Book Review: The Truth About Celia Frost by Paula Rawsthorne

The Truth about Celia Frost
Celia Frost is a freak. At least that's what everyone thinks. Her life is ruled by a rare disorder that means she could bleed to death from the slightest cut, confining her to a gloomy bubble of safety. No friends. No fun. No life. But when a knife attack on Celia has unexpected consequences, her mum reacts strangely. Suddenly they're on the run. Why is her mum so scared? Someone out there knows - and when they find Celia, she's going to wish the truth was a lie - A buried secret; a gripping manhunt; a dangerous deceit: what is the truth about Celia Frost? A page-turning thriller that's impossible to put down. (From Goodreads.com)

Ah...this is indeed a refreshingly new tale, certainly one I hadn't come across before. It had me gripped from beginning to end, I really had no idea where it was going. It was a book of surprises and a journey I had to travel to find out what really was The Truth About Celia Frost.

Paula Rawsthorne's writing is incredibly easy to sink into. The book starts with a shocking incident which immediately hooks the reader and from there, it's difficult to let go. Celia has a rare blood disorder and has been brought up in near isolation by her single parent mother. Having moved from school to school all through her life she's lonely and friendless; often the victim of name calling and bullying at school. When an incident gets out of hand at her new school though and her mother's reaction is to run, Celia starts wondering what really is going on. Could it be the person she's trusted to care for her all her life is the one she's at danger from?

Celia is immediately intriguing. Despite being an outcast, she's strong and questions everything constantly which adds to the mystery surrounding her illness and her mother's motives. The relationship between the two is fantastically created with Celia's doubt and anger and her mother's desperation making for very intense reading. Between Celia's story we switch narrative to Frankie, an ex cop now working as a private investigator with some questionable morals and employed by a mysterious client to find Celia. I really liked this character and could very easily imagine him. 

I also thought that Paula Rawsthorne described the setting perfectly too, with the inner London sink estate becoming just as menacing as the mystery surrounding Celia. You could feel the despair and poverty here. So it was a refreshing contrast for Celia to discover a new friend and place to escape to, an oasis in the city. I adored how we got to see Celia bloom away from her all her troubles in this section. 

I actually had no idea where this book was going to go for most of the book. What I was surprised to find was at it's heart a story about the ethics of science and just how far we are prepared to go in it's name. It's shocking and abhorrent, yet at the same time a little part of me wondered if anything like this could happen? Very thought provoking stuff. 

Overall The Truth About Celia Frost is a fantastic read. It's so different from anything I've read before, realistically portrayed and believable, thought proving and gripping. I read it in one day, I just had to know what was going on and Rawsthorne's writing was just so compelling. This is a fresh and exciting new addition to Young Adult fiction and I'm excited to see what the author comes up with next.

Heaven


Published by Usborne August 2011
Many thanks to the publishers for providing a copy for review.



Waiting on Wednesday: Crossed

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking The Spine and allows us to spotlight upcoming books we are eagerly anticipating.

Crossed by Ally Condie


In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky — taken by the Society to his certain death — only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

Cassia’s quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander — who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia’s heart — change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.


Released: 1st November (US)

The first book in this series, Matched, blew me away and I instantly wanted the sequel. I can't wait to see what happens to Cassia!

Book Review: Pretty Twisted by Gina Blaxill


Pretty Twisted is the debut novel from British author, Gina Blaxill. It was published on 6th May by Macmillan Children’s Books and it is 275 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy.

Plot
Ever since fourteen year old Ros met Jonathan in a chat room online, she has had a massive crush on him. There are a few problems though. She told him she was older, showed him a picture of her sister and he has a girlfriend, Freya, who is gorgeous and probably way out of his league. Still, they get to be friends and talk to each other about everything and anything.

While Freya is away at college and the relationship with Jonathan is getting strained more and more every day, he has a bit of an identity crisis. He doesn’t know who he is without her. When Freya dumps Jonathan and goes missing, he begins to panic and doesn’t know who else to turn to for help apart from Ros, thinking she is older than she really is. Ros has problems of her own though with friends hanging around with strange, older men but Jonathan is there to help her figure out what to do. Ros and Jonathan’s lives have suddenly become intertwined in a way that they will never forget.

What I thought
Although I am really into YA contemporary novels, I am not so much into YA contemporary/ thriller novels so I was a little wary about reading this book.

Before I get to the aspects of this book that I didn’t like, which there are a few of, I will get into the good parts. The part of the book that I was expecting to like the least was that it was a thriller and actually, it turned out that it was what I enjoyed most. The idea surrounding what was happening so scarily real. Unlike some other thrillers I have read, where the plot is insane and unlikely to ever happen, this wasn’t the case with this book. People go missing all of the time and teenage girls especially and with things like this being in the media so often, it was a topic really close to home. The way the lead up to the main event was written was extremely realistic, tense and exciting all at the same time. Really, this was the only thing I truly liked about this book though.

Even though the main plot won me over, the rest, however, didn’t. Main characters, Ros and Jonathan meet online in a chat room and while this would have been current maybe 10 years ago, it isn’t really anymore. Maybe if they had met each other some other way online, it would have made for a more convincing and believable story. Also, I’m not altogether sure if a 14 year old girl who leads a quite sheltered life and seems to be pretty sensible would go and meet a guy she hadn’t even been talking to for very long. Ros was a girl who seemed to have her head screwed on so this part of the book didn’t really add up for me. However, I can see that she wanted attention and for someone to listen to her so I guess this could have been a big part of meeting Jonathan.

Ros and Jonathan, the main characters, were people I didn’t really like either unfortunately. Ros was a bit of a mixed bag. Sometimes she would act really mature and sensible for a 14 year old and then at other times, she would be a complete idiot and do something which made me want to shout at her a little bit. Jonathan was slightly better due to the fact that he was a bit more complicated than Ros. Jono had hidden depths and talents and unlike Ros, has a very distinct and interesting voice about him. He is level headed for the most part but doesn’t mind letting his emotions show and I liked this about him. Jono was interesting mostly because he isn’t like other boys in YA books. He isn’t amazingly hot with supernatural abilities. He is just a normal teenager.

While Pretty Twisted wasn’t to my own personal taste, I can see many people loving it. With a tense mystery full of suspense and a crazy friendship between two unlikely people, it has a lot to offer readers who are more into this genre of book.


Book Review: Here Lies Bridget by Paige Harbison

Bridget Duke is the uncontested ruler of her school. The meanest girl with the biggest secret insecurities. And when new girl Anna Judge arrives, things start to fall apart for Bridget: friends don't worship as attentively, teachers don't fall for her wide-eyed "who me?" look, expulsion looms ahead and the one boy she's always loved—Liam Ward—can barely even look at her anymore.
When a desperate Bridget drives too fast and crashes her car, she ends up in limbo, facing everyone she's wronged and walking a few uncomfortable miles in their shoes. Now she has only one chance to make a last impression. Though she might end up dead, she has one last shot at redemption and the chance to right the wrongs she's inflicted on the people who mean the most to her.
And Bridget's about to learn that, sometimes, saying you're sorry just isn't enough….(From Goodreads.com)


Here Lies Bridget made it onto my wishlist because of it’s seemingly similarity to Lauren Oliver’s Before I Fall, so I was especially happy to receive a copy from the publisher for review. Reading it proved that while there may be a vague similarity to the aforementioned book of awesome, Here Lies Bridget definitely stands up on it’s own as something different too and personally I loved it. However I think this is a book that may divide opinion and can see it being a case of either love it or loathe it, particular where main character Bridget is concerned.

What I really liked about the book was how brave Paige Harbison was in making her lead character so utterly detestable. Seriously, there’s nothing redeeming about her character at all for most of the book. She’s an all out mean girl but you know, I kind of loved to hate her. So someone who says exactly what they think without any care or tact isn’t someone you’d want to be around,  I still couldn’t help admire some of the things she had the audacity to say. Does that make me horrible? Possibly, but I guess we’ve all had situations where we’ve just wanted to say it as it is or had mean, nasty thoughts in our heads. Bridget just actually comes right out with them. And she knows she’s a bitch too. No matter how much I wouldn’t want to be friends with this girl, she was fun to read about.

I really thought Paige Harbison got Bridget’s desperation to stay top dog and most popular girl spot on, and boy was she desperate. As everything falls apart you can feel Bridget’s panic and bewilderment. While the build up to the pivotal moment in Bridget’s demise was great reading, the second part of this book where she literally has to walk a mile in the shoes of the people she’s terrorised is fantastic, I loved it. I especially liked how this doesn’t turn into soppy journey of self discovery and redemption on Bridget’s part either, there’s a little bit about why she ended up being so awful but it’s not enough to make you pity or understand her. No, we get to see the knock on effect of the others, the book becomes about the victims not the bully and I thought that was very clever. It’s almost like the contemptible Bridget is just a vehicle to get to know these other people and it’s with them that your sympathies will lie.

There were a couple of things I thought could have made the book better. Anna Judge, the mysterious new girl at school could have been better explained and expanded upon. I also thought Bridget’s relationship with her father should have been more important than it actually was portrayed. Other than that I really liked this book. If you can’t stand unlikable characters in your reading, then this is probably not for you. If you fancy something really different and enjoy a bit of loving to hate with a couple of interesting twists then I’d say give this one a go. I found it a quick enjoyable read and would certainly look out for more from this author in the future.






Published in the UK by Mira Ink June 2011
Many thanks to the publishers for sending a copy for review.

Book Review: Wuthering Hearts by Kay Woodward

Passion, the Yorkshire moors, a wild and handsome stranger . . . sound familiar?

When Robert arrives in town with his dark good looks and mysterious background, Emily has a huge crush! It’s almost enough to take her mind off this year’s school play . . . miserable, wailing Wuthering Heights.

But Robert is no prince, with his black moods and fierce temper. The beautiful untamed moors would be the perfect backdrop to their fiery romance, if only Emily could work it out.

On stage or off stage, will Emily ever be the Cathy to his Heathcliff? (from Goodreads.com)


Could a book be any cuter than Kay Woodward's Wuthering Hearts? I doubt it very much. This is the second book I've read from this author and once again I was left with a huge smile and warm fuzzy feeling inside by the end.

Like Jane Airhead before it, Wuthering Hearts takes a well known classic and makes it interesting, something you'd want to read. I can see many young people checking out the Brontës after reading these books. Wuthering Hearts isn't a retelling, but features as the school play and focus of the whole story.

Kay Woodward has a unique style of humour and wit to her writing, with some genuinely laugh out loud moments. She also captures early teenhood perfectly, with all it's worries and anxieties. Emily is such a lovely character: kind, fun with a tendency to say the wrong thing at the wrong time now and then. She's such a relatable character, so normal and someone you'd really want to be friends with at school. I really liked the budding romance in this book between Emily and the mood swinging Robert, who definitely got my sympathy when the reason for his grumpiness was revealed. It's sweet and tender, completely appropriate for pre-early teen readers who I know will adore this book.

Wuthering Hearts is a feel good, heart warming, gentle romcom and I loved it. I'd recommend this book for readers age 10-14 who will find Emily extremely relatable, the writing funny and the romance adorable. Or for those young at heart, who remember their first crush and the awkwardness which comes with a budding romance, and want a book that will leave them with a huge smile on their face.




Published by Anderson Press June 2011
Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy for review.

In My Mailbox (26-6-2011)

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren 

Here are the books that made their way to our homes this week, either bought, borrowed, gifted or for review.




A pretty mixed lot for us this week so what do you think? Any of these that you have read and either loved or hated? Let us know!!

Revealed: UK Cover For Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

LOVE AND LOYALTY RUN DEEPER THAN BLOOD…

Sydney protects vampire secrets – and human lives. As an alchemist, she is part of a secret group who dabbles in magic and serves to bridge the world of humans and vampires.

But when Sydney is torn from her bed in the middle of the night, she fears she’s still being punished for her complicated alliance with dhampir Rose Hathaway. What unfolds is far worse. Jill Dragomir—the sister of Moroi Queen Lissa Dragomir—is in mortal danger, and goes into hiding. Now Sydney must .act as Jill’s protector.

The last thing Sydney wants is to be accused of sympathising with vampires. And now she has to live with one . .

Published by Razorbill UK August 25th 2011


So what do you think? It's a very pretty book indeed and I like how it stands out from similar books and series. Are you looking forward to Bloodlines?

Book Review: Small Blue Thing by S.C. Ransom


Small Blue Thing is the first book in a trilogy by S.C. Ransom. It was published by Nosy Crow on 13th January and the book is 320 pages long. It was originally written for the author’s daughter, mostly written on her Blackberry.

Plot
Seventeen year old Alex is just about to celebrate finishing her exams. While out with best friend Grace, she manages to save a swan caught up in the Thames but she ends up with more than she bargained for. When Alex finds a mysterious blue bracelet in the river, she doesn’t think it is anything more than a piece of jewellery but then she begins to see it for what it really is.

From the bracelet comes Callum. A mysterious boy who is always there whenever Alex wears the bracelet. At first Alex thinks she is going mad but realises that he is quite real, only he isn’t exactly alive. Callum has a complicated history but Alex doesn’t care, she wants to know more and to spend as much time with him as possible. Callum has secrets though and they’re about to cause a whole lot of trouble for Alex. Can she find a way to be with Callum for real or are they destined to be apart forever?

What I thought
I originally bought this book because of the beautiful cover. I couldn’t resist it when I saw it in Foyles and after seeing that it was also signed by the author, I knew I had to have it. Unfortunately, the story did not match up to the amazing cover.

The basic idea of this book was interesting and different from anything else in the YA genre that I have read before and other reason why I wanted to read it. I love to be surprised when it comes to books and was looking forward to not reading about vampires or werewolves etc for once. When it comes to this kind of thing, the YA genre doesn’t offer too much variety in its fantasy books but this is where S.C. Ransom stands out. A completely new idea was introduced and I did love the idea behind the story. Unfortunately, the idea was the most exciting part of the book. As you can see from the synopsis, some of the dead do not truly stay dead in this book and the way it was done was new and refreshing.

Just when the story began to get really interesting, it was all over in a matter of minutes. The action had been building up for a while and I was getting quite excited to see what was going to happen but it was all very rushed. The action scenes were very small and far too short. I wanted much, much more from this aspect of the book and was sad when the short amount of action was all over. I think that this was something that could have been expanded on, even if only a little more, and it would have made the book as a whole much better. This was not the only place where the story felt rushed either. The pacing as a whole throughout the book was quite uneven. There are some other events in the story which happened far too quickly for my liking but wont say what, just in case it spoils the book for anyone who does want to read it.

I really didn’t ‘buy’ Alex at all. As a main character, I think the purpose is to like her, maybe relate to her a little bit and also feel for her and the things she is going through. I felt none of this while reading this book, which was very unfortunate. My biggest gripe with Alex was the way she spoke. Small Blue Thing is told from her point of view but the narrative was far from believable. The way Alex spoke at times, the way she told the story, was outdated. I don’t know any teenagers now, nor when I was one myself, that spoke the way she did. Her language made her seem quite uptight and ‘prim and proper’ when that wasn’t really what she was like at all. I had a hard time liking Alex even after only a couple of pages due to this.

Even though I had this one major problem with Alex, she did have some redeeming moments so it isn’t all bad when it comes to her. There were a couple of moments where I absolutely loved her. Well, I loved the way she acted or reacted to different situations more than Alex herself but it was better than hating her completely. The way she reacts to one situation was amazing and I kind of wanted to applaud her for it, if only she had spoken a little more like a teenager, instead of sounding like an old woman.

I didn’t see the appeal with Callum either, which was a real shame. He was supposed to be this mysterious with lots of secrets but I just didn’t see the attraction for Alex. The only thing I could understand was the fact that he was someone she couldn’t really have, which is something I could relate to. Girls are always wanted the guys they cant have in books, which gives the basis of their appeal but that was the only really good thing about Callum. His appearance in the story was great but then it suddenly went downhill. Once he had kind of told Alex who he was, everything between the two happened quickly. Too quickly for me. The way he spoke and acted around Alex was unnatural and I just didn’t understand where he was coming from most of the time. There wasn’t that much about Callum that would have made me want him myself and there was nothing really drawing me to love this character.

I really wanted to love this book but it was such a struggle to get through it and even finish it. The only reason why I persevered with it was due to wanting to know how things would work out with Alex and Callum and their impossible situation but I wont be reading the other books in the trilogy.

WIN!!! A Once In A Life Time Trip To The Home Of The Poison Diaries

I'm REALLY excited to share with you guys this AWESOME competition to celebrate the release of the second book in The Poison Diaries trilogy, Nightshade...
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Your chance to enter the world of

To celebrate the launch of'Nightshade' the second book in The Poison Diaries triology

Here's your chance chance to win a trip for two to the fabulous Alnwick Castle in Northumberlandon July 27th.

To win this competition your mission is to write us a poem with only the title ‘Poisonous By Nature’ to inspire you. Shortlisted entries will be judged by our expert panel including ‘The Poison Diaries’ author Maryrose Wood and the Duchess of Northumberland.
The prize will include
Travel to Alnmouth train station and transfer to Alnwick Castle in the beautiful Northumbiran Countryside. In case you didn’t know, Alnwick Castle is the setting for the Harry Potter movies!! Meeting the Duchess of Northumberland – the co-author of the books and creator of the Poison Garden at Alnwick Castle. A tour of Hulne Abbey – childhood home of ‘The Poison Diaries’ heroine, Jessamine. A special themed dinner in the spectacular Alnwick Tree House. A candlelight tour of the famous Poison Garden at Alnwick. Overnight stay in the Castle. Winners will also receive a preview copy of ‘Nightshade’ and a fabulous Poison Diaries goody bag.
The Rules
You must be available on the 27th and 28th of July. You must have permission from your parents to stay at the Castle. You must be resident in the UK on 27th July. You must be 16 or over. Competition Terms and Conditions.
To Enter
Once you’ve written your poem, simply email it to poisondiaries@gmail.com including your full name, email address and daytime phone number. Please mark as ‘Alnwick Trip Competition’ in your email subject header.
You have until 27th June 2011 to get your entries in before the judging process begins. Winners will be announced on 4th July 2011.
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How fantastic is that? The book is brilliant ( my review HERE) and I've been desperate to visit Alnwick since I read it and visit The Poison Gardens, also if you didn't already know, Alnwick Castle also starred as Hogwarts in the first couple of Harry Potter movies...and the winner gets to sleep there! So get your creative hats on and Goodluck!!!!

Waiting On Wednesday: Velvet by Mary Hooper

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking The Spine

Velvet by Mary Hooper


Rose is a laundress in a Victorian steam laundry. With both her mother and father dead, she is an orphan and has to rely upon her own wits to make a living. The laundry is scalding, back-breaking work and Rose is desperate to create a better life for herself. Then Rose is noticed by Madame X, a famed medium, who asks Rose to come to work for her. Rose is dazzled at first by the young yet beautifully dressed and bejewelled Madame. But soon Rose realises that Madame X is not all that she says she is, and Rose's very life is in danger ...A romantic and thrillingly exciting new novel from an acclaimed and much-loved historical writer for teens. 

Published in the UK by Bloomsbury 5th September 2011

I really enjoyed Mary hoopers previous novel, Fallen Grace. I also just read and loved Alyxandra Harvey's new book, Haunting Violet, which is also set in the world of the Victorian Medium,, so am looking forward to reading more about this fascinating time.

Book Review: Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey



Violet Willoughby doesn't believe in ghosts. But they believe in her. After spending years participating in her mother's elaborate ruse as a fraudulent medium, Violet is about as sceptical as they come in all matters supernatural. Now that she is being visited by a very persistent ghost, one who suffered a violent death, Violet can no longer ignore her unique ability. She must figure out what this ghost is trying to communicate, and quickly because the killer is still on the loose.

Afraid of ruining her chance to escape her mother's scheming through an advantageous marriage, Violet must keep her ability secret. The only person who can help her is Colin, a friend she's known since childhood, and whom she has grown to love. He understands the true Violet, but helping her on this path means they might never be together. Can Violet find a way to help this ghost without ruining her own chance at a future free of lies? (From Goodreads.com)

I’m a big fan of Alyxandra Harvey’s Vampire series, The Drake Chronicles. The second book in the series (Blood Feud) is my favourite though. I loved the historical flashbacks to the French Revolution injected between the main story, and in my review remarked that Alyx should think about writing historical when she was done with the Drakes (review here ). Little did I know she already had one in the pipeline, Haunting Violet, which went immediately on my must read list as soon as I became aware.


Haunting Violet is set in quite probably my most favourite time in history to read about, Victorian, and centres around the fascinating spiritual medium world, which was extremely popular then. So already I'm sold on this story. And it doesn't disappoint at all; Evocative of its time, eerie and spooky, genuinely mysterious and with that trademark Harvey wit and strong female lead - it's a winning combination.

I loved the character of Violet. Despite being bullied and used by her fraudulent and resentful single mother, she remains a strong character willing to fight back. She has a modern outlook while still fitting in with her era, which makes her both interesting and relatable. Compassionate (if at times grudgingly so to the ghost who desperately needs her help) and intelligent she rocks big time. I thought the plot between the two potential love interests was extremely well done, cringing at her mother’s attempts to marry her off to a wealthy gentleman and championing the underdog. There are both very funny and touching scenes in the book, captured in a style unique to this author.

The mystery was also fantastic. What can be more thrilling than a haunted country mansion and a party of nobility and gentry with a murder suspect firmly hidden amongst them. It had a kind of Agatha Christie feel to it, as in it could have been ANY of them, and it was down to the unlikely heroine to eliminate the suspects one by one. For most of the book I didn’t know who was responsible, thinking ‘aha’ several times. And while I did guess the eventual culprit a few pages before the reveal, it was still exciting and full of danger so not at all disappointing. Violet’s interactions with the ghosts she comes across range from chilling and terrifying to absolutely hilarious, so throughout the book I was either holding my breath in suspense or laughing out loud.

What I really enjoy about Alyxandra Harvey’s writing is her snappy, no nonsense and to the point approach. None of her books are particularly long, generally around 300 pages. Yet she always manages to pack so much in and it never feels as if you’ve been short changed. Haunting Violet is no different and once again the pace gallops along at an engrossing speed with no dips of concentration or loss of interest along the way. I’d highly recommend her books to the more reluctant reader or those with a shorter attention span. Impressively, she also manages to convincingly place us in Victorian England, using authentic sounding language and behaviours without overdoing it and alienating readers by being formal and heavy.

Haunting Violet is a definite success in my eyes and a book I’m only too happy to recommend. Mingling historical settings, romance, a murder mystery and a ghost with Harvey’s unique style makes it a must read for fans. I’d also recommend it to fans of Victorian historical fiction and mysteries too, in fact I can’t think of many it won’t appeal to. Verdict:








Published in the UK by Bloomsbury July 2011
Thanks to the publishers for providing a copy for review.

Book Review: Passion by Lauren Kate


Passion is the third book in the Fallen series by Lauren Kate. Published by Random House, Passion has a release date of 23rd June and is 432 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for providing an ARC for review. 

Plot
Before Luce and Daniel had ever met at Sword and Cross school, before they had a massive showdown with the Immortals, they had shared so many previous lives with each other. Not knowing what their relationship is really all about, Luce is determined to figure it all out, by going back and witnessing these lives, and their love, for herself.

Desperate to unlock the secret that hold their relationship in a complicated curse, Luce is determined to find out what that secret is and how she goes about breaking the curse once and for all. Will delving into past lives she isn’t supposed to remember ruin what she has with Daniel, after seeing who he has been his whole life, with and without her. Surely over the span of centuries, Daniel couldn’t have always been a complete saint…could he?

What I thought
I have to start off by saying how much I HATE the cover for this book. If I hadn’t have already read the first two books in this series and gotten this one for review, I doubt I would have bought it after seeing it in a shop. The cover model is extremely underweight looking and really, looks quite ill because of it. As a YA book aimed at teens/ young adults, I don’t think the image that this book projects is very healthy for younger people to be looking at as a role model or something to aspire to. Many people don’t think that book covers really matter and it’s what the actual book is about that counts but here, I have to disagree there.

Thankfully, the story of this book does make up for the appalling cover. Due to the nature of the plot, each chapter explores a different era throughout time. As Luce travels through her past lives with Daniel, we get to see a whole range of different things and ways of life. The way each time period was described was wonderful which made it feel as though I was right there in the story with Luce, experiencing new and exciting things. Not all of the different times she visits are pleasant and actually, pretty much all of them do have bad things going on but this only added to the fact that they had been through so much together over the years, Daniel especially.

I loved hearing about the different ways in which Luce and Daniel fell in love over and over again. I am a hopeless romantic at heart so this was obviously my favourite aspect of the book. No matter what time these characters found themselves in, they would always find a way to each other and to figure out a way of being together, even if it was only for a short amount of time. I have been dying to know what past versions of Luce and the same old Daniel have been like before the present and this whole book gave me a lot of insight into the way that Daniel is and why.

While it seems as though the whole story is about Luce and Daniel’s relationship and the curse, it isn’t. There is so much more going on. Going back a long time, we finally get to see what the curse is all about and why Luce and Daniel are in the state they are in now. I have been dying for the answer to this for two books now so it was great to see this explored more. As well as questions being answered, a host of both new and existing characters are back, adding to the adventure. Bill, a guide to Luce, was my favourite of the new characters as he was so different. From his appearance, I was in two minds about him, not knowing whether or not to trust him. Bill is cheeky, mischievous and a little bit of a terror but he was also great fun to have around at times.

Passion is a fantastic third book in the series and one that was greatly needed. So much is explained and readers will get a great insight into the two main characters of the series, as well as a big chunk of back story. Of course, with a title like Passion, the book had to at least have some of that but I am glad to say, it has bucket loads. Highly recommended but only if you have read the previous books.

In My Mailbox (19-6-11)

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren 

Here are the books that made their way to my home this week, either bought, borrowed, gifted or for review.








All links take you to Goodreads.com for a full description


Check out yesterdays post about our upcoming feature: Summer Lovin' 2011 and find out how you can get involved HERE

Summer Lovin' ... This July! (Info and how you can get involved)

We've been planning our featured month since the beginning of the year. Back when the nights were long, the days were dark and the summer sun was a distant dream. Now it's almost here (even if the British summer is still playing hide & seek!) and for the whole of July we'll be dedicating our love to Summer reading.

So what can you expect? We have reviews, guest posts, music, interviews and a ton of fab giveaways which aren't to be missed!

But in preparation for our month long Summer Lovin' event we need your help

We want to know your favourite summer read EVER. Which one book embodies summer for you and is essential for any respectable beach bag and why this one above all others? Does it have a special meaning for you? Remind you of a special holiday? Let us know in a couple of sentences! We'll collate all your answers in one post, so don't forget to leave your name and blog url if you have one so we can link to you. Just fill in the form below..easy!


We would also really, really appreciate it if you could help us spread the word by posting one of our Feature buttons in your sidebar and linking to us. There's a choice of two:








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Book Review: Shadows On The Moon by Zoë Marriott

A powerful tale of magic, love and revenge with a strong female lead set in fairy-tale Japan; this is "Cinderella" meets "Memoirs of a Geisha". Trained in the magical art of shadow-weaving, sixteen-year-old Suzume is able to recreate herself in any form - a fabulous gift for a girl desperate to escape her past. But who is she really? Is she a girl of noble birth living under the tyranny of her mother's new husband, Lord Terayama, or a lowly drudge scraping a living in the ashes of Terayama's kitchens, or Yue, the most beautiful courtesan in the Moonlit Lands? Whatever her true identity, Suzume is destined to capture the heart of a prince - and determined to use his power to destroy Terayama. And nothing will stop her, not even love. (goodreads.com)

Why, Why Why haven’t I read any of Zoë Marriott’s previous books? This is something I intend to put right as soon as possible, because I absolutely adored her writing style in Shadows On The Moon. Described as ‘Cinderella meets Memoirs Of A Geisha’ and with a stunningly pretty cover, I was hoping for something magical from this book, and I definitely feel I got it. Set in a fantasy world reminiscent of old Japan, the book sizzles with magic and romance.

The given comparisons in the blurb are pretty huge ones, but they are absolutely valid here. I love how Zoë Marriott took the story of Cinderella and completely turned it on its head. Suzume is no meek girl waiting for her prince to come along and rescue her. There are layers upon layers to her character, shown through several identities. Everything you’d expect from a fairytale is here: Wicked step parent, badly treated heroine, handsome princes, a ball and even a fairy godmother of sorts, though they all have their very own spins from the norm. But surprisingly there’s so much more to this book than I ever expected. Amongst the fairytale there’s a story of loss, identity, self-hatred and vengeance, which makes this book utterly compelling and ensures Suzame’s story is unforgettable.

The fantastically created world is so beautiful and evocative you can almost hear the rustle of Kimono’s and smell the cherry blossom. It’s rich in detail, with sumptuous descriptions of clothing and surroundings bringing them vividly to life. One particular dancing scene towards the end is described with such detail and passion I could imagine it happening and the intensity of it made me emotional. I think this may be one of my favourite scenes ever in a book…it’s breathtaking!

Then there’s the romance. Ohhh how gorgeous this is, real old fashioned fairytale romance; dark, tortured, dangerous and passionate. It swept me off my feet. The magic I hoped for was there in abundance as we’re introduced to the mystical world of the shadow weavers. All these elements blend together seamlessly to create an epic tale, which completely blew me away. Yet amongst all the magic and romance Marriott raises the serious and relevant subject of self harm. Written with empathy and understanding I felt Marriott captured Suzama's feelings perfectly and realistically, and through these sections she sheds light on a difficult to understand topic. This really is a book with many hidden depths.

So as you can probably tell, I LOVED this book. From the very beginning Suzame’s story and Zoë Marriott’s world captivated me. I was completely lost inside this world; it wrapped itself around me as if the shadow weavers themselves had cast a spell. I know this book is one that has left a lasting impression and I’ll think of for a long time to come.





Published by Walker UK July 2011
Many thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy for review.

Book Review: Defiance by Lili St. Crow

Defiance is the fourth book in the Strange Angels series by Lili St. Crow. It was published on 31st March by Quercus and the book is 304 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy for review.

Plot
Everything that Dru feared has now come true. Sergej has kidnapped her best friend and only person she can fully trust, the werewulfen Graves. Without him, Dru has no idea how to cope with all of the madness going on around her and she knows she has to do something to save him, before it’s too late, no matter what everyone keeps telling her to do. The training she needs in order to be able to save Graves is supposed to take years but time is the one thing that Dru doesn’t have.

No one but Dru seems to care about what is happening and people are keeping secrets. People who she thought she could trust and people who should be caring for her aren’t looking like the best people to listen to anymore. Dru knows if she is going to save Graves, she is going to have to do it herself and defy the Order!

What I thought
Strange Angels is one of my favourite YA series and I am always excited about the next release and with Defiance, that was no exception. After how Jealousy left us with a huge cliff-hanger, I was dying to know what was going to happen.

I have said in previous reviews of this series just how much I love Dru. There are very few female characters in YA novels who kick ass as much as she does and I hope this never stops with her. In each book, Dru gets stronger and more confident in herself and I love seeing her progress each time and to watch how she deals with the bad situations she finds herself in all of the time. Unlike in the other books though, Dru opens a lot in regards to her feelings for Graves and Christophe. She has been quite closed off up until now so it was good to see a change in her and for her to finally look as though she can make a decision about one of them.

Graves has been a fantastic character throughout the series so far and he has come to one that I love. Unfortunately, due to the plot for Defiance, he isn’t around very much at all and although the plot was great, I was quite sad about this. Having Graves missing for the most part took much of the comedy out of the story and there wasn’t much more put in place of this. Because of this, Defiance has a more serious feel compared to the other books in the series and I hope the next one is lightened up a bit somehow.

Secondary characters were great in Defiance and I was very happy to see more female characters. This series, apart from Dru of course, has been quite dominated by the boys but Defiance gives a new character in Nathalie, a female werewulfen. Dru doesn’t get much company in the form of other girls so seeing the banter and friendship grow between the two was fantastic. I hope that Nathalie is someone who is going to be sticking around for the rest of the series. Also, we get to see a bit more from the Order this time around, due to Dru taking her place as leader and having to talk to them about certain decisions.

Jealousy (book 3) had a little less action that previous books but I can happily say that it is back and better than ever in Defiance. The plot is very quickly paced and there are things happening all over the place. I never really knew what was going to happen next and I couldn’t guess where the story was going half of the time. I really liked being kept guessing and having to try to figure things out every couple of chapters. Lili St. Crow writes great mystery aspects in her book and that is one of the things that I love the most about the Strange Angels series. Defiance is, by far, the best book in this series to date.
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