Review: Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James

Beautiful Malice
Following a terrible tragedy that leaves her once-perfect family shattered, Katherine Patterson moves to a new city, starts at a new school, and looks forward to a new life of quiet anonymity. 
But when Katherine meets the gregarious and beautiful Alice Parrie her resolution to live a solitary life becomes difficult. Katherine is unable resist the flattering attention that Alice pays her and is so charmed by Alice’s contagious enthusiasm that the two girls soon become firm friends. Alice’s joie de vivre is transformative; it helps Katherine forget her painful past and slowly, tentatively, Katherine allows herself to start enjoying life again. 
But being friends with Alice is complicated – and as Katherine gets to know her better she discovers that although Alice can be charming and generous she can also be selfish and egocentric. Sometimes, even, Alice is cruel. 
And when Katherine starts to wonder if Alice is really the kind of person she wants as a friend, she discovers something else about Alice - she doesn’t like being cast off


Before I go any further than that one word, I want to comment that I sort of wish I hadn't read this book, not because it was bad, oh, it was fantastic, but because it broke my heart, had me crying, had me scared and is such an emotional book. (I hate things that get me emotional, I hate the feeling of sadness, it isn't a release for me.)

The book starts with the line; "I didn't go to Alice's funeral", a phrase that grips you already, because we sort of already know the ending and I won't lie. I was gripped from the beginning, gripped at the end, though there were some bits in between that didn't really grab me but this didn't really detract from the novel as a whole.

The story is told in three time frames, we have 15 year old Katherine telling the story of her sister's death, 17 year old Katherine and the main events of the book and 22/23 year old Katherine in the future, giving a retrospective view. Though at some points this chrono-skipping disrupted the novel, it was well written mostly.

James has written some fantastic characters, and some not so fantastic ones. Alice is toxic and malicious but thats about all she is. James tried to make her 3-dimensional by having her jump from extremes but to me, all she is is a nasty bad guy. Katherine is lovely, believable but maybe too much so, I liked her character as I was meant to and I felt her emotions, even crying at some points but I never really loved her. Then theres Robbie. he's sweet, kind and loving and under Alice's spell, he has to be my fave, as he is just lovely! I didn't really love Mick, but his story still broke my heart.

The storyline contains enough twists and turns to keep a reader going, though a discerning reader could figure some of them out pretty easy. The book mixes between psychological, romance and thriller, but most of all, since its contemporary it's relateable. 

I'd like to point out that this book is not easy to read. It contains themes such as bereavement, murder, more murder, more bereavement, rape and teenage pregnancy. It's a difficult read if you're emotional.
I loved it. So much, but I'll never read it again just because it makes me so emotional!

Overall rating: A-

Stand alone/series: Stand alone
Released: July 1st 2010 (Paperback)
Publisher: Faber and Faber
Pages: 368
Book obtained via: Bought

Review: The Body Finder (The Body Finder #1) - Kimberly Derting

 The Body Finder (The Body Finder, #1)Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her "power" to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered. 
Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes the dead leave behind in the world . . . and the imprints that attach to their killers.Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find dead birds her cat left for her. But now that a serial killer is terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he's claimed haunt her daily, Violet realizes she might be the only person who can stop him
.Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved by her hope that Jay's intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she's falling intensely in love, Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer . . . and becoming his prey herself

It has been a while since I read a book that has made me shake. I think that the last book to do this to me was... probably lauren Oliver's Delirium, which I read three months ago. This book is filled with action and romance and at some points it is damn right scary.

It also sort of has a way of creeping up on you. Let me explain. Through the book, I felt that yes, I was enjoying it but no, it wasn't fantastic, but by the last few pages I was oblivious to the real world. All I could think about was the book. I was shaking, sat straight, didn't dare to blink, willing those characters on. Perfect execution, Miss Derting.

What I found unique and amazing was the fact that we get some chapters written in the baddie's POV (which reminds me of a book that I once read, along similar lines in year 9, can't remember what it was called!!) as well as following our lovely protagonist Violet.

Violet, Violet, Violet. I <3 Violet, she was written just right. Not too perfect, I mean she runs off to go and confront a murderer, for crying out loud. But she also isn' whiny and annoying and I loved her character, I didn't really relate to her, but I connected. 

Then there is Jay. Who I guess I love simply because he actually reminds me so much of my boyfriend, (guilty confession there!). Jay is sweet and protective (but no stalker-protective, romantic-protective). AND HE'S JUST A NORMAL GUY! (HALLELUJAH!) As well as this, I was overjoyed at the lack of a !OMG TWO BOYS TO PICK FROM WHICH ONE CAN I TAKE! love triangle, there are other people involved in the relationship but we all know it's Jay and Violet all the way! As well as this, it developed at a decent rate, we first meet Violet at a point in her life where her feelings for her best friend are just changing, it isn't  meeting and relationship within a week, which annoys me. (Hypocritical, as me and my fellow only knew each other a week before we became exclusive)

The plot is very original, no vampires, no werewolves, no witches. Just a girl who can find dead bodies and her amazing NORMAL boyfriend. It was quite scary at some points and does hit home with the target audience; teenage girls. As an 18 year old, I know what it's like to fear these things happening and I was shivering and shaking at some scenes because I was terrified for Violet!

The writing is blunt. Derting didn't try any poetic writing, and I love her for it. There is a very well written and quite steamy make-out session, no purple prose anyway.

Overall rating: A

Stand alone/series: First in a series
Released: Febuary 15th 2011 (Paperback)
Publisher: HarperCollins/HarperTeen
Pages: 352
Book obtained via: Bought

Review: Ice by Sarah Beth Durst

When Cassie was a little girl, her grandmother told her a fairy tale about her mother, who made a deal with the Polar Bear King and was swept away to the ends of the earth. Now that Cassie is older, she knows the story was a nice way of saying her mother had died. Cassie lives with her father at an Arctic research station, is determined to become a scientist, and has no time for make-believe. 
Then, on her eighteenth birthday, Cassie comes face-to-face with a polar bear who speaks to her. He tells her that her mother is alive, imprisoned at the ends of the earth. And he can bring her back — if Cassie will agree to be his bride. 
That is the beginning of Cassie's own real-life fairy tale, one that sends her on an unbelievable journey across the brutal Arctic, through the Canadian boreal forest, and on the back of the North Wind to the land east of the sun and west of the moon. Before it is over, the world she knows will be swept away, and everything she holds dear will be taken from her — until she discovers the true meaning of love and family in the magical realm of Ice.

I'm always a bit iffy about books about people falling in love with animals, I am personally not keen on human & animal love, just an opinion of mine! (Sorry if that offends any readers). HOWEVER as I have read some amazing reviews and REALLY wanted to read it, I grabbed a copy from my college library.

First of all, let me say that i dove right into it. I was not expecting it to be so modern, I was expecting something a little more historical, not that it bothered me.

The storyline follows the original fairytale. In it, Cassie, a young girl who lives with her scientist father in the Arctic is taken away by a polar bear to become his bride. they marry, fall in love but he gets taken away, cue massive rescue story. I'm actually in two minds about how much I enjoyed it. The first half of the book was very enjoyable, with Cassie meeting Bear and their relationship progressing, but the second half was just boring, I skipped through it.

The characters were great, Cassie was strong, determined, loyal and intelligent. Bear was kind, romantic and loveable. Father Forest was scary. The trolls were... funny? I loved them all, Durst gives us a fantastic cast to fall in love with!

I liked some of the alter developments in the plot, I won't give them away, but I liked the twist Durst gae on a YA book. I didn't really like the development of the relationship as much as I could have. In my opinion it all moed very fast, and Durst does a time skip, so we miss months of what could be a very romantic plot, though I respect her decision to just get us to the more serious plotline, it did seem a little lazy though.
The ending was great, there was a well developed climax but i think the way that Durst  wrote it made Cassie seem a little... mary sue-ish? She's saved her husband, worked all these problems out and then she does that? A little TOO perfect, you know?

What I will say is that, for a fairytale retelling, it adds a little originality to the plot, which is something many retellings lack.

A mixed reaction from me, 

Overall rating: C

Stand alone/series: Stand Alone
Released: October 29th 2009 (Paperback)
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Childrens
Pages: 308
Book obtained via: Bought!

Review: Hex Hall (Hex Hall #1) by Rachel Hawkins

Hex Hall (Hex Hall, #1)Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.
By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire student on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.

This has been a book that I wasn't interested in, but I bought it as the third in an "any two for three" book offer. 

I have to admit, I sort of loved it. 

My first impressions were that this book may be a little childish, but I muddled on as I was in the bath and really could not be bothered to get out just to get another book. Actually, by chapter two, I was absorbed.

What really grabbed me, straight away was that Sophie's powers were already established so we didn't have to go through the whole angsty 'whats-wrong-with-me' thing, instead, we're thrown pretty much straight into the story, so it is quite easy to get into. 

The storyline follows a lot of common tropes for books of this genre. We have a new girl who goes to a magic school, makes enemies with three evil popular girls and falls in love with a powerful warlock who is taken by one of said evil girls. I know, it does lack originality but it somehow manages to pull it off with a new twist.

This is probably due to the great characterisation. Sophie Mercer is developed so relatab ly that i real feel that she is a three-dimensonal person, someone I could meet on the street, she makes some rash decisions and feels every emotion that a sixteen year old does, she is written so convincably. Sophie's roomate and best friend, a lesbian vampire named Jenna is also amazing, she adds some comic relief but also adds an extra level to the characters, I think of the characters, Jenna is probably the least flat.

Elodie, Sophie's worst frenemy is also developed so well, I feel that rather than just having a 'I wanna kill you and will do anything to do it' bad girl, adding this little it of a personality set the book apart.
You know who I hated though? Archer. i hated him. I hated his relationship with Sophie. I hated him. Hated Hated Hated. I don't trust him as far as I can throw him. Too smirky, too evil. 

You know who I did lik? Cal, the silent groundskeeper. Think Hagrid but 40 years younger and way hotter, he's the silent hottie type and i can so see something happening between him and Sophie in the sequel Demonglass. I really like Cal. Team Cal!!!!

All in all, the book was fantastic. I love the way Rachel Hawkins writes. It's so realistic, without any attempt at purple prose. She gives the right characters and attitude and the other one personality, without making it sound like she is just trying to show off her own wit!
Not perfect, but still fantastic, has to be 

Overall rating: A-

Stand alone/series: First in a series
Released: April 1st 201 (Paperback)
Publisher: Simon and Schuster childrens
Pages: 336
Book obtained via: Bought!
Sorry I haven't been posting in a while.

Went away last week, exams begin this week. I don't have much time to read! Hopefully, after tomorrow, I can read more as my most important exam (Geography) will be over.

Fingers. Crossed.


Review: The Forest of Adventures ARC by Katie M John

When seventeen year old Mina Singer falls in love with the devestatingy handsome new boy at college, she finds herself catapulted into a fairytale realm.

But Fairytales aren't for children and magic can be deadly - especially in the hands of a jealous Morgan Le Fay.

At the heart of an ancient prophecy, Mina risks destroying those she loves the most. 

I recieved this ARC as the winner of a giveaway over at Reading Away The Days, and I had not seen any other reviews or anything for it, so I really had no idea what to expect. Thanks so much to Katie for sending me this book!

My opinion from the summary was a bit mixed. The whole 'new boy at school' storyline is overused and I was so worried that I would find nothing original but I was also excited to read something based off the Arthurian legend. I really have a thing for Arhurian legend...

First impressions? I liked it, there are a few word choices that seemed a bit off to me, but Katie also gives us a great introduction to the setting and the characters. I usually like these things to be established slowly but thew ay that John does it is beautifully. I was shocked to find that Mina already has a boyfriend, it adds a new twist to the 'new boy' storyline. Usually I go for the underdog, but i really fell in love with Blake in this book. He is everything you want from a hero, strong, protective, sweet, mysterious and A KNIGHT! (I don't class that a spoiler as the trilogy is called 'The Knight Trilogy'). I really was rooting for Blake and Mina all the way through.

The characterisation was so strong, Mina is a believable character, she may treat her boyfriend badly, maybe makes some bad decisions, but she is only seventeen, a year younger than me and to be honest, all teenage girls have to admit that sometimes, we can be cows... I also loved the relationship between Mina and her mother. They seem close, but her mother really cares and she is one of those 'I will support you as long as you do what I think is right' mothers. pretty much like my own, but we really do see how much she cares later. Sammy.. he is lovely, he isn't all... there throughout the book but we can see what type of character he is through Mina's thoughts. I like Sammy, but John didn't make him TOO loveable so he takes over Blake. 

The storyline is fantastic, well executed and well written I loved the Arthurian side of it, but the setting and what goes on in the real world is fantastic. There is a scene in which Mina has a confrontation with her best friends and it is very relateable. The writing is decent, but there were some cringeworthy purple prose in there...

A few more notes; 
-I have to say how much the ending drove me crazy, in now way is it a bad ending but it is a bit of a cliffhanger.
-I love the names, you can tell a lot from the names of book characters. Mina is a simple, beautiful and magical name, Sammy is simple and nice, Blake is mysterious and gorgeous.

Overall rating: B+

Stand alone/series: First in The Knight Trilogy
Released: December 1st 2010 (Paperback)
Publisher: Little Bird Publishing House
Pages: 384
Book obtained via: Won
So I haven't posted in five days.

With my birthday and college and exams and coursework deadlines I've had a full plate.

BUT! I am back now. Winners of my giveaway, books will be ordered tonight.

Books I have received this week:

Crescendo - Becca Fitzpatrick (Birthday present from my boyfriends parents!)
Ballad - Maggie Stiefvater
Beautiful Malice - Rebecca James
The Fools Girl - Celia Rees (Giveaway!)

Happy birthday to me! Happy birthday to me! Happy birthday dear Jaaaaaade~ Happy birthday to me!

00:11 2nd May


18 means I can legally drink & vote here in good old England.

Also means my giveaway has ended and since I am feeling super generous I am having 3 winners for the giveaway! All will have a choice from TWENTY TWO BOOKS!

So without further ado;

The winners are! (According to Random.Org)

#152 - Krysta Banco (Follower name)

#65 Alba Solorzano (Follower name)

#14 Ladyvampire2u (Follower name)

All winners have been emailed and will have 48 hours to respond!

Giveaway reminder

Just so you all know! You have exactly 23 hours to enter my Birthday Giveaway!
(Which also means it is 23 hours until I am 18!!!)

The giveaway is INTERNATIONAL and I am giving away a choice from 22 YA books to one winner and 12 to the second winner!

the giveaway ends at 0.00GMT (Midnight) on the 2nd of May. 
That is 7pm EST!