Friday, 30 March 2012

Book Review: Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins

Spell Bound (Hex Hall #3)
Title: Spell Bound
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Series: Hex Hall, #3
Pages: 336
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Date of Publication: 29th March 2012
Source: Publisher*
Synopsis from Goodreads: Hailed as “impossible to put down,” the Hex Hall series has both critics and teens cheering. With a winning combination of romance, action, magic and humor, this third volume will leave readers enchanted.

Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. Now Sophie is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies—the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium. Or at least that’s what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t as confident.

Sophie’s bound for one hell of a ride—can she get her powers back before it’s too late?

My Thoughts:
I love this series, so, so much. It's definitely one of my favourites, and I have no idea why I waited so long to get around to the sequels after reading the first book nearly two years ago. If you haven't picked up the first in the series, Hex Hall, you must. Right now ;P

I loved Sophie in this book. She was the best Sophie she's been so far, if that makes sense. She's lost all her powers, is virtually human, yet she is still determined to carry on and try to save her friends and family and all the Prodigium from the Casnoff sisters. She's under a whole lot of pressure yet she still manages to keep up with all the snark and sarcasm that I've come to love most about her, and it was great.

I also loved how we got to learn more about the Brannicks in this book. In the first two, they're only briefly mentioned, and while we know loads about The Eye and Prodigium, I knew barely anything about the Brannicks. It was interesting to find out about them and there were definitely some pretty big surprises surrounding them!

The plot was exciting and kept me reading for hours (I read the whole of Spell Bound in two sittings). I needed to keep reading because I had to make sure that a certain character was okay, or in case something bad might happen to Sophie that meant she couldn't do what she need to in order to save everyone. Also, to be able to finally finish one of the books on something that wasn't a massive cliffhanger was awesome.

But the end... Oh my gosh, the end was SO sad! I'll try not to say anything spoilerish, but I love one person so much more because of the end... Aww, it was adorable and heartbreaking and just so lovely, all at the same time. Sorry to be cryptic! ;)

Overall, I really loved Spell Bound, and I thought it was the perfect end to a perfect series. I'll definitely be reading anything else that Rachel Hawkins writes in the future, and I'm super excited to hear that she'll be writing a spin-off series to accompany this one, about some of the characters that we met in this book. Like I said before, if you've not read the series, you should stop whatever you're doing, find yourself a copy, and start reading. You'll love it.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Book Review: The Killables by Gemma Malley


The Killables (The Killables, #1)Title: The Killables 
Author: Gemma Malley
Series: The Killables, #1
Pages: 384
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Date of Publication: 29th March 2012
Source: Publisher
Synopsis from Goodreads: Everyone accepted that people were different physically. But inside? Inside, they were different too. You just had to know how to tell, what to look for.

Evil has been eradicated. The City has been established. And citizens may only enter after having the 'evil' part of their brain removed. They are labelled on the System according to how 'good' they are. If they show signs of the evil emerging, they are labelled a K . . . But no one knows quite what that means. Only that they disappear, never to be seen again...

My Thoughts:
I had high hopes for this book. I read the first book in Gemma Malley's other series, The Declaration, back when it was first released, and while I can't remember much about it at all, I do remember really enjoying it, so when I heard that she was publishing another dystopian series, I was excited. However, whether it was because I was in a bit of a reading slump at the time, or whether it was because my expectations were too high, but this book wasn't quite as good as I expected it to be. I liked it, but there was something missing.

I think one of the biggest problems with this book for me was that I couldn't help but compare it to other, in my opinion, better dystopian YA books that I've read in the past, like Delirium by Lauren Oliver and Matched by Ally Condie. I think that right now there are so many YA dystopians coming out, due to the popularity of The Hunger Games, so it's becoming difficult for books to really stand out in the genre, because there are so many out there that are so similar, that a book needs a spark of something new and exciting to make it really AMAZING.

The idea behind The Killables intrigued me, and I thought it had a lot of potential to be a really interesting read. However, nothing much happened in the book, and I didn't really see the point, for quite a lot of it. It took me a whole week to get through one hundred reeaaaallly slooooww pages, but I didn't want to give up and stop reading because I was hoping for such good things that I powered through to see if it got better towards the end. And it did... Sort of.

Once the main characters, Evie and Raffy, have actually escaped from their City, it gets a bit more interesting. There's more action, rather than whole chapters of explanation that I just got bored of. About a third of the way through the plot picked up, and I found myself quite enjoying it. It still wasn't the best book I'd read, but it was no longer a drag to read more than ten pages in one sitting.

For the most part, The Killables was just OK, although I did enjoy the last hundred pages quite a lot. If you're a huge fan of dystopians, then maybe this won't be for you as it is very similar and not quite as good as a lot of other popular YA titles right now, but if you're new to the genre and haven't read a large number of them, you might enjoy this more. I don't know if I'll read the next book in the series - the end was a bit of a cliffhanger so pure curiosity might get the better of me, but I'm definitely not on the edge of my seat waiting for it.

Watch the trailer!


Monday, 26 March 2012

Book Review: Raising Demons by Rachel Hawkins

Raising Demons (Hex Hall, #2)
Title: Raising Demons
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Series: Hex Hall, #2
Pages: 359
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Date of Publication: 1st March 2011
Source: Bought
Synopsis from Goodreads: Sophie Mercer's first term at Hex Hall turned out to be quite eventful. First the ghost of her evil grandmother haunted her every move, then her best friend was accused of murder and of course there was the discovery that Archer Cross, aka the boy of her dreams, was actually an undercover demon hunter - which would probably be something she could have worked on, if she hadn't also discovered that she was actually the demon Archer was hunting…
So, despite their issues, Sophie is actually relieved to be spending the summer in London with her father. But when your father is Head of The Council of Prodigium and your summer is being spent at the headquarters of everything magical, then a quiet holiday isn't really that likely. And, as Sophie struggles to come to terms with her new found demon powers, she finds herself thrust once again into a world of dark magic and conspiracies. The only thing that could possibly make things more complicated would be for Archer Cross to show up again, which of course he wouldn't, would he?

My Thoughts:
When I got the third book in this series, Spell Bound, I decided it was finally time to get around to reading Raising Demons. Having read and loved the first book, Hex Hall back in November of 2010, I knew it was about time I got around to reading the second book in the series, especially as I loved the first one so much. So I reread Hex Hall and dove straight into this one, and it was awesome.

Sophie has just found out that she is a fourth generation demon, with super-powerful magical powers, and that at any moment she could 'demon out' and kill someone she loved, so she decides to head to London to go through the Removal to remove her powers from her, thus saving everyone she loves, even though the procedure might kill her. However, her dad won't let her got through with the Removal, and offers her a compromise. She flies to London, where the Council are, and she spends summer with them, making a decision as to whether she wants to go through with it. And not long after she lands, the drama starts.

Just as snarky and sarcastic as she was in the first book, Sophie was awesome. It's so fun to read about everything through her eyes - she has a witty remark or comeback for everything, and it never fails to make me giggle. I thought she dealt with everything that was thrown her way (and it was A LOT) awesomely and she wasn't moany all the time about how crap her life was. She stood up to it and carried on, and she looked out for her friends and family while she was doing it.

I really liked the direction the plot took in this book. I loved how there was more focus on Sophie being a demon, and we got a lot more info on the way the Prodigium world works (or is meant to work). I liked getting to know her dad, and seeing some of the characters true colours was certainly very interesting. I have to say, I wouldn't have expected some of the characters to turn out the way they did...

Overall, I think I liked Raising Demons even more than I liked Hex Hall. It's full of snark, attitude, action, and of course, some awesome romance ;P I would definitely recommend this to all paranormal YA fans, or if you're looking for something that will take your mind off the real world and suck you into the story. I can't wait for the next book - I'm sure the finale to the series will be EPIC.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

In My Mailbox #46

Hey, welcome to my In My Mailbox for the past three(?) weeks! I don't know how long ago it was... ;P Anyway, I have quite a lot to show you all, so I'm not going to talk about rubbish up here for long... I don't even know if people actually read it ;P

FOR REVIEW


 

Fateful by Claudia Gray (29th March 2012, HarperCollins)
The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting (29th March, 2012, Headline)
Burn Mark by Laura Powell (June 2012, Bloomsbury)
Partials by Dan Wells (29th March 2012, HarperCollins)
A Million Suns by Beth Revis (5th April, Penguin)
Fever by Dee Shulman (5th April, Penguin)

The next books I got were from a goodie bag I got when I went to the MIRA Ink Bloggers' party on Thursday evening. It was really good - we talked about all the awesome new releases coming from MIRA Ink this year, and we talked to Julie Kagawa, author of one of my favourite series ever, The Iron Fey series, on Skype! We asked her questions, and she showed us one of her chickens :D I might do a write up a little later this week, but it depends on how lazy I'm feeling ;D Anyway, here's what we got!

 

Crave by Melissa Darnell (6th April 2012, MIRA Ink)
Pushing the Limits by Kate McGarry (3rd August, MIRA Ink)
Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter (6th April, MIRA Ink)
My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent 
If I Die by Rachel Vincent

 

The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross (US Hardback)
Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz (US ARC)
The Iron King by Julie Kagawa (Exclusive UK Hardback) *squeeee*
Saving June by Hannah Harrington (US ARC)

NETGALLEY

The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden, #1) 

I also got one book from NetGalley this week... And I'm so excited to read it! It's The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa! :D I'm going to read this one hopefully very soon though I'm not sure when I'll be able to fit it in :( I will MAKE the time! :D

So that's everything I received this week, what about you? Leave me a link in the comments and I'll try and stop by! :D Thanks to MIRA Ink, HarperCollins, Bloomsbury, Penguin, Headline, HarlequinTEEN and NetGalley for all my lovely books this week! 

Friday, 23 March 2012

UK ONLY Giveaway: Legend by Marie Lu!

So, I actually have something else scheduled to be posted today, but it's 23:20, I'm tired, and I've just got back from seeing The Hunger Games and not in the mood to write a whole blog post, so I thought I'd put up a giveaway, because I haven't done one for agessss... So, in honour of The Hunger Games movie being released today (you have to see it, ASAP!!), I'm giving away a UK proof copy of Legend by Marie Lu - another fantastic YA dystopian!* *Open to UK RESIDENTS ONLY*

Legend (Legend, #1)The United States is gone, along with its flooded coasts. North America's two warring nations, the western Republic and the eastern Colonies, have reached a breaking point. In the midst of this broken continent and dark new world are two teenagers who will go down in history....

Born into the slums of Los Angeles, fifteen-year old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. A mysterious boy with no recorded image or fingerprints. A boy who should no longer exist. A boy who watches over his family until one evening, when the plague patrols mark his family's door with an X--the sign of plague infection. A death sentence for any family too poor to afford the antidote. Desperate, Day has no choice; he must steal it.

Born to an elite family in Los Angeles' wealthy Ruby sector, fifteen-year old June is the Republic's most promising prodigy. A superintelligent girl destined for great things in the country's highest military circles. Obedient, passionate, and committed to her country--until the day her brother Metias is murdered while on patrol during a break-in at the plague hospital.

Only one person could be responsible.

Day.

And now it's June's mission to hunt him down.

The truth they'll uncover will become legend.

*It doesn't have the cover pictured above - it is a proof copy so it doesn't have a cover - just some writing and the Legend logo (it's a very nice proof ;D )

If you've not heard of Legend, it's a really good 2012 debut dystopian. You can find out more about it here on Goodreads, or read my review here :)

So, are you interested? If you live in the UK, you can enter in the Rafflecopter form below! :D

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Happily Ever Endings: Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins



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!
__________

Hex Hall (Hex Hall, #1)Synopsis from Goodreads: Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.
By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire student on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.

As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

__________

Happily Ever Ending: Sophie finds out that she is from a long line of witches with very great power and she was sent to Hecate to be safe from people who want to kill her (it's revealed later on that this isn't true, but we'll get to that ;P ). One night, Sophie is woken by the green ghost who has been following her around the school. She reveals that she is Alice, Sophie's great-grandmother, and they meet in the woods where Alice teaches her how to use her magic properly.

For the All Hallows Eve Ball, the witches have to make their own dresses. Elodie's was beautiful, so Alice gave Sophie a curse to make it change into a hideous colour. Turns out it made the dress tighten and squeeze Elodie until she couldn't breathe. Elodie has to leave the ball, and leaves Archer to dance with Sophie, until they're interrupted by Elodie screaming that Anna is dead. Anna wasn't dead, but like Holly and Chaston, she was found drained of blood with two small holes in her neck. As a result the vampires are banished from the school (Jenna and Lord Byron).

That night when Sophie sneaks out to meet Alice, Elodie catches her and wants in, or she'll tell Mrs Casnoff. Out in the woods, Alice tells the girls about how she was killed by the L'Occhio di Dio at Hecate Hall, despite the numerous protection spells. Sophie then decides to do some more research to find out what killed Holly to try to clear Jenna's name. She discovers demons also kill like that, but Mrs Casnoff quickly dismisses the idea.

That evening in cellar duty, Sophie kisses Archer. While they're kissing, she puts her hand on his chest and she finds a tattoo of an eye over his heart. Before Sophie can call for help he escapes out the window, and they search for him but by then he's long gone. As it obviously wasn't her, Jenna returns, and then Sophie tells Elodie about the kiss and they fall out. Sophie stops meeting Alice in the night but Elodie continues to go. When Jenna sees the necklace Alice gave to Sophie, she figures out that Alice is actually a demon, making Sophie one too.

Alice was outside with Elodie, and Sophie tries to save Elodie but she's too late. Then Sophie grabs a handy demonglass sword and slices of Alice's head. After the attack, Mrs Casnoff explains to Sophie that she is quarter-demon and she is expected to use her incredible powers to aid the council. However, Sophie decides to get her powers stripped by the Removal procedure, because being a demon, she could suddenly flip out and kill a loved one, and she'd rather get rid of her powers and risk dying herself than kill someone she loved.
_________

I hope this helped! Now you're all set up to read the next one! If I've missed anything important or you think there's something wrong, let me know in the comments! I'm not all that good at these... ;) 

Monday, 19 March 2012

Book Review: Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter

Goddess Interrupted (Goddess Test, #2)Title: Goddess Interrupted
Author: Aimee Carter
Series: Goddess Test, #2
Pages: 304
Publisher: HarlequinTEEN
Date of Publication: 27th March 2012
Source: netGalley*
Synopsis from Goodreads: Kate Winters has won immortality. But if she wants a life with Henry in the Underworld, she'll have to fight for it. Becoming immortal wasn't supposed to be the easy part. Though Kate is about to be crowned Queen of the Underworld, she's as isolated as ever. And despite her growing love for Henry, ruler of the Underworld, he's becoming ever more distant and secretive. Then, in the midst of Kate's coronation, Henry is abducted by the only being powerful enough to kill him: the King of the Titans.As the other gods prepare for a war that could end them all, it is up to Kate to save Henry from the depths of Tartarus. But in order to navigate the endless caverns of the Underworld, Kate must enlist the help of the one person who is the greatest threat to her future.Henry's first wife, Persephone.

My Thoughts:
I really enjoyed The Goddess Test, so I was excited to read Goddess Interrupted. I thought it was good, but it was a definitely a case of Second Book Syndrome. I did like it, but not nearly as much as the first book.

I didn't really like Kate that much. I liked her in the first book, but ever since she became immortal, she seems to have become a bit pathetic and extremely needy. She can't seem to function without Henry by her side, and this sucks because for the majority of the book she's pining after him, unsure as to whether or not he loves her, even though it's blindingly obvious that he does.

Henry annoyed me too. I get that he was going through a lot, and I know he was all unhappy because Persephone had left him, but I thought he'd got over that, and having married someone new, he shouldn't be allowed to go back to being completely and utterly in love with his ex. I just wanted Persephone to go away and leave Kate and Henry to get along, as a happily married couple.

I did however, really like the plot. It was exciting and I had to keep reading to find out what happened - I needed to know whether Kate and Henry would survive every run in with Calliope and/or Cronus that they had. I liked that it took place in the Underworld, and I loved how we got to know a lot more about Henry and all the other gods' world.

The ending leaves you in a really annoying place - there's a rather large cliffhanger, even though I didn't really understand what happened at the end... I don't think I'm meant to though! (or I might have just missed something really huge ;P )

Overall though, if you enjoyed The Goddess Test, I think you will probably enjoy Goddess Interrupted too. While it didn't quite live up to my expectations, I'm still excited to read the last book, Goddess Inheritance, to see how the story ends, and I'd recommend you read this series if you're a fan of YA paranormal, or Greek mythology retellings.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Book Review: Fever by Lauren Destefano

Fever (The Chemical Garden, #2)Title: Fever 
Author: Lauren Destefano
Series: The Chemical Garden Trilogy, #2
Pages: 341
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Date of Publication: 16th February 2012
Source: Publisher*
Synopsis from Goodreads: Rhine and Gabriel have escaped the mansion. But danger is never far behind.

Running away brings Rhine and Gabriel right into a trap, in the form of a twisted carnival whose ringmistress keeps watch over a menagerie of girls. Just as Rhine uncovers what plans await her, her fortune turns again. With Gabriel at her side, Rhine travels through an environment as grim as the one she left a year ago―surroundings that mirror her own feelings of fear and hopelessness.

The Two are determined to get to Manhattan, to relative safety with Rhine's twin brother, Rowan. But the road there is long and perilous―and in a world where young woman only live to age twenty and young men die at twenty-five, time is precious. Worse still, they can't seem to elude Rhine's father-in-law, Vaughn, who is determined to bring Rhine back to the mansion… by any means necessary.

In this sequel to Lauren DeStefano's harrowing Wither, Rhine must decide if freedom is worth the price―now that she has more to lose than ever.


My Thoughts:
Wither was one of my favourite books of 2011, so when Fever arrived, I got stuck in straight away. I quickly remembered everything about Wither that I loved, and it was great to be back in the world of Rhine and Gabriel, and their struggles with living in a world where you know exactly when you're going to die.

Fever does not take place in the mansion where Rhine lived with her husband and sister wives in the first book, but out in the world. I liked that this gave the characters more freedom to do things, and because the possibilities were endless it was a lot more exciting. However I really don't like the world that they live in. I didn't like that the first part of the book was set in a brothel... And then everywhere else was poor and desolate and really depressing... And yeah, I know it's dystopian and that's what dystopian is, but it's never depressed me as much, or I haven't noticed while reading this genre before how awful it really is. Is that bad of me?

Anyway, I liked Rhine in this one - her determination to find her brother and just generally trying to help everyone around her without thinking about herself must have taken a whole lot of bravery and courage. I mean, for her to not once think about herself even though she was extremely ill and was possibly dying... And how she cared for Maddie, like she was the parent, even though she wasn't was adorable!

Talking of Maddie, I think she was possibly my favourite character. She's a malformed child that Gabriel and Rhine sort of adopt into their care, and while she doesn't talk and was pretty shy, she made me smile all the time because she still managed to seem happy in the awful world that she lives in.

The plot was good - I liked going on Rhine's journey to find her twin with her, though I preferred the plot of the first book. I missed reading about her relationship with Linden, and I missed Rhine's sister wives so much. I have to admit I was disappointed by the direction the story took, and I'm hoping that the third (and hopefully last) book in the series will have a better plot... I'm just being picky I guess but it annoyed me :/

While it might sound like I had mixed feelings about this book, I did really enjoy Fever and the end has left me itching for the next book. I can't wait to find out what happens to Rhine and I'm REALLY hoping something awful will happen to her evil father-in-law, Vaughn, because he's HORRID. Eugh. Anyway, if you like Wither you should like this - it's a good continuation of the story, and if you haven't read Wither yet, go read it!

Monday, 12 March 2012

Book Review: Forgiven by Jana Oliver

Forgiven (The Demon Trappers, #3)Title: Forgiven
Author: Jana Oliver
Series: The Demon Trappers, #3
Pages: 407
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Date of Publication: 1st March 2012
Source: Publisher*
Synopsis from Goodreads: Riley has made a bargain with Heaven, and now they've come to collect.

Lucifer's finest are ruling the streets and it seems that Armageddon might be even closer than Riley imagined. But with her soul and her heart in play it's all she can do to keep herself alive, let alone save the world. Riley's not afraid of kicking some major demon butt, but when it comes to a battle between Heaven and Hell, she might need a little help...


My Thoughts:
Forgiven is the third book in The Demon Trappers Series by Jana Oliver. It's one of my favourite series, and let me tell you - each book just gets better and better.

I absolutely adored this book - and although I'm in a bit of a reading funk at the moment - when I did actually sit down to read for longer than ten minutes, I flew through the pages. I loved jumping right back into Riley's demon trapping world, and all the action and drama is so exciting, and despite having read the previous book in the summer of last year, I felt as if I had never left.

As usual, Riley was awesome. She's possibly one of my favourite heroines in YA fiction - she's kick-ass, determined and great fun to read about. She really seems like a real teenager, and living in the conditions and situations that she does must be hard, she still finds the time to add just enough snark and sass to the book to lighten the sometimes depressing scenarios (like all the huge demon fight scenes) in which the characters find themselves in.

Her relationship with Beck remains one of my favourite aspects of this book, but at the same time, I hate it. It is possibly the most frustrating relationship in the history of all relationships... AHH they annoyed me SO much. It's completely obvious to absolutely everyone, yet neither character can admit to themselves that they've fallen for each other, and fallen hard.

Speaking of Beck, I love the guy he became in Forgiven. It wasn't that he was different, exactly, but I feel like he's matured a lot and gotten older in the short time in which the book is set. We learn a lot more about him, and I felt he finally gave up some of his pride and admitted things to both himself and to Riley that made him a lot more vulnerable, yet also stronger, in the long run.

The plot, I think, was definitely the best of the three books so far. Right from when it starts on page 1, the action is non-stop, fast-paced and exciting. There's a whole load of demon fights and traps, a huge range of relationship drama and even a battle between Heaven, Hell and the Human Race. There wasn't a single moment when I got bored or I felt the story lagged in momentum - it was all awesome.

All in all, Forgiven was a great addition to The Demon Trappers Series. It's definitely one of my all-time favourites, and I can't wait to read the conclusion, Foretold, when it comes out in August. If you haven't started this series yet, why not?! I'd most definitely recommend to all fans of YA paranormal and dystopian (as it sort of is both), or if you're looking for a fast, exciting read to keep you entertained for hours.

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

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Book Review: Vixen by Jillian Larkin


VixenTitle: Vixen 
Author: Jillian Larkin
Series: The Flappers, #1
Pages: 400
Publisher: Corgi
Date of Publication: 1st March 2012
Source: Publisher*
Synopsis from Goodreads: Jazz . . . Booze . . . Boys . . . It’s a dangerous combination.

Every girl wants what she can’t have. Seventeen-year-old Gloria Carmody wants the flapper lifestyle—and the bobbed hair, cigarettes, and music-filled nights that go with it. Now that she’s engaged to Sebastian Grey, scion of one of Chicago’s most powerful families, Gloria’s party days are over before they’ve even begun . . . or are they?

Clara Knowles, Gloria’s goody-two-shoes cousin, has arrived to make sure the high-society wedding comes off without a hitch—but Clara isn’t as lily-white as she appears. Seems she has some dirty little secrets of her own that she’ll do anything to keep hidden. . . .

Lorraine Dyer, Gloria’s social-climbing best friend, is tired of living in Gloria’s shadow. When Lorraine’s envy spills over into desperate spite, no one is safe. And someone’s going to be very sorry. . . .


My Thoughts:
Wow. Wow wow wow wow wow. I absolutely adored this book. Seriously, it's one of my favourite books I've read this year so far, for sure. It was full of glitz and glamour, gossip and scandal, and there wasn't a minute of it that I didn't love. Ahh it was just so awesome.

Sorry, I had to get my gushy paragraph out of the way... I haven't read a historical fiction book for ages, so I was rather excited to finally get to read one. Having never read anything about 1920s America, and knowing very little about the Flappers in general, I didn't really know what to expect. I was a bit worried I'd need some prior knowledge about the time before reading it, and while some of language I didn't quite understand at first, I felt completely at ease with Flappers and 1920s America before even reaching page 50.

I loved Gloria. I thought she was a great character - I loved how she didn't want to spend her life with a man she didn't love, so she took action against it to make sure it wouldn't happen. It was great how outgoing she was, and her determination to have fun and not let other people's opinions of her get in her way was awesome. She took risks and did what she wanted to do, and she actually had a backbone, unlike other YA heroines.

Despite how much I liked Gloria, I really loved how the book was told from multiple points of view. It was nice to learn more about Clara and her background than we would have had it just been from Gloria's point of view, and I could really see into Lorraine's mind and try and guess what she was planning to do to sabotage Clara. It was great to be able to see how all the characters developed throughout the book, and the ending set up very nicely for the second book, in terms of who's friends with who, and who's planning bad things, etc... ;)

The plot was great. Learning about all the parties and clubs that the girls went to, and finding out what being a Flapper was all about was awesome. There was lots of gossip and lots of scandals that lead to a huge turn around of the plot - there were so many times in which I thought I knew about something, and then I'd read on, only to find out that I was completely wrong, and yet again there were more buried backstories that I couldn't even have guessed at.

Vixen is an amazing debut novel - it definitely doesn't read like one (because it's SO good). It'd be perfect for any fans of YA historical fiction, whether you're new to the genre, or you just haven't read one for a while. It's definitely got me excited to read some more historical novels as I've missed reading them! I can't wait for the next book, Ingenue, as I'm sure it will be just as awesome as this one.

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

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Book Review: Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin

Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters
Title: Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters
Author: Meredith Zeitlin
Series: Standalone
Pages: 288
Publisher: Putnam
Date of Publication: 1st March 2012
Source: Publisher*
Synopsis from Goodreads: Kelsey Finkelstein is fourteen and FRUSTRATED. Every time she tries to live up to her awesome potential, her plans are foiled – by her impossible parents, her annoying little sister, and life in general. But with her first day of high school coming up, Kelsey is positive that things are going to change. Enlisting the help of her three best friends — sweet and quiet Em, theatrical Cass, and wild JoJo — Kelsey gets ready to rebrand herself and make the kind of mark she knows is her destiny.

Things start out great - her arch-nemesis has moved across the country, giving Kelsey the perfect opportunity to stand out on the soccer team and finally catch the eye of her long-time crush. But soon enough, an evil junior’s thirst for revenge, a mysterious photographer, and a series of other catastrophes make it clear that just because KELSEY has a plan for greatness… it doesn’t mean the rest of the world is in on it.


My Thoughts:
Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters was a really quick, really fun, and super cute read. When I read it, I'd just read a book about cancer, and then a book of some really strange short stories that I'm sure had some kind of meaning to them, and I wanted something that I could get lost in for a day and not have to think about too much. And that's exactly what I got.

Right from the very first chapter, I could tell it was going to be funny. Some of the things that happen to Kelsey are so ridiculous, and so unrealistic, yet I couldn't help but giggle every couple of pages. I don't think anyone's freshman year would be as bad as hers (I'm in the middle of mine right now and mine's nowhere near, fortunately) but that didn't stop me from imagining everything that happened to her happening to some of the girls in my school. It didn't matter to me that all these scenarios took place in an American high school, which is such a different place to an English secondary school, because it was written in such a way that it was easy to imagine, and so easy to relate to! Awesome :)

I really liked Kelsey. A lot of what she did made me cringe, and maybe some of it was really stupid, but I loved her for her flaws. She was just beginning to grow up, and I forgive her for wanting to try out new things, and I completely understood almost everything that went through her head. I could relate to her, and while perhaps I thought she was trying to act older than she was, she was very mature (sometimes (well, a whole lot more mature than me, anyway ;P )) and I felt she dealt with the bad things very well.

The plot was simple, yet fun and exciting. It really was just like if we were following Kelsey around her school during freshman year with a camera, recording every detail. We saw Kelsey make mistakes, and learn from them, and just as any teenager in high school, we went through all her friendship issues, boy troubles and the general difficulties that come with being a teenager as if we were living them right there with her.

Overall, I thought Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters was a great debut. I'd definitely recommend to fans of YA contemporary, as it's just one of those short, delightfully fun and wonderfully silly books that are just so awesome to read for a few hours on a cold and rainy, February day. I'll definitely be looking out for anything else that Meredith Zeitlin writes in the future!

Monday, 5 March 2012

Book Review: Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber


Title: Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick
Author: Joe Schreiber
Series:
Pages: 282
Publisher: Electric Monkey
Date of Publication: 5th March 2012
Source: Publisher*
Synopsis from Goodreads: Perry Stormaire is a normal high school senior– he is busy applying to college and rehearsing with his band –until he agrees to go to the prom with the Lithuanian exchange student who is staying with his family. It turns out that Gobi Zaksauskas is not the mousy teenager that she seems but rather an attractive, confident trained assassin. Instead of going to the prom, Perry finds himself on a wild ride through the streets of New York City as Gobi commandeers the Jaguar his father lent him for the prom in order to take out her targets. Perry learns a lot about himself – and ends up with some amazing material for his college application essays.


My Thoughts:
I LOVED this book. It was SO GOOD! It was silly and hilarious and totally unbelievable, and so, so fun to read. I devoured it in about three hours, which is around a page every 40 seconds! I just couldn't stop reading.

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick was nothing like how I expected to be. I don't know, maybe I should have cottoned on from the title (which, can I say, is an AWESOME title), but I had no idea really what I was getting myself into (ahh, that makes it sound like it was really bad... It was quite the opposite, I promise!). Like, I knew it was about a European assassin in New York, but that was about it. Anyway, it completely surprised me - I've never read anything like it before!

I think one of the things that stood out to me most about this book is the way in which every chapter was titled with an essay question that in some way related to the events of that chapter. There were chapters where the answer to the essay question was obvious in the chapter, but other chapters required a little more thought to find the meaning behind the chapter. It added a little something to the story, and it was awesome.

I loved the plot. I loved how it started with Perry taking Gobi to the lame school dance, just because Gobi was about to go back to Lithuania and it would be a 'nice send off'. However, the dance was lame, as expected, so they drive to New York where all the action starts. And then it never stops. There's not one moment in the whole book in which there wasn't something exciting going on - whether it was an assassination, an escape, or a car chase.

I loved Perry. He was literally being taken on the ride of his life with Gobi, and I loved how real he was. He was completely gobsmacked when Gobi became the beautiful, sexy assassin she became, and he didn't let the feelings he (slowly) developed for her get in the way of the fact that she was an international criminal who needed to be stopped. Like, he tried to stop her as best he could, even called the police and made sure his family were safe. He was so cute, and just an overall awesome guy ;P

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick is definitely one of my favourite books this year so far. It was so fast paced, exciting, and just a whole lot of fun. I had a great time reading it, and there were multiple occasions in which I laughed out loud sitting all by myself on the train... I would DEFINITELY recommend for all fans of YA, whether young or old, boy or girl. It has a little something for everyone, and it's most definitely NOT one to miss. Now, go and read it!

*Huge thanks to Ali from Egmont for sending me this in exchange for an honest review. In no way has this affected my opinion of the book. 

Sunday, 4 March 2012

In My Mailbox #45

Hey everyone, welcome to another In My Mailbox, hosted by The Story Siren! :) I've decided I can't be bothered to only do it every month - so now it's spontaneous! Whenever I feel I have enough books to show you, you'll see them :D This week I have lots - I bought rather a lot, so I need to go on book buying ban immediately, I think ;P

For Review:


Fury by Elizabeth Miles 
Unrest by Michelle Harrison
Torn by Amanda Hocking
When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle
Fever by Lauren Destefano x2

Bought: 


Slide by Jill Hathaway
Department 19 by Will Hill x2
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson x2

    

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins - So I read the UK paperbacks when they all first came out, and the books are AMAZING. Seriously, if you haven't read them, what are you waiting for?! But the UK PBs aren't that nice, and the US hardcovers are gorgeous, and I need to reread the first one before the movie comes out so I used it as an excuse to buy these beautiful books xD They are definitely among the most gorgeous things I own! :D

So what did you get in your mailboxes this week? I'm especially excited to read Slide, Fever and Unrest, and all books that I have duplicates of (Dept 19, The Name of the Star, and Fever) have gone into my giveaway pile as prizes! I now have six books in this pile, so look out for a giveaway or two soon! :D 

Also, The Name of the Star and Department 19 are both ONE POUND (£1) in Waterstones, to celebrate World Book Day! If you're in the UK, head over to your nearest Waterstones to buy them, because they are awesome books and an absolute bargain! :D 

Leave me a comment and link, and I'll come check out what you got in your mailbox this week! Happy reading everyone!


Saturday, 3 March 2012

Book Review: Falling Fast by Sophie McKenzie

Falling Fast
Title: Falling Fast
Author: Sophie McKenzie
Series: Standalone
Pages: 247
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Date of Publication: 1st March 2012
Source: Publisher*
Synopsis from Goodreads: When River auditions for a part in an interschool performance of Romeo and Juliet, she finds herself smitten by Flynn, the boy playing Romeo. But Flynn comes from a damaged family—is he even capable of giving River what she wants? The path of true love never did run smooth ...

This is real life, not a rehearsal...


My Thoughts:
Falling Fast is the third book by Sophie McKenzie that I have read, and while it wasn't my favourite, I did enjoy it. It was a very quick, cute read, perfect for fans of super sweet romances that you can get lost in for a couple of hours (because that's only how long it takes) and then come back into the real world feeling all warm and squishy inside :)

River wants to be in love. She wants to find a guy and be perfectly happy. When she meets Flynn, she thinks she found the one for her. But does he feel the same?

There's nothing remarkable or amazing about the plot, but I feel that with a story like this one, there doesn't need to be. I enjoyed it without having the numerous plot twists, without the exciting action scenes, without the fast paced, page turning drama. It was a great book that I could wind down with after a long and boring day at school, that I could read without having to think too much.

River was okay. I liked her, I guess, but I definitely didn't love her. She could be a little annoying at times, sometimes a bit whiny, but I think everyone's like that sometimes so I can forgive her ;P She was nice and understanding, and she didn't make a big deal of things that other people perhaps would have. She obviously loved Flynn, and she never let the things he tells her about his life get in the way of that (you'll know what I mean when you read it, I hope!).

Which brings me on to Flynn. For the most part, I couldn't stand him. It wasn't until the end that I began to like him a little bit, but for the first three quarters of the book, all I could think was why on earth is River wasting her time with this boy? He's a jerk. I mean, sure, I can (sort of) understand why he was the way he was, because of his difficult upbringing and home life, but River was only ever nice to him, and he just messed her around. And (this is my last point, I promise!) the way he was using his drama teacher to get him into a good uni/college? Not cool.

So while I don't think that Falling Fast is by any means an incredible read, it is enjoyable and worth reading if you're looking for a good, calm, relaxing story to end a long day or week with. If you're a fan of YA romance/chick-lit, this would be great for you but I think if you're looking for a romance that is deep and meaningful, this will fall a little flat.

Other reviews of Falling Fast:
Book Passion For Life - gave it 4 stars
Overflowing Library - gave it 3 stars
BelleBooks - gave it 4 stars

Thursday, 1 March 2012

New Releases In March 2012

Here are all the awesome new releases coming out in March! They're a mixture of US and UK release dates, but I've included the publisher and cover so hopefully that'll help if you're trying to work out which country - just ask in the comments if you're not sure or check Goodreads! :D If I've missed any let me know!

Forgiven (The Demon Trappers, #3)  Pandemonium (Delirium, #2)

Forgiven by Jana Oliver (1st March, 2012; Macmillan)
Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver (1st March, 2012; Hodder & Stoughton)

Bunheads  The Witch of Turlingham Academy  The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #1)

Bunheads by Sophie Flack (1st March, 2012; ATOM)
The Witch of Turlingham Academy by Ellie Boswell (1st March, 2012; ATOM)
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (1st March, 2012; Simon & Schuster)

Slide  The Repossession  Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters

Slide by Jill Hathaway (1st March, 2012; HarperCollins Children's)
Repossession by Sam Hawksmoor (1st March, 2012; Hodder Children's)
Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin (1st March, 2012; Putnam)

Choker  Vixen  The Kissing Game

Choker by Elizabeth Woods (1st March, 2012; Simon & Schuster)
Vixen by Jillian Larkin (1st March, 2012; Random House)
The Kissing Game by Aidan Chambers (1st March, 2012; Random House)

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl  Falling Fast  

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews (1st March, 2012; ABRAMS)
Falling Fast by Sophie McKenzie (1st March, 2012; Simon & Schuster)
Itch by Simon Mayo (1st March, 2012; Random House)

The 13th Horseman  Drive By  Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick

The 13th Horseman by Barry Hutchison (1st March, 2012; HarperCollins Children's)
Drive By by Jim Carrington (1st March, 2012; Bloomsbury)
Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber (5th March, 2012; Electric Monkey)

Illuminate  Balthazar  Embrace (Embrace, #1)

Illuminate by Aimee Agresti (6th March, 2012; HMH Children's Books) 
Balthazar by Claudia Gray (6th March, 2012; HarperTeen)
Embrace by Jessica Shirvington (6th March, 2012; Sourcefire Books)

Pieces of Us  Wanderlove  Pretty Crooked

Pieces of Us by Maggie Gelbwasser (8th March, 2012; Flux)
Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard (13th March, 2012; Delacorte Books for Young Readers)
Pretty Crooked by Elisa Ludwig (13th March, 2012; Katherine Tegen Books)

Bewitching  The Difference Between You and Me  Dark Eyes

Bewitching by Alex Flinn (14th March, 2012; HarperTeen)
The Difference Between You and Me by Madeleine George (15th March, 2012; Viking Juvenile)
Dark Eyes by William Richter (15th March, 2012; Penguin Group)

A Temptation of Angels  Loss (Riders of the Apocalypse #3)  The Pledge

A Temptation of Angels by Michelle Zink (20th March, 2012; Dial)
Loss by Jackie Morse Kessler (20th March, 2012; Graphia)
The Pledge by Kimberly Derting (27th March, 2012; Allison & Busby)

Spellcaster (Spellbound, #2)  Life Is But a Dream  Goddess Interrupted (Goddess Test, #2)

Spellcaster by Cara Lynn Shultz (27th March, 2012; Harlequin Teen)
Life Is But A Dream by Brian James (27th March, 2012; Feiwel & Friends)
Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter (27th March, 2012; Harlequin Teen)

After the Snow  Spell Bound (Hex Hall #3)  The Killables (The Killables, #1)

After the Snow by SD Crockett (27th March, 2012; Feiwel & Friends)
Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins (29th March, 2012; Simon & Schuster)
The Killables by Gemma Malley (29th March, 2012; Hodder & Stoughton)

The Last Echo (The Body Finder, #3)  Dark Storm  Fateful

The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting (29th March, 2012; Headline)
Dark Storm by Sarah Singleton (29th March, 2012; Simon & Schuster)
Fateful by Claudia Gray (29th March, 2012; HarperCollins Children's Books)

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