Book Spotlight: Airel by Aaron Patterson & Chris White

Due to the insane amount of stuff on my plate in recent months, I haven't been able to finish Airel in time for review today, however, I do honestly think the book sounds amazing, so I'm going to do a mini spotlight on it instead.
All Airel ever wanted was to be normal, to disappear into the crowd. But bloodlines can produce surprises, like an incredible ability to heal. Then there's Michael Alexander, the new guy in school, who is impossibly gorgeous...and captivated by her. Somewhere in the back of her mind, she can hear the sound of pages turning, and another, older story being written. It is the story of an ancient family, of great warriors, of the Sword of Light, and the struggle against an evil so terrible, so far-reaching, that it threatens everything. Airel knew change would be an inevitable part of life. But can she hold on when murder and darkness begin to close in and take away everything she loves? Will she have what it takes when the truth is finally revealed?
Not only is the cover utterly gorgeous, but the synopsis sounds like it'll be a great read!

Guest Post: Emlyn Chand

Did you resolve to read more this year?  Maybe you've dubbed this year as the year you finally start your own book club.  To be successful with either of these goals, you'll need to keep that all-consuming passion for reading alive.  Here are five examples of what NOT to do.

I have been guilty of each and every one of these bibliophile misdeeds. To avoid making these mistakes, it helps to be cognizant of what they are and how they may put-off your love of reading. My list is, of course, not exhaustive. Please feel free to add other ways in which your enthusiasm for the written word has been destroyed or derailed.

1. By taking too long to finish reading a particular book - many a decent book have been utterly destroyed for me simply because I took too long to get through them. Sometimes this is because of a busy work or personal life that interferes with my time that is generally allotted to reading; others it is because I am reading the wrong book.

2. Because of reading the wrong book—what makes a book wrong? Some people say that if a book does not grab you in the first 50 pages that you should give up reading it. I don’t know if I, however, subscribe to an exact number of pages that must be read before giving up. Sometimes books get started a bit late. Jonathan Safran Foer’s “Everything is Illuminated” for example takes a while to get heated up, but once it’s there, this is one of the most incredible books.

3. Through turning your leisure activity into a chore—if reading as a hobby is very important to you, it’s best not to subject yourself to reading materials that can be deemed more as work than pleasure. A classic example of this phenomenon is graduate school. I am not suggesting that you forego higher education to maintain your zeal for the written word; rather i’d like you to understand that you may undergo a 2-, 3- or even 5- year hiatus in this instance.

4. In choosing to miss out on other activities to sit at home and read—so you’re a book-worm that probably means you, like many others who share your passion, are an introvert. That’s great, but don’t use reading as an excuse to miss out on some of the other things life has to offer, like a social life. Don’t get too caught up in the fictional realm that you forget that life exists outside of the pages of a novel!

5. Upon assigning too much meaning to fictional characters—Loved ‘Twilight’ and now find yourself pining for a boyfriend just like Edward Cullen? No man even comes close? Surprise, surprise. Never measure real people up to invented ones, everybody loses. Similarly, if you find a glimmer of someone you know in a villainous character, you may start subconsciously assigning some of the fictional player’s deeds to your real-life loved one. Don’t do it!

 

Blog Tour Notes


THE BOOK:  Alex Kosmitoras may be blind, but he can still “see” things others can’t.  When his unwanted visions of the future begin to suggest that the girl he likes could be in danger, he has no choice but to take on destiny and demand it reconsider. Get your copy today by visiting Amazon.com’s Kindle store or the eBook retailer of your choice. The paperback edition will be available on November 24 (for the author’s birthday).

THE CASH PRIZES:  Guess what? You could win a $100 Amazon gift card as part of this special blog tour. That’s right! Just leave a comment below saying something about the post you just read, and you’ll be entered into the raffle. I could win $100 too! Please help by voting for my blog in the traffic-breaker poll. To cast your vote, visit the official Farsighted blog tour page and scroll all the way to the bottom. Thank you for your help with that.

THE GIVEAWAYS:  Win 1 of 10 autographed copies of Farsighted before its paperback release by entering the giveaway on GoodReads. Perhaps you’d like an autographed postcard from the author; you can request one on her site.

THE AUTHOR:  Emlyn Chand has always loved to hear and tell stories, having emerged from the womb with a fountain pen grasped firmly in her left hand (true story). When she’s not writing, she runs a large book club in Ann Arbor and is the president of author PR firm, Novel Publicity. Emlyn loves to connect with readers and is available throughout the social media interweb. Visit www.emlynchand.com for more info. Don’t forget to say “hi” to her sun conure Ducky!

The Colour Of Death by Michael Cordy


No. of pages: 381
Rating: 8/10

Synopsis: In a residential neighbourhood of Portland, Oregon, an unknown young woman uncovers a shocking crime scene by inexplicably sensing the evil within its walls. To the police, she is a mystery. She can’t even tell them her own name. They christen her Jane Doe. Suffering terrifying hallucinations, Jane is assigned to Nathan Fox, a forensic psychiatrist struggling with his own demons. Together they must piece together the jigsaw that is Jane’s identity. Then a sequence of brutal killings terrorizes the city and Fox learns Jane is the only cryptic link between the unrelated victims. To solve the murders, Fox must discard his black and white preconceptions, look beyond the spectrum of normal human experience and confront the dark truth of her past…and his own.

Review: When a young woman breaks into a house and releases several trapped girls being held as slaves, she is hailed a hero. Only one problem though, not only does she not remember how she knew the girls were there, but she doesn't even remember her own name. Christened Jane Doe, she is taken to hospital where she is terrified by vivid hallucinations. Moved swifly to a mental facility, she comes under the care of Nathan Fox, a man troubled himself by the murder of his family when he was a child. Together, Jane and Nathan start to unravel not only the mystery of her identity, but also the sudden spate of murders that seem to somehow link back to Jane.

Having heard of Michael Cordy before, but never having read any of his work, I was very interested to read The Colour Of Death. Not only because I love new authors, but because the synopsis sounded so intriguing! I can honestly say, I have never read anything like this story before, the content was completely new, to me anyway. I loved how you slowly found out about all of the fascinating details about Jane and Nathan, and the secrets they both held, and then how it all tied back to the murders that seem so random. I did figure out some of the ending pretty early on, but that didn't ruin any of the enjoyment or suspence for me. A throughly enjoyable read, and a must for fans of thrillers with a science-y twist! I'm not only looking forward to reading the sequel, but also more books by Michael Cordy in the future.

In My Mailbox (29)

In My Mailbox is a meme created by The Story Siren, and sums up my past week of incoming books!

So this week I bought just one book:



Linda Fairstein - Death Dance

Teaming up with longtime friends and colleagues, Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace, Alex Cooper investigates the disappearance of a world-famous dancer, who has vanished from the Metropolitan Opera House. Drawn behind the scenes of New York's theatrical community, the team is haunted by ghosts of the dramatic old theatres - and from their own pasts. At the same time, Alex and Mercer are trying to collar a doctor who's been using his extensive knowledge of and access to drugs to overpower women before assualting them.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (35)


This weekly meme is hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey Through Books.

In the past week I read:

Alyxandra Harvey - Haunting Violet 4/5
Rebecca Lim - Mercy 4/5

At the moment I'm reading:

J.A. Kerley - Little Girls Lost

In the next week I hope to read:

Jane Eagland - Wildthorn
Gabrielle Zevin - Memoirs Of A Teenage Amnesiac

In My Mailbox (28)

In My Mailbox is a meme created by The Story Siren, and sums up my past week of incoming books!

So this week I have received 2 ebooks for review:


Aaron Patterson & Chris White - Airel

All Airel ever wanted was to be normal, to disappear into the crowd. But bloodlines can produce surprises, like an incredible ability to heal. Then there's Michael Alexander, the new guy in school, who is impossibly gorgeous...and captivated by her. Somewhere in the back of her mind, she can hear the sound of pages turning, and another, older story being written. It is the story of an ancient family, of great warriors, of the Sword of Light, and the struggle against an evil so terrible, so far-reaching, that it threatens everything. Airel knew change would be an inevitable part of life. But can she hold on when murder and darkness begin to close in and take away everything she loves? Will she have what it takes when the truth is finally revealed?

~~~~~



Emlyn Chand - Farsighted

Alex Kosmitoras’s life has never been easy. The only other student who will talk to him is the school bully, his parents are dead-broke and insanely overprotective, and to complicate matters even more, he's blind. Just when he thinks he'll never have a shot at a normal life, a new girl from India moves into town. Simmi is smart, nice, and actually wants to be friends with Alex. Plus she smells like an Almond Joy bar. Yes, sophomore year might not be so bad after all.

Unfortunately, Alex is in store for another new arrival—an unexpected and often embarrassing ability to “see” the future. Try as he may, Alex is unable to ignore his visions, especially when they begin to suggest that Simmi is in danger. With the help of the mysterious psychic next door and new friends who come bearing gifts of their own, Alex must embark on a journey to change his future.

The Transworld Book Group Reading Challenge

Here's a fantastic chance to get some great looking books for review, just go along to the Transworld Book Group website, and leave a comment! It's as easy as that! Looking forward to reading the reviews of these amazing looking books!

Guest Post: Jared Sandman

SECOND CHANCES

Jared Sandman’s Blogbuster Tour 2011 runs from July 1st through August 31st. His novels include Leviathan, The Wild Hunt and Dreamland, all of which are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords. His latest book, The Shadow Wolves, has just been released. Follow him on Twitter (@JaredSandman) and be entered to win one of several $25 Amazon gift cards. See rules at www.jaredsandman.com for eligibility.

* * *

I recently read a blog post from an established novelist who shall remain nameless. He argued that every book worth publishing gets published. If one writes a good book, it will find a publisher (though he conceded it may take awhile, especially in this economic environment).

I don’t agree with this assessment. Perhaps that was true in the era of Bennett Cerf or Maxwell Perkins, but I believe a lot has changed in the industry over the past generation, not much of it favorable toward writers.

Let me tweak his premise to make it a more accurate reflection of today. Every good book finds a publisher? No, every good book finds an audience.

Publishers are worried about one criterion alone: can they make money off a specific manuscript? If the answer’s no, they have to move on. How well-written it is, how emotionally engaging, how realistic the characters are -- these are moot points. I’m not convinced the writing itself is even a secondary or tertiary factor taken into consideration, more like an ancillary afterthought.

Readers have a separate measure by which to gauge a book’s value: whether or not it’s any good. The only thing that matters to them is the story. Admittedly, it may take some time for that audience to find its way to a good book. Great stories tend to have a gravitational pull of their own, and they draw readers to them through word of mouth. With the advent of social media, bookselling has become more Darwinian. Books that are worth reading will rise to the forefront, and the forgettable dreck will be rightly ignored. Writers who produce work of merit will be able to support themselves; those who don’t, won’t.

Because a book is well-written does not guarantee it will find a publisher. Plenty of solid books have been passed over because they weren’t marketable enough or didn’t have a high-concept enough hook. These overlooked manuscripts invariably became trunk novels, left to collect dust or molder in desk drawers.

The digital revolution will breathe new life into these stories. By bypassing the industry’s self-appointed gatekeepers, writers are able to appeal directly to readers. It’s the readers who will decide which books are remembered and which are forgotten.

Publishers are only interested in producing bestsellers. While the vast majority of these “second chance” books will not bring their authors bestseller money (I wager more than a few will), a lot of them should at least earn enough to allow some writers to make a living wage. More than that, competent writers who may have abandoned their literary passions will get back in the game.

Variety like that ultimately benefits readers and literature as a whole.

The Eighth Scroll by Dr. Laurence B. Brown


No. of pages: 332
Rating: 9/10

Synopsis: Stirring the flames of age-old controversies, The Eighth Scroll by Laurence B. Brown draws on the three Abrahamic faiths of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam to create an unbelievably dynamic and powerful story. Set in a world that teeters between orthodoxy and heresy, this thriller is packed with intrigue and adventure. When a Roman Catholic scholar involved in the Dead Sea Scrolls Project hides one of the scrolls because of the heretical message it contains, no one is the wiser until decades later, when a prominent archeologist discovers reference to the scroll in an archeological dig. This discovery spurs the world religions into a dangerous game of cat and mouse, in which all who seek the hidden scroll are mysteriously silenced, leaving the salvation of humankind to a father and son, who must either find the hidden scroll . . . or die trying.

Review: When archaeologist Gerald Hansen receives a cryptic phone call from one of his friends, he rushes half way around the world to the dig where his friend is working, dragging along his son Michael. What they find there completely changes their lives forever. It would seem there is another Dead Sea scroll which has never been found, and it will completely change the face of religion as we know it. The trouble is, they aren't the only ones looking for it, and it will be a life or death race to find it first...

When I was asked to review this book, it was compared to The Da Vinci Code, which is a book I really enjoyed. I am always wary though, when a book is said to be 'like' another, because usually they fall a little short. In this case I can definitely see why the comparison is made, but personally I think Brown can stand with his own merit though, this is a fantastic book. I'm not a follower of any religion, but it has always fascinated me, and so mixed with the gripping thriller aspect as well, made for a really great read. It is immediately clear that this was a subject the author knew a lot about or researched very throughly, and it is all written in a very understandable way for people who do not necessarily know a lot about the three religions spoken about. I liked the characters involved, and thought it was a great move to switch narrators part way through the book. For me, I enjoyed savouring this book over the course of a few days, it gave me time to digest each section of information and think about the story, but I can definitely see it being a book that is impossible to put down as well. I would definitely recommend this to fans of religious thrillers, if you liked The Da Vinci Code, I can assure you this is just as good!

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (34)


This weekly meme is hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey Through Books.

In the past week I read:

Beth Revis - Across The Universe 4/5
Cameron Stracher - The Water Wars 3/5

At the moment I'm reading:

Justin Cronin - The Passage

In the next week I hope to read:

Chevy Stevens - Still Missing
Layton Green - The Summoner

Generation Dead by Daniel Waters


No. of pages: 392
Rating: 6/10
Series: Generation Dead (Book 1)

Synopsis: All over the tri-state area, something strange is happening. Teenagers who die aren't staying dead. They are coming back to life, but they come back different - they stutter and their reactions to everything are slower. Termed 'living impaired' or 'differently biotic', there are lots of conspiracy theories to explain this new phenomenon. But as their numbers keep on growing, so does the discomfort of the living people in the community. When Phoebe falls for Tommy Williams, her best friend and star of the football team, Adam, has conflicting emotions. And when Tommy decides to try out for the football team, it sets off a chain of events that escalates into deadly violence.

Review: Phoebe is a goth, so she's a bit of an outcast, but nothing like the 'living impaired' kids that have started to attend their school. But as Phoebe becomes friends with, and starts to fall for Tommy, one of the 'living impaired', she realises that there are people that will do anything to stop their relationship...

This is a hard book for me to review. I liked it and yet I didn't like it, but I'm finding it hard to say exactly why. I loved the 'zombies' aspect, but found the story and writing to be quite slow going. When I was reading it, I'd find my mind drifting off and thinking about other things, and then I'd abruptly remember that I should be concentrating on this. I did enjoy the storyline, and most of the characters, I just wish the writing had a bit more 'umph' to it. I wasn't that keen on the ending, but I will carry on with the series to see how the plot progresses and hope the next book will be more enjoyable.

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles


No. of pages: 357
Rating: 7/10
Series: Perfect Chemistry (Book 1)

Synopsis: When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created “perfect” life is about to unravel before her eyes. She’s forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for—her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more.

Review: Brittany has worked hard to make sure everyone thinks she's perfect and has a perfect life. Alex on the other hand is a gang member from the bad side of town, and everyone knows it. So when Alex's friends bet him to hook up with Brittany, he decides to put 'perfect' Brittany in her place. But as Alex slowly gets to know Brittany, and the cracks start to appear in her perfect life, and they find a connection neither thought would ever happen...

Perfect Chemistry turned out to be so much more complex than I thought it would be. At first glance Alex is exactly what you'd imagine a gang thug to be, and Brittany is the typical 'rich bitch' who everyone admires but secretly hates too. I wasn't sure where a story like this could go, but the characters became so real as the story went on, when you slowly started to see the cracks in their lives and the reasoning behind their actions. I thought Simone Elkeles did an amazing job with the characters, and it's almost like the story was irrelevant, the only important thing was Alex and Brittany and how their lives were changing because of each other. The story is a common one, the forbidden love, and how they overcome it, but the characters truly make this anything other than common. Definitely recommended for people who like character driven books, or want to read something a little out of the norm.

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting


No. of pages: 327
Rating: 5/5
Series: The Body Finder (Book 1)

Synopsis: Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend, she is more disturbed by her "power" to sense dead bodies – or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes the dead leave behind in the world...and the imprints that attach to their killers.

Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift, but now that a serial killer is terrorizing her small town Violet realizes she might be the only person who can stop him. Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet find the murderer – and Violet is unnerved by her hope that Jay's intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she's falling in love, Violet is getting closer to discovering a killer...and becoming his prey herself.

Review: Violet has always been able to sense dead things, they send out a echo to her, which doesn't stop until they're laid to rest. So Violet does her best to help them pass on peacefully. But what has always been dead animal echoes, becomes a lot more when she finds the body of a young girl....and then another young girl. As Violet is the only one who can see the echoes which attach to both the victim and the murderer, she is determined to find out who is killing the young girls in her town, even when the killer sets his sights on Violet too...

I really enjoy the sensing dead bodies kind of storyline, and this one reminds me a lot of the Charlaine Harris Harper Connelly series which I'd definitely recommend to people who enjoy these kinds of books. The Body Finder is actually a pretty creepy book, which I've not really come across before in the YA genre. I was on tenterhooks throughout most of the second half of the book after Derting really ramped up the suspense, I just couldn't put it down until I found out what happened at the end. I loved Violet as a character, she seemed very down to earth, and just an all round lovely kind of girl just trying to deal with a pretty morbid talent. The growing romantic feelings between Violet and Jay were sweet to read, and added some normality to a pretty creepy story. I really enjoyed The Body Finder and I'm excited to see where the story goes in the next book!

Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane


No. of pages: 414
Rating: 10/10

Synopsis: Summer, 1954. U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels has come to Shutter Island, home of Ashecliffe Hospital for the Criminally Insane. Along with his partner, Chuck Aule, he sets out to find an escaped patient. But nothing at Ashecliffe Hospital is what it seems. And neither is Teddy Daniels.
Is he there to find a missing patient? Or has he been sent to look into rumors of Ashecliffe's radical approach to psychiatry? An approach that may include drug experimentation, hideous surgical trials, and lethal countermoves in the shadow war against Soviet brainwashing. The closer Teddy and Chuck get to the truth, the more elusive it becomes, and the more they begin to believe that they may never leave Shutter Island.


Review: Teddy and his partner Chuck, are called to Shutter Island to help find an escaped mental patient. But once on the island, Teddy starts to realise things are not what they seem. Over the course of the next 24 hours, while a terrible storm rages, Teddy finds himself questioning everything he ever believed in...

I wasn't sure whether I was going to like this, so I watched the film first which I loved, and then got a hold of the book after that. I was pleased to find that the book and film were very similar, as sometimes they change the film so much from the book it's not even noticable as the same thing! The ending is really good, and it's definitely a bit of a mind bender book, but in a good way. The character of Teddy is lovable, well written and interesting to get to know, I liked the way his past unravels as you read further into the book. Shutter Island is a great setting, and you really get the creepy feel of this desolate island and it's inhabitants. I would most definitely recommend both the book and the film, I think Leo Di Caprio and Mark Ruffalo perfectly capture the characters of Teddy and Chuck.

February Summary

Books completed ~ 3
Becca Fitzpatrick - Crescendo 3/5
Emma Donoghue - Room 5/5
Kimberly Derting - Desires Of The Dead 4/5

Books bought ~ 0

Other books incoming ~ 2
Daniel Waters - Passing Strange (bookring)
Layton Green - The Summoner (review)

Overall ~
February was a terrible month, both reading wise and life wise, and I guess that's why barely anything got done around here! My favourite reads were Room and Desires Of The Dead, both were really great reads. My least favourite was Crescendo, and that was hardly unenjoyable, just not as good as I had hoped. Next month I'm just hoping to finish The Passage, and to make some posts around here, it's not good to let it all fall to pieces!

January Summary

Books completed ~ 8
Daniel Waters - Kiss Of Life 3/5
Ally Condie - Matched 4/5
Rachel Ward - Numbers 3.5/5
Rachel Ward - Numbers 2: The Chaos 3.5/5
James Dashner - The Scorch Trials 4/5
Teresa Medeiros - Goodnight Tweetheart 5/5
Alyson Noel - Radiance 4/5
Sebastian Fitzek - Splinter 3/5

Books bought ~ 4
Sebastian Fitzek - Splinter (ebook)
S.L. Grey - The Mall (ebook)
Stephen Jones - The Mammoth Book Of Best New Horror 20 (ebook)
Daniel Hahn - The Ultimate Teen Book Guide

Other books incoming ~ 1
Stephen King - Everything's Eventual (swapped)

Other posts ~
# Teaser Tuesdays - Splinter / Radiance

Overall ~
I'm really pleased that I managed to get 8 read this month, I was expecting the number to be far lower, so that's been a nice surprise! My favourite reads were Goodnight Tweetheart and The Scorch Trials, both were really great reads. My least favourite was Kiss Of Life, I'm just sadly not enjoying that series as much as I had hoped too. Next month I'm just hoping to read as much as I have this month, and if possible maybe even read a bit more! It'd be nice to see my reading mojo back that's for sure! :)

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (33)


This weekly meme is hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey Through Books.

In the past week I read:

Alyson Noel - Radiance 4/5
Sebastian Fitzek - Splinter 3/5

At the moment I'm reading:

Becca Fitzpatrick - Crescendo

In the next week I hope to read:

Emma Donoghue - Room
Jennifer Lynn Barnes - Raised By Wolves

In My Mailbox (27)

In My Mailbox is a meme created by The Story Siren, and sums up my past week in book purchases!

So this week I bought 1 book:

Photobucket

Daniel Hahn & Leonie Flynn - The Ultimate Teen Book Guide

Stuck for something to read? Whether you’re searching for a book to blow your mind and change your life, or just a light read for the beach, The Ultimate Teen Book Guide is the perfect place to start.

The book includes recommendations from teen reviewers and your favorite authors—over 700 books total—so prepare to be inspired! Whether you like fantasy, horror, chick lit, graphic novels, sci-fi, crime . . . From true classics to must-read cult fiction, from the top award-winners to up-to-the minute bestsellers, there’s something for everyone.

Book Blogger Hop (11)


Welcome hoppers from the book blogger hop! In case you don't know what I'm talking about, this is a weekly event hosted by Crazy for Books where bloggers and readers can find each other and share their love for books!

If you're hopping by here, leave a comment and I'll be sure to visit you in return! :)

What book are you most looking forward to seeing published in 2011? Why are you anticipating that book?

Too many to mention! You can check them all out here.

Teaser Tuesdays (26)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Just do the following:

1. Grab your current read
2. Open to a random page
3. Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
4. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
5. Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser:
All I knew for sure was that the bridge I had crossed over to make the trip Here was strictly a one-way-only kind of thing. And I know this because I happened to look back the second I'd made it to the other side.

~ Radiance by Alyson Noel.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (32)


This weekly meme is hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey Through Books.

In the past week I read:

Teresa Medeiros - Goodnight Tweetheart 5/5

At the moment I'm reading:

Sebastian Fitzek - Splinter
Alyson Noel - Radiance
Tom Reynolds - Blood, Sweat & Tea

In the next week I hope to read:

Becca Fitzpatrick - Crescendo

In My Mailbox (26)

In My Mailbox is a meme created by The Story Siren, and sums up my past week in book purchases!

So this week I swapped 1 book:

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Stephen King - Everything's Eventual

In this eerie, enchanting compilation, King takes readers down a road less travelled (for good reason) in the blockbuster e-book 'Riding the Bullet', terror becomes déjà vu all over again when you get 'That Feeling, You Can Only Say What It is in French' and LT has a theory about pets which will make you stop and think before giving one as a present to a loved one – along with eleven more stories that will keep you awake until dawn.

Nothing is quite as it seems. Expect the unexpected in this veritable treasure trove of enthralling, witty, dark tales that could only come from the imagination of the greatest storyteller of our time.

Book Blogger Hop (10)


Welcome hoppers from the book blogger hop! In case you don't know what I'm talking about, this is a weekly event hosted by Crazy for Books where bloggers and readers can find each other and share their love for books!

If you're hopping by here, leave a comment and I'll be sure to visit you in return! :)

The Small Hand by Susan Hill


No. of pages: 167
Rating: 4/10

Synopsis: Returning home from a visit to a client late one summer’s evening, antiquarian bookseller Adam Snow takes a wrong turning and stumbles across the derelict old White House. Compelled by curiosity, he approaches the door, and, standing before the entrance feels the unmistakable sensation of a small hand creeping into his own, ‘as if a child had taken hold of it’. Intrigued by the encounter, he determines to learn more, and discovers that the owner’s grandson had drowned tragically many years before. At first unperturbed by the odd experience, Snow begins to be plagued by haunting dreams, panic attacks, and more frequent visits from the small hand which become increasingly threatening and sinister…

Review: Having taken a wrong turn on a country road, Adam Snow accidentally comes across a once beautiful, but now run down abandoned house. As he stands admiring it, he feels a little hand slip in to his, but to his horror, there is no one stood beside him. As he tries to forget the experience, he feels the hand slip in to his again, and realises he needs to find out more about the house that led him to the hand...

A pretty disappointing read overall really. I was expecting a scary ghost story and it was nothing of the sort, and I actually found it to be pretty dull. It had so much potential to be great as well which is a shame. I did enjoy the mystery aspect of the plot as so far as I wanted to know the story behind the hand, but didn't really feel that it was explained to much extent. The characters were never explored to any depth, so I never felt like I got to know or like any of them. I think the best bit about this book is the fact it's so short, so it didn't take long to get through. I don't think I'd read anything by this author again.

Blood Vines by Erica Spindler


No. of pages: 483
Rating: 8/10

Synopsis: Alex Owens knows very little about her childhood or who she really is - her only family an absent, emotionally fragile mother. Alex has always felt something was missing and has spent most of her life searching for what that could be. When an infant's remains are unearthed, Alex realises she has a connection to the case. Suddenly long-lost memories start flooding in, leading her back to a small town in California and to dark and terrifying nightmares that haunt her every waking moment. Greeted with silence and suspicion, Alex is determined to get to the heart of a secret no one wants to see uncovered. As violent deaths and a series of pagan rituals terrify the tightly-knit community, Alex is forced to confront the terrible truth about a single night that changed her family's lives for ever...

Review: Alex has always had strange dreams, and coupled with the secrets her mother quite obviously keeps from her, she feels that something is missing in her life, but she has no idea what. But when she's contacted about the death of a baby she has no clue about, she realises the secrets her mother kept are coming back to haunt them...

It's well known that Erica is one of my favourite thriller writers, and this book is no exception to the rule. It was gripping and full of twists from page one, and maybe a tad more dark that some of her other books because it's about the murder of a little baby. I really felt quite suffocated at times during the story, which goes to show how great the writing is. It was great as always to see all of the puzzle pieces falling into place, and there were plenty of surprises, including the ending which I didn't see coming. It's well worth a read if you're looking for a gripping thriller that you can't put down!

The Fledgling Handbook by P.C. Cast


No. of pages: 157
Rating: 6/10
Series: House Of Night (Handbook)

Synopsis: Merry meet, fledgling. I trust this guide will serve you well...Every vampyre fledgling who arrives at the House of Night receives a copy of The Fledgling Handbook 101, and now, fans can have one, too, with this gorgeous must-have edition. Inside you'll find original stories, the complete vampyre history, inside info into rituals, vamp biology, and the Change, and much more.

Review: A companion guide to the House Of Night series. The Fledgling Handbook is given to all new vampyre fledglings upon arriving at the House Of Night, and it describes many aspects of life as a vampyre, including history, ritual information, what will happen during your change and almost everything else!

I was kind of looking forward to this, as it's mentioned so much during the series and I was so curious what would be in it. I felt mostly disappointed though, it's super short, and still it dragged when I was reading the pages, and there isn't even that much text in there either! The pages are lovely though, thick shiny paper, and lots of pretty pictures and such on them. Basically it's just filler, most of the stuff in it, you know from the series itself and it was clearly released just to cash in on the success of the series. Not worth buying in my opinion, but if you're interested, borrow from a friend or the library.

The Snowman by Jo Nesbo


No. of pages: 550
Rating: 9/10
Series: Harry Hole (Book 7)

Synopsis: The night the first snow falls a young boy wakes to find his mother gone. He walks through the silent house, but finds only wet footprints on the stairs. In the garden looms a solitary figure: a snowman bathed in cold moonlight, its black eyes glaring up at the bedroom windows. Round its neck is his mother’s pink scarf. Inspector Harry Hole is convinced there is a link between the disappearance and a menacing letter he received some months earlier. As Harry and his team delve into unsolved case files, they discover that an alarming number of wives and mothers have gone missing over the years. When a second woman disappears Harry’s suspicions are confirmed: he is a pawn in a deadly game. For the first time in his career Harry finds himself confronted with a serial killer operating on his turf, a killer who will drive him to the brink of insanity.

Review: A little boy awakes to find his mother has disappeared, upon his search for her around the house, he sees a snowman in the garden with his mother's scarf wrapped around it. A few days later, another mother goes missing, and there's another snowman. So begins Harry Hole's chase after the 'Snowman' serial killer, but considering Harry is a disgraced ex-alcoholic, it's not going to be a smooth ride...

My one and only niggle about this book is the cover, I absolutely hate the massive 'the next Stieg Larsson' sign, and it almost put me off of reading this book completely. It's like comparing an apple to a banana, sure they're both fruits, but that's where the similarities end, and it's the same with these authors. Personally, I prefered this book over the one I've read by Stieg Larsson, so I find the sign a bit frustrating, plus it's rude to try and launch an author in a new country by saying he's 'like' an already established author, especially when they have so much talent and merit of their own. Apart from that I loved this book! It very dark, and truly what a thriller should be in every sense. Harry Hole is one of those characters that's hard to love, but he's great at his job, and I found him to be very funny throughout the book. I loved the mystery of the murders, and it unravelled nicely, with lots of twists and turns. I thought I knew who the killer was a few times, but of course I was completely and utterly wrong! The ending was amazing, one of the best endings I've ever read in a thriller book, and I cannot stress enough how great a thriller this book is! If you're a fan of them, then this is definitely a MUST read. I can't wait to get my hands on more books from this series!

Teaser Tuesdays (25)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Just do the following:

1. Grab your current read
2. Open to a random page
3. Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
4. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
5. Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser:
Looking into those bulging eyes, he smelt the fear in which the dank little room was steeped. He could feel it on his skin and taste it under his tongue, and knew that, in the next few seconds, he himself would be in excruciating pain - as if his own eyeball were being scooped from its socket and the optic nerve severed with a pair of rusty secateurs.

~ Splinter by Sebastian Fitzek.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (31)


This weekly meme is hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey Through Books.

In the past week I read:

Ally Condie - Matched 4/5
Rachel Ward - Numbers 3.5/5
Rachel Ward - Numbers 2: The Chaos 3.5/5
James Dashner - The Scorch Trials 4/5

At the moment I'm reading:

Sebastian Fitzek - Splinter
Tom Reynolds - Blood, Sweat & Tea

In the next week I hope to read:

Stephen King - Everything's Eventual
Mira Grant - Feed

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (30)


This weekly meme is hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey Through Books.

In the past week I read:

Daniel Waters - Kiss Of Life 3/5

At the moment I'm reading:

Tom Reynolds - Blood, Sweat & Tea
Ally Condie - Matched

In the next week I hope to read:

Rachel Ward - Numbers
Rachel Ward - Numbers 2: The Chaos

In My Mailbox (25)

In My Mailbox is a meme created by The Story Siren, and sums up my past week in book purchases!

So this week I bought 3 ebooks for my shiny new Kindle:

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Sebastian Fitzek - Splinter

Marc Lucas had it all, and lost it all. He is only slowly putting his life back together after the car crash that killed his pregnant wife, when things start to go strangely wrong for him. Nothing too sinister to begin with: his credit cards stop working. But then his key no longer fits his door, and he discovers someone else working in his office. Much worse is to come: he returns home to find himself face to face with his once-dead wife, and she doesn’t have a clue who he is. The next day, there is no trace of her. Could this have anything to do with the clinic? They wanted to test their ability to remove traumatic memories from live subjects. Marc had met them, just once, but declined their experimental technology. He now fears they may have begun their tests illicitly... Can he discover just what is happening to him before the waking nightmare he finds himself living overwhelms his sanity?

~~~~~

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S.L. Grey - The Mall

Dan is an angsty emo-kid who works in a deadly dull shopping mall. He hates his job.

Rhoda is a junkie whose babysitting charge ran off while she was scoring cocaine. She hates her life. Rhoda bullies Dan into helping her search, but as they explore the neon-lit corridors behind the mall, disturbing text messages lure them into the bowels of the building, where old mannequins are stored in grave-like piles and raw sewage drips off the ceiling. The only escape is down.

Plummeting into the earth in a disused service lift playing head-splitting Musak, Dan and Rhoda enter a sinister underworld that mirrors their worst fears. They finally escape, but something feels different. Why are the shoppers all pumped full of silicone? Why are the shop assistants chained to their counters? And why is a café called McColon’s selling lumps of bleeding meat?

Just when they think they’ve made it back to the mall, they realize the nightmare has only just begun...


~~~~~

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Stephen Jones - The Mammoth Book Of Best New Horror 20

This title includes the year's best, and darkest, tales of terror, showcasing the most outstanding new short stories and novellas by contemporary masters of the macabre, including the likes of Ramsey Campbell, Neil Gaiman, Brian Keene, Tanith Lee, Elizabeth Massie, Kim Newman, Michael Marshall Smith, and Gene Wolfe. "The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror" also includes a comprehensive annual overview of horror around the world in all its incarnations; an impressively researched necrology; and, a list of indispensable contact addresses for the dedicated horror fan and aspiring writer alike. It is required reading for every fan of macabre fiction.

New Look

Welcome to the new look at Book Sanctuary! The old layout, while much loved, had been up for 2 years, and I felt like I needed something new. I got a mixed response about changing it when I asked for opinions on Twitter, so in the end I just went with my heart and changed it. I think it looks lovely and I have now also installed IntenseDebate, so I can now reply to comments also. So to those who are still following the blog after the recent lull, thank you! I really appreciate it and I hope to really spruce up the place in the coming weeks :)

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore


No. of pages: 368
Rating: 8/10
Series: Lorien Legacies (Book 1)

Synopsis: John Smith is not your average teenager. He regularly moves from small town to small town. He changes his name and identity. He does not put down roots. He cannot tell anyone who or what he really is. If he stops moving those who hunt him will find and kill him. But you can’t run forever. So when he stops in Paradise, Ohio, John decides to try and settle down. To fit in. And for the first time he makes some real friends. People he cares about – and who care about him. Never in John’s short life has there been space for friendship, or even love. But it’s just a matter of time before John’s secret is revealed. He was once one of nine. Three of them have been killed. John is Number Four. He knows that he is next...

Review: John is number 4 of the last of 9 of his race. They can only be killed in order, so when 3 is killed, John knows it's just a matter of time before he's hunted down. But John is sick of running, and is determined to stay in one place and put down some roots, but will staying in just one place make it easier for the hunters to find and kill him?

I was looking forward to this for ages before it was even released, and so I was really pleased that I enjoyed it. It was a little different to what I was expecting, but not by much, and not in a way that diminished my thoughts of it at all. I loved the main characters, and thought they all had great personality and relationships with each other. Bernie Kosar was my absolute favourite character, I'd love to have a dog like that! I think my favourite bit of the story was finding out about John's home planet of Lorien, it was beautifully described. The plot was well paced and realistically filled with tension throughout, and I finished it in just one sitting. I'm really looking forward to the released of the next in the series and cannot wait to see where the story goes from here. Would definitely recommend to sci-fi fans, or to be people who enjoy a good fast paced thriller.

High Stakes by Meg Cabot


No. of pages: 200
Rating: 8/10
Series: Mediator (Book 2)

Synopsis: Meet Susannah Simon: she's a typical teenage girl, who just happens to be a ghost-hunter ...oh, and she's also dead-over-heels for Jesse - the sexiest spook ever! But can this girl get her ghost? In "High Stakes", Suze's new life is looking up - cool friends, pool parties and getting to know Jesse (swoon), but then a desperate spirit asks for her help. Suddenly she's on the trail of a creepy local businessman, who just might be a vampire. Life just got dead complicated. Again.

Review: When a crying ghost appears in her bedroom, Suze is asked to track down and pass on a message to someone. But as Suze gets close to who she thinks is the recipient, she starts to worry that he's not entirely human...

High Stakes is just as good as the first book in the series, and builds upon the story started there. I really enjoyed the evolving relationships in this book, mainly between Suze and Jesse and Suze and her new little brother Doc, who is so adorable! The story is engaging and kept me gripped right until the end, although I did find the ending was kind of repetitive as a similar thing happened at the end of the first book, and that was a little disappointing. Over all, these books are enjoyable for a light, easy read.

Love You To Death by Meg Cabot


No. of pages: 199
Rating: 8/10
Series: Mediator (Book 1)

Synopsis: Meet Susannah Simon: she's a typical teenage girl, who just happens to be a ghost-hunter ...oh, and she's also dead-over-heels for Jesse - the sexiest spook ever! But can this girl get her ghost? In "Love You to Death", Suze arrives in California and has barely unpacked when her mediator skills are put to the test. A vicious spirit in her new school is hell-bent on making her life a complete nightmare, but Suze is more than ready to kick some serious ghost butt if she has to.

Review: Suze has just moved to California, and transferred into a new school there. Her first day is a little different than she imagined though when a nasty spirit decides to try and scare Suze away from the school, but Suze has dealt with ghosts like this before, and isn't afraid to show it who's boss...

This book was mainly about introducing us to the cast of characters, many of which are pretty loveable. I really liked the ghost mediating aspect of it and thought that it was something interesting to read about. I thought Suze's spunky attitude was funny and I liked reading her interaction with Jesse, can't see where that goes in the future! A predictable story, but quite sweet, and an enjoyable quick read.

December Summary

Books completed ~ 5
Susan Hill - The Small Hand 2.5/5
Dennis Lehane - Shutter Island 5/5
Kimberly Derting - The Body Finder 5/5
Simone Elkeles - Perfect Chemistry 3.5/5
Daniel Waters - Generation Dead 3.5/5

Books bought ~ 6
Stacia Kane - Unholy Ghosts
Jilliane Hoffman - Pretty Little Things
Suzanne Weir - Distant Waters
Lee Weeks - Kiss & Die
Harlan Coben - Fade Away/Back Spin
Mark Billingham - Buried

Other books incoming ~ 8
Simone Elkeles - Perfect Chemistry (book ring)
Kimberly Derting - The Body Finder (xmas)
Mira Grant - Feed (xmas)
Jennifer Lynn Barnes - Raised By Wolves (xmas)
Rachel Ward - Numbers (xmas)
Rachel Ward - Numbers: The Chaos (xmas)
Cecelia Ahern - The Book of Tomorrow (xmas)
Katie Flynn - A Mistletoe Kiss (xmas)

Overall ~
I'm a bit disappointed that I didn't manage to read much this month, but realistically I didn't think that I would be able to with the hecticness of christmas and such, so I'm kind of happy I manage to get 5 done at least! My favourite reads were Shutter Island and The Body Finder, both were fantastic. My least favourite was The Small Hand, it wasn't really anything like I was expecting and I didn't massively enjoy it, I just felt kind of 'meh' when I was done. I'm hoping I manage to get some of my reading mojo back in January, it's been severely lacking for months! I just need to find some books that are really going to grip me, so fingers crossed!

The Toymaker by Jeremy De Quidt


No. of pages: 356
Rating: 4/10

Synopsis: What good is a toy that will wind down? What if you could put a heart in one? A real heart. One that beat and beat and didn't stop. What couldn't you do if you could make a toy like that? From the moment Mathias becomes the owner of a mysterious piece of paper, he is in terrible danger. Entangled in devious plots and pursued by the sinister Doctor Leiter and his devilish toys, Mathias finds himself on a quest to uncover a deadly secret.

Review: When Mathias receives a piece of paper that is quite clearly a clue to something, he finds himself on a dangerous mission to uncover a sinister secret.

I think my main problem with this book was that I was expecting something completely different. From the synopsis on the back of the book, I had imagined something very different to how the story actually was, and that for me was very disappointing. The plot in itself is not bad, but this was just not the book for me. I really struggled to get through it and seriously considered giving up on it numerous times. It was only the fact I hate to give up on books that made me carry on, just in case it turned out to be great. Sadly, in this case, it didn't. I didn't like any of the characters, the ending was pretty rubbish and didn't even fully wrap up the story and I'm surprised that a childrens book has so much violence in it. This should teach me a lesson that cool covers do not equal cool books!

Sister by Rosamund Lupton


No. of pages: 358
Rating: 10/10

Synopsis: Nothing can break the bond between sisters...

When Beatrice gets a frantic call in the middle of Sunday lunch to say that her younger sister, Tess, is missing, she boards the first flight home to London. But as she learns about the circumstances surrounding her sister's disappearance, she is stunned to discover how little she actually knows of her sister's life - and unprepared for the terrifying truths she must now face.

The police, Beatrice's fiance and even their mother accept they have lost Tess but Beatrice refuses to give up on her. So she embarks on a dangerous journey to discover the truth, no matter the cost.


Review: Imagine getting a phone call telling you that your sister has gone missing, then imagine that you're half a world away from where your sister lives. This is the nightmare that begins for Beatrice one lunchtime as she receives a phone call from her mother back in London. But after rushing from New York back to London to find Tess, Beatrice realises that she may not have known her sister as well as she thought she did after all...

I was really looking forward to starting this book because I thought it sounded fantastic, and it even exceeded my incredibly high expectations. I don't know what it was, but this for me was that rare 'perfect' book. I loved the way it was written, I loved the storyline, I loved and cared about the characters, I just pure and simple loved it. I sat and read it through in one sitting because I couldn't bear to put it down and then was incredibly sad that it was over. I think the ending is one that will divide readers, I can definitely see how people would dislike it, but I thought it did fit in well with the story that was being told, so it didn't bother me. I would definitely recommend this to fans of mystery books and I for one cannot wait for another book by this author!

The Maze Runner by James Dashner


No. of pages: 371
Rating: 8/10
Series: The Maze Runner Trilogy (Book 1)

Synopsis: When the doors of the lift crank open, the only thing Thomas remembers is his first name. But he's not alone. He's surrounded by boys who welcome him to the Glade - a walled encampment at the centre of a bizarre and terrible stone maze. Like Thomas, the Gladers don't know why or how they came to be there - or what's happened to the world outside. All they know is that every morning when the walls slide back, they will risk everything - even the Grievers, half-machine, half-animal horror that patrols its corridors, to find out.

Review: When Thomas wakes up in the lift, all he knows is that his name is Thomas. He knows nothing else about anything, least of all where he is or how on earth he got there. Then the lift opens, and he finds himself in the Glade, surrounded by other boys who had awakened in the lift. But what they don't know is that time is running short, and Thomas is the key to solving the mystery of the Glade and freeing them all...

Similar in style to that of The Hunger Games, in that it's about children put in peril to fight for their freedom. This one I'd say is more aimed towards the male market, but still very enjoyable for females too. I enjoyed the mystery of the Glade and the maze that surrounds it, and I also thought the language the boys had made up was funny and a nice touch. I also thought the monsters, called Grievers, were actually quite creepy sounding, I certainly wouldn't want to bump in to one, that's for sure! I did find that the plot dragged a little in places, but overall I thought the story was an interesting concept, and I enjoyed reading it. Personally, I did prefer The Hunger Games, but this is definitely a read for fans of that series. I've heard the second in the series is even better, and I can't wait to read it and find out for myself how Thomas' story continues.
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