Saturday, December 31, 2011

Our Top 10 Books of 2011

It is hard to believe that the end of the year is here already but it is and so today we thought we'd do a post of our favourite books of 2011.  Not really in any particular order.  Any books that have a review posted up will be linked in the list.

Rebecca's Picks:
1. Clarity by Kim Harrington
2. Violet Wings by Victoria Hanley
3. Storm Front by Jim Butcher
4. Ultraviolet by R. J. Anderson
5. Blood Song by Rhiannon Hart
6. Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder
7. Divergent by Veronica Roth
8. Accused by Kate Kaynak
9. Phantom Evil by Heather Graham
10. Sacred Evil by Heather Graham

Scarlett's Picks:
1. Divergent by Veronica Roth
2. Flight of the Silver Vixen by Annalinde Matichei
3. Goldenhead by Annalinde Matichei
4. Equinox by Lara Morgan
5. Across the Universe by Beth Revis
6. Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith
7. Eternal by Cynthia Leitich Smith
8. Blessed by Cynthia Leitich Smith
9. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
10. Crossed by Ally Condie

What are some of your favourite reads of 2011?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Eden Prescription is free on Amazon for a limited time!

Hey guys.  Looking for an interesting read for your kindle during the new year holidays?  Well, Ethan Evers' book The Eden Prescription is available for free download on Amazon until the 30th of December.  To interest you here is a little snippet about the book:

What if the ultimate treatment for cancer was closer than most of us realize? A silent revolution has been unfolding recently in the science of natural medicine, bringing us so close to the answer-far too close, for some. Chromogen employee Annika Guthrie understands this more than most. She's watched her terminally ill father add years to his life with natural supplements, and makes it her mission to turn this alternative medicine into what the medical community calls "real" science. 
It's why she joins forces with the maverick but genius cancer researcher Dr. Elliott Lindell, even though he works with Mitogenica-Chromogen's fiercest competitor. Together, they formulate a cocktail of natural supplements which Annika secretly gives to patients in Chromogen's latest drug trial. 
The cocktail works so well, it threatens to undermine Chromogen's next billion dollar chemo drug, and Annika's world quickly falls apart. Her wards start curiously dying from everything but their cancer, and Dr. Lindell disappears on the eve of his most critical experiment. Annika soon finds she is the only one left who can recover what remains of Dr. Lindell's work-and that she is racing against someone far larger and more deadly than her worst fears.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Beautiful Code by Sadie Hayes

Title: Beautiful Code

Author: Sadie Hayes

Published: Backlit Fiction, 20 December 2011

Pages: 64

Series: Book 3, The Start-Up

Summary: Set against the fast-paced, winner-take-all world of Silicon Valley, where today’s software geek is tomorrow’s billionaire, The Start-Up chronicles the meteoric rise of Adam and Amelia Dory, a talented brother and sister team. With only each other to rely on, the na├»ve eighteen-year-olds must make their way through a treacherous world of money, power, and envy.   (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: Beautiful Code is the third book in The Start-Up series and I was really looking forward to reading this one as the ending of the second book was such a cliff hanger that I just had to have more.

Beautiful Code is just as good if not better than the first two books in the series.  There’s all the scandals going on and it’s written so that you can’t help but hang on to every word and keep reading because there was so much going on.

I felt that this book I got to know all the characters in a better light and so I really liked all of them.  Well, except one character.  But that’s just my own personal gripe about him.

The ending blew me away a bit.  It was heading towards a big event and then it just ended on a cliff hanger like the others but now I really want to read the next book.  Unfortunately I have to wait a while but I know that it will be worth the wait.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading Beautiful Code and thought it was amazing.  If you haven’t read this series yet then you are seriously missing out!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Title: Every Other Day

Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Published: Egmont USA, 27 December 2011

Pages: 352

Summary: Every other day, Kali D'Angelo is a normal sixteen-year-old girl. She goes to public high school. She attends pep rallies. She's human.

And then every day in between . . . She's something else entirely.

Though she still looks like herself, every twenty-four hours predatory instincts take over and Kali becomes a feared demon-hunter with the undeniable urge to hunt, trap, and kill zombies, hellhounds, and other supernatural creatures. Kali has no idea why
she is the way she is, but she gives in to instinct anyway. Even though the government considers it environmental terrorism.

When Kali notices a mark on the lower back of a popular girl at school, she knows instantly that the girl is marked for death by one of these creatures. Kali has twenty-four hours to save her and, unfortunately, she'll have to do it as a human. With the help of a few new friends.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: Every other Day is the first book by Jennifer Lynn Barnes that I have read and I thought it sounded really good and I’m happy to say that it was really good.  One thing I have to say is that the synopsis barely gives anything away at all to be honest so I thought that was really good.

I thought that Every Other Day was pretty well action packed.  Kali is awesome taking down hellhounds, zombies and so many other different creatures or the preternatural as they are known in this book.  I found them to be quite interesting and Kali was just awesome.

I am a huge fan of mystery and I liked that there were a couple of mystery elements to the book.  The first mystery was what exactly Kali was.  I had some idea about how she became the way she was but I didn’t know what she was and I thought it was really interesting when it was revealed.  The second mystery was what was happening at the school or in the wider world relating to a certain person.

As for characters, I really loved Kali and the supporting cast.  My favourite character though, was Skylar.  Skylar was the best character and I thought she was so amazing.  I loved how throughout the book she just showed up at the oddest and most random of times, it was really awesome.

I really enjoyed Every Other Day.  It was a really light, fun read for most of the book and I managed to predict a lot of the things that were going to happen but there was one thing at the end that absolutely threw me.  I did not expect it at all and I’m quite unsure of how I feel about it.  I think it was really good because it made the story quite different to the usual books I read.

Overall, I really enjoyed Every Other Day; it was fun and quite unique.  If you’re a fan of the supernatural then definitely give this one a try.

Source: NetGalley

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Bedtime Stories for Cats by Amy Neftzger

Title: Bedtime Stories for Cats

Author: Amy Neftzger

Published: Fields of Gold Publishing, October 2011

Summary: A book of short stories and fables designed specifically for cat lovers. The topics range from mythology to magic and horror stories (for cats) combined with a few essays written by a cat in order to help the rest of us understand their logic and reasoning. The book also includes a creative retelling of the Gingerbread Man from a cat’s perspective. You share so much with your cat, why not read together, also?  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: Bedtime Stories for Cats is a cute little book about cats and is basically written from cat’s perspectives so you are getting a glimpse into the mind of a cat.  I thought it was quite well done as well as I really felt like I was reading the sort of things that a cat would be thinking.

I enjoyed all the stories in the book.  They were short and sweet but still really fun to read.  I liked that this book was nice and short and I could read a story between doing little bits and pieces.

There were a couple of times where I let out a little laugh.  The stories were definitely enjoyable.  As someone who owns a black cat I was particularly fond of the story that mentions black cats as being luck magnets and they only release the luck through their affection for others.

I thought that Bedtime Stories for Cats was a really neat little book that any young cat lover would enjoy.  As someone who has cats I thought this book was a fun and pleasant little read.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Measure of Darkness by Chris Jordan

Title: Measure of Darkness

Author: Chris Jordan

Published: Mira, November 2011

Pages: 400


For the parents whose children have been taken, for the broken lives we piece back together one relentless investigation at a time, our town house is a sanctuary. 

My name is Alice Crane. I’m just one of a talented team working for Naomi Nantz, the brilliant and very private detective. 

Today that sanctuary was violated. The famous kid-finder Randall Shane was taken away by unknown assailants, possibly government agents. Shane’s client is dead, and a boy known as “the keyboard kid” is missing. What is the boy’s connection to a top secret physics lab? Unknown—for now. But under Naomi’s 
lead, we will infiltrate every illicit boardroom and bedroom and war room. We’ll find that little boy or die trying. 

The only thing guaranteed in this life is that Naomi Nantz won’t give up. Not now, not ever.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I have some mixed feelings about Measure of Darkness.  It had a really good mystery to it, but I wasn’t really a fan of the narrative.

The mystery aspect was really good.  There were some things that were fairly standard about it but then there were small details that just didn’t make much sense so I kept reading because I was curious as to how they fit into the overall picture.  There were also some bizarre events orchestrated by the bad guys and it just added this extra layer to the mystery that made it more interesting.

The one thing that really bothered me about the story was Alice’s narrative.  For a while I wasn’t sure what time period the book was set in due to the demeanour of some of the characters and how they spoke.
Especially Alice.  I had her pegged as either being from the 1930’s or really old.  Neither was the case.  It could just be me but I really felt that kind of detracted from the story a little bit, just that the characters didn’t act in a way I expected them too and while this might be refreshing for some people it just wasn’t something I could enjoy.

The ending wrapped things up quite nicely and I thought it was a pretty good ending.  As far as I could tell there were no huge holes in the mystery when it unravelled.  I did find a couple of characters changed certain details about themselves partway through the novel which was a little bit weird but apart from that, there weren’t any holes in the overarching story.

Overall, I thought the mystery of Measure of Darkness was pretty good, it just wasn’t something I absolutely loved.  The writing style wasn’t really my cup of tea but if you think it sounds really good, give it a go because it might be to your liking.

Source: NetGalley

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder

Title: Touch of Power

Author: Maria V. Snyder

Published: Mira, 20 December 2011

Pages: 394

Series: Book 1, Healer

First Line: "The little girl wouldn't stop crying."

Summary: Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan assumes their wounds and diseases into herself. But rather than being honored for her skills, she is hunted. Healers like Avry are accused of spreading the plague that has decimated the Territories, leaving the survivors in a state of chaos. 

Stressed and tired from hiding, Avry is abducted by a band of rogues who, shockingly, value her gift above the golden bounty offered for her capture. Their leader, an enigmatic captor-protector with powers of his own, is unequivocal in his demands: Avry must heal a plague-stricken prince—leader of a campaign against her people. As they traverse the daunting Nine Mountains, beset by mercenaries and magical dangers, Avry must decide who is worth healing and what is worth dying for. Because the price of peace may well be her life....  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: After just discovering the amazing quality of books from the Mira Imprint and hearing really good things about Maria V Snyder’s other books I was really looking forward to reading Touch of Power.  Needless to say from the first page I was entranced.

I am a huge fan of fantasy and I lapped up all 394 paged of Touch of Power like it was nothing because it was so captivating and I loved every page I read.  I loved learning about the different magic’s in the world and what each one did.  It was really fascinating.  I enjoyed learning about Avry’s magic and hope to learn more in the next book.

I really liked Avry, she was strong willed and a kick-ass heroine.  I loved her independence and I just thought she was a fantastic main character.  I thought the supporting cast was excellent as well and I couldn’t help but love all of them.  I even loved Kerrick who seemed to be such a jerk but later on I definitely warmed up to him.

Another thing I loved about Touch of Power was the plants.  I really like plants and this book has Peace Lily’s and Death Lily’s and it was just so interesting how they played into the story and I just thought it was a really unique and interesting concept.

All I have to say is, if this is as amazing as Maria V Snyder’s other books then I really need to go get me some more of her books because this one is so good.  It’s excellent in fact, and I can’t wait for the next book in the series, whenever that one comes out.

Source: NetGalley

Monday, December 19, 2011

Supernatural Fairy Tales by Dorlana Vann

Title: Supernatural Fairy Tales

Author: Dorlana Vann

Published: Pixie Punk Press, September 2011

Pages: 67

Summary: Fairy Tale inspired paranormal short stories.

These 9 Supernatural Fairy Tales are not retellings of the original fairy tales but were inspired by them. They are paranormal themed stories about vampires, ghosts, mermaids, witches, and more, in genres ranging from romance to thriller. And fair warning: they don't always have a happy ending.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I really enjoyed Supernatural Fairy Tales.  Each story was really quick and I read the book in no time.  I thought all the stories were highly entertaining and brilliantly written.

I found it so easy to read each story because the endings were so good.  The story was really amazing and then you would get to the end and I found that the endings of each story just surprised me and blew me away completely.  They were fantastic.

Another thing I loved was that in the back of the book were little pieces about the inspiration for each story.  Some of them I’d heard of but others I didn’t actually know very well, but for the ones I did know it was good to know which stories they were based on for a comparison.

I thought that Supernatural Fairy Tales was a great, fun afternoon read and it was so well-written that I know I’m going to be on the lookout for more of Dorlana’s stories.

Source: Goodreads

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Wicked Good Stepmother by William G. Bentrim

Title: The Wicked Good Stepmother

Author: William G. Bentrim

Illustrator: Flavia Conley

Published: Createspace, November 2011

Pages: 40

Summary: Children have many mysteries that they courageously face on a daily basis. One of my goals in writing is to demystify or explain to children the basis for some of the confusing situations in their lives. Life today seems to have destabilized many of the traditional family matrixes. Divorce, separation and death are not uncommon tribulations that children may face. This book addresses and attempts to alleviate some of the fears that children may have to the introduction of a “new” mother by their father’s remarriage.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: William G. Bentrim has done it again.  This time his book lets kids know that not all stepmothers are evil as portrayed in so many books.

I really like the way that the subject of a stepmother was approached and I have to say that this is the first time I’ve ever read a book where the stepmother wasn’t considered to be a bad person.  So I definitely think that this is a good book for kids to read to show them that not all stepmothers are indeed wicked.

The illustrations are really gorgeous too and they take up the whole page so you’re never bored.

Overall, I would definitely suggest this book to young kids who have the impression that stepmothers are wicked.  It is unique and brilliantly written.  Well worth a read.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Blood Song by Rhiannon Hart

Title: Blood Song

Author: Rhiannon Hart

Published: Random House Australia, September 2011

Pages: 290

Series: Book 1, Lharmell

Summary: I wanted to turn but I was held captive by the song on the wind. I’m coming, I told the voices. Please, wait for me. 

When her sister becomes betrothed to a prince in a northern nation, Zeraphina’s only consolations are that her loyal animal companions are by her side – and that her burning hunger to travel north is finally being sated. 

Already her black hair and pale eyes mark her out as different, but now Zeraphina must be even more careful to keep her secret safe. Craving blood is not considered normal behaviour for anyone, let alone a princess. So when the king’s advisor, Rodden, seems to know more about her condition than she does, Zeraphina is determined to find out more. 

Zeraphina must be willing to sacrifice everything if she’s to uncover the truth – but what if the truth is beyond her worst nightmares?  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: Blood Song would have to be one of my most anticipated reads of the year and I just have to say that the wait was definitely worth it.  Blood Song far exceeded my expectations and I had really high expectations for it to begin with.  Needless to say I really loved Blood Song and would definitely say it’s a favourite of 2011.

I think one of the main reasons I absolutely loved this book was Zeraphina.  As far as characters go I could really relate to her and everything she felt I could feel it along with her.  When she was frustrated and wanted to know what was going on, I was frustrated and wanted to know what was going on.  I think another reason I liked Zeraphina so much was that her and I were similar in that we both don’t like people telling us what to do.

I loved the story too.  I read it in two settings because I had to know more of what was going on and it was just incredibly addictive.  I would’ve read it in one sitting but I started it quite late at night so I had to pick it up again the next day.

Then there were the supporting characters, I liked all of them but there was one character in particular that stood out from the rest and that would be Rodden.  Rodden just seemed like such a great character and I loved how you didn’t know if he was a good guy or a bad guy or what was going on with him.  I also loved the relationship between Rodden and Zeraphina, they hate each other but they care about each other.  It was so great; I loved reading all the scenes between the two of them.

I feel like I could gush about how much I loved this book for a really long time and I would really love to do that but I don’t think anyone would want to read that so for now I’ll just say that I loved this book so much and I’m really wanting the next one in the series.  Blood Song is really unique and so good.  I can’t even describe how good it is, you just have to read it yourself.

Source: Library

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Static by Tawny Stokes

Title: Static

Author: Tawny Stokes

Published: CreateSpace, August 2011

Pages: 296

First Line: "You belong to me."

Summary: During the summer before her senior year, 17 year old band groupie, Salem Vale, has been following her favorite punk rockers, Malice, from gig to gig hoping that one night she might get backstage and meet the sinisterly sexy guys. She’s been saving her virginity for the lead singer Thane. One fateful evening she gets her wish. It’s a dream come true. 

Except the dream turns to a nightmare when she wakes up in a dumpster, tossed away like yesterday’s trash, with no memory of what happened the night before. She feels strange, different, as if something is trying to get out. Soon she realizes she’s changing…turning into something not quite human. 

Now a hunger deep inside claws at her to feed, to siphon energy from those around her. Before she can do just that, Trevor, the band’s roadie shows up and stops her from killing. With his help she learns to control the hunger inside, because he’s just like her. And in return he wants her help to do one little thing… 

Help him kill the members of Malice.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts:  After flying through the pages of Demon Whisperer I simply could not wait to read Static.  At the same time I was a little nervous about reading Static because it's about a girl who plans to lose her virginity to a rock-star and so I thought that there would be sex in the book which I'm not always keen on but I have to say that in Static it was tastefully done.  There's not really very much of a sex scene so I thought that was really good.

I started reading Static and I just couldn't stop.  I really liked Salem, I thought she was a great main character, strong and definitely awesome.  Not to mention her name, Salem, that is such a cool name.  I also liked Trevor too.  He seemed like such a cool guy and I was rooting for them both to kick some bad guy butt.

The story line was good.  Tawny Stokes does a really good job of straying from normal paranormal creatures and writing about some well known ones that aren't so over done.  I find it to be really refreshing.

I really liked the pacing of Static; there was always something happening so I always had a reason to keep reading.  The ending was really good too and I'm curious as to whether there will be a sequel or not and if there is then I am going to be all over it.

I would say that Static is a brilliant book and if you're looking for a paranormal book that isn't your run of the mill story then you'll love Static.

Source: Bewitching Book Tours

Demon Whisperer by Tawny Stokes

Title: Demon Whisperer

Author: Tawny Stokes

Published: September 2011

Pages: 167

Series: Book 1, Caden Butcher

First Line: "The skin on Alan Bigby's pock-marked face rippled as if something was alive underneath it."

Summary: Awake after a year-long coma, where he literally spent in hell, Caden Butcher, 17, developed a special power. He can speak to demons in their own language. This new trick helps him take over the family exorcism business, from his broken alcoholic father. Having to take care of the finances, Caden makes a decent income getting rid of demons. He’s known as the young whiz-kid exorcist to the stars, obtaining most of his work in Hollywood. But what others don't know is the exorcisms are all staged with the help of his best buddy, a demon he met in hell named Dantalion (Dan).

When an exorcism goes wrong, Caden discovers the demon inside a teen girl is not the run of the mill malicious entity but an adversary from down under who is hell bent on Caden’s destruction. The International Order of Exorcists, an organization that tolerates Caden at best because of his respected father, starts their own investigation because of his screw up.

Now with the help of his demon buddy, and Caden’s girlfriend Aspen Spencer, a skilled necromancer, Caden must track down the rogue demon before he can expose Caden as a fraud and destroy everything that matters to him in his life, ending his reign as the one and only Demon Whisperer.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: Demon Whisperer was a highly enjoyable novel and it was excellent.  There are a few demon novels floating around and the ones I’ve read I have thoroughly enjoyed.  Needless to say I thought that Demon Whisperer was such a good book.

I really liked the concept of Demon Whisperer and I really liked Caden.  I thought it was cool how Caden was an exorcist; it’s definitely something different to the usual sort of Paranormal YA I’m used to.  Not to mention the protagonist is a male.  I really liked Caden’s voice too.  He was so full of himself but he was also really determined to fix his mistakes which I really admired.

The supporting characters were all really awesome and I loved Dan and Aspen.  I also liked the cat, I always have a fondness for cats and in Demon Whisperer I made no exception.

Demon Whisperer has excellent pacing and I had reached the end in no time because I just kept reading on.  It was really good.  The whole time events kept happening that would either make things worse or just a tiny little bit better.  Of course, that’s how things are when you deal with demons.  One minute they’re friendly and the next they are your enemy.

Overall, I think that Demon Whisperer is a really good book and the ending was not how I had expected it to be.  I definitely can’t wait to read the sequel I just know it will be amazing.  If you’re looking for a paranormal about something other than vampires or werewolves then you’ll love Demon Whisperer.