Thursday, 29 July 2010

The Radleys - Matt Haig

The Radleys by Matt Haig was published in July 2010 by Walker Canongate who I have to thank for sending me a copy for review. It is 352 pages long with a RRP of £10.

At 17 Orchard Lane, Bishopthorpe, Yorkshire lives the Radleys. The Radleys are your average 2.4 family who are dysfunctional and argumentative... but only on the outside. Peter, Helen and their teenage children, Rowan and Clara are vampires (although the kids don't actually know this). The Radleys aren't your usual kind of vampires though, they are abstainers who do everything possible to live a normal, human life.

One night, events spin out of control for Clara who unknowingly makes a huge mistake. Peter and Helen are forced to confess to their children about who and what they really are and what Clara's actions could mean for the family. As Rowan and Clara come to terms with the real reason why they always have to wear sun block and why no one in the family likes garlic, a higher power is at work behind the scenes. The arrival of Uncle Will threatens everything that Peter and Helen have worked to achieve, leaving their future in a cloud of uncertainty.

What I thought
Having heard so many good things about this book, I couldn't wait to read a different take on a vampire story. I had quite high expectations but The Radleys didn't let me down at all!

This is a book that without its great characters, would probably be a flop. Each member of the Radley family has their own clear personality that makes them stand out against each other. I really liked the fact that everyone was so different but also the fact that despite this, they were still so much like a real family inclusive of their every day problems. There is no main character either as each family member has a significant part to play in the story. The idea of abstainers is one that I enjoyed and it is completely different to how the Cullens from Twilight operate. Throughout the book, we get to read extracts from 'The Abstainer's Handbook' and I loved these parts. They really made it possible to understand what the Radleys were going through and who they were trying to be.

Poor Rowan is pretty much an outcast at school and would be completely if it wasn't for his sister and her friend Eve (who he is very much obsessed with). He's lucky if he can get a solid 2 hours of a sleep a night and can usually be seen covered in a red rash because of his allergy to the sun. I felt really sorry for Rowan, being a teenage boy who seemed to have nothing going for him. It's clear that it takes a lot for him to actually get on the bus everyday to go to school as he knows what is waiting for him. The bullies never really let up on Rowan and are determined to make his life hell every single day. Rowan really hates his life and unfortunately, I would too if I were him.

Clara is determined to be a vegan, no matter how much her parents protest. She thinks they just don't understand why she doesn't want to eat meat and save the animals when really, they know that not eating meat is really bad for her health. When Clara begins to get sick, she doesn't understand why she wants to throw up all of the time or why she feels so weak and refuses to believe her dad, the doctor, that it is all really because she isn't eating meat. Clara is a very determined teenager and that was something that I really enjoyed about her character. She's feisty and knows her own mind very well and was someone that I could connect with. Without the whole vampire part of course!

Matt Haig has done a fantastic job with these teenagers and makes them seem so real, vampires parts included. Nothing about them ever felt false or forced and I loved the fact that they came over as completely English. Sometimes in a book the characters' backgrounds can be very nondescript but here, you cant mistake the fact that they are English. Rowan and Clara also make great siblings, acting exactly like you would imagine a brother and sister would.

As parents, Peter and Helen couldn't be more different. Helen's back story is such a huge part of the plot and I ended up feeling sorry for her at points but also wanting to slap her. As a young woman, she made some terrible decisions that affected her whole life and they have now come back to bite her (pardon the pun). The way she feels about these mistakes has a huge impact on her relationship with Peter. He is a doctor and being a vampire makes his job pretty uncomfortable at times. Peter knows that there is something wrong with his marriage but doesn't know why Helen is so distant and uncaring.

The arrival of Peter's brother Will completely shakes up the story and makes it even more interesting. The fact that he is a bad man isn't sugar coated at all and even though I should have completely hated him, his disturbing charm slightly won me over. When he arrives at the family home, he does everything he can to mess with their minds and make them want to believe in the way that he lives his life. Will is the complete opposite to Peter and has never wanted to abstain. He has way too much fun being a vampire the old fashioned way.

Each chapter tells a part of the story from one of the family's point of view but also from a couple of their neighbours. The fact that we got to see what people were thinking on the outside made this book different to anything that I had read before. Due to the way this story is told, you really get to see the whole picture and how certain actions and decisions can affect more than one person.

The Radleys wasn't what I was expecting at all but in an extremely good way. What I found was a very interesting story with a lot of dark and mysterious aspects and one that is slyly humourous. This family sucked me in and got a hold on me that didn't give. This vampire story will be unlike anything you have read before and one that you should give a chance, even if you aren't into vampires.

Forget Forks. Bishopthorpe is the new town for vegetarians!

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Waiting On Wednesday (#7)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Clockwork Angel - Cassandra Clare
UK Release Date: 6th September 2010

Publisher: Walker Books UK

Synopsis: (From Walker Books UK)  

A prequel to the bestselling Mortal Instruments series.

Magic is dangerous - but love is more dangerous still...
When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray arrives in England during the reign of Queen Victoria, something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Friendless and hunted, Tessa seeks refuge with the Shadowhunters, a band of warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons. Drawn ever deeper into their world, she finds herself fascinated by - and torn between - two best friends, and quickly realizes that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.

The cover for Clockwork Angel is what originally drew me to this book but after reading the synopsis, I can tell that I am going to love it. I'm also going to be reading the Mortal Instruments series soon so it's a great book to go with the set! Anyone else waiting on this one?

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Lord of Misrule (The Morganville Vampires Bk5) - Rachel Caine

Lord of Misrule is the 5th book in The Morganville Vampire series by Rachel Caine.

Here's what has happened so far
Claire Danvers moved to Morganville to go to college early at 16. After being bullied in the dorms by Monica and her popular friends, Claire moved into Glass House with Michael, Shane and Eve, where she soon discovered that Morganville was ran by vampires. Michael was a ghost and now he's a vampire, Shane is Claire's boyfriend and Eve is her best friend. Shane's crazy Dad turned up and tried to take out the vampires. Claire had to sign herself over to Amelie to ensure protection for her and her friends which resulted in working for Myrnin, a crazy, sick vampire. Eve's brother came back after being in jail and dead girls began to turn up all over the place. Then, Mr Bishop, Amelie's father turned up and took over the entire town.

Lord of Misrule
In the college town of Morganville, vampires and humans coexist in (relatively) bloodless harmony. Then comes Bishop, a master vampire who threatens to abolish all order, revive the forces of the evil dead, and let chaos rule. But Bishop isn't the only threat.

Violent black clouds promise a storm of devastating proportions. As student Claire Danvers and her friends prepare to defend Morganville against the elements - both natural and unnatural -the unexpected happens: Morganville's vampires begin to vanish one by one. Discovering why leads Claire to one last choice: swear allegiance to Bishop... or die. (Taken from the back of the book)

What I thought
What was different with this book was that the four main characters get split up. Usually, they all rely on each other to get through whatever bad situation they are in so this time, emotions are running at an all time high. The goodbye scene happened very early on in the story but I was completely convinced. There is a lovely moment between Michael and Eve but where Claire and Shane were convinced, I was really let down. With everything that was happening, the reality of it was that any of them might not actually survive this time but the emotion in this scene was quite lacking.

I was glad to see that being split up didn't last for the majority of the book though as I would have missed having Shane and Michael around. The banter between the two always adds some much needed humour to a very serious and action filled storyline. Everyone always seems to moan at Shane for having a problem with Michael being a vampire but wouldn't you? I don't think I would care that he was once my best friend, he's still a vampire now so I would definitely be nervous about carrying on living with him.

Claire shows a lot more vulnerability in Lord of Misrule, changing what I thought about her again. As her relationship with Shane grows, she also grows more sure of herself and her feelings and can't help but get annoyed when she isn't sure if he returns them. Claire is even more bad ass in this book which was something that I loved about her. Being separated from her safety net friends made Claire have to branch out and trust some other people who she worked well with. I was glad to see Claire's development progress in Lord of Misrule as it came to a bit of a standstill in Feast of Fools.

Even though Amelie is a huge part of the other books, she doesn't really have much to do. This time, Amelie is a feature character as she tried to rally everyone up to fight against Bishop. Amelie likes to be known are a hard, relentless woman but really begins to show that she cares for Claire in this book. I'm pretty sure that it is only because she needs her for something or other but there was a softness to her character that made me think that she actually cared, deep down.

As always, the story progresses at an extremely fast pace, with something always happening. As the story is told from Claire's point of view, I did wish that I got to find out more about what happened with Michael, Eve and Shane while they were separated because there was only a quick run through of what happened. There is a lot of built up tension and excitement by the time the story comes to an end and I found it truly exciting.

As much as I love the amazing, heart-stopping cliff-hangers, I also hate them at the same time. If I hadn't had the next book sitting there waiting to be read, I would have screamed. Rachel Caine certainly knows how to write an amazing ending to a book and one that will make you need (not want) the next in the series.

Each book in the series has distinct differences from the others but the quality, excitement and romance are always there. Another fabulous book by Rachel Caine. Next in the series is Carpe Corpus.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Book of the Month - July

I've decided to dedicate a post to the best book that I read the previous month. I read a lot of books in July and there was many great new releases but there was one that stood out completely against everything else. I was actually very surprised when I read this book and loved it so much as it isn't something that I would have ever picked myself so I also want to say thanks for the recommendations. Yes, Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles is my book of the month and how could it not be?

You can find my review here.  

The sequel to Perfect Chemistry, Rules of Attraction will be released January 2011 here in the UK which isn't soon enough in my opinion so I thought you all might like to see the trailer for it. I really wish one of these had been done for Perfect Chemistry to show Alex Fuentes to the world but we will have to make do with little brother Carlos instead!


Sunday, 25 July 2010

Meridian - Amber Kizer

Meridian is a fantasy novel written by Amber Kizer. It was released on 11th August 2009 in hardback and will be released in August this year (2010) in paperback. Meridian is 320 pages long and currently available for £7.53 on Amazon.

Meridian has always been surrounded by death for as long as she remembers. Dead insects and animals have found their way to her bedroom and nothing she does will stop them coming. If this wasn't bad enough, it seems that these dead animals are making her really ill as well. After dealing with this for a long time, she has pretty much accepted that she is a freak and will never have a normal life. The only person who treats her like everyone else is her little brother, Sammy.

On Meridian's sixteenth birthday, something terrible nearly happens and her parents, in a huge panic, put her on a bus to go live with Auntie in Colorado. Just like Auntie, Meridian is a Fenestra, a human/angel hybrid who helps souls move on. This explains the dying animals. Meridian has been sent to learn how to do her job but finds it extremely hard to cope with what is being asked of her. Finally feeling like so much of a freak, Meridian is completely attracted to Tens, Aunties companion and it turns out that they have a lot more in common than she thought.
As everyone knows, when there are good guys, there are also bad guys...

What I thought
Loved, loved, loved this book. It had been sat in my wish list on Amazon for such a long time because I didn't really want to pay for it as a hardback but I eventually gave in and I must say, it is worth every penny.

Meridian was one hell of a heroine. It seems like in many books of this genre, the hero/ heroine is extremely willing take up her fate without any signs of a fight. Meridian was completely different. She has long come to accept the fact that things die when she is around (even if this isn't the real case) and has learnt to kind of accept it. When she is shoved on a bus to go live with her Auntie and her real talents are explained, she wants nothing to do with them, nearly flat out refusing to have anything to do with her fate. Even when she is learning how to cope with her power, she still doesn't really want to be a part of it and you can feel the pain she goes through each time she tries to be better. Meridian is extremely strong for a female character in this genre, seeing as they are normally portrayed as quite weak and easily led but she knows exactly what she wants and how she feels and isn't afraid to show it at all.

Right from the first page, I was drawn into the story and extremely curious about Meridian. The author described her past and feelings so well that I couldn't help but feel connected to her which was a very clever thing to do. Any good author will know that no body wants to read about a character they don't like so this time, Meridian was made as likable as possible in such a short amount of time.

Tens, the love interest doesn't play much of a big role until the second half of the story when he begins to come out of his shell. I don't think that the relationship between him and Meridian was drawn out enough and due to this, parts felt extremely rushed and not quite right. That being said, I know a sequel is in the works so I am hoping that this aspect is expanded on a lot more. One of my biggest problems with Tens is that I cant picture him at all. He is a mysterious character anyways but I didn't really get much of a feel for him and he wasn't described well at all.

There is not a dull moment in this story. There is a lot of action and mystery but also a love story at the same time. One of the most predominant themes is Religion but it is never over done or thrown in your face. Quite a bit of history is given concerning what everyone is and what their roles are which is something I found really interesting. At the same time, it made the story less confusing and easy to follow. I really enjoyed that character of the preacher of the church, even though I wasn't supposed to. The way he speaks, sounding very Southern and quoting the bible a lot made me think of how crazy preachers are portrayed in films so it was very easy to picture what he would be like.

The ending was a little rushed and I was quite disappointed by this. After such an amazing story, I felt kind of cheated but knowing there will be a sequel makes me a little happier. There are some twists and turns throughout but overall, somewhat predictable at times.

Meridian was much better than I had first expected. A very welcome change to the fantasy genre and I think it would be suitable for anyone over 15. There isn't any sex scenes or much bad language but as I said, quite a lot about religion so maybe not to everyone's taste.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

In My Mailbox (#7)

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren to show what everyone has been recieving or buying each week. All of my links either go to the publishers' website or goodreads if I have bought them.

For Review: Headline

Glee - The Beginning - Sophia Lowell (Release Date: 5th August 2010) 

All great performances deserve a warm-up! Enroll early at McKinley High to find out what went on before New Directions was even a glimmer in Mr Schuester’s eye. When did Rachel first decide Finn was more than just a jock? When did Puck and Quinn start their secret romance? And how did the fledgling Glee Club function without a fearless leader? Hint: It wasn’t exactly a perfect melody.

Break out the gold stars and refill the slushies: it’s time to find out what happened to all your favourite characters before the show-mance began

For Review: Walker Books

Meet the Radleys: Peter, Helen and their teenage kids Clara and Rowan. An everyday family who live in a pretty English village and juggle dysfunctional lives. So far, so normal. Except, as Peter and Helen know (but the kids have yet to find out), the Radleys happen to be a family of abstaining vampires. When one night Clara finds herself driven to commit a bloodthirsty act of violence, her parents need to explain a few things: why is their skin is so sensitive to light, why do they all find garlic so repulsive, and why has Clara's recent decision to go vegan had quite such an effect on her behaviour...? But when mysterious Uncle Will swoops into the village, he unleashes a host of shadowy truths and dark secrets that threaten to destroy the Radleys and the world around them.

Clary Fray is seeing things: vampires in Brooklyn and werewolves in Manhattan. Irresistibly drawn towards a group of sexy demon hunters, Clary encounters the dark side of New York City - and the dangers of forbidden love.

Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulted to centre stage of her own life - and, despite her nonexistent history with boys, suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two. Toby was Bailey's boyfriend; his grief mirrors Lennie's own. Joe is the new boy in town, with a nearly magical grin. One boy takes Lennie out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it. But the two can't collide without Lennie's world exploding...

Imagine you're the only boy in a town of men. And you can hear everything they think. And they can hear everything you think. Imagine you don't fit in with their plans... Todd Hewitt is just one month away from the birthday that will make him a man. But his town has been keeping secrets from him. Secrets that are going to force him to run...


What if you had only one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all—looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12th should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it’s her last. The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. In fact, she re-lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she had ever imagined.

Linger - Maggie Stiefvater
It's about after. What happens after you discover there are werewolves in the wood, after you've fallen in love for the first time, after you've lost what you think you can't live without, after you've become someone you can't live with. 

I know a lot of you wil have gotten Linger this week but what else did you get in your mailbox?

Friday, 23 July 2010

Book Blogger Hop (#5 - 23rd - 26th July)

The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly event hosted by Jennifer at Crazy for Books and runs from Friday to Sunday. The Hop is a fantastic way to get your blog noticed more and visit some other cool blogs that you didn't know about before. Head over and sign up and see what you can find!

Each week a different twist will be added to the hop so that everyone gets to know each other better so here's my little bit of information this week.

I started reading Linger by Maggie Stiefvater last night while I was at work and I'm now about half way through. I have been waiting for the sequel to Shiver for a long time and so far it is living up to expectations. What I really like about it so far, is that it is quite different from Shiver and I haven't figured out how it will end yet.

Have a fun weekend Hopping everyone and I cant wait to find out what other people are reading!

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Marked (House of Night #1) - PC and Kristin Cast

Marked is the first book in the House of Night (HoN) series by mother and daughter, PC and Kristin Cast.

Sixteen year old Zoey just wants to have a normal high school experience, maybe minus the always drunk almost ex boyfriend. Zoey thought that Heath was the worst of her worries when she turned up to school sick that day but then she gets Marked by a Tracker. In Tulsa, if you get Marked, it means you’re a vampyre.

The realisation of becoming a vampyre not only means Zoey’s whole life is about the change but she also has to leave her friends at school to live at the House of Night, a school for vampyres. The one rule to this school is shocking though… either pass at becoming a vampyre or you die!

What I thought
The HoN series has a completely original take on a species that is so popular in fiction these days. These vampyres are in a league of their own. They will draw you in and make you want to be one! As soon as some of the vampyres were described, I knew that this was going to be an interesting book. Not only are vampyres extremely beautiful, with long hair (mostly) but they also have strange markings like tattoos, making them distinctly different from humans. The markings are an extremely important part of being a vampyre but to humans, it is just something that makes them more like freaks. Being marked is only one of the differences that vampyres have in this series. There are no fangs, so no being bitten to be turned, garlic is only used as a yummy food and they still keep some very human characteristics.

The HoN was another aspect that was completely new to me. The HoN is pretty much a boarding school for vampyres in training, where they must take lessons like Fencing, Vampyre Sociology and Equestrian Studies, all things which help to make the change into a fully fledged vampyre. Some of the lessons did seem quite strange to me like Drama but then it was explained that vampyres have a tendency to be very artistic.

The story is written in the first person from Zoey’s point of view, making it easy to connect with her quickly. I began to feel sorry for Zoey quite early on in the book because of how she describes her life (before being marked). Being in a family where her mother ignores her, her step dad hates and having siblings that she doesn’t get along with made me want something much better for Zoey. I was glad to see that there was one family member that was there for her no matter what though. What makes Zoey a character that I could relate to is the way in which she and the story is written. Zoey, along with the other teenagers in the book are very realistic, both in the way that they act and speak. After being torn from the life that she was accustomed to, I was glad to see Zoey make friends easily and these characters added a lot of humour to the story.

There is a fair amount of bad language, references to sex and drugs throughout the book so this is a series that isn’t suitable for young teens (There is a warning on the back of the book). There was never a point where I felt like this was overdone though and these references only made me like the characters more. Some especially, were just like a few people that I knew when I was a teenager. These books are written by a mother and daughter duo and it works extremely well. There are places where it is clear that Kristin (the daughter) had a good amount of input due to the language used. This was something that helped to make the teenagers as realistic as possible. The writing is very seamless throughout and the only way to tell who wrote which parts are to pay more attention to the teenagers.

As Marked is the first book in the HoN series, there is a lot of explanations and descriptions of what is happening but this was something that I really enjoyed. I loved learning about the history of this race of vampyres and the mythical background, including everything to do with the High Priestesses and Vampyre Gods. What makes this series stand out from others is the fact that vampyres have been mixed with magic. It was a little bit like The Craft but with vampyres for me, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

The timescale for this book is only a couple of weeks and there is a lot packed in but not too much. The way that the story was written made each event realistic and not rushed in any way. It really did feel like I was living Zoey’s life for her first few weeks at the HoN. Following Zoey’s journey to finding who she is and her place at the HoN, there are enough twists and turns to keep the story exciting which left me wanting to find out more about what was really going on.

Marked is a fantastic first book in the series which gives small hints at bigger things to come. I cant wait to learn more about all of the characters and to follow Zoey as she trains to become a vampyre.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Waiting On Wednesday (#6)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Rules of Attraction - Simone Elkeles
UK Release Date: 6th January 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Childrens Books

When Carlos Fuentes returns to America after living in Mexico for a year, he doesn’t want any part of the life his older brother, Alex, has laid out for him at a high school in Colorado . Carlos likes living his life on the edge and wants to carve his own path—just like Alex did. Then he meets Kiara Westford. She doesn’t talk much and is completely intimidated by Carlos’ wild ways. As they get to know one another, Carlos assumes Kiara thinks she’s too good for him, and refuses to admit that she might be getting to him. But he soon realizes that being himself is exactly what Kiara needs right now. (Taken from GoodReads)

So as a lot of you already know, I loved Perfect Chemistry. Even though Alex is the original bad boy, I have a feeling that his brother, Carlos is going to give him a run for his money! I'm sure I wont be the only one waiting on this book. January is just too far away.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Perfect Chemistry - Simone Elkeles

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles was released in the UK on 1st April 2010 and is 368 pages long.

Brittany Ellis. Perfection. That's the image that Brittany portrays about her life. Not only her life, but Brittany herself. She comes from a rich family and lives in a very good area in a massive house. Absolutely no one knows what her life is really like or what she has to put up with on a daily basis.

Alejandro (Alex) Fuentes. Mexican bad boy and gang member from the wrong side of town. Everyone is terrified of him and the rumours that surround his past and that's the way he intends his reputation to stay. Alex never wants anyone to discover who he really is or what he has been through.

In the first Chemistry class of senior year, Brittany and Alex find themselves forced to work together on a year long project. Both know of each others' reputations and that they are total opposites. Brittany is far from pleased when she gets torn away from being her boyfriends' partner and thinks that Alex is going to completely mess up her grades. Being forced to work together makes Alex and Brittany realise that there is so much more to their partners than meets the eye and they are determined to break down the barriers to find out what they're really all about. They say opposites attract, right?

What I thought
To say that I loved this book would be an understatement. I don't know if I can express just how much I loved it.

This was a book that had been recommended to me but when looking at the synopsis, I wasn't sure I was going to like it. But... I ordered it anyway because the person who recommended it to me has very similar tastes in books so I figured I would give it a go. I have to say, the first paragraph got me. I cant remember the last time that I was so hooked to a book in such a short time. Before I started reading it, I thought Ok, just a couple of chapters. Then before I knew it, it was gone 3am and I was nearly at the end. Needless to say, I was awake until 4am when I had to be at work at 8am just because I couldn't bare to go to sleep until I had found out what was going to happen.

The book is written in first person by both Brittany and Alex in alternate chapters. This is just a little thing but at the top of each chapter, Alex and Brittany's names are printed in a text like how they would write which reminded me of a diaries and was a lovely and personal touch for them btoh. A lot of authors choose to tell their story from the point of view of numerous characters and it can be a little annoying but not in this book. I really don't think that I would have loved this book as much as I did if I hadn't had the chance to learn what was happening from both main characters. This style of writing makes it possible to connect with both Brittany and Alex very early on and know that everything is not what it seems, even if the other character doesn't know it.

Brittany isn't made out to be perfect at all which was something that I really liked about her. There is nothing that I hate more than a female main character that is whiney and annoying for no reason but this certainly wasn't the case here. Right from the start, the fact that she has a lot of problems to deal with is clear and how hard she finds it to pretend that she's perfect all of the time. I was so glad to learn that she wasn't going to be made to come across as the ditzy blonde, only to learn later that she wasn't really like that. The relationships that Brittany has with her Mum, Dad and Sister are very hard on her for many different reasons and they made me feel extremely sorry for her.

Alex Fuentes is seriously the hottest bad boy that I have ever read about. Mexican. Gang member. Tattooed. Seriously screwed up and wanting a better life. Did I mention that he's completely buff? No? Well he is. Really, what more could you ask for? Also, Alex mixes speaking English with Spanish and although I could only understand a few Spanish words, it made his dialogue extremely hot and steamy. I there is something incredibly sexy about the Spanish language. I dare you to try to resist him!

What got me about Alex (over the obvious hotness) was that he tried so hard to make everyone believe that he was someone to be afriad of, when that was so far from the truth. I loved that Alex wasn't perfect. I loved that his life was pretty much screwed. Most of all, I loved that he finally decided that he could trust someone with his problems, even when it was someone that he never would have thought he would be friends with. In a way, you could describe Alex as having a split personality because he acts so different when he is with his friends compared to with his family. Alex is strong and determined but at the same time, he was considerate and understanding, making him my perfect man!

As you can probably tell from the synopsis, love definitely does not run smooth in this story. There are sparks a flying all over the damn place when it comes to Brittany and Alex and they aren't always good sparks. A good amount of the bad going on between these two are due to their friends and family, who don't think that seeing each other is a good idea at all, even when they don't know that anything is really happening. The chemistry between Brittany and Alex was extremely believable because nothing was ever smooth between them. I hate those stories where everything is love at first sight because rarely does a relationship work out that way.

It's easy to see why these characters fall for each other. Both has qualities that the other wishes that they had. Alex is the rebel who has a lot of guts and determination while Brittany has the seemingly perfect family and everything that she has ever wanted. With Brittany doing everything in her power to please her family, no wonder she wants to be more like Alex, daring to do anything. Alex is from a broken family that has many problem so he wants to have something that other people have for once without any drama. His family is far from perfect and he can't see a way of making their life better.

The gang aspect of the book was something that really interested me as it was something that I have never read about. Simone Elkeles took time to explain the set up of these kinds of gangs, which was needed to completely explain what Alex was going through. Some parts of the story concerning the gangs were a little hard to read, especially towards the end but it is what made everything about them so realistic. I didn't want some parts concerning the gangs to happen but I dont think the story would have been complete without them. There were times when I wanted Alex to just run away and leave his life behind because I was genuinely scared for him and what might happen. Nothing in this book is sugar coated and that was just one of the things that made me love it.

I am so glad that I took a chance with this book, even though I didn't think it was my kind of read. The sequel, Rules of Attraction is due to be released in early 2011 and will follow the story of Carlos, Alex's brother. I can't wait to see what one of the other Fuentes brothers is like and how exciting and sexy his story is going to be. If you want an exciting, sensual and romantic read, then this one is for you. I would definitely place it in my top 5 books read this year.

Just because Daisy Chain Book Reviews wouldn't... Alex is HAWT! Go buy the book now! 

I dont know what is better than Heaven but if I could put this book there, I would!

Bite me! - Melissa Francis

Bite me! is the debut novel by Melissa Frances and it was released in August 2009.

17 year old AJ's mother has just gotten married. Having a new family causes quite a few problems for AJ as she has to stop seeing a guy she is insane about because he is now her brother and she also hide the fact that she's a vampire. Breaking up with Ryan was the hardest thing that AJ has ever had to do but knows it is for the best.

At the party for the last day of summer, Ryan turns up with another girl, Lindsey and AJ can't cope with it. Even though she knows she isn't supposed to (because of her vampire powers), AJ has a couple of drinks and gets steamy with Noah to make Ryan jealous. When things get out of hand, AJ reacts in a way that she definitely shouldn't have and panics about the consequences. If thinking she turned someone into a vampire, AJ also has to deal with the fact that the fate of humankind may lay in her hands. Who knew so much could happen in the first week of school?

What I thought
I loved, loved, loved the fact that AJ was such a normal teenager. She was born a vampire so has no choice in what she is and that's something that she has problems with. All AJ wants is to be a normal teenager, have a normal boyfriend and get on with her school work. Tough luck sweetie, adolescence is a bitch! I think the fact that AJ's humanity shows so much is what I liked about her and what made her extremely easy to relate to.

I'm still not sure what I thought about AJ's relationship with Ryan. I did feel really sorry for both of them because there was nothing they could do to change the fact that their parents were getting married. I'm sure having to deal with that must be extremely hard for anyone and especially teens. The emotions, especially AJ's, were described really well and I could feel the jealousy and anger coming out of her. My only real problem with their relationship is what happens at the end of the book and how AJ and Ryan appear to be dealing with things.

Bite Me! was really funny in places and this was because of how well the characters were written. AJ and her friends are typical teenage girls in some places and the conversations they have were just like some I used to have with my friends. Some parts of Bite Me! had me laughing out loud which was a nice surprise. This book has a lighter feel to it compared to other vampire books which will make it more suitable for teens but also good for adults.

One of the things that I like most about reading books with mythical creatures is the history and mythology behind them. Melissa Francis really out-does herself in this department. Although everything isn't explained, enough was to keep me very happy and excited for the sequel, 'Love Sucks'. A lot of books in this genre always seem to throw werewolves in the mix or something along those lines but Francis adds in something completely different which was a total shocker for me and something that makes me want to read the second book.

I'm really liking all of the new authors that I am discovering who can write a book where I don't guess who the bad guy is. I really thought that I had this one all figured out but then I was completely wrong. One of the best parts of this book for me was figuring out exactly what is going on. There is a lot of mystery throughout concerning who is doing what and why but there are also some twists that really made me re-think my bad guy options.

Bite Me! is a well rounded YA novel that was so much better than I had originally thought it would be. I think Melissa Francis is going to be staying on my to be read list for a long time. I can't wait for Love Sucks to be released on July 27th.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

In My Mailbox (#6)

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren to show what everyone has been recieving or buying each week.


I ordered these books from Amazon quite a while ago but they took forever to be dispatched for some strange reason so I only recieved them early this week. I order from Amazon quite a lot but they really disappointed me with the service this time. So long as they dont do the same when Linger is released next week I think I may forgive them!

I have already managed to read 'Perfect Chemistry' this week and ended up staying awake until 4am to finish it because I just couldn't make myself put it down. Review to come quite soon I think.


I'm really starting to think that I need to stay away from bookstores with offers on. If you read last weeks IMM, you'll know that I bought books 1-6 in the House of Night series because they were in the BOGOF offer at Waterstones. Not being able to help myself, I went back yesterday on my lunch break and bought these two lovely looking books. I've been eyeing up 'Graceling' for a while now but don't know much about 'By Midnight'. I only got it because I have near enough everything else in that offer now.


I won 'The Final Hitch' by Samantha Scott-Jeffries from Chick Lit Reviews a couple of weeks ago. It's the only book I have ever won! 

So there you go. That's what I got In My Mailbox this week. What did you get in yours? 

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Feast of Fools (The Morganville Vampires Bk4) - Rachel Caine

Feast of Fools is the 4th book in The Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine.

Here's what has happened so far
Claire Danvers moved to Morganville to go to college early at 16. After being bullied in the dorms by Monica and her popular friends, Claire moved into Glass House with Michael, Shane and Eve, where she soon discovered that Morganville was ran by vampires. Michael was a ghost and now he's a vampire, Shane is Claire's boyfriend and Eve is her best friend. Shane's crazy Dad turned up and tried to take out the vampires. Claire had to sign herself over to Amelie to ensure protection for her and her friends which resulted in working for Myrnin, a crazy, sick vampire. Eve's brother came back after being in jail and dead girls began to turn up all over the place. Then, Mr Bishop, Amelie's father turned up and he seems to be the scariest vampire of them all.

Feast of Fools
The vampires in Morganville thought that Mr Bishop was long dead, properly dead, and that he could never come back. When they learn of his arrival, panic begins to set in. Once it is known that he is in town, invitations are sent out for a huge masked ball but it seems that Claire and Myrnin are the only ones not attending. Even Shane gets invited by Ysandre, one of Mr Bishop's 'friends'.

Claire and Myrnin are still working on the cure to his disease but they aren't getting very far. All of the vampires are taking human dates to the ball and it's down to Claire and Myrnin to take time out from their research to figure out what Mr Bishop's plans are before it's too late.

What I thought
If you haven't read any of the Morganville books and you start with this one, you are going to be one very confused reader. Rachel Caine does provide a 'story so far' in the beginning of the book but I really feel like, due to the long running story, that you need to start with book 1, Glass Houses.

So at the end of Midnight Alley, Mr Bishop and his vampire friends turned up at Glass House so the beginning of this book was quite action packed. Claire, Shane, Michael and Eve know that there is something terrifying about him but think they can handle him but soon find out just how wrong they were. I loved how there was so much going on in the first chapter because it gave me an idea of what the rest of the book was going to be like. Each book in this series so far has had a little theme going on and this one's was definitely action. From books 1 to 3, there has been a lead up to something HUGE happening and this is where it all comes to a head, for a little while at least. This is Morganville after all.

Claire's character development seems to come to a bit of a stand-still in this book but not necessarily in a bad way, not in my eyes anyway. 3 books in and Claire has already learnt a great deal about her new home and what actually goes on there so apart from little mysteries here and there, she doesn't really have much to learn in that department. Claire has already grown quite a lot as a character and has gone from not really knowing much about the world, to fending off vampires, answering back and having a steady, older boyfriend so in many ways, she now seems a lot older than she was to begin with. I really like the new kick-ass side to Claire because she although she is actually terrified, she'll still do whatever it takes to save the day without a second thought.

Some of the secondary characters, especially Sam, really came into their own in Feast of Fools and we get to see a completely different side to the vampires. Just when I thought I had certain vampires sussed, they did something that made me change my mind and end up not really knowing what they are like at all. The twists that Rachel Caine throws into each book is what keeps the series so interesting and addictive.

Rachel Caine puts a lot of effort and detail into the descriptions in each book which makes me really feel like a part of the story. I can totally imagine walking through the streets of Morganville, sitting in Common Grounds coffee shop and sitting on the sofa in Glass House playing zombie games. It isn't very often that I feel this much a part of the story but the way it is written makes me feel like I am just another lodger in Glass House.

I'm finding it very hard to pick a favourite out of these books so far because so much and different things happen in each one to make them stand out from the next. I will say though that this one would be at least near the top of the list due to how action packed it was. I really liked that there was a whole story going on here and not just something thrown in around the romance aspect. The romances are important in these books but not as much as the plot.

After 4 books, I'm still as hooked as I was to begin with so I know I'm going to be a fan the whole way through. Roll on book #5: Lord of Misrule.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Infinity (The Chronicles of Nick) - Sherrilyn Kenyon

Infinity (The Chronicles of Nick) is Sherrilyn Kenyon’s first YA novel that will tie in with her adult, Dark-Hunter series. This is the first book that I have read by this author but I have been told that this series will be prequels for the Dark-Hunter series, where Nick is a main character. The Chronicles of Nick will run until the timeline mixes with the Dark-Hunter novels. Because of this, I will be reading this series first and then going into Dark-Hunters, although you don’t really have to in order to follow what’s going on.

Nick Gautier is 14 and although he comes from a bad neighbourhood with barely any money, he thinks he knows everything. Unfortunately, his mother has other ideas and is determined to dress him and teach him the difference between right and wrong. She doesn’t want Nick to grow up being anything like his father who is now in prison. Everyone at school picks on him and makes fun of the clothes he wears, causing Nick to get into trouble and the blame always falling on him.

After being suspended from school for a fight that he didn’t start, Nick runs into some friends needing some help. When Nick realises what they really want help with, he refuses which results in his so called friends nearly killing him. Luckily for Nick, a dark and mysterious warrior saves him. When the hospital bills are too much for Nick and his mother to pay, Kyrian offers to let Nick work off the bills. What Nick doesn’t realise is that he is about to be working for Immortals who will risk everything to save humanity. Nick knew that there were some bad people in the world but nothing compares to what he is about to deal with.

What I thought of…

The story
I bought this book thinking that it was going to be 100% serious, especially after reading the synopsis/ looking at the cover. The story began by giving me time to get to know and like Nick, which I did and then delving into what was really going on. It doesn’t take Nick long to get in trouble and have his so called friends turn on him so there is quite a bit of action in the beginning. After this, I thought that the story was going to be about Nick and what he is/ what Acheron and Kyrian are and what everyone’s part in the story was. I was so wrong.

I didn’t mention it in the synopsis as I didn’t want to give too much away but after the beginning, it is revealed that students are turning into zombies are eating the other students. You’re probably thinking WTH now, just as I was when I got to this part. Don’t get me wrong, I really did enjoy this part of the story but it came completely out of no where. I think I would have been happier if something about this had been mentioned on the back of the book as I think the synopsis is quite misleading. This part of the book was like something out of a zombie apocalypse film but a 12 rated one. The middle of this book is a lot of fun and everyone acts like you would expect 14 year olds to act…with the addition of some serious weapons.

The ending does get back to being quite serious which I was glad about. Towards the end of the book, more about what Nick is and what he can really do is revealed, giving hints at what we have to come in future books in the series. Instead of being left with a huge cliff-hanger, the ending was nicely rounded up and left me feeling very satisfied after everything that had happened.

The characters
Nick is cocky, full of himself at times but really funny with it. I think this was mainly a cover a lot of the time. Nick has had to deal with some pretty hard times in his 14 years but tries to cover his pain and anger by showing extreme confidence when things aren’t going well. There were many times throughout this book that I just couldn’t believe that Nick was only 14. I think that if he had been made to be 16, I would have believed some of it a bit more but I guess being 14 was used to fit with the Dark-Hunter series.

Something that I loved about Nick was how family orientated his is. His mother is a stripper (yes, a stripper) and doesn’t earn much money so Nick does everything he can to help her out, even though he usually ends up getting in her way and annoying her. All his mother wants is for him to grow up and be successful in something and keep himself out of trouble, which is something that she’s beginning to realise might not happen due to his answering back. The conversations between Nick and his mother were really funny and very realistic for a teenage boy to have. Between the back chat and minor arguments, you can easily tell how much they love one another, making it a special relationship to read about.

Bubba and Mark were two of my favourite characters because they were just so unbelievable but hilarious at the same time. Bubba owns a shop where he will attempt to fix any problem. He might fix a computer that wont work with a chainsaw for instance. Who knows what kind of crazy ideas are in his head. Mark is Bubba’s co-worked but just as crazy. When Nick and his friends realise what is causing the Zombie attacks, Bubba and Mark are the first port of call to figure out what to do. No one else in town is going to have any idea how to stop them or have the most insane weapons to do it with. These two characters provided so much humour that I was literally laughing out loud when they were around.

Here is Bubba’s sales pitch for his shop:
‘Computer Problems?
Dial 1-888-Ca-Bubba
If I can’t take care of your problems one way…
I’ll take care of them anotha’

We tend to all manner of ills for you. Zombies, rodents, and vampires. If you got a pest, we got a cure. Just call us now. We will believe you’.

The supernatural beings were also great characters. Acheron and Kyrian can really kick some ass and come across as people you really wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley at any time. From what I understand, Acheron is a big part of the Dark-Hunter series so I know there will be more of him to come in this series. I really liked the fact that they weren’t totally lovely to Nick all of the time. Although they are being shown as saviours at the moment, I think that is something that will change in future books due to how they act and some of the things they say.

The Simi was another character that I loved from the supernatural side. I’m not completely sure what she is but I do know that she likes blood and killing things. Oh, and BBQ sauce. Simi acts really childish with things like “You threaten him and you make the Simi really unhappy and want to eat your head”, but at the same time, she is just too funny with it. She was my favourite character overall and now, I want one of my own (so long as she wouldn’t want to eat me though).

The only real problem I had with the characters in the book was that there were so many. I had a problem following who was who and which side they were on for a little while. I guess that if you have read the Dark-Hunter series then you will be familiar with some of the characters but if not, it might end getting a little confusing.

Infinity was not what I was expecting to read at all but I enjoyed it in an extremely strange way. I didn't completely love it though because of how the story evolved. If it had been more straight forward then I think I would have liked it a lot more. I think if you read the back of the book, then pretty much forget it all and keep an open mind about what you are about to read, then you might like this one. Infinity is a interesting mixture of comedy, teen rebellion and a deep and mysterious back-story that entertained me throughout.

Book 2 in the Chronicles of Nick is being released in 2011 and will be called Invincible.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Sequels Giveaway!

To celebrate Dwayne's 20th birthday, Girls Without A Bookshelf are having a massive giveaway!! Up for grabs are 7...yes, 7 sequels to some books that I know I would die for. Here's a little info about the giveaway but make sure you visit the site for full details and to see the wonderful books being given away and to enter!

Here's the catch:
I will let you decide whether you want to have 7 winners with one book each or 1 winner with all of the seven books. If the majority chooses to have 7 winners, everyone will have more chances of winning, but with only one book. However, if the majority picks the winner takes all option, everyone will have less chance of winning, but you do have the opportunity to win all the sequels above.

This giveaway:
Is open internationally (where Book Depository ships).
Is open to all my Google Friend Connect followers.
Is open to everyone above the age of 13.
Will end on 31st August 2010.
Will not retain any of the entrants' contact details nor will it pass it on to any third party.

Happy Birthday Dwayne!!
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