Friday 27 April 2012

The Ghost and the Goth - Book Review

The Ghost and the Goth – Book Review
Stacy Kade
YA Paranormal
(book 1 of the Ghost and the Goth trilogy)

Alona Dare–Senior in high school, co-captain of the cheerleading squad, Homecoming Queen three years in a row, voted most likely to marry a movie star… and newly dead.
I’m the girl you hated in high school. Is it my fault I was born with it all-good looks, silky blond hair, a hot bod, and a keen sense of what everyone else should not be wearing? But my life isn’t perfect, especially since I died. Run over by a bus of band geeks—is there anything more humiliating? As it turns out, yes—watching your boyfriend and friends move on with life, only days after your funeral. And you wouldn’t believe what they’re saying about me now that they think I can’t hear them. To top it off, I’m starting to disappear, flickering in and out of existence. I don’t know where I go when I’m gone, but it’s not good. Where is that freaking white light already?
Will Killian–Senior in high school, outcast, dubbed “Will Kill” by the popular crowd for the unearthly aura around him, voted most likely to rob a bank…and a ghost-talker.

I can see, hear, and touch the dead. Unfortunately, they can also see, hear and touch me. Yeah, because surviving high school isn’t hard enough already. I’ve done my best to hide my “gift.” After all, my dad, who shared my ability, killed himself because of it when I was fifteen. But lately, pretending to be normal has gotten a lot harder. A new ghost—an anonymous, seething cloud of negative energy with the capacity to throw me around—is pursuing me with a vengeance. My mom, who knows nothing about what I can do, is worrying about the increase in odd incidents, my shrink is tossing around terms like “temporary confinement for psychiatric evaluation,” and my principal, who thinks I’m a disruption and a faker, is searching for every way possible to get rid of me. How many weeks until graduation?
Simply put, ‘The Ghost and the Goth’ was a quick, light read with plenty of humour and cuteness.  The characters are interesting, the interactions between them fun and entertaining to read and overall, I think Stacy Kade has created a story that will be loved by all.
Alona Dare had everything a girl could wish for. Movie star looks, A-list popularity, a very hot boyfriend and rich parents who were never afraid to spoil her rotten. Then she gets hit by a bus and her perfect life comes to an abrupt end. Now stuck as a ghost, she can only watch as the world continues on without her, and with no white-light appearing to magically take her away, Alona has no idea how she’s supposed to move on to her (hopefully) Hawaii styled afterlife.  Now, her only hope is to befriend the gloomy Goth guy known as Will Killian.
A total social outcast, Will hides behind his hoodies and music, shutting out the world and avoiding people (both dead and alive) in order to protect his most guarded secret. That Will is a medium, someone who can see and talk to Ghosts. However after a slight mishap on Wills part, Alona discovers his strange ability and takes to stalking him. Declaring she will haunt him forever until he helps her move on and reluctantly, Will is forced to agree. But Will has troubles of his own…
There were many things I liked about this book, the first being that the story was told from the dual perspectives of both Alona and Will. Each of them had a distinct voice and by being inside their heads, it was easy to see how they began to change as characters. Alona slowly became more caring and emotional, while Will began to come out of his shell and accept his gift. Also despite being complete opposites, their romance was realistic and I enjoyed watching it develop. However their romance didn’t dominate the story, more it came about as a side effect of Will and Alona actually getting to know each other.
Also while the banter between Will and Alona is quite humorous, the plot itself is full of twists and turns that make it hard to pinpoint. I liked that the author, Stacy Kade kept you guessing and although this book is the first of a series, it is easy to read as a stand-alone novel as all the loose ends are tied off.
So overall I thought that ‘The Ghost and the Goth’ was a pretty impressive read, especially as I hadn’t been expecting to like it as much as I did. Cute and funny, it was a sweet story with very amusing characters. 4 stars!

Wednesday 25 April 2012

Rules of Attraction - Book Review

Rules of Attraction
Simone Elkeles
YA Contemporary Romance
When Carlos Fuentes returns to America after living in Mexico for a year, he doesn’t want any part of the life his older brother, Alex, has laid out for him at a high school in Colorado . Carlos likes living his life on the edge and wants to carve his own path—just like Alex did. Then he meets Kiara Westford. She doesn’t talk much and is completely intimidated by Carlos’ wild ways. As they get to know one another, Carlos assumes Kiara thinks she’s too good for him, and refuses to admit that she might be getting to him. But he soon realizes that being himself is exactly what Kiara needs right now.
Last year I rated ‘Perfect Chemistry’ as one of my favourite reads of 2011 so as you can imagine, I was eagerly anticipating this sequel ‘Rules of Attraction’. Just as I’ve come to expect from Simone Elkeles, it turned out to be yet another fantastic read, one I would totally recommend for summer and (although I admit, my heart still belongs to Alex) I really enjoyed Carlos’ story.
Like his older brother, Carlos has quite the attitude and is constantly getting himself in trouble. A magnet for violence, he dabbles in both drugs and sex but underneath his tough exterior he is actually a really sweet guy. After some serious incidents in Mexico, his mother forces him to move to Colorado to live with his brother Alex and it is here, on his first day of school that he meets Kiara.
Feisty and tough, Kiara is a bit of geek and is not ashamed to admit it. Not at all girly, she hikes, fixes cars and her stutter is just adorable. I also loved how despite her attraction to Carlos, she holds her own against his bantering and sticks hard to her own ideals, forcing him to acknowledge her as an equal.
So when disaster hits and Carlos is busted for having drugs in school, it comes as a shock to them both when Kiara’s dad suddenly volunteers to take Carlos under his roof. Now stuck living together, the two find themselves spending more time in each other’s company and slowly, they begin to fall for one another other… and Carlos starts to realise that there could be more to his life than just gangs and violence.
I have to say, the romance in this book was totally swoon worthy. The relationship between Carlos and Kiara is so sweet and believable, the way their feelings and trust grew slowly to develop into something more made this into such an addictive read.  Even the characters, the secondary ones included were all fab, particularly Tuck (Kiara’s gay best friend) who had me laughing out loud on several occasions.
So overall, yet another superb book from Simone Elkeles! Also while I admit that ‘Perfect Chemistry’ remains my favourite, this book is equally enjoyable and the Fuentes brothers are so delicious that everyone should give these books a shot, even if just to drool over their hunkishness! Now if you excuse me, I have to go find myself a copy of ‘Chain Reaction’ the final book of the Perfect Chemistry Trilogy J
Romantic, Seductive and just Brilliant, ‘Rules of Attraction’ was awesome. 4 ½ stars! Also to read my review of Perfect Chemistry, click HERE!

Monday 23 April 2012

Under The Never Sky - Book Review

Under the Never Sky
Veronica Rossi
YA Dystopian
Since she'd been on the outside, she'd survived an Aether storm, she'd had a knife held to her throat, and she'd seen men murdered. This was worse.

Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland - known as The Death Shop - are slim. If the cannibals don't get her, the violent, electrified energy storms will. She's been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He's wild - a savage - and her only hope of staying alive.

A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile - everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria's help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must accept each other to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.
I have been on a real dystopian kick lately and I can honestly say that ‘Under the Never Sky’ was fantastic! The first of an up-coming trilogy, both the writing and plot line were amazing to the point that it’s easily ranked into the top three of my favourite dystopians, (the others being ‘Delirium’ and ‘The Hunger Games’ if you’re wondering) it was simply just that good.
 Told from the dual perspectives of both Aria and Perry, the book explores a post-apocalyptic world where the privileged ‘Dwellers’ live in protective domes, experiencing the world through a series of virtual realms where they are kept safe from all physical dangers and disease. Yet on the other end of the scale are the Savages, the people who live beyond the domes in the outside world, gathering together in tribes where every day is a fight for survival.
Aria has lived her entire life within the domes and for her, life couldn’t be more perfect. Then her mother goes missing and suddenly, Aria finds herself exiled into the outside world, punished for a crime she didn’t commit. It is here she meets Perry, a savage outsider with an unusually heightened sense of smell. And so with Perry in search of his nephew and Aria looking for her mother, together they form an uneasy partnership and set out on a journey that will question everything they think they know about their worlds… and about each other.
As a main character Aria was amazing. After living such a sheltered life her struggle to adapt to the outside world was moving, especially as she did her best to put on a brave face and become self-sufficient, despite being scared out her mind. Also Perry was a fantastic male lead. Powerful and so utterly masculine, he is a lethal hunter who keeps his warmth and kindness hidden behind a tough exterior.
Also the romance between the two of them was just breath taking to read. Their attraction to each other developed gradually as they learnt to trust one another, slowly proving that their original perceptions of one another were wrong and that beneath the surface, both were more than their ‘Savage’ and ‘Dweller’ labels suggested.
So overall I thought this book was absolutely fantastic! Although it took a few chapters for me to truly get into it, the story soon had me swept away. And with some questions left unanswered, I really can’t wait to see what else this trilogy is going to bring. Just Brilliant, 4 ½ stars!

Thursday 12 April 2012

Crave - Book Review and Interview with Melissa Darnell


Melissa Darnell

YA paranormal Romance
Book #1 of the Clann Series

Savannah Colbert has never known why she's so hated by the kids of the Clann. Nor can she deny her instinct to get close to Clann golden boy Tristan Coleman. Especially when she recovers from a strange illness and the attraction becomes nearly irresistible. It's as if he's a magnet, pulling her gaze, her thoughts, even her dreams. Her family has warned her to have nothing to do with him, or any members of the Clann. But when Tristan is suddenly everywhere she goes, Savannah fears she's destined to fail.

For years, Tristan has been forbidden to even speak to Savannah Colbert. Then Savannah disappears from school for a week and comes back…different, and suddenly he can't stay away. Boys seem intoxicated just from looking at her. His own family becomes stricter than ever. And Tristan has to fight his own urge to protect her, to be near her no matter the consequences….
‘Crave’ is a beautifully written love story about the forbidden romance between the two main characters, Savannah Colbert and Tristan Coleman.  With the book flowing seamlessly from one view point to other, I particularly liked how the story was told form their dual perspectives, as it made it easy to relate to and understand the motivations behind both characters choices.
Also while I think that this book gets off to a slow beginning, it really picks up after the first 100 or so pages, when readers will suddenly find themselves totally immersed in a world of magic, betrayal and heartache. Yet while ‘Crave’ is listed as paranormal romance, it is the romance that really dominates this story. However, Melissa Darnell has also created a unique plot line which is full of vampire and witch mythology, all of which adds supernatural zest to the story.
 As for the characters, Savannah was very interesting. Coming to terms with her half-witch, half-vampire heritage, she was usually the one who caused most of the trouble and problems within the story. While Tristan was simply the very nice, swoon-worthy, guy with a secret whom you can’t help but like – But the romance between them was very sweet and genuine. I’m really interested to see how their relationship develops in the next book.  However I felt that some of the secondary characters needed a little more depth and fleshing out, but generally they all played their parts well.
 Yet all in all though I really enjoyed ‘Crave’. The last few chapters are particularly gripping and it ends on an intriguing note. I’m looking forward to reading the next in the trilogy so fans of Y/A Paranormal Romance, this is book is definitely one for you to check out.

Interview:  Questions and Answers with Mellissa Darnell

1)     What gave you the idea for Crave and how long did it take you to write?
When the YA vampire craze started to take off, as a long time lover of vamp romances I was thrilled but felt the genre was really missing something… namely a vampire heroine. Why should the boys get all the fun here?! But I wanted to see her start off as a normal, clueless human and then have to experience this crazy transformation process as well as learn how to deal with the final result of becoming a vampire.
I also wanted a real Romeo and Juliet forbidden kind of love, one where both the hero and heroine were equally powerful, equally interesting in a paranormal way, and equally dangerous to each other so the forbidden aspect of their love would have a huge rippling effect not just on each other but on their worlds as well. When I considered what kind of hero could possibly be as strong and powerful as a vamp, the answered seemed natural… a male witch.

Once I had the basic premise down, it took me about a month to plot the outline, a month to write, and a  year to revise it to the point of where I felt comfortable in submitting it to Harlequin Teen (this was when they were a fairly new imprint and were still accepting unagented manuscripts for submission).
2)    When writing did your characters behave as you wanted them to or did they change the direction of the story?
My characters CONSTANTLY want to behave in ways that I didn’t originally plan for! Honestly, sometimes it’s like herding cats while trying to write a rough draft, because I don’t start writing a new story until I can see it like a movie in my head (and by then I feel like I know my characters better than real life people). This is why, while I’m a Borg level plotter and can’t start a new story without a fully detailed Plot first, I have learned to be flexible and consider “character input” along the way.

When it comes to dialogue, however, I don’t even attempt to plot it anymore… I just keep a rough goal in mind of the high points that should be hit and the eventual end result needed for a scene, then I let the characters hash it out among themselves on paper. In writing rough draft dialogue, I am definitely only the mediator!
3)    Do you already know how the series will end or is it still a surprise for you to?
Since my editor and I already plotted out the third book ‘Consume’ (due to be released by Harlequin Teen in 2013), I do know how the Clann Series will end for at least a few characters. But there are one or two characters whose futures are still unclear, which may get resolved in a fourth book someday. J
4)    What was the biggest challenge you faced when writing Crave?
I didn’t face any challenges when writing Crave. However, revising Crave was fairly challenging!  It was originally 160,000 words in length and had to be cut down by 60,000 words before the acquisitions team could consider offering a contract for it. That’s the length of some category romance novels! But the hard work was more than worth it when Harlequin Teen ended up offering me a 3 book contract. J
     Do you read YA books and if so, what are your favourites?
So far my favourites are:
-         The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
-         Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead
-         Hex Hall Series by Rachel Hawkins
-         Beautiful Creatures Series by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
-         Soul Screamer series by Rachal Vincent
-         Curse Workers Series by Holly Black
-         Night World Series by L.J Smith
-         The Geek Girl’s Guide to Cheerleading by Charity Tahmaseb and Darcy Vance

Thank you so much for answering my questions!
Thanks for having me here! If readers would like to know about the Clann Series, including when books #2 Covert and #3 Consume are due out, this information is available along with lots of interactive fun stuff like online Clann Series playlists are available at and . Readers can also contact me through these sites anytime!