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Claire Mill "Cem" (England)

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Crusade (Crusade Trilogy (Hardcover))
Crusade (Crusade Trilogy (Hardcover))
by Nancy Holder
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars Great after a slowish start, 18 Sept. 2010
This world, Jenn and the other main characters, were first introduced in a short story in The Eternal Kiss, a YA anthology which was released last year. You don't need to read that story to read this, the important things from it are covered in plenty of detail in this story. But I loved that short story. I was very excited to find out that there would be a series, a trilogy I believe, to come from it.

Jenn, Antonio, Skye, Holgar, Eriko and Jamie are a team of hunters. One of very few, normally hunters work alone, and they're lucky to survive a few months. But just because they're a team, doesn't mean they get on. In fact, they barely trust each other, or themselves. The only one they really seem to trust is their handler, Father Juan, one of the men who trained them. When Jenn travels back to the US after the sudden death of a family member she finds out just how bad the situation is, that vampires, the Cursed Ones, really are taking over everything. When she's betrayed by someone close to her while there, she finds herself in serious danger. Her team is sent out to meet up with her and help her out, if they can keep from killing each other along the way. But the odds they face shock even this elite trained team of hunters. Getting out alive may not be an option for them.

The first third of the book is heavy on the back ground, a lot of information on the characters, their histories, the history of how the vampires came out to the world. It makes is slow going forward, but I didn't find it bad. I actually quite enjoyed learning it all. And the little bits of the main plot moving forward were really great. So while it was slow going, it was good. From about a third of the way in it starts to pick up, less background more forward movement and by the halfway point it was great, much faster, must more action. But it still felt a little heavy going. I think it's the amount of information, the way the story is told. It's written in third person, from many points of view. Jenn is the focus, but we get everyone elses story as well, adding the the amount of info floating around. It's good, great even at times, getting to know all the different characters, their pasts, why they fight as they do, what matters to them. It just never felt like a fast read. It's long, 470 pages, and despite having other things going on I did still finish it within a couple of days, so it read faster than it felt. There are also a lot of translation sentences. Spanish and a little Latin, where it's said then translated in full (which is great for someone like me who doesn't know either) but it does add to it sometimes feeling like it's slowing down.

That said, there is plenty of action. I really like the concepts for this world, the vampires, Cursed Ones, coming out, trying to rule the world, while pretending to be harmless when they're clearly killers. The idea of special schools or academies which train people, teens usually, to be hunters fits nicely and how they all have reasons for doing what they do. I really liked Jenn and Antonio, along with Skye and Holgar in particular. I actually really liked all of the team of hunters, but those four are my favourites at this point. All the back stories for the characters have been really thought out and developed, Antonio's fears, Jenn's lack of self confidence, they're all hiding things and it was hard not to feel sympathy for them and their actions at least some of the time.

The tension built up well, slowly at first but always there, and the feeling of constant threat grew to boiling point towards the end. It was intense, sad, great and left me wanting a lot more. Which, having just read 470 pages, is a pretty good thing! I've got my theories, concerns and hopes for what could happen next with certain characters and issues, but I'm at a loss to really know where it's going right now. Lots left open, but still with a satisfying end for this first book. Yes, it started off slow, but there was no point at which I wanted to really put it down or consider stopping. And I think all the info that is in this book, is very worth it. I really loved the second half of the book in particular, but overall I think it's a great read and I'm really looking forward to the second one.

Hourglass (Evernight, Book 3)
Hourglass (Evernight, Book 3)
by Claudia Gray
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars So, so Awesome!!, 18 Sept. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Spoiler free for Hourglass, but big spoilers for previous book in the series, Evernight and Stargazer, ahead.

Book 2 of the Evernight series, Stargazer, ended rather dramatically. Evernight attacked, set on fire, and Bianca and Lucas escaped only with Black Cross. Now Black Cross are giving her refuge, still under the belief that she's human, kidnapped and raised by vampires as a baby. If they find out the truth, that she is actually a vampire herself, they'll kill her. And most likely Lucas as well. But they don't have anywhere else to go. Escaping from Black Cross could well be harder than escaping Evernight, and they need money they don't have as well. So they stay, Bianca trains, learns to fight, while starving for blood only able to get a little every few days instead of daily like she needs. Bianca and Lucas get little time together either, not alone, and Bianca can't confide in her roommate, Raquel, either because she's sided completely with Black Cross. It leaves Bianca feeling very alone in the heart of enemy territory.

Then Balthazar, Bianca's closest friend from Evernight, a vampire, is captured. Bianca can't watch them torture him so she convinces Lucas they have to save him, somehow. Lucas, who has never liked Balthazar for his attraction to Bianca, agrees for her sake more than anything. But he puts his heart in to it and together they come up with a plan. But in such close quarters, can they really save him and continue to keep Bianca's secret? And Lucas', because if they discover Bianca's fed from him, he'll be in just as much trouble. Living on the run, Mrs Bethany, the powerful head of Evernight Academy, after them, surrounded by Black Cross members who'd kill them in an instant if the truth came out, things are far from certain for Bianca and Lucas.

I really, really loved this book. It was fascinating seeing Bianca and Lucas attempt to cope within Black Cross. Neither wanted to be there and the tension between Lucas and some of the members was almost explosive. It wasn't always fast paced, but it never felt slow either. I think there is more action in this book than the previous two, and I loved seeing how they both dealt with the things thrown their way.

It's a great continuation of the series, building on previous events, more secrets are revealed and dealt with, and both Lucas and Bianca continue to grow and learn from the things they face. I've loved how this series has developed. Ms. Gray does a great job of hiding things until the last moment, with just subtle hints before hand which don't make anything easy to guess, but makes perfect sense when you understand what's going on.

I've loved Bianca and Lucas from the start, and Balthazar grew on me a lot as well through Stargazer and this. But Vic has become one of my all time favourite side characters with this book. I loved him already, but even more so now. He's smart, takes things in stride, and yet has a serious, deeper side which just makes him more impressive and lovable.

The build up for the ending is intense. I confess that I think Bianca and Lucas should have figured out what was going on with her a bit sooner than she did. But on the other hand, it does still make sense that they didn't. The ending though, about killed me. I'm so glad I hadn't got in to this series sooner and read this as soon as it released, because the wait for the final book, Afterlife, may just kill me and I've got less to wait than some. Such an awesome series, great writing, great story, great characters, and a must read. It's still far from your typical YA vampire series and it's up there with Strange Angels [Lili St. Crow] and Vampire Academy [Richelle Mead] on my favourites list.

The Crescent
The Crescent
by Jordan Deen
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Fab Werewolf book, more please!!, 18 Sept. 2010
This review is from: The Crescent (Paperback)
Werewolves are my favourite supernatural creature, and have been basically always. I confess I got in to fantasy via vampires, well via Buffy actually, but it was werewolves that got me in to UF books with Kelley Armstrong's Bitten, thus starting my obsession with the supernatural. So I'm willing to give pretty much any werewolf book a try in an attempt to add to my werewolf book collection. When this book went up for tour on the UK Book Tour site, it was an automatic sign up for me. I wasn't let down at all!

Lacey is seventeen, human, no idea of a supernatural world around her. When a huge dog, a stray, appears in her garden and she can't find his owners, she lets him stay. He offers her a comfort, a security she was missing at home, her parents constantly fighting. Then she meets Alex. He just walks in to the school office one day to register for classes. Lacey can barely take her eyes off him, or form words around him. But he's very mysterious, and knows a lot more about her than she's told him. As things progress with him, they get stranger. She starts having vivid dreams, not of Alex, but of another guy, Brendon, who appeared just once in the school office, shortly after Alex's arrival. Strange stories of werewolves, packs and mates start flying around and Lacey begins to wonder what's real. How much is reality and how much a dream, a nightmare. She struggles to figure out the truth, to choose a guy, first love or true love. Caught in the middle of a way she didn't know existed. Where one wrong move from her could mean death for others.

It didn't take long for me to get in to The Crescent and start loving it. Lacey started off on the right foot with me simply by being an animal lover. She feels unsettled at home, her parents constantly fighting, hiding things from even her closest friend about them. She's never really felt like she really belongs, like an outsider, and an outcast at school. It's easy to see why she felt so off balance with Alex's attention.

I love the build up, the different reactions to both guys, to the idea that werewolves exist in her world, how certain elements of being a werewolf work, and the tension that fills it all was pretty perfect. Kept me reading and I barely put it down. I loved seeing how the dreams and reality clashed, confusing for Lacey and how she dealt with it all in her head, how it's written, made me start questioning what was actually real at times as well. There are certain aspects of 'reality' in the book that have serious dream like qualities.

This is a debut book and it was awesome, it's not very long at only 187 pages, but it packs a lot in to those pages. There is a lot of depth to Lacey, I loved getting to know her better, or trying to anyway, and trying to figure out the mystery surrounding both boys and the wolves. The rest of the characters are pretty mysterious, none as straight forward as they sometimes seem, and while I loved and seriously disliked some, they all held my interest and have a role to play. It's well written, it's smart, it's got a werewolf I've fallen fairly in love with and a protagonist I'm aching for, while urging her to make the right choices.

I confess I've been going through a phase of simple hatred for love triangles in books, and knowing I was about to wade in to another, made me cautious going in to this book. My heart is aching enough for fictional love triangles without adding another. But dammit, I fell. I fell for the characters, the setting, the wolves and yes, I wish it was just a little easier for Lacey to pick, that she'd realise the right guy and not be torn any more, but well, this is the first of a trilogy and that wouldn't really work now would it? Love triangles where it's too obvious who the girl should pick, or those where the second love interest is simply an obvious plot twist drive me crazier than those which tear me apart. This one is far closer to the latter. For me, it's an easy pick which side to come down on, but I can sympathize with Lacey's decision and why she is so torn.

The plot revolves around the love triangle, but there is a bit of an added twist I didn't fully see coming until it was explained. That, with everything else I've already listed as great about this book, meant I wound up loving it. The ending was so tense, I really wasn't sure what was going to happen, how it would play out, and it left me wanting a whole lot more. I can't wait for book 2, Half Moon (due out 13th Jan 2011), or even the third book, Full Moon (due later in 2011). This was a great YA werewolf book with a dark edge. I highly recommend it and I'm going to get my own copy of it just as soon as I can! My only real complaint about this book isn't about the story at all, it's wondering where the heck the editor was. There are a lot of grammar mistakes and typos in this book. They bothered me a bit to start with, stopping it from being a smooth read, but I soon got deep enough in to the book that I skimmed right over them hungry to find out what happened next. It's a pretty fast paced book and like I already said, I could barely put it down. Great read that I really can't do justice for. Just read it.

Stargazer (Evernight, Book 2)
Stargazer (Evernight, Book 2)
by Claudia Gray
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome second book, 18 Sept. 2010
Having loved Evernight, I was very, very much looking forward to this second book in the series. It picks up a few months after the end of Evernight, with Lucas still with Black Cross and Bianca at Evernight with her parents, her second year about to begin.

Bianca, ever more dependant on blood for survival, is looking forward to the new school year simply for the distraction it'll bring her. She's spent months pining for Lucas, unable to reach him, unable to explain to her parents, because of course they'd love to see him dead. They still believe he played her and that she doesn't want him now she knows the truth, that he's Black Cross, a vampire hunter. Day one of the new year brings a welcome intrusion, a letter from Lucas, delivered via his former roommate, Vic. Apparently Lucas is missing Bianca just as badly and he wants to see her, and though it means somehow sneaking off campus, alone, she's determined to make it happen.

But that's not all she's dealing with. Something dark is haunting Evernight. Literally. Wraiths, or ghosts, are appearing, attacking the school. Bianca is determined to understand why, and to find out why there are human students at Evernight. Mrs. Bethany seems to be planning something, and Bianca is scared of what that could mean. But the truth she discovers makes her wonder how much of what she really knows, is actually true. And if maybe staying at Evernight is even an option for her anymore.

I confess that while I was really looking forward to this book, it didn't start out great for me. In fact, I found the first half very stop start. Something intense would happen, then it'd go back to Bianca at Evernight, thinking a lot but little happening, and a fair few of the same thoughts rotating in her head, then it's start up again. I understand why it happened like that, showing Bianca's everyday life along with the more interesting bits, but it did mean it felt a little ragged to start with. It wasn't actually bad, it was things that needed to be there, and I was still liking it, but it wasn't great.

Around the halfway point things really started to pick up. The pacing levelled out and everything started rolling together. It got pretty intense towards the end as well as bigger secrets kept being revealed and Bianca realised and dealt with the outcome of certain events. I got really sucked in to the second half and felt every up and down with Bianca. And the creep factor of the wraiths didn't hurt either.

I love the relationship with Lucas. I'm not always a fan of instant love where the two feel like they're destined for each other and such. But I can't help loving these two. I think it's the fact that they are so different, have so many issues to work through and that they're not around each other constantly and when they are, they still have to think about everything else going on as well. It's not just about their relationship, although that is the main aspect of the books.

It's also not hard to relate to Bianca's parental issues. Yes her issues are very different to those 'normal' teens face, but even so, I think it's easy to understand the frustration, the betrayal she feels, and how she wants to lean on them but be an adult as well. Her friendship issues are the same way. How she wants to get close, hates having to lie and knowing she has to. And how she screws up, makes the wrong choices sometimes, and how that affects her also makes it easier to relate to her and like her.

This is a great continuation of the set up started in Evernight, a deeper look in to the vampire mythology, how Black Cross works, and explores the issues Bianca, as a born vampire, is facing in a little more depth. It's a great set up for the next two books as well, and the ending made me very, very glad I already had book 3, Hourglass, to dive in to. Bianca grows a lot through this book, she's a bit less innocent by the end, and she's not the only one. It was great getting to see some more of some other characters as well, Vic, Raquel and Balthazar in particular. I really like them all (and I adore Vic, though that's a little more Hourglass related) and feel they add a lot to the books. So while it didn't start out great, I still really loved this book and felt the better parts and the second half more than made up for the earlier issues.

The DUFF: (Designated Ugly Fat Friend)
The DUFF: (Designated Ugly Fat Friend)
by Kody Keplinger
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Uncomfortably Real, 9 Sept. 2010
The Duff: Designated, Ugly, Fat Friend. Apparently every group has one, and according to Wesley Rush, hottie womanizer who doesn't mind everyone knowing it, Bianca Piper is the one within her group of three. Bianca knows she's not as pretty as either of her two best friends, but 'the Duff' is a lable she never considered and instantly loathes. Enough to throw her cherry coke on Wesley when he informs her of it. See, Wesley, who is considered the hottest guy in school, wants to get either (or possibly both) of Bianca's best friends in to bed. And apparently they're more likely to notice and care if he's seen to be paying attention to 'the Duff' of the group. Actually telling Bianca that's what she is and what he's doing though, is not a smart move. She hated him before, now she despises him.

But then a few nights later disaster strikes. Bianca's parents are divorcing. She saw it coming, but her father, a recovering alcoholic, didn't. She's sat at the bar of the club all the high schoolers hang out at, where she first spoke with Wesley and he called her the Duff a few nights before, and when he sits to talk with her again, she does the unthinkable. She kisses him, and likes it. It's the escape she was looking for. Despite her loathing for him, she continues to find ways of getting in to his bed, hiding it from her friends and everyone else. Seemed like a simple escape for her, until she realises she's falling for him.

I really struggled to put this book down. Bianca is loud, not out loud, not to her friends, but her voice, the tone of the book, it's loud, brash and I couldn't turn away from it. She's insecure, already feeling inadequate next to her two best friends, but when Wesley actually says it, the way he does, she starts to reevaluate things in a very serious manner, wondering if maybe that's why her friends like her, because she's not as pretty as they are. Her life starts spinning out of control after that. She uses sex with Wesley to try and feel in control, but the more she does, the dirtier she feels, the more she loses control. Vicious circle. And some uncomfortable reading at times, relating (as I suspect everyone can) to Bianca's issues. And her biting sarcasm just makes things more fun and interesting.

Wesley. Typical jerk, the kind of guy you assume you know really well from a glance, but really don't. I wanted to slap him so hard so many times through this book! And yet, I ended up falling for him just like Bianca. Didn't like him a whole lot most of the time, but I cared a lot the more I got to know him.

I loved how the relationship between them developed. I felt so bad for Bianca through so many things and could see just why she reacted the way she did to things. I was really proud of her at times as well, when she was standing up for herself. I think it's so easy to get in to this because everyone feels like the Duff some times. It's not always strictly fitting 'ugly, fat' part of the duff, but feeling that way, that next to the ones around you, you're not worth notice.

And that's where this book hit awesome for me. It's so believable, so realistic. The mess Bianca gets in to, how she tries to control things, how she ends up falling for a guy she hates and how Wesley learns a whole lot about himself as well. We only get to see things from Bianca's point of view, but it's not hard to see. The witty dialogue and the interplay between Bianca and Wesley, or Bianca and her friend even, doesn't hurt. There is a fair bit of bad language and a lot of sex in the book as well, which fits the realness factor, but it's something to be aware of if you're not such a fan, or for younger readers. Personally, I really loved this book. Not the most comfortable read at times, but it's completely compelling and very, very well done. The ending felt very fitting to me, and I was really pleased with how things worked out in the end.
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Kisses from Hell (Vampire Academy)
Kisses from Hell (Vampire Academy)

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 2 stand out stories which are worth it, 9 Sept. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
YA anothlogy of 5 vampire stories from different authors.

Sunshine by Richelle Mead - 4.5/5 - This short story is set in Richelle's Vampire Academy series and is the story of how Lissa Dragomir's parents met (for non VA fans, Lissa is the best friend of the protagonist). I loved getting to meet these two characters who we've heard very little of and never met (they died a couple of years before we meet Lissa in VA). For those up to date on the VA series, you'll understand why I was so curious to see Eric and Rhea together. It's a really good short story that I loved, a great 'extra' for VA fans, but I would hope that non VA fans would enjoy it as well. Really wished it had been longer!!

Bring Me To Life by Alyson Noel - 2.5/5 - Danika has travelled to England from the US to go to an exclusive art academy, an escape from her inattentive father, her ex-best friend and ex-boyfriend who hooked up. But what she finds is a mansion more than a little creepy. And no other students around. I kind of liked this story, I liked the start a lot. Danika was likable, and the crazy situation she found herself in was interesting. But I didn't particularly like the outcome. It wasn't a bad story, but it wasn't to my taste.

Above by Kristin Cast - 0/5 - This story of the strangest I've read (or tried to read) in a long while. Above and below don't mix, they hunt and kill each other, and in theory there is a star-crossed love story in here, somewhere. It was twisted, strange and I could barely figure out what was going on.

Hunting Kat by Kelley Armstrong - 4.5/5 - I loved this short story a lot! It's another short story set in Kelley's YA world, which started with her Darkest Powers trilogy and will continue with her Darkness Rising one next year. Kat was first introduced with a short story in The Eternal Kiss anthology. Kat's stories are (for the moment at least) completely unconnected to the main novels, just in the same world. This short story is set about 6 months after Kat's first short, though you wouldn't have to read it to understand this one. I actually enjoyed this a lot more than Kat's first short, and wished it was a lot longer. Kat is being hunted again, but this time, she's not alone.

Lilith by Francesca Lia Block - 1/5 - bit of an odd story. A boy who spends most of his time living in a fantasy world of his own creation suddenly has the attention of a girl who's far too beautiful to be human. He welcomes her unnaturalness, the chance to be strong, if only he has her by his side he feels he'll be just fine. I didn't like the way things went in this story. Didn't really like anything about the main character and thus didn't care what happened, and what happened all worked out kind of strange.

So I only liked two of the five stories, but those two, Hunting Kat (Kelley Armstrong) and Sunshine (Richelle Mead), made it worth buying for me. I wish they'd been longer, but for short stories they had a lot of detail and depth to them, very enjoyable and great additions to the series/worlds they're set in. Or I think they'd make good introductions to the authors if readers haven't read anything by them yet. Shame about the other three, but anthologies are always hit and miss. Wouldn't be surprised to see others thinking a lot of the stories I didn't enjoy.

The Better Part of Darkness
The Better Part of Darkness
by Kelly Gay
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £5.99

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good!, 6 Sept. 2010
This is the first book in the Charlie Madigan series. I've had this book on my shelf for a while having heard about it and thought it sounded interesting. But it's only now I've gotten around to reading it and I'm kind of sorry I waited so long. Charlie is a tough cop, a devoted mom, and fairly screwed up by having died a few months previously and having had some very creepy nightmares (and other strange side effect) ever since. When a strange 'off-world' drug, ash, hits too close to home she becomes more determined than ever to find the source and stop it. But the deeper they get in to it, the bigger the mountain they face. They're up against some very powerful opponents and some how Charlie knows it ties back in to her brief death. She's in serious trouble and her skills as a cop are probably not enough to save her, and she's not sure her allies are any more capable. But she'll try anyway.

I really liked this book. Charlie is someone who's dedicated to her job, but also a very loving, devoted mother. It doesn't take long to see that Charlie's world revolves around her daughter, Emma, and that she'd do anything for her. I really like when books show parental type relationships (may just be a child/teen the protagonist finds themselves responsible for) and familial relationships. Sometimes they can really make a book, whether it's a child/teen in an adult book or an adult in a major role in a YA book. It can be a really nice change to read, that level of realness, that extra drive it can give a protagonist that can't come from anything else. For it to work well though, there has to be the right balance, and that does exist here. Emma gets enough page time with her mom and there is enough of Charlie talking/thinking about her as well.

Doesn't stop Charlie from having other issues though. She's got some long buried ones that need dealing with, as well as her recent ones, such as the case she's working on. She's a fairly typical tough cop as well, and I love how she and her partner, Hank, play off each other. They have a clear bond/relationship established and I like getting to see more of it, the deeper in to the book you get. I really liked Hank from the start, although it takes a while to really get to know him.

I liked the world building. The supernaturals being from one of two different worlds/dimensions, both of which have their own tendencies, rules and needs. Not all the information is given at once, but there are some points where some extra back story is needed, and they do drag a little.

There are some good twists and there are a lot of sub plots all tied up together, though you can't see them all to start with. I really felt for Charlie as she had to make some hard decisions and face some hard home truths. But, I didn't like her all the time. I can't put my finger on exactly what it was bothering me, but there were times when I found myself getting pretty annoyed with her. Not often, but it did happen.

Overall I did really enjoy this book. It was easy to get in to, pretty hard to put down and plenty going on. There were some slow moments, and I didn't always like the characters, I felt some of them were a little flat. But on the whole, it was a really good read with some very interesting aspects and plenty to make me want to read more. Book 2, The Darkest Edge of Dawn, just released and I'm looking forward to getting and reading it!

Price: £4.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Very awesome!, 6 Sept. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: You (Kindle Edition)
This is the debut YA novel from Charles Benoit and one I could not put down. Kyle is an instantly recognizable slacker type, the kind of guy we've all seen. His story is told in honest, realistic tones, and the way it starts, it grabs you, drags you in and doesn't let go. 'You' shows, almost brutally at times, how decisions and relationships which seem innocent lead to a downward spiral, and sometimes with huge consequences.

I'm actually pretty lost for how to talk about this book past that, other than saying it's awesome. There is something darkly real to this book that meant I simply couldn't put it down. It's not pretty, or softened at all, it's simply what it is. The ending is stark and shocking, but absolutely the right ending for it. It's very well done and a must read in my opinion. I loved it.


7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 4.5/5 Worth sticking with!, 6 Sept. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Paranormalcy (Kindle Edition)
Paranormalcy is the debut book from Kiersten White. It's been one I've been looking forward to for a while. It sounds great and while I know you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, I do love it! But when I first started reading it, I started to wonder if I was going to like it at all. Evie is bubbly, fashion savvy and never without her favourite accessories (top of the list being 'Tasey' her pink taser). Not the kind of character I can easily get on with or take seriously. However, I kept going because despite being unsure of Evie, I still liked the premise. And you know what? So totally worth it.

Evie may come across as a little shallow to start with, but what ended up convincing me to keep going and give her a chance was how early on her desire to be normal, to live a normal teenage life in the real world, and how strong it was. She was in the foster care system as a little kid, then became a member of International Paranormal Containment Agency (IPCA) and has worked for them for years. Sure she's treated well, fed, clothed, personal tutors as 'school', but she's very much alone. She's the only one who can see through glamours and her contact with her best friend Lish is limited in several ways on account of Lish being a mermaid and having to remain underwater. Not to mention her seriously creepy ex. So while Evie make like to think of herself as 'normal' it's more her wishing she was.

Things aren't quite normal at IPCA right now. Some strange things have been happening in the paranormal world and when IPCA is broken in to by an unheard of paranormal, Evie decides it's a good time to start digging in to what's going on. I loved seeing the changes in her, the way she dealt with certain issues that came up and how she grew from learning things that had been well hidden from her. Life has never been easy for her, but she finds it just getting worse and she doesn't know who she can turn to.

I was really pleased with the almost understated romance side to this book. I don't like when girl meets guy and does nothing but obsess over him and happily that's not close to what happens here. There is a romantic plot for sure, but its more of a sub-plot. It gets plenty of page time, but not nearly as much as I'd expected it to get. Evie has far too much going on in her life to be able to focus on just a guy for any real length of time.

The plot moves along quickly and after the first few chapters when I'd gotten used to Evie's voice and really started warming up to her and her rebellious nature, I struggled to put it down. It's funny, smart, and has a very well done darker edge to it. I can't say that I didn't roll my eyes at Evie a few times later on, but then I care very little for fashion/shopping and it's kind of a big deal to her. But when it came to the paranormal side, the way IPCA works, what demons/vampires/weres etc are like, the faerie prophecy and what it could mean, I was completely sold. And aside from the fashion stuff, I loved Evie by the end as well. I don't think she's the kind of girl I could be best friends with, (too much energy and too much love for pink!) but she's likable enough. And she does grow up a lot through this book with the issues she faces. That's what I love most about her, is that she does change, she doesn't just deal with these things and go on being the same girl.

The majority of the more prominent side characters are well rounded as well, and there were certainly some interesting characters in that bunch as well! There is something very fresh about Paranormalcy, and it was nice to read a YA book that is a little crazy and serious at the same time without falling flat anywhere. Ultimately I really enjoyed it, thought the ending was great and I'm really looking forward to the second book!

by Lisa McMann
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it, 4 Sept. 2010
This review is from: Wake (Paperback)
This is a book I've had sat on my shelf for a while before actually reading. And oh freaking hell I wish I'd read it sooner!! It was very easy to get sucked in to Janie's world. The way she falls in to dreams and really wishes she was simply normal. It's easy to understand her fear of others sleeping, she gets pulled in to their dreams even if she's awake, and she's certainly never wanted to be in them.

It starts off showing a little of how Janie's day-to-day battle with others dreams goes, and has a few little flashbacks to when she first started getting sucked in to dreams and what it was like for her. Then Janie ends up in a dream far more violent and twisted than she's ever ended up in. After that, things change drastically again.

I couldn't put this book down and finished it within a few hours. The way it's written just sucks you in and hangs on tight, I had to find out what happened. What the dark, twisted dream was really about, and how things were going to work out. Sometimes the reality had an almost dream like quality to it as well, slipping from one to the other almost seamlessly. Janie has always been an outcast thanks to finding herself in others dreams and despite having a best friend who she spends a fair amount of time with, she is mostly alone. Her mom is a drunk who spends most of her time passed out and her dad is long gone. Janie changes and grows a lot through the book, and I always love being able to see the changes in a person over the course of a single book. Janie is pretty easy to like and oddly easy to relate to as well. She's got a lot of depth to her, though it takes a little while to really show. Some of the side characters are a little flat, but it's easy to ignore that with the focus elsewhere. I can't really explain whats so compelling about this book. I just couldn't put it down. Janie, her problems, the dreams and the guy involved just got to me and I couldn't get enough.

It's a really great read with good characters, a fast moving plot and some good twists. It's got a pretty dark, creepy almost sinister tone to it at times and very easy to get lost in. I wish I'd read this sooner, but at least it means I can get Fade and Gone (books 2 and 3 of the series) and read them together. Great book!!

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