Sunday, 30 September 2012

Review: Entangled

Title: Entangled (Spellbound #1)
Author: Nikki Jefford
Publisher: Self-published
Released: 20th February 2012
Rating: 3.5/5

After reading this I still couldn’t decide whether this book warranted 3 or 4 stars, so I decided to settle safely in the middle, which is probably more accurate anyway. The first thing that caught my eye was, of course, the gorgeous cover (though even now I don’t really see the connection...) Add to that the concept of two people sharing one body and I was totally sold.

Graylee and Charlene Perez are twins...and witches. But despite the similarities in their appearances and the fact that they both have the ability to do magic, their personalities are completely different, not to mention the fact that Gray’s magical ability isn’t exactly what it once was. One night Gray dies inexplicably and wakes up two months later – in Charlene’s body. This is how she’ll wake up every other day from now; it’s also how she’ll die unless she can figure out how to get out of Charlene’s body herself in a way that’ll allow her to survive.

I loved the way Entangled started. It was dramatic and actually a pretty good introduction to our two twin stars and what was going on. I could see that Gray was sarcastic but a good sister and Charlene annoying, over the top and somewhat temperamental. My issue then was that the opening turned out to be a long-winded tale of the events leading up to Gray’s death. It took ages just to get to that point and some of what was described beforehand didn’t really contribute very much to the story. Eventually it picked up but even then I’d occasionally find myself wishing it would speed up a little.

Gray is a spunky character, nothing like Charlene. I felt sorry that not only did she have to put up with Charlene, she also had to act like her those days she was awake. Charlene is like the witchier, more extreme version of your stereotypical Miss Popular. Initially it seemed like she had some redeeming qualities and that she did have some sort of connection with her sister, but that image soon dissipated. Unable to deal with any misfortunes life deals her, she lets her jealousies and insecurities take over her, making her a raving psychotic of a girl. Yes. She really is that bad. Gray on the other hand is much more down-to-earth; she knows how to stand up for herself and she knows what has to be done.

Raj McKenna, the love interest, is just a hunk of Indian gorgeousness. We see his POV in alternation with Gray’s. He holds that bad-boy image but it’s pretty easy to see that there’s way more to him than the rumours that go around. In reality he’s actually very sweet and he always does his utmost to help Gray. It’s sad to see how long it takes just for his mother to realise there’s more to what happened in their past than what she chose to believe; his sister, happily, is much closer to him from the beginning and the bond between them is incredibly endearing.

The writing in Entangled was a bit of a mix. It was easy to tell between Gray and Raj’s POVs and it made it very easy to connect to them both. The problem I had was that I found it quite jumpy. A scene in one place would end slightly abruptly only for the story to suddenly move forward somewhere else and I didn’t quite see where the connection was. What I particularly didn’t understand was how Gray suddenly, miraculously realised what Charlene had been doing for so many years. It seemed too convenient for it to be believable.

Overall, this was a really enjoyable read. It’s somewhat lighter than you might think, and the author plays around with impressions of characters so that you come to realise they were nothing like they originally seemed. I really liked the concept and it was definitely more pleasurable when it picked up pace; I just wish that the pace was sustained throughout, as well as the flow, and a bit more was added to the plot. Despite the flaws this is definitely worth the read.

A big thank you to the author and Netgalley for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (#13)

I just wanted to say a couple things before my post:

First, a massive thanks to Aditi from That READioactive Book Blog for nominating me for the Liebster Award. All I can say is, go visit her blog. You won't regret it. Her reviews are hilarious, informative and if you don't go check it out, you're missing on a lot.

Second, a huge thank you to Rachel from The One With Rachel's Book for nominating me for The One Lovely Blog Award. This was such a surprise and again, you should visit this girl's blog. It's fabulous. :)

Finally, I know I've been very behind on reading and posting, it's killing me, trust me. I just wanted to thank all you amazing people for being patient and understanding. <3
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine that spotlights any upcoming releases we can't wait to get our hands on.

Title: Beautiful Redemption (Caster Chronicles #4)
Author: Kami Garci & Margaret Stohl
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Released: 23rd October 2012

Is death the end . . . or only the beginning?

Ethan Wate has spent most of his life longing to escape the stiflingly small Southern town of Gatlin. He never thought he would meet the girl of his dreams, Lena Duchannes, who unveiled a secretive, powerful, and cursed side of Gatlin, hidden in plain sight. And he never could have expected that he would be forced to leave behind everyone and everything he cares about. So when Ethan awakes after the chilling events of the Eighteenth Moon, he has only one goal: to find a way to return to Lena and the ones he loves.

Back in Gatlin, Lena is making her own bargains for Ethan's return, vowing to do whatever it takes -- even if that means trusting old enemies or risking the lives of the family and friends Ethan left to protect.

Worlds apart, Ethan and Lena must once again work together to rewrite their fate, in this stunning finale to the Beautiful Creatures series.

Summary taken from GoodReads

Wow, I can't believe this is the last one!  I'm so excited for it, especially after the cliffhanger of the third book.  This has been a long time coming and I'm glad we're so close to its release.

What about you?  What are you waiting for?

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Review: Blood Debt

Title: Blood Debt (Touched #1)
Author: Nancy Straight
Publisher: CreateSpace
Released: 15th July 2012
Rating: 3.5/4 out of 5 stars

I was a bit hesitant the first time I saw this but eventually I decided to give it a shot – and I’m so glad I did. Nancy Straight has brought something wonderfully refreshing to the YA market. Angels, demons, vampires, werewolves? Faeries or mermaids? You can temporarily put them to the back of your mind while you read about centaurs instead.

Camille has never known her father, though not for lack of trying. Her entire life her mother refused to say much about him but on her deathbed, she finally gives Camille some information – a way to contact him. It’s not long before she finds herself at her father’s house, meeting an entire family she never knew existed, but being welcomed with open arms. But despite the seemingly pleasant, ordinary surface, Camille learns that not only is she a centaur with magic in her blood, she is expected to pay a blood debt for her mother’s mistakes. And that’s only the start of her problems.

I have to say, I haven’t read much of centaurs. I think the only time I’ve come across them is in the Partholon series by P.C. Cast (I miss you, ClanFintan! *sighs dreamily*). I was a little bit worried that the book wouldn’t manage to live up to the novelty of a different genre, but that concern did disappear after a while. I enjoyed learning about some of the customs the centaurs had and how they came to be. The author also included a couple of twists, taking a basic preconception of what a centaur is, claiming that it’s wrong and then twisting it again. Something I would have liked to see is more about centaurs generally – the book focuses primarily on their ideas regarding marriage and relationships, and I think it would have been really interesting to learn about other aspects of their lives.

Cami was a strong character, which really appealed to me. Let me tell you, if this girl thinks something is wrong, she absolutely refuses to go through with it. It takes a lot to break her. She knows how to stand up for herself, something I seriously appreciate in people and characters. She was also a little cautious when it came to her new family’s reception of her, although I think she was quite quick to shake off that caution. That reception, too, was something I found quite unbelievable. Secrets or not, I find it very hard to accept that an entire family could be that happy with finding out there’s another of them. A question was raised as to Cami’s father’s wife, and it was never really answered, so I hope to see that answer in the sequel.

I really liked Bianca and Drake; they were both full of integrity and Bianca especially surprised me in her total lack of ill-feeling towards Cami. When I first met her I was a little suspicious, but then they became best friends and reading from her perspective showed her to be a truly sweet character. The guy she was in love with also surprised me, although I think the delivery of that knowledge in the writing could have been much more effective. Drake was really sweet too. In fact, most of these characters – Biance, Drake, Gage, Cami’s new brothers – really had me warming to them.

Zandra, however. Zandra is another story. I won’t say exactly who she is, in case it’s a spoiler, but what I will say is that she. Was. Evil. I absolutely could not believe what. On earth. She was doing. She made me angry, she had me gasping in horror, she just...ugh. I just...I can’t. And then after all that, when Cami made a dismissive remark about her, all I could think was, ‘Are you crazy? Where have you just been?’ She was a little stupid there.

Overall, this was a really enjoyable book. I had some issues with the writing itself, there were a few grammatical errors and the POVs sounded quite similar, but in terms of the ideas and characterisation this was a pleasure to read. The ending is perfectly ended for a sequel, and I can’t wait to see where the author takes this further.

A big thank you to the author for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (#12)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we can't wait to get our hands on.  Here's mine for this week!

Title: The Programme (Programme #1)
Author: Suzanna Young
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Released: 30th April 2013

Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone.

With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in.

And The Program is coming for them.

Summary taken from GoodReads

Even though perhaps somewhat depressing, the idea of suicide as an epidemic is an interesting one because usually we associate the word 'epidemic' with a physical illness.  I'm very intrigued to see how the author creates this world and how Sloane copes with consantly being watched.  The fact that she can't even cry has got to be difficult.  I really like that cover too. Despite it's simplicity, it manages to convey emptiness and something close to depair but at the same time you can feel a little bit of hope when you see them holding hands.  I like how the sunny yellow contrasts with the clinical white; just by looking at the cover you can actually get an idea of what this might be about, unlike a lot of covers we see.

I study three subjects that require analysis, OK?  It's a part of me now.  And it could be much worse. :P

So that's what I'm looking forward to!  What about you?

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Review: The Iron King

Title: The Iron King (The Iron Fey #1)
Author: Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Released: 1st February 2010
Rating: 3/5

It’s official. Faeries hate me. Apparently even more than other humans. I mean, torture us and keep us as pets and kill us, but can you please make me like reading about you? (To any faeries reading this, I’m kidding. OK? I’m a stupid human, I’m not worth your time!)

When people talk about birthday surprises, they don’t mean finding out that faeries exist, that your brother has been swapped for a changeling or that you must enter the Nevernever if you insist on rescuing said brother. Yet for Meghan Chase, this is exactly what happens. Somehow she must travel through the faery realm and survive the journey if she has any hope of saving Ethan and getting them both back safely to the mortal world. That’s easier said than done, however, especially when there’s three faery courts after her – Summer, Winter, and the third court, whose very existence has remained secret until now...

I must commend Kagawa on her world-building. She has that wonderful ability to paint a very clear picture, taking into account details rather than simply giving us a general image. She knows exactly what this world looks like and she ensures the reader does too. In that sense, it really was as though I was right there in the Nevernever. I enjoyed seeing all the variety of fey there was and thought the idea of the Iron Court and how it came into existence fantastically original. I always love it when an author can add a new twist on something you were pretty sure you knew a lot about.

But. Unfortunately, my hopes that this would make me like reading about faeries fell flat. I know there are people out there who didn’t like them either and then had their opinion revised with this book, and I find it quite disappointing that I can’t say I’m one of them. After a while I grew weary of the plot and by the last fifth I was skimming just so I could get to the end.

Meghan, as a protagonist, didn’t cut it for me. I admired her determination to rescue her brother, but other than that she failed to impress me. She was persistent in one thing, and that was screaming. In every situation, whenever there was the slightest bit of trouble, that’s what I’d catch her doing. If someone had come up to her and said ‘boo’, I have no doubt she would have screamed. She also seemed particularly adept at failing to hide, even when clearly warned. As for her decisions, well. I could only stare in disbelief at how rashly she acted; she never stopped to think. I can recall only one instance when I gave a nod of approval at her forethought.

I liked the love interests, though I didn’t love them. Puck perhaps I felt a glimmer of something for a couple of times, but it never developed into a full-fledged swoon. I loved his humour and the way he was frank with Meghan, and I felt sorry that she was blind to his feelings. I hoped he would make an appearance again at the very end, but sadly that was another hope left disappointed. Ash was great in a fight and despite his motives, he was incredibly strong to continue as he did on the way to the Iron Court. It was he who stopped Meghan from making another mistake at the end.

Despite my pretty negative review, this wasn’t all bad. My three stars exist because of the fabulous world-building and the whole idea of and backstory to the Iron Court. Ash and Puck were decent characters, and I have to say Grimalkin was a favourite. He reminded me very much of the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland. Oddly enough I also had a soft spot for the pack rats, metal rodents that collect metal junk. They were cute, OK? Unfortunately however, The Iron King is another case of me failing to become part of the hype. I will still be reading the next one though, because I’m quite curious to see what happens next after that ending.

Uhh, I’m gonna finish here. I think I see faeries coming my way (yeah, I have the Sight. Go me!).

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Author interview: Cassandra Giovanni

Hey guys!

Instead of my usual WoW post, today I have something better!  Quite a few of you know I recently read and enjoyed Cassandra Giovanni’s In Between Seasons, my review for which you can check out here.  Today we have the lovely author herself!  So without further ado, here she is. J

How did you come up with the ideas for In Between Seasons?

I am equal part photographer and writer. The photographer in me inspired InBS because I kept driving past this abandoned building, and it was hauntingly beautiful. I desperately wanted to photograph it, but then one night it was in my dreams. It was a very vivid dream, and it was the first time I saw Hunter. I was Kate, and I was running towards this white house, as I ran in and shut the door, a hand broke through the glass and grabbed me, dragging me away. In that moment I was filled with awe with the person who was taking me, and I tried to figure out why, but I wasn't afraid. It was as if it was something I had been waiting for, and of course, I had, it was the idea for InBS. Then I was in a house, and there was an army marching up (it reminded me much of the Nazis), and I went into the basement with one singular thought, get a gun and blast the hell out of the place to protect him. Then we were running, stumbling down a hill--then it all went black. When it came back we were on a beach, and I was staring into his eyes, and everything felt fixed, permanent and fine. (When I say him, I entirely mean my husband because it was him in the dream!).  I drive by this building a lot, and it with some songs that hit my radio just as I passed it kept the story running in me until I was finished. I have what I call a "sporadic" writing style. I write the scenes in no specific order, and then I go in and fill in the blanks for cohesion.  I knew that building would be the cover of the novel, and thus it is.

Why young adult?

Well, because that is what I am...well, I might be a tad bit older than that, but that's just what I lean towards. I also write New Adult, which I suppose is what I would be considered.
Describe the process between getting down your first draft and getting your book published.  Did you ever consider getting a publisher, or did you know straight away you were going to be self-published?

To be honest with you I never considered self-publishing or small independent press that take unsolicited manuscripts. I had written Walking in the Shadows, and The Sight already, but when I wrote In Between Seasons I felt it was the one that would get me published. It was so different than anything else, little did I know that I had written myself into one of the most popular genres, and in a way written myself out of it. I didn't even know what dystopian was, and InBS doesn't really follow the guidelines that have been set by books like Hunger Games, so then again it's not really dystopian. At any rate, I did a lot of research on agents, and selected about 20 or so. I tried querying for Walking in the Shadows first, but then after sending to those agents, and getting only 1 response--"We don't like the subject". I stopped, and dropped Walking in the Shadows. In truth it is a controversial subject, and it jibes at those who are obsessed with vampire novels. So, then I went after getting In Between Seasons queried to an agent. I did more research, found more agents, and then after no response at all, I pretty much gave up. Then my dad got an email about self-publishing, which had no relevance to him whatsoever, but he felt it was a sign meant for me. He forwarded it to me, and then I saved it, but didn't take it too seriously. I queried two more agents and then logged onto Amazon to order a present, and there was a whole article on the home page about KDP. I decided that was it. I was going to do it, and I was going to do it my way. I thought it through. I could market my own way, use my own photography, and choose what stayed and what went. I had nothing to lose, so I did it. I love being self-published. I will be honest with you, it is a struggle, and there is a huge learning curve. I work almost 70 hours a week between a normal job, and doing the novelist thing. I'm a determined person, and I am going to be a full-time writer and photographer someday.

What was your favourite scene to write? (Personally, I think my favourite scene to read was with Hunter and his guitar.  *Swooon* Ahem.)

This was a tough one, but your email came as I was taking a short break from editing the second edition of InBS. This made it easier to chose, it is the scene where Hunter teaches Kate how to use a gun. I love the seriousness of the scene, but how Hunter is still teasing her and showing how amazing he is!

Kate is a pretty strong character who doesn’t shy away from doing what she needs to do, even when it involves people she’s meant to be close to.  How much of yourself is in her?

There is a lot of her in me. I used to feel weak, but after the discovery of a few key truths about myself and those around me, I realized I was strong, and I needed to be. It's all about rising above what most people would sink beneath. I feel I have done that myself, and I have watched some of the most amazing people in my life do that as well. Kate is a bit of me, and a bit of my mom. She's kick butt amazing, just like Kate is.
Quite a few authors talk about listening to music while they write.  Are you the same, or do you find it easier without music?
I honestly, could not write without music. Music drives all of my writing. Music has always been a relief to me. It makes everything easier, it helps me zone in and get things done. It's my biggest inspiration.
Describe your upcoming novel, Walking in the Shadows, in five words.

Romantic, dark, hopeful, obsession, artistic

This or that:
Chocolate or vanilla? Vanilla
Paperback or ebook?  Ebook

Summer or winter?  Summer
Tea or coffee?  Tea (unless it’s Starbucks)
Reading or writing? Writing

So there you go!  Thanks so much Cassandra Giovanni for doing the interview!

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Review: What Kills Me

Title: WhatKills Me
Author: Wynne Channing
Publisher: Jet & Jack Press
Released: 6th June 2012
Rating: 5/5

Isn’t it weird how you can read two books completely different and yet award them the same rating? This was something I was thinking about earlier when I finished this book. Thinking about my five star books, some of them I knew from the beginning that it was going to be an awesome read. With What Kills Me, this wasn’t the case. But after a bit of trouble with the opening, this book did a 180 and took me completely by surprise.

Axelia, otherwise known as Zee, is on a two month stay in Rome studying Italian. In a rush to get home one night, having lost track of time, she meets a guy called Paolo. That one incident is to be her downfall, because Paolo isn’t interested in dating girls, as she finds out the following evening. He’s more interested in murdering them. His plans go awry however, and she ends up a vampire...through unconventional means. From then Zee is on the run from the entire vampire race, because according to prophecy, she isn’t just any vampire. She’s the one that’s going to bring the destruction of all vampires.

If The Immortal Rules didn’t kill my belief that the vampire genre has been exhausted, What Kills Me certainly did. Seriously, if you still think that, you need to read this. Think words like Monarchy, Crucivium, Sacriva. Have you ever heard of vampires worshipping gods? No?  Well, they do now. Wynne Channing impressed me with the fresh ideas she’s brought to the table. I loved seeing this new side to vampires, one where an actual empire has been created, its very foundations built on something so superstitious as a prophecy. Quite frankly, I’ve never been convinced by the idea of a prophecy. There’s something so...convenient about it, something almost intangible that makes me want to roll my eyes. In this case, however, it worked, perhaps because of the context.

Zee went through a pretty extensive, not to mention impressive, transformation. At the beginning, I had one word to describe her: stupid. What kind of girl tells her whole life story to and goes on a date with a guy she met only the night before? A guy who is so obviously trouble? But then when she became a vampire, she didn’t spend very long being self-pitying and railing at Paolo. Faced with death together with him soon after, her survival instinct rears its head and she doesn’t just talk about saving herself, she talks about saving them. Zee toughens and wisens up. Just a little. In later fight scenes I got a little tired of her screaming and not actually kicking butt, but she did find small ways to help. Then she learns to fight and eventually she’s a badass vampire you do not want to mess with. There is true development in her character that was a pleasure to see. Not to mention the fact that she is hilarious.

Now, two things in this book that are conspicuously absent: insta-love and love triangle. Yes, I see the relieved faces. Here we have Lucas, a vampire highly skilled in martial arts and weapons handling. Unless you want your head cut off, I suggest you stay on his good side. It’s quite easy, really. Just don’t try to kill him. Lucas starts off as wanting nothing to do with Zee; he quite clearly puts a wall between them. The relationship between them is incredibly gradual. I loved the banter between them, it was subtle, but witty. It was so sweet to see him help Zee when she was struggling with her acts and morals as a vampire, and see her lightening the mood when he became concerned. Their feelings for each other weren’t revealed until the last possible minute and their fight for each other was just moving; it’s then you see their depth of feeling for the other.

The writing, without being overly descriptive, was vivid enough for me to have consistently clear images in my head – not just images, but mood and atmosphere. The fight scenes were fast-paced and action-packed and this made a nice contrast with, for example, the temple in Taiwan (at least until all hell broke loose). Nor is the story predictable. While I was a teeny bit suspicious of one particular character, she still managed to surprise me. Not to mention the plot twist. Channing has no qualms about taking her time: she leaves you comfortable in the knowledge of one thing and then springs a surprise on you at the last minute.

While this wasn’t perfect, I was incredibly immersed in the story. I was a bit wary starting it but the author soon dispelled that. I don’t know if there’s a sequel in the works, though I can, in a way, see potential for one. In any case, there are no questions left unanswered, the story is wrapped up nicely and I will most definitely be on the lookout for further work from this author.

A huge thank you to the author for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Beautiful Blogger Award!

Apparently Lady Fortune is on my side.

Two fantabulous bloggers have nominated me for the Beautiful Blogger Award.  First by the amazing Kim at the YA Book Geek.  Please, please go check out her blog, she is so funny and her reviews are absolutely brilliant!  Then, in the time between getting that email and now, I found out that the wonderful Emma at Never Judge a Book by its Cover also nominated me.  Another gorgeous blog you need to go check out.  Thank you so much, ladies!

OK, so the rules:
1.        Write something about the Beautiful Blogger who nominated you.  Se above.
2.       Share 7 things about yourself.

 Well, here goes nothing: seven ‘interesting’ facts coming right up.
1.       Sometimes when I’m having trouble sleeping I like to take a scene from a book and play it in my head, tweaking it so that it fits how I would have written it.
2.       I have a lot of trouble sleeping.  I’m not one of those people who can fall asleep two seconds after getting into bed (I’m looking at you, brother).  My fate is to lie awake for ages in frustration.
3.       I love history.  All kinds of history, but especially early modern, and a bit of medieval.  My friends try to sell me on maths and science, but I won’t have it.  Nuh-uh.
4.       I currently volunteer at a heritage site. Tres amazing.
5.       I mentally tell my overactive mind to shut up sometimes.  What?  Saying it out loud would just be weird.
6.       I now know how to do the Charleston, thanks to summer school.
7.       I suck at sports.  Probably why I hate it.

And now, presenting...*drumroll* nominees!
1.       Ink and Tea Reviews
2.       Courtney Reads a Lot
4.       Bookworm in Love
5.       Ebony Black Lines
6.       Gabby Reads
7.       Kaleidoscope World
All of these are awesome, amazing blogs, so be sure to stop by!  Once again, a massive thank you to Kim and Emma for nominating me. :)

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Review: In Between Seasons

Title: In Between Seasons
Author: Cassandra Giovanni
Publisher: Self-published
Released: 9th May 2012
Rating: 3/5

Kate Ericson has always known her life is a lie. Despite knowing that a war has been raging for the past sixteen years, she doesn’t know how it started, why it’s happening or indeed anything about her world, and refuses to believe the stories she’s been told, all of which are flawed. It’s a shock when she’s kidnapped by Hunter, a general from another tribe, even more so when she finds out its thought she knows of a secret weapon that can be used against the tribe Hunter belongs to, run by his father – who is, she discovers, her father’s greatest enemy. Gradually, Kate learns more about the type of world she’s living in and comes to realise there really is only one person she can trust.

This was absolutely not what I was expecting. Even taking into account the notice (which I read far too late) beneath the GR synopsis, this book is far more character-focused than I would have thought. The book centres on Kate and Hunter both as individual characters and as a couple, with the world used only as a background. There was a significant lack of detail which I think worked in one way but perhaps failed in others. It very much helped to emphasise the characters, thus achieving the author’s goal. At the same time, I think I would have liked some time taken to be introduced to the world more fully, at least the world as Kate knows it. The writing had a distinctively rushed feel to it, and it was not long at all before the action kicked off. There were so many opportunities here for detail, and it would have helped with the confusion I couldn’t help but feel at times. Having said that, that confusion didn’t last long and I could quickly pick up what was happening.

Kate was a likeable character. It was good to see that, even if she didn’t know the truth, she still recognised the lies. Because of that, there wasn’t any time wasted in her trying to hold onto her old beliefs – already she was a stronger character, ready to move on, and that saved frustration. She wasn’t hesitant in leaving her old life behind and when the time came, she learnt how to fight, knowing it was necessary. What I would have liked to see in her character is perhaps some sort of emotional conflict to help her be more believable. When she found out the full truth about her family, she was quite accepting of it and was more than prepared to defeat them. It was up to another character to tell her that she didn’t want to kill someone she was supposed to be close to. She also had a habit of spilling everything at once and openly criticising things that were accepted by everyone else, which wasn’t a particularly sensible thing to do.

Hunter had me straight-up melting. Being a general and kidnapper, you’d think he’d be cold and indifferent, right? Not so. I felt really sorry for him because he had to keep up that facade in front of his comrades and his father. Especially his father. He had to go along with their crude jokes and opinions and basically not show his soft core. Around Kate, he was completely the opposite. He was allowed to show he cared, and it was more than evident that he did. It was sweet to see how she could see the turmoil in his eyes while everyone else looked at him and thought he had no emotions. The relationship between them was, I felt, a bit too quick to develop – and Kate was too quick to trust him – but somehow it wasn’t as annoying.

Overall, this was a thoroughly enjoyable book despite the flaws. I was surprised to find myself with something that was more romance than dystopia, but seeing as I’m something of a romance junkie (there, I admitted it!), it wasn’t too much of a problem for me. I would have liked a lot more world-building and explanation, and there were a lot of grammatical errors, but it wasn’t too hard to see past the latter and in the end, I just kept on reading. I’m definitely looking forward to reading Walking in the Shadows, which is being released next month.

A big thank you to the author for providing me with a copy in exhange for an honest review.

Waiting on Wednesday (#11)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we can't wait to get our hands on.  Mine for this week is:

Title: Alice in Zombieland (The White Rabbit Chronicles #1)
Author: Gena Showalter
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Released: 25th September 2012

She won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.

Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real….

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies….

I wish I could go back and do a thousand things differently.
I'd tell my sister no.
I'd never beg my mother to talk to my dad.
I'd zip my lips and swallow those hateful words.
Or, barring all of that, I'd hug my sister, my mom and my dad one last time.
I'd tell them I love them.
I wish... Yeah, I wish.

Summary taken from GoodReads

Thank God this is coming out soon.  Isn't the cover amazing?  And the pairing of such a brilliant classic with zombies is  Did I mention how glad I am this is coming out so soon?

What about you?  What are you waiting on this week?

Monday, 3 September 2012


Hey guys!

OK, so I just have a couple of things to let you know about. One of them I was gonna mention a little later in the week, but since something else came up I figured I might as well put them together.

Firstly, some of you will know that in July I was nominated by the awesome Lauren at The Headless Owl for the Liebster Blog Award. For those of you amazing people who have since decided to stalk me and haven't seen the post I put up in reply, if you're interested you can check it out here. Since that time, I have been nominated again. Twice. Once, last month, by the fabulous Macy at It's A Book Thing, and again today by the brilliant young adult author and photographer Cassandra Giovanni who you can find over at C Giovanni Writes. Now, I feel like a bit of a schmuck not writing a full acceptance post, but at the same time writing variations of the same post would be a bit pointless, not to mention lengthy, so Macy and Cassandra, I hope you guys understand! A big big thank you to you both for nominating me. You guys rock.

So, on to number two. I know I am not the first to say this; I've seen several other bloggers put up this same message: I am going back to school. For me, next week. Before I burst into tears and beg the skies and school authorities futilely for another month off, I just wanted to let you guys know that my posts are going to become more sporadic, maybe immediately, maybe not, but at some point relatively soon. Even worse than it is now. *Cringe* I hate even saying it, it feels like I should be devoting all my time to this blog which has become such a big part of my life now thanks to all of you guys, but sadly the effects of that would not go down well with school. Or uni, since I'll be applying in the next couple of months. I know you all are totally understanding, and each one a true friend, and I love you all for it.

Oh, I'm sorry, was that not loud enough? LOVE YOU ALL! ;D <33


Sunday, 2 September 2012

Review: The Immortal Rules

Title: The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden #1)
Author: Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Released: 24th April 2012
Rating: 4/5

First of all, can I just say: that cover rocks. I love the font, I love the red, plus the eye and tear look awesome. It is suitably creepy, though I’m not disturbed by it myself (unlike some others I could mention. Hehe.).

Anyway. I can’t believe how long it’s taken me to read something of the famous Julie Kagawa. I can’t tell you how happy I am that for once I can fall into the hype and exclaim with everyone else what a fantastic author she is. With perfect ease, she disproved my – and doubtless countless others’ – conviction that the vampire genre has been exhausted. In The Immortal Rules, vampires are the evil, soulless bloodsucking creatures they started out as. Not even Allison Sekemoto, reduced to living her life as one of the very creatures she loathes, can completely fight her inner demon, though God knows she’s going to do her absolute best to try. (Or, not God, know what I mean.)

The plotline was most definitely engaging; my interest was held right from the beginning. I mean, what better way to start than with an execution? I loved that we were immediately shown the type of world the book is set in and what it is like. In fact, despite the vampires, in some ways it is still a dystopia, making it an addictive blend of genres. I was fascinated when I found out about the cause of the rabids and about Eden, a supposed island where there are no vampires. This is not, I have to admit, the first time I’ve come across the concept of Eden in a book, but the overall world-builind was well done. I was very curious to learn about the Red Lung virus (a.k.a. the plague that killed millions of people years ago), and it is something I hope to find out more about later on – how it started, where it started and indeed, how it earned its name.

Allie is a wonderfully tough heroine. Seriously, this girl knows how to kick butt – with or without her katana and vampire abilities. Yes, that’s right. This particular vampire learns how to wield the sword of the samurai. Apt, isn’t it? Shame she doesn’t get the joke when her vampire creator and mentor chuckles at her choice of weapon. Allie is not only tough, she’s independent and she’s realistic. It’s very easy to see how her life as an Unregistered before becoming a vampire, at the very bottom of society, affected her. I loved her sarcasm and dark sense of humour. Her struggle to hold on to humanity rather than let vampire instincts consume her was evident and more than commendable.

Of course, is it really possible to talk about the protagonist without mentioning the love interest? I don’t think so, which brings us to Ezekiel Crosse. Don’t laugh. I happen to think it’s a very cool name. But fine, call him what he’s known as in the book: Zeke. Zeke is not the typical bad boy. This book doesn’t even have a bad boy. No, for once the love interest is a good guy. He’s generous, selfless and kind. His only flaw is that he’s prejudiced when it comes to vampires; his principles there, believing every vampire to be a soulless demon, are made of steel. But with Jeb as an adoptive father, you can’t really blame him. When I found out about Jeb’s secret treatment of Zeke, I was both horrified and saddened. But Zeke isn’t mindless, and he does allow his mind to open, making him willing to hear Allie’s side of the story. The relationship between them is realistic and endearing.

Generally, Kagawa has created a wonderfully diverse set of characters. To name a few, there’s the infuriatingly weak Stick; adorable six year old Caleb; spiteful, suspicious Ruth; and typical villain Jackal. Seriously, he has the whole we-can-rule-together-side-by-side-no?-then-let-me-talk-for-ages-before-I-kill-you thing down. Kind of like in James Bond or Alex Rider, but he was evil enough to almost succeed in killing Allie. I still can’t decide whether that worked for me or not, but I did like the action at the end of that scene.

Overall, this was a thoroughly enjoyable read that delighted me with the refreshingly different world it brought. It took me a little while to get really get stuck into it but once I did I just kept turning the pages. I loved how it wrapped up nicely at the end. Hopefully in the second one we find out more about Kanin, Allie’s creator. This was a character who intrigued me from the start and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing more of him. Kagawa has left a wonderful first impression on me so I can’t wait to see what she brings with The Iron King, which I shall be reading soon.