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Monday, February 28, 2011

Hex - A Witch and Angel Tale by Ramona Wray

Title: Hex - A Witch and Angel Tale
Ramona Wray

Release Date: 1st February 2011

My Rating:

Like most girls at Rosemound High School, seventeen-year-old Lily Crane is acutely aware of Ryder Kingscott. Hands down the cutest guy in school, Ryder is cool, mysterious, and utterly untouchable... especially for Lily. For when she touches someone, Lily instantly learns all about their lives. And while such a skill might seem nifty, in truth it is wrecking Lily's life. So she is shocked when Ryder asks her out, and even more shocked to discover he has a rival. Lucian Bell is the gorgeous new kid who can't take his eyes off of Lily.

Being pursued by two hotties should make a girl happy, but Lily is skeptical. The boys act as if they've met before, hating each other with a passion that could only be rooted in a dark, dangerous past. A past full of terrible secrets. The kind of secrets that could get a girl killed.

My Review:

Hex, A Witch and Angel Tale is an easy, suspenseful read that keeps us wondering who is good and who is evil. Are there lies in the truth? Is there truth hidden amongst the lies? To me, Hex is a guilty pleasure. Who doesn't like a bit of forbidden romance and a love triangle with steamy boys?

I am not a huge fan of angel stories (due to reading a bunch of unremarkable stories involving them) but I do like my witches. Thankfully, this is not your run-of-the-mill angel story and I didn't feel the need to roll my eyes. My attention was always caught due to the suspense created by the number of twists thrown at us and also because I was trying to figure out how the characters in the prologue related back to Lily, Ryder and Lucian. It was quite the page-turner.

Lily, quite simply is a witch. Due to her abilities, she can not have any skin to skin contact with people, for if she does, their whole life and all the details flashes before her eyes, putting her in immense pain. Because of this she has one friend, has never had a boyfriend and is labelled a freak by the occupants of the small town she lives in. Personally I would have liked a little bit more about her abilities but I suppose that would have taken the story in a different direction. She is a persistent girl and when it comes to Ryder and Lucian, she won't stop until she knows the truth. That said, she is very trusting and once something is explained to her, she takes it as the truth. But is she trusting the right person? She likes to follow her instincts, but could her instincts be wrong?

Ahh, the boys. Like all the girls in the story, Ryder Kingscott makes me swoon. Over confident? Yes. But just so yummy. Lucian kind of had me on edge from the beginning as he appears to be Mr Smooth and way too perfect. But maybe I was just won over by Ryder as we are introduced to him first. He's a tough act to follow.

This is for fans of Fallen, Hush Hush, Immortal and/or Twilight (but not restricted to!).

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Big Crunch by Pete Hautman

Title: The Big Crunch
Author: Pete Hautman

Release Date: 1st January 2011 (US). 1st April 2011 (Australia)

My Rating: 4/5


June and Wes do not "meet cute." They do not fall in love at first sight. They do not swoon with scorching desire. They do not believe that they are instant soul mates destined to be together forever.

This is not that kind of love story.

Instead, June and Wes hand around in each other's orbits... until eventually they collide. And even after that happens, they're still not sure where it will go. Especially when June starts to pity-date one of Wes's friends, and Wes makes some choices that he immediately regrets.

My Review:
The Big Crunch can be summed up in three words; sweet, real and tender. It is a beautiful, heart-felt read that felt believable and described the confusing emotions that we are bestowed during those pesky, but vital, teenage years. The confusing, unfamiliar feelings. The irrational outbursts, spontaneous actions and obsessive behaviour. It's all there, in varying degrees.

This is no paranormal instantaneous love affair. It's not filled with end-of-the-world battles, evil 'beautiful' girls or over-compensating jocks, just the reality of life. Over the course of a year we get to experience the ups and the downs that occur in the world of Wes and June; burnt chicken, snow, coffee, parents (the understanding kind), parents (the non-understanding kind), poker, the loyalties of friendship, the unfairness of being a teenager and the tingles of first love.

I heart this book.

Also, a shout-out to the jacket illustrator and designer. The cover is beautiful and really portrays the imagery of the book. I would also like to know who did the blurb because, on my copy, the character of June is referred to as Jen. Did the blurb get forgotten during the editing process?

Friday, February 25, 2011

I Am Number Four - Movie Review

I Am Number Four

Release date: Worldwide from 18th February 2011

My Rating: 4/5

My Book Review: I Am Number Four

This week, the film of I Am Number Four was released worldwide. I am a major fan of the book and I had very high expectations for the film, some of which were met, and others that were not.

I thought the casting was PERFECT for all the characters. While the acting may not be Oscar material, almost every character was how I had imagined. The casting of Alex Pettyfer as John/ Number Four was already known by the time the book went on sale so I already pictured Pettyfer as him. I thought Callan McAuliffeut was fantastic as Sam although my original thought was he looked a little young but as the film progressed he really fit into the role. Seeing Timothy Olyphant, playing Henri, with long hair threw me a bit at the beginning but all became right when it got chopped off about 10mins in.

As usual, the film did differ from how many scenes were played out in the book. At least three of the more major scenes (that I can remember at the moment) were changed and viewers without prior book knowledge would not have thought anything of it. But for me, my mind kept telling me that it wasn't supposed to be like that and so I found it a little difficult to view it objectively.

That said, one of my favourite scenes in the film wasn't even in the book. At the beginning of the book and movie, Henri and John have to leave Florida after almost being exposed. After they have left, Number Six shows up and burns their old house to the ground. As far as I remember (although I did the read the book back in June 2010 so my memory might be wrong) , this bit never happened in the book. It just looks awesome as Number Six, played by Teresa Palmer, walks away with this massive fireball behind her. Very cool, and she looks totally bad-ass.

Some other things...

**Some of the scenes with John and Sarah were a bit corny and had me wanting to groan, same with some of Number Six's lines.

**I wish there had been some more of Bernie Kosar. Best dog in the world.

**There were more special effects than I thought there would be but it was not to the detriment of the film.

**The Mogadorians. These guys were perhaps my least favourite part of the film. They were not at all like I imagined. Also, for the Dark Angel fans out there, did you notice that the Mogadorian Commander was played by Kevin Durand who played Joshua?!

Final thoughts?

**While I will watch the movie again, it will be more for the purpose of a 'quick fix'. As is usually the case, I pick the book over the film. The movie is definitely aimed at teens and I am unsure as to how many adults would actually describe it as anything more than 'a bit of fun'.

**Yay for the Aussies! Both Teresa Palmer and Callan McAuliffe are from Australia.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

J.R. Turner Blog Tour - Interview and Contest

I am very excited to be taking part in J.R. Turner's official blog tour for the third book in the Extreme Hauntings series, Detour 2 Death, released 15th February! You may remember I reviewed Jenny's first book in the series, Dead Friends Forever, last week and today she has stopped by to answer a few questions.

Detour 2 Death
by J.R. Turner

There are worse things than death, but not at Marsden Memorial hospital.

Kaylee Hensler knows her best friend Davey is on the brink of death. She knows this because she’s a psychic. When she flees the girl’s reformatory to get to him, she has no idea the special sort of hell waiting for her.

Reapers are collectors and they come in many forms. In Feverland, the world created by Davey’s sickness, the red reaper goes by the name of Molok, an ancient evil with deep roots. In Shadowland, the dark side of the hospital, a black reaper promises torture and torment to lost souls. The white reaper is the most fearsome, giving Kaylee three days before he collects both her and Davey’s souls.

Kaylee has one secret weapon, one she doesn’t fully understand. Her abilities will be tested, her loyalty betrayed, and her love misplaced. No one escapes Death.


Jenny: Thanks so much for having me as a guest on your blog today. I’m excited to be here!

Jess: How long have you been writing?
Jenny: I didn’t seriously begin pursuing a career as an author until 1999. I had been working as a contract artist for many years, but I preferred writing to artwork and when we moved across the state in ’99, I decided to take the opportunity to start my first novel.

Jess: What inspired you to write your Extreme Hauntings series?
Jenny: My publisher asked me to write a young adult series and my eldest son kept bugging me to write something he wanted to read. So, after hunting for an idea I could get passionate about, I decided ghosts with a heroine who had paranormal abilities would be awesome. My son never did read the series, but my daughter is enjoying them very much.

Jess: Why horror?
Jenny: As much as I wanted to stick with the sort of spy/thriller genre I wrote in for my adult books, I couldn’t see making a teen heroine armed to the teeth with automatic weapons believable in an every day world. At first I thought to create an alternative earth, or perhaps a dystopian future, and I did have some great fun exploring those ideas. One night, while watching my favorite television show Supernatural, it occurred to me I didn’t have to give her guns, I could give her a paranormal ability—and that set me on the track of writing horror.

Jess: Can you tell us about our heroine Kaylee?
Jenny: Kaylee is a small town girl thrown into a dangerous world of demons and angels. The ghosts are captives in this ongoing war and Fate sees to it that she’s sent from place to place to free them. While it’s hard on Kaylee, she doesn’t get to avoid the consequences of her actions. She’s found guilty of arson and grave robbing in the first book, and sent to a reformatory for girls in the second. Other than her psychic abilities and the power to heal bestowed on her by the archangel Raphael, she’s a normal skater girl who wants nothing more than to be accepted and fall in love with a cute guy.

Jess: Why did you decide to write for children/young adults?
Jenny: I wanted to open up my reading audience. I know when I was young, I really loved ghost stories (especially those with romances) and I thought it would be great to add to that genre. There doesn’t seem to be enough of them out there.

Jess: What were some of your favourite books growing up?
Jenny: I loved everything by John Saul. He really introduced me to the horror-for-teens genre that I’ve come to embrace as a writer. I also enjoyed Stephen King, but I was a sucker for those skinny little Harlequin romances my Aunt Virginia gave me by the shopping bag full. Edgar Rice Burroughs was another favorite of mine. There was something so masculine and visceral about his writing, even if it sounded “old fashioned” to me at the time.

Jess: Which fictional character would you like to trade places with?
Jenny: Oh gosh! Probably any one of Julie Garwood’s heroines. The men in her books are always to die for and the women are always beautiful and deserving of their happily ever after.

Jess: Do you have any must-haves while writing?
Jenny: Chocolate and coffee! The two are my mainstays :)

Jess: Have you written anything else other than the Extreme Hauntings series?
Jenny: Yes! I’ve included my bibliography below for you ;)
Jess: Wow, you're a busy woman!

Jess: Thankyou so much for stopping by Jenny! Good luck with the rest of your blog tour :)

Jenny: Thank you so very much for all your time and for having me as a guest on your blog, Jessica! I’d love to do a competition for those who leave comments and offer an ebook copy of DFF: Dead Friends Forever to the winner. The winner will be chosen on Friday (25th Feb). Please include your email address with your comment.

Other books by J.R. Turner

The Extreme Hauntings Series
- Young Adult HorrorDFF: Dead Friends Forever
School’s Out 4-Ever
Detour 2 Death
(Three more novels in the series are slated for future releases)

Delbert Dallas and the Dragon Diaries Series
- Middle Grade Short Stories
Voyage to Viking Island (March 22nd 2011)
The Civil War Skirmish (April 22nd 2011)
Viva La Francine! (May 22nd 2011)
Meltdown in Marathon (June 22nd 2011)
Don’t Dis the Danish (July 22nd 2011)
Genghis Khan Do It! (August 22nd 2011)

The Knight Inc. Series
- Action Thriller and Romance
Stark Knight
Silent Knight
Good Knight
Short Stories
The Knight Before
Knight Child (appeared in the anthology, Missing)

Stand Alone
- Romantic Suspense
Bulletproof Bride
My Biker Bodyguard
Still Life in Death (2012 release)
- Urban Fantasy
Redemption (May 2011)
- Horror
Racing the Moon (October 2011)

Award-winning author J.R. Turner lives in Central Wisconsin with her husband and three children. She began writing in high school, and after a decade working as a commercial artist, started her first novel in 1999. Aside from crafts, camping and cooking, she loves holidays. A favorite is Halloween, a combination of spooky supernatural fun and chocolate. Visit her at http://www.jennifer-turner.com to learn more!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Demon Trapper's Daughter by Jana Oliver

Title: The Demon Trapper's Daughter (US). Forsaken (Aust/UK)

Series: The Demon Trappers Book 1
Author: Jana Oliver

Release Date: 1st February 2011 (US). 7th January 2011 (Aust/UK)

My Rating: 5/5

Seventeen year-old Riley Blackthorne is trying to make her way in a futuristic Atlanta plagued by marauding demons and scheming necromancers. With each passing day, Atlanta is becoming the latest battlefield between Heaven and Hell. Enter the Demon Trappers, whose mission is to keep the Hellspawn at bay.

Riley’s father, Paul Blackthorne, is a master demon trapper and she hopes to follow in his footsteps, but there’s never been a girl in the Atlanta Guild. No surprise, she’s not welcomed with open arms. So Riley has a lot on her plate: Heaven and Hell are taking too much of an interest in her, the demons keep trying to kill her and there’s those boyfriend issues to sort out.

My Review:
I honestly wasn't sure if I was going to like this book and I put off reading it for a little while (I'm ashamed to say mostly due to the Australian/UK cover looking kind of lame). It didn't really grab me at the beginning and I spent almost 30 pages crying (either I am one overly emotional person or Jana Oliver is really good at pushing those buttons!) but I really got into the story and can't wait for the next in the series.

Riley is one gutsy, kick-ass girl trying to participate in what has essentially been a man's world since, well, forever. I love that even when she faces her harshest critics she stands up for herself and doesn't let them get to her. She stays true to herself, her family name and her belief that she is just as capable as any of the men.

Regardless of the other trappers' opinions of her, Riley's still battling it out with demons way beyond her level of expertise (I told you she was gutsy and stubborn) from the funny little Ones right up to the creepy, murdering Fives. I actually really like the little Magpie's (no these are not birds), they make me laugh. If that's not all, she is caught up in the Guild's politics, a holy water mystery, discovers illegal demon traffickers and has to face off with necromancers wielding dark magic. The men in Riley's life also make things that little bit more interesting with four potential love interests!

It kind of reminds me of the TV show Dark Angel but with demons, and the fact that the whole city knows about them.

I can't wait to get back to Riley's world!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Author Interview: Cath Crowley

I am extremely excited to have Cath Crowley stop by today and answer a couple of questions for us!

For those of you in the dark, Cath is an Australian YA author who has written the critically acclaimed Chasing Charlie Duskin (published in the US as A Little Wanting Song) and the Gracie Faltrain series. Her latest book, Graffiti Moon, one of my personal favourites and considered one of the best 2010 YA titles by Australian bloggers, was published August 2010 in Australia and is soon to be published in the US.

Read my reviews of:

Chasing Charlie Duskin/A Little Wanting Song
Graffiti Moon

Your debut The Life and Times of Gracie Faltrain was rel
eased in 2004. Could you tell us a little about the road to getting your first book published?
I studied Professional Writing and Editing at RMIT in 2001, when I was about twenty-nine. I loved the subjects Literary Non-fiction and Writing for Young Adults. Some of the articles and short stories that I wrote in class were published in newspapers and magazines.

While I was writing those smaller pieces I finished my novel and in 2003, Pan Macmillan published The Life and Times of Gracie Faltrain. I had no idea of the editing process at that stage and the editors at Pan were fantastic. They guided me through the editing process and I learnt a lot from them. (I’m still learning). I’ve been published with them since then.

What inspires you to write?
Other people’s original images and sentences inspire me to write. Artists like Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave, Clare Bowditch, John Green, Raymond Carver, and Charles Bukowski send me to the computer because I want to put lines together like they do.

Why did you decide to change the title of Chasing Charlie Duskin to A Little Wanting Song for its US release?
Chasing Charlie Duskin suits the Australian version. In that book Charlie is chasing herself as much as she’s chasing the ghost of her mother. In the US version Charlie still wants things but she has a stronger sense of self. She’s a bit sassier, a bit cooler. A Little Wanting Song is the first song/poem that I wrote for the new version. (The first version doesn’t have her lyrics.)

I love the way this title was chosen – it was very collaborative. I wrote down a list of my favourite titles and Allison Wortche (my great US editor) wrote her list and some other people at Random wrote their favourites. There were a lot of titles in the mix but that was great because I knew in the end we had the right one. And the whole book is written like a song or a wish – because Charlie’s voice is quite lyrical. So to name the new book after a song seemed right.

You've be
en editing Graffiti Moon for its US release. Are there many differences between the two editions?
Graffiti Moon is essentially the same. There’s a little more about Ed’s mum, and a little less about Lucy’s parents. There are two more poems by Leo and a little more about Jazz. I really like the two of them so it was fun to add some more scenes.

In Graffiti Moon, Shadow is a graffiti artist and Lucy is a glass blower. Did you set out to include these art forms or did they evolve with the characters?
I set out to use glass-blowing. I’d seen some beautiful pieces in an exhibition of an artist called Bethany Wheeler. She was generous enough to invite me into her studio and talk to me about her craft. I liked the metaphor and I liked her story. A glass artist had helped her when she was in Year 12 and I thought that was a great idea for a character.

Ed began as an artist who worked on paper. In the first draft of Graffiti Moon he was quite playful and he didn’t have problems reading. It wasn’t working, though, so I changed his character. While I was rethinking him, I met a student who told me about a boy who had hands stained by blue paint. At the same time I met a man who had an interest in graffiti and he was generous enough to share what he knew. Ed took off from there.

In Graffiti Moon, we get fabulous descriptions of Shadow's graffiti. Where did your inspiration come from for creating these works of art?

I knew his character so well by the time I started writing the second draft that his artwork appeared on the page without me having to think much about it. I looked at a lot of graffiti but none of it was exactly right for Ed because his paintings had to show his journey.

The artists mentioned in the novel inspired me: Bill Henson, Michael Zavros, Mark Rothko, Rosalie Gascoigne, René Magritte and Vermeer.

Both Graffiti Moon and Chasing Charlie Duskin are written from alternating perspectives. Is this way of writing something you will continue with in the future?
I’ve almost always written books with more than one narrator. I enjoy it so I know I’ll keep working that way, at least for a while. I love the way that characters like Ed and Lucy bounce off each other, tumbling around each other towards morning.

If you were to write sequels, where would your characters be now?
I’ve only ever wondered about one character in terms of a Charlie Duskin sequel, and that’s Luke. I’d write about what happens to him after Rose leaves town. He’s never known life without her and it’d be fun to write about him working out who he is and what he wants from the world. I think he works out that Rose is right. There’s more to life than his small town.

If you were to team up with another YA author, who
would you like to collaborate with?
There are so many writers that I love but I wouldn’t want to collaborate with them. I work best alone for lots of reasons. My process is slow and muddled and there doesn’t seem to be any way for me to speed it up or make it more logical. Part of what I like about writing is that it’s solitary.

Do you have any favourite current YA releases?
They’re not all current but my favourite books that I read last year were…
*Notes from the Teenage Underground by Simmone Howell
*Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood

*On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
*Five Parts Dead by Tim Pegler
*Little Paradise by Gabrielle Wang
*The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
*Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

What can we expect from you next?
I’m working on a book that was called The Howling Boy but I think now will be called The Velvet Highway. Crow and Audrey narrate the story. They go looking for Audrey’s lost brother in a world that’s strange and beautiful and new for Audrey. It’s a mystery and a love story.

A massive THANKYOU to Cath for stopping by! I am looking forward to reading The Velvet Highway, whenever that may be!

Cath Crowley's website and blog.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Tales Compendium on Facebook!

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Be updated immediately of new reviews, author interviews and events.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Dead Friends Forever by J.R. Turner

Title: Dead Friends Forever
Series: Extreme Hauntings Book 1
Author: J.R. Turner

Release Date: 21st November 2008

My Rating: 4/5


Skater Kaylee Hensler might not be Miss Popular, but there are some friends a girl can do without. When the decaying ghost of a murdered girl decides they need to be total BFF’s, Kaylee will sacrifice the trust of her family, her swim coach’s respect, and any hope of a date for the Harvest Dance.

And oh yeah… discover that super-evil entities are nothing at all like they are on TV or in the movies Aside from seriously bad attitudes, they not only like to kill…but replay the killing again and again for all eternity. To avoid that fate, she’ll have to rely on her wheelchair-bound friend Davey, the mysterious Madame Maggie, and the surprising depth of her own power.

Will Kaylee survive, or will she become someone else's DFF: Dead Friend Forever?

My Review:
This is a suspenseful and scary ghost story aimed at ages 12-15 years old. Fourteen-year-old Kaylee isn't really interested in boys yet, she likes sport and skating and hanging with her best friend Davey, so from this angle I feel it its aimed at the younger teen market but the murdering ghost scenes can really get quite scary so I wouldn't read it while you are alone in the house at night! As I understand, Kaylee gets older in the books that follow and she begins to mature and the consequences she faces get worse. Kaylee's powers also increase and she becomes entangled in a love triangle! This, I am rather intrigued about!

As well as having to deal with a ghost and her murderer, Kaylee still has normal teen issues to deal with, homework, school bullies, swim training and annoying parents. What I liked most about DFF is that Kaylee had to face the consequences, which is unlike a lot of other books. Kaylee's parents, the police and her teachers all take notice of the weird behaviour and situations she ends up in. How is she supposed to explain digging up a grave to the police? What about why she simultaneously opened every locker at school and ransacked everyone's belongings? Oh yeah, the ghost did it! This just doesn't fly and Kaylee's life takes some unfortunate turns other than just having a ghost follow her around. And how on earth do you explain to your psychologist father that you just saw a ghost when he is intent on psycho-analysing everything you do and say?

I would recommend this for those who like paranormal scary stories and for slightly older fans of R.L. Stine's Goosebumps.

Dead Friends Forever and it's sequel, School's Out 4-Ever is available now via Amazon and other online stores. Book three, Detour 2 Death, will be released 15th February.

For you chance to win an ebook of Dead Friends Forever, check back in on February 22nd when J. R. Turner will be stopping by as part of her Detour 2 Death blog tour!

For more information visit J.R. Turner's website or blog.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Non-Book Related News!

I wanted to share something a little different with you today. Yesterday, we picked up the newest member of our family, Rusty!

Rusty is a nine week-old kelpie-cross (half kelpie, quarter labrador and border collie). Is he not just so incredibly adorable?!

He's still learning not to pee on our carpet and he is rather unsure about his lead as he's never had one before but he already sits on command after just one day! He was a little upset last night as he no longer has his nine brothers and sisters to keep him company (all of who have gone to lovely homes) but I'm sure he will be fine, he just needs a little while to get settled with his new family.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Glass Houses by Rachel Caine

Title: Glass Houses
Series: Morganville Vampires Book 1
Author: Rachel Caine

Release Date: October 2006 (US). January 2011 (Australia)

My Rating: 4/5

Welcome to Morganville, Texas. It's a small college town filled with quirky characters. But when the sun goes down, the bad comes out. Because in Morganville, there is enough evil that lurks in the darkest shadows - one that will spill out into the dark light of day.

Claire Danvers has had enough of her nightmarish dorm situation. The popular girls never let her forget just where she ranks on the school's social scene: somewhere less than zero. And Claire doesn't have the right connections - to the undead who run the town. When Claire heads off campus, the imposing old house where she finds a room may not be much better. Her new room mates don't show many signs of life. But they'll have Claire's back when the town's deepest secrets come crawling out. Hungry for fresh blood...

My Review:

I quite liked Glass Houses. It's different from your average YA vampire novel because in this, vampires are actually bad! OMG!. While I did think it was a bit slow at the beginning and wasn't really sure where the story was going, I soon became immersed in the characters we were introduced to and while I was preoccupied with them, the story unfolded before my eyes.

Claire is an awesome character. She's at college/university and she's only sixteen. If that isn't hard enough, she pissed off the most powerful (read: crazy psycho b***h) girl on campus and now she is out to get her. If you thought name calling was as bad as it could get, what Claire goes through is worse, much worse. First, all her belongings get thrown down the trash shute. Then she gets punched and thrown down the stairs and almost dies. This is at the hands of an eighteen year-old bimbo and her minions. And it only gets worse.

Claire is such a strong girl and she takes everything that comes at her and refuses to give up. She's actually kind of stubborn. I like that. She picks herself up and, not only tries to 'defeat' these psycho girls but also take on what she has recently discovered is a town run by vampires. She is one kick-ass girl.

Claire's new room-mates are really cool, and of course, they all have their own issues and secrets. Goth girl Eve, smoking-hot slacker Shane and mysterious Michael introduce Claire to the secrets of Morganville as she struggles with school bullies, vampires stalking her, getting home before dark and vampire politics. And Claire still insists on going to class, she's not going to let the undead get in the way of her dream to attend an ivy-league school, especially since a smart, logical science geek shouldn't even believe in the possibility of vampires in the first place!

This book seemed to not really have a very strong plot line, it took a little while to really get down to business, although I feel this is because it is more of an intro to the series. To me, this was ok because I really liked following what was going on in Claire and her room-mates' lives before the vampires came and screwed it all up. For those of you who may pick up the book and think, 'I'm not really liking this, I won't bother with reading the next one' the joke's on you. Glass Houses finishes with a cliff-hanger so you have to read the next book, and it is so worth it. You will be hooked on the Morganville Vampire series from then on out (like me).

And a really cool plus, at the moment Penguin is in the process of releasing the whole series in Australia for the first time over three months, so you don't have to wait the standard six months to a year for the next book!

The Morganville Vampire series:
1. Glass Houses
2. Dead Girls' Dance
3. Midnight Alley
4. Feast of Fools
5. Lord of Misrule
6. Carpe Corpus
7. Fade Out
8. Kiss of Death
9. Ghost Town

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Bloodlines Cover Revealed!

Exciting news for Richelle Mead fans today...the cover of Bloodlines has been revealed, YAY, as well as a bit more information concerning the storyline and setting!

So far, word in the blogosphere is that Jill, Sydney, Eddy and Adrian are all set to be main characters, but it has now be verified by Richelle herself that alchemist Sydney Sage will be the narrator of the series. It will also be set in a Californian high school. And yes, that is Sydney on the front cover. Who do you think the guy is? I suspect the majority will think (read: hope) that it is Adrian but I'm going for a new mystery character :) What do you think?

Bloodlines will be released worldwide August 23rd.

For more information about Sydney and an interview with Richelle, head to Entertainment Weekly. And for more details about the spin-off series you can check out my post here.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Miles Between by Mary E. Pearson

Title: The Miles Between
Author: Mary E. Pearson

Release Date: 1st September 2009 (Not released in Australia)

My Rating: 3/5


Destiny Faraday makes a point of keeping her distance from her classmates at Hedgebrook Academy. Routine and predictability help her stick to her number-one rule: Don't get attached. But one day, with the crumpling of a calendar page and an odd encounter with a mysterious stranger, routine and predictability are turned on end.

Unexpectedly finding a car at their disposal, Destiny and three of her classmates embark on an unauthorised road trip, searching for one fair day - a day where the good guy wins and everything adds up to something just and right.

My Review:
I loved The Miles Between. It is such a quirky story with a fabulous assortment of characters. It is a story about hope, redemption, the hurdles of life, pain, heart-ache, fate and friendship. I laughed. I cried. I would read it again. I believe I have said before, I love road trip books, and this is no exception.

Destiny, our main character, pushes people away. Having been bounced around boarding schools by her uber-rich parents since she was seven, Destiny has her ways of coping. By making sure she doesn't get close to anyone, she avoids the inevitable hurt of leaving friends behind when she gets moved to the next school, something that always happens without fail. It is such a heart-breaking way of life and Destiny distracts herself by marvelling and constantly thinking about coincidence, probability, patterns and chance. Fate and unpredictability have no place in her life. Throughout the story we are given little hints and snippets as to why Destiny has always been in boarding school, but it isn't until the sad conclusion that we discover why Destiny is so screwed up.

With the arrival of a car and on an unexpected whim, Destiny takes off on a road trip with three of her equally odd and quirky classmates on an adventure based on fate. As unexpected events unfold, finding a lamb and later convincing a policeman it is actually a new breed of dog from France, meeting the president, getting attacked by a peacock and renting a boat, amongst other things, Destiny slowly lets some of the 'real her' leak out. She learns more about her classmates and that like herself, the way people choose to act around others, is not always how they are. As four unexpected friends come out of their shells, Destiny discovers that maybe she doesn't have to always be, and feel, so alone.

Check out The Adoration of Jenna Fox, also by Mary E. Pearson.

As a side note, after reading the book, that night I had a crazy dream which I suppose was inspired by their lambadoodle, the popular bread of dog from France. In my dream, I had a lambadoodle but it was a dog that could morph/shape-shift into a lamb (not a lamb pretending to be a dog, you'll understand once you read the book). For some bizarre reason, whenever we ended up in water (I think we were in a boat that capsized) the dog would morph into a lamb. Aside from, you know, a morphing animal, I thought it was really odd since you would think that lambs wouldn't like water and dogs do. But in my dream, even a splash of water was cause for it to shift to a lamb. I thought this was funny to have a dream like this after reading the book. Maybe I am just that bit strange...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

You Against Me by Jenny Downham

Title: You Against Me
Author: Jenny Downham
Release Date: 4th January 2011
My Rating: 3/5
If someone hurts your sister and you're any kind of man, you seek revenge, right?If If your brother's been accused of a terrible crime and you're the main witness, then you banish all doubt and defend him. Isn't that what families do? When Mikey's sister claims a boy assaulted her at a party, his world of work and girls begins to fall apart. When Ellie's brother is charged with the crime, but says he didn't do it, her world of revision, exams and fitting in at a new school begins to unravel.

When Mikey and Ellie meet, two worlds collide. Brave and unflinching, this is a novel of extraordinary skilfulness and almost unbearable tension. It's a book about loyalty and the choices that come with it. But above all it's a book about love - for one's family and for another.

My Review:
I'm really sorry to say that You Against Me fell short of my expectations. I know I will be in the minority for saying this so I will make this quick. While I do think it was a relatively good book, by the time I finished it I just thought, "Oh". That was it. It didn't leave an impression on me. I wasn't left thinking about the story and turning it over in my head. To me, it just lacked that certain something to make it stand out from the crowd.

As you can tell from the blurb, the incident that brings Micky and Ellie together is an alleged rape. This however is not the primary storyline. Instead, it focuses on how the siblings of the victim, Karyn, and the accused, Tom, are effected. Of course we do still see how both Karyn and Tom are handling things but it isn't the main focus. This is very unique and as well as examining the stress it puts on family loyalties, it highlights that there are consequences to the choices you make, including what happens when you fall for someone you know you shouldn't.

My favourite parts of the book were the times that Mikey and Ellie spent together; at the party, down at the river, in the cottage during the rain. Having said that, I'm honestly not a big fan of Ellie's. I like how she sort of spirals out of control as the things she has tried so hard to block out keep coming back to her. It's very real. But I still don't really like her, in the scheme of things, it's too little too late. She annoyed me. I had trouble warming to most of the other characters as well, including Karyn and Jacko. I did like Holly and Dex though, and I could fall for Mikey in a heart-beat.

I would also like to point out that I think the book title is fantastic, as is the black and white image with the yellow strip on the front cover. The scratches make it look, and feel, raw just like the subject matter.

So yes, I have mixed opinions about this book. I do however highly recommend you check out Jenny Downham's debut novel Before I Die, which is absolutely heart-wrenching, but amazing.
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