Saturday, 30 October 2010

Paranormalcy - Kiersten White

Paranormalcy is the first book in a trilogy by Kiersten White. The hardback was released on 31st August 2010 by Harper Teen with the paperback due for release in January 2011. Paranormalcy is 352 pages long.

Plot
Evie always thought she was normal. As normal as she could be working for the International Paranormal Containment Agency (IPCA), having a faerie as an ex boyfriend and being the only person in the entire world who can see through a paranormal’s glamours. Oh and her best friend is a mermaid. Completely normal, right?

When strange things begin to happen at the Agency and a strange paranormal gets taken into their custody, Evie immediately wants to know more but there seems to be things that everyone isn’t telling her. The new paranormal knows a lot and when Evie befriends him, she realises that she may not actually be as normal as she first thought.

What I thought
Paranormalcy has got to be one of the most original YA books that I have read for some time. Instead of sticking to conventional ideas when it comes to fantasy and the paranormal, Kiersten White used these idea but mixed them with things I would have never thought about. As much as I like reading about vampires and werewolves, this genre does need to be kept fresh and exciting and I think the author has achieved that with this book.

Evie was such a refreshing heroine because she was unlike anyone else I had ever read about. After watching the first episode of Nikita last night, it kind of reminded me of that. Evie has been living with and working for IPCA since she was 8 years old and has never really known any other life apart from the one she is currently living. IPCA is a pretty weird place to begin with as it is an agency that rehabilitates the paranormal. Then there is the fact that her best friend is a mermaid who can only talk through a computer. If that doesn’t sound strange enough then there is the fact that Evie goes to hunt the paranormal with her cute pink taser gun called Tasey! I really loved the fact that no matter what was going on around her, Evie tried to be as normal as possible and always make it home in time to catch her favourite show on TV, making her have extremely real teenager qualities. This was something that I was thankful for because sometimes authors seem to forget about normal, everyday teenager activities.

The only real reason that Evie works for IPCA is because she has a special gift. She is able to see through what paranormals really are and ignore their glamours, making them easier to catch. I felt really sorry for Evie having all this to deal with at only 16 and couldn’t imagine what I would have done with only TV shows for real entertainment. Evie is quite the kick ass heroine because of her job but I also really liked the way that she was so girly. Her room is full of pink things and she has high heeled zebra print boots, always wanting to look her best even if she is out hunting. I would have been going insane in her position but Evie tries to find the best in each situation and make the best out of what she has.

The story really starts to kick off when a new paranormal infiltrates IPCA who can take on the form of someone else. Even Evie has problems looking past his glamour and doesn’t understand what he is and what he can do. Even though she is the one who captures him, she cannot help but feel drawn to finding out more about him. The new paranormal, Lend, refuses to talk to anyone about what he is or why he was at IPCA in the first place but when Evie befriends him, everything starts to unravel and we get to see more of who Lend really is. I really enjoyed this part of the book because I love to know more about the main characters and this was a great chance to learn about both Lend and Evie. In many other YA books, the romance happens far too quickly for my liking, making it unbelievable, but this time around. I was so thankful for something to blossom from friendship and develop as time went on. More books should be like this.

The story itself was extremely interesting because the ideas were so new and original to me. It started off well from the first page and I never felt disappointed with it at any time. Paranormalcy starts off very funny and the humour is kept throughout, even though there is a lot of important and serious things going on. Kiersten White managed to make this book really fun, when it could have been more on the intense and dark side of things. I liked that the story was kept light-hearted throughout which gave an opportunity to get to know the characters well. I think this really helped to set the scene for the next book in the series which could probably end up being more action packed.

The plot had a lot of mystery and I really enjoyed this. I never fully knew what was happening or what was about to happen until things were revealed. I love to be kept guessing and for there to be multiple possibilities so in this aspect, Paranormalcy really did it for me. This will be part of a trilogy so not everything was answered but I didn’t mind that at all. I liked not knowing where the story was heading and not being able to really think too much about what the next book will have in store for us.

I had been looking forward to this book for quite a while and was so happy when I won it in a giveaway on a blog. I planned to only read a couple of chapters one night but next thing I knew, it was 1am and I was quite near the end so I just kept going. Usually even when I love a book, there are still things that bug me about it, whether it be a character or something to do with the plot. This was one of the first books in a really long time that I had no little niggles with at all. Everything about it was amazing and I would happily read it again tomorrow. Paranormalcy is such an amazing book that I just couldn’t put down and I would highly recommend it.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Evermore - Alyson Noel

Evermore is the first book in the Immortals series by Alyson Noel. It was released in the UK in September 2009 by Macmillan Children's Books and it is 384 pages long.

Plot
Ever used to be everything that a teenage girl could possibly want to be, beautiful, popular and with a gorgeous boyfriend. That was until her family was in a horrific car accident and everyone died but her. Being the only one who survived had a strange effect on her though and now she can hear everything that people think and can see their auras. Now, living in Southern California, she is the complete opposite of what she used to be. Yes, she's still beautiful but hides under a hood all of the time so that she can go unnoticed and is pretty much never without her I-pod in so she can drown out other people's thoughts. Not only that, the ghost of her dead little sister stuck around.

When new boy Damen Auguste arrives at school, Ever's life totally changes. Everyone else is completely infatuated with him but Ever is determined to stay under the radar, considering that everyone apart from her two best friends thinks she's a freak. There is something about Damen that Ever can't quite figure out. He's able to make flowers appear out of no where and every time they sit together in English class, her mind goes blank. He seems to be the only thing, apart from loud music, that can silence the noise in her head. Something is drawing her to Damon and she doesn't know whether to run or to stay and see what happens.

What I thought
This was a book that was recommended by a friend but she didn't really tell me a whole lot about it. Luckily, she knows what kind of books that I like so I trusted her when she said this one was good.

Evermore is written in the first person and normally, I find these kind of hard to read at times but as soon as I started, I couldn't put this book down. Everything about the story had me hooked, from the funny and interesting characters to the mysterious plot. I started reading this at work one night (My night time job is pretty good to me) and managed to get half way through it and I couldn't wait to get home so I could read the rest. I ended up being awake until 2am just so I could find out what happened. Unlike a lot of books where you know what is going to happen quite early on, I didn't know what was going on until quite near the end which was a welcome change. There are little mysteries throughout the story which all link together in the end but you never see it coming until it actually happens.

In the introduction, we are lead through Ever's past and what makes her the way she is now. I really enjoyed this part of the book as it gave Ever a nice depth to her and instantly made me want to know more about her. I love knowing the background of a character so that I can grow to love them throughout the story. Ever was a very realistic heroine. Noel managed to bring her problems through really well and I could totally relate to her. If I had gone through something as bad as Ever did then I would probably act the same way. She feels responsible for the death of her family and that if she had been a different, less selfish person then it wouldn't have happened. I could really sympathise with Ever, especially because of her gift. Although it sounds pretty cool, I don't think that I could deal with hearing everyone's thoughts. It would drive me insane.

Damen is everything that I could want in a hero. He is dark, mysterious and extremely good looking. He seems like the bad guy for a while because no one really knows anything about him. When he and Ever start seeing each other, he disappears all the time and never lets her know what he was actually doing or where he went. It takes Ever a long time to trust him and when she discovers his secret, she isn't sure whether to stop seeing him or not. Unlike Twilight, where Bella instantly accepted Edward for what he is, Ever was the opposite. She doesn't know how to deal with this new information and decides that because of this, she can't deal with Damen either. I loved the idea that Damen was a bit magical and we get to see this from the start. It was interesting to find out about the different flowers and why he gave different people certain ones but again, you don't find this out until way into the book.

The secondary characters were just as good as the main characters. Ever's best friends, Miles and Haven were hilarious and extremely real. Miles is gay and brings some fantastic humour and campness at certain times. He also likes to make fun of Ever's name. Haven is a bit of an outsider, like Ever but the two are different. They are outsiders for different reasons and all Haven really wants is attention, unlike Ever. These two characters made the story a bit lighter at times and took the seriousness away from Ever and Damen's part of the story.

Riley, Ever's 12 year old dead sister was also a great character. Riley doesn't want to cross over to the other side because she wants to look after her big sister, who she knows is having problems. Riley doesn't always appear at good times and gets on Ever's nerves. I loved how, after the Halloween party, Riley always turns up in a different costumes, truly acting like a 12 year old would. Riley is also pretty jealous of Ever because she is a teenager, something that she will never be able to be. Although she seems like a pain a lot of the time, Riley is really there to help her sister.

In the twists and turns of the main story are also some pretty important issues. Ever turns to drinking A LOT when she realises that it can drown out her gift but the story also shows how teen drinking can destroy a lot of the good things in life. Friendship is also a big theme throughout as Ever, Haven and Miles all need to rely on each other to get through their problems.

I really enjoyed this book and was glad I listened to my friend. I will definitely be wanting to read the next book in the series.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (#19)

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


Cloaked - Alex Flinn
UK Release Date: 1st February 2011
Publisher: Harper Teen

Synopsis
Johnny works after school in a shoe repair shop in a swanky hotel in Miami. He loves shoes and is talented; he even aspires to be the next Manolo Blahnik. But the real reason that he is working so hard is because his dad left when he was a baby and he needs to help his mom pay the bills. At least he has his friend, Meg, who works at the hotel coffee shop, to keep him company.
When beautiful Princess Victoriana comes to stay at the hotel, Johnny is thrilled when Victoriana invites him to her suite. There she tells him that her brother has been turned into a frog, and that she needs his help finding him in the Florida Keys. Johnny thinks she is crazy and does not believe her, until she gives him a magical cloak that immediately transports him to another location. Armed with the cloak and a magical earpiece that can help him talk to other transformed humans Johnny sets out to save the Prince ...

Monday, 25 October 2010

Out for Blood - Alyxandra Harvey

Out for Blood is the third book in The Drake Chronicles by Alyxandra Harvey. It is released on 1st November 2010 by Bloomsbury and it is 304 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy for review!

Plot
Hunter Wild is a vampire hunter in training at the Helios-Ra academy and also one of the top students. As a new school year starts, she thinks it is going to be a good one, especially after attending the new vampire Queen’s coronation.

As the school year gets into full swing, it doesn’t take long for strange things to start happening. Students are getting ill left, right and centre and no one has any idea why but Hunter has her own suspicions. There is only one person that she seems able to trust and that is Quinn Drake who also happens to be a vampire. If Hunter’s Grandfather knew she was friends with a vampire he would probably have a heart attack. Quinn is stunning and Hunter has a hard time concentrating around him but will she be able to pay attention enough to solve the mystery and save her friends?

What I thought
The Drake Chronicles just keeps getting better and better. Each new book that I have read is so much better than the last that I keep changing my mind about which I like the most.

Hunter is really the ultimate female in this genre for me. I’m really against all of these silly names in books but for some reason, Hunter fits her perfectly and I couldn’t imagine her being called anything else. As a vampire hunter, she is strong, determined and independent with none of the whining that I hate. I think what I loved most about Hunter was the fact that she was able to be a part of Helios-Ra but still keep her feminine qualities. Hunter refuses to cut her long, beautiful blonde hair and she likes to be able to paint her nails with roommate Chloe. I really don’t see any reason why vampire hunters still can’t be beautiful and feminine at the same time as kicking some serious ass. Although Hunter has these qualities, they aren’t over the top or in your face at any time and I felt like this part of her personality was balanced really well with the more fierce side of her.

I don’t know if I am ever going to have a favourite Drake brother but I did really like Quinn. Each of the Drake brothers have different qualities that make them so different but so loveable at the same time. What I liked most about Quinn was the fact that he was extremely cheeky. He knows he has a certain way with the girls and he’s used to getting who he wants. It was also nice to see how different he is to his twin because of this. I was expecting Quinn to be quite cocky and arrogant, knowing how good looking he is and being able to have who he wants, but he wasn’t at all. He was very aware of himself and what he is capable of and funny with it at the same time and I think this is what made him so likable. Quinn has a certain charm that makes him quite irresistible.

Like the previous two books in this series, the story is told from different points of views which this time around are from Hunter and Quinn. I like the fact that we only get to hear from the two main characters because I like to know how people are feeling from both sides of the story. I think that this way of telling the story really made me connect with both Hunter and Quinn and get to like them both for different reasons.

A big part of the previous two books have been about the assassination of someone in the Drake family so it was nice to see that this wasn’t the case this time around. The main story revolves around Hunter and her friends at the academy. I liked the fact that there was quite a big mystery that didn’t really involve the Drakes. Yes, they do get involved but the story doesn’t begin and end with what is happening around them. I couldn’t quite figure out what was really going on or what exactly was behind the strange going ons at the Academy. I always like to be kept guessing so this was a good aspect of the book for me.

I’m excited to see which Drake brother’s story will come next and how book four will be different from the three in the series so far. I love Alyxandra Harvey’s series and would definitely read anything of hers from now on. I loved this book and highly recommend that you read the whole series!

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Entangled - Cat Clarke

Entangled by Cat Clarke will be published on 6th January 2011 by Quercus and it is 256 pages long. I was lucky enough to win a proof copy in a giveaway!

Plot
17 year old Grace wakes up in a completely white room. White bedding, white walls, white furniture. Completely white. The only other things in the room are the pens and paper on the desk. Grace has no idea where she is or even how she got there, all she knows is that Ethan is behind it and there is no way out.

With nothing else to do, Grace begins to write, pouring out the details of her tangled life. A life that she so desperately wanted to forget. She had a perfect boyfriend in Nat and an amazing best friend in Sal but where did it all go wrong and what was so bad about it that she cant remember? As Grace pours her heart out on a page, she tries to figure out what’s happening with her life and how she can get herself out of this massive mess and answer one simple question. Why is she stuck in the white room?

What I thought
I don’t think anything could have prepared me for just how amazing Entangled is. Ok, so many people had said how much they liked it but you never really know for sure until you pick it up yourself. Cat Clarke had me hooked from the very first line. She really doesn’t mess around when it comes to starting a story and I loved how strong and intense the impact of this opening was.

When I started to get into the story, I was feeling a little bit like I was reading a different book than what the synopsis said. My friend at university saw me reading the book and asked what it was about but when I tried to tell her, it ended up sounding nothing like what she was reading on the back of the book. It wasn’t until the story really got going that I realised what was going on and I was actually reading the story that I thought I was.

I wanted to hate Grace so, so much but I just couldn’t do it. She is loud and brash and quite full of herself sometimes but honestly, she reminded me of myself, not just as a teenager but also from only a couple of years ago. There was so much about her character that I could relate to and I was quite shocked at just how similar we were (I have never been locked up in a white room, just so you all don’t think I’m completely mental). I instantly *got* Grace, which is something I have never had happen in a YA book before. I have had that boyfriend that I would have died for, the one that I didn’t think I could ever live without and the one that I thought I was going to be with forever. I was also a pretty self destructive teenager, drinking all of the time to try to get rid of my problems, amongst a whole load of other stuff that I shouldn’t have been doing. Hell, I even had red hair like the girl on the cover of the book!

Something else that I really liked about Grace was the fact that she was so real. Cat Clarke has got a real knack for writing realistic teenage girls, which is something a lot of authors don’t get right most of the time (in my opinion anyway). Because of the way that she was writing everything down, her voice really spoke to me. She had nothing to hide and really poured her heart out on the page. The way that she told her story was consistent throughout and it never felt like someone else jumped in half way through. Grace must have had a firm voice in Cat’s head too for her to jump out of the page like she did. I can imagine Grace sitting in Cat’s head screaming ‘Let me out! Let me out!’.

Entangled is quite an intense read but also beautifully written. I felt so many emotions while reading this one. It made me laugh out loud so many times, due to Grace and her outspoken ways, but it also made me cry…a lot. I could truly feel everything that Grace was going through and experiencing as I turned each page. I felt happy when she was writing about times that she remembered were good ones and I was extremely sad when she began to remember what had really happened. It takes a lot for my to cry at a book but Cat Clarke really touched something in me with this one.

Something that really stood out to me and got me thinking was the fact that the smallest little change or piece of information could change everything that you thought you knew. It isn’t something you really think about on an everyday basis, or even at all sometimes but it made me realise how your actions could have such a big impact on someone else’s life and the decisions they make. Entangled really gave me a lot to think about in many different ways.

You would think that having Grace locked up in a white room would mean the story moving along at a quite steady pace but you would be wrong. There is so much happening throughout the story and moves well from Grace writing about the past to writing about how bored she is in her stupid room. Although I saw some of the plot twists coming, there were some big ones that I wasn’t prepared for at all. Entangled has mystery and dark times but there are also some quite happy times too. I loved the mix of different feelings Grace had because they added different elements to the story all of the time.

Entangled has got to be one of the best books I have read all year and there have been some pretty amazing ones to compete with. To start with all it said was ‘Amazing. Read this book’ because I just couldn’t find the words to say how much I loved it. I really don’t think my review has done it justice at all but I’m no writer so I did my best! Seriously though, Entangled is amazing. Read this book!!

In My Mailbox (#18)


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

For Review

Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: 4th January 2011

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.


Publisher: Headline
Release Date: 11th November 2010

Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend, she is more disturbed by her "power" to sense dead bodies – or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes the dead leave behind in the world...and the imprints that attach to their killers.

Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift, but now that a serial killer is terrorizing her small town Violet realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.

Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet find the murderer – and Violet is unnerved by her hope that Jay's intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she's falling in love, Violet is getting closer to discovering a killer...and becoming his prey herself.


Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Release Date: 4th November 2010

Set during the Civil War, against a backdrop of grand estates, unimaginable riches, and deadly secrets, three teenagers in Mystic Falls, Virginia enter a torrid love triangle that will span eternity.

Brothers Stefan and Damon Salvatore are inseparable until they meet Katherine, a stunning, mysterious woman who turns their world upside down. Siblings turned rivals, the Salvatores compete for Katherine’s affection, only to discover that her sumptuous silk dresses and glittering gems hide a terrible secret: Katherine is a vampire. And she is intent on turning them into vampires so they can live together—forever.

(This one I got for emailing Waterstones extremely fast when they were giving away 10 copies on Twitter)


Borrowed from the awesome Emma at Asamum Booktopia 

Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: 6th January 2011

Though he lives in the small town of Gentry, Mackie comes from a world of tunnels and black, murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattoed princess. He is a replacement - left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago when it was stolen away by the fey. Now, because of fatal allergies to iron, blood and consecrated ground, Mackie is slowly dying in the human world. Mackie would give anything just to be normal, to live quietly amongst humans, practice his bass guitar and spend time with his crush, Tate. But when Tate's baby sister goes missing, Mackie is drawn irrevocably into the underworld of Gentry, known as Mayhem, where he must face down the dark creatures and find his rightful place - in our world, or theirs.

So that's what I got this week? Are any of these your favourites?!

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Hex Hall - Rachel Hawkins

Hex Hall is the first book in the series of the same name by debut author, Rachel Hawkins. It was released in the UK on 1st April 2010 by Simon and Schuster Children’s and it is 336 pages long.

Plot
Sophie Mercer is a teenage witch, even if she isn’t a very good one. After a love spell gone terribly wrong after trying to help out a fellow classmate, Sophie finds herself in big trouble. Although she didn’t know it before, there is a place for people like Sophie who get into trouble with their powers. Hex Hall is a reform school for witches, faeries, shifters and one lonely vampire aka Prodigium.

On her first day, Sophie manages to make enemies of three of the most popular and powerful witches in the school, annoy a seriously hot boy and become the roommate of the only vampire enrolled. Students soon start being attacked and the number one suspect is Sophie’s roommate. There is more to these attacks than everyone thinks and it looks like Sophie has a lot to learn before she can figure out who is behind it all.

What I thought
I had been torn about buying this book for quite a while as I wasn’t sure that I was going to like it. Luckily, I managed to pick it up in a 3 for 2 offer in W H Smiths a few weeks back and there wasn’t really anything else that I wanted as my free book. Now, I wish I had bought it a lot sooner as it was better than I had expected.

It’s very rare that I truly like all of the characters in a book but Hawkins wrote them all so well that I couldn’t help but love them. Even the ones I was supposed to hate had something about them that made me like them that little bit more than I probably should have. There were a couple of teachers that I thought were pretty harsh to begin with but then I realised that they had their own reasons for being the way they were.

I really loved Sophie and I felt for her in the situation she had been forced into. When she arrives at Hex Hall, she really isn’t a very good witch and has a problem carrying out even the simplest of spells, which doesn’t go down well with the other witches in the school. Sophie was raised by her human mother who was no help with her magic at all so it wasn’t surprising that she didn’t know everything that she was supposed to. As she was completely out of her element, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her and hope that she got better and quickly.

Another thing that I liked about Sophie was that she wasn’t about to bow down to anyone else and do what they wanted just so that she would fit in. Elodie and the mean girl witches tried their hardest to get Sophie to join their coven but knowing what they were like, she continuingly says no because she knows what kind of girls they really are. Jenna (the lesbian vampire roommate) is probably the most hated girl in school but Sophie is determined to stick by her and believe that she is innocent. Jenna was a great addition to the story and I loved how funny she was. A teenage vampire that is completely girly and addicted to pink (in any way possible) was a bit of a shock to me but she ended up being one of my favourites.

Archer Cross was a fabulous main male character. There was a certain air of mystery about him the whole way through the story and I was never completely sure what to make of him. His intentions seem real at some parts but then at others, he seems like a different person, making me not want to trust him. The end of the book saw Archer in a kind of purgatory and Hawkins left us guessing as to what happens to him. I really hope in future books he makes another appearance and that I finally get to know what he is really all about. Archer Cross is hot, mysterious and seems like he can really kick ass! What more could you ask for?

The story was so much better than I had been expecting and I was hooked within a couple of pages. Sophie and the world of Prodigium drew me in straight away and I wanted to know more about how all of these different people were going to get along, being forced in a school together. I was so happy to see that each different species I guess you would call it were like cliques in high school. The faeries didn’t like the witches and the witches didn’t like the shifters…you get my meaning.

The dialogue is witty and humorous throughout and exactly what I would expect from teenagers. Don’t take that as a bad thing though, even if I make it sound like it was too predictable. Hawkins managed to make these teenagers seem as real as possible while taking into account their special abilities and powers. I would definitely expect to see teenage witches trying to make the most beautiful dresses with their magic because after all, that is probably the kind of thing I would be doing.

Hex Hall is a fabulous debut novel and I cannot wait for more from Rachel Hawkins. I loved this book so much that I read it in one sitting because I couldn’t put it down. If you haven’t been sure about this one like me then I urge you to give it a try. I highly recommend this one!

Friday, 22 October 2010

Hush, Hush - Becca Fitzpatrick

Hush, Hush is the debut novel from Becca Fitzpatrick. It was released in Hardback on 29th October 2009 by Simon & Schuster Children's and it is 400 pages long.

Plot
Nora isn't looking forward to Biology, especially when she realises that it is time for sex education. Luckily for Nora, she always sits next to her best friend Vee but today, her teacher has other ideas in mind. Everyone in the class must swap partners and Nora gets stuck with Patch, the transfer kid who never seems to get involved. Their task is to get to know as much as possible but Patch already seems to know a hell of a lot about Nora. In contrast, Nora has only just learnt Patch's name and he isn't willing to share anything else. Throughout the lesson, Patch tells Nora to call him, indicating that it is the only way that she is going to get any answers but she's freaked out by him and in her head, refuses to call him.

Later that night though, curiosity gets the better of Nora. She wants answers. Patch tells Nora that he's out playing pool so she takes it upon herself to go down there and talk to him even though she's terrified. Nora knows there is something different about Patch and she wants to know how he knows so much about her.

While all of this is going on, strange things are happening to Nora. She's hearing Patch in her head when he isn't there and Vee thinks that Patch is stalking Nora to try to scare her. Even though Patch comes across as the bad guy, Nora's instincts tell her otherwise and she begins to point the finger at another new kid in school. She's going to have to learn to trust Patch before he tells her everything.

My Thoughts
The cover of the book was what drew me to this one. It is silver with a picture of a falling angel with black wings. I instantly thought that it looked interesting and different to anything else I have read. With the paperback being released this year, I am glad that I got the hardback for once because it is a lot nicer looking.

Nora is really likable as the main female character. I don't normally like female leads because they are often whiney and get on my nerves but Nora wasn't like this at all and I loved her. Even though she is very smart and pretty from the sounds of the description, she doesn't have much self confidence. Her best friend, Vee, is stunning and Nora doesn't think that she can compare. She can be strong and confident when she wants to be though. Alarm bells immediately start to ring in Nora's head when she thinks Patch likes her and everything tells her to stay away from him but she just cant seem to help herself, showing her weaker side. I really liked when she starts admitting to herself that she likes Patch because it shows a different side to her character.

Patch is the bad boy that is arrogant, cocky and absolutely full of himself . You really don't want to like him but you just cant help yourself. There is just something about him that draws you in. That is how I felt to begin with anyway. Once the story started to reveal itself, I found myself really warming to him and thinking his cockiness was actually pretty hot. The only problem that I had with Patch was that he wasn't developed enough for my liking. I wanted to know a lot more about his past and what he had been through for him to act the way that he does. I think that this kind of information will come out in the next two books in the series so I just hope that there will be enough of it.

There is a huge amount of chemistry between Nora and Patch. I really enjoyed the banter between the two even though it was quite clear that Nora was going to give in sooner or later. The way that Nora pushes Patch away to begin with was great because it makes a change for the main female to not be so girly and soppy when it comes to a guy. Although this couple have a lot of chemistry, it felt like that's all it was at times. I never really felt completely convinced that it was going to be anywhere near love because their lust overpowered everything else at times. I would have liked their relationship to be a bit more tender and soft at times (never thought I would say that!) just to mix things up a little bit.

The story moves along at quite a quick pace all of the way through. There always seemed to be something exciting happening but each time, just when you think you know what was about to happen, it puts doubts in your mind. One of the best things about the plot for me was the amount of times that the setting changed. There are so many books where the setting stays the same most of the way through so I really liked this difference. The descriptons of these different settings were very clear and vivid, making me feel as though I was there myself. I'm not sure I would have liked to go to the sleazy pool hall but it still sounded exciting from a 'from afar' kind of view!

Hush, Hush was one of the first books that I ever read in this genre and one that made me realise just how much there was on offer. It has so much to offer; plot twists, turns, passion, and excitment. The second book in the series, Crescendo has just been released and I hope it is every bit as fabulous as Hush, Hush!

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (#18)

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

Of Witches and Warlocks: Blood of the White Witch (Book 3)
Lacey Weatherford
US release: Late Oct/ Early November 2010

Synopsis:

When love came knocking on the door of novice witch, Portia Mullins, in the form of handsome bad boy, Vance Mangum, she had no idea how quickly the attraction between them would escalate. Now she finds her relationship with Vance taken to a whole new level, in a way she had never dreamed possible at this point and time of her life. Yet even as the personal connection between them explodes, the two quickly find themselves in a world of shifting balances.

While searching for Vance’s missing mother, they realize they are suddenly unsure of who to trust, learning that sometimes things are not always as they appear. When Vance’s demon characteristics abruptly begin to resurface again without warning, the horrible truth comes out, crashing down upon them and shattering some of their most precious dreams. Once the deadly secret is uncovered, Portia and Vance find themselves hastily rushing against the hands of time in an attempt to stop an ancient ritual from being performed. But will they be successful before fate reaches out to twist them cruelly, possibly separating them and changing magic forever? Passion, loyalties, powers, and family ties, will all be tested when dangerous adventures abound in this third installment in the Of Witches and Warlocks series, Blood of the White Witch.

Lacey's series, Of Witches and Warlocks has been my favourite new series of the year and it is home to my all time favourite bad boy, Vance Magnum. If you aren't familiar with him yet then you should be! He isn't someone that you would want to miss out on.

I know I have already posted a review of this book but the reason I'm using it as my WoW is because I can't wait for the final finished copy!

Finding Sky Blog Tour - Interview with Joss Stirling


Today is the first stop on the blog tour for Joss Stirling's Finding Sky. I am so happy to have an interview with Joss on the blog today. Enjoy :D

Where did your research for 'Finding Sky' take you?

Colorado and Las Vegas. I loved the first – the mountains are spectacular. I saw most of it from the train which crosses the Rockies from Grand Junction to Denver. Las Vegas I disliked intensely, though I admit to a horrified fascination with the artificial world created in a desert. Sky has picked up some of my feelings.

What was the most enjoyable part of researching abroad and where did you enjoy the most?

Meeting Americans on a ranch in the Rockies – we had cook-outs and hayrides and lots of riding right up above the tree line in the mountains. It wasn’t ski-ing season – which is just as well because I would be about as good as Sky at that.

You went white water rafting, did you put your own feelings into what Sky experienced?

No, because I loved the rafting, expertly led by our golden Viking of a guide, Travis. By contrast, Sky has a difficult time and comes out feeling very angry. I was inspired to write the episode of her going overboard as we did get involved in a serious rescue situation when another party of fairly elderly people capsized in a rapid. Our boat helped pull one lady out – she was shaken and grazed much like Sky.

During your research, was there anything that affected the way you wrote the story or where it ended up?

Definitely. I had sketched it out in my imagination before I went, but Las Vegas in particular felt different from how I had assumed it to be. My villain changed as a result – less mafia boss, more dodgy business man with an orange tan like some notable figures in Vegas that I could mention – but won’t – in case they sue!

Did you have any problems changing from the way British people speak to American and did you learn a lot about different sayings etc while researching?

I tried hard to get it right but I expect I hit a few bum notes. I always spot mistakes if I read a book by an American set in England so I don’t imagine I’ll escape as I’ve dared the vice versa scenario. One area of difficulty is that many English teens pick up US terms from TV so there is no absolute divide between the languages. I did ask an American friend about the rules and language of baseball so I think that is correct (‘inning’ not ‘innings’ Old Bean). Any help from real Americans is welcome so I don’t fall in to the same bear traps again! Guys, I tried – honest!

Did you take any character traits for Sky and Zed from people you met while you were researching?

I don’t borrow real people for my books – the characters were themselves from the start. Zed of course is the boy I would’ve liked to go out with at High School, but to be honest, I don’t think anyone to match him existed in Essex where I grew up!

I loved the idea of Savants and soulfinders. Where did the inspiration for this come from?

I knew I didn’t want to write about vampires, werewolves, angels – all done to death (and after death) at the moment. So what else leads in to those dark gothic areas that you need for this kind of story? I decided the hidden world of extra-sensory perception was the way to go for me as it has the intimate side of telepathy combined with the battle zone of extra powers where good can fight evil. It’s a kind of grown up magic, isn’t it?

And the idea of soulfinders plays on ‘the one for you’ idea that has been around as long as we’ve had romance in our souls. I liked the concept that you got a gift – your power – but with a massive price tag: your other half is out there somewhere but you had to find him or her. Not everyone succeeds and that leads to bitterness and some very dark places in the soul, but if love wins out, then the gains are even greater by contrast.


I was really interested in the different gifts that Zed's family had. Will we be hearing from any of Zed's brothers in the future?

Oh yes. Next one up is Yves – the hot Harry Potterish one. I’m looking forward to finding the wild child in our restrained bookish Benedict. His soulfinder is suitably out of control and in need of him – the fireworks are going to fly!

Massive thanks to Joss for answering my questions! I can't wait for the next book in this series and to find out more about Zed's brothers as well as meeting Joss on the 27th.

The next stop on the tour is at Girls Without A Bookshelf tomorrow (21st October) so be sure to check it out!

Monday, 18 October 2010

Beauty - Robin McKinley

Beauty is a retelling of the classic tale of Beauty and the Beast by Robin McKinley. It was released on 4th March 2004 by Corgi Childrens and it is 259 pages long.

Plot
The Beauty in this story isn't actually called that. Her real name is Honour. As a child, she decided that she didn't really like her name and picked her nickname, Beauty, herself and it stuck. Unlike her sisters, she doesn't think that she is actually beautiful and thinks she is the plain sister out of the three. She is also not very girly and likes reading and horses rather than being interested in finding a man to marry.

When her fathers shipping business has problems, they family are forced to sell nearly everything they own. They put together their money with one of Beauty's sisters' fiancé and move away to the country. Although things are hard to begin with, everyone learns to cope but then their father goes away on a trip to make some more money. He is away for months and months but when he returns, he does so with treasures for everyone and the most beautiful rose for Beauty. As one of the petals falls, it turns into gold and Beauty wants to know why. Her father begins to explain to the family about his trip.

On the way back home, he got lost in the woods in the middle of a storm and stumbled across a huge castle. It seemed that no one was home but the doors opened themselves and let him in. There, he recovered for the night and set off to get home. As he is leaving the castle though, he sees the amazing garden, full of perfect roses and harmlessly picks one for his daughter. As he does, the owner of the castle, the Beast, roars and demands to know why. The Beast has shown nothing but hospitality and he is repaid with selfishness and greed. The Beast makes a deal that either he can give up his life for picking the rose or his daughter can come to the castle in his place in order to save his life. Beauty agrees to go to the castle in his place but when she gets there, she realises that everything is not as it seems and the Beast really isn't one at all.

What I thought
What I loved about this one was that we got to know about Beauty's family and the reasons behind why she had to go live with the Beast. She showed a lot of courage when she told her father that she would go to the castle to save his life. She is very determined to get what she wants and firmly believes that she is doing the right thing. Some have said that Beauty is too obsessed with how she looks but I don't think this was how it was at all. She doesn't think she is beautiful at all, she thinks she is quite plain and boring but she really doesn't mind. Beauty seems happy enough in her own world of books and learning that she doesn't yearn to be like her sisters. I would have liked it if at the end of the story, she gave up a bit more of a fight when she realises that her looks have changed but I wasn't too opposed to that part.

The Beast isn't the same as he is in the Disney film at all. The basics to his story are still the same, like the fact that he has a curse put upon him and it will take something spectacular to break it. He tells Beauty's father that he will never harm her so she isn't particularly scared of him at any point. He is very wary about spending time with Beauty at times because of what he is and the things that she believes in. It was so interesting to watch Beast grow and become more human by the day when Beauty makes him do things like turn his own pages of a book and eat things that she does.

I felt like this version of the story was a lot more magical than I had expected. Unlike in the film where the household items became enchanted too, they were invisible this time and that added a whole lot of mystery. You have no real idea who or what is doing everything around the house apart from when Beauty begins to hear the voices. She knows that something is going on but cant figure out what she has to do.

The only thing that I didn't like about the story was the fact that from the first time Beast meets Beauty, he asks her to marry him and continues to do so every single day. I understand that time was running out and he needed to get her to fall in love with him but he didn't even give her any time at all to get to know him. This would have annoyed me more than anything else and I would have wanted to spend less time with him instead of more.

Overall, this is an amazing story that has a lot more depth and wonder than the original. I'm not quite sure what age range this is aimed at but I am 24 and I loved it.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

In My Mailbox (#17)

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

For Review

Matched - Ally Condie (UK Proof/ ARC)
Publisher: Puffin
Release Date: 2nd December 2010

Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s barely any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one . . . until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow—between perfection and passion.

Won

Entangled - Cat Clarke (UK Proof/ ARC)
Publisher: Quercus
Release Date: 6th January 2011

The same questions whirl round and round in my head:

What does he want from me?

How could I have let this happen?

AM I GOING TO DIE?

17-year-old Grace wakes up in a white room, with table, pens and paper - and no clue how she got here.

As Grace pours her tangled life onto the page, she is forced to remember everything she's tried to forget. There's falling hopelessly in love with the gorgeous Nat, and the unravelling of her relationship with her best friend Sal. But there's something missing. As hard as she's trying to remember, is there something she just can't see?

Grace must face the most important question of all. Why is she here?

Bought


This one really needs no explaining. I found this in The Works for the bargain price of £3.99 and I couldn't not buy it. It will take me a long time to get around to reading this because I have so much else that comes first but I did have a quick flick through and it's very pretty!

Although I didn't get that much this week, Matched and Engtangled were 2 books that I was dying for. That easily makes up for not getting more books this week. If you have read either or both, which should I read first??

Finding Sky Blog Tour

I am so excited to be a part of this tour that's starting in a couple of days time! I loved Finding Sky and can't wait to meet Joss at an event on the 27th October. Here is what's going on for the tour so make sure to check out the posts. It starts on 20th October right here on Heaven, Hell and Purgatory!


Saturday, 16 October 2010

Infinite Days - Rebecca Maizel

Infinite Days is the debut novel by Rebecca Maizel and it was released on 3rd September 2010 by Macmillan Children's Books and it is 400 pages long.

Plot
Lenah Beaudonte is a 500 year old vampire. She has no morals, no humanity left in her at all and doesn’t care who she kills to be able to feed. Along with Lenah is a powerful coven of vampires who she handpicked to join her. At least that’s who she was, until her lover Rhode performed an extremely dangerous ritual to turn her back into a human.

Now very much alive in the present day, Lenah is human once again and back to being a teenage girl. The life ahead of her is so very far away from any kind of life that she knew before and she’s going to have a lot to learn. Rhode enrolled Lenah in a prestigious boarding school and even though she isn’t a vampire anymore, she still gets a large amount of attention. While being buried, preparing to become human again, Lenah left behind her powerful coven and she knows the day that they will come looking for her is fast approaching. Will she be able to fit into this very strange life and hide away from the vampires she once called friends before they come to destroy her?

What I thought
The whole idea behind the story was a very interesting one and something I had never heard about before, which is what drew me to this book. In no other book have I heard about vampires being able to become human again so I was really excited to learn how this was done. It was good to see that not every vampire could do this and that it was extremely dangerous to try to perform the ritual. When Lenah becomes human again, she is a teenage girl who has been out of society for a very long time. There are some funny moments when it comes to Lenah figuring out new technology and what else is new in the world. I imagine it would have been very confusing for her, waking up and not having any idea about what is happening in the world. Not only that, but Lenah had never been to a modern day high school before so this was going to take a lot of getting used to.

Another thing that I liked about the vampires in this story was the fact that there was no good and bad side. All vampires are bad in this case and Lenah’s past is proof of that. The reasons behind the evilness were well explained and I thought they were very believable. These vampires lose everything about their human selves once they are turned so there is no humanity or soul to keep them away from being truly bad.

I really liked the fact that I got to learn about Lenah’s time with her coven and how she met Rhode and Vicken. These parts of the story were really interesting and gave me the chance to find out who Lenah really is, or was in this case. I love to know at least a little bit of history behind a character so this really worked for me. Lenah’s coven were made out to be extremely dangerous but when the time came to meet them, it was all over far too quickly and I didn’t believe they were that powerful after all. I would have liked to have seen a bit more action and conflict between Lenah and her coven to make this more believable.

I just didn’t love the relationship between Lenah and Justin. To me, it didn’t feel real at all and I couldn’t really believe what was going on between them. I think my main problem was that they didn’t really have any time at all to get to know each other. As soon as Lenah arrives at school, Justin is extremely quick to drop his current girlfriend who he seem to have been with for a while. This aspect of the book was one seen all too often. I really never believe that a couple can fall madly in love without even knowing the simplest of things about each other. I would have liked to have seen a lot more interaction between the two, rather than to read about the time Lenah spent with Tony. Although their friendship was nice, it didn’t seem all that important to the story at times.

One of my favourite characters was Rhode, even though he isn’t really around that much. The idea of him and his morals, even as a vampire, were really interesting and I would have loved to have seen what he would do in Lenah’s situation. I never thought I would say this about a vampire but Rhode is a true sweetheart and made me melt a little bit.

I hate to say it, because I was really looking forward to this one, but I didn’t love Infinite Days at all. There were quite a lot of good points for me but also quite a few bad points. The story moved along at quite a slow pace for a long time and I never felt like anything great or exciting was going to happen. Unfortunately, this book fell short of my expectations.
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