Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Automatic Pre-orders

Happy World Book Day!!! I’m really curious to know which authors you would consider an "automatic pre-order" and so I thought it would be good to compare notes and maybe discover some authors you haven’t heard of or haven’t tried yet. What do I mean by automatic pre-orders? I mean, I’ll bet you have a list somewhere (even if it’s in your head) of authors you love so much, that you don’t even need to know what their next book is about, you just know that you NEED it.

My list was actually pretty short until I scanned my bookshelves and had a really good think about it and then WHAM, the list got a lot longer. So, without further ado here is my list of automatic pre-orders (in no particular order) and my justification for having them on the list. Be warned, there are 22 of them ;)

1. Lisa Desrochers

I *LOVE* Personal Demons and Original Sin with a passion, I mean it has to be one of my favourite book series. I can’t wait to read Last Rite and I know enough about Lisa’s writing style and intelligent sense of humour that makes me want to read ANYTHING this woman writes. Also, the smexy scenes? HOT DAMN. Nuff said.

2. Lauren Oliver

Lauren has the most beautiful writing style that is deep, thoughtful and often profound in nature and I really do connect with that. She writes intelligent stories that hook you right in and never let go. I no longer care what she writes; I just know I have to read it.

3. Maggie Stiefvater

One of my very favourite authors, I’ve read most of her books now and she never fails to entertain me. Tight writing, excellent plot delivery and unique ideas. Her last book was the best yet and personally, I think she just keeps getting better and better. Not to mention that she is HIGHLY ENTERTAINING in real life and the woman has some mad skills. This is one seriously talented lady.

4. Jennifer Armentrout

Jennifer has recently joined the list after I read her YA offerings and fell in love with her books. Jennifer is a really clever writer and knows how to give the reader EXACTLY what they want (or at least, it works for me!). Full of smexy times, lust, forbidden romance, this stuff really floats my boat and I’ve enjoyed everything she has written so far. I’m fast becoming a huge fan of this lady and she can’t get her books out quick enough for me ;)

5. Jennifer Echols

I heard someone say recently that “you cannot go wrong with a Jennifer Echols book”, and never has a truer word been spoken. I’m a huge fan of Jennifer’s and I just love her sweet, romantic stories. ALWAYS entertaining, she never disappoints and that’s why she’s on this list. I’m really looking forward to her next book which will be her first hardback offering! Go Jennifer!

6. Cassandra Clare

Do I really need to say anything more than The Mortal Instruments series? I loved every minute I’ve spent reading what’s been published so far and MAJOR KUDOS has to be given to her for creating Jace. Not only is he the hero everyone is in love with, he is the most complex character EVER and I’m in awe of her writing for that fact alone.

7. Josephine Angelini

I ADORED Starcrossed and cannot wait to get my grubby little hands* on Dreamless! Whilst Starcrossed is a debut novel, thus the only thing I’ve read from Josephine, I’m already confident that I will love what she writes. High praise indeed.

8. Rachel Hawkins

Rachel Hawkins is hilarious, both in real life and in her books. I’d read anything she wrote for that fact alone. It’s a bonus that her books just happen to be thoroughly entertaining and have a hot boy named Archer in them ;)

9. Ally Condie

I absolutely loved Matched and Crossed. Whilst Matched wasn’t her debut novel, it guaranteed that I will buy anything she writes now.

10. Andrea Cremer

I’m a huge fan of the Nightshade series and I’m not going to lie, the woman did piss me off severely with Bloodrose (if you’ve read it, you’ll know why) but I still love the book and want to read ANYTHING she writes. Fantastic characterisation, excellent smexy times and thoroughly entertaining. This is one of the strongest reactions I’ve had to a book EVER and I don’t want to talk about it anymore or I’ll get upset LOL but if you can invoke such a strong reaction? Then there's got to be something in that, right?

11. Lauren Destefano

Lauren has one of the best writing styles I’ve ever seen, she actually makes it look effortless, like it just flows from her veins, into her fingers and onto the page (via laptop obviously). I really enjoyed Wither and Fever and of course I can’t wait for book three! Even after that, based on her writing style, I don’t care what it is, I want to read it. I also secretly think Lauren is one cool chick and the kind of friend I would want to hang out with in real life.

12. Tahereh Mafi

Tahereh is the sweetest person in the entire world and I can vouch for this personally as I met her and gave her a hug. As if that wasn’t enough, she’s also ridiculously talented and wrote arguably one of the most talked about books of last year. Her writing style is uniquely beautiful and I enjoyed her debut novel immensely.

13. Kimberly Derting

Admittedly, I am a bit late to the Kimberly Derting party but I absolutely loved The Pledge and I have it on good authority that her other books (which are sitting on the shelves) are also fantastic. I’ve seen enough to know that she’s a good writer and I like her style.

14. Cyn Balog

I’ve read two books from Cyn, one of which I beta read and it was AMAZING and so original (hopefully one day it will be published as I *NEED* to have it on my shelves). I’ve always enjoyed Cyn’s writing which is entertaining and her plots are usually just fabulous. Again, I no longer care what her books are about, I just know that I’d be a fool not to pre-order them.

15. Jennifer Laurens

I’ve been a fan of Jennifer Laurens for some time now every since I read her Heavenly series. I’ve also read some of her other stories such as Overprotected and Falling for Romeo and she never disappoints. I’d read anything this woman writes.

16. Stephanie Perkins

Anna and the French Kiss is one of my favourite books ever and Lola and the Boy Next Door was also a fantastic read. She writes contemporary YA VERY well and I don’t care what she writes now, I just know I have to have it. Also, she has blue hair and that’s cool.

17. Veronica Roth

Another favourite book of mine is Divergent which I’ve been raving about since before its publication. I think this remains of the most impressive debut books I’ve ever seen and she even got my sister’s partner (who btw is a non reader) reading and he loved it! Insurgent is one of the most highly anticipated novels of 2012 and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. I think Veronica is a really cool lady and I would read anything she publishes.

18. Myra McEntire

Myra is a sweetheart in real life and hilariously funny when she does her VLOG’s and this humour comes across in her books. I adore time travel novels and I loved her debut book Hourglass. I can’t wait to get my hands on Timepiece and because it’s Myra? Yep, I know I’d love anything she wrote.

19. Victoria Schwab

Victoria or V as I like to call her has a beautiful, lyrical writing style that suited The Near Witch (her debut novel) perfectly. She’s young, talented and thoughtful. I’m dying to read her next book The Archived and because I know how she is as an author (I follow her blog) I would definitely pick up any book she published without needing to know the premise.

20. Laini Taylor

I once wrote that I would like to live in Laini Taylor’s brain and I mean that. This lady has the best imagination ever and whilst it would be scary perhaps, it would certainly be entertaining. I’ve read Lips Touch and more recently The Daughter of Smoke and Bone which was amazing. For sheer curiosity of what will sprout from her wonderful brain next, I would absolutely pick up whatever book she publishes next. And also, she has pink hair and not everyone can pull that off.

21. Shannon Delany

Shannon Delany is in my opinion the queen of description. I remember reading her debut novel and reading passages aloud because of how beautifully descriptive they were. She writes a good story and I get lost in her books therefore securing her place quite comfortably on this ever growing list.

22. Angie Frazier

I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed Everlasting as well as its subsequent sequel and how GUTTED I was that Scholastic did not pick up the last book (I haven’t given up hope). I really enjoy Angie’s writing and her adventurous spirit (we’re both fans of Indiana Jones style adventures) and so I know that I will read anything Angie writes as long as it’s YA.

There are lots of other authors that I love but I wouldn’t necessarily put them into this category quite yet. There are also lots of authors that I have yet to discover in way of their book isn’t out yet, I haven’t read any of their books yet or I’m just not quite sure and would need to look at what the book is about before ordering. In case you missed it, that was my way of trying not to offend anyone who wasn’t on the list, most likely I haven’t gotten to your books yet! For example, I have a feeling that I’m really going to love Sarah Rees Brennan’s books but I just haven’t gotten round to reading them yet which yes, I know, I really need to! So, over to you. Tell me, who's on YOUR automatic pre-order list and why?

* My hands are actually really clean.

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, originally started by Jill at Breaking the Spine , that highlights upcoming book releases everyone is waiting on...hence the title. This week's pick is Stolen Night by Rebecca Maizel. Here's the synopsis:

"Lenah Beaudonte should be dead. But having sacrificed herself to save another, she finds herself awakening with strange powers that are neither vampire nor human - and a new enemy on her trail. In her vampire life, Lenah had thought that being human was all she ever wanted; but the human heart suffers pain, heartbreak and loss. With her new powers growing and the dark force of the Nex after her soul, Lenah faces a choice: between the mortal love of gorgeous Justin, whose passion fed her human soul, and taking a different path to become the mistress of her own destiny, wherever that may lead..."

I just read Infinite Days recently even though I've had the book on the shelves since it was published and I really enjoyed it. It read like a standalone to me but I knew there was a sequel arriving imminently. Interestingly enough, it looks like it's called Stolen Nights (plural) in the US and Stolen Night here in the UK. I have no idea why and sadly, the sequel will not be in hardback like the first book *sadness* but still, isn't the cover beautiful? I have to say that I'm incredibly curious to see how the story unfolds and I'm looking forward to reading it. Stolen Night (s) is published on 5th July, 2012 in the UK and 4th September, 2012 in the US.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Anew (The Archers of Avalon) Review

I am incoherent. I am speechless. I am blown away. And now I have to TRY and attempt to write a review. Just so you know in advance, I refuse to apologise for the enthusiasm and ultimate fangirling that follows. Anew (The Archers of Avalon) by Chelsea Fine AKA my new favourite book in the world EVER is a book that was published at the end of last year which totally slipped under my radar and this is not an easy thing to accomplish! I will admit to seeing Suzie Townsend (agent extraordinaire) mention it on Twitter recently and then I realised that she was her agent. Is it wrong to admit that I trust Suzie and so I know that anyone she represents, I am likely to enjoy their books? So anyway, I bought the book for my kindle and it was really cheap, too cheap considering how good the story is but at the time, I hadn’t heard of the author and wondered why she wasn’t better known so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Considering the start of my review, I think you know where I’m going with this so here’s the synopsis:

“Two years ago, Scarlet awoke in the forest alone, afraid, and unable to remember anything. Lost and confused, her life was a mystery...until she met a boy with a familiar voice.

Gabriel Archer has a voice from her past, and Scarlet's determined to remember why. She immerses herself in his life only to discover he has a brother he's kept hidden from her: Tristan Archer.

Upon meeting Tristan, Scarlet's world becomes even more muddled. While she's instinctively drawn to Gabriel, she's impossibly drawn to Tristan--and confused out of her mind. As she tries to piece together her history Scarlet realizes her past...might just be the death of her.”

I read a lot of books and it has been a LONG TIME since something invoked such a strong reaction from me. I have been shouting, gasping, laughing, crying. I was desperate to get to the end of the book but also desperate not for it to end, you know, one of THOSE books. I started reading last night until my eyes started closing and then the first thing I did this morning when I woke up, was pick up where I left off. I’m absolutely blown away by this story and I need you all to read it!

I’m trying to be really careful about what I give away here in terms of plot and characters as I don’t want to spoil it for you. I read this book knowing nothing; I couldn’t even remember the synopsis to be honest. I will tell you that it’s about two brothers and a girl and you can figure out the rest on your own. Gabriel is just lovely, the perfect boyfriend but his brother Tristan? There’s just something about a tortured soul that speaks to mine.

I really liked Scarlet in that she’s not some silly little girl. She’s intelligent, brave and basically just trying to figure out what the hell is going on and it’s not without surprise and consequences. I really enjoyed her best friend Heather and having seen a VLOG of Chelsea recently, I can definitely see some of Heather in her ;)

Scarlet’s guardian Laura is conveniently away on business ALOT but I do wonder if there isn’t something more to that, that we’ll see in the next book and oh be still my heart because THERE IS A NEXT BOOK!!! I believe that Anew is part of a trilogy but don’t quote me on that. I am DESPERATE (and by desperate I mean I would sell my left kidney) to read the next book called Awry which will be published in summer this year!!!

I need to mention one thing. If you’re the type of person who gets hung up on realism, you might have a teeny problem with a particular scenario in the book that might just be impossible from a physics point of view but you have to remember that there is MAGIC involved so let it slide and enjoy the wonderful story that will engross you from start to finish. If I had a rating system, this book would get five stars as it kept me entertained and focused on the story the entire time.

If you could see me now I think you would laugh. It’s like I’ve just been told that I’ve won the lottery or something, my heart is pounding (just like Scarlet’s!) and I seriously need to calm down because this is silly but any book that invokes THIS kind of crazy reaction? BUY IT. BUY IT IMMEDIATELY is all I can say.

Anew was published on 7th December, 2011 and is available in the UK and the US. To find out more about Chelsea Fine and her books, please click here to visit her website and here to visit the series website. Chelsea is also active on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads. Totally forgot to say that I have now ordered the paperbacks from a US website because even though I have them on kindle, I REALLY want these books and if that doesn't tell you something? Then, I don't know what will!

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Fall for Me Review

After reading my first cheap kindle e-book from Melanie Marks, I was quite impressed and wanted to sample more of her work so I bought Fall for Me which again at 77p, is not exactly unreasonable in price. This is another cute story from Melanie, albeit shorter than the last one and it only took me about an hour to read. Here’s the synopsis:

“When Zoey’s long-time boyfriend, Finn, cheats on her—kissing a girl he “just can’t resist”—he gives Zoey a “free pass,” telling her she can kiss any guy she wants. Finn is so cocky and sure of their relationship that the arrangement seems perfect. He’s not worried Zoey will fall for another guy, and he’s itching to get rid of his feelings of guilt.

But the thing is, Zoey knows exactly who she wants to kiss—longs to kiss— Finn’s best friend, Riley. But, she wants the kiss too much. She knows that. So, she resists the “Free Pass.” Still, she’s pushed into it when Finn loses a bet to Riley, and Riley wants his payment—a kiss from Zoey.”

So, immediately this is starting to sound a little like the last book I read of Melanie’s which was His Kiss in that a hot guy wants a kiss from the girl who has a boyfriend. I actually had no problem with that because the characters are different, the setting is different etc but what I had a MAJOR problem with is that the voice of Zoey (who is the main character and narrator of the story) sounds EXACTLY like Ally, the main character from Fall for Me in that they shared the same expressions and vocabulary. What am I talking about? I’m talking about the use of “ugh!” and “grrr!!” which became a little annoying at times. I suspect this is more about writing style but sadly, it makes the main characters sound the same.

On the flip side, I loved the premise of this book and the idea of your duschbag boyfriend’s best friend having a crush on you for like FOREVER and Zoey thinks he hates her because he is always avoiding her when it’s quite the opposite. Finn (Zoey’s boyfriend) sounds like a dick to be quite honest – he has a gambling problem, makes her false promises and seems to prefer the company of another girl. Sounds like the perfect guy *rolls eyes* whereas Riley on the other hand, is hot, rich, successful and HAS HAD A CRUSH ON HER FOR YEARS. There is just no competition here folks.

This is a difficult review to write in that I loved the premise, I enjoyed the story and I genuinely do believe that the author has talent but it’s not at the high standard of books that I’m used to reading and so the flaws stick out like a sore thumb. Again, it was too short for me and the ending wasn’t quite right. From what I’ve read of Melanie’s work, she seems to start a story in the middle of a moment (which works) but then ends the story the same way (which doesn’t). It was an enjoyable, quick read but I would really like to see something longer and more polished from this author as I do think she can deliver it.

Fall for Me was published in 2011 and is available as an e-book. To find out more about Melanie and her books, please click here to visit her website.

Friday, 24 February 2012

His Kiss Review

I’m not normally the type of person who buys cheap e-books because I’ve got nothing else to read or whatever, I mean HELLO?! Have you SEEN my TBR pile?! But, I do like seeing what Amazon has to offer for the kindle every now and then as there are often bargains to be had and for some strange reason, I have the compulsion to buy e-books of the same books I have on my shelves. Personally, I think you should get a free digital copy when you buy the printed version but I think I will be saying that until the day I die and with no results. Anyway, I digress. I came across this e-book with 8 separate reviews all giving the book five stars. Knowing what I know now, I still have a healthy dose of scepticism (are the reviews written by friends?) but I was still curious. I read the sample pages and WHAM, I was hooked and desperate to read more and at only 77p? Who can argue with that?! I have to say that I really enjoyed the story. Was it perfect? Nope. Was it the best thing I’d ever read? Absolutely not. But, Melanie writes lust and forbidden romance VERY, VERY well and that totally floats my boat. Here’s the synopsis:

“Ally’s world was totally on track: the right boyfriend, the right school committees, the right plans. But then she kisses the school “bad boy.” And now nothing is right. Nothing! Because all she can think about is … His Kiss.”

I’m going to start with the positive things. I REALLY enjoyed Griffin’s character who plays for the school Ice Hockey team and is generally considered the token bad boy. So naturally, he is all kinds of hot and yes, I was already swooning. And no, of course I totally wasn’t imagining a young Channing Tatum in that role AT ALL. The story is told from Ally’s perspective and I have to say that I would have absolutely loved to have seen things from Griffin’s point of view sometimes which also would have given us a better insight into him as a person instead of just being the token bad boy.

Ally seems indecisive and immature at times for her age however she sounds like a sheltered teenager so I have no problem with her voice, based on that assumption. What I did have a problem with is this - is it just me or does it seem incredibly lame to leave cookies and other baked goods taped to the locker of the boy you like? Is this an American thing? As if I wasn’t cringing enough, she then starts leaving gummy bears attached to his windshield. Girlfriend *shakes head* NO, just NO.

The plot is very simplistic (which is fine) and basically this is a character driven, teen romance. His Kiss is a novella at 130 pages and so it was a quick read. Sometimes, this can be a good thing but I really wanted more! The ending was quite abrupt and the whole thing felt unfinished which left me feeling a bit unsatisfied.

His Kiss is a sweet story that I really enjoyed and would recommend to others, despite its flaws. I’m definitely interested to check out some of her other work as I do believe that Melanie has talent.

To find out more about Melanie and her books, please click here to visit her website.

Under the Never Sky Review

If you want to read my review of Under the Never Sky, you'll have to go over to Wastepaperprose where I'm also blogging now. Click here to read it and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, originally started by Jill at Breaking the Spine , that highlights upcoming book releases everyone is waiting on...hence the title. This week's pick is Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols. Here's the synopsis:

"A sexy and poignant romantic tale of a young daredevil pilot caught between two brothers.

High school senior Leah Jones loves nothing more than flying. While she’s in the air, it’s easy to forget life with her absentee mother at the low-rent end of a South Carolina beach town. When her flight instructor, Mr. Hall, hires her to fly for his banner advertising business, she sees it as her ticket out of the trailer park. And when he dies suddenly, she’s afraid her flying career is gone forever.

But Mr. Hall’s teenage sons, golden boy Alec and adrenaline junkie Grayson, are determined to keep the banner planes flying. Though Leah has crushed on Grayson for years, she’s leery of getting involved in what now seems like a doomed business--until Grayson betrays her by digging up her most damning secret. Holding it over her head, he forces her to fly for secret reasons of his own, reasons involving Alec. Now Leah finds herself drawn into a battle between brothers--and the consequences could be deadly.

I'm a HUGE fan of Jennifer Echols and so just like last week, I don't even have to know what the book is about, I've just pre-ordered. Having said that however, I'm pretty excited to realise that this is the first HARDBACK offering from Jennifer and I think the story sounds fantastic. I like the idea that the girl is the kick ass pilot and obviously I'm curious about all the secrets floating around. I don't care about love triangles, in fact I like them although I have a feeling that Leah is going to go off Grayson pretty quicklywhen he starts blackmailing her. We'll see. Can't wait to read it :)

Such a Rush is published on 10th July, 2012. To find out more about Jennifer and her books, please click here to visit her website.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Blog Planner

Every now and then I ask the Twitter Gods for something I want that I cannot find and a little while ago, I said I wanted a planner/diary that was set up for a book blogger. I scoured the internet and I couldn't find what I was looking for but I'm pleased to say that purely by accident, I have found it! AND even better, it's free.

I can't take credit for it at all but please visit WILDOLIVE here so that you can download the pages and make yourself a kickass planner. Thank you so much to the person that designed this and I'm very excited to print out my own planner :)

Monday, 20 February 2012

Bloodrose Review

If you want to read my review of Bloodrose, you'll have to go over to Wastepaperprose where I'm also blogging now. Click here to read it and let me know what you think!

Saturday, 18 February 2012


So you may remember that a couple of weeks ago it was my two year blogoversary and to celebrate, I held a massive contest. Thank you to everyone who participated and the winners who have been chosen at random are...

1. LIVEOTHERWISE wins the UK paperback of Clockwork Prince (Collector's Edition) by Cassandra Clare.

2. SUSANKMANN wins the UK paperback boxset (SIGNED) of The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare including City of Fallen Angels

3. MEMYSHELFANDI wins the US paperback (SIGNED) of City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

4. DEBBIE wins the UK hardback of Fallen in Love by Lauren Kate

5. E.MAREE wins the UK paperback (SIGNED) of The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

6. RONYKA7 wins the US paperback (SIGNED) of Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Congratulations all!!! The winners have been notified and have 48 hours to confirm their prizes otherwise alternative winners will be chosen.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Important Announcement

I’ve been thinking about my blog for some time now, especially as it was my two year blogoversary recently. In December, you may have noticed that I took an unofficial blog hiatus which was unintentional hence the reason why I didn’t post anything about it on the blog. This continued well into January, not helped by the many things going on in my personal life (which are still going on) and sadly, I don’t have the time I would like to put into my blog :( It’s pretty difficult to work full time as a nurse, run a household and blog all at the same time and believe me when I tell you that it’s been a difficult realisation to come to that I am not indeed superhuman.

I don't know how many of you know but I'm also an aspiring writer on top of everything else and I've also realised that all my spare time is used to read and review other people’s books instead of WRITING MY OWN and that has to change. So, I’m going to be slowing down a bit and obviously that is going to have an effect on my blog.

I will still be keeping my blog for the foreseeable future where I will continue to post occasional reviews however my announcement is this: I’ve come to realise that successful blogs are usually run by more than one person and so with this in mind, I will be joining the team over at Wastepaperprose ( ). I’m really hoping that if you like my reviews, you’ll follow me over there as that is where most of them will be posted from now on. I suspect that eventually, I might decide to wind the blog down and move over there permanently but not just at the moment. Thank you to everyone who has supported this blog and I hope you continue to read my reviews :)

Thursday, 16 February 2012

The Book of Blood and Shadow Review

I’d not read any books by Robin Wasserman before but when I heard about The Book of Blood and Shadow, I was intrigued. Part murder/mystery with a generous helping of alchemy and a sprinkling of faith, this is an intelligent book for older readers, interested in more than just a paranormal romance. Here’s the synopsis:

“It was like a nightmare, but there was no waking up. When the night began, Nora had two best friends and an embarrassingly storybook one true love. When it ended, she had nothing but blood on her hands and an echoing scream that stopped only when the tranquilizers pierced her veins and left her in the merciful dark.

But the next morning, it was all still true: Chris was dead. His girlfriend Adriane, Nora's best friend, was catatonic. And Max, Nora's sweet, smart, soft-spoken Prince Charming, was gone. He was also—according to the police, according to her parents, according to everyone—a murderer.

Desperate to prove his innocence, Nora follows the trail of blood, no matter where it leads. It ultimately brings her to the ancient streets of Prague, where she is drawn into a dark web of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, all driven by a mad desire to possess something that might not even exist. For buried in a centuries-old manuscript is the secret to ultimate knowledge and communion with the divine; it is said that he who controls the Lumen Dei controls the world. Unbeknownst to her, Nora now holds the crucial key to unlocking its secrets. Her night of blood is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries. Solving it may be the only way she can save her own life.”

Okay, first of all, what is with all these YA books coming out that have some sort of combination of the words “blood”, “shadow”, “bone” etc. It’s confusing and I don’t know about you but I’ve mixed up several titles already which does make for some slight amusement amongst bookish friends. Regardless, I would describe The Book of Blood and Shadow as Indiana Jones meets the Da Vinci Code meets End of Days. It’s one of those stories where you’re never quite sure who to trust and you don’t fully know what’s going on until the end. It’s abundantly clear that Robin has done a ton of research in order to write the book and this should be commended first and foremost. It’s refreshing to see an intelligent plot line and one which I have not seen before in YA literature. My only criticism of the book is that in my opinion, it is too long. At 432 pages, I have to say that approaching 300 pages, I was losing steam and could not wait to get to the end. It is most definitely an interesting book but not one that can be read in one sitting and not one that I found myself rushing home from work to read.

I have to say that I was really confused about the relationships in the book. First off, we’re introduced to Nora who is best friends with Chris and his girlfriend Adriane. Nora has what looks from the outset as a flirty relationship with Chris when really she is the third wheel in this scenario. I think it makes for an awkward dynamic. Along comes Max who quite honestly, acts like a dick for the majority of the book and I would have kicked him to the kerb a long time ago but Nora puts up with him. Now, Ely is arguably the better guy and whilst there were elements of flirting between him and Nora, nothing ever came of it which is a shame. Perhaps it was harmless banter between the two characters but I believe the reader was led on and this was disappointing.

Having said all that, I did enjoy the book for the most part and my favourite aspect was the way the past interweaved with the present by way of the connection between Elizabeth Weston and Nora Kane. I also enjoyed the Latin element and the fact that the reader goes on an adventurous journey to Prague. Overall, this is a really difficult review to write because I did enjoy the story which was really interesting and unique but I'm afraid it went on far too long for me.

The Book of Blood and Shadow was published on 19th January, 2012 in the UK and will be published on 10th April, 2012 in the US. The kindle version is also available now. To find out more about Robin and her books, please click here to visit her website. She is also active on Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, originally started by Jill at Breaking the Spine , that highlights upcoming book releases everyone is waiting on...hence the title. This week's pick is The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. Here's the synopsis:

"Filled with mystery, romance, and the supernatural, The Raven Boys introduces readers to Richard “Dick” Campbell Gansey, III and Blue Sargent. Gansey has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on the hunt to find Glendower, a vanished Welsh king. Legend has it that the first person to find him will be granted a wish—either by seeing him open his eyes, or by cutting out his heart.

Blue Sargent, the daughter of the town psychic in Henrietta, Virginia, has been told for as long as she can remember that if she ever kisses her true love, he will die. But she is too practical to believe in things like true love. Her policy is to stay away from the rich boys at the prestigious Aglionby Academy. The boys there—known as Raven Boys—can only mean trouble. When Gansey and his Raven Boy friends come into her life, Blue realizes how true this is. She never thought her fortune would be a problem. But she was wrong."

So unless you don't know me or you've been living under a rock for a couple of years, Maggie Stiefvater is one of my favourite YA authors and you know what? I don't even care what this book is about, the fact that Maggie wrote it means it's an immediate pre-order for me. I have to say that I thought Maggie's last book The Scorpio Races (review here) was her best book yet and so I'm immensely excited to see what she comes up with next. And the cover? Gorgeous! The Raven boys is published on 18th September, 2012 in the US and the UK date will be the same or similar. I recommend you add this to your wish list right now.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Girl Meets Boy Review

Girl Meets Boy is an anthology of stories told from both a male and female perspective. Surprisingly though, I’ve only heard of one of the authors involved. Regardless, I absolutely loved the concept and was excited about the possibilities. Here’s the synopsis:

“What do guys and girls really think? Twelve of the most dynamic and engaging YA authors writing today team up for this one-of-a-kind collection of "he said/she said" stories-he tells it from the guy's point of view, she tells it from the girl's. These are stories of love and heartbreak. There's the good-looking jock who falls for a dangerous girl, and the flipside, the toxic girl who never learned to be loved; the basketball star and the artistic (and shorter) boy she never knew she wanted; the gay boy looking for love online and the girl who could help make it happen. Each story in this unforgettable collection teaches us that relationships are complicated-because there are two sides to every story.”

I have to start by saying that I expected a lot more romance than I got but I did enjoy the majority of the stories. One in particular stands out for me and that was the story featuring gay characters which I thought was very cleverly written. In fact, not one of the stories was predictable or stereotypical but each one tackled every day issues and the diversity was wonderful.

One of the good things about this book is that it is a quick read overall and because it is a collection of short stories, you can stop and start as much as you want and not have to remember what’s happened previously as the stories are all different. On the flip side however, I did miss not being able to get into the story and see characters and plot lines develop. I missed the unputdownable nature of a lot of books I’ve read recently but then that is to be expected of course as it’s a collection of short stories.

I thought Girl Meets Boy was an interesting read and I would love to see this concept used in a novel. I’m not talking about just having alternate points of view as that’s been done but we’ve seen time and time again when authors post scenes from another character’s point of view after their book has been published, how much we as readers love it. I’m almost surprised no one has done this yet and hope that someone takes up the challenge!

Girl Meets Boy was published on 28th December, 2011 in the US and will be published on 1st March, 2012 in the UK.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Tempest Review

If you know me at all, you’ll know that I’m a massive fan of all things time travel and so when I find a YA book with this very important element as part of the book, then I immediately start lusting after it, knowing that I’m probably going to love it. I’m happy to report that Tempest by Julie Cross lived up to my expectations and I really enjoyed it. The book was action packed and there was never a dull moment. Here’s the synopsis:

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

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

Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities. But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler. Recruit… or kill him.

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

When I first started reading this book, immediate comparisons with the movie JUMPER sprung to mind and I hoped that it would not just be a re-hash of the same story but then I realised that jumpers in the movie cannot time travel. Funnily enough, Tempest reads just like a movie and I understand that the film rights have been sold already and I cannot wait to see it up on the big screen. I would say that the plot was maybe a little farfetched at times but it was definitely interesting and creative. I’d love to learn more about the origins of time travellers and how the enemies of time came about and I’m hoping that this will come in the form of a sequel, prequel or spin off.

I have to say that I really enjoyed Jackson and Holly’s relationship but I did not like the fact that Jackson was always lying to her. I see why he did it (to protect her) but it disappoints me that he thought she wouldn’t understand. I also have a soft spot for Adam who is very cool in a smart-yet-geeky kind of way and I have no idea why but in my head he looked like Dev Patel (from Slumdog Millionaire).

As some of you may or may not know, I like to go on what I like to call “pre-order frenzies” and sometimes I’m lucky enough to read an ARC beforehand (if it’s releasing in the UK) and what has now become my test of whether I’ve enjoyed the book is to not cancel my pre-order and with Tempest, I have not cancelled.

Tempest was an unputdownable, compelling read and I’m pretty sure there is a sequel in the works. If I could time travel myself, I would be reading it right now.

Tempest was published on 5th January, 2012 in the UK and 17th January, 2012 in the US. There is a short prequel available for free entitled Tomorrow is Today which you can order from Amazon in the US and here if you are in the UK. To find out more about Julie and her books, please click here to visit her website. She is also active on Facebook and Twitter.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Everneath Review

I accidentally met Brodi Ashton last year whilst attending BEA (Books Expo America) in New York City. Obviously, at the time I had no idea who she was but she told me that she had written a book and showed me the cover which I fell in love with immediately (I know, but LOOK AT IT). I’ve been dying to read this book for ages so I was very happy when I learned it was going to be published in the UK and was sent a copy to review. I’m happy to say that I absolutely LOVED this book. A LOT. And I’m still thinking about it days after I finished reading. Here’s the synopsis:

“Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she's returned- to her old life, her family, her friends- before being banished back to the underworld... this time forever.

She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can't find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there's a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he'll do whatever it takes to bring her back- this time as his queen.

As Nikki's time grows short and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she's forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole's..”

Everneath is of course based on the Greek myth of Hades and Persephone and in case you haven’t noticed, there has been an influx of YA books coming out based on Greek mythology lately. Whilst part of me wants to sigh in response at this, the other part of me is always curious and I have to say that this is the best one I’ve read so far. I thought Everneath was an amazing read, there was never a dull moment, no lagging middle section and I never found my thoughts wandering at any point. I would have read this in one sitting if I could have!

Now I KNOW you want to know about the guys, right and who’s been added to my ever growing list of literary boyfriends? Well, there are TWO of them. Yes, you read that right. First up is Jack who is a totally swoonworthy hero and I can’t see how any girl can resist him. Whilst he once was the quarterback football hero and a bit of a player with the ladies (I know what you’re thinking, that doesn’t do it for me either but wait...) he has turned into a one woman guy with an eyebrow piercing no less who will stop at nothing to get Nikki back. I really enjoyed the way that Brodi messed with the stereotypical image I have in my head of a quarterback as we find out at some point that Jack wears glasses. I realise this might sound stupid but I was surprised at this and it just made him cuter so it worked.

Now then, I bet you’re curious about guy number two and how he might compare to Jack. Enter Cole who has spent over 100 years with Nikki in the everneath and it’s clear that he has some sort of connection with her by the way that he treats her. I loved the fact that Cole wasn’t painted as the bad guy, it’s a case of he is what he is although nothing is set in stone it would seem and I can’t wait to see how his character develops in book two. That’s all I can say about that but I do expect to see a lot more of him! ;)

Overall, I thought Everneath was an impressive debut novel that held my attention and would not let go even after reading. I loved both the plot and the characters and I can’t wait for book two!

Everneath was published in the US on 24th January, 2012 and in the UK on 2nd February, 2012. To find out more about Brodi and her books, please click here to visit her website.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

The Other Life Review

The Other Life by Susanne Winnacker is one very clever, trickster of a book. Not ONCE did it mention the word ZOMBIE and even when we find out that effectively the rabies virus has infected everyday people and turned them into flesh eating monsters (or y’know, ZOMBIES) that word still isn’t mentioned. Why is it clever? Because I don’t read stories about zombies. I don’t even like zombies. And a zombie romance? FORGET IT. I’m pleased to report however that despite the presence of “Weepers” (or y’know, ZOMBIES) I really enjoyed the book and am glad that I read it without knowing what it was about otherwise I might never have picked it up and I would have missed out on an awesome story. Here’s the synopsis:

“3 years, 1 month, 1 week and 6 days since I’d seen daylight. One-fifth of my life. 98,409,602 seconds since the heavy, steel door had fallen shut and sealed us off from the world.

Sherry has lived with her family in a sealed bunker since things went wrong up above. But when they run out of food, Sherry and her dad must venture outside. There they find a world of devastation, desolation...and the Weepers: savage, mutant killers.

When Sherry's dad is snatched, she joins forces with gorgeous but troubled Joshua - an Avenger, determined to destroy the Weepers.

But can Sherry keep her family and Joshua safe, when his desire for vengeance threatens them all?”

The Other Life is a dystopian novel but I think the point is that it could happen at any time and could easily be set in present day which makes it a very scary thing to contemplate. Having said this, if you are the type of person who does not go anywhere near scary or creepy books then don’t worry. I’m hesitant with those sorts of books too, mainly because I have a fantastic imagination and I tend to read late at night which is not always the best combination but I did not find this book creepy and it did not give me nightmares. The scariness comes in knowing that this could be a real scenario someday.

In contrast to the real life nightmare Sherry finds herself in, I really enjoyed the way that at the start of every chapter, we are privy to a snapshot in time of Sherry’s other life, the life she had before everything changed. It was a stark reminder of how different things had become.

The romantics amongst you (myself included) will be happy to know that there is a little bit of something going on and the relationship between Sherry and Joshua is quite innocent and natural. Quite often in YA literature, we’re treated to the concept that two teenagers are soul mates or star-crossed lovers and the relationship between the two main characters is quite mature, shall we say. In The Other Life, these two young people are thrown together out of necessity, in order to survive and I think their relationship grows out of that. It’s only natural for people who share a traumatic event to form a bond however, it’s still a sweet thing to read about.

Overall, I enjoyed this book much more than I expected and it’s undoubtedly worth reading. The revelations towards the end of the book are quite startling and effectively repaint the landscape of what you thought the book was about and how the environment is shaped. It definitely paves the way for a sequel which I believe is already in the works, entitled “The Life Beyond” and I will definitely be picking it up as I know we’re in for a hell of a ride ;)

The Other Life was published on 1st February, 2012. To find out more about Susanne and her book, click here to visit her website.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, originally started by Jill at Breaking the Spine , that highlights upcoming book releases everyone is waiting on...hence the title. This week's pick is Pure by Jennifer L. Armentrout. Here's the synopsis:

"There is need. And then there is Fate...

Being destined to become some kind of supernatural electrical outlet isn't exactly awesome--especially when Alexandria's "other half" is everywhere she goes. Seth's in her training room, outside her classes, and keeps showing up in her bedroom--so not cool. Their connection does have some benefits, like staving off her nightmares of the tragic showdown with her mother, but it has no effect on what Alex feels for the forbidden, pure-blooded Aiden. Or what he will do--and sacrifice--for her.

When daimons infiltrate the Covenants and attack students, the gods send furies--lesser gods determined to eradicate any threat to the Covenants and to the gods, and that includes the Apollyon... and Alex. And if that and hordes of aether-sucking monsters didn't blow bad enough, a mysterious threat seems willing to do anything to neutralize Seth, even if that means forcing Alex into servitude... or killing her.

When the gods are involved, some decisions can never, ever be undone.

Pure is of course the sequel to Half Blood which I read recently and absolutely LOVED. One thing I will say about Jennifer Armentrout is that she writes a compelling story that is both unputdownable and drives you on to read more, even when the book has finished. I cannot wait to get my little mitts on this book and if you haven't started the series yet? Then I highly recommend it, especially for the older YA crowd as it has immense crossover appeal. Pure is published on 3rd April, 2012 and as soon as I finished reading Half Blood, I pre ordered Pure. Nuff said.