Sunday, 31 July 2011

In My Mailbox (14)

Hello everyone! In My Mailbox is a meme that is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren, so we get the chance to share our new books for the week (bought, borrowed or won) with all the lovely bloggers out there!

This one comes in two parts, the GR and the UK part (hence the difference in clothing and lighting)! Excuse me for being rather slow for the 1st part. In my defence, it was late! Hope you enjoy! 

Books I bought:

Books I borrowed:

Books I won:

Other books mentioned:

What did you get in your mailbox this week??
(Thanks for watching!!!)

The Cambridge List by Robert Clear

The Cambridge List by Robert Clear
Published in March 2011 as a Kindle e-book (this copy kindly provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review)

Description (from Goodreads)
The Cambridge List is an action-packed, ever-so-English dark comedy about gods, sex and death amidst the ivory towers of Cambridge University.

James Connor thinks that murdering his former professors in cold blood is rather a bad idea. Unfortunately his head has been commandeered by a bloodthirsty family of Greek gods, so he doesn’t have a say in the matter. With Hera and Aphrodite at each other’s throats and Dionysos failing to keep order, James’s brain has become a cosmic conflict zone, and he’s worried they’ll leave it in ruins. There’s only one way out: he has to go from socially inept young man to slick sociopath fast. If only he wasn’t so squeamish about mass slaughter.

Follow the world’s least menacing serial killer on his awkwardly murderous journey through the little town of Cambridge, where ancient rituals, scheming academics and divine politics collide. And where murder has consequences unforeseen even by the gods themselves…

My thoughts
The Cambridge List is a book that mingles the UK with the well known gods of Greek mythology in a way that is completely and utterly unique. In this story, the gods have decided to take residence in James Connor's brain, each one of them inhabiting a certain area of it (and yes, that is significant, but I'm not going to tell you why). This 'habitation' of James' brain is brought on by an untested drug (developed by his friend Bumrash's -yes, you read that right - lab) called Flanoxiride.

Through this connection, the Greek gods are determined to take their revenge on the University of Cambridge Classics Department, who have been shunning them (and anything that adds to their positive image) in their efforts to secure a vast amount of money for themselves, which is supposed to be used towards research on the Greek gods and the classical era. I know I'm making it sound complicated, but it isn't really. So, they compose a list (also known as The Cambridge List) with 5 professors of the Classics Department who must be killed (just so that the gods can get their revenge). And it's James who must do the deed(s), with the help of the Muse (known throughout the book as Muesli).

I have to say quite honestly that I did not enjoy this book. I actually really struggled to finish it. The reason for that was not the story itself (as that was actually quite an original and very good idea), but rather the execution. And by execution, I mean the way in which it was written. The language felt a little unrefined. The expression itself was not poorly done, I just believe it was probably in need of a little more editing. But what bothered me to the point of nearly abandoning the story was the swearing. And I mean A LOT of swearing. And really bad swearing at that. In the beginning, it was actually funny, but then it stopped being funny, to the point of eventually becoming annoying. Obviously the Greek gods could not treat each other respectfully (as they were all rather selfish entities/personalities in one way or another), but I felt that the swearing in this book was just over the top.

All in all, while this book was not for me, it might appeal to others, if they feel that they can overlook the swearing and focus on the story. For me, the swearing took too much away from it.

Rating: 3/10

Robert Clear is a British author from London. He attended Cambridge University, where he studied about the Greek gods, hence the inspiration for his novel. You can find out more about him, as well as read an excerpt of his book, on his blog! You can buy the book from Amazon here ( site  |  .com site).

Read for the: 100 Books In A Year Challenge 2011

(Disclaimer: All thoughts in this review are entirely my own. I have not been compensated in any way (other than the provision of the e-book for review) and I do not gain any money from the Amazon links. They are there for information purposes.)

Friday, 29 July 2011

Love Story by Jennifer Echols

Love Story by Jennifer Echols
Published by MTV Books in 2011 (this edition is an e-Galley, courtesy of the S&S Galley Grab programme)

Description (from Goodreads)
She's writing about him. he's writing about her. And everybody is reading between the lines.. 

For Erin Blackwell, majoring in creative writing at the New York City college of her dreams is more than a chance to fulfill her ambitions--it's her ticket away from the tragic memories that shadow her family's racehorse farm in Kentucky. But when she refuses to major in business and take over the farm herself someday, her grandmother gives Erin's college tuition and promised inheritance to their maddeningly handsome stable boy, Hunter Allen. Now Erin has to win an internship and work late nights at a coffee shop to make her own dreams a reality. She should despise Hunter . . . so why does he sneak into her thoughts as the hero of her latest writing assignment?

Then, on the day she's sharing that assignment with her class, Hunter walks in. He's joining her class. And after he reads about himself in her story, her private fantasies about him must be painfully clear. She only hopes to persuade him not to reveal her secret to everyone else. But Hunter devises his own creative revenge, writing sexy stories that drive the whole class wild with curiosity and fill Erin's heart with longing. Now she's not just imagining what might have been. She's writing a whole new ending for her romance with Hunter . . . except this story could come true.

My thoughts
Wow... Huge blurb. Though it's not really relevant. Love Story is the first book by Jennifer Echols I have ever read. I had been seeing so much about her and her books on a large number of blogs, that when I noticed that her latest novel was available to read through the S&S Galley Grab programme, I jumped at the chance to read it.

Love Story tells the love story between the two main characters of this book, Hunter and Erin. It's obvious right from the start that there is something between them, something that is unresolved and causes tension in their 'relationship'. Erin is attending a course creative writing as part of her majoring in writing/journalism and she is just having her first story critiqued when Hunter walks into the classroom. What no-one knows is that Erin and Hunter grew up together on the same farm and also that, when Erin's grandmother disinherited her, she gave all her college fund to him, as well as promising him Erin's inheritance.

The book opens with Erin's first short story that is being critiqued on the day Hunter joins the class, which I thought was interesting and original.  Throughout the book, we get to read more stories written by both Erin and Hunter and which reveal, in a rather special way, what has happened between them. Echols has done a brilliant job of differentiating the styles of the two writers, making their stories unique to each one of them.

The actual story was not much. It progresses naturally, just as Erin and Hunter's 'relationship' progresses, but, to me, it came off as chick-lit for young adults. I don't say that in a demeaning way; chick lit is a wonderful genre in itself and one I often turn to when I am in need of something to cheer me up! I mean it in the way that chick lit is usually about relationships and the way they progress to reach a final state (good or bad) at the end of the book. That's what this book felt like to me. One thing I really did like about it was that the characters were at university. I think the fact that they were both 18 (or was it 19?) gave the author the freedom to move her story in different ways than she would have had to if the characters had been younger.

All in all, Love Story is a perfect summer read (and by that I mean, it's lovely and it will make you feel happy at the end)! I had a few moments when I was confused, as things seemed to come out of nowhere, and I did feel the ending was a little rushed and left some things unresolved, but it really was a lovely read. I am definitely going to try out something else by Jennifer Echols!

Rating: 7/10

Jennifer Echols is the author of a number of romantic comedies and romantic dramas targeted to the young adult market (but not only!). Some of her books include:

You can find out more about Jennifer Echols and her books from her website!

Read for the: 100 Books In A Year Challenge 2011

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

A Season of Eden by Jennifer Laurens

A Season of Eden by Jennifer Laurens
First published by Grove Creek Publishing in 2008 (this edition by Grove Creek Publishing in 2008)

Description (from Goodreads)
He's my teacher. I shouldn't be alone with him. But I can't help that he's irresistible.
I let the door silently close at my back. He stared at me, and a taut quiet stretched between us. "I like hearing you play," I said, moving toward him. He turned, in sync with my slow approach. He looked up at me but didn't say anything. I rested my clammy hand on the cold, slick body of the baby grand. "May I?" The muscles in his throat shifted, then he swallowed. "Eden." My knees weakened, like a soft tickling kiss had just been blown against the backs of them. "Is it okay?" I asked. His gaze held mine like two hands joined. He understood what I was really asking. "Let me stay," I said. "Please." "You're going to get me in trouble," he said.

My thoughts
I was planning on getting round to this book sometime soon, but the time came sooner rather than later as it is a rather short book and I wanted to finish another book during the Once Upon A Read-a-thon I participated in. It was a really easy book to read, very well written, the plot was easy to follow and each event came naturally after the previous one. However, I can't say I loved this book. I liked it well enough to want to read something else by Jennifer Laurens, but didn't really love it.

A Season of Eden deals with the rather taboo concept of a relationship between a teacher and a student. Something which is prohibited by law (if I am not mistaken), as usually, one half of the party is underage. Anyway, in this book we follow the story of Eden and James (also known as Mr. Christian), as the student and teacher respectively. Eden is 18 and James is 22, so the age gap is not so large. But the fact that James is Eden's music teacher poses a bit of a problem, as James could lose his position if he became involved in a relationship with a student. The thing is that even though you understand why it's wrong, you end up rooting for them and wanting them to be together!

Eden was not a character I could really relate to. She was a bit of a bitch, as well as quite a bit selfish. She has obviously had a tough time growing up, but throughout the book, she just comes of as a very spoilt rich girl, who is accustomed to getting what she wants, even if what she wants can get others into trouble. The good thing about her was that she did do a fair bit of growing up during the course of the story. James, on the other hand, was just plain dreamy! He is a musician (with a fair share of talent) and he's young and extra good-looking. But what I liked most was the fact that he tried to remain as level-headed as possible.

I was a little disappointed about how the story ended. I wanted to know more about the two characters. But I do understand why Jennifer Laurens chose to end it where she did. All in all, it was an ok story, with a mix of characters, but a lovely style of writing. I will definitely be picking up another one of Jennifer's books!

Rating: 6/10

Jennifer Laurens, also writing as J.M. Warwick, is the author of several YA romance books. She currently lives in Utah. Her books include:

You can find out more about Jennifer Laurens and her books by visiting her website and her blog!

Read for the: 100 Books In A Year Challenge 2011

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
First publsihed by HarperCollins in 2010 (this edition by HarperCollins Children's Books in 2011)

Book #1 in the Paranormalcy series

Description (from Goodreads)

Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, 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 Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.
So much for normal.

My thoughts
Now, this was a book where I did not get what I expected... Not that I am completely sure what I expected, but it was definitely not that. I though Paranormalcy was going to be just another paranormal romance-y type of a book, where the main character is a paranormal or wants a guy who is a paranormal and the whole book revolves around how they finally get to be in a relationship. Or something along those lines.

This book was such a pleasant surprise. One of the biggest ones was the fact that any and every paranormal that has ever been thought of (and a few more added in for good measure) has a place in this story. The main character, Evie, is not what you might call normal. She is 16, but she doesn't live with her family (as she doesn't really have one). She doesn't even go to school, like a regular teenager. Instead, she works for the IPCA (International Paranormal Containment Agency), capturing paranormals so that the Agency will be able to track them, mainly because of the fact that she can see through their glamours (i.e. the image they project to people). And on top of that, her best friend is a mermaid and her creepy ex-boyfriend is a faerie.

I am so happy I decided to pick up this book on my recent book shopping spree. Evie is such a wonderful and original character. She is full of life, despite the fact that life hasn't really been that kind to her. With the help of her beloved taser, which is pink, bedazzled and goes by the name of 'Tasey', she goes on any mission she is told to by the IPCA, while wearing her high heeled pink boots. Obviously not your typical badass heroine!

Lend was also such a lovely character. He is a shapeshifter and can take on the form of anyone he has seen. I was a little confused by the description of him at the beginning of the book, but I got used to it and I think I figured out what he looked out (well, not completely, but I did!). He is yet another of those wondeful characters who show us that you don't need to be a baddie to be a love interest. He's nice, cute and funny and has the added bonus of having actually attended a REAL high school!

There was also Ren, who was a bit of a creep-o. At the end, I sort-of understood why he was doing what he was doing, but he was still a creep. All in all, I really did enjoy this book and I am definitely going to be picking up the next book in the series, Supernaturally (which I believe comes out today - the 26th).

Rating: 8/10

Kiersten White is an American author, born and raised in Utah. She has written the award winning book for young adults, Paranormalcy, of which the sequel, Supernaturally, comes out today! (I hadn't planned this, it just happened!) And she's only 27! She currently lives in San Diego with her family.

You can find out more about Kiersten White from her website. You can also check out her blog, if you want!

Read for the: 100 Books In A Year Challenge 2011, 1st in a Series Challenge

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Solstice by P.J. Hoover Swag Giveaway

Oh yeppers!! I have some stuff to give away!!

Quite recently, I discovered a new book (which I seem to be doing a lot as of late) called Solstice. For those of you who haven't heard of it, here is some info:

Where Mythology and Dystopia meet... 
Piper’s world is dying. Global warming kills every living thing on Earth, and each day brings hotter temperatures and heat bubbles which threaten to destroy humanity. Amid this Global Heating Crisis, Piper lives with her mother who suffocates her more than the chaotic climate. When her mother is called away to meet the father Piper has been running from her entire life, Piper seizes an opportunity for freedom. 
But when Piper discovers a world of mythology she never knew existed, she realizes her world is not the only one in crisis. While Gods battle for control of the Underworld, Piper's life spirals into turmoil, and she struggles to find answers to secrets kept from her since birth. And though she’s drawn to her classmate Shayne, he may be more than he claims. Piper has to choose whom she can trust and how she can save the people she loves even if it means the end of everything she’s ever known.
SOLSTICE is P.J. Hoover's debut YA novel and is the first front-list novel to be independently published by an Andrea Brown Literary Agency author. 

I really like the sound of it and I am looking forward to reading it sometime soon!

But onto the more interesting (for you) bits:

Somehow (it's at the end of last week's IMM vlog, if you're interested), I ended up with two sets of trading cards from the author, so I decided I would have a giveaway of one of the two, so as to spread a bit of the Solstice love!

Here is what you get:

6 trading cards with characters from the book (and all sorts of weird snippets of information)
2 book cards (if that's what they're called - the Solstice one is actually signed by P.J. Hoover!!)

The Fine Print:
To enter, please fill out the simple form below.
Only 1 entry per person.
Open to everyone wherever they are in the world!
You do not have to be a follower to enter the giveaway, but please have a look around and follow if you like what you see!
Giveaway ends on the 16th of August (because that's when I get back!).

Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr

Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr
Firs published by Harper Teen in 2008 (this edition by HarperCollins Children's Books in 2009)

Book #2 in the Wicked Lovely series

Description (from Goodreads)
To 17-year-old Leslie, the tattoo is a thing of indescribable beauty, a captivating mark that she must make her own. But this subtle web of eyes and wings brings with it a transformation that no sweet young girl would ever imagine or welcome. Like its predecessor, this stand-alone sequel toWicked Lovely plunges its youthful heroine into a faery world of almost constant peril. A tantalizing urban fantasy that won't let go.

My thoughts
Having really enjoyed reading Wicked Lovely, I decided to buy Ink Exchange on my recent trip to Athens (and all those lovely bookstores that sell English books), and while I was at it, I also bought Fragile Eternity. I was quite surprised when I read the blurb on the back of Ink Exchange and realised that it featured completely new characters. Until I noticed the 'stand-alone' sequel part.

Anyway, I should get on with saying what I actually thought about the story, instead of just random thoughts about the blurb. Ink Exchange was rather enjoyable, but I found that I didn't really enjoy it as much as I enjoyed Wicked Lovely. The reason for that was not the fact that it featured different characters to the ones I had expected to read about. It was mainly because for approximately half the book, I was just waiting for something to happen and when it happened, everything seemed to pass in a long, long blur.

In the first few chapters, we are introduced to Leslie, one of the main characters in this book. Leslie comes from a rather rough household, where she has to look after her father and brother, since her mother has disappeared. Seeing as she spends so much time catering to their needs (and having to work so as to help pay the bills), she decides she wants to do something for herself, something that she believes will change her: get a tattoo. She looks and looks for the perfect tattoo to put onto her skin, until she finally finds it: ''inky-black eyes surrounded by wings like shadows coalescing''.

It takes half the book for Leslie to finally get the tattoo finished, during which time quite a few things happen, which cause her to wonder what on earth is going on. Especially concerning Ash (Aislinn, the main character from Wicked Lovely). What bothered me about the 'ages' part was the fact that the tattooist actually said that they could finish the tattoo off in a few days and then, it seemed to me as if the tattoo took a lot more than that to finish. (All this, while Leslie was absolutely hell-bent on getting the tattoo as quickly as possible.)

The most interesting part of this book was the introduction of yet another faerie realm, in addition to the Summer and Winter Courts we met in Wicked Lovely. The Dark Court, led by Irial, work in a completely different way to the other two courts. And it took my a while to understand exactly how they worked, for some reason. I didn't think it was clearly explained until rather late in the novel.

As for the second half of the book, it felt as if not much was going on. Everything was slow, slow, slow, when suddenly, Leslie decided to grow some backbone and make some decisions for herself. Then, the book picked up a little, but there were too few pages left. So, essentially, I found the book ended a little too hurriedly.

As for the characters, for some reason, I really disliked Irial. Even that seemingly selfless act at the end didn't redeem him in my eyes. On the other hand, I did like Niall! (I really like his name, too, which I suppose helps a little!) He came across as genuinely nice, despite having to fight the 'demons of his past'. Leslie was a bit of a 'meh' character. I wasn't too keen on her, but I didn't mind her either.

Despite the fact that I was a little disappointed by this book, I am not going to give up on the series. I really hope I enjoy the next installments more.

Rating: 6/10

You can find out more about Melissa Marr at the end of my review of Wicked Lovely.

Read for the: 100 Books In A Year Challenge 2011, 2nds Challenge

Thursday, 21 July 2011

The Time Will Come (1)

The Time Will Come is a great meme hosted by Jodie over at Books For Company. The point of this meme is to list a book that has been sitting on our bookshelves unread for too long and we have been meaning to get round to for ages!

I have been thinking of participating in this meme for quite some time, but I always seemed to forget about it! Anyway, the time has come for The Time Has Come! (Now, wasn't that extra smart of me??)

Yes, I give you permission to laugh...

Seeing as this is my first TTWC post, I will be talking about a very well known book that I still haven't got round to reading, which is......

Divergent by Veronica Roth   In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself. 
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her. 

Since I saw the first reviews of it, I really wanted to read it. So as soon as I saw that its price had dropped considerably on the Book Depository (which was actually only a few days after its release), I decided to buy it. Needless to say, it's still sitting on my bookshelf and the main reason for that is that I don't want to get caught up in the hype. I am usually pretty objective about the books I read, but I'm holding back on this one a little. Even still, it pretties up my bookshelf with its shininess! 

Look at what I got in the post today!!

The exclamation mark in the title is supposed to be sarcastic, by the way. As I am majorly (is that even a word?) P-O right now. And the reason for that will be pretty clear once you have a look at the photo....


Yep. That's what I got... Nice, huh...? Some bloody idiot (which is the mildest thing I want to call him online) decided that it would be a good idea to snatch the books from outside my front door (as we don't actually have a postbox - though even if we did have one, the parcels wouldn't have fit) and open them. And not only that... Then, that horrible person had to start ripping them apart... And start stomping on the pages... I found bits of pages all the way up the road.

Just shows how some people can be absolute animals. There is no other way you can explain it.

Two whole books and all the survived was a dust jacket, the two parts of a book cover and a front page. Nice.

On a more positive note, one thing did survive. A Book Depository bookmark.

Nope. I'm still not happy.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
First published by Harlequin Teen in 2010 (this edition by Mira Ink in 2011)

Book #1 in The Iron Fey series

Description (from Goodreads):
Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined. 
Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home. 
When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change. 
But she could never have guessed the truth - that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

My thoughts
How much greater could this book have been? Well, not much really! The Iron King is quite honestly the best fairy/faerie book I've read so far. It is also completely different to the ones I've read; in Aprilynne Pike's Wings, faeries are actually plants and in Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely, they're more urban and street-wise characters.

The Iron King, on the other hand, is a completely different kind of story. Julie Kagawa utilises characters from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream as well as their supernatural realm to create a story of her own. The main character in this book is Meghan, a 16 year old girl, who lives with her mother, stepfather and stepbrother, as her father disappeared when she was very young. Her best friend is Robbie Goodfell, who lives a couple of miles away (though she has never actually been to his house - or met his parents). At some point, weird things start happening, which result in her young brother being kidnapped. As if that wasn't enough, she finds out she is the daughter of a faery king and that not everything is as it seems to be.

I haven't actually read A Midsummer Night's Dream, but I had heard of King Oberon and Queen Titania before, and I am pretty sure I'd heard of Queen Mab being mentioned somewhere. I think that the idea to use an already existent universe (the one created by Shakespeare) and make changes to it to create a completely different story was absolutely brilliant. Especially as those changes weren't just minor ones. Hence, The Iron King is not a retelling of A Midsummer Night's Dream, but a story of its own, with unique characters and a wonderful plot that kept me wanting to read it all night long!

The best part of the whole novel (for me) was where the existence of the Iron Fey was explained. If you think about it, it really is a very simple notion and makes complete sense in the context of the novel and the fey legends. I am really looking forward to seeing where Julie Kagawa will take the story.

Meghan is a lovely character; she is brave, honest, loving and determined. She enters the faerie realms for a reason and stops at nothing to achieve her final goal, which is to save her brother. As for the male characters, they are equally loveable, each for their own reasons: Puck is funny, a little reckless and always tries to make light of any situation. Ash is dark and brooding, but you can tell there is something going on inside his head that's making him unsure.

I really did love the book. Lovely writing, lovely story, lovely characters. I will definitely be picking up the next books in the series! As soon as possible!!

Rating: 9/10

Julie Kagawa was born in Sacramento, California, but, essentially, grew up in Hawaii, where her family moved to when she was 9. Over the years, she worked in many bookshops as well as as (???) a professional dog trainer. She currently lives in Louisville, Kentucky, from where she writes full-time.
Her other books in The Iron Fey series are:

As well as two novellas

(I have these two last ones and from the titles alone I am guessing that Winter's Passage has something to do with Ash, whereas Summer's Crossing has something to do with Puck.)

Read for the: 100 Books In A Year Challenge 2011, 1st in a Series Challenge

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
First published by Simon & Schuster BFYR (this edition by Simon Pulse in 2010)

Book #1 in the Hush, Hush series

Description (from Goodreads):
For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her...until Patch comes along.
With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment, but after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure whom to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is far more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.
For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life.

My thoughts
Hush, Hush was one of those books I had been avoiding. I remember seeing it in the bookshop half a year or so ago and thinking 'Not another fallen angel book'. Not that I've read many of them, but I just had the feeling it would be the same all over again. (Which I know is a pretty unfair generalisation to make, but I still made it.) I had pretty much decided I wasn't going to read it, when a copy of it became available on Bookmooch. I decided to give it a try and I have to say I am very glad I did so.

Hush, Hush was definitely nothing like Fallen (by Lauren Kate - which is the one I can compare to). Patch is a completely different fallen angel to Daniel. He's dark and sinister and works in a completely different way. But before I get onto the characters in this story, I must say something about the story itself.

Hush, Hush tells the story of Nora Grey. Nora lives with her mother in a house in the middle of nowhere. She goes to school with her best friend Vee, with who she also sits during Biology class. But then, quite unexpectedly, their teacher decides everyone should change seats and sit with someone they haven't chosen (as a sort of experiment). That's how Nora ends up meeting Patch. The thing about Patch is that, even though Nora says she doesn't like him, she's very attracted to him, making matters rather difficult. Patch seems to know so much about her; even more than her friends and that unnerves her.

One thing I noticed about this book is, once again, the absence of parental figures. Nora's father is dead (and there's obviously something sinister going on - judging from that very frustrating and teasing first chapter of Crescendo at the end of the book), but her mother never seems to be there. The author did come up with a good idea for having her absent for such long periods in time, but still, it's becoming a little too commonplace, seeing characters without parental supervision/guidance in books. As for the actual characters, Nora was ok, Patch was more than ok (and a little bad-ass too!) and I couldn't really connect with Vee.

I am very glad I decided to give this book a chance, in the end! It sure wasn't what I expected and I liked that. I am definitely hoping to read Crescendo sometime soon!

Rating: 8/10

Becca Fitzpatrick is an American author. She has a degree in health, which she abandoned in favour of telling stories. Her first book, Hush, Hush, debuted as a New York Times bestseller. She lives in Colorado.
The other books in her Hush, Hush series are:

Crescendo  |  Silence (Out on the 4th of October)

Read for the: 100 Books In A Year Challenge 2011, 1st in a Series Challenge

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Extras by Scott Westerfeld (Uglies #4)

Extras by Scott Westerfeld
First published by Simon & Schuster in 2007 (this edition by Simon & Schuster in 2010)

Book #4 in the Uglies series
(Reviews for: Uglies, Pretties, Specials)

Description (from Goodreads):
It's a few years after rebel Tally Youngblood took down the uglies/pretties/specials regime. Without those strict roles and rules, the world is in a complete cultural renaissance. "Tech-heads" flaunt their latest gadgets, "kickers" spread gossip and trends, and "surge monkeys" are hooked on extreme plastic surgery. And it's all monitored on a bazillion different cameras. The world is like a gigantic game of American Idol. Whoever is getting the most buzz gets the most votes. Popularity rules.

As if being fifteen doesn't suck enough, Aya Fuse's rank of 451,369 is so low, she's a total nobody. An extra. But that's just until she gets to kick a good story for herself.

Then Aya meets a clique of girls who pull crazy tricks, yet are deeply secretive of it. Aya wants desperately to kick their story, to show everyone how intensely cool the Sly Girls are. But doing so would propel her out of extra-land and into the world of fame, celebrity...and extreme danger. A world she's not prepared for.

My thoughts
I have to start by saying that Extras was definitely far better than Specials. By the end of Specials, I didn't really like Tally, to be honest, as she had become a bit of a bitchy character, so I really liked the fact that the focus was on a different character this time.

In Extras, we meet Aya, a fifteen year old girl with a face rank of 451,369. That is not something she is happy about, as in their society, being famous (meaning having a high face rank) comes with all sorts of different perks. Whereas Aya's current rank means that she has to work more (do more homework or do some other job in the community) so as to earn more credits to use up for things she wants. That means that only popular people are 'rich'. To get her face rank to a higher value, she kicks stories. (It took me ages to realise what that was, but, basically, it's a little like journalism and reporting.)

This story actually takes part in Japan, with some bits of it in other places in Asia. My first clue were all the names of the people in this book: Aya, Hiro, Ren, Frizz. And the second was where, at some point, it actually mentioned the words 'native Japanese'. But, of course, you can't have a book in the Uglies series which doesn't feature a bit of Tally in it! And a bit of David and Shay!

I really did enjoy reading Extras. The story was completely different to the other three books in the series and all the more enjoyable for that. Aya is a great main character, despite the fact that she spends a large part of the book obsessing about her rank. Frizz was also a lovely character! Weird, but still very lovely. But one of the highlights of this book would definitely have to be Moggle! The things poor Moggle goes through in this book are beyond imaginable! Fortunately, the bits with Tally in them were better than I thought they would be. As I said before, I didn't really like Tally by the end of Specials, but she was kind-of ok in this one. 

All in all, Extras is definitely a lot better than both Pretties and Specials, but not quite as good as Uglies. And it's different enough not to make you feel as if you're reading the same thing again.

Rating: 8/10

You can find out more about Scott Westerfeld at the end of my review of Uglies.

Read for the: 100 Books In A Year Challenge 2011, Dystopia Challenge

Sunday, 17 July 2011

In My Mailbox (13)

Hello everyone! In My Mailbox is a meme that is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren, so we get the chance to share our new books for the week (bought, borrowed or won) with all the lovely bloggers out there!

This video is huuuuge... So, I completely understand if you don't want to watch it. Which is why I will list all the books undeneath, too! And I got a new IMM image!!! Well, it's an owl post one, but still....!

Here ya go!

Books I Bought:
The Last Dickens by Matthew Pearl
Sister by Rosamunde Lupton
Hothouse Flower by Lucinda Riley
My Sister Lives On The Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher
The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards
The Forest of Hands & Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr
Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
For Esme - With Love and Squalor by J. D. Salinger
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Grace Williams Says It Loud by Emma Henderson
The Declaration by Gemma Malley
Miss Peregrine Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Books I won:
The Swimmer by Roma Tearne
Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz

Other bits and bobs:
Solstice Trading Cards

What did you get in your mailbox this week??
(Thanks for watching!!!)

Friday, 15 July 2011

Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin

Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin
First published by Arrow Books in 2004 (this edition by Arrow Books in 2004)

Description (from Goodreads):
The New York Times bestselling novel about a woman who falls in love with a man she shouldn't.
Rachel is an attorney living and working in Manhattan who has always been the good girl-until her thirtieth birthday, when her best friend Darcy throws her a party. That night after too many drinks Rachel ends up in bed with Darcy's fiance. Although she wakes up determined to put the one-night fling behind her, Rachel is horrified to discover that she has genuine feelings for him.
As the September wedding date nears, Rachel has to choose. She discovers that the lines between right and wrong can be blurry, endings aren't always neat, and sometimes you have to risk it all to win true happiness.

My thoughts:
I was in the mood for a fluffy, light read, and what better than some chick-lit! The main reason I chose Something Borrowed was because of the fact that the film adaptation of the book was released just recently and brought the book to my attention. I managed to snag a copy through Bookmooch, so it was a good deal!

The  main character in this book is Rachel, an 30 year old attorney living in New York. The actual story starts with the birthday party her best friend Darcy is throwing for her. That night, after far too many drinks, she ends up sleeping with Darcy's fiance, Dexter. And from then on, everything just gets complicated, seeing as Rachel and Dexter can't stop seeing each other.

This book is rather typical chick-lit, but that doesn't mean that I didn't enjoy it. It's pretty obvious that what Rachel and Dexter are doing is very wrong, but you can't help but feel happy for them when they manage to get together and when they talk. Darcy was the cheated one in this story, but I will admit to not liking her at all. She was really selfish and not a very nice character at all. She wanted everything and everyone to revolve around her and, frankly, she was a bit of a bitch.

From what I have found out, Emily Giffin has written a follow up to Something Borrowed, called Something Blue, which is about Darcy. Knowing me, I'll probably read it sometime soon, but I'm not THAT desperate!

All in all, Something Borrowed is some good chick-lit material. And I found it very easy to read!

Rating: 7/10

Emily Giffin is an American author. She has a degree in law studies and actually practiced litigation with a law firm for a few years, before giving it all up and moving to London to try and make it as an author. She currently lives in Atlanta, having already published five bestselling novels.

You can find out more about Emily Giffin and her books on her website. (which I think is really pretty!)

Read for the: 100 Books In A Year Challenge 2011

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Wildflower Hill by Kimberley Freeman

Wildflower Hill by Kimberley Freeman
First published by Hachette Australia in 2010 (this edition is an eGalley provided by S&S through their S&S Galley Grab programme)

Description (from Goodreads):

In 1920s Glasgow, Beattie Blaxland falls pregnant to her married lover Henry just before her nineteenth birthday. Abandoned by her family, Beattie and Henry set sail for a new life in Australia. But life is not about to follow the plan that Beattie had hoped for and fate will play her a cruel hand... In 2009, London, prima ballerina Emma Blaxland-Hunter is also discovering that life can also have its ups and downs. Unable to dance again after a fall, Emma returns home to Australia to recuperate. But on arrival she is presented with some surprising news - her recently deceased and much-loved grandmother Beattie Blaxland has left her Tasmanian property to Emma. Told through the eyes of a young Beattie Blaxland and a contemporary Emma Blaxland-Hunter, this is an emotionally charged, seductive tale of self-discovery, secrets and surprises.

My thoughts:
Wildflower Hill tells the story of two women: Beattie and Emma, grandmother and grandaughter. On the one hand, we have Beattie. Growing up in Glasgow in the 1920s, she falls pregnant from her married lover Henry. When her mother finds out she is pregnant, she kicks Beattie out of the house and leaves her to make her way on her own. She finally ends up in Australia, together with Henry, where they try to start a new life. Only it doesn't seem to go like Beattie wanted it to.

On the other hand, we have Emma. Emma is a world famous ballerina who has a devastating accident and is unable to keep on dancing professionally. At a loss for what to do, she decides to go back to Australia. There she finds out that her grandmother, Beattie, has left her a house in Tasmania, for when she is unable to dance anymore. She decides to go and is very surprised with what she finds out there.

Wildflower Hill really is a lovely story. The writing is very good and the characters are very well developed. During the course of the story, you get to feel so bad about all the things that have gone wrong with Beattie's life. At some point, I was pretty sure that nothing worse could happen. And then, it did. As for Emma, I can't say I really liked her in the beginning, as she was a little self-centered, but she definitely did some growing up throughout the book.

Though the book really was lovely, I felt that the ending was a bit too quick. Everything else seemed to happen at a regular pace and then, for some reason, the author seemed to be hurrying along events, so as to get to the actual ending. And I just loved that last chapter.

Rating: 8/10

Kimberley Freeman is the pen name of Kim Wilkins, an Australian author of popular fiction. She has written horror, fantasy and mystery books as Kim Wilkins and writes general women's fiction under her pen name.
Some of her books include:

You can find out more about Kim Wilkins on her official website/blog HERE.

Read for the: 100 Books In A Year Challenge 2011

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