Thursday, 31 May 2012

Best of the Bunch (1)


Best of the Bunch is an awesome end-of-month meme created at Lyrical Reviews and now hosted by Sally at Always Lost in Stories. All you have to do is pick your favourite book of all the books you've read that month and post it.

My favourite book for May is Across the Universe by Beth Revis.


This was one of those books I never expected to like but ended up loving. I grabbed it from my TBR shelf thinking I'd read for a bit but ended up finishing the entire book in a single day, and then going out early the next morning to pick up a copy of the sequel.

I loved Amy and Elder and I was glued to the page trying to figure out the many mysteries and secrets aboard the Godspeed. This is kind of a science fiction/dystopian cross and it is an incredible read that I adored :)


My review can be found here.

So what was the best book you read this month?

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Title: Across the Universe
Author: Beth Revis
Publisher: Razorbill
ISBN: 978-0-141-33366-3
Pages: 398
Series: Across the Universe #1
Type: Young Adult Science Fiction
Source: Purchased
Goodreads


Amy has left Earth and her life behind, cryogenically frozen and bound for a new home 300 years in the future. But Amy is violently awakened 50 years before schedule and she finds herself trapped aboard the Godspeed. The ship is controlled by the Eldest and his successor Elder. When it becomes clear that Amy's awakening was an attempted murder, she must turn to Elder to discover the many secrets hidden in their world.

This is the first in a new trilogy and, despite all the great things I'd heard, a book I approached with trepidation. I'm not really a big fan of science fiction so I was concerned I wouldn't like the spaceship setting but I was happily surprised to be wrong and finished the book in a day. The plot is cleverly written and with lots of twists and turns (although I figured a big one out pretty early on) and kept me glued to the page. The narration is split between Amy and Elder which means we get the benefit of both perspectives.

There is a heavy dystopian angle to the storyline which I loved. Everyone on Godspeed is monoethnic, everyone has a purpose, everyone is satisfied by their life - but by having Amy act almost as our "normal" person on the Godspeed the reader gets to see just how strange the society there has become. Elder's impressions also help show this, especially when he starts talking about historical events which are very different to how we know them to have been.

Amy is a great lead character managing to be strong and independent while still remaining vulnerable, especially about her past and her parents. Elder compliments her really well, picking up her questioning nature but also helping her to explore the strange new world she has found herself in. Eldest is a creepy leader and I pretty much disliked him from the start, especially as it is clear he is hiding a lot of secrets. My favourite character though has to be Harley who lives in the Ward with the other psychologically different individuals. His passion for art and relatively normal perspective on Godspeed adds another dimension to the story.

I was a little surprised that there wasn't a huge amount of romance between Amy and Elder. The appropriate sparks flew, but the characters got so caught up in the events around them that it wasn't developed. This works in the books favour though as it means more focus is given to the creepy fascinating secrets being revealed.

The ending is brilliant, managing to be surprising (despite me having figured out a major twist) and action packed. It also ties up the storyline in such a way that you are ready for the characters to continue but feel that most of the issues have been resolved.

All in all this was an awesome read and I can't wait to read A Million Suns.

Plot: 10/10
Characters: 10/10
Ending: 9/10
Enjoyment: 10/10
Cover: 10/10

Overall: 49/50

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Teaser Tuesday (27)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Miz B at Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers.



My teaser:

"Once, I was ice. Now, I am pain."

~ Page 79, Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Monday, 28 May 2012

Death in a Difficult Position by Diana Killian

Title: Death in a Difficult Position
Author: Diana Killian
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
ISBN: 978-0-425-24381-7
Pages: 285
Series: Mantra for Murder Mystery #4
Type: Adult Cozy Mystery
Source: Purchased
Goodreads


When the charasmatic Reverend David Goode moves to Stillbrook he singles out Sacred Balance and Yoga Meridian as the root of evil. According to him, yoga is a heathen demonic practice. AJ isn't the only person whose livelihood is at risk - her ex-partner Lily is the new manager of Yoga Meridian. But when the Reverend ends up dead and Lily is arrested, AJ feels she has to prove Lily's innocence. But with the Reverend's distinctly unreligious habits and the appearance of the Jersey Devil, this case may be AJ's strangest yet.

This is the fourth book in the Mantra for Murder Mysteries (after Corpse Pose, Dial Om for Murder and Murder on the Eightfold Path) and I really enjoyed it. I struggled through the last installment as there was so much going on at once, but now AJ's life is more settled the book was a great read. The densly plotted storyline was packed with twists and turns and kept me glued to the page. The ending is well thought out and gives a surprisingly upbeat conclusion to the story.

The idea of covering the debate between religion and yoga was a fascinating idea, partly because I've seen arguments against yoga from various religious figureheads in the real world. AJ comes up against a Reverend who is convinced that yoga is the work of the devil and they have several interesting conversations where AJ tries to explain her perspective and he railroads her. The author manages to show that it is closemindedness that is the problem, rather than blaming religion itself.

I was a little concerned that I wouldn't really care about Lily being accused of murder as I didn't really like her in the previous books, but my attention was drawn into the case by AJ's mother Elysia. Now the star of her own mystery TV show Golden Gumshoes, Elysia turns up with her fellow castmembers and plunges straight into the case. Also the threat of Lily coming back to Sacred Balance had me rooting for AJ proving her innocence.

There were also some great supporting storylines, including AJ and Jake's increasingly serious romance and also Elysia's new relationship with her costar Dean. The latter is great because it brings the attraction between Elysia and town lawyer Mr Meagher to a head. Yoga also gets more page time with AJ's own practice and it's impact on grumpy teenager Mocha. However my favourite part of the book has to be the appearance of the Jersey Devil. I've loved folklore on this for years so to see it take a leading role in a book was brilliant.

At the end of the book there is the usual yoga and recipe section. This time it features a guide to three yoga poses (sideways bend, forward bend and cobra pose) alongside recipes for Baked Manicotti and Chocolate Clementine Cake which were both mouthwateringly described in the book.

All in all this was a great read from a fun series.

Plot: 10/10
Characters: 10/10
Ending: 10/10
Enjoyment: 10/10
Cover: 9/10

Overall: 49/50

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Murder on the Eightfold Path by Diana Killian

Title: Murder on the Eightfold Path
Author: Diana Killian
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
ISBN: 978-0-425-23391-7
Pages: 300
Series: Mantra for Murder Mystery #3
Type: Adult Cozy Mystery
Source: Purchased
Goodreads


AJ Alexander inherited her aunt's yoga studio, moved to small town New Jersey and started a relatively quiet life...with the exception of reluctantly solving a few murders. But when AJ literally trips over the body of her mother's current beau Dicky right outside Elysia's house, AJ finds herself drawn into her most important case yet. This time AJ is fighting to prove her mother's innocence but with business and relationship problems as well as a back injury, AJ could be biting off more than she can chew.

This is the third book in the Mantra for Murder Mysteries (after Corpse Pose and Dial Om for Murder) and deals with the death of Dicky who was briefly introduced in the last book. The plot is cleverly written and packed with false leads but for some reason I found it really hard to keep my interest on the book and so I kept picking it up and putting it down. I think my attention kept getting distracted as there is so much storyline aside from the murder.

AJ spends a lot of time away from Sacred Balance and can't do yoga because of a back injury, so it's a little ironic that this book contains quite a lot about both yoga and the studio. Since the beginning of the series Sacred Balance has played a key role and in this installment the friction between AJ and her co-manager Lily finally comes to a head with some dramatic scenes. AJ's relationship with Jake Oberlin is also on rocky ground with a new character stirring up trouble and AJ doubting whether the relationship has a future.

Elysia's life and her old friends also get a lot of page time as this time the case is all about Elysia. It's been great watching her and AJ grow closer over the previous books, and this continues that helping AJ see that her mother is no longer the drunk from her childhood. There is also some resolution to the bitter relationship between Elysia and AJ's neighbour Stella. This also means that a lot of the supporting cast are older which adds a different dimension to the book.

At the end there is a guide to two back-strengthening yoga exercises (Happy Baby Pose and Cat Stretch) and two recipes for Barley Soup with Porcini Mushrooms and Chicken Walnut Salad.

All in all this was a fair read and I'm looking forward to Death in a Difficult Position.

Plot: 9/10
Characters: 9/10
Ending: 9/10
Enjoyment: 7/10
Cover: 7/10

Overall: 41/50

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Shelf Candy Saturday (16)


Shelf Candy Saturday is an awesome weekly meme hosted by Five Alarm Book Reviews where each Saturday bloggers defy the saying "never judge a book by its cover" and showcase one that really catches their eye. Covers play a huge role in the books I choose so it's great to have the opportunity to showcase the pretties :)

My shelf candy for this week is Shadows on the Moon by Zoƫ Marriott.

On my fourteenth birthday when the sakura was in full bloom, the men came to kill us. We saw them come, Aimi and me. We were excited, because we did not know how to be frightened. We had never seen soldiers before.

Suzume is a shadow weaver.
She can be anyone she wants.
Except herself.

Only one man sees through her illusions.
Only one man loves the girl within.
And he will not give her up.
Not even to a prince.

This has to be hands down one of the most gorgeous books on my shelf. It's just sooo pretty! I love the cherry blossoms bordering the photo and they just emphasize the oriental setting really well (the book is set in a fictional country called the Moonlit land).

The only downside is while the cover image is pretty, the book is outstanding in real life. The text is shiny and looks even cooler when you move the book and catch the light. The other thing you can't see from the front cover image is that the face continues on the back cover, as do the cherry blossoms.

The trailer also shows how awesome this book is:



So what's your shelf candy this week?

Friday, 25 May 2012

Dial Om for Murder by Diana Killian

Title: Dial Om for Murder
Author: Diana Killian
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
ISBN: 978-0-425-22705-3
Pages: 271
Series: Mantra for Murder Mystery #2
Type: Adult Cozy Mystery
Source: Purchased
Goodreads


A.J. only two A-list students in her yoga studio, but they are more than enough to handle. Leading actress Nicole Manning and reality-show star Barbie Siragusa aren't just divas, they are viscious rivals too. A.J. tries to keep the peace but when she discovers Nicole's dead body, all fingers point to Barbie. Pushed into investigating by her mother, A.J. soon learns that Nicole's life was more complicated than she ever dreamed.

This is the second book in the Mantra for Murder Mysteries (after Corpse Pose). After really enjoying the first book I was eager to get stuck into this and I must say I wasn't disappointed. As with the first installment the mystery element is tightly plotted and cleverly written with just the right amount of red herrings. There were also a few twists and turns that caught me completely by surprise.

While the yoga angle ensures that this is unique amongst other cozies, it doesn't overpower the mystery. A.J. is still running the Sacred Balance studio and her love of yoga shines through. The book even concludes with a guide to sun salutations and a recipe for salmon salad. The other unique aspect of this is the secondary mystery which is a minor plot that links in to the main case. In this installment AJ's ex-husband turns up bruised and unwell on her doorstep after leaving his partner but won't explain what's wrong.

The romance subplot between AJ and Detective Jake Oberlin. Unlike in other cozy mysteries though, Jake absolutely objects to A.J. having any part in the police investigation and her determination to investigate puts their relationship in jeopardy. Most cozies seem to have a clueless cop grateful for the amateur's assistance, but this seems far more realistic.

I found the ending was a little disappointing because it came together very quickly and without much explanation. As with the first book the ending was quite tense and action-packed but while I didn't predict the killer's identity, there wasn't much reasoning behind it. It seemed very much a case of "voila, here's your murderer".

All in all this was a great read and I'm looking forward to Murder on the Eightfold Path.

Plot: 10/10
Characters: 10/10
Ending: 8/10
Enjoyment: 9/10
Cover: 9/10

Overall: 46/50

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Corpse Pose by Diana Killian

Title: Corpse Pose
Author: Diana Killian
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
ISBN: 978-0-425-22090-0
Pages: 276
Series: Mantra for Murder Mystery #1
Type: Adult Cozy Mystery
Source: Purchased
Goodreads


Since A.J. Alexander's husband left her for another man she's been feeling lost, but when her favourite Aunt Di is found brutally murdered A.J. seizes the opportunity to escape her Manhattan lifestyle for rural New Jersey. Diantha was a successful yoga guru with a lucrative yoga studio, but her strong opinions and determination to see her wishes carried out caused a lot of tension within the town of Stillbrook. A.J. soon finds herself under suspicion from a hunky local detective, so she decides to limber up and track down the killer herself.

As a fan of both cozy mysteries and yoga I have no idea why this sat on my TBR heap for over a year before I finally got to it. I absolutely loved this book, and am now kicking myself for not reading it before. A.J. is a great lead character who is believable and realistic, and who is a yoga novice (like me). She hasn't seen her aunt for a few years before the murder due to some tension with A.J.'s now ex husband, which means the reader gets to familiarise themselves with the setting of the book along with A.J. herself.

I also found A.J.'s British ex-actress mother Elysia to be well written and hilarious. The British slang and terms of endearment (e.g. 'Pet') also seeemed normal, unlike many books by US writers who get this horribly wrong. The hunky Detective Jake Oberlin is great as the police character who always shows up in cozies - thankfully he is well written (no cookie cutter characters here) and the only possible romantic interest in the book. A.J.'s ex husband Andy does appear in the book, but this doesn't come anywhere near the often tedious love triangles that are becoming more commonplace in cozies.

The mystery is well developed with gradual clues that I didn't put together until the very last minute. There are also several plot twists that I didn't see coming, and also lots of mini stories going on at the same time - like what is happening between Detective Oberlin and A.J.'s dog when her back is turned? The only thing that affected my enjoyment of the book was a couple of mistakes that had slipped past the editors (a neighbour lives both a mile and five miles away, and a chai latte suddenly becomes a cup of tea), but these were minor and rare (I only noticed the two).

All in all a fabulous cozy read that I thoroughly recommend to fans of cozy mysteries, yoga or both! I'm looking forward to reading Dial Om for Murder.

Plot: 10/10
Characters: 10/10
Ending: 10/10
Enjoyment: 9/10
Cover: 10/10

Overall: 49/50

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Curses! by J.A. Kazimer

Title: Curses!
Author: J.A. Kazimer
Publisher: Puffin Books
ISBN: 978-0-7582-6912-6
Pages: 292
Series: F***ed-Up Fairy Tales #1
Type: Adult Humour
Source: Received for Review
Goodreads


RJ is no hero, in fact he is quite literally a card carrying villain. Until recently he was constantly plotting evil deeds and the downfall of young maidens but now a horrifying curse has shattered his dastardly life. Now, no matter what, RJ has to be nice. So when Cinderella is murdered and her not-so-ugly sister Asia calls on RJ for help he has little choice. Soon RJ finds himself in the kingdom of Maldetto trying to discover who (besides himself) would want a beloved princess dead.

This is one of those books that as soon as I heard about it, I knew that I would love it. I'm a big fan of fairy tales and will happily read pretty much any take on them so when I heard about a parodied version from the perpective of a villain cursed with niceness, I had to have it. The book is incredible and totally lived up to my expectations. The storyline is packed with twists and turns, most of which I didn't see coming and I was glued to the page throughout.

Obviously humour is incredibly subjective and in writing this review I am aware that what I find hilariously funny may not be even slightly amusing to someone else. That said the author does an incredible job of twisting every fairy tale possible to give a fresh angle on an old classic. The three deaf mice (notorious cousins of the three blind mice), an entirely new take on the ugly sisters, a questionable Prince Charming and even villains using bluebirds as murder weapons. I laughed out loud multiple times and found the entire book to be outrageously funny.

RJ is a great lead character with a great perspective. The curse only means he has to act nicely so it's brilliant to be able to read his villainous thoughts and then see how the curse changes his actions. He can't even shake someone - it turns into a hug. Asia was awesome as the ugly stepsister who is also dealing with a curse of her own and potential love interest for RJ.

All in all this was a great read and I'll definitely be picking up a copy of the sequel (Froggy-Style) next year.

Plot: 10/10
Characters: 9/10
Ending: 10/10
Enjoyment: 10/10
Cover: 7/10

Overall: 46/50

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Teaser Tuesday (26)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Miz B at Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers.



My teaser:

"Death by bluebird. What a way to go."

~ Page 135, Curses! by J.A. Kazimer

Monday, 21 May 2012

Generation Dead by Daniel Waters

Title: Generation Dead
Author: Daniel Waters
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 978-1-84738-327-3
Pages: 392
Series: Generation Dead #1
Type: Young Adult Paranormal
Source: Purchased
Goodreads


All over America teenagers who die aren't staying dead, they're coming back. Goth girl outcast Phoebe finds herself drawn to hunky funny jock Tommy Williams, but Tommy is already dead. Not everyone is as accepting of the 'living impaired' as Phoebe, and some are trying to rid the community of these individuals and will stop at nothing to reach their goals.

I got this book in a 5 book set for just under £10 in WHSmiths, and I have to say I'm glad I didn't pay more for it. I hadn't heard much about these books although I had seen them in stores, and as I'm not a massive fan of zombies I doubt I would have read this were it not in the set.

A large portion of the plot of the book is given over to exploring the prejudice between the living and the living impaired. While it draws interesting parallels to racial and disability discrimination, it's covered to the point of being overdone here and I ended up becoming very bored with it. It also overpowers the rest of the plot which means that the reason why American teenagers are coming back from the dead is never fully explained and the romance is poorly developed.

I wasn't thrilled with Phoebe as a main character as she seemed to be quite stereotypical. I don't know much about Goth culture, but I doubt it involves continually pointing out what bands you're into or slipping off to write overly emotional poetry. A love triangle is quickly set up involving Phoebe's lifelong friend and boy-next-door Adam and the newly dead Tommy. However Phoebe never really figures out what she feels for Tommy and is completely oblivious to Adam so the love triangle is more like boring dates and dull conversations.

The plot doesn't really flow, and it seems more like the author is setting up the series than writing a good book. The book flounders about until the inevitable cliffhanger ending. From the blurb this book seems like it has a lot of potential, but it has been sacrificed in order to create a world where a series of books can be set. Some incredible series have grown out of books that suffer from first-in-a-series-itis, but after reading this I'm reluctant to give any other books in the series a chance.

All in all this was an okay read, and while I may eventually read The Kiss of Life I doubt it'll be any time soon.

Plot: 7/10
Characters: 7/10
Ending: 7/10
Enjoyment: 6/10
Cover: 7/10

Overall: 34/50

Sunday, 20 May 2012

My Way to Hell by Dakota Cassidy

Title: My Way to Hell
Author: Dakota Cassidy
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
ISBN: 978-0-425-23443-3
Pages: 323
Series: Hell #2
Type: Adult Paranormal Romance
Source: Purchased
Goodreads


Marcella Acosta managed to do the one thing forbidden to demons - she defied Lucifer and ended up banished to limbo, a boring shop-free zone which she refers to as Plane Drab. Marcella stood against Lucifer to save her friend Delaney, so when she finds her now ghostly self summoned back to earth by Delaney's brother Kellen all she wants to do is check in on her friend. But Delaney has other ideas and ropes Marcella in to help Kellen with his newfound mediumship abilities. Marcella and Kellen have always clashed, but they're about to discover that beneath the surface they aren't that incompatible after all.

I recently read and enjoyed Kiss & Hell so I was really looking forward to this and it didn't disappoint. If anything I actually enjoyed this more than its predecessor. Marcella and Kellen are more fun than Delaney and Clyde, and the love/hate banter they have throughout the book is hilarious. Marcella is adjusting to being a ghost after being a reluctant demon, and finally all the hints about how someone who would sacrifice themselves for a friend in the last book could end up as a demon are revealed. I also liked how the attraction/repulsion between Marcella and Kellen was carried forward from Kiss & Hell.

The supporting characters are great and become key to the storyline very quickly. Delaney and Clyde return with small roles, as do Mrs Ramirez and Delaney's ghost dog Darwin. Mrs Ramirez's grandson Carlos is a big part of the book as a young medium who is being tormented by demons. I actually liked how this storyline was played out alongside the romance as it really gives the book depth. The storyline also moves a bit faster (though still at quite a leisurely pace) because of this. There's also a new reluctant demon Catalina, who I would love to see in her own book.

The only thing that bugged me a little about the book is that I figured out the connection between Marcella and Carlos quite early on, but I didn't figure out the specifics so I was still a little surprised.

All in all, this is a fun and highly recommended read.

Plot: 9/10
Characters: 10/10
Ending: 10/10
Enjoyment: 10/10
Cover: 10/10

Overall: 49/50

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Shelf Candy Saturday (15)


Shelf Candy Saturday is an awesome weekly meme hosted by Five Alarm Book Reviews where each Saturday bloggers defy the saying "never judge a book by its cover" and showcase one that really catches their eye. Covers play a huge role in the books I choose so it's great to have the opportunity to showcase the pretties :)

My shelf candy for this week is Endure by Carrie Jones.




Okay so technically, my shelf candy is a series based pick this week. All of the covers for the Need Pixies books are awesome and I had the hardest time picking out a favourite to be my main pick. I ended up settling for the newest installment, Endure. However because this is the conclusion of the series, the description is really heavy on the spoilers.




The other three covers are just as awesome:



I love the interplay of black and gold on these covers and the sparklies just add to the awesome. They manage to be simple but also really emotive. I love all of them, but Endure stands out based on the swirls and the eye looking out of the cover. It really makes you question why her iris is gold and what she's thinking.

That said, all of the covers are thought-provoking getting the reader to question what exactly is going on. Usually I'm not the biggest fan of people on covers, but the simplicity of these covers works really well and caught my attention. The faces give the covers structure, and the simple colour scheme gives them a unique appeal.

Intrigued? Here's the description for the first book in the series Need:

Zara White suspects there's a freaky guy semi-stalking her. She's also obsessed with phobias. And it's true, she hasn't exactly been herself since her stepfather died. But exiling her to shivery Maine to live with her grandmother? That seems a bit extreme. The move is supposed to help her stay sane...but Zara's pretty sure her mom just can't deal with her right now.

She couldn't be more wrong. Turns out the semi-stalker is not a figment of Zara's overactive imagination. In fact, he's still following her, leaving behind an eerie trail of gold dust. There's something not right - not human - in this sleepy Maine town, and all signs point to Zara.

So what's your shelf candy this week?

Friday, 18 May 2012

Kiss & Hell by Dakota Cassidy

Title: Kiss & Hell
Author: Dakota Cassidy
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
ISBN: 978-0-425-22785-5
Pages: 339
Series: Hell #1
Type: Adult Paranormal Romance
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
Delaney Markham is a medium who has turned into a hermit because, well, who actually wants to be friends with someone who thinks they can talk to the dead. She makes ends meet by holding the occasional seance, and it's during one of these that an incredibly annoying ghost appears...and refuses to leave. Turns out this guy Clyde isn't just a ghost, he's actually a trainee demon who has been sent to bring Delaney down to hell for Lucifer. But if Clyde and Lucifer think Delaney is going down with out a fight, they have another thing coming.

This is one of those books that sat on my TBR for ages before I got round to reading it. It wasn't because I wasn't interested in doing so, I just kept getting distracted. I've now finally read it and I have to say I loved it. I'm a big fan of Dakota Cassidy's Accidentally Paranormal series (starting with The Accidental Werewolf) and I love her snarky self-aware style. This is exactly what I was expecting - funny, sweet, romantic and a major page turner.

Delaney is hilarious - from her super-healthy lifestyle to her Ghost Whisperer obsession to her collection of random disabled dogs. I liked her from the start, and her spunky attitude meant I kept liking her throughout the book. Clyde, although I don't really like the name, is a great guy. He seems a little cookie cutter at first - the hot geek, who has no idea how hot he is - but that's literally only for a page or two. He quickly develops into an all around awesome guy: romantic, understanding of Delaney's medium skills and very sweet.

The supporting characters - Delaney's brother Kellen and her demonic best bud Marcella are the leads in the follow up book My Way to Hell. I'm thrilled and can't wait to read it as these two really stood out for me here. As bad as it may sound, I also want to know what happens next with Lucifer as he really comes across as a bit of a maniacal drama queen.

The plot is develops gradually, which isn't a bad thing as it allows the characters to fully develop and so the storyline doesn't take big jumps. The ending is awesome, really bringing the whole book together. The only story threads not completed are those of Kellen and Marcella, but I'm guessing they'll be tied up in the next book.

All in all, this is an awesome funny paranormal romance and I can't wait to read My Way to Hell.

Plot: 9/10
Characters: 9/10
Ending: 10/10
Enjoyment: 10/10
Cover: 10/10

Overall: 48/50

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Night's Child by Cate Tiernan

Title: Night's Child
Author: Cate Tiernan
Publisher: Puffin Books
ISBN: 0-14-131717-5
Pages: 318
Series: Wicca/Sweep #15
Type: Young Adult Paranormal
Source: Purchased
Goodreads


Moira Byrne has grown up hearing hushed whispers about her mother, the great Morgan of Belwicket, and the awesome powers she is said to possess. Moira just knows her as Mum and has only ever seen her work as a witch and healer. But when strange dark signs begin to plague Morgan and her daughter, Morgan fears that the darkness of her past has once again arisen to be fought once more and Moira begins to realise just how dangerous her mother can be.

This is the fifteenth and final book in the Wicca series (which began with Book of Shadows) and it set twenty years after the end of the previous installment. Morgan now resides in Ireland with her daughter Moira having been contacted to help rebuild her ancestral coven of Belwicket. Morgan thought she'd left the darkness behind, but this rollercoaster of a story proves her wrong.

From the tragic heartwrenching beginning, through the many unexpected twists and turns to the incredible conclusion this is a thrill ride of a book with heaps of tension. One thing that stood out for me in an outstanding way was the parallels between Moira's life and Morgan's. Moira is drawn to a young witch Ian Delaney whose mother is suspected of working dark magick and their relationship parallels Morgan's relationship with Cal in a fascinating way.

Moira herself is more like her mother than even she herself thinks, struggling with the balance of morality and discovering secrets her family had hidden for her whole life. It is also interesting to see how different Moira's life at sixteen is from Morgan's as she has been brought up surrounded by magick and is studying for her initiation. I loved seeing how Morgan managed to achieve her goal of becoming a healer, even if certain events are not what she wanted to experience.

The only thing that bothers me, and it is a tiny thing, is that while pretty much all the major characters from the previous books get updates Alisa does not. Whether this was to leave her storyline open for the possibility of continuance I don't know but a quick 'Alisa is doing...' could have easily been worked in.

All in all this was a great read and I heartily recommend the entire series.

Plot: 10/10
Characters: 10/10
Ending: 10/10
Enjoyment: 10/10
Cover: 9/10

Overall: 49/50

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Full Circle by Cate Tiernan

Title: Full Circle
Author: Cate Tiernan
Publisher: Puffin Books
ISBN: 0-14-131710-8
Pages: 190
Series: Wicca/Sweep #14
Type: Young Adult Paranormal
Source: Purchased
Goodreads



Morgan has battled great evil and found great joy since discovering Wicca and her own inner magick. She's come to terms with her heritage and learnt to balance the magickal aspects of her life with the mundane. Now she is looking forward to a bright future. So when Morgan begins having nightmares she ignores them at first. But when Morgan realises that she has been sleepwalking she realises that some dangers from her past aren't as defeated as she thought.

This is the fourteenth book in the Wicca series (which began with Book of Shadows) and returns to Morgan as a narrator although this role is once again shared, this time with Hunter. It is interesting that the narrative is shared by a couple as it gives additional insight into the romance angle, but also Morgan and Hunter are beginning to formulate their future plans which gives the book a sense of movement.

Morgan's nightmares are an ideal way to build the tension in the book, of which there is a steadly building amount from the start through to the shocking conclusion. There are many twists and turns and it is interesting to see just how deadly something so mundane as a nightmare can become when magick is introduced. Even Morgan herself initially dismisses the danger as just another nightmare. Instead the danger grows out of sight until lives are threatened and life-altering choices must be made.

I liked how Morgan and Hunter are looking to the future. This is the last book before a large time jump and so it is great to see them deciding what their individual paths will be. It also impacts their relationship in a realistic way as most couples will eventually have to deal with the possibility of separate futures and whether their relationship is strong enough to survive. As it is, it is fascinating to see how Hunter brings Morgan to an unusual situation and helps further both their life plans.

All in all this was another great read and I'm looking forward to Night's Child.

Plot: 9/10
Characters: 10/10
Ending: 10/10
Enjoyment: 10/10
Cover: 8/10

Overall: 47/50

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Teaser Tuesday (25)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Miz B at Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers.


My teaser:

"I was happy, lying there in the sun and dappled shade. It felt normal, natural, light. I hoped that the rest of the year would be more like this and that the darkness we'd been facing had finally gone for good."

~ Page 31, Full Circle by Cate Tiernan

Monday, 14 May 2012

Reckoning by Cate Tiernan

Title: Reckoning
Author: Cate Tiernan
Publisher: Puffin Books
ISBN: 0-14-131707-8
Pages: 188
Series: Wicca/Sweep #13
Type: Young Adult Paranormal
Source: Purchased
Goodreads


Alisa Soto grew up thinking that she was a normal girl and her biggest worry was the impending marriage of her father and his young pregnant fiance. Then Alisa discovered Wicca and with it a world of temptation, beauty and fear. With it, Alisa discovered that she is incredibly unique - a talented half-witch, unheard of even in the magickal world. Now Alisa is determined to seek out her mother's family and learn more about her heritage.

This is the thirteenth book in the Wicca series (which began with Book of Shadows) and is narrated by Alisa. The previous installment was jointly narrated by Alisa and Morgan and it's great to have a book purely from Alisa's perspective as she's a really great fascinating character. This is probably one of my favourites of the series as I really like Alisa's voice.

The setting of the book has also changed as Alisa goes to Gloucester, Massachusetts in search of her mother's family. Turning up on her uncle's doorstep she is thrown in at the deep end, and in doing so she soon discovers that her family need her just as much as she needs them. Strange telekinectic incidents have haunted the family for generations and Alisa may just hold the solution within her.

I really liked Alisa's family, especially her Uncle Sam and her reunion with her family is particularly well written. Some family members are thrilled by her presence, some take it in their stride and others are reluctant to acknowledge her. It is also great to see how someone with a mundane childhood reacts when introduced to a family immersed in magick. The other thing I loved is that Alisa manages to use her experience to grow as a person, becoming more focused and centered in herself and using it in a positive way.

The romance angle is also a little different. Alisa finds herself irrevocably drawn to Charlie Findgoll, a geeky witch who is open and friendly from the moment they meet. But Charlie is Alisa's newfound cousin's boyfriend and so the attraction becomes something they both resist from the beginning even as their friendship grows.

All in all this was an awesome read and I'm looking forward to Full Circle.

Plot: 10/10
Characters: 10/10
Ending: 10/10
Enjoyment: 10/10
Cover: 9/10

Overall: 49/50

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Eclipse by Cate Tiernan

Title: Eclipse
Author: Cate Tiernan
Publisher: Puffin Books
ISBN: 0-141-31553-9
Pages: 187
Series: Wicca/Sweep #12
Type: Young Adult Paranormal
Source: Purchased
Goodreads


Morgan Rowlands has discovered much about magick and love, but when strange events start happening Morgan isn't sure what to do. It is like a cloud of darkness is hovering over the heads of her and her friends, and soon Morgan comes to fear the worst. Putting on a brave face she tries to hide the possibility of danger but there's a problem. Alisa isn't fooled by Morgan's pretence and she too can feel the darkness surrounding them...the question is how is she able to?

This is the twelfth book in the Wicca series (which began with Book of Shadows) and sees another change in style. The narration is now split between Morgan and Alisa, who previously has been a member of Kithic and a good friend of Morgan's sister Mary K. This is really well written and both voices are distinct, allowing the reader a great view into the events in Widow's Vale.

Alternating between Morgan and Alisa also means that the two stories can be both intricately intermeshed and also completely unique. Morgan is dealing with the lengths her biological father will go to in order to either win her to his side, or remove her from his path while Alisa is beginning to realise that her family tree holds just as many secrets as Morgan's.

I also found the story of Hunter's father Daniel's recovery to be very interesting. He questions Morgan's loyalties and his gradual trust parallels his improving health. There was a possibility Daniel would magickally recover and I'm really glad the book chose to take a more mundane route to health.

At this point it is important to have read the books in order (even the previous somewhat disappointing Origins) as the dark wave plays it's most pivotal role yet. Alongside this there are loads of twists and turns that I didn't expect and an outstanding action-packed conclusion.

All in all this was a great read and I'm looking forward to Reckoning.

Plot: 10/10
Characters: 9/10
Ending: 10/10
Enjoyment: 10/10
Cover: 9/10

Overall: 48/50

Friday, 11 May 2012

Origins by Cate Tiernan

Title: Origins
Author: Cate Tiernan
Publisher: Puffin Books
ISBN: 0-141-31552-0
Pages: 184
Series: Wicca/Sweep #11
Type: Young Adult Paranormal
Source: Purchased
Goodreads


In 1682 Rose MacEwan lived in dangerous times, more so because she was a witch. The daughter of her coven's High Priestess, Rose always felt that she was being held back from her magick by her mother. So when Rose meets the mischevious Diarmuid in the woods, she seizes the opportunity to work greater more powerful magick. But Rose's choices have consequences even she could never have predicted.

This is the eleventh book in the Wicca series (which began with Book of Shadows) and again is from a perspective other than Morgan's. In this installment, Morgan's ancestor Rose narrates the tale of the creation of the dark wave. Morgan and Hunter appear briefly in the prologue and epilogue but otherwise the entire book is given over to Rose's story.

The movement of the story to seventeenth century Scotland is an interesting choice. I enjoyed the opportunity to discover how and why the dark wave was created, and the circumstances fit well with the morality issues raised in previous installments. However, I didn't really warm to Rose as a character and the pace of the book is quite a lot slower than before. To this point the rest of the series is set over around four months, whilst this book is set over the course of almost a year. This means that a lot of the tension depends on the witch hysteria rather than Rose herself.

The romance angle between Rose and Diarmuid was also a little disappointing as she uses magick to capture his attention which always makes the relationship seem unbalanced. Rose's determination to maintain their connection is understandable but I have to say I wasn't really surprised when Diarmuid's true intentions are revealed.

All in all this was an interesting read and I'm looking forward to Eclipse.

Plot: 8/10
Characters: 8/10
Ending: 9/10
Enjoyment: 8/10
Cover: 9/10

Overall: 42/50

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Seeker by Cate Tiernan

Title: Seeker
Author: Cate Tiernan
Publisher: Puffin Books
ISBN: 0-141-31551-2
Pages: 172
Series: Wicca/Sweep #10
Type: Young Adult Paranormal
Source: Purchased
Goodreads


Hunter Niall's parents disappeared eleven years ago, trying to save their children and outrun a mystical dark wave. Hunter was left with a lot of unanswered questions and has been looking for his parents for years. Now he has finally tracked his family down and he is travelling to Canada in search of answers. But all is not as Hunter expects and soon he finds himself with more questions than ever before, questions that place his dedication to the International Council of Witches in doubt.

This is the tenth book in the Wicca series (after Book of Shadows, The Coven, Blood Witch, Dark Magick, Awakening, Spellbound, The Calling, Changeling and Strife) and is the first book to be written from Hunter's perspective. A change in narrator like this can often spell trouble for a long-running series, but I liked Hunter's voice and found it interesting to see things from his perspective. Morgan's diary entries are also included so the reader can also keep track of events back in Widows Vale.

The mystery of where Hunter's parents are has been a key part of his character development and plotlines since his introduction and now there are finally some answers. To me, the most interesting part of this book is Hunter's internal struggles with what has become of his family and whether he is happy with the direction his life has taken. Hunter has always seemed very self-assured and confident in his role as a Seeker so it is great to see that he has doubts sometimes.

Once more morality is a big part of the storyline, although this time it is focused more on the question "is the wrong thing done for the right reasons still the wrong thing". Morals become clouded, choices aren't clear cut and the characters all deal with this dilemma in different ways. Hunter strives for the right thing to do while his father Daniel no longer cares about right and wrong.

All in all this was a fun read and I'm looking forward to Origins.

Plot: 9/10
Characters: 9/10
Ending: 10/10
Enjoyment: 10/10
Cover: 7/10

Overall: 45/50

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Strife by Cate Tiernan

Title: Strife
Author: Cate Tiernan
Publisher: Puffin Books
ISBN: 0-141-31550-4
Pages: 188
Series: Wicca/Sweep #9
Type: Young Adult Paranormal
Source: Purchased
Goodreads


Morgan has experienced both the beauty and the terror that magick can bring yet she has managed to find a place of peace within herself. With her boyfriend Hunter by her side she is looking forward to learning as much as she can about the craft. But when strange telekinetic events start to occur around Morgan, a dangerous question arises. Is someone deliberately targeting her, or are the events somehow being caused by Morgan herself?

This is the ninth book in the Wicca series (after Book of Shadows, The Coven, Blood Witch, Dark Magick, Awakening, Spellbound, The Calling and Changeling) and causes Morgan to take somewhat of a step back and leaves her without her magick. The threat in this book is more insidious than before as no-one can determine it's origin. Morgan has drawn the attention of powerful dark witches but the randomness of the events doesn't seem to fit. This means that the tension is brought up a notch and the unseen foe adds an air of mystery.

One thing I liked about the storyline is that as Morgan begins to doubt her magick, her parents force her to look at what her interest in wicca has cost her. Her life is out of control with her grades freefalling and a lack of connection with her family. It is the first time Morgan has had to work at her mundane life and it is great to see how realistically this is dealt with.

There is also more of a focus on Alisa, the youngest member of Kithic and one of Mary K's closest friends. Alisa is terrified of Morgan's powers and so there is the introduction of witch hysteria into Morgan's world. This, strangely, also leads Morgan to connect with her healing gifts adding a new dimension to her studies.

All in all, this was a great read and I'm looking forward to Seeker.

Plot: 10/10
Characters: 9/10
Ending: 10/10
Enjoyment: 10/10
Cover: 8/10

Overall: 47/50

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Teaser Tuesday (24)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Miz B at Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers.


My teaser:

"Wave after wave of emotions flooded over me - despair, agony, longing, regret, fear. Deep fear."

~ Page 32, Strife by Cate Tiernan

Monday, 7 May 2012

Changeling by Cate Tiernan

Title: Changeling
Author: Cate Tiernan
Publisher: Puffin Books
ISBN: 0-14-131484-2
Pages: 188
Series: Wicca/Sweep #8
Type: Young Adult Paranormal
Source: Purchased
Goodreads


Morgan Rowlands has discovered a terrible secret about her origins that has thrown her entire life into doubt. She pushes her beloved Hunter away, determined to isolate herself so as not to threaten the lives of those she loves. But as soon as she does Morgan is contacted by the International Council of Witches. It turns out she is uniquely qualified to help them deal with a dangerous witch...but doing so could cost her her life.

This is the eighth book in the Wicca series (after Book of Shadows, The Coven, Blood Witch, Dark Magick, Awakening, Spellbound and The Calling) and it picks up shortly after the last left off. Morgan has broken up with Hunter and distanced herself from her friends and so this story takes a more introverted view. A large part of the story comes from Morgan's inner thoughts and, with her family away on vacation, this guides her choices throughout.

The morality of good versus bad has been covered before in the series but this installment takes it one step further by looking at how much personal choice is involved. Can a person be predestined to be either good or bad, or can they choose their own path? For that matter is it a one time choice or something that must be repeated? Heavy themes but well handled so that the characters and reader can come to their own conclusion.

With Hunter and Morgan separated the romance angle of the storyline is less than previously and this gap is filled with tension, not only from Morgan's work with the council but from the strained relationships throughout the book. Killan makes a welcome return and he manages to spread both joy and chaos in his wake, giving the book some lighter moments to balance the dark.

All in all this was a great read and I'm looking forward to Strife.

Plot: 10/10
Characters: 9/10
Ending: 10/10
Enjoyment: 10/10
Cover: 8/10

Overall: 47/50
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