Thursday, 31 March 2011

The Time Will Come #8

The Time Will Come is weekly meme hosted by Jodie at Books For Company where we highlight books that we've maybe had for a while now- we really want to read them but never seem to get around to them. This feature is perfect for me 'cause I've got lots!
I was eagerly anticipating the release of Girl in the Arena when it was published in paperback back in September and had pre-ordered it after hearing lots of good things about it. Since then it has been sitting unread on my shelf, but I still think it looks really good, and hopefully I'll get around to reading it fairly soon. This book isn't published in the UK yet so I have the US copy- this book probably isn't very well known outside the US. Has anyone read it yet? Some parts of it sound similar to The Hunger Games, and I love the tough girl character. Plus I really love the cover!

Synopsis from Goodreads:
It’s a fight to the death—on live TV—when a gladiator’s daughter steps into the arena

Lyn is a neo-gladiator’s daughter, through and through. Her mother has made a career out of marrying into the high-profile world of televised blood sport, and the rules of the Gladiator Sports Association are second nature to their family. Always lend ineffable confidence to the gladiator. Remind him constantly of his victories. And most importantly: Never leave the stadium when your father is dying. The rules help the family survive, but rules—and the GSA—can also turn against you. When a gifted young fighter kills Lyn’s seventh father, he also captures Lyn’s dowry bracelet, which means she must marry him... For fans of The Hunger Games and Fight Club, Lise Haines’ debut novel is a mesmerizing look at a world addicted to violence—a modern world that’s disturbingly easy to imagine.

From the back of the book:
The Fans all went wild. So did the Paparazzi. But her father wound up dead, killed in the arena on one of the biggest fight nights of the year. And by gladiator rules, Lyn is forced to marry her father's killer. Unless she fights him herself...

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Delirium (Delirium #1)Delirium by Lauren Oliver

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5 stars

Delirium is set in a futuristic world where love is considered a disease, and everyone over 18 is sent for a brain procedure to be cured of the ability to love. The people in society are therefore logical and cold and they go to their work and raise their children in soulless family units. Romeo and Juliet is taught in schools as a cautionary tale.

Lena is an orphan, raised by her aunt since her mother killed herself for refusing to stop loving her children. In this horrifying new world mothers don't hug their children, or play with them and Lena's memories of her mother are of them playing games or dancing in secret. Lena was told her mother killed herself after the cure didn't work, and Lena is desperate to turn 18 and be cured to save herself from future pain, and to rid herself of the stigma that has haunted her family for having a family member who was "infected". The whole world-building was fantastic, and such a scary concept. I loved the idea that both factions thought the other was in the wrong. Crazy people don't know they're crazy they think they're normal. Neither side could understand who was wrong- the rebels living outside the city refusing to be turned, or the cold citizens who have been "cured"- who think the others have a brain sickness.

Just months before her procedure Lena meets Alex, who has never been cured and has spent time living in the wilds with the rebels. Lena and Alex's relationship develops steadily and believably, and I loved seeing the development of Lena's character- from a steady girl who cannot wait to get the cure and be safe- into a defiant, strong person who will do anything to avoid living the lie. Delirium is set in a time of oppression and tyranny, where people live cold, logical lives, are forbidden to travel and have to read books or listen to music that is on the approved list, and it was great to see Lena become a stronger and braver person and start to fight against everything. Lena and Alex have great chemistry and you find yourself reading and hoping for a positive ending that just seems impossible. Their secret meetings were such a refreshing relief from the harsh society they were rebelling against- rules and raids, and all the connections in this were so positive. Lena also has her best friend and running partner Hanna, which is also a great relationship and her sweet little cousin Grace, showing us that the different types of love are what makes Lena's life so special.

What I absolutely love about the writing in this book (and in Oliver's debut novel Before I Fall) is the constant insertion of little anecdotes or memories, that really help to describe the feeling of the moment, and also fleshes out the characters giving them a whole history and making them feel more real. All the description is full of little similies and makes the writing really lyrical. This is why I think I would automatically want to read this author writes in the future regardless of what it is about.

Delirium is an emotional read that will stick with you long after you've finished. I loved this, and am eagerly anticipating the sequel.

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Sunday, 27 March 2011

Review: Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

Finnikin of the RockFinnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

Finnikin of the Rock is a sweeping fantasy story set in another world of kingdoms, princesses, warriors, magic and curses.

The story is set in the prosperous kingdom of Lumatere, where Finnikin as a child plays with his friend Prince Balthazar and they plan their futures- Balthazar as King and Finnikin as head of the guard. But during what they call "the 5 days of the unspeakable" the kingdom is attacked, the royal family is murdered and replaced with an imposter king, and a curse is put on the kingdom which traps half the citizens inside Lumatere under a tyrannical reign, and half the citizens outside, left to wander the other kingdoms as exiles. Years later, Finnikin now a young man is travelling the kingdoms as an ambassador for Lumatere with his guardian and mentor Sir Topher and trying to negotiate a patch of land so that the scattered exiles of Lumatere can live together united and try to rebuild. This is when he meets Evanjalin- a determined young woman who believes that the curse can be fought and they can return to Lumatere to fight the imposter king, reunite their people and reclaim their homeland. This book is full of twists and turns, unexpected revelations and a developing romance.

My favourite aspect of the story is the author's ability to really "get" human emotions and focus on the important aspects of the feelings and interactions between others. She is describing a people suffering tragedy after tragedy and still finding hope and love - people who still love each other after years and kingdoms apart. I really liked the description in the book- and how a glance or a touch of the hand could say more about the character's feelings than stating it explicitly. The main characters speak to each other with just the right amount of humour and snarkiness. This wasn't a story about war and politics, but humanity, sorrow and the power of belief. Desiny versus choice, and finding your identity and belonging.

My mistake was probably in getting the audiobook version. Although I enjoyed the story, I sometimes found myself a little lost among all the unfamiliar names and words and the description of the politics of the kingdoms, which I had forgotten everything about by the time I next came to listen to it again- and it is impossible to refer back in a story that you are listening to.

I agonised over what rating to give this book because it is not a bad book- it is excellent actually, and the kind of thing that I would have loved reading about 4/5 years ago, but I think my reading preferences have changed over time, and I just couldn't enthuse over this book as I thought it deserved. Recommended though for anyone who loves a good fantasy story about war, love, hope, magic, tragedy, revenge and loyalty.

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Finnikin of the Rock book trailer - US

Book trailer for Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta.  Read my review here

Friday, 25 March 2011

Books into movies- your thoughts

A lot of what has been showing in the cinema recently is not a new idea but an adaptation of a book. What do you think about books being made into films? Are the books always better? Books are able to go into so much more detail, and you get an insight into what the character is thinking and feeling. Do you prefer to be able to picture the setting and the character's faces yourself, or is it easier to be shown the director's vision on screen?

But would such books as Harry Potter or the Twilight series have taken off quite like they did without the films? Do films sometimes promote the book better than anything else could have? Encourage even more people to pick up your favourite books and give them a read- do films create more exposure for the books that might otherwise be ignored?

Film production is rumoured for some of my favourite books- The Hunger Games, The Mortal Instruments series, the Vampire Academy series, L. A Weatherley's Angel- and I'm scared that the film will ruin the book for me- as obviously the film version has to cut so much out, and it is never quite as you pictured it. I'll still have to go and watch it- but I know it won't be the same. Look at what happened to some books when it's not done right- Inkheart, The Northern Lights, Eragon, How to Train Your Dragon- All fantastic books, but all really bad films!

I'm half-excited and half-tense about the upcoming releases of Beastly and the final Harry Potter (will the film version do them justice?!).

What do you think? Do you love it or hate it when books are adapted for cinema? Are there any films that you thought were better than the book? Are there any books that you would love to see made into a film? Let me know! Comments below!

Also, there is a poll on the sidebar, don't forget to vote  Poll Closed

Thursday, 24 March 2011

The Time Will Come #7

The Time Will Come is a weekly meme hosted by Jodie at Books For Company, where we spotlight books that have been sitting on our shelves for too long- books that we really want to read but never manage to get round to.
My pick this week is Glimmerglass by Jenna Black, which is book one in the Faerywalker series. There are mixed reviews about this one but I really wanted to give it a try, and bought it with a bunch of books that I treated myself to for my birthday all the way back in October. However, at the time I'd just read Eyes Like Stars, Wondrous Strange, and The Iron King and REALLY needed a break from stories about faeries and the fae, before I got completely mixed up with all my mythologies. Since then it has just been sitting on my bookshelf waiting for me to get round to it.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

It’s all she’s ever wanted to be, but it couldn’t be further from her grasp…

Dana Hathaway doesn’t know it yet, but she’s in big trouble. When her alcoholic mom shows up at her voice recital drunk, again, Dana decides she’s had enough and runs away to find her mysterious father in Avalon: the only place on Earth where the regular, everyday world and the captivating, magical world of Faerie intersect. But from the moment Dana sets foot in Avalon, everything goes wrong, for it turns out she isn't just an ordinary teenage girl—she's a Faeriewalker, a rare individual who can travel between both worlds, and the only person who can bring magic into the human world and technology into Faerie.

Soon, Dana finds herself tangled up in a cutthroat game of Fae politics. Someone's trying to kill her, and everyone seems to want something from her, from her newfound friends and family to Ethan, the hot Fae guy Dana figures she’ll never have a chance with… until she does. Caught between two worlds, Dana isn’t sure where she’ll ever fit in and who can be trusted, not to mention if her world will ever be normal again…

Sounds intriguing right? I need to give up working so that I have more time to read all these books...
Has anyone read this one already? Is it good?

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Waiting on Wednesday #2

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where we spotlight upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating.
I'm looking forward to the release of Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer. This is the sequel to Nightshade which I really enjoyed, and which left readers hanging at a critical point. This is published in July.

UK cover                                                                          US Cover

I think the cover on the left is much prettier than the new release covers. It looks softer and more original, and matches better with my copy of Nightshade. I think the new cover (on the right) just looks so much like all the other urban fantasy series out there and doesn't really capture the spirit of the book. I really hope they don't change it by the time the book is published. I like my series to match!
I thought that Nightshade was a little bit different, and a sweet "young" story, and can't wait to see what will happen next.

Synopsis from Goodreads:
This thrilling sequel to the much-talked-about Nightshade begins just where it ended. Calla Tor wakes up in the lair of the Searchers, her sworn enemy, and she's certain her days are numbered.

But then the Searchers make her an offer,one that gives her the chance to destroy her former masters and save the pack and the man she left behind. Is Ren worth the price of her freedom? And will Shay stand by her side no matter what? Now in control of her own destiny, Calla must decide which battles are worth fighting and how many trials true love can endure and still survive.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Review: Boys Don't Cry by Malorie Blackman

Boys Don't CryBoys Don't Cry by Malorie Blackman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Malorie Blackman's Nought's and Crosses series is one of my favourite series of all time, so anytime she writes anything new for older teens, I have to have it! Her writing is just so readable, you end up sucked into the story and before you know it a lot of time has passed, and you haven't even noticed. The characters are so believable as well- they feel like you really know them. This is why I love this author. Boys Don't Cry is definitely the same way. Without being aware of masses of description, you seamlessly find yourself aware of a huge backstory, and a really gripping vision of where the scene is set, and who is who in the story.

The narrative is divided up between two brothers- Dante and Adam. This lets us see directly what each character is thinking/feeling as events unfold. Dante is desperate to get into university, leave home and really try to make something of his life. On A-Level exam results day he wishes for something to distract him until the postman gets there with the envelope. Thats when ex-girlfriend Melanie rings the doorbell, and surprises him with a baby- his baby. When Melanie leaves claiming that she can't cope, Dante is left to deal with the shockwaves that will impact his dreams, his family, his social life, and his future. I loved seeing the growth and maturity of Dante, and his gradual bond with baby Emma, and seeing how his struggles with fatherhood made him much closer and more appreciative of his own father. The family described in this book is very real- both loving and complicated, and leaves you caring what will happen to them next. It was also interesting to see the viewpoint of a young single father, rather than a single mother, and the stigma that is attached. The attitude is that it is usually the fathers that walk out, and it was intriguing to see the situation flipped.

There are a few loose ends still unanswered by the end of the book that make me wonder if there may be a sequel in the works. But it does still finish on a perfect high, and you realise that you have just been given a brief window into another family's life, another story- just enough to draw you in and make you wonder, and then you the reader can make your own assumptions about what may happen to them next. Despite being a large hardback book this was quite a fast read and didn't take me too long to read it.

Overall, I loved this book, and think it's a must-read for all teenagers. Some heavyweight social issues are brought up that really make you think, and you constantly find yourself wondering how you would react in that same situation. This is a tender and heart-warming story, that stays in your mind long after you finish reading it.

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Friday, 18 March 2011

'Fever' series by Karen Marie Moning

My rating- 5 stars overall

This review is for the entire 5 book series- spoiler free

The series runs in the following order- (all links lead to for a full synopsis of each book)-
Darkfever, Bloodfever, Faefever, Dreamfever, Shadowfever

And here is my review:

I'm so glad I got to read all these books one after the other- as each book ends on a cliffhanger and the waiting would've killed me! I LOVED this series!
I was in a daze the whole time I was reading these books. I was late for work for just trying to read "just one more page", and while I was at work I was in a daydream the whole time thinking about the books- probably with a goofy grin on my face. I even considered cancelling evening plans because I was so desperate to just get home and pick the book up again. THAT'S how much this story caught me up- I haven't been this lost in a series in such a long time. The emotions that it stirs up... I was crying, I was angry, I was in love, frustrated, tense, exhilerated...

I wouldn't recommend this series to everybody- I can quite understand how it is not everyone's cup of tea and there are some quite rough parts in it. But to me- the traumatic parts of the story just made it all the better. It made the feelings of anger and despair that it stirred up so much more intense. It is a dark story, and scary, but also full of revelations and surprises, and a love triangle or two.

So what's it all about? In a nutshell-
MacKayla (Mac for short) travels to Ireland when her sister who was studying there is brutally murdered, hoping to put pressure on the police investigation. Instead, she discovers that she is a sidhe-seer- she can see the fae that walk around glamoured as humans, and has stumbled into a dangerous war between unwitting humans and creatures of the night. When she meets Barrons at his bookstore (ah Barrons, the reason behind the goofy look on my face!) she is guided even deeper into the world that killed her sister. Pink-clad, girly Mac has to quickly grow up, learn to stand up for herself, and learn to fight the fae before the veil between the worlds is broken and Dublin is over-run. Throughout she invents quirky names for all that she sees, which soon become catchy- like naming the fae objects of power the OOPs, and the fae with horns the "rhino-boys". They have to hunt down a powerful book, the Sinsar Dubh, which contains all the old spells to remake the world. It is also so evil that it may corrupt anyone who approaches it.

Should she trust Barrons who is always so angry and secretive or V'lane the sexy Seelie fae prince who promises to help her? Also, in the mix are a group of militant sidhe-seer women, and gorgeous Christian MacKeltar working for the druids against the Unseelie fae. Everyone wants to use Mac's abilities for their own agendas, and it is difficult to know who to trust. Despite this Mac tries to keep an alliance of some sort with everyone, and try to use them to her advantage as well, keeping everyone at a distance until she can figure out who to trust.

Mac is such a great heroine because she is your normal, average, everygirl who is flung into this terrifying world and left to accept/cope with it as best she can. She starts off as a blonde, girly girl who has never been anywhere, or had any real ambitions, and wants nothing more than to lie in the sun with a book, earn enough money to keep her in nail polish, maybe settle down and get married one day and have babies. We see her gradually transform into a tough, fiercely independent person with a strong will, but with a witty sense of humour, which made me laugh, especially when bantering with Barrons- a difficult man for anyone to stand their ground with.

Barrons is not your typical male hero at all. He is domineering, hard, cold, a little terrifying at times, and will
never back down or shy away from speaking the harsh truth. His language will turn the air blue. He can be quite cruel to Mac at times, and very hard on her "for her own good". But he still had me swooning even if a lot of the time I wanted to either hide away from him or punch him! (To see why visit Nic's Barrons post over at Irresistable Reads).

This story is dark, sexy, magical, gripping, edge-of-your-seat, action-packed and absolutely fantastic! It's also very addictive- once I started I couldn't put it down! I'm a little sorry the series has ended- what will grip my every waking minute now? Maybe it's a good thing that I've finished this series- I can start to come back down to Earth and back down to reality again... on second thoughts, who needs reality? I'm going to re-read all my favourite parts of the series again...!

Thursday, 17 March 2011

The Time Will Come #6

The Time Will Come is a weekly meme by Jodie at Books for Company where every Thursday we highlight books that have been sitting unread on our shelves for too long. Books we really want to read but never seem to be able to get around to.
13 to Life by Shannon Delany

I got given this book as a christmas present after it had been sitting on my wishlist for ages. This looks like such a great book, and everyone who has read it seems to love it. I do like my werewolf stories! It looks mysterious, supernatural and romantic- perfect! Book 2 in the series Secrets and Shadows has also just been released, and the cover is really pretty- so i've got to read this one to justify buying the next one. Hopefully I'll get around to it before too long- if not I might wait for all the books to be published and read them all in one go.

If you've read this let me know what you thought of it- maybe I'll bump it up my to-read pile!

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Everything about Jessie Gillmansen’s life changed when her mother died. Now even her hometown of Junction is changing. Mysterious dark things are happening. All Jessie wants is to avoid more change. But showing a hot new guy around Junction High, she’s about to discover a whole new type of change. Pietr Rusakova is more than good looks and a fascinating accent—he’s a guy with a dangerous secret. And his very existence is sure to bring big trouble to Jessie’s small town. It seems change is the one thing Jessie can’t avoid…

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Review: Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough

Once a Witch (Witch, #1)Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Once a Witch is the kind of book that only every now and again takes you by surprise. I got this after reading some very good reviews of it, but half expected it to just be a rehash of the sort of book that I've read over and over again. It isn't- it's very unique and cool.

Tamsin has grown up in a family of very powerful witches- the only Talentless one in the family for centuries- despite her grandmothers prediction at her birth that Tamsin would be "a beacon for us all". She feels like an outsider, and escapes as much as she can to her dorm room at prep school. When a stranger walks into the family bookshop and mistakes Tamsin for her older sister, Tamsin doesn't correct him, and agrees to try to help him, determined to try and prove herself somehow. This mistake leads to her sister being put under a spell, and a whole series of catastrophic events. Tamsin discovers that her family has been feuding with another family of witches for generations, and that she does have some power after all...

There is also a great cast of characters in this book. It is impossible not to dislike Tamsin's powerful older sister with her superior attitude- especially in contrast to Tamsin who is clumsy and always says the wrong thing (but I like quirky characters). Tamsin is at first desperate to escape her crazy relatives and leave for college and a normal life. She spends as much time as she can with her bizarre school roommate. When Gabriel and his mother return to live with the family again after a period away the story really starts to pick up. Gabriel has turned out well from the little boy who used to tease her, and together they try to fix what has been done. I would have liked to see a litle more between these two and more build up, but I think there will be a bit more romance in the second book Always a Witch as there is now more of a story to build upon.

Overall this is an enjoyable short read. I loved the idea of this big witchy extended family playfully using their powers on each other, and dancing around a bonfire on halloween. It was great to read about a large family that felt united, and that love and support each other (even with the sibling rivalry!). Coupled with bitter rebellious Tamsin, a bit of time-travel, and cute Gabriel thrown in to the mix as well this makes for a fun story.

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Sunday, 13 March 2011

Review: Afterlife by Claudia Gray

Afterlife (Evernight, #4)Afterlife by Claudia Gray

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

Book 4 in the 'Evernight' series

*spoiler free*

Afterlife is a heartwarming conclusion to the Evernight series which I was desperately eager to read as book 3 ended on a heart-in-your-mouth cliffhanger that you just couldn't see them coming back from. Throughout the series this has been a romantic and powerful story. This one I thought was slightly slower going than the other books-which I adored, and didn't quite have the same wow-factor, but is still a sweet continuation of the story of Bianca and Lucas's struggle to be together no matter what, with lots of action scenes and an ending that you won't see coming.

The couple are forced to return to Evernight Academy and again get caught up in the battles between Black Cross and the vampires, and the vampires and the wraiths. Together they band together with all their old friends (and some new ones) to put an end to the hatred, now that Bianca and Lucas cannot take any sides in the war. Bianca is a lot more assertive in this book- she is the one making all the plans and holding everybody together, and she is the one this time, who has to be there to support Lucas. This is an enjoyable read, and I would recommend this series to any fans of YA vampire romance.

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Thursday, 10 March 2011

The Time Will Come #5

The Time Will Come is a weekly meme hosted by Jodie at Books For Company, where we spotlight books that we have had on our shelves for a long while and that we really want to read/ keep meaning to get to.

This week it is 'Queen in Exile' by Donna Hatch.

First off, the cover is just gorgeous- (and probably about 50% of the reason that I ended up buying it!). But it also looks like a really interesting story and is getting some great reviews too. Sometimes I really enjoy a little romance story set in another fantastical world, and this looks just the thing... one day!
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Rumors of war hang over Princess Jeniah's peaceful country of Arden, a land that shuns both magic and warfare. Following a lifelong dream, Jeniah forms a telpathic bond with a revered creature called a chayim, who is prophesied to save her kingdom. But when a Darborian knight comes upon Jeniah with her chayim, he sees only a vicious monster about to devour a maiden, and he slays the beast.

Devastated by the loss of her chayim, and fearing that her own magic is evil, Jeniah doubts her destiny. When an enemy invades Arden City, they slaughter the people, storm the castle, and execute the entire royal family except the princess. Rescued by the knight who slew her chayim, Jeniah is now heir to the throne of Arden and the only hope for freeing her people from tyranny.

On the run and hunted by enemy soldiers, Jeniah must place her life and the fate of her kingdom in the hands of this trained killer. Torn between embracing her destiny as queen of Arden, and her love for a mere knight, she must ultimately rely on her magic to save herself and her people from death and tyranny.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Review: The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

The Dark Divine (The Dark Divine, #1)The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The beginning of this book was excellent and exceeded all my expectations of it. It had me thinking about where I up to in the story so far on the way to work, or cleaning my teeth, or whilst I was doing my shopping, and I was daydreaming about the characters in this book as though they were real people in my life. I wanted to keep reading to see what would happen next. I went into this book having only seen a couple of positive star ratings of it from other's reviews- I didn't read any full reviews or try to gauge what it was about- so I had no idea what to expect- I just plunged in- and this was exactly the right thing for me to do, because it meant the mystery unravelled for me at the same pace as it did for the main character Grace.

Grace hasn't seen Daniel since he mysteriously disappeared 3 years ago and her brother Jude was found bleeding on the porch. When Daniel starts showing up at school again, Jude warns Grace to stay away from him- saying that Daniel is bad news but refusing to say why. But Daniel and Grace's connection, coupled with Grace's need to try to help people and their shared love of art makes it hard for them to stay away from each other. The backstory and mythology are woven into the story piece by piece through snippets of rumour, and segments of old letters, until things start fitting into place- or so you think!

I love the fact that Grace and Daniel already knew each other before the story starts. They haven't seen each other in more than 3 years, but it means that they have some shared memories and in-jokes, they know some of each others' secrets, and so it is not just an instantly-in-love-mad-attraction like in some YA novels. This made their whole dynamic so much more believable to me. Now, normally perfect people are really annoying, but Grace was actually very well-written and very likeable. She is the angelic pastor's daughter, and despite being a perfect student, and volunteering at a homeless shelter, Grace has some flaws too, and this is what makes her really relateable. It comes to a point when she has to start lying, sneaking around, and keeping secrets- all of which goes against her character, but all of which she feels is the right thing to do at the time. Daniel is the typical diamond-in-the-rough, coming from a tough background, and having spent a lot of his childhood hiding out at Jude and Grace's house.

The story moves at an interesting pace for the most part with a few twists and turns and unexpected surprises, but I thought it moved a lot slower near the end, and the writing was less clear. It was like the writer wasn't really sure where the story was going and was just filling in time, and the ending was a little like it had just been forced into the standard mould of other paranormal YA novels. Nevertheless, this is an enjoyable read and I will read the sequel soon to see what happens next.

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Saturday, 5 March 2011

Review: A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn

A Kiss in TimeA Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Imagine the old fairy story Sleeping Beauty in all it's old fashioned glory- a spoiled princess, a witch's curse, the spindle, an enchanted sleep. Now imagine that instead of waking after 100 years from the kiss of a prince (the good old happily-ever-after) this princess sleeps on- to modern day Europe, to be awakened by Jack- arrogant teenage party animal on a "boring" museum tour. This story is the hilarious result of a clashing of two worlds- the mediaeval princess thrust into the confusing modern world of mobile phones, televisions, pool parties and aeroplanes. (And of a cynical slacker teenager forced into accepting a world of faeries, evil witches and magical curses).

When Talia and Jack first meet each other they really don't like each other. They have absolutely nothing in common, and you cannot possibly imagine any scenario that could bring them together- they are just too different. Jack is the furthest possible extreme from the gentleman that she was expecting, and Talia is so much more delicate and moralistic than the girls that Jack is used to. Yet, throughout their adventures together there is something- a protectiveness of each other- that gradually blossoms into affection. The characters are so relatable that you can't help but root for them, and cheer them on right up until the fast-paced ending. Talia views the world she wakes up in with an excited curiosity, and questions everything with an innocent purity. This in turn makes Jack take a step back to appreciate everything that he had previously taken for granted.

The story is told between alternating points of view, switching between Jack and Talia, which I love as their voices and whole attitudes are so different at the beginning. There are also opportunities to see the same events told from two different viewpoints, which at times was very funny. They have to deal with family dramas, new experiences, and a pissed off witch- and begin to realise what it is that each of them really want, without being influenced by the pressure of a sense of duty or obligation. Jack doesn't just rescue princess Talia from the tower, Talia gives Jack the confidence to stand up to his parents and live his own dreams rather than being pressured into what is expected of him.

This is a cute, funny, story that I would definitely recommend to anyone who loves a light, romantic fairytale retold. It effortlessly brings an element of magic into a modern world, and will leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy!

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Thursday, 3 March 2011

The Time Will Come #4

The Time Will Come is a weekly meme hosted by Jodie at Books For Company, where we spotlight books that we have had on our shelves for a long while and that we really want to read/ keep meaning to get to.

My choice this week is Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey.

Vampire books again- hehe! I've read a lot of positive reviews on this book and treated myself to it for my birthday back in October. It may take me a very long while to get around to reading it because I've since piled up so many other books to read that books that I own are a lower priority. Every time I pass it on the shelf though, or re-read the cover of it I'm intrigued- hopefully I'll find time to read it soon.
Synopsis from Goodreads:
The undead can really screw up your senior year ...

Marrying a vampire definitely doesn’t fit into Jessica Packwood’s senior year “get-a-life” plan. But then a bizarre (and incredibly hot) new exchange student named Lucius Vladescu shows up, claiming that Jessica is a Romanian vampire princess by birth—and he’s her long-lost fiancĂ©. Armed with newfound confidence and a copy of Growing Up Undead: A Teen Vampire’s Guide to Dating, Health, and Emotions, Jessica makes a dramatic transition from average American teenager to glam European vampire princess. But when a devious cheerleader sets her sights on Lucius, Jess finds herself fighting to win back her wayward prince, stop a global vampire war—and save Lucius’s soul from eternal destruction.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

'0.4' by Mike Lancaster

0.40.4 by Mike Lancaster

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's a brave new world.
 'My name is Kyle Straker. And I don't exist anymore.'
 So begins the story of Kyle Straker, recorded onto old audiotapes. You might think these tapes are a hoax, but perhaps they contain the history of a past world....If what the tapes say is true, it means that everything we think we know is a lie.
 And if everything we know is a lie, does that mean that we are, too?
I absolutely loved the format of this book, told as transcripts from old cassette tapes, interspersed with notes about phrases or words in Kyle's narrative. The story is based in the distant future, when mankind is completely changed, but Kyle's recorded story tells what happened to him in the early 21st century. It is hilarious to see a note on the narrative in very formal tones speculating through quotes from serious academic texts on what a "teletubby" might be, or "reality TV". The chapters in the book are set out as "tape 1, side 1" etc, but this works so well, and cleverly increases the excitement when the next vital tense part of the story is cut off at the end of a tape.

Kyle is a teenage resident of a small village, where, along with his friend Lilly and two other adult members of the community, a very strange event takes place, setting off a string of weird happenings. They become a minority figure- the 0.4, and must leave everything they know behind. I really can't say more without spoilers!

I really enjoyed this book and was fascinated by the chilling idea of it. Although the events that Kyle is recalling are revealed gradually it is at just the right pace to keep you guessing and intrigued but are no point are you left wondering what is going on. This is a brilliant story, a very tense and creepy tale that will leave you wondering what is real!

View all my reviews

0.4 by Mike Lancaster


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