Friday, 30 November 2012

Book Haul | November

Heres the full list of books I got in the month of November!

1. Forgiven - Jana Oliver
2. With Love At Christmas - Carole Matthews
3. Jude The Obscure - Thomas Hardy
4. Wives & Daughters - Elizabeth Gaskell
5. Exposure - Askew & Helmes
6. Hera, Queen of Gods - T.D. Thomas
7. The Madness Underneath - Maureen Johnson

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Review // Sea of Monsters - Rick Riordan

Published - 1st April 2006
Published By - Disney Hyperion Books
Format - Paperback
Goodreads Synopsis - The heroic son of Poseidon makes an action-packed comeback in the second must-read installment of Rick Riordan's amazing young readers series. Starring Percy Jackson, a "half blood" whose mother is human and whose father is the God of the Sea, Riordan's series combines cliffhanger adventure and Greek mythology lessons that results in true page-turners that get better with each installment. In this episode, The Sea of Monsters, Percy sets out to retrieve the Golden Fleece before his summer camp is destroyed, surpassing the first book's drama and setting the stage for more thrills to come.

Now that's out of the way, to the review :)

I read The Lightning Thief in August and simply adored it. Percy is my huge, inappropriate crush of the year and i'm cursing myself for not reading these books years ago! It's a short read (took approx 5 hours) and full of excitement and adventure.

Let me start by saying that the edition i'm reading is beautiful. The cover art is actually gorgeous and I love the detail and references to the story. The story itself was excellent. I was a little worried that it wouldn't live up to the first book in the series but it really did. Percy has the worst (and yet best) luck and yet he never gives up - a lesson that all of us could use I think. Each character has a distinct personality and voice, and with a fairly big sized group of characters that can be quite difficult. 

I'm still annoyed that Percy is so young (13 now). Making him older would make the whole book seem more real as every so often i'm reminded of how young he is and whilst it makes his adventures more impressive, it also makes it harder to believe. I don't think my opinion on this is going to change but it doesn't affect how much I loved the book. I have a feeling that this series is just going to get bigger and better as Riordan sets up the scene for a big show down in Olympus. I can't wait!

Review // Tempestuous - Askew & Helmes

Published - (Expected) 18th December 2012
Published By - Merit Press
Format - Kindle
Goodreads Synopsis - Recently banished, unfairly, by the school’s popular crowd, former “it girl,” Miranda Prospero, finds herself in a brave new world: holding dominion amongst a rag-tag crew of geeks and misfits where she works at the Hot-Dog Kabob in the food court of her local mall. When the worst winter storm of the season causes mall workers and last-minute shoppers to be snowed-in for the night, Miranda seizes the opportunity to get revenge against the catty clique behind her social exile. With help from her delightfully dweeby coworker, Ariel, and a sullen loner named Caleb who works at the mall’s nearby gaming and magic shop, Miranda uses charm and trickery to set things to right during this spirited take on Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

Tempestuous is due to be released on 18th December. This is an early review.

As a fan of both YA and Shakespeare, Tempestuous is exactly my kinda thing. Tempestuous, based loosely on Shakespeare's The Tempest was full of references to other Shakespeare plays too, along with Jane Austen and modern crazes such as Words With Friends. Some may dislike what seems to be a barrage of 'names and labels' but I loved it. It really added to the authenticity and the mixture between modern and Shakespearian was wonderful. Every single character had their own personality and a life of their own. Every book comes with a good crush and here, Caleb doesn't let us down. Moody, brooding and a musician? Yes please!

The premise of the story, as the synopsis tells you, is a group of kids get stuck in the mall over night and Miranda is left to confront her previous friends as well as find a place amongst her new friends. What kind of person does she want to be? Miranda is not your average main character though. I'm still not sure if I even liked her! She's cocky, a little narcissistic and is well aware that she has the ability to make people do whatever she wants. The fact that a character that would usually be unlikeable becomes more than that, one of your friends, is a testament to the great writing from Askew & Helmes.

There were so many wonderful lines in the book but I think my favourite has to be,
"The ability for anyone in our generation to self-amuse has sadly been bred out of our species". Funny, true and just a little bit ironic to read as I was in fact amusing myself with the book!
The Twisted Lit series proves to be exciting, fun and entertaining. I can't wait to read the next - Exposure, a twisted lit version of Macbeth (my favourite play!)

Monday, 26 November 2012

Review // Legend of the Chosen (Destiny's Kingdom #1) - Selzer & Huber

Published - 1st July 2012
Published By - TwoFold Press
Format - Kindle
Goodreads Synopsis - Bethel, the charmed central planet of the galaxy is on the brink of the year’s most anticipated event: the celebrated Twilight Bloom. Quade Decairus has no reason to believe that this year will be any different than those in the past: food and music, friends and the good cheer of those he loves the most. So why has he been plagued with nightmares of the end of his world coming on this very night?
Prophecies masked as legends. Impossible visions, bringing universal destruction. Only one man can seek those chosen to stop the evil and save them all.
In a world rich with magic and technology, a seamless blend of Fantasy and Sci-Fi, Destiny’s Kingdom explores Quade’s journey as he quests to save a galaxy that has always known peace and prosperity from a powerful evil only he can face.

Legend of the Chosen was sent to me by Jennifer Selzer, and as soon as I read the description I knew I wanted to read and review it! I loved how the book started straight away. I've mentioned in previous posts how I dislike being spoonfed the story and the world it's set in but Selzer & Huber got it just right. I feel comfortable in Bethel without having to have the minute details given to me.

The characters were wonderful, my only wish was to have a little but more knowledge about them individually. I feel like I know Quade well enough but it would be great to know more about Trina, Clea etc. This is the first book in the series though so maybe that comes later!

The story itself was gripping, especially towards the end when the action was getting started. I can't even begin to explain how exasperated I felt when I saw the words 'To be continued' because I need to know more! I think i'm right in saying the next book is now available to buy and I will definitely be picking it up in the future. It was a great read and a perfect mix of Sci-Fi and fantasy - two genres that I can never read enough of.

Musing Mondays

Held by Should Be Reading

This week: Have you ever read a book after watching the movie/television version only to find that you don't like the book as much as the adaptation?

Yes! The main one that springs to mind is The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks. Like 90% of the female population, I absolutely adore the movie so I picked up a cheap copy of the book thinking that I would love it so much more and it was just, disappointing. Another one that springs to mind and is probably the MOST disappointing of all is The Vampire Diaries. I am an avid fan of the tv show and so when I knew they were based on a series of books I HAD to have them! However it's a couple of years down the line and i'm still struggling to finish the books. I've finished the first few series and i'm now working on Stefan's Diaries (which are marginally better) but they're so dull! Completely unrealistic and actually laughable really. A few bad experiences will never stop me heading straight to the written word though - even if it's just for comparison, it's always better to read the books.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Musing Mondays

Held by Should Be Reading
This week: Do you read the ending before you start a book? Do you ever skip ahead to read the ending?
No! No no no. I can't bear to be spoiled in relation to books. When it comes to tv or films etc then i'm not too bothered but never in books. I love the suspense and the feeling you get when everything unfolds (or doesn't as the case may be). If I wanted to know what happened before reading them i'm sure there's plenty of spoilers out there on the internet without even having to try to find them. I always want to find out first-hand how it's going to end :)

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Review // Bitter Blood (Morganville #13) - Rachel Caine

Published - 6th November 2012
Published By - Allison & Busby
Format - Paperback
Goodreads Synopsis -
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.

If you've been reading this blog for a while then you already know how much I just love this series. Although the last book only came out a few months ago, it has felt like forever whilst waiting for the thirteenth installment of Rachel Caine's Morganville series.

This book sees a lot of changes to both writing perspective and characters. The residents of Glass House are growing  up - and that's not necessarily a good thing. I've been with Claire, Shane, Michael & Eve for a long time now and they truly are like my best friends; so if you've read this book you'll understand what I mean when I say i'm worried about where the series will go from here. I need my friends happy & together.

There were moments in Bitter Blood where I was just too scared to read because I had NO idea where Caine was going with it. Every page was a surprise and a delight. I devoured the entire thing in less than 24 hours because I couldn't bare to be parted with it (pesky work got in the way a little). For me, Rachel Caine has created  an amazing world. I feel like Morganville is my home too and i'm equally as invested in the town's survival. It takes a skilled writer to make a book feel like real life but that's exactly what Caine does in Morganville. 

Myrnin was, as always, beautifully written and is an absolute pleasure to read. Reading from his POV was great and I really connected with him. In fact, I just want to continuously gush over each and every character! I even felt concerned for Oliver..! I cried a good few times whilst reading Bitter Blood (don't worry, no spoilers here) and there is one special little spirit that I would just love to meet again. :)

I doubt that Rachel Caine will personally see this but I wish I could thank her again for bringing these stories and people (for that's who they are!) into my world.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Review // The Foreshadowing - Marcus Sedgwick

Published - 23rd May 2006
Published By - Wendy Lamb Books
Format - Hardback
Goodreads Synopsis - It is 1915 and the First World War has only just begun. 17 year old Sasha is a well-to-do, sheltered-English girl. Just as her brother Thomas longs to be a doctor, she wants to nurse, yet girls of her class don't do that kind of work. But as the war begins and the hospitals fill with young soldiers, she gets a chance to help. But working in the hospital confirms what Sasha has suspected--she can see when someone is going to die. Her premonitions show her the brutal horrors on the battlefields of the Somme, and the faces of the soldiers who will die. And one of them is her brother Thomas. Pretending to be a real nurse, Sasha goes behind the front lines searching for Thomas, risking her own life as she races to find him, and somehow prevent his death.

A while ago I was getting frustrated with trying to find a quick, short read to fill in the gaps between university reading and so I enlisted the help of my flatmate, who is also a great book lover. She picked out The Foreshadowing, which is one of her books that she enjoyed a long time ago now.

This isn't the type of book that I would usually read so I was excited to jump into it and see what my flatmate enjoyed about it. I was a little disappointed though. 

The Foreshadowing has the potential to be a great enthralling read but it was lacking. The only person I cared about was Jack and he didn't appear in the book until half way through. There was barely any emotion in the book despite several potentially heartbreaking scenes. The main character, Alexandra/Sasha was just...boring. Nothing she did interested me. I loved the idea of the book, and particularly liked that the chapters ran backwards even though it didn't seem to really matter if there were chapters at all. I think the longest chapter consisted of 4 pages.

I just wanted more from it. More information about characters, backstories, relationships and emotions. More of everything really. That being said, it wasn't a terrible book. It was a quick read, simplistic and to the point with a few sparse comments that intrigued me. I'm glad the book was quite short though as I think if it had continued in the same manner, I wouldn't have been able to keep reading.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Musing Mondays | Multiple Choice

This week: Multiple Choice

• If you had to choose only 3 books to read forever, which ones would you choose?
Can I cheat a little bit here? I'm going to pick 3 series instead. Hmm i'd have to go for Harry Potter, Morganville Vampires and John Green's novels. Okay I cheated even more with that last one but hey, it's my forever so I get to choose!

• Is there a character that you absolutely love but that you cannot get a good mental picture of?
Percy Jackson! He's supposed to be really young (12 I think?) but I just can't read him that way. My mental picture of him changes so frequently because I have to keep reminding myself of his age in relation to his adventures etc. I can't base him off the film version either because although that actor is great (and cute!), I don't picture him like that when I read him.
• Make a plea for your favourite book. Make others wanna read it!
My favourite book is Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde and I lovelovelove it. Funny thing is i've only read it once because it just stuck with me perfectly. The book questions society, power and it even makes you question yourself. I think it's definitely relevant to today's world just as much as it was when Wilde wrote it.

These other questions can also be answered but I just picked these three :) Have fun and let me know which questions you picked! Feel free to do them all if you want :)

• If you could create a soundtrack for a book you’ve read recently, which songs would you use and why
• Do you read outside your preferred genre? Has your preferred genre changed
• Do you have a favorite book/movie combination?
• Name a book that you thought you wouldn’t like much, but you ended up loving.
• If you were Book Czar of the world, is there one book you would like to require every kid to read?

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Review // The Murder of Roger Ackroyd - Agatha Christie

Published - 1st February 2011
Published By - William Morrow Paperbacks
Format - Kindle
Goodreads Synopsis - Roger Ackroyd knew too much. He knew that the woman he loved had poisoned her brutal first husband. He suspected also that someone had been blackmailing her. Then, tragically, came the news that she had taken her own life with a drug overdose.

But the evening post brought Roger one last fatal scrap of information. Unfortunately, before he could finish reading the letter, he was stabbed to death.

Agatha Christie is an author that almost everybody has heard of even if they haven't read anything. As a hugely successful mystery writer, I was expecting her to crop up on my Detective Fiction course at university and I wasn't sure how I felt about it. I've heard so many great things that I was sure the hype would ruin it. To an extent this was true when I first picked up the book but i'm happy to say that my opinion changed mostly.

At first I was fully aware that I was supposed to be enjoying the story which honestly lead me to withholding from it. Although it's a fairy short book, it took me longer than usual to finish it because of my preconceived ideas. Once I got to around the midway point though I found myself caught up in the mystery and the lives of the characters. I was trying to put together pieces of the puzzle and add my own guesses to the mix. I think the best thing about The Murder of Roger Ackroyd though is that I had no idea. I had narrowed my suspects to just two people and I was wrong on both counts! I like to think that i'm a fairly intuitive reader but Christie had me stumped. 

The story, the character, the puzzle; all kept me reading and contemplating the book. I'm definitely interested in reading more of her work later down the line and I can safely say that Christie earned her notoriety for a reason!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Top Ten Tuesday | Books I Want

This week's Top Ten Tuesday is: Books I Want

I have a HUGE list that covers the majority of my laptop's desktop of books that I want and either can't afford, can't commit to buying or don't have the time to put down everything and read it as soon as I have it. So here are just ten of those :)

1. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs
2. Wintergirls - Laurie Halse Anderson
3. Thirteen Reasons Why - Jay Asher
4. Gone - Michael Grant
5. The Princess Bride - William Goldman
6. The Enemy - Charlie Higson
7. Forbidden - Jana Oliver
8. The Girl Who Played With Fire - Stieg Larsson
9. Coraline - Neil Gaiman
10. Cinder - Marissa Meyer

Monday, 5 November 2012

Musing Mondays

What is the most recent book you purchased, or brought home from the local library? What made you pick it? Have you started reading it, right away, or will you wait for a bit?

The most recent book I bought was the paperback of Christopher Paolini's Inheritance. It's the latest installment of the Inheritance Cycle (Eragon, Eldest, Brinsgr). I read the other books years ago and absolutely loved them so I was excited when Inheritance was finally released. I waited for the paperback though as I prefer those. It's going to be a while before I get round to reading it though due to an insane backlog and I really need to re-read the first three as it's been so long. I can't wait to get back to Eragon and Saphira's adventures in Alagaesia though!

Thursday, 1 November 2012

October Wrap-Up

Although it doesn't feel like it, I got through quite a few things this month! Here's what I kept myself busy with in October.

1. The Casual Vacancy - J.K.Rowling
2. The Murders of Rue Morgue - Edgar Allan Poe
3. The Purloined Letter - Edgar Allan Poe
4. The Bad Beginning - Lemony Snicket
5. A Scandal in Bohemia - Arthur Conan Doyle
6. The Man with the Twisted Lip - Arthur Conan Doyle
7. The Adventure of Copper Beeches - Arthur Conan Doyle

There are quite a few books i'm 'currently reading' that I started during October and haven't finished yet so with a little bit of luck (and time!), next months wrap-up should look quite healthy :)

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