Thursday, December 29, 2011

Mammon by J.B. Thomas

Title: Mammon
Author: J.B. Thomas

Release Date: 1st September 2011

My Rating: 3/5

Blurb:
Forget anything you ever heard about possession, exorcisms, salt circles and pentagrams. The modern demon is far more difficult to catch - and even harder to destroy.

After the savage death of their parents, Grace and Joe Callahan learn that they they are descendants of the sarsareh - mercenaries who hunt very special prey. Grace and Joe take their place in the Order, but are treated with hostility and fear by other recruits.

For the Callahan siblings have powers that fascinate and terrify.

Joe is a Ferryman, capable of opening dimensional rifts, while Grace's telepathic abilities surpass anything the Order has ever seen.

But none of that will matter if the powerful demon Mammon manages to convince Joe to open a gateway to his demon world and overrun Earth with his armies.

If he succeeds: game over.

In A Nutshell:
An urban fantasy story with a spy/action type feel to it where demons are fought, rifts to the underworld are opened, good guys turn bad, powerful abilities are developed and people die.

My Review:
Mammon is a suspenseful, urban fantasy novel with a spy/action-type feel to it. Our main characters, Grace and Joe, become part of a secret group of demon hunters, but these demons are not your run of the mill beasties.

J.B. Thomas has created a whole new demon mythology where the majority of demons are created from ordinary people who choose less savoury life choices which lead them down the wrong path. They are people who have had plenty of chances to change their lives around but always pick the evil path. Of course, there are also your supreme demons that have scuttled up from somewhere unimaginable, such as Mammon, the big-bad of this novel, who looks like a normal guy. Did I mention that some demons have powers? That’s ok, so do some of our good guys.

What is Mammon’s main goal and why do Grace and Joe want to fight him? He not only killed their parents but also wants to use all his evil human demon friends as hosts for his otherworldly beastie friends to use once they come through a rift, a rift that Mammon wants Joe to open.

Part one of Mammon starts with strange things happening to Grace and Joe. They are confused by them but they don’t know what to do. When Joe decides to show his dad what he can do, his dad freaks out. It is then that their parents tell them that they have unique abilities, and by using them, they have alerted demons to their whereabouts. While waiting for their safety escort, the house is attacked and their parents are killed. It is here, in part two, that the story really begins, when Grace and Joe arrive at Renfield, a secure facility where their parents used to work, and their aunt still does. Here they learn how to fight and use their unusual talents with others whose lives have been influenced the same way.

To be honest, I struggled a bit at the beginning and didn’t really feel connected to what was going on, although once part two kicked off (there are three parts to the story) I was fully involved. I liked the different relationships that existed at Renfield and that many of the others there were incredibly hostile to Grace and Joe when they arrive. Aren’t people supposed to be nice to the new kids?? Well they’re not here. Everyone has an ‘axe to grind’ so to speak.

Grace and Joe’s behaviour is quite real. They make mistakes and act the wrong way. They underestimate what it is they are doing and typically, Joe gets led astray by power and a pretty girl. Grace is not without a little crush too. With a slight channelling of Vampire Academy (sexy older Russian trainer), Grace quickly falls for her team leader Ivan. While this is quite significant to Grace, it doesn’t detract from the real purpose of the story.

Demons are fought, rifts are opened, good guys turn bad, new abilities are developed and people die. The sequel will open up a whole new can of worms!

Mammon is book one in The Ferryman Chronicles and in book two, I would really like to get to learn more about Joe, as we see quite a bit of Grace and are able to get a feel for her in book one. I also hope that the unanswered questions concerning Marcus and the goings on at the asylum have some light shed on them. In Mammon, I really liked the small appearances by Sarah, Seth and Lucius (some of the other people at Renfield) so I would personally like to see more of them in the sequel.

Thankyou to Random House Australia for this review copy.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wish You Were Dead by Todd Strasser

Title: Wish You Were Dead
Author: Todd Strasser

Release Date: 1st December 2011 (Aust), First Published 2009 (US)

My Rating: 4/5

Blurb:
Someone is blogging about the local high-school kids. The comments aren't kind, but are they cruel taunts or vicious threats? No one is sure until the popular but bitchy Lucy Cunningham goes missing... then the hunt is on to a catch a murderer.

A blogger is listing the kids that should die.
A killer is picking them off one by one.

In A Nutshell:
A gripping thriller that keeps you guessing until the end.

My Review:
Wish You Were Dead is a mystery/psychological thriller that is completely gripping right from the first page. The story has three parts. First there are blog entries throughout the book from a student who is bullied at school every day. This person has decided to vent their frustration and anger on their new blog. Secondly, the story is told from the perspective of Madison Archer, one of the extremely wealthy and popular students at Soundview High, whose close friends are going missing. Thirdly, we get snippets of conversation from the kidnapper, taunting the kidnapped teenagers.

Right from the beginning the reader is kept on edge. There are five blog entries where the bullied student says they wish Lucy Cunningham was dead. Then in the first chapter, Lucy is kidnapped. Madison, who was the last person to see Lucy before she disappeared, and turns out to be the last person to speak to the kidnappers’ second victim, is worried she could be next. Not only does she get the feeling someone is watching her, but she has an online stalker who she knows nothing about except that they go to her school, and someone keeps leaving her notes saying she and her friends are in danger.

Who is writing the blog posts? Who is the mysterious online stalker ‘PBleecker’? Who is leaving Madison notes? And most importantly, who is kidnapping the popular kids of Soundview High?!

Madison is a very likeable character. She may be one of the rich, popular kids but she does have a conscience and cares and listens to others, not just those in her clique. She’s not like the other girls who just want to be on the arm of the best-looking guy in school. In fact she has her sights set on the loner new guy who wanders around in a trench coat and drives a beat-up old car. Now if she could just figure out what to say to him (I get the same good-person feelings from her as I did from Veronica from TV’S Veronica Mars, or Annabel from Sarah Dessen’s Just Listen)!

Todd Strasser highlights bullying in a way that shows just how horrible some kids can feel. You should always watch what you put out into the world, whether it be the way you treat someone or what you say to their face, behind their back or on social media.

Wish You Were Dead sucks you in and demands you sit there and read the whole book until you find out which people are behind everything. It’s very suspenseful as you never know who will be taken next, whether it be Madison or one of her friends, and that fear of being kidnapped and tormented stays with the reader until the end. And just so you know, it has a satisfying ending. I wasn’t disappointed like other mystery stories that can be a bit anti-climactic.

Thankyou to Margaret at Walker Books for this review copy :)

Monday, December 26, 2011

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Hello all,

Wishing all my lovely followers a MERRY CHRISTMAS!

I hope everyone had a terrific time celebrating with family and friends and eating ridiculous amounts of scrumptious food. I started the morning at 6am with a champagne breakfast on the beach and then had the family over for lunch in the afternoon.


Much love, Jess xx

Friday, December 23, 2011

Faves of TwentyEleven - Day Five - The Covers

The totally awesome Nomes over at inkcrush is once again hosting Favourite Books of Twenty Eleven. You can check out the categories and rules here. Basically, my challenge is to answer all the questions using only the books I have read throughout 2011.

Previous categories?
The Books!
The Characters!

The Scenes!
The Random!

Today's category?
The Covers!



TEN favourite covers selected from books you read in 2011



So that's it, the Faves of TwentyEleven are done and dusted. I hope you have enjoyed my picks and found new books for your TBR pile, I know I have!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Faves of TwentyEleven - Day Four - The Random

The totally awesome Nomes over at inkcrush is once again hosting Favourite Books of Twenty Eleven. You can check out the categories and rules here. Basically, my challenge is to answer all the questions using only the books I have read throughout 2011.

Previous categories? The Books! The Characters! The Scenes!

Today's category? The Random!


fave first sentence

"The first time Wes saw June, he thought she was kind of funny-looking."...and the following two sentences make it even better..."She had these thick lips, a wide mouth, greenish-blue eyes that were a little too far apart, and her hair - a dark blond color - looked still wet from her morning shower. Wes thought she looked like a sea creature pretending to be human." - The Big Crunch

fave book title
Black Painted Fingernails. With a shout-out to 90 Packets of Instant Noodles and Daughter of Smoke and Bone.

fave reading experience (ie: created a great reading memory)
Nic, Nomes and I all read Saving June at the same time so it was awesome to be able to chat about what was going on, especially since we all LOVED it. Special mention to Where She Went and Die For Me because, having been to New York and Paris, I was able to really picture the settings even more so than usual.


book with the best food in it (made you so crazy-envious-hungry)
Have You Seen Ally Queen? - Ally was constantly eating Killer Pythons! I went out and bought some the next day :)



most embarrassing book cover (feeling sheepish in public or just plain ugly)
I don’t really have one for this but I suppose Hex because it is bubble-gum pink and doesn’t look like a book a 24-year-old should/would be reading.

can’t believe you waited this long to read the book (!)
I had a bit of a reading slump in the second half of the year and it took me forever to get to Daughter of Smoke and Bone, City of Fallen Angels, Hunting Lila and Lola and the Boy Next Door.


book you'd give your mum/sister to read

I gave my mum Five Flavours of Dumb and A Little Wanting Song and she really enjoyed them both. I would give my sister Divergent or Daughter of Smoke and Bone.

book you'd give your dad/brother to read
Haha my dad wound never read any of the books I read, and I don't have a brother. But if I did, I would give him the I am Number Four/The Power of Six.

book that lived up to (or superseded the hype)
Where She Went without a doubt! Honourable mentions to Blood Song, Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Hunting Lila.

book you were *dying* to get your hands on the most
Where She Went! I was also really excited to get What Happened to Goodbye (which I was unfortunately a bit disappointed by) and Slide (which the author sent me an ARC and I loved).

fattest brick of a book you read (by page count)
Hmmm not sure. Divergent I think (487 pages).

killer cliffhanger award
The Warlock!!! Book 5 in The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series.


Tomorrow? The final category, The Covers!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Faves of TwentyEleven - Day Three - The Scenes

The totally awesome Nomes over at inkcrush is once again hosting Favourite Books of Twenty Eleven. You can check out the categories and rules here. Basically, my challenge is to answer all the questions using only the books I have read throughout 2011.

Previous categories? The Books! The Characters!

Today's category? The Scenes!



Today's questions were really hard for me as I don't usually remember specific scenes from a book once I've finished it and moved onto a new one. Usually what I remember is the overall feel of the book. So, having said that, I've tried my best to answer with little help from my pathetic memory.

best first chapter
Saving June, Five Flavours of Dumb, Where She Went

best climax
Die For Me

best ending
Where She Went

best plot twist/revelation (no spoilers!)
Between - Poor Lindsey! Her emotions are described so well. The Warlock - OMG the last page! I hate cliff-hangers!


scariest/most disturbing scene
I really didn't like the scenes featuring Brand in Burn Bright and I also thought Lenoir with the blood was gross.

steamiest scene (or sweetest/sexiest kiss award)
Harper and Jake from Saving June and the scene featuring 'The Doors'. Also, Lola and Cricket in the laneway(!) from Lola and the Boy Next Door.

best swoon-worthy moment
Oh gosh there are so many! The one that really sticks in my mind is when Jake sings 'Tears in Heaven' to Harper as she falls asleep in Saving June. There are lots of other swoon-worthy moments in Just Listen, Where She Went, Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door, The Big Crunch and A Little Wanting Song.


biggest nail-biting moment
I'm sure this category could be filled by something from Divergent or Hunting Lila.

most hilarious scene
Can't remember any exact scenes but definitely something from Beauty Queens

most heart-breaking/tear-jerker moment
This one is easy for me. Early on in The Demon Trapper's Daughter I practically bawled my eyes out. I won't say why because I don't want to spoil anything for anyone but I'm pretty sure I cried for like, 30 pages. And I find this funny because it's not supposed to be a sad book but anyway...

I also found one scene in particular from Between that I thought was written extremely well and I totally welled up. Again, I don't want to say what it is because it's kinda crucial to the storyline but if you have read it then you most likely know what I am talking about (hint: memories). And another one is in Five Flavors of Dumb and a scene between Finn and Piper when Finn talks about why he learned sign language. I get a lump in my throat every time I read the quote (see review).

BONUS: favourite meet cute
Black Painted Fingernails. Runners up? Die For Me, Daughter of Smoke and Bone


Tomorrow? The Random!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Faves of TwentyEleven - Day Two - The Characters!

The totally awesome Nomes over at inkcrush is once again hosting Favourite Books of TwentyEleven. You can check out the categories and rules here. Basically, my challenge is to answer all the questions using only the books I have read throughout 2011.

Yesterday's category? The Books!

Today's category? The Characters!



favourite female main character
Harper from Saving June and Piper from Five Flavours of Dumb

favourite male main character
Adam from Where She Went, hands down :)

best couple
Annabel and Owen from Just Listen. Runners up? Lola and Cricket from Lola and the Boy Next Door

who i so want to be best friends with
Anna and the gang from Anna and the French Kiss or Harper and Laney from Saving June

who i fell completely in love with (new literary crush)
Oh god! There is no hope picking just one! Jake (Saving June), Adam (Where She Went), Owen (Just Listen), Dave (A Little Wanting Song), Cricket (Lola and the Boy Next Door).... the list could go on and on!



worst (best & baddest) villian
Brand from Burn Bright creeps me out to the max! Honourable mentions to Amelie, Oliver, Myrnin and Bishop from Morganville Vampires!

best kick-arse female
Riley from The Demon Trapper's Daughter with honourable mentions to Karou from Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Abby from Released by Megan Duncan (review to come).

best kick-arse male
Hmm I guess Four from Divergent. And the boys from Hunting Lila, Die For Me and Released are pretty awesome too :D

Linkbroke your heart the most
Everyone in Crash Into Me, Aaron from The Dead I Know and Adam from Where She Went. I just want to hug them all!Link


favourite pet/animal character award
Bernie Kosar from I Am Number Four/The Power of Six. And a special mention to Leap and Griffin from Blood Song.Link
best YA parents award
Lola's dads in Lola and the Boy Next Door
Link favourite sibling relationship
Piper and Finn (Five Flavours of Dumb), Vee and Mattie (Slide), Kirsten, Whitney and Annabel (Just Listen).

favourite best friends/friendship award
Vee and Rollins (Slide), Four/John and Sam (I am Number Four/Power of Six), Laney and Harper (Saving June), Alex and Jack (Hunting Lila)

best/worst character names
I love the name Harper Scott from Saving June. It's just so cool :) and I love Owen's name from Just Listen although that could just be because I am in love with his character! I have to say I don't like the names Cricket and Calliope from Lola and the Boy Next Door :(



Tomorrow? The Scenes!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Faves of TwentyEleven - Day One - The Books!

The totally awesome Nomes over at inkcrush is once again hosting Favourite Books of Twenty Eleven. You can check out the categories and rules here. Basically, my challenge is to answer all the questions using only the books I have read throughout 2011.

Today's category? The Books!



favourite book read in 2011
This is honestly impossible for me just to pick one... Saving June, Where She Went, Just Listen (re-read) and Five Flavours of Dumb. I fell in love with all four of these for different reasons. Go check out my reviews and if you haven't put them on your TBR list, then go do it!

most powerful book
Where She Went and Five Flavours of Dumb. Just amazing and completely blew my mind :)

brilliantly funny
Beauty Queens

best ache-y, heart-breaking, tear-jerker read
Where She Went and Five Flavours of Dumb - oh god!

most beautiful story
Saving June, The Big Crunch - it's just so realistic and sweet!

delicious rainy day comfort read
Just Listen - I could read this over and over and never get sick of it! Anna and the French Kiss or Lola and the Boy Next Door - Stephanie Perkins' two books are just so delicious!



adrenalin-fuelled, unputdownable award
Divergent - This will most likely sweep the awards but there are others that deserve honourable mentions such as The Power of Six, Hunting Lila, Slide, Wish You Were Dead (review coming soon) and POD due to the incredible amount of suspense the authors created.

the beautiful prose award
A Little Wanting Song and Saving June. Just stunning!

most atmospheric and vivid setting
Die For Me and Where She Went. Reading these I could totally picture myself wandering around the streets of Paris and New York again. It made me nostalgic and desperate to go back!

i-so-want-to-go-there award
This category could be understood in a few different ways. I pick Anna and the French Kiss because I wish I was part of their friendship group, was living in Paris, and had St. Clair to hang with all day. Saving June because I want to be sitting in the fourth car seat with Jake, Harper and Laney. Oh and Where She Went so I can give Adam a hug.

most original and imaginative
Five Flavours of Dumb - um hello, deaf girl managing a band?!

best under-appreciated, hidden gem book
90 Packets of Instant Noodles and A Straight Line to my Heart are both Aussie novels which I thought were fantastic but haven't seen many reviews for. Also, The Big Crunch, which I bought when I was in the US. It's not your typical teen romance story and mirrors real life more than most teen novels.


i-had-no-idea-i-would-love this-so award
The Demon Trappers Daughter -I was super surprised to really enjoy this story filled with pesky demons and a totally cool main character. Blood Song - I thought this originally sounded like another fantasy vampire story. It's not. All These Things I've Done - I was indifferent about this story about a girl who is the daughter of a dead mob boss set in a dystopian NYC future where chocloate and coffee are illeageal, paper is only for the wealthy and water is rationed.



most haunting story
Love is the Higher Law - gave me shivers.

outside my comfort zone but gosh how i loved it
The Dead I Know - very different to what I would usually pick up but I really enjoyed it and my heart totally broke for Aaron.

series that i’m loving
Lorian Legacies - I Am Number Four, The Power of Six and bring on The Rise of Nine in 2012!

always recommending this book award
Five Flavours of Dumb, Saving June and Where She Went, for all the reasons mentioned in this list!

completely awesome premise award
Five Flavours of Dumb - Piper is deaf and she has just been challenged to manage her high-schools' rock band and get them an actual paying gig. Beauty Queens - absolutely hilarious story about a plane full of beauty queens that crash lands on a seemingly deserted island. All These Things I've Done - a dystopian storyline of a future that isn't actually hard to believe!

would make the best movie
Divergent, Five Flavours of Dumb, Saving June

want to re-read already
Just Listen - I'm seriously addicted!

My apologies to everyone who is sick of hearing about Saving June, Where She Went and Five Flavours of Dumb!



Tomorrow? The Characters!

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