Sunday, 31 October 2010

In My Mailbox - No.8

A big thank you, as always, to Kristi at The Story Siren for hosting In My Mailbox.  So here goes for this week...

I took a break from buying any books this week in favour of checking out some library books and finishing up some fantastic books, subsequent reviews and preparing to attend my first ever book signing next week!  I'll post all the details here on Wednesday! 

Without further ado, here’s what I got from the library:


Before I die - Jenny Downham

This book looks utterly compelling and the reviews are filled with nothing but praise.  On first impression appears to be a very moving book and I can't wait to read it. 

What did everyone else get this week?

Happy reading!

Nat

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Going Too Far - Jennifer Echols

Author: Jennifer Echols
Date of release: April 2009
Number of pages: 245
Publisher: MTV Books
Also by this author: Forget You

Book Girl Rating: * * * *

High school senior Meg revels in being a rebel. She sports choppy blue hair, and tight t-shirts, cuts class, and is often found where she's not supposed to be. Like hanging out on a railroad-tracks-covered bridge that's off-limits to trespassers. When she and her friends are busted for trespassing and underage drinking, she's sentenced to spend her spring break riding along with a rookie police officer on his nightshift patrol. Compounding the punishment is the fact that the cop, John After, is only two years older than Meg, and a former classmate to boot. He thinks he has Meg's number and has nothing but contempt for her childish rebellion. Meg in turn has nothing but contempt for Officer After's by-the-book attitude. But Meg has her reasons for lashing out, and John has his reasons for his need for law and order. And they're about to discover that they have a lot more in common than either one of them could have dreamed...(Amazon.co.uk)

This book’s premise surrounds two characters with mysterious pasts and secrets relating why they are the way there are.  And neither reason is easily guessable – which made the book thoroughly intriguing and captivating.  From Meg’s fierce determination that nothing will tie her to the small town she was born in to John’s belief that nothing will take him away from the town – we’re thrust into this thoroughly believable and complex world of our two leads.  John wants to teach Meg a valuable lesson, but of course, he doesn’t know her very well and she doesn't know him either.  Their secrets and histories remain untouched, until their situation forces them together - with Meg pushing to know why John acts the way he does and John pushing her back; until they eventually drive each other to the point they discover more than they bargained for. 

What particularly intrigued me was the idea, right from the outset, that neither characters feelings could be discovered - they seemed so closed off - let alone Meg and John being able to penetrate each other's.

Both characters were fantastically written.  Meg is this feisty, sassy girl, who knows what she wants.  But as a reader, you can notice that there’s something more going on, why she’s so desperate to get out and won’t be tied down.  Then there’s John, fiercely guarded, handsome and straight-laced – you wonder why he’d ever want to be stuck in a small town with so many opportunities on offer. 

This novel is intelligent and endearing.  Whilst it’s clear that these characters have skeletons in their closets and very complex pasts – something indescribable connects them and draws them closer.  I loved reading their story and how the difficulties they faced eventually brought them together.

But this novel is incredibly romantic in the least cheesy way.  Jennifer is one of my newly found, favourite writers.  Not just because she writes about love in such an honest and open way, but because the characters she writes could be real people – they’re easy to understand, as if they were living in reality.    She’s a wonderful author and I’d recommend her writing to any YA fan, any day of the week! 

Sunday, 24 October 2010

In My Mailbox - No.7

Hello there!  Before I start, I'd like to thank Kristi at the Story Siren for hosting.  You can visit her blog right here!

This week, I finally joined my local library (instead of just going to look!) and I’m trying to cut down on books so I can catch up with all the ones I own and still need to read!  Waterstone’s are being evil this week and doing a buy one get one free on supernaturally themed YA books in celebration of Halloween – I was so, so tempted!  Enough rambling from me, here’s what I got:

Bella Should Have Dumped Edward- By Michelle Pan
I enjoyed Twilight and its sequels so I wasn’t the first to jump at buying this book (being a Team Edward fan, too).  However, I read a blog review and an Amazon review and thought I’d like to read it.  It’s basically a collection of perspectives on the Twilight books – with one of the questions querying whether Bella and Edward should really have ended up together.  This piqued my interest after reading these reviews, so it should be worth a read.  

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
Synopsis:  She is pretty and talented - sweet sixteen and never been kissed. He is seventeen; gorgeous and on the brink of a bright future. And now they have fallen in love. But . . . They are brother and sister. Forbidden will take you on an extraordinary emotional journey. Passionate and shocking, this is a book you will remember long after you have put it down.

This book has a highly controversial storyline and is markedly not recommended for younger readers.  I’m really interested to see what happens in this book and how the characters deal with the feelings they are experiencing. 
 
That was my lot for this week!  What did everybody else get?  Hope you enjoy your reading!

Nat 

Saturday, 23 October 2010

A new cover!

I was spending my Saturday morning as I have done for a few weeks - checking out books on Amazon and then having a quick mooch to the library.  However, something caught my eye today:

The cover art for Maggie Stiefvater's third book in the Wolves of Mercy Falls series - Forever (2011). I love it, but is does make me even more anxious to read the book!  See below..

So I pre-ordered this and Lauren Kate's third book in the Fallen series, Passion.

What does everyone else think to the cover?

Nat

Monday, 18 October 2010

Forget You - Jennifer Echols

Author: Jennifer Echols
Date of release: July 2010
Number of pages: 300
Publisher: MTV Books
Also by this author: Going Too Far

Book Girl Rating: * * * *

Forget You is an intriguing novel about Zoey, a girl whose life is turned upside down when her father leaves her mother for a 24 year old and her mother tries to commit suicide.  Typically the perfect, straight A achiever, Zoey seeks solace in perfection and control, from her swim team to her new boyfriend Brandon.  But a car accident one night changes everything – and she can’t remember anything from the night of the crash.  Suddenly, Brandon’s avoiding her and fierce bad boy Doug is acting like he’s her greatest admirer.  If Zoey can’t pick up the pieces to control this situation, can she find out what really happened that night?

I found myself intensely engrossed in this story from beginning to end.  Zoey’s adolescent confusion and worry were two emotions I could relate to and I was instantly drawn to her character.  Whilst the story was quite slow at first, the events that unfolded after the crash left me suppliant for answers – what really happened that night?  Why was Zoey’s memory so unclear and what would happen in the romantic entanglement of the characters?    

When push came to shove, the storyline was simple – teenage angst and ultimately, love.  Love for family, love for friends and love for a person you didn’t think you would love; with all the typical teenage worries thrown in.  Not to mention, the characters were fascinating, namely Zoey, even though at times it was as if she wouldn’t be able to hold it together – she always came through in the end. 

I must say, Zoey’s abrasive father really grated on me.  He left me with this residual anger once he’d entered and exited the book – and I could really feel how Zoey felt, abandoned when she needed help the most and fearful for her mother’s safety.  And Zoey’s clueless and at times selfish boyfriend Brandon drove me mad – he was just so unaware of what Zoey was experiencing.

It was both frustrating and exciting that we were as in the dark about the crash and the events after it as Zoey was.  We weren’t aware of anything she didn’t know and we right there with her as she became more aware and able to put together the fractured pieces of what happened that night – just hoping for something coherent.  

To summarise, this book was a truly honest portrayal of teenage anguish, love and familial discord – fantastic.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

In My Mailbox - No.6

Hi and welcome to my sixth IMM post.  IMM is a great way to share books and was started by Kristi of the Story Siren, and you can visit her here.

This week: Another eagerly anticipated release!  Having the weekend off work was perfect for me to cram read my new books.  Here’s what was in my mailbox this week:

Bought:

Finding Sky by Joss Stirling
I quite liked the idea of a British heroine as a voice for a YA book – and this story seems interesting.  Whilst it doesn’t sound entirely dissimilar from other YA books out there – the cover’s gorgeous, it’s got ace reviews and the synopsis sounds great.  

Here’s the story: You have half our gifts, I have the other . . . When English girl Sky, catches a glimpse of bad boy Zed in her new American high school, she can't get him out of her head. He talks to her with his thoughts. He reads her mind. He is the boy she will love for ever. Dark shadows stalk her past but a new evil threatens her future. Sky must face the dark even if it means losing her heart.

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick
Well, the wait is finally over for the eagerly awaited sequel to Becca’s fantastic first book, Hush, Hush.  There are so many unanswered questions looming in the air, not to mention I’ve missed Patch – and all his bad-boy charm.  Let’s hope this lives up to its predecessor!   

Synopsis: Nora should know better than to think her life can return to normal after falling in love with a fallen angel. And Nora's life isn't normal - her dad was murdered, and the facts about his death just don't add up. Now Nora's own life is in imminent danger. Are she and Patch strong enough for the battle ahead?

Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols
After reading Jennifer’s other romance novel, Forget You, I am in awe of yet another writer.  This one looks equally as good and I can’t wait to start it!

Synopsis:  Going Too Far is the story of Meg, a high school rebel.  Often found on the wrong side of the tracks, and this time, the law, Meg is sentenced to spend her Spring Break with a police officer, John, who is her complete opposite.  Where John seeks solace in law and order, Meg enjoys being the rebellious, different girl.  But they're both about to realise they have more in common than they could have ever imagined...

The synopses are from the book covers/backs.

What did everyone else get?  I love hearing from you and reading your comments.
Happy reading!
Nat


Friday, 15 October 2010

Torment - Lauren Kate

This review may contain spoilers.  

Author: Lauren Kate
Date of release: September 2010
Number of pages: 460
Publisher: Doubleday Childrens
Also by this author: Fallen, The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove.

Book Girl Rating: * * * 1/2

In Torment, fallen angel Daniel and his mortal love Lucinda think they are safe but evil forces are massing against them. As Luce learns more about her past, and discovers that the lives she’s already lived hold the key to her future happiness; she starts to wonder if Daniel has told her the whole truth. What if his version of events isn’t the way things happened? What if that means that she’s really meant to be with someone else? (Amazon.co.uk)

Torment sees Luce’s life change in a big way.  Firstly, the striking change of environment – from Sword and Cross’ harsh, tyrannical nature to a new, opulent context in the form of Californian coast school Shoreline.  Sent there for her own protection, Luce is left to wonder about the secrets of her reincarnations over past lives and the distance of her relationship with Daniel.

Another big change is that of characters – particularly the introduction of Luce’s feisty, hardy roommate Shelby and kind hearted, adoring Miles.  Not to mention the multitude of other characters enamoured with Luce’s presence.  But, the biggest change of all is Daniel’s absence.  He can’t explain things to Luce, which leaves her frustrated and searching for her own answers – because any that he provides her with will destroy her.  So, she is left to navigate the waters with the help of new friends who know only partial truths about her.  Luce’s tendency to attract trouble still remains – but I couldn’t berate her for it at all – you share a variety of lifetimes with a gorgeous angel you can’t remember and see if you don’t get curious!  Luce is a wholly believable heroine, still haunted and still searching for the answers we all desperately crave – with some pretty kick-ass new friends to help.  

Whereas Fallen saw Luce discover her connection to Daniel, Torment sees her begin to query that connection and how deep it goes – especially when he’s left her in a place with no answers to her questions; bringing up the complex and intriguing, if not heartbreaking uncertainty: are they really meant to be together?  I didn’t enjoy Torment as much as Fallen, sadly.  I think this was mainly because of Daniel’s absence – I loved him even when he was hostile! The ending left me more anxious than Fallen – there are still so many unanswered questions lingering in the air.  So, with an ending to leave readers desperately chomping at the bit, let’s hope Passion (a prequel), will reveal some answers.  Lauren Kate knows how to satiate her readers’ to a point of tolerance, but still desperately awaiting more!  Lauren’s writing is fantastic and draws you into the story like any talented author should.  

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Fallen - Lauren Kate


Author: Lauren Kate
Date of release: December 2009
Number of pages: 460
Publisher: Doubleday Childrens
Also by this author: Torment (sequel), The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove.

Book Girl Rating: * * * *


Some angels are destined to fall.  Instant.  Intense.  Weirdly familiar... the moment Luce looks at Daniel she knows she has never felt like this before. Except she can’t shake the feeling that she has...and with him - a boy she doesn't remember ever setting eyes on. Will her attempt to find out why enlighten her or destroy her? (taken from book synopsis).

I read Fallen at the end of 2009 and decided to review it prior to my scheduled review of Torment, its sequel.  

Central to Fallen’s story is Luce.  Immediately, it’s clear – she’s a teenage girl who is scared and haunted by her past.  Her life has always been a little off-kilter and her visions of ‘shadows’ are a testament to this.  She doesn’t know why she sees them or what they mean but she’s learned to keep her mouth shut – since the psychiatrists don’t know what’s wrong – it’s clear she’s on her own.  When she witnesses another boy’s death, Luce is exiled to the harsh and domineering environment of the Sword and Cross School and she must come to terms with a new way of living.  With its grey and bleak appearance, Sword and Cross is an environment of tight deadlines and a repressive outlook.

But the school isn’t without its benefits, despite Luce’s despair we find Arrianne, Luce’s quirky, off-the-wall roommate, determined to show her the ropes of the school.  Then there’s Penn – as normal and bookish as they come.  Not to mention Cam – with his slick, dark hair and green eyes; he makes Luce feel welcomed.  Then there’s Daniel.  He couldn’t seem to care less about Luce – but there’s something awfully intriguing about him.  With her mind occupied between these two boys, Cam’s handsome and kind exterior and Daniel’s disinterest – Luce begins to settle in.

But as Luce develops her relationships with the people at the school, she realises that not everything is what it seems.  And her connections to those she finds endearing are only the start of something big...

I loved Fallen.  It’s easy for me to gush over books that have held my attention, but Fallen was great.  The setting was exciting and original, a paranormal romance in an oppressive reform school!  It was clever and funny and left me wanting more.  It really is a page turner, but thankfully keeps you guessing right until the end, where the pieces fall into place.  It was interesting to learn about Cam’s niceness and Daniel’s hostility, as it was plaguing me to see if either character was true to the way they behaved.
Luce’s story really resonated with me and her conviction as a protagonist is thoroughly believable.  Fantastic!

Sunday, 10 October 2010

In My Mailbox - No.5

In My Mailbox was started by Kristi at the Story Siren and you can visit her fantastic blog here.

Apologies for the late IMM post - I've had a fantastic weekend, which ended with a trip to Manchester today.  I visited the huge Waterstones to pick up my ticket for Becca Fitzpatrick’s book signing in November - and I can't wait!   Not only that, but I had the opportunity to wander and meander round the rather large Waterstone's, gaping at all the lovely books; indulging my weakness for spending too much money on literature!

Bought today:

Infinite Days (Rebecca Maizel)
I've heard wonderful things about this book and it was staring me in the face in the book shop, so of course, I caved!  The cover's beautiful, which was the factor that finally swayed me to buy it.  Lovely!  Here's what it's about: For 500 years Lenah Beaudonte has been a vampire. 500 years of seduction, blood and destruction. But she is sickened by her dark powers – and longs to feel the sun on her skin, grass under her bare feet, and share the breath of a human kiss. She wants to be mortal again. But is she really capable of being human, after her long years of darkness? Waking up as a sixteen-year-old girl brings Lenah many things – the life she has missed, taste, touch, love. But a vampire soul is not easily shed. And her coven – the four vampires she led in decadence and thrilling destruction – want their queen back . . 

Reckless (Cornelia Funke)
I think this weekend was one for gorgeous covers, and this one drew me right in (I think it's something to do with  the yellow eyes, they reminded me of Sam from Shiver/Linger!).  I also just watched the very haunting and ethereal promotional video for this book on Amazon and was rather amazed!  Here's what this one's about:  For the first time in his life, Jacob Reckless is afraid. For years he's stolen across to another world. A dark enchanted place he's loved for its treasure, secrets and dangers. Until now. Will, his younger brother, has followed him with terrible consequences: The boy will turn to beast; the girl he loves will break her heart and chaos will rule forever, unless Jacob can spin a fairytale to save them .. 

This book sounds really refreshing and different - I can't wait to start it!
 
The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins)

Again, this is a book that seems vastly different from some of the supernatural romances I've been reading lately (according to its synopis) and I really think it will be good.  I've read some fantastic reviews and for some reason always postponed, then later regretted, buying it.  Here's the lowdown: Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. But Katniss has been close to death before—and survival, for her, is second nature. The Hunger Games is a searing novel set in a future with unsettling parallels to our present. Welcome to the deadliest reality TV show ever...

The synopses are taken from the inside/back sleeves/covers of the books. 

How was everyone else's week?  What did you get in your mailbox?
Feel free to leave comments and links below - I love hearing from you all.  

Enjoy your reading!

Nat  

Sunday, 3 October 2010

In My Mailbox - No.4


Welcome to my fourth IMM post.  This meme was started by Kristi of the Story Siren, and you can visit her blog here.

This week was a grinning week.  Namely because of an anticipated new release (see below), but also because October starts the beginning of a rush of eagerly awaited new releases until the New Year.   This week was slow in terms of books.  However, any books I would have received would have been trounced by a little book called Torment (grins*) by Lauren Kate.  After a very long Friday, I arrived home to find an Amazon package containing this book - which was a very welcome surprise!

So here’s the lowdown on my mailbox this week:

Torment by Lauren Kate (isn't the cover just awesome?!)

I love, love, love Lauren’s writing and characters.  And with the suspense she left us in with Fallen – I am desperate to know Luce and Daniel’s previous life stories.  I’m sure to be reviewing this as soon as I’ve peeled it from my eyes and mind.  So anxious am I to find out how Luce and Daniel will get on..and discover some of the secrets of their past.  I read a snippet from Torment that was released at the back of a newer edition of Fallen -  depicting a scene between Cam and Daniel and I was even more intrigued.  Check out the synopsis for the book below.
Synopsis: In "Torment", fallen angel Daniel and his mortal love Lucinda think they are safe but evil forces are massing against them. As Luce learns more about her past, and discovers that the lives she's already lived hold the key to her future happiness; she starts to wonder if Daniel has told her the whole truth. What if his version of events isn't the way things happened? What if that means that she's really meant to be with someone else? (Amazon.co.uk and book summary)

Glass Houses (Morganville Vampires) by Rachel Caine 

I haven’t forgotten my love for all things vampire in the light of my recent werewolf flurry – and Amazon reviewers give this top marks, so I’m giving it a go!  

Synopsis: College freshman Claire Danvers has had enough of her nightmarish dorm situation, where the popular girls never let her forget just where she ranks in the school's social scene: somewhere less than zero. When Claire heads off-campus, the imposing old house where she finds a room may not be much better. Her new roommates don't show many signs of life, but they come out fighting when the town's deepest secrets come crawling out, hungry for fresh blood... (Amazon.co.uk)

Forget You by Jennifer Echols 

This month seems to be the one I go for the all-consuming romances and turmoils of young love (with or without the supernatural element) and this book marks no exception.  It looks rather angsty and the reviews are positive!



Whilst this week was sparse in terms of books, getting Torment was like receiving a hundred books all in one go – that much anticipation!  Enough rambling from me, I’d love to hear what you got in your mailbox?  I’m always happy to receive comments and feedback.

Happy reading everyone!

Nat