Friday, 27 September 2013

Caragh Reviews - Working Stiff by Rachel Caine

Published - 31st October 2011
Publisher - Allison & Busby
Format - Paperback
Synopsis - Bryn Davis knows working at Fairview Mortuary isn't the most glamorous career choice, but at least it offers stable employment--until she discovers her bosses using a drug that resurrects the clientele as part of an extortion racket. Now, Bryn faces being terminated--literally, and with extreme prejudice. Wit the help of corporate double-agent Patrick McCallister, Bryn has a chance to take down the bigger problem--pharmaceutical company Pharmadene, which treats death as the ultimate corporate loyalty program. She'd better do it fast, before she becomes a zombie slave--a real working stiff. She'd be better off dead...

 *Insert fangirling about Rachel Caine*

Now that's covered, I should probably dive right in to the review!
I love me some Zombie books but Rachel Caine deals with the undead in a totally different way! Kick-ass Bryn Davis starts working at a Mortuary and it isn't long until she finds out about Pharmadenes special little talent; creating shots to bring the dead back to life! Awesome, right? Wrong. Once you've been given the drug you then need it every single day - and of course it comes at a huge price. 

Bryn has always been a hard worker and has always tried to do what she thinks is best, and that only becomes more apparent when she, along with sometimes-suspicious Pharmadene employees try to find the source of the dealers in order to take down the company and stop their inhumane acts. 

For the most part I really enjoyed Working Stiff. The concept was beyond awesome, a kick-ass woman taking charge of the situation (and the men!) and great writing from Caine as always. Though it took me such a long time to read! There's a section quite a bit after the beginning but before the halway point that just..drags. For lack of a better word. It's not that it's uninteresting because it isn't at all. It just felt like it could be more related to the story and a little bit more action. However, once I did start reading properly I couldn't put it down. Bryn and her new Pharmadene friends were awesome in every sense of the word. 

One thing Caine is excellent at is making the dangers that the characters face seem incredibly real. Physical pain, emotional turmoil, anxiety... you feel it all right alongside Bryn and it pulls you into the story completely. The events of Working Stiff, particularly the ending lead me to believe that the Revivalist series could well be one of my favourites. It raises a lot of moral questions too which makes it great for discussion.

It's also SO different from her other series too. I think it's safe to say that Rachel Caine has a series out there that is suited to every type of reader. The next book, Two Weeks Notice is on my upcoming to read books and the third is out soon so I definitely recommending reading this one now!

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Brianna Reviews - The Transfer by Veronica Roth

The Transfer is a short story and is part of the Divergent Trilogy. It was released on 3rd September.

The Transfer is written from Four/Tobias's point of view which is why it initially drew my attention. It provides an interesting perspective into who Four really is, why he is the way he is, how he became that way and perhaps more interestingly, who Tobias is. The Transfer lets you see Four when he was still just Tobias; an Abnegation kid with nothing left to lose

The Transfer starts the night before the Choosing Ceremony and ends shortly after he starts his initiation into Dauntless and receives the name Four. We experience it with him and see the start of his transformation from Abnegation Tobias to Dauntless Four .

At the beginning of the short story, Tobias is weak against his father, questioning and uncertain of where or what he is going to do once the Ceremony makes him choose. It's great to see how his confidence grows and how he comes the person that we've read about in Divergent & Insurgent. Though the story was very short, it did give a good insight and with the release of other Four stories, i'm looking forward to seeing what else we can learn about Four/Tobias.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Caragh Reviews - Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris

Published - 1st May 2012
Publisher - Gollancz
Format - Hardback
Synopsis - Sookie has a murder investigation on her hands. A young girl has died at a vampire party - and it looks as though her lover, Eric, might be responsible. Eric swears he didn't do it, the police don't believe him, and even Sookie isn't so sure. Nor is she inclined to take his word for it, not having caught him enjoying the victim's blood minutes before she was killed. But something strange is going on. Why had Sookie been asked to come to the fateful party a few minutes early - just to catch Eric in the act? And why had the victim spiked her own blood before approaching Eric? Was it simply because she wanted to be irresistable, or was it something more sinister? Sookie will have to find out ... but it's the worst moment to investigate, as her Fae family are having troubles of their own and Sookie is, inevitably, drawn in. And there is one last complication. The cluviel dor her grandmother left her. It will grant her one wish, which could fulfil Sookie's heart's desire. The only problem is, she still doesn't know what - or who - her heart truly desires ...

Dead Reckoning review is here

Deadlocked is the penultimate book in the Southern Vampires series by Charlaine Harris ... and things are hotting up!

I enjoyed Deadlocked at least 3 times more than the previous book and I can only assume that's because there wasn't a 2-3 year gap between reading them ;) There is only one book left in the series now and it definitely feels like everything is coming to a close.

Deadlocked centres around a plot to take Eric down, but nobody seems to know who is at the heart of it and there are an awful lot of coincidences. Deadlocked definitely felt like more of a mystery book than a vampire book that features a mystery, if that makes sense. Sookie's suspicions start to close in on people who are closest to her and as always, it's difficult to know who to trust. Especially as it seems Eric is keeping his distance and secrets far from Sookie, too.

As in the last book, Sookie is fraught over the cluviel dor and what she is supposed to with it. With the Queen closing in on Eric and the likelihood of him staying with Sookie getting slimmer and slimmer, Sookie has the chance to use it to save her relationship...but does she? I will say that the cluviel dor is finally used but on who? It definitely leaves a lot of questions unanswered about who Sookie's true love really is.

I've started putting together some theories for what will happen and where Sookie will end up (and who with!) in the final book but i'm not to sure where the story is really going now. I'm looking forward to finishing the series finally.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Brianna's Top Ten Best Sequels Ever

Hosted by Broke & the Bookish

This is sadly only a top five (I struggled enough to come up with 5). Mostly because I read a lot of serials and it's hard really to say #2 in a trilogy is a really good sequel as often they can only really be read as one story; Brent Weeks' Night Angel Trilogy for example is basically just one big story rather than 3 smaller interlinking stories. Another reasonis that sometimes a series does not get better after the first book. So here is my top five best sequels:

1. Swords of Night and Day by David Gemmell (Sequel of White Wolf). This sequel is as good if not better than the first, it is also very different in some ways yet still familiar. I also like how it doesn't follow straight on from the first.

2. Morganville 2-14 by Rachel Caine (S of Glass Houses). This is more of sequels than sequel. I've added these because each book in this series is refreshing and new despite being part of a long standing series - often following straight on from the events of the previous book - they have never felt stale.

3. Snuff by Terry Prattchett (S of Thud!). The discworld books aren't exactly a strict series and neither are the city watch storyline but they do follow on from each other in a chronological order. I've added this because with each book you get to see the City Watch and Sam Vimes grow and change a little. You see Sam get promoted, fall in love, become a father and change his views but never do I get bored of seeing him or do his story lines seem unoriginal.

4. Insurgent by Veronica Roth (S of Divergent). Insurgent is on this list is because everything changes in. Insurgent it is no longer the same world as Divergent yet it still manages to feel like the same world.

5. Magic Study by Maria V Snyder (S of Poison Study). Magic study is here for similar reasons as Insurgent, although less changes in Magic Study it still has a new feel to it despite being similar.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Caragh Reviews - Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Published - 16th September 2009
Publisher - Penguin
Format - Paperback
Synopsis - You can't stop the future. You can't rewind the past. The only way to learn the secret is to press play. Clay Jensen returns home to find a strange package with his name on it. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker – his classmate and first love – who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah's voice explains there are thirteen reasons why she killed herself. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out why. All through the night, Clay keeps listening – and what he discovers changes his life... forever.

I first heard about this book from Priscilla's YouTube Channel (find the video here) and it really did intrigue me! As always, I then completely forgot about it until I just happened to spot it crammed in between Neil Gaiman books at the library! Despite promising myself to not check any more books out, I did it anyway and it was really GOOD!

Thirteen Reasons Why tells the story of Hannah Baker's suicide. It was really interesting as the story comes through the medium of cassette tapes which made the format of the book and the actual storytelling very different and unique which I loved. At the beginning it was a little confusing as italics were the only thing that set apart Hannah from Clay but it soon became fluid and very easy to follow. I can definitely see why people choose the audiobook format for this one and maybe one day i'll have to listen too!

Hannah desperately wants the people who hurt her to know why she took her own life and what part they played in that. Honestly it does feel somewhat childish - that Hannah wants revenge and wants others to hurt with her but by the end of the story I didn't feel that anymore. By the end of Hannah's tapes I started to forget about the frustration I felt about Hannah's 'revenge act' and realised that what she was actually doing was changing people, for the better. Hannah wasn't able to help herself. She felt lost and defeated by the actions of others and her own responses to those actions but by sending out the tapes to the people who hurt her, she had the chance to help them to help themselves.

I've read a lot of reviews in which people found Thirteen Reasons Why to lack any true emotional depth and I'm completely baffled by that. Sure, Hannah is often blasé and dispassionate when she talks but this is a girl who is literally on the edge of taking her own life after being mentally tortured for a long time. She no longer reasons in the same way that mentally healthy people do. It is Clay who feels the emotions as ultimately it is Clay's story we are interested in, not Hannah. Through the tapes we see how Clay changes, grows up, shows and reacts to emotions etc. I think some people took Hannah's tapes to mean the story was about her and I don't think that's necessarily true.

Thirteen Reasons Why could make a great discussion book and it's quick and easy to read. Judging by other reviews, this book can be very hit and miss but I would definitely suggest trying it yourself before turning it down. I really enjoyed it.

Weekly Updates 9/9/ - 13/9 AND 16/9 -20/9

It’s time for Weekly Updates! Which is pretty much the same as all the other weekly memes out there so we don't claim any rights or anything :) So let's get to it.

Books we got this week!

Caragh got -  
Stardust - Neil Gaiman
Adorkable - Sara Manning
Etiquette & Espionage - Gail Carriger
Cymbeline - William Shakespeare
The Complete Book of Fortune
Bridget Jones' Diary - Helen Fielding
Percy Jackson & The Battle of the Labyrinth - Rick Riordan

Brianna got -  
Tithe - Holly Black
Valiant - Holly Black
Ironside - Holly Black

Books we reviewed this week!

Inside Out –Maria V Snyder
Severed Heads, Broken Hearts - Robyn Schneider
The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown

Currently Reading!
Caragh –A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin
Brianna – Thirteen Reasons Why

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Caragh Reviews - The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

Published - 15th September 2009
Publisher - Bantam
Format - Hardback
Synopsis - WHAT WAS LOST WILL BE FOUND…Washington DC: Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned at the last minute to deliver an evening lecture in the Capitol Building. Within moments of his arrival, however, a disturbing object – gruesomely encoded with five symbols – is discovered at the epicentre of the Rotunda. It is, he recognises, an ancient invitation, meant to beckon its recipient towards a long-lost world of hidden esoteric wisdom.nnWhen Langdon’s revered mentor, Peter Solomon – philanthropist and prominent mason – is brutally kidnapped, Langdon realizes that his only hope of saving his friend’s life is to accept this mysterious summons and follow wherever it leads him.nnLangdon finds himself quickly swept behind the facade of America’s most historic city into the unseen chambers, temples and tunnels which exist there. All that was familiar is transformed into a shadowy, clandestine world of an artfully concealed past in which Masonic secrets and never-before-seen revelations seem to be leading him to a single impossible and inconceivable truth. A brilliantly composed tapestry of veiled histories, arcane icons and enigmatic codes, The Lost Symbol is an intelligent, lightning-paced thriller that offers surprises at every turn. For, as Robert Langdon will discover, there is nothing more extraordinary or shocking than the secret which hides in plain sight…

The Lost Symbol is the third Dan Brown novel featuring symbologist Robert Langdon. Many many years ago I read Da Vinci Code (when it was all the rage) and devoured it. It was a new type of book that I hadn't read before, full of mysteries, intrigue and I even learned a few things too! I thought I was set to love a brand new author. I then discovered Angels & Demons and of course, set out to read that too. This is when my Dan Brown experience kinda fell through a little. I wasn't a big fan of A&D, even though I read it twice just to make sure, but I still wasn't ready to give up completely so more than a couple of years after it's released I took a deep breath and read The Lost Symbol.

The book starts off with great potential. As always, Langdon gets an out of the blue phonecall which sends him flying off to greet whatever mystery awaits. You'd think by now he'd just stick to lecturing! The case that Langdon is presented with isn't really apparent until the end of the book which was pretty fun and there were a lot of things that were brought in that seriously made me sit back in awe. The idea of Noetic Science is something i've heard about before but the things presented in The Lost Symbol were astonishing and maybe i'm naive but I thought - what if?

So if I found the book exciting, interesting and at times jaw-dropping - what exactly is my problem I hear you say. The sameness. It felt like the basic plot was the same and I guess that's what people like about it and why they're so popular. But the biggest thing I had a problem with was the irrelevance. Though the Noetic side of the book was one of my favourites - it didn't even seem important in the end. I'm sure i'm probably just missing the point (I have a Arty mind not a Sciency one!) but it seemed like such a waste. Also Langdon himself barely seemed useful. Though his symbology is impressive, he was often wrong and only ever got to the correct answers because of the people who were helping him at the time! It could have featured anyone - Langdon wasn't important in my opinion. 

Though I was (obviously) disappointed with The Lost Symbol, I am still looking forward to reading the latest, Inferno. With the reference to Dante's Inferno and the small hope for another knockout like Da Vinci Code, it is on my to-read list and fingers crossed it's a little bit...more!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Caragh's Top Ten Fall TBR Lists!

Hosted by Broke & The Bookish
September 17: Top Ten Books On My Fall 2013 TBR List (you could do top ten fall releases you plan on reading or just your planned reading list)

I don't really have TBR Lists anymore as I can never stick to them and I just get anxious when I don't get through them all! So rather than a set list of books I want to read by x/x  etc, these are just books I want to get through in no particular order!

1. Game of Thrones - George RR Martin
I started this in JUNE! It's a pretty big book but there's no excuse for not finishing it by now other than impatience to start other books which get finished quicker. So fingers crossed I can get this one off my list ASAP.

2. The Maze Runner - James Dashner
I bought this series a long time ago and wanted to start it straight away but other books got in my way ;) It seems like it could be a good book to get into whilst wrapping up warm in front of the heater!

3. Beautiful Redemption - Garcia & Stohl
Incredible series so far but for whatever reason I keep putting off the final book but it's time to get it done with and move on! Then I can jump in to new series'.

4. Inferno - Dan Brown
I borrowed this from my grandparents a few weeks ago and it's still sitting unread so I really need to get on this one and give it back!

5. Dash & Lily's Book of Dares - Levithan & Cohn
I've read this before but I absolutely adore it! I think it'll make a great book to read in the fall as it's wintery and it'll be a nice book to lead into the winter months.

6. Dead Ever After - Charlaine Harris
To me, fall feels like a good time to finish off as many series as possible so that the freezing cold winter months can be spend reading Christmassy/Feel good books ready for the new year! With that in mind I think I want to get the Southern Vampire books over with.

7. Two Weeks Notice - Rachel Caine
Firstly, it'd be weird if Rachel Caine didn't feature in one of my Top Tens! *Obsessed* but also with the third book being released soon, I want to finish the second so I don't have to wait for the last one!

8. Parallel - Lauren Miller
A new-to-me author (maybe even new? I haven't done much research)! This was a gift from my mum and i've been wanting to read it for ages now so it's bumped up my list and hopefully i'll finish it soon.

9. Grave Secret - Charlaine Harris
Another Charlaine Harris book on this list. It's the last in the Harper Connolly series. They're really fun and quick and after reading all the other books on this list i'll be missing my Kindle which I bought this one on!

10. Stone of Tears - Terry Goodkind
This one is cheating a little ;) Although i'll almost certainly start this book in the fall, I have no intentions of finishing it until late in the year! It's one of those books that will take a long time to read as I like to read them in short, frequent bursts. Also it was getting really hard trying to think of books i'm likely to read in the next few weeks ;) Who knows what I will have bought by then!

Monday, 16 September 2013

Caragh Reviews - Severed Heads, Broken Hearts by Robyn Schneider

Published - 1st September 2013
Publisher - Simon & Schuster
Format - Paperback
Synopsis - Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them—a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: In one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra's knee, his career as a jock, and his social life. No longer a front-runner for homecoming king, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra's ever met— achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures. Together, Ezra and Cassidy discover flash mobs, buried treasure, secret movie screenings, and a poodle that might just be the reincarnation of Jay Gatsby. But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: If one's singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has mattered quite a bit, what happens when more misfortune strikes?

This book has been re-named for some ridiculous reason so if you're unfortunate enough not to come across the original title (which I ADORE) then it's new name is The Beginning of Everything

This is probably, definitely going to be a biased review because honestly, if it was possible to rate books more than 5 stars (in Goodreads terms) I would totally max the crap out of the rating. I quite simply, absolutely and completely maniacally LOVED this book.

The cover of Severed Heads, Broken Hearts was the first thing that grabbed my attention, and then the cover & blurb quote both made references to John Green/Augustus Waters and I was sold immediately. The blue and the mixing of black and white in the centre is very TFioS which naturally turns heads now but to give a more substantial reason of why I picked the book up - it actually sounded interesting. I'm also happy to report that the blurb on the back of the book really does contain the essence of the book itself.

The story is told from Ezra's POV and so the laugh-out-loud humour is of course his too which makes it a genuinely funny and interest story. Severed Heads, Broken Hearts dives straight into it and within a couple of pages the "twist" is already thrown at us. I've said this multiple times now but I honestly just couldn't stop laughing at the beginning. Ezra is gorgeous, loveable and completely down to earth so that anyone can relate and his transition from Top Jock to Debate Nerd is heartwarming and also painful at times. All of the characters are well written, even side characters who don't really mean anything to the story but definitely add something to Ezra's learning curve. 

Another thing I particularly enjoyed was the pop culture references scattered throughout! Stuff like that really gets me going as it appeals to my own nerdy side. My favourite character by far was Toby. His reaction to the 'severed head' situation and the way he was more than happy to invite Ezra back into his life like they'd been best friends forever was brilliant and I wish there were more genuine people like him. His references to Doctor Who and his memorabilia were probably what won me over the most - nerd, remember? ;)

Severed Heads, Broken Hearts just felt really genuine and was a completely refreshing read in comparison to everything else i've read recently which falls just short. It had everything I was looking for, it was GREAT, quick and fun read and prompted me in the right direction to go on a reading binge. I would definitely recommend this one!

Monday, 9 September 2013

Caragh Reviews - Inside Out by Maria V Snyder

Published – 1st April 2010
Publisher – Harlequin
Format – Paperback
Synopsis – I'm Trella. I'm a scrub. A nobody. One of thousands who work the lower levels, keeping Inside clean for the Uppers. I've got one friend, do my job and try to avoid the Pop Cops. So what if I occasionally use the pipes to sneak around the Upper levels? The only neck at risk is my own…until I accidentally start a rebellion and become the go-to girl to lead a revolution.

I first discovered Maria V Snyder a few years ago through the ‘Study’ and ‘Glass’ series’ that she wrote and I ADORED them and the writing style. Inside Out was a lucky library find and I was pretty anxious to get stuck into it, knowing how brilliantly Snyder creates her worlds.

For the first half of the book I honestly kind of struggled. The idea behind the book was incredible and really gripped me. Whenever I wasn’t reading I found myself desperately wanting to know what this world was and how Trella fit into it. Unfortunately, that was most of the time because when I was actually reading it; my interest sort of...disappeared. It felt like the story was moving too slowly considering the amount of tension that was already building up. However, I persevered due to sheer curiosity for answers and I am so SO glad that I did!

I’m not sure exactly what point it was that everything suddenly clicked for me, but somewhere along the line my brain caught on to the fact that the pacing, the excessive tension, the long drawn out moments etc, were intentional and integral to the plot. This IS Trella’s life. Once I accepted that, it was easier to see the social commentary that Snyder is providing. The class divides aren’t too dissimilar from those we have now and the prejudices against the things we don’t understand. This is why I love fantasy, science fiction and dystopia so much; to see our world reflected back at us to give a clearer understanding. By the end of the book – the big ‘reveal’ if you will, I was left open-mouthed and a little ashamed that I ever doubted the book to be honest. It’s a little out there but it’s totally believable and definitely intriguing! Can’t wait to come across the next book, Outside In.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Weekly Updates 2/9 - 6/9

It’s time for Weekly Updates! Which is pretty much the same as all the other weekly memes out there so we don't claim any rights or anything :) So let's get to it.

Books we got this week!

Caragh got -  
Severed Heads, Broken Hearts - Robyn Schneider
The Transfer - A Divergent Story - Veronica Roth
24x Encyclopaedia Brittanica

Library Books

Thirteen Reasons Why - Jay Asher
Deadlocked - Charlaine Harris
Joker - Brian Azzarello & Lee Bermejo

Brianna got -  
Vampire From Hell Pt.1 - Ally Thomas
Bewitching the Werewolf - Caroline Hanson
Land of the Shadows - Jeff Gunzel

Books we reviewed this week!
Death Du Jour by Kathy Reichs
Are We There Yet? by David Levithan
Strange Angels by Lili St.Crow
Carniepunk by Various Authors (Anthology)

Currently Reading!
Caragh – The Restaurant at the End of the Universe - Douglas Adams
Brianna – Bitter Blood - Rachel Caine

Friday, 6 September 2013

Caragh Reviews - Carniepunk Anthology (Ft Rachel Caine & more)

Published - 23rd July 2013
Publisher - Gallery Books
Format -E-book
Synopsis - A star-studded urban fantasy anthology featuring bestselling authors Rachel Caine, Rob Thurman, Seanan McGuire, Jennifer Estep, and Kevin Hearne, whose stories explore the creepy, mysterious, and, yes, sometimes magical world of traveling carnivals. The traveling carnival is a leftover of a bygone era, a curiosity lurking on the outskirts of town. It is a place of contradictions—the bright lights mask the peeling paint; a carnie in greasy overalls slinks away from the direction of the Barker’s seductive call. It is a place of illusion—is that woman’s beard real? How can she live locked in that watery box? And while many are tricked by sleight of hand, there are hints of something truly magical going on. One must remain alert and learn quickly the unwritten rules of this dark show. To beat the carnival, one had better have either a whole lot of luck or a whole lot of guns—or maybe some magic of one’s own. Featuring stories grotesque and comical, outrageous and action-packed, Carniepunk is the first anthology to channel the energy and attitude of urban fantasy into the bizarre world of creaking machinery, twisted myths, and vivid new magic.

I got sent this SO long ago and I feel terrible that it took me so long to finish it but honestly, it just wasn't working for me. I was so excited about the premise of this anthology - which as a fun note, was my first ever anthology! I knew it would be dark & twisted and of course, with Rachel Caine's name on the front there was no way I was missing out. Sadly, Rachel Caine was one of the only things I really enjoyed about it.

The anthology started off well, the stories were, as expected, dark and twisted but as I read on, it was just a little too much for me. Though i'm a 25yo mature adult, the adult content was just a little overbearing at times and the twisted was way beyond what I imagined. Somewhere along the way it just stopped being fun and became a chore. Sometimes, the location i'm reading in can really affect how I feel about a book and so I tried everything. I read in a tent in the middle of a field, I read on the beach, I read sitting in the window, lying in bed - nada. It just wasn't for me. Some of the stories were excellent and left me wanting more but others really felt like I was being punished for something..! 

I'm very grateful for getting to read this but I don't think i'll be buying it for my shelves anytime soon and if I do, it will purely be the allure of owning Caine's entire bibliography.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Brianna Reviews - Strange Angels by Lili St.Crow

Published: 14th May 2009
Publisher: Razorbill
Format: Paperback
Synopsis: In Strange Angels, Dru Anderson has what her grandmother called “the touch.” (Comes in handy when you’re traveling from town to town with your dad, hunting ghosts, suckers, wulfen, and the occasional zombie.) Then her dad turns up dead—but still walking—and Dru knows she’s next. Even worse, she’s got two guys hungry for her affections, and they’re not about to let the fiercely independent Dru go it alone. Will Dru discover just how special she really is before coming face-to-fang with whatever—or whoever— is hunting her?

There are a few reasons why I picked Strange Angels to read:  1)I was sat in a library and I didn’t feel like reading the book I was currently reading, so I asked Caragh to do some random book picking. But Strange Angels wasn’t the only option which brings us to 2) It had previously come up in a search I did for books containing werewolves - (I felt the Werewolf/Vampire balance was uneven. Turns out the blurbs for werewolf books just don’t appeal) – It was one of the only appealing books that came up in this search. 3) Strange Angels came across sounding a little bit like similar to a TV show I like to watch – Supernatural. 

I’m really glad I gave Strange Angels a chance because for the most part I enjoyed reading it. It's not the best thing I’ve read but I wasn’t expecting Shakespeare. Point #2 above however proved to be somewhat incorrect in my opinion, yes this book does contain werewolves but it also contains other supernatural elements in equal measure so personally I wouldn’t really class this as a werewolf book. One thing that does put me off slightly is it seems to be like Lili St. Crow is trying to put a new spin on the supernatural which in itself I don’t mind but when that involves changing ‘werewolves’ to ‘werewulfen’ it doesn’t make it new or different and doesn’t fool anyone - just call them what they are. This book also contains vampires but of course they are never called vampires. Strange Angels is also in my view quite racist in places. Dru refers to Graves who is half Asian as “Half-Breed” - since when is that acceptable? Lili St. Crow also constantly reminds us that Graves is half Asian. Once was enough. I don’t need to be constantly reminded.
Dru is a strong and independent character which normally I would respect but I don’t. In fact I spent a lot of the book struggling to like Dru. I think she is a little too independent and is incapable of accepting help when it is necessary. I would understand her pushing Graves away and shutting him out (to protect him) if it had been before the mall incident, however Dru spends most of her time trying to shut Graves out after the damage has already been done and by this point I think she should just accept his friendship. She also constantly refers to him as “kid” – I should point out that he is the same age as her and is far from being an innocent child so she just sounds needlessly patronising. I might be slightly biased in my views of Dru considering I do in fact like Graves. He seems like a genuinely nice person and more importantly he sticks by Dru even when he is terrified. I also don’t like Christophe he just comes across as a jerk… in fact Graves is the only character I truly like and Dru only half of the time.

In summary I did like reading this book and I do intend to read the next one, I wouldn’t buy the next one though so it entirely depends on if I can find the next one in the library. I would recommend this book for a quick read with no great literary expectations.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Caragh Reviews - Are We There Yet? by David Levithan

Published - 5th February 2007
Publisher - Harper Collins
Format - Paperback
Synopsis - Sixteen-year-old Elijah is completely mellow and his 23-year-old brother Danny is completely not, so it's no wonder they can barely tolerate one another. So what better way to repair their broken relationship than to trick them into taking a trip to Italy together? Soon, though, their parents' perfect solution has become Danny and Elijah's nightmare as they're forced to spend countless hours "together." But then Elijah meets Julia, and soon the brothers aren't together nearly as much. And when Julia suddenly decides that maybe it's Danny she's really interested in, Danny has a decision to make: does he honor his relationship with the brother he thinks hates him, or does he follow his heart, which sorely needs some repairing of its own?

Christmas Day, 2011. That was the day I discovered David Levithan and since then I just can't get enough of his writing. There's just something about Levithan that really appeals to me. Though it feels like it's leaning towards YA, it also deals with very adult issues too such as sex, family, careers - particularly in Are We There Yet? Unlike his co-written books with Rachel Cohn, it took longer than usual to really get to know the Danny and Elijah but interestingly, by the end of the book I felt incredibly close to them. That's probably helped by the fact that we learn things about Danny that Elijah doesn't know and vice versa. 

On the surface, Are We There Yet? is a book about two brothers who, somewhere along the way, became separated and who are forced together on a trip to Italy. The book is split into each place they travel and Levithan applies some great travel writing, showing us the sights and sounds of Italy as well as unraveling the layers between Danny and Elijah. 

The plot was simple, easy to read and thought-provoking as always and Levithan has only moved further up on my list of favourite authors. I'd recommend him to anyone aged 16+ or mature younger readers (some adult content in his books!)

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Brianna Reviews - Death Du Jour by Kathy Reichs

Published: 2000 (first published 1999)
Publisher: Arrow Books
Format: Paperback
Synopsis: On a bitterly cold March night in Montreal, forensic anthropologist Dr Temperance Brennan is exhuming the remains of a nun in the grounds of an old church. Hours later, Tempe is called to the scene of a horrifying arson. A young family has perished, but there is no explanation, no motive, and no witnesses. From the charred remains of the inferno, to a trail of sinister cult activity, Tempe faces a nerve-shattering case which will test her forensic expertise - and her instinct for survival.

I picked up Death Du Jour to read quicker than planned to. I had wanted to leave a longer gap before reading the second Brennan book but I couldn’t help myself because I had enjoyed reading the first one so much and I wasn’t done with the characters; I wanted more of Brennan and Ryan.
I wasn’t as satisfied with this book by the end of it as I was with the first book. There were a few reasons for this: Firstly it hit me in the book just how much description there is and I prefer my descriptions to be more to the point. It’s okay when she is describing crime scenes and forensics but not when she is making dinner. Secondly there are parts of Brennan’s personality that are starting to jar with me; mainly the way she treats Ryan, he asks her out for drinks and she wants to go because she likes him but she rejects his offer on the grounds that she works with him (fair enough) but then she gets all jealous and treats him like dirt as if it’s his fault she turned him down. Also when she is hell bent on driving off in a snow storm and Ryan ends up driving her because his car would be safer -  he is risking his own safety and she still snaps at him when he makes sensible and safe decision’s and her recklessness ultimately puts them in peril. Thirdly I’m not sure if this is fair but I don’t think there is enough interaction between Brennan and Ryan in the book.

As for the case itself it was interesting and played out well I would add the warning that it is not for the faint hearted! And last but not least, I am a fan of the TV series so I’m still a little unsure if it is the love of the show or the books which is driving me on to read more. I suppose the next book will be the tipping point to find out if it’s the books as I don’t own the 4th so I will only look for it if I feel that I am genuinely interested in the books.

P.s. These books totally suggest the idea of a Bones/Criminal Minds crossover, if you watch either of these shows look out of it.
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