Hi there! I’m Kay: an opinionated book blogger enamoured with the world of novels. Reader of Speculative Fiction (the posh word for Sci-Fi/Fantasy) and Young Adult (don’t judge, it’s brilliant). Believer in the many uses of the towel, the science of deduction and other fandom in-jokes.

 

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Recent Reviews

Magic Burns by Ilona AndrewsAurelia by Anne OsterlundUprooted by Naomi NovikShadow Study by Maria V. SnyderThis Shattered World by Amie Kaufman, Meagan SpoonerUnited We Spy by Ally CarterAll Fall Down by Ally CarterEve and Adam by Katherine Applegate, Michael GrantHex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Review: Betrayed by P.C. and Kristin Cast

Review: Betrayed by P.C. and Kristin CastBetrayed by Kristin Cast, P.C. Cast
Series: House of Night #2
Published by ATOM, St. Martin's Griffin
Pages: 400
Genres: Paranormal YA, Young Adult
Source: Purchased myself
Add to Goodreads
Rating:
Also in this series: Marked, Chosen, Tempted

Things seem to be going pretty well for Zoey Redbird. She's settled in at the house of night finishing school and is coming to terms with her incredible new powers. It all seems too good to be true. And guess what?
Someone has been murdering human teenagers and all evidence points to the vampyres at Zoey's school. Which means her first assignment as the leader of the dark daughters is finding out which one of her classmates or teachers is a killer.

Sigh. And she thought her boyfriends (yes, plural) were going to be her biggest problem this year....

Rec for people who love: Vampire Chick-lit, and people who miss their high school days.

Thoughts: Yet again, as with The Dead Girls’ Dance by Rachel Caine, the second book in the series has convinced me to enjoy it! Betrayed made me laugh, made me – surprisingly, even though I sob pretty easily – cry, and, all-in-all got me out to the store to buy the rest of the series.

Admittedly, the writing is almost painfully, er, un-good. Most of the characters are rather simplistic stereotypes, and the Casts remind us of the events of the last book – and at times the last chapter – to distraction. But the writing flows, so reading through the bits you don’t enjoy does not take too long.

In my review for Marked, I complained about the books painful realism. And while the characters are still very much the same as they were in the last book, for some reason I found the same realism refreshing. Having Zoey sit in a Starbucks and talking about Brokeback Mountain, well… it was actually kind of enjoyable.

As for the romance mentioned in the summary, it is very well done. Having Zoey juggling three guys at once I found amazingly acceptable. Instead of sitting through the scenes wondering what these three guys see in her, I instead can understand what she sees in all three. Hell, I might not have done any different in her shoes.

Villain wise, the Casts have really taken it to the next level. Zoey learns to empathise with those she hated, and comes to realise the people she considered allies may not always have her best interest at heart. Hell, the book is called Betrayed, which kinda gives you an idea how it goes!

All in all, a huge improvement over the first in the series, but if you hated Marked you probably still aren’t going to enjoy Betrayed!

Extract Alert! The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong

The Reckoning by Kelley ArmstrongKelley Armstrong has posted a sample of the final book in the Darkest Powers trilogy, The Reckoning, on her website! It includes the first three chapters of the last novel – a grand total of 17 pages!

I am nervous about reading it, as I am crazy!excited about reading the entire book. I’m afraid that only having 3 chapters, the suspense may kill me!

If you haven’t read the Darkest Powers Series – I highly recommend them! They are almost too good to review – I could hardly to the series justice. Great read for both the young adult and the young-at-heart!

Review: Marked by P.C. and Kristin Cast

Review: Marked by P.C. and Kristin CastMarked by Kristin Cast, P.C. Cast
Series: House of Night #1
Published by ATOM, St. Martin's Griffin
Pages: 368
Genres: Paranormal YA, Young Adult
Source: Purchased myself
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Rating:
Also in this series: Betrayed, Chosen, Tempted

When sixteen-year-old Zoey Redbird gets Marked as a fledgling vampire she must join the House of Night school where she will train to become an adult vampire. That is, if she makes it through the Change. But Zoe is no ordinary fledgling. She has been chosen as special by the Goddess Nyx and discovers her amazing new power to conjure the elements: earth, air, fire, water and spirit. When Zoey discovers that the leader of the Dark Daughters, the school's most elite group, is misusing her Goddess-given gifts, Zoey must look within herself to embrace her destiny - with a little help from her new vampire friends.

Rec for: People over 17, and vampire chick-lit.

Thoughts: I was in a wee bit of shock for the first couple of chapters of this book. The teenagers are just such teenagers it was almost painful. Drunk, back-stabbing, swearing, fornicating teenagers.

I wanted to put it down – mostly out of shock – but what kept me going was the universe. In the acknowledgements at the start of the book, P.C. Cast thanks her editor for the words “Vampire Finishing School” – and I have to thank her too. They have created a very unique universe in an already saturated genre; kind of Harry Potter meets Anne Rice. Admittedly, I had to suffer through a variety of excruciatingly boring religious rituals before I could bring myself to appreciate the verse. Not only are the rituals long and tedious, but they also form a pretty central part of the story. Which means skipping ahead is a no-no if you want to understand what on earth is going on.

So, having said that, what did I enjoy? Well, the main character, Zoey, is a pretty likable gal who honestly wants to do what is right. Had we gone to school together, I would have really liked her – even though on paper she is a rather typical heroine. Her gang of merry men are also pretty adorable – and YAY for a gay teenager (her buddy Damien) being featured in a popular YA novel. Also, the token nemesis, Aphrodite, is extraordinarily villainous (although no where near as bad as Monica from the Morganville Series).

All in all, it was an OK book. There’s some potential in the series, so Betrayed is already in my basket!

The Sunday Salon: Night Time Reading and the week roundup


Hello fellow Saloners! Hope you are enjoying a nice day where ever you are, a cuppa in one hand, a book in the other!

I have spent the week sleep deprived. On average, I am getting about 4 hours a night, which is nowhere near enough. And the reason for this lack? I just love reading at night.

I can go through the day absolutely exhausted, semi-conscious and dieing to sleep. Then, evening comes, I get into bed absolutely exhausted and… spend 6 hours reading. Stupid, stupid me. It is not as if I have no time during the day to read, because I am on holiday after all, and no matter how much work I have to do, it pales in comparison to term time. So why do I do it?

Well, there is just something magical about reading at night. The darkness allows the door to be shut on reality, the time allows reading to be pursued without fear of interruption, the silence creates room only for the words on the pages… all in all, it is an experience worth the price of sleep deprivation.

This is especially the case with Horror and Fantasy. There is a darkness in those books that really fits well when reading them in actual darkness. I am almost finished with The Taste of Night by Vicki Pettersson, which is NOT a beach read in so many ways.

Read this week

Betrayed (House of Night Series #2) by P.C. and Kristin Cast
Really enjoyable book. I laughed, I cried – the whole shebang. Can not wait to review, except that that means I have to review Marked first. *sighs* A book that I had less than a positive reaction to.

Shopaholic Abroad (Shopaholic Series #2) by Sophie Kinsella
It took me a while to get into this book the way I did with Remember Me? and The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic – but when I did I loved it!

On the Nightstand

The Taste of Night (Sign of Zodiac #2) by Vicki Pettersson
Should finish this tonight. Not quite as great as her first book (The Scent of Shadows), but still excellent. An amazing universe that I always look forward to stepping into.

A Kiss of Shadows (Merry Gentry #1) by Laurell K. Hamilton
This took me about 100-odd pages to really get into, but now I am really enjoying it. Considering I am only 3 books into LKH’s Anita series, reading such explicit sex by the same author was rather odd at first. I should have it finished this week as well.

Review: The Dead Girls’ Dance by Rachel Caine

Review: The Dead Girls’ Dance by Rachel CaineThe Dead Girls' Dance by Rachel Caine
Series: Morganville Vampires #2
Published by Allison & Busby, NAL Jam
Pages: 320
Genres: Paranormal YA, Young Adult
Source: Purchased myself
Add to Goodreads
Rating:
Also in this series: Glass Houses, Midnight Alley, Kiss of Death, Ghost Town, Bite Club

Claire has her share of challenges. Like being a genius in a school that favours beauty over brains; homicidal girls in her dorm, and finding out that her college town is overrun with the living dead. On the up side, she has a new boyfriend with a vampire-hunting dad. But when a local fraternity throws the Dead Girls' Dance, hell is really going to break loose.

Rec for people who love: Smart young heroines, maturity in YA, and Buffy!

First Line: It didn’t happen, Claire told herself.

Thoughts: Let me just start off by saying: WOW.

Considering how ambivalent I was about the first book in the Morganville Series, this one definitely changed my mind! After the cliffhanger at the end of the first book, the characters continue their epic search for a little bit of peace – but to no avail. Just as one problem is solved, another pops up unexpectedly. Claire was extremely sleep deprived during the entire book, and to say that Caine put her through a lot is an understatement. Also, the series got a bit gruesome in this book. Details of which I don’t want to spoil, but lets just say that the Dead Girls’ Dance that Claire attends could have been a lot more than traumatic.

This book ultimately was about sacrifice – those who are willing to give their lives for their friends, versus those who barely spare a thought for their own family. Claire, Micheal, Eve and Shane demonstrate how much they care by how much they are willing to give away. They did it willingly, but it was never an easy choice to make. Unlike, say, Bella in the Twilight Series – who considered her life so worthless that sacrificing it for Edward only made me roll my eyes – Caine’s characters value their lives, their own hopes and dreams. Like, you know, sane people.

It was their sacrifices that ultimately made me love this book. I my mind, Shane went from being a random angry guy to become the love-of-my-life, tortured soul; while Claire went from being a spineless bookworm to a brave, kick-ass-yet-sensitive heroine. In just 300 pages. Sheesh.

Note on the Cover: As I mentioned in my post about the first book, this UK cover makes me cringe. Apparently publishers cottoned on to this, as new UK editions have just been released with hot new covers. So basically, you can either go to your local bookstore, which will probably still have the old editions, to get the cover in this post. Or you can go to a store with rapid turnover/order it from Waterstones (where they are currently 1/2 price) to get the new cover. Or, as I did, buy the US edition from BookDepository.co.uk.

Other Reviews:

  • LoveVampires only gave it 2 stars (SPOILERS) (despite a 5 star rating for the first). Even though I loved the book, the review brings up an important issue regarding a particular scene in the book that is… not so pleasant. Let’s just say I understood Claire’s reaction in this case but usually I would also have been put off.
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