Monday, 29 November 2010

The Replacement - Brenna Yovanoff

The Replacement is a debut novel by Brenna Yovanoff. It will be published by Simon and Schuster in the UK on 6th January 2011 and it is 384 pages long.

In the small town of Gentry, everything is not as it seems. Human babies are taken from their cribs and a Replacement is left in it’s place. Mackie Doyle is a Replacement, a faerie baby who was swapped sixteen years ago. Mackie has been getting sicker and sicker as each day goes by, not realising that his allergies to iron, blood and consecrated ground are slowly killing him in the human world.

All Mackie has ever wanted was to live a normal life, to not have to be careful of every move he makes. When Mackie’s crush, Tate’s little sister is swapped, he knows he has to help her but doesn’t want to give away his secret. He’s tried so hard to keep to himself all of these years but he doesn’t want the bad things to keep happening. The only way to get Tate’s sister back is for Mackie to venture into the underworld of Gentry known as Mayhem. The world in which he came is far from the life he knows and there are far worse things down there than he could have ever imagined.

What I thought
As soon as I heard about this book, I desperately wanted to read it. The idea of human babies being swapped with faerie babies really intrigued me even though it creeped me out at the same time. Once I got into the story and realised that the whole town really knew what was going on, but said nothing, I was creeped out even more. I was sat there wondering why anyone would let this happen or why they even stayed in that town. If that had been me, knowing what was happening, I would like to think that I would have been out of there as fast as my feet could carry me. The Replacement doesn’t explain everything that is going on or the reasons behind everything but I thought that it added to the mystery and eeriness of the story.

As much as I loved this book, I would have liked to have seen some bigger plot twists. I felt like as the story got into full swing, there was too much that was predictable. I didn’t really have much to guess at and there was a lot that was very obvious. The ending was also predictable but as far as I am aware, this is a stand alone novel so in that respect, everything was wrapped up quite nicely. The story itself though was exciting and very different from anything else I have read. It is most definitely original and unlike anything in the market at the minute.

The fey in this story are far from cute faeries with pretty wings. Think as opposite of that as you can get and you might be in the right place. The creatures underground and downright disgusting and scary. I would hate to be close to any of them. Although there are descriptions to some extent, no one is fully described and a lot is left to the imagination. This was really clever and gives the reader the chance to imagine their worst nightmares in these creatures along with what Brenna Yovanoff gives us. This was one of the biggest reasons why I found this book so scary and eerie. The kind of things that I were imagining were like those creatures in Pan’s Labyrinth. You wouldn’t want to see anything like that walking down the street would you?

Mackie was a really interesting main character. In many ways, he was just like any other teenager at his school, liking girls and wanting to go to parties. In other ways though, he is the complete opposite. He isn’t even the same race as everyone else. I could really sympathise towards him to begin with, realising how much he just wanted to live like everyone else and have a normal life. He did come across as extremely weak though at times but that was mostly down to his allergies and not being able to go to certain places. His character grew stronger as the story went on and I liked seeing how he developed into more of his own person, once he had truly come to terms with what was happening around him.

Emma, Mackie’s sister and his best friend, Roswell were amazing characters. I loved seeing how they didn’t judge him for being different and they didn’t give him any hassle over it. In fact, they were very much the opposite. Emma loved him unconditionally and would do anything for him. Roswell has got to be the best friend that anyone could possibly ever have. Even though he never acknowledged out loud that he knew what Mackie was, he was always there when he needed help and went to a lot of trouble to make sure he was ok. It was really nice seeing an outsider have such good relationships, even though they weren’t expected.

Brenna Yovanoff’s debut was hauntingly beautiful and I loved every single word. It was so much darker than I had expected it to be and I found myself with chills as I was reading it. I’ve read a lot of amazing debuts this year but The Replacement is right up there with the best of them!

Saturday, 27 November 2010

The Body Finder - Kimberly Derting

The Body Finder is the debut novel by Kimberly Derting. It was published on 11th November 2010 in the UK by Headline and it is 336 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy for review.

Violet Ambrose has been different from other girls since she was a child. When she was 8 years old, she discovered that she has the ability to sense the dead, whether it be in the form of taste, sound or smell. Violet can’t sense everyone that is dead though, only people or animals that have had their lives taken from them and she can also gets the same kind of sense from murderers.

After her first experience with a dead body, Violet could only really sense small animals that had been the prey of something else but her senses are getting stronger. As young girls begin to turn up dead in Violet’s town, she can’t help but have heightened senses, leading her to find more and more bodies. A murderer is on the loose and Violet may be the only one that can help the police. She knows that she has to use her gift for good but best friend Jay has a thing or two to say about it.

Jay is one of the very few people that know about Violet’s gift but her newfound romantic feelings towards him leave her feeling alone and unable to turn to him for help. Trying to catch a killer could lose Violet not only her best friend but her life.

What I thought
The Body Finder is so different from anything else around at the minute and it was refreshing to not read about supernatural beings like vampires and werewolves (although I do still love them). Even though I loved the sound of the plot before reading the book, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like the whole crime/ murder mystery side to it. Because of this book, I would now happily give anything along these lines a go now and give them more of a chance to begin with.

The story was fast paced from the start and that never stopped. There was always something happening, whether it be from Violet’s POV or from the killers’. I sometimes get a little bored with stories from multiple POV’s but not this time. I really liked the fact that we get to see into the mind of the murderer and what having this did to the story. Whenever the POV changed, the story went into a much deeper and creepier place which really made me skin crawl (in the best way possible) at times. Where some YA books are extremely predictable, this one wasn’t at all and there were plenty of twists to keep me entertained and guessing throughout.

Kimberly Derting gave Violet such a hard ability to deal with alongside wanting to be a normal teenager and I felt that this gave her character a lot of depth. High School has to be hard enough without having the added pressure of helping the police with a massive investigation and young girls going missing left, right and centre. Violet was extremely brave, making the decision to help the police and do something good. I guess most girls in her position would have run a mile and stayed well away so I applaud her for doing what she did. Violet was also really likable and real. I loved how she had a massive fight with her unruly and frizzy curls every morning and I loved how she felt about Jay but was too scared to say anything. There were so many parts of her character that I could relate to which made me want to give her a big hug at many different times.

I really enjoyed getting to learn about Violet and Jay’s friendship and some of the things that they had been through together over so many years. Their friendship was something that I would have loved to have had for myself. I did have a couple of problems with the way that Jay reacted at times but maybe I can just put that to guys being stupid/ frustration/ hormones or something. There were also times where I just wanted to slap the both of them and tell them to open their eyes a little bit.

I really, really hate to say it but I didn’t love Jay. It wasn’t that he isn’t a fantastic and lovely character, because he was, he just wasn’t one of my book crushes. A lot of people had really hyped him up to me and maybe this was part of the problem. Most of what I didn’t like was the fact that he was so nice! I know how strange that sounds but I guess I’m just more into guys with a bit of bad in them. Even though I didn’t love him in a crazy crush kind of way, I did really like his character. He was very sweet and loyal when it came to Violet, truly being an amazing best friend. I guess it was obvious what was going to happen in the romance department but I didn’t mind that at all. I would have been extremely upset if it hadn’t have happened.

The Body Finder is a fantastic debut and I can’t wait to find out what happens next in the sequel, Desires of the Dead, due for release in March 2011.

Friday, 26 November 2010

The Dead of Winter - Chris Priestley

The Dead of Winter by Chris Priestley was published in hardback by Bloomsbury on 4th October 2010. It is 224 pages long. Thanks to the publishers for sending me a copy for review.

After the death of his mother, Michael Vyner is forced to spend Christmas with a strange man he barely knows who has vowed to be his guardian. A man who saved his father’s life once. Taken away from everything that he has ever known, Michael finds himself in a very strange house in East Anglia. He knows something isn’t right when he sees a strange woman alone in the marshes on a freezing cold night. His companion for the journey puts Michael’s vision down to exhaustion and grief but Michael knows what he saw was really there, even if no one else believes him.

After arriving at his new home for the season, Michael’s suspicions grow stronger. He is kept away from his new guardian, who is apparently extremely ill but none of the staff will say much about what is wrong. Forced to spend most of his time alone and with little conversation, Michael takes it upon himself to explore but he finds so much more than he bargained for.

This is Michael Vyner’s story of the events that have haunted him for the rest of his life.

What I thought
I really wasn’t sure what to expect before reading this book. I have never read a horror book before so I was quite apprehensive about what I was going to think.

Michael was a very interesting character because you never really know that much about him. At the beginning of the story, his mother has just died and we soon find out that his father is also dead. Even though his past is explained somewhat, nothing about Michael’s character or personality is explained. I really didn’t mind this though as it added to the mystery of the story. It was very strange that nothing much is ever revealed about him. Instead, the story focuses more on the house and its residents rather than someone’s personality which doesn’t make a difference to the plot.

I found this book a little hard to get into as it is unlike anything else I have read before and it is quite slow starting. There is a fair amount of build up to the time when Michael finally goes to Hawton Mere, the house in the countryside. As soon as Michael’s story began to unravel and the eeriness of the house became apparent, I was hooked. The first strange happening is Michael seeing a woman in the moors on a freezing cold night but no one else sees her. I instantly began thinking was she a spirit or was she just a figment of his imagination?

As the story continues, it gets even stranger. There is a lot happening around Hawton Mere but it only seems like Michael is the one experiencing it. The world that Chris Priestley created was so vivid to me that I could imagine myself walking through the corridors or being sat in the dining room not speaking to anyone. The whole story is extremely descriptive, which is why I thought it was so creepy. Instead of the horror being obvious and physical, Priestley gives us the chance to use our imaginations. There are things that go bump in the night that you don’t see and a lot of other things that are unexplainable at the time. The power of suggestion is a strong thing when it comes to horror and I found this book quite scary because of that.

The whole way through reading The Dead of Winter, I was trying to put each clue together to try to figure out what the house’s big secret was. I really would never have guessed the ending on my own but as the story approached the end, I found myself remembering little details from earlier on that helped me piece everything together. I couldn’t wait to find out if my suspicions were correct and what would eventually become of Michael. The ending really ties everything up nicely and I felt like I could put this book down and be at peace with everything that had happened.

After reading this book, I will definitely be wanting to read more horror. I didn’t think I scared that easily, not when it comes to films anyway but this book actually gave me nightmares. Having the flat all to myself and reading at 1am probably wasn’t the best idea though. The Dead of Winter was thoroughly chilling and haunting. I couldn’t put it down!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (#23)

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Across The Universe - Beth Revis
UK Release Date: 11th January 2011
Publisher: Razorbill UK

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

Monday, 22 November 2010

The Hunt - Amy Meredith

The Hunt by Amy Meredith is the second novel in the Dark Touch series. It was released on 5th August 2010 by Red Fox (RHCB) and it is 272 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy for review.

Eve recently found out that she is a descendant of the Deepdene Witch and she actually has powers herself. The past couple of months have been a bit crazy and hectic for Eve with being forced to try to learn how to use her power and kill a few demons on the way.

Luckily, Eve has her two best friends to help out. Jess and Luke have stuck by Eve no matter what has been thrown their way and Luke hasn’t even known her for very long. It looks as though they are going to need to stick together again as people are being mysteriously murdered and being drained of all their blood. The trio know that there can only be one explanation for what is going on…demons are back! Eve is going to have to concentrate on the task in hand instead of concentrating on how hot Luke is, or something terrible could happen.

My Thoughts
If you read my review of the first book in this series, Shadows, you will know how much I disliked mostly everything about it. When the publisher sent me a copy for review, I was a little apprehensive about reading it, thinking that it would be the same as the first book. I am really glad that I took a chance and decided to read it anyway though because I was very surprised with what I found.

One of the biggest reasons I didn’t like the first book was because of how shallow Eve and Jess were. They were teenagers pretty much let loose with credit cards and had the most insane collection of designer shoes and handbags. Thankfully, these aspects of their characters was taken out this time around. Ok, I know that they’re still the same girls but their money wasn’t flashed at me every two pages. There were hints throughout but they were a lot more subtle and I actually liked the fact that Eve and Jess still managed to be extremely girly and take care of themselves while out hunting demons.

Eve really came into her own. I found myself liking her more and more as the story went on because some little hidden characteristics began to surface. I was finding out so much about what kind of a girl Eve was and what really bothered her apart from the obvious. I liked that she still acted like a true girl, worrying about what her crush thought about her and whether he actually liked her or not. This gave Eve more of a realistic personality and one that more people will be able to relate to, rather than be all about expensive shoes. Even though I’m sure I would have loved to have been in her position in that department.

Luke also becomes a lot more interesting because he doesn’t take as much of a back seat. Last time he was overshadowed a little bit by Mal (the old love interest) so it was nice to see that he got a much bigger part in this book. I was really hoping that he and Eve got it on because it seemed as though they would make a really cute couple. Neither he or Eve are really sure about each others feelings so the awkward chemistry was good and it was interesting to see how their feelings changed and developed over time. Luke is one of the best things about these books and I cant wait to find out what happens with him next time.

The plot was quite interesting and very action packed. I loved this about The Hunt and it always seemed as though anything could happen next. There are a few twists in the plot and I certainly didn’t see the main one coming. Some parts were extremely predictable but there was enough to keep me guessing throughout. Usually I don’t like books being as short as this one because I am always left wanting more but I think this one was the perfect length. Anything longer would have felt really drawn out and written for the sake of it and to just pad it out. The Hunt is kept to the point and moves along at quite a quick pace.

One thing that I did find to be missing was the history of the Deepdene Witch. This was expanded on but there was very little information and it is something that I would have loved to have seen more of. The addition of some new demon hunters was very welcome though and although they aren’t featured too much, I think they will be something that comes up again in future books in the series. I think they would be a massive help to Eve, Luke and Jess and maybe take a bit of the responsibility off of them.

If you was like me and didn’t really like the first book, give this one a chance because it is a lot better. There was so much that I liked about the plot and the difference in the characters that restored my faith in the series as a whole.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Matched - Ally Condie

Matched is a novel by Ally Condie which is set to be part of a trilogy. It will be published on 2nd December by Razor Bill (Imprint of Penguin) and it is 384 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for sending me an proof/ ARC for review.

Cassia Reyes lives in a world where free choice is no longer an option. The Society chooses everything for every single person. What they eat, where they work and even who you love and when you die.

Up until now, Cassia has always trusted the choices they have made and not given it a second thought. On her seventeenth birthday, the time finally comes for her to  find out who her Match is. She is so happy when she sees best friend Xander pop up on the screen but her happiness doesn’t last long. The brief flash of another boy on the screen makes Cassia wonder if she can really trust the choices The Society make.

It’s rare for anyone to get Matched with someone they know but the other face on the screen was also someone Cassia knows. The problem is, Ky, the other boy, is not someone who is looked well upon by The Society. Not knowing which boy is her real Match, Cassia is torn between long time best friend Xander and Ky, the mysterious boy who doesn’t seem as though he really belongs. A choice between following her heart and following what The Society tells her will be the hardest decision Cassia will ever have to make.

What I thought
I can’t tell you how excited I was when I got the email asking if I would review this book. I had heard so many amazing things about it and the idea was something that really interested me. The basic plot itself brought out so many questions about what I would do if I were living in that kind of world. Would I just be able to accept that I was supposed to love and marry someone who had been chosen for me? What would I do if there seemed to be a choice in who I loved? Would I be able to follow my heart instead of The Society? All of this was after only reading the plot outline.

Ally Condie has built a world so complex and interesting that I couldn’t help but be caught up in it right away. It quickly becomes apparent that The Society control everything. Can you imagine being told what clothes you had to wear or what job you had to have? Each person has personalised meals sent to them, every single art form has been cut down to nearly nothing. Paintings, poems, film etc are all extremely limited now due to the actions of The Society. Being such a big lover of books and music, I felt incredibly sad that anyone would have to live in a world like this. I couldn’t pick only 100 of each if I tried. It made me wonder who exactly made these choices and why. Why would one book get chosen over another? Even though I knew instantly that I would have hated to lived in a place like this, I couldn’t wait to find out how the characters dealt with their lives and the things that they were made to do. The characters are just as fantastic as the story itself.

I liked Cassia from the start. I think some people might call her naive because of how she never questioned The Society to begin but if you had grown up only knowing a life like that, wouldn’t you be the same? She never really knew that there were any other possibilities or any other ways to live her life so I think that she was just trying to get on with thing as best she could. Cassia slowly changes throughout the story as she begins to realise what is really happening around her. I really liked the fact that her realisation about The Society wasn’t one that was like a light bulb above her head. Everything slowly clicks into place and Cassia has to work out parts of the puzzle bit by bit. It was really realistic in this aspect for me and I think that was one of the reasons why I liked Cassia so much. She was very normal in a world that was a little insane and easy to relate to.

Oh the boys! Both Xander and Ky stole my heart (I also loved both of their names). Xander is the loyal best friend who you just want to give a massive hug to. All he wants is for Cassia to be happy and that was very clear to see but there were also pangs of jealousy. Xander was so pleased when he found out that Cassia was his match and I honestly don’t think that he would have been as happy with anyone else. To find out that you are going to spend the rest of your life with a childhood friend who you clearly love already must be a fantastic feeling so when everything is threatened to be taken away, it must be heartbreaking and this is where I really felt for Xander. Again, I wanted to hug him.

As much as I loved Xander, Ky has to be my favourite and I have to say that I was routing for him from very early on. There was something different and mysterious about Ky and I think that is probably why I liked him more. I can’t say that I’m totally into nice guys so Ky offered me something a bit more out of the ordinary and somewhat dangerous. He was sweet but strong and adventurous at the same time and he had so many personality traits that I would love to find in a man. Even though he obviously wanted to be with Cassia, he was a little unsure at times, not wanting her to get into trouble. Their friendship develops at a wonderful pace and one that felt perfectly natural. Neither Cassia or Ky felt totally comfortable around each other to begin with and it took them quite a while to completely trust each other. There was always the question in the back of my mind though of whether or not Cassia was going to pick Ky over Xander. I would have been happy with either I think.

When Matched reached the end, it felt as if my heart was going to burst right out of my chest. Condie can write one hell of a cliff-hanger. So much was left unanswered, paving the way for the second book in the trilogy. The writing throughout was beautiful and very poetic at times and was an absolute joy to read. Matched really has everything you could ask for: mystery, romance, passion and adventure. It really is a love story to die for.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Blue Moon - Alyson Noel

Blue Moon is the second book in the Immortals series by Alyson Noel. It was released on 5th March 2010 by Macmillan Children‘s Books and it is 348 pages long.

After taking up her rightful place as an immortal, Ever and Damen are enjoying the honeymoon period of being a couple out in the open. In Summerland, Damen is teaching Ever how to use her new abilities although she is easily distracted and ends up mostly being a tease. Even though the two have been in love in many different lives (in Ever's case), they have never consummated their relationship. Obviously Damen is frustrated to say the least. Not remembering the past, Ever keeps pushing Damen to tell her about the other times they were together and anyone he had been with beforehand which doesn't ease her nerves any.

Back in the real world, they both still have to go to school to make them appear as normal as possible. Ever is doing fantastic in her classes while Damen thinks that they could be spending their time doing better things. He isn't feeling too well though, which isn't good as it shouldn't happen and he seems very distracted. Just before the planned 'big night', Damen mysteriously takes off, leaving Ever stranded.

New guy at school Roman is the one left to pick up the pieces and even though Ever has had a bad feeling about him ever since he started at school. Everyone loves Roman and cant understand why Ever has taken an instant dislike to him. He offers to take her home when she's acting like a crazy woman running around with no shoes on but all Ever cares about is finding Damen. A few days pass and he is no where to be found... until he turns up at school a changed man.

Damen completely cuts Ever, not even acknowledging that he has ever known her and she cannot understand what is going on. Will she be able to figure everything about before she runs out of the special red drink and loses her man for good?

What I thought
After absolutely loving the first book in this series I couldn't wait for the sequel to come out but after finishing it, I was left with mixed feelings. As this is going to be a series with a total of six books, I'm hoping that the next one will be just as good as the first, if not better.

For two thirds of this story, the things that happened to Ever made me want to cry and I felt so, so bad for her but when it comes to Miles and Haven, I think she had it coming. As soon as Damen turned up, she practically forgot about her real friends and slowly saw them less and less so their reactions were very real to me. I really like that Ever has a past (not the one with Damen) and that she never reverts back to being the popular girl that she once was. If anything, she chooses to be an outcast more than ever in this book. As soon as things start to happen, she goes back to wearing hoodies and constantly listening to her I-Pod, shutting her out more and more. I loved that Noel made Ever far from perfect because it makes her someone that is easier to relate to. All teenage girls have boy problems, especially when it comes to spending time with either them or their friends. As much as I felt for her for the most part, I wanted to slap her towards the end. She turned out to be a complete idiot. When it came to making an important choice, she didn't do it wisely. It made me question her whole character and why she suddenly changed.

I loved, loved, loved Damen in the Evermore but not so much in this one. Noel makes him out to be horrible and not the perfect boyfriend we all thought he was and he is written so well in context that it was totally believable. The car park scene alone made me hate him for what he did to Ever. I know if I was her then I would have cried my eyes out at the thought of being rejected at the last minute. Damen was beyond mean to Ever and I was surprised that she lasted at school as long as she did because I wouldn't have stuck around. He is mostly in the background for a big chunk of this book and I found that even at the end, I didn't want to forgive him for what he had done but he still has a chance to make it up in the next book.

Due to the nature of books in this genre, it is sometimes quite easy to tell what is going to happen. As soon as Roman turns up, I knew there was something wrong about him but I couldn't quite put my finger on exactly what that was. He is the opposite to Damen with blonde hair and blue eyes and is just too charming and nice for it to all be for real. It is one thing being able to guess the bad guy but if I can guess why he is bad then the book is a failure to me. Luckily, Noel doesn't reveal everything so quickly and kept me guessing for a good amount of the story. Roman just wasn't that much of a bad guy to me though. After reading the whole story though, I did realise that he will most likely turn up in the other books too and hopefully he will get meaner and nastier as the story continues.

The story itself was actually very interesting. There are a lot of different things going on all the time to keep the reader interested at all times. Just when you think you know what is going on, something else happens that shocks you. I definitely couldn't guess the ending and that made me more excited for the next in the series. When it comes to timelines, Blue Moon is all over the place, showing us the past, present and the future but that isn't a bad thing. I don't want to go into what happens though as it will ruin the plot. As this is a teen fantasy, sex was bound to pop up sooner or later. Ever and Damen do get a little bit raunchy as they decide whether or not they are going to have sex but it is still pretty tame.

Overall, I did enjoy this book but not quite as much as Evermore but I'm really looking forward to the rest in the series. There was more that I liked than disliked thought so will be putting this book in Heaven!

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Boys Don't Cry - Malorie Blackman

Boys Don’t Cry is a YA novel by Malorie Blackman. It was published by Doubleday Childrens (Random House) on 28th October 2010 and is 320 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy for review.
Seventeen year old Dante is eagerly awaiting the postman’s arrival. He’s about to deliver some much anticipated A Level results. Results which could change his life and give him the chance to make something of himself. Instead of the postman ringing the doorbell though, Melanie, Dante’s ex girlfriend does and she isn’t on her own.

Dante hasn’t seen Melanie since she left school and disappeared and he realises how much she has changed, especially since she has a baby with her. A baby she soon tells him is his daughter, Emma. Forced to look after the baby while Melanie goes to the shops, Dante is far from comfortable but he soon realises that Melanie isn’t coming back. Dante’s life is about to change completely but not in the way he had planned.

What I thought
Boys Don’t Cry is the first book I have ever read by Malorie Blackman but I would certainly read her others books after finishing this one. I had heard good things about it but really wasn’t all that sure what to expect because it didn’t sound like something I would generally pick myself. I was very surprised when I realised just how much I loved this book though and I couldn’t put it down. It is told from the points of view of main character Dante and his younger brother although there is no pattern to who has which chapter.

Dante was a wonderful character and one I could easily connect with. Although I didn’t have the same problems as he did, I did have a plan at his age but it wasn’t one that worked out. A long term boyfriend among other things go in the way of my plans so I could understand how it felt to have your world shattered. Dante is very smart and wants more out of life than what the town he lives in can offer. I loved how sensible he thought he was being and also how proud of himself he was when he worked so hard to pass his A levels a year earlier than he should have.

The way that he learns about his daughter, Emma, was very realistic and reacted exactly how I would have imagined. To begin with, all he can feel is shock but his feelings soon change. Dante has a lot to think about once he has Emma to think about but he isn’t so sure that he will be able to cope, especially considering that he has a hard time even looking at her sometimes. He was far from perfect from the very start and it was so nice to see his both his strengths and weaknesses.

Once Dante is left with Emma, the story begins to show just how hard being a single parent can be, even if you do have family to help and support you. Dante’s father, although being disappointed in his son, quickly learns to love Emma and accept her for who she is, as does Dante’s brother Adam. Dante can’t quite understand how these feelings of love can come so easily to the other members of his family because he is having such a hard time dealing with what is happening. Although I loved Dante, Adam was my favourite character. He brought a lot of humour and a different feel to his parts of the story. He also adds a lot of darkness at the same time though as he is dealing with his own problems. Adam goes through so much himself that it would have been nice to hear more from him or maybe for him to have a book himself. I would love to know more about what he does next about certain situations and generally.

What I loved so much about this book was the fact that nothing is ever sugar coated about being a teenage parent, let alone being a single teenage parent. I really liked the fact that this was told from a boys point of view as it isn’t something we generally hear about very much. So many issues like dating, sexuality, family relationships and dealing with your feelings are intertwined in the story and because of them, I think a lot of teenagers (and adults) could learn something from reading this book. It also really shows what it means to be a parent and take responsibilities for your actions. Although Dante starts off on shaky grounds, he certainly redeems himself with his actions later as the story goes on.

The ending is wrapped up very nicely, not leaving much unanswered. I say not much because there are always after thoughts when it comes to books about teenagers. Boys Don’t Cry works extremely well as a stand alone novel but also leaves room for there to be more books about what comes next. I really couldn’t fault anything about this book and I loved every single word. It made me laugh but also made my cry, bringing so many different emotions out in me. If you don’t think that this is your kind of book, think again and give it a chance. I wasn’t expecting it to thoroughly love it but I did.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (#22)

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Fallen Angel: Heather Terrell
UK Release Date: 28th December 2010
Publisher: Harper Collins Children
The first book in a dark, edgy new angel series about a girl who finds herself forced to choose sides in the battle between fallen angels, even if that means going against the boy she loves.

When Ellie Faneuil first sees Michael Chase she feels an instantaneous connection. But she does not realize how much they have in common, including the ability fly and to see what others are thinking - not to mention a taste for blood. Reveling in their new powers and their growing feelings for each other, Ellie and Michael are determined to uncover what they are, and how they got this way ... together.

But the truth has repercussions neither could have imagined. Soon they find themselves center stage in an ancient conflict between fallen angels that threatens to destroy everything they love. And it is no longer clear whether Ellie and Michael will choose the same side.

In this electrifying novel Heather Terrell spins a gripping tale of soul-mates, supernatural powers and a truth that will change Ellie and Michael‘s world forever.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Interview - Kimberly Derting

Kimberly Derting's novel, The Body Finder, which was released over here in the UK on 11th November and has already had high praise in the US. In celebration of this recent release, I have an interview with the author herself on the blog today!

Describe your book in 5 words.

Dead bodies and new love.

Where did the inspiration for The Body Finder come from?

Oh boy, here we go….my husband loves it when I get this question. My husband will jokingly (I think!) say that he is “the wind beneath my wings” or “my muse” and sometimes even my “co-author” all because he was the one who first said: “What if there was a kid who could find dead bodies?” Of course, what he conveniently forgets is that his idea was for a middle-grade boy adventure…and that I’m the one who actually wrote the book!

Were any of the characters or their traits inspired by people you know?

The characters themselves aren’t actually based on anyone, although I may have stolen a trait, a mannerism, and maybe even an entire scenario (namely a situation with Chelsea in Desires of the Dead) from my friends and family. The best part is letting them all try to figure out what I’ve taken from each of them. I’ll never tell!

If you could have some kind of gift like Violet does, what would you want it to be?

I’m positive it would NOT be finding dead bodies! I’ll leave that to Violet because I’m more of the run-from-danger kind of girl. But, I’ve always thought it would be cool to fly. That way, I could be a fly-from-danger kind of girl, because, really, I hate running!

How did you go about researching for The Body Finder?

My research for the The Body Finder was mostly focused on how the local Police and Fire Departments would work together when someone went missing or if a dead body was found. Since I already had friends in the Fire and Police departments, it was a lot fun picking their brains. Plus, I named them in my acknowledgements so if I got any facts wrong, you can totally blame them!

Some authors do certain things while they write like listen to music etc. Do you have any rituals like this of your own?

Mine are less ritual and more addictions. I must have tea and Skittles (or some other handy sweet treat). Oh, and comfy sweatpants…which are just as attractive as they sound.

Are there any other YA authors that you admire?

The easier question might be: are there any that I don’t admire? I love this community so asking me to choose is almost as hard as asking me to pick a favourite child!

Fine, here are some of the people who I think are brilliant and are super-fab writers to boot: Melissa Marr (the Wicked Lovely series), Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl (Beautiful Creatures), Kelley Armstrong (The Darkest Powers trilogy), Becca Fitzpatrick (Hush, Hush), Carrie Ryan (The Forest of Hands and Teeth), Aprilynne Pike (Wings), Sophie Jordan (Firelight)…and about 100 others.

What is your favourite book of all time and why?

This one is easy: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Best. Book. Ever!

The sequel, Desires of the Dead is being released in 2011 but will there any more books in this series?

Right now, just the first two have been confirmed but who knows what might happen in the coming weeks! Let’s just say that I would love to continue the series. Trust me, if there are any concrete developments, I will be posting the news all over my website, my blog, Twitter, and Facebook! I may even tattoo it on my husband’s forehead!!

Thanks Kimberly!

Saturday, 13 November 2010

In My Mailbox (#19)

 In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren to show what everyone has been recieving or buying each week.

So I haven't done an IMM for a couple of weeks due to not really recieving anything. This week has been totally insane for the amount of books that I recieved. With the exception of the books gifted from Becky (at the bottom), everything else came this week. 

 For Review
Vampire Academy - Richelle Mead
St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger. . . .

Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.

Black Swan Rising - Lee Carrol
Publisher: Bantam Press
Release Date: 25th November

Jeweller Garet James isn't the same as everyone else.

She just doesn't know it yet.

With her fair share of problems – money (lack of), an elderly father, a struggling business – Garet should be just like any other young, feisty, single New Yorker. If only it was that simple...

It begins with the old silver box that had been soldered shut. All Garet has to do is open it. A favour for the frail owner of the antiques shop. Who wouldn’t help?

Only it’s then that things start to change. Garet doesn't notice at first, the shifts barely perceptible. But the city in which she grew up is beginning to reveal a long-hidden side – darker, and altogether more dangerous: parallel world of chaos, smoke and blood.

And now it’s out of the box...and it has no intention of going back in.

Bright Young Things - Anna Godbersen
Publisher: Razor Bill
Release Date: 6th January 2011

It’s 1929 and Letty Larkspur and Cordelia Grey have escaped their small Midwestern town to chase big dreams and even bigger secrets. Amongst the glittering metropolis of New York City, they meet Astrid Donal, a flapper who has everything she could ever want, except for the one thing Letty and Cordelia have to offer—true friendship. Set in the dizzying summer before the market crash, against the vast lawns of the glamorous Long Island mansions and on the blindingly lit stages of Broadway, three girls will find scandal, intrigue, and romance. . .

The amazing people at Bloomsbury sent me the most fantastic package. I had been sent the last Harry Potter book a while ago but hadn't read any of the series so they sent me the rest of the series with the new covers! It was like Christmas Day!

You Against Me - Jenny Downham
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Release Date: 2nd December

If someone hurts your sister and you're any kind of man, you seek revenge, right? If your brother's been accused of a terrible crime and you're the main witness, then you banish all doubt and defend him. Isn't that what families do? When Mikey's sister claims a boy assaulted her at a party, his world of work and girls begins to fall apart. When Ellie's brother is charged with the crime, but says he didn't do it, her world of revision, exams and fitting in at a new school begins to unravel. When Mikey and Ellie meet, two worlds collide. Brave and unflinching, this is a novel of extraordinary skillfulness and almost unbearable tension. It's a book about loyalty and the choices that come with it. But above all it's a book about love - for one's family and for another.


Ghost Town - Rachel Caine
The fragile peace between humans and vampires in Morganville is in trouble, and when Claire takes drastic action, she's put under serious pressure to re-establish the barriers that keep the town residents inside, and wipe the memories of those who leave. But working with her half-crazy vampire boss Myrnin means that things don't always turn out as planned ... and as the people of Morganville begin acting strangely, Claire and her friends must solve the mystery and try to put things right. But one by one, her allies are turning on her ... even the ones she trusts most.

Thanks so much to Chrissie @ Chrissie's Corner for this one. I was lucky enough to win Ghost Town in a giveaway when the original winner didn't reply in time. This has been one of my most anticipated books this year so I was rediculously excited when I got the email.


Naomi @ Supernatural Bookworm is made off all kinds of awesomeness this week. She was so lovely to lend me Firelight and 2 adult books which can all be seen below!

Firelight - Sophie Jordan
With her rare ability to breathe fire, Jacinda is special even among the draki—the descendants of dragons who can shift between human and dragon forms. But when Jacinda’s rebelliousness leads her family to flee into the human world, she struggles to adapt, even as her draki spirit fades. The one thing that revives it is Will, whose family hunts her kind. Jacinda can’t resist getting closer to him, even though she knows she’s risking not only her life but the draki’s most closely guarded secret.

Gentlemen Prefer Succubi (Succubus Diaries #1) - Jill Myles
Who knew an angel could get a girl in so much devilish trouble?

Jackie Brighton woke up in a dumpster this morning, and her day has only gotten weirder. Her breasts grew overnight, her sex drive is insatiable, and apparently she had her first one-night stand ever . . . with a fallen angel.

Of course, she only remembers gorgeous Noah’s enormous, er, package. And their steamy shower sex. Hmm . . . and the dark stranger whose bite transformed her into an immortal siren with a seductive Itch. With help from Noah and fellow succubus Remy Summore, Jackie adapts to her new lifestyle—until she accidentally strikes a deal that sends her lover into the deadly clutches of the vampire queen and lands Jackie, Remy, and the queen’s wickedly hot right-hand man into the middle of a fierce battle for an ancient halo.

But how’s a girl supposed to save the world when the enemy’s so hard to resist.

Succubi Like It Hot (Succubus Diaries #2) - Jill Myles
With a hot new figure, her dream job as an archaeologist, and two gorgeous boyfriends to scratch her seductive Itch -- an angel and a vampire -- Jackie Brighton is totally getting the hang of life as a succubus. Then she accidentally knocks the pizza guy unconscious with her touch. Great -- she's cursed. After striking a deal to get the curse lifted by a crafty demon, Jackie and her best friend Remy take a road trip to deliver a cryptic message to the nation's oldest succubus. Unfortunately, neither of her jealous lovers is talking to Jackie right now, and due to the curse, she's desperate to get her Itch scratched very soon. Their journey gets weirder with every mile -- demonic possession, a charming stalker, a cryptic warning -- and when they get to New Orleans, Jackie discovers a dangerous catch to her supernatural bargain. Someone wants her dead -- again. Can a brainy vixen in a miniskirt outsmart the forces of evil?

The lovely Caroline from Portrait of a Woman is hosting a week dedicated to HIV/ AIDS in YA Lit to go with World AIDS day on 1st December. Her week will run from 28th November to 5th December. When she asked me if I wanted to be a part of her feature week, I was extremely interested, having not read anything like this before. Caroline was nice enough to send me the book below to read and review. Go check out her site and grab a button to show your support!

The Beat Goes On - Adele Minchin
At fifteen shy Leyla looks up to her sixteen-year-old cousin, Emma. Beautiful, confident, and popular with boys, Emma seems to have it all. But when Emma learns that she's HIV positive after having unprotected sex just once, Leyla must be the strong one. Supporting her cousin through all the changes, even teaching music to kids in Emma's support group, Leyla promises to keep it "all" a secret. But when Leyla's gorgeous new boyfriend thinks condoms are optional, and Emma's health begins to decline, Leyla realizes people will never be safe unless they are aware. Will she find the courage to speak out and make people understand

I went to my first event as a blogger a couple of weeks ago (the write up for that is coming soon, I promise!). Becky @ The Bookette was getting rid of some of her books and was nice enough to give me two of them!

The Eternal Ones - Kirsten Miller
Haven Moore can’t control her visions of a past with a boy called Ethan, and a life in New York that ended in fiery tragedy. In our present, she designs beautiful dresses for her classmates with her best friend Beau. Dressmaking keeps her sane, since she lives with her widowed and heartbroken mother in her tyrannical grandmother’s house in Snope City, a tiny town in Tennessee. Then an impossible group of coincidences conspire to force her to flee to New York, to discover who she is, and who she was.

In New York, Haven meets Iain Morrow and is swept into an epic love affair that feels both deeply fated and terribly dangerous. Iain is suspected of murdering a rock star and Haven wonders, could he have murdered her in a past life? She visits the Ouroboros Society and discovers a murky world of reincarnation that stretches across millennia. Haven must discover the secrets hidden in her past lives, and loves¸ before all is lost and the cycle begins again.

Passing Strange (Generation Dead #3) - Daniel Waters
Karen DeSonne always passed as a normal (if pale) teenager; with her friends, with her family, and at school. Passing cost her the love of her life. And now that Karen’s dead, she’s still passing—this time, as alive. Karen DeSonne just happens to be an extremely human-like zombie. Meanwhile, Karen’s dead friends have been fingered in a high-profile murder, causing a new round of antizombie regulations that have forced them into hiding. Karen soon learns that the “murder” that destroyed their non-life was a hoax, staged by Pete Martinsburg and his bioist zealots. Obtaining enough evidence to expose the fraud and prove her friends’ innocence means doing the unthinkable: becoming Pete’s girlfriend. Karen’s only hope is that the enemy never realizes who she really is—because the consequences would be worse than death.

So that's what I got this week. Anyone read any of them??
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