Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Bleeding Hearts

'Waiting On' Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.
Bleeding Hearts by Alyxandra Harvey

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Release Date: 3rd October 2011

Summary (Amazon):
Lucy's cousin Christabel has come to live in Violet Hill, and adjusting to the difference between life in a small mountain town and her home in the city is difficult. The strict curfew that Lucy's parents enforce is hard to respect. Surely something really dangerous couldn't possibly happen in this tiny town. But Christabel starts to notice some mysterious happenings, and it seems like Lucy, her boyfriend Nicholas and his brother Connor are all in on a secret that Christabel doesn't understand - one that seems deadly serious. Although she won't admit it, Christabel would love to be in on any secret with Connor Drake. When Christabel is kidnapped by the ruthless Hel-Blar vampires, Lucy and Connor finally fill her in on all the undead drama. Together, they must find a way to stamp out the Hel-Blar for good.
I completely adore this series and can't wait to catch up on all those Drake brothers!

Monday, 22 August 2011

Bout of Books Read-a-thon

Today I signed up for On a Book Bender's read-a-thon. It's last for a week (22/08/11-28/08/11). The aim is to read as much as you can, when you can through the week. You can click the button above or here to find out more and sign up for it. 

Main goals:

- to read all my library books
  •      Blood Promise
  •      Spirit Bound
  •      Last Sacrifice
  •      The Time Twister
  •      The Blue Boa
  •      The Castle of Mirrors
  •      Wicked: Legacy & Spellbound
  •      Wicked: Resurrection
- to read some Netgalley books
  •      Lost Voices
  •      Spellbound
  •      The Juliet Spell
  •      The Mephisto Covenant
  •      Wanderlove

I'm always optimistic when I start these read-a-thons on how much I can read, but I know very well I won't complete those two lists. I'll be happy if I can just read the library list. Especially as I'm working and currently starting up a new venture. I'll update this post every day.

Books Read: 3
Pages Read: 1317

List of books read:
Blood Promise (Vampire Academy 4) - Had already started, so half a book really.
Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy 5)
Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy 6)

Round-up: So I knew I wouldn't get through all the books I'd listed, but in my defence, look at how many pages I read! Those VA books be big! :D

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: You Have Seven Messages

'Waiting On' Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

You Have Seven Messages by Stewart Lewis

Publisher: Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers (Random House Imprint)
Release Date: 13th September 2011

Summary (Amazon):
It's been a year since Luna's mother, the fashion-model wife of a successful film director, was hit and killed by a taxi in the East Village. Luna, her father, and her little brother, Tile, are still struggling with grief.
When Luna goes to clean out her mother's old studio, she's stunned to find her mom's cell phone there—charged and holding seven unheard messages. As Luna begins to listen to them, she learns more about her mother's life than she ever wanted to know . . . and she comes to realize that the tidy tale she's been told about her mother's death may not be the whole truth.

Intriguing storyline and I can't wait to get my hands on it.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Book Review - Here Lies Bridget by Paige Harbison

Here Lies Bridget by Paige Harbison
Publisher: Mira Ink (UK)/ Harlequin TEEN (US)
Release Date: 17th June 2011
Genre: Young Adult

Copy from Netgalley

Summary (Amazon):
Can death be a fresh start? They say that before you die your life flashes before you’re eyes. You think it’s going to be the good stuff- every kiss, every party. Don’t count on it. I was Bridget Duke the uncontested ruler of the school. If keeping the wannabes in their place meant being a mean girl, then so be it! I never thought there’d be a price to pay. Until the accident. Now, trapped between life and death, I’m seeing my world in a new light: through the eyes of five people whose existence I’ve made hell. And I’ve got one chance to make things right. If I don t, I may never wake up again...

I read this in one sitting. I hated Bridget so much, and I think that was the point, but there something addictive about this story that I had to keep going to see how it would play out. It was a bit like ‘car crash’ TV, you can see what she’s doing to her friends and herself, but you need to keep going to see how it’ll play out.

As you’re reading it, and hating Bridget more and more with each action of hers, you can see she doesn’t fully understand why she’s doing it, and there’s a moment where you think she might just stop. She doesn’t though. Her self-destruction goes one step further when new girl, Anna, shows up and starts taking over Bridget’s popularity. The school’s population likes her because she’s nice to them, which is all a bit novel to Bridget. Mean is what makes her popular.

The first quarter to a third of this book is a bit slow but if you push past it you really get to grips with the story. Whilst I read it, I kept thinking of Mean Girls and A Christmas Carol, all rolled into one book. I highly recommend this to anyone who likes either of those and likes to see a bitch get her comeuppance.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Book Review - Populazzi by Elise Allen

Populazzi by Elise Allen
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release Date: 1st August 2011
Genre: Young Adult

Copy from Netgalley

Summary (Amazon):

Cara has never been one of those girls: confident, self-possessed, and always ready with the perfect thing to say. A girl at the very top of the popularity tower. One of the Populazzi.

Now, junior year could change everything. Cara’s moving to a new school, and her best friend urges her to seize the moment—with the help of the Ladder. Its rungs are relationships, and if Cara transforms into the perfect girlfriend for guys ever-higher on the tower, she’ll reach the ultimate goal: Supreme Populazzi.

The Ladder seems like a light hearted social experiment, a straight climb up, but it quickly becomes gnarled and twisted. And when everything goes wrong, only the most audacious act Cara can think of has a chance of setting things even a little bit right.

I’ve tried to write this review twice now and each time I go on a big rant about Cara’s parents. It’s hard not to because growing up I’ve been on the tail-end of some extreme reactions of my dad like Cara put up with from her stepdad. At first I sat there thinking, ‘who does that? Who behaves like that?’ when I realised that some parents really are that controlling in real life. Not all of them support and forgive in the manner they should, and I really do applaud Elise Allen for writing that subplot into the book.

Anyway, I’ll keep it short and sweet on this one, or I’ll risk ranting again. The writing was excellent in this book. Sometimes over-described, but the heart of the matter was excellently laid out. My issue though was that Cara was a weak character for me, and that might just be the point. She allows everyone to tell her what she should and shouldn’t be doing, without really thinking about it. Especially when it comes to her best friend’s, Claudia, influence.

Nothing dragged in the story and everything moved at a good pace. I could picture everything happening in my head clearly, including seeing the outcome of some of Cara’s actions before I read it. I didn’t like anyone in the book except for Archer. I got him. The rest I just couldn’t relate to, not even Cara and the relationship she has with her parents.

I would recommend this to anyone who loves Mean Girls and can keep reading even when they can see the car crash coming.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Citadel

'Waiting On' Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Citadel by Kate Mosse

Publisher: Orion
Release Date: 13th September 2011

Summary (Amazon):
Set during World War II in the far south of France, CITADEL is a powerful, action-packed mystery that reveals the secrets of the resistance under Nazi occupation. While war blazed in the trenches at the front, back at home a different battle is waged, full of clandestine bravery, treachery and secrets. And as a cell of Maquis resistance fighters, codenamed CITADEL, fight for everything they hold dear, their struggle will reveal an older, darker combat being fought in the shadows. Combining the rugged action of LABYRINTH with the haunting mystery of SEPULCHRE, CITADEL is a story of daring and courage, of lives risked for beliefs and of astonishing secrets buried in time.

I loved Labyrinth by this author and can't wait to get stuck into this one.

Coffee Break - Getting Personal with a Book

 I was recently reading a book, and writing notes for the review as I went along, and I found myself getting very personal about what I found disbelieving in the story. The problem was that the story actually touched a raw nerve. I found a character's actions, as outrageously unbelievable as they were, making me incredibly angry- because I had had to deal with this kind of outrageous behaviour in the past. I was so angry, that I was starting to get angry at all the other characters and the things they were doing or saying. In the end I had to put the book down and stop reading it for the day.

 I'm just finishing up this book, but even now if I let myself think too much about the book whilst I'm reading it, I get angry, and if it wasn't on the Kindle, I'd be hurling it across the room every time I read a bit more. This is nothing on how the author has written the story, this is about me and my problems reading it, which wasn't originally coming across in my review.

Have any of you ever gotten like that with a book? You're reading it and instead of realising that there's nothing wrong with the story or the writing, it's you that has a problem because it's a bit too relatable to your past (or maybe even present)?

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Book Review - Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Publisher: Puffin
Release Date: 26th May 2009
Genre: Young Adult

Summary (Amazon):
St Vladimir's Academy isn't just any boarding school - hidden away, it's a place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them.
Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They've been on the run, but now they're being dragged back to St Vladimir's where the girls must survive a world of forbidden romances, a ruthless social scene and terrifying night time rituals. But most of all, staying alive.

I had never been interested in this series, but then the last book came out and people were going crazy for it. Apparently I was missing out by not reading these books. So I picked up the first book from the library and liked it enough that I now have the next two in my grubby hands from the library.

I loved Rose and Lissa’s friendship. They balanced each other out perfectly in different ways and new when to help and when to stay away. I loved that Rose was feisty and took no nonsense. We need more strong characters like her in books. That wasn’t to say that Lissa was weak, far from it, she was just feisty in her own way.

I found the mystery behind the storyline predictable and could see the ending coming a mile off, but it kept my interest enough to want to read the rest of this series so that I can find out what will happen. I also need to know what will happen with Rose and the chemistry she shares with a certain fellow Dhampir!

I recommend this book to anyone who loves vampires, a vicious school social ladder and some intense romance scenes.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Book Review - The Lying Game by Sara Shepard

The Lying Game by Sara Shepard
Publisher: HarperTeen (HarperCollins imprint)
Date Released: 31st March 2011
Genre: Young Adult

Copy from Netgalley

Summary (Amazon):

Sutton Mercer had a life anyone would kill for – and someone did. But thanks to a view from the afterlife and Emma Paxton, her long-lost twin sister, Sutton has a chance to solve her own murder. Emma slips into Sutton’s old life to piece together her disappearance. But can Emma keep up the charade long enough to discover what really happened to Sutton…or will she become the next victim?
Let the lying games begin.

I’d only ever read half of the first book of Pretty Little Liars and for some reason I didn’t continue. Chances are it was because the show had started it so I’d gotten used to the way the show was written. So when I saw The Lying Game I thought, great, fresh start of a new series AND I get to read it before the show starts on this one. I can honestly say this book did not disappoint.

It’s full of mystery and intrigue all the way through. It keeps you turning the pages to find out a little bit more about Sutton and what would lead to her murder. Behind all the fancy things, nice home and popularity, there is an undercurrent of sinister lurking.

I like Emma and wished that she could have had the life Sutton had been having, but Sutton was definitely the more interesting character, jumping from nasty to nice in an instant, and never truly revealing what is going on with her. I did like the relationship Emma was building with Ethan and I can’t wait to see where that goes.

Anyone who loves Pretty Little Liars, show or book, will definitely love this.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Book Review - The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Release Date: 5th October 2009
Genre: 8-12's/Middlegrade

Summary (Goodreads):

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod's family . . . 

 This was my first ever Neil Gaiman book and I loved every page. It’s made me want to devour every book he’s ever written.

 You meet Nobody ‘Bod’ Owens when he’s a baby and see how he comes to live in a graveyard with ghosts for family and friends. The story is told in a really interesting way with the chapters being more like short stories in different times of Bod’s life growing up, rather than one continuous story. There is still a small continuous story hidden in these short stories, so you do get a complete story of Bod’s life.

 I loved the different characters of the ghosts, and the speech patterns from times gone by really worked with them. The way the story was told was just right. It reminded me of stories I’d read as a kid and I missed that style as an adult.

If you’re a child, read this before you grow up. If you’re an adult, read it anyway and remember your childhood and the books you used to read. 

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: A Beautiful Dark

'Waiting On' Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.
A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies

Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: 26th September 2011

Summary (Goodreads):

Skye never questioned the story of her life. Her Aunt Jo adopted her after the death of her parents when she was just a child, and together they flip through memories the way some people flip through photo albums.

She never questioned if the stories were true.

Until the night of her 17th birthday, when the arrival of two strangers intrudes on her cozy life. Polar opposites, like fire and ice, Asher is dark and wild, while Devin is fair, cold, and aloof. Skye has no idea what they want—only that their presence coincides with the beginning of some shockingly strange events. Events that Skye, if she dares to think it, might be responsible for causing.

High up in the mountains of Boulder, Colorado, Skye finds herself caught in the middle of an ancient battle, one that began untold millennia ago. Torn between unpredictable Asher, whom she loves, and the infuriating Devin, who she can’t stay away from, her fate is murky as a starless night. And as the secrets of her true identity are revealed, Skye realizes that her destiny may reside in the Heavens—or somewhere darker.
 Angels. That is all.

Book Review - Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton

Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (HarperCollins imprint)
Release Date: 1st March 2011
Genre: Young Adult

Copy from Netgalley

Summary from Goodreads:

When seventeen-year-old Ellie starts seeing reapers - monstrous creatures who devour humans and send their souls to Hell - she finds herself on the front lines of a supernatural war between archangels and the Fallen and faced with the possible destruction of her soul.

A mysterious boy named Will reveals she is the reincarnation of an ancient warrior, the only one capable of wielding swords of angelfire to fight the reapers, and he is an immortal sworn to protect her in battle. Now that Ellie's powers have been awakened, a powerful reaper called Bastian has come forward to challenge her. He has employed a fierce assassin to eliminate her - an assassin who has already killed her once.

This was one of the books that the minute I started it, I had to finish it. I raced through it in just over a day and can definitely say this is a real page-turner. The storyline got a little bit repetitive sometimes (Will constantly avoiding Ellie’s questions) but that is what kept me reading. I need to know the answer to these questions.

Ellie is a great, feisty character, with just the right amount of storyline about her adjusting to her true identity, before getting down to business. I loved Will. In fact someone mentioned this being a little bit like Buffy so I kept imagining David Boreanaz as Will.

I had a few niggles with the story, like Ellie being a little bit spoilt. No answers for Ellie’s dad’s behaviour. And Will keeping all these secrets. He should have told her something more than he was instead of getting it all at once right at the end.

Either way, loved this story and I’ll definitely read the rest. I highly recommend this if you like anything angsty and paranormal.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

The Dreaded Reading Slump

Yes, that's right. I hit a reading slump, hence my unexpected stall on reviews. It's not that I haven't been reading- I have. I've just been reading at a stupidly slow rate, then I sit down to write my review and I stare at my blank document thinking, 'Whut? I know I liked it, but what happened in it?' It's like I haven't been taking in a word of what I've read.

Anyhoo, I've finally gotten a few reviews written now, so things should start to pick up round here. Hopefully, got a lot going on at the moment. But please don't abandon me, I am still here. Procrastinating. Reading your blogs.