Thursday 31 May 2012

Uglies - Book Review

Uglies (Uglies #1)
by Scott Westerfeld

What is it about:
In Tally's world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be there.

But Tally's new friend Shay isn't sure she wants to be pretty. She'd rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world and it isn't very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever.

What did I think of it:
Yet another book with world building that had me frowning a bit.

Don't get me wrong: the whole 'Uglies turn Pretty at 16 and then get to party all the time' was an intriguing idea, but I would have wanted to learn a bit more. Who's doing all the work when all those Pretties are partying? Where does the city get its resources? Stuff like that. It felt incomplete and that made it hard for me to believe in the world Westerfeld created. (Later on in the book you learn a little bit more, but still not enough.)

Luckily the story was really suspenseful and full of action, so I quickly was able to forget about the inconsistencies and concentrate on the story.

And the story is really cool!

Tally is a total brat, but still likeable enough that you want to root for her. She might not always make the smartest choice, but the way Westerfeld wrote her made me able to go along with it and understand why she made certain choices.

Tally's choices lead her outside of the city (eventually) and I must confess I was very happy about that. The world outside is much more intriguing than the city and felt more real to me. I wouldn't mind learning even more about the outside in future books.

In the end I enjoyed this book much more than I had expected after reading the first few chapters and I will certainly try to get hold of the next book to see how this story continues.

Why should you read it:
It's a suspenseful and intriguing YA Dystopian read.

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Wednesday 30 May 2012

77 Days in September - Excerpt

77 Days in September
by Ray Gorham

What is it about:
On a Friday afternoon before Labor Day, Americans are getting ready for the holiday weekend, completely unaware of a long-planned terrorist plot about to be launched against the country. Kyle Tait is settling in for his return flight home when a single nuclear bomb is detonated 300 miles above the heart of America. The blast, an Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP), destroys every electrical device in the country, and results in the crippling of the power grid, the shutting down of modern communications, and bringing to a halt most forms of transportation.

Kyle narrowly escapes when his airplane crashes on take-off, only to find himself stranded 2,000 miles from home in a country that has been forced, from a technological standpoint, back to the 19th Century. Confused, hurt, scared, and alone, Kyle must make his way across a hostile continent to a family he’s not even sure has survived the effects of the attack. As Kyle forges his way home, his frightened family faces their own struggles for survival in a community trying to halt its own slow spiral into chaos and anarchy.

Based on scientist’s predictions of what would happen if a single nuclear bomb is detonated over Kansas, 77 Days in September follows Kyle and his wife, Jennifer, as they are stretched past their breaking point, but find in their devotion to each other the strength to persevere



High above the sun-baked prairies of Lawrence, Kansas, the missile reached its target. No one on the ground even noticed the blast. Perhaps had someone been looking at precisely the right location, at precisely the right time, they might have noticed a tiny, momentary spark in the bright afternoon sky. Had they seen the flash, it likely would have been attributed to the glint of sunlight reflecting off a passing airplane. From every vantage point below the detonation, there was no sense of the destructive capacity contained in that tiny speck of light. More than 300 miles above the earth, a nuclear explosion impacts nothing with the force of its blast. It is merely a large bomb going off in a vacuum, creating no shockwaves, no fireballs, no radiation, not even any sound.

Despite the lack of explosive destruction, this was now the most lethal weapon to be unleashed in the history of the world, but it was a weapon that would have had absolutely no discernable affect on mankind 200 years ago, other than creating a more colorful aurora. Upon detonation, the bomb expelled an intense wave of gamma radiation in every direction. The gamma rays traveling earthward interacted with the upper levels of the atmosphere and created a chain reaction of displaced electrons that rushed towards the surface of the earth at the speed of light. Most of the these displaced electrons passed rapidly through the atmosphere and grounded themselves harmlessly in the earth.

A small percentage, however, encountered conductive materials: metal, antennas, copper wiring, and silicon chips. As these conductors absorbed untold billions of free electrons, they experienced sudden surges in both voltage and current. In simple items, like a garden rake, this surge was manifested as a harmless static electricity-like spark. But in larger networks and sensitive objects, the consequences of the electron overload were devastating.

They sat in silence, lost in their thoughts and watching the pandemonium. Ed spoke after a long period of silence. “I don’t think we’ll be flying out of here today, even if we want to. I don’t think anyone is. This is completely different from anything I’ve ever seen or heard of. With all those crashed airplanes, there should be hundreds of emergency vehicles from all over the city out there, but I didn’t see a single one. There should have been enough help for us, even with the other planes down. I bet we’d still be waiting out by that airplane if we hadn’t come in on our own. Something is wrong at a level I can’t fathom.”

Kyle nodded. “I’ve been thinking the same thing. I think everyone is. You can see it in their faces; there’s a fear and helplessness that I’ve never seen. Of course, how are you supposed to act when you’ve seen an airplane fall from the sky?”
“It’s not just one plane wreck, Kyle. It’s multiple wrecks. It’s no emergency assistance to our flight, and no response for those other planes. It’s no power in the terminal. It’s total confusion with the airport employees. You saw them. They had no idea what they should be doing. Some of the smart ones are faking it, but most of them look like they want to cry. And the passengers…they’re freaked out bad. There’s a deeper fear there than just the power being out, more than a plane crash. Have you noticed that no one is using their cell phone? We tried mine, but it’s dead. They’re all dead. In a situation like this, everyone would be on their phone. It’s like…I know this doesn’t make any sense, but it’s like we’ve been attacked.” Ed paused a moment before continuing. “You remember 9/11?”

Kyle nodded. “Who doesn’t? I’ll always remember it. I was listening on my car radio 2,000 miles away from New York when it happened, but I’ll always remember it.”
“It feels like that, but ten times worse. Remember how unreal everything felt that day? How you couldn’t believe it was happening, even as you watched it on TV? This feels the same way. I don’t know why, but it does.”



About the author:
Ray Gorham was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada in 1966. Prior to settling in the United States in 1991, Ray had the good fortune to live in a variety of locations around the world. Years in Australia, England, Lebanon, Japan, Canada, and the United States all helped shape his background, worldview, and appreciation for other people and cultures.

Upon graduating from college with a degree in Accounting, Ray decided he couldn’t foresee spending a future studying tax law and sitting in front of a computer all day, so he took a management position with Wal-Mart and spent the next 10 years in retail management where he had the opportunity to interact with hundreds of employees and thousands of customers on a weekly basis. After growing tired of working for large corporations, Ray next opened and tried running a restaurant but decided after a year that the restaurant business wasn’t for him either. From there, he found a small, log home business for sale in Montana in 2006 and settled in for what he hoped would be a long-term career.

When the construction industry slowed down in 2008, Ray knew he was going to have a lot of time on his hands, so he determined to cross off one of the items on his bucket list—writing a novel. After thousands of hours of writing and editing, he had the final draft of his first novel, a 108,000-word story of a husband struggling to return to his family after a major terrorist attack incapacitates the country. While agents and publishers have passed on his efforts to this point, Ray has found significant success in digital format, selling over 10,000 copies of his work.

Buy 77 Days in September here

Tuesday 29 May 2012

Teaser Tuesdays - Switched

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: - Grab your current read - Open to a random page - Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) - Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

As strange as it sounds, as soon as I saw him, the anxiety I'd felt started to subside. My first thought should've been that it was him causing my uneasiness, since he was the one who always stared at me in such a creepy fashion. But it wasn't.
(page 20, Switched by Amanda Hocking)

Monday 28 May 2012

Wither - Book Review

Wither (The Chemical Garden #1)
by Lauren DeStefano

What is it about:
By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. She can thank modern science for this genetic time bomb. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children.

When Rhine is kidnapped and sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can’t bring herself to hate him as much as she’d like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life.

But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband’s strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement. Her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next, and Rhine is desperate to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive.

Will Rhine be able to escape--before her time runs out?Together with one of Linden's servants, Gabriel, Rhine attempts to escape just before her seventeenth birthday. But in a world that continues to spiral into anarchy, is there any hope for freedom?

What did I think of it:
A nice read.

I will confess that the world building made no sense to me at all!

I had to turn off all logic thinking and ignore the things that didn't make sense to be able to continue reading the story. (I really hope that one of the things that didn't make sense turns out to be a lie in one of the next books.)

Once I decided to just go with the flow I actually enjoyed the story though.

The characters and their interactions are well written and apart from some minor things very believable. I will confess that I thought Rhine's father-in-law was the most intriguing character in the book. Rhine was quick to vilify him, but I kept wondering if what she suspected was actually true and I kept hoping I would learn a bit more about his actions.

Rhine herself seemed very immature for her age, considering the world she lives in, but she's likeable enough to not hold that against her.

And guess what: this book is written in present tense, but I didn't get dragged out of the story by it, so it looks like I found another author who is allowed to write in present tense ;-)

All in all this is an enjoyable read once you stop trying to make sense of the world and I might give the next book in this series a try if I come across it.

Why should you read it:
It's an enjoyable YA Dystopian read

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Friday 25 May 2012

Fair Game - Book Review

Fair Game (Alpha & Omega #3)
by Patricia Briggs

What is it about:
They say opposites attract. And in the case of werewolves Anna Latham and Charles Cornick, they mate. The son-and enforcer-of the leader of the North American werewolves, Charles is a dominant alpha. While Anna, an omega, has the rare ability to calm others of her kind.

Now that the werewolves have revealed themselves to humans, they can't afford any bad publicity. Infractions that could have been overlooked in the past must now be punished, and the strain of doing his father's dirty work is taking a toll on Charles.

Nevertheless, Charles and Anna are sent to Boston, when the FBI requests the pack's help on a local serial killer case. They quickly realize that not only the last two victims were werewolves-all of them were. Someone is targeting their kind. And now Anna and Charles have put themselves right in the killer's sights...

What did I think of it:
I will confess I was a bit afraid to pick this book up.

I love Charles and Anna as a couple, but my experience is that when a couple is together authors tend to create drama in their stories by pushing the couple apart again.

As it turned out Briggs indeed went for this kind of drama, letting Charles push Anna away, but it turned out I shouldn't have doubted her:

The way Briggs wrote the rift between Charles and Anna was heartbreaking and emotional, but Briggs managed to never cross the line where I felt like all hope was lost. I kept rooting for both of them to find their way back to each other.

The action storyline was intense as well. There was lots of (subtle) scheming and bickering going on by all kinds of different agencies and other parties all while a killer is on the lose who has to be stopped.

The real action doesn't start until very late in the story, but don't think that means this is a dull story up until then. I was totally engrossed and couldn't put this book down until I finished it.

And the ending blew me away!

I have grumbled about endings that leave storylines wide open for the next book. This ending isn't like that in so much that it doesn't leave you feeling like you only got half a story, but it sure does leave you with consequences that will be felt for books to come.

Why should you read it:
Best werewolf series ever in my opinion

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Thursday 24 May 2012

Underworld - Book Review

Underworld (Abandon Trilogy #2)
by Meg Cabot

What is it about:
Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.

Seventeen-year-old Pierce Oliviera isn’t dead.

Not this time.

But she is being held against her will in the dim, twilit world between heaven and hell, where the spirits of the deceased wait before embarking upon their final journey.

Her captor, John Hayden, claims it’s for her own safety. Because not all the departed are dear. Some are so unhappy with where they ended up after leaving the Underworld, they’ve come back as Furies, intent on vengeance…on the one who sent them there and on the one whom he loves.

But while Pierce might be safe from the Furies in the Underworld, far worse dangers could be lurking for her there…and they might have more to do with its ruler than with his enemies.

And unless Pierce is careful, this time there’ll be no escape.

What did I think of it:
I'm a big fan of Cabot's Heather Wells books, so when I got this book as a gift I was more than curious to read it, even though it's the second book in a trilogy.

And it turned out to be a very enjoyable read.

Even without having read the first book I was quickly invested in the story and characters. Of course there were lots of referrals to things that happened in book one and which I didn't know about, but even without that information the story was intriguing and intense.

Cabot's writing style is pleasant as always, although in Underworld the tone of her writing is a bit more serious than I'm used to, but it fits the story perfectly.

I must confess I wasn't so sure Pierce and John made a good couple. They both are great characters, but they had some trouble communicating and I really hope for them they learn to do so in the last book or I do not see a happily ever after for them.

As for the ending of this book:
It was another ending that left things wide open and makes you annoyed you will have to wait for the final book to release. (Seems to be a trend in YA I'm beginning to suspect.)

All in all I really liked this book though and I'll be trying to get my trotters on book one, while waiting for book three to be released.

Why should you read it:
It's an original YA take on the myth of Hades and Persephone

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Wednesday 23 May 2012

Alien Revealed - Excerpt and Giveaway

I have an excerpt from Alien Revealed for you today.
Lilly Cain also offered a copy of Alien Revealed for one commenter so don't forget to check the rules at the bottom of this post on how to enter.

Alien Revealed (The Confederacy Treaty #1)
by Lilly Cain

What is it about:
Inarrii agent Alinna Gaerrii was tasked with observing the Starforce base on Earth. Crash landing her observation pod onto the base was not part of her mission briefing. Neither was making "m'ittar"--mind contact--with Major David Brown, the human who discovered her amongst the wreckage.

David thinks she's a psychologist sent to evaluate his Special Forces team, and Alinna goes along with his misconception, seizing the opportunity to observe humans up close. But their daily contact has unexpected side effects, and Alinna soon invades David's dreams. Through their intimate mental connection she allows him to express his forbidden physical desires.

Alinna delights in the sensory exploration and grows excited by the prospect of a treaty with the humans and a potential life mate in David. But an attack from an unknown ship sends the base into chaos, and Alinna may be forced to reveal her lie, erasing all hope of a successful treaty, and driving David away forever...


Excerpt Alien Revealed
“I repeat this is Agent Alinna Gaerrii, Unit Nine. Tel sho ahoi. I am in a crash situation.” Alinna called out the codes in Inarrii and in Standard English in case she was picked up by the human military base she was about to crash land on. They shouldn’t be aware of her presence, but under the circumstances, if they did hear her, at least they would likely assume they were getting a garbled report of the now burning airjet on the ground. Thankfully, the local dialect had been ingrained in her consciousness after six months of intense monitoring and translation of their communications.

She was going down. Her small observation pod hurtled toward the ground at an ever-increasing rate. Caught in the downdraft of an out-of-control human airjet, her tiny spy craft seemed as doomed as the vehicle that had crashed to the ground in front of her moments ago. Shuddering sensations raced up Alinna’s arms and along her scalp. Her L’inar nerve lines forced her skin up into narrow bands and ridges along her neck and hairline in an instinctual reaction as her concern turned quickly into fear.

Her pod was not meant for this kind of action. A tiny craft rigged to avoid human detection, it was only meant for short-term surveillance. There was barely enough room on board for her long body to lie flat against the monitoring equipment. Her mission was simple—park her ship on the moon and use her pod to observe human behavior—to watch, but not interact. But I am going to interact; they’re going to have to peel my Inarrii skin right off their shiny new Starforce facilities. Sweat beaded on her forehead as Alinna fought again to regain control, wrenching the hand controls up and back until they pressed against her chest.

Warning lights flashed. Her altitude was dropping erratically. “No shit,” she said aloud. Six months of listening to the humans’ fondness for verbal vulgarity was rubbing off. She’d been observing a heated argument on the ground when the human airjet took her by surprise, veering suddenly off its scheduled course and into the airspace above the woods surrounding the new military base. Swerving right into her path, its engine had disrupted the ultrasonic pulse waves that kept her pod safely aloft. In seconds, the airjet had crashed to the ground and erupted in flames while she watched, unable to do anything other than struggle for control over her own vehicle. The airjet had broken into three jagged pieces; there was little likelihood anyone survived.

The automated emergency beacon started to flash as Alinna gave up trying to recover and instead braced for impact. The tips of treetops snapped hard against the outer shell of her pod, twisting the small craft into a spin. Alinna held on, her heart pounding. Her curving L’inar nerve lines were tight and burning in alarm. The fall took forever, the last of the ultrasonic waves battering the tiny ship against the tall spikes of Earth vegetation. Then, with one sudden stomach-wrenching drop, the craft hit the ground.

Alinna lay stunned inside her pod. For a moment, she ignored the screaming monitors around her. I’m alive. Then the sharp scent of ozone caught her attention. The warnings flashing and beeping around her suddenly had meaning again. She scrambled to unfasten her harness and wiggle her way to the escape hatch at the front of the craft. She snarled in frustration when the latch release refused to operate. Time to get out—now. Urgency flooded endorphins through her body, lending her a full measure of Inarrii strength.

Alinna slammed the hatch completely open as a shudder rippled through the ship. She could smell smoke. Security measures dictated she would need to hide the craft while on alien soil, but she wondered if there would be anything left to hide. She dragged her body through the narrow hatch, grabbing her emergency pouch on the way out. This was so much easier in the escape simulations. Disembarking was simple when she was in the weightless docking bay of her larger vessel—secreted now in a crater on the darker side of the Earth’s moon.

Alinna scrambled to her knees on the thick carpet of vegetation outside her ship. She staggered as she rose to her feet and moved away from the small craft. Taking refuge under the sagging bows of a huge tree, she stared at her ruined vessel. The human airjet had destroyed the ultrasonic wave pattern keeping her aloft, but she could have recovered if she’d been a little higher. But in the business of surveillance, being close was a necessary risk. It was the landing that had wrecked it, the landing and being bounced and smashed against the trees. The branches of the massive vegiforms around her had slowed her enough to save her life, but the pod was done.

A soft breeze brought the acrid stench of smoke. The human airjet was burning nearby and would surely have military attention at any moment. She needed to get rid of the pod and hide. She tapped the skin at the base of her left ear, initiating her internal command unit. Without much hope, she requested total silent mode for the pod. Before her, a shimmer of light flickered over the craft as it attempted to initiate the power field to make it once again invisible to the naked eye or casual scan. Nothing happened. She grimaced. Not surprising, after the beating the vessel took on the way down.

“Kahemnit dal,” she whispered. “Shit.” The human curse sounded more satisfying, and certainly more graphic. An errant breeze flipped a lock of her shoulder- length brown hair into her eyes. She blew it away from her face with a huff of annoyance.I have no choice. I have to destroy the ship. “Tel sho ahoi, sho amnetii.” Alinna used her internal command unit to access her damaged craft’s communication system to signal her people, hidden far away on the secret Jupiter Moon Base. With luck, they would hear her, although she might never know what they thought of her decision. They could not respond to her; any incoming communication held a much higher risk of detection.

“I am initiating sho amnetii gohan yi.” She began the short self-destruct sequence, pursing her lips and hoping it would work. If the ship was too damaged for its last service, she would have to find some way to destroy or hide it herself. That might not be possible, having crash landed on the outskirts of the heavily guarded human Starforce base. She scanned the woods. She was going to need a more secure hiding spot, and soon. If she was discovered by the humans, the mission would be a total loss, spelling disaster for her career and serious trouble for the eventual first contact between the Inarrii and Humans.

Alinna stepped away from the shelter of the tree and shivered as the cool breeze brushed against her legs. She felt wet. Confused, she looked down at her legs and was shocked at the sight of a long rip in the heavy material of her blue flight suit. Blood ran freely from a deep gash in her calf. As if the sight of the injury suddenly made it a reality, pain swept through her body. She staggered. A soft moan slipped from her lips as she realized how badly she was injured. Pain blossomed in her head as well, making her wonder if she’d also suffered a concussion during her abrupt drop to Earth. Before her, waves of heat rose from her tiny spy pod. At least the self-destruct appeared to be working.

She staggered away from the craft, trying to get out of range as it used its own components to create a chemical reaction to reduce it to a tiny puddle of melted plastics. After perhaps a few dozen steps, she fell to her knees. She flicked on her internal comp’s smart mode, since the realization she was about to be unconscious was inescapable. Maybe it could think of a way out of this. At the very least it would continue to gather information. Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted the lumbering flight of another human aircraft headed straight toward the crash site, and her.

* * *

Major David Brown cursed softly under his breath. What he didn’t need right now was another delay. Not for any reason. He had two weeks until the newest Starforce mission team would be assembled, and he planned to be on it as team leader. Instead he was sitting with his Starforce pilots in the back of a heli-jet on their way to a crash. He grabbed the handle above his seat as turbulence interrupted his thought—high winds taking their toll on the impromptu rescue team’s combination heli-jet. He shook his head. Their orders were to find and investigate a military airjet that had sent out distress signals and apparently gone down over the base.

The team assembly would have to wait. Lives were at stake, and the base was undermanned. Recent transfers and the opening of a newer, larger base had moved out so much staff that he and the other pilots currently residing on the base had been forced to take up security positions for this unforeseen disaster.

David frowned. The assembly would wait anyway. According to the latest scuttle, the entire team had to be evaluated by yet another psychologist. He, in particular, was about to be closely scrutinized, tested yet again for fitness of duty for long-term space travel and command.

“Base to unit seven-oh-seven.” The message came across an open channel.
David tapped the compad on the side of his helmet. “Unit seven-oh-seven here.”
“We have communication for Major Brown.”
“This is Major Brown,” David replied steadily despite the sensation of several pairs of eyes now focused on him.
“Major Brown, we have received satellite confirmation that airjet four-two-nine is down and burning on sector Alpha-Charlie-seven-niner.”
“We have also been informed the roster was clear except for the two male air force pilots and one Dr. Janet MacPherson, a civilian assigned to your team.”

David blinked. Damn. Muttering began in the back of the heli-jet. News traveled faster in the ranks than laser fire. There was no sense trying to keep rumors silent—pressure to do so only made the rumors fly faster. “Copy. Unit seven-oh-seven out.”
So the psychtech was on board. He mulled that fact over along with the reality that few people ever survived an airjet crash. While he regretted the loss of any life, a thought lurked like a shadow in his mind. If she’s dead, they’ll postpone the mission…or more likely, they’ll pull an officer in from another team to replace me and get the job done. Either thought left him cold.

“ETA two minutes, Major Brown.”

David could already feel the deceleration of the heli- jet. Small and maneuverable, the vehicle covered the huge base in minutes and could land in a space smaller than his quarters. He held up a closed fist to his team, five of the best pilots in Starforce. They wouldn’t normally risk the skills these men and women had in a rescue mission, even in the understaffed status of the base, but the base was undermanned on purpose. As well as the recent opening of a new larger base taking some of the staff, operations here were intended to be top secret, and the fewer people involved, the better. Besides, his pilots were getting antsy waiting for the mission to be assigned. A little action was a good thing.

“Lee, Yancy, you two are on left flank. Olens, Huff and Branscombe, you go to the right. Look for the airjet comp unit.”
“What about survivors?” First Lieutenant Angie Lee called out.
“There aren’t likely to be any, but see if you can ID any bodies.”
“Savvy,” she agreed.

The heli-jet touched down, its landing a gentle bump. The team filed out while David waited near the pilot. He slapped a hand to the pilot’s shoulder. “Round us up in ten minutes.”
“Understood, Major.”

David stepped out of the heli-jet and into hell. The light breeze blew smoke directly into his face. The airjet lay broken into three pieces like a discarded toy before him, and the tail end was burning. He clamped his lips shut against the noxious smell of charred plasmetal alloy. There’s no way anyone lived through this. The grim thought barely passed through his mind when he heard shouts from his team on the left flank of the crash site. He jogged steadily toward the group, his eyes quickly focusing on his team and on Lieutenant Lee’s kneeling position over what had to be a crash victim.

David leapt over a few tree roots and neatly avoided thick pine branches broken off by the fallen airjet. The scene struck him as surreal. In a world with little vegetation left, they were all invaders in this pocket of wilderness. At a better time, he might have enjoyed the scent of pine, the cool of the shaded woods. In moments, he too stood over the body of a woman, her features slack and the left leg of her blue jumper ripped and coated in blood.

He shook his head and grimaced. “Dr. MacPherson.”
“She’s alive, Major!” Lieutenant Lee was already hauling out her emergency medkit.

“What?” Adrenalin flooded his body. He’d been ready to accept the psychtech’s loss, but the situation had changed. She needed his help, now. “Lieutenant Yancy, get that autolift from the heli-jet.” He tapped his helmet’s compad. “Unit seven-oh-seven to base—we have a survivor and need immediate medical attention.”

David switched his attention back to the injured woman. Her light brown hair spread around her on the ground. Lee was working fast, applying a compress to the woman’s leg until they could get her to the medtechs. The psychtech moaned, tilting her head to one side and exposing a series of intricate rust-colored tattoos running from her scalp down the length of her neck. David frowned. They looked like the tattoos popular a few years ago with underground groups wanting to align with their cultural backgrounds, usually tree-hugging low techs. What kind of military psychologist wears cultural tats?

He tapped his compad. “Branscombe, how’s it look over there?”
“No sign of comp or vics.”

A soft moan brought David’s attention back to the injured doctor. Her eyelids fluttered, revealing unusually bright green eyes. “Gohan yi…” she murmured before passing out again. Lieutenant Lee looked up at him, a question in her eyes, but David shrugged. Hard to say what the woman was trying to get out at this point. But she’d live, and they could question her later.

“Major,” Captain Sue Branscombe called over the compad and through the air simultaneously. Her team had worked its way to the other side of the wreck and now stood several yards away, near another set of giant pine trees. She waved to him, indicating he should come to their location, and he signaled that he would in a moment. Lieutenant Tom Yancy arrived with the autolift, walking beside it as it glided above the air on an ultrasonic wave. Its low vibrating hum played counterpoint to the staccato sound of the burning airjet. David caught one edge of the lift and steadied it as Yancy signaled it for descent, then helped him slide the doctor’s unconscious body onto the flat surface.

“Get her back to the medlab and stay with her. Have the heli-jet come back for us.” David kept his eyes on the woman’s face. She remained unconscious, her smooth skin pale and unlined. Without the bright green of her eyes and her unusual tattoos, she could be anyone, or no one, but this was the woman who would make or break his space career.

Lieutenant Yancy grunted an agreement and began to walk the autolift back to the heli-jet, carefully stepping over the uneven ground as he guided the unit. David watched them for a moment and then moved toward his second team. He glanced down at the ground and caught sight of the wet reflection of light on tiny droplets of blood spattered over fallen leaves. Dr. MacPherson must have come from this direction, as well. He tracked the drops as he walked, noting the amount of blood seemed to be greater as he reached his pilots.

“Major, check this out,” Branscombe called to him, her strident voice ringing with impatience.
“Is it the airjet comp?”
“Nope. We don’t know what the hell it is.”

On that cryptic note, David moved a little faster. The blood trail also expanded, as if Dr. MacPherson had paused for a few minutes here. David stepped to one side, careful not to disturb a small pool of blood. Branscombe and the other two pilots stood staring at the ground. The scent of pine hung heavy in the air. David stepped over another broken pine branch and glanced up at the tree canopy as a small shower of pine needles rained down on him. At least a dozen other branches were twisted and broken in the trees above.

The smell of burning plastics overrode the aroma of pine once again, and David flicked his gaze back to the Lilly Cain 11 ground near his team’s feet. A puddle of melted plastic lay in a long oval shape, some of it clearly being absorbed into the soft bed of needles and soil. He’d never seen anything like it.

“Is it part of the airjet?” David squatted down to get a little closer to the material.
“If it is, I can’t imagine what it was or why it would just…melt like this.”

David frowned. He knew the personnel on board the airjet, but what about cargo? Had the aircraft contained something dangerous? News on the upcoming mission was tight, and there’d been little explanation as to why a group of interplanetary settlers needed a full flight team for defense. Perhaps what lay on the ground was a hint of why the mission was so secretive. “Any of you got a sample kit on you?”

“I do.” Second Lieutenant Sven Olens, the biggest bruiser David had ever met, pulled a small kit from his backpack.
“Take a sample of whatever the hell this is, and of some of the soil around here too. Branscombe, you got record mode?”
“On for the duration, Major.”
She would have filmed their search and the discovery here. “Any sign of the airjet comp or the rest of the crew?”
“No, but a lot of the wreckage is too burned to ID much of anything.”
“The flames are nearly out. When they called us in, they didn’t expect a long burn or call for firefighters. No one expected to find much of anything. I think the comp is still on board, and further survivors highly unlikely. Do we all agree?”

“Agreed.” Branscombe spoke for the rest. At thirty- nine, she was the oldest pilot applying for the Starforce defense mission, but she was also the best, and his second in command.

“Good. File out and search again for the comp or bodies, but after that I think we’ll hand the rest of the search over to the clean-up crew. Nothing we can do here now.”

“I can’t believe that anyone lived through it.” Lieutenant George Huff shook his head. “It’s amazing, savvy?”
“Damn right.” David looked down at the puddle of Dr. MacPherson’s blood. She’d survived. And she saw what happened here. Perhaps the psychtech knows more about this mission than I do.


About Lilly Cain

Lilly Cain is a wild woman with a deep throaty laugh, plunging necklines and a great lover of all things sensual - perfume, chocolate, silk! She never has to worry about finding a date or keeping a man in line. She keeps her blond hair long and curly, wears beautiful clothes and loves loud music. Lilly lives her private life in the pages of her books.

Lilly lives in Atlantic Canada, although she spent eight years in Bermuda, enjoying the heat and the pink sands. She returned to her homeland so she could see the changing of the seasons once again. When not writing she paints, swills coffee and vodka (but not together), and fights her writing pals for chocolate.

When not living up to her pen name, Lilly is a single mom who loves reading and writing, dabbling in art and loving and caring for her two daughters. She loves romance and the freedom erotic fantasy provides her imagination. She loves the chilling moments in her novels as much as the steaming hot interludes. Her stories are an escape and a release, and she hopes that they can give you that power, too.

Website –

Publisher (books also available on Amazon etc, and available as an audiobook at


Giveaway Rules:
One commenter will win a (digital) copy of Alien Revealed
To be entered to win you will have to:
- Leave a comment on this post
- Leave a way for me to contact you
- Do so before May 29th
- A winner will be randomly selected and announced soon after the closing date of this giveaway
- This giveaway is international and you don't have to be a follower to enter

Tuesday 22 May 2012

Dark Mercy - Excerpt

Today I bring you an excerpt from Dark Mercy by Zoe Winters

Dark Mercy
by Zoe Winters

What is it about:
Angeline has been on the run from her sire, Linus, for centuries. She’s tired, and she’s lonely. High from mescaline-induced blood, she sees a sign—a church that seems to glow in the distance—and she knows. Her future mate is in that building.


Dark Mercy Excerpt, used with permission. Copyright 2012 Zoe Winters

“A-Angeline. I haven’t seen you here in awhile.” Could he not get that schoolboy stutter out of his voice?
“I was fighting temptation,” she replied coyly.
Hadrian cleared his throat. “And did you succeed?”

She glided closer—or floated. The length of her dress made it impossible to tell which. She stopped mere inches in front of him. He should have taken a step back, should have excused himself, but her strange eyes locked with his. They drew him in, hypnotizing him.

If he were another type of man, he would have proclaimed she was a witch putting him under a spell, but it was just as much his responsibility as hers for not moving away. It was his fault for not finding a replacement for midnight Mass. His mind became fuzzy.

What was I just thinking about?

Her eyes pulled him in, making the rest of the room swirl around him in a slow blur. If he’d looked down to find them both floating and spinning in the air, he wouldn’t have been surprised. He was dizzy from the delicious scent emanating from her.
Her voice was a siren’s song when she spoke again. “Forgive me, Father, for I’m about to sin.”

Angeline’s mouth tasted like hot cinnamon candy as her lips descended on his. Her lip gloss left his mouth tingling. She might burn him alive with a single kiss. She chuckled as she continued her exploration of his mouth, as if he’d stated his thought aloud and she found it amusing.

Somewhere deep inside him was the place that was screaming that this must not happen, but it sounded like it was shouting from far away down a long, dark hallway, disappearing into a tinny echo. Quickly overtaking that voice was one penetrating thought that refused to release him.

I want her. I want her. I want her. I want her. The thought happened in rhythm to the beat of his heart.
Her lips left his mouth and made a burning trail over his cheek and up to the lobe of his ear. “Father Hadrian.” It was a breathy pant that held all the promise of a new universe unfolding.

He couldn’t remember what she said after that or even if she said something after that. The pounding of his own blood rushing through his ears—and other blood racing south in response to her nearness—had drowned out his ability to think or hear anything else but the lilting magic of her voice calling his name.

“Father Hadrian… ”

Her tone had gone from that of an angel to a writhing serpent as she rubbed her sinewy body against him. This was wrong. The thinking part of him clawed to get out. Something was all wrong about this, beyond the breaking of a vow. But he couldn’t form a coherent thought.

I want her. I want her. I want her.
“And you shall have me. Forever,” she said.
Had he spoken out loud? He wasn’t sure.

“I don’t know what’s wrong with me right now,” he said, as her fingers slid under the Roman collar.
It startled him. His collar. Where were his vestments? There were more layers of clothing, or there had been a few moments ago. He glanced down to find the vestments somehow on the floor of the sanctuary. He started to pull away.
“No, Father. Eyes right here on mine. Stay with me.”

His gaze shifted back to her eyes and his will merged with her again. He didn’t realize his shirt was off until the air from the chilly room hit his bare chest.
“Oh, what a surprise. You must work out. Don’t be shy, Father Hadrian. It’s a crime you never get to be inside a woman with this body.”

click here for the entire tour schedule

Buy this ebook here

Monday 21 May 2012

Croak - Book Review

Croak (Croak #1)
by Gina Damico

What is it about:
Sixteen-year-old Lex Bartleby has sucker-punched her last classmate. Fed up with her punkish, wild behavior, her parents ship her off to upstate New York to live with her Uncle Mort for the summer, hoping that a few months of dirty farm work will whip her back into shape. But Uncle Mort’s true occupation is much dirtier than that of shoveling manure.

He’s a Grim Reaper. And he’s going to teach her the family business.

Lex quickly assimilates into the peculiar world of Croak, a town populated entirely by reapers who deliver souls from this life to the next. Along with her infuriating yet intriguing partner Driggs and a rockstar crew of fellow Grim apprentices, Lex is soon zapping her Targets like a natural born Killer.

Yet her innate ability morphs into an unchecked desire for justice—or is it vengeance?—whenever she’s forced to Kill a murder victim, craving to stop the attackers before they can strike again. So when people start to die—that is, people who aren’t supposed to be dying, people who have committed grievous crimes against the innocent—Lex’s curiosity is piqued. Her obsession grows as the bodies pile up, and a troubling question begins to swirl through her mind: if she succeeds in tracking down the murderer, will she stop the carnage—or will she ditch Croak and join in?

What did I think of it:
I will confess I totally fell for the cover of this book. I'm shallow like that sometimes. (In my defence: it's shiny and reflective!)

Still I wasn't sure enough about the story to buy it, but once again a giveaway came to my rescue ;-)

And let me tell you: this is a really cool story.

Lex is a great character. She skirts the borders between kick-ass heroine and annoying pain-in-the-ass teenager at the start of the story, but along the way she drifts away from that border far enough for me to think of her only as a kick-ass heroine. I like how she questions herself and the things around her. Her thoughts and fears were recognizable, although she was a bit extreme at times in my opinion.

I do wish there had been a bit more background on Lex and the relationship she has with her family, especially her twin Cordy. It was implied they had a really close bond, but I would have liked to read about it to have it become more real.

I loved the concept of the Grim Reapers and the town of Croak where they live. It was weird, but also believable enough that I could picture it without any problems. I especially liked all the small details that littered the story: the ghosts of famous persons hanging out with the Grims, the way the townsfolk handle outsiders, the shop names. All really helped set the mood for the story and made Croak come alive.

The story was fun and intriguing, even though the bad guy could be smelled from miles away (could be just me though). The ending however annoyed me a bit as it looked like I was getting a rounded story, but at the last moment things happened to throw a plotline that seemed to be coming to a close wide open again, leaving me with an ending that screams: To Be Continued.

Ending and backstory aside this is a very cool story and I'm already looking forward to the next book, because I want to read lots more about Croak and its inhabitants.

Why should you read it:
It's a fun story about taking lives.

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Saturday 19 May 2012

The Car Thief - Book Alert

We all have our favorite genre when reading and you all may know mine is Urban Fantasy, with a healthy dose of zombies on the side ;-)

In all honesty I love books in all kinds of genres, but with so many books out there and not enough time to read them all you just have to get selective and yes: that usually means that I stick to Urban Fantasy, SciFi, Post-apocalyptic tales and stuff like that.

But once in a while I come across a book that's outside of my normal reading pattern, but that sounds too interesting to let it slip.

The Car Thief is one of these books and that's why I want to mention it here. I also put it in my ever growing to-be-read pile and hope to get to it soon.

The Car Thief
by Theodore Weesner

It’s 1959. Sixteen year-old Alex Housman has just stolen his fourteenth car and frankly doesn’t know why. His divorced, working class father grinds out the night shift at the local Chevy Plant in Detroit, looking forward to the flask in his glove compartment, and the open bottles of booze in his Flint, Michigan home. Abandoned and alone, father and son struggle to express a deep love for each other, even as Alex fills his day juggling cheap thrills and a crushing depression. And then there’s Irene Shaeffer, the pretty girl in school whose admiration Alex needs like a drug in order to get by.

Broke and fighting to survive, Alex and his father face the realities of estrangement, incarceration, and even violence as their lives unfold toward the climactic episode that a New York Times reviewer called “one of the most profoundly powerful in American fiction.”

About Theodore Weesner

Theodore Weesner, born in Flint, Michigan, is aptly described as a “Writers’ Writer” by the larger literary community. His short works have been published in the New Yorker, Esquire, Saturday Evening Post, Atlantic Monthly and Best American Short Stories. His novels, including The True Detective, Winning the City and Harbor Light, have been published to great critical acclaim in the New York Times, The Washington Post, Harper’s, The Boston Globe, USA Today, The Chicago Tribune, Boston Magazine and The Los Angeles Times to name a few.

Weesner is currently writing his memoir, two new novels, and an adaptation of his widely praised novel—retitled Winning the City Redux—also to be published by Astor + Blue Editions. He lives and works in Portsmouth, NH.

Click here for more info and for buy links in all kinds of different ebook formats

Friday 18 May 2012

Vaempires: Revolution - A Guestpost on Research by Thomas Winship

Today we have a guest at Pearls Cast Before a McPig.
He writes about vampires and seems to like hippos as much a we do:

Thomas Winship

Thomas is the author of Væmpires: Revolution
(If you want to learn more about this book, check out the info at the end of this post)

Thomas will tell you about the research he did for his books. And let me tell you: his research is quite.... unusual.

Thomas: Welcome to Pearls Cast Before a McPig.
The floor is all yours!


Hello everyone. I’m so excited to be today’s guest blogger at Pearls Cast Before A McPig! I’m Thomas Winship, author of Væmpires: Revolution and Væmpires: White Christmas. Both books are part of a new, ongoing vampire series that explores the question: what if vampires evolved?

Some of the most common questions I’m asked revolve around the “kind” of vampires I write about and the amount of research I conducted before writing about them … so, I thought I’d devote this blog to those topics.

I’ll begin with the research part, since it will be the shortest explanation.

Any good writer will tell you that the key to writing a great novel lies in research. A writer must literally (and liberally) immerse him-or-herself in the subject—living, eating, breathing, it for an extended period of time.
Unless, of course, the subject is underwater aquatics or the mating habits of hippopotami (but I still want one for Christmas).

Remember, a good researcher is blessed with common sense. A bad researcher is kissed by death.
I dove into my research for Væmpires: Revolution with gusto. I also added a bit of relish, but that’s a personal preference I might recommend, but would never insist someone try. For the next six months, I lived as a probationary vampire in a commune in upstate New York.

Believe me, it’s not as glamorous, nor as rustic, as one might suspect. Yes, the constant gardening took some getting used to and sharing a cabin with a dozen paranormal romance cover models was a bit daunting (those guys really are suffering, I tell ya! It’s teen angst multiplied a hundredfold. I hope they find their soul mates soon.), but it wasn’t bad at all.

To sum it up: it was the best of times; it was the worst of times (thanks, Chuck!). I never realized there was actually an art to seducing unsuspecting young ladies, but you can bet I really put my heart and soul into it.

On the other hand, I never quite mastered the whole “let’s go back to my … cough … coffin,” line that the true masters pulled off with aplomb.

I’m still convinced they left something out of that lesson.

Nevertheless, the time eventually came when I had to head back to the real world. Don’t get me wrong, the urge to stay was incredible (and it had nothing to do with the smoldering looks of my cabin mates), and while I could live with the vegan diet, and I developed an affinity for the whole, “Relax, you’ve got all the time in the world … all the time in the world …” approach to things, and I absolutely loved having rock hard abs (finally … crunches be damned!), when push came to shove, I balked at the thought of being a perpetual high school student.

The first four years were enough.

So, I headed home with a heavy heart and a rucksack full of regrets … plus a trio of consolation prizes: a vial of “human blood” that was really organic cranberry juice with non-FDA approved food color added to it (go figure), a vampire tooth necklace that looks suspiciously like the shark tooth necklace I picked up at the Jersey shore one summer when I was fourteen, and a neat little iPhone app that keeps counting down the time until the projected end of my (once again) human lifespan.
Say what you want; those vamps may sneak into your teenage daughter’s room in the middle of the night to “watch her sleep” or steal your grandmother’s Social Security check from the mailbox (how else are they supposed to make a living?), but they sure have a killer sense of humor.
And software design skills. Who knew?

Armed with an encyclopedia’s worth of information, I sat down to write Væmpires: Revolution.

Okay … I admit it.
I lied.

There was no commune and no cabin of inhumanly good-looking men. I certainly never seduced any unsuspecting young ladies.
Or gentlemen, for that matter. I’ve never seduced anyone in my life.
I’ve never been seduced, either. Perhaps that’s why I write …

But, anyway, please forgive my little white lie. I can’t help it. I write fiction, for chrissake. My entire life is one never ending circle of lies, deceit, secrets, drama, plot twists, cliffhangers, and the occasional deus ex machina. And that isn’t even the writing.
So, I’ll try to focus on the facts. The fact is that I didn’t do any research on vampires. Why the heck would I? No one’s going to read my book anyway! [Interject self-effacing laughter here that actually sounds phony and perhaps a bit uncertain.]

I did conduct research on the layout on New York City. You see, Væmpires: Revolution takes place far in the future—our future. Sometime in the late twenty-ninth or early thirtieth centuries, humans trigger WWIII. The resultant nuclear winter lasts for hundreds of years and wipes out the vast majority of the population. Water levels rise. The face of the world changes.
When the world recovers from the Great Devastation (as it’s called), the Atlantic Ocean is gone, creating one immense continent surrounded by water. Antarctica and Australia are uninhabited. The few island groups that exist are in constant danger of being swallowed by the remaining oceans, so efforts to inhabit them are quickly abandoned. The peoples of earth spread throughout the continent and grow roots.

The supercontinent is broken into seven provinces: four ruled by vampires and the other three by humans. The landmass that used to be covered by the Atlantic Ocean becomes the two vampire provinces of North and South Atlantica. The vampire (and world) capital of Orion is built in North Atlantica.
Orion is a faithful replica of ancient New York City, so I needed to be fairly accurate with my descriptions and settings. Of course, I employ poetic license, but not too much. I also live an hour north of NYC, so I’m in the city numerous times a month, which helps.

I conducted research on England’s Windsor Castle, as well.
Since Orion is the capital, it stands to reason that vampire leaders will reside there. Humans are still led by elected officials, but monarchs lead vampires ... and monarchs need palaces and royal estates.

From the novel:
Constructed in memory of New York’s famous Central Park, the royal estate constituted a thousand acres in the center of Orion. The entire perimeter, two miles long by three-quarters of a mile wide, was lined by a dense forest of native trees.
Sitting in the middle of it all was the royal palace. After the signing of the Silvestri Accords, the first vampire king had commissioned the building of a royal estate. When the time came to build a home for the royal family, the queen had suggested—some said demanded—that they make a goodwill gesture to humans. So, instead of building something new, they elected to unearth Windsor Castle from ancient icebound England, where it had been reduced to little more than a shell by the Great Devastation. The process of returning it to its former glory in a new location had taken more than a decade, easily twice as long as new construction would’ve taken, but the new leaders of the world could afford to be patient.

You’ll have to read Væmpires: Revolution to see how my research panned out. For now, I’d like to turn my attention to my vampires.

You see, my world has two races of vampires—vampires and væmpires.

In writing Væmpires: Revolution, I didn’t decide to follow any particular vampire mythology or mode of thought. Certainly, my vampires have some similarities to “traditional” vampires in that they are undead creatures with enhanced abilities and senses, they require human blood for sustenance, and sunlight kills them.
However, they differ from traditional vampires in that they were created from the radioactive fallout from WWIII, new vampires are born (not made), and they age naturally (although they are immortal). Additionally, the creation of synthetic human blood frees them from the need to feed on humans and provides protection from the sun.

Decapitation, stopping the heart, bleeding them dry, or even causing injuries that overwhelm their healing abilities can kill them, of course. But it isn’t easy.

They aren’t susceptible to garlic, crosses, holy water, etc. They can certainly see their reflections in the mirror—how else can they ever be humanized, if they can’t wrestle with self-doubt and self-loathing?

On the other side of the conflict, væmpires are mutated vampires. No one knows why the mutations occur or how to stop them. Each væmpire—warm-blooded with a hunger for cold vampire blood—is a bigger, stronger, faster version of its former self, with a second thumb on each hand and an altered physical appearance, to boot.
Væmpires can be killed. That much we know. Vampires are still trying to determine the full extent of their vulnerabilities. They’d better figure it out soon, because væmpires are winning the war right now.

So, there you have it: the unvarnished, unmitigated, unadulterated—and perhaps, unwanted—truth about my research and my vampires.

Please forgive my honesty, but I never realized telling the truth could be so … sterile.

I don’t recommend it. No, sir/ma’am, not at all.

I’d like to thank all of you for stopping in and offer a very special “thank you” to Sullivan for hosting my Dark Mind Book Tour and for inviting me to Pearls Cast Before A McPig (please give my best to Voodoo Bride). I hope you enjoyed my guest blog. I’d love to hear what you think of it and/or answer any questions you may have. Post comments or questions below and I’ll be sure to respond.
Feel free to stop by my website and reach out. I’d love to hear from you if you check out Vaempires.

Below are links where you can find me.
Take care,
Thomas Winship

Barnes & Noble

click here for the tour schedule

Væmpires: Revolution
It is the morning of Princess Cassandra’s sixteenth birthday. Everyone’s attention is focused on the heir to the vampire throne. World leaders, the rich and famous, and VIPs from every corner of the globe have gathered in the nation’s capital to celebrate the momentous event.

Cassandra’s boyfriend, Daniel, is late for the party. He’s still outside the city when all hell breaks loose. What he believes is an act of terrorism proves to be a full-fledged revolution. Væmpires—former vampires who mutated into warm-blooded creatures with an insatiable hunger for cold blood—have launched coordinated attacks across the globe, with three goals: the eradication of humanity, the enslavement of vampires, and the ascension of væmpires as the dominant species on the planet.

The vampire and human leaders are killed. Cassandra is missing. Daniel is the acting king. Desperate to find the princess, Daniel and his friends fight their way across the besieged city. With the hopes of the free world resting on the shoulders of four vampire teenagers, væmpires unleash their secret weapons: a new breed of væmpire that is far deadlier than any ever seen before.

What can four teens do against an enemy that can shape-shift, fly, and walk through walls?

Thursday 17 May 2012

Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky #1)
by Veronica Rossi

What is it about:
Since she'd been on the outside, she'd survived an Aether storm, she'd had a knife held to her throat, and she'd seen men murdered. This was worse.

Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland - known as The Death Shop - are slim. If the cannibals don't get her, the violent, electrified energy storms will. She's been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He's wild - a savage - and her only hope of staying alive.

A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile - everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria's help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must accept each other to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.

What did I think of it:
Yes: yet another Dystopian Young Adult story.
And I checked this one for possible present tense before buying it and luckily it's not written in present tense.

I really liked this book.

The Dystopian setting is really interesting. Not just the outer wasteland where Aria ends up: the city she grew up in is really intriguing as well. I was even a little bit disappointed that Aria left the city so early on in the book, because I wanted to learn more about the society within the city.

But my disappointment didn't last long: the outer wasteland was really fascinating and full of danger and soon I was totally engrossed in the story.

I really liked Perry, he is a strong character, but with some flaws that make him more human. Aria was a bit more difficult to like at first, but she grew on me. It did help that she grew up a bit along the way as well.

The one negative thing I can say about this book, is that it doesn't have a proper ending in my opinion. It sets itself up for the next book, setting up a new major plotline near the end and leaving it wide open. It could be just me, but it feels like cheating the reader into buying the next book.

That annoyance aside I did really enjoy this book and will probably be buying the next book as well, but I would also have done so without the big arrow at the end of this book pointing to the next book.

Why should you read it:
It's an intriguing Dystopian story

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Wednesday 16 May 2012

Wishlist Wednesday - Revived

This book sounds really intriguing, but it's only in hardcover at the moment, so I'm waiting for the release of the paperback.

by Cat Patrick

As a little girl, Daisy Appleby was killed in a school bus crash. Moments after the accident, she was brought back to life.

A secret government agency has developed a drug called Revive that can bring people back from the dead, and Daisy Appleby, a test subject, has been Revived five times in fifteen years. Daisy takes extraordinary risks, knowing that she can beat death, but each new death also means a new name, a new city, and a new life. When she meets Matt McKean, Daisy begins to question the moral implications of Revive, and as she discovers the agency’s true goals, she realizes she’s at the center of something much larger—and more sinister—than she ever imagined.

Tuesday 15 May 2012

Teaser Tuesdays - Croak

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: - Grab your current read - Open to a random page - Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) - Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

A brilliant flash of white light briefly illuminated the room - the same sort of blaze Lex had seen on the bus ride - along with the strangest noise: a loud pop mixed with a shrill, piercing screech. A sort of mist began to emerge from the woman - a bluish-tinged light gently flowing out of her body, floating through the air like an unearthly aurora.
(page 56, Croak by Gina Damico)

Monday 14 May 2012

Legend - Book Review

Legend (Legend #1)
by Marie Lu

What is it about:
What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

What did I think of it:
I got a weakness for post-apocalyptic and dystopian settings, so that's why I decided to give this book a try.

Only a few pages in I was reminded why I should always check Young Adult reads before buying them: it was in present tense!

The setting and set up of the story were interesting enough to continue reading though, so I plowed myself a way through the present tense writing. (Why is it that so few authors manage to write present tense in a natural, flowing way?)

And it turned out to be an ok story.
I will confess I never really made a connection with either Day or June: They both were difficult to like. I kept getting annoyed at both of them and at times I wished some of the side characters had actually been the lead characters of this book. The plot and the world building were both cool and interesting enough to keep me reading until I reached the end of the book though.

All in all a nice read (if you can stand present tense), but I probably won't be reading the next book in this series.

Why should you read it:
It has an interesting Dystopian setting

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Friday 11 May 2012

Discount Armageddon - Book Review

Discount Armageddon (InCryptid #1)
by Seanan McGuire

What is it about:
Ghoulies. Ghosties. Long-legged beasties. Things that go bump in the night... The Price family has spent generations studying the monsters of the world, working to protect them from humanity-and humanity from them. Enter Verity Price. Despite being trained from birth as a cryptozoologist, she'd rather dance a tango than tangle with a demon, and is spending a year in Manhattan while she pursues her career in professional ballroom dance. Sounds pretty simple, right? It would be, if it weren't for the talking mice, the telepathic mathematicians, the asbestos supermodels, and the trained monster-hunter sent by the Price family's old enemies, the Covenant of St. George. When a Price girl meets a Covenant boy, high stakes, high heels, and a lot of collateral damage are almost guaranteed. To complicate matters further, local cryptids are disappearing, strange lizard-men are appearing in the sewers, and someone's spreading rumors about a dragon sleeping underneath the city...

What did I think of it:
This book sounded like a nice read, but I will confess I was a bit afraid to pick it up. I had tried to read Feed, another book by McGuire (written under the name Mira Grant), and couldn't really get into that one, so I was afraid Discount Armageddon might be a miss as well. But then I was lucky enough to win this book in a giveaway, sparing me from making the difficult decision whether I should or shouldn't buy it.

And this is such a fun book!
It's full of action, humor and weird creatures.

It has a very different voice than Feed, much lighter and with a faster pacing. I really liked Verity, even though she's a bit too cocky at times and acts before thinking. And I fell totally in love with the Aeslin Mice Verity has living in her apartment. The mice might not have had any important role in the story, they were great in setting the mood for the story and in helping with the world building.

Storywise there were a few shortcuts and easy solutions (my bad guy detector was right on the money), but overall I really enjoyed this story and could easily ignore the minor flaws. The humorous style and the fast pacing made it an easy and fast read which was difficult to put down once I was invested in the story and characters.

I will most certainly keep an eye out for the next book in this series and I might give McGuire's October Daye series a try as well.

Why should you read it:
It's a fun Urban Fantasy Romance

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Thursday 10 May 2012

World War Z - DNF Review

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War
by Max Brooks

What is it about:
The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet. He recorded the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living, or at least the undead, hell of that dreadful time. World War Z is the result. Never before have we had access to a document that so powerfully conveys the depth of fear and horror, and also the ineradicable spirit of resistance, that gripped human society through the plague years.

Ranging from the now infamous village of New Dachang in the United Federation of China, where the epidemiological trail began with the twelve-year-old Patient Zero, to the unnamed northern forests where untold numbers sought a terrible and temporary refuge in the cold, to the United States of Southern Africa, where the Redeker Plan provided hope for humanity at an unspeakable price, to the west-of-the-Rockies redoubt where the North American tide finally started to turn, this invaluable chronicle reflects the full scope and duration of the Zombie War.

What did I think of it:
I didn't finish this book, but put it away about half way through.

It's not because of the story:
The story is really cool and believable. Brooks did a great job in describing how people would react when the zombie apocalypse would be upon us. It's realistic, gritty, grim and the zombies are the proper kind of zombies in my opinion.

It was the writing that really started to bug me.

Each chapter of this book is narrated by someone else. It's set up as if one person went to talk with survivors of World War Z and wrote down their oral accounts. And that's were it went wrong for me: All narrators sounded the same. Whether it was a military commander, a civilian or a doctor: they all had the same narrative voice. This resulted in all those different stories blending together. At one point I couldn't remember if I had already reached a new narrator or not.

So that's why I decided to put this book aside.

I might try picking it up again one day to finish it, because, as I said, the story is really cool and I am curious how it will end. But for now I do not have the patience for it.

Why should you read it:
It's a very realistic take on the zombie apocalypse.

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Wednesday 9 May 2012

Wishlist Wednesday - New Girl

I will confess:
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier is one of my favorite reads.
So when I heard that New Girl is a retelling of Rebecca I got curious enough to put New Girl on my wishlist. Still not sure if I will find the courage to give it a try.

New Girl
by Paige Harbison

A contemporary young-adult retelling inspired by the classic 1938 romantic suspense bestseller Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.

They call me 'New Girl'...

Ever since I arrived at exclusive, prestigious Manderly Academy, that’s who I am. New girl. Unknown. But not unnoticed—because of her.

Becca Normandy—that’s the name on everyone’s lips. The girl whose picture I see everywhere. The girl I can’t compare to. I mean, her going missing is the only reason a spot opened up for me at the academy. And everyone stares at me like it’s my fault.

Except for Max Holloway—the boy whose name shouldn’t be spoken. At least, not by me. Everyone thinks of him as Becca’s boyfriend…but she’s gone, and here I am, replacing her. I wish it were that easy. Sometimes, when I think of Max, I can imagine how Becca’s life was so much better than mine could ever be.

And maybe she’s still out there, waiting to take it back.