Sunday, August 29, 2010

In my mailbox (9)

In my mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. Here are the books I received this week.

Darke Academy 1: Secret Lives by Gabriella Poole
The Darke Academy is a school like no other.

An elite establishment that moves to an exotic new city every term, its students are impossibly beautiful, sophisticated and rich.

And the more new scholarship girl Cassie Bell learns about the Academy, the more curious she becomes.

What sinister secrets are guarded by the Few - the select group of students who keep outsiders away? Who is the dark stranger prowling the corridors at night?

And what really happened a year earlier, when the last scholarship girl died in mysterious circumstances?

One thing Cassie will discover is that a little knowledge may be a dangerous thing, but knowing too much can be deadly...

Blue Moon by Alyson Noel

Things have changed for Ever since she met her beloved Damen - not least because she's got a whole new set of powers, courtesy of her new Immortal status.

Just as she's getting stronger, though, Damen seems to be weakening.

Panicked at the thought of losing him, Ever finds a path to the in-between world known as Summerland, where she learns the secrets of Damen's tortured past.

But in searching for a cure for him, Ever accidentally discovers a way to twist time so she can save her family from the accident that killed them.

It's all she's ever wanted - but so is Damen. And Ever must choose between them...

City of Glass by Cassandra ClareSummary:
In search of a potion for her dying mother, Clary sneaks into the City of Glass and is immediately caught up in a life-and-death battle.

As the children of the Moon (werewolves), Night (vampires), and Faerie gather for a war that will rend the heavens, Clary calls upon her untrained powers to control an angel who will save or destroy them all.


Kisses for Lula by Samantha MackintoshSummary:
Lula Bird is gorgeous, funny and dreading her birthday because you can't turn 16 if you've never been kissed...

So why does every boy in Hambledon run a mile the second she bats her eyelids?

The fact is, they fear for their lives. Rumour has it Lula's been jinxed!

And it's not as if that's her only problem:

Lula thinks she has a stalker, her dad keeps sneaking out at night with a lady's handbag, and a mysterious theft is threatening to bring the town to its knees.

That's it from me for this week. What's in your IMM this week?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Of weekend reading and fabulous book trailers

Sheesh, it's been ages since I've done a book trailer feature, but I figured since I'm barely going to have time to do a book review today (or this weekend for that matter), I'll do one of these. Except, that where it's usually 5, today it will probably be 2, due to the rambling tangent that will probably follow below.

I'm sure most of you must be familiar with the annual Man Booker Prize. Well South Africa has a local version of it and one of our leading bookstores have asked me to be one of the judges for this event. This means I've got to read 6 books and submit a score sheet of the books this coming Monday.

The books I've read:
  • Innocent by Scott Turow (Finished this one and surprisingly enjoyed it, which is weird as I'm not a lover of legal/courtroom drama)
  • Valeria's Last Stand by Marc Fitten (Also finished this one and thought it was sweet, although pointless)
  • One Day by David Nicholls (Just started this one and am already loving it)
Books I still have to read:
  • The Postmistress by Sarah Blake (Looking forward to this one, but I think it's purely because of the cover. Who knows. I hope it surprises me though.)
  • The Man from Beijing by Henning Mankell (I absolutely so DON'T want to read this. Doesn't it just look vomit-worthy? *sulks*  Does this mean I'll end up enjoying it? Book irony often loves to come out and play in situations like these)
  • Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (Not sure about this one - could be classified as a door stopper I suppose, but we'll see how that goes. Between this one and The Man from Beijing, I think I'd rather read this one though.)
Between now and Monday, I'm going to be incredibly busy with these books. Of course, I'll also be squeezing in time for YA fic  and book reviews, because I think these would be my antidote to the heavy reading that I'm going to need to do this weekend. 

Anyway, now that that little ramble is over, I stumbled upon trailers for 2 books that I've been wanting to read for quite some time now and thought I'd share them.

Trailer 1:

The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman
Elizabeth has a new job at an unusual library— a lending library of objects, not books. In a secret room in the basement lies the Grimm Collection. That’s where the librarians lock away powerful items straight out of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales: seven-league boots, a table that produces a feast at the blink of an eye, Snow White’s stepmother’s sinister mirror that talks in riddles.

When the magical objects start to disappear, Elizabeth embarks on a dangerous quest to catch the thief before she can be accused of the crime—or captured by the thief.

I so need to get my hands on a copy of this. It's sounds wonderfully adventurous.

Trailer 2:

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
Mackie Doyle seems like everyone else in the perfect little town of Gentry, but he is living with a fatal secret - he is a Replacement, left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now the creatures under the hill want him back, and Mackie must decide where he really belongs and what he really wants.

A month ago, Mackie might have told them to buzz off. But now, with a budding relationship with tough, wounded, beautiful Tate, Mackie has too much to lose. Will love finally make him worthy of the human world?

I love, love, love changeling stories and became obsessed with them ever since I first read Keith Donohue's The Stolen Child, so it definitely goes without saying that I can't wait for this one!

What are you going to be reading this weekend? And have you entered my giveaway yet? *grins*

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: Through her eyes

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill from Breaking the Spine. The idea behind this meme is to highlight up and coming releases that we just can't wait to read.

This week's can't wait for read is Through Her Eyes by Jennifer Archer.

I suppose I could say that it was cover lust at first sight, but reading the synopsis itself soon had me drooling. Dark, seductive poems? Photography? Mysterious, troubled man who died years ago?

What's not to love?

Unfortunately we're going to have to wait until April 2011 for this one, but I certainly wouldn't mind trying to get hold of an ARC copy in the meantime.

Here's a summary of what this book is about:

Through Her Eyes by Jennifer Archer:
Sixteen-year-old Tansy Piper moves with her grandfather and her mother, a horror writer, to the setting of her mother's next book--a secluded house outside of a tiny, desolate West Texas town. 

Lonely and upset over the move, Tansy escapes into her photography and the dark, seductive poems she finds hidden in the cellar, both of which lure her into the mind and world of a mysterious, troubled young man who died sixty years earlier

What's on your WoW list this week?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Book review: Sisters Red

Sisters Red
Who's afraid of the big, bad wolf? Well, if you're young, pretty and have a personality that is as fluttery as the wings of a sparkling dragonfly, then you probably should be...

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce (Hodder Children's Books)
I am a huge fan of fairytale retellings and adaptations, so when I first stumbled upon Sisters Red, which - if you haven't guessed by the title, is loosely based on Little Red Riding Hood - I was incredibly excited. 

The story premise is a rather unique one. I loved the fact that Jackson Pearce manages to take an old classic and put her own stamp on it.

Having said that though, you should be warned that Sisters Red is a darker and much more violent take on the original children's classic, something which I found did work for some parts, but at other times thought that the violence was more than a little disconcerting for a YA novel.

What the book is about:

Scarlett and Rosie March are two sisters who live in a little cottage that seems to be on the outskirts of the world. The girls have an unbreakable bond, a bond which was cemented right from the start, when a bloodthirsty werewolf (these wolves are called Fenris) attacked and killed their grandmother and left Scarlett severely injured.

As a result, the girls have taken to hunting down these bloodthirsty predators.

Determined to protect her younger sister and other young girls that these vicious wolves enjoy preying on, Scarlett lives for the hunt and slaughters the wolves any given chance that she gets. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet, a blood-red cloak and a patch over the eye (removed by a Fenris),  she fights with a dogged determination that is beyond obsessive.

Feeling that she owes Scarlett her life for protecting her when she was younger, Rosie hunts fiercely alongside her. But, when Silas, a young woodsman and old family friend (who just so happens to be skilled with an ax), enters the picture, Rosie begins to start dreaming of a life beyond constant hunting.

Yet, loving Silas is risky because not only would it mean betraying her sister and the unbreakable bond they have, but shocking secrets about Silas's family history could endanger their lives and tear them apart for good.

Ok, my thoughts.

For me, this was one of those books that I liked, yet wished I could have loved.  The story is written in a dual-narrative structure and tells the story from both Rosie and Scarlett's point of view. Generally I don't mind this kind of structure and I definitely think that Jackson Pearce has the writing skills to pull this off.

But, here's the thing - I believe that if you're going to employ this kind of narrative structure, the characters, while they should have more than their share of flaws, shouldn't be altogether unlikeable and unfortunately, for me, Scarlett was one of the most unlikeable characters I've come across.

Before I come across as being an unsympathetic cow, let me explain. Here is a girl who has gone through so much, survived a wolf attack and bears the scars as proof.

Naturally it would be understandable that her experience would compel her drive to hunt and take revenge on the creatures that have caused her and her family harm.  I get that. Really I do. I would even go as far as to say that I'd probably want to get my revenge in any form that I can.

But, here's the thing.

I think that Scarlett takes it too far. I would actually say that she's developed a borderline obsessive hero complex, but it's more than that. She lives, eats and breathes for hunting. She can't see beyond anything but the hunt and expects her sister (and Silas) to reason the same way that she does.

She's obsessive to the point of being incredibly annoying and incredibly inflexible. She rarely admits to being wrong and rarely apologises for what she perceives as something which is perfectly justifiable.

Because of her inflexibility, I could actually understand why Rosie goes behind her back to try and carve a life away from hunting, even though Rosie feels guilty. For this reason, I actually loved Rosie's character far more than I did Scarlett and found myself rooting for her throughout the novel.

For me, Rosie was the real star of the novel and showed strength of character that Scarlett's character lacked, even though Scarlett's physical abilities far outweighed those of Rosie's. She's sweet, thinks of her sister and tries hard to put her loyalty to her sister above her own needs and desires - which only made me like her character more.

I thoroughly enjoyed the romance between Rosie and Silas and thought that their relationship progressed at a steady pace which I felt definitely fit within the novel.  What I also really enjoyed was the way in which Jackson Pearce portrayed the sisterly bond between Rosie and Scarlett - you can tell that these girls genuinely love each other and if it wasn't for this and for the Silas aspect, I probably wouldn't have been able to finish this novel.

On a final note, there is a twist in the novel, but anyone who reads this, will be able to see it coming from a mile away. Despite my issues with the novel, I definitely don't think this is a bad novel at all. It was just not as good as I was hoping it would be.

My final rating: 3 / 5 stars

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Giveaway: Win a book of your choice

So, because I've reached 50 followers, I figured that it would be a good idea to do a giveaway. Here's what I'm going to be giving away:

a)  One reader will win a choice of their book to the value of $20, which I'll order from The Book Depository. (Please make sure that The Book Depository ships to your country before you enter)

b)    A second reader will win a copy of Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz and finally,

c)    Two readers will win an e-book version of My Love Lies Bleeding

Here's what you need to do:

a) Leave a comment in the box below telling me who you think is the sexiest male character ever and why you find him so delectable. This is very important as I will be buying my next book based on the winner's answer - which means the answer better be good. *grins*

b) Tell me whether you're a new or an old follower.

(Edit: Note, you don't have to be a follower of this blog to enter the giveaway, but if you are, I would like you to state this. I don't want to force new followers and would rather have bloggers follow me out of their own accord and not because I'm doing a giveaway)

c) Tweet about this giveaway and include @Tammy24_7 in your tweet. Leave your twitter link in the comment below as well.

d) Tell me which book you'd be interested in reading: Blue Bloods or My Love Lies Bleeding

That's all there is to it.

This giveaway will run until the 1st September.  And yes, as you may have gathered - it's international.

UPDATE: This giveaway is now closed! Winners will be announced shortly.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: Wake Unto Me

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill from Breaking the Spine. The idea behind this meme is to highlight up and coming releases that we just can't wait to read.

This week's can't wait for read is Wake Unto Me by Lisa Cach.
I fell in love with both the cover and the synopsis. I mean, how could you not when there's a:
1) Haunted castle
2) A charming ghost
3) Mysterious secrets and of course
4) A love story in the mix

Ok, if that doesn't sound convincing enough, then read the synopsis below. The book is being released on the 31 March 2011
Wake Unto Me by Lisa Cach
Summary (from Goodreads):
A haunted castle, a handsome young man dead for four hundred years, one heck of a scary portrait of a witch, and a treasure hunt - not to mention a princess for a roommate! -- all await 15 year old American girl Caitlyn Monahan when she earns a scholarship to a French boarding school.

There are secrets behind the stone walls of Chateau de la Fortune, buried for centuries along with the mystery of who killed Raphael, the charming ghost who visits Caitlyn at night. 

But as Caitlyn unearths the history of the castle, nothing scares her as badly as the secret she learns about herself, and the reason she was chosen to come to the Fortune School.

And nothing breaks her heart as badly as falling in love with a dead guy.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I don't have to love your favourite book

Every now and then (ok, more than every now and then) people create major buzz around books that they expect everyone to be wowed by.

Often, when this happens, I find myself:

a) Avoiding the book because I want to read it on my own terms and in my own time

b) Reading the book, only to end up being disappointed because the book failed to live up to its expectations; and

c) Following point b, I am then left feeling incredibly guilty because most people who love the book have this remarkable ability to make you feel bad with just a raise of their eyebrows (Because we all know that we're just not allowed to dislike books that other people love). 

Of course, there are many times when the expectations and buzz created around the book are justified - and in most cases - I'd have to be completely honest and say that the number of books that I've been wowed by (based on the hype), has by far outweighed the number of books that have disappointed me.

What many people seem to forget though is that reading is such a personal experience and that each and everyone experiences a book very differently. While there are common threads that tie many readers together, everyone looks for something different in a book. That is, after all, the reason why we have book genres.

Because of this, I'm often amused when people become offended because I didn't like the book that they loved. It's nothing against you as a person, but it's simply a matter of me just looking for something which, I felt, the book obviously lacked.

I also have to add that when I read a book, I never start out with the intention of outright hating the book. It's the way in which the book develops throughout the novel and the actual ending that affects my opinion of the book, nothing more, nothing less.

Some of the books that I've been disappointed by include the following 3:

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
This is one of those books that I desperately wanted to like. As a lover of all things fairy (yes, there's a reason my book blog is called The Book Fairy's Haven), I can't even begin to tell you how excited I was when I first heard about this book.

The title, the book cover and the synopsis all just pulled me in, and when I heard that this going to be a series, I was officially sold. And then, I started reading and found that although I was intrigued by the grungy, phantasmagorical world of wickedly beautiful fae, I generally had a problem with the characters.

Sure Seth is sexy and Keenan is wickedly beautiful, but there was nothing but beyond that, there was nothing that made them memorable to me. And Aislin? I thought there was certain hollowness about her character that just kept me from connecting with her.
Honestly, I don't really know if I want to continue reading this series. I read Ink Exchange and didn't find it any better. Maybe one day when I have nothing else to read, but for now… will be giving this series a skip!

Ice by Sarah Beth Durst
Actually, I’m not going to say much about this one. I'll just let you read my review shall I? I'll only be repeating everything I've written anyway.

Sister's Red by Jackson Pearce (review coming up soon)
This one I definitely have mixed feelings about. It's not that I didn't like it (actually, like with Wicked Lovely, I really wanted to love this book), but rather a case of a good book being brought down by a character I considered rather one-dimensional, even though there are good reasons for the character being the way she is.

I'm hoping to get my review out later this week, but I can tell you that the character I have a problem with, is Scarlett. I'm not sure if wanting to strangle a character throughout most of the novel is a testimony to how well the character's personality is portrayed or a reflection of just how irksome I found her, but whatever it is, it certainly caused me to like this book a little less than I really wanted to.

Anyway, I'm curious to hear about the books that didn't live up to your expectation? I'd love to hear them (and also so that I can avoid some of those I haven't read in the future. *grins*

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Book review: Blue Bloods

Blue Bloods
Gossip girl meets sexed-up teen vamps in this fresh, sexy and unique take on vampire lore. 

Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz (Atom Books)
15-year old Schuyler Van Alen has never quite fit in with the preppy, popular snobs at Duchesne Academy, the exclusive school she attends.

Raised by an imposing and aloof grandmother, Schuyler tries not to draw attention to her and tends to stick close to Oliver and Dylan, the 3 of them pretty much relegated to being the outcasts of the school.

But all that is about to change because:

a) Jack Force, the most popular (and by default the hottest and one of the wealthiest) has suddenly taken an interest in the ignorant-of-her-beauty 15-year old - a fact which upsets his equally popular, but bratty, spoilt and mean twin sister, Mimi.

b) That craving for red meat, the blackouts and the increasingly marked blue veins confirms that she's a Blue Blood - part of a secret elite group of vampires who are illustriously beautiful, extroadinarily powerful and exceedingly glamourous.

As a Blue Blood, she is invited to join The Committee, an elite society resided over by vampires, where she soon learns some startling information about her family history.

But that's not all.

The knowledge of what she is soon becomes dangerous to those around her and when young vampires are being hunted and murdered, and the Committee refuse to believe that it's a matter of life or death, it's up to Schuyler and her friends to find out who and what is behind the killings - before she and those around her become the next targets.

I liked this book far more than I ever thought I actually would.

Actually, scratch that.

I unashamedly loved this book and - even as I sit here writing this review - am still quite surprised that I'm actually going to be writing a great review for a book I was fully expecting to dislike. (I do love books that end up being far better than your actual expectations of it, don't you?)

I've seen this book around so many times, but had no intention of reading this book (and series) at all. I suppose my reasoning at the time could probably be put down as me becoming just a wee bit tired of seeing so many vamp books out there, that it didn't occur to me that this may just be a very different take on the genre.

And different this certainly was.

For one, the setting of this novel is everything that you could imagine the slutty, wealthy, fashionable character cast of Gossip Girls would be comfortable in. Trendy, upmarket designer stores, Fashion modelling shoots, exclusive clubs - you name it, this novel has it.

Now, normally I would be irritated with this kind of setting because I just know that with a setting like this, a lot of the characters are bound to be shallow, flaky and super bitchy - but somehow the setting for this novel just works.

And surprisingly enough, the characters, although not fully fleshed out (something which I think is deliberate due to the fact that this book is a series), had a little more substance to them than I thought they would have.

Told through different points of view, we get to hear the voices of Schuyler,  Mimi Force and Bliss Llewellyn (Mimi's so-called best friend).  Schuyler's character was the one that stood out most for me.

She's sweet, but she's no pushover and I love the fact that she's such a non-conformist amidst her very posh surroundings. Out of all three voices, hers grabbed me the most - she's likeable, brave and I found myself definitely rooting for her and Jack Force throughout the novel.

Surprisingly enough, I also liked Bliss. At first glance, you'd think she was every bit as shallow as Mimi, yet there was an inherent vulnerability about her that definitely won my sympathy as the novel progressed.

Mimi, on the other hand, I developed an instant dislike for. She's spoilt, bratty, mean and cares about no one besides herself and Jack.  And I couldn't help but want to strangle her throughout most of the novel.

As interesting as the history of the Blue Bloods are (it goes way back to the Mayflower landing), the relationship between Mimi and Jack was the one thing that freaked me out. Even though it is explained why, the notion of the two of them just makes me sick to my stomach.

And it's not because it could be considered incestuous (that's another controversial topic for another day and something I want to write about), but more because I want to see Schuyler and Jack together - even though, at times, his dog-like loyalty to Mimi just got on my last nerve.

And as much as I like Oliver (the super loyal best friend), I just can't help but pin my hopes on Schuyler and Jack as a couple! They just seem like they'd be really good together.

I also really found unique and refreshing, was the whole take on vampire mythology. Without giving anything away, it's definitely different from the standard vamp myth and because of this, provides a couple of twists in the novel that definitely makes me want to continue reading this series.

If you haven't read this one yet, give it a go - you may just be surprised!  It's a light, fast and mostly well-written read.

My rating:
4/5 stars

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: Intrinsical

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill from Breaking the Spine. The idea behind this meme is to highlight up and coming releases that we just can't wait to read.

This week's WoW pick is Intrinsical. This choice was inspired because:
a) We don't have to wait all that long for this release - the book is being released on 20th August, which is next week.
b) The lovely Leanna (Daisy Chain Book Reviews) recently interviewed Lani Woodland, author of the book. (You can check the interview out here)
c) Most importantly, the book itself sounds awesome.

Also, the Book Launch Party will be taking place next week at the El Cerrito Library, so for anyone who is nearby there is all welcome to attend. You can check out the details for the launch party on Lani's blog. (Click here)

Anyway, now for a quick book summary from Goodreads:
Intrinsical by Lani Woodland
Sixteen-year-old Yara Silva has always known that ghosts walk alongside the living. Her grandma, like the other females in her family, is a Waker, someone who can see and communicate with ghosts. 

Yara grew up watching her grandmother taunted and scorned for this unusual ability and doesn't want that to be her future.

She has been dreading the day when she too would see ghosts, and is relieved that the usually dominant Waker gene seems to have skipped her, letting her live a normal teenage life.

However, all that changes for Yara on her first day at her elite boarding school when she discovers the gene was only lying dormant. 

She witnesses a dark mist attack Brent, a handsome fellow student, and rushes to his rescue. Her act of heroism draws the mist's attention, and the dark spirit begins stalking her.

Yara finds herself entrenched in a sixty-year-old curse that haunts the school, threatening not only her life, but the lives of her closest friends as well. Yara soon realizes that the past she was trying to put behind her isn't going to go quietly

I can't wait for this one to be released. And the cover is also one of my favourite covers this year so far. But that's it from me.

What's on your WoW list this week?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Signs of a bookaholic

No real time for a proper review until later this week, so I thought I'd do a top signs that indicate you're a bookaholic. I've posted this on the website for our books section, and thought it would be fun to post here. I've added a few that wasn't in my original list.

You know you're a bookaholic when...

1.  You lie to your friends about some imagined illness in order to stay in and read instead (I am incredibly guilty of this).

2.  You start talking about characters as if they are real and developing crushes on said characters.

3.  During a make-up and shoe sale, you still opt to buy the book even though it's not on sale. (Seriously, any shoe-addicted woman who chooses books over shoes is definitely a bookaholic)

4.  You specifically request that people give you book vouchers as birthday gift options instead of that expensive perfume.

5.  You forget to pick you kids up from school or to do that extremely important thing you were supposed to do because you were just so into that book.  (Any angry kiddies in the house lately, mommies?)

6.  You own the hardcover version of the book but you buy the paperback anyway because the pretty cover simply begged you to. And when the movie cover versions of the book are released, you buy those too.

7.  You walk into the living room and lounge area and trip over the myriad of books that are piled up into every available corner - aside from the actual bookshelf.

8.  You're so worried that people won't return your books, you make them fill out a detailed form consisting of more than just a name, number, surname and address.

9.  You happily forfeit a night's rest in order to stay up and finish the book that just can't wait until tomorrow (Not all bloodshot eyes are a result of a heavy night's worth of binge-drinking you know).

10. You miss your train station / bus stop because you were so into your book and only realise a few stops later.

11. You  take a book to a social event and find yourself a little corner to read. (I've gotten into trouble because of this many, many times over)

12. You have a book blog. Not only that - you panic and react with sheer horror when you find yourself not having enough time to update your blog or chat to the book bloggers.

13. You spend more money on books than what you do on anything else.

14. You call in sick to work just so that you can stay at home to finish the book.

15. You fear the very thought of not living long enough to get around to reading all the books that you want to read.

I could add so much more here, but then this list would really become the list that wouldn't end and would probably leave you with very little room to comment.

So, I'll leave it at that and let you continue the list below. Share, share, share!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Book review: Angelology

*Must apologise in advance if this doesn't read properly - but this review was probably the hardest review I've ever written and it's also very late right now, so my brain is not functioning at its fullest. Must go get some sleep*

Combining elements of Angel lore, Greek mythology, literature, secret codes and societies, Angelology is an ambitious and interesting, but not very easy book to read.  

Angelology by Danielle Trussoni (Penguin)

Sister Evangeline is a young nun who resides at the St. Rose Convent in Milton, New York. Going about her daily duties, she lives a relatively quiet and non-descript life. 

When she receives a request from a Verlaine (a scholar doing research for Percival Grigori), asking for access to potential records of correspondences between art patron and philanthropist Abigail Rockefeller and Mother Innocenta (a revered nun within the walls of the Convent), her ordered life is quickly turned upside down.

The correspondence confirms that angels walk amongst them, and also confirms that their cruel descendants, the Nephilim - an antediluvian race born as a result of human and angelic (fallen angels specifically) interbreeding - are still around.

The correspondence also provides hints pointing to the location of a hidden artefact that the Nephilim are desperately looking for (this artefact that has the power to enslave humanity but is also rumoured to possess an astonishing amount of healing power) - and although Verlaine's interest in the correspondence is purely academic, he doesn't realise that Percival Grigori (whose ailing condition has caused his wings to rot) is a Nephilim.

Evangeline's growing interest in trying to discover more about the correspondence sends her on a journey into the past, learning about the secret Angelologist organisation that her parents have long been part of and plunges her headlong into a war between good and evil that has been waged for centuries.

My thoughts?

Let me start off by saying that this was no easy book to read. And reviewing also no easy feat. The book took me forever to read, which, considering the fact that I'm a relatively fast reader, says a lot.

The premise of this novel is certainly an ambitious undertaking, and a very interesting one to boot.  The book contains a labyrinth of historical fact, mythological references (particularly pertaining to Greek mythology) as well as references to literature work like The Book of Enoch.

When you start reading, you immediately get the sense that Danielle Trussoni certainly knows her way around research. While this is a good thing, I found that it detracted from the novel because there was just so much information to process.

Because of this, the novel seems to be rather slow-moving and one has to literally trudge your way through a good number of chapters before it really becomes interesting.  In fact, getting past the first few chapters or so ended up being quite a laborious process which resulted in me nearly giving up on this book on numerous occasions.

Luckily for me, persistence won and towards the middle of the book, during flashbacks to war-torn Paris, I finally found myself intrigued with the world of Angelology, Angel lore and the whole notion that nephilistic giants were walking around in a modern setting. 

I especially found this interesting considering the fact that according to many online references out there, the Nephilim are considered to be an antediluvian race of beings)

At times, it felt like this book almost read like a reference book, but the vivid descriptions (Trussoni is unbelievably skilled at conjuring up vivid images of 1940's Paris as well as modern-day New York) of the settings (think modern art galleries, art works and museums) and the Angelic beings definitely make up for the - at times - rather dry prose.

The characters?

Strangely enough, it wasn't really Evangeline or Verlaine who stood out for me, but rather a certain Sister Celestine (a background, but central character), whose history with the Angelologist society I found incredibly fascinating, simply because her voice really gripped me and her back story was something I really found worth reading .

Another character that also really stood out for me, was the villain of the story - Percival Grigori, the Nephilim. 

For someone who is suffering from a disease that seems to be wiping out the Nephlistic race, she at once portrays him as an arrogant, cold-hearted Nephilim and a desperate being willing to do whatever it takes to get his hands on the artefact ( in the process almost coming across as being human in all of his Nephilistic grandeur).

Of course, he is also quite cruel, but yet, somehow she manages to showcase him in a sympathetic light - something which I found at once interesting and disconcerting.

What really saves this book though, is the ending.

I did feel as if the loose ends were tied up a little too quickly, but I thought that the unexpected twist in the novel (and I really didn't see that one coming) was a great way to ensure that the end of the novel is a nice set up for the next instalment in this trilogy and has left me feeling like I really have to read the next book in this trilogy.

There are also definite hints of a potential romance - and that is something that I would really like to see explored in the next novel.

If you're looking for a Lauren Kate or Becca Fitzpatrick kind of novel, you probably won't find it in here, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't read this. Despite the book's shortcomings, Angelology is an interesting and very different take on Angel lore that may just surprise you.  I know I'm at least going to give the second book a try.

My final rating: 3.5/ 5 stars

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: Once in a Full Moon

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill from Breaking the Spine. The idea behind this meme is to highlight up and coming releases that we just can't wait to read.

This week's WoW is Once in a Full Moon by Ellen Schreiber. I admit to not having read any of her previous books yet (something which I will be correcting as soon as possible), but when I stumbled upon this one I fell in love with it instantly.

Look at that gorgeous cover! And mention a hot werewolf, and it pretty much seals the deal for me. I can't wait for this one. Considering the fact that this is only being released in December, I'll be taking the time to aquaint myself with the Vampire Kisses series.

Here's some more info on the book.
Once in a Full Moon by Ellen Schreiber
Publish date: 28 December 2010
Summary: (From Goodreads)

Beware of a kiss under the full moon. It will change your life forever.

Celeste Parker is used to hearing scary stories about werewolves—Legend’s Run is famous for them. But when, after an unnerving visit with a psychic, she encounters a pack of wolves and gorgeous, enigmatic Brandon, she must discover whether his transformation is more than legend or just a trick of the shadows in the moonlight.

Brandon may be Celeste’s hero, or he may be the most dangerous creature she could encounter in the woods of Legend’s Run.

The bestselling Vampire Kisses author, Ellen Schreiber, weaves together psychic predictions, generations-old secrets, a town divided, and the possibility of falling in love with a hot and heroic werewolf—the perfect formula for what happens...once in a full moon.

What's on your  WoW list this week?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

In my mailbox (8)

In my mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. Here are the books I received this week.

Got some fantastic books in my mailbox this week. Special thank you to the lovely Leanna from Daisy Chain Book reviews who sent me a copy of Sisters Red as well as a Shadow Hills book mark.  I'm looking forward to reading it, that's for sure.

Also, because you fabulous lot of been recommending the Mortal Instruments series, I caved over the weekend and bought City of Bones (Book 1). Mind you, the books I've got this week are so fabulous, I'm not sure which one I should start with.

How about you help me and tell me which one I should read. :-)

Here are the books I received this week:

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

The Poison Diaries by Maryrose Wood

Mistwood by Leah Cypess

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce

Will probably get around to commenting on everyone's IMM's later. Am getting ready to head on over to the Cape Town Book Fair and am so excited and nervous at the same time as I'm going to be meeting Jodi Picoult today! Eep.

Anyway, what's in your mailbox this week? Do share :)