Monday 22 October 2012

The Vampire Fighters by Pete Johnson

Series: The Vampire Blog, Book Three
Publisher: Yearling
Format: ARC
Published: 7th June 2012
Number of Pages: 272
Book: For Review*
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Humour, Horror, Coming-Of-Age, Action-Adventure, Paranormal, YA, YA-Child Crossover
Recommended Age: 10+
Contains: Violence, Death
No Alcohol, Drug References
Author's Blog: Pete Johnson

Marcus, Tallulah and Gracie are back in the final fast-paced, fun and frightening story of award-winning Pete Johnson's vampire series.
Life has never been more complicated for thirteen-year-old Marcus. It's not easy trying to hide your secret identity as a half-vampire, avoid garlic at all costs, AND work up the courage to ask a girl out. Especially when that girl is vampire-crazy Tallulah.
Plus, Marcus's parents are still convinced his special power is going to arrive any day now. And they're trying not to show their disappointment every time another day passes and it doesn't appear -- but Marcus is totally feeling the pressure.
As if that wasn't bad enough, a seriously creepy Winter Fair has arrived in town -- and a number of terrifying attacks have started happening. Giles believes a super-evil sect of Deadly Vampires is behind them, and Marcus suspects an eerie ventriloquist at the Fair.
All Marcus wants is an easy life. But now it's up to him to save the day.

Since becoming a half-vampire, Marcus has been poisoned by pizza, faced down a deadly vampire once or twice and had a sudden blood craving in the middle of a date.  
What with all that drama, the pressure of keeping his identity as a half-vampire secret, trying to get up the courage to ask out moody, vampire-obsessed Tallulah and dealing with his parents never ending hope (and disappointment) as they wait for the special (and very rare) power he's meant to develop to come. 
Oh, and there's also the so-called "Blood Ghost", which is another "Deadly Vampire" - AKA, a human killing, super strong vampire.  Eek!
And there's a chance there might be more of the Deadly Vampires on the way...
So much for being normal!
Oh, this series just keeps on getting better and better!  It's funny, mad, addictive, fun!  I do love a good vamp story, and while this isn't a teen book, I loved it!  It's just so funny and addictive and unique, thanks to the spin Johnson's put on vamp mythology.  I know kids will love this one and the others in the series - they're so much fun and excellent for reluctant readers!  While there are a few little details that bugged me (how Marcus blogs, where vamps come from) they didn't take away my enjoyment at all.  Or make me any less sad that this is the last in the series - I'll miss Marcus so much!
I loved all the characters in this book!  There was a character personality for everyone to love and loads of characters for kids to relate to as well.  Marcus was brilliant: he made me laugh so much and was totally off his rocker – in the best possible way!  He had a mad and snarky remark for everything - literally!  And I loved how real and relatable he was - sure, he was funny and confident, but he was also flawed as he had fears and girl troubles.  I think kids will really be able to relate with him and his situation - well, half-vamp thing aside!  Gracie, the other-half vamp, was my favourite girl lead in the book.  Cheeky, funny, bubbly Gracie was just perfect, especially with Marcus.  Tallulah was so vampire-obsessed it’s scary.  Her bluntness and spookiness was funny, though.  I also thought both Marcus' parents and Tara, a half-vamp mentor, were brilliant.  The bad guy was great too - and super creepy!
As always, just lovin' the blog layout: Johnsnon’s writing is so funny and witty!  But sometimes I wondered how Marcus managed to write some of the posts while he surely must have been in the middle of all the action.  Sure, he had an iPod, but still...  Now, the plot for this one was the best if the series, if you ask me!  Twistier, faster paced, more action, more mystery...  It was all so awesome and addictive!  I'll admit that one of the twists may have been a little far-fetched, but I just loved this book so much.  The ending was just stunning and left me desperate for more!  But it was also kinda perfect. 
And I seriously love the vamp mythology!  It's just so hilarious!  The only thing I'd wish for is to know more about where vamps and half-vamps came from.  Sure, we know they're related somehow but how did they come about?!
The Vampire Fighters is ridiculously addictive and dangerous.  What with the short blog posts, non-stop humour and fast pace, no kid will be able to put it down - they'll feel just as hooked as I was!  It isn't a thought provoking or complex read - it's funny, light and action-packed.  The series has been so much fun to read and I'm seriously sad that there won't be another!  It's such great fun and I laughed out loud a lot.  And oh how I shall miss Marcus and Gracie and Tallulah!  For reluctant readers and obsessive readers alike, The Vampire Fighters will just appeal to them all!
With a witty and reluctant half-vampire lead, deadly vampires in the loose and a race to stop them, The Vampire Fighters definitely ensures that the series goes out with one heck of a bang!  I can't wait to read another Pete Johnson book, though I'm not sure if it will be the same without Marcus! 

Star Rating:
4 Out of 5

Read this book if you liked:
The Vampire Blog Series by Pete Johnson
Dark Lord by Jamie Thompson 

Challenges It's Taking Part In:

Happy Reading
* This book was received from RandomHouse in exchange for an honest review

Saturday 20 October 2012

The Vampire Hunters by Pete Johnson

Series: The Vampire Blog, Book Two
Publisher: Yearling
Format: Paperback
Published: 2nd June 2011

Number of Pages: 272
Book: For Review*
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Humour, Horror, Coming-Of-Age, Action-Adventure, Mystery, Paranormal  YA, YA-Child Crossover
Recommended Age: 10+
Contains: Violence, Death
No Alcohol, Drug References
Author's Blog: Pete Johnson

“On my thirteenth birthday, my life changed for ever.  That’s when I learned the shocking truth: I’m a half-vampire.”
Think that sounds cool?  Think again!  My secret blog is the only thing that’s kept me from going completely crazy.
To complicate things even more, there have been some vicious attacks in the woods.  Tallulah (definitely not my girlfriend) thinks a super-vampire is behind them – and she’s desperate to prove it, with a mysterious chain that’s supposed to glow red-hot when a vampire is close by.
I have a horrible feeling that the chain’s going to turn red-hot any day now…

On his thirteenth birthday, Marcus' parents dropped the ultimate bombshell: he's a half-vampire. 
Sounds cool, right?  Well, not so much once you've been almost killed by a full vampire - and garlic pizza - and suffered insane blood cravings. 
Yeah, crazy, huh?  Marcus' blog is the only thing keeping him sane. 
To make it all worse, there's been a string of vampire attacks in the woods and Marcus' definitely-not-girlfriend-friend Tallulah is sure some kind of uber vamp is behind them.  Which makes sense, seeing normal vampires think human blood is disgusting (foul tasting, not like animal blood, which they adore). 
So therefore Marcus and Tallulah set off with a vampire-sensing chain that's meant to get red-hot when a vamp's near. 
But are they prepared for what would happen should it go red-hot...?
I loved The Vampire Blog to pieces!  It was funny, addictive, scary - everything you'd want!  The main character is relatable, the story so fun and addictive.  Reluctant readers and vamp lovers alike will just gobble it up!  I read it in one sitting, laughing and grinning and just loving every second.  Marcus completely won me over in the first book and now I love him even more!  I love this whole world even more!  I love this series and am devastated that the next book will be the last - but I can't wait to read it anyway! 
I loved all the characters in this book!  They're all quirky, original, varying.  And I love then all!  Marcus just kills me: he's so quirky and witty and mad and funny - just an insane, ridiculously loveable character.  And, man, he really does have a snarky comeback for everything!  Tallulah was really loveable too, 'cause she was so brilliantly arrogant and sure of herself, so eccentric and insane.  Sure, she was kinda grumpy, but that made her interactions with Marcus even funnier!  Gracie was a great addition to the plot.  She was sweet and funny and brave and stubborn.  I loved how she was a normal teen girl in a totally unnormal situation.  Yes, Pete has a way of writing characters that jump off the page, but obviously Marcus and Gracie stole the show for me!  They were closely followed by whom we shall call The Villain, who was creepy, genius and lure sneaky evil!  I also loved Marcus' very weird parents!  They're so brilliantly odd!
The writing was brilliant, but what really struck me was the humour - its effortless and witty and addictive and hilarious.  I love it!  Written in blog form, the short entries were infuriatingly addictive - and the perfect length for reluctant readers, with lots of places to stop (though why you'd want to, I know not) should you wish to.  And the plot was equally addictive, funny and spooky and full of action.  I loved that even with all the supernatural drama and blood craving, there's also normal teen drama.  Anyway, there's loads of suspense and the lead to the revelation (even though I kinda knew what it was) was addictive and exciting - MG readers will love it!
Again, gotta say, I love the vamp mythology in this series!  Getting to see how girls transition went was brilliant.  I loved his Johnson took traditional mythology and made it quirky and new.  And, again, I must liken the half-vamp transition to an exaggerated transition of becoming a teenager.  Love it!  It really shows how tricky adolescence can be.  And how having fangs is even harder!
And I love the way Pete Johnson tackles difficult issues.  They're really subtle and tie into the story so well - they're there and you can clearly see them, but they're not in your face or preachy like so many other books.  Remember kids, don't go off meeting people you've only emailed the once!  It could be deadly!
Again, I have to say that if you're looking for a terrifying read, this probably isn't for you.  After all, it's aimed at nine year olds.  But if you're looking for a quick, fun, funny, bonkers, spooky read this is perfect!  It's hilarious, amazingly written with an utterly addictive plot and a snarky, loveable lead character.  In case you hadn't gathered, I love this book! 
With a reluctant, hilarious half-vampire lead and a super vamp villain at large, The Vampire Hunters was even better than the first book!  I sped through it, giggling and guessing, loving every second.  This is quickly becoming one of my favourite pre-teen books, and I just know all kids will love this book just as much as I did!  This is a great book and a great series and I cannot wait to read the next book!

Star Rating:
4 Out of 5

Read this book if you liked:
The Vampire Blog Series by Pete Johnson
Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy

Challenges It's Taking Part In:

Happy Reading
* This book was received from RandomHouse in exchange for an honest review

Thursday 18 October 2012

And By The Way by Denise Deegan

Series: Butterfly, Book One
Publisher: Hachette
Format: Paperback
Published: 17th February 2011
Number of Pages: 336
Book: For Review*
Genre: Contemporary, Real-To-Life, Romance, Coming-Of-Ag, YA
Recommended Age: 12+
Contains: Swearing, Drinking, Smoking and Sex References
No Drug References
Author's Blog: Denise Deegan

At Standbrook College, Dublin, we are Kids Of.  Kids of media stars, musicians, artists, actors…  I’m the kid of a rock star.  Means nothing to me.
When my mum died six months ago, I didn’t just lose her, I lost my dad, ‘The Rockstar’.  To work.
Now I don’t trust anyone or rely on anyone.  That way, I won’t get hurt.
My best friend Rachel won’t let me pull back though.  And that’s a problem.
Another one is David McFadden, a guy in my class (who calls me Ice Queen).   He says he wants to help.  Six months ago, he could have – but he didn’t.  Now, it’s too late.  The very last person in the world I’m going to listen to is David McFadden.  I’ll show him who’s Ice Queen.  }|{

“I used to do close.  Then Mum died.  And I died too.  I can't go through that pain again.  I just can't…”
Since her mum died, Alex has felt empty, hollow.  Though she's surrounded by people all the time, she always feels completely and utterly alone.  But she doesn't want to let people in.  Not again.  The last time she did, her heart was broken and she just can't live through that again. 
Her dad's no longer there, no longer 'dad' - he's just "The Rockstar", the man who's never there and pays other people to look after her. 
Alex's friend Rachel wants to help, but Alex won't let her.  So what if this means she's called "the Ice Queen" by David McFadden, the one who could have helped her six months ago and didn't.
So why is he bothering now?  It’s too late to help, too late to do any good. 
And why can't Alex stop thinking about him?
My friend Sammee reviewed And By The Way a while back and my intrigue was awakened.  So when Hachette offered me the chance to read the series, I jumped!  And, my God, how I wish I'd picked it up much, much sooner!  It was such a powerful, emotional, beautiful book, one I loved to pieces and gobbled up as fast as I possibly could.  I just can't wait to read more by Deegan - it was just so freaking amazing!
The characters were all so amazing and real.  None of them were as they first seemed, all of them grew and changed throughout the book.  And Alex: she was so, so broken.  I could feel her pain in every single word and it just broke my heart.  I loved watching her as she changed and grew and came back to life.  And I adored her dry sense of humour.  She wasn't perfect and she made mistakes, but I just loved her and my heart ached for her all the way through.  As for David, well he is my new McDreamy: he is “seriously caliente” and cute and perfect and sweet.  I’m kinda totally in love with him.  He was just the sweetest thing – Alex may have some competition!  Rachel was brilliant: so sweet and thoughtful, she wanted so badly to help and was the best friend ever, putting up with everything.  Sarah was chirpy and cheeky and was totally mad – she was also a bit of a total idiot: sure, she had issues but man was she stupid at times!
But what really shone about this book was the relationships.  I loved the relationship between Alex and her Gran - her Gran was just a legend!  Alex and David - I loved the way their relationship developed.  It was so real and so touching and so unlike your usual YA romances.  It was perfect.  And the relationship between Alex, Rachel and Sarah was so strong nd powerful - I mean, they stuck with the Ice Queen.  That's friendship, people!  I also loved seeing the changing relationship between Alex and her dad, as well. 
Man, Deegan's voice was amazing.  It was a teen going through the loss of a parent: the anger, the pain, the feeling of being totally lost - it was heart-breaking.  But funny too, thanks to Deegan's amazing writing talent.  My heart was aching and my eyes tearing up one minute, my heart then filling with love as I giggled the next.  I just loved Deegan's wry, dry, witty sense of humour - it killed me.  But all the emotions in this book, well, they just broke my heart!  I could feel all of Alex's pain, all her despair.  I felt almost constantly on the verge of tears.  And I also loved seeing all the different kinds of grief in the book, seeing how all the different characters dealt with loss.  It was amazing.  And grief wasn't the only pain tackled.  Every single character had some kinda problem - they were all so real and padded out and complex.  I loved that.  
A story about love, loss, grief and surviving, And By The Way was a book that left me totally overwhelmed, full of love and sadness and beauty.  The phrase don't judge a book by its cover definitely applies here.  This book is not fluffy or pink.  It's complex and emotional and heart-breaking - both in its beauty and sadness.  And By The Way is the sort of book that will totally break your heart - and you will love every second of it.  You will feel every single thing Alex does and you will love her so much to hurts, faults and all.  You will fall totally in love with David and you will feel so emotionally overwhelmed you will be too wrapped up in everything to cry, even when you are on the verge of a breakdown.  And you will hope and laugh and love.  I honestly cannot recommend it enough - to everyone!  And I certainly can't wait to read And For Your Information.  Nor will I ever underestimate or dismiss my time with my family – who knows what could happen next?
And By The Way, you really will love every single second and will not be able to stop reading.  So enjoy - this book will not let you down. 

Star Rating:
4½ Out of 5

Read this book if you liked:
If I Stay by Gayle Foreman

Challenges It's Taking Part In:
Happy Reading
* This book was received from Hachette Ireland in exchange for an honest review

Sunday 14 October 2012

In My Mailbox (#58)

In My Mailbox was created by Kristi at The Story Siren. It's a perfect way to see who's reading and review what. Awesome! 

I got some great books, so thanks to everyone who sent them to me!  Amazingly, I bought no books!  I was actually shocked about that.  To make up for it, I requested a squillion books on NetGalley.  Well, my lack of self control had to go somewhere, right?  ;)
Anyways, this is what I got...

For Review:

Seeking Crystal (Benedict, Book Three) by Joss Stirling (Goodreads | Amazon)
Sparks Will Fly.
Passion Will Ignite.
Read this one already: Amazing book in a brilliant series.  Fingers so crossed for a book about Will!
The Toymaker by Jeremy De Quidt (Goodreads | Amazon)
Neither Truth Nor Lies Can Save You Now...
This looks majorly brilliant.  And majorly creepy.  Awesome!
The Feathered Man by Jeremy De Quidt (Goodreads | Amazon)
Curiosity Is A Killing Thing...
Another brilliantly creepy looking book!  So excited about it!
Seconds Away (Mickey Bolitar, Book Two) by Harlan Coben (Goodreads | Amazon)
You're Only A Moment From Death
Gotta love Mr Coben!  ;)
Hold On by Alan Gibbons (Goodreads | Amazon)
They'll Never Give Up.  They'll Never Stop...
Started reading this this morning.  Could barely put it down!
Red Glove (Curse Workers, Book Two) by Holly Black (Goodreads | Amazon)
You're Only A Fingertip Away From Another World
Love this series!  So excited to read it! :D
The Iron Jackal (Tale of Ketty Jay, Book Three) by Chris Wooding (Goodreads | Amazon)
A Guardian Must-Read Novel!
Started this too: oh my God, it's looks awesome!!!  A real swashbuckling adventure!  Yay!! :D

Brush with Death

Brush With Death (Spirt Guide, Book Four) by E.J. Stevens (Goodreads)
I love this series!  Very excited to read the latest!! :D


Petronella & The TrogotBlood Prophecy (Drake Chronicles #6)
And All the StarsSurrender (The Ferryman and the Flame #1)Ashen Winter (Ashfall, #2)
BrokenThe Gathering DarknessFangtabulous (Vamped, #4)
Dash & Lily's Book of DaresSplintered

Petronella & The Trogot by Cheryl Bentley (Goodreads | Amazon | NetGalley)
A Supernatural Chiller
Creepy Ghosts, Scary Monsters
And just in time for Halloween!! ;)
The Intruders by Olive Peart (Goodreads | AmazonNetGalley)
In This War They Had An Advantage
This looks cool and very different!
Blood Prophecy (Drake, Book Six) by Alyxandra Harvey (Goodreads | Amazon | NetGalley)
Oh.  My.  GOD!!  I can't tell you how excited I was to get this - I think I terrified everyone in the room with my screaming.   So sorry everyone I freaked out! ;)  
And All The Stars by Andrea K Host (Goodreads | Amazon | NetGalley)
Gorgeous cover, very excited about the book!
Surrender (The Flame and the Ferryman, Book One) by Rhiannon Paille (Goodreads | Amazon | NetGalley)
Now this one I'm really excited about.  Not only does it have the most gorgeous and haunting cover, it's also magical!  Yay!
Ashen Winter (Ashfall, Book Two) by Mike Mullin (Goodreads | Amazon | NetGalley)
This looks really cool! 
Broken by A.E. Rought (Goodreads | Amazon | NetGalley)
Love this cover too!  Book looks amazing - can't wait to read!
The Gathering Darkness by Lisa Collicut (Goodreads | Amazon | NetGalley)
Magical looking, which is always good!
Fangtabulous (Vamped, Book Four) by Lucienne Diver (Goodreads | Amazon | NetGalley)
Ha, this one looks awesome.  Very excited.
Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan (Goodreads | Amazon | NetGalley)
I know other bloggers have loved their other books, so very excited for this one! 
Splintered by A.G. Howard (Goodreads | Amazon | NetGalley)
Welcome To The Real Wonderland
Squee!  This one looks AMAZING!!  And another gorgeous cover!!

Man, I need to stop going on NetGalley.  It's dangerous to those with a total lack of self control.  Sighs.   Ah, well.  

Hope you've all had a great week! :)

Saturday 13 October 2012

Poltergeeks by Sean Cummings

Series: Poltergeeks, Book One
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Format: ARC
Published: 4th October 2012
Number of Pages: 350
Book: For Review*
Genre: Paranormal, Magic, Urban Fantasy, Action-Adventure, Fantasy, YA
Recommended Age: 12+
Contains: Swearing, Violence, Alcohol References
No Drug References
Author's Blog: Sean Cummings

Being the daughter of a witch isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
When 15 year-old Julie Richardson and her best friend, Marcus, witness an elderly lady jettisoned out the front door of her home, it’s pretty obvious to Julie there’s a supernatural connection.
After a large-scale paranormal assault on Julie’s high school, her mother falls victim to an arcane spell.  Now it’s a race against time to find out who is responsible – or Julie won’t just lose her mother’s soul, she’ll lose her mother’s life.

“I'm a girl.  I'm a witch.  Someone is going to pay...”
Life's never been normal for Julie - after all she is the daughter of a witch - but even she isn't used to old ladies being shot out of their houses by an invisible and powerful force, right before her eyes. 
Obviously, there's something of the supernatural nature going on here.  
But what Julie was expecting was a (not so) harmless poltergeist.  Not some big, dark force that tries to kill her best friend (multiple times), attacks her school and sends her mom into some kind of a magic-induced coma. 
With guilt overwhelming her and desperation to save her mother driving her on, Julie knows she must find out who's behind the magical attacks. 
Because time is running out. 
And Julie will not lose her mom...
When a book is called "Ghostbusters meets Sabrina The Teenage Witch with a dash of X-Files" by an author I know and love (Sara Grant, Dark Parties), I simply have to get my supernatural-loving-hands on it.  And Poltergeeks so did not let me down!   With an awesome set of characters, witty writing, suspense and funny stuff, Poltergeeks had me hooked from the very first word to the very last.  It was just so much fun and the perfect supernatural read!  I can't wait for Book Two!
I loved Julie - she was brilliant, sassy, snarky and stubborn.  I loved her sense of humour - she killed me! - but even more, I loved that even though she's a kick- ass witch, she's also really down to earth and relatable too.  And Marcus was just the best friend ever!  He was so nerdy and cute and sweet, so loyal and just adorable!  He really was the bestest bud a girl could ever have!  And the friendship between them was so sweet and strong and real.  I loved watching them together - Marcus was such a sweetheart and so supportive - and watching how close they were - and how they get closer: it was the sweetest!
I adored the main characters, but there was an awesome supporting cast too.  Such as the cryptic Betty (with the dreadful fashion sense) and the creepy Holly Penske (also cryptic).  But who I really loved was one grave-yard-bound ghost.  And, of course, Julie's mom - she was awesome and just the best mom ever.  Even if she wasn't in the book all that much.  And I loved the relationship between Julie and her Mom - so often in teen books, the parents are just the annoying force to rebel against, and such.  Julie did a bit of rebelling, but her and her mom were really close and always took care of one another. 
I’ve got to admit, parts of the book reminded me a little of The Mortal Instruments - the geeky best mate who's secretly crushing on the lead gal, the mother in a supernatural coma, the red hair.  And as soon as said lead gal found out X, she seemed to know a heck of a lot.  Instantly.  But really, I just didn't care.  Because I loved Cummings's sense of humour - his witty writing just had me cracking up!  It was so teen and so snarky!  And I totally fell in love with Julia's voice.  I'm so impressed that a guy can write such a unique and authentic teen girl - I loved it!  As for the plot?  Awesome!  Full of action, mystery and humour, it had me gripped from start to finish.  I loved unravelling all the various secrets and watching Julie track down the bad guy, kicking butt with witchy powers as she did.  I did guess the final twist, but I really was enjoying it all too much to care!  The plot was just so awesome and action-movie-like.  Speaking of, it needs to be made into a movie - it would kick butt!
Plus, I loved all the supernatural stuff in this book.  All the ghosts and witches and potions and spells.  And I loved all the politics of the witchy world - these were so cool to read about!
A book as kickass as Buffy and as magical as Charmed, Poltergeeks totally blew me away.  A book that had me laughing one minute and practically gnawing on my nails at the suspense the very next second, I am officially classing it as a Must Read for all paranormal fans!  It was so awesomely epic and as I mentioned earlier would just make the most amazing movie ever!  I simply can't wait for the next in the series - it's going to be so awesome!
Ok, off topic now, I do love covers - the prettier the better - but I really don't get where some of them come from.  Like the gorgeous Victorian dresses on the covers of books set in the 21st century.  But Poltergeeks?  Not only is the cover gorgeous, dramatic and so unique, it's also showing an actual scene from the book!  No dramatic, ancient, Gothic dress or weird pose, just an awesome cover that so fits the book.  

Star Rating:
4½ Out of 5

Read this book if you liked:
Charmed (The TV Series & The Books)
The Secret Circle by L.J. Smith
Wicca/Sweep Series by Cate Tiernan
Blood Journals by Tessa Gratton
 The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

Challenges It's Taking Part In:
Happy Reading
* This book was received from Angry Robot in exchange for an honest review