Saturday, 30 June 2012

Review: Snow White and the Huntsman by Lily Blake

Snow White and the Huntsman by Lily Blake (et. al)
Publisher: Atom
Released: June 1st 2012
My Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

A breathtaking new vision of a legendary tale. Snow White is the only person in the land fairer than the evil queen who is out to destroy her. But in a twist to the fairytale, the Huntsman ordered to take Snow White into the woods to be killed becomes her protector and mentor in a quest to vanquish the Evil Queen. (from Goodreads)

I wanted to read Snow White and the Hunstman because I knew I probably wouldn’t be seeing the film, but I didn’t want to miss out on all the hype and excitement surrounding it. While the plot was good one (and more compelling than the Disney version, if you ask me), I couldn’t really engage completely with the book. I’ve had this problems with books based on films before, and I just think the length of the book (220 pages) didn’t leave room to allow a fully developed story. I think the book would be more enjoyable read alongside the film instead of a substitute for it, so I would still recommend this to anyone who saw and enjoyed the movie.

The Queen in Snow White and the Huntsman was ruthless. Absolutely ruthless. She wasn’t just obsessed with being the fairest of them all because she was vain, she actually enjoyed sucking the youth out of people and being in power. She did seem to have a reason for it, something that happened in the past, but this was only partially explained and there wasn’t as much depth to the Queen’s character as there could have been. It was the same for the Huntsman. He also had a painful past, but a lot was skimmed over and while I did like him, I felt like he and none of the characters were really fleshed out, which is why this book would be better read accompanying the film instead of separately.

I liked Snow White – she was less of a damsel in distress, and more willing to fight to protect herself. However, she didn’t actually do much throughout the whole book. Really she was led everywhere by the Huntsman, and even when she saved him from the troll, all she did was stare the troll down to make it go away. Stare it down. A troll. I have no idea how that worked. Her relationship with the Huntsman was strange and I didn’t really understand what they were by the end. Friends? Comrades? More? And when William turned up, a friend from her childhood, it was even more confusing! I wouldn’t have minded if it’d been resolved in the end, but it was all sort of just left open and never explained.

My main problem was that I felt like everything happened too fast. One minute Snow White was locked in the tower, next minute she was on the run, five minutes later she had already befriended the Huntsman. The meeting with the seven dwarves literally whizzed past. They were strangers, and then a few pages later they were mourning together like old friends. I did really like the darker aspect of the story though and the fact that Snow White actually rode out to meet the Queen. I also liked the fact that the Huntsman wasn’t just a tool of the Queen and that the dwarves weren’t kindly men but were actually quite fierce.

Overall, Snow White and the Huntsman was a quick read but lacked the character development I usually look for in books. If you liked the movie or are planning to see the movie, give the book a go.

Review: Dreamless by Josephine Angelini

Dreamless (Starcrossed #2) by Josephine Angelini
Publisher: Macmillan
Released: July 5th 2012
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

Can true love be forgotten?

As the only Scion who can descend into the Underworld, Helen Hamilton has been given a nearly impossible task. By night she wanders through Hades, trying to stop the endless cycle of revenge that has cursed her family. By day she struggles to overcome the fatigue that is rapidly eroding her sanity. Without Lucas by her side, Helen is not sure she has the strength to go on.

Just as Helen is pushed to her breaking point, a mysterious new Scion comes to her rescue. Funny and brave, Orion shields her from the dangers of the Underworld. But time is running out—a ruthless foe plots against them, and the Furies’ cry for blood is growing louder.

As the ancient Greek world collides with the mortal one, Helen’s sheltered life on Nantucket descends into chaos. But the hardest task of all will be forgetting Lucas Delos.
 (from Goodreads)

Dreamless was a great sequel to Starcrossed, with an exciting plot that left me very, very curious as to where things were heading. If you liked Starcrossed, this is a must-read.

First off, let’s get the whole love triangle thing out of the way. Yes, there was a love triangle. We all knew it was coming, half of us didn’t want it (myself included) buuut...guys. It wasn’t that bad. Okay, yes, I am slightly annoyed that the whole relationship between Lucas and Helen in book one was undermined, since it wasn’t very hard for Helen to find some other guy she liked. That being said, you just couldn’t NOT like Orion. I tried. I actually tried not to like him, but he was just too damn funny and sweet. Funnier than Lucas, though, to be fair, Lucas was going through a lot in this book, so developing his sense of humour wasn’t exactly his top priority. And while I don’t think this love triangle was exactly necessary, I didn’t hate it. I was glad we got the chance to meet Orion, because I really liked his character. Apart from being funny, he was another Scion who was suffering (more Scions, more problems) and just wanted justice. He was pretty much prepared to do anything to get it, and you know...the whole thing with Helen, it wasn’t the typical “I love you, my dearest! Leave that Lucas fellow for me!” It was actually a lot more complicated. I mean, by the end Lucas and Orion seemed to like each other. Orion knew how Lucas felt. They were all put in difficult situations and with Orion and Helen being made to spend so much time together, would it really have been fair to ask to them to stay nothing more than acquaintances? Especially since Lucas was shutting her out and everyone was disgusted by their previous relationship. So, yes, while I wish Orion was just introduced as another character rather than a potential love interest, I wasn’t so upset by the love triangle that it completely ruined my enjoyment of the book. I still liked Dreamless, and I still want to read the next book.

There was quite a bit going on with characters in this book, which I enjoyed. Hector was in it quite a bit, and he was one of my favourites in Starcrossed, so I was very glad to see him! Lucas changed the most – he was much darker in this book, angrier at everything and suffering from self-loathing. To be honest, while I think he was being stupid at times, I could understand his feelings, and it was sort of nice to see he wasn’t the perfect guy a lot of people thought he was (though seriously, when will people understand that watching people while they sleep from outside their bedroom is just creepy! Not romantic, just creepy). Helen was going through a lot too, visiting the Underworld in her sleep every night, wearing herself out in order to find away to free everyone from the Furies’ blood debt. What I liked most, however, was that Helen didn’t fall in to the trap of seeming like a complete self-sacrificial martyr. She was doing this out of pure determination to stop something she thought was completely unfair, and it wasn’t all flaky and wispy like it could have been. I liked the way she was defensive about her actions too because she really believed she was right (arrogance that cost her, but that’s a whole other can of worms) – especially when talking to Jason, who seemed a bit overbearing in this book.

I really liked the plot in Dreamless and loved the time Helen spent in the Underworld with Orion. It was really interesting exploring it and seeing how Helen could control her surroundings. I felt like this book was a lot more myth-based too, and we got to find out a lot of cool stuff about Greek mythology, which, as I’m a huge fan, I loved. Some things seemed so unfair and made me really feel for the characters, like when Lucas’s dad told him it was the Scions’ responsibility to have children whether they liked it or not. It was so horrible that they had these inescapable expectations – what if they didn’t want children? What would happen then? I did feel certain scenes seemed a little out of place, especially ones involving Zach, and I was slightly confused as to what was going on with him exactly. The book did drag in places, but was pretty easy to get through as a whole (though I have to admit, the text speak really hurt my heart :P).

Overall, I thought Dreamless was a compelling sequel and I’m looking forward to reading book three. Don’t let the cheesy tagline (UK cover) put you off, and definitely pick this up if you enjoyed the first book in the series.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) by Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Released: August 2nd 2012
My Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

Celaena Sardothien is a daredevil assassin with unrivalled fighting skills. After a year’s hard labour in the salt mines of the kingdom of Adarlan, Celaena is offered her freedom on one condition—she must fight as handsome Prince Dorian’s champion in a contest sponsored by the king, facing the deadliest thieves and assassins in the land in a series of set-piece battles in the country’s stunning glass palace. But there is more at stake than even her life—for Celaena is destined for a remarkable future... (from Goodreads)

Throne of Glass has made its way into my “favourites of 2012” list. An amazing fantasy with great romance (inspired by Cinderella), I really can’t recommend this book enough.

What surprised me most about Throne of Glass was the main character, Celaena. Being an assassin, I assumed she’d be fierce and a bit anti-social, only speaking to make sarcastic remarks. And she was fierce and definitely sarcastic – but instead of being the strong silent type, she was actually very talkative. She laughed and joked and made fun, she boasted about all her (admittedly impressive) accomplishments. She was far from what I expected, and I love that she completely shattered all my assumptions about what kind of character she would be. Though she was clearly a force to be reckoned with and someone to approach with fear and caution, Celaena wasn’t the type to spend all her time brooding and moping and sharpening her weapons. She was funny, able to talk easily with the Crown Prince Dorian and her guard, Chaol. She even made friends with the visiting Princess Nehemia of Eyllwe, who took to her immediately. She loved reading and spent hours in the library...she wasn’t your usual type of assassin. And perhaps that’s why she was effective at her job – no-one suspected her. But the thing about Celaena was that she was proud. She hated having to pretend she was of average ability when her talents clearly outstripped those of her competitors. She hated being thought of as nothing more than a silly pretty girl or the lover of Dorian, and I could understand her anger at being confined and forced to act as someone she wasn’t. All she wanted was her freedom, and though she could be ruthless when necessary, she also seemed to have a conscience. She genuinely cared about those who were suffering and wanted to help them. And something horrible happened in her past, though this wasn’t fully explained. I’m definitely looking forward to finding out more in the next book.

Dorian and Chaol were characters that grew on me throughout the book. At first, I didn’t really like either of them. Dorian seemed too arrogant and womanising and Chaol was too serious and tense. Neither of them treated Celaena well at first – though I understood why they feared her. However, my opinion of them changed a lot. A lot, a lot. I actually felt sorry for Dorian, whose father seemed completely cold and harsh and who definitely did some nasty things in the past, according to Celaena anyway. Dorian was funny too and once he got to know Celaena better, he often chatted to her about books since they both liked to read. Funnily enough, Chaol also liked to read. And he was funny too, but I think he had a different, perhaps darker/more insulting, sense of humour, which I liked. Chaol was dedicated to protecting Dorian and his relationship with Celaena was slightly rockier, as he didn’t fully trust her. But if I’m honest, I think out of the two boys, I preferred Chaol. He was more realistic and I appreciated his brand of humour. He knew Celaena was fully capable of protecting herself and didn’t try to act all Knight in Shining Armour-y. And you could tell as the book went on that he’d really begun to care for her, even if he didn’t understand why. Dorian liked Celaena more openly, and she was attracted to him, so my mind was battling itself, constantly thinking “Why must she like Dorian more? Chaol is right there!” and “But Dorian is pretty cool as well. We like him too!” I liked them both, as characters and love interests, and I can’t wait to see what happens next (especially after the ending!).

Nehemia was another character I liked, from the moment we first met her. She wasn’t prepared to be told what to do, much like Celaena at times, and insisted on doing things her own way. She was strong but also kind, and she and Celaena both helped each other out in times of need. Nox, a competitor but also an ally of Celaena, was also intriguing, and he helped make the training and Trial scenes much more amusing and entertaining. I was happy that Celaena had another person she could trust.

Throne of Glass was filled with lots of twists and there was a more magical element to it that surprised me (I shall say no more). The book was over four hundred pages (ARC edition) but I didn’t feel bored at any point, and there was always something exciting or suspenseful or amusing going on. My only problem really was that while we were told Celaena was the best assassin around, we never really saw her in action. We saw her training and during Trials, where she was awesome when allowed to be, but apart from that, we just had to trust everyone’s word that Celaena really was the crème de la crème. Hoping to see more of her skills in the second book. The ending wasn’t a cliffhanger (luckily, or my brain may have exploded), but there were a lot of unanswered questions and I am very much looking forward to the next book. I really want to find out more about Celaena, Dorian’s father’s plans and where the romance is heading!

Overall, Throne of Glass was brilliant. I could see the connections to Cinderella, though rest assured this book was not about singing birds and glass slippers, but rather a feisty heroine with her own agenda. If you like fantasy, read this book. If you don’t, read it anyway. 

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Review: Infamous by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Infamous (Chronicles of Nick #3) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Publisher: Atom
Released: March 13th 2012
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

Go to school. Get good grades. Stay out of trouble. That's the mandate for most kids. But Nick Gautier isn't the average teenager. He's a boy with a destiny not even he fully understands. And his first mandate is to stay alive while everyone, even his own father, tries to kill him.

He's learned to annihilate zombies and raise the dead, divination and clairvoyance, so why is learning to drive and keep a girlfriend so dang hard? But that isn't the primary skill he has to master. Survival is.

And in order to survive, his next lesson makes all the others pale in comparison. He is on the brink of becoming either the greatest hero mankind has ever known.

Or he'll be the one who ends the world. With enemies new and old gathering forces, he will have to call on every part of himself to fight or he'll lose everyone he cares about.

Even himself.
 (from Goodreads)

The books in the Chronicles of Nick series are so addictive. As soon as I finish one, I want to read the next book!  Sadly, after finishing Infamous I realised that book four, Inferno, won’t be out for a while. It’s going to be a long wait!

Infamous started with Nick finding out that Ambrose was actually his future self and the whole scene between the two of them was hilarious. Nick could make a joke out of anything – even serious matters such as becoming the reason for the end of the world. And finally, we got some answers! While Ambrose remained all cryptic and mysterious, he did actually explain a lot of things which finally put to rest some of the burning questions I’d had since book one. That’s not to say I still don’t have questions, because I do. Many. New ones, even. But hopefully this will tide me over until the next book.

Speaking of new questions though, Adarian. Wow. What. Confusion. I always thought it was strange that he seemed protective over Nick’s mother, but I just don’t understand how it was possible that he actually loved her. After what he did...and I was wary about his plans for Nick, but now, after finding out about Nick’s brother in Invincible and the second mention of him in Infamous...I am actually a bit scared to see what will happen next. Plus, how is it even possible that Nick’s father had another son? Wouldn’t that mess up the whole Malachai existence? Ahh, I NEED to know more!

Nick, while keeping his amazing sense of humour, learnt a lot of things in this book, and experienced a lot of changes. He also did something that I reckon will change everything, considering how angry Ambrose and Caleb were when they found out about it.  Seriously, he barely thought about the consequence. Even I can tell that nothing good will come out of what happened. I also definitely want to find out more about Artemis, who showed up unexpectedly. So far, we’ve found out very little about her and I am very curious about her actions in this book and what motivated them. She seemed to be all nice and kind on the outside, but to be honest, I didn’t trust her at all. I have a feeling something big will happen because of her.

The bullying that occurred in Infamous was horrible and showed that humans could be just as bad, if not worse, than demons. Something Caleb said about human cruelty really made me think about things – though he was a demon, he seemed to be one of the ones most disgusted by what was going on. When Nick was badly hurt as a result of some of the things happening, it was great to see how many people were there to support him. He had definitely changed from the lonely kid in the first book and had a lot of friends on his side.

Kyrian and Acheron didn’t appear as much in this book, though we did learn some more about Acheron. I really wanted to find out more about both their pasts – Kyrian, especially, because he seemed so nice yet clearly had another side to him and also seemed to be full of pain and regret.

The cliffhanger in this book, damn it! Just when we were close to finding out more about Kody – bam, it ended. Leaving me wanting more with months and months to think about it. I seriously can’t wait for Inferno! Looking forward to seeing what Nick will do next. There seemed to be a crazy amount of people after him in this book, so it’ll be interesting to see how he plans to avoid getting caught in the future. Also, Kody of course. When will someone weasel some information out of her?!  :P

Overall, Infamous was another great book in an awesome series, and I’ve been left to curse at the release date of Inferno. If you haven’t started this series yet, I highly recommend you grab a copy of book one and start now! You’ll be addicted before you know it.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Review: Burn Mark by Laura Powell

Burn Mark by Laura Powell
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Released: June 7th 2012
My Rating: 3.5 stars our of 5
Find it on Goodreads

Glory is from a family of witches and lives beyond the law. She is desperate to develop her powers and become a witch herself. Lucas is the son of the Chief Prosecutor for the Inquisition—the witches’ mortal enemy—and his privileged life is very different to the forbidden world that he lives alongside.

And then on the same day, it hits them both. Glory and Lucas develop the Fae—the mark of the witch. In one fell stroke, their lives are inextricably bound together, whether they like it or not . . .
 (from Goodreads)

Burn Mark was an intriguing book, set in modern day and revolving around two witches. I was surprised by a lot of things, the society that everyone lived in especially. To think that witch burnings still happened – even if they were supposedly in a humane way and only for witches who’d committed the worst of crimes – was a bit scary. I mean, currently, the death penalty is only allowed in very few places, so the fact that these burnings were just accepted was a little shocking. I was taken aback at how so many people seemed fine with them – I would hope that if witches did exist, humanity wouldn’t be this cruel. It seemed a bit unfair to me that human murderers were imprisoned whereas those guilty of such witchcrimes were burnt at the stake. The fact that some people considered them a public spectacle as well – it was almost disturbing.

Lucas was an interesting character. When he found out he was a witch (I loved that he was a witch by the way. It wasn’t the simple hunter falls in love with the hunted story that I expected) he was shocked. But having twelve generations of Inquisitor blood, he was determined not to let his own witch status prevent him from fighting witchcrime. There was so much prejudice against witches, and the fact Lucas was a witch meant he would no longer be able to join the Inqusition, who were responsible for hunting down criminal witches. I think he took the whole thing pretty well. While I wished he would have embraced his witch status, I understood he’d been brought up to view things in the opposite way, and so the fact that he didn’t just sit and mope around about how his whole life was messed up was quite admirable. Instead he wanted to use his abilities to help catch criminal witches. I also thought it was very clever the way he hid his true powers from the people testing his abilities. He was a bit arrogant though, and refused to accept that perhaps he was too young and inexperienced to be involved in preventing witchcrime. He looked down on Glory when they first met and had a bit of a pompous attitude, but as they got to know each other, I think he learnt that maybe the way he’d been brought up was affecting his judgement, and he started to change a little.

Glory (or Gloriana) was not what I was expecting at all. At first I struggled to like her, because she was so obsessed with becoming a witch - the most powerful witch, the strongest witch, the most amazing witch.  I just thought she wanted power and glory, but as the book went on, I realised it was more than that. As well as carrying on the Starling legacy, I think she maybe wanted to feel closer to her mother, or be more like her. She had a very closed off attitude, and found it hard to trust people – but then she lived with the fear of being hunted or attacked and so I could understand why she was that way. I loved that she was pretty capable of protecting herself and hated other people trying to look after her. She was clearly strong and not willing to put up with being bossed around and forced to do things. I did wish we could have seen more of her power – we saw a lot of Lucas’s, but as Glory was hiding the fact she was a witch, we saw little witchwork from her. Hopefully in the next book we’ll see more! I also want to find out more about her Aunt Angeline, whose actions in this book I never really understood.

Plot-wise, Burn Mark felt very much like a starter book. It seemed to be building up things to come, leaving unanswered questions and increasing tension and suspense. There were some unexpected revelations and quite a lot of action, but overall I felt like this was just the beginning for Lucas and Glory, just a taste of what was in store for them. It was slow at parts, and there were a lot of characters to get used to, but by the end, I definitely found myself wanting more. Don’t expect much romance in this book, however. There were a few hints here and there, but romance was not really what Burn Mark was about. It was more about the conflicts and mysteries than lovey dovey stuff.

Overall, I enjoyed Burn Mark, and would recommend it to fans of slightly darker books. If you like witch books, definitely give it a go.  

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Tales from Planet Print #4

Tales from Planet Print is a new feature on the blog. It centres around the daily lives of books here on Planet Print, and the sorts of things they get up to when they think no-one is looking. Each week involves different books and the different situations they get themselves into. At Planet Print, we believe all books are entitled to freedom and happiness. We stand for justice and we stand against shelving. Free books are happy books.

Choir: We wish you a Merry Christmas, we wish you a Merry Christmas, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
The False Prince: going on here?
Unidentified conductor: We shall now move on to Silent Night!
Choir: Siiiiiiilent niiiiight, hoooooly night, all is calm, all is bright...
The False Prince: Why are you singing Christmas songs? It's June! We're nowhere near Christmas!
Choir: (silence)

The False Prince: Snow? YOU'RE the one organising all of this?
Conductor Snow: Yes. And I don't see what your problem is. Leave us to sing in peace!
The False Prince: But why are you already practising? Christmas isn't for months.
Conductor Snow: Christmas isn't a time of year, Prince. It's a state of mind.
The False Prince: ...Sorry?
Conductor Snow: Christmas is a state of mind! For my choir and I, Christmas is every day. We live for the joy and happiness of Christmas!
The False Prince: Do you even know why people celebrate Christmas?
Conductor Snow: Hush, you bringer of misfortune! (turns to choir) Now, back to Silent Night -

Debutantes: Sir...did you really mean it when you said it wasn't Christmas?
The False Prince: Debutantes, it's me. Why are you calling me sir? And you know it's not Christmas! I had lunch with you the other day and you -
Debutantes: Oh the lies! My whole life, a lie! Who am I? What am I? How does one live without the joys of Christmas!
The False Prince: What happened to you? Your whole life hasn't been a lie, what are you on about? And it's Christmas in December -
Debutantes: How was I so deceived? The leaves on the trees, the warmth, the skies - and yet I was so fooled to believe it was Christmas time!
The False Prince: Well it is England. It hasn't stopped raining all summer -

Debutantes: (faints)
Choir: (muttering and whispering) Did you hear? It's not really Christmas!
The False Prince: Okay, what the hell is going on?
Conductor Snow: Look at what you have done, Prince! My best vocalist, rejecting the joys of Christmas!
The False Prince: I don't know what you're talking about! IT'S NOT CHRISTMAS YET. Why are you telling people it is?
Choir: He said it! He said it's not Christmas! (chaos and terror ensues)
Conductor Snow: You shall pay for this, Prince. You shall pay for what you have done.
The False Prince: What did I do? I only told the truth!
Conductor Snow: (chants) I call upon the spirits of Christmas...
The False Prince: Someone get me out of here.

Conductor Snow: Mwahahaha! I hold your life in my hands, Prince. Shall I let you fall? 
The False Prince: How the hell did I get here? What happened?!
Conductor Snow: There is nothing stronger than the will of Christmas!
The False Prince: You make no sense, you crazy lady!
Conductor Snow: (launches into evil, distracting speech) When I was younger...
Seraphina: (whispers) Prince...
Remember: (whispers) Prince...
Serial Hottie: (whispers) Prince...
The False Prince: I must be going insane. 
Remember: Fear not, for you are just as sane as I. I am the Ghost of Christmas Past.
The False Prince: Somehow, that isn't very reassuring.
Seraphina: I am the Ghost of Christmas Present.
Serial Hottie: And I am the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.
Ghosts of Christmas: We will help you escape from the enchantress Snow.
The False Prince: How?
Ghosts of Christmas: She has deceived her followers into believing it is Christmas. You can only stop this terrible lie by defeating her.
The False Prince: How do I defeat her?
Ghosts of Christmas: You must sing an unChristmassy song.
The False Prince: ...Excuse me?
Ghosts of Christmas: An unChristmassy song. We recommend Summer Nights.
The False Prince: I can't do this.
Remember: (whispers) Then you shall perish...
Seraphina: (whispers) Then you shall perish...
Serial Hottie: (whispers) Then you shall perish...
The False Prince: Okay, okay! Here goes... Summer lovin', had me a blaaaast, summer lovin' happened so faaast...

Ghosts of Christmas: (fading) You sing well, Prince...
Conductor Snow: My eaars! My ears bleed with the awful sound of summer!
Choir: (fallen) The sound! Where is Christmas? Where has it gone?
Conductor Snow: Save me from this fate! I cannot bear to lose the joys of Christmas! Oh when will I see Christmas again?
The False Prince: In bloody December, you crackpot.

I, of course, do not own the Ghosts of Christmas. You can thank Charles Dickens for them. Summer Nights is also the famous song from Grease!

Books (in order of appearance):

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielson
Snow White and the Huntsman by Lily Blake et al.
Fairy Bad Day by Amanda Ashby
Debutantes by Cora Harrison
Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Kiss Date Love Hate by Luisa Plaja
Falling Fast by Sophie McKenzie
Pushing the Limits by Kate McGarry
All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin
Changeling by Philippa Gregory
Infinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Dreamless by Josephine Angelini
Blackwood by Gwenda Bond
Shift by Kim Curran
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Unravelling by Elizabeth Norris
From What I Remember by Stacy Kramer and Valerie Thomas
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Serial Hottie by Kelly Oram

Many thanks to Atom, Bloomsbury, BookbabblersChicklish, Emma @ BelleBooks, Kate @ Kate's Book Life, Kelly, Luisa, Leanna @ Daisy Chain Book Reviews, Macmillan, MiraInk, NetGalley, Nina @ Death, Books and Tea, Random House, Renu @ The Page Turner and Strange Chemistry. 

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Review: Invincible by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Invincible (Chronicles of Nick #2) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Publisher: Atom
Released: March 22nd 2011
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

Just when he thought things couldn’t get any worse...

Nick Gautier’s day just keeps getting better and better. Yeah, he survived the zombie attacks, only to wake up and find himself enslaved to a world of shapeshifters and demons out to claim his soul.

His new principal thinks he’s even more of a hoodlum than the last one, his coach is trying to recruit him to things he can’t even mention and the girl he’s not seeing, but is, has secrets that terrify him.

But more than that, he’s being groomed by the darkest of powers and if he doesn’t learn how to raise the dead by the end of the week, he will become one of them...
 (from Goodreads)

Invincible was awesome. I think I’m in love with this series! I started Infinity not knowing much about it and it ended up exceeding all my expectations. And now Invincible has made me love the series even more.

Nick was possibly even more likeable in the book. I mean, I don’t see how you couldn’t like the guy. He was treated so unfairly by people and was struggling to fight his desire for revenge, but underneath all that and all the crazy powers and all the hilarious backchat, you could tell he was just a genuinely nice person, who loved his mother and was just a bit lost. Nothing ever went right for the guy and he was stuck in the middle of something he never signed up for. On top of that, he had to deal with weird visions and voices in his head – you had to admire him for not having a nervous breakdown. One thing I love is that his humour and sarcasm from book one continued in this book and there were many very amusing scenes, most of them involving Nick being sarcastic and then getting in trouble for it :p.

I liked Kyrian even more in this book too – we got to learn some more about his past and it was clear he experienced some terrible betrayal (I haven’t read the Dark-Hunters series, so I don’t what happened to him yet!). I also loved the way he interacted with Nick – honestly, he was just as sarcastic at times! We also got to learn more about Mark and Bubba, and my view of Bubba definitely changed - it was so sad what happened to him. It made me appreciate him more and from the way Nick acted too, you can tell he saw Bubba in a new light as well.

Kody was as mysterious as ever. Though we did find out more about her “mission”, there were these very curious paragraphs that made me feel like something very bad was going to happen. And we still didn’t find out what she was. Even Ambrose didn’t know. I am very curious and I hope we find out more about her soon, otherwise I’m just going to keep coming up with ridiculous theories in my head.

Ambrose, however, was the most mysterious of all (again). I didn’t really get how all this time-travelling stuff worked?  He was effectively changing Nick’s future, yet how could he then tell Nick what was going to happen IN the future? If the future he knew was going to change? Every time we got an Ambrose chapter, I read it so closely, just for any kind of hint or clue. I wanted to know more! And the fact that Ambrose didn’t know things about his own past, like the fact that he had a brother and not remembering Kody...I mean, how was that even possible? Something very shady was going on there. I am convinced bad, bad things will happen in future books.

I really liked the plot in Invincible, I think more than in Infinity (though the zombies were awesome), mostly because we got to find out a lot more about all the supernatural beings (and that Caleb actually seemed to like Nick which went against what Ambrose claimed, so oooh) and also because I had no idea why the coach was doing what he was doing, so it was very interesting following Nick and his friends, trying to find out the reason. The way the book ended as well, cliffhangery! I am glad I have the next book to read, because waiting months and months to see Nick’s reaction would have been killer.

Overall, Invincible was action-packed, hilarious and a great addition to the Chronicles of Nick series, and I can’t wait to start the next book, Infamous! Highly recommended, and not just to YA fans – to everyone!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Contemporary Summer Event: July 2012

Hello fellow readers, bloggers, humans, connoisseurs! As you can see, I am back from, I mean exams. They are done, over with, and I never have to think about them again! Until results in August, of course, but I'm trying to forget about that :P. Anyway, this is just a post to tell you about an event Cait from The Cait Files and I are hosting throughout July called Contemporary Summer!

Baaasically, next month we are celebrating all things contemp. We're pushing aside all the other genres for thirty-one days to look at all the YA contemp awesomeness the world has to offer. I was never a big reader of contemp until recently, so I'm looking forward to diving in and finding some great new books!

Things in store for you: guest posts, reviews, top ten lists, giveaways (omg, guys, awesome giveaways, seriously, I'm so jealous of you) and even a Road Trip week!

For more info, I advise you visit Cait's post on her blog. She is more articulate than I and can generally express things without rambling like a loon. If you'd like to help us out (see more in Cait's post), then feel free to email either Cait or I or tweet us on Twitter! We'd love to include the blogging community as much as possible.

Thanks for everything, and hope you all stick around for Contemporary Summer! :D

(Do you like our banner/button? Feel free to sidebar it! :P)

Friday, 8 June 2012

30 Days of Daemon Tour Stop: Onyx Teaser

Welcome to my stop on the 30 Days of Daemon blog tour! Today, I have an awesome Onyx teaser for everyone all, that will hopefully get you all excited for the August release! Hope you enjoy it :).

He was lounging in a cubicle beside an outdated computer, hands shoved into the pockets of his faded jeans. A wavy lock of hair covered his forehead, brushing against thick lashes. His lips curled into a half smile. “I was wondering if you were ever going to find me.” He made no move to clear up any space in the tiny 6x6 hole.
I dropped my bag outside the walls and hopped up on the desk opposite him. “Embarrassed someone would see you and think you’re capable of reading?”
“I do have a reputation to maintain.”
“And what a lovely reputation that is.”
He stretched out his legs so that his feet were under mine. “So what did you want to talk about”—his voice lowered to a deep, sexy whisper—“in private?”
I shivered—and it had nothing to do with the temperature. “Not what you’re hoping.”
Daemon gave me a sexy smirk.

What do you think? I sort of wish I had my own Daemon.

For more Daemon and Onyx relate posts, check out the other stops on the post! Today there's an Obsidian review at Nicole's Library and a "Music that Reminds Me of Daemon" post at Firestar Books! You can also see the previous Onyx teaser at Book Passion for Life.

Have a Daemon filled day! :P

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Review: The Autumn Palace by Ebony McKenna

The Autumn Palace (Ondine, #2)The Autumn Palace (Ondine #2) by Ebony McKenna
Publisher: Egmont
Released: February 1st 2011
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

One boy, one girl, one plot to be foiled! Hamish the gorgeous man (and part time ferret) has a new job with the Duke as a spy in his Autumn Palace. So Ondine goes with him. She imagines a hugely romantic escapade together that involves lots of kissing. What she hadn't imagined was having to do endless laundry, go to school and keep Hamish the man a secret. All the while trying to find out who is plotting to kill the Duke. And if that weren't bad enough, it seems that Hamish is more interested in getting the Duke's attention than hers. Plus he's always in ferret form. Things can't go on like this! Can Ondine foil the would-be assassin, save the Duke and get her man back in gorgeous human form? It's going to take a little bit of magic, a lot of stolen kisses and some ferreting around... (from Goodreads)

The Autumn Palace was a fabulous sequel to The Summer of Shambles – in fact, I think I liked it even more! Ondine had gone with Shambles/Hamish to work for the Duke, but things did not turn out the way she wanted at all. Instead of spending lots of time with her boyfriend, she was made to do laundry, attend lessons at school and help the very odd Infanta, while Shambles was off trying to find out who wanted to kill the Duke!

The narrative in Ondine was just amazing. So funny, sometimes even a little satirical, with the great sarcastic footnotes and all-round silliness that I couldn’t help but find hilarious (I mean, raining fish? I cracked up :P). And the Infanta, oh dear! At first I felt immensely sorry for Ondine, having to serve this clearly crazy lady and carry out all her bizarre requests. I mean, the woman fed her dog soup from a spoon...and put the spoon back in the soup pot. It was so disgusting yet I couldn’t help laughing at how insane the Infanta seemed to be! But as the book went on, she actually started to grow on me, and I appreciated her quirkiness (though the way she fed her dog still creeped me out). I could understand why she resented Vincent (Vincent was awful anyway) – it seemed so unfair that he would be the next Duke just because he was male, and now she was stuck as the Infanta and no longer had the chance to be Duchess. I liked how Ondine seemed to have an effect on her, and it was great to read about the two together!

Aunt Col, the witch responsible for turning Hamish into Shambles the ferret, played a bigger role in this one, and I have to say, I really liked her. She was just cool and a powerful witch, and knew how to get what she wanted. She and Shambles were the ones appointed the task of finding the person trying to kill off the Duke. I have to say, I did guess quite early on who the culprit was, but I just loved the way the mystery unravelled in the book and how Aunt Col, Shambles and Ondine put all the pieces together – the situations they got themselves into sometimes...I’m grinning just remembering them!

I did feel for Ondine and Hamish in this one, because they didn’t have as much time to be together as they wanted. But their romance was really sweet and I’m glad everything worked out in the end! Ondine’s time at school, though, was pretty awful. Ondine was clearly as smart girl, but because of her lack of formal education, she wasn’t doing so well in class, and it was really getting her down. I felt bad that she had to resort to the measures she did, and I think maybe she should have thought things through a bit more! But things were working against her anyway, so I can understand how she felt.

I did miss Ondine’s mother and father in this book (though the phone calls home were great) but I really enjoyed it overall. Even though this book was slightly longer than the first, I flew through it, and was sad when it was all over. I’m really hoping there’ll be another book in the series, because I’d love to see more of Ondine and Hamish! I’m also curious about Ondine’s “powers” – I know she claimed not to be psychic, but I can’t help thinking that maybe there was something really there? She was related to Aunt Col, after all!

Overall, The Autumn Palace was a great addition to the Ondine series and I loved all magic and mystery and romance! Recommended.

(Quick note just to say that I love this cover! I like the first Ondine cover too, but this one is really gorgeous, and so pretty in real life too).

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Review: The Summer of Shambles by Ebony McKenna

The Summer of Shambles (Ondine #1) by Ebony McKenna
Publisher: Egmont
Released: April 5th 2012
My Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

This is a brilliantly witty story with a furry tail ending. One girl. One boy. One spell to be broken. Ondine de Groot is a normal fifteen-year-old who lives with her family in the European country of Brugel. She has a pet ferret called Shambles. But Shambles is no ordinary ferret... He's Hamish McPhee, a boy cursed by a witch. A witch who happens to be related to Ondine. When Shambles turns back into Hamish temporarily, Ondine knows that she has to help him break the spell. He is the most gorgeous boy she has ever met and her one true love! He just can't remain a ferret forever. Can he? (from Goodreads)

The Summer of Shambles was such a fun read! Definitely perfect for the approaching summer, so I recommend getting a copy now so you can relax while reading it in the sun.

Ondine was a great protagonist, and I really liked her. She had run away from Psychic Summercamp with a ferret, Shambles, who actually turned out not to be a ferret at all, but a full grown Scottish man under a witch’s curse. Ondine’s reaction to this was great to read about, and the way she accepted it all just made me laugh. She was a quirky girl (who could be both dense and also very clever) and I loved the things she came up with, and how she got embarrassed in front of certain people. She could be a bit selfish at times, but she always tried to fix her mistakes in the end. I loved the way she interacted with Shambles (as a ferret); he was the only one that could hear her and a lot of their conversations were so funny! Shambles the man (or Hamish, shall I say) was an entirely different story, however. When Shambles first transformed into Hamish, there was an amusing scene in which Ondine couldn’t help but notice how gorgeous he was! And from then on things between them both changed and I loved the way their relationship grew.

Shambles was a character I loved, both as a ferret and a human. He was funny and also a little bit outrageous, but you could tell as the book went on that he really began to care about Ondine, and I respected the decision he made at the end. Some of the book’s most hilarious moments involved Shambles, like when Ondine’s dad found out that he wasn’t really a ferret – I loved that scene! Ondine’s dad was a little bit loopy anyway and was way overprotective of his daughters, so you can imagine how he reacted when he learnt the ferret wasn’t actually a ferret.

One thing I really loved about Ondine was the setting! It was set in a fictional European country called Brugel and there was something...magical about the place. Even though the book was set in present day, I felt like it could have been an old fairy tale because Brugel was just so cool and old-fashioned. Obviously the magical powers certain characters possessed helped create this atmosphere, along with the talking ferret and various other wacky things. The Psychic Summercamp and old witches with grudges definitely added to the fairy tale feeling too and I’m really excited to see what other magical things await us in the next book!

Another thing I loved was the footnotes. Footnotes can sometimes go horribly wrong – like they’re trying to be funny, but just seem random and out of place. I am happy to say, however, that these footnotes were awesome. From the first chapter I knew I was going to appreciate them – one of the first things we were told was that Brugel was a country in Europe – that sadly had never won the Eurovision Song Contest. And I don’t know what it was, but something about the tone and the way this footnote was presented just had me cracking up. I mean, the Eurovision Song Contest is laughable at most times anyway, but it was just so funny! And most of the other footnotes were the same – I definitely enjoyed reading them.

The plot in The Summer of Shambles was slightly predictable, but I don’t think it affected my enjoyment of the book. It was well-paced and there wasn’t any overlong description or any attempt to drag the story out – it was the perfect length in my opinion! I have the next book on my TBR and I can’t wait to read it.

Overall, The Summer of Shambles was an engaging, light-hearted, summery read, and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone looking for something fun with a touch of magic!