Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Uncovering ~ Cover Couples

This is my version of a cover meme - book covers are fast becoming my favourite part of a book, aside from the actual book itself, and I've been wanting to do a cover meme for a while, so here it is! 
It will vary from week to week (or whenever I get round to doing it), but this week it's COVER COUPLES - something I recently noticed thanks to Goodreads is that covers sometimes look extremely familiar because they use the same stock photo, like:


Very interesting stuff - I wasn't aware of this before now! 

Monday, 29 August 2011

The Luxe by Anna Godbersen

I so wanted to like The Luxe, I really did – I admit I was drawn in by that gorgeous cover, but I also really liked the premise of society’s elite in the late 19th Century New York; however, it was very poorly executed from page one. Every single character is very underdeveloped and completely unlikeable, which, in order for the plot to actually work is not what you should be feeling about the characters, though there wasn’t much of a plot to speak of as the twist was obvious from the outset and what follows is four-hundred-or-so mind numbing pages full of utterly unnecessary descriptions of rooms and dresses; The Luxe could have so easily cut at the very least one hundred pages, which would perhaps make it a more enjoyable read.

One thing I particularly didn’t like was when the characters were talking, there would be dialogue, then about three pages of description of what they were both wearing and what the room was like, and then the character’s reply, by which time you’d completely forgotten what the first character had said. However, the thing that really grated me was that although it was clear a lot of research had gone into writing The Luxe, the way the characters spoke and behaved was so out of the era of the turn of the 20th century it was laughable. The only things I want of historical novels is that they do their research and if they try to sound like the period that they are writing about that they manage it, but honestly, if you missed off the date, I would believe someone if they told me this was set in the modern day about a bunch of pretentious rich snobs. We’re treated to a wealth of description about how lovely and nice Elizabeth was in the prologue, but I saw no evidence during the course of the novel that this was the case – she was just as selfish and pretentious as the rest of them.

I’m really starting to think that pretty covers are used to describe awful books, because although we know we shouldn’t, we all do judge books by their cover and I know many people will, like myself, fall into the pitfall of reading this book solely due to its stunning cover. The ‘plot’ goes as follows: Elizabeth dies. Cue hundreds of pages charting her life in the days before when you discover that her family had lost their wealth and thus she has to marry for money – luckily she is jaw-droppingly beautiful and there is a particularly eligible bachelor in New York, so she soon gets engaged, despite loving the stable hand (even though we never see much of his personality to see why)…and then she dies. That’s pretty much it, seriously – it couldn’t get any shallower. The characters are unbelievably flat and stereotypical, everything is told to you and spelt out as simply as possible, and the plot was incredibly yawn-worthy and predictable. Avoid!
[SYNOPSIS: In the self-contained world of young Gilded Age Manhattan socialites, Elizabeth and Diana Holland reign supreme. Or so it seems. Scratch the surface, though, and you can detect festering jealousies that threaten to topple them. Elizabeth suffers a more literal fall when her carriage overturns and she is carried away by the swift East River current. That's only the beginning of the action and suspense in The Luxe, the launch volume in a teen series by Anna Godbersen.]

Sunday, 28 August 2011

In My Mailbox (7)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren and is my first ever meme where you share all the books you received during the week whether it be from the library or in the mail post.
This week I got:
Wither ~ Lauren DeStefano (Library)
Ive just started reading this, and I'm loving it so far! And that cover...*dies*
Hunting Lila ~ Sarah Alderson (Library)
I've heard good things about this, and it looks like a very interesting read.

What did you guys get in your mailbox this week? Leave a comment and I'll be sure to check out your IMM :)

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

I found Shiver a bit slow to start with, but when it does you’re pretty much sucked in; although most of the book is mainly concerning Sam and Grace’s romance, and the actual plot doesn’t kick in until very late on in the book and could have been better exploited. The thing that I liked most was the unique take on the werewolves – humans only turn into wolves when it gets cold, and eventually stop turning back, remaining wolves until they die. The main plot, aside from the romance, concerned the last part of the wolf problem – Sam, for plot device reasons, is in his last year of remaining human whereas most werewolves have a great many more years than he has continuing to be human. He knows he can’t hide from the cold forever, and that when it hits him he’s going to have to say goodbye to Grace for much longer; and so occurs a frantic race against the weather to discover if there is anyway at all to keep Sam human.

         Although I was slightly confused as to why there were there at first, I liked the temperature readings at the start of each chapter, which give you an idea on how close Sam is to shifting, although it made for a bit of a dodgy timeline. Shiver was quite reminiscent of Twilight, but to be honest I’d be more shocked if the opposite were the case. I really didn’t like the nonsensical ‘poetic’ lyrics that Sam kept coming out with, but that may be because I’m not exactly poetry’s biggest fan, although they are pretty bad. Also, Sam tends to sound remarkably female at times, which isn’t helped by the fact that both his and Grace’s perspectives read virtually the same.

Grace was a bit disturbing with how obsessed she was with the wolves – they tried to eat her, and yes, Sam saved her at the very last minute, but when a local boy is killed by them, she is furious that they are being hunted and killed; she didn’t care for Jack at all, dismissing him because he seems a bit of a jerk, even though it is apparent his father beat him, yet she risks her life to save wolves. Wolves. Wolves that tried to eat her. She also pretty much abandons her friends when it turns out that ‘her’ wolf is actually a human, which I really didn’t like about her, but other than that she was ok as a character, though she could have been developed further.

I think Isabelle was my favourite character, and I was very surprised by how much I grew to like her, though the vast majority of characters aren’t explored or developed, the most prominent of these being Grace. I really didn’t get why Grace’s parents were so neglectful of her, and it was a thinly veiled plot device which really annoyed me. A lot of things were left unexplained, so I’m hoping for explanations in the sequels, like exactly how the werewolves came to be.

The best thing about Shiver was Stiefvater’s writing, even if there was a lot of purple prose – I will definitely be checking more of her out, as well as perusing Linger as I’m very interested to see where Sam and Grace’s story will head.
[SYNOPSIS: Grace is fascinated by the wolves in the woods behind her house; one yellow-eyed wolf in particular. Every winter, she watches him but every summer, he disappears. Sam leads two lives. In winter he stays in the frozen woods, with the protection of the pack. In summer, he has a few precious months to be human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again. When Grace and Sam finally meet they realize they can't bear to be apart. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human - or risk losing himself, and Grace, for ever.]

Sunday, 21 August 2011

In My Mailbox (6)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren and is my first ever meme where you share all the books you received during the week whether it be from the library or in the mail post.

This week I got:

Uglies ~ Scott Westerfeld (Library)
I've already read this one and was a bit underwhelmed, if I'm honest. It had a brilliant premise, but I don't think it was executed too well.
Blood Magic ~ Tessa Gratton (Library)
I've just started reading this one - it's pretty good so far :)

What did you guys get in your mailbox this week? :)

Saturday, 20 August 2011

The Demon Trappers: Forbidden by Jana Oliver

**SPOILERS FOR FORSAKEN, THE FIRST BOOK IN THE SERIES (which you should definitely read first!)**

It’s a bit difficult to give a brief summary of Forbidden without revealing too much, as there are a heck of a lot of amazing plot twists which I really don’t want to spoil, but I’ll try my best: Forbidden starts where Forsaken left us – with the entire city of Atlanta recovering from the demon attack that occurred at the Demon Trapper meeting; Trappers are mourning the loss of some of their greatest as well as attempting to work out how they were attacked in the first place and the citizens of Atlanta are worried that they’re not being protected efficiently enough from the demons, which leads to the ruthlessly efficient Demon Hunters being called in – something the Trappers aren’t best pleased about. Meanwhile, Riley’s relationship with Simon is most definitely on the rocks, which leads to a growing attraction to the mysterious Ori, who vows to protect her from the deadly demon that is determined to kill her. Aside from all of this, she’s trying to figure out who brought her dad back from the dead and why someone is selling counterfeit Holy Water, as well as trying to earn enough to pay the rent.

In case you haven’t read Forsaken and are completely confused, the series is set in an alternate world where demons roam freely, and are graded from very harmless (Grade One a.k.a. klepto-fiends) to extremely dangerous (Grade Five a.k.a. Geo-Fiends). Trappers and Hunters do as they say on the tin with regards to the getting rid of the demonic presences, and there’s quite a bit of a rivalry between the two. Witches and Necromancers (people who reanimate the dead to sell as slaves) also exist and trade freely in this alternate future of 2018. The series is set in Atlanta, which is desperately poor, and doing anything it can to save or increase money, including closing schools and housing classes in abandoned buildings or coffee shops. Riley is a Demon Trapper – one of the youngest, and the only female – whose father was recently killed by a demon, who is now after her.

The events of Forsaken were recapped very well without seeming patronising or spelling things out as obviously as possible (which many books annoyingly do), and are much needed as I, for one, had forgotten several things having read the first book of this amazing series over six months ago. I can’t describe why I like Oliver’s writing and characterisation so much – you’ll just have to grab a copy yourself to see how captivating, insightful and creative it truly is! I also love the subtle but extremely funny humour laced throughout this brilliant book as it makes Forbidden an even more enjoyable read. It is, much like its predecessor, very creative – I especially liked the creepy reanimated-body auction and the idea of parking spaces as mini shops. I also adored the klepto-fiends–micro-sized demons with a penance for shiny things–along with Mort, the necromancer, who is such a nice and kind person, despite his job of bringing back the dead to work as slaves, but we get a very good insight into his back-story, which makes you extremely sympathetic towards him.

 I’ve come to love Riley so much – she’s likeable, funny and down-to-earth, as well as being a really strong character, especially now she’s orphaned. Every single character in Forbidden is utterly unique, the vast majority realistic and most are surprisingly complex. The cover is stunningly striking, and I love the gorgeous blue flames that perfectly match the eyes of ‘Riley’ (and how drastically pale she has become), along with the fact that the style of Forsaken has been kept – it’ll be a lovely series to collect.

However, I really didn’t like Simon, Riley’s saintly boyfriend who is barely recovering from the tragic demon attack at the Tabernacle, especially when he gets snappy with Riley, and I’m surprised that she still wanted to be with him for some time. I’m not sure if I like the accents showing up in the character’s (namely Beck and his Southern drawl and Stewart’s Scottish tongue) speech, though it does make for more realistic, if annoying, reading. Also, I was a bit confused by the whole Holy Water scam and didn’t properly understand how it worked, but it was probably just me. I was so glad to get an explanation as to how demons infiltrated earth, which was my only complaint about the first book, and the explanation was very surprising and revealing.

 Forbidden is full of suspense as to who stole Riley’s father’s body, how the demons managed to break in at the Trapper Meeting and what exactly Ori is up to; combine that with brilliant writing and fantastic characters and you have yourself a real page-turner of a spectacular novel.
[SYNOPSIS: Riley's beginning to think being a Demon Trapper isn't all it's cracked up to be. Her dad's been stolen by a necromancer, her boyfriend's gone all weird and she's getting warm and fuzzy feelings for someone who's got more secrets that the CIA. It's tempting to give it all up and try to be normal, but that's not an option.
Because the demons have plans for Riley. And they're not the only ones.]

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

The Lunatic's Curse by F. E. Higgins

The Lunatic’s Curse is a strange little book – part of the ‘Tales from Sinister City’ series by F. E. Higgins (although you don’t have to have read the previous titles to enjoy The Lunatic’s Curse, there are nice little tie-ins), which recount odd tales about the fictional city of Urbs Umida and its peculiar residents in and around the 1800s. It is aimed at older children, but don't be put off as I think all ages will enjoy the delightful offerings: the plot is always very inventive, clever and unique with plenty of twists to shock you and keep you stuck to the book; they’re very well-written in an appropriate style for the time era with humour and unusual well-chosen words that may have you consulting a dictionary. They all have fairly morbid and gruesome parts, but they give the books a very definite and unique feel. It’s a shame the series doesn’t appear to be very popular as they really are treats to read.

It’s difficult to describe it well and not give away any spoilers, but basically The Lunatic’s Curse focuses on Rex, whose father turns suddenly mad one evening at dinner, and is taken to the inescapable Lunatic Asylum. Rex, desperate to prove his father’s sanity (as he is sure his father was set up by his new wife) and see him again, uncovers a shocking scandal when all of the lunatics manage to escape and the tramps begin to disappear off the streets… Secrets are brought to light, no one is to be trusted and seemingly unrelated events are revealed to be connected in a brilliantly clever way in the adrenalin-fuelling climax.

I liked the different formats, such as the letters and newspaper extracts, and I also liked the varied points of view, like the interesting one of the monster in the lake. You really root for the characters, or genuinely despise them and hope that they get their comeuppance they are so well-written. The twists are sometimes obvious and clearly some things were not-so-subtly placed there to set up twists, but on the whole I was not expecting them.

I really recommend The Lunatic’s Curse and its predecessors The Black Book of Secrets, The Bone Magician and The Eyeball Collector, even if they’re not your usual type of book, you are sure to enjoy them.
[SYNOPSIS: Deep within the heart of the Moiraean Mountains lies the town of Opum Oppidulum - home to the freezing Lake Beluarum and its rumoured monster. An inescapable asylum stands in the centre of the lake, enclosed by the sheer cliffs of Drop Rock island. When Ambrose Grammaticus, famous inventor and master engineer, viciously attacks his own son, Rex, he is hauled to the island and imprisoned. Rex knows his evil stepmother, Acantha, is behind his father's 'madness', but how can he prove it? Only the asylum holds the answers . . . A savage story of treachery, lunacy, greed, revenge and pure unadulterated wickedness.]

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

SLIGHT RANT: I stumbled across this blog post by Fitzpatrick whilst checking out what others thought of Hush, Hush and it’s really annoyed me – the way I see it, she’s basically saying you should never write a negative (well, she says "scathing" but never gives a definition) review of any book, most especially hers, and therefore allow the author to live in a world where everyone loves their book because it’s mean to express your honest opinion of what you thought of the book (which you have spent time and money on - it's impossible to "drop the books you don't love" because you have no idea what a book is like until you've read it, and if you don't like it then you want to warn others to not waste their time), and just in case you submit your work and the publisher spends time Googling your name, discovers a few critical reviews you have written and instantly decides to blacklist you – a lovely ill-disguised scaremongering tactic which really put me off writing a three star review for her book, but I shall go ahead and "take the higher road "; if I don’t like a book, I won't hesitate say that I don’t, but I will always at least try and find positives about it and reasons why I didn’t like it, and whilst negative reviews may put a damper on the author's day, they give positive ones worth, are much more valuable long-term than positive ones, and will often lead to better writing; it's inevitable that people both will hate and love your work, and some may hate it in an non-constructive way, which is annoying, but not everyone in life is nice and helpful, and Fitzpatrick should be happy that her work is actually out there to be reviewed.

          Also, if I don't like an author then I would most certainly not want or expect them to publicly review my work, but for all Fitzpatrick knew it may have been the editor's idea to say the author loved her book without their knowledge. I would hope if I am ever published, it would be on the basis that my work is, to the publisher, profitable and likely to be read and enjoyed by the public and I would sincerely hope that I am not rejected on the basis that I am negative in some of my reviews. Sorry for the rant, but the blog post really irked me, and I felt I had to let out a bit of steam. Anyway, on with the review:

REVIEW: The similarities between Hush, Hush and Twilight cannot be denied or ignored – I’m really not a fan of prologues (they’re often pointless, misused purely to make the story sound interesting, confusing and usually the sign of a bad book) so when I started to read Hush, Hush I instantly thought ‘Oh god no…’ (which I thought again when I read that it’s getting a graphic novel), coupled with the whole ‘forbidden romance’, magical mythical creature turned mysterious-hot-new-guy-in-school and I was thoroughly expecting to dislike Hush, Hush; I was quite wrong – it’s definitely not the best book I’ve ever read, but I found myself enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would. I also realise it’s inevitable that stories will have uncanny coincidences towards each other but it still ruins the reading experience when they’re so undisguised and obviously there so the author can collect a larger paycheck owing to Twilight’s infamous popularity.

I adored the humour in the book, and I really liked Fitzpatrick’s writing – it draws you in but at times, such as the prologue and the stupid-nothing-to-do-with-story title, she is trying far too hard to be poetic and it really doesn’t work. The pacing was well done, and it did have you turning pages. However, Patch was a pretty bad jerk a lot of the time, not to mention genuinely dangerous almost all of the time, and you know like character development is generally supposed to make you like the characters in the book more? Well, the little character development that occured sort of went the opposite way in this book – I really liked Vee and Nora in the beginning, but Vee developed into an awful friend and Nora kept on doing really stupid things – she continuously claims Patch frightens her, yet as soon as she meets him she’s overcome with desire and forgets all her hate for him and just ends up being annoying.

The story and ending were predictable, many many things were insufficiently explained, I got very sick of all the smutty innuendos curtsey of Patch, and I don’t think it was made too clear at what point they fell in love with each other; nonetheless Hush, Hush is still an enjoyable, if forgettable, read.
[SYNOPSIS: For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her...until Patch comes along. With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgement, but after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure whom to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is far more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel. 
For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life.]

Sunday, 14 August 2011

The Liebster Blog Award

Many thanks to Melissa @ Just One Opinion for nominating me for the Liebster Blog Award - my first nomination - I'm honoured!

The goal of the award is to spotlight up and coming bloggers with less than 200 followers.

The rules of the award are:
1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
2. Reveal your top 5 (I did 6 because I honestly couldn't cross any of them off!) picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Copy and past the award on your blog.
4. Have faith that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers.
5. And most of all- have bloggity-blog fun!

This was so harder than I expected it to be, as there are so many great blogs I'm following with a great many less followers than they deserve, but here are my choices (in no particular order):

1. Ash @ Typing Tiara
Ash is such a lovely person, her reviews are always fantastic and I love her blog! :)
2. Gabby @ YA Pixie
I think this is my favourite blog design of all time - it's really cute! Gabby has also done some great reviews so far and has lots of amazing memes! :) 
3. Kathy @ A Glass of Wine
Kathy does really great, detailed reviews that I always look forward to reading :)
4. Rachel @ Rachel Reads
Rachel does brilliant reviews :)
Another blogger who does fantastic reviews and has a great blog! :)
6. Isme @ The Book Slooth
I love Isme's blog - it's so creative, her reviews are brilliant, and I like the fact she reads various genres :)

I hope that those I listed haven't yet received the award.

In My Mailbox (5)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren and is my first ever meme where you share all the books you received during the week whether it be from the library or in the mail post.

This week I got:

Lottie Biggs is (Not) Mad ~ Hayley Long (the awesome MyKindaBook)
Lottie Biggs is (Not) Desperate ~ Hayley Long (the awesome MyKindaBook)
Lottie Biggs is (Not) Tragic ~ Hayley Long (the awesome MyKindaBook)
Fallen ~ Lauren Kate (Library)

The Lottie Biggs books were a nice surprise, and they look pretty funny but I really need to whittle down my library pile before I start reading my own books!
I'm a bit hesitant to read Fallen after reading The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove and hating it, but I'll try to go in with an open mind as I know lots of people adore the series. My god that cover is gorgeous though!
What did you guys get in your mailbox this week? :)

Friday, 12 August 2011

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

When someone or something is murdered, it leaves an ‘echo’ on both victim and perpetrator, which goes unnoticed by most; Violet is the exception to this rule. Her talent, inherited from her grandmother (and annoyingly completely unexplained), is generally problematic and resulted in a strange childhood consisting of bringing dead animals home to bury in her backyard, and stumbling across the odd dead body. Now sixteen, it doesn’t cause her too much bother; that is until a murderer begins killing local young girls and Violet realises too late that she may be in a grave amount of danger…

I really didn’t warm to Violet at all–she was selfish, annoying, stupid and sulky–and found she falls neatly in the ‘Too Stupid To Live’ category of characters – just a few examples of this are when she recklessly forgets her cell mobile phone whilst on a hunt for the murderer and seems to try her best to wander off without alerting anybody with a killer on the loose. I did, however, like the fact that all of the characters have flaws, but that was (weirdly) the only good thing about them. The murderer’s point of view was creepy, yet believable, and my favourite parts of the book, even if they have been done again and again, and in much better style. I would also have liked to have been able to guess at who the murderer may or may not be, but at the end you didn’t even learn his name – I think Derting may have missed a trick there.

The Body Finder had a very nice concept, and is written fairly averagely with a pace that keeps you glued to the pages, but I found it predictable, too long for what it was and my dislike of Violet ruined the book for me, especially when I almost began rooting for the murderer to silence Violet, which I’m sure Derting wasn’t aiming for. Having said that it was too predictable, I have to admit there was one thing that I really wasn’t expecting, but in the interests of keeping this review spoiler-free, I won’t disclose details. Also, I really didn’t care if she got with Jay or not, though it was pretty obvious what was going to happen, and both their romance and the lead up to far overpowered the murder mystery, which should have been the central focus of the book, but unfortunately wasn’t. I don’t think I’ll be going out of my way to read the sequels, as I'm quite disappointed by The Body Finder, and don't hold out much hope that Desires of the Dead will be better.
[SYNOPSIS: Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her "power" to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes that the dead leave behind in the world... and the imprints that attach to their killers.
Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find the dead birds her cat had tired of playing with. But now that a serial killer has begun terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he's claimed haunt her daily, she realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.
Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet on her quest to find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved to find herself hoping that Jay's intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she's falling intensely in love, Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer... and becoming his prey herself.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

You Against Me by Jenny Downham

You Against Me focuses on the consequences of Karyn accusing Tom of rape; the legal odds are not in her favour – there is no evidence, Tom is from a very rich family who can afford the best lawyers and the only other person in the house at the time, Tom’s younger sister Ellie, claims not to have seen anything. Meanwhile, Kayrn’s brother is plotting his own form of revenge and whilst planning it out, he meets Ellie, and he certainly didn’t plan on what happens next…

You Against Me was realistic in all aspects, especially the characters, although I found that I didn't quite connect with them, which means I didn’t care too much what happens to them, which makes the storyline a bit redundant, but still touching. The alternating chapters between Mikey and Ellie provide both sides to the story of the assault – before reading You Against Me, I have to admit I’ve never given due consideration towards the point of view and feelings of the family of the offender, or how such a claim affects a wide range of people, so it has definitely opened my eyes in that respect. I liked the relevant culture references and slang, though much will go right over the heads of the non-British as they are fairly specific, and may be pretty confusing.

There was too much talk about sex and drugs for my liking, though I guess it made it gritty. You’re left on a cliffhanger, but I wouldn’t really call it that as such because it’s made pretty much clear what will eventually happen, especially if you give it a bit of thought. I found the pacing to be very slow with not a lot of action to sustain your interest and perhaps as much as a hundred pages could have been cut, which would make it a much more enjoyable read, as I was a bit underwhelmed on finishing it. Also, I really can’t decide if I like the cover or not, though I do like the scratches…

Nonetheless, You Against Me is indeed a brave and unflinching novel, dealing with a difficult and sensitive subject very carefully, yet still manages to explore it thoughtfully - a powerful and touching read.
[SYNOPSIS: If someone hurts your sister and you're any kind of man, you seek revenge, right? If your brother's been accused of a terrible crime and you're the main witness, then you banish all doubt and defend him. Isn't that what families do? When Mikey's sister claims a boy assaulted her at a party, his world of work and girls begins to fall apart. When Ellie's brother is charged with the crime, but says he didn't do it, her world of revision, exams and fitting in at a new school begins to unravel. When Mikey and Ellie meet, two worlds collide. Brave and unflinching, this is a novel of extraordinary skillfulness and almost unbearable tension. It's a book about loyalty and the choices that come with it. But above all it's a book about love - for one's family and for another.]

Sunday, 7 August 2011

In My Mailbox (4)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren and is my first ever meme where you share all the books you received during the week whether it be from the library or in the mail post.

This week I got:
Shiver ~ Maggie Stiefvater (Library)
The Luxe ~ Anna Godbersen (Library)
Forbidden ~ Jana Oliver [The Demon Trappers #2] (the awesome MyKindaBook)
Across the Universe ~ Beth Revis (won from the brilliant folks at Puffin/Razorbill - thank you very much!)
Haunting Violet ~ Alyxandra Harvey (Library)
Before I Die ~ Jenny Downham (Library)

I love my mailbox this week - cannot wait to start reading Forbidden and Shiver -  I adored the first Demon Trapper book and have heard lots of good things about The Wolves of Mercy Falls series.
What did you guys get in your mailbox this week?

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

I have the feeling this review is going to be pretty short as, no matter what I type, it’s never going to be enough to be able to do this remarkable book justice.

For some reason, I was expecting Forbidden to be about a boy and a girl who meet by chance, fall in love and eventually discover they are in fact brother and sister, but what I got was something much better – Lochan is seventeen and unofficial head of his family as his alcoholic mother is hardly ever there, and if she is she’s hung over or getting ready for her next night out, their dad has a new family and his younger siblings need looking after; sixteen year old Maya shares his responsibilities and the two have always been best friends, there for each other through thick and thin. What follows is definitely daring and risky to write about, and in lesser hands it could have been awful and excruciatingly uncomfortable to read, but fortunately Suzuma is an excellent writer – both in plot and narration, and by the end I was whole-heartedly supporting Lochan and Maya in their relationship, which I never expected and just goes to show how brilliant this book is as it is able to turn incest into a beautiful love story.

Forbidden is told in alternating chapters which gives you a fantastic insight into both incredibly realistic and likeable characters; I really admired their selflessness and felt for both (along with despising their mother), but especially Lochan – he has too much unwanted responsibility but accepts it with few complaints, and I also know what it’s like to be pretty shy. Their relationship develops believably – there are no icky clichés thanks to Suzuma’s beautiful writing, which is impossible to not like, but it gets pretty graphic so it’s definitely not for younger YA readers; the thoughts and consequences surrounding the relationship are very realistic too. The chaos of family life seeps through the pages, especially as all of the siblings are unique and thoroughly realistic – the adorable Willa, hyperactive Tiffin and the sulky neglected middle child Kit felt like children I genuinely knew.

Not everyone will like this book as much as I did, mainly because of the controversial and unsettling subject matter, but it is one of the most skilfully-written, powerful, shocking, emotionally-challenging, insightful, thought-provoking and heart-breaking books I have read this year – do yourself a favour and read this book.
[SYNOPSIS: She is pretty and talented - sweet sixteen and never been kissed. He is seventeen; gorgeous and on the brink of a bright future. And now they have fallen in love. But ...They are brother and sister.]
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