Monday, April 30, 2012

Review: Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock

Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 404
Received: Won from the author

Release Date: May 8, 2012
Buy From / Buy From

Goodreads Synopsis:

Mackenzie and Amy were best friends. Until Amy was brutally murdered.

Since then, Mac’s life has been turned upside down. She is being haunted by Amy in her dreams, and an extremist group called the Trackers has come to Mac’s hometown of Hemlock to hunt down Amy’s killer: A white werewolf.

Lupine syndrome—also known as the werewolf virus—is on the rise across the country. Many of the infected try to hide their symptoms, but bloodlust is not easy to control.

Wanting desperately to put an end to her nightmares, Mac decides to investigate Amy’s murder herself. She discovers secrets lurking in the shadows of Hemlock, secrets about Amy’s boyfriend, Jason, her good pal Kyle, and especially her late best friend. Mac is thrown into a maelstrom of violence and betrayal that puts her life at risk.

Kathleen Peacock’s thrilling novel is the first in the Hemlock trilogy, a spellbinding urban fantasy series filled with provocative questions about prejudice, trust, lies, and love.

My Review:

Wow, this book was absolutely amazing. Kathleen Peacock did a great job with her story. I love that this is the year that all the darker stories are coming out. With all the werewolf and vampire books out there this one is a nice difference (Not that there are vampires in this book though!) This is a supernatural story with a  love story intertwined, as well as a murder mystery and even some politics inserted in there. Kathleen just adds everything to this story and it works amazingly well!

I was drawn to this book right from the beginning. Kathleen opens up the book with such a haunting scene, and from there it is impossible to put this book down. Everything just seems to move so quickly in this book, but it works for this story. Kathleen weaves the background of Mackenzie and her friends into the story so it's not like other books where you start with the background before getting into the story.

This book was packed with action, secrets and lies from all the characters. I found myself thinking one thing and Kathleen would turn the story around that I could not think about what was coming next. And I will be honest I did not see that ending coming, I was completely thrown with what Mac and her friends find out. Kathleen did a great job adding in an extra level of creepiness to the story by having the scenes of Amy and Mackenzie, I absolutely loved those scenes, they actually gave me chills at points.

Mackenzie is a very well written character. I enjoyed how she tries to be strong for everyone around her in her own way. She is a character that spends more time thinking of others than herself (not to say she doesn't have her selfish moments, who doesn't).

This is definitely a book for you all to check out. If you like mystery, supernatural and some romance check this one out! 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Review: Forgotten by Catherine McKenzie

Publisher: Harper Collins Canada
Pages: 368
Received: Received from the publisher through Netgalley

Release Date: May 1, 2012
Buy From / Buy from

Goodreads Synopsis:

When everyone thinks you’re dead, how do you start your life over again?

Emma Tupper, a young lawyer with a bright future, sets out on a journey after her mother’s death: to Africa, a place her mother always wanted to visit. But her mother’s dying gift has unexpected consequences. Emma falls ill during the trip and is just recovering when a massive earthquake hits, turning her one-month vacation into a six-month ordeal.

When Emma returns home, she’s shocked to find that her friends and colleagues believed she was dead, that her apartment has been rented to a stranger and that her life has gone on without her. Can Emma pick up where she left off? Should she? As Emma struggles to recreate her old life, everyone around her thinks she should change – her job, her relationships, and even herself. But does she really want to sacrifice everything she’s working so hard to gain? - read one of her other books and adore her writing

My Review:

I really loved the premise of this novel, what would you do if everyone in your life thought you were dead. The synopsis is very intriguing making you think about would you start your life over after something like this? The thing that really caught my attention with this book is that something like this could happen to anyone. With all these natural disasters, many people end up missing without a way to contact family/friends.

This book was surprisingly a quick read, I found myself curled up on the couch and before I knew it I was finished it (in one nice long sitting). I just could never find a good moment to tear myself away from the book.

Catherine's writing is beautiful and she draws you into the story right from the beginning. Her characters have so much personality to them, they are people you see yourself being friends with (Emma's best friend Stephanie has an idea of a bookstore/dating enterprise which I thought was amazing!) It was interesting to follow Emma on her path to get back her life and by doing so she really takes a look at her life before her trip and her path to rediscover herself and change.

When I finished I found that this book was so much more than a light and funny chick lit book, Catherine really tries to put the reader in Emma's situation. There are so many lines throughout the book that really make you think about life, one of my favourite parts in the book is when Emma mentions playing the "Stuck on a Desert Island game when she was a kid and how she horrible at it, and then she found herself in that exact situation with nothing" (I'm horrible at that game as well and after this book I feel like I should get better at it now.) But my favourite line is near the end when Emma says "Life doesn't wait. You have to make it happen. You have to live it while it's happening around you. Life moves on."

This book will definitely stick with you for a time after you finish it. Definitely pick this one up as a great summer read. Catherine has an amazing talent with her words, and this book is definitely my favourite of hers. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (16)

Waiting on Wednesday hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine lets bloggers show off what they are most excited for. My pick this week is:

Publisher: Faber & Faber
Release Date: June 7, 2012

Once you've seen into the future, can you change your destiny?

In a near future, society is segregated according to whether people are genetically disposed to mental illness. 17-year-old Ana has been living the privileged life of a Pure due to an error in her DNA test. When the authorities find out, she faces banishment from her safe Community, a fate only thwarted by the fact that she has already been promised to Pure-boy Jasper Taurell.

Jasper is from a rich and influential family and despite Ana’s condition, wants to be with her. The authorities grant Ana a tentative reprieve. If she is joined to Jasper before her 18th birthday, she may stay in the Community until her illness manifests. But if Jasper changes his mind, she will be cast out among the Crazies. As Ana’s joining ceremony and her birthday loom closer, she dares to hope she will be saved from the horror of the City and live a ‘normal’ life. But then Jasper disappears.

Led to believe Jasper has been taken by a strange sect the authorities will not intefere with, Ana sneaks out of her well-guarded Community to find him herself. Her search takes her through the underbelly of society and into the pits of the human soul. And as she delves deeper into the mystery of Jasper's abduction she uncovers some devastating truths that destroy everything she has grown up to believe, but she also learns to love as she has never loved before.

What are you waiting on today?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Review: The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 504
Received: Received from the publisher through Netgalley

Release Date: April 24, 2012
Buy From / Buy From

Goodreads Synopsis:

In a future world, Vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity.

Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.

Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked—and given the ultimate choice. Die… or become one of the monsters.

Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.

Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend—a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.

But it isn't easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what—and who—is worth dying for.

My Review:

Julie Kagawa has done it again. I have not yet finished reading her Iron Fey series but from what I have read I can tell you her writing is just as amazing in this story as it is in that series. There are so many vampire books out there now that I was a little hesitant, but Julie brings us back to the old school (ie. Anne Rice) kind of vampires. What was really interesting was that Julie made this story into a dystopian world, and this is a new take on the other dystopian books out there right now.

This story is back to where vampires are actually feared by humans and Julie definitely shows readers why they are the demons of our nightmares. Julie definitely makes this story a dark tale, the action throughout is engrossing for the reader. The idea that vampires rule over everyone is definitely frightening, and Julie does a wonderful job with her world building, showing readers how everything happened.

What really made this story stand out for me was that this story is actually told from the perspective of a vampire. Julie took a different approach and it worked amazingly well! I loved seeing the world from a vampire's view and how Allie actually takes to everyone's view of vampires. For me this was such an interesting take on a story and I loved it. I did find it was a little slow in the beginning, getting to know Allie and some of the history of how the vampires took over, but that slowness quickly faded into an action packed story.

Reading as Allie tries to pass as human throughout the novel was amazing. I felt for Allie throughout trying hard to pretend to be something she isn't, and the budding romance was well done. Julie takes a new take on the vampire/human relationship and I am excited to see where she takes this in the following books.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Review: When Destiny Knocks by Heather M. White

Publisher: Self-published
Pages: N/A
Received: Received from author in exchange for honest review

Release Date: December 2011


16 year old Karlie has had a pretty normal life... But when her Mom dies she is forced to move over 1,000 miles away to live with her Dad. That's when things start getting weird.

She can't explain the earthquakes that nobody else feels, or why she no longer sleeps. But most of all she doesn't know why she trusts Shane so much, even though his Dad wants her dead.

Suddenly, Karlie's normal life is turned upside down and she enters a world she never dreamed could really exist.

My Review:

When Destiny Knocks was an interesting story for me. It was nice and short, so I just flew through it (read it during my 2 hour commute home from work). I really enjoyed that this story had a lot of different magical creatures in the story (it was a little like The Iron Fey series in that way).

I do have to say that for such a short story it was a little slow going and took time to get into what was actually going on. But I did find that for a short story I did not feel like things were left out, even knowing that this is the first part of a series. I was expecting a little more action to the story after reading the synopsis, but there was not all that much, because Heather spent this story getting into the background of everyone around.

I did find the story interesting, there was a good amount of comedy (in sarcasm) added, which I really enjoy in these kind of stories. The beginning of the story does make you wonder where the whole story is going, and I was more intrigued with the story as I went on and Katie started feeling these things that no one else around her could sense.

The one thing that I wasn't a fan of was the whole instant attraction between some of the characters, I've seen it too much and it just isn't believable for me. Despite that (and a few spelling/grammatical errors that distracted me a little throughout) the book was well written and interesting at times. I am still interested to see what will happen next following the ending of this book.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

In My Mailbox (12)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren that lets us show off some of our goodies we have received in the past week (or in my case the past 3 weeks). So here goes...

Last week I decided to pick up a copy of The Taker by Alma Katsu (gorgeous cover by the way!) and I also received some awesome swag from her, including a signed book plate (yay!)

I also got invited to a lovely event at Random House Canada and got to pick up some awesome books!
You Against Me by Jenny Downham
The Green Man by Michael Bedard 
The Taming by Eric Walters and Teresa Toten (signed!)
Dragon Turn by Shane Peacock (signed!)
Noah Barleywater Runs Away by John Boyne (signed!)
Timepiecec by Myra McEntire
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Cross My Heart by Sasha Gould
Someone Else's Life by Katie Dale

I received The Land of Decoration by Grace McCleen from a Chapters/Indigo contest! Can't wait to dive into this one! And was given a copy of Ripper by Amy Carol Reeves from Wendy at A Cupcake and a Latte because she had an extra copy.
I received this copy of Arranged by Catherine McKenzie from Harper Collins US for the upcoming release in the States (already released here in Canada) 

And finally, I went to a great event at Penguin Canada to meet Gurjinder Basran and hear her talk about her book Everything Was Good-bye and got a signed copy of it as well as some awesome swag bags from Chatelaine which included A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Review: The Headmaster's Wager by Vincent Lam

Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Pages: 400
Received: Received from Publisher through Netgalley

Release Date: April 24, 2012
Buy From / Buy From

Goodreads Synopsis:

From Giller Prize winner, internationally acclaimed, and bestselling author Vincent Lam comes a superbly crafted, highly suspenseful, and deeply affecting novel set against the turmoil of the Vietnam War.

Percival Chen is the headmaster of the most respected English school in Saigon. He is also a bon vivant, a compulsive gambler and an incorrigible womanizer. He is well accustomed to bribing a forever-changing list of government officials in order to maintain the elite status of the Chen Academy. He is fiercely proud of his Chinese heritage, and quick to spot the business opportunities rife in a divided country. He devotedly ignores all news of the fighting that swirls around him, choosing instead to read the faces of his opponents at high-stakes mahjong tables. But when his only son gets in trouble with the Vietnamese authorities, Percival faces the limits of his connections and wealth and is forced to send him away. In the loneliness that follows, Percival finds solace in Jacqueline, a beautiful woman of mixed French and Vietnamese heritage, and Laing Jai, a son born to them on the eve of the Tet offensive. Percival's new-found happiness is precarious, and as the complexities of war encroach further and further into his world, he must confront the tragedy of all he has refused to see.

Blessed with intriguingly flawed characters moving through a richly drawn historical and physical landscape, The Headmaster's Wager is a riveting story of love, betrayal and sacrifice.

My Review:

I was happy to get to read this book. I absolutely love Canadian books and authors. I was really interested to read something by Vincent Lam (never have before) and see how he can add all this into a story and base it around the Vietnam war. I can tell you that this was definitely a beautiful story!

I found this book difficult in the beginning, but I pushed through and am really happy I stuck with it because as the story went on I found myself really invested in everything that was happening. Vincent Lam takes a lot of the beginning of the book to have his readers understand Percival, he goes into his history a bit to show what he has already been through. That was the part I had a few issues getting through, the book went back and forth between Percival's past and the present time of the story without actually mentioning that (each chapter goes back and forth). Though I did enjoy that Vincent invests a lot of the beginning of the book into the history of the main character because it has the readers understand his situation more, and why he does some of the things he does.

I enjoyed how the book was broken up into different parts. Each part of the story represented a new part in Percival's life. It was a good way to break the book up and it really shows when the important events are happening. Vincent Lam also has a way with words, his descriptions throughout the book are beautiful and bring everything to life for the reader.

I really enjoyed connecting with Percival's character, I found myself being more invested in the story in the second half. There was a lot more drama happening and I found I was seeing more of Percival's emotions later on. He was a very interesting character for me throughout the book. It seemed that Percival was ignorant of the events around him (or pretended to be ignorant). It was interesting to see how the Vietnam war really affected the story, I was not expecting it to revolve so much around the war, but I found many instances where the war helped decide the outcome of an event in Percival's life.

The love story was very interesting for me. I found it different than other love stories that I have previously read. The hardships the characters go through are much different, and the way the characters deal with these were interesting. I was very surprised at how things were wrapped up at the end. This story definitely pulls you in and keeps you invested in reading to find out what happens next.

Vincent Lam brings a beautiful story to life in ugly times of war. This story makes you think about your life and how you would do things if you were in that position. Pick this book up, it is definitely great Canadian literature!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Review: Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 320
Received: Received from Goodreads First Reads

Release Date: April 24, 2012
Buy From / Buy From

Goodreads Synopsis:

Everything is in ruins.

A devastating plague has decimated the population. And those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles to pieces around them.

So what does Araby Worth have to live for?

Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery make-up . . . and tantalizing ways to forget it all.

But in the depths of the club—in the depths of her own despair—Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club. And Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither boy is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does.

And Araby may find something not just to live for, but to fight for—no matter what it costs her.


When I saw this book in the Harper catalogue, I fell in love with it (just because of the cover). Then when I read more about it, I felt that I needed to read it right away, I love the dark feeling of this book. The cover translates that feeling amazingly well to readers. I found out later on that this is actually a retelling of an Edgar Allen Poe story (who I absolutely love), but have not read this story, so I'm definitely getting on that one quickly after reading this book!

Bethany Griffin pulls you into Araby's world in a way that you can't turn away, no matter how dark it gets. In the beginning I was not the biggest supporter of Araby, the way she looked at the world around her seemed a little ignorant, but I did realize that it was a way of describing how she was raised. It's interesting to see how Araby continues on through all the darkness around her. I came to really like her character more than the others as I continued reading.

What really kept me interested in this book was the idea of an evil character that was not actually seen. I found myself wanting to know more about these characters that you barely see. This added more chills because you never know what is coming next from this evil.

There was so much darkness to this story that you never really feel safe reading this book. It definitely made me think a lot about what I would do in a situation where going outside means risking my life. There were a lot of twists throughout this that kept me guessing and asking myself what would I do in Araby's situation.

The setting of the Debauchery Club really adds to this book, Bethany definitely makes it seem like a place to get away from everything on the outside. Bethany has a perfect mix of the beautiful glitz world with the decaying outer world, I definitely felt like I forgot about the plague while I was with Araby in the Debauchery Club.

This is definitely a must-read book for this month. If you like a lot of darkness to your plot, I suggest you pick this one up. This book will keep you looking over your shoulder wondering about the darkness of the world around you. Add this book to your list ASAP!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday (15)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme from Breaking the Spine that lets us showcase upcoming books we are most excited about.

This week my pick is:
Release Date: August 28, 2012
Publisher: Balzer and Bray


Eva’s life is not her own. She is a creation, an abomination—an echo. Made by the Weavers as a copy of someone else, she is expected to replace a girl named Amarra, her “other”, if she ever died. Eva studies what Amarra does, what she eats, what it’s like to kiss her boyfriend, Ray. So when Amarra is killed in a car crash, Eva should be ready.

But fifteen years of studying never prepared her for this.

Now she must abandon everything she’s ever known—the guardians who raised her, the boy she’s forbidden to love—to move to India and convince the world that Amarra is still alive.

The cover of this one really draws me in right away. And then when I read the synopsis I really love the idea of this book. And the fact that it will take place in a different country really intrigues me!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Review: Fateful by Claudia Gray

Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 328
Received: Borrowed from a friend

Release Date: September 13, 2011
Buy From / Buy From

Goodreads Synopsis:

A tragic tale about falling in love on the world’s most infamous ill-fated sea voyage as heroine, Tess, discovers darker secrets that lie beneath the doomed crossing… and a hidden brotherhood that threaten to tear her lover from her forever.

The RMS Titanic is the most luxurious ship ever built, but for eighteen-year-old Tess Davies it’s a prison. Travelling as a maid for the family she has served for years, Tess is trapped in their employ amid painful memories and family secrets.

When she meets Alec, a handsome upper class passenger, Tess falls helplessly in love. But Alec has secrets of his own… and soon Tess is entangled in a dangerous game. A sinister brotherhood that will do anything to induct Alec into their mystical order has followed him onboard. And Tess is now their most powerful pawn.

Tess and Alec fight the dark forces threatening to tear them apart, never realising that they will have to face an even greater peril before the journey is over…

New York Times best-selling author Claudia Gray delivers adventure, dark paranormal suspense, alluring romance, and a truly surprise ending, set against the opulent backdrop of the Titanic's first — and last — voyage.

My Review:

I admit I only saw this book a few weeks ago but it really peaked my interest, especially it being Titanic week everywhere, I really wanted to see a more supernatural take on the Titanic. I'll be honest it sounded interesting but at the same time I wasn't really sure what I was getting into when I opened this book.

I enjoyed this book, I found it was a lot of fun. I was honestly expecting something a little darker, but it was still quite enjoyable. I was thinking there would be a lot of action from reading the description, but there wasn't as much as I truly expected (don't get me wrong there was still some action to it).

Claudia does an amazing job of tying in the real events to this supernatural world. She uses the true descriptions to bring this story to life for many readers. Claudia also does a great job at showing the divide between the classes through Tess's experiences. The way she writes what Tess sees on the first class part of the ship and her comparisons to what she gets on the third class is very true of how many people were treated at that time.

I really enjoyed Tess as a character. I really connected with her being strong and unafraid of everything around her. She was also a character that knows what she wants and goes for it (she is definitely someone I would want to be friends with if she was around today!) And Alec... he was definitely a swoonworthy character. Claudia Gray does a great job getting you involved with all the characters in this story.

Though this story was not what I expected I still enjoyed it, and really loved the supernatural aspect to it. This was a perfect read for Titanic week for me.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Triggers by Robert J. Sawyer Blog Tour

Publisher: Viking Canada
Pages: 352
Received: Received from publisher in exchange for honest review

Release Date: April 3, 2012
Buy From / Buy From

Goodreads Synopsis: 

On the eve of a secret military operation, an assassin's bullet strikes President Seth Jerrison. He is rushed to the hospital, where surgeons struggle to save his life.

At the same hospital, researcher Dr. Ranjip Singh is experimenting with a device that can erase traumatic memories.

Then a terrorist bomb detonates. In the operating room, the president suffers cardiac arrest. He has a near-death experience-but the memories that flash through Jerrison's mind are not "his" memories.

It quickly becomes clear that the electromagnetic pulse generated by the bomb amplified and scrambled Dr. Singh's equipment, allowing a random group of people to access one another's minds.

And now one of those people has access to the president's memories- including classified information regarding the upcoming military mission, which, if revealed, could cost countless lives. But the task of determining who has switched memories with whom is a daunting one- particularly when some of the people involved have reason to lie...

My Review:

I haven't read a lot of science fiction books, but when I saw the synopsis of this I was really intrigued, it seemed to have a lot of psychology attached to it as well and I was really interested. I found myself really invested in what was happening throughout the book.

Usually, I find that when I read scientific books like this one the author sometimes makes it difficult to understand some of the terms and how some of the things work. But in this book, Robert J. Sawyer makes the scientific aspect of what is happening easy to understand for those readers that are not savvy in scientific terms. What I really enjoy though is that he does not write it in a condescending way, making readers seem less knowledgeable.

I could not stop reading this book, I found that from the beginning there was non-stop action happening. Right from the beginning you jump right into everything with the President getting shot, and from there everything seems to happen quickly. It was interesting to read the descriptions of people being able to read other's memories, Robert does an amazing job of putting in the details of each person's life. Not everything is revealed right away, as a reader you learn about each character through the other characters, which made for a very interesting and unique read.

I do admit I was nervous when I first started reading this book because the book jumps around from character to character quite often. I thought it was going to be a little hard to follow with so many characters, but Robert takes control and really makes it easy to know who you are with and the character jumps do not take away from the story.

I definitely recommend this book for lovers of science fiction (and an added bonus, the author is Canadian!) This book definitely has a very interesting concept to it and I would happily read it again. I believe this is one of those books that you miss things the first time you read it again, and the more you read it the more you will find.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Cover Reveal for Greta and the Goblin King

I'm happy to take part in the cover reveal of Greta and the Goblin King from Entangled Publishing. The book will be released November 13, 2012. And as a special treat, Entangled Publishing will be releasing excerpts from the book closer to the date so check back.


While trying to save her brother four years ago, Greta was thrown into the witch’s fire herself, falling through a portal to a dangerous world where humans are the enemy, and every ogre, goblin, and ghoul has a dark side that comes out with the full moon.

To survive, seventeen-year-old Greta has hidden her humanity and taken the job of bounty hunter—and she’s good at what she does. So good, she’s caught the attention of Mylena’s young Goblin King, the darkly enticing Isaac, who invades her dreams and undermines her determination to escape.

But Greta’s not the only one looking to get out of Mylena. The full moon is mere days away, and an ancient evil knows she’s the key to opening the portal. If Greta fails, she and the lost boys of Mylena will die. If she succeeds, no world will be safe from what follows her back…

About the author: 

Chloe Jacobs is a native of nowhere and everywhere, having jumped around to practically every Province of Canada before finally settling in Ontario where she has now been living for a respectable number of years. Her husband and son are the two best people in the entire world, but they also make her wish she'd at least gotten a female cat. No such luck. And although the day job keeps her busy, she carves out as much time as possible to write. Bringing new characters to life and finding out what makes them tick and how badly she can make them suffer is one of her greatest pleasures, almost better than chocolate and fuzzy pink bunny slippers.

What do you guys think?

Friday, April 6, 2012

Review: The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

Publisher: Random House
Pages: 448
Received: Received from publisher through Netgalley

Release Date: April 10, 2012
Buy From / Buy From

Goodreads Synopsis:

It was like a nightmare, but there was no waking up. When the night began, Nora had two best friends and an embarrassingly storybook one true love. When it ended, she had nothing but blood on her hands and an echoing scream that stopped only when the tranquilizers pierced her veins and left her in the merciful dark.

But the next morning, it was all still true: Chris was dead.  His girlfriend Adriane, Nora's best friend, was catatonic. And Max, Nora's sweet, smart, soft-spoken Prince Charming, was gone. He was also—according to the police, according to her parents, according to everyone—a murderer.

Desperate to prove his innocence, Nora follows the trail of blood, no matter where it leads. It ultimately brings her to the ancient streets of Prague, where she is drawn into a dark web of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, all driven by a mad desire to possess something that might not even exist. For buried in a centuries-old manuscript is the secret to ultimate knowledge and communion with the divine; it is said that he who controls the Lumen Dei controls the world. Unbeknownst to her, Nora now holds the crucial key to unlocking its secrets. Her night of blood is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries. Solving it may be the only way she can save her own life.

My Review:

Wow, this book definitely rocked my socks off! I was nervous going into it, there was so much promise of mystery, action, and even a love story (how can one book have all that?) Seriously this book delivers all that and more! When I started out I didn't expect it to be as dark as it actually turns out to be, Robin starts this book on a really light note and I thought it would stick to that, but she definitely brings out the dark tale (it kind of came out of nowhere for me). Robin adds in so much action to this story, it was an intense read and had me creeped out at times while reading this (I was looking over my shoulder at a few points). 

There was so much to this story that I did not want to put it down. I wanted to keep going and find out what would happen next. The mystery was very well done, I found everyone had something to hide and you really couldn't tell who was trustworthy or not. Robin really has the characters develop slowly over the course of the story, slowly finding out more about each of them. And Nora was definitely my favourite character of them all, I really enjoyed the story being told from her perspective because I found that you understood the reasons for her actions a little better.

The secondary characters were also amazing. They added so much to the story, that they didn't seem that secondary. They added so much more to Nora's life, the best being the character of Elizabeth, who even though she is long gone, she is brought to life in the letters throughout the story.

What really captured my attention for this book was that most of the story takes place in a different country. I'm always interested in books that have a different setting to them, I'm so used to the same old settings that when I get to travel somewhere new in a book, I will jump at that chance. What also added to it was the history of the city. It was really interesting to go through the religious aspects and the history that was integrated into it.

Robin's writing style is just absolutely amazing and I can't wait to check out more of her books now!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Review: More Than You Know by Penny Vincenzi

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday
Pages: 608
Received: Received from publisher through Netgalley

Release Date: April 3, 2012
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Goodreads Synopsis:

It all comes down to love or money in a harrowing custody battle over a little girl, set against the glossy backdrop of the magazine and advertising worlds in 1960s London.

A privileged girl from a privileged class, Eliza has a dazzling career in the magazine world of the 1960s. But when she falls deeply in love with Matt, an edgy working-class boy, she gives up her ritzy, fast-paced lifestyle to get married.

By the end of the decade, however, their marriage has suffered a harrowing breakdown, culminating in divorce and a dramatic courtroom custody battle over their little girl. Also at risk is Eliza's gorgeous family home, a pawn in the game, which she can't bear to give up.

True to form, Penny Vincenzi introduces a devious cast of characters seemingly plucked from the pages of sixties- and seventies-era magazines, as she deftly maneuvers between the glamorous, moneyed worlds of fashion and advertising, and a heart-wrenching custody battle going on in the courtroom where the social mores of the time are on full display.

My Review:

When I started this book I was not quite sure what I was getting into, I've heard a lot about Penny Vincenzi but never actually read anything by her. I also really enjoy books by European authors, especially English/Irish ones, I just seem to enjoy the different setting. I was expecting this to be a big court battle (a little like Jodi Picoult's novels). What I actually got was something so different and yet amazing! I found myself continually surprised with what the characters did, no matter how much I thought I knew them.

When I saw how large this book was I was a little nervous, but for me, once I started reading I couldn't put it down and didn't realize the page count (helped also that I had an ebook version). Penny goes into a startling amount of detail about each character and their families. She writes her characters so you really understand everything about them. You watch as they go through years of experiences, and see how they grow from those experiences. Penny goes deep into the emotional issues of the characters and really makes her readers feel those emotions.

It was really nice to see a huge build up to the relationship between Matt and Eliza. I kept wanting to see what would happen next with these two characters. And how would they find each other once more. I found that the way Penny wrote out this story was to really let you get into the characters' heads and really understand how they feel about things.

I will admit I got confused quite a few times while reading this book. There was a habit of jumping around to the many different characters quickly, and I was confused with who I was with at first. I enjoyed the many different characters (and how they all connect with one another in some way). But I felt that the jumps came out of nowhere at times.

I really enjoyed the time period that this story was written in as well. Penny has a talent for writing very strong female characters that fight for what they believe in. This book really shows how women's rights still aren't where they should be (though this is written in the 60's and the 70's) a lot of men still believe the things that many of the male characters in this book do, that once women are married with children they should no longer be working.

I definitely enjoyed this book, and will be looking more into Penny's other novels, even though they are all huge. If you're looking for a fun adult book, that still can get your emotions riled up I definitely suggest this book!


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