Somber Island by T. Lynne Tolles

Somber Island by T. Lynne Tolles

Published: December 17th, 2010
Publisher: Troll Publishing (Self-Published)
Rating: YA 14+
Format: Finished Copy
Source: Sent from the Author

Phoebe MacIntire, who is a servant to her father and sisters in her own house in Scotland in 1855, is an ordinary girl, with no big dreams for the future. She's perfectly happy in her humble life, with her cot in the basement and her little garden in the backyard. But when her father up and sends her to Newfoundland to be the lifelong servant to Lord Jacobs, she finds her life gets turned upside down. 

Her journey across the Atlantic to her new home is long, scary and very unpleasant. When she arrives at the manor on a small island, she finds the beautiful place abandoned and only a note waits for her explaining her duties, the strange dietary requirements, and sleeping habits of her new master. 
The very first night in her new home she's haunted in her dreams by a woman who clearly does not want her there and a strange blue-eyed man-wolf creature that follows the woman. Her dreams become more and more violent and mysteries start to be uncovered about a woman who was killed in a fire on the island, a creature that preys on anyone that comes to the island and a love story gone wrong that dates back over a hundred and twenty two years. 
Join Phoebe as she explores the past, delving into witchcraft, and vampirism to help a brother save another from a life of sadness and misconception, making some amazing and surprising friends along the way.

When I first heard of Somber Island, I immediately thought, "OMG! It sounds like Jane Eyre!" and when I started reading it, I kinda saw I was right. Mrs. Tolles told me that the language was modern, and not the "language" that was spoken during that time period. But aside that, there are quite a bit of similarities in terms of plot. Pheobe is hired by Lord Jacobs, as Jane is hired by Mr. Rochester and they BOTH fall in love with them. Both Lord Jacobs and Mr. Rochester have a secret. There are more, but I'm afraid I'll give away both Somber Island and Jane Eyre if I do :) But Sober Island was an amazing paranormal take on Jane Eyre and I'm sure YA Vamp Fans will love this addition to the genre.

I thought Pheobe was a very sweet character and that her relationship with Nate is one I was rooting for the whole time! I honestly thought she would get with Jonathan first, but then I'm glad everything worked out in the end. Samuel's story was sad, and I'm glad in the end things worked out for him. Of course, the antagonist Emma is pretty creepy and the description of her kinda scared me. I loved that effect of description, especially as she was the baddie in this book.

There was a bit of surprises along the way, but the thing about the book is that it's quite predictable in some areas. It's an amazing story, but there were some scenes where I could tell what was going to happen next and guess what? It happened. It's a quick-paced book though, I managed to finish it in one sitting. Which brings me to another thing, the ending was too short and explained everything too fast. It was a nice ending, but just too quick! The font size also helped, as it was clearer and easier to read. LOVED the Cover Art (it was what caught my attention) and I think it really has that haunted, eerie look to it.

Overall, Somber Island is a new and different addition to the Paranormal genre of YA, with the story and some elements of Jane Eyre, it certainly does get the reader enthralled into the story!

**Thank you so much to T. Lynne Tolles for sending me Somber Island for review!**

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Friday Finds - Week 11

"Friday Finds" is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading. It's to show what amazing new (or old!) books I've discovered this week.

This week I found...

The Poison Eaters and Other Stories by Holly Black (AmazonGoodreads)
Shut Out by Kody Keplinger (AmazonGoodreads)
Ashfall by Mike Mullin (AmazonGoodreads)

Lessons from a Dead Girl by Jo Knowles (AmazonGoodreads)
Want to Go Private? by Sarah Darer Littman (AmazonGoodreads)
Darkwater by Georgia Blain (Goodreads [No Amazon Link])

Flyaway by Helen Landalf (AmazonGoodreads)
Love Drugged by James Klise (AmazonGoodreads)
Zelah Green by Vanessa Curtis (AmazonGoodreads)

Aren't the covers gorgeous?! (and is it just me, or does the cover model for Shut Out look like Ann Hathaway?) I really can't WAIT to get my hands on them. What did you find this week? Leave a link/comment!

Paper Towns by John Green

Paper Towns by John Green

Published: October 16th, 2008
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Rating: YA 14+
Source: Borrowed from Library
Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life - dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge - he follows. 
After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues - and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees of the girl he thought he knew. 
Printz medalist John Green returns with the brilliant wit and searing emotional honesty that have inspired a new generation of listeners.

So... What is a Paper Town?

That's what I asked when I first picked up this book. Nobody knew so I did what most people would do: Google it. I then came across this definition on "Omnictionary" (which I later found was a part of the book!):

A Paper Town is a fictional place that cartographers put on their maps so they can tell when someone breaches copyright and copies their map. They can tell, because it will also contain the fictional place.

Wow...they actually do that? Anyway, it didn't really concern me until I reached the part in the book where it mentions 'Paper Towns'. So anyway, on to the review!

This book really gets you thinking. The Clues in the poems, the reference to different singers, different phrases–everything, just adds up and the connections between things are AMAZING! I seriously had no idea ANY of those things could possible connect. And the Clues? Hidden in meaningful places, so well hidden with only the smallest hint of where to find them. Of course, Quentin has help from his awesome (and hilarious!) friends, Radar, Ben and Lacey. Every step through this is a thrillingly-close experience of discovery.

This is my first John Green novel. I've heard of The Abundance of Katherines and people said it was really good! But this one was standing out in the "new arrivals" in the school library so I just grabbed this one instead.

Well. I think I'd better to go to the library to check out The Abundance of Katherines, 'cause this book was AMAZING!

I have never been so caught up in a story line like this, which is written so... realistically. The beginning made me laugh a lot though, with Quentin going out at night with Margo, and I still think that maybe it could happen. Not saying that we should break into amusement parks!
I really think that the climax AND road trip part was the best though. The climax (I won't tell you what it is) was pretty good, cliffhanging and I didn't really know what to make of it. The road trip part was hilarious, exhilarating and adventurous and I really feel that I there with them as they took turns driving, quickly getting in and out for toilet breaks, etc. What I found interestingly different was the fact that no was one of those "stereo-typical characters". No one was the pretty blonde cheerleader (popular people though!), the tough jock (although...yeah maybe there was one) and all characters were just ones that I actually might find at a high school. And I love how Lacey breaks the barrier of the "social class" in school by going out with Ben :) that was cute!

Overall, Paper Towns is a read for those who want a little bit more, something interesting, something to get you thinking. Poetry and Mystery lovers alike will love this book as it offers something special for all readers.

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Interview with Leigh Fallon

I'm thrilled today to be lucky enough to have an interview with the author of the upcoming YA novel, The Carrier of the Mark, Leigh Fallon! Leigh Fallon has been beyond amazing to answer some questions about her upcoming book and herself. Without further delay, here she is! 

(NOTE: Sorry for the weird spacing! Somethings going on with my blog...weird :S)

Random Questions first...

What type of Music do you like listening to? 
I love music! I really find it inspires me.  My must have music for writing would be: 
Elbow, Moby, Radiohead, and Radical Face.

What Book(s) have you recently read? 
I just finished Supernaturally by Kiersten White, and I’m currently reading Variant by Robison Wells.

What is/are your favorite Book(s) of all time? 
I find that hard to answer, I have so many favorites and they are constantly changing.  I’ve loved Judy Blume, Jane Austen, Stephanie Meyer, and Jilly Cooper to name a few.  

What is your favorite Ice Cream Flavor? 
I’m not big on ice-cream, but if I was forced to choose a flavor I’d go with good old fashioned vanilla.

Dream Vacation Spot? 
I’ve been to many beautiful places; I think Sicily was one of my all-time favorites.  I would love to travel to India! (:D)

What is your favorite Movie/TV Shows? Actor/Actress? 
My favorite movie is Pride and Prejudice. I love the BBC version so much, but I like the Kiera Knightly version too. (Haven't seen the BBC, but LOVE the Kiera Knightly one!)

My favorite TV show?  That is a tough one. I’ve loved so many. I think Buffy, Roswell, Popular, and Ugly Betty would be up there at the top of my list.
My favorite Actor would have to be Jeff Goldblum, he is just so cool. 
My favorite Actress, I have a soft spot for gorgeous girls who can laugh at themselves. Emma Stone and Christina Applegate are two that spring to mind.

Serious (ish) Questions

What gave you the Inspiration for The Carrier of the Mark
I was sitting in my jeep outside of my daughters’ ballet school.  My twin babies were in the car bawling their eyes out with boredom.  I was looking for a way to escape it all for a few moments when something my dad said popped into my head, ‘everyone has a book in them’.  So taking these pearls of wisdom, I picked up some scraps of paper and started jotting down notes about a story that was stirring in my head.  Each of the characters became very clear almost immediately and the magical element was at the forefront. The inspiration for it? Well probably the town of Kinsale, the old buildings, the eclectic mix of people, the beautiful views.  But the story went from inspiration to the makings of a book in less than 30 mins on the backs of receipts and napkins.

What is the Significance/Meaning of the title, and how did you choose it? 
The title is very literal, you’ll see what I mean when you read the book.  The name sprang to mind at the same time as the idea, they came hand in hand.

Do you see yourself in any of your characters? 
A little, I think I inject a little aspect of myself in most of my characters.  I think Caitlin has quite a bit of me in her character.

How did you pick the setting for The Carrier of the Mark
As I mentioned above, I was looking at it out my window.  It was right in front of me, and so much more than just a setting.  Kinsale is like another character in the story.

Did you always want to be a writer? 
Nope, it never occurred to me.  The Carrier of the Mark was my first book so I’ve only been writing for two years.

Other than writing, what do you do in your spare time? 
Spare time? What spare time?  I wish! Honestly writing takes up every spare second.  When I’m not writing and editing, I’m doing interviews, or working the social media angle.  Then when I down tools I’m looking after my four kids and husband.  If I do get any time for myself I love reading, nice long walks and horse-riding.

What do you hope readers take from your book? 
I just want them to fall in love with my characters and get involved with the story.  I’d love them to take away a sense of nearly having visited Ireland, like they’ve seen it through Megan’s eyes.

Thank you so much to Leigh Fallon for stopping by my blog today! I really can't WAIT until The Carrier of the Mark is released in October! Here's a blurb:

A move to Ireland is about to introduce Megan to her destiny, her real destiny, can she embrace it and will she survive it? 

A tragedy in Megan’s past set her on a predetermined course. A chain of events has been set in motion that brings Megan to Kinsale, a small town in the south of Ireland where her destiny awaits her. Her life starts to fall into place as she makes new friends and settles into her new school. However, the reclusive and distant Adam DeRís calls to her body and soul.

She finds herself increasingly drawn to Adam and his strange family. Adam knows a secret from her past and he and his family hold the key to her future. A future that binds her to Adam and his world, a world of power, mystery and ancient orders. A world that unbeknownst to her, she very much belongs in.

Follow Leigh Fallon!

WWW Wednesdays - Week 10

"WWW Wednesdays" is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading. Just answer the following three questions:

1. What are you currently reading?
2. What did you recently finish reading?
3. What do you think you'll read next?

What are you currently reading?

I just started The Betrayal of Maggie Blair by Elizabeth Laird. I know it just came out, but I still have the eGalley which I need to read rapidly :S. Love Elizabeth Laird's books (I read The Garbage King. Loved it!) and this one is no exception so far :).

What did you recently finish reading?

I just finished Angel Burn by L.A. Weatherly. AH-MA-ZING!! Too bad I can't post a review now'll have to wait 'till closer to the release date :(. But still! Really recommend you read it, and I believe that this is a re-print, so there must be copies of the other version somewhere! Go! SHOO! BUY AND READ IT!

What do you think you'll read next?

I really hate my TBR Pile right now, because it has just EXPLODED these few weeks. I've been missing review deadlines (also having exams doesn't help -_-) and things are just going crazy and I think I'll die if I read so fast! But the next read will be Memento Nora by Angie Smibert which came out sometime this month. Another late read and review :(. But it really sounds fantastic and I sneaked a peek at the first chapter...or two. Sounds fantabulous!

Well, that's the news of the week :) What are you currently reading? Leave a link/comment!

Waiting on Wednesday – Week 12

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. It's to spotlight upcoming releases which I can't wait for!

I can't wait for...

Shattered Souls 
by Mary Lindsey
Coming December 8th, 2011

Lenzi hears voices. She also sees visions--gravestones, floods, a gorgeous guy with steel gray eyes. She knows she must be going crazy, just like her dad did. Her boyfriend, Zak, can't do anything to help, and the voices just keep getting louder, the visions more intense. But when Lenzi meets Alden, the boy from her dreams, everything makes sense.

Sort of.

He tells Lenzi that she's a reincarnated Speaker--someone who can talk to lost souls and help them move on--and that he has been her Protector for centuries. But instead of embracing her abilities, Lenzi struggles between her life as the girlfriend of a sexy musician and the life she is destined to lead with Alden. Yet time is running out; a malevolent spirit has been trying to destroy Lenzi for ages, and he will surely kill her if she doesn't make a decision soon.

Her choices are clear: Destiny or normalcy. Alden or Zak. Life or death.

The cover looks gorgeous and the story sounds fantastic! What are you "waiting on" this week? leave a link/comment!

This Girl is Different by JJ Johnson

This Girl is Different by JJ Johnson

Published: April 1st, 2011
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers
Rating: YA 14+
Source: Sent from Author via NetGalley
This girl is different… That’s what Evie has always told herself—and it’s true. Home-schooled by her counter culture mom, she’s decided to see what high school is like for the first time—for her senior year. And what a year it is. 
As it turns out, it’s not just Evie who’s Different. Lots of people are. Many of her assumptions about others are turned on their heads as she makes friends with kids her own age for the first time, discovers what’s good and what’s bad about high school, and learns lessons about power and its abuse—both by the administration and by Evie herself.

**This Review is based on an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy). The final text may be different!**

This is such a difficult book to review! I'm sitting here and thinking, because this is one of those books. The ones with profound meaning to them, which are really powerful and are so different (like the title!) and unique from books found today. It really looks at the discrimination and stereotypes of high schools today. We can see how the "norm" differentiates from other people who are different. We can see the problems with bullying, racism and judgement of people. I really do think that this book is suited for adults as well with all the philosophy and quotes and thoughts going through our main character, Evie's head.

Evie's character is truly one I've never seen before. Definitely "different" but a good different! She's headstrong, strongly opinionated, free minded and doesn't care about who's who and what's right and what's social incorrect. She does what she wants and stands up for herself. I seriously wish I could be like her. She's just such a strong character with assertiveness that makes me jealous. Her ideas and theories are so insightful (I must admit, it was pretty educating to read this book!) that they just kinda go click click click in your head, making connections, understanding what she's trying to get across and of course, the powerful message she's trying to make across to the administration and students.
However, things don't go as planned. As Evie suddenly becomes regarded as a freak, people start to treat her differently. Teachers start to treat her differently. Her best friend and boyfriend suddenly act kinda different around her as well! I think this is really important for High School learning, as it touches the subject of bullying and cliques. 

Speaking of best friend and boyfriend, I really love Raj and Jacinda's characters. They're just so different from "typical" best friends put into books. First off, they're Indian! (respect to my fellow Indians :P). I really love how Evie describes them when she first sees them. I remember her saying that Raj looked like "Kumar from Harold and Kumar" and Jacinda was beautiful like Audrey Hepburn. It's just those allusions which make it more interesting to understand the characters and Evie's surroundings, and even make a connection!

I LOOVVEE Evie's mom, Martha! She's amazingly understanding of Evie's choices (although the schooling thing she can do without), she allows Evie to have her freedom and when she asks for help, Martha always has some sort of solution. Her reference to "the man" is hilarious, and every little phrase really adds up to her character. Love the Geo-dome as well. Almost makes me want to move into one!

The tone of the book drastically changes at one point. It becomes cold and the atmosphere really does change. Everyone becomes cold and unfriendly, and Evie really starts to feel the effect and "downfall" of loneliness and being shunned by her "best friend" and her boyfriend. It's really quite sad at this part and I felt really down when reading this :(. But I found as the book came to the end, it was a satisfying conclusion, with hope for the future and people standing up for what's right. Justice shone through at the end.

Overall, I would say that if you wanted something different and unique from what other books are talking about these days, something a little more "realistic" than realistic fiction, go ahead and pick this up– you will not be disappointed with the result.

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