31 December 2011

Happy New Year!

I'll be back on Monday with the regular posts, but as I won't be talking to you guys before then, I want to wish you all a Happy New Year. I hope you all enjoy yourselves this New Years, and that you all have an excellent 2012. 

What are you guys doing to celebrate the new year? I was thinking about going to London, but I have caught a cold from my cousins so I'm staying at my uncle's house and drinking vodka and coke. Have a great night everyone!

21 December 2011

Question and Answer Post

Hey all! I'm planning on doing a Q&A post at some point in the next few weeks. If any of you have any questions for me, book related or not, then you can ask me questions in the comments. I'm also including a form that you can use if you would like to remain anonymous, or if you can't be bothered to log in to Google. And I just like making forms.

You can ask me questions on anything, like I said. If there is anything you wish to know about blogging or vlogging or reviewing books, then I would be more than happy to answer your questions! I get a lot of questions about ARCs and review copies, so I might have to split the post into sections.

I look forward to hearing all your questions!

Mid-Winters Ever Giveaway Hop! CLOSED

This giveaway hop is hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
I'm taking part in my first ever giveaway hop! I want to wish you all an early Merry Christmas, and I hope those of you who celebrate it will enjoy yourselves. I hope you all get everything you wish for - especially if you wish for a shelf load of books! 

You can fill in the form to win 
$10 to spend on Book Depository

- You must be over 13 years of age
(as long as BD delivers to your country)
- Giveaway ends on the 28th
- One entry per person
- Must be a follower

Check out the other awesome blogs on the linky below, and you might win some more prizes!

18 December 2011

In My Mailbox - (43)

hosted by The Story Siren

For Review: 
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Simon and Schuster)
Wolfsong by Amanda Prantera (Quartet Books)
Night School by C J Daugherty (Atom)
Cinder by Marissa Meyer (Puffin)

A Clash of Kings by George R R Martin

Blood Red Road by Moira Young (A HUGE thank you to Katherine!)

16 December 2011

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
The Infernal Devices #2
Release Date: December 6, 2011
Publisher: Walker Books
Source: Bought
Rating: Bland

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. - Goodreads
Clockwork Prince picks up just after Clockwork Angel ends. Charlotte is now struggling to stay as the head of the London Institute, Mortmain is still on the loose and the Shadowhunters aren’t sure what to do.

I absolutely loved the first book in the Infernal Devices trilogy, but unfortunately I didn’t enjoy Clockwork Prince. This book was very disappointing for me, as I am a fan of most of Clare’s other novels and I was expecting great things.

There is very little action in this novel which caused the plot to drag on. I was tempted many a time to skip pages just to see if it picked up, but of course I couldn’t do that because I hate spoilers! In addition to the lack of exciting scenes, the romance between Tessa, Will and Jem totally takes over this novel. There was far too much focus on the love triangle, and to be honest I thought that Clockwork Prince felt like a spin off or a fan fiction because of this.

Tessa, whom I absolutely adored in Clockwork Angel for her strong personality, made me want to tear my eyes out. I am so annoyed with her! I hate what she’s doing to Jem and Will, and she also comes across as a complete idiot at times. Tessa has turned into one of those weak, ignorant, indecisive female protagonists that I so despise.

We learnt a fair bit about Will and his backstory in this book, which I definitely enjoyed. I would have preferred it if it had played out differently, but of course I can’t go into detail on that due to spoilers!

Jem didn’t really have a huge storyline in Clockwork Prince other than to please Tessa. This was a huge let down, because I loved Jem’s character in the first book and I wanted him to do more than blend in with the wall.

In addition to Will’s development, we also see a lot of other characters in this book. We learn lots about various members of the Lightwood family, the Fairchild family, Mortmain and others. I enjoyed this, but in order for these side plots to be included the action was toned down. I would have preferred to have had more action over the miniature side plots.

Throughout the novel, the characters came out with references to- and quotations of what is now classic literature and poetry, which felt almost humorously out of place within the story or dialogue.

I’m sorry to say this, but I also thought that Clare’s writing style was very awkward to me. There were lots of awkward – I’m totally overusing this word, sorry! – sentences in terms of structure, with an excessive use of commas at times which was unnecessary and choppy. The dialogue in this book was also bland, and at many points in the story I wasn’t able to tell if a character was talking or if it was part of the paragraph.

Overall, I was extremely disappointed with Clockwork Prince. I think I am going to have to give up on Cassandra Clare’s books, as this is the second in a row that I haven’t enjoyed. I’m not sure if the fact that so many of her books being written and published in a short space of time is affecting the writing, but I don’t like this new style. As a result, I can’t recommend this novel, and I will not be reading Clockwork Princess.

I hope I managed to convey my thoughts and feelings on this book well enough, it was an extremely difficult review to write.

13 December 2011

Tempest by Julie Cross

Tempest by Julie Cross
Tempest #1
Release Date: January 5, 2012
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Source: Publisher
Rating: Essential

The year is 2009. Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun. 

That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future. 

Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities. 

But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler. Recruit… or kill him. 

Piecing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far he’s willing to go to save Holly… and possibly the entire world. - Goodreads

There are some fantastic books coming out early next year, let me tell you that. I’ve been working my way through my review pile this month, and I have come across some brilliant upcoming releases. Tempest by Julie Cross is one of those books.

As you may have concluded from the description, Tempest is about a guy named Jackson who has the ability to time travel. His girlfriend gets shot, and Jackson jumps back two years into the past, into 2007. He learns countless truths about his abilities and about his family, all the while trying to figure out a way to save his girlfriend, Hannah, from her fate.

The time travel in this book was brilliantly complex. I loved reading about Jackson discovering what he could and could not do with his powers, and I really enjoyed reading the parts in which he jumped backwards in time to learn more about what was going on. His trips back in time were extremely interesting and informative.

Jackson is an awesome character. It was really great reading from his point of view. He is kind and caring, but not in an over the top, feminine way. He’s still very manly and hot. He loves Hannah so, so much, and I was so pleased with the way Julie Cross portrayed his character and his relationship with Hannah. The romance plays a huge part in the plot, yet the author deals with it well and it doesn’t cast a shadow on the action or on the other characters.

There are lots of twists and turns in this book, some of which I didn’t see coming. I had no idea what was going to happen most of the time; I thought that the characters were going to do one thing and instead they did something completely different. Most of the mysteries were revealed by the end of the novel, yet many more came to light and more questions were left open for the sequel.

Tempest is a wonderfully rich debut which I thoroughly enjoyed. I cannot wait to read the sequel, and I will be on the edge of my seat while I wait for the movie.  

09 December 2011

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Under the Never Sky #1
Release Date: January 3, 2012 (US)
Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Publisher (via NetGalley)
Rating: Essential

Aria is a teenager in the enclosed city of Reverie. Like all Dwellers, she spends her time with friends in virtual environments, called Realms, accessed through an eyepiece called a Smarteye. Aria enjoys the Realms and the easy life in Reverie. When she is forced out of the pod for a crime she did not commit, she believes her death is imminent. The outside world is known as The Death Shop, with danger in every direction.

As an Outsider, Perry has always known hunger, vicious predators, and violent energy storms from the swirling electrified atmosphere called the Aether. A bit of an outcast even among his hunting tribe, Perry withstands these daily tests with his exceptional abilities, as he is gifted with powerful senses that enable him to scent danger, food and even human emotions.

They come together reluctantly, for Aria must depend on Perry, whom she considers a barbarian, to help her get back to Reverie, while Perry needs Aria to help unravel the mystery of his beloved nephew’s abduction by the Dwellers. Together they embark on a journey challenged as much by their prejudices as by encounters with cannibals and wolves. But to their surprise, Aria and Perry forge an unlikely love - one that will forever change the fate of all who live UNDER THE NEVER SKY. - Goodreads
If you’ve read some of my reviews before then you’ll have noticed that I struggle when writing reviews on books that I love. So please don’t expect this review to be a work of art, because it won’t be. It’s recommended that you expect tonnes of gushing and squee-ing, just to be prepared!

Under the Never Sky is told in third person, from alternating points of view, which I wasn’t expecting! It was a great wait to get inside the characters’ heads whilst still being able to differentiate between them easily, rather than having to go back to the first page of each chapter just to check. NOT that you would have to do that anyway, because Aria and Perry are totally different!

The world that Veronica Rossi has created is unlike anything I have ever read before. I love dystopian novels but I have to say that sometimes they can become very repetitive as a lot are very similar. This world, however, is outstanding! I can’t describe my love for everything in this world, from the Pods which the people who rely on technology live in to the tribes that live on the complete other side of the spectrum.

Aria is one of the Dwellers that live in the Pods, and Perry is an Outsider whose brother is a Blood Lord for the Tides tribe. They lived completely different lives until Aria was forced away from her home, and they already had opinions on each other due to how they lived. Both of them are likable – or loveable, depending – and I loved reading from each of their points of views to read about the way they felt about things and each other. Both characters were wonderfully developed, and went through lots of character growth throughout the novel. I particularly liked Perry, but I think he’s my favourite of the pair because I am in love with him. That’s fair, though, right?

There was no insta-love between Perry and Aria, which was most excellent. You know how I hate it when characters experience love at first sight. Perry and Aria pretty much despised each other to begin with, and I loved reading about their growing relationship throughout the course of the story.

The plot is fast paced and gripping, and I could not put this book down once I started reading. I read it through the night, and when it ended I was left wanting more, but that’s not a fault. It’s because I’m in love with these characters and this world! I hope to see a lot more of Perry and Aria in the sequel, as well as Roar because I loved him too. He is awesome. *hugs*

I would have liked a bit more fighting at the end, but that’s just because I am strange and like lots of blood and killing. I’m perfectly happy with what I got, so there’s no way I’m rating the book down because of that.

I told you there would be some rambling, sorry! Regardless of how bad my review is, Under the Never Sky is a beautifully written debut that I could not put down, even for a second. I highly recommend this to people who enjoy dystopias, and to those who like a smidge of science fiction.   

08 December 2011

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Release Date: June 7, 2011
Publisher: Quirk Publishing
Source: Publisher
Rating: Enjoyable

A mysterious island.
An abandoned orphanage.
A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography,Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows. - Goodreads

Miss Peregrine’s is about a boy named Jacob who has always been told stories about a remote island off the coast of Wales by his grandfather. Apparently peculiar children lived on this island with a lady named Miss Peregrine, and these children were peculiar because they had special abilities.

I was expecting Miss Peregrine’s to be a creepy story, judging by the photographs and the book trailer, but it was definitely more of a fantasy novel. Also, this book felt more like a Middle Grade novel than a young adult one, and if I hadn’t been told Jacob’s age then I would have thought he was younger than he was. That said, Jacob was still a fairly relatable character and I enjoyed reading from his perspective.

The thing I most enjoyed about this book was the photographs that were strategically placed throughout the book. The photographs added a lot to the story and as I was reading I was able to see what Jacob was talking about as he looked at the photographs too.

I also loved what I learnt about the loop. I can’t say anything other than that, because I’ll spoil those who want to read the book, but the loop was an excellent part of the novel and probably one of the most interesting parts! Completely mind-blowing.

I did have a bit of an issue with Jacob’s relationship with his love interest. I won’t go into detail because I don’t want to give away spoilers, but the age difference was a bit much for me and it stopped me from enjoying the relationship too much.

The ending was action packed and it kept me on the edge of my seat the whole way through because I had absolutely no idea what the outcome was going to be.

07 December 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins

Spell Bound by Rachel Vincent
Hex Hall #3
Release Date: March 13, 2012

Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. Now Sophie is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies—the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium. Or at least that’s what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t as confident.

Sophie’s bound for one hell of a ride—can she get her powers back before it’s too late?

I absolutely loved the first two books in this series - Demonglass was slightly better than Hex Hall, though, I must admit - and I am DYING to read this one! I've been waiting all year for it to come out and now there's only a few months to go! 

Have any of you guys read this series? If not then you definitely should. Archer is HOT and awesome, and Sophie is pretty badass.

Thank you to Sam for helping me figure out which book to talk about! 

05 December 2011

Mercy by Rebecca Lim

Mercy by Rebecca Lim
Mercy #1
Release Date: October 28, 2010
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
Source: Publisher
Rating: Bland
There's something very wrong with me. I can't remember who I am or how old I am, or even how I got here. All I know is that when I wake up, I could be any one. It is always this way. There's nothing I can keep with me that will stay. It's made me adaptable. I must always re-establish ties. I must tread carefully or give myself away. I must survive.

Mercy doesn't realise it yet, but as she journeys into the darkest places of the human soul, she discovers that she is one of the celestial host exiled with fallen angel, Lucifer. Now she must atone for taking his side. To find her own way back to heaven, Mercy must help a series of humans in crisis and keep the unwary from getting caught up in the games that angels play. Ultimately she must choose between her immortal companion, Lucifer, and a human boy who risks everything for her love. - Goodreads
Mercy is about an angel named Mercy who takes over people’s bodies – kind of like the body snatchers – and she has trouble remembering what went on in her life before. Mercy takes over a body of a girl in a choir, who is staying with a host family whose daughter has gone missing, and Mercy sets about trying to help the son, Ryan, find his sister.

The first half of the book was extremely slow paced, and there wasn’t much happening. Ryan and Mercy spent a lot of time bickering before Ryan finally allowed Mercy to help him find his sister. After that, Mercy didn’t seem to be very helpful anyway. She spent a lot of time with her classmates practicing their songs, which I enjoyed, but like I said there wasn’t much action in the first half.

In the beginning, Mercy’s personality seemed to be all over the place. She would switch from being totally reserved to confident and flirty. I found this to be very annoying and also kind of awkward in parts. I would have liked to have seen some growth in her character, which we didn’t really see at all unfortunately. I wasn’t able to connect with Mercy in this book, and that was my main problem with the story and it made the book less enjoyable for me.

The ending definitely improved the book overall. There wasn’t too much action in the climax but what was there was well done and well written.

Unfortunately I didn’t enjoy Mercy as much as I thought I would, and while it did have the ending as a saving grace – no pun intended! – I wasn’t able to get sucked in. I will be reading the next book in the series, as I received the series for review and I am intrigued to find out what happens next after the cliffhanger ending.

04 December 2011

In My Mailbox - (42)

hosted by The Story Siren

White Cat by Holly Black
the Devouring by Simon Holt

For Review: 
In Darkness by Nick Lake

01 December 2011

December Challenge: Get Read-y for 2012!

I'm takng part in Daph's (Loving Books) challenge during the month of December. The challenge is to make a dent in your TBR pile, in order to have a nice empty shelf - or at least a shorter stack - ready for the new year.

I have made a video showing you guys what I am planning to read. (Ignore my hair! I couldn't do anything with it.) I'm planning on only reading review books to clear the way for new ones in 2012. I don't expect to be able to read all of them, but I'm going to give it my best shot because my pile is almost touching the ceiling. Although, it does start on the top shelf of my bookcase.

I do feel a bit bad about neglecting my own books, as I have tonnes of those too, but this needs to be done. I have way too many review copies and books from NetGalley and I MUST reduce the mountain! Even if I just shave off the top of it.

Anyway, if anyone else is going to take part during December, do let me know! I'd be interested to see what you guys are planning to read - and how many books you get through once the month is over! You can find Daph's post about it here, which includes a useful Linky.

# of Dents Made:
1. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs 
2. Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
3. Tempest by Julie Cross 
4. Skyfall by Michael Dahl
5. Gamerunner by B R Collins (CR!)

30 November 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Under the Never Sky

Aria is a teenager in the enclosed city of Reverie. Like all Dwellers, she spends her time with friends in virtual environments, called Realms, accessed through an eyepiece called a Smarteye. Aria enjoys the Realms and the easy life in Reverie. When she is forced out of the pod for a crime she did not commit, she believes her death is imminent. The outside world is known as The Death Shop, with danger in every direction. 

As an Outsider, Perry has always known hunger, vicious predators, and violent energy storms from the swirling electrified atmosphere called the Aether. A bit of an outcast even among his hunting tribe, Perry withstands these daily tests with his exceptional abilities, as he is gifted with powerful senses that enable him to scent danger, food and even human emotions.

They come together reluctantly, for Aria must depend on Perry, whom she considers a barbarian, to help her get back to Reverie, while Perry needs Aria to help unravel the mystery of his beloved nephew’s abduction by the Dwellers. Together they embark on a journey challenged as much by their prejudices as by encounters with cannibals and wolves. But to their surprise, Aria and Perry forge an unlikely love - one that will forever change the fate of all who live UNDER THE NEVER SKY. - Goodreads

HarperTeen recently posted a video of Veronica Rossi talking her debut, how she got the idea, and there are awesome pictures! You can watch it below if you haven't seen it already. I've had Under the Never Sky on my wishlist for a while now, but this video has made me ten times more excited for it! I can't wait to start reading. 

29 November 2011

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger
Release Date: September 7, 2010
Publisher: Little Brown/Poppy
Source: Bought/Gifted
Rating: All Time Favourite

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone. - Goodreads

The DUFF was one truly amazing read that I wasn’t expecting. I cannot describe my love for this book in just words, so you’re going to have to imagine me doing a happy dance slash binding ritual because I am in love.

The plot sounds fairly simple when you read the synopsis, but Kody Keplinger has thrown in many, many elements to make this story a lot more complex that it is made out to be. This book has serious depth as well as tonnes of humour mixed with serious topics. The DUFF is a relatable story and managed to grasp my interest from the first page. I cannot speak highly enough about this book.

Alcoholism, absent parents, teen sex, friendships, divorce and more all play a role in this book. I applaud Kody for creating such a fantastic novel that many, many young adults will be able to relate to. I must also add that I found it wonderfully refreshing that Kody didn’t create a main protagonist – or group of characters – who was a virgin, or afraid of sex. Too many books in the YA genre do that, and it was great to read about the other sides of the spectrum as teens are having sex, despite what Young Adult literature is leading you to believe. Not everyone is saving themselves for the perfect person, or for marriage.

I loved Bianca as a main protagonist in this story. She had huge flaws, certainly, and I loved seeing her overcome them and work them out with the help of Wesly and her friends. Bianca was a strong female lead and she wasn’t at all whiny. Two huge pluses in my book. She was interesting to read about, and had a lot going on in her life that made me feel for her, and also relate.

Then there is Wesly, who I have developed a HUGE crush on. He may be up there with Dimitri and Tod now. Wesly was charming and I completely fell head over heels in love with him as the story progressed. He started off as the school ‘man-slut’ but as we got to know him more and more, it was revealed that he also had a lot going on with his family and he wasn’t one dimensional in the slightest. I was totally rooting for Bianca and Wesly!

Kody Keplinger has a fantastic writing style that draws you in and doesn’t let you go. I will pick up anything this woman writes in the future because she’s simply out of this world.  

28 November 2011

Saving June by Hannah Harrington

Saving June by Hannah Harrington
Release Date: November 29, 2011
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Source: NetGalley
Rating: Enjoyable

Harper Scott’s older sister has always been the perfect one so when June takes her own life a week before her high school graduation, sixteen-year-old Harper is devastated. Everyone’s sorry, but no one can explain why.

When her divorcing parents decide to split her sister’s ashes into his-and-her urns, Harper takes matters into her own hands. She’ll steal the ashes and drive cross-country with her best friend, Laney, to the one place June always dreamed of going California.

Enter Jake Tolan. He’s a boy with a bad attitude, a classic-rock obsession and nothing in common with Harper’s sister. But Jake had a connection with June, and when he insists on joining them, Harper’s just desperate enough to let him. With his alternately charming and infuriating demeanour and his belief that music can see you through anything, he might be exactly what she needs.

Except June wasn’t the only one hiding something. Jake’s keeping a secret that has the power to turn Harper’s life upside down again. - Goodreads

In the beginning, I found Saving June to be a very difficult book to get into. I’m unsure as to whether that’s due to the writing style or the characters themselves. I know, I’m a bad book reviewer.

That said, once the book got going it picked up, and I actually ended up feeling totally the opposite. I loved this book so much that it hurts. The last one hundred pages or so really picked up and improved and managed to hit the mark for me and made the entire book worthwhile.

Harper wasn’t the easiest character to for me relate with at the beginning of the novel, as we are total opposites. However, my view on her had done a complete 180 and I think that she was a great main character and overall I thoroughly enjoyed reading from her point of view. It was emotional and yet incredibly intriguing to read about how Harper was feeling after finding her sister dead in her car, and while I couldn’t say I knew how she felt from experience, Hannah Harrington does an excellent job of conveying her emotions through beautiful prose.

I also loved Harper's best friend, Laney, and Jake, a guy who knew June before she killed herself. They were both awesome characters, Jake in particular, and I loved the relationship that Harper had - or was building - with both of them.

The road trip overall was awesome, and despite it seeming like a light topic there were lots of deep issues thrown in along the way, the most obvious being suicide, of course. There were several scenes towards the end of the novel that caused me to burst into tears – much to the amusement of my mother – and said tears flowed until the last few pages.

The witty humour mixed in with the raw emotions was well placed and often caused me to switch from crying my eyes out to laughing in mere moments.

Saving June is a beautiful, heart wrenching debut by Hannah Harrington and I will be recommending this to everybody who wants an emotional and gripping read.  

26 November 2011

In My Mailbox - (41)

For Review: 
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Populazzi by Elise Allen
Fury by Elizabeth Miles

Feel free to leave your links below to your posts, and I'll visit as many as I can!

25 November 2011

Forgotten by Cat Patrick

Forgotten by Cat Patrick
Release Date: June 7, 2011 (UK)
Publisher: Egmont Books
Source: Bought
Rating: Essential
Watch my review on Youtube!
Each night when 16 year-old London Lane goes to sleep, her whole world disappears. In the morning, all that's left is a note telling her about a day she can't remember. The whole scenario doesn't exactly make high school or dating that hot guy whose name she can't seem to recall any easier. But when London starts experiencing disturbing visions she can't make sense of, she realizes it's time to learn a little more about the past she keeps forgetting-before it destroys her future.

Part psychological drama, part romance, and part mystery, this thought-provoking novel will inspire readers to consider the what-if's in their own lives and recognize the power they have to control their destinies. - Goodreads
The premise for Forgotten definitely intrigued me, even if I was a bit confused by the blurb for a little while.  London’s brain resets every day at 4.33am, and she forgets everything that happened the day before. However, she can see the future instead, as if they were memories.

The overall plot is fast paced, and while it did take a chapter or two to understand exactly what was going on with London’s brain, it was great to read about at Cat Patrick introduced us to this mysterious amnesia. The story is full of twists and turns that I didn’t see coming, and they definitely made my jaw drop each time they arose.

London was a great protagonist. She had long ago come to terms with her unusual illness and it was nice to read about someone who was used to it, rather than a protagonist who was getting used to and discovering her ‘abilities’. London knew exactly how to keep her life as normal as possible, and she remained a strong character throughout the books. In my opinion, at some points she was a little too strong, and I would have liked to have seen a bit more emotion from her. She was also a little bit hypocritical, which annoyed me to begin with until she realised what she was doing.

London’s relationship with Luke, however, wasn’t so great. To begin with it felt very rushed due to London’s feelings for Luke developing very quickly. She said she was falling in love with him on their first date, and I didn’t like that despite the date being pretty much perfect! I would have preferred more build up.

Towards the end of the novel all the mysteries were solved and I liked the outcome of that. However, I did feel that the ending was rushed through, perhaps to keep up with the quick pace of the novel, and perhaps because the book is so short. I would have liked to have had more closure with a couple of parts of the plot, especially regarding a character we learnt of half way through the novel.

Forgotten is a compelling, fast paced read with twists galore. It definitely had me on the edge of my seat the whole way through.  

23 November 2011

After Eight(-een)s: Blood Bound by Rachel Vincent & Giveaway

Blood Bound by Rachel Vincent
Unbound #1
Release Date: September 1, 2011 (UK)
Publisher: Mira
Age Range: 18+
Rating: All Time Favourite 
As a bloodtracker, Liv is extremely powerful. And in a world where power is a commodity that can get you killed, Liv's learnt to survive by her own rules.
Rule number one? Trust no one.

But when a friend's daughter goes missing, Liv is bound by a potent magical oath. She can't rest until the child is safe.
And that means trusting her dangerous ex, Cam.

A sinister prophecy tells that she and Cam will be the death of each other, yet Liv's tired of being a slave to destiny. She's ready to play the forces controlling her world at their own game. - Goodreads
Before I start talking about characters and writing style and such, I would just like to say that this book is PHENOMENAL. I was expecting the usual top quality from Rachel Vincent but Blood Bound blew my mind in so many ways. I can’t express how fantastic this story is in just words. Imagine me doing the ultimate happy dance right about now!

The plot of this novel is so well thought out, but it is nothing compared to the world that Rachel Vincent has created. The different abilities play a huge part in this underground world, and it was fantastic to read about them and it gave me chills every time I thought about Binders and Trackers and Seers. I’ll leave you to find out what those titles mean, but I bet you’ll be amazed.

This first novel in the trilogy focuses on Liv, who is a Tracker. Her old friend’s daughter goes missing, and she’s bound to help find her, but she can’t do so without the help of her ex-boyfriend, Cam. From there, the plot gets more and more complex and Rachel Vincent must be a mastermind to have come up with such a well thought out story. There are several different plots all woven into one, and they all connect to each other in some way. It’s truly fantastic, I cannot stress that enough.

Blood Bound is told from two alternating points of view – Liv’s, and Cam’s. I think that this was an excellent choice by the author, as I loved reading from both of their perspectives and learning what was going on in both their heads.

Liv was a fantastic protagonist, as Rachel Vincent’s female leads always are. She’s downright fierce and on top of that loyal towards her friends in a way that I can’t begin to describe. I loved watching her relationship with Cam rekindle, as I just love those two together. I enjoyed watching as they fought their restrictions and found a way to be together despite the danger that they were facing. Being Bound is really a dangerous thing.

I don’t feel I need to comment on Rachel Vincent’s writing style, but I’ll tell you that it’s great anyway. It’s actually more than great, but I’m running out of vocabulary just thinking about this book again. I highly recommend this book to anyone over 18 who wants to dive into a dark, gritty novel with a complex storyline and fiery characters. I’m definitely going to have to reread this before the second book comes out next year, and I already know that it’s going to blow me away again.


I'll be giving away 5 postcards showing the Shadow Bound cover. All postcards are signed by the author.


21 November 2011

The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa

The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa
The Iron Fey #3
Release Date: October 21, 2011 (UK)
Publisher: MIRA
Source: Publisher
Rating: Enjoyable

In less than twenty four hours, I'll be seventeen. Although, technically, I won't actually be turning seventeen. I've been in the Nevernever too long. When you're in Faery, you don't age. So while a year has passed in the real world, agewise I'm probably only a few days older than when I went in. In real life, I've changed so much I don't even recognize myself. My name is Meghan Chase. I thought it was over. That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who's sworn to stand by my side. Drag me into the core of conflict so powerful, I'm not sure anyone can survive it. This time, there will be no turning back. - Goodreads

The Iron Queen is action packed, and because of this it is definitely my favourite in the series so far. I loved The Iron King, however the Iron Daughter left me very disappointed. TIQ almost makes up for that though, because of the constant action and well written story. The plot is ten times better, and I feel that Julie Kagawa’s writing has greatly improved.

In the previous books I was rather annoyed by Meghan and the silly deals that she made with various creatures in the fae world. I was very cautious going into this book, as I was expecting much of the same. However, I was pleasantly surprised, and I definitely enjoyed reading from Meghan’s point of view up until the book was over. Meghan has grown a lot during this series, and I think most of the character growth has happened during this one book. She is less dependent on others (*cough*Ash*cough*) and she becomes a strong female lead.

I am a huge fan of Puck, and really didn’t see the attraction between Meghan and Ash until this novel. Before, it felt very rushed and just plain silly at times. However I ended up enjoying reading about their relationship in The Iron Queen, and I was kind of rooting for them towards the end.  

Now, as I mentioned, I am a Puck fan. So I can’t say that I wasn’t a little disappointed by this book although I won’t say why in an attempt to keep this spoiler free. I knew what was coming though – thank you to the US bloggers who read the book before us UK people – and I can’t say I was surprised.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book due to the non-stop action. The climax was fantastic, and was almost perfectly written.

20 November 2011

In My Mailbox - (40)

For Review: 
The Storyteller by Antonia Michaelis

Bought (YA):
The Ivy by Lauren Kunze
Wake by Lisa McMann
EON by Alison Goodman
Abandon by Meg Cabot
The DUFF by Kody Keplinger
Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi
Halo by Alexandra Adornetto
The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
Rosebush by Michelle Jaffe
Forgotten by Cat Patrick
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
Birthmarked by Caragh O'Brien
Hereafter by Tara Hudson

Bought (Adult):
The Reluctant Vampire by Lynsay Sands
Storm Born by Richelle Mead
Dark Lover by J R Ward
Playing With Fire by Gena Showalter

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

HUGE thank you to Andrea at The Busy Bibliophile! She has an awesome blog, by the way, so go and check it out.

13 November 2011

In My Mailbox - (39)

The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan

For Review: 
Mercy by Rebecca Lim
Exile by Rebecca Lim
Muse by Rebecca Lim

09 November 2011

Amber's 'Vampire Academy' Dream Team

This is the second post in my new ‘feature’. I previously showed you all who I would have loved to have had in the upcoming Mortal Instruments movie. Today, I’ll show you my dream team for Vampire Academy. This will be in two parts; the main characters will go first, shortly followed by the secondary characters at a later date.
This is MY dream team; I don’t expect everyone to agree with me. Feel free to leave your own casting preferences below – I’d love to know who you’d choose! I am basing my dream team on acting ability and looks, or one or the other. Some of these may be impossible, some may actually be in the running, but that’s why it’s a DREAM team!

Rose Hathaway/Sophia Bush

Hair Colour: Dark hair
Eye Colour: Brown eyes
Why Sophia? Rose is beautiful. Sophia is beautiful. Rose is a curvy, badass fighter. Sophia is curvy and could train to be a badass fighter. Of course, she may be a bit old for the role. But this is a dream team. Who cares about age, right? (My runner up, by the way, would be Phoebe Tonkin.)  

Dimitri Belikov/Ben Barnes
Hair Colour: Brown
Eye Colour: Brown
Why Ben? Just... do you even need to ask? It actually took me a while to fall onto the Ben Barnes Bandwagon. I first considered Jared Padalecki, Taylor Kitsch and Andrei Andrei. But Ben. Ben Ben Ben. He's Dimitri. Not that Jared wouldn't be amazing as well. Because he totally would. Unfortunately, I can only pick one. If he could build himself up a little more than he did for the Narnia movies, then we'd be set to go right now. Ignore the fact that he has shorter hair in this picture. I was going to use a different one, but this one is just... *swoons*

Adrian Ivashkov/Drew van Acker
Hair Colour: Brown
Eye Colour: Emerald green
Why Drew? You have no idea how long it took me to find him. I've been crawling around the internet for hours and hours now. But I found him in the end. I can imagine this guy being a heavy drinker, smoker and making out with Sophia Bush, can't you?

Christian Ozera/Misha Collins
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Ice blue
Why Misha? Before anyone shouts at me, telling me that Misha is twenty-ish years older than Christian, I KNOW! But I think a younger Misha would have been perfect. I love Misha.

Lissa Dragomir/Amber Heard
Hair Colour: Blonde
Eye Colour: Jade Green
Why Amber? Because she has the same name as me. Ha, no, just joking. I think she fits the description pretty well, and she's gorgeous! Maybe a bit old, but who cares?

That's it for the main characters. I'll be doing the other characters soon enough! What do you all think? Who would you choose to star in Vampire Academy?

08 November 2011

Top Ten Books That Were Out of Your Comfort Zone

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

The last vampire books I had read were the Twilight series, and I was left sorely disappointed by them. I was hesitant to read Vampire Academy in case it didn’t live up to the hype around it, and I really was put off vampires by the Twilight series. I ended up loving it, though!  
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

This was one of the first dystopian novels that I read, and I wasn’t sure what I should expect. It was quite scary, getting thrown into a world like the one that he had created. But it was so totally worth it!

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

This was the first novel I had read that was about angels. I knew that they were quite a large trend in young adult literature, but I had never read anything on them before. I was worried about the books being preachy, or heavily involved with Christianity. I shouldn’t have worried though, because although it’s about angels, they’re not preachy at all. I don’t even know why I was so worried. I feel stupid now.  
His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman

I read these books when I was quite young, around eleven years old. The writing and the story was a lot more mature than the books that I usually read before then, so these were definitely out of my comfort zone. I remember enjoying them, but I think I ended up skim reading The Amber Spyglass. I’ll have to pick them up again soon.  
The Kite Runner Graphic Novel

This was my first graphic novel I had ever read. I loved comics as a child – Beano, anyone? – but I wasn’t sure what to think of this as I’d never experienced anything like it before. I ended up loving it, though, and I enjoyed looking at the amazing art work as I read the story.  
A Game of Thrones by George R R Martin

I still haven’t finished this book. I’ve been on the second chapter for over a month now. It’s an enormous book, and the descriptions are unlike anything I’ve ever seen. I have enjoyed reading what I have so far though, and I will definitely finish this. In five years.  
A Quick Bite by Lynsay Sands
I was very young when I started reading this series. It’s an adult series about vampires (or immortals, as they prefer to be called) and I think I started reading them when I was about twelve or thirteen. It wasn’t like anything I’d read before, because even though I’d read other adult books those hadn’t included love scenes. I love this series, though, and am always impatient for the next book to come out!

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

This was the first contemporary book I had read in a long line of paranormal novels. I didn't enjoy this as much as I’d hoped, although I think that’s mainly because of the characters rather than the genre it falls into.  
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Again, this was my first contemporary romance in a long, long line of paranormals. Needless to say, I ended up loving it, and I found that I actually love the heavy romance in this book!  
Rise of the Wolf by Curtis Jobling

This was the first ever review copy I received, and I was beyond nervous about reading and reviewing it. Luckily, everything went smoothly and I ended up loving the book and finding out that I really enjoyed the work that goes into reviewing ARCs!