Friday, 29 June 2012

Review: The Spook's Blood

Author: Joseph DeLaney
Edition: Random House Hardback
Published: 7th June 2012
Series: The Last Apprentice/Wardstone Chronicles #10
Pages: 275
Rating: See below review.

**NO SPOILERS**

Time is running out for Thomas Ward. His final battle against the Fiend is drawing near, and the Spook's apprentice has never felt more alone in his task.

The Fiend is set to send the greatest of his servants against him - Siscoi, a Vampire God more ferocious than anything he has yet faced. Tom must risk his life to prevent the evil beast from entering this world, even as he learns that the final destruction of the Fiend may involve a sacrifice more terrible than he can imagine . . .


When the package containing this book arrived through the mail a while back, it came as a complete surprise. I wasn't expecting it and when I found out that it was the tenth book in a series, I wasn't even sure I could read it. But I'm so glad I did! It was brilliant!

Let me start off by saying that this book barely confused me... which was quite surprising! Since I hadn't read any of the previous books in The Wardstone Chronicles, I thought I was going to be questioning everything the whole way through. Oh, how I was wrong! Not only does DeLaney explain everything that's already happened clearly, you're just so absorbed in the adventure that you feel like you already know everything about all the characters anyway. I seriously can not fault his writing style - it was perfect! Really engrossing! So if you're asking if you have to read this series in order; then my answer, based on this book, is no. I think there's a different focal point to every book along with the under-lying main storyline of him trying to destroy the Fiend - but as already stated, this was very easy to pick up! Plus, there's character profiles at the beginning too!

The main character, Thomas Ward (aka. Tom) was very likeable indeed! Also quite surprising for me! I never usually get along with male characters/narrators... He was so well developed with a really enjoyable personality. I admired him throughout for keeping it together even though he practically had the weight of the world on his shoulders! Especially when he found out what he has to do to get rid of the Fiend! I couldn't help but empathise. I loved all of the other characters too, even Grimalkin. Alice also! They were definetly both admirable and brave characters!

Now one thing that had me in complete awe, was the world-building. And that's just after reading the one book! Tom's world... well quite frankly it's absolutely terrifying! I'd hate to live there! What with all the creatures and the way everyone in the County lives in fear. It only makes it worse that Tom is a Spook. Even though the Spooks protect citizens of the County from the Darkness, they still avoid them like they are the Dark. Which is rather unfair for them, don't you think?!

Overall, The Spook's Blood turned out to be an epic read! It had great characters (a very likeable main one!), fantastic world-building and was equal parts awesome as it was creepy. I really recommend everyone to read this! If not, you are seriously missing out - take my word for it! I'll happily read more of Tom's adventures if I get the chance!


Thank you so much to Random House for sending me a copy of this book to review! :D

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Thursday, 28 June 2012

#MMBlogTour - Quiz and Giveaway!

GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED! WINNER IS GILLIAN! AUTHOR WILL CONTACT YOU SHORTLY! ** Random Number Generator was used to pick the winner.

Hey everyone! Today, I am part of the Moonlight Mayhem blog tour and may I add, I have a great post to share with you all... Without further-a-do over to author, Sherry Soule! :)

Tour Stop: “Which Character Would YOU most likely be in the Spellbound Series?” Quiz PLUS an ebook giveaway! This giveaway is open internationally! So let’s tell the blogging world!


Hi everyone, I’m Sherry Soule — waving from Castro Valley, California, where it gets foggy even during the summer months. But even with the fog burning off by afternoon, I’m relaxing on the sofa and blabbering on Twitter about my life-long obsession with books.

It’s a real honor to be a guest today as part of my epic tour this summer and meet all these awesome booklovers.

To celebrate the release of author, Sherry Soule’s newest paranormal novel, MOONLIGHT MAYHEM, the second book in the epic Spellbound Series, take this super fun quiz to see which character in the Spellbound universe you’d mostly be similar to, and score a Kindle or Nook version of the first book in this unforgettable YA series, Beautifully Broken!

Take this quiz and be sure to check the bottom of the post for the details regarding this random giveaway.


1. What’s your favorite season?
a) Winter - Cloudy, Chilly, Rainy, Stormy
b) Fall - Windy, Misty, Foggy, Mild
c) Summer - Hot, Dry, No Wind, Sunny
d) Spring – Warm, Breezy, Greenery, Brisk

2. I detest using labels, but what would others call you at school?
a) Normal or Jock / Cheerleader
b) Preppy / Student Counsel
c) Amateur Fashionista
d) Girlish tomboy

3. Which of the following best describes your personality?
a) Stuck-up, Eccentric, Perky
b) Haughty, Moody, Smart
c) Tough, Snarky, Weird
d) Playful, Vivacious, Straightforward

4. Which genre do you read most often?
a) Urban Fantasy
b) Horror / Dark YA
c) Paranormal Romance
d) Young Adult

5. You are at school and witness a student bullying someone. What do you do?
a) Run in the opposite direction before they pick on you
b) Laugh and join in on the fun
c) Stop and tell the bully to knock it off or else!
d) Go tell a teacher what’s going on

6. What’s your hairstyle?
a) Short and sassy
b) Long and straight
c) Medium with highlights
d) Curly or wavy

7. What’s your typical breakfast?
a) Eggs and bacon
b) Oatmeal and orange juice
c) Coffee and a Pop tart
d) Heaping bowl of my fav cereal

8. What type of pet would you like to have or do you own?
a) Hamster
b) Small Dog
c) Shade
d) Cat

9. How often do you shop or hit the mall?
a) Only on sale days
b) Once or twice a month
c) Every week—duh
d) Hardly ever

If you answered...

Mostly a's: You and Kayla are a lot alike! You both love a good sale, and you’re energetic and sassy.

Mostly b's: Ashley and you could be sisters. You each enjoy autumn days, hanging at the mall, abut you can be a tad moody.

Mostly c's: Shiloh and you could be besties! You both love to shop for the newest trends, enjoy reading paranormal romance novels, and you even have a snarky-side.

Mostly d's: Sounds like you and Ariana have a lot in common. You each love to read YA books, adore cats, and can often be straightforward, but super fun.

MOONLIGHT MAYHEM Synopsis:


Otherworldly Creatures. Dazzling Magic. Fiery Romance.

Shiloh Ravenwolf thought she was getting used to the strange events in Whispering Pines, until the full moon brings another surge of supernatural threats to her coastal town. Ferocious wolves, deadly necromancers, and shambling zombies have descended upon the neighborhood, so Shiloh needs to gain control of her magical abilities—fast!

It sucks that she has a crippling fear of the dark, which for a demon hunter can be an epic problem.

When her classmates are attacked by a mysterious creature and her father is murdered, Shiloh vows vengeance. Forcing her phobias aside, she forms an unlikely coven of supernaturally gifted teens to help her eradicate this menace. Except that's not all Shiloh has to worry about. She’s battling a different monster within herself and struggling not to become the very thing she fights: evil.

But with demon blood inside her — anything can happen…


Moonlight Mayhem is the second novel in the unforgettably epic Spellbound series.


Random winner will be picked on 12th July and be posted at the top of this post, please check back on that day to find out if you’re the lucky winner.

Giveaway details for a Kindle or Nook of BEAUTIFULLY BROKEN (book one in series):

1.) You must comment with your quiz results!
2.) Be a follower of the Spellbound Series Universe Blog (here).
3.) Be a follower of this blog.
4.) Follow us both on Twitter (here and here).

ENTER HERE!

Good luck!

Places you can cyberstalk Sherry Soule:

Official Blog: here.
Official Spellbound Series Universe: here.
Twitter @WriterSherry: here.
Awesome Book Trailers/YouTube: here and here.
Goodreads: here.

Now, wasn't that fun? Come on, post your results below! Thanks, Sherry! :D

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Monday, 25 June 2012

The Secrets of The Vanmers Blog Tour: Author Guest Post!

Hey all! Today, I've got an exciting guest post for you all as a stop in The Secrets of the Vanmers blog tour! This is book two in the Argetallam Saga by sixteen-year-old YA fantasy author, Elisabeth Wheatley and you can find out more about it near the bottom of the post. Enjoy! :)

Guest Post: How did you come to write?

It’s rather a long story, so I suppose I should start at the beginning.

Way back (16 years ago) when my parents were new parents, they, like so many others, made a set of resolutions about their children. One of these was that there would be little/no television (if you came to our house today, you wouldn’t believe this, but that’s how it was then). Instead, they turned to an archaic and unheard of method of entertainment for their children: books.

Over the years, we accumulated various picture books that me and my brother Joshua would force our mother to read out loud over and over again. One of my favorite books was called Corgiville Fair. It is the story of a corgi (who lives in a town populated by cats, bogarts, and, of course, corgis) who is training his racing goat for the big upcoming race at the fair. I happened to have a pet goat at the time, Count, and the fancy took me and so I wrote (and proudly illustrated) a very short piece of fan-fiction by re-writing the tale with my own goat and my dog Beauty instead of the corgi. I bound the “book” with duct tape and we still have it. The oldest of my three younger brothers wouldn’t let me throw it out if I wanted to, he thinks my early literary attempts are too funny. Over the years, I toyed with writing short and ridiculous stories, but never really took writing too seriously.

When I was eleven, my cousins coaxed, cajoled, then practically coerced me to watch what I was certain would be an unbearably silly movie. It was Disney’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. To my shock, I loved the film. I got the books on audio discs and I loved them, too. I wrote some hilarious fan-fiction for them, but I am determined that those stories shall never see the light of day.

Some time in that same year, I ended up getting the misty concept that would solidify, morph, and ultimately transform into the idea for the Argetallam Saga. I wrote...let’s say dozens of story beginnings and ideas before I started writing what would become The Key of Amatahns. I’m not sure where the idea came from to write it, though I think it had a lot to do with the fact I heard that C. S. Lewis’ Narnia was based on a world he’d created when he was a boy.

I considered the idea of becoming a writer off and on for a year or two. Then I decided that it was impractical and that I would be a veterinarian. That decision didn’t last long. I was working for our veterinarian at his clinic (December 23, 2009, I remember because I was worried about Christmas) when for no reason, in the middle of a surgery, I fainted dead away. It wasn’t the blood, nobody’s sure what it was, but six hours, an ambulance ride, a trip to two different hospitals, and a few blood draws later—I was forever cured of any and all veterinary or medical ambition.

So...I decided that I would be impractical. I went to work on The Key of Amatahns and...well, I’m sure you can figure out the rest. : )

More About The Book!


After her adventures with the Key of Amatahns, sixteen-year-old Janir Caersynn Argetallam returns home to find Brevia on the brink of war with a neighboring country, Stlaven. Her foster-father and even Saoven—a brave young elf warrior—think it will be safe at the castle where Janir grew up. However, while trying to unravel a looming mystery, Karile—self-taught wizard and Janir’s self-appointed best friend—becomes certain that there is danger in the mountains surrounding Janir’s childhood home and that it has something to do with Stlaven’s most powerful family, the Vanmars…

You can also watch the book trailer HERE!

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

PS: Thanks so much for the great guest post, Elisabeth! :)

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Showcase Sunday #6

Showcase Sunday is a meme hosted by Vicky over at Books, Biscuits & Tea where we showcase all of our recent book grabs.

For Review:

The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke - Thank you so much Strange Chemistry Books for giving me the chance to read and review this book - it was a fantastic debut! This is definetly one to add to your wishlists, everyone! It's got magic, assassins... and a pirate as the main character! Not to mention it goes under the fantasy and adventure genres! :) A review will be up sometime this week!

Purchased Ebooks:

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith - Woah, another great read! I've been buzzing to read this book ever since reading all the brilliant reviews it's been getting, and it did not disappoint one bit! :D

What did you all get this week? Leave links below and I promise to stop by! :)

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

PS: Almost the SUMMER HOLIDAYS, only a couple more days, eeek! ;)

Friday, 22 June 2012

Discussion Post: Love Triangles - Yay or Nay?

For a while now I've been thinking about the new craze in YA books; love triangles. So instead of me keeping my thoughts to myself, I thought I could ramble on here to see what all of you guys think. Sound good? Yes...no? Oh well. ;)

First off, the one thing I've realised that's present in practically all of the love triangles we read is how infuriating they make you feel. Normally, I am all for just one of the male love interests but recently (yes, Delirium, I'm blaming you!) I've had a little... hiccup, shall we say at who to love more. Since I've already accused Delirium, I suppose I'll focus on that as an example.

Alex or Julian? Book one was more focused on Alex. Book two on Julian. And when it comes to me, I don't like being stuck in the middle. I like being on one side and rooting for just one boy. Otherwise it's really frustrating! But frustrating in a good way, of course. ;) Well after getting down to the nitty-gritty of the two boys in Delirium, I decided I'd go with Julian. And why may you ask? Why would you go for him when it appears Delirium readers love Alex much more than Julian? Well, I don't know 100% why. Maybe it's because I like Julian just that little bit more?

Then yesterday I came across a review which pointed out that we did get a lot more background information on Julian and barely any on Alex. So that got me thinking. Would I love Alex more if I knew more about him and his past? I'm just not sure. Is it possible for me to like them both and not having readers hate me for it? For now (until book three is out) I think I'll just say I love them both - even if Julian is just a little step ahead at this moment in time.

This leads me to what I'm trying to point out (I might have got a little carried away in my rambling there, I apologise)! Wouldn't it be just so much easier if the author made one character just much more likeable than the other? No. They know how to keep their audience on their toes and then break their hearts when that one boy is picked at the end of the series. They know the secret to a great page-turner is having two irresistible love interests for the audience to fight over and cry over. Basically, authors are very smart people! Very smart people, indeed!

Now, one writer who I both want to hug and scream at is Cassandra Clare. She can write one hell of a love triangle. I both love and slightly hate The Infernal Devices series. Sorry to all who like The Mortal Insturments better but I am all for TID! Whenever anyone mentions this series (which you really shouldn't do if you're ever around me... o_O) I go into full-blown fan girling mode about Will. Seriously. He is the best character the YA genre has ever seen - and I'm not being at all one-sided here... He is just so... ahhh, incredible! *THANK YOU SO MUCH, CASSANDRA CLARE FOR CREATING THIS MAGNIFICENT, SWOON WORTHY CHARACTER! xD* I really can not praise this series enough! And it's basically all down to Will. Well that's not true, everything about this series is awesome but Will is a BIG part of it! ;)

This is the side to love triangles where I am completely one sided to the one boy. Not in between and unsure of who to side with, I am forever TEAM WILL! I'm so sorry, Jem, but you're just not Will, and as great character you are... I just love Will too much! To all you that are Team Jem, I DO still like him as a character so don't hate me! It's just, I have such a strong siding with Will that I make myself hate Jem, which is just so unfair... ahh, the drama of it all! Oh yeah, almost forgot. Do you know that way when you usually guess who's going to be picked as the "true love"? Well in this series, let's just say it's difficult! Same with Delirium actually! I really highly recommend you read both of these series and if you love Will you will definetly score some brownie points! ;D

Just a little note to all you author's out there: PLEASE, OH PLEASE, OH PLEASE. MAKE YOUR LOVE TRIANGLES PERFECT!

So, yeah. Sorry for this very long, very gush, very rambly post but I sort-of needed to let out all that was in me. Summing up... Love triangles are both very entertaining and very likely to have you screaming in frustration. Whether it be because you are completely one sided in which boy you're rooting for (e.g. The Infernal Device's Will) or whether you're sort-of stuck in between (e.g. Delirium's Alex and Julian). They are also very likely to have you literally at breaking point (this time I'm looking at you, Cassandra Clare)! :)

Do any of you agree with the points made in this post? Disagree? Are you Team Will or Team Jem? Team Alex or Team Julian? Are there some love triangles where you just can't decide? Anything major that you feel an author should incorporate into them? Do you have a love or hate relationship with love triangles as a whole? Any books with love triangles you would recommend? Do you have any more Teams which you are sided on that you would like to mention? Comment below, the whole point of discussion posts is for you all to get involved! :D

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

PS: I apologise for any spelling or grammatical mistakes but I'm in a hurry and can't really give it a look over! :S

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Crazy Awesome Covers!

Hey all! Today I was planning on posting up just one cover for you all but after having a little internet search, I've now got three very eye-catching covers to show you! Enjoy! :D

Cover Catch #1 - Everbound by Brodi Ashton


SPOILERS FOR FIRST BOOK, EVERNEATH! DO NOT READ ON IF YOU ARE PLANNING ON READING THIS SERIES! :3

Two months ago, the Tunnels of the underworld came for Nikki Beckett. That night, Nikki's boyfriend, Jack, made the ultimate sacrifice. All Nikki wants is to save Jack before it's too late. All Cole wants is to find his queen - and he thinks Nikki is the one. Both determined, both desperate, Nikki and Cole form a tense alliance, leading them on a dangerous journey to The Heart of The Everneath.

Ohmygosh! I thought Everneath's cover was gorgeous but this is both gorgeous and slightly kick-ass! And I love how it ties in with the book as well! You can see what I thought of the first book here. It's just a shame that I have to wait 'till January 22 of next year! Oh, that's so long until I meet sweet Jack again! :O

Cover Catch #2 - All The Broken Pieces by Cindi Madsen


What if your life wasn’t your own?

Liv comes out of a coma with no memory of her past and two distinct, warring voices inside her head. Nothing, not even her reflection, seems familiar. As she stumbles through her junior year, the voices get louder, insisting she please the popular group while simultaneously despising them. But when Liv starts hanging around with Spencer, whose own mysterious past also has him on the fringe, life feels complete for the first time in, well, as long as she can remember.

Liv knows the details of the car accident that put her in the coma, but as the voices invade her dreams, and her dreams start feeling like memories, she and Spencer seek out answers. Yet the deeper they dig, the less things make sense. Can Liv rebuild the pieces of her broken past, when it means questioning not just who she is, but what she is?


There is something both strange and really pretty about this cover. The distortion is definetly unique but when you look more into it, you truly appreciate how cool it is! And plus, this plotline sounds so awesome! Oh, and this comes out on December 11th 2012, yay! :D

Cover Catch #3 - Dualed by Elsie Chapman


Would you live through the ultimate test of survival?

The city of Kersh is a safe haven, but the price of safety is high. Everyone has a genetic Alternate—a twin raised by another family—and citizens must prove their worth by eliminating their Alts before their twentieth birthday. Survival means advanced schooling, a good job, marriage—life.

Fifteen-year-old West Grayer has trained as a fighter, preparing for the day when her assignment arrives and she will have one month to hunt down and kill her Alt. But then a tragic misstep shakes West’s confidence. Stricken with grief and guilt, she’s no longer certain that she’s the best version of herself, the version worthy of a future. If she is to have any chance of winning, she must stop running not only from her Alt, but also from love . . . though both have the power to destroy her.


Oh damn, how amazing does this book sound? You have to kill your twin? Woah, what an awesome, unusual storyline! Plus this cover is pretty cool too! Win, win here! But, ahh, it's another 2013 release! February 26th to be exact!

Eeek, I can't wait for these releases! Comment below on what you think of these books and their covers, and also feel free to alert me on some more of your own can't-wait releases and their gorgeous covers! :D

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Review: Pandemonium

Author: Lauren Oliver
Edition: Hodder & Stoughton ebook
Released: February 1st 2012
Series: Delirium #2
Pages: n/a
Rating: See below review.

Unavoidable spoilers! Do not read if you want to read this series! :3

I’m pushing aside the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school,
push,
push,
push,
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame.


A while back when everyone was doing reviews of Pandemonium, I was reluctant. I'd really liked Delirium but Pandemonium seemed too much like a different set-up for me. It had Now and Then chapters which I thought would be confusing and a whole new love interest. Not a change I thought I would admire. But then I got started and, surprisingly enough, I actually settled into the whole concept and really enjoyed it!

The 'Now' chapters were in the present tense and followed the storyline of Lena being kidnapped along with Julian, the son to a very important man, and the 'Then' chapters were those that showed Lena in the Wilds after her escape and how she coped with the loss of Alex and all that she left behind. One minute I loved the Then chapters, and the next, the Now.

The new love interest, Julian? Well I didn't think I would like him but as it turns out... I did! In all honesty, even though I did like Alex, I wasn't the biggest fan of his in Delirium and so I suppose Julian had easy enough standards to match up too. If I had to choose which boy I think would be best with Lena, I'd pick Julian simply because I just liked him that little bit more. I really empathised with him and just found him an overall great character. He basically had to go through the exact same thing as Lena had to in the first book - come to terms with everything the society had lied about - so I really admired him for that. But I will say this again so all you Team Alex people won't hate me. I do like Alex and I want him to be happy but I just think Lena and Julian are more suited to each other.

Oh yeah, and did anyone else keep picturing Julian like this:


Or was that just me? For some reason I just kept thinking his description matched Alex Pettyfer's... the blonde hair maybe? Julian did have blonde hair, right? :S

Anyway. On to Lena. In this book I was very glad that the author chose to spotlight it on Lena's development and growth as a character. You also begin to see her coming to terms with everything and this is very skilfully written into both the 'Now' and 'Then' chapters. I really enjoyed her personality in this book and can only hope she stays the same in the next and becomes even more confident!

Of course I can't forget to mention the ending. Just before the final pages I got this feeling about what was going to happen - and it did! Needless to say it still left me breathless and stunned. I actually think I let out a little gasp!

Overall, Pandemonium was just as good as Delirium for me. A whole new bunch of characters were introduced and it was great getting to know each of their personalities. Again, Oliver's writing style has that engrossing quality. Admittedly, it's not my favourite writing style, but for some reason I still found it really hard to stop reading. And then she tied up this book with a shocker of an ending which completely blew me away. I can only wait and wonder who Lena will pick - Alex or Julian - in the next book, Requiem.


Cover Corner: I really like the colours on this particular cover but not the way the model is positioned. I just find it rather... strange I suppose. If she had been positioned differently then this cover would've been perfect but since she's not, well it's hard to say how much I like it!

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Monday, 18 June 2012

Interview with Author, Lori Culwell

Today I have an interview with Lori Culwell, author of The Dirt. Below you will find the interview and more about the book. Enjoy! :)

First off can you tell us a little about your book, The Dirt?
I grew up in Palm Desert, California (the town where the book is set), so I had years and years of “on the job research/ training,” so to speak. Many of the stories and situations in the book are true (or close to true). So, I guess, “The Dirt” is a fictional book about a not-so-fictional place. It’s about a “scandal family” (every town has one) of sisters and a dad, and the crazy stuff that happens to them starting when the dad tries to get remarried.

Do you have any similar traits to the main character, Lucy? Did she come to life easily or was she hard work?
My friends have told me that I *am* Lucy (or at least, I was when we were growing up), so I guess I came up with a crazy story, then told it through my own awkward 15 year old eyes. I personally don’t think she’s that much like me, but it was fun to write!

Many authors have distinctive writing styles, how would you describe yours?
I definitely have a humorous tone to my writing that can also be seen on my blog (FunnyStrange.net, where I regularly make fun of food and traffic signs as well as tv shows). I sometimes feel like things in the world are there just for my amusement. I feel this way most of all about my home town.

Where do you like to write? Any necessities you need while writing?
I used to insist on writing in one of those black and white composition notebooks. Then the transcription got to be too cumbersome so I switched to a MacBook Pro and never looked back. I like to write in a room other than my office (like the kitchen or the bedroom) so I’m not quite so ADD and tempted to do work at the same time. Also, if I’m on deadline, I have no problem taking my computer, parking somewhere, and sitting in the back of my car until I’ve completed my word goal. A little crazy, but it works!

If you could travel to any fictional world, where would you go and why?
Good question! I of course would want to live in “X-Men” world so I could be one of the mutants with the cool superpowers.

Are you currently writing or planning anything? If so, can you tell us a little about what you are doing?
I own a company that helps authors learn how to promote their books (bookpromotion.com), and a book I wrote about that just came out (How to Market a Book), so I just spoke at BEA (Book Expo America) in support of that. I’m all about books!

Quick Fire Questions:

Snow or Rain? Snow!
Fiction or Reality? Fiction!
Lion or Tiger? Tiger!
Romance or Adventure? Romance!

More About Lori: Lori Culwell is the author of five books. Her first novel, Hollywood Car Wash, was originally self-published, then was acquired and re-released by Simon & Schuster. She is also the owner of Get Creative Pages, a consulting firm that provides marketing and website services to authors. She has written for the San Francisco Bay Guardian, Salon.com, the Huffington Post, and other publications. She and her husband split time between Los Angeles and New York. You can find her on this website.

More About The Dirt:


Lucy Whitley cannot wait to get out of Palm Desert. It’s not a place for a frizzy-haired science nerd, particularly when her fashion-obsessed older sister Sloane is the head of a clique of pretty girls who rule the school – and practically the whole town. Fortunately, life is about to change forever. Lucy’s dad is getting re-married, and then she can transfer to a boarding school in Connecticut, escaping all the mean girls and the endless whispers about the Whitley family scandal. Everything is going to be perfect – as long as the wedding goes smoothly.

Great answers, Lori! If you like the sound of this book then check it out over at The Book Depository or Amazon! :)

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Showcase Sunday #5

Showcase Sunday is a meme hosted by Vicky over at Books, Biscuits & Tea where we showcase all of our recent book grabs.

Purchased Ebooks:


Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver - This was the only book I got this week but woah was it good! I'd really enjoyed Delirium and I'm glad to say that this sequel was just as enjoyable. I'm so glad I've finally managed to read this series, it's getting pretty eventful now! A review will hopefully be up sometime this week! ;)

Leave links in the comments below to your own book hauls - I love seeing all that you got! :D

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Review: The Declaration (The Declaration #1)

Author: Gemma Malley
My Edition: Borrowed Bloomsbury Paperback
Released: October 2nd 2007
Notes: The Declaration #1
Pages: 301
Rating: See below review.

It's the year 2140 and Longevity drugs have all but eradicated old age. A never-aging society can't sustain population growth, however…which means Anna should never have been born. Nor should any of the children she lives with at Grange Hall. The facility is full of boys and girls whose parents chose to have kids--called surpluses--despite a law forbidding them from doing so. These children are raised as servants, and brought up to believe they must atone for their very existence. Then one day a boy named Peter appears at the Hall, bringing with him news of the world outside, a place where people are starting to say that Longevity is bad, and that maybe people shouldn't live forever. Peter begs Anna to escape with him, but Anna's not sure who to trust: the strange new boy whose version of life sounds like a dangerous fairy tale, or the familiar walls of Grange Hall and the head mistress who has controlled her every waking thought?

When my friend offered to let me borrow this, to be honest I wasn't too fussed. Personally, I'd never really thought about reading it but since my friend seemed to always be bringing it up and saying how much she'd enjoyed it, I relented. And I am so glad I did! Though it wasn't my favourite, it still felt like I was reading something totally unique. I felt almost privileged to have read it.

The Declaration definitely has a haunting vision of the future! That's one of the number one comments readers make in their reviews of this, and I have to agree. A world where children are illegal? That's kind-of scary! I really empathised with Anna because when Peter came along, everything that had been drummed into her about being useless and a waste-of-space was keeping her back from believing him. We could practically see the battle she was having between what she hoped could be true and everything she had been told was true. We really must give Malley credit for giving us such a complex and likeable main character - she was definitely well suited to the story! Then there's Peter. I don't really want to say too much about him in case I slip a spoiler, but I will say that he was overall an alright character. Maybe not the best male character I've come across but he was fine to get along with.

Though I would say that this book definitely wasn't boring, it wasn't exactly action-packed either. The Declaration definitely suited the pace it was at and the world and character building was just excellent. I think it made up for the loss of action that I usually crave for in most books. Don't get me wrong, it did pick up more toward the end though! I just think this book done a great job of setting up for a series! However, that ending was pretty well wrapped up - it could have worked fine as a standalone too! I wonder where the author's going to take the next book then...

I really enjoyed the writing in this novel as well. It had some diary entries in which we got to see from Anna's point of view and then the majority which was from third person. I found this really refreshing and it mixed things up a bit more so you were never that bored.

Overall, I quite enjoyed The Declaration. It had a great, complex main character and a unique plot line and setting. Also, a great, refreshing writing style. I'd absolutely recommend that you give it a read. I managed to finish it pretty quickly because I was just caught up in the whole haunting, dystopian world.


Cover Corner: I'm not really that sure what to think of this cover. I don't love it but I don't hate it either. The way that it looks like the butterfly is trapped by barbed wire is quite smart and ties in with the storyline but I don't think the colours of the butterfly are the best.

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Review: A Million Suns (Across The Universe #2)

Author: Beth Revis
My Edition: Razorbill Paperback (Borrowed)
Publication Date: January 10th 2012
Notes: Across The Universe #2
Pages: 386
Rating: See below review.

Synopsis contains spoilers for first book but review is safe. :)

Trapped on board the spaceship Godspeed, Amy trusts no-one.

The ship's ruler is dead and a rebellion threatens. Amy wants to help Elder as he tries to take charge, but she's torn between her feelings for him and the chaos that's pulling everything apart. As more harrowing discoveries are made about Godspeed, Amy is caught in a desperate race to unravel its secrets. Only one thing is certain.

They have to get off this ship.


Wow, what an amazing book! Usually for me, sequels never manage to live up to the former book but A Million Suns? It went above and beyond! I literally loved every single word and never wanted the book to end! Warning: Gushy review coming up! ;D

The writing was so engrossing and brilliant, everything was expertly tied up and the mystery was so well-played out and developed that I was practically in awe. Revis definetly has a talent for writing mystery - seriously! I definetly did not see that BIG twist coming. Ohmygoodness! I need book three now! To leave us with that ending, that's just cruel! Then of course there was the whole spaceship setting which I absolutely adored! Everything is just so well done in the world-building area and in this sequel we get to know more about it - and some more of the spaceship's secrets!

As most of you who have read my blog for a while now will know, I'm not that much of a fan of male characters narrating the story. But this is definetly an exception! I loved the fact that the chapters are split up between Amy and Elder's point of views! There would always be a mini cliffhanger on one and then it be the other character's chapter! I literally couldn't tear my eyes away, and when I wasn't reading this book, I was usually thinking about it! It's just a great action/adventure/sci-fi/romance/mystery book - woah, a lot of genres...

Every single character in this book just added to the book as a whole. I can't even really choose a favourite because they were all great! Amy and Eldest are, of course, perfect leads though! Amy is still the same fiery character that we all know and love. Then there's Eldest who, in this book, had a hard time with both the ship and Amy. Oh, the poor boy! It was like he had the whole world on his shoulders - pun intended. ;) But yeah, in a nutshell, I loved both Amy and Elder and their alternate chapters! I don't know if it'd be the same if one of them wasn't narrating...

Overall, I absolutely LOVED A Million Suns. I really can not praise this series enough now! The mystery and characters and writing style and setting and... well, everything made this book so much of a page turner. It has definetly got a spot on my favourite-books shelf! If you haven't read this series you are definetly missing out, and I mean REALLY missing out!


Cover Corner: Let me just say I'm not a fan of this edition cover compared to the other one. I don't like the models because they are not at all how they are conveyed in the book - Amy's a red-head and Elder is monoethnic! I like the positioning and font of the writing but that's about it. Not a cover for me unfortunetly, I definetly prefer the US one! :)

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Monday, 11 June 2012

Mini Review: Hana (Delirium #1.5)

Author: Lauren Oliver
My Edition: Hodder & Stoughton eBook
Publication Date: December 19th 2011
Notes: Delirium #1.5 (Short Story)
Pages: 144 approx.
Rating: See below review.

In the world of Delirium, love is a disease. And like all eighteen-year-olds, Lena and Hana must take the cure.

At the start of their last summer of freedom, they were the closest of friends. Until Hana made a decision that tore them apart... In Delirium, we heard from Lena. Now, Hana gets to tell her side of the story. And nothing is what we first thought.

Hana is a powerful, moving and beautifully told original eBook short story, with a shocking twist that will leave you with your heart in your mouth.


I came across Hana shortly after I'd finished reading Delirium and immediately wanted to read it. I had really enjoyed Delirium and I was definitely intrigued into reading a story all from Hana's perspective (she was definetly a likeable character in the first book). And I'm so glad I decided to read it, because it was great!

I really liked how certain events in Delirium from Lena's perspective were then taken from Hana's point of view throughout this book. We got to see her opinions and reactions to what was going on. And let me say, she isn't at all who she appears to be in Delirium! I'd quite liked Hana in the first book, but now that I've read this, let's just say I don't exactly see eye to eye with her anymore. I just did not see that cliffhanger coming! It is exactly as it says in the blurb - a shocking twist that will leave you with your heart in your mouth. I actually read the last few paragraphs a couple of times over just in case I had miss interpreted it wrong!

Overall I quite liked Hana as it gave an insight into the world of Delirium and the incidents involved from a different perspective instead of Lena's. Again, Oliver's writing just had that engrossing quality to it (plus, she definetly gets brownie points for pulling off that ending)!


Cover Corner: This is a really pretty cover! It's got a real delicate quality to it. I really like the colours involved and the way the author's name is positioned. The only thing that I'm not too sure about is the colour of the title. It's a rather bold red to be on a cover with mostly light, pure colours. It definetly stands out though so I don't think it's that big of a deal. Overall, a really lovely cover!

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Showcase Sunday #4

Showcase Sunday is a meme hosted by Vicky over at Books, Biscuits & Tea where we showcase all of our recent book grabs.

Borrowed:


The Declaration by Gemma Malley (The Declaration #1) - I never really gave much thought to reading this book myself but when my friend told me she loved it, she gave it to me to borrow. I'm so glad I've read it now! It's a really unique take on the dystopian genre and I really liked the main character, Anna! Full review to come soon. ;)

A Million Suns by Beth Revis (Across The Universe #2) - I really enjoyed the first book in this series, Across The Universe and I was so glad that my friend also gave me this one to borrow. It was absolutely ah-mazing! I seriously think it was better than the first! A full, glowing review of this is to come soon too! :D

I'd like to thank my friend profusely for giving me these to borrow as they were both great reads! :D

What about all of you? What did you get this week? Leave links below and I'll stop by!

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

PS: Do you like the new design? It's from the same website as my last one and I love it! (:

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Review: Delirium

Author: Lauren Oliver
Edition: Hodder & Stoughton eBook
Released: February 1st 2011
Notes: Delirium #1
Pages: n/a
Rating: See below review.

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love - the deliria - blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.


Yes, yes, yes, I know that most of you reading this right now will have read this book already. And yes, I know it was a crime that I hadn't sooner - considering how a lot of reviewers were giving it so much hype! Anyway, now that I have, I can finally say: Delirium? I completely agree!

Though overall it was a great read, I wouldn't say it added anything new to the dystopian genre. I couldn't help but compare some features to Matched (Ally Condie). The curfew, the forbidden love, not having a say in who you're going to marry, etc. Don't get me wrong, it was probably more exciting than Matched, but it just didn't have anything new and fresh.

I really enjoyed Lena as the main character. We really managed to see her development throughout the story and I just loved that side of things. I know a lot of people who have read this preferred Lena's best friend, Hana over Lena but I have to say I liked Lena just that little bit more. She went from being cautious and quiet to brave and strong and I really enjoyed how Lauren Oliver did this. She is a very skilled writer! Then there's Alex. Probably not my favourite love interest but he was definitely sweet! Lena and him suited each other. For future reference: Will Herondale from The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare has my heart (and it is impossible to beat him. Sorry, Alex)! ;)

I'm not sure whether is was the writing style, the characters, the plot or just everything that kept me reading but I managed to finish this in just a couple sittings. I was totally engrossed and could barely resurface from Lena's world - I just had to know what was happening and what was going to happen next. And when the ending came around, I was left both breathless and upset! I really need to get my hands on book two to see what happens to both Lena and Alex.

In conclusion, Delirium by Lauren Oliver was a great read with distinctive characters and an engrossing writing style. Though it didn't offer anything new to the dystopian genre, it was still a perfectly fine romance read. I would still definitely recommend this to those that haven't yet read it!


Cover Corner: This will be a new edition to my reviews. After the rating I will talk about the cover of that book (my edition cover). This in no way affects the rating - it's just a little something I think will be fun! Then you can tell me your thoughts on it too! :)
The eBook cover pictured for Delirium is definitely not my favourite but the more I look at it, the more it grows on me. I like the splash of colour in the background and the colour and positioning of the author's title. The expression on the girl's face is also quite attention-grabbing, she looks almost sombre. I definitely think it would stand out in a bookshop, even though it's not perfect.

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

PS: Sorry for not posting much this week! You won't believe how busy I've been! Oh, and a mini review of Hana will be posted up sometime next week!

Monday, 4 June 2012

Review: The Hunt

Author: Andrew Fukuda
Edition: Simon and Schuster Paperback
Released: May 10th 2012
Notes: The Hunt #1
Pages: 293
Rating: See below review.

Against all odds, 17-year-old Gene has survived in a world where humans have been eaten to near extinction by the general population. The only remaining humans, or hepers as they are known, are housed in domes on the savannah and studied at the nearby Heper Institute. Every decade there is a government sponsored hunt. When Gene is selected to be one of the combatants he must learn the art of the hunt but also elude his fellow competitors whose suspicions about his true nature are growing.

As much as I want to say this was a brand-new debut which I loved every minute of, sadly it's just not happening. Believe me when I say I really wanted to like this book. The synopsis just had so much potential... but at the end of the day, this book just wasn't for me.

To tell you the truth, I'm not much of a fan of male characters narrating the storyline. I never seem to relate to them that well (am I just reading the wrong books or does anyone else feel this way)? In Gene's case, I just did not get on with him one bit. I think he was the main reason I just couldn't get into this story the way I wanted to. The one thing that I absolutely couldn't stand was the way he acted as though he was better than the "hepers" (aka humans). I just felt like screaming at him: You are just like them, you are a human too, Gene, so stop acting as though you are more superior! Ughh! I just could not believe his attitude towards the other humans at all - he didn't even tell them they were going to be Hunted. Argh! He just sat by and watched, no heads up, nothing! The only characters I actually liked were, infact, the other humans. Sissy and Ben especially. Sissy definetly knew how to handle herself and Ben was just so sweet!

Gene's love interest was also a big no-no for me. I did not like her one bit either. I actually just couldn't help but hope that he would be drawn to Sissy. But, of course, that just didn't happen. Most probably due to the whole I'm more superior attitude he had going. But maybe in the next book? I just think they would balance each other out pretty well... and she could kick his ass if he was ever cheeky which is a plus. It could be a possibility... We'll just have to wait and see, I suppose.

The overall plot wasn't too bad but I think Gene's personality just sort-of cancelled that out for me. Seriously, he was just so infuriating! I really hope that he will see sense in book two. And with the way this book ended, I think he really could! *happy dance*

One more thing worth noting. The chapters are really long! And I mean really long. It was quite awkward for me to find a suitable place to stop. Oh, and the ending! It definetly picked up there, and that cliffhanger? Woah!

To end on a high note... Good things this book had going for it: some of the characters (the humans anyway), good use of tension and an exciting ending. Also, alot of potential for book two (potential plot, love interest swap and attitude change) *crosses fingers* :)


Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Showcase Sunday #3

Showcase Sunday is a meme hosted by Vicky over at Books, Biscuits & Tea where we showcase all of our recent book grabs.

For Review/Gifted:


The Spook's Blood by Joseph Delaney - This book actually came recently in the mail as a surprise package from Random House! It looks pretty cool... and creepy! The only thing is that this book is a later book in a series so I'm not sure if I have to have read the whole series to understand it or if it can work perfectly fine as a standalone - it does have character profiles at the beginning... Do any of you know? I believe this book is released sometime later this year. Anyway, thank you Random House!

Destined by Aprilynne Pike - I received a copy of this book through the mail for review a while back and you can find what I thought about it here. I have absolutely loved this series from the word go and the final instalment was no exception! Five stars! Thank you for my copy, Harper Collins!

Purchased Ebooks:


Delirium by Lauren Oliver - I was browsing through iBooks when I came across this ebook for only £1.99, and with all the hype surrounding it, I decided to buy it as it had such a reasonable price. I'm so glad I finally managed to give it a read - it was great! However, the ebook cover pictured isn't my favourite... A review will hopefully be up soon!

Hana (Delirium 1.5) by Lauren Oliver - Shortly after finishing Delirium, I came across Hana as well for a reasonable price. I loved Hana's character in the first book but now that I've finished this one, let's just say I'm not the biggest fan of her anymore! I can't believe what she did! Now, here's where I've got a question for you all. Would you like me to post up a separate mini review of Hana, review it along with Delirium in the same post or just not even bother reviewing it? Please tell me what you think would be best below!

Thanks for stopping by my Showcase Sunday for this week! Please leave links to your own book hauls below and I'll pop by as soon as I can! :D

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

PS: Please vote for what you think on my new poll! :)

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Review: 172 Hours on The Moon

Author: Johan Harstad
Edition: Atom Paperback
Released: April 5th 2012
Pages: 351
Rating: See below review.

There's a reason we never went back to the moon.

It was supposed to be the adventure of a lifetime. Mia, Antoine and Midori had different reasons to enter NASA's competition for a seat on the first shuttle to go to the moon in over forty years.

But while they all wanted to escape earth, they never realized there might not be a chance to come home...


When I first heard of this book, I put it on my wishlist straight away. I mean, how could anyone by-pass a book set on the moon?! What a great concept, right? Well, unfortunetly, though it was a unique and one-off read, I found it... lacking in quite a few areas.

I'll start off with the critism part of things. First off, the pace. At the beginning, it practically jumped from scene to scene. From Mia, Antoine and Midori's reasons for entering the competition, to them winning, to the training centre, to the take-off. It was almost like it was speeding too far ahead and leaving me behind. The training centre was the part that really threw me off, though. We never got to know what they actually had to do during the training. We maybe got one scene from Midori the first day they were all in the training room listeing to a lecture... and that was that. They were away to the launch site in the next dozen pages. However, I am glad to report that the pace was perfect once they had landed on the moon.

Another thing that I was quite let down about was the fact that during this jumping-between, it appeared that Mia, Antoine and Midori had already become friends. I was actually quite sad about there not being an introduction in the characters. We never got to read about their first impressions and how they came to like each other, etc. Another thing that felt too rushed was the romance. This is down to the exact same reason. The characters had already become friends and gotten to know one another without our knowledge so it appeared almost too much like an insta-love to me. Overall, I didn't really relate to any of the characters but at the same time, I didn't mind them either.

Mia is more headstrong and outspoken than Midori and Antoine but all of the characters compliment each other with their different personalities. Midori has suffered through bullying and Antoine, a break-up with his girlfriend. I actually was at one point sure I wasn't going to like Antoine because I thought he was going to turn out a little... stalker-ish (what with the telescope on the eiffel tower) but once I got to know him better, I didn't really mind him.

I'm not really too sure what rating I'm going to give this book. Though I felt more development in some areas would have made it more enjoyable, I did quite like the idea and mystery of what was on the moon. It was rather unique and that ending - what a shock! I'm sure I've not given this book enough justice because, despite the negatives I found, it still was quite enjoyable in some respects. Overall, 172 Hours on The Moon gets three stars from me.

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo