Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Waiting on Wednesday #19

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly even hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Jessie ♥ NYC by Keris Stainton
July 7th 2011

Jessie's just arrived in New York, hoping to forget about her awful ex.

New Yorker Finn is in love with his best friend's girlfriend.

They might be perfect together, but in a city of eight million people, will they ever find each other?
(from Goodreads)

Not much of a summary, but I've heard a lot of good things so I can't wait to read this! Plus, look at the cover. I mean, how could you resist that? It's so cool! I could just stare at it all day....aaand I've heard it's nicer in person because the gold is shiny. So, that's my mind made up. What are you waiting for this week?

Monday, 27 June 2011

Review: Forsaken by Jana Oliver

Forsaken (The Demon Trappers #1) by Jana Oliver
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Released: February 7th 2011
My Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Riley Blackthorne just needs a chance to prove herself – and that’s exactly what the demons are counting on…

Seventeen-year-old Riley, the only daughter of legendary Demon Trapper, Paul Blackthorne, has always dreamed of following in her father's footsteps. The good news is, with human society seriously disrupted by economic upheaval and Lucifer increasing the number of demons in all major cities, Atlanta’s local Trappers’ Guild needs all the help they can get – even from a girl. When she’s not keeping up with her homework or trying to manage her growing crush on fellow apprentice, Simon, Riley’s out saving distressed citizens from foul-mouthed little devils – Grade One Hellspawn only, of course, per the strict rules of the Guild. Life’s about as normal as can be for the average demon-trapping teen.

But then a Grade Five Geo-Fiend crashes Riley’s routine assignment at a library, jeopardizing her life and her chosen livelihood. And, as if that wasn’t bad enough, sudden tragedy strikes the Trappers’ Guild, spinning Riley down a more dangerous path than she ever could have imagined. As her whole world crashes down around her, who can Riley trust with her heart – and her life?
(from Goodreads)

Forsaken begins with Riley Blackthorne on a solo trapping mission. It should be easy – it is only a grade one demon after all. But, unexpectedly, things go wrong, and Riley ends up at an emergency Guild meeting. It isn’t even her fault – but Demon Trapping is serious business, and mistakes can and have cost lives. After a tragic event, Riley soon realises that there is an awful lot about Demon Trapping she doesn’t know – and she has to learn it all, fast.

Forsaken was a great read. I love books to do with demons (I think they’re the most underrated supernatural creatures), so I was really happy when my copy of Forsaken arrived. The main character Riley was one of those “tough as old boots” sorts, and I really liked her – she had a thirst to prove herself, and she hated being rescued all the time (no damsel in distress complex here). She was determined to be as good as her father at trapping, and was eager to prove that a girl could be just as good a trapper as a boy (I was really happy with the girl Riley showed in this book – some of the council members were so sexist I was getting just as angry as she was!). I also liked that Riley had to hang around with boys a lot (side effect of Trappers usually being men) because it meant we got to find out what the boys thought of having a girl Trapper around, which was really interesting. I have to say, though this usually doesn’t happen to me, I wasn’t actually rooting for the guy Riley ended up with. He was nice and all, but meh. There are more books to come though – I still have hope!

Another character I really liked was Beck. There was a lot going on with him that Riley wasn’t aware of, and I think he did a good job of supporting her (despite the fact it seemed she really didn’t like him). Beck also made me laugh a lot, and I loved how he would randomly mention Taylor Swift, who appeared to be his concentration point when trapping! His relationship with Riley’s dad was quite complex,  he really looked up to Paul Blackthorne, who was like a father-figure, and much like Riley, he was trying to be the best Trapper he could. I think it really showed his determination and also helped explain why he cared so much for Riley. The only thing is I couldn’t believe he didn’t like chocolate – odd, odd person :P.

Whilst Simon wasn’t my favourite character, I did like him. It took a lot of guts to deal with all the hassle and grief Master Harper gave him, and I think he showed true care and passion for Riley. I don’t think he acted his age though; he seemed a lot younger than twenty to me. He was also quite easy to predict. I also quite liked Riley’s friend Peter, because he was so sweet and helpful, and worried about Riley a lot. However, by far the most interesting character was Ori. He only came in toward the end, but was gorgeous, funny and completely mysterious – we don’t find out anything about him or why he was doing what he was doing. The mystery made him more appealing, methinks. Good guy, bad guy, what exactly was he up to? And what did his interest in Riley mean? I can’t wait to find out more about him in the next book.

One thing I didn’t understand wasn’t to do with the actual book – I didn’t get why there was a “For Older Readers” warning on the back cover. I don’t remember any particular mature content that wouldn’t be suitable for any teen (13+).

In conclusion, Forsaken was an exciting, fast-paced read, and I look forward to reading the sequel, Forbidden. I would recommend this series to those who liked The Demon’s Lexicon and Strange Angels.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

In My Mailbox (#18)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren.

Not many this week, which I suppose is good seeing as I'm supposed to be writing an essay on the tragedy in Othello and Death of a Salesman right now...(I have no idea how to write this essay).


For Review:
Tempest Rising by Tracy Deebs (from Bookbabblers)
Mad Love by Suzanne Selfors (from Daisy Chain Book Reviews)

Swapped:
Tris & Izzie (with ComaCalm) - soo excited about this one! I love retellings and the cover is so pretty :).

That's it for me! What did you get? Anything you're really excited about?


Saturday, 25 June 2011

Twitter

Soo...I finally got Twitter. I caved and made an account...but I warn you now,  I have no idea how to use it. At all. Social networking sites completely confuse me, so if this turns out to be a disastrous idea, then I apologise :P. If you want to follow me, then go ahead (I have a cool new button in the sidebar!), and if anyone wants to explain to me how the thing works...that would be good too :D. So far I'm just working out how to follow other people...it's gonna be a long time before I actually start tweeting things...

Friday, 24 June 2011

It's Friday! & Two Mini Reviews: Part 1

It's Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friiiiday...


Ahem. It's finally the weekend, so I thought I'd do a little post to let you know what's been going on this week (that I personally have found quite interesting).

First of all - the tickets for the Olympics 2012 went on sale. It's been manic; everyone's been desperate to get tickets, no-one is entirely sure whether their application was really processed or not, people have signed up for "handball" despite not knowing what it is...all in all, it's been chaos over here. Did anyone manage to score any tickets? Which events?

Second, the secret of Pottermore was revealed! Pottermore is a "unique online reading experience" in which you can go through the Harry Potter books and discover some new important information while actually seeing and experiencing Harry's world. I think it sounds really cool, and can't wait until October to sign up! For more info, go here.

Thirdly, I officially signed up for UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). Which means I'm actually going to have to start applying for universities soon! The thought scares me. I don't think I'm ready for university...

And last of all...Andy Murray is still in Wimbledon! I'm sure the whole of Britain is celebrating the fact that we actually still have someone playing at this point :P. I don't think he's gonna win (he's playing right now, so let's see how far he gets), but I'm supporting him all the same. Not really a big follower of tennis, but still, good luck to him. He's way better than Tim Henman ever was anyway :D.

Now for some reviews...

The Boyfriend List (Ruby Oliver #1) by E. Lockart
Publisher: Corgi
Released: May 4th 2006
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Ruby Oliver is 15 and has a shrink. She knows it's unusual, but give her a break—she's had a rough 10 days. In the past 10 days she: 

* lost her boyfriend (#13 on the list)
* lost her best friend (Kim)
* lost all her other friends (Nora, Cricket)
* did something suspicious with a boy (#10)
* did something advanced with a boy (#15)
* had an argument with a boy (#14)
* drank her first beer (someone handed it to her)
* got caught by her mom (ag!)
* had a panic attack (scary)
* lost a lacrosse game (she's the goalie)
* failed a math test (she'll make it up)
* hurt Meghan's feelings (even though they aren't really friends)
* became a social outcast (no one to sit with at lunch)
* and had graffiti written about her in the girls' bathroom (who knows what was in the boys'!?!).

But don't worry—Ruby lives to tell the tale. And make more lists.
(from Goodreads)

Ruby Oliver is my new best friend.  Apart from the awesome fact she’s one of the only main characters ever to have worn glasses (besides Harry Potter), she was also one of the funniest characters I have ever read about! She was so hilarious, everything from her lists to her footnotes (which really cracked me up).  She seemed like such a nice person, and you couldn’t help but like her despite some of the stupid things she had done. I felt like I could relate to her a lot (I was jealous of her zebra print glasses – mine are so boring in comparison!). I felt so bad for her because everyone was treating her so unfairly for breaking the rules in The Boy Book – but Kim broke the rules too! Even if she was all nice about it, it still counts in my opinion. She was a total hypocrite. It was unfair how everybody took Kim’s side and I really sympathised with Ruby; everyone blamed her for what happened, but Jackson was at fault too. Still, Ruby tried to fix mess that was her life, and her therapy sessions with Dr Z were very interesting, I think – E. Lockhart made them feel very real and believable and with each one, Ruby learnt a little bit more about herself, and you could see the progress she was making, one small step at a time. All in all, The Boyfriend List was a very funny and very enjoyable book and has some of the best characters I’ve ever seen in YA lit.


The Boy Book (Ruby Oliver #2) by E. Lockhart 
Publisher: Corgi
Released:  June 7th 2007
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Here is how things stand at the beginning of newly-licensed driver Ruby Oliver's junior year at Tate Prep:

* Kim: Not speaking. But far away in Tokyo.
* Cricket: Not speaking.
* Nora: Speaking—sort of. Chatted a couple times this summer when * they bumped into each other outside of school—once shopping in the U District, and once in the Elliot Bay Bookstore. But she hadn't called Ruby, or anything.
* Noel: Didn't care what anyone thinks.
* Meghan: Didn't have any other friends.
* Dr. Z: Speaking.
* And Jackson. The big one. Not speaking.

But, by Winter Break, a new job, an unlikely but satisfying friend combo, additional entries to The Boy Book and many difficult decisions help Ruby to see that there is, indeed, life outside the Tate Universe.
(from Goodreads)

The Boy Book was an excellent continuation of The Boyfriend List; Ruby Oliver was back, zebra print glasses and all. In this one, Ruby was slowly trying to repair her reputation – it’s never easy shedding the labels of “leper” and “slut”, no matter whether they really apply to you or not, which Ruby knew better than anyone else. She was beginning to make friends with Nora again, and with Meghan and Noel, things started to seem almost normal. Until Nora admitted she liked Noel, and Ruby’s life was in turmoil again. Ruby told herself she didn’t care whether Nora liked Noel. And she didn’t. Right? Of course, nothing was ever easy in Ruby Oliver’s life, which is why I enjoyed this book so much. Like its predecessor, it was funny and very readable. The Boy Book had more Noel in it, which I loved, and I liked seeing the rebuild of Nora and Ruby’s friendship. Overall, it was a great addition to the series – now on to the Treasure Map of Boys!

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Waiting on Wednesday #18

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly even hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Beautiful Chaos (Caster Chronicles #3) by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
October 18th 2011

Ethan Wate thought he was getting used to the strange, impossible events happening in Gatlin, his small Southern town. But now that Ethan and Lena have returned home, strange and impossible have taken on new meanings. Swarms of locusts, record-breaking heat, and devastating storms ravage Gatlin as Ethan and Lena struggle to understand the impact of Lena's Claiming. Even Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals is affected - and their abilities begin to dangerously misfire. As time passes, one question becomes clear: What - or who - will need to be sacrificed to save Gatlin?

For Ethan, the chaos is a frightening but welcome distraction. He's being haunted in his dreams again, but this time it isn't by Lena - and whatever is haunting him is following him out of his dreams and into his everyday life. Even worse, Ethan is gradually losing pieces of himself - forgetting names, phone numbers, even memories. He doesn't know why, and most days he's too afraid to ask.

Sometimes there isn't just one answer or one choice. Sometimes there's no going back. And this time there won't be a happy ending. (from Goodreads)

I can't wait for this book, I've enjoyed the series so far and I'm really curious about what will happen next. And also, I love the French cover! The title translates to "18 Moons" (cool, right?) - what do you think?

Monday, 20 June 2011

Review: Solid by Shelley Workinger

Solid (Solid #1) by Shelley Workinger
Publisher: CreateSpace
Released: July 9th 2010
My Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

Clio Kaid may be 17 and just beginning the last summer before her senior year, but her life is anything but typical.

She's just discovered she was genetically altered before birth and is now headed to a top-secret Army campus to explore the surprising results of the experiment.

Follow Clio and the other teens as they develop fantastic super-abilities, forge new friendships, find love, and uncover a conspiracy along the way. (summary from ebook)

The premise of Solid had me interested from the start – genetically modified teenagers uncovering a conspiracy? My kind of book. I really liked the main character Clio, because she appeared to be just a nice, normal girl who was now being forced to deal with the fact someone had played with her chromosomes before she was even born (something that’s bound to shock anyone). I think she handled the situation well – I know I couldn’t have stayed as positive as she did if I were in her position. I also think she was pretty strong and confident too, because she tried to find out things for herself (instead of just doing what she was told), whilst also looking out for her friends. I loved her scenes with Jack, because they really made me smile (those two were so cute together!).

Jack was another character I liked, because he just seemed like an all round good guy, and he could be quite romantic when he wanted to be, which I thought was really sweet. I think there was more to him than, though, than we were actually told about – I think the fact he didn’t really belong in any group was very interesting, and will become more relevant later on in the series. He also made me laugh, but I think the prize for the funniest character has to go to Garrett who I just found completely hilarious. The things that came out of his mouth just cracked me up, and it was so funny when he was “subtly” trying to find out if Bliss liked him or not.

One character I didn’t think I’d like was Miranda – she started off annoying, but as we got to know her, I think we got to see a side of her that really cared about her friends, and though she kept sprouting the same silly stuff, it became less frustrating and more endearing as we discovered more about her, and I grew to actually like her a lot more than I thought I would. I also liked Alexis towards the end, and thought the fact she was a techie was quite cool – I’d definitely want her around if I were being isolated in a secret facility! :P

Plot-wise, I thought some aspects were slightly predictable, as I had worked out who one of the bad guys was quite a bit before we discovered it, but there was also a little twist I wasn’t expecting which I think made up for it. The book was quite slow-paced, with most of the action being towards the end, but I really enjoyed it overall, and can’t wait for the sequel.

In conclusion, Solid was a very intriguing book with a premise that is sure to appeal to a range of different readers – whether you like a bit of romance, a hint of science fiction, a spot of action or a touch of mystery, you’ll find it all in this book.

The second book, Settling, will be released July 4th 2011.

For more information, visit:

solidnovel.com
facebook.com/solidseries
twitter.com/SWorkinger
bookfare.blogspot.com

Sunday, 19 June 2011

In My Mailbox (#17)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren.

Another Sunday has rolled around...another badly taken photo (my dreams of a career in Photography, dashed!) to display the books I got this week:


For Review (from Chicklish):
Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson
Fury by Elizabeth Miles

Swapped:
Crave by Melinda Metz and Laura J. Burns

Bought:
Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini
Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
January (Conspiracy 365) by Gabrielle Lord
February (Conspiracy 365) Gabrielle Lord

That's it for me! What did you get this week?

Thursday, 16 June 2011

What is Pottermore?

Chances are, if you're a Harry Potter fan, you've probably seen this site:


If for some reason you haven't come across this yet, GO SEE IT NOW. Go to www.pottermore.com, and click on the owls. They will lead you to a youtube page with a countdown on it.

Now, what does this mean, I hear you ask? Well, your guess is as good as mine. All we know so far is that J. K. Rowling has patented the word "Pottermore" and has set up the Pottermore site. In 6 days and x amount of hours (the countdown will tell you!), she will release details of Pottermore, explaining what it actually is (and I think most fans are sitting in front of their screens, refreshing the site desperately in search for more information...or is that just me? :P). Now, there isn't much to go on so far; only a few sites have been lucky enough to preview Pottermore - the HPANA fansite has said "it is breathtaking in scope, detail and sheer beauty". There are some theories as to what it might be, including an encyclopedia, a MMORPG (which is basically an online roleplaying game - think World of Warcraft), comics and many more. 

I personally think it's probably a MMORPG - how else could it be "breathtaking" in "scope" and in "detail"? But, of course, no-one will know for sure until Thursday 23rd, so all we can do is guess, and keep watching the website for more clues. The only thing we do know for sure is that Pottermore is NOT another Harry Potter book - it is not a continuation of the series. What are your theories, and what would you like Pottermore to be?

Visit the Pottermore website or twitter.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday #17

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly even hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

The Death Cure (The Maze Runner #3) by James Dashner
October 11th 2011

Thomas knows that Wicked can't be trusted, but they say the time for lies is over, that they've collected all they can from the Trials and now must rely on the Gladers, with full memories restored, to help them with their ultimate mission. It's up to the Gladers to complete the blueprint for the cure to the Flare with a final voluntary test.

What Wicked doesn't know is that something's happened that no Trial or Variable could have foreseen. Thomas has remembered far more than they think. And he knows that he can't believe a word of what Wicked says.

The time for lies is over. But the truth is more dangerous than Thomas could ever imagine.


Will anyone survive the Death Cure?
(from Goodreads)

I loved the previous two books in this series so I can't wait to see how the last book turns out! What is everyone else looking forward to?

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Review: The Demon's Surrender by Sarah Rees Brennan

*This is a review I wrote for Bookbabblers, which can also be seen here.

The Demon's Surrender (The Demon's Lexicon #3)by Sarah Rees Brennan
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Books
Released: June 9th 2011
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

The Goblin Market has always been the centre of Sin's world. She's a dancer and a performer, secure in her place. But now the Market is at war with the magicians, and Sin's place is in danger. Keeping secrets from the market she loves, struggling with a friend who has become a rival, Sin is thrown together with the Ryves brothers, Nick and Alan - whom she's always despised. But Alan has been marked by a magician, to be tortured as the magician pleases, and as Sin watches Alan struggle to protect the demon brother he loves, she begins to see both brothers in a new light. But how far will brother go to save brother - and what will it cost them all? (from Goodreads)

The Demon’s Surrender was an exciting conclusion to one of my favourite series, and whilst I did love it, I have to say, it was probably my least favourite book in the trilogy (to be fair, the previous two books were absolutely amazing). I was wary about the point of view switch before I started - the main character this time around was Sin, and while I enjoyed getting to know more about the Goblin Market and its people, I didn’t feel as connected to her as I had with previous main characters, Nick and Mae, because we had only caught a few glimpses of her before, so she seemed more distanced and detached. Things were a bit harder to understand because of this as Sin wasn’t privy to the kind of information the rest of the characters were, and so the reader could sometimes be left a little confused. Also, I felt because Sin was from such a different world to the other characters (from the mysterious Goblin Market), she didn’t interact with them as much as I expected, so we lost quite a lot of the playful conversations and funny banter that was in the previous two books. I found this happened especially with Alan and Nick, and Nick and Jamie’s friendship – there were hardly any of their usual witty conversations, and I felt Jamie didn’t have to chance to show his brilliant sense of humour.

That being said, I still really enjoyed this book. The plot was more twisted than ever, and the Ryves brothers were back and badder than before. I really liked Alan in this book (though Nick will forever be my favourite Ryves brother – he’s so hilarious) and think we got to see a little more of how his mind worked, and why he was so secretive all the time. I also liked the build-up of his relationship with Sin, and I thought they worked very well together (though he seemed to get over Mae rather quickly). It also meant that Nick and Mae could finally work on their relationship, which I was ecstatic about seeing as they were my favourite pairing in the series (though the amount explored was limited due to the fact they were no longer the focussing characters, which was a shame). I also liked reading about Sin’s opinions on everyone, especially her rival Mae, because it helped give a completely different viewpoint on the characters, which I found very interesting. But, by far, the best part of this book (apart from the wonderful characters) was the dialogue. Sarah Rees Brennan has an amazing way with words, and some of the conversations between the characters have just stuck in my head, especially ones between the two brothers, and Nick and Mae. These books have always been about the bonds between brothers, and between friends, and I think Brennan does a remarkable job of presenting these bonds in the books, along with the incredible lengths people will go to protect those they care about (even semi-emotionless characters like Nick, whose fiercely loyalty to his brother made him determined never to give up).

The ending surprised me; it wasn’t necessarily a twist but I didn’t expect what the whole plan with the magicians entailed. I was quite shocked, but I think it was a fitting end and I loved the final chapter because it wrapped everything up so well (though the whole thing with Seb - !). In conclusion, The Demon’s Surrender was a great novel, and whilst not my favourite of The Demon’s Lexicon series, it was a thrilling final instalment, and I would definitely recommend the series to any young adult readers looking for an electrifying read.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Review: Angel by L. A. Weatherly

Angel (Angel #1) by L. A. Weatherly
Publisher: Usborne Publishing
Released: October 1st 2010
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Angels are all around us: beautiful, awe-inspiring, irresistible.

Ordinary mortals yearn to catch a glimpse of one of these stunning beings and thousands flock to The Church of Angels to feel their healing touch.

But what if their potent magnetism isn't what it seems? 


Willow knows she's different from other girls. And not just because she loves tinkering around with cars.

Willow has a gift. She can look into people's futures, know their dreams, their hopes and their regrets, just by touching them. But she has no idea where she gets this power from.

Until she meets Alex…

Alex is one of the few who know the truth about angels. He knows Willow's secret and is on a mission to stop her.

The dark forces within Willow make her dangerous – and irresistible. 

In spite of himself, Alex finds he is falling in love with his sworn enemy.
(from Goodreads)

All Willow Fields was supposed to do was give Beth a reading. But after what Willow saw – well, she couldn’t stay quiet. She had to warn Beth that she was in serious trouble. But Beth didn’t exactly like what she was hearing, and after a call from a strange visitor, Willow wishes she never said anything at all. Especially since all she’s done is land herself in the company of Alex, the dangerous boy that she of all people should not be hanging out with. It seems Alex and Willow are both in danger, and when the line between friend and foe blurs, Alex and Willow find themselves trying to protect the very people they should be staying away from – each other.

Okay, whoa. I was not expecting that. Angel was a lot more developed and thrilling than I thought it’d be, and I could not stop reading it. The chapters flowed and fit together really well, it was just wow! You can tell that there was real thought put into the plot development and how the story should turn out. Willow was an interesting character. She was into cars, and liked to fix them, she dressed oddly and she was psychic. I really liked how she wasn’t just your usual teen, and I was surprised to find that she was quite funny too – some of her comebacks (to Alex) really made me smile. I think the attraction between Alex and Willow was very well portrayed and you could just feel the buzz in the air between them.

Speaking of Alex, I thought he was a great character too – he had determination and strength, but he was kind too. He started off hating angels with a passion, and was one of the best Angel Killers around, but after a few discoveries, he was forced to rethink few things. I really liked the chapters which were focussed on Alex because we got to find out about his childhood and how it was for him growing up at camp, training to be an Angel Killer instead of going to school like a regular kid. I think it helped build his character and helped us to understand why he was fighting against his attraction to Willow so much. Some of my favourite scenes were the ones where Alex and Willow were just talking about their past, like in the Motel room while watching TV.

The only problems I had with this book were these: 1) why Willow was so important in destroying the angels was never fully explained. I understand this is the first book in a series, but it was so frustrating! Especially since her importance was mentioned like a hundred times; I’m a curious person by nature and I was just dying to know why she was so special. 2) The end of the book turned, and there is only one word for it, sappy. Once Willow and Alex admitted they liked each other...ahh. I mean, yay for the kissing and yay for the cute stuff, but my God, the sappiness! They were just soo lovey-dovey and googly-eyed, it was cringe-worthy. It was like the tension was replaced by some kind of love-fest; less witty, more drippy, seriously. They were just so...like those people in movies that go, “You hang up first!” “No, you hang up first!” – it was honestly like that. Plus, come on Willow, you really didn’t know what te amo meant? Couldn’t you guess? Come on, everyone knows! Rihanna sang a song about it! Anyway, ignoring the sappiness, the storyline actually got really good towards the end. There was this one revelation that was just so AH. You may suspect it, but even so, when it’s revealed, it’s just like, whoa.

In conclusion, Angel was an engaging, action-packed book with a unique take on angels. I would recommend it to anyone that’s looking for a paranormal/supernatural romance with a twist, or for all those romantics out there that never like to hang up the phone first.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

In My Mailbox (#16)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren.

These are all the books I've gotten over the past month or so that I received while I was on hiatus because of my exams (so there aren't that many). Reviews for Shift, The Demon's Surrender, The Wide-Awake Princess and The Scorpio Races should be coming soon.



(I bought these three today - I found them in the clearance section of WHSmith, so I got three books for less than the price of one! :D)

For Review (all from Bookbabblers):
The Demon's Surrender by Sarah Rees Brennan
The Wide-Awake Princess by E. D. Baker
Shift by Jeri Smith-Ready
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Bought:
Beautiful Dead by Eden Maguire (I found this for 1p on Amazon [sellers section], and there was no delivery charge either. Best bargain ever)
Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Torment by Lauren Kate

Won:
Abandon by Meg Cabot (from the lovely Sally @ Elifylop)
The Death by Bikini Mysteries by Linda Gerber (from the amazing Cindy @ Princess Bookie)
The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter (from the wonderful Precious @ Fragments of Life)

And that's it! What did you get in your mailbox this week?

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Review: The Cursed Ones by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguié

The Cursed Ones (Crusade #1) by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguié
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Released: September 3rd 2011
My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

For the past two years, Jenn has lived and trained at Spain's Sacred Heart Academy Against the Cursed Ones. She is among the few who have pledged to defend humanity or die trying. But the vampires are gaining power, and the battle has only just begun. Forced to return home after death takes a member of her family, Jenn discovers that San Francisco is now a vampire strong-hold. As a lone hunter apart from her team, Jenn is isolated and at risk. She craves the company of her fighting partner, Antonio; his protection, his reassurance, his touch. But a relationship with Antonio comes with its own dangers, and the more they share of themselves, the more Jenn stands to lose. Then Jenn is betrayed by one who was once bound to protect her, causing her to doubt all she had held as true. To survive, Jenn must find the courage to trust herself - and her heart. (from Goodreads)

The Cursed Ones begins with Jenn, our protagonist, and the Salamancan Hunters on a mission to destroy three Cursed Ones. Ever since they announced their existence to the world, with claims of living with humans in peace, the Earth has been divided – the people who are with the Cursed Ones, and the people who are against them. Jenn is against them – she’s seen what they can do and knows their quest for peace is just a lie fed to humans to keep them docile. But Jenn is a hunter now, and she won’t just stand there and do nothing. But when the Cursed Ones take something precious to her, will she have the courage to fight like a hunter, when it means risking the lives of people she loves?

The Cursed Ones was an interesting book – I loved the idea that the Cursed Ones, or vampires, “come out” with their existence – it’s very different to any other vampire novel I’ve read. The idea that everyone hated the hunters who were trying to protect them was also something I liked, because it just made the situation seem so much more desperate and unfair. My favourite parts of the book were probably the flashbacks, especially the ones about Aurora and Antonio, because as well as helping to build up the characters, it also gave insight into a world before people knew vampires existed, which was very interesting to read about.

However, I did have a few issues with The Cursed Ones which is the reason it’s rated 3 stars. First of all, the main character Jenn, and there is no other word for it, was annoying. She was constantly doubting herself and her abilities, she always, always, always had to be “rescued” by someone (mainly Antonio, who rushed to her side the moment her knees even “buckled”) and the moments where she did actually do some awesome fighting, she ruined it by complaining she’d done it wrong and the consequences were all her fault blah blah blah. I wanted to jump into the book, shake her and say “Pull yourself together!” It seemed she was suffering from a severe case of Bellaitis. I mean, I understand having a heroine that isn’t very confident, which is fine, but I felt with Jenn it went too far. And because of this, the ending was hard to believe, because if she had never before thought she was a good fighter, then why would she suddenly accept she was “special” – especially when there was absolutely no evidence to suggest this?

Another issue I had is that there were a lot of things that I found hard to believe, the main thing being Antonio and Jenn’s relationship. They both claimed to love each other (we know from the beginning they are in some kind of relationship), yet this is never explained, and we never see how their feelings developed. It was all just, “I love Antonio, but I can’t be with him” and “I will never let anything happen to you Jenn, my love”. I understood that they loved each other, but why? They barely talked to each other. Scratch that, they barely even saw each other! How can we be expected to believe these two characters were hopelessly in love when they’ve never even sat down and had a real conversation? We never find out what drew them to each other in the first place – it just seemed so odd that they were willing to die for one another when they practically knew nothing about each other.

Another thing I didn’t really buy was Jenn’s dad. What he did was just twisted and unrealistic and just so odd and crazy. I mean, I suspected he hadn’t forgiven Jenn (and thought she was stupid for believing him), but I just can’t believe a man that claimed to love his wife and his daughter (Heather) would be idiotic and cruel enough to do what he did. Even if he were cruel, how can someone be so STUPID? How could he not figure out what would happen? Then he turned into a complete coward, completely forgetting about his original aim. It just seemed so ugh – it frustrated me. I felt like no real person could be like this character. He just annoyed me so much and I really didn’t enjoy the parts of the book he was in.

One thing that was quite good was the use of language for each character. Jamie, who was Irish, often said a lot of British and Irish phrases (though as a Brit myself, I can safely say no-one says “bloody hell” THAT much), and Antonio, who was Spanish, often said things in his native language, as did Eriko, who was from Japan. I felt this helped build their characters and give the reader a sense of who they were.

In conclusion, The Cursed Ones had a very interesting premise, but was lacking in likeable characters and had a plot that was difficult to follow. 

Thursday, 9 June 2011

International Covers

I've decided since I love discussing different covers so much, I'm going to do a post about it myself! So, as Captain Li Shang from Mulan would say, let's get down to business.

Original Sin (Personal Demons #2) by Lisa Desrochers
Released in US: July 5th 2011

                                US                          vs                     Australian

I'm going with the Australian cover here. I really don't like the US one. It's marginally better than the Personal Demons cover (which if you've read my review, you'll know I hate), but there's something about it I really don't like. I love the Australian cover though, because even though it's so simple, it highlights the whole light side vs dark side good vs evil aspect of the story.

Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

                          US hardback                   vs                         UK

      Italian                        vs                   US paperback
                                      
Right, I know there's not much difference between the US hardback and paperback, but the colouring is different, the paperback is sort of less bright. I actually really love all these covers, but my favourite is probably the US paperback, because I love that original image, and I prefer the slightly toned down colour (hardback is a bit too bright for me). I really like the UK and Italian ones too, though, and I believe (but don't quote me on it) the title on the Italian cover is "Travelling to Me".

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson 

                  UK hardback/Australian            vs                  US hardback
  
       Italian                         vs                  UK paperback
                                           
                        US paperback                   vs                      French

                           German                      vs                        Danish

There are so many lovely covers here! I can't actually choose. I love the German one, but I also really like the Italian one! And my UK version is slightly different, it has purply bits in it as well. I think they're all really interesting :).

Which covers are your favourites? Any you really don't like?

And if anyone has the time, I'd love it if you could fill in this form with your ideas on how I could improve my blog. I'd be eternally grateful!

Review: City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

*This is a review I wrote for Bookbabblers, which can also be seen here.

City of Fallen Angels (Mortal Instruments #4) by Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Walker Books
Released: April 5th 2011
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

City of Fallen Angels takes place two months after the events of City of Glass. In it, a mysterious someone’s killing the Shadowhunters who used to be in Valentine’s Circle and displaying their bodies around New York City in a manner designed to provoke hostility between Downworlders and Shadowhunters, leaving tensions running high in the city and disrupting Clary’s plan to lead as normal a life as she can — training to be a Shadowhunter, and pursuing her relationship with Jace. As Jace and Clary delve into the issue of the murdered Shadowhunters, they discover a mystery that has deeply personal consequences for them — consequences that may strengthen their relationship, or rip it apart forever. 

Meanwhile, internecine warfare among vampires is tearing the Downworld community apart, and only Simon — the Daylighter who everyone wants on their side — can decide the outcome; too bad he wants nothing to do with Downworld politics. Love, blood, betrayal and revenge: the stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels.
(from Goodreads)

I have to say, I was slightly wary approaching City of Fallen Angels. I had loved the first trilogy in the Mortal Instruments series, and the ending of City of Glass was such a fitting, amazing ending, I couldn’t have been happier with it. So when I heard Cassandra Clare was writing a new trilogy, I simultaneously experienced “YES I AM SO INCREDIBLY HAPPY” and “But what if it ruins everything?” I can tell you now, it didn’t ruin everything. While I still love the end of City of Glass, reading City of Fallen Angels made me realise that were a lot of things that were left open, and it’s these things that are explored in book four.

One thing I liked about City of Fallen Angels was that we got to see a lot more of Simon. Seeing things from his perspective was interesting, because previously, we had only ever gotten Clary’s view on Shadowhunters and Downworlders, and what their world was like. Simon, however, saw things differently to Clary. Being a Downworlder himself, he was more aware of the divide between Shadowhunters and his kind, and he could see it wherever he went; with Isabelle’s parents, and with the other vampires who really didn’t like him because of his association with people like Jace and Clary. It was nice to see the other side of things. I also liked Simon’s perspective because it made me laugh to read about why on earth he thought it would be good idea to date both Isabelle and Maia at the same time. I thought it seemed a little out of character for Simon to treat the girls that way, but it turned out he really just couldn’t explain the situation he was in! It was almost funny how surprised he was that he’d ended up with two girlfriends. I felt like we got to know him better too, and he became less of a side character, and more of a main one.

I was glad for the return of Clary and Jace too, however. Both characters, while far from perfect, held a certain quality that just made it impossible for you to stop reading about them. Every scene they were in drew me in, even when Jace was acting odd and hiding things from everyone. Clary was her strong, stubborn self, and Jace still hadn’t gotten over his self-loathing and terror that he would turn out like Valentine. They were both still suffering from what had happened previously. Together, they were both stronger, yet more vulnerable – because their relationship was complicated and so volatile. Like a certain character said to Jace and Clary in the book, “You love each other – anyone can see that, looking at you – that kind of love that can burn down the world or raise it up in glory.”

Another thing I liked was how the new storyline developed. The deaths of a few Shadowhunters at first didn’t seem to tie in with any of the other things going on, such as Simon’s visit from an ancient vampire, Camille, and Jace’s strange dreams, but as you read on, you begin to realise there is a link between all these things. It was cleverly revealed to us bit by bit, and though you may be able to guess a few certain things, there is a rather big, or should I say humoungously gigantic, cliffhanger at the end that will leave you with your eyes wide and your jaw dropped.

The only complaints I have about City of Fallen Angels are that one: it read differently to the previous three books in that it didn’t flow as well. I think this is because we were seeing things from multiple perspectives (because all the characters get a bit of a say this time) that it seemed slightly jumbled. Some chapters focussed on a certain aspect of the story (e.g. Jocelyn’s wedding) and then halfway through switched to something else and the previous thing wasn’t mentioned again. It just seemed like there were a lot of things going on at the same time, and it was a bit all over the place and hard to keep up. Two: Alec and Magnus simply weren’t in it enough. They were my absolute favourite characters, yet we only saw them right towards the end! I missed Magnus’s unique wit and crazy-warlock dress sense. Their scenes were funny and sweet though, and I hope we get to see more of them in the next book.

In conclusion, City of Fallen Angels was an engaging, fast-paced and spine-tingling addition to the series. If you’re looking for more action, more drama and more dangerous situations with all the same characters (and a few new ones too), then read this book! I’ve already resigned myself to the torturously long wait it will be until City of Lost Souls is released. 

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday #16

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly even hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Wings of the Wicked (Angelfire #2) by Courtney Allison Moulton
2012

Life as the Preliator is harder than Ellie ever imagined. 

Balancing real life with the responsibility of being Heaven’s warrior is a challenge for Ellie. Her relationship with Will has become all business, though they both long for each other. And now that the secret of who she really is has come out, so have Hell’s strongest reapers. Grown bold and more vicious, the demonic threaten her in the light of day and stalk her in the night.


She’s been warned. 

Cadan, a demonic reaper, comes to her with information about Bastian’s new plan to destroy Ellie’s soul and use an ancient relic to wake all the souls of the damned and unleash them upon humanity. As she fights to stay ahead of Bastian’s schemes , the revelations about those closest to her awaken a dark power within Ellie that threatens to destroy everything—including herself.

She’ll be betrayed. 

Treachery comes even from those whom she loves, and Ellie is broken by the deaths of those who stood beside her in this Heavenly war. Still, she must find a way to save the world, herself, and her love for Will. If she fails, there will be hell to pay.
(from Goodreads)

I'm really excited for this! The cover was revealed recently, but there's no exact release date as of yet. I like the cover too, though I think I preferred the one for Angelfire. What is everyone else looking forward to?

Edit: what does everyone think of the new blog layout? Yay or nay?

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Back in Business

Just wanted to let you all know that my exams are (finally) over, so I'll be back to reviewing as normal! I have about a million reviews to type up (I don't even know why I bother handwriting them sometimes), and a ton of organising to do but hopefully the blog will be back to normal by next week. I'm also commenting and visiting other blogs again, so if anyone wants to chat, feel free! I hope I haven't missed too much the past two months, and hope you're all having a great week :). And just because I'm in such a good mood, here are some funny gifs/images that have absolutely nothing to do with anything:














I could post these forever, but, well, this is a book blog, and I have no idea how to format anything to make it look better (which is why my blog has the simplest, most unpolished design ever) :P.