Saturday 30 June 2012

Best of the Bunch June 2012

Best of the Bunch is a meme 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.


June 2012
This month I have reviewed on the blog...

  • Purity by Jackson Pearce My Review- 3.5 of 5 stars
  • The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa My Review- 5 of 5 stars
  • Unravelling by Elizabeth Norris My Review- 5 of 5 stars
  • City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare My Review- 5 of 5 stars
  • The Selection by Keira Cass My Review- 4 of 5 stars
  • The Girl in the Clockwork Collar by Kady Cross My Review- 4.5 of 5 stars
  • Married With Zombies by Jesse Petersen Read-a-long- 4 of 5 stars
and the award for Best of the Bunch May 2012 goes to...


...drumroll...


... The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa!




This story kept me gripped all the way through. I love the characters, the dark dystopian setting, the depth of detail throughout, and the amazing journey that Alison finds herself on. It is an emotional adventure and a great story- I loved it, and can't wait for the next in the series. 
Read my Full Review




Goodreads
"In a future world, vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity."
Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.

Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of "them." The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked--and given the ultimate choice. Die...or become one of the monsters.

Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.

Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend--a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.

But it isn't easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what--and who--is worth dying for.

Honourable mention has to go to Unravelling by Elizabeth Norris- 5 stars- "Exciting, powerful, and cleverly brilliant. An intense sci-fi mystery/thriller with an emotional tug". I loved it.

So, which book do you award your Best of the Bunch?
Let me know- "who gets your bananas?"






Friday 29 June 2012

Married With Zombies scavenger hunt readalong week 5

This is week 5 of the Married With Zombies scavenger hunt readalong. Todays questions are hosted by Missie at The Unread Reader.




Chapters 21-26


1. In Chapter 21, David and Sarah venture into a grocery store to try to find some essentials. Show us a picture of the top three items you consider your essentials when you go shopping.


Absolute shopping essentials for me are- milk (I drink a lot of tea with milk), and cheese (I love cheese, I grate it onto everything). Thirdly would be chocolate but I don't have any in the house to take a picture of at the moment (I ate it all- it's been a tough week).












2. Sarah and David travel quite a distance to “visit” a family member. Show us a picture of your most recent family vacation. Who did you visit and where did you go?

My family live about an hour away from me. A couple of weeks ago I went up to visit for my nephew's first birthday party. He is seriously such a little cutie pie.


3. Sarah refers to David’s sister as the Martha Stewart type because she likes to make things from scratch. Show us a picture a hobby or home project you get enthusiastic about making/ doing.

I'm not very crafty, but I have made creatures and things out of plastic beads (none of them are in the house are the moment so I couldn't take a picture). I have also had a go at making my own jewellery out of beads and wire, and I have an enormous cross stitch picture of a horse at sunset that I work on occasionally (but haven't gotten very far with in 3 years!)



4. David and Sarah decide to start up their own Zombie exterminators business, and even come up with a name and slogan for it, “S and D Zombie Extermination. We take care of your undead issues.” If you opened up your own zombie killing business, what would you call it, and what would your slogan be?

How about...
"Hasta La Vista, Zombie!"








5. What were your favorite/least favorite parts of Married with Zombies? Aside from David and Sarah, who was your favorite/least favorite character?

I like it at the beginning when they are still arguing a lot over really petty things- that it very funny. When Sarah kills the zombie with the toilet seat that David annoyingly left up... again!
Amanda is a great character. She is so ditzy that she gets the best one-liners. Least favourite characters were the crazy cult people living in the casino- weirdos! 

6. What do you think is coming up next for David and Sarah? Which do you think has a better chance of survival, their marriage or their humanity? Will you continue reading this series, and if so, what do you hope to see happen in the next book?

I really enjoyed this book, and I will keep on reading the rest of the series. It took me a year to get around to reading this book though! I loved the way David and Sarah's relationship grew stronger as the story progressed. It took a zombie invasion for them to learn to listen to each other and trust each other. It's exciting and very funny as well. Hopefully, in the next book they will find out if the rest of their family is okay, and will see how far the infection has spread- is it just limited to a certain perimeter, or has it taken over all of America/ the world? 


 My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Synopsis from Goodreads:
A heartwarming tale of terror in the middle of the zombie apocalypse.

Meet Sarah and David.

Once upon a time they met and fell in love. But now they're on the verge of divorce and going to couples' counseling. On a routine trip to their counselor, they notice a few odd things - the lack of cars on the highway, the missing security guard, and the fact that their counselor, Dr. Kelly, is ripping out her previous client's throat.

Meet the Zombies.

Now, Sarah and David are fighting for survival in the middle of the zombie apocalypse. But, just because there are zombies, doesn't mean your other problems go away. If the zombies don't eat their brains, they might just kill each other.

Thursday 28 June 2012

From The Review Pile #6

From The Review Pile is a weekly meme hosted by Stephanie at Stepping Out Of The Page, where bloggers and reviewers can showcase all those books received for review that we really want to read, but haven't managed to get around to reading yet.




I've had this one for absolutely ages. I just need to read it already! This is vampires and witches, clan wars and a forbidden romance. Sounds pretty good right? Now if only I had more hours in the day to read...



Crave by Melissa Darnell


Goodreads
Bloodlust. Magic. Forbidden secrets. 

When Savannah Colbert returns to school after a mystery illness, the fact that she has changed is clear to everyone. None more so than every school girls golden boy Tristan Coleman. Ever since their first kiss in fourth grade, Savannah and Tristan have been cruelly and inexplicably banned from associating with each other. Now, as the pair navigate the tricky social life of high school, the truth is about to be revealed. 

As Savannah learns of their paranormal ancestry and Tristan deals with the repercussions of her new powers, the relationship they have been denied for so long becomes utterly irresistible and all consuming. Like Romeo and Juliet centuries before them, Savannah and Tristan’s love is destined to fail; and Tristan’s powerful magical family, the Clann, are watching.


Published in the UK 6th April 2012 by Mira Ink
First Published in the US 18th October 2011 by Harlequin Teen


Has anyone read it already? What did you think?



Wednesday 27 June 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #18

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 am dying to read this book. I absolutely love this series, and after the major cliffhanger ending of book 3 I NEED to know what happens next! I very rarely re-read books because there are so many other books I need to read instead, but I do re-read this series from time to time- I love it! 


This is Book 4 in the Tiger series.



Tiger's Destiny by Colleen Houck
Goodreads
With three of the goddess Durga's quests behind them, only one prophecy now stands in the way of Kelsey, Ren, and Kishan breaking the tiger's curse. But the trio's greatest challenge awaits them: A life-endangering pursuit in search of Durga's final gift, the Rope of Fire, on the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal. It's a race against time--and the evil sorcerer Lokesh--in this eagerly anticipated fourth volume in the bestselling "Tiger's Curse" series, which pits good against evil, tests the bonds of love and loyalty, and finally reveals the tigers' true destinies once and for all.


Due out 4th September 2012

Rest of the series:


Book 1-
Tiger's Curse 


My Review







Book 2-
Tiger's Quest


My Review










Book 3-
Tiger's Voyage


My Review




Sunday 24 June 2012

What should I read next?

This rarely happens to me- but I have absolutely no new books this week- none at all!
So... time to catch up on the mammoth reading pile I have already! 

By the end of this weekend I hope to finish reading Last Echo, and be a good way through Pushing The Limits. So the next question is- "What should I read next?!" Help me decide-


What should I read next?
  
pollcode.com free polls 






Coming up this week...
I have a bunch of book reviews coming (I have read some fabulous books lately!) and an interview with  Ransom Riggs, author of the amazing Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, so look out for that this week.

Saturday is the last day of June, so it's time for another Best Of The Bunch award ceremony. This is a monthly meme hosted here at Always Lost in Stories, where we can showcase our book reviews for the month/ sum up our month on the blog, and give an award to our favourite book of that month. See here for for info on how to join in, to grab the stickers, and to see previous months winners. If you usually do a monthly wrap-up post at the end of the month why not tie it into Best Of The Bunch, and add your link to the linky list on Saturday? (Or any time in July).

Thursday 21 June 2012

From The Review Pile #5

From The Review Pile is a weekly meme hosted by Stephanie at Stepping Out Of The Page, where bloggers and reviewers can showcase all those books received for review that we really want to read, but haven't managed to get around to reading yet.




When I requested this one from Netgalley earlier this year I had a copy of the first book but hadn't even read it yet. I'd heard a lot of good things about it though. Getting approved to read this sequel DID spur me on to read Spellbound, which I loved (read my review of it here), and I still don't know why I haven't read this next one yet. I'm eager to know how the story progresses.  
Spellbound I loved because it was funny, sweet and original. It is a book about reincarnation, meeting your true love, a curse, and plenty of myths and legends. 
This is book 2 in the series. 




Spellcaster by Cara Lynn Shultz


Goodreads


Finding your eternal soulmate - easy.

Stopping a true-love-hungry evil - not so much…

After breaking a centuries-old romantic curse, Emma Connor is (almost) glad to get back to normal problems. Although...it's not easy dealing with the jealous cliques and gossip that rule her exclusive Upper East Side prep, even for a sixteen-year-old newbie witch. Having the most-wanted boy in school as her eternal soul mate sure helps ease the pain-especially since wealthy, rocker-hot Brendan Salinger is very good at staying irresistibly close....

But something dark and hungry is using Emma and Brendan's deepest fears to reveal damaging secrets and destroy their trust in each other. And Emma's crash course in ├╝ber-spells may not be enough to keep them safe…or to stop an inhuman force bent on making their unsuspected power its own.


Published 27th March 2012





Has anyone else read it yet? What did you think of it?

Wednesday 20 June 2012

Review: The Girl in the Clockwork Collar by Kady Cross


The Girl in the Clockwork Collar by Kady Cross
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars


Source: Publisher via Netgalley


Synopsis from Goodreads:
In New York City, 1897, life has never been more thrilling - or dangerous.

Sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne and her "straynge band of mysfits" have journeyed from London to America to rescue their friend Jasper, hauled off by bounty hunters. But Jasper is in the clutches of a devious former friend demanding a trade-the dangerous device Jasper stole from him...for the life of the girl Jasper loves.

One false move from Jasper and the strange clockwork collar around Mei's neck tightens. And tightens.




Book 2 in the Steampunk Chronicles
I absolutely adored the first book in this series The Girl in the Steel Corset (read my review of it here) and Kady Cross has done it again with The Girl in the Clockwork Collar. These books are just so much fun! I think I have a grin on my face the whole time I am reading it- it's quirky and endearing and just so cool! I want to live in this steampunk work she has created!

Griffin, Finley and the gang, have dashed off to New York city to rescue their friend Jasper, who is being held by a gangster and who is holding him there by keeping as hostage Jasper's ex-girlfriend Mei, and threatening her with a un-removable clockwork collar. This will tighten if she tries to escape, or if either she or Jasper don't do as they're told. All throughout there is a threat of danger, of not knowing who can be trusted, and all sorts of clues and revelations.

I just love Griffin and Finley together. Their relationship is a constant backwards and forwards where they obviously both really like each other, but neither one is going to do anything about it.  I like that he will tell her to stay put and stay safe, and she will go off and do the exact opposite! They are written as teenagers- Finley is sixteen and Griffin is eighteen- but they come across as so much older and more worldly experienced.

I did miss the roguish Jack Dandy from the first book in this sequel. I like that he acts all dangerous, but is really a gentleman to Finley. His only appearance in this book is to send Finley flowers and really wind up Griffin! But I adore the other charatcers- smart scientist Emily, and gruff Sam, and there is a real bond of camaraderie between these main four characters that I enjoyed.

I cannot get enough of the amazing mechanical/ steampunk/ Victorian world that they live in- really, I really do want to live there! This book is exciting, sweet and cleverly brilliant, with a hint of magic, a hint of danger and a dash of romance. The characters are like Victorian era superheroes, and I love the unexpected twists and turns in the plot, that kept me glued to my book. Steampunk-tastic! Next one please!

Thanks to Harlequin and Netgalley for my review copy.




Tuesday 19 June 2012

Review: The Selection by Keira Cass


The Selection by Kiera Cass



My rating: 4 of 5 stars



Source: Audiobook

Synopsis from Goodreads:
For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself- and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.




I really enjoyed The Selection for it's fun and originality. It's like a futuristic Cinderella with elements of reality television.

It is set in a society where your place in life is determined by your social status or caste. Everyone is a number based on rank, and this restricts who can marry, and what kinds of jobs you can do. The Selection, to choose a new queen, could only occur once a generation. The royal prince will choose a bride from out of the general population, so for many girls it is the only chance they have to leave the caste they were born into.

America is probably the only eligible girl who doesn't want to picked for the selection, but is coerced into it by her ambitious mother. When she accidentally finds herself one of the shortlisted girls sent to live at the palace, she decides to come clean to the Prince- admit that she's there by mistake, and offers to be an ally- giving him the inside scoop on the other girls, and spying on the gossip.

America is really only there to make the best of the situation she is in, the break from her hard-working normal life, and to enjoy the good food, but her attitude and honesty is so refreshing to the prince, that he comes to really enjoy her easy company and to value her friendship.

This book has (rather unfairly) been compared to The Hunger Games. While there are a few similarities in some ways, It isn't a thing like this book really.

Similarities to The Hunger Games

  • The dystopian setting.
  • The fact that the main character comes from a poor background and already has a secret boyfriend back home.
  • The fact that the whole thing is televised to a nation that is impoverished. That people are actually numbered by class.
  • The dressing up in new elegant dresses, the interviews.
  • The need to  "put on a show".
  • The elimination of characters one by one- there can only be one winner.
  • The main character is acting a greater degree of romance than she feels to help her survive the contest. She is still unsure of her true feelings.


I don't know at the moment if I am Team Aspen because they have such a history together, and a real sense of belonging together-  or if I am Team Maxon because I loved his genuine down-to-earth personality. He has a real ease and friendliness with everybody, and a real determination to do the right thing and to be the best that he can be. He is a real gentleman and so sweet.

America is a great character who is stubborn and determined to do things her own way- even if she's breaking the rules. She is very clever, manipulating her mother, but also earns the respect of the girls at the palace by her brilliant playing of music. She earns the respect of the maids in the palace by treating them like valued human beings, and she earns Maxim's respect with her honest and un-fake character. Ultimately, I really feel for America and the choice that she has to make.

I enjoyed the harsh world of the book, with a hint of a war outside, and a rebellion- but especially America's new life within the palace, learning new rules and codes of conduct. She finds that even with rich food, and luxurious surroundings they are in constant danger of attack, and life in the palace is not an easy life. She starts to appreciate exactly what Maxim has to deal with on a daily basis.

I also really liked the relationship between the girls. Some of them form a real bond, and feel that they will be sisters forever no matter what happens, but there is also some bitchiness and back-stabbing between the girls. Some of the girls also seem more interested in winning the crown than in winning Prince Maxon.

This was such a sweet, but emotional read. I loved it, but I have taken off a star because of the incredibly unsatisfying  unresolved ending. This was very frustrating to me, but the bulk of the book moved at a good pace, and kept me desperate to read more to see what would happen next. I especially liked the development of America's friendship with Maxon, born out of unusual circumstances, and America's stubborn character.


Monday 18 June 2012

Blog Tour stop - Sherry Soule talks YA books


Today on the blog I'd like to welcome YA author Sherry Soule, as part of her Moonlight Mayhem blog tour, writing a guest post on her love of YA books. Thanks so much for stopping by- take it away Sherry!

"Why YA books rock!"
--------------------------------------


Hi everybody, I’m author, Sherry Soule—waving from the SF Bay Area, where it can get pretty foggy. And I can’t believe that summer’s finally here, and even with the fog burning off by afternoon, I’m cranking the air conditioner and chatting on Twitter about my love of reading.

Thanks for letting me visit today as part of my epic Moonlight Mayhem Blog Tour. It’s an honor to be a guest and meet all these awesome booklovers.
Thus far, my tour has been so much fun for me and all the followers that participated. It is nice seeing the familiar names in the comments at each stop. For those of you who haven’t heard of my super fun Moonlight Mayhem blog tour it’s not too late to join!



I am older (don’t ask me “how” old) and I’ve always loved YA literature. I love reading this genre because it is an escape from my own quiet, somewhat boring life, and I can experience excitement, romance, and fantasy. I think most Young Adult novels are fast-paced and exhilarating, and they are often written in a style that is engrossing and easy-to-read with story-driven or character-driven plotlines. I love that there are so many books created into a series nowadays, so that you can keep sharing more adventures with your favorite characters.


Could my love of YA be simply because I’m still stuck at age 17, a teenager-at-heart in disguise?
Yup. And like many of you, I’ve read hundreds of YA books (you’re NEVER too old to read young adult novels, IMHO) and I can’t actually say I didn’t enjoy them all. Some I loved and I mean “LOVED”, and even felt compelled to email the author to let her know how much I enjoyed her book. Other novels became good friends that I didn’t want to ever part with, so they adorn my bookshelves and wait patiently to be reread again one day. Others were simply read and then disregarded with a contented smile. I am never embarrassed to buy YA books (although I buy most of my books online @ Amazon) in bookstores or carry them around with me. I love the genre and always have. Always will.
I realize that we all have different tastes in literature. Most of you will have varied genres that you read and other genres that are like old friends, and probably some of my favorite books are simply your satisfied sighs and forgotten reads. That is what makes the world of YA so dang fascinating. Each one of us will enjoy different types of characters, plots, and of course, a writer’s voice, the way ONLY they can tell a story.
Personally, I like to read and write darker, edgier YA novels. I like to read and write anything with a paranormal theme and it must have romance. I write to connect with readers that love paranormal/romance themes, too.
Below I’ve listed a few of my favorite YA authors and major influences, in no particular order:

Jennifer L. Armintrout
Kate Evangelista
Angeline Kace
Carolyn MacCullough
Lauren Kate
Stephenie Meyer
Christopher Pike
Lili St. Crow
Lois Duncan
L. J. Smith
Ellen Schreiber
P.C. Cast
Kristen Cast
Joan Lowery Nixon
Kiersten White
Alyson Noel
Amanda Hocking
I mainly read the paranormal genre (obviously), add that with a dash of dystopian, a healthy dose of horror, but rarely contemporary genres; however, I enjoy anything that has romance.
As you can probably tell if you’d read my books, I tend to write dark, tormented heroines. I love the angst of a female protagonist trying to come to terms with some dark secret or horrific event in her past, and usually, she ends up facing this fear, weakness, or threat, with a strong, hot hero by her side. I also enjoy writing suspense and romance, with a dash of horror or paranormal. Oh!—and I love to create an evil villain that is unquestionably devious, but complex. My antiheroes always possess some redeeming features. Because of these factors, I think it makes them much more interesting villains. And my heroines are typically intelligent, snarky, and full of fight. Like my girl, Shiloh Ravenwolf in the Spellbound series—she’s feisty, witty, and kickbutt. You gotta admire Shiloh’s spunk and determination. When I grow up, I wanna just like her…or a vampire, or a ninja. Not sure which…


Moonlight Mayhem by Sherry Soule
Book 2 in the Spellbound series


Otherworldly Creatures. Dazzling Magic. Fiery Romance.

Shiloh Ravenwolf thought she was getting used to the strange events in Whispering Pines, until the full moon brings another surge of supernatural threats to her coastal town. Ferocious wolves, deadly necromancers, and shambling zombies have descended upon the neighborhood, so Shiloh needs to gain control of her magical abilities—fast!
It sucks that she has a crippling fear of the dark, which for a demon hunter can be an epic problem.
When her classmates are attacked by a mysterious creature and her father is murdered, Shiloh vows vengeance. Forcing her phobias aside, she forms an unlikely coven of supernaturally gifted teens to help her eradicate this menace. Except that's not all Shiloh has to worry about. She’s battling a different monster within herself and struggling not to become the very thing she fights: evil.
But with demon blood inside her—anything can happen…

Where you can find author, Sherry Soule online:
Official Spellbound Series Universe: http://thespellboundseries.blogspot.com
Twitter @WriterSherry: http://twitter.com/writersherry
Book Trailers/YouTube: http://youtu.be/5uqVXKygvUs

I love hearing from avid YA readers at www.sherrysoule.blogspot.com You can send me an email with any questions you have about the series and or if you just want to drop me a line and tell me how much you enjoyed my stories via email. Or join my Twitter, @WriterSherry for a fun chat!
Twitter hashtag: #MMBlogTour


Sunday 17 June 2012

In My Mailbox 17th June 2012

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren, where we can show off the books we have gotten over the past week- whether bought, borrowed, swapped, or given for review.
This feature was started to showcase our books, to improve our awareness of all the books coming out, and to increase interactions between book bloggers. 




I got some amazing books this week. I got...


From the library:



  • The Storyteller by Antonia Michaelis. This is one that has been on my wishlist for a while, described as " a dark, haunting, contemporary story that is part mystery, part romance, and part melodrama."







  • Half Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I have read so many amazing reviews and seen so many bloggers gushing about this series. I have to read it to see if it lives up to the hype!





  • Apocalypse Cow by Michael Logan. Zombie Cows! This sounds very funny, (even the title and cover crack me up), and very unique. I owe this one to the great review at Mel's Random Reviews







  • White Horse by Alex Adams. Another one I've been waiting for for a while. This is a post-disaster survival story, focusing on a pregnant woman's struggle to get back to her husband. 







  • Blood Rights by Kristen Painter. This is the first book in a series about courtly vampires. I've heard a few good things about it, so I'm looking forward to reading it. 







For Review:

  • Dearly, Beloved by Lia Habel. OH EM GEE! How excited am I to get a copy of this! Squee! This is book 2 in the Gone With The Respiration series. The first one is titled Dearly, Departed, and I absolutely loved it. It won my Best Of The Bunch award for November 2011. It is a futuristic steampunk zombie romance- four words that you'd never think would go in a sentence together- but it works!
Thanks to Del Ray and Netgalley for the review copy. (This is the American cover, due to be published in September 2012. )

  • The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clare. This a story of pirates, assassins, magic, and adventure. It sounds thrilling, unique and charming. I'm looking forward to reading it. 
Thanks to Strange Chemistry and Netgalley for the review copy. This is due to be published in October 2012.





I'm so pleased with all the books I got this week- what did you get?
Happy reading!


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