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The Digital Revolution: Publishing in the Twenty-First Century

Historically, books and music have readily exchanged stylistic inventions – the latter glaringly stealing from the former for narrative, conceptual and aesthetic direction in pop since the 1960s. Perhaps on account of this, and considering its performative and ephemeral dimensions and base populist overtones, music published for the mass market has been thought of as less serious than literature, and more mutable: to the chagrin of cultural studies departments everywhere.

Now, however, in the words of Elizabeth Weiss, of Allen & Unwin, the music industry provides the ‘salutary example’ of how publishers must address new public demand for digital books, journals and newspapers created by the arrival of e-readers such as the Kindle, Ipad and ‘smart phones’; just as music was forced to adapt to the advent of MP3 technology and players many years ago. As record companies fretted and experimented by turns, so now local books publishers contemplate a new life in altered states.

If The Digital Revolution: Publishing in the Twenty-First Century symposium, organised by the Australia Council for the Arts and Australian Publishers Association (the State Library of Victoria, 15 February, to be repeated in Sydney on the 17th) started as a warning of the monumental digital wave making its way from overseas to local publishing, by its end the meeting of one hundred organisations was awed less by fear than by the opportunities presented by e-books, e-readers, DRM (Digital Rights Management) and metadata, ‘dispersed digital marketing’ strategies and other futuristic terminology and concepts.

Senator Kim Carr, Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research opened proceedings with a reminder that there is ‘no point circling the wagons’ in regards to digital publishing, given the prediction that by 2020 thirty per cent of Australia’s book market will be electronic. Senator Carr cited the lesson of the seventeenth-century’s ‘penmen’, those Luddite hand-copyists of the first moveable type, to enforce his plain message that no one in publishing can expect to ‘build a future on nostalgia’.

In a notable presentation, Stephen Page, CEO of Faber and Faber (UK), dispelled perhaps the gravest fear surrounding the digital publishing conversation: that e-books will entirely replace print books. As with the music industry, he said, digital versions complement print versions and actually help on-sell them. Digitisation enlivens the reading community by fostering dialogue about books online and at events promoted online, and also triggers new-found fetishes for deluxe, hard-cover, limited run editions. He instanced the success of the Faber Finds, print-on-demand editions of backlist titles. Almost 1000 of these will soon be available.

Michael Tamblyn, of Kobo Inc. (Canada), went on to banish further scepticism regarding e-books: namely that it is only the very young who are interested in them, and that digital editions are too readily available to build a business on. Kobo Inc.’s extensive research into the American market found that the average e-book reader is between thirty-five and fifty-five years old, and that she (fifty-five percent) or he (forty-five per cent) values speedy access to titles above the cost-savings involved. Tamblyn enforced his point with an astonishing graph indicating that most e-book sales in the United States occur late at night when regular bookstores are closed.

All this is further encouragement, if we needed it, to develop an electronic edition of ABR. How much it will cost, where it will be available and in which forms will be moot until the transition described by Richard Charkin, Executive Director of Bloomsbury Publishing (UK), as a ‘ten-person chess game, in which the rules are unknown and players wear sacks on their heads’ becomes clearer. Certain it is though that e-ABR is on the way – to complement the print edition.

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Fated by Sarah Alderson

Fated by Sarah Alderson

Fated by Sarah Alderson (review copy) - What happens when you discover you aren't who you thought you were? And that the person you love is the person who will betray you? If your fate is already determined, can you fight it?

When Evie Tremain discovers that she’s the last in a long line of Demon slayers and that she’s being hunted by an elite band of assassins –Shapeshifters, Vampires and Mixen demons amongst them – she knows she can’t run. They’ll find her wherever she goes. Instead she must learn to stand and fight.

But when the half-human, half-Shadow Warrior Lucas Gray - is sent to spy on Evie and then ordered to kill her before she can fulfil a dangerous prophecy, their fates become inextricably linked. The war that has raged for one thousand years between humans and demons is about to reach a devastating and inevitable conclusion. Either one or both of them will die before this war ends.

If your life becomes bound to another’s, what will it take to sever it? From Amazon UK

After finishing Hunting Lila, I dived right into Fated, knowing I needed more of Alderson's brilliant writing, knowing Fated would be just as amazing! I wasn't disappointed!

Fated is dual-narrative novel, so we get to see the points of view of both Evie, as she finds out who she really is and starts to learn, and Lucas, half-Shadow Warrior, as he falls for the girl he's sworn to kill. Evie, who believed she was a normal girl, suddenly finds out while grief-stricken that she is a Hunter, those who defend the earth from demons. Not only that, but she is pivotal to a prophecy, and has zero choice in the matter. It's fight or die. As a member of the Brotherhood, Lucas' purpose in life is to rid the world of Hunters, those who are defending our world from the Unhumans - modern, PC term for demons. However, Lucas hasn't signed up because he believes in the cause, his reasons for wanting to kill Hunters are more personal. But then he lays his eyes on Evie, and things shift.

With the dual-narrative, Fated was kind of like Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Hellboy, with Evie's training and learning being Buffy-esque towards the beginning, and the group of Unhumans that make up the Brotherhood being like the group in Hellboy. That may sound surprising - why would I compare those on Hellboy, who were good, with a group of Unhuman assassins? Well, with Lucas' point of view, we get to know the Unhuman characters. Despite their Unhuman-ness, they're just teenagers really; flirting, arguing, taking the mick out of each other. I found some of them really interesting and intriguing characters, despite being "bad", and would have liked to have seen a little more of them, see more of their personalities outside of fighting, but I guess it's not their story.

The romance in Fated is a slow burner; Lucas and Evie don't actually spend much time together, chatting, getting to know each other. It's not insta-love though. It's physical attraction, that they bothry to ignore for their own reasons - how can Lucas be attracted to the girl he has to kill? How can Ev even think about guys when she has to go around killing Unhumans? They both really fight it... they just can't. Have you seen the title of this book? They really can't fight it. And once they stop, woah! Alderson sure knows how to write a steamy kiss! Seriously hot - and they're only kissing! Not a bed in sight! Alderson really is the Queen of Sexual Tension!

She's also the Queen of Twists! The twist that came at the end of this novel was shocking! It pretty much turned everything Evie knew, what she had learned, upside down! I was just so frustrated and mad for her! How that girl is able to trust anyone by the end of the book is beyond me! But it makes for a very interesting ending, and I have no idea where the sequel could possibly go next! I loved it! My mind has been made up. Another author to add to my favourites list!

On a side note, I need to add that Sarah Alderson is British. Yes, you read that right, British! But she writes in such a way that her books feel like they're writen by US authors - not just because they're set there, but because they fit in with the other US YA urban fantasies out there, you wouldn't know the difference. This surprises me and makes me quite proud! Would be interesting to see if Alderson writes a novel set entirely in the UK - I just can't imagine anything fantastical happening around here.

Brilliant novel, and I cannot wait to read whatever Alderson releases next! You must read this book!

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Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson

Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson

Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson (review copy) - 17-year-old Lila has two secrets she's prepared to take to the grave. The first is that she can move things just by looking at them. The second is that she's been in love with her brother's best friend, Alex, since forever. After a mugging exposes her unique ability, Lila decides to run to the only people she can trust - her brother and Alex. They live in Southern California where they work for a secret organisation called The Unit, and Lila discovers that the two of them are hunting down the men who murdered her mother five years before. And that they've found them. In a world where nothing and no one is quite as they seem, Lila quickly realises that she is not alone - there are others out there just like her - people with special powers -and her mother's killer is one of them... From Amazon UK

Until very recently, I had heard very little about Hunting Lila. I may possibly have been living under a rock, because at publishing events, people wouldtalk about how good it is, but I'd not seen much talk of it online. I didn't even have a copy on my TBR pile, I'd heard so little about it. But recently I've been stalking the blogs run by Brodie and Lisa, Eleusinian Mysteries and Read Me Bookmark Me Love Me, who have featured several posts about Sarah Alderson's novels in their joint February Valentine's Event. The deleted scenes and character Q&As - as well as the ladies' enthusiam for Alderson's novels - covinced me I had to read them, so I picked up Hunting Lila. It was fantastic! This book is just so awesome, I'm not really sure where to start, so much to talk about!

With the first half of the book, I was surprised with how contemporary it seemed, despite Lila's ability. She keeps her strange ability a secret, and makes up excuses as to why she's suddenly visiting her brother Jack, and Jack and Alex are quite secretive about what it is The Unit does. Although Lila wants to find out because of strange things that have been happening - why on earth are there SUVs guarding the house? - the fantasy element is kept underwraps for a good while, so we get to the characters as normal people. Which is just awesome, because hello, Alex! Lila has been in love wih him for pretty much her whole life, and it's not hard to see why - the boy is hot! He's protective, strong, sweet, and just absolutely lovely, with the physicique that comes with being in the military! Alderson is just fantastic at writing hot guys, because the pages just sizzle whenever Lila is with him, even though he's completely oblivious. The effect he has on Lila - and us readers - i just... wow. I want me some Alex!

Then the fantasy element hits with full force. Jack and Alex are trying to catch Lila and Jack's mother's murderer, Demos, and oooh, he's a bad man. And he has an ability too. One, it seems, that make him unbeatable. Even before we see him, we're scared of him, simply because of the way everyone who knows about him talks about him. He is Dangerous - yes, with a capital D. Throughout reading Hunting Lila, I was constantly reminded of the American TV show, Heroes.There are bad people with abilities, and there is an organisation set up to stop them. Hunting Lila is just as fast paced and just as exciting as Heroes, if not more so. Even though they have different abilities, Demos is just as freaky as Sylar.

But just when you're thinking "oh my god, can things get any worse?" BAM! Alderson chucks in a twist! I did not see it coming at all! The excitement level is hitched up a notch, and you're worrying for completely different reasons! Your emotions are turned up on their head, and you don't know what to feel or who to trust, and you're scared for the one's Lila loves, because oh dear god, things get dangerous! And then BAM! Another twist! The biggest twist ever! You're thrown back against your seat with the wind knocked out of you! And then a cliffhanger that leaves you dying for more! And yes, I am using far too many exclaimation makrs, but that's because I am just so in love with this book!

If you haven't read this book yet, you seriously need to go out and get it right now, because Hunting Lila goes above and beyond amazing! I cannot recommend this book enough!

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If I Die by Rachel Vincent

If I Die by Rachel Vincent

If I Die by Rachel Vincent (review copy) - WARNING! I cannot review this book without spoiling the others in the series. Read no further if you're planning on reading this series and don't want it spoiled for you.


Everyone else is talking about Eastlake High’s gorgeous new math teacher, Mr. Beck, but Kaylee Cavanaugh has bigger things on her mind. Kaylee’s a banshee—her scream is a portent of death.

But the next scream might hit too close to home. Kaylee’s borrowed lifeline has almost run out.

Yeah—it’s a shock to her, too. So to distract herself from her own problems, Kaylee is determined to defend her school against the latest supernatural threat. That hot new teacher is really an incubus, who feeds from the desire of unsuspecting students. The only girls immune to his lure are Kaylee and Sabine, her boyfriend’s delinquent ex-girlfriend. Now the unlikely allies have to get rid of Mr. Beck…before he discovers they aren’t quite human either.

But Kaylee’s running out of time, and those who love her will do anything to save her life.

Just to warn you, this review is likely to be quite long, and you may not survive the tsunami of love that will spill out from it.

I'm going to start this review by saying something outrageous. Who nees family or friends, hell, who needs food when you can lock yourself in a room and immerse yourself in the wonders that are the Soul Screamers series? I'm exaggerating, of course, but that should give you some idea as to how much I really mean my love knows no bounds when it comes to this series. No review I could ever write would ever come close to expressing how much I adore this series, and specifically this book (but I'm going to try!). If I Die surpasses My Soul to Steal, and I thought that was brilliant! I'm going to say something now I never, ever thought I would say. Are you ready? Ok, here goes. I love this series more than I love the Shifters series. I know! The Shifters series was absolutely phenomenal, and I didn't think Vincent could ever write anything that came close to how amazing it is, because how can you beat perfection?! Guess what? The Soul Screamers series is better!

Should I get on with the specifics now? Yes? Ok...

That's going to be hard actually, because there's so much that happens in this book that is major important, and it leaves very little I can talk about. I would say this is probably the most important book in respects to Kaylee's life so far. It's a turning point in the biggest way possible. Everything's changed. Everything. And it's brilliant!

As we learned much earlier in the series, Kaylee was supposed to die when she was three. However, her mother took her place, and Kaylee has been living on borrowed-time since then; she's been living the time her mother would have had had she not died, and now that line will be coming to an end in a few days. And there's absolutely nothing anyone can do to save her. As if that's not enough to deal with - having to face the fact she will die, trying to make sure everyone will be ok when she's gone, and decide what she wants to do with the little time she has left - she finds out there is an Incubus posing as the school's new Maths teacher, and has the sweet, young things he teaches in his sights - specifically Emma, Kaylee's best friend. Kaylee can't die, she doesn't have time to die! There is a freaking incubus attempting to impregnate half the student body! So, as you can imagine, Kaylee's fit to burst with everything she has to deal with and how very little time she has to deal in. It's enough to drive anyone mad, and perhaps make a few mistakes...

That's what's just so fantastic about Vincent; she doesn't shy away from putting her characters of her readers through hell. In all kinds of ways. And not one person, not one, comes out the other side unscathed, be it mentally or physically. If I Die is absolutely hellish on it's characters, it's terrifying and unbelievably sad, and yet it's also so, so beautiful. There were tears in my eyes as I closed the book because of more emotions than I could possibly name. But mostly, I was in complete and utter awe.

I have to mention Tod. My love for this boy has grown and grown with each book, and I'm sure it will continue to do so. He's just the most amazing, brave and selfless guy - and one of the funniest. He is just so completely wonderful, and I want one of my own. Sabine is still very much Sabine, and so I'm still loving her. That girl has serious spunk, and despite the way she can treat Kaylee sometimes, I love her for it. I am so looking forward to more of her. And I'm so glad I finally got an answer to a question I've been wondering about ever since reading the prequel novella, My Soul To Lose. Just shows how brilliantly talented Vincent is, If I Die is the fifth book in! She has had this book in head in some form since the very beginning. It blows me away.

I am so happy there has been a change when it comes to the titles! If I Die makes perfect sense, and I'll remember which book it is, but I'm always having to look up the others when I want to talk about them, because I can never remember whether it's MSTTake, Save, Keep or Steal. So I'm liking the chnge! I also love the cover - I love all the UK covers for this series - but it doesn't link to the story whatsoever that I can see, I have no idea of the significance of the dragonfly. So for this book, I think the US cover says a lot more about the story, it really works.

This is not a book anyone can miss. You have to read this book. Pre-order this book now, right now, because you simply cannot not read this book. It's absolutely amazing! Rachel Vincent, you are beyond amazing, and I cannot thank you enough for the joy I get through readin your books. You're a gift to readers. Now I just need Mira Ink to publish the eBook novellas Reaper and Never to Sleep in the UK so I can read them, and I will be an extremely happy girl.

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Lost Christmas by David Logan

Lost Christmas by David Logan

Give him your hand Frank. Let him tell you what you've lost. Old lady's lost a bangle, he knows I've lost a dog, well you've lost something too. Let him tell you what.

Eleven-year old Goose is lost. It's Christmas, his parents are dead and now his dog Mutt has gone missing. Those round him aren't doing much better: his Uncle Frank's wife has walked out on him and his nan is losing her mind.

But then Anthony appears: a man who seems to know everything about those he touches by nothing at all about himself...

Who is he, how does he know so much, and can he help Goose?

So begins a dramatic journey through love, loss and the quest for home. From the blurb

I received Lost Christmas as a Christmas pressie from my Mum and Dad. I originally planned to keep it until December of this year, so I would be reading a Christmassy book around Christmas, but had to pick it up on my Mum's insistence. Why? Well, she wants to watch the film Lost Christmas which we recorded when it was on last month. She's not the type of person who can watch movies based on a book or movies where a book version has been writen (as is the case with Lost Christmas) without reading the book first, so I let her borrow it. Once she finished, she said I HAD to read the book before we watched the movie because it was brilliant, and as she wanted to watch the movie soon, I had to read the book, like, yesterday. Obviously, my Mum didn't say those exact words, but you get the idea. She was right, the book is brilliant.

I picked Lost Christmas up thinking it was a children's book, but I would say it's more a pre-teen/early teen novel, with cross over appeal. The loss of Goose's parents has had a huge, huge impact on Goose's life. He's gone a bit off the rails because he hasn't dealt with things properly, and his Nan, who is his guardian now, has Alzheimer's that's steadily getting worse. His life doesn't look good. And the lives of various other people in the book have lives that are less than perfect. Lost Christmas reminds of movies like Love, Actually, as there are a lot of characters with their own individual stories, but they're all linked. It was quite a novelty to see something like this in a book; instead of just one or maybe two narrators like I'm used to, there were a whole number of them - though some had only very small parts, it really doesn't get confusing at all. The main narrator is Goose and it's his story that is the main focus. There's such a wealth of characters, but each of them have experienced loss in some form.

Which leads on to my next point. Lost Christmas is sad. There are some very light, amusing moments, but there are a number of moments that are just incredibly sad. There's one excruciating moment where I came so close to tears, because it's one of those rare moments where you know what's going to happen - you actually know, it's not a theory or a prediction, you know - and it's nothing good, and reading it is just awful! It's drawn out over several pages, and I just wanted to put the book down. It's excruciating! Really, there are some terribly upsetting moments.

I was so surprised by the ending! All the way through I was trying to work out who Anthony was, I had various theories that were based on nothing but guesses. They were discarded and another thought up, and then brought back, but never guessed what his story was, or how he knew everything about everyone else. It's so clever! And the actual ending of the book was just so good! Oh, it was just lovely! I loved.

The cover for Lost Christmas is really beautiful, but other than the snow, I have absolutely no idea how it relates to the story. I have no clue about the tree, and it looks like the shortest figure is a girl, which makes no sense to me. I am at a lost. But it is gorgeous!

A really sweet but also sad novel that's just wonderful and brilliant and all things good! I highly recommend Lost Christmas, it's fantastic!

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Embrace the Night by Karen Chance

Embrace the Night by Karen Chance

WARNING! I cannot talk about this book without spoiling the first two. Do not read if you plan on reading Touch the Dark and Claimed by Shadow!

Cassie Palmer, now Pythia – cheif clairvoyant, has come into her full power. Having not been trained as a candidate for Pythia when she was growing up, she’s struggling to understand here powers and work out how to use them. Working things out will have to wait however, as she needs to get hold of the Merlini Codex. The geis between her and Lord Mircea, a master vampire and member of the vampire senate, is getting stronger, and Mircea’s life is at risk. Only in the Codex can she find the counter spell to the geis and free them both, with the help of the war mage Pritkin. With a group of runaway magical children who are dropped on to her plate, and the continual attempts on her life by the Silver Circle, things are complicated. But then she starts to mistrust Pritkin, and when a blast from his past shows up, the truth about him is revealed, and things start to get a lot worse.

I don’t know how Karen Chance manages to do it, but this book is amazing! You may remember that I wasn’t all that keen on the first book because of the way the world building was dealt with. There is no problem now! This book was just awesome! It’s unbelievable how fast paced it is, and how everything links together even though there are so many things going on at once. I love it! Along with Cassie, you’re not sure who to trust and who to mistrust, who wants to help and who is out for themselves. You’re kept guessing the whole time!

You may also remember that I didn’t like Pritkin in the first book. I absolutely bloody love him now! He has to be my favourite character; he’s always angry and untrusting, but he’s just so cool with his spells and weapons, and how you can rely on him to get you out of a scrap. If he’s not my favourite, then possibly Billy Joe, Cassie’s ghost sidekick, or Casanova, the vampire incubus, or incubus vampire (I always get that confused) who run’s night club Dante’s.

Cassie is amazing though. She goes through a rollercoaster of emotions through this novel as the story progresses as she gets more information, meets another obstacle, or other complications arise. She keeps at it though, she picks herself up and tries again and again, and her strength is admirable. Even when things seem impossible, and she’s at her wits end, the girl doesn’t stop.

I can’t really go into too much more detail without spoiling the book. It has Chance’s usual fast pace, array of strong, but humorous character, and a plot that’ll keep you turning the pages into well into the night! If vampires, weres, fey, witches, mages, clairvoyants and demons are your thing, this is a series you definitely need to grab!

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Claimed by Shadow by Karen Chance

Claimed by Shadow by Karen Chance

WARNING: This is the second book in a series. I may spoil the first book while talking about this one. Read no further if you plan on reading Touch the Dark.

Cassandra Palmer would like a normal life, but now she is heir to the Pythia, the world's cheif clairvoyant, and has more power than she ever wanted. A power the Silver Circle and the Vampire Senate want control over. Unfortunately for her, this power has a mind of it's own, and it's wants the ritual that will make her finally Pythia completed, so it's doing all it can to make this happen, and some people have never looked so good to Cassie.

Then she finds out that Mircea had a geis on her, a magical spell which has now started to make itself known, acting like a big "keep off" sign to anyone who shows any interest.

If that wasn't enough, Myra, the original heir to the Pythia, is trying to screw up the timeline to get things to go her way. What's a girl to do when everyone wants to screw up your day?

This book was so much better than the first! No breaking up of the action now the world building is done and it runs a lot smoother. However, this girl sure as to deal with a huge amount! The whole book spans only two days, but Cassie finds herself in so many life threatening situations, it's mental! Normally, I don't like it when too much happens in a book as it feels like the book is jumping around too much, but it all flows rather well in this book.

It's very exciting and your sitting on the edge of your seat wondering whether things are going to go the way she wants, and wondering who she can trust, it's great. There's a passage that stood out for me:

Once upon a time, when I was a child reading fairy tales, I'd ached to have my own adventures. Not that I'd wanted to be some drippy heroine languishing in a tower, awaiting rescue. No, I'd wanted to be the knight charging into battle against overwhelming odds, or the plucky country lass who gets taken on as the apprentice to a great wizard. As I got older, I'd found out the hard way that adventures are rarely anything like the books say. Half the time you're scared out of your mind, and the rest you're bored and your feet hurt. I was beginning to believe that maybe I wasn't the adventurous type.

I really like that passage, it just struck a chord with me. You really get an idea of how she's feeling. It was such a great book, so exciting, I loved it!

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Touch the Dark by Karen Chance

Touch the Dark by Karen Chance

Cassandra Palmer is clairvoyant and can talk to ghosts - qualities vampires want her for. Tony, a vampire master who cassie escaped from three years ago, has found her again, and there's no where to run, except to the Vampire senate. But they won't give their protection for nothing. Telling her the truth about her powers, the Senate need her to stop a powerful vampire who threatens not only the vampire population, but the whole paranormal community. Cassie finds betrayal and surprise around every corner, as well as several attempts on her life. Will Cassie survive to help the Senate?

All in all, I liked this book. The idea of the story is exciting, action is suspensful, and the mythology used for all the paranormal creatures is just awesome! There are several famous figures in the book; Cleopatra, Mircea - Dracula's older brother, Jack the Ripper, Rasputin, The Man in the Iron Mask, and Christopher Marlowe. The plot to get all these characters in, and have it make sense is pretty amazing. It's an awesome premise, and it turned out to be a great book.

However, I found the beginning pretty slow. So slow, I ws sure I wouldn't like it. Why is it slow? Cassie has lived in this world for around twenty years or more. She knows all about it. We, as readers, don't. But the story starts when Cassie realises she needs to run, like, now. So we get a lot of background info on Cassie, her childhood, the people she knows, the mythology of other creatures, etc, in the middle of action. A fight starts, the action is interupted to explain certain aspects, and then maybe 2-3 pages later, the action continues. It was annoying. It would have been much better, in my opinion, if we were given the information needed in some other way, but considering the world and Cassie's age, I'm not sure how.

But don't let this put you off. Persevere! When I finished the book, I was thinking it was just amazing, and I have now ordered he next in the series as it ends on a cliff hanger, and I can't wait to find out what happens! I highly recommend.

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Curse the Dawn by Karen Chance

Curse the Dawn by Karen Chance - WARNING! I can’t review this book without spoiling the first three in the series. If you plan on reading this series, don’t read any further! Links to reviews of previous books in the series can be found at the very end.

Cassie Palmer, the world's chief clairvoyant, just can't seem to stay away from trouble. After trying to come to an agreement with the Silver Circle – the magical organisation that's been trying to kill her for years – she finds herself kidnapped by one of its members and swept away in the ley line system, a series of magical currents that occupies the space between worlds. Cassie manages to escape but, fearing for her safety, she decides to invest in a magical device for protection. However, all she can afford is a statue that grants wishes . . . But what Cassie doesn’t realize is that the statue doesn’t always grant wishes the way the wisher would like. And when she wishes for the strength to shift herself and companion Pritkin away from a dangerous fight, the statue grants the wish by switching her into Pritkin’s body and him into hers. And that’s when the real trouble starts . .. From Amazon UK

When I read the first book in the Cassie Palmer series, Touch the Dark, I wasn’t too impressed. I enjoyed the plot, the storyline, the action, but it was very much a first book in a series; some things needed to be explained to the reader that Cassie already knew about, which disrupted the story line for several pages at a time, and left me confused. However, I was urged to continue with the series, assured that the series will definitely get better, and so on the assurance of those people, I picked up the next book. And the next. And then this one. Thanks to their encouragement, this series has become one of my favourite urban fantasy series, and Curse the Dawn doesn’t disappoint. Seriously amazing!

If you’ve read previous books in the Cassie Palmer series, you’ll know how busy and action packed they are. Amusing as it sounds, the blurb above barely just scratches the surface of what actually happens in this novel. There are some absolutely hilarious scenes in this book because of the body swap situation, and because of all people, it involves Pritkin, but this book is not all laughter. If you thought things had gotten serious in the other books, just you wait until you read Curse the Dawn!

Karen Chance never fails to blow me away with how many things can go wrong for Cassie in just one book. If someone was to describe the books to me before I had read them as one dangerous action packed problem followed by yet another dangerous action packed problem, and so on, I don’t think I would have picked them up. I’m generally not a fan of books where so much is going on, they get far too busy, and so very confusing. This is not a problem with these novels; Chance is just incredible at making sure every single detail is important, with things like a tiny little detail from a problem earlier on in the book having a huge impact on something else later in the book. These problems are all connected, and flow seamlessly, and create one amazing story!

As I said, things get pretty damn serious in this book. The lives of several characters we’ve come to love are in serious danger, and Cassie is at her wits end trying to make sure that everyone is safe, do her job without any training, and try to work out what a serious of disturbing visions mean, all at the same time. This book is not just the humorous adrenalin rush this series normally is, it’s an emotional rollercoaster when you have no idea how things are going to turn out, and are certain some people will not get out of it alive. I was close to tears at one point, and several times while reading this book, I was sure it was going to be the end of the series; I couldn’t see how there could possibly be a way for there to be a happy ending. And no, I’m not going to tell you if there was or not.

Let’s talk characters; Cassie, Mircea, and Pritkin are all back, and how much I love them! Cassie’s narration, with her sense of humour, is always a joy to read, especially when she manages to make some bad situations something to smile over. Mircea is as charming as ever, and Pritkin is as angry as ever, but I wouldn’t have them any other way. There has always been a slight hint of a love triangle possibly raising its head, and after reading this book, if there aren’t any big love triangle issues in the next book, I’ll be gobsmacked. Personally, I’ll be rooting for good ol’ Pritkin. You’ve got to love that guy, even if he does have anger management issues. He does have a softer side, and softer it shines through in this book. We meet several new characters in this book as well, but I have to mention Jonas Marsden, the ex chief of the Silver Circle. He’s a complete nutter, but he’s just awesome! He puts me a lot in the mind of Myrnin from Rachel Caine’s Morganville Vampire series. Marsden is cause for a fair few smiles throughout this novel!

I absolutely love this series, and, perhaps because this book was so emotionally, but I felt really quite sad when I reached the last page. I can’t wait to read the fifth book in the series, which is due to be released spring/summer 2010! I’ve caught up at last! Anyone who ignored my warning above and read this review even though they haven’t started the series yet, you really should get to it! The first book can be a little confusing at times, but the ones that follow are just too amazing for words! Get a-reading!

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Blood Promise by Richelle Mead

Blood Promise by Richelle Mead (review copy) - WARNING! This is the fourth book in a series. I cannot review this book without spoiling the first three, especially Shadow Kiss. Don’t read any further if you plan on reading this series and don’t want to be spoiled.

How far will Rose go to keep a promise? The recent Strigoi attack at St. Vladimir’s Academy was the deadliest ever in the school’s history, claiming the lives of many. Even worse, the Strigoi took some of their victims with them - including Dimitri. He’d rather die than be one of them, and now Rose must abandon her best friend, Lissa—the one she has sworn to protect no matter what—and keep the promise Dimitri begged her to make long ago. But with everything at stake, how can she possibly destroy the person she loves most? From Amazon UK

I cannot even begin to tell you just how brilliant this book was! There are so many reasons, and it was so different from what we’ve read so far in the series, and I could just gush forever, but this is a review so it needs some semblance of coherency.

I’ll start with the differences. In all the other books, Rose and Lissa have been together, and if not at school – as is the case in Frostbite – they have always been with the students and the school authority figures. Not this time. Rose spends pretty much all of the book in Russia, away from school, away from anyone to reprimand her for breaking any rules – and there are no rules. She’s out in the world on her own, with only her training and her own idea of what’s sensible to guide her, and it’s great to see Rose going about things as she wants and she sees fit. It’s refreshing, but also worrying.

This doesn’t mean we leave Lissa, Christian and Adrian behind. Rose does look in on Lissa through their bond several times throughout the book, and through it we follow the sub-plot at St. Vladimir’s; there is a new head teacher, and with him comes two of his own children, Reed and Avery. And Lissa’s erratic behaviour becomes increasingly more worrisome for her friends, for Rose, and for herself. It may seem convenient that we’re able to get to this sub-plot through Rose and Lissa’s bond, but there is always a reason for Rose to check up on Lissa, rather than just “oh, let’s go see what Lissa’s up to.” It’s very well done, and it’s great to be able to keep up with both girls.

We meet a fair number of new characters in this book, and it’s just awesome! We meet Sydney, and Alchemist, with Alchemists being a group of humans who know all about Moroi, Strigoi and Dhampirs, and has a unique way of “cleaning up” when guardians leave around dead Strigoi bodies. She’s very off-ish at first, but I really liked her! She’s very resourceful, and also opinionated about all the Vampire Academy races. I like how she’s wary of Rose, and doesn’t trust her. It’s great to have a human’s view and opinion. We also meet Dimitri’s family in Siberia; Olena, Dimitri’s mother; Karolina, Sonya, and Viktoria, Dimitri’s sisters; Yeva, Dimitri’s grandmother, and Paul, Dimitri’s niece. They are everything you would have thought them to be, considering they’re related to Dimitri; they’re kind, they’re caring, and they soon start thinking of Rose as one of their own. I love them! We meet the mysterious and slippery Abe, a non-royal Moroi with a lot of money, who just oozes untrustworthiness. We also meet Oksana, a Moroi, and Mark an ex-guardian, who are a bonded married couple. Oh, how we learn such wonderful things from them about Spirit, things that not even Adrian knows about. It’s exciting and wonderful, and I look forward to how things will span out Spirit wise in the next book.

Finally we meet Dimitri-as-Strigoi – as I’m going to refer to him in this review. When I reviewed Shadow Kiss, someone commented on how they didn’t like Dimitri based on what they see of him in Blood Promise. I still love Dimitri. Why? Because Dimitri-as-Strigoi is not the Dimitri we all love. He’s gone, and as awful as it is, this person left is cold, uncaring and violent, and couldn’t be any further from the Dimitri we know. It’s not him, and so I can’t hate Dimitri. What’s also great about this book is that we get flashbacks of times with Dimitri we haven’t yet seen. That may have taken place in the books with read, conversations that weren’t important at the time, or in between books, and it’s great to see these lovely, swet, soft moments between Rose and Dimitri, and see the love between them. It was beautiful.

Blood Promise is a very emotional book, and the time spent with Dimitri – the length of which I will not allude to, long or short – is just heart breaking. Not only do we see Dimitri-as-Strigoi and really dislike him and what’s happened to the guy we knew, we also get to see Rose’s reaction to him, and it’s just so sad. There is also a fair amount of action too; most of the time, Rose is on her own and has no back-up, and she just goes to show her immense skill. It’s just fantastic, and her strength to fight when she’s so emotionally messed up is incredible.

The book ends on such a cliff-hanger, it’s fantastic. It’s the kind of cliff-hanger where it gives you an idea of what will happen in the next book, and I can’t tell you how excited I am for Spirit Bound! It’s going to be just brilliant! It will be even more action and more emotional, by the looks of it. I can’t wait for it to be released on 18th May in the UK. Seriously, you need to read this series if you haven’t yet started. You have no idea what you’re missing out on.

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Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead

Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead (review copy) - WARNING! I cannot review this book without spoiling the others in the series. Do not read any further if you plan on reading the first two in the Vampire Academy series and don’t want to be spoiled.

It's springtime at St. Vladimir's Academy and Rose is close to graduation, but since making her first Strigoi kills, things haven't felt quite right. She's having dark thoughts, behaving erratically, and worst of all . . . might be seeing ghosts. Consumed by her forbidden love with her tutor Dimitri and protecting her best friend, the Moroi princess Lissa, Rose is in no state to see the deadly threat that will change her entire world - and make her choose between the two people she loves most. From Amazon UK

From the day I first opened the pages of Vampire Academy, I fell in love with the world, the mythology, the characters, the romance, the whole story. The lives of Rose and Lissa live are just brilliant, and Rose’s narration is always so real, I feel like I know her. Loving this series like I do, I knew I would love reading Shadow Kiss, but I was not prepared for what was to come. It’s beautiful, it’s heart breaking, it’s one incredible emotional rollercoaster, and I closed the book feeling drained, but in the best way possible.

The magical element of this book is just brilliant. When everything is all worked out, you see how it flows right from the last book, Frostbite, but as the story goes on, you’re never exactly sure what’s going on with Rose, and are genuinely worried for her sanity. She’s behaving erratically, and gets very, very angry at relatively small things. And then she starts seeing ghosts. And the first is not just any ghost, it’s Mason. Rose is seriously freaked out by the things that are happening to her, and has no clue what to think. Richelle’s ability to plot is incredible, though, and all these little things are pulled together right at the end, and it’s just brilliant.

The characters are just as great as always; Lissa is the same compassionate, soft and sweet Lissa we’ve come to love. Christian, Lissa’s boyfriend, we get to know even better when Rose is assigned as his guardian for her field experience, and he is just the coolest despite his snarky nature, though he is very insecure. Adrian, the rich Moroi royal they all met on the ski trip in Frostbite who can also use Spirit like Lissa, is still very flirty with Rose, but, though I grudgingly admit it, lovely undearneath it all. Eddie, Mason’s best friend, is assigned to Lissa for the field experience, and he is just adorable; he’s strong, he’s dedicated, and he’s been seriously affected by Mason’s death and what happened to him in Frostbite.

Then there’s Dimitri; he’s just as amazing, as gorgeous, as lovely, as completely swoon worthy as ever, and, my god, I came so close to tears at some points when he and Rose were having some serious chats. He is just amazing, and as messed up as Rose is right now, he is the only thing that calms her. Their relationship, or non-relationship so far, progresses in this novel, and it’s unbearably sweet. How any girl could fail to have one of those heart-lifting moments, where you have one of those exaggerated sighs, but feel jealous that fictitious characters get all the good guys. The emotions run high throughout.

Then the action kicks in, and it’s serious. It’s a battle unlike anything we’ve seen previously in the Vampire Academy series, and it’s huge, and like in any battle, things don’t end all rainbows and butterflies. There are consequences, serious consequences, and you won’t see them coming. I had some inklings as to what would happen, but in the end, I was taken by surprise at the actual outcome. I was absolutely devastated, and there were tears. A whole lot of them. I actually had to leave the room as there was a danger that I would disrupt everyone else from watching the TV with my sobs. It’s so, so sad, but absolutely brilliant, and the ending has me itching to pick up the next book.

This is probably the best in the series so far, it was just phenomenal! I can’t even begin to tell you how much you need to read this book, or this whole series if you’ve yet to read. Just fantastic! And I’m so glad I already have a copy of Blood Promise to start as soon as I’ve finished typing. Brilliant book, I can’t recommend it enough!

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Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead

Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead - WARNING! I cannot review Spirit Bound without spoiling the other novels in the series. Do not read any further if you plan on reading the previous novels and don’t want to be spoiled.

Dimitri gave Rose the ultimate choice. And she made the wrong one… After a long and heartbreaking journey to Dimitri’s birthplace in Siberia, Rose Hathaway has finally returned to St. Vladimir’s Academy — and to her best friend, Lissa. But Rose’s heart still aches for Dimitri, and she knows he’s out there, somewhere. She failed to kill him when she had the chance. And now her worst fears are about to come true— Dimitri has tasted her blood, and now he is hunting her. Only this time, he won’t rest until Rose joins him… forever. From Amazon UK

You all probably know by now how big a fan I am of Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series, so when Sophie of So Many Books, So Little Time announced that she had a spare copy if anyone wanted one, I jumped at the chance (thank you)! I was so excited to read it, and I wasn’t disappointed!

It’s going to be so difficult to write this review, because I can’t talk about anything really without spoiling it. If you’ve read up to the last book, Blood Promise, you’ll have questions. Well, most, if not all, of those get answered in one way or another. However, more questions arise; things happen in Spirit Bound that you wouldn’t believe, and things are just so much more dangerous for Rose, in ways you wouldn’t even consider.

I have to say, while reading the book, I felt like not a lot happened. Thinking back on it, a fair bit did actually happen, things that were monumental, but Spirit Bound wasn’t as action packed as some of the other books in the series. This doesn’t make the book bad at all, it just has a slightly different focus. What is this focus? Rose’s emotional state. I’m not going to say whether she’s happy, sad, angry, scared, whatever, it would seriously give too much away. Nor will I tell you how I reacted to it, but I will say Richelle’s writing is just amazing! I love it! However, when there is action, my god is it amazing! Again, I can’t tell you much about it, but it’s just so good! Rose really dose know how to kick butt!

If I had my way, there would have been more Christian, more Adrian, and more Dimitri. Bad or good, I do love those guys! Especially Adrian, he is such a sweetie – in his cocky, devil-may-care way. He’s just awesome! As are all the guys.

This book is absolutely incredible! Was it my favourite of the series? No, but then I couldn’t pick my favourite, it’s all one story to me. But I absolutely loved it! I really can’t wait to read Last Scarifice, the sixth and final book in the Vampire Academy series, which will be released 7th December 2010 – yet, I can wait, I don’t want this series to end! A warning to others; do not read the synopsis for Last Sacrifice until you’ve read this book! It will seriously spoil it!

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Frostbite by Richelle Mead

Frostbite by Richelle Mead - WARNING! I cannot review Frostbite without spoiling the first book in the series, Vampire Academy. If you plan on reading the first book, and don’t want to be spoiled, do not read any further.

It's winter break at St Vladimir's, and a massive Strigoi vampire attack has put the school on high alert. This year's trip away from the academy to the wintery peaks of Idaho has suddenly become mandatory. But Rose's troubles seem to follow her wherever she goes - dealing with the pain of knowing that her relationship with her tutor Dimitri can never be, things get even more complicated when one her closest friends admits his feelings for her. The glittering winter landscape may create the illusion of safety but Rose - and her heart - are in more danger than she ever could have imagined... From Amazon UK.

It sometimes amazes me how authors are able to come up with such fantastic stories – and Richelle Mead is one of these authors! I absolutely loved Frostbite, probably more so than I did Vampire Academy!

If you wanted to compare books, there is a lot less of Lissa in this novel, and a lot less intrigue throughout the first part of the novel. This is not a bad thing though. Sometimes, when reading the first book in a series, it’s obvious it’s a first book; it’s setting up the plot for future stories, it introduces characters and mythology, it gives you enough to whet your appetite, but isn’t exactly a complete story. Vampire Academy wasn’t like that, it was it’s own full story, with it’s own plotline, and it was incredible – but after reading Frostbite, you can see how it could work like an obvious first story, as we know all of the above, and now we have, in Frostbite, what I would say is Rose’s story.

As I said, there was less intrigue; there was the worrying about Lissa’s powers and who was after her in the first novel, but in Frostbite, the danger isn’t necessarily on anyone specific, it’s just there. We focus a lot more on Rose’s relationship with her mother, her feelings towards the guys in her life, the gorgeous Dimitri and the lovely Mason, and some issues with herself about whether she’s changed or not. It’s a brilliant insight into Rose, where as the first book was more focused on her wanting to protect Lissa. It was great to see more of this Rose, vulnerable Rose, and to see her grow.

Yes, there is less Lissa as I said, but there is more of some other characters that we have come to love – or love to hate – like Christian, Mason, and Mia. And, well, wow! I can’t really go into it without spoiling the story, but these three, along with Rose... seriously, you won’t believe what you’re reading, but it does make sense. Frostbite is quite a sad book, I was close to tears at one point, but it’s amazing the strength people can show when things get really bad. I really was completely wowed. And the action! Bloody brilliant! Don’t you just love it when you can’t see a way out of a bad situation, and an author chucks in something that completely blows you away? Simply amazing, but extremely powerful.

As well as more of old characters, we meet some new ones too, namely Janine, Rose’s mum, Tasha, Christian’s aunt, and Adrian, a royal Moroi also holidaying in Idaho. And I love them all, I think. At times, you dislike them all for whatever reasons, I won’t spoil it for you, but I loved seeing Janine, and understanding Rose’s feelings towards her and seeing her work through it. Tasha is also pretty damn lovely lady, and a bit of a revolutionary, and Adrian... well, he’s just sexy and charming, and too bloody arrogant. I’m slightly on the fence when it comes to him, I’m not sure what his game is, but... I like him, I think. My instincts say to be wary, but don’t write him off completely. So we’ll see. I look forward to seeing more of them all in future!

Frostbite is quite a hard book to read emotionally, there’s a lot more danger and more... reality of the world these characters live in, and it’s not pretty. But it’s such a fantastic read. And of course, there’s a fair amount of the amazing Dimitri to make things a little brighter. Such an amazing book, really, you have to read it! I am so looking forward to reading Shadow Kissed, the third book in the series! I just know it’s going to be amazing. And I seriously need to start on Mead’s adult series. Seriously, new favourite author right here.

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Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead - This book is so compliated, I'm not sure I could give a summary without spoiling it, so the following is fthe book's blurb.

Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with an unbreakable bond to the earth's magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest and most dangrous vampires - the ones who never die.

The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, Lissa's best friend, makes her a Dhampir; she is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making her one of them.

After two years of illicit freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged bak to St. Vlandimir's Academy, hidden in the deep forests of Montana. Rose will continue her Dhampir education. Lissa will go back to being Queen of the elite Moroi social scene. And both girls will resume breaking hearts.

Fear made Lissa and Rose run away from St. Vlandimir's - but their world is fraught with danger both inside and out of the Academy's iron gates. Here, the cutthroat ranks of the Moroi perform unspeakable rituals and their secretive nature and love of the night creates an enigmatic world full of social complexities. Rose and Lissa must navigate through the dangerus world, confront the temptation of forbidden romance, and never once let thir guard down, lest the Strigoi make Lissa one of them forever...

Not that long ago, I read Marked by P.C. and Kristin Cast, and there are some similarities between these novels; they're set in campire schools, and vampire students can specialise in elemental magic. But there the similarites end. Anyone who may dismiss Vampire Academy of being another Marked - like I believed it would be - should stop now. I liked Marked, but I loved Vampire Academy!

The plot and structure of this book are just outstanding! It's told from Rose's point of view, and a fair few times, the past is mentioned in conversation without an explanation, but the flash backs come a little later - and the plot is so complicated that the smallest detail, either something in the past or smething said in conversation, can end up becoming a big puzzle piece later on down the line. Nothing in this novel is there by chance. I was copletelyblown away byhow everytingfit together!

I love the mythology in the novel of the mortal vampires, Morai, and the immortal vampires, Stigoi, who are evil incarnate, afeed from Morai to be at their strongest. Even the Dhmpure are cool, the guardians who protect the Morai from the Strigoi. It's fascinting!

It was awesome having Rose narrates the story too, as she is extremely tough and loyal, with a wicked sense of humour. It was unexpected, as, generally, vamps tend to be the strongest; I was thinking Lissa would have all the action and Rose would be "watching fom the sidelines"so to speak, we wouldn't get it first hand. But Rose was always right in there. And the action was just awesome, it definitely gets the adrenalin rushing.

Lissa is such a lovely girl, and wouldn't hurt a fly, but as nice as she is, the girl has issues, so with Rose narrating, it wasn't as heavy, or fluffy, as it could have been. We get some brilliant literary-candy in this book, too. If Dimitri, guardian and Rose's mentor, dosen't get the heart pumping, I'll be amazed! He is just amazing!

I so can't wait to read the next in the series, Frostbite! Its going to be awesome, I just know it! Go read Vampire Academy, now!

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Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead

Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead (review copy) - WARNING! This is the last book in the Vampire Academy series. I cannot review this book without spoiling the others in the series, especially the previous book. Do not read any further if you haven't read this series but plan to, and do not wish it to be spoilt for you.

It all comes down to now.

The Queen is dead and the moroi world will never be the same.

Rose Hathaway is awaiting wrongful execution and there exists only one man who can stall this terrible fate. Rose must look to both Dimitri and Adrian, the two great loves of her life, to find him.

With her best friend, Lissa, in a deadly struggle for the royal throne, the girls find themselves forced to rely upon enemies and questioning those they thought they could trust...

But what if true freedom means sacrificing the most important thing of all?

Each other. From the back of the book.

What can I possibly say other than WOW! I am just... completely out of words. I have no idea what I could possibly say or where I could start to make you understand just how brilliant this book is. I am just completely blown away!

As we found out in the end of the last book, Spirit Bound, Rose was framed for the muder of Queen Tatiana - who had left a note for Rose stating that Lissa's father had an illegitamate child that Rose needed to find in order to give Lissa the vote on the Council, or things were going to get worse for all in the Moroi and Dhampir society. So that left three tasks for this book; find the Queen's murderer, clear Rose's name, and finding Lissa's sister.

As with any Vampire Academy novel, there is a fast pace with brilliant action. But there is also extreme emotion, for the characters and the readers. There are some perfect, perfect moments, and some terribly sad moments where you could just cry. Things are much more dangerous for our two girls than they have been before, and the tension is palpable. There is shock after shock as the twists unfold - you will not see these things coming. So much goes on in this novel, new things not even the characters have come across before, and it's hard to see how all of it fit into one 584 page novel. So much that I am going to refrain from going into any sort of detail, because there is just so much you should discover as you read - you're going to thank me!

We do get our answers though. We find out who killed the Queen. We find out who Rose's sibling is. We find out who lives and who dies. We find out the resolution of the love triangle. We find out where Rose and Lissa's lives will head. We find questions that aren't answered, issues that arise, and just a brilliant set up for the next spin of series, and the perfect ending to what has been an incredible series. And I absolutely cannot wait for the next series! We have no info about it yet, except for what Mead says on her website:


Last Sacrifice will be the last book about Rose, but it'll be followed by a spin-off series still set in the Vampire Academy world. Side characters we know from the current series will now be our main characters, and there'll be a whole new storyline (not the last one told from a different perspective). So far, there is no exact release date, but you can expect it near late summer/early fall of 2011. At the moment, I'm not allowed to reveal the title, premise, or full cast of characters. I can tell you that it'll be written in third person, so we'll get a number of characters' perspectives. One of them will be Sydney. The others are a secret for now. Also, expect a cameo from Rose. :)


And after reading this book, I have only three words for you...


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Glass Houses by Rachel Caine

Glass Houses by Rachel Caine - Claire Danvers is a 16 year old genius. She's so smart that she goes to university early, in Morganville. After a run in with the popular girls on campus, she decides to seek accomodation elsewhere in town. She moves in the Glass House, withe room mates Michael, Shane, and Eve. But Claire doesn't know the secret of the town; that Morganville is run by the undead. It's not long before the vampires take an interest in Claire when she takes it upon herself to find what they want.

I absolutely love the Morganville Vampire series, and Glass Houses is a great introduction to the world. The characters are just amazing; Shane is hilarious, Michael is sensible, and Eve is sarcastic, and Claire is just too smart. Together they form this little family who end up so close, and the relationships they all have with each other are enviable. The guys are hot, and Eve is just the coolest. Eve is the character that seems the most real to me, and Caine really got into the head of a teenager when writing her; the way Eve speaks is just spot on. Glass Houses is written in a way you could easily imagine it being an American teen high school TV show - but set at uni instead, with vampires. Monica, the it girl of Morganville, is a nasty cow - we've seen her so many times before on television shows, but Monica takes being evil queen bee to a whole new level.

The suspence throughout this novel is phenomenal. While I was reading, I wished I could read faster, just so I knew what happened. There are so many twists and turns, it's positively gripping. Glass Houses is seriously awesome!

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Destined for an Early Grave by Jeaniene Frost

Destined for an Early Grave by Jeaniene Frost – WARNING! This is the fourth book in the Night Huntress series; I can’t talk about this book without spoiling things from the previous novels. Don’t read any further if you plan on reading the other books.

After their recent war with rogue vampires, Cat thinks a little rest and relaxation are in their future. But she's plagued by dreams of a Master vampire who claims to be from her past. As the dreams intensify and the shadowy figure in them proves to be more than a figment of her subconscious, she realizes there are parts of her past that have been hidden. To unlock these memories and deal with a growing danger to herself and Bones, Cat may have to venture all the way into the grave. But finding out the truth could rock what she knows about herself - and her relationship with Bones. From Amazon UK

I am a huge fan of the Night Huntress series, but after reading At Grave’s End, the previous book in the series, which was just unbelievably good, and seeing the trailer for Destined for an Early Grave, I wasn’t too sure if this novel would match up. The story idea seemed a little off to me; after everything that’s happened to Cat, suddenly some vampire guy from a past she doesn’t remember starts trying to say that she’s married to him? It just didn’t sound like it fitted in with the other books, or that it should have been before At Grave’s End. However, being a huge fan of Jeaniene Frost, of course I was dying to read it despite my misgivings. You would have thought I’d have learnt by now that if a book gives me the slightest inkling of doubt, I’m going to love it. It’s happened so many times, and has happened yet again with Destined for an Early Grave.

I cannot tell you how much I loved this book! In my review for At Grave’s End, I mentioned that Cat was at her strongest. Considering the events of that book, and how everyone dealt with it all, what happened in this, well, I never saw it coming. Cat and Bones’ relationship is strained to its limits, Cat takes some drastic steps, and a lot more people are put at risk – and I loved every second of it!

With each novel Jeaniene writes, there is more and more of an emotional rollercoaster! We have the same characters we’ve come to know and love, and we get even more involved in their lives, and their emotional dramas are just as heart wrenching as the action is an adrenalin rush. I can’t really go into detail about how or why it’s emotional without spoiling the book, but there are several events when my heart just falls for Cat, and I really feel for her because of the things she goes through.

Then we have the action. I am always amazed at how brilliantly Jeaniene choreographs her fight scenes. As I have mentioned before, I have a very visual imagination, so every book I read is like watching a movie, but sometimes fight scenes can get a little confusing for me to see. This is not a problem with these books; I see every punch, every kick, every slash, every bite, and every stab. It’s exciting, but it’s also scary; you’re worried about the people who are fighting and how they could possibly get out of what’s happening alive. And finally, being fight scenes, they’re quite violent and gory; at one point towards the end, I was so nervous for the characters, and it got quite a bit gory that I had to put the book down and get a drink as it made me feel a bit sick. All of this shows just how awesome a writer Jeaniene is!

I could go on about how amazing this book is, but I would be spoiling a lot of the book. This book is just amazing, and I really can’t wait for the next in the series. Luckily enough, to tide me over until the next Night Huntress series book, First Drop of Crimson, the first book in Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress World series, is due out 9th February, and I can’t wait to read it! I’d highly recommend this novel, and if you haven’t read any of the books in the Night Huntress series yet, I would go get Halfway to the Grave ASAP if I were you! Don’t miss out any longer!

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Grave's End by Jeaniene Frost

WARNING: This is the third book in a series. I cannot talk about this book without spoiling the first two. Read no further if you plan on reading Halfway to the Grave and One Foot in the Grave.

Working together, half-vampire Cat Crawfield and her vampire boyfriend Bones work for a division of Homeland Security, keeping the rogue vampires off the street. But when Cat's cover is blown and it's getting even more dangerous when out on the job. A blast from Bones' past comes back into their lives with the intent of killing Bones - permanently, and things go from bad to worse. And when magic comes into the picture, nothing Cat has learned so far can save, and she has to fall back on the instincts that came to her at birth.

I finished At Grave's End by Jeaniene Frost today, and it was just amazing! I can tell you some legends come to life in this book, we, and Cat, find out a lot more about the world vampires live in, we see some big changes in the people she loves, and we see Cat at what I feel is her strongest. It's a brilliant book, a brilliant series, and I can't wait for the next book, Destined for an Early Grave in July! Now I just need to get my hands on anthologies Jeaniene Frost has short stories in to read further into the Night Huntress world.

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One Foot in the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

WARNING: This is the second book in a series. I cannot talk about this book without spoiling the first. Read no further if you plan on reading Halfway to the Grave.

Half- vampire Cat Crawfield is now working as a Special Agent for a divison of Homeland Security that takes out the rogue undead, using all the skills taught to her by Bones, her ex-boyfriend. But when assasination attempts come Cat's way, there is only one vamipire who can help her. Being around Bones again, Cat can't ignore the way she feels, but with guns pointed at her, teaming up with him is the only way she'll survive.

This is such a fantastic book! Cat is still amazing, as is Bones. There are twists all over. Cat learns more about herself, about her friends, and about her family. It's all going on! There's not much else I can say that I haven't already said in my review for the first book, but I am so excited for the next book! Which I have already ordered.

Yet another great book! If you haven't already, read the first one - Halfway to the Grave. If you have, this books is a must! You just can't help but love the characters in these books!

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Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

Cat is the result of rape, a vampire raped her mother. As a result, she is half vampire. Ever since finding out at the age of sixteen, she has been out to kill as many of them as she can, and hopes to get good ol' Dad along the way. That is, until she is caught by Bones, a vampire bounty hunter, and has to choose between death or becoming his partner. With the promise of training and help finding her father, she agrees. But once they start uncovering the truth behind a scheme of a vampire Bones has been after for years, things start to turn deadly. Add the fact that Bones is incredibly sexy into the mix, and things get a little complicated.

Reasons why I picked up this book: 1. Amazon recommended it, and it hasn't failed me so far. 2. I'm a fan of Melissa Marr, and she has mentioned how she's friends with Jeaniene Frost and recommends her books. They're the main reasons. If I'm completely honest, though, I wasn't sure if I would like it. The idea of a book about killing vampires didn't appeal. The blurbs I read weren't as detailed as what I've said above, so I didn't know a huge amount what it was about, and it just didn't grab me as much as some other books. There was also a hint of it being an adult book, and I was unsure if that was the kind of thing I wanted to read. But it was on the aforementioned "save for later" list, so I bought it. Best decision I made that day!

Halfway to the Grave is an AMAZING book! I know I have been loving my YA lately, but there's something to be said about adult books too. There were enough twists and turns, violence and danger to keep me on the edge of my seat, and the romance pulled at the heart strings, and was really quite beautiful at times. There was a great balance between the two, not one emphasised more than the other. I'm not sure there's a huge amount more I can say about it without spoiling it. It was just awesome! Read it!

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First Drop of Crimson by Jeaniene Frost

First Drop of Crimson by Jeaniene Frost - The night is not safe for mortals. Denise MacGregor knows all too well what lurks in the shadows—her best friend is half-vampire Cat Crawfield—and she has already lost more than the average human could bear. But her family's past is wrapped in secrets and shrouded in darkness—and a demon shapeshifter has marked Denise as prey. Now her survival depends on an immortal who lusts for a taste of her.

He is Spade, a powerful, mysterious vampire who has walked the earth for centuries and is now duty-bound to protect this endangered, alluring human—even if it means destroying his own kind. Denise may arouse his deepest hungers, but Spade knows he must fight his urge to have her as they face the nightmare together...

Because once the first crimson drop falls, they will both be lost. From Amazon US

I am a huge fan of Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series, following Cat and Bones’ relationship and the supernatural problems they come up against. When I heard Jeaniene would be writing a spin off series of stand alone novels, and Spade would get his own story, I was seriously excited. One, it’s Jeaniene Frost, and I just love her writing, two, it’s still set in the same world as the Night Huntress series, and I love the mythology, and three, Spade gets his story – meaning it would be from his point of view. Jeaniene didn’t didappoint; First Drop of Crimson is amazing!

Before I carry on with my review, I just want to clear something up for you all, which might be confusing to those who have yet to read any of Jeaniene’s novels. The books following Cat and Bones – Halfway to the Grave, One Foot in the Grave, At Grave’s End, and Destined for an Early Grave – are in the Night Huntress series. The stand alone novels in the spin off series are collectively called the Night Huntress World series. I thought it may be a bit confusing, because sometimes I even have to think about which is which.

Back to the review. The story was incredible! We come across creatures we’ve not met before in this world; demons. There’s a whole new mythos to discover, and it’s just so awesome! I can’t really go into the demons because it’ll be spoiling things for you, but the creatures are great, and the plot is just so unique!

There is plenty of action, like we’re used to, a lot of suspenceful, edge-of-your-seat fighting several times throughout the novel, but the pacing is a little different. This one story spans about five weeks, where normally Jeaniene’s stories span several days. Sometimes hours, even days, go by without us having seen the characters for that time, the time has just gone as nothing eventful or important happened. It made it a little difficult to keep track of how long the characters had been together, which sometimes made the feelings of the characters seem to come about really quickly. On the plus side, we also meet some other characters we love, including Cat and Bones! Just fantastic!

There were a few things I didn’t expect in this novel. All the books in the Night Huntress series are writing in first person from Cat’s point of view, but this book is written in third person from both Spade’s and Denise’s points of view. It was a little jarring at first reading third person, simply because I was more used to Jeaniene’s first person style. I don’t have a problem with third person generally, it just wasn’t expected. As I said, I loved the book, but I do think I prefer first person, simply because these characters are just so awesome, I want to be right in their heads and have them tell me the story – rather than have the story told to me by “someone” who seems to be able to read everyone’s mind. It’s not a big deal, it certainly didn’t make the story less enjoyable, it’s just my own preference.

Despite being in third person, we get into a Night Huntress World’s vampire’s head as much as we can, and that is what I was most looking forward to! It’s odd reading Spade’s story – or rather Denise’s – because I’ve always imagined Spade as pretty easy going from the other books, but he is really quite intense. It was great to get to know the real him, his backstory, and how he fits into the circle of undead friends. It was also really awesome to get to know Denise; she had always been this small secondary character, who wasn’t that important of a character to me, so it was great to get to know her as more than just Cat’s best friend, and the woman who lost her husband. She’s an incredible character, seriously amazing but so complicated, I can’t really go into her in much detail without spoiling the story.

But the most enjoyable part of this new structure is that Spade is British, and so uses a lot of British words where Denise would use American. A lot of the Urban Fantasy novels I read are written by American authors, and normally I don’t notice when American words are used – until a British character is introduced and starts talking. Don’t ask me why, but I always get excited, with a stupid grin, and think “You talk like me!” What was really great in First Drop of Crimson, however, was how well Jeaniene kept up her British words and slang for when we were following Spade the whole way through, and had Denise use American words and slang when we followed her. It was just so cool! The only thing I noticed is that, if I remember rightly, Spade took off his “pants”, not his “trousers”, but it’s no big deal! I just loved it!

I really loved this book, it was brilliant! Fans of Jeaniene Frost will love this book, and there’s enough explanation in First Drop of Crimson for new readers to understand the world and who the characters are. I highly recommend it, and I can’t wait for Eternal Kiss of Darkness, the second in the Night Huntress World series, which will be released 27th July.

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Fury by Elizabeth Miles

Fury by Elizabeth Miles (review copy) - Sometimes sorry isn't enough....

It’s winter break in Ascension, Maine. The snow is falling and everything looks pristine and peaceful. But not all is as it seems...

Between cozy traditions and parties with her friends, Emily loves the holidays. And this year’s even better--the guy she’s been into for months is finally noticing her. But Em knows if she starts things with him, there’s no turning back. Because his girlfriend is Em’s best friend.

On the other side of town, Chase is having problems of his own. The stress of his home life is starting to take its toll, and his social life is unraveling. But that’s nothing compared to what’s really haunting him. Chase has done something cruel...something the perfect guy he pretends to be would never do. And it’s only a matter of time before he’s exposed.

In Ascension, mistakes can be deadly. And three girls—three beautiful, mysterious girls—are here to choose who will pay.

Em and Chase have been chosen. From Amazon US

I thought this book sounded like it would be pretty good, but I had no idea how amazing it was going to be! I absolutely loved it!

This book is creepy and freaky, but not in the usual way. This book has been classed as paranormal horror, but it didn't scare me like a horror would. I had no problems reading it at night, it didn't give me nightmares, I wasn't jumping at every little noise - though there were definitely scary parts in it, what with random girls suddenly showing up in windows. No, this book scared me because I didn't know what was going to happen. Furires punish the wrong do-ers, but what they consider "wrong" isn't set in stone - for a completely unrelated to the book example, the furies would punish you just as harshly for dropping litter as they would for kidnapping. Not oly is the definition of wrong very loose, the punishment, what they consider "justice" for what you did isn't predictable either. For the litter example, going arond wearing a bright jacket picking up other people's litter isn't as likely as you being "dropped" in some way, but what could "dropped" mean? There are hundreds of possibilities. You just don't know what the furies are going to decide you deserve. And that's what I found scary, not being able to work out, or even make a guess, at what would happen, or when. With every turn of the page, I was on edge, waiting for god knows what, just something bad. Yet having to read on because it is so exciting!

As I said, Fury didn't scare me in the traditional horror sense, but I was definitely freaked out by some of the furies behaviour. As readers, we know these mysterious, beautiful girls are furies - blurbs, descriptions, even reviews tell us so. Yet the characters in the book don't get any kind of inkling of something not-quite-human until quite a ways into the book. So the behaviour of the Furies, the things some of the characters see, not knowing that Furies exist, believing them to be human... the torment is freaky, and I was empathetically freaked out.

Yet I kind of loved them, like villians you love to hate. It sounds kind of right to have something that goes around fixing wrongs, something that dishes out karma. I'm sure plenty of us have wanted bad things to happen to bad people - I think it's natural with some of the things we see on the news. And these ladies are making sure those bad things happen. When said like that, I did feel there was a strange kind of "rightness" to them. But then you read on and see how messed up they are and things start to change. What if the furies were real? What mistakes have you made? What would they think you need to be punished for? And how? It's freaky and creepy, but all kinds of briliant!

When it comes to urban fantasy, there's a certain progression that I expect. By the time I put the book down, no matter what the story, or if it's in a series, I just expect a certain kind of ending. There tends to be a lot of action in urban fantasy, and the constant threat of danger to our main characters and narrators. There are fights, people get hurt, and you're excited, and sitting on your edge seat in suspence. But eventually, the book will still have that ending, even if there's a cliff hanger. The main characters are a little bruised and roughed up, and plan to try and kick some paranormal butt the next time when book two comes along, or at least try to live a normal life until paranormal butt comes a-knocking again. You expect certain things to go a certain way simply because that's how these thing go. It's like urban fantasy law or something. However, a little over half way through Fury I realised that the ending I expected - without even realising I expected it, because you don't expect the moon to come after the sun, it just does - wasn't what I was going to get. On a second read of this book, I would probably react differently, but the first time round, there was just complete shock. I was shaken. Miles tore up the urban fantasy law book, slapped me in the face and left me reeling. I believe my thoughts were along the lines of "WHAT?! But that can't happen!" I read on for a little while in a daze, sure there was a mistake, or some sort of joke, and things were going to change and sort themselves out. They didn't. Which makes me SUPER excited to read more of Miles books, because not only do you not know what to expect from the furies, but you don't know what to expect from Miles' writing either! I was completely blown away!

If I had any kind of criticism, at some points, some of the characters just seemed a little too young for their age, a little too naive, but it's a very small thing, and can easily go unnoticed in all the excitement. Also, on it's own, I really like the cover, but I don't think it says much about the book, except that the girl is like smoke. I guess that's true, furies can disappear like smoke, but it doesn't really say "fuies" to me, but I'm not sure what would. With the US cover, at least you know it's Ty, one of the furies, on the cover, because of the hair colour. I generally prefer the US cover.

Fury is a phenomenal debut novel, absolutely brilliant, and I cannot wait to read book two, Envy, when it's released next year. It's going to be incredible. If you haven't read Fury yet, you need to read it now!

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My Soul to Steal by Rachel Vincent

My Soul to Steal by Rachel Vincent (review copy) - WARNING! I cannot review this book without spoiling the others in the series. Read no further if you're planning on reading this series and don't want it spoiled for you.


Working things out with Nash - her maybe boyfriend - is hard for Kaylee. She's already coping with being a teenage banshee. Worse, Nash's gorgeous ex-girlfriend just transferred to their school. Sabine's no ordinary girl. She's a mara, a real-life walking nightmare. Draining people's energy through their darkest dreams sustains Sabine...and makes her Kaylee's top suspect in a cluster of super-creepy deaths. To win back Nash, Kaylee's determined to unearth the truth. But Sabine knows the deathly secrets of Kaylee's subconscious - and she's not afraid to use them to get whatever and whoever she wants... From Amazon UK

After finishing My Soul to Keep, I immediately picked up My Soul to Steal, desperately needing to read more of this story I am now hooked on. And it didn't disappoint!

With the introduction of a Mara, a creature that reads your darkest fears and creates nightmares for you to have while sleeping so they can feed from your fear, MSTSteal knocks the creep-factor up a level. What makes it slightly worse is that the Mara in this story, Sabine, is Nash's ex-girlfriend, and he is absolutely certain she is not behind the seriously bad things that happen in the book - which means that what she does might not be because of some evil scheme, but because she simply wants to torment Kaylee. To me, the possibility of her not actually being the one who is killing these people, but just sending Kaylee nightmares through jealousy makes her creepier, because if she's not the villain, how can you get rid of her?

I love how amidst all the urban fantasy, Vincent can still give us a human element, or more specifically, in the Soul Screamers, the teenage human element. In the last book it was teens using drugs, in this book, it's boyfriend stealing. Kaylee and Nash are on a break after she discovered, while he was addicted to Demon's Breath, he let Avari, a Hellion in the Netherworld, possess Kaylee's body, and never told her about it. Although she still loves him, she doesn't trust him, and is still hurting from the betrayal. Then along comes Sabine. As I said, Sabine is Nash's ex-girlfriend, and she is determined to get him back. She complicates everything for Kaylee, because although she doesn't want to lose him, she can't be with him right now, where Sabine is quite happy to accept he's done some bad things and love him anyway - and give him things Kaylee is not yet ready to give. Kaylee can't deny that Sabine and Nash obviously have a strong bond, and is terrified Nash will turn to her if she doesn't take him back soon, but how can she take him back so soon when she's still struggling with her trust issues? Add to this that Sabine is happy to play dirty by tormenting Kaylee with seriously freaky nightmares among other things, and you will have yourself one seriously stressed out bean sidhe!

As creepy as she is, I actually really liked Sabine. Sure, she goes about trying to get Nash back completely the wrong way (though frankly, I think she shouldn't have just accepted he loves Kaylee and gave it up), I have to admire her determination, and was impressed, along with sometimes shocked and angry, at how far she was willing to go to get what she wants. She is unbelievable! But I empathise with Sabine too, even if I can't relate to her. She has had such a tough life, and for all her tough front, she just seems so insecure and, well, desperate. Nash may belong to someone else, but he is all she has in the world, and she really does need him. And beyond Nash, Kaylee has absolutely everything Sabine doesn't - a family, friends, people who care about her, and a generally good life. Sabine is just a really complicated character, and I feel sorry for her. And I also think she's going to make make future books that little bit more interesting!

What I've discovered from reading MSTKeep and MSTSteal is that what appears to be the main conflict for the story, despite how big a deal it seems at first, it's nothing compared to what is around the corner - and there's always, always something. And the magnitude of these somethings is just beyond anything you can imagine! There is so much more going on in this book than the freaky events surrounding the Kaylee-Nash-Sabine love triangle, so much more, but I can't say anything about it! It's one of the things I love about the Soul Screamers Series, the mix of urban fantasy - Kaylee and friends in our world, and high fantasy - all the goings on in the Netherworld, which is completely made up by Vincent, so you never know what's going to come next! I love it! It's always big, and scary, and freaking awesome!

And, if I'm reading things right, I believe the current love triangle might actually become a love diamond (sounds much better than a square or rectangle, don't you think?)! There might just be a certain someone who also has feelings for our little bean sidhe, and I think I might possibly be rooting for him! Another incredible book, and I cannot wait for If I Die! I think the Soul Screamers might just be, dare I say it... possibly a little bit better than the Shifters series! I am addicted to these books!

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My Soul to Keep by Rachel Vincent

My Soul to Keep by Rachel Vincent (review copy) - WARNING! I cannot review this book without spoiling the others in the series. Read no further if you're planning on reading this series and don't want it spoiled for you.

Kaylee has one addiction: her very hot, very popular boyfriend, Nash. A banshee like Kaylee, Nash understands her like no one else. Nothing can come between them. Until something does.

Demon’s breath. No, not the toothpaste-challenged kind. The Netherworld kind. The kind that really can kill you. Somehow, the super-addictive substance has made its way to the human world. But how? Kaylee and Nash have to cut off the source and protect their friends—one of whom is already hooked. And when the epidemic hits too close to home, Kaylee will have to risk everything to save those she loves. From RachelVincent.com

Oh my god. In my previous reviews of the Soul Screamers series, I have always said how much I enjoyed them, which was and is true. However, as much as I enjoyed them, I did feel they weren't as exciting as Rachel Vincent's Shifters series, which I was reading at the time. I enjoyed them, but there was no urgent desire to read the next ones, I'd just read them when I read them. I was recently sent My Soul to Keep and My Soul to Steal by Mira Ink, and during a lull in my reading where I didn't know what I fancied, I decided to pick MSTKeep up. And WOW! I have said I loved the previous books in previous reviews, but that love comes no where near the love I have for this book! Now this is on par with the Shifters series!

Before I continue with my review, there's something I have big issues with. It's not the contents of the book, it's with the outside: the blurb. Above you will see I used the description from Rachel Vincent's own website. The description on the Amazon US isn't too bad, and was usable, but on Amazon UK, and on the actual UK edition of the book, there is what I believe to be a major spoiler. I highly suggest that if you plan on reading this book, do not read the back of the UK book or read the description on Amazon UK. As you can see from the description above, you're told enough. There is an extra detail that is on the UK blurb that is simply not needed, and without, would have made a major part of the book that much better for me if I didn't already know it was coming. It is such a big deal to the whole story of the book, and in one sentence in the blurb, they've taken the shock and surprise away from you. It's not fair, and it's really frustrating. Rant over.

Oh, my love for this book knows no bounds! It's creepy! Really! I actually found myself getting fairly freaked out at some points in the book. I am anti-drugs with a passion, and so this book really played to that side of me, and although Demon's Breath doesn't actually exist, the things it did and just how dangerous it was scared me on a normal, real-life level - this drug may not exist, but drugs are dangerous, and the effects they have on people... it scares me! But add on top of that the creepy urban fantasy element, and it's really warped.

What I absolutely loved, though, was how, unbelievably, the fact that Kaylee's school friends are getting high off a Netherworld narcotic ends up seeming so... almost trivial when other events unfold. And they just keep on and on unfolding, until you're on the verge of a heart attack with all the tension and anxiety for these characters and all the stuff that happens. But it's all genius! And the action! It is literally one of those moments when you can't see any good outcome, or any way out of the trouble their in. It's serious edge-of-your-seat, nail biting excitement! And I am liking Tod. I know in previous reviews I've been all about Nash, but I'm changing my mind. Tod, for all his jokes and annoying behaviour, he's actually a really nice guy, and when lives are in danger, or people are being treated badly, he steps up to the plate and he really surprised and impressed me. He's really cool!

Vincent is one of those authors whose mind I'd quite like to take a tour of, because just how she manages to write stories like this that flow so seemlessly and so believably I'll never know. I am just left in complete and utter awe! Incredible book! This is a brilliant, brilliant story, and I've already started the fourth book in the series, My Soul to Steal. If the series carries on like this, I believe I've just found myself another favourite series! Oh, how I love Rachel Vincent!

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My Soul to Save by Rachel Vincent

My Soul to Save by Rachel Vincent (review copy) - WARNING! This is the second book in a series. I cannot review this book without spoiling the first. Don’t read any further if you plan on reading this series and don’t want to be spoiled.

When Kaylee Cavanaugh screams, someone dies.

So when teen pop star Eden croaks onstage and Kaylee doesn't wail, she knows something is dead wrong. She can't cry for someone who has no soul.

The last thing Kaylee needs right now is to be skipping school, breaking her dad's ironclad curfew and putting her too-hot-to-be-real boyfriend's loyalty to the test. But starry-eyed teens are trading their souls: a flickering lifetime of fame and fortune in exchange for eternity in the Netherworld—a consequence they can't possibly understand.

Kaylee can't let that happen, even if trying to save their souls means putting her own at risk…. From Amazon US

After reading My Soul to Take, I was excited to read My Soul to Save, so when Harlequin Teen asked me if I would like to review it as well, I jumped at the chance. Being a regular reader of Rachel Vincent’s blog, I was aware that there were a number of readers who didn’t like the ending of MSTSave, and so I was even more intrigued to read this book, and strangely, not that put off by it. I’m glad to say that I wasn’t one of those people! I loved it!

Firstly, before I get to the main plot of this story, I need to talk about Kaylee and Nash. There is so much sexual tension between those two, it’s as thick as treacle! And Rachel is just so unfair on them! They never get five minutes alone with each other, as someone always interrupts them – namely Tod, who will just pop up unannounced at the most inconvenient moments – and each interruption just knocks the tension up a notch. Kaylee needs to get her some Nash, because the girl is suffering. It is pretty funny though! And to be fair, Kaylee is underage by US laws, and she has a few low self-esteem fuelled doubts, so it’s probably for the best that it’s not happened just yet. But let’s face it, Nash is too hot for words! Poor, poor Kaylee.

But to the plot, MSTSave is just brilliant! It’s almost metaphoric; stars sell their souls to hellions from the Netherworld for fame and fortune, but once they realise that “too good to be true” does actually have some meaning, the only way out leads to their world tumbling down around their ankles. From things you read in magazines and see on the TV, the plot of MSTSave makes far too much sense, and seems incredibly believable. It’s just a great idea!

We also get to see what the Netherworld is like in a bit more detail. To me, it seems a lot like hell in the movie Constantine, just without the fire and smoky atmosphere, and more bruise coloured. It’s creepy as, well, hell. I won’t go into detail of what happens there, but I really don’t like it. It’s the stuff nightmares are made of, and it really freaks me out! Yet, that just means Rachel has done her job; if I’m being freaked out by a place where demons hang out that came from Rachel’s imagination, then things are going well!

I’ve already talked about the sexual tension between Kaylee and Nash, but now individually. Nash is angry a fair amount of the time because of the dangerous situations they get themselves in, and with good reason. He’s worried for Kaylee’s safety, and thinks her compassion is taking her too far. Kaylee has her heart in the right place, and just wants to help, and make amends for what her aunt did in MSTTake. The time is going to come when Kaylee will need to have a good chat with Nash, there are some things that need to be aired, and I’m quite looking forward to it. I really like Tod! He’s annoying, but he’s funny! But he can be a little selfish, and asks far too much from Kaylee and Nash, and is a little out of order, but I can’t help but really like him. He’s a great guy underneath it all.

Considering the main characters are bean sidhes and reapers, the action isn’t fighting, but more like a race against time, and a fight through emotional strength and determination. It’s just as suspenseful though, though I worry about how the future of these characters. They are pretty much defenceless against the hellions, how they’re supposed to defend themselves against sharp teeth and soul-sucking, I don’t know. I’m intrigued to see how things will progress.

The ending of the book was just brilliant, in my opinion. I’m not going to spoil it for anyone, but I think it made sense for the situation the characters found themselves in, and for the nature of the characters. I didn’t see it coming at all, and although this is a fantasy novel, life isn’t all rainbows and butterflies, and it makes sense that that would be reflected in the books we read. As I said, I didn’t see it coming, but I did try to think what might happen as I was reading along, but nothing else could have happened. This ending just felt right, to me. At least no-one can say the outcome was too easy. I think it was just awesome, and I applaud Rachel for it.