Book Review: The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa

Title: The Eternity Cure (Blood of Eden #2)
Author: Julie Kagawa
Genre: Paranormal, Dystopia, Vampires, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: May 2013
Pages: 428
Rating: 4.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
In Allison Sekemoto’s world, there is one one rule left: Blood Calls to blood.
Cast out of Eden and separated from the boy she dared to love, Allie will follow the call of blood to save her creator, Kanin, from the psychotic vampire, Sarren. But when the trail leads to Allie’s birthplace in New Covington, what she finds there will the change the world forever – and possibly end human and vampire existence.

There’s a new plague on the rise, a strain of the Red Lung virus that wiped out most of humanity generations ago – deadly to humans and vampires alike. The only hope for a cure lies in the secrets Kanin carries. If Allie can get to him in time…

My Review:

Allison Sekemoto is on a quest to save her creator, Kanin, who needs help. What she doesn’t expect is when her blood tie brings her to a blood brother and the town she thought she had left behind in her past to come crashing into her present. The boy she left, the monster who stabbed her and the Fringer whose life she saved – they all play a part in her attempt to save Kanin and the world from the new threat its facing and the slightly unhinged Sarren.

I enjoyed The Immortal Rules but The Eternity Cure has completely sold me on Julie Kagawa. I loved how she brought humanity to the monsters and showed how inhumane the humans can be. That’s not to say the vampires can’t be villainous. Allie is still struggling to deal with her new and eternal life with the pressures and cravings life as a vampire brings. She’s grown since the first book and continues to do so throughout this second instalment of the Blood of Eden series.

Relationships in this book were a strong point. There’s a romantic relationship is heartbreakingly bitter-sweet. I loved seeing how the mentor/mentee dynamic between Allie and Kanin has shifted as Allie grows more comfortable and confident with her place in the vampire world. And then there’s Jackal – he’s surprising in many ways. The humour and banter that Jackal provides is a highlight of this novel.

The Eternity Cure is fairly fast pasted – there is a lot that goes on in a short period of time but the pace is at a speed that feels right. It’s exciting and dramatic at times. The characters are fascinating – flawed but fantastic in their own ways.   I loved the journey Julia Kagawa took me on. I am looking forward to the third book in the series and in the meantime I will definitely be reading Kagawa’s Iron Fey series!

Thanks to Harlequin Teen Australia review copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 


Book Review: Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

With the third Bloodlines books, The Indigo Spell, being released next week (February 12th!) I’ve decided to prepared by sharing my reviews for the first books in the series. Enjoy!

Title: Bloodlines (Bloodlines #1)
Author: Richelle Mead
Genre: urban fantasy, paranormal, vampires, magic
Publisher: Razorbill (an imprint of Penguin)
Publication Date: 23 August 2011
Pages: 421 pages
Rating: 4.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Blood doesn’t lie…

Sydney is an alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of human and vampires. They protect vampire secrets – and human lives. When Sydney is torn from her bed in the middle of the night, at first she thinks she’s still being punished for her complicated alliance with dhampir Rose Hathaway. But what unfolds is far worse. Jill Dragomir – the sister of Moroi Queen Lissa Dragomir – is in mortal danger, and the Moroi must send her into hiding. To avoid a civil war, Sydney is called upon to act as Jill’s guardian and protector, posing as her roommate in the last place anyone would think to look for vampire royalty – a human boarding school in Palm Springs, California. But instead of finding safety at Amberwood Prep, Sydney discovers the drama is only just beginning…

My Review:

I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while now – but decided to wait until I’d finished reading the Vampire Academy series before I started. And I’m glad that I did. Whilst it’s not necessary to read Vampire Academy before Bloodlines, this book does contain many spoilers of the previous series and there are many shared characters.

Sydney Sage is an alchemist in trouble. After assisting Rose Hathaway on orders from the slightly sinister and shady Abe Mazar, Sydney is very close being sent away and reprogrammed as an alchemist after being found sympathizing with the enemy – Vampires. But there’s an opportunity for her to redeem herself. Jill Dragomir needs protection from those who disapprove of her sister becoming Moroi Queen. Sydney is called in to help Jill, her guardian Eddie Castile and slightly bizarre friend, Adrian Ivashkov, fit in whilst they’re hiding in a ritzy Palm Springs boarding school.

With vampires, a rival alchemist and Mean Girls to deal with, Sydney never knew just how hard high school was.

Having read and loved the Vampire Academy series, I was already familiar with most of the characters in Bloodlines. Sydney Sage, the slightly uptight, by-the-book alchemist is a much stronger character than I gave her credit for previously. She’s smart, brave and more open-minded than I think her alchemist father would like. She takes on so much responsibility and acts way beyond her eighteen years. I loved seeing her grow as a person and how her relationships with the vampires developed over the novel.

Adrian, Jill and Eddie were just as interesting. They are all fighting their own battles but still manage to see the big picture. I love the interactions between all of them – the sister relationship between Sydney and Jill, the friendship with Eddie and the bizarre connection that Adrian and Sydney are experiencing. There is a different side of all these characters not previously seen. Adrian is rather dark – battling his inner demons as well as a broken heart. But despite his snide and sarcastic manner, he still manages to come across as some what endearing.

Plot wise – there’s a lot going on. And it managed to all happen simultaneously without confusion. And surprisingly – practically no romance to speak of.

I loved this book. Richelle Mead’s style is one that’s humorous and easy to read. The characters are engaging (especially those of Adrian and Jill) and the plot will keep you guessing and hooked right up until the last page.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 

Read for the 2013 TBR Pile Challenge


Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Title: The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green
Genre: contemporary romance; realistic fiction;
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: 11 January 2012
Pages: 336 pages
Rating: 4.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs… for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

My Review:

Coming into reading this book – not knowing anything about it – and finding out on the very first page that the main character had terminal cancer, I knew that it wasn’t going to be the kind of book filled with sunshine and rainbows. And it wasn’t. But it was the kind full of heartbreak and hope, a few tears here and there as well as a hearty dose of laughter.

The Fault in Our Stars is the story of Hazel – a teenager who has been fighting a never-ending battle against her own body. Given up on a real life, Hazel drifts between class, watching reality tv with her parents and (at her mother’s request) going to a cancer kid support group once a week. It’s there that Augustus Waters enters her life. In Augustus, Hazel finds a kindred spirit. Someone she can be herself with, someone who knows what she’s been through.

I loved these two together – they’re both quirky and a little pretentious. And whilst pretentious isn’t usually a trait that endears me to characters, I loved how these two interacted with each other. They’ve been through so much at such a young age with both of them never expecting a future. They’ve become somewhat old for their age. And where their bodies are falling apart around them, their minds are free to grow and give them a somewhat unique wisdom. They are both intuitive and poignant with a sense of humour that stayed with them both no matter what.

The relationships in this book were another part that shone for me – Hazel with her parents, Hazel + Augustus and Peter and Hazel + Augustus and Isaac – I loved them all for different reasons. It was beautiful to read a story of someone with a terminal disease who didn’t spend their entire time being bitter. I loved Hazel’s camaraderie with her family and the gallows humour she and Augustus invoked at Isaac regarding his sight (or lack thereof).

The only thing stopping me from giving this book a perfect score is that I found it somewhat predictable. There were surprising turns of events but overall I found things going along just as I was expecting. That said, it never stopped the story from being one that I couldn’t put down.

I can understand why after over a year since this book was first released, it remains in the number one on the best seller list for YA literature in Australia. It’s a beautifully written book with characters that both broke my heart and broke my face into a giant smile every so often. I’ve not read a John Green book before but after reading A Fault in Our Stars I can’t wait to check out some of his older works.

Thanks to NetGalley for the digital review copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 

Read for the 2013 TBR Pile Challenge


Not a YA Book Review: Nobody’s Damsel by Emily Mah Tippetts

Last year I had the pleasure of reading Someone Else’s Fairytale by Emily Mah Tippetts – a New Adult novel of a college student who meets and is courted by an incredibly handsome and successful movie star. I was delighted to be offered the opportunity to read and review the second book in the series, Nobody’s Damsel. This book continues on from the first one and the characters are a little older now and don’t quite fall under the category of New Adult but I thought it was a great book and want to share it with my readers.

Title: Nobody’s Damsel (Someone Else’s Fairytale #2)
Author: Emily Mah Tippets
Genre: contemporary, romance, chick lit
Publisher: self published
Publication Date: January 5th 2013
Pages: 288 pages
Rating: 4.5 stars

Sample chapter of Nobody’s Damsel can be found: here

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Chloe has finished her masters degree and taken a job as a forensic scientist back in her home town of Albuquerque, New Mexico, only the press will not leave her alone. They follow her to crime scenes and report on her every move, eager to show that her marriage to Hollywood A-lister, Jason Vanderholt, is on the brink of collapse. Millions of fans who dream of their own celebrity romance with him want this more than anything. This scrutiny comes at a particularly bad time as Chloe’s first case is a crime against a child roughly the same age that Chloe was when she survived a homicide attempt.

Now that she sees the case from an adult’s perspective, she realizes it’s much harder than she ever dreamed. It’s even worse for Jason, who is two steps removed from the crime. He must watch and try to support his wife as she battles with past demons and tries to keep up with a nameless suspect who evades identification and capture. Never has Jason been more frustrated with his job, its frivolities, and its lack of connection to the real world. When he storms off the set of his latest movie, the press goes wild with conjecture. Perhaps he never was anything more than a pretty face after all.

Together, Chloe and Jason must find their way past all the popping flashbulbs and through the dark maze of the criminal investigation to discover whether they can balance their professional goals with the demands of a celebrity marriage. The odds are entirely against them.

My Review:

Chloe is now in her dream occupation – a forensic scientist working crime scenes for the police. But with her career comes stress and Chloe has enough of that having to run from snap happy photographers who capture her every move. Jason is busy with his own job and the drama that comes from being a Hollywood heart-throb.

When the case Chloe is working on brings up memories she’d rather forget and emotions threaten to get in the way of finding the one responsible for a child’s abduction and the added stress of Jason’s ex back in the picture, it seems there’s more to the fairytale than first meets the eye.

Whilst I loved the happy ending of Someone Else’s Fairytale, I could not have been happier for the somewhat troubled beginning of Noone’s Damsel. The course of true love never did run smooth and that can definitely be said for the characters of Chloe and Jason. Marriage doesn’t necessity mean happily ever after. The heroes and heroines of fairytales didn’t have stalking paparazzi and tabloids trying to cause drama in their relationships. A problem I have in some novels is that after all the pain and mess a couple goes though to get together, the author then lets them off the hook and everything’s clear sailing from then on. Not the case with this particular couple. They have issues, fights and trouble. I thought the realism that this added was fantastic and only made me like Chloe more than I did previously.

Where in the first novel I was focused on the romantic relationship between Chloe and Jason, this book had me more interested in Chloe’s job as a forensic scientist.  I found it fascinating the relationships between the police and the crime scene investigators. The romance is still there it’s just not the sole focus of the story.

The secondary characters are great in their roles – I was especially glad to see Kyra popping up again. They added to the plot and I liked to see how Chloe’s relationships with the Van der Volts and her sister has developed.

This novel was a pleasure to read. The writing was well researched. The plot was well though out but still had a few twists. I loved how realistic Tippetts had made the relationship of a Hollywood superstar with a lab geek – both the romance and the demands of their chosen careers. The tribute at the end of the book was heartfelt and beautiful. I can’t wait to read the next instalment of Chloe and Jason’s lives together.

Thanks to Emily Mah Tippets for the review copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon US Kindle
Amazon US Paperback
Amazon UK Kindle
Amazon UK Paperback
Amazon Canada
Amazon Germany
Amazon Italy
Amazon Spain

Kobo

Smashwords

Also by Emily Mah Tippetts:

 Someone Else’s Fairytale (Someone Else’s Fairytale #1)

Book Review: Luminaire by Ciye Cho

Title: Luminaire (Florence Waverley #2)
Author: Ciye Cho
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Mermaids
Publisher: self published 
Publication Date: December 2012 
Rating: 4.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Being the only human in a world of merfolk… isn’t easy. Florence Waverley chose to stay in Niemela, but things have gone awry. Secrets have risen and the prince she cares about has pulled away. All the while, dark dreams warn her of a tragedy that only she can stop. But in order to save the merman she loves, Florence will have to enter the Life Path tournament: a brutal test of fear and madness.

The tournament is a rite of passage–a maze where young mermaids and mermen battle to find their purpose. It is also a place where Florence will face grave danger: mermaids with evil magic, tunnels filled with sea fire, and guardians who wish to use her as a pawn in their secret plans. But will Florence be strong enough to survive the tournament… or will she perish inside it?

Everything hangs in the balance: her life, her world, and her love.

My Review:

Florence Waverley is slowly making a life for herself in the underwater world of Niemela. Florence thought things were mostly right with the world. They’d managed to defeat the Darkness and her romantic relationship with Rolan was blooming. But the newly crowned King Rolan has been acting strangely cold and oddly formal to his Luminaire – and Florence has no idea why the sudden change in attitude. In the days leading up to Rolan’s coronation

But Florence isn’t given too much time to dwell on her Rolan situation – the powers that be in Niemela have decided to move up the all important Qualifying Challenges and the Life Path Tournament in an attempt to get more warriors to protect Niemela from underwater enemies.

To help her friend, Princess Yolee, Florence decides to undertake the important test that every Niemellian must take in order to be a productive member of society. But with Truth Dreams haunting her and the unknown dangers of the Tournament to face, Florence needs everything she has to master the maze and save Niemela.

In this second book in the Florence Waverley series, I found myself falling as in love with Florence and the world of Niemela as I did when I read the first novel, Florence. Florence as a character is slowly finding her way in her new life and doesn’t shy away from the challenges she has to face. Even when her relationship with Rolan falls apart, Florence still manages to do all she can to try and protect her adopted land. She’s smart, brave and good in a crisis. That said, she’s still vulnerable and has moments of uncertainty.

The new characters that were introduced in this book were one of the highlights for me. Wynn, Mara and the others are fantastic. I loved their personalities and the unique ‘Mer’ness that they bring to the story.

Luminaire is not short on action – but it progresses at a rate that feels natural. I loved the pace and thought the concept and execution of the Qualifies and the Life path Tournament were brilliant. They was well thought out with lots of tiny details that really went the extra mile.

The vivid colours and beautiful scenery that I adored from Florence  were present throughout Luminaire and once again I felt like I could see everything that was described. I had a great time reading this book and can’t wait to see if there will be a third book in the Florence Waverley series.

The book trailer for Luminaire is just as gorgeous as the one for the first book. I think it’s very clever in that it shows everything that happens in the book and yet doesn’t manage to spoil a thing. And the colours are just beautiful.

Thanks to Ciye Cho for providing me with a copy of Luminaire. 

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Smashwords (ebook) / Buy the Book (from the Luminaire website)


Book Review: Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder

Title: Touch of Power (Healer #1)
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Genre: paranormal, fantasy, magic, adventure
Publisher: Harlequin Teen 
Publication Date: December 2011
Pages: 390 pages
Rating: 4.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
The price of peace may well be her life…

Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan assumes their wounds and diseases into herself. But rather than being honoured for her skills, she is hunted. Healers like Avry are accused of spreading the plague that has decimated the Territories, leaving the survivors in a state of chaos.

Stressed and tired from hiding, Avry is abducted by a band of rogue who, shockingly, value her gift above the golden bounty offered for her capture. Their leader – an enigmatic captor-protector with powers of his own – is unequivocal in his demands; Avry must heal a plague-stricken prince, the leader of a campaign against her people.

As they traverse the daunting Nine Mountains, beset by mercenaries and magical dangers, Avry must decide who is worth healing and what is worth dying for.

My Review:

Avry of Kazan – a healer on the run ever since the Plague started three years ago and the people turned against those with the power to heal. After an incident lands Avry in a jail cell and a date with her death in the morning, a stranger offers Avry a choice. She can come with him and save his friend or keep her appointment with the gallows.

Taking Kerrick of Alga up on his deal, Avry joins his warriors as they make their way though many of the Fifteen Realms facing assassins and magicians on an adventure Avry never saw coming.

This book is the kind of adventure fantasy book that I adore. There’s action and drama. Despite the time frame of this novel taking months and there being down time in between deathly feats, there was never a boring moment during the entire book.

Avry is a kick arse heroine. She’s strong in spirit and can hold her own against Kerrick and his bunch of merry men but she knows how to follow orders when completely necessary. The Monkeys (Quain and Loren), Papa Bear (Belen) and Flea are absolutely fantastic. They provide much necessary comic relief – not only to the reader but also to the other characters.

The magic in this book is fascinating. The eleven different types and the magicians who control them are well thought out. I thought the mages were especially intriguing. Jael, Tohon, Sepp and the others are characters that I loved reading about not just for their personalities but for their powers and how they worked.

There’s so much going on in this book – the current political power struggle, magic, the back story between the royals of the Realms, healers and the Plague – but Synder managed to write it all in such a way that made perfect sense. There were times when I felt like Kerrick’s group were wandering mindlessly for a while before something new happened and they had new purpose but for the most part I loved how everything come together.

Touch of Power is the first book in the Healer series with the second, Scent of Magic, being released in January 2013 by HarlequinTeen.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 


Not a YA Book Review: Wool Omnibus by Hugh Howey

Wool isn’t a young adult or even a new adult book but I felt like sharing my review on this blog anyway. Whilst not falling under the genre of YA fiction, I still think this series could be read and enjoyed by young adults or adults of any age.

Title: Wool Omnibus (#1-5)
Author: Hugh Howey
Genre: Science Fiction; Dystopia;  Post Apocalyptic
Publisher: Century (an imprint of Random House)
Publication Date: January 2013
Pages: 448
Rating: 4.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
This Omnibus Edition collects the five Wool books into a single volume. It is for those who arrived late to the party and who wish to save a dollar or two while picking up the same stories in a single package.

The first Wool story was released as a standalone short in July of 2011. Due to reviewer demand, the rest of the story was released over the next six months. My thanks go out to those reviewers who clamored for more. Without you, none of this would exist. Your demand created this as much as I did.

This is the story of mankind clawing for survival, of mankind on the edge. The world outside has grown unkind, the view of it limited, talk of it forbidden. But there are always those who hope, who dream. These are the dangerous people, the residents who infect others with their optimism. Their punishment is simple. They are given the very thing they profess to want: They are allowed outside.

My Review:

Whilst these books are available as individual ebooks, I’m so glad I had a copy of the five so as soon as I finished each one I could start the next one immediately.

From the few pages of Book 1, I was drawn into the world of Silo living when the mere expression of unhappiness with living in the Silo is the same as signing your own death sentence.

There’s so much drama and suspense throughout these books – Howey isn’t afraid to kill main characters whenever he feels necessary. But whenever new ones are introduced it feels natural and not just as a replacement for a former character. The titles of each of the books being knitting terms was not lost on me.

During some of the books it did feel a little like I was playing catch up – the reasons for the decisions reached at the start of the book not being revealed until the final pages (like in book 1) – but at the same time the with the fast paced nature of the books I never felt lost. There is always something happening.

I found the second book (Proper Gauge) a little on the dull side (especially considering how exciting Holston was) but it did give vital information about the daily living and structure in the Silo as well as the hold the IT had on the Silo.

There’s a little bit of everything in this omnibus – politics; society; a slight love story; treachery – and so much more. The many different narrators add to the complexity of silo living and made it that much more suspenseful – knowing that anyone could die at any moment regardless of whether they were a “main” character or not.

I enjoyed these first five instalments in the Wool series and will definitely be tracking down book 6 as soon as I can.

Thanks to The Reading Room and Random House for the review copy

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 


Book Review: What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang

Title: What’s Left of Me (The Hybrid Chronicles #1)
Author: Kat Zhang
Genre: dystopia; sci-fi; fantasy
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: September 2012 
Pages: 343 pages
Rating: 4.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
I should not exist. But I do.

Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else—two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren’t they settling? Why isn’t one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn’t . . .

For the past three years, Eva has clung to the remnants of her life. Only Addie knows she’s still there, trapped inside their body. Then one day, they discover there may be a way for Eva to move again. The risks are unimaginable-hybrids are considered a threat to society, so if they are caught, Addie and Eva will be locked away with the others. And yet . . . for a chance to smile, to twirl, to speak, Eva will do anything.

My Review:

In a place where every body is born with two souls, Eva and Addie Tamsyn are somewhat of an oddity. Most people settle and the dominant soul takes over and the other one fades away for ever when they are still young. But not Eva and Addie – at fifteen Eva should have been gone for years but she still exists, unbeknownst to all but Addie.

After an incident at a museum and unlikely friendship with siblings Hally and Devon, a whole new world of possibilities opens up for Eva – the chance for things to be like they were before Addie started to dominate their body.

But the world is a dangerous place with medical facilities set up exclusively for the treatment of hybrid beings. Eva is leading Addie down a dangerous path with a lot to gain… but what price?

The idea of two souls simultaneously existing in one body is crazy and yet the author managed to make it work so well in this novel. There was never any doubt for me who was in control of their body for any of the hybrid characters – a fairly impressive feat.

As a first novel in the series I thought the plot progressed at a steady pace – there’s a bit of world building and setting up for more exciting things to come in the future – but the book managed to hold my attention right up until the final page.

I wasn’t a big fan of the romance in this novel – it felt a little tokenistic to me but thankfully it wasn’t a huge focus of the book.

What’s Left of Me is a great debut novel with a great concept and fascinating characters. I’ll be looking forward to reading the next book in the Hybrid Chronicles when it’s released mid 2013.

Thanks to HarperCollins and NetGalley for the review copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 


Book Review: Crewel by Gennifer Albin

Title: Crewel (Crewel World #1)
Author: Gennifer Albin
Genre: Dystopia; Fantasy; Sci-fi
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Faber
Publication Date: October 2012 
Pages: 368 pages
Rating: 4.5 stars

Download the first five chapters for free: here

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Incapable. Awkward. Artless.

That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: she wants to fail.

Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen as a Spinster is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to embroider the very fabric of life. But if controlling what people eat, where they live and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.

Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and wove a moment at testing, and they’re coming for her—tonight.

Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her Dad’s stupid jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.

Because once you become a Spinster, there’s no turning back.

My Review:

Crewel is probably the book that I’ve been most looking forward to reading this year – and it did not disappoint.

In the land of Arras, the position of Spinster is one of the most coveted roles by young girls everywhere. But not for Adelice Lewys. Since she was five years old her parents have been training her to be incapable, awkward and artless.

But even with their careful instruction, the Guild discover Adelice’s potential and come for her to take her away. In amongst the fancy outfits and balls, the life of a Spinster isn’t all it appears. They have the power to control the weather and create landscape but “ripping” or removing people and places is also a task that falls to them.

This book is… so much more than I expected. The world created is incredible. The fabric of the entire land is controlled and maintained on looms. Golden threads control time and with just a snip entire towns could be ripped from existence. I found it fascinating and to be entirely honest I’m still trying to wrap my head about how incredible the world crafting is.

The segregation of the population was an interesting idea – at sixteen, people are required to get courtship appointments. Purity standards are enforced for all citizens prior to marriage which must occur before the age of eighteen. Parents are assigned how many children they are able to have, when they can have them and what gender their children will be. Citizens with female children live in separate parts of town than those with male children… and because of this Adelice is naive to the world as a whole. It was great that the reader can learn about the world as Adelice herself learns how everything works.

Adelice is my kind of character. She’s feisty and caring, intelligent but at the same time she isn’t smart enough to keep her head down. She reminded me a lot of characters like Tris from Divergent and to a lesser extent, Katniss from the Hunger Games. I really liked how she developed throughout the novel.

The other characters were just as interesting as Adelice. Sleazy old politicians with a thirst for power and young women, confused aestheticians, rival Spinsters and love interests – there is a wide range of supporting characters and they all have interesting back stories. The way they interact Adelice was great to read but this being a first person narrator we didn’t get to see much of how they interact with each other. For those whose back-stories we got to see I couldn’t believe how cruel some of their pasts were… it was brilliant.

The only downside to this novel was there is so much world building and build-up that I was a little let down by the amount of action. But I can’t wait to read the next book in the series now that everything has been set up and see just how everything unfolds.

Thanks to The Reading Room and Macmillan for the review copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 


Book Review: Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

Title: Alice in Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles #1)
Author: Gena Showalter
Genre: paranormal, fantasy, zombies, romance
Publisher: Harlequin Teen 
Publication Date: October 2012 
Pages: 404 pages
Rating: 4.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
She won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.

Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real….

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies….

I wish I could go back and do a thousand things differently.
I’d tell my sister no.
I’d never beg my mother to talk to my dad.
I’d zip my lips and swallow those hateful words.
Or, barring all of that, I’d hug my sister, my mom and my dad one last time.
I’d tell them I love them.
I wish… Yeah, I wish.

My Review:

Alice Bell only asks for one thing for her 16th birthday – for the family to attend her little sister, Emmaline’s, dance recital. Sounds simple enough but Alice’s father afraid of what goes bump in the night and refuses to let anyone out after dark. Ever.

But Alice promised Em that they would go to the recital. Not wanting to disappoint her sister, Alice isn’t above to resorting to using emotional blackmail to get what she wants.

Things seem to be fine – Em starred at the dance gig – until the drive home and an accident results in Alice being the soul survivor.

With her parents gone and still mourning the death of her precious little sister, Alice reinvents herself as Ali, starts a new school and new life with her grandparents. Being freed from her father’s crazy notions means Ali can live her life without being scared of what’s in the shadows until she meets Cole – a mysterious bad boy and leader of a gang of what appear to be juvenile delinquents and the guy that Ali keeps having visions about.

And don’t forget about the zombies…

I have to admit I was surprised by just how much I enjoyed this book. Alice comes across as being a little bit spoilt and oh-so manipulative but throughout the novel her transition into a strong and confident young woman who isn’t afraid of kicking some zombie butt to avenge the people she loves is evident. I loved the way her relationship with Cole developed as things went on – finally! No instalove! but a healthy dose of lust mixed in with a camaraderie that blossomed into something more.

The plot kept me hooked until the end. There were twists that I wasn’t expecting and an ending that has left me eagerly anticipating the next book in the series. I’ve never really being a zombie fan. I could never understand why people liked them. But I think this book has finally let me in on their appeal – they are busy drooling and trying to eat people with no hidden agendas so that the heroes can shine. And Cole’s lethal team of would be criminals are fantastic in their role of taking on the enemy. There were some parts of the novel that did seem to drag just a touch but even those were very important for setting the scene and leading up to the drama and action that I found so entertaining and enjoyable.

This is not another retelling of the classic Alice in Wonderland story (nor just another YA book with a gorgeous cover… although the cover is beautiful  but rather a fantastic novel that managed to combine contemporary teen issues with a good dose of the paranormal in a fun and interesting way.

 

Thanks to Harlequin Teen for the review copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository