goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Fellside
Author: M.R. Carey
Genre: Suspense
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: 496
Date read: May, 2016

Jess Moulson is convicted of murder. But it's a murder she can't remember committing.

Nothing is quite clear from the drug-fuelled night when a blaze set in her apartment killed the little boy upstairs. But when the media brands Jess a child killer, she starts to believe it herself.

Now she's on her way to Fellside, the biggest, most formidable women's prison in Europe, standing in the bleak Yorkshire moors.

But Jess won't be alone in her prison cell. Lurking in the shadows is an unexpected visitor... the ghost of the ten-year-old boy she killed. He says he needs her help - and he won't take no for an answer.


I read and loved "The Girl With All the Gifts" earlier this year, so when I discovered "Fellside" on Netgalley, I immediately requested it. And I'm very happy to have read it. While it couldn't quite live up to my expectations, I had a hard time putting it down, and could never figure out what would happen next.

The writing style is just as good as in his earlier book, although perhaps not quite as tight. I did feel some of the chapters were superfluous, and that it would have benefitted from being cut down just a bit. Mostly, it frustrated me that other than Jess, there were no real sympathetic characters - not even Alex, whom I'd expected to be supposed to like.

It started out strong, the middle fell a bit flat, and then it ended on a strong - albeit unexpected - note as well. I don't think it's a book I'm likely to reread, but that's mostly because the surprises along the way is what makes this book so fascinating the first time around.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The Girl with All the Gifts
Author: M.R. Carey
Genre: Dystopian, Suspense
Rating: 4.5/5
# pages: 435 pages
Date read: March, 2016

Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her "our little genius."

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite, but they don't laugh.

Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children's cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she'll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn't know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.


DEFINITELY not your average zombie novel... And I think I need to revisit my attitude of "not liking zombie novels". Between this, "Feed" and "The Forest of Hands and Teeth" I'm constantly being proven wrong.

But like I said - this is definitely not your run-of-the-mill zombies. Melanie is a fully cognisant human being, with the capacity to focus on other things than her hunger. She feels love, fear, empathy, is insanely intelligent and makes connections to other people. And it is those connections (not to mention, the way other people respond to her) that makes this such a fascinating book. I couldn't put it down.

I'm glad "The Girl with All the Gifts" turned out to be a stand-alone novel. 20 pages before the end, I wondered how on earth they were going to wrap everything up in time, but M. Carey took a completely different track than I had expected, making for an unusual, but totally satisfactory ending.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Undaunted
Author: Christine Caine
Genre: Christian non-fiction
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: 203
Date read: February, 2016

Using her own dramatic life story, Caine shows how God rescued her from a life where she was unnamed, unwanted, and unqualified. She tells how she overcame abuse, abandonment, fears, and other challenges to go on a mission of adventure, fueled by faith and filled with love and courage. Her personal stories inspire readers to hear their name called, just as Christine heard her own—“You are beloved. You are the hope. You are chosen”—to go into a dark and troubled world, knowing each of us possess all it takes to bring hope, create change, and live completely for Christ.


Christine Caine is an incredibly talented, passionate and inspiring speaker, and unlike in some of her earlier books, this comes across very strongly in her writing as well. Part of that might be that this book is a mix of a memoir and an inspirational book, and it's therefore easier to see how somebody might apply the lessons Christine tries to teaches in their everyday life, because she is very open about how she applied them. It all still boils down to how to actually hear what God has to say to you. Until you know how to listen, it doesn't matter how 'undaunted' you are with regards to following his plans for you.

I don't know if I'd say the book has taught me anything I didn't already know, but it certainly gave me a new appreciation and respect for Ms. Caine.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Overcoming Stress
Author: Tim Cantopher
Genre: Non-fiction
Rating: 2.5/5
# pages: 128
Date read: February 2016

Stress can lead to extensive psychological and physical suffering, but there are choices you can make that will reduce your stress and improve your ability to cope. This book offers not just the facts but a message of hope. "Overcoming Stress" looks not only at the causes of stress but also at the manifestations and psychological conditions, such as physical illness, anxiety, panic disorder, OCD, phobic states, and depression. It offers information on both acute treatments and longer term management in avoiding stress and its ill effects. "Stress will always be with us, and we will continue to suffer--unless we choose to change," says Dr. Cantopher. "The good news is that this is possible--stress-related illness is avoidable, and if you change, you will attain happiness."


I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley. I requested it because I've suffered from stress myself, and as it is an affliction some people never recover from 100%, I wanted to see if Tim Cantopher offered any useful hints on how to prevent it.

Unfortunately I found the book lacking. He made some good points along the way, but as a whole, I didn't really find anything I could use, and his main premise (stress doesn't make you ill, you make yourself ill) - while true - could be damaging to some people suffering from stress. Stress is already a "mind over matter" issue to many people, and this is just another voice telling them that they're doing this to themselves so (reading between the lines) they should be able to get over it. I understand the very valid point Tim is getting at (lazy people seldom get stressed, as they care less about expectations), but thought the wording in that section problematic as this wasn't made sufficiently clear.

His admonition to STOP is spot on though - there's no way to get better while still being on the treadmill. Slowing down might be sufficient for some, but the vast majority need to get off completely.

So take a flip through it, there may be aspects of it you can use. But I'd take everything with a huge grain of salt, and as many people suffering from stress have no salt left to take things with, I might suggest giving this one a miss.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Xenocide (Ender's Saga #3)
Author: Orson Scott Card
Genre: Sci-Fi
Rating: 2/5
# pages: 562
Date read: May, 2013

The war for survival of the planet Lusitania will be fought in the hearts of a child named Gloriously Bright.

On Lusitania, Ender found a world where humans and pequininos and the Hive Queen could all live together; where three very different intelligent species could find common ground at last. Or so he thought.

Lusitania also harbors the descolada, a virus that kills all humans it infects, but which the pequininos require in order to become adults. The Starways Congress so fears the effects of the descolada, should it escape from Lusitania, that they have ordered the destruction of the entire planet, and all who live there. The Fleet is on its way, and a second xenocide seems inevitable.

Unfortunately a huge disappointment, and so this will be my last attempt to give the Ender Saga another chance. It read more like a philosophy essay than like a sci-fi novel, and while it did manage to get me interested at last, it wasn't until page 300-something... which is just too late.

There were just too many unsympathetic people. I liked Qing-jao at first, but she grew increasingly unlike-able as the book went along, and Quara, Grego and Novinha just got on my nerves something fierce.

So two stars because it did keep me entertained at times, but not enough for me to bother with more books in the series. I did like "Ender's Shadow" well enough that I might try more of the companion novels though.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Ender's Shadow (Shadow #1)
Author: Orson Scott Card
Genre: Sci-fi
Rating: 4.5/5
# pages: 469
Date read: March, 2013

Growing up is never easy. But try living on the mean streets as a child begging for food and fighting like a dog with ruthless gangs of starving kids who wouldn't hesitate to pound your skull into pulp for a scrap of apple. If Bean has learned anything on the streets, it's how to survive. And not with fists. He is way too small for that. But with brains.

Bean is a genius with a magician's ability to zero in on his enemy and exploit his weakness.

What better quality for a future general to lead the Earth in a final climactic battle against a hostile alien race, known as Buggers. At Battleschool Bean meets and befriends another future commander - Ender Wiggins - perhaps his only true rival.

Only one problem: for Bean and Ender, the future is now.

While Ender's Game is one of my all-time favourite books, I never really got hooked by the later books in the Ender saga. Still, I wanted to read more about Ender Wiggins, so finally decided to give this one a chance - the events of Ender's Game as told by Bean - the smallest kid in the Dragon Army.

I'm glad I did. Sure, it's still not exactly as good as Ender's Game, but it's a lot better than Speaker for the Dead (book 2 of the Ender saga), and I loved revisiting the events of EG from a different perspective. Bean isn't quite as lovable as he appeared in EG, but Card made it work, and Bean definitely had my sympathies, even if he didn't prompt the same level of devotion as Ender did. Oh, and the ending brought tears to my eyes :) Very fitting :)

So now I once again want to read more about this universe and am contemplating whether I should continue with Bean and the Shadow series, or return to "Xenocide" and the Ender saga.
goodreads: (Default)
Title: Pathfinder
Author: Orson Scott Card
Genre: Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Rating: 4.5/5
# pages: 662
Date read: April, 2012

Rigg is well trained at keeping secrets. Only his father knows the truth about Rigg's strange talent for seeing the paths of people's pasts. But when his father dies, Rigg is stunned to learn just how many secrets Father had kept from him--secrets about Rigg's own past, his identity, and his destiny. And when Rigg discovers that he has the power not only to see the past, but also to change it, his future suddenly becomes anything but certain.

Rigg's birthright sets him on a path that leaves him caught between two factions, one that wants him crowned and one that wants him dead. He will be forced to question everything he thinks he knows, choose who to trust, and push the limits of his talent... or forfeit control of his destiny.

I finished this yesterday and really, really enjoyed it. Not that I expected anything less, as I've loved everything I've read by Orson Scott Card so far :) It's a fun mix between Science Fiction and Fantasy, and I think the mix really works. I'd guessed some of the twists ahead of time, but not all.

Rigg was definitely my favourite character, Umbo did annoy me occasionally with his insecurity and jealousy - I still think his is the cooler of the powers, but I liked Rigg's ability to become whoever he needed to be. I often laughed out loud at people's reactions to him.

"Pathfinder" is the first book in a series, but the ending clearly leads the way to the second book, it's still nicely rounded off, so I'm not left with a frustrating feeling that the story hasn't ended yet. No annoying cliff-hangers ;)
goodreads: (Default)
Title: I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You
Author: Ally Carter
Genre: YA
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: 284 pages
Date read: April, 2012

Cammie Morgan is a student at the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women, a fairly typical all-girls school-that is, if every school taught advanced martial arts in PE and the latest in chemical warfare in science, and students received extra credit for breaking CIA codes in computer class. The Gallagher Academy might claim to be a school for geniuses but it's really a school for spies. Even though Cammie is fluent in fourteen languages and capable of killing a man in seven different ways, she has no idea what to do when she meets an ordinary boy who thinks she's an ordinary girl. Sure, she can tap his phone, hack into his computer, or track him through town with the skill of a real "pavement artist"-but can she maneuver a relationship with someone who can never know the truth about her?

Cammie Morgan may be an elite spy-in-training, but in her sophomore year, she's on her most dangerous mission-falling in love.

Pretty good YA which turned out not to be quite as predictable as I had first feared. It didn't have much content of any substance though. I would have loved to read more about the classes and life at school rather than just life around school. Unusual schooling (like e.g. Hogwarts) always fascinates me, and there was FAR too little of that here.

Still, it was enjoyable enough and a quick read, so I wouldn't be totally adverse to reading more of the series.
goodreads: (Default)
Title: The Christmas Dog
Author: Melody Carlson
Genre: Christian fiction
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 176
Date read: December, 2011

Betty Kowalski isn't looking forward to the holidays. She just can't seem to find Christmas in her heart. There's church, of course. But who can she bake for these days? And who would care whether or not she pulled out the Christmas decorations? Her new neighbor just adds to the problem. He's doing home improvements that don't appear to be improving much of anything. These days when Betty looks out the window, she sees a beat-up truck, a pile of junk, lots of blue tarps, and--horror of horrors--an old pink toilet. But when a mangy dog appears at her doorstep, the stage is set for Betty to learn a very important lesson about what Christmas is all about.

On the saccharine side, but I guess that's pretty par for the course for Christmas books. I liked it well enough, even if I did occasionally want to shake Betty for her bad decisions and interesting assumptions.

A quick read, but more of a feel-good story than an actual Christmas story.
goodreads: (Default)
Title: Can I Have and Do it All, Please?
Author: Christine Caine
Genre: Christian non-fiction
Rating: 2.5/5
# pages: 153
Date read: October, 2011

More than ever before, women are navigating through increasing amounts of responsibility, activity, scheduling and multi-tasking...and we need some answers about how to have and do it all in life!

An okay book, but a bit of a disappointment as it once again reminded me that an incredibly passionate and inspiring preacher does not always make for an incredibly passionate and inspiring author, and at times it fell a bit flat. I'm afraid it's one of those books that in two days' time, I couldn't tell you which points she made.
goodreads: (Default)
Title: Heist Society
Author: Ally Carter
Genre: YA
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: 304
Date read: October 2011

When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her to the Louvre...to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to Austria...to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own--scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind.

Unfortunately, leaving "the life" for a normal life proves harder than she'd expected. Soon, Kat's friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring her back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has good reason: a powerful mobster's art collection has been stolen, and he wants it returned. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat's father isn't just on the suspect list, he is the list.

Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat's dad needs her help. For Kat there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it's a spectacularly impossible job? She's got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in her family's (very crooked) history--and, with any luck, steal her life back along the way.

Fun, unassuming read. Nothing to blow you away, but an enjoyable book to bring on a vacation and a quick read. Obviously completely unrealistic, but I still enjoyed reading about the tactics and details of setting up a heist. Reminded me somewhat of If Tomorrow Comes by Sidney Sheldon in that regard.
goodreads: (Default)
Title: Tempted
Author: P.C. & Kristin Cast
Genre: Paranormal, YA
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 336
Date read: April, 2011

Zoey needs a break after some serious excitement. Sadly, the House of Night school for vampyres doesn't feature breaks on its curriculum - even for a High Priestess in training and her gang. Plus juggling three guys is no stress reliever, especially when one is a sexy Warrior so into protecting Zoey that he's sensing her emotions. Wider stresses lurk too, and the dark force in Tulsa's tunnels is spreading. Could Stevie Rae be responsible for more than a group of misfit fledglings? And Aphrodite's visions warn Zoey to stay away from the immortal Kalona and his dark allure - but they also show that only Zoey can stop him. She's not exactly keen to meet up, but if Zoey doesn't go to Kalona he'll exact a fiery vengeance on those closest to her. She just has to find the courage to do what's necessary, or everything that's important to her will be destroyed.

YES! Finally Zoey got at least some of her love life sorted out! The remaining actors don't annoy me as much, as it sort of makes sense to the story, but I'm still concerned that the two Casts will turn right back and disappoint me again in this regard. Only time will show.

I rather enjoyed this book actually. Objectively speaking I can see that the House of Night series is rubbish, but they make for an entertaining read nonetheless. Too little time was spent at the House of Night in this one for my liking though, and I'm really curious to know where the Casts will take it from here, now that they decided to end it as they did. I felt somewhat tricked, but they may still redeem it. I loved the idea of shadowravens not necessarily being evil, but just having made the wrong choice.
goodreads: (Default)
Title: Altar of Bones
Author: Philip Carter
Genre: Suspense
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 488
Date read: March 2011

"They didn't have to kill him... He never drank from the altar of bones."

Cryptic dying words from a murdered homeless woman in present day San Francisco unlock a decades-buried secret that changed history. Now a pair of ruthless assassins are sent to cut the few living "loose ends." And a young, resourceful woman on the run encounters a determined man with his own connected past and vengeful agenda. Forced to partner for survival and answers, a fast-paced and deadly game of cat and mouse ensues, taking them across the globe from the winding streets of Paris to the faded palaces of Budapest to the frozen lakes of Mongolia...where destiny, passion, and further betrayal await them.

A thriller with a fascinating plot that unfortunately fell just short of the 5th star. I was intrigued while reading it, and while reading it, I considered it a true page-turner, yet when I put it down for some reason, it was just as easy to pick up another book as it was to return to this one - I wasn't dying to know what happened next, unless I was actually in the middle of reading it.

The riddles surrounding the Altar of Bones and its Keepers were fascinating, but unfortunately the end was rather disappointing - there was this huge build-up and then it just fizzled. The last few pages of the book changed the atmosphere completely.
goodreads: (Default)
Title: Hunted
Author: PC & Kristin Cast
Genre: Paranormal
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 332
Date read: December, 2010

The good news: Zoey's friends have her back again and Stevie Rae and the red fledglings aren't Neferet's secrets any longer. The bad news: Ancient evil with the face of an angel has been let loose - that and various other nasties (whose faces aren't so angelic). Grandma Redbird is in trouble. Heath is in trouble. The House of Night is in trouble. Okay, let's face it - Zoeyss whole world is in trouble! But when the trouble comes from a being who appears to be beauty personified, will the world believe it? Especially when only a teenager and a group of misfits are the only ones who really understand the danger he brings.

Alas, after a brief respite, P.C. and Kristin Cast return to their habit of sending multiple love interests Zoey's way. Come on, guys. It's getting old, and it wasn't even attractive in the first place! Why all paranormal books these days have to have a love triangle (or a love square in this case) I'll never understand.

But thankfully, it is a lot better handled in this book than in book 3, so I still have hope that they will redeem themselves in later books. Zoey's internal dilemma here is actually believable and for the one person where it isn't, the authors are already dropping hints that Zoey may call it off. Yes! Please do! Bah!

Apart from that one annoyance, I was very intrigued in the story and easily got caught up in the fast pace of the plot. I really hope we get to read a lot more about Stark and the few remaining 'sane' teachers in the next book, and am very interested to see how the fall-out from this book's ending will be handled.
goodreads: (Default)
Title: Untamed
Author: PC & Kristin Cast
Genre: Paranormal
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: 306
Date read: December, 2010

Life sucks when your friends are pissed at you. Just ask Zoey Redbird – she’s become an expert on suckiness. In one week she has gone from having three boyfriends to having none, and from having a close group of friends who trusted and supported her, to being an outcast. Speaking of friends, the only two Zoey has left are undead and unMarked. And Neferet has declared war on humans, which Zoey knows in her heart is wrong. But will anyone listen to her? Zoey's adventures at vampyre finishing school take a wild and dangerous turn as loyalties are tested, shocking true intentions come to light, and an ancient evil is awakened.

After a very disappointing book 3 I was happy to see P.C. and Kristin Cast back on track in this one. Just sad that it had to happen by Zoey losing all three of her boyfriends in one bad move, but if she can't get her act together and make up her mind herself, I guess circumstances have to do it for her. And I was thrilled to see her no longer trying to tackle everything herself, but actually listening to her friends and to Nyx once in awhile. She is a lot less Mary Sue'ish in this book and accordingly a lot more likeable.

Aphrodite is still my favourite character, but I have to say that the friendly nuns run a very close second. And I'm incredibly relieved to see that the Casts no longer lump all religious people together with the narrow-minded, but actually cut some of them some slack.
goodreads: (Default)
Title: Tulips, Chips and Mayonnaise
Author: Dawn Cairns
Genre: Chick-lit
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: 453
Date read: November 2010

Sorrel and best friend Chloe's lives revolve around clubbing, pulling guys and laughing at other people's engagements.
Now Chloe has gone all dreamy about her imminent wedding leaving Sorrel feeling a little desperate about her single status.

Life couldn't get much worse, could it?

High on self-pity and low on self-esteem, Sorrel throws herself into a new career, another new diet amd late-night heart-to-hearts with her beloved terrier, Hector.

However, a phone call from the unquestionably gorgeous Jake has Sorrel thinking wedding proposal, but if their first date is anything to go by, her luck is not about to change.

And what she dosen't need is a weird ex-boyfriend who's starting to act like a stalker. Accidents start to happen and the consequences for Sorrel are looking dangerous.

This is one of those books that I'll get a craving to read every couple of years. It's not high literature - a bit similar to "Bridget Jones' Diary" in style, only better - but it's fun and good entertainment.

The stalker aspect is definitely the most interesting part of the book, and one that I which had been explored a bit more thoroughly - we were left completely in the black regarding motivations etc. I would have liked a bit more of an explanation to the whole situation - it didn't seem properly closed off.
goodreads: (Default)
Title: Chosen (House of Night #3)
Author: PC and Kristin Cast
Genre: Paranormal, YA
Rating: 2.5/5
# pages: 249
Date read: April, 2010

Zoey's mettle is tested like never before. Her best friend, Stevie Rae, is undead and struggling to maintain a grip on her humanity. Zoey doesn't have a clue how to help her, but she does know that anything she and Stevie Rae discover must be kept secret from everyone else at the House of Night, where trust has become a rare commodity.

Speaking of rare: Zoey finds herself in the very unexpected position of having three boyfriends. Mix in more than a little forbidden desire to the equation and the situation has the potential to spell social disaster of massive proportions. Then, vampyres start turning up dead. Really dead. It looks like the People of Faith, and Zoey's horrid step-loser in particular, are tired of living side-by-side with vampyres. But, as Zoey and her friends find out, things are not always what they seem...

Gah, the further I get into this series, the more I just want to take Zoey and shake some sense into her! Her actions and dishonestly really bothered me while reading this book. I was fascinated by the plot and wanted to see what happened next, but at the same time I was disgusted by Zoey's behaviour. She's one of the most unlikeable Mary Sues I've ever encountered.

Also, I'm getting less and less fond of Zoey's original friends, and am starting to like Aphrodite more and more. Didn't think that would happen after her actions in the first books!

Hopefully the next book will be less focused on Zoey's boy-issues and we'll actually get some proper action. I'm too drawn in by the over-all arc to abandon it now, but I am getting tired of Zoey's sex-craze.
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Title: Last of the Wilds
Author: Trudi Canavan
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 576
Date read: November, 2009

After pitched battle, The White - the avatars of the Five Gods - have briefly turned back the vicious invaders. And now, the priestess Auraya is sent on an urgent mission to reconcile with the powerful, outcast Dreamweavers, for their magical healing abilities may be the key to saving the land.

But as a deadly plague devastates their allies and old adversaries resurface, a dreadful surprise may ruin the chance for peace. For Auraya's terrible discovery will force her into a desperate choice - one whose consequences will change the world forever.

I'm in the rare situation, that I actually prefer this book to the first book in the series. The characters are more fleshed out here, and the plot more interesting too. Guess great wars aren't all that fascinating to me, whereas character development is.

And there's a lot of character development. Mostly Auraya's obviously, but Leiard and Imi too are showing great potential. I enjoyed following Imi's growing friendship with Reivan, and am interested in seeing where that will take the Elais.

Parts of the story are extremely predictable, and were obvious pages ahead of time, but some of the major issues I'm still wondering how Trudi Canavan will manage to sort out - and I greatly admire an author who can keep me guessing.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Graceling
Author: Kristin Cashore
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 471
Date read: July 2009, March 2017

Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight; she's a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king's thug.

She never expects to fall in love with beautiful Prince Po. She never expects to learn the truth behind her Grace--or the terrible secret that lies hidden far away... a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.


Rather weird to reread a book where you remember nothing from the first read. And I do mean nothing - it wasn't even just that I couldn't remember ahead of time, but recognized plot points as we got to them - I was totally blank.

Fortunately it was just as good a "first read" the second time around. I enjoyed getting to know Katsa and Po and see how their friendship grew and blossomed into something more. I liked their interactions with Bitterblue, and how Katsa was forced to learn to see herself not just as the monster she always thought she were, but as the capable survivor she turned out to be.

Unfortunately it looks as thought the sequels are more "companion novels" than actual sequels, and as I'm more interested in reading more about Katsa and Po than about the Graceling Realm as a whole, I might give those a miss.
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Title: Betrayed (House of Night, book 2)
Author: P.C. and Kristin Cast
Genre: Paranormal
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 305
Date read: May, 2009

Fledgling vampyre Zoey Redbird has managed to settle in at the House of Night. She's come to terms with the vast powers the vampyre goddess, Nyx, has given her, and is getting a handle on being the new Leader of the Dark Daughters. Best of all, Zoey finally feels like she belongs--like she really fits in. She actually has a boyfriend--or two.

Then the unthinkable happens: Human teenagers are being killed, and all the evidence points to the House of Night. While danger stalks the humans from Zoey's old life, she begins to realize that the very powers that make her so unique might also threaten those she loves. Then, when she needs her new friends the most, death strikes the House of Night, and Zoey must find the courage to face a betrayal that could break her heart, her soul, and jeopardize the very fabric of her world.

I mostly enjoyed "Betrayed". It was mostly a fun and well-written book that I liked a lot and had difficulties putting down until the last page was turned.

Mostly.

Because I occasionally had to stop and just shake my head in bafflement, because Zoey is such a Mary Sue! I don't usually notice Mary Sues, but with Zoey it's so blatantly obvious that even I would have had to be blind not to notice it. If she had any more guys pursuing her, they'd have to stand in line and take a number, and of course she can do anything she sets out to do, because the goddess Nyx is with her.

But that aside I did really enjoy the book. I liked reading about Zoey's growing friendships with the other students of the House of Night, and was fascinated by the complexity of Neferet and Aphrodite both. Especially the latter is probably the most complex character in the series so far, and I'm really looking forward to seeing what will come of her in the later books.

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