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      07.07.2011 10:26
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      brilliant addition to ghost stories

      Synopsis: Taken from Amazon - succinct & spoiler free
      "I've seen a ghost," said Emily. "Well, not seen one exactly. Heard one. At least, I think I have!" Everything has a rational explanation. Unless it doesn't. Welcome to Weirdsville! Woodsville is not like other towns. Night falls a little earlier there, the shadows are darker and denser, and everyone knows it's a place where strange things happen. Even if they won't admit it. Bethan would prefer to be anywhere but here. Jay has his theories, but isn't ready to share. Hashim sees more than he'll say, while Kelly's demons are all too flesh and blood. But Emily's freak-out brings them out of denial and face to face with the supernatural. Anywhere else, Friday night would be date night. But not in Weirdsville!

      Review:
      I love the 'Welcome to Weirdsville' that is what drew me to this book in the first place. Who doesn't feel like they live in Weirdsville occasionally (OK it might just be me *grins*).
      The book starts with a thoroughly unlikeable character, Carter, when he kicks a dog anger overtook me and I kept thinking that this character deserved anything bad that was going to happen to him.
      The imagery used is tremendously powerful, it felt as if it was an assault on my senses so vivid were the pictures they conjured. In some parts it was so chilling I actually has cold shudders/goosebumps while reading it. I kept thinking to myself that it was a good job that I was not afraid of the dark or I would have been in big trouble :)

      The language used is most definitely English as opposed to American English with the most noteable being the use of Flat as opposed to Apartment as I am sure it would be called in the U.S. J recently watched a movie about Northern Ireland, 50 Dead Men Walking, and I had images of that in my imagination with the description of the tower blocks and overall concrete jungle that they live in. As you already know I live in Wales, surrounded by lots of green fields and the coast a short drive away, so for me it is hard to relate to living in such a drab place but easy to picture thanks to TV. Wales is actually mentioned within the narrative, so you can imagine how pleased I was :)
      The elements of gang warfare and domestic violence, although not to my taste, did seem necessary to the storyline, giving clarification to the reasons for some actions. There is an element of nature versus nurture running through the plot; contrasts are made between the main characters home lives defining their personalities and actions.

      The tension is dramatic, I could even here the music they play in movies at the peak of the suspense within my imagination. My adrenaline pumped and my heart pounded. The idea of a modern Ghostbusters came to mind. Artful plot teasers placed throughout the narrative. I could sense the twist, but as I have stated before I am good at that.
      Ingenious cross-over of science fiction with science fact, the use of quantum physics, chaos and string theories really added depth to the plot. You can thank J for me knowing even a little bit about quantum physics, it is his pet science :)

      The ideology of a society without social structure is explored, the utopia of everyone being equal and therefore socially acceptable to have everyone as friends, brought to mind the movie Bratz which also dealt with this issue.

      There is an AWESOME cliffhanger. OH NO, I just realised that I am now hooked on another series. Guess there are worse things to be hooked on :)

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      05.07.2011 11:23
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      Snarky Skeleton detecitve helps save the world

      Synopsis: From Amazon - clear and spoiler free

      It's the fourth Skulduggery Pleasant adventure! only Skulduggery Pleasant himself is lost on the other side of a portal, with only some evil gods for company. Can he possible survive? (Yes, all right, he's already dead. But still.) What can we say, without giving too much away? Not much, is the answer. But what we CAN say is that this book is hilarious, it's tense, and it's packed with all the eye-popping action, crackling one liners and imaginative set pieces you've come to expect. There's a new threat to our plucky heroine, of course. But that's not all. There's also the little fact of the Big Bad, the uber-baddy who's going to come along and really, really destroy the world. (Really.) And what we learn about that villain in this book will literally make your jaw fall off and your hair go white with shock. (Not really.) Will Skulduggery make it out of the Faceless Ones' dimension? Who knows. The problem is, he may not have much to come back to!

      Review:

      Ohhh, How I adore Derek Landy. His books are a pure piece of escapism with wit sarcasm and irony thrown in for good measure. I find his writing absolutely hysterical (sarcasm is kind of my thing *grins*)
      You should always read his dedications as they are pure genius, they have never disappointed in making me laugh like a hyena, lol. J and I have come to the conclusion the Skulduggery Pleasant is the fictional manifestation of Derek Landy himself, enabling him to say and do exactly what he chooses within his imagination.

      I must warn you that the Skulduggery Pleasant books are not stand alone, you have to read the previous books in order to fully appreciate the characters and their interactions. All the characters are extremely well developed and have the most marvellous personality flaws you will ever come across.

      As the central female character, Stephanie/Valkyrie, matures the storyline develops to accommodate the stages of life that would accompany aging. An example of this would include the development of the love triangle between Stephanie/Valkyrie, Caelon and Fletcher. The depth of the relationship between
      Stephanie/Valkyrie and Skulduggery is still unfathomable, adding an extra dimension to the storyline.
      There is an HUGE plot twist within this book.

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        04.07.2011 16:42
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        Great addition to the mermaid books currently on the market

        Title: Tempest Rising
        Series: Unsure but I want it to be
        Author: Tracy Deebs
        Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
        Publication Date: 4 July 2011

        Synopsis: From Amazon - spoiler free & succinct

        Tempest Maguire wants nothing more than to surf the killer waves near her California home, continue her steady relationship with her boyfriend, Mark, and take care of her brothers and surfer dad. But Tempest is half mermaid, and as her seventeenth birthday approaches, she will have to decide whether to remain on land or give herself to the ocean like her mother. The pull of the water becomes as insistent as her attraction to Kona, a gorgeous surfer whose uncanny abilities hint at an other-worldly identity as well. And when Tempest does finally give in to the water's temptation and enters a fantastical underwater world, she finds that a larger destiny awaits her - and that the entire ocean's future hangs in the balance.


        REVIEW:

        Written in first person narrative from Tempest perspective. Tempest has always known she is half mermaid, something that doesn't manifest itself until her 17th birthday. She hates the fact that she is half-mer mainly due to the fact that her mermaid mother left her and her family to return to the sea a number of years ago. Tempest holds the sea responsible, though she is powerfully drawn to it. Lovely reflective pieces of writing are inserted into the prose giving it a personal feel and providing insight into the plot.

        There are lots of technical surfing terms and slang used within the narrative. Making me wonder if Tracy surfs herself and was able to write about surfing so thoroughly because of that fact.

        Tempest has a wonderful circle of friends. The best of both her worlds really with her surfing crowd and the girls she goes to school with. Mark, her boyfriend, has hidden depths of emotion where Tempest is concerned he sees below the surface and past the carefully erected barriers she has around herself. Although I did think that his character altered negatively as the story progressed. I would have liked to see that part of the story handled slightly differently. Kona on the other hand, as well as being visually pleasing [ : D ] from the outset you can tell that there is so much more to him than meets the eye. Although I am totally burnt out on love triangles, the premise of this one is quite sound when you take into consideration that Tempest is trying to cling onto her human life with everything she has got. As an outsider, I could see that this was not necessarily what was best for her.

        Tempest doesn't handle the two different sides of herself very well, trying with all her might to run away from the mermaid side of herself. She is very bitter about her mother leaving, and you keenly feel her hurt and bewilderment at that particular event. Tempest's feeling of hopelessness at the lack of options available to her really hit home with me. The mystery surrounding the reasons for her mothers departure add to the plot dynamics.

        The writing is so sensory, encompassing all the senses making vivid pictures within my imagination. It was very easy to create Tempest's world. I have been scuba diving at an advanced level (before I had the children) and must say that Tracy's descriptions of being deep underwater bring those memories back to colourful life. The sense of wonder at the alien world beneath the sea; the feeling of exhilaration, the sensation of the weight of the water along with a sense of freedom are beautifully written into the narrative. There are interesting details and scientific explanations about sea life that add realism to the plot and expand the storyline.

        I was especially envious of Tempest's house and it's location *sigh*. Tempest has the added benefit of a close knit family and a wonderful relationship with her father. So open, honest and equal.

        I really enjoyed the pacing of the plot, there was always something new to learn or be revealed. I think there still is and would love the series to continue. There is a fairytale feel in places especially with the description of the castle and the recapping of actual fairy tales in order to add substance to the plot.

        The inclusion of the tapestry depicting an ancient prophecy added to the storyline but I did feel Tempest was a little naive in not putting the pieces together sooner, but I do think hindsight is a wonderful superpower to have. Remorse and regret are an unfortunate side effect of life and the consequences of our decisions. The ending was lovely *sniff* not at all what I was expecting.

        For me this story contained action, adventure, romance, the course of destiny, and the path of self-discovery. I would love to see what happens to Tempest next, please can we

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        09.06.2011 15:45
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        A modern setting for the story of Helen of Troy - Demi Gods in the battle for power WOW

        Synopsis: From GoodReads - spoiler free and more succinct than I could ever be.

        How do you defy destiny?
        Helen Hamilton has spent her entire sixteen years trying to hide how different she is--no easy task on an island as small and sheltered as Nantucket. And it's getting harder. Nightmares of a desperate desert journey have Helen waking parched, only to find her sheets damaged by dirt and dust. At school she's haunted by hallucinations of three women weeping tears of blood . . . and when Helen first crosses paths with Lucas Delos, she has no way of knowing they're destined to play the leading roles in a tragedy the Fates insist on repeating throughout history.
        As Helen unlocks the secrets of her ancestry, she realizes that some myths are more than just legend. But even demigod powers might not be enough to defy the forces that are both drawing her and Lucas together--and trying to tear them apart.

        Review:

        I know I tend to gush about books I really like but I have to tell you this one just blew me away. I want to force it into the hands of passing strangers and tell them to read it. As soon as I finished the last page I wanted to go back to the beginning and start all over again. It is one of those books that you can read over and over and never tire of. I don't usually get too attached to books (apart from my Twilight collection and Heavenly) I think that is because I get to see lovely books in the school library all day. However, this is one book that will be going in my permanent collection - what more of an accolade could I give. I want the stunning hardback because I think the cover is so much prettier.

        From the beginning you know Helen is different, she is able to do things that aren't normally physically possible, she is incredibly beautiful yet tries to hide it afraid to draw attention to herself, bad things happen to her if she draws attention to herself, this is explained later in the book and was extremely clever. I felt as if I wanted to shield her from the harsh realities of High School life, my mothering instinct kicked in with full force for Helen.

        I loved the relationships that Helen had with her Father and Kate, who proved a mother figure for her. They had a very close relationship but one of equal responsibility and sharing. It was heartwarming to imagine.

        I can't mention relationships without mentioning Claire, Helens best and only friend, different in her own way (she's Chinese) and that sets her apart from the crowd in this small island. I adored her loyalty to Helen and her calm acceptance of the existence of Demi-Gods. Her antics and snarky comments added humor and lighten the tension. A brilliant character to visualize. The way in which the bickering was portrayed between Claire and Jason made me giggle the idea that if a boy likes you he picks arguments with you, imagery of little boys pulling girls pigtails popped into my head.

        I already knew that the book was based on Greek Mythology, in particular the Iliad, so I kept trying to figure out who was who and how it related to the storyline. In the end I gave up and went with the flow of the narrative. I am so glad I did as the mythology is explained and woven into the plot with such creativity. Take my advice put all your assumptions aside to begin with and go with the flow, it will be worth it.

        I don't want to go into too much detail about the Delos family, especially Lucas *swoon* as it really is such a wonderful book I want you to read it yourself and not know too much about the plot. Needless to say, the relationship between Lucas and Helen set fireworks off in my head. I didn't care about the fate of the world or any of that 'minor' stuff, lol, I just wanted Lucas and Helen to get together.

        The use of the Fates and the Underworld brought the Greek Mythology to vivid life. Creating a realistic world of Destiny controlled by the Gods co-existing with the modern world within my imagination.

        I particularly liked how the mortal characters within the plot weren't just there for decoration. They were strong, fearless and loyal, often taking charge in the case of Lucas's Mother. Their inclusion and depth of character not only added to the realism of the story but gave characters that you could aspire to. We can't all be demi-gods but we can all have the qualities portrayed by these characters.

        There are a few shocks and surprises in store, that now have me bouncing around in desperation for the next part of the story.

        As I said at the beginning of this review there is no higher accolade I can give this book than by telling you the finished copy is going in my permanent collection. I loved it with a capital L.

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          31.05.2011 18:19
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          Dead ex-boyfriend haunts girl because she dumped him

          Synopsis: From Amazon as it is spoiler free :D
          Jordan hates her life! Her boyfriend Michael dumped her, hooked up with half the other girls in the neighbourhood, and then killed himself. And then there's the broken record of boring parties, meaningless flirting and friends she can't relate to. But now, somehow, Michael is back, appearing at her window every night, begging her to let him in. Jordan can't understand why he wants to get back together; he was the one that dumped her! But, as the weeks drag on, she feels her resistance wearing down. Instead of partying and socialising with her so-called friends, now Jordan runs home to the safety of her room before dark, and waits, alone and terrified, for the sun to go down. Creatures like Michael need to be invited in before they can cross over the threshold. All Jordan has to do is say the words...

          Review:

          I am a bit torn with this book there were things I liked and things I didn't like.

          Written in 1st person narrative. The tension escalates from the very first sentence. I didn't find the main female protagonist, Jordan, very like-able, to me she seemed neurotic with a really big 'chip' on her shoulder. The male protagonist, Micheal, isn't very like-able either, and not just because he is a vampire. Full details of Micheal's personality are revealed at the end of the story and I can't go into detail without giving away spoilers. A very compulsive storyline even if the characters are unlikeable.

          The imagery veers from tense to gory to salacious. All of which are indicators to the deeper threads of the storyline. Wonderful use of vocabulary and literary references aiding my quest for knowledge via osmosis.
          Some chapters are written in the present tense and are interwoven with those written in the past tense, giving background detail to the plot.

          Brilliant paralleling of Micheal's live as a vampire with Jordan's drug/alcohol abuse. Neither are truly living. I told you I was on a roll with reading books about the evils of alcohol. Another parallel between Micheal and Jordan for me was that Jordan doesn't invite Micheal in and Jordan doesn't get invited to parties/social events. She is popular by association. Her friends remind me of Britt in Heavenly by Jennifer Laurens; selfish, shallow and self-centred.

          Shades of I Heart you, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder through the plot only one is fuelled by love the other by hate.

          The morale of this story is twofold - the dangers of substance abuse and the mistakes made when under their influences. Plus the discovery of whole your real friends are, they stand by you no matter what. Worth reading just for those and the resolution offered at the end. How I do love a happy ending :)

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          27.05.2011 12:24
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          A changeling survives due to the power of love

          Title: The Replacement
          Author: Brenna Yovanoff
          Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children's Books
          Publication Date: 6 Jan 2011

          Synopsis: From Amazon as it is spoiler free and a lot more succinct than I could be.

          Mackie Doyle is a replacement - a fairy child left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago, to replace the baby when it was stolen away by the fey. So though he lives in the small town of Gentry, Mackie's real home is the fey world of tunnels and black, murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess. Now, because his fey blood gives him fatal allergies to iron, blood and consecrated ground, Mackie is slowly dying in the human world. Mackie would give anything just to be normal, to live quietly amongst humans, practice his bass guitar and spend time with his crush, Tate. But when Tate's baby sister goes missing, Mackie is drawn irrevocably back home to the fey underworld of Gentry, known as Mayhem, where he must face down the dark creatures, rescue the child, and find his rightful place - in our world, or theirs.

          Review:

          I have to say it took me ages to get around to reading this one, I pushed it to the top of my TBR pile when a Year 12 informed us that she thought the content may be unsuitable for younger pupils. I therefore, had to check for myself. I will say that there are two incidences of what can be classed as 'heavy petting' but nothing graphic or untoward. I have blocked it for Year 7 pupils to be on the safe side.

          I love the premise of this book; the changeling story is exposed from the outset. The story is told in first person narrative from Mackie's perspective. He is the changeling. His family is aware and helped cover up the fact that Mackie is far from human. Revelations surrounding his family situation and the retribution inflicted by the fey, added depth to the plot. I must say I had never really thought about the iron in blood affecting fairies. This fact however, is contradicted by the blood worship of the Morrigan.

          The Morrigan in traditional Celtic Mythology is the Goddess of Battle/War, commonly depicted as a crow. It was difficult for me to reconcile the traditional image of the Morrigan with the character depicted in this book. Yes, she is cruel and vengeful but the blood drinking had shades of vampire imagery that did not work for me.

          Two separate fairy courts at odds with on another is something used quite often when dealing with stories about fairies. The use of the undead as part of one court was however quite surprising and occasionally gross.

          What stood out about this book for me is the way in which Mackie's relationships are depicted. He is insecure and nervous from having to always hide who he really is. He doesn't think he deserves to be loved or have friends. Yet it is Mackie's relationships that have provided the means for him to survive in the human world. The relationship with his sister, Emma, is touching and co-dependent in a non-creepy way. His friends are accepting, caring and loyal; supporting Mackie both physically and emotionally. No matter whether you are a changeling or a human there is nothing more you could ask for than that.

          I adored the way in which the mean girl was portrayed as having her tongue pierced, which of course is poisonous to Mackie. Taking the meaning of venomous words to another level.

          There is lots of atmospheric tension aided by the fantastic music references. The guitarist portrayed brought to mind images of Slash from Guns 'n' Roses which I am pretty sure was intentional.

          This book has taken aspects of a few different paranormal stereotypes and molded them together, for me; this did not connect very well in my imagination. It is a very different story with multi-themes but if I am honest it didn't fully live up to my expectations.

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            26.05.2011 12:11
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            Magic, ghosts and consequences :D

            Synopsis: From Amazon as it is spoiler free and sets out succintly a complex plot.

            Sylvie Davies is a ballerina who can't dance. A broken leg ended her career, but what broke her heart was her father's death, and what's breaking her spirit is her mother's remarriage. Still reeling Sylvie is shipped off to stay with relatives in the back of beyond. Or so she thinks, in fact she ends up in a town rich with her family's history ...and as it turns out her family has a lot more history than Sylvie ever knew. More unnerving, though, are the two guys she can't stop thinking about. Shawn Maddox, the resident golden boy, is the expected choice. But handsome and mysterious Rhys has a hold on her that she doesn't quite understand. Then Sylvie starts seeing things - a girl by the lake and a man with dark unseeing eyes peering in through the window ...Sylvie's lost nearly everything - is she starting to lose her mind as well?

            Review:

            Before I start my in depth review I have to tell you that I am completely biased where this book is concerned;

            1. It has a hot welsh male protagonist

            2. It weaves welsh mythology beautifully into the storyline.

            3. I am a Davies!!!

            OK I have warned you!

            Written in first person narrative (as much as I adore 1st person narrative I never seem to picture myself as the protagonist) with adorable use of vocabulary 'snafu' is such a cute word.

            Lovely music and dance imagery created brought it to real life within my imagination, such sensory descriptions make the story more 3 dimensional. Spine-tingling at times.

            I am starting to think that I am on a flow of reading books that have drink related incidents within the storyline = drink is evil :)

            Superb parallels given between plants/flowers and people both needing nourishment in order to flourish. The theme of nature having magical restorative properties brought to mind Wings by Aprilynne Pike.

            The plot intertwined past and present to dramatic effect. The use of mythology added depth to the storyline. The Einstein's theory of relativity kept popping into my head...

            For every action there is an equal an opposite reaction

            This could be used as a warning within this book :)

            I love the idea of reincarnation and soul mates.

            On the whole a great piece of escapism, so I am off to Cardiff to look for Rhys ;)

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            24.05.2011 12:51
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            Demons, magic and family relationships

            Synopsis: From Amazon because it is spoiler free and is the first thing people see :D

            Nick and his brother Alan are on the run with their mother, who was once the lover of a powerful magician. When she left him, she stole an important charm - and he will stop at nothing to reclaim it. Now Alan has been marked with the sign of death by the magician's demon, and only Nick can save him. But to do so he must face those he has fled from all his life - the magicians - and kill them. So the hunted becomes the hunter...but in saving his brother, Nick discovers something that will unravel his whole past...


            Review:
            OK so I thought after reading about Guardian Angels I would go to the opposite end of the spectrum and read about demons...lol.

            Written in 3rd person narrative but has the feeling of a first person narrative as it is mainly focalized from Nick's point of view.

            Really interesting and well developed plot. Clever plot teasers are placed throughout the story, although there is a major plot twist it does not come as a complete shock, all the indicators are there for you to pick up on.

            Fabulous Gothic imagery entwined with modern appliances/architecture. Very easy to have the movie version playing in your imagination while you read this. The snake imagery at the beginning made me cringe (how I hate snakes!). The description of the shadows brought to mind those in Fallen.

            I found it rather a strange coincidence that this book as well as Heavenly both state the evils of alcohol and how due to the lowering of inhibitions it is easier for evil to take hold and consume. The idea of being branded for demon possession is truly frightening, I did find it hard to believe that anyone would be stupid enough to let a demon into their bedroom in the middle of the night. The saying 'nothing is what it seems' kept running through my mind.

            The theme of nature versus nurture throughout the plot is similar to that running through Beastly but this takes it to a whole new dimension. The ending was surprisingly touching and tender.

            An action packed debut novel for urban fantasy fans. I think Sarah Rees Brennan is one to look out for in the future ;)

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            21.05.2011 19:23
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            Wonderful story about a family dealing with the ups & downs of life with the added stress of an auti

            Synopsis: Taken from the back of the book.
            I met someone who changed everything.
            Matthias.
            My autistic sister's guardian angel.
            Honest. Inspiring. Funny.
            Hot.
            And immortal.
            That was the problem.
            What could I do?
            I did what any other girl would do - I fell in love with him

            ***
            Zoe's sister darts in front of cars. Her brother's a pothead. Her parents are so overwhelmed; they don't see Zoe's lost in her broken life. Zoe escapes the only way she knows how: partying.
            Matthias, a guardian sent from Heaven, watches over Zoe's autistic sister. After Zoe is convinced he is legit, angel and lost girl come together in a love that changes destiny.
            But Heaven on Earth can't last forever.

            Review:
            It has taken me a while to write this review as this book really touched me and I feel like I am about to bare my soul to the world in this review.

            I have to say the synopsis leaves a lot to be desired and should not put you off reading this book. I am not going to gush as this goes far beyond gushing. I feel as if this book was written for me personally, that is how much it has enthralled me.

            Written in first person narrative from Zoe's point of view. She is the oldest of 3 children, 17 years old, dealing with the traumatic diagnosis that her adorable little sister, Abria, age 5, has severe autism.
            The book shows the effect on the entire family having to cope with this disability. It is written with insight as the author, Jennifer Laurens, has an autistic child. I was able to relate completely as my oldest child has dyspraxia, although her physical skills are significantly improved to when she was diagnosed, the emotional aspect is a constant challenge and on occasion still hard to deal with. As in the book, Abria is the person the family revolves around, so it is in my house with the oldest having the main focus of attention. It is not something that is intentional that is just how it happens. I sincerely hope that it is not disturbing the other girls emotionally or mentally.

            The story deals with how the family cope with the added stress of having an impaired child in their lives. Zoe turns to alcohol while her brother, Luke, turns to drugs. The feeling of turning to any thing that will block out the reality of their stressful lives is something I can relate to. My own family (not the one with my children the one when I was a child) is completely dysfunctional and imploded on my mothers death. Believe me I would have done anything to get away from that reality if it wasn't for my children. However, the story goes on to show how these methods are just means of avoiding the problem and they generally add more problems than they solve. The best way to deal with problems is head on and with open honesty to the other people involved. it also brought to mind the therapies and developmental skills mentioned in Beautiful Dead: Arizona whose brother was also autistic.

            Amazing use of the white space within the narrative adding impact and intensity to the storyline.
            Although the theme of the books refers to God, Heaven and Angels, it is of a non-denominational nature, therefore open to your own interpretation/beliefs. Being of a non-overtly religious nature myself, I have my own beliefs which are just that my own, I found the ideals within the story easy to relate to. The idea of a life after death brings great comfort to anyone that has lost someone close to them.

            The thought that each of us has a Guardian Angel trying to guide us and keep us safe is reassuring, although the idea that they are responsible for keeping us safe when we purposefully expose ourselves to danger/evil is quickly and powerfully dispelled within the narrative. The adage 'you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink' comes to mind. The emphasis that Angels cannot enter a place that contains evil is powerful and we as people are responsible for the decision to enter the nefarious circles is thought provoking. The imagery used to describe evil spirits was chilling, giving me goose-bumps. The addition of alcohol/drugs lower your inhibitions and therefore making it easier for evil spirits to take over gave me shivers.

            Instead of making the Guardian Angel into a virtuous, moral, pure, spotless person, Matthias has his own past to contemplate and in some aspects repent for. Making him human and easy to relate to. The use of 'cool' or 'slang' words from the modern era side by side with those of the 1920's was rather amusing but added depth to the storyline.

            This book invoked such powerful emotions within me that I just did not want to let it go. Normally I pick up another book straight away if I get the chance, on this occasion I had a 2 hour time slot to fill while waiting for one of my children and I just could not bring myself to pick up another book as I did not want to lose the feeling I had when I finished this one. The ending was bitter-sweet but gripping.

            This is one book that I would recommend the entire world to read. Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime. I am keeping it on my bookshelf and will be passing it down to my children when they are old enough to read it. It is the whole kit & caboodle....touching, inspiring, heart warming, thought provoking....do I need to go on ;)

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            • Beastly - Alex Flinn / Fiction Book / 39 Readings / 39 Ratings
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              19.05.2011 11:51
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              Beauty & The Beast in NYC

              Synopsis: Taken from the back of the book
              I am a beast. A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright - a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.
              You think I'm talking fairy-tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It's no deformity, no disease. And I'll stay this way forever - ruined - unless I can break the spell.
              Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night/ I'll tell you. I'll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life. And then, I'll tell you how I became perfectly...beastly.

              Review:

              Wonderfully humorous and entertaining retelling of a classic fairytale. I giggled out loud from the beginning of this book, much to the disgust of my 4 year old who just could not get why I was laughing at a book. The notion of an online support group for mythical characters is hilarious.

              Written in first person narrative from the point of view of the Beast. Surprisingly easy to relate to in this instance.

              We all know the moral of the story Beauty and the Beast of beauty being on the inside not just the physical manisfestation of it, so it is not a surprise that it should be woven into the plot in Beastly, the surprise occurred with the theme of nature versus nurture interwoven within the main plot give pause for contemplation as to the conflicting arguements of this debate, adding a touching element where I felt sympathy for the Beast.

              My quest for education via osmosis was gratified with the numerous refernces to classic literature and Shakespeare's sonnets. The rose imagery paralleled with the Shakespeare Sonnet quotation was genius. Alex Flinn brings the entire fairytale theme up-to-date with references to the movie The Princess Bride (which I have seen and loved).

              The use of other mythical characters - The Little Mermaid, The Frog Prince, etc via the online support group added a sense of realism to the story.

              A highly recommended entertaining read and a lovely piece of escapism.

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                18.05.2011 16:57
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                Amazing debut novel

                Synopsis: From Amazon
                When 17 year-old Alex rescues a swan caught on a wire stuck deep in the Thames mud, she finds an extraordinary bracelet. Through its disturbing and compelling powers, she meets
                Callum, a soul locked in a half-life of sadness and mystery following a terrible accident, and his persuasive and sinister sister, Catherine. As Alex and Callum grow closer despite the enormous obstacles to their love, the dangers mount until Alex must risk everything to save her best friend and Callum must risk everything to save Alex.

                Review:
                If you know me by now you will have realized that as soon as I saw that cover I had to have this book. It was love at first sight. The story just enhanced my love of the cover and you can bet I want a bracelet like that. Isn't it gorgeous - the description of the setting and the stone within the narrative is utterly mesmerizing. However, you are constantly posing the questions: Where did it come from? How much power does it really have? And what are the consequences? I have to say that the writing style as a whole has a beautiful descriptive quality that captured my imagination and kept me reading into the wee small hours.

                All the characters were well rounded and relatable. I was really drawn to Alex, becoming totally invested in her future. I love it when that happens, that a protagonist can get so deeply into your imagination that you feel her emotions as if they were your own. The story lulls us into a false sense of security, building the plot gently layer by layer until before you know it you are on a rollercoaster ride of emotion. For me the story had fairytale quality to it with a modern setting.

                I know you are wondering if I am going to start swooning over the male protagonist, Callum, well I won't disappoint you. OMGosh YES. He is so sweet, caring and let's not forget HOT [ ; D ] As the truth about his situation as a 'Dirge' becomes clear within the narrative you have to admire his strength of spirit and innate charm. The way he only takes mundane memories in order to prevent himself sinking into despair just adds to his appeal. The actual use of the word 'Dirge' to describe the existence of these people who have perished in the waters of an offshoot of the Thames (I can't for the life of me remember the name at the moment - blah this always happens)apparently by their own hands is rather inspired; as a Dirge is the name used for a somber song expressing mourning or grief. Which is how the 'Dirges' spend their existence in a perpetual state of mourning/grief. This type of existence and gathering of memories brought to my mind the Harpies from Phillip Pullmans His Dark Materials. On a personal note, I did find it disturbing that the Dirges could be inducing Alzheimer's by taking memories, as my mother had Alzheimer's.

                You all already know how much I love the idea of soul mates and destiny. The bracelet is like a conduit to bring to soul mates together; to my mind I also think of it as a test to see if they can overcome the obstacles in their path to be together. Plus the danger from the other 'Dirges' adds to the thrill of the plot. The relationship between Alex and Callum is sweet and touching, blossoming slowly into passion. Open, honest, direct and utterly refreshing, touching, lovely, I think I need more words.

                Alex has a wonderful, supportive family and the depiction of their close relationship was heart-warming. It also emphasized the guilt Alex feels by having to keep Callum a secret. The little alterations in her personality/actions that she has to make in order to 'be' with Callum do not go wholly unnoticed. Alex is also lucky enough to have a wonderfully loyal friend in the shape of Grace, I adored her ability to scour charity shops and transform outfits. Grace is always there to provide a shoulder whenever Alex needs it, non-judgmental and steadfast. Alex is lucky to have her.

                Now that I have mentioned the 'good' characters I have to mention the 'bad'. Let's start with Rob - the hot guy crush from school that Alex wanted to date prior to meeting Callum. This guy needs to be hit over the head with a stick. I won't go into details about their 'date' but seriously someone find him and hit him. These characters were so real to me I would have tracked him down myself if I could. The saying don't judge a book by its cover certainly applies to Rob, hot on the outside and mean on the inside, completely narcissistic and self-centered I was concerned as to what he would do next.

                Then we come to Catherine, Callum's sister and fellow dirge, her hatred and maliciousness appear to be the only things that keep her going. Her personality is such a contrast to Callum's; you wonder how on earth they are from the same family. There are a lot of unanswered questions surrounding Catherine, I really need to know why she is the way she is, was there a cause or is it her natural disposition. There are still a lot of things to be unearthed about the 'Dirges' I NEED to know.

                One thing I made a note of to mention about this book is how it captures the British pub culture perfectly. I don't think any other culture in the world has the same affinity for pubs as the British. The portrayal within the narrative was realistic and completely relatable. The added benefit of the 80's pop culture reference had me giggling away to myself.

                There is a SURPRISE ending (I wasn't expecting at all) opening up a whole world of possibilities for the direction of the story. I cannot wait to find out what happens next. Plus I think I am going to miss Callum while I am waiting [ ; D ]

                I admit to rambling and have been accused of gushing on a number of occasions but feel that good books deserve to be gushed over, this is one of them.

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                13.05.2011 13:20
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                brilliant and emotional storyline - you need to read it

                Synopsis: Spoiler free From Back of the Book - I nearly always read the backs of books it's what really sells me on the book - that & the covers. I am such a sucker for pretty covers. Plus I tend to mention the synopsis in my reviews :D
                In the class of the high school English teacher she has been haunting, Helen feels them: For the first time in 130 years human eyes are looking at her. They belong to a boy, a boy who has not seemed remarkable until now. And Helen - terrified - but intrigued - is drawn to him. The fact that he is is in a body and she is not presents this unlikely couple with their first challenge. But as the lovers struggle to find a way to come together, they begin to discover the secrets of their former lives and of the young people they come to possess.

                Review:
                The synopsis taken from the back of the book does not exactly sum up this book at all.

                Written in 1st person narrative from the point of view of Helen (a ghost) it is utterly captivating and heart warming. Superbly written I found I was drawn right into the lives of all the characters. I felt what Helen felt, the passionate tension, all consuming passion, happiness and sadness, the writing was that powerful. The interaction was amazing, especially between those characters that would under normal circumstances not socialize.

                Wonderful literary references abound making my quest for knowledge via osmosis a viable possibility within my imagination. Large quotes from one of my all time favourite books, Jane Eyre, made me extremely happy and added another element to the story.

                The slow revelation of the past entwined with the occurrences of the present, and the life's of the hosts was inspired. It made me think that redemption does not only occur at death but can be as simple as learning to forgive and accept yourself for who you are.

                I will confess I sobbed my heart out at the end of this book, much to J's disgust as I woke him up :)
                I highly recommend this book, not just as a paranormal romance but as a beautiful piece of prose. I can't believe this was a debut novel, if anyone wants to send me Laura Whitcomb's other book The Fetch I wouldn't say no :)

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                  06.05.2011 13:45
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                  Something completely different on the paranormal circuit

                  Synopsis: From Amazon - a spoiler free preview & background to the story.
                  The murder of her parents has left Silla damaged and lost, and Silla's insistence that her father is not to blame only alienates her further from her friends and family. When a mysterious spell book arrives, Silla hopes it will lead to some answers about her parents' killer. In her first attempt at magic, in an old graveyard near her home, Nick, the new boy in town spies on her; he recognizes the magic that Silla is performing as the same magic his mother performed with him, before she went mad.

                  Before long, Silla and Nick connect, though Nick is unwilling to share his history with blood magic with Silla. When Silla's friends start showing signs of possession, Silla, Nick and Silla's brother, Reese, must contend with a deadly, immortal woman who will stop at nothing to take the book of spells from them.

                  Review:
                  I was a little apprehensive about this book - why you ask - because I am so squeamish and hate the sight of blood. Remember I have a technicolour imagination so gory stuff really does come alive for me. I was assured by the lovely ladies at Random House that I would be fine.

                  The beginning is very bold and dramatic with incredible use of white space. Sucking you into the story. Written in first person narrative with alternating perspectives of Silla and Nicholas. There is a multi-layered plot with the two of them at the centre, everything else revolves around them. Although I have to mention that using the word blood and Silla's full name (Drusilla) immediately had me thinking of Buffy. The way in which events paralleled between Nicholas and Silla added to their relationship as well as developing the plot.

                  Be warned there are shocking revelations, double the mysteries and a multi-layered plot. It takes some serious writing skill to pull this story off, Tessa Gratton accomplishes this with ease.

                  All of the characters are interesting in their own right, with complex personalities, shaped by events to a degree. The portrayal of the archetypal wicked stepmother, even down to the biblical nickname that Nicholas gave her, added an air of humour to the prose, lightening the mood in places and providing an alternative villain to keep you guessing. Red herrings and misdirection abound, I found myself constantly double guessing myself and covering all the bases lol. The tiny illustrations on the pages take on a whole new meaning as the story unfolds.

                  The introduction of diary extracts and later letters containing details of the past and circumstances that have culminated in the present situation. Differentiated by italic and font, not only do they draw the eye but they really add depth and understanding to the plot.

                  The writing style is opulently descriptive encompassing all the senses (not good for me when there is blood involved *faints*). I especially liked the description/analogue of emotions being like masks defined by their colour, shape and decoration. Something we can all probably relate to - wearing a mask to cover our emotions - at some time or another.

                  I found myself sniggering at the use of NARKOTIKA as the name of a band featured in the story. How totally brilliant is that. Alongside the literary/theatre references the round out the plot beautifully.

                  As the story progressed I found myself wondering at the amount of power that can be tapped into, would it corrupt them. You have to have a certain amount of inner strength to resist the temptation of eternal life. Silla and Nicholas support each other, the chemistry between almost set the book on fire [ : D ] yet you have the feeling that the connection goes beyond that. I have to admit that as I was reading Einstein's theory of relativity kept crossing my mind - for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction - for life there has to be death.

                  Although I did enjoy the book, there was a large amount of descriptions about blood *shudders* and I have to say I did not like one really significant part of the book, it made me too sad even though the portrayal and reasoning was impeccable. This book really is something different; I recommend you read it for yourself and not be a pansy about blood like me [ : D ]

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                    06.05.2011 13:42
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                    A fun book about self discovery

                    Synopsis: From GoodReads (spoiler free and it the first thing you see - I am a poet & I did not know it [ : D ]
                    When the principal announces that every senior must participate in a mandatory year-long Marriage Education program, Fiona Sheehan believes that her life can't get any worse. Then she marries her "husband": jerky jock Todd, whose cheerleader girlfriend, Amanda, has had it in for Fiona since day one of second grade. Even worse? Amanda is paired with Fiona's long-term crush, Gabe. At least Fiona is doing better than her best friend, Marcie, who is paired up with the very quiet, very mysterious Johnny Mercer.
                    Pranks, fights, misunderstandings, and reconciliations ensue in an almost Shakespearean comedy of errors about mistaken first impressions, convoluted coupling, and hidden crushes.

                    Review:
                    Written in first person narrative from Fiona perspective. I adored Fiona's narrative voice, it just seemed so 'real' in my imagination, I identified with her from the beginning, especially the wonderfully sarcastic comments she makes. The only thing that did irritate me a little about Fiona was that she had no concept of anyone else's feeling but her own. Although I do see this a lot in 'real' life I still do not understand it. It must just be me, I have always been taught to respect other peoples feelings/opinions and find it difficult to accept that other people don't do this. I did, however, admire Fiona for 'being her own person' not giving into peer pressure; I sympathised with her struggle against the acceptable cliques and social conventions found throughout life not just in High School.

                    I admit to picking up this book to use in my MG Monday feature, how wrong could I have been, this is a case of judging a book by it's cover, as some of the content is a bit 'near the knuckle' and certainly not suitable for Middle Grade. Teenagers on the other hand will love this one, yes it is more for girls than boys but I think there are aspects that will certainly appeal to boys - the practical jokes for example.

                    A wonderful mixture of self-discovery, humour, friendship and romance is woven into the story. A lot of judging people by the way they look takes place, which is definitely something that occurs frequently in schools. I loved the way in which English education is interspersed in the narrative; how fabulous is it to be able to insult someone in an eloquent fashion so they don't even realise that they had been insulted. There are wonderful analogues and snarky one liners. Plus the music references are AWESOME.

                    This book is like a breath of fresh air - although the storyline focuses on self-discovery it is delivered in a 'tongue in cheek' manner. Highly entertaining.

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                    22.04.2011 12:01
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                    Hot angel & hot demon along with a giant battle of good versus evil :D

                    Synopsis: From Amazon (this way no spoilers are given and this is what might influence a potential buyer)
                    Frannie Cavanaugh is a good Catholic girl with a bit of a wicked streak. She has spent years keeping everyone at a distance even her closest friends and it seems like her senior year is going to be more of the same...until Luc Cain enrolls in her class. No one knows where he came from, but Frannie can't stay away from him. What she doesn t know is that Luc is on a mission. He's been sent from hell itself to claim Frannie's soul. It should be easy all he has to do is get her to sin, and Luc is as tempting as they come. Frannie doesn't stand a chance. But Luc has to work fast, because if the infernals are after her, the celestials can't be far behind. And sure enough, it's not long before the angel Gabriel shows up, willing to do anything to keep Luc from getting what he came for. But if Luc fails, there will be hell to pay...for all of them.

                    Review:
                    As I have stated many times I love angels, demons and the good old fashioned battle of good against evil. Therefore this was a perfect book for me. A hot angel, a hot demon and a completely relatable love triangle (even with the burn-out).

                    Written in first person narrative with alternating perspectives of Frannie and Luc. Oh boy don't get me started on Luc *super swoon* having spent 500 years perfecting the art of being the spawn of the devil he is bad to the core or is he [ ; D ] An intellectual bad boy OMG Gimme [ ; D ] Luc's dilemma and his internal monologues are both funny and endearing *double swoon*.

                    Frannie on the other hand retains an air of mystery, pieces of her puzzle are strategically placed and don't actually fit together until near the end adding to the plot. I was really moved by her diary to her dead brother, Matt. A sub-plot in its own right, the discovery of what exactly happened to Matt and why Frannie feels responsible. The description of her visions and the physical effect it has on her raised my sympathy even more for her. She carries so much guilt around with her that it affects her ability to love, so realistically portrayed my heart ached.

                    I loved the use of putting smells to emotions, I am positive there really is something to that, the effect of pheromones on the subconscious as proof that it really does happen. The inspired use of hell references within the narrative added a sense of humour to the prose. The weaving of religious history within the plot was very interesting adding substance to the story. There is a lot of information to take in regarding the different divisions of heaven and hell but it added insight into the battle of good against evil, showing that there isn't just black and white but shades in-between. I thought it was funny the way in which Luc and Gabe's appearance paralleled their nature, it did make me giggle.

                    Although I do think there are a number of cliches with the appearance, nature and especially the decorating in Luc and Gabe's homes, it is humorous and intentionally obvious, so much so that it is like a signpost to their personalities/nature and it did make me snigger.

                    The music references throughout were amazing and sent me scurrying to YouTube. The reference to the band Incubus paralleling the actual Incubus in the story was hysterical and added a lightness to what could have been a very dark moment.

                    One 'religious' thing I do honestly believe in is the existence of a soul. The way it was described in this book was truly beautiful.

                    So if you want a book that will give you sizzling chemistry, fast paced action, loyal and realistic friendship, the giant battle of good versus evil as well as truly awesome music references then this is the book for you. I loved it.

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