Thursday, 31 March 2011

The Demon's Covenant by Sarah Rees Brennan

The Demon's Covenant by Sarah Rees Brennan
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
ISBN: 978-1-4169-6381-3
Pages: 448
Mae always thought she was in control, but in the past few weeks, control has turned into chaos. She's learned that her brother Jamie has magical powers and that Gerald, the new leader of the Obsidian Circle, is trying to persuade Jamie to join the magicians. The same magicians who tried to kill Mae and Jamie last month in London. The magicians who get their power by feeding people to demons. 
Mae turns to brothers Nick and Alan to help her rescue Jamie, but they are in danger themselves. Every magician in England now knows what Nick really is - and they all want him dead.  
Nick's new power has also caused a rift between the brothers. In the weeks they were gone something terrible happened, something that haunts them both. With Nick as unreadable as ever and Alan making secret bargains with a demon, Mae finds herself attracted to both brothers - though she knows she can't trust either of them. The magicians are closing in on one side and the dangerous, seductive Goblin Market is tempting her on the other, and Mae has to form her own plan to save them all. She's going to find that the price she must pay is more than she ever imagined.
The covenant is binding. There is no escape.
If you liked The Demon's Lexicon, you'll love The Demon's Covenant. It's got everything that made the first book glow, plus more!

I love the dark and gritty world that has been created in this series. The places you encounter and the groups of people that you meet while reading are just so realistic that you really feel as if you've been transported into the story!

I really felt closer to Nick and Alan in this book. Having Mae's thoughts on them completely re-shaped some of my previous notions. Nick in particular was really interesting to read about from Mae's perspective in this book. I know, I know - he's a demon, he's supposed to be evil, yada yada yada. I am physically incapable of hating him! Quite the contrary, my heart broke for him seeing how hard he tried to be good. I am really looking forward to seeing how he overcomes that barrier (if he does at all, that is) in the next book.

Brennan is an evil mastermind! Once again, she had me frantically flipping the pages to try and work out the tangled plot - it never worked! I was surprised (a lot) but I found myself loving every minute of it.

Finally, the actual writing is spectacular. Everything flows nicely even when the book is shooting off in a million different directions and there's a perfect balance of dark action and relieving humour.

Another heart-wrenching ending! I can't wait for the next book, The Demon's Surrender (Spring 2011).

Cover Comments: Very pretty! I really like the way Mae (or rather, the model that's supposed to be her) holds herself in that pose. It looks very elegant, very real and very ballet. This deep knowledge of ballet, of course, comes from the 4 months I spent teaching it to girls from ages 5-12. Translation? Don't listen to a word that comes out of my mouth about ballet - I have no idea what I'm saying. It's still a pretty cover though!    

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (3)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. The purpose of the event is to spotlight the upcoming releases that readers are most looking forward to.

This week, I've chosen...

The Goddess Test by Aimée Carter

Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: April 26, 2011
Every girl who has taken the test has failed.
Now it's Kate's turn.
It's always been just Kate and her mom--and now her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won't live past the fall.

Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld--and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.

Kate is sure he's crazy--until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride, and a goddess.

If she fails...
(Summary taken from Aimée Carter's website).

So, anyone that knows me can tell you I love Greek myths. It's becoming a theme that's explored more and more in YA lit. and I for one am not complaining! I love all these mythology-based stories floating around and The Goddess Test looks amazing.

The idea of having to go through seven different trials to become Queen of the Underworld is so interesting! I'm really curious to see how the new take on the story of Hades and Persephone (one of my favourites, by the way) plays out.

Aside from the story (which I'm sure will be great!) I just love the cover. All of it is just stunning and I can't wait to hold a finished copy.

The last thing that draws me to this book is that blurb from Cassandra Clare. As if I wasn't eager enough to read it!

Shall we officially re-name April 'month of awesome'? I think we might just have to.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton

Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton

Publisher: Simon Pulse
ISBN: 9781442409248
Pages: 288

Ari can't help feeling lost and alone. With teal eyes and freakish silver hair that can't be changed or destroyed, Ari has always stood out. And after growing up in foster care, she longs for some understanding of where she came from and who she is.
Her search for answers uncovers just one message from her long dead mother: Run. Ari can sense that someone, or something, is getting closer than they should. But it's impossible to protect herself when she doesn't know what she's running from or why she is being pursued.
She knows only one thing: she must return to her birthplace of New 2, the lush rebuilt city of New Orleans. Upon arriving, she discovers that New 2 is very... different. Here, Ari is seemingly normal. But every creature she encounters, no matter how deadly or horrifying, is afraid of her.
Ari won't stop until she knows why. But some truths are too haunting, too terrifying, to ever be revealed.
Anyone looking for a different kind of action-packed, mythology story should definitely check this out!
Darkness Becomes Her was just unique in so many aspects. There was the kick-butt heroine, eccentric group of friends, constant action and even the twist you don't see coming.
Ari Selkirk, the main character, shows she's capable of handling herself from page one. I really liked that, throughout the book, she could take care of herself and didn't need to play the part of the damsel in distress to get attention.
I think my favourite character in the book was Violet, one of the kids from New 2. There was just something really appealing about her character; she was sweet, curious and had an obsession with masks - what more could you want?
I didn't actually realize that this book was mythology-based until about halfway through. It hits you fast and hard and I, at least, definitely liked the surprise. It's a different story than the typical ones being explored and even that has a unique twist. Like I said before, the story is jam-packed with action, making for a quick and satisfying read.
If I have one complaint about the book, it's the one I've heard around the blogosphere. Ari and Sebastian meet and it feels like five minutes later; they're kissing. I was a little startled at the quickness of that but at the same time, it wasn't as if they were declaring their undying love for each other. They were just, you know, making out. The relationship smoothes itself out better through the course of the story and I really liked it by the end of the book.   
All in all, a very pleasing read!
Cover Comments: TRESS! And a throne! I definitely like this cover. It has just the right amount of creepy and the font is pretty. It looks like something I'd be in interested in from the cover alone.

Monday, 28 March 2011

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Publisher: Dutton Books
ISBN: 9780142415436
Pages: 272
Mia had everything: a loving family, a gorgeous, adoring boyfriend, and a bright future full of music and full of choices. Then, in an instant, almost all of that is taken from her. Caught between life and death, between a happy past and an unknowable future, Mia spends one critical day contemplating the one decision she has left - the most important decision she'll ever make.   
Simultaneously tragic and hopeful, this is a romantic, riveting and ultimately uplifting story about memory, music, living, dying, loving.
This book was AMAZING. For starters, the characters were all so fabulous that I feel like they should all have their seperate review. Unfortunately, I really don't have the time or patience for that (and I doubt you do either!) so I'll just gush all at once. I loved just about everyone in the book: Mia, her family, Kim, Willow, the nurses... you name it. However, the one that I especially adored was Adam.

How great is he? Maybe it's just me (doubt that) but I seriously want one. He's sweet, funny, confident, the lead singer and guitarist in a band and just my kind of guy all-around.

Outside of the characters, Forman's writing was just excellent. The novel was highly compelling and the story flowed with a beautiful ease. I really liked the style of the story with the flashbacks where certain characters were showcased because I felt like with each one, we got closer to the character at hand.

Finally, Mia and Adam's story. I know, I know - I said I was done with characters, but I couldn't resist! Although lots of other themes are no doubt explored, I felt as if their love story was the major foundation for the book.

I wish I could pinpoint more exactly what it was that I loved about this book but for now, you'll have to settle for... everything. Wow.
Cover Comments: I like it… I don’t love it but it’s a nice and simple cover. I like the question that they have under the title and the smoky colour scheme. I’m really not loving the review that they chose to blurb on the front about Twilight because the books to me were universes apart. That said, I do understand how great of a marketing tool it is. Overall, not one of my favourites but still likeable.   

Sunday, 27 March 2011

The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan

The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Nick and his brother, Alan, have spent their lives on the run from magic. Their father was murdered, and their mother was driven mad by magicians and the demons who give them power. The magicians are hunting the Ryves family for a charm that Nick's mother stole - a charm that keeps her alive - and they want it badly enough to kill again.

Danger draws even closer when a brother and sister come to the Ryves family for help. The boy wears a demon's mark, a sign of death that almost nothing can erase... and when Alan also gets marked by a demon, Nick is desperate to save him. The only way to do that is to kill one of the magicians they have been hiding from for so long.

Ensnared in a deadly game of cat and mouse, Nick starts to suspect that his brother is telling him lie after lie about their past. As the magicians' Circle closes in on their family, Nick uncovers the secret that could destroy them all.
Okay, so obviously when I was going on about the lack of close sibling relationships in books, I just wasn't looking hard enough because The Demon's Lexicon just might contain my favourite so far. Nick and Alan, two polar opposites, are the best things in each other's lives and will do whatever it takes to secure the other's safety.

The book was just stunning from every angle. New surprises can be unearthed at any given moment, keeping your eyes fixed on the page as you race through the story to discover the well-concealed truths of the mystery.

Not only that, but I came to love both Nick and Alan as well as Mae and Jamie. With dangerous Nick, kind and sensitive Alan, fearless Mae and witty Jamie, there is never a dull moment. Mae is a symbol of strength and I'm eager to begin reading from the perspective of such a strong heroine in the sequel.

The shattering conclusion of The Demon's Lexicon brought the book to a screeching halt and I'm stoked to start the next one.

A truly beautiful book and a definite must-read!

Cover Comments: Um... it's Nick. How could I not be head over heels for the cover?

Friday, 25 March 2011

Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles

Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles
Publisher: Walker & Company

Carlos Fuentes idolized his older brother, Alex, when he was a member of the Latino Blood. So when Alex chose to get jumped out of the gang for a chance at a future with his gringa girlfriend, Brittany, Carlos felt shocked and betrayed. Even worse, Alex forced Carlos to come back from Mexico to join him on the straight and narrow path. Trouble is, Carlos just wants to keep living on the edge. And ties to his Mexican gang aren't easy to break, even hundreds of miles away in Colorado.
In Boulder, Carlos has to live with one of Alex's college professors and he feels completely out of place. He's even more thrown by his strong feelings for the professor's daughter, Kiara, who is nothing like the girls he's usually drawn to. But Carlos and Kiara soon discover that in matters of the heart, the rules of attraction overpower the social differences that conspire to keep them apart.
I've been looking forward to reading this book ever since I finished Perfect Chemistry a few months back. Rules of Attraction did not disappoint!
I really liked Kiara's personality. I can't help but admire a strong female lead and Kiara definitely fits the role. She was confident, adventurous and not afraid to get her hands dirty. In other words, she was exactly what Carlos needed to bring him back down to earth. I'm not saying that she was perfect or that she had everything in her life figured out because she absolutely did still get insecure about fitting in. In the end, however, she overcame it all and came out strong.
Carlos, admittedly, made me laugh. While I still personally prefer his older brother Alex, Carlos had a sincerely sweet side that I loved to see come out under his egotistical one. He grew up a lot during the story and into someone he could be proud of. I liked seeing what Kiara had to do with that and how she could challenge and irk him like no other.
Finally, Tuck. He was hilarious! He was also a great friend and just the kind of guy you'd want to hang out with. 
Now, I really like the way that Simone Elkeles is able to weave together romance and danger while still keeping the story intense, addicting and believable. The progression of the story from start to end moves forward at a comfortable pace with no stops. Even with the similarities between the two elder Fuentes brothers, the story was fresh and new.
I am really looking forward to Luis' story but sad that the trilogy will be coming to an end. I will genuinely miss these characters. Excellent, excellent book!
Cover Comments: I really like how the rain looks on the cover, just shimmering on the page and forming a sort of sphere around Carlos and Kiara. The blurred title is cool too and I'm glad that the cover matches its companion. Overall, the cover does a good job of matching what is to come in the story. Nice cover!  

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Booking Through Thursday (2)

This week's Booking Through Thursday question is...
Series? Or Stand-alone books?
Well, it really depends on the book. I feel like every book being published nowadays is part of a series which gets really irritating when it doesn't need to be. A lot of the times, a series will just drag on where it could have fitted much better into a single book. I also feel as if random problems are casually thrown in just so an excuse for another book can be made.

On the other hand, I love a lot of series and sometimes, they need to be series. Like, can you imagine if Harry Potter had been just the one book? It still would have been great but it works a million times better as a seven-part series.

I think that most of the time, I prefer series because we get to learn more about the characters, setting, theme, whatever. Plus, if I like the book/writing/author, I get more to read!

The Final Verdict: Even though a series can be completely unnecessary sometimes, I generally prefer it to a stand-alone book.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (2)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. The purpose of the event is to spotlight the upcoming releases that readers are most looking forward to.

This week, I've chosen...

Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Publisher: Dutton
Release Date: April 5, 2011

It’s been three years since the devastating accident … three years since Mia walked out of Adam’s life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Julliard’s rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia’s home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future—and each other.

Told from Adam’s point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.
(Summary taken from Gayle Forman's website).

I loved If I Stay. By love, I mean that after I finished the book, I lay on my bed and just stared. The only thing I could say was "wow." I am definitely looking forward to reading something else by Forman after that amazing read!

To be honest, I was terrified when I heard there was going to be a sequel. The ending of If I Stay was perfect in my mind and the thought of more being added to the story was a little (a lot) scary. I'm feeling a lot better now that I've heard such positive things from those that have read ARCs of the book. Now, I'm mostly just excited! I have faith in Gayle Forman.

I'm even more excited to be reading from Adam's point of view - ADAM! How great was he?

Really, April 5th - any day now... 

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong

The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong
Publisher: HarperTeen
ISBN: 978-0-06-166276-8
Pages: 357

If you had met me a few weeks ago, you probably would have described me as an average teenage girl - someone normal. Now my life has changed forever and I'm as far away from normal as it gets. A living science experiment - not only can I see ghosts, but I was genetically altered by a sinister organization called the Edison Group. What does that mean? For starters, I'm a teenage necromancer whose powers are out of control; I raise the dead without even trying. Trust me, that is not a power you want to have. Ever.

Now I'm running for my life with three of my supernatural friends - a charming sorcerer, a cynical werewolf, and a disgruntled witch - and we have to find someone who can help us before the Edison Group finds us first. Or die trying.

Well, it's official. The Summoning has been bumped down to the number two spot on my (very short) list of favourites by Kelley Armstrong with this one taking the lead. It was terrific to see how the cast of characters from the previous book functioned outside of Lyle House.

I didn't get to speak much about Chloe, the main character and narrator, in my last review but I liked the consistency within both books of how her director side shines through even after all that she's been through.
No matter what changes in her life, I like to think that she still analyzes situations in that way.

In this book, we get to know Derek and Simon a lot better and my feelings for both of them have definitely intensified.* I wish there had been more of an emphasis on all of the 'experiments' developping their powers a bit more because I really liked the parts that did showcase that but I'm excited to hear about it in the next book.

This book is greatly recommended! It has a good share, for sure, of nail-biting moments that were well-executed and even more to love than the first book of the trilogy. Overall, a stellar read!

Cover Comments: I definitely like this cover even more than the first! The picture of the gem was my only complaint on the last book but its larger now and stands out more. I also like the contrast of the red and the blue together; very pretty. Just as with The Summoning, I like the model's hair a lot (the rest of her too!) even if I don't see how it matches Chloe in the story. Ah, well - details.


Monday, 21 March 2011

The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

Publisher: HarperTeen
ISBN: 978-0-06-166269-0
Pages: 390

My name is Chloe Saunders and my life will never be the same again.

All I wanted was to make friends, meet boys, and keep on being ordinary. I don't even know what that means anymore. It all started on the day that I saw my first ghost - and the ghost saw me.

Now there are ghosts everywhere and they won't leave me alone. To top it all off, I somehow got myself locked up in Lyle House, a "special home" for troubled teens. Yet the home isn't what it seems. Don't tell anyone, but I think there might be more to my housemates than meets the eye. The question is, whose side are they on? It's up to me to figure out the dangerous secrets behind Lyle House... before its skeletons come back to haunt me.
The Summoning was an all-around amazing read. I really didn't know where the story was going at any given point of the book. Just when I started thinking 'yeah, I totally know what's coming up next,' the shaky grip I'd thought I had on the plot was wrenched from my hands, taking a turn in a new and unexpected direction. I loved it!

There wasn't a guy that I particularly loved in this book (trust me, that doesn't happen often to me) but the relationship between Simon and Derek was great. Right from the opening pages that they made their first appearances in, you knew that they would do anything to protect each other. I feel as if the 'sibling love' theme is becoming more and more uncommon in all novels nowadays and it was refreshing to see it present in this one.

All of the characters, really, were diverse with distinct personalities and believable flaws. I hope that we get to see more of all of them in the next books. It's hinted in the end of the book that Tori will make another appearance but while we're speaking of the ending... That was cruel! So much was just left unanswered but thankfully, I have the next book, The Awakening, right beside me just begging to be cracked open.

One more thing before I finish off that I just had to add: Kelley Armstrong is Canadian - bonus!

Cover Comments: I am definitely liking this cover! The fonts that are used work well with the overall theme and stand out to me, just as the necklace does. How pretty is that, by the way? Just what I would have pictured Chloe's necklace as. For some reason, I notice every time I look at the cover how closely the jewel on the necklace and the model's lip colour match. I really doubt that was intentional, but it's cool at the same time. I kind of wish that the necklace had been bigger as it's a great focal point but that's not such a huge deal.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Mini Challenge: My Dream Island Dates

You see this island? This is MY island. On my island, I get to pick at least 5 guests to invite with me as I relax in my beautiful paradise. These guests are characters from books I've read in 2010/2011. The challenge has been issued by A Casual Reader so go check it out!

Alright, my list. It's pretty embarrassing actually but what can I say? It's a good thing so many of my gorgeous boys are multi-talented because it makes me seem like less of a dork I appreciate talent and respect them for their well-honed skills. Anyways! Back on track.

1) Jem Carstairs (The Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare)
Jem is my number one fictional crush of all time. He would listen to all of my whining and help me sort out my problems and just be the sweet, understanding guy he is. On the island, we would relax and get away from any annoying yet gorgeous males we might live with * loud cough*

2) Adam Wilde (If I Stay by Gayle Forman)
In addition to being gorgeous, Adam is charming, has great style and is a rockstar. What more could you possibly want? He could sing to me and play the guitar and write me songs (I don't care what he told Mia - I want a song!). 

3) Evie IDON'TKNOWHERLASTNAME (Paranormalcy by Kiersten White)
While I do love my hot boys, I would probably start to crave some female company after a while. Evie would be great to have on my island! She's girly, funny and kicks butt too so she could help protect me from any invading creatures. We could do lots of girly things together - go shopping (my island is fabulous, no?), do our nails... you get the point. 

4) Puck and Ash (The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa)
I know what you're all thinking but yes, I want both of them. Together. On the same island. Trapped. Stranded. MINE!

Ahem. Anywho, I love them both. Puck could be my personal jester (forget that Oberon guy!) and make me laugh until I cry and Ash could whirl around with his sword and scowl at the sunshine. What about me? Well, I could, you know, look at them. Oh, hey! Grim can come too and make it a real party - sorry Meg.

5) Alan Ryves (The Demon's ... Trilogy by Sarah Rees Brennan)
So, Alan! He could teach me interesting things from a multitude of subjects and be nice just like Jem but more importantly... he can cook for me. You think I'm kidding, huh? That I wouldn't resort to such shallow rudeness. After all, he would be a guest. Sorry to disappoint. Alan can cook well so I need him, please. Of course, he can also relax and just have a good time! It makes me upset how stressful and complicated his life is. As long as he cooks first.


So, that's it! It was fun. I ended up having eight guests but I for some reason stuck three together in the same category.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Fallen by Lauren Kate

Fallen by Lauren Kate

Publisher: Delacorte Press
ISBN: 978-0-385-73893-4
Pages: 452

There's something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori. Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price's attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at Sword & Cross boarding school is Savannah. He's the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are screwups, and security cameras watch every move.

Except Daniel wants nothing do to with Luce - he goes out of his way to make that very clear. But she can't let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, Luce has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret... even if it kills her.

Dangerously exciting and darkly romantic, FALLEN is a page-turning thriller and the ultimate love story.
Loved this one! The story was fast-paced and exciting throughout without a single dull moment.

Fallen captured me from the start with its intriguing prologue. I think the thing that really attracted me to it was how we got to know Daniel before the story in the proper timeframe even began. Even with only a few pages, his personality shines through and I found that I kept flipping back throughout the rest of the book to read certain lines again.

Now, to talk about characters! I'm a character lover and these ones didn't disappoint. I found the main character, Luce, easy to relate to even though the trials she experiences are things I've never had to deal with. The two boys vying for Luce's attention, Daniel and Cam, both had their merits but in my mind, Daniel was the clear winner from the start (the prologue might have helped...).

The ending! Oh, the ending. I'll say this: I wasn't expecting that. It came fast and strong and only added to the mysterious aspect of this entire thrilling love story. The book ends on a high note with lots of room left for future books.

Cover Comments: I have a confession: I love pictures of trees. I don't know why, I just always think that the branches are stunning when captured through a lens. Keeping that in mind, it's easy to guess that I loved this cover as well. The dark colour scheme fits the book really well and I like the model they chose for Luce even if I think her hair should definitely be shorter. The dress is beautiful. Excellent cover!

Other titles from Lauren Kate include: The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove, Torment, Passion (June 14, 2011)

Back in Black! (Just pajamas, actually)

So, update: I'm not dead. I know it's been about a week since my last update but unfortunately (or fortunately? I did have fun...) I was out of town (sort of) with no Internet. I did read lots and write reviews out so now it's just a matter of posting.

The next review should be up... soon. Until then, feel free to entertain yourself by staring unabashedly at these new and beautiful covers!

Oooh! Shiny! Be distracted while I finish the review  Enjoy these lovely literary pieces of art while you wait!

Coming up soon: FALLEN by Lauren Kate review.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Booking Through Thursday (1)

This week's Booking Through Thursday question is...
Do you multi-task when you read? Do other things like stirring things on the stove, brushing your teeth, watching television, knitting, walking, et cetera?

Or is it just me, and you sit and do nothing but focus on what you’re reading?

(Or, if you do both, why, when, and which do you prefer?)
Not usually. Most of the time when I'm reading, I just sit down and read silently, hoping beyond hope that no one will come and disturb me. I find it a lot easier to get lost in the world of the story if I'm not being distracted by things like knitting. However, if you do knit while reading, I applaud you! I simply do not possess enough skill for something like that.

That being said, I find that if I'm really into a story, I will absolutely refuse to let it out of my sight. While sometimes I just have an abundance of time to read while doing nothing else, I also sometimes have to walk, eat and try and function as normally as possible - just with a book.

Another thing is that I try and fit reading time in whenever I can and that usually means I read in the car, on my lunch, and on 'study breaks' (awful idea - it takes hours in these instances for me to finish my 'break'). A lot of the times the TV will be on or some music will be playing but it's in the background and, to be honest, I completely forget about it once I start reading.

In conclusion: Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. When I'm reading, my mind sort of forgets about everything else anyways though.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (1)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. The purpose of the event is to spotlight the upcoming releases that readers are most looking forward to.

Ah! My first WOW. I've thought it was a cool idea since I first heard about it, so... I'm excited to begin. This week, I've chosen...

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release date: April 5, 2011
City of Fallen Angels takes place two months after the events of City of Glass. In it, a mysterious someone’s killing the Shadowhunters who used to be in Valentine’s Circle and displaying their bodies around New York City in a manner designed to provoke hostility between Downworlders and Shadowhunters, leaving tensions running high in the city and disrupting Clary’s plan to lead as normal a life as she can — training to be a Shadowhunter, and pursuing her relationship with Jace. As Jace and Clary delve into the issue of the murdered Shadowhunters, they discover a mystery that has deeply personal consequences for them — consequences that may strengthen their relationship, or rip it apart forever. Meanwhile, internecine warfare among vampires is tearing the Downworld community apart, and only Simon — the Daylighter who everyone wants on their side — can decide the outcome; too bad he wants nothing to do with Downworld politics. Love, blood, betrayal and revenge: the stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels. (Summary taken from Cassandra Clare's website).
What a great way to start off my venture into the Waiting on Wednesday world. I absolutely adore everything written by Cassandra Clare and I am just itching to get my hands on this! The cover is beautiful, just like every other one of hers and from what I've read thus far, the story should be excellent as well. Even though Simon wasn't who I wanted to end up with Clary, I do love him as a character and believe that he deserves to be happy with someone else! At this point, I can't even decide between Isabelle and Maia - I guess I'll just have to wait for COFA to help me make that choice.


Monday, 7 March 2011

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
Publisher: HarperTeen
Weird as it is working for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, Evie's always thought of herself as normal. Sure, her best friend is a mermaid, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she's falling for a shape-shifter, and she's the only person who can see through paranormals' glamours, but still. Normal.
Only now paranormals are dying, and Evie's dreams are filled with haunting voices and mysterious prophecies. She soon realizes that there may be a link between her abilities and the sudden rash of deaths. Not only that, but she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.
So much for normal.

From the first line that I read of this book, I was sucked into a fantastic world, all previous thoughts of anything un-Paranormalcy vanishing from my head.
Let's backtrack a bit though to gush talk about the cover. It’s such a pretty one that fits the story really well! I’m normally a little more negative towards covers with pink but if you’re reading this book, you have to be prepared for girly goodness.
Guess what? It only gets better behind the cover. The main character and narrator of the story Evie is perhaps my favourite female lead of all time. Her voice is powerful, relatable and refreshing to listen to. Not to mention that she can kick some serious (vampire, werewolf, faerie, you name it!) butt.
I loved the engaging dialogue and the overall premise of the story. Lend was a sweetheart and Evie’s best friend Lish made me smile on more than one occasion.
One character that really piqued my interest was Reth. I’m excited to see how his character plays out in the upcoming books and how he changes from this one. I have a good feeling we’ve only scratched the surface with this faerie!
One last thing that I’d like to mention (sorry—this is getting long) is that I love how clean this book is. It appeals to a much larger age range which is awesome because awesome people deserve to be reading awesome books (like this one!) no matter how young/old they are!
Overall, Paranormalcy turned out to be a remarkably enjoyable novel. I honestly can’t think of one page that bored me and I’m super excited for Supernaturally.
Other titles by Kiersten White: Corsets and Clockwork anthology (May 2011), Supernaturally (August 30, 2011)

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperTeen
ISBN: 978-0-06-172680-4
Pages: 470

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: the world’s most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High—from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life.
Instead, it turns out to be her last.
Then she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.
Oh my goodness. Where do I even start? This book had it all: great plot, awesome characters and just a really fascinating concept.
Even after finishing this novel, I still don’t know which characters I like and which I don’t (except Kent—love Kent). The story took me through a complete roller coaster with things being revealed and reshaped at every turn. Things at Thomas Jefferson High are definitely not as they appear.
I love how Oliver managed to repeat the same day over and over again but make it significantly different each time. She was able to get so much across and through all the things Samantha does, we learn a little more about who she is.
The book contains lots of themes applicable to a typical high school life. Even with the out-of-world element of reliving your last day on Earth, the novel is easy to relate to.
All in all, Before I Fall is a marvellous piece of work with a fresh idea and stunning writing.
Other titles by Lauren Oliver: Delirium

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Publisher: Simon & Schuster
ISBN: 978-1-4169-8942-4
Pages: 391
When Nora and Patch are forced together as lab partners, Nora would rather fall to her death than put up with his elusive answers to her questions, his teasing, and his infuriatingly handsome face and hypnotizing eyes. It seems Patch was put on earth just to drive her crazy. 
But before long, Nora's defenses start to break down as her curiosity about Patch heats up. Why does he always seem to be wherever she is and know exactly what she's thinking? How does he know what to say to both attract and repulse her? And what is up with those V-shaped scars on his chiseled back?

As their connection grows stronger, Nora's own life becomes increasingly fragile. Nora needs to decide: Is Patch the one who wants to do her harm or the one who will keep her safe? Has she fallen for one of the fallen?

Becca Fitzpatrick's New York Times bestselling debut is a page-turning leap into the unknown world of fallen angels. Do you have someone to catch you?
Hush, Hush was ridiculously good. I could not stop reading once I got started. The characters were so appealing - the type that stay with you long after you've finished reading about them and I can't wait for more!

The goodness that is Hush, Hush was a seamless flow of never-ending plot twists. Moments that will make you laugh out loud and gasp in outrage come together to create an epic tale of complicated love, hate and everything that comes with it.

I feel like I need to pause here to gush solely about the one and only Patch. He was the epitome of a bad boy - dark, dangerous and sexy. I want one, please! I think Fitzpatrick did an excellent job of balancing his darker side with his caring and protective one (trust me, there is one!) without turning him into a total lovesick fool. Ugh. I kind of shudder to imagine a Patch like that... it would take away his essence!

This book has it all: fantastic plot, magnificent characters and clever dialogue. If you haven't read it yet, you should.

Eagerly awaiting the next book!


Others titles from Becca Fitzpatrick include: Kiss Me Deadly: 13 Tales of Paranormal Love (anthology), Crescendo, Silence (October 25, 2011) 

Friday, 4 March 2011

Firelight by Sophie Jordan

Firelight by Sophie Jordan

Publisher: HarperTeen
ISBN: 978-0-06-193508-4
Pages: 323
Marked as special at an early age, Jacinda knows her every move is watched. But she longs for freedom to make her own choices. When she breaks the most sacred tenet among her kind, she nearly pays her life. Until a beautiful stranger saves her. A stranger who was sent to hunt those like her. For Jacinda is a draki - a descendant of dragons whose greatest defense is her secret ability to shift into human form.
Forced to flee into the mortal world with her family, Jacinda struggles to adapt to her new surroundings. The only bright light is Will. Gorgeous, elusive Will who stirs her inner draki to life. Although she is irresistibly drawn to him, Jacinda knows Will's dark secret: He and his family are hunters. She should avoid him at all costs. But her inner draki is slowly slipping away - if it dies she will be left as a human forever. She'll do anything to prevent that. Even if it means getting closer to her most dangerous enemy.
Mythical powers and breathtaking romance ignite in this story of a girl who defies all expectations and whose love crosses an ancient divide.
I enjoyed it! The book had a great storyline with realistic characters and a lot of potential for more in the series. From what I've heard of the next book - not that I know a whole lot - it should be good.

Now, if like me, you've put off reading this book because of all the comments you've heard revolving it that relate to a certain other YA novel... -cough-Twilight-cough- stop!* While the two books do definitely share some components, the storylines are nowhere near identical. The characters are dissimilar and I think the fact that the main character/narrator Jacinda in this book is the supernatural being makes for a very different reading experience. Now. Enough about Twilight and more about the characters!

Will. Oh, Will. I like you. I do, really! I just like Cassian more.

For those that don't know, Cassian is a super powerful draki that is "meant to be" with Jacinda. I shouldn't even like him. He's not set up to be the ideal, oh-my-gosh-I-love-you-so-much-that-I-wish-you-were-real guy; Will is! I don't love Cassian... there are definitely things about him I could do without but I was inexplicably drawn to him over Will. While I think that he'll definitely play a much larger role in the next books, he was barely even in this one. When he was (with the exception of a few scenes) he was stoic, self-righteous and kind of possessive. That doesn't really shine a very nice light on his character but I have faith that he's not so bad underneath that scaly** exterior.

While I didn't find the action in this story overly exciting, there was a lot going on in Jacinda's world. Throughout the book, her thoughts are conflicted in regards to Will and her inner draki. She changed her mind and made new resolutions constantly but was never able to stick to them. It worked though. I mean, it would have been ridiculous to assume that a sixteen-year-old girl in her place would be more in control of their feelings. Ultimately, Jacinda knew what she wanted and so did I as a reader. Will is a huge part of the story and I commend Jordan for fitting him in so nicely.

If you're searching for a fun book with a relatively new fantasy element, be sure to check out Firelight!

* I do not dislike Twilight nor am I a huge fan of the series. This is not a review for Twilight though so don't worry about it at all ;)
** That was funny. Admit it.

Sophie Jordan also writes Historical Romance under the same name and Paranormal Romance under the name Sharie Kohler.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Publisher: Delacorte Press
ISBN: 978-0-385-73681-7
Pages: 308
In Mary's world, there are simple truths.

The Sisterhood always knows best.

The Guardians will protect and serve.

The Unconsecrated will never relent.

And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village. The fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

But slowly, Mary's truths are failing her. She's learning things she never wanted to know about Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power. And, when the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness.

Now she must choose between her village and her future, between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded by so much death?
I absolutely adored this novel. The writing was incredibly powerful and the story flowed effortlessly. It is one of the most beautifully crafted books I've read in a long while. The raw emotion was portrayed realistically and hauntingly and was probably one of the biggest reasons I couldn't put the book down once I really got started.

I have to admit, I was hesitant to even pick this book up. The title alone sort of freaked me out and I was worried I would spend the night after reading it worrying I was going to be eaten by mythical monsters. I was partly right - the story definitely did stay with me long after I'd finished reading - but it was so worth it.

The beginning of the story focuses heavily on developing Mary's character. Ryan does a fantastic job of creating a three-dimensional character. She was strong and a dreamer with every feeling described in ultra-high detail. I felt like I was experiencing everything alongside with Mary (a little scary considering the circumstances in which the book takes place...) but at times I found myself very annoyed with her. She was just so selfish sometimes! I mean, I understand why she did certain things (can you see me trying not to give stuff away?) but she was just a little too adventurous for me.

Overall, The Forest of Hands and Teeth turned out to be a magnificent debut from Carrie Ryan.

If there is anything that this book taught me it is that I am not prepared for the zombie apocalypse (which will happen - seriously).

I'm very excited to read the second instalment, The Dead-Tossed Waves, which I am currently waiting on from the library. Hopefully it will be as brilliantly done as its predecessor.

Other titles from Carrie Ryan include: The Dead-Tossed Waves, The Dark and Hollow Places (March 2011)