Thursday, June 30, 2011

June Wrap-Up

 So June's over and while the large American slice of the blogosphere begin their summer holidays, we down here are still laboring away at school in the middle of winter. But I'm totally not jealous. 

But anyway, there's this month's wrap-up:


2011 Debut Author Challenge:
This month for the Debut Author Challenge, I read and reviewed Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz, which was released on the 28th. My review's linked below.

100+ Challenge:
This month I read and reviewed 15 novels that go towards the challenge's goal of reading 100 books this year, bringing my running total up to 94. You can see my list of books read with links to their reviews so far here.

Aussie YA Reading Challenge:
This month I read and reviewed 4 novels that go towards the challenge's goal of reading 12 YA books by Australian authors (I just counted, and apparently I beat that goal last month!). Their reviews are linked below, marked by asterisks.

- A guest post at Miss Page-Turner's City Of Books about Australian books.
- A guest review of Alaska by Sue Saliba for Penguin BTL.
- A top five list: my favourite YA parental/family figures.
- Faves of 2011 so far, a feature hosted by Nomes at Inkcrush.

You can find a list of all the books (alphabetized) that I've ever reviewed on this blog here.

Book Of The Month:
A feature inspired by Audrey at holes In My brain, at the end of each month I'll pick the favorite book I read, and feature it as my Book Of The Month.

July's Book Of The Month is Alaska by Sue Saliba. My review can be found here.

So that was June in review. How was your month?

Review: Clarity by Kim Harrington

Clarity by Kim Harrington

Series: Clarity (#1)
Pages: 241
Publisher: Scholastic Point
Published: March 1st, 2011
IBSN: 9780545230506

Clarity "Clare" Fern sees things. Things no one else can see. Things like stolen kisses and long-buried secrets. All she has to do is touch a certain object, and the visions come to her. It's a gift.
And a curse.

When a teenage girl is found murdered, Clare's ex-boyfriend wants her to help solve the case - but Clare is still furious at the cheating jerk. Then Clare's brother - who has supernatural gifts of his own - becomes the prime suspect, and Clare can no longer look away. Teaming up with Gabriel, the smoldering son of the new detective, Clare must venture into the depths of fear, revenge, and lust in order to track the killer. But will her sight fail her just when she needs it most?

Though the premise of psychics working with the police isn't exactly the most original, I thought Clarity's ability - different to classic future-seeing, mind-reading abilities - could make for an interesting twist on the slightly clich├ęd trope.

The plot was fairly straight-forward, with a straight-forward problem to solve. I usually don't get into mysteries because the main character solving the crime doesn't have a real investment in the complication, but I was pleased to find that the case held some importance to Clarity beyond just helping the police. 

The equation of that graph* is y=-(x-4)^2+16, x being a member of the set [0, 7].
Not like that's important. That's just me studying for maths (also, showing off a little). Anywho, let's continue with the review:
The writing style was easy to read, with the prose spare and clever. Through it, Clare's personality shone, and though I can't say that I liked her personally, she was a strong character who was constantly doing what she felt was right.

A love triangle felt imminent throughout the book, and will presumably rear its head more in the sequel. However, it didn't feel as though there was any chemistry between either coupling. Especially between Clare and Gabriel: their flirting just felt...unnatural.

Also, the paranormal aspect was played down. I could find myself at times forgetting she had preternatural powers, she used them so little.

I recommend Clarity to any fans of murder mystery novels, but not to anyone looking for a strong paranormal or romantic aspect. Overall, it was an enjoyable read, but it could have gone a little deeper or been more intense in places.

I give Clarity a 3 out of 5.

* You may have seen my original drama vs. time graph in my review of Wildefire. I got surprisingly positive feedback for that, so it'll become a semi-regular thing in my reviews.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday (31)

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine, in which we highlight an upcoming book release we're eagerly awaiting.

This week I'm waiting on Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson. I love the cover and the blurb, but really made me want this book was the author's bio. Her life sounds interesting, and I'm hoping that can translate into her writing!

17-year-old Lila has two secrets she's prepared to take to the grave. The first is that she can move things just by looking at them. The second is that she's been in love with her brother's best friend, Alex, since forever. Or thereabouts.After a mugging on the streets of South London goes horribly wrong and exposes her unique ability, Lila decides to run to the only people she can trust - her brother and Alex. They live in Southern California where they work for a secret organisation called The Unit, and Lila discovers that the two of them are hunting down the men who murdered her mother five years before. And that they've found them. Trying to uncover the truth of why her mother was killed, and the real remit of The Unit, Lila becomes a pawn in a dangerous game. Struggling to keep her secrets in a world where nothing and no one is quite as they seem, Lila quickly realises that she is not alone - there are others out there just like her - people with special powers -and her mother's killer is one of them...

[Synopsis by Goodreads]

Hunting Lila is due for release on the 4th of August.

Feel free to leave a link to your own Waiting On Wednesday post in the comments, and I'll be sure to have a look.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Review: Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz

SpellboundSpellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz

Pages: 384
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Published: June 28th, 2011
IBSN: 9780373210305

What's a girl to do when meeting The One means she's cursed to die a horrible death?

Life hasn't been easy on sixteen-year-old Emma Conner, so a new start in New York may be just the change she needs. But the posh Upper East Side prep school she has to attend? Not so much. Friendly faces are few and far between, except for one that she's irresistibly drawn to—Brendan Salinger, the guy with the rock-star good looks and the richest kid in school, who might just be her very own white knight.

But even when Brendan inexplicably turns cold, Emma can't stop staring. Ever since she laid eyes on him, strange things have been happening. Streetlamps go out wherever she walks, and Emma's been having the oddest dreams: visions of herself in past lives—visions that warn her to stay away from Brendan. Or else.

I remember reading Spellbound because I thought it sounded different. But I've just reread the blurb, and ask myself, "Skye, how could you have expected something refreshingly unique from that?" I sheepishly look down at my feet in response.

Immediately, in Spellbound, you're introduced to the stock characters. There's the inexplicably cruel and bitchy popular girl, and the stupid, aggressive jock who teams up with her. There's the flamboyant gay guy who befriends our lead, and the social-outcast who fills the other friend position. And then, of course, the profoundly attractive, kind, over-protective jock who's destined to become the love interest. They're named Kristin, Anthony, Cisco, Angelique, and Brendan respectively.

And then the protagonist: Emma's the new girl; orphaned, shy, sarcastic, and 'drawn to' Brendan (note to self: if at any point in the blurb the phrase 'drawn to' is used, there will be insta-love.). Her past was traumatic, but that didn't seem to affect her in the slightest. Her future promised to be even more traumatic, but she doesn't do anything about that but ignore the warnings.

Moreover, her relationship with Brendan made me dislike her. Even as he begins to ignore her, the world still revolves around him, and she's as desperate as ever to get back into his good books (See what I did there? No? Okay). Plus, she's flattered by his over-protectiveness.

The writing style wasn't anything impressive, but it was by no means unenjoyable. It evoked the character's voice effectively, although I was constantly confusing the book with other's I've read in the past because of the token character traits.

The plot was...strange. But not strange in the good sense. There's an overall complication that isn't revealed for an irritatingly long time, and once revealed the characters choose to ignore it. Meanwhile, there's a smaller plot provoked by blown-out-of-proportion villains that conveniently ties up the larger plot with it's denouement.

I can best describe Spellbound as the kind of book that's fun if you don't think to hard, or aren't familiar with common paranormal romance tropes. 

I give Spellbound a 2 out of 5.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Review: A Pocketful Of Eyes by Lili Wilkinson

A Pocketful Of Eyes by Lili Wilkinson

Pages: 324
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Published: May 2011
IBSN: 9781742376196

Bee is in her element volunteering in the taxidermy department at the Museum-but her summer job turns out to be full of surprises including:

A dead body in the Red Rotunda.
A mysterious Museum benefactor.
A large stuffed tiger in the catacombs.
A handsome boy with a fascination for unusual animal mating habits.
And a pocket full of glass eyes.

Can Bee sift through the clues and discover if her colleague committed suicide or if there's a murderer in their midst?

A Pocketful Of Eyes is a quirky, fun, and unique murder mystery novel for reluctant mystery novel readers. I count myself in that group.

The first thing you'll notice in A Pocketful Of Eyes is the main character. She's clever, funny, and a little peculiar (which I suppose you need to be to work as a taxidermist for the summer), and her voice is strong and apparent in each word. With each piece of narration, even through third person, I felt as though I knew her a little better, and liked her a little more.

And while I'm talking about how much I liked Bee, I should also talk about Toby - one of my favourite love interests I've ever read. He was sweet, funny, and full of strange animal trivia.

I'm no stranger to Lili Wilkinson's prose, but I was blown away by it all over again. Spare and emotional, her writing style is simply amazing.

The mystery was well-crafted. Though there were many clues, the culprit was unclear to both the reader and the narrator initially. It took a realistically long amount of time to reach the solution, where there was an interesting twist I never saw coming.

I give A Pocketful Of Eyes a 5 out of 5. I really hope to see it reach non-Australian readers in the near future.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Faves of 2011 (so far!)

This thing was Nomes's (from Inkcrush) thing first. You've probably seen this thing around a lot, and that's because her things are GOOD things. Same goes for her blog. Follow it!

And if you didn't guess from Graphic Left and Title Above, this thing is about highlighting our favourite reads from this year so far.

*drum roll while I go find a list of my reads from Goodreads*
1.     Favourite book read so far in 2011.

I can't answer this! I have favourites for different and non-comparable reasons. Points 2-20 will show some of my favourites for different reasons. (No more cop-out answers, I promise!)
2.     Most powerful book.

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion.
A book that told an inspiring story about life through the eyes of someone dead.
3.     Most brilliantly funny.
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray.
If you've read it, you understand. And if you haven't, why not?!
4.     Best ache-y, heart-breaking, tear-jerker read.

On The Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta.
You've all already read this and I was painfully behind so I'm not even going to explain. You know why.
5.     Most beautiful story.

Alaska by Sue Saliba.
Everything about it just just gorgeous.
6.     Favourite rainy day comfort read.

Putting Makeup On Dead People by Jen Violi.
Such a fun, sweet book. Complete with an adorable cover.
7.     Best tense, adrenalin-filled, unputdownable award.

Nothing by Janne Teller.
Not exactly an action novel, but wow, INTENSE. 
8.     Most beautiful prose award.

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion.
Every second sentence had me stopping, re-reading, thinking either "that was really clever" or "that was really nice".
9.     Most atmospheric and vivid setting.

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab.
The setting was perfectly described and so pretty. Also a contender for the next one:
10. I-so-want-to-go-there award.

Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen.
Guys! The Roaring Twenties! Silky dresses and jazzy music!
On an unrelated note, my birthday's coming up, and I'd really love a time machine.
11. Most original and imaginative.

The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan.
The story of a relationship and it's ups and downs told through 'definitions' in Levithan's trademark beautiful style.
12. Best under-appreciated, hidden-gem book.

Choker by Elizabeth Woods.
A quiet psychological thriller told in haunting, foreshadowing prose. This debut needs more credit!
13. I-had-no-idea-I-would-love-this award.

Alaska by Sue Saliba.
Verse? Nature? Not exactly my favourite things. But this novel was just incredibly touching.
14. Most haunting story.

Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott.
In the days after reading it, I was suspicious of every man I saw on the street. Such a scary book.
15. Outside-of-my-comfort-zone-but-gosh-I-loved-it.

The Dust Of 100 Dogs by A. S. King.
Pirates. Caribbean curses. Life as a domestic pet. I definitely wouldn't call it something I'd usually go for. But damn, it was good!
16. Series that I'm loving.

Morganville Vampires. I've read books 8, 9 and 10 and even met the author this year. Perhaps the only vampire stories I can stomach (Peeps an exception), and they just keep getting better!
17. Most memorable voice award.

Bee from A Pocketful Of Eyes by Lili Wilkinson.
Or maybe I just find her memorable because she reminds me of me...
18. Completely awesome premise award.

Revolver by Marcus Sedgewick.
About a boy, alone with his father's frozen body and harrassed by a threatening 'old friend' of his father's, struggling with the decision: do I use the gun or not?
An emotional look into the ramifications of killing, even if it's the only option.
19. Would make the best movie.

The Demon's Surrender by Sarah Rees Brennan.
Ryves brothers, on screen. Being badass. Anyone find that unappealing? No? Thought so.
20. Want to re-read already. 

Stealing Heaven by Elizabeth Scott. So sweet! Plus, watching Bridesmaids has given me a temporary new appreciation for policemen love interests. :P

Do we share any favourites? What are yours?

So many format fails, but this a LONG post. So many pictures to manoeuvre around. Plus, I'm lazy. 

Review: A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler

A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler

Pages: 288
Publisher: Flux
Published: May 1st, 2010
IBSN: 9780738719269

Fifteen-year-old Aura Ambrose has been hiding a secret. Her mother, a talented artist and art teacher, is slowly being consumed by schizophrenia, and Aura has been her sole caretaker ever since Aura's dad left them. Convinced that "creative" equals crazy, Aura shuns her own artistic talent. But as her mother sinks deeper into the darkness of mental illness, the hunger for a creative outlet draws Aura toward the depths of her imagination. Just as desperation threatens to swallow her whole, Aura discovers that art, love, and family are profoundly linked—and together may offer an escape from her fears.

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Aura has been taking care of her schizophrenic mother as she descends gradually into insanity since her father got fed up and left several years ago. Her mother eventually loses her job teaching art classes at the museum and soon thereafter, becomes completely catatonic, and Aura needs to figure out how to help her.

All the while, however, Aura is stifling her own creative abilities because her mother has shown her that art leads to insanity.

While I could see how Aura developed that mindset, it still struck me as slightly ridiculous. Each chapter begun with some tidbit from Aura about schizophrenia, usually attaching the disease to a great artist, like Vincent Van Gogh.

The disease felt incredibly well researched, the symptoms portrayed accurately and people's reactions to it realistic.

The plot was slow-burning in a literary-esque way, but I couldn't find the depth to justify the slow pace. I found myself bored in some places, wondering where exactly the story was going.

A Blue So Dark enticed me with its cover and the fabulous quotes on the back. Apparent in them and in the rest of the book was a poignant and poetic style of writing that kept me entertained while the plot and characters could not.

I give A Blue So Dark 3 out of 5.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday (30)

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine, in which we highlight an upcoming book release we're eagerly awaiting.

This week I'm waiting on Siren's Storm by Lisa Papademetriou, because...sirens! Most of the books I've read about mermaids or sirens have been kinda 'meh', but I'm still always excited to read them.

Nothing has been the same for Will ever since what happened last summer. One day, on an ordinary sailing trip with his brother, there is a strange accident. When Will wakes up, he learns his brother has disappeared, presumed drowned. Worst of all, Will can't remember what happened—his family finds him unconscious, with no memory of the accident.

Now Will and his best friend and neighbor, Gretchen, are starting a new summer. Gretchen seems troubled—her sleepwalking habit is getting worse, and she keeps waking up closer and closer to the water. Will is drawn to Asia, the exotic new girl in town. Nobody knows where she's from—all Will knows is that her beauty and her mesmerizing voice have a powerful effect on people.

Then there is another mysterious drowning, and Will and Gretchen begin to wonder: Is Asia just another beautiful, wealthy summer resident? Or is she something entirely more sinister . . . and inhuman?

[Synopsis by Goodreads]

Siren's Storm is due for release on the 9th of August.

Feel free to leave a link to your own Waiting On Wednesday post in the comments, and I'll be sure to have a look.

Review: Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Pages: 405
Publisher: Little, Brown
Published: September 1st, 2009
IBSN: 9780316041447

Five months ago, Valerie Leftman's boyfriend, Nick, opened fire on their school cafeteria. Shot trying to stop him, Valerie inadvertently saved the life of a classmate, but was implicated in the shootings because of the list she helped create. A list of people and things she and Nick hated. The list he used to pick his targets.

Now, after a summer of seclusion, Val is forced to confront her guilt as she returns to school to complete her senior year. Haunted by the memory of the boyfriend she still loves and navigating rocky relationships with her family, former friends and the girl whose life she saved, Val must come to grips with the tragedy that took place and her role in it, in order to make amends and move on with her life.

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

I'd heard of Hate List many times (also, it's distinguishable in the background bookshelf of almost every vlog I've ever watched) before I read its synopsis on Goodreads. And once I read that summary, I knew I had to read it.

Our main character, Valerie, made the Hate List with her boyfriend, Nick. They listed the people that they hated together. Neither of them is the most popular or most happy person at the school, but Valerie is still taken aback when Nick takes fire to the people on the Hate List. She throws herself in front of her enemy and gets shot for her - the last person shot before Nick turned the gun on himself.

The premise was heavy and intense and utterly unique to anything I've read - or even heard of - before. The shooting scene was well-written and felt incredibly realistic - I was shaking while reading it. Valerie's narration of the scene in hindsight was genuine and rife with emotion.

In fact, all of the pros
e was rife with emotion. Valerie's voice was sad and angry and hopeful all at once. I felt real sympathy for her, knowing that none of what happened was her fault but she was blamed for it all the same.

The plot was well-paced and slow-burning. The story had its up and downs, but the ending was perfect: if not a happily-ever-after then at least things began to look up.

Hate List is definitely the book for you if you're looking for emotional, intense reads with a hopeful underlying message. I recommend it to fans of Courtney Summers's books.

I give Hate List a 5 out of 5.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Top 5 YA Family/Parental Figures

This Top 5 topic came to me after reading Split by Swati Avasthi. Besides the character from that, I had to think pretty hard for other candidates for the this list, considering so much of the YA I've read has been paranormal, where our main characters are orphaned with alarming frequency.

Mirriam from Split

She wasn't actually related to Jace, but she had a maternal role. If it weren't for her support, Jace wouldn't have grown so much and he and Christian would not have become so close again.

Ken Dietz from Please Ignore Vera Dietz

Because of his list and flow chart contributions to the book. Lists! Flow charts! Automatic awesome!
Plus, I really liked his blunt, hard-working personality.

Clara's dad in Stay

Because he was uber-supportive. Clara's abusive ex-boyfriend was threatening her and he let them just up and leave. He dropped everything to help her.

Lily's Great-Aunt Ida from Dash & Lily's Book Of Dares

Perhaps just because of this conversation Dash had with her:

“Is Lily home?” I asked.
The woman settled down across from me and laughed.
“Who’s to say I’m not Lily?” she asked back.
“Well,” I said, “a few of my friends have actually met Lily, and I like to think they would’ve mentioned if she were eighty.”
“Eighty!” The old woman feigned shock. “I’ll have you know I’m not a year over forty-three.”
“With all due respect,” I said, “if you’re forty-three, then I’m a fetus.”

And it just gets funnier, but the conversation is crazy-long and I don't want to quote PAGES.

Hannah from Jellicoe Road

Hannah had an incredibly sad connection to Taylor's family, yet she took care of her in their stead no matter how heart-breaking it would have been to see her parents in her. Plus, Jellicoe Road was such an amazing book I just had to include someone from it here.


So, who are your favourite family/parent figures in fiction? Do we share any?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Review: The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart

The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart

Series: Ruby Oliver (#1)
Pages: 229

Publisher: Delacorte Books
Published: March 22nd, 2005
IBSN: 9780385732079

Ruby Oliver is 15 and has a shrink. She knows it's unusual, but give her a break—she's had a rough 10 days. In the past 10 days she:

* lost her boyfriend (#13 on the list)
* lost her best friend (Kim)
* lost all her other friends (Nora, Cricket)
* did something suspicious with a boy (#10)
* did something advanced with a boy (#15)
* had an argument with a boy (#14)
* drank her first beer (someone handed it to her)
* got caught by her mom (ag!)
* had a panic attack (scary)
* lost a lacrosse game (she's the goalie)
* failed a math test (she'll make it up)
* hurt Meghan's feelings (even though they aren't really friends)
* became a social outcast (no one to sit with at lunch)
* and had graffiti written about her in the girls' bathroom (who knows what was in the boys'!?!).

But don't worry—Ruby lives to tell the tale. And make more lists.

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Ruby Oliver is anxious and neurotic, but if you saw what she had to deal with, you wouldn't blame her. 

After losing all of her friends, her boyfriend, and gaining a reputation as super-slut, she goes to see a therapist who makes her create a list of all the boyfriends she had: wish-we-were boyfriends, he-wishes-he-was boyfriends, he-doesn't-know-I-exists boyfriends, all of them. The Boyfriend List is her account of all of the boys to her therapist.

The thing about The Boyfriend List that immediately stands out is Ruby's voice. E. Lockhart's protagonists always stay with me because of the way she can create such a real character who narrates in the way they would talk to you. I feel like as she's talking to her therapist, she's actually talking to me. On top of that, Ruby is quirky and neurotic, and completely likeable.

The Boyfriend List was an honest, clever, laugh-out-loud funny recount of falling from social grace.

I give The Boyfriend List a 4 out of 5, and definitely look forward to reading the other books in the Ruby Oliver series.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Review: What Happened To Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

What Happened To Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

Pages: 402
Publisher: Puffin
Published: June 2nd, 2011
IBSN: 9780141337791

Another town. Another school. Another Mclean. Ever since her parents' bitter divorce, Mclean and her father have been fleeing their unhappy past. And Mclean's become a pro at reinventing herself with each move. But in Lakeview, Mclean finds herself putting down roots and making friends—in part, thanks to Dave, the most real person Mclean's ever met. Dave just may be falling in love with her, but can he see the person she really is? Does Mclean herself know?

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

I expected What Happened To Goodbye to be amazing, by virtue of it being by Sarah Dessen. So while this one was definitely enjoyable and in Dessen's classic style, something about it missed the mark for me.

The premises of Dessen's novels always hooks me in. After I read Truth About Forever I wanted to desperately to work with a caterer. Along For Ride almost made me want to finally learn to ride a bike (but I'm 16 and learning now would just be...embarrassing). And What Happened To Goodbye was no different in that aspect. Mclean's family situation was odd, but not unbelievably odd, and I though this situation is portrayed in a negative light in the book, I again found myself wanting to move all the the time with my restaurant-rehabilitating dad.

Though I enjoyed What Happened To Goodbye very much, the tone felt incredibly familiar. Dessen's protagonists, to me, all seem to have the same voice. And though I get quite attached to this voice, I'd really like to see something different.

Sarah didn't disappoint on the romance aspect, however. Dave was quirky and sweet and funny, and completely loveable. Dave and Mclean started out just as friends, and so their relationship grew naturally and felt realistic.

Dave and Mclean were, of course, surrounded by the likeable background characters that Dessen is so adept at fleshing out and creating. Another reason I always want to live in Dessen's novels after reading them: the people.

Though the ending let me down. It felt rushed, and immediately followed the token character breakdown/turning point. I found the denouement a little implausible, as the problem too easily solved.

I give What Happened To Goodbye a 3 out of 5. I'd definitely recommend it to devout Dessen fans, but not any who were hoping for something fresh and different.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday (29)

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine, in which we highlight an upcoming book release we're eagerly awaiting.

This week I'm waiting on Past Perfect by Leila Sales, because I'm hearing crazy-good things about it, and just look at the cover. It looks like such an adorable read!

All Chelsea wants to do this summer is hang out with her best friend, hone her talents as an ice cream connoisseur, and finally get over Ezra, the boy who broke her heart. But when Chelsea shows up for her summer job at Essex Historical Colonial Village (yes, really), it turns out Ezra’s working there too. Which makes moving on and forgetting Ezra a lot more complicated…even when Chelsea starts falling for someone new.

Maybe Chelsea should have known better than to think that a historical reenactment village could help her escape her past. But with Ezra all too present, and her new crush seeming all too off limits, all Chelsea knows is that she’s got a lot to figure out about love. Because those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it….

[Synopsis by Goodreads]

Past Perfect is due for release on the 4th of October.

Feel free to leave a link to your own Waiting On Wednesday post in the comments, and I'll be sure to have a look.

Review: Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

Series: Starcrossed (#1)
Pages: 528
Publisher: Macmillan's Children's Books
Published: June 3rd, 2011
IBSN: 9780330529730

Destiny brought them together. The Gods will keep them apart.
When shy, awkward Helen Hamilton sees Lucas Delos for the first time she
 thinks two things. The first: that he is the most ridiculously beautiful boy she has seen in her life. The second: that she wants to kill him with her bare hands.

With an ancient curse making them loathe one another, Lucas and Helen have to keep their distance. But sometimes love is stronger than hate, and not even the gods themselves 

can prevent what will happen...

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

When I first saw Starcrossed, I had three thoughts on it: (1) I was pleased the characters fell in insta-hate rather than love; (2) that the Greek mythology premise sounded unique; and (3) that I really wish they hyphenated the title.

Angelini's writing style never struck me as particularly note-worthy or eloquent. There were some really odd similes, needless tangents, and awkward, convenient perspective switches. But it wasn't hard to get through; in fact, due to the simple language, it was quite easy and fast to read, despite the mammoth page count.

Third-person narration, however, made it hard for me to care for the main character. Though she was fairly likeable, even if devoid of a memorable personality, the way her voice was (or rather, wasn't) evoked left me reading more for the plot than the people.

The mythology was woven in well, and spun into an interesting new premise. I've read so many books lately based on Greek mythology, just hoping for one that didn't make me want to cringe, and Starcrossed might just have been that one.

The plot was fast-paced and full of twists, though it didn't feel especially organised. Though the main problem was rather straight-forward, other sub-plots were constantly popping up and waiting to be addressed. However, I admired the way the author could leave room for the further books in the series without ending on a cliffhanger.

The romance aspect was threaded in well, not a main complication but one that took a back seat to the real plot, but ties in with it. A lot of the book was spent with the characters gradually developing feelings for each other which gave the coupling a realistic feel and also helped to create chemistry between the two of them.

I'd recommend Starcrossed to people who want more depth to their mythology that other similar recent releases like The Goddess Test didn't offer.

I give Starcrossed a 3 out of 5.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Guest Review of Alaska at BTL!

I read a book a while ago, and then I wrote a review for it.

I do that like, every other day, but guess what's notable about it this time?

If you guessed "you posted it somewhere else" then you'd be right! Penguin BTL sent me an advanced copy of Alaska by Sue Saliba and I wrote a guest review for them, which you can check out HERE.

So you should go check that out.

Because the book is like, good. But better than good.

I even made the link BIG in case you don't have especially great hand-eye coordination.

Okay, I'm done being enviably eloquent (*raises sarcasm hand*). Just go check out the book, okay? Because it's a new favourite of mine. Plus, the review's peppered with just some of the amazing quotes from it.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Review: Winter's Shadow by M. J. Hearle

Winter's Shadow by M. J. Hearle
Series: Winter's Shadow (#1)

Pages: 432
Publisher: PanMacmillan Australia
Published: June 1st, 2011
IBSN: 9780330404471

Blake Duchamp...

He's all that Winter Adams can think of. Ever since their fateful meeting at Pilgrim's Lament. Ever since he looked at her with those emerald eyes. Ever since he saved her life.

But Blake isn't all that he seems. There is a strangeness about him, something dark and otherworldly. Something dangerous. In his attic is a secret he would kill to defend, but Winter seems to have a special ability to make him forget his duty. And he is her only protection against the gathering darkness.
The only problem is, to protect Winter, Blake must risk exposing her to an even greater danger. Himself.

Winter's Shadow is welcome new edition to the paranormal scene. The supernatural aspect is unique and stand-out, unprecedented in a way that makes trying to guess what comes next extremely difficult. Immediately there was one great thing about it: unpredictability.

Though the book follows the apparently-not-so-normal-girl-is-dropped-onto-paranormal-scene, the way Winter finds out about Blake's world and the pace at which information is revealed is suspenseful. We're learning new things alongside Winter right until the very end of the book.

If there was a flaw in Winter's Shadow, however, it'd be the detached narration. The over-done writing style had a formality that isn't naturally to a typical teenager's narration. For some characters, that style could have been appropriate, but it didn't help make Winter a character that you feel as though you know. 

The tone of the novel was constantly foreshadowing and spooky, reaching an eerie calm at the end of the book once things have settled that still doesn't entirely hint at this being the true ending. I really do look forward to seeing where the author takes us in the sequel he's currently writing.

Topped with a dramatic twist at the ending, Winter's Shadow was an engaging and interesting debut from an Australian author to keep an eye on.

I give Winter's Shadow a 4 out of 5.