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Claire Mill "Cem" (England)

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You Against Me
You Against Me
by Jenny Downham
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 10.01

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 stars, 17 Dec 2010
This review is from: You Against Me (Hardcover)
Mikey and his family are fairly poor, his mum is an alcoholic and he struggles to keep his youngest sister in school and food on the table. He has dreams of being a chef, while working in a pub, mostly as a cleaner, because he needs the money. But when his sister Karen is raped, things really start to fall apart. Intent on revenge he ends up heading around to the house of the boy responsible, but instead of finding him, Mikey finds the boy's sister, Ellie.

Ellie and her family are pretty well off. They're intent on proving Tom's innocence and believe money and saying that the girl is simply looking for attention will show that everything is fine, that he didn't do anything. Ellie was in the house the night Karen says she was attacked, but her older brother Tom insists nothing happened, so why shouldn't she believe him? Ellie wants to believe in him, wants things to go back to normal, but they're a long way from that. And when Mikey shows up at her doorstep, they get even more confused.

I really enjoyed this book! It's written in third person, alternating between Mikey and Ellie's stories, so we get the chance to see what's going on for both of them, how they're coping and what it's like from their points of view. It's not a very easy read. It's very painful in places and heartfelt, no avoiding the harsh truths of rape and its effects here.

Mikey and Ellie are both very believable characters and I ached for both of them as they fought to figure out the truth and their growing feelings for each other. I loved the connection between them, how it steadily built, how they both needed an escape of some kind without really realising it. But while there is a love story here, it's not the focus, not really. The main focus remains on the rape and what it means for both their families. Neither one can forget about it for more than a moment or two.

I really enjoyed the development of both main characters throughout the book as the story unfolded. I actually really like that this story wasn't told by the victim, but by the family. And on both sides of it, because rape isn't something that only affects the victim. I also really liked the other elements at play, like the difference in class between Mikey and Ellie and how that figured in to it all. Neither had an easy family life before the assault, and it's harder still for them after, let alone before they got involved with each other.

Overall, a very well written book. A heartfelt story with believable characters and actions. I was almost in tears a couple of times through the story. The late stages of it in particular really moved me. I love that it's unflinching in it's look at the realities of rape. I'd highly recommend this!


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So awesome!!, 17 Dec 2010
This review is from: Reaper (Kindle Edition)
Reaper is a ebook novella set in Rachel's YA Soul Screamers series. Tod is a secondary character in the main series and one of my favourite secondary characters full stop. I'm so glad he's got this novella from his POV which gives us a chance to get to know him a little better! Reaper is the story of how Tod became a reaper.

Reaper is set before the start of the series, timeline wise matching up with My Soul To Lose, the ebook prequel novella. But this might very well be better off read after the first couple books and knowing who Tod is and his role in the main series. Either way, it is a fantastic short story and one that all Soul Screamers fans should read!

I love this short story, I just wish it had been a whole lot longer! It's fantastically written, just like all of Rachels' SS books, and it throws a few pretty big shocks along the way. For a short story it's quite an emotional roller coaster (I think some of that comes from having read the first few books and already having a connection with the characters, but not all of it). I thoroughly enjoyed getting the chance to get to know Tod a little better and this story gave us a good insight in to him and how he really thinks. Plus, like I said at the start, I love Tod so more of him is always a good thing!! I would love to see more from his POV at a later date because he's such an interesting character. I love his strength and his snarky attitude. And his loyalty to those he loves.

If you're a Soul Screamers fan, you must check this novella out. If you've not yet tried Rachel's YA series, you need to!

Lover Revealed: Number 4 in series (Black Dagger Brotherhood)
Lover Revealed: Number 4 in series (Black Dagger Brotherhood)
by J. R. Ward
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good enough, but a few issues, 13 Dec 2010
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Lover Revealed is the forth book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series and picks up a little while after Lover Awakened. This is Butch's story. He's an ex-cop, human, living with the Brotherhood under their protection and with their friendship. He fell in love with vampire Marissa when he first met her but things have not been simple between them. Marissa fell for Butch at the same time, but she's spent 300 years being unwanted, and she doesn't believe Butch can really love her. When Butch is taken and almost killed by the lessers, Marissa steps up to help get him back to health. As their relationship changes and grows, Butch is also coming to terms with being a human in the vampire world, and what the lessers have done to him.

I really enjoyed the first three books in this series, but it's taken me a while to carry on and pick this one up. Not because I wasn't interested, but because I prefer UF and YA to paranormal romance. I will confess from the start that I skipped over all the sections that were from the POV of the lessers and just read what was from the Brothers and Marissa's POV. I don't think I really missed out on any of the story by doing so, and honestly the lessers bore me!

The majority of the story is very good. It's got a good pace to it, not hanging around but not rushed either. I love the development of some of the side characters through the book, John Matthew and Zsadist in particular. I didn't like Marissa before the start of this book, I've always found her annoying and whiny, although I can understand her discomfort. But by the end of the book I really liked her. She grew a lot through the book developing in to a really well rounded, stronger character that I enjoyed reading about.

My problem with this book though, despite my overall enjoyment of it, is Butch. For a couple of reasons. One, because I wasn't too thrilled with where his story went, how he changed over the book, although I understand why it happened as it did. But mostly because I don't enjoy Butch and Marissa together. In fact I'm a huge supporter for Butch and V to be together. I love the way the bond between the two has grown through the books. I think they've got far more chemistry together than Butch has with Marissa and the way they play off each other is far more entertaining. I would have loved to have seen JR go there, to twist what was expected. I think it would have made for much better story. I did like how Butch was affected by the lessers and what it meant for him. I also enjoyed seeing him realise he was basically a kept man by the Brothers, everything he 'owned' bought with their money or given by them. It was nice to see his pride come out and start throwing his weight around again.

Overall I did like Lover Revealed, but I got to the end wishing more than ever that Butch had chosen V and not Marissa. That was kind of a let down really. The BDB books aren't short and after the time put in to it I was almost wishing I hadn't bothered. I will certainly read more of the series, I enjoy the switch up on characters in each book and they are well written for the most part (I was getting annoyed with their 'language' here, regular words aren't good enough?) but I'm disappointed with this one. Easily my least favourite so far.

Eternal: 256
Eternal: 256
by P. C. Cast
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.29

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good anthology, 11 Dec 2010
This review is from: Eternal: 256 (Paperback)
Eternal: More Love Stories With Bite, is a YA anthology containing 6 new stories from 6 great authors. Here's a quick run down and short reviews for each of them in order.

1. Bloodshed by Claudia Gray - rating: 3.5/5
A short story about Patrice, from her Evernight series, in war times. I really liked this, nice chance to get to know Patrice a little better. (You don't need to have read any of the Evernight books to enjoy this short)

2. Say Yes by Lili St. Crow - rating: 3.5/5
A dark, kind of creepy short about a girl who becomes obsessed with the guy she believes killed her best friend. I liked it.

3. Letters to Romeo by Nancy Holder - rating: 2.5/5
A weird retelling of Romeo and Juliet in which Romeo is a vampire who's waited hundreds of years to find Juliet again. A decent enough story, but not really to my tastes, didn't enjoy it very much.

4. The Other Side by Heather Brewer - rating: 4/5
Great short story about a girl and her boyfriend who wake up to discover they've been kidnapped and are chained up in a basement. Loved this one! Nice twists to it.

5. Drama Queen's Last Dance by Rachel Caine - rating: 4/5
A short story set in Rachel's Morganville Vampires series, post Ghost Town [book #9] I think, told from Eve's POV. I read Ghost Town recently and was not too happy with the Morganville world. Wouldn't ya know that I then went and loved this short two days later? *shakes head* Very good Morganville short. I do love being in Eve's head, she's much easier to take that way. You probably do need to have read at least some Morganville and know the set up to get everything from this short, but hopefully it would be a reasonable intro to the world for new comers as well.

6. Thief by Jeri Smith-Ready - rating: 4.5/5
Beautiful short that very nearly had me in tears (rare for something so short about all new characters!). It's about a gypsy girl who's trapped between her dreams and what's expected of her. I loved everything about this really, but I wanted more!! Fantastic short though, loved how vampires fitted in to this one.

Overall this is a pretty good anthology. I loved 3 of the stories and the other 3 were fairly good or better. I didn't really dislike any of them, and they're all worth reading. This is a good anthology and worth buying, I suspect in particular for Morganville fans who will love the short short about Eve and Michael. I love the different mixes of vampire lore and worlds found in the book. For once I've already read all the authors present in this anthology, but if I hadn't, I know I'd certainly be checking out Jeri Smith-Ready and Heather Brewer's backlists at the very least, and likely the rest as well.

Blood Fever (A Mackayla Lane Novel)
Blood Fever (A Mackayla Lane Novel)
by Karen Marie Moning
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!!, 9 Dec 2010
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I (for the most part) really liked book one of the Fever series, Darkfever. But it was more for it's addictive feel and potential for greatness in the rest of the series that held me firmly in its grasp. Bloodfever sees the start of that potential realised. Mac is changing, growing from that kind of spoiled, shallow Southern girl in to someone who can keep herself alive in a world where Fae are constantly trying to kill her. Or, at least try and keep herself alive. She's still got a long way to go.

I found Mac much easier to like in Bloodfever than I did Darkfever. Her continual growth impresses me as much as it makes me like her more. She can be selfish at times, but she doesn't pretend to be otherwise. She knows it and admits it. She screws up, she doesn't trust people when maybe she should, she assumes a lot of things when sometimes she shouldn't. But she doesn't pretend to be someone she's not. I find her oddly refreshing and thoroughly entertaining. I completely adore the growing chemistry between Mac and Barrons. The way they play off each other is exquisite at times, in a very brash, in your face kind of way. I kept finding myself wishing for more of them together on the page because most of the very best moments of the book are the two of them together, whether they're agreeing about something, fighting with each other, fighting other things, doesn't matter. The two of them together are just fantastic reading!

Bloodfever is a great continuation of the story started in Darkfever. There is further exploration of the world Mac's found herself in, more and more questions popping up that I desperately want answered. And yet, the lack of true information is something I'm loving. I can't for the life of me figure out where this series is really heading (aside from a war between the Fae and humans). Specifics are constantly twisting and turning offering many different possibilities. Nothing is what it seems. And Barrons! Dammit, I want to know who and what he is as badly as Mac does! I thoroughly enjoy the way he always calls her 'Ms. Lane' so formal and distant and...I don't know, but I love his character and my curiosity about him is growing with each page he features on. The Fae creatures continue to make me shiver in fear and V'lane...well, V'lane scares me more than the rest because he comes across as a 'good' guy and I can't begin to believe that that's true.

Really great read! So addictive and engaging. It's better than Darkfever and still promises that there is a lot more to come from this series. The ending was very dark and intense and left me begging for more! If you've not started this series, do because it's already a new favourite for me and with two books still to go, I'm already anxious for the final book, Shadowfever, which releases January 18th 2011.

Vampire Academy: Last Sacrifice (book 6)
Vampire Academy: Last Sacrifice (book 6)
by Richelle Mead
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bittersweet but great final book!, 7 Dec 2010
Spoilers for previous books only!! I am starting out the review with a short summery, but I don't believe I'm giving away anything that anyone who finished Spirit Bound wouldn't have already guessed/assumed/read else where online already. But if you don't even want that, just skip the next paragraph.

Last Sacrifice is the final book in the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead. It picks up two days after the end of Spirit Bound, with Rose locked up in the prison at the Royal Court for high treason. It's not long before she breaks out of there though, with help from a few trusted friends. On the run outside the vampire world with few people she can trust, Rose must attempt to find out who killed the Queen and bring them to justice to clear her name. But despite her own problems, she can't forget Lissa, who is fighting her own battles with the highest levels of Moroi royalty in the hope that she can help change their world for the better.

I have been addicted to the Vampire Academy series from chapter one, when Rose took on Dimitri Belikov despite being two years out of practise in an attempt to protect her best friend. So much has changed from that moment and none of the characters are the same people they were then. I've been anxiously awaiting Last Sacrifice to fins out how it all ends since that final twist of Spirit Bound literally left me gaping in shock. But it is a bittersweet moment as well because I don't want to say goodbye to these characters I love.

Last Sacrifice surprised me in many ways that I didn't expect. For one, it disappointed me fairly badly twice, although not enough to ruin the book. Secondly, it's not as dark a book as I was expecting. I think it actually made me laugh out loud more than any of the previous books did. Not in a bad way at all, it just seemed to have a higher humour level which broke up the tension nicely, never taking away from the series aspects on the book.

All in all, Last Sacrifice is a very satisfying final book! It answers many, many questions, tying up some plot threads that have been around from book one. And of course the love triangle that has divided fans for the past couple of books is resolved, with careful handling. Although, I'm sure there are still those who will be less than thrilled at the outcome, but I think Richelle has stayed true to the characters and that's what readers should really be looking for. Like all the previous books, Last Sacrifice is full of sass, action, twists and surprises. There is plenty of continued character development all the way through as well. Rose grew up a lot more in this book in particular, and really impressed me a couple of times with her maturity. There is still plenty of heart ache to be endured in this final book as well, I was left aching for the characters over and over.

While the majority of loose threads are tied up, there is still plenty of room for readers to speculate on things past this final book themselves, which I really like. I am also wondering if any of it will be continued in the spin off series which starts next year. I loved Last Sacrifice. It was a fitting end to Rose's story, true to the books that came before it, taking them forward and leaving the series on a high. I've loved almost every moment of this series and it's sad to see it over now, but it's been a fantastic journey!!
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 7, 2010 3:25 PM GMT

Ghost Town (Morganville Vampires)
Ghost Town (Morganville Vampires)
by Rachel Caine
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Getting frustrated with this series!, 5 Dec 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Ghost Town is book 9 in the Morganville Vampires series. I really liked the early books in this series, then they started to get repetitive and samey to me. I almost didn't bother with book 8, Kiss of Death, but in the end I did read it and I found it to be one of my favourites of the series, so of course I carried on with the series and bought this one. But while it started out okay, I very quickly got annoyed with it.

I found Claire got more and more irritating through the book because she just wasn't being smart. She's meant to be this very bright girl, she started college at 16 and everything, but she was being really pretty dumb through a good portion of this book. She knew, and so did the rest, what needed to be done to put things right early on, but it just...didn't happen. For what were very flaky reasons in my view. I just didn't get why they couldn't solve things so much easier and why it got dragged out so far.

There were some good moments through the book here and there, and a pretty sad moment near the end. But I just didn't care enough for it to really matter. I got to the end, with the final twist, and literally rolled my eyes. Because seriously, going there? Ugh. Frustrating! It's something that's been done before and given the 'before', clearly not a smart move, but there it is. And I just don't think I want to read more. I don't care enough to see where it's taken from here at this point.

I know there are plenty of big Morganvillie fans out there, and I hope you won't take offence to this review because it is simply my personal opinion and everyone has different tastes. But for me, I've just had enough of Morganville right now. If you've really enjoyed all the previous books, you will probably like this one too, but it wasn't for me.

Eighth Grade Bites (Chronicles of Vladimir Tod)
Eighth Grade Bites (Chronicles of Vladimir Tod)
by Heather Brewer
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.37

4.0 out of 5 stars Fun read, better than expected!, 2 Dec 2010
Vlad Tod is half vampire, half human. His parents died three years ago, leaving him living with his aunt Nelly, who along with his best friend Henry, are the only ones who know Vlad is a vampire. As far as Vlad knows, there aren't any other vampires in the world. Then his favourite teacher disappears and his new substitute seems to know more about Vlad than he will say. And from there things just get stranger.

I've been curious about this series for a while, but I hadn't yet tried it because I wasn't sure I'd like it too much, despite an interesting premise. Humor and vampires don't always go well for me. I am a fan of angst, sue me. But I actually really enjoyed this! I liked Vlad almost instantly, the way he just takes being a vampire in stride, not stressing about it or what it means, aside from wanting to keep it secret of course. When it comes to cute girls though, he's very shy. Makes him seem very normal, it's cute and funny!

Eighth Grade Bites is a fun story with a semi-serious side. Vlad wants to know what happened to his parents, who died under very strange circumstances and who he misses very much. I just kind of loved the whole story. It's funny without being stupid, got a nice cast with potential to get better. I liked the twists and vampire lore aspects as well. Looking forward to reading the rest of the series!

by Karen Marie Moning
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Oddly addictive!, 27 Nov 2010
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This review is from: Darkfever (Mass Market Paperback)
MacKayla 'Mac' Lane is a blond, pink loving 22 year old who loves her small town, her parents, her sister and she's a little on the spoiled side. Then her world is destroyed and turned inside out with the news her sister, who was studying in Ireland, was brutally murdered. Grief stricken and hungry for vengeance she flies to Ireland determined to get the police to reopen the case and discover the truth. Instead, the truth finds her and she suddenly faces the fact that she is not what she believed. That the world is not as she thought. And she is in every bit as much danger as her sister was.

It took very little time for me to get sucked in and get to a point where I couldn't put Darkfever down. I just wanted to keep reading and reading. Mac's voice, the style of writing and the world building hooked me. But I also found Mac so frustrating at times! Shallow, spoiled and bratty. But the writing kept me hooked even when she was being an idiot. Mac's shock and grief though felt very real, very understandable. I think that more than anything gave her the substance she needed to not make me want to give up on her early on.

The world building is fantastic. There are great twists and turns, plenty of action, and plenty of gritty, dark scenes with the fae. It's so hard to figure out who can and can't be trusted, what matters and what doesn't. I felt like I was fumbling through the world right along side Mac. I thoroughly enjoyed her development over the course of the book, along with some of her sassiest moments. She may be seen by most as weak and helpless (and yes, she really is at times) but she's not about to get pushed around any more than she can help. Sometimes that bratty, spoiled nature was a very good thing. Something else I really enjoyed, and found surprising, is the complete lack of romance. There is a little casual flirting, but that's the extent of it. This is pretty strictly, for now at least, a story of a girl looking for revenge. It makes a nice change actually, for a young, pretty protagonist to not suddenly fall in love and focus on this amazing guy rather than what she's meant to be. I enjoyed the change of pace a lot!

If I'm being honest though, it takes a while for things to really start happening, despite there never being anything dull going on, and while I really liked most of the book (Mac's spoiled, over girly moments aside) I didn't love much about it. And yet I barely put it down. Darkfever has a very addictive feel to it, like it's just the warm up act for something special. The potential in this book and how it left me wanting much more, had me convinced that I wouldn't be making a mistake buying the rest of the series that's currently out (books 2-4) all together. Its the way Darkfever is written, the mystery and some of the character interactions that made this un-put-down-able for me I think, and I can't wait to read the rest! May just be on to a new favourite here!

by Ally Condie
Edition: Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Adored it!, 25 Nov 2010
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This review is from: Matched (Paperback)
I wanted this book badly from almost the moment I heard about it. It's the first in a new dystopian trilogy, a sub-genre I'm finding myself more and more in love with. Plus it was getting some fantastic early reviews. So I was delighted when I won an advance copy of it. Matched is completely fantastic. I couldn't put it down. It's fantastically done, beautifully written with an almost poetic quality that made it virtually impossible to not just keep reading and reading.

Cassia is, as the Society inspires, naive and 'perfect'. It's a stark world she lives in, a perfect one, Society decides everything for the best of everyone and they're never wrong. There are 100 songs, 100 poems and so on, never new ones being created. Society says what you do and when, and Cassia has always trusted them, always followed the rules. But at heart, she's a rebel. It barely shows at first, just a hint here and there, but grows as events unfold and things change. And I completely love her character. I felt sorry for her, the way she, and everyone in fact, appears to be puppets rather than human beings with thoughts and feelings. But Cassia's personality grew massively throughout the book and I just loved it.

Ky. Oh Ky! I have a new top level fictional love. He and Cassia have known each other for years, but no one really knows him. He's quite the mystery, not quite like the others. He's smart, awesome, and, well I just love him. There are moments in the book when my heart ached for him, and where I just thought the world of him for little things. Great character.

I really liked Xander, Cassia's best friend and 'Match' as well, and Cassia's family. All the characters are really well drawn. I love how they're all far deeper and more complex than first appears. As the story unfolds, there are layers continually being peeled back, revealing more and more as they go. It's true of the world Cassia lives in as well as the characters actually. More and more gradually being revealed and it's spectacularly done. It creates a tension, a mystery, that I couldn't drag myself away from. I had to know what happened next!

Obviously the romance is a pretty strong theme throughout the book, but it's far from the only one. It's also the story of a girl waking up, realising who she is, what the world around her is like, and how to survive it. It's as much about everything around Cassia as Cassia herself. Perfect blend of internal battle and external one.

The place itself, the world Cassia lives in, scares the hell out of me. Seriously. 100 songs/poems/books/whatever picked years ago and nothing else is allowed to be made/created? Your job/spouse/exercise/food is all dictated by what 'suits you best'. And no one questions it because Society is always right. Everyone is supposed to be equal, everyone is meant to follow the rules, because then everything stays perfect. The Society even decide when you die (it's your 80th birthday in case you're wondering). Scary as hell, maybe because you can see it as real. Censorship taken to the extreme. A dictatorship of evil hidden under the guise of being 'perfect'. It's easy to see the people as puppets, to see their lives as limited and wonder how they don't all go crazy. But it's what they're used to, it's been that way for several generations, so no one questions.

The ending is spectacular. Gripping, intense, beautiful, heart wrenching and brilliant. It was one of those times where you get to the final page and turn it over expecting more because a) you HAVE to know what happens next and b) Why the Heck was it left there?! So now I'm left desperate for the sequal with it among the top of my 'must haves' list for 2011. Matched is easily one of my favourite reads of 2010 and I highly recommend it!

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