Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Waiting on Wednesday #27

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

The Stalker Chronicles by Carey Moore
March 27th 2012
Find it on Goodreads

In this funny and original debut, a girl's lifelong habit of "stalking" intensifies when a new boy moves to town.

Sophomore Cammie Bliss has long been labeled a stalker by her peers, but when a cute new boy named Toby arrives at her small town high school, Cammie has a chance to be "normal." Trouble is, she can't really help herself and she's up to her old tricks of "intense observation and following" pretty quick. Making things worse, her younger brother is dating one of the most popular girls in the school, her parents have separated, and her dad has begun to watch their house most nights. Cammie has simply got to figure out why she behaves the way she does, and end it once and for all.
(from Goodreads)

This one looks hilarious! I mean, "intense observation and following"? Sounds awesome. Cammie definitely sounds like she's gonna be one hell of an interesting character, that's for sure. And I love the cover of this one too, it's so cute. The way the binoculars and tagline make a smiley face is both funny AND adorable...

What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Review: POD by Stephen Wallenfels

POD by Stephen Wallenfels
Publisher: Templar Publishing
Released: September 1st 2011
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

PODs - strange alien spheres hover menacingly in the sky, zapping anyone who ventures outside.

Josh is 15 and stuck in his house with his OCD dad. They're running out of food... Megs is 12, alone and trapped in a multi-storey carpark. The hotel next door is under the control of dangerous security staff, but Megs has something they want, and they'll do anything to get it...

When the aliens invade, the real enemy becomes humanity itself.

What would you do to survive?
(from Goodreads)

POD was a fantastic, gripping read that literally kept me on the edge of my seat! Told from alternating point of views, POD is the story of fifteen-year-old Josh and twelve-year-old Megs, and how their lives are torn apart when Earth is invaded by alien spaceships, or what Josh refers to as “PODs” (“Pearls of Death”). Josh confined to his house with his obsessive dad, who immediately begins to draw up plans and create logs of the PODs’ every move – and it’s driving Josh crazy. Megs is stuck in a hotel car park, all alone since her mum disappeared the first day of the invasion. Food is scarce, but venturing outside means being “deleted” – disappearing in a beam of bright light. With the chances of survival becoming slimmer each day, both Josh and Megs struggle to keep going, and they know sooner or later, the aliens will eventually attack. The only question is, when?

I really enjoyed POD – I was so engrossed in the story that I didn’t even realise I’d been reading it until 2am! I liked the fact that it was narrated by two characters, because we got to see how the invasion affected each individual differently. Josh was at home when everything happened, so for him, it was like his whole life was turned upside down in the space of a few short hours. To go from cramming for a History test to rationing food and conserving water was so drastic and unexpected, there was no way he could have prepared for such a huge change. I felt sorry for him, and everything was made worse by the fact that his dad had started to act very strange - cleaning everything meticulously and organising the pantry – it was unnerving, and I could understand why Josh was so frustrated. He didn’t want to just sit there and do nothing, he wanted to go out and help people, but of course that was impossible, and his father was determined not to let him out of his sight. I think Josh was a very believable character, and the questions he was asking were the exact same ones I was too – where did the people who went outside disappear to? What will happen when the food runs out? When will the PODs attack? I could definitely feel how angry and panicky he was at this sudden horrifying upheaval of his previously normal and happy life, which really helped me to connect to his character.

Megs, on the other hand, viewed the invasion differently. To her, it was another terrible event added on to a list of horrible things that had happened to her and her mother recently. While I did like Josh, I have to say, I think I liked Megs the most out of all the characters. She’s was only twelve years old, yet she was so brave and managed to cope and keep herself alive despite being all by herself with no-one to help her. I don’t know how she did it, but each day, she came up with a plan for herself and carried it out, and she managed to survive on her own, even though she was so scared and still missing her mother. I admired her courage and think she did well to make it as far as she did without any help.

One thing I really liked about POD was the way things were revealed to the reader, bit by bit. At first it seemed as though Megs and Josh had no connection to each other, but towards the end, the mystery began to unravel, and we discovered why we were reading from the points of view of these two people in particular. I thought it was quite clever the way they were connected, and I’m really interested in what will happen in the sequel – will Josh and Megs eventually meet? How will they react? The last few chapters of POD were pretty fast-paced, and a lot of things happened that completely changed the way everyone was living – especially on Josh’s end. While no explanation for the POD invasion was offered in this book – apart from Josh and his father’s guesses – I’m sure we’ll learn more about everything in the next book, and I look forward to reading more about Josh and Megs (especially after that ending!).

Overall, POD was a thrilling and enthralling read that kept my eyes glued to the page. I’d recommend it to fans of survival novels, or to anyone who enjoys young adult with elements of sci-fi. I can’t wait to read the next book – I’m curious to find out what the PODs will do next!

Monday, 29 August 2011

Blog Tour: POD by Stephen Wallenfels + Giveaway

Welcome to the first stop on the POD Blog Tour! Today, I have the author of POD, Stephen Wallenfels, on the blog for a Q&A session, and tomorrow I'll be posting up my review of POD. Also, the lovely people at Templar Publishing are offering one lucky UK reader the chance to win their very own copy of POD! So stick around for details on that.

PODs - strange alien spheres hover menacingly in the sky, zapping anyone who ventures outside.

Josh is 15 and stuck in his house with his OCD dad. They're running out of food... Megs is 12, alone and trapped in a multi-storey carpark. The hotel next door is under the control of dangerous security staff, but Megs has something they want, and they'll do anything to get it...

When the aliens invade, the real enemy becomes humanity itself.

What would you do to survive? 

Q and A with Stephen Wallenfels, author of POD

Hi Stephen, thanks for joining us! 
It’s a pleasure to be here. Thanks for the opportunity to visit with your fans.

It's a pleasure to have you! Can you tell us a bit about POD?
POD is actually three stories in one. There’s an alien invasion (really more like a siege). There’s a character study of a father / son relationship under stress. There’s an action adventure story about a plucky 12-year-old girl trying to survive in a car park while she’s being hunted by some nasty guys. And of course there is a dog and a kitten. I guess you can call it a “Sci-fi action adventure teen thriller survival story”.

Definitely sounds exciting! You've said POD is a young adult novel, with elements of science-fiction. Is there anything that inspired or influenced you to write this genre?
I chose YA and science fiction for a couple of reasons. I enjoy science fiction, not so much for the hard science, but more for the way people and societies react to disruptive technologies. In the case of POD, we’re dealing with a vastly superior unknown alien force with an unknown agenda. I chose YA because I believe YA a great voice with the most potential to reach the most people. Ages 12-90+ will read a compelling YA novel. Plus YAs are the next in line to handle this planet and all the issues we “adults” leave behind.

POD splits between fifteen-year-old Josh who is stuck in his house with his father and twelve-year-old Megs who is trapped in a car-park. Did you find one of these characters more difficult to write about, or could you easily switch from one to the other?
It wasn’t hard to switch from one to the other because POD was originally a short story written from Josh’s POV. My friends said they loved the story but wished it was longer. So I added Megs and alternated the chapters. It was a little tricky during the editing process, but the two are in very different locations in different situations so it wasn’t too hard.

POD stands for “Pearls of Death”, which is what Josh calls the alien vessels in the sky. How did you come up with this acronym?
The short story was originally titled, Pearls of Death, because they reminded Josh of his mother’s pearl necklace. When I decided to go with a novel, I figured Pearls of Death was too...descriptive. I wanted something more mysterious, with a touch of menace, and a dash of science fiction. POD is what happened.

Did you have to do any research when writing POD?
I live about twenty miles from Prosser and visited there several times. I spent a lot of time on Google Earth re-visiting Santa Monica, CA, where I went to college back in the day.

What are some of your personal favourite books?
Ooooh, there are so many!!! Sparrow by Mary Dora Russell, The Giver by Lois Lowry, Enders Game by Orson Scott Card, Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chobsky, Lord of the Flies by William Golding. As a kid I devoured anything by H.G. Wells, Jules Verne and Ray Bradbury. One of my favourite YA protagonists in the past ten years is Ree Dolly from Daniel Woodrell’s amazing, Winter’s Bone.

If you could do any job in the world (besides writing), what would it be?
For the longest time I couldn’t imagine a better job than being a professional beach volleyball player. Now that my knees aren’t so good any more, I’ve decided being a full-time writer would be the best job ever. It’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do my entire life. To let my imagination run wild every day, that sounds like a great (and a little scary) way to live.

What do you find hardest about writing?
Since I have a full-time job in marketing, it’s hard to find the time and a place to concentrate. Writing is a very solitary activity. I need to be alone with my characters and if there are distractions they sulk and refuse to talk to me. So I get up at 3:45 am and write until 6am every day except Sunday. I drink lots and lots of tea. As far as the process goes, I hate outlining. But I do it when I have to. And I had to with POD.

Can you tell us about any other projects you have coming up?
Absolutely! POD 2 which puts Josh and Megs in a profoundly changed world. And another action/adventure/science fiction/ teen thriller in the pipeline.

Thanks for answering questions today, it’s been great to have you on the blog!
It’s been a pleasure for me, too. I look forward to visiting your blog again. And thanks to your fans for sitting in on this “conversation”. 

Stephen Wallenfels is a freelance writer with over 60 feature articles, columns and interviews to his credit. He has also published short stories in national magazines for children and adults. POD is Stephen's first novel and he is currently working on POD 2.

For more on Stephen check out his website.


I hope you enjoyed the Q&A! To find out more about POD, visit the POD website - - where you have the chance to win an iPad! I hope you check out POD, it really is a great read! :)

To enter the competition to win a copy of POD, just leave a comment on this post with your email address by September 6th. UK only.

That's it for my stop. Huge thanks to Stephen for answering my questions, and to Templar for giving me this opportunity. The next stop will be tomorrow at I Want to Read That - make sure you visit!

Competition now CLOSED

Sunday, 28 August 2011

In My Mailbox (#26)

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

So I have no idea where the camera is O_O. Which means images this week:

For Review:
New England Witch Chronicles by Chelsea Bellingeri
Heroes 'Til Curfew (Talent Chronicles #2) by Susan Bischoff

That's it for me! I was so, so tempted to request a bunch of things off NetGalley (have you seen the books they've got? So many awesome ones!) but I already have quite a bit to review at the moment, so I resisted. Just about.

What did you get in your mailbox this week?

Many thanks to Chelsea and Susan.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Review: Eve by Anna Carey

Eve (The Eve Trilogy #1) by Anna Carey
Publisher: HarperTeen
Released: October 4th 2011
My Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

The year is 2032, sixteen years after a deadly virus—and the vaccine intended to protect against it—wiped out most of the earth’s population. The night before eighteen-year-old Eve’s graduation from her all-girls school she discovers what really happens to new graduates, and the horrifying fate that awaits her.

Fleeing the only home she’s ever known, Eve sets off on a long, treacherous journey, searching for a place she can survive. Along the way she encounters Caleb, a rough, rebellious boy living in the wild. Separated from men her whole life, Eve has been taught to fear them, but Caleb slowly wins her trust...and her heart. He promises to protect her, but when soldiers begin hunting them, Eve must choose between true love and her life.
 (from Goodreads)

As a huge fan of dystopian novels, I was really excited to read Eve. Set in a future where a plague has reduced the population to a fraction of what it was before, Eve lives in a very different world to our own. Boys and girls are segregated and girls are taught that men are violent, monstrous creatures that should be avoided at all cost. Eve has always been a perfect student at her all-girls school, where everyone is told that once they graduate, they will be sent away to learn a new trade. Eve has never doubted the word of her teachers, and like all the other girls, looks forward to graduating. However, the night before graduation, Eve discovers a horrible truth, and now knows for certain that everything she has been told is a lie. Forced to leave her friends behind, Eve escapes School, looking for a place to hide. Along the way, she begins to realise that maybe boys aren’t so bad, and starts to fall for Caleb, the one who saved her. But soon Eve finds out she’s in even more danger than she thought, and suddenly being with Caleb seems impossible - because Eve is wanted by the King, and he will stop at nothing to take her for his own.

Eve certainly had an interesting premise, and I was definitely intrigued by the world Anna Carey had created. The girls’ views on so many issues, including their opinion on boys, were so odd and warped that you could really tell it was like they had been brainwashed – they never interacted with men and were deathly afraid of them. They were also kept in the dark about so many things, for example, they were never taught how to swim in order to keep them away from the lake leading the Graduates’ building. Even the way they spoke meant that didn’t understand basic slang and couldn’t really converse with anyone that had not attended a School like theirs. The Graduates, who were promised learning a new trade, were in fact being used to breed, and were forced to have as many children as possible. It was all so terrible the way they were being lied to, and it definitely got me interested in why girls would be treated in such a way in this strange new society.

While I liked most characters in this book, I did have a problem with Eve herself. She was not very likeable in my opinion, and for somebody who was praised as being highly intelligent, she sure did a lot of things without thinking. She whined a lot to start, and didn’t really think about others unless she too was involved in their situation. She made a lot of stupid decisions which cost people their lives, and then didn’t really learn from her mistakes.  I really struggled to connect to her character and I just couldn’t see why so many other people thought she was such an amazing person. She did do nice things sometimes; I really enjoyed the scenes where she taught a group of young boys at the hideout she was staying in to read and write. She really cared for those boys, which improved my opinion of her, and I also began to like her a bit more when she cared for Arden, the girl she was on the run with, when she was sick. However, her stupid decisions outweighed her thoughtful ones, in my opinion, and I just couldn’t relate to her as much as I’d wanted to. I did find she got better right at the end, however, so I’m looking forward to reading about her in the next book.

My favourite character in the novel was Arden. She was the first girl to realise just exactly what was happening to the Graduates who left School, and it was because of her that Eve ran away in the first place. Without Arden, Eve probably would have died, and I liked how fierce and strong she could be. She did a lot for Eve, even though they hadn’t always been friends, and I thought she was just a genuinely good and loyal person. Caleb was another character I liked; he was funny and cute and understood how difficult it was to be on the run, hiding from danger. While I didn’t really understand his relationship with Eve or why he would give up so much for her, he really did seem to care about her and tried to do everything he could to keep her away from the King.

The character that intrigued me most was probably Leif - I could never work him out. He did some horrible things, but then also suffered from his horrible past, so I don’t know whether he regretted what he’d done, or whether he really was just not a nice person. I’d be interested to see what he does next in the sequel.

There wasn’t too much action in Eve, but enough to keep the book well-paced and engaging. The ending set the stage for the next book, and while I had a few issues, overall, Eve was enjoyable, and I’ll definitely be reading book two in the series. 

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Review: Betrayal by Lee Nichols

Betrayal (Haunting Emma #2) by Lee Nichols
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Released: September 5th 2011
My Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

Emma Vaile is the most powerful ghostkeeper in centuries. Which is great when she's battling the wraith-master Neos, but terrible when she's flirting with fellow ghostkeeper (and soul mate) Bennett. When ghostkeepers fall in love, the weaker one loses all power, and that's not something Bennett can handle. Heartbroken and alone, Emma tries to lose herself in school with fellow ghostkeeper, Natalie. When a new team of ghostkeepers arrive-one a snarky teen boy, the other a British scholar-Emma finds solace in training for the battle against Neos. But as the team grows stronger, they are threatened by an unknown force. One they thought was good.

As chilling and page-turning as Deception, this sequel will grab readers and hold them to the last page. No one is safe from suspicion as Emma closes in on the traitor.
(from Goodreads)

[contains spoilers for the first book]

Betrayal is a brilliant sequel to the Deception, and the Haunting Emma series is fast become one of my favourites! The book begins soon after the end of Deception, with the funeral of Emma’s friend Coby. Coby’s friends Harry and Sara blame Emma for his death, and refuse to speak to her anymore, and Emma becomes a social outcast in school. Worst of all, things with Bennett, the guy Emma would do anything to be with, are not working out – Bennett doesn’t want to lose his ghostkeeping powers until Neos is defeated, but being near Emma puts him in danger of doing exactly that, and he can’t take that risk. So Bennett leaves Emma, with the promise they’ll be together once Neos is gone, but that doesn’t really do much to ease Emma’s mind. She now has a new guardian, Simon, who brings along with him another ghostkeeper called Lukas. With a new team to adjust to and a life-threatening fight to prepare for, Emma is starting to realise the pressure she is under – she may be the most powerful ghostkeeper around, but even she gets scared sometimes.

Betrayal was a great addition to the Haunting Emma series, and I really enjoyed it! Emma had to deal with a lot in this once and I think she coped quite well with it all, even though it made her feel miserable a lot of the time. To have such an amazing time with Bennett to then be separated from him must have been awful, and I think we as readers missed Bennett just as much as Emma did! He popped up here and there though, and while I loved every scene they were in together (and there were some superawesome sexy ones), I did notice him changing as the story progressed. I won’t tell you what happens, because it’s spoilery, but the Bennettt at the end of Betrayal was not the same Bennettt at the end of Deception, and though Emma loved him just as much, she noticed the change in him too, and I’m expecting there to be some conflict in the next book, Surrender.

Natalie was even better in this book. She was a great friend to Emma, and tried to cheer her up, and she also defended her when Harry and Sara were shouting abuse or whenever someone was being nasty. She knew Emma well, and was the type of friend I think everyone wished they had – loyal, kind, funny and trustworthy. As for Harry and Sara – I could understand that they were going through a very tough time, losing such an important person to them, but I do think they were a little too harsh on Emma. Coby wanted Emma to talk to them and explain what happened, but Harry had started drinking again and Sara refused to listen, so Emma was put in a very difficult position. She still cared about her old friends, though, despite what they thought of her, and I think in the end, she did what was right, and I’m glad things worked out the way they did.

The newcomers, Simon and Lukas, were both very interesting characters. Simon was the oldest, and took on the guardian role – he was very strict and snappy a lot of the time, but I do think he cared about Emma and everyone and tried his best to protect them. He also knew a lot about ghostkeeping, and I have a feeling he actually knew a lot more than he let on about a few things, and while not very powerful, he was definitely a great ghostkeeper. He even made a joke or two, and I liked reading about him. Lukas seemed almost the opposite of Simon – he loved the ladies, and never missed the chance to flirt outrageously with Natalie, or make some funny comments about Emma. He injected some fun and light-heartedness into the story, and made a great addition to the ghostkeeping team, I think.

I really liked the ending of Betrayal, and felt it set up the next book perfectly - leaving you curious but not frustrated. There was actually a little extract of book three, Surrender, at the back of Betrayal, and after reading it, I’ve gotta say I’m really excited about the next book, and I can’t wait to read it! It looks like it’s going to be another awesome read.

Overall, Betrayal was an excellent, fast-paced read, and these books, in my opinion, are some of the best ghost stories around in the YA genre. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Waiting on Wednesday #26

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

The Catastrophic History of You & Me by Jess Rothenberg
January 17th 2012
Find it on Goodreads

BRIE'S LIFE ENDS AT SIXTEEN: Her boyfriend tells her he doesn't love her, and the news breaks her heart—literally.

But now that she's D&G (dead and gone), Brie is about to discover that love is way more complicated than she ever imagined. Back in Half Moon Bay, her family has begun to unravel. Her best friend has been keeping a secret about Jacob, the boy she loved and lost—and the truth behind his shattering betrayal. And then there's Patrick, Brie's mysterious new guide and resident Lost Soul . . . who just might hold the key to her forever after.

With Patrick's help, Brie will have to pass through the five stages of grief before she's ready to move on. But how do you begin again, when your heart is still in pieces?
(from Goodreads)

Love the look of this one! Quite a unique idea, and it sounds amazing; a good mix of emotional, funny and cute - plus Lauren Oliver recommends it, so that's another reason to read it! Love the cover too - very original and eye-catching. 

What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Blogoversary Winner!

Congrats! Jade picked pre-orders of The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa and Half-Blood by J. L. Armentrout :).

Thank you so much to everyone who entered - and be on the lookout for more giveaways soon! I still have one giveaway open to win a copy of Brimstone by Alan Skinner (UK only), but more will be coming your way ;).

Thanks to everyone that recommended books/films/animes too - you rule! And for those wondering what DSCS stands for - it means "Dirty Sexy Club Scene", which is a scene from Cassandra Clare's upcoming City of Lost Souls, the sixth book in The Mortal Instruments series. Well done to everyone who got it - and if you'd like to read a draft of the DSCS, Cassie has posted it here!

To anyone who actually bothered to write a haiku - you are awesome. Here are some of my favourites:

Most common entry
I see you riding
Round town with the girl I love 
And I'm like, haiku. 
(I completely love this! :P)

Brodie and Cricket
Just had sex. So did Liz, but
She, with a Spricket.
(I picked this one mostly to embarrass Brodie and reveal the extent of her craziness. That's what you get for being mean to me, oh deluded one ;])

My Hot Boys give hugs
In my dungeon they lurk 'round
For your merriment
(LOL. I would love to visit your dungeon boys some time!)

I am so hungry
When this form is completed
I will go and eat
(I sympathise - I'm hungry right now, still waiting for food to be delivered...ahh)

Favourite random comments:

I just finished watching some quality Danny Phantom. That show's totes underrated. I mean he's a GHOST BOY. C'mon! That's awesome! Plus, Sam is my spirit animal. 
(Danny Phantom is an amazing show! Everyone, go watch it now, seriously.)

There was a spidey on my ceiling five minutes ago. Freaked the hell out of me, but I didn't want to kill him. I think he reminded me of a younger Brodie. Small. Sneaky. Creepy. I'm just not feeling murderous tonight. And you know, murder doesn't bode well with being a vegan and lover of all creatures. But dude, he started moving again and I went all telepathic and he LISTENED. He moved in the other direction! Away from me! I'M A SPIDER WHISPER. THAT'S MY SUPERPOWER. 
(I laughed so much when I read this...I think that may be the worst superpower ever :P)

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Sonia. She and her sister were sleeping in the same room and for some crazy, ridiculous reason, the sister was mad at the amazing Sonia (who totally didn't do anything wrong *cough*). She wrote a diary entry that Sonia read (um, by accident) that said: "I hope Sonia falls into a hole and lands in Wonderland where everyone is out to kill her. Except there's no Johnny Depp. Only ugly guys." Sonia was sad.
(A land with no Johnny Depp? O_O)

There were so many other brilliant entries but if I chose all the ones I liked, we'd be here forever! So thanks again to all you awesome people, you rock :). I leave you with this:

Evernay ickletay away eepingslay agondray (thanks to Rachel @ A Confession to Make... who put this as her Pig Latin entry. I think it's doubly clever because it's real Latin in Pig Latin. And it's Harry Potter related, so bonus points :P)

Monday, 22 August 2011

Review: Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

Starcrossed (Starcrossed #1) by Josephine Angelini
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Released: June 3rd 2011
My Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

Set on the island of Nantucket, STARCROSSED tells the tale of Helen Hamilton, a young woman whose destiny is forever altered when she meets Lucas Delos and tries to kill him in front of her entire high school. Which is terribly inconvenient, not only because Lucas is the most beautiful boy on the island, but also because Helen is so achingly shy she suffers physical pain whenever she is given too much attention.

Making matters worse, Helen is beginning to suspect she’s going crazy. Whenever she’s near Lucas or any member of his family she sees the ghostly apparitions of three women weeping bloody tears, and suffers the burden of an intense and irrational hate. She soon learns that she and Lucas are destined to play the leading roles in a Greek tragedy that the Three Fates insist on repeating over and over again throughout history. Like her namesake, Helen of Troy, she’s destined to start a war by falling in love. But even though Lucas and Helen can see their own star-crossed destiny, they’re still powerfully attracted to each other. Will they give up their personal happiness for the greater good, or risk it all to be together?
(from Goodreads)

Starcrossed was a thrilling, engaging read that I could not put down. I was literally hooked – and despite the length of the book (it’s pretty long, over five hundred pages), I didn’t want it to end.

I first have to say that I really enjoy reading about Greek mythology in YA fiction, so before I even started Starcrossed, I had high expectations. I was not disappointed, and I loved the way the mythology was incorporated into the story. Helen Hamilton, our protagonist, always knew that she was different, but what she didn’t realise what that she was a Scion, an offspring of the Greek Gods. I really felt for Helen as she was suddenly thrust into this dangerous world she had no idea she was a part of, and as someone who was quite shy and self-conscious, it was doubly hard for her to adjust to everything. One of my favourite scenes was the day Helen first met Lucas Delos, one of the sons of a family who had just moved to Nantucket from Spain. One minute, Helen was walking down the hallway, next minute she was trying to strangle Lucas to death in front of the entire school. It was crazy – next thing Helen knew, she was suddenly no longer just a normal human, but was a demigod with powers, destined to kill Lucas and his family. Then a bunch of wacky (but awesome) things happened, and Helen was forced to learn how to defend herself, to learn how to fight, and Lucas and his family had to be the ones to teach her.

Helen was a character I felt I could connect with. I could understand why she was so frustrated, because everything was changing right before her eyes, and she had to deal with Furies and trying to control her powers as well as all her mixed up emotions for Lucas. I think she coped with everything that happened to her pretty well, and I liked the fact that she didn’t just give up on everything and actually tried to help herself (she was pretty badass too – her powers were awesome).  And He was cryptic at first – you didn’t really know what was going on in his head except he obviously wanted to kill Helen as much as she did him. But then as time went on, we got to see all the good things about him – and there were a lot. He was funny, and he knew the kind of things Helen liked, he was über good-looking, he was smart, he was athletic, he could fly... He wasn’t perfect by all means – he got jealous easily and could be selfish at times, but I liked that he had flaws, that made him seem more real, in my opinion. The relationship between Helen and Lucas, though it progressed a little fast, was really great to read about too – I don’t know, it just seemed like after we moved passed the whole killing thing (words I never thought I’d say), they could be so at ease with each other, and there was obvious passion between then and ahhh it was just very, very good. The whole forbidden love aspect that I’m a complete sucker for was really well done, I loved it.

Starcrossed was also one of the only novels where I actually liked all the minor characters as well as the main ones. I loved the whole Delos family – I liked Hector, Lucas’s cousin, especially, because he seemed to be the kind of person that tried their hardest whenever they could, and he was completely devoted to his family – they really meant everything to him. He was also such a fun guy, especially when he was teasing Helen, and I found him a great character to read about. I also liked the twins Jason and Ariadne – they were healers, and both such kind people, you couldn’t just help but warm to them immediately. I loved seeing the build up of Claire (Helen’s best friend) and Jason’s relationship – they were both clueless but were well-matched and were really funny and sweet.

The twists in this book were unreal, and my head was spinning trying to keep track of what was happening, it was that exciting. There wasn’t a huge cliffhanger at the end of this book, but there was so much left to find out that I know waiting for the next book, Dreamless, is going to be very difficult.

Overall, I loved Starcrossed, and all I can say is that you should go buy it if you haven’t read it. If you’re a fan of Greek mythology and forbidden romance, then you’ll probably like this. And though Starcrossed has been compared to Twilight a lot, I personally think it’s a much better book. More likeable characters, and a great plot – so go check it out!

Sunday, 21 August 2011

In My Mailbox (#25)

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

Here's what I got this week:

For Review:
Between by Jessica Warman (from Bookbabblers)
Crypt: The Gallow's Curse by Andrew Hammond (from the amazing Leanna @ Daisy Chain Book Reviews)
From Simon & Schuster Galley Grab:
Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez
Past Perfect by Leila Sales

Legend (Legend #1) by Marie Lu (from the lovely Brooke @ Brooke Reports)

Uncommon Criminals (Heist Society #2) (from the awesome Heidi @ YA Bibliophile)

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

Many thanks to Brooke, Heidi, Leanna, Hodder and Simon & Schuster Galley Grab.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Review: Deception by Lee Nichols

Deception (Haunting Emma #1) by Lee Nichols
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Released: September 5th 2011
My Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

When Emma Vaile’s parents go missing while away on a mysterious business trip, she’s left all alone in her creepy old house. But her brother’s very cute best friend, Bennett Stern—Emma’s knight in J. Crew armor—arrives unexpectedly to whisk her away to New England. There, Emma settles into his family’s museum-like mansion and enrolls at an old-fashioned private school. She quickly finds friends in the popular legacy crowd at Thatcher and spends her free time crushing on Bennett. But the eerie visions she’s been hiding from everyone have gotten worse. Emma has memories of Thatcher that she can’t explain—it’s as if she’s returning home to a place she’s never been. Finally, Emma confides in Bennett and learns she is a ghostkeeper, a person who can communicate with ghosts. Bennett brought Emma to Thatcher to protect her, but now he needs her help tracking an other-worldly murderer.

A rich New England setting filled with mystery, tradition, and prep-school intrigue make Deception the perfect choice for fans of series like Kate Brian’s Private, as well as all those paranormal fans. The shocking ending will leave readers desperate for book two.
(from Goodreads)

I’m a huge fan of ghost stories, so was really looking forward to reading Deception, and I can tell you, it did not disappoint! Deception was everything you’d want in a ghost story; witty, spooky, sexy and mysterious - a fabulous read!

Deception begins when Emma’s parents go on holiday – and then don’t come back. Suddenly, Emma is left all alone, with no way of reaching her parents or contacting her family at all. She thinks maybe there’s no signal, which is why her parents aren’t answering their phones, but when her house party is busted by the police, Emma is taken away, and sent to live with Bennett – her brother’s old friend, and her newly appointed legal guardian. Moving in with Bennett doesn’t quite turn out like Emma imagined – she’s left alone most of the time, she has to start a new school and Bennett acts like he doesn’t really care about her. Soon, however, Emma starts to uncover secrets surrounding her and her family, and realises that as much as she wants to be normal, her powers make her far from average. But these powers aren't all they're cracked up to be - someone is after Emma, and everyone she loves could be in danger because of her.

I really liked Emma, and she was definitely one of the reasons I enjoyed the book so much. She was funny, with a great (sometimes sarcastic) sense of humour, and I absolutely loved reading about her. There was a point where she thought she was going crazy and couldn’t tell whether the ghosts she were seeing were real or not, and I found the jumble of thoughts going through her head really realistic – anyone would feel the same in that situation! She was a very believable teen – frustrated over her relationships (there was undeniable attraction between the Emma and Bennett that made for some great reading), worried about her family, but alongside her normal life, she was also part of another world, and could see and communicate with ghosts. Emma’s abilities, though recent, became such a part of her that I couldn’t imagine her without them now! She was very involved with the ghosts, and they all liked her because she didn’t treat them as disposable objects, but as people.

Bennett, Emma’s guardian, was another reason I loved the book. He was a fantastic love interest – a bit stern and very mysterious, but also very sweet and caring at times, and obviously protective over Emma. He was also gorgeous, which always helps, and was older than Emma by three years, which meant he often teased Emma about being young, which annoyed her to no end, I’m sure. The best part about Bennett though, apart from the obvious connection he and Emma had that made me relish every scene they were in together, was trying to guess the mystery behind him. He never spoke much about his own life, and I never really knew what his motives were until the end, when a little information was revealed. However, the guy was still shrouded in mystery. Bennett used to be a good friend of her Emma’s brother Max, but Emma didn’t know why they stop talking, only that they’d had a fight on some unknown topic. I’m really intrigued by what happened between those two, and can’t wait to find out more in the next book!

Other characters I really liked were the ghosts Emma talked to – especially the ones that tended to the house she was living in, like Celeste, who was kind and motherly and funny, and Nicholas, who was a little boy ghost, fascinated by new toys and games like Game Boys and tetris. My favourite ghost though was probably the Rake, whose backstory was so interesting and yet heartbreaking, and who was also the one that taught Emma to fight and protect herself. Emma had some great human friends too - Harry was brilliant, with his Latin jokes and knowledge on every student at school, and really made me laugh – while Sara was the first female friend Emma had at Thatcher Academy, and helped her out with girly things like dresses and hair. Natalie was another intriguing character – at first I didn’t know whether to trust her, but she seemed to really want to be Emma’s friend, and had suffered a lot in the past. As Emma warmed to her, I warmed to her and began to like her a lot more.

The ending of Deception was nothing short of amazing – just as I thought everything had wrapped up, something happened that made me narrow my eyes in suspicion. There was no huge cliffhanger, but the last page has definitely made me curious enough to want to dive right in to the next book. Luckily I have a copy, or I think I’d go crazy having to wait!

Overall, Deception was an exciting, engaging, fast-paced story, and I really enjoyed it. I’d recommend it to anyone that loves ghost stories or great romances – this book has both!

Friday, 19 August 2011

Review: Brimstone by Alan Skinner + Giveaway

Brimstone (Earth, Air, Fire and Water #1) by Alan Skinner
Publisher: Sibling Press
Released: October 4th 2010
My Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

At the age of 14, Jenny Swift is torn from her home deep in the forest to become apprenticed to the master alchemist Richard Antrobus. Jenny's mother was a healer from the East who has taught her well and from whom she inherits her exotic looks. But this difference means that she faces suspicion and distrust as she is drawn into a plot to throw the world into chaos. Not only does Jenny have to fight to stay alive amid the treachery and intrigue that surrounds the court of the Duke, but she finds her friendships and loyalties tested to the full. Forced to seek the key to the greatest secrets of the alchemists, Jenny discovers the power that lies within her - skills which could make her the greatest alchemist of any age. (from Goodreads)

Brimstone is an intriguing and original story, with a premise that stands out from many other young adult novels.  It is the tale of fourteen-year-old Jenny Swift, who is forced to leave her father and her sick mother in order to become the new apprentice of Master Richard Antrobus, a renowned alchemist. At first, Jenny resents her apprenticeship and has no interest in becoming an alchemist In Vale, and wished to return home and become a healer like her mother. Living a sheltered life with her parents has left her unprepared for the hard, suspicious world she is thrown in to – she is labelled as an “outsider” because of her skin and her appearance, and also because she is female – a rarity among apprentices. Soon however, Jenny is pulled into danger that threatens to harm many people, and Jenny must use her great skill and natural abilities to protect those she cares for.

The first thing I have to say about Brimstone is do not let the cover put you off. Yes, okay, we can all agree it is not the best of covers, but it’s what’s inside that counts, and you’d be missing out if you skipped over this one. While I found the story slow to start, it becomes much better-paced when Jenny starts to get settled in Vale. While the book is very plot-driven, and so perhaps lacks completely developed characters, I really like the main character Jenny. She coped with everything that was thrown at her really well in my opinion, and kept a cool head even in dangerous situations. She was also very smart, and could piece together the puzzle to work out what was going on – she was strong-willed and refused to go down without a fight. She was a great main character and really made the stay enjoyable.

I also liked Frida and Emily, Jenny’s friends, and I liked it when they worked together – it showed a bit of girl power, which was great in an environment where everyone was judged by gender, race and rank. I liked Emily especially, because she was fun and lively and added humour to the story.

There were a lot of twists and turns in Brimstone – there was a really unexpected one at the end that shocked me and made me feel really sorry for the people involved. There was quite a lot of action going on, and I particularly enjoyed the scene between Jenny and Nate (a man looking for a certain object, which Jenny had); Jenny had to think really quickly and had to be strong in order to get out of the dangerous situation she was in, and I found it exciting to read about.

While there is going to be a sequel to Brimstone, you can rest assured that there is no huge cliffhanger to frustrate you – most things are wrapped up, with a few loose ends to be continued in the next book, and the ending leaves you with a satisfied feeling.

The only problem I had with Brimstone was that I felt some parts were perhaps a little too descriptive, and while I felt I could really picture what was going on, I did find myself skimming over a few paragraphs and then having to re-read them, which sort of jumbled the story for me.

Overall, Brimstone was a fresh, thrilling read, and while it’s not fantasy, I think it would appeal to fans of that genre, as well as those interested in alchemy.
Giveaway time! I have an extra copy of this book to give away - if you'd like to enter to win, just leave a comment with your email address. There's no official end date, but I'll pick the winner some time in September. You must be 13 or older to enter. UK only. Good luck!

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Waiting on Wednesday #25

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

Unraveling Isobel by Eileen Cook
January 3rd 2012
Find it on Goodreads

Isobel’s life is falling apart. Her mom just married some guy she met on the internet only three months before, and is moving them to his sprawling, gothic mansion off the coast of nowhere. Goodbye, best friend. Goodbye, social life. Hello, icky new stepfather, crunchy granola town, and unbelievably good-looking, officially off-limits stepbrother.

But on her first night in her new home, Isobel starts to fear that it isn’t only her life that’s unraveling—her sanity might be giving way too. Because either Isobel is losing her mind, just like her artist father did before her, or she’s seeing ghosts. Either way, Isobel’s fast on her way to being the talk of the town for all the wrong reasons. (from Goodreads)

How fab does this one sound? It has everything in it - new town, forbidden romance (and I haven't seen this done before - except on FictionPress ;]), paranormal element (I love a good ghost story), the whole is-it-real-or-am-I-crazy debate - it sounds awesome! I can't wait to read it - January is just too far away!

What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Top Ten Tuesday #1

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 Top Ten Tuesday topic is a freebie -- use this week to write a top ten list about ANYTHING in literature.

My list: 

Top Ten Books That Caused Strong Emotions to Surface While Reading 

1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling - I don't usually cry in books, and this book caused me to bawl like a baby. I could barely see the words properly, and there are actual tear stains on my copy of this book. If that's not strong emotion, then I don't know what it is...

2. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins - I think the fact that I sat on my bed smiling like an idiot for about an hour after I finished reading this implies that some kind of strong emotion surfaced. I bounced around the house like a kid on a sugar high for the rest of the day. I don't even know what I was feeling, all I remember is gushing crazily about how awesome this book was.

3. The Demon's Covenant by Sarah Rees Brennan - I'm not sure quite how to explain this one. There's this certain scene between the characters Nick and Mae that I remember re-reading about four times before finally bringing myself to read on to the next chapter. And after I finished this book, I remember just thinking "that was awesome". Then I read the scene four more times.

4. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer - what to say about Breaking Dawn...well, it made me feel angry. I literally threw it across the room and left it there for about an hour. Then I forced myself to start reading it again, because I just wanted it to finish. There was more anger. Then shock. Then anger at the shock. Then disgust. Then more anger. Then relief when it was finally over. Then more relief when I donated it to my school library and never had to see it sitting on my bookshelf ever again.

5. The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa - oooh this book was amazing. I just remember feeling so many things while reading it: scared, excited, shocked, happy, sad, ohmyGodwhatthefrigginhelljusthappened, awesomeness (can you feel awesomeness?), love, hate, hilarity - I think every emotion there is, this book made me feel it at least once.

6. Divergent by Veronica Roth - Divergent got me so emotionally attached to the characters, I don't even know how it happened. One minute I was happily reading along, next minute the book was over and I was actually DEVASTATED that I couldn't read more about Tris and Four until next year. I felt kind of incomplete. I NEEDED to read more about them, you know?

7. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens - sorry in advance to anyone who really loves classic. So I had to read this one for school a few years ago, and I can tell you now that what surfaced was extreme boredom. I sat in class, my eyes drooping, head on the desk, book open at the wrong page, listening to the sound of the cars outside. I don't remember a single thing that happened in this book, only that it made me want to sleep. And yet I somehow did a presentation on it without reading a single chapter. 

8. Any book in the Georgia Nicolson series by Louise Rennison - these books never, ever failed to make me laugh like a crazy person. Every one has made me laugh out loud at some point, and I've gotten a fair few strange looks from people who had no idea why I was snorting into a book. Absolutely hilarious, and one of my favourite series :).

9. Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz - I wanted to be a spy. After reading this book, I became obsessed with spies - I researched them on the internet, I told my parents that my lifetime ambition was to join MI6, I watched all the Spy Kids movies back to back. I sort of went spy crazy. I even ordered one of those notepads that comes with with invisible ink that you can only see with ultraviolet light. Then I had a tantrum when it didn't arrive :P.

10. A book with lots of clown pictures in it, the name of which I do not remember - fear. Absolute terror. In case you don't already know, I hate clowns. I really do. They scare me. I took one look at those pictures, dropped the book and ran. 

Monday, 15 August 2011

Review: Lottie Biggs is (Not) Tragic by Hayley Long

Lottie Biggs is (Not) Tragic (Lottie Biggs #3) by Hayley Long
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Released: August 5th 2011
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads
See my reviews for the previous books here and here.

Just when things were starting to look up for Lottie her life's gone a bit pear-shaped, wonk-ways and downside up again. Her mum's all soppy over a bloke with a horrible shemo daughter, her best pal Goose has disappeared in a cloud of nerd-gas and Lottie's in the midst of an existential crisis. There's only one thing to do - get the hell out of Cardiff and go on the road with the gorgeous Gareth Stingecombe (and his manly thighs). But things don't go to plan, and Lottie starts to realise she might have been a bit me me me lately...a female emo, obviously The wit of Louise Rennison meets the depth of Jacqueline Wilson. (from Goodreads)

Lottie Biggs is (Not) Tragic is a brilliant conclusion to a fantastic series. Lottie is just as witty and random as ever - in this one, she has to deal with her mum and her new boyfriend, Stevie Wonder (note: not the singing sensation), it’s almost Christmas and she has no money for presents, and to top it all off, thanks to an Elvis impersonator and the great philosopher René Descartes, the only thing about her whole life that Lottie knows for sure is that she exists. And that’s starting to make her feel pretty lonely.

Some of the best things about the Lottie Biggs series are the little doodles and drawings scattered throughout the book. There were a lot of cool and funny ones in this book, and I felt that, as well as really helping me understand more about Lottie and what was going on in her head, they also really made me laugh, and I don’t think the book would have been the same without sketches of Winnie the chinchilla, and pie charts of Welsh surnames!  

Lottie herself was even wackier than usual in this book – she overreacted to a lot of things, which produced some comical results, and of course, every detail of her hectic life was recorded on her computer (NOT a diary). I really liked it when Lottie was introduced to philosophy – her rambling and somewhat frantic thoughts on some of life’s most debated issues were absolutely hilarious, and I loved how Lottie thought of herself as some kind of philosopher now she was familiar with the works of Descartes!  :P

Gareth, Lottie’s boyfriend and possessor of colossal manly things, was so cute in this book – every time he tried to tell Lottie how he felt about her, he ended up coming out with some crazy things like “I love YouTube” and “I love Ewan McGregor”.  Lottie thought he was an oddball, but I thought it was adorable, and his strange comments made me laugh a fair few times.

Goose was another source of hilarity – she had recently developed a huge crush on her co-worker, Tim, who was a lot nerdier and a lot shier than she was. Lottie found Goose’s new interest in Tim Overlup to be hilarious, mostly because Tim was so different to Goose, and also because his name backwards was “Pure Vomit”. Goose’s attempts to impress Tim were so funny, and I felt a bit sorry for her because poor Tim was so oblivious!

Possibly one of the funniest parts of the book, however, was when Michel, Lottie’s sister’s French boyfriend, was talking about Britain, and kept referring to Lottie and her friends as English, and they kept shouting back, “We’re not English, we’re WELSH!” I cracked up, because Michel just sat there puzzled and couldn’t understand why they were upset!

Overall, Lottie Biggs is (Not) Tragic was a fun, uplifting read, and a great end to the series. Highly recommended!

Sunday, 14 August 2011

In My Mailbox (#24)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren.
Got some books I've been really excited for this week! And I think my photography skills have improved slightly. This photo doesn't look as awful as the previous ones :P.
For Review:
D4rk Inside by Jeyn Roberts 
Deception (Haunting Emma #1) by Lee Nichols
Betrayal (Haunting Emma #2) by Lee Nichols
Need (Need #1) by Carrie Jones
After Obsession by Carrie Jones & Steven E. Wedel
Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey
My Love Lies Bleeding (Drake Chronicles #1) by Alyxandra Harvey
Blood Feud (Drake Chronicles #2) by Alyxandra Harvey
Out for Blood (Drake Chronicles #3) by Alyxandra Harvey
The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1) by Maggie Stiefvater (from the lovely Cait @ The Cait Files, who was so ashamed I hadn't read this book, she bought it for me :P)

Waterfall (River of Time #1) by Lisa T. Bergren (free on Amazon)
The Girl in the Steel Corset (Steampunk Chronicles #1) by Kady Cross (free from HarlequinTEEN after filling out a survey)

That's my haul for the week! Can't wait to get started on some of these. What did you get in your mailbox?

Many thanks to Emma at Bloomsbury, Macmillan, Cait, HarlequinTEEN, Galley Grab and Amazon.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Review: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Wither (The Chemical Garden #1) by Lauren DeStefano
Publisher: HarperVoyager
Released: August 4th 2011
My Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

What if you knew exactly when you would die? 

Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant she trusts, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limted time she has left.
(from Goodreads)

Wither is a brilliant dystopian novel that took me completely by surprise. I expected it to be good, considering all the hype surrounding it, but it completely surpassed my expectations! The cover isn’t the only gorgeous thing about this book – Lauren DeStefano’s writing had me totally engrossed in the dangerous and frightening word she had created, and I fell in love with the story almost immediately.

Wither is the kind of book that throws you straight into the action. From the very first page, we were chucked into the story, and had to come to terms with the horror of what was happening to Rhine very quickly. This immediate plunge into Rhine’s harsh world had a great impact on us as readers, and I think I really got the feel of the sinister nature of the future she was living in. Rhine was a very intriguing character in my opinion – she had just been kidnapped, and was forced, along with two other girls, to be the bride of a man she had never met, yet she was strangely in control of herself, and the whole time was just constantly thinking of ways to escape. I really connected with her, because it was so easy to see how terrible the situation she was in must have been for her, or for any girl. However, Rhine, while she could be kind and caring and thoughtful, was also certainly very cunning, and was planning an escape in her head the entire time she was with her husband Linden, using whatever means necessary to try and achieve her goal. I really liked her determination and refusal to give up even when struggling with her feelings, and it was something that set her apart from her sister wives.

Possibly one of my favourite part of the book was the dynamic between Rhine and her sister wives, Cecily and Jenna – two girls who were also married to Linden. At first, Rhine felt very detached to them, and struggled to open up to them or even talk to them at all. However, as things progressed, the relationship between these three teenagers became very close, and Rhine felt as though these girls could really be part of her family (though they could never replace her twin brother, Rowan, who she was separated from, and missing a lot). Cecily was the youngest wife at only thirteen, and was the most naive of them all, thinking that her new life was wonderful, and Rhine felt a sense of responsibility for her, sickened by the fact that someone as young as Cecily could be forced into such a horrible situation. Jenna was the quiet, solemn one - grieving for the loss of her sisters, who were murdered before she arrived at Linden’s mansion. The bonds between the girls were very interesting to read about – Rhine felt closer to her sister wives than she did to her own husband, and feared for them as she would fear for herself. Jenna understood Rhine the most, I think, and tried to help her out as much as possible, even if it meant having to spend time with Linden, who she hated.

Linden was another interesting character. While I didn’t like him, I feel it would be unfair to say I hated him, because he simply didn’t know enough about his wicked father’s actions to be labelled as a despicable person. However, he was incredibly naive and gullible, and I mostly just felt sorry for him, because he was being lied to by his father every day of his life. His story with his first wife, Rose, was also a tragic one – she died shortly after he married Rhine and the others, and was the wife that he truly loved. Nevertheless, I felt like he expected too much from his wives while not even bothering to really get to know them, and I just couldn’t bring myself to care too much about a man so self-centred. His father Housemaster Vaughn, however, was so disgustingly evil that he made Linden look like a moral exemplar, and Rhine, her sister wives and practically the entire mansion were controlled by Vaughn - whatever he said went, and no-one could say otherwise.

Amidst these unpleasant people, though, was Gabriel, Rhine’s attendant. While I felt we maybe didn’t see enough of Gabriel, I really liked him – he was incredibly sweet and did all these thoughtful little things for Rhine, like slip in her napkin her favourite sweets at breakfast, and he really made Rhine’s life in the mansion more bearable. He was the only person she completely trusted and could tell everything to, and his friendship kept her sane and allowed her to remember that she was not just a wife, but a person with an identity, and a brother that she needed to get back to. He worried about her too, and was so cute when he did, and I loved seeing their relationship blossom – I just wish we could have seen more of them together. The ending suggests that we will in the future, so I’m really looking forward to the next book in the series.

Overall, Wither was an extremely enjoyable read, and I loved getting to know Rhine. I can’t wait for Fever (book two) and I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed Delirium by Lauren Oliver, or to anyone who enjoys dystopian novels in general.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Review: Six Days by Philip Webb

Six Days by Philip Webb
Publisher: Chicken House
Released: July 4th 2011
My Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

For Cass, the life of a 'scav' is all she’s ever known – scavenging what’s left of London in search of a precious relic no-one, not even her new Russian masters, has ever seen.

But when two survivors from another time show up, claiming they hold the key to the whereabouts of the missing ‘artefact’, scavving will never be the same again. They have six days to find it before their world will come to an end.

A gripping post-apocalyptical adventure set in the ruins of London about a desperate race to find a relic of extraordinary power. Spectacular science-fiction debut from Philip Webb.
(from Goodreads)

Six Days is an intriguing mix of genres – it’s a dystopian, with elements of sci-fi, and the two are very cleverly tied together. The world Philip Webbs creates for us is very different from anything see today – set some time in the future, London is no longer the buzzing capital city it was, but is now just a crumbling wreckage of buildings left over from the Quark Wars, where most people were killed by bio-bombs. Now, the survivors are forced to do “scav” work; they must search through every building, leaving no stone unturned, looking for the mysterious “artefact”. No-one knows what the artefact is, or even what it looks like, but job of the scavs is to find it and turn it over to the Vlads (the rulers of the city) as soon as it’s discovered. Cass thinks they’ll never find the artefact, but her younger brother, Wilbur, is convinced he knows where it is. When Wilbur’s crazy schemes lead him and Cass to two strangers, obviously not from London, slowly the mysteries of the artefact begin to unfold. But with answers comes danger, and Cass, Wilbur and newcomers Peyto and Erin must find the artefact in six days – before it’s too late.

Six Days was an enjoyable book with a very interesting concept. I found it a bit slow to start, but really started to get into it after the first few chapters, where it became much more plot-driven. The main character, Cass, was instantly likeable. The story was told in first person from her point of view, and she used a lot of slang that took a bit of getting used to, but I really, really liked her, and warmed to her immediately. There was something very genuine about her – like she couldn’t be fake if she tried – and she was so funny as well, and also very caring; you could tell she really loved her brother Wilbur, even though she teased him a lot of the time. She had been brought up as a scav, and couldn’t read (or write, I assume), but despite this, she was very clever, and could piece things together very quickly, and often spotted or realised things that the others didn’t. She was good at coming up with plans to help everyone, or get them out of trouble, and she always tried to make the best of situations, which I thought was brave of her.

The two outsiders, Peyto and Erin, were also great to read about. They had been brought up completely differently to Cass and her brother, so a lot of things were very strange to them – for example, the very concept of eating meat was disgusting and something they hadn’t even thought of before . While Peyto managed to adapt to most things, Erin struggled a lot more – even when she was starving, she only ate biscuits, and she missed her home and family a lot which made her eager to find the artefact so she could see them again. Wilbur seemed to find Erin and Peyto fascinating, and initially was a lot more keen to help than Cass was, but as they all got to know each other, I think they started to become friends and grew closer.

Possibly the most interesting character was Maleeva, the daughter of an important woman in the Vlads, who only showed up nearer the end. She seemed wise beyond her years, and was willing to sacrifice a lot to help these people she barely knew, which I thought was courageous of her, and also very kind of her to do.  Things also started to speed up when she arrived, and there was a lot of action going on which surrounded her. I did feel that towards the end, things did perhaps happen too quickly, and I had to re-read a few bits to grasp what was going on. I did like the ending though, and it was left quite open, which I hope means there will be another book!

Overall, Six Days was a great combination of sci-fi and dystopian, with a storyline that will never leave you bored. I would recommend it to anyone fans of either or both genres, and if there’s going to be a sequel, then I look forward to reading it! :)

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Waiting on Wednesday #24

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

Pandemonium (Delirium #2) by Lauren Oliver
March 6th 2012

Lauren Oliver captivated readers with Delirium, the first book in a thrilling dystopian trilogy in which Lena Haloway dared to fall in love with Alex and escape the cure, the government-mandated procedure that renders a person immune to the disease of love. Lena and Alex staked their lives on leaving their oppressive society, but only Lena broke free.

Pandemonium continues Lena’s gripping story. After escaping from Portland, Maine, Lena makes it to the Wilds and becomes part of an Invalid community, where she transforms herself into a warrior for the resistance. A future without Alex is unimaginable, but Lena pushes forward and fights, both for him and for a world in which love is no longer considered a disease. Swept up in a volatile mix of revolutionaries and counterinsurgents, Lena struggles to survive—and wonders if she may be falling in love again.

Full of danger, forbidden romance, and exquisite writing, Lauren Oliver’s sequel to Delirium races forward at a breathtaking pace and is sure to appeal to fans who crave the high-stakes action of The Hunger Games and the bittersweet love story of Romeo & Juliet.
(from Goodreads)

I recently read Delirium, and absolutely loved it, so now I can't wait for the next book! The only thing is, this line worries me: "...and wonders if she may be falling in love again."  I'm sensing a love triangle. The dreaded, dreaded love triangle. I'm too much of an Alex fan to be completely okay with this. I'm hoping I'm wrong, but even if I'm not, this book is still probably going to be awesome anyway, so I'm still excited. What are your thoughts? Are you yay or nay for love triangles? I don't mind them sometimes, but I just have a worrying feeling that what will happen is: Lena will be away from Alex, Lena will meet new guy, Lena will have likey times with new guy, big explosion of actiony stuff, Lena does actiony things, Alex returns unexpectedly, Lena now has two guys to choose from, angst...

Now my rambling is over, what are you waiting on this week?