Friday, 30 September 2011

Daughter of Smoke and Bone Giveaway!


To celebrate the release of Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, which came out in the UK yesterday, the lovely people at Hodder have sent me one hardback copy to giveaway! So if you want the chance to win this amazing book (and if you need convincing - here's my gushing review), then simply fill out the form below!

Giveaway rules:
- Open to UK only
- Must be aged 13 or over
- Ends Monday 3rd October
- Following/spreading the word is not necessary, but is appreciated!



And to get you even more excited, here's the final DoSaB trailer, introducing Karou's best friend Zuzana:


Good luck to everyone who enters!
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NOTE: Recently, I've noticed my giveaways have been posted on a few strange sites, such as moneysavingexperts and some others too. I would appreciate if the person/people linking my blog to these sites would refrain from doing so, because first of all, I don't like being linked to odd places (especially I haven't even been told about it), and second, my giveaways are aimed at book lovers and people who enjoy reading. This is a YA book blog, and so I generally assume people enter the giveaways here because they genuinely want to read the book being offered. However, I've been getting a lot of random entries lately (some people have entered giveaways offering a certain selection of books, and yet have asked to win books not listed, and that have never even been mentioned on this blog before - from the top of my head, I can think of one person who entered to win a science textbook I've never heard of) and I'm having a hard time figuring who is serious about reading the book being given away, and who wants it just because it's free, or because they've misunderstood what the contest is about as they've been re-directed to my blog from a completely unrelated website. Maybe I'm being too picky, but I prefer entrants to at least have some interest in books and maybe the YA genre before they enter a giveaway on my blog, instead of entering for a book not on offer/a book they have never heard and have no real interest in, and aren't even sure they'll read - just because. And if you bothered to read this all - thanks for listening :).

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Waiting on Wednesday #31


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

Stolen Away by Alyxandra Harvey
January 5th 2012
Find it on Goodreads

For seventeen years, Eloise Hart had no idea the world of Faery even existed. Now she has been abducted and trapped in the Rath of Lord Strahan, King of Faery. Strahan was only meant to rule for seven years, as Faery tradition dictates, and then give up his crown to another. But he won't comply, and now chaos threatens both worlds.

The only one who can break his stranglehold on the Faery court is his wife. . . Eloise's aunt Antonia. Using Eloise to lure Antonia, Strahan captures his wife, desperate to end the only threat to his reign. Now Eloise must become the rescuer. Together with her best friends Jo and Devin, she must forge alliances with other Fae, including a gorgeous protector named Lucas, and Strahan's mysterious son, Eldric-who may or may not betray them. (from Goodreads)

I really enjoyed Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey, so I'm really looking forward to this one! (Haven't started the Drake Chronicles series yet, but it's on my tbr ;]). I'm also a huge fan of faery books, so I am doubly intrigued. Especially by this Eldric person - I love reading a book and not knowing which characters to trust :P. Plus, isn't the UK cover gorgeous? Simple, but pretty.

What are you waiting on this week?

Review: Past Perfect by Leila Sales

Past Perfect by Leila Sales
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Released: October 4th 2011
My Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

All Chelsea wants to do this summer is hang out with her best friend, hone her talents as an ice cream connoisseur, and finally get over Ezra, the boy who broke her heart. But when Chelsea shows up for her summer job at Essex Historical Colonial Village (yes, really), it turns out Ezra’s working there too. Which makes moving on and forgetting Ezra a lot more complicated…even when Chelsea starts falling for someone new.

Maybe Chelsea should have known better than to think that a historical reenactment village could help her escape her past. But with Ezra all too present, and her new crush seeming all too off limits, all Chelsea knows is that she’s got a lot to figure out about love. Because those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it…
(from Goodreads)

Past Perfect was such a cute little read, I absolutely adored it! It had amazing characters, a fabulous setting and a great balance of humour and romance. Definitely a book for all those contemporary lovers out there.

Our main character, Chelsea, works at Essex Historical Colonial Village during the summer – a place where history isn’t just history – it’s a lifestyle. Chelsea regularly dresses up as Elizabeth Connelly, a colonial girl, and her job is to answer the questions of any visitors (varying from “Where’s the bathroom?” to “Aren’t you hot in that costume?”). It’s not the best job in the world, but at least she’s with her best friend Fiona this year. Things aren’t looking too bad – until Chelsea finds out her ex-boyfriend Ezra, who seems completely over her, is working at Essex too. Suddenly things are a lot more complex – especially since the Civil War Reenactmentland across the road (and Essex’s archenemy) is determined to make their lives a misery. Dan, a Civil War soldier, and Chelsea end up crossing paths in the strangest of situations – and it’s then that Chelsea realises maybe the Civil War guys aren’t all bad. Still, rivals are rivals – and both sides are out to win.

One of the best things about Past Perfect, I can tell you now, was the humour. This book was one of the funniest I’ve read this year– Chelsea was so hilarious! Her comments made me laugh so much – she always had something witty or sarcastic up her sleeve and the things she came out with (especially about some of the people she came into contact with) cracked me up – my stomach hurt from laughing! I really liked her from the get-go, and instantly connected to her – I found she was really easy to relate to, and even though she was still really worked up over Ezra, I didn’t find her to be whiny or annoying, which would have been an easy trap to fall in to. Sure, at times when she was confused, she did some stupid things, but overall I found her to be such a likeable character! I loved her friendship with Fiona too – they seemed to really get each other, and I definitely appreciated their aspirations to become ice-cream connoisseurs :P. I also liked the way the whole historical re-enactment was a big part of her life, and I have to admit, it all sounded like fun!

Dan was another amazing (and pretty damn smooth) character. The banter between him and Chelsea was so great to read and they got on really easily and were so funny together! From the start, they seemed to have a real spark between them, and they were both quick-witted, which made for some hilarious – and sometimes awkward – conversations. I was rooting for them the whole time, and I just wanted them to forget the fact that they were technically enemies and be with each other instead! But of course, they couldn’t without being regarded as traitors by all their friends, so there was that whole forbidden aspect that I couldn’t help but love :P. Some of my favourite scenes in the book involved Dan and Chelsea – there was this one scene that started out so cute, with Dan saying something adorable, that ended up turning into hotness and after that, I just knew, for the sake of my sanity, that those two needed to end up together. I loved the romance in this book so much – it was very sweet and fluffy, but there was also a deeper, more difficult side to it, and I think it was written really well.

I really enjoyed the way the story progressed, and with every page, I became more and more intrigued by historical re-enactment. It made me laugh, how serious everyone got about it, and I think I would definitely be willing to try it out one day! I also really liked the way everything turned out in the end, though I do think that maybe Dan forgave Chelsea a bit easily (she was a bit of an idiot to believe what Ezra said, it was so obvious he was not the great person she thought he was), and I maybe would have liked to see their reconciliation develop a bit more, instead of it happening as quickly as it did.

Overall, Past Perfect was a brilliant, witty, fun-filled book that I would recommend to everyone, but especially to those who enjoy loveable characters and cute romances!

Sunday, 25 September 2011

In My Mailbox (#30)

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

I'm posting this while watching The Thunderbirds movie. I have the theme song (you know, the one Busted sing) stuck in my head now. Aaanyway, here's what I got this week:

Thunderbirds Are Go!
Won:
Soul Beach by Kate Harrison (from the lovely Emma @ Book Angel Booktopia)
Shut Out by Kody Keplinger
Original Sin by Lisa Desrochers (these two were from the awesome Lisa herself, and she even signed Original Sin for me!)

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

Many thanks to Lisa and Emma.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Delirium (Delirium #1) by Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperCollins
Released: August 2nd 2011
My Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.
(from Goodreads)

Delirium is a breathtaking and beautiful read, and I can’t believe I waited so long to read it. Set in a world where love, or amor deliria nervosa, is considered to be a deadly disease, Delirium follows the life of Lena Holoway, who is waiting to take the cure that will save her from ever being infected with love. Everyone takes the cure around their eighteenth birthday, and Lena is ninety-five days away from being cured and starting a new life. She’s even looking forward to it – she wants to be completely safe from the disease that killed her mother. But then Lena meets Alex, and suddenly she’s not so sure what she wants anymore.  She likes spending time with Alex – much more than she should – but she knows she can never avoid the cure. Can she finally learn to accept love as more than a disease, just to have it taken away from her?

I absolutely adored Delirium. It was beautifully written and I felt myself completely transported to the world Lauren Oliver created. I thought I was going to find it really difficult to believe that a world where love was considered to be a disease could really exist, but Lauren did a good job of making it seem as believable as possible; every chapter started with little excerpts from important official texts and documents, highlighting the dangers of love, and all the cured people went on and on, explaining all the clinical and scientific reasons love shouldn’t exist. It was easy to see why someone like Lena was so scared of being infected – her whole life, it’d been drilled into her that love was fatal, and to be avoided at all costs. Even so, I found myself really liking Lena. At first, she was just a scared girl, wanting to be happy and thinking the cure could make her life better. But she was smart, and when she started to realise that maybe love wasn’t so bad, she became much stronger, more fearless and started to do things her own way, and I loved her for not being like everyone else and succumbing to society’s expectations. It took guts to be able to break the rules, and I really respected Lena’s courage, because she had to go against everything she’d previously believed in, which was a lot harder than one might expect.

Alex, the guy who changes Lena’s whole life, was another character I really liked. The first couple of times he saw Lena were probably some of the best scenes in the book – he was so cheerful and funny, and I could see why it’d be difficult to stay away from him. I loved his humour and the way he smiled at Lena, and he generally had this whole easy-going attitude that was so refreshing in a world full of such seriousness all the time. The way his relationship with Lena built up was so lovely, and it was great to see Lena’s reactions to all these new experiences with him. He really cared about her, and introduced her to so many new things – I enjoyed every part where they were together, and I loved learning about Alex’s past too, seeing as it was so different in comparison to Lena’s. He was sweet and amazing and would do anything for Lena, and I really took to him. There was just something about the way he winked at Lena the first time they met...:P.

The most interesting character for me was probably Grace, Lena’s little cousin. Grace didn’t speak, and most of her family thought she the reason she didn’t talk was because she was dumb and unable to comprehend what people were saying. Lena, however, was the only one who knew the truth – Grace could in fact talk, and had done so while muttering in her sleep. She was someone Lena regularly confided to, and Lena also knew that Grace wasn’t stupid like everyone thought – she was in fact was very smart, and seem to take in adjust to situations very quickly. She understood what was going on and could react accordingly, and there was just something about some of her actions (especially towards the end of the book) that made me feel that Grace knew a lot more than she let on, and I was very, very curious about her. I have a feeling that she will somehow play an important role in future books, and can’t wait to find out more about her.

Possibly the most exciting part of Delirium was the last few chapters – they were so filled with tension and suspense that my heart was racing almost as much as Lena’s just reading about the crazy action that was going on! I was practically inhaling the pages, itching to find out what would happen next! And that ending – wow. It was like, the mother of all cliffhangers. I did love the last line though – I thought it was awesome, and a clever way to end the book. And guys, I have to mention this – my copy was the special edition, so it contained an excerpt from book two, Pandemonium...I almost died reading that excerpt. It was literally a few pages of awesomeness. Can’t wait to read the whole book!

Overall, Delirium was an amazing, thought-provoking read, with beautiful prose and fabulous characters, and I can’t wait for the sequel to be released! Recommended to dystopian fans, and anyone who likes a good love story :).

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Waiting on Wednesday #30


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

A Witch in Winter by Ruth Warburton
January 12th 2012
Find it on Goodreads

Anna Winterson doesn't know she's a witch and would probably mock you for believing in magic, but after moving to the small town of Winter with her father, she learns more than she ever wanted to about power. When Anna meets Seth, she is smitten, but when she enchants him to love her, she unwittingly amplifies a deadly conflict between two witch clans and splits her own heart in two. She wants to love Seth, to let him love her - but if it is her magic that's controlling his passion, then she is as monstrous as the witch clan who are trying to use her amazing powers for their own gain. (from Goodreads)

I love witch books! There aren't a lot out there at the moment, so I'm really looking forward to this one. Plus, this whole Seth relationship sounds awesome - is she controlling him? Ahh, can't wait to read it! I also love the lightning on the cover...spooky.

What are you waiting on this week?

Monday, 19 September 2011

Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Released: September 29th 2011
My Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

Featuring necklaces made of wishes; an underground shop dealing in teeth; magical tattoos; a wishbone on a cord, DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE is a thrilling story about Karou and her secret life as an apprentice to a wishmonger. Karou manages to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she is a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to an inhuman creature who deals in wishes and is the closest thing she has to family. Her life is surrounded by mysteries she is desperate to unveil.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone can be described in one word: amazing. All the hype surrounding it is well deserved because this book blew me away. Laini Taylor has created a world of magic and wonder, and I was so absorbed in it I almost felt as if I had fallen through the pages. Right from the beginning, I was captivated by the story, and I was turning one page after another, desperate to find out what was going on. I loved how the story was written – it was like the book was separated into different parts, but instead of having “Part One” and “Part Two”, we had little pages that began with “Once upon a time...” that told of something that happened in the past. The first page in fact begins with, “Once upon a time, an angel and a demon fell in love... It did not end well” and this basically sums up the whole story perfectly. Daughter of Smoke of Bone really is a breathtaking, original take on angels and demons, and I loved every second of it.

Karou, I liked immediately. From her blue hair to her ninety-something sketchbooks, she was an all-round great character. One of my favourite parts of the book was this little scene near the beginning, where Karou got revenge on her cheating ex-boyfriend by publicly embarrassing him, which I found absolutely hilarious. I really liked how Karou’s art played an important role in the story – her drawings and sketchbooks were a part of her, and it was through them that she expressed herself. I also liked how Karou was the type of person that just got on with her life – she had no idea who she was and had no memory of being a young child, but she lived her life as fully as she could. Even after her messy break-up and even when forced on horrible errands by her inhuman employer (and adoptive father) Brimstone, she tried her to make the best of it all. It was clear she was very attached to Brimstone and the other members of her adoptive family (like Issa, who I loved). Sometimes, however, she was overcome by this feeling of loneliness that was always within her, and I really felt for her, because it must have been so hard to not even know who her parents were, or where she came from. Brimstone knew the answers to the questions she so desperately wanted to ask, but he would never tell her anything, and that definitely made me curious from early on – just what exactly was he hiding?
   
Akiva was probably my second favourite character, after Karou. He was so complex, and I really didn’t know what to make of him to begin with. From our first meeting with Akiva, it was clear that he had suffered a great tragedy in his life, and I loved how bits and pieces of his past were revealed slowly throughout the story. He was cold and heartless at the start, and tried to stamp out all emotion from his body. His first encounter with Karou was not what you may imagine – though both were drawn to each other, they fought as if they were enemies, and it wasn’t until later that any sort of relationship started to develop (and when it did...wow). Akiva was on a mission, and Karou was in his way – until, of course, their fates became intertwined, and everything changed. From then on, Akiva started to open up, little by little, and I was so curious to find out more about him, as was Karou. This other side of him that was being unveiled showed a much more caring, much more visionary person, and I wondered what exactly had happened all those years ago that broke him so completely.

The beautiful writing was one of the best parts of Daughter of Smoke and Bone. It really captured the emotion of the characters – the longing, the heartbreak, the happiness, the loneliness – everything. And what was really great was how we got to see snippets from other points of view in the chapters – we mainly saw Karou’s perspective, but at times we got to see things through Akiva’s eyes, and I loved finding our more about him in this way. I also liked how cleverly everything was linked together, and the way the mystery of Karou’s past unravelled was fantastic – I never saw it coming! If I could describe this story in one word, it would be compelling – I could not put the book down.

Towards the end of Daughter of Smoke and Bone, I was feeling uneasy and I just knew things were not going to be fine and dandy. And I was right – the ending, that heart-breaking, gut-wrenching ending. My words can’t do it justice. I’m still agonising over it now, thinking to myself “Why? Why?” But the worst thing is the wait until the sequel – how am I supposed to wait that long to find out what happens next?

Overall, Daughter of Smoke and Bone (and I’m only just now realising how incredibly clever the title is) is a book that everyone needs to read. Pre-order it, borrow it, beg for it, whatever. Just read this book.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

In My Mailbox (#29)

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

This week has been so hectic, I'm absolutely shattered. Woke up so late this morning/afternoon I almost forgot to post this o_O. Anyway, here's what I got:


For Review:
Glow (Sky Chasers #1) by Amy Kathleen Ryan
Love Story by Jennifer Echols (Jennifer very kindly sent this to me and even signed it too! Thank you :])

So that's it this week! I'm really excited to read both of these :). And congratulations to Sahina @ Reading in between the Lines, who won the copy of POD by Stephen Wallenfels!

What did you get in your mailbox?

Many thanks to Macmillan and Jennifer.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Review: Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst

Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Released: September 13th 2011
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

Pearl is a sixteen-year-old vampire... fond of blood, allergic to sunlight, and mostly evil... until the night a sparkly unicorn stabs her through the heart with his horn. Oops.

Her family thinks she was attacked by a vampire hunter (because, obviously, unicorns don't exist), and they're shocked she survived. They're even more shocked when Pearl discovers she can now withstand the sun. But they quickly find a way to make use of her new talent. The Vampire King of New England has chosen Pearl's family to host his feast. If Pearl enrolls in high school, she can make lots of human friends and lure them to the King's feast -- as the entrees.

The only problem? Pearl's starting to feel the twinges of a conscience. How can she serve up her new friends—especially the cute guy who makes her fangs ache—to be slaughtered? Then again, she's definitely dead if she lets down her family. What's a sunlight-loving vamp to do?
(from Goodreads)

Drink Slay Love was so different to how I expected it to be! I read the synopsis, saw “unicorn” and thought, “Okay, this is going to be some kind of hilarious take on vampires with lots of fluff and laughter.” And that’s kind of what Drink Slay Love was – but it was also so much more. There was a slightly more serious undertone to the novel, yet it fit in perfectly with the hilarity and the other lighter parts of the book– I just loved how everything worked together to make a funny, witty, heart-warming awesome read.

Pearl was my favourite character in the whole book. The thing is, she wasn’t exactly a very nice person – particularly to begin with. But I couldn’t help but like her anyway – first, she was amazingly hilarious, especially when she was just starting to develop a conscience (after being stabbed by a unicorn’s horn) and it was really annoying her. I laughed so much when she couldn’t understand why she was feeling guilty - she thought she was completely above humans, and didn’t get why she was sympathising with her prey! Reading about her time at high school was so funny too, because she attracted attention (good and bad) wherever she went, and it was great to see how different people reacted to her. I really liked her transition from ruthless vampire to slightly less ruthless, slightly more caring vampire – her personality (fortunately) didn’t change all that much, but she became kinder and more compassionate (while retaining her badass attitude, sarcastic wit and coolness she had before), and by the end of the book, she had really grown and had a whole new perspective on the world.

Evan, wow, that guy. He claimed to have a hero complex, and he really did. I half expected him to don a cape and wear his underwear over his jeans! He was the first boy Pearl met from her new high school, and could somehow tell she was under a lot of stress and needed help. He was actually really lovely – very sweet, very, very good-looking and also pretty determined to help Pearl out. He was like the complete opposite to everything Pearl had ever experienced in a guy before – her boyfriend Jadrien was the extreme bad boy type and didn’t seem to care about her as person at all, whereas Evan somehow felt right to be around – he was someone she could trust, despite the fact he wasn’t a vampire or a member of her family. I loved seeing their relationship develop – Evan was there for Pearl when she was in a really horrible situation, and I was definitely rooting for them to be together throughout the entire book.

Bethany, Pearl’s first female human friend, was also another great character – she was so perky and upbeat, but also quite shy and a little insecure – basically completely unlike Pearl in every way. They made a great pair though, and it was great to see Pearl slowly feel more and more attached to Bethany, which was proved when she fought to keep her safe (something she would have never considered doing a mere two weeks earlier). I also really liked Matt and Zeke, two wannabe vampire hunters that almost discovered Pearl’s secret. They were both adorably funny, and made me laugh even in the middle of a tense, dangerous scene.

One of the best parts of the book, however, was of course, the mystery of the unicorn. Why was Pearl stabbed by a unicorn? Where did the supposedly mythical creature even come from? Why did it leave her alive? Pearl didn’t really get any answers until quite near the end of the book, and from then on the chapters were full of suspense, as Pearl decided she had to do something in order to save the people she now cared about. I was on the edge of my seat, and I kept thinking, “Will she? Won’t she? What’s gonna happen next!” I loved how the unicorn part of the story played out – it was great because it sounded so odd and silly, yet made perfect sense! I don’t really know how to explain it, but this part of the book clearly showed how it could be both funny and serious at the same time.

Overall, Drink Slay Love was a fun and entertaining read, that I think would definitely appeal to people who are fed up with the same old vampire books and want something different. Recommended!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Waiting on Wednesday #29


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

Hallowed (Unearthly #2) by Cynthia Hand
January 2012

For months part-angel Clara Gardner trained to face the raging forest fire from her visions and rescue the alluring and mysterious Christian Prescott from the blaze. But nothing could prepare her for the fateful decisions she would be forced to make that day, or the startling revelation that her purpose—the task she was put on earth to accomplish—is not as straightforward as she thought. Now, torn between her increasingly complicated feelings for Christian and her love for her boyfriend, Tucker, Clara struggles to make sense of what she was supposed to do the day of the fire. And, as she is drawn further into the world of part angels and the growing conflict between White Wings and Black Wings, Clara learns of the terrifying new reality that she must face: Someone close to her will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning. (from Goodreads)

I really loved Unearthly, so looking forward to this one. I'm a member of Team Tucker, however, so I'm not overly fond of the UK cover (because I'm assuming that's Christian on there? Hmm, I dunno). The book sounds great though, I really want to find out more about the Black Wings and the whole bond thing between Clara and Christian. And of course, I want some more awesome Tucker moments ;).

What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Cover Reveal: Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Cover (and blurb) reveal! And this, my friends, is one awesome cover. Look at the eyes. They're creepy yet...hot? The whole thing just screams "Read me, I am full of of sci-fi fun and sexytimes!". Seriously. I can't wait to read this. Why does December have to be so far away?!

Obsidian (Lux #1) By Jennifer L. Armentrout
December 6th 2011
Find it on Goodreads

Starting over sucks. 

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, outhouses, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring. Until I spotted my hot neighbor with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth. 

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something…unexpected happens.

The hot alien living next door marked me. 
You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and the mark he left on me has me lit up like Las Vegas strip to the bad guys. The only way I'm getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades. If I don't kill him first, that is.

And then things got really bad…
(from Goodreads)

How amazing does this book sound? Frustrating and swoon-worthy alien guy, time freezing, marking, enemies, alien mojo... I want it.

Here's the full cover of prettiness (click to enlarge):


And here is the cool widget:


So, what do you think? I'm in love with both the cover and blurb. I'm desperate to read this now! It's definitely my kind of book - sounds like the perfect mix of comedy, sci-fi, romance and action! Let me know your thoughts! :)

Book Trailers + Giveaway

First up is the latest Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor trailer, which introduces Akiva...


What are your thoughts? I absolutely cannot wait to start reading this book now! Share your opinion on Twitter:

#DaughterofSmokeandBone
@HodderBooks
@SmokeandBone

Second is the trailer for Ladybird, Ladybird by Abra Ebner:


As part of their book trailer and ebook release, Crimson Oak Publishing are giving away five $50 American Express gift cards. To enter the giveaway, go here!

And that's it for today! Hope you enjoy the trailers :).

Monday, 12 September 2011

Review: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Unearthly (Unearthly #1) by Cynthia Hand
Publisher: Egmont UK
Released: May 2nd 2011
My Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees . . .

Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn't easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place—and out of place at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make—between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart.
(from Goodreads)

Unearthly. Wow. So, let me just start by saying I haven’t had much luck with angel books so far; I’ve read Hush, Hush, Halo and Fallen and to tell you the truth, none of them did it for me. So I was a bit wary about reading Unearthly, but I can honestly say after finishing it that I absolutely loved it. The story was so refreshing and the characters were all amazing! I loved Clara as our protagonist – she was an angel-blood (quarter angel, three-quarters human), and had these awesome abilities (like being able to FLY), but she was also a very likeable, very believable teen, and I really enjoyed reading about her! Even though she was under this huge pressure to fulfil her “purpose” (a sort of quest each angel-blood is given as they mature), and had to uproot from her home in California to move to Wyoming, she didn’t whine or moan and she didn’t sulk or blame anyone for what was happening, she just took it all in her stride and got on with it, which I really liked about her. Plus, she just seemed like a really kind person, the type I’d want to be friends with in real life. She was also pretty funny, and I loved the fact that she got along with her family – the family dynamic at the beginning of the book was so great; Clara, her brother Jeffrey and their mum were all hilarious together, and it was great to see Clara interact with her family, as that’s not something you see a lot in YA today.

Another thing I liked about Unearthly was the development of Clara and Tucker’s relationship. While I did like Christian (more on him later), I’m totally Team Tuck. The weird thing is, when we were first introduced to him, I thought he was just...meh. I’d read so many reviews raving about him, but at this point, I couldn’t figure out why everyone loved him so much. But as the book went on...wow. He just became awesome. I first liked the fact that he and Clara didn’t get along immediately, because it meant they got to tease each other and really build up a relationship instead of just the immediate attraction/insta-love thing that we keep getting these days. I also liked his humour, and his individuality, and the way he spent time with Clara, teaching her awesome things, and all his little quirks that made him so cute and ahh. I just loved him. Trust me, you will know what I’m talking about when you read this (and you should definitely read this).

Christian, the boy Clara’s “purpose” centred around, was hard to figure out. While I did like him, I didn’t know quite what to make of him at times, though I do think he was pretty funny and could be really lovely when he wanted to be. He was part of the popular crowd, but didn’t wasn’t as mean or as obnoxious as some of them could be, and the conversations between Christian and Clara were enjoyable to read about. I also really liked Wendy (Tucker’s sister)and Angela, Clara’s two best friends; Angela especially because her back-story was just so fascinating, and she seemed to be the only one that understood Clara. Wendy was also interesting because she was so different to Tucker and it was funny to see what she thought of her brother and Clara.

The ending of Unearthly was completely unexpected – at least, it was for me. Totally did not see that coming, but it was utterly awesome, and it you like fast-paced, urgent, thrilling final pages, then you will love the ending of Unearthly. Plus, the best part is that it doesn’t end on some huge cliffhanger! Sure, there are a lot of answered questions and stuff, but at least you won’t feel like throwing the book across the room because it cut off randomly during an action scene. The pace of the book in general was pretty good – the beginning, perhaps, was a little slow to start, but apart from that, it was really great and the book was just the right length, too. Now I’m waiting for Hallowed, book two in the series, and I seriously cannot wait to see what happens next (and I can’t wait for more Tucker <3).

Overall, Unearthly was awesome, and is probably my favourite angel book so far. If you’ve had bad luck with angel books too, I definitely recommend Unearthly, it will restore your faith, trust me. So go read this book.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

In My Mailbox (#28) + News

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

Right, so you may have realised I've been posting a little less recently. This is mostly because I've started school again, and I'm in the middle of university applications, so things are really stressful at the moment. September and early October probably won't be the most active of months here on the blog, but once I've finished with uni stuff, posts should start becoming more regular again. That being said, I'll still be posting as much as possible during September and October, especially important posts/reviews and things, but I just wanted to let everyone know what was going in case you wonder why I've disappeared for a bit. And now that explanation's over, here's what I got this week! It's everything from my book buying spree:


(This entire series of twelve books was only £9.99 on The Book People. Twelve books for a tenner. Bargain. I already own the first two, but I still couldn't resist. Will probably do a giveaway of the duplicate copies some time soon.)

Bought:
Red Glove (Curse Workers #2) by Holly Black
Once a Witch (Witch #1) by Carolyn MacCullough
Nightshade (Nightshade #1) by Andrea Cremer
Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy #1) by Jennifer Estep
Forgotten by Cat Patrick
Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik
Ten Things We Shouldn't Have Done by Sarah Mlynowski (I much prefer the US cover, but the UK one was cheaper...)
Matched (Matched #1) by Ally Condie
Beast Master vol. 1 by Kyousuke Motomi
Beast Master vol. 2 by Kyousuke Motomi
The Demon King (Seven Realms #1) by Cinda Williams Chima (got the hardback version for £2.69 - I love Amazon Marketplace)

So that's my haul for the week! While I'm happy with everything I bought, I shamefully completely forgot to add Bloodlines to the basket. Bloodlines. Which I've been looking forward to for months. I'm an idiot :P.

What did you get in your mailbox this week?

Friday, 9 September 2011

Review: Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey

Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Released: 9th July 2011
My Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

Violet Willoughby doesn't believe in ghosts. But they believe in her. After spending years participating in her mother's elaborate ruse as a fraudulent medium, Violet is about as skeptical as they come in all matters supernatural. Now that she is being visited by a very persistent ghost, one who suffered a violent death, Violet can no longer ignore her unique ability. She must figure out what this ghost is trying to communicate, and quickly because the killer is still on the loose.

Afraid of ruining her chance to escape her mother's scheming through an advantageous marriage, Violet must keep her ability secret. The only person who can help her is Colin, a friend she's known since childhood, and whom she has grown to love. He understands the true Violet, but helping her on this path means they might never be together. Can Violet find a way to help this ghost without ruining her own chance at a future free of lies?
(from Goodreads)

I absolutely loved this book! Usually I’m not a big fan of historical fiction, but Haunting Violet was really easy to read, had amazing characters and had a gripping storyline - I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Violet is the sixteen-year-old daughter of Celeste Willoughby, a famous Spiritualist and medium. Everyone is fascinated by Celeste’s abilities to communicate with the dead – but Violet knows that it’s all fake. Her mother has no psychic talent whatsoever – in fact, the only thing she can do better than other people is lie. Violet is fed up of being treated as a tool by her mother and is desperate to escape her life of fraud, but the only way she can leave is if she marries well - and not being of noble blood means this is unlikely to happen. But when Violet starts to see things – spirits she doesn’t even believe in – she is soon sucked into investigating the mystery behind a young girl’s death. Everyone says Rowena died in a terrible accident, and before, Violet would have no reason to question their word. But Violet has seen Rowena’s ghost – and the bruises around her neck. She’s sure Rowena’s death wasn’t an accident and is determined to find the murderer, but someone knows that Violet suspects foul play, and will do anything to stop her from discovering the truth.

Violet was such an incredible character. I liked her right from the start – she was sassy, smart, kind, funny and everything you’d ever want in a friend. She was so strong-willed, I really have no idea how she put up with her mother’s awful behaviour for so long. I would have gone crazy living with that woman, honestly, what a despicable woman.  I really felt for Violet throughout the whole novel - she was treated so unfairly by someone who was supposed to be her parent, and she was forced to help con people out of their money – she felt guilty that she had to lie to so many people, but then also knew her family needed the money to survive. Her circumstances were unfortunate – she never knew her father, and her only real friend was Colin, who worked for her mother. Still, she always tried to make the best of her situation, and I really liked that she was different to all the other girls she had to associate with – she knew she ought to behave as a delicate flower that always needed a man’s attention is she ever were to have a chance at marriage, but something inside just couldn’t make her do it – she was too strong and feisty for that, and I thought it was great how she wanted to be herself instead of changing her personality to suit others. I also really liked her humour  too – she could be really funny and even sarcastic at times, especially when with Colin, and made me laugh quite a bit
.
Colin was another amazing character – he was handsome, funny and thoughtful, and it was clear he cared for Violet. He also wasn’t the controlling type, and while he wanted to protect her, he knew Violet too well to think she would stay put safe and sound while other people were in danger. Most of the time he came with her, or helped her, when she was doing something risky, and I loved all their interaction. Colin was one of the only people who could make Violet really laugh and smile, and was also one of the few that really understood her - I think they were so sweet together. I loved the way their romance developed – in fact, I wish there had been more of it, because it was just so excellent! I found myself hoping Violet would bump into Colin at every corner, just so they could spend more time together. I also really liked it when Colin got jealous because Violet was receiving attention from another guy (Xavier) – some of the comments he made were hilarious and I couldn’t help but laugh!

Elizabeth was Violet’s best friend, and was the lively, chatty, fun type, which I really liked about her. She was a noble, but befriended Violet anyway and didn’t seem to care at all that she was from a different background. She was a good friend to Violet, and always tried to help her out and cheer her up, and was always making jokes and comments that would give them both the giggles. I really liked Elizabeth, and would definitely like to have a friend like her in real life!

I really loved the world Alyxandra Harvey created in this book – it was definitely a believable nineteenth century setting, and I could clearly picture everything that was happening in my head – especially the séances and ghost appearances, which I loved reading about. While I thought a few things were a little predictable, I definitely enjoyed the mystery in Haunting Violet, and was kept engrossed the entire time I was reading.

Overall, Haunting Violet was a brilliant ghost story, probably a new favourite of mine, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys great romance and a gothic atmosphere!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Waiting on Wednesday #28


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

The Fine Art of Truth or Dare by Melissa Jensen
February 16th 2011
Find it on Goodreads

Pretty in Pink meets Anna and the French Kiss in this charming
romantic comedy

Ella is nearly invisible at the Willing School, and that’s just fine by her. She’s got her friends— the fabulous Frankie and their sweet cohort Sadie. She’s got her art— and her idol, the unappreciated 19th-century painter Edward Willing. Still, it’s hard being a nobody and having a crush on the biggest somebody in the school: Alex Bainbridge. Especially when he is your French tutor, and lessons have started becoming, well, certainly more interesting than French ever has been before. But can the invisible girl actually end up with a happily ever after with the golden boy, when no one even knows they’re dating? And is Ella going to dare to be that girl?
(from Goodreads)

This sounds brilliant. It's been compared to Anna and the French Kiss, which is my favourite contemporary novel, so I can't wait for this one! This Alex guy sounds like very swoon-worthy. I think if he'd been my French tutor, I'd actually have paid attention to the subject. Maybe then I'd be able to remember more than just "Je vais au cinéma avec mes amies" (literally, this is all I can remember from six years of French). Anyway, this definitely seems like it'll be fun and cute, so really looking forward to it.

What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Top Ten Tuesday #2

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a new Top Ten list is posted that one of the bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish will answer.

This week's topic: 

Top Ten Sequels We're Dying to Read

1. Insurgent by Veronica Roth - oh my God, this book. I want it. I want it so much. I NEED to know what happens. Like, it's an actual physical need. I just have to know. I mean, after what happened at the end of the first book... I loved Divergent so much - Tris was an awesome MC and Four...wow. Just, wow. I NEED THIS BOOK.

2. Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver - the ending of Delirium was EVIL. Pure, pure evil. How could it end like that? Pandemonium will have answers. I'm desperate to find out what will happen to Lena and Alex (please no love triangle, though).

3. If I Die by Rachel Vincent - guys. This book scares me. I used to be Team Nash, but after books three and four...I don't know. I just have a feeling he's going to mess up in this book. But still, it just looks SO GOOD. And Tod. I need more Tod. I am very close to joining Team Tod, this book may just be the thing to cause my switch...

4. City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare - everyone who has read City of Fallen Angels will understand why I'm dying to read this one. That last chapter? The hell? I mean, seriously. Must. Have. This. Book.

5. The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan - I mostly want this one because I refuse to read The Lost Hero until this is released. A friend told me what happens in TLH, and I just can't read it until I KNOW the next book explains what the frig is happening to Percy. Percy is one of my favourite characters of all time - I'm scared he'll be messed up in this series...

6. Losing Lila by Sarah Alderson - have you read Hunting Lila? Have you? If not, GO READ IT NOW. Because it's immensely awesome. And I need to get back to these characters. I think Alex/Lila is just one of the best relationships ever. Plus, I'm so curious to find out what happens next.

7. Surrender by Lee Nichols - I adore the Haunting Emma series, and I can't wait for this one! I need more Bennett. Plus, so much stuff is happening at the moment with Emma and her powers! This is a must read for me when it comes out.

8. The Death Cure by James Dashner - O_O. The Scorch Trials was awesome. And the ending...all I know is that The Death Cure will be brilliant. It has to be, because to explain what's going on...if I say anymore, I will become (more) incoherent. Therefore, I will leave it at that.

9. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins - does this count as a sequel? It is, kind of. Anyway, if it's anywhere near as good as Anna and the French Kiss, it will be amazing. Anna and the French Kiss is currently my favourite contemp of all time, so I'm interested to see whether Lola will live up to its predecessor... Also, Cricket.

10. Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter - Zach. Only the Good Spy Young made me love him EVEN MORE, which I didn't think was possible. I need more Zach. Also, the synopsis - what? Cammie loses her memory? But what about The Circle? What about everything? Must read this book. I am obsessed with this series.

I have many others, but these were my top ten! What sequels are you waiting for? :)

EDIT: Oh my fudgesticks, I forgot Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins and Fever by Lauren DeStefano. I'm counting down the days for those! Curse my poor memory... You know, ten really isn't enough for this list. I'm sure I could list at least twenty-five...

Monday, 5 September 2011

Review: Overprotected by Jennifer Laurens

Overprotected by Jennifer Laurens
Publisher: Grove Creek Publishing
Released: April 29th 2011
My Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

Ashlyn: A lonely society princess living in New York City.

Daddy hired you to be my bodyguard.

Colin: Childhood enemy, now her protector.

Daddy thought I’d be safe. He thought I’d never fall in love. He thought he could keep me forever.

Charles: obsessed with keeping her safe, keeping her his, he hires the one person he knows she could never fall in love with: Colin.

Daddy was wrong.
(from Goodreads)

Ashlyn has live a sheltered life for almost eighteen years – she’s never allowed anywhere without a “companion” (read: bodyguard) and she’s sick of having no freedom to do what other girls her age are doing. After her bodyguard of three years is fired for being too attached to her, Ashyln thinks that maybe her father will finally realise that she’s old enough to take of herself. Wrong. Her father hires an old family friend – Colin, twenty-one and once an enemy of Ashlyn’s – to be her new bodyguard, hoping that this time, there will be no chance for either of them to get “too attached”. However, things don’t always go to plan, and soon Ashlyn is struggling to remember why she ever hated Colin in the first place.

Overprotected was a very interesting book, and I liked how it focussed on how parents could go too far when trying to protect their children. Ashlyn’s dad, Charles, was not only careful with his daughter, he was obsessive – Ashlyn was literally caged, not allowed to live a life of her own. He checked her phone on a regular basis, monitored all her friends, never let her out without doing check-ups on the places she was visiting, made sure her bodyguard was with her at all times – it was almost creepy, the lengths he went to in order to keep his daughter safe. I could see why Ashlyn was so frustrated and angry all the time.  To tell you the truth, I didn’t really like Ashlyn very much when the novel started, because she seemed quite whiny and your typical “poor little rich girl”, but as the story when on and the extent of her father’s obsession was uncovered, I started to understand her a lot more, and with the influence of Colin, I felt she definitely became more likeable in the second half of the book.

I really liked Colin (though didn’t really understand why Ashlyn’s father, who was so fixated on protecting his daughter, would hire him to be her bodyguard when he had no previous experience in any such field).  I think he was one of the only people that actually understood Ashlyn, and was the only one willing to stand up to people on her behalf. He wanted to protect her because he cared about her, but even he could see that Charles was going too far in trying to keep his daughter safe, and even spoke out to his employer on a few occasions. I really enjoyed his scenes with Ashlyn – it was obvious there was an attraction between them, but Colin could never act on it because he was an employee of Ashlyn’s father. I never really got why Ashlyn hated Colin so much anyway – he played a few childish tricks on her, but that was a long time ago – so I was glad when she started to realise that Colin had changed, and was a much kinder, sweeter person now.

One thing that stayed constant throughout the whole novel was Ashlyn’s passion for music, and I thought it was great how this was worked into the story, because it helped enhance Ashlyn’s character as well helping her feel free – this was the only thing she could control, and was the one thing she knew she wanted to pursue - it played an important role in her life. I really liked the chapters leading up to the ending and I think what happened needed to happen in order for Ashlyn and her family to understand what really was best for her. Even though things still weren’t perfect, I liked how everything worked out in the end – it was realistic and a good conclusion to the book.

Overall, Overprotected was an enjoyable read with a great concept, and I would definitely recommend it to fans of contemporary YA, or to anyone who has enjoyed Jennifer Laurens’ previous works (which you should definitely check out - the Heavenly series is one of my favourite angel series, it's awesome!).

Sunday, 4 September 2011

In My Mailbox (#27)

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

The camera has returned! So actual photos now. Until I lose it again. Anyway:


For Review:
Time Out of Time (Chronosphere #1) by Alex Woolf
Malfunction (Chronosphere #2) by Alex Woolf

Two this week! Haven't heard much about this series but it sounds great (I mean, it's set in the future - that's my thing, guys. I looove books set in the future). Next week though, expect a huge IMM. I kinda sorta maybe went on a massive book buying spree (and thus completely blew my ban into oblivion), so there'll probably be a lot of books in next week's post.

What did you get in your mailbox this week?

Many thanks to The Salariya Book Company.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Bleeding Hearts Extract & New Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trailer!

So today I have some very exciting things to share with you! Firstly, as you probably already know, Bleeding Hearts - the fourth book in the Drake Chronicles series by Alyxandra Harvey - is being published in the UK on October 3rd, and Bloomsbury have recently released an extract from the book to get everyone excited for the release!

Bleeding Hearts (Drake Chronicles #4) by Alyxandra Harvey
October 3rd 2011
Read the extract here

Lucy's cousin Christabel has come to live in Violet Hill, and adjusting to the difference between life in a small mountain town and her home in the city is difficult enough. The strict curfew that Lucy's parents enforce is the worst part. Something really dangerous couldn't possibly happen in this tiny town. But Christabel has noticed some mysterious happenings, and it seems like Lucy, her boyfriend Nicholas and his brother Connor are all in on a secret that Christabel doesn't understand - one that seems deadly serious. Although she won't admit it, Christabel would love to be in on any secret with Connor Drake. But after Christabel is kidnapped by the ruthless Hel-Blar vampires, Lucy and Connor finally fill her in on all the undead drama. Together, they must find a way to stamp out the Hel-Blar for good. (from Goodreads)

Also, don't forget to visit the My Love Lies Bleeding Facebook page where there are great competitions to enter and where you can find out all the latest news.
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Secondly, the second trailer for Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (which will be published on September 29th in the UK) has recently been released, and introduces Brimstone...


What do you think? I love it and I'm really excited for this book! Share your thoughts about the new trailer on Twitter:

@SmokeandBone
@HodderBooks
#DaughterofSmokeandBone

And that's it for today, my lovelies! I hope you check out both these awesome books :).

Friday, 2 September 2011

Review: Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts

Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Released: September 2nd 2011
My Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

Since mankind began, civilizations have always fallen: the Romans, the Greeks, the Aztecs…Now it’s our turn. Huge earthquakes rock the world. Cities are destroyed. But something even more awful is happening. An ancient evil has been unleashed, turning everday people into hunters, killers, crazies.

Mason's mother is dying after a terrible car accident. As he endures a last vigil at her hospital bed, his school is bombed and razed to the ground, and everyone he knows is killed. Aries survives an earthquake aftershock on a bus, and thinks the worst is over when a mysterious stranger pulls her out of the wreckage, but she’s about to discover a world changed forever. Clementine, the only survivor of an emergency town hall meeting that descends into murderous chaos, is on the run from savage strangers who used to be her friends and neighbors. And Michael witnesses a brutal road rage incident that is made much worse by the arrival of the police--who gun down the guilty party and then turn on the bystanding crowd.

Where do you go for justice when even the lawmakers have turned bad? These four teens are on the same road in a world gone mad. Struggling to survive, clinging on to love and meaning wherever it can be found, this is a journey into the heart of darkness – but also a journey to find each other and a place of safety.
(from Goodreads)

Dark Inside was a book that sucked me in from the very first chapter.  The world of Dark Inside truly was “a world gone mad” – the tagline perfectly describes it! The book starts off by showing a normal day spiral into one of complete destruction.  After a series of devastating earthquakes, people start to turn – they are taken over by a darkness inside of them, and begin slaughtering friends and family they have known and liked their entire lives. Dark Inside follows four people who are seemingly unaffected by whatever is turning everyone else into murdering machines, and are on the run, trying to stay hidden from those who are out to kill them. While the four teens each struggle to stay alive, they begin find others like them and try to work out what has caused the world to descend into madness. With no way of knowing who to trust and with their lives on the line every day, Mason, Aries, Michael and Clementine must find a way to survive in the dangerous and disturbing new world they are faced with - because giving up means giving in to the darkness.

I loved Dark Inside. A lot. I actually had no idea what it was about when I first got it, and for some reason was convinced it wouldn’t be for me. But I was very, very wrong, because this book was awesome. It was told in alternating chapters, from four points of view. Now I know what you’re thinking – four points of view? That’s got to be confusing! I thought it would be at first too, but actually, it was pretty easy to get the hang of. I really enjoyed the fact that we got to see from four different perspectives because we got to see how each individual was affected differently by the terrible events that were happening, and I liked all of the main characters a lot, so I really loved this aspect of the novel! In fact, I say there are four points of view, but we did also get sporadic chapters from the POV of “Nothing” – an unknown person or thing that sometimes expressed their thoughts. I was really intrigued by these chapters because they added to the whole mystery of the novel. I also really liked how we slowly got to piece together clues to work out who or what exactly Nothing was. At first, I had no idea where Nothing’s thoughts came from, but as the book progressed, I managed to work it out, and wow. Let me tell you know that Dark Inside is one heck of a twisty, dark, intriguing book.  Can’t wait to find out more!

Out of our four main characters (Mason, Ariel, Michael and Clemetine), I think I probably liked Ariel best. She was one of the strongest characters, and I liked how determined she was, and how she would always try to repay someone who had helped or would try to save a friend she cared for. She also coped well with the horrific things that were happening – she witnessed the deaths of so many people right at the beginning of the book, but yet somehow managed to go on and help others in the process. Ariel was very brave, and I respected her and the way she managed with the situation she was in. She was also quite funny, and it was good to see a bit of humour even in such dark and desperate times. I also liked her scenes with Daniel, the boy that saved her at the start, and I really hope to see more of those two together in the sequel! Daniel was a very, very interesting character, one that I liked from the beginning when he was just known as “the dark haired stranger”.  I’m definitely interested in seeing what he’ll be up to next.

Another character that intrigued me was Mason. He was slightly different to the others in that he lost someone dear to him before the catastrophic events started happening. He had to deal with so many things at once, and I think that’s why he was a little more closed off and contemplative that everyone else. I really felt for him because he went through so much and felt so guilty about everything that had happened. He was a lot more aware of the darkness than the others I think, and I’m really curious as to how this will affect him in the future. A certain someone, also aware of the darkness and a person I probably should not like as much as I do (I realise this is making no sense, but if you read the book, you will understand. And you should definitely read the book) even noticed Mason was different, and I really can’t wait to see where this takes him in the sequel.

Michael and Clementine were likeable characters too – Clementine was trying to find her brother, and absolutely refused to give up on him, while Michael was someone that was being pushed to his limits, and did whatever it took to survive, even if it meant doing some things he wasn’t proud of. These two were actually the first of the four to meet up with each other  and I thought it was really clever how everyone ended up forming a group – it was great the way the author managed to make everybody come together and I liked how they all became connected in the end. Michael and Clementine ended up being quite close, which was great to read about. There were others in the end group too, besides the main four, and I really liked the people Aries was travelling with previously – especially Joy, who was quite lively, and Jack, who was funny and kind.

There was a lot of action going on in Dark Inside – no-one was every really safe at any time, and they were all always on guard, looking out for attackers, or “Baggers” as they were referred to. It was fast-paced and constantly exciting – I wasn’t bored for a single second! My only complaint is that while I do understand this is the first part of a series, I felt like perhaps a few more things could have been explained. We didn’t really find out much about the earthquakes or what caused them or the darkness, so be warned that you’ll have to wait for the sequel to get some real answers to what’s going on.

Overall, Dark Inside was a brilliant, thrilling, scary, amazing book (as you can tell by this extremely long, gushing review) and I would definitely recommend it to dystopian fans. I can’t wait for book two in the series – it’s already high up on my wishlist!

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Publisher: Quirk
Released: June 7th 2011
My Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

A mysterious island.

An abandoned orphanage.

A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography,Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.
(from Goodreads)

I didn’t really know what to expect when I started Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children - I was intrigued by the creepy cover, but I didn’t know much of what the story was about. I was delighted to find that the book was surprisingly awesome! Full of mystery, intrigue and wonderful characters, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar children was an amazing read!

The book begins by introducing our main character, Jacob, who has just lost his grandpa, the only person he ever really looked up to. Grandpa used to tell Jacob stories from his past - made-up fairy tales to entertain a young child. But just before he died, Jacob’s grandfather acted as if the stories were true, and soon, Jacob is on a trip to Wales, trying to piece the clues his granddad left him. What he discovers changes everything – Jacob realises that maybe his grandpa’s stories weren’t made up after all, and soon he is very real danger – just liked his grandfather was before he was killed.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was a brilliant read, and I was hooked from the very beginning. Jacob was an interesting protagonist – he was a bit of a loner, and didn’t really have any friends, and sort of felt like he didn’t fit in with the world he was living in. This had a great impact on how he viewed his situation when he was in Wales – was there really anything for him to go back to in America? Jacob was also very attached to his grandfather – he respected him a lot, so it was really difficult for him to watch his grandpa die is such a horrible way. I felt like I could really connect to him when he was going through a tough time, trying to figure out if what he saw when his granddad died was real or if it was his imagination playing tricks on him from the shock. I also liked the way he got along with the children at Miss Peregrine’s home, and I loved getting to know them all and see their friendships develop. They also seemed to really take to Jacob quite quickly, and I enjoyed reading about them together. The only thing I’d say about Jacob that was a little off was the language he used – I had to keep a dictionary near because sadly my vocabulary is nowhere near as varied as his was!

I pretty much liked all the characters in this book (except the bad guys, of course), but I especially liked Millard, a boy who was just beyond funny (but in his own quirky little way) and Emma, the first girl Jacob met in Wales, who was feisty and fun. While I think the relationship between Jacob and Emma was a little...weird, to say the least (you’ll get it when you read the book), I did enjoy watching it progress, and I like the way they interacted with each other. I also really liked Miss Peregrine – it was obvious she cared a lot about the children, and even though she kept a lot of things hidden and was a bit strict at times, it was for their own protection. She was very wise, and I liked the way she spoke as if she knew exactly what the person she was talking to was thinking.

The most fascinating part was of the novel was when Jacob was unravelling his grandfather’s past – I was so absorbed in the story that I felt just as excited as Jacob whenever he discovered something new. There were so many questions, but it all boiled down to this: was Jacob’s grandfather really crazy, or was there any truth in the things he said? A lot of things are cleverly revealed and I loved the way the mystery unfolded. I also felt the wonderful photographs really added to the story, and made me picture everything clearly – I felt even more involved in the story, and could really relate to the situation everyone was in.

The ending of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, I warn you now, is a very action-packed, tension-filled and suspenseful one. There are twists that will shock you and make you desperate for the next book! ‘m really looking forward to the sequel – I can’t wait to get back to the amazing characters and wonderful world Ransom Riggs has created! My only complaint, and this is nitpicking here, about the book, is the sometimes incorrect use of British slang. This only bothered me because I’m actually British and I hear this phrase all the time, but I noticed the phrase “taking the piss” (excuse my language :P) was sometimes written as “taking a piss” but used in the same context. These two phrases mean very different things, as you can guess. To “take the piss” is an expression meaning to mock or ridicule, so the mix up of those two kind of made me laugh :P.

Overall, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was an excellent book, and I’d recommend it to people who like mysteries with a twist. I’ll definitely be reading the next book in the series!