My Catchphrases

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Spotlight: Damian Dibben on Historical Fiction

I am very excited to share with you a video of Damian Dibben answering a question for me [ ; D ] 

The question was:

Does historical fiction aid the understanding of historical events for teens?

Huge thanks to Damian and Lauren at Random House for this.

Image from Amazon
Series: The History Keepers
Author: Damian Dibben
Publisher: Corgi Children's
Publication Date: 24 May 2012
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 2/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

When Jake is kidnapped by strangers on a stormy London night he discovers his loving parents have been leading a double life and are now missing, lost somewhere in history. He is plunged into a world of secret societies, dangerous double agents, and a terrifying countdown to oblivion. Transported by a Spanish galleon back to 19th century France, he finds himself in the headquarters of The History Keepers - a remarkable league of time-travelling special agents. The History Keepers preserve the true course of history against those who would change it for their own gain, such as the diabolical Prince Zeldt. Driven by a sense of adventure and a desire to reunite his family, Jake makes the most thrilling - and dangerous - decision of his life.

Read Madison's review HERE

Tantalizing Trailers: Spectral by Shannon Duffy

Title: Spectral
Author: Shannon Duffy
Publisher: Tribute Books
Publication Date: 4 April 2012

Synopsis from Goodreads

Convinced she’s a part of the witness protection program, sixteen-year-old Jewel Rose is shuffled around the globe with her family like a pack of traveling gypsies. After arriving at lucky home twenty-seven, she stumbles upon a mysterious boy with magical powers claiming to be her guardian . . . and warning of imminent danger. Despite the obvious sparks between them, Jewel discovers a relationship is forbidden, and the more she learns about dark, brooding Roman, she begins to question who she can even believe—the family who raised her, or the supposed sworn protector who claims they’ve been lying to her all along.

As she struggles to uncover who her family has really been running from, she is forced to hide her birthmark that reveals who she is. With new realities surfacing, unexplained powers appearing, and two tempting boys vying for her heart, Jewel battles to learn who she can trust in an ever growing sea of lies, hoping she’ll make it through her seventeenth birthday alive.

Love the look of this one - Vania has done such a fabulous job with the trailer 

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Review: Saving June by Hannah Harrington

Image from Goodreads
Title: Saving June
Publisher: Mira Ink
Publication Date: 1 June 2012
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 5/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

‘If she’d waited less than two weeks, she’d be June who died in June. But I guess my sister didn’t consider that.’

Harper Scott’s older sister has always been the perfect one so when June takes her own life a week before her high school graduation, sixteen-year-old Harper is devastated. Everyone’s sorry, but no one can explain why.

When her divorcing parents decide to split her sister’s ashes into his-and-her urns, Harper takes matters into her own hands. She’ll steal the ashes and drive cross-country with her best friend, Laney, to the one place June always dreamed of going, California.

Enter Jake Tolan. He’s a boy with a bad attitude, a classic-rock obsession and nothing in common with Harper’s sister. But Jake had a connection with June, and when he insists on joining them, Harper’s just desperate enough to let him. With his alternately charming and infuriating demeanour and his belief that music can see you through anything, he might be exactly what she needs.

Except June wasn’t the only one hiding something. Jake’s keeping a secret that has the power to turn Harper’s life upside down again.


I cannot tell you how much I loved this book, its raw, realistic and relatable. It sweeps you right along for the ride with the characters. The brilliant use of music and the inclusion of the play-lists at the back of the book gave that extra special feeling to the narrative. The music choices are a work of genius when listened to in context to the story.

Harper has grown up in her sister June's shadow, always comparing herself negatively to June. Although as circumstances have shown June was far from happy, she spent her life living it for other people rather than doing the things she really wanted to. Until she reaches the point that she is so overwhelmed by the burden of other peoples wishes and her own unfulfilled life that she commits suicide.  Harper is the unfortunate person to find her.

The portrayal of grief within the narrative is poignant and emotional combined with the very real sense of guilt and blame we put on ourselves following any tragedy. I felt for Harper on a personal level, being the youngest of 3 children with a large age gap I grew up in the huge shadow of my siblings. Constantly being compared to them and not in a favorable way. So I understood how Harper felt, my heart went out to her, I could relate to her rebellious nature and wanting to be the polar opposite of June in an attempt to stop being compared to her. Harper's inner strength really shines through, she remains true to who she is and develops a level of self-awareness a lot of people never achieve in a lifetime.

As little details about June come to light, Harper realizes that no-one knew the 'real' June probably not even June herself. As a final act of love and a way of setting June free, Harper embarks on a journey physically and metaphorically to release June, fulfilling one of June's wishes to go to California.

The confinement of the road trip provides the ideal base for introspection, Harper comes to recognize the things that drive her, what motivates her and ultimately her own hopes and dreams. A wonderful journey of self discovery accompanied by powerful imagery and a fabulous soundtrack. Powerful writing aided the connection I felt with Harper, I literally felt what she was going through.

It isn't just Harper that finds herself on this trip. Her companions Laney and Jake learn a lot about themselves too. Laney, as an only child has a different kind of confidence to Harper, she is a wonderful, loyal and understanding friend. Laney has a relaxed relationship with her parents, she is from a privileged background and doesn't have many repercussions to her actions. Yet, she lacks emotional support and love, which she craves, causing her to try to find it in a series of casual flings. However, this has its own consequences; this road-trip has the benefit of introducing Laney to different perspectives to life and  the people she encounters help steer her onto a much better path. Opening her horizons if you will (yes pun intended)

Moving onto Jake, I love love love Jake. His music knowledge and eclectic taste swept me off my feet. The way in which music means something personal to him is something I completely relate to. Music can be cathartic, uplifting, an emotional trigger, it can be everything. 

I loved the relationship between all the characters, the interactions and the way in which their personalities sparked the others. I really liked how June helped Jake by showing him that he didn't have to be defined by his background and the way to really make a difference is not to conform to other peoples (lack) of expectation, rather to fulfill your own expectations rather than other peoples an especially emotional lesson as it is clear that this is something June was unable to do for herself. 

With the number of times I have used the word love in this review you can probably tell I LOVED this book. I believe reading is utterly subjective and there were aspects in this book I could personally relate to the way in which I relate to music, my relating it to personal experience. I'm sticking with my tagline for this book - Raw, Realistic and Relatable. 

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Guest Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Image from Goodreads
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: 24 May 2012
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des RĂªves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.


Strangely this book had not even come onto my radar, which is a huge shock once I found out how much popular interest it’s gained and also when it found itself of Richard & Judy’s Summer Book club list but anyway. I don’t want to use all the stereotypical magical language to describe this book, because however right it is, it seems an understatement. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is simply beautiful, bewitching and the tone and language used is absolutely captivating and perfect for the setting that is created and grows with the novel.

“The Circus arrives without warning” and only opens at night and punters are treated to a late 19th century spectacular that cannot be beaten. Where you expect trickery and illusion, you are actually met with real, unaccountable feats of “magic” which are truly fascinating. I don’t read fantasy or science fiction or anything like that and this novel doesn’t fit into those categories because I have no reason to believe that it couldn’t be enjoyed by absolutely everybody, it’s that good.

The Circus is the backdrop to a more sinister undertaking between two young, specially selected illusionists who spent their entire childhoods being trained and developed into their modern day selves. Celia and Marco are tied into a ‘game’ which is about more than what it seems and as the novel develops there is more than what it seems to all those involved in the circus production. The feats of imagination that Morgernstern is able to create are undeniably beautiful and the way she draws and develops the circus is just breath-taking – my favourite features included The Wishing Tree and Widget’s special room so look out for them, they’re amazing.

When looking back at this novel you can’t fail to comment upon the illustrative nature of its format too. Pages throughout are scattered with stars and this adds another element which adds to the all-round wonder created by this novel, to the extent that I’ll have to buy my own copy after I return this one to Emma!

My only tiny misgiving as that the ending wasn’t strong enough for me, it seemed to peter out a little but this was by no means enough to detract from my overall love and enjoyment of the novel.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Review: Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore

Title: Angel Eyes
Series: Angel Eyes Trilogy #1
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: 9 May 2012
Source: NetGalley
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

Once you’ve seen, you can’t unsee. Everything changes when you’ve looked at the world through . . .


Brielle’s a ballerina who went to the city to chase her dreams and found tragedy instead. She’s come home to shabby little Stratus, Oregon, to live with her grief and her guilt . . . and the incredible, numbing cold she can’t seem to shake.

Jake’s the new guy at school. The boy next door with burning hands and an unbelievable gift that targets him for corruption.

Something more than fate has brought them together. An evil bigger than both of them lurks in the shadows nearby, hiding in plain sight. Two angels stand guard, unsure what’s going to happen. And a beauty brighter than Jake or Brielle has ever seen is calling them to join the battle in a realm where all human choices start.

A realm that only angels and demons—and Brielle—can perceive.


I will begin by saying that although I really enjoyed this book I can see it isn't going to be for everyone. There are heavy religious undertones which are only to be expected from an author whose father and husband are both preachers. Although the religious aspect is fundamental to the story-line it doesn't advocate a particular belief system, which was refreshing. Both sides of the theological debate were equally depicted giving the reader plenty of food for thought.

Told in dual first person narrative from the perspective of Brielle and Jake. Brielle has just returned to her home town following a tragedy in New York. This tragedy is shrouded in mystery,  cleverly woven into the narrative adding an ingenious plot twist as all the elements are revealed. Having lost her mother at an early age, Brielle doesn't have much faith in God.  Jake is the opposite, he oozes faith and calm, the mysterious new boy at school Brielle is drawn to.  

As the story unfolds fate and destiny are examined closely, showing beautifully the way free-will and external influences can alter the path we choose to take with our lives. The writing style is vividly descriptive balancing deep philosophical debates with touches of humor and engaging characters. 

The clever weaving of the Old Testament into the plot gave depth to the story as a whole. The theological debate within the story was very interesting; begging the question I am sure most of us have thought at one point or another -  why does God let some people suffer or die while others that may deserve to suffer don't.   Is there a bigger picture, does God have some sort of plan, do people move onto another plain where they have a purpose to fulfill??? The examination of faith was skilfully depicted no matter what your belief system. 

I especially liked the way fear was portrayed, used by evil as a means of control. How fear holds people back in more ways than we fully comprehend at the time, how it can paralyze and corrupt. 

I have to say the ending was really unexpected and has completely left me longing to know what happens next. I have become invested Brielle and Jake's future. I cannot believe I have to wait an entire year to find out what happens.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Book Angel Book Love List - May 2012

These are the books that are being published this month that I would love to and intend to read. My TBR pile is a thing of joy I adore all of my fabulous books. 

Image from Goodreads
Title: Until I Die
Series: Revenants #2
Author: Amy Plum
Publisher: Atom
Publication Date: 3 May 2012

Synopsis from Goodreads

Kate and Vincent have overcome the odds and at last they are together in Paris, the city of lights and love.

As their romance deepens there’s one question they can’t ignore: How are they supposed to be together if Vincent can’t resist sacrificing himself to save others? Although Vincent promises that he’ll do whatever it takes to lead a normal life with Kate, will that mean letting innocent people die? When a new and surprising enemy reveals itself, Kate realizes that even more may be at stake—and that Vincent’s immortality is in jeopardy.

In Die for Me, Amy Plum created a captivating paranormal mythology with immortal revenants and a lush Paris setting. Until I Die is poised to thrill readers with more heart-pounding suspense, spellbinding romance, and a cliff-hanger ending that will leave them desperate for the third and final novel in the series.

I have this to read. *pushes up pile* Check out this terrific review HERE from Daisy Chain Books

Image from Goodreads
Title: The Anti-Prom
Author: Abby McDonald
Publisher: Walker
Publication Date: 3 May 2012

Synopsis from Goodreads

Popular girl Bliss Merino is ready to have the perfect prom. But when she catches her boyfriend making out with her best friend in the back of the limo, she has only one thought: revenge...Bad girl Jolene Nelson is the last person anyone expected to see at prom. Yet here she is, dressed in pink ruffles and feeling like a fool for believing that he would actually show up...Meg Rose Zuckerman is ready to stop being a wallflower and start experiencing life firsthand. But when her date stands her up, she finds herself on the outside yet again...Three unlikely allies team up for a night of rebellion, romance, and revenge in this high-stakes dramedy from acclaimed young author Abby McDonald.

Love the sound of this one. My 11 year old has swiped it and is currently reading it along with telling me how much I'm going to enjoy it, lol.

Image from Goodreads
Series: The Mortal Instruments #5
Publisher: Walker
Publication Date: 8 May 2012

Synopsis from Goodreads

The demon Lilith has been destroyed and Jace has been freed from her captivity. But when the Shadowhunters arrive to rescue him, they find only blood and broken glass. Not only is the boy Clary loves missing–but so is the boy she hates, Sebastian, the son of her father Valentine: a son determined to succeed where their father failed, and bring the Shadowhunters to their knees.

No magic the Clave can summon can locate either boy, but Jace cannot stay away—not from Clary. When they meet again Clary discovers the horror Lilith’s dying magic has wrought—Jace is no longer the boy she loved. He and Sebastian are now bound to each other, and Jace has become what he most feared: a true servant of Valentine’s evil. The Clave is determined to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. Will the Shadowhunters hesitate to kill one of their own?

Only a small band of Clary and Jace’s friends and family believe that Jace can still be saved — and that the fate of the Shadowhunters’ future may hinge on that salvation. They must defy the Clave and strike out on their own. Alec, Magnus, Simon and Isabelle must work together to save Jace: bargaining with the sinister Faerie Queen, contemplating deals with demons, and turning at last to the Iron Sisters, the reclusive and merciless weapons makers for the Shadowhunters, who tell them that no weapon on this earth can sever the bond between Sebastian and Jace. Their only chance of cutting Jace free is to challenge Heaven and Hell — a risk that could claim any, or all, of their lives.

And they must do it without Clary. For Clary has gone into the heart of darkness, to play a dangerous game utterly alone. The price of losing the game is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she even still trust him? Or is he truly lost? What price is too high to pay, even for love?

Darkness threatens to claim the Shadowhunters in the harrowing fifth book of the Mortal Instruments series.

I have a confession - I haven't read any of the series yet. I am, desperate to and plan on having a Cassandra Clare marathon in the Summer holidays.

Image from Goodreads
Title: Fated
Series: Soul Seekers #1
Author: Alyson Noel
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Publication Date: 24 May 2012

Synopsis from Goodreads

Strange things are happening to Daire Santos. Crows mock her, glowing people stalk her, time stops without warning, and a beautiful boy with unearthly blue eyes haunts all her dreams. Fearing for her daughter’s sanity, Daire’s mother sends her to live with the grandmother she’s never met. A woman who recognizes the visions for what they truly are—the call to her destiny as a Soul Seeker—one who can navigate the worlds between the living and dead.

There on the dusty plains of Enchantment, New Mexico, Daire sets out to harness her mystical powers. But it’s when she meets Dace, the boy from her dreams, that her whole world is shaken to its core. Now Daire is forced to discover if Dace is the one guy she's meant to be with...or if he’s allied with the enemy she's destined to destroy.

I have this to read. I adored The Immortals series. 

Image from Goodreads
Title: Adorkable
Author: Sarra Manning
Publisher: Atom
Publication Date: 24 May 2012

Synopsis from Goodreads

Jeane Smith is seventeen and has turned her self-styled dorkiness into an art form, a lifestyle choice and a profitable website and consultancy business. She writes a style column for a Japanese teen magazine and came number seven in The Guardian's 30 People Under 30 Who Are Changing The World. And yet, in spite of the accolades, hundreds of Internet friendships and a cool boyfriend, she feels inexplicably lonely, a situation made infinitely worse when Michael Lee, the most mass-market, popular and predictably all-rounded boy at school tells Jeane of his suspicion that Jeane's boyfriend is secretly seeing his girlfriend. Michael and Jeane have NOTHING in common - she is cool and individual; he is the golden boy in an Abercrombie & Fitch T-shirt. So why can't she stop talking to him?

Doesn't this just sound brilliant. It's in my pile [ : D ] and I will be reading it in celebration of Sisterspooky's Geek Week

Image from Goodreads
Series; Theatre Illuminata
Author: Lisa Mantchev
Publisher: Square Fish
Publication Date: 22 may 2012

Synopsis from Goodreads

All Beatrice Shakespeare Smith has ever wanted is a true family of her own. And she’s close to reuniting her parents when her father disappears. Now Bertie must deal with a vengeful sea goddess and a mysterious queen as she tries to keep her family – and the Theatre Illuminata – from crumbling. To complicate it all, Bertie is torn between her two loves, Ariel and Nate.

I love this series. I've been waiting ages for the last book to be available in paperback so I could afford it. You can see the trailer HERE

Image from Goodreads
Title: The Peculiars
Publisher: Amulet Books
Publication Date: 1 May 2012

Synopsis from Goodreads

This dark and thrilling adventure, with an unforgettable heroine, will captivate fans of steampunk, fantasy, and romance. On her 18th birthday, Lena Mattacascar decides to search for her father, who disappeared into the northern wilderness of Scree when Lena was young. Scree is inhabited by Peculiars, people whose unusual characteristics make them unacceptable to modern society. Lena wonders if her father is the source of her own extraordinary characteristics and if she, too, is Peculiar. On the train she meets a young librarian, Jimson Quiggley, who is traveling to a town on the edge of Scree to work in the home and library of the inventor Mr. Beasley. The train is stopped by men being chased by the handsome young marshal Thomas Saltre. When Saltre learns who Lena’s father is, he convinces her to spy on Mr. Beasley and the strange folk who disappear into his home, Zephyr House. A daring escape in an aerocopter leads Lena into the wilds of Scree to confront her deepest fears.

Sounds so interesting, although it has received a mix response so far.

Image from Goodreads
Title: Legacy
Series: Wintercraft #3
Publisher: Headline
Publication Date: 10 May 2012

Synopsis from Amazon

The veil which marks the division between life and death is falling. Lost souls are seeping through to roam Albion's graveyard city of Fume.

Kate Winters' recent memory is lost. Relieved to be heading home to Albion, Kate can't shake the feeling that Dalliah Grey, the woman she's supposed to be working for, is not to be trusted.

Disgraced warrior Silas Dane plans to rescue Kate and save Albion from the advancing armies seeking to profit from the confusion. But the veil will not be easy to repair and Silas knows sacrifices have to be made.

Kate must return to the dark secrets detailed by her ancestors in the ancient book of WINTERCRAFT and learn from their mistakes to save herself.

This is another series I have on my shelf and am planning a reading fest in the Summer holidays.

Such gorgeous books *sigh* Have I missed any you think I would like???

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Spotlight: Books I Would Like To See Published In The UK

Read Mundie Moms brilliant review HERE

Image from Goodreads
Series: A Beautiful Dark #1
Publisher: Harper Collins (USA)
Publication Date: 5 Nov 2011

Synopsis from Goodreads

On the night of Skye's seventeenth birthday, she meets two enigmatic strangers. Complete opposites—like fire and ice—Asher is dark and wild, while Devin is fair and aloof. Their sudden appearance sends Skye's life into a tailspin. She has no idea what they want, or why they seem to follow her every move—only that their presence coincides with a flurry of strange events. Soon she begins to doubt not just the identity of the two boys, but also the truth about her own past.

In the dead of a bitingly cold Colorado winter, Skye finds herself coming to terms with the impossible secret that threatens to shatter her world. Torn between Asher, who she can’t help falling for, and Devin, who she can’t stay away from, the consequences of Skye’s choice will reach further than the three of them could ever imagine.


Friday, 25 May 2012

Book Break-Ups: Falling Under by Gwen Hayes

Title: Falling Under
Series: Falling Under
Author: Gwen Hayes
Publisher: New American Library
Publication Date: Mar 2011
Source: Bought
Rating: 2/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

Theia Alderson has always led a sheltered life in the small California town of Serendipity Falls. But when a devastatingly handsome boy appears in the halls of her school, Theia knows she's seen Haden before- not around town, but in her dreams.

As the Haden of both the night and the day beckons her closer one moment and pushes her away the next, the only thing Theia knows for sure is that the incredible pull she feels towards him is stronger than her fear.

And when she discovers what Haden truly is, Theia's not sure if she wants to resist him, even if the cost is her soul.


I used this book as part of the Greek Mythology in YA presentation for library lessons thinking it was a re-telling of the Hades & Persephone story.
If you pick up this book for the same reason then my advice is DON'T it isn't remotely related to Greek Mythology not in the slightest. That isn't to say that it isn't an enjoyable read just not what I was expecting. 

The main aspect of the plot felt very reminiscent of The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff (review HERE) with its dark, nightmarish imagery creating a Tim Burton-esque movie within the imagination. The plot does flow smoothly, even if there is a huge case of insta-love the main characters have a sizzling chemistry so I can forgive the insta-love angle. The writing is richly descriptive making up for the predictability of the plot, the succubus usage provided an interesting twist. 

The peripheral characters made all the difference in this book and really lifted the story as a whole. Varnie, the psychic was especially entertaining. The friendship between Gwen, Donny and Ame gave a solid foundation to the story although it did add to the annoyance that Gwen would drop everything in her obsession with Hayden.

I have to say I probably would have enjoyed the story more if I hadn't been under the misconception thaat it was based on Hades and Persephone. This is definitely one of those books that you have to try for yourself and don't make the mistake I did by thinking its basis is in Greek Mythology.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Guest Mini-Review: Fever by Dee Shulman

Image from Goodreads
Title: Fever
Series: Fever #1
Author: Dee Shulman
Publisher: Puffin
Publication Date: 5 April 2012
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 3/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

A fearless Roman gladiator. A reckless 21st century girl. A mysterious virus unites them . . .

152 AD. Sethos Leontis, a skilled and mesmerising fighter, is unexpectedly wounded and lies dangerously close to death.

2012 AD. Eva is brilliant - but troubled. Starting her new life at a school for the gifted, a single moment in the lab has terrifying results.

An extraordinary link brings Sethos and Eva together, but it could force them apart - because the fever that grips them cannot be cured and falling in love could be lethal . . . Can love survive when worlds collide and threaten time itself?


In 152AD a Roman gladiator fights to survive; in 2012 a teenage girl lives in a boarding school called St Magdalene's. A fever infects the gladiator, Seth, enabling him to discover a brand new world. Meanwhile, in 2012, Eva finds out extraordinary lab results that could endanger her too. Somehow, the 2 of them are brought together by a mysterious force. They have to unite in order to understand the mystery that surrounds them.

I really liked how the two different times and places were portrayed, the author does a really great job of showing what life was like both then and now. I also enjoyed how the two main characters had common ground even though they were from such completely different places.

I did find that the end for me felt a bit rushed and cut off, as if there should have been more to it, the story was at a really good point but then it just cut off. Nevertheless I really enjoyed this book, it was captivating.

Guest Mini-Review: The Storm Begins by Damian Dibben

Image from Amazon
Series: The History Keepers
Author: Damian Dibben
Publisher: Corgi Children's
Publication Date: 24 May 2012
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 2/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

When Jake is kidnapped by strangers on a stormy London night he discovers his loving parents have been leading a double life and are now missing, lost somewhere in history. He is plunged into a world of secret societies, dangerous double agents, and a terrifying countdown to oblivion. Transported by a Spanish galleon back to 19th century France, he finds himself in the headquarters of The History Keepers - a remarkable league of time-travelling special agents. The History Keepers preserve the true course of history against those who would change it for their own gain, such as the diabolical Prince Zeldt. Driven by a sense of adventure and a desire to reunite his family, Jake makes the most thrilling - and dangerous - decision of his life.


Jake's parents have gone missing, they could be anywhere not only in the world but in time itself. Their ability to travel through time and their part in a society called The History Keepers is a secret they have managed to keep from Jake. Jake sets out to find his parents, a task made all the more difficult when he realises that the evil Prince Zeldt is planning to destroy the world.

To be perfectly honest I didn't really enjoy this book, it's appeal is more for younger readers. It has a simple plot making it easy to follow yet I can see how thrilling it would be for a younger reader. The magical element of time-travel was interestingly portrayed, the inclusion of the evil genius in Prince Zeldt made the plot more exciting.

Although I didn't enjoy it myself I wouldn't hesitate in recommending it to younger readers especially boys, as it was a good book just not my personal taste.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Review: Last Rite by Lisa Desrochers

Image from Goodreads
Title: Last Rite
Series: Personal Demons #3
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication Date: 13 June 2012

Synopsis from Goodreads

In this final installment of the thrilling, edgy Personal Demons series, the battle between Heaven and Hell has become critical, and Frannie Cavanaugh is right at the center of it.

With the help of the powerful angel Gabe and demon-turned-mortal Luc, Frannie has been able to stay one step ahead of the forces of Hell. But when the demons killed Frannie's best friend and destroyed her brother, they raised the stakes. If Frannie wants to keep her family and friends safe, she knows she has no choice but to go on the run.

Their best defense is the power Frannie has been struggling to master, but her attempts to hone her skill go horribly awry. If Frannie doesn't learn fast, the consequences could be devastating--even apocalyptic.

What happens when you can't outrun Hell...or trust the ones you love? 


Please bear in mind that this is the third and final book in the series and may therefore contain spoilers to the previous books.

I did something a little different with this book and thought I would show you the notes to myself I made while reading, well this is what I sound like when I talk to the book (yes I am that crazy, lol). I only decided to do this from page 125 so bear with me and then I will give you my review [ ; D ] 

Page 125 - Me: WTH????????????
Page 130 - Me: well that makes a bit more sense.
Page: 164 - Me: *drools*
Page 168 - Me: Grrrrr - LIES - Grrrr
Page 173 - Me: *drools*
Page 177 - Me: Frannie you're an idiot.
Page 178 - Me: Ohhh to have that kind of power *plots*
Page 185 - Me: Hmmmmm interesting
Page 206 - Me: Oh SHOCK but makes sense
Page 222 - Me: Unexpected *ponders*
Page 235 - Me: What is going on - twisty twists 
Page 243 - Me: Wow unexpected - sympathy
Page 316 - Me: OMG OMG OMG *sniff* *sob* *sniff*

The book picks up the plot from the exact point Original Sin (review HERE) finishes, there is very little recapping so it is essential to read the previous books first in order to fully appreciate the plot and interactions. The amount of guilt the three main characters apportion to themselves at the start was a little annoying but understandable. Each of them feeling responsible for their current situation. Touches of sarcastic humor lighten the guilt ridden tension.

One of the things that stand out with this series for me is Lisa's ability to tell the story from 3 different viewpoints, each picking up the story a the exact point the previous character left it off. I did feel that Gabe abused his position of protector in a way. Although Frannie needed his  calming presence and her need to gain peace where contributing factors; it is Gabe's actions that cross the acceptable boundary. It made me angry as I think that men that take advantage of women who are in a vulnerable state are little more than scum.

There are plenty of twists and turns alongside an explosion of revelations that leave you wondering why you didn't pick up on these points earlier as the clues are there and the way the plot unraveled made perfect sense.

The way in which the characters both main and peripheral grow and develop is a credit to Lisa's writing talent. Although some aspects of the plot were unexpected they worked brilliantly in context of the story as a whole tying every single outstanding plot thread together.

The action and emotion kept the pace flowing quickly, there were times when I couldn't turn the pages fast enough in order to find out what happened next. 

I cannot help comparing the religious aspects to the Fallen series by Lauren Kate (big fan here) re-enforcing the idea that not everything can be viewed in black and white there are shades of grey in everything and everyone. The main thing is everyone has a choice, we choose the type of person we want to be not matter what circumstances we have been raised in.

This book really does provide a fantastic end to the trilogy. I loved it.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Review: Emma Hearts LA by Keris Stainton

Title: Emma Hearts LA
Publisher: Orchard
Publication Date: 7 June 2012
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

Emma's not sure that LA's for her, but when she accompanies her sister Jane to an audition, a chance meeting with a teen TV star starts to change her new sunshine lifestyle for the better... But what about Oscar, so far her only friend in LA, who's turning out NOT to be the idiot she thought he was?

Soon Emma begins to find herself torn between two boys and reconsidering her entire future.

Maybe LA's not that bad after all.


There is so much more to this book than the synopsis suggests. Emma moves to LA with her mother and sister following her parents break-up. Her mother has the most fantastic job offer that cant be turned down, no ordinary job mind you, Emma's mother is an astro-physicist.  The detail and research Keris has put into astro-physics really shone through the narrative adding depth and detail to the story.

The comparison of life in Britain to life in LA was thought provoking, I think I may now want to go and live in LA [ : D ] Not only for the weather but for the way of life and the believe that anything is possible, oh and the food.

Emma is having a hard time adjusting to her parents break-up and her father being in a new relationship. The move to LA gives Emma the opportunity for a lot of soul searching and developing self-awareness not only of herself but also understanding her reactions to events and criticism. It was lovely to follow. Keris has the unnerving knack of writing in exactly the way I think, which makes her characters so relatable to me. Emma is surprisingly mature for her age, she works her way logically through her problems, she is self-aware and open minded, a loyal friend and a terrific sister. I loved the close relationship she had with her family.

Emma's move to LA was like watching the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle slot into place, everything just fit perfectly. Proving that life can take a completely different route to the one you were expecting but these changes may in fact be the best thing that could happen to you. The way in which the breakdown of a marriage can be viewed as 'for the best' was profoundly portrayed; it is better to be happy and apart than together and miserable. The way parents emotions are reflected by their children was insightful, if you're happy their happy type of thing.

I cannot tell you how much I adored Oscar, he is such a quirky character. Geeky but totally comfortable in his own skin, love love love him. The inclusion of Jessie from Jessie Hearts NYC (review HERE) really added to the story, it was nice to have the updates on the relationships from that book included in this one. The portrayal of fame and how scary it can be to have the paparazzi follow you everywhere, making relationships difficult really made me think about how lonely it must be not having an opportunity to relax and just be yourself. The decision to seek fame is something that needs careful consideration as it isn't just about the talent but how much of normalcy you are willing to give up in order to achieve it. The behind the scenes look at the 'industry' was insightful. 

I have to say that Keris has done it again, she brings wonderfully evolved characters and their settings to life while producing warm fuzzy feelings at the end of it. This book should be on a list of the perfect books to read on holiday.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Tantalizing Trailers: My Super Sweet 16th Century by Rachel Harris

Author: Rachel Harris
Publisher: Entangled
Publication Date: 11 Sept 2012

Synopsis from Goodreads

On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family’s trip to Florence, Italy, is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she exits . . . right into Renaissance Firenze.

Thrust into the sixteenth century armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat joins up with her ancestors, the sweet Alessandra and protective Cipriano, and soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around, Cat realizes that an unwanted birthday party is nothing compared to an unwanted suitor full of creeptastic amore.

Can she find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever?

Never-Before-Seen Excerpt from MY SUPER SWEET SIXTEENTH CENTURY:

 “I thought I’d teach you a dance from where I come from,” I tell him. “One that’s much easier than that multi-step mess inside.”
I place my left hand on Lorenzo’s shoulder and slip my right one into his. I pause to listen to the music floating over the tinkling voices and bubbling fountain, and begin counting the three-beat tempo. “One, two, three. One, two, three.”
I stand still, only my head moving, slowly nodding with my words so he can hear the rhythm.
When his head begins subtly bobbing with mine, I show him how to add his feet. He takes a tentative step forward with his left while I step back with my right, then we side step, close, and repeat the steps with our other feet, all while I lightly whisper the beat count.
The breeze picks up, blowing my skirt and skimming my veil across the back of my neck. Chills run down my spine, but the warmth coursing through my veins from being in his arms provides a delicious contradiction.
Lorenzo continues nervously darting his eyes to our feet, but he is dancing. As he relaxes into the movement, his shoulders rising and falling with the steps, the confidence he always seems to exude creeps back on his face, and he tightens the hold around me. Our faces are kissably close, our lips a hairs breadth away from touching. I stare into the chocolate depths of his eyes and the rest of the ball fades away. The only music guiding our steps is my light whisper and the erratic rhythm of our breathing. Time slows. Lorenzo grins.
“I think you got it,” I say breathlessly, running my hand along the soft fabric of his shoulder, feeling the rock-hard muscles underneath.
My body curls inward, pressing against his. The proper form for the waltz is a straight spine and shoulders back, but if there was ever a time to break the rules, this is it.

As a teen, I threw raging parties that shook my parents’ walls and created embarrassing fodder for future YA novels.

As an adult, I read and write obsessively, rehash said embarrassing fodder, and dream up characters who become my imaginary friends.

When I'm not typing furiously or flipping pages in an enthralling romance, you can find me homeschooling my two beautiful princesses, hanging out with my amazing husband, or taking a hot bubble bath…next to a pile of chocolate.

MY SUPER SWEET SIXTEENTH CENTURY is my first novel. I did have my own fantabulous Sweet Sixteen in high school. Sadly, it wasn’t televised.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Tantalizing Trailers: Cracks by Caroline Green

I came across this one thanks to a fabulous review by Luisa on Chicklish (read it HERE)

Title: Cracks
Author: Caroline Green
Publisher: Piccadilly Press
Publication Date: 1 May 2012

Synopsis from Goodreads

Who do you trust when you discover your whole life has been a lie?

Cal thinks he's losing his mind when cracks start appearing that no one else can see. But his life splinters apart when he discovers that, far from leading an ordinary life in a northern town in 2012 as he thought, he has spent his whole life so far in a deliberately induced coma. The year is actually 2024 and a repressive regime is in force: it plans to brainwash the whole population. Set free by the local resistance movement, he finds himself drawn into their struggle; and he gets involved with Kyla, a girl who lives on the streets. But are they all just using him: is there anyone he can really trust?

A nail-biting thriller that never lets the reader relax!

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