ARC Review: After Eden (After Eden, #1) by Helen Douglas

Publishers: Bloomsbury Childrens Books 
Published Date: Nov 5 2013
From: NetGalley
My rating: 3.5 out of 5


When mysterious new boy Ryan Westland shows up at her school Eden Anfield is intrigued. On the face of it, he's a typical American teenager. So how come he doesn't recognise pizza and hasn't heard of Hitler? What puzzles Eden most, however, is the interest he's taking in her.

As Eden falls in love with Ryan, she stumbles across a book in Ryan's bedroom - a biography of her best friend - written fifty years in the future. Unravelling Ryan's secret, she discovers he has one unbelievably important purpose ... and she might just have destroyed his only chance of success.

US Cover


Firstly I loved that this book was set in England! In Cornwall, no less!! It makes a refreshing change to read about England when the YA market is swamped by American writers. Not that there's anything wrong with that by this was just refreshing, as I said!

So, Eden spots the new boy at school. He stunningly good looking, has a strange accent and despite the more popular girls attaching themselves to him, he seems to like Eden a whole lot more. They become friends, although Eden is quick to spot irregularities in his story of why he's in Cornwall with his sister and dad. A chance mistake when she picks up her homework books has an autobiography of her best friend, Connor, in her book bag. She's eager to find out the truth about Ryan's real reason for being in Perran. What she learns is not only that her life is in danger now that she knows the truth but also that her best friend discovered another planet which in turn poisons Earth. Yes, folks, everyone is doomed!! Ryan and Eden work against the clock to change history.

This is an easy read book, I finished it in around 3 hours. The writing is simple yet image evoking and the characters are all normal teenage kids. Some of the dialogue was a little messy sometimes but I liked the clear depiction of 16 year olds living in UK. The romance was very innocent and sweet too. This isn't a book I would normally read, I would go for something with an older or wiser protagonist but Eden is young and innocent and that's just how she is.

I also loved the sci-fi aspect. The author tells us about the night sky, gas giants, constellations, planetary systems and its really interesting to learn how an author sees an alternative life-bearing planet like Earth thriving and prospering but also with similar dangers.

A great read for all younger teenagers who love sci-fi with a sprinkling of romance!

You can reach Helen Douglas here:

Review: Wide Awake by Shelly Crane

Publishers: Self Published
Published Date: March 22 2013
From: Bought
My rating: 4 out of 5


A girl.
A coma.
A life she can't remember.

When Emma Walker wakes up in the hospital with no knowledge of how she got there, she learns that she's been in a coma for six months. Strangers show up and claim to be her parents, but she can't remember them. She can't remember anyone. Not her friends, not even her boyfriend. Even though she can't remember, everyone wants her to just pick up where she left off, but what she learns about the 'old her' makes her start to wish she'd never woken up. Her boyfriend breaks up with the new girl he's dating to be with her, her parents want her to start planning for college, her friends want their leader back, and her physical therapist with the hazel eyes keeps his distance to save his position at the hospital.

Will she ever feel like she recognizes the girl in the mirror?


Wide awake is very well written and an absolute page turner. I think I had about two bathroom breaks reading it because I wanted to find out what happened in the end! If that happens when you're reading it must be a good book.

The premise was interesting. If you woke up from a coma and had no memory of who you were BC (before coma) then what would you do? Emma has this dilemma even though she's assured that her memory may come back over time. Small things may trip her into remembering features of her past life. However when Emma is gradually told about who she was BC she's not entirely sure she wants to be that person again. Arrogant, demanding, a girl with a jock of a boyfriend (who even started dating someone else while she was in said coma), someone who ruled the school with a 'look at me' attitude. I wasn't sure I'd want to be that person either.

She doesn't know her parents or siblings, she can't relate to them in any way so while she's in hospital she gets closer to Mason, her physiotherapist who visited her daily during C. Soon after waking she develops a crush on him only to learn that he has feelings for her too.

The story unfolds and what I loved about this book is the way Emma stuck to her guns and didn't give in to her family trying to mold her back into the person she once was. She not daddy's girl any more, in fact he can't stand to be around her because she isn't 'his daughter'. Her mother appeared to love the antics of old Emma, antics that are cringe-worthy. In the end Emma finds no peace within her world except when she's with Mason.

Learning about Mason gives her life more meaning and soon she's wrapped in a new world away from the norm. As we reach the end I actually feel very sorry for Emma. The emotions that Crane brings out are true and very real. Emma suffers right until the end.

A great, unique and thought-provoking read.

You can reach Shelly Crane here:

Review: Acid by Emma Pass

Publishers: Random House Childrens UK
Published Date: May 14 2013
From: NetGalley
My rating: 5 out of 5


2113. In Jenna Strong’s world, ACID – the most brutal, controlling police force in history – rule supreme. No throwaway comment or muttered dissent goes unnoticed – or unpunished. And it was ACID agents who locked Jenna away for life, for a bloody crime she struggles to remember.

The only female inmate in a violent high-security prison, Jenna has learned to survive by any means necessary. And when a mysterious rebel group breaks her out, she must use her strength, speed and skill to stay one step ahead of ACID – and to uncover the truth about what really happened on that dark night two years ago


If you like dystopia then this book is for you. ACID is set one hundred years in the future and fifty years after the government of the UK are overthrown and a new regime steps into place. The new regime is called ACID, and is basically run by the new modern police making the Independent Republic of Britain effectively a police state.

Jenna Strong is in prison for the murder her parents. She struggles with her memories of the night it happened. But during her time there she's bulked up and learnt how to defend herself. A necessity when you're the only female on the wrong side of the bars.

Pretty much instantly the action and adventure begins. After a prison breakout, Jenna becomes Mia, and with a few facial and hair modifications she's thrust back into London life albeit in the Outer poorer section than she's used to. But she has a task to do and its important to break through the ACID barriers and bring the new flawed police system down and find proof that prisoners on the infamous Innis Ifrin prison are being tortured. The problem is that the man in charge of running the country, General Harvey, was her father's best friend and is her godfather. He's the one that put her in prison in the first place.

The world that Emma Pass has created is so thorough that I completely believed in it. Everyone has Komms and c-cards to talk to each other and get around. Of course everything is monitored by ACID. The food is substituted in parts. Everyone has a LifePartner who is chosen for them at an early age (no marriage or living together with a partner of your own choice is allowed). And people abide by the rules and the law because you never know who could be watching and who could report you for non-compliance.

In this terrifying new world Jenna holds true to herself even when she is finally caught and made to become sappy Jessica. The memories aren't as strong any more and she struggles with what is real and what isn't. And who is the boy that melts her heart every time she remembers a certain dusty dark place?

The finale is pulse-racingly good, the characters are all either ones you want to root for or ones you really want Jenna to hurt in the end.

A great debut complete novel.

You can reach Emma Pass here:

Review: Ten Tiny Breaths (Ten Tiny Breaths #1) by K.A. Tucker

Publishers: Atria Books
Published Date: Feb 12 2013
From: NetGalley
My rating: 4 out of 5


Just breathe, Kacey. Ten tiny breaths. Seize them. Feel them. Love them.

Four years ago Kacey Cleary’s life imploded when her car was hit by a drunk driver, killing her parents, boyfriend, and best friend. Still haunted by memories of being trapped inside, holding her boyfriend’s lifeless hand and listening to her mother take her last breath, Kacey wants to leave her past behind. Armed with two bus tickets, twenty-year-old Kacey and her fifteen-year-old sister, Livie, escape Grand Rapids, Michigan, to start over in Miami. Struggling to make ends meet, Kacey needs to figure out how to get by. But Kacey’s not worried. She can handle anything—anything but her mysterious neighbor in apartment 1D.

Trent Emerson has smoldering blue eyes, deep dimples, and he perfectly skates that irresistible line between nice guy and bad boy. Hardened by her tragic past, Kacey is determined to keep everyone at a distance, but their mutual attraction is undeniable and Trent is determined to find a way into Kacey’s guarded heart—even if it means that an explosive secret could shatter both their worlds.


Right from the outset we learn that Kacey is a tough nut. Her language, her attitude, her thoughts on others prove that she has trust issues. But the most constant person in her life is what keeps her grounded, to a certain extent, at least. Livie, her sister, was sick at home when the car accident happened. At sixteen Kacey's parents, her boyfriend and her best friend were all killed when a drunk driver hit their car. Kacey survived and she is understandably traumatised by the whole shocking ordeal. Hospital for a year, rehabilitation, shrinks and moving in with her aunt and uncle all take their toll. Kacey manages to continue life after the accident albeit from the bottom of a bottle, using drugs and having lots of meaningless sex. Her life was spiralling out of control. Her aunt and uncle were not role models either. Her aunt being a bible nut preaching against evil, her uncle squandering their inheritence in a card game. All in all when Kacey's uncle makes a move on fifteen year old Livie, she takes control back of her life for once and gets them away in the dead of night for a new beginning and a fresh start.

This book is a moral story. Kacey's been given a second chance at life, she just doesn't know it yet. Her primary concern is taking care of her sister, but we soon learn that it's really her sister taking care of her. Without Livie Kacey would be a lost soul on a path for destruction. Kacey wants nothing more than vengeance against those who took her family from her. It's eaten so deep inside her that its hard for her to make any kind of connection with anyone new. Her neighbours help. Storm is a lively, Barbie looking babe who has an adorable little daughter that captures everyone's hearts. On the other side of her new apartment is Trent, who literally steals her breath away. No one has ever affected Kacey the way Trent does.

What I loved most about this book is it gives us a reason to hope for something better. The small network of people that soon become part of Kacey's family are varied, sometimes troubled but mainly they are there in Kacey's life through the good times and the bad. They don't pry, they don't judge, they don't ask questions, they just get on with life and slowly meld their lives together. So the better in Kacey's life isn't the fact that she eventually earns enough money to put Livie through school, or lets the small secrets of her past gradually creep out. It's the constant knowing that others are around you when you break and will be there when you get better. After all, don't they say family doesn't equal a blood tie, its those who you let in.

The other moral behind this story is the drunk driving incident. After a night out, drunk Trent lent his car keys to a close friend who lied and told him he hadn't been drinking for a while so was able to drive them home. Trent has to live with those consequences for ever. A mistake like that doesn't just affect the ones who died, but the ones who lived and the relatives and friends. That mistakes affects families, rips relationships apart even to the point of some wishing for a way out like Tanner's brother suicide.

I was pleased with the outcome of the story, the end 30% is quite intense and I'm not sure how I feel with some of Trent's actions towards Kacey during the past or present but TTB did have an HEA.

You can reach K.A. Tucker here:

Available from Amazon:


Review: Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2) by Leigh Bardugo

Publishers: Henry Holt & Co/Macmillan
Published Date: June 4th 2013
From: Bought
My rating: 5 out of 5


Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.


Siege and Storm is the second book of the wonderful Grisha Trilogy. A pseudo-Russian tale of commoner girl becoming more powerful than the king who runs the country. Grisha are the people born with magical skills. Some can muster weather, others can create. The worst Grisha is the Darkling whose only end game is to take control of the country and rule. And only Alina, an orphan, deserter from the army and late developer of her Sun summoning skill, can stop him. In Shadow and Bone we learned how Alina along with her best friend Mal travel across the Fold and Alina saves the lives of everyone, especially Mal's. At the end she runs from her life at the palace knowing the Darkling wants her power and also wants her by his side to conquer the country of Ravka.

We start this sequel as Alina and Mal are making a life for themselves far away from the enemy. Both are enjoying their life undetected and away from the threats of Ravka. Friends from a young age there is even a hint of the growing romance between them but their secret life is brought to an awful crashing end when the Darkling catches up with them.

From here on the adventure takes us through twists and turns. The privateer Sturmhond takes them on a journey and ends up revealing a more important side to his character. And soon word is spreading about a living saint, Sankta Alina - Saint Alina, the Sun Summoner. Supposedly raised from the dead and turned saint, Sankta Alina is the only one who can bring the Darkling finally down. But with rumours of his army growing larger and soldiers deserting the First Army, Ravka is on the brink of war.

You know when you're reading a good book and a thrilling series when you really can't bear to put the book down and you're grateful you have so much more to read. Then you reach the end and you feel that pain that says 'Now I have to wait another year - Why??'

Leigh Bardugo does not disappoint in this amazing sequel. The characters are as rich, humourous and as real as before. The range of emotions Alina goes through has heightened since the last book and I truly felt sorry for her situation. She neither asked for it or felt it was deserved. In the same vain Mal was a wonderful guy who stood by her, despite fighting his own demons of being non-Grisha and in the end he still accepted her for who she is. But the one who stole the book for me was Prince Nikolai. What a great character to bring into the second book. Funny, witty and clever with it. Alina would have been lost without him.

If you enjoy tales of magic, intrigue and heroes then this is the series you definitely should read. Don't forget to check out the small stories in between also. Here's a link to Goodreads where you can download or view them.

Here's the official video trailer

You can reach Leigh Bardugo here:

ARC Review: Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2) by Sarah J. Maas

Publishers:  Bloomsbury UK
Published Date: August 15th 2013
From: Publishers
My rating: 4 out of 5

Thank you to Emma at Bloomsbury UK for allowing me to read this ARC


An assassin’s loyalties are always in doubt.
But her heart never wavers.

After a year of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien has won the king's contest to become the new royal assassin. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown – a secret she hides from even her most intimate confidantes.

Keeping up the deadly charade—while pretending to do the king's bidding—will test her in frightening new ways, especially when she's given a task that could jeopardize everything she's come to care for. And there are far more dangerous forces gathering on the horizon -- forces that threaten to destroy her entire world, and will surely force Celaena to make a choice. 

Where do the assassin’s loyalties lie, and who is she most willing to fight for?


Crown of Midnight is soon to be upon us and is the much-anticipated sequel to Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas. While Throne of Glass had an ordered and organised feel about it, the high-fantasy world of Celaena Sardothien winning the famed competition to become Kings Champion, Crown of Midnight is equally as riveting with it's high octane tale of adventure and royal intrigue, though this time you never know what to expect from our heroine.

Celaena IS the Kings Champion. What deeds would the King have her do now that her task is legal killing on behalf of the Kingdom? Unfortunately for her, the kings wishes lead her to liaise with associates from her past. Associates she knows very well, even taught. More questions than answers take Celaena along a bumpy and sometimes lonely path to find out why the king particularly wants these certain people dead. Are they enemies of the Crown or merely important people in the way of something bigger?

This is no love triangle story of Celaena and Dorian or Celaena and Chaol, although Chaol does feature more greatly in this book but Crown mostly tells us about Celaena herself and her battle with her past and how she learns to embrace her future. But in the now, she learns the language of wyrdmarks from the lovely Princess Nehemia settles into a semblance of normal daily life during her duties at court. Celaena finally gets a chance to be herself. But who actually is she? Her past is still shrouded in secrecy and she gives little away until the end.

The writing of Crown is superb and if you've managed to pick up the short stories from the Throne of Glass series then they will help add substance to the main story going on here. Crown isn't as long as Throne, nor does it have as much density with regards to descriptions or even the magnanimous plush parties as we experienced before. Instead we have a fast-paced, action packed adventure that keeps its own mystery until the very last page. My only disappointment with Crown was the abrupt ending of each chapter. I personally would have preferred the scenes to play out just a little bit more rather than the knife edge slice to the next chapter but still, it does leave your imagination to run wild while waiting to find out what happens next.

Crown of Midnight brings back all our favourite main characters including a few new ones that include a doorknocker called Mort and a devilishly handsome good guy/bad guy in Archer. And I think hearts will melt again because the small bit of romance is pretty special too.

All in all Sarah J Maas did a great job of writing a rich and powerful sequel that will be loved by Throne fans everywhere!

You can reach Sarah J. Maas here: