Friday, 25 February 2011

Review: The Legacy by Gemma Malley

The Legacy by Gemma Malley
Publisher: Bloomsbury UK
Released: September 6th 2011
My Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

When a Pincent Pharma lorry is ambushed by the Underground, its contents come as a huge surprise - not drugs, but corpses in a horrible state. It appears Longevity isn't working and the drugs promising eternal youth are failing to live up to their promises. A virus is sweeping the country, killing in its wake, and Longevity is powerless to fight it. When Richard Pincent of Pincent Pharma suggest that the Underground has released the virus, something has to be done to put the story straight and once and for all alert everyone to the truth. (from Goodreads)

The Legacy is a truly thrilling conclusion to The Declaration series, which I have enjoyed from the start. The book begins with a flashback that explains how longevity was discovered, and then reverts back to the present, where we find out how Jude, Sheila, Peter and Anna have been coping since the last book. Peter and Anna and have been hiding out in the Scottish countryside while the Underground have been monitoring Pincent Pharma. But recently, things have been changing. People have been taken away from their homes in the middle of the night. Others have collapsed in shops or at work and have never been seen again. Rumours are spreading that the missing aren’t just missing – they’re dead.  Richard Pincent is determined to quash the rumours and won’t give up until he finds the true secret of eternal life. But does it really exist?

The Legacy, for me, was probably the best book in the series. I loved the first one, but wasn’t too impressed with The Resistance. However, The Legacy really made up for it; we got to see from multiple point of views in this book, and a lot centred around Jude, which I really enjoyed because I felt we didn’t really get to know him in the previous book. His relationship with Sheila, who has grown up a lot, though is still looking for her parents, was explored and we also got to see how he viewed Pip as almost a father figure, who he was determined to impress. I think Jude was probably my favourite because despite his constant need to try and outdo his brother, he seemed the most like his age, and went through real teen frustrations as well as all the must-save-the-world problems stacked on top. Anna and Peter (and Molly, the new addition to their family) took to the sidelines in this book but I didn’t feel this was a problem and, in fact, I think we got to learn a little more about their characters; for example, Peter’s need to be doing something constructive, and Anna’s overprotective nature.

One thing that is to be commended is the actual plot. From the first page I knew, I absolutely knew, that Richard Pincent would be desperately searching for this formula of eternal life. And even though I knew this, I could never have guessed what was going to happen. And just when you think you’ve got something figured out, BAM! Plot twist. The epilogue was amazing. It was so clever, and so well thought-out that it made me smile. Gemma Malley, in my opinion, has left the ending slightly open, and I’m hoping one day she might return to this series. But for now, I’m very satisfied with the ending. There are a few things that are left to your imagination, but apart from that, all the loose ends were tied up.

In conclusion, The Legacy was an exciting, fast-paced read, and great ending to a wonderful series. It was full of action, surprise turn if events and even had a little bit of romance. So, to anyone who hasn’t read this series yet, what are you waiting for? Get started!

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday #11

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

MAJOR SPOILER ALERT - do not read the summary if you haven't read White Cat (and if you haven't read White Cat, GO READ IT NOW. Review coming soon).

Red Glove (Curse Worker #2) by Holly Black
June 16th 2011 (UK version)

After rescuing his brothers from Zacharov's retribution and finding out that Lila, the girl he has loved his whole life, will never, ever be his now that his mother has worked her, Cassel is trying to reestablish some kind of normalcy in his life. That was never going to be easy for someone from a worker family tied to one of the big crime families and a mother whose cons get more reckless by the day. But Cassel is also coming to terms with what it means to be a transformation worker and figuring out how to have friends.

But normal doesn't last very long--soon Cassel is being courted by both sides of the law and is forced to confront his past. A past he remembers only in scattered fragments and one that could destroy his family and his future. Cassel will have to decide whose side he wants to be on because neutrality is not an option. And then he will have to pull off his biggest con ever to survive.
(from Goodreads)

The reason I only have one pick this week is because I am so insanely excited for this book. I finished White Cat yesterday and I was just like..o_O. Then I immediately started researching when the next one would be out and how long I'd have to wait for it. Holly Black is actually a genius. White Cat was so good - Red Glove is now officially at the top of my wishlist.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

More Books for Trade

Just updated my Books for Trade list here with some more books/DVDs. Feel free to contact me if you see anything you like. And unfortunately, this is for the UK bloggers only because I can't afford to ship internationally :/.

Review: Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin

Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin
Publisher: Bloomsbury UK
Released (UK date): February 7th 2011
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

The only thing Avery Hood can remember about the night her parents died is that she saw silver—deadly silver, moving inhumanly fast. As much as she wants to remember who killed them, she can't, and there's nothing left to do but try to piece her life back together. Then Avery meets the new boy in school—Ben, mysterious and beautiful, with whom she feels a connection like nothing she's ever experienced. When Ben reveals he's a werewolf, Avery still trusts him—at first. Then she sees that sometimes his eyes flash inhuman silver. And she learns that she's not the only one who can't remember the night her parents died. Part murder mystery, part grief narrative, and part heart-stopping, headlong romance, Low Red Moon is a must-read for teen paranormal fans. As breathless as Twilight and as spooky as Shiver, this is a book to be devoured in one sitting—by an acclaimed YA author making her paranormal debut under the pseudonym Ivy Devlin. (summary from Goodreads)

I was quite excited about reading Low Red Moon because I love anything supernatural, so I was surprised when it turned out to be better than I’d actually expected. Low Red Moon centres around Avery, a girl who is forced to move out her forest home and live with the grandmother she barely knows after her parents are murdered.

Avery was kind of a misfit; she didn’t really have any friends at school, and due to living in the forest for so long, she didn’t really see the world the way others did. Things got progressively worse after her parents were killed; she couldn’t remember how they died no matter how hard she tried, and she had to leave behind the only home she’d ever known. I think Avery dealt with the situation very well; despite her grief and loneliness, she just tried to get on with things, whilst simultaneously trying to figure out who killed her parents. She seemed to be a very strong person, and was not someone who cried easily or moaned and whined about her problems. She kept herself to herself and tried not to rely too much on others, and I liked this independence about her. I also loved her connection with the forest, which is something that made the novel different from anything else I’ve read. But of course, after meeting the mysterious new student, Ben, a lot of things changed for Avery. Avery and Ben connected immediately, and there was definite chemistry there which I enjoyed reading about. I liked Ben more than I thought I would: he was very sweet, and like Avery, he hadn’t had an easy life, his own family having been murdered by wolf-hunters. However, I found it a bit odd how they found themselves liking each other so much so quickly (the word “love” was being tossed around a bit too early for my liking), but I guess the supernatural element explained this a little. Still, I wish there was more time to develop the relationship a bit further so they could get to know each other a bit more.

One of the characters I really liked in Low Red Moon was Renee, Avery’s grandma. She seemed to really care for Avery even though they hadn’t spoken properly in years, and I always felt bad for her whenever Avery felt uncomfortable around her, or acted very distant. She was also very smart, and determined to keep Avery safe. However, there was something strange about her, as though she was hiding something, and though I did actually guess what this rather predictable “secret” was from almost the very beginning, later twists in the book made up for it, and there was a lot of stuff that happened that I did not expect at all. In fact, the last few pages were really well-paced and full of suspense.

A character we didn’t really see much of, but who I also liked, was Kirsta, Avery’s friend. I got the feeling there was more to her than we first would have thought, especially after she admitted she hadn’t been much of a friend lately. I felt that maybe she wasn’t just some shallow girl after attention, but there was something else we hadn’t discovered. We never really got to find out much more about her, but I still think she was an interesting character.

Another thing to say about Low Red Moon is how beautiful the book itself is. There’s a gorgeous red double page after the front cover with an image of a haunting looking forest and a red moon, and each chapter is headed with a red tree, with some smaller red trees printed at the bottom of each page. I really liked these little details and thought they added a lot the reading experience and made it more enjoyable.

In conclusion, Low Red Moon was an excellent supernatural read, with certain unexpected elements to make it even more interesting. I think the author has created a fascinating world and I’d recommend this to supernatural fans who like mystery and romance as well.

*Received review copy from Bookbabblers, review can also be seen here.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday #10

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

Shift (Shade #2) by Jeri Smith-Ready (UK Cover)
UK version released: June 1st 2011 (May 3rd 2011 in US)

Aura's life is anything but easy. Her boyfriend, Logan, died, and his slides between ghost and shade have left her reeling. Aura knows he needs her now more than ever. She loves Logan, but she can't deny her connection with the totally supportive, totally gorgeous Zachary. And she's not sure that she wants to.

Logan and Zachary will fight to be the one by her side, but Aura needs them both to uncover the mystery of her past—the mystery of the Shift.

As Aura's search uncovers new truths, she must decide whom to trust with her secrets…and her heart.
(from Goodreads)

Divergent by Veronica Roth
May 3rd 2011

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the YA scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.
(from Amazon)

And those are my picks this week! Now to write a good old essay on the craft of Jane Austen in Pride & Prejudice. Fun.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Review: The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa

The Iron Queen (Iron Fey #3) by Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Released: January 25th 2011
My Rating: 5 stars out of 5

My name is Meghan Chase.

I thought it was over. That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who's sworn to stand by my side. Drag me into the core of conflict so powerful, I'm not sure anyone can survive it.

This time, there will be no turning back.
(from Goodreads)

All I can say about The Iron Queen is that it was superb. I literally could not stop reading it; I finished it in one sitting. I can’t even remember how many hours it took me, but one minute I was on the first page and then the next I was on the last. And what a last page it was. The was just so...right. I can’t think of a better way it could have ended. But I tell you now, the wait for The Iron Knight is going to be absolutely torturous. I actually can’t believe how long I have to wait for it. Julie Kagawa must be some kind of evil mastermind to come up with a story like this and then to just leave us hanging.

Meghan changed a lot in this book. It’s no secret that I was never a fan of her whining, and she was still a bit drippy for me, but the amount her character developed was just unbelievable. Long gone was the clueless girl who needed to be rescued all the time.  Now...well. She was just so strong, and so willing in this book. She knew what she wanted, and she knew what she needed, and she did what she had to do to get them both. She’s known the faery world for what, a year? And yet she’s already taken on such a huge responsibility – she’s literally sacrificed everything to protect the world she barely knows anything about. As much as it annoyed me at times, Meghan’s loyalty, and her determination for the wellbeing of others were some of the things that really showed she’d matured. I was very impressed by her in this book – especially with some of her battle plan ideas. She’d taken on her role as a leader and she did it well.

I also loved the way Meghan’s relationship with Ash (Team Ash forever!) developed. We got to see a more emotional side of Ash in this book, instead of the old “Ice Prince” cold facade we’re usually presented with. His background was explored a bit more, and I adored every Meghan/Ash moment – I think they worked well together because they were different – they sort of cancelled each other out, if you know what I mean. The way Ash cared about Meghan, and the way he opened up to her about his past made the fangirl side of me squeal. Though I must say, if he existed in real life, I’d probably hit on the head for being such a self-sacrificing lovesick fool.  The poor guy, he hasn’t had it easy. Another thing I loved was all the Ash/Puck interactions – you could tell used to be friends because they just knew each other so well, and the way they treated each other was so funny (to me, anyway). I think Puck knew that he would always be second to Ash, but he handled it quite well in my opinion. The epilogue especially...despite being heartbreaking, it was probably my favourite scene of the whole book. Ash and Puck working together? Who’d have thought it? And this is why I’m so desperate for The Iron Knight! I need that book.

A further thing I loved about this book was getting to know more about Meghan’s human father, Paul. He was seen in The Iron Daughter too, but his character is explored a lot more in this one, and I really enjoyed getting to know more about him.  And of course, there’s Grimalkin, my favourite character of them all. As unconcerned as ever, Grimalkin adds a touch of humour and fun into the book, and also an air of mystery, as seen in the epilogue (which I’m mentioning again because it was that amazing). The scene with Meghan’s family was another great one...there are just so many I can’t possibly mention them all. Though I will say that I the more we discovered about the Iron fey, the more I began to like and respect Machina. I think The Iron King gave us some clues about his character but I was too wrapped up in the story to notice them then. Now I see how clever a writer Julie Kagawa really is.

In conclusion, The Iron Queen was a brilliant book, and probably the best so far in the iron fey series. If you’ve read the previous two books, you havehavehave to read this one. But be warned, because as soon as you finish you will enter a trance like state in which you realise that November is oh so very far away and that the rest of yours days will be spent in agony waiting for The Iron Knight.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday #9

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

City of Fallen Angels (Mortal Instruments #4) by Cassandra Clare
April 5th 2011

City of Fallen Angels takes place two months after the events of City of Glass. In it, a mysterious someone’s killing the Shadowhunters who used to be in Valentine’s Circle and displaying their bodies around New York City in a manner designed to provoke hostility between Downworlders and Shadowhunters, leaving tensions running high in the city and disrupting Clary’s plan to lead as normal a life as she can — training to be a Shadowhunter, and pursuing her relationship with Jace. As Jace and Clary delve into the issue of the murdered Shadowhunters, they discover a mystery that has deeply personal consequences for them — consequences that may strengthen their relationship, or rip it apart forever. Meanwhile, internecine warfare among vampires is tearing the Downworld community apart, and only Simon — the Daylighter who everyone wants on their side — can decide the outcome; too bad he wants nothing to do with Downworld politics. Love, blood, betrayal and revenge: the stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels. (from Goodreads)

Scorpia Rising (Alex Rider #9) by Anthony Horowitz (cover not final)
March 31st 2011

On his blog, Horowitz was quoted as saying:

"SCORPIA RISING has a very twisty plot with a lot of surprises, not all of them pleasant. A few more things… You will come across the Smithers’s last gadget and learn something about Smithers that you never knew before. You will see Alan Blunt in a completely new light. One character who has been in all eight previous books will die. The ending is fairly shocking. And when you get to the end you will be in no doubt at all that this is THE LAST ALEX RIDER BOOK EVER."
(from Goodreads)

So these are my picks! I wasn't too impressed with the 8th Alex Rider book (Crocodile Tears) but I'm hoping this will be a good ending to the series.


Sunday, 6 February 2011

In My Mailbox #8

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

Unfortunately, I don't have my camera with me right now, so I can't use a photo. Anyway, here's what I got:

For review (from Bookbabblers):
Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin
Glee: Foreign Exchange by Sophia Lowell

Raised By Wolves by Jennifer Lyn Barnes (thanks Michelle @ Clover Hill Book Reviews!)

The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa (had to beg a friend to lend this to me, but my persistence paid off in the end!)

And that's it for me! Not too much, but I'm looking forward to getting started. Hope everyone had a great week too!

Friday, 4 February 2011

Three Mini Reviews

Major Crush by Jennifer Echols
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Released: August 1st 2006
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Tired of the beauty-pageant circuit, Virginia Sauter tosses her tiara, pierces her nose, and auditions for the most unlikely of roles — drum major of the high school marching band.

Virginia wins, but is forced to share the title with Drew, whose family has held the position for generations. Sure, Drew is hot, but because of his superior attitude, he and Virginia are constantly arguing. That is, until they share more than just their half-time salute...

But as the drum major's heated competition turns to sizzling romance, explosive rumors threaten everything — including the band's success. Love seemed to be a sure hit, but Virginia and Drew may be marching straight into disaster.
(from Goodreads)

Major Crush is a very light-hearted comedy, and a perfect feel good read. Virginia was a very strong female lead, which I absolutely loved, and she wasn’t afraid to do what she wanted. There was definitely chemistry between Drew and Virginia from the beginning; they would argue a lot but you could practically cut the tension with a knife :P. I really liked Drew as well as he was actually quite a developed character, and not just some boring sappy love interest with good looks and no personality. He actually had some substance to him and I thought he was a really great match for Virginia – their personalities were both similar yet different enough for both to be separate, individual characters. Another character I loved was Mr Rush – best of the lot. He was absolutely hilarious; I was literally laughing out loud a couple of times, and his weird personality, combined with his suggestive humour and odd phrasing was just amazing. He really made the book for me. Overall, Major Cush was a nice quick read that I would recommend for anyone wanting to cheer themself up or who just wants something cute and romantic.

Only the Good Spy Young by Ally Carter
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH
Released: June 29th 2010
My Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

When Cammie Morgan enrolled at the Gallagher Academy, she knew she was preparing for the dangerous life of a spy. What she didn’t know was that the serious, real-life danger would start during her junior year of high school. But that’s exactly what happened two months ago when Cammie faced off against an ancient terrorist organization dead set on kidnapping her.

Now the danger follows her everywhere, and even Cammie “The Chameleon” can’t hide. When a terrifying encounter in London reveals that one of her most-trusted allies is actually a rogue double-agent, Cammie no longer knows if she can trust her classmates, her teachers—or even her own heart.

In this fourth installment of the New York Times best-selling series, the Gallagher Girls must hack, spy, steal, and lie their way to the they go searching for answers, recognizing that the key to Cammie’s future may lie deep in the past.
(from Goodreads)

OTGSP was absolutely brilliant. I’ve loved the Gallagher Girls series from the beginning but this was probably one of my favourites so far. Ally Carter has definitely upped the ante; things are a bit darker in this book, and the problems can’t all easily be solved and wrapped up quickly and neatly. Zach – oh dear me. Possibly one of my favourite male characters of all time? I adore him. He’s such a mystery; he can be sweet and caring, and sometimes when he’s with Cammie you just can’t help but feel like they really ought to hurry up and get together. But other times he can be cold and professional as if he were never nice to begin with. I just didn’t know what to make of him, all I knew was that I felt just as confused as Cammie. And then you find out some truly shocking things...there were so many “OMG” moments in this book that both answered questions and yet made me want to ask even more. Finding out a bit more about Zach was definitely one of the most interesting parts; and even after everything, I still love him. Cammie’s friends are also really great characters; very loyal, very funny and always willing to put themselves in undesirable situations to help out. I absolutely cannot wait for the next book – I’m hoping we’ll get to the bottom of everything sometime soon, because the suspense is killing me :P.

Drive Me Crazy by Erin Downing 
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Released: June 2nd 2009
My Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Kate's tote is packed, and she's ready for a road trip!

Kate and her two best friends, Sierra and Alexis, are geared up for a week of fun and freedom on the road to their family lake houses in Love, Wisconsin. Best of all, when Kate reaches Love, she'll be reunited with Lucas, with whom she shared a steamy end-of-summer kiss last year. She can't wait to see Lucas again and pick things up exactly where they left off.

Then Kate gets some seriously bad news: Alexis's sarcastic, condescending, hot-but-he-knows-it cousin is crashing the girls' road trip. Adam bugs Kate in every possible way. Now Kate just wants to get the road trip over with so she can spend the summer in Lucas's arms. But the road to Love is full of surprises...
(from Goodreads)

Drive Me Crazy is another of the Simon Romantic Comedies, and while not as good as Major Crush in my opinion, it was still a great read, packed with fun and humour perfect for raising your spirits. I read it in the midst of winter, but I think it’s more of a summer read as it’s about a road trip (road trip!) and has a very summery feel to it. Kate is off to Love (said Loave) for the holidays with her two best friends Alexis and Sierra, where her dream guy Lucas will be – but unfortunately is stuck with Alexis’s annoying cousin Adam. Kate despises him – he’s an arrogant, sarcastic, good-for-nothing excuse for a human being. Or is he? As you can guess, it’s a love-hate relationship (think Shut Up & Kiss Me by Orianthi) and over the course of the book we get to see sides of Adam Kate never realised even existed. I actually really liked Adam from the beginning; he was really funny, and always up for anything. I didn’t really understand why Kate hated him so much, but I liked seeing her start to realise maybe he wasn’t as bad as she thought. She had to struggle with her confusing feelings for him, whilst dealing with her friend’s problems as well. One thing I liked about Kate was how loyal she was to her friends, and she stuck by them no matter what. She wasn’t very good at taking advice though. Point one: Lucas. Ahh Lucas. What can I say? Well. I nicknamed him Mucus, but I’ll let you make your own judgements on him ;). Overall, Drive Me Crazy was a lovely quick read; not too serious, but very heart-warming and perfect for those warm summer days.