Sunday, 30 October 2011

Book Review: Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon


Carrier of the Mark Title: Carrier of the Mark
Author: Leigh Fallon
Series: Carrier Trilogy #1
Pages: 342
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
Date of Publication: 27th October 2011
Source: Publisher*
Synopsis from Goodreads: Their love was meant to be.

When Megan Rosenberg moves to Ireland, everything in her life seems to fall into place. After growing up in America, she's surprised to find herself feeling at home in her new school. She connects with a group of friends, and she is instantly drawn to darkly handsome Adam DeRÍs.

But Megan is about to discover that her feelings for Adam are tied to a fate that was sealed long ago—and that the passion and power that brought them together could be their ultimate destruction.

My Thoughts:
I was SO excited to read this book. And, I'm not going to lie, it was mostly because of the cover. I mean, it's GORGEOUS. I read the synopsis and thought it sounded great, so I added it to my to-read list. Then, once I got it, I just knew that I loved the cover, and so many other bloggers and readers whose opinions I trust had read and loved it, so I HAD to read it soon, because I knew that I'd love it too. And it did not disappoint me.

Carrier of the Mark is one of those books that, after reading only a couple of pages, you know you're going to love it. Many bloggers had said that it was rather samey, and a bit been there, done that, and while I agree, I don't think this is a bad thing. Yes, there were similarities between this and a certain sparkly vampire book, but they didn't distract me from the main story, which, in my opinion, was very unique. I've never read a book about Celtic mythology before, so I didn't feel like it was a copy of all the other paranormal books out there. Maybe it was a little predictable and it seemed like it was going in the direction of so many other books, but I didn't mind, because sometimes it's nice to sit down with a book that is familiar, and because of that you know you're going to love it...

Anyway, moving on. One of the best things about this book, for me, was the paranormal aspect. As I said before, I've never read anything about Celtic mythology before so it was refreshingly new for me. I loved the way the whole book was based around these myths, and I thought that the way in which it was introduced to the reader was very well done. My only complaint was that sometimes, there was a little bit of information overload, and I think that that could have been spaced out throughout the book more, as I found myself needing to reread the explanation parts just to get my bearings about the myths, but overall I thought it was very well written.

I also really liked the characters. Megan was a great lead, and I felt that I could really relate to her. I really liked how she moved into a new school, and instead of being shy and ignoring people who tried to talk to her, she took it all in her stride and made friends quickly, and with people who were actually nice. And yes, she did immediately fall for the hottest, baddest guy in the school, but honestly, who wouldn't? ;) And then, once she started officially dating Adam, she didn't neglect and ignore her friends, or rather, she didn't forget about them. Perhaps she didn't hang out with them as much as she used to, but she felt bad about that and didn't just forget they existed.

Talking of the hottest, baddest guy in school, I really liked Adam too. I didn't love him or anything, but I thought he was cool. There were some times in the book when he acted like a jerk, but when it turns out that it was for Megan's own good, I managed to forgive him. ;) He was really sweet and it was obvious how much he loved Megan, and overall he was just a really nice, really cool guy. And what he did at the end... Well, I won't spoil you!

Haha, overall though, Carrier of the Mark was a very strong debut, and I have really high hopes for the rest of the series. I can't wait to find out what happens in the next instalments, and it'll be great to see where Megan's powers take her next. I'd recommend Carrier if you're looking for something quick and fun to read, and if you're a fan of YA paranormal romances this would be perfect for you!

*Huge thanks to Rosi at HarperCollins for sending me this in exchange for an honest review! In no way has this affected my opinion of the book.

My Rating:
I give it 4 Feet!

Challenges:
2011 Debut Author Challenge #28
2011 Paranormal YA Reading Challenge #50
2011 100+ Reading Challenge #92

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Book Review: This Dark Endeavour by Kenneth Oppel

This Dark Endeavour
Title: This Dark Endeavour
Author: Kenneth Oppel
Series: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein #1
Pages: 352
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Date of Publication: 6th October 2011
Source: Publisher
Synopsis from Goodreads: The purest intentions can stir up the darkest obsessions.In this prequel to Mary Shelley’s gothic classic, Frankenstein, 16-year-old Victor Frankenstein begins a dark journey that will change his life forever. Victor’s twin, Konrad, has fallen ill, and no doctor is able to cure him. Unwilling to give up on his brother, Victor enlists his beautiful cousin Elizabeth and best friend Henry on a treacherous search for the ingredients to create the forbidden Elixir of Life. Impossible odds, dangerous alchemy and a bitter love triangle threaten their quest at every turn.Victor knows he must not fail. But his success depends on how far he is willing to push the boundaries of nature, science, and love – and how much he is willing to sacrifice.


My Thoughts:
I had no idea what to expect with this book. We read Frankenstein in Year 7 at school, and I quite liked it (I'll say it was definitely one of the better books we read in school), so when I heard about this, I thought I might give it a go, see how it was. And then when I actually got it, I put it off and put it off, and I have no idea why. Anyway, I finally read it, and it was OK. It was not the best book I've ever read, but not the worst, either. There were lots of good bits, and then there were parts which I didn't like so much.

The best thing about this book for me were the characters, especially Victor. I thought their relationships felt very real and while reading it was obvious that Victor was a teenager. Just the way he thought and the things he did screamed teenager at me. Especially when Victor was discovering his feelings about Elizabeth - I felt I could relate to him, in his not quite knowing what he thinks of the people around him (not because that's how I feel, just because I can imagine feeling like that in that situation, if you know what I mean). I think that his jealousy for his brother, and his eagerness to cure him, and the way he goes about doing it without a second thought, just seemed so real and believable to me. He was definitely my favourite character, and he was a great lead to the book.

Another thing I really liked was the way that it felt very true to the time period it was set in. There were the obvious clues, like the candles instead of torches, but then there were subtle differences like the language they use, and the way that alchemy was seen as witchcraft, that really made me feel as if I was reading about the past, and I really liked that. Sometimes for me, books can seem like they've been set in the past for no reason - they read just like a modern book with modern characters, just set 200 years ago...

But, as you may be able to tell, overall I had mixed feelings about the book. At the beginning, I quite liked it, and I managed to read quickly and I found it interesting. However, for me, it was just one of those books that hold your interest for a while, but then as you read on, you find yourself not caring about what happens anymore, you just want it to finish. Whether this was because the story wasn't interesting enough for me, or the writing wasn't great, or just that at that moment in time I simply did not want to be reading this, I have no idea. Either way, I had to skim read the last third of the book. There was no way I would have been able to finish otherwise. And I know, that's so bad, but I skimmed it so that I understood everything that was going on, and I promise I didn't skip any parts... Skimming it meant that I could just read the most important parts of the story and not get bogged down by little pieces of information that I didn't need to know about.

To me, this book read more like a middle grade book than a young adult one. I think it was because the plot was incredibly simple, and I was just looking for more. More depth, more thought, more twists. Nothing really surprised me in the book, and some of the things that happened just seemed like there could have been a lot more to it. Also, from the cover and the synopsis, and having read Frankenstein, I expected it to be a lot darker than it actually was. And while this wasn't necessarily a bad thing, I was kind of disappointed because I was looking forward to reading a dark and gritty novel, and it not being there kind of took something away from the plot for me...

This Dark Endeavour, overall, was just not for me. And I think it was more that I had problems with the plot, rather than because the book itself was bad. It was a quick read, and while I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would, I'd still say that, if you're interested, give it a go, because mainly for me, it was a plot thing. If it sounds like something you'd like, read it! I've included some links down below to other reviews from bloggers who really enjoyed it, so you can gain a different perspective on this book...

Mundie Moms - gave it 5 stars
Dazzling Reads - gave it 5 stars
Starting the Next Chapter - gave it 4 stars
ThirstForFiction - gave it 4 stars

My Rating:
I give it 2 Feet.

Challenges:
2011 100+ Reading Challenge #90

Monday, 24 October 2011

Book Review: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Bella's Reading...
Title: The Scorpio Races 
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Series: Standalone
Pages: 404
Publisher: Scholastic
Date of Publication: 25th October 2011
Source: Publisher*
Synopsis from Goodreads: It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

My Thoughts:
I was really excited to read The Scorpio Races. I'm a huge fan of Maggie Stiefvater, and I've read all her previous books apart from Ballad (which I REALLY need to get around to), and loved them. I love her writing style, and her stories are unique, even when they are about well known creatures such as werewolves and faeries. However, The Scorpio Races is completely unlike any other book I have ever read before, even more so than her previous books. I have never ever read a book about water horses before, and I had no idea what to expect. At first, I was little confused and the story was lost on me, but as I began to understand what was going on, I got wrapped up in the story and I couldn't stop reading. I read the last half of the book in nearly one sitting, only stopping because I literally couldn't keep my eyes open any longer.

Despite how much I enjoyed it though, The Scorpio Races is an incredibly strange book. I don't know why, but as I was reading, it just seemed so weird. Maybe it was the subject matter, or the way in which the story was told, but something about it just gave off a feeling of strangeness. I think the idea of these potentially man-eating horses freaked me out just a little bit, and the way that they raced in them and people died - I don't know, I guess it scared me. A cute little island where everyone knows each other and they're like family, and then every year they race monsters and people die, and they accept it. It just seemed a little far fetched to me, yet Maggie's beautiful writing made it feel believable, and not too scary, just strange.

The book is told in two parts - Sean and Puck. I liked Puck's parts better, though I did enjoy Sean's point of view. I think I liked Puck's parts more because I could relate to her, and I understood her a lot better than I did Sean. Really, Maggie can write awesomely mysterious men. I must have spent at least half of the book trying to figure out Sean. Anyway, I really liked Puck as a character - I thought she was very determined and she always tried to do the right thing and she thought about everyone else before herself. Even during the races when she should have been fearing for her life and just trying to survive the races, her mind was constantly on the other racers, one in particular, and making sure they were OK.

And Sean... Oh Sean, I think I might be a little bit in love with him. He was kind, mysterious, and he was so kind and helpful to Puck, and even though he had won the races 4 times already he wasn't at all arrogant. He was down to earth, and he seemed so real, and his love for his horse, Corr, was the sweetest thing I have read in a long time, probably since I read Lola and the Boy Next Door. The ending was super adorable too, though I won't spoil you! It just made me sit there, and think, 'aww' for about 10 minutes after I'd finished it, just contemplating and remembering the cuteness of the end.

I really enjoyed the plot too. This book really had everything - a great plot, awesome characters, and a good setting and idea. My only complaint was that at the beginning I got a little bit lost because there was quite a lot of information that I needed to have time to absorb and understand properly, but maybe if I wasn't so engrossed in the story I could have read a little bit slower and taken it in a lot better. So maybe it's my fault... But anyway, once I passed the half way mark, I was flying through it, and I couldn't stop turning pages. The story basically builds up to the races, and I was sitting on the edge of my seat, really hoping for the best, and I refused to stop reading until I had found out what had happened at the end. And the dual narrative really made a difference to the story - you got two points of view of the races: Sean's, who had raced six times before and won four of those times, so he knew what to expect and what he was doing; and Puck's, who had never raced before and had no idea what to expect, yet we really understood her determination to save her family and her house by winning.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Scorpio Races. While it wasn't my favourite of Maggie's books, I would definitely recommend it and it's not to be missed, either by Maggie fans, or by someone who has never read any of her work (WHY NOT!! ;) ). It's weird and wonderful, and I really think that any YA paranormal fans would enjoy it!

*Thanks to Scholastic for sending me this in exchange for an honest review! In no way has this affected my opinion of the book!

My Rating:
I give it 4 Feet!


Challenges:
2011 Paranormal YA Reading Challenge #49
2011 100+ Reading Challenge #90

Saturday, 22 October 2011

In My Mailbox #37

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

Once again, this week, the sound in my video is awful. And the lighting's pretty rubbish too... I did my best, it's just I use the camera on my laptop and let's be honest, laptop webcams are not great. Anyway, I've listed the books underneath and typed out all the important bits that I say, just in case you can't watch it ;)


Bought:
Lost In Time by Melissa de la Cruz
Between by Jessica Warman
Birthmarked by Caragh O'Brien

Gifted:
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Sweetly by Jackson Pearce

(Thanks to my parents for these birthday presents! Have read them both and they were AMAZING and I wanted finished HB copies)

For Review:
After Obsession by Carrie Jones and Steven E. Wedel
Footloose by Ruby Josephs

(Thanks to Bloomsbury for both of these!)

Then I showed 4 books that I got signed this week:

Crescendo and Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick - I went to a signing in Foyles and she signed these for me :)
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson - I also went to a different signing and got this signed, which is also where I got...
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare - Cassie was a special guest at the Maureen Johnson signing, and I happened* to have my copy of CoB with me... ;)

*When I say happened... I mean, I took it because I knew she was going to be there and I thought I could sneak it to her to sign for me ;) And because she's a nice person, she did! :D

Haha, this is me with Maureen Johnson :) Cheesy grin! ;) It was such a good event! I met Cicely from Cicely Loves Books and her mum for the second time this week (and ever) and they were SO nice, and Maureen of course was awesome too :D And I met Becca Fitzpatrick for the second time this week too, where again I met Cicely and her mum... I do have pictures but not uploaded onto this computer ;) Overall though, great week for bookish things! :D

Anyway, I think I had a pretty good week this week! Let me know what you got in your mailbox this week - leave me a link in the comments! Hope you have a great week - I'm off on holiday** :)

**Which is why I might not be posting anything this week... Because we're going away and I have NO IDEA if there'll be any internet or signal at all there... I tried to get things scheduled and written beforehand, but I got distracted and haven't written anything... Completely my fault, of course! So if there's nothing posted, that's why! Anyway, thanks for stopping by! 

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Book Review: Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick

Silence (Hush, Hush, #3)
Title: Silence 
Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Series: Hush, Hush #3
Pages: 438
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Date of Publication: 4th October 2011
Source: Bought
Synopsis from Goodreads: The noise between Patch and Nora is gone. They've overcome the secrets riddled in Patch's dark past...bridged two irreconcilable worlds...faced heart-wrenching tests of betrayal, loyalty and trust...and all for a love that will transcend the boundary between heaven and earth. Armed with nothing but their absolute faith in one another, Patch and Nora enter a desperate fight to stop a villain who holds the power to shatter everything they've worked for—and their love—forever.


My Thoughts:
I really really like the Hush, Hush series, it is one of my favourite series ever. It was one of the first YA series that I read and really fell in love with, and after reading that, I just couldn't get enough. I'd read and read and read, and nothing would be as good as Hush, Hush. And then the second one came out, and I was a bit wary that it would suffer from 'second-in-the-series syndrome', but it was awesome, so obviously I was expecting amazing things from Silence. And while it wasn't my favourite of the series, I still really loved it.

I have to say, I went into reading Silence with little memory of what happened at the end of Crescendo... I read so much, I can't remember what happens at the end of books, but luckily, when Nora was suffering with amnesia during the first half of the book, as she starts to remember, so did I. This made it easy to relate to her, and she was definitely the best she's ever been in Silence. Sometimes in the other two books, she could be a bit whiny, and while this didn't bother me at all really, I know that some people hated it, so it was a nice change.

And Patch. Well, we saw a different side of him in this book - we saw him more as the fallen angel that he really is, rather than just some mysterious and super hot guy. He was a great character and I really enjoyed reading about this side of him, and it made me love him even more! Not that I didn't already love him LOADS, but Silence just made me love him that little bit more... ;)

The plot was exciting and it kept me reading for hours, especially once Nora had 'met' Patch again. The first half of the book was like a huge recap, but it was useful, and I didn't get bored once. Maybe if the prologue wasn't there and we didn't know who had caused Nora's amnesia beforehand, it would have been even better as we'd be able to try and solve the mystery, but I didn't mind too much that we found out first. I think that some people would be really annoyed, and they'd get really bored, but I didn't. So just warning you, if that's something that would bother you.

Overall though, I really enjoyed Silence. It was a great instalment in the series, and it sets up nicely for the final book. I'd really recommend the series to you if you haven't read it and are a fan of YA books, as they are seriously amazing. If you haven't read the first one yet, Hush, Hush, what are you waiting for!? ;)

My Rating:
I give it 4 Feet!

Challenges:
2011 Paranormal YA Reading Challenge #48
2011 100+ Reading Challenge #89

Sunday, 16 October 2011

In My Mailbox #36

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

This IMM is for the past two weeks - I was away all weekend last week and didn't have a chance to do one, so I thought I would just do a bigger one this week. This week I managed to get good lighting, but unfortunately the sound is AWFUL. You can't hear half of it and I'm sorry but I've listed the books below, and you can see them in the video, I guess :) I hope you like it anyway!



RAKs:
The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan (gifted from Mist at Bookaholics Book Club)
Whisper by Phoebe Kitanidis (gifted from Lillie at Read My Mind)
Enchanted Ivy by Sarah Beth Durst (gifted from Lillie at Read My Mind)
Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson (gifted from Silvia at Darkest Sins)

For Review
Fins Are Forever by Tera Lynn Childs (UK Proof from Templar)
Angel Fire by LA Weatherly (UK Finished Copy from Usborne)
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (UK Hardback free from Laini Taylor event, courtesy of Hodder) *signed*
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith (UK Proof from Headline)
Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon (UK PB from Harper Collins) *squee*

Huge thanks to Mist, Lillie and Silvia, and Templar, Usborne, Headline, Hodder and Harper Collins! :D Leave me a link to your mailbox in the comments!

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Book Review: Shut Out by Kody Keplinger

Shut Out
Title: Shut Out
Author: Kody Keplinger
Series: N/A
Pages: 273
Publisher: Poppy
Date of Publication: 5th September 2011
Source: Borrowed from Lesley at My Keeper Shelf via UK Swap Shop
Synopsis from Goodreads: Most high school sports teams have rivalries with other schools. At Hamilton High, it's a civil war: the football team versus the soccer team. And for her part, Lissa is sick of it. Her quarterback boyfriend, Randy, is always ditching her to go pick a fight with the soccer team or to prank their locker room. And on three separate occasions Randy's car has been egged while he and Lissa were inside, making out. She is done competing with a bunch of sweaty boys for her own boyfriend's attention.

Lissa decides to end the rivalry once and for all: she and the other players' girlfriends go on a hookup strike. The boys won't get any action from them until the football and soccer teams make peace. What they don't count on is a new sort of rivalry: an impossible girls-against-boys showdown that hinges on who will cave to their libidos first. And Lissa never sees her own sexual tension with the leader of the boys, Cash Sterling, coming.

THIS REVIEW IS QUITE SPOILERY! Sorry, but I needed to explain what happened and how they made me feel and what they made me think, and I couldn't do that without saying what happened... So DON'T read on if you plan on reading it!

My Thoughts:
I really really LOVED this book. WAY more than I thought I would. The synopsis sounded really interesting, and having never read anything like it ever before, I thought I'd give it a go. I wasn't expecting amazing things, so I was pleasantly surprised when I started reading. It was AWESOME.

Lissa is tired of being her boyfriend's booty call, always second best. Randy, her football quarterback boyfriend, is always caught up in the rivalry between Hamilton High's football and soccer teams, and Lissa wants it to stop. So she and all the other girlfriends of the soccer and football teams make a pact - a pact to go on a sex strike.

When I first read that, I was like, 'Why would you want to read that? It's really weird.' But I thought about it a little more, and realised that I really wanted to read it, and see what it was all about. And it was really interesting to read about - not much happened in the book itself, but it made me think so much, about what it means to be in a relationship, and about when is the right time to stop something because it's got too far. And not that any of what happened in the book was really all that relevant to me because I'm 14 and British, but the hidden meanings in the book really did.

For example, towards the end of the book, when the strike was coming to an end, Lissa was adamant not to stop it, because she couldn't realise that her plan had worked. When the boys all got together to try and stop the girls' strike, it was them working TOGETHER which was what Lissa wanted, but she didn't realise because she was too fixated on herself, and on Cash to notice. It really made me think about how you need to know when to stop - and not just in a relationship, but just generally. It made me think about how sometimes you have to take note of what everyone else is feeling and thinking, and put them first. It's not all about you, you need to think of others in order to be a good person. And it's not that I didn't already know that, it's just that this book really emphasised that for me, and I loved it for it, ya know? Sometimes we all just need a little reminder ;)

I really liked Lissa, though at times she got on my nerves. Her whole fascination with Cash was cute, but sometimes she jumped to conclusions, and assumed things that she shouldn't have done. In my opinion, she just needed to look at things rationally and view them for what they really were, and then she would have realised that Cash wasn't really using her, and was genuinely interested in her.

Overall though, I really really loved Shut Out. I'd recommend it for anyone who loved young adult contemporary fiction, or anyone who just wants a good, quick read that will make them think, but is not too deep. I'll definitely be reading The DUFF hopefully soon, as I can't wait to try reading anything else that Kody Keplinger has written, as this book really made an impact on me. I loved it.

My Rating:
I give it 5 Feet!


Challenges:
2011 100+ Reading Challenge #88

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Happily Ever Endings: Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan


Happily Ever Endings... was born out of sheer frustration. You know how when you read a series and you love it but the last book takes a little while to come out and then you sort of forget parts of the novel? That's what these posts are going to serve to remedy. Happily Ever Ending... is a short post about what happened at the ending of each book that is going to be in a series for people who need a quick reminder of what happened in the previous installment. It's really annoying when you can't remember what happens and don't have time for a reread, so this hopefully will be a huge help!
________

GlowSynopsis from Goodreads: What if you were bound for a new world, about to pledge your life to someone you'd been promised to since birth, and one unexpected violent attack made survival—not love—the issue?

Out in the murky nebula lurks an unseen enemy: the New Horizon. On its way to populate a distant planet in the wake of Earth's collapse, the ship's crew has been unable to conceive a generation to continue its mission. They need young girls desperately, or their zealous leader's efforts will fail. Onboard their sister ship, the Empyrean, the unsuspecting families don't know an attack is being mounted that could claim the most important among them...

Fifteen-year-old Waverly is part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space; she was born on the Empyrean, and the large farming vessel is all she knows. Her concerns are those of any teenager—until Kieran Alden proposes to her. The handsome captain-to-be has everything Waverly could ever want in a husband, and with the pressure to start having children, everyone is sure he's the best choice. Except for Waverly, who wants more from life than marriage—and is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth.



__________

Happily Ever Ending: Waverly and all the girls were taken from the Empyrean by the New Horizon. They are told that they were being rescued from the Empyrean, and that there wasn't time to 'rescue' the boys and parents as well. They are shown some metal that has supposedly come from the Empyrean, but Waverly soon works out that there's no way that the metal could possibly be from the Empyrean. Then Waverly finds out that her mum and a lot of the other girls' parents are on the New Horizon, and she escapes the guards with Amanda and goes to find them. She finds them, and briefly manages to talk to her mum before she has to flee. While fleeing, she gets shot in the leg, and then she becomes unconscious.
While she's unconscious, the New Horizon team cut her open and take away her eggs, and give them to the other women on the New Horizon, as the women there are infertile, and their ovaries were destroyed. Waverly is furious because she didn't get a say in whether or not they took her eggs, but other girls thought it was a good idea and willingly agreed to give them their eggs, while others were knocked out and then they had no choice. Waverly and some of the other girls decide that the New Horizon guys have gone too far and they decide to break out their parents and escape back to the Empyrean.
Meanwhile, the boys back on the Empyrean are losing faith in being able to find their sisters, girlfriends, friends, etc. They are giving up their roles, but the Empyrean won't be able to function properly if the boys don't do their work. Kieran has taken over, but Seth has decided that he's not good enough, and knocks him out and throws him in a cell, and begins to run the ship himself. The boys suddenly realise that they preferred being under Kieran's rule, so they demand a trial in which Kieran reclaims his authority and Seth gets thrown in the cells, their positions reversed.
Back on the New Horizon, the girls have started a school, so they can meet together and plot their escape. They have to be extremely secretive, and all their creative writing is littered with riddles and plans for the escape. They finally decide to threaten Anne Mather (the leader of the New Horizon) when she's reading during Sunday services. During the service, Waverly captures Anne and holds a knife to her throat, planning to use her as a way to set the parents free. Unfortunately, the services were being monitored by guards, and their plan fails. Waverly's friend Samantha Stapleton is shot dead. However, the girls still manage to get free, but their parents couldn't be saved, and they convinced the girls to go without them.
When Waverly and the girls get back to the Empyrean, Waverly and Kieran spend the night together, but they were literally sleeping. In the morning, Kieran has to go and lead the morning services that he started to convince the boys to keep going, and Waverly is furious because he is just like Anne Mather. The book ends with her going to find Seth in the cells, when the ship changes direction and started chasing after the New Horizon. They decide to make a deal with them, because they can't let their parents wither and die upon the New Horizon. They at least have to try to save them.
__________

If there's anything important that I've missed out, or something's wrong, do let me know in the comments! Hope this helped! :) For more Happily Ever Endings, go to Down the Rabbit Hole!

Monday, 10 October 2011

Book Review: Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Glow
Title: Glow
Author: Amy Kathleen Ryan
Series: Sky Chasers #1
Pages: 385
Publisher: Macmillan
Date of Publication: 7th October 2011
Source: Publisher*
Synopsis from Goodreads: What if you were bound for a new world, about to pledge your life to someone you'd been promised to since birth, and one unexpected violent attack made survival—not love—the issue?

Out in the murky nebula lurks an unseen enemy: the New Horizon. On its way to populate a distant planet in the wake of Earth's collapse, the ship's crew has been unable to conceive a generation to continue its mission. They need young girls desperately, or their zealous leader's efforts will fail. Onboard their sister ship, the Empyrean, the unsuspecting families don't know an attack is being mounted that could claim the most important among them...

Fifteen-year-old Waverly is part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space; she was born on the Empyrean, and the large farming vessel is all she knows. Her concerns are those of any teenager—until Kieran Alden proposes to her. The handsome captain-to-be has everything Waverly could ever want in a husband, and with the pressure to start having children, everyone is sure he's the best choice. Except for Waverly, who wants more from life than marriage—and is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth.

But when the Empyrean faces sudden attack by their assumed allies, they quickly find out that the enemies aren't all from the outside.


My Thoughts:
There's rather a lot of hype going around for this book at the moment, so while I was super excited to read it, I was also rather hesitant. Lately with books that have been hyped up a lot, I've not been liking them as much because I've expected too much from them. So I waited until after the US publication so the hype had died down a bit, and I'm happy to say that I really enjoyed it, a lot more than I think I would have, had I read it earlier :)

Glow has been compared a lot to The Hunger Games, but I can't see any links between, other than the fact that they are both dystopian. Seriously, I don't understand where that is coming from... Anyway, Glow takes place in space, on two identical spaceships that are filled with two completely different groups of people. Waverly and Kieran are the oldest of the first generation of children to be born in space, and they are planning their life together on the ship, when they are rudely interrupted and split up for what seems like it could be forever. Now they have to try and get back together, and try not to let anyone die in the process...

The book was split into parts, and each part was about either Waverly or Kieran, or at the beginning and the end, about them both. I really liked Waverly's parts, way more than I liked Kieran's. It wasn't that Kieran's parts were bad, it's just that I thought they were aimed more at a male audience, and there was a lot of technical things about the ship, and just general boyish behaviour that bored me. I was much more interested in what was going on with the characters and their relationships, than with all the things going on with the ship. I would have been quite happy not knowing, but I guess it's good that they are there, so that the book can be enjoyed by everyone.

Anyway, I thought Waverly was a very good female lead, and I found it easy to relate to her in some ways. I understood how she was feeling when she began to question some of the things that were expected of her, and I really liked how she objected to some of the things that may have happened because she's still young. Sometimes in books, I feel that characters have grown up too fast and the author has made them seem much too old for their age, but there was none of this problem in Glow. I think the author got it just right. Kieran as a character was also really well thought out, and they were well fleshed out and were not boring and two dimensional. The characters were definitely the best part of the book for me.

The plot got a little slow in places throughout the book, but overall, it kept me interested enough to keep me reading. There were a lot of twists and turns that I didn't see coming, as well as some that I did. There was a good mixture of surprise and tension, and when I got the chance to read for longer than ten minutes, I flew through the pages.

Overall I really enjoyed reading Glow, and I'm really looking forward to the second one. It's a quick, interesting read with great characters and a plot that I've never seen before. I'd really recommend it to fans of YA dystopian, and I think it'd be a great place to start if you've never read anything dystopian!

*I'd like to say a huge thanks to Macmillan for sending me a copy of this in exchange for an honest review. In no way has this affected my opinion of the book.
My Rating:
I give it 4 Feet!


Challenges:
2011 Debut Author Challenge #27
2011 100+ Reading Challenge #87

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Happily Ever Endings: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins


Happily Ever Endings... was born out of sheer frustration. You know how when you read a series and you love it but the last book takes a little while to come out and then you sort of forget parts of the novel? That's what these posts are going to serve to remedy. Happily Ever Ending... is a short post about what happened at the ending of each book that is going to be in a series for people who need a quick reminder of what happened in the previous installment. It's really annoying when you can't remember what happens and don't have time for a reread, so this hopefully will be a huge help!
________

Lola and the Boy Next DoorSynopsis from Goodreads: Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.


When Cricket -- a gifted inventor -- steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

Happily Ever Ending: Lola is in a relationship with Max, when her old neighbours and past crush move back into the house next door to her. One of them is Calliope Bell - she used to be Lola's best friend, until Calliope became 'cool' and Lola didn't. The other is Cricket Bell, her twin, and the boy that Lola spent the best part of her childhood crushing on.

Lola tries her best to ignore him, and just get on with her relationship with Max, but being next door neighbours they can't help bumping into each other all the time. Lola doesn't want to forgive him for rejecting her years ago - after he spent time hanging out with her and then didn't invite her to his birthday party and then ignored her.

It turns out, that Cricket has been into Lola all this time, and Calliope told Cricket that she had asked Lola to come and Lola had said no. Lola learns all this after she spends more time with Cricket after he moved back - and while he was making the hoops and panniers for her Marie Atoinnette prom dress. Once she finds out that Cricket still wants her, has always wanted her, she breaks up with Max, but before she can get together with Cricket, she feels like she has to prove herself to him.

After going through a period of not wearing her fancy clothes, and trying to be a better person, Cricket tells her that he's in love with the bright, colourful Lola that he first met. Lola believes him, and they finally admit that they're in love, and they go to prom together, with Lola dressed in her very big, very special Marie Antoinette prom dress.

__________

If there's anything important that I've missed out, or something's wrong, do let me know in the comments! Hope this helped! :) For more Happily Ever Endings, go to Down the Rabbit Hole!

Friday, 7 October 2011

Book Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Lola and the Boy Next Door
Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door 
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Series: Companion novel to Anna and the French Kiss, but can be read as a stand alone.
Pages: 338
Publisher: Dutton
Date of Publication: 29th September 2011
Source: Bought
Synopsis from Goodreads: Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket -- a gifted inventor -- steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.


My Thoughts:
I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS BOOK. IT IS AMAZING. I don't care if you hate contemporary, I don't care if you hate YA, I don't care if this is not your kind of thing at all. I think EVERYONE should read this book, because it is just SO. DARN. GOOD. When I first read Anna and the French Kiss, the 'first' book in this series, (it's not really a series: this is a companion novel - same world, different characters, so this can be read on it's own), I didn't think it would be my thing, but no one would stop talking about it so I decided to give it a go, and it was bloody amazing. Now I've read Lola, and let me tell you - Stephanie Perkins is an AMAZING author. Seriously, she's amazing.

I loved everything about Lola. Honestly, I am not kidding. I cannot think of one single moment in the book that I did not love. Not one. The whole of the book, everything that happened, every single character... I loved it all.

Lola was an awesome narrator. She was snarky, sarcastic, and so much like Anna, but at the same time she was completely different. I was worried that she'd just be a copy of Anna, but she wasn't, not at all. I loved her fashion sense, it was so awesome! Every day, every single day, she would dress up in a costume, and wear it only once. And when I say costume, I mean, like, a proper costume. Like Cleopatra, or Marie Antoinette. Her character really made me realise that it's not so bad to be different from the crowd, as long as you don't let if affect you. If people don't like you because of your fashion sense, then they're not worth being your friend... ;)

And Cricket. Ahh, Cricket... *day dreams* Sorry, I couldn't resist! ;) He was so super adorable... He wasn't quite as good as Etienne, but he was VERY close. My top list of guys is: Etienne St. Clair, Cricket Bell, Dimitri Belikov... You get the idea. Anyway, he was SO sweet, and (nearly) everything he said to Lola made me go 'awww' out loud. What he does for her at the end, what he makes for her... He's just so freakin cute! Love him :D

The plot was adorable too... Everything about this book was adorable. It's like when you see a baby animals sleeping, and your heart just melts... Anyway, the plot was your typical, girl likes boy, boy likes girl, girl thinks boy doesn't love her, boy moves away, girl's heart breaks, boy moves back, girl's moved on, boy hasn't... You get the idea. It seems as though this could be just your generic YA contemporary romance, but in so many ways it is not. It might follow a very typical storyline, but the way that Stephanie writes the story is just so beautifully easy to read, and while perhaps a little predictable, it didn't matter at all. Not a bit, because it was just so amazing.

I am aware that this review doesn't tell you much about this book apart from that it's adorable, awesome and amazing (ha, they all begin with a... ;P ) Is that enough to convince you to buy it? Because it's SO amazing, and SO awesome, and SO adorable, that I think you should go out to your local bookstore and buy a copy of both Lola and the Boy Next Door AND Anna and the French Kiss, because if you have not read them, then you are seriously missing out. Seriously. You're missing the cuteness, and the SUPER HOT GUYS. And if that doesn't convince you, just go out and get it anyway! ;)


My Rating:
I give it 5 big fat sparkly feet!

Challenges:
2011 100+ Reading Challenge #85

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Happily Ever Endings: Sweetly by Jackson Pearce


Happily Ever Endings... was born out of sheer frustration. You know how when you read a series and you love it but the last book takes a little while to come out and then you sort of forget parts of the novel? That's what these posts are going to serve to remedy. Happily Ever Ending... is a short post about what happened at the ending of each book that is going to be in a series for people who need a quick reminder of what happened in the previous instalment. We hope this saves you the frustration of forgetting the ending to the last book in the series!

There WILL be SPOILERS from THIS book, and possibly ANY OTHER BOOK IN THE SERIES. Do not read on if you haven't read the book yet and do not wish to be spoiled! :)

__________

SweetlySynopsis from Goodreads:  Twelve years ago, Gretchen, her twin sister, and her brother went looking for a witch in the forest. They found something. Maybe it was a witch, maybe a monster, they aren’t sure—they were running too fast to tell. Either way, Gretchen’s twin sister was never seen again.


Years later, after being thrown out of their house, Gretchen and Ansel find themselves in Live Oak, South Carolina, a place on the verge of becoming a ghost town. They move in with Sophia Kelly, a young and beautiful chocolatier owner who opens not only her home, but her heart to Gretchen and Ansel.


Yet the witch isn’t gone—it’s here, lurking in the forests of Live Oak, preying on Live Oak girls every year after Sophia Kelly’s infamous chocolate festival. But Gretchen is determined to stop running from witches in the forest, and start fighting back. Alongside Samuel Reynolds, a boy as quick with a gun as he is a sarcastic remark, Gretchen digs deeper into the mystery of not only what the witch is, but how it chooses its victims. Yet the further she investigates, the more she finds herself wondering who the real monster is, and if love can be as deadly as it is beautiful.


__________


Happily Ever Ending: When Gretchen and Ansel have settled into Live Oak, Gretchen decides to go exploring in the forest, to see if she could find one of the witches that took her sister. She encounters one, and runs away from it, but luckily she is saved by a guy called Samuel, who shoots the witch before it can eat Gretchen. It turns out that the witches are actually called the Fenris - werewolves. Gretchen then manages to persuade Samuel to teach her to shoot them, and he gives her a few secret lessons in a field, before they can actually go out hunting.
Meanwhile, Sophia has been receiving sea shells on her porch that completely freak her out, and neither Ansel nor Gretchen know why. It turns out that for the last two years that Sophie has run the chocolate festival, girls mysteriously went missing the morning after, never to be seen again. The town thought that it was Sophia convincing them to move away, but it was actually Sophia dressing them up in red dresses and sending them into the forest to be eaten by the Fenris, and the sea shells were instructions - however many sea shells turned up near her house, was the amount of girls in red dresses that Sophia needed to supply to the wolves.
On the night of the chocolate festival, Gretchen and Samuel lie in wait in the car outside of Sophia's house. A mysterious figure comes out of the house and demands that Sophia has eleven girls to hand over. She doesn't, and this makes the wolf angry. Gretchen and Ansel get discovered when Gretchen makes a noise, and Sophia is furious that they overheard. A fight breaks out, and it is revealed that Sophia sent those girls to their deaths because the monsters have her sister Naida, and they say that they'll give back her sister if she cooperates and gives them what they want.
The book ends when there is one Fenris left, and Sophia stands in front of it and begs Gretchen to kill the beast, through her. Sophia dies, and Samuel is very seriously injured, but he pulls through. Ansel, Gretchen and Samuel leave Live Oak together to go and see the ocean.

__________

I hope that helped! Let me know in the comments if you think I've missed anything important out and I'll add it in :)

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Book Review: Sweetly by Jackson Pearce

Sweetly
Title: Sweetly  
Author: Jackson Pearce
Series: Fairytale Retellings #2
Pages: 312
Publisher: Hodder Children's
Date of Publication: 4th October 2011
Source: Publisher*
Synopsis from Goodreads: Twelve years ago, Gretchen, her twin sister, and her brother went looking for a witch in the forest. They found something. Maybe it was a witch, maybe a monster, they aren’t sure—they were running too fast to tell. Either way, Gretchen’s twin sister was never seen again.

Years later, after being thrown out of their house, Gretchen and Ansel find themselves in Live Oak, South Carolina, a place on the verge of becoming a ghost town. They move in with Sophia Kelly, a young and beautiful chocolatier owner who opens not only her home, but her heart to Gretchen and Ansel.

Yet the witch isn’t gone—it’s here, lurking in the forests of Live Oak, preying on Live Oak girls every year after Sophia Kelly’s infamous chocolate festival. But Gretchen is determined to stop running from witches in the forest, and start fighting back. Alongside Samuel Reynolds, a boy as quick with a gun as he is a sarcastic remark, Gretchen digs deeper into the mystery of not only what the witch is, but how it chooses its victims. Yet the further she investigates, the more she finds herself wondering who the real monster is, and if love can be as deadly as it is beautiful.


My Thoughts:
I really enjoyed this book. I absolutely loved Sisters Red when I read it last year, so I was really excited to get reading this one. It most definitely didn't disappoint!

This book is a retelling of Hansel and Gretel. It's similar to the fairy tale, but not in a way that it's easy to predict what will happen towards the end, which can sometimes happen with retellings. I knew vaguely what was going to happen, but I had no idea how it would happen.

I really enjoyed the plot of the book. I loved how it was set up that Gretchen and her brother believed almost religiously that the thing that took their sister was a witch, and that they thought that there was no way it could have been anything else. It was really interesting to find out what it actually was and I was pleasantly surprised to find and recognise some links between this book and Sisters Red. Because this is more of a companion novel than a series, I wasn't expecting any links at all, so that was great.

I also really like the characters. I thought they were very three dimensional and Jackson really managed to hide their 'other' sides really well. I particularly loved Sophia. She seemed so sweet and caring and just in need of a friend, but throughout the book, you began to realise and notice her darker side more and more. Her relationship with Ansel was also really cute - I loved how devoted they were to each other, and how they were always there for each other, especially when times were really hard for them. They were just so adorable!

I liked Gretchen too. I admire her for her strength - how on earth she managed to try to save all the girls while at the same time being terrified AND shooting the witches, I have no idea. She was brave and determined, and I really enjoyed reading from her point of view. I loved her relationship with Samuel too, (all the romance in this book was really sweet... ;p ) it was awesome how at first they didn't really like each other, and then gradually they grew to like, and even love each other.

Another aspect of the book that I really liked was the history of the town. The town that the book takes place in, Live Oak, is slowly dying, but it was full of history. There's a scene where Gretchen goes and looks around a museum in the town just to take her mind off the crazy things that were going on in her life, and I loved how Jackson incorporated a story of just an old pair of boots worn by a significant figure of the town into the plot, and she effortlessly managed to make it feel like that scene wasn't just a filler, that it actually had some significance and importance to the plot, which I don't think it did (I mean, I'm glad it's there, but it would have made sense without it, you know? ;) )

Overall, I really enjoyed Sweetly. The plot was action packed and full of suspense, and once I'd properly gotten into the story, I was really hooked. The only thing I will say is that the beginning was quite slow for me - some bits of it felt a little unrealistic, but apart from that I really enjoyed it. I'd recommend it to all fans of young adult paranormal, especially if you like stories that involve lots of chocolate and secret gun-shooting lessons ;)

*I'd like to say a huge thanks to Hachette for sending me a copy of this in exchange for an honest review. In no way has this affected my opinion of the book.

My Rating:
I give it 4 Feet!

Challenges:
2011 Paranormal YA Reading Challenge #47
2011 100+ Reading Challenge #86

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

New Releases in October 2011

Hey everyone, here are all the October releases I can think of! If I've missed any out, do leave it in the comments for me! :D

Sweetly  Carrier of the Mark   Embrace

Sweetly by Jackson Pearce (4th October)
Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon (27th October)
Embrace by Jessica Shirvington (6th October)

This Dark Endeavour: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein  Beautiful Chaos (Caster Chronicles, #3)  Eve (The Eve Trilogy, #1)

This Dark Endeavour by Kenneth Oppel (6th October)
Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (18th October)
Eve by Anna Carey (4th October)

Variant  Tris & Izzie  Between the Sea and Sky

Variant by Robison Wells (4th October)
Tris & Izzie by Mette Ivie Harrison (10th October)
Between the Sea and Sky by Jaclyn Dolamore (25th October)

The Iron Knight (Iron Fey, #4)  The Scorpio Races  Silence (Hush, Hush, #3)

The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa (25th October)
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater (19th October)
Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick (4th October)

VIII  Angel Fire (Angel, #2)  Between

VIII by Harriet Castor (1st October)
Angel Fire by LA Weatherly (1st October)
Between by Jessica Warman (3rd October)

Midwinterblood  The Death Cure (Maze Runner, #3)  The Dead Ways

Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick (6th October)
The Death Cure by James Dashner (11th October)
The Dead Ways by Christopher Edge (1st October)

Mister Creecher  Devoted (Elixir, #2)  Destined

Mister Creecher by Christ Priestley (3rd October)
Devoted by Hilary Duff (11th October)
Destined by PC & Kristin Cast (25th October)

Phantom (The Vampire Diaries: The Hunters, #1)  If I Tell  Lost in Time (Blue Bloods, #6)

The Vampire Diaries: The Hunters: Phantom by LJ Smith (25th October)
If I Tell by Janet Gurtler (1st October)
Lost in Time by Melissa de la Cruz (6th October)

Past Perfect   There You'll Find Me  Bunheads

Past Perfect by Leila Sales (4th October)
There You'll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones (4th October)
Bunheads by Sophie Flack (10th October)

How to Save a Life  You Are My Only  Amplified

How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr (18th October)
You Are My Only by Beth Kephart (25th October)
Amplified by Tara Kelly (25th October)

On the Fringe  Virtuosity  Audition

On the Fringe by Courtney King Walker (19th October)
Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez (27th October)
Audition by Stasia Ward Kehoe (13th October)

Ashfall (Ashfall, #1)  Deadly Cool  Mercy Lily

Ashfall by Mike Mullin (11th October)
Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday (11th October)
Mercy Lily by Lisa Albert (1st October)

Glow

Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan (7th October)







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