Thursday, 28 June 2012

Review: Wood Angel


Title: Wood Angel

Author: Erin Bow

Publisher: UK - Chicken House | US - Scholastic (published as Plain Kate)

Publication: UK - March 2011 | US - 2010

Format: Paperback - 288 pages

Genre: Fantasy | Young Adult



Kate lives in a time afraid of magic.

Alone in the world with only her cat Taggle for company, she makes 'lucky' wooden charms to sell, although her unusual gift marks her out in a place where witches are still burned. 

When Kate's village falls on bad times, she's accused of practising dark magic. Scared for her life, she turns to a stranger. But he has a plan more dangerous than she could ever have dreamed.

It's up to Kate to carve good out of evil.

My thoughts:

This is a difficult review to write since this is such a frustrating book with such a wonderful plot and writing style.


Wood Angel is about a girl, Kate, or plain Kate as she calls herself, who carves wood into good luck charms for money. Her looks and skills with a knife soon capture the attention of the town when crops die and the weather is bad. Kate is accused of witchcraft and runs for her life, coming across dangers along the way to finding a place where she belongs.


This story is told with such a magical, classic, old-timey, story-teller feel that reading it literally made me feel like I was being told an old fairytale, similar to red riding hood, by the fire. It was so wonderfully written that I couldn't help but fall in love with the story from the very beginning. Don't get me wrong, this read was pretty gruesome at times with people being set on fire and almost being chopped to pieces by an axe. It just had this really nice feel to it that made the more dramatic turns in the story even more shocking than I think they would seem to be otherwise.


I also loved the plot. I was something different to what I've been reading lately and it was a welcome break. It's always nice to find something so unique in the plot of any book and Wood Angel was definitely that. It had the kind of plot that can make readers feel hatred towards a certain character and yet empathise with them at the same time. That's always interesting to me, the constant debate that I had with whether or not I really despised this character or if I understood where he was coming from even if he was going about it in entirely the wrong way. It gave the whole book a new aspect that I liked - a lot more depth than there was initially.


What I had a problem with was some of the characters, including the protagonist, Kate. At the start of the novel I liked her character and towards the end I still found her sweet and loveable. It's just that I hate the fact that I figured out what was happening in the plot before she did. I always feel that if the main character in any book doesn't realise what's going on before I do they're incredibly dense. If it's obvious to the reader, it's obvious to the character. That was what was most frustrating and it happened quite a bit. It was like for the entire length of the book I was waiting for her to catch up.


Another problem I had was that the ending wasn't resolved in my opinion. I hate that. I didn't know where Kate stood with all the other characters - as a reader I was just told that 'she lives happily ever after'. No thank you. I was so desperate to find out what happens between her and Dina ( a friend she makes), and Behjet (Dina's uncle). It's still annoying me. :(


Overall though, I really did enjoy reading this one, if not for the great story line, it was for the great writing.


My rating: 7/10




Erin Bow:

Goodreads | Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook



Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Review: If I Stay


Title: If I Stay

Author: Gayle Forman

Series: If I Stay #1

Publisher:Random House Group (UK) | Speak (US)

Publication date: 13th May 2010 (UK) | 06 Apr 2010 (US)

Format: Paperback - 234 pages

 Genre: Contemporary | Young Adult



A cold February morning...

A snowy road...

And suddenly all of Mia's choices are gone.

Except one.

As alone as she'll ever be, Mia must make the most difficult choice of all.

My thoughts:

I never thought such a short read could be so captivating, moving and memorable.


If I Stay follows Mia and her tough journey trying to decide whether or not she lives or dies. Mia is in a coma after a devastating car crash with a horrendous outcome. She alone has to make the decision to stay and deal with a horrific tragedy or to leave it all behind.


What I love about this read is how much of it involves Mia's memories. The car crash happens more or less immediately in the book so most of the read is Mia's thoughts while she's in the hospital and her memories of her family and dearest friends. It made me think about how we don't really focus on those good memories and also making them when we can. Mia didn't really focus on what she would wake up to but more on all the amazing times she had with her family and friends. I really think we don't do that enough. This book has made me want to appreciate the good times I have even more because it can all be taken away in a split second.


I also loved the characters. I adored Mia most of all. She was so strong and wilful without being unrealistic. She was also relatable because she didn't take anything that happened lightly - she was as devastated as she should be and didn't have this 'I'll be okay' attitude, she knew that what happened was going to turn her life upside down and that it would be incredibly hard from here on out. I loved that about her.


All of the other characters. friends and family, were incredible. Each had their own part to play in the story and each were loveable in their own unique way. The Grandparents were really sweet and endearing and Kim - Mia's best friend - was an amazing character. She was similar to Mia in that she was really strong willed and at the same time she was down to earth. 


Of course I have to mention Mia's boyfriend Adam. He was so sweet. His little speech close to the end just broke my heart. It's funny though because this book wasn't incredibly cheesy in any way which is what I was expecting. Adam was really blunt and just told it straight which was incredible. If I Stay definitely puts it all into perspective. 


I can't really do this one justice in any sort of review. It's most definitely a must-read that you won't forget.


My rating: 10/10



Gayle Forman:

Goodreads | Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter


Books in the series:

  1. If I Stay
  2. Where She Went



Friday, 22 June 2012

Review: The Fallen


Title: The Fallen - The Fallen and Leviathan

Author: Thomas E. Sniegoski

Series: The Fallen #1 & #2

Publisher: Simon & Schuster (UK | US)

Publication date: UK - October 2010 | US - March 2010

Format: Paperback - 544 pages

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Young Adult

On his eighteenth birthday, Aaron begins to hear strange voices and is convinced he is going insane. But having moved from foster home to foster home, Aaron doesn't know whom he can trust. He wants to confide in the cute girl from class, but fears she'll confirm he's crazy.

Then a mysterious man begins following Aaron. He knows about Aaron's troubled past and his new powers. And he has a message for Aaron: As the son of a mortal and an angel, Aaron has been chosen to redeem the Fallen.

Aaron tries to dismiss the news and resists his supernatural abilities. But he must accept his newfound heritage - and quickly. For the dark powers are gaining strength, and are hell-bent on destroying him...

My thoughts:


I have to start off by saying that Aaron is such a sweetheart that you'd have to be mad not to love him right from the start of the book. His backstory is so sweet and his personality is so endearing that I knew I would finish the book purely for his character even if the story ends up something else entirely.


Aaron is an orphan being fostered by a lovely family who he considers his birth parents. Things change when he discovers he is the son of a mortal woman and an angel - he discovers new abilities and that he is the one and only Nephilim that a prophecy talks of. A prophecy that claims Aaron will be the one to grant forgiveness to the fallen angels if they truly deserve it.


This is one of those books that is a nice read but to me it was nothing more than that. I liked it. It was a nice plot and the story was full of great characters but the book as a whole lacked something in my opinion. 


What I liked most about this book was the characters. They held the book together with how many there were and their different personalities. There were a few that I felt weren't needed - some were introduced and then seemed to disappear which made me feel like I'd missed something.


Since this book is a bind up ( the first two books in the series in one big book ) I couldn't help but compare the two books. I felt that the first ( The Fallen ) was heaps better than the second ( Leviathan ). It had a better writing style - the second book felt incredibly rushed and slightly underwhelming. I think the only reason I liked this book as a whole was because of the first story. If The Fallen was similar to Leviathan I think I wouldn't have bothered finishing it. 


Having said that, the author has done a good job of keeping secrets. I really do want to carry on with the series just to find the answers to a lot of questions that I have. 


I think this is a perfect book to get from the library for a nice read and I'm definitely going to see if the next books in the series are any better.


My rating: 6/10



Thomas E. Sniegoski:

Goodreads | Website 


Books in the series:

  1. The Fallen
  2. Leviathan
  3. Aerie
  4. Reckoning
  5. End of Days
  6. Forsaken 

Monday, 18 June 2012

Review: The Iron Daughter


Title: The Iron Daughter

Author: Julie Kagawa

Series: The Iron Fey #2

Publisher: Mira (UK) | Harlequin Teen (US)

Publication date: May 2011 | Aug 2010

Format: Paperback - 384 pages

Genre: Fantasy

Young Adult

Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fitted in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter Prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron fey - ironbound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her.

Worse, Meghan's own fey powers have been cut off. She's stuck in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting the prince who betrayed her, deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can't help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart.

My thoughts:

There's always a teensy bit of apprehension when reading the next book in any series - especially if the first book is amazing as The Iron King. I'm going to get it off my chest straight away and say this wasn't as good as the first book in the series, but I did think it was still a brilliant read.


I hate the fact that I find myself comparing this book the first one but that's just what happens. I think I found the first one better just because there's this whole new world introduced and it has this certain magical feel to it which is really apparent. There's a half-human girl just getting used to the place and all these great creatures and characters are introduced. That magic is drastically reduced in the second book. I already know the characters for the most part, I already know the world and I already know what direction the plot is going to take.


Now that's out of the way, I still thought this book was a really thrilling read. So far this series seems to be almost separated into two parts per book. The first being the part of the book that focuses more on the world of the fey as opposed to the story line itself. Then they both seemed to take a sharp turn and something surprising happens that turns the story around completely - even the tone of the writing changes. After that point I start flipping through the pages as fast as my eyes allow me.


All the great characters are reintroduced in this book. Ash was especially chilling in this one - it only makes me like him more! Puck was causing his usual mischief and Grimalkin was being...Grimalkin. Can I just point out how awesome he is? These books should actually be read purely because of him...a cat. He's pure amazingness.


I love the fact that Meghan seems to be changing slightly. There's a difference to her reactions and decisions in the end of this book compared to the beginning of the first book. But it's happening slowly which is what I like about it. She's developing at a constant rate and doesn't just have a random revelation in the middle of the book for no reason, causing her to become some mighty person who can do anything. That's what seems to be happening in most books lately and I hate it. Meghan has still kept both sides to her (human and fey) balanced and is all the more endearing for it.


Overall this book certainly wasn't any kind of disappointment . It was an engrossing read full of great characters and a captivating plot. Another wonderful faery read. 


My rating: 8/10


Julie Kagawa:

Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Blog


Books in the series:

  1. The Iron King
  2. The Iron Daughter
  3. The Iron Queen 
  4. The Iron Knight

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Review: Blood Rights


Title: Blood Rights

Author: Kristen Painter

Series: House of Comarre #1

Publisher: Orbit (UK | US)

Publication date: UK - 01/09/2011 | US - 10/1/2011

Format: Paperback - 432 pages

Genre: Urban Fantasy



Chrysabelle's skin bears the telltale markings of a prized Comarre - a race of humans bred to feed vampire nobility. But when her undead patron is murdered, she becomes the highly visible prime suspect. This sends her running into the mortal world... and into the arms of Malkolm, an outcast vampire cursed to kill every being from whom he drinks.

Despite their many differences, Chrysabelle and Malkolm must work together to stop a plot to merge the mortal and supernatural worlds. If they fail, chaos unlike anything anyone has ever seen will devastate both realms. And only a chosen few stand to gain.

My thoughts:


Without giving too much of the story away, Blood Rights follows Chrysabelle's race to prove her innocence after her patron is found dead. Chrysabelle is a human bred for the sole purpose of offering blood to her patron, Lord Algernon - who wouldn't suspect her of killing him for her freedom? She soon comes across Malkolm, a twice-cursed vampire who wants revenge against the noble vampires, to help ensure her freedom.


What I noticed straight away when I started to read this book is how much the world the story is set in has been developed. It really can't be faulted. There's so much description that you almost feel this place exists. You can immediately tell a lot of thought has been put into it and it certainly shines through. The settings are a perfect foundation for the rest of the story to be built up from.


And the story undoubtedly does not disappoint. There were so many surprises that I gave up trying to guess in what direction the story was going. I really enjoyed reading it to put it simply. There was a little bit of everything thrown in there - action, romance and even a little temper tantrum at one point which I found quite funny. I do think the end of the story could have played out a little better though. I can't help but feel it was rather rushed - too many things happened within a few pages for me to react the way I felt I was supposed to. Aside from that, the end held the mother of all surprises. I don't think the book held any clues as to what was going to happen at that point so it really threw me for a loop. It was most definitely my favourite part of the book - I loved it! 


Another plus side, the characters were great. They all had their faults and their moments to shine. I loved all of their personalities and the way they all interacted. I particularly liked Malkolm and not for the way you might expect. He was extremely sexy, but I was really intrigued by his curses. I liked the idea behind them and the idea of what caused them. Especially when you finally find out who gave the worst curse to him - I can guarantee you'll never have expected it.


Any lover of the urban fantasy genre should definitely read this one - plus it has such a beautiful cover! It really does look good on the shelf. This is another book where I'm itching to get my hands on the next series.


My rating: 9/10



Kristen Painter:

Goodreads | Blog | Twitter | Website | Facebook


Books in the series:

  1. Blood rights
  2. Flesh and Blood
  3. Bad Blood
  4. Out for Blood 









Sunday, 10 June 2012

Review: The Iron King


Title: The Iron King

Author: Julie Kagawa

Series: The Iron Fey #1

Publisher: Mira (UK) | Harlequin Teen (US)

Publication date: February 2011 (UK) | Feb 2010 (US)

Format: Paperback - 363 pages

Genre: Fantasy

Young Adult

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fitted in at school...or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar and her little brother is taken, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.

She could never have guessed the truth. Meghan is the daughter of a faery king and a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will have to choose between a normal life and her magical destiny - and between her best friend and a darkly dangerous prince.

It's time for Meghan to enter the faery world...

My thoughts:

I've always been incredibly apprehensive before starting any book based on faeries simply because the first I had read was absolutely terrible - it  ruined the whole faery experience. This book was no exception which is why I've put it off for so long. I have to say though, it has absolutely restored my faith in how reading about the faery world can be an incredible experience.

You start reading this book knowing that Meghan is the daughter of a faery king but that soon becomes the tip of the iceberg when Meghan finds herself trying to escape both the Seelie and Unseelie courts to try and find her brother Ethan. 

What I loved most about this read is how original it is. It has so many aspects to the faery world thrown in and this is just the first book in the series. The book started off with what any reader of faery worlds would expect - talk of glamours and someone starting to see the faeries behind them in the human world. It quickly takes a really unexpected turn even after both the Seelie and Unseelie courts have been introduced which was brilliant. 

I also loved how diverse the characters are. The Kings and Queens were all different and equally brilliant, Meghan was really endearing and loveable, Ash was really dark and sexy (loved him!) and Puck was really fun but had this really creepy dark side at times which was really captivating. 

The plot is just fantastic. My only criticism is that the beginning of the book seemed to be out of place to me. It did just make the turn in the story really dramatic but it felt somewhat out of place. I think once the plot starts to reveal itself the book just becomes a really unputdownable read. It's fast and engaging, it's packed with imagination and magical world building and it certainly makes you feel like this place exists. I loved it.

To anybody who is like me and has a habit of putting off reading books based on faeries this is definitely the one to read. I'm really excited to read the next in the series and see where what kind of reading experience it has in store!

I rate it: 9/10


Julie Kagawa

Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Blog 


Books in the series:

  1. The Iron King
  2. The Iron Daughter
  3. The Iron Queen
  4. The Iron Knight

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Review: Evermore



Title: Evermore

Author: Alyson Noel

Series: The Immortals #1

Publisher: Macmillan - UK | St. Martin's Press - US

Publication date: 18 Sep 09 - UK | February 2009 - US

Format: Paperback - 400 pages

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Young Adult

Sixteen - year - old Ever Bloom is the sole survivor of a car accident that killed her family. Exiled to sunny California, Ever is haunted by her little sister and by the ability to see people's auras, hear their thoughts and know their entire life story by touching them. She wants to hide from the world, but when a stunningly handsome new guy arrives at school, she can't seem to keep away. Falling in love with Damen is dangerous - he's not what he seems. But if Damen is her destiny, how can Ever walk away?

My thoughts:

After immediately finishing this book the first thought that came into my head was that a lot of people are bound to really hate this read. It's the kind of book that is for some readers and not for others to be honest. It has an overwhelming amount of cheesiness that some people won't mind but some people will despise it. 


Evermore involves Ever who in addition to her family's death has to deal with her new-found abilities of reading minds and auras. Insert Damen - the intense hot guy who quietens the never-ending cascade of thoughts Ever has to hear from others around her - but of course, Damen isn't who he says he is.


Personally, I found this to be an 'okay' read. It's a nice, quick and easy to get through (I finished in about four hours), but it does lack the substance and brilliant writing to be really great. It is the first in the series though and I do think it's good enough to try the next book. 


I liked the plot and the way the story turns out towards the end but I have to say I think the characters could have been a lot better. I found Ever to be a little annoying seeing as she seems to wander around without thinking - sort of a clueless character which could have been endearing but I thought it was a bit too much. The supporting characters like Miles and Haven just weren't given enough depth. I ended up not caring for them at all which is never a good thing in a story. Damen I actually didn't like at all which surprised me. I thought he wasn't given much of a chance in the book to shine though so I am going to give him another chance!


The story line itself was nice. Parts of it were sweet and there were some great ideas thrown in there that I think will be brought up a lot more in the next books. I feel it has potential and I really hope I like the next books a lot better!


My rating: 5/10


Alyson Noel:

Goodreads | Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter


Other books in the series:

  1. Evermore
  2. Blue Moon
  3. Shadowland
  4. Dark Flame
  5. Night Star
  6. Everlasting

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Review: Rot and Ruin



Title: Rot and Ruin

Author: Jonathan Maberry

Series: Benny Imura #1

Publisher: Simon and Schuster (UK & US)

Publication: March 2011 (UK) | May 2011(US)

Format: Paperback | 464 pages

Genre: Horror | Zombies

Young Adult

Nearly fourteen years ago, a freak virus swept across the world turning the living into the undead. Benny Imura was only a toddler, but his last memory of his parents is tainted by the image of them becoming zombies, and he blames his older brother, Tom, for not saving them.


Now Benny is fifteen, and Tom wants them to put their difficult relationship behind them and work together in the "family business" : as zombie killers. It's the last thing Benny wants to do, but he needs a job and he thinks it'll be an easy ride.


But when they head into the Rot and Ruin, an area full of wandering zombies, Benny soon realises that there's more to the job than just whacking zombies. And, as he's confronted with the truth about the world around him, Benny makes the most terrifying discovery of all, that the worst monsters you can imagine might actually be human ...



My thoughts:


 Rot and Ruin is about Benny Imura, his friends and what remains of his family. After 'First Night' most of the world's population were infected with a freak virus causing anyone who dies or is bitten to rise from the dead as a freaky flesh-eating zombie. Those who managed to escape, including Benny's brother Tom, chanced upon a small community in the mountains who have salvaged what they could to survive and do their best to fend off any 'walkers' in the area.


This book took me no time at all to finish purely because it was so gripping that I didn't want to do anything related to real life until I was done. Admittedly, I did think it was incredibly dull in the beginning where Benny was deciding which career he was going to settle into. It literally picked up after 20 pages though after which I was racing through pages.


I loved the fact that although this book is based on zombies, the author hasn't taken any spotlight off of the relationship between Benny and his brother Tom. Straight from the introduction of the protagonist, the difficulty Benny has with forgiving his brother for running away on 'First Night' is highlighted and Tom's reactions to Benny thinking him a coward are really apparent. It keeps the story getting repetitive with zombie after zombie shuffling towards somebody - that gets old really quickly. Instead the zombies become an extra problem hidden in the background, the primary problem being Benny seeing his brother the way everybody else sees him.


There are so many elements to this story that it stays captivating the whole way through until it gets to the point where you can feel the number of pages left thinning and you really don't want it to end. As soon as you think you are going to start to settle into the story and can sort of guess where it's going you're thrown right off the trail. 


Every single character in this book is amazing in their own way and I got excited when any one of the them came back into the story. I can't fault the characters in any way. Not for the development, personalities or even for how many there are. There's no confusion, every one of them plays a part in the story perfectly.


This is definitely a book I'm going to add to my 'favourite reads' list and I really do urge everyone to pick this one up. I'm off to go and get the second in the series!



 My rating:10/10


Jonathan Maberry:

Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter


Benny Imura series:

  1. Rot and Ruin
  2. Dust and Decay
  3. Flesh and Bone
  4. Fire and Ash