in within a few days. And it is a very good follow up to Red-headed Stepchild, just not a book about to become a favourite. Well worth reading but I really recommend reading the first book first, because this one would likely be pretty confusing otherwise. And for those who don't know, there is a short story in The Mammoth book of Vampire Romance 2 (otherwise known as Love Bites) which features Sabina and introduces Slade, who is featured quite heavily in this book. Not necessary to read it, but might give some insight in to Sabina's reactions/feelings towards him and his character on the whole. Will certainly be looking for the next book in this series, and it's one I'd recommend, just not a favourite for me. 7/10

Monday, 5 April 2010

Ironside by Holly Black

"A rash declaration, an impossible quest. Kaye is forced to find the one thing she knows doesn't exist: a faerie who can tell a lie. Miserable and convinced that she belongs nowhere, Kaye is propelled back to the dangerous world of faerie. Once again, she finds herself caught up in the rivalries of the Seelie Court. In this twisted game of wits and power, can a pixie outplay a queen?"

Ironside is the follow up to Tithe in Holly Black's Modern Faerie Tale's. I liked the first book in the series, it was well paced, interesting and showed the dark side of faerie well. But I didn't love it. Despite all it's great characters and plots, I found I couldn't connect very well with those telling the story. Not enough to really get lost in it and love it. So it's taken me months to read this book, but I'm glad I finally did.

For me, this book was much easier to get in to than Tithe. I found the characters, and their motives, much easier to understand and I found myself getting in to the story more. Like Tithe it was fast paced with a good plot. You're never too sure what's real and what's not. Each twist takes you further from the truth and changes your perception of various characters, their motives and what they really feel or think.

I like Kaye just fine, but actually, I enjoyed Corny's story more. His hatred and desire for the fae battling against each other. Him trying to come to terms with what's happened to him, and his family, and what it means for the future. The side characters shone more in this book more as well I felt, fleshing it out and making it a more rounded book.

Overall I thought it was a very good book, better than Tithe, and now I'm really looking forward to reading Valiant. Which actually comes between the two, but with different characters. Some of those characters then appear in this book, so I wish I'd realised that before reading this, but oh well, too late now! lol not a mistake I make often, reading books out of order. I don't recommend it. Still, it was a great book and I'm really looking forward to Ms. Black's new series, Curse Workers (about magic users) due out in May (June in the UK) as well.

Rating: 8/10

Friday, 2 April 2010

Coming Up Next...

Sparse blogging again :/ apologies. Those who follow me on twitter, or I chat with on the Pride, or a couple other places, will know that a week and a half ago I had to have my beloved bunny Bracken put to sleep. It was a very hellish night and the hardest decision to make and it's left me out of sorts. I do have a super cute new 9 week old baby bunny now, Ash, who I love, but even so, I miss my girl and I'm still not myself after making that call.

Have been struggling to settle in to reading anything for very long, so it's taking me a lot longer than normal to finish any book. Something I'm not too happy about, but I'm not going to force myself to read, that would be dumb. That said, I do owe a review of Ironside by Holly Black (a very good read) and I should finish The Mage In Black by Jaye Wells tomorrow and will try and get a review for that up pronto as well.

Also coming up soon, The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong. The final book in her Darkest Powers trilogy, which is officially released April 6th, but my copy is on it's way already, or will be tomorrow. I hope. The following week Kelley's Tales of the Otherworld is released, so expect a review of that one as well.

Once I'm done with Mage, I'm hoping to get through Evermore by Alyson Noel and The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan this week as well. After those, between Kelley's books most likely, I'm hoping to read the first Blue Bloods by by Melissa de la Cruz and Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. Plus I've got a whole lot more sat on my TBR shelf. So plenty of (hopefully) good books to be reviewed soon, just gotta read 'em.