Friday, February 28, 2014

Behind The Pages #2 - Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

This is my second Behind The Pages post! You can find the first post of this feature with The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver here.

What is Behind The Pages all about? I asked some of my favourite authors and a bunch of promising 2014 debut authors to annotate a scene, page or more of one of their books. I see the feature as a chance to show readers what's behind a page. Authors can share their favourite writing memories, the music that influenced a certain scene or anything else that comes to their mind. We might get hints to what the characters were thinking and feeling that exact moment or other fun details about their story.

Hope you enjoy Behind The Pages as much as I do. I'm intending this feature to be a monthly post here on the blog. Today I'm happy to have Trish Doller sharing a page of her second novel, WHERE THE STARS STILL SHINE. Plus she wrote an awesome guest post about girl friendships in her story. Thanks to all the fabulous authors who took the time to annotate a page or scene for us, your comments are always so insightful and fun to read. When readers can't get enough of a book and its characters it only shows how much the author's work means to them, to us. Thank you! 


Stolen as a child from her large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has only the barest idea of what normal life might be like. She's never had a home, never gone to school, and has gotten most of her meals from laundromat vending machines. Her dreams are haunted by memories she’d like to forget completely. But when Callie’s mom is finally arrested for kidnapping her, and Callie’s real dad whisks her back to what would have been her life, in a small town in Florida, Callie must find a way to leave the past behind. She must learn to be part of a family. And she must believe that love--even with someone who seems an improbable choice--is more than just a possibility. 

About Trish Doller: I've been a writer as long as I've been able to write, but I didn't make a conscious decision to "be" a writer until fairly recently. For that you should probably be thankful.
I was born in Germany, grew up in Ohio, went to college at Ohio State University, got married to someone really excellent, bounced from Maine to Michigan and back to Ohio for awhile. Now I live in Florida with my two mostly grown kids, two dogs, and a pirate. For real.
I've worked as a morning radio personality, a newspaper reporter, and spent all my summers in college working at an amusement park. There I gained valuable life skills, including counting money really fast, directing traffic, jumping off a moving train, and making cheese-on-a-stick. Also, I can still welcome you to Frontier Town. Ask me sometime.​
These days I work as a bookseller at a Very Big Bookstore. And, you know, write.

Book Summary from Goodreads, Find Trish's author bio and her picture here.  


Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller


Trish Doller's Guest Post on Girl Friendships in WHERE THE STARS STILL SHINE

When I started writing the book that would become Where the Stars Still Shine I knew there were going to be a lot of issues to unpack. Callie, the main character, is the victim of parental abduction, neglect, and sexual abuse—big issues in their own right. I also knew issues would arise over being reunited with a parent she doesn’t remember and tension within her new blended family. But when I sat down to write, I didn’t know that girl friendships would play an important role in the book.

Kat—we learn in the scene that begins on the page I’ve shared—is Callie’s second cousin and they played together when they were little girls. Except when I began the scene that would introduce Kat, I had no idea that she was Callie’s cousin. I imagined her as a Greek-American girl who worked at one of the local shops who would take Callie under her wing, but when I realized they could be related it just felt...right.

Once Kat started taking shape in my mind, I knew I wanted her to be different than Callie. There is an unabashedly “girly” side to Kat—she likes clothes, jewelry, and makeup—but she owns it. And that was something I felt was incredibly important. Girls can like makeup and be kind to little old ladies. They can enjoy shopping for shoes and be fiercely loyal to their friends. They can whip on eyeliner like a pro and like to laugh. None of these things are mutually exclusive and girls can enjoy whatever they want. Kat’s “girlyness” doesn’t make her a throwaway character any more than an actual teenage girl’s “girlyness” makes her a throwaway girl.

When I understood that Kat was comfortable with herself, I realized she made the best kind of friend for Callie. Kat is optimistic. She’s buoyant, even when Callie is awful. But friendship is not innate and Callie’s mom robbed her of the skills the rest of us learn when we’re young. Callie has never had a friend so she doesn’t know how to be a friend, but Kat is strong enough to handle it. She teaches Callie what a real friend looks like. I don’t know about you, but I don’t know any best friendship that haven’t included fights, hurt feelings, or misunderstandings—even for girls who carry less emotional baggage than Callie. And if Callie’s and Kat’s road to friendship had been smooth, how boring and unrealistic would that have been?

I sometimes joke that if Kat is the friend who would bail Callie out of jail, Ariel is the friend who’d be in jail with her. The similarity between them is that I had no idea Ariel existed, either. 

When I first wrote the bookshop, the person who worked there was Ariel’s male counterpart. But I realized that Callie had spent so much time—and not much of it good—in the company of men. I toyed with the idea that she need a male friend who was not a romantic interest, but she kind of had Nick and Connor, so in the end I decided I wanted Callie to have another girl friend. 

With Ariel, I kind of wanted to poke at how we judge people by...well, everything under the sun. Callie sees tattoos and plugs and black-rimmed glasses and thinks pretentious hipster (which: see above about how girls can like anything they want) but later learns that Ariel is a is a drop-everything-and-get-the-keys type of friend. No question asked. She was only meant to be the girl who worked at the bookshop, but she turned into something so much more than that.

I think, to me, what sums up the girl friendships in Where the Stars Still Shine is the scene in which Kat presents Callie with a string of fairy lights.

Thanks. For—everything,” I say. “And I’m sorry about what I said earlier.”

Ooh! That reminds me.” Kat ignores my apology and rummages through the pile of bags for the small one she said was a surprise. Inside is a box of tiny white star-shaped Christmas lights. “Every girl needs a string of these for her room,” she says. “Not only are they beautiful, but when you have fairy lights, you’re never completely in the dark.”

The lump in my throat won’t let me speak, but she doesn’t wait for a reply. Instead she hands me one end of the string. “Let’s hang them now.”

We loop them around the curtain rod on the window beside my bed. It takes only a minute and when we finish, Kat plugs her end into the outlet. With daylight still streaming in through the window, the stars are pale yellow and weak.

Well, okay, they don’t seem very special at the moment,” she says. “But later? They’ll be spectacular.”


Click on the picture to see Trish's Pinterest inspiration board for WHERE THE STARS STILL SHINE.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Teaser: Infinite by Jodi Meadows

Infinite by Jodi Meadows

"But we weren't alone. Our people rushed through the passageway, firing pistols. Horses screamed, and the odor of burning wood filled the area. Both sides collided, all wild and chaotic. 
"Ana!" Sam's voice rang above cacophony. "Ana!"
I squeezed through the fighting, searching for Sam, but when I found my way back into the guard station, another group of Deborl's people surged into the main chamber. Blue targeting lights lit the room. Glass exploded in one of the vehicles, and screams crescendoed. 
I shouldn't have left my post. Stef had  put me by the door, and I'd left. 
"There you are." Deborl's voice pierced the noise as he appeared in front of me, his laser aimed at my forehead."  ― p. 69

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Book Review: Into the Still Blue (Under the Never Sky #3) by Veronica Rossi

Title: Into the Still Blue (Under the Never Sky #3)
Author: Veronica Rossi
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publishing Date: January 28th 2014
Length: 400 pages  
Keywords:YA, fiction, dystopian, romance, action, friendship
Source: Publisher

Their love and their leadership have been tested. Now it's time for Perry and Aria to unite the Dwellers and the Outsiders in one last desperate attempt to bring balance to their world.

The race to the Still Blue has reached a stalemate. Aria and Perry are determined to find this last safe-haven from the Aether storms before Sable and Hess do-and they are just as determined to stay together.

Meanwhile, time is running out to rescue Cinder, who was abducted by Hess and Sable for his unique abilities. And when Roar returns to camp, he is so furious with Perry that he won't even look at him, and Perry begins to feel like they have already lost.

Out of options, Perry and Aria assemble a team to mount an impossible rescue mission-because Cinder isn't just the key to unlocking the Still Blue and their only hope for survival, he's also their friend. And in a dying world, the bonds between people are what matter most.

Summary by Goodreads

When you've read all three books in this series you can see a very significant development and distinct suspense curve from UNDER THE NEVER SKY, THROUGH THE EVER NIGHT to INTO THE STILL BLUE. A trilogy with a strong and very harmonious story unit. Veronica Rossi's books are adventurous and wild and have just so much to offer. The Still Blue is this mythical and paradisiac place we've been waiting to discover together with our heroes since the very beginning and now we are as close as never before.

This last leg of Aria and Perry's journey isn't any less thrilling and dangerous than the previous instalments. This book is the chance of one last surge of action, to win the final battle against nature and the hellish Aether storms. But the Horns and the Dwellers around Hess aren't any easier to defeat than the Aether.
When our friends start into INTO THE STILL BLUE there are many uncertainties weighing them down. How can they get Cinder back? Find the Still Blue and outwit their enemies? You should be prepared to lose more characters in this final battle.
INTO THE STILL BLUE is very much about how all three different tribes are trying to achieve their respective goals, about the violence and battle potential between them. The Horns are very rural and big in force, the Dwellers are strong in the research and technology department and the Tides are caring and are putting high importance on the well-being of their people. I guess I know who you'll all be rooting for.

Amidst all the chaos and fighting there is Aria and Perry's love for each other, which is soothing and a welcome change. Their romance can be your silent island in the storm-tossed sea of this story. Now there are even more emotions and needs in the relationship of the two. Like other YA couples they are not free of conflicts and problems, but they are always reasonable and talk about what's worrying them at some point at least.

One could think after I liked all three UNDER THE NEVER SKY BOOKS so much, I should finally be able to give this last book in the trilogy the full five-star rating. Here's why, besides the very good last book that it was,  I wasn't completely happy with the ending.
Veronica Rossi reserved a good amount of chapters to tell us what's in it for our characters in future and tries to tie up every single story thread in the end. I wasn't convinced that she used the time we readers get to spend with our characters in the end economically enough. Some expendable scenes were simply stealing time from my precious last happy minutes with Aria and all the others. You can imagine I wasn't okay with that. I guess you see, this isn't the worst critique one could have about a book, wanting to always know more about your favourite characters in the end and to hope that their story never ends.

4,5/5 ****/* INTO THE STILL BLUE - The astute and perilously wonderful conclusion to the much beloved UNDER THE NEVER SKY series.

I only started the UNDER THE NEVER SKY series in the summer of 2013 and didn't have to wait too long to read the second and third books. Now I'm letting my favourite characters go with mixed feelings and can all but hope that we'll meet again soon in an UNDER THE NEVER SKY spin-off series. I'm so glad that everyone who discovers this series now can get all three books at the same time. Think of this series when you are planning your next special book series reading weekend.

"Aria lurched upright, the echo of gunshots ringing in her ears. Disoriented, she blinked at her surroundings, taking in the canvas walls, the two bed pallets, and the stack of battered storage trunks, finally recognizing Perry's tent. Pain pulsed steadily in her right arm. She looked down at the white bandage wrapped from her shoulder to her wrist, dread swirling in her stomach." ― p.1

INTO THE STILL BLUE you might enjoy THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS, a fantastical world created by Rae Carson. In BREATHE by Sarah Crossan and BLOOD RED ROAD by Moira Young teens are fighting the lack of oxygen on the planet and sandstorms. Just in case you are already missing Veronica Rossi's Aether storms.

* Have you read BROOKE, the novella between THROUGH THE EVER NIGHT and INTO THE STILL BLUE?

* Click here for an excerpt of INTO THE STILL BLUE.

* To watch the book trailer, click here.

* Want to meet Veronica Rossi? Check out her event schedule.

* For more information about Veronica and her books visit

* Thanks to Harper Collins International for sending me a copy of INTO THE STILL BLUE for review!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Coveresque feat. All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill (US vs. Bulgarian vs. German)

     US                                    Bulgarian                                  German

ALL OUR YESTERDAYS by Cristin Terrill was one of my favourite 2013 debut novels. A fabulously written time travel story with ingeniously connected present and future plots with Em, Finn and James. 
I can't say I'm a fan of the US cover, but I'm not aversed to it either. We see a city skyline, water, cooblestone all held in greyish-blue tones. As time is the most important commodity in this story it only makes sense to put such a prominent and glowing, orange clock in the focus of its US cover, right?

I needed a second to identify what's on the Bulgarian cover. Then I realized that it is meant to symbolize the dark cell that Em and Finn find themselves in at the beginning of ALL OUR YESTERDAYS. A few rays of light shining into the dark room.  The different time elements and cogs set the heart into motion ( = Em & Finn's love story I guess). Pretty clever, but I'm not into the font and the design of the many different clocks and cogs in the right corner and center of the cover.

   UK                       Dutch
This time, I can honestly say that the German cover is my favourite. It looks sleek, modern and stylish. We see the two versions of Em who are fighting time and each other. I assume the blue circle in the cover's center stands for time, which isn't a constant factor anymore but unravelling. Cool color scheme!  

See the UK and Dutch covers on the right. 

Q! Which cover do you like best or think fits the story best?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Book Review: It Felt Like A Kiss by Sarra Manning

Title: It Felt Like A Kiss
Author: Sarra Manning
Publisher: Corgi
Publishing Date: January 30th 2014
Length: 576 pages
Keywords: Adult, romance, chick lit, media scandal, art, London, Paris
Source: Publisher

Meet Ellie Cohen, one of the most perfect girls in London.

Ellie manages a swank Mayfair gallery, but it’s her life that’s a real work of art. Great job, really good hair, loyal friends, loving family. It’s only her succession of lame duck boyfriends that ruin the picture.

Oh, and the world-famous rock-star father she’s never met, who won’t even acknowledge her existence.

Then Ellie’s perfect life is smashed to pieces when her secret is sold to the highest bidder and her name, face (and pictures of her bottom) are splashed across the tabloids. Suddenly everyone thinks she’s a gold-digging, sex-crazy, famewhore.

Enter David Gold. Charming and handsome David Gold. On paper he’s even more perfect than Ellie, if only he wasn’t her father’s ruthlessly ambitious lawyer whose job is to manage the crisis – and her. He certainly doesn’t think that Ellie’s the innocent party and she doesn’t trust him at all. So why is it that every time they’re alone together, damage limitation is the last thing on their minds?

Summary by Goodreads

Ellie the party girl. Ellie the slut. Ellie, illegitimate daughter of UK music legend Billy Kay. These are labels used to describe our twenty something Ellie Cohen. Something made up by the press. And that when only a few weeks ago her life might not have been perfect, with her row of lame duck ex boyfriends, at least it went in the right direction. Everyone saw her for the friendly and always obliging Jewish girl that she is. IT FELT LIKE A KISS shows you what it means to become a victim of the press, the pawn in a game of celebrities. How could all that happen to Ellie in only a matter of days?

Very short chapters, 1-2 pages in between are providing the background story to Ellie's parents falling in love. Set in 1986 they are about two music obsessed, rebellious young adults who get together, write songs and more... What had to happen to the two that they can't even look at each other anymore?

Everything that included Ellie's family and her friends felt very familiar and comfortable. Seeing Ellie together with her mother or grandmother for example only showed what a warmhearted and loyal person she is.
And the more scenes about her job at a fancy art gallery the better. I'm interested in art myself so I wasn't at all averse to glimpse what's happening in the business and experience Ellie's view on new artists. Her colleagues are always good for playful banter even when things don't look so good.

IT FELT LIKE A KISS does have a love story between Ellie and her father's lawyer David, but I wouldn't say it's the story's biggest asset. The story's focus is more on the press scandal and everyone judging Ellie. No matter how good your intentions, how clean your record, people always find a way to turn something innocent into something ugly. Ellie's story highlights the conflict of individual versus press, money versus reputation,  privacy versus public humiliation. It was insane to follow the workings of the media machinery, scary to see what could happen if you gave the press one tiny piece of information, how out of control everything can spin.

IT FELT LIKE A KISS is set in London, with a short trip to Paris. The love story was beautiful, free and steamy in those few Paris chapters (my favourites!). In the London chapters before, David, the handsome lawyer of Ellie's father, is much too inactive and withdrawn for too long. He was a very rigid character whose description was appealing but sometimes a bit harsh. I could've seen a much swoonier, gentle love interest in this story. Like Ellie I didn't get his whole lawyer attitude at all. When I finally sensed something changing in him and I saw a chance to root for him, the story was nearly over.
There are sex scenes and they were so good. Unfortunately, they only make up a very small part of the story. A bit less on the "story foreplay" front and more scenes of the romancy, horizontal kind would have been a blast.

I've only read two other of Sarra's books and am slowly noticing that some of her characters have guest appearences in her other books. How fun!
Vaughn and Grace, Ellie's boss and his wife, have frequent appearances in IT FELT LIKE A KISS. They are the main characters in Sarra Manning's already published adult romance UNSTICKY which I haven't read but am now dying to. How fortunate that I ordered a copy of it a few weeks ago.

4/5 **** IT FELT LIKE A KISS - Sarra Manning is your pick if you are looking for the best writer of sexy times!

Sarra Manning's hot and intimate romance scenes are addictive. She's a writer who has the sense for a witty and fun story that's enriched with hilarious and thoughtful characters of all kind. I'm a fan of both her YA and adult books and like always I can't wait to find out what new project she's working on.

"Or she hoped he was laughing because tears were streaming down his face and now that she was sprawled across him, she could feel him shaking. "I have never had to work so hard to get a girl undressed." His choked laughter eased to a chuckle."I had a whole seduction routine planned." ― p. 359

IT FELT LIKE A KISS you might enjoy LITTLE WHITE LIES by fellow Brit author Katie Dale. This is YA and it's darker and more mysterious, but it's about a huge media affair, too. If you haven't read UNSTICKY by Sarra Manning yet, you might want to get to know Vaughn and Grace better and enjoy their own love story. JOHNNY BE GOOD by Paige Toon comes along with the romance between a hot rock star boss and his assistant.

* Can't get enough of Sarra Manning's books? Then you don't want to miss YOU DON'T HAVE TO SAY YOU LOVE ME!

* Click here for an excerpt of IT FELT LIKE A KISS.

* Visit for more information about Sarra and her books.

* Thanks to Transworld Publishers for sending me a copy of IT FELT LIKE A KISS for review!


Thanks to Transworld Publishers I'm giving away a copy of IT FELT LIKE A KISS. The giveaway is open internationally and ends March 15th 2014.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Book Review: Split Second (Pivot Point #2) by Kasie West

Title: Split Second (Pivot Point #2)
Author: Kasie West
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publishing Date: February 11th 2014
Length: 360 pages 
Keywords: YA, fiction, romance, paranormal gifts, friendship
Source: Publisher

Life can change in a split second.

Addie hardly recognizes her life since her parents divorced. Her boyfriend used her. Her best friend betrayed her. She can’t believe this is the future she chose. On top of that, her ability is acting up. She’s always been able to Search the future when presented with a choice. Now she can manipulate and slow down time, too . . . but not without a price.

When Addie’s dad invites her to spend her winter break with him, she jumps at the chance to escape into the Norm world of Dallas, Texas. There she meets the handsome and achingly familiar Trevor. He’s a virtual stranger to her, so why does her heart do a funny flip every time she sees him? But after witnessing secrets that were supposed to stay hidden, Trevor quickly seems more suspicious of Addie than interested in her. And she has an inexplicable desire to change that.

Meanwhile, her best friend, Laila, has a secret of her own: she can restore Addie’s memories . . . once she learns how. But there are powerful people who don’t want to see this happen. Desperate, Laila tries to manipulate Connor, a brooding bad boy from school—but he seems to be the only boy in the Compound immune to her charms. And the only one who can help her.

As Addie and Laila frantically attempt to retrieve the lost memories, Addie must piece together a world she thought she knew before she loses the love she nearly forgot . . . and a future that could change everything.

Summary by Goodreads  

You know that PIVOT POINT was among the top three of my favourite books of 2014. I read it as a standalone and was ecstatic when I found out there was going to be a sequel, because things weren't completely wrapped up in the end of book one. Now I poured all my hope in SPLIT SECOND for Addie and Trevor to find their perfect ending. These two characters really grew on me in the first book and I was heartbroken about how things ended for them.

So I'd pinned my hope on SPLIT SECOND, but after reading the second book early in December I wasn't sure this book was the sequel I had been dreaming about for so many months. That was mostly because Addie and Trevor's romance couldn't pick up right where it was at its best in the first book and practically repeated itself only in a much more unfortunate way. Nonetheless, I adore the idea behind it that they would always find back to each other, no matter how many times you'd wind back things to a point where the two wouldn't know each other. 

What I thought of as a nice bonus in advance fast became my favourite part about SPLIT SECOND. I'm talking about the additional point of view that has been added to the story. Chapters are alternating between Addie and her best friend Laila. Now that Laila has got her own story to tell, we are granted an extra hot romance in her chapters. Connor is just as tough and unrelenting as Laila and theirs is a very fierce love story that will have you fanning yourself.
Furthermore there's a great emphasis on the close and honest friendship between Addie and Laila which was another of my favourite parts about SPLIT SECOND. Not many YA stories are all set on taking time to develop a profound girl friendship beside all the drama that would be possible in other parts of the story.

Believe me, you will want to read this and want to know what happens to Addie, Laila and her friends. It isn't like I've completely fallen out of love with the characters and the world, on the contrary. Sometimes the plot just didn't feel like it was going in the right direction, at least not purposeful enough. Knowing that SPLIT SECOND would be the final book in this duology, I often criticized that the story was too hesitant and undaring in the end to pose as a model of a final book.
Kasie West didn't make as much use of Addie's talent as in book one. And that where Addie's special power to see two alternate futures, go through them and pick only one, contributed a lot to an irressistibly fast-paced, multidimensional PIVOT POINT plot.

While I was torn about the love story of Addie and Trevor and absolutly swooning over Connor and Laila, their paranormal community, hidden from people's eyes, continued to amaze me. Abilities are expanded, boundaries pushed and authorities provoked to dangerous extends. 
What I love so much about the two books is that the story is set in a secret part of our world. It's not a completely new world, but something that's special enough to be kept from anyone who's not a part of it. If this book series were a TV show it could easily be one of my favourites. The mystery factor and paranormal activities would be its strong suit and there would be enough room for awesome romances and conspiracies, drama of all kinds. 

4/5 **** SPLIT SECOND - Addie and Laila are two leading YA ladies who are linked by a strong friendship and who can conquer anything with their cohesive forces. 

While SPLIT SECOND is just as remarkably well-written as PIVOT POINT, there were plot deficiencies not even a very strong second leading lady and her swoon-worthy love story could completely counterbalance. And even if I didn't get all the feels and heartbreak and excitement from this sequel like from Kasie's debut novel before, I can easily imagine reading two or three more books set in her secret community of paranormally gifted. Now I'm wishing on the gift of thought manipulation so that I could persuade Kasie West to write more books about Addie and Laila. 

"He slammed the case shut. I tried a memory wipe one more time, but it didn't work. Tucking the chip into my pocket, I left his garage. What was wrong with me? Was I losing my ability? No. That was impossible. He must've been using something that protected him from Memory Erasers. Did he know that was my ability?
I'd get information from him. I'd just have to find another way." ― p. 42

SPLIT SECOND you might also enjoy LINKED by Imogen Howson, TAKEN by Erin Bowman and ARCLIGHT by Josin L. McQuein. I haven't read any of these, but can imagine that they could cure my pain of parting with the PIVOT POINT series. All three have mystery and paranormal aspects to their stories that sound so very thrilling.

* Want to read something different by Kasie West? Then you should read THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US, her YA contemporary debut.

* Click here to read an excerpt of PIVOT POINT.

* Want to meet Kasie West? Here are the dates of her The Lovestruck Tour with three other YA authors.

* For further information about Kasie and her books visit

* Thanks to Harper Collins International for sending me a copy of SPLIT SECOND for review! 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Book Review: Uninvited (Uninvited #1) by Sophie Jordan

Title: Uninvited (Uninvited #1)
Author: Sophie Jordan
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publishing Date: January 28th 2014
Length: 384 pages
Keywords: YA, fiction, romance, kill gene, sci-fi
Source: Publisher

When Davy Hamilton's tests come back positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome (HTS) - aka the kill gene - she loses everything. Her boyfriend ditches her, her parents are scared of her, and she can forget about her bright future at Juilliard. Davy doesn't feel any different, but genes don't lie. One day she will kill someone.

Only Sean, a fellow HTS carrier, can relate to her new life. Davy wants to trust him; maybe he's not as dangerous as he seems. Or maybe Davy is just as deadly.

Summary by Goodreads 

UNINVITED is the story of prodigy and good girl Davy who tests positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome. Other stories often take ages to get to the point where the reader is distinctly interested in its main characters' fate. Sophie Jordan's newest YA release jumps right into action and it doesn't take twenty pages for Davy to find out about the fatal kill gene she's carrying inside her.

After Davy's life changed so radically and early in the story, I was prepared for a fast and overall action-packed continuation in the following chapters. Against expectations there wasn't much about relentless battles and killers endangering Davy's life at first. So the beginning felt a bit generic, monotonous and not nearly as thrilling as it could have been. Now Davy has to go to a special school for HTS carriers only and has to face the torments of being one herself. She has to experience how everyone treats her differently after the test results. The middle part of UNINVITED could be considered a social study. If I could've cut scenes from the first book, I would have chosen almost every school scene. They might be important for the story, because Davy meets Sean and Gill there and becomes friends with them, but I would've preferred for the main portion of the story to be set in one of the camps for HTS carriers where they train to become better and fight for their lives.

Sophie Jordan tells her characters' stories in regard to political and social developments concerning the HTS carrier situation in the country. And so after various developments and events, it is decided that Davy and her new friends are transferred from school to those special camps for HTS carriers.
Here the story definitely goes in a more dangerous direction. The other carriers around Davy are all unpredictable, violent and unstable. The chapters set in camp were my favourites because they bring the action and trials, fear, power struggles and murder I originally thought about when I picked up UNINVITED.

Davy the model child. Sean the bad boy. Gil the geek. Despite the light stereotypic feel, our UNINVITED characters are pretty easy to like. Davy and Sean's romance was good, but I'm still wishing for more time for Davy and Sean to engage in deeper and more intimate conversations in book two rather than their hasty whispers or stormy kisses (which were great nevertheless). 

UNINVITED is a story of social exclusion of large segments of the population and its consequences. What would you do if all your friends left you because of one genetic test with the wrong result? How would it feel to have almost no one believe in your goodness?

 4/5 **** UNINVITED - Sophie Jordan's kill genes are the most imaginative and original YA idea of 2014! 

I only needed to read the summary of UNINVITED once to be fascinated by the idea of a kill gene that could change the future of humankind forever. It's unbelievable that small biological determinants like genes have the power to change a human's life so radically. Sophie Jordan's a genius for building her story on one of the greatest fears of humankind, the unalterability of what's inside us, in this case the tendency to be evil and a murderer.

"It sounds like Mom believes I'm this...thing. A monster waiting for darkness to come so that I can leap out. 
I bury my face in my knees. My shoulders shake but I don't cry. Don't make a sound. I'm not a killer. Although I'm going to become one. It's just a matter of time." ― p.22

UNINVITED you might also enjoy UNRAVELING by Elizabeth Norris, REBOOT by Amy Tintera and 3:59 by Gretchen McNeil, three books with sci-fi and mystery character. REBOOT is about humans who wake up as unfeeling killing machines, so this could be the one that's thematically most like UNINIVTED.

* Haven't read Sophie's FIRELIGHT trilogy yet? Get started with FIRELIGHT now.

* Click here to read an excerpt of UNINVITED.

* UNINVITED book trailer.

* Visit for more information about Sophie and her books.

* Thanks to Harper Collins International for sending me UNINVITED for review!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Mini Reviews #22

What do the three books of today's Mini Reviews post have in common? THROUGH THE EVER NIGHT by Veronica Rossi, DAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT by Laini Taylor and SHADOW AND BONE by Leigh Bardugo are all extremely easy to love. Have you read any of them?

Through the Ever Night (Under the Never Sky #2) by Veronica Rossi

After months of being separated, Aria and Perry are finally reunited. Perry has become Blood Lord of the Tides and is struggling. How can he convince his people of his capability? Meanwhile Aria is set on finding the Still Blue. 
It doesn't take long for the young lovers to realise that they can only succeed if they face the tasks ahead on their own. How are they gonna deal with the fatal Aether storms that are annihilating the country? And when will they get a chance to be together again?
Can you imagine THROUGH THE EVER NIGHT being even better than the first book in the series, knowing Aria and Perry aren't together most of the time? I couldn't either, but it really is just as good, if not better, than the first. It took me maybe about fourty pages or so and I was drawn into Aria and Perry's story like the first time I picked up UNDER THE NEVER SKY. I love that Aria and Perry get to tell chapters from their own perspectives and although they are on their missions, they are always connected through a major common goal.
This second book in Veronica Rossi's UNDER THE NEVER SKY series deserves a loud roar, it's that good (pun intended). Her characters are as strong and unique as in the first book and the trials they see themselves faced with are even harder to endure. Roar and Liv's story was just as intriguing as Aria and Perry's. So many feels! 
With nature lashing out at the Tides, Reverie and all the other tribes, Veronica Rossi built in a relatable and reliable time bomb, putting high pressure on our characters and making sure to upset the reader, too. As Aether storms got stronger, my emotional involvement with Veronica Rossi's world grew exponentially stronger, too. I never get tired of this world!

4,5/5 ****/* THROUGH THE EVER NIGHT – A fearless and glowing second book in a beloved YA dystopian series!

I'm so delighted I gave UNDER THE NEVER SKY a try back when I thought I wouldn't like it a bit. Now I do like it so, so much. As much as Aria and Perry's story is inflicting heartache from time to time, I'm still craving to read more about them. I'm already wondering what I'll do when the series comes to an end.

Publisher: Harper Collins
Publishing Date: January 8th 2013
Length: 341 pages
Keywords: YA, dystopian fiction, fantasy, romance, science-fiction, friendship
Source: Netgalley
Author's Homepage

Days of Blood and Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2) by Laini Taylor

"Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war. This is not that world. [...] She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it."
How could one not want to read DAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT after the ending of DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE? Took me a while to get into the story and feel moved though. This could be because we are following the stories of a bunch of new characters now. The many perspectives mean there's less time to learn more about our beloved Karou and Akiva, too. Akiva's siblings are playing a major role. Then there are chapters about what Zuzana and Mik are up to and how they are planning on getting Karou back. The evil angel leaders' plans on the one side, the forming of a chimaera revolution on the other. We are travelling with a slave caravan and find out how the victims are treated in a war without rules. Many new characters, that could bring new meaning, too,  make sure that this sequel is a well-rounded read regarding the narrative emphases Laini Taylor is setting.
Unforunately, there's not as much travelling in the real world, than in Eretz (One of my favourite parts of DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE were Karou's travels). But Laini Taylor takes us back to Prague where Zuzanne and Mik are worrying about Karou and a second setting in the real world which is located in the desert, under the blazing sun and the bright starry sky. Again, I did feel like I was in a different country and time when I read DAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT. Laini Taylor's writing is so vivid and grasping.

4/5 **** DAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT - A brutal and, later into the story, very emotional read with strong character additions.

A war-torn country, beasts and angels are fighting for their lives when the battle had been thought to be lost. I pretty much guess the pages of this sequel to DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE capture the darkest moments in our character' lives. DAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT didn't have the immediate stun effect on me that the first book had. What can we expect from DREAMS OF GODS AND MONSTERS now?

Publisher: Little Brown Books For Young Readers
Publishing Date: November 6th 2012
Length: 513 pages
Keywords: YA, fiction, fantasy, romance, chimaera, angel, war
Source: Bought
Author's Homepage

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1) by Leigh Bardugo

The nation of Ravka is destroyed by monsters and darkness. No one could've guessed that orphan Alina has the power that could destory Ravka's enemies and threats. Suddenly she's seeing herself becoming a part of the Grisha, the magical elite of the kingdom. And in the midst of Ravka's largest battle, Alina's heart is struggeling between her childhood friend Mal and the Darkling, the dangerous leader of the Grisha.
Leigh Bardugo set her story in Ravka, on the territory of today's Russia, whose culture has a big influence on how this story feels. The story's strong features aren't any high tech gadgets, but man power, traditions and elemental magic that hold the reader's attention easily. 
The first thing that comes to my mind when I think about SHADOW AND BONE is darkness. It's a lot about war, fighting for justice and against evil.
But there's time for friendship and love, too. Alina and Mal's is an original love story, one I wouldn't have wanted to be any different. They grew up together and have been friends for as long as they can remember. Now Alina's feelings are changing and you desperately hope that Mal's have, too. Because, honestly ladies, he's a very good catch. Strong and loyal and passionate. You definitely want him at your side when it's time to face off the evil enemies. 
It's like they were cut out of the very same fabric. Frayed and  a little bit beaten, cut here and there, patched up. They were separated on their journies to become the person they are today. And now sewn together, reunited, they are only stronger than before. They stand for a bond and cloth that can't be torn too easily. 
All the while the Darkling is reigning the nation with an iron fist. He holds great power over Alina, too, is even considered a legit love interest. Many, many girls will fall for his dark magic.

5/5 ***** SHADOW AND BONE - A dark and original read, set in a winter wonderland of magic and cruelty with an old soul. 

Leigh Bardugo introduces us to a world full of dream-like beauty. Magicians and witches, soldiers and lovers. You practically feel the magic drifting off the pages and filling up your imagination jar. SHADOW AND BONE is fabricated like your classic, old, very skillfully written fairy tale.

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Publishing Date: June 5th 2012
Length: 358 pages
Keywords: YA, fiction, fantasy, romance, friendship, magic, Grisha, Darkling
Source: Bought 
Author's Homepage