30 April, 2012

What I Read in April

As the end of April is coming to a close, I'd like to take a minute to review the books I've read last month and what I thought of them. I don't read as many books as some other bloggers do, as I read at my own pace. I wouldn't ever want book reviewing to cease being enjoyable!

The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner #2) by James Dashner
Rating: 3/5

Embrace (The Violent Eden Chapters #1) by Jessica Shirvington
Rating: 4/5

Born Wicked (The Cahill Witch Chronicles #1) by Jessica Spotswood
Rating: 3/5

Partials (Partials #1) by Dan Wells
Rating: 4/5

Above by Leah Bobet
Rating: 2/5

Starters (Starters #1) by Lissa Price
Rating: 4/5

The Peculiars by Maureen Doyle McQuerry
Rating: 3/5

A Witch in Winter (Winter Trilogy #1) by Ruth Warburton
Rating: 4/5

Across the Universe (Across the Universe #1) by Beth Revis
Rating: 4/5

**What did you read in April? Leave me a comment below!**

Review: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Genre: Science Fiction, Romance
Pages: 398
Format: Paperback
Published March 3, 2011 by Razorbill
Originally published January 11, 2011
Goodreads // Amazon UK

has left the life she loves
for a world 300 years away.

Trapped in space and frozen in time, Amy is bound for a new planet. But fifty years before she's due to arrive, she is violently woken, the victim of an attempted murder. Now Amy's lost on board and nothing makes sense - she's never felt so alone.

Yet someone is waiting for her.
He wants to protect her -
and more if she'll let him

But who can she trust amidst the secrets and lies?
A killer is out there - and Amy has nowhere to hide...

Across the Universe is a truly fast-paced and mysterious science fiction romance with elaborate world building. Does that sound like too much to you? Well, I too was surprised at how much was craftily woven into this fantastic novel. Beth Revis even managed to pull off (fantastically, I might add) alternating point of views between Amy and Elder, the boy destined to become the ship leader's successor.

If I had to pick my one favourite aspect of this novel, it would have to be the world building. Life on the ship was so skilfully peppered with a seriously original setting aboard an enormous spaceship headed for another earth-like planet. Food is grown to the book and population is controlled through calculated hormonal urges. There are a lot of creative ways the ship inhabitants have to survive without knowing about the frozen people in the levels below. I cannot praise it enough! 

The characters of this book were really well suited to each other. Amy stuck out like a sore thumb not only with her red hair and pale skin while everyone else had brown hair and olive skin, but she awoke on the ship with the thoughts of someone from the old earth. Having been woken up too early, she is the only one who remembers life on earth and isn't afraid to tell people how life should be. Elder is a genuinely sweet yet defiant character. With Amy's influence, he's able to see the wrong in the status quo aboard this ship and will stop at just about nothing to correct it. Their romance was slow and sweet and truly believable.

What kept me from giving the book five stars was the murderer. As the mystery of the frozen people murders was such an instrumental part of the book, I was disappointed with the murderer. I felt like it was obvious the whole time who was doing it, but I was still intrigued as I felt we were still kept in the dark about why the murders were happening in the first place.

This book is a definite must read to anyone into science fiction. I think it would even suit those put-off by other science fiction books before, as it does have a strong dystopian aspect and romance. I can't wait to get a copy of A Million Suns, the second book in this series!

29 April, 2012

In My Mailbox (#7)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. I post all of the books I've acquired throughout the past week.

This past week has been a busy one! I've acquired just two e-books to feed my reader.

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Format: e-galley
To be published July 10, 2012 by Random House Children's Books
Provided via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review

Night School by CJ Daugherty 
Format: e-book
Published January 5, 2012 by Hachette Digital

What came in your mailbox this week?

28 April, 2012

Review: A Witch in Winter by Ruth Warburton

Genre: Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 346
Format: Paperback
Published January 5, 2012 by Hodder Children's Books
Goodreads // Amazon UK

Anna Winterson doesn't know she's a witch and would probably mock you for believing in magic, but after moving to the small town of Winter with her father, she learns more than she ever wanted to about power. When Anna meets Seth, she is smitten, but when she enchants him to love her, she unwittingly amplifies a deadly conflict between two witch clans and splits her own heart in two. She wants to love Seth, to let him love her – but if it is her magic that's controlling his passion, then she is as monstrous as the witch clan who are trying to use her amazing powers for their own gain.

Although a perfect fit for the paranormal romance genre, A WITCH IN WINTER avoids fangs, excessive body hair and submissive female leads, and tells the heart-wrenching story of a couple meant to be together, but being forced apart. Seth is utterly irresistible and Anna is an empowered, proactive young woman with unimaginable magic inside her. This is fast-paced, sensuous writing with believable incantations inspired by Warburton's research into witchcraft legend and old English.

I picked up A Witch in Winter not expecting much from it and merely hoping for a mildly entertaining read on the bus. What I got once I started reading it was something else! This book was simply great. A seriously fast paced plot with a magical air about it. Another expectation blown!

Winter is a very eerie and damp sort of village that Ruth Warburton does a fantastic job of describing. The main character, Anna, is the clash having come to Winter straight from London when her dad moves her out there. If I hadn't been living in the UK for 18 months now, I think I'd have a bit of trouble understanding a lot of the British terms, especially in Anna's school setting. From an American perspective where the UK is something of a novelty, this book won't disappoint! You just might need to look up what an aga is.

The world building is formed around the town and a traditional witch-world of covens and spells. It's the right amount of keeping up with paranormal traditions while adding in some originality. I adored the house Anna's dad bought. It's creepy and old with a lot of mystery about it. Overall, Ruth Warburton blended in her world building seamlessly into the plot without making the whole book about it. Sometimes it's hard to find a book that does that.

The way Ruth Warburton wrote the characters was one of the main reasons I enjoyed this book. From the start when Anna cast a spell on Seth, you could watch the transformation of their relationship from beginning to end. From farcical love spell to a sincerely sweet romance. Seth was one of the sweetest and self-sacrificing love interests I've had the pleasure to read and Anna really grew on me.

I didn't find the book perfect. There were some flaws I found in the antagonists (mainly I just didn't find them all that threatening and a little hokey), but it was an extremely enjoyable read and I will definitely pick up the second book, A Witch in Love when it comes out this summer. Tehre are still plenty of questions to be answered, chiefly what kind of powers Anna has and if her mother had anything to do with the witch world. I'd highly recommend this book to anyone who likes the traditional grimoire-coven witch world.

27 April, 2012

Feature and Follow Friday (#3)

Feature & Follow is a weekly blog hop hosted by Parajunkee and AlisonCanRead. It's set up so bloggers to discover new blogs and gain new followers.

If you are a new follower, please leave a comment on this post so I can follow you back!

Here's this week's question:

Q: Have you had a character that disappointed you? One that you fell in love with and then "broke up" with later on in either the series or a stand-alone book? Tell us about him or her.

A: When I read this I immediately thought of Simon from Mortal Instruments. At first he was the cutest geek wrapped up in the paranormal drama. Then in the most recent book City of Fallen Angels, he became a two-timer. I really wasn't down with that. I understand love triangles, but he was legitimately two timing and that ain't cool. He sort of redeems himself, but his reputation with me will remain pretty marred. 

Tell me about your character!

26 April, 2012

Review: The Peculiars by Maureen Doyle McQuerry

Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Pages: 368
Format: E-galley (provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review)
To Be Released May 1, 2012 by Amulet Books
Goodreads // Amazon UK

This dark and thrilling adventure, with an unforgettable heroine, will captivate fans of steampunk, fantasy, and romance. On her 18th birthday, Lena Mattacascar decides to search for her father, who disappeared into the northern wilderness of Scree when Lena was young. Scree is inhabited by Peculiars, people whose unusual characteristics make them unacceptable to modern society. Lena wonders if her father is the source of her own extraordinary characteristics and if she, too, is Peculiar. On the train she meets a young librarian, Jimson Quiggley, who is traveling to a town on the edge of Scree to work in the home and library of the inventor Mr. Beasley. The train is stopped by men being chased by the handsome young marshal Thomas Saltre. When Saltre learns who Lena’s father is, he convinces her to spy on Mr. Beasley and the strange folk who disappear into his home, Zephyr House. A daring escape in an aerocopter leads Lena into the wilds of Scree to confront her deepest fears.

The Peculiars was a book that really caught my attention. The book description describes the wilderness of Scree, inhabited by peculiar people and a mystery of her father disappearing on her family. I can tell you, however, that Scree is not visited until the latter part of the book and Lena spends a lot of her time accidentally finding out things about peculiars in an old house with a kooky library. Where the plot was really slow for me during the first half of the book, I wasn't as disappointed in the characters.

I really liked Lena and her 'abnormality' in her long hands and feet. It's really refreshing to read about a character who isn't physically perfect. Overall, I thought she was a really great leading lady and I could chart her character growth throughout the whole novel. My favourite character by far was Jimson. I'd describe his personality as a kid in a candy shop. He's constantly excited, but I just didn't see him as a mature love interest for Lena.

I think where this book fell flat for me was the pacing. I would equate this book to a traffic jam, I think. I'm trying to get somewhere that I'm really excited about and traffic is moving again only to sputter to a halt once more. Several times. Some parts of the book dragged out while others had me sitting on the edge of my seat. I just wanted Lena to meet some peculiars and just maybe get to Scree.

I didn't love the book, but I did find most of it rather enjoyable when the plot picked up. I would recommend this book to readers with interest in historical fiction with a fantasy twist, as I don't know if I'd classify this as steampunk myself. The author does take a lot of liberties with the scientific history (I cringed a little when Lena mentioned DNA, not coined until much later) but that's to be expected with fantasized history. Interestingly, Maureen Doyle McQuerry has a very neat little afterword giving the factual history of many of the inventions and weapons used in the story that picky people might want to look at first.

25 April, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which bloggers post books they are eagerly anticipating to be released. Without further ado, here's mine:

by Rachel Hartman
To Be Released July 10, 2012
Random House Children's Books

Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.
Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.
In her exquisitely written fantasy debut, Rachel Hartman creates a rich, complex, and utterly original world. Seraphina's tortuous journey to self-acceptance is one readers will remember long after they've turned the final page.
I'm looking forward to this book because it looks like a new take on some good old dragon fantasy.  Sometimes I think there are too many dystopian or paranormal books coming out lately and I want to give this book a go! I don't think the cover is particularly exciting, but it does remind me of some classic book covers so perhaps that's a good thing. What do you think of my pick this week? What are you waiting on?

24 April, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: All Time Favourite Characters

This is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week I've listed my Top Ten All-Time Favourite Characters! In some ways, creating this list was so easy, but also so hard! I didn't want to leave anyone off. Ten is such a small number! Okay, well here they are:

  1. Ronald Bilius Weasley (Harry Potter series)- My favourite character from my all-time favourite series! Ron is the funniest supporting character. He's loyal and brave, too! Who wouldn't like that?
  2. Tris (Divergent Series)- Tris is my favourite female lead. She's such a strong character but knows how to be vulnerable. Let it be known that I can't wait for Insurgent!
  3. Rubeus Hagrid (Harry Potter series)- Yeah yeah, another HP character! I can't help it! I love Hagrid. I even have my fuzzy plushie of him.
  4. Peeta Mellark (Hunger Games)- Peeta is such a loveable and commendable character! His feelings for Katniss are so sweet and believable. 
  5. Wanderer/Wanda (The Host)- I love how interesting an alien can be and that's just what Wanda is!
  6. Aragorn (Lord of the Rings)- There's no one more epic than Aragorn. He's swoon-worthy and virtually fearless!
  7. Meg Murry (Wrinkle in Time)- I've always related to Meg and her social awkwardness. Her character was a great comfort to myself when I was much younger. 
  8. Perry (Under the Never Sky)- Very few times have I read a story with alternating views into the eyes of the love interest and actually been enthralled. I love Perry!
  9. Fire (From Seven Kingdoms)- I don't think I've ever read a character quite like her. She's pretty darn complex being vulnerable and resolute at the same time. Plus, she's a monster.
  10. Tally Youngblood (The Uglies)- When I was reading this series, the entire time I thought that we'd make good friends. She's as normal as someone in her situation could be, but she has an adventurous side. 
Which characters are your top ten? 

22 April, 2012

In My Mailbox (#6)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. I post all of the books I've acquired throughout the past week.

This last week I started working full-time again, so I didn't have as much of a chance to pick up some new books, but I did get a couple to feed my e-reader!

The Peculiars by Maureen Doyle McQuerry
Format: E-galley (provided through NetGalley for review)
To Be Released May 1, 2012 by Amulet Books

Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Format: e-book
Published January 3, 2012 by Feiwel & Friends

20 April, 2012

Feature and Follow Friday (#2)

Feature & Follow is a weekly blog hop hosted by Parajunkee and AlisonCanRead. It's set up so bloggers to discover new blogs and gain new followers.

If you are a new follower, please leave a comment on this post so I can follow you back!

Here's this week's question: 

Q: Fight! Fight! If you could have two fictional characters battle it out (preferably from books), who would they be and who do you think would win?

A: When I read this question, I immediately thought of my favourite heroines who know how to kick some serious butt. I'd think it'd be entertaining to have them go at it! So I'd have to say Rose Hathaway from Vampire Academy and Hermione Granger from Harry Potter. Sadly, I think Hermione would win. So perhaps I'll be fair and let Rose battle it out with Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games. So many choices! And yes, I know I'm crazy.

Who would you pick?

19 April, 2012

Review: Starters by Lissa Price

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian
Pages: 245
Format: e-book
Published April 10, 2012 by Delacorte Books 
First Published March 13, 2012
Goodreads // Amazon UK

Callie lost her parents when the Spore Wars wiped out everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty. She and her little brother, Tyler, go on the run, living as squatters with their friend Michael and fighting off renegades who would kill them for a cookie. Callie's only hope is Prime Destinations, a disturbing place in Beverly Hills run by a mysterious figure known as the Old Man.
He hires teens to rent their bodies to Enders—seniors who want to be young again. Callie, desperate for the money that will keep her, Tyler, and Michael alive, agrees to be a donor. But the neurochip they place in Callie's head malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her renter, living in her mansion, driving her cars, and going out with a senator's grandson. It feels almost like a fairy tale, until Callie discovers that her renter intends to do more than party—and that Prime Destinations' plans are more evil than Callie could ever have imagined. . . .
There are so many dystopian books out there for Young Adult readers, and some of them leave me feeling empty. Sometimes the point of dystopian books are for the author to showcase their world building skills. I always enjoy a book more when there's a healthy dose of world building. Starters doesn't disappoint with that. Since reading Divergent, I've been on the hunt for a good world building book and I think I've found it in this debut author novel. While the world building of Starters isn't perfect (I'll get to that in a second), I'm simply happy to see it at all. It really isn't done halfway.

I've read quite a few reviews for this book, and many people have a lot of gripes with the world building. I didn't see needing to know why the Spore Wars happened in the first place as being an issue. The book was written from the perspective of someone who would have been a preteen when the war broke out, so of course she wouldn't know the details. The only beef I have, like a lot of people, were the ages chosen for the spore vaccine. To combat the spore attacks, only the vulnerable populations were able to get vaccinated. For this society, that meant under 20 and over 60. But in a world where people can live up to 200 I'd think that 60 would be the new 30. The age choices didn't make sense to me. Mini-rant over.

That being said, let's get onto the good stuff. I couldn't keep myself away from this book! Even at work, I was itching for my lunch break to read it. It's a total page turner. Price fills the book with mystery, suspense, and some pretty darn good action. I think I'd recommend this book to fans of Stephenie Meyer's The Host. It's got the same amount of world building and suspense. And people inhabiting someone else's body. I can't wait to read the second and final instalment, Enders. It's expected to be out in December this year. Eight months!

18 April, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Glitch by Heather Anastasiu

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which bloggers post books they are eagerly anticipating to be released. Without further ado, here's mine:

Glitch by Heather Anastasiu
To Be Released August 7, 2012
St. Martin's Press

In the Community, there is no more pain or war. Implanted computer chips have wiped humanity clean of destructive emotions, and thoughts are replaced by a feed from the Link network. When Zoe starts to malfunction (or "glitch"), she suddenly begins having her own thoughts, feelings, and identity. Any anomalies must be immediately reported and repaired, but Zoe has a secret so dark it will mean certain deactivation if she is caught: her glitches have given her uncontrollable telekinetic powers. As Zoe struggles to control her abilities and stay hidden, she meets other glitchers including Max, who can disguise his appearance, and Adrien, who has visions of the future. Together, this growing band of glitchers must find a way to free themselves from the controlling hands of the Community before they’re caught and deactivated, or worse. In this action-packed debut, Glitch begins an exciting new young adult trilogy.
I love the cover. I love the science fiction detail on it and the colour scheme! Gah! Lately I've really been into Science Fiction and I think it will be my summer go-to genre. This book should be the icing on the cake!

What book are you waiting for?

17 April, 2012

Review: Above by Leah Bobet

Genre: Paranormal
Pages: 207
Format: e-book
Published April 1, 2012 by Scholastic
Goodreads // Amazon UK

Matthew has loved Ariel from the moment he found her in the tunnels, her bee’s wings falling away. They live in Safe, an underground refuge for those fleeing the city Above—like Whisper, who speaks to ghosts, and Jack Flash, who can shoot lightning from his fingers.
But one terrifying night, an old enemy invades Safe with an army of shadows, and only Matthew, Ariel, and a few friends escape Above. As Matthew unravels the mystery of Safe’s history and the shadows’ attack, he realizes he must find a way to remake his home—not just for himself, but for Ariel, who needs him more than ever before.

I was expecting something different from this book. I didn't have a problem with it being told from Matthew's perspective, I think I had an issue with the style and dialogue of this book. I also had a bit of an issue with how this book connected to the summary. The characters weren't doing much running from the whitecoats, they all had a history of run-ins with them that led to each and every one's mental break. Yes, everyone except perhaps the main character is a little bit wonky and much of the book is dedicated to their biographies since Matthew is a Teller (which I still don't quite get). It just wasn't what I was expecting.

First of all, let it be known that I cannot ignore Leah Bobet's beautiful writing. She is indeed a very talented writer. I just had a problem with the narrator's words. Since it's told through his perspective and he doesn't speak English as properly as I'd hoped, it can get very frustrating. Lots of double negatives and weird slang.

Halfway through this book I felt like giving up. I seriously did not understand what's going on (I still don't think I understand the antagonist or the 'shadows'). All I'd gotten out of it was that Matthew was obsessed with a girl with some serious baggage and who kept running away from everything. I never came to terms with his weird love and responsibility for her. I did, however, finish because I began to understand what was actually going on! Many people came to terms with their mental issues and regained Safe.

I won't go into it much more. This book simply wasn't for me. It wasn't really what I was expecting from the cover or summary at all.

16 April, 2012

Review: Partials by Dan Wells

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian
Pages: 338
Format: e-book
Published February 28, 2012 by HarperCollins
Goodreads // Amazon UK

Humanity is all but extinguished after a war with partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the world’s population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island. The threat of the partials is still imminent, but, worse, no baby has been born immune to the disease in over a decade. Humanity’s time is running out.
When sixteen-year-old Kira learns of her best friend’s pregnancy, she’s determined to find a solution. Then one rash decision forces Kira to flee her community with the unlikeliest of allies. As she tries desperately to save what is left of her race, she discovers that the survival of both humans and partials rests in her attempts to answer questions of the war’s origin that she never knew to ask.
Combining the fast-paced action of The Hunger Games with the provocative themes of Battlestar Galactica, Partials is a pulse-pounding journey into a world where the very concept of what it means to be human is in question—one where our sense of humanity is both our greatest liability, and our only hope for survival.

This book turned out to be different from my expectations- in a really good way. It's a fantastic addition to the dystopian genre, while still maintaining its reputation as a great Science Fiction novel. The plot wasn't as action packed as I would have liked for the length of this book, but the dialogue was so good that I didn't mind. Kira is forced to go into abandoned New York to seek out a Partial (a genetically engineered cyborg thing), since all humans know about the disease that killed over 99 percent of the human population is that it originated from the Partials. Her only hope is to bring one back and study it to try and come up with a cure.

Kira Walker is a character whom I think is actually really mature for a Young Adult book. She's obviously very intelligent, working in the medical field as a teenager, but she knows when to have a good time. This book definitely didn't come off as a strictly YA book and I found myself forgetting that Kira wasn't in her 20s. To those of us who aren't all that interested in diseases or the medical field, you may find this book difficult to swallow. Since Kira is working on a cure to save humanity, there is a lot of technical jargon, though nothing I don't think you couldn't handle! I haven't studied biology in seven years and I was perfectly fine. Many of the supporting characters were hilarious and I laughed out-loud multiple times! I also enjoyed a romance different from 99 percent of the YA books out there. Kira is already in love with her childhood sweetheart and they often act like an old married couple, with the romance taking a back seat.

This book turned out to be much more political than I would have thought. At the core of this book is the debate on whether to lower the age of mandatory pregnancy to 16. The government treats each woman as a walking uterus to create more babies in hope for one that is immune to the disease.There's a lot of political debate between the characters as to level of power a government has in its fight to protect humanity as a whole and the rights of the individual. If you hate that kind of stuff, you many not like this book!

While I was reading this book, I thought about how it this is just a perfect YA Science Fiction book! It's got all the controversy, science, action, and hot robots (partials) you would possibly need. It was one of my favourite reads of 2012 so far. Very very nicely done. I can't wait to read the next one after that cliffhanger ending!

15 April, 2012

In My Mailbox (#5)

This is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren to let my readers know what books I've acquired over the week! As usual, I've noted what edition I've acquired and how I've acquired it. I look forward to reviewing this haul. Have you read any of these?

What did you get in your mailbox this week? Comment and let me know!

Outside In (Inside #2) by Maria V Snyder
Format: Paperback (UK)
Published March 1, 2011 by Mira Ink
Originally published by Harlequin Teen 
There's something Outside. It wants in.
I'm Trella. I used to be a scrub, cleaning the pipes and corridors of Inside. Then I found a whole world beyond the cube we live in and accidentally led a revolution against the Uppers. Now everyone is trying to figure out what happens next.
Except me. The fight's over and I want my life back. I need to explore the new world I've found and work out exactly what's going on with Riley, the Upper who helped me win the war. But there's something Outside. And I need to step up. Because once a leader, always a leader.
It's coming. Am I strong enough to stop it?

Birthmarked by Caragh O'Brien
Format: Paperback (UK)
Published April 1, 2011 by Simon & Schuster 
Originally published March 30, 2010 by Roaring Book Press
In the future, in a world destroyed by the harsh sun, there are those who live in luxury inside the walled Enclave and those, like sixteen-year-old Gaia Stone, who live outside- struggling to survive. Each month the people outside the wall must deliver a quota of babies to the Enclave, to be raised by parents within and brainwashed to forget about the world outside.
This is the way it's always been, and the way Gaia thinks it should be... until her parents are arrested on suspicion of hiding a code; a code revealing the secrets of the "advanced" babes. Realising she is her parents' only hope for survival, Gaia venture inside the wall to rescue them. But she soon discovers that the Enclave is not as perfect as it appears; the gene pool has become too small and genetic irregularities are developing- something the brutal government want to stop. At any cost. Can Gaia break the code and discover the truth, before it's too late?

A Witch in Winter (Winter Trilogy #1) by Ruth Warburton
Format: Paperback
Published January 5, 2012 by Hodder Children's Books

When love is tangled up in magic, how do you know what's real?
When Anna meets Seth, it's magic. But her hidden powers unleash a spell that parks a war among witches and enslaves Seth's heart.

Across the Universe (Across the Universe # 1) by Beth Revis
Format: Paperback
Published March 3, 2011 by Razorbill
Originally published January 11, 2011 by Razorbill

Amy has left the life she loves
for a world 300 years away.
Trapped in space and frozen in time, Amy is bound for a new planet. But fifty years before she's due to arrive, she is violently woken, the victim of an attempted murder. Now Amy's lost on board and nothing makes sense - she's never felt so alone.
Yet someone is waiting for her.
He wants to protect her -
and more if she'll let him
But who can she trust amidst the secrets and lies?
A killer is out there - and Amy has nowhere to hide...

Above by Leah Bobet
Format: e-book
Published April 1, 2012 by Scholastic
Originally published April 1, 2012 by Arthur A. Levine Books

Matthew has loved Ariel from the moment he found her in the tunnels, her bee's wings falling away. They live in Safe, an underground refuge for those fleeing the city Above--like Whisper, who speaks to ghosts, and Jack Flash, who can shoot lightning from his fingers.
But one terrifying night, an old enemy invades Safe with an army of shadows, and only Matthew, Ariel, and a few friends escape Above. As Matthew unravels the mystery of Safe's history and the shadows' attack, he realizes he must find a way to remake his home--not just for himself, but for Ariel, who needs him more than ever before.

Exiled by J.R. Wagner
Format: e-book
To be published June 5, 2012 by Live Oak Book Company
Acquired from publisher as an ARC for review

Stripped of his powers and banished to the Never, James must save himself before he can save his fellow sorcerers from imminent demise.
Prophesied by the greatest of all seers to be the sorcerer who would bring an end to the Epoch Terminus—the destruction of his kind—James grew up developing his powers under the watchful eye of his mentor, Akil Karanis.
James’s insular world is shattered when he is found guilty of murdering Akil and exiled to The Never, a mysterious and dangerous place reserved for the worst of the worst, a land from which no one returns.
Powerless and alone, James quickly learns that the land itself poses a greater threat than its inhabitants. If he is to have any chance of returning to his family, any chance of proving his innocence, any chance of saving his kind, he must survive the dangers and temptations meant to ensnare both body and mind in order to discover what no one else has been able to discover—a way home.

14 April, 2012

Review: Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood

Genre: Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 272
Format: e-book
Published February 7, 2012 by Penguin Group
Goodreads // Amazon UK

Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they’re witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship—or an early grave.

Before her mother died, Cate promised to protect her sisters. But with only six months left to choose between marriage and the Sisterhood, she might not be able to keep her word... especially after she finds her mother’s diary, uncovering a secret that could spell her family’s destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate starts scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra.

If what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren’t safe. Not from the Brotherhood, the Sisterhood—not even from each other.

I didn't know much about this book before I picked it up, other than it was a witchy historical fiction novel, but I still had high hopes for it because of the great reviews I read. After having read it, I wish I'd had more things to say about this book. The setting is a very alternate turn of the 19th century New England. I didn't dislike the setting, in fact, I feel as though it was one of the book's redeeming qualities to have such an original historical setting. It wasn't just historical fiction with witches, this New England had a completely different history and political set up. When it came to the beginning of this book, that's where my praise sort of stops.

The first half of the book I was not that engaged in it. All I read was "blah blah blah the Brotherhood is bad". Not a whole lot happened until Cate learned about the prophecy. Then it got interesting. After I read about why the Cahil sisters were in danger I couldn't put the book down! The world of secrets and witches finally comes to life. I think it was very clear by the end of the novel that this is just a foundation book. This book laid out the history and world of witches, while the other books in the series will hold all the action (I hope).

I really liked the characters and character building. I felt as though the relationships between the three girls were very believable and an accurate glimpse at siblinghood. The only character I got annoyed with was Cate. I don't know how to describe her other than by calling her a party-pooper. She's probably the most uptight character I've read in a really long time, though necessarily so. She has to be the responsible one, since no other witch appears to be. The only time she lets her hair down is around Finn. Oh, Finn! I was incredibly excited to see such a nerdy and adorable guy be a love interest in a book. He just really did it for me! Finn and Cate's forbidden fling was the best part of reading through Cate's point of view. They're probably my new favourite fictional couple in a long time.

I didn't give this book four stars because of the beginning. In my opinion, it was slow and took too long for anything much to happen. I did, however, enjoy the rest of the book immensely so I'm giving it three stars. I wish it was more. I'd say read this book if you like corsets and magic. You won't be disappointed if you don't want much more out of this book!