Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Waiting on Wednesday #34

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

Slide by Jill Hathaway
March 1st 2012
Find it on Goodreads

Vee Bell is certain of one irrefutable truth—her sister’s friend Sophie didn’t kill herself. She was murdered.

Vee knows this because she was there. Everyone believes Vee is narcoleptic, but she doesn’t actually fall asleep during these episodes: When she passes out, she slides into somebody else’s mind and experiences the world through that person’s eyes. She’s slid into her sister as she cheated on a math test, into a teacher sneaking a drink before class. She learned the worst about a supposed “friend” when she slid into her during a school dance. But nothing could have prepared Vee for what happens one October night when she slides into the mind of someone holding a bloody knife, standing over Sophie’s slashed body.

Vee desperately wishes she could share her secret, but who would believe her? It sounds so crazy that she can’t bring herself to tell her best friend, Rollins, let alone the police. Even if she could confide in Rollins, he has been acting off lately, more distant, especially now that she’s been spending more time with Zane.

Enmeshed in a terrifying web of secrets, lies, and danger and with no one to turn to, Vee must find a way to unmask the killer before he or she strikes again.
(from Goodreads)

So this is the UK cover for Slide, for all of those wondering what the heck is going on :P. I really like it! I think I prefer the US one a tiny bit more, but I love the creepy eye and the magenta hair on this one. As for the story sounds awesome. The "sliding" ability is pretty original and really cool! Obviously not cool for Vee, but brilliant for us to read about. Sounds like there's gonna be a good element of mystery in there too, as well as a possible love triangle (which I'm not thrilled about, but if there is one, I hope it's done well). All in all, can't wait to read this book!

What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Two Mini Reviews

Babe in Boyland by Jody Gehrman
Publisher: Dial
Released: February 17th 2011
My Rating: 3.5 starts out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

When high school junior Natalie - or Dr. Aphrodite, as she calls herself when writing the relationship column for her school paper - is accused of knowing nothing about guys and giving girls bad relationship advice, she decides to investigate what guys really think and want. But the guys in her class won't give her straight or serious answers. The only solution? Disguising herself as a guy and spending a week at Underwood Academy, the private all-boy boarding school in town. There she learns a lot about guys and girls in ways she never expected - especially when she falls for her dreamy roommate, Emilio. How can she show him she likes him without blowing her cover? (from Goodreads)

Babe in Boyland was a short, fun read, though you’d have to be willing to look past the rather unrealistic aspects of it to really enjoy it. The characters were all mainly likeable, but felt maybe a little underdeveloped to me.  I enjoyed the plot - which followed much like the movie “She’s the Man” with a few significant differences - though it was a bit hard to believe (but the seriously hilarious moments will probably make you forget about all that). There were a few instances that seemed too convenient, like the fact our main character Natalie’s friend just happened to have an expert hacker cousin to get Natalie registered in the school’s database (and how convenient the school just seemed to accept this unexpected student, who had no means of paying tuition or anything). There were a few of these rather unbelievable situations put in to make certain things possible, but even though they were a bit far-fetched, they were all amusing parts of the story which made Babe in Boyland heart-warming and engaging. I liked Natalie’s realisation about the differences between boys and girls at the end, and there were a few scenes involving Nat and Emilio (and one with the headmaster) that I particularly enjoyed.

The book is just for fun really – funny, sweet and charismatic and I enjoyed reading it.  Overall, Babe in Boyland was a good read, and I would recommend it if you’re looking for something just to take your mind off things, or if you’re looking for a happy and breezy read.

Daimon (Covenant #0.5) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Released: May 10th 2011
My Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

For three years, Alexandria has lived among mortals—pretending to be like them and trying to forget the duty she'd been trained to fulfill as a child of a mortal and a demigod. At seventeen, she's pretty much accepted that she's a freak by mortal standards... and that she'll never be prepared for that duty.

According to her mother, that’s a good thing.

But as every descendant of the gods knows, Fate has a way of rearing her ugly head. A horrifying attack forces Alex to flee Miami and try to find her way back to the very place her mother had warned her she should never return—the Covenant. Every step that brings her closer to safety is one more step toward death… because she's being hunted by the very creatures she'd once trained to kill.

The daimons have found her
. (from Goodreads)

Daimon was great introduction to the Covenant series. We’re first introduced to Alex when she’s fourteen and standing before the Council, who are deciding whether she should work in serving others, or whether she should become a Guard or Sentinel, and fight daimons. Alex’s feistiness wins her a chance at being a Guard, but three years later, Alex and her mother have run away from the Covenant (for reasons Alex doesn’t even know) and are now living normal lives, avoiding all things daimon-y. That is until something devastating happens, and Alex has to run away from her normal life if she stands any chance of surviving. I really liked Alex’s character; she was a strong fighter, and one of those “don’t take crap from anyone” types, and I liked reading about her, and how she was different from normal humans (being a half-blood meant she has certain special abilities). After Alex had left home, we got to see her survival instincts kick in, and it was intriguing to see how she coped in such difficult situations. Overall, I really enjoyed Daimon, and it’s definitely got me wanting to read Half-Blood. I’m dying to find out what happens to Alex next!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

In My Mailbox (#33)

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

So's half-term! No school for a week. You have no idea how happy I am :P. I'm gonna try to catch up with reading, but I've got a lot going on, so we'll see. Aanyway, here's what I got this week:

For Review:
Fracture by Megan Miranda

Just one, but I'm really excited about it! This one has been on my wishlist for a while, it looks great :).

What did you get in your mailbox this week?

Many thanks to Emma at Bloomsbury.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Waiting on Wednesday #33

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

The Alchemy of Forever (Incarnation #1) by Avery Williams
January 3rd 2012
Find it on Goodreads

Seraphina’s first love made her immortal…her second might get her killed. Incarnation is a new series that introduces a fresh mythology perfect for fans of bestselling series like The Immortals by Alyson Noel and Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.

After spending six hundred years on earth, Seraphina Ames has seen it all. Eternal life provides her with the world’s riches, but at a very high price: innocent lives. Centuries ago, her boyfriend, Cyrus, discovered a method of alchemy that allows them to swap bodies with other humans, jumping from one vessel to the next, taking the human’s life in the process. No longer able to bear the guilt of what she’s done, Sera escapes from Cyrus and vows to never kill again.

Then sixteen-year-old Kailey Morgan gets into a horrific car accident right in front of her, and Sera accidentally takes over her body. For the first time, Sera finds herself enjoying the life of the person she’s inhabiting—and falls for the human boy who lives next door. But Cyrus will stop at nothing until she’s his again, and every moment she stays, she’s putting herself and the people she’s grown to care for in great danger. Will Sera have to give up the one thing that’s eluded her for centuries: true love?
(from Goodreads)

This one sounds so cool. I love that it's the main character who has lived hundreds of years in this one, instead of the MC falling in love with the immortal person. The whole alchemy aspect really intrigues me too - from Harry Potter to Vampire Academy to Fullmetal Alchemist, I've always loved stories with alchemy in them! Plus, it seems like there's no clear cut villain in this one - I mean, Seraphina herself is kind of a villain, because she's killed so many people to stay immortal. I'm really curious about her relationship with Cyrus - he definitely does not seem like a good guy so I'm wondering what she saw in him to begin with. Definitely looking forward to this one!

What are you waiting on this week?

Monday, 17 October 2011

Review: Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Glow (Sky Chasers #1) by Amy Kathleen Ryan
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Released: October 7th 2011
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

What if you were bound for a new world, about to pledge your life to someone you'd been promised to since birth, and one unexpected violent attack made survival—not love—the issue?

Out in the murky nebula lurks an unseen enemy: the New Horizon. On its way to populate a distant planet in the wake of Earth's collapse, the ship's crew has been unable to conceive a generation to continue its mission. They need young girls desperately, or their zealous leader's efforts will fail. Onboard their sister ship, the Empyrean, the unsuspecting families don't know an attack is being mounted that could claim the most important among them...

Fifteen-year-old Waverly is part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space; she was born on the Empyrean, and the large farming vessel is all she knows. Her concerns are those of any teenager—until Kieran Alden proposes to her. The handsome captain-to-be has everything Waverly could ever want in a husband, and with the pressure to start having children, everyone is sure he's the best choice. Except for Waverly, who wants more from life than marriage—and is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth.

But when the Empyrean faces sudden attack by their assumed allies, they quickly find out that the enemies aren't all from the outside.

Glow is the most riveting series debut since The Hunger Games, and promises to thrill and challenge readers of all ages.
(from Goodreads)

Waverly and Kieran are two teenagers of the new generation, born and raised in space. Growing up, it was always expected that Waverly and Kieran would be together, and now they’re older, Kieran is ready to move on to the next stage of their relationship – engagement. It’s a cause for celebration – until everything goes wrong. Having lived upon the Empyrean their entire lives, none of the new generation have ever seen a stranger before. That is until the New Horizon, the ship that launched a full year before the Empyrean, the ship with fertility problems, makes contact. Suddenly everything is in chaos; the girls from the Empyrean have been taken and are on course to board the New Horizon, while the boys are left behind, trying to avoid a meltdown. With no adults available to help, Kieran is expected to lead the remaining members of the Empyrean – but gaining the support of the boys is proving very difficult. Waverly, the oldest of the girls, is instructed to reassure the younger ones that everyone is safe aboard the New Horizon – but Waverly senses something sinister about her new shipmates, and is determined to escape, whatever the cost.

Glow really surprised me – in a good way. I wasn’t expecting it to be so dark, but there were a lot of serious issues involved, especially about fertility and pregnancy, and there was definitely an eerie vibe to it that I felt from the beginning of the book, before anything really bad had even taken place. The plot was heading in a darker, more ominous direction with every page and there were certain scenes in Waverly’s sections that were hard to take in. I was constantly alert, always expecting something horrible around the corner – just like Waverly, I never knew who to trust or what would happen if I trusted the wrong person. The scariest thing was that the villains of the story seemed normal at first. Their cause seemed justified...until you found out what they were really up to. I think “compelling” is the perfect word to describe Glow, because the only time I put it down was to reflect on how awfully some of the characters had been treated.

Glow was told from alternating viewpoints – sections from Waverly’s POV and sections from Kieran’s. I think this added to the eerie vibe because whenever something intense or scary was about to happen in one point of view, it switched, leaving us wondering what could be happening to the characters in the other. Though I enjoyed both viewpoints, I think I preferred Waverly’s, because I liked her character more. She didn’t seem so at first, but she was really strong-willed and stubborn and refused to believe anything anyone on the New Horizon told her without seeing it was true for herself. She stood up for herself and her friends and I like how she didn’t change her actions or beliefs for anyone (boyfriend and best friend included) or blindly follow people just so she didn’t have to do anything herself. She was definitely brave for doing the things she did. I've seen a lot of people say they didn’t really like the ending of Glow, but it was actually one of my favourite parts because we got to see the effect being on the New Horizon had on Waverly, and how she had begun to view some things differently. I liked the way that she was determined to make sure everyone was protected from the influence of the New Horizon – even if that meant going someone she loved.

Kieran was quite an odd character for me. He was clearly a nice, genuine person that cared about everyone’s wellbeing, but for me, he was almost too nice. And being nice all the time doesn’t get things done. I don’t think he was an effective leader – he was the “golden boy”, as his rival Seth referred to him, always getting special treatment from the Captain and the elders, and I just think he was more of a lackey than anything else. He carried out orders, but was no good at working things out for himself, which can be seen when he tried to take over the ship after the girls were taken. He was very naive, rarely seeing the dark side of anything even if it was right in front of him, and I didn’t agree with his way of thinking at all – especially towards the end, where he was knowingly deceiving (though he would think of it as helping) people. I’m actually glad Waverly questioned him on it, because he needed to know that people didn’t deserve to be mistreated or judged just because they disagreed with him. I just think in general, Kieran didn’t have much personality, in my opinion, and I just couldn’t connect to him.

Seth, on the other hand, was a much more interesting character. Not necessarily the greatest of people (you’d just have to look at a few of the things he did to realise he was a pretty harsh guy), but I could understand where all his anger was coming from. He was never treated fairly by his father, who I thought was a despicable person, yet he still loved his dad despite all of it. The only girl he liked, Waverly, was with another guy, and everyone on the ship treated him like crap ever since he was a child, which of course would mean him growing up to become brash and sullen. Okay, yes, some of the things he did were wrong, but I do think he got more done than Kieran. He clearly knew what he was doing, and knew what would be the best course of action. In fact, without him, Kieran probably would have destroyed the ship. Seth also understood that the way Kieran was acting towards the end could be dangerous for everyone on board the Empyrean, just like Waverly did. For me, Seth had a more distinctive personality than Kieran, and I liked reading about him. I also thought he had more chemistry with Waverly than Kieran did, and from the ending, I’m really hoping we get to see something happen between the two.

One problem I’d say would be that I found Glow hard to follow at times – there was a lot of technical jargon which threw me a little, and the switching from scene to scene was a bit difficult to get used to. The only other thing that I’d complain about is that (mini spoiler alert) one of my favourite characters won’t be in the next book, which is a shame (end of spoiler), but apart from that, I really enjoyed Glow and can’t wait for the next book. Highly recommended, especially for sci-fi fans or those who like darker YA.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

In My Mailbox (#32)

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

Err...the camera? Yeah, can't find it :P. And I have no time to look for it, considering I'm supposed to be writing a 3500 word essay, and I currently only have 206 words o_O. Aaaanyway, here's what I got this week:

From NetGalley:
The Warrior Heir (The Heir Chronicles #1) by Cinda Williams Chima (I've been avoiding NetGalley because I really am swamped right now, but I just had to get this because I've been wanting to read this series for ages and it's so difficult to find in the UK!)

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins (I squealed when the awesome Melina @ Reading Vacation told me I'd won this! Squealed! Can't wait to read it, I adored Anna and the French Kiss. Thanks so much, Melina!)

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

Many thanks to Melina, Disney-Hyperion and NetGalley.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Waiting on Wednesday #32

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

Fracture by Megan Miranda
January 5th 2012
Find it on Goodreads

Eleven minutes passed before Delaney Maxwell was pulled from the icy waters of a Maine lake by her best friend Decker Phillips. By then her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. And yet she somehow defied medical precedent to come back seemingly fine—despite the scans that showed significant brain damage. Everyone wants Delaney to be all right, but she knows she’s far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can’t control or explain, Delaney finds herself drawn to the dying. Is her altered brain now predicting death, or causing it?

Then Delaney meets Troy Varga, who recently emerged from a coma with similar abilities. At first she’s reassured to find someone who understands the strangeness of her new existence, but Delaney soon discovers that Troy’s motives aren’t quite what she thought. Is their gift a miracle, a freak of nature—or something much more frightening?
(from Goodreads)

This one looks creepy, but awesome. I love the idea that people are altered once they "die" and are brought back! I'm really curious about Delaney and Troy's abilities, and why they got them in the first place. I sense there is definitely something sinister going on... And Troy's motives? What could that all be about? Veeery intrigued.

What are you waiting on this week?

Monday, 3 October 2011

Review: After Obsession by Carrie Jones & Steven E. Wedel

After Obsession by Carrie Jones & Steven E. Wedel
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Released: September 5th 2011
My Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Find in on Goodreads

Aimee and Alan have secrets. Both teens have unusual pasts and abilities they prefer to keep hidden. But when they meet each other, in a cold Maine town, they can't stop their secrets from spilling out. Strange things have been happening lately, and they both feel that something-or someone- is haunting them. They're wrong. Despite their unusual history and powers, it's neither Aimee nor Alan who is truly haunted. It's Alan's cousin Courtney who, in a desperate plea to find her missing father, has invited a demon into her life-and into her body. Only together can Aimee and Alan exorcise the ghost. And they have to move quickly, before it devours not just Courtney but everything around her.

Filled with heart-pounding romance, paranormal activity, and rich teen characters to love-and introducing an exciting new YA voice, Steven Wedel-this novel is exactly what Carrie Jones fans have been waiting for. Meet your next obsession.
(from Goodreads)

Aimee Avery is not like other girls her age. When she dreams, she sees flashes of the future – horrible images that she can’t stop from coming true. No-one knows her secret, though her dad suspects that Aimee maybe hiding something – just like her mother before her, who died. Alan Parson is keeping secrets too. He has his own spirit guide, and he also sees things – like Aimee, who he recognises from his visions the first time they meet in real life. Alan and Aimee are connected by their abilities – and so when Alan’s cousin and Aimee’s best friend Courtney, a devastated girl who has just lost her father, starts acting very strange, they team up to try and help her. Because Courtney has let something very sinister take control of her, and if Alan and Aimee don’t get rid of it soon, there’s a strong possibility Courtney may end up dead.

After Obsession was a very interesting book. I really liked the concept – I thought it was fascinating, the way Courtney went through stages of possession, and the bits involving the evil being trying to take control of her were very creepy, but definitely great to read about. I liked how one minute things could be really eerie and scary, and next minute, something really funny could happen – there was a great mix of spookiness and humour. I think the dual narration was a definite plus too, as I really liked experiencing things from both Aimee and Alan’s points of view.

Aimee was generally a likeable character, but I felt I couldn’t really connect with her as much as I did with Alan. She was that kind of overly-positive person that hated negativity of any kind, and so immediately I felt distanced from her because it seemed like she was too obsessed with being optimistic all the time. She didn’t eat anything unhealthy and tried to force others to follow her diet, and she didn’t like it when anyone used the word “hate” – I just felt she wasn’t really a believable teenager. There’s nothing wrong with being optimistic, of course, but I felt she was almost a little preachy at times. I also thought the situation with Blake could have been dealt with better – I mean, okay, the guy was obviously in the wrong and never, ever should have said the things he said (clearly, on the inside he was an idiot), but he WAS being affected by an evil being’s presence. I mean, I don’t think he would have done any of that stuff had the evil being not been there, so I think he deserved some kind of explanation (even though I do not condone what he did at all). However, I really enjoyed all of the interaction between Aimee and Alan, and while I do think their relationship progressed way too quickly (whhhy did the “L” word have to come into it?) I still really liked the conversations they had and thought they were a great pair!

Alan was a character that grew on me. I didn’t know what to think of him at first, but as the story went on, he became a lot more likeable for me. He was absolutely hilarious at times, and his humour showed a lot more later on in the book, especially in the chapters from his point of view. He got on immediately with Aimee, and they seemed to connect right from the start.  Their conversations were really funny and sweet, and some of the situations they were in made me laugh so much – especially this one scene involving Alan’s mum! I was also really intrigued by Alan’s Native American heritage and while this was explored quite a bit, I do wish we could have learnt a little bit more about it, especially about his spirit guide and why he was referred to as Spirit Warrior. I think maybe learning more about Alan’s dad would have been great as well, because I was really interested to know whether Alan had inherited his abilities from his Navajo father, or whether he was born with the abilities for a different reason.

I felt the pacing of the book was a little off, and things were a bit jolty at times, but overall, I enjoyed the way the story progressed. While most things were resolved at the end, a lot was left unexplained, and I was a bit confused about certain things that had happened. The end does leave room for a sequel, so you never know, perhaps more will be explained if one is ever written.

Overall, After Obsession was an enjoyable read, but I think there was potential for it to be better than it was. The original concept was great, as I don’t think possession is something you see a lot of in YA, but I think things didn’t fit together quite as well as they could have. I would recommend this, though, as I did like it, and I would probably read a sequel if one were ever to be released.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

In My Mailbox (#31)

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

So...yes. I realise I am not posting reviews as often. I am trying, I really am, but October is just a crappy month for me. Huge essay due for the day before a mega-important exam, and generally just lots of work that's keeping me busy at the moment. Also gotta send off my UCAS form (university application for non-UKers) before the end of next week, so there's a lot going on. I've been trying to read at weekends, so I do have a few reviews to post, and some to write up which should keep me going for a while. If you decide to stick with me, thank you! :). And though I am a bit absent, I promise to try and return any comments! And now here's what I got in the post this week:

For Giveaway:
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (if you want to enter this giveaway, go here! UK only, I'm afraid, but I will be having more international giveaways soon :])

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (the amazing Cait @ The Cait Files had an extra copy which she sent me this week - it's so pretty! The pages are black and there's this lovely red ribbon bookmark...thank you, Cait! :D)
Othello by William Shakespeare (the lovely Jade @ Ink Scratchers sent me this to help me out with my English coursework this year - we're studying Othello and The Taming of the Shrew, but my teachers are so useless they haven't even issued us the texts yet. Thanks Jade! :])

Fateful by Claudia Gray (from the awesome Erin @ Tales of the Inner Book Fanatic - don't you just love the Australian cover? It's so shiny... thanks Erin!)
Pride & Premiership by Michelle Gayle (one of the books I won from the wonderful Mia @ Gripped into Books - thanks Mia!)

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

Many thanks to Erin, Mia, Cait, Jade and Hodder.