Monday 31 May 2010

Dear Dylan - Siobhan Curham

Dear Dylan - Siobhan Curham

Pages: 196
Publisher: Author House
Release Date: 28th March 2010

Other Titles by this Author: Sweet FA, Frankie Says Relapse, The Scene Stealers, Finding the Plot

Fourteen year old Georgie Harris feels as if the summer holidays are over before they have even begun. Banned from going to the local drama workshop by her bully of a step-dad and her increasingly fragile mum she is consigned to six long weeks of babysitting her kid sister. Sick of feeling like the outsider at home and at school, she starts emailing the one person she thinks might understand; Dylan Curtland, star of the popular soap opera Jessop Close. And when Dylan starts emailing her back Georgie finally feelsa spark of hope. At last she has someone who really gets her, someone who really wants to help. But in the faceless world of email all is not as it seems…

Dear Dylan is a touching and emotional story of a girl finding a much-needed friend in a most unlikely place.

I must admit that Dear Dylan didn’t unfold in the way that I expected at all. And I’m glad it didn’t because I got something really special instead. The story goes so much deeper than the summary would suggest and upon finishing it I can definitely see why it has been nominated for the Young Minds Book Award. Being a part of the blogging community, I know how invaluable my online friends are, but this friendship really did change their lives which is completely amazing.

For a book written entirely in emails and coming in at only 196 pages, I got to know Georgie and her friends and family very well. I really grew to care for her and I have to admit that that’s extremely rare for me with books written in this format. The way that the emails are written exude feeling and personality.

Dear Dylan was something different for me and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

For my 2010 100+ Reading Challenge

Sophie

Sunday 30 May 2010

In My Mailbox 65

This meme was started by the fabulous Kristi who was inspired by Alea. Check out their blogs for more information. All summaries are from the book jackets.

For review:

Blood Feud - Alxyandra Harvey

‘Conversation halted abruptly. They all turned to stare at us if we were poisonous mushrooms suddenly growing ina manicured garden. They were pale and perfect, with gleaming teeth and hard eyes.’

It’s been centuries since Isabeau St. Croix survived the French Revolution. Now she’s made her way back to the living, and must face the ultimate test by confronting the evil British lord who turned her into a vampire and left her buried for two hundred years. That’s if she can control her affection for Logan Drake, whose bite is as sweet as the revenge she seeks.

Yay! I’m so excited for this one! Thank, Bloomsbury!

The Other Girl - Sarah Miller

The glamorous and sexy second Midvale Academy novel.

Molly McGarry seems to have it all - she’s smart, she attends the prestigious Midvale Academy and she’s finally got the guy of her dreams, Gideon Rayburn. But now everything’s changing.

Molly and Gid got together in a very unusual way, when Molly mysteriously entered Gid’s mind and so could ‘guess’ exactly what he wanted. By a bizarre twist of fate, Molly suddenly leaves Gid’s mind and enters the mind of Pilar Benitez-Jones, possibly the hottest girl in the world. Pilar flirts with Gid. A lot. No longer inside her boyfriend’s head, Molly feels life is spiralling out of control. But she realises that being inside Pilar’s head has it’s advantages as she influenes Pilar for her own schemes - with ensuing chaos.

I loved Inside the Mind of Gideon Rayburn so I was very excited when I opened the package from Bloomsbury and pulled this out.

Forbidden - Tabitha Suzuma

‘You’ve always been my best friend, my soul mate, and now I;ve fallen in love with you too.

Why is that such a crime?’

She is pretty and talented - sweet sixteen and never been kissed. He is seventeen, gorgeous and on the brink of a bright future. And now they have fallen in love. But…they are brother and sister.

Thanks to Random House for this. I’m very intrigued…

Tall Story - Candy Gourlay

What you want is no always what you get. Even when your wishes come true.

Andi desperately hopes her long lost half-brother Bernardo will be as mad on basketball as she is. But when he steps off the plane from the Philippines, she can’t believe her eyes. She hasn’t seen him for ten years, but even so, how did he get to be EIGHT FOOT TALL! An eight-foot tall boy who is about to crash into her life with his size 22 feet.

But Bernardo is not what he seems. Bernardo is a hero, Bernardo works miracles, and Bernardo has an amazing story to tell.

A bittersweet story, funny, sad, and magical.

I’d never heard of this before, but it sounds brilliant. Thanks again to Random House.

My Name is Memory - Ann Brashares (ARC)

‘I have fallen in love, and she is the one who endures. I killed her once and died for her many times and I still have nothing to show for it. I always search for her. I always remember her. I carry the hope that someday she will remember me.’

Their story spans a thousand years. Time and again, they have been together, yet apart. He knows they are meant to be one. Only he carries the memory of their love.

Discover a love story with the power and intensity of The Time Traveller’s Wife and the passion of Twilight.

Thanks to Hodder and Stoughton for this. I’m really looking forward to it.

Bought:

Perchance to Dream - Lisa Mantchev

Act Two, Scene One

Growing up in the enchanted Thèâtre Illuminata, Beatrice Shakespeare Smith learned everything about every play ever written. She knew the Players and their parts, but she didn’t know that she, too, had magic. Now, she is the Mistress of Revels, the Teller of Tales, and determined to follow her stars. She is ready for the outside world.

Enter BERTIE AND COMPANY

But the outside world soon proves more topsy-turvy than any stage production. Bertie can make things happen by writing them, but outside the protective walls of the Thèâtre, nothing goes as planned. And her magic cannot help her make a decision between—

Nate: Her suave and swashbuckling pirate, now in mortal peril.

Ariel: A brooding, yet seductive, air spirit whose true motives remain unclear.

When Nate is kidnapped and taken prisoner by the Sea Goddess, only Bertie can free him. Bertie’s dreams are haunted by Nate, whose love for Bertie is keeping him alive, but in the daytime, it’s Ariel who is tantalizingly close, and the one she is falling for. Who does Bertie love the most? And will her magic be powerful enough to save her once she enters the Sea Goddess’s lair?

Once again, LISA MANTCHEV has spun a tale like no other—full of romance, magic, adventure, and fairies, too—that readers won’t want to put down, even after the curtain has closed.

Really looking forward to this!

Sophie

Friday 28 May 2010

Dido - Adele Geras

Dido - Adele Geras

Pages: 260
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Release Date: 29th April 2010

Other Titles by this Author: Happy Ever After, Troy, Ithaka

Aneas leaned forward a little and kissed her on the mouth. Just one swift, soft touch of his lips on hers and then he turned and walked a way.

Love can be deadly. Especially when two young women fall for the same man - one a queen, one her serving maid.

Elissa knows she is playing with fire, but she can’t resist. Queen Dido suspects nothing until one fateful night…Secrets are revealed, hearts are broken and as dawn breaks, a terrible tragedy unfolds.
 A passionate tale of love, betrayal and revenge.

Dido is a strong, passionate re-telling of a classic Greek myth that really captured my imagination.

I have to admit that I’d never heard of Dido before reading this book, and I’m rather glad because Dido is compelling and beautifully written by Adele Geras. I know that it’s a story that I’ll remember for a long time. But what really made me love Dido was the visits from the gods and goddesses. Hermes, Aphrodite, Hades, Hera and Artemis all meddled with, confused and comforted the characters throughout the novel, usually for their own amusement! And I actually knew what they were the gods and goddesses of! I was really proud of myself as other than re-tellings, my last encounter with Greek myth was history in Year 6!

The story of Dido, Elissa, Anaeas and many others is messy and complicated. Like many good love stories are! It actually reminded me a little of A Midsummer Night’s Dream with all of the characters loving the wrong person. Or should it be that A Midsummer Night’s Dream is like Dido? I mean, Dido's story must be around 2000 years old, right? Shakespeare’s plays are little kids compared to that! But, anyway, Dido’s plotline is incredibly meaty and once you can definitely sink your teeth into.

I also loved how it’s told over just one night with flashbacks to Anaeas’ time in Carthage. About a year and a half, I think. Because of all the different points if view, the same event was seen in many different ways and it really extended the story away from just Dido, Elissa and Anaeas.

I really enjoyed Dido and I feel that I’m definitely going to have to read Adele Geras’ other two re-tellings, Troy and Ithaka, when I get a chance.

For my 2010 100+ Reading Challenge

Sophie

Wednesday 26 May 2010

Della Says: OMG! - Keris Stainton

Della Says: OMG! - Keris Stainton

Pages: 270
Publisher: Orchard Books
Release Date: 6th May 2010

From Goodreads: Della’s over the moon when she kisses her long-standing crush at a party – but then she discovers her diary has disappeared...

When scans of embarrassing pages are sent to her mobile and appear on Facebook, Della’s distraught – how can she enjoy her first proper romance when someone, somewhere, knows all her deepest, darkest secrets?

Della Says: OMG! is the incredibly cute and sparklingly funny debut from Keris Stainton.

I really loved Della. She’s such a realistic character who responds to things pretty similarly to the way I do. Wear a dress. Do I have to? Boy of your dreams asks you out. Why? Will he try to humiliate me? Your diary goes missing. Completely freak out. And the bits that were taken from Della’s diary were pretty mortifying. Some of them are the types of things that you’re reluctant to even admit thinking about, let alone have them broadcast. I have to confess that once I’d finished Della Says: OMG! I hid my diary where no one lese will ever find it. Ever. And knowing me, I’ll probably forget myself!

Keris Stainton wrote a fantastic cast of supporting characters. Maddy with her boy dilemma; nasty Gemima; Della’s sister, Jamie, who I’d like to know more about and their really funny mum and dad. It’s unusual for a character’s parents to have such a starring role in YA and so I’m really glad Della’s did. The only minor niggle I had with them is how cavalier Della’s dad is about Della and Jamie’s sex/love life. I’m sure that my dad still thinks I’m about ten when it comes to this sort of thing and would never, ever mention it. Is that just mine?

Della Says: OMG! is a quick, fun read and I’m looking forward to reading more from Keris in the future.

For my 2010 Debut Author Challenge, 2010 100+ Reading Challenge

Sophie

Monday 24 May 2010

Spirit Bound: A Vampire Academy Novel - Richelle Mead

Spirit Bound: A Vampire Academy Novel - Richelle Mead

Pages: 479
Publisher: Puffin
Release Date: 18th May 2010

Other Titles in this Series: Vampire Academy, Frostbite, Shadow Kiss, Blood Promise, Last Sacrifice (07/12/10)

Rose’s life will never be her own.

Rose Hathaway has been outrunning death ever since she swore to be the protector of her best friend, Lissa, no matter what.

She’s finally made it back to the haven of St Vladimir’s but with Dimitri, the boy she once loved, stalking her, Rose can only run so far.

She failed to kill him when she had the chance, and now her worst fears are about to come true. Dimitri has tasted her blood, and she knows in her heart that he is hunting her. And if Rose won’t join him, he won’t rest until he has silenced her…forever.

The penultimate story in Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series, Spirit Bound, took my breath away. I loved every word of every sentence on every page.

I’m going to warn you that this review will be pure fan-girly ramblings and is likely to be a bit choppy. I haven’t stopped thinking about it since I started it only hours after it arrived. Rose’s story has the power to enrapture me and my consume my life for the week I dragged it out over.

As always with this series, Spirit Bound is intense, fast-moving and VERY emotional. It blew my mind. The amazing range of emotions that Rose experiences throughout the novel come thick and fast and literally beat me over the head one after the other. Rose is one of my - if not my favourite - fictional heroine. She’s emotionally and physically strong, stubborn, fiercely loyal and would do anything for the people she loves. Namely Lissa and Dimitri.

Dimitri. Oh my God, Dimitri. He’s amazing and I love him. In fact, I want one very, very much, even though he frustrated me to death in Spirit Bound and freaked me out a little occasionally. He’s definitely one of my favourite fictional guys. Rose and Dimitri are actually, quite possibly, my favourite fictional couple. I really do live them, and this series, to death.

As queen of the evil cliffhanger, Richelle Mead has left me aching for the final part of Rose’s story, Last Sacrifice.

For my 2010 100+ Reading Challenge

Sophie

Saturday 22 May 2010

In My Mailbox 64

This meme was started by the fabulous Kristi who was inspired by Alea. Check out their blogs for more information. All summaries are from the book jackets.

For review:

Nicholas Dane - Melvin Burgess

‘We take care of boys that no one else will…’

When Nicholas’s num overdoses on heroin, the fourteen-year-old is suddenly lost, grieving and alone. Sent away to a boys’ home, Nick finds order is kept by intimidation and violence.

After countless fights and punishments, Nick thinks life can’t get any worse. But the deputy head, Mr Tony Creal, has other ideas.

The shame Nick experiences at the hands of Mr Creal can never quite be forgotten and, when Nick discovers he wasn’t the only one to suffer, the old hatred later resurfaces.

Can revenge lay Nick’s ghosts to rest - or will he never be free of them?

The books of Melvyn Burgess’ that I’ve read blew me away so I’m very excited to read this.

Passing Strange - Daniel Waters

Karen DeSonne always passed as a normal teenager - and now that she’s dead, she’s still passing - this time, as alive.

But when her dead friends are accused of a high profile murder and forced into hiding, it’s up to Karen to prove their innocence. Which means doing the unthinkable and becoming the girlfriend of bionist zealot Peter Martinsburg, who she suspects of framing them. But if Peter finds out who Karen really is, the consequences for her will be worse than death…

I love this series! Thanks, S&S!

The Demon’s Covenant - Sarah Rees Brennan

Mae’s life has spun out of control.

She’s just learned that her brother Jamie is a magician and Nick, the boy she’d set her heart on, has an even darker secret.

Jamie has been meeting with the new leader of the Obsidian Circle, who is hell-bent on persuading Jamie to join the magicians. When Mae calls on Nick and Alan to save her brother, the Circle sets in motion a plot to bring Nick down - by convincing his own brother to spring a deadly trap.

With brother set against brother and everyone’s loyalties divided, Mae sees a chance to save them all - but it means approaching the mysterious and dangerous Goblin Market alone…

Thanks, S&S!

Secrets at St Jude’s: Rebel Girl - Carmen Reid

At St Jude's School for Girls, four friends are facing very different problems...

Can Gina still be happy with her boyfriend when there's such an exciting new guy on the scene?

How will Amy survive when her rich dad's money disappears?

What can tomboy Niffy do to make herself gorgeous?

And why is Min spending so much time in the study and missing all the fun?

Sounds like all the girls need to get in touch with their inner rebel this term!

Thanks to Random House for this.

Dark Secrets: No Time to Die & The Deep End of Fear - Elizabeth Chandler

Secrets taken to the grave don’t always stay buried.

In No Time to Die, Jenny is devastated by the recent death of her sister, Liza. Looking for a sense of closure, she secretly signs up for the drama camp where Liza died. Jenny knows that someone here holds the key to what really happened to Liza that night and she‘s sure that the truth will come out. But what follows is even more twisted than she thought.

In The Deep End of Fear, Kate thought she was done with daring adventures for good after her best friend, Ashley, tragically drowned in an icy pond. But now she has to return to her childhood home and it all come flooding back. Kate still feels Ashley‘s presence there, and even more terrifying is the boy next door who claims he can see her. Can Kate face up to her childhood fears and stop history from repeating itself?

Thanks, S&S!

The Forbidden Game - LJ Smith

Mystery. Danger. Seduction…

When Jenny buys a game for her boyfriend, Tom, she finds herself inexplicably drawn to the guy who sells it to her. There is something mysteriously alluring about Julian’s pale eyes and bleached-blond hair. And when he places the Game into her hands, she knows their connection is something much deeper.

But as Jenny and her friends begin to play tge game, an evening of friendship and fun quickly turns into a night of terror and obsessive love. Because the Game isn’t just a game - it’s their new reality, where Julian reigns as Prince of the Shadows.

One by one Jenny and her friends must confront their deepest fears and win the game. Because to lose the Game is to lose their lives. And that is only the beginning…

Thanks, S&S!

Wicked: Resurrection - Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie

The Cahors witches thought all their troubles were over, but it turns out they are only just beginning. A threat more powerful and more frightening than anything they have faced before has just been watching and waiting. Holly and the Cahors witches must come together to try and find Jer and Eli as both the Deveraux and the Cahors family lines face eradication.

All the secrets of the Cahors will be revealed, forcing them to overcome their greatest weaknesses in order to achieve their most powerful strengths. Only united do they have any chance at victory, but before the end, sacrifices will be made, alliances forged, and old friends lost forever. This time for waiting is over.

Thanks, S&S!

Stormbreaker - Anthony Horowitz

Mission 1: Stormbreaker

“When the doorbell rings at three in the morning, it’s never good news.”

When his guardian dies in suspicious circumstances, fourteen-year-old Alex Rider finds his world turned upside down.

Within days he’s gone from schoolboy to super spy. Forcibly recruited to MI6, Alex has to take part in gruelling SAS training exercises; then, armed with his own special set of secret gadgets, he’s off on his first mission. But Alex soon finds himself in mortal danger, it looks as if his first assignment may be his last…

Thanks, Justin!

Theodore Boone, Young Lawyer - John Grisham

In the small city of Strattenburg, there are many lawyers, and though he’s only thirteen years old. Theo Boone thinks he’s one of them. Theo knows every judge, policeman, count clerk - and a lot about the law. He dreams of being a great trial lawyer, of a life in the courtroom.

But Theo finds himself in court much sooner than expected. Because he knows so much - maybe too much - he is suddenly dragged into the middle of a sensational murder trial. A cold-blooded killer is about to go free, and only Theo knows the truth.

The stakes are high, but Theo won’t stop until justice is served.

Thanks, Justin!

The Red Pyramid - Rick Riordan

One curse. Two heroes. And an evil that won’t stay buried.

'I guess it started the night our dad blew up the British Museum…’

Carter and Sadie Kane’s dad is a brilliant Egyptologist with a secret plan that goes horribly wrong. An explosion shatters the ancient Rosetta Stone and unleashes Set, the evil god of choas.

Set imprisons Dr Kane in a golden coffin, and Carter and Sadie are forced to run for their lives. To save their dad, they must embark on a terrifying quest from Cairo and Paris to the American South-west and discover the truth about their family’s connection to the House of Life: an Egyptian temple of magic that has existed for thousands of years.

The pharaohs of Ancient Egypt are far from dead and buried. And so, unfortunately, are their gods…

Thanks again to Justin!

Fortune - Megan Cole (ARC)

From Goodreads: HarperCollins is ready to set the publishing world alight with the acquisition of the world's first 'snogbuster', a new teen genre that is set to grace poolsides everywhere this summer. Written by hot new talent Megan Cole – the pseudonym of a journalist and writer steeped in celebrity culture – FORTUNE combines the allure of the super-rich with the thrill of first romance, all in a glossy, blockbusting format.

Fortune tells the story of three very different girls – Madison from New York, Simonetta from Rome and Sapphire from London – who all receive mysterious invitations to the 50th birthday of Brad Masters, billionaire record executive. But what could the girls possibly have in common? The truth shocks them all, and turns three strangers into something much closer and more dangerous – after all, family make for the deadliest enemies...

Most of all, though, Fortune is something totally new in the booming teen romance market. So it's time to wet our lips and unashamedly embrace the glitz and glamour of the snogbuster.

A surprise from Harper Collins.

Double copies: Leviathan - Scott Westerfeld
                      Girl, 15: Five-Star Fiasco - Sue Limb

Gift:

The Summer of Skinny Dipping - Amanda Howells (ARC)

After getting dumped by her boyfriend, sixteen-year-old Mia Gordon os looking forward to spending a relaxing, boy-free summer in the Hamptons with Corrine, her gorgeous and popular cousin. But Corrine has better things to do - like ditch Mia at a party.

That’s where Mia meets boy-next-door Simon Ross. After devising a secret signalling system, Mia and Simon meet up nightly to swim in the cool, dark ocean and lie on the beach, talking and looking at the stars. Neither feels like they belong in the exclusive resort community.

Mia isn’t looking for love that summer, but she finds it. She finds a funny, artistic boy who lives boldly. She finds someone who understands her. And she finds herself.

I love the sound of this book. Thanks, Luisa!

Bought:

Spirit Bound: A Vampire Academy Novel - Richelle Mead

Rose’s life will never be her own.

Rose Hathaway has been outrunning death ever since she swore to be the protector of her best friend, Lissa, no matter what.

She’s finally made it back to the haven of St Vladimir’s but with Dimitri, the boy she once loved, stalking her, Rose can only run so far.

She failed to kill him when she had the chance, and now her worst fears are about to come true. Dimitri has tasted her blood, and she knows in her heart that he is hunting her. And if Rose won’t join him, he won’t rest until he has silenced her…forever.

I know I got a UK copy last week, but I had to have one to fit the rest of the series too!

Beautiful Dead: Summer - Eden Maguire

Not alive. Not dead. Somewhere in between lie the Beautiful Dead.

Six months have passed since the last mysterious teenage death, but Darina is still traumatised by the murders of Summer Madison and her own beloved Phoenix. She searches constantly for the Beautiful Dead, longing for their return.

Springtime sees Darina once more in Phoenix’s arms. But spring is also a reminder of the hail of bullets that killed Summer in a random shopping mall shooting almost a year ago.

Can Darina and the Beautiful Dead catch Summer’s crazed killer? Will Darina’s love for Phoenix survive the task? One thing is clear - it’s not finished yet, not by a long shot…

I really enjoy this series and this was only £2.99 on The Book Depository. I couldn’t not, really.

Sophie

Thursday 20 May 2010

The Official Cinderella Society Blog Tour Giveaway (CLOSED)


As part of the blog tour I took part in at the beginning of the month, Kay offered me the chance to hold a contest for The Cinderella Society Swag Pack!

How to enter:
- Closes 11:59pm GMT on Thursday 27th May.
- This contest is international.
- Comment on this post with your email address (or email me at solittletimeforbooks@googlemail.com))
- No email address, no entry.

Good luck, everyone!

Sophie

Wednesday 19 May 2010

The Keeper's Daughter - Gill Arbuthnott

The Keeper’s Daughter - Gill Arbuthnott

Pages: 425
Publisher: Chicken House
Release Date: 6th July 2009

Other Titles by this Author: The Chaos Clock, The Chaos Quest, Winterbringers, Crazy Creatures, Mad Scientists, Germ Wars

Orphaned as a baby, Nyssa can only dream about who she is and where she comes from, but with the arrival of dark strangers, her past is revealed.

Nyssa has a hidden tattoo that bears one half of a secret message. Now her future depends on finding the other half, written on a twin she’s never know, and the truth of the words that mark them.

The Keeper’s Daughter is a brilliant fantasy full of secrets, intrigue and murder.

What I loved most about this novel is the legend of the Keepers. The story of a supposedly dangerous, secret society that has been pushed into myth but has maintained suspicions for years has a classical feel; Ancient Greek, I’d say. And I love classical history. The magic, the myths, the stories! Our world is so boring compared to them.

The old-world atmosphere I supported by the extraordinary library in Rushiadh. It reminds me a lot of the Library of Alexandria with it’s underground vaults filled with ancient scrolls and it’s priestesses guarding centuries old secrets. As creepy as Gill Arbuthnott made it sound, I’d really like to have a look around. Oh, and men aren’t allowed in without express permission. That really made me laugh.

As with lots of fantasy novels, The Keeper’s Daughter centres around a quest. While I’m reading I often wish my life as exciting enough to warrant one, but to be honest, weeks without hot showers, a flushing toilet, central heating and a readily available Tesco’s, I think I’d really rather stay at home. I know, I’d never make it as heroine of a fantasy novel, going on a treacherous journey like Nyssa to rescue sweet, damaged Kit.

A neat, tied-up ending with good triumphing evil and a happy ever after for Nyssa, Kit, Aria and Marius. It’s so refreshing not to end a book on a frustrating cliffhanger where you have to wait a year to end on another cliffhanger. This has recently become a huge pet peeve for me so I’m very grateful Gill Arbuthnott decided against it.

I really enjoyed The Keeper’s Daughter and I’m hoping for a novel about the priestesses of Rushiadh from Gill next!

For my 2010 100+ Reading Challenge

Sophie

Monday 17 May 2010

Radiant Shadows - Melissa Marr

Radiant Shadows - Melissa Marr

Pages: 340
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date: 29th April 2010

Other Titles in this Series: Wicked Lovely, Ink Exchange, Fragile Eternity

He was sculpture-perfect but had a tangled feel. Shadow and radiance. He didn’t look much older than her, until she saw the arrogance in his posture. Then, he reminded her of the faeries who walked through the courts and crowds confident that they could slaughter everyone in the room. Like chaos in a glass cage.
“Come dance.”
Ani turned her back and let herself be swept into the crowd.

Alluring romance, heart-stopping danger and sinister intrigue combine in the penultimate volume of Melissa Marr’s best-selling Wicked Lovely series.

Radiant Shadows is Melissa Marr’s fourth intoxicating foray into Faery. I want this series to never end!

These books are utterly magical. The mortal danger, tenuous balance of order and transient beauty of Faery make Melissa Marr’s world completely seductive. For me, this has become stronger and stronger throughout the series and by Radiant Shadows, the stakes have been seriously raised. Plot threads from the previous books are weaved together with infinite skill and create a world filled with wavering dominoes. Character’s decisions in Fragile Eternity have unthinkable consequences for those central to Radiant Shadows.

The continual shifts in power between the courts and steady increase in discord really show off the dynamics of Faery’s ruling courts. The balance of Faery is maintained by opposites and a changing queen has potentially devastating repercussions. With previously minor characters being brought in to focus, the High and Dark Courts rule Radiant Shadows and it took four books for me to really acknowledge their subtle dynamics. One of my favourite things is the differences in nourishment. The Summer Court feeds on happiness and joy; the Dark Court the discord, anger and fear; the High Court feed on blood (not unlike my other favourite mythical creature) and the Dark Hunt feed on physical contact. Melissa Marr really does amaze me with her incredibly detailed world-building.

As I mentioned earlier, Sorcha changes drastically in Radiant Shadows. worry, fear and carelessness fill the High Queen to such a degree that she loses her grip on logic and reality, with terrifying effects on Faery. I loved this glimpse in to Sorcha’s mind, it really proved her belief of emotions as destructive. And then there’s Devlin who changed the most. The High Queen’s Bloody Hands (or assassin to us mortals) fell in love! The recipient of his affections: Ani. A deadly, balsy halfling with a very scary dad who we first met in Ink Exchange. it was very touching how High Court faery Devlin dealt with this and I think he summed up his realisations perfectly: “Love makes you foolish. It makes you throw every bit of logic away, do stupid things, dangerous things.” The characters in Radiant Shadows really took that to heart!

I adored every page of Radiant Shadows and I’m waiting for the final book in the Wicked Lovely series, Darkest Mercy, with bated breath.

For my 2010 100+ Reading Challenge

Sophie

Sunday 16 May 2010

In My Mailbox 63

This meme was started by the fabulous Kristi who was inspired by Alea. Check out their blogs for more information. All summaries are from the book jackets.

For review:

Dido - Adele Geras

Aneas leaned forward a little and kissed her on the mouth. Just one swift, soft touch of his lips on hers and then he turned and walked a way.

Love can be deadly. Especially when two young women fall for the same man - one a queen, one her serving maid.

Elissa knows she is playing with fire, but she can’t resist. Queen Dido suspects nothing until one fateful night…Secrets are revealed, hearts are broken and as dawn breaks, a terrible tragedy unfolds.

A passionate tale of love, betrayal and revenge.

I’m really looking forward to this. Thanks to Random House.

Spirit Bound: A Vampire Academy Novel - Richelle Mead

Rose’s life will never be her own.

Rose Hathaway has been outrunning death ever since she swore to be the protector of her best friend, Lissa, no matter what.

She’s finally made it back to the haven of St Vladimir’s but with Dimitri, the boy she once loved, stalking her, Rose can only run so far.

She failed to kill him when she had the chance, and now her worst fears are about to come true. Dimitri has tasted her blood, and she knows in her heart that he is hunting her. And if Rose won’t join him, he won’t rest until he has silenced her…forever.

!!!! I loved it to death. A million, trillion thanks to Puffin.

Dear Dylan - Siobhan Curham (signed)

Fourteen year old Georgie Harris feels as if the summer holidays are over before they have even begun. Banned from going to the local drama workshop by her bully of a step-dad and her increasingly fragile mum she is consigned to six long weeks of babysitting her kid sister. Sick of feeling like the outsider at home and at school, she starts emailing the one person she thinks might understand; Dylan Curtland, star of the popular soap opera Jessop Close. And when Dylan starts emailing her back Georgie finally feelsa spark of hope. At last she has someone who really gets her, someone who really wants to help. But in the faceless world of email all is not as it seems…

I read something like this, Amy by Mary Hooper, I think, and I really enjoyed it, so hopefully I’ll enjoy this too. Thanks, Siobhan!

The Moonstone Legacy - Diana de Gunzburg and Tony Wild

In a sacred cave high in the mountains of northern India, a white-haired hermit sits cross-legged, and signs his final testament: “George Abercrombie, 1874...”

In present-day England, the mother of fourteen-year-old Lizzy Abercrombie dies in a tragic accident under the full moon. But was it really an accident? Lizzy discovers that her death may be linked to a mysterious family curse.

Determined to solve the mystery, her quest takes her from an Anglo-Indian mansion on the Yorkshire moors to India, where she uncovers the terrible truth about her ancestor and a stolen inheritance. But her discoveries put her in mortal danger from a ruthless enemy…

From Pushkin Press for a blog tour next month.

Torment - Lauren Kate (ARC)

From Goodreads: How many lives do you need to live before you find someone worth dying for? In the aftermath of what happened at Sword & Cross, Luce has been hidden away by her cursed angelic boyfriend, Daniel, in a new school filled with Nephilim, the offspring of fallen angels and humans. Daniel promises she will be safe here, protected from those who would kill her. At the school Luce discovers what the Shadows that have followed her all her life mean - and how to manipulate them to see into her other lives. Yet the more Luce learns about herself, the more she realizes that the past is her only key to unlocking her future...and that Daniel hasn't told her everything. What if his version of the past isn't actually the way things happened...what if Luce was really meant to be with someone else?

The hugest thank you to the lovely ladies at Random House for coming out to the Book Blogger Meet-Up and giving us these.

4.3.2.1. - Noel Clarke

4.3.2.1.

4 girls.
3 days.
2 cities.
1 chance.

Take four best friends. Give them three days in two cities and totally mess with their lives . Add to the mix a diamond heist, a transatlantic booty call, one seriously professional panic room and a lot of partying. The result is BAFTA award-winner Noel Clarke’s new film, 4.3.2.1.

Thanks to Bloomsbury.

Bought:

Going Too Far - Jennifer Echols

How far would you go?

All Meg has ever wanted to do is get away. Away from her high school. Away from her backwater town. Away from her parents who seem determined to keep her imprisoned in their dead-end lives. But one crazy evening involving a dare and forbidden railroad tracks, she goes way too far…and almost doesn’t make it back.

John made a choice to stay. To enforce the rules. To serve and protect. He has nothing but contempt for what he sees as childish rebellion, and he wants to teach Meg a lesson she won’t soon forget. But Meg pushes him to the limit by questioning everything he learned at the police academy. And when he pushes back, demanding to know why she won’t be tied down, they will drive each other to the edge - and over…

I thought it was about time I joined the Jennifer Echols fan club!

Jekel Loves Hyde - Beth Fantaskey

Jill Jekel has always obeyed her parents’ rules - especially the one about never opening the mysterious old box in her father’s office. But when her dad is murdered and her college savings disappear, this good girl is tempted to peek inside, because the contents just might be key to winning a lucrative chemistry scholarship.

To better her odds, Jill enlists the help of gorgeous, brooding Tristan Hyde, who has his own dark secrets locked away. As the team of Jekel and Hyde, they recreate experiments based on the classic novel, hoping not only to win a prize but to save Tristan’s sanity. Maybe his life. As things heat up in the lab, though, Jill’s accidental taste of a formula unleashes her darkest nature and will compel her to risk everything - even Tristan’s love - just for the thrill of being…bad.

The next three books are the products of the book-shopping spree us bloggers went on yesterday. I showed some serious restraint!

Beastly - Alex Flinn

I am a beast.

A beast. Not quite wolf or gorilla or dog, but a horrible new creature with fangs, claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a walking monster.

You think I’m talking fairy tales? Now way. The place is New York City. The time is now. And I’ll stay this way forever - unless I can break the spell.

Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kinsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, the perfect girl, and the perfect life. And then, I’ll tell you how I became perfectly …beastly.

Ondine - Ebony McKenna (signed)

‘Ondine had the strangest sensation of having a particularly awful dream. Shambles had become a real man, and a stunningly handsome one at that, but then some force took it all away and he was back to being…a ferret.’

But what if Ondine’s dream came true? What if Shambles really is the man of her dreams, trapped by a witch’s spell?

Ondine can’t get the idea out of her head, or her heart. After all, love is blind, and sometimes it’s hiding in the most unexpected places…

How to Ditch Your Fairy - Justine Larbalestier

If you lived in a world where everyone had a personal fairy, what kind would you want?

- A clothes-shopping fairy (The perfect outfit will always be on sale!)
- A loose-change fairy (Pretty self-explanatory)
- A never-getting-caught fairy (You can get away with anything…)

Unfortunately for Charlie, she’s stuck with a parking fairy - if she’s in the car, the driver will find the perfect parking spot. Tired of being treated like a personal parking pass, Charlie devises a plan to ditch her fairy for a more useful model. At first, teaming up with her archenemy (who has an all-the-boys-like-you fairy) seems like a good idea. But Charlie soon learns there are consequences for messing with fairies - and she will have to resort to extraordinary measures to set things right again.

Sophie

Friday 14 May 2010

Runaway - Meg Cabot

Runaway - Meg Cabot

Pages: 310
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: 20th April 2010

Other Books in the Series: Airhead, Being Nikki

Em Watts is on the run.

She’s on the run from school, from work, from her family, from her friends, from herself.

With everyone she loves furious with her for something she can’t explain, and nothing but the live Stark Angel fashion show on New Year’s Eve to look forward to, Em’s reached the end of her rope…what’s the point of even going on?

But when she discovers the truth Nikki’s secret, she knows there’s only one person she can turn too.

Will Christopher be able to put aside his personal feelings and help her expose her employer to the world? Is it even fair to get Christopher involved - since if he agrees, there’s every chance that Stark Enterprises will try to have them both killed - this time, permanently?

Maybe it would be better to keep on running.

The final instalment of Meg Cabot’s Airhead trilogy is jaw-droopingly explosive. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.

Meg Cabot has a distinctive writing style that made Runaway so compulsively readable that I raced through it in only a few hours. Though I’ve never had a brain transplant myself, I could empathise with Em so easily. Her emotions are tangible and her voice so real. I still don’t like Nikki, though. She irritates me to death.

But Nikki brought in a very important theme in Runaway, that while it has been present in the earlier books, it’s never been quite so central before. What I think Meg Cabot is trying to say is that being pretty isn’t the be all and end all. You can be strong, independent, clever AND pretty. You’ve just got to love and work with what you’ve got. It’s an important message and hopefully with Meg Cabot’s championing of it it’ll be taken on board by teen girls everywhere.

However, Runaway is really all about Project Phoenix. After watching Meg’s brilliant vlogs (1, 2, 3 and 4) I was extremely curious about it, and I wasn’t disappointed. I think I even gasped out loud. I was shocked and rather horrified. Who could do such a thing?! It’s a revelation perfectly suited to the end of a trilogy. With this revelation came a neat, tied-up ending. All questions were answered and we had a happy ending. And I love a happy ending.

I loved Runaway and I can’t wait to read Meg Cabot’s next offering, Insatiable, an adult vampire novel.

For my 2010 100+ Reading Challenge

Sophie

Wednesday 12 May 2010

Never Bite a Boy on the First Date - Tamara Summers


Never Bite a Boy on the First Date - Tamara Summers

Pages: 270
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date: 4th March 2010

Other Titles by this Author: Save the Date

When we found the guy and saw the holes in his neck, the cause of death was obvious.

“It wasn’t me,” I said. “I make one mistake and every little vampire attack is my fault? That’s so unfair!”

But it doesn’t matter how much I protest, unless I can prove my innocence I’ll be spending the nest decade in a padded coffin. So now I’m on mission to track down the real murderer. I’ve narrowed it down to three suspects.

All acting suspiciously.
All boys.
And all very cute…

Never Bite a Boy on the First Date is a fun and light-hearted vampire mystery.

Kira is such a fun heroine to follow. Because she’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. She’s new to vampiredom so naturally, she’s made some mistakes. And not completely inconsequential ones either. Kira is also a sixteen-year-old girl whether she’s a vampire or not, and her preoccupation with hot guys, disdain for school and conflict with her ‘parents’ make her a character that is very easy to empathise with.

This imperfection spreads to her family. Her brother, sister, brother-in-law, mum and dad (all vampires and not related to Kira) are endearingly oddball. Their fashions and traditions all reflect the time that they were turned in and truly comply to the idea of freezing in mind and body when you become a vampire. They’re such a mismatch bunch!

In the last quarter of Never Bite a Boy on the First Date, the relaxed tone turns sharper with shocking revelations and surprising twists. Throughout the novel Kira has three suspects for Tex’s murder and investigates them all. By dating them, obviously. Now, I had my theories, and after a few false starts I finally guessed the identity of the murderer correctly. Rare, I know.

This is a fantastically fun standalone novel and I recommend it to fans of fanged fiction who want something light and easy.

For my 2010 100+ Reading Challenge

Sophie