28 March 2012

Waiting On Wednesday (30) - Just For Fins

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're pining after.

Title: Just For Fins
Author: Tera Lynn Childs
Published: 3rd Jul 2012
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books
Series: Fins #3

When Lily Sanderson decided to remain Crown Princess Waterlily of the mermaid kingdom Thalassinia, she knew she couldn’t just coast along in the current. But since she’s spent the last couple of years on land—with gorgeous human Quince by her side—Lily’s not sure she has the fins to lead a kingdom. Even her maddeningly pretentious cousin Dosinia seems to know more about ruling than she does.

But Lily has to dive in deep to keep her promise to Tellin, her mer bond in name only, whose kingdom is suffering in the changing ocean climate. Lily knows this is a seven seas–sized problem: from sea animals dying to oil spills and threats to humans. They’ll need to create some serious waves to make the mer community aware and get it to join together to make things right. Even if that means facing one of the iciest queens in the mer kingdoms.

Just when Lily thinks her double life on land and sea can’t get any more complicated, an ancient mer law might separate Lily and Quince after all. It feels as if the pair is up against a solid tsunami wave!

In this third installment in the series that began with Forgive My Fins and Fins Are Forever, Lily will have to find a way to balance safety and justice for the mer people as well as for the humans she loves. - From Goodreads

This is such a good series and I can't wait to see how it continues, they are so much fun!

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

21 March 2012

Review: Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz

Title: Spellbound
Author: Cara Lynn Shultz
Published: 21st June 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen
Series: Spellbound #1
Source: Own Kindle Copy

What's a girl to do when meeting The One means she's cursed to die a horrible death?
Life hasn't been easy on sixteen-year-old Emma Connor, so a new start in New York may be just the change she needs. But the posh Upper East Side prep school she has to attend? Not so much. Friendly faces are few and far between, except for one that she's irresistibly drawn to—Brendan Salinger, the guy with the rock-star good looks and the richest kid in school, who might just be her very own white knight.
But even when Brendan inexplicably turns cold, Emma can't stop staring. Ever since she laid eyes on him, strange things have been happening. Streetlamps go out wherever she walks, and Emma's been having the oddest dreams: visions of herself in past lives—visions that warn her to stay away from Brendan. Or else. - From Goodreads

I was not blown away by the cover for this book, and I admit that it took me a while to getting round to reading it and clearing it out of my TBR pile. I picked it up when I received the second in the series from NetGalley! This book was not what I was expecting and in my mind it morphed during my reading of it from a romance to a paranormal romance.

Emma has moved in with her Aunt Christine in New York. After losing both her twin brother and her mother in the space of a year her alcoholic stepfather almost kills her in a car accident. It is at this point that Emma realised that she probably needs to be in a more stable environment. When she starts at the prestigious Upper East side school she meets Brendan, a mysterious guy she can't stop thinking about. As the school year progresses and Emma makes both friends and enemies and finds out that there may be more between her and Brendan than she first thought.

I liked Emma, she is a sweet, funny and strong character who does not dwell on her crappy past. There was the occasional niggle in the back of my mind that if it had been me that lost a twin and my mum that I might be a little more upset, but Emma just gets on with her life. Emma has a quick wit, that I often wish I had myself, coming back with brilliant one liners that often made her extra enemies. Brendan to me felt a little two dimensional. I don't think we get a good sense of Brandon and to an extent he feels a bit like an add on character. Now this is not to say that I did not thoroughly enjoy the scenes with him and Emma, I did, I just wish we knew more about him!

The rest of the characters were your standard characters for a YA paranormal romance. We had the cool and kooky aunt; the sweet and goofy younger cousin; the gay best friend; the bitchy blonde mean girl; the witchy best friend; and the douchey jock! Even though these characters were nothing new and we have seen them in books a thousand times before I liked reading them and thought they added to the story to make it richer and more enjoyable.

The story itself was a star crossed lovers type of story with a centuries old curse which would cause Emma's death if Emma and Brendan were together (not like that, just together! Tut-tut!). There was flash backs to the origin of the curse, for me this lasted a bit too long and I wanted to get back to the main story and find out what would happen next.

I liked this story. It started out a bit like a contemporary romance as there was practically no paranormal activity until a good way into the book and even then the paranormal takes a back seat to the romance in this story. I would be happy for this story to stop at the end of the book. I don't feel we were left with any cliffhangers, however this is part of a series and even though I feel no need to pick up the next book,  I will to see how the story continues next.

Waiting On Wednesday (29) - My Life In Black In White

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're pining after.

Title: My Life In Black And White
Author: Natasha Friend
Published: 28th June 2012
Publisher: Viking Juvenile

Lexi has always been beautiful, but her beauty is taken from her when she goes face-first through a car windshield. Now Lexi has to dig deep to figure out how to define herself. Help on her journey of self-discovery comes from unexpected sources: Ruth, Lexi’s sister, “the smart one” to Lexi’s “the pretty one,” with whom Lexi has never been close; and Theo, a classmate who is still recovering from his sister’s recent death from anorexia. - From Goodreads

This sounds like it will be another beautiful heartbreaker. With such a stunning cover I can't wait to have this on my shelf.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

19 March 2012

Review: Croak by Gina Damico

Title: Croak
Author: Gina Damico
Published: 20th March 2012
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Series: Croak #1
Source: eArc thanks to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Sixteen-year-old Lex Bartleby has sucker-punched her last classmate. Fed up with her punkish, wild behavior, her parents ship her off to upstate New York to live with her Uncle Mort for the summer, hoping that a few months of dirty farm work will whip her back into shape. But Uncle Mort’s true occupation is much dirtier than that of shoveling manure.

He’s a Grim Reaper. And he’s going to teach her the family business.

Lex quickly assimilates into the peculiar world of Croak, a town populated entirely by reapers who deliver souls from this life to the next. Along with her infuriating yet intriguing partner Driggs and a rockstar crew of fellow Grim apprentices, Lex is soon zapping her Targets like a natural born Killer.

Yet her innate ability morphs into an unchecked desire for justice—or is it vengeance?—whenever she’s forced to Kill a murder victim, craving to stop the attackers before they can strike again. So when people start to die—that is, people who aren’t supposed to be dying, people who have committed grievous crimes against the innocent—Lex’s curiosity is piqued. Her obsession grows as the bodies pile up, and a troubling question begins to swirl through her mind: if she succeeds in tracking down the murderer, will she stop the carnage—or will she ditch Croak and join in? - From Goodreads

I was a massive fan of the Series Dead Like Me and I felt hollow and alone when it finished, not to worry though this new series of books looks like it might just be the ticket to fill the void. I have always thought the idea of being a teen reaper was cool so I was eager to jump right in and get started!!

Lex has become a problem child in the last couple of years. After punching out another pupil at school her parents decide that the best course of action is to send Lex to stay with her uncle Mort to "work on his farm". As soon as Lex arrives in Croak she finds out that her uncle Mort is not really a farmer, but is actually a grim reaper. Soon Lex starts to learn the trade and finally find a place where she fits in, but is what she is doing right and is Lex prepared to stay in Croak indefinitely?

Lexington or Lex for short makes bad decisions and has a very short temper. I really enjoyed this about her, she did not back down from a fight and when it came to dealing with her partner Driggs she held her own. At one point this did result in both of them having a black eye, but I thought this was really funny! I enjoyed Lex as a character and how she interacted with others, that may be because I could be difficult myself as a teen. Driggs was similar to Lex in that he is a headstrong character who often does or says the wrong thing, I thought they complimented each other well and that made for a good read.

The other cast of characters in this book were also complimentary to the story and I liked how they all worked together in this unusual town. The characters I felt we didn't get a chance to know very well were Lex's twin sister and her parents. They always felt like they were on the edge of Lex's life, even during the times she was at home and this made it a little difficult to understand their actions.

I really liked this book and I enjoyed the exploration of the themes of good and evil. When the reapers take a soul and can see a murderer standing by, should the reapers do something or should they just leave the situation. Lex struggles with this concept for the whole book and to what extent she should get involved, but there is always humour to keep the story fun and engaging. Also the details describing the town of Croak were well written with nice details and touches to make the town come alive for me.

I really liked the story in this book and I finished it really quickly. I can't wait to pick up the next in the series and see what happens next for the reapers.

18 March 2012

In My Mailbox (22)

Welcome to this weeks in my mailbox where we discuss all the new books we acquired through the week. This weekly meme is hosted by Kristi at the Story Siren.

I have been having a good old rummage through some of the better charity shops in Edinburgh and managed to score some good second hand books, add that to the NetGalleys I was approved for and I had a great week!!



(Thanks to NetGalley and publishers)

What was in your mailbox this week?

14 March 2012

Waiting On Wednesday (28) - Second Chance Summer

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're pining after.

Title: Second Chance Summer
Author: Morgan Matson
Published: 8th May 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing

Taylor’s family might not be the closest-knit – everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled – but for the most part, they get along fine. Then they get news that changes everything: Her father has pancreatic cancer, and it’s stage four – meaning that there is basically nothing to be done. Her parents decide that the family will spend his last months together at their old summerhouse in the Pocono Mountains.

Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven’t actually gone anywhere. Her former summer best friend is suddenly around, as is her first boyfriend. . . and he’s much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve.
As the summer progresses, the Edwards become more of a family, and closer than they’ve ever been before. But all of them very aware that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance – with family, with friends, and with love. - From Goodreads

This sounds so heartbreaking and touching. I am sure it will be the perfect summer read that will leave me sobbing beside the pool (AGAIN!!).

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

12 March 2012

Review: The Ghost and The Goth by Stacey Kade

Title: The Ghost and The Goth
Author: Stacey Kade
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH
Published: 29th June 2010
Series: The Ghost and The Goth #1
Source: Own Kindle Copy
Alona Dare–Senior in high school, co-captain of the cheerleading squad, Homecoming Queen three years in a row, voted most likely to marry a movie star… and newly dead.

I’m the girl you hated in high school. Is it my fault I was born with it all-good looks, silky blond hair, a hot bod, and a keen sense of what everyone else should not be wearing? But my life isn’t perfect, especially since I died. Run over by a bus of band geeks—is there anything more humiliating? As it turns out, yes—watching your boyfriend and friends move on with life, only days after your funeral. And you wouldn’t believe what they’re saying about me now that they think I can’t hear them. To top it off, I’m starting to disappear, flickering in and out of existence. I don’t know where I go when I’m gone, but it’s not good. Where is that freaking white light already?

Will Killian–Senior in high school, outcast, dubbed “Will Kill” by the popular crowd for the unearthly aura around him, voted most likely to rob a bank…and a ghost-talker.

I can see, hear, and touch the dead. Unfortunately, they can also see, hear and touch me. Yeah, because surviving high school isn’t hard enough already. I’ve done my best to hide my “gift.” After all, my dad, who shared my ability, killed himself because of it when I was fifteen. But lately, pretending to be normal has gotten a lot harder. A new ghost—an anonymous, seething cloud of negative energy with the capacity to throw me around—is pursuing me with a vengeance. My mom, who knows nothing about what I can do, is worrying about the increase in odd incidents, my shrink is tossing around terms like “temporary confinement for psychiatric evaluation,” and my principal, who thinks I’m a disruption and a faker, is searching for every way possible to get rid of me. How many weeks until graduation? - From Goodreads
I knew nothing about this book when I picked it up, I just thought the title was cute and the cover adorable. So I was so surprised when I started reading this and found I couldn't put it down. It was not a story I had come across before and the book felt fresh and exciting and I loved reading it!

Alona Dare is a ghost! On her way out of school one morning she dies in her gym clothes and she is stuck that way as a ghost. Alona was the most popular and beautiful girl in the school, but as she watches her friends and boyfriend talk about her and move on with their lives Alona realises she is all alone and has no one to talk to. That's until someone looks her way. Not just a glance, but actually looks at her, and it is none other than the school goth Will. Once Alona realises that Will can see, hear and touch the dead she tries to get him to help her, and in return she will keep all the other dead off his back! When a black cloud of negative energy starts to cause him physical harm Alona is determined to help him find out what is causing it.

This book is written with the chapters switching back and forward between Will and Alona. I really enjoyed this as both characters are having such wildly different experiences and both are so extremely different. It worked well as Alona really loves herself and has quite a unique and limited view of the world, and Will is so self contained but sees things with a completely different perspective to Alona. I really liked the use of this as both characters were a joy to read.

Alona was an amazing character. She was one of the characters that you love to hate and then eventually just love!! She is the bitchy girl who's comments are actually quite funny as long as you are not on the receiving end of them. She is not exactly thrilled that she has to spend the rest of her afterlife in her gym clothes, but that is the least of her worries. Alona is from a pretty messed up home and the more we get to see the rubble of her life the more I loved her. There was nothing too profoundly deep about Alona, but she is one character who's snarky comments are so much fun to read.

Will is a very sweet and caring guy who has a special gift... he can see, hear and touch the dead. usually the dead can't interact with anything in the living world, but around Will the ghosts manifest and things like ghost cigarettes can burn and the ghosts realise that they can touch something living for once. Will struggles with his gift and tries to stay afloat in school. Hiding behind his goth mask to avoid connecting with others he struggles with school as it can be hard to pay attention over the ghostly chatter. I thought Will was a great character and a fun sparring partner for Alona.

This book was so fun and light hearted. It was not a difficult read and there were no deeper meanings to things as far as I could see. As soon as I finished reading this book I wanted to know more and I wanted to see how a relationship between a ghost and a human would work exactly. I loved the characters in this book and I only wanted the best for Will and Alona and it was a breath of fresh air not to have any complicated love triangles. A great read that is fun and perfect to pick up any time you are looking for a heart warming, easy story.

07 March 2012

Waiting On Wednesday (27) - For Darkness Shows The Stars

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're pining after.

Title: For Darkness Shows the Stars
Author: Diana Peterfreund
Published: June 12th 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Generations ago, a genetic experiment gone wrong—the Reduction—decimated humanity, giving rise to a Luddite nobility who outlawed most technology.
Eighteen-year-old Luddite Elliot North has always known her place in this caste system. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family’s estate over love. But now the world has changed: a new class of Post-Reductionists is jumpstarting the wheel of progress and threatening Luddite control; Elliot’s estate is floundering; and she’s forced to rent land to the mysterious Cloud Fleet, a group of shipbuilders that includes renowned explorer Captain Malakai Wentforth—an almost unrecognizable Kai. And while Elliott wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she abandoned him.
But Elliot soon discovers her childhood friend carries a secret—-one that could change the society in which they live…or bring it to its knees. And again, she’s faced with a choice: cling to what she’s been raised to believe, or cast her lot with the only boy she’s ever loved, even if she has lost him forever.
Inspired by Jane Austen’s PERSUASION, FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS is a breathtaking romance about opening your mind to the future and your heart to the one person you know can break it. - From Goodreads

I love the story of Persuasion and I have always enjoyed Diana Peterfreund's writing so I am super excited for this. Also how amazing does the cover look?!?

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

06 March 2012

Review: Pieces of Us by Maggie Gelbwasser

Title: Pieces of Us
Author: Maggie Gelbwasser
Published: 8th March 2012
Publisher: Flux
Source: eArc thanks to NetGalley and Flux

Two families. Four teens.
A summer full of secrets.

Every summer, hidden away in a lakeside community in upstate New York, four teens leave behind their old identities…and escape from their everyday lives.

Yet back in Philadelphia during the school year, Alex cannot suppress his anger at his father (who killed himself), his mother (whom he blames for it), and the girls who give it up too easily. His younger brother, Kyle, is angry too—at his abusive brother, and at their mother who doesn’t seem to care. Meanwhile, in suburban New Jersey, Katie plays the role of Miss Perfect while trying to forget the nightmare that changed her life. But Julie, her younger sister, sees Katie only as everything she’s not. And their mother will never let Julie forget it.

Up at the lake, they can be anything, anyone. Free. But then Katie’s secret gets out, forcing each of them to face reality—before it tears them to pieces. - From Goodreads

This book was nothing that I was expecting. From the description what I was expecting was a book about four broken teens coming together over the summer, but what I got was a book that was far more sinister. This book was a brutal look at abuse and "victims" set over the period of a year.

Katie and Julia are sisters and Katie is the star, at home and at school. Julia can't compete for her mother's love with Katie, the star cheerleader "The Pyramid Girl". Alex and Kyle's father killed himself after finding out that their mother was having an affair. During the summer Katie, Julia, Kyle and Alex all meet at their Russian Grandparent's summer houses and they have the chance to leave their normal selves behind to become Katya, Yulya, Sasha and Kostya. In the past summer and school lives have always been kept separate but soon the worlds begin to bleed together. As secrets get revealed the lives for the four of them change in ways that mean they will never be the same again.

I hit a barrier with this book almost immediately with the writing style. This book is written from the perspective of all four of the major characters. Often this can enhance the flow of a story giving the reader the opportunity to experience different perspectives. In this instance we were able to see parts of the story from different viewpoints, but I felt like switching narrator interrupted the flow of the story dragging us away from what was going on. My other issue with this was that 3 of the character's stories were written in the first person and Kyle's was written in the second person. I found this was like running into a brick wall every time I came across one of his chapters. This style was used for Kyle as he himself does not want to admit how much he is suffering, but for me the change in perspective was off putting.

It is very difficult to talk about this book without giving away too many of the plot points as they are littered through the book and spring upon you like they were laying in wait for you to get over the previous shock. I can however talk about the characters in this book. I disliked Katie at the start of the book finding her shallow, superficial and oblivious to her sister's pain. However as Katie evolved through the book and her pain she became a tragic character who became consumed with her own problems. On the other side of this we have poor ignored Julia who just wants her mother's love and approval. However as Julia starts to get some attention she becomes a cold and heartless person I had no time for.

Another character I had no time for during the whole book was Alex. I hated the way he spoke about women. He was full of hate and this pored onto the page making his chapters uncomfortable to read. We also can see that the hate that is in Alex waiting to explode manages to seep out of him every so often in sadistic ways. I could find nothing redeeming within Alex and nothing that made me think I would ever want to spend any time with him. Again Kyle for me was on the other side of this, as much as I hated how his chapters were written, he was possibly the character that I liked the most. He was broken even at the start of the book but there was a sweetness and a naivety to him that made him seem younger than he was.

I did not enjoy reading this book as the subject matter to me was very raw and brutal. Where I can see that this book tackles these issues with a sense of purpose and delivers them up with some style and grace, it was not my cup of tea. I found it a disturbing book and personally I like a little less reality and pain with my reading.

Trailer Tuesday (2)

I love trailers and I have been noticing loads of interesting book trailers at the moment. I wanted to spotlight some of my favourites on a weekly basis and see what you think of them.

If you have spotted any trailers you think I might like to see please feel free to let me know in the comments below.

I'm beginning to feel less cold and wintery now and I am ready for Summer to hurry up and get here already. Summer always makes me think of fun, light hearted love stories. I think this is why I feel drawn towards The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour. This book was released recently, but it may be one I save to read on a beach.

Title: The Disenchantments
Author: Nina LaCour
Published: 16th Feb 2012
Publisher: Dutton Children's Books

Colby and Bev have a long-standing pact: graduate, hit the road with Bev’s band, and then spend the year wandering around Europe. But moments after the tour kicks off, Bev makes a shocking announcement: she’s abandoning their plans—and Colby—to start college in the fall.

But the show must go on and The Disenchantments weave through the Pacific Northwest, playing in small towns and dingy venues, while roadie-Colby struggles to deal with Bev’s already-growing distance and the most important question of all: what’s next? - From Goodreads

The Trailer is so carefree that I might end up reading it sooner!!

05 March 2012

Review: Katana by Cole Gibsen

Title: Katana
Author: Cole Gibsen
Published: 8th March 2012
Publisher: Flux
Source: eArc thanks to NetGalley and Flux
Rileigh Martin would love to believe that adrenaline had given her the uncanny courage and strength to fend off three muggers. But it doesn't explain her dreams of 15th-century Japan, the incredible fighting skills she suddenly possesses, or the strange voice giving her battle tips and danger warnings.

While worrying that she's going crazy (always a reputation ruiner), Rileigh gets a visit from Kim, a handsome martial arts instructor, who tells Rileigh she's harboring the spirit of a five-hundred-year-old samurai warrior.

Relentlessly attacked by ninjas, Rileigh has no choice but to master the katana--a deadly Japanese sword that's also the key to her past. As the spirit grows stronger and her feelings for Kim intensify, Rileigh is torn between continuing as the girl she's always been and embracing the warrior inside her. - From Goodreads
So this book was billed as Kill Bill meets Buffy on NetGalley. Do I love Kill Bill? Yes self, I do! Do I love Buffy? Yes again Emma, I think Buffy kicks ass and I miss her! I have also had a fascination in ancient Japanese culture for as long as I can remember. So I think it is clear to say that I had high hopes for this book! I was pleased that it delivered everything I was expecting and more.

Rileigh is a normal skateboard loving girl until she and her best friend, Quentin, are attacked by muggers in a parking lot. Without knowing what she is doing Rileigh manages to defend herself against all 3 of the muggers leaving them broken on the ground. This is when the dreams begin! Dreams of ancient Japan which are so real they make Rileigh's heart hurt with recognition. Before she knows it Rileigh has been pulled into a world of reincarnated Samurai Warriors and she must defend herself against enemies from the past. The only problem is that her enemies could be anyone!

There are only a handful of literary characters that I think I would get on well with in real life and that I would want to hang out with. Rileigh is one of them. She is such a strong character who is totally thrown into a situation that she is not prepared for and she totally reacts in the way I probably would, although I would have added being drunk to the moping and the bar fight!! In lots of books when the protagonist moans about the situation they have found themselves in you just want to shake them, but in this case you understand her concerns and let it slide as she is so kickass. She is totally Buffy-esque and that makes me so happy (I miss Buffy!).

Any awesome reincarnated Samurai action story has to have a smoking hot love interest and this one has two!! This was an interesting love triangle and not the usual bog standard one. Rileigh's head and current self is securely settled on the cute guy from school, but her heart and past self are all about the smoking hot Kim. He is buff, handsome, looks out for Rileigh and only wants her to be happy... where can I get me one? Also he owns his own dojo and I like a man who has plans for his future and a way to support himself (Argh, I'm getting so sensible in my old age!!)

This had some great supporting characters which enriched the story, especially her gay best friend Q (who doesn't love a gay best friend?). I also liked that Rileigh had a job and therefore could not just up and disappear on an adventure without thinking of the consequences or telling anyone. This is something that can often annoy me in YA fiction, but in this book it was tackled with grace. As we started to piece together the story from ancient Japan I was constantly trying to guess who the enemy was in her current life. I was suspicious of so many characters that it actually did not turn out to be the one I was most sceptical about! I had no idea who was trust worthy in this book.

I loved this book and flew through it constantly wanting more. The only thing I was disappointed about at the end was that this is a stand alone novel. I would have loved to keep reading about Rileigh and the antics her and her band of Samurai might get up to. I will definitely be picking up Cole Gibsen's next book as soon as it's released. I can't wait.