Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Mini Reviews #16

There are still so many 2011 and 2012 Netgalley titles on my review list that I thought I'd feature three of them in today's Mini Reviews post. NEW GIRL by Paige Harbison, ALL THESE LIVES by Sarah Wylie and DANCERGIRL by Carol M. Tanzman are on the darker and more thrilling and mysterious side of YA contemporary reads.

New Girl by Paige Harbison

This year a new girl is attending Manderley Academy. And she took Becca's place. Becca who was friends with everybody. Becca who was perfect. Becca who is gone now.
There are chapters alternating between our new girl and Becca’s point of view.
Set at boarding school, I was looking forward to a lively setting with a bunch of fun and individual characters. But the characters weren’t as I imagined them to be. Our protagonist who is known as the new girl at Manderley is welcomed by prejudiced and withdrawn people who have to constantly compare her to Becca. And I found myself growing irritated by the permanent references to the perfect girl who disappeared one year ago. So our new girl doesn’t really have a chance to be herself, people started defining her before she even arrived.
The love stories of Becca and the new girl aren't ordinary and solely romantic, they are bringing lots and lots of drama, intrigues and lies to the story. Becca is very different from the new girl who is only interested in one boy, Max. His and new girl’s relationship was one of my favourite parts of the story. Although Becca went missing over one year ago the story is mostly about her relationships and friends that the new girl picked up. It’s interesting to see how both girls started their lives at boarding school differently and how they define their relationships.

4/5 **** NEW GIRL - A cleverly constructed, lulling psychological drama.

The uncertainty about Becca Normandy's whereabouts, the strange behaviour of other students towards our protagonist and otherworldly occurrences play with the reader's imagination. This whole story is very mysterious and scary and I caught myself developing the wildest theories about who the new girl really was and what it was about her connection to Becca.

Publisher:Harlequin Teen
Publishing Date: January 31st 2012
Length: 320 pages
Keywords: YA, contemporary, mystery, missing girl, boarding school, romance
Source: Netgalley

All These Lives by Sarah Wylie

Dani is devastated about her sister having cancer. She is convinced she has nine lives and should be the one to offer all of hers for the one life her sister seems barely able to hold on to.
It must be a tough fate to deal with the looming death of one of your closest confidantes. ALL THESE LIVES is told from Dani's perspective in a first person point of view. We see how much Jena's weakness and pain upsets her and forces her to take fate and the life of her sister into her own hands. Dani wants to save her sister by giving away her own lives, of which she believes to possess nine. Her story is filled with dares and many risky stunts and near-death experiences. Where I first found the concept of her having nine lives intriguing, I never found a tangible point to feel like the things she was doing made sense. The whole story just didn't work for me, seeming dubious, inordinate and generally confusing. While Sarah's first book just wasn't for me and I highly missed a memorable romance, I'll still be keeping my eyes on her next book, SOMETHING BEGINNING WITH YOU, coming out in 2014.

2/5 ** ALL THESE LIVES - A profound sisterly bond, the fear of losing the other and very absurd ways to express your support.

Sarah Wylie's debut novel might have been a quick read for me, but not one that will stay with me for long. The cover was what drew me towards this book on Netgalley and the concept of Dani having nine lives was an intriguing feature, but in the end I couldn't find many points to connect with her, the other characters and her breakneck behaviour and irritating ways of thinking. 

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publishing Date: June 5th 2012
Length: 245 pages
Keywords: YA, contemporary, cancer, family, nine lives
Source: Netgalley
Author's Homepage

dancergirl by Carol M. Tanzman

Alicia Ruffino is a dancer. And when one of her friends posts a video of her online, everyone knows her as dancergirl. There is admiration and adoration. And behind a mask of false pretense, watching her every move, someone is stalking her. Wanting to be near her, to observe her. And that person wouldn't stop from hurting her either. 
Dancing is her passion. It was her private joy, her excersise and now she's sharing her talent with the whole world. DANCERGIRL was my favourite book about dancing so far. Ali was a cool character and very natural, modest and confident about her talent and her passion for it.
The love story underlying the overall stalking drama was beautiful. Ali's best friend Jacy is always there for here and would do anything for her. Jacy is such a sweet person. Whereas Ali's stalker is a major creep. It could be anyone who stalks Ali and it only takes a few chapters to feel watched yourself.

4/5 **** dancergirl - It's a fine balance between passion and obsession. Well-written and relevant YA contemporary read! 

Dancergirl was more exciting than any thriller and I'll happily pick up its companion novel, CIRCLE OF SILENCE, set at Washington Irving High, too.

Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publishing Date: November 15th 2011
Length: 248 pages
Keywords: YA, thriller, contemporary, dancing, friendship, love, stalker
Source: Netgalley
Author's Homepage

Sunday, November 24, 2013

New Books On My Shelf #68

I haven't done a New Books On My Shelf post in ages, since my Frankfurt Book Fair haul to be exact. I'm sure I left out one or two books that I didn't showcase before my book fair post, but are no less loved than the others. The books you see below are the books I got over the past six weeks.

The Taking by Kimberly Derting (Edelweiss/Read)
Racing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally (Netgalley/Read)
Captive by A.D. Robertson (Netgalley/Read)

A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young (Bought - Kindle)
The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd (Bought - Kindle)
Let It Snow by Maureen Johnson, John Green, Lauren Myracle (Bought - Kindle/Read)

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales (Bought - Kindle)
The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas (Bought - Kindle)
Allegiant by Veronica Roth (Bought - Kindle/Read)

Allegiant by Veronica Roth (Bought/Read) 
Winter's Kiss by Catherine Hapka, Jennifer Echols (Bought) 
Winter Town by Stephen Emond (Bought)
Jessica Darling's IT List by Megan McCafferty (Bought/Read) 
The Secret Dreamworld of A Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella (Bought) 

Uninvited by Sophie Jordan (For Review - Many thanks to Harper Collins International for this epic book package!)
Split Second by Kasie West (For Review)
Infinite by Jodie Meadows (For Review)
Evertrue by Brodi Ashton (For Review)
Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi (For Review)
Panic by Lauren Oliver (For Review)
Ripper by Isabel Allende (For Review) 

When The Guns Fall Silent by James Riordan (For Review - Thanks to OUP!) 
Unbreakable by Kami Garcia (For Review - Thanks to Simon & Schuster UK/Read)
All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill (Won - Thanks to Disney Hyperion/Read)
A Gift To Remember by Melissa Hill (For Review - Thanks again to Simon & Schuster UK!/Read)
Teardrop by Lauren Kate (For Review - Thank you Random House UK/Currently reading)

Saturday, November 23, 2013

November Giveaway #3

So many books have been piling up on my book shelves and I decided to do a weekly giveaway. You can enter my giveaway every Saturday and it'll run till Friday. See the list below the rafflecopter widget to see which books are available. The giveaway is open internationally. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Relic by Heather Terrell (ARC)
Wild Born by Brandon Mull (ARC)
Thirteen by Tom Hoyle (ARC)
Dreamless by Josephine Angelini (UK ARC)
Haunted by William Hussey  (UK ARC)  
What Can(t) Wait by Ashley Hope Pérez
Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook
The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher
Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan
Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick
The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
Raising Demons - Rachel Hawkins
Spellbound - Rachel Hawkins
Vanish by Sopie Jordan
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
Legend by Marie Lu (signed to Sarah)
Aces Up by Lauren Barnholdt
Killer Heels by Rebecca Chance
Slide by Jill Hathaway
Imposter by Jill Hathaway
If I Should Die by Amy Plum
Firelight by Sophie Jordan
The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa
The Iron Legends by Julie Kagawa 
Teardrop by Lauren Kate
Forgotten by Cat Patrick
Lament by Maggie Stiefvater
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Friday, November 15, 2013

Book Review: A Gift To Remember by Melissa Hill

Title: A Gift To Remember
Author: Melissa Hill
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Publishing Date: October 24th 2013
Length: 406 pages
Keywords: Chick lit, romance, contemporary, New York, Christmas
Source: Publisher

Discover the magic of Melissa Hill this Christmas... Darcy Archer works in a small bookstore on Manhattan's Upper West Side. A dreamer who secretly wishes for true love similar to that in her beloved novels, Darcy refuses to settle for anything less than being swept off her feet by the perfect man.

One day, when cycling to work, Darcy accidentally crashes into a sharply dressed man walking his dog. He is knocked unconscious and rushed to the hospital, but his dog gets left behind. Wracked with guilt over the accident, Darcy resolves to care for the dog and reunite him with his owner. But the dog is not the only thing that's been left behind and when she finds a small beautifully wrapped package - suspiciously shaped like a book - she becomes curious. She decides to try and figure out all she can about this man, and make the delivery herself. Darcy gradually becomes drawn into his life; one that she soon discovers is filled with books, travel, adventure and all the wonderful things she's ever dreamt about. It doesn't take long before Darcy builds up a picture of this man's lovely life, and feeling an immediate kinship towards him, tries to make things right.

It might be a challenge but doesn't she owe it to him to try? But does fantasy match reality? And what happens when he finally wakes up?

Summary by Goodreads 

It's Christmas time in New York. Can you imagine the festive smells and the bright window displays? Perfect city, ideal season to set a story like Darcy's if you ask me. Melissa Hill captures the dreamy and romantic miracle character of New York and abandons all hecticness for a relaxing story that poses as an even more relaxing read. A read that will get you in the Christmas mood from page one.
I was very into the general focus on literature and all things bookish in A GIFT TO REMEMBER. The main character's name is Darcy, which makes it only natural to feel connected to her and instantly wanting to be best book friends. She's working in a book shop (heaven!) and shares her little apartment with a few books (more than a few). Chapters from Darcy's perspective always started with a fitting quote by a famous author or a favourite book. 
Some chapters in betwen are told from the mystery man's perspective. I can tell you that his name's Aiden and that he fills in the blanks as to what had been happening on his side of the story before the big crash occurred. His chapters are not as insightful or eventful as I would've wished them to be, but they are a nice bonus and worked well in alternation with Darcy's view on their story.

When I picked up A GIFT TO REMEMBER I expected a powerful romance to sweep me off my feet, like Darcy's crash would be an indicator for their relationship to be just as startling. Because Aiden can't remember anything, Darcy and he don't get the time they deserved to fall in love. It's not as turbulent and adventurous as I'd imagined her story with Aiden to be (they don't even have a date) and without any major surprises.
A GIFT TO REMEMBER isn't one of those loud and hilarious stories that you sometimes find in chick lit and romance books since Darcy's way of looking at things is more contemplative and unagitated, too. The ending was my favourite part of Darcy's story and that's where the story got into the romantic and flirtatious mood I wished the entire novel had possessed.

A large part of the book is dedicated to Darcy's hunt for clues about the stranger's identity. Aiden's appearance not only forces her into being a temporary dog sitter (the husky Bailey is so adorable!), but to come out of her book cave and play investigator. This one fateful crash gives her the opportunity to get to know her neighbour Grace better and open up to her reserved aunt, her last living relative. It's a different life that Darcy is facing every day now.

3,5/5 ***/*  A GIFT TO REMEMBER - A heart-warming holiday read with bookish Christmas spirit.  

A GIFT TO REMEMBER  was my first book by Melissa Hill and it was such a good pick to kick off the Christmas reading season. It's a wintry book of fateful crashes, clue hunts and has a light romance. Its hip New York setting and bookish theme are exactly what you need to pair with a cup of hot chocolate and some quiet reading hours curled up on the couch to enjoy Darcy and Aiden's story. 

"Anyone who says that money can't buy happiness has clearly never been inside a bookstore."
 ― p.1

A GIFT TO REMEMBER you might also enjoy three books I have on my Christmas reading list. Can't wait to read them! WINTER WONDERLAND by Belinda Jones, A WINTER FLAME by Milly Johnson and FAIRYTALE OF NEW YORK by Miranda Dickinson.

* Can't get enough of Melissa Hill's writing? Then try her THE CHARM BRACELET!

* Click here to read an excerpt of A GIFT TO REMEMBER.

* Interested in Melissa's writing tips? Find them here.

* For more information about Melissa and her books visit

* Thanks to Simon & Schuster UK for sending me a copy of A GIFT TO REMEMBER for review!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Book Review: He's So/ She's So Series by Kieran Scott

Title: She's So Dead To Us, He's So Not Worth It, This Is So Not Happening
Author: Kieran Scott
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publishing Date: May 25th 2010, June 7th 2011, May 1st 2012
Length: 288 pages, 360 pages, 320 pages
Keywords: YA, contemporary, romance, friendship, intrigue
Source: Simon & Schuster Galley Grab/ Bought

Ally Ryan would rather be in Maryland. She would rather be anywhere, in fact, than Orchard Hill, site of her downfall. Well, not hers exactly—but when your father’s hedge fund goes south and all your friends lose their trust funds, things don’t look so sunny for you. Her mother moved her to Maryland to flee the shame, but now they’re moving back. Back to the country-club, new-car-every-year, my-family-came-over-on-the-Mayflower lifestyle that Ally has outgrown. One bright spot, however, is gorgeous, intense Jake Graydon. But it won’t be easy for the two of them to be together—not if his friends (her former friends) have anything to say about it. Is Ally ready to get thrown back into the drama of the life she left behind?

Summary by Goodreads 

Ally Ryan's life is complicated and it's one-hundred percent made up of drama. She's returning to Orchard Hill where the rich and beautiful live and back to her old problems. And now that she's back, she's an outsider and her old friends hate her. Even though she's been dealt the outsider role I wasn't too fond of our main character Ally. She's often unreasonable and it takes her a long time to learn from past mistakes. Just too long for my sympathy to last through all three books.

Her so-called friends were even worse. They were nothing but shallow and not at all sensitive or there for Ally when she needed them most. Kieran Scott explores the lives of the upper class, their worries and the things that make their lives so fancy and entertaining. The time they spent at their beach houses in the second book was the most fun part of the entire trilogy, giving it a light summer read quality.

At first I really liked Ally and Jake together and the time it took for them to figure out what they had. The dual point of view was enjoyable. You get chapters from Ally's point of view and sequences from Jake's perspective and their very different lives. Jake could be cute and thoughtful when he wanted to be, but sometimes he didn't exactly shine as the perfect male main character or stand out for his hyper intelligent and reasonable personality.
I hate to say it but at some point I just couldn't bring myself to care about these characters anymore. Ally and Jake's relationship is one of the on-again, off-again kinds and just as much as it frustrated them to be confronted with all these obstacles it frustrated me, too.
Their thinking is often reigned by a rather childish urge to insist on their pride, knowing they would damn themselves to misery. The HE'S SO/ SHE'S SO trilogy is definitely TV show drama material that has the quality to make you cheer for the characters to finally be happy, for the friends to make up and for everyone to overcome their differences and grow up already.

SHE'S SO DEAD TO US was the part of Ally's story that was still entertaining and that offered a story with a few conflicts I wanted to see solved in the end. The second started up right where the first book ended and it added a few more well-placed twists and turns to Ally's story. If it weren't for the ever same circles of spitefulness and scheming behavior that never made any of the characters look like friends I could've enjoyed it more than I actually did. If Kieran Scott had mainly concentrated the story on reuniting the friends instead of the immature fights between them, it could've worked as a decent sequel. I'm more into stories that work towards a positive example of good friends, of people who support each other and are there for each other even when one of them isn't as lucky or rich as before. 
Don't even let me get started on the third book, THIS IS SO NOT HAPPENING. I could've very well done without a third book in the series, because it opened up a whole other can of worms that got on my nerves all the time.

3/5 *** HE'S SO/ SHE'S SO Series - The rather juvenile YA version of The OC and Gossip Girl, with drama, gossip and a ton of romantic complications.

The HE'S SO/ SHE'S SO series was entertaining in a very basic way. It's an original high school read and Kieran Scott definitely put in all the topics teens have to deal with in every good TV drama and in real life, too. There are sports, cat fights, teen pregnancy, first times, alcohol and all the other things that make your teen years so exciting and scary.

"My legs pumped the pedals with all their might as I raced away from Connor's house, my breath coming short and shallow, until I reached Harvest Lane. There I placed my feet on the ground and glanced back over my shoulder in the direction of Vista View. Somewhere back there behind the trees was my old house. My old life. The life that I, apparently, could never go back to." ― p. 29

the HE'S SO / SHE'S SO series you might also enjoy BOYS, GIRLS AND OTHER HAZARDOUS MATERIALS by  Rosalind Wiseman, THE BOYFRIEND THIEF by Shana Norris, KEEP HOLDING ON by Susane Colasanti. More mean girls, intrigues and eventful high school experiences.

* Can't get enough of Kieran's books? Read GEEK MAGNET next.

* Click here for an excerpt of SHE'S SO DEAD TO US.

* Listen to Kieran Scott talking about SHE'S SO DEAD TO US here.

* For more information about Kieran Scott and her books visit

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Mini Reviews #15

My three new mini reviews are dedicated to YA contemporary titles I read in early 2013 and which I loved very much. THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS by Sarah Ockler, THINGS I CAN'T FORGET by Miranda Kenneally and GOLDEN by Jessi Kirby are books by some of my favourite authors I'd always recommend.

The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler

Stay away from the Vargas boys, they only break your heart! That's what Jude has been told by her three older sisters since she's been a little kid and she even swore an oath to never ever get involved with a Vargas. Pretty inconvenient that fatefully a Vargas, Emilio is his name, is now helping Jude and her father restore his old bike in an attempt to make him happy and bring back memories he could lose forever.
This constellation and their motorcycle repair dates ensures a lot of alone time for Jude and Emilio and so getting to know the other is inevitable.
What I could've done without were the sisterly drama and endless discussions evoked by their sacred oath. Without it Jude and Emilio's romance would've felt much more important and natural in connection with him helping Jude to gain strength and confidence dealing with her father's illness.
The portrait of Jude's father often broke my heart in a whole different way than any Vargas boy ever could. What do you do when the father you have known your whole life suddenly acts like a stranger or looks at you like you are one?
THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS began to affect me emotionally after only a few chapters, when Jude felt shame or fear I did, too. But mostly we were both made up of heartbreak. Sarah Ockler did such a good job picturing the progression of her father's illness and the helplessness of his family.

 4/5  **** THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS - Poignant and gritty! This story is made up of as many wistful as hilarious moments that can't but win over every reader.

Jude's a strong character and Emilio with his big and sexy mouth can make her only stronger. He has a sense for the right thing to say in situations of hopelessness with Jude's Dad and he always knows how to get to her with his teasing and naughtiness. He reminds Jude that you always have to make the best of the time that you've been granted and the people you were lucky enough to know. Strong characters, strong message! 

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publishing Date: May 21st 2013
Length: 352 pages
Keywords: YA, contemporary, romance, sisterhood, family
Source: Bought
Author's Homepage

Things I Can't Forget by Miranda Kenneally

Kate is the good girl, her life is uneventful and mellow. Why doesn't she get carried away, have fun once in a while? That's what people at school think about her. But on the inside Kate is troubled, she is keeping a secret that is accompanied by guilt and shame. This summer she is a counselor at Cumberland Creek summer camp and her life's going to change.
A huge part of Miranda's third book is about religious beliefs, being a part of your community in contrast to lust and your own desires. Can you be religious and have sex? Or do you have to choose one over the other? Responsibility is a word of major importance for the characters in THINGS I CAN'T FORGET.
The Cumberland Creek camp is a well-established setting for Kate's story, like a fabulous YA playground. Sports, creative groups and many more activities, plus teenagers getting the chance to spent time in a mostly adult-free zone, doing only fun things, making new friends, finding love. 
And Kate does make new friends. Do you remember Parker? She, Will, Jordan and Henry will make appearances, too. That's why I love companion novels so much!
Kate is a role model for her group of kids. She's the destined good girl and exactly right the way she was. A character to identify with, a character to care for and a character you want to see falling in love, opening up and leaving her inhibitions behind.
And she does. Fall in love. With Matt. He is musical and a lifeguard, how better to conquer a girl's heart?! Matt is the sweetest guy, so understanding and gentle with Kate. He is my favourite Miranda Kenneally boy so far.
They are both so down-to-earth I just loooved their romance and it was easier to get their feels for each other knowing they've met before. Miranda reserves enough time for their relationship to grow so that the romantic and steamy moments of their time together had their desired effect on me: I wanted more. All the time!  

5/5 ***** THINGS I CAN'T FORGET - A buoyant and warm-hearted YA contemporary read with dreamy starry sky nights and sparkly kisses. A reading experience made up of countless happy sighs. 

Miranda's books are like a batch of fresh baked cookies, irresistible and comfort food for every reader, completely satisfying your appetite for an original, romantic and funny read. Annual re-read required! 

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publishing Date: March 1st 2013
Length: 320 pages
Keywords: YA, contemporary, romance, summer camp, friendship, religion, sex
Source: Bought
Author's Homepage

Golden by Jessi Kirby

Parker Frost should totally concentrate on writing her Valedictorian speech, but after getting her hands on the journal of town legend Julianna Farnetti she can't help herself to dive deeper into the mystery surrounding the love story that ended in tragedy so many years ago. Together with her longtime crush Trevor and her best friend Kat she's set on finding out what happened to the famous couple and maybe even finding love herself.
Jessi Kirby used a quote by Marie Oliver as the book's overall theme. Living your life to its fullest extends, making new memories every day, never having to look back in regret of the things you didn't do. What a brilliant quote for GOLDEN!
I read GOLDEN with fascination and was so delighted about the prospect of Parker and Trevor's love story. They took their time, and missed their chances and it took them till the very end of GOLDEN to reveal their true feelings.
There is something about Jessi Kirby's book that is so deep and moving you never want to let it go, to treasure it. Whereas the overall story worked for me, the romance between Parker and Trevor wouldn't be enough to make this book a favourite of mine. Their romance was missing something in the end. It took so much time to establish their love story and when I started to get in the mood and was waiting for them to have their big and super special moment the story was just over.
Whereas the second love story of the two lovers from years ago was obscure and perfectly rewarding. A tragedy and unforgettable tale of epic love all the same. 

4/5 **** GOLDEN - A glowing and pensive read about first love and last chances!

Buy GOLDEN and get two love stories in one book, one from the past and another for the present. No need to pick one over the other, you can root for both to get their happy ending. GOLDEN has a bunch of characters that I'd love to see again in a companion novel or sequel.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publishing Date: May 14th 2013
Length: 278 pages
Keywords: YA, contemporary, romance, tragedy, friendship
Source: Bought
Author's Homepage

Saturday, November 9, 2013

November Giveaway #2

So many books have been piling up on my book shelves and I decided to do a weekly giveaway. You can enter my giveaway every Saturday and it'll run till Friday. See the list below the rafflecopter widget to see which books are available. The giveaway is open internationally. Good luck!

Relic by Heather Terrell (ARC)
Wild Born by Brandon Mull (ARC)
Thirteen by Tom Hoyle (ARC)
Dreamless by Josephine Angelini (UK ARC)
From What I Remember by Stacy Kramer, Valerie Thomas
Haunted by William Hussey  (UK ARC)  
What Can(t) Wait by Ashley Hope Pérez
Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook
The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher
Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan
Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick
Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick
The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
Raising Demons - Rachel Hawkins
Spellbound - Rachel Hawkins
Vanish by Sopie Jordan
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
Legend by Marie Lu (signed to Sarah)
Aces Up by Lauren Barnholdt
Killer Heels by Rebecca Chance
Slide by Jill Hathaway
Imposter by Jill Hathaway
If I Should Die by Amy Plum
Firelight by Sophie Jordan
The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa
The Iron Legends by Julie Kagawa 
Teardrop by Lauren Kate
Forgotten by Cat Patrick
Lament by Maggie Stiefvater
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Monday, November 4, 2013

Book Review: Captive: The Forbidden Side of Nightshade by A.D. Robertson

Title: Captive: The Forbidden Side of Nightshade
Author: A. D. Robertson
Publisher: Dutton Adult
Publishing Date: October 22nd
Length: 320 pages
Keywords: Adult, fiction, shapeshifter, romance
Source: Publisher 

Twenty-five-year-old Tristan Doran enjoys a life of incredible power and privilege. As a direct descendant of the Keepers—witches who have embraced dark magic—he defers to no one but his overlord, Lord Bosque Mar. For most of his life, Tristan has been kept out of the centuries-old Witches War, his bloodline too valuable to risk in battle.

But when a beautiful, young human Searcher named Sarah is captured and made a prisoner in his Irish castle, Tristan’s infatuation with her flings him headlong into the fray. Captive and captor, unable to contain their longing, embark on a passionate, forbidden romance together—only to learn that their love is at the heart of a prophecy predicting the downfall of the Keepers’ ages-old reign.

Captive explores the darker side of the richly imagined Nightshade universe, a fantasy world of powerful dark witches, shape-shifting wolf warriors, and fascinating history. The first of three erotic novels, Captive delves deeply into the fiery, illicit romance of two young lovers whose very desires invite their doom.

Summary by Goodreads

So far you've mostly seen reviews of YA titles published here on the blog and today's review of CAPTIVE is an exception. I was so curious about this new NIGHTSHADE book by Andrea Cremer, written under the pen name A.D. Robertson that I couldn't pass up the kind offering of an e-copy by Dutton Adult. 

Despite its rather uninspired cover, CAPTIVE surely introduces us to a higher seductive sphere of the NIGHTSHADE world. It's called 'the forbidden side of Nightshade', and rightfully so. For once this book is more erotic and explicit than the NIGHTSHADE trilogy before it. The R-rated scenes are what makes Sarah and Tristan's story so steamy and overly intriguing, the attraction between them is palpable.
When I first heard of Andrea Cremer's new book I couldn't help myself to compare it to one very popular series by E.L. James you might know, but CAPTIVE isn't nearly as taboo as I imagined it to be. It was written in a style that could've fit the original NIGHTSHADE trilogy, too, and easily added some steam to Calla's romantic scenes.
But there's more to the forbidden side than the sex scenes. Tristan is a Keeper and Sarah a Searcher, both sworn enemies and not at all allowed to engage with each other in an intimate relationship. 

Their story begins when Sarah volunteers to go on a suicide mission, travelling to a tiny private island with the task to explore its lonely castle, that is soon functioning as Sarah's prison. The setting creates a glum atmosphere that worked well in order to constitute a darker erotic love story between Sarah and Tristan.
There could've been more to the story than its only setting or Andrea Cremer could've dedicated selected chapters to the story from the Searchers' perspective and the things that were happening while Sarah was kept as a prisoner.

CAPTIVE doesn't have as many battles as the NIGHTSHADE trilogy to offer, its focus is on Sarah and Tristan getting to know each other. It's mostly just the two of them with very few other characters having appearances from time to time. Bosque Mar, the evil Keeper you know from the NIGHTSHADE series, will be playing a role, too. 
Significant is that Andrea Cremer  kept the spirit of her NIGHTSHADE series and told us some more about the ancient war between Keepers and Searchers. Fans won't be disappointed! 

3,5/5 ***/* CAPTIVE - Not as bellicose as the NIGHTSHADE trilogy nor as refined plot-wise , but with high aphrodisiac paranormal appeal.

The NIGHTSHADE series had many characters I set my heart on and there was so much more at stake than in CAPTIVE. So now the novel about the forbidden side of Nightshade appeared a bit imbalanced if you compare it to the NIGHTSHADE trilogy before it, but it got into the required details where the NIGHTSHADE series always put an end to explicit sexual interactions, since it was a YA series.

"At that late hour Castle Tierney was quiet, but Tristan knew better than to believe he moved through its halls without notice. There was never a time when all the creatures within the castle walls slept. It was a place of wariness and watching."  ― Chapter 5

CAPTIVE you might also enjoy DARKFEVER by Karen Marie Moning, HALFWAY TO THE GRAVE by Jeaniene Frost and DARK LOVER by J.R. Ward. Three series I have yet to read, all of them for an adult audience. I'm not sure I've heard about a YA book series with an adult companion novel with R-rated content to recommend. Can you think of any?  

* Andrea Cremer's newest YA book SNAKEROOT will be released December 10th 2013.

* Click here to read an excerpt of CAPTIVE.

* For more information about Andrea Cremer and her books visit

* Thanks to Dutton Adult for sending me an e-copy of CAPTIVE for review!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Book Review: Unbreakable by Kami Garcia

Title: Unbreakable (The Legion #1)
Author: Kami Garcia
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Publishing Date: October 10th 2013
Length: 320 pages
Keywords: YA, fiction, spirits, ghost hunters, romance
Source: Publisher

Kennedy Waters didn't believe in ghosts, until one tried to kill her.

When Kennedy finds her mother dead, her world begins to unravel. She doesn't know that evil forces in a much darker world are the ones pulling the strings. Not until identical twins Jared and Lukas Lockhart break into her house and destroy a dangerous spirit sent to kill her. The brothers reveal that her mother was part of an ancient secret society responsible for protecting the world from a vengeful demon - a society whose five members were all murdered on the same night.

Now Kennedy has to take her mother's place in the Legion if she wants to uncover the truth and stay alive. Along with new Legion members Priest and Alara, the teens race to find the only weapon that might be able to destroy the demon - battling the deadly spirits he controls every step of the way.

Summary by Goodreads


Kennedy's life changes abrubptly when her mother is murdered by a ghost that soon is after Kennedy as well. She has never been in contact with anything supernatural before and knows just as much as readers do when they first learn about the special group of people who call themselves the legion. We find out how the legion was founded and learn more about the different types of ghosts they have to fight and the best ways to send them back to where they came from. Sketches of meaningful symbols and inventions of importance to the story are included to underline the books' ritual character and give it another boost of authenticity.

The legion is a group of five people whose goal is to rid the world of evil spirits and ultimately of the demon Andras, that has been the legion's enemy for many hundred years. Now five teens have to continue their parents' or grandparents' legacy. The twins Lukas and Jared, one introduced as the bad boy, the other as the nice boy next door. Then there's the group's brilliant inventor and youngest member Priest. Alara, the only other female group member. She's very loyal and protective. And now Kennedy's a part of their group, too. 
Together they are set on finding clues that are meant to lead them to the weapon that could destroy Andras. It is a very absorbing quest and a few tasks and riddles demand to be solved.

It only takes a few days for Kennedy to become an accepted member of their group and suddenly ghosts are everywhere. Supernatural ghost encounters are the common theme in the story as one could expect from a story about ghost hunting kids. And not just your average ghosts. Kami's spirits are freakishly scary just as her ideas to frighten her readers. Ravens, abandoned prisons and old wells. Kami Garcia knows how to write a horror ghost story. Every single evil spirit in the story gave me a good scare.

The romantic relationship between Kennedy and Jared and the tension their intimacy creates between them and Jared's brother Lukas ,who obviously seems to like Kennedy as well, was generally appealing. But I always had a nagging feeling about their relationship. Not because I didn't like it (I really did), but because it wasn't as believable as I'd hope it to be/to grow. They have very strong feelings for each other from the moment they meet each other. And for me it was too early in the story that they were talking about overwhelming feelings of love and even trust issues. Too many strong emotions in too short a time, considering that both Kennedy and Jared are naturally cautious characters and trying to keep their distance. I'm really curious in which direction their relationship is headed in UNBOUND, the sequel to UNBREAKABLE.

I was surprised to read a story loaded with action, one ghost encounter following the next without lengthy dialogues or filling scenes in between. One or two more scenes on the characters in between their ghost huntings would've been appreciated, maybe a bit more on their backgrounds and former members of the legion.
Each chapter is on the shorter side with about eight to ten pages, making it easy to loose track of time and keep reading till the early hours of dawn...when it's more likely you'll be able to close your eyes after a ghost story like this anyway. 

4/5 **** UNBREAKABLE – A spine-chilling, fast-paced and ideal read for fans of Supernatural.

If you read the BEAUTIFUL CREATURES series by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl you know that these two authors can write, international bestselling stories for that. UNBREAKABLE being Kami's first solo project, I was very curious to find out in how far her writing would change without the support of a co-author. The first book in the THE LEGION series was her opportunity to show how eerie ghost encounters can be. Kami Garcia always has another spooky spirit up her sleeve and the legion's five teens are easily my new favourite ghost hunters!

"As my bare feet sank into the wet earth, I tried not to think about the dead bodies buried beneath me. I had passed this tiny graveyard a handful of times but never at night, and always outside the boundaries of its peeling iron gates." ― p. 1

UNBREAKABLE by Kami Garcia you might also enjoy THE DEVOURING by Simon Holt, ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD by Kendra Blake and POSSESS by Gretchen McNeil with many new ghostly and demonic acquaintances to make.

* How do you like the US cover for UNBREAKABLE?

* Did you enjoy UNBREAKABLE? Don't forget to put its sequel, UNBOUND on your 2014 wishlist.

* Read an excerpt of UNBREAKABLE!

* Click here to watch the book trailer.

* For more information about Kami Garcia and her books visit

* Thanks to Simon & Schuster UK for sending me a copy of UNBREAKABLE for review!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

YA Tricksters & Treats

YA Tricksters & Treats is part of my YA Halloween Fear Factor special this week. Today's post was originally named 'Villains You Can't Resist'. But when I thought about the YA boys who had to be on my list, I couldn't exactly think of them as villains, more as bad boys. So here are my Top 5 YA bad boys to go on a Halloween date with + candy supplies. Be careful what kind of Halloween dates they have planned for you though!

Top 5 YA Halloween Date Ideas

Psychiatry, Torture Chamber, Birds, Tunnel, City of Bones

 # 5 City of Bones by Cassandra Clare - Meet the Silent Brothers in their City of Bones.

# 4 The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson - Go on a hunt for the Ripper in the underground tunnels of London.

# 3  Divergent by Veronica Roth - Let your inner fears overwhelm you in your very own fear landscape.

# 2 The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa - Spend some time with psycho vampire Sarren in his torture chamber

# 1 The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin - Visit an old psychiatry at night.

Top 5 YA Bad Boys To Date

# 5 Cole - Everneath by Brodi Ashton

Mathias Lauridsen as Cole, Licorice Lollipop

"I was in the neighborhood," he said, answering the question I was about to ask. His lips twitched. "You know, wandering around, trying to be a hero." 

Cole is set on becoming the new king of the underworld. Very ambitious and absolutely sure of himself. He's not my type, but once he works his rockstar charm he has every girl falling at his feet. He'll surprise you with an underworld treat, Homemade Licorice Lollipops

# 4 Ren -Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer

Model, Butterscotch Walnut Truffle

"The smoke of aged wood lingering beneath a chilled autumn sky, the smooth burn of well-worn leather, the seductive ribbon of sandalwood. I closed my eyes, letting his scent pour over me, filling me with memories." 

Butterscotch Walnut Truffles seem to be a good choice of sweet treat for someone who's always on the move, ready to throw himself into battle. Ren's a warrior, an Alpha wolf. He is a powerful fighter and has a strong will. He always knew that his love for Calla was true and from page one I wanted her to pick Ren over Shay. He's gorgeous and passionate, hard to resist.

# 3 Kaidan - Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins 

Rob Wilson as Kaidan, Candy Apples

 “He was smoking hot. As in H-O-T-T, hott. I’d never understood until that moment why girls insisted on adding an extra t. This guy was extra-t-worthy.” 

Wendy Higgins' SWEET EVIL and SWEET PERIL are two of my favourite YA books. As the son of the Duke of Lust Kaidan was born into a world of sins, crime and hate. He's been trained to be the perfect seducer, and seducing he does in SWEET EVIL. He's bad news, but so irresistible! Only think of being fed Candy Apples by Kaidan...

 # 2 The Darkling - Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Model, Black & White Candy Canes

"The problem with wanting," he whispered, his mouth trailing along my jaw until it hovered over my lips, "is that it makes us weak."

SHADOW AND BONE by Leigh Bardugo was a very surprising 2012 read of mine. That's because I didn't think that I'd like the story when everyone kept recommending Leigh's debut novel. I fell head over heels in love with Mal,  Alina's best friend and never really considered the Darkling as a possible love interest. He is a very secretive and dark character, who has worked his magic on many YA readers. He'd bring Black & White Candy Canes to your date. Maybe there's some love magic in them, too.

# 1 Warner - Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi
 Arthur Sales as Warner, Toffee Crunch Cupcakes

"It's hard to believe there's blood on the hands of the person I'm staring at. He looks soft and vulnerable-so human. His eyes are squinting from all his grinning and his cheeks are pink from the cold.
He has dimples.
He's easily the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.
And I wish I'd never seen it." 

Here he is, my little Toffee Crunch Cupcake. What do you think, would Warner be okay with that pet name [laughs]? When I read SHATTER ME by Tahereh Mafi I knew I just had to be Team Adam. Because who would want Juliette to end up with this disturbed guy who wanted to use her as his weapon? Okay, stop screaming, I know there are actually many readers who have been shipping for Warner from the very beginning. And Tahereh made me like him so much better in UNRAVEL ME, the sequel to SHATTER ME. He fast became one of my favourite characters in the series and when you read it and you know about the steamy scenes he's involved in, you know why I voted him as my number one book bad boy to go on a Halloween date with.

Q! Which one is your favourite YA bad boy or villian? And which date would you go on?