28 April 2013

Review: The Eternity Cure

The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa

★★★ & 1/2

The mark of a good series is being able to pick it up at any point and jump in. That's how I've discovered lots of series. I jump in at the second or third or fourth book and I can easily follow what's happening. And this is a good series. This is a fantastic series in that respect.

I will confess now to having never read The Immortal Rules. When I won this copy of The Eternity Cure, I didn't even know it was part of a series. But I still enjoyed this book and understood what was happening well enough to not give up read the first book, well, first. It has made me want to read the first book, but I feel that doing so can only enhance my enjoyment of this series and help me better understand the emotions and motives of the characters.

This book was up-and-down for me. Some parts felt sluggish and unnecessary, and then others were so intense that I wasn't sure what had happened. It felt for long periods that nothing was happening and then BAM something would happen that just about blew my mind.

The best part of this book was the ending, and not because it was the end - far from it. I cannot wait to read the next book, Julie Kagawa you'd better be writing it now! That was a fantastic twist at the end, one I hadn't truly anticipated. And I so badly need to know if what I think has happened is right. 

If I have one complaint to make about this book, it's Allie's constant, constant mentions of her humanity. I'm all for a vampire holding on to some shred of their humanity - it can make them a very complex character. But Allie seemed to hark on about it every other page. For this reason I much preferred Jackal and his I'm-an-evil-monster-vampire attitude despite the hints that there's still a hint there, deep down inside even if he won't admit it. Allie's humanity, and her seeming obsession with it, made her seem like a bit of a sissy vampire, and goodness knows there are too many of them in the realm of young adult fantasy.

So, read away. It's a great book in many respects. Just ignore Allie and her humanity.

I won an advance copy of this from Mira Ink via Facebook, and was under no obligation to even leave a reveiw. The review I have left only reflects my honest opinion. As you can tell by the rating. And the rant.

20 April 2013

Review: And When She Was Good

And When She Was Good by Laura Lippman

★★★ & 1/2

Although it felt that nothing happened for long stretches of this novel, when things did happen they were executed perfectly. You may think this would lead to a boring read, but And When She Was Good is far from boring.

The main character, Helen/Heloise (Hel?) seems so sure of herself for the majority of this book, and i'd be lying if I didn't admit that the ending was the best part - but that's because Hel stopped being so superior and aloof and putting everyone down. It took her being out-smarted - seriously out-smarted - to seemingly get a grip.

When it comes to other characters, they seem a little like an afterthought. Hel's father made my blood boil and I guess that's why she is how she is. He is a nasty and selfish man who quickly engendered feelings of hatred from me, as I am sure he was meant to. Hel's mother seemed quite timid and unsure - she was so in love, but with that monster? It didn't seem to fit that she could be that naive for her whole life.

Overall I thought it a good enough read. It's not one of my favourites and for being a mystery there isn't much mystery at all, but it was nevertheless enjoyable and interesting.

Copy received in exchange for honest review.

17 April 2013

Review: Undertaking Love

Undertaking Love by Kat French


This book is a perfect chick-lit, a book that's perfect for summer and the beach.

It has all of the right ingredients and they're mixed together in a special way which makes it stand out from the crowd.

I was expecting light and fluffy, and instead I got a passionate and well paced story which made me laugh and chuckle and almost seethe with anger. This story follows a group of people, all with their own problems and passions, and this makes the story all the more beautiful.

A nuclear lust bomb exploded behind her rib cage, sending slivers of awareness hurtling through her body in all directions.

The conversation between friends, and between couples, flows very naturally with an understandable humour.
This story is heart-breaking and heart-warming all at once, and it reminds you of what love really is, how love really feels and what love really means. There is real passion and conflict, this is not love at first sight.

If he needed a sign, he should have said. She would have hurled a bucket of cold water over him.

I was gushing at everything between Dora and Ivan, and I shed more than one tear too.

She is more than just my guiding light. She is the rock that this lighthouse stands on.

This book makes me more glad than ever that I have found the rock that my lighthouse stands on.

Copy received in exchange for honest review.

14 April 2013

Review: The Liberation of Sundrian City

The Liberation of Sundrian City by Ander Louis

This was a great read. I didn't think it would be quite my cup of tea at first, but I really struggled to put it down and found myself thinking of it when I was supposed to be doing other things.

The Liberation of Sundrian City is a very fun read. It has everything you could ask for in a fantasy novel - unknown dangers, a renegade sorcerer, war elephants (fantastic!) and terrible justice.

I particularly loved the elephants, the way that almost everyone thought they could be completely controlled by a single master, that they had loyalty to specific people. The elephants added the perfect amount of spontaneity to the scenes containing them, you didn't know what was going to happen and it made for some fantastic suspense and shock.

Missy was my favourite character in this book, despite being an elephant - the personality of this crazy elephant was just wonderfully powerful.

I very much disliked Deimos and the majority of the other guards - they got their kicks out of bullying a thirteen year old boy, a child. What big, strong men they are.

The signs of the corrupt nature of Sundrian City and the deceit of all of the citizens is very subtle. The feeling of unease and corruption grows slowly, naturally.

The only part I didn't love (aside from the dick-ish guards) was the ending - it came far too soon! I could happily have read more of this story and if there is ever a sequel, I'll be happy to read it!

I received this book through Goodreads First Reads in exchange for an honest review.

04 April 2013

Review: The Poison Diaries

The Poison Diaries by Maryrose Wood


I bought this book at Alnwick Castle, where the gated Poison Garden really strikes you as powerful - even more so once you have read this book. Visiting the Poison Garden at Alnwick Gardens can only increase your enjoyment and understanding of this young adult historical tale. This is a fantastic quick read which will leave you impatient for the next instalment.

I liked Jessamine's spunk and nature, Weed's weirdness, and her father's evil plots. The characters are passionate to a flaw: Jessamine in her growing love for Weed and her need to impress her father; Jessamine's father in his obsession in knowing everything about plants, particularly those in his poison garden; and Weed with his love for Jessamine and his distrust of the poison garden. Oleander is a sly, poisonous character, which fits absolutely perfectly as that's what he is - poison.

In the darkness I let myself melt, so he has no choice but to catch me and lift me, cradling my body against his. His mouth finds mine. After the first kiss I arch so his lips brush the tender skin of my throat instead.

I did get exasperated at some points, but I think that as a reader you were meant to - it added to the characters and plot.

This book is filled with passion and energy and a hint of the supernatural. The romance is subtle and builds slowly, the crucible in this intense story.

This book appeals to my love of all things local and tea. Especially tea. Jessamine makes her own teas a tissanes, and I smiled as I recognised ingredients of my own mixtures. I have a pot of lavender by the front door and some lemon balm on the kitchen windowsill - which, by the way, is excellent for your skin and smells divine, I pop it in salads all the time.

I take my metal canister of tea off the shelf. It is my own mixture of dried lavender blossoms and lemon balm, harvested from my garden and hung in the storeroom to dry. Weed helped me hang these stalks, I think. His hands touched these tender leaves, just as they touch me.

And isn't that cover just gorgeous?

01 April 2013

Review: The Fever Tree

The Fever Tree by Jennifer McVeigh

I wasn't sure what to think when I first started this book. Frances did not appeal to me at all and she is the main character.

A couple chapters in I was frustrated by her - she opted for paints and an easel over essentials she was told she'd need for her new life. She couldn't understand Edwin's frustration at her when she arrived with no material, no sewing machine.

The whole ship journey got to me too - because this is where we meet William. William is a foul character and I know Frances lived a sheltered and naive life but really? Did she really think he was god's gift to man? So his actions on the Cape finally jolted her a little, but she still longed for him even though on the ship... Well, you should read it, it may be a spoiler if I say.

I liked the conservation messages subtly strewn throughout the text - they highlight the dangers that Africa still faces today in terms of everything being wiped out.

"Were there ever lions here?"

"Reitz's father shot the last one thirty years ago..."

I loved the imagery. I could feel my skin drying, blistering, burning. And the descriptions of small pox were quite horrific. I could taste the fetid water, smell the spilled blood, feel the dust coating everything. This is powerful writing with powerful messages.

I received this book through Goodreads First Reads in exchange for an honest review.