July Recap

We're finally there - July is OVER and we're now into August, which is a very scary month for me because it's the month that I find out if I have the required grades to get onto my university course. Scary stuff.

So what's gone on in July? I came back from holiday, and my parents have decided to separate, an absolute nightmare. I've reviewed some awesome books and some not so awesome ones.

Here are all of my reviews from July:

The Girl in the Clockwork Collar by Kady Cross (Rated B)

So overall, I reviewed 19 books in July. Not bad, to say that I was away for the first 10 days of the month!

Of those 19 books:
6 (32%) were given A ratings
7 (37%) were given B Ratings
4 (21%) were given C Ratings
0 (0%) were given D Ratings
2 (10%) were given E Ratings

Review: The Girl in the Clockwork Collar by Kady Cross

The Girl in the Clockwork Collar (Steampunk Chronicles, #2)In New York City, 1897, life has never been more thrilling - or dangerous.
Sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne and her "straynge band of mysfits" have journeyed from London to America to rescue their friend Jasper, hauled off by bounty hunters. But Jasper is in the clutches of a devious former friend demanding a trade-the dangerous device Jasper stole from him...for the life of the girl Jasper loves.

One false move from Jasper and the strange clockwork collar around Mei's neck tightens. And tightens...

When I read the Girl in the Steel Corset in June, I said that it had piqued my interest in the steampunk genre, which is why when I went into this book I was expecting great things.

I really did get great things, in my opinion, this book was just as good as the first in the series. I loved Finley, Griffin, Sam, Emily and Jasper in the first book and the characters were just as fantastic in the second, I felt a bit sad because we were missing out on the cockney crook Jack Dandy, but at the same time I really enjoyed watching the slow development of the relationship between Finley and Griffin. Sam and Emily were also just as cute, and even Jasper has his own little it of a romantic storyline, which I won't get into because one of the main twists of the story comes with Jasper and Mei. The characters seemed much older than their own ages though, despite Finley being sixteen she acts like a twenty year old, I keep thinking that she's an adult, not a teen.

Whilst this book doesn't have a 'crime mystery' storyline like Steel Corset I was gripped by the plot of this book. There are plenty of twists and turns, there is action and a bit of a mystery, there are betrayals and romance and always something happening so the pacing was fantastic. I was blown away by the intricacy of this story and how well everything fitted together. I did feel like it was lacking the setting, I didn't really see anything showing us that we're in America, whereas in Steel Corset the authentic London setting really gave off this steampunk vibe.

The narration in this book was easier than in the first book, where I kept getting mixed up with what character I was following, maybe since the characters are more developed I found that I knew each characters voice and opinions.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, though i missed Jack Dandy. the characters were fantastic but seemed older than their age and the setting was lacking. The plot was gripping and the slow burn of the romance was great to read.

Overall Rating: B

Book released May 22nd 2012 by Harlequin Teen (US) and 
Book received as an egalley from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
Other books in this series: The Girl in the Steel Corset (Book #1)

Review: Night of the Purple Moon by Scott Cramer

Night of the Purple Moon Space germs wipe out virtually everyone who has passed through puberty.
Abby Leigh is looking forward to watching the moon turn purple. For months, astronomers have been predicting that Earth will pass through the tail of a comet. They say that people will see colorful sunsets and, best of all, a purple moon.

But nobody has predicted the lightning-fast epidemic that sweeps across the planet on the night of the purple moon. The comet brings space dust with it that contains germs that attack human hormones. Older teens and adults die within hours of exposure.

On a small island off the coast of Maine, Abby must help her brother and baby sister survive in this new world, but all the while she has a ticking time bomb inside of her -- adolescence.

This was a great middle grade dystopian, a genre which is sadly lacking for this age group. I think that this book is kind of a mix between Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer and Gone by Michael Grant, it definitely has a Lord of the Flies vibe and I really enjoyed it. I loved the twist that Cramer added on the age-old survival novel formula as the kids are not only having to survive in a massively changed world and find food, water and information and  also have to face the knowledge that when they hit puberty they're going to get ill and die. Nothing like a bit of time-ticking drama to build up some tension.

Cramer's writing is fantastic, it's very relevant to the age group, though at times it did seem like some of the kid's dialogue was forced, like Cramer was trying to make the kids sound young and cool but most of the time it was great. I also found that when Cramer was talking about puberty it sounded a bit too informational, a bit like a sex education video.

I really enjoyed the way that this was a book that reminded me of other books of this genre was targeted at a younger age group and caters to that age group very well. The pacing was fantastic and I really felt gripped. I actually took ages reading it despite it being so short but that's because I didn't really want to miss anything.

Overall, an original and gripping book. Despite the writing sounding out of place at some points the pacing and writing was mostly good. A great read for younger fans of dystopian books.

Overall Rating: B+

Book released March 25th
Book received from the author in exchange for an honest review

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

Welcome to It’s Monday! What Are You Reading! This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from!

This meme is hosted by Book Journey

Read Last Week:

Currently Reading:

Next Weeks Reads:

That's my recap, whata re you folks reading? Link me up! 

Guest Post from David Morgan, Author of The Boo Hag

Today I have a guest post from the awesome David Morgan, author of The Boo Hag, which I reviewed here. This guest post is so unique, I love it and hope you guys do as well.

Please check out The Boo Hag, it is absolutely awesome and I recommend it to anyone!

So, I dug down deep into my soul, and found the place where the characters from The Boo Hag live. I’d like to say I found them in the soft spot of my heart because I love them so much. And I do. But they weren’t there. No, they were down a little farther. Not that far though, get your mind out of the gutter. No, they were in the ol’ stomach region. They were the ones causing me heartburn for nights on end as I agonized over their fates. They were all there: Lenny and Anna, Brian, Paul, and even the glorious Katie. There was even a red-eyed boo hag lurking around the fringes, but she never comes too close, never close enough for contact, even with me. But I guess that’s my fault. I didn’t paint her in the most favorable light. My apologies, Boo, but you really gave me no choice.

Anywho, I found them, and I said, “Gang,” sometimes I say stupid things when I’m talking, like calling people gang. Anyway, “Gang, I’m doing a guest post…” Of course I couldn’t get any further before Katie chimed in and was all, “You? Ha, the world is hard up for entertainment if they’re turning to you.” And I was like, “Dude,” sometimes I call girls dude. “Dude, you can’t talk to me like that. I made you.” And she laughed and shook her head and was like, “No, no, no. I made you, buddy. I made you.” Before I had a chance to rebut she took off behind my appendix. It’s sad when your own characters don’t respect you.
I was about to give up on the idea of a guest post, but then I got a knowing nod from my girl, Anna, who took off in pursuit of the outspoken cheerleader, and I could only imagine the tongue-lashing she was about to dole out. Brian’s eyes glazed over, and I knew he was thinking about what had happened, searching for a way he could have nipped the problem in the bud. Paul threw his arm around my shoulder, but then, clearly embarrassed by his unabashed show of emotion, drew away and punched me, in true man fashion, on the arm, deepened his voice, and mumbled, “Don’t let ‘er get to you.” Or something like that. He kinda faded out at the end. I was almost back to my pre-Katie conditions, but not quite. Certainly not enough to write something worthy of Ink Scratchers.

And then came Lenny. She walked confidently to me, reached her hand out to lift my chin, but pulled back before touching me, as it would be inappropriate. I mean I think I’m young, but to her I’m pretty old; it would have been weird. But the point is she got my attention. I looked into her eyes. Eyes filled with cool confidence. Steely resolve hardened in the fires of adversity. “Hey,” she said, “you faced the boo hag.” She paused, dramatically. And yet perfectly. She tilted her head forward slightly. “You faced the boo hag. You can stand up to one cheerleader.” I shrugged. “That wasn’t me; that was you.” She just shook her head and pointed at my heart.

I got the message. It was me. They were me. I was all of them. Through them, I had faced the boo hag. I was in charge. I am in charge. I raised my hands in triumph, ready to write the best guest post ever! And then I looked at the page and shrugged. It was getting a little long. Ah, this’ll have to do.

Thanks for the opportunity to post on your blog!
Please come and visit me at writerunsolicited.blogspot.com. Or drop me a line at davemorganbooks@gmail.com. Or do both. Definitely don’t do neither. I don’t even want to think about what would happen if you did neither.

Review: The Boo Hag by David Morgan

The Boo HagLenny is just your normal sixteen-year-old girl. Was. Was just your normal sixteen-year-old girl. Quiet and polite. Petite. Introspective, but not to the point of isolation. Loyal? Fiercely so. Outstanding? Noteworthy? Different? No, no, and no. Or so she thought. What started as an eerie feeling, a certainty that someone had been in her room while she slept, has spiraled into something far worse. Something was in her room. Something that finds her highly different, extremely noteworthy, and intensely outstanding.
Game over? Wrong. Lenny's a fighter, and she isn't about to lie down and take what's coming to her. Enlisting the help of her best friend, a not-so-secret admirer, the hottest guy in school, one odious cheerleader, and a paranormalist teacher, Lenny is facing her fears head on, in a battle she knows can only end in death.

Before I start this review I want to mention that I listened to this book using kindle text to speech (I had a broken kindle screen and no print books or audiobooks) which is a monotone voice and so I will refrain from making any comments on the expression given in this book. 

I really enjoyed The Boo Hag, I was a little scared of reading it at first because as anybody who knows me will know I am a complete scaredy-cat and this book sounded creepy, in fact it was creepy at times but I was so gripped by it I wasn't really scared, maybe that was due to the lack of expression in the text-to-speech voice though. The story is creepy rather than scary, using suspense to build up the darker tone of the book.

But this book is funny as well, Morgan writes teenage girls way better than any grown man should (that's a compliment Dave, I promise). Lenny was snarky and funny, honest and realistic and I just loved her, she was a fantastic main character. Anna, Lenny's scaredy-cat, boy-crazy best friend was another highlight in this book, she was the comic relief in this book. I also liked Brian, despite the fact that he was a bit stupid he was noble and strong and lovely. Morgan wrote all of them well, and though third person doesn't work for me, it did in this book.

I can't think of much that I didn't like about this book, I did find that at times Lenny annoyed me a little, she either thought things out too much or didn't think at all and acted stupidly. That bothered me a little. Morgans writing does sometimes get too poetic, though it works well for most of the book. Otheer than that, this book was fantastic.

Overall Rating: B+

Book released March 2012
Book received from the author in exchange for an honest review

Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #1)Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there. 

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.

There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.

She’s wrong.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is one of those cross genre books that kind of works as a paranormal romance/thriller/suspense/mystery, you know the type I mean, the ones that usually don't work because they try so hard to do so much and it all becomes too complex and boring. Fortunately, Mara Dyer was one of the few books that take on a lot that actually worked. I really enjoyed this book and can't wait for the sequel.

I was gripped from the start, the mystery aspect comes into play right at the beginning and kept me gripped through the whole book, until the moment where much of it was revealed, there is still some questions left to be answered, which have me gagging to read the sequel, The Evolution of Mara Dyer. At the beginning, Mara seems like this surly and annoying teen but we soon find out why she is this way and throughout the book she becomes stronger, I liked that though she is a character with a 'power' she was very much a normal teen and was scared of her power. I liked a lot of the characters that were in this book, Mara's older brother is kind and supportive and her family are a complex group, but my favorite was by far Noah...

Yes, I have started a new paragraph, because I think that Noah deserves a full paragraph to himself... actually i could probably write a whole review on Noah and his attitude and his sexy, sexy quotes, however I will limit myself to a paragraph. I didn't know whether I liked Noah at the start, the bad boy with an attitude in books has to be well developed or I can't really get on with the character, thankfully Noah was such a likeable character. I loved his sarcasm and his snark, but he also protected Mara and looked after her and was just... well... damn sexy. I loved Noah, iIthink Noah deserves his own book... I could be his girlfriend in it... PLEASE MICHELLE HODKIN I'D BE YOUR BEST FRIEND AND BIGGEST FAN FOREVER PLEASE?! It could be called The Sexytimes of Noah and Jade.

But I digress... I really enjoyed this book, though there isn't that much setting it apart from many other paranormal romance books out there except the mystery aspect and even that is becoming far more common in YA books at the moment. Despite the fact that I loved Noah (Mara is one lucky b*tch) I did feel that at times the mystery and suspense of some moments was interrupted by the romance.

Overall.. a very fantastic book, I really enjoyed it though at times the romance needed to be turned off a little. I loved the characters and the storyline and JADE WANT HER NOAH!

Overall Rating: A-

Book released September 27th 2011 by Simon and Schuster
Book gifted from Les at My Keeper Shelf

Letterbox Love (28/7/2012)

Letterbox Love is a UK based alternative to the popular US In My Mailbox meme and a fun way for British (and non-British) bloggers to share the fab books we may have got this week.

Books Mentioned:





Rebel Heart - Moira Young (Margaret K McElderry -August 30th 2012)
Ironskin - Tina Connolly (Macmillan-Tor - October 2nd 2012)
The Sweetest Spell - Suzanne Selfors (Bloomsbury - August 21st 2012)


Review: Riven by Sarah Bryant

RivenDevastated by the death of her boyfriend, Lucas, Sophie moves in with her mother in Edinburgh, hoping to grieve quietly. But since meeting Lucas, nothing about Sophie's life has been quiet, and his death doesn't change this. If anything, life has become more complicated and confusing than ever. Her mother is determined that she get over him. A strange, compelling man seems to be stalking her. And she's begun to have visions she doesn't dare believe. Because, if she does, it means that Lucas isn't dead at all. Instead, he's entangled in a fate worse than death. And only she can save him.

Riven is the sequel to the amazing Bound, which I reviewed last month and absolutely loved. I really enjoyed Riven but it did seem as though it was written by a totally different person at times. What I loved about Bound was the tone set by the writing and setting and for me Riven lacked this a little, the weather in the last book was stormy and it set this really dark and ominous tone, the setting changes for Riven and this meant that the tone changed and for me the focus was on the story and character and not the writing.

I found it so much easier to get to grips with the characters because we already know Sophie, Ailsa and Lucas and I also got into the book quickly because I was already on the edge of my seat after the heartbreaking conclusion to Bound. At times, the pace dropped but for much of this book I was gripped, so pacing in this book was definitely better than the last book.

Riven draws in a lot of mythology, some which is used quite often in YA books and some which was original. What is unique about this series is that even though it's about fallen angels and battles for the balance of good and evil it isn't religious, it manages to use religious symbols in a completely non-preachy way and I love that about it.

I did feel that the ending of this book was a bit of a let down, we were building up for this massive confrontation with the bad guy and all we get is a harp playing competition... errr, a bit of an anti-climax for me and I was a little bit taken aback by the epilogue, it was cute but it took me while to understand what was going on. however on a whole this book was exciting and gripping and I am so excited to read the third in the series, which is released in 2013.

Overall Rating: A

Book released May 1st 2012 by Snow Books
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Review: Hell's Game by Teresa Lo

Hell's GameOn Halloween night in Deer Creek, Kansas, Jake Victor, Ashley and Ashton Gemini, and Kristin Grace convince Ronnie Smalls to meet them at the town cemetery, which local folklore has always rumored to be the Gateway to Hell. Their intention was only to scare him, but soon the wicked prank becomes actual horror as the group learns the Gateway is all too real. After demons snatch Ronnie and drag him to Hell, the terrified foursome vow to keep what they had seen a secret. 

Two years later, the group receives a mysterious letter, an invite to play a high-stakes game in Hell. If they win, they release Ronnie’s soul as well as their own from eternal damnation. If they lose, they are stuck in Hell forever. Choosing to play, they face nightmare after nightmare as each level escalates in intensity and forces them to face the seven deadly sins.

I really regret reading this book at night time, there's some pretty creepy scenes and after finishing it at like four in the morning I was not able to sleep. I should have guessed a book called Hell's Game may be a bit scary, so I seriously should have thought before reading it at night. The cover even says "A young adult horror novel" so I should have known... GAH!

Overall, the book was pretty awesome but at some points it started to lose my attention. I kind of split it into thirds; the first part was my favorite part, it grabbed me quickly, kept me on my toes with suspense and introduces us to the characters quickly, there were some pretty scary bits and I love that this part had the supernatural horror aspect about it but it also demonstrates how horrible teens can be and the desperation of outcasts to get into the 'in group'. The second bit was quite slow for me because there wasn't that much aspect, here the group are reintroduced to us as changed characters but because we don't really see this change happen gradually some of the characters just seemed like completely new people, we also see the characters get their invitations to Hell's Game and this bit is where it picked up again.

The third part of the book is Hell's Game, this was a bit of a mix for me. we get to learn what made the characters the people that they are. Some parts of this bit were full of action and suspense and kept me absolutely gripped but some parts really lost me, I guess I was expecting Hell's Game to be much more scary and pacy but for me some bits let the rest down.

As I said above, I really liked the characters, but the fact that we go from seeing them at 17/18 to 19/20 and don't follow them during this gap means that some of the more changed characters like Jake and Kristin didn't seem like the same character as in the high school years. I didn't really like Kristin in the first part but loved her spunky older version, Jake bored me a little to be honest. Ashley was my favorite character, despite me disliking her so much at the start simply because she grows so much as a person in the book.

Overall, a good book with a great storyline and some good characters. The downfalls are the inconsistent characters and pacing.

Overall Rating: C+

Book released 2012 by Stull Publishing
Book received from the author in exchange for an honest review

Review; Any Love But Mine by Debbie Davies

Any Love But MineLook but don't touch has never been more true... 

The gods forbade her to love, but love is a powerful force. Acacia has been created purely for Eros' pleasure but discovers within moments of being summoned into his presence that he has no interest in her whatsoever. Rejected, she is banished to Earth to serve as Eros' minion with the task of promoting the blissful state of love among all those around her, a state she must never indulge in with a human being herself on pain of immediate destruction. And then comes Josh, someone whose power of attraction over Acacia is so intense she will find it utterly impossible to resist him. But is he human? Is he a god? Or is he a trick of the gods? And what would happen should they kiss?

As a massive fan of books based on mythology, I was so excited when I was offered Any Love But Mine for review, the last book about Eros that I read was Mad Love by Suzanne Selfors, which was a happy and cheery book, rather than being dark, like Any Love But Mine was. 

At first, I was sure that this I was not going to get along with this book. The first chapter was quite confusing and I really did not have a clue what was going on, it was all cleared up pretty quickly but I was extremely bewildered by the prologue. It got much better very quickly though, from the second chapter I absolutely loved Acacia and as soon as we met Josh I loved him too, having likable main characters is something that a lot of books fail on but this one really got it and I really connected with the characters.

The storyline may seem like it's very centered around love and whilst this is a love story there are also a lot of things in there that take away from that and give the book more substance. There is a lot of betrayals and anger, as is common in Greek mythology and I love that Eros is portrayed as selfish and Hades is the big bad guy and none of the characters were really massively changed from the Gods that are written in Greek mythology.

There was only one thing about this book that wound me up, aside from the confusing start. There is a love triangle in there, nearish the end. I'm not counting that as a spoiler, I didn't think that there would be a love triangle but there is, and whilst I am so excited to read the sequel I think I know which way the romance is going to go... and I really hope that I'm wrong. Seriously, love triangles where they aren't needed really wind me up... Arrrgh!

Overall, an honest and enjoyable take on Greek mythology with a good storyline and fantastic characters. The confusing start and the love triangle detract from the book as a whole, however.

Overall rating: B

Book released March 3rd 2012 by Night Publishing
Book received from the author in exchange for an honest review

Waiting on Wednesday #2

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza
March 12th 2013 - Katherine Tegan Books

Pitched as a "Bourne Identity"-type sci-fi thriller about a teenage girl who discovers that she is a Mobile Intel Life-like Android, an experiment in artificial intelligence created by the U.S. government, and her scientist mother, who kidnapped her when she was found to have human emotions.

Why am I waiting on this book?I love sci-fi books but I don't think I've read anything around this - an android with emotions and a 'Bourne Identity' mention? This is so up my street!
What are you waiting on?
Leave your link in the comments and I'll check out your WOW

Review: Don't You Wish by Roxanne St. Claire

Don't You WishWhen plain and unpopular Annie Nutter gets zapped by one of her dad's whacked-out inventions, she lands in a parallel universe where her life becomes picture-perfect. Now she's Ayla Monroe, daughter of the same mother but a different father—and she's the gorgeous, rich queen bee of her high school. 

In this universe, Ayla lives in glitzy Miami instead of dreary Pittsburgh and has beaucoup bucks, courtesy of her billionaire—if usually absent—father. Her friends hit the clubs, party backstage at concerts, and take risks that are exhilirating . . . and illegal. Here she's got a date to lose her V-card with the hottest guy she's ever seen.

But on the inside, Ayla is still Annie.
So when she's offered the chance to leave the dream life and head home to Pittsburgh, will she take it?
The choice isn't as simple as you think.

This was a fantastic book with an amazing concept and I really enjoyed it and wow, oh and cute Charlie and Annie and oooh i loved this.

If I could sum up this book in one sentence it would be that one up there, I really enjoyed this book WAAAAAY more than I was really expecting to, I thought it would be an alright book with a good concept but I was not sure how it would really work out. I really loved the idea behind this book, I mean who hasn't wondered what life is like on the other side, what nerdy girl hasn't secretly wanted to be in with the popular crowd and not be invisible. It's an age old story - nerdy girl gets popular then realises that life is so much better with the nerds, but this book mixes it up because it throws in a bit of quantum physics... yeah, quantum physics... just a bit of light night-time reading/

So enough about HOW FREAKING AWESOME THE CONCEPT IS and lets get onto how freaking awesome the whole book is. I really loved Annie as a main character, I loved watching her change from the girl who wants to be popular to the girl who realises that there are better, more important things in life. Annie was such a great character to follow because despite her indecision, she was such a consistent character. I also absolutely loved Charlie as well, he was just adorable, his home life was very expected, I knew there had to be something like that, but it was still heartwarming. Bliss and Jade are the popular girls you love to hate, they were cliche and stereotypical, but really that is all they needed to be.

I also need to mention that ending. St. Claire could not have written that ending any better, it was heartwarming and touching and beautiful and sweet and I just loved that ending, it was absolutely perfect.

If I had to find any flaws in this book it's that even though I was excited and anxious to see what was going to happen I never really felt gripped, I could easily put this book down and not read for a few hours.

Overall Rating: A-

Released 10th July 2012 by Delacorte (Random House)
Book received as an eGalley for review via NetGalley

Review: Delta Legend by Kelan O'Connell

Delta LegendWhen 16-year-old Oakland California teenager, Calvin Pierce, makes a bad decision and winds up getting arrested, his mother is quick to take action. Determined not to lose a second son to the drug and gang violence of the inner city, she sends Calvin to spend the summer working for his great uncle in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. 

There in the predominately-white region of agriculture and recreational boating, Calvin’s a fish out of water with a chip on his shoulder. Complicating matters, a smart, beautiful (and feisty) local farmgirl, Mei Li Cheng, isn’t buying his city-boy ‘tude and relishes any opportunity to challenge him. If their instant combativeness is a thin veneer for sexual attraction, the outcome might have to wait. When severed body parts are discovered floating in a slough, Calvin’s summer of proving himself takes on new meaning. 

Something deadly is lurking in the deep, murky waterways of the Delta. Now the daunting task of containing the living incarnation of a mythical creature falls to Calvin and his ragtag posse of oddball characters.

Initially, after receiving a review request for Delta Legend I wasn't sure whether it would be my thing, the whole story seemed as though it was geared towards guys and I was not sure whether I'd really click, but I accepted it on a whim, thinking that it may be a good idea for me to step out of my comfort zone.

It was so worth the risk, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I took some time to get into it but when it picked up I was hooked. Whilst at some points it slowed down and I was able to put the book down most of the time I couldn't because I was so gripped. O'Connell does a fantastic job at creating suspense and writing scenes which are both horrifying and funny at the same time. This book had the potential to be all-out action, but O'Connell doesn't take that road, instead she opts for suspense, mystery and humour which makes the book not only gripping but also funny and entertaining.

This book is also a coming of age story: Calvin begins to mature and adapt to his new home and he grows up a lot within the book. I really liked Calvin, he was streetwise and witty and very real and I have to say that his narrative and dialogue really seemed like it was coming from a black sixteen year old boy - considering that the author is not black, sixteen or a boy i was very impressed by this - Calvin seemed so real. I also really liked most of the supporting cast. Calvin's uncle, Samuel was one of my favorites even though he wasn't in the book for much of it. The deputy sherrif, Burt was very funny. I really liked Jess, the boy-next-door type and Mei Li, the spunky love interest. There is a whole cast of funny and unique characters and I really enjoyed reading about every single one of them.

The mythology part of the book threw me a little. O'Connell had obviously done some research on Chinese history and folklore, but it took me a while to get my head around the whole thing. I also felt like at times some things didn't make sense, and the characters seemed to accept the truth way more easily than normal people would have.

Overall, an exciting and thrilling read with an amazing cast of characters. I definitely think it's a book more geared towards boys, but I did enjoy the read, despite having some trouble believing the mythology part of the book.

Overall Rating: B-

Book received from the author in exchange for an honest review

Review: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Seraphina (Seraphina, #1)Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high. 

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

I must admit, I read a lot of paranormal romance books but one of my true passions is a good ol' high fantasy - Princes, dragons, mystery and scholars and thankfully this book has all of that plus some. So yeah, this book was right up my street.

I really enjoyed Seraphina. I was very worried that the book wouldn't work, with dragons that can turn human there would be a lot of plot holes and I just couldn't see how such an ambitious idea could come together, thankfully it worked well and Hartman managed to create an original and beautiful novel that was an absolute pleasure to read.

For me, the highlight of this book was Seraphina herself. it's very rare that the main character of a book is the thing that I loved the most but I really liked Phina, she was spunky and brave and also capable of showing emotion, she's definitely a character that has the vulnerable/strong balance right. I also really liked Kiggs, he was a fairytale knight in shining armour, too bad Phina isn't a damsel in distress - I loved their relationship, I loved watching it grow and I loved their interactions.

At times I got a little confused by all the places and the people mentioned in the book, as with most fantasy books there are some long names and a lot of lands to introduce so I got a little mixed up at times.

Fantasy books aren't complete without a beautiful prose and Hartman's prose is just that. The words flowed so well, I felt like this book was a pleasure to read, the way the words knitted together really gave off a fairytale/fantasy vibe and the voice was very unique, I definitely loved reading this book and cannot wait to read more from this author.

I will be impatiently waiting for the sequel!

Overall Rating: A

Book released July 10th 2012 by Random House Children's Books
Book received as an eGalley for review

Review: Dark Companion by Marta Acosta

Dark Companion
Orphaned at the age of six, Jane Williams has grown up in a series of foster homes, learning to survive in the shadows of life. Through hard work and determination, she manages to win a scholarship to the exclusive Birch Grove Academy. There, for the first time, Jane finds herself accepted by a group of friends. She even starts tutoring the headmistress’s gorgeous son, Lucien. Things seem too good to be true.
They are.

The more she learns about Birch Grove’s recent past, the more Jane comes to suspect that there is something sinister going on. Why did the wife of a popular teacher kill herself? What happened to the former scholarship student, whose place Jane took? Why does Lucien’s brother, Jack, seem to dislike her so much?

As Jane begins to piece together the answers to the puzzle, she must find out why she was brought to Birch Grove—and what she would risk to stay there….

I requested this book just because the cover is really pretty and it seemed like a book that I might kind of like, it turns out that I actually did really enjoy this book. i wouldn't say that I loved it but I definitely enjoyed reading it.

When I first started reading Dark Companion I really thought i saw where it was going - the boarding school, the creepy stories and the mysterious people all seemed to add up and I seriously thought that I was not getting anything original. Thankfully, the things that I thought I had figured out turned out to be wrong and I got something that was pretty unique. i don't want to give anything away, I want you to be surprised in the way that I did but I really did like that I got something pretty original, if not completely believable.

The characters are a bit of a mix for me. Certain characters, like Lucian, Jack and their parents were actually quite well done. I liked Lucian and Jack as polar opposites and their parents for the mystery they brought to the book. I especially liked Jack because he was rough and tough and spoke his mind. I also like Mary-Violet, I loved reading her dialogue because she always had me cracking up. Our main character, Jane, I didn't like as much, at first I thought she was okay, she was scientific and logical and street-smart, however the second she meets Lucian and finds out she's in danger that all changes. I didn't like how one minute she's all analytical and the next minute she's throwing herself stupidly into danger, her character didn't stay constant.

I really liked the gothic tone of this book, Acosta's writing may not seem like anything too new in YA novels but she does a very good job of setting a dark and ominous tone to the book and constantly making the reader suspect every character.

Overall, a dark novel which is pretty original. I liked most of the characters however I seriously disliked the main character at points.

Overall Rating: C

Book released 3rd July by Tor/Forge
Book received as an eGalley via NetGalley for review

Letterbox Love (21/7/12)

Letterbox Love is a UK based alternative to the popular US In My Mailbox meme and a fun way for British (and non-British) bloggers to share the fab books we may have got this week.

My letterbox love post this week is three weeks worth of books, so it's a pretty long one. For that reason, I'm doing a blog rather than a vlog for this.

For Review

 Dreamless (Starcrossed, #2) Poltergeeks  

Party Disaster by Sue Limb - Bloomsbury - June 7th - Print
Dreamless by Josephine Angelini - PanMacmillan - July 5th - Print ARC
Poltergeeks by Sean Cummings - Strange Chemistry -October 2nd - Print ARC

The Assassin's Curse (The Assassin's Curse, #1) Angel Dust Riven

The Assassins Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke - Stramge Chemistry - October 2nd - Print ARC
Angel Dust by Sarah Mussi - Hot Key Books - August 2nd - Print ARC
Riven by Sarah Bryant - Snowbooks - May 1st - Print

What's Left of Me (The Hybrid Chronicles, #1) Carnival of Souls Twisted Symmetry (The Bad Tuesdays, #1)

What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang - HarperCollins UK - September 27th - Print ARC
Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr - HarperCollins UK - September 4th - Print ARC
Twisted Symmetry by Benjamin J. Meyers - Orion - 2009 - Print

Origin The Journeys of John and Julia in Chapter One: Genesis Sneak (Swipe, #2)

Origin by Jessica Khoury - Razorbill - September 4th - eGalley
The Journeys of John and Julia in Chapter One: Genesis by Aurelia - Gerber Rigler - September 9th 2011 - ebook 
Sneak by Evan Angler - Thomas Nelson - September 4th - eGalley

Inbetween (Kissed by Death, #1) Grasping at Eternity (The Kindrily Series, #1) BRAS, BOYS, AND BLUNDERS (Young Adult Romantic Comedy Set in Bahrain)

Inbetween by Tara A Fuller - Entangled Teen - August 28th - eGalley
Grasping at Eternity by Karen Amanda Hooper - May 25th - eBook
Bras, Boys and Blunders by Vidya Samson - eBook


Insurgent (Divergent, #2) Imaginary Girls

Insurgent by Veronica Roth (US Hardback edition) - From HarperCollins
Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma (signed) - From Nova Ren Suma


Emma Hearts LA Fever

Emma Hearts LA by Keris Stainton
Fever by Dee Shulman


Forgotten Insatiable (Insatiable, #1) Deadly Hemlock

Forgotten by Cat Patrick
Insatiable by Meg Cabot
Deadly Hemlock (Hemlock in US) by Kathleen Peacock

So what's in your haul this week, leave a comment with a link and I'll check it out!

Review: Gnit-Wit Gnipper and the Perilous Plague by TJ Lantz

Gnit-Wit Gnipper and the Perilous Plague (Rosehaven: The Hidden City)No matter how hard she tries life never seems to go quite right for Gnipper Tallhat, an eight-year-old Gnome determined to receive the recognition her intelligence deserves. This time, however, she's got it all figured out. Finally, her father will have to be proud of her accomplishments...provided he manages to live through them.

This book was a fun and quirky read which I thoroughly enjoyed. I really liked this short story because it was extremely humorous and quick to get through, it came as a nice break between some pretty dark reads and even though I wasn't sure I'd enjoy it that much I really did have fun reading it.

The story is pretty funny - Gnipper is a gnome trying to earn recognition for her intelligence and she poisons her Dad in the process, the result is hilarity and some pretty deep morals. i really liked the message sent across in this book, which is to not let others decide what you deserve and that it's only what you think about yourself which matters. I think that Gnipper and her adventures will appeal to kids, that are after humour and adventure and something outrageous and that is what Gnipper is all about.

If I had any problems with this book it's that the storyline seems to be geared towards younger children, and I really think that this book will appeal to this audience, however I felt that the vocabulary in this book may be a little older, some words were long and I wouldn't expect a lot of kids to know what many of the words meant. For me, having the longer words added to the story but it may be confusing for kids.

Overall, a funny and quick read that will appeal to younger readers. I do feel that the vocabulary may be a little difficult for the target age group.

Overall Rating: B-

Book received as an eCopy for review from the authir

Review: Party Disaster by Sue Limb

Fred and Jodie are now an item. Disaster! But Jess soon has other things to worry about when she invites a few friends over for a quiet night in and word accidentally gets out that she's having a huge party. More and more people arrive, many of whom Jess doesn't even know! The evening spins out of control, Jess's house is devastated and her mum's beloved daffodils are trampled. Double disaster! Jess is seriously going to need her friends' help to get out of this dilemma ...

I read the first four in Sue Limb's 'Jess Jordan' series when I was a younger teen and absolutely loved them. I never read the next two because I thought that I may be too old for them, but after reading Party Disaster, the seventh in the series, I know that this is a book series I will not grow out of.

Sue Limb manages to bring real life insecurities and problems into a humorous and funny book. I love the character of Jess, she's quirky and funny, a little stubborn and very awkward like many teens are and I really love Fred, the fact that he's a bit gangly and not all together gorgeous puts across a better message than most teen books, wit drop-dead gorgeous boyfriends and I like that Jess and Fred are imperfect characters. As always, the background characters are also unique, Flora is the girlier best friend and I love Jess' Dad.

There were some very funny scenes in this book, so at quite a few points I was laid in bed giggling like a little girl. Limb can make humour out of anything and Jess is one of the funniest main characters that I have ever read, i loved the scenes with the party, or with Fred and Jess.

I can't rate this book A, purely because it isn't a book that will stay with me for a long time, I think that it will be easily overshadowed by the other, more memorable books that I read. However, I can say that for the two hours that i was reading it and the rest of the day afterwards I had a big smile on my face, so I have to thank Limb for that.

Overall, a funny story with fantastic characters and some pretty hilarious moments. Whilst not memorable and stand-out, I really enjoyed this read.

Overall Rating: B+

Book release June 7th 2012 by Bloomsbury
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review