Saturday, 29 October 2011

Review- Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: The Scorpio Races
Author: Maggie Stiefvater 
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: October 6th 2011
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy
Rating: 4/5

It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die. 

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

I have not read any previous material from Maggie Stiefvater but I have heard a lot about Shiver so when I saw The Scorpio Races in the library I picked it up.I couldn't really tell what the story was about by reading the blurb.
Basically The Scorpio Races is about killer horses that live in the sea kinda like sharks but they come onto land and eat people. The people of Skarmouth, where this book is set, participate each year in an event called The Scorpio Races where they capture and try to train the killer horses called Cappaill Uisce and race them every November. It's a different and very Interesting Concept.

The two main characters in the story is a girl called Kate (Her nickname is Puck which I didn't understand why?) and a boy called Sean. Kate enters the Scorpio races to prevent her older brother Gabriel from leaving and going to the mainland. Kate's parents are actually killed by the Capaill Uisce so she lives with her two brothers. One thing I didn't get was why none of the youngsters on the island of skarmouth go to school, maybe it is set in a different time? I think they should have elaborated a bit more on that.

Sean is the only person on the island who can tame the Cappaill Uisce. He works for a man called Benjamin Malvern, Sean comes across as a moody and mysterious teenager. What I really liked about his character was that he isn't a typical YA hero he is not described as overly handsome or perfect which was a good change as I was getting tired of drop dead gorgeous, cliched male leads. 

Kate trains with her land horse called Dove but it isn't as fast as the Capaill Uisce. One character who annoyed me to no end was her older brother Gabe. Why he decides to leave his two siblings and go off I don't really get, Sean also has a enemy called Matthew Malvern who despises Sean because of his father's obvious preference for Sean than him. Matthew Malvern is another character I disliked  because he's just a mean old bully.

The love story in this book is very gradual. No love at first sight  which was refreshing to read, the book shows how Puck slowly begins to Discover Sean and after years of being lonely and only caring about his horse Sean starts to respect and love Puck. I thought it was cute especially near the end.

My favorite quote is when Puck tells Sean "I will not be your weakness Sean Kendrick" and he replies "It's too late for that Puck" which is just so adorable.

Maggie Stiefvater's writing is great, she really manages to capture the scene for the reader and I love the fact that this isn't your typical YA.
The bad points has to be that even though the concept is great I found it hard to get my head around the fact of why anyone would want to race with man eating horses or live on an island that has the Scorpio races and why none of the youngsters are educated? They all seem caught up in the Scorpio Races. Some parts of the book dragged and I think many secondary characters were unnecessary.

Apart from that I think this was a good read and a change from other YA fiction out there.
I would recommend this book if you like Maggie's previous work and are interested in savage horses and racing  or just if you are looking for something new and not cliched to read.

Buy Scorpio Races here

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Review- Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Title: Glow
Author: Amy Kathleen Ryan
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Release date: 07/10/2011
Genre: dystopian/science fiction
Rating: 5/5

What if you were bound for a new world, about to pledge your life to someone you'd been promised to since birth, and one unexpected violent attack made survival—not love—the issue?
Out in the murky nebula lurks an unseen enemy: the New Horizon. On its way to populate a distant planet in the wake of Earth's collapse, the ship's crew has been unable to conceive a generation to continue its mission. They need young girls desperately, or their zealous leader's efforts will fail. Onboard their sister ship, the Empyrean, the unsuspecting families don't know an attack is being mounted that could claim the most important among them...
Fifteen-year-old Waverly is part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space; she was born on the Empyrean, and the large farming vessel is all she knows. Her concerns are those of any teenager—until Kieran Alden proposes to her. The handsome captain-to-be has everything Waverly could ever want in a husband, and with the pressure to start having children, everyone is sure he's the best choice. Except for Waverly, who wants more from life than marriage—and is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth. But when the Empyrean faces sudden attack by their assumed allies, they quickly find out that the enemies aren't all from the outside.

I picked up Glow at a whim, falling in love with the cover at the book store and the blurb interested me. After reading Across the Universe I was looking for another book set in space and this one definitely did the trick.

So basically there are two ships. The New Horizon and The Empyrean, both headed to New Earth. On both ships there are problems with infertility but on the Empyrean they had found a cure to help females become pregnant. On the New Horizon women are unable to conceive possibly leading to the destruction of any possible future generations and because of this the New Horizon decided to attack The Empyrean kidnapping a number of its female passengers.

Waverly is one of the first children born upon the Empyrean and she is in love with Kieran future captain of the ship. What gripped me about this pairing is that it isn’t your typical love story. Kieran isn’t portrayed as the perfect guy and those who read on the end will see why. I think this brought some realism to the story line as couples do have their issues. Seth, the dark, broody “bad boy” of the novel is also a possible love interest for Waverly and a love triangle develops in the book. (I’m a sucker for a good love triangle). Waverly the female heroine is a very likable character. Being only 15 she is strong character, brave and bold. After being kidnapped by the New Horizon it is up to her to take charge and become the leader. As a feminist I found her story line much more intriguing that say Kieran her male counterpart. What I also loved about the book is how the author did a great job with the secondary characters. Glow is one of the few books which the secondary characters are all different ethnicity's. Sarek Hassan one of Kieran’s friends is an Asian boy from a Muslim background. It was interesting to read of the different ethnicity's on board of the ship and I think its important as an author to make the book more realistic with multicultural characters like we have in our world today.

Religion plays a huge factor in the book. The New Horizon are very religious people who attend a spiritual assembly every week where they pray and thank God. However The Empyrean is a largely atheist ship where only very few people such as Kieran believe in God. This proves to be a huge issue to Waverly towards the end of the novel where she contemplates how she can marry anyone so devoted to a God and also preaches that devotion to “manipulate” others.

Now on to the bad points. As much as I loved this book I had one very huge issue. Which was the male leads, Kieran and Seth. Normally when I'm reading a book I fall in love with the protagonist of the book. However in this book it wasn’t the case. A few chapters in I was convinced I was “Team Seth”. But then I actually got to know Seth more and more and decided that I didn’t actually like him all that much. Then I was back to Kieran but his goody two shoes personality started to grate on me Towards the end of the book I am still indecisive to which one I prefer and I’m not sure how I feel about that. Hopefully in the next book when I learn about the characters more I will have come to conclusion.

I absolutely can’t wait until the next book of this exciting trilogy. The book ends in a HUGE cliff hanger and to be frank I don’t know how I can wait to long until the next one is released. I highly recommend Glow to anyone out there looking for a unusual dystopian/science fiction romance novel. Amy Kathleen does a great Job with the narrative and you are hooked from the first few pages.

Click here to buy the book.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Review- Ashes by Ilsa J.Bick

Title: Ashes
Author: Ilsa J. Bick
Publisher: Quercus (U.K)
Release Date: 29/09/2011
Genre: Young Adult/ Speculative fiction
Rating: 5/5

Alex has run away and is hiking through the wilderness with her dead parents' ashes, about to say goodbye to the life she no longer wants to live. But then the world suddenly changes. An electromagnetic pulse sweeps through the sky zapping every electronic device and killing the vast majority of adults. For those spared, it's a question of who can be trusted and who has changed... Everyone still alive has turned - some for the better (those who acquired a superhuman sense) while others for the worse (those who acquired a taste for human flesh). Desperate to find out what happened and to avoid the zombies that are on the hunt, Alex meets up with Tom - an Army veteran who escaped one war only to find something worse at home - and Ellie, a young girl whose grandfather was killed by the electromagnetic pulse. This improvised family will have to use every ounce of courage they have just to find food, shelter, while fighting off the 'Changed' and those desperate to stay alive.

When I first read the blurb of this book I was instantly intrigued, the concept of a world divided between cannibals and people who have developed a superhuman sense was interesting,but I didn't know what to expect as I had never heard of the author or the book before. This book didn't disappoint after the first few pages I was hooked. The female lead in Ashes is called Alex and suffers from a brain tumor after an earth shattering Electromagnetic pulse, she is left with a superhuman sense of smell, she meets a girl called Ellie in the woods while hiking and together they try to find out what has happened why are people suddenly dropping dead,or why are young teenagers suddenly turning into human flesh eaters they also come across a young army veteran called Tom who helps them and fights with them a little sub-plot emerges of a attraction between Alex and Tom.

Ilsa Bick's descriptions are vivid and made me imagine the setting clearly. It is quite scary to imagine a world where people feed on humans and all means of communication and transport is dead the fear that infected Alex had the same effect on me at times. I was constantly on edge while reading Ashes, it has amazing twists and a wonderful plot-line. Ilsa J.Bick's writing style is incredible. I also loved the love triangle element in the story (I prefer Chris).
There was huge cliff hanger at the end my jaw literally dropped open I honestly cannot wait for the sequel!

This is a must read for dystopian,post-Apocalyptic and sci-fi fans.

Click here to buy Ashes

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Interview with Katie M John

Recently we had the amazing opportunity to interview Katie John on her Knight trilogy books and her experiences as an author. Check it out below!

1. How did you come up with the idea for the Knight trilogy? and why YA Arthurian?
The legends of King Arthur were the stories of my childhood. I have always been completely enchanted by the romance of the Grail legends and especially the doomed romance of Lancelot and Quenivere. As a teenager I fell in love with the Pre-Raphaelite movement because many of their paintings brought the Arthurian legends to life. I finally read Morte De Arthur by Mallory whilst on maternity leave with my daughter Rossetti. The story evoked such a sense of my past that I just started writing the story of Mina and Blake.

2. Are there any authors who have inspired you to write? or was it something you always loved?
I have always loved to write; I'm an only child and it was a way that I passed the time of a lot of my childhood. I did some 'serious' writing when I was at university but set it aside when I started teaching. The combination of having my daughter and turning thirty coincided with a discovery of YA literature; something I'd never read up until this point. It was a powerful combination.


3. Describe Knight trilogy briefly?
A haunting tale of love and loss. A romantic fairytale with a dark and dangerous shadow. An awakening.

4. What's the best part of being an author?
Sharing my story with readers and talking about the magical world I've created makes me feel unbelievably lucky and very humbled. I've made some wonderful friends because of Blake and Mina's story. Also, being able to live more than one life makes me feel like I'm cheating time.

5. Any word's of advice to aspiring writers out there?
Chip away at it. Don't give up. Every word Counts.
Check out her website here
Buy the book from Amazon here

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Top 10 Tuesday- Books I Bought Because Of Their Covers

Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the brokeandbookish, this week's topic is book's I bought because of their covers:

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Review- Hades by Alexandra Adornetto

Title: Hades
Author: Alexandra Adornetto
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Release Date:30/08/2011
Genre: Angel/Paranormal romance

Bethany Church is an angel sent to Earth to keep dark forces at bay. Falling in love was never part of her mission, but the bond between Beth and her mortal boyfriend, Xavier Woods, is undeniably strong. But even Xavier’s love, and the care of her archangel siblings, Gabriel and Ivy, can’t keep Beth from being tricked into a motorcycle ride that ends up in Hell. There, the demon Jake Thorn bargains for Beth’s release back to Earth. But what he asks of her will destroy her, and quite possibly, her loved ones, as well.

Hades was one of my most eagerly anticipating books of Autumn 2011 and I was not disappointed. Following the success of Halo I had doubts that this second book could live up to the first, but it surpassed its predecessor by a land mile.

Carrying on from where Halo ended, Bethany, the angel on earth is still in a strong relationship with her boyfriend Xavier a mortal. But one night on Halloween Bethany is tricked on going on a motorcycle ride with Jake the demon and taken to Hades otherwise known as Hell.

I love how Hades is described in this book. It defeats the stereotypical hell one would imagine and instead makes it sound like one huge party. Hades is described as having many different clubs, glamorous hotels and restaurants and actually a place I would like to visit.

Jake the prince of Hell played the evil bad boy character in Halo. He definitely was not a favourite of mine in the first book. However In Hades we see a more compassionate and caring side of him. The reader actually wonders if he really does care a lot about Bethany which is insinuated. I found his character intriguing especially during the last part of the book when we start to see the real Jake emerge.

Ultimately, this series is about the battle between Heaven and Hell and good and evil. I enjoyed the religious theme in the book and loved the modern take on some old stories about angels seen in holy texts such as the Bible. However I found some parts a bit cringing. Especially their take on Lucifer in Hell. I thought his character was too cliché.

The story ends on a giant climax. I can’t wait for the final book to come out. I am curious to see how the Xavier/Bethany/Jake love triangle plays out as well as the love story of some of the secondary characters.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

National Novel Writing Month

Hey everyone!

I just recently found out about this novel writing competition and it sounds pretty cool. I am a aspiring author so this was perfect for me! If any of you people are budding writers you might like to give it a go. What you have to do is write a novel in a month more details are on the website
There are a lot of cool things to do and many nanowrimo novels have been published books.
So go sign up and look out for me there as S.R Deen, you will get to read a short excerpt from my novel!

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by thestorysiren.

This week I purchased:
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Wasted by Nicola Morgan
The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Fire by James Patterson

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Top 10 Tuesday's- Sana's books I wish I could read again for the first time

Top 10 Tuesdays is hosted weekly by broke and bookish. This week's topic is a exciting one, the top 10 books I wish I could read again for the first time.Today I could only think of 5:

1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K Rowling- This is because being the last Harry Potter book, I dreaded that it was all going to end so just to experience the excitement again I remember when I first had the book in my hand and was so hyped. I would surely want to read this for the first time. This book was also soo amazing to read, I was constantly on the edge of my seat.

2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins- I remember obsessing over this book all night, I couldn't sleep just thinking about it, and it was such a exciting read.

3. Wither by Lauren deStefano- Because it was so great to read

4. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman- I only read this book once but loved it, but for some reason couldn't read it again even though I picked up the book many times with the intention. So I would like to read this again for the first time

5. Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix- I can't read this book again i don't know why, but I really liked this trilogy so just to experience it all again.  

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Interview with Aurora Lightbourne

Recently we had the amazing opportunity to interview Aurora Lightbourne on her upcoming novel Brass Hearts- A Steampunk Fairytale for her book blog tour . Check it out below!

1) What made you want to become a writer?

I like stories. I am always coming up with some story or other. I think my first 'book' was one I wrote when I was about 7. It was about a huge coconut bug that was taking over a city. It was 'bound' with staples and even had pictures, one of my Dad's co-workers gave me a gold star review.
I have always had an affinity for words. I loved to read as a kid and teen. Trixie Belden books were my favorite. A book in one hand and a dictionary in the other, good times.

2) For those who don’t know describe Brass Hearts briefly.

Brass Hearts is a sweet little love story, at least in my opinion. Dulcet, the main character, may disagree as she was put through a lot during the course of the book, but all ends well.
I called it a 'steampunk fairytale' because it is a sweet story and also because even though it is set in a steampunk, steam powered, world it does not center on that. Like a fairytale it skims the details of where and when and focuses on the people and events.
I consider it as a cross between Pride and Prejudice and Cinderella. It has a few P&P elements, but leans more towards Cinderella.
Dulcet Spry just wants to live a peaceful little country life, working at her Father's business and hopefully someday inherit it. Her younger sister has greater ambitions. Ones that drag Dulcet out of her comfort zone and into society where secrets get out she wish hadn't  as her dreams seem to slowly fall from her grasp. All the while she is caught in a flirtatious relationship with one rich Gentleman, and what she considers a mutual dislike with another. But things aren't quite as they seem.

3) How did you come up with the idea for Brass Hearts?

The character, Dulcet Spry, came to me first. After that, as I thought about her, she revealed details of the world she lived in, her family, her past, a new irksome acquaintance and the story fell together from there.
4) Have you planned a sequel? Or a series maybe?

I have not planned a sequel to Brass Hearts. I do have another 'fairytale' mix waiting in the wings. It will have to wait a while though as I am currently working on book five of my ongoing SciFi/Fantasy series, Space Trippers.  Space Trippers Book 5: Don't Even Ask will be done and out early spring 2012, I hope. So then I can possibly work on the next 'fairytale' before starting on Space Trippers six.

5) What made you want to write for this particular genre?

Dulcet. I had no intention of writing a steampunk book, but that is where she told me she lived, so there you go. I had liked the steampunk style before then, so she did not have a hard time convincing me.

6)Are there any Authors who inspired you to write? Or any works that you admire?

I love Jane Austen's style. She was very witty and did not seem to take herself too seriously in her works. There is a lot of humor in there. I like humor.
Douglas Adams is my other favorite author. Zany is what he was. Love the off-the-wall observations and conversations in his works.
Like them I try not to take myself too seriously. I write what I enjoy and I enjoy light stories with humor when at all possible. Which is very evident in my SciFi/Fantasy series. There are some really....untraditional characters in that.

7) Do you have any advice for an aspiring writer?

Write what YOU like. Don't write just to fit in with a trend or someone else's ideas. You cannot please everyone,  so just make sure YOU are happy with what you write, that it says what you want it to, that you are true to your story and your characters. Nobody else can write your story, each writer is unique, each story they write is unique and can only come from them. Nobody else could write what is in your head. As long as you wrote it down as it played out in your mind, and you are happy with it, you succeeded, be confident.
For more information please visit
Click here to purchase book.

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme by where bloggers post new books they have received/purchased.

This week I received/bought:
Far From the War by Jeffrey David Payne (Adult)
Bumped by Megan McCafferty
Across the Universe by Beth Revis
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult (Adult)
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