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Allison Wonderland

Allison Wonderland - Diana Caporaso I decided to start reading this last night. Unfortunately I read the entire thing on my Kindle app without stopping so when I finished the book I had a rather large headache! The story itself is very, very heavy for a short book. It covers drugs, drinking, incest, rape, self harm, suicide, pregnancy, sex, paedophillia, eating disorders, you get the idea. Allison first meets Jeremy outside of school and the effect it has is similar to a car crash. She quickly spirals into a pattern of drug taking, self harm and Bulimia. I think this is partly because she wants Jeremy's attention and partly because she knows she can - her parents never notice her. She just gets worse and worse throughout the book, I think she's always been depressed due to her parents but after meeting Jeremy it really hits her how much her parents don't care. Jeremy himself is a very messed up character. He messes Allison around a lot, saying he can't love her one moment and telling her he lives her the next day. He also is very short-tempered and easily jealous, he hates any guy talking to her. Zoey is on the same downward spiral that Jeremy is, she's very messed up but continues her schooling because she wants to get away from her hometown. Despite the heaviness of the story, I really enjoyed reading it (well, I read the entire thing in one go, so of course I did!). The situations that Allison finds herself in feel very realistic and the writing style is brilliant, not one I'd expect from an Indie author. I don't think I found one spelling mistake in any part if it. It's also very cheap too - just 70p for the eBook on the Amazon UK site. If you do choose to review it, please pop by Goodreads - I believe there's only one other review on there!

The Declaration

The Declaration - Gemma Malley The Declaration is very English. I've noticed this a lot with English books, the environments in Dystopian books just seem so much smaller. With American Dystopian you get some pretty massive worlds and elaborate settings but with the English ones, there's usually a lot of walking around one building. In this book, around 3/4 of it is set in Grange Hall, where the Surplus kids are sent. Anna is a Surplus, an illegal child caught by the catches and sent to learn how to be Useful to the Legals - really old people who take a lot of drugs. She believes that she doesn't deserve to exist, that Mother Nature doesn't want her because she's a Surplus; but when Peter arrives her whole world is turned upside down as he shows her the truth of her world and they decide to escape. I didn't really like Anna at first but after a couple of chapters I understood her much better and grew to like her. Her diary entries are quite strange and her personality seems a little different in them but it was nice to see what she's thinking about the events that have just happened. I was surprised that she came across as quite selfish at times, particularly when it came to another Surplus named Sheila, who was a favourite character of mine. The narration shifts through different characters (although the main focus is Anna) and I think that helps the storyline in many different places. The ending was much better than I was expecting and I'm pretty interested to see what will happen in the net two booksof this trilogy. Hopefully the environments that the characters find themselves in will be much bigger and there'll be more action.

Undead

Undead - Kirsty McKay Although this sounds very stereotypical (a bunch of kids are attacked by Zombies) I was pretty excited to read it after reading many books about Vampires, Werewolves, Ghosts, Fallen Angels and Pretty Boy Zombies. In that order. In this, we meet Bobby (who's female, it took me a couple of chapters to find that out), she's just come back to England from America and is struggling to fit in. She goes on a class trip, stopping off at a local cafe and madness ensues! This is a great story, as long as you don't take it seriously. It's meant to be stupid. At least, I hope it is because if the Author wanted me screaming in terror, she'll be disappointed - I was laughing for a lot of it. I find it strangely hilarious that my favourite character in this was wearing a giant carrot costume, but that's the way this book goes! The four main characters - Bobby, Smitty, Alice and Peter - were all reat characters, particularly Smitty, whose deadpan humour and flirting had me giggling a lot. Bobby was a great character - I could sympathise with her and cheer when she kicked the guts out of the Zombies. Alice was your stereotypical blonde, worrying more about her Candy Couture handbag than the fact that all of her friends were dead. There was a couple of things that confused me - questions and suspicions that weren't quite answered. I like everything to be tied up neatly but I couldn't stp thinking about the unanswered questions last night. This is great read to pick up in September, whe it's published, especially if you're looking for a nice light read with plenty of humour - and zombies! You'll nevr look at carrot juice the same way again... not that you looked at it before.

A Season Of Transformation

A Season of Transformation - Lauren Murphy, Jayne Fordham I really enjoyed this story. I loved how defeating Maxdale wasn't overdone and the plot mainly focused on the teens relationships with each other. I also liked that they were all from different backgrounds and wouldn't have talked to each other if it hadn't have been for their powers but they then became really close friends. I was pretty sad when it ended and I'm still missing the characters now, particularly Bobbie. There were a couple of issues with this book. The main one being grammar. There was a distinct lack of commas when they were needed and the author really needs to work on third person narrative. It was a bit painful at times but the plot really made up for it. The main character in this Makenna, or Mak. When the book focuses on her it's in first person narrative but switches when showing a different characters point of view. I would have prefered a first person narrative for the other guys as well because apart from the grammar, it just felt weird. As I said earlier, I really liked the focus on the teens relationships. I loved Bonnie's character (although I cringed everytime I heard the word Gothic, as they're general just caled Goths) and I would have liked to have seen the story from her point of view a lot more. Makenna's relationship with her bitchy mother was interesting to read about, and pretty funny at times too!

Between

Between - Cyndi Tefft When I started this book, I found it quite surreal. Lindsay dies but instead of going to Heaven like she's supposed to, she meets the guy who's supposed to be taking her there and they fall in love. I quite fell in love with him too, he was just perfect, all Scottish and manly. Not the best description I've ever given! When I say surreal, I mean surreal. I was thrown into this really bizarre world, which started out as a giant field, with this dead chick and a hot Scotsman. After this, they took me to various points in time - Paris and Scotland in the 1700's and Lindsay's time, visiting the Opera and (I think) a Sea World center. I was kinda blindly following them about, oohing at the battling Scots and falling asleep at the Opera (it's an Opera. I do not find these entertaining). Although I loved Aiden's character there were a few times when I wanted to slap him, particularly when he says that Lindsay is talking like a whore. I understood hi difficulties, being from a different time zone but it still made me mad at him! Lindsay's character is really likeable too and really heartbreaking at times. I really connected with her character and it felt like I understood what she was going through. This is an older YA book, there is sex in it, although not in detail. The romance is pretty heavy, so don't read it for the time travel bits. Also, God is a pretty big subject but it really works with the story. I definitely can't wait to read the sequel!

Flash Gold (a steampunk novella set in the Yukon) (The Flash Gold Chronicles)

Flash Gold (Flash Gold Chronicles #1) - Lindsay Buroker I really enjoyed this book. Although it's a short story I really got into it, everything was well written and descriptive and I could imagine all of the scenes in my head. It's set in Yukon, in the Gold Rush era, a subject I'm pretty curious about. I particularly liked the addition of many Steampunk gadgets and contraptions, particularly the guard dogs! Kali's ambition is really inspriring and her character overall is really likeable. Her father died a while ago, leaving behind 'Flash Gold' which as far as I can tell, is basically gold fuel. Kali wants to win the dog sled race so she can get the hell out of Moose Hollow and actually make something of herself but first she has to win the race - with many enemies afoot. I also loved Kali and Cedar's relationship - it worked really well and I thought that they were really cute together. Despite her trust issues after already being betrayed by a past lover, I could see she was really starting to like Cedar and he looked after her. He's very handy with a gun! I would really like to read more adventures about these two and hopefully they'll get together too! I'm definitely very hopeful that I'll be able to read more about this story. No more has been written yet but I'm defnitely hopeful that something will be, as te end of the novel is left wide open for a sequel. Need anymore persuading to read this amazing steampunk story? It's rating on Goodreads is 4.21 - the highest I've ever seen a book rated on there.

Released

Released - Megan Duncan I would usually watch a movie of this kind of idea - apocalyptic future where demons (no zombies here (I think), sorry zombie fans) have invaded and a kick ass chick with weapons, her brother his friend head to New Mexico to find a military base, making friends and enemies along the way. Abby is an awesome main character. She's tough, knows her guns but you know she's got the softer side of her too and she has quite motherly instincts towards Taya. I liked that she got on with things instead of expecting the guys to do everything for her. She's still grieving after the loss of her father and that shows in places through the book. I loved this book. It's quite a quick read and I devoured every page. I'm not hoping to be able to buy a physical copy and the sequel. The story is quite action packed but not rushed, it's nicely paced and Megan writing really works with it, no huge descriptions, straight to the point. There's lots of suspense too and I was reading frantically, wondering if Abby and her family would make it to their destination. The romance between Abby and Max is well written and really sweet but not heavy, it's more of a sub-plot in the book. I did find myself wondering if they would have dated if the demons hadn't of turned up, as in a situation like theirs, these things tend to happen. I'd like to think they did. I also really liked Taya's character. She's smart, knows how to look after herself but still shows her younger side, which is what Abby needs, as Abby's still a teenager herself. I think the trio really needed a tough little sister to look after (even if she insists she doesn't need looking after!) and she really fits the part, I love her. It would be awesome if in the next book there's a scene where Abby shows Taya how to clean guns and stuff. If you buy this book for any reason (and I hope you do!) at the very least buy it for the cover. This is a self published book and whoever created that amazing cover needs a pat on the back. I'm desperate to see it on my shelf!

Need

Need (Need #1) - Carrie Jones I used run screaming from anything to do with Fae, unless Holly Black wrote it. I hadn't found anything that interested me, unless she wrote it. Until I read Need. Just to make this clear, whoever designed this cover needs to be slapped. It's one of the worst cover's I've ever seen and it really creeps me out. I love the story however so it's all good as long as I don't have to look at it too much. I love that Zara's a hippie. You don't get enough Hippie girls in books. Weres and Pixies after I've posted my Urgent Appeal letter! I love it. The plan didn't work out well but it was hilarious all the same. I cracked up when she started yelling about Were-Bunnies. I liked her character from the beginning which is unusual for me, I usually find them annoying at first. I think it was partly because she's a part of Amnesty International. I'm more of a Greenpeace girl myself. Saving sharks from becoming tuna and all that jazz. I actually liked the love interest! A certain blogger will love me for this. Usually I'm quite picky but Nick was a really good character and actually fit in with the story instead of just being there or having the story centred around him. I liked that his and Zara's relationship was there but not really full on and heavy like in other books. Usually I feel like I'm suffocating with it. When you start the book it might feel a little like Twilight but I didn't notice that until a review pointed it out. Sure, Zara's mom has packed her off to a small town but I honestly didn't notice any Twilight references as the plot is a lot stronger and the characters aren't cardboard. I found the Stephen King references fascinating (although one does wonder if there are any Vampires in his books? I think not). Of course, she's going to Maine so that's an obvious one. I also picked up the quote as soon as I saw it, which I wanted to pat myself on the back for. There's a few clich├ęd moments in this and moments where you go 'I knew it!' but that's to be expected after all. I'm curious to see how the plot develops in the next book as this could quite easily have been a stand-alone.

Plain Kate

Plain Kate - Erin Bow There was only ever two books that made me cry - Before I Die by Jenny Downham and the Harry Potter book where Dumbledore dies. Now, there's a third. I'm not sure how to write a review that's fitting for a such an amazing book but heck, I'll try. Wood Angel is told like a fairy tale and I quickly fell in love with the writing. It's the sort of writing that I lose myself comepletely in and can imagine everthing so easily, it's almost as if I'm there. The story is either set in the past, or in a different world, or both (I'm guessing both), in a world that fears Witchcraft as well as accepting it. Witch burnings are a common thing for Kate, who is accused of being a Witch often, due to her beautiful carvings. Knowing she has to get away from the town where she grows up, she strikes a bargain with a man who will change her life forever. The Roamers were an interesting bunch and I wish Plain Kate could have stayed with them longer. I particularly liked Drina and Daj, who both warmed to Kate quickly and made her feel at home. Of course, my favourite character was Taggle, who's everything you expect a talking cat to be and more! He's the perfect companion for Kate, getting her out of quite a few scrapes - and getting her in them - all the while with his mind on food. That cat eats a lot. It was nice to escape for a while into this fantasy world, with no love triangles or messy relationships to worry about. Just a beautiful fairy tale about a girl, a talking cat and many adventures. And carving. Note: As much as I love you Chicken House, whoever chose the title and cover of this book needs a slap on the wrist. I don't find the cover appealing as it's not very original and I have no idea why the title is called Wood Angel. I actually thought I would end up reading about fairies when I started this. I will be buying Plain Kate, the US edition (with a beautiful cover) when I can!

Scatterheart

Scatterheart - Verbannt in die Ferne - Lili Wilkinson When I first saw this book, I knew I had to read it, just from seeing the cover alone. I wasn't disappointed - this extraordinary historical tale with a fairytale feel to it blew me away. I finished this in a few hours as I couldn't stop reading. Right from the start the book hooked me, by not letting me know how Hannah ended up in Newgate. Instead, it starts when Hannah is in Newgate, and starts to tell you how she ended up there, which was a great way to grab my attention and made me want to read more. After prison, Hannah is transported to New South Wales and a lot of pages (around 100, probably more) is dedicated to life on the ship, which I usually find boring. However, due to the people on the ship and the bizarre goings-on there, I wasn't bored at all! There's a lot of things in this book that are quite shocking, but I'm glad they're there, as they made the story feel more realistic. I loved that when Hannah was in London I felt as if I was in a fairytale world, which is what she saw it as. Then when the story moved onto the gaol and the ship, I felt as if I could really understand just how disgusting the accommodations where and how much Hannah went through. There's a lot of really strong characters in this, that really stand out. One in particular was Dr Ullathorne who was just repulsive and I spent a lot of time hoping for him to get his. I also loved Molly, the street child with a melted face. She was really sweet and kept Hannah going throughout the journey. Another favourite was Long Meg, who befriended Hannah back in Newgate and looks after her. Long Meg is a typical London girl, very ballsy and she's not afraid to speak her mind, which added a lot of comedy to the tale. Hannah herself was less likeable than the others, due to how she was brought up. She's a great character, she looks after Molly and she isn't afraid to stand for what's right but she has moments where she wants impossible things to be true and she can act quite spoilt too. I think the journey was quite good for her though, as she learnt a lot along the way.

Ultraviolet

Ultraviolet  - R.J. Anderson Ultraviolet didn't appeal to me at first, I think it was mainly because of the cover, which I dislike. A couple of blogger friends recommended it to me, so I started reading it and I was immediately hooked. The writing in Ultraviolet is beautiful and works really well for the story. Alison can taste, feel and/or see the colours of various things - numbers, colours, emotions, sounds. I felt as if I could too due to the beautifully descriptive writing. The story isn't fast paced and most of it is spent in Ali's head, descovering the world behind the walls of the mental facility whilst trying to piece together her memory. I didn't mind this as Mental Asylums fascinate me. The action picks up a lot during the last 100 pages and it feels different too as there's different settings etc. After spending so long viewing the world inside the walls, being thrown into new environments felt as weird to me as it did to Ali. ''Dark chocolate, poured over with velvet: that was how his voice tasted. I wanted him to follow me around and narrate the rest of my life.'' Dr Faraday's character was certainly my favourite in this and he's pretty central to the plot. Plus he's hot. That helps. The other characters, although background, are pretty awesome too. You have Kirk, who latches into Ali as soon as she arrives in the new ward and helps her adjust, Sanjay, who believes in Aliens and thinks they're out to get him and Micheline, who's basically just pissed at everything. This book is definitely worth the read this year, especially if you like mysterious stories that keep you guessing right until the end and I'd defnitely say that this is one of my favourite reads this year.

Haunting Violet

Haunting Violet - Alyxandra Harvey This novel has a great gothic feel to it, set in the 1800's when the spiritualist craze was at a height. I loved that I found out some of the tricks that fake mediums used, although I'm not sure if they would have tied bellows to their daughter's legs but who knows? Maybe they would have done! The setting feels very realistic and I really did feel as if I was actually there, both in the grand country house and in the filthy London streets. Violet's character really appealed to me as she's not your usual sort of Victorian girl. Before her mother became famous through her faked seances Violet was lower class and she keeps that mentality throughout the book. Preferring to escape with a novel over sipping tea, she keeps away from the society that her mother craves, keeping only a couple of friends - Colin and Elizabeth. When she discovers her gift and meets Rowena for the first time, she chooses to hide it but still tries her best to find Rowena's murderer. I really liked Elizabeth' character in this, she's pretty vital to the plot in the sense that she reminds Violet to have fun and be a girl, and she's not afraid to go snooping throughout the house and ask people questions. Her infatuation with Frederic was really funny at times, although it was a shame he never seemed to notice her. Violet's mother, however, was defnitely a 'love-to-hate' character. She thinks higher of herself than she is, treats Violet like dirt and is constantly drinking. Later on she reveals her true nature and I hated her even more for it. Despite this, she was a vital addition to the story. Violet and Colin's relationship really added to the story and it was nice to read about her falling for a character that appears from the beginning of the book and relates to her, instead of falling for the first rich guy that notices her, like Xavier Trethewey, who I didn't like at all. Colin really cares for Violet and I really felt for him when he was obviously jealous of Xavier, although he had no need to be. The mystery surrounding Rowena's death is the main focus of the story and I think it was written very well, with lots of twists and turns, secret letters and stolen kisses... Guessing the murderer was quite difficult for me (I used to guess easily but lately I'm rubbish), I think I suspected everyone but the actual killer, who I only vaguely remembered when they were revealed. At times it reminded me of a Miss Marple TV show, with many characters and many different motives. I do love those shows. The cover I'm not too happy with. I liked it when I first received it but after reading this, I think I may try and buy the cover with the girl in the water as it makes more sense to me. I like the gothic feel to it but it just doesn't fit with the book in my opinion.

Infinite Days (Vampire Queen)

Infinite Days (Vampire Queen) - Rebecca Maizel View my review here: http://www.truthbetoldblog.com/2011/06/infinite-days-by-rebecca-maizel.html

Hourglass

Hourglass - Myra McEntire Find my review here: http://www.truthbetoldblog.com/2011/07/hourglass-by-myra-mcentire-review.html

Low Red Moon (Low Red Moon (Quality))

Low Red Moon - Ivy Devlin Although this followed a similar YA formula (girl's parents die, she meets a hot guy, madness ensues) I found I enjoyed this much, much more than other similar YA books. I think this was partly due to the writing style, which flowed really well, I quickly lost myself in it and also because of the plot, which concentrated mostly on Avery's parents deaths, instead of her boyfriend. There was plenty of romance but at appropriate times and it wasn't smothering the plot, which I really appreciated. I also loved the setting. There wasn't much said about the town, which was tony anyway but plenty of descriptions of the woods, making the plot mysterious and suspenseful. It was also a perfect setting for the wolves, although there were only ever two wolves mentioned in the entire story, a lot of the time they were just there as an idea, howling away in the distance. I love Avery's name. There needs to be more girls called Avery, it just isn't used enough! She was a great character and I could almost feel what she was feeling while she was trying desperately to remember what happened to her parents that night. I liked Ben's character too, who also has a dark past. His werewolf side isn't shown many times, it's more about his struggle to deal with that side of him while he's in love with Avery. Couple of extra things that don't affect the review: I received this from Bloomsbury and then spent about half an hour on Twitter complaining about it. Why? It smells really bad. Like sheep's lungs or something. I don't know who the printers are but someone needs to fix that. Also, I liked that there was a new colour other than your usual black: red. There two pages of an illustration of some trees, done in red and the chapter headers, page numbers and the word moon are all printed in red too! There's also a little drawing of a couple of trees at the bottom of the page, which I think is a nice touch.

Sleight: Book One of the AVRA-K

Sleight - Jennifer Sommersby This was recommended to me by Cait (The Cait Files), so I bought it for my Kindle. I found it a little hard to get into but after a few chapters I liked Gemma more and more and connected with her better. I loved the idea that she lives in a travelling circus, I think that angle isn't done enough in YA books. There's a lot of swearing and violence in this, which I liked as it felt more realistic. The story has lots of twists and turns that you don't quite expect. Gemma gets kicked around quite a lot but her character is really strong and puts up with all of that, giving a few punches herself. Henry and Gemma complement each other perfectly and work really well together, although I'll admit that I was hoping they wouldn't get together at one point - I felt that they would work better together if they didn't. But as a couple they're just as cool. I think I liked the last 25% the most, where Gemma and Henry are on the run, it was full of action and suspense (who doesn't love a good chase scene?). I was on edge, wondering if they were about to be caught or not, if someone would recognise them. I think a lot of the story was just building up to that point. I think the sequel will be interesting as I believe it will be set in a different country, with (hopefully) some new characters too! I did find this quite long, I felt that it could have been shorter. As I read it as a Kindle edition, I'm not sure how many pages there actually were but it seemed to take me hours to get through it - which is great if you're looking for a long, relaxing read but for a blogger, I need to review other stuff too!

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