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Dec. 19th, 2010


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Passing Strange by Daniel Waters

The Blurb On The Back:

Karen DeSonne always passed as a normal teenager – and now that she’s dead, she’s still passing – this time as alive.


But when her dead friends are accused of a high profile murder and forced into hiding, it’s up to Karen to prove their innocence. Which means doing the unthinkable and becoming the girlfriend of bionist zealot Peter Martinsburg, who she suspects of framing them. But if Peter finds out who Karen really is, the consequences for her will be worse than death ...


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The Verdict:

The use of the paranormal to explore a civil rights story line is not original, but this YA fantasy is lifted by the tender examination of the effects of suicide on a family and the emotions and guilt that leads someone to commit it. I found Karen to be an interesting, well drawn character although some of her abilities border on Mary-Suedom although the main antagonist is unfortunately much more two-dimensional. All in all, having not read any of the previous books in this series, I’m going to check them out and will also be interested to see how this series develops.

Thanks to the Simon & Schuster for the free copy of this book.

Cross-posted to bookish, books, bookworming, fantasywithbite, urbanfantasyfan, and yalitlovers.

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Angel by L. A. Weatherly

The Blurb On The Back:

Eoin Colfer reinvented the fairy.
Stephenie Meyer reinvented the vampire.
L. A. Weatherly reinvents the angel.


Willow knows she’s different from other girls. And not just because she loves tinkering around with cars. Willow has a gift. She can look into people’s futures, know their dreams, their hopes and their regrets, just by touching them. She has no idea where she gets this power from ...

But Alex does. Gorgeous, mysterious Alex knows Willow’s secret and is on a mission to stop her. The dark forces within Willow makes her dangerous – and irresistible. In spite of himself, Alex finds he is falling in love with his sworn enemy.

Utterly intoxicating and deeply compelling, ANGEL is an epic tale of love, destiny and sacrifice.


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The Verdict:

I’m not normally a fan of paranormal romances, but this is a likeable enough opening to a series with plenty of plot and suitably high stakes to keep me interested. Things do threaten to fall apart towards the end in the rush to wrap up some loose ends and set up the sequel, but it’s competently written and has pace. Worth checking out if you’re a fan of the genre or, like me, normally apathetic.

ANGEL was released in the UK on 1st October. Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the ARC.

Cross-posted to bookish, books, fantasywithbite, bookworming, urbanfantasyfan and yalitlovers.

Dec. 13th, 2010


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The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Blurb On The Back:

When the doors of the lift crank open, the only thing Thomas can remember is his first name. But he’s not alone. He’s surrounded by boys who welcome him to the Glade, an encampment at the centre of a bizarre and terrible maze.

Like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they came to be there, or what’s happened to the world outside. All they know is that every morning when the walls slide back, they will risk everything to find out – even the Grievers, half-machine, half-animal horrors that hunt the Maze’s walled corridors.


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The Verdict:

Although the early creepy, nightmarish vision to this dystopian YA novel fell apart for me in the final quarter and the book also prolonged the mystery a little too long, there was a lot here that I liked – particularly the horrendous Grievers. I’ll be reading the next book in this trilogy, but hope it doesn’t fall into the same traps.

Cross-posted to bookish, books, bookworming, sf_with_bite and yalitlovers.

Dec. 12th, 2010


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The Medusa Project – The Hostage by Sophie McKenzie

The Blurb On The Back:

Fourteen years ago, four babies were implanted with the Medusa gene – a gene for psychic abilities. Now teenagers, Nico, Ketty, Ed and Dylan have been brought together by government agents to create a secret crime-fighting force: The Medusa Project.

Ketty’s brother Lex has stumbled into a dangerous game involving his boss and a hidden bomb. It’s up to Ketty to save him without letting on what she knows to the rest of the team. But can she control her psychic visions, and her feelings for Nico, without getting the team’s cover – and herself – blown sky high?


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The Verdict:

Although this is a fast-paced, action-packed story, Ketty’s acceptance of some borderline abusive behaviour from her boyfriend and the at times contrived development of her powers resulted in my attention wandering. Consequently, I’m not sure whether I’ll read the next one in the series.

Cross-posted to bookish, books, booky_talk, bookworming and yalitlovers.

Dec. 11th, 2010


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The Dead by Charlie Higson

The Blurb On The Back:

A terrible disease is striking everyone over the age of fourteen. Death walks the streets. Nowhere is safe.


Maxie, Blue and the rest of the Holloway crew aren’t the only kids trying to escape the ferocious adults who prey on them.

Jack and Ed are best friends, but their battle to stay alive tests their friendship to the limit as they go on the run with a mismatched group of other kids – nerds, fighters, misfits. And one adult. Greg, a butcher, who claims he’s immune to the disease.

They must work together if they want to make it in this terrifying new world. But as a fresh disaster threatens to overwhelm London, they realise they won’t all survive ...


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The Verdict:

Although this bone chilling sequel to the excellent THE ENEMY is actually a prequel, it’s nevertheless a cracking YA horror read, with plenty of violence and death and a fascinating take on zombies. I’ll definitely be checking out the next book.

Cross-posted to bookish, books, bookworming, horror_novels and yalitlovers.

Nov. 21st, 2010


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Claire De Lune by Christine Johnson

The Blurb On The Back:

Hanover Falls hasn’t had a werewolf problem in over one hundred years, but when people suddenly start dying in Claire Benoit’s town, panic spreads fast. The gruesome killings are all anyone can talk about at Claire’s sixteenth birthday party, though the only thing on Claire’s mind is gorgeous Matthew Engle chatting and flirting with her as if she’s the only girl there. But that night, Claire discovers something that takes away all sense of normality: she’s a werewolf.

Claire knows she must keep her changing identity a secret, especially from Matthew, whose father is leading the werewolf hunt. But then a rogue werewolf threatens to put everyone she knows in danger. Struggling to feel comfortable in either skin, and with her lupine loyalty at odds with her human heart, Claire is forced to make a choice that will change her forever.


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The Verdict:

There’s some interesting world-building here and the feminist take on werewolf mythology interesting, the overall story and characterisation never really grabbed my attention, with the mystery only ever being so-so. There’s promise here for the other books in the series, but the stories really need to have more zip for me to keep reading.

Thanks to Simon & Schuster for the free copy of this book.

Cross-posted to bookish, books, bookworming, booky_talk, fantasywithbite, urbanfantasyfan and yalitlovers.

Nov. 16th, 2010


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Before I Die by Jenny Downham

The Blurb On The Back:

It’s really going to happen. They said it would, but this is quicker than anyone thought.


Sixteen-year-old Tessa is going to die. And she’s made a list of ten things she wants to do in the time she has left.

But getting what you want isn’t easy. And getting what you want doesn’t always give you what you need. And sometimes the most unexpected things become important.

Uplifting, life-affirming, joyous – this extraordinary novel celebrates what it is to be alive by confronting what it’s really like to die.

Winner of the Branford Boase Award and shortlisted for the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize.


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The Verdict:

This is a beautiful YA novel that takes an unflinching look at terminal cancer and in doing so, provides an ultimately life-affirming read. I’d recommend it as a must-read to anyone interested in YA fiction or just looking for a well-written, wonderfully characterised novel with a moving plot.

Cross-posted to bookish, books, bookworming and yalitlovers.

I’m currently doing a give-away on my RL blog of an ARC of Jenny Downham’s forthcoming second novel, YOU AGAINST ME, which is not released in the UK until December and also an ARC of ANGEL by L. A. Weatherly, which was released in the UK in October. Full details can be found here.

Nov. 6th, 2010


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Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

The Blurb On The Back:

Magic is dangerous – but love is more dangerous still.


When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray arrives in England during the reign of Queen Victoria, something terrifying is waiting for her in London’s Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gas-lit streets. Friendless and hunted, Tessa seeks refuge with the Shadowhunters, a band of warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons. Drawn ever deeper into their world, she finds herself fascinated by – and torn between – two best friends and quickly realizes that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.


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The Verdict:

Despite some good individual scenes, this prequel to Cassandra Clare’s bestselling MORTAL INSTRUMENTS TRILOGY has far too many similarities, particularly in terms of the characters and plot structure, for it to be a truly satisfying read. Much of it was too overwritten for me and some of the prose is outright purple, while the cliff hanger ending irritates rather than tantalizes. Existing fans will probably like that, but for me this was little more than Mortal Instruments in bustles and it was disappointing that Victorian London is portrayed in such glib, Hollywood-ised terms.

Cross-posted to bookish, books, bookworming, fantasywithbite and yalitlovers.

Apologies if this is not permitted, but I am currently doing an ARC give-away on my RL blog which includes the middle grade fantasy Bartimaeus: The Ring Of Solomon by Jonathan Stroud here if anyone is interested.

Oct. 26th, 2010


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Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

The Blurb On The Back:

The Hunger Games.
“If we burn you burn with us.”


Kaniss Everdeen’s final battle has begun.

Part Three of the astonishing Hunger Games Trilogy.


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The Verdict:

Having been unimpressed by CATCHING FIRE, I found MOCKINGJAY a really interesting read. Collins lifts her story above the love triangle element to explore themes of the horror of war, how rebellions fought for good reasons can spiral out of control and how violence leaves everyone damaged. Although it is a flawed book, with some elements not really coming off, it’s a fascinating, mature and dark read and one that I would recommend checking out.

Cross-posted to bookish, books, bookworming, sf_with_bite and yalitlovers.

Sep. 30th, 2010


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Alien Storm by A. G. Taylor

The Blurb On The Back:

A freak virus released by a meteorite storm has given Sarah, Robert and their friends amazing superpowers. But such powers are both a blessing and a curse ...

Deadly meteorites are heading to earth but mysterious Russian billionaire Nikolai Markarov seems delighted. What is his secret and can the group of friends thwart his master plan?


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The Verdict:

An exciting, adrenalin filled sequel to METEORITE STRIKE, this book has tonnes of action, interweaving plot points and some interesting character development on the part of Sarah. There’s an interesting set-up to a third book and based on this, I shall definitely be reading on.

ALIEN STORM is released in the UK on 26th November. Thanks to Usbourne for the ARC.

Cross-posted to bookish, books, bookworming, sf_with_bite and yalitlovers.

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