Thursday, 29 December 2011

Review: Heroes 'Til Curfew by Susan Bischoff

Heroes 'Til Curfew (Talent Chronicles #2) by Susan Bischoff
Publisher: Self-published
Released: August 30th 2011
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

In the world of the Talent Chronicles, kids with supernatural abilities, Talents, are taken away to government-run research facilities from which they do not return. In this sequel to HUSH MONEY, all Joss wants is to be left alone with Dylan. But as more Talents are imprisoned by the government, everyone's looking for a leader. Some look to Joss, some to her worst enemy, Marco, whose new criminal plan threatens Joss's family and friends. Joss wants to stand up to Marco, but Dylan's protective instincts are putting him in harm's way. As the stakes get higher, can Joss find a way to embrace both the boy and her hero within? (from Goodreads)

Joss’s life has changed a lot over the past few months. Instead of being alone and paranoid, she has friends and Dylan, an almost-boyfriend, to share her worries with. But that doesn’t mean the danger has gone away. Joss is still a Talent, and her powers threaten to expose her every day. Old enemy Marco is planning something sinister, but there seems to be something else strange and frightening going on as well. As more and more Talents are taken away, Joss begins to wonder if leaving her life of solitude was the right thing to do, knowing now that she could never bring herself to go back to that lonely existence. Suddenly protecting others has become just as important as protecting herself – and Joss is sick of running away and hiding.

Heroes ‘Til Curfew was an excellent new addition to the exciting Talent Chronicles series. It flowed well in a way that made it really easy to read, and I found that time had literally flown by as I was reading it. This book was quite a bit darker than its predecessor, and a lot of serious issues cropped up that really headed the book in a new direction. I really enjoyed diving back into the world of Talents and into the minds of Joss and Dylan. Joss was a character with quite a hard exterior that took a bit of getting used to in the first book, because of the way she’d been brought up. I found that I had a lot more sympathy for her in Heroes ‘Til Curfew, because we discovered a bit more about her past and her relationship with her father, and I could see why she had become the way she was – she never really had any other choice. Despite all of this though, I found she was still quite a likeable character, even though she perhaps treated people a little more harshly than they deserved. I think she was a pretty great heroine and I enjoyed the chapters from her POV because her way of thinking was so different to everyone else’s and it was fascinating to read about. And even though the tone of this book was a lot darker in comparison to the more comedic Hush Money, Joss could still be quite funny and made me laugh a few times (especially when she was thinking about Dylan).

Dylan’s chapters were great as well, and I really loved his character. He was so cute (for a reformed bad boy, anyway), and I loved the way he felt protective over Joss but then felt silly for doing so because he knew how strong she was and that she could probably get by without him. He still tried to help her out whenever he could and it was clear that he really cared about her. He still didn’t get along with Joss’s father and I could sort of understand why – he came from a completely different background and just couldn’t understand why Joss was made to live the way she did. It was sweet how much he worried about her, and I just adored Joss and Dylan when they were together! They had some pretty hot scenes which were awesome to read and some really emotional ones that were equally as good. Their relationship overall was just very well done, and I liked how they didn’t end up together immediately in the first book and that things developed gradually and came together in this one. It made things more realistic, because in life, relationships don’t go smoothly all of the time, and I think Susan Bischoff reflected this in her writing.

Heather, one of Joss’s friends (whose power was mind-reading) was another character I really liked. She was kind and could also be hilarious at times, especially when responding to people’s thoughts! Some of my favourite scenes included her, and I think she was a really good friend and someone Joss really needed in her life. Kat, who I liked in the first book, didn’t stand out for me as much in this one, but I still liked her and was glad Joss had people she could talk to.

One of the most interesting things about Heroes ‘Til Curfew was Marco’s POV. Even though I hated him, I really enjoyed his chapters, because they revealed a lot about him and what went on in his messed up mind. Marco was truly an awful character, and whenever I found myself feeling sorry for him, he just did something despicable to ruin it all. But then again, the series would definitely not be the same without him and his crazy, savage ideas. If you’re ever looking for a villain you’d just love to see completely defeated in some awesome battle, then Marco’s your guy.

Overall, Heroes ‘Til Curfew was a fantastic sequel to Hush Money and I’m really excited to read the next book in this series! Definitely recommended to those who like teens with powers, or to anyone who enjoyed the first book.

Monday, 26 December 2011

In My Mailbox (#38): Christmas Edition

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

My Christmas haul! So happy with everything I got (well, I did pick most of it myself ;]). Here we go:

(I've already read Half-Blood, and loved it! No idea how to write the review.)

I also got - wait for it- the Elder Wand. bhf g48y r. Seriously, I was so excited when I opened this! I've been expelliarmus-ing and expecto patronus-ing all day <3.

For Review:
The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

Gifts (from friends/family):
The Mortal Instruments boxed set by Cassandra Clare (already read this series, but wanted to own it!)
Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta (from the awesome Cait at The Cait Files)
Bloodlines (Bloodlines #1) by Richelle Mead
Beautiful Chaos (Caster Chronicles #3) by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
The Magician's Apprentice by Trudi Canavan
The Predicteds by Christine Seifert
Kiss of Frost (Mythos Academy #2) by Jennifer Estep
Saving June by Hannah Harrington
Catching Jordan by Miranda Kennealley
Firelight (Firelight #1) by Sophie Jordan
Half-Blood (Covenant #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
The Son of Neptune (Heroes of Olympus #2) by Rick Riordan

And that's the lot! I hope everyone who celebrates had a great Christmas, and happy holidays, everyone! Have a great New Year :). And don't forget to enter my giveaway to win a copy of The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder!

What did you get in your mailbox this week?

Many thanks to Atom, Cait, and my awesome family and friends.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Author Interview + Giveaway: Wendy Wunder, The Probability of Miracles

Hello all! Today I have the lovely Wendy Wunder, author of The Probability of Miracles, on the blog today. She's kindly agreed to answer some questions for us, so I hope you enjoy getting to know more about her! There'll also be a chance to win a copy of The Probability of Miracles at the end, so stay tuned for that.

The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder
Publisher: Razorbill
Released: December 8th 2011
Order the hardcover/Download the ebook
Read chapters 1-5

Dry, sarcastic, sixteen-year-old Cam Cooper has spent the last seven years in and out hospitals. The last thing she wants to do in the short life she has left is move 1,500 miles away to Promise, Maine - a place known for the miraculous events that occur there. But it's undeniable that strange things happen in Promise: everlasting sunsets; purple dandelions; flamingoes in the frigid Atlantic; an elusive boy named Asher; and finally, a mysterious envelope containing a list of things for Cam to do before she dies. As Cam checks each item off the list, she finally learns to believe - in love, in herself, and even in miracles.

A debut novel from an immensely talented new writer, The Probability of Miracles crackles with wit, romance and humor and will leave readers laughing and crying with each turn of the page.
(from Goodreads)


Hi Wendy, thanks so much for joining us!

So nice to be here!! Thanks for inviting me.

Can you tell us a bit about The Probability of Miracles?

The Probability of Miracles is about Cam Cooper, an 18 year old girl whose disease has progressed to the point where nothing but a miracle could save her. So her mother searches for a miracle and hears of a town called Promise, Maine, where strange, miraculous phenomena are said to occur. They pack up and drive there to see what happens.

Why did you decide to write The Probability of Miracles?

When I was eighteen, I remember feeling like my life was going to end. Because I couldn’t envision my future. At all. It was black. So I thought I was dying. Then much later I began wondering what it would be like if an eighteen year old really was dying. Would you be more rebellious or less? Would you take more risks? Go out with a bang? I combined those questions with some that were generated on a trip to Disney world, and the Probability of Miracles was born.

Did you find addressing the serious issues in The Probability of Miracles difficult?

Luckily, because I was working with “magic realism” I could skirt around some of the true harsh realities of living with and dying from cancer. I also used humor (or wait, you guys spell it ‘humour’ I’m working in British spell check. Too funny.) [we think it looks better with the "u"! :P] to deflect some of the emotion. That’s what my family does. Use humour to help cope with strong emotions. So that balance was easy for me to strike.

Cam has a list of things to do before she dies. How did you come up with items on the list?

Well. Her list is not really one to aspire to, obviously. I was just thinking of regular somewhat traumatic/mischievous teenage events that would seem so much less traumatic to Cam considering what she’s going through. If she had the choice, she’d love to experience adolescence with all its crazy ups and downs rather than leave the planet.

Did you have to do any research when writing The Probability of Miracles?

A little. Most of it is born of my imagination. Cam had a cancer called Neuroblastoma because it is one that can miraculously disappear (although that usually happens in infants). That gave me the leeway to decide later how it would all play out.

If you could do any job in the world (besides writing), what would it be?

Pack Groceries. I LOVE standing at the end of the conveyor belt choosing what combinations of heavy/light things go in each bag to make them the perfect weight without damaging any of the food. How weird is that? I also teach yoga and writing. Those jobs are great. But I’m a little shy, so they stress me out. Packing groceries would be more relaxing.

Can you tell us about any other projects you have coming up?

Among other things, I’m working on a “Thelma and Louise” adventure about the power of friendship and the mysteries of the universe. It’s called The Museum of Intangible Things.

Ooh, sounds brilliant! Thanks for answering questions today, it’s been great to have you on the blog!

Thanks for the insightful questions!!! Happy Holidays!!

Wendy Wunder lives in Boston. When not spending time with her family, Wendy teaches yoga around Boston and writing at Grub Street. Her first story was published in The Gettysburg Review. The Probability of Miracles is her first novel. And yes, Wendy Wunder is her real name. Find Wendy online at,, and Or visit the official website of The Probability of Miracles,
I hope you enjoyed the Q&A! For more info, go to The Probability of Miracles Facebook page here. For a chance to win a copy of The Probability of Miracles, just fill in this form. US entrants only. Ends December 31st. Good luck!

Huge thanks to Wendy for answering my questions and to Alloy Entertainment for making this interview possible!

Competition closed

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Review: Fracture by Megan Miranda

Fracture by Megan Miranda
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Released: January 5th 2012
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

By the time Delaney Maxwell was pulled from a Maine lake’s icy waters by her best friend, Decker Phillips, her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead.

But somehow Delaney survived—despite the brain scans that show irreparable damage. Everyone wants Delaney to be fine, but she knows she’s far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can’t control or explain, Delaney now finds herself drawn to the dying, and when she meets Troy Varga, a boy who recently emerged from a coma with the same abilities, she is relieved to share this strange new existence. Unsure if her altered brain is predicting death or causing it, Delaney must figure out if their gift is a miracle, a freak of nature—or something else much more frightening… 
(from Goodreads)

Delaney Maxwell should be dead. After eleven minutes without oxygen in an ice-cold lake, no-one expects her to survive, let alone recover as if nothing ever happened. But though Delaney might feel fine, something has changed. Her brain scans show abnormalities, and she’s experiencing odd, overwhelming feelings. Soon Delaney realises that she feels connected to those who are about to die - and what’s worse is she can’t do anything to help them. The weirdest thing , though, is that she’s not the only one. Troy Varga seems to possess the same strange abilities that Delaney does, and she finds comfort in sharing her experiences with him. But Troy’s past is dark and painful – who is he really, and why is he so interested in Delaney?

Fracture is what I call heart-pumping. The first page drew me in and from that moment on, I was completely engrossed in the story. It was actually a lot darker than I expected it to be – I really had little idea what Fracture was about before I started reading it, so it was surprisingly eerie (which I liked). The descriptions of Delaney’s accident and her pain were so vivid, I could really imagine what was happening, which was almost disturbing because what was happening was quite scary at times. Death was quite a prominent theme throughout, so there were a lot of issues explored that really made me think about things.

Delaney, for me, was not the most likeable of characters. She was pretty blunt and a lot of the time just said whatever came to her mind without really thinking it through. She was also a bit hypocritical at certain points, like when she thought that she could kiss a guy and that would be fine, but her best friend, Decker, kissing another girl was some kind of horrible betrayal. She and Decker weren’t even together, so while I understand why she’d be upset, I just think some of her actions were unnecessary. That being said, it was clear Decker and Delaney had been skirting around each other for years – I knew that he liked her from the beginning. I mean, he cried when he found out she had woken up from her coma. So I don’t really know what Decker was doing, but I thought their whole relationship was a little messed up. Which, of course, was why it was so interesting. While Delaney may not have been the most likeable character, I don’t think this took away from the story, and I could still relate to her. So her friendship with Decker was fascinating to read about. Decker was probably my favourite character in the book; he was sweet and funny and obviously cared a lot for Delaney. I liked him from the start (to the point where Troy was never even considered as an alternative love interest, because Decker was already leagues ahead). I loved all his interactions with Delaney and they were so suited for each other (in my opinion) that I kind of wanted to jump into the story, shake them both and yell, “Get together already!”

However, the romance in Fracture wasn’t the main focus of the story. There were a lot of other things going on that Delaney had to deal with – Troy being one of them. Troy was definitely an interesting (but creepy) character. I didn’t know what to make of him after his first appearance. He introduced himself quite randomly, and with a lot of confidence. And as we got to know him more, there was definitely a hint of something sinister about him. I don’t think I ever fully trusted him, and he did a lot of weird things that got me really curious – just what exactly was he up to? Why was he so determined to get Delaney to like him? It was all just very odd, and I enjoyed seeing the mystery unravel. I also really liked seeing how differently Delaney and Troy viewed their abilities. The way Troy approached those who were dying was completely different from Delaney’s way of doing things, and it was interesting to see them clash about it.

My only real problem with Fracture was the ending. It felt a bit incomplete to me, and it seemed like nothing had really been solved – especially with some of Delaney’s friends, who were really mad at her. A lot was left unexplained too, like why Delaney fell a pull towards the dying in the first place, and I was left wondering whether this was actually the first book in a series (I’m pretty sure it’s not). However, I did enjoy it a lot as a whole, and don’t think the ending affected the book too much.

Overall, Fracture was a very intriguing, quite unusual story that had me reading for hours without a break. I’d recommend it to fans of YA that’s a little darker than most, or maybe to anyone who enjoyed The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting. 

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Waiting on Wednesday #40

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

Revived by Cat Patrick
May 8th 2012
Find it on Goodreads

As a little girl, Daisy Appleby was killed in a school bus crash. Moments after the accident, she was brought back to life.

A secret government agency has developed a drug called Revive that can bring people back from the dead, and Daisy Appleby, a test subject, has been Revived five times in fifteen years. Daisy takes extraordinary risks, knowing that she can beat death, but each new death also means a new name, a new city, and a new life. When she meets Matt McKean, Daisy begins to question the moral implications of Revive, and as she discovers the agency’s true goals, she realizes she’s at the center of something much larger — and more sinister — than she ever imagined.
(from Goodreads)

Okay, so I haven't read Cat Patrick's first book yet, Forgotten, but I've heard amazing things about it, so I'm really looking forward to this one! The whole concept of bringing back people from the dead is really intriguing - I'm curious about these people's motives for keeping Daisy alive. Looks like there'll be a nice forbidden-type romance on the side too, which sounds awesome! Plus, I love this cover! Very eye-catching.

What are you waiting on this week?

Monday, 19 December 2011

Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1) by Tahereh Mafi
Publisher: HarperCollins
Released: November 15th 2011
My Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war-- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior. 

In this electrifying debut, Tahereh Mafi presents a world as riveting as
The Hunger Games and a superhero story as thrilling as The X-Men. Full of pulse-pounding romance, intoxicating villainy, and high-stakes choices, Shatter Me is a fresh and original dystopian novel—with a paranormal twist—that will leave readers anxiously awaiting its sequel. (from Goodreads)

Shatter Me is not a book. It is disguised as a book, but in actual fact it is awesomeness personified. Everyone needs to read this thing-that-is-not-a-book-but-from-here-on-will-be-referred-to-as-a-book-for-the-sake-of-convenience, trust me. It’s the kind of book you will want to keep with you at all times just so you can stare at its awesomeness.

First, I have to comment on the writing style of Shatter Me. Quite unusual, but I loved it! It was beautiful and engaging and just so, so amazing. I was completely absorbed throughout. All the crossed out words and sentences made it easier to get a glimpse into Juliette’s head as well, which was great. It was a lovely change from most other books, and I enjoyed it a lot.

Character-wise, Juliette was quite brilliant. At the beginning, I couldn’t really tell whether she was completely sane or not, because she was acting very strange. As the book went on, however, it was easy to understand that Juliette was just a kind girl that had been treated so horribly her entire life that she no longer really knew how to act anymore. As I connected with her more, I began to realise how lonely she was, and it was so sad to see such a lovely person so broken. Her curse (or gift, however you see it) was never her fault – the power to kill people with her touch was something she was born with, and hated, yet she was punished for it anyway. And despite all of this, despite the fact that she was shunned and ostracised and locked up and treated with malice, she remained a kind, thoughtful person. She had every reason to hate the world and turn into a villain, but she didn’t, and I admired her for that. And she wasn’t a complete walkover either, which I also liked about her. She stood up to Warner (her captor-of-sorts) and did things her own way a lot of the time. She did need help sometimes (and my only gripe with the whole book is that she did seem a little defenceless and helpless at certain points) but having not had contact with other humans for so long, I think it was understandable that she didn’t know what to do when suddenly confronted with so many. Though she worked out things quickly enough with Adam...

... ♥Adam♥. Oh my, Adam. He was just...well, I think the love hearts say enough. At the start, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of him...but now, I think a page of love hearts wouldn’t be enough to express my love for him. He was yummy. In every way. He was sweet and strong and caring and funny and jealous and kind and reckless and fractured and determined and cute and romantic and ahhhhhh. I loved the way he understood Juliette – he seemed to be the only one that saw past her ability, and appreciated her as a person and not a weapon. He Can I just say that Tahereh Mafi sure knows how to write a good romance? This one was actually fantastic. The scenes – the scenes! The kissing! The closeness! The sparks! The everything! This was no ordinary romance, my friends. It was the kind of romance that you only ever get in books because you know nothing this awesome could ever happen in boring old life. And yet it still seemed realistic and believable. It was just flipping excellent. I want to tell you more, but I’m afraid it will ruin the sheer excellence for you. I’ll just tell you that you’ll probably want to re-read a few of the scenes...

Warner was definitely the most curious character for me. Obviously a little unbalanced, with crazy ideas about the world and what should happen in it, he was a typical villain...and yet not. There was something about him that made me wonder about his childhood and how he grew up. Clearly he had no qualms with killing people, and was despicable in that sense...but I couldn’t help but question his true motives. The whole time I had no idea why he was really doing any of the things he did. I had no clue what was going on his head. He was borderline obsessed with Juliette and claimed to have been watching her for a long time...and I’m just wondering why. I know he wanted to use her as a weapon, but he also seemed to want her for more than just that. And he knew so much about her! It was creepy and really interesting at the same time. I almost felt sorry for the guy, because he was so deluded and evil, and yet also childlike in a way. Definitely want to read more about him – can’t wait to find out more about his past in the next book!

Other characters I really liked were Kenji and James! Kenji worked on the same team as Adam, and though at first he didn’t say much, later on in the book he was much more involved and I thought he was so funny and injected some much needed humour into book. The way he talked was bound to get some emotions stirring and some of the things he came out with were so hilarious! I loved the way he was with Juliette, and the way he responded to Adam. James was Adam’s younger brother and was just so adorable, he really grew on me! He seemed to accept anything that came his way and I don’t think you’d get a lot of kids who could deal with shocking things as easily as he did. The brotherly relationship between James and Adam was really sweet too and you could tell they both really loved each other :).

The plot wasn’t actually as fast-paced as I thought it’d be, but was still captivating and I loved every part of it! From the moment Juliette arrived at Warner’s place, there was always something going on around her. I had no idea what was going to happen, and the ending was quite a big shock for me! I’m already anxious for the sequel; I can’t wait to find out what happens next!

Overall, Shatter Me was a fabulous start to a new series, with amazing characters, an engaging plot and great writing. Highly recommended!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

In My Mailbox (#37)

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

I haven't done an IMM in a long time! Haven't got a lot of books recently - this is just a collection of everything I've received over the weeks:

For Review:
The Other Life by Susanne Winnacker (from Leanna @ Daisy Chain Book Reviews - thank you!)
Stolen Away by Alyxandra Harvey
Night School by C. J. Daugherty

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (already finished this one - review coming soon!)
Great Expectations York Notes, The Wife of Bath's Prologue & Tale York Notes and Kate Atkinson's Behind the Scenes at the Museum: A Reader's Guide (educational resources, yay!).

Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon (from Alexa @ Pages of Forbidden Love who sent this to me as a Christmas present - thank you so much! :D)

Many thanks to Alexa, Atom, Bloomsbury and Leanna.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Review: Settling by Shelley Workinger

Settling (Solid #2) by Shelley Workinger
Publisher: CreateSpace
Released: July 4th 2011
My Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

At the beginning of the summer, Clio Kaid was one of a hundred teens brought to a secret Army installation. But it was no ordinary camp and they weren’t ordinary kids…

Picking up where “Solid” left off, Clio and her friends realize that they aren’t ready to go home; they’re determined to stay on campus and continue their journey of self- discovery. But someone doesn’t feel the same way and will do anything to drive them away – even kill.

Friendships will be tested, abilities will evolve, and more secrets will come out as the teens race to stop the killer before he sets his sights on one of them…
(from Goodreads)

Settling was a great follow up to Solid, and I was really excited to return to Clio’s world! All the characters were back and I felt we got to find out a few things about them that we didn’t see in the first book. Clio, for me, was quite different in this one. She was troubled, and on occasion acted quite selfishly which affected her likeability factor – I was a bit shocked at certain points about how bold she was being! But I still found she was easy to relate to, and a great main character. The fact that she had a great relationship with her mother was a big plus for me too, because it was nice to see a parent trying to be involved in their child’s life – these days, parents seem to be mysteriously absent in a lot of books.  Being away from her mother, I could also kind of understand why Clio was feeling torn and acting the way she was – Jack, who was so sweet and adorable and basically the best boyfriend you could ask for, was gone a lot of the time, and Clio was feeling left out and lonely, and was unwittingly ignoring her friends at the same time. While I don’t condone what she did, I think at least she faced up to it and realised it was wrong. But maybe I’m biased, because I really loved Ford (a character I liked right from the moment he was introduced) and I enjoyed all moments between him and Clio (I’m a sucker for the bad/mysterious types!). I’m really curious as to what will happen between Clio, Ford and Jack next – especially after that ending! Shelley Workinger really knows how to pull you into the story – I was so sad the book ended because I just wanted to keep reading to find out what happened next!

Garrett was still my favourite character. I don’t know what it was about him, but he was just awesome and hilarious and I loved every single scene he was in! His relationship troubles were quite funny and great to read about too, and I think he really helped make the book for me. It definitely wouldn’t be the same without him! Alex was another character I liked – she came up with this really interesting theory about the difference between everyone’s powers and how it might be because of different blood types, and I just thought she was really cool! Clever and quirky – definitely the kind of person I’d like to get know.

Settling was slower-pace that Solid but I quite liked it and I found that even though this was a book about genetically modified teenagers, it wasn’t all crazy, hyped-action all the time; there was still that element of teen life there, with normal teen problems and issues that everyone goes through at some point in their life. I think this made the book seem more realistic and believable, and definitely helped me connect to the characters and really feel involved within the story. I also found that the mystery was a lot more exciting in this one – in the first book, I sort of predicted the ending half-way through, but I wasn’t so sure this time and though I guessed a few things, there was a lot I didn’t see coming! I really enjoyed following Clio’s journey as she discovered more about herself and her powers, and I’m anxious to discover the full extent of what she can do!  The ending was also very good and I’m really excited to read the next book.

Overall, Settling was a fabulous sequel that I enjoyed just as much as the first book! I think this is a great series and would definitely recommend it! 

Thursday, 15 December 2011

International Covers #3

International Covers in a kind of irregular feature on the blog where I take a look at some covers from around the world!

The Future of Us by Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler
Released in UK: January 5th 2012
Find it on Goodreads                 

                              US                         vs                         UK

I actually like both of these! The US one, because it's quite unusual, and definitely relates to the whole technology aspect of the book, and the UK one because it's just really eye-catching, and I like the whole colouring and the drawing/doodle aspect of it. I also think it's cool how the same image is used in both, but for completely different purposes! If I had to choose, I'd probably go with the UK one.

Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1) by Maggie Stiefvater
Released in UK: October 5th 2009
Find it on Goodreads

                               US                          vs                       Bulgarian

                         German                        vs                    Indonesian

                                 UK                         vs                      French

                             Polish                       vs                      Italian 1

                       Italian 2                       vs                 Portuguese


There are so many covers for Shiver! Quite a few that I like. The German one is really pretty and I love the warm colours used (in contrast to the blues/whites used in most of the others). I also really love the Spanish one which is like the US cover, but more appealing, for me (I think because instead of pure white, greyish colours are used for the background). The French cover is really cool (but I'm not sure about its relevance to the story...) and so is the first Italian one! I like how it's a claw mark going through the heart. My least favourite is probably the second Italian one - it's really...odd? I dunno, but the half wolf, half human face just looks creepy to me.

Which covers are your favourites? Any you don't like?

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Waiting on Wednesday #39

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

Pizza, Love and Other Stuff that Made Me Famous by Kathryn Williams
August 21st 2012
Find it on Goodreads

Can a spot on a teen reality show really lead to a scholarship at an elite cooking school AND a summer romance?

Sixteen-year-old Sophie Nicolaides was practically raised in the kitchen of her family’s Italian-Greek restaurant, Taverna Ristorante. When her best friend, Alex, tries to convince her to audition for a new reality show, Teen Test Kitchen, Sophie is reluctant. But the prize includes a full scholarship to one of America's finest culinary schools and a summer in Napa, California, not to mention fame.

Once on-set, Sophie immediately finds herself in the thick of the drama—including a secret burn book, cutthroat celebrity judges, and a very cute French chef. Sophie must figure out a way to survive all the heat and still stay true to herself. A terrific YA offering--fresh, fun, and sprinkled with romance.
(from Goodreads)

This just sounds soo cute and adorable and fun! I have to admit, I do like watching the odd cooking program, so the premise of this book really intrigues me! I imagine a teen cooking contest would be pretty competitive. I'm already imagining all the crazy drama backstage! The secret burn book is another plus, because Mean Girls is one of my all time favourite films (and I'm assuming this is a reference to it), so looking forward to seeing how it's done here. And of course, there's the very cute French chef... Can't wait to read this one! :D

What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Review: Malfunction by Alex Woolf

Malfunction (Chronosphere #2) by Alex Woolf
Publisher: The Salariya Book Company
Released: September 1st 2011
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

The second book in the exciting Chronosphere series sees a mysterious malfunction ravage the Chronosphere. It starts slowly at first, with meals being served cold and food going off, then residents start to notice the blistering heat and haywire android servants. Soon the entire Chronosphere is malfunctioning, causing a complete breakdown of society and the eruption of a fierce turf war between rival gangs. Caught in the middle of the crossfire are Raffi Delgado and his fellow chrononauts Dario, Sal, Jonah and Lastara. With the help of familiar faces and old enemies, they put into place a brave rescue attempt, but in doing so the dark truth about the source of the Malfunction and the real aims of the Chronomaster become all too clear. (from Amazon UK)

Raffi’s life in the Chronosphere is pleasant – but after doing the same thing every day, he’s starting to get bored. Then the Malfunction happens, and things begin to take a turn for the worse. With sweltering hot weather, food shortages and only two hours of sunlight each day, Raffi starts to think leaving the Chronosphere might be the best option for everyone. Sal, however, is determined to find her sister and of course Dario will follower her wherever she goes. Soon Raffi and his friends realise leaving may not even be an option anymore – the MAIDs have gone crazy, the doors are shut and a full-blown war is on the verge of breaking out. Raffi entered the Chronosphere to escape his life, not to lose it. Now he must find a way to safely get out of the paradise that has become his prison.

Malfunction was a nice follow up to Time Out of Time. All the old characters were back, and there was a handy summary of everything that happened in book one on the first few pages to refresh your memory. I found that in this book, we got a little more back-story on a few the characters, which I really enjoyed reading about. Raffi changed a bit too; he was still quite quick to jump to conclusions but I think he learnt a lot more about his friends and why they acted the way they did. I liked how we got to find out more about Sal and her sister, Anna – Sal was really determined to rescue her and I admired her strength and dedication. I’m really curious to know what happened to Anna and why she ended up incarcerated in the first place. The mystery surrounding her makes me want to read the next book now so I can understand what happened!

There was quite a bit more violence in comparison to the first book (which was very well done in my opinion), and the problems started to get really serious. Raffi had to deal with a lot of things and it was just so ironic that he came into to Chronosphere to relax and be problem free and found that it was actually worse than the outside world, and now all he wanted to do was the leave the place behind. I felt really bad for him, and some of the things that happened made me wonder how humans would really act in the same situation. People always try to think the best of others, but when put in such positions, who knows what a person would do to survive. It’s kind of scary when you think about it.

The plot in Malfunction was faster in pace than Time Out of Time, and there was a lot more action and suspense. There were also quite a few little plot twists that I didn’t see coming, and thought were quite clever. The main problem I had with the book was the same problem I had with the first one – the way time was explained. I just found it really hard to imagine how all these curious time devices worked and how it was possible to manipulate time in such a way. I realise that it’s not actually possible but I felt the explanations sometimes made my eyes glaze over. I don’t think this took away from the story though and I had no trouble understanding the main storyline.

Overall, Malfunction was exciting and engaging, and a must read for those who enjoyed the first book. The third book in the series sounds great and I’m anxious to find out what happens next!

Friday, 9 December 2011

Review: Time Out of Time by Alex Woolf

Time Out of Time (Chronosphere #1) by Alex Woolf
Publisher: The Salariya Book Company
Released: December 7th 2010
My Rating: 3.25 out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

Is your life rushing by too fast? No time to stop and smell the roses? Ever wanted a little time out? What if you could buy a year out of time, free to relax, play and party all you liked, safe in the knowledge that at the end of it all you'd be returned back to the moment you left?

Ask Raffi Delgado. He knows all about it.

Set in the late 22nd century, Chronosphere follows the adventures of teenager Raffi and his friends Dario, Jonah, Lastara and Sal in the Chronosphere, the sprawling holiday resort you go when you've bought time out of time. At first all is well, but something disturbing bubbles beneath the glossy exterior of the 'paradise' that is the Chronosphere.

In Book 1, 'Time Out of Time', the Secrocon Police are out in force to catch whoever is responsible for a series of teenage kidnappings, and when they say 'freeze', they mean it! When Dario and Raffi are arrested and sent to a horrific subterranean gulag, they discover a girl who is living her life backwards, but why? And how?

With mystery, fun, danger, twists and turns, Chronosphere is a mesmerising glimpse into a dark future where the fun of hoverbiking, air-tennis and trips to the holoplex are all held in check by the firm grip of a police state.
(from Goodreads)

All Raffi wants is a little more time before becoming an adult and taking on all the responsibility that comes with it. Turns out, buying time in the 22nd century couldn’t be easier, as long as you’re willing to pay for it. With his savings considerably depleted and an extra year to do whatever he likes, Raffi enters the Chronosphere – where one year is equivalent to one minute in the real world. Everything about it seems perfect at first, but strange things keep happening, and Raffi wonders whether the Chronosphere is really as great as it seems. Teenagers are disappearing every week, never to be seen again, and it doesn’t take long for Raffi and his new friends to discover that the Chronosphere is more sinister than they ever could have believed.

Time Out of a Time was a quick, entertaining read. I loved the whole concept – who wouldn’t like to buy themselves some more time? I know I would (especially right before an exam), and I think the fact that I could understand Raffi and why he would want to escape his life for a bit made me able to relate to him and connect with him throughout the book. That being said, I also found Raffi wasn’t the most likeable of protagonists. While to other characters in the book, he came across as just your average nice guy, we as readers got a look inside his head, and I think he wasn’t the simple person he first came across as. I felt he definitely made a lot of bad, sometimes selfish, decisions and he was a little naive and fickle as well, but the fact he wasn’t perfect and actually had some faults made his character more believable for me, and ultimately made the book more enjoyable.

Dario was probably my favourite character in the book; he was definitely the most likeable. He was cheery and genuinely a thoughtful person and I like how he tried to make the best out of the worst situations. I felt sorry for him, though, because things never seemed to go his way. He had an odd sort of friendship with Sal, who was another very interesting character. I think she had been through a lot in her life, which is why she was quite withdrawn, but in a way she and Dario balanced each other out. I’m really curious as to what will happen to them both - it’s definitely going to be a bumpy ride!

Jonah and Lastara were another curious pair. They had been in the Chronosphere the longest, and there was definitely something weird about them. I never liked Lastara much from the beginning, but Jonah seemed really lovely. Even so, I’m convinced they were both hiding something, so I’ll be looking out for them in future books.

Plot-wise, there was quite a lot going on, and I found it quite hard to understand exactly how time worked in the Chronosphere. I mostly just had to accept the explanations despite the fact they didn’t really make much sense to me. However, the book was well-paced and there was always something interesting happen that kept me engaged throughout. The ending definitely made me want to read the next book – the last paragraph especially had me questioning what on earth had happened.

Overall, Time Out of Time was a good start to a series, and I’d recommend it to anyone who likes books set in the future, or about time. I look forward to reading Malfunction, book two!