31 October 2011

The Dead of Winter by Chris Priestly

The Dead of Winter by Chris Priestly 
Release Date: October 24, 2011 (UK PB)
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Source: Publisher
Rating: Enjoyable 

Michael Vyner recalls a terrible story, one that happened to him. One that would be unbelievable if it weren't true! Michael's parents are dead and he imagines that he will stay with the kindly lawyer, executor of his parents' will ...Until he is invited to spend Christmas with his guardian in a large and desolate country house. His arrival on the first night suggests something is not quite right when he sees a woman out in the frozen mists, standing alone in the marshes. But little can prepare him for the solitude of the house itself as he is kept from his guardian and finds himself spending the Christmas holiday wandering the silent corridors of the house seeking distraction. But lonely doesn't mean alone, as Michael soon realises that the house and its grounds harbour many secrets, dead and alive, and Michael is set the task of unravelling some of the darkest secrets of all. A nail-biting story of hauntings and terror by the master of the genre, Chris Priestley - Goodreads
The beginning of the novel throws the reader straight into the story, with Michael’s mother dead and Michael being forced to move in with Sir Stephen – someone Michael’s dad once saved from death - at Hawton Mere. We see Michael move in to the mansion, and then the creepy stuff starts to kick off.

Chris Priestly’s descriptions of the scary goings on in the mansion really creeped me out – especially the parts that were talking about the priest hole! It was so easy to imagine being locked into that creepy place and not being able to get out. There are also ghosts in this story, which were pretty creepy too, but the scariest of them all was the little boy. I won’t go into any more detail than that, because it’ll spoil the book for you, so you’ll just have to use your imaginations!

Michael narrated the recount of his time at Hawton Mere so we saw the whole story from his point of view, including the epilogue at the end. I thought he was a great main character. He was very mature for his age, and he was also very intelligent compared with some main protagonists I have read about in the past. I’d love to see more stories including Michael if Chris Priestly ever writes any, perhaps talking about his travels, because I found myself really beginning to care for Michael. I feel if the novel was a tad longer then I would have felt a stronger connection to him.

Due to the era the novel was set in – and Michael being the narrator of the story - Chris Priestly adopted a writing style similar to how the characters would have written themselves. It works very well, and while it took me a couple of pages to get used to, I ended up thoroughly enjoying it and it definitely added to the appeal of the novel.

I thought this book was very well written, and a lot of the scenes gave me chills. I really enjoyed reading it – despite what my mum may have thought about me covering up my mirror so I couldn’t look into it before I went to bed. I definitely recommend this to readers who love horror novels. For his first full length novel, I think Chris Priestly did a fantastic job at unnerving me!

30 October 2011

In My Mailbox - (37)

For Review: 
All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin
Battle Fatigue by Mark Kurlansky

Dark Life by Kat Falls (A new favourite!)
Blood Red Road by Moira Young
The Carbon Diaries 2015 by Saci Lloyd
What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
The Cursed Ones by Nancy Holder and Debbie Vigué
Z-Rex by Steve Cole

27 October 2011

Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon

Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon
Carrier #1
Release Date: October 27, 2011 (UK)
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
Source: Publisher
Rating: Enjoyable
When Megan Rosenberg moves to Ireland, everything in her life seems to fall into place. After growing up in America, she's surprised to find herself feeling at home in her new school. She connects with a group of friends, and she is instantly drawn to darkly handsome Adam DeRís.

But Megan is about to discover that her feelings for Adam are tied to a fate that was sealed long ago—and that the passion and power that brought them together could be their ultimate destruction. - Goodreads
I’m sorry to say that I do not like this book as much as I thought I would. I have rated this book as Enjoyable, however, as there were aspects that I did enjoy and I was kept reading.

The book starts with Megan moving to Ireland due to her father’s new job. There she meets a pair of mysterious twins, who are the subject of all sorts of rumours, named Adam and Áine DeRís. Megan later discovers that she is not a typical teenager and that she – along with the DeRís siblings - has a paranormal ability.

Megan wasn’t a protagonist who stands out, unfortunately. She was nice enough, but she didn’t have any qualities about her that will make her easily remembered. She was pretty bland.

Adam, the love interest, was also very bland. I apologise for this comparison in advance - I must mention it – but Adam reminded me very much of Edward Cullen (I totally understand the people who are saying that this book is similar to Twilight, by the way). He was very mushy at times and wasn’t an interesting love interest. He didn’t have a distinct personality which left me wondering why Megan fell for him in the first place.

Megan and Adam’s relationship was very out of the blue. The pair had spoken barely two sentences to one another – after weeks of stares and ‘meaningful’ looks – and then they were declaring their love for each other and spending every minute of the day together. There was little drama in their relationship, and a paragraph’s worth of build up. It was really disappointing and I wasn’t sold on their relationship at all.

That said, I did enjoy the unique mythology which was woven into the ordinary plot. I’ve never read much about the Irish mythology which is present in this book, and it was a fabulous experience for my first time. I won’t go into too much detail but the basic summary is that several characters have paranormal powers, and this leads to complications along the way. There was a large info-dump in the middle of the book, though, which I’ll admit left me very confused.

The pace of the novel is very fast, however not much happens at the beginning. The novel does pick up a lot at the end when the action begins. It made the book much more enjoyable for me.

If you’re looking for an original story then I don’t think this is the book for you. The basic plot has been done before, as have the relationships. I would advise that this is a hit or miss book, so you should probably read some spoiler-free reviews before you buy it, or perhaps borrow it from the library.   

26 October 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: On A Dark Wing by Jordan Dane

Sounds awesome.

On A Dark Wing by Jordan Dane
December 27th, 2011
Harlequin Teen
"The choices I had made led to the moment when fate took over. I would learn a lesson I wasn’t prepared for. And Death would be my willing teacher."

Five years ago Abbey Chandler cheated Death. She survived a horrific car accident, but her lucky break came at the expense of her mother’s life and changed everything. After she crossed paths with Death—by taking the hand of an ethereal boy made of clouds and sky—she would never be normal again.

Now she’s the target of Death’s Ravens and an innocent boy’s life is on the line. When Nate Holden—Abbey’s secret crush—starts to climb Alaska’s Denali, the Angel of Death is with him because of her.

Abbey finds out the hard way that Death never forgets.

24 October 2011

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
Fairytale Retellings #1
Release Date: June 7, 2010 (US)
Publisher: Little Brown
Rating: Enjoyable
Scarlett March lives to hunt the Fenris--the werewolves that took her eye when she was defending her sister Rosie from a brutal attack. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet and blood-red cloak, Scarlett is an expert at luring and slaying the wolves. She's determined to protect other young girls from a grisly death, and her raging heart will not rest until every single wolf is dead.

Rosie March once felt her bond with her sister was unbreakable. Owing Scarlett her life, Rosie hunts ferociously alongside her. But even as more girls' bodies pile up in the city and the Fenris seem to be gaining power, Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves. She finds herself drawn to Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an ax and Scarlett's only friend--but does loving him mean betraying her sister and all that they've worked for? - Goodreads
For those of you who don’t already know – I bet there aren’t many of you – Sisters Red is a retelling of the Little Red Riding Hood fairytale. You know, the one with the wolf? Yeah, you know the one. And right from the start I expected the storyline to be fantastic because I just love fairytales. I was completely right, this book is great.

The plot is fast paced and full of action. There are plenty of fight scenes that Jackson did an excellent job of describing, and I felt like I was one of the sisters while they were battling the Fenris. This book is told in alternating points of view, and it was excellent because both sisters had their own distinct voice. Even the settings were beautiful, from the village where the sisters lived to the city where they go to hunt the Fenris. One thing that did disappoint me, however, was how easy it was to figure out where the plot was going. I figured out the ‘twist’ or the outcome within 100 pages. I like to be surprised when I read, and unfortunately this did not happen with Sisters Red.

Scarlet, the older sister, had a lot of flaws. She got on my nerves at times due to her controlling personality, and the way she treated her sister throughout the book. However, the flaws made her a more well-rounded character, and while she didn't overcome them at the end, she definitely accepted them.

Rosie was a strong female lead, and I loved her personality and her ‘spunk’, if you will. Again, Rosie had flaws that led to a lot of character development later on down the line, and this was excellent. She really battled with herself, and her hopes for the future and she found ways to overcome it. She’s a great character to read about.

Silas was also an awesome character. He’s the sisters’ best friend slash fellow hunter slash love interest. He was strong, handsome, intelligent, and he had a good idea of what Rosie was feeling when she was questioning herself. He really understood both sisters and I loved that. I wasn’t too keen on the age difference between him and Rosie, however. He was a lovely guy, but I just wish Rosie had been older than sixteen.

The original take on the Fenris was fascinating; I’ve never read anything like it before. This was probably my favourite aspect of the novel. No lovey-dovey stuff here, the Fenris are all creepy wolves that eat pretty young girls.

I love Jackson Pearce’s writing! I did start reading As You Wish earlier this year, but I stopped for some reason. That’s why I was hesitant to pick this up. I shouldn’t have been hesitant at all though, because Jackson is a truly amazing author and the way she writes just captures you and draws you in.

I recommend this book for lovers of the paranormal genre, and people who are looking for something creepy to read on Halloween. It’s a great read, and I can’t wait to get my hands on Sweetly!

23 October 2011

Bout of Books Read-a-thon

I've just plucked up the courage to take part in my first ever read-a-thon. I've considered signing up for multiple read-a-thons before, but they've either been at inappropriate times for me, or I just chickened out. That stops now.

Bout of Books will run from 12:01am 10/24 through 11:59 pm 10/30 (your time zone) (GMT)

Bout of Books 2.0 is hosted by Amanda over at On a Book Bender (I love the blog name by the way!). It's half term for me now, so I have a week off school, so this is a wonderful time to participate. Erm, so on with my goals and stuff, I guess. I have no idea what I'm meant to include in this post, so I'm using other blogs as a reference! 

Time Devoted to Reading
Probably mainly in the evenings, but hopefully at least 6 or 7 hours each day. We'll see if I'm being unrealistic!

My Goals
I hope to read at least 3 books. I would say more, but I have coursework to do as well. So I'm going with 3 at the very minimum, but I'm going to try to aim for 7. 

Books to Read
Okay, this is tough. Let's see...
1. Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon
2. Mister Creecher by Chris Priestly
3. Firelight by Sophie Jordan
4. The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald (I have to read this for my coursework, so win-win!)
5. Two Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt
6. The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa
7. Sean Griswold's Head by Lindsey Leavitt
I may switch books, depending on whether or not I'm enjoying them. 

Updates Will Go Here (I hope I'm doing this right)

Monday 24th
Currently Reading: -
Finished: Two Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt
Books Read: 1
Total # of Pages Read: 288

Tuesday 25th
Currently Reading: Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon
Finished: -
Books Read: 1
Total # of Pages Read: 528

Wednesday 26th
Currently Reading: Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon
Finished: Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon
Books Read: 2
Total # of Pages Read: 628

Thursday 27th
Currently Reading: Mister Creecher by Chris Priestley
Books Read:
Total # of Pages Read:

Friday 28th
Currently Reading:
Books Read:
Total # of Pages Read:

Saturday 29th
Currently Reading:
Books Read:
Total # of Pages Read:

Sunday 30th
Currently Reading:
Books Read:
Total # of Pages Read:

In My Mailbox - (36)

hosted by The Story Siren

For Review: 
The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa

Mercy by Jodi Picoult
Everything You Didn't Need to Know About Australia by Adam Ward

Feel free to leave your links below! I'll try to visit as many of your blogs as I can. 

21 October 2011

Blogoversary Giveaway #3: Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Time for the third giveaway in celebration for my blogoversary! This giveaway is for Beauty Queens by Libba Bray, as I know lots of you are dying to read this book. Just fill in the form below to enter, and be sure to read the rules. Good luck everyone!

- Entrees must be 13 years of age or over
- You must be a follower of Books of Amber
- Giveaway ends on  November 14th, 2011

18 October 2011

Class of 2k12

I wanted to take a moment to let you know that the Class of 2k12 have now launched their website! Go and follow them for updates on the new debuts that are coming up next year. They also have a Twitter account which is updated frequently. 

Those of you who have been involved in the book community for a while will know that some debut young adult authors get together each year to form the Class of 2k[insert year here] and they host plenty of giveaways, contests, interviews... everything you can imagine and more. Previous authors you may know of are Cassandra Clare (2k7), Jay Asher (2k7), Albert Borris (2k9), Jeri Smith-Ready (2k10), Leah Cypress (2k10), Kiki Hamilton (2k11) and Julia Karr (2k11). 

Go and check it out! 

17 October 2011

Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez

Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez
Release Date: October 18, 2011 (US)
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Source: Publisher
Rating: Enjoyable
Now is not the time for Carmen to fall in love. And Jeremy is hands-down the wrong guy for her to fall for. He is infuriating, arrogant, and the only person who can stand in the way of Carmen getting the one thing she wants most: to win the prestigious Guarneri competition. Carmen's whole life is violin, and until she met Jeremy, her whole focus was winning. But what if Jeremy isn't just hot...what if Jeremy is better?

Carmen knows that kissing Jeremy can't end well, but she just can't stay away. Nobody else understands her--and riles her up--like he does. Still, she can't trust him with her biggest secret: She is so desperate to win she takes anti-anxiety drugs to perform, and what started as an easy fix has become a hungry addiction. Carmen is sick of not feeling anything on stage and even more sick of always doing what she’s told, doing what's expected.

Sometimes, being on top just means you have a long way to fall.... - Goodreads Page</div>
Virtuosity is told from the point of view of Carmen, an award winning violinist who is about to enter a competition and is going up against Europe’s best male violinist. I’m not a huge fan of music to be honest. I mean, I love listening to it, but I don’t understand most of the terms that musicians use and I can’t play an instrument to save my life. Actually, that’s a lie. I used to play the recorder. Boo-yeah. Anyway, what I was leading to before I got sidetracked was that the music in this book, while being a huge part of the novel, wasn't overpowering and there weren't music terms thrown around left, right and centre.

I really enjoyed reading from the point of view of Carmen, as she was easily relatable and I loved her personality. I was led to feel so sorry for her, and I was cheering her on during the latter half of the book. For coming from such a rich family, she’s definitely not spoilt and she’s really down to earth once you get to know her. I would have liked to have seen some development in the relationship between her and her biological father, perhaps just some sort of communication, because I felt like this could have been a goof focus for the novel. However, Carmen has a great relationship with her stepdad, which was awesome to read about.

Carmen’s relationship with Jeremy did move very fast. I would have preferred a little more build up, but without much action happening – this is contemporary, after all! – I think Jessica Martinez handled this quite well. Jeremy was a really sweet guy, and a well developed character. We learnt a lot about his own family, which I enjoyed. Tip: If a guy from Britain was to state his nationality, he would not say he’s British. He would say he’s English, Welsh etc.

I absolutely hated Carmen’s mother, Diana. I think that if I had seen more of her then I would have despised her as much as Nash from the Soul Screamers series. I almost do. She was an awful mother to Carmen, for various reasons. The main reason being she put her daughter on anti-anxiety drugs, and she practically forced her to take them. This made me so unbelievably angry. Diana was a very controlling mother, and ran Carmen’s life for her. I was very pleased with how their relationship turned out in the end.

Overall I enjoyed Virtuosity to an extent that was completely unexpected! Jessica Martinez is a fabulous author, and she told Carmen’s story really well. I’d definitely recommend this to fans of contemporary fiction, whether you like music or not. It’s a great book!  

15 October 2011

In My Mailbox - (35)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren

For Review:
The Dead of Winter by Chris Priestly
Footloose by Rudi Josephs
Thank you Bloomsbury!

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Feel free to leave links to your IMM posts below!

New Adult Feature

Firstly, thank you to all of my new followers! I love you all, and I hope to get to know all of you in the future. Hugs all round!

Anyway, onto the actual post. Some of you may know that I don't just read Young Adult books, I also love reading adult novels. I just tend to read more YA because that's what I blog about. However, when I do read adult novels I always think about how I would review them given the chance. So I have been thinking, and I decided that I might like to try out an adult feature on my blog every fortnight or every week or something like that. A regular feature just for adults so that I can review adult novels, host author interviews for them and host some giveaways for my favourite books.

I just wanted to know what you guys think of this. Would you be interested in a feature such as this, or would you prefer I just focus on YA? Considering how many adult books I read, I probably wouldn't be reviewing them more often than once per fortnight but... Leave your thoughts in the comments below please!

14 October 2011

Book Blogger Hop and Follow Friday

Q: If you could Weicharacters from a book meet and form an epic storyline with characters from a TV series, which characters would you choose and why?
Oh! I would so totally mix the Vampire Academy novels with the Supernatural TV show. Dean and Sam Winchester would team up with Rose and Dimitri to kick some Strigoi butt, Sammy and Dimka could have a height-off, Dean and Adrian could compete to be the snarkiest. Dean would win, because I love him and this is my story. And while I'm at it, I'll throw in Castiel and Crowely, just for some entertainment/bromance after the Strigoi are all dead after just a month. Damon Salvatore could also become Adrian's drinking buddy. 

It would be amazing.

Book Blogger Hop
Hosted by Crazy For Books
What is your favorite spooky book (i.e. mystery/suspense, thriller, ghost story, etc.)?
I haven't read many spooky books, but I love Darren Shan's Demonata series! Pure horror right there. I also liked Choker by Elizabeth Woods because that was some seriously creepy stuff. 

13 October 2011

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Release Date: September 29, 2011 (US)
Publisher: Dutton
Rating: Essential
Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket -- a gifted inventor -- steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door. - Goodreads Page
Lola and the Boy Next Door is another fabulous novel by Stephanie Perkins. It is a companion novel to Anna and the French Kiss – a book that blew everyone’s minds back in December of last year – and it is just as great.

As a main character, I really liked Lola. Throughout the novel she went through lots of character development, both good and bad, which I absolutely adored. There is nothing worse than reading about a main character that doesn’t change at all throughout the novel. Some aspects of Lola’s character annoyed me, mainly the part of her that feels it’s necessary to lie her way out of most situations, and I found this very aggravating. But it was also realistic! Like Anna in Stephanie’s first book, Lola really came into her own and became such a fantastic character. I hope to see more of her in Isla and the Happy Ever After.

Lola had a relationship with an older boy – well, more like a man, he was 22 – and she thought that at 16/17 this was totally acceptable. I will neither agree nor disagree with this, because the age of consent is different here in the UK. Anyway... Max was in a band, he had tattoos, he was a bit of a player and he smoked drugs – every parent’s worst nightmare for their daughter, basically. I really didn't like Max, I thought he was a complete idiot. He made me so angry! But again, I could deal with him, because to counter his stupidity there was the awesome-sauce that is Cricket Bell.

Cricket acts as the Etienne of Lola and the Boy Next Door. Kind of. He’s the boy next door that Lola has been in love with ever since she was five years old. Their bedroom windows face each other and are just metres apart. It’s meant to be, obviously. Cricket didn’t have the same charm as St Clair – does anyone? – but he was the sweetest and kindest male character I’ve read about in a while. I loved him. I would have liked to have seen more of his inventions, but that’s just the science geek coming out in me!

As predicted, Stephanie Perkins’ writing was phenomenal. She has this amazing ability to let the reader step into the character’s head and experience the story with them. Her writing just pulls you in, you can’t help it.

Did I mention that we see lots of Anna and St Clair in this book? I was expecting maybe a scene or two with them in, perhaps a cameo, but oh my goodness they both work at the movie theatre with Lola! And Cricket is ... no, that’s a spoiler. I won’t say anything! I loved reading about those two in this book, they were just as hilarious and in love as they were in ‘their’ book. *Hugs them tight and never lets them go*.

Overall, I loved Lola and the Boy Next Door. Oh my goodness, it was everything I had been waiting for. It wasn’t as good as Anna and the French Kiss, in my opinion, but it’s definitely high up there on my rating scale. Sorry, but it's impossible for me not to compare the two books! 

If you’re a fan of Anna and the French Kiss, then I’m sure you’ve already ordered your copy, so I won’t recommend this to you guys. I don’t need to! But if you've not read Anna and the French Kiss then you can most certainly read this novel without spoiling yourself from the first book. This is just a companion, after all! 

12 October 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Insignia by S J Kincaid

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. This week my pick is:

Insignia by S J Kincaid
July 10, 2012 (US)


More than anything, Tom Raines wants to be important, though his shadowy life is anything but that. For years, Tom’s drifted from casino to casino with his unlucky gambler of a dad, gaming for their survival. Keeping a roof over their heads depends on a careful combination of skill, luck, con artistry, and staying invisible.

Then one day, Tom stops being invisible. Someone’s been watching his virtual-reality prowess, and he’s offered the incredible—a place at the Pentagonal Spire, an elite military academy. There, Tom’s instincts for combat will be put to the test, and if he passes, he’ll become a member of the Intrasolar Forces, helping to lead his country to victory in World War Three. Finally, he’ll be someone important: a superhuman war machine with the tech skills that every virtual-reality warrior dreams of. Life at the Spire holds everything that Tom’s always wanted—friends, the possibility of a girlfriend, and a life where his every action matters—but what will it cost him? - Goodreads Page

I just love dystopia! This one sounds particularly intriguing to me because, believe it or not, I've not read many books about World War 3. Sure, I've read a couple where WW3 has already taken place and ended the society as we know it, but I've never read one that actually takes us through it as it's happening. I can't wait for this one!

11 October 2011

The Goddess Test by Aimée Carter

The Goddess Test by Aimée Carter
The Goddess Test #1
Release Date: September 16, 2011 (UK)
Publisher: MIRA Ink
Source: Publisher
Rating: Enjoyable
It's always been just Kate and her mom—and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won't live past the fall.

Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld—and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.

Kate is sure he's crazy—until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride, and a goddess. - Goodreads
I was really excited to read Aimee Carter’s The Goddess Test when I first heard that it was a retelling of the Greek myth of Hades and Persephone. I was expecting a fantastic retelling with Greece’s ultimate bad boy (next to Ares, anyway) at the centre. Unfortunately, The Goddess Test didn’t live up to my expectations.

The Goddess Test isn’t really a retelling of the myth; it’s more of a continuation of Hades’ story. Definitely not what I was expecting, but I didn’t mind that. It was Hades and his new love interest that I was more excited to read about.

Kate moves to a new town with her dying mother, and meets various people along with the mysterious Henry (Hades) who offers to keep Kate’s mother alive if Kate will live with him for the next six months in his mansion. Kate agrees, and then the story starts to unfold.

The first one hundred pages or so were very dull. The whole introduction to the town adn people in it seemed very rushed, and it skimmed over the relationship building that took place between Kate and her new best friends. James seems to fall for Kate particularly fast, even though it actually took a few weeks for him to feel this way (which is still totally fast, but I’m trying to prove a point here!). Very little actually happens in this introduction, which may be why it was so bland.

Once Kate makes the deal with Henry, things start to pick up. A new mystery is introduced to the plot, and this makes things very interesting! This is when I started to really enjoy the novel. However, despite there being slightly more action and mystery, there still wasn’t enough of it. Even in the climax of the novel, the action is minimal and is over before you know it even happened.

Kate has to go through a series of tests, which intrigued me. The reader isn’t told what these tests are until the very end, and I enjoyed trying to figure it out. The big reveal is finally made in the last few pages, which I loved. I really enjoyed the ending of this novel.

Kate was a very boring protagonist. She often jumped into things without a second thought, always putting others before herself. Not that selflessness is a bad thing, but I wanted her to have flaws. I don’t have too much to say about her to be honest.

I was really looking forward to reading about Henry, but was left a little disappointed. He had his badass moments, but for the most part he was rather sensitive. I was expecting a bad boy here! Something else that I found to be very silly – and unintentionally hilarious – was that Henry was a virgin. Making any Greek god a virgin, in my opinion, it ridiculous and I found this to be a very strange decision. I did like Henry as a love interest for Kate, even if their relationship did feel a little bit rushed despite them taking quite some time to get together.  

That said, I did enjoy reading this book. The side characters were the best part, for me, as I loved Calliope and Ella and Ava. I also loved the glossary of Greek gods that was included at the end of the novel. Overall, The Goddess Test was an enjoyable enough read, but it certainly had its flaws – unlike the main protagonist – which meant that it could never be a favourite read of mine. I will be reading the next book in the series to see where this goes, as I am genuinely interested.

09 October 2011

In My Mailbox - (34)

Hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren

For Review: 
Cardsharp by Paul Westmoreland
Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez
The Always War by Margaret Peterson Haddix
The Pledge by Kimberly Derting
Legacy by Molly Cochran
Death Watch by Ari Berk
Trance by Kelly Meding

Silence  by Becca Fitzpatrick - Amazing! Definitely by favourite in the series so far.
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins - Can't wait to read this one! 
My Soul to Steal  by Rachel Vincent - Another fantastic novel from Ms Vincent!

Hades by Alexandra Adornetto - Thank you Becky! *hugs*

Ocean of Blood by Darren Shan - Squee! 

06 October 2011

Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick

Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick
Hush, Hush #3
Release Date: October 4, 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Rating: Essential

The noise between Patch and Nora is gone. They've overcome the secrets riddled in Patch's dark past...bridged two irreconcilable worlds...faced heart-wrenching tests of betrayal, loyalty and trust...and all for a love that will transcend the boundary between heaven and earth. Armed with nothing but their absolute faith in one another, Patch and Nora enter a desperate fight to stop a villain who holds the power to shatter everything they've worked for—and their love—forever. -Goodreads
In this book, we find out that Nora was kidnapped after the cliffhanger at the end of Crescendo, and kept for three whole months before being returned to her mum. Unfortunately for Nora, she has lost her memories of the past few months. She can’t remember ever meeting Patch, and she can’t remember anything about angels or Nephilim. This led to an excited plot in which Nora tries to search for answers, as well as trying to solve a couple of other things along the way.

The plot moves incredibly fast, and I just couldn’t put it down due to the non-stop action. The multiple fight scenes were well described and I felt like I was right there with the characters. The mythology included in this novel was also great, as is always the case with this series. I love the angels – fallen, archangels and otherwise – and I love the Nephilim.

As for Nora, I think she was much better developed in this novel than she was in Crescendo. She did come off as a little whiny and childish in the second novel in the series, but I think in Silence she has really matured and comes off as a much more well rounded character. She does make a couple of idiotic decisions here and there, but without those some ... things wouldn’t have happened. Overall, she was much more tolerable in Silence.

How could anyone not love Patch after reading this book? Ah! He is so great. We got to see him and his ‘abilities’ in action, and the way he protected Nora no matter what was awesome. He got them out of some pretty dangerous situations with some pretty dangerous people, and he didn't even bat an eyelid to protect her. I fell in love with him all over again in this novel.

As always, I loved Becca Fitzpatrick’s writing. The way she writes is simply superb and this series is just... *hugs it tightly* If you love paranormal romances you should definitely pick up this series. It’s one of my favourites of all time, and Silence is Becca's best book yet.  

05 October 2011

Blogoversary Giveaway #2: Alyson Noel Prize Pack

Welcome to my second giveaway for my blogoversary. I'll be hosting these throughout October, so be sure to check back for more awesome books. I have one that I'm sure you're going to love!

This giveaway is for two books by Alyson Noel, who I've been told is an awesome author. One person will win both Everlasting by Alyson Noel and Shimmer by Alyson Noel.

Fill in THIS FORM to enter!

International! Yay! Go me!
- Entrees must be 13 years of age or over
- You must be a follower of Books of Amber
- Giveaway ends on October 31st, 2011

03 October 2011

If I Die by Rachel Vincent

If I Die by Rachel Vincent
Soul Screamers #5
Release Date: September 27, 2011 (US)
Publisher: Harlequin
Rating: All Time Favourite 

The entire school's talking about the gorgeous new math teacher, Mr. Beck. Everyone except Kaylee Cavanaugh. After all, Kaylee's no ordinary high-school junior. She's a banshee—she screams when someone dies.

But the next scream might be for Kaylee. 

Yeah—it's a shock to her, too. So to distract herself, Kaylee's going to save every girl in school. Because that hot new teacher is really an incubus who feeds on the desire of unsuspecting students. The only girls immune to his lure are Kaylee and Sabine, her boyfriend's needy ex-girlfriend. Now the unlikely allies have to get rid of Mr. Beck…before he discovers they aren't quite human, either. 

But Kaylee's borrowed lifeline is nearing its end. And those who care about her will do anything to save her life.

Anything. - Goodreads
I really shouldn't write reviews for this series, because I end up squealing over it and never get across the points that I wanted to make. Nonetheless, I just had to jot down my thoughts on Rachel Vincent’s new book, as it’s my favourite series and I must share the love. Please don’t take this review too seriously, like I said, I’m just jotting! There will be no spoilers in this review. I may actually record a video review containing spoilers, because I need to discuss this book!

As always, the newest book in the Soul Screamers series totally tops its predecessor in so many ways. The plot is amazing, the characters are swoon worthy slash lovable slash people I want to kill, and the writing was – of course – incredible.

If you’ve read the synopsis then you know that Kaylee finds out she’s going to die. This book would not be complete without even more complications that come in the form of Kaylee and Emma’s teach, Mr Beck, who isn’t really human. There are also weird things happening with young girls in and around the town. Sound complicated, right? That’s because it is. There are so many things going on in this book, and yet it never seems to get ‘crowded’, for want of a better word. The plot is perfect, along with the pacing.

Kaylee is awesome, as always. I love her so, so much, and I loved reading about her coming to terms with her death – kind of – whilst also trying to figure out a number of mysteries at the same time. Kaylee is definitely one of my favourite characters in YA, she’s just fantastic! She’s also pretty badass in this book with all the fighting and punching she does!

I don’t think I even need to go into what I think about Tod. You should all know he’s amazing, and that I am in love with him. He was so, so sweet in this book! He does so much for Kaylee in this book, while his brother just stands around being useless. I love him *happy tears* He is the most adorable thing on the planet, he really is. *swoons*

As for Nash... I hate him. Nothing has changed since my last review so I don’t need to go into detail, but as far as I’m concerned Sabine can have him. Oh! I really liked Sabine in this book! She’s not as bad as I once thought.

The ending was definitely the best part of the book. It starts to really pick up with around 100 pages to go, and just keeps building. I will warn you, you are going to cry. I had to go to school with puffy eyes because I had been crying so much the night before after finishing this book. No, I won’t tell you why I was crying – you’ll have to go and buy the book, because it just won’t be the same coming from me!

I was so nervous about reading this book after reading some of the non-spoilery reviews that are on Goodreads. So. Nervous. But I shouldn’t have worried, because the whole thing was incredible and mind-blowing. It’s my favourite book in the series so far! I don’t know if Before I Wake and the final book will be able to compare. Oh, this was great.

If you haven’t picked up this series yet, I seriously don’t know what you’re waiting for. It’s my favourite series ever, and definitely compares with Vampire Academy and The Hunger Games’ qualities. Go get it!

Favourite Quotes:
“Why are you dressed like a mad scientist?”
“You just say the word, and I’ll make the rest of the world go away. I’ll take you someplace safe where no one else can reach us.”
“I’m every bit as good as you think I am.”
“I’m dead, not impotent. Nasty rumours like that must be quashed before they gain momentum. Feel free to emphasise how very functional I am.”

01 October 2011

In My Mailbox - (33)

Don't forget to enter my current giveaway for Glass Houses by Rachel Caine! More giveaways to come during October.

IMM is hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren. Go and check out her blog! 

For Review:
The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter (Thank you MIRA!) - Goodreads
Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon - Goodreads
The 13th Horseman by Barry Hutchison (Thanks HC!) - Goodreads

Books Bought Last Week:
The Lost World by Michael Crichton - Goodreads
The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans - Goodreads
Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier - Goodreads
The Road by Cormac McCarthy - Goodreads
The Vanished Man by Jeffrey Deaver - Goodreads
HP7 by JK Rowling - Goodreads

Thanks for visiting my blog! Do let me know what you got this week, or leave your links in the comments below.