Friday, 16 November 2012

Review: The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines



In One Line: hot and heavy love triangle

Genre: naughty guilty pleasure!

The Gist:

Ash works hard to play the good girl for the sake of her preacher daddy and her perfect boyfriend Sawyer, but when Sawyer goes away for the summer Ash finds herself drawn to old childhood friend and Sawyer’s cousin, the ultimate bad-boy Beau. Beau has always loved Ash, and now that he finally has her, will he be able to let her go once Sawyer comes back to town?

The Cover:

Hello matching midriffs and sexy disappearing hands! Headless bodies that leave you wondering what their faces look like, and ultimately just presuming that they are sucking each other’s faces off. And look at her tangly hair! That is blatantly sex hair. This is a steamy cover made ‘safe’ by it’s resemblance to a film poster, which may save some of your blushes, but once you start reading you’ll know the truth. You’ll know. 

Why You’ll Love This Book
  • It is perfect guilty pleasure reading. Sick of revising? Had a hard week at work and want to dream of lazy Lousiana days? You need this book. I can pretty much guarantee that whilst you are reading it you won’t be thinking of anything else. 
  • This book has so many popular culture parallels! Because Ash is clearly Scarlett O’Hara and Beau is Rhett, and also if you’re a fan of True Blood (like me) you’ll be hyper aware of Ash’s basic Sookie Stackhouse-ness. Except without the mindreading fairy powers or vampires. 
  • This book deals with every southern USA stereotype you can think of. Ash writes ‘y’all’ in her letters to Sawyer. And Sawyer has a name like Sawyer. And there’s even a scene in a dive bar where Ash and Beau play pool and Sweet Home Alabama is playing in the background. As a Londoner reading this book on a foggy Autumn day, I can only conclude that these cliches are a Very Good Thing. 
  • Sexytimes. Yeah, you heard me. Sexytimes. 

Why You May Not Love This Book:
  • Basically, this book is terrible. Like, really really bad. You can do what I did and exclaim ‘what the hell!’ and embrace the blatant trashy cheesiness, or you can sneer and tut at the likes of me. I expect that there will be a lot of you tutting. 
  • The story can be So Much Better. And the characters could be So Much More Likable. You’re not reading this because you love Ash and are rooting for her to fulfil her desires, you’re basically just reading because you want to get to the next bit of sexytimes or read another paragraph about how hard Beau’s chest is. It’s the literary equivalent of a car crash (except that nobody gets hurt of course!) and you just can’t take your eyes away, no matter how terrible you know it is. Also, the ending is so bloody neat and tidy and sweet it made me feel a little sick. 
  • My doggie is called Beau. Kinda made me feel a bit weird about reading about a sexy Beau. 

The Hypersomnia Test:

Nothing beats a little bit of literary soft-porn to keep me awake. And that’s all I’m going to say on the matter. 

Final Verdict:

Read it guys. Just set your brow to as low as it will go. Yes this book is all about the cheap thrills, but I’m not one to dismiss the occasional cheap thrill here and there. I think they’re essential actually, because it’s the only way you’ll be able to work out what substantiates the good stuff. I will say that I’m rather surprised that this has been published by Hot Key Books, a new publisher that has so far shown a great knack for highlighting fabulous and original talent. This book is neither fabulous nor original, and I’m tempted to be rather cynical about why it was chosen for Hot Key’s list. *waves the controversial flag*

There is another issue here about the sexytimes, one I want to address more thoroughly in another blog post on the matter, and on the rise of the ‘New Adult’ genre. Basically, I felt the portrayal of sex in this novel was gratuitous and unnecessary, a bonus added cheap thrill to grab attention. My personal opinion is that if you want soft-porn in your literature, go to the erotica section, not to YA. More on that in another blog post though. 

I’m nearly twenty-nine. I can cope with the portrayal of sex in this book, and ultimately found it a fun slice of escapism. Would I recommend it to a fourteen or fifteen year old? Probably not. 

Further Reading:

Easy by Tamara Webber
Everything that Simone Elkeles has ever written
Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

On Getting an Agent

Yesterday I got to announce some news: I have an agent. 

Twitter was suitably amazing and very validating, and my family are all lovely and proud. I am thrilled - this is the next step to fulfilling my dreams after all, and I got to say 'I'm very happy' over and over again. But there's an oddness to it all too. An oddness akin to someone coming up to you on your birthday and saying "so how does it feel to be twenty-six?" and you realise that you feel exactly the same as you did yesterday, when you were twenty-five. 

I think the realisation of my brand new responsibility is settling in now. Not only to myself, to fulfil my potential, but to my new agent, and to all the people who wished me well yesterday on Twitter and Facebook. It's all real now. That fluffy cloud that sat in my head, containing all those hopes and dreams and possibilities, is now outside of my head. Everybody can see that fluffy cloud, and I can't let it float on by and dissipate. I have to do something with it. There's intrinsic pressure there. The cloud looms.

And then there's the issue of the book itself. It's suddenly become VERY important. It's turned from a kitten to a tiger, and I just hope and pray I can do the story justice. And that my agent likes it. And then that a publisher likes it. And then that readers like it. See what I mean about the pressure cloud? Instead of writing for me, I'm now writing for a lot more people. It's daunting. 

I'm going to be bold with the truth now, because sometimes I think in the UK we're told not to be bold, or to be embarrassed at being bold. I'm going to say it though: I think I can do it. I honestly do. I don't know yet how long it's going to take (hopefully not that long) but I really do think I can do this. And what's great about having an agent: I'm finally not alone. She thinks I can do it too.

Hugs and high fives,

Nicole
x

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Bothered.

It's just gone midnight on Saturday, and I can't sleep. My mind is rattling. I feel distinctly bothered. Honestly, it's times like these that I'm thankful for my anti-depressants, because without them I'm pretty certain I'd be spiralling into a well of frantic desperation. But I'm not. I'm watching a film (Up in the Air), I'm all fidgety, and I'm struck with the need to write it out. So I've paused the film, schlepped my laptop on to my lap in bed, and I'm here. Unedited. 

The red cups are back in Starbucks. The festive drinks are flowing, and there is even a wreath in the doorway. I don't usually mind these things - I work in retail after all - but today they just served as a reminder that the year is nearly up. Soon we'll be saying goodbye to 2012 and beckoning in a new year that promises amazing, exciting things. But I don't want this year to be over. This was meant to be my year. My twenty-eighth, the year my life was meant to take a leap upwards. It hasn't. This year was crappy. This year was probably the worst of my life. And I don't want it to be over because I want more of a chance for it to change. I want something good to happen, so badly. But when the first of January comes, I'll turn twenty-nine, and I'll look back and realise that life is tired, and sad, and nothing ever turns out the way you want it to. 

Last New Year's Eve I saw in midnight alone in my room with my TV. I can't remember what I was watching. My brother was alone at his flat, my dad was asleep on the sofa downstairs, and my Mum was at my Grandpa's bungalow, making sure he was wearing his sleeping mask. This was a job that usually fell to my Grandma, but two weeks earlier, after a lifetime of near-perfect health, she was diagnosed with a particularly aggressive form of Leukaemia. Her illness broke my family. My Grandpa refused to wear his mask, and over time developed vascular dementia from the slow lack of oxygen to the brain. My last and enduring memories of him are not good. Four months after he passed my Grandma went into remission. My mother and I decided to take a mini-break to Holland, but on breakfast of the first day my Grandma's carer called and told us to come home. I watched my mother sit shiva for the second time that year, and it wasn't even really the summer yet. 

My mother is struggling with her grief. My father isn't in the best of health. I don't want to say anything about my brother because that's a whole other story, but it's not good. I've put on weight. I discovered on facebook that one of my oldest friends got married and didn't invite me to the wedding. I'm still living at home with my parents and am struggling to work out what's going to happen next. 

And now we're here. In November. And the red cups are out again at Starbucks. I'm crying as I write this. The kind of tears Sara Crewe cries in A Little Princess: silent ones behind a closed door. 

Is it strange that despite this being my crappiest year on record, I don't want it to end? Because that's the feeling I have. Distinct dread that this year is ending. Maybe what I'm dreading is having to raise my hopes again. Life feels static in the gloominess, but it's comfortable. Change is frightening. Or maybe what I'm dreading is the anniversary of the leukaemia rearing it's head. It's nearly a year since everything went downhill, and it frightens me that it's been that long. 

Maybe I'm anxious because I don't want my birthday cake to be Christmas pudding again - the pudding from our cancelled Christmas the week before. I've just read that last sentence back and I can't believe how morbid I sound. But it's honest. I think this year has turned me into a morbid person. Maybe this is growing up. 

I'm not going to end this on an optimistic note. That's what I usually do, and that's how I like to end things. But right now it wouldn't be true. Because right now I feel like an insignificant drifting speck of nothing, and I'm hoping that sharing this with you brings me just the tiniest bit of relief. 

Nicole
x

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Letterbox Love - Grown Up Book Special - 29th Sept 2012

Because sometimes I read books for grown ups too!!!

Survivor by Sam Pivnik
Sam Pivnik is the ultimate survivor from a world that no longer exists. On fourteen occasions he should have been killed, but luck, his physical strength and his determination not to die, all played a part in Sam Pivnik living to tell his extraordinary life story. 
In 1939, on his thirteenth birthday, his life changed forever when the Nazis invaded Poland. He survived the two ghettoes set up in his home town of Bedzin and six months on Auschwitz's notorious Rampkommando where prisoners were either taken away for entry to the camp or gassing. After this harrowing experience he was sent to work at the brutal Furstengrube mining camp. He could have died on the 'Death March' that took him west as the Third Reich collapsed and he was one of only a handful of people who swam to safety when the Royal Air Force sank the prison ship Cap Arcona, in 1945, mistakenly believing it to be carrying fleeing members of the SS.
He eventually made his way to London where he found people too preoccupied with their own wartime experiences on the Home Front to be interested in what had happened to him.
Now in his eighties, Sam Pivnik tells for the first time the story of his life, a tale of survival against the most extraordinary odds. 
Out now from Hodder and Stoughton

Vagina: A New Biography by Naomi Wolf
As Naomi Wolf embarks on a life-changing journey to tease out the link between sexuality and creativity, what she discovers is revelatory and exhilarating - a scientifically supported link between the vagina and female courage, assertiveness and consciousness itself.
Emboldened by these new discoveries, she looks back in history and shows us how the vagina was considered sacred for centuries until it began to be cast as a threat. Even now, in an increasingly sexualised world, it is thought of as slightly shameful. Why?
Vagina: A New Biography combines cutting-edge science with cultural history to explore the role of female desire and how it affects female identity, creativity and confidence. Provocative and engaging, positive and inspiring, this book brings to light female impulses, history and dreams - and, in exploring what women really need, it goes to the very core of what it means to be female.
Out now from Little, Brown

When It Happens to You by Molly Ringwald
From a mother as she grapples with age, infertility and an increasingly distant husband to a former children's television star who tries to rebuild his life after being hospitalised for 'exhaustion'. From an elderly woman mourning the loss of her husband to a single mother who finds the strength to protect her flamboyant six-year-old son, these stories follow the hazardous terrain of everyday life, revealing the deceptions, heartbreak, and vulnerability familiar to us all. 
When It Happens to You is an unflinchingly yet poignant examination of the intricacies of the human heart and an auspicious literary debut.
Out now from Simon and Schuster

Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann
The epitome of East Coast glamour, scene of vodka martinis and moonlit conspiracies, Tiger House is where the beautiful and the damned have always come to play. 
World War II is just ending and Nick is expecting her husband home at last. Her cousin Helena has gone to find married bliss in Hollywood. Everything is about to change... 
Magnificently told by five characters in turn, Tigers in Red Weather is a simmering novel of passion, betrayal and secret violence beneath a polished and fragile facade.
Out now from Picador

Moranthology by Cailtin Moran
Possibly the only drawback about the bestselling How To Be A Woman was that its author, Caitlin Moran, was limited to pretty much one subject: being a woman.
Moranthology is proof that Caitlin can actually be 'quite chatty' about many other things, including cultural, social and political issues which are usually the province of learned professors, or hot-shot wonks - and not a woman who once, as an experiment, put a wasp in a jar, and got it stoned.
Out now from Ebury Press

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Letterbox Love no.10 - 26th August 2012

More gorgeous stuff that I've received - now including things on my kindle!!! (unfortunately can't really blurb the stuff that I get on my kindle, but hopefully you'll be inspired to explore nonetheless!)

Breathe by Sarah Crossan
When oxygen levels plunge in a treeless world, a state lottery decides which lucky few will live inside the Pod. Everyone else will slowly suffocate.
Years after the Switch, society is divided into Premiums and Auxiliaries. Only Premiums can afford enough oxygen to live a normal life. Dissenters to the regime are ejected from the pod.
Alina belongs to a rebel group. On the verge of capture, she is rescued by a Premium boy and together they escape from the pod - with just two days worth of air. Outside, they unearth conspiracy on a breathtaking scale. But can they survive long enough to tell anyone?
Published by Bloomsbury, October 2012

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a new way of living.
One without massacres and torn throats and bonfires of the fallen, without revenants or bastard armies or children ripped from their mothers' arms to take their turn in the killing and dying.
Once, the lovers lay entwined in the moon's secret temple and dreamed of a world that was like a jewel-box without a jewel - a paradise waiting for them to find it and fill it with their happiness.
This was not that world.
Published by Hodder books, November 2012

Feed by M. T. Anderson
Titus doesn't think much of the moon. But then Titus doesn't think much period. He's got his "feed" - an internet implant linked directly to his brain - to do his thinking for him.
Then Titus meets Violet, a girl who cares what's happening to the world, and challenges everything Titus and his friends hold dear. A girl who decides to fight the feed...
Published by Walker, September 2012

The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer (yes, THAT Chris Colfer)
Alex and Conner Bailey's world is about to change...
When the twins' grandmother gives them a treasured fairy-tale book, they have no idea they're about to enter a land beyond all imagining: the Land of Stories, where fairy tales are real.
But as Alex and Conner soon discover, the stories they know so well haven't ended in this magical land - Goldilocks is now a wanted fugitive, Red Riding Hood has her own kingdom, and Queen Cinderella is about to become a mother!
The twins know they must get back home somehow. But with the legendary Evil Queen hot on their trail, will they ever find the way?
Published by Atom, OUT NOW!

Wolf Princess by Cathryn Constable
Alone in the world, Sophie dreams of being someone special. But she could never have imagined this...
On a school trip to Russia, Sophie and her two friends find themselves abandoned on a train. They are rescued by the glamorous Princess Anna Volkonskaya, who takes them to her winter palace and mesmerises them with stories of lost diamonds and a tragic past.
But as night falls and wolves prowl, Sophie discovers more than dreams in the crumbling palace of secrets...
Published by Chicken House, October 2012

On my Kindle:
The Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers
ALL OF HOT KEY'S NEW TITLES (particular yeyness)
Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Uninvited by Liz Jensen
Shadows by Ilsa J Bick
A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
Crewel by Gennifer Albin
All My Friends are Superheroes by Andrew Kaufman
The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Review: Rebel Heart by Moira Young



In One Line:  the sequel to the superb Blood Red Road

Genre: dystopian epic

The Gist:

Obviously can’t give too much away as this is a sequel and don’t want to ruin Blood Red Road if you haven’t read it yet (why haven’t you read it yet? Read it. It’s awesome). But even though Saba and Lugh are reunited, Saba has some psychological demons to contend with following the heightened action at the end of book one. Plus there’s Jack, who she’s determined to be reunited with. Cue another quest narrative, a journey through the dust-lands confronting new friends, old friends, and potential new enemies. 

The Cover:

Hotness. Absolute hotness. I wasn’t keen on the original Blood Red Road cover, as I felt it was far too similar to Patrick Ness’ The Knife of Never Letting Go, but the following paperback release was astoundingly good. This paperback cover matches that. I sincerely hope that that is Jack on the front. Because if you’ve read book one, you’ll already know that Jack is supremely delicious. And that cover model is making me all a-flutter proper Jack style. Serious hot stuff.

Blood Red Road Original Cover

Blood Red Road new cover

Why You’ll Love This Book
  • If you loved Blood Red Road as much as I did, you would have been waiting for this book for a while. I was desperate to get my hands on it. The tension between Jack and Saba, Saba’s electric personality, plus her relationship with her twin brother Lugh. Everything you were excited about and looking forward to is here. 
  • The lack of speech marks, the phonetic spelling - all help to create a tone and atmosphere that I loved to read. You get lost in the style, and whilst it takes a few pages to adapt to, once you’re there it’s like being lost in another world. 
  • Nero the crow is awesome. I want a Nero the crow. I have a Ruby the guinea pig, but she’s really not that intelligent and is only nice to me when I give her pieces of melon. Nero the crow is much more excellent.
  • Sexual tension comes from unexpected places in this book, and it wasn’t an unpleasant surprise. Some of the issues that arise are positively grown-up and a little beyond the YA zone. I think this is a good thing. As the readers mature, so do the books. You may not agree with some of the choices some characters make, but the way these choices are handled and conveyed to the reader are frankly brilliant. 

Why You May Not Love This Book:
  • Not enough Jack. There I said it. Don’t care if that makes this a spoiler for you. But just as Lugh was the source of the quest in book one, so Jack becomes the source of the quest in book two. I needed more Jack. I adore Jack. The lack of Jackness in this book just made me grumble under my breath.
  • I read Blood Read Road as an advance reader copy, therefore read it a few months before it came out. Then there has been quite a big gap before this book has arrived. So I forgot some stuff, some characters, some scenarios. I don’t think there was anything I missed, and Moira Young covers the background from book one as well as she can, but I just hated the fact that I had forgotten so much stuff about characters. 
  • Tommo. No. Stay a young boy. He was a child in book one. He’s not a child now. He didn’t work for me. Am not going to spoil anything for anyone, but I think you’ll all agree with me. 
  • Emmi failed me in this book. In Blood Red Road she was such an essential quality, but I feel that she didn’t have quite the same spark in this book. Perhaps it’s because she’s grown up a bit and isn’t a kid anymore, but the tension between her and Saba was so utterly brilliant in book one - not so brilliant here. 
  • DeMalo. Seth. Pathfinder. Whatever his name is. He’s left me feeling very confused, and I have a feeling that I’m going to remain confused until book three. Dammit. 

The Hypersomnia Test:

Passed! Because this book doesn’t have chapters - it just draws you from one scenario to another in quick snippets (neatly depicted by the appearance of Nero on your page) and I was just reading and reading and reading in the hope that Jack would turn up at some point. The Jack/Saba sexual tension was such a massive part of the enjoyment of Blood Read Road for me. The lack of it here really really really annoyed me. But I read it quickly because I was desperate for him. 

Final Verdict:

This book suffers from Middle Book Syndrome. You know it’s the second part of a trilogy, so somewhere in your mind you know you’re not really going to actually get anywhere. This makes reading Rebel Heart really frustrating. You always know you’re going to have to wait for the final part for the answers, and that you’re not going to get them here. This happens in every sequel within a trilogy. It’s never going to satisfy. In fact I’d be willing to argue that it’s impossible for a Middle Book to satisfy. It simply can’t, because it has to keep you hooked and ready for book three - which I hope isn’t going to be such a long wait away as the wait for this one. Another factor that disappointed me was that without Jack, this book lacked the spark of Blood Red Road. It’s a different book, with a different tone, and for me it didn’t quite reach the dizzying heights of amazement that book one provoked. But I am excited about book three. SO LONG AS IT HAS MORE JACK. 

Further Reading:

Blood Red Road by Moira Young
Pure by Julianna Baggott

To buy Rebel Heart click HERE!!!

Monday, 6 August 2012

Review: Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman



In One Line:  Min fell in love with Ed - but this is why they broke up. 

Genre: Epic stream-of-consciousness poetic perfection

The Gist:

This is one of those reviews when I don’t want to tell you a single thing about the book because I want you to read it SO MUCH and I just can’t stand to think of clouding your opinion and whatnot. But essentially the brilliant and incredible Min has just broken up with basketball co-captain Ed, and is heading over to his house to dump a big box on his doorstep. A box containing all the trinkets and magic of their short relationship, and all the reasons why they broke up. 

The Cover:

Let’s not just talk about the cover here people. Let’s talk about the ILLUSTRATIONS. Because this book is illustrated throughout with all the stuff that’s in Min’s big box. And I was on the tube reading this, and even though I knew they were just pictures I actually had to trace each one with my fingers because they were all so tangible and beautiful. And the cover is so stunning, and I could see people on the tube glaring at it wondering what the hell I was reading and I wanted to just shout out and insist that everyone else read it too. Just holding the hardback book in your hands is an experience in itself. So yeah. You might be able to tell that I like it. 

without the dust jacket

Why You’ll Love This Book
  • It’s beautiful. Poetic. Intelligent. Deserves to escape the boundaries of ‘genre’ and get on some literary prize shortlists. Because there are still some suckers out there who think that fiction for teenagers is all about vampires and children killing children for TV kicks. Well this isn’t just a book. It’s a fricking piece of art. 
  • I love Min so much. I love that her full name is Minerva. I love that she has to tell everyone the story of how she got her name. I love that she FEELS so deeply and thinks that she’s an adult but really she isn’t and is completely obsessed with movies that I’ve never even heard of. I especially love that I’d blatantly be part of her group of friends. God I wish Min were real so we could chat about how much the world bloody sucks right now. 
  • I love that there is absolutely NOTHING like this book out there at the moment. Apologies if there actually is, but I’m just not aware of them. I hate that people may want to copy the style and will never, ever be able to emulate it. Because Daniel Handler is obviously not a real person, but some kind of literary genius. And also Lemony Snicket. 
  • Are the movies referred to in this book real? No, wait, don’t tell me. I absolutely don’t want to know. Min is obsessed with Golden Age cinema, and maybe at the beginning of the book I thought about googling some of the things she talks about, and then I thought HECK NO. I don’t even care if they’re real or not. In fact I prefer to believe that Daniel Handler made it all up and this is just part of the magic. So if the movie references are real I just don’t care. It all makes Min just that bit more beautiful. 

expensive plum wine

Why You May Not Love This Book:
  • Ed needs a lot of showers. He showers very frequently throughout the book. This concerns me. 
  • There’s lot’s of weird food in this book. Even an egg igloo. I’m not a foodie, and I don’t really get foodies, so maybe this didn’t work so well for me. Also, apparently there is caviar inside the egg igloo, and I think that’s kind of gross. 
  • By the time you get to the end, your heart will be broken into a million rose-petal-shaped pieces. And you may have to take some quiet time to pull yourself back together. This book has ALL OF THE FEELINGS. And if you can’t handle those feelings right now, just give yourself some space. But do please still read this book. Every single living soul on the planet should read this book. 

I can't stop thinking about you

The Hypersomnia Test:

No brainer. I didn’t want this book to end. I read it slowly, languorously, hoping that I could make it last a little longer. And when I was on the tube, prime nap time I should point out, my journey went by in double speed because I was so entirely engrossed in Min and all her deep, deep and many feelings. 

movie star
Final Verdict:

This book is utterly perfect. There is not a single word out of place. The gorgeous pictures enhance everything and never detract. And I just wish that I could wipe my memory so that I can read it all over again. One of my books of the year so far. And it will take some beating, I’m telling you. 

Further Reading:

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan

To buy Why We Broke Up please click HERE!!!

Friday, 3 August 2012

Top Ten Ultimate Angel Books

So this week I've reviewed two books about those fantabulous mythical beings known as angels. To see my reviews, please click below:

For Angel Dust by Sarah Mussi please click HERE!
For Immortal City by Scott Speer please click HERE!

So I thought that with those books in mind, I'd present to you my ultimate Angel books, for whether you want to be saved, or just because maybe you find feathery wings HOT. Please note that these are in no particular order. 

1. Angel by LA Weatherly 

2. Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

3. Fallen by Lauren Kate

4. Going Bovine by Libba Bray

5. The Fallen by Thomas E Sniegoski


6. Halo by Alexandra Adornetto


7. Kissed by an Angel by Elizabeth Chandler


8. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor


9. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare


10. Mercy by Rebecca Lim


Have I missed anything? Your comments, as always, absolutely welcome!

Hugs and high fives,

Nicole
x

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Review: Immortal City by Scott Speer



In One Line:  Girl who hates angels meets the super hottest of all angels and falls in forbidden love. (to be fair, I totes would too.)
Genre: Angelic guilty pleasure
The Gist:
Maddy lives in what we would call Los Angeles. But in this alternate reality, it is known as Angel City, because about 100 years ago Angels ‘came out’ and started saving people for money. If you can afford the protection, then you can get saved. But Maddy hates all the silly celebrity business that surrounds the angels. She’s too busy being poor and making college applications. Until Jackson Godspeed walks into her life. Turns out she’s a sucker for a hot bod and feathery wings after all. But whilst we have this sexy romance thing happening, someone, or something is killing angels, ripping off their wings and leaving them on the Angel City walk of fame. And of course Maddy and Jacks get involved. How could their insta-love possibly survive?
The Cover:
It’s a little bit racy fantasy, don’t you think? A little bit like those genre novels that pretend not to be blatant erotica because they’ve got vampires in them? But that’s ok. Because this book is absolutely the teen (and therefore chaste) version of that. It’s teen-porn (yes, I’m saying it). Erotica without the sex for teenagers who like their angels hot and hunky and like to imagine all the naughty things that might happen if a hot and hunky angel appeared in their bedroom but don’t actually know the technicalities of the deed yet. Bless ‘em. In the meantime, this book cover does exactly what it says on the tin: you want hot and hunky angels falling in love? You got ‘em!!! 
Why You’ll Love This Book
  • This book is totally a mash-up of Sarah Alderson, L.A. Weatherly and Becca Fitzpatrick. And if that’s ok with you, it’s totally ok with me. We’re in full-on guilty pleasure zone here people. 
  • There’s actually some pretty witty satire going on. Like, imagine if the Kardashians and the Hiltons and whatever other Hollywood famous family has a reality show and a clothes line were actually the people charged with saving your lives? What if they were Immortal? God help us. An immortal Kim Kardashian. Anyway, I’m pointing this out as a good point. Because it is, I promise. It paints a gloriously satirical slant on the nature of celebrity, how it actually means nothing at all, and is possibly (make that probably) intrinsically evil. Excellent work Mr Speer.
  • We’re also in alternate reality realm here, which I love because it opens up so many possibilities. Similar to the Charlaine Harris and the True Blood series, immortal Angels ‘came out’ to the world about one hundred years ago and have been building on their popularity ever since. And just like the True Blood series, what this means is endless potential for alternate history, further characters, and basically, a whole series. I could see this being a TV series - if they could afford all the special affects. 
  • The superman flying scene is HOT. Seriously HOT. 
  • There is actually a pretty great twist towards the end that I did not see coming. When you actually analyse it (as I am doing whilst I write this review) then you realise that it doesn’t make much sense, but I’m going to give kudos to the twist, because I totally didn’t predict it. 

Why You May Not Love This Book
  • Ooooh there are a lot of visual cliches going on here. I think that’s because the author actually works in music videos. So we have Superman style flying, as mentioned earlier, then there’s a creeping into the bedroom thing (my most hated thing EVER) and worst of all, some sexual tension with Angel Dude half naked in the pouring rain. I’m not necessarily complaining about this stuff, because a half naked Angel Dude in the pouring rain is undoubtedly HOT, and yet... cliches just get on my nerves. Visual or not. I’m surprised there wasn’t an upside down kiss at some point really. 
  • There are verbal cliches too!!! One bit made me laugh out loud, because it kind of reminded me of the bit in the Little Mermaid when Ursula the Sea Witch goes mental and giant and tries to keep Ariel and Eric apart. If you read this book, and are familiar with this film, then when you get to The Bit you will know EXACTLY what I mean. 
  • Despite what I just said about cliches, I wouldn’t have minded Maddy having a bit more personality. Perhaps being a bit more Buffy like? She’s just a tad dry on the personality front. And on a similar note, Jacks is just a big ol’ Angel jock. Once you get past the looks (the gloriously, distractingly HOT looks) then I didn’t catch much of a personality going on there either. 

The Hypersomnia Test:
It passed - and this is because of some clever novel structuring. Sexual tension scenes between Jacks and Maddy are broken up by some actual plot stuff, so I raced through this novel skimming over the Sylvester murder plot scenes because I was just desperate to get to the next Maddy and Jacks scenes!
Final Verdict:
An enjoyable, fun, brilliant little guilty pleasure. This book won’t change your life, it won’t rock your world, but it will give you a lovely distraction from real life for a little bit. And that makes it great in my book. This is what guilty pleasures are for, after all. However, there are a lot of elements that I’ve read before, so there is something predictable about this book. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a pleasing predictability, but if you’re looking for the next big ground-breaking fad fiction, I don’t think you’ll find it here. What you’ll find is good old clean fun. 
Further Reading:

Fated by Sarah Alderson
Angel by L.A. Weatherley
Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
To buy Immortal City click HERE!!!