Wednesday, 30 September 2009

DARKLY DREAMING DEXTER


Dexter Morgan isn't exactly the kind of man you'd bring home to your mum. At heart he is the perfect gentlemen: he has a shy girlfriend and seems to lead a quiet, normal life bordering on the mundane. Despite the fact that he can't stand the sight of blood, he works as a blood-spatter analyst for the Miami police. But Dexter also has a secret hobby: he is an accomplished serial killer. So far, he's killed 36 people and has never been caught because he knows exactly how to hide the evidence. And whilst that may lead some people to assume he's not such a nice guy, he tempers his insatiable hunger for brutality by only killing the bad guys. However, Dexter's well-organised life is suddenly disrupted when a second, much more visible serial killer appears in Miami. Intrigued that the other killer favours a style similar to his own, Dexter soon realises that the mysterious new arrival is not simply invading his turf but offering him a direct invitation to 'come out and play'...

This is the first book in Jeff Lindsay's popular Dexter series. I'm a huge fan of the TV show, I absolutely love it, so my curiosity about the books finally got the better of me. And I'm very glad that it did.
Dexter Morgan is a forensic specialist for the Miami Police Department. He's also a serial killer who kills bad people. As long as his chosen victim satisfies the Code of Harry, he's free to play. He also can't stand people who hurt children, and so finds himself playing with quite a few of those. Harry - his foster father - taught him to never kill an innocent. Dexter's very much driven by his Dark Passenger and is very methodical about the way he kills someone, as well as the trophy he takes.
However, when the neatly chopped up bodies of hookers start showing up on the streets of Miami, Dexter can't help but take notice. The killer seems to be as devoted to his art as Dexter is to his, and also appears to be 'speaking' to him via the killings. So much that Dexter starts to wonder if he might actually be the Tamiami Butcher himself.
I loved this book! Dexter doesn't hide or pretend he doesn't know what he is - he's a monster with no true emotions. Even if he does a great job at hiding it and is able to charm his co-workers, he never fools himself. I also enjoyed comparing it to the TV show and like both the similarities and the many differences. Both versions of Dexter are fantastic.
Darkly Dreaming Dexter is a chilling, in-depth glimpse into the mind of a serial killer with a difference. With everything that he is and does, he still comes across more sympathetic than most of the other characters in the book, which I found amazing. His wit and dry humour also made me laugh out loud, he comes up with some awesome one liners.
I found the path to finding out who the killer was to be intriguing, interesting, and it kept me glued to every page. The self-doubt he suffers along the way drew me in so much that at one stage, I even wondered if it was him. And like I said before, I watch the show. Lol.
I know I'm going to love this series!
Darkly Dreaming Dexter, September 2009, ISBN 0752883186, Orion Fiction Paperback

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Trying to plan ahead. Sigh.

As if I haven't gone crazy enough with books lately. I was just checking out Amazon and noticed that for some (unknown) reason, I'd left off a few books that I'm interested in getting later this year.

Well, that's been fixed now. I'm interested in SO many books, that I keep a spreadsheet. Lol. Of course, new ones pop up all the time. :/

Anyway. I've been thinking a lot about vampires this week. I mean, I think about them all the time. Lol. It's a subject/genre that I've been (very) interested in since my teens and I've never gotten tired of it. I'm one of those people that will never get sick of a new vamp movie, show, or book. I *heart* them a lot! And I don't care if they're the good guys, bad guys, romantic guys... whatever. I'm there.

I really want to write another vamp story or two. I'm in the mood for it. And although I've plotted/planned one during this week, I won't be able to write it for a while because I've got other projects planned. I'm not even sure if I'll be taking part in NaNoWriMo this year. I mean, when you get down to the nitty-gritty of it, there are only three months left of this year. If I spend November writing a first draft, which one would it be? And will I get a bunch of edits during that month? I have a feeling that I might.

Not sure yet. I guess I'll just have to read plenty of vamp fiction to satisfy the craving. For now.

Man, I've got to sit down with a calendar and figure out what I'm going to work on next week. I'd like to get some more revision out of the way. Maybe the second draft of Alyce#3. Then, the two weeks after that will be my daughter's school holidays. I might allocate the third/final draft of M-YA during that time. As well as the synopsis. Yeah, that would be really cool. That would then leave the last two weeks of October for me to plan what I'm going to do in November and December.

Gosh. That's a little scary, isn't it? Just how fast this year is going. I'm not ready for 2010 yet.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Red Dawn

This morning, I woke up and noticed a bright orange tinge around our window. So, I checked my daughter's room. Same thing. Walked into the living room. Yep, there too. I made my way to the sliding door and looked outside. Yikes! It was bright orange outside. Seriously, like something out of a post-apocalyptic story. Or maybe Mars.

Anyway, I grabbed the camera and took this photo:


I actually took it from behind the sliding glass door, so if I was outside on the balcony, it probably would've looked a little sharper. But man, it could've been some sort of zombie dust out there for all I knew. So I thought it was best to stay indoors. :/
The weirdest thing is that last night I finished reading Z FOR ZACHARIAH, so it was really strange to wake up to a morning that resembled a post-war atmosphere. Lol.
Anyway, there are a lot of other freaky pics of Sydney HERE, if you'd like to check them out.
The red/orange tinge is gone but it's still ugly. It was a little uncomfortable breathing out there. And for someone who's got that whole breathing-prob thingy, it hurt a little when we went out to drop my daughter off at school and do the grocery shopping. Hope it's better by the time I need to go out again.
Well, yesterday ended up being very productive. I got the Sci-Fi synopsis revised. I also changed a few plot notes for story #3. While hubby and I were lifting weights last night, I grabbed some paper and a pen and got jotting. I just wanted to write the beginning of the story, plus a few things that popped into my head. I ended up with a dozen scribbled pages of stuff. In sequence. The only thing I didn't get to is the end. It's awesome when that happens.
Bad thing is that my muse is now itching to get started, especially since the hero's going to be based on Jason Statham. Yeah. I had the really hard task of looking up Jason pics the other day. Such a hard job. ;)
Anyway, that's how I'm going to sign off today:
(This lovely photo was taken by Walter White)

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Z FOR ZACHARIAH


Ann Burden is sixteen years old and completely alone. The world as she once knew it is gone, ravaged by a nuclear war that has taken everyone from her. For the past year, she has lived in a remote valley with no evidence of any other survivors.

But the smoke from a distant campfire shatters Ann's solitude. Someone else is still alive and making his way toward the valley. Who is this man? What does he want? Can he be trusted? Both excited and terrified, Ann soon realizes there may be worse things than being the last person on Earth.

Like I said the other day, this is a book that I should've read over twenty-years ago. Still, it's better late than never, right? Boy, I've definitely missed out on a terrific story! Seriously. I'm so glad that I finally tracked it down at the library and sat down to read it. I enjoyed it so much that I might just have to buy myself a copy. :)

After a nuclear war, Ann lives by herself in a valley that has been relatively unaffected by the radiation that ravaged the rest of the world. She lives a quiet, lonely life that is busy. She's constantly taking care of her cows and chickens, plus her cousin's dog has finally returned. She's a farmer at heart and knows how to take care of herself. Her life might not be the best, but it's safe and comfortable. And it's hers.

The day a man wearing a radiation suit arrives, her life changes forever. First, she keeps an eye on him from a distance to see if he's dangerous or not. Then one day, he takes a bath in the radiactive creek and gets sick. That's when she finally shows herself and takes care of him. Actually, she nurses him back to health, putting him before her and ensuring she does whatever she can to make sure he survives. During his fever and delirium, Ann gets to hear little snippets of his life. Nothing good, btw.

When he eventually wakes up, we start to realise that Mr. Loomis has a lot of problems. He's possessive, paranoid, rude, demanding and controlling. He's also very creepy, and the night he sneaks into her room, Ann runs and hides in her cave. This is when everything goes downhill. The guy's nuts and cooks up one scheme after another to get her back. He can't handle her not being his. Obviously, being alone for a year without human interaction made him forget that you can't force people to like you! I mean, she liked him already and even had romantic notions about him, but when he gets all rough and forceful, Ann doesn't want anything to do with him. Who can blame her?

Mr. Loomis is an arrogant pig, and I found myself hoping that Ann would kill him. Lol. But all my dislike aside, I loved this book! It was a magnificent study of what happens to people during absolute devastation. Some deal with it by taking each day at a time (Ann) and making the most of what they have. While others (Mr. Loomis) go totally nuts.

Last word: fantastic book told in a very intimate way. Loved it!

Monday, 21 September 2009

Start of the week...

As you can see below, I read up quite a storm during the weekend. Finished one book on Friday night, another in the early hours of Sunday, and finished one last night too. They were all awesome! I love it when that happens. :)

I've now read the first few chapters of Z FOR ZACHARIAH. I'm really enjoying it so far and can't wait to see what challenges await Ann. This is a book that I should've read twenty years ago. Lol. But my class didn't do this book in high school. When I was in high school, nuclear war was all the rage. We read CHILDREN OF THE DUST - which I absolutely loved - and watched THE DAY AFTER. Of course, at home we watched a bunch more. They made heaps of post-nuclear war-type movies in the 80s.

It's no wonder that I love futuristic/dystopian/post-apocalyptic stories so much. I grew up with them.

Anyway, last week I managed to get through the third draft of my Sci-Fi (still no concrete name for it) and it ended up @ 48,558 words. Usually, at this stage, I consider the story done. I allow myself three drafts, otherwise I could revise it a thousand times. BUT, having said that, with this story, I might end up doing one more draft. Not yet, though. First I'd like to edit the first story, and if any drastic changes are made there, I'll need to reflect them in story #2. But for now, I'm calling it d-o-n-e. :D

So, what have I got planned for this week? I'm taking another bits & pieces week. On Friday, it'll be my 10th wedding anniversary, so the hubby's having a day off work. Which is going to be awesome! But it also means that I'll be one day short, so it's best not to get stuck into any revision. Instead, this week I'd like to write the synopsis for the Sci-Fi story I finished on Friday, keep reading -- still have 2 more library books left after ZfZ + a bunch of Hachette review books -- and will also plan/plot Sci-Fi #3. I've already decided to change the hero for it, which means rethinking a few timeline issues.

Sounds like fun, doesn't it?

Well. It's time to get stuck into it. Why do I dislike writing a synopsis so much? :(

Have a great day!

Sunday, 20 September 2009

FEED


In a future where most people have computer implants in their heads to control their environment, a boy meets an unusual girl who is in serious trouble.

I grabbed this book this morning and just finished it. Honestly, I'm really enjoying all of these dystopian, future society YA novels. This was another great one to add to the list.

In a future Earth, where people travel to the 'boring' moon to take a holiday and party, things don't always go as planned. Especially when everyone gets constant feeds right into their brains! Yikes. As great as it sounds to have the Internet literally connected to your head, this concept scares the crap out of me. Imagine being connected online all the time? And being able to message each other instead of talking, even if you're standing right next to each other? Sounds cool, but as this book shows, comes with a whole set of problems. Very serious problems.

Titus is the narrator of this book, a real product of a society that gets constant ads and fads sent through their feed at all hours of the day. He loves to hang out with his group of friends, and on the moon, he meets Violet. A pretty, shy girl he's instantly attracted to. She's different, not rich like Titus and his friends, but he's still drawn to her and they start seeing each other.

However, an incident that happens to them in a nightclub on the moon comes back to haunt Violet and she becomes very sick. I felt so sorry for her, and actually hated how Titus treats - or rather, doesn't treat her - while she's suffering. But at the end of the day, what can you expect from a teenage boy who grew up in this throwaway society?

I loved this book! It's a dark, sad, yet comical story about a world gone totally wild with technology. It's also a study of what happens when technology gets so advanced that total control is handed over to big corporations to the point of them controlling how and what you buy. I also enjoyed the way the story was told, using a lot of future lingo and terms. Very enjoyable read that really gets you thinking.

EMBER FURY


Pyromania: A mental derangement, excitement or excessive enthusiasm for fire.

Having celebrity parents isn't as hot as it sounds.

Yes, there's money to burn, fame and some totally smoking guys...But when your dad's more interested in blazing a trail to the top of the charts than why you got kicked out of school, again, it can make you seriously angry.

And if there's one thing Ember knows, it's that the smallest spark of anger can ignite a whole heap of trouble.

Firstly, I have to say that this book is stunningly beautiful and I'm not just talking about the cover. It's a novel with an interesting story, but it's also a gorgeous graphic novel with awesome illustrations! I loved the unique way Ember's story was told, it made the reading experience that much more fun.

Ember Fury is a teenager with celebrity parents - her father's in a band and her stepmother is an actress. So, anything she does makes it into the gossip magazines. When she goes from London to LA to stay with her stepmother, Ember does everything she can to oppose her. No matter how nice Charity is, or tries to include her in things, Ember just doesn't want to get along with her. Oh, and did I mention that Ember's obsessed with fire and has gotten in trouble because of it many times? Well, she is.

I found Ember's voice smooth and the way the story unfolded, addictive. It sucked me in and kept me glued to every page. Ember starts out sounding like a girl who doesn't care about much and is willing to cause trouble no matter what, but as more of her past is revealed, I realised that all that outward troubled energy is like an armour she wears to hide her real emotions. Deep down, she's just a teen who misses her dead mother. And she's so angry at the absent father she never gets to see, that making trouble is her way of dealing with it.

A lot of other stuff happens to her along the way - including meeting Finn, running off to Las Vegas in a stolen car, and finding out the truth about what happened to her imaginary friend, Ned. All of these things help shape who she slowly becomes.

Ember Fury is a charming story that I really, really enjoyed. I think this style of storytelling was perfect for a YA novel and look forward to reading more of Cathy Brett's stories. I give this book a big thumb's up! It's a fast read complimented with stunning art. It's also fun, yet deep, and even sad. I really felt for Ember every step of the way. Loved it!

Ember Fury, September 2009, ISBN 0755347889, Headline Paperback (B)

Friday, 18 September 2009

THROUGH VIOLET EYES


In a world where the dead can testify against the living, someone is getting away with murder. To every generation a select few souls are born with violet-coloured eyes - and the ability to channel the dead. Both rare and precious, and rigidly controlled by a society that craves their services, these Violets perform a number of different social duties.

But now the Violets themselves have become the target of a brutal serial murderer - a murderer who has learned how to mask his or her identity even from the victims. Can FBI agent Dan Atwater, aided by Violet Natalie Lindstrom, uncover the criminal in time? Or will more of Natalie's race be dispatched to the realm that has haunted them all since childhood?

I have to admit that the concept of this book totally grabbed me. After reading the blurb, I knew I wanted to read this book. And I loved it!

In this alternate universe, the Violets are people who can channel the dead. They are born with the skill and all have violet eyes. They also have some fascinating jobs within society and are actively expected to help out whenever the authorities need them. They are also closely monitored and controlled by the NAACC, and often testify in court by serving as conduits to the dead.

When someone starts killing Violets, FBI agent Dan teams up with Violet Natalie to solve the murders, while also babysitting her to make sure she's kept save. As more of the people from Natalie's past turn up dead, it becomes obvious that she could be the next target. The longer Dan spends with Natalie, the more his reluctance to have anything to do with Violets fades.

The mystery of who and why the killer is targetting Violets was fantastically woven, with new clues exposed along the way that made it look as if Dan and Natalie were on the right track, only to be pushed in another direction. The red herrings were cleverly thrown in, and even when I started suspecting someone, I was suddenly pushed off course.

Through Violet Eyes is an intriguing and interesting book that sucked me in from the very beginning. The concept of the Violet's ability is amazing, every detail so planned out that by the final revelation, you can't help but nod your head and appreciate just how clever this book was. And the black room - where souls are trapped until they move on - is described so vividly that I got chills just thinking about it.

The end left me feeling a little melancholy. There's a shade of deep sadness, but the spark of hope intrigued me. Since this is the first book in a series, I can't wait to read more! This is a seriously great book.

Through Violet Eyes, September 2009, ISBN 0749941278, Piatkus Fiction Paperback

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Revision & Stuff

Why does it feel like there's not enough hours in the day to do everything that I'd like to do? :/

Lately, at the end of every single day, I just wish I'd had a little more time. I guess that's how it goes.

Today, I managed to get to page 90/112 of my Sci-Fi revision. The word count has gone past 48k. I wasn't sure if it would or not, because this third draft is not about adding words, it's about making sure that the story makes sense, that all the characters are consistent, and that I've eliminated any glaring plot holes. To be honest, I didn't find any. But I did tweak some fine details that I wanted to clear up.

I find that a lot in my third drafts. Fixing or mentioning one tiny detail makes a huge difference. I actually did that today to a particular scene, which meant I had to make mention later on in the story. That bit is now done, so I'm very happy with it.

Well, I've reached the halfway point of THROUGH VIOLET EYES. This is a very interesting book, with a mystery that I can't wait to see unravel. In this alternate universe, the Violets are people who can channel the dead, and they've got some fascinating jobs within society. I'm enjoying how the world is slowly unfolding through the story of Dan and Natalie. :)

I got this cool book in the mail today, from the lovely Ericka Scott. Looking forward to checking it out. Though my TBR pile is getting bigger each day. This morning, I got these books in the mail as well. They sound so good, and there are 3 books per volume. I've never read anything by L.J. Smith, so I'm looking forward to it.

Anyway, it's time to sign out. Bye for now!

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

AMERICAN GODS


After three years in prison, Shadow has done his time. But as the time until his release ticks away, he can feel a storm brewing. Two days before he gets out, his wife Laura dies in a mysterious car crash, in adulterous circumstances.

Dazed, Shadow travels home, only to encounter the bizarre Mr Wednesday claiming to be a refugee from a distant war, a former god and the king of America. Together they embark on a very strange journey across the States, along the way solving the murders which have occurred every winter in one small American town. But the storm is about to break…

Wow! This was so much more than a book, it was an experience.

After reading The Sandman comics earlier this year and loving Neil Gaiman's vision, I also enjoyed his exploration of what happens to forgotten Gods. So, I was very excited to see that he touched on that very topic in this book. It's a fascinating concept that he pulls off very well. I mean, what does happen to Gods and Goddesses in a time when so many have lost faith? How does it affect them in the digital age? Do they fade, do they linger, and what about surviving in another country, away from their origins?

All of that and so much more is explored in this book. It's the journey of one man, trying to return to life after three years in prison. Except, the life he thinks is waiting for him falls apart when he finds out that his wife died in a car accident, as well as his best friend. This leaves Shadow with no home and no job. So when a mysterious and quite annoying Mr. Wednesday hounds him with a job offer, he eventually accepts. And so, Shadow seals his fate.

What follows is a mythic adventure that takes him across America, as Wednesday attempts to encourage other ancient Gods to take part in the coming war. Of course, this is a very simplistic version of the events that unfold as Shadow meets one God after another, and finds himself being the pawn in an ancient game, with results that will pleasantly surprise and satisfy any reader willing to join him.

The cast of characters is colourful, interesting, intriguing, intense and vast. There are too many players in this fantastic story to zero in on just the one, but I particularly found myself drawn to Shadow. And even with her faults, I liked that undead Laura has an important part in everything.

American Gods is a masterpiece of epic proportions that weaves one main story and many smaller ones to become one perfect blend. I loved every twist and turn in this magical road trip, every revelation, and all of the amazing locations. I'm also very glad that I waited to read this version. Even the extras were great!

Neil Gaiman has a wild imagination that he takes to an all-new level in this book. Awesome!

American Gods, September 2009, ISBN 0755322819, Headline Paperback

Friday, 11 September 2009

We just got it!

Yep, we did! We just bought a copy of THE BEATLES ROCKBAND, and can't wait to play it. I think it'll be fun and the previews I've seen of the way the game actually looks, have been great!

You know, for about 20 minutes, Loki was MIA. *scratches head* I still have no idea where he was hiding, because I checked everywhere and he wasn't where he usually hides. He got spooked by something and hid somewhere new. I wonder where?

We live in a unit (apartment) that's a good size but definitely not big, so there really aren't that many places to hide. Yet, the sneaky cat managed to find somewhere knew. WTH?

Well, I'm really into AMERICAN GODS at the moment. I have to say that the story - so far - has totally grabbed me. It's a little intoxicating, just how much I want to keep reading this book without taking a break. I've almost reached page 150 and would love to get halfway through sometime today, though I doubt that's going to happen. The ride is a good one and I'm looking forward to seeing how new things unfold. So far, some pretty freaky things are going on and I think I might know who Mr Wednesday really is. Though, with Neil Gaiman's awesome imagination at play, I could be way off. Lol.

Today is also my last take-it-easy day. Next week, I'm getting stuck into some revision. Yay! I might even plan out the rest of the month for myself. And have to grab a calendar because my daughter goes on school holidays sometime next month. I know, again! They get waaaay too many holidays, if you ask me. ;)

I'll also need to take a few moments to remember all of the poor, innocent people who lost their lives on this day in 2001.

I hope you enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Crazy Reading

So, yesterday I got THIS BOOK in the mail. I was so excited! I can't wait to read it. I've actually wanted to read it for a while now, but for some reason kept from buying or borrowing it from the library. Don't know why. But now, with this new Author's Preferred Text version available, I'm really glad that I waited.

There's an extra 12,000 words of story, and it's Neil Gaiman's favourite version. Can't wait to get lost in the story. Actually, I started it this morning and read the first chapter. Though, I really wanted to read more, but I had the usual morning stuff to do first.

Now, however, the book's on the desk in front of me. Taunting me, urging me to read it, claiming that I need the rest. Why not sit on the couch for the rest of the afternoon and just read Shadow's story? Sounds good to me...

So, what's new? Nothing new on my front, except that I'm still reading like crazy and yesterday, I didn't really do much else. I got too caught up in THE DECLARATION. Glad I did, loved it! Now I've got four YA futuristic/dystopian/post-apocalypse library books left to read.

The weather's been really nice this week. Not quite as summery as it was a few times the week before, but still nice and sunny. I feel spring in the air. You know when it's right there, and you can smell it? I love this season, and summer. I could totally live in a place where winter didn't exist. Can't stand winter. I'm glad it doesn't snow here in Sydney, because I don't think I could survive it. *shiver*

Well, I guess it's time to sign out and decide what I'm going to do for the next few hours before my daughter gets home -- read or take notes that I should've done yesterday? :)

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

THE DECLARATION


It's the year 2140 and Longevity drugs have all but eradicated old age. A never-aging society can't sustain population growth, however…which means Anna should never have been born. Nor should any of the children she lives with at Grange Hall. The facility is full of boys and girls whose parents chose to have kids—called surpluses—despite a law forbidding them from doing so. These children are raised as servants, and brought up to believe they must atone for their very existence. Then one day a boy named Peter appears at the Hall, bringing with him news of the world outside, a place where people are starting to say that Longevity is bad, and that maybe people shouldn't live forever. Peter begs Anna to escape with him, but Anna's not sure who to trust: the strange new boy whose version of life sounds like a dangerous fairy tale, or the familiar walls of Grange Hall and the head mistress who has controlled her every waking thought?

Like I mentioned the other day, this book is from a list I found over at The Book Smugglers. But I also remember reading a review by Tez not long ago. So I was looking forward to reading this one... and it didn't disappoint!

I actually loved it.

In a world where living forever is a real concept for adults, children are seen as Surplus and are taken from their parents and stuck in institutions. While inside, they're taught that their parents hated them - otherwise, why else would they have had them? - and that they'll pretty much only be good for slavery. It's a terrifying concept, and one that is explored and very successfully achieved in this book.

Anna is a Prefect in Grange Hall. She's also a Valuable Asset and asides from keeping a journal (which isn't allowed) she pretty much plays by the rules. However, when Peter arrives and insists that he knows her parents, Anna's life starts to change and leads her to a scary adventure. She can't help but question everything around her, everything she's been taught by the cruel House Matron and the instructors who discipline them with beatings and isolation.

This was a fantastic book! I loved everything about it, and felt so sorry for these children and teenagers who's only crime had been to be born. None deserved to be treated the way they were. I also liked the twist that is revealed towards the end of the book that involves Peter because it brings the whole issue full circle. Very clever, indeed.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

SATURN'S CHILDREN


Freya Nakamachi-47 has some major existential issues. She's the perfect concubine, designed to please her human masters - hardwired to become aroused at the mere sight of a human male. There's just one problem: she came off the production line a year after the human species went extinct.

Whatever else she may be, Freya Nakamachi-47 is gloriously obsolete. What's more, the rigid social hierarchy that has risen in the 200 years since the last human died, places beings such as Freya very near the bottom. So when she has a run-in on Venus with a murderous aristocrat, she needs passage off-world in a hurry - and can't be too fussy about how she pays her way.

But if Venus was a frying pan, Mercury is the fire - and soon she's going to be running for her life. Because the job she's taken as a courier has drawn her to the attention of powerful and dangerous people, and they don't just want the package she's carrying. They want her soul...

I was really excited about reading this book and my enthusiasm carried for a while. But then I found it hard to focus on the story and on Freya's travels. I'm not sure what it was about this story that caused me to lose interest slowly, but it just wasn't as awesome as I was hoping. Usually, anything that even mentions a robot has me hooked, but it didn't in this case.

Although, having said that, this book was very well written and using Freya's POV was a great idea and a great tool, since she's as close to human as it gets in this world. Not to mention that there's plenty of action to keep you interested and some very bizarre but unique concepts, machinery and transports.

Saturn's Children is a Sci-Fi story told through the eyes of a robot that somehow always manages to stand out and get herself into trouble. It's an interesting, suspenseful read with plenty to keep your mind racing, especially for hardcore Sci-Fi fans.

Saturn's Children, September 2009, ISBN 1841495689, Orbit Paperback

Monday, 7 September 2009

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ISLAND


Honor and her parents have been reassigned to live on Island 365 in the Tranquil Sea. Life is peaceful there—the color of the sky is regulated by Earth Mother, a corporation that controls New Weather, and it almost never rains. Everyone fits into their rightful and predictable place...

Except Honor. She doesn’t fit in, but then she meets Helix, a boy with a big heart and a keen sense for the world around them. Slowly, Honor and Helix begin to uncover a terrible truth about life on the Island: Sooner or later, those who are unpredictable disappear . . . and they don’t ever come back.

When I started reading this book yesterday, I was concerned that some of the subject matter was similar to my own YA futuristic... but I didn't need to worry. Asides from a few minor similarities, it's completely different.

This book was great! I loved every minute of it. From start to finish, I couldn't wait to see what was going to happen to Honor and her family. On an island where the colours of the sky are controlled and everyone is expected to be the same, Honor's family seems to stick out. I loved that about them. It also made it hard for her to be normal. After all, she is a teenager and just wants to blend in with the crowd, she doesn't want to stand out for all the wrong reasons and rebels against her parents.

But what she uncovers about what's located on the other side of the island, makes her realise just how deep the manipulation goes. This was an awesome futuristic thriller, told through the POV of a young girl who's very strong and stubborn, but eventually figures out who she really is and where she belongs. I also thought the worldbuilding was fantastic and seamlessly blended into the story. Some pretty freaky things happen to those considered to be Unpredictable...

I was very impressed with this book. Really enjoyed it!

Sunday, 6 September 2009

KITTY AND THE DEAD MAN'S HAND


Kitty Norville, the country's only celebrity werewolf, thinks she's finally got her life sorted. Her radio show is as popular as ever and she and her cute lawyer boyfriend are the alpha pair of Denver's werewolf pack. Now she and Ben plan to tie the knot human-style - by eloping to Vegas. And just to make things more fun, she's going to do her midnight radio show live from Vegas - and on television. In between getting wed and going live on TV, she's also planning on sipping fru-fru drinks by the pool while she works on her tan. So what can possibly go wrong?

Well, their hotel is the venue for a werewolf-hating bounty hunter convention. Elsewhere on the Strip, an old-school magician might just be wielding the real thing. The vampire community is harbouring a dark secret... and the irresistibly sexy star of a deeply suspicious animal act is determined to seduce Kitty. Sin City has never been so wild and Kitty has never had to fight harder - to save not only her wedding, but her very life.

I really like the American covers, but I think this cover is really cool too.

This is one of my most favourite series, so whenever a new book comes out, I pretty much devour it. Which is exactly what I did with this one.

Kitty and Ben go to Vegas, where she'll be be doing her show live on television. Oh yeah, and while they're there, they might as well get married too. But in typical Kitty fashion, not only are they staying in a hotel filled with werewolf-hating fanatics, but a magician with what seems to have a very basic stage show turns out to be a little more than he appears. Not to mention that an animal act that captivates the audience could just be a pack of shifters hiding a horrible secret.

It's just Kitty's luck to find herself in the middle of everything, while someone else is trying to seduce her away from Ben.

Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand was another brilliant, action-packed, enthralling addition to this awesome series that flows so well I couldn't put it down. And as always, I can't wait to read more!

Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand, September 2009, ISBN 0575090049, Gollancz Paperback

Saturday, 5 September 2009

GENESIS


Set on a remote island in a post-apocalyptic, plague-ridden world, this electrifying novel is destined to become a modern classic.

Anax thinks she knows her history. She’d better. She’s now facing three Examiners, and her grueling all-day Examination has just begun. If she passes, she’ll be admitted into the Academy—the elite governing institution of her utopian society.

But Anax is about to discover that for all her learning, the history she’s been taught isn’t the whole story. And that the Academy isn’t what she believes it to be.

In this brilliant novel of dazzling ingenuity, Anax’s examination leads us into a future where we are confronted with unresolved questions raised by science and philosophy. Centuries old, these questions have gained new urgency in the face of rapidly developing technology. What is consciousness? What makes us human? If artificial intelligence were developed to a high enough capability, what special status could humanity still claim?

This isn't a very long book, so I knew it wouldn't take long to read. I picked it up this afternoon and just finished it.

I have to say that although I didn't expect the surprise ending, I often found it easy to lose interest in what was going on. Mainly it's because the book is told in the POV of Anax, a girl who's hoping to get into the Academy and is facing her exam, but also tells the story of how the past was shaped to become the world she lives in now. That involves the story of Adam and Art. Adam is human and Art is an AI.

I really wanted to find out more about Anax. I really enjoyed the snippet and quick glimpses we got of her life. I think I would've loved this story if the main focus was on her life, not the endless conversations between Adam and Art and what eventually led to The Final Dilemma. They got a little dull.

The thing that I enjoyed the most was finding out just what The Academy really did and who was living in this society. Other than that, the ending left me a little shocked. Not really because of what happened, but because I wish I'd cared more.

Friday, 4 September 2009

UNWIND

Connor's parents want to be rid of him because he's a troublemaker. Risa has no parents and is being unwound to cut orphanage costs. Lev's unwinding has been planned since his birth as part of his family's strict religion.

Brought together by chance, and kept together through desperation, these three unlikely companions make a harrowing cross-country journey, knowing all the while that their lives are hanging in the balance. If they can survive until their eighteenth birthdays, they can't be harmed. But when every piece of them, from their hands to their hearts, are wanted by a world gone mad, eighteen seems far, far away...


OMG! This book was an amazing read! But first, I gotta say that I absolutely love this cover. It's perfect and captures the plot in a very effective way. Very, very cool.

I had a great time reading this book and found myself so caught up in the story that I snuck in some reading whenever I could. And then kept reading. Lol. Seriously, the concept of this story -- which I first saw here -- grabbed my attention right away.

In a world where it is illegal to have an abortion, but legal to 'unwind' your child between the age of 13 and 18, we meet Connor, Risa and Lev. Each teen is in a different social situation but ultimately headed in the same direction. The ethics of a society that has things like unwinding, storking, tithing, clappers, and an endless supply of organs and limbs, are questioned with every step. What happens when someone is unwound? Do their souls remain because they're not really dead but spread out in bits now residing in others?

Like I said, fascinating. My attachment to Connor, Risa and Lev grew with every chapter. The book is actually split into their POV, as well as a few more to give you a large scope of what's going on. Their separate adventure, which continually merges, is one that I enjoyed. Even if there were some very horrible and uncomfortable scenes.

Neal Shusterman has a wicked and brilliant imagination. This idea totally rocks as much as the execution. And now, I need to see what other books he's got out there.

If you're into futuristic tales, you can't go past this absorbing story. Brilliant!

 
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