Saturday, 31 December 2011

Best Reads of 2011

Check out Jess's blog here.

My 2011 Goodreads Reading Challenge

This is the first year that I set a goodreads reading challenge so I am immensely pleased that I managed to complete it, let alone surpass it!  I chose 85 books because with college and A levels I didn't know how much reading time I would have with studying so I set a number I still thought was quite high and it was touch and there were a few times when I thought I wasn't going to reach my target. for my 2012 challenge...

I hope everyone completed their challenge this year and good luck for next year!!!

Friday, 30 December 2011

Friday Fight Off!

This week battling it out is the UK and US covers of The Night Circus.

UK Cover

US Cover

For a change I actually really like both covers, both are stunning.  But for my the US covers just wins it because I know it's glossy instead of matt and the spine is beautiful black and white stripes that look amazing on the shelf.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Booking Through Thursday

Booking Through Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Booking Through Thursday and a different question is posted every week.

What were your favorite books of 2011?

2011 was a great book year for me. SO many amazing books.  I'm actually planning a youtube collab video 'Reads of 2011' with my fellow blogger and friend Jessica,The Evangeline Lily (I will post that here too so look out for that!) but a few of the great books I read this year are:

  • Divergent by Veronica Roth, my first ever dystopian read and I loved it.
  • Jane by April Lindner, if it's Jane Eyre related I'm all over it.
  • Halo by Alexandra Adornetto, Xavier= seriously swoon worthy.
  • The Duff by Kody Keplinger, hilarious and now my fav contemporary.
  • Deeper Than Midnight by Lara Adrian, Hunter and Corinne's book.
  • Kiss of Snow by Nalini Singh,  Hawk and Sienna's book, enough said :P

And so many more!

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is all about sharing the books that I'm eagerly waiting to be released.

This week the book I am eagerly anticipating the release of is Lothaire by Kresley Cole released 10th January 2012.

I love The Immortal After Dark adult series and Lothaire has been an intriguing character from the start so I am really looking forward to reading his book.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

The Duff by Kody Keplinger

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Poppy (7 Jun 2011)
  • Language English
  • ISBN-10: 0316084247
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316084246
Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face. 

But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.
Cover: I love the vibrant colours of this cover.  A simple cover and yet I can't help but love it.  When I saw Simone Elkeles blurbed it I finally made up my mind to get it.
5/5 stars!  I am not a huge reader of contemporary, predominantly reading paranormal, but there are a few that when I have read them I loved them (Perfect Chemistry & Anna and the French Kiss, for example).  So I had high expectations of The Duff and they were surpassed.
This is now my favourite YA contemporary read and is up there with my all time favourites.  I felt this was such a refreshing read, and I will now read anything Kody Keplinger ever writes.
She has such an honest writing style that is not at all patronising.  It's really a young adult novel BY a young adult which results in a realistic story with a realistic narrative voice, as well as really relatable characters, I felt 'Oh yes I think the same thing' or 'I know someone just like that'.
I think perhaps Keplinger being a young adult herself means she brings her own remarkable insights to it as well as an incredible sense of humour that had me roaring.
Be warned if you don't like a lot of strong language, if this is the case this may not be the book for you.  I didn't mind this aspect as it adds that essence of realism that makes the whole book ring true (not that I'm saying ALL teenagers swear relentlessly).
Keplinger has created a vibrant and refreshing novel)that is not a thinly veiled fairy tale) that young adults will relate to.
This is a book I will be constantly be recommending to everyone.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Christmas Message!

I just wanted to say that I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas (hanukkah, quanza or holiday) and received lots of bookish gifts.

I wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you for all of you that follow my blog, youtube, twitter or goodreads.  It really means a lot...I'm a naturally shy person and so making videos is hard for me BUT I love books so much that I do it anyway, and it's rewarding when I have found so many like minded people and even those that I now call friends (especially Jess).  I've even found some amazing authors this year that I may have otherwise not have, Bella Street (who is seriously awesome and am always telling everyone to read her books), Cheri Schmidt (who combined vampires with a Darcy-esque guy I mean come on! Heaven) and Cindy C. Bennett who gave me the chance to participate in my first ever blog tour!
Of course I have also been in contact with great publishers this year which I didn't think would happen and they are amazing for giving me such great books to review.

I look forward to another great book year in 2012!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Booking Through Thursday

Booking Through Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Booking Through Thursday and a different question is posted every week.

Any books you’re hoping to get for the holidays this year?
How about giving? Are you giving any good ones?

I didn't really know what to ask for this year other than books much to the annoyance of my family :P 
So there are quite a few I have asked for, Wildefire by Karsten Knight, Drink Slay Love by Sarah Beth Durst, The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton and Possess by Gretchen McNeil.
My family will probably give me a giftcard to buy said books but these are what I asked for :)

I am also GIVING books this year.  I have bought two friends books for Christmas but I had better not say what they are here...

Hereafter by Tara Hudson

Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks (7 July 2011)
  • ISBN-10: 0007430507
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007430505
  • Can there truly be love after death?
    Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she's dead. With no recollection of her past life – or her actual death – she's trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.
    Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit is doing everything in his power to destroy their new-found happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world… forever.
  • Cover: A hauntingly beautiful cover that suits the book perfectly.  I would have loved the edition to be the same as the US in that the IS edition is a hardback and shiny which is stunning but the UK paperback, non shiny edition is pretty too.
  • Plot: Amelia drowned.  She can't remember how she ended up in the river but she relives her death.  A lot.  She's stuck between live and death, a ghost, no one notices her.  Until one night Joshua ends up in the river.  Amelia doesn't want him to doe and tries to save him.  He sees her.  Can anything happen between them?  Especially when someone else may have plans for Amelia...
I was very excited for this book, so much so that I bought it on the day that it was released but I only just got around to reading it.  I enjoyed this book but not as much as I thought I would.  I found that it became very repetitive, for example, the interaction between Amelia and Joshua, and these black shadows in some creepy afterworld are mentioned a lot but are not explained which is very frustrating.  This book felt like it's primary focus was to set up for the next books in the series.  It focuses heavily on the romance between Amelia and Joshua.  Which I don't mind since I love to read romance but some will find this annoying with little plot to make it substantial.  
Overall I did enjoy this book, it just had a few little niggly bits that I found frustrating or repetitive but I will definitely be checking out book 2, Arise, next year.
Rating: 3.5/5 stars.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is all about sharing the books that I'm eagerly waiting to be released.

This week I can't wait for the adult title Darker After Midnight by Lara Adrian.  This is one of my favourite paranormal adult series and so I'm excited for its release on the 19th January 2012.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Hourglass by Myra McEntire

  • Hardcover: 390 pages
  • Publisher: Egmontusa (14 Jun 2011)
  • Language English
  • ISBN-10: 1606841440
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606841440
  • One hour to rewrite the past . . .

    For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn’t there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents’ death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She’s tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.

    So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson’s willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may change her past.
    Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he’s around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should have happened?
  • Cover: Serious cover love for this book.  Definitely one of my favourite covers of 2011.  It's so simple- oh it's a girl walking towards a door, what?! Wait a sec! nooo she's actually on a wall walking towards the floor!  Simple but it just looks cool.  Plus it is one of those gorgeous buttery covers that just make me swoon.
  • 5/5 stars! I loved this book.  From the moment that I picked it up I was hooked.  I didn't want to put it down and when I wasn't reading it I was thinking about it.  
  • I really like the protagonists name, Emerson Cole and the love interest Michael was VERY swoon worthy.
  • The overall plot was great and very well paced-I was never bored while reading.  
  • The romance was my favourite aspect of this book.  Emerson and Michael are not allowed to be together as Hourglass rules (an Emerson's protective brother) don't allow it but there is this real connection between them and you really do feel it and definitely root for them to somehow be together.  It's beautifully done.
  • There were definitely some surprises that I didn't see coming!
  • Needless to say I am pining away for book 2, Timepiece, that is released June 2012 but the ending of this book, whilst leaving some things open didn't end on a MAJOR cliffhanger so while I am excited for book 2 the end of book 1 was satisfying enough that I wasn't disappointed and completely on edge.
  • I would definitely recommend this for fans of paranormal YA fiction, it is a great book.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Booking Through Thursday

Booking Through Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Booking Through Thursday and a different question is posted every week.
What’s more important to you? Real, three-dimensional, fleshed-out fascinating characters? Or an amazing, page-turning plot?

(Yes, I know, they are both important. But if you had to pick one as being more important than the other?)
I have to say that this is an evil question lol, it's the booky equivalent to the chicken or the egg.  But having said that if I had to choose I would say that to me, an amazing, page-turning plot is more important to me, because a truly astounding plot can make up for character defects in my opinion.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

 Waiting on Wednesday is all about sharing the books that I'm eagerly waiting to be released.

This week the book I am waiting for is The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa, released here in the UK on the 6th of January 2012.  While the first three are not my all time favs I did love Ash, and as this is in his perspective I can't wait.

My Iron King review
My Iron Daughter review
My Iron Queen review

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

The Z Factor by Bella Street

Received from author

Paperback: 334 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (June 22, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1466255722
ISBN-13: 978-1466255722

The X Factor finds the Apocalypse Babes, along with a few other lost L.A. stragglers, ensconced in a compound that may or may not be run by evil Soviet scientists. Whether it's due to Bolshevik beliefs or a manipulating girlfriend, nightmares are on the loose and they want what's left of Seffy after the zombie attack. To make matters worse, one of the stragglers develops an unwanted attraction for Sef, and insists it's more than just U.S.T. à la Mulder and Scully.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Booking Through Thursday

Booking Through Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Booking Through Thursday and a different question is posted every week.

All things being equal, which would you prefer–a mystery? Or a love story?

I have to say that I'm not a big mystery reader, but all of the books I read need a little romance in there somewhere so out of mystery and or a love story, I would say a good old love story, because when it comes down to it I'm a romantic.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Feast of Fools by Rachel Caine Morganville Vampires #4

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: ALLISON & BUSBY; Reprint edition (23 Feb 2009)
Language English
ISBN-10: 0749079797
ISBN-13: 978-0749079796

In the town of Morganville, vampires and humans live in relative peace. Student Claire Danvers has never been convinced, though —especially with the arrival of Mr. Bishop, an ancient, old-school vampire who cares nothing about harmony. What he wants from the town’'s living and its dead is unthinkably sinister. It's only at a formal ball, attended by vampires and their human dates, that Claire realizes the elaborately evil trap he's set for Morganville.

Cover:  I really like all the new covers for the Morganville Vampires series.  I love the metallic purple on matt black.

Plot:  At the end of Midnight Alley Bishop showed up with some vampire friends claiming to be Amelie's father.  One thing is clear though, he means trouble and he's not like the other various vamps in Morganville.  Suddenly the town has to pander to him or face some serious consequences.  Can claire and her friends survive his visit?

4/5 stars.  I really enjoy this series.  I love the premise of a town run by vampires and the characters in this book are truly great.  The romance between Claire and Shane is my favourite aspect but I always find myself dissatisfied with the amount of interaction between them.  As always her goth friend Eve is a real highlight to read about.
I felt that there was too much build up in this book and that all the action happened in the 70 or so pages with an evil cliffhangers (all of the Morganville Vampire books do but luckily the next book always picks up exactly where the last book left off).
I look forward to more action in the next book Lord of Misrule.

#1 Glass Houses
#2 Dead Girls Dance
#3 Midnight Alley

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is all about sharing the books that I'm eagerly waiting to be released.

This week I can't wait for the release of The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn Part 1: The Official Illustrated Movie Companion by Mark Cotta Vaz on December 13th.  I loved the movie and this should help ease the excruciating wait until the I have the companions for Twilight, New Moon and Eclipse and so need to to match.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Chain Reaction by Simone Elkeles

  • Hardcover: 308 pages
  • Publisher: Overseas Editions New (16 Aug 2011)
  • Language English
  • ISBN-10: 0802720870
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802720870
  • Luis Fuentes has always been sheltered from the gang violence that nearly destroyed his brothers’ lives. But that didn’t stop him from taking risks—whether he’s scaling a mountain in the Rockies or dreaming of a future as an astronaut, Luis can’t stop looking for the next thrill.

    Nikki Cruz lives her life by three rules—boys lie to get their way, don’t trust a boy who says “I love you,” and never date a boy from the south side of Fairfield. Her parents may be from Mexico, but as a doctor’s daughter, she has more in common with her north-side neighbors than the Latino Blood at her school. Then she meets Luis at Alex’s wedding, and suddenly, she’s tempted to break all her rules.

    Getting Nikki to take a chance on a southsider is Luis’s biggest challenge, until he finds himself targeted by Chuy Soto, the new head of the Latino Blood. When Chuy reveals a disturbing secret about Luis’s family, the youngest Fuentes finds himself questioning everything he’s ever believed to be true. Will his feelings for Nikki be enough to stop Luis from entering a dark and violent world and permanently living on the edge?
  • Plot: The first time they met she kneed him in the privates...and yet two years later they can't help but be drawn to each other.  Can Nikki learn to trust a guy again and let herself love Luis?  And can Luis resist the draw of the Latino Blood or risk losing Nikki forever?
  • Cover: Another hot, if a little cheesy,romantic cover (that actually does happen in the book *sigh*), with models that are perfectly suited for the characters of Luis and Nikki so double props for relevant covers!
  • I was so excited for Chain Reaction that I bought it in hardcover despite it not matching my copies of Perfect Chemistry and Rules of Attraction (that's how much I love them).
  • But while I still really enjoyed this book it is not favourite of the three, and I do still give it 5/5 stars but that's because my favourite parts of the story are where we see the characters from the previous two books make an appearance, i.e. Alex and Brittany's wedding and Carlos proposing to Kiara, and I found myself wanting more of those scenes that between the actual protagonists Luis and Nikki.
  • Some aspects really frustrated me.  Nikki's trust issues...yes she was hurt badly in her previous relationship but her constant cynicism (particularly towards her best friend's relationship) became somewhat irritating.  
  • In understood why Alex joined the gang- he was the oldest and it fell to him to protect his family, Carlos fell into that situation, but I found Luis being 'pulled' to it annoying, his being an adrenaline junkie didn't seem like a good enough reason.
  • However there was a twist that I did NOT see coming and I liked it, and it made the book that bit less predictable.  
  • I loved this trilogy, it is what got me back in to reading contemporary YA and I'm kind of sad it's over...
  • The epilogues of each book allow for a possible spin off series with the Fuentes boys children which I think would be great to read.
  • Perfect Chemistry Review
  • Rules of Attraction Review

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (17 Oct 2011)
  • Language English
  • ISBN-10: 0765328658
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765328656

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.
So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.
When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn't expect anything outside of the ordinary: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.
But she, for whatever reason, spares Cas's life.
Cover: A perfect cover.  Suits the book down to the ground.  Just how I imagined the creepy house to look, and Anna on the cover is perfect, even down to the dress dripping blood.  Beautifully eerie.  

Plot:  When Cas's father was murdered by a ghost he tried to kill Cas took over his vocation.  Every ghost he's killed since has been training.  Training to take out the ghost that killed his father.  Anna Dressed In Blood is the test...the penultimate kill, if he can take her on he will be ready for his father's murderer.  However it doesn't go to plan.  He finds a girl cursed...and Anna may be a separate being from the brutal killer that kills anyone that enters her house.  But...she doesn't kill him.

I didn't know what to expect from this book.  I don't know how but I had both high and low expectations from this book (I know right?!).  I am not a horror person.  I don't do horror films or books, I am wimp when it comes to them but can admit it.  But when I heard of Anna Dressed In Blood the synopsis hooked me in, and despite it being YA horror I had this compulsion to know why Anna doesn't kill Cas, and Cassandra Clare blurbed it so extra props there.
Plus it's in a male character perspective which in YA there isn't enough of.
I loved this book.  It has to be a 5/5 star book.  I loved the mystery and creepy factor in this book, and my initial fears of my being scared out of my wits were unfounded and when it actually came for the first kill of the story I actually found myself gripped and on the edge of my seat instead of scared, wanting more (which probably does make me disturbed in some way).
The plot was excellent and some parts I really didn't see coming (i.e. the violent murder Anna commits the first time we see her or her back story came as a shock to me).   
Characters are definitely the best thing about this book.  Cas (and I love Kendare Blake for giving him a truly unique and memorable name which really does stand out, Theseus Cassio Lowood) is a great character and his humour adds some much needed light heartedness to the story.  His unlikely friendship with Thomas is one of my favourite aspects of the book.
The book definitely has an authentic feel to it, the author has done her research into vodoo and wicca and that really comes across.  For example Cas's  mother cleans his knife by placing it in a jar of salt and putting it under the moon for three nights.
For me this book was just amazing.  When I finished it I just though "wow".  I have never read anything like it and it is definitely one of my favourites now.  I loved it enough to consider looking into more horror type books from now on but not too horrific...Anna Dressed In Blood was low enough on the horror scale to be just right for me.
The end was is now an excruciating wait for book 2, Girl of Nightmares which has to be right at the top of my most anticipated releases of 2012.
I would recommend this to any fans of YA paranormal or horror books.  If you want to try horror but haven't or are worried it's not for you, I would start here like I did.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Booking Through Thursday

Booking Through Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Booking Through Thursday and a different question is posted every week.

Do you find that your mood affects the things you read? Like, if you’re in a bad mood, do you tend to indulge in reading that will support it or do you try to read things that will cheer you up? Do you pick different types of books on dreary, rainy days than you do on bright sunny ones?
For that matter, does your mood color what you’re reading, so that a funny book isn’t so funny or a serious one not so deep?

I really don't do this...I read books totally at random.  Sometimes I feel like a want to read a certain book but it doesn't have anything to do with my mood.