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Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking The Spine to highlight upcoming releases we can't wait to read.

This weeks Choice:

Immortal Remains (Wierdsville #2) by Rook Hastings

Four freak accidents. Four mysterious deaths. Four signs of trouble. Welcome back to Weirdsville! 

"You see, the girls that died -- it wasn't by accident. They were cursed, every one of them. Cursed to meet a horrible death! And I'm going to be next."

 Four girls from posh school Riverbank have been killed in seemingly random but freakish ways and it's not long before Bethan and co. are lured into investigating the grisly case. Is it really just coincidence or is there something more sinister going on? Meanwhile Hashim's playing truant, Kelly's on the warpath and Jay's trying to avoid someone even more close to home! Himself. Scary, paranormal and supernaturally chilling experiences are everyday in a town like Weirdsville!

I really enjoyed the first book in the Wierdsville series, Nearly Departed) a (Review here! ) and am really looking forward to this one!

Published in the UK 2nd September 2010 by HarperCollins Children's books

Book Review: Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce

The story of Scarlett and Rosie March, two highly-skilled sisters who have been hunting Fenris (werewolves) – who prey on teen girls – since Scarlett lost her eye years ago while defending Rosie in an attack. Scarlett lives to destroy the Fenris, and she and Rosie lure them in with red cloaks (a colour the wolves can't resist), though Rosie hunts more out of debt to her sister than drive. 
But things seem to be changing. The wolves are getting stronger and harder to fight, and there has been a rash of news reports about countless teenage girls being brutally murdered in the city. Scarlett and Rosie soon discover the truth: wolves are banding together in search of a Potential Fenris – a man tainted by the pack but not yet fully changed. Desperate to find the Potential to use him as bait for a massive werewolf extermination, the sisters move to the city with Silas, a young woodsman and long time family friend who is deadly with an axe. Meanwhile, Rosie finds herself drawn to Silas and the bond they share not only drives the sisters apart, but could destroy all they've worked for. (from

Sisters Red had been on my radar for quite a while. There was a lot of buzz surrounding it and the first reviews were extremely positive. So when my copy arrived, with the most gorgeous shiny hardback cover, I was really excited. I’d seen lots of people say that once they started this book they just couldn’t put it down and read it in one go, so I settled myself down ready to be completely blown away. Only it didn’t happen like that for me.

The book starts very well. It begins with the sisters, Rosie and Scarlett when they’re just nine and eleven years old. Innocently playing at their Grandmother house in the woods, a strange man comes calling. He turns out to be a werewolf, or fenris, and will kill their beloved Oma March and horrifically maim Scarlett. It’s clear we are being given a retelling of the classic fairytale, Little Red Riding Hood and I loved it! I’m a sucker for folklore and myth and in just the first few pages, Sister’s Red is already seeped in it. The fenris is what a real monster should be. Feral, wild, merciless and completely evil. It was terrifying! The book seemed so promising and definitely deserving of its hype.

Unfortunately, within a couple of chapters my excitement had waned. It’s now seven years later and the March Sisters are accomplished hunters, fighting against the fenris who prowl the earth unbeknown to most of humankind, along with their life long friend Silas. The problem I had is that the pace seems to slow right down here, despite all the action. With one fight scene after another it became slightly repetitive and I struggled to concentrate. Now, I’m not sure if I was tired or suffering that awful ailment, over anticipation, but I just couldn’t get into the book. In the end I put it down at around 100 pages in, and read something else, picking it up again a few days later. And am I glad I did?! After the disappointing start I finally got what I wanted and was hooked.

Sisters Red is told in a duel narrative from Scarlett and Rosie in alternating chapters and this works very, very well, giving us an insight into two very different girls. Scarlett was the most difficult sister to relate too. She’s so focussed on hunting, way beyond the point of obsession. She comes across hard, fierce, manipulative towards her sister and blinkered, but as the book moves on you start to see why she is so driven and surprisingly, how vulnerable and insecure she is deep down. I started to feel really sorry for her and certainly respected her loyalty and determination. Rosie on the other hand wants more than just being a huntress but feels she owes Scarlett her life and is terrified of upsetting her. I really enjoyed reading from her point of view, especially as new possibilities were opened up to her away from her sister. By the end I really felt I knew both characters and liked them both. These sisters rock!

This isn’t the most unpredictable book I’ve ever read; I saw the twist coming a mile off. However I think Jackson Pearce’s writing is so beautiful that it didn’t really matter, and the climax was still breathtakingly exciting. There’s plenty of action but this book isn’t just about slaying werewolves. The characters and their inner turmoil’s drive the story, which is really a coming of age tale, a story about loyalty, sisters, first love and discovering who you are and your place in the world. No YA book would be complete without a love story, and this one is particularly touching, feeling very natural and unforced.

I’m glad I didn’t give up on Sisters Red and apart from the slow pages at the beginning of the book I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. The ending left me with both a big smile on my face, a tear in my eye and a sadness that I was leaving the March Sisters. I’d recommend Sisters Red if you enjoy this genre, the mix of action and character development mean it has a wide appeal (and I’d advise you stick with it if you feel the same way as I did at the beginning, it’s worth it!). Jackson Pearce has given an edge to Sisters Red with feisty, strong heroines and wicked, evil monsters, which is refreshing to read and a fascinating spin on the old fairytale.

Book Review: The Poison Diaries by Maryrose Wood

A dark, gothic tale of romance... and murder. In the right dose, everything is a poison. Jessamine has spent her whole life in a cottage close to her father's apothecary garden, surrounded by medicinal plants and herbs that could kill her -- although her father has never allowed her into the most dangerous part of the grounds... the poison garden. And so she's never had reason to be afraid -- until now. Because now a newcomer has come to live with the family, a quiet but strangely attractive orphan boy named Weed. Though Weed doesn't say much in words, he has an instant talent for the apothecary's trade, seeming to possess a close bond with the plants of the garden. Soon, he and Jessamine also share a close bond. But little does Jessamine know that passion can be just as poisonous as the deadliest plants in the garden -- for behind Weed's instinctive way in the garden is a terrible secret. (From

When I bought The Poison Diaries, I really didn’t know all that much about it. I knew that it’s based on a concept by The Duchess Of Northumberland, and her famous Poison Gardens at Alnwick Castle. Being not at all far away from where I live, and a place I’ve been meaning to visit for ages but have never got round to going, this intrigued me along with the amazing synopsis but other than that I didn’t really know quite what to expect of this novel. I’d suggest this is really the best way to go into The Poison Diaries as it turned out to be a complete surprise with me never actually knowing where it was going.

The book begins with Jessamine and her apothecarist father. They live an isolated life, in an abandoned run down cottage in the grounds of Alnwick castle. Her father is obsessed with plants and discovering new cures from them, but in particular poisonous plants. The setting was described perfectly; Maryrose Wood really brought to life the deliciously wild and wondrous Northumberland countryside. Over shadowed by the magnificent Alnwick castle (which was actually used as Hogwarts in the Harry potter Films) the atmosphere and setting had a real gothic feel. I’ve now made a trip to the castle and gardens a must do this summer as I want to see them for myself! Wood’s knowledge and passion for the plants used by the characters in the book is also clear and fascinating to read.

I did find it slow to start with, the language used is a little stilted to read and doesn’t immediately flow easily but is authentic to it’s time in history. After just a few pages though I found it easy to adapt to and the formality of the speech really did give it a genuine historical feel. To begin with Jessamine isn’t all that interesting and the book, told in the most part as a ‘loose’ version of her diary, centres around her day to day life in her isolated cottage and frustration with her obsessive father, who treats her as a child.

However when Weed appears in a shroud of mystery only a few chapters in, things take a fascinating and sinister turn. While I really didn’t know what to expect from this book, I certainly wasn’t expecting the supernatural twist! But this is one I’ve never seen done before. It risked being ridiculous, at first I thought ‘oh no way!’ but thanks to the authors fantastic writing it isn’t. I was sucked in, fascinated, horrified and completely hooked! Weed himself is an intriguing character, cloaked in secrets, dangerous and wild yet vulnerable, naïve and fascinatingly loveable. There is still a lot to learn about him and his past, which I hope to do in the following books in the series.

I ended up really enjoying The Poison Diaries and finished it the same day. It isn’t a long book at just over 230 pages, but there is a lot packed in. There’s a beautiful and touching romance with the kind of heartache that takes your breath away, a sinister and menacing undercurrent which you’re never quite sure where it’s actually coming from and a unique twist that kept me eagerly turning pages. Immensely atmospheric and thrilling, The Poison Diaries is a successful beginning to what promises to be a fantastic series and I’m really looking forward to the next instalment. Recommended!

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's been a while since I've done a It's Monday! post, as I've been quite busy recently with a new job. I do love checking out what everyone is reading though so here I am back with mine.

Last Week I Read:

I really enjoyed this 'behind the scenes' story revolving around the Newborn army we were introduced to, if very briefly, in Eclipse, despite not being a huge fan of the book it accompanies. You can read my review here.

My first taste of Jennifer Echols work, and a new fan. It wasn't perfect, but it wasn't far off and wow! Doug is Hot! I defy anyone not to fall in love with him! Review here.

Currently Reading:

Only a third in so far and not as wrapped up in this as I hoped. Maybe it's a case of over anticipation? It's good, so hopefully I'll get that Wow! feeling soon.

Up Next:

This was a Wow pick a while ago, and i was Very excited to receive a review copy.

"Discover a love story with all the power and intensity of The Time Traveler's Wife and the passion of Twilight"

With a quote like that on the front, I have high hopes for this and hope it doesn't disappoint!

This is the cutest book I've have on my shelves, hands down. The UK version is actually like a journal, complete with elastic string round to keep it shut tight. I'm REALLY looking forward to this after hearing nothing but praise for it.

So that's how my last week looks and what I have planned. what about you?

It's Monday! What are you reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila @ Book Journey

Book Review: Forget You by Jennifer Echols

There’s a lot Zoey would like to forget. Like how her father has knocked up his twenty-four-year old girlfriend. Like Zoey’s fear that the whole town will find out about her mom’s nervous breakdown. Like darkly handsome bad boy Doug taunting her at school. With her life about to become a complete mess, Zoey fights back the only way she knows how, using her famous attention to detail to make sure she’s the perfect daughter, the perfect student, and the perfect girlfriend to ultra-popular football player Brandon.

But then Zoey is in a car crash, and the next day there’s one thing she can’t remember at all—the entire night before. Did she go parking with Brandon, like she planned? And if so, why does it seem like Brandon is avoiding her? And why is Doug—of all people—suddenly acting as if something significant happened between the two of them? Zoey dimly remembers Doug pulling her from the wreck, but he keeps referring to what happened that night as if it was more, and it terrifies Zoey to admit how much is a blank to her. Controlled, meticulous Zoey is quickly losing her grip on the all-important details of her life—a life that seems strangely empty of Brandon, and strangely full of Doug.

I’ve never read anything by Jennifer Echols before, although I was curious because of all the glowing reviews of her work across the blogasphere. When Dwayne over @ Girls Without A Bookshelf had an ARC tour of her latest book, due to be released in July, I signed up right away, eager to sample this author myself; and I really wasn’t disappointed.

Forget You tells the story of 17 year old Zoey. Her father has just left the family to move in with his pregnant 24 year old mistress and her mother, unable to cope, has attempted suicide. With her mother being treated in a psychiatric hospital Zoey is forced to move back in with her father, who is more embarrassed at his ex wifes problems and concerned only about his impending wedding vacation. He is awful, seriously one of the most hideous characters I’ve ever came across! The way he threatens Zoey, firstly about her mother and then about the amnesia she is clearly suffering after the wreck are quite shocking. Really, it’s no the wonder the poor girl is a mess herself!

Zoey’s character was a strange one. She’s not particularly likable on the surface, especially to Doug (more on him soon) however with all that’s going on, it’s understandable. She’s used to being in control, only now everything is spiralling out of her control and she’s confused. Her relationship, or to be more precise, non relationship with Brandon was slightly frustrating. It’s clear from the start that he used her, but despite the most obvious of signs, she’s convinced they are together. I wanted to give her a shake, but to be fair, I got that too. We’ve probably all got a Brandon somewhere in our past-if not then you’ve probably been lucky. Mine was Gav, a 15 year old in the year above me at school. After one quick snog, I was infatuated for months, following like a lost puppy while he did everything he could to ignore me. So maybe my experience was slightly more innocent than Zoey’s, but it’s still the whole unrequited love and being played like a good 'un that is oh so familiar to most. (BTW, I did recently look him up on facebook-the years have not been kind!)

Doug on the other hand is just... well, I want one! Hot, broody , passionate and with a dangerous past he is dreamy-ness itself. And in love with Zoey, despite the horrible way she treats him. Honestly, if you don’t want to push her out the way screaming ‘forget her’ while you’re reading this, then quite frankly I think you must have a heart of stone. With the most amazingly romantic lines, he had hooked straight away. One example is when he is trying to get her to realise Brandon would be no good for her anyway by predicting her future life with him, and ends with “But your chance to do something bright and beautiful, like you - that will be long gone” *sigh* Get ready to have your pulse racing while the rest of you melts into a simpering puddle on the floor.

I really enjoyed Echols writing, which is truthful and not afraid of showing the flaws in her characters. It’s filled with the most blissfully gorgeous lines such as the one above and some beautifully descriptive prose, which brought the setting, atmospheres and people to life. I did find it a little jumpy in parts-occasionally I felt as though I’d maybe missed a paragraph or two when I hadn’t, as something didn’t seem as clear as it should be. I wanted to know what exactly had happened the night of the crash, and was kept in the dark as much as Zoey until right at the very end, which meant I was desperate to keep reading whenever I got the chance. It is a bit full on and steamy, and had me slightly blushing on the bus a couple of maybe not one for the younger end of the YA market! I’m glad I finally got a chance to read Jennifer’s work, and this most certainly won’t be the last.

Hardback or Paperback - Which do YOU like best?

The other night a mini discussion on Twitter about whether we prefer hardbacks or paperbacks, and I was hugely outvoted at 3-1 to the paperback lovers!

But surely I'm not the only one who loves Hardbacks? Really? I can see why paperbacks are appealing; They're cheaper (although I'm noticing HB's are often sold half price on release now and only a couple of pound dearer than a paperback), easier to carry about and a bit easier to curl up in bed with. But really that isn't enough for me.

To me, the sheer aesthetics of a hardback wins for me, they just look so much better! A beautiful hardback feels extremely special and I just don't think you get that with a paperback. I remember as a child receiving a set of books including Alice In Wonderland, The Secret Garden and What Katy Did as a gift from my Grandmother. They were black leather bound hardbacks with gold embossing and were just stunning. They still are because 20 years later I STILL have them, and apart from an accident with one of them (unsurprisingly my favourite and most read)) they are just as beautiful, ready to pass on to my daughter. A paperback just wouldn't have lasted like that.

An argument against hardbacks is the weight, but I love the feeling of a chunky heavy book! Ok, I may be odd but I just like the substantial-ness of them. There is something luxurious and exciting about a hardback. I'm obssessive about taking care of my books, but it's inevitable that eventually a much loved paperback will become tatty and creased. Take the dust jacket off while reading and my hardbacks remain pristine.

Of course I don't buy every book in hardback (not every book is published in hardback for a start!), in fact probably only 25% of books I own are. The ones I do own though are among my favourites and the excitement at buying or being given a stunning HB never lessens. I still want to hold it, stroke it and just stare at it (maybe I just need help?)

So, while I totally get the benefits of a paperback, I'd go for hardback where I could, a lot of the time, and it would be very rare I'd wait for a paperback of a book I wanted to read. But am I alone? Do you prefer hardback or paperback? Leave a comment and let me know!

Book Review: The Short Second Life Of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer

When it was announced that Stephenie Meyer would be publishing a short novella to accompany Eclipse titled 'The Short Second Life Of Bree Tanner' a lot of peoples first reaction was 'who's Bree?' Not mine though, I remembered her story straightaway, the reason being that the newborn vampires and Bree in particular, were amongst the very few sections of Eclipse I actually enjoyed. I make no bones about the fact there were huge issues with Eclipse as a book that I really struggled with. As this review isn't for Eclipse, I won't bore you with them now and I've already let rip elsewhere about my feelings. So it may come as a surprise that I was actually really excited about this novella. Why? Because despite the huge issues I have, I'm still only human and find Meyer's Twilight saga as irresistible as the rest of you! I was instantly intrigued to read the other side, one that didn't come from Bella (resists ranting again)

So, The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner tells the story of the young, newborn vampire caught up in Victoria's war with Bella and The Cullen's. The novella came about when Meyer was editing Eclipse and began as nothing more than a writing exercise. It begins with Bree just 3 months after she was turned into a vampire and being prepared, along with the rest of Victoria's newly created army, to go to battle (although this is unbeknown to them) We know how the story ends, or at least you will do if you have read Eclipse. This book takes us on Bree's journey to that point, as an unwitting pawn in Victoria's deadly game of revenge.

I loved this take on the story. Seeing things from Bree's perspective gives a whole new slant to Eclipse, and I enjoyed this way more. Bree hasn't chosen to be turned, she's been kept in the dark about the truth of being a vampire (literally!) yet there is masses of spirit and curiosity there along with her vulnerability. Bizarrely hers is an incredibly human tale, 15 year old Bree is caught up in a gang of wicked vampires, but it could quite easily be a real life drug or criminal gang. She's a victim and I ended up right on her side.

The newly created army of vampires are terrifying and it's amazing to see what life was like for them, how driven their thirst actually is. They are dangerous, wild and uncontrollable- a complete contrast to the vampires we have met previously in the Twilight saga. I'm not going to give too much away, because the book is only 190 pages long and like I already said, we know how it ends, I don't want to spoil it for anyone yet to read. I will say there is a touching love story (with a couple of brilliant scenesand much sparkliness!), plenty of action, excitement and intrigue and new insights into the days leading up to the battle. It's not all perfect, Meyer's tendency to over describe is still there and I did feel that some elements of certain characters were too sketchy and vague, making me want to know even more. However the scene at the end of the battle through Bree's eyes is fantastically written and very emotional, the opportunity to read this almost makes up for the flaws. I was willing things to be different, even though I knew they couldn't be.

Overall The Short Second Life Of Bree Tanner is a success in my opinion, and is everything that I want from Meyer and was missing in Eclipse. I'm glad I read this, having this 'behind the scene' insight makes me all the more excited to see Eclipse at the cinema. A must read for anyone who has read the Twilight series.

You can read The Short Second Life Of Bree Tanner for free until July 5Th 2010 at

Book Review: Temptation Street by Shari Low

Glaswegian business women and best friends, Suze and Mel seem to have it all. Both married to the successful Marshell brothers Karl and Joe, a thriving lingerie and beauty business between them and a host of close friends; they're living the dream. That is until Suze suspects her husband, karl, is cheating and decides to hire a honey trap. Only the results aren't quite what she was expecting and will blow the entire family apart. Can the family ever recover? With another major blow hanging over all their heads is this the end of the line for all concerned?

I've never read anything by Shari Low before, and now I have the feeling I've been missing out! I absolutely loved her writing style, which is fun, sassy and exciting from beginning to end.
Mel and Suze are both strong and successful thirty-somethings and despite my life being a bit (ok a lot) less glamorous than theirs, I loved both of them. Suze is the stronger of the two, headstrong, impetuous and completely over the top, I imagine her being hard work as a friend! Mel on the other-hand, is more grounded, thoughtful and considerate. My heart and sympathy went out to Mel, as she comes off the worst from everyone else's antics, but remains strong and doesn't become a pity character. I became completely wrapped up in both women's lives, and it's their flaws which make them even more appealing.

What makes this book an absolute joy to read is the hysterical dialogue between the characters. I adored the snipey, sarky humour, it had tears of laughter rolling down my face. Reading Shari Low's writing is like having the best girls night out ever. I wanted to be friends with Suze and Mel and be a part of their close knit circle. I don't think I've ever read a chick lit that came across like it could be me and my girlfriends sharing stories and a few glasses of wine in the way this one does. It was refreshing and fun to read from beginning to end. But best of all, this was possibly the most unpredictable chick lit I have ever read, the surprises just keep on coming right to the very end. It's incredibly clever how Low diverts our suspicion then springs the truth on the reader at the same time as the characters. It certainly makes for an exciting read indeed.

While Suze and Mel are the main characters, the supporting cast aren't anything but stars themselves. Loyal employee, Josie is terrifying and caring all at the same time, just the type of person you want to take you under their wing. Virginia, mother in law from hell is deliciously detestable and definitely one you'll love to hate. The husbands, and other men folk, do play their part in the book but this is really very much all about girl power and strong female characters.

Amongst all the fun there are some serious undertones giving Temptation Street meat to it's bones. Suspicion, betrayal, truth and how much of it you really want to know, knowing those closest to you and knowing what you want yourself and how these themes affect relationships run throughout the book, as well as an incredibly realistic and current issue which comes as a bolt from blue. You will laugh, cry, want to join in and comfort both women as they heal, move on and face other problems. If there is one book chick lit fans should be packing in their cases this summer for poolside reading, It's this one. Highly recommended!

Temptation Street was published on 3rd June 2010.

Many thanks to Carolyn @ Bookchickcity for passing me this review copy on behalf of Piatkus books

Random Rambling and Some New UK Blogs To Check Out

I haven't done any round up posts for ages, and have lots of little tidbits I wanted to post. So having finally caught up on myself thought I'd get them all out in one long ramble...lucky you!

To Rename or not to Rename...?

So when I started this blog back in September 09, I wasn't really expecting anyone to read it and to be honest, I didn't put that much thought into my blog name. Anyhow, it's been bugging me for a while now and I've been thinking of buying a domain name and changing it because, well I'll let you into a little secret, my real name isn't Rhiana sssh! It is however the nickname I've used since I first got myself on the world wide web 7 years ago (a shortened version of the goddess Rhiannon and NOT the pop star who hadn't even been heard of then, I'll have you know!) and it is my daughters middle name. Anyway, I want honest opinions. Is it really rubbish? Would you like another name? I've tried to come up with something really witty and clever...but failed. After admiring my bookshelves and noticing how sparkly, shiny and lovely my books are I was thinking 'My Glittering Bookshelves' or 'The Glittering Bookcase' ... thoughts?

Challenge Updates

Well I'm bashing on at steady speed with both the challenges I signed up to.

I've completed 38 books as part of the 100+ reading challenge, so I could do with pushing on with that a bit. However I've almost completed my aim of 25 books in the YA Reading challenge, currently totalling 24. So i'm going to increase this to 50.

I think these stats reflect where my reading is going now. I always liked to dip in and out of the YA catagory, but now I'm just obsessed and it's pretty much all I want to read right now! What I love best is that under the YA cat, there are so many different genres and I can flit between historical, paranormal, contemporary,'s fantastic, never boring, always able to relate to the YA themes and I've read some amazing books in genres I probably never would have in adult books. I'm massive on dystopia atm, have a basket full of titles over on amazon calling 'buy me' right now...ooops.

You can check out a full list of books read as well as links to the challenge host pages here

An Award
I've been a bit rubbish at accepting awards recently, and I am sorry...really I do appreciate it! Here's one I've never had before from Naomi @ Naoimi's Book Reviews

The rules of accepting this award are easy, tell us the last five books you read and pass the award onto five other book bloggers.

So my last five books read were:

Crossed Wires by Rosie Thornton
Forget You by Jennifer Echols
Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper
The Forest Of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Life as We Knew it by Susan Pfeffer

And I'm passing this one on to five bloggers who always make the time to read reviews and leave such lovely, thoughtful and supportive comments. They Are:

Becky @ The Bookette

Although you're all stars!!!!

Finally (phew!) Some New UK Bloggers To Check Out!

I remember when I first started blogging struggling to find any UK bloggers. Maybe I was looking in the wrong places, or you were hiding? Anyway, the lovely Becky @ The Bookette, champion of the new UK blogger, linked to me in a post and I was found. So in a similar vein, here are a few new or new to me UK YA book blogs I've recently stumbled accross...all of them are fab so go check them out!

Asamum Reads and Fluttering Butterflies (who has the prettiest blog background) are both well established blogs, but are completely new to me, so if you're yet to discover them go over now and say Hi!

Mostly Reading YA has been tweeting books for a while but recently started a blog and I love the layout! Some great discussion posts on favourite YA covers and E-readers v Paperbacks.

And just starting yesterday, Lyndsey @ Heaven, Hell and Purgatory - Book Reviews is the very new blog on the block. A fan of YA fantasy and Paranormal she has a unique rating system...I LOVE it!... please go over and make her welcome!

And that's all from me!

Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking The Spine to highlight the yet to be released books we are eagerly anticipating.

Whisper My Name by Jane Eagland

A young girl discovers a terrible secret about her past in Victorian London
Since she was twelve, Meriel Garland has lived with her grandfather in London, exiled from her beloved India following the death of her mother. Now sixteen, Meriel chafes against the strict regime of tests and study that her grandfather imposes on her. Escaping, she discovers a world outside her narrow existence – one that promises admiration for her acting skills, social success and the dark mysteries of séances. Disbelieving at first, she is drawn in when the young medium Sophie Casson passes on a message apparently from beyond the grave – and Meriel begins to suspect she might not be alone in the world after all. In searching for the truth about her past, Meriel uncovers a sinister scheme – and soon it’s hard to know who she can really trust .

Released in the UK 6 August 2010 by Young Picador

If you read my recent review of Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper, you will know I love the Victorian period, throw in some spiritualism and a mystery and I'm in!

Book Review: Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper

Grace Parkes has just had to do a terrible thing. Having given birth to an illegitimate child, she has travelled to the famed Brookwood Cemetery to place her small infant's body in a rich lady's coffin. Following the advice of a kindly midwife, this is the only way that Grace can think of to give something at least to the little baby who died at birth, and to avoid the ignominy of a pauper's grave. Distraught and weeping, Grace meets two people at the cemetery: Mrs Emmeline Unwin and Mr James Solent. These two characters will have a profound affect upon Grace's life. But Grace doesn't know that yet. For now, she has to suppress her grief and get on with the business of living: scraping together enough pennies selling watercress for rent and food; looking after her older sister, who is incapable of caring for herself; thwarting the manipulative and conscience-free Unwin family, who are as capable of running a lucrative funeral business as they are of defrauding a young woman of her fortune. A stunning evocation of life in Victorian London, with vivid and accurate depictions, ranging from the deprivation that the truly poor suffered to the unthinking luxuries enjoyed by the rich: all bound up with a pacy and thrilling plot, as Grace races to unravel the fraud about to be perpetrated against her and her sister. (From

I love a good historical fiction now and then, in particular from the Victorian era, and so was extremely excited about reading this book. I wasn't disappointed. Fallen Grace is a rags to riches tale of the very best kind and filled with the characters that make this kind of book so compelling. There's tragic Grace, poverty stricken and badly treat yet hard working, kind and fiercely loyal; the detestable Unwin family, rich, cruel and conniving and the handsome young solicitor Mr James Solent, champion of the underdog. It reminds me a little of those saga's I would steal from my Mum's bookshelves years ago. I did love reading those books but often found them too long, spanning such a lengthy time period I would get bored or frustrated at yet another tragedy for the poor heroine. Covering just a year in Fifteen year old Grace's life, Mary Hooper's latest book doesn't suffer this problem. It has everything needed for a deliciously juicy saga, but the story is contained and my attention was captured throughout the 300 pages.

I loved our heroine, Grace. She is tragic enough to gain sympathy but strong enough not to become pitying. Orphaned young and left to take care of her disabled older sister, despite the awful situation she finds herself in she remains loyal and loving. Her sister Lily is adorable. A young child in the body of a young woman, her simplistic naivety at the world is touching; although of course in the surrounding London slums, dangerous and extremely trying too. The other characters in the book are also extremely vivid, no matter how small their part and all of them were brought to life in my mind. I could almost see the book playing out as one of those fabulous Sunday evening TV drama adaptations as I read.

The setting of the book is described with such detail that while reading I felt transported to 19th century England. With a backdrop of the highly prosperous and opulent Victorian funeral industry the story is deliciously sinister and macabre, without being overly gruesome. While I knew that Queen Victoria took her mourning of Prince Albert extremely seriously, never again wearing anything but black, I didn't know just how many rituals and rules of etiquette there were surrounding mourning dress. It was fascinating! As well, there are all the extravagant trimmings to ensure you give your loved one the most fashionable of send off's, disguised as being 'respectful and proper' although largely made up by the Funeral industry itself to further enhance their wealth. It's ironic that such fortunes were spent to bury the wealthy and aristocratic deceased, while the living poor suffered so terribly, having nothing to eat, no where to sleep and often working hours without shoes or warm clothes for a pittance. The contrast between the two is shocking. The amount of research Mary Hooper must have undertook to write this book is clear, and it pays off as the book is extremely interesting as well as being a fantastic read.

I thoroughly enjoyed Fallen Grace. The historical detail and the bizarre Funeral industry setting make it an original, interesting and sinister read. With character's leaping from the pages and descriptions that will take you right to the heart of Victorian London, it's a book to curl up cosy with and savour every last bit. There are some difficult themes such as rape and abuse, although neither in graphic detail (it happens before the book begins and so is mentioned but not described) and I think this book would appeal to fans of historical fiction of any age from age 12+ or for anyone with an interest in this period of history. This is the first book by Mary Hooper I have read, but I'm certain it won't be the last.

Released on the 7th June 2010, thanks to the publishers (Bloomsbury) for sending me this copy for review.

Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking The Spine to highlight upcoming releases we can't wait to read.

This Weeks Choice:

Angel by L A Weatherly

In a world where angels are beyond redemption, Alex thinks he's found one that might deserve mercy. Alex is a ruthless assassin - of angels. Forget everything you've heard about them before. Angels are not benign celestial creatures, but fierce stalkers whose irresistible force allows them to feed off humans, draining them of their vitality until there is barely anything left. As far as Alex is concerned, the only good angel is a dead angel...until he meets Willow. She may look like a normal teenager but Willow is no ordinary girl. Half-angel, half-human, Willow may hold the key to defeating the evil angels. But as the hunter and the hunted embark on an epic and dangerous journey and Willow learns the dark and terrifying secrets of her past, Alex finds himself drawn to Willow...with devastating consequences. Eoin Colfer reinvented the fairy, Stephenie Meyer reinvented the vampire, L.A. Weatherly reinvents the angel! This is a heart-pounding, knuckle-whitening, paranormal romance action-adventure for fans of the 'Twilight' series. This is the first in a devastating new trilogy.

Released 1/10.2010 in the UK

Angel is Usborne Children's publishers first book for Young Adults. After reading their books for a good few years with my daughter (Their 'That's Not My... ' toddler books are a must for tiny little bookies...soooo cute!) I can't wait to read this one from author L A Weatherly, and I Love the cover!

Book review: Life As we Knew It by Susan Pfeffer

It's almost the end of Miranda's sophomore year in high school, and her journal reflects the busy life of a typical teenager: conversations with friends, fights with mom, and fervent hopes for a driver's license. When Miranda first begins hearing the reports of a meteor on a collision course with the moon, it hardly seems worth a mention in her diary. But after the meteor hits, pushing the moon off its axis and causing worldwide earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanoes, all the things Miranda used to take for granted begin to disappear. Food and gas shortages, along with extreme weather changes, come to her small Pennsylvania town; and Miranda's voice is by turns petulant, angry, and finally resigned, as her family is forced to make tough choices while they consider their increasingly limited options. Yet even as suspicious neighbors stockpile food in anticipation of a looming winter without heat or electricity, Miranda knows that that her future is still hers to decide even if life as she knew it is over. (From

When Becky @ The Bookette wrote a fantastic review of this book and told me in a Twitter exchange that it's a must read, I took her word for it. One thing I've learned since I discovered Becky's blog is if she says a book is a good 'un, then she is likely right (seriously, if you haven't visited her yet, then you really must!). Once again she was absolutely spot on and I was glued to this book from beginning to end.

Life as We Knew It is a terrifying account of survival through the eyes of 15 year-old Miranda as she writes in her diary. A fairly ordinary girl whose main concerns are school, friends and a crush on a local ice skating star, until an asteroid strikes the moon and pushes it closer to earth. With the world consumed by tidal waves, floods, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, vast amounts of the population are wiped out and the subsequent loss of electricity, gas, water and food, each day becomes a fight for survival against starvation and disease.

The most horrifying aspect of this book is just how possible the situation is. A massive natural disaster could happen at anytime, we seem to be seeing them increasingly in recent years and one on such a gigantic worldwide scale as in Life As we Knew isn't all that difficult to believe in. Susan Pfeffer drives home just how vulnerable and unprepared we really are once the things we rely on daily are gone and it is truly the stuff of nightmares. It also makes the recent disruption to air traffic from Volcanic Ash seem nothing more than a slight inconvenience, as daylight is completely lost to the stuff in Life As We Knew It, while also giving it a more sinister and worrying presence in my mind.

I also found the speed with which civilized society broke down shocking, but again not hard to imagine. I think possibly one of the points Pfeffer may have been making is how in our isolated, busy and selfish lives we have lost the ability to pull together as a community. I like to believe that this isn't true, that we would work together and help each other. However I also can't help but think about an experience we had when my daughter was just a few weeks old. Our City was badly flooded and we lost electricity for two whole days and i was cut off from my family both by road and phone. Living in a neighbourhood where people kept themselves to themselves and rarely even glimpsed the people living in the houses next to us, we didn't see a soul for those two days. We sat wrapped in quilts, huddled around a couple of candles and waited. It was surreal, it felt like we were the only ones left in the world. Looking back, why didn't we call on our neighbours? Why did no-one check on us? Two days later everything was back to normal, but reading Life As We Knew it reminded me about how isolating that experience was. I also wonder if I was in Miranda's mother's position would I be the same as she? Would I prefer not to think if people were starving just down the road, because offering food to them could mean my own child would run out of food a day earlier? I honestly don't know. I both hated and respected the mother as she became selfish and ferocious in her quest to protect her family.

The whole book is written as a diary from 15 year-old Miranda and yet again was completely realistic. To begin with Miranda isn't even interested in the excitement leading up to the underestimated impact, in fact she's pretty fed up about it because of all the extra homework heaped on her to do with the moon. Afterwards, she doesn't suddenly become a hero, she remains a young girl and thus is angry, resentful, moody and at times plain selfish. Sometimes, some of the more technical details of their survival is a little sketchy, but to me it seems right that a fifteen year old girl would document her resentment at missing prom and having her first relationship thwarted before it even begins. This becomes not just a story of survival, but a girls struggle to come of age and define herself when everything she has ever expected has been snatched away.

Life As We Knew it is a truly amazing book and one which I just couldn't stop reading. I began on a Sunday afternoon and didn't stop until the early hours of Monday morning, having to literally tear myself away to do the things I needed to do. It's a story that I'm still thinking about, days after finishing and will stay with me for a long time. My one complaint is that it ends rather abruptly and I was left desperately wanting to know more. Thankfully there are another two books in The Last Survivors series (the Dead And The Gone and This world We live In) and I immediately ordered them.

Huge thanks to Becky for introducing me to this series.


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