Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

I won't be posting the entire review here, as I have promised it to one of the channel brands for which I work. I will be posting a teaser and the link to the review so that you can check it out from there instead.

I would love to hear what you thought of this movie, so do drop me a line and let me know what you think.
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Twilight didn't sparkle and New Moon should have stayed in the dark, but Eclipse finally offers some much-needed redemption for the massive pop culture phenomenon.

What it's about:
Seattle is being ravaged by a string of mysterious killings and a murderous vampire whose continuing quest for revenge inevitably puts Bella in danger once again.

In the midst of impending doom, she finds herself in a love-triangle and is finally forced to choose between her love for Edward and her friendship (and unresolved feelings) for Jacob - knowing that doing so could ignite the age-old struggle between the vampires and the werewolves.

What we thought of it:

Love it or hate it, The Twilight Saga is without a doubt the biggest phenomenon to hit pop culture since Harry Potter. With the massive amount of support it has garnered from fans around the world, both Twilight and New Moon quickly exploded and became box office hits (the Twi-hards unfortunately seem to wield a large amount of power).

While it mattered little to them that the movies were actually poorly produced and poorly directed (sorry Twi-hards, but over-the-top effects can't mask poor acting, lame dialogue and bad script writing), the movies were never a hit with critics.

That said, I think Eclipse may change that...

You can read the rest of my review here...

Waiting on Wednesday: Warped

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill from Breaking the Spine. The idea behind this meme is to highlight up and coming releases that we just can't wait to read.

This week's choice is Warped by Maurissa Guibord. I could give you plenty of reasons why I want to read this, but I'll settle for just one: Unicorns! (Need I really say more?)
Warped by Maurissa Guibord
Things get weird after Tessa Brody's father buys a dusty old unicorn tapestry at an auction. The wild, handsome creature woven within it draws Tessa, and frightens her too. One day she pulls a silver thread from the tapestry and releases the unicorn. Only he isn’t one at all. 

He’s William de Chaucy, a young sixteenth century English nobleman with gorgeous eyes, a weird accent and haughty attitude to spare. Will was trapped in the tapestry by Gray Lily, a sorceress who stole the thread of his life and relies on its energy for her eternal youth. Now Gray Lily wants her unicorn back and she’ll do anything to get him.

If that isn’t bad enough “his lordship” de Chaucy seems to think Tessa is someone she’s not: the girl who trapped him so long ago in the forest. Despite the sparky chemistry between them he seems to have the strange idea that she’ll be his undoing once more. Maybe she will.

Because there’s a connection, an attraction to Will that Tessa can’t deny. She’s even beginning to dream about events in a forest of long ago. Or is she reliving them? But Tessa knows one thing for sure. She could never be some heartless twit of a virgin who would trap a unicorn.

This book is only being released in January 2011, so it's quite a long wait. Still, it sounds like a great read and did I mention that it has unicorns? :)

On a different note, I saw Eclipse last night and have to admit to being really surprised by the movie. I won't say more, because I'll have a review up later this afternoon (or early tomorrow morning for the latest).

Anyway, what's on your WoW for this week? Leave a comment and let me know so I can go and check it out. :)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

In my mailbox (5)

In my mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. I've got plenty of books that have been piling up over the last couple of weeks, which is why I've only got 3 books to feature this week. (Definitely not complaining as I've got such a lot of catching up to do anyway)

Here are this week's books I've received:
Rosetta by Barbara Ewing
Genre: Historical fiction
As a child, Rosetta is fascinated by words and loves being told stories. She thinks she is named after the Princess Rosetta of the fairytales, who married the King of the Peacocks and lived happily ever after. But when she finds that it is a mysterious small port town in Egypt that gave her her name, her interest in hieroglyphics is born. 

Years later, when Rose is an older, wiser and sadder woman, it is her love of language that saves her life. 

The French Revolution; the rise of the power of the English church; the battles for Egypt between the British and the French; the discovery of the hieroglyphs on the Rosetta Stone in that same small port town - and above all the machinations of a rich, amoral, social-climbing member of the new' aristocracy and the extraordinary characters that surround him - all whirlpool together to carry Rose into France and a shared moment with Napoleon Bonaparte, and into the dark, unknown world of North Africa in her search to understand the meaning of words, and to find a child of her own.

The Vampire Diaries: Shadow souls by L.J. Smith
Genre: Vampire fiction

Elena Gilbert is once again at the centre of magic and danger beyond her imagining. And once more, Stefan isn't there to help! Elena is forced to trust her life to Damon, the handsome but deadly vampire who wants Elena, body and soul. 

They must journey to the slums of the Dark Dimension, a world where vampires and demons roam free, but humans must live as slaves of their supernatural masters. Damon's brother, the brooding vampire Stefan whom Elena loves, is imprisoned here, and Elena can only free him by finding the two hidden halves of the key to his cell.
Meanwhile, the tension between Elena and Damon mounts until Elena is faced with a terrible decision: which brother does she really want to be with? The drama, danger and star-crossed love that fills each Vampire Diaries book is in full effect here, with Elena Gilbert once again filled with supernatural powers.
Obernewtyn by Isobelle Carmody
Genre: Fantasy
In the times following the Great White, life is harsh. Radiation has ravished the land and those living on it, bringing death and decay. As society pulls itself together and makes a new life, children are born with enhanced mental abilities caused by the fallout from the Great White. But because of their association with the dreaded holocaust, the Council that rules the land condemns people with these abilities as Misfits and burns them to prevent further contamination.. 

Elspeth Gordie is a Misfit. Raised in orphanages for most of her life, desperate to receive her certificate of normalcy, her only chance at survival is secrecy, and she vows never to use her mental powers. But her abilities seem to have an imperative of their own, and soon she comes to the attention of the Council.

Unaware of the extent of her powers, the Council sends her to the remote mountain institution of Obernewtyn, where escape is impossible. There, Elspeth must come to terms with her abilities and throw off her safe cloak of concealment - for at Obernewtyn there are not only friends but enemies, evil people who intend to use the Misfits' mental abilities to resurrect the terrible forces of the apocalypse.

That's it from me for this week - what's in your mailbox this week?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday's fab 5 trailers

So last week I started a new feature where I list the top 5 trailers along with a teaser synopsis. Thanks to Jan from Eating Y.A. Books, I now have a name for this feature, which will now be called Friday's Fab 5 trailers.

I've mentioned in the previous feature that I'll be doing a variety of these trailers and not all of them will feature the hottest or the latest, but rather a combination of old and new. Anyway, without further ado, here are this week's top 5 trailers of the week.

Darklight by Lesley Livingston
Teaser synopsis: Much has changed since autumn, when Kelley Winslow learned she was Faerie royalty, fell in love with changeling guard Sonny Flannery, and saved New York City from a rampaging Faerie war band...

Loved, loved, loved Wondrous Strange and seeing as I just recently reviewed it, I decided that I'd feature the Darklight trailer.

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
Teaser synopsis: In Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past...

I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am about this one. I'm currently busy writing my review for Shiver, which I absolutely loved and am now waiting with bated breath for Linger.

Sea by Heidi R.Kling
Teaser synopsis: Haunted by recurring nightmares since her mother’s disappearance over the Indian ocean three years before, fifteen-year old California girl Sienna Jones reluctantly travels with her psychiatrist father’s volunteer team to six-months post-tsunami Indonesia where she meets the scarred and soulful orphaned boy, Deni, who is more like Sea than anyone she has ever met.

I've been seeing a lot of great reviews for this one, so naturally I decided that I wanted to check this book trailer out - I'm glad I did, because it's one of the most beautiful trailers I've seen to date.

Mistwood by Leah Cypess
Teaser synopsis: The Shifter is an immortal creature bound by an ancient spell to protect the kings of Samorna. When the realm is peaceful, she retreats to the Mistwod.

But when she is needed she always comes.

Isabel remembers nothing. Nothing before the prince rode into her forest to take her back to the castle. Nothing about who she is supposed to be, or the powers she is supposed to have.

Mixed reviews for this one, but I definitely want to read this one. Besides, I never could resist stories involving royalty. :)

The Tear Collector by Patrick Jones
Teaser synopsis: Descended from an ancient line of creatures that gain their energy from human tears, Cassandra Gray depends on human sorrow to live. Her job as a grief counselor at the hospital provides the perfect cover to keep this secret safe, and any time a friend needs a shoulder to cry on, she is there.

I'm very intrigued with this one - the whole premise behind it involves vampires, but with a new twist and with vampires becoming such a common thread in fiction, it is refreshing to see someone take a different take on it.

That's it for this week - more fab trailers to be featured next Friday.
Any trailers you think are worth mentioning? Drop me a line in the comment box below and I'll go through them and feature some of them.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Book review: Wondrous Strange

Wondrous Strange
The darkly enchanting world of the fae collides with theatre, arts and romance in this magical novel teeming with wondrously strange characters and creatures.

Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston (Harper Teen)
Meet Kelley Winslow.

She's a 17-year old teen who moved to New York City to pursue her dream of becoming an actress. Cast as an understudy in a theatre production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, the very idea of fairies is nothing but a passing flight of fancy to her.

Then she encounters Sonny Flannery.

No ordinary mortal, Sonny is a Janus guard and changeling. Gifted with fairy abilities, Sonny is duty bound to act as a guard over the Samhain Gate - a gate which is situated in the heart of Kelley's beloved Central Park and connects the mortal realm to the wild and dangerously enchanting Fairy world.

Kept shut by Auberon  the winter king (anyone see the obvious reference there?), the gate opens once a year around Halloween for 9 nights - a particularly dangerous time for mortals due to the various creatures from the Otherworld  desperately trying to claw their way through into the human world. It's up to Sonny and the rest of the guards to ensure that people aren't exposed to the creatures of this dangerous realm.

A chance encounter with the fairy changeling opens Kelley's eyes to not only the wondrously strange and dangerous world around her, but also to a lost heritage that she never ever could have imagined.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

It was a fun, light and quick read. I sped through it with such ease, I felt as if I were immersed in a world out of a half-remembered dream where images were constantly shifting, colliding and rearranging themselves.

The plot of this novel is certainly an interesting one and more often than not I found myself quite surprised at the bends and twists that the novel took. I loved the mythological references as well as the clever manner which Lesley uses to draw parallels between the play and the mythology.

The characters, although well-rounded, could have done with a little more in-depth development, but seeing as this is the first book in the trilogy, I'm guessing that we'll be seeing a lot more development in the next 2 books. 

All in all, Wondrous Strange is a beautifully written debut novel - a must for fairy lovers and by far better than the Wicked Lovely series.

My rating: 4/ 5 stars

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: Nevermore

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill from Breaking the Spine. The idea behind this meme is to highlight up and coming releases that we just can't wait to read.

This week's can't wait for book is Nevermore by Kelly Creagh. I came across this book while I was browsing through Goodreads and fell in love with it instantly. I'm not sure if there is a trailer out for this yet (haven't checked yet), but if there is, then I'm definitely going to feature it in my next Fab 5 trailers features this week.

Anyway, here's the summary of the book
Nevermore by Kelly Creagh

Cheerleader Isobel Lanley is horrified when she is paired with Varen Nethers for an English project, which is due—so unfair—on the day of the rival game. Cold and aloof, sardonic and sharp-tongued, Varen makes it clear he’d rather not have anything to do with her either. 

But when Isobel discovers strange writing in his journal, she can’t help but give this enigmatic boy with the piercing eyes another look.

Soon, Isobel finds herself making excuses to be with Varen. Steadily pulled away from her friends and her possessive boyfriend, Isobel ventures deeper and deeper into the dream world Varen has created through the pages of his notebook, a realm where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life.

As her world begins to unravel around her, Isobel discovers that dreams, like words, hold more power than she ever imagined, and that the most frightening realities are those of the mind. Now she must find a way to reach Varen before he is consumed by the shadows of his own nightmares.

His life depends on it.

Sounds fabulous doesn't it? What's on your list this week?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Book review: The Bride Stripped Bare

I read this one a while ago, but it is one of my favourites, so I thought I'd share it. It's not a YA fiction at all (FAR from it), but nonetheless, I found it quite an absorbing read.

The Bride Stripped Bare
The bride stripped bare introduces us to a woman who is leading a perilous double-life and dares to write about it.

The Bride Stripped Bare by Nikki Gemmell (Harper Perennial)
Imagine disappearing off the face of the earth, and all you leave behind is a diary that speaks of a woman nourished by an interior world that no one has an existing knowledge about... a diary which unveils forbidden secrets that speaks of all the longing and sexual awakening of a woman trapped in a stable, happy but lack-lustre marriage.

A diary which revolves around a woman who absconds from the sedate life to live a life of sensual and sexual abandon…

To her friends, she is the good wife – the one you can depend on, the one who is outwardly content, devoted and dedicated to her husband. Her diary, however, reveals a different story altogether.

We, the readers are allowed a peek into her diary and become acquainted with a darker, more intense and sexually emancipated vixen who thirsts for more than the mundane sedateness of marriage and goes out to seek the pleasures her husband cannot fulfill.

The question is… how long can she sustain leading a double-life?

This book is a fascinating take on infidelity from a woman's perspective. It tells startling truths about love, sex and marriage - and strips it of its sugar-coated confectionery that it is usually associated with.

All in all, I thought it was quite an enticing and different read. Not the kind of book I'd normally read to be honest, but once I started, reading about all her escapades intrigued me to the point where I just had to finish the book.

And although I cannot abide the thought of infidelity, the character was written in such a thought-provoking manner, that although I found her actions distasteful, I still ended up actually liking her. The writing itself melds beautifully and seamlessly together, and I often felt as if I were in some kind of erotic dream world.

And to me, that definitely says a lot.

If you're the kind that shies away from erotic literature, then this book is definitely not for you.

My rating:
4/5 stars

Friday, June 18, 2010

Top 5 trailers of the week

I know that there are memes about trailers out there in the blogosphere, but I thought that I'd start something of my own here and feature my top 5 book trailers (along with a brief teaser synopsis to go with it)

Friday's certainly seem like a good day to do this kind of feature, so hopefully you'll see this from me every week.

To add variety to this planned feature, not all of these book trailers will be features of up and coming releases. My aim, of course is to try and highlight as many new books as possible, but I am also planning on focusing on old favourites and books that could be considered "undiscovered" gems, so to speak.

On a final note, I've got every intention of renaming this feature - my brain just seems to have reached it's thinking capacity level for today.

On to the trailers this week:

Falling Under by Gwen Hayes
Young Adult / Paranormal
Teaser Synopsis: In her dreams he’s irresistible—seductive, charming, and undoubtedly dangerous. But when he appears to her when she’s awake—and captivates her just the same—she’s not sure which way is up and which is down...

I'm not including the full synopsis of the books, as it would defeat the purpose of putting the book trailer up here, but from what I've read and watched, this book is going to be a fabulous one. Pity we still have to wait until  March / April 2011 for the release of this book..

A Faerie Fated Forever  by Mary Anne Graham
Genre: Fantasy/ Romance
Teaser Synopsis: Set in the heart of Scotland, this charming little fairy tale romance revolves around a curse that must be broken in order for the Laird of a Clan to find his one perfect love.

Yes, it's another fairy tale romance. What can I say? I absolutely adore those. Apparently this book has been out for quite some time already, so getting hold of it shouldn't be a problem. After watching this enchanting little trailer, I'm definitely going to be getting myself a copy of this one.

I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder
Genre: YA /Paranormal / Romance
Teaser Synopsis: Girl meets boy.
Girl loses boy.
Girl gets boy back...
...sort of.

Ava can't see him or touch him, unless she's dreaming. She can't hear his voice, except for the faint whispers in her mind. Most would think she's crazy, but she knows he's here.

I've seen this one floating (no pun intended there) around quite often, yet for some or other reason ignored it until I watched the trailer. Needless to say, I am adding this to my list of books to buy.

Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus
Genre: YA Paranormal
Teaser synopsis: An unexplained epidemic that decimated the town in the 1700s, an ancient and creepy cemetery, and gorgeous boy Zach - somehow Persephone is connected to it all.

Every review that I've read about Shadow Hills have left me with the impression that I need to get this book really soon. I'm a huge fan of Greek mythology and with most of the reviews making references to the fact that this book contains quite a bit of it, well, that definitely settled it. Well, that and the creepy cemetery bit too. I love a book with a mysterious setting - and nothing screams mystery like a creepy cemetery.

The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen
Genre: Magic Realism
Teaser synopsis: Is there really a ghost dancing in her backyard? Can a cake really bring back a lost love?  In this town filled with lovable misfits, maybe the right answer is the one that just feels…different.

I adore the sound of this. As a huge fan of magic realism, I've been searching for a book in this genre for a while now (It really has been ages since I've found a decent one) and when I stumbled across this, I fell in love with the trailer at first glance.

Anyway, I'll be sure feature some new ones next week again.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: Firelight

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill from Breaking the Spine. The idea behind this meme is to highlight up and coming releases that we just can't wait to read.

Today my choice is Firelight by Sophie Jordan. I stumbled upon this book quite by accident, but fell in love with the cover and the synopsis immediately.

The book goes on sale on September, 7th 2010. Bit of a long wait if you ask me, but I'm sure it will be worth the wait.
Firelight by Sophie Jordan
With her rare ability to breathe fire, Jacinda is special even among the draki—the descendants of dragons who can shift between human and dragon forms. 

But when Jacinda’s rebelliousness leads her family to flee into the human world, she struggles to adapt, even as her draki spirit fades.

The one thing that revives it is Will, whose family hunts her kind. 

Jacinda can’t resist getting closer to him, even though she knows she’s risking not only her life but the draki’s most closely guarded secret.

I haven't read a dragon shape shifter story yet, so this is another reason that this book attracted me so much. It sounds like it's definitely a lot different from the usual werewolf stories out there!

But anyway,that's it from me. What's on your Waiting on Wednesday wishlist for the week?

Book review: Ice

A young girl discovers that love really can make you walk to the ends of the earth for that special someone.

Ice by Sarah Beth Durst (Simon and Schuster)
As an ardent lover of all things mythical and fantastical, I think it pretty much goes without saying that I am a huge fan of fairytales as well as modern adaptations and retellings of these much loved tales.

I have to admit though, that when I picked up Ice, it initially didn't register that this was a modern retelling of the Scandinavian fairytale, East of the Sun and West of the Moon (even though the synopsis in itself was a pretty obvious giveaway).

I think the reason for missing out on this obvious point was the fact that I was so much more interested in the fantastical element and the fact that the love interest was something other than a vampire, fallen angel, pixie and fairy, that the familiarity with the storyline only became a little more obvious later on.

To give you a brief overview what the book is about:
Cassie used to revel in the stories about the snow, the beautiful castle made of ice and about her mother who made a deal with the Polar Bear King. But now, older and budding young scientist that she is, Cassie doesn't have much time to believe in those fantastical stories her grandmother use to tell her.

Of course, the very notion of science all but flies out of the window when she comes face to face with a Polar Bear whose actions make him seem far more human than any Polar Bear she's ever come across. 
When she discovers that her mother might still be alive, she quickly makes a deal with him, in the process embarking on a journey to try and save the mother she's always wanted to know.

Along the way, she discovers that love has its own path to travel and that the true meaning of family isn't what she always thought it was and would be.

I desperately wanted to like this book.

Honestly, even halfway through, when I all but wanted to give up on this book; I forced myself to continue reading because I was that desperate to see if I could still find some way to like this book. The fact that this book has also received such great reviews also seriously had me doubting my opinion of this book - but at the end of the day, this book really just didn't do it for me.

Here's what I thought was wrong with this book:

Firstly, even though the narrative is beautifully descriptive and compelling  to some extent, I found that the story was too fast-paced. I generally love a good story where the build-up to action almost starts immediately, but the way in which the action was executed seemed a little forced and clumsy. 

I also found it hard to suspend my disbelief because Cassie's relationship with the Polar Bear king progresses from distrust and suspicion to friendship and love too quickly and too easily (And by quick, I mean that the author structures her sentences in such a way that she'll simply use one paragraph to skip through a couple of weeks and before you know it, the bear and the human girl are in love).

My next problem is, (and this is a little spoilery) is that the Polar Bear remains a Polar Bear throughout most of the novel.  There is a reason for this, but I still think that he could have had a lot more "human" time.  There is also another element that I found the book could have done without, but I will refrain from mentioning anything else as it will give the plot away.

The characters themselves weren't that bad - in fact, they were likeable enough, if somewhat underdeveloped and lacking in believability - but I have to admit that the unwanted element to the story made me like Cassie's character a just a little less.

Considering the fact that the writing is quite lyrical, I think this story could have been really good had the abovementioned issues been addressed.

Read this at your own risk

My overall rating: 2.5/5 stars

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Blogging Book reviewers award

So, K over at The Lady Critic's Library nominated me for this fabulous blogging award - and in keeping the award going, I've decided that I'm definitely going to hop on board and participate.

Here's how the award works (as copied from The Lady Critic's blog):
If you are given this award you must first accept it by leaving a comment on the post you were nominated on.

Then copy and paste the post and add it to your own blog. Make a list of the last 5 books you read and pass the award on to 5 other bloggers (no backsies!). Please also identify the blog from which you got the award and don’t forget to tell your picks that they have a blog award!

Right, onto the last five books I've read:

Ice by Sarah Beth Durst
Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston
The Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse
Fallen by Lauren Kate
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

(Reviews coming up later this week of all of these books, with the exception of Fallen, which I've already done)

And now, for my nominations:

Sunday, June 13, 2010

In my mailbox (4)

In my mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. I didn't receive all that many books this week, but the 3 books that I did receive are books that I've wanted to read for quite some time now.

Night World: Volume 2 by L.J. Smith
Vampires, werewolves, witches, shapeshifters -- they live among us without our knowledge. Night World is their secret society, a secret society with very strict rules. And falling in love breaks all the laws of the Night World.

In Dark Angel, Gillian is saved from drowning by her guardian angel. Only visible to Gillian, Angel will fulfill her heart's every desire. But when Angel starts making strange and sinister requests, Gillian must question who he truly is and where he came from.

Armed with a wooden stake, martial arts, and the will to resist a vampire's mind control, Rashel struggles to avenge her mother's death in The Chosen. Then she meets Quinn, her soulmate, who is part of the world she has vowed to destroy.

Hannah receives notes warning her of incredible danger in Soulmate. But if death is her destiny, is the Lord of the Night World's love strong enough to save her?
Beautiful World Bby Anastasia Hollings
Seventeen-year-old Amelia Warner is always on the outside. Moving from boarding school to boarding school with her brother and their father, the untenured professor, doesn't help. Amelia lives inches from the sons and daughters of the elite, forever looking in on the beautiful people. 

A natural-born charmer who doesn't lie so much as rework the truth to her advantage, Amelia is well-versed in the art of faking a high-society identity to get limited access to the luxe life, but she's never figured out how to truly belong. Then she meets Courtney Moore, the Upper East Side heiress who needs a friend as badly as Amelia wants to be that friend, and suddenly a world of opportunity opens up for her. 

Parties, shopping, her own wing in the Moore mansion—it's all hers for the taking, as long as she can keep her real life a secret, especially from the new acquaintance who's been asking way too many questions. Can Amelia stay one step ahead of the doubters to secure her place in the beautiful world?

Evermore by Alyson Noel
Since a horrible accident claimed the lives of her family, sixteen-year-old Ever can see auras, hear people’s thoughts, and know a person’s life story by touch.   Going out of her way to shield herself from human contact to suppress her abilities has branded her as a freak at her new high school—but everything changes when she meets Damen Auguste…

Ever sees Damen and feels an instant recognition.  He is gorgeous, exotic and wealthy, and he holds many secrets.  Damen is able to make things appear and disappear, he always seems to know what she’s thinking—and he’s the only one who can silence the noise and the random energy in her head.  

She doesn’t know who he really is—or what he is.  Fallling in love with Damen is dangerous - but if he's her destiny, how can she ever walk away?

That's me for this week. What's in your mailbox?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

World Cup Madness

*I'm interrupting my regular book posts to blog about something that I'm sure most of you know about and (in all honesty) are probably sick of hearing about. *

The 2010 FIFA World Cup Soccer Games

We're about 1 hour away from the World Cup concert kicking off, and I'm beyond excited! As a Cape Tonian chick, I have to admit that for the past couple of weeks the whole obsession around the world cup soccer just flew over my head...

I'll be the first to admit that I've never been big on sports, especially soccer. But then, slowly over the last 2 weeks, something changed. The stadium infrastructure started coming together, my editor started tasking us with World Cup Player features (which, weirdly enough started becoming quite interesting after a while) and the atmosphere - the atmosphere is so positively brimming and crackling with electric energy, that no fiction-based witch could conjure up that kind of energy with magic.

Yesterday was interesting to say the least. No, scratch that. Yesterday was a day filled with such a universal energy of oneness that the moment felt as if it was almost too big to be captured in an image. At 12 noon yesterday, people from around South Africa stepped out of their offices and gathered at in the main roads in our various city centres where we all collectively started blasting our Vuvuzelas. 

I admit that I normally hate the Vuvuzela. If you've heard what it sounds like, you'll know that it's one of the most annoying sounds on this God-given planet. 

It pretty much sounds like a combination of someone honking on helium crossed with the sound of a pig oinking. But, such is the power of unity that yesterday, when everyone started blasting their horns, I thought it was the most unifying sound on this planet.

If you understand my country's history, you'll know that our country has been grappling with discord, racism and segregation for many years. Of course, today I'm living in a young democratic country (who is very much still in her developing phase) where people have the right to vote and express themselves freely.
That unifying oneness I sensed, spoke of how far my country has come. It spoke of our willingness to support something that is far bigger than ourselves, but mostly it spoke of our diversity. I am very excited to be in a country  that will be hosting such a great event - especially considering that it's our first time doing so.

I was going to post pictures of what it's been like here so far, but I don't have much time as I want to be witness to the opening of the concert and I definitely want to see the kick-off match between South Africa and Mexico (which is tomorrow).

In the meantime, I'll get back to my book related posts by Saturday. (I highly doubt I'll have time to blog tomorrow anyway). For now, I'm going to wear that t-shirt and cheer along with the rest of SA from the moment the concert starts!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: Sleepless

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill from Breaking the Spine. The idea behind this meme is to highlight up and coming releases that we just can't wait to read.

Today's choice is Sleepless by Cyn Balog. I have to confess that I haven't read any of her books yet, but when I saw the synopsis for this, I decided that I really, really need to get this book. I'm buying Fairy Tale this week, so I'll occupy my time with reading that while I wait for this. I reckon this one is going to be awesome!

The book is set to be released on the 13 July.

Sleepless by Cyn Balog
Eron De Marchelle isn't supposed to feel a connection. He is a Sandman, a supernatural being whose purpose is to seduce human charges to sleep.

While he can communicate with his charges in their dreams, he isn't encouraged to--after all, getting too involved in one human's life would prevent him helping his other charges get their needed rest.

But he can't deny that he feels something for Julia. Julia, with her fiery red hair and her sad dreams.

Just weeks ago, her boyfriend died in a car accident, and Eron can tell that she feels more alone than ever.  Eron was human once too, many years ago, and he remembers how it felt to lose the one he loved.

Eron has always felt protective of Julia . . . but now, when she seems to need him more than ever, he can't seem to reach her . . .

Sandmen are forbidden from communicating with humans outside their dreams. But will Eron be willing to risk everything for a chance to be with the person he loves?

Sounds awesome doesn't it?

What books are you looking forward to? Let me know :) I'm always on the look out for books to add to my wish list

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Book review: Of Bees and Mist

Of Bees and Mist
A tale pregnant with magic, myth and a mother-in-law straight out of hell.

Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan (Headline Review)
Few people have a gift for blending fantasy, magic and reality. Least of all newbie authors.  So imagine my surprise when I picked up Erick Setiawan's debut novel, Of Bees and Mist.

In fact, let me say this right now - this book is - hands down - the best novel I've read this year.

Set in a fictional country which could have been anywhere and in any time, Of Bees and Mist speaks of a place that is enchantingly magical and is governed by the laws of magic itself. In a world where clairvoyants are revered and magic is practiced, demons and ghosts are always on the prowl and misty coloured dreams bewitch the souls of the inhabitants living in this fictional town.

The story focuses on Meridia, a young, withdrawn girl living in a sepulchral house where ghosts dwell in mirrors and blue and yellow mist (representing the palpable anger and sadness suffocating the household) surrounds the house with relentless tenacity.

With a mother who barely remembers she has a daughter and a verbally abusive and chillingly cold father, Meridia spends most of her childhood days in lonely isolation.

All that changes, when, at the age of sixteen, she meets and falls in love with Daniel, who quickly gives her a chance to escape from the misery she experiences at the hands of her father. But happiness usually comes at a price and Meridia soon finds out first hand that she's escaped one form of misery to enter into another form when she meets her prospective mother-in-law.

All sweetness at first, Eva seems to welcome Meridia into the seemingly warm household, but soon Eva's vitriol, which shows itself in the form of a swarm of violently angry bees, forces Meridia to come to the realisation that she'll have to take extraordinary measures if she wants to save her marriage.

The book has a misty, dreamlike quality to it that is impossible to put down. What makes this book so compelling to read is that the mystical, magical and supernatural forces at play are actually metaphorical representations of the various emotions at play in the various households. 

And the MIL? The devil himself wouldn't want to marry her. She's that evil.

You'll want to read this book. It's a book Isabelle Allende would have wanted to write.

My rating: 5 stars

Disclaimer: My review also appears on the women24 website as part of our monthly book club selection.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

In my mailbox (3)

In my mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. I've received 4 books this week, 2 of which I won't be able to start right now (Ironside and Stargazer) as I need to first get my hands on a copy of the first book in the series. (Guess who is going book shopping today then!)

Ironside by Holly Black
In the realm of Faerie, the time has come for Roiben's coronation. Uneasy in the midst of the malevolent Unseelie Court, pixie Kaye is sure of only one thing -- her love for Roiben.

But when Kaye, drunk on faerie wine, declares herself to Roiben, he sends her on a seemingly impossible quest. Now Kaye can't see or speak to Roiben unless she can find the one thing she knows doesn't exist: a faerie who can tell a lie.

Miserable and convinced she belongs nowhere, Kaye decides to tell her mother the truth -- that she is a changeling left in place of the human daughter stolen long ago.

Her mother's shock and horror sends Kaye back to the world of Faerie to find her human counterpart and return her to Ironside. 

But once back in the faerie courts, Kaye finds herself a pawn in the games of Silarial, queen of the Seelie Court. Silarial wants Roiben's throne, and she will use Kaye, and any means necessary, to get it. In this game of wits and weapons, can a pixie outplay a queen?

Stargazer by Claudia Gray
Evernight Academy: an exclusive boarding school for the most beautiful, dangerous students of all—vampires. Bianca, born to two vampires, has always been told her destiny is to become one of them.

But Bianca fell in love with Lucas—a vampire hunter sworn to destroy her kind. They were torn apart when his true identity was revealed, forcing him to flee the school.

Although they may be separated, Bianca and Lucas will not give each other up.

She will risk anything for the chance to see him again, even if it means coming face-to-face with the vampire hunters of Black Cross—or deceiving the powerful vampires of Evernight. Bianca's secrets will force her to live a life of lies.

Yet Bianca isn't the only one keeping secrets. When Evernight is attacked by an evil force that seems to target her, she discovers the truth she thought she knew is only the beginning....
Wake by Lisa McMann
For seventeen-year-old Janie, getting sucked into other people's dreams is getting old. 

Especially the falling dreams, the naked-but-nobody-notices dreams, and the sex-crazed dreams. Janie's seen enough fantasy booty to last her a lifetime.

She can't tell anybody about what she does -- they'd never believe her, or worse, they'd think she's a freak. 

So Janie lives on the fringe, cursed with an ability she doesn't want and can't control.

Then she falls into a gruesome nightmare, one that chills her to the bone. 

For the first time, Janie is more than a witness to someone else's twisted psyche. She is a participant....

Angelology by Danielle Trussoni
Sister Evangeline was just a girl when her father entrusted her to the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in upstate New York. 

Now, at twenty-three, her discovery of a 1943 letter from the famous philanthropist Abigail Rockefeller to the late mother superior of Saint Rose Convent plunges Evangeline into a secret history that stretches back a thousand years: an ancient conflict between the Society of Angelologists and the monstrously beautiful descendants of angels and humans, the Nephilim.

For the secrets these letters guard are desperately coveted by the once-powerful Nephilim, who aim to perpetuate war, subvert the good in humanity, and dominate mankind. 

Generations of angelologists have devoted their lives to stopping them, and their shared mission, which Evangeline has long been destined to join, reaches from her bucolic abbey on the Hudson to the apex of insular wealth in New York, to the Montparnasse cemetery in Paris and the mountains of Bulgaria.

That's it from me for this week. What's in your mailbox?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Me and my reading habits

I've seen this meme floating around for the last 2 weeks or so (on K's blog at The Lady Critic's Library , but somehow never got around to doing it. Anyway, even though it's so late (and I don't really have time to post the review of Wondrous Strange right now (which I've yet to write), I figured I'd hop on board and divulge a few of my reading secrets.

Do you snack while you read? If so, favourite reading snack:

I think this depends on just how hungry I am. As a rule, I don't really eat while I'm reading as I tend to be very anal about keeping the condition of my books pristine. I realise that there's a sense of irony in this, as many people tend to think that a good book is defined by how curled, bent and filled with coffee stains the book pages are, but I guess I love books too much to want to sully them with fatty food marks, crumbs or stains.

To add to this, I am (eep, confession time) a very messy eater and definitely get crumbs all over the place, and as a result, usually try to make sure I eat something before I pick up a book to read.

What is your favourite drink while reading?
I have to admit to being a huge hypocrite during winter. As a rule, I don't drink anything while I'm reading, but come winter, I usually lie in bed with a book with a steaming hot cup of vanilla latte/hot chocolate /Milo placed on the floor nearby. 

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?
No, I've never felt the need to. Academic books, in my mind, are a different matter, but I generally don't mark my books with anything else except my name. 

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book flat open?

Remember that bit about me confessing to being anal about my books? I don't even think I need to tell you how I mark my books, do I?

Fiction, non-fiction, or both?
Fiction wins hands down! I would have to be really, really lacking in reading material in order for me to read a non-fiction, but so far that hasn't happened yet.

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of a chapter, or can you stop anywhere?

I can stop anywhere, but I generally prefer reading toward the end of the chapter. It makes it easier for me to see just where I've left off and give me a better sense of where I've been without having to think about how I've gotten to that point.
Stopping in the middle of a chapter often has me taking more than a moment to recap and often has me backtracking to earlier on in the chapter to gain my footing on the novel again.

Are you the type of person to throw a book across the room or on the floor if the author irritates you?
Oh yeah. It hasn't happened yet, but I know that it would if the book that I was reading pushed me beyond the point of irritation.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop and look it up right away?
I don't do it all the time, but try as often as I can to and then add it to my "word of the day" document. Yes, I collect words. I'm a geek - I know. *grins*

What are you currently reading?
Ice by Sarah Beth Durst. Will probably review it after I've written my reviews for Wondrous Strange and Shiver.

What is the last book you bought?
Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston

Are you the type of person that reads one book at a time, or can you read more than one?
I can read more than one, but prefer not to. I'm generally pretty greedy when it comes to reading, so reading a lot of books at a time would probably see me trying to rush through different bits of different books all in the space of a week. 

I don't really think I'd get any enjoyment out of savouring the book individually, so I prefer to stick to one book at a time - I'm all about fully absorbing and reflecting on the atmosphere, characters, and settings of novel and do not want to rob myself of that experience.

Do you have a favourite time/place to read?
Yes I do. Favourite time? Any time. Favourite place? Any place. Anywhere. ^_^

Do you prefer series books or stand alones?
I enjoy a mixture of both to be perfectly honest. All depends on my mood really.

Is there a specific book or author you find yourself recommending over and over?
Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Lauren Kate's Fallen and Becca Fitzpatrick's Hush, Hush. Best of all, most people come back to me telling me how much they loved the books. Makes me very happy!

How do you organize your books? (by genre, title, author's last name, etc.)

My bottom shelves contains the books that I've read and the top shelves are packed with the books that I have to still read. I suspect that if I had more time on my hands, I'd probably arrange my books according to author's last name.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: Crescendo

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking  the Spine. The idea behind this meme is to highlight up and coming releases that we just can't wait to read. Today's choice is Crescendo, by Becca Fitzpatrick.

I absolutely adored Hush, Hush and am itching to get my hands on a copy of Crescendo. The book goes on sale from October 19th - it was, if I'm not mistaken, orginally set to go out in November, but the date has since been pushed up. Becca has also posted an excerpt of the prologue and first chapter of Crescendo, so if you want to have a peek, you can head on over here.

She mentions on her site that this will only be up for a limited amount of time, so if you haven't checked it out yet, then now would be a good time to do so.

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick

Nora should have known her life was far from perfect. Despite starting a relationship with her guardian angel, Patch (who, title aside, can be described as anything but angelic), and surviving an attempt on her life, things are not looking up. 

Patch is starting to pull away and Nora can't figure out if it's for her best interest or if his interest has shifted to her arch-enemy, Marcie Millar. Not to mention that Nora is haunted by images of her father and she becomes obsessed with finding out what really happened to him that night he left for Portland and never came home.

The further Nora delves into the mystery of her father's death, the more she comes to question if her Nephilim bloodline has something to do with it as well as why she seems to be in danger more than the average girl. 

Since Patch isn't answering her questions and seems to be standing in her way, she has to start finding the answers on her own. Relying too heavily on the fact that she has a guardian angel puts Nora at risk again and again. But can she really count on Patch or is he hiding secrets darker than she can even imagine?

Anyway, that's on my list for today. I'm sure many others also have this book on their "must-get-my-hands-on-this" wishlist too. I'm off to go and check out what everyone else has on their Waiting on Wednesday's wishlist. 

If I miss out on yours, do leave a comment and a link - I'd love to see what everyone else is dying to read.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Book review: Bella Sara: The Ultimate Guide

Bella Sara: The Ultimate Guide
Immortal goddesses, enchanting horses and wondrous towns of yonder all come to life in this beautiful guide to the world of Bella Sara and North of North's magical horses. 
Bella Sara: The Ultimate Guide (HarperCollins)
When I first received this book I had no idea that Bella Sara actually started as a trading card game which featured a variety of different magical horses that you could collect and swap.  I took the book simply because the beautiful illustrations drew me in from the start.

Still, it doesn't really matter if you don't know anything about the world of Bella Sara as this guide serves as an introduction to what is, no doubt, an ongoing series of books in this enchanting world of magical horses. 

Bella Sara explores the world of a young girl named Sara who lives in North of North, a magical continent which floats on a sea of light.

As a young, not-quite-mortal girl, Sara enjoys wondering through the countryside exploring her family's home. It's here where she meets a majestic troop of horses, the leader of which is a brilliant white horse, who approaches Bella and instantly forms a magical connection with her.

It's this magical connection that sets the tone for this book and explores the nature of the horses' magical abilities and the relationships between their charges.

What I loved about the book is that the back section contains a guide to their trading cards and website where you can start your own trading collection and get your own magical horse to look after.

This book bursts with colourful illustrations and depictions of beautiful horses, villages and floating castles. It's a fantastical world which explores an unique world where different types of horses inhabit a bohemian little world that will surely appeal to all little girls aged 7 and up.

You should definitely get this book for your little ones. Actually, it's so utterly enchanting that it will appeal to almost everyone. Goodness knows I'm 25-years old and absolutely adored it!

My rating: 4/5 stars