By Midnight – Review

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Welcome to Ravenwood…The school with BITE

 

This week I got an advance copy of By Midnight by Mia James. This is the first in the “Ravenwood” series. By Midnight is looking to be the next in the Vampire craze that has swept teens and adults the world over, with the success of the Twilight Saga and the Vampire Academy Series it’s not hard to see that Mia James is on to a winning formula. Vampires, angsty teens and paranormal romance are the style du jour and its easy to understand why so many writers have jumped on this very successful bandwagon. Its entertaining, allows for a lot of angst and romance and of course has just the right amount of fear inducing horror to keep teens reading.

By Midnight is definitely aimed at a YA audience and readers of Twilight will definitely love this series. This is a bit younger than Twilight in its reading age but still infinitely enjoyable if you like a good vamp story. I am a bit of a devotee of this genre having grown up reading Anne Rice and Poppy Z Brite, so it’s no surprise that this new wave of vamp books appeals to me. These stories are far more palatable and appropriate for younger readers than vamp books of the past and its great that so many young readers are rediscovering a love of books.

By Midnight is the story of April Dunne she has recently had to move to Highgate in London from Edinburgh. She has left behind her friends and her social life. She has to face the horrifying reality of starting at a new school. But that’s not the worst of it. She is stuck living in an ancient creepy dump of a house that doesn’t even have mobile phone reception.

Her new school Ravenwood is a prestigious school full of talented and bright students. Now April is stuck with a bunch of rich beautiful and talented students. The only saving grace is finding a fast friendship with Caro and a budding romance with brooding and dark Gabriel.

But of course Ravenwood isn’t as it seems and there is a dark secret lurking beneath the surface. First there is the strange murder of rock superstar Alix Graves and then she is saved from a mysterious and dangerous situation in Highgate cemetery  by Gabriel. Then she discovers that a murder took place in the very same place that Gabriel saved her from. Determined to get to the bottom of things April sets herself on a path into very dangerous and dark territories which will test her resolve her strength and even her life.

No one said being a teenager was easy but at Ravenwood it could be deadly …

This is a great start to a series and Mia James has set a good pace for what will no doubt be a very successful series for her. This wasnt my favourite vampire book ive ever read but it certainly kept me turning the pages well in to the night and beyond. A great easy read that is super entertaining and enjoyable !

 

BlondiieC

xox

 

 

 

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Delirium – Review

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Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love–the deliria–blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold.

Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Haloway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: she falls in love.


This is the latest offering from the author of the brilliant Before I Fall. Lauren Oliver has delivered another work of YA Fiction that will blow readers away. This is a fantastic work of dystopian fiction that crosses age barriers flawlessly. Lauren Oliver writes beautifully and skillfully, she has offered up another great book that takes the notion of YA fiction and turns it upside down.

Many readers hear the term YA and cringe or back away for fear that this is yet another Twilight remake. But fear not this is not another paranormal romance novel with annoying characters. This is absolutely fantastic. More readers are turning to YA Fiction for more of what they love, dystopian fiction, sci-fi and fantasy. The lines are blurring and the crossover potential is infinite. YA is fast becoming one of the best-selling genres of the moment and with books like this it’s not hard to see why.

Dystopian fiction is one the rise again, this genre is not new but this take on it definitely is. Thanks to the popularity of such dystopian classics as Soylent Green and 1984 and the unforgettable Brave New World, authors are turning back to a formula that works and we are all truly grateful.

Delirium takes readers to the not too distant future where love is a disease that needs to be cured and the powers that be have decided that it is the reason for all that is wrong with the world. Delirium explores that idea that by curing people of this disease “love” that the world would be rid of civil unrest, and thus society would be placid and more pliable. But of course it wouldn’t be a story without some romance and Lauren Oliver has cast Lena as the troubled teen who falls in love amidst circumstances that forbid it.

I don’t want to give too much away about the plot and the way this story evolves because you just have to read it for yourself, it’s a great read. Lauren Oliver’s writing is captivating, beautiful and skillful it draws you in right to the last page.The use of language in Delirium is stunning and that’s what sets Lauren Oliver apart from most YA writers. She doesn’t dumb down the language or assume that her readers can’t understand the big words and that is part of what makes Delirium so incredible. Not to mention the characters are real and totally believable and likeable. Lena is a great character and I know everyone who reads it will empathise with her right till the end. Do yourself a favour if you haven’t read Lauren Oliver yet do it now you will not be disappointed.

BlondiieC

xox

Divergent – Review

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One choice. One choice decides your friends, defines your beliefs, and determines your loyalties . . . forever. Or, one choice can transform you. In Veronica Roth’s début novel, Divergent, a perfect society unfolds into a dystopian world of electrifying decisions, stunning consequences, heartbreaking betrayals, and unexpected romance.”

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.

Divergent is a brilliant début novel, and the best part of that is that it’s the first in a trilogy. Veronica Roth has taken the YA world by storm with this stunning book. Divergent has it all, edge of your seat thrills, death-defying stunts and non stop action. Fast paced, gritty and at times disturbing Divergent is a fantastic new book from a writer that I am personally very excited to have discovered. I started Divergent and I didn’t stop reading until the last page. I was completely hooked, I got drawn into Tris’ world and I did not want to leave. I put everything else aside, I couldn’t help myself I just had to keep reading it. Divergent is the reason the term “captivating page turner” was coined.Be prepared to do nothing else except read until this book is finished.
Tris is the ultimate female protagonist, gutsy, determined, fearless and yet vulnerable and inherently feminine. She will appeal to readers over a huge age range and better yet she will appeal to male readers as well as female. Tris in short kicks ass and she does it all without being a whiney pain in the ass like so many characters in YA fiction. I really love this character and had to keep reminding myself that she is in fact just a character. She is just so real!
You simply could not write a review of Divergent without a mention of the other protagonist in this book. Four is a startlingly brilliant character and for anyone who doesn’t enjoy a female lead Four will make up for the focus on Tris. He is amazing, completely three-dimensional, infinitely believable and strong. He is strong, fearless, and at times frightening. Male readers will want to be him and female readers will want to date him. He really is that good.
I really could go on and on about Divergent it is a fantastic book that will have readers hooked. I am already counting down the days until book two is released.
BlondiieC
xox

Summer In The City – Review

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Following the success of the The Carrie Diaries the prequel to her multi award-winning Sex And The City,Candace Bushnell brings us a little more of the early years of Carrie and the girls in New York City. The latest instalment in what looks set to be a series is called, Summer In The City.

Summer is a magical time in New York City and Carrie is in love with all of it—the crazy characters in her neighborhood, the vintage-clothing boutiques, the wild parties, and the glamorous man who has swept her off her feet. Best of all, she’s finally in a real writing class, taking her first steps toward fulfilling her dream.

This sequel to The Carrie Diaries brings surprising revelations as Carrie learns to navigate her way around the Big Apple, going from being a country “sparrow”—as Samantha Jones dubs her— to the person she always wanted to be. But as it becomes increasingly difficult to reconcile her past with her future, Carrie realizes that making it in New York is much more complicated than she ever imagined.

With her signature wit and sparkling humor, Candace Bushnell reveals the irresistible story of how Carrie met Samantha and Miranda, and what turned a small-town girl into one of New York City’s most unforgettable icons, Carrie Bradshaw.

I am a huge fan of Sex And The City, I have watched every episode of the show more times than I care to admit, I have seen both movies far too many times as well. I am such a fan that when they released the first ever box set of the show on dvd (in a limited edition shoe box no less) I didn’t buy just one but two yes two. (I gave one away as a gift, im not a complete freak) anyway I digress….

I am a huge fan of Candace Bushnell I loved the original book that spawned the series so you can imagine my psychotic fan girl joy when I heard that there was a prequel. The Carrie Diaries was great although a little young. Well only yesterday I picked up the next instalment and I have barely stopped since I picked it up.

Now I will attempt to keep my fan girl crush to a minimum here but I have to say I loved it ! This is not a great work of literary genius but it is ridiculously enjoyable. For fans of the show this a great back story to the characters we have come to know and love. While the target audience for this book is fans of the show I do find it more suited to the Young Adult genre. This certainly isn’t the type of content people have come to expect from Candace Bushnell.

This is a great fun easy read that gives you a little more insight into the characters you love and is a nice way to waste a few hours fantasising about New York, fashion and fun.

BlondiieC

xox

Loathing Lola – Review

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I read Loathing Lola by the very talented William Kostakis a few months ago and despite my general disinterest in YA Fiction I could not put this one down. I’m not the biggest fan of this genre as I find a lot of books for teenagers tend to downplay their intelligence and portray young girls to be whiney, annoying and generally a pain in the ass!

Which is precisely why I loved Loathing Lola ! The protagonist is intelligent, witty and has a social conscience all without being too preachy. This is no mean feat, in this day and age of whiney protagonists being so popular and the fact that unless you have supernatural themes you will not sell any books, Loathing Lola manages to be everything that good YA Fiction should be. Inspiring, funny, quirky, a little left of centre, relevant and most importantly…Infinitely readable!

Loathing Lola is the story of  16-year-old Courtney Marlow. Courtney didn’t really think it through, She thought the offer to have her life broadcast on national television was the perfect solution to her family’s financial troubles…..She was so wrong! She had high hopes, she was going to be a role model, a positive influence, a voice of reason, a “normal” teenager without the boob job and the eating disorder that seemed so fashionable, but Mackenzie Dahl the shows producer has a very different show in mind.

As everyone who has ever watched an episode of Jersey Shore or the Real Housewives will know, reality TV is generally as far removed from reality as possible. True to form Courtney’s ideal show is drastically different to the picture she had painted in her mind. Suddenly Courtney is looking more like Snooki than the saint she intended and the results are disastrous for everyone involved.

Katie Watson, Courtney’s self-appointed best friend is determined to grab her fifteen seconds of fame along with everyone else and her stunts to grab the spotlight will have you in stitches. Follow Courtney, Katie and the rest of the crew through the disaster as it unfolds. This is Big Brother meets Jersey Shore but better!

William Kostakis penned Loathing Lola when he was only nineteen. He had always dreamed of being a writer and his first novel is the sort of work you would expect from someone far older and with a lot more writing experience. This is the perfect book for young adult readers right through to adults. The content is funny, entertaining and thought-provoking.

I read Loathing Lola in one sitting and I cannot sing its praises enough, and it would seem I’m not alone in that. Loathing Lola has been recently released as an Ebook edition and it’s not surprising that it’s already wildly popular with readers of all ages. The best part though ? It’s now available in four parts as the author William Kostakis originally intended. So not only can you enjoy the ease of reading this great story in digital format, but now we get even more of the characters we love. Everyone wins!

I cannot urge everyone enough to read Loathing Lola, you will not be disappointed. It changed me from a cynical YA reader into a devotee of this genre. Loathing Lola spurned me on to read more YA fiction and I have found that while there is a lot of good work out there most of it is based around the paranormal. Paranormal is good but it gets old quickly. So if you have had enough of whiney girls with broken hearts and moody vampires then check out Loathing Lola its fabulous !

BlondiieC

xox

http://networkedblogs.com/hbMYB

http://www.williamkostakis.com/author.html

Beautiful Malice – Review

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Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James is an absolutely sensational read. Rebecca James has written a book that will cross many different genres and age groups. For me I would put this in the YA section but it is technically general fiction/crime fiction. But do not be put off by that. I know a lot of readers who steer clear of YA thinking it is too young, but it really isn’t there is a lot of crossover writing these days. A perfect example of that is  Jodi Piccoult’s book My Sisters Keeper which was originally released as general fiction but has now been rebound and is sold as YA.

Beautiful Malice is chilling reading, it’s a tense roller coaster ride of psychological fiction. I am a huge fan of crime fiction and this is really great Australian crime writing. Beautiful Malice is one of those stories that has so many hooks you find yourself turning the pages like a person possessed pushing through tiredness juts to find out how it all ends.

Beautiful Malice begins with Katie a girl with a dark past, a secret she hopes to keep buried forever. But nasty secrets always have a way of rearing their ugly heads and of course Katie is no exception. Katie or Katherine as she now prefers to be known will do anything to keep her past buried and move on with her life but others have different agendas.

Katherine fatefully meets Alice a popular girl with the looks and charm that draw you in but of course things are never as they seem and Alice is harbouring dark secrets of her own.Alice hides a secret past more sinister than anyone could imagine especially Katherine.  After  moving away from her past and rebuilding her life Katherine is seduced by the promise of friendship and popularity, the possibility of a normal life. But looks can be deceiving and poor Katherine is about to discover that history has a nasty way of repeating itself.

Truth,’ Alice says slowly, drawing out the vowel sound as if she’s savouring the word. ‘Are you sure? Are you sure you can be completely honest?’
‘I think so. Try me.’
‘Okay.’ And then she looks at me curiously. ‘So. Were you glad, deep down? Were you glad to be rid of her? Your perfect sister? Were you secretly glad when she was killed?’

(excerpt taken from the back cover blurb) 

Just when you start to think you know where the plot is going it turns in a completely different direction. Filled with dark twists and sharp turns Beautiful Malice is a thrill ride that will keep you guessing till the last page. Rebecca James has written a brilliant book that will keep you up late reading.  Take the ride with Katherine and learn her secrets,you wont regret it,but you may find yourself questioning that new friend in your life. Should you trust, Can we trust ? Or should be hide ourselves away for fear of whats lurking in the shadows.

BlondiieC

xox

Vampire Academy Series – Review

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I have to admit that I started this series in sheer desperation for something to read, having said that I immediately became completely hooked.Think the Twilight obsession all over again. I simply couldn’t stop reading them, I finished all six books in less than a week! This is a great series for anyone who loved Twilight.

The Vampire Academy series is not to be sneezed at. Richelle Mead has written a really great YA/Fantasy cross over series that has been phenomenally successful. And it is not hard to understand why. They are a well written, beautifully constructed series that grabs your attention from the first few pages and keeps hold until the last page of book six.

While the reading age of the first two books was a little young for me I would still recommend these books to a wide audience of readers. While the Vampire phenomenon is getting a little tired as it does when it resurfaces every 10 years or so, this series really is worth the effort. After the success of books like Twilight the Vampire phenomenon blew up so to speak and that’s understandable but its a shame because it tars all vampire books with the same brush.

The series tells the story of Rose a half vampire(Moroi)/ Half human (Dhampir) who is training to become a guardian to her best friend Lissa a full blood Moroi princess. Guardians protect Moroi and the Moroi way of life. They risk their own lives to keep the secret of the Moroi from the humans.The story spans six books and each one is better than the next! Readers follow Rose, Dimitri and the rest of the crew through adventure and near escapes that see Rose travelling half way around the world. Rose will stop at nothing to ensure the future of the Moroi.

Rose faces many challenges through the six books, but she never falters and as such remains a strong and interesting female lead, (something which is lacking in other series like this) Her steely determination and her smartass attitude will really engage YA readers and lovers of Fantasy novels as well.

While this hasn’t sent me running to the Fantasy section to read more fantasy books, It did open my eyes to a genre I have otherwise ignored. And I have to admit I’m eagerly awaiting the spin-off series “Bloodlines” which is due for release in August !

BlondiieC

xox

http://www.richellemead.com/books/vampireacademy.htm