Saturday, December 24, 2011

Review: The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

Title: The Replacement
Author: Brenna Yovanoff
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Year of Release: 2010
ISBN: 9780857071385
Source: Purchased
Number or Pages: 375
"Gentry was two different things and at night, I could always see that second thing better. The town was it's green suburban lawns, sure, but it was also it's secrets. The kind of place where people double-checked the locks at night or pulled their kids closer in the grocery store."
Mackie Doyle is the Replacement. Though he lives in the small town of Gentry, Mackie comes from a world of tunnels and black murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess. He is a Replacement- left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now, because of fatal allergies to iron, blood and consecrated ground, Mackie is slowly dying in the human world. 
Mackie would give anything to live among us, to practice on his bass guitar or spend time with an oddly intriguing girl called Tate. But when Tate's baby sister goes missing, Mackie is drawn irrevocably into the underworld of Gentry, known as Mayhem. He must face the dark creatures of the Slag Heaps and find his rightful place- in our world, or theirs.
I'm going to start by saying that I actually liked this book. The plot was very fresh and original and Miss Yovanoff, considering that this is her first novel, is a very skilled writer and I love the way she has set out the story. It's not often I find a book that is written from a male perspective and that was one of the things I enjoyed about this one. I was continuously being tugged into the mystical world of Gentry and the life of Mackie Doyle. The separation between the two worlds, the town of Gentry and the mysterious Slag Heaps, was incredibly intriguing. I do think however, that some areas of the book were a bit slow, but once I had reached a certain point in the plot, I couldn't put the book down until I had reached the end. 
Admittedly, when I first found this book and read the blurb, I had my doubts as I thought it sounded a but weird since this is not the sort of book I am usually attracted to. But those doubts were certainly shoved into some less important part of my silly mind as I began reading. 
I did do my homework for this book- I wanted a bit of background information about what consecrated ground and slag heaps were, to better understand the many references to these two things throughout the course of the book. So in case you are interested in reading this one, here's what you need to know:

  • A slag heap is a hill or area of land from a mine or industrial site. They are piles formed from the materials left by mining/industrial work.
  • Consecrated ground is land or a place that has been liturgically blessed - e.g a church or a grave.

Now that's all cleared up, I'll finish by saying that I do recommend this book (especially to the ladies, if you know what I mean) and let me know your thoughts and opinions if you do happen to have a read of this book. I have also heard a few rumors that The Replacement is going to be made into a movie ! I'll have to keep my open for that. 
Anyway, I just want to wish a very merry Christmas to all my followers and I hope you all have a fantastic festive holiday.  Thanks for all your support this year and for being genuinely interested in the crap I write. :) 
And this is my last review for 2011 ! *sad face* Looking forward to 2012 and the new opportunities it will bring. 

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Interview with Barbara Forte Abate, author of The Secret of Lies

Firstly, did you like my review on The Secret of Lies?
No.  “Like” isn’t a big enough word—I loved it, Melissa! And not just because of the obvious fact that every author is generally over-the-moon thrilled with a great review.  What really had my head and heart singing when I read your thoughts is that I truly felt as though you didn’t just read my novel, but you “experienced” it, and that’s absolutely the ultimate gift.

Oh, stop it. Thank you! So, where did your idea for The Secret of Lies come from?
It was a simple seed of an idea that arrived as a single concept while I was standing in the kitchen washing the dishes and staring out the window watching my neighbour mow her lawn! I found myself wondering what it might be like for someone to just walk away from their life—home, family, everything familiar—and start over. And most importantly, what sort of instance or event would compel someone to do something so drastic. Everything else that followed as that idea grew, transformed, twisted and turned, was something of a surprise. I’m not exaggerating when I say I didn’t necessarily see it coming!

Are the characters based on anyone in particular?
While it can always be argued that writing fiction requires a certain element of truth, I can honestly say that my characters have only ever existed in my imagination and none of us have ever met in real life. The exception is Jake. I’ve carried him around for quite some time. At 16 I’d gone on a weekend camping trip with my good friend and her family and it only took one glance to fall madly in love with a gorgeous teenage boy who was setting up camp with his family a couple sites away from ours. We never spoke a word to each other over the course of that weekend, but oh my, the eye contact was a constant.  I spent plenty of time constructing conversations with him in my head—the ones I would’ve had if I wasn’t too shy to approach such a picture perfect specimen.   My heart was absolutely splintered beyond repair when he drove away with his family early on Sunday morning never to be seen by me again.  And yet he stayed alive and burning in my head, waiting to come out as a character in a book!

Well, Stevie and Jake certainly had a lot more contact than you and this mystery boy! Anyway, during some parts of the story, Stevie uses sign language to communicate with one of the characters. Do you know sign language yourself?
No, but it’s one of those things I find fascinating.  I really love and appreciate how needing to us sign language encourages a certain undeniable intimacy in Stevie’s relationship with this particular character. Unlike spoken conversation, sign language forces communicants to really pay attention to each other and I find that remarkable and perfect for this pivotal relationship. 

Is there anything you like to do to keep motivated to continue writing?
The urge to write is just something that’s always there—in fact it won’t leave me alone. There are times when I’m writing something and it really just stinks and I feel like the biggest time-wasting, self-indulgent phoney. But even then, as disgusted as I might become, some part of me knows I can fix the problems in whatever it is I’m writing if I just hang-in and peel through the layers deep enough, rearrange, cut and burn, scramble scenes and dialogue. I’m not someone who gives up easily and that in itself proves motivational for me. I feel overwhelmingly obsessed to get it right.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors to follow their dreams of pursuing a career as a professional writer?
There’s such an abundance of really good advice for writers and we would be wise to consider the wisdom of others, but don’t engrave it all in stone and allow yourself to become intimidated or overwhelmed. It’s there to learn from, but not necessarily to feel forced to live by. The number one thing is to believe in yourself, respect your dreams, and trust the yearnings that keep you up at night. Be prepared to work hard, willing to learn, and be patient (the world of publishing is a slow moving machine,). Trust that the talents you possess have been planted in your heart for a purpose. And absolutely don’t let someone else’s “no,” be the last word. Get just mad enough to prove them wrong.

Some great advice there. You listening aspiring authors? So, do you have an interest in reading like many followers of Book Nerd and Critic?
I have been crazy in love with books forever. There were some rough years growing up, and books were the great escape. Then and now, I thrill over finding myself caught up in a beautifully crafted story and have met so many characters I’d love to hang around with in real life. It’s just the saddest thing having to close the cover of a fabulous book when I reach the end and know that I’m not ready to leave it.

What is your favourite book and why?
I first read To Kill a Mockingbird in grade school and knew even then that it would forever remain my favourite book.  It’s perfection. I’ve read it dozens of times over the years and yet each time I reread it I find myself in re-kindled awe of this incredible story.  In love with Atticus, intrigued by Boo, tickled by Dill, and wishing, wishing, wishing to be Scout. Alas, but to write like Harper Lee…

What can fans of The Secret of Lies (such as myself) expect from you in the future? Are you working on anything at the moment?
 I am just now finishing up my latest novel—my plan is to have this “final edit” (Ha, as if there is ever a final edit!) finished by the New Year so I can send it off to my agent. I am a very slow writer and have a certain amount of envy for writers that dash off a book in a matter of months. For me it takes years.  But I’m really happy with this one. It feels good.

Let me know when that one comes out! Do you have a particular role model or successful author that you admire, or perhaps just someone who positively influences you in your writing?
I am blessed beyond measure to have a best friend since 7th grade who is also a writer. Janet is my confidante, angst absorbing, butt-kicking, cheerleading, mojo boosting, incredibly wise and talented comrade of the pen. She has had screenplays optioned by Hollywood and written award winning stage plays produced off-off-Broadway and we’ve been there for each other with every stroke of the keyboard. Whether good, bad, or downright pitiful we’ve shared every bump and milepost of the writing journey. I think that’s so absolutely essential for all of us—to have someone in our life who truly “gets it.”

And most sincere thanks to you, Melissa. It’s been a supreme pleasure meeting you on Book Nerd and Critic, and having such an enjoyable chat with you here.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Review: The Secret of Lies by Barbara Forte Abate

“Uncertain how to proceed into my future when my life remained in a holding pattern, waiting for those answers that would finally bring something of closure to the past.”
Summary from Goodreads (with a few modifications)-
Propelled by an insistent sense of desperation, Stevie Burke is restlessly abandoning home, husband and outwardly contented life under the cover of night, at last resigned to defeat in her long battle against the tortured memories of her past.
Days later, lost and floundering, in a dreary motel room with no plan or destination, it is a long ago song playing on the radio that gently tugs Stevie back through the dust of remembrance. 1957- the last summer spent at the ancient house overlooking the North Atlantic.A season which had unfolded with abundant promise but then spiraled horrible out of control- torn apart by a shattering tragedy that remains splintered in fragments upon her soul. And it is only now that Stevie at last lifts her eyes to stare deep into the heart of her long sequestered memories, that the long held secrets of past and future are unveiled.

Beautifully written and captivating, The Secret of Lies was an amazing tale of sacrifice and emotion that held the beauty of suspense and romance to keep you reading until the final page. I can honestly say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I absolutely adored the characters, with a few exceptions, but I was able to easily relate to most of them. That just made the story all the more enticing.
The plot of the story and the way it was set out was possibly the best thing about the book. It was fresh, original and very addictive! Miss Forte Abate is a writer of extraordinary talent in the way she strings her words together to keep the reader hooked. I found myself shouting at the text at times, just like my dad shouts at the T.V during a football game, because I just wanted to know what would happen! I would find myself yelling things like; "KISS ALREADY!" Can anyone relate? No? Maybe it's just me who shouts at books then.
The main character of the story, Stevie Burke, is a real modern day literary heroine. Her traits which include persistence, determination, individuality, courage and most importantly, a strong sense of self, were very admirable and set a great example for the reader. She had to face a lot of heartache during the course of the plot and she was still able to stand (well, most of the time anyway).
I should point out however, that if you are interested in reading The Secret of Lies, make sure you have a box of tissues handy. I don't think i need to elaborate on their purpose. 
Anyhow, I really do recommend this book as it's suitable for anyone and everyone. The only thing I didn't like about the novel was the ending. I would have preferred a more elaborate finale to what was an amazing story but overall, I really did enjoy The Secret of Lies and I can't wait to see what comes next from the author.

Miss Forte Abate and I will be having an interview soon, so please check in to Book Nerd & Critic to find out a little more about the woman behind the story!

Monday, November 07, 2011

Review: Hades by Alexandra Adornetto

Title: Hades
Author: Alexandra Adornetto
Publisher: Angus & Robertson
Year of Release: 2011
ISBN: 9780732289904
Source: Purchased
Number of Pages: 422
Jake Thorn and his demons have been banished and sent back to the underworld from which they came, and Bethany and Xavier settle down to resume a normal life. But on the night of Halloween, a childish prank goes terribly wrong and Jake is summoned back to the sleepy town of Venus Cove. Bethany is deceived and finds herself dragged into the nightmarish underworld of Hades. 
While the angels call on higher powers to help rescue Bethany, Jake decides to play dirty and goes after the one thing she loves more than anything- Xavier. But to spare his life, Bethany must make the ultimate sacrifice.
Will she make a deal with the devil? And what will happen to an angel in Hell?
It has been a long time since I've read a book that's made me cry. Just like the book that came before it, Hades was brilliant. I absolutely loved it. This book had a lot more suspense and anticipation than Halo, but I liked that. Adornetto has a specific connection to the teenage world and is able to duplicate that knowledge very well in her writing. As a teenager myself, I really felt connected to the story as I'm sure the many others who read this book were too. Girls especially will really enjoy this book. And Xavier is just gorgeous.... you will be crushing on him after the very first chapter.
The only downside to the book is that I didn't exactly agree, or like for that matter, the way Adornetto portrayed Hell. I mean discos and hotels? Get real. I did however, agree with the way she portrayed the souls in Hell. Lifeless wanderers with blank stares and tortured expressions. Have you ever heard of the catholic beliefs of Hell from the medieval era? The catholic church back then had a lot of power and influence and made people fear Hell, threatening that if they didn't obey the catholic religion, that was where they would end up. They made the people believe that Hell was a torturous place, full of death and decay. That demons would torture them endlessly and mercilessly using terrifying methods deigned to inflict pain. In Hades, some parts of Hell were depicted like this, where people were being tortured in the most gruesome ways you can think of.
Lucifer (the original name for the devil/Satan) was depicted as a beautiful, but evil, creature that ruled the underworld of Hades. He was constantly plotting ways to torture people further and had absolutely no sympathy whatsoever, which is sort of how I imagine the attitude of the devil to be like. 

The ending of Hades was brilliant, but it leads onto another book and now I am going to be full of suspense until the next one is released! I would highly recommend this series to anyone and everyone, especially if you have an interest in Heaven, Hell, angels, demons...etc. What I loved most about Halo and Hades are the characters (the good ones, of course!). They are just amazing, their qualities and traits are ones in which you can look up to and really admire. Even though they are fictional, they set a great example and I wouldn't be surprised if people look up to them as their role models. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can't wait to see what comes next from Alexandra Adornetto.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Review: Halo by Alexandra Adornetto

Title: Halo
Author: Alexandra Adornetto
Publisher: Angus & Robertson
Year of Release: 2010
ISBN: 9780732289898
Source: Purchased

Number of Pages: 484 
Nothing much happens in the sleepy town of Venus Cove, apart from the occasional crime. But that's all set to change when three angels, Bethany, Gabriel and Ivy, arrive there. They are sent from Heaven and are on a mission to free Venus Cove from crime and protect the town from the gathering forces of darkness. They must work hard to keep their real identities a secret. But the mission is threatened when the youngest of the angels, Bethany, falls for the handsome school captain, Xavier Woods. Will she defy the laws of Heaven by loving him? Things get serious when the angels realise that they are not the only supernatural power in Venus Cove. There's a new kid in town and he's charming, seductive and deadly. Worst of all, he's after Beth. The angels and Xavier must work together to overcome the dark forces- but will Beth survive the battle?
I must say that I really enjoyed reading this book.  It was a really nice change, fresh and original. I have not read many books with angels as the main focus, but I think it's a great topic. Might even become a  new phenomenon, just like the vampire franchise. The thing I liked best about Halo was that it was such a thought provoking book. It gave me many new concepts to try and grasp and understand about Heaven and Hell, God and the Devil. 
I'll take a moment here just to say that religion is a topic I struggle with. I was raised a Catholic, but sometimes I find myself wondering. I find it hard to believe in something as the rules that apply to some religions eventually come to feel like a task for me. And Alexandra Adornetto really got me thinking. 
Now about the story of the novel. I thought it was great! Although I did find that the book could be a bit slow at times, I loved it. And I also loved all the detail in the book, the words she used to describe those hard-to-get topics, like Heaven. Lets face it, the book had everything from humor and romance to action and suspense. It's a story that will keep you guessing! So to sum up this very short review, I just want to say that Halo was brilliant and that I cannot wait to see what comes next from Alexandra Adornetto.
My Rating: 8/10.
Visit Alexandra Adornetto's facebook page
The sequel to Halo, Hades, was released recently and my review on that will be coming up soon. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Book Blurbs

I got to thinking today and made a little discovery about the blurbs of books. In case you're not sure as to what a blurb is, it is that little section of writing on the back or inside the cover of books that gives you a brief insight as to what the book is about. I'm sure you have read many blurbs before as they are generally the first thing you turn to upon picking up a book in a store. I have judged many books based on what is said in the blurb as once you read it you have decide whether that book is one that interests you. 
But today I considered the fact that maybe some blurbs betray the story of the book. If the blurb is short and doesn't catch the attention of the reader, he or she loses interest quickly and will most likely put the book back and search for another. But if the blurb is witty, interesting and gripping, you're more likely to want to read that book. Now I know that everyone has their own interests when it comes to choosing a book. For me, when I walk into a book store, I go straight to the teenage fiction section as those are the sorts of novels I enjoy reading. I could spend hours there picking books off the shelves at random and reading the blurbs, creating a little pile of the books I actually like and putting the ones I don't like back. But maybe I'm missing out on reading some great books solely because I an quick to judge based on the blurb. 
Maybe a better option, if you have the time and are not in a hurry, is to actually read the first page or two of the book. Sometimes you will find books that say something like 'Try It! Read page 37!' I definitely enjoy finding books like that as you get a deeper insight into the book, without it spoiling anything for you. So next time you're in a book store, please try this idea out and see if it works for you!
I would love to hear your opinions on this matter, so please leave a comment! I realise that this isn't exactly a big issue, but I tend to find that it's the small things that make the biggest differences.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Review: Girls In Trucks by Katie Crouch

Allow me to begin this review with a question mark. ?
The reason for this question mark is to signify my confusion about the story line of this book. (and the fact that it ever got published.)
Now I know this sounds harsh but I have no clue as to what to write about this book except that I didn't like it at all. I'm not saying that this is a terrible novel, I'm saying that it just wasn't the right novel for me. In my last book review, the one on Saving June, I mentioned that I like it when the reader could relate to the characters of the novel. And the main character in Girls In Trucks was not someone I could relate to in any way and in any sense of the world. 
The book is set in Charleston, South Carolina and the main character Sarah Walters is a debutante that tries hard to follow the rules that come with being in that profession. After leaving her home town in search of an adventure she travels to many different locations, looking for nothing in particular. Now I think it may be safe to say that there was sex or a reference toward sex in every chapter. That was the most disturbing part of the book for me. The author also went into a large amount of detail during these parts of the book. I won't give any examples. 
I'm sure if you do a bit of research you will see that many other people share my opinion of this book. Sarah Walters is not a character the reader can look up to or share opinions with or admire. How can you admire someone when all they do in their life is sleep around (in great detail)? That does not make a good role model in my opinion. At the end of the book, Sarah had accomplished absolutely nothing that benefits her. Instead she ends up a single mother, back in her hometown. So what can we learn from this book? Nothing. 

Look out for my next review on Halo by Alexandra Adornetto! 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Review: Saving June by Hannah Harrrington

Title: Saving June
Author: Hannah Harrington
Publisher: Harlequin Mills & Boon
Year of Release: 2011
ISBN: 9781921794094
Source: Purchased
Number of Pages: 376
Harper Scott's older sister has always been the perfect one- so when June takes her own life a week before her high school graduation, sixteen year-old Harper is devastated. Everyone's sorry, but no one can explain why. 
When her divorcing parents decide to split her sister's ashes into his and her urns, Harper takes matters into her own hands. She'll steal the ashes and drive cross-country with her best friend, Laney, to the one place June always dreamed of going- California. 
Enter Jake Tolan. He's a boy with a bad attitude, a classic-rock obsession and nothing in common with Harper's sister. But Jake had a connection with June and when he insists on joining them, Harper's just desperate enough to let him. With his alternately charming and infuriating demeanor and his belief that music can see you through anything, he might be exactly what she needs.
Except June wasn't the only one hiding something. Jake's keeping a secret that has the power to turn Harper's life upside down- again.
I have begun to notice that whenever I walk into a bookstore, there are so many books on vampire romances and all the mythology that goes with it that I am starting to get a little irritated that that is all authors are writing about these days. Craving something different, I went into a bookstore looking for something new and original to read and found Saving June. Now, have you ever read one of those books that keep you up night? Not in a scary way, but just that the story is so deep and meaningful, you can't take your mind off it? Well, Saving June is one of those books. During the time I was reading this book, I woke up every morning and instead of getting out of bed and making breakfast like I usually do, I would just roll over to my night-stand, turn on the lamp and read Saving June until noon. It is incredible the way the way the book goes into just the right amount of detail at all the right times, the way the characters seem so real, the way the story actually has a meaning, can express to people and is actually worth something. Is this making any sense?
This book taught me a lot about the kinds of bonds between siblings, that you actually have to experience this kind of love toward a brother or sister before you can completely understand it. Having a younger sister myself is great and having this relationship is so important to me. Yes, we fight a lot but the truth is we love each other. I am so protective of my sister and I never want anything to hurt her so I could relate to Harper in this book. And I think that's very important in a story, that the reader feels they can relate to the character. Saving June is an amazing debut.
It is one of those books you can't put down, no matter how hard you try and it is a story that will stick with you long after you turn the final page. I can't recommend it highly enough and I can assure you that you will want to hug this book when you finish it!

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Hey guys! I am very excited to tell you that the last book in the Shiver trilogy by Maggie Steifvater has finally been released. I am a big fan of these books! I read the first two in the series, Shiver and Linger, and loved them. I am sad though that the story has come to an end, but relieved to know what happens after months of suspense. Once I actually get around to reading Forever, I will write my usual blog on it. This may take a while due to the many large piles of stacked up books in my closet that are yet to be read. 
Maggie Steifvater has also written another popular series (it consists of only two books so far) Lament and Ballad. (I will get around to reading those, I promise!)
You can check out Maggie's online website here by clicking on the link I must take a moment here to acknowledge what a beautiful website it is, too! 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Review: Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Elizabeth is in her thirties, settled in a large house with a husband who loves her and wants to start a family. But she doesn't want any of it. A bitter divorce and a rebound fling later, Elizabeth emerges battered, yet determined to find what she's been missing. So she begins her quest. In Rome, she indulges herself in food. In India, she finds enlightenment through scrubbing temple floors. Finally, in Bali, a toothless medicine man reveals a new path to peace, leaving her ready to love again.
What a story! Eat Pray Love was an amazing journey and I highly recommend it to all women. This biography on Elizabeth Gilbert gives us an insight into a normal person's life, not just a made up character. Gilbert is witty, funny, talented and dedicated, dropping everything to travel and find whatever part of herself she is missing. She is determined and passionate and ready to take on the world! Gilbert is such a positive role model to women everywhere. She shows us that life is not perfect and it doesn't have to be. Break-ups happen and sometimes we don't always make the right decisions. But what fun is life if you don't mess it up sometimes? They say you learn from your mistakes, so lets make some! Sorry, I've gotten completely off topic here. Anyway, what I'm trying to get across in this post is that nobody's life is perfect and we can learn this from Elizabeth Gilbert's amazing story. She is a beautiful person and Eat Pray Love is a beautiful book.
My rating: 9/10
Eat Pray Love is now a major motion picture and available to own on DVD. 
Click the link below to visit Elizabeth Gilbert's official website.

Review: Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James

Title: Beautiful Malice
Author: Rebecca James
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Year of Release: 2010
ISBN: 9781742376820
Source: Purchased
Number of Pages: 283
Katherine has moved away from her shattered family to start afresh in Sydney. There she keeps her head down until she is befriended by the charismatic, party loving Alice, who brings her out of her shell. But there is a dark side to Alice, something seductive, yet threatening. And as Katherine learns the truth about Alice, their tangled destinies spiral to a shocking ending.
Fast-paced, absorbing and utterly gripping, Beautiful Malice is a sexy thriller that will have you feverishly turning the pages. This novel was great and very enjoyable. Alice is a fantastic heroine, someone who I think we all want to be, but are just afraid to admit it. Katherine and Alice are completely different people, but when they merge, the novel takes a fascinating twist. Full of fun, lovable characters and a creative plot, Beautiful Malice is sure to get your heart pumping. So find a nice spot on the couch and curl up with this one. A book to read in one sitting!

Review: Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

Tilte: Bloodlines
Author: Richelle Mead
Publisher: Penguin Group
Year of Release: 2011
ISBN: 9781921518881
Source: Purchased
Number of Pages: 421
Sydney's blood is special. That's because she's an alchemist - one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans ans vampires. They protect vampire secrets - and human lives. But the last encounter Sydney had with vampires got her in deep trouble with the other alchemists. And now with her allegiances in question, her future is on the line.
When Sydney is torn from her bed in the middle of the night, at first she thinks she's still being punished for her complicated alliance with dhampir Rose Hathaway. But what unfolds is far worse. Jill Dragomir - the sister of Moroi Queen Lissa Dragomir - is in mortal danger, and the Moroi must send her into hiding. To avoid a civil war, Sydney is called upon to act as Jill's guardian and protector, posing as her roommate in the unlikeliest of places: a human boarding school in Palm Springs, California. The last thing Sydney wants is to be accused of sympathising with vampires. And now she has to live with one.
The Moroi court believe Jill and Sydney will be safe at Amberwood Prep, but threats, distractions and forbidden romance lurk both outside - and within - the school grounds. Now that they're in hiding, the drama is only just beginning. 
A big fan of the Vampire Academy books, the first novel in the spin-off series, Bloodlines, was an amazing book written by a very talented author. The book had everything from romance and action to mystery and suspense. If you have read the Vampire Academy series already, you would know about the epic battles that go on between the two types of vampires; Moroi and Strigoi. The Moroi vampires are mortal and are able to yield one of the five types of magic; water, earth, fire, air or spirit. The Strigoi however, are evil and twisted and do their very best to attack and kill the Moroi when they get the chance. Luckily, the dhampirs (people who are part human, part Moroi) are around to act as bodyguards and are more commonly referred to as guardians. 
In Bloodlines, the story is given from Sydney Sage, an Alchemist and a fairly new character first introduced to us in Blood Promise, the fourth novel in the Vampire Academy series. After an attack on Jill Mastrano, the Moroi queen's half sister, Sydney is called in as Jill's bodyguard and protector as Jill is forced to go into hiding at a private boarding school in Palm Springs, California. 
The novel includes a few characters from the original series including; Adrian Ivashkov, Eddie Castile and shortly in the beginning, Rose Hahthaway and Abe Mazur. So many surprising twists and I'm sure readers just wanted to punch Keith in the face at so many parts of the book! He was an idiot. There are unexpected romances, ones that I'm sure many of you predicted (Sydney and Adrian *cough*) but it is an amazing book!
The highly awaited novel is finally here and will not disappoint!
Visit the official Bloodlines website:
or visit Richelle Mead's website where you can keep up to date on all her new books and appearances:

Review: Girl Saves Boy by Steph Bowe

The book tells the story of a young girl Jewel Valentine and the boy she saves from drowning in a lake, Sacha Thomas. The story goes back and forth between the two character's points of views and, I must say, is beautifully written.When the two meet, Sacha is suffering from terminal cancer and Jewel is still coping with the death of her brother. Both characters are having a tough time at home and can relate to each other in certain ways. The story is both witty and charming and had me eagerly turning pages until I reached the end. Along with lovable characters and a great plot, this book is one of the best I have read in a while. Girl Saves Boy was a touching story and I recommend it highly to those who have not already read it.
Rating: 8/10
Click on the link to see Steph Bowe's online blog 'Hey Teenager!'