Thursday, 31 January 2013

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

The year is 2044, the location is Earth. Except not really. The Earth is pretty much in ruins and people don’t really live in it anymore. They exist in it, sure, but their actual lives happen in the OASIS, a virtual world in which you can do anything and be anyone. It's a place where children go to school, a place where the majority of grown-ups work. And after the schooling and the working part of the day are done, the OAISIS becomes a place where people hang out, party, shop and basically do anything they want. Even raiding dungeons, interstellar travel and fighting giant robots with your lvl 80 wizard is perfectly possible. That thin line between reality and fantasy is very much blurred, as is becomes clear when we are introduced to our protagonist. Wade Watts is a teenager who, like everybody else, spends most of his time in the OASIS. But, unlike the majority of people, he dedicates most of his time to unlocking a secret hidden inside the OASIS by its creator James Halliday. The person who unlocks the secret first would become Halliday’s heir and basically get like a bazillion gold. And since Halliday was obsessed with the 80s, the puzzles and secrets are filled with references to shows, films and games from that decade. And when I say filled, I mean filled. Flooded. Loaded. Packed. Overflowing. This book is one massive info-dump. The reader is constantly being bombarded by various random facts about the 80s, most of which had nothing to do with the story itself. Certain are interesting though, and personally I enjoyed reading them at first. But it soon grew tiresome. Reference is a great tool and it can make a story seem more interesting. However I don’t like it when authors rely on it too much. I wanted to read a book, not a collection of fun trivia about the 80’s culture.

It is a page turner though; there is actually real action going on under the layer of references, both in the OASIS and in the real world. I especially enjoyed the moment when Wade realises that he knows where the first egg (puzzle piece) is and he goes to find it. It’s a very interesting concept, he had to figure out a number of clues and go through a number of levels, very much what you get in your standard MMO. The boss fights were disappointing though. Reading about Wade playing old video games with an AI just didn’t do it for me. Though the very last, shall we say, pvp battle was pretty great.

Figuring out the first clue and getting the egg puts Wade into a dangerous position. Both his virtual and real lives are in danger now, because there are some bad guys who want his egg. That came out wrong. Anyway. Funnily enough, Wade took the dangers on his virtual self more seriously than that on his real-life-self, which further shows that the OASIS is more important to him than real life. In real life he’s just a poor kid living in a trailer park. In the OASIS, he’s a celebrity and he even has friends (I particularly liked Aech, his best friend, whose story is in my opinion much more interesting than Wade’s) and even a girlfriend. I liked how Cline wrote about this online relationship. He made it seem believable and very real and actually treated it as a relationship, not just an electric dream.

Music break
We'll always be together
However far it seems
(Love never ends)
We'll always be together
Together in Electric Dreams

End of music break

This book has potential and it definitely brings up a few very interesting ideas. But that’s the problem; it just brings them up and doesn’t explore them. For example, we’re told that the outside world is in ruins, we’re told that everyone lives in the OASIS, but well, wait a minute. Somebody has to grow food, make clothes and construct all that technical equipment needed to run the OASIS, right? And that needs to be done in the real world; you can’t eat virtual food after all. The fact that this was never really explained bothered me. I don’t like plot-holes in my books.

In theory this book is everything someone like me could wish for: people living in what is basically one massive online game. At first the idea seems intriguing and inviting, but after a while it became clear that this virtual world actually became the real world. And the problems from which people escape in the virtual world eventually find their way there. Overall, Ready Player One was a fun and interesting read, but it’s not something I would consider re-reading in the future. However, if Cline writes another geek-centred book I’ll be sure to give it a try.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Top 5 Bookish OMGs

We happened to come across these awesome thingies while exploring the strange and often creepy world that is the inter-web. We want them people, we want them bad. 

5) Cat Paws Bookmark
If you like books and cats, then this bookmark is an awesome addition to your extensive collection of book stuff. Plus, it totally looks like the book squished a cat, which is hilarious. (Not that cats being squished are hilarious ... You know what I mean! Just.. Look at it! Hee. )
We found it on

4) Comfy Reading Chair
Don't you just want to curl up on this pretty chair and read for days on end? It looks so deliciously comfortable you'd even want to sleep on it! In the words of that small girl from that cartoon: "It's so fluffy I'm gonna die!" Just change fluffy with comfy and you get this chair.
Buffalo Sisters found it on

3) Harry Potter Bookshelf Necklace

Need we say more? I mean, anything?

Check out Cory Cuthbertson and more of her pretty handmade jewellery.

2) Portal Bookends
This bookend is a triumph. We're making a note here: huge success. It's hard to overstate our satisfaction. 
If you're a gamer I'm sure you can appreciate the awesomeness on your left. If not, you should go play some Portal.

              ~At the end of the experiment, you will be baked and then there will be cake. ~

Geek up at

1) TARDIS Bookshelf
The TARDIS is a ship that can travel though time and space. It can take you anywhere you want any time you want. And incidentally, so can books. This bookshelf is just one great metaphor and we absolutely love it and want it. Now. Seriously. Now.

Bookshelf Porn at its finest!

Thursday, 24 January 2013

The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski

In the past I had always had expectations about books. Expectations that were based on the blurb, the cover and the reviews I previously read about the said book. However, the majority of the time I was left disappointed after reading the story. However, I stopped getting my hopes up and with The Shadow Society I didn't even know what the plot was about (I had the book on my Kindle for quite some time and due to my Swiss cheese memory I forgot about it). I dived into The Shadow Society without prejudices and perhaps this is what made the book fresh and interesting to read.

We get to meet the heroine, Darcy Jones, which is not even her real name because she was abandoned as a child by a Chicago fire house and cannot remember anything before she was 5 years old. She lives with her foster parent, goes to school, hangs out with her friends, but there is this always present feeling that she does not belong in this world. One day she locks eyes with a new guy in school, and we get swooped into a world of mystery, suspense, betrayal and excitement! Because, drum roll please, Darcy is not even human, Conn is not your ordinary guy, and there is a parallel world where the Chicago fire never happened! And that is Darcy-pardon me-Skylark's real home. I shall say no more, because that would be spoiling and I don't want to be a person who spoils. People who shout book and film spoilers should be put to jail because they're committing a crime!

I don't really have much to say about the book other than I loved it. The plot was fresh and not something you encounter in every other YA paranormal book you pick up, you know what I mean? This is an original recipe and the final product was delicious! Well, it could have used a pinch of this and a dash of that, but the writing! Oh my Colin Farrell, the writing was something I wanted to lick all my ten fingers (and the bowl) after I was finished with the book! It had this light sense to it, this flowy feeling that made you soft inside and didn't let you stop until you had the last bite of that decadent cake, even though there was deeper meaning under the surface and between the lines. Marie Rutkoski is great with words.

Darcy was an interesting character and there was never a dull moment with her. What I liked best about her was her rationality - she knew what was right and wrong and didn't act like those whiny self-absorbed, insecure, too-stupid-to-live teenage girls that we usually encounter in YA and would like nothing better than to throttle them and throw them under the bus. 

The relationship between Darcy and Conn developed slowly but deliciously. And let's forget that he betrayed her and handcuffed her (not in a kinky way) and had her transported to another world, where she was imprisoned and tortured with fire. They were cute together. And speaking of cute - I wouldn't mind sinking my teeth into Cass. He was portrayed beautifully - his deceit, struggle to remain true to himself and loyal to his organization and beliefs while falling madly in love with someone he considered his worst enemy. He's the kind of a literary guy I crush on!

And now for the cherry on the top - Darcy's friends were funny, loyal, ass-kicking sons of... mothers whom I would steal for myself in a second! Cass describes them the best:

"There are different ways of hurting people. Raphael would go the most obvious route, of course. He would fight with fists. James-no, you call him Jims, don't you?-has a gift for psychological warfare. As for Lily, she is perhaps the most dangerous of the three, because she's decision maker, and the others will follow her lead. You couldn't have chosen a better army."

There were only a couple of tiny little minuscule things that bothered me; like the fact that it wasn't explained why the two universes exist and how they came into existence, and the part about Shadows and who they were, why they were the way they were. Marie, you've got some more 'splainin' to do! I think this is supposed to be a stand-alone book, but at times it seems like it's the first instalment of the series.

I don't know how in the world I managed to turn this book review into a dessert review, but it was a real treat to read, plus it was calories free! And the cover, do I even need to mention how gorgeous it is? I guess it goes without saying.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

The Liebster Award

We have been nominated for the Liebster Award by Emily from Falling Through Pages! Which is awesome and we are really really grateful! Here's a virtual tray of brownies (pot-free) just  for you! They're made of chocolate and almonds (hope you're not allergic!). Anyways, the Liebster Award is for blogs that have less than 200 followers. So, first we're going to answer Emily's questions and then everything else will happen. 

1. What made you decide to start blogging/why do you continue to blog?
Aotee and InxIt’s quite a story actually and I believe it deserves to be told in a song.

Oh, there once was a hero named Aotee the Red
Who came riding to Booktown from ole Rorikstead
And the braggart did swagger and brandish her pen
As she told of all stories and books she had read
But then she went quiet, did Aotee the Red
When she met a strange bookling Inx, who said;
"Oh, you talk and you lie and you use all our ink
Now I think it's high time you sit down and think!
You’ll join me, I tell you, Aotee the red,
We’ll create a book blog or I’ll smite you instead!"
And so then came clashing and slashing of words
As Inx charged in and made Aotee soon yield.
And the braggart named Aotee was boastful no more-
When her papers and notes rolled around on the floor!

The original poem is called Ragnar the Red, find it here.

2. What is the first book you remember reading?
Aotee: One of The Famous Five books, but I can’t remember which one exactly. Something about gypsies or smugglers, I think.

Inx: I think it was a story by a Slovenian author Samo Kuščer with the title Brbi gre po barve ("Brbi goes to retrieve the colours") about a boy from some planet who goes on a quest to retrieve the colours that have mysteriously disappeared from his planet. It's really beautiful. 

3. If you could only read ten books for the rest of your life, what would they be?
AoteeUf, that’s a terrible prospect and my choice would vary depending on my mood. Right now, I’d choose the following:

J. K. Rowling ~ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
George R. R. Martin ~ A Dance with Dragons
Scott Lynch ~ The Lies of Locke Lamora
Brandon Sanderson ~ The Way of Kings
Suzanne Collins ~ Hunger Games
Cormac McCarthy ~ The Road
Roald Dahl ~ Kiss Kiss
J.D. Salinger  ~ The Catcher in the Rye
J. R. R. Tolkien ~ The Hobbit
John Green ~ The Fault in Our Stars

Inx: I couldn't. What awful person would force me to make such a horrendous decision?!

4. What is your worst reading experience?
AoteeThe first book that comes to mind is Yann Martel’s Beatrice and Virgil. I was so disappointed with it, especially after waiting for it for nine years. It just wasn't good. But wait till I read 50 Shades, because that’ll probably take the spotlight.

Inx: When I spend money on a book whose blurb promises a thrilling ride of epic proportions to the world of awesomeness and then it's like a visit to a zoo with my mother. A nightmare cupcake with a headache on top. And I paid for the whole thing and I can't get a refund.

5. What is your favorite book-to-film (can be movie or TV) adaptation, and why?
Aotee: The Lord of the Rings, without a doubt. I do like the books as well, but I think the movies are better, because the characters are more relatable and well, Viggo Mortensen. Yeah.

Inx: I actually liked the TV adaptation of Pride & Prejudice - Lost in Austen. Cute guys in tights, easy on the eyes and hilarious! The plot was full of awesomeness too!

6. What are your feelings about used books? Do you love them or do you only buy new books? 
Aotee: Love em! If I have a chance to buy a used book instead of a new one, ill do it. I like that idea of books changing hands and owners. Gives a book more soul.

Inx: I have absolutely nothing against used books, sans the boogers, dog ears and stains of unknown origin.

7. Are you an e-book reader, or do you need the feel of the book in your hand?
Aotee: I don’t own an e-reader and I haven’t really tried one. I’m not against them, they are useful and great for carrying around (ever tried carrying a hardcover of A Dance with Dragons around with you? Well, don’t.), but for now I'm sticking with actual books.

Inx: I recently started an epic love affair with my precious new Kindle I lovingly call Kolibri, so I haven't cheated on it yet with a "real book" (well I've been flirting with Shadow of Time by Jen Minkman but so far we've only gotten to 3rd base a.k.a. page 150ish). However, I will never forget my first love - a physical book. My ultimate goal in life is to own a gigantic collection of books!

8. If you could redo the books shelving system at bookstores (i.e. romance, teen, fantasy/sci-fi, etc.) how would you organize the books?
Aotee and Inx: We would organize books according to the number of deaths in them because we can always appreciate a good death or two. 
In the words of The Doctor: You need a good death. Without death there'd only be comedies. Death gives us size. 

9. If you could spend a day with any author, who would it be and what would you want to do?
Aotee: Neil Gaiman. We would go to some place quiet and I’d close my eyes and have him read something to me. It wouldn't matter what; his voice makes everything sound divine.

Inx: J. K. Rowling. I'd just sit there all day and stare worshipingly (is this even a real word?) at her because she totally changed the way I see the world. And at the end of the day I'd give her the evil eye because she killed off Fred and Hedwig. And then I'd hug her because she's an epitome of awesomeness. 

10. What is your favourite fictional land from a book? Where would you most like to live?
Aotee: I’d love to live in Middle Earth. Because I’m a geek and like to imagine myself sneaking around trolls and goblins and picking their pockets, because my sneaking and pick pocketing skill would be maxed and I’d dual wield two daggers and have an awesome daedric bow of fire and I… I should probably stop playing Skyrim so much.

Inx: Harrypotterland. Because it's awesome. I think we've already established that.

11. What fictional character would you most like to be like, and why?

Aotee and Inx: Neville Longbottom. Because when you type his name into Google it says: did you mean BAMF. The decision was unanimous. 

Now we were ordered to reveal 11 true secret facts about yours truly. Be warned, your lives will never be the same again after reading them.

1) No pixels were harmed in creating this blog.
2) Inx is an animagus. She can turn into a bookworm.
3) Aotee cried when Dobby died. Inx also shed a tear.
4) Inx is currently watching 27 different TV series. Because she can. 
5) Aotee doesn’t know sh*t about cars but she still watched every single episode of Top Gear.
6) Inx would like to visit Transylvania and search for vampires cause she's sure those suckers do exist!
7) Aotee would love to take the hobbits to Isengard. 
8) Aotee and Inx both think that Charlie is like, so cool!
9) Aotee has been Flogged by Molly. Twice.
10) We both love Ten the most. Ten Who, you ask?
11) The eleventh fact is actually just a fact about it being the eleventh fact. 

And now drum-roll please! Our nominees are:
1) Zemira and Devyani from YA Fanatic
2) Natali from Bookcupid
3) Lindy, Ria and Ro from A Bookish Escape
4) Jean from The Office Books
5) Sienna from Lost To Books
6) Peggy from P. S. Martinez
7) Julia, Tina and Len from As You Wish Reviews
8) Katrina, Catherine-Catalina and Faye from The Social Potato Reviews
9) Barbara from Bookshelves of Dreams
10) Sara from The Page Sage
11)Rain Hart and Dinjolina from Reading Infection

Question for our nominees:
1) Which are the three ingredients a good book must contain?
2) Describe your life with a book title.
3) If you were to write a book, what would the blurb look like?
4) What skill would help you win the hunger games (mad origami skill is not an option)?
5) Its your birthday and the doctor offers you one trip with the TARDIS. What event (in the past or future) would you like to witness and why?
6) If you could spend one day in a book, which book would you choose? Why?
7) Would you rather spend a day in the Cullen's house or in a cold torture chamber with Bellatrix Lestrange?
8) Aliens exist! And they have libraries! Huge, amazing libraries filled with books from all over the universe! Awesome! They want to expand their collection so they ask you to pick 5 books (or book series) from Earth to be placed in the great galactic library. Which books would you choose?
9) Ever fell in love with a fictional character? Who swept you off your feet the most?
10) If reading was prohibited by law, what other hobby would you choose?
11) Would you rather be a vampire for life of a warewolf during the full moon?

And last but not least: Instructions for Our Nominees
× Copy and paste the award onto your blog
× Answer our11 questions
× Come up with 11 questions, 11 nominees with less than 200 followers, and 11 facts about yourself
× Leave a comment on your nominee's blog telling them about the award
× Thank your nominator

That's all folks!


Thursday, 17 January 2013

The Way of Kings (Book 1 of The Stormlight Archive) by Brandon Sanderson

Speak again the ancient oaths,
Life before death.
Strength before weakness.
Journey before destination.

        It was a pleasant, if a bit cold November day in the Steam chat room  when fate introduced me to The Way of Kings. Technically speaking it was my friend Tam, and the introduction went something like this:

Tam: My mum is sulking
Me: lol, why?
Tam: cos I was reading during lunch. And then she was all like: is this book more important than me? And I kinda said yes
Me: lol, evil
Tam: You’re gonna read it too btw
Me: I am?
Tam: It’s not debatable
Me: lol, k

        A few days later, I had the book at home. Two books, technically speaking, because I was reading the Gollantz edition, which is divided into two parts.The reason for that has something to do with the publishers making people buy two books instead of one. But Sanderson intended for them to be read as one, so I'm reviewing them as such.

        Sanderson takes us into the world of Roshar, more specifically into the kingdoms of Alethkar and Jah Keved. It is an exciting new world in which hurricanes are called highstorms and their stormlight can infuse gemstones with a glowing light. There are also rare blades that can cut through anything inanimate and kill by cutting - not flesh - but the soul. And these blades – shardblades – are used in fighting a war between the Alethi and the Parshendi, who are fighting because of the Parshendi assassination of the Alethi king. Are you lost yet? Introducing a whole new world is always a tricky thing. There are so many things the author wants to say and show, but are often not really important for the story. Readers can get overwhelmed by the amount of new information, but if there isn't enough of it, the book can become boring. Sanderson, however, managed to find that perfect line between too much and too little. Moreover, he doesn't simply tell us how the land looks and what its traditions are, but he shows everything through many different characters. That is how we learn the small but still important details of the world, from the fact that women always have their left hand covered or gloved - it is their safe hand – to the fact that it is considered shameful for a man to know how to read or be an inventor or an engineer.
        There are four main characters through whose perspective we get to view most of the world and follow the story.  The first is Kaladin, a former soldier, now a slave given up on running. The second is Szeth-son-son-Vallano, an enslaved assassin who kills against his will. The third is Shallan, a young woman who wants to become a scholar, but needs to become a thief. The last is Dalinar, a warlord and a highprince who doesn't do so well during highstorms. Sanderson lets these characters grow and change beautifully throughout the book, he lets them make bad choices, do bad things, give up and try again, lets them be treated badly, all in order for them to grow and change. As I read I really felt their pain, threatened them not to do what they were about to do and begged them not to give up when all seemed hopeless. Sometimes they listened, sometimes they didn't.

        The four main characters, however, are not the only ones that have their own chapters. There are several others who appear to narrate just one chapter, but even those are unique, interesting and intriguing. They serve to present some new aspect or new information about the world and my favourite among these was definitely Axies the Collector, a scholar who studies spren (a kind of elementals that appear around certain events). I really hope Sanderson brings him back for the next book, because those few pages of his narration were a real treat. I especially loved the way Axies couldn't decide whether he actually witnessed intoxication spren, or just imagined them because he was drunk.

        If I have one negative thing to say, it’s this: the elevated lord-of-the-rings type of speech annoyed me a few times. Very few times for sure and even that mostly at the beginning, when I was still a bit reluctant to let the book pull me in and the inner critic in me wanted to find something to criticise. But in the end this made no effect on my overall satisfaction with the book. I absolutely loved it and I would recommend it to anyone who's not afraid to fall in love with fictional characters. Oh Kaladin. But as it is often the case with these things, the second book, Highprince of War isn't out yet. Why do I always fall for the ones who make me wait? The anticipation spren are already buzzing all around me!

“Everything is a contest. All dealings among men are a contest in which some will succeed and others fail. And some are failing quite spectacularly.” 

Monday, 14 January 2013

Top 5 Books Read in 2012

Anyone else loves lists? They're so listy, and nice. Don't you think? So here we go, we made two nice listy lists just for you.They contain the top 5 books Inx and I have read in 2012. I'll go first because my name starts with a superior letter, which means I get to do everything first. True story.

Aotee's Best of 2012 List

5) The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
 Why do I intentionally read books that I know are going to make me cry? And also, if I know that a book is going to make me cry, why do I decide to read it in a park? I did the same with HP5, I read the last few chapters in the middle of a water park. Luckily then I could say that my face is all wet because I’d just got out of the pool. But I digress. The Book Thief is a wonderful book; it follows the life of a German girl during the Second World War and the narrator is, appropriately enough, Death. It’s a wonderful book and despite all the horror and pain in it, it’s one of hope.

4) The Fault in our Stars by John Green
I fell in love with this book as soon as I heard John Green read the first chapter on the vlogbrothers channel. I pre-ordered it right away (signed copy!) and I must say that I'm really glad it was published in January. That made it slightly more impossible for me to go out and embarrass myself with another session of public crying. And oh boy, it’s a crier.
The Fault in our Stars is a story about a young girl called Hazel who meets a handsome and charming boy with the most awesome name ever: Augustus Waters. And he asks her out. And she says yes. Sounds like your average teenage romance story? I kinda wish it was. They both have cancer.

3) Kiss Kiss, a collection of short stories by Roald Dahl
I started reading this book during the exam period, because I didn't want to start reading a novel. My plan was very cunning: I was to read short stories, because I assumed that that would not be as absorbing as a novel. So I planned to read one story and then put the book down and go back to studying. Yeah. That didn't happen. I pretty much read them all in one sitting.
Dahl’s short stories are twisted, unpredictable and often gruesome. They make the reader question morality and show what lies hiding in the strangest corners of the human mind. Even Dahl’s children stories can be disturbing (Matilda anyone?), but Kiss Kiss takes disturbing on a whole new level. And I absolutely love it.

2) A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin
 A Dance with Dragons is the fifth book in The Song of Ice and Fire series and with series there’s always a possibility that every next book will be disappointing. George Martin, however, doesn't have that word in his dictionary. If anything, this one is his best so far. There are so many characters, so many points of view brilliantly woven together and so many story-lines to follow. Martin is a genius when it comes to creating suspense, he knows what to reveal and what to keep hidden. He tells enough to keep the reader satisfied and the story going, but at the same time there are so many things he doesn't reveal, which keeps the readers on their toes. And the toe-standing will continue while we wait The Winds of Winter. Write George, write, my toes hurt!

1) The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
I finished A Dance with Dragons somewhere during the summer and I had pretty much accepted the fact that that would be the best book I would read in 2012. But then, suddenly: Sanderson.
I didn't expect The Way of Kings to pull me in as much as it did and it’s difficult for me to say why I liked it as much as I did. It has all the magic and fighting and strange traditions you’d expect from a fantasy book, but at the same time it’s just so much than your regular fantasy. Sanderson is so good at describing this brand new world of his, presenting the people and the way things are and always have been. He makes you feel secure in this world, makes you feel a part of it. And then demolishes everything in the last few chapters. I stayed up until 4 am just to finish it. Enough said.

Inx's Best of 2012 List

The best for last, huh? Here are my top 5 books I've read in the past year. I must confess 2012 was not the best reading year for me as I was busy with my BA thesis and other boring adult stuff. But these are the books that caught my attention:

5) On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves
 On the Island tackles a controversial topic - a relationship between a woman and a boy, a teacher and her student. In this case Mrs. Robinson is Anna, a 30-year-old English teacher, who is accompanying a 16 year-old T.J. to a tropical island where she'll tutor him because he has to catch up on all the school stuff he missed because of cancer. Come the plot twist: their plane crashes somewhere in the middle of nowhere; well, there is a tiny island they're stranded on and the sea is full of yucky sharks and no one knows they've survived. And they slowly fall in love. 
The author beautifully described the transition from friendship to love, so the "ick" factor was absent. There was also the fact that their relationship remained platonic until T.J. was 19 years old, and he was the initiator. All in all, a nice summer story that reminded me I have to re-read Jules Verne’s The Mysterious Island soon!

4) Stealing Heaven by Elizabeth Scott
This is one of those books that really speak to me. As if it was written solely for me. It makes me feel good, makes me laugh out loud, and the dialogue between the two main characters was the best part of the whole thing. I really don't have much more to say about this book, except "You had me at hello, sweetie."

3) Hunting Lila (Lila #1) by Sarah Alderson
This book has one of the most important ingredients for me to like a book - a kickass heroine with an actual spine! They are so rare in the land of YA! Seriously, they are.
Lila also has a secret, and it's something I've always dreamed of having - she can move things with her mind (just like Roald Dahl's Matilda)! Hunting Lila is action-packed supernatural story filled with suspense and with a few romance elements thrown in. A perfect package. 

2) Obsidian (Lux #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
 I had reservations about reading a book that everyone raved about and fell in love with, not to mention the fact that I hate books with aliens and/or angels in them. But, oh boy, was I in for a treat! Let's just say that certain someone (let's call him Damien) is one of the most refreshingly annoying pieces of hot alien meat I've read about in YA genre. There's also some action and paranormal activity, but I can't offer you more details. Damien was just too darn distracting. *wipes drool off chin*

1) On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Melina Marchetta is one of those authors who write with so much heart and soul, and she creates a very real and raw affect that draws people to reading her masterpieces over and over again. Reading this book felt like a thrilling roller coaster ride of epic proportions.
The beginning is somewhat confusing, but once you dive into the book, you see how nicely all the pieces are tied together, there is even a big red bow at the end. I don't want to give anything away so I will not discuss the plot, but please take my advice and read the book! It will change your view on life and you'll carry the book with you for the rest of your life (figuratively speaking, but if you're like me, you'll keep a copy somewhere nearby).
During the read my allergies kicked up - I kept sniffling and my eyes were all red and this liquid thingy was running down my cheeks. One might think that I was crying, but that's not was that was, those were allergies. I don't cry!

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake

Synopsys: Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story...

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead. 

So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn’t expect anything outside of the ordinary: move, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, but now stained red and dripping blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home. 

And she, for whatever reason, spares his life (Goodreads).


When a friend recommended this book to me, I was on the fence. The blurb promised an exciting journey to the world of tortured ghosts and fearless ghost killers, but on the other hand I rarely wander off into the world of horror, since I have quite a vivid imagination and the trips to the toilet at night after reading such book would involve me being all wild-eyed and terrified, mistaking my brother for a gruesome creature and stabbing him to death with my tweezers. But I am glad I gave this book a shot.

I must say Kendare Blake has has some seriously dazzling story telling skills. I like the way the reality and supernatural in the book are entangled, it's almost as it is completely normal in our world that some people kill ghosts and others are telepaths or witches. The story has a Supernatural vibe to it, as if Cas is Sam and Dean's long lost younger brother. I kept expecting for Sam and Dean to show up.

The characters in this book are very well developed and engaging. Cas is a very solid protagonist, kickass, down to earth, focused, tough, and so lonely. Even though I usually prefer my narrators to be female I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the story from Cas's point of view. His connection with Anna, the ghost, and the bond they developed felt very spooky and gross at first. Then as I got to know Anna I understood her better. Why she is the way she is - a troubled ghost with powers beyond her control. The darkness that surrounds her, and the circumstances of her death. 

The mystery around Anna’s death to me wasn’t difficult to crack. I figured out who killed her the moment the gang cast the spell and Anna's memories came spilling in. Although it was committed for different reasons as I initially thought. It made me quite sad and I felt her pain. The author made a wonderful job of presenting the character of Anna, so the reader can easily relate to Anna and her story. You feel sorry for her and you better understand her actions, she kind of grows on you. 

One question does always appear in my head while reading about people discovering (and coming to terms with) the fact that there are ghosts and/or vampires, werewolves and other unearthly creatures roaming the world. Why does nobody freak out? I mean, really freak out. They all seem to just accept the fact that (in this case) Anna is a ghost and that she really is killing people. They say "If she's real, then we should probably do something. We can't just let her keep on killing people." instead of, I dunno... "Holly cow!! Are you kidding me? This can't be real! There are no ghosts! I know there has to be some reasonable explanation for the things that are happening! Ghosts aren't real!!! Come one, this is just some twisted prank someone is playing on us!" I expected a more tempestuous reaction from them. Hello you guys, you’ve just found out that ghosts are real. And everybody is so calm and composed and planning to stop the ghost from killing more people. This part of the book really bothered me. Am I really the only one that would react to such news with a certain amount of emotions?

Overall, this certainly was an intense read. I loved the concept and the exciting and suspense filled plot, its dark and shocking twists. The characters were intriguing and I'd certainly like to read more about them. What a great premise, and such a brilliant execution! I can’t wait to get my hands on the sequel, Girl of Nightmares.