Friday, 22 April 2011

Taking a Break


First of all, I want to say sorry for being absent this week. I've been ill - and it couldn't have come at a worse time, because I'm supposed to be revising for exams (needless to say I haven't got much work done). I haven't been answering my emails either, but I will get round to it eventually :). The other thing is, because I do have exams soon, I'm taking a short break from blogging. I'll be posting a few things randomly here and there, and I'll be here for my blog tour stop, but I won't be posting regularly again until mid June. Then it's back to business! :P. But for now, I'm off to type up some Psychology homework (hopefully my head won't explode).

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Review: Jenna & Jonah's Fauxmance by Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin

*This is a book I reviewed for Bookbabblers, and the review can also be seen here.

Jenna & Jonah's Fauxmance by Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Released: March 7th 2011
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Fans of romance don't need to look any further than the fauxmance brewing between teen idols Charlie Tracker and Fielding Withers—known on their hit TV show as Jenna and Jonah, next-door neighbors flush with the excitement of first love. But it's their off-screen relationship that has helped cement their fame, as passionate fans follow their every PDA. They grace the covers of magazines week after week. Their fan club has chapters all over the country. The only problem is their off-screen romance is one big publicity stunt, and Charlie and Fielding can't stand to be in the same room. Still, it's a great gig, so even when the cameras stop rolling, the show must go on, and on, and on. . . . Until the pesky paparazzi blow their cover, and Charlie and Fielding must disappear to weather the media storm. It's not until they're far off the grid of the Hollywood circuit that they realize that there's more to each of them than shiny hair and a winning smile. (from Goodreads)

Charlie and Fielding (know by their character names Jenna and Jonah) have been faking their off-screen relationship for what seems like forever. So when they’re finally outed by the press, they can’t help feeling relieved – it’s hard pretending you’re in love with someone you can’t stand. But with the threat of their careers being flushed down the toilet, Jenna and Jonah have to escape the public and hide out until everything blows over. With just the two of them away from the public eye, Jenna and Jonah realise that maybe they don’t know each other as well as they thought. But with their performance of Much Ado About Nothing just around the corner, the only thing they have time for is rehearsal – and they need to work hard, because they’re nothing like Beatrice and Benedick. Right?

Jenna and Jonah’s Fauxmance was a very cute, light-hearted read, guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Both Jenna and Jonah (or Charlie and Fielding-slash-Aaron) were very likeable characters; you would think famous people would be so different to the general public, but Jenna and Jonah seemed like nice, normal people just trying to deal with their rather more hectic lives, and were very relatable. I absolutely loved the interaction between the two; there were some seriously hilarious one liners there, and both characters were witty and knew just how to get on one another’s nerves (I did enjoy the sarcastic ping-pong). The alternating POVs really helped flesh out both characters as well, and it was good to see the same situation through two different pairs of eyes. I liked all the scenes they spent together, because as they gradually realised they didn’t actually know that much about each other, they were simultaneously learning more about the real Charlie and Fielding along the way. I also liked how what was going on in the book sort of coincided with the play Much Ado About Nothing, and how Jenna and Jonah were completely oblivious to how like Beatrice and Benedick they really were.

The plot is a bit predictable, especially for anyone who has read Much Ado About Nothing, but I don’t think this takes away from the story. There were definitely a few laugh out loud moments in this book as well, especially when the entire Jenna and Jonah fanbase assumed Jonah was gay (including his parents, who were so happy and accepting, Jonah just couldn’t bring himself to convince them they were wrong :P).  The only things I wish had been further explored were some of the supporting characters, and the ending, which I felt ended a bit suddenly.

Overall, Jenna and Jonah’s Fauxmance was a quick, funny read, great for those sunny days. Pick this up if you’re looking for something cheerful and summery, or something to take your mind off your last serious read! 

Sunday, 17 April 2011

In My Mailbox (#15)

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

So, yes, no camera again. I'll get it back next week, hopefully! Anyway, here's what I got:



For Review:
Die for Me by Amy Plum 

Gift: 
Rosebush by Michele Jaffe (from the awesome Vickie @ ComaCalm - thank you!)

Free:
13 Little Blue Envelopes (this is free on Amazon, guys! It's Kindle edition...and I don't have a Kindle. So I probably won't get round to reading this for a while...but it was free! Everyone likes free stuff).

And that's it. What did you get? And hope you're enjoying the weekend!

EDIT: Completely forgot that I also won this from Goodreads firstreads. Wow, my memory is terrible...


The Cursed Ones (or Crusade as it's called in the US) by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguié.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Review: The Duff by Kody Keplinger

The Duff by Kody Keplinger
Publisher: Little Brown/Poppy
Released: September 7th 2010
My Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.
(from Goodreads)

The Duff was a rather complex book. Let’s just start with the word “Duff”. The Designated Ugly Fat Friend. What a word right? It’s like, the ultimate insult. No matter what anyone says, if someone called you The Duff for the first time, you’d be upset. It’s a horrible word. Yet, apparently, it’s used all the time. It exists. Girls are labelled Duffs, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. Bianca Piper experiences being called The Duff for the first time, and ends up pouring Cherry Coke on the guy who says it to her (good on you, Bianca!). But pouring Cherry Coke on Wesley Rush doesn’t erase what he said to her. It doesn’t stop her thinking about all her faults: is she too fat? Too ugly? Is she too short, are her boobs to small? And to top it all off, Bianca’s home life takes a turn for the worse. Instead of facing her problems though, Bianca decides to distract herself – she sleeps with the boy she hates, the one who calls her “Duffy”, the biggest manwhore in the school – Wesley Rush. And not just once. Because Wesley is the only one that can make her forget about all her problems, make her feel like she’s not just an ugly mess. Ironic, since he’s the one that called her The Duff in the first place. But Bianca soon realises that maybe Wesley isn’t as bad as she thought, and when her only distraction becomes another problem, running away starts to get a lot harder.

Bianca is a character I think we can all relate to (I loved her especially because of all the cynicism and sarcasm – I’m a great appreciator of sarcastic wit). Though she knew what she was doing with Wesley wasn’t the best way to solve her problems, she couldn’t help it. She wanted to feel wanted. To feel like somebody actually cared. She questioned why Wesley even agreed to their deal, yet she didn’t push the subject. I think that showed just how screwed up she was. Every time they slept together, she felt dirty and wrong. But she kept doing it anyway. Anything to escape from her home life, anything to distract herself. She thought she was ugly, and couldn’t understand why Wesley didn’t just push her away. But she didn’t care as long as she could keep coming over to his house. She was losing her friends. It wasn’t until she realised that she might actually like Wesley that she decided to call the whole thing off. Ironic, huh? Bianca, though probably someone who acted in a way most people haven’t, was thinking and feeling a lot of things most people have. Which is why I felt like I could relate to her. She was messed up, and she knew it, just like a lot of teenage girls today with self-esteem issues and confidence problems. Bianca thought she was alone in the problem – but we learn from The Duff that none of us are alone.

Wesley started off as a completely arsehole, but I guess this is another case of first impressions not always being right. As Bianca got to know him, she found out there was more to him than just his manwhore status. He had his own problems, but not only that, he was a good listener, and was willing to be there for her whenever she needed him. Sometimes, he could say really nice things. And he seemed to care about her too. Plus, there was no denying the hotness. Still, how could she trust him? He was in it for the sex, and nothing else right? I have to admit, it took a while for me to properly like Wesley. He seemed like a good person, and he was definitely funny and charming, but he was a complete manwhore. Seriously. THAT many girls? I’m surprised he managed it – he may have been good-looking, but he could be downright mean sometimes! But, in the end, I liked him. A lot. He did a lot for Bianca, and he was willing to change for her. Which I imagine would take a lot of effort. I think he became a better person by the end of the book, and the last line...aw, it was cute :).

Bianca’s friends were great supporting characters, I think, and were a prime example of how everyone can feel like The Duff sometimes (like Bianca said, if you haven’t felt like The Duff, you can’t have any friends). I think that was an important message to get across – I know I’ve certainly felt like The Duff a lot, and I know others who have too. But “Duff” is just another word, after all, and I think that once you realise that everyone feels like The Duff at some point, it’s a bit easier to get over it once someone has called you it. Bianca went as far as being proud of being The Duff – because everyone is, even the person who said it to you. The Duff teaches you that you can’t be happy with others unless you’re happy with yourself, and that’s a philosophy I’m going to try hard to follow.

In conclusion, The Duff was a book I would recommend for all girls, whatever age, and is something I’ll probably be rereading. I’m happy Kody Keplinger decided to address these issues in such a funny, yet eye-opening way, and I look forward to reading her other works.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Epic Fail

So I just attempted to make brownies from scratch. Not a good idea. I used too much flour, completely overcooked them and they've turned out as some disgusting blocks of square cake. I'm so annoyed. I mean, I could have EATEN that chocolate I used. Now it's been wasted in some gross brownie/cake fail. What a waste of time and money...

Speaking of epic fails, here's a book I really want to read:

Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik
August 2nd 2011

At Coral Tree Prep in Los Angeles, who your parents are can make or break you. Case in point:

• As the son of Hollywood royalty, Derek Edwards is pretty much prince of the school—not that he deigns to acknowledge many of his loyal subjects.

• As the daughter of the new principal, new-girl-on-campus Elise Benton isn’t exactly on everyone’s must-sit-next-to-at-lunch list.

When Elise’s beautiful sister catches the eye of the prince’s best friend, Elise gets to spend a lot of time with Derek, making her the envy of every girl. Except she refuses to fall for any of his rare smiles and instead warms up to his enemy, the surprisingly charming social outcast Webster Grant. But in this hilarious tale of fitting in and flirting, not all snubs are undeserved, not all celebrity brats are bratty, and pride and prejudice can get in the way of true love for only so long. Fans of Susane Colasanti (When It Happens), Polly Shulman (Enthusiasm), and, of course, Jane Austen will love finding out if Elise’s love life will be an epic win or an epic fail.
 (from Goodreads)

Hopefully this book will read better than my horrific brownie/cakes taste.


Ode to gooeyness: 

Gooey centre of my brownies
You have solidified
My knife cuts through you like a cake
Oh why did you have to be so crumbly?
Chocolate wasted
And when I tasted your spongey middle
Well, frankly
It was gross.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday #15

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

Half-Blood (Covenant #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
September 15th 2011

The Hematoi descend from the unions of gods and mortals, and the children of two Hematoi pure-bloods have godlike powers. Children of Hematoi and mortals well, not so much. Half-bloods only have two options: become trained Sentinels who hunt and kill daimons or become servants in the homes of the pures.

Seventeen-year-old Alexandria would rather risk her life fighting than waste it scrubbing toilets, but she may end up slumming it anyway. There are several rules that students at the Covenant must follow. Alex has problems with them all, but especially rule #1:

Relationships between pures and halfs are forbidden.

Unfortunately, she's crushing hard on the totally hot pure-blood Aiden. But falling for Aiden isn't her biggest problem--staying alive long enough to graduate the Covenant and become a Sentinel is. If she fails in her duty, she faces a future worse than death or slavery: being turned into a daimon, and being hunted by Aiden. And that would kind of suck.
(from Goodreads)

So that's my pick! I like the sound of it, a bit like Vampire Academy but with a demon-y twist. Not too fond of the cover (bit too purple), but it definitely sounds like an interesting book! What did you guys pick?

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Review: The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney

The Iron Witch (The Iron Witch #1) by Karen Mahoney
Publisher: Corgi Children's
Released: February 3rd 2011
My Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

Freak. That's what her classmates call seventeen-year-old Donna Underwood. When she was seven, a horrific fey attack killed her father and drove her mother mad. Donna's own nearly fatal injuries from the assault were fixed by magic—the iron tattoos branding her hands and arms. The child of alchemists, Donna feels cursed by the magical heritage that destroyed her parents and any chance she had for a normal life. The only thing that keeps her sane and grounded is her relationship with her best friend, Navin Sharma.

When the darkest outcasts of Faerie—the vicious wood elves—abduct Navin, Donna finally has to accept her role in the centuries old war between the humans and the fey. Assisted by Xan, a gorgeous half-fey dropout with secrets of his own, Donna races to save her friend—even if it means betraying everything her parents and the alchemist community fought to the death to protect.
(from Goodreads)

The Iron Witch begins with Donna at a party with her best friend Navin, who, unlike her, is actually enjoying himself. Donna, sick of standing around doing nothing and being whispered about, decides to get out, and climbs the roof...where she meets Xan, the host of the party. Xan seems bored with his own party, and isn’t really interested in going downstairs. Instead, he and Donna begin to talk, and Donna realises that Xan is not like other boys...like her, he’s different. After a few more accidental (and some not-so accidental) meetings, Xan and Donna find themselves in the middle of something bigger than any party. But this time, there’s no escape route to the roof, and Xan and Donna must work together in order to bring back things precious to them both.

The Iron Witch was not the best of books. There were some things I liked about it; the original concept was interesting, and I really liked Donna’s tattoos, and the fact she had to keep them covered up with gloves. I also quite liked Xan – he was funny at times, and seemed willing to help Donna despite the danger of the situation. I liked entering the world of the wood elves – I thought the place was nicely described, and the queen’s desperate search for the Elixir of Life was what kept the story well paced. However, there were a lot of things that I didn’t like which I’ll come to next.

I started reading The Iron Witch with no knowledge of alchemy except what I’d seen in Fullmetal Alchemist (and if you don’t know what that is...why?). I can safely say, it didn’t matter much. I found The Iron Witch to be a somewhat confusing book. It shouldn’t have been; the basic storyline wasn’t too complex. But for some reason, I really struggled to follow it. Maybe I was just tired and a bit out of it, but I had to re-read half the book just to figure out what was going on.

First of all, the wood elves and whole magical/alchemy aspect of the book were introduced in a really rushed manner (the whole book seem rushed to me), and were not explained nearly enough. We find out there are wood elves in Maker’s house (Maker, who we know so little about I just about remembered his name), and that lots of magical creatures exist, but then that’s it. We don’t get any information about the faerie world at all, just that it exists. Navin asks barely any questions, which I found unrealistic, and the whole thing is just a confusing mess. I felt like I was being shoved into some random place I’d never been before and was expected to find my way around without so much as a map. And Xan – what the hell?! I liked him, and everything was all well and good - then suddenly, he just announced he was half fey (which wasn’t actually surprising) and said he used to have wings – but we never find out what exactly he was, why he had wings in the first place (because all we know is that he’s only part human), or why the wings were torn out the way they were. I was just reading this all going “Yes, that’s very nice, but WHY?” I’m starting to think maybe I accidentally skipped out a few pages, because I really didn’t get what was happening.

Secondly, most of the characters didn’t live up to their potential for me. Donna could have been such a great protagonist, she was unique and involved in such an interesting world - yet she was quite a boring heroine – I neither liked nor disliked her, I just found her forgettable and a little annoying. Navin was a bit more interesting, but again, was lacking something. Xan had a few intriguing qualities, but I just couldn’t connect to any of them. I felt very detached, and not a part of the story at all. The villains of the story seemed overly harsh, and I just didn’t find it believable. Are there actually teenagers like this, who would shun Donna the way they did for barely doing anything? I thought it was a bit extreme – but maybe it’s just because I’ve never personally experienced anything like that in any of my schools, which I suppose is fair enough. The relationship between Xan and Donna was odd; based mainly on the fact they were both “different” and running from danger. Xan did have a sense of humour however, which at least made some scenes enjoyable.

Towards the end, however, things did start to pick up, and I found myself actually reading because I wanted to, and not because I was forcing myself to finish the book. Donna had to focus on saving Navin, so she became less self-pitying and more fired up, which improved her character considerably for me. I know there’s going to be a sequel, and I might just be tempted enough to read it, purely to find out what the hell is supposed to be happening.

In conclusion, The Iron Witch is a book that had a lot of potential, but fell flat and was too mixed up to be very enjoyable. I will be reading the next book, though, where I hope things are more clearly explained.

(Extra points for the cover though - I loves it.)

Monday, 11 April 2011

Late In My Mailbox (#14)

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

I once again do not have a camera - it has been "borrowed" by a family member (-_-), and so I'll just have to use images this week. I didn't get much anyway, so it's not too bad.


For Review:
A Small Free Kiss in the Dark by Glenda Millard (thanks, Leonora!)

Gift:
The Sky is Everywhere (from the amazing Vickie @ ComaCalm - she's lovely, check out her blog if you haven't already :])

And that's it! Hope everyone had a great weekend :).

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Winners!

First of all, a huge, huge thank you to everyone that entered the giveaway! I hope all you new followers are enjoying the blog so far, and to the old ones, thanks for sticking with me :). I do love you all! But, now for what you are all waiting for...the winners of my Almost 100 followers/7 month blogoversary contest are:

#185 Patricia @ Patricia's Particularity

and

#259 Austine @ The Magick Pen

Congratulations! I've emailed you both, and I hope you enjoy your books :).

For everyone else, I will be having more contests in the future, so there're always more chances to win. Hope everyone is having a great day!

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday #14

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

Seeing as my last review was for Defiance, I think this is very fitting...

Reckoning (Strange Angels #5) by Lili St. Crow
November 1st 2011

(summary contains major spoilers for the fourth book, read at your own risk)
The electric finale in New York Times bestselling author Lili St. Crow’s Strange Angels series!

Nobody expected Dru Anderson to survive this long. Not Graves. Not Christophe. Not even Dru. She’s battled killer zombies, jealous djamphirs, and bloodthirsty suckers straight out of her worst nightmares. But now that Dru has bloomed into a fullfledged svetocha—rare, beautiful, and toxic to all vampires—the worst is yet to come. Because getting out alive is going to cost more than she’s ever imagined. And in the end, is survival really worth the sacrifice?

DRU ANDERSON’S NOT AFRAID OF THE DARK. 

BUT SHE SHOULD BE. (from Goodreads)

I like the cover - the leather jacket looks cool, and Dru looks angry, so I'm guessing some big stuff is gonna go down. The image is a bit blurry, sorry, but it's the best there is at the moment. What is everyone else looking forward to?

Review: Defiance by Lili St. Crow

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

Defiance (Strange Angels #4) by Lili St. Crow
Publisher: Quercus
Released: March 31st 2011
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

The heart-stopping fourth novel in New York Times bestselling author Lili St. Crow's Strange Angels series.

Now that sixteen-year-old Dru's worst fears have come true and Sergej has kidnapped her best friend Graves, she'll have to go on a suicidal rescue mission to bring him back in one piece.

That is, if she can put all of Christophe's training to good use, defeat her mother's traitor, Anna, once and for all, and manage to survive another day . . .
(from Goodreads)

Dru has been training with Christophe, desperately trying to become strong enough to find her best friend Graves and bring him back. But no-one has any idea where Graves is, or if he’s even still alive. Dru won’t give up, though – nothing is going to stop her from finding Graves: not her stupid curfews, not the Council, and certainly not Christophe. But lately, Dru has been thinking of Christophe in ways that she shouldn’t be, especially since she’s still not a hundred percent sure whether she can trust him. Dru’s sick of being lied to and kept in the dark – but when you’re one of the only svetocha in the world, keeping safe seems to be more important that hearing the truth. Even with blooming so close by, Dru knows she’s not ready to take on the immensely powerful Sergej to get Graves back. Sometimes, Dru wishes she never knew about the Real World...

Defiance was a great addition to the Strange Angels series, and probably one of my favourites so far. I really liked the fact that we got to see more of Christophe in this one – I felt we barely got to know him at all in the previous books, so I liked getting the chance to learn more about him, and I loved how his relationship with Dru was explored. He seemed more likeable in this book as well, as opposed to his usual distant and aloof self, though of course, there was still that air of mystery that kept his character exciting and intriguing. One thing I did notice was that Dru seemed more reliant on him (and other people in general) than she did to begin with, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it showed she was opening up to people, but I do have to admit; I kind of missed the no funny business bad girl attitude we saw in book one.

Another thing I liked about this book is the way the plot developed. Whilst searching for Graves, Dru found out a lot of stuff people had been hiding from her, which answered half the questions I had and posed several more. I did like seeing Anna again, especially in such a different situation than before, as it showed a different side to her character that not a lot of people would have expected to see. Plus, Ash is a character that has really grown on me throughout the series. I started off not liking him and now, even in his Broken state, I really do think he’s a good guy, and I like him a lot more than before. One thing however is that the plot does move very quickly so it’s easy to miss things; I found myself re-reading a few passages just to keep up with it. So keep in mind that this book is very fast-paced, and requires a lot of concentration while reading.

The only thing that annoyed me about Defiance is the same thing that’s annoyed me in all of the books: waxed oranges and mother’s locket. The amount of times Dru mentions the orange wax taste she gets ever time she’s in danger, and the amount of times she refers to the coolness or warmth of her mother’s locket – I swear, it increases with every book! This repetition is something the books could really do without, because I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds this frustrating. I just wanted to tell her to shut up and get on with it half the time. But like I said, it was the only part of the book I didn’t like; the story itself was very engaging and enjoyable. The ending was especially good and not what I expected, and has me anticipating the next book already!

In conclusion, Defiance was probably the best Strange Angels book so far for me, and I hope the next one, Reckoning, will be just as good! This is a must read for anyone who likes the series, and for anyone who wants a heroine with a bit more pluck than you’d usually find in your typical YA.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Contest Closed

Hello, awesome people! Just a little note to say that my seven month blogoversary/almost 100 followers giveaway is now closed! Thanks to everyone who entered, and I should have the winners picked by the end of the week :).

Hope everyone's having a great day (some awesome books released today: Red Glove by Holly Black, City of Fallen of Angels by Cassandra Clare...and a bunch more. Unfortunately, I've yet to buy any...)

Monday, 4 April 2011

Three Mini Reviews

Personal Demons (Personal Demons #1) by Lisa Desrochers
Publisher: Tor Teen
Released: September 14th
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Frannie Cavanaugh is a good Catholic girl with a bit of a wicked streak. She has spent years keeping everyone at a distance—-even her closest friends—-and it seems as if her senior year is going to be more of the same . . . until Luc Cain enrolls in her class. No one knows where he came from, but Frannie can’t seem to stay away from him.

What she doesn’t know is that Luc is on a mission. He’s been sent from Hell itself to claim Frannie’s soul. It should be easy—-all he has to do is get her to sin, and Luc is as tempting as they come. Frannie doesn’t stand a chance. But he has to work fast, because if the infernals are after her, the celestials can’t be far behind. And sure enough, it’s not long before the angel Gabriel shows up, willing to do anything to keep Luc from getting what he came for. It isn’t long before they find themselves fighting for more than just Frannie’s soul.

But if Luc fails, there will be Hell to pay . . . for all of them.
(from Goodreads)

Personal Demons was definitely an enjoyable book; I loved the two POVs, and I have to say, Luc’s was the most interesting. Due to his age, he just had a lot more to say, and in a very funny way too, and his chapters were my favourite. I liked Frannie’s too, but I didn’t connect with her as a character as much as I did with Luc – her constant dithering between Luc and Gabriel annoyed me a little bit (though I appreciate the difficulty of her situation), and I couldn’t really understand why she loved both of them anyway (and vice versa). I liked the romance in the book (scenes between Luc and Frannie were awesome), I just didn’t really get it if I’m honest. But that was the only real downside for me; the action was top-notch (there was just the right amount), the whole “good vs bad” thing was explored in a very intriguing way that I really liked, and the humour had me laughing out loud - one of the best parts for me was Frannie’s parents’ reaction to meeting Luc, and his thoughts on it. I cracked up. I can only imagine the looks on their faces! Overall, Personal Demons was a great book, and I can’t wait to read Original Sin!

(And okay, I just HAVE to say it. The cover. What the hell. They look about thirty, and they're just so...not at all how I imagined the characters to be. I don't like it at all...)

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Publisher: Dutton
Released: December 2nd 2010
My Rating: ∞ out of 5

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris—until she meets Étienne St. Claire: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.

As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near-misses end with the French kiss Anna—and readers—have long awaited?
(from Goodreads)

I have no words. Just buy the book. Look, just trust me. You must have seen all the positive reviews out there. I know books that are this hyped up are usually disappointing. This one is not. Anna and the French Kiss is amazing. Awesome. Superb. Excellent. Magnifique. Merveilleux. Splendide. The characters! By George, the characters. Guy with British accent (the accent doesn’t mean much to me seeing as I’m British. Yet Étienne St. Clair is now at the top of my Fictional Boys list. The TOP. Of THE LIST. I hope you know what this means. And he speaks French. So. Cool. And. Sexy. Plus, he’s short. Short guys do not usually appeal to me. Perkins made him awesome despite this. More attractive than any tall guy I have read about. She must have magical powers, because I have no idea how she invented such a great character. Plus, the way he and Anna were together...wow. I loved every single scene they shared. Every single one). Girl with cool hair. Moves to Paris. Makes new friends. Hilarity ensues. Drama and angsty stuff. More hilarity. Cuteness. Sadness. More angst and frustration. Making out. Confusion. Awesomness. And PARIS. I have never been, but I want to go so badly now. Okay, end of gushing. Just read it.

(Now THIS cover is cool. Eiffel Tower, green grass, sexy boy's hand...what's not to like?)

Afterlife (Evernight #4) by Claudia Gray
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
Released: March 3rd 2011
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

*spoilers for first three books*
When Bianca chooses death over becoming a vampire, she doesn’t realise that another life lies in store…

The fourth and final novel in the internationally best-selling EVERNIGHT series – a vampire romance with a shocking twist.

Bianca and Lucas have always believed they could endure anything to be together. When a twist of fate not only transforms Bianca into a wraith but also turns Lucas into a vampire – the very creature he spent his life hunting – they are left reeling.

Haunted by his powerful need to kill, Lucas can turn to only one place for help… Evernight Academy. But with the vampire leader of Evernight waging war on the wraiths, Bianca’s former home has become the most dangerous place she could be, despite the new powers her ghostly transformation has given her.

A battle between wraiths and vampires looms, and Bianca and Lucas face a terrifying new reality. Is their love strong enough to survive after life?
(from Goodreads)

Afterlife was a thrilling conclusion to the Evernight series. Lucas as a vampire...didn’t go so well. As you can imagine. He was suffering so much throughout this book, but he tried so hard to get through it, so he could be with Bianca. It was sweet, yet tragic at the same time. He used to be such a strong character before his transformation, but I think we get to see the more vulnerable side of him in Afterlife. Bianca, as a wraith, was also having a hard time. Trying to control her new powers, trying to understand her whole new existence...nothing was the same. She couldn’t eat or drink like she used to. Her new body felt things differently than before. Pain was different. She had to adapt to a completely new life (or death). She was suffering too. I felt like they both just deserved to have some peace and quiet for a while. But of course, that would be too easy - they both still had to discover why Mrs Bethany was trying to attract wraiths to the school. There are some astonishing revelations here, let me tell you. You might be able to guess some of it, but other things will come as a shock. There are some moments in the book that are a bit boring, that I felt like skipping over, but they’re far and few between and it is very much worth persisting with it. The ending was sort of bittersweet in my opinion, but I think it was very fitting, and I’m glad Gray wrote it that way. Overall, it was a great conclusion to the series, and I’m very happy with it.

(I've never really loved the covers to this series, but this one's okay. Purple is my favourite colour, so points there. And the washed out face correlates with the whole Bianca-being-a-wraith thing I guess).

Sunday, 3 April 2011

In My Mailbox (#13)

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



So, I went on a bit of a shopping spree this week and spent all of my leftover birthday money... 

Bought:
Angel by L.A. Weatherly
Forsaken by Jana Oliver
Babe in Boyland by Jody Gehrman (review coming soon...ish)
The Duff by Kody Keplinger (just finished this! <3)
Scorpia Rising by Anthony Horowitz (finished this too...)
The Ruby Olivers series (x4 books) by E. Lockhart
Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade

Swapped:
The Body Finder (with the lovely Donna @ Book Passion for Life)
Need by Carrie Jones (with the lovely chucklesthescot bookyverse)

Swag from the awesome Hannah Moskowitz (go check out her blog!)

So that's my haul this week - sorry for the lack of reviews, but I should have more up this week. Hope everyone's having a good weekend!