Monday, 31 December 2012

Wishlist for 2013

This is a list of my highly anticipated books of 2013, books that I plan to read as soon as possible because I need to and they look fantastic! I have plenty from 2012 that I haven't read yet but I'm going to be nice and stick to the rules. Most are from authors I have already read or the continuation of a series, but there are a few that I've heard of from friends that look plain awesome.

Oh and Happy New Year!

From What I Remember by Stacy Kramer and Valeria Thomas - 7th January
KYLIE: MEXICO WHAT? I should be putting the finishing touches on my valedictorian speech. Graduation is TODAY, and is this a wedding band on my finger.

MAX: It all started with Kylie's laptop and a truck full of stolen electronics. Okay, it was kind of hot, the way she broke us out like some chick in an action movie. But now we're stranded in Tijuana. With less than twenty-four hours before graduation. Awesome. 

WILL: Saving Kylie Flores from herself is kind of a full-time occupation. Luckily, I, Will Bixby, was born for the job. And when I found out she was stuck in Mexico with dreamy Max Langston, sure, I agreed to bring their passports across the border -- but there's no reason to rush back home right away. This party is just getting started. 

LILY: I just walked in on my boyfriend, Max Langston, canoodling with Kylie Flores, freak of the century. Still, I can't completely hold it against him. He NEEDS me. It's even clearer now. And I'm not giving him up without a fight.

Dead Romantic by C.J. Skuse - 4th February
Camille wants to find the perfect boy, with an athlete's body and a poet's brain. But when she's mocked at a college party, she knows there isn't a boy alive who'll ever measure up. Enter Zoe, her brilliant but strange best friend, who takes biology homework to a whole new level. She can create Camille's dream boy, Frankenstein-style. But can she make him love her?

Twice Tempted by Jeaniene Frost - 26th March
Dating the Prince of Darkness has its challenges . . .

Leila’s psychic abilities have been failing her, and now she isn’t sure what the future holds. If that weren’t enough, her lover Vlad has been acting distant. Though Leila is a mere mortal, she’s also a modern woman who refuses to accept the cold shoulder treatment forever–especially from the darkly handsome vampire who still won’t admit that he loves her . . .

Like choosing between eternal love and a loveless eternity . . .

Soon circumstances send Leila back to the carnival circuit, where tragedy strikes. And when she finds herself in the crosshairs of a killer who may be closer than she realizes, Leila must decide who to trust– the fiery vampire who arouses her passions like no other or the tortured knight who longs to be more than a friend? With danger stalking her every step of the way, all it takes is one wrong move to damn her for eternity . . .

The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa - 23rd April
Allison Sekemoto has vowed to rescue her creator, Kanin, who is being held hostage and tortured by the psychotic vampire Sarren. The call of blood leads her back to the beginning—New Covington and the Fringe, and a vampire prince who wants her dead yet may become her wary ally.

Even as Allie faces shocking revelations and heartbreak like she’s never known, a new strain of the Red Lung virus that decimated humanity is rising to threaten human and vampire alike.

ACID by Emma Pass - 25th April
A fast and furious thriller featuring the coolest, toughest bad girl since Lisbeth Salander. Meet Jenna Strong.

In Jenna’s world, ACID – the most brutal, controlling police force in history – rule with an iron fist. And it was ACID agents who locked Jenna away for life, for a bloody crime she struggles to remember.

But Jenna’s violent prison has taught her a thing or two about survival. And when a mysterious rebel group breaks her out, she must use her strength, speed and skill to stay one step ahead.

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins - 7th May
Falling in love in the world’s most romantic city is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year at the School of America in Paris, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to deal with the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren't always forever. Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and Étienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.

Fall of Night by Rachel Caine - 7th May
Claire never thought she’d leave Morganville, but when she gets accepted into the graduate program at MIT, she can’t pass up the opportunity. Saying good-bye to her friends is bittersweet, especially since things are still raw and unsettled between Claire and her boyfriend, Shane. 

Her new life at MIT is scary and exciting, but Morganville is never really far from Claire’s mind. Enrolled in a special advanced study program with Professor Irene Anderson, a former Morganville native, Claire is able to work on her machine, which is designed to cancel the mental abilities of vampires. 

But when she begins testing her machine on live subjects, things quickly spiral out of control, and Claire starts to wonder whether leaving Morganville was the last mistake she’ll ever make...

Dead Jealous by Sharon Jones - 4th July
People think of Mother Nature as a gentle lady. They forget that she's also Death...Sixteen-year-old Poppy St John believes in quantum particles, not tarot cards, in Dawkins, not druids. Last summer, in a boating accident in the Lake District, Poppy had a brush with death. But the girl she finds face down in Scariswater hasn't been so lucky. As she fights to discover the truth behind what she believes is murder, Poppy is forced to concede that people and things are not always what they seem and, slipping ever deeper into a web of lies, jealousy and heart-stopping danger, she comes to realise - too late - that the one thing that can save her has been right there, all the time.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

On My Bookshelf, Christmas edition! (11)

OMB is probably my own, a version of IMM.

My bookshelf is now getting very full! I have so many great books to read over the next few months!

Velveteen by Daniel Marks
Velveteen Monroe is dead. At 16, she was kidnapped and murdered by a madman named Bonesaw. But that’s not the problem. The problem is she landed in purgatory. And while it’s not a fiery inferno, it’s certainly no heaven. It’s gray, ashen, and crumbling more and more by the day, and everyone has a job to do. Which doesn’t leave Velveteen much time to do anything about what’s really on her mind. Bonesaw. Velveteen aches to deliver the bloody punishment her killer deserves. And she’s figured out just how to do it. She’ll haunt him for the rest of his days.  It’ll be brutal... and awesome.

But crossing the divide between the living and the dead has devastating consequences. Velveteen’s obsessive haunting cracks the foundations of purgatory and jeopardizes her very soul. A risk she’s willing to take—except fate has just given her reason to stick around: an unreasonably hot and completely off-limits coworker. Velveteen can’t help herself when it comes to breaking rules... or getting revenge. And she just might be angry enough to take everyone down with her.

Present from Sophie which I really wanted and Sophie is fantastic for getting it for me!

The Horologicon: A Day's Jaunt Through the Lost Words of the English Language by Mark Forsyth

The Horologicon (or book of hours) gives you the most extraordinary words in the English language, arranged according to the hour of the day when you really need them.

Do you wake up feeling rough? Then you’re philogrobolized. Pretending to work? That’s fudgelling, which may lead to rizzling if you feel sleepy after lunch, though by dinner time you will have become a sparklingdeipnosophist.

From Mark Forsyth, author of the bestselling The Etymologicon, this is a book of weird words for familiar situations. From ante-jentacular tosnudge by way of quafftide and wamblecropt, at last you can say, with utter accuracy, exactly what you mean.

How brilliant is this? I've already flicked through most of it! Christmas prezzie from my brother.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now. 

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault. 

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

Book number one from Blogger Secret Santa - yay! Really wanted this and I'm going to cry so much aren't I?

Everneath by Brodi Aston
Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she’s returned—to her old life, her family, her friends—before being banished back to the underworld... this time forever. 

She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can’t find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there’s a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he’ll do whatever it takes to bring her back- this time as his queen.

As Nikki’s time grows short and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she’s forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole’s...

Book number two: ooh, have vaguely heard of this and it sounds really good.

Fracture by Megan Miranda
Eleven minutes passed before Delaney Maxwell was pulled from the icy waters of a Maine lake by her best friend Decker Phillips. By then her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. And yet she somehow defied medical precedent to come back seemingly fine. Everyone wants Delaney to be all right, but she knows she's far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can't control or explain, Delaney finds herself drawn to the dying. Is her altered brain now predicting death, or causing it?

Then Delaney meets Troy Varga, who recently emerged from a coma with similar abilities. At first she's reassured to find someone who understands the strangeness of her new existence, but Delaney soon discovers that Troy's motives aren't quite what she thought. Is their gift a miracle, a freak of nature-or something much more frightening?

Book number three: this sounds so cool! Thank you Secret Santa! 

Monday, 24 December 2012

My Top Books of 2012

Another year gone and it's the first one with my blog to record my reading and bore strangers with my opinions on books!

Anyway, apparently it is customary, or at least popular, to look back at all the books I've read in the last 12 months, record the great and the not so great. So here we go, my top however-many books of 2012 (blank because I'm not sure how many there'll be, but probably more than 10).

And of course Merry Christmas <3

The Immortal Rules by Julia Kagawa
One of the best vampire books I've ever read. Plain and simple. Vampires as bad and scary, not romantic and sparkly? Finally! I loved Allie as the heroine, someone who didn't want to be a vampire, who struggled with her lost humanity, mostly by herself. And Zeke was a fantastically gorgeous good guy, helping the small and looking out for his family, even accepting Allie when he probably shouldn't have. Such a detailed and well developed story with a fascinating vampire legend. (Review)

Black Dawn and Bitter Blood by Rachel Caine
Number 12 of Morganville came out in May, 13 last month. As anyone will know, I love this series with all my heart. The town, the characters, the bad guys, everything is incredibly brilliant and I read each new instalment in a weekend, making my hands ache from holding the book up! (Review of Black Dawn and Bitter Blood)

Emma Hearts LA by Keris Stainton
I was introduced to Keris by Sophie, both on twitter and by her lending me her book. I loved it, flew through it and instantly fell for her characters. Simple yet touching, the streets of LA seemed real and dramas gave subtle reference to real themes of divorce and love. Not to mention Oscar, what a guy! (Review)

Blood Read Road and Rebel Heart by Moira Young
Pressured and persuaded by Sophie once again, I ended up loving the book and rushed to get a hold of the second in the summer and get them both signed! Saba, torn apart from her twin brother, is ridiculously strong, even though it took me a while to warm to her due to her lack of showing emotions. Jack, the hero of this tale, was gorgeous and brilliant and I'm running out of adjectives to describe the fantasticness! Their journey through the dustlands was awe-inspiring, an amazing addition to the dystopian genre. (Review of Blood Red Road and Rebel Heart)

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
I'm not normally one for contemporary but I can not resist a romance, and Anna and St. Clair was up there with the greats. Simple acts and seemingly boring past times were rejuvenated with their sparkling and heartbreaking love story. (Review)

Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost
The first in the new spin-off series for Vlad and Leila. I adore Vlad with all my heart and he desperately needed his own story and now he does! A whole series of books to be fantastic and sexy in! Plus, how gorgeous is the model- I mean the cover? So much happened in this book, so many little plot points that developed Vlad and Leila's relationship, the hunt for the bad guy, or both. (Review)

Undead and Unfed by Kirsty McKay
My first zombie book. Low on my list of great paranormal creatures but fantastic in this series. My heart was in my throat through the whole book, literally could not put it down, I had to know that they all lived! Completely gross but still so enthralling, Bobby was an amazing heroine, Smitty was incredible and sweet and such a jackass! And of course Alice and Pete, the last of the unlikely gang of survival. (Review of Undead and Unfed)

Looking for Alaska by John Green
A present at Easter by my boyfriend, my first John Green book, that I read in a few days with tears in my eyes. I am literally unable to put into words how much I loved this and how much it hurt to read. I cried, as I am given to understand is typical of John Green's novels, and I laughed a lot, all the characters were fantastic and so real that I had heartache for days. A touching story that will stay with you. (Review)

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Read early in the year, already knowing it was a favourite of my little brother's and my friends, I was unprepared for the raw emotions, heavy plot and pure awesome that was this created world with an evil Capitol and hidden heroes. Every character had something to bring to the story and most left me breathless or with tears in my eyes. (Review)

Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
My first proper dual-narrative story, I believe, and I was not disappointed. A great way to start the Christmas season, not to mention a really cute love story that was subtle and believable. (Review)

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Publisher: Mira Ink
Published: 5th October 2012
Pages: 260
I've left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you dont, put the book back on the shelf, please. 

Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions? Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have written a love story that will have readers perusing bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own.

A lovely short and sweet book to get you in the mood for Christmas! Lily was bored over Christmas, and her brother decided to find her a nice guy by leaving a moleskin notebook with dares in the bookshop. Dash finds it and general hilarity ensues. Through the notebook, they reveal secret little things about themselves and their family and Christmas that develops them much better than just plain conversing, in my opinion. 

Both protagonists were equally lovable but I instantly had a soft spot for Dash and his love for words. He was quite cynical and liked to be alone while Lily was bouncy and fun; you know what they say about opposites attracting! Plus the fact they fell for each other through writing was just perfect for a book nerd like me! 

I loved their interactions, the split narrative and being able to spot one story line while following the other. The secondary characters were also really cool, weaving in and out of both stories and gently pulling Dash and Lily together. Their relationship grew slowly, which is really sweet in a world way many characters experience insta-love. 

All in all, an adorable story of teenagers trying to find connection and love in New York.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Lost Souls by Poppy Z Brite

Publisher: Penguin
Published: 10th September 1992
Pages: 384
At a club in Missing Mile, N.C., the children of the night gather, dressed in black, looking for acceptance. Among them are Ghost, who sees what others do not. Ann, longing for love, and Jason, whose real name is Nothing, newly awakened to an ancient, deathless truth about his father, and himself.

Others are coming to Missing Mile tonight. Three beautiful, hip vagabonds - Molochai, Twig, and the seductive Zillah (whose eyes are as green as limes) are on their own lost journey; slaking their ancient thirst for blood, looking for supple young flesh.

They find it in Nothing and Ann, leading them on a mad, illicit road trip south to New Orleans. Over miles of dark highway, Ghost pursues, his powers guiding him on a journey to reach his destiny, to save Ann from her new companions, to save Nothing from himself...

Just a quick one today because I'm going to see The Hobbit soon. Ah, real life interruptions!

Lout Souls is another book for university, a modern Gothic module and one I actually looked forward to reading. Vampires and mad teenage Goths? Duh! And while I wasn't disappointed in this respect, I was unprepared for how weird this book really is. Initially a gripping read, it didn't lose its charm but any innocence I once had has vanished!

All the characters are either vampires or just plain screwed up. Take Nothing: a half-vampire child that has been abandoned because he killed his mother from the inside; feeling isolated, he runs away to New Orleans and bumps into three young-forever vampires that party in a black van. He then proceeds to get drunk, do drugs and have some sort of sexual encounter with everyone he comes across, including Zillah. Half way through, they find Christian, one of the only characters I actually liked and was sorry to see go, who makes the connection that Nothing is Zillah's son. And then they continue to have sex. Yeah... Zillah was incredibly weird and unnecessarily cruel. Did not like him.

The other part of the story was Steve, Ghost and Ann. The two boys form a band 'Lost Souls', and Ann is Steve's ex. There is an awful back-story to their relationship that I won't go into but will just say no matter how much of a bitch Ann was, I was still on her side. Ghost was the other character I honestly liked, a strange young man with the ability to see ghosts and hear thoughts. As if this book wasn't odd enough!

Full of random sex with strangers, doing drugs for the hell of it and killing your old friend because your new possessive lover told you to, this is not one for the light hearted. But definitely worth it for the fantastic embodiment of Goth 90's teenagers and the true Gothic horror.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Bitter Blood by Rachel Caine

Publisher: Allison and Busby
Published: 6th November 2012
Pages: 538
Other works that I've reviewed:
Black Dawn (Morganville 12), Working Stiff, Devil's Bargain
For years, the human and vampire residents of Morganville, Texas, have managed to co-exist in peace. But now that the threat to the vampires has been defeated, the human residents are learning that the gravest danger they face is the enemy within…

Thanks to the eradication of the parasitic creatures known as the draug, the vampires of Morganville have been freed of their usual constraints. With the vampires indulging their every whim, the town’s human population is determined to hold on to their lives by taking up arms. But college student Claire Danvers isn’t about to take sides, considering she has ties to both the humans and the vampires.

To make matters worse, a television show comes to Morganville looking for ghosts, just as vampire and human politics collide. Now, Claire and her friends have to figure out how to keep the peace without ending up on the nightly news… or worse.

Even though this is the thirteenth in the series, I cannot be bored or any less in love with these books. And even though I read this with my heart in my throat, sometimes screaming at the stupidity or the adorableness, I can't help but think this is not the same Morganville I fell in love with. For obvious reason.

The aftermath of the draug attack has changed Morganville for the worse, vampires getting cocky and humans getting stronger. Amelie has changed, which is way worse, as she no longer feels any compassion, no remorse and even with threats stuck to Glass House, Amelia couldn't care less.

There are so many things that I could talk about, that were freaking fantastic in this book. Myrnin was brilliantly insane and so sad and so I-wouldn't-call-it-in-love with Claire, and Shane was stronger, Michael scary when in full vampire mode. Oh, and don't get my started on the idiocy of the humans - I've never felt so ashamed for my species.

Throughout the whole book, I was both laughing and tearing up, sometimes just chanting 'no, no, no' and getting weird looks from my boyfriend. He just does not understand the love I have for these characters and I was tripping over my words to explain the crazy that had happened to make me scream at my book but I think that just made me look more insane.

Not for the first time, I finished the book in nearly tears and wondering what the hell Rachel Caine could send them next. Looking forward to Fall of Night with bated breath.

Friday, 7 December 2012

2013 Genre Variety Reading Challenge

Faye, of A Daydreamer's Thoughts, has created her own reading challenge for next year, which I am going to attempt! My first proper reading challenge, I'm really excited I've already planned what I'm going to read!

So the information, courtesy of Faye:
The challenge is to read books from different genres throughout the year. I have found that blogging has opened my eyes to so many genres that I would never have tried before, simply from recommendations, and the idea of this challenge is to keep that going. The challenge is to read a large variety of genres within one year.

Other Important Info;
  • Runs from January 1st 2013 until December 31st 2013. Sign ups will be open until December 1st 2013.
  • There are five levels to challenge yourself too. You may move up a level but not go down a level. These are all outlined below. Please mention in your sign up post which level you will aim for.
  • The genres you choose to read are up to you. As long as every book is different, whichever genre you wish to read you can.
  • Every month there will be a post on this blog to link up to your update post / review(s)
  • There will be a giveaway at the end of the challenge, and maybe a few within the year but these are TBD.
  • To sign up, you will need to write a post saying which level you are challenging yourself too and then use the linky list. Non-Bloggers may post in the comments of this post.
  • Any book formats are accepted.
  • Novellas and Novels are all accepted for this challenge.
  • YA, NA and Adult books all count towards this challenge.
  • New sub-genres are accepted. (for example, paranormal-romance, or historical-romance)
  • Careful; 6 different genres, 6 books
  • Cautious; 12 different genres, 12 books
  • Branching; 18 different genres, 18 books
  • Avid Reader; 24 different genres, 24 books
  • Champion; 30 different genres, 30 books

I was going to be really boring and just start at careful level, but even though I might one or two books short, I'm going to try cautious. Let's see how that works out! And of course, I'll still be at university so depending on whether I can sum up the courage to read American Psycho, I may read more! You can sign up here!
  1. Contemporary 
  2. Historical 
  3. Paranormal
  4. Urban fantasy 
  5. Fantasy 
  6. Romance 
  7. Women’s Fiction
  8. Dystopian
  9. Fairy Tales 
  10. Steampunk
I'm going to post updates separately and periodically starting in the new year. Wish me luck! 

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

BlogINK Blog Tour a.k.a Pick Me, Choose Me, Love Me

Hey guys! So the UK peeps will probably be aware of the MiraINK competition they've been running, to win a year long contract to be their blogger - pretty incredible opportunity, right? Obviously I entered but I didn't get into round two, but my friend Sophie, of So Many Books So Little Time, did!

I'm really proud of her, she's being blogging for over 4 years now and really deserves this chance to blog for an actual publisher! As part of this second round of the competition, she has to run her own media campaign to get her video as far as possible, hence this brilliant idea of a blog tour!

Now, onto what you can do: watch this video. Like it, comment on it, share it. That's all. Of course, if you comment on it - or this post, or any other post in the blog tour - you have a chance to win a book! Don't ask me which one, ask Sophie, it's her giveaway! And, every 100 views on the video, there will be another chance to win! Enough incentive to pass around the book blogger community? I thought so :)

Here is Sophie's simple yet impressive video explaining why she ought to win:

So next up in this blog tour is Viv, go check her out tomorrow and comment on her post for more chances to win! Plus, you know, spreading the word helps Sophie win this contract, but mostly free books! Hehe :)

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Sovay by Celia Rees

Publisher: Bloomsbury
Published: 19th August 2008
Pages: 420
When the rich and beautiful Sovay isn't sitting for portraits, she's donning a man's cloak and robbing travellers in broad daylight. But in a time when political allegiances between France and England are strained, a rogue bandit is not the only thing travellers fear. Spies abound, and rumours of sedition can quickly lead to disappearances. So when Sovay lifts the wallet of one of England's most powerful and dangerous men, it's not just her own identity she must hide, but that of her father. A dazzling historical saga in which the roles of thieves and gentry, good and bad, and men and women are interchanged to riveting effect.

Again, this is a book for my dissertation so I read it trying to focus on the historical context aspects of the novel. But even reading for analytical purposes, Sovay was a great book full of great detail and brilliant descriptions that really bought you back to 1795.

Sovay was a fantastic heroine, if a bit whiny. Stuck in a time when ladies did not do much more than parade themselves around parties and gardens, Sovay becomes a highwayman to be something different and feel useful in this dangerous world of revolution. With so many other characters to interact with, from all sorts of backgrounds, Sovay moves through London and Paris society, learning all the while more secrets about her own family and her government that threaten not just her own but all the aristocracy way of life.

As an avid reader of both young adult and historical fiction I thought I'd whiz through this, but I didn't. I'm not sure whether the incredible detail was the reason or whether there were so many characters I was getting confused. Don't get me wrong, it's still a great book but you do have to persevere quite a bit. A novel of great ambition, sometimes I think it took on a little too much. Bringing in all the historical context and politics was one thing, but adding in Gothic elements, romance and mystery, and you can see why I got a little confused! There were several plot lines that fizzled to nothing and some that appeared out of nowhere - mostly the romantic ones actually. But I was reading it for the history, which did not disappoint.

All in all, a book that has led to some contradicting opinions but I really liked it and bottom line, I read this for my dissertation and it is great for that!

Saturday, 24 November 2012

On My Bookshelf (10)

Bit of a special one today - this is my haul from winning the My Kinda Book Halloween giveaway! So many pretty new books sat on my bookshelf!

Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts
Moments after several huge earthquakes shake every continent on Earth, something strange starts happening to people. Michael can only watch in horror as an incidence of road rage so extreme it ends in two deaths unfolds before his eyes; Clementine finds herself being hunted through the small town she has lived in all her life, by people she has known since childhood; and Mason is attacked with a baseball bat by a random stranger. An inner rage has been released and some people cannot fight it. For those who can, life becomes an ongoing battle to survive - at any cost!

Plus, the sequel Rage Within. Really looking forward to this series.

Fated by Alyson Noel
Strange things are happening to Daire Santos. Crows mock her, glowing people stalk her, time stops without warning, and a beautiful boy with unearthly blue eyes haunts all her dreams. Fearing for her daughter’s sanity, Daire’s mother sends her to live with the grandmother she’s never met. A woman who recognizes the visions for what they truly are—the call to her destiny as a Soul Seeker—one who can navigate the worlds between the living and dead.

There on the dusty plains of Enchantment, New Mexico, Daire sets out to harness her mystical powers. But it’s when she meets Dace, the boy from her dreams, that her whole world is shaken to its core. Now Daire is forced to discover if Dace is the one guy she's meant to be with...or if he’s allied with the enemy she's destined to destroy.

Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini
Helen Hamilton has spent her entire sixteen years trying to hide how different she is--now it's getting harder. She's having nightmares of a desperate desert journey, visions of three women weeping tears of blood. And why is she possessed by the sudden, unstoppable urge to kill the handsome new boy in school, Lucas Delos?

A love written in the stars . . . A feud started in ancient Greece . . . A curse not even the gods can break.

Plus the sequel Dreamless, which I honestly haven't heard of but looks awesome.

Forsaken by Jana Oliver
Seventeen-year-old Riley, the only daughter of legendary Demon Trapper, Paul Blackthorne, has always dreamed of following in her father's footsteps. The good news is, with human society seriously disrupted by economic upheaval and Lucifer increasing the number of demons in all major cities, Atlanta’s local Trappers’ Guild needs all the help they can get—even from a girl. When she’s not keeping up with her homework or trying to manage her growing crush on fellow apprentice, Simon, Riley’s out saving distressed citizens from foul-mouthed little devils – Grade One Hellspawn only, of course, per the strict rules of the Guild. Life’s about as normal as can be for the average demon-trapping teen.

But then a Grade Five Geo-Fiend crashes Riley’s routine assignment at a library, jeopardizing her life and her chosen livelihood. And, as if that wasn’t bad enough, sudden tragedy strikes the Trappers’ Guild, spinning Riley down a more dangerous path than she ever could have imagined. As her whole world crashes down around her, who can Riley trust with her heart—and her life?

As well as the rest of the series, Forbidden, Forgiven and Foretold. Have been trying to get hold of this series for ages! Looks incredible! 

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

The Kindle Debate

So you may or may not have been aware that it was my birthday last month. I don't want to talk about how I'm getting old (21 is not old!) but instead talk about the big present I got from my parents. A kindle.

As the Paperwhite was only released this last week, I got it on Saturday which is why I haven't mentioned it before. I have talked about this on my personal blog, probably a year ago now, and I can remember how opposed I was to them. Replace paperback books? How dare they! But they've been around a while now, and quite a few of my friends have them and I've come round to the idea. Especially now that I've got one!

My parents asked me if I wanted one. Mum thought it would help me stop buying so many books and not having any space for them, which I honestly don't now unless I get rid of my wardrobe. I'm obviously not going to stop buying books because I love them too much but I do like having a kindle, being able to flick through the 12 books I've got on there already and not have to worry about fitting them in my room. Plus I can just delete them if I don't like them!

I'm sure that a lot of you are still as opposed to kindles and e-readers as plenty of us book nerds were when they first came out, but actually they're not all bad. I thought one of the major problems I'd have with them was reading off a computer screen but with adjustable brightness it's not all that bad.

Anyway, what I wanted to say was that even though I found a bunch of new books to read, a couple of classics and some guilty pleasure novellas, I won't be reviewing at often as I would like. Right now, I'm reading My Mad Hatter by Marie Hall on my kindle (having already finished Happily Never After by Jeaniene Frost), plus Sovay by Celia Rees for my dissertation and Sophie's Choice by William Styron for one of my university modules - on American literature if you're interested. Next up is Lost Souls by Poppy Brite for my Gothic module and Beloved by Toni Morrison, again American Lit. Fun stuff, huh?

So anyway that's my news. I got a kindle - that I love - I plan to get a classic book kindle cover, like this one, and I have way too many books to read! How about you? Reading anything interesting? Got a kindle and love it? Or not?

Monday, 19 November 2012

BlogINK entry: Rise of Historical Fiction

Hey guys! So I've been incredibly swamped with uni work, mostly catching up on reading, which I will tell you about another time. But as I'm not sure I'll get a review up this week, I thought you might like to read my entry to Mira's BlogINK competition! Not for everyone, I know, but it is a subject that I really am fascinated with.

Yes, I know, I've already written about this. Sorry, but it is kind of my thing, if you will. Well, that and mythology but let's not go there.

This time, instead of imploring you to give me titles, I wanted to discuss the rise of the genre and what I think it means for young readers. I apologise in advance if I sound rather pompous, this is my dissertation topic and I like to show off when I know something! Who wouldn't?

Now, the genre hasn't technically been rising in popular fiction, or rather it is not the current 'big thing' but it has noticeably been becoming more well-known and acknowledged by literary critics as something worthy. At least when it is done right. Authors I've loved for years are becoming more well-known for their historical knowledge and ability to transport us back to a time previously forgotten or one we should try harder to remember.

History is often used to teach about the present, as any history teacher will tell you. This is also the case in historical fiction. For example, Rose Tremain's Restoration can be called a criticism on Thatcher's policies. But what I want to call attention to is the rise of strong young women in the genre. One that immediately springs to mind is Miss Cat Royal, of Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Written by Julia Golding, this has been my favourite children's series for years, loved by both myself and my mother! This strong little girl, orphaned at the theatre, grows into an incredible young woman, writing her stories, living an amazing life with friends in Grosvenor Square and the Rookeries, France and Jamaica. I cannot tell you how much Cat inspired me as a teenager, bullied as I was, to try harder and be better than this.

I think this is what is important in young adult fiction: role models. Obviously it's not confined to historical fiction, and definitely not to girls. But the fascination that historical fiction has with strong women, not being subjected to the isolation of the household as we have been led to believe, is I think a good one. Hopefully without my inner Feminist coming out, I love that women’s history is beginning to be explored through fiction, to show that girls and women were not confined to the domestic but were strong and loving and, even though not equal to men, tried their damnedest to succeed in whatever they wanted. I have to urge to mention Queen Genevieve, who – at least according to the BBC version – was a servant girl before she became the Queen of Camelot.

I believe that the large selection of great heroes and heroines from the past can influence young readers into doing something good, whether it be change the world like their hero did, or learn from history like the author wants us to.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Devil's Bargain by Rachel Caine

Publisher: Mira
Published: 5th October 2012
Pages: 331
What's the price of a deal with the devil? Playing by the psychic underworld's rules has cost. Jazz Callender's whole life just got turned upside down. Her friend Ben's been convicted of a crime he didn't commit, and Jazz is determined to clear his name, even if it means enlisting the help of dark forces.

Enter James, a stranger with a mysterious offer. If Jazz pledges to work for The Cross Society, a shadowy secret organisation, he'll help her save Ben. But as she's thrust into a world of psychic powers and dangerous magic, Jazz isn't just bargain for her friend's freedom. She's bargaining for her soul too. And how high a price is she willing to pay?

I love Rachel Caine. She has this incredible way with words that suck you into whatever world she is creating and leave you breathless until you've finished.

The whole concept for this book made it difficult to trust anyone. I wasn't initially sure of Lucia, although she turned out to be incredible. And Manny was weird but loveable, in a messed up kind of way. Even the whole situation with Ben made it hard to believe that Jazz was right to think he was innocent. The Cross Society and Max Simms threw me off and really made me look at things differently, just like Jazz was forced to after a... tense flight.

Jazz was just plain awesome. The type of young woman that you immediately rooted for, that could kick ass and handle a gun, that didn't really know her limits but fought for good anyway. And her interactions with James Borden are hilarious and heartfelt, when she begins to trust him anyway. Their scenes together were full of chemistry, I was instantly hoping for a happy ending for them two!

I do want to add that the magical element is a little misleading. Sure, it gets there but I spent the first half of the book wondering when we'd move on from creepy lawyers and start battling demons! Unfortunately this shadowy underworld isn't quite like that but still brilliant and scary and action-packed.

Caine can write for teens and adults alike and any fan of hers will love this one. Full of bad-ass heroines, good looking guys, something to fight for and loads of action, this is one you don't want to miss!

Thank you to Mira for sending me a copy!

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Pure by Andrew Miller

Publisher: Sceptre
Published: 9th June 2011
Pages: 342
Paris, 1785. A year of bones, of grave-dirt, relentless work. Of mummified corpses and chanting priests. A year of rape, suicide, sudden death. Of friendship too. Of desire. Of love... A year unlike any other he has lived.

I've been wanting to read this for months, but I've been putting off until my dissertation topic was confirmed! Yes, I'm writing about this, among other historical fiction novels, for my dissertation.

The stink of Les Innocents cemetery is poisoning Paris, and Jean-Baptiste Baratte has been tasked with removing the bones and demolishing the church. The young engineer is both excited and reluctant to undertake such a task but soon gets into it, planning, gathering men to dig and rid the neighbourhood of the old bones that make their breath smell.

Miller creates a realistic 18th century voice, bringing us back to the jostling streets of Paris, the strong stench of decay and the vicious tongue of gossip. Baratte is a young man, he is susceptible to influence and worries over his reputation and dress. Following Baratte through his progress over a year, you see both him and his project grow, his body feeling more comfortable in the loud city centre and even see him fall for someone a little unexpected. The other characters were just as well-formed, Miller going into detail of them retiring for the night, to add normalcy to the disruption.

Although set in pre-Revolution France, there is little in the way of politics, probably because it had so little influence in what Baratte was doing. Yet I did want some more reference to political atmosphere at that time, but that's probably just the history student in me. I also wanted some more gruesome detail in the cemetery but again, that's just me.

Beautifully portrayed as late 18th century France, the accents and names and streets add that little bit of detail and conviction to the well-researched novel. Highly recommended to fans of the genre and in fact anyone interesting in demolishing a church-yard!

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Breathe by Sarah Crossan

Publisher: Bloomsbury
Published: 11th October 2012
Pages: 384
When oxygen levels plunge in a treeless world, a state lottery decides which lucky few will live inside the Pod. Everyone else will slowly suffocate. Years after the Switch, life inside the Pod has moved on. A poor Auxiliary class cannot afford the oxygen tax which supplies extra air for running, dancing and sports. The rich Premiums, by contrast, are healthy and strong. Anyone who opposes the regime is labelled a terrorist and ejected from the Pod to die. Sixteen-year-old Alina is part of the secret resistance, but when a mission goes wrong she is forced to escape from the Pod. With only two days of oxygen in her tank, she too faces the terrifying prospect of death by suffocation. Her only hope is to find the mythical Grove, a small enclave of trees protected by a hardcore band of rebels. Does it even exist, and if so, what or who are they protecting the trees from?

This world has lost its air, trees have completely died out and life worth living is safely in the Pod. The only thing is, freedom is the ultimate cost to having someone else control your oxygen. Although dystopian novels seem to be all over the place at the moment, this first in the series manages to be fresh and incredibly thought-provoking as good novels should be.

I read this without expecting too much but quickly fell in love with pretty much everything about this book. Alina is fiery and strong-willed, Bea is adorable and sweet on Quinn, and Quinn is a little bit thick but basically a good guy, at least he definitely gets better! The chemistry between them is incredible but not enough that you want someone to end up with someone wrong, just enough to really like their interactions.

With a few primary characters, all with different motivations and stories, Crossan blends them together by using multiple point of view chapters, allowing each character an equal say and also letting the reader see what the others can't. I loved this, as you really get to understand each character and fall for them, especially Quinn and Bea, whose worlds are turned upside down when they find out the truth about their Pod Minister.

Having said that, this book is very plot-driven; the importance is placed on the Resistance, their aim to re-plant the world, let people breathe for themselves. It's a very noble cause, and I'll admit I immediately rooted for the Resistance. But having a story driven by the lack of oxygen makes you suddenly very conscious of your own! Just... be wary of that.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Between The Lines by Jodi Picoult

Publisher: Hodder andStoughton
Published: 5th July 2012
Pages: 384
Delilah is a bit of a loner who prefers spending her time in the school library with her head in a book—one book in particular. Between the Lines may be a fairy tale, but it feels real. Prince Oliver is brave, adventurous, and loving. He really speaks to Delilah.

And then one day Oliver actually speaks to her. Turns out, Oliver is more than a one-dimensional storybook prince. He’s a restless teen who feels trapped by his literary existence and hates that his entire life is predetermined. He’s sure there’s more for him out there in the real world, and Delilah might just be his key to freedom.

Delilah and Oliver work together to attempt to get Oliver out of his book, a challenging task that forces them to examine their perceptions of fate, the world, and their places in it. And as their attraction to each other grows along the way, a romance blossoms that is anything but a fairy tale.

I was hesitant to start this; I thought it might be a bit young for me, just a little too fairy tale-ish that I thought it would annoy me. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that, even though it didn't have much substance to it, it was really cute!

I loved the idea of fictional characters having separate lives when the book is closed - it was actually very well explained in the book as thinking your stuffed animals came alive when you leave the room, much like Toy Story now that I think about it! Another thing was the fantastic illustrations, even though some were a bit weird, but as the book Oliver is stuck in is illustrated, I understood the need. Some were fantastic, little figures hanging off the end of the letter and such, it really supported the whole notion of characters being stuck in a book.

I immediately identified with Delilah - what book nerd hasn't wished to meet their favourite fictional character, or topple head first into a book? She was the typical nerd, only had one true friend that didn't quite understand her predicament, hung out with the school librarian and all that. Little stereotypical, but at least Delilah did come into her own person, mostly with Oliver's perspective of her above the book - little things that you could tell he loved about her, liking biting her lip and pacing while thinking. And Oliver was not your typical hero - said it enough times! He wasn't brave but was very clever and logical; they are reasons for that, which I thought were nicely complicated.

I loved the different perspectives. It wasn't just between Oliver and Delilah, it also had random sections from the book Oliver was stuck in, what the characters would have to act out when the book was opened. It made the real story that more interesting, seeing what Oliver and the rest had to put up with.

The ending - well. I liked it, it was the fairy tale happy ending a book like this needed. On the other hand, it was a bit weird. But original, so I can't judge too harshly.

All in all, a fun little read that reminded me of a time when all I wanted was a friend from my favourite book.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

On My Bookshelf (9)

Based on IMM, a sometimes weekly update on the books I have to read.

Gifted for my birthday:
Adorkable by Sarra Manning
Jeane Smith's a blogger, a dreamer, a jumble sale queen, CEO of her own lifestyle brand, and has half a million followers on Twitter. Michael Lee's a star of school, stage, and playing field. A golden boy in a Jack Wills hoodie. They have nothing in common but a pair of cheating exes. So why can't they stop making out? This novel is about an unlikely relationship, but it's also about roller derby, dogs on skateboards, dogs on surfboards, dogs doing any form of extreme sport, old skool hip hop, riding your bike downhill really fast, riot grrrl, those boys you want to kiss but punch in the face at the same time, dyeing your hair ridiculous colors just because you can, stitch 'n' bitch, the songs that make you dance, the songs that make you cry, being a bad ass, cake, love, death, and everything in between.

Love it, just really want to read this, Sophie cannot stop raving about Sarra Manning!

All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin 
In 2083, chocolate and coffee are illegal, paper is hard to find, water is carefully rationed, and New York City is rife with crime and poverty. And yet, for Anya Balanchine, the sixteen-year-old daughter of the city's most notorious (and dead) crime boss, life is fairly routine. It consists of going to school, taking care of her siblings and her dying grandmother, trying to avoid falling in love with the new assistant D.A.'s son, and avoiding her loser ex-boyfriend. That is until her ex is accidently poisoned by the chocolate her family manufactures and the police think she's to blame. Suddenly, Anya finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight--at school, in the news, and most importantly, within her mafia family.

I'm going to be honest, I asked for this not just because it looks awesome but because the heroine has my name. 

Dodger by Terry Pratchett
A storm. Rain-lashed city streets. A flash of lightning. A scruffy lad sees a girl leap desperately from a horse-drawn carriage, in a vain attempt to escape her captors. Can the lad stand by and let her be caught again? Of course not, because he's... Dodger!

Yay, I love Terry Pratchett! I'm sure my boyfriend will be borrowing this when I've finished!

From Electric Monkey:
Eve and Adam by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate
Sixteen-year-old Evening Spiker lives an affluent life in San Francisco with her mother, Emma Rose, a successful geneticist and owner of Spiker Biotech. Sure, Evening misses her father who died mysteriously, but she’s never really questioned it. Much like how she’s never stopped to think how off it is that she’s never been sick. That is, until she’s struck by a car and is exposed to extensive injuries. Injuries that seem to be healing faster than physically possible.

While recuperating in Spiker Biotech’s lush facilities, she meets Solo Plissken, a very attractive, if off-putting boy her age who spent his life at Spiker Biotech. Like Evening, he’s never questioned anything... until now. Solo drops hints to Evening that something isn’t right, and Emma-Rose may be behind it. Evening puts this out of her mind and begins her summer internship project: To simulate the creation of the perfect boy. With the help of Solo, Evening uncovers secrets so big they could change the world completely.

This looks incredible, thanks Electric Monkey for sending me a copy!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The Immortal Rules by Julia Kagawa

Publisher: MiraInk
Published: 4th May 2012
Pages: 485
"In a future world, vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity."Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten. Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of "them." The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked--and given the ultimate choice. Die...or become one of the monsters.

Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.

I don't even know how to start reviewing this book, it had so much depth and action in it, plus it was incredible!

I guess first off we'll discuss the whole vampire society that Julie has created; it is a very interesting and obviously fresh idea to add to the already diverse vampire legend. The plague that wipes out humans and vampire alike, forcing them to co-exist in heavily controlled cities is a story completely new and completely fascinating. All lose seams pulled together to create a world of vampires and rabids that made it seem possible, which is scary.

I simply loved Allie. She was a truly amazing heroine: strong and brave, willing to do anything, even turn into the thing she hates most, to survive. She was kick-ass, stubborn, a little bit stupid but most importantly, naive to think she could hold on to her humanity, no matter what Kanin said otherwise. I knew something bad would happen to shake her faith but luckily, something also happened to bring it back.

Kanin was the typical bad-ass vampire master which should have felt clichéd but just made it seem more natural: of course we expect vampires to act like cold-hearted demons that cannot form facial expressions! Another thing was the band of humans, Zeke in particular, looking for a safe haven and instead came across a vampire with identity issues. I loved Zeke and his and Allie's love story was one that I rooted for right at the beginning.

Things didn't happen the way I thought they would, for which I am glad. I loved the twists Julie created, the role reversal with Allie saving the guys and falling for a human. Practically everything that I love in a book was included in The Immortal Rules and even its length could not be considered daunting!