Monday, January 24, 2011

Glass Houses by Rachel Caine

Glass Houses by Rachel Caine (Morganville Vampires #1)

Released: October 3rd, 2006
Publisher: Penguin Australia
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 348
Overall: 4/5

It's a small college town filled with quirky characters. But when the sun goes down, the bad comes out. Because in Morganville, there is an evil that lurks in the darkest shadows - one that will spill out into the bright light of day.

Claire Danvers has had enough of her nightmarish dorm situation. The popular girls never let her forget just where she ranks on the school's social scene: somewhere less than zero. And Claire really doesn't have the right connections - to the undead who run the town.

When Claire heads off campus, the imposing old house where she finds a room may not be much better. Hew new roommates don't show many signs of life. But they'll have Claire's back when the town's deepest secrets come crawling out, hungry for fresh blood...

What I loved most about this book was the refreshingly new, yet more traditional take on vampires.  In this book vampires are the evil, deadly, dangerous creatures they used to be before Twilight came along and turned them all into ridiculously good-looking gentlemen.  The vampires of Morganville used blood and violence to run the town and its residents.

Claire Denver is the protagonist and Caine does a great job of creating a down to earth, easily relatable character in Claire.  The three other main characters; Shane, Micheal and Eve; are all very different yet equally amazing and lovable.  The relationships formed between these four has been created in such a way that just seems so real and unforced.  I love the way they are, in a way, a family and would do anything to protect each other.

I loved the plot of this book.  Again, I loved the evil vampires and I also loved the fact that that love interest was not between a human and a paranormal, but two humans; something we don't see too often in YA fiction these days.  There were some concepts of this world that were introduced but probably need to be explained in a bit more detail, but I'm sure that comes in later books.

Overall a great story told so well through amazing writing.  I can't wait to pick up the next in the series.

rating: 4 stars

Sunday, January 23, 2011

In My Mailbox (1)

IMM is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren - go check it out!

This week I got some awesome books :)


Glass Houses by Rachel Caine

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater


Unearthly by Cynthia Hand


Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver

Before I Fall by Lauren Olver

Release Date: March 2, 2010
Publisher: HarperTeen
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 480
Overall: 5/5

What if you had only one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all—looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12th should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it’s her last. The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. In fact, she re-lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she had ever imagined.

I had high expectations when I picked up this book, having heard nothing but raving reviews for it, and let me say, it does not disappoint.  This is one of those books that will change your perspective on life and really makes you realise how your actions affect others.  A stunning debut by Lauren Oliver.

The story is told from the perspective of the main character Samantha Kingston and wow, she is a bitch.  In the beginning of the book Sam is popular, self-absorbed, and just plain mean to pretty much everyone bar her three best friends Lindsay, Ally and Elody.  The interesting this about Sam is that although I could not relate to her at all, something which usually puts me off a book, Oliver's writes her as such a realistic character that I could still empathise with her and actually grew to like her.  The way not just Sam, but her friends as well, are portrayed so realistically with their flaws and insecurities, makes fall in love with each and every one of the characters.

The story itself is magnificent.  Oliver takes you through the same day 7 times and somehow manages to keep the reader interested.  I loved watching the chain of events unfold after Sam changed small details of her day each time and how each day, she, herself, changed a little bit more.  I loved Sam's relationship with each of the characters and how they also changed throughout the week; I especially loved the interaction with her little sister and also her scene with Anna in the bathroom.

The end was heartbreaking and took me completely by surprise.  I love books that inspire such an emotional reaction that they actually cause you to reflect on your own life, and this is definetly one of those books.

An amazing story, one I would recommend to everybody.  Please go pick up a copy if you haven't already done so.

rating: 5 stars

Monday, January 10, 2011

Delirium Giveaway

Hey everyone, just wanted to let you know of the AWESOME giveaway over at Lauren Oliver's Blog.  Shes giving away 5 signed copies of Delirium.  What are you waiting for, go check it out!

Stylish Blogger Award!

Oh my gosh you guys, I have won my very first blogger award after just a couple of weeks of blogging, I want to thank Traci over at Read Hot Reviews (awesome name btw) for picking my blog for this award and for being my very first follower.  So thanks Traci! :)

Here are the rules :)
1. Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them in your post.
2. Tell us 7 things about yourself.
3. Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers.
4. Contact these bloggers and let them know that they have won.

7 Random Things About Me:
1. My name is Kacie, but if I was a boy, my dad wanted to call me Ace.... O__o
2. My favourite movie is Dirty Dancing..... 'nobody puts baby in a corner' - patrick swazye *sigh*
3. I make fanvideos about TV shows and movies -
4. I finished school last year and hope to study Medical Science this year
5. My favourite book in the world is On The Jellicoe Road (or Jellicoe Road as it is known in the US) by Melina Marchetta
6. I have 2 younger brothers who are twins - they annoy most of the time
7. When I was younger my favourite books were the Pony Pals series - embarrassing, I know - I had every book and reread them all about 20 times

Bloggers I'm awarding:
1. Faybays Books
2. Read-A-Holic
3. Beas Book Blog
4. Jenni Elyse
5. I Live In A Fictional World
6. Best Of YA
7. Hooked To Book Blogs
8. Books By Their Story
9. I Swim For Oceans
10. Books, Sweets and Other Treats

I'll do some more searching and post the remaining 5 winners later :)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Blogger Hop

Book Blogger HopBook Blogger Hop is a weekly meme hosted by Crazy For Books.  This week's question is "What book influenced/changed your life, and how so?"

My answer would have to be The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne.  This book is amazing.  I love historical fiction and this one really changed my perspective about WWII and how children were affected by it.  It really made me think about my childhood and how lucky I am.  Needless to say, I cried like a baby at the end :(

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Cresendo - Becca Fiztpatrick

Cresendo (Hush, Hush #2) by Becca Fiztpatrick

Nora should have know her life was far from perfect. Despite starting a relationship with her guardian angel, Patch (who, title aside, can be described anything but angelic), and surviving an attempt on her life, things are not looking up. Patch is starting to pull away and Nora can't figure out if it's for her best interest or if his interest has shifted to her arch-enemy Marcie Millar. Not to mention that Nora is haunted by images of her father and she becomes obsessed with finding out what really happened to him that night he left for Portland and never came home.

The farther Nora delves into the mystery of her father's death, the more she comes to question if her Nephilim blood line has something to do with it as well as why she seems to be in danger more than the average girl. Since Patch isn't answering her questions and seems to be standing in her way, she has to start finding the answers on her own. Relying too heavily on the fact that she has a guardian angel puts Nora at risk again and again. But can she really count on Patch or is he hiding secrets darker than she can even imagine?

I tried to make this review as un-spoilery as possible but there are a few spoilers that couldn't be helped. You have been warned.

Wow, what an emotional rollercoaster this one was. There were times during this book that I just couldn't put it down, other times I wanted to throw it against a wall.  Either way it got a reaction out of me.

Lets start with the plot.  I lovedddd the direction the plot took in this one.  Unfortunately, I was spoiled by a review I read as to who was the villain, but still throughout the book I could not put all pieces together and I was still left guessing right up until the very end. The story twists and turns all over the place and many times during the book I literally had to put it down and try and put all the clues together.  This book is veryyy fast paced, there is never a dull moment which is why I could never put it down.

Now, the reason I wanted to throw it against a wall - Nora.  What the hell happened to the strong, smart, independent girl of Hush, Hush?  This Nora is insecure, questioning and emotionally all over the place; her constant mood swings kinda gave me whiplash.  Throughout the whole book she complains that Patch never tells her the whole truth and yet when he finally is ready to open up she doesn't want to listen *head desk*  I really hope we see the Nora we all know and love make a reappearance in Tempest, otherwise I may actually have to throw the book against a wall.  Patch, as usual, was his hot brooding self, but he did annoy me with all his secret-keeping and kissing people who are not Nora.

What saved this book character-wise for me was Vee. How awesome is this girl?  Vee in Hush Hush was more annoying than lovable but Vee in Crescendo really comes out of her shell and provides moments of comedy relief among the emo-Nora angst-athon.

Scott.  I still do not know where I stand with his character. Was he evil or good? I still can't figure it out.  Towards the end of the novel, he wanted something very badly - if you've read Crescendo you'll know what I'm talking about - enough that he would kill for it, then he just forgets about it and buys Nora a car?   This got another *head desk* reaction out of me.

As you can tell I have mixed opinions about Crescendo, but despite all the *head desk* moments, it kept me guessing right up until the very end and I just could not put it down.  Its been a while since I read Hush, Hush and I'm not sure it quite beats that book in my opinion, but it does not disappoint as a second book in the series - and the cover it oh so pretty

rating: 4 stars

Sneak Peak - January

Hey guys, there are sooo many amazing books coming out this January and I just wanted to give you a sneak peak into what newbies we can be expecting in ya-world and which ones will be added to my reading list.

 The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher
1 January 2011

Welcome to a future where water is more precious than gold or oil-and worth killing for
Vera and her brother, Will, live in the shadow of the Great Panic, in a country that has collapsed from environmental catastrophe. Water is hoarded by governments, rivers are dammed, and clouds are sucked from the sky. But then Vera befriends Kai, who seems to have limitless access to fresh water. When Kai suddenly disappears, Vera and Will set off on a dangerous journey in search of him-pursued by pirates, a paramilitary group, and greedy corporations. Timely and eerily familiar, acclaimed author Cameron Stracher makes a stunning YA debut that’s impossible to forget.

 Wishful Thinking by Alexandra Bullen
1 January 2011

If you could wish for a different life, would you? What if that life changed everything you thought was real?
Adopted as a baby, Hazel Snow has always been alone. She’s never belonged anywhere–and has always yearned to know the truth about where she comes from. So when she receives three stunning, enchanted dresses–each with the power to grant one wish–Hazel wishes to know her mother. Transported to a time and place she couldn’t have imagined, Hazel finds herself living an alternate life–a life with the mother she never knew.
Over the course of one amazing, miraculous summer, Hazel finds her home, falls in love, and forms an unexpected friendship. But will her search to uncover her past forever alter her future?
In the heart-pounding, luminous sequel to WISH, Alexandra Bullen asks the question: If you could wish for a new life….would you?

 Awakened (HON) by P.C. and Kristen Cast
4 January 2011

Exonerated by the Vampyre High Council and returned to her position of High Priestess at Tulsa’s House of Night, Neferet has sworn vengeance on Zoey.  Dominion over Kalona is only one of the weapons she plans to use against Z.  But Zoey has found sanctuary on the Isle of Skye and is being groomed by Queen Sgiach to take over for her there.  Being Queen would be cool, wouldn’t it?  Why should she return to Tulsa? After losing her human consort, Heath, she will never be the same – and her relationship with her super-hot-warrior, Stark, may never be the same either…
And what about Stevie Rae and Rephaim?  The Raven Mocker refuses to be used against Stevie Rae, but what choice does he have when no one in the entire world, including Zoey, would be okay with their relationship?  Does he betray his father or his heart?
In the pulse-pounding 8th book in the bestselling House of Night series, how far will the bonds of friendship stretch and how strong are the ties that bind one girl’s heart?

 Choker by Elizabeth Woods
4 January 2011

Sixteen-year-old Cara Lange has been a loner ever since she moved away from her best and only friend, Zoe, years ago. She eats lunch with the other girls from the track team, but they're not really her friends. Mostly she spends her time watching Ethan Gray from a distance, wishing he would finally notice her, and avoiding the popular girls who call her "Choker" after a humiliating incident in the cafeteria. 
Then one day Cara comes home to find Zoe waiting for her. Zoe's on the run from problems at home, and Cara agrees to help her hide. With her best friend back, Cara's life changes overnight. Zoe gives her a new look and new confidence, and next thing she knows, she's getting invited to parties and flirting with Ethan. Best of all, she has her BFF there to confide in.  But just as quickly as Cara's life came together, it starts to unravel. A girl goes missing in her town, and everyone is a suspect—including Ethan. Worse still, Zoe starts behaving strangely, and Cara begins to wonder what exactly her friend does all day when she's at school. You're supposed to trust your best friend no matter what, but what if she turns into a total stranger?

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
4 January 2011

In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees . . . .
Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn't easy.
Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place—and out of place at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side.
As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make—between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?
Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart

 XVI by Julia Karr
6 January 2011

Nina Oberon’s life is pretty normal: she hangs out with her best friend, Sandy, and their crew, goes to school, plays with her little sister, Dee. But Nina is 15. And like all girls she’ll receive a Governing Council-ordered tattoo on her 16th birthday. XVI. Those three letters will be branded on her wrist, announcing to all the world—even the most predatory of men—that she is ready for sex. Considered easy prey by some, portrayed by the Media as sluts who ask for attacks, becoming a “sex-teen” is Nina’s worst fear. That is, until right before her birthday, when Nina’s mom is brutally attacked. With her dying breaths, she reveals to Nina a shocking truth about her past—one that destroys everything Nina thought she knew. Now, alone but for her sister, Nina must try to discover who she really is, all the while staying one step ahead of her mother’s killer.

 Across the Universe by Beth Revis
11 January 2011

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.
Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone–one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship–tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn’t do something soon, her parents will be next.
Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed’s hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there’s only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

Friday, January 7, 2011

2011 Debut Author Challenge

So I've decided to jump on the bandwagon and sign up for the 2011 Debut Author Challenge hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren.

Go check it out:

Heres a list of just a few January debut novels I hope to read this year:

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
XVI by Julia Karr
Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Choker by Elizabeth Woods

Last Sacrifice – Richelle Mead

Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead

Murder. Love. Jealousy. And the ultimate sacrifice.

Rose Hathaway has always played by her own rules. She broke the law when she ran away from St. Vladimir’s Academy with her best friend and last surviving Dragomir princess, Lissa. She broke the law when she fell in love with her gorgeous, off-limits instructor, Dimitri. And she dared to defy Queen Tatiana, leader of the Moroi world, risking her life and reputation to protect generations of dhampir guardian to come.

Now the law has finally caught up with Rose – for a crime she didn’t even commit. She’s in prison for the highest offense imaginable: the assassination of a monarch. She’ll need help from both Dimitri and Adrian to find the one living person who can stall her execution and force the Moroi elite to acknowledge a shocking new candidate for the royal throne: Vasilisa Dragomir.

But the clock on Rose’s life is running out. Rose knows in her heart the world of the dead wants her back… and this she is truly out of second chances. The big question is, when your whole life is about saving others, who will save you?

Join Rose, Dimitri, Adrian, and Lissa in Last Sacrifice, the epic, unforgettable finale to Richelle Mead’s international # 1 bestselling Vampire Academyseries

Love and Loyalty Run Deeper Than Blood.

Wow. Where to begin?

This is the sixth and final installment in Richelle Mead’s amazing Vampire Academy series and it does not disappoint.
The book picks up a few days after its predecessor Spirit Bound left off – with our main character Rose detained for murdering the Moroi queen, the mystery of a forgotten Dragomir plaguing our minds and of course, the ever popular unresolved love triangle.  Let me tell you, unlike previous books in the series, Last Sacrifice gets right into the action on the first page and the drama doesn’t stop until the end of the book.

As usual, Mead’s characters are what make this series stand out to me.  The main character Rose is amazing.  With all these damsel-in-distress female characters around lately who seem to always need saving by a man (cough*bella*cough) it is nice to see a girl who can kick some serious butt.  Rose’s best friend Lissa, who I have previously casted into the above category, slightly redeemed herself as for once it was Rose who needed saving by Lissa – though, in true Rose-style, she refuses to be left out of the action.

I particularly enjoyed the character of Tatiana and it is Mead’s skilfull writing that allows us to get to know her character a lot better – dead as she may be.  The return of Rose’s mother Janine was a welcome one and her interaction with Abe was very interesting.
Rose and Lissa’s bond, as in previous books, is a useful plot device by Mead which allows us to get two perspectives and two subsequent stories – we are with Rose as she is on the run yet we also get Lissa’s insight into the goings on at the palace.
Obviously, the love triangle between Rose, Dimitri and Adrian is resolved by the end of the book and I must say I was extremely happy with the result.

It was with mixed emotions that I neared the ending of the book – I didn’t want it to end yet at the same time I was dying to see the pieces of the puzzle come together.  Though, I must say the story ended nicely, tying up all obvious loose ends but leaving a few lingering questions which will give way to the spin-off series Bloodlines set to be released August 2011.

A heart-stopping finale to the already amazing Vampire Academy series – not my favourite of the six but coming in a very close second to Shadow Kiss. If you haven’t already picked up this series DO IT NOW – you will not be disappointed.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Welcome to the Aussie Book Shack

The Aussie Book Shack is a blog dedicated to the reading and reviewing of teenage and young adult fiction.

Hope you enjoy your stay here!

Kacie xx