Thursday, December 30, 2010

Winter Hiatus


It's been a little quiet here for the last week or so, but fear not, kind readers! We will be back in the new year with plenty of reviews and other interesting things.

I'm just starting to write reviews for the books I've been reading over Christmas, and the first one will go up early next week.

In the mean time, what books (or anything else interesting, for that matter) did anyone get over the holiday?

~Ailsa

Friday, December 17, 2010

Book Chick City's Urban Fantasy/Horror challenge!


I've never done one of these challenges before, but I read mostly urban fantasy anyway, so when I saw Book Chick City was running a horror/urban fantasy reading challenge for 2011, I though, why not?

All you have to do is read 24 H/UF books next year.
I already know some of the ones I want to do.

You can sign up by clicking on the challenge button on the right hand side of this blog.

Have any of you participated in challenges before? Is anyone signed up to do this one? Let me know in the comments! It would be great to have some challenge buddies :-)
Also, I'm really sorry not to have posted any reviews this week - I've had exams, which stressed me more than a little, but I'm hoping to get a couple of posts up over the weekend.
~Ailsa

Sunday, December 12, 2010

In My Mailbox


I thought writing a video post would be quicker and more fun than a normal one, and have just spent ages trying to clip things together and then upload it. Next time, I'll either find a quicker way (I'm sure it wasn't this hard before) or I'll just write it out!

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, to show new books and encourage blogger interaction.



What did you get in your mailboxes this week?

~Ailsa

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Cleopatra's Daughter


Cleopatra's Daughter tells the story of Selene Kleopatra, daughter of Mark Anthony and Cleopatra of Ptolemy, who after the defeat and suicide of her parents, if left to live under the watchful eyes of the ruling family of Ancient Rome.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and am looking forward to reading Moran's other works. It's extremely easy to read, and isn't bogged down with too much historical detail. I found the characters and their stories to be engaging, and I would recommend it to others except for one major caveat.

Moran adds an additional element to the story, she creates a character/plot called the 'Red Eagle' which fights against the establishment for the freedom of slaves. This plot is meant to add an extra feeling of suspense and action to the plot which I feel is completely unneccesary and sort of ruins the atmosphere of the book. Immediately it adds a very 'modern' concept to the ancient world, yes there were those who were against slavery in ancient times but this 'red eagle' hero figure feels very modern. The entire slavery subplot contaminated the storyline for me, as Selene is seen as very anti-slavery, which just has me sort of shaking my head - she was raised with slaves tending to her every need, why would she start to question it now? I know it has to do with the fact that she now is a captive, but she is never a slave or experiences the life of a slave.

Moran is an excellent writer and I did enjoy the story, I just feel that it would have been much better and realistic for her to concentrate on the dangers for Selene being in Rome such as political intrique, the senate etc. This is touched on briefly but isn't explored to its potential. Reading is about suspension of belief but the 'red eagle' plot line pulled me out of this belief. I thoroughly enjoyed Moran's writing style and story (except for that aspect) and I LOVE anything to do with Egypt so this gets a 7 out of ten from me.

I'm looking forward to reading her other works Nefertiti and The Heretic Queen.

If anyone has any recommendations of egyptian historical fiction, please leave a comment :)

Grave Witch, by Kalayna Price


From the back cover: Grave witch Alex Craft can speak to the dead, but that doesn't mean she likes what they have to say.
As a private investigator and a consultant for the police, Alex Craft has seen a lot of dark magic. But even though she's on good terms with Death himself - who happens to look fantastic in jeans - nothing has prepared her for her latest case. Alex is investigating a high-profile murder when she's attacked by the 'shade' she's raising, which should be impossible. To top off her day, someone makes a serious attempt on her life, but Death saves her. Guess he likes having her around...
To solve this case Alex will have to team up with tough homicide detective Falin Andrews. Falin seems to be hiding something - though it's certainly not his dislike of Alex. But Alex knows she needs his help to navigate the tangled webs of mortal and paranormal politics, and to track down a killer who wields a magic so malevolent, it may cost Alex her life... and her soul.

First of all - look at the cover! Isn't it gorgeous? I love it, and it really holds the atmosphere of the book.

I’d never heard of this book before, or the author, but the blurb sounded interesting, and the cover looked cool, so I picked it up. It certainly didn’t disappoint.
Things are exciting from the very first sentence, where Alex admits she first met Death when she was five. Now, she’s trying to talk to a client, while Death hovers behind him, taking his soul before they can finish the conversation. Escaping this situation, Alex heads for the morgue to help her estranged family, and hopefully get paid. Of course it doesn’t turn out that simply, and with one of her friends in a coma in hospital, she has to figure out what’s going on. This all happens in the first 35 pages, and I had to read the rest of the book just as quickly. I took it to lectures with me, reading under the table whenever the lecturer didn’t seem to be saying anything important.

I love a lot of things about this book. There is always something important happening, and it’s always interesting. It’s told from Alex’s perspective, and it was very entertaining to read - I like her sense of humour. I loved how Death was taking a more personal interest in Alex. The coffee-sharing scene, where she has to hold the cup for him - sooo sexy! Drinking coffee will never be the same. I thought Falin was an idiot at first, another annoying cop where there are books full of them. But as we get to know him, I realised as Alex did that Falin isn’t so bad after all, and he’s another yummy guy to read about. I can’t wait to see in future books where these romantic beginnings go. There are a lot of problems with both relationships, and I want to see more about the fallout from certain things revealed about Falin at the end of the book.

My favourite thing was the mystery that Alex is trying to solve, the twists and turns as you try and work out who the bad guy is, and what they’re trying to achieve. Combined with the romance, this is what kept me reading so fast. Alex is a great main character to read about. Even without people trying to kill her, she would have a pretty interesting day to day life. I can’t wait to learn more about her and her world in the sequel, and I wish it came out sooner than July!
9 out of 10

Sunday, December 5, 2010

In My Mailbox


In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by the Story Siren.
Another week then! This week has stuff from the past couple of weeks, because I've missed a few, and didn't read much recently. I'm also very excited because I received my first ARCs this week from NetGalley!
So:

Pictured:
The Crowded Shadows, by Celine Kiernan - this is the sequel to the Poison Throne, I finished book one and had to know what happened next! Will be reviewing TPT soon.

Red Hot Fury, by Kasey Mackenzie - interesting, but it's taking me a while to get through.

Grave Witch, by Kalayna Price - love this book! My next review, will try and post it tomorrow.

Beyond the Pale, by Savannah Russe - I recognised the name from a short story I'd read, have only just started reading it.

Dragonsong, by Anne McCaffrey - again, really enjoyed this book. I'll try and review soon.

The Two Towers, by J R R Tolkien - audiobook - I've read these before, a long time ago, and thought it would be great to listen to it over the holiday.

For review, from NetGalley:

The Fallen Blade, by Jon Courtnenay Grimwood - fantasy, it sounds interesting!

Death's Sweet Embrace, by Tracey O'Hara - I'm supper excited to read this, as I really loved her first book.


How about you? What books have you received recently? Any thoughts on the ones I've mentioned here?
We love to hear from you!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Staying Alive



I know it's a tad strange to be doing a review of a poetry anthology, especially on a book blog, but I felt it necessary.

This book is one of the best poetry collections that I have read ever. The editor Neil Astley in his introduction states he wanted to bring together poetry which "speaks to us with the same unnerving power now as when we first cam across them".

This book includes some of the best poems by the great poets of recent history like Yeats, Frost, Kavanagh, Heaney, Auden etc. but also includes works which english speakers will not know such as the translated works of Polish, Hungarian and Sweedish poets.

This is an excellent book for both beginners (especially IMO) and for those who enjoy poetry - you have wonderful mix of known and unknown contemporary poets, divided into sections such as "War and Peace". Neil Astley didn't just pick wonderful poems but laid them out juxtaposing opposite tones of the same theme side by side.

On a personal note one of my favourites of the collection is an anonymous poem (although many seem to be linked to it) - Do Not Stand at my Grace and Weep.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

New Things!


Hi guys!
There are just a couple of new/different things on the blog that I wanted to draw your attention to quickly.

First of all, we have a little box over to the right hand side with 'coming soon' at the top, to give you an idea of what reviews & other cool stuff we have coming up soon.

Second, I'm changing my opinion on ebooks after discovering the wonders of netgalley and GalleyGrab - I will now review ebooks. I still prefer print by a long way, I just love holding a book in my hands, and being able to see them on my bookshelves, but I'll read & review ebooks.

Lastly, I'm running a give-away soon! I have 2 copies of 'Witch and Wizard' by James Patterson to give away. This competition will happen sometime next week, so be sure to check back for that!

We always love to read your comments, please let us know what you think!
~Ailsa

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Kitty Takes A Holiday, by Carrie Vaughn


(Book 3 in the series, beware spoilers for earlier books!)
From the back cover: After getting caught turning wolf on national television, Kitty retreats to a mountain cabin to recover and write her memoirs. But this is Kitty, so trouble is never far behind, and instead of Walden Pond, she gets Evil Dead. First someone leaves grotesque animal sacrifices on her front porch to curse her, then werewolf hunter Cormac shows up with an injured Ben O'Farrell, Kitty's lawyer, slung over his shoulder. Two hotties and one kitty in a single-room cabin - can the situation get any more tense? When a wolf-like creature with glowing red eyes starts sniffing around the cabin, Kitty wonders if any of them will get out of these woods alive...

My thoughts: I'm not really sure how I feel about this book. I read it all in one sitting, starting at about 11pm with the intention of reading a couple of chapters, and stopping somewhere between 1 and 2 am. Normally, reading a book this quickly would be a sign that I really enjoyed it, but there are a lot of things about it that annoy me.

I read wanting to find out what happened with Kitty and Cormac. He's gorgeous, and in previous books you could feel the chemistry between the two of them in every conversation they had. Situations in this book change things. I think Kitty chose the wrong guy. I kept reading, waiting for it to be fixed, and it never was, and that just didn't sit right. A character seems to have been pushed away to the side, and I'm still sitting blinking going, 'Huh? Why?'

Some bits that I did like were the fall out from Kitty's TV appearance at the end of book 2. I think that was realistic, and I'm glad we get to see the impact of it not just on Kitty's life but on the supernatural and everyday world as well.

I don't know where I'm going to go from here with this series, if I'll read the rest of it sometime from the library, but for now I think I need a break from it. I like Kitty, but the books just don't quite fit with me, I'm afraid.
I give it 6 out of 10.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Devil's Playground, by Jenna Black



warning: this is the 5th book in the series, so expect references to the earlier books.

From the back cover: The Seven Deadlies, a demon club in Philadelphia, has always catered to the most attractive and desirable hosts. Recently, though, more and more of the lower dregs of society have been showing up with demons of their own - in alarming numbers. Exorcist Morgan Kingsley is sure that Dougal, the demon king's brother, is behind this, but isn't sure why. Is Dougal building an army to snatch the throne of the demons from his brother Lugh? If there's one person who can get to the bottom of this, it's Morgan, but caught between her mortal lover Brian and the demon she lusts for, it's going to take everything she has to keep her head - and heart - in the game.

I've put off buying this book because I didn't want the series to be over - I enjoyed it too much to want to let it go. When I eventually opened it, despite intentions of making it last, savouring this last of the series, I read it the same way I've read all Jenna's books - very fast.
The story starts when Shae, owner of the Seven Deadlies, pays Morgan a visit to tell her about the growing number of hosts visiting the club. Morgan gets Lugh's council involved, and they start investigating. There's also the conflict in her love life to deal with, though. Lugh expressing his interest in Morgan's long suffering boyfriend, Brian, puts more strain on that particular relationship. I felt like the pacing was a little different in this book to the others. It still picked me up and sucked me in just as much, but the characters have to spend a lot more time waiting for events to unfold than they have in previous books. I think I liked this - it sometimes annoys me when the events of a book take place over just a couple of days.

One of the great things about this book was that you could really see how far the characters have come over the series. The relationship between Morgan & Brian is much steadier than it has been. I've had mixed feeling about Brian in previous books - a lot of the time I felt like, if he couldn't put up with the involvement of the demons, and the way Morgan was, then he should shut up and leave. He is much more willing to accept things now, if still a little reluctantly.

This book is where things finally come to a head with Dougal, and the characters really have to come together and use all their alliances to protect the human and demon worlds from Dougal's plans, and deal with him once and for all.

As a final book in the series, I think it works. It ties up the important plot points, although I still have several questions about where things were going in the personal lives of some of the characters. I think my biggest disappointment with this book is that there aren't enough hot Morgan/Lugh times!

I love this book, and am definitely looking forward to whatever Ms Black produces next. 10 out of 10!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

In My Mailbox


IMM is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren

I had wanted to get another review up before this week's IMM, but never mind, it just means you get two posts today!
(Again, sorry for the poor quality! I'm going to try and find camera batteries this week!)

First up, from the library:
Chosen, by PC & Kristen Cast
Kitty Takes A Holiday, by Carrie Vaughn
Beautiful Creatures, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Then, won from Book Chick City:
Cursed & Ravaged, by David Wellington

I've been wanting to read Beautiful Creatures for ages, so glad to find it in the library. I love the amount of recent YA stories they have in the library here, it's excellent, so much more than what they had in my tiny home-town library. I'm also really interested to read Cursed, as it sounds like a slightly different werewolf story than many I've read recently.

What about you? What did you get this week?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Foresight, by Sherry Ficklin


From the back cover: All Grace Archer wants is to graduate from high school and get on with her life. But the Gods of Fate have other ideas. Attacked at graduation by a mysterious woman with gruesome henchmen, Grace is lucky to excape with her life. Rescued by a Fae warrior named Chris and her Aunt Phoenix, Grace learns that her mother was the Greek Goddess Pandora. Now Grace must protect her mother's urn from the crazed Demi-Goddess Lilith, who is determined to unleash its horrors on an unsuspecting Earth. As if her blood legacy is not bizarre enough, Greace begins to develop frightening powers that threaten to destroy her from the inside out. Can Grace find the strength to defeat Lilith? Can she learn to control her powers before she loses her mind?

The action kicks off straight away, with mysterious people crashing in to Grace's graduation in the opening chapter. Grace is understandably upset by this, and when she wakes up at home after being knocked unconscious, she starts demanding answers. Grace is forced to deal with the idea that her mum was a Greek goddess as Phoenix and Chris whisk her off towards the safety of a fae city. This tension of running away is kept up through the whole book. The characters are constantly aware of being hunted, and gearing up for a confrontation. When Grace begins to have dreams that seem to foretell the future, her fear of the things she's seen coming true adds to the tension - I thought that was done very well. When they eventually reach the safety of the city, Grace hurries to master her new powers in time to help save her friends.

Something I didn't really like was the romance between Chris and Grace. I thought it happened too fast, and just didn't seem too realistic at first. The rest of Grace's character is better - she definitely acts like the 18 year old girl she is supposed to be. Grace won't put up with being treated as unimportant or unworthy just because she's young and new to her powers. I especially liked her verbal confrontation at the very end of the book with one of the other gods.
I also liked the combination of Greek gods with the fae - I haven't seen that before, and it was an interesting mixture.

I'd recommend this book for the YA audience, and fans of new twists on old myths. I'm giving it 6 stars.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

In My Mailbox


In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren.

I got some lovely books on Friday:

(Apologies for the quality - my camera ran out of batteries again, so I had to use my phone)

I didn't mean to buy any more books for a while, because there are so many cool YA books at my local library that I can't wait to read, but one of my friends wanted to go to a bookshop, and lo and behold, Waterstone's had 3-for-2 on all fiction... how could I leave without buying anything?

From left to right:
The Mage in Black, by Jaye Wells
The Poison Throne, by Celine Kiernan
Infinite Days, by Rebecca Maizel (won from My Favourite Books, thank you Liz!)
The Devil's Playground, by Jenna Black

Devil's Playground and Mage in Black have been on my 'to buy' list since they came out, so I'm so glad to finally have them. I read a review for The Poison Throne a couple of days ago, and was thinking I wanted to read more fantasy & politics stories. And Infinite Days was won, it turned up in the post the other day, and has such a cool cover! I'm looking forward to reading it.
Have you read any of these books? What did you think?
What books did you get this week?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Follow Friday!




Welcome to follow friday, a weekly meme started by the wonderful Parajunkee

Here are the rules:

1. Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Host { Parajunkee.com } and any one else you want to follow on the list
2. Follow our Featured Bloggers - What Book is That?
3. Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing.
4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say hi in your comments
5. Follow Follow Follow as many as you can
6. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love...and the followers
7. If you want to show the link list, just follow the link below the entries and copy and paste it within your post!
8. If your new to the follow friday hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!


Todays Question:

What are you currently reading? And what do you think? Anything to add to my TBR pile?

Currently I'm reading Hilary Mantel's Beyond Black. The jury is still out. It's been a slow read, but still good. Although Hilary Mantel is an award winning author I find her writing style difficult to interpet and read. . . review will come eventually :)

Anyway, WELCOME to any new followers, it's great to have yeh.

Drop us a comment so we can return the favour :)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Spot of Bother



A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon was described by The Times as a 'humane novel' and I think that is perfect description for this book.

A Spot of Bother tells the story of retired 57 year old George, who just happens to be slowly losing his mind. But this isn't a bleak story, like Haddon's previous work, he mixes sadness with humour in a heart warming and entertaining way. This isn't just the story of George though, it is also story of his wife Jean and her having an affair, of her daughter Katie and her wedding crisis and of Jamie who can't seem to invite his lover Tony to the wedding.

Haddon does a remarkable job of changing perspectives with each chapter and portraying each characters unique story and insight. The writing is simple but magnificent with meaning, which draws you in and keeps you reading. I enjoyed reading this book, but also could appreciate the complexity and work that went into writing it. Of all the stories, I found Jamie's to be the most enjoyable to read, and I absolutely loved him, with Ray as a close second.

My only fault with the story was the handling of Katie & Ray's relationship and Jean's affair. Not going into specifics because I don't want to spoil, but I felt that the end/resolving of both the issues surrounding these relationships seemed to just be resolved. Compared to the indepth and understanding shown earlier, I felt a little disappointed on how these worked out. Perhaps the resolutions were down to the actually characters and their final understanding but I don't know if that was set up were properly done for the reader?I agree with the outcomes, but I felt that the workings of the characters' decisions might have been more indepth?

Despite this very small fault, I give this book 9 out of ten. The writing was really remarkable, and totally drew me in and put me in George's and the other characters' mindsets and over all did wonderful job of showing the dynamics of a dysfunctional (i.e. normal) family.

Highly recommend it!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Some reviews ahead. . .



Just bought myself the Simon & Schuster 'Dark Desires' Box set!

So, don't be surprised in the coming weeks if these books get reviewed by moi!

Yay for paydays and box sets (that actually cost the equiv to one of these books separately :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey


If you like vampires and romance, you'll definitely want to read this debut novel by Beth Fantaskey!  It's not the kind of story you would expect it to be either.

So, since I'm horrible at the summaries of stories (I tend to review while summarizing most of the time I noticed), here's the summary of the story from Goodreads.com.

The undead can really screw up your senior year ...

Marrying a vampire definitely doesn’t fit into Jessica Packwood’s senior year “get-a-life” plan. But then a bizarre (and incredibly hot) new exchange student named Lucius Vladescu shows up, claiming that Jessica is a Romanian vampire princess by birth—and he’s her long-lost fiancĂ©. Armed with newfound confidence and a copy of Growing Up Undead: A Teen Vampire’s Guide to Dating, Health, and Emotions, Jessica makes a dramatic transition from average American teenager to glam European vampire princess. But when a devious cheerleader sets her sights on Lucius, Jess finds herself fighting to win back her wayward prince, stop a global vampire war—and save Lucius’s soul from eternal destruction.

So, I keep running into all these books that I like!  I hear about them once, read a review about them or see something come up about the author.  This is how I heard about Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side.  I was perusing another website that does reviews and saw that the author did a guest blog.  I read the blog and I loved it.  I still wasn't sure I wanted to read a book that sounded like an actual self-help book though.

Truly, that is what this story sounded like to me, but really, it's a fabulous story.  Yes, it has the same, girl sees new hot boy at school, school can't stand him at first, finds out he is jealous, so she dates another boy that she really likes because she hates new boy and then falls in love with new boy once he starts showing interest in another girl.  Sorry about the run on...that's how my mind is working at the moment.  But yes, I loved the storyline.  It carried everything that I look for in a story.  Drama, romance, the hot guy (always have to have at least one), comedy, and awesome character development.

Beth created Jessica and Lucius as if they were actually real people who sat down and told her their story.  Mostly I say this because you get Jessica's point of view throughout the book, but Lucius still has  letters to his Uncle Vasile in the story where you get his point of view and his feelings for what is going on around him.  These two characters are amazingly written.  Personalities flow together and apart, and really, I enjoyed every second I read them.  

Jessica is the dark, curly haired adopted child of two vegan parents and lives on a farm in rural Pennsylvania.  Loves math, and loves to ride her horse, Belle.  Everything about her screams NORMAL teenager at the beginning.  Then enters Lucius.  The luscious Romanian who claims he is a vampire prince come to claim his bride which is Jessica.  I love the banter and unbelief that these two have for each other and even the smallest moments between them become the strongest in the building of their relationship together.  Jessica is written very well to be the normal teenager, but as she starts to believe more of what Lucius tells her about herself and her lineage, she begins to believe.  However, when Lucius appears, he is adamant and very chivalrous toward Jessica and treats her the way a princess should be treated.  Nevertheless as Jessica begins to believe what she has learned, Lucius falls away and rebels against it all.  It's a fantastically written flip-flop of characters.  The development and devolving states they both go through.

Again, Beth Fantaskey has made me a believer and also made me want to go to Romania and visit there someday.  Her writing voice is strong and humorous and never fails in keeping you moving forward throughout the story.  A fantastical adventurous read that will have all the ladies looking for Lucius and his velvet coat.

Hey, maybe I'll take a trip to Pennsylvania to look for him myself...

Monday, September 6, 2010

Claire de Lune by Christine Johnson



I have to say that I am addicted to young adult and children's books right now.

YA--because I have always read them since a kid and also as a wanna-be author, I write young adult stories and so, in fact, read them for that as well.

Children's--because I have a cute little 5 year old that LOVES reading.  I have read many many cute picture books to my child lately and I can't wait to see what comes next.  I mean, who doesn't love the Berenstain Bears or Fancy Nancy?

But this review isn't about the differences between the two genres.  It's because I've just finished this book, Claire de Lune by Christine Johnson.

Claire de Lune covers the story of Claire (obviously) who on her sixteenth birthday realizes that she is part of a pack of werewolves that come of age for transforming their third full moon after their sixteenth birthday.  But also finds that the high school soccer star, Matthew, likes her.  Only to know that the biggest problem is that Matthew's father is out to catch and "cure" every werewolf in the world.  

This story is full of the trials of harboring secrets, keeping them safe and the mystery of one wolf who is out killing humans so now the entire pack is in danger.  And even though I felt that the story moved a little slow for my taste, it was constant.  Christine did a fabulous job keeping the mystery there, and the development of her main character, Claire going.  I have to admit that at first I didn't think I would like it despite the really pretty cover.  I had finished Linger by Maggie Stiefvater at the time I discovered this book and really wasn't in the mood for more werewolf stories.  But when I learned more about the author and more about the story through other reviews I had read, I had to get it.  I am glad I read this story.

The main character, Claire, is such a strong person.  At first in the book I was worried at how calm she was when she found out about being a werewolf.  It seemed too natural for her to really be worried about the discovery.  But as I kept going, I saw the worry, I saw the strength grow in her to really appreciate her gift even though it still freaked her out.  Even when she began to date Matthew, I hated that she had to lie about these new changes in her life.  I started to feel stronger myself as I read Claire's story.  A lot of stories I have read--and enjoyed--have whiny main characters.  This one does not.  I'm not used to the strong protagonist in this way, but I like it.

I don't want to give too much away because this is the first story for Claire.  The second, Nocturne, isn't due out for some time right now, but I will pick it up when it does.

And as for the parental involvement in Claire de Lune, I'm very happy with it.  It seems as if Claire's mom wouldn't be part of the story much, but Christine proved me wrong!  I'm very happy to be wrong and I'm very happy that there is a mother/daughter relationship building within this story.  Thank you Christine for showing us that there are parental characters that can be part of the story!

There's really nothing like picking up a book that you don't think you'll like but when it's all finished, you can't believe it and you want more.  It's like trying a food you don't think you'll like or a song you won't want to listen to, but somehow, in some way, you're hooked.  I'm happy I picked this up and will be happy when I pick up the next book.

And lately, I've been reading through author, Christine Johnson's blog and really enjoy it.  Go check it out if you haven't yet.  http://www.christinejohnsonbooks.com/blog/

Friday, August 27, 2010

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins


Okay, okay, I know you'll read lots of reviews for this book.  And I wish I could give you the big spoiler review of it, but I will do my best not to do that.

Suzanne Collins did it again!  A triumph in a novel that breaks your heart when you least expect it to but has you cheering Katniss to victory.

Here's the quick summary for the third and FINAL (yes I mean that, although is it odd to say I want more?)  book of The Hunger Games.

Summary from Goodreads.com

Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss's family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding. 

It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans -- except Katniss. 

The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss's willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels' Mockingjay -- no matter what the personal cost. 

Everything from the beginning gets your head spinning in this book.  Everything about which way Katniss should go and who she should trust, or even if she can trust herself.  It's exactly the same situation as the first two books in the way that Suzanne Collins makes your jaw drop to the floor at moments where you want to cry, but you'll sog up the pages so you don't or your vision gets blurry so you hurry and set it down for a bit to compose yourself.  I felt the same way in the first two books and I got that in this final one as well.

I was thinking to myself about the covers once I began reading Mockingjay.  The first cover is colored with black, the second with red, and now the third with blue.  Now, I know that no author (unless really invited to have a say in it) has no say in the covers at all.  Zip, zilch, nada.  That's the usual case.  Usually the author will hate it or love it.  I'm guessing that since the beginning our amazing author here, has had many, and I mean, many says in what goes into her covers or they wouldn't all be the way they are.  Not in any way like the book which isn't that way once you get yourself immersed into whatever it is going on.  The games, the rebellion, the love triangle between Peeta and Gale.  But when I was thinking about the covers, I realized, they must all go with each book somehow.  The Hunger Games, I believe has the color black on it because of the death that surrounds the games themselves and the darkness of the world of Panem.  Catching Fire is red, for obvious reasons but I'll list it anyway, because of the rebellion that Katniss sparks and the flame catches on in that story.  In Mockingjay, I believe the blue is meant for a sign of freedom from the Capitol's icky, designer claws.  These are just hunches, but I really think that there is a symbolism in the covers themselves.  I could review each of them, but I think this review would take forever to read if I bored you all with what I thought they each were about in detail.

The covers are magnificent, but not as catching as the characters themselves.  We learn so much more about Peeta, Gale, and Katniss in this story and are reminded of things in the past stories.  Everything clicks together in this story.  But even though everything clicks, doesn't mean that the characters do.  I mean, they do in this story.  I love them all.  I wish, personally, to actually meet them all, but the way I imagine them in my head is different from the author's idea of them and even the ideas of everyone who reads these characters is different.  That's what makes these characters so incredibly special.  It is like Suzanne wrote them all for us individually.  There are the Team Peeta's and the Team Gale's.  There are the ones who don't care, but only hope that our own world doesn't fall into the glum place of Panem in the future.  And for me, as long as those words on those pages are still around, I can go back into that dreary world and live with Katniss.  Hunt with Gale.  Fall for Peeta.  Survive the games.

I don't know how Suzanne Collins does it with writing in present tense.  I've tried it myself, and failed.  I always fall back into past tense.  That is my most favorite "technical" writing I skill I wish I could have.  It is hard to write it all as if it were happening now.  But that's what makes these books so real to us.  I wouldn't have it any other way.

For Mockingjay, and I have read some other reviews on this, but I agree with some that the epilogue at the end of the story seemed out of place.  But really, I like how it did sum up everything and show really how the story ended.  Some epilogues don't need to be.  Some do.  This one, I'm indifferent on because of that.  It needs to be, but it doesn't need to be.

I could go on and on and on, but then I'd spoil the story for you!  No way will I do that.  That would be evil of me to do.  Maybe in the future one of us here on the Book Bundle will do just that. A nice, everything spoiled review of this wonderful, amazing end book to one of the most anticipated trilogies in the past three years.

I hope you will all join me in giving Suzanne Collins a standing ovation for her characters, her story, and her imagination.  This creation is a gift and almost, it seems, a warning to us all.

So, without further comment on this story....

for now anyway...

"May the odds ever be in your favor!"

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

An Interview with Eros (Cupid)



I'm kicking off my Blog Book Tour today here at my favorite book review blog, The Book Bundle! To celebrate I've lined up a little Q&A with one of my favorite characters from my new book. So without further ado, please give a warm welcome to Greek God Eros, from the new YA novel, FORESIGHT: Book 1 of The Gods of Fate trilogy.
~

Me: Hello, Eros. Thanks for joining us today.

Eros: Yes, well, I lost a bet.

Me: Er, really? Well, thanks just the same. So out of curiosity, who did you lose this bet to?

Eros: My wife. She finds amusement in my discomfort.

Me: I see, well, let’s get started. So I see you also go by Cupid? May I call you Cupid?

Eros: Not if you want to survive this interview.

Me: Oh, alright. Why don’t you want to be called Cupid?

Eros: *growls*

Me: Moving right along… How did you first meet Christopher LeFey?

Eros: I went on a surfing trip with Hermes during Hurricane Camille. Great swells. Christopher was there also. That night he taught me a card game called Texas Hold Them. It’s rare for Gods to mingle with Fae, but he seemed alright, for a Faerie. We have a standing Thursday night poker game in Vegas.

Me: What was it like growing up on Olympus?

Eros: Boring. Opulent. Though my father once gave me a Risk game as a gift. I didn’t realize until the fall of Rome that it wasn’t just a board game. I burned it.

Me: You like games?

Eros: I do.

Me: What is your favorite game?

Eros: Twister.

Me: Twister? Why?

Eros: Ask my wife.

Me: Oh. Um, so tell me about your parents. I mean who were they? I’ve heard you were the son of Gaia and Uranus but I’ve also heard you were the son of Aphrodite and Ares. Which of these is true?

Eros: Neither. I am a child of Chaos.

Me: That’s interesting. I thought you were the God of Love?

Eros: Misconception. I’m the God of Lust.

Me: I see. Do you have any children of your own?

Eros: Two. A daughter, Bliss, and a son, Dizasteron.

Me: Dizasteron? Isn’t naming your kid that sort of, like, asking for trouble?

Eros: You have no idea.

Me: When I see depictions of you, it’s usually a winged baby. But you look more like the Old Spice guy. What’s up with that?

Eros: Yes. In my youth I spurned the attentions of Athena. Besides being the Goddess of Wisdom she was also the Goddess of the Arts. On a side note, she should have added “the Goddess of Vindictive Clingy Women” to that list.
Also, I hate the Old Spice guy. So what if he can ride a horse backwards? I can make Simon Cowell make out with a mime.

Me: What do you do for fun, besides board games?

Eros: I enjoy most water sports. I also enjoy watching the Bachelor.

Me: The Bachelor? Why?

Eros: It reminds me of my childhood.

Me: Oooookay. Well, thanks for that disturbing mental picture. I have a few fan questions for you are you ready?

Eros: Shoot.

First, Nikki asks: “Did you make gay guys? If so, were you trying to be funny or were you high?”

Eros: I did not create sexual preference. It has existed in humans (and animals) forever.
However I believe if women weren’t so crazy, there would be more straight men.

From Pam: “How can he make / or allow us to make so many mistakes when it comes to finding true love?”

Eros: I have nothing to do with true love. It exists; it’s just not my specialty. I deal in more carnal things. However I will say that it is not the gods, but your own free will that causes the majority of your pain and confusion.

From Rebecca: “Is there a 1 true love? Or many that you could have gotten along with okay?”

Eros: I believe there is only one person in all of existence who is truly the perfect match for one’s soul. However the odds of meeting that person and recognizing them when you do? Ha. Good luck. But in the immortal words of Stephen Stills, “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.”

From Richard: “When do I get my turn?”

Eros: When you take it.

From Pat: "What are your magic arrows made of?"

Eros: Adamanteum. Like Wolverines claws. No, kidding. Trade secret. Though all our weapons are created by Hephaestus.

From Nikki: "Do you smoke?"

Eros: Only when I'm on fire. Don't laugh. It happens surprisingly often.

From Beverlee: “When are you gonna ditch that diaper?”

Eros: Keep it up human.

Me: Um, is that a pistol crossbow you’re holding?

Eros: *smiles*

Me: Um, er, okay. Here's your chance to ask Eros a question of your own! Leave a question in the comments and he'll swing by for the next few days and give you the answer! At the end of the week I'll choose a random questioner to win a cool FORESIGHT prize pack! You have till Monday Aug. 30th to enter! Good luck, and happy reading!


*Shameless Plug*
FORESIGHT is now available at Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com!

http://www.amazon.com/Foresight-Gods-Fate-Book-I/dp/0984098070/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1279942497&sr=1-2

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Foresight/Sherry-D-Ficklin/e/9780984098071/

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Fallen by Lauren Kate


Take three of this book!  I know it's been reviewed twice already on our lovely site here, but I do need to put my two cents in as well.

In case you didn't catch it the last two times, but this story is about Luce (Lucinda) Price.  Being the new girl isn't easy, even if you are going to Sword and Cross reform school.  A piece of her past sent her to this school.  Where cell phones are banned and so is keeping a pair of scissors.  The teachers always seem to have missed their morning coffee and the cameras watch your every move.

But as soon as she sees Daniel Grigori, she has a gut feeling she knows him from somewhere, but he won't give her the time of day.  There's something strange about him.  Something strange that seems connected to the shadows she can see around her.

The only guy who seems to acknowledge her existence is Cam, the school's popular guy.  She doesn't like Cam, but she likes him enough to keep her attention.  Still, things are eerie around both Cam and Daniel.

The one thing I did not like at all about this book was how slow it moved.  It was incredibly dragging itself and nothing was really happening.  All I kept reading was how Luce liked Cam, then liked Daniel, then liked Cam, then liked Daniel.  It picked up about half way through but still, that, for me is way too long to grab my attention and keep it there.  We're reminded of the situation that got Luce to Sword and Cross...in my opinion, way too much.  The descriptions seemed to be the same (as in the same wording, no more intense or less intense wording) when shadows would appear and scare Luce. 

There really was no feeling of emotion put into this book.  It was too bland for me.  When the story finally took off, I enjoyed the plot.  I enjoy the concept of fallen angels, but really, I think Lauren Kate could have bumped up something more mysterious about Cam or about Daniel earlier on instead of Luce pining after both of them and being all whiny about it.

Luce is not my favorite character at all.  I hate whiny characters.  I really wish that Luce wasn't a bland character.  I did not "feel" her character like I do when I read Bella from Twilight or the characters from Shiver and Linger.  There was no vibe there for me.  Luce seems like she could be a really good character with some power in her own story, but I don't think the author gave her that chance to tell the story.  That's one thing I keep reading (as an aspiring author) that you need to listen to your characters and then everything will come to light and your story will be more relatable to your readers.  Nothing relatable happened to me with Luce.  I didn't feel her pain, I didn't feel her love for Daniel as strongly as Bella's love for Edward or for Jacob is.  I saw her pain, I saw her love.  I wish I could've felt it.  That I could've been in her shoes.

However, I pushed myself into finishing the book.  I finally got to a point where something revealed itself, but it ended up being the ending of the book!  Okay, so now we definitely have a defined villain and a defined hero/heroine.  We now have a story!  Why couldn't she have put in more closer to the beginning of the book?  Luce has dreams about Daniel.  Dreams that would tell her a lot about him, but if she is so connected to him, then why not show her past lives with him in a dream?  Why not have her discover things about certain characters like Arriane or Gabbe?  Not until the end do we see such things and begin the real story.  I think the whole beginning was just background and description.  But with the dodgy girls at school (Gabbe being one of them), but then becoming good friends with Luce, that didn't make sense at all.  Bringing Penn into the picture seemed to be the only normal thing that happened in the story, but she seemed to be a character that was brought in at the last and wasn't meant to be in the story at all.

With pushing myself to the end, I made it through and I may possibly pick up the next one to hopefully see it not move so slowly.  I hope that Luce is more developed as a character in the sequel and that Daniel isn't so elusive.

I will tell you my favorite character was Arriane.  She had this tone about her that really actually made her the most developed character in the book.  When I turned the page, I always died when I couldn't read a conversation between her and Luce.  I really like Arriane as a character and hope that Lauren Kate continues with her in the next book.

There is my two cents and I tried to be as nice and as thorough as possible.  So, I guess I can't say I didn't like this book, but I also can say that I didn't like it.  I'm in the middle on this and we'll see if the sequel can change my mind on that in the future.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Blue Bloods: Keys to the Repository by Melissa De La Cruz


There are some reviews that contain spoilers...while this one, does not.  This book would be hard to review really if I did give away spoilers in this review.

And how can you spoil a companion book anyway?  Probably the easiest book for me to review because of the non-spoilerage (is that even a word?  Well, if it isn't, it is now.)

Okay, well as I began this book, I really didn't know what to expect from it.  I mean, it's Blue Bloods: Keys to the Repository.  You would think it was a new book for the series when in fact it is more like the encyclopedia that accompanies the first four books of the series by Melissa De La Cruz.  I loved that she did this part way through the series.  It will make the other stories afterwards make a lot more sense.

Like I said, this is a companion book.  Some authors have these to accompany their series, and the author, Melissa De La Cruz, cites one in this book.  Stephen King.  I didn't even know that Stephen King would do something like this for his books.  Then again, I don't read Stephen King because he is a brilliant author, but he also scares me to death if I did read his works.  Melissa begins the book with a letter to the reader which I found fabulous because it is really her telling the reader why she did this for the series.

Throughout the book you read more on the information that the Blue Blood coven in New York has on all the main characters and their family and what their previous lives were, whose blood they would suck on once in a while and who their bondmate would be.  I LOVED THIS!  It also gave a more defined description with simple, blunt, to the point descriptions of what the characters would look like.

Everything with this book is fabulous and actually helps me understand the author herself as well.  What's even better with this book is that she added some other character's point of views during certain scenes that happened through books 1-4 of the series that aren't in the actual books.  You get a better sense at who these characters are and what will or won't happen later on in the series.

And then she has the glossary in the back and definitions and descriptions of things that don't need a large explanation, but should be in there anyway.  If you read the Blue Bloods series, add this to your list to read after The Van Alen Legacy because then things will make more sense as you go on with Misguided Angel that will be released in October this year.  Happy Reading!

Oh and aren't the covers for this series AMAZING?  I think so.  They make my shelf look so mysterious and beautiful at the same time.


Hush, Hush



I read this book about 2-3 weeks ago and have been debating about writing a review. Not because this book is hugely popular or anything like that but because I don't like to be so negative about a writer's work as I know myself how hard it is to write, edit and get published. And then get a bad review (not that I think Becca Fitzpatrick will be reading this or anything lol) But this is a book review site. I read this book so I should review it. Here goes. . .

There will be spoilers.

I was looking forward to reading this book, especially after reading the blurb on the back cover. But I was very disappointed.

The writing was good, effortless to read and enjoyable. And I really have to praise Becca Fitzpatrick because she can write so well, that even though other aspects of the book weren't great and made me want to put this book down, she still kept me reading till the end.

I think Becca Fitzpatrick had the elements of a good plot but I just don't think it quite came together the way it was supposed to? It seemed quite thrown together, especially near the end. It felt like certain parts were focused on too much, and other sections were neglected and there was a lot of deus ex machina in between like e.g. touching the wing scars. I thought the plot involving Elliot was just. . . unnecessary? I think it could have been done differently, or in a more effective way. I can see what the author was trying to do, a sort of red herring but she just didn't make the characters likable or believable, or made me care. . . (harsh, i know)

It just didn't connect with me at all. None of the plot did to be honest. The horror mask, the rollar coaster. Events would happen, then it would turn out to be a hallucination, I'm a psychologist, I love hallucinations but it felt so passive - I got no sense that Nora felt she was losing her mind. The story didn't evoke a reaction in me. I just read on at the same pace. . . I'm the type of person who reads the end of the book before I read the start and I still get frightened for the characters (even though i know they are still alive at the end of the book!?!?!) but this didn't happen here (and I didn't read the end of this book first either so I should have been on the edge).

But the thing that really rubbed me the wrong with this book, which kind of made me shake my head was the relationship between Nora and Patch. Nora didn't exactly impress me much but I didn't mind her as a character and I got Patch as a character too.

Their relationship though was just. . . mental. He stalks her for a year. He inserts himself into her life. He wants to kill her. He tries to kill her. Then manipulates her mind so she thinks she's imagining things when he doesn't manage to kill her. Tells her he wants to kill her.

But this is all ok because they love each other!?!

Of course this has been conveyed in other YA books (I will not even go into the 'message' this sends to readers) but it's not handled well in this book. For the majority of the book Patch is trying to kill Nora to become human. Then BAM, he's protecting her and sacrificing humanity for her. He goes from psycho to protector in such a short time. It feels completely unbelievable. This sense of unbelievability is strengthened by Nora's passivity (psychologically) through the entire book. As a reader, you never get the sense that she has doubts. . . which is incredible. She sees that he is the one that's going to kill her, she knows he's the one that has been manipulating her mind and making attempts on her life, yet she's kiss him "more" "more" - It leaves me feeling dumbfounded.

That being said, as you can tell I didn't like the main characters in this book, but one of the big redeeming features of the book was Vee. I absolutely loved her. She cracked me up with her lines and bubbly personality (I love her diet idea). And I really can't praise Becca Fitzpatrick enough for creating such a wonderful character.

So overall, I just didn't like this book at all. I know lots of people out there will disagree so please leave comments - i don't mind a bit of debate :)

P.S. I noticed a post defending Hush Hush, discussing a negative review of this book pertaining to abusive undertones of the story etc. and how some reviews encourage boycotting etc.

Personally I don't believe in banning books. You, me and readers worldwide (and YAs) can decide if we want to read a book or not. My only worry concerning this books and others is the rose tinting of this sort of relationship as being acceptable.

(mod comments is on due to spammers, not due to me censoring people's comments :) - i'll post every relevant comment up)

Thanks for reading this review

Housekeeping. . .


Hi everyone,

Just a quick note to let you know I'm switching comment moderation on!

Spamming has just gone totally crazy in past 24 hours.

Apologies about this.

Also I've just finished up my hols. so got some reading done. YaY!

So I should have reviews for the following soon :)

Shiver,
The Poisin Study,
Hush, Hush,
Cleopatra's Daughter,
Catching Fire

Em

Waking The Witch



Kelley Armstrong has been one of those writer's I've been meaning to read for ages, - now I realise what a shame it is that I haven't read one of her books sooner. I was delighted to receive an ARC of her latest Otherworld series book 'Waking the Witch' for reviewing on this site.

The story of this book centres around a prominent character in the series called Savannah, a young witch whom readers met in Kelley's second book in this series and became a huge hit with fans. Although this is the eleventh book in the series, Kelley wrote in such a way that I instantly was able to pick up the storyline. Although I didn't know the ins and outs of everything in Kelley's universe, she was able to portray enough information so I wasn't lost. I was expecting to find reading this book difficult because I thought I would be confused and not be able to connect with the characters. But I found this to be such a fun read, and the characters are so vivid and real that I connected with them immediately. I have to applaud Kelley Armstrong for her ability to provide the necessary backstory in an effortless way which doesn't tax the reader, - she reminds readers of the series but also helps new readers find their footing.

I loved the character of Savannah and I can see why she has such a huge fanbase. She's a strong young woman who is independent, stubborn, brave but most importantly is flawed. Although Savannah is a witch, can kick ass and uses magic, you never feel the 'mary sue' factor. I don't know the background of her life in great detail yet through Kelley's writing I can see the reasons for her motivations, actions and feelings and never felt I 'had to' like the character.

The only real issue I had with this book was the ending,

*spoiler alert*

which does require (even though you get the gist) some previous reading of the series. I felt that the twist in this book would have impacted on me more if I had recognised the villain (who appeared in previous books). Overall though this book was a hugely enjoyable page turner - even for a newbie like myself! I think fans of the previous books won't be disappointed either and will probably enjoy this book even more (especially the relationship between Savannah and Adam which is handled so well)

Considering this is 11th in a series, and is still written so well with great characters and sharp wit - I know what I'm going to spending my wages on in the future. It's so nice to find a new author with eleven books (and another series too) to read :)

Hopefully another book will be appearing soon about Savannah (and Adam)

Hint hint Ms. Armstrong ;)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Fallen by Lauren Kate



Lauren Kate has joined two of my favorite themes, soul mates and fallen angels, in her new series kick-off Fallen. (I've mentioned before that I have a weak spot for fallen angels and I could not be happier that it's an ever-expanding sub genre of fantasy YA novels.) The book starts off with plenty of intrigue and mystery which just keeps leading to more and more mystery as the story progresses. For every question answered a new one appears, but not in an annoying way. Kate manages to keep you interested even though there are tons of new loose ends to tie up in the second book Torment, out in late September.

The main characters are vague enough that you can jump into the scene, as opposed to jumping off the page themselves. I think both styles have merit but I think its personal preference to which is better. ;) Kate also did a great job of making me care about the characters by showing their vulnerabilities and short comings. No one is perfect... not even angels.

The subject matter also manages to stay on topic (ya know, about angels) without becoming grossly over-religious. The mythology can exist without the over-tones that put off many audiences and Kate did a wonderful job with that.

Kate spent a lot of time building a world for her characters and it seems like they wont be living in that world anymore in the second book. I'm not sure how this will play out or if it will even matter, but it seems like a shame to have taken so much time creating something to abandon it in the end. However, the series seems very well planned out. Sometimes it seems like one book was written and then the publisher asked for a series. I don't get that feeling with Fallen and I definitely look forward to reading the next book soon!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Competition!!!



With Leigh Russell's Cut Short being shortlisted for the internationally prestigious Crime Writers' Association 2010 John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award , we've decided to hold a wonderful competition where you can win a copy of Cut Short AND an autographed Road Closed (sequel to Cut Short).

To enter all you have to do is leave a comment with how many points you have (and links please). The more points you have the more times you'll be entered :)

Already Follower: 5 points
New Follower: 3 points
Tweeted/Facebooked about this contest with link: 5 points each
Blogged about this contest with link: 10 points

Best of luck to everyone :)

We will announce the winner 8th August!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater


POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERTS WITHIN THIS REVIEW!  
If you haven't read Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater, this review may or may not be good for you.  Just a warning before we move on.


We left off where we were in Shiver.  It was a happy ending in that book.  Girl meets wolf.  Wolf turns into boy who loves girl.  Girl loves boy back.  Neither of them want him being a wolf anymore.  They find a cure, he doesn't die, the end.  See?  Happy ending.


Linger goes over ground that gets a little deeper into our characters Grace and Sam with also covering the mysterious rock star hottie, Cole and the uppity up Isabel.

Sam and Grace are together.  No more wolfing out for Sam.  No more almost getting shot by Isabel's father when he's a wolf.  None of that whatsoever.  But can it all really be true?  Is it where it will all end?  Just the normal fairytale ending for Grace and Sam?  Not when Cole makes his appearance and wants to be a wolf.  He is just dying to get out of his human skin and shift, but there is something wrong.  He can't.  He's reckless and he wants to do that in his wolf suit.  Isabel, well, she's just Isabel.

One of the favorite parts for me in this story was Cole.  He added more rebellion and a new face with unknowns into the story.  For most of the story I thought he was just a crazy rock star drug addict that needed his head screwed on again, but in the correct direction when it was done.  However, as I read more, I liked him more.  He seemed better, more conscious of his decisions and the roads he took and how he got to where he was at that point. He didn't seem so whiny, but more longing to be the wolf he wanted to be.  Cole was a bit more feral than the rest of the characters in the story--although Isabel is close to being feral without being a wolf at all.

We learned to love Sam and Grace in the last story.  However in this one, I still loved Sam and Grace albeit Grace was growing roots in rebellion against everything she was and her parents, and Sam, well, he was the same Sam from before.  Cute, shaggy hair, song writing, shy Sam.

The last book just made me hate Isabel.  I mean, REALLY HATE HER!  She is not one of my favorite characters written (up there with Catherine Linton--the first one--from Wuthering Heights).  In Linger, though, we actually see where she comes from.  What her family life is like and how she copes without her brother when he died.  I gained more sympathy for her character and could see a bit more--not entirely and I believe that was on purpose--of who Isabel really was and why she chooses to cope with her life the way she does in her attitude toward others.

Maggie Stiefvater created these characters and I do love them all.  Like I said, Cole is my favorite more than Sam now at this point.  But I still love them all.  I feel as if when I am reading them and their story that they are just in the room with me acting it out for me to watch.  They seem so real through Maggie's poetic lyrics from Sam and even her writing has a poetic edge to it.  It's a nice, real rhythm that she brings into her characters and into the story.  Also, she has great one-liners in the story that made me laugh and have to reread them over and over again to keep me laughing.  And they never skip a beat and go off tangent in the story.  I love that about Maggie's writing.  It's never off beat.  It may make your heart skip a beat, but she is never ever off that beat.

At points, Maggie made me want to cry.  I wanted to cry for Grace.  I wanted to cry for Sam. For Cole. And for Isabel.  Especially Isabel.  She's the one that I think needed the hugs and the love more than anyone else in the story.  But although Maggie made me want to cry for them all, I didn't.  Close, but not there yet.

The story on this one compare to Shiver, was much better in the way of parental involvement and showing the relationship that had been severed between Grace and her parents.  How much they tried to become part of her life when they realized how serious her and Sam were becoming.  And even when Grace starts to have problems of her own without anyone else's help, her parents now step in between her and Sam and really ignite that flame that becomes Grace--The Rebellious.

I say if you liked Shiver, Linger will want you to get Forever (the third installment) immediately.  Everything in Linger makes you keep on going through the story.  I loved this story.  It's that kind that makes everything in my own real world feel a little like the world of Mercy Falls, Minnesota for a few more hours after finishing the story.  And to want to keep it that way.  Kudos to you Maggie Stiefvater for giving me a new world I can escape into!

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Contest!


Hey all you book bundlers!  Christine Johnson, author of Claire de Lune is holding a fabulous sequel contest for everyone on her blog.  If you want to enter hurry over and enter by the 31st.  Good luck!

Contest on Christine Johnson Blog

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

An interview with. . .



Leigh Russell

Leigh Russell, is author of the successful debut book Cut Short (published in June 2009), and sequel Road Closed (published in June 2010). The series centres around D.I. Geraldine Steel, a detective seeking answers to both crimes and her personal life. The first book in the thriller series, Cut Short has received great reviews, being stated as "a stylish, top-of-the-line crime tale, a seamless blending of psychological sophistication and gritty police procedure. And you're just plain going to love DI Geraldine Steel" (JEFFERY DEAVER).

Today, Leigh Russel has been kind enough to provide us with an interview:

When did you realise that you wanted to become a writer?

There was no Grand Plan. I had an idea, started writing, and found I couldn’t stop. Six weeks later I’d written about 85,000 words and realised that I’d written a book.

Can you tell us where you got the idea for Cut Short and the story behind how you became published? And how your life has changed since its publication?

The idea for CUT SHORT came into my head quite by chance. I was walking across my local park on a rainy weekday morning and happened to pass a man on the path. There was no one else in the park I began to speculate about him. Suddenly my imagination was racing. 'What if . . . ?' I thought, and the story of a crime thriller began to form in my mind. The story stayed with me and when I went home I began to write. That was three years ago and I haven’t stopped writing since.
I sent my manuscript to a publisher and it’s no secret that I heard from them two weeks later and shortly after that they signed me up for three books. So I became a writer without any planning or forethought. I wrote somewhere that I fell into writing like Alice falling down a rabbit hole.
CUT SHORT was a runaway success with three reprints in under a year, ROAD CLOSED has just been published ahead of schedule as WH Smith’s selected it for a June promotion, and I’ve just finished the first draft of DEAD END which will be published in 2011. In addition to writing I’m busy with book promotion. Meeting an author is an experience readers can’t find online, and I’m passionate about supporting real bookshops in this way, so most weekends I’m out in bookshops signing. I also visit libraries and colleges to talk about my writing, and appear at literary festivals, give radio interviews and online interview like this one. So life has been very busy since my first book was published.

Of all the characters in Cut Short, which do you think resembles you most? And why?

I don’t really think any of my characters resemble me. I’m a workaholic like my detective, but the resemblance ends there. I don’t base any of my characters on people I know, although I suppose they must be composites of people I’ve encountered or read about.

How did you create your character Geraldine Steel? Is there anyone you modelled her on? And if they were to make a TV series of your books, who would you think would best portray her?

When I started writing, I was fascinated by my killer. The villains are so much more fun to write than the good guys! My editor pointed out that my detective needed to engage my readers’ interest so they would want to follow her through the series, so I worked on Geraldine. She is introduced in CUT SHORT and in ROAD CLOSED readers discover more about her as her story begins to unfold.
I think my books would lend themselves very well to being televised as I write in very short chapters, like scenes on television. I do have an idea of who I would like to see playing Geraldine, but if my books were ever televised I doubt if I would have a say in how the series was adapted and produced - and that’s as it should be. Writing books requires a particular set of skills. Writing a screen play and producing a film or television show is quite different.
In Cut Short, Geraldine works for the first time with MIT in Woolsmarsh, in the next books will she continue working with this police station and its staff?

Geraldine works with the same Murder Investigation Team in ROAD CLOSED and DEAD END. In the fourth book in the series there is going to be a huge change for Geraldine which I think will be quite exciting for readers as well as for the character.

In Road Closed, will we see more of Geraldine’s personal life/love life? Specifically in Cut Short we see that Ian Peterson seems to be protective of Geraldine, will there be hints of more between these two in the future?

ROAD CLOSED reveals more about Geraldine with a story line that develops further in DEAD END. I gave my first talk shortly after CUT SHORT came out. At that point I had written Ian Peterson out of the series and introduced a new sergeant in ROAD CLOSED. That first audience had read CUT SHORT and they all said they liked the character of Peterson and wanted to see how his working relationship with Geraldine was going to develop. In response to their comments I wrote Peterson back in and he’s now in ROAD CLOSED and DEAD END. I like the idea of this interaction with my readers.

Perhaps you can tell us a bit about Cut Short’s sequel ‘Road Closed’?

Geraldine’s character is brought out more in ROAD CLOSED but it’s hard to tell you about it without giving too much away. I can tell you what the early reviews have been saying about ROAD CLOSED: “tense and gripping... well-written and absorbing right from the get-go, with just the right amount of guess-work for the reader.” (Eurocrime) “a gripping, fast-paced read, pulling you in from the very first tense page and keeping you captivated right to the end with its refreshingly compelling and original narrative” (New York Journal of Books, reviewed by award winning author Sam Millar) “This novel keeps you guessing until the end and packs some powerful surprises” (Bookersatz) So I think it’s fair to say that it’s a gripping and exciting plot. But I hope you’ll read and make up your own mind about it.
Do you have any tips or suggestions for aspiring [crime] writers?

I always give the same three pieces of advice to aspiring writers: Work hard, be brave, and be lucky.
The more you write the better your writing will become, so keep writing, and don’t be put off by rejections and don’t take them personally. Agents can receive as many as 50 submissions in an average day so they genuinely can’t give much time to any manuscript, and most publishers won’t even look at unsolicited submissions. Being published is a thrill, but the real buzz is writing. So my final piece of advice is: write because you love writing. Anything else is secondary.

Thank you very much for interviewing me here, with such interesting questions.


I hope this interview has been helpful, it was wonderful to interview Leigh Russell, who has been kind enough to offer signed copy of her new book ROAD CLOSED for a COMPETITION here on Book Bundle. . . stay tuned I shall be posting about how to enter later this week!

Friday, July 16, 2010

A Contest For Book Bloggers


There's a contest going on right exclusively for Book Bloggers!  That means we can enter!  How exciting is this?

Way exciting.  Christine Johnson is the author of Claire de Lune.  It is a newly released book this year, May 2010, and is now on my "to be read" list.  I'll be reviewing it in a few weeks as it should be coming to me in the next week or so.

She is doing a special contest on her blog right now and any book blogger can enter and the more entries, the bigger and cooler the prize package is.

Go to Christine Johnson Book Blog to enter.  To those of you who do enter...Good Luck!

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Maze Runner by James Dashner



There are three things that could make you pick up this book.

1) You like science fiction.

2) You love The Hunger Games and need a "filler" book while waiting for Mockingjay to be released.

and

3) You like cliffhangers that make you go, "WHAT THE FREAK?  Hold on there for a second." But you don't get an explanation, you just have to wait until the next book comes out.

My biggest reason to pick up this book because it was a book one of my friends on GoodReads.com had read and recommended.

I couldn't say no.  I'm waiting so patiently (please hit that it is hard to write sarcasm) for Mockingjay and I did need a filler story that would pump me up for it.

I was right.  It was a great filler story that pumped me up for the release of the new Hunger Games book, but I was also so stupidly wrong that it would just be that, a "filler" book.

The Maze Runner is a great science fiction book that follows, Thomas, as he shows up in a place he's never been and knows nothing but his first name.  All known details of whatever memories he has are wiped clean.  No faces are remembered, no names.  All he knows is that he is Thomas.

When he shows up in the Box, he is told by the other boys that there is always one boy a month for the past two years sent up through to the Glade.  Supplies are sent the same way, but they survive how best they can with farming their own crops, slaughtering their own animals and living a simple life until they find a way out of the Maze.  Everyone has a job in the Glade and the one Thomas wants more than anything is to be a Runner. He wants to find the way out of the Maze.

He's only there in the Glade for one day when the Box sends up a girl. The only girl in the Glade.  With her comes a mysterious note and warning that scares everyone and really makes Thomas want to get out more than ever before.

This book really gave me the chills in spots, and held my attention through the whole story.  The author, James Dashner, created a new way of speaking, and a new way of community with this set of boys that live in the Glade.  The environment is eerie at best times and darn right scary other times.  I loved the set up of everything in this story and how everything in turn winds its' way through and all connects later on.

Thomas, the main character, is amazingly stubborn, stupid, but also very much a leader in this story.  We join him from the very first sentence when he wakes up in the Box and joins the Gladers in their world and community that is center to the Maze.  He is tortured, attacked, beaten, stung, and just plain old worn out as we watch him learn the ways of the Gladers.  For a main character, I love how he is.  His personality is stubborn, but enduring.  A quality that is good in a hero of a story.

Now, if you like cliffhangers, you won't be disappointed with this book.  It will leave you wanting more and wanting to know where it will lead you on your next journey.  See, I like cliffhangers, just so I can speculate on what may or may not happen next.  It gives me hope that the next story will be better than the first.  Most stories I have had that expectation and they fill that void you can get from thirsting for more from the plot.  I believe that the next book to The Maze Runner will do that for me as well.

The Scorch Trials is the next book coming out October 12, 2010 by James Dashner.  Personally, I already have it on hold at the library.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

White Cat: Holly Black


White Cat: (Curse Workers 1) by Holly Black
Curse working is illegal, and curse workers are branded as scoundrels and con artists. Cassel is the only one in his family who's not a curse worker. Although he's the "straight" kid in a cursed family, he killed his best friend, Lila, years ago. How he's having terrifying dreams of a white cat and suspects a secret plot between his brothers. He'll have to unravel his past to out-con the people he thought he knew best.

I just finished this book. While I initially had a hard time getting into it due to lack of time, once I finally sat down I really enjoyed it.

What I particularly liked was that the magic took place in today's real world. The only difference was that there was a ban on magic and that everyone wore gloves. On top of that, if you work a curse, you get a blow back. For example, someone who can tamper with memories and take them away, they too loose some memory. The more curse work you do, the more memory you loose.

The book revolves around Cassel, a boy who has truly had a run of bad luck. Not only does he come from a criminal family, but he finds out he can't really trust his older brothers or mom. I won't divulge more information though! The author does not hold back on real life details and at times the book is a bit gritty (ie, showing of blood, vomit, fighting...).

At the end of the book there is the suggestion that if you use your talent for good you don't experience a blow back and I would like to see more of that in the next book. This is by no means a complete ending, much like all of Holly Blacks books, even her last book in Modern Faerie Tale has an opened plot, although it's much more concluded than book 1 and 2 in that series.

I truly look forward to rest of the series!

Again, I find myself wanting to give this book 10 stars. It's a rare find in so many ways and did not leave me very disappointed!
 

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