Teaser: Lips Touch Three Times

“A cursed girl with lips still moist from her first kiss might feel suddenly wild, like a little monsoon. She might forget her curse just long enough to get careless and let it come true. She might kill everyone she loves.”
– Lips Touch Three Times by Laini Taylor (Illustrated by Jim Di Bartolo)
Goodreads Amazon Book Depository

Synopsis

Three tales of supernatural love, each pivoting on a kiss that is no mere kiss, but an action with profound consequences for the kissers’ souls:

Goblin Fruit
In Victorian times, goblin men had only to offer young girls sumptuous fruits to tempt them to sell their souls. But what does it take to tempt today’s savvy girls?

Spicy Little Curses
A demon and the ambassador to Hell tussle over the soul of a beautiful English girl in India. Matters become complicated when she falls in love and decides to test her curse.

Hatchling
Six days before Esme’s fourteenth birthday, her left eye turns from brown to blue. She little suspects what the change heralds, but her small safe life begins to unravel at once. What does the beautiful, fanged man want with her, and how is her fate connected to a mysterious race of demons?

Leave me links to your own teasers in the comments!


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be ReadingIt’s simple: turn to a random page of a book you’re currently reading and post two(ish) ‘teaser’ sentences.

Illuminated Darkness by Joanne Efendi

Title: Illuminated Darkness
Series: none
Author: Joanne Efendi
Published by: Self-published on 1 December 2013
Genre: YA, romance, fantasy
Rating: 1 star (DNF)
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

I really wanted to like this book. Haitian Voodoo is not something you hear about very often. Ashlyn is almost 18 when her boyfriend suddenly breaks up with her. She wallows in self-pity for a few days, but it doesn’t take her long to move on when she meets Wren, a mysterious guy she has every right to consider a stalker. All goes well, until Wren reveals that he’s a vampire charged with protecting Ashlyn, a Haitian voodoo deity under threat from voodoo priests.

It’s a new take on an old cliché, but it had the potential to be such an exciting story.  Unfortunately it never delivered, at least not in the first third, which was all I could stand to read before declaring it a DNF.  The prologue grabbed me right away. It was dark, mysterious and a great introduction to the story.  If the author had stayed with this style, perhaps the novel would have turned out better. As it was, Efendi steered the novel away from this darkness and attempted to create a young adult romance.  However this is one of those books that made me question whether she remembered anything at all about being a teenager.  The characters’ dialogue was stiff and formal, and Ashlyn herself lacked any semblance of a personality. Her life revolved around boys – either her first boyfriend or the new-found Wren.  It reminded me of Twilight.

“Earlier, I was so angry with him for following me [note recurring stalker behaviour], but now here I was sitting and admiring his beauty [because controlling, stalker behaviour is okay if the boy’s pretty]. How very shallow of me.”

The writing style leaned closer to telling than showing. I knew how the scenes looked or how Ashlyn was feeling, but I never got a sense of the details that really capture the imagination – a soft breeze, Ashlyn’s heart racing, or her stomach dropping. It was very stiff.

“I wanted to go with him. I was drawn to him.”

I got the impression that the author is fairly inexperienced in creative writing, and as her debut novel this is no surprise, but it could have done with some professional editing. I did research and the manuscript went to an editor, but it makes me wonder whether it was a superficial edit that didn’t go into the structure of the story deep enough to delete unnecessary scenes or characters.  Illuminated Darkness read like a promising first draft.  Unfortunately it’s already published and for sale.

I generally don’t dislike books. Even if they’re flawed, I always find value in them.  However, I could not find the  value in Illuminated Darkness. Getting through 33% was generous for me. I was doubting it from the first chapter, but I has such hope that it would get better, that the story would begin. I still believe that it does indeed get better, but at 33%, when something finally happened, it felt like such an unrealistic time and place for the event, I gave up.

I don’t discourage you from picking up a copy – opinions differ and maybe you’ll find something in this novel that I didn’t – but approach with caution.  Low expectations encourage pleasant surprises.

Burn Bright by Marianne de Pierres

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Title: Burn Bright
Series: Night Creatures #1
Author: Marianne de Pierres
Published by: Random House Australia on 1 March 2011
Genre: YA, fantasy, dystopia
Length: 316 pages
Rating: 3.5 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Bookworld (ebook) |  Dymocks


Plot Summary:
Retra doesn’t want to go to Ixion, the island of ever-night. Retra is a Seal – sealed minds, sealed community. She doesn’t crave parties and pleasure like all the others. But her brother left for Ixion two years ago, and Retra is determined to find him. Braving the pain of her obedience strip to escape the only home she’s ever known, Retra finds herself drawn deeper into the intoxicating world of Ixion. Come to me, whispers a voice in her head. Who are the Ripers, the mysterious guardians of Ixion? What are the Night Creatures Retra can see in the shadows? And what happens to those who grow too old for Ixion? Retra will find that Ixion has its pleasures – but its secrets are deadly.


“Retra felt the lure of the night rainbows just as surely as she’d felt the hidden beast lurking at the side of the path. She found herself stepping carefully, delicately, between the warring forces of beauty and danger. The rainbows caused a shiver of anticipation to run across her flesh. But at the same time she was drawn to the shadows beyond the path, the sounds of scraping and the scent of perfumed rot.”

Burn Bright was a relatively short novel, especially when compared to other dystopian books. There wasn’t a lot of time to spend world-building, but the author still managed to create a dark, mysterious world. I loved Ixion. It’s not an intricately built world – it can’t be in the short space of the novel – but it’s filled with intrigue and mysteries beyond the superficial ‘pleasure’.  Not a lot happens in the beginning of the story, but it was my favourite part of the book. Retra explores, asks questions and uncovers Ixion’s secrets.  Everything is revealed slowly, and I can’t remember a single instance of info-dumping or out-of-place world-building.

I was hoping the slow beginning would lead to a big climax, but I found the ending to be fairly anti-climactic. The story certainly didn’t fizzle, but I felt that it didn’t quite reach the level of tension I was expecting and it was all over too quickly. It did, however, leave an opening that made me desperate to get my hands on the next book.

Retra is a conservative girl having grown up in a sealed community.  I wouldn’t describe Retra as a likeble person, her conservativeness is occasionally frustrating she’s astoundingly naïve, but she’s the perfect character to tell the story. She’s not distracted by the party life and despite her shy demeanour, she’s not afraid to ask questions or to stand up for her convictions. She was conservative but not shy, and strong but not brash or kick-ass. It’s great to read a character who didn’t fit into a stereotypical box because her actions surprised both myself and other characters. About two-thirds through the book, Reatr goes through a dramatic personality change, which seems a bit sudden at first, but I really enjoyed how the author handled it, exploring how pain and fear shaped Retra’s life.

The other characters all had unique, interesting personalities. I honestly cared about what happened to them, whether it was outgoing Rollo who wasn’t in Ixion for the parties either (although they were a nice benefit), kickass Suki, meangirl Cal or the mysterious Lenoir. They all had interesting stories, but unfortunately they weren’t able to be deeply explored. I hope we learn more in future novels.

I loved Burn Bright. It’s not a unique story, but I would never categorise it as “yet another YA dystopia”. Its sense of mystery and a main character that doesn’t kick ass and has no special abilities let it stand out from the crowd.

Teaser: Fated

Teaser Tuesday highlighter

This week, while I’m doing my blog overhaul, I’m going to be re-visiting my favourite pre-blogging books, the books that I love but haven’t had a chance to show their faces (much) on this blog, yet.

“Those of us who do like visitors have to advertise, and it’s tricky to find a way of doing it that doesn’t make you sound crazy. The majority rely on word of mouth, though younger mages use the Internet. I’ve even heard of one guy in Chicago who advertises in the phone book under “Wizard,” though that’s probably an urban legend.”
– Fated by Benedict Jacka
Goodreads Amazon Book Depository

Synopsis

In the heart of Camden you’ll find the Arcana Emporium, run by Alex Verus. He won’t sell you a wand or mix you a potion, but he might just be able to help. That’s if he’s not too busy avoiding his would-be apprentice, foiling the Dark, outwitting the Light or investigating a mysterious relic that has just turned up at the British Museum.

Leave me links to your own teasers in the comments!


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be ReadingIt’s simple: turn to a random page of a book you’re currently reading and post two(ish) ‘teaser’ sentences.

Book Reviews: In The Shadows & Fangirl

Title: In the Shadows
Series: none
Author: Kiersten White (text story) & Jim Di Bartolo (art story)
Genre: YA, mystery, paranormal, graphic novel, historical fiction
Rating: 5 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

In the Shadows is a gorgeous, gothic, paranormal tale that follows five children in a small mysterious sea-side town as they uncover a conspiracy, the breadth of which constantly astounded me. The book tells two parallel stories – one written and one graphic – that are connected in a way you will never guess until the end, when it will blow your mind.  The characters are so unique and different from each other, and even though the story was quite short, I was invested in them and genuinely concerned about how they would get themselves out of trouble.  It was a captivating tale that I couldn’t put down.

As soon as In the Shadows arrived in the mail I knew it would be my favourite book on the shelf.  It’s a beautiful, cloth-bound hardback with magical artwork on the jacket. The story is printed on glossy paper, in sepia ink with ornamental borders. As if the book was beautifully illustrated enough, Jim Di Bartolo’s art story is breath-taking. Although the first time I read it, I had more questions than answers about what was happening (all becomes clear in the end), I couldn’t help but stop and admire the gorgeous illustrations he had created.

I recommend In the Shadows to everybody. If you have never read a graphic novel, this is the perfect way to start. You won’t be able to help falling in love with Kiersten’s beautiful children or Jim’s stunning artwork.


Title: Fangirl
Series: none
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre: YA, contemporary, realistic, romance
Rating: 5 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

As a self-proclaimed fangirl, I was very cautious of reading this book. It sounded perfect, but it could so easily slip into a clichéd mess.  A few positive reviews gave me the confidence to pick it up and I devoured it in two sittings.  Fangirl is the most relatable book I’ve ever read.  Cath is a socially awkward writer of Simon Snow fanfiction.  When  her outgoing twin sister decides they need to live in separate rooms at college, Cath is forced out if her comfort zone.

This book had me flying through the whole spectrum of emotions – laughing, fangirl-squealing, crying, yelling “don’t do it!”, cringing… There is not one page of this novel I didn’t enjoy or that I didn’t relate to. Having said that, I don’t think everyone will enjoy this book as much as I did.

Cath suffers from social anxiety, and it affects most of the choices she makes.  If you are not a person who has ever felt anxiety about an unfamiliar social situation, or if you’ve never chosen to stay home because you were too scared of going out, you will find yourself frustrated with Cath.  You will be yelling “just go!” to her and you won’t understand why she keep choosing to stay home.  What you need to understand is that she’s yelling the same things to herself, much louder, but it’s not convincing enough to beat the fear.  So she makes the safe choices.

Apart from this aspect, Fangirl is a great read for everybody.  It’s a fun, entertaining contemporary novel with friendships, romance and fanfiction which also touches on more serious issues of mental health and family.


I read these books as part of the Bout of Books read-a-thon. Reviews for the two other books I read can be found here.

What books have you read this week? Let me know what you thought in the comments or leave me a link to your own reviews!

Teaser: City of Heavenly Fire

Teaser Tuesday highlighter

“He’d tried training it out of himself, hours and hours spent in the practice room, blood and bruises and sweat and once, even, broken fingers.  But he hadn’t managed to do much more than irritate Alec with requests for healing runes and, on one memorable occasion, accidentally set fire to one of the crossbeams.”
– City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments #6) by Cassandra Clare
Goodreads | Amazon Book Depository

This is the final book in The Mortal Instruments series. I wrote about my crazy love for the series yesterday. I’ve barely even touched the 700-odd pages of this book, but it’s already had death, acts of evil and several giggle moments. That’s why I love this series. It’s full of action and it’s fun. I know I’ll miss all of the characters once it’s over.

Leave me links to your own teasers in the comments!


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be ReadingIt’s simple: turn to a random page of a book you’re currently reading and post two(ish) ‘teaser’ sentences.

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday highlighter

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be ReadingIt’s simple: turn to a random page of a book you’re currently reading and post two(ish) ‘teaser’ sentences.


in the shadows cover

“Charles had discovered, much to his surprise, that dying came with a whole array of benefits.  Certainly there was much to be said for not dying before the age of sixteen, but as that did not appear to be an option, he had reconciled himself to slamming into the end of his like with as much momentum as he could manage.”
– In The Shadows by Kiersten White (Text Story) and Jim Di Bartolo (Art Story)

teaser tues in the shadows

This is a beautiful historical fantasy surrounding five teenagers staying at the same boarding house in a small, mysterious town.  Accompanying the text story is a gorgeous graphic story (see a visual teaser to the right).  Although I have not yet discovered how, they are supposedly linked. It just adds to the mystery surrounding this intriguing story. I guess I will have to wait to the end to find out!

What are your teasers this week?