Monday 31 March 2014

Girl About Time by Kerstin Gier

Every family has secrets. But what do you do if you find out that you are the family secret. That's what happens to Gwen when she finds herself unbelievably transported from out on the town to turn of the century London. It's enough to make any girl dizzy. 

Gwyneth just wants to be normal. Unfortunately that is difficult to do when her cousin is preparing to travel back in time for the first time, as a result of a genetic anomaly and family trait. Trailing behind the impressiveness that is her cousin Charlotte, Gwyn is unprepared and more than a little shocked to find out that she is the one that inherited the time-travel gene.

I adored this original and funny take on time-travel - a gene passed through special families, relying only on old predictions on who the next time traveler would be. There were also conspiracies and secrets about the two families and their powers. However, as much as I liked the storyline, the narrative was a little young for me; even though the protagonist is 16, Gwyn's voice sounded about 12. She was a little immature, sure, but it made it difficult to connect with her.

Then there was Gideon, the most recent time traveler of the parallel family. Frustrating, stubborn and pretty hot but knew it, Gideon, like Charlotte, had been preparing for traveling in time to complete the mission all his life; needless to say, he is less than impressed with Gwyn's fumbling around. I could never quite figure Gideon out, one minute he was being quite sweet and considerate, the next the world's biggest douche. The plot was well written and organised but very much the first part of a trilogy, with many questions left unanswered, and as someone who likes answers, this was incredibly annoying! So even though it reminded me of old Meg Cabot books I read when I was 15, I still really enjoyed it and will happily continue the trilogy.
Published 2011 by Chicken House.

Sunday 30 March 2014

Weekly Highlights: the 'April TBR' edition

Weekly Highlights is a feature borrowed from Faye of A Daydreamer's Thoughts, where I get to highlight my posts of the week, show you my new books and talk about bookish things! 

Nothing new to report - only one new book this week, although I think I'm having withdrawal symptoms as I dreamed of book shops the other night! The only other interesting thing to happen this week is that I've dyed my hair red!

On The Blog
Review of The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E Smith (5 stars)
Review of Obsidian by Jennifer L Armentrout (5 stars)
Review of Onyx by Jennifer L Armentrout (4.5 stars)

Currently Reading
Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan - I am loving this modern twist on the classic Gothic novel; it's funny and a bit scary and surprisingly sweet.

On My Bookshelf
White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L Armentrout

Seventeen-year-old Layla just wants to be normal. But with a kiss that kills anything with a soul, she's anything but normal. Half demon, half gargoyle, Layla has abilities no one else possesses.
Raised among the Wardens—a race of gargoyles tasked with hunting demons and keeping humanity safe—Layla tries to fit in, but that means hiding her own dark side from those she loves the most. Especially Zayne, the swoon-worthy, incredibly gorgeous and completely off-limits Warden she’s crushed on since forever.
Then she meets Roth—a tattooed, sinfully hot demon who claims to know all her secrets. Layla knows she should stay away, but she’s not sure she wants to—especially when that whole no-kissing thing isn’t an issue, considering Roth has no soul.
But when Layla discovers she’s the reason for the violent demon uprising, trusting Roth could not only ruin her chances with Zayne…it could brand her a traitor to her family. Worse yet, it could become a one-way ticket to the end of the world.

Oh look, another Jennifer Armentrout book! I hadn't considered this but after reading and loving her Lux series, I requested this on Netgalley. Thank you Mira Ink!

April TBR
I have 6 review books to read this month, 2 coming out in April, the other 4 the 1st May: The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa, The Fearless by Emma Pass, The Worst Girlfriend In The World by Sarra Manning, The Glass Bird Girl by Esme Kerr, Tease by Amanda Maciel, and Riot by Sarah Mussi. 
I think that'll get me through the month, don't you? If not, I've got both physical and ebook picks from TBR jars.

Friday 28 March 2014

Onyx by Jennifer L Armentrout

Being connected to Daemon Black sucks…. Thanks to his alien mojo, Daemon’s determined to prove what he feels for me is more than a product of our bizarro connection. So I’ve sworn him off, even though he’s running more hot than cold these days. But we’ve got bigger problems.

Something worse than the Arum has come to town…

The Department of Defense are here. If they ever find out what Daemon can do and that we're linked, I’m a goner. So is he. And there's this new boy in school who’s got a secret of his own. He knows what’s happened to me and he can help, but to do so, I have to lie to Daemon and stay away from him. Like that's possible. Against all common sense, I'm falling for Daemon. Hard. But then everything changes…

I’ve seen someone who shouldn’t be alive. And I have to tell Daemon, even though I know he’s never going to stop searching until he gets the truth. What happened to his brother? Who betrayed him? And what does the DOD want from them—from me?

No one is who they seem. And not everyone will survive the lies….

The sequel to Obsidian gets right back in the with the drama and the chemistry. Daemon annoying as ever, determined to prove that these feelings between them are real, not just the result of some major healing. So he upped the ante and put on the charm. I was weirdly proud that Katy didn't cave to Daemon, even with his charm - she wanted to be equals. And I could understand her confusion; Daemon acted like he despised her before, although that was what she wanted to see. But he had his moments and my heart melted at how adorable he could be when he dropped his guard. 

Now there was a new character: Blake. At first my feelings could be summed up as: meh, with a little bit of 'how could you do this to Daemon?' Even as Katy got closer to a normal human being, I never really trusted him, everything seemed too easy. And when he started training Katy to use her weird powers (don't ask, just read), I was fine with it whereas Daemon was not. But then Blake threw a knife at Katy's face and suddenly I agreed with Daemon that Blake could not be trusted. 

It was a little slow to start but the real big plot sneaks up on you, in the disguise of a good guy and also someone who was thought to be dead! Talk about a plot-twist! This time, it wasn't just the Arum they had to worry about but also the Department of Defence, a part of the government that were monitoring all the Luxen. Katy was as strong-willed as she was in the first book but made stupid mistakes; so determined to prove the Daemon that she didn't need protecting, she nearly got herself killed on a number of occasions but I was still so proud of her for not backing down, against Daemon or Blake or anyone. 

The second book in the Lux series was much more emotional, from normal chemistry between Katy and Daemon trying to become something more, to heart break of a close death; from fighting to the death to being imprisoned in poison. The whole book was like a roller coaster that wouldn't let me go, and then it ended on an incredible cliff-hanger! Now excuse me, because I need to get the next book in the series!

Published 14th August 2012 by Entangled Teen.

Wednesday 26 March 2014

Obsidian by Jennifer L Armentrout

Starting over sucks. When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I'd pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring.... until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up. And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something...unexpected happens.

The hot alien living next door marks me. You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon's touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I'm getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

If I don't kill him first, that is.

Katy's mother has uprooted them and moved them across the country after the death of her father and Katy is not happy. That is, until the internet connection is up. With no-one to talk to, Katy's mum pushes her to make friends with the neighbour kids, twin brother and sister Katy's age. Unfortunately, while Dee was friendly, Daemon was - to put it simply - infuriatingly hot. I really did adore this instant love/hate relationship Katy and Daemon had, with insults and innuendo. I especially loved how Katy holds her own against Daemon and his unreasonableness and taunting attitude. She was also a book blogger and I loved the occasional reference and how much more easily I connected with her because of this.

Daemon was so stubborn and pig-headed and so blooming frustrating! Even two thirds of the way through I still didn't know if I wanted to kiss him or smack him! But Dee more than made up for the awful things her brother did; she was sweet and so desperate for a normal friend, I just wanted to hug her! Of course, when the Big Secret was revealed, and it was a doozy, all the little things make sense; Daemon's over-protective nature, their lack of friends, the weirdness of the town. 

And then there was the danger. Daemon's species are being hunted by the Arum, the complete opposite of the Luxen. Where Daemon can control light, Arum are made of shadows and are just as terrifying and strong. Normally they are can hide but as result of Daemon saving Katy's life, she is lit up like a Christmas tree, signalling to the Arum. So Katy is forced to stick to Daemon's side so he can protect her; you can imagine her joy! While the whole 'sister planet' thing was a bit simple, I did like the balance that this highlighted between light and dark. I also loved how this afforded Katy a chance to show Daemon she was not a weak little thing that needed protecting all the time. 

I flew through this in a matter of hours; from the easy to relate to narrative to Daemon's show-off nature, I loved everything about this. The rest of the series has to live up to high standards!

Published 8th May 2012 by Entangled Teen.

Monday 24 March 2014

The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E Smith

Owen lives in the basement. Lucy lives on the 24th floor. But when the power goes out in the midst of a New York heatwave, they find themselves together for the first time: stuck in a lift between the 10th and 11th floors. As they await help, they start talking...

The brief time they spend together leaves a mark. And as their lives take them to Edinburgh and San Francisco, to Prague and to Portland they can't shake the memory of the time they shared. Postcards cross the globe when they themselves can't, as Owen and Lucy experience the joy - and pain - of first love.

And as they make their separate journeys in search of home, they discover that sometimes it is a person rather than a place that anchors you most in the world.

Lucy and Owen live in the same building but several floors apart and have never meet until they get stuck in the lift together. They were only there for a few hours but it was enough to spark the start of a unique friendship. They begin to write to each other as they each move away from New York but things aren't as simple as they were when they first met. They were both very sweet, almost vulnerable in their meetings because they were shy and protecting themselves; I adored the way they opened up to each other, especially with parts of themselves not even their parents knew about.

The story is told in alternating chapters, flitting between the two of them, wherever in the world they were, piecing together explanations for why Owen wasn't responding to emails or why Lucy was back in New York when she should be in London. All this sight-seeing made me want to travel so much! Smith wrote incredible descriptive and emotive prose of all the places, especially London and Edinburgh and Rome. As they travel, they begin to drift apart, not writing as much, which was quite hard to read actually; I rooted for them so hard! But even as Lucy and Owen drift apart, their families are bought closer to together; Lucy finally talks to her parents about what she wants, and Owen manages to talk his father out of his funk after his mother's death. 

I flew through this, so wrapped up in both Lucy's and Owen's stories wherever they led. The emails and postcards as means of communication was very sweet and interesting to read, not just as a different means of narrative but also for what the characters wrote and left out. What I think was so special about this story was that even as they grew apart, the connection between them stayed strong as ever; they learned from their mistakes and grew as individuals only to return to each other, the same but different and better for it.

Published 10th April 2014 by Headline. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Sunday 23 March 2014

Weekly Highlights: the 'I like hot aliens' edition

Weekly Highlights is a feature borrowed from Faye of A Daydreamer's Thoughts, where I get to highlight my posts of the week, show you my new books and talk about bookish things! 

Still jobless so nothing new there but I did get two new ebooks that I've already read because they were so good! And yesterday I helped with my library's Chatterbooks group. It was Spy Week and the kids all dressed in disguises and hunted round the library for The Golden Book. So yeah, that was my Saturday morning!

On The Blog
Review of Paper Towns by John Green (5 stars)
Review of Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone (4 stars)

Currently Reading
Entangled by Cat Clarke - my first Cat Clarke book! A little nervous but liking it so far!

On My Bookshelf
Obsidian by Jennifer L Armentrout
Starting over sucks. When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I'd pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring.... until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up. And then he opened his mouth. Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something...unexpected happens.

The hot alien living next door marks me. You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon's touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I'm getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

If I don't kill him first, that is.

I was persuaded to buy this ebook by Sophie, the bad influence that she is! Luckily, I love her and this book was amazing! I read it in two days and immediately bought the second book in the series! I have a new book crush.

Friday 21 March 2014

Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone

Anna and Bennett were never supposed to meet. Why would they? Anna is sixteen in 1995, fiercely determined to leave her quiet town and finally travel the world. Bennett's seventeen in 2012, living in San Francisco and trying to control his ability to travel through time - an incredible gift, but also an unpredictable curse, which constantly threatens to separate him from the people he loves.

When Bennett suddenly finds himself in Anna's world, they are inescapably drawn to one another - it's almost as if they have met before. But they both know, deep down, that it can never last. For no matter how desperate Bennett is to stay with Anna, his condition will inevitably knock him right back to where he belongs - and Anna will be left to pick up the pieces.

Referred to as a younger version of Time Travellers Wife, I knew I would love this. It was refreshingly different, as the story was told from Anna's perspective and Bennett has a bit more control over his power. But he's not back in 1995 for no reason; his family using him for his powers in varying degrees and his sister does it for music concerts. Trouble is, he went back too far and lost her, so he is hanging around hoping that she is ok.

Anna was surprisingly strong for a girl facing a guy with time and space travelling powers and when everything hits the fan, she knows she can't mope around forever; I really admired her inner strength and character for doing what she did. As for Bennett, I liked him, he was a good guy, if misguided in his protective nature. But it's a time travel story, of course there is going to be many secrets that threaten both Bennett's relationship with Anna and Bennett himself. While I completely understand Anna's anger, I can see why Bennett does not tell her everything, let alone all at once; that would freak anyone out!

Heartbreak was inevitable but I had no idea it would happen in so many ways! Not only was Bennett likely to bounce back to his own time but Stone also messes around with the butterfly effect and let me tell you, my heart was in my throat and tears in my eyes for some parts! The one thing that really annoyed me in this book was Bennett's explanation for how he discovered his powers; his story of wishing himself into the school library as a kid was a bit lame and disappointing. But that one thing aside, I'm a sucker for romance and adored this story. 

Published 25th October 2012 by Doubleday. 

Tuesday 18 March 2014

Paper Towns by John Green

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows.

After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees of the girl he thought he knew.

Living next door to this gorgeous but mysterious girl, Quentin had no chance against falling in love with her. So when she tumbles through his window and calls for a driver in a revenge mission against her cheating boyfriend, he has no choice but to follow her around the city after dark. From the very off-set, this story was so very funny while being clever and insightful. It also managed to be slightly terrifying at times when Margo's clues looked hopeless.

As with all John Green's novels, he gave us such great characters, from thoughtful Q to loud Ben, from sweet Lacey to adventurous Margo. I adored the relationship the boys had; typical boys didn't talk feelings much but obviously cared for each other, and each bought something unique to their search, even if it was just to be comic relief or being disgusting. As for Margo, my God she was an evil genius! I wish I was that clever! I laughed out loud at her pulling her revenge pranks with Q. She was a complete mystery and while I loved watching the gang piece together the clues to where she could have gone, I couldn't help but think she was being incredibly selfish leaving everything behind with no goodbye.

Masquerading as a normal YA contemporary, this book was a whirlwind of emotions that I have come to expect from Green's stories. From its characters to its nicely complex plot, I loved it from start to finish. It raised moral issues that everyone deals with, like the need to leave and start over, as well as seemingly normal things like road trips, random brushes with death and figuring out the enigma that is another person. It was beautifully constructed and cleverly written; I can never get tired of John Green's novels.

Published 3rd May 2010 by Bloomsbury. 

Sunday 16 March 2014

Weekly Highlights: the 'average' edition

Weekly Highlights is a feature borrowed from Faye of A Daydreamer's Thoughts, where I get to highlight my posts of the week, show you my new books and talk about bookish things! 

Nothing new to report on the book front, but had a job interview yesterday and am feeling good about it, so wish me luck!

On The Blog
Review of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (5 stars)
Review of Darkness Falls by Jessica Sorensen (2 stars)

Currently Reading
Just finished Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone this morning, was really good! Next up is Obsidian by Jennifer L Armentrout

On My Bookshelf
The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa
Allison Sekemoto once struggled with the question: human or monster? With the death of her love, Zeke, she has her answer.

Allie will embrace her cold vampire side to hunt down and end Sarren, the psychopathic vampire who murdered Zeke. But the trail is bloody and long, and Sarren has left many surprises for Allie and her companions—her creator, Kanin, and her blood brother, Jackal. The trail is leading straight to the one place they must protect at any cost—the last vampire-free zone on Earth, Eden. And Sarren has one final, brutal shock in store for Allie.

In a ruined world where no life is sacred and former allies can turn on you in one heartbeat, Allie will face her darkest days. And if she succeeds, triumph is short-lived in the face of surviving forever alone.

The finale of The Blood of Eden series and I am so excited! I love these books and can't wait to see how it ends!

Friday 14 March 2014

Darkness Falls by Jessica Sorensen

When the disease spread through the world, people had no choice but to go into hiding. The Colony is hidden deep underground, far away from the vampires—humans that were transformed by the disease. The vampires are hideous, starving, and they will kill any human they come across.

Seventeen-year-old Kayla is a Bellator, a warrior that protects The Colony. In order to survive, there are three rules she must follow:

Rule #1—Never go out after dark.
Rule #2—Always carry a weapon.
Rule #3—No matter what, never EVER get bit.

But what happens when the rules Kayla has always lived by can no longer apply?

The synopsis for this book promises so much but unfortunately, it just didn't deliver. It had good fighting scenes and dramatic flair but characters were flat, it was vague on the explanations and with so much was going on, it was hard to follow. Which is unfortunate because I really wanted to like this. 

I did finish this book, as annoying as it was; it was addictive in a 'have to know' sort of way. It continually hinted at revealing secrets but just made more questions! And as I already mentioned, it was incredibly plot heavy with so many half-explained details that made my head spin. However, there were many little mistakes that frustrated me more than the confusing plot; Sorensen had a really odd and often non-existent ways of showing the passing of time, which confused me beyond belief when we suddenly moved from place to place. Also, I could forgive the question marks in the wrong place, but I actually yelled at the kindle when they used the wrong 'there/their'!

Now, onto the characters. The protagonist Kayla was incredibly boring, considering she had awesome fighting skills, could feel people's fears and lived in a world where vampiric monsters roamed. She was supposed to be awesome but instead was pretty weak-willed and inconsistent; I wanted her to stand up for herself and stop messing around with confusing people. As for the "love interest", I get the impression we were supposed to like Aiden and he did had his moments but he was a serial liar! I just could not trust him, nor hardly anyone else while they continued to lie and hide behind superficial fears. 

So, an excellent premise but nothing really worked the way it was supposed to; the plot was confusing, the characters inconsistent and unlikeable, and the whole story not very well executed. The only thing that did mostly work was the writing. Apart from a few silly grammatical errors, it was imaginative and full of pretty descriptions of the settings and new world order. 

Published 14th March 2012.

Tuesday 11 March 2014

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak


1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier.

Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall.


It's a small story, about: a girl, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist fighter, and quite a lot of thievery.


I'm not really sure what I can say about this, so many of you have probably already read it! I had but needed to read it to refresh my memory before the movie. I first read it when I was about 13 and can remember loving it and luckily, it was just as amazing the second time around!

So, some things to consider with this book: it is narrated by Death, is set in Germany during the Second World War and definitely does not much of a happy ending. That's all the basics and stuff you probably already knew, so good to get it out of the way! I recommend that you read this book slowly, to let all the beautiful descriptions wash over you and savour every word, for it is a truly incredible prose. Made all the more amazing by its narrator; Death likes to pick up on the small and inconsequential oddities that would have gone unnoticed but really highlights human nature in all its unlikely forms. 

You know what's coming, of course you do; they're living in Nazi Germany during air raids. Death does not attempt to hide the possibility of people dying, even tells you of it, as if trying to prepare you. It doesn't work of course, it makes the anticipation worse because you know it's coming. But you can't help but enjoy the story, from Liesel trying to read to hiding a Jew in the basement, from Mama's swearing to family and neighbours going to fight in the war. I especially love Liesel's relationship with her Papa, Hans Hubermann; he is an amazing character, such an odd duck in Nazi Germany but this whole story hints that if there was one, there were likely more reluctant Germans to join the Nazi Party. 

Honestly, I have so many great things to say about this but I'm going to have to leave it there because otherwise it will go on for ages! Just know that it is an amazing book, masterfully written, full of interesting comments on the human condition. If you have yet to read it, read it now!

Published 8th September 2007 by Black Swan.

Sunday 9 March 2014

Weekly Highlights: the 'small' edition

Weekly Highlights is a feature borrowed from Faye of A Daydreamer's Thoughts, where I get to highlight my posts of the week, show you my new books and talk about bookish things! 

Another fairly quiet week - nothing to report on the personal front, just boring job-hunting stuff. Went shopping (dressed as the Tardis, picture on Twitter if interested) and showed amazing restraint in Waterstones, mostly because mother was being impatient! So yeah, only one new book this week but it's Sarra Manning and that's always good!

On The Blog
Review of Where the Rock Splits the Sky by Philip Webb (3 stars)
Review of The End of the World As We Know It by Iva-Marie Palmer (4.5 stars)
Review of The Devil in the Corner by Patricia Elliott (4 stars)

Currently Reading
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - a re-read before I go see the movie this week. And let me tell you, it is a relief that I love it just as much as I did the first time, because it's been a while!

On My Bookshelf
The Worst Girlfriend In The World by Sarra Manning
Alice Jenkins is the worst girlfriend in the world according to the many, many boys who've shimmied up lampposts and shoplifted from New Look to impress her, only to be dumped when she gets bored of them. Alice has a very low boredom threshold.

But she never gets bored with Franny, her best friend since they met at nursery school. Friends are for ever. Ain't nothing going to come between them. Girls rule, boys drool is their motto. Well, it's Alice's motto, Franny doesn't have much time for boys; they're all totes immature and only interested in one thing. But then there's Louis Allen, lead singer of The Desperadoes, the best band in Merrycliffe-on-sea (though that could be because they're the only band in Merrycliffe-on-sea). He's a tousle-haired, skinny-jeaned, sultry-eyed manchild, the closest thing that Franny's ever seen to the hipsters that she's read about on the internet and she's been crushing on him HARD for the last three years.

She's never worked up the courage to actually speak to him but she's sure on some deeper level that goes beyond mere words, Louis absolutely knows that she's his soulmate. He just doesn't know that he knows it yet. It's why he cops off with so many other girls. So, when Alice, bored with callow youths, sets her sights on Louis it threatens to tear the girls' friendship apart, even though they're better than fighting over a boy. They strike a devil's deal - may the best girl win. Best friends become bitter rivals and everything comes to an explosive conclusion on their first trip to London.

Can true friendship conquer all?

Friday 7 March 2014

The Devil In The Corner by Patricia Elliott

Penniless, and escaping the horrors of life as a governess to brutal households, Maud seeks refuge with the cousin-by-marriage she never knew. But Juliana quashes Maud's emerging friendships with the staff and locals - especially John, the artist commissioned to restore the sinister Doom in the local church. John, however, is smitten with Maud and makes every effort to woo her.

Maud, isolated and thwarted at every turn, continues to take the laudanum which was her only solace in London. Soon she becomes dependent on the drug - so is this the cause of her fresh anxieties? Or is someone - or something - plotting her demise?

Is the devil in the corner of the Doom a reality, or a figment of her imagination?

After two years and three houses of being a failed governess, Maud is feeling hopeless. Orphaned, with no family or support, she is on the verge of giving up when she hears from her uncle's step-daughter, Juliana Greenwood, offering her a home. Her only family left, Maud goes, hoping to find love as well as a stable home. But of course, this is a typical Victorian Gothic, which I love, so nothing is as it seems and none of it goes right. 

I felt so sorry for Maud but was never really sure if I could trust her. She had some serious issues; I strongly believe she sleepwalked, which was not helping the superstitious rumours, as well as being addicted to laudanum and having a horrible time at her previous houses, I'm not all that surprised that she was a bit weird. As for her cousin, oh did Juliana annoyed me. She was spoiled, petty, immature considering she was middle-aged and ill, not to mention careful with her praise, even when Maud truly deserves it. Although it was obvious that Maud really wanted to love her and for Juliana to reciprocate, I think even Maud had her limits and if not for her Victorian ideals, would have acted out.

Now for the love interest. Written with alternate perspectives, we got inside John's head and saw Maud through his eyes, completely smitten with her as he was, even as she confused him. Tasked with repairing the church's painting, John was not the typical brooding artist; he was considerate and sweet, pretty clueless with women but a good guy. 

The story itself was not as fast-paced or scary as I thought it would be. Not that I'm complaining; in the end, I really liked the pacing and the storyline, just different to what I expected. As Maud tries to understand what is happening in her new small town, starting with vicious rumours and ending with various deaths, she succumbs to the superstitious towns people and the will of Juliana. Elliott wrote a very good portrayal of Victorian mannerisms and traditions, all the little details adding up to one incredibly gripping story. 

Published 6th March 2014 by Hachette Children's Books. Thank you to the publisher for my copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Wednesday 5 March 2014

The End Of The World As We Know It by Iva-Marie Palmer

They wanted to party like it was their last night on earth. They just might get their wish….

Meet the four most unlikely heroes ever:
Teena McAuley: Queen Bee, first-class problem solver, resident heartbreaker.
Leo Starnick: UFO conspirator, pizza delivery boy, all-around slacker.
Evan Brighton: Baseball all-star, extreme virgin, Teena-worshipper.
Sarabeth Lewis: Straight-A student, weekend hermit, enemy of the color pink.

When Teena locks Leo, Evan, and Sarabeth in the basement during her biggest party of the year, she doesn’t plan on getting trapped in the Loser Dungeon herself. She can barely imagine a night with these dweebs—let alone a lifetime. But when an alien invasion destroys their entire Midwestern suburb, it looks like these unlikely friends are the last people on earth. Now, it’s up to them to save the world….

Aliens invade a classic American suburbia, and four stereotypical Breakfast Club are left alive in the aftermath; I was all over this! It promised humour, fighting intergalactic beings and dealing with old grudges and boy did it deliver! There was a good balance between the gross sci-fi alien stuff and the comic relief, however inappropriate it may be, but I loved it. 

The story was told with alternate perspectives between all four characters, which allowed for different thoughts, and as they split up, different places across town and in the spaceship. Each character is a high school stereotype but I never felt annoyed with that fact, maybe because we were each of their heads, or because Palmer proved to show that they were each more than their labels. Either way, I adored each of them, even as they annoyed me or did the wrong thing. I especially loved Sarabeth, with her smarts, logical thinking and shy nature. There was continuous banter and pop references, which was very entertaining and gently broke up the near-death experiences and alien goop. The story was also occasionally interrupted by a omniscient narrator, which was interesting and very funny, especially when it is revealed who it is.

I adored this book and practically ate it up, with its odd mix of characters and scary encounters with giant aliens. Teena, Even, Leo and Sarabeth proved they were worth their moxie in an end of the world scenario, got past their fear and managed to work past their differences and past cliques to find out what has happened to their town. From the sweet budding romance and rekindling old friendships, to gunning down aliens and discovering the dead bodies of neighbours, I highly recommend this funny, cool and scary book. 

Published 6th March 2014 by Hot Key Books. Thank you to the publisher for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

Monday 3 March 2014

Where The Rock Splits The Sky by Philip Webb

The moon has been split, and the Visitors have Earth in their alien grip. But the captive planet? That's not her problem. Megan just wants to track down her missing dad...

The world stopped turning long before Megan was born. Ever since the Visitors split the moon and stilled the Earth, permanent sunset is all anyone has known. But now, riding her trusty steed Cisco, joined by her posse, Kelly and Luis, Megan is on the run from her Texas hometown, journeying across the vast, dystopic American West to hunt down her father. To find him, she must face the Zone, a notorious landscape where the laws of nature do not apply. The desert can play deadly tricks on the mind, and the quest will push Megan past her limits. But to solve the mystery of not just her missing father but of the paralyzed planet itself, she must survive it--and an alien showdown.

Megan lives in a future where the world has stopped spinning, twenty years ago when the Visitors arrived. No one really knows much about what has happened but has had to adapt; half the world is in internal ice age and the other is sun-blasted, making only the edges habitable. This is a typical Western road-trip story, where Megan and friend Luis travel across the country to find her father and hopefully answers on the Visitors and what the dangerous Zone is.

Even though the Earth not spinning is a terrifying thought, Megan - born after it stopped - made a very logical argument about shadows being pinned still and knowing where you are in relation to the sun that made an unusual amount of sense. I really felt for Megan, stuck with this tough journey, looking for her father and not even sure he's still alive but she was pretty standoffish. Raised without parents, I'm not surprised she had trouble with emotional stuff but it made her unlikable at times. As for her traveling companion Luis, I really liked him; he was strong, knew what he was doing most of the time, stood up to Megan if he thought they were in danger.

The story was very fast-paced but with no real explanations, it was difficult to understand, I just sort of went with it. Until we come across a character much like ourselves: still thinking the Earth spins and some things were explained but not all. I'm very glad they came across Kelly, she gave the opportunity to have some weird occurrences explained as well as some much needed comic relief. It was all very intriguing, and definitely interesting enough for me to want to finish it, but not really my style. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad I stuck with it and got the answers I wanted but it was sometimes difficult to read while I was trying to piece bits together.

Published 6th March 2014 by Chicken House. Thank you to the publisher for ym copy in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday 2 March 2014

Weekly Highlights: the 'March TBR' edition

Weekly Highlights is a feature borrowed from Faye of A Daydreamer's Thoughts, where I get to highlight my posts of the week, show you my new books and talk about bookish things!

On The Blog
Review of Fire and Flood by Victoria Scott (5 stars)
Review of Out Of The Easy by Ruta Sepetys (4 stars)

Currently Reading
The Devil In The Corner by Patrica Elliott - Victorian Gothic is right up my street but I'm reading this with all the lights on!

On My Bookshelf
I was very good and didn't buy any new books this week, had no new review books but did have a surprise from Chicken House - a thank you card and some chocolates, for my early review of Fire And Flood! Oh, I love them, thank you so much Chicken House!

Monthly TBR
I'm going to try something new here: a monthly to-read list. I've started making lists of a couple of books I want to read on post-it notes, so thought I might as well share them with you! This is not all I will read this month, just books I want to prioritize because of whatever reason. This also doesn't include e-books because I haven't picked any yet. So, let's get to it!
Paper Towns by John Green - this is for Lucy of Queen of Contemporary/The Bumbling Bibliophile and her Nerdfighter Month. It's the last book of his I have to read and this is a perfect reason to not let it sit on my shelf any longer.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - I need to re-read the book before I go see the movie.
Time Between Us by Tamara Stone - my latest pick from my TBR jar, I'm really looking forward to this one, a nice romantic contemp is just what I need.