Book Review: Almost Dead by Kaz Delaney

Almost Dead

Title: Almost Dead
Author: Kaz Delaney
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Ghosts, Paranormal, Mystery, Young Adult
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Publication Date: January 2014
Pages: 400
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Macey’s life has been turned upside down. Her mother has left, her father is absent and her two best friends (her brother Seth and his girlfriend Willow) are MIA. On top of that Macey is being visited by ghosts who need her help to ‘move on’. But as wild as all that sounds, it’s all under Macey’s control until a rakish, good-looking spirit called Nick turns up … in her bedroom!

Nick’s a spirit with spirit who insists he’s not dead, he’s astral travelling and has a message for Macey: someone is out to get her. Macey’s biting wit has got her in trouble before, so she’s not surprised but when the threatening notes start turning up, she’s seriously shaken. Does someone want her dead?

It’s all rather disturbing but she’s finding it hard to focus on who could mean her harm with the annoyingly handsome surf god Finn turning up at the most inopportune times and a father with a rather large surprise of his own.

Is it a case of bad timing? Or are these things somehow connected? And if they are, what on earth should she wear when she’s solving the mystery?

My Review:

Power, love, hate, bad language tears and great shoes. Just another day at RTHS, really…

Macey Pentecost is getting used to seeing ghosts. When the spirit of a cute almost rock star Nick appears in her bedroom, Macey learns that is more than just ghosts out there. Nick isn’t dead. He’s had an accident and is in a coma but feels that he needs to protect Macey from something out there. Threats aside, Macey’s family life is in turmoil. Her mother has abandoned her and her father has some secrets of his own. Lucky for her, Macey meets Finn – surfer god extraordinaire who is willing to help get to the bottom of who is tormenting Macey and just how Nick is connected to it all.

I thought Almost Dead was a fun read. There is mystery, ghosts and romance topped off with plenty of high school drama. Macey is a privileged and feisty seventeen year old (on first impressions, she’s a bit of a mean girl) who has many vulnerabilities deep down. When creepy things start happening to her, she doesn’t run and hide but uses all the resources at her fingertips to try to track down the villain. It took me a while to warm to Macey. She’s blunt and (dare I say) a tad spoilt but after getting into the story and coming to understand her I realized that her frank ways are a defence mechanism. She’s loyal to her friends and (after a while) acts rather maturely in very difficult family circumstances.

The secondary characters are interesting and I liked how they interacted with Macey – I adored how Nick didn’t bow down to Macey and didn’t allow her to dismiss him. Felicity, Finn and Madame Zordastramus all add something extra to the story and I enjoyed getting to know more about them as Macey’s story unfolded. The mystery in this book was great. It’s one that I didn’t see coming till right near the end but once everything was explained it made perfect sense! The supernatural elements of ghosts and spirits was handled with humour and were entertaining to read.

Almost Dead is a companion novel to Dead, Actually (also by Kaz Delaney) and as such shares a setting and many characters but you don’t need to have read Dead, Actually in order to enjoy Almost Dead.

 

Thanks to Allen & Unwin for the review copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon | Booktopia | Book Depository | BookWorld

Novella Review: Blood Phantom by Rhiannon Hart

Blood Phantom (Lharmell, #0.5)

Title: Blood Phantom (Lharmell #0.5)
Author: Rhiannon Hart
Genre: Young Adult, Vampires, Fantasy, 
Publisher: Curtis Brown Digital
Publication Date: 9th December 2013
Pages: 15
Rating: 4.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Life in tatters and far from home, Rodden Lothskorn struggles to cope with the harming menace and his own harming nature. When an offer of marriage reaches his friend, Prince Amis, Rodden discovers that the bride’s inhospitable homeland might contain one part of the harming poison he would dearly like to get his hands on. But if summoned northwards, will Princess Lilith bring something – or someone – he dreads most with her? Locked in a years-long struggle with the Lharmellins, Rodden senses the battle is only now about to begin.

My Review:

This short novella gives us a brief glance into Rodden’s life before Zeraphina. I’ve always liked Rodden and I’m so pleased that Rhiannon Hart gave us this short story from his point of view. From the castle as Amis’ best friend and advisor right up till finding Zeraphina and learning what she is – this is a great addition to the Lharmell series. Roddin is the same amazing character that I liked from Blood Song and Blood Storm but seeing the world from his eyes – just made him more well rounded and enjoyable for me.

At only 15 pages, Blood Phantom is just enough to whet my appetite and I am now eagerly anticipating the release of Blood Queen that much more! This remains one of my favourite series and I recommend this novella to all fans of Zeraphina, Rodden and Lharmell!

Note:

I have to say that I adore the new style of cover that Blood Phantom and Blood Queen (expected publication is April 15. 2014) have compared to those of Blood Song and Blood Storm. I feel like this darker theme are more fitting to the amazing story within their pages than the first two books – which whilst gorgeous never seemed to fit for me.

Blood Song (Lharmell, #1) Blood Storm (Lharmell, #2) Blood Phantom (Lharmell, #0.5) Blood Queen (Lharmell, #3)

 

Thanks to the author for the review copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Book Review: The Vanishing Moment by Margaret Wild

The Vanishing Moment

Title: The Vanishing Moment
Author: Margaret Wild
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Mystery
Publisher: Allen and Unwin
Publication Date: September 2013
Pages: 182
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
A moment. That’s all it takes.
A moment when everything changes…

Arrow is still haunted by a childhood tragedy that shattered her safe, happy world.

Marika is caught up in a nightmare from which there is no escape.

Two girls, dislocated, looking for answers. When they encounter a mysterious ‘magician’, they are tempted by the possibility of a way out…

My Review:

Arrow, Bob and Marika – three very different people whose paths crossed in the small town of Shelly Beach. Each of them have their own personal misfortune which has shaped who they are.

Arrow has finished high school but now has no idea what she wants from life. Her mind keeps taking her back to her childhood and the aftermath of a heartbreaking tragedy. Marika is grieving and can’t find a way to fix something she lost and Bob… well he’s a bit of a mystery. I don’t want to go into too many details and ruin the story.

It’s a short read but a highly enjoyable one. The writing is beautiful and I loved the way Wild managed to capture Arrow and Marika’s emotions as well as the gorgeous way she described Marika’s sculptures. The ending is not one that I was expecting but it was perfectly fitting and beautifully bitter-sweet.

The Vanishing Moment is a lovely novel about the choices we make in life and whether, given the opportunity, we would choose a different path. Interesting character and great writing, I thought this book was thought-provoking and interesting.

 

Thanks to Allen & Unwin for the review copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon | Booktopia Book Depository | BookWorld

Book Review: Zac and Mia by A.J. Betts

Zac and Mia

Title: Zac & Mia
Author: A.J. Betts
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Contemporary, Cancer, Romance
Publisher: Text Publishing
Publication Date: July 2013
Pages: 272
Rating: 4.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
The last person Zac expects in the room next door is a girl like Mia, angry and feisty with questionable taste in music. In the real world, he wouldn’t—couldn’t—be friends with her. In hospital different rules apply, and what begins as a knock on the wall leads to a note—then a friendship neither of them sees coming.

You need courage to be in hospital; different courage to be back in the real world. In one of these worlds Zac needs Mia. And in the other Mia needs Zac. Or maybe they both need each other, always.

My Review:

Zac and Mia is a book told by the perspectives of two very different teenagers. Zac is a seventeen year old active farm boy suffering myeloid leukaemia and now stuck in confinement after a bone marrow transplant. With only his supportive (yet at times a little overbearing) mother, nurses and the Internet for company, Zac is intrigued by the new admission to the hospital room next to his. Mia isn’t quite as okay with her diagnosis as Zac. She’s angry and in denial. Her prognosis is the best of anyone in the ward but all she can see how the cancer in her leg is taking her former life away from her.

I liked how Betts broke up this book – the first part is entirely told from Zac’s point of view, the last solely Mia, and the middle section alternating perspectives per chapter. The way it was told kept me rather anxiously reading on to make sure the characters were okay. Zac is someone I instantly enjoyed reading about. He’s smart and funny – his bone marrow’s alter ego, Helga! – but also incredibly logical. His fixation with maths and statistics showed that he knew his odds but was trying to be the one who beat them. Mia was harder to like – she’s pricky and snarky but from reading her side of things you can see that it’s just a cover for how scared she is. The relationship between them was a joy to read. They are unlikely friends but their shared experiences give them a bond that few can possibly understand. I love the interactions between them – from Mia obnoxiously blasting Lady Gaga to Zac’s knowledge of the ridiculous ways people have died. This book despite the serious nature of cancer did leave me grinning at times.

Their personal situations as well as their medical conditions contrasted nicely – Zac with the super supportive friends and family who all knew the ins and outs of what he was facing opposed to Mia who didn’t even let her friends know. Zac considered Mia to be the luckiest person on the ward but she was the one acting as if she was the only person facing a death sentence. Zac has the family who are all there for each other and there maybe teasing on the farm but when it comes down to it they would do anything for one another. Mia isn’t quite so lucky as her mother was a teenager when she had her and neither one seems to know how they should treat the other. These differences contrasted nicely and really showed off how differently people behave when facing a similar beast.

I’ve seen people compare Zac and Mia to John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars – with both books dealing with teens and cancer but for me they both told very different stories. Zac and Mia showed off the darker side – with everything from hair loss to bowel movements being discussed. I liked that Betts showed the ugly side of things as it made it all a little more realistic for me. It felt well researched from both a medical standpoint as well as the personal side of cancer.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It’s thoughtful and heartbreaking yet sincere and at times amusing. I highly recommend it.

 

Thanks to Text Publishing for the review copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon | Booktopia | Book Depository | BookWorld

Book Review: Banish by Nicola Marsh

Banish

Title: Banish
Author: Nicola Marsh
Genre: Paranormal, Magic, Young Adult, Contemporary 
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: August 2013
Pages: 272
Rating: 2 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Alyssa has one week to destroy her enemy, save her spirit… and save her soul.

After her ex-boyfriend commits suicide and her mum’s alcoholism sparks yet another psychotic episode, seventeen-year-old Alyssa Wood flees her small hometown of Broadwater and heads to New York City to stay with her bohemian aunt — a Wicca High Priestess.

Alyssa revels in the anonymity of a big city and her new life. Her grades climb, she has a new best friend, and a new guy: the sexy geek Ronan — a saxophone player who prefers jazz to pop.

But her newfound peace is soon shattered when she sees a dead body in one of Ronan’s music clips — and she’s the only one who can see it. Worse still, Alyssa recognises the body that has been murdered a week forward!

Alyssa doesn’t believe in the supernatural…despite her family’s Wicca background. So how will she overcome evil when it’s closer than she thinks?

My Review:

There’s a lot to like about Nicola Marsh’s YA debut – a strong heroine, a mystery which I couldn’t wait to see how it was solved, some romance and a great kind of magic. Alyssa has been through a lot.  Her boyfriend killed himself the day after they broke up and her mother is an alcoholic who hears voices – NYC with her high priestess aunt has to be better than the memories in Broadwater. But it seems that Alyssa can’t outrun her past. Her new life meets her old when she sees a video set one week in the future of a dead girl. Her new boyfriend Ronan thinks that maybe Lyssa’s aunt is responsible but the strange keeps popping up – a weird séance, jewellery which should be buried and other mysterious goings on. Alyssa needs to banish the bad that’s following her and try to save the girl before this bad magic following her takes her too.

I was excited to read this book because I love reading YA by Australian authors. The fact that Banish is set in the US was a little disappointing to me. Whist I thought Marsh did a great job of writing this city into the book I would have loved it just a little more had it been set in Australia.

I found Alyssa hard to connect with and as a result I found myself uninterested and not invested in just how things would end up for her. She’s blunt – and understandably so considering her history. But I didn’t like how rude she was to those trying to help her and her attitude towards people. She has expectations from people but doesn’t communicate to others what she wants or needs and because of this they don’t behave as she would like and she gets annoyed with them. Her constant disapproval of her aunt’s interest in the supernatural, her mother’s alcoholism and her boyfriend taking his own life was reiterated a little too often for my liking. It seemed like by the end of the novel there was only one thing I knew about each of those characters because it was the only thing Alyssa told us about them. I wasn’t a huge fan of the relationship between Alyssa and Ronan and I felt low to no chemistry between them but I liked that despite their relationship being new – it wasn’t perfect and that added a layer of realism to it.

The plot is slightly predictable but I was genuinely surprised by the motivation behind WHY the villain was tormenting Alyssa and I thought that the ending was a satisfying one. The highlight of this book to me was the type of magic used – it brought me back to my days watching Charmed. I’ll be keeping an eye out for any other YA titles Marsh writes however if Banish turns into a series it’s not one I think I’ll continue reading.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon | Booktopia| Book Depository | BookWorld

Book Review + Giveaway: The Rig by Joe Ducie

The Rig Blog Tour banner

Title: The RigThe Rig
Author: Joe Ducie
Genre: Thriller, Young Adult, Action, Mystery
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Publication Date: September 2013
Pages: 368
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Fifteen-year-old Will Drake has made a career of breaking out from high-security prisons. His talents have landed him at the Rig, a specialist juvenile holding facility in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. No one can escape from the Rig. No one except for Drake…

After making some escape plans and meeting the first real friends of his life, Drake quickly realises that all is not as it seems on the Rig. The Warden is obsessed with the mysterious Crystal-X – a blue, glowing substance that appears to give superpowers to the teens exposed to it. Drake, Tristan and Irene are banking on a bid for freedom – but can they survive long enough to make it? Drake is an action hero to rival Jason Bourne and the CHERUB team in this debut author’s fantastically imagined sci-fi nightmare.

My Review:

Will Drake has already escaped from three maximum security juvenile detention facilities. But he’s seen nothing like the Rig. Located in the middle of the Arctic Ocean at a former oil rig, it’s not just the conditions that are brutal. With a tracker accounting for each inmates every move and guards who are crueller than the weather – it seems like there’s no escape for Will. But he’s determined. With a techno-genius for a cell mate and a girl who helps Will discover some of the secrets the Rig holds, there’s nothing going to stop Will escaping… not even the mysterious Crystal-X.

From the first page of The Rig I felt like I was watching a movie. There’s so much cinematic potential for this book. From the helicopters landing on one of the five old oil platforms now turned prison for criminal youth to the brilliant sport Ducie came up with “Rig Ball” – I felt like I could see all the action playing out like a film.

Will is a great character to let us into the secrets of the Rig. He’s street smart and practical but he’s nobodies fool. We get to find out as we read that whilst he may be an inmate of one of the world’s toughest juvenile facilities, he’s not a bad guy. That said – he can hold his own even against super enhanced bullies. There’s more than meets the eye to Will – and we get to see that as hardened as prison has made him he still cares for his family and friends. Tristan – Will’s cell mate – is an oddly likeable guy. He’s a quiet guy who just wants to do his time and get out – the opposite in many ways to Will – but he’s willing to stand up for his friends no matter the consequences to himself. I liked him. His interaction with Irene, a female detainee on the other side of the Rig, was somewhat adorable to read as it unfolded and added a little to the comic relief for what is a mostly serious novel.

The action is this novel is brilliant. There’s a lot going on and Ducie has come up with some great concepts. The idea for his magnetized lacrosse game – known as Rig Ball – is as fun as it is absolutely brutal. The trackers which not only detect location but also keep track of how much the inmates owe the establishment for their stay is an interesting design that I thought was pretty cool. The plot around Crystal-X is something that I wish was developed a little further. There’s a lot about the blue crystal that I thought had a lot of potential however it felt a little out of place. This book is suspenseful and a great contemporary thriller up until about half way though when the Crystal-X is introduced and it brought me out of the story a little. The alien mineral gave the novel a paranormal element which just felt a little odd considering the rest of what was going on.

I enjoyed reading this book. Great characters with a setting so vivid I felt like I could be there on the Rig with Will and the others – this book was a brilliant read.

Thanks to Five Mile Press for the review copy

Purchase the Novel From: 
Amazon| Booktopia | Book Depository

GIVEAWAY!

Thanks to Five Mile Press, as a part of this blog tour I have 1 paperback copy of The Rig to giveaway. Open to Australian residents only.

To Enter:

Leave a comment at the bottom of this post and then click on the link below and fill in the form.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

Entries close 14th October, 2013.

Winner will be drawn via random.org and will have 48 hours to reply or another winner will be chosen.

 

Book Review: Rory by Ciye Cho

Title: Rory (The Ghosts of Palladino #1)
Author: Ciye Cho
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Ghosts
Publisher: self published 
Publication Date: 10th August 2013 
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Far beyond heaven, earth and hell is a city known as Palladino, a place ruled by ghosts and filled with demons, magic, and all sorts of darkly beautiful things. A city where no one can ever escape.

Eighteen-year-old Rory is a cake decorator who makes stunning confections. But no amount of frosting or miracles can save her when a demon kidnaps her—and carries her to Palladino. Here, Rory ends up in a deadly charm school where young women are forced to become companions for the Ghost Lords. And for her to survive, Rory must become everything that she isn’t: graceful, elegant… and perfect.

But nothing is what it seems in Palladino. Not the magic. Not the ghosts. And definitely not Martin Marius, the bizarre Ghost Lord-slash-inventor who is drawn to Rory. For amid a thousand machines and a hundred cats, Martin holds a secret that could change everything. A secret that could either free Rory… or destroy her.

My Review:

I jumped at the chance to read another Ciye Cho novel. I adored his two Florence Waverley books (Florence and Luminaire) and I absolutely adore books with ghosts.

Rory tells the story of eighteen year old Aurora, a cake baker who diligently visits her mother in hospital every day before dark. Her mother had always warned Rory that the shadows are no her friend but until an incident in the night breaks Rory’s mother’s fragile mind, Rory never really understood the dangers. Now Rory is left alone in the world… and things just keep getting weirder.

Kidnapped in the night, Rory now finds herself in the realm of Palladino. Here girls are taken away from the world and forced to train at a bizarre type of finishing school before they are auctioned off to become companions to the ghosts who live there. Ghosts who live forever and require their companions to remind them what living was like.

This book was crazy – in the best kind of way. There’s creepy ghosts, strange teachers and some very cool inventions of Cho’s – like Dust Tea which invokes memories. Rory was a fantastic heroine. She’s brave and interesting. Her willingness to stand up for her beliefs and others was fantastic. But best of all, she was awkwardly perfect with her flaws. Quirky with a quick temper, Rory is real. The other characters were great to read too but none of them were quite as vivid and authentic to me as Rory.

Cho outdid himself with the world building. He has such a way with words that even the otherworldly eccentricities of Palladino were described in a way that felt like I could see them just as Rory did. And not just the world, but the feelings too. Rory’s memories evoked by the tea were beautifully expressed.

I had a great time reading this book and can’t wait for the next book in the series to rejoin Rory and the ghosts in Palladino.

 

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

This book has not been released yet. I will put links of where to purchase Rory from after it’s released on August 10. 

In the meantime, check out the gorgeous trailer for Rory!

Book Review: The Heiresses by Allison Rushby

Title: The Heiresses 
Author: Allison Rushby
Genre: Historical, New Adult
Publisher: Pan Macmillan 
Publication Date: May 2013
Pages: 352
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
In Allison Rushby’s Heiresses, three triplets–estranged since birth–are thrust together in glittering 1926 London to fight for their inheritance, only to learn they can’t trust anyone–least of all each other.

When three teenage girls, Thalia, Erato and Clio, are summoned to the excitement of fast-paced London–a frivolous, heady city full of bright young things–by Hestia, an aunt they never knew they had, they are shocked to learn they are triplets and the rightful heiresses to their deceased mother’s fortune. All they need to do is find a way to claim the fortune from their greedy half-brother, Charles. But with the odds stacked against them, coming together as sisters may be harder than they think.

My Review:

Thalia, Erato (also known as Ro) and Clio are triplets separated at birth who could not have lived more different lives. Thalia , a lively girl with a party spirit, lived with a busy family but isolated from loved ones. Ro is as scholarly as her adopted uncle and spent her days at boarding school broadening her mind. And then there’s Clio – the youngest – who grew up in meagre surroundings but never lacking for love.

These three girls are strangers in every way but blood and brought together by their Aunt Hestia upon their birth father’s death. A fortune being held from them, family secrets and the complicated business of growing up brings drama to them. Will they stand together or fall divided?

This book started its life as an e-serial – a five-part digital series of novellas. I think that’s such a cool concept. And I don’t think I’ve ever seen any other historical fiction aimed at the New Adult market. Because of its form there are mini cliff-hangers at the end of each novella which I liked – there is always something happening to keep my attention.

The girls themselves are so much fun to read for different reasons. Thalia is the belle of the upper society social set – giving the party girls of the day a run for their money. Clio is trying to find her feet in a world that is more dream (or nightmare) from her every day reality. And then there’s Ro – my personal favourite – who is so logical and measured but when faced with love, her common sense gets in the way. They are each charming in their own way and the best part of the novel for me as a reader was seeing how they each faced the same situations with such varied backgrounds.

The supporting characters and villains are fantastic at propping up the three sisters in their search for truth and family. Aunt Hestia is very interesting and I’d love to be able to read her back story (Allison – if you ever wrote a novella regarding Hestia I’d devour it in an instant!).

I recommend this book for fans of historical dramas like Downton Abbey. There’s scandal in a way that only books set in a past era can deliver as well as quirky yet charming characters and sinister villains.

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Thanks to Allison Rushby and Pan Macmillan for the review copy

 

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble| Book Depository| Pan Macmillan


Book Review: Blood Storm by Rhiannon Hart

Title: Blood Storm (Lharmell #2)
Author: Rhiannon Hart
Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, Vampires, Romance 
Publisher: Random House Australia
Publication Date: 1st August 2012
Pages: 384 pages
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
The rain wanted to be ocean; the ice in the mountain caps wanted freedom. I never knew that water held such longing. The clouds above my head rumbled like a growling wolf, impatient to release their burden. I held the rain there a moment longer. I turned to Renata, heard her gasp and knew my eyes glowed blue.

I spoke a single word. ‘Rain.’

In the Second Book of Lharmell, Zeraphina and Rodden must travel across the sea to find the elusive ingredients that will help them to win the coming battle against the Lharmellin – but shadows from Rodden’s dark past may come back to haunt him. And while she learns to harness her new abilities, Zeraphina still fights the hunger that makes her crave the north – not to mention avoiding her mother, who wants to see her wayward daughter married to a prince at all costs.

My Review:

Five months after Blood Song finished, Zeraphina is still in Pergamia and has been extremely busy. Training with her trusty bow and arrow – as well as her drain cat, Leap and loyal eagle, Griffin – Rodden has been trying to get Zeraphina prepared for fighting the Lharmellians. With her seventeenth birthday approaching, there’s more to worry about than just the Harmings – her mother, Renata, is finding potential Princes who would be willing to marry the somewhat wayward princess. Trying to fight both her destiny and the blood tie to Lharmell, Zeraphina and Rodden set out to collect supplies for a weapon deadly to all with Lharmellian blood.

Zeraphina is one of those heroines that make me like her more with every word I read about her. She’s fiercely loyal and smart. Her bloodthirstiness (and not just the thirst-quenching kind) is somehow admirable. I adored how she took care of Rodden, both physically and emotionally. She’s brave and even when things are at their most dire, she’s starting to behave like a potential queen and is looking out for those who can’t look out for themselves.

I loved the relationship that has been brewing between Rodden and Zeraphina since the first time we met the King’s Advisor in Blood Song. They have chemistry but with the class system and Renata so violently opposed to their relationship it feels like they are doomed from the start. Regardless of the potential (and probably) doomed ending, I love how these two interact. They’re not all rainbows and sunshine (however there is a cute fluffy bunny or two). Their world is hard and dangerous but throughout everything I love the way Zeraphina and Rodden treat each other – it’s not often kind but always considerate.

This book developed Rodden’s history fantastically. As he and Zeraphina travel the lands gathering supplies for their secret weapon we get to see just who Rodden was before he became Prince Amis’ best friend. The view of the country and the people who live there added an extra something to this novel and the world in which it exists.

Blood Storm is a fantastic fantasy novel set in a world where the blood-sucking creatures are so much more than your typical vampires. The characters are interesting and the plot gets thicker and more fascinating with every twist. After the way this book finished I am on the edge of my seat with anticipation. Blood Queen will be released sometime in 2013. I can not wait to get my hands on a copy!

 

 

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 


Book Review: How to Keep a Boy From Kissing You by Tara Eglington

Title: How to Keep a Boy From Kissing You
Author: Tara Eglington
Genre: contemporary romance; chick lit
Publisher: Angus&Robertson (an imprint of HarperCollins)
Publication Date: 1st February 2013
Pages: 384
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (goodreads):
Sweet sixteen and never been kissed – and that′s the way Aurora Skye wants it to be. She′s too busy finding Potential Princes ™ for her two best friends, counselling her sensitive New Age dad and dealing with the unexpected return of her long-absent mum. But always in the background there′s Hayden Paris, the boy next door, the bane of Aurora′s life. Smart, funny, and always around to see her at her worst, he ′gets′ her like no-one else … and that′s what makes him so infuriating.

When Aurora and Hayden are coerced into the lead roles in the school production of Much Ado About Nothing, things can only get worse. How is Aurora going to save her first kiss for the secret admirer who wooed her with poetry and a spectacular bunch of flowers on Valentine′s Day if she doesn′t know who he is and she′s obligated to lock lips with Hayden in the play′s final dramatic clinch?

From talented debut YA author Tara Eglington, this is a page-turning, funny and delicious romp of a book that both kissing and non-kissing teenage girls will adore.

My Review:

For Aurora Skye, romance is one of the most important things in life. And first kisses should be reserved for a worthy Prince. Armed with strategies and avoidance techniques, Aurora wants to save her first kiss for her true love (she even engages stealthy spy like operations to stop unwanted advances) even when it leads her into some rather embarrassing situations.

With Hayden Paris, a boy-next-door who is the bane of Aurora’s existence  and a New Age Dad (NAD) who seems to think that Aurora and Hayden are a couple, Aurora’s Find a Prince Program™ has some obstacles to overcome. But like her Disney Princess namesake, Aurora is willing to go the extra mile to make sure that True Love’s first kiss prevails.

This book is adorable! It reminded me very much of a Disney Channel movie (and in a good way. I love those!) crossed with the film Clueless. Everything from the slightly eccentric dance teacher to the girls doing the glide-by on the first day of school – I could picture Aurora and her friends’ antics so very clearly in my mind. With all the books about teenagers saving the world it was refreshing to read a book that reminded me of my own school years where first kisses were regarded as sacred. Aurora is a very sweet leading lady. She’s somewhat melodramatic and confused but her heart is in the right place – I could tell that she really did have her friend’s best interests at heart no matter what the situation. And what I loved most about her is that I saw so much of myself about her. Trying to advise others with no practical experience to her name? She’s a character that I think a lot of girls could relate to.

Much Ado About Nothing is one of the few Shakespeare plays that I am completely unfamiliar with and despite the play being central to the development of Aurora and Hayden’s friendship and relationship, this book does a great job of not requiring any previous knowledge of Shakespeare’s work. And as a former drama nut myself, I appreciated the dynamics of just what it takes to put on a school play (although how that managed to put in on in a matter of weeks? I have no idea how they achieved that!).

This is one of those books where the characters are teenagers. And they’re believable teens – not seventeen year olds going on forty. Whilst I found Hayden a little bland I found myself loving him for Aurora. The supporting characters were fun and I liked how they contrasted the leads but also the other minor players.

How to Keep a Boy From Kissing You is an enjoyable and entertaining read by a debut Aussie author. The characters are adorable. Whilst the plot was somewhat predictable this is definitely one of those books that you read not for the destination but for the quirky and fun journey. I’m delighted to see that this is not the last of Aurora Skye. How to Convince a Boy to Kiss You will be published late in 2013.

 

Thanks to The Reading Room and HarperCollins Australia for providing me with a copy to review.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository