Wednesday, 29 September 2010

City of Bones - Cassandra Clare


Author: Cassandra Clare
Date of release: July 2007
Number of pages: 448
Publishe: Walker Books Ltd
Also by this author: City of Ashes, City of Glass, Clockwork Angel.

Book Girl Rating: * * * *

Clary Fray is seeing things: vampires in Brooklyn and werewolves in Manhattan.  Irresistibly drawn to a group of sexy demon hunters, Clary encounters the dark side of New York City - and the dangers of forbidden love. (taken from back cover).

15-year old Clary Fray leads a normal teenage life until she sees a boy murdered in front of her, who disappears almost as fast, apparently by people that no-one else can see.  Clary is whipped into the inexorably scary world of Shadowhunters, encountering the complex and sinister nature of another world, which seemingly exists alongside the human world.   Clary Fray’s life is about to change in big ways, and in a world she never knew existed...

This book was amazing; therefore I devoured it within a matter of days.  Cassandra Clare has created a supernatural world of impressive proportions.  The mixture of creatures and ideas in a story world that is full of complex, compelling characters is fantastic.  The normal world in contrast with the multitude of sinister forces that exist is brilliantly described and the storyline is fantastic.

The bare bones of this story is Clary’s normalcy and then her transition into discovering she’s not really normal at all, then leaving it all behind.   Cassandra is intelligent and  has this wonderful descriptive style of writing, drawing you into the story - it's powerfully intriguing.

Clary’s relationship with Jace is possibly the reason I was so addicted to this book. The characters are well defined and developed; Clary is independent and strong as a protagonist and then there's Jace.  My oh my, he looks like an angel, but certainly doesn't act like one.  He's gorgeous, guarded and fierce.  However, when they come together, and grow closer, Clary begins to see a different side to Jace.   

The characters make such a huge part of this story.  Not just Jace and Clary but Isabelle and Alec, the gorgeous and deadly brother and sister duo and Simon, Clary’s best friend – possibly the coolest geek to ever walk the earth.  A crucial comment to make about this book is its addictiveness.  Writers tend to have this inexplicable, mystifying effect on me, so when I like a book, it’s on my mind when I’m reading it, when I’m not reading it and the characters are floating around constantly inside my head!

This is one lady with a fantastically complex imagination and another author who is fantastic at surprise and excellent plot development.  Not once did I guess at the surprise she unveiled at the end, but of course it left me anxious to find out how things would end up.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

In My Mailbox - No.3

Hi there,
Welcome to my third In My Mailbox.  This meme was started by Kristi at the Story Siren, and you can visit her wonderful blog here

The summaries are my own and inspired by reviews and the synopses of the books. 

I treated myself to four new books this week - but can't keep up with them all.  Here's what I got:

Bought:
City of Bones, City of Ashes and City of Glass (hardcovers)     
Whilst I have the paperbacks of these – I couldn’t resist the hardback copies in a nice set (see picture), because I love these books.  

Gosh, I loved City of Bones and I'm already on City of Ashes.  

Clary Fray's life is relatively normal, until she starts seeing things..a boy being murdered in front of her and then disappearing..by the hand of three strangely beautiful people..who no-one else can see; and one of those people happens to be Jace, who looks like an angel, but certainly doesn't act like one.  Clary is instantly intrigued. 
Soon enough she is whisked into a world of demons, vampires and other downworlders and learns about the Shadowhunters, whose connection to her family's past is more than just coincidence..

Raised by Wolves
This looks really interesting.  I love wolves at the moment.  This book is about Bryn, a girl whose parents are murdered by werewolves and she is taken in by the pack.  Living as a human amongst the other wolves, she must abide by pack life.  That's when she meets Chase, a newly turned were and she is forced to choose between him and her allegiances to the pack...  

Splendour Falls

When Sylvie Davies breaks her leg, her career as a ballerina is over.  Her father is dead and her mother has remarried.  Sylvie is sent to live with relatives in a remote area, that's filled with her family's own history.  She meets two boys, one is complex and difficult to understand, and one is handsome and a regular golden boy.  When Sylvie starts seeing things, a girl by the lake and a man's eyes..things begin to unravel.  She's lost so much, and now her mind may be going too...

My Love Lies Bleeding

I was browsing on Amazon when I saw this book.  The reviews rave about it, so I'm giving it a go.

The Blake family are vampires.  Some of whom were born in the twelfth century.  Solange, one of the children, is the only female vampire born and so is perceived to be a threat to the vampire queen.  Best friends with a human, Lucy.  Solange is kidnapped and so Lucy and Solange's brother Nicholas must save her.  As Lucy and Nicholas grow closer, they realise their feelings for each other - but how do you date a vampire? 

That's my lot!  What did you get in your mailbox?  I'd love to hear from you!

Have a happy reading week!

Nat

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Linger - Maggie Stiefvater

 
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Date of release: July 2010 (UK)
Number of pages: 432
Publisher: Scholastic
Also by this author: Shiver (Book 1), Lament, Ballad, Forever (Book 3) (2011).

WARNING: This review is of the second book of the Wolves of Mercy Falls series and therefore may contain spoilers for Shiver.
In SHIVER, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in LINGER, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping dangerous secrets. For Sam, it means grappling with his werewolf past ... and figuring out a way to survive the future. But just when they manage to find happiness, Grace finds herself changing in ways she could never have expected... 

I really enjoyed this book.  Linger sees the input of Isabel and Cole’s perspectives in addition to Sam and Grace’s existing narrative.  Whilst it took me a while to adapt to their perspectives, I began to understand the characters in a way I wouldn’t have before.  I really enjoyed the sharp contrast between Sam and Grace’s profound, passionate connection to one another and Isabel and Cole’s volatile association.  Maggie also merges Sam and Grace’s perspectives and condenses them to make room for Isabel and Cole’s.  I loved this, because it is as if they are one entity, they think and feel the same – that they’re hopelessly connected through love.  


I was quite worried that Linger wouldn’t live up to Shiver, because, I couldn’t see how this story or Maggie’s writing could get any better.  I was relieved to determine that it’s just as great; and once again I found myself enveloped in the world of Sam and Grace, their struggles and their love.  Linger is amazing; and Maggie’s lyrical narrative is back, fantastically infectious and constantly leaving you wanting more. Everything about this story screams love! Maggie’s accomplished writing is wonderful and so intimately describes Sam and Grace’s connection; in contrast to Minnesota’s hostile environment  This is a world that is rapidly changing and full of forces that threaten to tear them apart.  

This story held me and contrastingly moved me in ways I didn’t think a book could.  I am anxiously anticipating Forever and can’t wait for its release; because I love these characters and their world.  I am once again in awe and reverence of Maggie’s fantastic writing talent and her acute awareness of who her characters are – characters with such conviction -  so likeable, passionate and determined.
 
I desperately hope Sam and Grace get the happy ending they deserve.  You may want to grab some tissues for this one - but maybe I'm a tad emotional after reading about these characters for the last few weeks!  With an ending that amazes, this left me simultaneously heartbroken and aching for more.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

In My Mailbox - No.2


This meme is hosted by the wonderful Story Siren, Kristi, and you can visit her blog here.

Here’s what I got this week:

Bought:



Far From You – Lisa Shroeder
I recently read Lisa’s other verse novel I heart you, you haunt me, which I really enjoyed.  So I decided to buy this.  







Bought:
Gossip Girl (I will always love you) – Cecily Von Ziegesar
I used to read the Gossip Girl books when I was younger and they’re an enjoyable, fun read.  This is a return from the main characters of Blair, Serena and Nate on a break from college and back in NYC.
 






Borrowed:
The Vampire Diaries (The Awakening and The Struggle) – L. J. Smith
I really like the TV series of these books and consider myself a vampire fan, so it’s about time I read these books.  I’ve heard some good things.  So I’m excited to read this.


Bought:
Kisses from Hell – Kristen Cast, Alyson Noel, Richelle Mead and Francesca Lia Block
I was very excited to receive this one! This is another book in the '...from Hell' series of short stories from YA authors.  I can't wait to read the rest of these and I’ve already finished Alyson’s story – which was fantastic!  I like these books as they’re quick reads when you’re short of time but still really good! 


Borrowed:
Kiss and Blog-  Alyson Noel
I love Alyson’s writing so I decided to give this one a go.  I’m accustomed to the supernatural side of YA at the moment so I’m branching out to more light hearted books – this one looks fun.
                                                

What did anyone else get?  It would be great to hear from you!

Happy reading!
-Nat


Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Need - Carrie Jones

Author: Carrie Jones
Date of release: February 2010 (UK) 2009 (US)
Number of pages: 320
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Also by this author: Captivate (sequel), Entice (third book, December 2010/January 2011)

Book Girl Rating: * * * *

 Zara White suspects a freaky guy is stalking her. She memorises phobias and chants them when she's nervous. OK, she hasn't exactly been herself since her stepfather died. But moving to a freezing Maine town to stay with her grandmother is supposed to be the perfect fix - or so her mum says.  Except, this plan of sending Zara away to help her stay sane? Yeah, not working. Turns out the stalker is not a figment of Zara's imagination. He's still following her. Leaving behind an eerie trail of gold dust. There's something not right - not human - in this sleepy Maine town, and all signs and all signs are pointing to Zara. (taken from dust jacket).

Despite mixed reviews on this book, I really enjoyed it.  Carrie’s writing is in equal parts compelling, interesting and enjoyable. 

I really enjoyed Zara’s perspective, she’s honest, likeable and most importantly, relatable.  The feelings she experiences are realistic, which makes it easy to understand her perspective.  Not only that, but she grows and changes, becoming stronger throughout the book which makes for a nice character arc. At the beginning she is quite lost and hopeless, but as the story progresses she becomes more determined, and fiercely so.   The other characters were enjoyable to learn about too, particularly Zara’s whacky grandmother and her undeniably loyal and protective friends, Nick, Issie and Devyn.  Nick and Zara’s blossoming relationship was gripping – which made for an interesting read and yet another image of the perfect male lead of fiction! 

Another excellent concept is that of the pixies.  What a refreshing take on the supernatural romances of the YA genre!  The idea of chanting phobias is intriguing and provided a quirkiness and individualism that I thought was edgy and gave the book originality and spirit.

Overall, this was a great read, especially for fans of supernatural romance/action books.  The combination of action and romance was excellently proportioned and balanced – which left me wanting more. Carrie is one of those authors whose prose grips you and pulls you right into the story with the characters, to experience everything they are dealing with.  Need is undeniably a story of love, courage and triumph, however supernatural your enemies may be...

Sunday, 12 September 2010

In My Mailbox - No.1

In My Mailbox: Week 1

This meme was created by Kristi of The Story Siren, whose blog you can visit here

 Here goes for my first post on this...

I bought all these books this week from Amazon.  Here's what I got:

Radiance (By Alyson Noel)
I loved Alyson’s immortals series and despite this book being aimed at a much younger audience, I’m intrigued to find out more about Riley’s story and the ‘after life’.  As Alyson’s writing is so great- I had to buy this.

Linger (By Maggie Stiefvater)
 This came on Monday, (you've got to love Amazon!)  The excitement I felt when this book came through the door was almost tangible!  I’ve already started reading more of Maggie’s lovely writing and can’t wait to see how things turn out for Sam and Grace in the second book.  I’ve heard great things about the book, but of course, I’m praying for a happy ending, I hope they get it! 

Ballad (Maggie Stiefvater)
I’m a bit of a Maggie freak at the moment, I love her writing.  Bought this as I've just started reading Lament, so I’m really looking forward to another story – hopefully as enjoyable as Grace and Sam’s.  

I Heart You, You Haunt me (Lisa Shroeder) 
I just read this one - it tore me apart (metaphorically speaking!).  Tear jerking, emotional thrill ride of a girl's loss and grief after her boyfriend's death.  

I tried to upload the pictures I took of my books but it wouldn't work for some reason!

What did everyone else get?  I'd love to hear from you!
  
Happy reading!






-Nat

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

I Heart You, You Haunt Me - Lisa Schroeder





Author: Lisa Shroeder
Date of release: January 2008
Number of pages: 240
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Also by this author: Far From You



Girl meets boy.
Girl loses boy.
Girl gets boy back...
...sort of.
 
Ava can't see him or touch him, unless she's dreaming. She can't hear his voice, except for the faint whispers in her mind. Most would think she's crazy, but she knows he's here.
Jackson. The boy Ava thought she'd spend the rest of her life with. He's back from the dead, as proof that love truly knows no bounds. (Taken from Amazon description and book synopsis)

A friend of mine recommended this book to me recently, so I thought I'd give it a go! It’s quite a short book and so I read it in between some other novels.   I wouldn’t say ‘enjoyed’ would be the correct word to use to describe my experience of this book.  But I did like it.  I say that because it is impossibly sad and powerfully emotive, I don’t feel like I should enjoy it!  Ava’s tale is a poignant, haunting story of love, loss and grief.  Seeing through the eyes of a teenager, whose life should be full of laughter and enjoyment, it was particularly moving to listen to an account of somebody so young experience so much pain.   Ava’s voice, as a protagonist is very distinctive and real despite her initial detachment from life; it’s almost as if I was Ava, living through what seems like an insurmountable loss and heartache. 

Lisa Schroeder’s writing is different to a lot of the books I’ve read. The prose is delicate and simple, yet memorable.  It’s the first ‘verse’ novel I’ve read so the style took a bit of getting used to.   This is an incredible, powerful and remarkable story of a teenager’s torment and anguish.  And of course, it coaxed the tears out of my eyes – so grab some tissues for this one!I really like Lisa’s writing and will be on the lookout for any of her future books, recommended! 

Monday, 6 September 2010

Review: The Immortals Series: Blue Moon (Book 2)

Author: Alyson Noel
Date of release: March 2010
Number of pages: 384
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Also by this author: The Immortals Series (Evermore, Blue Moon, Shadowland, Dark Flame, Night Star), Cruel Summer, Radiance.

Book Girl Rating: * * * *


WARNING: This review is for the second book of the series and so may contain spoilers for Evermore.
 
Things have changed for Ever since she met her beloved Damen – not least because she’s got a whole new set of powers, courtesy of her new Immortal status. Just as she's getting stronger, though, Damen seems to be weakening. Panicked at the thought of losing him, Ever finds a path to the in-between world known as Summerland, where she learns the secrets of Damen’s tortured past. But in searching for a cure for him, Ever accidentally discovers a way to twist time so she can save her family from the accident that killed them. It’s all she’s ever wanted – but so is Damen. And Ever must choose between them . . .

Blue Moon is the second book in Alyson Noel’s enchanting Immortals Series and a fine sequel at that.  I'm sure many readers get that hopeful, almost glee-like feeling over sequels to fantastic books (I know I do!). But I find there's always that niggling doubt - can it live up to its predecessor?  Can the next book really be as good?  I’m happy to say, Blue Moon is exactly that, just as great, riveting: page-turning good! 

I really enjoyed this book and I really do love Alyson’s writing.  This book kept me on edge and guessing just as much as Evermore.  Even though Ever is aware of her immortality, this book brings up more to guess about – by delving into the past and the past lives of Damen and Ever’s love.  I loved this book, of course and I was constantly gasping for answers and questioning, who is Roman?  Why does he know so much?  What’s happening to Damen?  

I loved Ever and Damen in this series.  Thankfully, Ever is a much stronger character and seems to have found a lot of strength through her love with Damen. Damen is just...Damen.  He’s beautiful and still mysterious!  I love Haven and Miles in this book too, they provide a bit of humour amongst all that angsty-immortal tension and passion, which balances the book nicely.  Plenty of action, suspense..and of course, romance!

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Review - Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Date of release:5th October 2009
Number of pages: 448
Publisher: Scholastic
Also by this author: Linger (sequel), Lament 

Book Girl Rating: * * * *

The pack circled around me, tongues and teeth and growls.  When a local boy is killed by wolves, Grace's small town becomes a place of fear and suspicion.  But Grace can't help being fascinated by the pack, and by one yellow-eyed wolf in particular.  There's something about him - something almost human. (Synopsis taken from back of book).

Shiver is a supernatural romance about Grace, a teenage girl who was attacked by a pack of wolves as a child.  Rescued by one wolf with piercing yellow eyes, she can't shake the thought of him from her mind.  She watches as each year, the wolf disappears in the Summer and returns each Winter.  When she meets Sam, she is instantly intrigued. As Sam and Grace grow closer, it's clear that he's changing..and soon the very thing that brought them together could be the thing that may tear them apart..forever.

Shiver is a wonderful story of romance, change and, excuse the gush...love. The hypnotic and at times, melancholy prose is utterly irresistible and wraps you in the world of Mercy Falls! The sense of longing between Grace and Sam is almost tangible as their limited time together tugs on the reader’s emotions with great weight. The juxtaposition of the ‘animal’ life and ‘human’ life is intriguing as a reader and Maggie's lyrical style of writing describes so aptly Sam’s struggle between remembering being human and wolf and the difficulties faced in changing between the two.  The dual narration perspective was a fantastic way to tell their story - I loved it!  Maggie's writing makes it easy to distinguish between Grace and Sam's distinctive voices.

Maggie's characters are easy to relate to and personable.  I love Grace's determination and Sam's humility. 

To summarise - what a great book.  I'd love to get lost in the world of Mercy Falls any day; and I think Sam just beat Edward to the post of book-hero.  A great read, with beautiful, intelligent writing and charming, likeable characters.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Crescendo!

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_prVzsg8l7x0/THzd82nJHFI/AAAAAAAACWA/cxng0xyCvCY/s1600/Crescendo_blog_tour_button.jpg  Really excited about this book, going to read Hush, Hush again before its release, can't wait!  I must have pre-ordered this book months ago, I'm sure it's going to be great.  The blog tour and stuff happening before and after the release sounds really cool :)

Becca's also doing some readings/signings at some Waterstones branches in the UK by the looks of things - very lucky us!  

Nat