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Moonlight (Dark Guardian, Book 1)
Moonlight (Dark Guardian, Book 1)
by Rachel Hawthorne
Edition: Paperback
Price: $7.67
157 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars A nice change from vampires., April 27, 2009
Moonlight is the first book in the Dark Guardian series; a supernatural romance centred around a pack of shapeshifting werewolves.

It's light and easy to read, with an interesting but slightly predictable plot. The main characters are engaging and mysterious, especially tall, dark and handsome Lucas. His relationship with Kayla is, for the most part, believeable, though I did feel that their declaration of feelings came a bit too soon. Still, I think it was necessary for the story, and it didn't bother me while I was reading it. All the secondary characters are instantly likeable, and the plot moves at a speed that will keep you glued to the pages until you finish it.

I love the idea of the shifters (wolves), statics (humans) and Dark Guardians (protectors), as well as the new take on the lycanthrope legend. It's a quick and enjoyable read, and one that I think will appeal to fans of Twilight and Wicked Lovely. I can't wait to see what happens in Full Moon, which is set for a US release in June.


Vamped
Vamped
by Lucienne Diver
Edition: Paperback
116 used & new from $0.01

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun with fangs!, April 27, 2009
This review is from: Vamped (Paperback)
Vamped starts with our heroine, Gina, waking up dead - literally - and in a horrible dress to boot. With only her love interest, Bobby, to help her with life as a vampire, she quickly learns that being part of the fang gang has some perks after all.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if Cordelia Chase got turned into a vampire? If you have, look no further than Vamped for the answer. It's like Mean Girls with fangs, with witty dialogue and more pop-culture references than you can keep up with.

All of the characters are full of humour and sarcasm, even the ridiculously named Mellisande, who turns out to be an arch-nemesis of hilarious proportions. With enough action to satisfy Buffy fans, and a lighthearted romance sure to make you smile, Vamped is a fun, fast-talking addition to the undead genre. It's similar to Amanda Ashby's Zombie Queen of Newbury High, and if you liked that, I think you'll love this.

I'm looking forward to the next book in the series, and I hope it'll be just as fun as this one. If anything, I now know that being bitten doesn't have to ruin your social life!


Wings
Wings
by Aprilynne Pike
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $13.64
238 used & new from $0.01

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More faeries? Yes please!, April 14, 2009
This review is from: Wings (Hardcover)
Wings is the latest addition to the ever-growing faerie genre, and is an exciting new take on the lore surrounding it.

Laurel is a new girl in a new town, who quickly figures out that something isn't right - she appears to be growing wings. She confides in new friend David, and together they try and figure out what's going on. Enter Tamani, hunky faerie extraordinaire. He's the third part of a compelling love triangle of sorts, which unfolds throughout the book. (For the record, I would totally choose him: he's graceful and attractive, and even his clothes sound hot).

I can't really say anything else without spoiling the second half of the story, as it's quite a surprise when you find out what's going on, and why these things are happening to Laurel and her family. I will say that it ends well; wrapped up but open, if that makes any sense. It's the first in a four book series, which I'm happy about, as I seriously want more Tamani. In fact, a whole book about him would suit me fine.

I liked Laurel as a character, though I think I would have liked her more had she been written in the first person. I like reading a character's thoughts and feelings, and that's the only thing I felt Wings was missing. Also, best friend David, who I thought was like the Xander of the story, believed everything very quickly. Would that happen in real life? Probably not, but hey, this is fantasy after all, and certain things can be overlooked.

I really, really enjoyed Wings. I think it will appeal to a lot of people, especially fans of Stephenie Meyer and Melissa Marr, and YA readers in general. I can't wait to read the next three books, though I have a feeling I could be waiting a while!


Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side
Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side
by Beth Fantaskey
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $14.68
166 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Woohoo for vampires!, April 14, 2009
As a fan of all things vampire, I expected Jessica's Guide to be good, but similar to something I'd read previously. What I wasn't expecting was for it to be amazing, and impossible to put down.

Jessica is a brilliant narrator, and is both witty and smart. I loved her 'voice', and the way Fantaskey made her someone I could really care about. Her boy-obsessed best friend, Mindy, comes out with some hilarious one-liners that had me chuckling away to myself, albeit not quietly. My advice: don't read the first hundred or so pages near a crowd of any kind.

Now for vampire Lucius. Ahh yes... lovely Lucius. Put it this way, if he turned up at my door with Edward Cullen in tow, I'd seriously consider choosing him. He's arrogant, charming and infuriating, and completely my kind of guy. Long black hair, black eyes, impeccable dress sense, Romanian accent... yep, he can come and stay with me any day.

The letters Lucius writes to his Uncle Vasile are amusingly entertaining, with much sarcasm and explanation of Americanisms included. Its' a great way for Lucius to have his say, and enables us to read his thoughts and feelings without it seeming out of place. The book wraps up nicely at the end, but also leaves you wanting more. A LOT more. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we'll see a sequel sometime in the future, as I am dying to know what happens to Jessica and Lucius. I also have to mention the cover, because I love it. It suits the story perfectly, and is one of the best character representations I've come across.

If you buy one vampire book this year, make it Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side. It's a fantastic addition to the undead library, and is full of refreshing characters and mythology. I'm currently resisting the urge to write a love letter to a fictional fanged Romanian Prince, which, let me tell you, is not an easy thing to do!


Wintergirls
Wintergirls
by Laurie Halse Anderson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $13.42
149 used & new from $0.01

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A chilling and unforgettable read!, April 8, 2009
This review is from: Wintergirls (Hardcover)
It took me quite a while to write this review, because I just couldn't put into words how brilliant Wintergirls is. It's the first book I've read by Laurie Halse Anderson, and it definitely won't be my last.

Lia is battling anorexia, a battle that she used to fight with her best friend Cassie. After Cassie succumbs to the darkness, Lia is left alone, with no-one to turn to and nowhere to hide. In her mind, she's huge and disgusting, but in reality, she's slowly wasting away, bit by bit.

The subject of anorexia is a tough one to write about, but it's presented here with the utmost care and precision. It's so scary to think that people actually go through and experience what Lia deals with, and it has opened my eyes to the effects of eating disorders. All the research for this book really paid off, and the writing could be classed as a work of art. It's almost lyrical as you read it, and certain sections could easily pass for poetry. The imagery that Laurie Halse Anderson's words create is both haunting and beautiful, and I found that re-reading certain lines and paragraphs became a necessity, just so I could read the finely crafted words again.

Lia's love for her stepsister, Emma, was perhaps her only real connection to the world of the living, and this relationship was my favourite of the whole story. Emma was like her anchor, and was more influential than any therapist or doctor could ever be. The use of strikethroughs to show Lia's true thoughts and feelings was a powerful way to portray her inner struggle with herself, and it raised the emotional intensity of the book higher than I ever thought it could go.

Chilling and unforgettable, this is a story not to be missed. It deserves a place on every bookshelf, and should be remembered for years to come.


Wondrous Strange
Wondrous Strange
by Lesley Livingston
Edition: Hardcover
89 used & new from $0.01

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A wondrous read!, April 2, 2009
This review is from: Wondrous Strange (Hardcover)
I bought Wondrous Strange because I thought the cover art was intriguing. I liked the title typset, and the swirly blue colours, which instantly stood out to me. The book arrived on Christmas Eve, I started it on Christmas Day afternoon, and had finished it in a few hours. I loved it.

I was immediately hooked, right from page one, and the pretty decoration around the chapter titles made me think I was reading something special (this book should definitely be praised for its lovely presentation!). Wondrous Strange is the first faerie book I read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Kelley is a great female character with and a passion for drama. She has no idea that faeries exist, nor that she could ever have anything to do with them, until she meets Sonny. Sonny protects the mortal realm from the beings of the Otherworld, by guarding the Samhain Gate.

I LOVE Sonny. Love him. He's protective, strong, and has deep grey eyes that would make any girl melt. Sigh. All the characters are well developed and layered, and by the time I was finished, I felt like I knew each and every one of them.

The plot is brilliant, and moves at a pace that will keep even the most reluctant reader interested. It mixes reality with the supernatural, and does so in a very clever way. I like how Lesley included drama and Shakespeare in the story, and even had some familiar characters make an appearance. I also loved the humour in the book, especially the little garden gnome who likes to lick ankles. Although he only appeared for one scene, he was one of my favourite parts of the book, and I hope we get to see more of him.

I don't really want to spoil the plot too much, so I'll just say that there were a couple of revelations that I never saw coming, and that completely surprised me (in a good way!). At one point, I think I muttered something like "bloody hell, that was good", which isn't something I do too often.

I would highly recommend this book to every YA reader, or to anyone who just likes good, enchanting fiction. Lesley Livingston has a wonderful writing style, and I can't wait to read more from her. I'm so glad that Wondrous Strange is the first in a trilogy, and that the second book should be released towards the end of 2009. I hope it gets published in the UK soon, so that I can tell everyone how brilliant it is!


Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception (Gathering of Faerie)
Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception (Gathering of Faerie)
by Maggie Stiefvater
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.05
172 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Faerie books are in!, April 2, 2009
Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception is a fun, page-turner of a debut. I was a bit apprehensive to order it at first, because I didn't really like the cover art. However, it's definitely better in person, and suits the atmospheric tone of the book perfectly. I also have to mention the artwork included at the beginning of each of the six books: it's very pretty, and a brilliant addition to the story.

Deirdre is a likeable character, because of her sheer normality. She is told, on several occasions throughout the book, that she is just 'ordinary', and nothing special. For this reason, I found her very easy to identify with. I also liked her personal struggles with her overprotective mother - this added realism to the story, as well as to her sixteen year old character.

Deirdre's best friend, James, was just hilarious. His quick wit and sarcasm provided much of the novel's humour, which I wasn't expecting it to have, and made me laugh out loud more than once: "Soon to be number one", James said with a charming smile. "I hired a hitman."

Luke Dillon, the Faerie Queen's assassin (or Gallowglass), is yet another male character I wouldn't object to meeting. He is protective, haunted, and fueled by guilt for his past actions, which made him a very layered and developed character. Like Deirdre, I was hooked on him from page thirty-six, when he whispered, "Tell me you want to see me again."

I love the inclusion and importance of music in this book. It fit well with the faeries, and was a nice addition to the ever growing mythology. Brendan and Una were my favourite fey characters, because, again, they were humourous and realistic.

I wish we'd gotten to know more about Deirdre's family, as they were perhaps the only aspect of the book that I felt was underdeveloped. Maybe they could have been explored more had the page count been slightly higher, though, saying that, Delia's extreme bitchiness came across pretty well!

There are a couple of things I'd like to ask Maggie Stiefvater, and it mostly involves Deirdre's powers. Had they always been there, lying dormant? Why did she deal with them so well - did she always suspect something was different? And had Luke been watching her for a long time before their first meeting? Hmmm...

Although the story wrapped up well, and could have been a stand alone novel, there is still so much that could be expanded upon. Lament is one of those debut novels that could, and should, make it big. The sequel, Ballad, is due for release towards the end of the year, and I'm really looking forward to reading it!


Bloom
Bloom
by Elizabeth Scott
Edition: Paperback
Price: $8.12
251 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Elizabeth Scott is a YA force to be reckoned with!, April 2, 2009
This review is from: Bloom (Paperback)
Bloom is the first of Elizabeth Scott's books that I've read, and I wasn't disappointed.

The thing I liked most about Scott's writing was her honest depiction of teen life, and the emotions that accompany it. Lauren experiences confusion, uncertainty, loneliness and guilt, all of which are well-known friends to most seventeen year old girls. The way she handled her attraction to Evan, her father's ex-girlfriend's son, was realistic and believeable, and is a situation that I'm sure a lot of people can easily relate to.

Scott's characterization reminded me of Sarah Dessen's, as they were all very well developed and layered. By the end of the book, I felt as if I really knew them, and I think this was helped by Lauren's memories of her past, and how every character had more to them than I thought.

Lauren is stuck in a relationship with the perfect guy, Dave, but is afraid to end it and escape. By meeting Evan, she realises that Dave isn't what she wants, and that she's not her real self when she's with him. The message I got from this, which I think is really important, is to make the right decision for yourself, and not worry about what someone else is going to say, think or do.

I also like how the title, Bloom, has so much relevance to the story. I interpreted it as Lauren blooming - growing up, making choices for herself, and taking control of her life.


If I Stay
If I Stay
by Gayle Forman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $13.15
107 used & new from $1.98

180 of 218 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply amazing., April 2, 2009
This review is from: If I Stay (Hardcover)
I have a feeling that If I Stay may be one of those books that sells millions of copies, wins numerous awards, and inspires people to pick up a pen and tell a story of their own.

It starts off with a lighthearted chapter that showcases the close relationship Mia shares with her Mum, Dad and younger brother Teddy. I instantly fell in love with these four characters, as they reminded me very much of my own parents and sister: happy, fun, and more like friends than family. However, by page eleven, the tone of the book shifts, and everything has changed.

Mia is left staring at her broken body, while her family lie sprawled around her. She finds herself in a kind of limbo, a limbo where she can see, hear and touch, but can't feel anything. From here she must make the difficult decision of staying on Earth and living, or dying and hopefully seeing her family again. This has to be one of the most difficult decisions anyone could ever be faced with, and I applaud Gayle Forman for writing about it so eloquently and vividly.

I loved how the past was interweaved with the present, as this allowed us to get a glimpse into Mia's life before the accident, and to really get to know her. Mia is a strong and appealing character, and one which I think a lot of people will identify with. I also have to mention Adam, Mia's boyfriend. He's caring, thoughtful and the kind of person that we should all get to meet at some point or another. In fact, I think he might be my favourite part of the whole book.

'Just Listen', Adam says with a voice that sounds like shrapnel.

The above sentence is one of my favourites. To imagine that anyone's voice could sound like shrapnel has to be one of the most effective ways to describe someone dealing with unimaginable grief and fear. If that doesn't make you want to read more, I don't know what will.

If I Stay is moving, touching and beautifully written. It's so gripping that you have to read all two hundred and seven pages in one go, and is sure to be one of the year's most talked about releases. With brilliant characters that easily come to life, as well as a story so memorable and meaningful, I'd say that Gayle Forman is well on her way to Alice Sebold-like superstardom.
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The ABC's of Kissing Boys
The ABC's of Kissing Boys
by Tina Ferraro
Edition: Paperback
Price: $8.45
68 used & new from $0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Fun fun fun!, April 2, 2009
The ABC's of Kissing Boys is short and sweet, with a lighthearted subject matter and enjoyable characters.

Parker ends up learning a lot about herself, who her real friends are, and that the boy across the road just might be the one for her.

I think the whole premise of the book would make a great teen movie, and I can easily imagine it in the same vein as 10 Things I Hate About You or She's All That. It's one of those fun forbidden love type dramas, with some sports and a family feud added in for extra depth.

I love that the titles of each chapter are about kissing, and that each one starts with a letter of the alphabet. I honestly never knew that so many different kisses existed, so Tina Ferraro must have done her homework!

I'm going to read more of Ferraro's books, and I'd recommend The ABC's... to anyone looking for a light, entertaining read that is guaranteed to leave a smile on your face.


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