Thursday, 31 March 2011

Mel's Random March

So 2011 is a quarter over - and does anyone remember their New Years Resolution? :-)
I've been extremely busy this month with family visiting from overseas and a hectic work schedule, but some how I managed to keep up with reading and reviews - go me!
Some yummy Brownies as a reward for a very busy month!

The big event of the month has to be my 100+ Followers Giveaway which has been much more successful than I could have hoped for - thanks for everyone who took part. I wish I could reward you all, however, there can be only two winners (and I won't even make them fight it out on a cliff top during a lightning storm!) and those winners are....




You've each won a book of your choice from the Book Depository. I've emailed you both and your books have both been ordered. For those who didn't win this time, I'm taking part in the Fool for Love Blog hop tomorrow so stop by then for another chance to win! :-)

So how has March hit the the reading situation?
Mistress of the Art of Death - Ariana Franklin (Mystery and Suspense Challenge)
Rogue Oracle - Alayna Williams
Goddess of Legend - PC Cast
Sanctus - Simon Toyne (Mystery and Suspense Challenge)
The Last Vampire - Christopher Pike (YA of the 80s and 90s Challenge)
A Touch of Dead - Charlaine Harris
I Am Number Four - Pittacus Lore (Speculative Fiction Challenge)
The Last Vampire: Black Blood - Christopher Pike (YA of the 80s and 90s)
Foundation and Empire - Isaac Asimov (Speculative Fiction Challenge + Personal Classics Challenge)
Sacrifice - S.J. Bolton (Mystery & Suspense Challenge)
Nightmare Hall: The Roommate - Diane Hoh (YA of the 80s and 90s)
Vampire Academy: Shadow Kissed - Richelle Mead

Outside In - Maria V Snyder
American Vampire - Jennifer Armintrout
Phantom Evil - Heather Graham

So with all that in mind my reading challenges status looks like this:
BCC's Mystery & Suspense Challenge - 5 Read, 7 Left to read
FTC Speculative Fiction Challenge - 6 Read, 6 Left to read
BV's YA of 80s and 90s Challenge - 7 Read, 5 Left to read
Personal Classic Challenge -  2 Read

Highlight of the month - Rogue Oracle - Alayna Williams - fabulous writing, great central relationship and a creepy villain.

Honourable Mentions: Outside In - Maria V Snyder and Shadow Kissed - Richelle Mead. All three are fantasic reads and it's so difficult to choose between them!

So how was your March? :)

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

VA: Shadow Kissed Review

Shadow Kissed (Vampire Academy 3)
-       Richelle Mead
Publisher: UK – Penguin
It's springtime at St. Vladimir's Academy and Rose is close to graduation, but since making her first Strigoi kills, things haven't felt quite right. She's having dark thoughts, behaving erratically, and worst of all . . . might be seeing ghosts. Consumed by her forbidden love with her tutor Dimitri and protecting her best friend, the Moroi princess Lissa, Rose is in no state to see the deadly threat that will change her entire world - and make her choose between the two people she loves most.
After enjoying Vampire Academy and Frostbite I was really looking forward to Rose’s next adventure and I wasn’t disappointed. We join Rose, Lissa and of course Dimitri at the start of the Guardian’s field test where they are assigned a Mori to guard while the instructors ‘fake’ attacks to see how the guardians will react. Add to this Rose is still dealing with the aftermath of events in Frostbite and starts to see ghosts...
There was significantly less teen angst this time round as Rose really starts to grow into a woman and makes some mature decisions. This doesn’t stop her from acting before thinking on occasion though! There is plenty of action throughout with some additional politics included during a trip to the vampire court. As before the prose is a delight and the characters leap of the page and practically demand their inclusion in your heart. The relationship between Dimitri and Rose takes a deep turn here with both of them actually starting to have hope for the future. However, once again Richelle Mead proves to be the queen of last minute rug-pull changes as the stakes are raised once again. It’s very refreshing to read a series where just because you like the characters, doesn’t mean that they’re safe. It makes the danger feel very real as you never know who will survive and who might not.
A fabulous instalment leaving me on the edge of my seat for the next book – and I’m sure I will fall off before I finish the series!
Recommended for fans of Kelley Armstrong’s Darkest Powers and Rachel Vincent. 9 out of 10.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Nightmare Hall: The Roommate Review

Nightmare Hall: The Roommate
-       Diane Hoh
Publisher: Point Horror
Four roommates share a suite in a dorm. Four girls who are very different, but not what they seem. Each of them hides a secret, and soon one of them may die.
There are a lot of things to be scared about when you go away to college –new classes, living away from home for the first time, making friends (and if you’re in the UK huge new tuition fees!), but most people don’t have to worry about their roommate trying to kill them. And it’s not something that Danni, Maureen, Lacey and Margot worry about. In the beginning the roommates all get along but as time goes by strange things keep happening...and maybe one of them isn’t as happy with the situation as they pretend.
This is the second Nightmare Hall I’ve read as part of the YA of the 80s and 90s challenge and I have to say I prefer this to Scream Team. The scene setting and worrying about going away to college was something I could relate to and there was some mystery over who the disturbed roommate was. It was fun, if short and I read it in one sitting. It's a bit like a mini chocolate bar - short, sweet and after a short time you've forgotten you eaten it!
Recommended for fans of point horror and LJ Smith. 7 out of 10.
The Book Vixen's YA of the 80s and 90s Reading Challenge Book 8/12
YA of the 80s and 90s Reading Challenge

Monday, 28 March 2011

Early Review: Phantom Evil

Phantom Evil
-       Heather Graham
eArc Courtesy of netgalley and MIRA Books
Released on 29th March 2011
A secret government unit is formed under the oversight of Adam Harrison, famed paranormal investigator. The six members he’s gathered know a little of the otherworldly—each has honed a psychic talent of their own.
The case: In a historic mansion in New Orleans’s French Quarter, a senator’s wife falls to her death from a balcony. Most think she jumped, distraught over the loss of her young son. Some say she was pushed. And yet others believe she was beckoned by the ghostly spirits that inhabit the house—once the site of a serial killer’s grisly work. Whether supernatural or all too human, crimes of passion, greed and desire will cast the investigators into danger of losing their lives...and their immortal souls.

Phantom Evil is set in a haunted house in New Orleans as a newly gathered team of psychics and investigators start digging into the supposed suicide of the wife of a senator. The team is made up of a mixture of technical experts, sceptics and true psychics. I loved the characters in the team and the mixture of personalities. The two most developed characters are Jackson and Angela, the two ‘elder’ members of the team (and by elder I mean thirty-something rather than twenty-something). They both have difficult pasts but are determined to work for the future. As their relationship develops, it doesn’t get in the way of the investigation. Throughout the story the mystery surrounding the death is always the focus with the team unsure whether it was a ghostly hand behind the death or someone decidedly more human.
There are plenty of twists and turns as the story swings between the supernatural and natural. As any book set in New Orleans, there is a fun exploration of the city as well – New Orleans is one place I’d love to visit! While I found the ending a little too abrupt with all the loose endings tied up quickly, it was a diverting and distracting read with plenty of opportunity to explore with Jackson and the team. Personally I’m looking forward to Jack’s story!
Recommended for fans of Nora Roberts and Christine Feehan. 7.5 out of 10  

Sunday, 27 March 2011

My Book Haul/In My Mailbox

The Story Siren hosts a weekly meme where bloggers can share what goodies they've purchased/received this week. If you get a chance head over to The Story Siren and check out what everyone is up to!

I've been pretty good this week and didn't buy anything BUT I have had a couple of lovely suprises in the mail...

One Of Our Thursdays Is Missing - Jasper Fforde
Publisher: UK - Hodder & Soughton
It is a time of unrest in the BookWorld. Only the diplomatic skills of ace literary detective Thursday Next can avert a devastating genre war. But a week before the peace talks, Thursday vanishes. Has she simply returned home to the RealWorld or is this something more sinister?
All is not yet lost. Living at the quiet end of speculative fiction is the written Thursday Next, eager to prove herself worth of her illustrious namesake.
The written Thursday is soon hot on the trail of her factual alter-ego, and quickly stumbles upon a plot so fiendish that it threatens the very BookWorld itself.

After a particularly bad day at work, I was feeling stressed and tired until I got in (late) and found a lovely parcel waiting for me. My personal book fairy, Kris had bought me the latest Jasper Fforde book because 'I can't bear the thought of a Jasper Ffrode book on Amazon shelves and not on your booshelf!' It cheered me right up and I love Jasper Fforde books. :) 

Long Reach - Peter Cocks
Publisher: UK - Walker
Seventeen-year-old Eddie Savage is shocked to learn that the body of his brother, Steve, has just been washed up in the Thames. But he soon discovers something even more disturbing: that Steve had actually been working undercover for the police – and was probably murdered in the line of duty. Determined to avenge his brother's death, Eddie relinquishes his old life and identity to take up where Steve left off, throwing himself headlong into his first mission – to infiltrate a tough south London gang. But as he becomes caught up in the world of crime, Eddie begins to question where his loyalties lie. Then he makes a terrible discovery...

This was a giveaway win from the lovely Kristy at the Overflowing Bookshelf - many thanks! It looks like a good thriller and Kristy's review was positive. Can't wait!

Dawning of Power Trilogy - Brian Rathbone

The World of Godsland. Echoes of the ancients power are distant memories, tattered and faded by the passage of eons, but that is about to change. A new dawn has arrived. Latent abilities, harbored in mankind s deepest fibers, wait to be unleashed. Ancient evils awaken, and old fears ignite the fires of war. In times such as these, ordinary people have the power to save the world . . . or destroy it.

I won these from the lovely Ria over at Biblotropic (fabulously named blog - go over and check it out!) as part of the Indie Blog Hop. It looks like an interesting read and I can't wait to get started!

So what have you picked up this week? :)

Saturday, 26 March 2011

On My Wishlist #31

This is a meme from Book Chick City. There are so many books out there that I want to read that this is the only way I can keep track! This week I'm back to Urban Fantasy - I love it! :)

Sandman Slim - Richard Kadrey
Publisher: Eos
Life sucks, and then you die. Or, if you're James Stark, you spend eleven years in Hell as a hitman before finally escaping, only to land back in the hell-on-earth that is Los Angeles.
Now Stark's back, and ready for revenge. And absolution, and maybe even love. But when his first stop saddles him with an abusive talking head, Stark discovers that the road to absolution and revenge is much longer than you'd expect, and both Heaven and Hell have their own ideas for his future.
Resurrection sucks. Saving the world is worse.

I came across this while reading through others wishlists and it looks like my kind of read. I really love a lot of UF that is written by men - Mike Carey, Jim Butcher so hopefully this will be at least half as good as them!

Under Wraps - Hannah Jayne
Publisher: Kensington Publishing
As a human immune to magic, Sophie Lawson can help everyone from banshee to zombie transition into normal, everyday San Francisco life. With a handsome werewolf as her UDA boss and a fashionista vampire for a roommate, Sophie knows everything there is to know about the undead, the unseen, and the uncanny. Until a rash of gruesome murders has demons and mortals running for cover, and Sophie finds herself playing sidekick to detective Parker Hayes. Dodging ranging bloodsuckers, bad-tempered faires, and love-struck trolls is one thing. But when Sophie discovers parker isn't what he seems, she's only got one chance to figure out whom to trust. Because an evil hiding in plain sight is closing in...and about to make one wisecracking human it means to ultimate power.

I like the sound of this plus San Francisco is one of my favourite cities so I'm hoping to enjoy the background as well!

Shady Lady - Ann Aguirre
Publisher: UK - Gollancz (May 2011)
 Whenever Corine Solomon touches an object, she immediately knows its history. But her own future concerns her more and more. Now back in Mexico, she's running her pawnshop and trying to get a handle on her strange new powers, for she might need them. And soon. Then former ally Kel Ferguson walks through her door. Heavily muscled and tattooed, Kel looks like a convict but calls himself a holy warrior. This time, he carries a warning for Corine: the Montoya cartel is coming for her - but they don't just pack automatic weapons. The Montoyas use warlocks, shamans, voodoo priests - anything to terminate trouble. And Corine has become enemy number one . .

I LOVED Hell Fire the second Corine Solomon book so have been waiting patiently (well, trying to look patient) for the third book to be released. Still not out for a couple of months but I can't wait! :-)

So what are you wishing for this week?

Friday, 25 March 2011

American Vampire Review

American Vampire
-       Jennifer Armintrout
eArc Courtesy of netgalley and MIRA 
Buried in the Heartland is a town that no one enters or leaves. Graf McDonald somehow becomes its first visitor in more than five years…and he was only looking for a good party. Unfortunately, Penance, Ohio, is not that place. And after having been isolated for so long, they do not like strangers at all. Jessa's the only one to even remotely trust him, and she's desperate for the kind of protection that only a vampire like Graf can provide. Supplies are low, the locals are ornery for a sacrifice and there's a monster more powerful than Graf lurking in the woods. New men are hard to come by in this lonesome town, and this handsome stranger might be Jessa's only hope for salvation. Even if she has to die first…

This novel had two leading characters that are difficult to like at first. Graf has been a vampire for a while and rather than the angst-y post-Twilight vampires, he is perfectly happy drinking blood and views humans more as food rather than equals. Jessa has struggled with isolation as both the world and the town have been looking down on her. She doesn’t trust anyone and has learned to be hard. This makes for some great snarky conversations between the two, but little sympathy for either.
However, the idea that a town can be cut off from the world is one I like (although I have read it elsewhere such as in Hell Fire by Ann Aguirre) and I enjoyed the siege mentality the town lived under. The way the town reacts to being isolated and turning in on itself feels scarily accurate – especially once they focus on Graf and Jessa. The fight scenes with the monster are great and the story rarely slows down with numerous twists and turns. The story and the pace win over the characters, but it’s a very enjoyable read and I had a lot of fun.
Recommended for fans of Ilona Andrew’s Edge series and Tales of the Sazi. 7 out of 10.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Throwback Thursday #2

This is a great feature that Melissa at My words and pictures has been doing for a while and I wanted to jump on board! There are plenty of books out there I desperately want...

But what about all those wonderful books that are ALREADY on my shelves?
This highlights a book I already have but just haven't got round to reading yet!
Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell - Susanne Clarke
Two magicians shall appear in England. The first shall fear me; the second shall long to behold me The year is 1806. England is beleaguered by the long war with Napoleon, and centuries have passed since practical magicians faded into the nation's past. But scholars of this glorious history discover that one remains: the reclusive Mr Norrell whose displays of magic send a thrill through the country. Proceeding to London, he raises a beautiful woman from the dead and summons an army of ghostly ships to terrify the French. Yet the cautious, fussy Norrell is challenged by the emergence of another magician: the brilliant novice Jonathan Strange. Young, handsome and daring, Strange is the very opposite of Norrell. So begins a dangerous battle between these two great men which overwhelms the one between England and France. And their own obsessions and secret dabblings with the dark arts are going to cause more trouble than they can imagine.
A friend recommended this to me about four years ago and raved so much, I rushed out to buy a copy...and it's sat on my shelf ever since. It's a very big book and I keep thinking that I need a full fortnight to make my way through it! But I'm still told it's a great story, so I will read it - eventually!

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Crime Caper Review: Exploring new genres?

Some of the more eagle eyed followers will have noticed that over the last the couple of months I’ve been reading and reviewing books as part of the Transworld Crime Caper. This was an initiative that hoped to spread the world of a number of authors first books, (hoping that we’d get hooked on the series I suspect!) and give some publicity to the older books on the shelves. After all the hype surrounding new books, it’s been good to highlight some good books that have been out for a while. J
All the books were from the crime or mystery genre, an area I enjoy but tend to overlook to go for Urban Fantasy and paranormal books. But I got thinking about the number of paranormal or UF which do have a mystery, crime or investigation that is a key plot point. In fact it’s crucial to most of the stories I read, so why don’t I read more ‘straight’ crime novels? Especially as all three of the books I did read for the Crime Caper all hinted at the supernatural world. Full Dark House was set in a theatre with a villain who appeared to disappear and move through walls. Mistress of Death had science and witches confused, while Sacrifice had Viking legends play an important role in the story. The lines between genres have always been blurred at best, but perhaps the difference between a regular crime book with supernatural hints and a supernatural story with crime is more a matter of perspective?
What do you think? Are there any books that you think could straddle the two genres? For myself I plan to try more crime books that may have a supernatural hint to them – any recommendations? J

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Sacrifice Review

-          S.J. Bolton
Publisher: UK - Corgi
Moving to remote Shetland has been unsettling enough for consultant surgeon Tora Hamilton, even before the gruesome discovery she makes one rain-drenched afternoon...Deep in the peat soil of her field she uncovers the body of a young woman. Her heart has been removed, and the marks etched into the woman’s skin bear an eerie resemblance to carvings Tora has seen in her own cellar. But as Tora begins to ask questions, terrifying threats start rolling in like the cold island mists...
This novel begins with a burial when an unexpected body is found and follows Tora as she attempts to investigate when the local police seem determined to ignore the case. Through various means she finds herself drawn into a bigger conspiracy and unsure who to trust – especially when some of the evidence points too close to home.
It’ll be impossible not to mention The Wicker Man when reviewing this book with the small island setting, mysterious disappearances and unnerving local men. However, there are enough differences that it just feels like a book in same genre rather than remake with a female lead. The writing sucks you in and flows easily. Like Tora I was intrigued by the first discovery and wanted to solve the mystery, so I raced through the first half. There is a claustrophobic atmosphere at the beginning that helps casts a shadow over the characters so you’re never sure who Tora should trust.
Then the story moves from atmospheric mystery to more of an action film complete with helicopter chases over the island moors, conspiracies within conspiracy and a living Viking legend. I’m usually able to suspend disbelieve, but for some reason there were some jarring jumps in logic that never quite make sense and I was left feeling a little disappointed. The start of the book was fantastic but Sacrifice doesn’t quite manage to sustain it. However, I liked Tora as a character and the writing so I would definitely try another book by S.J. Bolton.
Recommended for fans of The Wicker Man and John Wyndham. 6.5 out of 10.
I recieved this book as part of the Transworld Great Crime Caper
Book Chick City's Mystery & Suspense Reading Challenge Book 5/12

Monday, 21 March 2011

Foundation and Empire Review

Foundation and Empire
-       Isaac Asimov
Publisher: UK - Collins
The Seldon Plan guided the First Foundation safely through two centuries of chaos as the Galactic Empire disintegrated. Seldon's recorded holographic image appeared in the Council Chamber on Terminus at moments of crisis predicted by pshychohistory, and his voice was heard. Even war between the Foundation and the remains of the Empire was foreseen - and planned for - by the great scientist. But Seldon had no way of predicting the birth of the Mule, a mutant of uncanny power and unlimited ambition. The Mule's conquests are effortless and his subjects mind-controlled slaves. The Foundation is powerless against the supernormal force the Mule exerts. The Seldon Plan is in tatters.
This is the second of the Foundation series, a classic science fiction tale written by a legendary man himself, Isaac Asimov. I read Foundation and really enjoyed the ideas and theory behind the classic novel. In this next novel, the story of the Foundation’s task to reduce the chaos between Galactic Empires continue. The first part of the book covers a new Seldon Crisis where the remains of the old empire turns it’s attentions to the emerging power base of the Foundation and leads to conflict. The second part of the story is set a hundred years later and charts the time history starts to diverge from the psychohistory that Selden had foreseen three hundred years earlier with the rise of the unknown Mule who starts to conquer the galaxy. This was a pleasant change of pace as up until this point it was pretty much confirmed that Seldon had been right all along.
There is less emotion in this book than most novels but the ideas and economy of language provoke such startling thoughts, you never notice that you’re not emotional attached to these characters. Each character has a different personality and adds a different point of view to the situation. In fact most of the action occurs through conversations rather than physical action. While short on pages, this book is big on  ideas and even manages to end in something of a cliff hanger that I will have to pick up Second Foundation soon.
Recommended for fans of Ian M Banks and Jostein Gaarder. 7 out of 10.

Part of FTC's Speculative Fiction Challange Book 6/12

Part of My Personal Classics Challenge Book 2

Sunday, 20 March 2011

My Book Haul/In My Mailbox

The Story Siren hosts a weekly meme where bloggers can share what goodies they've purchased/received this week. If you get a chance head over to The Story Siren and check out what everyone is up to!

Spider's Bite - Jennifer Estep
Publisher: Pocket Books
My name is Gin, and I kill people.
They call me the Spider. I'm the most feared assassin in the South -- when I'm not busy at the Pork Pit cooking up the best barbecue in Ashland. As a Stone elemental, I can hear everything from the whispers of the gravel beneath my feet to the vibrations of the soaring Appalachian Mountains above me. My Ice magic also comes in handy for making the occasional knife. But I don't use my powers on the job unless I absolutely have to. Call it professional pride. Now that a ruthless Air elemental has double-crossed me and killed my handler, I'm out for revenge. And I'll exterminate anyone who gets in my way -- good or bad. I may look hot, but I'm still one of the bad guys. Which is why I'm in trouble, since irresistibly rugged Detective Donovan Caine has agreed to help me. The last thing this coldhearted killer needs when I'm battling a magic more powerful than my own is a sexy distraction...especially when Donovan wants me dead just as much as the enemy.

This has been on my wishlist for so long, I finally felt sorry for it and ordered it from the Book Depository! I'm going purely by other people's recommendations here as I've never seen it in the book shops in the UK - hope it's worth the hype!

Join Me - Danny Wallace
Publisher: Ebury Press 
How could you refuse the polite invitation of begoggled Danny Wallace in Join Me? You don't know what you could be missing out on. It's all about living for the moment in this quirky, seemingly pointless yet addictive narrative. Finding himself with too much time on his hands after quitting his BBC job, Danny revels in "sitting around in his pants" and generally taking a break from the responsibilities of working life. Danny attends the funeral of his great uncle Gallus and finds out that he had set up a commune of like-minded people to escape Swiss small town small-mindedness in the 1940s. Intrigued by this idea, on his return to London Danny places a cryptic advert in the classified ads paper Loot and gets some surprising results.
His Norwegian radio-producer girlfriend Hanne is bemused and infuriated that this has become more than a transient interest; it takes over his life--and hers. The number of "joinees"--people replying to his ad--escalates as word gets out about this new "happy cult", but without a clue about what he wants to achieve, or do with all his newfound friends, Danny has to think fast as dissent rises in the ranks. Now the reluctant leader of a troop of random hopefuls, he maintains their interest with obscure e-mails and watches as his joinees meet and bond.

I don't read a lot of non-fiction, but I loved Danny Wallace's Yes Man and with Friends Like These so another reduced bargain that I couldn't resist! :)

I also received a few of giveaway wins which I'm very excited about! 

As Lie The Dead (Dreg City 2) - Kelly Meding
Publisher: Dell Publishing
 Evangeline Stone, a rogue bounty hunter, never asked for a world divided between darkness and light . . . or the power to die and live again in someone else’s borrowed body. After a murder plot meant to take her out leaves an entire race of shapeshifters nearly extinct, Evy is gnawed by guilt. So when one of the few survivors of the slaughter enlists her aid, she feels duty-bound to help—even though protecting a frail, pregnant shifter is the last thing Evy needs, especially with the world going to hell around her.
Amid weres, Halfies, gremlins, vamps—and increasingly outgunned humans—a war for supremacy is brewing. With shifters demanding justice, her superiors desperate to control her, and an assassin on her trail, Evy discovers a horrifying conspiracy. And she may be the only person in the world who can stop it—unless, of course, her own side gets her first.

I won this in Book Lovers Inc birthday celebrations a couple of weeks ago and it arrived this week signed by Kelly with a couple of pins - so massive thanks to Kelly Meding and all the lovely girls at Books Lovers Inc!

The Paris Secret - Angela Henry
Less than twenty-four hours after fleeing to Paris, Maya Sinclair is the prime suspect in a brutal murder—and targeted by the real killer. When she's viciously attacked in the gardens of Versailles, Maya barely escapes with her life thanks to sexy French journalist Simon Girard. Simon has been investigating the mysterious death of his brother, an art forger with ties to the woman Maya is suspected of killing. Still healing from heartbreak of his own, Simon reluctantly joins forces with Maya, who has awakened feelings within him he thought long dead. Their search for answers uncovers the existence of a secret society, and puts them on a quest to find a missing crucifix rumored to hold the key to everlasting life. Together, Maya and Simon race through Paris one step ahead of a killer who will do anything to ensure some secrets remain buried forever...

This looks like a fun adventure that I won from Stella over at Ex-Libris for her blogging anniversary. It's quivering - waiting to be read on my kindle!

Tomorrow's Guardian - Richard Denning
Kindle Book
When schoolboy Tom Oakley discovers he can transport himself through time, he draws the attention of evil men who seek to bend history to their will.

I was lucky enough to win this from the awesome Karen at The Slowest Bookworm - and she's got a 200 Follower giveaway going at the moment - check it out! It looks good and I love a time Travel story! :-)

So what have you picked up this week? :)

Saturday, 19 March 2011

On My Wishlist #30

This is a meme from Book Chick City. There are so many books out there that I want to read that this is the only way I can keep track! This week I'm on a bit of a destopia kick...

Dies The Fire - S.M. Stirling
Publisher: US - ROC Books
The Change occurred when an electrical storm centered over the island of Nantucket produced a blinding white flash that rendered all electronic devices and fuels inoperable. What follows is the most terrible global catastrophe in the history of the human race—-and a Dark Age more universal and complete than could possibly be imagined.

I came across this in my local bookstore as one of their imports from the US - and how I wish I had picked it up now!

Matched - Ally Condie
Publisher: UK - Puffin
On her seventeenth birthday, Cassia meets her Match. Society dictates he is her perfect partner for life.
Except he’s not.
In Cassia’s society, Officials decide who people love.
How many children they have.
Where they work.
When they die.
But, as Cassia finds herself falling in love with another boy, she is determined to make some choices of her own.
And that’s when her whole world begins to unravel . . .

This has been doing the rounds on the blogosphere over the last couple of months and seems intriguing.

The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
Publisher: UK - Schloastic
Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. But Katniss has been close to death before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Welcome to the deadliest reality TV show ever...

I know, I know - I must be the only person in the world to not have a copy of The Hunger Games yet - but I want too!

So what are you wishing for this week? :)

Friday, 18 March 2011

The Last Vampire: Black Blood

The Last Vampire: Black Blood

-          Christopher Pike
Publisher: Hodders Children’s Books
First Published in UK in 1995.
Alisa and Ray are the last vampires. Or so they think. But now the evil plague is spreading. A brutal murderer is terrorising Los Angeles. Has Alisa the power to stop him? Or will he destroy her first?
Black Blood picks up six weeks after the end The Last Vampire with Alisa hunting down a serial killer in LA who has all the characteristics of a vampire – but she and Ray are the only ones left...or are they? Whereas the first book had a haunting quality to it with the past very much influencing her actions, this sequel is firmly placed in the here and now. If the first book was like honey, this is a clementine – still sweet but refreshing and as delightful to read.
There is more action than before with a fantastic battle in the opening chapter that sets your heart racing. One element that I love about Alisa is that being five thousand years old, she has absolutely confidence in herself and her abilities – and as a result frequently under-estimates her enemies and that leads to mistakes that costs her. Alisa seems more human this time around, helped by her on-going relationship with Ray, but she still kills and keeps herself removed. I really liked her investigation with Joel, the FBI agent also looking into the killing – it made her feel more real.
Once again the story hangs on a cliff hanger which does mean I will be picking up the third book, Red Dice soon!
Recommended for fans of Twilight and the Vampire Diaries. 8 out of 10.

The Book Vixen's YA of the 80s and 90s Reading Challenge Book 7/12
YA of the 80s and 90s Reading Challenge

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Throwback Thursday #1

This is a great feature that Melissa at My words and pictures has been doing for a while and I wanted to jump on board! There are plenty of books out there I desperately want...

But what about all those wonderful books that are ALREADY on my shelves?
This highlights a book I already have but just haven't got round to reading yet!
The Better Part of Darkness - Kelly Gay

I picked this up when it was first released, because it seemed intriguing, but it has never worked it's way to the top of the TBR. Now there's a sequel out that is garnering great reviews I really want to catch up! :)
When the doorways to two alternate dimensions, dimensions that mankind has come to know as "heaven" and "hell" for lack of better names, become permanently open in the city of Atlanta, the Atlanta Police Department finds itself needing to restructure. Creating a separate division, the Integration Task Force, to deal with the new element of chaos introduced into the city Charlie Madigan is one of these new cops. She's a complicated woman, a single mom, a cop and a demon hunter. She's also recently died and risen from the dead, something that nobody seems to be able to explain to her. To make her life more complicated, her ex-husband, who inadvertently caused her death, is back in her life and she's not entirely sure she wants him to go away again. When Atlanta falls under the terrifying shadow of Afterglow, a drug of otherworldly origins, Charlie takes it upon herself to find its source and a possible antidote stop it in its track even as heaven and hell itself stand in her way.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

I Am Number Four Review

I Am Number Four (Lorien Legacies 1)
-       Pittacus Lore
Publisher: UK- Puffin
John Smith is not your average teenager. He regularly moves from small town to small town. He changes his name and identity. He does not put down roots. He cannot tell anyone who or what he really is. If he stops moving those who hunt him will find and kill him.But you can’t run forever. So when he stops in Paradise, Ohio, John decides to try and settle down. To fit in. And for the first time he makes some real friends. People he cares about – and who care about him. Never in John’s short life has there been space for friendship, or even love. But it’s just a matter of time before John’s secret is revealed. He was once one of nine. Three of them have been killed. John is Number Four. He knows that he is next . . .

I started reading this a few days after I saw the film and couldn’t help comparing the two even as I was reading. The film was an enjoyable couple of hours which was a little slow to start with action packed at the end - a little like a snickers with most of the peanuts at one end. The main difference that struck me about the book was the age of the main characters – in the film they had been 17 (but obviously played by twenty-something as is the norm in Hollywood!), but in the book John Smith, is only 14, maybe 15. This makes a huge difference in terms of driving and other elements which occur throughout the book. I think the trouble with reading a book so soon is the constant comparison you do in your head – ‘that’s not how it happened on screen!’ you mutter to yourself and it’s difficult to be truly objective.
However judged on its own, this was an enjoyable read – the prose flowed well and the ideas well expanded. Some characters are a little thin – Sarah, John’s girlfriend is a little weak and I never really felt like I got to know her that well. In fact, I was a little annoyed by the amount of screaming she did and that even without make-up, she was the prettiest girl. I think part of this is because the story is told in first person from John’s point of view and being love, he’s not the most objective person! I liked Henri though and the development of John’s rival Mark James is nicely done.
Will I pick up the next book in this series? Probably, but I won’t rush out for it.
Recommended for fans of the Vampire Diaries and Dawson’s Creek. 6 out of 10.

Part of FTC's Speculative Fiction Challenge Book 5/12