Saturday, 30 October 2010

Alpha by Rachel Vincent

For review: Mira. Published 1 October 2010
From Goodreads: Contains spoliers for previous books

The unscrupulous new Council chair has charged Jace, Marc, and me with trespassing, kidnapping, murder, and treason. Yeah, we've been busy. But now it's time to take justice into our own hands. We must avenge my brother's death and carve out the rot at the heart of the Council.

It's not going to be easy, and loss seems unavoidable, but I have promised to protect my Pride, no matter what. With a target on my back and Marc at my side, I'm heading for a final showdown that can--that will--change everything forever. A showdown I'm not sure I'm ready for.

But life never waits until you're ready.

Knowing this was the final book in the series I wanted to devour it and savour it in equal measure.  I had to know what was going to happen, but at the same time I was scared there wouldn't be a happy ending for all the characters I've grown to love.

Like the previous books in the series this one picks up quickly after the events of Shift.  Faythe and her Pride are preparing for the battle of their lives and Faythe still has to make that final decision between Marc and Jace.  When things change for the worse Faythe realises she has to make a stand - to make things right and to carve out a better life for herself and those she loves...

Faythe is and will always be one of my favourite characters.  I love that she's strong, impulsive, fearless and fiercely loyal but mostly I love that she has faults too.  She is far from perfect and makes numerous mistakes - but she cares deeply about the people around her.  And makes us care about them too.  Which makes some of the events in this devastatingly sad.

Considering the events of Prey, I knew that not everyone would still be standing at the end.  I love that Rachel Vincent stayed true to the story and made these decisions, even if it did make me sob my heart out!  It makes the story more believable - and the outcome feels earned.  There are consequences to each characters decisions - especially Faythe's - and sometimes these are not always fair or just.  It great watching Faythe realise that sometimes you have to make the hard decisions and then have the strength to stand by them.  Which leads me nicely to Faythe's complicated love life.  We finally get a decision!.  Although it felt a long time coming I could understand her reluctance in making it - seeing as it meant either Jace or Marc having to leave the Pride.  Others may disagree, but I felt she had already made her choice -  it was just finding the strength to voice it.

It's hard to believe that the events of the six books take place in less than a year.  It brings an amazing sense of urgency to the proceedings and I have to say that I have thoroughly enjoyed the ride.  Everything about this world is brilliantly crafted and I'm not ready to leave it yet.  I really miss it already, and although I agree that Faythe's story has reached it's conclusion, I do hope Rachel Vincent considers a spin off to the series.  There are several characters that could easily hold a series of their own - and I would love updates on how everyone else is doing.

A fantastic book, and an awesome series! .  If you haven't tried it I recommend you do. 

Rachel Vincent is the author of Alpha part of her Shifter’s Series about a pride of werecats which is out now from MIRA books £6.99. For more information on Rachel’s books visit

Friday, 29 October 2010

The Shifter Series by Rachel Vincent

Rachel Vincent is the author of the wonderful Shifter Series.  I have been meaning to read them for a long time after picking up the first book Stray and loving it. With this months release of the final book in the series, Alpha, I thought now would be the perfect time.  They are aimed at an adult audience, so may not be suitable for younger readers, but would definitely appeal to older readers of Young Adult fiction.   Reviews for the first five books in the series are below. 

While I have tried to ensure my reviews are spoiler free please bear in mind that the Goodreads synopses do contain spoilers for previous books.  I've made the text small so you can avoid them if you wish to do so.

From Goodreads:
There are only eight breeding female werecats left . . .
And I'm one of them.

I look like an all-American grad student. But I am a werecat, a shape-shifter, and I live in two worlds.

Despite reservations from my family and my Pride, I escaped the pressure to continue my species and carved out a normal life for myself. Until the night a Stray attacked.

I'd been warned about Strays -- werecats without a Pride, constantly on the lookout for someone like me: attractive, female, and fertile. I fought him off, but then learned two of my fellow tabbies had disappeared.

This brush with danger was all my Pride needed to summon me back . . . for my own protection. Yeah, right. But I'm no meek kitty. I'll take on whatever -- and whoever -- I have to in order to find my friends. Watch out, Strays -- 'cause I got claws, and I'm not afraid to use them . . .

Stray is such an absorbing read.  I found myself completely hooked!  I love the character of Faythe - she's tough talking, stubborn (sometimes frustratingly so) but just really likeable.  I also loved her family - especially Ethan, and I loved Marc.  The story is so well  plotted.  I had no idea what would happen but loved how everything unfolded!  There is plenty of action to keep you turning the pages at speed and also a great romantic storyline that looks as if it will span the series.  Let's just say I know what I would choose...

From Goodreads:  Okay, so cats don t always land on their feet.

I know that better than most. Since rejoining the Pride, I ve made big decisions and even bigger mistakes: the kind paid for with innocent lives. As the first and only female enforcer, I have plenty to prove to my father, the Pride, and myself. And with murdered toms turning up in our territory, I m working harder than ever, though I always find the energy for a little after-hours recreation with Marc, my partner both on- and off-duty.

But not all of my mistakes are behind me. We re beginning to suspect that the dead are connected to a rash of missing human women and that they can all be laid at my feet--two or four, take your pick. And one horrible indiscretion may yet cost me more than I can bear...

Rogue picks up three months after the events of Stray and jumps straight into the action.  I love the voice Vincent gives to Faythe - although she does seem to get (and talk) herself into a lot of trouble!  This one felt more of a mystery - I loved one of the twists and it tied in really well with the previous book.  The (rather stella) romantic storyline is still working it's magic - I really like that it's Faythe that's having 'committment issues' - but lets just say I know what I would do if I were her...   There's also a great ending that ensures you'll pick up the next book in the series!

From Goodreads: I'm on trial for my life. Falsely accused of infecting my human ex-boyfriend—and killing him to cover up the crime. Infecting a human is one of three capital offenses recognized by the Pride—along with murder and disclosure of our existence to a human.
I'm two for three. A goner.

Now we've discovered a rogue stray terrorizing the mountainside, hunting a wild teenage tabbycat. It's up to us to find and stop him before a human discovers us. With my lover Marc's help, I think I can protect the vulnerable girl from both the ambitious rogue and the scheming of the territorial council.

If I survive my own trial…

I love Rachel Vincent's opening lines and this one is my favourite yet!  There is some great humour present in this series as well as all the action.  This one felt as if Faythe had finally realised there were consequences for her actions - and not only for her.  It also introduced a new character Kaci - who I think adds an interesting dynamic.  She is an interesting character and she brings out a difference in Faythe.  Again there is loads of actions and Vincent really excels at writing these scenes - the kind of hold your breathe intensity.  But she is  so good at writing the emotional scenes too and it was here that this book really captured my interest.  I  love the whole Marc and Faythe storyline - the obstacles seem real and uncontrived and I really like that.  Another ending where you're dying to pick up the next book - luckily I have it right here...

From Goodreads Sometimes playing cat and mouse is no game…
Play? Right. My Pride is under fire from all sides, my father's authority is in question and my lover is in exile. Which means I haven't laid eyes on Marc's gorgeous face in months. And with a new mother and an I-know-everything teenager under my protection, I don't exactly have time to fantasize about ever seeing him again.

Then our long-awaited reunion is ruined by a vicious ambush by strays. Now our group is under attack, Marc is missing and I will need every bit of skill and smarts to keep my family from being torn apart. Forever.

This one picks up the story seven weeks later and again we are thrown straight into the action. The whole book was so tense - with some amazing twists and turns that left my head spinning, and my emotions completely raw!  I pretty much cried my way through the last portion of the story!  The turn of events are devastatingly sad and it feels as if this is the start of major changes to the characters lives.  Things have definitely shifted (no pun intended) and I get the feeling not everyone will come out of it unscathed.  Faythe appears to be stepping up to the plate in terms of her abilities as an enforcer and possible Alpha - but her romantic life takes a complicated turn.  I'm really interested to see how this will all pan out.

From Goodreads: Being the first female werecat enforcer isn't easy. Scars accumulate, but I'm stronger in so many ways.
As for my personal life? It's complicated. Choices worth making always are. Ever since my brother's death and my father's impeachment, it's all I can do to prevent more blood from spilling. Now our Pride is under attack by a flight of vicious thunderbirds. And making peace with our new enemies may be the only way to get the best of our old foe.

With the body count rising and treachery everywhere, my instincts tell me to look before I leap. But sometimes a leap of faith is the only real option….

Taken place only a week after the events in Prey this is a probably the most action packed of the series so far.  The story starts immediately and doesn't let up until the final page.  This time we are introduced to a new shifter species and I welcome the addition.  The tension is present from the get-go, both from the initial attack on the Pride but also in Faythe's increasingly complicated romantic life.  I have no idea what direction that will take but I am definitely enjoying the ride. Faythe certainly has a difficult (if not impossible) decision to make.   I also really like the changes within Faythe - she's making more decisions that prove she's Alpha material and could lead her Pride one day.   I can't wait to read the final book in this series - I need to know how this will end...and if it will end well for all the characters I've come to love.


Check back tomorrow for a review of Alpha.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Author Interview: Rachel Vincent

Rachel Vincent is the author of the Shifter Series, and is soon having her Soul Screamer Series published in the UK.  She kindly agreed to answer a few of my questions...

What was the inspiration behind the Shifters series?
Creating the shifters series was kind of a two-step process. A previous incarnation of Faythe and her family already existed as secondary characters in the first series (high fantasy) I wrote, but never tried to sell. They were a nomadic band of Gypsy-like shapeshifters living in the woods, more like animals than humans most of the time. But it was just Faythe and her extended family. No enforcers.

After I wrote two books in that series (the cats only appeared in the second one), I decided to try writing a book set in the modern world. I knew I wanted to write about shapeshifters, but not wolves. So I took the cats out of their original high fantasy world and gave them their own story, complete with mythology, society, and urban fantasy worldbuilding.

Do you have a favourite character from the books? Or one you particularly enjoyed writing for?
I like all of them. I wouldn’t write them if I didn’t. But Jace and Ethan in particular were always a lot of fun.

How does it feel now you have completed the series?
It’s strange, knowing I won’t be writing from Faythe’s perspective anymore. It’s kind of like giving up a part of myself. But I’m very proud of how the series ended. ;)

You have also written a YA series called Soul Screamers which is being published in the UK in January. Can you tell us more about it?
The Soul Screamers books are about a teenage bean sidhe (banshee) named Kaylee Cavanaugh. At the beginning of the first book, Kaylee has no idea she’s not human. She’s been hospitalized in the past for screaming fits the doctors called panic attacks, which hit her when she sees someone she’s convinced is going to die. But in the first book, she discovers that these death premonitions are accurate—people are dying, and she’s the only one who knows who’ll be next.

Having written for both adult and teen audiences, do you have a preference? And do you approach these differently as a writer?
I like them both! And no, I don’t approach them any differently. My job is the same, no matter who I’m writing for. Plot, outline, rough draft, rewrite, revise, edit, proofread. Though that’s a very simplified explanation. The real difference is in the perspective of the narrator.


Thanks Rachel!  I love the Shifter's Series and can't wait to read your Soul Screamer Series!

Rachel Vincent is the author of Alpha part of her Shifter’s Series about a pride of werecats which is out now from MIRA books £6.99. For more information on Rachel’s books visit

I have mini reviews posting tomorrow for books 1-5 of the Shifter's Series and a review of the final book:, Alpha on Saturday.

*Photograph source: Author's website

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick

For Review: Simon & Schuster. Published 14 October 2010
From Goodreads:  Nora should have known her life was far from perfect. Despite starting a relationship with her guardian angel, Patch (who, title aside, can be described as anything but angelic), and surviving an attempt on her life, things are not looking up. Patch is starting to pull away, and Nora can't figure out if it's for her best interest or if his interest has shifted to her arch-enemy Marcie Millar. Not to mention that Nora is haunted by images of her father and she becomes obsessed with finding out what really happened to him that night he left for Portland and never came home.

The farther Nora delves into the mystery of her father's death, the more she comes to question if her Nephilim blood line has something to do with it as well as why she seems to be in danger more than the average girl. Since Patch isn't answering her questions and seems to be standing in her way, she has to start finding the answers on her own. Relying too heavily on the fact that she has a guardian angel puts Nora at risk again and again. But can she really count on Patch, or is he hiding secrets darker than she can even imagine?

I have been looking forward to reading Crescendo since the moment I finished the final page of Hush Hush so I think my expectation level for it hit the roof!  Was I disappointed ?  Hell no!

This time the story focuses on Nora and her need to find out what happened to her father. With Patch increasingly absent from her life she decides to find out on her own what really happened the night he died.  But this puts her into serious danger.  And when all the evidence points in a direction she thought was impossible she doesn't know who to turn to...

There were some major revelations in Crescendo.  Most of them I really did not see coming!  Actually, if I'm honest, I didn't see any on them coming and that was brilliant.  I'm pleased with the direction the story has took and am very excited to see where this will all lead.

Patch was absent from the story more than I would have liked.  But I guess absence really does make the heart grow fonder because it wasn't just Nora's pulse that speed up every time Patch was around.  I thought Nora was much stronger this time.   Yes, she make some really stupid decisions, and at times I really wanted to shake some sense into her, but at least she was doing something and not just reacting all the time!  I was glad we got to see more of Vee.  I loved her in Hush Hush and loved her even more here, and I'm also pleased Marcie plays a bigger role here.  I get the impression she's Nora's Achilles heel - which makes some of her more stupid decisions understandable.

The ending?  I loved how the story ended but I'm just starting to get really weary of cliff hangers and this is a major cliff hanger!  It's fine, and works as a great hook for the next book, but it is also really, really annoying when you have to wait a year before you get to read the next one.  It's my only complaint though, even if it did make me want to throw the book across the room.  I think, perhaps, my reaction to it is testament to how absorbed I am in the Patch and Nora's story and that is completely due to Becca Fitzpatrick's talent as an author.  I can't wait for the next book in the series.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Sneak Peek: Entice by Carrie Jones

From Goodreads: Zara and Nick are soul mates, meant to be together forever. But that's not quite how things have worked out.

For starters, well, Nick is dead. Supposedly, he's been taken to a mythic place for warriors known as Valhalla, so Zara and her friends might be able to get him back. But it's taking time, and meanwhile a group of evil pixies is devastating Bedford, with more teens going missing every day. An all-out war seems imminent, and the good guys need all the warriors they can find. But how to get to Valhalla?

And even if Zara and her friends discover the way, there's that other small problem: Zara's been pixie kissed. When she finds Nick, will he even want to go with her? Especially since she hasn't just turned. She's Astley's queen.

I don't know about you but I can't wait to read this one! It's published by Bloomsbury on 4 January 2011.

 For those of you that can't wait that long here's a sneak peak:

Entice Sneak Peek

You can also find Carrie Jones on her Website and Facebook

Thanks to Bloomsbury for providing the chapter:)

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Giveaway: Win a Verse Novel

Fancy reading one of the verse novels featured below?

Just fill in the form, indicating which title you'd like to win.  One winner will be picked at random.  The prize is being shipped via The Book Depository so the giveaway is only open to entrants who live in the following countries.  Closing date is 31st October.  Good Luck:-)

This giveaway is now closed. The winner will be contacted shortly.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Guide to Verse Novels: More Suggested Reads

So after buying and reading everything by Lisa Schroeder and Sonya Sones, I am now working my way through Ellen Hopkin's novels.  If Crank is anything to go by I know I am in for some great reading!  In addition to those three authors I also did my usual thing and looked for as many books in verse as possible  Unfortunately, much to my disappointment, my current bank balance is preventing me from buying them all, but here are all the ones I've found.  I think they all sound amazing!  I've also included a link to a preview if I've found one:)

Shark Girl by Kelly Bingham (Amazon Browse Inside Preview)
Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall by Wendy Mass
Pieces of Georgia by Jen Bryant  (Amazon Browse Inside Preview)

Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff  (Amazon Browse Inside Preview)
A Bad Boy Can Be Good For a Girl by Tanya Lee Stone  (Amazon Browse Inside Preview)
Jinx by Margaret Wild (Amazon Browse Inside Preview)

Because I am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas  (Amazon Browse Inside Preview)
Glimpse by Carol Lynch Williams  (Amazon Browse Inside Preview)
Geography of Girlhood by Kirsten Smith

Realm of Possibility by David Levithan (Amazon Browse Inside Preview)
Heartbeat by Sharon Creech  (Amazon Browse Inside Preview)
Out Of The Dust by Karen Hesse (Google Books Preview)

Wicked Girls by Stephanie Hemphill  (Amazon Browse Inside Preview)
You Are Not Here by Samantha Schutz (Amazon Browse Inside Preview)
Kissing Annabel by Steven Herrick

Let me know in the comments section if there are any other great verse novels that you've read that I haven't listed here and I'll add them to the list:)

Friday, 22 October 2010

Crank by Ellen Hopkins

From Goodreads: 

Kristina Georgia Snow is the perfect daughter: gifted high school junior, quiet, never any trouble. But on a trip to visit her absentee father, Kristina disappears and Bree takes her place. Bree is the exact opposite of Kristina -- she's fearless.

Through a boy, Bree meets the monster: crank. And what begins as a wild, ecstatic ride turns into a struggle through hell for her mind, her soul -- her life.

Crank is everything I heard it would be and more.  It's honest, powerful and packs an emotional punch.  To say I was engrossed would be an understatement - instead it was a story that demanded my attention and held it like a vice until the last page.

It was incredibly sad to watch Kristina's descent into addiction.  Even days after finishing the novel I found myself thinking of her.  Did trying drugs that first day seal her fate or were there opportunities for her to get help?  The whole story scared me to the core - the hold the 'monster' had over every aspect of her life,  how easy it was for her to get hold of drugs, and how much they affected her. 

Ellen Hopkins really does have a way with words.  Every poem or 'chapter' is beautifully crafted - either through the choice of words or by the sheer, brutal honesty they convey.  Even the way the words were presented on the page seemed to add to their impact.  Knowing that this book is based on the author's own experiences with her daughters addiction makes it even more powerful.  It certainly does not glorify drugs in any way and hopefully will make readers think before opening that door.  If Kristina's story teaches anything it makes it clear it may not be a door you can close - even if you want to.

Guide to Verse Novels: Ellen Hopkins

Ellen Hopkins has written 7 Verse Novels for young adults:


From Goodreads:
Kristina Georgia Snow is the perfect daughter: gifted high school junior, quiet, never any trouble. But on a trip to visit her absentee father, Kristina disappears and Bree takes her place. Bree is the exact opposite of Kristina -- she's fearless.

Through a boy, Bree meets the monster: crank. And what begins as a wild, ecstatic ride turns into a struggle through hell for her mind, her soul -- her life.

You can read a preview via Simon & Schuster's Browse inside here



From Goodreads:
"Crank. Glass. Ice. Crystal. Whatever you call it, it's all the same: a monster. And once it's got hold of you, this monster will never let you go."

A sequel to Crank, this harrowing and disturbing look at addiction finds protagonist Kristina Snow thinking she can use drugs yet control the consequences. Now with a baby to care for, she's determined to be the one deciding when and how much, the one calling the shots. But the monster is too strong and, before she knows it, Kristina is back in its grips. She needs the monster to keep going, to face the pressures of day-to-day life. She will do anything for it, including giving up the only thing that makes her truly happy.

Read a preview here (via Simon & Schuster's Browse inside)



From Goodreads:
Hunter, Autumn, and Summer—three of Kristina Snow's five children—live in different homes, with different guardians and different last names. They share only a predisposition for addiction and a host of troubled feelings toward the mother who barely knows them, a mother who has been riding with the monster, crank, for twenty years.

Hunter is nineteen, angry, getting by in college with a job at a radio station, a girlfriend he loves in the only way he knows how, and the occasional party. He's struggling to understand why his mother left him, when he unexpectedly meets his rapist father, and things get even more complicated. Autumn lives with her single aunt and alcoholic grandfather. When her aunt gets married, and the only family she's ever known crumbles, Autumn's compulsive habits lead her to drink. And the consequences of her decisions suggest that there's more of Kristina in her than she'd like to believe. Summer doesn't know about Hunter, Autumn, or their two youngest brothers, Donald and David. To her, family is only abuse at the hands of her father's girlfriends and a slew of foster parents. Doubt and loneliness overwhelm her, and she, too, teeters on the edge of her mother's notorious legacy. As each searches for real love and true family, they find themselves pulled toward the one person who links them together—Kristina, Bree, mother, addict. But it is in each other, and in themselves, that they find the trust, the courage, the hope to break the cycle.

Told in three voices and punctuated by news articles chronicling the family's story, FALLOUT is the stunning conclusion to the trilogy begun by CRANK and GLASS, and a testament to the harsh reality that addiction is never just one person's problem.

You can read an excerpt on the Simon & Schuster website here



From Goodreads:
Raised in a stern, abusive Mormon household, a teenage girl starts to question her religion and struggles to find her destiny.

Her father is abusive, her mother is submissive, and her church looks the other way. Confused and angry, Pattyn Von Stratten acts out and is sent to live with an aunt on a Nevada ranch. She finds the love and acceptance she craves, with disturbing consequences.

Simon & Schuster Browse inside preview can be found here



From Goodreads:
Three teens who have attempted suicide meet in a psychiatric hospital, battle their demons, and begin to heal.

The handsome son of wealthy parents, Connor has everything anyone could want-except his family's love and affection. Jailed for years after killing his mother's child-molesting boyfriend, Tony is confused about his sexuality. Manic-depressive Vanessa cuts herself. All three stories intertwine in a brutally honest story about pain and resilience.

Preview the book here (via Simon & Schuster's Browse Inside)



From Goodreads:
In the latest hard-hitting YA novel by the New York Times bestselling author, 16-year-old identical twin girls must come to terms with their abusive father.

Kaeleigh and Raeanne are 16-year-old identical twins, the daughters of a district court judge father and politician mother running for Congress. Everything on the surface of their lives seems Norman Rockwell perfect, but underneath run deep and damaging secrets.

Kaeleigh is the good girl-her father's perfect flower, something she has tried so hard to be since she was nine and he started sexually abusing her. She cuts herself and vomits after every binge, desperate to feel something normal. Raeanne uses painkillers, drugs, alcohol, and sex to numb the pain of not being Daddy's favorite. Both girls must figure out how to become whole, but how can they when their world has been torn to shreds?

Writing in her characteristic narrative poetry style, Ellen Hopkins shows once again how well she knows today's teens and the issues that matter to them.

You can preview the book here (via Google Book Preview)



From Goodreads:
Five teenagers from different parts of the country. Three girls. Two guys. Four straight. One gay. Some rich. Some poor. Some from great families. Some with no one at all. All living their lives as best they can, but all searching...for freedom, safety, community, family, love. What they don't expect, though, is all that can happen when those powerful little words "I love you" are said for all the wrong reasons.

Five moving stories remain separate at first, then interweave to tell a larger, powerful story -- a story about making choices, taking leaps of faith, falling down, and growing up. A story about kids figuring out what sex and love are all about, at all costs, while asking themselves, "Can I ever feel okay about myself?"

Preview the book here (via Simon & Schuster's Browse Inside)


Other places you can find Ellen:


Check back later today for my review of Crank.

In the meantime here are some videos for you to check out:)


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