30 March 2012

Review: Fateful - Claudia Gray

Release date: September 13th, 2011
Number of pages: 328
Publisher: HarperTeen

A tragic tale about falling in love on the world’s most infamous ill-fated sea voyage as heroine, Tess, discovers darker secrets that lie beneath the doomed crossing… and a hidden brotherhood that threaten to tear her lover from her forever.
The RMS Titanic is the most luxurious ship ever built, but for eighteen-year-old Tess Davies it’s a prison. Travelling as a maid for the family she has served for years, Tess is trapped in their employ amid painful memories and family secrets.
When she meets Alec, a handsome upper class passenger, Tess falls helplessly in love. But Alec has secrets of his own… and soon Tess is entangled in a dangerous game. A sinister brotherhood that will do anything to induct Alec into their mystical order has followed him onboard. And Tess is now their most powerful pawn.
Tess and Alec fight the dark forces threatening to tear them apart, never realising that they will have to face an even greater peril before the journey is over… 

Two really unexpected things that when put together bring about an amazing novel! Who would have imagined that the Titanic's history could have been told with a touch of supernatural, to be exact, werewolves! I found out about this book when I was at the airport in Germany and with only 10 euros left, I was lucky to be able to buy this it! And I thank Cassandra Clare; for I was even more eager to read this book because of her praise to Fateful on the cover of the book.

We follow the story of Tess, the maid of the Lisles, who is going with the family to America on board of the brand-new R.M.S. Titanic. The night before the trip while running an errand for the insufferable Mrs. Lisle, she encounters something that may as well change everything she has ever know: a wolf. She almost gets attacked by it, if not for the handsome guy that saves her but tells her to go before he hurts her too. Confused and curious about the night's outcome, Tess goes home and on the next day the story takes us to the Titanic where Tess meets none other than the handsome guy, Alec, from the night before. 

From this moment on, Tess is caught in a web of intrigue and danger that she never thought possible before. The Brotherhood, whose member are all werewolves and members of the higher society, wants Alec to be in it too. But he is not like most werewolves, he doesn't like it and would rather die than participate in something as horrible as the Brotherhood. But Mikhail, the member of the Brotherhood on the Titanic, won't give up so easily. And now he wants Tess too. While trying to resist the danger that Mikhail emposes, both Alec and Tess join forces and end up falling in love but will their love be enough to stop Alec of becoming a member?

I enjoyed this book a lot. I liked the mix of something supernatural and impossible as werewolves with a background of something real as the Titanic. Gray's writing is amazing and she pays attention to the details, making it easy for us to imagine ourselves on board of the historic Titanic. Even though the premise was captivating, I found myself expecting more of it. We never found out much about the Brotherhood and what its purposes were. Furthermore the Brotherhood is described as really dangerous and powerful but it didn't seem like it; for we only get to know one member of it, Mikhail. 

The romance is really sweet and I love tormented love interests, so I won't complain about Alec at all! Tess was a great main character; she was determined and strong and cared for others, despite everything bad they've done to her (she even tries to save her bosses while the ship sinks). All characters were remarkably well-written with each having their own qualities and flaws.
Furthermore the paranormal aspects of the novel were balanced well with such a real background, so that it was almost beliavable that werewolves were on the Titanic at the time of its sinking. 

Fateful was a highly enjoyable read that I would recommend to those of you that enjoy a mix of romance and  paranormal and of course to fans of Titanic stories! 

Claudia Gray is not my real name. I didn't choose a pseudonym because my real name is unpleasant (it isn't), because I'd always dreamed of calling myself this (I haven't) or even because I'm hiding from the remnants of that international diamond-smuggling cartel I smashed in 2003 (Interpol has taken care of them). In short, I took a pseudonym for no real reason whatsoever.I am a full-time novelist based in Chicago. I especially like to spend time traveling, hiking, reading and listening to music. More than anything else, I enjoy writing.
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28 March 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #8

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by breakingthespine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's most anticipated book is:
 Burn For Burn
Authors: Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian 

Release Date: September 18th, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

The start of a brand-new young adult trilogy about three very different girls who overcome their differences and band together to seek revenge on those who have wronged them, uncovering a supernatural secret about what brought them together and why in the process. Each book will rotate back and forth between the perspectives of all three characters.
What are you guys waiting on this week? :)

27 March 2012

Review: Partials - Dan Wells

Release date: February 28, 2012
Number of pages: 472
Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Humanity is all but extinguished after a war with partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the world’s population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island. The threat of the partials is still imminent, but, worse, no baby has been born immune to the disease in over a decade. Humanity’s time is running out.
When sixteen-year-old Kira learns of her best friend’s pregnancy, she’s determined to find a solution. Then one rash decision forces Kira to flee her community with the unlikeliest of allies. As she tries desperately to save what is left of her race, she discovers that the survival of both humans and partials rests in her attempts to answer questions of the war’s origin that she never knew to ask.
Combining the fast-paced action of The Hunger Games with the provocative themes of Battlestar Galactica, Partials is a pulse-pounding journey into a world where the very concept of what it means to be human is in question—one where our sense of humanity is both our greatest liability, and our only hope for survival

An action-packed enthralling novel that will have you begging for more. Dan Wells introduces us to a promising story, in which the human population is at risk of becoming extinct because of their own creation: the Partials. These were engineered for fighting in a war but later when the humans started abusing them, they rebelled against humanity releasing a "RM" which killed almost everyone. In 2076 only a handful of humans are still alive. Even though the war against the Partials ended eleven years ago, the "RM" virus is still able to affect the population: every single newborn has died within the first 72 hours and a cure is yet to be found.

The story is told from Kira's point of view. A girl who works at the maternity ward in the hospital. Since the Hope Act was created, every 18-year-old girl is required to have a baby by law. Kira, who only has two years before the law requires her to become pregnant, is frustrated after watching a handful of babies dying in front of her. But when her best friend becomes pregnant too, she can't take it anymore. She takes it upon herself to personally find a cure for this virus. And her plan includes capturing a Partial, which by the way hasn't been sighted for almost 11 years. 

I do have to admit that I don't read many books by male authors, not that I have anything against them, is just that I can relate more to female authors since they have a better insight of the female world (and I prefer female main characters). But Wells' novel caught me by surprise. I really loved Kira as a heroine, she was strong and determined, overall an inspiring character. All characters were unique with their own characteristics and yet they were all somewhat realistic. 

The post-apocalyptic world that Wells crafted full of detail was breathtaking. You can completely imagine the world for yourself and that is something I really enjoy while reading a novel. And of course the beautiful writing helps a lot too! 

Another great thing about Partials is that the romance is not in the foreground of the story which surprised me a bit. Wells was able to keep me captivated without much romance. Nowadays almost every book has an amazing love story in it. Not saying that it doesn't have ANY romance in it but it certainly isn't the most important thing in the book.

Can't wait for its sequel! The ending was amazing and cliffhanger-ish! 
If you are a fan of dystopia, then this book is a must-read!

Dan was born at a young age, killed a man in Reno just to watch him die, and ate the last mango in paris. Then he wrote this book.You can find more about him here! Follow him on Twitter

25 March 2012

Existence - Abbi Glines

Release date: December 13, 2011
Number of pages: 194
Publisher: Wild Child Publishing

What happens when you're stalked by Death? You fall in love with him, of course.
Pagan Moore doesn't cheat Death, but instead, falls in love with him.
Seventeen year old Pagan Moore has seen souls her entire life. Once she realized the strangers she often saw walking through walls were not visible to anyone else, she started ignoring them. If she didn't let them know she could see them, then they left her alone. Until she stepped out of her car the first day of school and saw an incredibly sexy guy lounging on a picnic table, watching her with an amused smirk on his face. Problem is, she knows he's dead.
Not only does he not go away when she ignores him, but he does something none of the others have ever done. He speaks. Pagan is fascinated by the soul. What she doesn't realize is that her appointed time to die is drawing near and the wickedly beautiful soul she is falling in love with is not a soul at all.
He is Death and he's about to break all the rules.

I was expecting so much more from Existence. I am really sorry to say that I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would. The exciting summary that enticed me to read this book fell short; for I don't think the novel did the summary justice.

The premise is actually really unique and promising. I loved the idea to use Death as a love interest. That's something new and I was excited to read this. Pagan can see souls but they never talk to her, that is until Dank comes along. The sexy guy ,who Pagan sees everywhere, talks and even sings to her. After having an accident, on which Pagan should have died, the relationship between Dank and Pagan starts to bloom. Except this relationship is kind of against the rules. Will they be together and if so, which price will they have to pay?

Reading this premise, you actually think this book will be amazing. And it should have been, if not for the dramaqueen Pagan. She was whiny and weepy and I was just plain mad at her the whole time while reading this novel. She had the most wonderful boyfriend, Leif, but of course she had to pine for Dank, the one guy she can't and shouldn't have. She even went to a rehabilitation clinic because she was just depressed the whole time, ignoring her friends and mother. She keeps using Leif for comfort until Dank will take her. I didn't enjoy Pagan one bit.
Dank was a bit better but still I feel like I didn't even know him and, please, he just observes Pagan and falls madly in love with her?! Is that even realistic?
I only enjoyed Pagan's friends and boyfriend. They were fun and, well, normal. 

Other thing that bothered me a lot, was that we never get to know why Pagan can see souls! And I was most curious about that. Her soul seems to be special in some way and that was never explored in Existence.

I give this book three starts because it was, as said, a unique and promising idea that sadly didn't quite live up to my expectations. Glines should have tried to make Pagan a stronger main character, instead of something oddly familiar to Bella in New Moon. I will be only picking up the sequel to Existence (coming out in April) because Existence ended with a cliffhanger that something to do with Leif (the best character in this book). But it surely won't be one of my priorities.

Abbi Glines can be found hanging out with rockstars, taking out her yacht on weekends for a party cruise, sky diving, or surfing in Maui. Okay maybe she needs to keep her imagination focused on her writing only. In the real world, Abbi can be found hauling kids (several who seem to show up that don’t belong to her) to all their social events, hiding under the covers with her MacBook in hopes her husband won’t catch her watching Buffy on Netflix again, and sneaking off to Barnes and Noble to spend hours lost in the yummy goodness of books.

22 March 2012

Embrace - Jessica Shirvington

Release date: March 6th, 2012
Number of pages: 367
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

It starts with a whisper: “It’s time for you to know who you are…”
Violet Eden dreads her seventeenth birthday. After all, it’s hard to get too excited about the day that marks the anniversary of your mother’s death. As if that wasn’t enough, disturbing dreams haunt her sleep and leave her with very real injuries. There’s a dark tattoo weaving its way up her arms that wasn’t there before.
Violet is determined to get some answers, but nothing could have prepared her for the truth. The guy she thought she could fall in love with has been keeping his identity a secret: he’s only half-human—oh, and same goes for her.
A centuries-old battle between fallen angels and the protectors of humanity has chosen its new warrior. It’s a fight Violet doesn’t want, but she lives her life by two rules: don’t run and don’t quit. When angels seek vengeance and humans are the warriors, you could do a lot worse than betting on Violet Eden… 

Embrace's premise is really promising and I jumped into this book expecting a great story. There were some things that bothered me in Embrace but mostly it was an amazing book that introduced us to an addictive plot with some really interesting characters.

Violet Eden is a rather independent girl who lives with her workaholic father. She never got to know her mother; for she died giving birth to Violet. Ever since going through a traumatic experience in high school, she never wants to find herself in a position of weakness again. In order to do that she starts training with a ├╝berhottie called Lincoln and they become best friends. Actually Violet's feelings are more than just friendly but it seems that her feelings are not reciprocated. 

Up to the day of her seventeenth birthday, some weird things start to happen. She notices some changes in her body, she receives a mysterious letter from her mother and she makes a move on Lincoln just to be rejected by him. The next day she overhears a conversation between Lincoln and Griffin that may change the course of her life. She is Grigori -part angel, part human- and so is Lincoln. Violet gets mad at Lincoln for not telling her something of this magnitude. And that's when she meets Phoenix, a falling angel and somewhat mysterious character.

I have to admit that Violet frustrated me a bit. I really liked her as a main character; she is a strong (her motto is: no running, no quitting) and confident heroine who has to learn how to live now that everything in her life is upside down. I understand her reaction but she kind of overreacts in being mad at Lincoln the whole time for not telling her about her being part angel, I mean, it was against the rules for him to tell her and she just can't accept that. But overall the characters in this book were interesting and captivating. Her relationship with Phoenix was something unique and explosive that kept me interested, while her relationship with Lincoln was cute and a bit slow. 

But the highlight of Embrace was its plot. Shirvington adds her own twist to the lore of angels keeping me enthralled the whole time. Angels are a hot topic in books nowadays and I praise authors who can bring some uniqueness to this genre in their novels. There are angels of dark and angels of light who are not supposed to get along. Everything should be black and white but there are some huge gray areas in this novel that keep the story full of unexpected events and intruguing moments. The romance was also a big part of the story but, for my taste, a too big part of it. I didn't like that the romance and the love-triangle in it overruled the more interesting plot about the angels, the Grigori and Violet's part in it.

Shirvington's writting is beautiful enabling you to read for hours without noticing. The plot kept me intrigued and captivated and the romance in it left me wanting more. Shirvington did an amazing job with this book even though I have to admit that I just love books with angel-related themes. I can't wait for its sequel Enticed, which is coming out in September!

Jessica Shirvington lives in Sydney with her husband of ten years, FOXTEL presenter and former Olympic sprinter Matt Shirvington, and their two daughters. She has previously founded and run a coffee distribution company, Stella Imports, in London, and been involved in managing the restaurants Fuel Bistro, Tow Bar and MG Garage in Sydney.She is currently a full-time mum, author and co-director in the company MPS Investments Pty Ltd.

21 March 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #7

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by breakingthespine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week most anticipated book is:
Something Strange and Deadly
Author: Susan Dennard

Release date: July 24th, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen

There’s something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia…
Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about. Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she’s just read in the newspaper—
The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.
And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor…from her brother.
Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she’ll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including their maddeningly stubborn yet handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance

Do I need to say anything else? The summary says it all!

The Gathering Storm - Robin Bridges

Release date: January 10, 2012
Number of pages: 386
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Yound Readers

St. Petersburg, Russia, 1888. As she attends a whirl of glittering balls, royal debutante Katerina Alexandrovna, Duchess of Oldenburg, tries to hide a dark secret: she can raise the dead. No one knows. Not her family. Not the girls at her finishing school. Not the tsar or anyone in her aristocratic circle. Katerina considers her talent a curse, not a gift. But when she uses her special skill to protect a member of the Imperial Family, she finds herself caught in a web of intrigue.
An evil presence is growing within Europe's royal bloodlines—and those aligned with the darkness threaten to topple the tsar. Suddenly Katerina's strength as a necromancer attracts attention from unwelcome sources . . . including two young men—George Alexandrovich, the tsar's standoffish middle son, who needs Katerina's help to safeguard Russia, even if he's repelled by her secret, and the dashing Prince Danilo, heir to the throne of Montenegro, to whom Katerina feels inexplicably drawn.
The time has come for Katerina to embrace her power, but which side will she choose—and to whom will she give her heart?

I just loved everything about this book, from its historical setting to its paranormal aspects! I've always been fascinated by anything related to Russia and the Tsars era (you know the story about Anastasia and the Romanov family) so it doesn't come as a surprise that I enjoyed this book, A LOT! I was also really captivated by the way that Bridges incorporated the paranormal into the historical aspects resulting in a unputdownable book.

The Gathering Storm tells the story of Katerina Alexandrovna, a girl who dreams of becoming a doctor even through she must do what the society expects of her: marry someone of importance and be a good wife. But there is more to Katerina than meets the eye, besides having to abide by the rules of old society and trying to hold on to her dream, she also has to hide her curse (or gift?!) if she wants to live a normal life.

Katerina surely is one of the best protagonist I've read in while. She is smart, ambitious but sensible and sweet. I loved that she is not like the girls at her school who just want to go to balls and marry some rich prince. Even though it's almost a prohibited thing for a woman to work instead of marrying someone, she keeps trying to turn her dreams into reality and doesn't give up learning as much as she can about medicine.
She keeps her power hidden at all costs in order to not be exploited and she also has this strange notion that using her power will bring her to the dark side. But one day she uses her power to save someone and ends up being found out by some people who try to blackmail her into using her power in their interest.
The Grand Duke George Alexandrovich was a really interesting and distinct character. I loved that the romance rather took some time to bloom rather than being a instant-romance like many other books.
Some other awesome things worth mentioning about this book is that everything is totally unexpected. I was very surprised when while reading I found out that Katerina's necromancy thing wasn't the only paranormal aspect in this book. Actually the book is filled with supernatural creatures, which only made me adore this book more. And I have to praise Bridges' ability of somehow connecting every family in this book together making everyone an important character.

There were some things that I think Bridges could have done better like the leading up to the ending and it bothers me a bit when characters are forced to do something against their will because the enemy is threatening some family member or lover. Katerina also frustrated me a bit sometimes; there were moments that I think she could have done something to avoid so many other problems and also she was so naïve about loving George (though she was really cynical about falling in love). Nevertheless these critics weren't enough for me to give this novel less than 4 stars!

The Gathering Storm brings something brand new to the YA genre and I can't wait to read the second installment in this trilogy. I could never resist a book with so much awesomeness in it: magic, intrigue, historical setting, paranormal aspects and of course romance!

20 March 2012

Slide by Jill Hathaway & Interview!

Release date: March 27
Number of pages: 256
Publisher: Balzer + Bray for HarperCollins

Vee Bell is certain of one irrefutable truth—her sister’s friend Sophie didn’t kill herself. She was murdered.
Vee knows this because she was there. Everyone believes Vee is narcoleptic, but she doesn’t actually fall asleep during these episodes: When she passes out, she slides into somebody else’s mind and experiences the world through that person’s eyes. She’s slid into her sister as she cheated on a math test, into a teacher sneaking a drink before class. She learned the worst about a supposed “friend” when she slid into her during a school dance. But nothing could have prepared Vee for what happens one October night when she slides into the mind of someone holding a bloody knife, standing over Sophie’s slashed body.
Vee desperately wishes she could share her secret, but who would believe her? It sounds so crazy that she can’t bring herself to tell her best friend, Rollins, let alone the police. Even if she could confide in Rollins, he has been acting off lately, more distant, especially now that she’s been spending more time with Zane.
Enmeshed in a terrifying web of secrets, lies, and danger and with no one to turn to, Vee must find a way to unmask the killer before he or she strikes again.

Best even than what I was expecting! I really love thrillers and when I saw this one was been released, I had to read it but I wasn't expecting to be this enthralled by it! This book comes with a delicious romance, a suspense that keeps you awake at night and a twist of paranormal. With a unique premise and a whole lot of mystery, Slide kept me guessing till the last page.

I was fascinated by Hathaway's idea of mixing contemporary, romance, suspense and paranormal in a single book making Slide a really captivating read. Vee Bell is a completely ordinary pink-haired girl with the ability to "slide" into other people and see everything through their eyes. So not that ordinary at all. The problem is everybody thinks she suffers from narcolepsy causing her to be the weirdo in school. Of course she still has her best friend, Rollins, who helped her through some tough times but lately they've been drifting apart. To top it all off, one of her sister's cheerleading friend, Sophie, commits suicide. Though it wasn't a suicide; for Vee "slides" into someone who is standing by Sophie's bed with a bloody knife. But how can she prove that it was murder if she can't even make her father believe that she can "slide"?

Through many twists and turns, Slide will take you for a really unexpected ride. With an ending you will never see coming, Hathaway wrote the ultimate page-turner. I was also drawn by Hathaway's writing, which didn't disappointed either. Between the sweet romance, the enthralling mystery, the great writing and the big surprises throughout this book, I don't know what kept me interesed in Slide the most. Even though this book focus more on its mystery aspects, I wasn't upset by it. It was nice to have a book that centers less around the romance and more around the paranormal and intriguing aspects of it. And Vee was a really strong and interesting protagonist with a great character. Rollins was also really sweet and I liked him from the beginning even though he was acting a bit weird. While I don't have any critique to the characters, I would have liked to know more about Rollins' past and current situation.

With an amazing plot and the perfect mix of romance, thriller and paranormal, Slide is certainly a book you won't want to miss!

Interview with Jill Hathaway

Hello Jill! Thank you so much for stopping by Books to Consider! How about we start off with telling us a bit about yourself?  
Hi, Rachel! Thanks for having me! I'm a high school English teacher in Iowa. I have a two-year-old daughter and a three-month-old son. I'm addicted to The Vampire Diaries and Once Upon a Time. Oh, and Oreos. And I have a huge crush on Jared Leto (sorry, Shane!!!). 

"A girl who can see through the eyes of a killer". That's a really unique and interesting premise. How did you come up with this idea?
I actually came up with the hook of the story first. I wanted the main character to find herself standing over a dead body and not know how she got there. After that, I came up with the idea of Vee "sliding" into other people's heads. 

What inspired you to start writing?
I've always enjoyed writing, but it wasn't until I participated in National Novel Writing Month a few years ago that I really got serious about it. I needed that permission to write a stinky rough draft in order to realize that I could finish a novel. 

What would you say makes Slide so different from other YA novels?
I suppose the concept is different. It blends a lot of genres--paranormal, mystery, thriller, romance.

What are your plans for the release day? 
I'll be teaching all day, but I have a team of awesome people who are going to help get the word out online. That night, after I pick up the kids, I'll probably stop by a bookstore to see if they have SLIDE on the shelves. Then I'll eat a burrito.

Any new projects or something you are currently working on?
I've just finished SLIDE's sequel, IMPOSTOR, and now I'm starting something non-SLIDE-related. It's a thriller, but that's about all I want to say about it right now.

17 March 2012

Hot off the Press!

First, the amazing trailer for The Immortal Rules (will be released April 24!) by Julie Kagawa has just been released. If you haven't seen it yet, here is your chance:

Two exctiting books just received a new cover:

 Crewel by Gennifer Albin!

Incapable. Awkward. Artless.
That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: she wants to fail.
Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen as a Spinster is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to embroider the very fabric of life. But if controlling what people eat, where they live and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.
Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and wove a moment at testing, and they’re coming for her—tonight.

Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her Dad’s stupid jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.

Because once you become a Spinster, there’s no turning back.

Velveteen by Daniel Marks!

Velveteen Monroe is dead. At 16, she was kidnapped and murdered by a madman named Bonesaw. But that's not the problem.
The problem is she landed in purgatory. And while it's not a fiery inferno, it's certainly no heaven. It's gray, ashen, and crumbling more and more by the day, and everyone has a job to do. Which doesn't leave Velveteen much time to do anything about what's really on her mind.Bonesaw.
Velveteen aches to deliver the bloody punishment her killer deserves. And she's figured out just how to do it. She'll haunt him for the rest of his days.
It'll be brutal . . . and awesome.
But crossing the divide between the living and the dead has devastating consequences. Velveteen's obsessive haunting cracks the foundations of purgatory and jeopardizes her very soul. A risk she's willing to take—except fate has just given her reason to stick around: an unreasonably hot and completely off-limits coworker.
Velveteen can't help herself when it comes to breaking rules . . . or getting revenge. And she just might be angry enough to take everyone down with her.

And the second book in the Cahill Witch Chronicles (Born Wicked's sequel) will be titled: Star Cursed and released 2/07/2013!

And to top it all: CASSANDRA CLARE SIGNED TO WRITE THE DARK ARTIFICES! The first book's working title is Lady Midnight and will be released in 2015 (the story will revolve around Emma Carstairs - that last name does sound familiar!) . And a director (Harald Zwart) has been chosen to direct City of Bones and shooting is scheduled to start in August!

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1) - Robin LaFevers

Release Date: April 3 (ARC)
Number of pages: 564
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?
Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.
Ismae's most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

I have never been so surprised with a book before. I fell in love with the cover and the summary long before I received the ARC via NetGalley. Nevertheless when I started reading I had to struggle a bit to get past the first chapters. The beginning is rather slow and difficult to keep up with at first and I had to get used to the different writing that match the time period that the story takes place in (year 1488!). But by the time that Ismae arrived at court, the book became an addiction and I couldn't put it down. Result: I read 564 pages of it in two days. Even though I'm not much of a historical fiction type of girl, Grave Mercy exceeded my expectations and will certainly be found on my "best of 2012" list!

LaFevers writes one of the most intriguing and complex plots and characters I have ever read. All characters are caught in a web of intrigue and betrayal, not knowing whom to trust or if to trust at all. The characters were surely the best part of the novel for me with each character playing at least some important part in the story. Each character had its own personality and depth which resulted in making me grow attached to each and everyone of them. I truly enjoyed all characters in Grave Mercy but Ismae was by far my favorite. She is a strong, butt-kicking assassin (or heroine!) who can take care of herself. But the best part about Ismae is that she is a really complex character who doesn't fit in only one category. Ismae changes and grows a lot and by the end of the book, she is not the girl she used to be. 

The romance feels natural and believable and doesn't develop till late in the book. First Duval and Ismae doesn't seem to get along all that well but probably because of the way they met. But by the time Ismae arrives at the court with him, their relationship starts slowly to shift from enmity to friendship and later to love. I don't really know the exact moment, in which Duval and Ismae's feelings turned to love but we do get to experience Ismae's doubts about their relationship. Is Death's daughter even allowed to have a relationship? Will the convent allow it? By the time she receives the task of killing Duval, Ismae must decide where her allegiances lie: with the convent or with the Duchess and her family?

The plot is complicated, so that sometimes I had to go a few pages back and reread to understand better but overall LaFevers did a good job of keeping this story easy to keep up with. The story is full of twists and turns, making it hard for you to predict the end of it. In the beginning I had most characters figured out but was surprised when my predictions turned out to be wrong. Each character has its own agenda and you certainly be caught by surprise when you find out the motivations behind each action. I don't know how Anne, the Duchess of Bretagne, could take so much deceiving and betrayal, everyone around her were only looking out for their own interests. I can't wait to read the next book and see how everything will play out.

I recommend this book to everyone! Even though you don't enjoy historical fiction, you must bear in mind that I don't like it that much either but I loved Grave Mercy. The plot is so enthralling and fascinating that you can't stop until you get to the end of it, and then you just can't wait for the next book to come out. The paranormal elements in Grave Mercy just contribute to this book's uniqueness. 
You should totally read this book when it comes out, you won't regret it.

A thank you to NetGalley and to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the chance to read and review this amazing book!

15 March 2012

Pandemonium - Lauren Oliver

Release Date: February 28
Number of Pages: 375
Publisher: Harper Teen

I’m pushing aside the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school,
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame.

375 pages of pure awesomeness. Is it even possible for Lauren Oliver to write a bad book? It's really hard for me to write an objectively review for Pandemonium, since Lauren Oliver is one of my favorite authors, ever! Even though Before I Fall and Delirium were ,to say the least, perfect; Pandemonium surprisingly surpasses both of them.

The book is divided in two parts: now and then. The book begins in the present time, a few months after the escape and Lena finds herself sleeping during a school lesson. The book doesn't waste any time in making you wonder: what the hell? So it's no wonder that after reading the first few pages, it seems you can't finish this book fast enough. It felt like a marathon to get to the last word (and what a last word indeed!). The alternation between the then and now only made this book the more interesting and enthralling. Furthermore Oliver's writing is one of the best there is! It flows so that you can read hundreds of page without even realising it.

We are introduced to a lot of new characters. But first let's talk about Lena. Another advantage of the then and now strategy is that Lena's growth is even more noticeable. She changes and matures in Pandemonium, the chance is almost tangible. Furthermore her mourning is so real, Oliver describes it really well, also the transition to a new lover and new beginning is so subtle, which only makes the character the even more realistic.
The new characters like Tack, Sarah and the others who live in the Wilds weren't that fascinating to me. We didn't find out a lot about them which didn't bothered me that much. Raven, the one in charge, appears much more often and we learn a lot about her but I wasn't that a big of fan until the last few pages. The lenghts that the Resistance is willing to go to take charge are also a great theme in this book.
Julian, the new love interest, is sweet and swoon-worthy. At first I didn't want to like him (similar situation as Lena) but with time it just isn't possible to deny it anymore, he is great! (Sorry, Alex!)

I don't want to say much about the plot because I don't want to take a lot of its impact away. But in short Lena, Tack and Raven are in New York on a mission for the Resistance and for that they must observe the actions of the DFA (Deliria-Free America). Lena is given the task of keep watch on the head of the movement's son, Julian. During a DFA's rally both Lena and Julian are kidnapped. And during their time together they learn many disturbing things about the DFA and the Resistance but they also learn to love. Lena begins to heal and Julian begins to realise that love is not a disease, and if it is, maybe it's a disease worth having.

With an action-filled ending and an enormous cliffhanger, Lauren Oliver shows us once again that if love is not a disease, then her book most certainly are. While reading Pandemonium you may experience lots of crying, shocks and stress. Not to forget the fact that reading it becomes an addiction you can't overcome. The weak-hearted should read this with caution.
Now please get me some Requiem? I'm already suffering from withdrawal..

PS: You should also read HANA, the short story about Lena's best friend. You experience the last weeks leading up to Lena's escape from Hana's point of view (before she was "cured"). I loved it and with its shocking twist, no surprise there, leaves you completely astonished.

In the world of Delirium, love is a disease. And like all eighteen-year-olds, Lena and Hana must take the cure.

At the start of their last summer of freedom, they were the closest of friends. Until Hana made a decision that tore them apart... In Delirium, we heard from Lena. Now, Hana gets to tell her side of the story. And nothing is what we first thought.

The Iron Knight - Julie Kagawa

Release Date: October 26
Number of Pages: 361
Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Ash, former prince of the Winter Court, gave up everything. His title, his home, even his vow of loyalty. All for a girl… and all for nothing.
Unless he can earn a soul.

To cold, emotionless faery prince Ash, love was a weakness for mortals and fools. His own love had died a horrible death, killing any gentler feelings the Winter prince might have had. Or so he thought.
Then Meghan Chase—a half human, half fey slip of a girl— smashed through his barricades, binding him to her irrevocably with his oath to be her knight. And when all of Faery nearly fell to the Iron fey, she severed their bond to save his life. Meghan is now the Iron Queen, ruler of a realm where no Winter or Summer fey can survive.
With the (unwelcome) company of his archrival, Summer Court prankster Puck, and the infuriating cait sith Grimalkin, Ash begins a journey he is bound to see through to its end— a quest to find a way to honor his solemn vow to stand by Meghan’s side.
To survive in the Iron realm, Ash must have a soul and a mortal body. But the tests he must face to earn these things are impossible. At least, no one has ever passed to tell the tale.
And then Ash learns something that changes everything. A truth that turns reality upside down, challenges his darkest beliefs and shows him that, sometimes, it takes more than courage to make the ultimate sacrifice.

MASTERPIECE is the word I'd use to describe this book and also the whole series. But Kagawa really did a great job with The Iron Knight. I don't usually like books told from a boy's POV but this book just blew me away! Full of twists, sad and laugh out-loud-moments, surprises and, of course, love, the conclusion to this beloved series couldn't have been better.

I love ALL the characters in this book. I'm Team Ash all the way but I still love Puck and that actually says a lot about Kagawa's writing and style, as I rarely like both love interests in a book. Puck is just so funny and I really found myself laughing a lot reading The Iron Knight. Ash doesn't disappoint either, even making some jokes along the way. Grimalkin is still Grimalkin and it's still impossible not to like him and be unnerved by him. And surprisingly I enjoyed the Wolf a lot, he was ironically funny and nice. One thing that always surprised me while reading this book, is how amazingly real Kagawa's characters are. They show different sides to themselves and you can almost always relate to their feelings at the time.

The journey couldn't have been more unpredictable and difficult. Kagawa brings a lot of surprises, twists and doubs. We also get to know Ash a lot better and probably love him a lot more by reading his POV of the sacrifices he has to make in this book. Ash proves himself time and time again even though sometimes I wasn't sure myself if he wasn't going to give up before the end. The story had so many sides and things could have gone so differenthy. This feeling of uncertainty is what made this book a pleasure to read. Well that, and Kagawa's great writing.

I can't emphasize enough: READ THE IRON FEY SERIES if you still haven't read it yet! I never thought I would love this series as much as I do and it surely became one of my favorites. It may be one of the best romances I've read and Ash may as well be my favorite love interest ever!
 I'm so happy that Kagawa decided to write this last book (it iniatially wasn't going to happen) because Ash and Megan deserved a happy ending. But I'm also really sad that this amazing series has come to an end but we may hear from Ash, Megan and the others in the next Iron Fey installment about Megan's brother, Ethan. Let's keep our finger crossed!

14 March 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #6

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by breakingthespine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week most anticipated book is:
Time Between Us
Author:  Tamara Ireland Stone

Release Date: October 9th
Publisher: Hyperion

Anna and Bennett were never supposed to meet: she lives in 1995 Chicago and he lives in 2012 San Francisco. But Bennett’s unique ability to travel through time and space brings him into Anna’s life, and with him, a new world of adventure and possibility.

As their relationship deepens, they face the reality that time might knock Bennett back where he belongs, even as a devastating crisis throws everything they believe into question. Against a ticking clock, Anna and Bennett are forced to ask themselves how far they can push the bounds of fate—and what consequences they can bear in order to stay together.

I haven't read a lot of timetravel books, so I'm really looking forward to this one. Unfortunately it only comes out in October!! In for a long wait..


12 March 2012

Cinder - Marissa Meyer

Release Date: January 3
Number of pages: 387
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth's fate hinges on one girl... Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She's a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister's illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai's, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world's future.

Cinder surprised me. A LOT. Cinderella was never my favorite fairy tale. Cinder being a retelling of it, you can understand my skepticism. But skepticism aside, Cinder was completely and utterly amazing. I can't believe that it took me so long to finish it and that I didn't even want to read it in the first place. I'm so glad I fought through the first chapters so I could read the following fascinating ones. 

Cinder starts off rather sudden for my taste (after rereading it -I was itching to read it again after finishing it - I appreciated the beginning a lot more! I guess I was just trying to find faults in the book the first time) with Cinder already meeting Prince Kai in the first chapter. And yes you read it right: Cinder is a cyborg mechanic, who has an android for a friend and of course an evil stepmother, who doesn't want Cinder to exist in the first place. And also there is a plague threatening everyone in the planet but that's not the only problem: the Lunar (yes, MOON PEOPLE - who can manipulate bioeletricity to project images and feelings on humans!) want to start a war if Prince Kai doesn't marry the Lunar Queen. You can see now that the plot is more complex (and awesome) than first anticipated.

Cinder is full of twists, surprises, romance and action, which make this book a perfect mix of everything I wish for in a book. Of course it makes it even harder for me to write a review worth of this book's awesomeness. Just believe me, Meyer did an amazing job retelling this fairy tale in a very awesome yet different way. Everything fits so effortlessly together and the characters are well-written and real, even the android and cyborg ones. Meyer's writing flows, as I could read 100 pages without even realizing it.

I'm really glad that I didn't give up on Cinder; for it turned out to be one of my favorite reads this year. It also taught me to not judge a book before reading it. And as you probably noticed, I can't say a bad word about it, this review may seem a bit exaggerated but it isn't, Cinder really couldn't be any better. I can't wait for the following three books (it's a quartet!) to come out to find out more about Cinder and her secrets.

11 March 2012

Born Wicked - Jessica Spotswood

Release Date: February 7
Number of pages: 330
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile

Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they're witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship--or an early grave.

Before her mother died, Cate promised to protect her sisters. But with six months to choose between marriage and the Sisterhood, she might not be able to keep her word... especially after she finds her mother's diary, uncovering a secret that could spell her family's destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate stars scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra.

If what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren't safe. Not from the Brotherhood, the Sisterhood -- not even from each other

When I first started reading Born Wicked, I thought that this was a book I wouldn't enjoy. I love Harry Potter but I was rather skeptical of another book related to magic. But I gave Born Wicked a chance and I loved it! The book starts off rather slowly, such that it took me some time to read the first few chapters. But in awhile Born Wicked turned into a fast-paced enthralling book which you couldn't put down even if you wanted to. Result: I read it in 3 hours! 

Even if Spotswood's writing wasn't amazing or the characters so great, the plot would pay everything off. Three sisters and a prophecy that could change the course of history! The story takes place in 1890 in New England. After being in the power of the witches for 150 years, the Brotherhood takes over New England and makes every witch disappear. The ones who are still living, live in fear of being discovered and sent to Harwood.Cate and her two sisters are witches and they leave in constant fear of being discovered by the Brotherhood. After her mother died, Cate was left with the task of keeping their witchcraft a secret. 

Cate was by far my favorite character in this book. I loved her from the start and she just kept getting better and better. I can't wait to read how she will grow more as a character and a witch in the next book. She is still has some faults, which only make her the more interesting. Replacing her mother is a really difficult task, so it doesn't come as a surprise that Cate is rather a more serious and grown-up character. She is the buzzkiller when it comes to her sisters doing magic. But by the end of the book she learns to accept magic a lot more.
Maura was a spoiled and a pain through the book. I didn't like her and would rather do a tric of disappearance on her! But I do get her side a bit, she is a witch and accepts it, so she will rather do magic then keep it in like she were a normal girl. And Tess comes as a second favorite character of mine. Rather quiet and observant but still a sweetheart. Hopefully she will have a bigger role to play in the next books.

The romance was amazing. Totally unexpected, as there were two love interests. In the beginning Cate mentions Paul, a childhood friend, who is coming to town. But Finn Belastra is the one who steals her heart. He is so sweet but with the description in the book not really my type. But I don't know how Jessica Spotswood did it but in the end I wished I had a Finn Belastra! 

Born Wicked exceeded my expectations and if the next book were to come out tomorrow, I would camp outside the store to read it first! This book finished rather sad with a small cliffhanger turning the story upside down which left me even more eager to read the next one. This book even brought something fresh with it: the sisterly relationship between the three sisters. It has been a long time since I've read a book which centers also in the relationship between sisters than only in the relationship with the boy.

10 March 2012

Best of 2012 Till Now - Giveaway!

I still can't believe how many great books have already been released this year. Up until now I've only read unique, yet amazing books (some better than others, but still each one special in their own way). So I decided to share these amazing books with you by giving you the chance of winning one of the following books released this year:

 1. Incarnate by Jodi Meadows - MY REVIEW
 2. Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver 
 3. Article 5 by Kristen Simmons - MY REVIEW
 4. Forbidden by Syrie & Ryan James - MY REVIEW 
 5. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
 6. Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood 
 7. Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
 8. The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe - MY REVIEW
 9. The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges 
 10. The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams - MY REVIEW 
 11. Partials by Dan Wells
 12. A Million Suns by Beth Revis -  MY REVIEW

These 12 books are only some of the great books I've read so far but they are mostly my favorites until now. I can't wait to read many more amazing books this year!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

04 March 2012

Exiled - RaShelle Workman

Release Date: October 3
Number of pages: 340
Publisher: Polished Pen Press

Worlds divided them. Chance brought them together. Only love will save them.
An alien princess exiled to Earth.
An arrogant boy.
One week to get back to her planet or she'll die.
And, her only chance for survival? She must help the boy find his soul mate.
Piece of cake!
Stubborn, sixteen-year-old Princess Venus of Kelari wants one thing, to become immortal, that is, until someone exiles her to Earth, kills her irrihunter and takes her family.

Now she wants revenge.
First she’s got to get home. But before she can return to Kelari, the Gods have commanded her to help an arrogant boy named Michael find his soul mate. Only she doesn't know the first thing about love. Rather quickly, her inexperience with human emotion is obscured by other matters--alien-controlled psychotic teens that are out to kill her, and a government group that is set on capturing and dissecting her. Worst of all, Venus will suffer a painful death-by-poisoning, thanks to Earth’s atmosphere, if she remains on the planet longer than one week. Still, Venus is a Princess and she's got a plan. Surely, with her help, Michael will fall in love with a human.  

But time is running out and Michael is falling for the wrong girl--her.

 Sci-Fi is the new IN! Even though there aren't many sci-fi books in the YA section, the ones which I've read so far, have exceeded my expectation. I'm all for more books in this ever-growing genre. So it doesn't come as a surprise that Exiled was a really great read. It even surprised me a bit because I wasn't really expecting anything from it. 

The story was what really caught my attention when I bought it (but of course the cover is gorgeous too!). A princess exiled from her home planet after being framed by someone. She didn't believe in love and her only goal was to become immortal. But of course something comes in the way and she is sent to Earth for crimes she didn't commit. Furthermore she has to complete a task: help a human find true love. Not so difficult, right? But the human boy, Michael, is not a love believer. And to complicate things more, she has only one week before her body starts to deteriorate because of Earth's atmosphere! This book has everything! Love, mystery, suspense, action, everything you look for in a YA book!

Other thing I enjoyed a lot in this book was the characters' growth. Venus' and Michael's growth is almost tangible by the end of the book. Venus has learned a lot during her time on Earth and Michael finally learned how love can be beneficial to oneself. 
Venus was a great main character. First I couldn't identify myself a lot with her but with time she became a character I cared for. Michael comes off as arrogant and annoying at first but after reading his side of the story I could totally see why he acted the way he did (yes, he goes through a lot throughout the book!)  And Zaren was there to complete the love triangle! I really couldn't choose between Michael and Zaren so I leave this task to Venus :). Zaren was sweet and great since the beginning and oh he never lets Venus down. 

The ending was great and held big surprises, therefore I can't wait for the second book! Beguiled, the sequel coming out in May, is one book I surely won't miss. If you enjoy a sci-fi mixed with some romance and action, you certainly won't be disappointed with Exiled. 

Ps.: If you own a kindle, go buy this book right now on amazon! It's free!