Saturday, 27 February 2010

Hourglass Review (No Spoilers)


"So that meant I pretty much had to begin my career as the world's first-and-only vampire vampire hunter"

As most of you know, I was very lucky to get my hands on an ARC of Hourglass by Claudia Gray. This book is not officially released until 9th March (in the USA) and 15th March (in the UK). Having just finished Stargazer, I was eager to continue the story and so I picked up Hourglass and started reading. I devoured this book in about 5 hours and LOVED every minute of it! I was torn between opening this review with: “OH.MY.GOD!” or just simply “WOW!” but I decided to try and add a few more words to my feelings of dumbstruck.

I think this has got to be the best book in the series yet and as I finished it, I was thinking “How the hell am I going to write a review on this without revealing any spoilers?!” It’s going to be difficult but I’m going to try! If you’ve read Stargazer, it should come as no surprise to you that Bianca, Lucas and Raquel are now on the run with Black Cross (the centuries old organisation set up to destroy vampires). Bianca has to keep her true self a secret which is not going to be easy! Having been introduced to the “Wraiths” in Stargazer, they have just as much presence in Hourglass as well. I can’t really go into much more detail about what happens because I really don’t want to spoil it for everyone. I want you to be just as overwhelmed by it as I was and I truly hope you love it like I do!

There were so many moments in this book where I gasped and openly said “Oh my god!”, even though I was the only person in the room. There was lots of action, lots of suspense and lots of surprises to say the least. Claudia, I bow down to your greatness. You’ve just made me even hungrier for more!! This was a fantastic book and I highly recommend you read it as soon as possible! Forget about work/school/life....JUST READ IT! You won’t be sorry!

The fourth and final book “Afterlife” will be released in March 2011, according to Claudia. ARGH can I really wait that long?! And don’t forget that HarperTeen will be publishing a fifth, stand-alone book all about Balthazar, which will come out following Afterlife. They’re all on the wish list don’t you worry!

Teens Read and Write Mega Book Giveaway!

The guys and gals over at "Teens Read and Write" are having a megabook giveaway! The more followers they get, the more books they add to the list and ultimately the more winners there will be! Just go to this URL to enter:

Contest closes midnight, 7th March and it's international!! Good luck everyone!!

Friday, 26 February 2010

Steph Su Reads Blogoversary Giveaway!

Want to get your hands on a Linger ARC? You can win this and lots of other arcs by entering the contest over at Steph Su Reads:

It's international and you're going to have to be quick for this one as it ends 28th February. Good luck to everyone!

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Stargazer Review


“The vampire was closer to the surface than ever”

Things seem to get even more complicated in Stargazer, the second book to Evernight by Claudia Gray. It’s a new term at Evernight Academy and that means new students, new roommates and a new set of problems (well actually it’s mostly the same set of problems they had before with a few new ones added for good measure). Bianca and Lucas were torn apart in Evernight as we discovered that Bianca is a half vampire and Lucas is part of Black Cross, an organisation that exists to destroy vampires. Not exactly the best combination of people to be in a relationship but you can’t choose who you love now can you?! Evernight Academy being full of vampires and all probably wasn’t the best place for Lucas to be when the knowledge of his membership to Black Cross was revealed so he fled. And remarkably, the human students are still blissfully unaware of it all.

If you’ve read my previous review, it’s no secret that I LOVED Evernight and besides the Twilight Saga, this is only the second sequel of a book series I’ve ever read. The characters of Stargazer are already established and whilst it took a few pages to get settled back in to the world of Evernight Academy, before long it was like catching up with an old friend.

It’s nice to see that Bianca’s character is developing as she grows up. She seems stronger in this book and less reliant on her parents. She’s willing to risk everything to be with Lucas and their relationship makes them question each other’s fate. Bianca is increasingly thirsty for blood and is always battling with herself because of it.

There’s a lot of lusting going on in this book and I actually found the interactions between Bianca and Balthazar hotter than between Bianca and Lucas at times. At one point, I found myself actually rooting for the underdog! It reminded me of the Dawson-Joey-Pacey love triangle from Dawson’s Creek, only Lucas and Balthazar were never considered best friends and Bianca is a half vampire (can you imagine Joey as a half vampire? That would be soooo wrong).

What I liked about Stargazer is that it held your interest; it wasn’t just what I call “filler” to move the story along. Stargazer has purpose – it helps to reveal even more secrets about Bianca’s heritage and Evernight Academy itself, it introduces us to the concept of “Wraiths” and without giving too much away, gives us a glimpse into Balthazar’s history. FYI, the fifth book in this series is scheduled to be a stand-alone book all about Balthazar and quite frankly my dears, I cannot wait!

Stargazer has everything you could want in a sequel, with great characters, more secrets, forbidden love and a love triangle. I think the title is great (presumably a reference to the fact that Bianca in her own words is an “astronomy geek”) and the cover art is beautiful (did I mention I love the colour purple?). The question is however; can Bianca and Lucas make their relationship work despite all the odds? You’ll just have to read to find out!

I just so happen to have an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of Hourglass here in my hands, sent to me by the lady herself – thank you Claudia! So that’s what I’ll be reading and reviewing next! Stay tuned!

Spread the Flower Love Blog Tour

Amy Brecount White is the author of Forget-Her-Nots, due to be released on 2nd March, 2010. To celebrate this, she is doing a whole load of interviews and guest posts on various websites as well as simultaneously running a massive contest! All you have to do is collect the 'virtual' flowers given away by the websites she visits. You can win signed books and swag as well as iTunes giftcards. Visit the website here for more information and good luck! This is a book I'm very much looking forward to reading so watch out for a review of it very soon.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

My First EVER Contest!

Welcome to my very first contest *squee*. Following on from meeting Richelle Mead the other night, I thought I would give away her latest book. So without further ado, here's the deal. I'm going to give away a SIGNED copy of Blood Promise, by Richelle Mead, a little paper booklet that I got from the book store and also a too cute bookbag from Paperchase (I have one really is gorgeous). All I'm asking is that you....
1. Retweet the contest details
2. Become a follower (of the blog)if you're not following already
3. Leave me a comment with your e mail address

AND THAT'S IT! Closing date is 21st March and I will pick a winner at random using some very clever random generator software I have yet to discover. This contest is INTERNATIONAL (I will post anywhere) so get entering and please spread the word! I need at least 50 followers before I can give this away!

Beautiful Creatures Review

Sixteen moons, sixteen years
Sixteen of your deepest fears
Sixteen times you dreamed my tears
Falling, falling though the years....

I never knew why the official fan site was called “Caster Girls” until I read Beautiful Creatures, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl and then all became clear! Ethan is the 16 year old male, protagonist who lives in the sleepy, backwards town of Gatlin in the heart of the Deep South. Gatlin is a town rich in history and tradition; generations of the same family live and die there. It’s a place where nothing. Ever. Happens. UNTIL NOW.

After Ethan experiences a series of weird dreams, a strange girl arrives in town and he feels an instant connection to her. With her outwardly gothic sense of style and her unfortunate family (her uncle is the creepy guy who lives in the big creepy house which he never leaves), Lena is different and as such is instantly hated by the ‘in crowd’ at school. On top of all that, Lena is hiding a secret. Her family is cursed and she believes that she will be ‘claimed’ by her 16th birthday as either a dark caster or a light caster. I know what you’re thinking. What the heck is a caster? Right? I’m going to let you find out yourself by reading the book! Needless to say that Ethan becomes her only friend and as their relationship develops, more and more secrets are slowly revealed. Town secrets, family secrets, you name it; it’s pretty much all out there by the end! And you’ll just have to read the book to see what happens!

It’s a classic good vs. evil storyline only sometimes the lines become a bit blurry and it’s hard to know WHAT side people are on. Are people truly ALL good or ALL evil? *I* don’t think so and for me, this comes across in the book quite nicely.

This is the first book I’ve read in a LONG time where it’s written from a male point of view. At first, it felt a little weird and I found myself thinking “would a guy say this? Would a guy act like that?” but then I relaxed into it and stopped thinking about it so hard! It was also surprising since the authors’ are female. I’m also wondering why they chose to write the book as a ‘twosome’ but I’m guessing that information is somewhere on their website.

At the beginning of every chapter, there are some numbers at the top of the page and it took me a little while to realise that this was the date! Americans write the date differently to everyone else and this made it even more confusing. I wonder if the authors’ considered this when they wrote the book and envisaged it selling to an international audience.

Overall, a beautifully written gothic story set in a rich, lush, southern setting. I really enjoyed getting to know the characters as well as the town which was an entity in itself. Can I also just say the library concept was an inspiring idea! I understand that there is a sequel due in the fall and I can’t wait!

You can visit the official fan site “Caster Girls” website here. Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl can be found on Facebook and Twitter. I believe the official website for Beautiful Creatures is here.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Meeting Richelle Mead

On 18th February, 2010 I met Richelle Mead, author of the Vampire Academy books (amongst others), in Southampton, UK where I live. I got there early so I could browse the book store and buy a couple of copies of the book to give to friends. I had a look in the YA section and then went upstairs to look at the SCI FI and Paranormal Romance section. One minute the shelves were adorned with Richelle Mead books and a moment later, they were gone! I was thinking “hang on a minute, they were there a minute ago! Maybe someone has got carried away and bought them all for Richelle to sign”. Turns out, the staff had moved them downstairs when I wasn’t looking!

Anyway, I was super early and so I found a comfortable seat by the signing table and pulled out one of my books to read. As I was waiting for Richelle ro arrive, slowly but surely people piled into the room. There was a pretty nifty 'vampire name generator wheel' which I thought initially was more for the younger crowd but I had a lot of fun spinning the wheel and this is what came out for me....

I AM....*drum roll*....PRINCESS LISSA.....*grin* We'll just forget about the "inhuman" bit they tagged on the end there..inconsequential..

When Richelle arrived, she gave us a reading from her new book “Spiritbound” which is due to be released in May, 2010. At one point she paused and had to self edit so as not to reveal any spoilers. She realised she was reading from an earlier draft and apologised profusely! She needn’t have as we wouldn’t know the difference – it’s not been released yet! She did reveal a couple of things though but since I haven’t read the rest of the books yet, they didn’t mean much to me. Richelle then went on to answer questions from the floor. The questions were varied and not all book related, some asked about how to get published and I asked if it was difficult to write from the first person POV without putting your own self in the writing which she thought was a good question! One guy referred to the books as the 'Vampire Diaries'....oh dear...he was corrected though and apologised! There was a girl there who kept repeatedly asking questions without raising her hand and waiting to be acknowledged. Apparently she was writing for a book blog but I didn’t think much of her manners.

Anyway, after the questions came the signing and the photographs. As the queue was so long, I sat down and waited until the last few people were remaining. I got my books signed, told Richelle how much I had LOVED Vampire Academy and that I’d written a review on it. Has she read it? I have no idea but I hope so! :) I had my photograph taken and I said to the photographer “Can you PLEASE try and make me look beautiful next to Richelle?” If you’ve ever met Richelle, you will know that whilst she is tiny, she is a stunningly pretty lady. I was doing my usual "I can't pose for a photograph pose" and ended up partially shutting my eyes! All I can say is that I had been up since 6am!

She was really nice, gave us free pens and badges. I even bought a signed book to give to a good cause – The Battle Collection – over on this website here

To top the evening off, I made a new friend in Suzanne Mcleod who turns out to be an author. You can check out her website here I’m definitely going to be looking into her books! In the meantime however.....I’m off to read some more of Frostbite...

If you want to check out Richelle's official BLOG, then click here You can see her posts on her UK visit and I am in one of the photos! *squee*

Writer/Reader Contest!

Steph Bowe, a 16 year old debut author (yes, that's right. 16 *sob*) has got a great competition running at the moment over on her blog "Steph Bowe's HEY! Teenager of the Year". The contest is not only to win a couple of ARC's but also....a writing critique and a blog makeover! And if that wasn't amazing enough as it is, the competition is international! If you're a writer, definitely enter this and even if you're not, you can still win the ARC's. Her blog is really informative and I love the way she encourages new writer's so check it out at:

There will be three randomly selected winners and entries will close March 5th, midnight, AEST.

Monday, 22 February 2010

OMG! I won a copy of Linger!

OK, so I can hardly believe it especially after the number of entries (2,892 in total) I have won a copy of Linger!!!! I've been bouncing up and down all morning, trying to explain to my exasperated boyfriend what all the fuss is about. If I could win any book in the universe, this would be it! I almost hyperventilated at one point (ha ha). This has got to be the best day ever because I also received an ARC of Hourglass by Claudia Gray in the post today. Well you know what I'm going to say, don't you....look out for the reviews soon!!! I'm also going to post a review of Shiver (the first book) and will be giving a copy away soon :)

Saturday, 20 February 2010

International Birthday Bash Contest!

The Undercover Book Lover is having a contest in honour of her birthday. She is giving away a selection of books (12 in total) and one winner takes all! I'd definitely love some of the books she is giving away! Visit here:

Win a book, any book....

"In Which a Girl Reads" is having a 400 followers giveaway (international)! You can pick any one book of your choice and it will be sent from The Book Depository, which means IT'S INTERNATIONAL!

The contest ends on Friday March 6, 2010 at 11 P.M. (Eastern Time). Go to this link to enter:

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Vampire Academy Review

I was going to post this review tomorrow night *after* meeting Richelle Mead but I couldn’t wait I’m afraid! So here it is...

Having just read Evernight (by Claudia Gray) and Vampire Diaries (by L.J.Smith) I really didn’t think I was going to enjoy Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead. I thought it was going to be just another high school, vampire thing – humans vs. vampires - but I’m happy to report that I WAS WRONG. VERY WRONG.

In the world of Vampire Academy, there are Moroi, Strigoi and Dhampirs. At first I thought this was going to be complicated to understand but Richelle’s explanations are clear and before you know it, it all sounds completely normal. The Moroi are born mortal vampires with a magical connection to the elements. The Strigoi are immortal vampires who have been ‘created’ and have a questionable sense of morality. Dhampirs are half human, half Moroi and they exist to guard the Moroi from the Strigoi. Still with me? I bet you’re wondering why they can’t all live together in peace and harmony right? Let me explain... The Strigoi will kill and feed off anything but its Moroi blood they want the most as it makes them stronger and harder to destroy. This is why the Moroi need protecting as their numbers are diminishing fast.

Rose is the Dhampir/best friend of Lissa, a Moroi princess. They both attend St. Vladimir’s Academy where Rose is a guardian in training for the role she will play for the rest of her life, protecting Lissa. Lissa learns about magic and is waiting to discover which one of the elements she will specialise in.

When I first started reading the book, there was a definite lesbian vibe but this soon passed when I realised that Rose only enjoyed being bitten by Lissa because of the rush of endorphins she got from the bite itself. It wasn’t sexual for Rose and Lissa, it was a matter of survival with an added bonus of “getting high” for Rose. As the book developed, I started thinking of their relationship as two best friends as opposed to friends with lesbian tendencies. They just happen to share a psychic bond which is rare between the Moroi and their guardians. Rose can “feel” what Lissa is feeling and occasionally get inside her head, seeing the world through Lissa’s eyes although Rose cannot control when and where this will happen.

Within the first several chapters, there had already been a small selection of choice, swear words, emitted by Rose, the book’s protagonist. It was then that I knew that “this aint no kids book”. I swore at her age and I liked the fact that she did too. She’s definitely not the typical high school teen queen, that’s for sure! I loved her girl power attitude, her strength in being able to look after both herself and her charge Lissa. She’s certainly not a damsel in distress either and possibly *THE* best friend anyone could have. Especially when your life depends on it! I picture either Michelle Rodriguez or Angelina Jolie when I think of Rose. Yes ok, both of those actresses are a little older than 17 but their ‘tough girl attitude’ mirrors that of Rose. Besides that, Rose is beautiful as well as tough which means she has to look good in a little black dress and killer heels!

It’s easy to be sucked into the world of Vampire Academy (no pun intended) and I liked the dark, gritty, edginess of the book which is unlike any other book I’ve read recently. I suddenly realise what I’ve been missing out on and WHY it is a NYT bestseller. DOH!

Characterisation was really good. Although Rose was the main protagonist, I felt like she and Lissa shared the spotlight equally. I loved the contrast between Rose’s tough exterior and sense of duty as opposed to Lissa’s vulnerability which really came out through the writing. Their ‘best friend’ relationship was clearly evident throughout the book and made me feel a bit envious to be honest. *note to self – make more girl friends*

Dimitri was also an interesting character. He is the tall, dark, handsome, Russian, SUPER guardian assigned to train Rose and share the protection of Lissa. Although it wasn’t the main story line, I loved the slow burn of Rose and Dimitri’s developing relationship, which wasn’t rushed or forced. There is a strong sense of forbidden love which for me, makes it that much more enticing.

If you look carefully, you will see a sense of morality and learning of life lessons in the book too. Lissa was at one point part of the in crowd and was truly miserable as she couldn’t be herself. When she started talking to the people she liked and hanging out with the GUY she liked, regardless of his background or reputation, THAT’S when she was truly happy.

I usually have a real problem with the endings of books and movies; either they are incredibly predictable and I guess the ending or it gets left wide open, leaving me feeling frustrated and with no sense of closure. What I liked about this book was that a lot of things were wrapped up towards the end which left me with a degree of satisfaction. The last page though suggested an idea for the next book which I’m sure will materialise (the next book is of course already out but I haven’t read it....YET).

Overall, I thought it was a great read and definitely worth investing in the rest of the series. I feel like I have no choice now of course, as I’m hooked! Thankfully I already have the next two books in the series and am planning on getting the other two books as soon as possible. The sixth book is as of yet untitled and unpublished.

Richelle has her own website ( and she can also be found on Twitter and facebook.

Evernight Review

I kept hearing my best book pal go on about how much she loved this book and with the upcoming release of the third book in the series “Hourglass”; I knew I had to check out Evernight by Claudia Gray. I was initially a little reluctant (as I usually am with book series’) as they *HAVE* to be good for me to invest both the time and money in them. Thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed.

Evernight is about a girl called Bianca who lives with her teacher parents at a secluded boarding school. Now it’s her time to enrol and she hates the place. That is until she meets Lucas and then her entire world changes. Not only does she discover herself but also the secrets behind Evernight Academy and the real reason she is there in the first place.

I accidentally read someone else’s review of Evernight as I was reading the book and unfortunately for me, the review contained a *major* spoiler that I was about a chapter away from revealing for myself. From then on, I promised that I would never do that to a reader even if that meant my reviews were on the vague side. Therefore, I’m not going to reveal any of the details as I want you to reveal them for yourself. Let’s just say that there is more to Evernight Academy than meets the eye ;)

In terms of the main characters, I really liked the contrast between Lucas and Balthazar, the two main competitors for Bianca’s affections. Lucas is the guy who stands up for himself and others, never straying from his principles and beliefs even if this makes him unpopular. Balthazar on the other hand is the ultimate gentleman oozing charm and sophistication without being cheesy. How I would love two guys like that lusting after me! Lucas being more of the ‘bad boy’ of the two makes him irresistible as far as Bianca is concerned and for reasons I cannot reveal (see previous disclaimer) I’m aching to see if the relationship between Lucas and Bianca has a chance because at the moment I just don’t see how it can.

Bianca’s parents are loving and ever present throughout the book which makes for a refreshing change as in so many YA books lately, the parents are either majorly dysfunctional, unloving or barely present at all.

Evernight was an enjoyable read with plenty of hooks to make me want to read “just another chapter”. As soon I started reading again, I was pulled back into the world of Evernight (maybe it helps that I was reading late at night in a cold, dark room *shrug*). I loved the fact that the ending was not predictable but slightly frustrated at it being left wide open for the sequel. I’m only frustrated because I want to see how it all turns out but this is a good way of keeping the reader hooked and ensuring they read the sequel!

The aforementioned sequel to Evernight, entitled Stargazer is out now and Hourglass is released in the UK on 15th march 2010 and 9th March in the USA. The fourth and final book “Afterlife” will be released in March 2011, according to Claudia. If *THAT* wasn’t enough for you, she says that HarperTeen will be publishing a fifth, stand-alone book all about Balthazar, which will come out following Afterlife. I just KNEW there was more to Balthazar and I’m definitely going to put that book on the wish list. In the meantime, look out for future reviews of Stargazer and Hourglass (when I finally manage to get my hands on a copy).

Claudia Gray is the pseudonym for Amy Vincent. You can contact her through her website She is also on facebook and Twitter.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Hush Hush Review

Are angels the new vampires/werewolves/faeries? You’ll certainly think so when you read Hush Hush, the debut novel from Becca Fitzpatrick. I defy you not to identify with the main protagonist Nora or fall in love with Patch, the book’s “bad boy” by the end. I’d heard a lot of good reports about this book and picked it up because a) I LOVE the cover art and b) I wanted to know what all the fuss was about. Was it worth the read? HELL YES or should that be heaven yes? ;)

Hush Hush is told through Nora’s point of view and she is an example of a strong, female protagonist who doesn’t need anyone to rescue her, she can handle things just fine. She works hard in school and has her head screwed on. Only problem is, she is a magnet for trouble. Whether it’s the attention of the new bad boy Patch or the mysterious, masked stranger who is everywhere she looks and leaves a trail of destruction behind them. FYI I’m deliberately not telling you much about the story because I’ve read a lot of reviews lately which spoil all the surprises. I want you to be curious about the story and go and read it for yourself.

Hush Hush is well written and has good characterisation. My favourite character has to be Patch. He was moody, mysterious, brooding and complex with an edge of danger about him. Basically, any girl’s dream guy! I really enjoyed the contrast of fear and desire that Nora feels for Patch, thus creating tension and lust in the scenes they share together. Vee is an amusing sidekick and I totally picture Rayanne (the main character Angela’s best friend) from “My So Called Life” (1994). I don’t know why?!

For me, this was one of those “Just another chapter” kind of books. You know the kind, where it’s getting late and you need to get to bed only you can’t put the book down. “Just another chapter” you say to yourself.....and suddenly, before you know it, its 2am and you have to be up again in 6 hours!

I loved every minute of reading this book (which took all of a day, day and a half), it was an easy read and highly enjoyable. I loved the fact that just over halfway through the book; I still really didn’t know what was going on and I didn’t guess the ending. It did leave a lot of unanswered questions for me but I’m assuming that this is tactical and these issues will be addressed in the sequel “Crescendo” which comes out 30th September, 2010. It’s definitely in my diary and I’m hoping it will be in yours now too! I personally CANNOT wait for this book and I heard a rumour that Becca is coming to the UK this year and I’ll be planning a trip with my best book pal to go see her. In the meantime, you can follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

I think you can probably guess by now that I highly recommend this book. If you liked Twilight (by Stephenie Meyer) and Shiver (by Maggie Stiefvater), you will like this. Promise.

Win ANY e-reader

For a long time, the jury was out for me on e-readers but I find my views shifting slightly and I'm definitely intrigued by them! I think I would like an e-reader to sit alongside my books so that when I go on holiday or extended journey's, I can take the e-reader instead of several hundred books with me! LOL. I would love to see ebooks included free with a copy of the *actual* book but I'm not sure if we will ever see this happen.

Anyway, there's my two pence worth on that but the real reason for this post is to let you know of a competition to WIN an e reader of your choice from "Bibliophilicbookblog". It's an interesting BLOG actually and one I follow. Check it out and enter the contest. How can you not?!
Linger Cover LargeIn Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other.  Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack.  And Isabelle, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.

At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love -- the light and the dark, the warm and the cold -- in a way you will never forget.

Comes out in stores everywhere July 20th. Pre-order here.

Enter to win an advanced review copies of LINGER, Sisters Red, The Dead-Tossed Waves, and The Replacement on Maggie's blog.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

FIRST REVIEW....coming soon

I've decided that the first review will be of Becca Fitzpatrick's "Hush Hush". I'm halfway through reading it so it shouldn't be long before I post my thoughts on here :)