Thursday, 28 February 2013

Book Haul | February

 Book Haul February!
So many more books than I had planned this month - which isn't necessarily a bad thing ;) Mostly from the wonderful authors who have requested me to review their books!

Splintered - A.G.Howard (Courtesy of Anya)
The Underworld (Fallen Star #2) - Jessica Sorensen
The Vision (Fallen Star #3) - Jessica Sorensen
The Promise (Fallen Star #4) - Jessica Sorensen
A Dark Kiss of Rapture - Sylvia Day
Speechless - Hannah Harrington
The Lost Prince - Julie Kagawa
The Little Mermaid  - Hans Christian Anderson
Pinocchio - Carlo Collodi
I Capture The Castle - Dodie Smith
Internet Dating 101 - Laura Schreffler
Titanic - The Tennis Story - Lindsay Gibbs
A Backhanded Gift - Marshall Jon Fisher
Exit Strategy - L.F. Falconer
Dark Dawning - Auguste Dinoto

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Top Ten Tuesday | Auto-Buy Authors

Hosted by The Broke & The Bookish
This week is the Top Ten authors that you would automatically buy no matter what the book was about just because you love them and have every faith in them!

1. Jodi Picoult
Jodi is my all-time favourite author! I have everything published (in the UK) by her and i'm never disappointed. She could write a newspaper article and i'd buy it!

2. J.K Rowling
Just because.

3. Rachel Caine
Fantastic writing, kickass women and a genuinely lovely woman too!

4. John Green
DFTBA! :) John's work is soul crushing and SO MANY EMOTIONS! Just beautiful. Everything.

5. Maureen Johnson
Though i've only read the Shades of London series and her section of Let It Snow, I just love her! Planning on buying a new Johnson masterpiece very soon :)

6. Stephenie Meyer
I adored both the Twilight series & The Host and so whatever comes next I'm sure i'll devour it.

7. Rachel Cohn
I don't know what it is, but I just adore her.

8. David Levithan
So funny and insightful! Love his work.

9. Maria V Snyder
Maria creates such wonderful worlds that I always get sucked into. Words can't describe how excited I am for the next 'Study' Books.

10. Ruth Warburton
I recently finished Ruth's Winter Trilogy and her characters are really endearing. Looking forward to what comes next for her.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Review // Cwmardy - Lewis Jones

Published - 1st January 2006
Publisher - Parthian Books
Format - Paperback
Synopsis - The epic industrial novels of the 1930s, Cwmardy and We Live are published together here for the first time. In Cwmardy, Big Jim, collier and ex-Boer War soldier, and his partner Si├ón endure the impact of strikes, riots, and war, while their son Len emerges as a sharp thinker and dynamic political organizer. Len’s tale is taken up in We Live, in which he is influenced by Mary, a teacher, and the Communist Party, which becomes central to his work both underground and in union politics, and to his decision to leave and fight in the Spanish Civil War. Cwmardy and We Live paint a graphic portrait of the casual exploitation, tragedy, and violence as well as the political hope and humanity of South Wales industrial workers from the 1900s to the 1930s.

The synopsis above covers both Cwmardy and We Live, but i'm focusing on the first novel.

Cwmardy is Lewis Jones' first novel and is set in a small Welsh mining village and though he wasn't a professional writer, Cwmardy is wonderfully written and tells a great story that many, including myself, have enjoyed. I read this for my Welsh Lit class and was so pleased to find how much I loved it. Jones' writing was fascinating - with a hybrid of both English and Welsh language.

The working class culture that Jones writes about is an interesting read, especially as this was Jones' own lifestyle. He was a working class, political activist and that definitely shines through brightly in Cwmardy. The role of Len has strong links to Lewis Jones himself and in this light, makes reading even more interesting.

Admittedly, the beginning of the book didn't hold my attention much. It begins with setting the scene in Len's house and dealing with certain tragedies but other than that, there isn't much to read. However, I kept on with it and it did improve. I'm not sure how much someone would enjoy reading Cwmardy for purely entertainment reasons but as an insight into working class Welsh mining families/villages it's fascinating and well worth reading.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Package from New Chapter Press!

New Chapter Press were kind enough to send out a package of some of their new releases. This what they sent!

Internet Dating 101 by Laura Schreffler

 An all-encompassing guide for those wanting to use social media to look for love in the digital age, "Internet Dating 101: It's Complicated . . . But It Doesn't Have to Be!" is a humorous yet helpful book that navigates the ins and outs of Facebook, Twitter, online dating sites, e-mail, Foursquare, and more. Filled with testimonials from men and women, this relationship reference also includes information on what should and shouldn't be posted on Facebook, appropriate times to tweet photos, the best and worst dating websites, and situations in which it's best to send an e-mail, pick up the phone, or simply chat in person. Arming people with the tools necessary to attract the mate they really want, this guide helps readers find out what their love interests are really like based on what they are--or aren't--saying, posting, tweeting, or e-mailing
Titanic, The Tennis Story by Lindsay Gibbs

Based on a stirring and remarkable true story, this work of historical fiction tells of the intertwined life of Dick Williams and Karl Behr who survived the sinking of the Titanic and went on to have Hall of Fame tennis careers. Two years before they faced each other in the U.S. Championships, the two men boarded the infamous ship as strangers. Dick, shy and gangly, was moving to America to pursue a tennis career. Karl, a dashing tennis veteran, was chasing after Helen, the love of his life. When tragedy struck and the unsinkable ship began to do so, the two men met dramatically on board the rescue ship Carpathia and leaned on each other—literally and figuratively—to survive those few days before reaching land. But as they reached the shores of the United States, they both did all they could to distance themselves from the disaster, until a fateful 1914 U.S. Championships draw forced them to face each other once again. An emotional and touching work, this novel seamlessly weaves history and fiction with themes of love, friendship, and above all perseverance.

A Backhanded Gift by Marshall Jon Fisher
It’s the late 1980s, just before the fall of the Berlin Wall, and Robert Cherney, a 30-year-old aspiring writer, has left New York City for a job teaching tennis in Munich. Aside from private lessons, he coaches the Maccabi Club men's league team, a motley group of neurotics whose eccentricities seem exacerbated by their situation as Jews living in Germany. They have made fortunes in postwar Germany but are hounded daily by the ghosts of the past and wracked with guilt over living so blithely among their parents’ tormentors. One of the players on Robert's team is his best friend in Munich, Max Altmann, a successful and wealthy young businessman who is also Robert’s employer, landlord, provocateur, and guide to Munich's nightlife. In addition to trying to figure out his life and not go crazy teaching tennis, Robert is trying to forget Lexa, the focus of years of erotic obsession back in New York. Helping him are Ingrid, a 40-ish Maccabi member and tennis pupil, and Veronique, a 25-year-old Jewish graduate student whom Max tries to set up with Robert. Love, tennis, sex, frustrated artistic ambition, and the dilemma of being a German Jew are all ingredients of this literary delight that is at turns serious and comedic.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Review // Speechless - Hannah Harrington

Published - 7th February 2012
Publisher - Mira
Format - Kindle
Synopsis - Everyone knows that Chelsea Knot can’t keep a secret 
Until now. Because the last secret she shared turned her into a social outcast—and nearly got someone killed. Now Chelsea has taken a vow of silence—to learn to keep her mouth shut, and to stop hurting anyone else. And if she thinks keeping secrets is hard, not speaking up when she’s ignored, ridiculed and even attacked is worse.
But there’s strength in silence, and in the new friends who are, shockingly, coming her way—people she never noticed before; a boy she might even fall for. If only her new friends can forgive what she’s done. If only she can forgive herself.

Let's start simple - I really enjoyed this book! The story was great, the characters were brilliant and the writing superb. All excellent. 
In my opinion, Speechless was only made better by the fact that Chelsea, the main character and the cause of all of the drama, is massively flawed. I LOVE it when characters are flawed, because, aren't we all? What's even better is that she knows it, hates it and works on it. 

Chelsea's vow of silence really made the book interesting to me. How would a book go about having the main character not speaking? I was intrigued as to how she would communicate with anyone, if she even would communicate. The techniques used by Harrington are simple but effective and honestly, I get the feeling that I would have disliked Chelsea had she continued to talk. This way, like Asha and Sam, we really do get to know Chelsea and I just adore her. All of the characters really. Like everyone else, I formed yet another book crush on the loveable loser, Sam and found myself wishing that Asha was my best friend too. I wonder what she'd make for me?

Plot-wise, honestly - nothing much happened. There was no incredible rush of action and adventure, and other than the scandal that pushes the book forward, there isn't much else to sink your teeth into but strangely, that was fine! I would say that Speechless is a book that not only shows the ignorance of small-minded people, but how a person is never just what they seem. Everyone deserves the chance to be who they are and to have real, solid, honest friends and to me, that's the most important thing about Speechless. Definitely recommend.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Top Ten Tuesday | Characters in Classics

Hosted by The Broke & The Bookish
This week's Top Ten is: Top Ten characters in a genre of YOUR choice!
With a lot of deliberating, i finally chose classics - so here is my ten.

1. Elizabeth Bennett (Pride & Prejudice)
2. Dorian Gray (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
3. Nancy (Oliver Twist)
4. Offred (The Handmaid's Tale)
5. Macbeth (Macbeth)
6. Huck Finn (Huckleberry Finn)
7. Heathcliff (Wuthering Heights)
8. Winston Smith (Nineteen Eighty-Four)
9. Alice (Alice in Wonderland)
10. Peter Pan (Peter Pan)

I picked these for different reasons. All ofthese characters *interest* me even if I don't necessarily *like* them. They all have a stubbornness that I admire and the will to believe in what they think is right, at least for a little while. Whilst I may not identify fully with each of these characters, they definitely have traits that I wish I had myself.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Review // A Witch Alone (Winter #3) - Ruth Warburton

Published - 7th February 2013
Publisher - Hodder Children's Books
Format - Paperback
Synopsis - Where do you go when your heart has been ripped out?
For Anna there is only one answer; into her past, where the truth about her mother, her power, and her real identity lie hidden.
But as Anna delves deeper into her history, she begins to fear that the truth about what set her mother running may be darker than she ever suspected. With the witches of the world on the brink of war, Seth gone, and her friend Abe wanting more from her than she can possibly give, Anna is in crisis.
As the clouds around her gather, Anna is torn between friends, family and rival tribes of witches and – at the last – between love and magic.

The third and final installment of Ruth Warburton's Winter Trilogy is finally making its way into the wild - hurrah! As I explained in my review of A Witch in Winter, I literally started reading this series because the covers are so beautiful and the final book is no exception - even prettier than the rest. But thankfully there is a lot more to this series than just a pretty cover. A Witch Alone has Anna facing all of her fears and anxieties about herself, her life, her heart and her mother. 

There is a lot more action, magic battling and general excitement this time around. There were parts of the book where I had to put the book down just to catch my breath! (Chapter 15, anyone?). A Witch Alone was a lot more emotional than I imagined it would be and my ever-growing love for Abe continued. If you've read my reviews of the other books in the series then you already know that i'm not a fan of Seth. I can't explain it and so for reasons that will become apparent when you read it, there were a few problems I had with the ending. I also expected a lot more of Anna's mother's story that never seemed to come but I think all of these things are personal to me (I always want to know more!)

Warburton's writing draws you in and never let's you go. It's been a couple of days now since I finished A Witch Alone and i'm still feeling anxious from all of the events. If you're already a fan of the Winter Trilogy then you won't be disappointed, and if you're not - why not?

Review of A Witch in Winter - here
Review of A Witch in Love - here

Giveaway Winner!

The winner of the Paulette Mahurin giveaway was...

Amber Maltby!

Congratulations and we'll be in touch soon with your prize :)

Sunday, 3 February 2013

2013 Ebook Challenge | DVD Level

I've decided to take part in the 2013 Ebook Challenge as a way of saving some space and to make the most of my Kindle :) Sign ups are open until the end of the year! I'm choosing the DVD level. Risky but I think I can do it! You can keep track of how i'm doing with this challenge on the top tab of the blog.

The Ebook Challenge!

Challenge Guidelines:
  1. This challenge will run from Jan 1, 2013 – Dec 31, 2013.
  2. Anyone can join, you don’t need to be a blogger. If you don’t have a blog, feel free to sign-up in the comments. You can post reviews to any book site (i.e. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Goodreads, etc).
  3. Any genre or length of book counts, as long as it is in ebook format.
  4. You can plan your books in advance or as you read them.
  5. When you sign up in the linky, put the direct link to your post about joining the E-Book Reading Challenge.
  6. You can move up levels, but no moving down.
  7. Sign-ups will be open until Dec 15, 2013, so feel free to join at any time throughout the year.
  1. Floppy disk – 5 ebooks
  2. CD – 10 ebooks
  3. DVD – 25 ebooks
  4. Memory stick – 50 ebooks
  5. Hard drive – 75 ebooks
  6. Server – 100 ebooks
  7. Human brain – 150 ebooks

Friday, 1 February 2013

Review // The Fallen Star - Jessica Sorensen

Published - 11th September 2011 
Publisher - Createspace 
Format - Kindle 
Synopsis - For eighteen year-old Gemma, life has never been normal. Up until recently, she has been incapable of feeling emotion. And when she's around Alex, the gorgeous new guy at school, she can feel electricity that makes her skin buzz. Not to mention the monsters that haunt her nightmares have crossed over into real-life. But with Alex seeming to hate her and secrets popping up everywhere, Gemma's life is turning into a chaotic mess. Things that shouldn't be real suddenly seem to exist. And as her world falls apart, figuring out the secrets of her past becomes a matter of life and death.

The Fallen Star was recommended to me by my sister-in-law and it seems like everyone is reading it right now so as it's available for FREE on Amazon for the Kindle right now, I thought why not?

It took me until around 20% to really get into the book, which may be affected by the fact I was only reading it periodically up until that point but once I got into!

My main problem with this book was the over-done romance storyline (socially awkward girl, meets cute guy who seems to hate her for no reason, forced together for school project etc etc..) which was highly reminiscent of both Twilight and Hush, Hush. However, Sorensen went one better and kicked it up a notch with literally, electricity running between Gemma and Alex.

The story itself though was truly gripping. Constant tension, excitement and adventure ran through every page with a gradual reveal of the secrets Gemma has been looking for her entire life. There is a LOT going on in this book and usually that annoys me because although it's a completely different world, it should still feel realistic and sometimes that fails (i'm looking at TVD and Sookie Stackhouse books here) but Sorensen manages to avoid that pitfall and it just works. The Fallen Star is the first book in the series and the cliffhanger we're left with is shocking and emotional. I immediately went and bought the rest of the series for my Kindle (at around 80p each - bargain!) and i'm very much looking forward to seeing what the hell happened. You should definitely pick this up.

January Wrap-Up

These are the books that I managed to get through during January!

1. Grave Surprise - Charlaine Harris
2. Naomi & Ely's No Kiss List - Levithan & Cohn
3. In A New York Minute - Eleanor Moran
4. The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap - Paulette Mahurin
5. Geek Girl - Holly Smale

What did you read in January?
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