Saturday 30 January 2010

In my mailbox (24)

IMM is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren

This week I bought:

Undead Much? by Stacey Jay (US publication)
From Goodreads: Even Zombie Settlers with Super Hot Boyfriends get the Blues... A few months ago I was a normal girl with a normal life. But that was before my power to Settle the Undead returned and someone tried to kill me with zombies. Now I work magic and practice kicking butt while trying to find time for pom squad and my boyfriend, Ethan, and trying NOT to think about how freaky my life has become. It can be tough. Still…things could be worse… Oh yeah, right: 1. Feral new super-strong zombies. Check. 2. Undead psychic hottie predicting a zombie apocolypse. Check. 3. Earth-shattering secrets that could land me in Settler prison for life. Check. 4. Cheerleader vs. pom squad turf war threatening the end of the half time as we know it. Check. I’m going to need therapy (and a cookie) if I live through the week. Unfortunately I’m learning that’s not something Zombie Queens can take for granted.

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey (US publication)
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.

Vibes by Amy Kathleen Ryan (US publication)
Nothing is beyond Kristi Carmichael's disdain—her hippie high school, her friend Jacob, her workaholic mom. Yet for all her attitude and her mind-reading abilities, Kristi has a vulnerable side. She can hear the thoughts of her fellow students, calling her fat and gross. She's hot for Gusty Peterson, one of the most popular guys in school, but of course, she's sure he thinks she is disgusting. And she's still mad at her father, who walked out on them two years ago. Soon, a school project brings her together with Gusty, her father comes home and drops a bombshell, and a friend comes out of the closet, and suddenly she is left doubting that she can read people at all. Bitingly funny but ultimately poignant and positive, this YA novel is completely on the mark.

How did you all do?

Friday 29 January 2010

Cover Wars: Everlost

I really like the US cover for this - I don't dislike the UK one - it just doesn't hold the same appeal for me as the US one.


Which do you prefer?

The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

From Goodreads: Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared--the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in his own blood--but she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night held.The memories her family has tried to bury resurface when Daniel returns, three years later, and enrolls in Grace and Jude's high school. Despite promising Jude she'll stay away, Grace cannot deny her attraction to Daniel's shocking artistic abilities, his way of getting her to look at the world from new angles, and the strange, hungry glint in his eyes.The closer Grace gets to Daniel, the more she jeopardizes her life, as her actions stir resentment in Jude and drive him to embrace the ancient evil Daniel unleashed that horrific night. Grace must discover the truth behind the boy's dark secret...and the cure that can save the ones she loves. But she may have to lay down the ultimate sacrifice to do it--her soul.

I have been looking forward to reading this for ages – since June of last year when I downloaded the first chapter from the authors’ website – and I’m please to say it didn’t disappoint.

I warmed to Grace straight away and thought she was a great character – very independent and confident but also vulnerable and insecure. In other words very down to earth and believable. I also really liked the Divine family dynamic and found her parents a refreshing change. As for Daniel – I really loved the character and his interactions with Grace. I thought they had great chemistry and I was completely invested in their friendship.

I also really loved the mythology – it was well crafted and very believable. There were many twists and turns to the story – some surprised me completely while one I saw a mile off and it annoyed me slightly that Grace didn’t see it also. But it is a minor quibble and didn’t stop me from enjoying the book.

Overall, this is a great paranormal mystery as well as a lovely romantic story. I loved it and can’t wait to see what Bree Despain writes next.

Wednesday 27 January 2010

Book Trailer of the Month

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver - I CANNOT WAIT to read this - I've had it preorder for ages! It's published 4 March 2010. You can also check out the author's website here

Tuesday 26 January 2010

Winner: 100+ Follower's Contest

Thank you so much for all your entries - over 100 people entered which made 495 entries when you included all the extra entries! Thank God for Random Org!

So... The winner is Elie N from Ellz Readz

Congratulations! Your books are on the way:)

Thanks again to everyone who entered. I hope to hold more contests in the future!

Monday 25 January 2010

I want to read that...

Almost to Die For (A Vampire Princess of St. Paul, #1) by Tate Hallaway

From Goodreads: On her sixteenth birthday, Anastasija Parker's present winds up being the shock of a lifetime. When her mom referred to her absentee dad as a deadbeat it was actually half true -- he's a vampire. And a king, no less. A king who wants his daughter to assume her rightful position at his side. But, thanks to Ana's mother, the blood of a witch also runs through her veins....

Too bad vampires and witches are mortal enemies.

With her parents gearing up for an all out brawl over her destiny, Ana's about ready to scream. But things get even crazier when a male witch and a brooding bad boy vampire start vying for her affection. Then the barely leashed tension between the vampires and the witches starts to boil over, and Ana has to figure out once and for all if she wants to become heir to her dad's throne. And deciding your eternal destiny is a pretty big deal for a girl who just wants to get through high school.

Sounds good! Not loving the cover though:( It is published 3 August in the US. No UK publication date yet. EDIT: Amazon is showing a much nicer 'blue' version of the cover:) - see here.

Saturday 23 January 2010

In my mailbox (23)

In my mailbox is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren

I got a bit carried away this week with the book buying it seems...

Lex Trent Verses The Gods by Alex Bell (Review copy - Headline - Published 4th Feb 2010)
From Amazon: A quirky and original comic fantasy from talented Gollancz author Alex BellLaw student Lex Trent’s world is inhabited by fearsome magicians, ageing crones and a menagerie of Gods and Goddesses. And while Lex is seemingly dedicated to his legal studies he’s always enjoyed a challenge – which is why he leads a double life as the notorious cat burglar ‘The Shadowman’ who has been (luckily) evading capture for years. But Lex’s luck is about to run out because the Goddess of Fortune has selected him to be her player in the highly dangerous Games. Losing is not an option for Lex (particularly as it so often involves dying) but can he really win each of the perilous rounds? Given that the reward for doing so is money, fame and glory – all things that Lex is quite keen on – he’s going to do whatever it takes to make sure he will... and he’s certainly got good experience of cheating.

Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers (yay!)
From Goodreads: Climbing to the top of the social ladder is hard--falling from it is even harder. Regina Afton used to be a member of the Fearsome Fivesome, an all-girl clique both feared and revered by the students at Hallowell High... until vicious rumors about her and her best friend's boyfriend start going around. Now Regina's been "frozen out" and her ex-best friends are out for revenge. If Regina was guilty, it would be one thing, but the rumors are far from the terrifying truth and the bullying is getting more intense by the day. She takes solace in the company of Michael Hayden, a misfit with a tragic past who she herself used to bully. Friendship doesn't come easily for these onetime enemies, and as Regina works hard to make amends for her past, she realizes Michael could be more than just a friend... if threats from the Fearsome Foursome don't break them both first. Tensions grow and the abuse worsens as the final days of senior year march toward an explosive conclusion in this dark new tale from the author of Cracked Up To Be.

Demon Princess: Reign or Shine by Michelle Rowen (US publication)
From Goodreads: As if trying to fit in at a new school isn't stressful enough, sixteen-year-old Nikki Donovan just found out that her long-lost father is, in fact, the demon king of the Shadowlands—the world that separates and protects us from the Underworld. When she is brought there by the mysterious—and surprisingly cute—messenger Michael, she learns that her father is dying, and he wants her to assume the throne. To complicate matters, a war is brewing between the Shadowlands and the Underworld, her half-demon qualities are manifesting, and her growing feelings for Michael are completely forbidden. Ruling a kingdom, navigating a secret crush, and still making it home by curfew—what's a teenage demon princess to do?

The Mark by Jen Nadol
From Goodreads: Cassandra Renfield has always seen the mark—a glow around certain people reminiscent of candlelight. But the one time she mentioned it, it was dismissed as a trick of the light. Until the day she watches a man awash in the mark die. After searching her memories, Cassie realizes she can see a person’s imminent death. Not how or where, only when: today.
Armed with a vague understanding of the light, Cassie begins to explore her “gift,” seeking those marked for death and probing the line between decision and destiny. Though she’s careful to hide her secret—even from her new philosophy-obsessed boyfriend—with each impending death comes the temptation to test fate. But so many questions remain. How does the mark work? Why is she the only one who sees it? And finally, the most important of all: If you know today is someone’s last, should you tell them?

Need by Carrie Jones
From Goodreads: Zara collects phobias the way other high school girls collect lipsticks. Little wonder, since life’s been pretty rough so far. Her father left, her stepfather just died, and her mother’s pretty much checked out. Now Zara’s living with her grandmother in sleepy, cold Maine so that she stays “safe.” Zara doesn’t think she’s in danger; she thinks her mother can’t deal. Wrong. Turns out that guy she sees everywhere, the one leaving trails of gold glitter, isn’t a figment of her imagination. He’s a pixie—and not the cute, lovable kind with wings. He’s the kind who has dreadful, uncontrollable needs. And he’s trailing Zara. With suspense, romance, and paranormal themes, this exciting breakout novel has all the elements to keep teens rapidly turning the pages.

Fairy Tale by Cyn Balog (US publication)
From Goodreads: Morgan Sparks and Cam Browne are a match made in heaven. They've been best friends since birth, they tell each other everything, and oh yeah- they're totally hot for each other. But a week before their joint Sweet Sixteen bash, everything changes. Cam's awkward cousin Pip comes to stay, and Morgan is stunned when her formerly perfect boyfriend seems to be drifting away. When Morgan demands answers, she's shocked to discover the source of Cam's distance isn't another girl- it's another world. Pip claims that Cam is a fairy. No, seriously. A fairy. And now his people want Cam to return to their world and take his rightful place as Fairy King. Determined to keep Cam with her, Morgan plots to fool the fairies. But as Cam continues to change, she has to decide once and for all if he really is her destiny, and if their “perfect” love can weather an uncertain future. Witty, original and unexpectedly touching, FAIRY TALE will captivate fans of TWILIGHT and WICKED LOVELY.

When I Was Joe by Keren David (can't wait to read this one!)
From Goodreads: When Ty witnesses a stabbing, his own life is in danger from the criminals he's named, and he and his mum have to go into police protection. Ty has a new name, a new look and a cool new image -- life as Joe is good, especially when he gets talent spotted as a potential athletics star, special training from an attractive local celebrity and a lot of female attention. But his mum can't cope with her new life, and the gangsters will stop at nothing to flush them from hiding. Joe's cracking under extreme pressure, and then he meets a girl with dark secrets of her own. This wonderfully gripping and intelligent novel depicts Ty/Joe's confused sense of identity in a moving and funny story that teenage boys and girls will identify with - a remarkable debut from a great new writing talent.

Ghost Huntress: The Awakening by Marley Gibson (US publication)
From Goodreads: The first in a trilogy. Get out your tape recorders, crystals, and extra batteries— you’re about to go where our world meets the spirit world.Psychic Kids, Paranormal State, Haunting Evidence—these and countless other television shows are making believers out of millions of people: Ghosts exist, and they’re living right beside us. For centuries, individuals have been trying to prove the existence of ghosts. But without hard evidence, it’s been difficult to make the case. But now as science and technology have progressed, ghost hunters have been able to use scientific means, along with more traditional psychic tools, to make their case. Photographs, video recordings, and sound recordings are all producing some amazing results.In this new series, Ghost Huntress, meet Kendall Moorehead, a seemingly typical teen. When her family moves from Chicago to the small historical town of Radisson, Georgia, her psychic abilities awaken. She’s hearing, feeling, and seeing things that seem unbelievable at first, but with the help of the town psychic, Kendall is able to come to terms with her newly emerging gift. So, together with her new BFF, Celia, Kendall forms a ghost hunting team. They’ve got all the latest technology. They’ve got Kendall for their psychic. Now they’re going to clean up Radisson of its less savory spirits.The story is fiction. The science is real. Welcome to a new reality.

Daughter of Fire and Ice by Marie-Lousie Jensen
From Amazon: Following an attack on her family, fifteen-year-old Thora is enslaved by a brutish Viking chieftain, Bjorn Svanson. A healer and a midwife, Thora is valuable. She also has visions of the future . . . and in one she foresees Svanson's death. When her prediction becomes reality, Thora recognizes that another of Svanson's slaves is a man she has seen before-a man from recurrent visions who is destined to be part of her future. Assuming Svanson's identity, the slave and Thora use the dead man's ships to escape. Their destination is Iceland, the then uncharted 'land of fire and ice'. To succeed they must first win over Svanson's crew, and their journey is fraught with hardship and danger. But their troubles are only just beginning. Soon, newcomers are among them and someone is stealing from Thora's medicines to cause terrible harm. Under suspicion herself, can Thora unmask the real culprit and clear her name? And can Thora and the man now known as Bjorn ever really hope that their pasts won't catch up with them?

Hope you all had a great week:)

Friday 22 January 2010

Beautiful Creatures Sample Chapters and Puffin Literary Lovers poll

From Goodreads:
There were no surprises in Gatlin County.
We were pretty much the epicenter of the middle of nowhere.
At least, that's what I thought.
Turns out, I couldn't have been more wrong.
There was a curse.
There was a girl.
And in the end, there was a grave.

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

Sound good? Puffin have made the following chapters available for everyone to view.

Beautiful Creatures sample chapters:

You might also fancy taking part in Spinebreakers Literary Lovers Poll where you can vote for the most romantic literary couple ever! The poll is open to UK residents aged 13-18 years and entries must be received by 23.55 on 12th February 2010.

Who do you think should win? I can't decide between Bella & Edward and Sookie Stackhouse & Bill Compton! Hmm...

You can find the poll here.

Thursday 21 January 2010

Perfect You by Eilizabeth Scott

From Goodreads:

Kate Brown's life has gone downhill fast. Her father has quit his job to sell vitamins at the mall, and Kate is forced to work with him. Her best friend has become popular, and now she acts like Kate's invisible.
And then there's Will. Gorgeous, unattainable Will, whom Kate acts like she can't stand even though she can't stop thinking about him. When Will starts acting interested, Kate hates herself for wanting him when she's sure she's just his latest conquest.
Kate figures that the only way things will ever stop hurting so much is if she keeps to herself and stops caring about anyone or anything. What she doesn't realize is that while life may not always be perfect, good things can happen -- but only if she lets them....

Elizabeth Scott is now officially one of my favourite authors. It amazes me how she can manage to have so much serious material in a book and still make it lightweight and enjoyable. I really loved the character Kate and her journey. There are many things going wrong in Kate’s life – her friendship with her best friend had ended, her father had quit his job to sell vitamins in the mall – but one good thing is her budding relationship with Will. It was really interesting to watch Kate deal with all these issues and learn a few valuable lessons about herself.

This is a really sweet and endearing book. I loved all the characters and really cheered for Kate – wanting her to finally stand up for herself.

Now I really can’t wait until I can get my hands on another book by this author. I love her!

Stealing Heaven by Elizabeth Scott

From Goodreads:
My name is Danielle. I'm eighteen. I've been stealing things for as long as I can remember.

Dani has been trained as a thief by the best - her mother. Together, they move from town to town, targeting wealthy homes and making a living by stealing antique silver. They never stay in one place long enough to make real connections, real friends - a real life. In the beach town of Heaven, though, everything changes. For the first time, Dani starts to feel at home. She's making friends and has even met a guy. But these people can never know the real Dani - because of who she is. When it turns out that her new friend lives in the house they've targeted for their next job and the cute guy is a cop, Dani must question where her loyalties lie: with the life she's always known - or the one she's always wanted.

There is something about reading an Elizabeth Scott novel that reminds me of reading Judy Blume when I was younger – it captures that magic I felt when I realised how amazing reading can be. I just loved this book – the plot, characters – I loved it all. I find Elizabeth Scott has a really simple but enchanting writing style and she really brings the characters to life. I identified with Dani immediately even though her situation is very unique and I just adored Greg. I love the way these two characters had a real connection and I really believed in their friendship.

As you’ve probably guess I really enjoyed this and can’t wait to read more by this author.

Wednesday 20 January 2010

I want to read that...

The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott

Everyone knows the unwritten rule: You don't like you best friend's boyfriend.

Sarah has had a crush on Ryan for years. He's easy to talk to, supersmart, and totally gets her. Lately it even seems like he's paying extra attention to her. Everything would be perfect except for two things: Ryan is Brianna's boyfriend, and Brianna is Sarah's best friend.

Sarah forces herself to avoid Ryan and tries to convince herself not to like him. She feels so guilty for wanting him, and the last thing she wants is to hurt her best friend. But when she's thrown together with Ryan one night, something happens. It's wonderful...and awful.

Sarah is torn apart by guilt, but what she feels is nothing short of addiction, and she can't stop herself from wanting more...

Having just read Stealing Heaven and Perfect You and loving them both I can't wait for this to be released. It's published by Simon Pulse on 6th April 2010 (US).

Monday 18 January 2010

Cover Wars: Life As We Knew It by Susan Pfeffer

It looks like they are changing the covers of Life As We Knew It, The Dead and Gone to coincide with the release of the third book World We Live In. I'm not sure about the new covers - I got a bit excited when I heard they were changing them because I though we'd get the US cover which I think are gorgeous - and I feel they match the feeling and style of the books. I'm not sure about the name change to 'The Last Survivors' either. What do you think?

Original UK covers

New UK Covers

US Covers

Which do you prefer?

Saturday 16 January 2010

In my mailbox ( 22)

In my mailbox is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren

This week I got the following books:

Auf Wiebersehen by Christa Holder Ockler (Review copy: Stray Dog Media)

From Amazon: . . . dramatic, tender, funny, frightening, earthy, quirky, wise and heart-warming. The tale of young Christa and her family as they leave a comfortable home to become penniless immigrants in their quest to survive the collapse of the Third Reich and flee the horrors that it has unleashed, opens up to universal themes of suffering, loss, love and hope. MICHAEL JOSEPH, Rutgers University Rare Book Librarian, Instructer of Childeren's Literature

The Dark Divine by Bree Despain (Woo Hoo!)

From Goodreads: Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared--the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in his own blood--but she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night held.
The memories her family has tried to bury resurface when Daniel returns, three years later, and enrolls in Grace and Jude's high school. Despite promising Jude she'll stay away, Grace cannot deny her attraction to Daniel's shocking artistic abilities, his way of getting her to look at the world from new angles, and the strange, hungry glint in his eyes.
The closer Grace gets to Daniel, the more she jeopardizes her life, as her actions stir resentment in Jude and drive him to embrace the ancient evil Daniel unleashed that horrific night. Grace must discover the truth behind the boy's dark secret...and the cure that can save the ones she loves. But she may have to lay down the ultimate sacrifice to do it--her soul.

The Thirteen Curses by Michelle Harrison

From Goodreads: When fairies stole her brother, Red vowed to get him back. Trapped in the fairy realm, Red must beg an audience with the fairy court. There, she strikes a bargain. Her brother will be returned - but only if she can find the charms of Tanya’s bracelet, scattered in the human world. Returning to Elvesden Manor, Red is assisted by Tanya and Fabian, and a desperate hunt begins. Soon they make a shocking discovery. The charms now have twisted qualities of the thirteen treasures they represent . . . and the longer they are missing the worse the consequences will be. Can Red, Tanya and Fabian find all the charms? And even if they do, will the fairies keep their promise?

The Dresskeeper by Mary Naylus (finally I got myself a copy with all our quotes in:) )

From Goodreads: When 13-year-old Picky's Mum forces her to look after Gran, who has dementia, she is accidentally locked in Gran's dusty old attic. There she finds a chest full of old clothes, and tomboy Picky is forced to don what appears to be a ball-gown when the freezing night temperatures hit. As soon as the dress is pinned together, Picky is transported back to the year 1700, where a man who appears to know her as Amelia is trying to kill her. Managing to get the dress off just in time, Picky returns to the present with the dress covered in blood. Did the man kill the girl called Amelia? Will wearing the other dresses in the chest take her back in time too? And will she be in danger again should she try it?

and Grave Secret by Charlaine Harris (not YA but I love this series!)

From Goodreads: When she was 15, Harper Connelly was struck by a bolt of lightning. She's left with a spiderweb of red over her body, severe headaches, and episodes of muscle weakness. Sometimes her right hand shakes. And she can find dead people. It's taken a few years, but Harper's made a success of her life. She's making a living, using her unique talent to help people, and she's got a lover - her stepbrother Tolliver. That creeps some people out, but though they grew up together, and got each other through the real bad times - their parents' drug-use, the abuse, the disappearance of Harper's elder sister Cameron - they're not blood relatives. And they're in love. Then Tolliver's dad arrives on the scene, seeking forgiveness for the sins of their youth, and the police get a tip-off that after all these years, Cameron's been spotted. So Harper's life is getting a little complicated, but she doesn't expect those complications to include Tolliver getting shot, or watching a cop die taking a bullet for her. Harper can find dead people - but now it's clear someone wants her dead...

Hope you had a great week:)

Thursday 14 January 2010

I want to read that...

Della Says: OMG! by Keris Stainton

Della’s over the moon when she kisses her long-standing crush at a party – but then she discovers her diary has disappeared... When scans of embarrassing pages are sent to her mobile and appear on Facebook, Della’s distraught – how can she enjoy her first proper romance when someone, somewhere, knows all her deepest, darkest secrets?

I am really looking forward to this one! It's also going to be one for my debut author challenge. It is published 6 May 2010.

Wednesday 13 January 2010

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

From Amazon: In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary's truths are failing her. She's learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future-between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?

I bought this last year when it was first released but didn’t pick it up to read until now. If I had known how much I’d love it I would have read it much sooner. I just found myself gripped by this novel and Mary’s journey. Carrie Ryan has an amazing writing style that feels so simplistic yet manages to convey so much detail. I think Mary will be someone you either like or hate and since the book is a very internal narrative of her journey if you find yourself disliking her you may find it hard to enjoy this book. I adored her though. She had such strength and determination and I completely understood her need to find out if there was more than their village and life surrounded by the unconsecrated.

The mythology behind the Return (as it is called) and the unconsecrated is rather vague. I liked this as I felt it added a sense of realism – it makes sense to me that a small village managing to survive an apocalyptic event would lose knowledge of the past over time. In fact, I found the whole story felt realistic which I think is rather amazing considering it is essentially about a zombie apocalypse. There is something about the way Carrie Ryan writes that had me completely immersed and invested in all aspects of the story.

There are many twists and turns to the story. Many things happen that you just don’t see coming which I loved. I had no idea how this was going to end and although I loved how it ended I do wish there had been just a bit more of the ending. It just felt too abrupt, with too many things left unanswered. I know there is a sequel scheduled for release later this year but I believe that is set several years in the future so I am not convinced it will give me the closure to this story that I am looking for. Had it not been for this I would easily have given this book 5 stars.

If you are looking for a lighthearted read this isn’t going to be the book for you. It is very dark and suitably bleak considering the world the characters live in, but I found it so compelling I couldn’t stop myself thinking about it until I could carry on reading it. I can’t wait for the next instalment.

Tuesday 12 January 2010

What makes a good review?

This kinds of carries on from my question about review ratings. Thank you for your responses on that - it was really interesting to read and helped me decided to keep the ratings for now. But it did get me thinking about my reviews in general and what makes a good review.

Looking over all the reviews I've posted, baring one (For Thirteen Reasons Why) they are all really positive. I seem to write about all the things I like about the book and rate it accordingly. Which means I am giving each book a star based on how much I enjoyed it rather than for how good it necessarily was. Is it better to do this and let you get to know my tastes so you can work out if the book will be for you or is it better to take a step back from my enjoyment of the book and review it from a distance so I can include all the positive and negative points?

I'm not sure if I am just easily pleased as a reader or if I'm just a good judge on which books I'm going to like but it is very rare that I really 'hate' a book. Even for this post I can't think of a book that I've hated or even really disliked. So far I have been lucky that I haven't had to decide (or feel guilty) for posting a negative review (although my review for Thirteen Reasons Why is probably the closest I've come to this). But I am wondering if this makes me less credible as a reviewer?

How do you aproach your reviews? Do you try to be balanced and include both the positive and negative or do you, like me, just focus on the things you enjoyed? Do you think about your review while you are reading the book or do you think about it once you've finished? Do you look at other reviews before writing your own or does this affect what you might write about the book?

I would love your input on this - I read other people's reviews in awe most of the time wishing mine were even half as good:)

Monday 11 January 2010

Cover Wars: Spells by Aprilynne Pike

Here are the covers for Spells by Aprilynne Pike. This time it's a very easy choice for me as I much prefer the UK cover - for some reason I'm not overly keen on the US one - whereas I LOVED the US cover for Wings. I've got to say though that I am really looking forward to reading this - if the ending of Wings is anything to go by this should be ace!

Which do you prefer?

Saturday 9 January 2010

I want to read that...

Wintercraft by Jenna Burtenshaw

From Amazon: Ten years ago Kate Winters’ parents were taken by the High Council’s wardens to help with the country’s war effort. Now the wardens are back...and prisoners, including Kate's uncle Artemis, are taken south on the terrifying Night Train. Kate and her friend Edgar are hunted by a far more dangerous enemy. Silas Dane – the High Council’s most feared man – recognises Kate as one of the Skilled; a rare group of people able to see through the veil between the living and the dead. His spirit was damaged by the High Council’s experiments into the veil, and he’s convinced that Kate can undo the damage and allow him to find peace.The knowledge Kate needs lies within Wintercraft – a book thought to be hidden deep beneath the graveyard city of Fume. But the Night of Souls, when the veil between life and death is at its thinnest, is just days away and the High Council have their own sinister plans for Kate and Wintercraft.

This is published 13 May 2010 and I am really looking forward to it. It will be one of the books I am planning to read for my 2010 Debut Author challenge and I just LOVE the cover :)

Thursday 7 January 2010

My Love Lies Bleeding (AKA Hearts at Stake) by Alyxandra Harvey

From Amazon: The Drake's are rather different to your usual neighbours. They are vampires and some of the members of the family date back to the twelfth century. One of the children, Solange, is the only born female vampire known and, as such, she poses a direct threat to the vampire queen. Her best friend Lucy is human, and when Solange is kidnapped Lucy and Solange's brother, Nicholas, set out to save her. Lucy soon discovers that she would like to be more than just friends with Nicholas. But how does one go about dating a vampire? Meanwhile, Solange finds an unlikely ally in Kieran, a vampire slayer on the hunt for his father's killer.

I had no expectations for this novel whatsoever and I will admit I bought it on a whim. I am so glad I did. It was so much fun that I read it in one sitting. I loved the dual narrative and as I’ve said in previous reviews this has fast become one of my favourite styles of writing. Here it is done really well as Lucy and Solange feel like distinct characters and it would be obvious who is narrating even if it was not indicated at the beginning of each chapter. Lucy is an awesome character – so much wit and sass – and I loved her interactions with the Drake family. Solange is also very likable as someone stuck in the middle of an ancient prophecy that she doesn’t want. And Nicholas is HOT! For me the romantic parts of the story are the books strength, although the action was great too.

I’ve read some negative reviews for this – some have sited not enough depth or a contrived plot – but if this is the case it didn’t bother me at all. My only quibble would be the ending felt too abrupt. I would have like a bit more closure but I expect this is due to there being a sequel later in the year.

As you’ve probably guessed I really enjoyed this and would recommend it to readers who fancy a quick read . I would describe it as a chick-lit paranormal romance that kicks some butt! I loved the world and characters and look forward to spending more time with the Drakes in future instalments. Especially if there is more Nicholas:)

Wednesday 6 January 2010

100+ Followers Contest

This Contest is now closed. Thank you to everyone who entered.

I've reached over 100 followers which is amazing! So a big Thank You to everyone who is following me and to everyone who leaves comments on my posts. It is really appreciated:)

I've wanted to hold a contest for a while now and have finally got my act together to organise one! I want to make this international so I have come up with the following plan (inspired by Krisit @ The Story Siren who hosted a similar contest last year).

The winner of the contest will have £30 to spend on a shopping spree.

Depending on where you live you can spend this at:

The Book Depository (International entrants - free shipping to these countries. I'm hoping this covers everyone but if your country is not listed please email me so we can sort something out).

or (UK entrants only - but if you are entering from the UK and would prefer to shop at The Book Depository you can do so).

You need to know which books you would like so you can list them on the entry form.

You can get extra entries for the following:

Already a follower (+5)
Become a new follower (+1)
Add a side bar link to your blog (+1)
Tweet about the contest (+1)
Post about the contest on your blog (+5)

Closing date is 25 January 2010. The winner will be chosen randomly and I will notify you via email. You will need to respond within 48 hours or I will have to contact a new winner.

Good luck:)

Any details given are only used as a contact method for the prize winner. Once the contest is over all information is deleted. Please do not leave any contact details in the comments section or I will have to delete it.

If you are under 13 years of age you need to make sure a parent or guardian is aware you are entering the contest. You will only be asked for an address if you are the winner. The only information you need to provide on the entry form is a first name/nickname and a contact email (for your parent/guardian) that I can use to notify you if you win as a parent or guardian will need to confirm and provide your address details. Obviously I have no way of knowing your age so I'm asking for you to be honest about this.

Tuesday 5 January 2010

Review Ratings - Good or Bad?

I've noticed a number bloggers are no longer rating their reviews anymore. What are peoples views on this?

For me any rating with a 3 star or higher is good - it means I enjoyed the book and would buy more from that author. I think I have been lucky this year as I have only read one book I didn't particularly like but even then I would have given the book 3 stars as I thought it was really well written - I just hated the character with a passion!

When reading other peoples reviews I find a star rating gives me a overall feeling for what they thought of the book - something I can't always tell from the review itself. I often find myself surprised by a low rating after reading what seems to be a great review or vice versa. So I don't know if this is good or bad. Does the star rating distract from the review itself? Do I rely on it too much?

I've been thinking about this for the last couple of days since seeing some of the New Year Resolutions posts. Initially my thoughts were definitely for the star rating system but now I'm questioning myself so I'd love some input:)

UPDATE: I have decided to stick to my star rating for now - it seems the general consensus is that people like a rating system of some kind and at the moment this one works for me. Thank you all for your input on this - it was such a great response and it was really interesting to read your opinions:)

Monday 4 January 2010

Secrets of My Hollywood Life by Jen Calonita

From Amazon: What if? Your picture was taped inside teenage boys' lockers across America, your closets were bursting with never-worn designer clothing, and the tabloids constantly asked whether you were losing your 'good girl' status? It's a glamorous life, but 16-year-old Kaitlin Burke, co-star of one of the hottest shows on TV, is exhausted from the pressures of her fame. So she decides to spend two months undercover as an ordinary high school student. But could it be that real life high school is just as harsh as cutthroat Hollywood?

I found this good fun to read. It is definitely a light hearted read but really sweet and enjoyable. I liked the central character Kaitlin and understood her need for a ‘normal’ life – and it was interesting watching her try to have it! Sky Mackenzie is great fun as the competitive co-star that is always causing trouble – I look forward to more of her in future instalments. I also really enjoyed the romance part of the story - very sweet if a tad predictable.

Jen Calonita has a really easy style of writing that I think fans of Meg Cabot would enjoy. I will certainly be reading the rest in the series. Overall this is a fun take on what life as a celebrity is like.

Sunday 3 January 2010

In my mailbox (21)

In my mailbox is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren

I just bought the one:

Between Two Seas by Marie-Louise Jensen
From Amazon: 'Travel to Skagen and find him. Give him my letter. Seek a better life, Marianne! Promise!' Bound by a vow made to her dying mother, Marianne sells her few belongings and leaves Grimsby. Her destination? Denmark, where she will search for her father, Lars Christensen-the golden-haired fisherman her mother fell in love with many years before. The journey will be long-and dangerous for a young girl travelling alone. As Marianne boards the fishing boat that will carry her across the North Sea, she wonders: will Denmark be the fairy-tale land she has dreamt of? Will she find happiness there? Will the father she has never met welcome the arrival of his illegitimate child? And why didn't he return for her mother, as he promised he would?

I really enjoyed The Lady in the Tower so I am looking forward to reading this:)

Hope you all had a great week:)


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