2009 Book Reviews

Rogue – Rachel Vincent “…quite a cracker. Rachel Vincent has well and truly mastered the art of the end-of-chapter cliffhanger…and likewise for the end of the novel…wow…” Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

The Summoning – Kelley Armstrong “…the freshest, most compelling novel Kelley Armstrong’s written for quite some time…The author’s stepped her characterisation up to a new level.” Buy (US) Buy (CA) Buy (UK)

The Becoming – Jeanne C. Stein Buy (US) Buy (CA)

Blood Drive – Jeanne C. Stein “Anna Strong takes on a very human problem…a step up…” Buy (US) Buy (CA)

Eve of Darkness – S. J. Day “The author’s angels and demons are well-crafted and original, as is the worldbuilding…There are a lot of possibilities, so this series could end up longer than just the three (so far) contracted novels. I hope so.” Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

The Watcher – Jeanne C. Stein “…better than The Becoming…” Buy (US) Buy (CA)

Undone – Rachel Caine “…hits hard with the kind of keen plotting sure to lift heads. Keep an eye out for the ‘shock troops’, and what follows is an absolute cracker of a read.” Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

City of Ashes – Cassandra Clare “…look out for the delightfully creepy Silent City, a haunting setting to remember – awesome.” Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

Men of the Otherworld – Kelley Armstrong “…yay for something new and interesting.” Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

Spell Hunter (Knife) – R. J. Anderson “…charmed the pants off me…might break through your emotional barrier as it did mine.” Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

City of Glass – Cassandra Clare “…clearly stands above its predecessors…Idris is richly imagined, and Simon Lewis is one of my favourite vampires in fiction.” Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

The Forest of Hands and Teeth – Carrie Ryan “…a rare gem…one of the most elegantly-written novels I’ve read; with characters to care about, a unique and disturbing setting, life or death decisions, and plenty of opportunity for social commentary.” Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

The Touch of Twilight – Vicki Pettersson “…a refreshing vision of urban fantasy…we get more of the awesome Chandra…” Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

The Declaration – Gemma Malley “Dark, dour and definitely believable, The Declaration is an intelligent and thought-provoking read for those not afraid to take a good hard look at society – both now AND in the future.” Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

The Resistance – Gemma Malley “This is a wrenching, thought-provoking novel, and a sequel that even stretches beyond its fascinating predecessor…Get this duology, people – you need these gripping reads.” Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

Bad to the Bone – Jeri Smith-Ready “…some really creepy scenes…a unique read.” Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

Handling the Undead – John Ajvide Lindqvist “The characters’s reactions and emotions are believable, the Heath is delightfully creepy, and I certainly wanted my own Balthazar…a brilliant study of how humans cope in extraordinary circumstances.” Buy (UK)

Skinned – Robin Wasserman “Theology, philosophy, science, technology, medicine, relationships and self-discovery combine to create this engaging and thought-provoking futuristic story. But be warned that one’s eyes may leak…September’s release of Book 2, Crashed, can’t come soon enough.” Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

Savage Retribution – Lexxie Couper “…a fun romp…If you’re looking for a Sydney version of Keri Arthur, Lexxie Couper may do the trick.” Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

Phenomenal Girl 5 – A. J. Menden “…exceptionally well done…a new-to-me spin on superheroes…” Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

Fate – Jennifer Lynn Barnes “Though Celtic mythology is commonly associated with Sidhe, the author’s decision to add Greek mythology to the mix pays off. Bailey is a rare find in fiction – a character whom is not only extremely relatable, but also rather likeable…” Buy (US) Buy (CA)

Tekgrrl – A. J. Menden “…fascinating content and huge twists…Tekgrrl is a winner. Here’s hoping Aphrodite gets to star in a future novel.” Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

Night’s Cold Kiss – Tracey O’hara “The sci-fi elements are the real drawcards, raising this above most other vampire novels on the market. With memorable scenes and a particularly unforgettable character (you’ll know when you meet her), Night’s Cold Kiss kicks off a series with strong world-building, and hopefully much more science to come. Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

My Soul to Take – Rachel Vincent “The twists and turns are intriguing, and form an engrossing read. A truly outstanding novel, it’ll be a hard act to follow but one to watch, come My Soul to Save‘s release in January 2010.” Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

Intertwined – Gena Showalter “…the time travel is undoubtedly the most engaging and engrossing part…it comes across as fresh and new, with an original take making it more personal for the characters, and thus more relatable for readers. It’s riveting reading, and signals time travel as perhaps the next big thing in fiction. I know I’m intrigued.” Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

Twilight – Stephenie Meyer Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

New Moon – Stephenie Meyer Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

Skin Trade – Laurell K. Hamilton “…Olaf is one freaky dude….he seriously is bloody scary…It’s fascinating characterisation, and well worth applauding the author.” Buy (Worldwide)

Eclipse – Stephenie Meyer Buy (Worldwide)

Glass Houses – Rachel Caine “…wonderfully creepy…chemically awesome…it’ll be interesting to follow the dynamics between the vampires and the humans, and to uncover the full secrets of Morganville.” Buy (Worldwide)

Shadowfae – Erica Hayes “The goals of breaking shackles and finding freedom drive this colourful and disgusting vision of Melbourne…Erica Hayes has a psychedelic imagination that gives the Shadowfae world a vibrant splash…” Buy (Worldwide)

White Is for Magic – Laurie Faria Stolarz “The suspense is psychological as well as the norm, and the characters feel like real people…These books are like comfort reads to me, and combine for one of the most underrated series in YA fiction.” Buy (Worldwide)

Strange Angels – Lili St. Crow “Dark, disturbing, and bleak as all buggery, Strange Angels‘s originality and fascinating plot twists make for an intriguing, though grim, addiction of a series.” Buy (Worldwide)

Red Is for Remembrance – Laurie Faria Stolarz “This is a series to glom…I love the spookiness, and the suspense…well deserving of new fans.” Buy (Worldwide)

Exodus – Julie Bertagna “…three extraordinary settings…there really is something for everyone…First published in 2002, Exodus is still completely relevant. It’s unlike anything I’ve read before, and is simply amazing.” Buy (Worldwide)

Zenith – Julie Bertagna “…definitely intriguing and with fascinating settings…the imagery is simply splendid…Futuristic YA is all the richer with Julie Bertagna’s innovative contributions.” Buy (Worldwide)

Starfire Angels – Melanie Nilles “The world-building is interesting and unique…TV documenter Nina Russet is beyond awesome.” Buy (US)

Succubus Blues – Richelle Mead “I was surprised, and mightily impressed. The stuff about angels is so fascinating, the drawcard of the novel…” Buy (Worldwide)

Vampire Academy – Richelle Mead “…that rare gem – original, bold, complex and utterly memorable…” Buy (Worldwide)

The Awakening – Kelley Armstrong “…a page-turner…” Buy (Worldwide)

The Set-Up – Sophie McKenzie “…A high-concept treat, this is pretty good escapist fiction. With intriguing ideas, it has the almighty scientific twist and social commentary to win me over…” Buy (Worldwide)

Fallen – Claire Delacroix “The world-building is simply amazing, with technological and medical advances, but devastating corruption and conspiracy. From the Society conference in New Gotham, to the netherzones and the circus, life is bleak but the author’s imagination is stunning…Science fiction romance fans should love this.” Buy (Worldwide)

The Rapture – Liz Jensen “The science is amazing, and plays a major part in The Rapture‘s brilliance…The characters are all shades of grey, the impending rapture is terrifying mostly because it’s so believable…The psychological complexities of both Bethany and Gabrielle leave quite an impression.” Buy (Worldwide)

Fallen Rogue – Amy Rench “The scientific elements are deliciously intriguing…” Buy (Worldwide)

Faithless – Yolanda Sfetsos “The concept is fabulous, and the plotting intriguing…” Buy (US) Buy (UK)

The Better Part of Darkness – Kelly Gay “…intriguing world-building. Kelly Gay’s vision of Atlanta is richly imagined…The Better Part of Darkness hosts some awesome characters I’m looking forward to encountering again…” Buy (Worldwide)

Undercover – Lauren Dane “..the ‘Verses themselves are rather fascinating…it’s pretty darn good.” Buy (Worldwide)

My Soul to Save – Rachel Vincent “Rachel Vincent’s Netherworld is vastly imaginative and deliciously creepy. The descriptions are evocative, and I won’t soon forget the blades of grass…realistic elements bring the characters home for readers, grounding the paranormal in a world that’s easily relatable…an author with fascinating plot twists and stories that you can’t help but glom.” Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

Betrayals – Lili St. Crow “The featured creatures in Betrayals are intriguingly disturbing, and bloody well creative, particularly the Broken. The lashings of Romanian words and phrases are deliciously exotic, and definitely welcome.” Buy (Worldwide)

Hush, Hush – Becca Fitzpatrick “This psychological thriller is a corker…Hush, Hush is totally a book to glom…Becca Fitzpatrick has certainly mastered the art of creating a page-turner…” Buy (Worldwide)

Extras – Scott Westerfeld “There’s a lot to enjoy here, which is a great escapist piece…I rather like the Japanese characters and intriguing future.” Buy (Worldwide)

Evil Cats – Elia Anie “…a nice little way to spend twenty minutes…” Buy (Worldwide)

Frostbitten – Kelley Armstrong “…the perfect book to re-engage readers…the new species of animal featured here are bloody fascinating, and there are some fantastic new characters, too.” Buy (Worldwide)

Three Days to Dead – Kelly Meding “…an awesome premise…First Break is fabulous, with a freaky, original journey to get there…intriguing world-building and plotting.” Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

Prism – Faye Kellerman & Aliza Kellerman “…the social conscience is a winner, and this could be an ideal wake-up call…a killer premise.” Buy (Worldwide)

Vicious Circle – Linda Robertson “The group shares a great rapport, which makes their friendship believable, but my favourite character far and beyond is Amenemhab, a jackal who shares wisdom during Seph’s meditations.” Buy (Worldwide)

Death, the Vamp and His Brother – Lexxie Couper “The resourceful Lexxie Couper has come through with paranormal beasties new to me…I haven’t been this enthused to learn about the Revelations since Madonna’s ‘Justify My Love (The Beast Within Remix)’!” Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

The Laughing Corpse – Laurell K. Hamilton “…bloody good…fascinating…an absolute cracker…” Buy (Worldwide)

Crimson & Steam – Liz Maverick “…science and steampunk are winners. Totally glom-worthy, Crimson & Steam gives one much to think about, and hope for future instalments. Add to this the mind-bending concepts of her futuristic novels, and Liz Maverick stands above other authors treading the well-worn paranormal path. Can’t wait for her next innovative novel! Buy (Worldwide)

Devoured – Amanda Marrone “The blend of Brothers Grimm, Gossip Girl, and V. C. Andrews creates a shadowy atmosphere with genuinely creepy moments and some truly effed-up characters. A definite page-turner!” Buy (Worldwide)

The Hollow – Jessica Verday “…the cemetery setting is amazing…a page-turner…making the sequel, The Haunted, a must-have in 2010.” Buy (Worldwide)

Divine Misdemeanors – Laurell K. Hamilton “If relationship melodrama is your thing, you’ll gobble up Divine Misdemeanors…The storybook serial kills are fascinating…” Buy (Worldwide)

Demons Not Included – Cheyenne McCray “Cheyenne McCray has done such a good job with the secondary characters that I like them more than the primary ones…the world-building and plot certainly are page-turning…” Buy (Worldwide)

Liar – Justine Larbalestier “…staggeringly brilliant…If Liar isn’t nominated for book awards, I’ll declare shenanigans. This is unforgettable, with so much depth…Critics and readers alike should adore this; well worthy of a standing ovation.” Buy (Worldwide)

Bleed – Laurie Faria Stolarz Buy (Worldwide)

Better Off Alone – Yolanda Sfetsos “The plot is a cracker…” Buy (Worldwide)

The City of Ember “Jeanne DuPrau’s contribution to the fabulously innovative subgenre of dystopian YA is outstanding. It’s easy to relate to these characters…” Buy (Worldwide)

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