Review: Entice by Carrie Jones

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Zara and Nick are soul mates, meant to be together forever. But that's not quite how things have worked out.

For starters, well, Nick is dead. Supposedly, he's been taken to a mythic place for warriors known as Valhalla, so Zara and her friends might be able to get him back. But it's taking time, and meanwhile a group of evil pixies is devastating Bedford, with more teens going missing every day. An all-out war seems imminent, and the good guys need all the warriors they can find. But how to get to Valhalla?

And even if Zara and her friends discover the way, there's that other small problem: Zara's been pixie kissed. When she finds Nick, will he even want to go with her? Especially since she hasn't just turned...she's Astley's queen
This one, the third in the series, was fantastic! There are so many character developments in the story. Most importantly is Zara. Aside from the obvious, she grows in her persona to a true warrior and I loved her for it.

And then there's Astley whom I adored from 'Captivate'. He really shows a depth of character in this one and Zara is wonderful with him.

There are a few more surprises for all the side-kicks but generally this book is about meeting your enemy face on, not being afraid to do anything even if it means some will not make it to the other side.

Again, there's love, there's loss, there's weird initiations and the bond of friendship. Plus we finally have Odin and Thor.

I can't tell you how much more I enjoyed this book, you will simply have to read it yourselves!!

 Here's the book trailer! Enjoy!

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Review: Captivate by Carrie Jones

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Zara and her friends knew they hadn't solved the pixie problem for good. Far from it. The king's needs grow deeper every day he's stuck in captivity, while his control over his people gets weaker. It's made him vulnerable. And now there's a new king in town.

A turf war is imminent, since the new pixie king, Astley, is moving in quickly. Nick nearly killed him in the woods on day one, but Zara came to his rescue. Astley swears that he and Zara are destined to be together, that he's one of the good guys. Nick isn't buying it, though Zara isn't as sure -- despite herself, she wants to trust the new king. But it's a lot more than her relationship with Nick that is at stake. It's her life -- and his.

This book is so much better than the first! I read it in a day and would not put it down. For me, the new character of Astley absolutely blew me away. He's a new King in town, kind, sensitive with an eye always on Zara in case she gets into trouble. He understands her dilemmas in the world, that she hates killing and wants to see the best in people. He acts selflessly every time and he made me root for him from near the beginning.

Again, this is a story of Pixies, leadership, trying to solve hidden clues, getting rid of the bad guys, love for friends, family, people in need but most of all this is a story about prejudice

Zara discovers that her prejudices towards Pixies is based on ignorance. Everyone tells her that Pixies are evil, except Astley isn't. He is the exception to the rule and Zara wants to believe him because she believes that not everyone is born evil.

When one of her friends is badly injured Zara feels his loss so great that she's willing to go against all the rules to save him. She sheds her prejudices and does the unthinkable.

This is definitely a great sequel and overshadows all the shortcomings of the first. A must read!

Here's the book trailer! Enjoy!
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Review: Need by Carrie Jones

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Zara White suspects there's a freaky guy semi-stalking her. She's also obsessed with phobias. And it's true, she hasn't exactly been herself since her stepfather died. But exiling her to shivery Maine to live with her grandmother? That seems a bit extreme. The move is supposed to help her stay sane...but Zara's pretty sure her mom just can't deal with her right now.

She couldn't be more wrong. Turns out the semi-stalker is not a figment of Zara's overactive imagination. In fact, 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 point to Zara.

In this creepy, compelling breakout novel, Carrie Jones delivers romance, suspense, and a creature you never thought you'd have to fear

Despite thinking that the evil in this book sounded a little too stupid - yes we're talking pixies that are like faeries but not faeries, they're pixies! - I really enjoyed this book.

From the beginning, the story starts in a nice quirky way that grabs your attention. Zara is hung up about phobias, she knows most of them, and recites them to keep her sanity from going under.

The writing is fluid and pacey, there aren't that many lulls in the story where you start getting bored. We have a girl starting a new school, moving in with her grandmother and the normal YA tropes that might sound similar to other books.

But overall, I enjoyed it. Things I didn't like were small such as nearly all the characters turn out to be something fantastical. The plot is a little too predictable in places but, hey, I've just finished a book that disappointed me immensely so this was a nice boost on the enjoyment side.

 Here's the book trailer! Enjoy!

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Review: Illuminated by Erica Orloff

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Some loves are not made to last . . . Like Romeo and Juliet, Heloise and Abelard were doomed from the start, and their romance was destined to pass into history. Yet when sixteen-year-old Callie Martin discovers a diary hidden within an antique book, their story—and hers—takes on another life. For the diary leads Callie to the brilliant and handsome August, who is just as mysterious as the secret the diary hides. Their attraction is undeniable. As the two hunt down the truth behind the diary—and that of Heloise and Abelard’s ancient romance—their romance becomes all-consuming. But Callie knows it can’t last . . . love never does. Will their love that burns as bright as a shooting star flame out, or will these star-crossed lovers be able to defy history?

Callie meets August almost immediately in the story. And as soon as they meet its love at first sight (please, really?). The author writes the words that I see too often now..... "[And I stared/looked into/ bumped into/came])face-to-face with the most gorgeous guy I'd ever seen in my life." So much so that August is slightly forward in his dialogue which didn't quite sit well with me. He almost professes his love straight away and this put me on edge. Sure, he's sweet, kind and loves his garden (which Callie proclaims later in the story as her favourite place in the world). But as she really has known August about as long as this review so far, I didn't feel any fluttering towards their love story.

This book has a great story behind it. The finding of The Book of Hours, and subsequent story telling of Heloise and Abelard. Unfortunately I'd already read The Tenth Chamber by Glenn Cooper earlier in the year and though that book isn't great either it does tell the story of the Starcrossed lovers in a better way. Personally while I love myths and legends the story of H & A doesn't really strike me as one of the great factual love stories (but that's just me) so it kind of took the shine off the thing.

Sure, there's romance happening within the pages of the Book of Hours and there's romance between our two main characters, and a small amount between the friends they make, but none of it was heart-pumping, toe curling, to die for stuff. I can only put it down to the authors story writing which was too unemotional while trying to be emotion.

Its a sweet book but there is little mystery, intrigue or suspense and absolutely no danger (except for a slight break-in of August's home). Callie and August even trek across the pond to Paris, but again I didn't feel the magic. The threats that could have made the story interesting faded away in the plot holes i.e. Tome Raider. So I was left a little empty after the last page.

This is one to fill time if you need to but no epic in any way.

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Review: Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Violet Willoughby doesn't believe in ghosts. But they believe in her. After spending years participating in her mother's elaborate ruse as a fraudulent medium, Violet is about as skeptical as they come in all matters supernatural. Now that she is being visited by a very persistent ghost, one who suffered a violent death, Violet can no longer ignore her unique ability. She must figure out what this ghost is trying to communicate, and quickly because the killer is still on the loose.

Afraid of ruining her chance to escape her mother's scheming through an advantageous marriage, Violet must keep her ability secret. The only person who can help her is Colin, a friend she's known since childhood, and whom she has grown to love. He understands the true Violet, but helping her on this path means they might never be together. Can Violet find a way to help this ghost without ruining her own chance at a future free of lies?

This is a great Victorian ghost story. Told by Violet it isn't just a ghost story, it tells her tale of lies, deception and acceptance across the class system of 19th century England.

Violet's mother has been deceiving the gentry with parlour tricks, pretending to be a Medium or Spiritualist for any that will pay. With Violet is her childhood friend Colin, who her mother took in off the street. Together they fall into an adventure and along with Violet's friend Elizabeth who is a Duke's daughter (and doesn't know of Violets true past) they try and discover who murder poor Rowena.

In the beginning Violet is just an ordinary lower/middle class girl. Her nasty mother constantly threatens her with tales of working as a seamstress until her fingers bleed so Violet does whatever her mother bids her to do. Sadly Violet can do nothing to get away from her station in life other than go along with her mothers wishes.

When Violet arrives at Lord Jaspers house she starts seeing ghosts. What bothered me here was Violets reaction to her discovery. Instead of trying to figure out why the ghosts want her to purvey their messages she ignores them and pretends they aren't there. Except poor dead Rowena won't leave her alone. Xavier is a trademans son whose parents have been accepted in society because they are wealthy. When Xavier expresses his wish to marry Violet she doesn't know whether to accept. She likes him enough but has no romantic feelings towards him. But she does have feelings for Colin and he himself expresses as much to Violet. I couldn't help feeling that the romantic side of the book was a little forced. Especially as Colin, who Violet had known all her life, suddenly tells Violet how he feels. Why now?

Eventually Violets mother's secret is found out and, disgraced, they return to London and are set upon by an angry mob. Violets saving grace is Colin. She finally understands that he only stays in employment with her mother for her. But at what cost?

This book was unexpectedly good. I loved Violet and I understood why she was so afriad to get out from her mothers shadow. And Elizabeth was funny and kind to Violet all the way through.

The only things I can criticise are small. Firstly Autumn is referred to on one occassion as Fall. England doesn't have Fall, its an American name for the season. And also if the author wanted authenticity she could have written 'neighborhood' in the english way as 'neighbourhood'.

Other than that it was great to read a stand alone book, without having a whole series to go through to reach a conclusion. I enjoyed it and would gladly read more from Harvey.

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Review: How to Ruin Your Boyfriend's Reputation by Simone Elkeles

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Guess who's jetting to the Holy Land this summer!

Remember me, Amy Barak-Nelson—a.k.a the queen of disaster? In case you forgot, my boyfriend Avi is in the Israeli army. A visit is definitely in order.

Somehow my grandmother convinced me to sign up for two weeks of pure hell in a military training base. Getting up before dawn, peeing in a hole, and playing war games in the desert isn't my idea of fun. But what's worse? Our team leader turns out to be Avi!

This time Amy's adventure takes her to Israeli Defence Force boot camp. And she has her friends with her also. But her motives are far different from theirs. She only wants to see Avi and spend time with him. Except he's a soldier now and can't just drop out of duty just to be with his girlfriend ( he has no idea she's arriving, I might add).

For the most part, again, this story was fun and Amy was as witty as ever. However she's taken a turn for worse by becoming a little too ignorant and whiny. She doesn't get why Avi can't spend time with her, or why they can't just make out like a boyfriend/girlfriend. She's naive to the max and it does become annoying after a while. She also gets a little too self-centred when it comes to her friends. Her whole world suddenly revolves around seeing Avi, speaking to Avi and getting Avi into trouble.

But by the end she does redeem herself and all loose ends are tied up. The ending didn't seem like a proper finale so I do hope the Elkeles thinks about writing a 4th.

Overall, not as good as the first two but heartwarming, funny and lighthearted.

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Review: How to Ruin My Teenage Life by Simone Elkeles

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


In this sequel to How to Ruin a Summer Vacation, EVERYTHING in sixteen-year-old Amy Nelson Barak's life is going wrong! Her mom got married and moved to the suburbs, and now they are going to have a baby. Amy moves in with her dad in Chicago and signs him up for an online dating service. His first four dates are that night . . .

What else? Her dog Mutt impregnated her grumpy neighbor's prized poodle, so Amy will actually have to get a part-time job to pay for half the veterinary bill. And there's this totally annoying boy, Nathan Rubin, who just moved into her apartment building. Luckily, Amy has a cute boyfriend named Avi. Only he's more like a non-boyfriend considering Avi is in the Israeli army for the next three years.
What's a girl to do when everyone is conspiring to ruin her life?

I read this immediately after How to Ruin a Summer Vacation and again loved it. The story is set in Chicago this time with Amy now living with her father.

Amy has to endure trials and tribulations of being a late starting Jew, owning a dog for the first time, and wondering what the heck Nathan's problem is. Plus Jessica, her best friend, is going through problems with her boyfriend that Amy just can't deal with.

Amy is again a delight to read. She copes and keeps on coping until she boils over. Disaster follows her whatever she does, and are only made worse when Avi turns up out of the blue.

An emotion rollercoaster of a book, it doesn't disappoint. The religious part of the book does take a bit more precedent than the first so if you aren't jewish and don't mind reading about it then you'll really love the story.

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Review: How to Ruin a Summer Vacation by Simone Elkeles

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Moshav? What’s a moshav? Is it “shopping mall” in Hebrew? I mean, from what Jessica was telling me, Israeli stores have the latest fashions from Europe. That black dress Jessica has is really awesome. I know I’d be selling out if I go with the Sperm Donor to a mall, but I keep thinking about all the great stuff I could bring back home.

Unfortunately for 16-year-old Amy Nelson, “moshav” is not Hebrew for “shopping mall.” Not even close. Think goats, not Gucci.

Going to Israel with her estranged Israeli father is the last thing Amy wants to do this summer. She’s got a serious grudge against her dad, a.k.a. “Sperm Donor,” for showing up so rarely in her life. Now he’s dragging her to a war zone to meet a family she’s never known, where she’ll probably be drafted into the army. At the very least, she’ll be stuck in a house with no AC and only one bathroom for seven people all summer—no best friend, no boyfriend, no shopping, no cell phone…

After reading Perfect Chemistry and loving it I simply had to try some of Elkeles' other books. I chose this one to start as it had sequels already published. And I was not disappointed!

If you want a great summer read then this is perfect. It tells the story of Amy, an 'accident' of birth, an opinionated but thoroughly fun sixteen year old. She attends a posh school, her mother buys her designer clothes and she doesn't go anywhere without her cell phone. Enter her almost non-existent father, who's Israeli, and soon she's whisked away to Israel to meet her sick grandmother she's never met.

From the minute you pick up this book you get sucked into the story. Amy is fun, girly and speaks her mind. She's witty and intelligent. When she meets Avi, a sheep herder, on the communal farm her thoughts and emotions take an unsteady, unwanted turn. She hates him, he hates her. The other teenagers don't give her a break either and she's pretty much hating everything about her summer. But she soon learns to love her grandmother who is the only person to speak to her like a grown up.

The writing is fast paced, Amy is hilarious, Avi is gorgeous and the romance is gradual but effective.

A great read.

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Review: Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fresh, urban twist on the classic tale of star-crossed lovers.

When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created “perfect” life is about to unravel before her eyes. She’s forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for—her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more. In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Simone Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart

The plot of this book is a mixture of Romeo & Juliet with a little Taming of the Shrew thrown in. The reviews of this one have been good so I had to find out if it was really THAT good.

Its enough to say YES! It IS! I loved the chemistry between the two main characters (pardon the pun). I thought the writing was beautiful, fitting and poignant throughout the book. I particularly liked the spanish thrown in to emphasis moods and emotions. It didn't matter if you didn't understand half of it (I googled some!) but you could tell when the atmosphere of a conversation was about to change for good or bad.

The main characters are completely open and easy to imagine with their own situations and demons they have to face while growing up in very different circumstances. One minute you feel your heart warms to them and the next, well, a spanner gets thrown in the works, and you just can't believe things won't go right, I mean, give them a break!

I enjoyed the whole book. There wasn't any part I didn't like. The only reason I didn't give it a 5 star was because the end finished too quickly and skipped several months which I thought could have easily been filled. I don't know whether the Author had gone over her allocated page count but I would have like more.

So, overall, if you like YA romantic then this ones for you!

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Review: On a Dark Wing by Jordan Dane

My rating: 2 of 5 stars



The choices I had made led to the moment when fate took over. I would learn a lesson I wasn't prepared for. And Death would be my willing teacher.

Five years ago, Abbey Chandler cheated Death. She survived a horrific car accident, but her "lucky" break came at the expense of her mother's life and changed everything. After she crossed paths with Death—by taking the hand of an ethereal boy made of clouds and sky—she would never be normal again.

Now she's the target of Death's ravens and an innocent boy's life is on the line. When Nate Holden—Abbey's secret crush—starts to climb Alaska's Denali, the Angel of Death stalks him because of her.

And Abbey finds out the hard way that Death never forgets.


This is one of the hardest reviews I've had to write. Mostly because if it hadn't been under the Harlequin Teen banner I probably wouldn't have picked it up. Saying that, I'm surprised Harlequin DID add this one to their portfolio. The story not only doesn't feel like a Teen Romance, it also has adult POV's and an awful lot of waffly jargon about mountain-climbing that I'm sure will put off most teens who think about reading this.

Firstly the main protaganist is Abbey. She's 16 years old, very insecure. Her Mum died in a car accident 6 years ago and Abbey's still obsessing over it. To the point of making it a boring read that you have to flip pages and pages of analysing each scenario just so the story picks up a little bit. The over-analysing carries on throughout the book, especially near the end, literally dragging out the story for an unnecessary 16 pages.

Her obsession is Nate. A boy clearly older and more mature than her. Oh yeah, and he doesn't really know that she even exists. HIS obsession is mountain-climbing. In fact, thats really all we know about him.

When the story takes us to the climbing part, I think my brain went a little numb. I found it incredibly dull. But if you like climbing then, hey, this book is for you!

We have lots of different POV's throughout, all 3rd person except for Abbey. I had a feeling that this was why the book didn't really gel well mostly because instead of being a little more creative the author chose just to switch characters. For me it lost the flow of the story and depth of the key people.

Plus there was the awful: one minute hour later...several minutes later...headers which really were annoying and not necessary. Again creative writing could have included this. It just gave a feeling of laziness.

Now for the hard part. This whole book is about Death. And yes, there's lots of depressing talk about it all the way through the book. Which kind of makes the whole thing extremely depressing. I can't say that this book was enjoyable at any one time. It really didn't even have any romantic tender moments. Even when Nate/Death kissed Abbey it just felt a little too creepy.

Overall, I'm sorry to say that this book really didn't do anything for me. I read the book description and thought the story might lead somewhere else but sadly it didn't.

Review: The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


St. Petersburg, Russia, 1888. As she attends a whirl of glittering balls, royal debutante Katerina Alexandrovna, Duchess of Oldenburg, tries to hide a dark secret: she can raise the dead. No one knows. Not her family. Not the girls at her finishing school. Not the tsar or anyone in her aristocratic circle. Katerina considers her talent a curse, not a gift. But when she uses her special skill to protect a member of the Imperial Family, she finds herself caught in a web of intrigue.

An evil presence is growing within Europe's royal bloodlines—and those aligned with the darkness threaten to topple the tsar. Suddenly Katerina's strength as a necromancer attracts attention from unwelcome sources . . . including two young men—George Alexandrovich, the tsar's standoffish middle son, who needs Katerina's help to safeguard Russia, even if he's repelled by her secret, and the dashing Prince Danilo, heir to the throne of Montenegro, to whom Katerina feels inexplicably drawn.

The time has come for Katerina to embrace her power, but which side will she choose—and to whom will she give her heart?

Being a European, and very inquisitive (!) I loved reading about the Romanovs, Imperial Russia and the European family tree when I was younger. This part of Russia history was always fascinating especially the balls, the polite society rules and the politics that go with it.
So, for me, it was an absolute delight to read this book. The author has kept very close to the rules of titles i.e. what to call each nobility, the etiquette, and the traditions which I loved. Unlike other reviewers I didn't think it was that difficult to keep up with the who's who of characters and how they were all related. I particularly liked the twist of faeries (light and dark), vampires, and werewolves that all basically stem from darker and older European history also.

The plot was great. The story flows very well and the danger increases gradually and at a nice pace. Katerina was a little too naive in some places especially when she's handed the Necromancer's Companion and has no wish to read it regardless of being a Necromancer herself. Sometimes she's amazingly strong and ambitious with her quest in the medical profession but other times she lets her youth and naivety get in the way, particularly when it comes to Elena and her family. Her relationship with George intrigued me from the beginning and without giving any spoilers suffice to say it wasn't an instant romance, which I enjoyed.

Overall I found it a fantastic read, as long as everyone can get past the numerous characters titles and past history of the supernatural beings, this should be one that doesn't get put away on the shelf unread.

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Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war-- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

After all the hype about this book I had to read it to find out what the fuss was.

The writing style is brilliant. I loved the strikeouts to differentiate what Juliet wanted to feel, and what she was actually prepared to feel. The wayward, jagged train of thought is poignant to a person who has withdrawal from human society, and the randomness of actions was excellent.

Gradually as the story continues we don't see as much, as we realise Juliette is becoming accustomed to being around people, or in particular, Adam. Adam, from the start, came across as the good guy and I liked him immediately. The interesting twist as their characters blend is charming and alarming at the same time.

Warner is someone we all know, and his clutch on Juliette was way too freaky to be normal.

As the story continues it sadly brings us back to normaldom, as we experience boring quirks in the story which I didn't like. About two-thirds in I felt the story slow down to a minimum and it didn't really pick up. It meandered in a direction I wasn't expecting, and I'm not sure I really liked the outcome.

I'm not sure why the Author chose to follow the end theme as we were heading in a great direction with the Reestablishment and possibly bringing it down. If Juliette had stayed there and uncovered more anomalies of Warners badness I would have been more satisfied.

Instead we get a mixture of The Incredibles and X-men and it all felt a little too easy to follow a set trope instead of a proper dystopian-apocalyptic finale.

Needless to say, I will read the second book but I won't rush for it.

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Review: The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

 My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Synopsis: It was like a nightmare, but there was no waking up. When the night began, Nora had two best friends and an embarrassingly storybook one true love. When it ended, she had nothing but blood on her hands and an echoing scream that stopped only when the tranquilizers pierced her veins and left her in the merciful dark.

But the next morning, it was all still true: Chris was dead. His girlfriend Adriane, Nora's best friend, was catatonic. And Max, Nora's sweet, smart, soft-spoken Prince Charming, was gone. He was also—according to the police, according to her parents, according to everyone—a murderer.

Desperate to prove his innocence, Nora follows the trail of blood, no matter where it leads. It ultimately brings her to the ancient streets of Prague, where she is drawn into a dark web of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, all driven by a mad desire to possess something that might not even exist. For buried in a centuries-old manuscript is the secret to ultimate knowledge and communion with the divine; it is said that he who controls the Lumen Dei controls the world. Unbeknownst to her, Nora now holds the crucial key to unlocking its secrets. Her night of blood is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries. Solving it may be the only way she can save her own life.

The thing that grabs you into this story are the characters. Nora is fantastic, I almost wished we had been friends. Adriane is an oddity but acceptable as friends go. Chris, well, he's the boy that Nora doesn't want boyfriend-wise but he's brilliant as a best friend...and Max who made my heart skip a beat until he finally ripped it out...

This book is fantastic if you like an intellectual read. Set firstly in US and then tripping over to Prague we follow Nora's quest to uncover the Lumen Dei, an artifact that can talk to God. Or so we think. Actually we're not really sure what it does as I'm led to believe it's never actually been put into practise. Nora starts translating texts from an elusive Elizabeth Weston. We hear her story from the 16th century and her involvement and fathers incarceration at the Emperors behest. Soon, we uncover truths, lies, more mystery and find ourselves on a treasure hunt around the city.

The writing is exquisite. Moving from Nora to Elizabeth with ample descriptions and much more. When Chris is found dead you literally cannot put this book down! Every turn of the page could be another clue, another door opening to another mystery to solve and because of this I loved it.

My trust in the characters was stretched as Nora's POV was imaginative and eye opening. As a character she's pretty grounded and doesn't accept everything as it is.The down-side is only how the story travelled towards the end. I was a little disappointed but that's only my own opinion of which way the author led us. Others may agree that it was the right path.

But either way, this book should not be missed.

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Review: Cross My Heart by Sasha Gould

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Venice, 1585.

When 16-year-old Laura della Scala learns that her older sister, Beatrice, has drowned, she is given no time to grieve. Instead, Laura's father removes her from the convent where he forcibly sent her years earlier and orders her to marry Beatrice's fiancé, a repulsive old merchant named Vincenzo.

Panicked, Laura betrays a powerful man to earn her way into the Segreta, a shadowy society of women who deal in only one currency—secrets. The Segreta seems like the answer to Laura's prayers. The day after she joins their ranks, Vincenzo is publicly humiliated and conveniently exiled.

Soon, however, Laura begins to suspect that her sister's death was not a tragic accident but a cold-blooded murder—one that might involve the Segreta and the women she has come to trust

This book is a wonderfully beautiful read that tells the story of 16th century Venice and all the mystery, intrigue and suspense that comes with it. I've always wanted to go to Venice so for me the descriptions of the canals, the Palazzos and of course dresses and jewels were a delightful insight.

Laura is headstrong and from the beginning we understand that she's not entirely happy with her life in the convent. So when she's released she really comes into her own. Her character grows stronger and stronger as the book continues.

I loved the idea of a Secret Society for women however I would have liked to learn a little more about them. The concept of a Society brings ideas of initiations and gossip but we neither see much nor hear more about them except for the two head ladies.

The romance was a surprise. More of a traditional kind than heart pounding but it was sweet nonetheless.

As for the mystery and suspense, well, I couldn't put the book down. It gripped me right from the word, Go! with the families all mixed and intertwined with one another - except for the feud families which the story is based around.

The antagonist - well, I didn't see it coming. But I understood exactly how and why. This is a clever story that will have you guessing, and enjoying every minute of it.

The reason I haven't given this 5 stars is because I would have liked it to be longer (however it is being published by Puffin) and I didn't like the cover but I see another version is available now too.

All in all - a great read!

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Cover versus Cover

What is going on with book covers these days?
Has anyone else noticed this?
Covers are supposed to be original, the artists work unique and always traditionally published books have been bought and coveted because of the cover artwork.

So it's really surprised me to find that two press published (as opposed to self-publish) have the same image.

Published August 21st 2011 by Revolution Publishing

Expected publication: January 2nd 2012 by Egmont Books Ltd

Ironically its this cover of Hallowed that we're giving away in our end of January draw.

Let me know if you see this image anywhere else!!

Review: New Girl by Paige Harbison

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


They call me 'New Girl'...

Ever since I arrived at exclusive, prestigious Manderly Academy, that’s who I am. New girl. Unknown. But not unnoticed—because of her.

Becca Normandy—that’s the name on everyone’s lips. The girl whose picture I see everywhere. The girl I can’t compare to. I mean, her going missing is the only reason a spot opened up for me at the academy. And everyone stares at me like it’s my fault.

Except for Max Holloway—the boy whose name shouldn’t be spoken. At least, not by me. Everyone thinks of him as Becca’s boyfriend but she’s gone, and here I am, replacing her. I wish it were that easy. Sometimes, when I think of Max, I can imagine how Becca’s life was so much better than mine could ever be.

And maybe she’s still out there, waiting to take it back

If anyone is familiar with Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (one of my favourite books) then this story will be slightly familiar, however the premise is told in a new YA way about a school called Manderley and a girl who (in keeping with the original book) is only known by name at the end.

Told from 2 POV's, one being Becca and one being New Girl, we are soon engulfed in a tightly woven tale that hums alongside each other perfectly. Pretty soon into the story you realise who is the innocent and who is the guilty party. And you can't help your own emotions get in the way. One minute you want to scream at Becca for being like she is, and in the next you want to scream at New Girl for not seeing it through unprejudiced eyes. The poisonous whispers of others soon affect New Girl and her rational way of thinking, especially when it comes to Max (Becca's ex) but are the poison whispers true or false? Only Becca can answer that.

I loved this book! I loved the storytelling and the writing. I loved the way the answers began to slip into the story gradually. Around two-thirds in we have a slight repetition in events that slow it down a little but the characters are all written so fantastically well that you don't mind and can't help just going with it.

And the end? I had a warm fuzzy feeling...and a big smile on my face...I hope you do too!

Review: Knight's Curse by Karen Duvall

Knight's Curse by Karen Duvall

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you like books about knights, crusades and the battle for light over dark evil and a kick ass girl then this book is for you!

A skilled knife fighter since the age of nine, Chalice knows what it’s like to live life on the edge—precariously balanced between the dark and the light. But the time has come to choose. The evil sorcerer who kidnapped her over a decade ago requires her superhuman senses to steal a precious magical artifact…or she must suffer the consequences.

Desperate to break the curse that enslaves her, Chalice agrees. But it is only with the help of Aydin— her noble warrior-protector—that she will risk venturing beyond the veil to discover the origins of her power. Only for him will she dare to fully embrace her awesome talents. For a deadly duel is at hand, and Chalice alone will have to decide between freedom…and the love of her life.

In the beginning I didn't feel that Chalice had enough courage, she maybe had a little bit too much attitude for my liking. But the more you delve into the story the more you realise that she's changing. She learns how to hate, and also how to love.

Aydin is a sneaky protector. There were honestly times when I thought he was betraying Chalice but then he does the unspeakable and saves her life while giving up his own. The truly honourable dead cost him dearly - he really is the knight in shining armour.

The writing is captivating, the flow of the story is steady and continual, leading you on to a heartbreaking but exciting outcome. Of course, there has to be a book 2 because the story is still incomplete. But its certainly one that I can't wait for.

Overall I found it compelling, exciting, emotional and you certainly want to root for the good guys. But who will win in the end?? Will Aydin and Chalice ever finally find their love? We shall have to wait and see....

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Review: Halflings by Heather Burch

Halflings by Heather Burch

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


What struck me most was the wonderful creative writing of Burch. Her fluidity takes you on a third person journey and from beginning to end the action is intense. What lets this book down (in my eyes) is the forced attempt at a love triangle which digresses from the main story itself. Furthered with so many unanswered questions I reached the end with a feeling cheated by the Author.

After being inexplicably targeted by an evil intent on harming her at any cost, seventeen-year-old Nikki finds herself under the watchful guardianship of three mysterious young men who call themselves halflings. Sworn to defend her, misfits Mace, Raven, and Vine battle to keep Nikki safe while hiding their deepest secret—and the wings that come with.

A growing attraction between Nikki and two of her protectors presents a whole other danger. While she risks a broken heart, Mace and Raven could lose everything, including their souls. As the mysteries behind the boys’ powers, as well as her role in a scientist’s dark plan, unfold, Nikki is faced with choices that will affect the future of an entire race of heavenly beings, as well as the precarious equilibrium of the earthly world.

The Halflings concept is a new twist on the Angels genre. I've read so many Angel based books now so for me this was original. However the background of the Halflings was a little bit too vague. Yes, we understand that they've been on lots of journeys protecting people, however you still get a sense that all 3 halflings are very naive. Especially with their emotions.

The story was left incomplete. I don't mind cliffhangers but you get the impression that not even half of the questions raised in this book were answered. For instance, first and foremost we should have found out exactly why Nikki Youngblood is being targetted. And who is Vessler? And what's the story with Richmond (yes we know he worked for Omega but why are the bad guys after him?)I got the impression that the author hadn't finished writing the book and as I read the last page I was amazed that a book had been published with no meaning behind it, I felt empty.

Nikki initially reminded me of Rose Hathaway from the Vampire Academy series. She's tough, very tough. But her character didn't come over as solid enough as she led Mace on and then quickly flicked over to Raven. The love triangle annoyed me immensely and unless it has a major part of the story line I couldn't shake the feeling that this was forced into Halflings intentionally just for extra filler.

Overall there's a lot of writing and its great. I have to commend Burch for that. But the story in the writing is stretched and flawed. I will be interested when book 2 comes out but I won't be rushing to buy it.

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Cover Reveal: The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

The first cover of Julie Kagawa's new Vampire series has been revealed!
Personally I can't wait to read more from Kagawa. 
I loved the Iron Fey series so I'm pretty sure this will also be amazing!
Release date: 24th April 2012

Here's the Synopsis:

You will kill. The only question is when.

In the dark days since the insidious Red Lung virus decimated the human population, vampires have risen to rule the crumbling cities and suburbs. Uncontested Princes hold sway over diminished ranks of humans: their "pets." In exchange for their labor, loyalty and of course, their blood, these pets are registered, given food and shelter, permitted to survive.

Unregistered humans cling to fringes, scavenging for survival. Allison Sekemoto and her fellow Unregistereds are hunted, not only by vampires, but by rabids, the unholy result of Red Lung-infected vampires feeding on unwary humans. One night, Allie is attacked by a pack of rabids, saved by an unlikely hero...and turned vampire.

Uncomfortable in her undead skin, Allie falls in with a ragtag crew of humans seeking a cure, or cures: for Rabidism and for Vampirism. She's passing for human...for now. But the hunger is growing and will not be denied. Not for friendship—not even for love.


What do you think? 
Like it? Hate it? Leave a comment!

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Review: Notes to Self by Avery Sawyer

Notes to Self by Avery Sawyer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: Authors request

Two climbed up. Two fell down. One woke up.
In the aftermath of a traumatic brain injury, Robin Saunders has to relearn who she is and find out what happened the night everything changed.

There really aren't enough good words to say about this YA contemporary story. Notes to Self tells us about Robin Saunders who suffers a terrible accident and sustains a traumatic brain injury.

Our narrative starts from the accident to the aftermath in the hospital as Robin begins her life again having forgotten the accident itself. The only thing is she's forgotten portions of her life also, and the ability to form sentences, put her jeans on before her shoes, and deal with the kids from school. There's also all sorts of side stories that join the main theme so we get a full idea of who Robin was and who Robin is now post-accident. And, boy, has she changed!

I'm not one for contemporary fiction. Most of the time I think its generally boring but this story was so heartwarming and heartbreaking at times that I could not put it down. From the moment you start reading it you can tell that the Avery Sawyer has put her heart and soul into this story and given us all a gift on how to be better people.

I thoroughly recommend it for teenagers and adults alike.

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Review: Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon

Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked this book and I'm glad I read it, but I didn't love it. The story is wonderfully set in Ireland which I enjoyed. The characters are mostly great and the writing is good but sometimes a little oversimplistic.

From the moment she sets foot at her new school in Ireland, Megan is inexplicably drawn to the darkly handsome Adam DeRis. But Megan soon discovers that her feelings for Adam are tied to a supernatural fate that was sealed long ago—and that the passion and power that unites them could be their ultimate destruction.

While reading the story I felt a little disengaged from the main character-Megan. I don't know whether its because she seemed to have little personality or whether it was her seventeen year old POV but at times I wanted to scream at her for her one-tracked mind. Especially when it came to Adam.

Personally, if I'd meant an eighteen year old boy that was so compassionate about me, I too would probably never want to leave him. But at times I felt the romance was a bit overkill. I love a nice swoony lead man but it was a little too much in very inappropriate places. Such as the training session where they seemed unable to take their hands (or eyes) off each other. I mean, there were three other people there trying to help with her training and all she can do is snog Adam in front of them? Awkward!

The story continues and picks up the pace to a suitable conclusion however another thing that affected me was the fact that Adam had to have a kidney removed. A KIDNEY REMOVED-SERIOUS STUFF!!! And all Megan can do is go gooey over his love for her, his kisses and caresses....yeah, that didn't ring true either.

Overall I will read the next one, and am keen to find out where the story takes me but at little less self-indulgence wouldn't go amiss.

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Review: Hereafter by Tara Hudson

Hereafter by Tara Hudson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Can there truly be love after death?

Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she's dead. With no recollection of her past life—or her actual death—she's trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.

Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their newfound happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world . . . forever.


This book has been on my TBR pile for ages. Finally, I wanted to read something different, and what could be more different than a ghost story with a twist.

Sadly I was left a little bit underwhelmed. I liked the premise of the story, a girl ghost saves a boy from drowning and thanks to his Seer skills he's now able to see and feel her.

The story is a narrative and deals with all sorts of complications. Amelia can't remember her last name, her family, where she lives etc. But most pointedly how did she die? And how can she and Joshua begin their relationship, complications notwithstanding.

I felt the flow of the story too slow in places. A few repeated emphasis' that could have been left out and a whole lot of extra filler which made the book stagnant. I actually wanted to reach the end just so that I could finish it.

The story itself started well and had me gripped to find out what was going on but by the middle of the book I got the impression that there wasn't much more story to tell. The evil bad ghost was even a little too - lame? And the ending was tied up nicely but not with a ghostly haunted feel to it, more of a fizzled out firecracker.

This isn't meant harshly in any way towards the book. It IS a sweet love story which I found refreshing and unique to the YA genre. I just wanted a little more action.

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Review: Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi


My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Move over Suzanne Collins, there's a new Kiddie in town. Her name's Veronica Rossi and her book 'Under a Never Sky' will take you on a spellbinding journey which you'll never forget.

Aria is a teenager in the enclosed city of Reverie. Like all Dwellers, she spends her time with friends in virtual environments, called Realms, accessed through an eyepiece called a Smarteye. Aria enjoys the Realms and the easy life in Reverie. When she is forced out of the pod for a crime she did not commit, she believes her death is imminent. The outside world is known as The Death Shop, with danger in every direction.

As an Outsider, Perry has always known hunger, vicious predators, and violent energy storms from the swirling electrified atmosphere called the Aether. A bit of an outcast even among his hunting tribe, Perry withstands these daily tests with his exceptional abilities, as he is gifted with powerful senses that enable him to scent danger, food and even human emotions.

They come together reluctantly, for Aria must depend on Perry, whom she considers abarbarian, to help her get back to Reverie, while Perry needs Aria to help unravel the mystery of his beloved nephew’s abduction by the Dwellers. Together they embark on a journey challenged as much by their prejudices as by encounters with cannibals and wolves. But to their surprise, Aria and Perry forge an unlikely love - one that will forever change the fate of all who live UNDER THE NEVER SKY

This coming of age story is told from two POV's - Aria and Peregrine (Perry). What's interesting from the beginning is depth of the characters. Aria is a weaker individual who's lived in a pseudo world where she doesn't feel pain, suffering or anything really real. Perry on the other hand carries the full weight of life outside Reverie, he's an Outsider, and brother to the leader of the tribe, the Tides. Perry is strong, powerful, determined and compassionate towards his nephew.

But events unfold that will change the lives of both our main characters. A journey is travelled and growth is inevitable whether its bad or good. The weak become strong, and the stronger become...worldly.

'Under the Never Sky' is a such a wonderful treat for any age, not just Young Adults. The story will have you dipping and diving, praying and hoping. You heart will stop beating at least six times and as you reach the conclusion you realise that you can't wait to read the next installment.

Rossi's powerful writing will set alight any dystopian fantasy's hoping they love violets too...

-Charlotte Black

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Review: Spirits Of Glory by Emily Devenport

Spirits Of Glory by Emily Devenport

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Review: Author's request

How lovely to read about a girl who isn't tall, beautiful, and stunning in every which way. Far from it, Amber (Hawkeye) is a cripple though she does describe herself as 'a prettiness that surprised her'. She's clever and smart but unique.

One morning the people of the North woke up and the people of the South were gone. That s the first thing every child learns on the colony world of Jigsaw. But for one girl, knowing about The Disappearance is not enough. Hawkeye wants to know why.

That's why she spent half her life researching The Disappearance. And that's also why eight Neighbors show up on her doorstep, demanding that she accompany them into the Forbidden Cities ruled by the Southern gods to speak with the Spirits of Glory. Everyone thinks Hawkeye is an expert on Neighbors, these almost-humans who move, talk, and think as if they were born inside one of the Time Fractures. But she can't imagine what they want to ask the ghosts of their ancestors, or why they need her to go along. The Southern gods caused every human inhabitant of the Southern cities to disappear overnight :&emdash; what else might they do?

But the Northern gods say Hawkeye should go and her curiosity won't let her refuse, even though she's going into more danger than she can imagine. Pain and puzzlement wait along the broken interstate, along with scavengers who want to kill them all. Hawkeye's questions only generate more questions as they move farther and farther into the South, right into the heart of the Disappearance, until Hawkeye's questions have all been answered.
Even the ones she was afraid to ask.

The first thing I'll say is that if you don't like Sci-Fi then this book isn't for you. Personally I LOVE Sci-Fi and this author's attention to detail is so far advanced that many inferior writers can never match it.

The blend of sentences and words wisping around to create this magical word of Jigsaw is very unique, almost akin to classic Sci-Fi more than modern but among those words and sentences is a story that will grab you in so you don't want to let go.

While I read it chapter by chapter I formed various ideas in my head as to what would happen at the end of the journey, and what twist Devenport would spring on us but I was wrong in each idea.

The characters are all crisp and well formed. I particularly liked the assistance animals and how much they helped Hawkeye, with the soft touch of her reading them 1001 Arabian Nights to go to sleep.

There isn't much dialogue in the story, and only a hint of romance near the end although Bertie does play a prominent part in Hawkeye's perception of things. But this is about the growth of one girl and how her world changes on her last journey.

A thoroughly wonderful read, I beg anyone to read it and enjoy.

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Review: Exiled by RaShelle Workman

Exiled by RaShelle Workman

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


Stubborn, sixteen-year-old Princess Venus of Kelari wants one thing, to become immortal, that is, until someone exiles her to Earth, kills her irrihunter and takes her family.

Now she wants revenge.

First she’s got to get home. But before she can return to Kelari, the Gods have commanded her to help an arrogant boy named Michael find his soul mate. Only she doesn't know the first thing about love.

Rather quickly, her inexperience with human emotion is obscured by other matters—alien-controlled psychotic teens that are out to kill her, and a government group that is set on capturing and dissecting her.

Worst of all, Venus will suffer a painful death-by-poisoning, thanks to Earth’s atmosphere, if she remains on the planet longer than one week. Still, Venus is a Princess and she's got a plan. Surely, with her help, Michael will fall in love with a human.

But time is running out and Michael is falling for the wrong girl—her.


I'm sooo disappointed. I've been waiting to read this book for so long but....

The writing was okay. In parts the dialogue was terrible. The teenage lingo-speak dialogue was cringe-worthy. The stereotypical high school elements were nauseating.

The only solid character in the whole book was Zaren. Solid, through and through. All the rest including Venus were so opaque it wasn't funny.

The story was so confusing and preposterious (especially near the end) that it made a good idea too complicated to read easily, I had to keep checking back to try and understand the story. Plus, large parts of 'tell' and no 'show'.

The romance was icky,and Venus was jumping off the walls every time Michael or Zaren were nearby.

Thoroughly disappointed and I love YA sci-fi. If you want to read a good book try Keira's Moon by Lizzy Ford or Elemental: The First by Alexandra May. So much better.

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