31 August 2011

August Wrap Up

Well, I haven't done one of these in a while! August was a pretty good month reading wise, so I think this calls for some celebrations. Cheers, everyone! It's felt so good to back into the swing of things after a couple of weird months. To top it off, I'm almost at 500 followers! Seriously, you guys rock. I love you all.

Books Read (click for the review!):
1. The Lying Game by Sara Shepard
2. Forsaken by Jana Oliver
3. Forbidden by Jana Oliver
4. Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan - Review coming soon!
5. Misfit by Jon Skovron
6. Storm Born Comic: Volume 1
7. Never Have I Ever by Sara Shepard - Review coming soon!
8. VA Graphic Novel by RM/Emma Vieceli
9. Bloodlines by Richelle Mead - Review coming soon, but I'm sure you all know I loved it!
10. The Legacy by Gemma Malley
11. Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer - Review to come!

Total: 11 (The most since March, FYI! *passes more champagne around*)

Books Bought:

I also started another book buying ban. This time, I'm going to have to read ten of the books on my TBR shelf before I buy another book. I'm not sure how long this is going to last, but I'm hoping to stick to it. This doesn't include review books or pre-orders, as I pre-ordered a few books months ago and they're probably the only things getting me through this challenge! I've read one book already. One down. Nine to go.

I hope you all had an amazing summer, and good luck to everyone who is starting school and college again! 

Book Buying Ban - The Books Have Been Chosen

I must apologise for the awful quality of the photos. I took them on my phone's camera at about midnight the other night, hence the poor lighting. Anyway, here are the ten books I have picked to read for the start of my Book Buying Ban Challenge Thingymabob (I am thinking about making this the official name, I've used it so much). I picked a few sequels, and a few books in a series. Probably a bad idea, because I'll want to buy the next book as well. I have no idea how I'm going to choose one book. Maybe I'll take votes. I'm rambling. Sorry.

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand (HB)
Heist Society by Ally Carter (HB) 
Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce (HB)
I've had these three on my shelf for ages now. It's time to tackle them.

Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer
Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter
Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
I'm currently reading Wolfsbane, and enjoying it so far. It's pretty long though, so I don't think I'll be finished any time soon - meaning by the end of the week.

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
Rampant by Diana Peterfreund
Way of the Warrior by Chris Bradford
I've had Wicked Lovely on my shelf forever now. I finally decided enough was enough. Renee and Braiden have also been waiting for me to read Rampant for months, so I'll take this chance to finally pick it up. 

And then I'm counting these two books as one, as I'm about half way through each of them. That's fair, right? 
The Enemy by Charlie Higson & The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

Actually, all of these books are in a series. Oops! Wish me luck!
Have any of you read any of these books? What are they like? Which ones do you think I'll enjoy the most?

30 August 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Books for Fall

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Like a lot of us, they're very fond of making lists. Go and check out their blog, and take part in this meme!

This week’s Top Ten list is 
Books That Are On The Top of My TBR List for Fall 

I’m actually going to be posting the first ten books in my book buying ban challenge thingymabob tomorrow, so instead of writing which books I will be reading twice, I’ll write about which books I am dying to buy. And ones that I have preordered, as they don’t count towards my challenge, thank goodness!

On with the list!
My Soul to Steal by Rachel Vincent (Soul Screamers #4)
 I’m dying here! MIRA was originally – according to Amazon – going to be releasing this back in June/July. I’ve been waiting forever for it, and even had to resort to reading the ebook. I can’t wait to reread it, as it’s my favourite book in the series so far. “I’ve got you.” Enough said. 

If I Die by Rachel Vincent (Soul Screamers #5)

Again – dying! Have you guys read the synopsis for this? I’m so scared/excited/out of my mind. Ah!

Blood Bound by Rachel Vincent (Unbound #1)

Because every Top Ten list of mine must include at least two RV books. And this is a new series of hers! Are you excited? I am. It’s coming out in the UK next week!

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

This book sounds so creepy, don’t you think? I’ve seen it around everywhere, and cannot wait to be able – or allowed, due to the ban! – to buy it.

Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon (Carrier #1)

Another one that I have seen everywhere. It’s about a girl who moves from America to Ireland, and meets a guy. A tall, dark and handsome guy, no less.

Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick (Hush, Hush #3)

As much as I don’t want to admit it to myself, the Hush, Hush trilogy is coming to an end in October. I can’t wait to see what is in store for Patch and Nora! *Holds back tears*

Shatter Me by Taherah Mafi

This is about a girl who’s been locked away for murder. It’s also a dystopian. Sounds amazing just from those two sentences, yes?

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

I really enjoyed Shiver, I’m about to read Linger, and am waiting to by Forever. I’m a fan of Maggie Stiefvater’s books, and TSR sounds just as amazing as her previous series.

Audition by Stasie Ward Kehoe

I’ve never read a book with the theme of dance before, but the description made this book sound slightly like Step Up. And I love me some Channing Tatum.

Eve by Anna Carey (Eve #1)
You know I love dystopian novels, and this one sounds great! It’s set in the year 2032, after a deadly virus has pretty much wiped out the earth. Makes a change from evil politicians taking over the country, right?

So there’s my ten books. What are yours? Leave your links below and I’ll take a look!

29 August 2011

Book Review: The Legacy by Gemma Malley

The Legacy by Gemma Malley
Legacy #3
Release Date: August 1, 2011 (UK, PB)
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Rating: 2 out of 5
Buy the Book: Amazon US | Amazon UK
When a Pincent Pharma lorry is ambushed by the Underground, its contents come as a huge surprise - not drugs, but corpses in a horrible state. It appears Longevity isn't working and the drugs promising eternal youth are failing to live up to their promises. A virus is sweeping the country, killing in its wake, and Longevity is powerless to fight it. When Richard Pincent of Pincent Pharma suggest that the Underground has released the virus, something has to be done to put the story straight and once and for all alert everyone to the truth. - Goodreads Page
I read The Declaration (Book #1) ages and ages ago, and I absolutely loved it. It was one of the books that made me fall in love with the dystopian genre as a whole. A few years later I read The Resistance (Book #2), which I didn't enjoy as much, but I still thought it was a good book. I was pumped to read The Legacy, because I couldn't wait to see how the story would end.

The plot began at a really slow pace. The different chapters randomly featured a secondary character, and as someone who hadn't had time to reread this series prior to The Legacy's release, I found this rather confusing. Most of the secondary characters that were featured were important in some way, but I would have liked to have spent more time with them, rather than only one chapter.

Two thirds of the way in, though, the plot kicked in, leading to a fantastic climax for both the book and the series as a whole. There were a couple of plot twists in there which I hadn't even thought about previously, right up to just before they were discovered. I thought this aspect of the novel was done brilliantly.

There was also an epilogue which, surprisingly for me, I did also enjoy. It gives just enough information about what becomes of the world after the final chapter to satisfy me. I would have liked to see a little bit more, but I was happy with what I got.

I didn't care much about any of the characters in this book. There was little character development and it seemed as though the characters were now only there to spur the plot on. I would have liked to have seen more of Anna, considering she had such a big part to play in the first book. Instead she was barely in any of the scenes and even when she was, she wasn't doing much. 

Overall, whilst I did enjoy some aspects of the story, I wasn't a huge fan of this book. It's a bit of a let down, because I enjoyed the rest of the trilogy so much! I disliked the slow pace, and I felt that the plot and the characters could have been worked on a bit more. 

Have any of you guys read this series? What did you think of it? I'd love to know.

28 August 2011

In My Mailbox - (29)

Everyone knows who this is hosted by, but in case you're not everyone, I'd just like to take a minute to let you know that In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. You should definitely go and check out her awesome blog.

These two books were RAK gifts from the lovely Emma and the wonderful Harpreet! You should go and check out their blogs if you haven't already, and no, I'm not just saying that because they sent me awesome books! They're lovely ladies, and their blogs are awesome too.

Crank by Ellen Hopkins (Thank you Harpreet! You have no idea how long I've been wanting this book. Squee!)
Sticky Fingers by Niki Burnham (Thank you Emma. This sounds so, so good!)

I received these two stunners from Penguin (Thank you so, so much!) and I immediately devoured them. Needless to say, Bloodlines is AWESOME WICKED COOL FORKING FANTASTIC, and the VA Graphic Novel is also pretty great!

And these two are the last two books I will be buying for a while, due to my book ban challenge thingymabob. I've started Wolfsbane, although I'm not very far in. Have any of you read it? I've heard mixed things. Am worried! I'm also very annoyed about the cover change. They were worried about the previous covers not showing what the book is about, but look at that one. Seriously? But anyway, it's the content that matters. Not the most beautiful covers the books had before.. 

Leave your links below! I have all day to visit your blogs today, due to babysitting. 

27 August 2011

Book Blogger Hop and Follow Friday

Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee's View and Alison at Alison Can Read.
Q. In books like the Sookie Stackhouse (True Blood) series the paranormal creature in question "comes out of the closet" and makes itself known to the world. Which mythical creature do you wish would come out of the closet, for real?

Shapeshifters! I'd love for shapeshifters to be real. Werecats especially. I'd find one, and convince them to make me one of them... Somehow. It would be much easier for shapeshifters to blend in to society than it would be for vampires. Your regular vampire, anyway, meaning the ones that burn in the sun and eat people. 

Book Blogger Hop
Hosted by Crazy for Books every Friday
Q. Do you have any pets?

I'm pretty sure I've answered this question before, but yes, yes I do. I have two border collies called Jensen and Trevor.Jensen is a puppy (cookies for anyone who knows who she's named after!) and she's red and white, Trevor is nine years old and he's black and white. I also have four cats, all siblings from the same litter, named Lizzy (tabby), Lily (black and white), Rosie (black, but with tabby patterns, if that makes sense) and Bertie (ginger and white). They all have different markings, which is rather cool if I do say so myself. 

Leave your links below! I hope you all have an amazing weekend.

26 August 2011

Book Review: The Lying Game by Sara Shepard

The Lying Game by Sara Shepard
The Lying Game #1
Release Date: December 7, 2010
Publisher: HarperCollins
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Amazon USAmazon UK
The worst part of being dead is that there’s nothing left to live for. No more kisses. No more secrets. No more gossip. It’s enough to kill a girl all over again. But I’m about to get something no one else does—an encore performance, thanks to Emma, the long-lost twin sister I never even got to meet.

Now Emma’s desperate to know what happened to me. And the only way to figure it out is to be me—to slip into my old life and piece it all together. But can she laugh at inside jokes with my best friends? Convince my boyfriend she’s the girl he fell in love with? Pretend to be a happy, carefree daughter when she hugs my parents good night? And can she keep up the charade, even after she realizes my murderer is watching her every move? - Goodreads Page
I was a little hesitant about picking up one of Sara Shepard’s books, as I had heard such mixed things about the Pretty Little Liars series. Some people say it’s amazing, and yet plenty of others say that it’s a long winded series that should have stopped at a few books. Luckily, I have learnt to make up my own mind about books, and thought I’d give her new series a go.

The plot consists of Emma finding out that her long lost twin, Sutton, is dead. Emma is forced to put herself in Sutton’s shoes – quite literally – and live her life whilst trying to find Sutton’s killer, and exactly who has been leaving her creepy messages. The book is packed full of mystery, and everyone is a suspect. I honestly didn’t know which way to look, I suspected everybody. Sara Shepard definitely keeps you guessing – in fact, I’m still guessing, as this is the first book in a series.

The way the story is narrated is pretty unique. It’s told from the point of view of Sutton. Yes, the dead girl. She’s experiencing some sort of spiritual connection to her twin, and she sees what Emma sees, and hears what Emma hears. It does seem like a third person point of view at times, until Sutton suddenly pops up again. Sutton also has no memory of her life before her death, so that deepens the mystery even more, if that’s even possible.

Emma is a main protagonist that is easy to relate to. I enjoyed reading about her stepping into Sutton’s life, and investigating her twin sister’s death. I also loved the relationships she is forging with Sutton’s friends, and Sutton’s enemies. I love how Emma handles things, and she’s a clever character that really thinks on her feet.

Sara Shepard has created a fantastic mystery series, and this book was a great read. I’d definitely recommend it if you enjoy the Pretty Little Liars series, and if you enjoy a good mystery. But if you’re looking for a book that wraps things up nicely, then this isn’t for you. Just when you think you know who the murderer is, Sara Shepard spins the plot into a completely new direction. Enjoy!  

24 August 2011

Book Buying Ban - Round 2

You may recall me attempting to go on a book buying ban earlier this year, and yet ending up with my mum buying me tonnes of books instead. I’ve decided I have way too many books on my to-be-read pile, and ever since Danny made his video declaring he too was participating in a book ban, I decided enough was enough.

I have completely stolen copied Danny’s idea. The rules of my book buying ban are simple.

I must read 10 books from my TBR shelf (YA or otherwise) before I am allowed to buy another book. For every 10 books I read, I will allow either myself or a family member to buy me one book.

Hopefully this should get my TBR pile down. These ten books are books I’ve bought or received from someone else, not review copies. I will still read as many of those as I can. This doesn’t include recent pre-orders either. I have pre-ordered quite a few books, and I refuse to cancel the orders because I’m dying to read most of them, such as If I Die, the Hush, Hush graphic novel etc.

I may pick out ten books from my shelf that I plan to read first, so stay tuned for that. I'm going to have lots of fun rummaging through the shelves to try and pick just ten books.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to ask you guys if any of you are currently on a book ban, or if you’re thinking about starting one, or even if you’ve done one in the past. How are you/did you do? Was it hard? I’m worried!

Wish me luck! 

22 August 2011

Book Review: Vampire Academy Graphic Novel

Vampire Academy Graphic Novel
Illustrated by Emma Vieceli; Adapted by Leigh Dragoon
August 23, 2011
Publisher: Razorbill Penguin
Source: Publisher. Thank you! 
Rating: 4 out of 5
Recommended? Of course! 100%
Buy the Book: Amazon US | Amazon UK
After two years on the run, best friends Rose and Lissa are caught and returned to St. Vladimir's Academy, a private high school for vampires and half-bloods. It's filled with intrigue, danger - and even romance. Enter their dark, fascinating world through a new series of 144-page full-color graphic novels. The entire first Vampire Academy novel has been adapted for book one by Leigh Dragoon and overseen by Richelle Mead, while the beautiful art of acclaimed British illustrator Emma Vieceli brings the story to life. - Goodreads Page
This is the first full graphic novel I have ever read, and now that I’ve read it I am dying to read more. The drawings are fantastic overall; I think Emma Vieceli has done a great job at bringing our favourite characters to life. The depth of the emotions shown was really striking, and I felt I didn’t even have to read the descriptions to know what the characters were feeling. 

The plot of the original 300+ page novel was condensed quite a bit, as expected, and as a result every single scene in the graphic novel holds some importance to the overall arc of the plot. I personally would have liked to have seen more of Dimitri and Rose, and their relationship developing, but I feel there was just enough to make me want them together already. 

Regarding the drawings, I thought most of the characters were brilliantly drawn. Dimitri was hot, as expected, but – dare I say – Christian was even hotter! I fell in love with him all over again in this book. Yum. His scenes were awesome and I also loved it when he was using his magic. That was also blazing hot. Excuse the pun. 

I would definitely recommend reading the novel by Richelle Mead first, if you haven’t done so already, as there is a lot more description and fleshing out of the plot and I think this is important to the story.

I applaud both Leigh Dragoon and Emma Vieceli for bringing my favourite series to life, so to speak. Overall they both did an amazing job! My only peeve is that my favourite quote was changed! “If I let myself love you, I won't throw myself in front of her. I'll throw myself in front of you.” Is one of my favourite quotes of all time, and I was a bit upset when it read as something else. I’m not sure how necessary the change was, but I would have much preferred it if they had left it in. But anyway, go and buy this book. It’s a must for your Vampire Academy collection!

19 August 2011

In My Mailbox - (28)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren. Go and join in the fun!

This week I received Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts from Macmillan. This comes out on September 2, and sounds really interesting! Read the synopsis below.

Since mankind began, civilizations have always fallen: the Romans, the Greeks, the Aztecs…. Now it’s our turn.
Huge earthquakes rock the world. Cities are destroyed. But something even worse is happening. An ancient evil has been unleashed, hooking on to weakness, turning the unwary into hunters, killers, crazies.

Mason: His mother is dying after a terrible car accident. As he endures a last vigil at her hospital bed, his school is bombed and razed to the ground. Everyone he knows is killed.

Aries: A school bus, an aftershock and a crash. Pulled out of the wreckage by a mysterious stranger, she’s about to discover a world changed forever.

Clementine: An emergency meeting at the town hall that descends into murderous chaos. Outside the rest of their community encircle with weapons. How can those you trust turn into savage strangers?

Michael: A brutal road rage incident. When the police arrive on the scene they gun down the guilty and turn on the by-standing crowd. Where do you go for justice when even the lawmakers have turned bad?

I'm pretty sure I bought a book this week, but I cannot for the life of me remember what it was. If I find out, I'll let you all know. Is this a sign that I have too many books? Maybe. 

I'm away at a family do this weekend, but leave your IMM links below and I'll visit you next week!

18 August 2011

Book Review: Misfit by Jon Skovron

Misfit by Jon Skovron
August 1, 2011
Publisher: Amulet Books
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4 out of 5
Recommended? Yes, see below.
Buy the Book: Amazon USAmazon UK

Jael has always felt like a freak. She’s never kissed a boy, she never knew her mom, and her dad’s always been superstrict—but that’s probably because her mom was a demon, which makes Jael half demon and most definitely not a normal sophomore girl. On her sixteenth birthday, a mysterious present unlocks her family’s dangerous history and Jael’s untapped potential. What was merely an embarrassing secret before becomes a terrifying reality. Jael must learn to master her demon side in order to take on a vindictive Duke of Hell while also dealing with a twisted priest, best-friend drama, and a spacey blond skater boy who may have hidden depths. - Goodreads Page
One of the best things about this book, in my opinion, is that Jael, the main character, already knows that she is half demon. I’ve read so many books which cover the main protagonist discovering she is not fully human and I found it very refreshing to have a main character that already knew. That’s not to say that Jael knows everything about her demon half, because she definitely doesn’t.

The story follows Jael, a half demon, as she turns sixteen and learns more about what being a half demon means. She meets new family members, sees various memories and flashes of the past, and she has to fight a majorly powerful demon, who has been after her since birth.

The story is told in present tense, but is broken up by flashbacks, which mostly feature Jael’s parents. I absolutely loved reading these flashbacks. There were plenty of emotional scenes in them between Jael’s mother and father, and I fell in love with Astarte – Jael’s demoness mother. I also loved reading about all the demons that they met, and how each one impacted their lives, or Jael’s future.

Jael, as a main character, was pretty plain. I liked her enough, and I could definitely relate to her – not that I’ve discovered I’m half demon or anything, she’s just easily relatable. I enjoyed reading about her as she explored her powers, although I would have liked to see her struggle with them a bit more. Then again, I guess she is just a natural!

I didn’t care too much for Jael and her love interest. It was a pretty average aspect of the novel. The story is made up of so much more than that, and the relationship aspect wasn’t focussed on too much. I preferred it this way, as I would have much rather learn more about demons and Hell.

That said, I did adore the love story between Paul and Astarte. I’d love to see a book about those two, as they’re such amazing characters. Both of them were so complex, I wanted to know as much as I could. Can you tell I’m in love with Jael’s mother? Maybe.

This book is packed full of mythology. The demons were awesome, and there was so much to learn about them. Jon Skovron did an excellent job with his research and portrayal of the demons, especially Uncle Dagon and Astarte. The only downside, for me, was how much religion was in this book. It really took centre stage, and I would have preferred it to have been turned down slightly. That’s just me, though, and I haven’t rated the book down due to that. I figured in a book about demons and other things, you can’t help but have a lot of religion. I just didn’t enjoy it.

Another aspect of the book which I disliked was the third person narrative. I would have preferred to have read the story from Jael’s point of view, as the third person made me feel a bit detached from the story.
Overall this was a fantastic read, and I’d definitely recommend it to people who adore books heavy with mythology – demons and gods, among other things. If you’re not a fan of heavily religious books, I’d still give it a go but be weary. It is a demon novel, after all.  

16 August 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Creatures in YA

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish.
This week's subject is:

Top Ten Favourite Creatures in YA

1. Shapeshifters. 
I love shapeshifters of any kind, whether they're werewolves, werecats, Changelings (from Nalini Singh's Psy-Changeling novels) and I really believe there should be more of them in YA literature. I'd love to be a shapeshifter, and if I could choose what kind that would be an added bonus. I'd so be a panther.
2. Ghosts. 
Do these really count as creatures? I don't know, but I've read a few books featuring them recently, and I loved them! I hadn't read many books about ghosts before, because they tend to creep me out. I am convinced that my stepmum's house is haunted. But still, I find ghosts and spirits fascinating! 
3. Mermaids
I admit, I haven't read any mermaid YA book yet. At least, not unless you count Disney's The Little Mermaid which I read when I was younger. I often dreamt about being a mermaid after watching that episode of Charmed, and I find them to be really interesting creatures - especially when they turn out to be evil! 
4. Fairies.
These little sprites are everywhere at the moment. I'd honestly be surprised if you tell me you haven't read a fairy book yet. I love fairy lore, and whether they're tiny pixies or in human form, fairies are magical.
5. Vampires. 
I've probably given the impression that I dislike vampires, but that definitely is not the case. I actually love them, when they're done right. My only problem with them is that they're way overdone nowadays, and I've found they can often be thrown in to the story for no apparent reason. That said, I absolutely love what Richelle Mead did with her vampires. She used a mixture of Romanian folklore to develop the Strigoi and Moroi in her books, and the results were fantastic!
6. Zombies. 
Ever since my uncle forced me to watch Dawn of the Dead when I was 6 (which took me a whole year to get over, by the way. I had to ask my auntie to walk upstairs with me and everything...), I've been fascinated by zombies. Whether they're the intelligent type, or the classic eat-your-brains creatures, they're brilliant. I also love the post-apocalyptic story they often come with.
7. Demons.
There aren't many demon books out there right now, are there? Which is a shame, because I love the buggers. Maybe that's because of my obsession with Supernatural, but I really enjoy reading about all sorts of demons and demonic possessions. Especially when hot, demon boys turn 'good'.
8. Dragons.
Again, there aren't many books in YA focussed on dragons. But I wish there were! Ever since Charlie Weasley brought those dragons to Hogwarts, I've loved them. They're beautiful creatures, and I think there should definitely be more novels based on them! 
Books to look out for: Firelight by Sophie Jordan

9. Angels. 
These are everywhere, like the Fae. The best thing about them is that there are so many different types. There are fallen angels (Patch!), guardian angels, half-angels, warrior angels... The list goes on. There are so many different things that can be done with them, and they're not always saints. *Looks pointedly at Patch again*
Books to look out for: Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, Unearthly by Cynthia Hand, Angelfire by Courtney Moulton

10. Unicorns. 
No, I haven't read any books about unicorns yet, but I certainly plan to! Unfortunately, there are only two books that I am aware of that feature these creatures. Aside from Harry Potter, that is. I think unicorns are beautiful, but then again, Diana Peterfreund proves that they're not always that way. As does Danny from the Gradual Report, but that's another matter entirely. 
Books to look out for: Rampant by Diana Peterfreund.