Friday, August 31, 2012

Thriller: Stories to Keep You Up All Night

Title: Thriller: Stories to Keep You Up All Night

Editor: James Patterson


Featuring North America's foremost thriller authors, Thriller is the first collection of pure thriller stories ever published. Offering up heart-pumping tales of suspense in all its guises are thirty-two of the most critically acclaimed and award-winning names in the business.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I find myself enjoying short story anthologies more and more these days so I was looking forward to reading this one.

I actually read this after reading the third anthology in the series and I found the commentary from James Patterson before each story to be so long and tedious.  I much preferred Sandra Brown’s in Thriller.  I read this book for the short stories and while I find a little bit of commentary interesting, I don’t need another short story telling me about the short story before I start the short story.

I felt after the first few stories the rest of them were really amazing.  The first three were the kind of thrillers that I’m not that fond of.  The rest however, were full of awesome twists and just kept me interested through them.  Of course, I did come upon some that weren’t as good as the rest but that’s to be expected.

While almost all of these stories are related to series or books the authors have previously written about them it was quite easy to follow the stories without getting lost or anything like that.  I certainly have not read every book by all of these authors so I don’t see how anyone else could have to be honest.

The collection has a wide range of thriller authors so I feel like there’s something for everyone.  Before reading this book I hadn’t really noticed that there could be so many different types of thrillers but there are.  I know now that I don’t really like the gritty thrillers that are highly reminiscent of action movies.  I know that I’m more of a suspense thriller person.

Overall, Thriller: stories to keep you up all night is a good book if you like short story anthologies.  I didn’t like every single story in the book but there were a lot that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Source: Library

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

Title: The Woman in White

Author: Wilkie Collins

Published: Penguin Classics, 2003

Pages: 672

Summary: The Woman in White is a Victorian melodrama concerning a mysterious woman in white who bears an uncanny resemblance to the fiancee of Lord Glyde, a sophisticated fortune hunter. (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: As soon as I finished reading this book I let out a huge breath.  This tome of a novel is by no means an easy read.

At times I found the plot to be very tedious and there was many a time where I was ready to close the book and set it aside for good.  However, me being me, I carried through and for about the first 350-400 pages I thought the book was boring but it really picked up towards the end.

There was this patch where everything got really exciting and I couldn’t put it down because I just had to read through it.

Then it got boring again.  I sort of felt the ending carried on a lot more than what it should have.  I thought things had been resolved to a decent extent but then the story continued and it actually got really intriguing again right at the end.

So what I’m saying in that long ramble is that the book had a lot of really boring parts and then a lot of very interesting parts.

I quite enjoyed the story and thought it was very different to others I have read.  I can see why it’s a classic because it’s actually a really good story line.  The writing style is absolutely marvellous as well.

I just happened to find it really dull at some points but thinking back on it, it actually was necessary to have those parts in the story.

Overall, I actually thoroughly enjoyed The Woman in White.  It wasn’t quite what I had thought it would be.  There’s something really fulfilling about reading a book of over 600 pages and while I did find myself getting really bored at parts, I actually thoroughly enjoyed the book as a whole.

Source: Own Copy

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Small Hand by Susan Hill

Title: The Small Hand

Author: Susan Hill

Published: Profile Books, 2010

Pages: 176

Summary: Returning home from a visit to a client late one summer's evening, antiquarian bookseller Adam Snow takes a wrong turning and stumbles across the derelict old White House. Compelled by curiosity, he approaches the door, and, standing before the entrance feels the unmistakable sensation of a small hand creeping into his own, 'as if a child had taken hold of it'. Intrigued by the encounter, he determines to learn more, and discovers that the owner's grandson had drowned tragically many years before. At first unperturbed by the odd experience, Snow begins to be plagued by haunting dreams, panic attacks, and more frequent visits from the small hand which become increasingly threatening and sinister ...  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: The Small Hand sounded like a really interesting ghost story and lately I’ve been looking for more spooky reads so I didn’t hesitate to pick this one up.

The Small Hand wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be to be honest.  In truth I felt it was more of a classic style horror which is to say it uses more sophisticated language and not so much of the scary factor.

The book reminded me a very tiny little bit of The Ninth Gate movie but I think this was only because the main characters in both deal in rare and expensive books.

The ending was sad and quite unexpected.  I got to the ending and I just sort of sat there afterwards going over what had happened in my mind.  It was definitely thought provoking.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Small Hand, it is an entertaining read and while it wasn’t as scary as I was hoping it would be I thought it was still an entertaining read.

Source: Library

Friday, August 24, 2012

Perception by Kim Harrington

Title: Perception

Author: Kim Harrington

Published: Scholastic Inc., March 2012

Pages: 288

Series: Book 2, Clarity

Summary: *May Contain Spoilers* When you can see things others can't, what do you do when someone's watching you? 

Everybody knows about Clarity "Clare" Fern. She's the psychic girl in school, the one who can place her hands on something and see hidden visions from the past. 

Only Clare would rather not be a celebrity. She prefers hanging back, observing. Her gift is not a game to her. 

But then someone starts playing with her head . . . and heart. Messages and gifts from a secret admirer crop up everywhere Clare turns. Could they be from Gabriel, the gorgeous boy who gets Clare's pulse racing? Or from Justin, Clare's hopeful ex-boyfriend who'd do anything to win her back? 
One thing is certain. Clare needs to solve this mystery, and soon. Because the messages are becoming sinister, and a girl in town has suddenly disappeared.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I have been waiting for this book for a year!  Ever since I read Clarity I just had to read Perception.  While I was super excited to be reading Perception I was also a little nervous that this wouldn’t be as good as Clarity however, my worries were soothed completely.

I absolutely loved Perception.  I feel like I could go on and on about how amazing it was but I don’t really want to do that.

There was so much mystery in Perception that I couldn’t stop reading it!  I just had to know all the things that were going on and I was busy forming opinions the whole time about which events were linked and which were just red herrings.  I loved it so much!

In this one there was more emphasis on the love triangle between Clare and Justin and Gabriel.  In Clarity I didn’t care for either of them because there is another character I believe would be far better suited for Clare. 

However, in this one you get to know the boys some more and man I did not like Justin in this one and Gabriel became this amazing guy.  I still feel she would be better suited to another guy but I also love Gabriel.  I did get annoyed that it was taking her so long to choose but not giving anything away, she did choose in the end.

Not only was I incredibly excited about this book, there was a part of the book that made me feel sad.  Perry’s not the same in this book and it just made me feel so sad.  I really like Perry so I was sad to see the changes in him.

I was guessing lots of things and I am glad that I figured out who the main bad guy was which I was really excited about.

Overall, I absolutely loved Perception and really hope there will be a third book as Clarity is one of my favourite characters and this is one of my favourite series.

Source: Own Copy

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: The Scorpio Races

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Published: Scholastic Inc., 2011

Pages: 409

Summary: It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.
Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I thought The Scorpio Races sounded really interesting.  It sounded different to the Wolves of Mercy Falls series which wasn’t a series I loved so I was interested in reading this one.

First and foremost, I love Maggie’s writing.  I think she writes in this really poetic and lovely way.  Her words come out across the page in a lyrical and magical fashion.

My trouble with the book was that it just didn’t interest me.  I didn’t really connect with any of the characters and I felt that a lot of the plot had so many allusions to things without ever clarifying anything.

Overall, I loved the writing style but just couldn’t get excited about the story.

Source: Library

Monday, August 20, 2012

Death's Avatar by SM Reine

Title: Death's Avatar

Author: S M Reine

Published: Red Iris Books,  2011

Pages: 50

Series: Book 0.5, Descent

Summary: For five years, Elise Kavanagh and James Faulkner have policed relations between Heaven, Hell, and Earth with blood and blade. They're notorious as heroes and killers—the greatest demon hunting team to ever live. But they're getting tired of fighting.

Now a Goddess of Death is driving the world toward destruction. When her doomsday clock reaches twelve, the barriers between Hell and Earth will be ripped away and bring humanity to extinction.

The clock just struck nine.
The world is running out of time.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I was really interested in reading Death’s Avatar because so far everything I have read by SM Reine has been exceptional.  Needless to say, Death’s Avatar is just as awesome as the other books of hers I have read.

I haven’t read the first book in the Descent series so I wasn’t sure if I would get lost when reading this prequel novella or not, I’m glad to say that I didn’t and I feel you can definitely enjoy this book without having read Death’s Hand.

I really loved the book, it was quite original and while some things were only briefly touched upon, this is a novella so you expect that and it made me more interested in reading the first book.

I liked Elise and James’ relationship.  It’s really different to pretty much any relationship I’ve ever come across in a book before and I’m looking forward to finding out more about their interactions and such.

Overall, I think that Death’s Avatar is brilliant and it has made me bump the first book in the series, Death’s Hand, up towards the top of my reading pile!

Source: Smashwords

Friday, August 17, 2012

Princess in Waiting by Meg Cabot

Title: Princess in Waiting

Author: Meg Cabot

Published: HarperTrophy, 2003

Pages: 259

Series: Book 4, The Princess Diaries

Summary: *May Contain Spoilers* Never before has the world seen such a princess.

Nor have her own subjects, for that matter. Mia's royal introduction to Genovia has mixed results: while her fashion sense is widely applauded, her position on the installation of public parking meters is met with resistance.
But the politics of bureaucracy are nothing next to Mia's real troubles. Between canceled dates with her long—sought—after royal consort, a second semester of the dreaded Algebra, more princess lessons from Grandmère as a result of the Genovian parking—meter thing, and the inability to stop gnawing on her fingernails, isn't there anything Mia is good at besides inheriting an unwanted royal title?  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I wasn’t as keen on this one as I have been on the other books in the series.  Mostly because in this one Mia was so angsty and whiny that it got on my nerves a little.

I thought it was funny that they made reference to a movie that was made about Princess Mia and her life, which of course there is.  Those parts made me laugh a lot.

I have to say that I don’t really see what’s so appealing about Michael.  At the moment he seems kind of boring and generic but I’m hoping that maybe he’ll develop further in the book series.  I’m also hoping that as Mia gets older in the books she won’t be so angsty.

One thing I really loved about this book was it mentioned so many of the tv shows that I remember watching and all sorts of pop culture references of the late 90’s early 00’s.  I just thought it was really nice and made me feel a little nostalgic.

I’m still not sure how to feel about the whole Grandmere front, she’s so manipulative but maybe she means well?

Overall, I thought that Princess in Waiting was an interesting read.  I didn’t absolutely adore it, but it was still pretty good.

Source: Library

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Kept by Zoe Winters

Title: Kept

Author: Zoe Winters

Published: 2008

Pages: 88

Series: Book 1, Blood Lust

Summary: As a cat therian (shifter), Greta’s blood is already sought after to enhance spells and potions, but due to a quirk of her birth, her blood is potent enough to kill for. When her tribe plans to sacrifice her, Greta must ally herself with Dayne, the dangerous local sorcerer, and the only person strong enough to protect her.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I’ve had Kept in my ebooks for a long time and thought I’d read it because it was quite short.  I like cats and a werecat is something I would find fascinating in books.
I enjoyed Kept but like some novellas I felt that it lacked in detail for some things.  At times I felt the plot whizzed by without much explanation and I did find it hard to follow.

I thought Greta was an interesting character.  I liked that Zoe Winters portrayed her as a cat at times.  Like, some of her characteristics when she was a human were like that of a cat.  It was definitely a surprising but also a different thing.

Overall, I enjoyed reading Kept and thought it was quite interesting.  I liked that it was unique with the werepeople and how they interact with vampires and such.  It was a fun read and if you’re into adult paranormal stories then this one might appeal to you.

Source: Own Copy

Monday, August 13, 2012

First Drop of Crimson by Jeaniene Frost

Title: First Drop of Crimson

Author: Jeaniene Frost

Published: Avon, 2010

Pages: 371

Series: Book 1, Night Huntress World

Summary: *May Contain Spoilers* The night is not safe for mortals. Denise MacGregor knows all too well what lurks in the shadows - her best friend is half-vampire Cat Crawfield - and she has already lost more than the average human could bear. But her family's dark past is wrapped in secrets and shrouded in darkness - and a demon shapeshifter has marked Denise as prey. Now her survival depends on an immortal who craves a taste of her.

He is Spade, a powerful, mysterious vampire who has walked the earth for centuries and is now duty-bound to protect this endangered, alluring human - even if it means destroying his own kind. Denise may arouse his deepest hungers, but Spade knows he must fight his urge to have her as they face the demon nightmare together...
Because once the first drop of crimson falls, they will both be lost.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: Lately I’ve really been eating up the Night Huntress novels and so I was excited to also read the spin-off novels too.  While I don’t think this book was as amazing as the Night Huntress novels, it wasn’t too bad.

I felt that Denise was so annoying in this one.  I mean, I know she was grieving and also going through something bad but still.  I guess I didn’t really get to know much about Denise in the Night Huntress series that I never noticed that she is annoying.  There was one main plot point that I picked up instantly but Denise never even picked up on it even though she was told outright about it.

I thought that the storyline was really interesting though.  It was quite different from the Night Huntress series in that it had demons in it.  I also learned about Bones and Spade’s friend Timothy as well and it would be interesting to learn about him in a later book.  *Crosses fingers*

I thought this book was really interesting in that I had no idea how it would end.  There was a lot of conflict between Denise and Spade so I didn’t know how it would turn out between them.  Not going into spoilers though, so you’ll have to read to find out what happens.

While this is a spin-off series to the Night Huntress series it is highly recommended that you don’t read this book before the first four in the Night Huntress series because you will be spoiled.

Overall, I liked reading First Drop of Crimson.  I didn’t think it was amazing but it was still entertaining.  Looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

Source: Library

Friday, August 10, 2012

Destined for an Early Grave by Jeaniene Frost

Title: Destined for an Early Grave

Author: Jeaniene Frost

Published: Avon, 2009

Pages: 355

Series: Book 4, Night Huntress

Summary: *May Contain Spoilers* Hopes for a perfect Paris holiday are dashed when half-vampire Cat Crawfield begins having visions of a vampire named Gregor who's more powerful than Cat's undead lover, Bones, and has ties to her past that even Cat herself doesn't know about.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: Cat and Bones are back in this, the fourth book in the series and man did it pull at my heartstrings.  I absolutely love Cat and Bones and their relationship.  This book is basically them without each other and oh man is it gut wrenching.  I just had to keep reading because I wanted them to fix things between each other!

Once again all the characters were present and I am finding more and more that I really do not like Spade, oh he is so annoying and everyone blames Cat on stuffing things up but really when you think about it, Spade actually has a lot to do with it.

I do however, love Vlad.  Vlad is such an awesome character and I am really excited that he’s getting his own spin-off because he is so amazing and I just love him.

I was so mad at Bones in so much of this book.  Some of the things he did just made me really wonder about him but at the end of the day I can’t help but think he’s awesome.

The story itself was very very interesting although I am hoping that something else will take place in the storyline at some point I’m enjoying the direction this one is going in.

Overall, I would say that I really loved destined for an Early Grave and I shall be reaching for the next book in the series right away.

Source: Library

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Jelly Bean Crisis by Jolene Stockman

Title: The Jelly Bean Crisis

Author: Jolene Stockman

Published: CreateSpace, 1 August 2012

Pages: 269

Summary: A total meltdown. The whole school watching. Now Poppy’s an ex-straight-A with no Plan B.

When Poppy Johnson throws away a full scholarship to Columbia, she can only blame the jelly beans. The yucky green ones? Midnight cram sessions and Saturday’s spent studying. The delicious red? The family legacy: Columbia, and a future in finance. Except now it’s starting to look like Poppy’s jelly bean theory is wrong. School has been her life until, but maybe it’s time to start living now.
Poppy has thirty days to try a new life. No school, no studying. Just jumping into every possible world. Thirty days to find her passion, her path, and maybe even love. The Jelly Bean Crisis is officially on.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts:  I was really excited to read this book because I was a huge fan of Jolene's non-fiction book Total Blueprint for World Domination that I just had to see how she delved into the world of fiction.  Needless to say, Jolene's writing and the story she created in The Jelly Bean Crisis completely blew me away.

From the start of the book I was hooked into the story.  I found the whole Jelly Bean Theory of Poppy's to be really interesting because that's the kind of thing that I do in my everyday life.  Except, the green jelly beans happen to be my favourite ;)

I felt this really huge connection with Poppy, in that, when I was at high school I was a high achiever and everyone expected a lot of me and then one day I realised that what I was doing wasn't what I wanted to do and so I spent a little time figuring it out.  This is pretty much the same as Poppy and I just really enjoyed reading it because of that fact.

Another thing I really loved about this book was that while it was an entertaining story, it also made you stop and think about what was going on in the book and also about life in general.  I really love books that make you think hard about things and put things into perspective.

I feel like The Jelly Bean Crisis is such a good read that I have to recommend it to everyone, even those who aren't generally readers of contemporary fiction will probably enjoy this one.  I definitely suggest you check this one out.


Monday, August 6, 2012

Every You, Every Me by David Levithan

Title: Every You, Every Me

Author: David Levithan

Published: Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2011

Pages: 245

Summary: In this high school-set psychological tale, a tormented teen named Evan starts to discover a series of unnerving photographs—some of which feature him. Someone is stalking him . . . messing with him . . . threatening him. Worse, ever since his best friend Ariel has been gone, he's been unable to sleep, spending night after night torturing himself for his role in her absence. And as crazy as it sounds, Evan's starting to believe it's Ariel that's behind all of this, punishing him. But the more Evan starts to unravel the mystery, the more his paranoia and insomnia amplify, and the more he starts to unravel himself.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Rebecca: The first thing that drew me to this book was the cover.  The boy on the cover looks so sad and thoughtful, not to mention he is wearing some odd clothes.  It made me wonder more about this boy on the cover.

Scarlett: I thought the cover was really intriguing too.  It was like I wanted to know more about the bot and why he was so sad!

As I got into the book I thought it was a little bit creepy and a whole lot mysterious.  It has this sort of unnerving edge to it, that someone is sending these weird photos to Evan.  I feel like the photos in the book add to the unnerving vibe.

I liked the photos too and the expressions on everyone’s face was just so creepy.  I got a little nervous because I felt like the book was going to turn all horror on me and that there were really sinister motives for the pictures.

I liked the mystery surrounding who was leaving the pictures and also what had happened to Ariel.  Was she alive, was she dead?  You don’t know until the end just exactly what happened to her.

I was a little disappointed when I found out what had happened to Ariel.  Not trying to give anything away but I was hoping for something way more sinister.

I have to say that the angst in this book is so bad.  Evan feels so awful and being in his head the entire book was starting to make me feel a little angsty and down.  I felt compelled to keep reading through the book so that I could get out of this pit of angst David Levithan had put me into with Evan.

I totally agree about the angst!  It took me so long to read this book because I had to keep putting it down because I was so overwhelmed by how emo Evan was.  The emotional portrayal is real but it’s really overwhelming in a not nice way.

The writing style was quite unique in that a lot of the book used strikethroughs.  I thought this added an extra layer to the book as the strikethroughs were like Evan’s innermost thoughts.  Like you’re processing through the things you’re thinking about.

The revelation at the end was different to what I had expected it to be.  It was a little anti-climactic but I think it was supposed to be like that.

Overall, I thought that Every You, Every Me was quite an interesting book.  The photos added an extra layer that made the story that more interesting.

For me, I didn’t really enjoy the book as much as I had hoped but I felt it was entertaining enough too.  David Levithan is definitely a talented author!

Friday, August 3, 2012

No Exit by Hamilton C Burger

Title: No Exit

Author: Hamilton C. Burger

Published: 74-V Publishing, June 2012

Pages: 128

Series: The Apple Grove Gang, Book 1

Purchase Links:
Book Depository

Summary: Benny Churchill and Bug Beetle are off and running on the last day of school. They are ready for a great summer of fun with the Apple Grove Gang. Instead, they learn a lesson in politics. When the Apple Grove Community Center is closed, the Gang finds out just how hard it is to fight city hall. Finally, when their backs are against the wall, and they find out that there is no exit, the real fun and excitement begin.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: No Exit is a fun little read that is perfect for reading in the summer.  It’s quite a short book so I was able to read it in one sitting.

There are a lot of characters in the book that make up the main focus of the story and I really liked all of them.  I think that as this is a series you will probably have to read more of the books in the series to get to know each character even better.

I really enjoyed the story line, it was light, fun and it was more realistic in some senses than other books.
This one is suited for a middle grade type of audience and so if you’re older it is a little predictable but don’t let that stop you from reading this book.

If you’re looking for a fun, light summer read then I would encourage you to read No Exit by Hamilton C. Burger because it is fun, funny and a little adventurous.  You might just enjoy it.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Prophet by Amanda Stevens

Title: The Prophet

Author: Amanda Stevens

Published: Mira, 24 April 2012

Pages: 352

Series: The Graveyard Queen, Book 3

Purchase Links:
Book Depository*

Summary: *May contain spoilers* My name is Amelia Gray.

I am the Graveyard Queen, a cemetery restorer who sees ghosts. My father passed down four rules to keep me safe and I've broken every last one. A door has opened and evil wants me back.In order to protect myself, I've vowed to return to those rules. But the ghost of a murdered cop needs my help to find his killer. The clues lead me to the dark side of Charleston—where witchcraft, root doctors and black magic still flourish—and back to John Devlin, a haunted police detective I should only love from afar.Now I'm faced with a terrible choice: follow the rules or follow my heart.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I was really looking forward to reading this one after reading the second book in the series and while this one didn’t have as many really creepy parts as the second one it was still really good in its own way.

From page one I was hooked into the story.  I sat down for an entire day and read this book, there’s always something happening and so you just have to keep reading to find out what is going to happen next.

I did find there were a lot of holes in the story.  Some mysterious things happened but then they were never explained or just disregarded even though they were somewhat significant.  I also thought that part of the main plot was only there once or twice and then just up and vanished halfway through the book.

I did enjoy the characters in this book though; it was great meeting some new characters and seeing others develop some more.  I liked Clementine and thought she was a very interesting character.  After reading more about Devlin in this book I liked him but I still prefer Thane Asher.  I’m still a little suspicious of Devlin to be honest.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I am really curious to know whether there will be more books in the series as they’re highly addictive and I really enjoy them.

Source: NetGalley