Wednesday, 29 February 2012

February Wrap Up

I didn't get as much reading done as last month but I definitely read some great books. It was also my birthday and I got some great books because of that :)

Books read in February:
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have To Kill You by Ally Carter
Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter
Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover by Ally Carter
Only The Good Spy Young by Ally Carter
Aces Up by Lauren Barnholdt
Switched by Amanda Hocking

Favourite book read in February:

This was amazing and I highly recommend it, although only to people with a lot of patience! I think this is Maggie Stiefvater's best book yet.

This was a great month book-wise and I hope March will be even better. Hope you all had a great month!

Waiting On Wednesday (11)

Waiting On Wednesday is a meme hosted by Breaking the Spine, where we show titles that we are eagerly anticipating.

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1) by Leigh Bardugo
Published by Henry Holt & Co.
Released: 5th June 2012

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near-impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one unlikely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life– a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha… and the secrets of her heart.

I only heard about this recently but I instantly loved the cover and it sounds so eerie and intriguing. Veronica Roth also gave it a glowing recommendation and she's never been wrong in the past! (I read The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson, one of her recommendations, and it was one of the best books I read last year!)

What are you waiting on?

Sunday, 26 February 2012

In My Mailbox (13)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren.

I am essentially broke this week; my birthday money is gone but I do have some books arriving later next week, so expect to see those in next week's IMM.

All links take you to Goodreads.


Fever by Lauren DeStefano (currently reading)
Torn by Amanda Hocking

Overall, a good week with two books I'm dying to read! What's in your IMM this week? 

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Review: Switched by Amanda Hocking

Switched (Trylle Trilogy #1) by Amanda Hocking
Published by Tor 2010

When Wendy Everly was six-years-old, her mother was convinced she was a monster and tried to kill her. It isn't until eleven years later that Wendy finds out her mother might've been telling the truth.

With the help of Finn Holmes, Wendy finds herself in a world she never knew existed - and it's one she's not sure if she wants to be a part of.

The Tyrelle Trilogy by Amanda Hocking was originally a self-published ebook trilogy that eventually became an internet ebook sensation. In 2010, it was published in regular book format by Tor. Before I picked this up, there was already a lot of hype surrounding it but I was still a bit skeptical.

Wendy Everly has never quite fit in anywhere. She's been moving from one school to the next for years, and she had a rough childhood. When Wendy was six, her mother tried to kill her using a knife and called her a monster. With the arrival of Finn, the new guy in school, Wendy discovers that her mum might have been right. 

I had seen many positive reviews for this book before reading it, and I wanted to get in on how great this series was. This book also offered the interesting concept of trolls, and how the way we usually picture is a misconception. The main protagonist, Wendy, was an interesting character that I really liked. She cared very much about her family and was a strong person despite her terrible childhood. Wendy was fussy, opinionated and most of all, loving. She wasn't afraid to speak her mind, which I admired about her. Finn is Wendy's primary love interest. At first, I found him very weird but interesting. As the story went on however, I found him cold, aloof and a bit irritating. He never really offered Wendy any useful information on her whole situation and he seemed to carry an air of indifference. Needless to say, I didn't like him as much as I would've liked. Also, he's not very swoon-worthy. There were some really great secondary characters in the book which I hope to see more of in future books; they had their own personalities and attributes which made me really like all of them. The chapters up towards the ending is when everything important happens, and there's a quicker pace from there with lots of action. As was the case with Aces Up though, I didn't feel like I connected with the story very well and the pace was slow at times. I did enjoy the ending though, and I want to see what happens next. Overall, I enjoyed this book and it had interesting characters and elements, but it was slow at times.

3.5 stars 

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Waiting On Wednesday (10)

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine, where we spotlight the books that we are eagerly anticipating.

When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle
Published by Simon & Schuster UK
Released: 1st May 2012

What's in a name, Shakespeare? I'll tell you: everything.
Rosaline knows that she and Rob are destined to be together. Rose has been waiting for years for Rob to kiss her--and when he finally does, it's perfect. But then Juliet moves back to town. Juliet, who used to be Rose's best friend. Juliet, who now inexplicably hates her. Juliet, who is gorgeous, vindictive, and a little bit crazy...and who has set her sights on Rob. He doesn't even stand a chance.
Rose is devastated over losing Rob to Juliet. This is not how the story was supposed to go. And when rumors start swirling about Juliet's instability, her neediness, and her threats of suicide, Rose starts to fear not only for Rob's heart, but also for his life. Because Shakespeare may have gotten the story wrong, but we all still know how it ends.
I love the sound of this book, and I re-read the kid's version of Romeo and Juliet possibly 100 times over when I was younger. It's really interesting to see the story turned around like this, and I can't wait to read it. 
What are you waiting on?

Monday, 20 February 2012

Review: Aces Up by Lauren Barnholdt

Aces Up by Lauren Barnholdt
Published by Delacorte Press 2010

Seventeen-year-old high school senior Shannon Card needs money. And lots of it. She's been admitted to Wellesley, but her dad just lost his job, and somehow she has to come up with a year of tuition herself. But Shannon's dream of making big bucks waitressing at the local casino, the Collosio, disappears faster than a gambler's lucky streak. Her boss is a tyrant, her coworker is nuts, and her chances of balancing a tray full of drinks while wearing high-heeled shoes are slim to none. Worse, time is running out, and Shannon hasn't made even half the money she'd hoped.

When Shannon receives a mysterious invitation to join Aces Up, a secret network of highly talented college poker players, at first she thinks No way. She has enough to worry about: keeping her job, winning the coveted math scholarship at school, and tutoring her secret crush, Max. But when Shannon musters up the nerve to kiss Max and he doesn't react at all, the allure of Aces Up and its sexy eighteen-year-old leader, Cole, is suddenly too powerful to ignore.

Soon Shannon's caught up in a web of lies and deceit that makes worrying about tuition money or a high school crush seem like kid stuff. Still, when the money's this good, is the fear of getting caught reason enough to fold?

This book caught my eye when Clover over at Fluttering Butterflies reviewed it as part of Love Month. She gave it a glowing review, and I bought myself a copy.

Shannon Card is a high school senior who has received early admission into Wellesley, the college of her dreams. Problem is, her dad just lost his job at the bank and her family didn't set up a college fund, so now she has no money for college. She decides to take a job at the Collosio Casino, using a fake ID and even a fake birth certificate. While working there, she meets Cole, who invites her to join a secret underground poker society called Aces Up, based on her excellent maths ability. At first she doesn't like it, but her job doesn't pay as well as she'd hoped, and when her feelings get hurt by her secret crush, Max, it's the last straw. She joins Aces Up, and soon gets caught up in something dangerous.

When I first heard about this book, I wanted to read it immediately. I've never read anything like this before, and I've never even heard how a game of poker works, let alone played an actual game. It all sounded very intriguing. Shannon is the average girl, apart from the fact that she has exceptional maths skills. I liked how she did what she had to do in order to get money for college and I see why she got the job at the casino because it paid a lot more than other jobs, but I just felt a bit uncomfortable with the fact that she had to work in a (quite frankly skanky) casino wearing a really tight outfit. She was, however, a likeable character with lots of ambition, and I liked that about her. I found Cole very alluring but shady. Yes, he was the mysterious type with the cocky grin and he's very good-looking. He knew how to get around things and get the things he wanted, and he was very good at manipulating people. However, Shannon still had common sense throughout the whole ordeal with Cole, which I really admired about her because she knew that he was essentially doing something illegal and things could get dangerous, and that being a part of Aces Up could put her early admission to college in jeopardy. But yes, she did go along with it because she needed the money, and that's where things really start getting interesting. I liked how Barnholdt managed to explain the fundamentals of poker and its complexity without making it seem boring. Barnholdt's descriptions of the game also helped add to the thrill Shannon was feeling while playing, and I felt the thrill along with her. Things start to go wrong towards the end of the book, and I loved how Barnholdt really managed to turn the tables (see what I did there?). It really picks up from there and I couldn't get enough of it. I don't know why, but the mood and some things that happened in the book kind of put me off the book a little bit. The book just didn't really stick with me as much as I thought it would; although, don't me get wrong, the story overall is great and the ending was sweet. For those reasons, I'm giving this book 3.5 stars.

3.5 stars

Sunday, 19 February 2012

In My Mailbox (12)

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren, where we show the books we have received this week through buying, borrowing, etc.

All links take you to Goodreads.

Found an alternative method to getting my phone pictures uploaded to Blogger: email! Hopefully I'll be able to do this every week. I also had my first visit to the library in over two years yesterday, and I was disappointed to see that the teen section had somehow gotten smaller. I spent about 45 minutes trying to find decent books. Here's what I got:


Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Aces Up by Lauren Barnholdt (finished, review to come soon)
Two-Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt
Harbinger by Sara Wilson Etienne
Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams


Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
The Truth about Celia Frost by Paula Rawsthorne
Mad Love by Suzanne Selfors
Fracture by Megan Miranda

I'm really pleased with what I got this week, and I have to say that Harbinger has a beautiful cover; I can't stop looking at it. The trip to the library was also successful but the selection wasn't brilliant, although I might go more regularly to see if they have anything new (I'm the first one to take out Fracture which just came in). What did you get in your mailboxes this week? Leave me a link in the comments.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Review: Only The Good Spy Young by Ally Carter

Only The Good Spy Young (Gallagher Girls #4) by Ally Carter
Published by Orchard 2010

When Cammie Morgan enrolled at the Gallagher Academy, she knew she was preparing for the dangerous life of a spy. What she didn’t know was that the serious, real-life danger would start during her junior year of high school. But that’s exactly what happened two months ago when she faced off against an ancient terrorist organization dead set on kidnapping her.

Now the danger follows her everywhere and even Cammie “The Chameleon” can’t hide. When a terrifying encounter in London reveals that one of her most-trusted allies is actually a rogue double-agent Cammie no longer knows if she can trust her classmates, her teachers—or even her own heart.

In this fourth installment of the New York Times best-selling series, the Gallagher Girls must hack, spy, steal, and lie their way to the truth as they go searching for answers, recognizing that the key to Cammie’s future may lie deep in the past....

This review officially completes my personal Gallagher Girls challenge, and I have to say that this series is great beyond a shadow of a doubt. Ally Carter is quickly becoming one of my authors to watch out for because she's done such a great job with both Gallagher Girls and Heist Society.

At the start of the book, Cammie is spending winter break with Bex and her parents. While there, she learns that one of the people she trusts most in her life is actually a rogue double-agent, working for the organisation that are after her. She doesn't know who to trust anymore, and she isn't safe anywhere.

This got off to a bit of a slow start, but from the middle onwards the action really picks up. Again, this book is more action and espionage than romance, which was good because there weren't many romantic distractions while I was focusing on what was happening in the story. There are also a lot more secrets, lies and suspicions, not to mention secret-revealing now that everyone knows that a double-agent was among them. Zach is also present, although he does come and go but he's more of a fixed figure in this book than in previous ones in that makes sense. We get to know Zach a bit more because there is some secret-revealing regarding him, and they are shockers. Zach and Cammie do have some sweet moments as well. Now on to the action. I was constantly guessing and being suspicious along with Cammie , and you never really know who to trust throughout. The action scenes were beyond amazing because they were amplified by the secret-revealing, and you can really read into Cammie's feelings, particularly her shock and her sense of betrayal. The pages up to the ending were absolutely action=packed and shocking, which made the actual ending have a lot more impact. The ending left me wanting more right away, and I can't wait for the next instalment, which comes out in April. Overall, this book is one of the best in the series; it's action-packed and keeps you on your toes throughout. 

5 stars

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Review: Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover by Ally Carter

Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover (Gallagher Girls #3) by Ally Carter
Published by Orchard 2009

When Cammie "The Chameleon" Morgan visits her roommate Macey in Boston, she thinks she's in for an exciting end to her summer break. After all, she's there to watch Macey's father accept the nomination for vice president of the United States. But when you go to the world's best school (for spies), "exciting" and "deadly" are never far apart. Cammie and Macey soon find themselves trapped in a kidnappers' plot, with only their espionage skills to save them. 

As her junior year begins, Cammie can't shake the memory of what happened in Boston, and even the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women doesn't feel like the safe haven it once did. Shocking secrets and old flames seem to lurk around every one of the mansion's corners as Cammie and her friends struggle to answer the questions, Who is after Macey? And how can the Gallagher Girls keep her safe? 

Soon Cammie is joining Bex and Liz as Macey's private security team on the campaign trail. The girls must use their spy training at every turn as the stakes are raised, and Cammie gets closer and closer to the shocking truth....

I feel as if this one was a bit of a letdown after book 2 but it was enjoyable nonetheless. Overall, the series is going well so far and I'm liking it.

Near the end of summer vacation (or the summer holidays), Macey invites Cammie to see her in Boston, where she and her family are hard at work trying to get votes that will affect Macey's dad's career in the next election. Secret Service agents are all around them, protecting them, but Cammie and Macey soon find out that Macey is the centre of a kidnapping plot, and Cammie will do anything to keep Macey safe.


In this book, there is plenty of action, mystery and suspense (which just about killed me because Carter just kept keeping me on my toes). Sometimes I just couldn't turn the pages first enough. A new side of Macey was also seen in this book, which I liked because it's not a side she shows often, if ever. Zach is also back, along with his own bout of mysteriousness as he keeps popping up in various places, and throughout the book, I never really knew what he was doing or what his motives were (still not really clear) and he didn't reveal very much to be honest. Boy, is he elusive. Cammie stuck her nose in as usual (one of the many things I love about her besides her smartness and determination). Yet another new character makes an appearance as well: Cammie's aunt, Abby. Abby is assigned to be Macey's personal bodyguard after a rooftop attack on Cammie and Macey leave them both very injured. Abby was a great character; she was fun, experienced, which meant that she told a lot of spy stories and inside jokes, and she knew what she was talking about; she came off as a very confident character. The laughs were there, but ultimately this book had a more serious and heartfelt tone. We see how far Cammie, Bex and Liz will go to protect their friend, and how far Cammie's family would go to protect her. Also, Zach was a lot more serious (which means no kissing scenes, boo! Although, Cammie and Zach do come into close proximity at one point). The ending was explosive and I was not expecting it, but I'm lucky I had book 4 on hand otherwise I would've just about died if I couldn't read what was going to happen next. The only bad thing I would say about this book is that sometimes I felt as if some things went on longer than was necessary and I was begging for it to just get to the point. Overall, a book that was overflowing in mystery and secrets; a great read.

4 stars

Waiting On Wednesday (9)

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine, where we show the books that we are eagerly anticipating. Head on over there if you want to take part!

Published by Harlequin Teen (USA)
Released: 24th April 2012

In the dark days since the insidious Red Lung virus decimated the human population, vampires have risen to rule the crumbling cities and suburbs. Uncontested Princes hold sway over diminished ranks of humans: their "pets." In exchange for their labor, loyalty and of course, their blood, these pets are registered, given food and shelter, permitted to survive.

Unregistered humans cling to fringes, scavenging for survival. Allison Sekemoto and her fellow Unregistereds are hunted, not only by vampires, but by rabids, the unholy result of Red Lung-infected vampires feeding on unwary humans. One night, Allie is attacked by a pack of rabids, saved by an unlikely hero...and turned vampire.

Uncomfortable in her undead skin, Allie falls in with a ragtag crew of humans seeking a cure, or cures: for Rabidism and for Vampirism. She's passing for human...for now. But the hunger is growing and will not be denied. Not for friendship—not even for love.

I haven't read a vampire book in a while, solely because I've kinda had enough of them. For this book however, I'm willing to make an exception because it actually sounds pretty decent. I've also heard that Julie Kagawa did a great job with her Iron Fey series (which I will be starting soon!), so I'm looking forward to seeing how she takes on vampires.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Review: Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy (Gallagher Girls #2) by Ally Carter
Published by Orchard 2007

Cammie Morgan may have a genius IQ and attend the best school in the country, but as she starts the spring semester of her sophomore year there are a lot of things she doesn't know. Like will her ex-boyfriend even remember she exists? And how much trouble did she really get in last semester? And, most of all, exactly why is her mother acting so strangely?

All Cammie wants is a nice, normal semester, but she's about to learn her greatest lesson yet—that when you go to a school for spies, nothing is ever as it seems.

Now is the time to say that I'm impressed. I loved this book, so much so that I read in less than half the time that I read the first in the series.

Cammie Morgan starts a new school year hoping to put what happened with Josh behind her. As if that wasn't difficult enough, Cammie finds out that the school is keeping a secret from the girls, called Blackthorne, and she and her friends have to find out just what is going on. Little does she know that her school life as she knows it is about to undergo a radical change, and soon it's up to her to help put things right.

This is going to be slightly hard to review without spoilers, so I'm tiptoeing around it. Wow, this one was so much better than the first that I just ate. it. up. The tone was more somber this time around because Cammie was trying to move on and stay away from Josh, but the book was a lot more action-packed than the first and there were a few really good oh-my-god moments. There were some very interesting missions this time around and the whole time you didn't really know what everyone's motives were. There were the usual laughs at the girls' antics and I had a grin on my face at several moments. The romance was also a whole lot hotter. Whereas the first book had the sweetness of first love, this book had romance that was filled with mysteriousness and intrigue, and like I said, it was just a whole lot hotter. I loved the host of new characters that made an appearance in this book, and I really do hope to see them again, because things are a lot more interesting with them around. Overall, this was action-packed with great missions, laughs and an intriguing romance.

5 stars  

Sunday, 12 February 2012

In My Mailbox (11)

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by The Story Siren, where we show all the books that we have received during the week through buying, borrowing, etc.

This is a late birthday present which I got from my friend Lauren. Funnily enough, she is also called Lauren Oliver, like the author of this book!

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver; I loved Delirium so I can't wait to read this!

I also won a free ebook of Blue Sky Days by Marie Landry from a giveaway hosted by Giselle @ Xpresso Reads!

Blue Sky Days by Marie Landry (with thanks to Giselle @ Xpresso Reads and Marie Landry)

What did you get in your mailbox this week?

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Review: I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have To Kill You by Ally Carter

I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have To Kill You (Gallagher Girls #1) by Ally Carter
Published by Orchard 2006

Cammie Morgan is a student at the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women, a fairly typical all-girls school-that is, if every school taught advanced martial arts in PE and the latest in chemical warfare in science, and students received extra credit for breaking CIA codes in computer class. The Gallagher Academy might claim to be a school for geniuses but it's really a school for spies. Even though Cammie is fluent in fourteen languages and capable of killing a man in seven different ways, she has no idea what to do when she meets an ordinary boy who thinks she's an ordinary girl. Sure, she can tap his phone, hack into his computer, or track him through town with the skill of a real "pavement artist"-but can she maneuver a relationship with someone who can never know the truth about her?

Cammie Morgan may be an elite spy-in-training, but in her sophomore year, she's on her most dangerous mission-falling in love.

Ever since reading Heist Society by Ally Carter, I've been dying to read her other books because Heist Society was so amazing. This series has also been going on for a while and it has a huge fan base, so I have no idea how I didn't come across it until now.

Cammie Morgan may seem like a regular girl who goes to an elite boarding school, but she's so much more than that. For one thing, she just doesn't just go to a regular boarding school; it's a school for spies. She can speak to you in 14 different languages, and can kill a man seven different ways. Her year has already started out rough now that she's taking Covert Operations with harsh new teacher, Joe Solomon, but she's about to face her most dangerous mission yet: falling in love.

This was full of laughs and lots of spy knowledge that made for some pretty interesting reading. Cammie was a great character - she was bubbly, smart and very girly. I laughed quite a lot while reading this book because Cammie had had practically no contact with boys until now and seeing trying to make sense of what everything meant when it came to boys was very hilarious. I also loved Cammie's best friends, Bex and Liz. They were funny in their own ways and supported Cammie every step of the way. Also, although Cammie was fascinated with the prospect of actually dating a boy, she still mostly managed to think of her spy training first and that not exposing what the school really taught was the main thing. She was also very real in a sense because even though she was a spy, she made mistakes and had a lot to learn, both in her studies and in life.

Things that I didn't really like: Cammie's over-enthusiastic persona. I understood that she was new to dating and boys in general, but sometimes it came to the point where that's all she thought about most of the time. It was funny and charming at first but then it started to get a bit annoying when she started exclaiming at everything boy-related. There were also some parts of the book that were a bit dull.

This was a fun read with lots of laughs but I kind of felt a little disappointed at the end. I felt like I didn't fully connect with it at times. I feel that Heist Society was the better book, but I enjoyed this one nonetheless :)

3.5 stars

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Waiting On Wednesday (8)

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine, where we show the books that we are eagerly anticipating.

This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers 
Published by St. Martin's Griffin
Released: 19th June 2012

It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live. But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside. When everything is gone, what doyou hold on to?

I haven't read any of Courtney Summers's previous books but this one sounds great because I really like stories that involve hardcore survival and the plot sounds very sinister.

What are you waiting on?

Monday, 6 February 2012

In My Mailbox (10)

Hi, I know it's not Sunday but I did go out despite the snow (originally thought I wasn't going to) after I posted my IMM post yesterday and I managed to get a few more books, so here's another IMM.

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren, where we show the books we have received this week either through buying them, borrowing them, etc.

Legend by Marie Lu & Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter

As a personal challenge, I'm going to try to read all the current Gallagher Girls books before the release of the fifth book in the series. I've also heard awesome things about Legend by Marie Lu and I've wanting to read it for a while; I jumped at the chance to be able to buy it. 

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Review: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Published by Scholastic Press 2011

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

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

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

I finished this book this morning, and I mulled over what I was going to say about it in my review at breakfast. The thing is, I feel like I can't sum up my feelings adequately enough because I have no idea where to begin with this review, but I will try.

On the small island of Thisby, Kate "Puck" Connelly and her two brothers have been made orphans after their parents were killed on a boat by the capall uisce, deadly water horses that come up out of the sea during the weeks close to November. Every November, there is a race held on the beach, called the Scorpio Races, where riders race their water horses in a fierce fight to the finish. Some live and some die. When Puck is faced with consequences that threaten her family life, she has no choice but to enter the races and is the first girl ever to do so. Sean Kendrick is the four-time winner of the Scorpio Races; he keeps himself to himself and is ultimately a mystery.

The Scorpio Races is, at its core, a book about horses. I feel that this is the kind of book that you need to be patient and take your time with in order to really appreciate it. Stiefvater uses the water horse myth in this story, which I'd never come across before and I found it very intriguing. I was actually expecting something else entirely when I read the description for this, but in most ways it was so much better. Puck Connelly is one of the main characters, although the story is told from both Puck and Sean's point of view. She was a mentally strong character and I respected her for trying to keep things going normally for her family as best she could. She was definitely the character with the most growth, because she faced her fears and was determined in light of her new situation. Most of all though, I found her to be real. She had so many fears but she learned to face them and stood for herself in the lead up to the races. Sean Kendrick was a very secluded character, and I admired the way that he so easily could hide what he was thinking. He felt like a very conflicted character to me, and he was ultimately my favourite of the two. Puck and Sean brought out a new side in each other, and inspired each other to be stronger than they already were. The romance was slow but it does eventually get there; it doesn't overshadow what the book is really about. The most prominent thing in this book is Sean and Puck's love for their horses; especially Sean's. Their horses were a big part of who they were and they were a very big part in both Puck and Sean's motives for winning the race. I also think that Stiefvater did a great job with the island descriptions because they were really beautiful and she did a great job with the secondary characters. For me, this book is possibly Maggie Stiefvater's best work. For those of you who might consider reading The Scorpio Races after this review, I have to tell you that nothing really happens until three-quarters of the way in, and like I said, you need to be patient with it. This book is about what you're willing to do to keep your family together and it questions what you want and what you need. It was beautiful, and tears welled up in my eyes at the ending. Despite feeling that this book is Maggie Stiefvater's best work, I'm going to give it 4 stars; that doesn't mean to say that there was something lacking in it, but 4 stars just feels right to me.

4 stars

In My Mailbox (9)

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren, where we show the books that we have received this week, either from buying, borrowing, etc.

My regular two this week, and both were birthday gifts :)

Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler; this cover alone makes me want to eat lots of baked goods.

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa; I've heard great, great things about The Iron Fey series and now I'm finally getting in on it!

What did you get in your IMMs this week?

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Waiting On Wednesday (7)

Just to let you guys know, it's my birthday tomorrow! I'll be turning 15, and there'll probably be a birthday haul posted in the coming weeks, so keep posted :)

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine, where we showcase books that we are eagerly anticipating.

The Killables by Gemma Malley
Published March 2012 by Hodder & Stoughton

Everyone accepted that people were different physically. But inside? Inside, they were different too. You just had to know how to tell, what to look for.

Evil has been eradicated. The City has been established. And citizens may only enter after having the 'evil' part of their brain removed. They are labelled on the System according to how 'good' they are. If they show signs of the evil emerging, they are labelled a K . . . But no one knows quite what that means. Only that they disappear, never to be seen again . . .

I really love the cover, and the premise sounds rather unusual. I've never read any of Gemma Malley's books before, although friends have and they've loved all of them, so I might give her other books a try in the future if I like this one :)

What books are you anticipating?