31 October 2011


Two Moon Princess
Author: Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban
Series: No, standalone
Publisher: Tanglewood Press
Release date: June 2010
Genre: historical fiction and contemporary
Read via NetGalley

Princess Andrea has never felt like she fitted in, and as her hopes of becoming a Knight are dashed she feels even more isolated in her medieval world. When she finds a doorway to another world, our modern California, she finally feels at home. But her new life might not be possible when she accidentally returns to her own world with someone else in tow, causing family truths to come to the surface and war to breakout. 

Review: At first I wasn’t sure how well the story would work, trying to cross from fantasy/historical fiction into contemporary, particularly as Andrea’s narrative and descriptions was very true to her upbringing in a historical setting. But I was pleasantly surprised and thought that Ferreiro-Esteban did a great job of seamlessly combining the two. When Andrea enters our world as we know it, her surprise and reaction to modern contraptions was natural but not overdone, and I enjoyed her reaction to the car engine starting up! The further I got into the book, I more and more I enjoyed it. By the time Andrea had saved the enemy king and was looking after him, I couldn’t put the book down. Their love-hate relationship was so charged and intense even though they never got together physically, but it was believable at the same time.

Two Moon Princess was full of action, love, revenge and rejection. It featured fighting and combat scenes which I enjoyed without being too heavy and bogging the plot down in detail. Some areas of the plot were easy to guess, but at other times I was left trying to keep up with the fast pace and Andrea’s understanding of the opposing motives and behaviours of other characters.

Despite having so many characters, I thought the character development was done really well. Each had their own distinct personality and motives and made me feel either admiration, annoyance or hatred. Andrea was a great protagonist – feeling inferior to her sisters as well as the Knights she wants to be, she berates herself for her lack of strength and courage when rescuing Don Julian, but I can’t imagine any of her sisters being able to do the things she did. She was strong and courageous, but at the same time unsure and vulnerable. Despite their various flaws, all of her sisters (and all of the women in the story) make their own choices and don't bow down to convention or the will of the men in their lives - for example, Princess Sabela gives up the crown for love, which in my book takes guts.

And then there was the enemy king, Don Julian. Cruel, gruff and fierce, he ruled his kingdom with power and respect and attacked his enemies without mercy. As his role as king was peeled back and I saw the hardships he had been through I really started to like him. The fact that he wasn’t your archetypical stunningly handsome hero or male protagonist, but was more complex and mysterious, made him so much more interesting.

Seamlessly blending historical and contemporary fiction, Two Moon Princess creates a superb and fast paced tale of a young girl trying to find her place in one world, only that discover that she might be destined for another.

Rating: 4*

29 October 2011


On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City and runs every Saturday. It's where you can list all the books you desperately want but haven't actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming...

I spotted this week's choices on Goodreads...I hope you like the sound of them - I do!

Don't You Wish by Roxanne St. Claire
To be published October 2012 by Random House Children's Books

What if your mom had married someone else? Would you still be you?

When plain and unpopular Annie Nutter gets zapped by one of her dad's whacked-out inventions, she lands in a parallel universe where her life becomes picture perfect....

* * * * * * * * * *

Mist by Kathryn James
Published September 2011 by Hodder Children's Books

Midnight: a mist-haunted wood with a bad reputation. A sweet sixteen party, and 13 year old Nell is trying to keep her sister, spoilt birthday-girl Gwen, out of trouble. No chance. Trouble finds Gwen and drags her through the mist. Only Nell guesses who’s behind the kidnap - the boy she hoped was her friend, the cute but mysterious Evan River.

All those fairy stories Nell’s grandmother told her about girls being stolen by fairy folk are true. The Elven are beautiful as starlight, fierce as wolves, and cold as ice. And they want their world back. The fight has been raging for centuries. Nell’s grandmother should know, she’s a Watcher, the ones responsible for imprisoning the Elven in isolated iron-bound camps in Siberia. Only Evan, his fanatical older brother Fen, and a handful of Elven children are still free.

Fen, hellbent on revenge, keeps Gwen in their wolf-guarded stronghold deep in the mist. The price for her safe return? The release of all the Elven – but the Watchers will never agree. Only Nell can save Gwen.

Time is twisted through the mist: if Nell stops longer than a night and day, a hundred years will hit her as soon as she returns and she’ll be old and withered before she’s even lived. The clock is ticking.

What's on your wishlist this week?

27 October 2011


My Lunatic Life 
Author: Sharon Sala
Series: Yes, #1
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books
UK Release date: August 2011
Genre: Paranormal
Read via NetGalley

Moving from place to place with her uncle isn't easy for Tara Luna. Not just because she has to start a new school and make new friends every time they move, but because she's psychic. Her best friends are over-protective ghosts, she's being haunted by a mysterious new spirit and to top it all off, the mean girls at school don't like her. Welcome to Tara's lunatic life.

Review: Tara Luna was great - she's quick witted, down to earth and not afraid to stand up for herself against the popular crowd. Her best friends are two over-protective ghosts that follow her around and cause choas when anyone doesn't get on with Tara, adding a fun lighthearted element to the story. Her uncle Pat is also an interesting character, with his love for odd food combinations and fatherly concern for Tara. I would have liked the other characters to have been more developed though, as we didn't really know much about the mean girls or Tara's love interest Flynn who I would have liked to have known in more depth.

Although Tara tries to hide her gifts, she uses them to get her own back on the mean girls as well as help find why and where Bethany has disappeared to. This main plot is fairly simple and quick, with no major twists or turns, but it does mean Tara has to face her fear of telling others about her gift. The subplot, of the mysterious dark shape that is haunting her house is left open, but done in a way that really makes me want to read the next story to find out what happens. Although the ending is a bit sickly sweet, with everything ending pretty much perfectly, I think it would suit a younger YA audience.

Being psychic, Luna can see and talk to ghosts. I really liked this element, because her ghost friends added so much to the plot, but I wasn't expecting her talent of telepathy, mainly because it wasn't ever mentioned as a separate gift but bundled in with being psychic. Perhaps I'm being fussy, but I found it a little jarring when it was suddenly introduced because she hadn't mentioned for several chapters that she could read anyone's mind. I also thought that considering she could hear Flynn's thoughts, the guy she fancies, they are all very innocent thoughts and she doesn't seem very pertubed to hear what he's thinking. These issues are only touched on very lightly, and her gifts are rarely explored as a burden or difficult for her to handle, and this is one of the other reasons why I think the story is suited to a younger audience, or someone looking for a quick, easy read.

With plenty of paranormal intrigue, My Lunatic Life is a fun, lighthearted read.

Rating: 3.5*

25 October 2011


Name of the Star
Author: Maureen Johnson
Series: Yes, #1
UK Publisher: HarperCollins
UK Release date: September 2011
Genre: Paranormal
Kindly given by the publisher for an honest review

When Rory moves to London to start her new boarding school, she finds herself in the middle of 'Rippermania'. A copycat serial killer is back, killing on the streets of London, but it seems that he has eyes only for Rory.

Review: Firstly I have to say that Maureen Johnson's description of London and Rory's arrival at her new school is very detailed. So much so you feel very involved in the story. Readers that like to be plunged straight into a whirlwind of action and intrigue might however find the start very slow. Personally I enjoyed reading all the details and seeing London through new eyes, despite being very familiar with all the locations. Maureen Johnson was very good at showing the cultural I live in London and know the places that were being described  differences between Rory's American upbringing and her new British home, and I loved Rory's little comments on British life and people (yes, we do get annoyed if people confuse English, British, and Welsh!) I think this was done in a very sensitive but funny way, and brought lots of little smiles to my face.

I instantly liked Rory, mainly because she was down to earth and funny. I also really liked her roommate Jazza, because she had no pretensions or airs and graces. She was a bit geeky and she wasn't miss popularity, but it endeared me to her even more. In fact, when she disappeared from the plot for a few chapters in favour of new friend Boo, I was really disappointed. I think it was because I liked Rory and Jazza so much, that I was so gripped to the plot particularly for the first half of the story. I do hope though that the next book still includes Jazza!

I'm still a little undecided on what I think of the ending....I'm not sure how I expected the story to end, but it wasn't what I thought it would be. Perhaps it was because the second half of the story was very different to the first half and diverged slightly from the main theme of the plot, delving more into the secret group of ghosthunters. Call me odd, but I preferred the first half with it's intrigue, mystery and London decsriptions. I have heard others say they felt the start was a little slow, so I guess this is just personal preference.

Gripping, intriguing and with some great British touches, The Name of the Star takes a century-long murder mystery and entwines it in a modern day paranormal drama.

Rating: 4*

23 October 2011


With the nights drawing in and leaves slowly turning a burnished gold, it started me thinking about Halloween and what makes a good Halloween book? As I’m quite a seasonal reader, in summer I like to read happy, sunny books, and as we head into winter I like reading more mysterious, spooky and darker books.

So for Halloween, would the perfect book be an old classic like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein that even now can you scare you senseless, or would it be a contemporary horror by say Stephen King?

One of the books I remember reading when I was young was the Point Horror teen series, in particular Trick or Treat by Richie Tankersley Cusick. I just love reading about big old houses that creak and groan and have secret passages and hidden rooms.

It’s something about the mystery that takes me straight back to my childhood, reading Enid Blyton’s Five Get into Trouble. If I could read Nancy Drew and the Famous Five now, without feeling like a very old child, then I would be extremely happy!

But does a good Halloween book even have to be a horror? Would a spooky paranormal fit the bill better? Something with ghosts and spirits and a bit of mystery like Charlaine Harris’ Grave Sight. Or perhaps something with zombies or vampires?

So I ask, what would be your perfect Halloween read?

If you haven’t yet hopped over to Book Chick City’s blog to join in with their annual Halloween event… then take a look now! There will be reviews, guest authors and giveaways!

I'm really looking forward to Halloween...I hope you are too!

22 October 2011


On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City and runs every Saturday. It's where you can list all the books you desperately want but haven't actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming.
My two choices for this week instantly caught my eye because of their gorgeous covers. Of course, the books themselves sound really interesting too!

Exiled (Connected #1) by RaShelle Workman
Published October 2011, available on Kindle

Stubborn, sixteen-year-old Princess Venus of Kelari wants one thing, to become immortal, that is, until someone exiles her to Earth, kills her irrihunter and takes her family.
Now she wants revenge.
First she’s got to get home. But before she can return to Kelari, the Gods have commanded her to help an arrogant boy named Michael find his soul mate. Only she doesn't know the first thing about love. 

Hollow by Richard Denney
To be published May 2012 by Createspace/RPD

Welcome to the house of Hollow. 
In a dystopian future, sixteen year old Leah Munro has been sold to a rich woman in a crippling mansion. Soon Leah discovers that there is something mysterious going on around the home, and with the help of three other girls, she attempts to uncover what is truly happening... what lies beyond all of the plexiglass windows and the hideous screams in the middle of the night? Leah will soon find out.

What's on your wish list this week?

18 October 2011


Author: Julie Hearn
Series: No, standalone
UK Publisher: Oxford University Press
UK Release date: March 2011
Genre: MG

When a plain wooden box washes up a Cornish beach in the 1700s, no-one realises the horror that hides inside. The box lays hidden in a nearby mansion, until five teenagers uncover the box years later. When they open it, they will put the whole world at risk.

Review: It took me a while to realise that the modern day setting for Wreckers is actually an altered reality, where London was completely destroyed in a terrorist attack. The British King has frozen the borders so no-one can leave or enter the country; news is highly restricted; mobile phones, technology and transport systems have been taken away; and strangers are a very uncommon occurrence. The world has united to prevent the seas and the ozone dying, and eco-christianity has become the hottest new religion. I like the concept for this setting, but I did find myself rather muddled at the start trying to figure out some of the dialogue and references to this new alternate reality.

For some reasons I also expected the story to be about mermaids, maybe it was the cover image and because I didn’t know that Wreckers referred to those living on land in the 1700s who salvaged goods that have have washed up from wrecked ships. Instead the focus was around one box in particular - Pandora's box. Without giving away too much, I was also surprised over what the box contained, as I expected it be darker and more sinister.

The story is told from six different perspectives: Maude, Dilly, Danzel, Jenna, Gurnet and a mystery voice. This last voice was all-knowing; it was able to explain the alternate reality that the teenagers lived in, the history of the box, and also what happens in the future. I enjoyed hearing the story from the different charcters perspectives, and felt that without the mystery voice I would have lost within the plot. However I couldn’t help but wonder whether this was because within the characters narrative’s things like the setting weren’t tied in enough.

Out of all the characters Dilly was my favourite, because she was down to earth, friendly and caring. I did however like all the characters including Gurnet with his knack for adopting stray or dangerous animals, and even brash Jenna who just about redeemed herself by being completely un-tempted by the box (a positive in my book).

There are several reasons that made me feel this book would be better suited to a younger audience: there was the potential to make the box’s content scary and dark but it wasn’t, so much so that Gurnet befriends what is inside; there wasn’t the depth of thinking behind the setting (personally I can’t see the world uniting peacefully to save the world, although I really wish it would happen!); and finally because the narrative was all-knowing, needing to explain everything from the past, present and future.

An interesting and engaging story for young readers, Wreckers explores mythology, friendship and hope.

Rating: 3*

16 October 2011


If you haven't yet come across the SF Gateaway, then why on this galaxy not?!

The SF Gateway is an initiative of the Orion Publishing Group, home to the UK's oldest science fiction publisher, Gollancz. It was launched this autumn with more than a thousand titles and will build to 3,000 titles by the end of 2012, and 5,000 or more by 2014.

As a website, SF Gateway is part catalogue site, highlighting and promoting the thousands of eBooks the imprint publishes; it is part gateway to the online retailers from whom these eBooks can be bought; part social network for readers who wish to discuss and recommend authors and books with their fellow enthusiasts; and part commentary/blog site.

The site will allow fans of Science fiction and fantasy to find classic titles that they might not have come across before. I think this is a great tool and having already had a nosy round the site have come across so many books I'd never even heard of - I can't wait to find my next read on there!

15 October 2011


Having seen this book on the blogosphere, I was SO excited to win the competition to go on the Jack the Ripper walk around London and celebrate the release of Maureen Johnson's forthcoming YA book 'The Name of the Star'. I love walking through London pondering what life must have been like for previous inhabitants, and was really excited to learn about a little slice of its Victorian history.

Arriving at London's Tower Hill, we met with Maureen Johnson, Rosi from Harper Collins, and lots of other lovely bloggers including Sarah from Feeling Fictional and Sammee from I want to read that. Our very theatrical and stylish tour guide Oliver led us through the darkening streets of London, pointing out historical landmarks and murder sites and weaving in plenty of gory details to his tales of Jack the Ripper.

In the 1880's Whitechapel was rife with poverty, crime and squalor. An estimated 1,200 prostitutes walked the streets in 1888, and it was these ladies of the night that fell victim to the Ripper. With their throats slashed and left brutally mutilated, the murders attracted the attention of the country and caused numerous rumours and questions as to who was behind them.

Although the grisly murders are still unsolved, the mystery and interest still continues. In Maureen Johnson's latest book, modern day London is plagued once again with Rippermania. If you haven't yet read The Name of the Star, go and grab a copy - I can't wait to read mine!

12 October 2011


Author: Amy Kathleen Ryan
Series: Yes, #1 Sky Chasers
UK Publisher: Macmillan
UK Release date: October 2011
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian
Kindly given by the publisher for an honest review

When earth is no longer sustainable to live on spaceships set off for a New Earth. For Waverly and the other children born on the Empyrean, life in space is normal and happy. At least until their twin spaceship, the New Horizon, docks next to them when it should be years ahead of them.

Review: To grow up in space, never seeing a sunset, waves hitting the beach or mountains seems odd and slightly sad to me, but for Empyrean’s children space is their home. I imagined it might be quite cool to travel through space, with normal gravity and views of the cosmos, but the reality seems more sterile. Whilst they are in the nebula they see no stars, and really the view doesn’t change that much (just more black space out the window!) Leaving the confines of the spaceship is virtually impossible, and must drive some people to suffer from ‘cabin-fever’ after so many years, and for the New Horizon it must be even worse, and in some ways explains why some characters acted the way they did. This setting was different and interesting, and I’m really intrigued to find out whether they ever reach their new planet!

Glow touches on what it takes to be a good person and a leader. It doesn’t matter if you are female, male, religious or secular, you can still fail your people. Anne Mather’s use of religion uplifted the crew and made them believe they were working towards a higher power and bigger goal, however her deception and willingness to commit crimes to ensure the survival of their crew was deceitful and heinous. I didn’t like the way she twisted religion, blending lies and truth, to make people follow her. In contrast Seth used fear to lead and control the other boys. Whilst he was a bully, he was upfront about what he was doing. In neither situation was it a black or white answer as to whether they were right or wrong.

As I’m not particularly religious I don’t like being preached to, and at one point I almost thought that’s what Glow was trying to do with its sermons. Thankfully however, Amy Kathleen Ryan doesn’t just present one point of view, but through a third person perspective is able to show a variety of views and opinions, each justified by different characters. I guess this is quite good because depending on your own opinion as a reader you can then relate more to a particular character that shares your outlook. But the problem with this for me is that I sympathised with almost everyone despite their conflicting viewpoints and morally wrong actions, because you could see their justification and reasoning. Although I liked Waverly the most I didn’t have an overwhelming sense of connection with any one character. I’m hoping that in the next book, we get to see even more of Waverly so that I can build on the connection I do have with her.

Glow was intriguing and definitely thought-provoking. I knew what might happen on New Horizon, but I couldn’t help feeling a horrible sense of dread and fearful anticipation all the same. Amy Kathleen Ryan really makes you think how far you would be willing to go to save humanity. I can’t wait to see what happens next in the Sky Chasers series.

Rating: 4*

10 October 2011


Author: Mary Hooper
Series: No, standalone
UK Publisher: Bloomsbury
UK Release date: September 2011
Genre: Historical YA
Kindly given by the publisher for an honest review

Saved from a life of hardship as a laundry girl in the early 1900's, Velvet is indebted to medium Madame Savoya. As Velvet learns that communing with spirits isn't always easy, she must decide whether she can trust the woman that she owes so much.

Review: Once again Mary Hooper manages to bring the Victorian period to life with such ease, from the luxury of carriages and jewels, to how Victorians spent their Christmas day, and the hardships of living from hand-to-mouth. So many details and historical facts are packed into the story making it feel so authentic and real.

We also get to see what the life of a medium was like in the height of spiritualism. Whilst more and more people were coming around to the idea that mediums were often fraudulently tricking grieving widows out of their money, there were still many ardent believers that they could commune with the other side. To keep their wealthy clients and fight off any suspicions, mediums had to be increasingly clever about the way they worked and the level of communing they performed. I wondered what parlour tricks Madame might be using, and would have liked to have learnt in more detail of the methods mediums used to 'prove' they were really in the presence of the deceased.

Madame Savoya's lifestyle is one of luxury and decadence. Like Velvet I couldn't help but be entranced by her charisma, pretty clothes, her royal Russian ancestry and apparent skill as a medium. But knowing what we know now about mediums, I often thought Velvet was naive and unquestioning of her new life. Considering she knew of tricks used by mediums and was warned by others, Velvet still lived in ignorance. Perhaps because she felt so indebted to Madame, and the alternative would be living back in poverty, I can understand why Velvet didn't want to think too much on the matter.

Also creeping into the story was baby-farms. A sad and horrific part of our history, baby-farms were unlicensed 'nannies' with whom young, poor women out of wedlock left their babes. To save money however these children were drugged and starved or even drowned. The fact that the young mothers were too ashamed to report the death of their children, meant that the farms continued to exist. The realities of these harsh times are apparent in the story, and what I like is that you learn so much about the time period, both good and bad, that history becomes interesting.

Velvet is another mysterious and fabulous historical YA from Mary Hooper who has fast become a top author in the genre.

Rating: 4*

9 October 2011


I always used to think that I preferred series with long winding adventures, watching the characters grow and change. But the more I read the more I’m uncertain as to what I prefer.

As a blogger, I’m cautious of reviewing books further into a series in case readers haven’t read the earlier books and aren’t interested in the review or somehow feel alienated. And as a reader, when I visit the library it’s really difficult to find a full series. Often some are missing or in other libraries, and picking up a standalone book requires a lot less effort and waiting. With a series I somehow feel obliged to read the rest of the books once I’ve started it, waiting months and months for the book to come out with the secret fear that I may not even like the next instalment or the way the author finished the whole series.

On the other hand, you do get to watch your favourite characters grow and change and get caught in new adventures or romances. One of the main reasons I read is for the characters – I want to see them stumble a little, be human and real, be tested and pass. Is a standalone enough to become really enamoured with a character? And if you do really like them, surely you would want to read more about them?

In the case of Sookie Stackhouse I absolutely love this series and know I will read it again and again. I love watching how her life changes and I know I would have been gutted if there had only been one book about Sookie. In contrast, (and this may be a little controversial as I know it is so popular) I felt disappointed with the Fallen series, and almost felt like it was a waste to read three books only to not even want to read the final book in the series.

One author told me that publishers prefer standalone books. But is this true, as there are plenty of new series being published? For the time, I’m still split…

What do you think? Do you prefer a standalone or a series? Or does it depend on the book and the characters?

7 October 2011


Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children 
Author: Ransom Riggs
Series: Yes, #1
UK Publisher: Quirk Publishing
UK Release date: June 2011
Genre: Paranormal
Kindly given by the publisher for an honest review

Jacob grew up listening fondly to his grandfather's stories of monsters, and looking at his collection of strange photographs. Everyone believed them to be just fairy stories and tales of fighting Nazis during the War. But when Jacob sees a strange creature in the woods near his grandfather's dead body, he starts thinking the stories might be true. A trip to the Welsh island and abandoned children's home will help him discover the truth behind the stories and unusual pictures.

Review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children wasn’t what I expected. From the images on the cover I imagined it to be really creepy and sinister, and whilst there were some eerie undertones particularly at the start of the book, the story progressed into something almost enchanting. Although it wasn't as scary as I thought it might be, I certainly wasn't disappointed.

The use of old photographs throughout the book to show what the peculiar children look like and can do was brilliant and to start slightly creepy. Like Jacob I couldn't help but wonder, are they real or are they hoaxes? The way Riggs weaved the story of Jacob, his grandfather and the peculiar children around these odd collections of pictures is unique and fascinating. His blending of fiction and non-fiction was well executed to create something completely different from anything else I have read.

I could see why Jacob’s family put the grandfather’s stories down to tall tales and why the peculiar children hid away from the world. Following Jacob’s discovery of these unusual people and with the photographic ‘evidence’ I felt part of a hidden and secret world. The children themselves are intriguing and vaguely reminiscent of performers in old circus or oddity shows; one young girl can lift extraordinarily heavy things, and one young boy is invisible. The world they live in is so magical and precious, but I don't want to say more and spoil the story, as you have to discover the children for yourself!

On a few occasions Jacob’s voice didn't naturally fit his character age of 16, sometimes seeming far older and knowledgeable or in contrast over-compensating with jarring slang. As the book progressed though Jacob’s voice found its feet and felt more real. Despite this, I felt the first half of the story was much stronger because of the mystery and intriguing plot. There are still questions and an open plot left at the end to keep you guessing and wondering what might happen to the children next.

A unique and visually stunning debut novel, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is different to anything else out on the YA market and will have you pouring over the unusual images and photos.

Rating: 4*

3 October 2011


Debris (The Veiled Worlds)
Author: Jo Anderton
Series: Yes, #1
UK Publisher: Angry Robot
UK Release date: October 2011
Genre: Science fiction
Kindly given by the publisher for an honest review

In Movoc-under-Keeper, there are two types of people. Those who can see and work with pions, and those who work with the dirty by-product of pions, debris. Tanyana is a talented architect and pion binder, but when she falls from the grand statue she is building she also falls in status; losing her ability to see pions, she becomes a lowly debris collector, robbed of rank and career. As she adapts to her new life, Tanyana discovers that there may be more to the debris than she realised, and more to the Veche council than she suspected.

Review: First off I have to say I absolutely adored Debris and found it full of surprises. The futuristic setting and science fiction premise of Morvoc-under-Keeper was absorbing and enthralling – I could almost imagine that in our own world there are invisible pions driving the electricity and water that we rely so much on, and not far behind is the debris wreaking havoc. Whilst I'm not a huge fan of purely science-fiction books, Debris didn't feel like a heavy, overly descriptive sci-fi novel because I was swept away with the engaging characters and compelling plot.

Having fallen, both literally and socially, Tanyana’s situation is both pitiable and unjust. Whilst she hangs onto her former life staying in her luxurious house with little way of paying for it, I still admire her courage to ask for help and understand her feelings of injustice. She can be stubborn and proud, but if you’ve spent you’re life striving to create buildings of beauty, I can imagine that to be cast to the lowest levels of society would be hard to adjust to at first. The fact that she learns and grows makes the story so much more interesting than if she had taken everything in her stride. And to be honest, if I was her I would probably have the spent the first few months after the accident wallowing in self pity in my bed!

The idea of tagging or shackling to distinguish groups isn't new, but the suit that debris collectors are horrifically implanted with is intriguing and slightly gross. With a steampunk feel to them the suits connect to the body through physical bands at the wrists, ankles, waist and neck. Beyond this the suit also reflects her entrapment in society and her lowly job working with debris, acting almost like a badge of shame and reminding me of the old striped prison jumpsuits. There are implications that there is more to the suits and debris than anyone knows, and I hold out hope that in the rest of the series debris collectors won't always be as discriminated against as they are now.

Lad was one of my favourite characters, with his childlike openness and honesty and concern for 'Tan' as he calls her. The changes in his personality when he is confused or overcome with anger or sadness, meant that he wasn't just a static, flat reflection of someone with learning difficulties. Whilst most people saw Lad as damaged or crazy, I really admired the way his team fiercely protected and looked after him. In particular Kichlan, his brother, who selflessly sacrifices so much for him. Despite his initial gruffness towards Tanyana, I instantly liked Kichlan. You can tell a good man by the way he looks after his family and friends! There is also a very subtle hint of something developing between him and Tanyana, and I can't wait to see what happens.

As a debut novel, Debris is impressive; Jo Anderton has managed to maintain a balance that often tests science fiction and fantasy authors, by being able to describe such a wonderfully rich world without losing any of the plot or character development. Jo is very quickly becoming one of my new favourite authors!

Rating: 5*

You can read sample chapters from Debris here.

2 October 2011


Currently out on TV is a new supernatural teen drama from the creators of The Vampire Diaries. Based on books by the same author, L.J. Smith, The Secret Circle is set to run for 13 episodes.

Secret Circle
Director: Liz Friedlander
Based on the books by L.J. Smith
UK TV release date: September 2011
Genre: Witchcraft

The "Secret Circle" series follows 16-year-old Cassie, who moves from California to live with her grandmother in New Salem and falls in love with a mysterious boy named Adam. But, when she enrolls in high school there, she realizes that he, she and all the other elite students at the school are witches! She befriends their leader, Diana, but soon discovers that Adam and Diana are dating, which leads to a whole bunch of complicated drama.

What I like about this first episode is that there is an immediate sense of mystery and intrigue – why did Cassie’s mum leave Chance Habor, was she really killed in an accident, and what happened to everyone's parents so many years ago? And if you are new to the story completely, why are certain teenagers acting so strangely towards Cassie?

Having read the Initiation and The Captive Book 1, it was inevitable that I would compare the two different versions. One difference from the original text (if my poor memory serves me correctly) is that the circle’s parents are much more heavily involved in the TV series, bringing in a lot more intrigue and danger. We see a different side to what magic can do, with the adults' attempts to keep Ethan Conant (Adam's father) quiet and their desire to keep Cassie in town.

My favourite scene was when Adam showed Cassie that they could do magic. Water drops hung in the air, looking beautiful and magical. With the growing connection and forbidden feelings between the pair, this scene was just hot!

I also have to say on a completely irrelevant and personal note, that I loved the glow-in-the-dark stars stuck on Cassie’s bedroom ceiling, left over from when her mum lived there. I just love those stars anyway and have always wanted my ceiling covered in them, but when they started to move and shift…so fab!

Probably my one downfall of the series so far is some of the acting. I liked lots of the characters, particularly Britt Robertson as Cassie, Thomas Dekker as Adam, and Adam Harrington as his father. But for me, Faye's character could have been so much darker, a hint of real danger and evil inside her waiting to be unleashed. Conjuring rain didn't really do it for me. Instead the real threat and danger came from Charles Meade, good girl Diana's dad, which is making me wonder what he is up to.

So far only three episodes have been aired in the US and one here in the UK, and in total their are thirteen in this first series. I was impressed to see that L.J. Smith was actually involved in writing some of the episodes, and I can't wait to watch the rest of the series although I really hope to see more darkness and edge to certain characters.

Have you started watching the series? What did you think?

1 October 2011


On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City and runs every Saturday. It's where you can list all the books you desperately want but haven't actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming.

My two choices for this week are one yet to be released by a debut author and one that I've been waiting to read for ages now. 

Audition by Stasia Ward Kehoe
To be published 13th October 2011 by Viking

When high school junior Sara wins a coveted scholarship to study ballet, she must sacrifice everything for her new life as a professional dancer-in-training. Living in a strange city with a host family, she's deeply lonely-until she falls into the arms of Remington, a choreographer in his early twenties. At first, she loves being Rem's muse, but as she discovers a surprising passion for writing, she begins to question whether she's chosen the right path. Is Rem using her, or is it the other way around? And is dancing still her dream, or does she need something more? This debut novel in verse is as intense and romantic as it is eloquent.

I always wanted to be a ballet dancer when I was little and took it for about three years, but alas I never became a dancer! I'm really looking forward to read this one.

The Summer of Shambles (Ondine #1) by Ebony McKenna
Published April 2010 by Egmont Books

This is a brilliantly witty story with a furry tail ending. One girl. One boy. One spell to be broken. Ondine de Groot is a normal fifteen-year-old who lives with her family in the European country of Brugel. She has a pet ferret called Shambles. But Shambles is no ordinary ferret...He's Hamish McPhee, a boy cursed by a witch. A witch who happens to be related to Ondine. When Shambles turns back into Hamish temporarily, Ondine knows that she has to help him break the spell. He is the most gorgeous boy she has ever met and her one true love! He just can't remain a ferret forever. Can he?

I currently have the second book in this series sat waiting to be read, thanks to Sarah at Feeling Fictional. I was lucky enough to win the first book in a competition, but sadly it never completed its journey to my little flat in London. Alas, the problems of international mail! If anyone is willing to do a swap so I can get Ondine #1, please let me know!

What's on your wishlist this week?