Wednesday, 31 October 2012
Title: Sweet Damage
Author: Rebecca James
Publisher: Allen and Unwin
Released: April 2013
I still dream about Anna London's house.
In my dreams the house is more than it was in life; the building taller and more imposing, the hallways longer and more labyrinthine, the inside colder and darker than the real thing ever was.
Anna is sometimes in these dreams, lingering ghost-like and elusive ahead of or behind me, and no matter how much I chase her or call her name, I can never reach her.
In my dreams it's as if the house itself has sinister intentions. In real life, though, it wasn't the house that was responsible for what happened there. It was the people who did the damage.
Summary taken from GoodReads
Eep! The first thing that caught me when I first saw this way back when was the title. It sounds mysterious and I love it when words are juxtaposed like they are here to create a certain...something. And while the cover may not be all that eye-grabbing, it does still kind of highlight the creepiness of the synopsis.
What about you? What do you think? Leave me your thoughts and don't forget to link me up!
Tuesday, 30 October 2012
Author: Cassandra Giovanni
Released: 29th October 2012
Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Monday, 29 October 2012
Author: Ashely Madau
Publisher: Cambridge Press
Released: November 2012
Rating: 2 of 5 stars
Ava is a normal girl in the 1920s. One night sees her attending a wedding; an event that should be full of fun and goodwill quickly turns into one of danger instead and before she knows it she’s been turned into a vampire – except she isn’t a normal kind of vampire. Events see her leaving her sire’s home, only to return 80 years later. Someone’s after her blood, and they won’t stop until they get it.
This is a difficult review for me to write because everything really comes down to one issue: development. The ideas behind Morningside are brilliant. I really liked the idea of a half human, half vampire being – but it’s not in the way you might think. I also liked the kind of vampire that Julian was; Ashley Madau definitely has some original ideas here. Reading from Ava’s perspective was quite enjoyable because I could always get a sense of her emotions and each image was clear in my head.
For me, what we have here are the bones of a story. Disjointed scenes and ideas left me really quite confused because there was little flow and explanation; pretty much every scene and character could have done with fleshing out. Ava didn’t seem to be overly troubled by the fact she would never be able to contact her family again; she didn’t question the fact that Liam had human food in the kitchen (of which, incidentally, there was no sign of eighty years later). What also confused me somewhat was why it was her blood that the mysterious E was after. E was the sire of Liam, who had turned Ava into a vampire. While I knew that Ava’s blood was obviously different, I didn’t see how it was supposed to achieve the goal that E was chasing.
Liam was an OK character, but he was really closed-off. One minute hot, one minute cold, there was very little insight to his character. I grew attached to him only slightly, and it was a shame because what I saw of him – the true him, behind the mask – I really liked; what would have been better was to see much more of that. The same went for Julian also. In terms of what he was and what he could do – fantastic. There was some emotional insight but again, not enough. So for me, what I was seeing was this half-hearted, unexplained love triangle. Not a good combination. Because of this lack of development, I couldn’t see why Ava was interested in either of them…and I didn’t know what it was about her that pulled them in. strangely enough, though, if I had to pick, it would’ve been Liam.
There were some good scenes in here – when it comes to action, Madau knows how to make it compelling. That was when I started to actually feel what was going on. What was key here was the description. These scenes were the ones that were more fleshed out, that flowed better, that just had more detail. It would have been great to see this consistently across the book.
The ending, I think, was what sealed the deal. It felt very rushed, and there were no answers. None. No closure. Which then begs the question – what was the point of the story? If all that stuff happened, if Ava’s life was in danger and her blood was the key, surely we’re supposed to find out why? Find out what she is? Maybe, if it was written with care, it might just make sense. It might just be fair. But it was written so casually and quickly that it just didn’t sit right. Oh, and that love triangle? It’s not worth taking sides.
Overall, I found this to be really disappointing. What I was reading was ideas, and the ideas were fantastic. No question about it. But they needed developing and expanding; answers were needed for the question. The way it was wrapped up leaves no room for a sequel, though I can’t say for definite if there will or won’t be one. It just needs a whole lot of development, and had there been, I would have enjoyed this so much more.
Thank you to the author for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Sunday, 28 October 2012
Author: Tonya Fitzharris
Released: 1st September 2012
Rating: 4 of 5 stars
When I first saw this, and read what it was about, I was intrigued. A girl who steps off a bridge and has six seconds before she crashes into the sea - six seconds to reflect on her life, to think about her relationship with her parents, with her boyfriend, to think about the utter mess that her life had become. I was so curious to see how the author could manage to write a story that covered the span of six seconds and if it would work.
Let me tell you, Tonya Fitzharris rocked it.
I loved the way it was set out. A little bit of time was spent at the beginning just setting the scene; it didn't just randomly jump to the suicide. Maura's state of mind was presented clearly. There was this wonderful alternation between past and present, yet not overly so. Even within memories, other past moments intersected - and the beauty of it was that it all made perfect sense. Snippets of Maura's life were expertly crafted into dialogue and letters, and the overall effect of it was to give this brilliantly complete image of her life and how time was passing.
Reading from Maura's perspective was...intense. It was so easy to feel like what it was to be in her head. She is an incredibly tense character. At the same time it's obvious she's broken, and the stem of it all is her parents. So many times I wanted to snap at them to just get it together. Her father needed to move on with his life and actually be there rather than just lecture at her and dictate terms; her mother needed to get out of this ridiculous Victorian notion of a woman, live in the real world, grow a backbone and also stick with it when she wanted to have a real conversation with her daughter rather than abandon her when it got too tough. With all the strains and secrets of their marriage it's no wonder their already sensitive daughter was coming apart at the seams.
I was completely swept up in the downward spiral that was Maura's life. I felt for her and was frustrated with her at the same time. She wasn't exactly helping herself, and I wanted her to try and regain some control of her life. But clearly she didn't know how to do that and the people around her weren't helping. Normally I would have been utterly annoyed at how she was losing herself yet Fitzharris made me want to reach out to her instead. I was especially glad to see her challenge her mother at the end and try and force her out of that bubble she lived in almost perpetually.
Owen also led to a softening of my heart. It was quite weird, because in a way he did help in making Maura's life worsee by repeatedly behaving in a way that was totally unnecessary and he encouraged her to be more like him. At the same time he took the time to actually get to know Maura and despite everything else he was actually serious about her. It was sad to see what happened between them and sort of strange to be able to identify with both of their sides. They reminded me of Abby and Travis in Beautiful Disaster.
The ending I think I saw coming. It was kind of the opposite of what I wanted, but I'm just that way and it was still wrapped up neatly. It put the finishing touches on what turned out to be a wonderful, emotional read. 6 Seconds of Life is about a girl who struggles to cope with events in her life and who suffers and is tormented to the point that she can't bear it any longer; it's about a girl whose exhaustion is so palpable it's as if you're carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders. I'd definitely recommend that you read it as soon as you can if it sounds like your thing.
If you’re going to publish yourself, you get all the control. And honestly, that’s one of my favorite things about being an indie author. I love art and I love the opportunity to connect a piece of art to my own story. So when you set out to get your own cover, have a rough idea of an image in mind. Find a fantastic graphic artist who can help you bring that image to life (I know that self-publishing can get expensive, but this is not the time to count pennies. Spend as much money as you can to get the greatest artist you can. It is worth every cent). Make sure it’s what you want—it’s your own hard-earned money out of your own pocket, so don’t be afraid to speak of if changes need to be made. If you’re stuck for an image idea, think of a pivotal moment in your character’s journey that could be depicted on the cover. Or maybe even a special symbol or location. Just be sure it’s something that matters. There are far too many headless girls or girls in random pretty dresses donning the covers of the YA world these days. Do something that stands out. Do something provocative. Do something that makes people have to read your book.
Whatever you do, don’t hold back your creative intuition.
Wednesday, 24 October 2012
Title: Revolution 19
Author: Gregg Rosenblum
Publisher: Harper Teen
Released: 8th January 2013
Twenty years ago, the robots designed to fight our wars abandoned the battlefields. Then they turned their weapons on us.
Only a few escaped the robot revolution of 2071. Kevin, Nick, and Cass are lucky —they live with their parents in a secret human community in the woods. Then their village is detected and wiped out. Hopeful that other survivors have been captured by bots, the teens risk everything to save the only people they have left in the world—by infiltrating a city controlled by their greatest enemies.
Revolution 19 is a cinematic thriller unlike anything else. With a dynamic cast of characters, this surefire blockbuster has everything teen readers want—action, drama, mystery, and romance. Written by debut novelist Gregg Rosenblum, this gripping story shouldn’t be missed.
Summary taken from GoodReads
A robot revolution, huh? Now there's an interesting concept if ever there was one. The idea of robots having that degree of awareness and perhaps even emotion is definitely intriguing. The idea of them even fighting our wars in the first place makes me unable to decide whether that's lazy of humans or just ingenius. Probably both. Either way, once again the race has landed themselves in their own mess. Typical, eh? I can't wait to see what the author does with this!
What about you? Link me up!
Tuesday, 23 October 2012
OK, so the news you've all been waiting for: the winner of my birthday giveaway. It is...*drumroll*
I've emailed the winner and you have 48 hours to reply before someone else gets picked!
A huge thank you to everyone who entered. :)
Saturday, 20 October 2012
Author: Hannah Harvey
Released: 18th July 2012
Rating: 4 of 5 stars
The past few weeks I’ve just been getting through the days, barely keeping up with all the work I have and the few times I’m free not really feeling in the mood to read. Finally, knowing that I had a huge number of books to get through, I pulled myself together and started reading How I Got Here. All I can say is, thank God it was a Friday. Once I started this, I could not stop.
How I Got Here is the story of 18 year old River Lee. Stuck in hospital for anorexia, she remains silent and lives in her own thoughts. The doctors can’t understand her behaviour and soon give up on trying…that is, until Oliver comes along. Sensing that she’s had a harder time than anyone realises, he helps River work through her past and gets her to explain just how she got here.
Normally, I wouldn’t read a book about anorexia. I didn’t realise that would be a part of it when I started this. Normally, I probably wouldn’t even think twice about picking it up if I’d just happened to see the cover. Luckily for me, I did read the synopsis and decided to read it. Let me tell you, what’s inside this book is beautiful. The first thing that I loved was how it was structured. The story alternates between a letter from River and Oliver’s point of view, carrying on until the letters are over and it’s just POVs. I found that it really worked; it enabled River to convey both her past and what she was feeling at the time she was writing it, and then we’d get to see Oliver’s thoughts and more of his own life as he was dealing with her case. River was quite a strong character, not only because she’d survived what had happened to her, but also because she knew what she had to do to get better, both physically and emotionally; she didn’t keep putting herself over others, and she actually brought in some humour. The way she wrote the letters really had me feeling for her.
Through River’s past, this book tackles quite a few significant issues, but at the same time not making it too heavy. It really drives home the effect bullying can have, and like River, I couldn’t believe how ridiculous the trigger for it was. I’m not sure whether it was too ridiculous to be realistic, but at the same time I’m pretty sure there are people out there who are just like Kim, the girl who starts making River’s life hell. I was also shocked at her family and the way they were just completely oblivious. Her mother’s behaviour at one point was completely unexpected; where I thought that the allegations and supposed ‘evidence’ against her had been faked by the bullies, it was actually true for once and I couldn’t believe she’d done that. River’s brother was the opposite of unhelpful, and her father infuriatingly chose to believe there wasn’t any problem. I did get quite a mixed view of him, however, as towards the end it did seem as if he grew to understand what his daughter needed.
I also found myself rooting for Oliver and River as a couple. Theirs isn’t a traditional type of relationship and actually reminded me of Sebastian and Alison in Ultraviolet. I just loved how Oliver actually took the time to know her and didn’t keep pushing her for information. His sister irritated me to no end and I was glad when he’d finally had enough after realising what she’d done. For the last part of the book every time I pressed the ‘next’ button on my Kindle I’d just keep looking at how far I was from the end, watching it get closer and closer to 100% and wondering how much further it could possible go on before I got the ending I wanted in terms of their relationship. Harvey sure doesn’t mind cutting it close, but I guess that’s half the fun. ;)
This isn’t your average book dealing with the kinds of issues River faced, and I do think a lot of that was due to the structure and way the relationship was crafted. Because of that I really enjoyed it. Again, I did have a big issue with all the grammatical errors, so this could do with a lot of polishing. If you look at the story itself, however, the events and the emotions going on, this is definitely a worthwhile read.
A big thank you to the author for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Wednesday, 17 October 2012
Title: The Collector (Dante Walker #1)
Author: Victoria Scott
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Released: 12th March 2013
He makes good girls...bad.
Dante Walker is flippin’ awesome, and he knows it. His good looks, killer charm, and stellar confidence has made him one of hell’s best—a soul collector. His job is simple, weed through humanity and label those round rears with a big red good or bad stamp. Old Saint Nick gets the good guys, and he gets the fun ones. Bag-and-tag.
Sealing souls is nothing personal. Dante’s an equal opportunity collector and doesn’t want it any other way. But he’ll have to adjust, because Boss Man has given him a new assignment:
Collect Charlie Cooper’s soul within 10 days.
Dante doesn’t know why Boss Man wants Charlie, nor does he care. This assignment means only one thing to him, and that’s a permanent ticket out of hell. But after Dante meets the quirky, Nerd Alert chick he’s come to collect—he realizes this assignment will test his abilities as a collector, and uncover emotions deeply buried.
Summary taken from GoodReads
Monday, 15 October 2012
Author: Nicole France
Publisher: Xlibris Corporation
Released: 17th April 2012
Rating: 2.5/3 out of 5 stars
Thank you to the author for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
Sunday, 14 October 2012
From the time I could talk I was always going to be a primary school teacher. So after many different part time jobs to get through university I finally got there. After 14 years of teaching I still love it! Then when I had my first child in 2006 I thought (naively) I would have time to pursue my writing interest.
I never intended to write for a young adult audience but Destiny Road is very special to me. When I was 16 I went to live with my father for the first time (just like Jessica does). Unlike Jessica I had known him all my life but my parents had separated when I was very young. So there are moments in the book that are written true to life...but I won't give away what those moments are! Destiny Road is my first published novel and I am very proud of it. I was never able to say thank you to my dad for saying yes when I asked could I live with him. He passed away several years ago and it has always bothered me that I could not get those words out before he died. Now with Destiny Road I feel like I have said them, so hopefully he knows.
‘You look like this chick I wanna bash.’
A girl of similar age stares in my direction. A look of amusement settles as she leans casually against the metal shelter. Plum coloured curls are pulled sharply off her face with no chance of escape. The palms of her hands thump against her thighs repeatedly. Da-dump, da-dump, da-dump. She stares at me without blinking. A hint of a smirk pulls at the corner of her lips. Movement around the bus stop freezes as those nearby notices the tension in the air. The conversations abruptly end as everyone turns to look at me.
Heat rises up my neck as I turn around, hoping she is talking to someone else. I’m desperate to know it’s not me this stranger I’ve never laid eyes on, wants to beat up. My insides sink as I discover what I already knew to be true. Some leaves scatter as a breeze bursts past but there is nobody behind me. Swirling back to face my antagonist, I realise no one is within a two metre radius. Like ants, they’ve scuttled away from the danger point. Pressure builds in my body like a slingshot straining to ping. My legs feel like they will collapse at any moment.
It suddenly dawns on me that no-one has ever threatened me before. At no time have I ever had to defend myself from bodily harm. Sure I’ve had a few disagreements with others, but nothing life threatening. The most heated argument I ever got into was when Veronica Litchen accused me of stealing her precious souvenir from an overseas holiday. She screamed obscenities at me I had never heard before. That was in the sixth grade. It turned up later in the front pocket of her school bag. I didn’t put it there. I hadn’t laid eyes on the stupid snow globe she’d bought in to show. To this day, I don’t know who took it and let me take the blame. Veronica’s anger was nothing compared to the waves of contempt rolling off this girl. Who does this psycho think she is?
Fear builds rapidly within, but I manage to keep my voice even. ‘Do you mean me?’ I manage a smile as if it is all just a bad joke that I am prepared to go along with.
She looks incredulous that I could misinterpret her accusation. ‘Yeah,’ she sneers. ‘I mean you.’
Monday, 8 October 2012
So, as you can see by the title, it is officially my birthday and as of today I'm 18. Yep, that's right. In the eyes of the law I am now an adult. Isn't that what every kid strives for? I know this is the point where I'm supposed to make some kind of joke about my maturity level and how the law should know better but believe it or not, at the risk of sounding immodest, I am actually quite mature. So you'll forgive me if I just kind of skip over that part. :P
Anywho, in honour of the Big Day, I have decided to host a giveaway! It just happens to be my first, and you can imagine how terrified I was, with my absolutely atrocious computer skills, that I wouldn't be able to do it. Something may still go wrong, but who knows. Let's keep our fingers crossed.
I know you don't want to hear my rambling, so on to the important stuff. The giveaway is a book of your choice from the Book Depository up to £8. It is open internationally as long as TBD ships to your country.
So there you go! Enjoy! :)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Friday, 5 October 2012
Hey guys! Today I'm super excited to be taking part in the promo for 6 Seconds of Life. So, without further ado, here it is.
Tonya Fitzharris is a writer, reader, blogger, mediocre cook, photograher, runner, Florida natove and cat lover. She used to be a Middle School English teacher, but nor she's trying out the whole novel writing thing. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and her Belgian cat named Waffles.