Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Review: Forgiven by Jana Oliver

Forgiven (The Demon Trappers #3) by Jana Oliver
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Book
Released: March 1st 2012
My Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

The days are growing darker for 17-year-old demon trapper Riley Blackthorne. With her father’s reanimated body back safely, Beck barely speaking to her because of a certain hunky Fallen angel, and a freshly-made deal with Lucifer, she has enough on her hands to last a normal teenage lifetime. Though she bargained with Heaven to save his life, her ex-boyfriend Simon has told the Vatican’s Demon Hunters that she’s working with Hell. So now she’s in hiding, at the top of everyone’s most-wanted list.

But it’s becoming clear that this is bigger than Riley, and rapidly getting out of control: something sinister is happening in Atlanta… or someone. The demons are working together for the first time ever and refusing to die, putting civilians in harm’s way. Riley thinks she might know who’s behind it all, but who’s going to believe her? Caught between her bargain with Heaven and her promise to Lucifer, Riley fears the final war is coming – and it may be closer than anyone thinks…
(from Goodreads)

Forgiven was another great addition to a series that just keeps getting better and better. In this book, Riley is forced to deal with the consequences of fraternising with a Fallen angel. The Hunters are already convinced she’s working for Hell and if they ever found out what really happened between her and Ori, she’d be shipped off to Rome for sure. Beck is furious with Riley, she’s practically under house arrest and she still has no idea why Lucifer decided to summon her dad, let alone what kind of favour he could possibly want from her. And if things weren’t bad enough already, someone is creating zombie-like demons that can’t be killed, and they’re wreaking havoc across the city. If Riley doesn’t find out what’s going on and who’s behind it all, she won’t be able to stop Armageddon, and she’s sure as hell that Heaven won’t forgive her for going back on her promise.

Riley was as awesome as ever in this book. Even though Ori lied to her and she almost lost her soul, she didn’t let that take her over and refused to be consumed by it. She got on with her life, doing the best she could. I found it easy to connect to her – her emotions were a bit all over the place, but I think that made her quite a believable teen, and despite that she was still able to focus on the important things, like trapping and finding out what was going on with the fake holy water scam. I think Riley grew a lot in this book – she was less recklessly hot-headed and took time to think about what she was going to do next. Even when she was disobeying orders, she did it because she truly believed it was the right thing, or it was to only way to fix what was going on. I think she was learning from her mistakes and becoming a better trapper and a better fighter. After everything that had happened, no-one would have blamed her if she just wanted to give up and mope for a while, but the fact she struggled on was admirable and made her more likeable. One of the reasons I love this series is because of Riley. I like heroines that actually take action instead of watching everyone else do everything for them.

Beck, as usual, was one of the highlights of the book for me. Though maybe not the usual type I go for in YA fiction, I just think he and Riley would be so good together. He was angry at her for the first part of the book, because of what happened with Ori, and he let his jealousy get the better of him. Underneath that though, you could tell he really cared about Riley. He was worried about her, and didn’t want her to get in any more trouble. Later on, when they sort of made up, he did his best to be there for her, and I loved the way the two interacted. It was sort of like “you annoy the hell out of me, but I like you really and you’re funny” and was so great to read about. Beck’s comments about certain people made me laugh too. However, the best thing about Beck in this particular book was that we got a little glimpse into his past – and boy, was it interesting. This is why I loved the bits from his point of view so much – we got to see things about him no-one else did! We’d always been kept in the dark about Beck before he started trapping – all we ever knew was he used to be a soldier. But it turned out Beck was actually hiding something quite shady and dark. I’m so intrigued; I can’t wait to find out more about it. Whatever it is, Beck was desperate for Riley to never found out. After that ending though...well, let’s just say I am excited for book 4!

I also think I’ve grown to love Peter even more. He was so good in Forgiven, such a brilliant friend to Riley. Always there to cheer her up, or offer her advice or lend her a hand. Everyone needs a friend like Peter, really. He was so cute and awesome...ah. If only he were real! Mort was another character that I grew to like even more. He was determined to do the right thing and he was always very sweet to Riley and he made me smile. Ayden, the witch who helped Riley in the last book, was back in Forgiven too, and I really liked her. She and Mort had this great banter going on – as much as they claimed to hate each other, I think they actually got a long pretty well, and their scenes were definitely funny! Captain Salvatore, one of the Hunters, was another funny one. He seemed to be one of the only guys with a good sense of humour and was a refreshing change from all the other, serious Hunters.

The mystery of Ori was not fully resolved in Forgiven, though we did learn a lot more. Although he was turned into a statue, he could still communicate his thoughts to Riley and they were very interesting thoughts indeed. I thought Ori was a bad guy but after Forgiven, I’m not entirely sure what his motives truly were, or what will happen next. I’ll definitely be interested to find out more about him, and the other Fallen, in Fortold.

Overall, Forgiven was a brilliant follow up to Forbidden – if you liked the previous two books, then this is a must-read. The story was awesome, full of things I didn’t expect and had a lot of great action as well as mystery and suspense. Cannot recommend this series enough – with a tough heroine and an exciting plot, give it a go and you won’t be disappointed.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

In My Mailbox (#42): Birthday Edition

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

I hunted around the house for the camera today, so I could show you my birthday haul (mixed with some review books from last week). I am officially an adult! J'ai dix-huit ans. I guess to many people this would be a huge deal, but to be honest, I feel exactly the same :P. Aaaanyway, here are ze books: 

Some cool swag there! I pre-ordered some things too, which have yet to arrive.

I also got...a Kindle!

No photo yet because I am busy setting it up, but I can tell you it has a nice purple cover and is generally just awesome.

Kindle books:

For Review: 
Bunheads by Sophie Flack
Masters of the Veil by Daniel Cohen
Invincible (Chronicles of Nick #2) by Sherrilyn Kenyon (haven't read the first one in this series, so I'm not sure what to do. May request it - has anyone read this series? What do you think?)

Gifts (from various family members, friends and blogger friends - thank you!):
Fever (The Chemical Garden #2) by Lauren DeStefano
Wings of the Wicked (Angelfire #2) by Courtney Allison Moulton
Everneath (Everneath #1) by Brodi Ashton
Perfect Chemistry (Perfect Chemistry #1) by Simone Elkeles
Desires of the Dead (The Body Finder #2) by Kimberly Derting
Fated (Fated #1) by Sarah Alderson
I Am Number Four (Lorien Legacies #1) by Pittacus Lore
Enclave (Razorland #1) by Ann Aguirre
Born Wicked (The Cahill Witch Chronicles #1) by Jessica Spotswood (from the amazing Asher @ Paranormal Indulgence)
Born at Midnight (Shadow Falls #1) by C. C. Hunter (from the awesome Alexa @ Pages of Forbidden Love)
A Witch in Winter (Winter Trilogy #1) by Ruth Warburton
Pandemonium (Delirium #2) by Lauren Oliver (from the lovely Cait @ The Cait Files)
Kindle books:
Brightest Kind of Darkness (Brightest Kind of Darkness #1) by P. T. Michelle
A Tale of Two Proms (Bard Academy #4) by Cara Lockwood
Touch (Denazen #1) by Jus Accardo
Deadly Cool (Deadly Cool #1) Gemma Halliday
Cold Kiss (Cold Kiss #1) by Amy Garvey
The Boyfriend Thief by Shana Norris
Remembrance (Transcend Time #1)

Exiled (The Protector #1) by M. R. Merrick

And that is my birthday haul. I'm almost frightened by the size of my TBR pile now...

Many thanks to Alexa, Asher, Atom, Cait, friends & family and Spencer Hill Press.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

International Covers #4

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

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
Released in the UK: June 71th 2012
Find it on Goodreads

                              US                          vs                       UK

I'm torn here. I love the simplicity of the US version, and the soft colours used that give it that sort of mysterious summery feel. I really like the way the title is set out too. The UK one, though, gives off such a fun vibe that's really attention-grabbing and practically screams "buy me!". I like all the little images that have been put together as well, and I love that it's all bright and colourful. The way the author's name is written is really cool too! I can't pick. What do you think?

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
Published in the UK: January 6th 2011
Find it on Goodreads

                            US/UK                      vs                       German

                      Portuguese                    vs                        Italian


So as much as I love the US/UK cover of Paranormalcy (it is really pretty), I think the Italian one is my favourite. It's gorgeous, plus it has a more faerie-ish feel to it, which I think is a little bit more relevant to book (Reth, anyone?). I know the pink dress in the US/UK one is also relevant, but ah. The Italian one takes the cake for me. I also love the font of the title, and the way the light from the top left corner is shining down  on the model. The German one for me seems completely random (why change the title to Flames and Roses?). I do like the background though. The Portuguese one is pretty cool; the image is quite haunting and definitely eye-catching. The Russian one just creeps me out. Don't like it at all...:P.

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

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #43

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

Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne
June 5th 2012
Find it on Goodreads

Fourteen kids. One superstore. A million things that go wrong.

A huge store isn’t the worst place to be stranded. There’s food and water, bedding and books. But what if it’s not safe to leave? Emmy Laybourne had us from the get-go with her utterly fresh and fast-paced debut.

Six high school kids (some popular, some not), two eighth graders (one a tech genius), and six little kids are trapped together in a chain superstore. Together they build a refuge for themselves inside, while outside, a series of escalating disasters, beginning with a monster hailstorm and ending with a chemical weapon spill, seems to be tearing the world—as they know it—apart.
(from Goodreads)

The premise of this one sounds great! Being trapped in a superstore full of food and toys and lots of stuff to do doesn't sound like it'd be so bad, but from the sound of the synopsis, I'm guessing things definitely aren't as simple as that (the clues: "escalating disasters" and "tearing the world - as they know it - apart" :P). Can't wait to see how everybody copes and to find out what exactly happened to leave them all trapped in the first place (and what would happen if they dared try to leave).

What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Review: Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Obsidian (Lux #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Released: November 29th 2011
My Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

Starting over sucks.

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

And then he opened his mouth.

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

The hot alien living next door marks me.
You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

If I don’t kill him first, that is. (from Goodreads)

Obsidian, my dear readers, was a book made of awesome. The first thing I thought when I finished it? “Now THAT’S how a love-hate relationship should be done.” Seriously. One of the best I’ve read. Kat and Daemon had the most AMAZING chemistry. Their fighting was absolutely hilarious, to the point where I was actually almost crying from tears of laughter (the phrase “bitch switch” is fantastic. I need to use it more often). I just loved it! Loved it!

Kat was a brilliant character. She was funny (oh my God, so funny. Her narration was EXCELLENT) and get this – a blogger! She was a blogger! With Waiting on Wednesdays and In My Mailboxes and everything. Stroke of genius, Jennifer. Way to get the entire blogging community to love you (not that we don’t already – I mean, you wrote Half-Blood, after all). I don’t know if regular readers will quite understand all the blogging references, but I personally could relate to Kat a lot more because of it. She shared the love of reading all we book bloggers have (and Daemon thought it was cute, so there you go :P). Speaking of Daemon...Kat and Daemon have become one of my favourite pairings. I’ve already said they were hilarious, but just for effect – they were HILARIOUS.  I loved that Kat didn’t just sit back and take Daemon’s crap – she stood up for herself and insulted him right back (so, so amusing). She wasn’t the spineless type, and I liked her strong will and determination. She wasn’t just a girl of words, but a girl of action too!

Daemon was...pure hotness? I mentally swooned a couple times. Even with all his arrogance and insults (funny, funny insults), I always felt that he secretly enjoyed arguing with Kat. That he found it amusing (I certainly did). And the chemistry, the sexual tension! Throughout the whole book, there was that whole “I hate you, but I like you” vibe going on, and it was quite clear that at some point these two were going to cave and act on their feelings (lusty, lusty feeling) for each other. But it wasn’t just the arguing and tension that was awesome, it was the little things too. Daemon always did these little things that seemed like nothing but actually just showed that he did really care about Kat. It was almost...sweet? At times? I don’t know. 
Whatever, just read the book. Daemon + Kat = better than ice-cream. Jennifer has a way with words.

Dee, Daemon’s sister and Kat’s new bff, was possibly one of the loveliest people ever. Starved for friendship, she was just so sweet and caring and adored Kat as a best friend! There was a real bond between the two, and you could tell Dee really cared about Kat even though they hadn’t been friends for that long. I wish I knew someone like Dee! She was also pretty funny too and liked making things awkward for Kat but brining up her brother all the time :P.

The story was actually a lot more developed than I thought it’d be. Apart from the fact that the planet Daemon came from was called “Lux”, which is Latin for “light”, which is, you know, an EARTH language, I thought the alien/sci-fi aspect was done very well – well enough that non sci-fi fans could definitely still enjoy this book. The Luxen seemed like believable life-forms, and their forms/powers were described pretty well. There’s still a little more explanation needed, but I reckon we’ll get that later on in the series. The whole thing with the Arum (basically, alien bad guys) intrigues me, and I can’t wait to find out more!

Overall, Obsidian was fabulous, splendid, superb start to a new series, and I’m already dying for the sequel, Onyx. I’ve literally read all the teasers on Jennifer’s site at least twice! Highly recommended, to all fans of YA.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Author Interview + Giveaway: Daniel Cohen, Masters of the Veil

Hello everyone! Today I have the lovely Dan, author of Masters of the Veil, on the blog for a Q&A about his book, so enjoy! There'll also be a chance to win some awesome can jerseys (see pictures at the end of post) later on, so stay tuned for that.

Masters of the Veil by Daniel Cohen
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Released: March 1st 2012
Find it on Goodreads

Life can't get much better for Sam Lock. Popular, good-looking, and with a future as a professional football player, every guy at Stanton High School wishes he were Sam. That is, until his championship football game, when Sam accidentally links with an ancient source of energy known as the Veil and reveals his potential to become a powerful sorcerer. Sam is whisked off to Atlas Crown, a community of sorcerers who utilize the Veil as a part of everyday life. Once there, he trains beside a mute boy who speaks through music, an eternal sage who's the eyes and ears of the Veil, and a beautiful girl who's pretty sure Sam's an idiot. As it becomes clear Sam's meant for power magic-the most feared and misunderstood form of sorcery-people beyond Atlas Crown learn of his dangerous potential. An exiled group of power sorcerers are eager to recruit Sam, believing that he is destined to help them achieve their long-held goal. If they succeed, they could bring about the downfall of not only Atlas Crown, but all humankind. (from Goodreads)


Hi Dan, thanks so much for joining us!

Hey Liz and all of Liz’s readers. Thanks so much for taking an interest in my book!

Can you tell us a bit about Masters of the Veil?

“Masters of the Veil,” is the first in a trilogy about a football player who accidentally turns out to be an important player in a magical world. Instead of a traditional “outcast who finds his true home in an magical community story,” I wanted to see what would happen if a popular, sociable person ended up in a magical world and struggled there.

I thought it would be a lot of fun to write (and it was!), but I had no idea it was going to come out the way it did. I thought it would be a light, funny read about a football player bumbling around in a place he didn’t belong, but what ended up emerging was something much deeper; something I never thought possible. MoTV explores internal struggle, prejudice, self-sacrifice, and how deep friendship can go. I can’t tell you how proud I am that this book found me.

Why did you decide to write for a young adult audience?

In all honesty, it kind of just happened that way. When I started writing I just wanted to write something that would entertain me. After I finished my first book, “The Ancillary’s Mark,” I realized that I’m a YA kind of guy through and through. I never thought I’d actually get published and have people like my work. It’s been years now and it’s all still kind of surreal.

What inspired you to write about magic and sorcerers?

Harry Potter.
And others.
But mostly Harry Potter.

Like most everyone else, I am obsessed with Rowling’s work. Growing up, I was always the same age as Harry’s crew and I felt a special bond to him and his world. I knew I could never create something as world shattering at J.K. did, but I knew in the very least that I wanted my work to be in the same genre. I’ve also found out by trial and error that choosing to write about magic and sorcery is choosing to be free and chained at the same time. You can create anything you want, but you have to follow your own rules or the story doesn’t work. This genre can be unbelievably liberating and mind-bogglingly frustrating at the same time.

Harry Potter does tend to have that effect :P. If you had magic for a day, what would you do?

Oh man, why’d you have to go and throw me a hardball question? It depends upon what kind of magic we’re talking here. In the MoTV world there are three disciplines. Natural, mystical, and power magic. Natural magic is most common and has to deal with earthly things like plants, animals, and the elements. Mystical magic is rare and deals with things like memory, time, and intangible things and ideas. Power magic is incredibly uncommon and deals with might and control. I know what I should say (solve world hunger, work on world peace) and I would definitely do some good, but honestly, I’d probably fly around all day or turn myself into Brad Pitt.

Flying definitely sounds tempting! Did you have to do any research when writing Masters of the Veil?

When I first set out to write MoTV I made a promise. I promised myself that if I was going to do this, I was going to create everything from scratch. Everything magical (creatures, places, plants, games, theories) was going to be my own. I knew it would be insanely tempting to borrow from the greats like Rowling and Rothfuss, but I respect them too much to take anything from them. It took me a loooooong time to create this unique world and write this book, but it was worth it.

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

It’s funny that you ask. I’m actually pursuing it as we speak. And I just up and changed just about everything in my life to do so. I play rock and r&b saxophone and I have for about fifteen years. I met a guy named Matt MacDonald in college and I have to say that he is one of the most talented singer/songwriters I have ever seen, yet alone played with. We formed a duo together called “Waking Fable” and decided to go for it. We moved away from all of our friends and family in NY and settled down in Austin, Texas (the live musical capital of the world) about three weeks ago. We have no connections here, so we’ve been playing outside, at open mics, and even people’s living rooms, trying to get our name out there. It certainly has been the start of what is shaping up to be a crazy adventure.

Wow that sounds great! Can you tell us about any other projects you have coming up?

I’m currently working on finishing the second book in the trilogy called, “Children of the Veil.” Then I have to tackle the final book, so I’ll have my hands full for the foreseeable future.

Looking forward to it. Thanks for answering questions today, it’s been great to have you on the blog!

Take care everybody! And if you pick up a copy of, “Masters of the Veil,” please don’t hesitate to shoot me an email and let me know what you think. I’d love to hear from you. Samlock11@gmail.com
Daniel A. Cohen was just your average business student. Microeconomics, finance, marketing… you name it, he had to do a PowerPoint presentation on it. One dark and stormy night, he was bitten by the radioactive realization that memorizing business jargon could possibly be the most boring activity known to man.

After gaining eagle-eye vision, abs that could grate cheese, and a talent for imagining things (including his cheese-grating abs), he wrote his first novel and began his epic battle against the formidable business jargon. He continues to fight the good fight by playing saxophone and writing YA fantasy, forever hoping his Veil trilogy will help inspire others to join his cause.
I hope you enjoyed the Q&A! Find out more on the Masters of the Veil Facebook page here. For a chance to win two can jerseys (pictured below), just fill in this form. US entrants only. Ends February 22nd. Good luck!

Aren't they awesome?

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Review: Hallowed by Cynthia Hand

Hallowed (Unearthly #2) by Cynthia Hand
Publisher: Egmont UK
Released: January 2nd 2012
My Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

For months part-angel Clara Gardner trained to face the raging forest fire from her visions and rescue the alluring and mysterious Christian Prescott from the blaze. But nothing could prepare her for the fateful decisions she would be forced to make that day, or the startling revelation that her purpose—the task she was put on earth to accomplish—is not as straightforward as she thought.

Now, torn between her increasingly complicated feelings for Christian and her love for her boyfriend, Tucker, Clara struggles to make sense of what she was supposed to do the day of the fire. And, as she is drawn further into the world of part angels and the growing conflict between White Wings and Black Wings, Clara learns of the terrifying new reality that she must face: Someone close to her will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning.
 (from Goodreads)

Hallowed was an absolutely amazing sequel to Unearthly. I loved it. And one of the things I loved most about it was that it wasn’t at all what I expected. So much happened that I never could have guessed. Cynthia Hand knows how to pull in a reader, I’ll tell you that now. If you haven’t started this series yet – get off your computer and go. Now. You won’t regret it.

Clara had a lot to deal with in this book. She had to cope with the repercussions of deviating from her “purpose” and also had to get by while knowing someone she loved was going to die. It wasn’t exactly a great time for her. She was worried and panicking about almost everything inside while trying to stay calm on the outside. And those weren’t her only problems. Her brother Jeffrey was acting strange and seemed to have no time for her, and despite the fact that she chose to save Tucker over Christian, Clara’s connection to Christian didn’t weaken at all. In fact, it got stronger. They were closer somehow, which was the last thing she wanted. I really empathised with Clara. She was one of the most likeable heroines I’ve come across, because she just seemed really genuine. And not too perfect, but not too unrealistically off the rails either. In this book, I felt for her more, because she was having a difficult time. Her power of empathy allowed to her to sense other people’s emotions, and as you can imagine, that can be a lot for someone to take in. She was struggling to cope with her own feelings, let alone those of everyone around her. Despite all this, however, she tried to keep it together. I loved her internal thoughts because she sometimes thought absolutely hilarious things that made me laugh a lot. I think the snarky sarcasm she had going on was to help her get through everything that was happening, and I really liked it. It gave insight into how she was feeling, as well as making me smile.

The thing that probably surprised me most about Hallowed was how much it made me love Christian. If you’ve read my Unearthly review, you’ll know that I was firmly Team Tucker. Christian was just another okay high school guy, but Tucker was something special. I really loved him. While my thoughts on Tucker didn’t change much (I probably liked him even more in this one – he had a great sense of humour and was just so adorable), my thoughts on Christian changed dramatically. He was no longer that-guy-who-I sort-of-liked-but-didn’t-really-care-much-for. Honestly, I don’t even know how to describe Christian in this book. Okay, he and Clara shared this connection that neither of them could help. They were drawn to each,  and connected by their purposes, that’s for sure. But it wasn’t just that. In Hallowed, we really got to know a lot more about Christian. His life, his parents, his background. With each chapter, I found myself liking him more and more. He wasn’t the golden boy everybody thought he was. He had all these angel problems to deal with on top of normal fears about going to university and figuring out what to do with his life. He was troubled, but he also understood what Clara was going through. They had a lot in common, and he really got her. Not just in the “I understand, it’ll be okay” way. He actually got her. He could be there for her in the way she needed him to be, without her even asking him to. They had such a great chemistry, finishing off each others’ sentences, having little funny fights that I loved reading about. I hated the whole idea of being destined for something and not being able to choose who you love, but with Christian and Clara...I sort of wish things were different. I wish it were really a choice with them, and not just some angel-blood thing.

This leads to a huge problem. The way the story is going, I actually have no idea what the hell is going to happen, so I have no idea what team to ship. I loved both Tucker and Christian in this book. But even if I choose one over the other – there’s a huge possibility I’ll be disappointed in the end. Truthfully, I do not know who to choose. This has NEVER happened to me before. Never. I always at least prefer someone slightly more in a love triangle, but this time, I am neutral. I am no team. I am just waiting to see what happens next, because after that ending, I have no clue. Seriously, this book was full of so many great revelations and twists and unexpected events that I can’t predict a single thing that will happen in book three. The plot was fast paced and while there wasn’t a lot of action, there was still a lot going on. I was never bored, always curious about something, such as why Jeffrey was acting so weird,  or what Clara’s mother was hiding, or who was going to die, or when Samjeeza was going to turn up, or what scary angel fact Angela (Angela made me laugh, she was just so quirky and always coming up with something crazy to do) was going to discover in the next “Angel Club” meeting. It was all awesome, there’s no other word for it. The only thing I wished for was to see more of Tucker’s sister Wendy, because I felt she was a bit absent in this book, and I really liked her in the first one. But besides that – brilliant. And now I have absolutely no idea how the love triangle, or anything else for that matter, will play out in the next book. I need it now. I need to know what happens next!

Overall, Hallowed was everything I wanted and more. A better sequel that I could have imagined. Recommended for all of those who have lost faith in angel books (I was one of those people, before Unearthly), and to anyone looking for a great story with and an amazing romance.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

In My Mailbox (#41)

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

The camera is currently...somewhere. I'll find it at some point, but for now - images! Here's what I got this week:

For Review:
Mister Creecher by Chris Priestly
Advent by James Treadwell (from Leanna @ Daisy Chain Book Reviews - thank you!)
Forgiven (The Demon Trappers #3) by Jana Oliver

And that's it for me! So excited when I got the email about Forgiven - I love this series! Almost done with it and it's been awesome so far. Mister Creecher isn't something I'd usually read but I've seen some good reviews, so might give it a go. And Advent is supposed to be a great fantasy, so looking forward to that!

What did you get in your mailbox this week?

Many thanks to Macmillan, Leanna and Bloomsbury.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Review: Pulse by Tricia Rayburn

Pulse (Siren #2) by Tricia Rayburn (read my review of Siren here)
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Released: February 2nd 2012
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

Nothing has been normal since Vanessa Sands learned that her sister Justine was murdered by sirens and everything she believed about herself and her family was a lie.

Vanessa worries that if her boyfriend, Simon, finds out who - or what - she truly is, he'll run a mile. Or she'll push him away because of her new, fatal thirst for seduction...

And now the sirens are back for revenge. One by one, they turn everyone against her just when she needs them most. It's time for Vanessa to face her past and accept she is just like her enemies - every bit as alluring and every bit as dangerous.

Will she dare to use her powers against her own kind to save the people she loves? (from back cover)

Note: before the review, I would just like to clear up some confusion. For some reason, a lot of people think Pulse is book three in the Siren trilogy - it is not. It is the UK edition of Undercurrent, book two. It is exactly the same as the book two in the US, but with a different cover and name. Hope that helps!

I actually liked Pulse more than its predecessor, Siren. A lot of people have said there was too much boy drama, but I guess I must be a fan, because I really enjoyed it. I think there was a great mix of drama and mystery in this one, with the same eerie vibe from book one, and while I wasn’t happy with a few of the old characters, I loved finding out about some of the new ones.

Vanessa was a changed person in Pulse. Though she tried to go back to living her old life, the transformation her body had undergone made this impossible. She was a siren now, and there was nothing she could do about it. She needed to drink saltwater and bathe in it. She attracted the attention of men everywhere she went, and what was worse was that it made her stronger. Sometimes she needed it. Sometimes she craved it. I really appreciated the sort of hopelessness of her situation. Throughout the whole of this book, and the last book, sirens were portrayed as almost evil creatures that hunted men for sport. Now, Vanessa was one. As much as she didn’t want to be, there was no changing it. She was forced to deal with it. It was completely unfair and I could definitely feel for her. She didn’t want to hurt people, but it seemed liked she was hurting people without even meaning to. She was completely stuck with this terrible ordeal. While I do think she did some stupid things, I could sort of understand how she was feeling. She was confused and scared and didn’t know what to do anymore. For a person who had just gone through a huge physical change, who had been lied to their whole life and who had just lost their only sister, I think Vanessa did pretty well not have a complete emotional breakdown.

Vanessa and Simon’s relationship really took a turn for the worse in this book. Mostly because of Vanessa and her actions, which I will admit would push any boy away. As Vanessa was a siren, she attracted boys really easily. It’d be unusual for then not to notice her. Enter Parker King. Initially quite indifferent towards Vanessa, he began to take more and more interest in her. But more on him later. For now, I will just say that Simon noticed. Simon saw that Vanessa was becoming more detached. She was scared he only loved her because of her siren powers, and wasn’t sure if he loved her just for her. She was trying to protect him, but only made things worse. And her hanging out with Parker didn’t help things either. She was unintentionally connecting with him, and though perhaps she could have prevented some things for happening, she couldn’t deny that she was drawn to him. Simon, as Betty said, would not be enough for a siren like Vanessa. As much as I did like Simon in book one, I felt he sort of lost some of his appeal in this one. He didn’t really do much at all, and wasn’t the same quirky, committed guy he was in book one. Then after Parker, he practically ignored her until the end (and Vanessa seriously didn’t help herself – she didn’t even explain her actions, which baffled me).  [Mini-spoiler, highlight to view]While I completely understand why Simon said he needed time to think about their relationship (anyone would be angry after all that, I sympathise with him entirely),[/spoiler] I just felt less interested in his character. Like some of the connection he and Vanessa had in the first book was missing, right from the beginning of Pulse. I was much more interested in finding out about Parker.

Parker King was probably the most interesting character in Pulse, for me. I really liked him and enjoyed every scene he was in.  I’m not usually a fan of love triangles, but I liked this because while Vanessa did truly love Simon, she needed Parker in a different way. And Parker...well, I think he was more than just the reputation he had. The descriptions of him were very telling (you’ll see what I mean when you read the book). He wasn’t just your usual second guy in a love triangle. He was much more. He had his own problems, especially with his father. And he was a nice guy, despite everything. He was funny and smart. He was willing to be there for Vanessa. How much of that that was Vanessa’s siren allure, I don’t know. That’s probably what upset me most. I really wished for Parker and Vanessa’s relationship to be real, something more than just her powers at work. But I’m not sure how much of it was real and how much wasn’t. It all seemed so natural. Parker really did seem to just grow to care about Vanessa. But who can be sure? Vanessa certainly wasn’t. She knew this was the work of her power, but what she felt for Parker – those were her own emotions there.  No matter how much she told herself she loved Simon, she liked spending time with Parker. Things felt right with Parker. It was all very confusing and mixed up. One minute you really thought that Vanessa was supposed to be with Simon and that Parker was just a guy under the siren spell – and the next minute, it wasn’t so clear. Part of Vanessa did need Parker, and that part wouldn’t just go away.

Another part of Pulse I enjoyed was the introduction of Willa. We didn’t get to know much about her because she was only introduced towards the end (Vanessa should have confronted her father much earlier, in my opinion) but I have a feeling we’ll get to know more about her in the next book. I did miss Caleb in this one, however, he was barely in it, and Paige didn’t have much of a role until the end. I hope we get to see more of those two in book 3, and more of another certain someone who appears at the end of this book.

The story in Pulse was probably a little slower than Siren. Not a lot happened in the first half, except Vanessa questioning her sanity, seeing strange vision of sirens that were supposed to be dead, but I liked that. We really got into Vanessa’s mind, and how unsure of herself she was. Was she seeing things? Or was something bad going to happen? The second half was when things really picked up, though. There were some huge twists I honestly could not have guessed, and while I think again the conflict may have been resolved too quickly, the ending definitely left me eager for more.

Overall, Pulse was an excellent sequel. I may be a minority in believing it was better than the first, but anyone who enjoyed Siren should definitely give it a go. I’m officially really excited for book three – I can’t wait! Though I have a feeling things may not go as I hope...

Monday, 6 February 2012

Review: Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky #1) by Veronica Rossi
Publisher: Atom
Released: February 7th 2012
My Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads



Aria has lived her whole life in the protected dome of Reverie. Her entire world confined to its spaces, she's never thought to dream of what lies beyond its doors. So when her mother goes missing, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland long enough to find her are slim.

Then Aria meets an outsider named Perry. He's searching for someone too. He's also wild - a savage - but might be her best hope at staying alive.

If they can survive, they are each other's best hope for finding answers.
 (from Goodreads)

Under the Never Sky was a captivating read, and a great start to a new series. I’ve already added the sequel to my to-read list on Goodreads!

All Aria has ever known is life in the Realms. She’s never left the safety of her dome, Reverie, and has never wanted to either. That is until her mother goes missing on a nearby dome called Bliss. Aria is determined to find out what happened to her mother, but her efforts cause her to be thrown out of Reverie into the real world – a world she isn’t designed for. Where diseases can’t be controlled and where emotion and pain are more than just fleeting sensations. Aria then meets Perry – an Outsider – who is also looking for someone close to him. They reluctantly form an alliance, but it’s clear they don’t trust each other. To Aria, Perry is a Savage; a monster who kills with no mercy. To Perry, Aria is just a Dweller; a naive little dome girl who has never truly experienced any hardship. Can they work together, and more importantly, will they ever find who they’re looking for?

Under the Never Sky was told from two points of view: Aria’s and Perry’s. I liked the fact we got to see from both their perspectives, because it made it clear how different the lives Aria and Perry led were. Before Aria was thrown out of Reverie, she’d never really experienced the true world. She’d never seen fire outside of the Realms, and rarely touched anyone with her real bare hands. The Realms were a little hard for me to understand; I didn’t really get how they worked (sort of virtual realms of existence, where you could experience anything you wanted?) and I didn’t understand how they came into being (or why some people, like Perry, still lived like normal outside the domes and Realms). I also was kind of confused as to what happened to people’s real bodies while their minds/consciousnesses were in the Realms  (the whole fracturing thing was lost on me) – everything was sort of vaguely explained and I wasn’t quite sure about it all. Despite this, though, I thought it was a very interesting concept, and made a good basis for the story. It was great to read about Aria experiencing the real world for the first time. At first she hated it, and couldn’t understand why people would ever live in such a way. As time went on, however, she grew accustomed to the Outsiders’ way of life, and learnt to appreciate real feelings, real emotions, real pain and real pleasure. Everything was sort of enhanced for her, and I think she began to change her mind and question everything she’d ever previously known. I liked the way that, even though she was chucked into a completely new environment she knew nothing about, she never gave up her search for her mother and was willing to do anything to find her. In that way, Perry and Aria, despite being from completely different worlds, were actually very similar – they were both desperate to find the person they cared about.

Perry was looking for his nephew, Talon, who’d been snatched from him by Dwellers while they were hunting. I really liked the way Perry cared for Talon – they had a special bond and Perry would do anything to protect his nephew. He really loved him and it was sweet seeing that side of him. Perry was a bit hot-headed and made a few rash decisions at times, but he mostly tried to keep collected and do the best thing for everyone. What I really liked was that when he and Aria first met, they didn’t like each other at all. Perry completely ignored Aria and Aria didn’t care what he thought about her. But they were forced to spend time together, and eventually things began to change between them. They sort of grew on each other, and began to see things they’d missed before. The way Perry perceived Aria was really interesting, because he understood people on a deeper level than most because of his Sense (more on this later). While maybe the transition seemed a little out of the blue, the romance that blossomed was slow and sweet and you could that they both care about each other a lot.

Roar, one of Perry’s friends and allies, was probably my favourite secondary character. He was hilarious and such a good friend too! He was there for Perry and always willing to help him out. He also helped Aria through a lot of difficult things, and tried to understand her even though she was different and unused to the world he was from. I really loved him and I felt so sad that he couldn’t be with the one person he loved the most. I can’t wait to read more about him!

The powers the Outsiders possessed were fascinating, and I loved reading about these strange gifts that they had. Certain people had abilities called Senses, in which one of their five senses was enhanced beyond normal human capability. It was so strange to see how these abilities affected their everyday lives – and I sort of wished I had powers too!

The story was crazy. Most of it was great and well-paced, but at the end something happened that made my mouth literally drop. This one scene changed everything. The thing that got me most though, was that this aspect was just glossed over. Literally, a line was spent on it. Totally mindblown. Now I’m excited for the sequel, because surely this HAS to come up.  It can’t be ignored. (I realise this vagueness probably makes no sense to you, but trust me, you will understand once you reach the end of this book).

Overall, Under the Never Sky was an engaging read that got me really invested in the characters and story. Recommended!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

In My Mailbox (#40)

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

I only got one physical book this week, so no picture - just images. I don't expect anything next week - the snow is probably gonna cause a lot of problems (I am not a fan of snow. It's cold and rubbish and messes up everything! :P). Anyway, here's what I got:

For Review:
Hallowed (Unearthly #2) by Cynthia Hand
Being Friends With Boys by Terra Elan McVoy

Free on Amazon (kindle):
Exiled (Immortal Essence #1) by RaShelle Workman

Being Friends With Boys, I saw on Twitter! Not entirely sure what's going on with Galley Grab, but for anyone who is interested in this book, see this tweet for more info.

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

Many thanks to Egmont UK, Galley Grab, Terra, RaShelle and Amazon.

EDIT: Completely forgot that I also got Catching Suki, Sarah Alderson's short story (prequel to Hunting Lila). My memory is terrible these days...

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Review: Hollow Pike by James Dawson

Hollow Pike by James Dawson
Publisher: Orion Children's Books
Released: February 2nd 2012
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

Something wicked this way comes... She thought she'd be safe in the country, but you can't escape your own nightmares, and Lis London dreams repeatedly that someone is trying to kill her. Lis thinks she's being paranoid - after all who would want to murder her? She doesn't believe in the local legends of witchcraft. She doesn't believe that anything bad will really happen to her. You never do, do you? Not until you're alone in the woods, after dark - and a twig snaps... Hollow Pike - where witchcraft never sleeps. (from Goodreads)

Hollow Pike is an excellent debut from James Dawson that has a perfect blend of all the ingredients needed to make a great, witchy thriller. Our main character Lis London is having a hard time. Forced to move from her home in Wales because of bullying that was getting too much, Lis moves in with her sister, Sarah, in Yorkshire and attends Fulton High School, hoping for a fresh start. However, things don’t go to plan. Lis manages to befriend the popular crowd on her first day – and their leader, Laura, seems more than happy to welcome Lis into the group. But Laura and her friends are cruel and treat the rest of the school like dirt – and Lis doesn’t think she can stay friends with girls so horrible. But breaking away from the group means facing Laura, and the whole reason Lis came to Yorkshire was to get away from bullying, not experience more of it. A prank gone wrong and a chilling murder, however, change everything, and soon Lis is dragged into something dark and dangerous than she can’t escape from. Who is the murderer? And what do they want with Lis?

Lis was a likeable main character and I definitely felt for her; she was just trying to leave her old, painful life behind her, but ended up getting into a bigger mess than before. She acted a bit helpless at times, but not in the annoying, too-stupid-to-live-way, and probably as a result of the hardship she’d faced over the years. I would have liked to have known more about her life in Wales, and Bronwyn, the girl that made Lis’s life a misery, but I think there was just enough to make it pretty easy to connect to Lis. I wanted her to succeed and find out who the murderer was, just because I thought she deserved some peace. I was also really intrigued by Lis’s nightmares – she kept having these horrible, dark and scary dreams and I wanted to know what was up with her! She could also be funny – especially when obsessing over her crush, Danny. She basically acted a little bit like a stalker, but she knew she was being shameless and didn’t understand why she had suddenly become obsessed with this one boy – it was so hilarious to read about. She was ashamed she was being so embarrassing but just couldn’t help it :P. Her relationship with Danny was very cute. They were a little awkward together, but it was sweet, and Danny seemed like a nice guy (though I felt like we could have gotten to know him a bit better). Some of their scenes were so funny (when Danny first met Sarah!) and I liked the romance overall (though Danny spoke using too many exclamation marks. It’s like he was excited about everything...)

I really liked Lis’s friends Kitty, Delilah and Jack, but Jack was probably my favourite out of all them. He was hilarious, and always came up with the funniest things when you least expected them. He was sort of the comic relief of the novel and I pretty much loved every scene he was in. Jack, Kitty, Delilah and Lis had the most amazing conversations at times (Cillit Bang!) that had me laughing out loud at times, and I’m really glad Lis found some people she could talk to. They did skip a lot of PE though, to have these chats (but then, who hasn’t skipped PE? Got to admit I used to skip PE a lot :P). Lis’s sister Sarah was another great character. As I said before, her scene with Danny was one of my favourites and she seemed to really care about her sister too, which was lovely. It was nice that Lis’s family were involved in the story, and helped everything seem a little more realistic.

I was wrong about Mr Gray, one of Lis’s teachers. Make of that what you will...

The plot was great and full of the suspense and tension necessary for a good murder-mystery. There was a twist that threw me off at the end, and the witchy aspect had me questioning what was really going on and who was involved. For me, the first half of the novel almost seemed contemporary, and dealt with school drama more than anything. The second half, however, was a lot darker and was more about the consequences of the murder. I liked the transition between the two and how we got to experience a mix of genres – it gave the book a really creepy feeling, sort of emphasising the fact that someone’s life can completely change in the turn of a page.

Overall, I really enjoyed Hollow Pike and would recommend it to fans of dark YA with a touch of supernatural/paranormal. I’ll definitely be looking out for James Dawson’s future works!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #42

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

Black Heart (Curse Workers #3) by Holly Black
April 19th 2012
Find it on Goodreads

Cassel Sharpe knows he’s been used as an assassin, but he’s trying to put all that behind him. He’s trying to be good, even though he grew up in a family of con artists and cheating comes as easily as breathing to him. He’s trying to do the right thing, even though the girl he loves is inextricably connected with crime. And he’s trying to convince himself that working for the Feds is smart, even though he’s been raised to believe the government is the enemy.

But with a mother on the lam, the girl he loves about to take her place in the Mob, and new secrets coming to light, the line between what’s right and what’s wrong becomes increasingly blurred. When the Feds ask Cassel to do the one thing he said he would never do again, he needs to sort out what’s a con and what’s truth. In a dangerous game and with his life on the line, Cassel may have to make his biggest gamble yet—this time on love.
(from Goodreads)

I have a confession - I haven't actually read Red Glove yet. I know, I know! I'm terrible! I have a copy, I just haven't got to it yet. But I will, I promise! I've actually avoided properly reading that summary above (I skimmed it, and it didn't seem too spoilery, luckily). But I'm still excited for this book, because it means more Cassel. And I adore him. He is seriously one of my favourite male characters EVER. So I'm definitely looking forward to Black Heart (and I actually love the UK covers for this series. Even though this one is extra creepy - I liiike it! :D)

What are you waiting on this week?