Sunday 31 August 2014

Weekly Highlights: the 'September TBR' edition

Weekly Highlights is a feature borrowed from Faye of A Daydreamer's Thoughts, where I get to highlight my posts of the week, show you my new books and talk about bookish things! 

Man, is it seriously September already? I say this every month but where has the time gone? Anyway, news! Some of you might already know this if you follow me on twitter but I got a new job (at last!) in Waterstones. I started yesterday and although it involves a lot of standing around, I really like it! 

On The Blog
Review of Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas (4 stars)
Review of Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (5 stars)
Review of Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins (5 stars)

Currently Reading
The Whispering Skull by Jonathon Stroud - ah, it is so good! Spooky and a little gross but very funny.

On My Bookshelf
Zac and Mia by AJ Betts

The last person Zac expects in the room next door is a girl like Mia, angry and feisty with questionable taste in music. In the real world, he wouldn’t—couldn’t—be friends with her. In hospital different rules apply, and what begins as a knock on the wall leads to a note—then a friendship neither of them sees coming.

You need courage to be in hospital; different courage to be back in the real world. In one of these worlds Zac needs Mia. And in the other Mia needs Zac. Or maybe they both need each other, always.

Likened to TFioS, I'm probably going to cry but it sounds adorable. Thank you Text Publishing!

September TBR
I have one September release and an early October release that I need to read: Zac and Mia, and Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz. And in terms of my TBR jar, I haven't picked any but I want to read We Were Liars by E Lockhart and Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly, and I need to get my hands on the rest of the Infernal Devices series. So that's my month, how about you? Got any new releases that you need to read right away? Or anything from the back list?

Friday 29 August 2014

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E Smith

Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Imagine if she hadn’t forgotten the book. Or if there hadn’t been traffic on the expressway. Or if she hadn’t fumbled the coins for the toll. What if she’d run just that little bit faster and caught the flight she was supposed to be on. Would it have been something else - the weather over the Atlantic or a fault with the plane?

Hadley isn’t sure if she believes in destiny or fate but, on what is potentially the worst day of each of their lives, it’s the quirks of timing and chance events that mean Hadley meets Oliver...

Set over a 24-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you’re least expecting it.

Even though she may not believe in it, fate is the game changer and Hadley knows this as she contemplates how little things might have meant she never met Oliver. All the little changes in her morning that meant she would have caught her plane and wouldn't have bumped into Oliver in the waiting room. As it happens, Hadley misses her flight by only a few minutes and has to wait for the next plane in a few hours. During that waiting time and then on the plane, she gets to know Oliver, a young man on his way home to London. They share stories, hopes and fears, and little secrets about themselves that you can only share with a stranger. But during the long flight, they grow close and when they land, they are reluctantly pulled apart. 

We learned a lot about Hadley and Oliver and their families in just 24 hours. Hadley was friendly but a little bit cynical, naive and very easy to relate to and Oliver was the perfect gentleman and a sweet-talking romantic; both were easy to like and I rooted for them almost right away. But it was more than just a love story, its about acceptance and overcoming trust issues, especially in Hadley's case. She got to know her father again and the new woman in his life, and Oliver finally accepted the truth about his parents, how matter how much it hurt. 

Despite being quite short, it was an adorable little love story that held promise for a happily ever after for both of them as well as accepting themselves and the reality around them. It was sweet and funny and sometimes quite sad, but I loved it all. 

Published 24th May 2012 by Headline.

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.

Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and √Čtienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.

I waited with baited breath to finally be able to read the finale of this companion trilogy and oh my god it was amazing! I fell back into the world of adorable characters with tough home lives, the blend of languages and cultures in Paris and New York, and the incredibly moving love stories. 

Even though I'm sure most of you have already devoured this by now, the book tells of Isla in her senior year of SOAP and finally getting the attention of her crush Josh. We've met both of them before, Josh being St Clair's best friend and Isla being the shy girl in some of Anna's classes. It was really nice to come back full circle to SOAP and their love story and I instantly cheered on Isla and Josh's relationship. It was slightly different to Anna and Lola in that they got together quite soon but had more struggles during their blossoming love. I actually really liked it this way, as it showed the development of their relationship and them both as independent people. It was less a fairy tale ending and more of a grown-up look at the high and lows of a relationship. 

Isla and Josh complimented each other, much like Anna and St Clair and Lola and Cricket; they were both dreamers but Josh was incredibly talented with his art and Isla reads of adventures rather them going on them herself. But as they got to know each other, they both came out of their shells and did the things that scared them, whether it be breaking some school rules or standing up to the parents. They had their struggles, as mentioned, and they had to tackle them by themselves. One thing I really loved about this was that even though it broke my heart, I completely understood Isla's need to take a step back and deal with her issues first.

Of course there has to be a happy ending and the final showdown, as it were, takes place back in Paris with all the old favourites and a somewhat unexpected surprise that had me crying with joy! I skipped through the last few chapters with my heart bursting, just so unbelievably happy that everything came together as it should. Perkins has written another winner and although I'm sad to see the end of these stories, I will continue to love them with all my heart.

Published 14th August 2014 by Dutton. 

Monday 25 August 2014

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. Whats more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by and torn between two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length . . . everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world. . . . and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.

I'm sure by now every single one of you has read this, so I'm not sure what else I can add! Therefore, I'm going to just narrow it down to a few bullet points, my main impressions, so you all don't get bored with yet another big name book review.
  • Had high praise and promises that I would love it. Luckily, and obviously, I did! Everything from the incredible prose style to the historical elements, I ate it all up and wanted more.
  • Tessa was quite adorable but nicely... spunky, I guess is the word. Despite tight Victorian ideals, she spoke her mind and I loved that about her. 
  • Never really knew what to make of Will. He was awesome, don't get me wrong, but very defensive and we never saw that mask of humour he uses taken off. 
  • And finally Jem was sweet and his heartbreaking back story just made me want to hug him. Between the two boys, I couldn't decide which one I liked more; they complimented and balanced each other out so I don't think you could separate them. And nor should you, as you soon realised they were something of a package deal.
  • The story of the Institute and the Dark Sisters, the vampires and automatons, it should have been too complicated but somehow it wove together so well. There were shocking twists and turns, good guys who were bad and vice versa, plus some sexy romantic scenes that left my heart aching. 
  • Final thoughts? Bring on Clockwork Prince!

Published 4th October 2011 by Margaret K McElderry Books.

Friday 22 August 2014

Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas

Three teens venture into the abandoned Monroe estate one night; hours later, only two emerge from the burning wreckage. Chloe drags one Reznick brother to safety, unconscious and bleeding; the other is left to burn, dead in the fire. But which brother survives? And is his death a tragic accident? Desperate self-defense? Or murder?
Chloe is the only one with the answers. As the fire rages, and police and parents demand the truth, she struggles to piece together the story of how they got there-a story of jealousy, twisted passion, and the darkness that lurks behind even the most beautiful of faces…

I absolutely loved Dangerous Girls when I read it last year. This one had the same sort of feel to it but slightly different as I thought I knew what had happened in the lake house. Boy was I wrong! 

Haas has shown that she can write weird and wonderful characters and Chloe is no different. Stuck in a dead-end town, she is putting off escaping to college because her mother is so depressed, she can't get out of bed. Chloe can't help but blame her father for leaving them like this, but also her mother, for not sucking it up so she doesn't have to parent a parent. I was never entirely sure if I liked Chloe but she had her moments when I completely understood her frustration. However, she was quite pent up and that starts to come through more dangerously as she gets to know Oliver.

It was less of a "whodunnit" then DG and more of a twisted look at the psyche - right from the start we get the impression that Oliver is more than a little deranged but just how much is shown later. Also I had no idea that Chloe was going to prove to be more like Oliver than kind, sweet Ethan. So while I could sort of understand Chloe hidden resentment towards her mother and Ethan for smothering her, she also terrified me in how ruthless she was with others emotions and that was, I think, the point: we all have a bit of demonic energy inside and it's what we do with it that matters. 

I think that's all I can say without giving it away and I definitely don't want to do that! But if you've read DG, then you'll know the ending will twist and shock you; if not, then expect a disturbingly accurate portrayal and exaggeration of the bad thoughts we all have.

Published 14th August 2014 by Simon and Schuster. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Wake by Lisa McMann


For seventeen-year-old Janie, getting sucked into other people's dreams is getting old. Especially the falling dreams, the naked-but-nobody-notices dreams, and the sex-crazed dreams. Janie's seen enough fantasy booty to last her a lifetime.

She can't tell anybody about what she does -- they'd never believe her, or worse, they'd think she's a freak. So Janie lives on the fringe, cursed with an ability she doesn't want and can't control.

Then she falls into a gruesome nightmare, one that chills her to the bone. For the first time, Janie is more than a witness to someone else's twisted psyche. She is a participant....

Because this was a very short (just over 200 pages) book and I don't actually have much to say about it, I'm gonna bullet point it. Partly because it's easier to read and partly because I'm just plain lazy! So let's go!
  • Much shorter than I expected. Not just in the number of pages but the actual story too.
  • Her dream power explained with the occasional flashbacks, quite clever and much more interesting to read, as quickly understood how she developed and got used to them
  • Not as "psycho thriller" as I thought it would be - I was right in that she was sucked into a stranger's weird dream but as it was a boy from school and he was dreaming about his idiot father. Yes, very strange to be wanting to kill him with Wolverine claws, but with all the other weirdness people dream, not that crazy. 
  • I really felt for Janie, she had this unwanted power to see into people's psyche's and no-one wants the illusion of their mother or best friend shattered. 
  • Definitely felt like the first book in a series - many things were explained as best they could be, which in some cases was "I have no idea where this power came from, I just put up with it". But there were others things, the possibility of others like her that were hinted at but not fulling explored. 
  • All in all, a good read but not what I expected. Don't think I'll bother with the rest of the series; while I liked the characters and the story well enough, I don't particularly care to see what happens next, although I'm sure it would be a good story.

Published 23rd December 2008 by Simon Pulse.

Monday 18 August 2014

Shipwrecked by Siobhan Curham

I jump at the sound of a whispered voice over my shoulder. But when I turn all I see is sand and the towering green wall of the rainforest. I guess it must have been the breeze but I can’t help shivering. I have the weirdest feeling we’re being watched.

Grace Delaney and her fellow dance students are en route to perform on a South Pacific cruise-ship when a freak storm hits and they find themselves stranded on a seemingly deserted island. With the tropical heat rising passions and tensions swell to breaking point. And the island itself is quietly steaming with a terrible secret . . 

My second Siobhan Curham book was very easy to read and get sucked into. Curham has this easy-reading and flowing narrative that just rolls over you and draws you in. And with a mad and adventurous story as this, the story-telling has to be great. Luckily, it really was!

Told from Grace's P.O.V, the group of dancers get stuck on an island on their way to the cruise ship for which they are the entertainment. The lot of them make up quite a stereotypical group, from the rich brats, the jock types and the scholarship kids, but I couldn't help but get involved in each of their lives. The nice were easy to like but even the spoiled ones had secrets and complicated layers that they didn't like to show. One might hope that with their lives in danger, they would put aside their differences and work together. But no, the bitches still lash out, the scholarship kids are still treated like crap and Grace still has to deal with stupid relationship drama. 

On the island, it soon becomes apparent that there are other things to worry about than not being found. Strange and spooky things happen, like the SOS sign being moved and a skull hung in a tree. The fear and the not knowing was nicely paced and kept things interesting with a mix of weird voodoo and Mother Nature's bitchiness. Lucky for the teens, they have Spanish-speaking Cruz, their boat driver, who has real life skills like splitting a coconut and how to catch and cook fish. He is the one who fears and realises where they are - a lost island where a voodoo queen was banished. The weirdness goes up a notch, as did my nervousness! 

This was a great introduction to the world and story; the characters were compelling and the we-might-die-on-this-sticking-island attitude was gripping, made better by the magic scariness. The whole book was really fun to read and kept me guessing the whole time, and although some of the characters were incredibly annoying (I think I was actually hoping they'd die at some point!) they created this strange balance on the island. Which of course was ruined when they went stir-crazy. All in all, a great first book and I can't wait to find out what happens next in Dark of the Moon!

Published 3rd June 2013 by Electric Monkey.

Friday 15 August 2014

Bout of Books 11: sign up and goals

"The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 18th and runs through Sunday, August 24th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 11 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team"

Yes it's that time again! I've been reading quite slowly recently (toothache apparently gives me headaches) and I have a couple of books that I need to get to asap (library books mostly) and a readathon is the perfect way to get back into the swing of things. 

What I hope to read:
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi
Dracula's Guest by Bram Stoker
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E Smith
The Duff by Kody Keplinger
A Midsummer's Nightmare by Kody Keplinger

Now, as of right now, I'm two stories in to Dracula's Guest (of which there are 9) so in theory I shouldn't have much left by Monday. And I have no idea when Isla is going to turn up, so there's that as well. Either way, I'm aiming for 5-6 books over the week, which I think I can manage.

Are you signing up? Any idea what you might read next week? Let me know and we can cheer each other on!

Sunday 10 August 2014

Weekly Highlights: the 'Wisdom tooth' edition

Weekly Highlights is a feature borrowed from Faye of A Daydreamer's Thoughts, where I get to highlight my posts of the week, show you my new books and talk about bookish things! 

It's been quite a bad week. It started great, I went out for pizza and saw How To Train Your Dragon 2 (which was awesome!) but I had a weird feeling in my jaw that wouldn't go away. It got progressively worse and by Wednesday it was decided that my last wisdom tooth was making an appearance. The last few days I haven't been sleeping, I also can't always eat because my entire left side of my face aches. So yeah! Fun times! Anyway, I've decided I'm going to take a few days off blogging. I haven't been reading much all week because of headaches or napping, plus words don't make sense to me right now! So send me hugs, those are always nice, and I'll see you when I see you.

On The Blog
Review of The Manifesto on How To Be Interesting by Holly Bourne (5 stars)
Review of Between The Lives by Jessica Shirvington (4 stars)
Review of City of Halves by Lucy Inglis (3 stars)

Currently Reading
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins - a re-read to make me feel better and in preparation for the release of Isla next week!

On My Bookshelf
Dracula's Guest by Bram Stoker
Menacing tales from one of the masters of horror fiction. Although Bram Stoker is best known for his world-famous novel Dracula, he also wrote many shorter works on the strange and the macabre. Comprised of spine-chilling tales published by Stoker’s widow after his death, as well as The Lair of the White Worm, an intensely intriguing novel of myths, legends, and unspeakable evils, this collection demonstrates the full range of Stoker’s horror writing.

A classic novel borrowed from the library, for both Chapter 5's and Lucky 14's reading challenges. I could have re-read Dracula but this sounds really interesting. Depending on my brain power, I hope to start this tonight. 

Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi
Aria has struggled to build a life for herself outside Reverie. It hasn't been easy adjusting to life in the wilderness but that struggle has been worth it with Perry by her side. 

But Perry has other challenges. His people are looking to him for answers. Answers about what happened to his nephew and what's happening to their world. And they don't trust the priviledged Aria, one of the enemy, in their midst. 

Soon he'll be forced to chose between the tribe that looks to him for leadership and the girl that looks to him for love.

The sequel to Under the Never Sky, I am really looking forward to continuing the series!

Friday 8 August 2014

City of Halves by Lucy Inglis

London. Girls are disappearing. They've all got one thing in common; they just don't know it yet... 

Sixteen-year-old Lily was meant to be next, but she's saved by a stranger: a half-human boy with gold-flecked eyes. Regan is from an unseen world hidden within our own, where legendary creatures hide in plain sight. But now both worlds are under threat, and Lily and Regan must race to find the girls, and save their divided city.

I was really excited by this, it promised to have a great story in a lovely London setting. And it was pretty good but I think a little too simplistic. Written by a historian, I believe this is her first fictional work and you can tell. It was technically well written but things were sometimes a bit too simplistic and brushed over. For example, the whole magic underbelly of London was awesome, with mythical creatures hiding in plain sight and dragons protecting the gates of the City, however Lily seemed to accept everything a little too easily.

The folklore creatures were really cool, however there was a lot of info-dumping and I got confused. Some were done well, happening across them like the dragons, but Regan tried to explain the whole world right after an evil dog attack and it just went right over my head! But apart from that, the blending of the two worlds, while a little overwhelming, was amazing to imagine and very well written. Alongside the great descriptions of London, I fell very easily into the story. But it wasn't just magical creatures, there was also a budding romance. Lily and Regan's romance was pretty sweet, with the things they went through of course they would connect - but sometimes it did seem a little too like insta-love. 

In terms of the plot and saving the world, they discover that the reason  the girls are missing is to do with their genetics. Specifically, the bad guys want their mythical powers. Oh, don't we all! The details of the whole blood and genetic mutation stuff went over my head, although I got the gist of it to understand some of the bad guys motivations. Good people were doing seemingly bad things, at least in Lily's and Regan's perspective, but things had obviously gotten out of hand. The big dramatic ending mostly made up for the slow beginning. Everything collided together and suddenly every little thing was happening and possibly going wrong. It was a very exciting ending and left me a little breathless, as well as heartbroken for a while, which was scary! It was a very well written and exciting urban fantasy, but maybe for a younger audience; definitely an author to watch with her historical knowledge and great settings. 

Published 7th August 2014 by Chicken House. Thank you to the publisher for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday 6 August 2014

Between The Lives by Jessica Shirvington

For as long as she can remember, Sabine has lived two lives. Every 24 hours she shifts to her 'other' life - a life where she is exactly the same, but absolutely everything else is different: different family, different friends, different social expectations. In one life she has a sister, in the other she does not. In one life she's a straight-A student with the perfect boyfriend, in the other she's considered a reckless delinquent. Nothing about her situation has ever changed, until the day when she discovers a glitch: the arm she breaks in one life is perfectly fine in the other.

With this new knowledge, Sabine begins a series of increasingly risky experiments that bring her dangerously close to the life she's always wanted. But if she can only have one life, which is the one she'll choose?

Sabine has two lives, swapping between them every night. In one she's a grunge kid, with a little sister and hark working parents. In the other she's a rich kid with two older brothers and divorced parents. A promising start for a strange psychological thriller and it was very intriguing. However, it didn't progress the way I thought it would. There were a couple of things that changed the course of the story very early: one was that she immediately tried experiments after she broke her arm in one world but not the other; the second was she told her parents the truth and they had her admitted to a mental hospital! 

I mostly liked Sabine, she had a very strange life but did what she had to do to survive. But there were a couple of moments that were a bit difficult to read, one was she didn't even seem to question that the life she wanted was the one where she was rich. She had an amazing best friend and little sister in one world but that's the one that she cut herself and got admitted! I didn't like Sabine for that, for not seeing beyond the trouble-free life, even though she had a perfect boyfriend despite not liking him. I didn't understand why she thought that was the life she would stay in, it wasn't all that perfect. 

She meets Ethan in the grunge/mental hospital world, who seems to be the only person who doesn't think she's crazy. Through a series of odd little tasks, Sabine wins him over and they grow close. I really liked Ethan, he was completely charming and had these thought-provoking, larger than life questions that confounded me. 

But what really got to me was the ending. Oh, it was completely heartbreaking! I don't want to give too much away, but Sabine and Ethan were adorable together and then it all went wrong. The story wasn't just about the romance, it had family issues and discussed the meaning of life and the illusion of perfection. A bit of a strange start but I grew to love it. A great twist of contemporary romance and science fiction. 

Published 8th July 2014 by Orchard Books. Thank you to the publisher for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

Monday 4 August 2014

The Manifesto of How to be Interesting by Holly Bourne

Apparently I'm boring. A nobody. But that's all about to change. Because I am starting a project. Here. Now. For myself. And if you want to come along for the ride then you're very welcome.

Bree is a loser, a wannabe author who hides behind words. Most of the time she hates her life, her school, her never-there parents. So she writes.

But when she’s told she needs to start living a life worth writing about, The Manifesto on How to Be Interesting is born. Six steps on how to be interesting. Six steps that will see her infiltrate the popular set, fall in love with someone forbidden and make the biggest mistake of her life.

I absolutely adored Soulmates so even if this was a completely different topic, I knew Bourne's writing would not disappoint. And boy was it amazing! It told of Bree as she struggles to write anything anyone wants to read and takes the advice of her teacher a bit too far and changes herself to become interesting enough so people want to read about her. She undergoes a great project to infiltrate the popular group at her school and catalogue what she finds on a blog.

I loved reading this; the start reminded me a great deal of Mean Girls, with its geeky girl being accepted by the cool kids. And of course Bree lost herself a bit along the way, caught up in the way the world works for beautiful, interesting people. Her exploits were both typical, like getting a makeover, a bit awkward like losing her virginity, and sometimes insane like falling for someone forbidden. Bree documents everything, even the awkward (if relatable) stuff and in her adventures, she uncovers truths about the popular crowd. It was obvious they were meant to be the stereotypical mean girls but as Bree befriends them, we learn more about what made them that way and I actually felt sorry for them, especially Jassmine. 

There were various issues covered, most typical of teenage life, like boys and sex, and difficult ones like self-harm and falling in love with your teacher. Everything was treated as equally important and although Bree clearly didn't know how to handle some parts, like the overwhelming urge to self-harm, the subject was tackled fairly and discussed openly, so plenty of readers will take advice from this. 

The ending was so brilliant, I nearly cried. Despite writing her adventures on her blog, Bree was not aware of anyone reading it. Discovering how many people she had touched, how many teens went through the same thing, was just the icing on the cake after a really crappy fallout. The story was tougher than I expected but so many people go through similar stuff and Bourne handled everything really well. I absolutely fell in love with Bree and was so proud of her by the end, not just because of what she accomplished with her writing, but also with her friends and family. 

Published 1st August 2014 by Usborne. 

Sunday 3 August 2014

Weekly Highlights: the 'August TBR' edition

Weekly Highlights is a feature borrowed from Faye of A Daydreamer's Thoughts, where I get to highlight my posts of the week, show you my new books and talk about bookish things! 

Holy moley, is it August already? I can't believe the year is going this quick, which is extra depressing that I still haven't found work yet. But I'm trying not to fall down that rabbit hole of depression and focus on what I can do, which is fill out lots of applications and stay ahead in my reading. In other news, the Summer Reading Challenge is way under way, and I've listened to so many cute kids tell me about their books, they really are adorable, especially when I manage to coax them out of their shy shell!

On The Blog
Review of The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman (3 stars)
Review of Nine Uses for an Ex-Boyfriend by Sarra Manning (4 stars)
Review of The Moment Collector by Jodi Lynn Anderson (4 stars)

Currently Reading 
Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi - took a while to get into the world but loving it so far!

On My Bookshelf
Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas
Three teens venture into the abandoned Monroe estate one night; hours later, only two emerge from the burning wreckage. Chloe drags one Reznick brother to safety, unconscious and bleeding; the other is left to burn, dead in the fire. But which brother survives? And is his death a tragic accident? Desperate self-defense? Or murder?
Chloe is the only one with the answers. As the fire rages, and police and parents demand the truth, she struggles to piece together the story of how they got there-a story of jealousy, twisted passion, and the darkness that lurks behind even the most beautiful of faces…

I read and loved Dangerous Girls last summer, so I have high hopes for this one, coming out mid-August! Thank you Netgalley - even though it doesn't have a title on my kindle, which is weird!

The Whispering Skull by Jonathan Stroud
In the six months since Anthony, Lucy, and George survived a night in the most haunted house in England, Lockwood & Co. hasn't made much progress. Quill Kipps and his team of Fittes agents keep swooping in on Lockwood's investigations. Finally, in a fit of anger, Anthony challenges his rival to a contest: the next time the two agencies compete on a job, the losing side will have to admit defeat in the Times newspaper. Things look up when a new client, Mr. Saunders, hires Lockwood & Co. to be present at the excavation of Edmund Bickerstaff, a Victorian doctor who reportedly tried to communicate with the dead. Saunders needs the coffin sealed with silver to prevent any supernatural trouble. All goes well—until George's curiosity attracts a horrible phantom. Back home at Portland Row, Lockwood accuses George of making too many careless mistakes. Lucy is distracted by urgent whispers coming from the skull in the ghost jar. Then the team is summoned to DEPRAC headquarters. Kipps is there too, much to Lockwood's annoyance. Bickerstaff's coffin was raided and a strange glass object buried with the corpse has vanished. Inspector Barnes believes the relic to be highly dangerous, and he wants it found.

I was surprised how much I adored The Screaming Staircase when I read it last month and by chance I found its sequel on Netgalley! So thank you Netgalley!

We Were Liars by E Lockhart
A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

A great find on Amazon kindle - 99p in the summer sale! Now I can finally see what everyone's been talking about!

August TBR
First up, I have the rest of Chapter 5's reading challenge: just Clockwork Angel and Dracula's Guest left! With any luck, I'll immediately continue with the Infernal Devices series. I also have an August release (Dangerous Boys) that I want to read asap. As for my TBR jar, I haven't picked any yet but as I'm ahead in my reading, I thought I might tackle a long book, like Dodger by Terry Pratchett, which has been sat on my shelf for over a year. 

Wish me luck, and let me know what you're planning on reading over August!

Friday 1 August 2014

The Moment Collector by Jodi Lynn Anderson

"The yard of this house is a graveyard of moments and everything left behind is a clue. And I am here to dig."

There's a ghost haunting 208 Water Street. She doesn't know who she was, or why she's still here. She does know that she is drawn to Maggie, the new girl in town, and her friends - beautiful, carefree Pauline and Liam, the boy who loves her.

But the ghost isn't all that's lurking in Gill Creek... Someone is killing young girls all across the county. Can the ghost keep these three friends safe? Or does she have another purpose?

Maggie is the new girl in a small town, living in a run down old house among a few others alongside a lake. She immediately clicks with new neighbours Pauline and Liam, a bright and lively girl and the boy who's loved her forever. But that's not all: there is a killer on the loose, hunting girls in their area. At first, it is something to gossip and speculate about but as the police find no suspects and the missing girls pile up, people start to worry. So shops close for the winter, a curfew is put in place, and when Pauline sneaks out with Liam, she is sent to live with her aunt in another state. 

While all this is happening, the ghost follows Maggie's story without knowing why. This was sort of exciting to read, gathering little clues that might tell of who he or she was, but the odd parts from the ghost did sometimes just distracted me from the main story a little. The mystery of who the ghost was came in and out of focus, which was kind of nice, it gave a nice flow to the story, a strange balance between the ghost and the mystery of the killer. 

The overall story was really interesting, maybe not completely engrossing but still very intriguing to read; I think it's just because I expected something else. However, I really did enjoy it as it was more than just a mystery, there was also friendship and first love and teenage betrayal, not to mention history and death! As it turns out, I flew through the second half, so hoping for a happy ending for Maggie. Despite their flaws, I loved all three teens, and the ending just about broke my heart. But it did solve the mystery, so there was a sense of balance and... completion. It was sad and quite bittersweet but it made sense.

Published 7th August 2014 by Orchard Books. Thank you to the publisher for my copy in exchange for an honest review.