Thursday, 30 August 2012

Review: Desert Rice by Angela Scott - Megan

Synopsis from Goodreads
Samantha Jean Haggert is a beautiful twelve-year-old girl—but no one knows it. All they see is an awkward boy in a baseball cap and baggy pants. Sam’s not thrilled with the idea of hiding her identity, but it’s all part of her older brother’s plan to keep Sam safe from male attention and hidden from the law. Fifteen-year-old Jacob will stop at nothing to protect his sister, including concealing the death of the one person who should have protected them in the first place—their mother.

Sam and Jacob try to outrun their past by stealing the family car and traveling from West Virginia to Arizona, but the adult world proves mighty difficult to navigate, especially for two kids on their own. Trusting adults has never been an option; no adult has ever given them a good reason. But when Sam meets “Jesus”—who smells an awful lot like a horse—in the park, life takes a different turn. He saved her once, and may be willing to save Sam and her brother again, if only they admit what took place that fateful day in West Virginia. The problem? Sam doesn’t remember, and Jacob isn’t talking.

*An ebook copy was provided by the author for review purposes*

Desert Rice is intense, chilling and emotionally captivating. With an estranged father and a recently deceased mother, Sam and Jacob are thrown head-first into a world they haven't learnt to trust yet. Struggling to make ends meet, their attempts at survival and escaping the seclusion of foster homes crafts this novel into a journey that is guaranteed to break your heart.

Angela Scott does well to keep us in the dark about these two characters. Bits and pieces are tossed into the mix to give us an understanding of what is going on but I'd advise you to have a box of tissues at the ready for when the truth is revealed. The pace at the beginning of the novel seems to be rather slow because of the lack of information we're given but the consistent twists and turns will keep you on your toes.

Jacob is exactly the type of big brother that every girl needs. His undeniable love for Sam is heartwarming although his overprotective nature towards her is slightly erratic. He made various decisions that left me in a state of confusion but I understood they were based purely on love. Honestly, I was surprised by his maturity and determination especially during the more intense moments of the book. You almost forget that he's only 15 years old which is why I appreciated the scenes where you get to witness Jacob's vulnerability. 

Sam's distraught about having to dress like a boy was understandable. The pressure placed upon her shoulders is almost unbearable to fathom at times because her innocence just makes you want to curl up into a ball and cry. Experiencing these events through Samantha's eyes pulled on my heartstrings and watching her grow and come to terms with the reality of her situation was wonderful.

Angela Scott has a beautiful writing style that was easy to follow and possessed the power to pull emotions from me. She brought her characters to life and delivered a thought provoking novel that deals with serious themes in a professional manner. I strongly recommend this book to everyone who hasn't yet read it and I can't wait to see where the plot continues in the next instalment, Desert Flower.

Author Bio
Blog |@whimsywriting | Facebook

I hear voices. Tiny fictional people sit on my shoulders and whisper their stories in my ear. Instead of medicating myself, I decided to pick up a pen, write down everything those voices tell me, and turn it into a book. I’m not crazy. I’m an author. For the most part, I write contemporary Young Adult novels. However, through a writing exercise that spiraled out of control, I found myself writing about zombies terrorizing the Wild Wild West—and loving it. My zombies don’t sparkle, and they definitely don’t cuddle. At least, I wouldn’t suggest it. 

I live on the benches of the beautiful Wasatch Mountains with two lovely children, one teenager, and a very patient husband. I graduated from Utah State University with a B.A. degree in English, not because of my love for the written word, but because it was the only major that didn’t require math. I can’t spell, and grammar is my arch nemesis. But they gave me the degree, and there are no take backs. As a child, I never sucked on a pacifier; I chewed on a pencil. I’ve been writing that long. It has only been the past few years that I’ve pursued it professionally, forged relationships with other like-minded individuals, and determined to make a career out of it.

You can find me at my website, where I blog obsessively about my writing process and post updates on my current works. I’m also on Twitter and Facebook, but be forewarned, I tweet and post more than a normal person.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of Reading Addiction Blog Tours and a copy of this book was provided to me by the author. Although payment may have been received by Reading Addiction Blog Tours, no payment was received by me in exchange for this review. There was no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, publisher, publicist, or readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning Use of Endorcements and Testimonials in Advertising*

 This post was part of the Desert Rice blog tour
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Monday, 27 August 2012

Review: Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout - Leona

Summary from Goodreads:
Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I'd pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring.... until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something...unexpected happens. 

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon's touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I'm getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades. 

If I don't kill him first, that is.

This book should come with a warning. It would go like this: WARNING This book is highly addictive so do not read if you have things to do as you will forget about everything except this book. It would probably be shorter but I think you get the idea. 

Obsidian is absolutely brilliant. I honestly cannot praise it enough. Jennifer L. Armentrout did a wonderful job in creating the plot and the characters. As soon as I began reading I was pulled in. I have never read a book that involved aliens and I honestly expected it to be like an episode of the X-Files. It was a wonderful break from werewolves and vampires and witches. 

Jennifer Armentrout is a phenomenal writer. She creates addictive story lines and characters that you can't help but love. She also incorporates wittiness in her characters that is sure to make you laugh. Just don't read it in a public area that's quiet because you will get stared at. 

Obsidian's protagonist is Katy, a blogger (yeah!) who has just moved with her mom to try and get a fresh start after her dad's death years before. Katy was a wonderful lead character that knew exactly how to handle herself, well sometimes. She is quick with comebacks and is rather fiesty. Her interactions with Dee and Daemon were brilliant and entertaining. I loved when the three of them were together as there was never a dull moment. 

Daemon. How does one describe Daemon? In Katy's words: "Beautiful face. Beautiful Body. Horrible attitude. It was the holy trinity of hot boys." Thank you Katy for putting that in simple terms. I was always waiting for Daemon to say something because you knew it was going to be good. He is deffinately one of my favourite male characters EVER! 

Obsidian's ending left me hungry for more so as soon as I had finished it I quickly went on Amazon and bought the sequel. And so begins the agonizingly long wait for it to arrive!

If you haven't read Obsidian then go, right now, and get it!

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Review: Exiled by RaShelle Workman - Megan

Synopsis from Goodreads
Worlds divided them. Chance brought them together. Only love will save them.

Stubborn, sixteen-year-old Princess Venus of Kelari wants one thing, to become immortal, that is, until someone exiles her to Earth, kills her irrihunter and takes her family.

Now she wants revenge.

First she’s got to get home. But before she can return to Kelari, the Gods have commanded her to help an arrogant boy named Michael find his soul mate.

Only she doesn't know the first thing about love.

Rather quickly, her inexperience with human emotion is obscured by other matters--alien-controlled psychotic teens that are out to kill her, and a government group that is set on capturing and dissecting her.

Worst of all, Venus will suffer a painful death-by-poisoning, thanks to Earth’s atmosphere, if she remains on the planet longer than one week.

Still, Venus is a Princess and she's got a plan. Surely, with her help, Michael will fall in love with a human.

But time is running out and Michael is falling for the wrong girl--her.

Let's all just take a moment to admire the cover, shall we? I mean, that is one beautiful cover! Unfortunately, the contents of this novel didn't quite amaze me as much. Although I inexplicably enjoyed this book, RaShelle Workman failed to balance all the key elements of a good story - world-building, characterisation and realism - which majorly deteriorated from the book's overall quality.

After reading the first page, I immediately wanted to stop reading because I couldn't connect with Workman's writing style. I honestly don't know how to describe it but it just didn't flow with any sort of elegance that coincided with the plot's incredibly fast pace. What made it worse was the alternating POVs. The way they keep switching at random without any significant indication of doing so made the entire plot the epiphany of confusion.

Venus was a rather interesting character with a complex personality that was a challenge to dissect. Her ignorance of human emotions became quite endearing yet I couldn't find a suitable excuse for her shapeshifting perceptions of humans in general. Plus, constantly switching between anger, lust, determination and despair every few sentences made Venus quite unbearable at times. Her uncontrollable human emotions towards Michael and Zaren - her Formytian (an immortal guardian) - had me on the edge of my seat because it was impossible to figure out who she was in love with and who she was simply physically attracted to. (TEAM ZAREN!)

Michael's character wasn't much of an improvement. One minute he was a sleazy, shallow jock and next he was some cartoon hero that's got a playground crush on Venus. I struggled to believe that what he felt for Venus was genuine love because, although he takes big risks for her, he didn't hestiate to help turn her into a science project or violently dismiss her in their several ecounters after their first meeting. Workman also squanders precious words in an attempt to make us sympathise with Michael by mentioning his violent upbringing but this adds nothing effective to the plot and doesn't dismiss his erratic behaviour.

Dervinius - aka Vinny - creeps me out. He has some sort of evil plan that is so top secret I don't even think the author knows what it is. Him and Zaren have an ability to read minds while they're on Earth - probably because they're Kelvieri's - but while Zaren tries to surpress his new talent for invading people's minds, Dervinius just carelessy takes a ride on everyone's thought train. His manipulative and deceiving nature is his greatest weapon and, if his character was developed a little more, he would make the perfect villain.

One thing that majorly confused me was the different stages of Kelarian life. I mean, there's Kelni (which I assume is the toddler/child stage), Kelphi (adolescence?) and Kelvieri (immortal/adult). The word 'Kel' was also used frequently but I think that was just a slang term used to describe Kelarians in general. Basically, the society on Kelari wasn't explained in enough detail so when these terms kept appearing I couldn't help but be flustered by it all.

Mystery was the key element in Exiled and it was fluently weaved through essential parts of the plot. Unfortunately, it lacked in consistancy - only making significant appearances at the beginning and end of the book. As I continued reading, I was torn between the strong urges to stop reading and continue reading. It was rather bizarre. I wanted desperately to see what the outcome would be but I was also desperate for the story to end. 

All criticisms aside.. I did enjoy this book. Call me crazy but there was something about it that just clicked with me. I'm definitely eager to read the next instalment, Beguiled, in hopes that it will improve where Exiled has failed and ultimately, offer a better view of what life is like on Kelari.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Review: Deadly Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock - Megan

Synopsis from Goodreads
Mackenzie and Amy were best friends.

Since then, Mac's life has been turned upside down. She is being haunted by Amy in her dreams, and an extremist group called the Trackers has come to Mac's hometown of Hemlock to hunt down Amy's killer:

A white werewolf.

Lupine syndrome--also known as the werewolf virus--is on the rise across the country. Many of the infected try to hide their symptoms, but bloodlust is not easy to control.

Wanting desperately to put an end to her nightmares, Mac decides to investigate Amy's murder herself. She discovers secrets lurking in the shadows of Hemlock, secrets about Amy's boyfriend, Jason, her good pal Kyle, and especially her late best friend. Mac is thrown into a maelstrom of violence and betrayal that puts her life at risk.

There is no doubt that YA has had it's fair share of vampire and werewolf novels during recent years so initially I began this story thinking, what originality could Kathleen Peacock possibly derive from this genre? Of course, the majority of what you read is basic Werewolf 101 but there was mystery and suspense oozing out of every single word. It was impossible to put down.

What makes this plot stand out is obvious from the beginning: the werewolves are loose. Everyone has been made aware of Lupine Syndrome and everyone has grown accustomed to fearing for their own mortality. Throw in a group of bounty hunters - the Trackers - then quickly murder the protagonist's best friend - Amy - add an addictive love-triangle and voila, you have a page-turning book that twists and turns and tangles your thoughts more expertly than a pair of headphones.

Mackenzie Dobson: Hemlock's answer to Agatha Christie. For a girl with a lot of issues, she sure has the mental strength equivalent to that of ten oxes. Mac, understandably, is struggling to come to terms with Amy's death and when Amy's boyfriend, Jason, decides to drag himself down an alcohol-fueled path of self destruction, Mac instinctively steps in. Ignoring her advice, Jason brands himself a Tracker while Mac's best friend, Kyle, avoids her completely. Poor Mac is left alone playing Twister with the disturbing nightmares her late best friend plagues. But what is Amy trying to say?

Tension, torment and tears rip Mac's reality apart. Lies, secrets and betrayal stitch it back together because it's the only thing Mac knows to be true. Her entire life has been a struggle, it's a wonder how she can maintain self-control especially in her current situation.

Love triangles always manage to frustrate me but then again, most YA boys aren't Kyle and Jason. Kyle is my dream guy written on paper, wrapped up with a bow and sprinkled with perfection. Jason is the bad boy but he's a sweetheart underneath, it's so adorable. (Don't expect me to pick teams though, I refuse to choose!) The romance is always present throughout but it never takes the lead. The plot keeps within the spotlight and never falters on Mac's task to discover the truth behind Amy's murder.

Basically, Deadly Hemlock is perfection on paper. I honestly couldn't list a single fault. The mystery and suspense was consistant; the romance was sensational; the plot was impeccably structured and; Kathleen's wonderful writing style just enchants the entire reading experience.

Why aren't you already reading this? Go now. Before the white wolf gets you!

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Review: The Selection by Kiera Cass - Leona

Summary from Goodreads:
For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself- and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

As soon as you start The Selection you are overwhelmed with information. I found it hard to concentrate on the rest of the book after reading the first chapter. It felt like the author wanted all this detail out of the way so she threw it at us all at once without giving us a chance to digest it. 

When I read about this book my head screamed "The Hunger Games". However when I began reading I knew that it was a lot different compared to The Hunger Games. The feel throughout the book was much lighter in The Selection compared to the dark theme of The Hunger Games. 

America Singer is, well, a singer. I'm firstly going to comment on her name, I don't like it. Moving on, America was just not my sort of character. She spends a lot of her time saying how normal looking she is especially when people call her pretty. She was rather whiny and seemed to be a bit of a shell character without much of a personality of her own. At times I did quite like her though.

The world that they lived in didn't feel very real to me. It may have been the fact that information is thrown at us all at once rather than gradually that made it unrealistic. I just could quite grasp the concept of the world of The Selection at all and it made the book harder to read.

We have quite a lot of secondary characters. I just wonder if there was a need for some of them to be there. They didn't really play much of a role in the plot. 

On the other hand, there was a few moments that I did actually enjoy. The Selection was, at times, an enjoyable read. It wasn't really for me.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Author Spotlight: Michael Sussman: Review and Giveaway

About the author:
Michael Sussman is the author of Crashing Eden, a YA fantasy/paranormal novel, and Otto Grows Down, a children’s picture book featuring illustrations by Scott Magoon.
Dr. Sussman is a clinical psychologist and has also published two books for mental health professionals. He’s the author of A Curious Calling: Unconscious Motivations for Practicing Psychotherapy and the editor of A Perilous Calling: The Hazards of Psychotherapy Practice.
He resides in the Boston area with his son, Ollie.

You can find Michael here:

Author’s website and blog:
Twitter: @MichaelBSussman!/MichaelBSussman

Crashing Eden Review:
For one boy and his friends, the path to Paradise comes at a cost—one they may not be prepared to pay.

When a biking accident leaves 17-year-old Joss Kazdan with the ability to hear things others can't, reality as he knows it begins to unravel.

A world of legends exists beyond the ordinary life he's always known, and he is transported to the same Paradise he's studying in World Mythology. But the strange gets even stranger when his new friends build a device that delivers people through the gates of the Garden of Eden.

Now Samael, the Creator God, is furious. As Samael rains down his apocalyptic devastation on the ecstasy-seeking teens, Joss and his companions must find a way to appease Samael—or the world will be destroyed forever. 

*A e-copy was provided for review*

Michael Sussman's Crashing Eden was an addictive and unputdownable read. It was unlike anything I've ever read and it was fun to read it.

The concept of this story was very unique and it made me want to keep reading. I read this is in one sitting which, lately, is unusual for me as I have a short attention spand. Sussman had me firmly in his grasp straight away and wouldn't let me go until I had finished reading.

As soon as I read the first line I knew I would love the main character.

"Waking up sucked."

When a character shares my views I instantly loved them. Throughout the book I found even more reasons to love and loathe Joss. He was slightly crazy but had his saner moments that made him a lot more like-able. When I found out some details I was shocked and I couldn't believe it.

The action gets going when Joss gets a head injury in an accident and begins to hear a comforting “Om” sound. His behavior begins to improve after this.

Early on we see Joss's love for his little sister. It was really the highlight of the book for me. It was clear to see his love for Callie and her love for him and it gave us a few 'aw' moments. 

This book was an absolutely amazing read and I recommend it to everyone!

You can buy a copy of Crashing Eden here:
Buy from Amazon:
Buy from Amazon UK: (paperback), (e-book)
Buy from Barnes & Noble:
Buy from Smashwords:

Now for the giveaway!
One of you awesome people will win a paperback copy of Crashing Eden! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman - Leona

Summary from Goodreads:
In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck...

A sophisticated, layered, and heart-achingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make, and the ultimate choice Mia commands.

If I say was a heart-wrenching and addictive read. I had such high hopes for this book and they were certainly met.

Early in the book we face a heart break. Gayle Forman knew exactly how to tug on my heart strings with the words she chose and the descriptions she wrote. We really get attached to the characters early on and that attachment lasted through out the book.

Every aspect in the book was perfectly written and every emotional moment was made all the more emotional by strong writing and a writing style that is hard not to connect with. The plot was developed wonderfully and at a believable pace. Nothing felt rushed. It left me wondering how it would end.

I borrowed the sequel to this book, Where She Went, from the library not realizing that it was a sequel so I knew how If I Stay ended. Having said that, I was still very emotional and in awe of the ending and couldn't stop thinking about it long after I had turned the last page.

It took me so long to write my review for this book because I honestly couldn't put into words my thoughts and feelings for this book. Honestly, if  you haven't read it then go to the library or bookshop and get it because it is amazing.

An emotional roller-coaster that left me thinking about long after I'd turned the last page.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Review: Hate List by Jennifer Brown - Leona

Summary from Goodreads:
Five months ago, Valerie Leftman's boyfriend, Nick, opened fire on their school cafeteria. Shot trying to stop him, Valerie inadvertently saved the life of a classmate, but was implicated in the shootings because of the list she helped create. A list of people and things she and Nick hated. The list he used to pick his targets.

Now, after a summer of seclusion, Val is forced to confront her guilt as she returns to school to complete her senior year. Haunted by the memory of the boyfriend she still loves and navigating rocky relationships with her family, former friends and the girl whose life she saved, Val must come to grips with the tragedy that took place and her role in it, in order to make amends and move on with her life.

When I found this book while making a search for my sister I was enticed by the synopsis. For some reason I find school shootings fascinating. I always wondered if the shooters had any good in them at all. Jennifer Brown shows us that Nick had some good in him. 

Valerie has always seen the good in him. Even after he goes on a shooting spree she stills remembers the good that he did when he was alive. Valerie was a like-able character, most of the time. There was times when I wanted to hug her and other times when I wanted to shake her and tell her that Nick was a bad person. But then I thought, Nick wasn't always a bad person. To Valerie, he was the person she loved and of course she wants to remember all the good times they had together.

When I was reading this I found it almost comical that I hated Valerie's father more than I disliked Nick. I know from reading others reviews  that I am not the only person that dislikes him. He turned out to be more of a bad guy than Nick because he didn't support Valerie when she needed him. 

The sad reality is that school shootings do happen. Jennifer Brown approached the subject with great respect. I, myself feel great respect towards Jennifer and Hate List. I really couldn't believe how good this book was. 

Jennifer Brown has a wonderful and strong writing style that allows us to feel emotions intensely. I found myself crying, uncontrollably towards the end of the book. It was an intense scene towards the end. 

A wonderful, thought-provoking and powerful novel that deals with real life issues in a respectful manner.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Saturday Snapshot (4th August) - Leona

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by At Home With Books. To participate in the Saturday Snapshot meme post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky below. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.

So, recently Taylor Swift's fragrance, Wonderstruck, was release in the United Kingdom and Ireland. I bought it...and I love it!

A few weeks ago I was at the cinema and I saw posters of Taken 2! I am a HUGE fan of Liam Neeson and I LOVE Taken so I was VERY excited to see them! 

Do you have a Saturday Snapshot? Leave a link below!

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (5) - Leona

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine to share the books that you are highly anticipating!   

This week I am anticipating Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan! I adored Sarah's series The Demons Lexicon so I can't wait to get my hands on her newest series!

Summary from Goodreads:
Kami Glass loves someone she’s never met . . . a boy she’s talked to in her head ever since she was born. She wasn’t silent about her imaginary friend during her childhood, and is thus a bit of an outsider in her sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Still, Kami hasn’t suffered too much from not fitting in. She has a best friend, runs the school newspaper, and is only occasionally caught talking to herself. Her life is in order, just the way she likes it, despite the voice in her head.

But all that changes when the Lynburns return.

The Lynburn family has owned the spectacular and sinister manor that overlooks Sorry-in-the-Vale for centuries. The mysterious twin sisters who abandoned their ancestral home a generation ago are back, along with their teenage sons, Jared and Ash, one of whom is eerily familiar to Kami. Kami is not one to shy away from the unknown—in fact, she’s determined to find answers for all the questions Sorry-in-the-Vale is suddenly posing. Who is responsible for the bloody deeds in the depths of the woods? What is her own mother hiding? And now that her imaginary friend has become a real boy, does she still love him? Does she hate him? Can she trust him?

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?