Thursday, 29 March 2012

The Storyteller - Book Review

The Storyteller – Book Review
Antonia Michaelis
YA Romantic Thriller
Anna and Abel couldn’t be more different. They are both seventeen and in their last year of school, but while Anna lives in a nice old town house and comes from a well-to-do family, Abel, the school drug dealer, lives in a big, prisonlike tower block at the edge of town. Anna is afraid of him until she realizes that he is caring for his six-year-old sister on his own. Fascinated, Anna follows the two and listens as Abel tells little Micha the story of a tiny queen assailed by dark forces. It’s a beautiful fairy tale that Anna comes to see has a basis in reality. Abel is in real danger of losing Micha to their abusive father and to his own inability to make ends meet. Anna gradually falls in love with Abel, but when his “enemies” begin to turn up dead, she fears she has fallen for a murderer. Has she?
In the most thought provoking of ways, this book is very different to anything I have read before. The writing style is unique, with a smooth and old-worldly rhythm that makes the prose just beautiful to read, and the plot itself is simply captivating. ‘The storyteller’ is just such an imaginatively, heartbreaking story, that I don’t have the words to do justice to just how brilliant a book it is.
Set in Germany, the main character Anna is a good girl from a nice family, whose view of the world is limited to the perfect, happy bubble her parents have encased her in. Then she meets Abel and her bubble is burst, as one by one, she discovers the harsh and cruel reality of his life as he struggles to protect his little sister, Micha, from the people who would see them parted.
Yet even as Anna and Abel begin to fall in love, new dangers await them as people around them begin to die. Each murdered by a single gunshot in the back of the neck. And each of them somehow connected to Abel and Micha. And all Anna can wonder is, will she be the next to die?
In this romance turned thriller, Antonia Michaeli weaves a dark and haunting tale of trust, loyalty and love.  Yet I’ll warn you now, this book is extremely sad and will take you on a real emotional rollercoaster. I’ll even admit that, especially towards the end, I had to keep putting the book down as I couldn’t see for the tears. However I believe that any book that can bring about such a physical reaction is really worth the read.
It is for that reason that I would whole heartedly recommend this book to everyone – although it is probably more for adults and older teens, as at times the story explores some very sensitive issues. Also I think a sense of maturity is needed to fully appreciate the depth and emotion intricately woven within the Book.
However I cannot praise it enough. I don’t rate books, but if I did this one would get full marks. Simply breathtaking, ‘The Storyteller’ is book you will remember forever.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Few things on a Friday

1)      Ok, first things first – The Hunger Games Movie. I was lucky enough to go see the preview screening of it last night and all I can say is wow! It was awesome, totally true to the book and the casting was brilliant. I really can’t wait to go see it again. It was totally and utterly brilliant!

2)     The Story Teller by Antonia Michaelis. I just finished reading this and even though it’s really sad, it is a truly remarkable book. I hope to have a review of it up in a few days and if you haven’t all ready, I would really recommend you check it out.

3)     The Nocturne range by Mills and Boon. For 16+ readers who loved The Hunger Games, you might be interested to read this BLOG POST by Mira Inks sister company. There’s some great books to be found here.

Otherwise guys have a great weekend. Sadly I will be spending it locked in my room, working on the nightmare more commonly known as the dissertation… only another 8000 words to go lol.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Forgive my Fins - Book Review

Forgive My Fins – Book Review
Tera Lynn Childs
YA Paranormal
Lily Sanderson has a secret, and it’s not that she has a huge crush on gorgeous swimming god Brody Bennett, who makes her heart beat flipper-fast. Unrequited love is hard enough when you’re a normal teenage girl, but when you’re half human, half mermaid like Lily, there’s no such thing as a simple crush.

Lily’s mermaid identity is a secret that can’t get out, since she’s not just any mermaid – she’s a Thalassinian princess. When Lily found out three years ago that her mother was actually a human, she finally realized why she didn’t feel quite at home in Thalassinia, and she’s been living on land and going to Seaview high school ever since, hoping to find where she truly belongs. Sure, land has its problems – like her obnoxious, biker boy neighbor Quince Fletcher – but it has that one major perk – Brody. The problem is, mermaids aren’t really the casual dating type – when they “bond,” it’s for life.

When Lily’s attempt to win Brody’s love leads to a tsunami-sized case of mistaken identity, she is in for a tidal wave of relationship drama, and she finds out, quick as a tailfin flick, that happily-ever-after never sails quite as smoothly as you planned.
From the beginning I had heard nothing but good things about ‘Forgive my fins’ and was glad that it turned out to be such a fun and light hearted read. With a really sweet storyline and cute romance, I flew through this book very quickly and at the end I was just left going, ‘Awwww’. It really is a lovely story.
Despite being half-mermaid, the main character, Lily Sanderson is in many ways a typical teenager. Her words and antics made me squee, cringe and quite often laugh out loud. I especially loved her fishy analogies and cuss words of ‘Damselfish’, ‘Blowfish’ and my personal favourite, ‘oh lord love a lobster’. However, she is also a very timid girl and a hopeless romantic.
For the last three years she has been crushing on Brody Bennett, the gorgeous (newly single) captain of the swim team. Yet despite her best efforts, she has never managed to tell him how she feels, although Lily is certain they are destined for one another. So with the spring dance looming – Lily conspires that this will be the night she confesses her love. What she doesn’t expect, is for her annoying next door neighbour Quince, to interfere with her plans.  Therefore, after an accidental kiss, Lily finds herself bonded (essentially married) not to the man of her dreams, but to bad boy ‘blowfish’ Quince, who incidentally, can’t swim. A much needed when dating a mermaid.
In the chaos that follows, the author Tera Lynn Childs gives us one of the most adorable and sweetest of paranormal romances. Telling a story of first love, friendship and the need to be true to yourself , with plenty of comedy rolled into the mix, ‘Forgive my Fins’ is a fantastic read.
Although at times Lily could be a little annoying in her unchangeable views about Brody, and I thought that there were a few small plot issues – the goodness of this book ultimately outweighed the few niggles that I had with it. So overall it was a really fun read and I’m eagerly awaiting the sequel, ‘Fins are Forever’ which is to be published in the UK on the 1st April 2012. Check it out J

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Die for Me - Book Review

Die for Me
Amy Plum
YA Paranormal
Revenants Book: 1

In the City of Lights, two star-crossed lovers battle a fate that is destined to tear them apart again and again for eternity.

When Kate Mercier's parents die in a tragic car accident, she leaves her life--and memories--behind to live with her grandparents in Paris. For Kate, the only way to survive her pain is escaping into the world of books and Parisian art. Until she meets Vincent.

Mysterious, charming, and devastatingly handsome, Vincent threatens to melt the ice around Kate's guarded heart with just his smile. As she begins to fall in love with Vincent, Kate discovers that he's a revenant--an undead being whose fate forces him to sacrifice himself over and over again to save the lives of others. Vincent and those like him are bound in a centuries-old war against a group of evil revenants who exist only to murder and betray. Kate soon realizes that if she follows her heart, she may never be safe again.


I have to admit, I was initially drawn to this book by its stunningly pretty cover. The pink background, the dress, the black swirly vine – and then I learned that the story was set in France. I was completely sold and just had to buy it – and I’m really glad I did.
Although I think that in many ways ‘Die for me’ was very much a typical cliché of paranormal-romance, I couldn’t help but really, really enjoy it. Sometimes the clichés just work, and Amy Plum put this story together beautifully.
After the death of her parents, Kate Mercier and her sister move to France to live with their grandparents, the last of their living relatives.  Completely shutting the door on her old life, Kate does her best to forget all that she’s lost by spending both her days and nights in solitude, losing herself in books.  And then, in a small café in Paris she meets Vincent. A devastatingly handsome boy, who inexplicably, makes her frozen her pound with long forgotten feeling. The only problem is, Vincent isn’t entirely human.
He is a revenant. Someone who is compelled to save lives often by giving his own – only after dying, Vincent reanimates in his own body a few days later, thus making him immortal, meaning his and Kate’s blossoming romance is essentially doomed.
As far as paranormal stories go, I thought this idea of revenants was really unique and Amy Plum certainly adds her own twist to the old mythology. Otherwise though the plot carries with it many of the regular Y/A elements, forbidden romance, evil bad guys, secrets and tragic pasts – all of which Amy Plum mixed together to create a really good book.
The main characters, Kate and Vincent were both charming and extremely likeable, the romance between them sweet and slow burning. I especially liked how Kate truly falls for Vincent long before the supernatural element is added, as it makes her reactions afterwards all the more realistic. However, unlike many other Y/A books I’ve read, I loved the fact that the two of them actually went out on dates and spent time getting to know one another – Dates just hardly ever seem to happen in books these days, so in my opinion it earned ‘Die for me’  extra points.
Also all the other characters were interesting and well developed. The relationships between them all felt real and not forced. For example when Kate meets Vincent’s ‘family’, aka the other revenants, she bonds with them all slowly, earning their trust and respect naturally through time spent together.
So overall, I found ‘Die for me’ an extremely good book. Romantic and mysterious, Amy Plum added a fresh concept to an overused storyline, and made it shine. It’s a wonderful start to a new series, and I am highly looking forward to the next book! Most definitely recommended. J

Friday, 9 March 2012

Stolen Away - Book Review

Stolen Away – Book Review
Alyxandra Harvey
YA Paranormal
For seventeen years, Eloise Hart had no idea the world of Faery even existed. Now she has been abducted and trapped in the Rath of Lord Strahan, King of Faery. Strahan was only meant to rule for seven years, as Faery tradition dictates, and then give up his crown to another. But he won't comply, and now chaos threatens both worlds.
The only one who can break his stranglehold on the Faery court is his wife. . . Eloise's aunt Antonia. Using Eloise to lure Antonia, Strahan captures his wife, desperate to end the only threat to his reign. Now Eloise must become the rescuer. Together with her best friends Jo and Devin, she must forge alliances with other Fae, including a gorgeous protector named Lucas, and Strahan's mysterious son, Eldric-who may or may not betray them.

I’ll confess, this is one of those books that I picked and straight away put high expectations on – something that I honestly try not to do but couldn’t help as I really loved Alyxandra Harvey’s other works. Therefore, maybe it was because my expectations were too high, but ‘Stolen Away’ just didn’t grab me the same way her other books did and I was left a little disappointed. 
However that is not to say that the story wasn’t enjoyable because it was – it just wasn’t as unique as I thought it would be, and I also had a hard time connecting to the main character Eloise. Her best friend Jo however, I absolutely adored! And I felt that it was through Jo that the humour, wit and emotion that I like about Alyxandra Harvey’s writing really shone through.
The plot itself was fairly simple and held just enough intrigue and twists to keep me turning the pages. Yet I really liked how the story was told through the dual points of view of Eloise and Jo – both of whom were prone to bad decisions and trouble, which made them very relatable teenagers.  
Both of their love interests, Lucas and Eldric were also very swoon worthy. I felt it was a shame that the book ended when it did, as although all the loose ends were tied up, the romance between the characters was lovely and I wanted to see more of it!
 So a little fast paced but overall, ‘Stolen Away’ was a quick, light-hearted read with an original story line and great writing. Although I would argue that it’s more for younger teens, it was still an ok read. And also I have to mention – the cover is absolutely gorgeous and does look very pretty on a bookshelf. J

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Scarlet - Book Review

Scarlet– Book Review
A.C Gaughen
YA Historical  

Many readers know the tale of Robin Hood, but they will be swept away by this new version full of action, secrets, and romance.

Posing as one of Robin Hood’s thieves to avoid the wrath of the evil Thief Taker Lord Gisbourne, Scarlet has kept her identity secret from all of Nottinghamshire. Only the Hood and his band know the truth: the agile thief posing as a whip of a boy is actually a fearless young woman with a secret past. Helping the people of Nottingham outwit the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham could cost Scarlet her life as Gisbourne closes in.

It’s only her fierce loyalty to Robin—whose quick smiles and sharp temper have the rare power to unsettle her—that keeps Scarlet going and makes this fight worth dying for.

Everyone has heard Robin Hood’s dashing, knife-wielding companion Will Scarlet. Yet what few people know is that this daring, pick pocketing thief - is actually a girl. Presenting herself as boy, Scarlet does her best to hide her feminine charms from the world - only Robin and his band of men know the secret of Scarlet’s true gender . Yet her other secrets, who she is and where she came from, even they don’t know – and not even Robins handsome charms can make her tell him the truth.  Yet, when thief taker Guy of Gisbourne is hired to rid Nottinghamshire of its infamous bandits, Scarlet soon finds her past catching up with her. Only this time, she can’t run away. 
A.C Gaughen’s debut novel ‘Scarlet’ completely swept me away. Based on the renowned tale of Robin Hood, the author gives a completely fresh spin to an old, much loved tale, while keeping true to the classic aspects of this legendary story. I can honestly say I adored this book and found it next to impossible to put down.
 Scarlet is a real kick-ass heroine with her impulsive tendencies, bravery and tough-as-nails character. Her selflessness itself is one of her greatest flaws, especially when she strives to help the people of Nottinghamshire - despite the lack of appreciation she is often shown in return.  From the very first page, readers will find themselves captivated by Scarlet’s unique ‘voice’, which is not only consistent throughout the story, but adds an atmospheric quality to the book which really helps place your mind in the crusading era.
I also loved the simmering romance that burns slowly throughout the story. Torn between her admiration for Robin and the flirtatious attentions of Little John, Scarlet’s reactions of confusion/embarrassment and avoidance were both realistic and amusing to read.
My only criticism, is that this is a standalone novel. When I turned the last page, I wasn’t quite ready for the story to end. I did however think that the ending was left rather open so hopefully in the future there may be a sequel, especially as I feel like Scarlet’s adventures are not quite over.
So overall, I really enjoyed this book. Using small clues and hints, the author certainly keeps you on your toes guessing about the direction of the plot, romance and character motivations throughout the entire story (which is frustrating, but in really good way). Therefore I would recommend this novel to any fans of Theresa Tomlinson or Tamora Pierce - or just to anyone who enjoys reading about a strong, spunky heroines in general, because Scarlet is way up there with the best of them.
Charming, edgy and knife-throwingly good, A.C Gaughen puts a believable new twist to an old tale.  So far ‘Scarlet’ is definitely my favourite read of 2012!

Sunday, 4 March 2012

IMM #3 February and RAKS

All I can say is wow – February has been such a great month for me book wise! I’ve received some amazing titles and now I really need to find a nice, comfy corner where I can curl up for the next few weeks and have a good reading binge!

Tempest by X from Cait @ thecaitfiles
A SIGNED copy of switched by Amanda Hocking from Laura @ SisterSpooky
Thank you both so much for hosting such fab competitions!
Ondine by Ebony Mckenna
Looking for Alaska by John Green
I am number four by Pittacus Lore
Glass houses by X
 (All my amazing charity shop finds J)
Castle in the air and House of many ways, both by Diana Wynn Jones
(These were my Valentine’s Day presents from my other half)
The Storyteller by Antonia Michaelis (Abrams & Chronicle)
Forgive my Fins and Fins are Forever by Tera Lynn Childs (Templar)
Arcadia Awakens by Kai Meyer (Templar)
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi (Atom)
The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman (Atom)
The Demon Trappers: Forgiven by Jana Oliver (PanMcmillain)
Cinder by Marissa Meyer from the lovely Amber @Books of Amber
I also sent Amber ‘Forbidden’ by Tabitha Suzume
Thank you so much again to everyone who sent me a book this month! You guys are fabulous!