Friday, 30 August 2013

Review: Inhuman by Kat Falls

Published by: Scholastic
Release date:
24th September 2013
Fetch #1
I got it from:

Goodreads summary:
In a world ravaged by mutation, a teenage girl must travel into the forbidden Savage Zone to recover lost artifacts or her father’s life is forfeit.

America has been ravaged by a war that has left the eastern half of the country riddled with mutation. Many of the people there exhibit varying degrees of animal traits. Even the plantlife has gone feral.

Crossing from west to east is supposed to be forbidden, but sometimes it’s necessary. Some enter the Savage Zone to provide humanitarian relief. Sixteen-year-old Lane’s father goes there to retrieve lost artifacts—he is a Fetch. It’s a dangerous life, but rewarding—until he’s caught.

Desperate to save her father, Lane agrees to complete his latest job. That means leaving behind her life of comfort and risking life and limb—and her very DNA—in the Savage Zone. But she’s not alone. In order to complete her objective, Lane strikes a deal with handsome, roguish Rafe. In exchange for his help as a guide, Lane is supposed to sneak him back west. But though Rafe doesn’t exhibit any signs of “manimal” mutation, he’s hardly civilized . . . and he may not be trustworthy.

My review:
I loved this book. Straight-out loved it. I'm not a huge dystopia fan, and there were a few flaws if we're going to get technical, but inhuman had that certain something - that indefinable quality that made me love it, despite all the reasons why I shouldn't!

There's a love triangle which has the feeling at the start that it's been shoehorned in somewhat, but by the end it somehow works on a lot of levels. There's the manimals (part human, part animal) - there is no way a virus should be able to alter a person's physiognomy to that level, but I love the idea of them so much I'll let it slide. It's no more incredible than vampires, werewolves or angels, so why not?

There were predicable elements, but they were off-set by a hundred little twists and turns that I didn't see coming, and I revelled in them. Falls' writing is seriously addictive. I felt what Lane felt, I saw what she saw. Lane herself is not the most original character ever - the girl from the soft side forced to survive in the wild - but I loved her all the same. Likewise for Rafe and Everson - hot, bad guy with a secret heart of gold and hot military guy who's just a misunderstood softie - neither of them particularly original, but each of them lovable in their own way. And for the record, in case you were wondering, I'm team Rafe all the way.

Taken to pieces, the only really exceptional thing about Inhuman is the part that gives it its name - those ferals, hybrids and manimals are what holds it all together and makes it special. That, and Falls' addictive, fast-paced and empathetic writing. The dialogue is great, the descriptions make me feel like I'm there, and the world building is out of this world! I can see this becoming a very successful series - it's different, fun and very readable. I know one thing for sure, I can't wait to read the next installment.

Monday, 19 August 2013

New Adult Monday: Deeper by Blue Ashcroft

Published by: Blue Ashcroft
Release date:
3rd August 2013
I got it from:

Goodreads summary:
Rain Wilson isn’t ever going to love again.

It’s a promise she made the day her boyfriend died in a water park accident, one she still blames herself for. Now she’s a senior lifeguard in a new town with a new pool and she’s just going to keep her head down and everyone safe.

Until a mysterious guy follows her into the waves at the pre-season bonfire and kisses her senseless. It’s just one mistake, and Rain is determined to put it behind her, until the dark haired, blue eyed hottie turns out to be her new co-supervisor Knight Mcallister.

Knight is hot, tatted, and carrying baggage of his own. He’s not happy about having Rain for a co-supervisor, and he’s even less happy about his attraction to her.

But between lifeguard drama, hot underwater kisses, and a growing attraction between them that can’t be stopped, Knight and Rain are being pulled deeper into their pasts, and realizing that sometimes too much broken can make a relationship impossible.

Then again sometimes it’s the broken parts of us that fit together best.

My review
Deeper is exactly my kind of NA book. It has everything I need and want from a book - girl and boy point of view, two strong characters each with their own secrets and problems, emotions that feel real and a good ending.

Rain and Knight are both great NA characters. They're both damaged by events in the past, and as usual you wonder for a while if two broken people can work well together. Sparks fly between these two, you can really feel the attraction they have for one another. It's in the way Rain gets butterflies and itches to touch him when she's trying to listen to him work out the schedule, and it's in the way he feels like he's woken up after years of walking around in a coma.

Rain is strong and determined. At just 19 she's young to be working as a supervisor lifeguard at a waterpark, but she's professional, good at her job and doesn't take any crap. Knight is cocky and confident most of the time, but now and again his facade slips and we spy the pain he's holding in underneath.

Deeper is the perfect summer holiday read in my mind. The setting, a waterpark, makes a nice change from college, and lets your imagination run riot thinking of all those sexy young things in swimsuits! Although there are emotional issues, it's not a heavy read. Ashcroft's writing makes it addictive, I didn't want to put it down once I got started.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Fabulous Friday: Review, Playlist and Giveaway of Love Exactly by Cassandra Giovanni

Woop Woop! I have a giveaway for you! The lovely Cassandra Giovanni has offered to give away a copy of her brilliant book Love Exactly, and she's even given us a playlist for the book to enjoy! First things first though, check out my review of the book...

Goodreads summary:

Emma Walker was a writer who'd lost herself to someone else's anger--who had given up on ever feeling like herself again.
Evan Levesque was a rock-god--the one all the woman wanted, but he'd never gotten used to the loneliness between the stage and real life.
With just one cup of coffee they'll begin a journey of self-discovery at each others sides, but can Emma handle Evan's fame while dealing with her own demons? Emma's checkered personal past, a bad relationship that haunts the edges of her memories, threatens to make everything implode on them when Evan takes matters into his own hands.
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but your words...they'll destroy my soul--Can Emma handle being put back together and facing who she's become because of it? 

My review:

Love Exactly was a joy to read. There's not as much heartache as there is in a lot of New Adult novels, and although that can make for a moving read, I don't think any less of LE for the lack of it. What LE does have is an overwhelming sense of rightness throughout - the way the relationship goes, the ups and downs, the realness of it all just feel so right.

Emma is honest and beautiful, inside and out. She's braver than she thinks she is, though it takes her a while to finally realise it. She's been through hell and back in the past, and it's affected her, as it would anyone. When she meets Evan she's very fragile, and the way he needs her, as much as she needs him, helps her to heal and grow.

Evan is just plain gorgeous. He's amazing in all sorts of ways. Apart from the purely physical hotness, he's deeply kind, romantic, talented and very lovely. He's almost too perfect. Even his flaws, such as they are, don't really seem like flaws when taken in context.

Evan is famous. He's a rock star. But he's also a person, and that's what we get to see the most. Emma grounds him, she lets him be himself, demands it even. Not that he's given to prima donna-esque outbreaks. He's 30 when we meet him - old enough to have worked his way through the bad-boy phase and come out the other side relatively unscathed. I would like to read Evan's side of the story, Beautiful Disaster/Walking Disaster style, because I get the feeling there's a lot more to him than we ever get to see.

If you've been reading my reviews you'll know how picky I am about endings, and I'm pleased to report that this is a really good one. So many books go on too far beyond the point at which they could and should stop, but Love Exactly ends in exactly the right place. Cassandra gets it spot-on, not just at the end, but all the way through. Her writing is full of feeling and addictive to read, her characters are genuinely likeable and everything about this book makes me want to read more of her work.

The Playlist

Music plays a huge part in Love Exactly - Evan being a rock star and all - so I asked Cassandra to give us her playlist for the novel. Here it is, lots of Maroon 5 on there! 
  1. Never Gonna Leave This Bed-Maroon 5
  2. One More Night-Maroon 5
  3. Payphone-Maroon 5
  4. Use Somebody-Kings of Leon
  5. Sweetest Goodbye-Maroon 5
  6. Mirrors-Justin Timberlake
  7. Make This Go On Forever-Snow Patrol
  8. Daylight-Maroon 5
  9. Secret- Maroon 5
  10. If You Could Only See- Tonic
  11. Inside Out-Eve 6
  12. Smoke and Mirrors-The Audition
  13. The Way You Move- The Audition
  14. Southern Girl-Incubus
  15. Eyes-Kascade (Ice Mix)
  16. Love Somebody-Maroon 5
  17. Just a Feeling-Maroon 5
  18. Sunday Morning-Maroon 5

Love Exactly Playlist

And now... The Giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Mini Reviews: Anna Dressed in Blood, The Replacement, Wake

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

It's dark and twisty. It gets inside your head, sinks its claws into your brain and refuses to let go. Whatever you're expecting, let go because this probably isn't it. This is better. It's like James Herbert with a sparkly sugar-coating for the YA market. Cas is awesome, and I don't use that word lightly. I love his voice. Somehow this manages to be a proper ghost story, a journey of self-discovery and a teen romance all rolled into one. Prepare to be astounded.


The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

Mackie is one of my favourite characters ever. I love reading the boy point of view, and Mackie's voice is extremely addictive. His world is dark - a gloopy, thick kind of dark filled with proper freaks, the kind that do bad things involving blood. These creatures are casually terrible and old as the hills. Yovanoff's writing is full of brilliance, sneaking into your consciousness and making you believe things that shouldn't be possible. Roswell is possibly an even better character than Mackie. I want more of him.

Wake by Lisa McMann

It's a slim little thing, which worried me at first, as I like to get my teeth stuck into a chunky novel. The style of writing is unusual and full of brilliance though, and somehow makes it more than it is. Third person, present tense, in a series of time-stamps. Staccato sentences, the bare bones of the story, and a collection of important occurrences and conversations. Somehow, in this stilted version of story-telling, we learn, see and feel everything that's important. I don't know how she does it, but it's exceptional. I need to read the rest of the trilogy now, which my library doesn't have, which is so frustrating! Why buy the first book but not the other two? Grr.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Review: The Genesis by K.L. Kerr

Published by: Penrefe Publications
Release date:
12th September 2013
Blood of Ages
I got it from:

Goodreads summary:
An Uncontrollable Power. An Unstoppable Corporation. A Vampire God.

The vampires of Dayson city are preparing for war. Having lived in constant fear of the Archway Corporation for decades, desperation has forced them into action. Their solution is to bring the First vampire, Alistair, back from the dead, a warrior famed for eradicating entire armies in the name of his kind.

For fledgling vampire Catrina Malinka, the fabled return of some unknown deity falls low on her list of concerns. Between fending off strangers trying to kill her in her dreams and trying to rein in an uncontrollable power that no one else even understands let alone shares, Catrina is forced to fight her assumed role in the war against Archway, which threatens to send her down a path she doesn't want to travel.

The first book in The Blood of Ages series, "The Genesis" is an urban fantasy about the inescapable nature of Fate and the corruption of power.

My review:
It was really good to read a vampire book about the actual vampires. All too often, vampire books are actually about a human, and their relationship with a vampire. In The Genesis though, we step into the life of a newly-bitten vampire. As we follow Catrina, we learn about the clan she is now affiliated to, and about how it feels to get used to the strange new powers she possesses.

Kerr does a great job of describing the new feelings that come with being turned into a vampire. Her vamps have a heart-beat, which is unusual but makes sense, but they stick with the traditional daylight burns, drinking human blood (thought not necessarily to the death), etc. Naturally, where there are vampires there are people who hunt them, so we are caught up in a battle between the hunters and the vamps. There are some good uses of technology, and I liked the fact that the clan has an infirmary because although the vamps can heal quickly, it's not instant.

I don't think I'm giving away too much here - it's all pretty inconsequential stuff - I just want you to get a feel for the world Kerr has built. It's done well - you can tell a lot of thought has gone into it, and it feels solid. Catrina takes to her new life pretty well, all things considered, but when you look at her old life it's easy to see why. She comes from an unusual background, and life as a soldier vampire isn't actually that different to her previous life as a human assassin. Everything ties together nicely, with the feel of a book well-developed, although a little more background to help us get to know Catrina personally wouldn't go amiss.

There's a bit of an Underworld feel to the whole 'bring the ancient vampire back to life and he will lead us to victory' aspect of the story, but not in a rip-off way. I'm not entirely sure how much I like the actual Genesis part of the book personally though. It's a new and interesting take on the vampire origin myth, and it lies well in the storyline, but there's just something about it all that didn't appeal to me. I think it might be the fact that I'm a sucker for romance, and there's a severe lack of it here. I'm sure some of you will love that - a vampire book that's not all about the sex or teen angst? A rare thing indeed.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Review: When the World was Flat (And We Were in Love) by Ingrid Jonach

Published by: Strange Chemistry
Release date:
3rd September 2013
I got it from:

Goodreads summary:
When sixteen-year-old Lillie Hart meets the gorgeous and mysterious Tom Windsor-Smith for the first time, it’s like fireworks — for her, anyway. Tom looks as if he would be more interested in watching paint dry; as if he is bored by her and by her small Nebraskan town in general.

But as Lillie begins to break down the walls of his seemingly impenetrable exterior, she starts to suspect that he holds the answers to her reoccurring nightmares and to the impossible memories which keep bubbling to the surface of her mind — memories of the two of them, together and in love.

When she at last learns the truth about their connection, Lillie discovers that Tom has been hiding an earth-shattering secret; a secret that is bigger — and much more terrifying and beautiful — than the both of them. She also discovers that once you finally understand that the world is round, there is no way to make it flat again.

An epic and deeply original sci-fi romance, taking inspiration from Albert Einstein’s theories and the world-bending wonder of true love itself.

My review:
The title of this book alone drew me in. It's a brilliant title, and it fits the book well, because it is a bit brilliant. I have to say, there are faults. Quite major ones in places if I'm being honest. I didn't love the book all the way through, but when I got to the end, it somehow made up for all that. 

The worst fault is the science. The theories used in the book may have stemmed from Einstein, but the way they've been twisted to make the story is kind of whacked-out. There's no getting around it, there are sections where you think 'what the hell?', sections where it's just plain confusing, and sections where you might snort in disgust. But then there are the parts that enable it to recover from all that. It's a mixed bag, but I'd still say it's worth a read. 

Lillie is mostly a good character. Tom, I'm undecided on. I usually fall hard for the love interest, but something about Tom made me keep my distance. I found the beginning of the book very readable - before the science, and Tom, get involved. Lillie's friends, and her mum, are all good, well-rounded characters, and the spark of intrigue from Lillie's dreams keeps it interesting. Then things get messed up for a little while. Keep reading though. I loved the ending. I really wasn't sure how it was going to go, right up to the end, which is impressive, and the way it did go, felt totally right. 

Jonach's writing (minus the bad science) is high quality. The dialogue is really good, the relationships between the characters work well, and it's descriptive enough that you get a good feel for everything, though it doesn't draw you right in like some books do.