Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Best of the Bunch February 2012 (and giveaway)

Best of the Bunch is a meme previously hosted at Lyrical Reviews, and now hosted here on the last day of each month, where we can look back over the books we have read and give a Best of the Bunch award to our favourite book of that month.
For more info and to grab the button and stickers visit the BOTB page here and then add your linky to the list below.


February 2012
This month I have reviewed on the blog:

  • Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore My Review (4.5 of 5 stars)
  • Crossed by Ally Condie My Review (4 of 5 stars)
  • Dark Parties by Sara Grant My Review (3 of 5 stars)
  • Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare My Review (5 of 5 stars)
  • Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber My Review (4 of 5 stars)
  • The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater My Review (3.5 of 5 stars)
  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer My Review (5 of 5 stars)

and the award for Best of the Bunch for Febrauary 2012 is going to go to...

...drumroll...

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare!

I just love this series- steampunk-tastic!
This book was so emotional, and also completely action packed, filled with shocking twists and unexpected betrayals, and still infused with Cassandra Clare's trademark humour.
Love it- I can't wait for the next book in the series, I have no doubt it'll make me fall in love and break my heart all over again!











Honourable mentions also go to Cinder and Texas Gothic- fantastic books.

So which book gets your award? Add the link to your post below and visit some of the blogs taking part. 



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The Giveaway part!


To kick off my first week being the new host for this meme I am also going to give a copy of this book away (because seriously- if you haven't already, you should read it).
One winner will win a copy of Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare. All you need to do to be in with a chance to win is fill in the form below- that's it!
(Be aware that this is book 2 in a series and you may want to read book 1 Clockwork Angel before starting this one).

The rules:
1. Open internationally (as long as The Book Depository ships to you)
2. You must be over 16 years old to enter.
3. You don't have to be a participant of the Best of the Bunch or a follower of the blog (but it is always appreciated if you like what you see!)
4. Contest closes 10th March. The winner will be chosen at random and notified by email. 
5. You may only fill in the form once. 
That's it! Good luck!

Sorry- this giveaway has now ended!

Monday, 27 February 2012

Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer


Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1) Cinder by Marissa Meyer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Synopsis from Goodreads:
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . . 

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.





When I first heard about this book I saw the words "cyborg Cinderella" and I wasn't interested at all. I really want to thank other bloggers and reviewers for keeping on raving about how great this book is, and making me curious enough to pick it up- because it's fantastic! Reading this has made such a refreshing change for me, and I love it so much I want to urge others to read it who are cynical like I was!

Cinder is so magically written that it really manages to conjour up images of dusty streets and crowded markets, cleverly mixing the sense of an old fashioned fairytale with futuristic technology, and with an eastern flavour about it. I became completely absorbed in this beautiful writing and swept up in the excitement of the story. It is based on the fairytale Cinderella, but is also so adapted and different, as to make it seem completely new and fresh. I have heard it decribed as a futuristic steampunk sci-fi novel, and as impossible as that is to imagine, it is also a very accurate description! You cannot pigeon hole this novel into any one category!

Cinder is a smart hard-working mechanic, but because of an accident as a child she is now mostly mechanical. Her hands and her leg below the knee are artificial, and she has built in sensors and programming in her head. She can access the net, and a light in the corner of her eye alerts her when someone is lying to her. Unfortunately for her, there is a lot of prejudice against cyborgs and they are treated as second-class citizens, even to the extent of being drafted in to be used as guinea pigs to find a cure for the plagues that have swept through the world.  The perfect representation of this hatred of cyborgs is Cinder's stepmother. She can't stand having her around, and is so cruel to her.

The story is set in New Beijing, after a series of wars that have devastated the world, and people are only just starting to pick up the pieces and start growing into a time of prosperity again. There are so many different threads to the story- the completely different slant on world politics, the wars on Earth, the devastating plagues, and the colonisation of the moon by a people with powers of manipulation and control. The Lunar queen is so terrifyingly evil and manipulative, and with her seeking an alliance with New Beijing with underlying threats of war if they don't comply, the royal family is in a difficult position.

Prince Kai is the kind of charming and down-to-earth prince that every girl hopes to stumble across and be swept off their feet by, and I just adored him instantly. He is just so friendly, and adorably insecure, and completely lovely. The growing attraction between him and Cinder was so sweet. The mixture of other characters really makes this story what it is. Cinder's wicked stepmother is deliciously spiteful and nasty. And the invading Lunar Queen is the epitome of evil conqueror. One of my favourite characters has to be Cinder's android assistant Iko, who has such a funny quirky personality about her. She has to hoard all sorts of odd treasures and wants to put on lipstick and talk about boys! She has a very sarcastic sense of humour for a robot! But Kai and Cinder are the stars of the story, and although I could go on and on about them, I'll instead just urge you to read the book for yourself.

I have been blown away by this fresh and magical debut novel. This has romance, mystery and intrigue, moments that make you smile, moments that make you cry, and a flawed but determined heroine. The descriptions of all the technology made it all seem very real as well. This story is so cool, and I adored these wonderful characters, and the whole world they live in. This is going to be a series, and the next book is due out in 2013. I can't wait!


Thanks to Macmillan Publishers and Netgalley for providing a copy of this book for review.

This is also available as an audiobook.
Audio Clip from the Macmillan Audio audiobook:



video





Sunday, 26 February 2012

In My Mailbox 26th February 2012

In My Mailbox is a weekly event hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren where book bloggers can talk about the books they've gotten the past week- whether bought, borrowed, swapped, or given for review. This feature was started to increase interaction between bloggers and to increase our awareness of all the new books coming out.
A good week in books for me! I got-


Bought:



  • Torn by Amanda Hocking. (Goodreads). This is book 2 in the Trylle Trilogy. I won a signed copy of book 1 Switched a few weeks ago, so now I have to keep on ordering copies of these books with the gorgeous American covers so that they match! They are so pretty. Can't wait to actually read one either- not just staring at them!




From the library:


  • Another Torn, this time by author Cat Clarke. (Goodreads). This sounds like a thrilling contemporary book about a tragedy on a school trip. "A compelling story of guilty secrets, troubled friendship and burgeoning love". It's getting great reviews so far and will count towards the Britsh Books Challenge.






  • Witch in Winter by Ruth Warburton. (Goodreads). This is one that I've been on a waiting list for for a while, so I'm thrilled I've finally got it. It sounds like a fantastic witchy story, and it's set in Cornwall, England as well, which I love. I'm very encouraged by the fact that it's written by a former book publisher too. This is another one for the British Books Challenge. 





  • Legend by Marie Lu. (Goodreads). This is another dystopian novel. There has been a lot of hype about this book, but I really like the sound of it, and haven't overdosed on dystopian books yet!






For review:


  • Allegiance by Cayla Kluver. (Goodreads). This is book 2 in the Legacy series, a fantasy series. I read a review by Lisa at Read Me, Bookmark Me, Love Me and it made me desperate to read this series. When I saw it on Netgalley I couldn't resist requesting it- I've just got to try and get hold of a copy of book 1 now!
Thanks to Netgalley and Harlequin publishers for the review e-copy.





Those were my books- hope you had a good week for books too.
Happy reading!

---------------------------------

On Wednesday, the monthly award for our Best of the Bunch book goes up on the blog. Let us know which book was your February favourite. Previously hosted by Lyrical Reviews, this is now held here, and to kick off being the new host, for the first 3 months I will also be giving away a copy of my monthly winner as well.
Visit the Best of the Bunch page for more info on how to join in. I would love to see you there!

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Review: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater


The Scorpio RacesThe Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater


My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars


Synopsis from Goodreads:
It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die. 

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them. 

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.





The thing I love about any of Maggie Stiefvater's books is that the writing is so beautiful. Scorpio Races definitely has a lyrical quality to it, that takes you away to another land. She has cleverly managed to create a world that feels both modern and real, but also ancient, otherworldly and mystical. Thisby is a little island set apart from the rest of the world, with it's own old-fashioned customs, festivals, and traditions. Although it's fictional and never properly elaborated on, from what was described of it, it felt like it was based on the remote Hebredian islands to the very far north of Scotland. It is such a small, closed off place that everyone knows everybody's secrets, and the oddball characters are just a part of life on the island.

So is the ever-present danger of the water horses. They are meat-eating predators that come up out of the ocean. These mystical horses are both beautiful and terrifying, and have taken the lives of many people on the island, including Puck (aka Kate)'s parents. I loved the way that these horses were presented as just a part of the island, and how the people living there have just grown used to being on alert for them at all times. Sean especially loves these horses and respects and understands them. He seems to have an instinctual understanding of how they think and move, and is the only one who can even try to control them.

Every year on Thisby the traditional Scorpio Races takes place on the beach- an extremely dangerous sport but also the highlight of the year on Thisby. Puck decides to enter the Scorpio Races on the spur of the moment to try to stop her older brother from walking out on her and little brother Finn, and because if she wins they won't be evicted from the house. But Sean also needs to win, because if he does his boss will let him buy his beloved horse off him.

Sean and Puck should be rivals, but instead, find a common bond. They are both outsiders, both have a grudge against Ben Malvern, and as they train together, they grow to be good friends, unexpectedly bringing out the best in each other. They both have problems with money or family, and are so very relatable as people that I connected with both of them, and loved how they grew in the book. Puck is a great heroine- feisty and very brave, and I although Sean is perceived by the other islanders as distant and mysterious because he avoids company and doesn't speak out- reading his story from his point of view shows that there is so much more going on with him as well.

This is a very sweet and magical story, and I really liked the dual narrative of both Puck and Sean. I loved how their relationship built up gradually, but honestly, I would have liked to see a lot more between them. The final race scene however, is very exciting and highly emotional- so tense and dangerous.

Rich in imagery and emotionally charged, this is a wonderful story that caught my imagination and made me believe in the tale being told. I swear I could almost feel the sea spray on my face! A lovely book, and breath of fresh sea air!

Alternate Cover:
US Cover













Buy from:


Free Audiobook Download from Audible.co.uk

Thursday, 23 February 2012

The Time Will Come #50

The Time Will Come is a weekly meme hosted by Jodie at Books For Company, where we can spotlight those books that we've had sitting on our shelves for too long. Books that we really want to read but never seem to get around to.


I really am going to read this one very soon. This is one of those sequels that I waited what seemed like AGES for- and then squealed in delight when it arrived in the post. It kept being the book that I was DEFINITELY reading next, but then something else would come up instead! I bought this back in September- I am going to read this one very soon, I have to know what happens next! I also just love these covers- I had to own these books because they look so pretty on my shelf! 







Vanish by Sophie Jordan


Synopsis from Goodreads:
An impossible romance.
Bitter rivalries.
Deadly choices.
 

To save the life of the boy she loves, Jacinda did the unthinkable: She betrayed the most closely-guarded secret of her kind. Now she must return to the protection of her pride knowing she might never see Will again—and worse, that because his mind has been shaded, Will’s memories of that fateful night and why she had to flee are gone. 

Back home, Jacinda is greeted with hostility and must work to prove her loyalty for both her sake and her family’s. Among the few who will even talk to her are Cassian, the pride’s heir apparent who has always wanted her, and her sister, Tamra, who has been forever changed by a twist of fate. Jacinda knows that she should forget Will and move on—that if he managed to remember and keep his promise to find her, it would only endanger them both. Yet she clings to the hope that someday they will be together again. When the chance arrives to follow her heart, will she risk everything for love?



 

Rest of the series-


Book 1
Book 3- coming soon

Firelight was a great read about a girl who shape-shifts into a dragon, a Draki. She is promised to the leader of their tribe, but her mother sneaks her and her sister away in the middle of the night to lead normal lives away from the pack. Hidden away in a small town in the desert Jacinda meets and falls for Will, whose family just happens to be... Draki hunters! So starts a dangerous forbidden romance story.
One of the only small complaints I had about this was that it was a little bit insta-love, and that it stopped right in the middle of the action and drama- on a major cliff-hanger! I did really enjoy it though, and I am definitely going to read Vanish very soon to find out what happens next- I just can't believe it's been sitting there so long and I still haven't read it yet!


Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #17

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where we can spotlight those books that are not yet published but that we are eagerly anticipating.


I feel like I have been waiting for this book forever! This is book 2 in a series- book 1 was titled Infinite Days and I loved it. (Review here). This was about a 592 year old ruthless vampire queen, who gives up her immortality and rejoins the human race as a 16 year old high school student. Clever, dark and romantic. 


The sequel is Stolen Night by Rebecca Maizel and is published in the UK in July 2012. 






Synopsis from Goodreads:
Lenah Beaudonte should be dead. But having sacrificed herself to save another, she finds herself awakening with strange powers that are neither vampire nor human - and a new enemy on her trail. In her vampire life, Lenah had thought that being human was all she ever wanted; but the human heart suffers pain, heartbreak and loss. With her new powers growing and the dark force of the Nex after her soul, Lenah faces a choice: between the mortal love of gorgeous Justin, whose passion fed her human soul, and taking a different path to become the mistress of her own destiny, wherever that may lead ..


 




Monday, 20 February 2012

Review: Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber


Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Synopsis from Goodreads:
Perry Stormaire is a normal high school senior– he is busy applying to college and rehearsing with his band –until he agrees to go to the prom with the Lithuanian exchange student who is staying with his family. It turns out that Gobi Zaksauskas is not the mousy teenager that she seems but rather an attractive, confident trained assassin. Instead of going to the prom, Perry finds himself on a wild ride through the streets of New York City as Gobi commandeers the Jaguar his father lent him for the prom in order to take out her targets. Perry learns a lot about himself – and ends up with some amazing material for his college application essays.

Published in the UK 5th March 2012 by Electric Monkey/ Egmont
 

I really enjoyed this. It is a fun, fast read that'll have you on the edge of your seat! It is very cool, completely action-packed and very thrilling. And that title is just genius!

Perry thinks he's being forced into taking the mousey dull exchange student to the senior prom. But actually she's a trained assassin on a mission through the streets of New York, and needs Perry to be her driver. Before his eyes she transforms from a shy and frumpy girl into this confident ballsy chick in a figure hugging dress.

This book definitely had me smiling at it's use of ironic action film cliches, and for how long it took Perry for the penny to drop! Gobi is absolutely hilarious, saying everything in such a pragmatic deadpan way, that Perry is never sure if she's kidding or not. I loved the character development of these two during the novel, as Perry sees that his original perceptions of Gobi as this dull, homely, quiet girl is so far from the truth, and likewise Perry starts off as a bit of a sap with no real ambition but very quickly grows up!

This is a unique feel-good coming of age story- but with explosions, shoot-outs and car chases through the streets of New York! A real adrenaline fueled rush that feels dangerous and right at the same time. Perry starts to come into his own and is made to lie to gangsters, floor it away from exploding buildings, and... is even encouraged to stand up to his father! What can I say- this book is pacy, hip, exciting and definitely original!

Each chapter is headed up with a question from a college application form, which somehow links in an ironic way to the action taking place in that chapter. This is very creative and seems to tie the story together really well. All of the questions made me so glad that I'm not applying to American colleges and having to try and answer any of them!

This is such a visual book, and all the way through I couldn't help feeling that this would make such a fantastic film. The film rights have actually been bought by Paramount Pictures, and I can't wait to see this played out on the big screen. This book would definitely appeal to male and female YA readers because it isn't just a gun-toting action thriller, it has humour and heart to it as well. Read it before the movie is made definitely!


Thanks to UK Book Tours and Electric Monkey the advance copy for review.


Alternate cover:




Published in the US October 2011 by Houghton Mifflin.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

In My Mailbox 19th February 2012

In My Mailbox is a weekly event hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren where book bloggers can talk about the books they've gotten the past week- whether bought, borrowed, swapped, or given for review. This feature was started to increase interaction between bloggers and to increase our awareness of all the new books coming out.
I didn't do an IMM post last week as I only had one book to show off, so this is two weeks worth of books. I did alright for books this week.


For Review:



  • Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber. (Goodreads). This was the one book I got last week. I read it already, and it's so cool, with high speed car chases, shoot-outs, and not your average prom night experience! (Review coming soon). 

Thanks to UK Book Tours and Electric Monkey for the advance copy of this book, due to be published in the UK in March (it is already out in America I believe).




From the Library:



  • Everneath by Brodi Ashton. (Goodreads).  I'm so excited to finally get to read this one, I've read so many amazing things about it. This is a new and modernised retelling of the Greek myth of Hades and Persephone.








  • If I Die by Rachel Vincent. (Goodreads). Yay! This is book 5 in the Soul Screamers series about Kaylee and Nash, two high school age banshees and their battles with the underworld. Love this series!







  • Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi. (Goodreads). I feel like I've been waiting for this book forever, although actually it's only been a few months since I first read about it and decided that I NEEDED to read it. Now it's finally come in, so yay! This is a new dysopian novel.






Gifted:
Someone at work was having a clear out, and brought in a couple of massive boxes of books for us to just help ourselves. I dug in and left with two bags full! Some of them I have already read from the library, but I love owning books I love so I can re-read them, and some of them I got just to add to my swapping pile on Read it, Swap it. Here are two that I haven't read yet that look good.


  • Strings Attached by Judy Blundell. (Goodreads). I read What I Saw, and How I Lied by this author a while back and liked it, so I'm going to give this one a go as well. According to the back of the book it is a "tale of a sixteen-year-old girl caught in a mix of love, mystery, Broadway glamour, and Mob retribution in 1950 New York."





  • Raising Demons by Rachel Hawkins. (Goodreads). This is book 2 in the Hex Hall series. Hex Hall is one of those books that I really want to read. I've borrowed it twice now from the library, renewed it time and time again, never gotten around to reading it, and eventually have had to return it. One day I will borrow it again and actually read it! 





That was all the amazing books I got this past fortnight. Can't wait to get stuck into reading them. Have you read of these? What did you think of them?
What books did you get this week? 
Happy reading!
x

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Review: Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare




Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices, #2)Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Synopsis from Goodreads:
The situation at the London Institute has never been more precarious. With Mortmain and his clockwork army still threatening, the Council wants to strip Charlotte of her power and hand the running of the Enclave over to the unscrupulous and power-hungry Benedict Lightwood. 

In the hope of saving Charlotte and the Institute, Will, Jem, and Tessa set out to unravel the secrets of Mortmain’s past—and discover unsettling Shadowhunter connections that hold the key not only to the enemy’s motivations, but also to the secret of Tessa’s identity. Tessa, already caught between the affections of Will and Jem, finds herself with another choice to make when she learns how the Shadowhunters helped make her a “monster.” Will she turn from them to her brother, Nate, who has been begging her to join him at Mortmain’s side? Where will her loyalties—and love—lie? Tessa alone can choose to save the Shadowhunters of London…or end them forever.





Book 2 in The Infernal Devices series

Wow! Amazing, brilliant, fantastic, wonderful.... can I give this book 6 stars out of 5?!

I absolutely love the way that Cassandra Clare writes. I love the Mortal Instruments series, and I love this series as well. All the books manage to be beautiful, exciting, powerful, and passionate and with a real emotional punch to them. But the thing I love most about these books is how clever they are. I absolutely love the witty humour about them- the bickering and the camaradery of the banter between the characters is so FUNNY. How can a book put a big grin on my face with it's jokes and then five minutes later break my heart with some emotional revelation? I don't know, but somehow this book manages it.

Actually, I change my mind- I think the thing I love most about these books is the romance plotline running through them. This side of the storyline is so well written and there is no insta-love or leap of the imagination to believe in it. I just adore both Jem and Will, and this book has left my head spinning so much that I honestly can't pick between them anymore! Tessa is swept up in their world, and caught up in all the drama of the scheming and demon-hunting around them.

There is a real "OH" moment in this book- one of those moments where suddenly everything is explained and everything fits into place. There is a reason why Will behaved like such a jerk in book 1 (and it's a really good reason!), and suddenly we see a completely different side to Will. A vulnerable and self-sacrificing side. We also see some of Will's history, and find out that he is not actually an orphan, but that there are family secrets hidden away.

All of them living within the institute have a real bond together, and they have created a family among themselves that was so heart-warming. We hear more about Charlotte and Henry's story, which made me love them even more. In this book Tessa really starts to feel like a useful and vital part of the team, helping to formulate their plans of attack and using her unusual powers for their benefit. She easily seems to fit in as part of the family of the Institute.

Having the book set in Victorian London just adds to the brilliance for me, as manners and conventions and dress codes must be followed, but there is a mix of traditional objects like carriages and this steampunk element of clockwork machines and mythical Victorian technology. It is also a world where warlocks and vampires exist but this secret other world hidden from the "Mundanes".

I think the reason it took me so long to finish reading this book isn't because it is too long or it couldn't hold my attention but because I didn't want to put the book down and move on to the next book. I love living in the world created by these stories- shadowhunters, demons, vampires, and clockwork creatures and the fantastic sense of emotional ties, and the drama of the plotlines, and I didn't want to walk away from it, or the constant sense of suspense wondering what will happen next.

With characters that are real and flawed, betrayals from within the Institute itself, curses, secret affairs, evil villains and a complex and passionate love triangle, this book is seriously recommended to anyone who loves a good fantasy story, a good tragic love story, or even just a good story!

Book 3 can't come soon enough!





Monday, 13 February 2012

Review: Dark Parties by Sara Grant




Dark PartiesDark Parties by Sara Grant
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Synopsis from Goodreads:
Sixteen-year-old Neva has been trapped since birth. She was born and raised under the Protectosphere, in an isolated nation ruled by fear, lies, and xenophobia. A shield "protects" them from the outside world, but also locks the citizens inside. But there's nothing left on the outside, ever since the world collapsed from violent warfare. Or so the government says... 

Neva and her best friend Sanna believe the government is lying and stage a "dark party" to recruit members for their underground rebellion. But as Neva begins to uncover the truth, she realizes she must question everything she's ever known, including the people she loves the most.



Neva keeps a list of The Missing - the people like her grandmother who were part of her life but who have now vanished. The people that everyone else pretends never existed. In a nation isolated beneath the dome of the Protectosphere - which is supposed to protect, but also imprisons - Neva and her friends dream of freedom. But life is becoming complicated for Neva. She's falling for her best friend's boyfriend - and she's learning more than she ever wanted to know about what might be happening to The Missing...





Despite the only 3 star rating this is not a bad book- it is actually a good book and I liked it. I really liked the world that was built inside the "protectosphere", and how everything is now old and falling apart, and nobody knows if it is even safe outside or not. Because generations have grown up inside the protectopshere everyone now looks very similar to each other, and Neva and her friends tattoo or scar themselves to make them distinctive. It is very creepy how the society that they live in expects that everybody will get married young and start having lots of babies.

It had a very real, very dark edge to it which I enjoyed. I felt like they were real teenagers, and I could connect to that. I also liked this dystopian model for preserving society- in a giant bubble with air mechanically pumped in, and having to recycle everything. I just felt that this idea has been done before, and done better (City of Ember, Inside Out, Eve).

I also didn't relate well to Neva. I thought she was quite fickle, and kept changing her mind who she was in love with. Her relationship with Braydon (her best friend's boyfriend) springs up out of nowhere, and she had been getting very serious with her boyfriend Ethan before that.

And also, considering everything that they are up against- the constant surveillence, that fact that any rebels just disappear, and the strong militaristic government- her childish attempts to form some kind of rebellion with her friends was very naive. Neva is protected by having a father in government who can vouch for her, and stand up to protect her, but her friends aren't so lucky, and it takes a long time for Neva to register what they are risking with their slogans and their petty pranks.

I did enjoy reading about Neva's memories of her Grandmother, who is now one of The Missing- people who just disappear one day accused of "unpatriotic acts". Her grandma calls her Little Snowflake and tells her that there is life outside of the protectosphere, and not to believe the lies of the official histories.

Neva tries to infiltrate right into the heart of the government in her attempts to learn the truth. There are secrets, and unexpected betrayals and an exciting escape from a cruel government facility. Overall- a good, enjoyable book. A dark and convincing dystopian tale.


My grandma told me once about a time, when we were different, a long, long time ago. Stories, handed down through the generations in whispers, about life before the Protectosphere. I still see her every day, even though she's long gone." Once upon a time my little snowflake," she'd say, "people were the most beautiful colours. Everyone was unique." That word made me giggle. "But it was too hard to be different and equal." She told me fantastic tales of wars caused by differences- different religions, different cultures, different skin colours. "We shut ourselves off. Now each generation grows more alike". Grandma was breaking one of the government's many unwritten rules. There's officially nothing before the Terror and the sealing of the Protectosphere, and nothing can survive outside it any more. But my grandma suspected that what's official is not always what's true. p10.

---

"The Protectosphere is killing us," Sanna blurts.Someone gasps. No one says things like that out loud. "We all know it. The government is squashing our future. Fewer choices, fewer resources. They keep us trapped with their lies. We deserve to know what's outside. There has to be more". P12.

Buy it from:


Free Audiobook Download from Audible.co.uk

Thursday, 9 February 2012

The Time Will Come #49

The Time Will Come is a weekly meme hosted by Jodie at Books For Company, where we can spotlight those books that we've had sitting on our shelves for too long. Books that we really want to read but never seem to get around to.


I bought this all the way back in July after reading some fantastic reviews on it- it sounds like so much fun, just quirky and funny and sweet. This is definitely the book to pick up one day when I need a good pick-me-up!




Fairy Bad Day by Amanda Ashby (Goodreads)


While most students at Burtonwood Academy get to kill demons and goblins, fifteen-year-old Emma gets to rid the world of little annoying fairies with glittery wings and a hipster fashion sense. She was destined to be a dragon slayer, but cute and charming Curtis stole her spot. Then she sees a giant killer fairy - and it's invisible to everyone but her! If Emma has any chance of stopping this evil fairy, she's going to need help. Unfortunately, the only person who can help is Curtis. And now, not only has he stolen her dragon-slayer spot, but maybe her heart as well! Why does she think it's going to be a fairy bad day?









Here are some amazing reviews of this book-


My Keeper Shelf (4 of 5 stars)
Buried in Books (5 of 5 stars)
Mel's Random Reviews (5 of 5 stars)
Candace's Book Blog (4 of 5 stars)

Monday, 6 February 2012

Review: Crossed by Ally Condie





My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads:
THE SOCIETY CHOOSES EVERYTHING.
THE BOOKS YOU READ
THE MUSIC YOU LISTEN TO.
THE PERSON YOU LOVE.
Yet for Cassia the rules have changed. Ky has been taken and she will sacrifice everything to find him.
And when Cassia discovers Ky has escaped to he wild frontiers beyond the Society there is hope.
But on the edge of society nothing is as it seems . . .
A REBELLION IS RISING.
And a tangled web of lies and double-crosses could destroy everything.



Book 2 in the Matched series

I loved this.
It was sweeping and desperate and harsh, but also a very clever and powerful dystopian novel.

At the end of Matched Ky and Cassia were seperated and Ky was sent to the outer provences to work as punishment. In Crossed Ky and Cassia both struggle to get back to each other in the middle of a war zone. Ky is trapped in a marshland, guarded by the military and is constantly under fire, but he is also so determinedly looking for a plan to escape and get back to the Society, and Cassia is desperately seeking a way to get out and search for where they have taken Ky.


Through the descriptions of the scenery and the action, we can tell that Ky and Cassia are getting nearer and nearer to finding each other, and the tension builds, and the story gets more and more dramatic as they get closer to each other. I loved the alternating chapters as we get to catch up with what is happening to the other one, and throughout all that happens to them, how they almost give up hope. They meet up with other characters along the way, all of them seeking something, and all just trying to survive.


I really liked that we got to see more of the Society from the outside. Outside of the control of having what and how much you eat, where you go, what you can do, and even having your thoughts and dreams monitored. Ky and Cassia treasure their scraps of forbidden poetry, and enjoy the freedom of being able to read and write whatever they like. They want to be free to love each other, and I felt the passion and determination between them.


I still have so many unanswered questions about the resistance movement, and I have no idea who should be trusted. This is definitely a middle book, as the action is not much further advanced at the end of book 2, and there is still no resolution, but I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and experiencing the pain, the loss, the hope and the heartbreak of this epic journey along with these great characters. It is exciting, fast-paced and there is a constant sense of being in danger. They are always discovering new things and dealing with new problems, and I was sorry when it ended. Overall- not as great as Matched but still pretty amazing! Bring on book 3!


Rest of the series:

Book 1- Matched
Book 3- Due out November 2012

Sunday, 5 February 2012

In My Mailbox 5th February 2012

In My Mailbox is a weekly event hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren where book bloggers can talk about the books they've gotten the past week- whether bought, borrowed, swapped, or given for review. This feature was started to increase interaction between bloggers and to increase our awareness of all the new books coming out.

I wasn't expecting to get any books this week, but I actually ended up having a pretty good week. I got-

Bought for kindle:

  • Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton. This is the sequel to Angelfire which I read and enjoyed last year. I'm looking forward to reading this one, and getting back into this action-packed series again. Plus I'm a complete sucker for a forbidden romance story!



  • Pyxis by K.C Neal. I keep seeing this about the blogosphere lately, and although I'm not totally sure what it's about, it was very cheap for kindle on Amazon so I will give it a shot. I seem to be loading my kindle up at the moment- for such a time when I run out of anything to read!



From the library:

  • Hallowed by Cynthia Hand. This is the sequel to Unearthly which has to be one of the best (if not the best) of the angel stories out there at the moment. I absolutely couldn't wait to get hold of this one (Tucker- I love you!). Yay!




  • Fated by Sarah Alderson. I really loved Hunting Lila by this author, and this new book about demons, promises to be just as good. This lady can really write a good love story- can't wait to read this one either.





Won:

Wow- I've been a lucky girl for prizes this week. Amber over at Down the Rabbit Hole put me onto the Bout of Books readathon held in January, which was great fun, and I not only connected with a bunch of other bloggers, but I also won a giveaway hosted by Joli at Actin' Up With Books for a book of my choice.
  • I chose Warped by Maurissa Guibord after reading a blog post about it, and adding it to my wishlist. This sounds like a really great book about a magical unicorn tapestry, and going back in time.
Seriously read the Goodreads synopsis and tell me you don't want to read this!
Thank you Joli!




  • I also won a signed copy of Switched by Amanda Hocking from a giveaway hosted by Asheley of Into the Hall of Books, which I'm really excited about. This is book 1 in the Trylle trilogy, about changelings (I think), and there is a lot of good hype about these books and this author. I can't wait to read this one, but in the meantime I'm happy just staring at the cover- how gorgeous is this book?!
Thank you Asheley!





Those were the books I got this week. What did you get?
Happy reading!
x

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Review: Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore


Texas GothicTexas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore


My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Amy Goodnight knows that the world isn't as simple as it seems—she grew up surrounded by household spells and benevolent ghosts. But she also understands that "normal" doesn't mix with magic, and she's worked hard to build a wall between the two worlds. Not only to protect any hope of ever having a normal life.

Ranch-sitting for her aunt in Texas should be exactly that. Good old ordinary, uneventful hard work. Only, Amy and her sister, Phin, aren't alone. There's someone in the house with them—and it's not the living, breathing, amazingly hot cowboy from the ranch next door.
It's a ghost, and it's more powerful than the Goodnights and all their protective spells combined. It wants something from Amy, and none of her carefully built defenses can hold it back.
This is the summer when the wall between Amy's worlds is going to come crashing down.




I know it sounds like a weird thing to confess but I really wasn't expecting much from this book. I just thought it would be another humdrum teen book, the usual thing- paranormal element, little bit of a romance, very predictable... I was wrong- It's not just good, it's great! I ended up thoroughly enjoying this book, and was very pleasantly surprised.


I was smiling from the very first line-
The goat was in the tree again.
and kept that grin through the rest of the book. Amy is a fabulous MC- smart, fiery and sarcastic, the only non-magical member in a family of witches, and the one who is relied upon to hold everything together, and to present a facade of normalcy to the rest of the world.


Amy and her sister have always grown up knowing about spells and magic potions, and knowing that their family is different from other families. When she meets bitter cowboy neighbour Ben they immediately grate on each other's nerves, and the bickering dialogue between them made for fantastically entertaining reading.


And I have to mention Amy's sister Phin, the mad-scientist type, who is so involved in her investigations and bizarre experiments that she is oblivious to what is going on around her, and more likely to be too busy attaching electrodes to pot plants, than to notice the guy who is noticing her! Amy's whole family were so fantastically bizarre that I just loved them, from all of their weird superstitions and stories, right down to the ghost of Uncle Burt rocking the chair on the porch.


Add in some malevolent ghosts, kitchen witchcraft, and feuding townsfolk, with a backstory fuelled with legends and tales that gave a fantastic sense of history and realism to the town and it's people. This is not only a story of a family of quirky witches it is also a detective story, as Amy and her family and her new friends from the University have to uncover not only the mystery behind the discovery of a group of skeletons on Ben's family's land, but also more recent unusual happenings fuelled by the old legends of the ghost of the "Mad Monk". And even cynical Ben has to concede that something unnatural is going on.


This became a sweet and spooky story, with a mystery element that put me in mind of Scooby Doo at times ("if it wasn't for them pesky kids") and a has given me a completely swoon-worthy new cowboy crush! Ben is grumpy and flippant at first, even mean- accusing Amy and her whole family of being crazy (she was chasing cows in her underwear at the time), but he is soon intrigued by her, and he is always a gentleman when it counts, and won't hestitate to come out and help her when she is in a fix. The slow growing attraction between them was lovely and so much fun- heartwarming and cute, and then pretty intense!


All the time I was reading this book I was visualising hot, dusty Texas, with wide open grassy spaces, big skies and mountains in the distance. I loved it! Overall this was funny, intelligent and endearing. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and I would definitely re-read this book.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

The Time Will Come #48

The Time Will Come is a weekly meme hosted by Jodie at Books For Company, where we can spotlight those books that we've had sitting on our shelves for too long. Books that we really want to read but never seem to get around to.

There are so many 5 star reviews of this book (it has a 4.56 average on Goodreads)- and I always think that's a good sign. I have read some reviews from bloggers who absolutely rave about this book, and as book 2 has also just come out, I'm now reading excellent 5 star reviews about the sequel as well. I really want to read this one day when I eventually find the time!

Exiled by M.R Merrick


Synopsis from Goodreads:

Chase Williams is a demon hunter in the Circle, or at least he was supposed to be. On his fifteenth birthday, Chase stepped up to the altar to claim his elemental power, but it never came. Elemental magic is passed down to a hunter through the bloodline, but on Chase's birthday, the bloodline stopped.

Exiled without the Circle's protection, Chase has spent two years trying to survive a world riddled with half-demons and magic. When he has a run in with a frightened and seemingly innocent demon, he learns the Circle's agenda has changed: the Circle plans to unlock a portal and unleash pure-blood demons into the world. Vowing to stop them, and knowing he can't do it alone, Chase forms a reluctant alliance with Rayna — a sexy witch with an attitude and a secret.
In their attempt to stop them, Chase and Rayna find themselves in the middle of the Circle's plan, leaving one of them to decide what their friendship is worth, and the other's life depending on it.

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