30 September 2011

One Year Blogoversary: Giveaway #1 CLOSED

Today marks my one year anniversary since I started blogging properly. I mean, I wrote a review back in May 2010, but it was awful. But back in September last year, I decided that I wanted to try my hand at blogging somewhat professionally. A lot has changed since then. My blog has gone through a name change, several design and layout changes, and my reviews continue to improve – I hope!

I want to thank all of you guys for following Books of Amber. I especially want to thank those of you who have stayed with me for this whole year. Those that come to mind immediately are Alice @ The Reader Room, Karen @ The Slowest Bookworm and Jodie @ Books for Company. Thank you all. *hugs*

I have a few ideas for improvements that I want to achieve this next year. I definitely need to start commenting on the blogs I follow more often. There are a few days a week in which I comment on almost every post I see on my feeder, but then there are other days when I only manage to comment on a couple. I’m determined to try harder. I’m also in the process of getting a new banner (don’t worry, ladies, Dean Winchester isn’t going anywhere!) and I expect I’ll probably change the design to fit it.

Now for the giveaway - I’m sure this is the part you’ve all skipped to! For the next few weeks I will be giving away some great books to my lovely followers. Today I’m going to start with a UK paperback edition of Glass Houses by Rachel Caine.


International! Yay! Go me!
- Entrees must be 13 years of age or over
- You must be a follower of Books of Amber
- Giveaway ends on October 28th, 2011

29 September 2011

Maureen Johnson Competition!

Are you a fan of Maureen Johnson, author of 13 Little Blue Envelopes? I'm pretty sure a lot of you are! Guess what? She's coming to London in two weeks to take part in this competition to celebrate the release of her new book The Name of the Star. All you have to do is email your details to HarperCollins, and you're entered to win! Great, isn't it? See below for what is up for grabs:


To celebrate the publication of Maureen Johnsons new YA thriller The Name of the Star, HarperCollins Children’s Books is offering 10 lucky readers the opportunity to accompany Maureen Johnson on a private Jack the Ripper walk in London on Thursday, 13th October 2011.

The walk begins at 5:00 PM and will carry-on for two hours into the night! Visit the haunting sites of Jack the Ripper and hear first-hand from Maureen how they inspired her new book The Name of the Star.

To enter, simply email nameofthestar@harpercollins.co.uk for a chance to attend the event with a friend.

Disclaimer: Entrants must be 13 or over. Please ensure that you are available to attend the event on Thursday, 13th October from 5.00pm to 7.00pm before entering. Winners will be informed on Friday, 7th October, and will be provided with further instructions then.

28 September 2011

So... Who's Pre-Ordering the Kindle Touch?

Amazon announced new products today, one of those being the Kindle Touch. The other being the Kindle Fire, on which you can apparently watch movies or something. I wasn't really paying attention as the Fire isn't out in the UK yet and I can watch movies on my laptop.

But what I did pay attention to was the Touch. I've been mucking around with a friend's iPad recently - she's let me borrow it - and I've been loving reading ebooks on it. So when I found out about the Touch on Twitter I literally jumped up and down.

I was wondering what your views are on this new edition of the Kindle. Pointless? Amazing? Awe-inspiring? I think it's a pretty cool piece of equipment, and at £20 cheaper than the older Kindle (seriously, what's up there?) I think it's a bit of a bargain!

So, who's bought one? Or, if you're American, who's preordering a Kindle Fire? Is anyone excited about the touch screen Kindle? I most definitely am.

26 September 2011

Heist Society by Ally Carter

Heist Society by Ally Carter
Heist Society #1
Release Date: February 9, 2010 (US)
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Rating: Enjoyable 
When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her on a trip to the Louvre…to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to Austria…to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own—scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving “the life” for a normal life proves harder than she’d expected. 

Soon, Kat's friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring Kat back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has a good reason: a powerful mobster has been robbed of his priceless art collection and wants to retrieve it. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat's father isn't just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat’s dad needs her help. 

For Kat, there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it's a spectacularly impossible job? She's got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in her family's history--and, with any luck, steal her life back along the way. - Goodreads Page
Katarina Bishop is a con artist. Her whole family are. So are all her friends. One friend in particular, a mysterious guy named Hale, decides that it's time to break Kat out of her top class boarding school so she can return to how her life was before. 

Kat finds out that her dad is in trouble with a rich businessman, something about stolen paintings, and she is determined to help him. So basically she has to retrieve some stolen paintings from a high security museum for a rich bloke in order to save her dad. Sounds so simple, doesn't it?

I enjoyed Ally's Gallagher Girls series and so I just had to pick this one up. I'm also a fan of the TV show White Collar, which stars Matt Bomer as a world renowned art thief. This book felt a lot like a mixture of Gallagher Girls and White Collar. I kept imagining Neal Caffrey waltzing into the museum to con everyone inside. Aw, I love him.

Anyway, back on topic. Kat was a bit of a plain character, much like the FMC in the Gallagher Girls series. I would have liked her better if she had a bit more spunk about her. That said, I definitely didn't not like Kat. She was pretty cool. 

Out of all of the characters, I have to say that my favourite is Hale. He was hilarious, and hot, and awesome, and funny. Total fangirl over here! I also loved his banter with Kat, and his relationship with her overall was awesome. There was a bit of a hint of a love triangle as well, but that all works out in the end, thank goodness. I don't know what I'd have done with myself if it hadn't.

Overall, this was a pretty plain book. I did love reading about the planning stages of the heist/s, and the cons themselves. It was all very interesting. However, I felt very let down by the plain main character. Nonetheless, Heist Society was an enjoyable read and I'm definitely going to be picking up Uncommon Criminals at some point in the future. 

(I'm trying out a new rating scale, by the way, so that's the reason for this review not including a star rating!)

25 September 2011

In My Mailbox - (32)

I splurged on adult books again! This is what happens when I'm not allowed to buy YA - I go insane in the charity shops. Seriously, I sort of black out and next thing I know I'm walking down the road with two bags and an empty purse.

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren every week. Here is what I bought from the charity shop.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling

Yes, I know this is a YA book and is going against my ban. But I've already read it and it was just £1 in the charity shop, so I don't think it breaks my ban. I have the adult edition of this, and I just needed this one to match the rest of my set. So, I bought it!

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

This is a post-apocalyptic novel (as if you didn't know!) about a father and son. I've been wanting to read it for ages, and I've heard the relationship between the father and son is really touching.

Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier

I've seen the movie for this, starring Jude Law, and I really enjoyed it. Of course, when I saw this for just £1 I had to get it!

The Vanished Man by Jeffery Deaver

This is the fifth book in the Lincoln Rhyme series, written by the bloke who wrote The Bone Collector. I plan on reading them in order, but this was the only one of the series in the shop. I've heard Deaver's books are fantastic, so I look forward to reading it!

The Lost World by Michael Crichton

You should all know by know that I absolutely love dinosaurs. TV shows, movies, books... Anything. I read Jurassic Park ages and ages ago, but I want to reread it and then start this! Oh, and have any of you heard of the new TV show starting on FOX tomorrow? It's called Terra Nova, and it's about people who are sent back in time to when the dinosaurs lived! I'm definitely going to be watching it.

The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans

I'm pretty sure that the movie for this is coming out this autumn. It sounds like a great read, and I've heard lots of people talk about it.

What did you get this week? Feel free to leave your links below, and I'll come and visit your blogs!

22 September 2011

The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan

The Dark and Hollow Place by Carrie Ryan
The Forest of Hands and Teeth #3
Release: April 7, 2011 (UK)
Publisher: Gollancz
Rating: 3 out of 5
Buy the Book: Amazon USAmazon UK
There are many things that Annah would like to forget: the look on her sister's face when she and Elias left her behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, her first glimpse of the horde as they found their way to the Dark City, the sear of the barbed wire that would scar her for life. But most of all, Annah would like to forget the morning Elias left her for the Recruiters. 

Annah's world stopped that day and she's been waiting for him to come home ever since. Without him, her life doesn't feel much different from that of the dead that roam the wasted city around her. Then she meets Catcher and everything feels alive again.

Except, Catcher has his own secrets—dark, terrifying truths that link him to a past Annah's longed to forget, and to a future too deadly to consider. And now it's up to Annah—can she continue to live in a world drenched in the blood of the living? Or is death the only escape from the Return's destruction? - Goodreads Page
I wasn’t a huge fan of the first book in this trilogy, however I really enjoyed the second. I expected this third novel to be just as good, and went in with high expectations. I was left a little disappointed, though.

Firstly, I wasn’t a fan of Annah as a main protagonist/narrator. I absolutely loved Gabry in the last novel, and would have preferred for her to have been the main character in this book. However, Annah came off as a poor character, spending the majority of the novel whining about her scars and making her insecurities known. With everything that was going on around her, and zombies invading the supposedly ‘safe’ city, I would have thought that after a while she’d have forgotten about her own insecurities rather than carrying on and on. I just couldn’t connect with her as I did with Gabry.

The plot was decent, however I feel that there was way too much focus on the love square – again, *sigh* - and I would have preferred more of an action focussed plot. Like the first book, this one was romance heavy and it became repetitive and boring after a while. You know how I hate love triangles, and love squares dig at me even more. I also wanted to see more of the zombies!

I did love how everything from the last two books came together in this one. The trilogy was wrapped up really well, and yet the ending was left open to possibly leave room for another book or spin off series in the future.

I also loved Catcher! He was such a great character, and I would have loved to have read a whole book about him and his ‘condition’. He’s so adorable, and yet so flawed, so I think he’d make a great main character!

This was a good book, but I just found it to be incredibly poor compared with the second book in the series. Overall, the series is pretty mediocre, and unfortunately it doesn’t make my favourites list. I’d recommend it to fans of zombies and horror, as well as dystopian novels, but I’d be weary as there are such mixed reviews on these books!

20 September 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Everyone Else Has Read... But I Haven't!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week's TTT is:
Books I Feel Everyone Has Read But Me

The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa

I absolutely loved The Iron King, but it took me forever to get through The Iron Daughter. I didn’t like it, and unfortunately it’s now made me less excited for The Iron Queen.
Wake by Lisa McMann
I don’t know when this was first published, but everyone always squees over this trilogy! I’d love to read it.
The Lord of the Rings by J R R Tolkien

I tried, I really did. I started reading The Hobbit when I was about 11, but I couldn’t get into it. I then tried reading the first book in this trilogy when I was about 14, but again I couldn’t get into it and I moved onto other books. But I do have this on my shelf, so hopefully I can pick it up soon.
Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

I started reading this earlier this year, but I found it kind of slow and boring. It’s still on my shelf, so I’ll get back to it eventually.
Fallen by Lauren Kate

I think this is one of the first YA books I bought last year before starting my book blog. I still haven’t read it, but it seems like everyone else has. Everyone seems to have an opinion on this series, whether it’s positive or negative.
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Another series that everyone gets excited over!
Matched by Ally Condie
Another one I started but didn’t finish. I’ll get to it soon, but I got half way through and thought it was boring.
The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

I am DYING to read this book! It sounds amazing, and Alice at The Reader Room highly recommends it!
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
This sounds super creepy! I was offered a copy of this when I was on holiday earlier this year, but couldn’t get back to the publisher until the end of August.
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

I want to read this so bad! It sounds like such a good book, I can’t wait to read it. Maybe I’ll buy it when my ban is over.

19 September 2011

I Can't Believe I Missed This!

Have you guys seen the UK cover for If I Die?! I completely missed it when it was released last week. Ohmigod, it's beautiful! Although I don't know why it's being compared to Twilight, because it's SO. MUCH. BETTER. Ah well, I guess it's for marketing purposes.

I'm in love! This isn't coming to the UK until February 3, 2012, but If I Die comes out in the US TOMORROW!! I'm so excited. I've been waiting for this for months. Who else is excited? Form an orderly queue. AH!

Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer

Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer
Nightshade #2
Release: July 26, 2011 (UK)
Publisher: ATOM
Rating: 4 out of 5
Buy the Book: Amazon USAmazon UK
This thrilling sequel to the much-talked-about Nightshade begins just where it ended.Calla Tor wakes up in the lair of the Searchers, her sworn enemy, and she's certain her days are numbered. 

But then the Searchers make her an offer,one that gives her the chance to destroy her former masters and save the pack and the man she left behind. Is Ren worth the price of her freedom? And will Shay stand by her side no matter what? Now in control of her own destiny, Calla must decide which battles are worth fighting and how many trials true love can endure and still survive. - Goodreads Page
After reading Nightshade, I was so freaking excited to read Wolfsbane! I loved the first book in the trilogy, and I had high hopes for this one. I definitely enjoyed Wolfsbane, but it didn’t have the same appeal that Nightshade did. I think I know why, and I’ll get onto that in a minute.

Calla finds herself with the Searchers – her supposed enemies since birth – in a large academy, with Shay. She soon discovers that what the Keepers had been telling her hadn’t been entirely true, and the Searchers fill her in on a lot of stuff that she had missed. The Searchers want Calla to bring her pack back to the Academy, so they can win the war against the Keepers. Calla is all for it, she wants her pack to be safe, and so she and the Searchers go off to get the pack that she left behind whilst running away to save Shay.

There is a lot of stuff going on in this book, and I don’t mean action scenes. Most of the chapters are packed full of information on the war between the Searchers and the Keepers, and on the history of the Guardians. It was all very interesting, and I loved reading about it. The only problem was that, at times, the amount of information the Searchers shared at one time was heavy, and it felt like there were huge info dumps going on throughout the book. It was a bit too much.

The action scenes, when there were some, were fantastic! I was holding my breath as Calla & co. went to save her pack. The descriptions were fantastic. And oh my goodness – gargoyles! That’s all I’m going to say. That part gave me chills, it was so, so creepy!

There wasn’t much Ren in this book. He seriously only showed up in one scene, which I was a little annoyed about, as I love Ren! *hugs him tight*

I also hated Shay in this book. And when I say hated, I mean despised. He was such a dick in Wolfsbane, as he kept pushing Calla to do stuff, and wouldn’t let her stand up for herself. Ugh. I wanted someone to accidentally-on-purpose shoot him with an arrow, or whack a mace over his head or something. Bloody hell.

Aside from that, I really enjoyed the book. The cliffhanger ending has kept me intrigued for the next book, and I read the first chapter of Bloodrose online and I loved it. Ah!  My lips are sealed, though, you’ll have to read the book to find out what’s next!  

18 September 2011

In My Mailbox - (31)

This week I received just one book. I ordered this before I started my book ban, and I'm pleased to say that I still haven't broken it! Woo!

Sean Griswold's Head by Lindsey Levitt
March 1, 2011

This is about a girl called Payton who has been told by her guidance counselor that she needs a focus object to concentrate her emotions on. Payton decides to use Sean Griswold's Head. This book sounds hilarious, and it's been getting some great reviews! I can't wait to read it.

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. Feel free to leave your links below and I'll come and see what you got this week!

16 September 2011

I Love This Cover!

Yes, I know this cover is everywhere already, but I just wanted it on my blog because it's so damn pretty. I love this cover so much! What do you guys think? I think it's miles better than the cover for Divergent, and I especially like the slightly more unique colouring of it.

Do you like it? Or do you think it's awful? I'd be interested to know what you all think! Also, if you're interested and haven't done so already, go and check out the interview that came along with the reveal. You may find it interesting!

15 September 2011

Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan
Sky Chasers #1
Release: October 7, 2011 (UK)
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Buy the Book: Amazon USAmazon UK
What if you were bound for a new world, about to pledge your life to someone you'd been promised to since birth, and one unexpected violent attack made survival—not love—the issue?

Out in the murky nebula lurks an unseen enemy: the New Horizon. On its way to populate a distant planet in the wake of Earth's collapse, the ship's crew has been unable to conceive a generation to continue its mission. They need young girls desperately, or their zealous leader's efforts will fail. Onboard their sister ship, the Empyrean, the unsuspecting families don't know an attack is being mounted that could claim the most important among them...

Fifteen-year-old Waverly is part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space; she was born on the Empyrean, and the large farming vessel is all she knows. Her concerns are those of any teenager—until Kieran Alden proposes to her. The handsome captain-to-be has everything Waverly could ever want in a husband, and with the pressure to start having children, everyone is sure he's the best choice. Except for Waverly, who wants more from life than marriage—and is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth.

But when the Empyrean faces sudden attack by their assumed allies, they quickly find out that the enemies aren't all from the outside. - Goodreads Page
Earth has become almost uninhabitable, and so two sister ships – The Empyrean and The New Horizon – have been set off into space to commence their journey to New Earth. Our two main characters, Kieran and Waverly, are on one of those ships.

So as you may have deduced, this novel is a sci-fi/dystopian. Don’t you just love those? I do. Ever since I read Across the Universe I have been fascinated by the genre, and I was so excited when I received this ARC in the mail. As predicted, Glow did not disappoint – I absolutely ravished it.

The story is told in two points of view – Kieran and Waverly’s – and in alternating parts. We are first introduced to The New Horizon, where Kieran and Waverly are the eldest children. They are greatly favoured, as previously to them being born the females of the ship had been infertile. I won’t go into too much detail about that, because there is so much to be explained and explored, and I wouldn’t want to ruin any potential surprises!

Something inevitably goes wrong, and causes Waverly and her boyfriend Kieran to be separated. I, for one, was quite looking forward to the change in status, but anyway, let’s continue.

The main story arc of the book was excellently dealt with; there were many twists and turns throughout the plot, and lots of action scenes thrown in! The plot was fast moving, yet I didn’t have any trouble keeping up with what was going on. There were some time jumps, but these were almost perfectly well managed, and stayed very consistent throughout the parts.

Most of all, I loved the world building. You all know I love dystopias, and this is possibly one of the best I’ve read so far. The little details were brilliantly though out and executed, and I loved that everything had relevance within the story.

I’d also like to add that I was extremely impressed by the villain. Without mentioning any names, I thought our villain in this book was brilliant. The reasons for the villainous acts were well put across, and you could really tell that nothing was done without cause. Simply amazing.

Waverly, our heroine, was fantastic. She was strong willed, and didn't let anything bring her down. Instead of whining on about how bad her life had suddenly become, she strived to help the others on the ship and to plot a way to get back to Kieran. That said, I liked the fact that Amy Ryan hadn’t made her to be too tough. Things affected her, and circumstances changed her. She had great character growth and her development right until the end of the novel was clear.

As for Kieran... Meh. Usually it’s the girl that annoys me, but Kieran was an awful character. I really wasn’t interested in his relationship with Waverly, and I do not think they are suited in the slightest. Waverly was such a strong character, and I feel that Kieran put her down. His whining especially got on my nerves, along with the preaching.

 In fact, I’m rather looking forward to seeing more of Waverly and Seth, and hopefully seeing something form between them. Yes, I know Seth is a bit of a bugger, but he’s significantly better than Kieran and I think Waverly will do Seth good.

And to top all of that awesomeness off, Amy Ryan’s writing style was impeccable. There were a couple of scenes in which I could feel the character’s pain physically, for example in one scene, someone pulls an IV out of their arm and then has to put it back in. This scene and the descriptions just left me cringing; it was awful and yet amazing at the same time. This rarely happens to me whilst reading.

I definitely recommend this book to sci-fi and dystopian fans. I’d also like to recommend it to everyone else, whether you’re a fan of politics, family relationships, religion, or none of the above. You can just ignore the fact that it’s set in space, because I can guarantee you are probably going to love this book!

14 September 2011

Book Buying Ban - Update

Two weeks in, and my ban is going brilliantly! I haven't bought any more young adults books, and I've managed to read a couple that were on my list of ten. Here's a quick update for all those who are interested!

1. Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer (Nightshade #2)
2.5 The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa (The Iron Fey #2)

Huh, I just realised they were all the second books in the series. What a coincidence! Anyway, only 7.5 books to go! Woop!


Currently Reading:
For the challenge/ban, I think I'm going to read Linger next. But I'm also part of the way through A Game of Thrones. I'm really enjoying it! Although it doesn't count towards my ten books as it's definitely not YA!

12 September 2011

Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
Bloodlines #1
Release: August 23, 2011
Publisher: Razorbill
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5 out of 5
Buy the Book: Amazon USAmazon UK
When alchemist Sydney is ordered into hiding to protect the life of Moroi princess Jill Dragomir, the last place she expects to be sent is a human private school in Palm Springs, California. But at their new school, the drama is only just beginning.

Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, Bloodlines explores all the friendship, romance, battles and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive - this time in a part-vampire, part-human setting where the stakes are even higher and everyone's out for blood. - Goodreads Page
I suck at writing reviews for books that I absolutely adore, so I apolgise in advance. 

Bloodlines picks up a little while after the Vampire Academy series ended (*cries*) and is told from the point of view of the Alchemist, Sydney. I'm sure my fellow rabid fans knew that already, though. 

Sydney is sent off to a boarding school in California to help Eddie to protect Jill. Yes, that Jill and Eddie. This series is set in the same world as Vampire Academy so you can expect lots of crossovers and appearances from other well loved characters! 

Of course, nothing in the VA universe is ever boring, and Sydney and co. face a series of hurdles along the way. 

The plot is fast paced; full of action scenes and mystery. I was a bit disappointed, or surprised, at how easy most of the mysteries were to solve, but I didn't some some of the things coming at all. The discovery towards the end of the book was particularly amazing, and very intriguing! 

I enjoyed reading about Sydney, and from her point of view. She was so different from Rose in so many ways. She holds her tongue - mostly - and she doesn't come out with snarky retorts to everything. I did miss Rose, but I'm loving getting to know Sydney! And I love her new nickname - Melbourne. Awesome! 

And yes, Adrian is in this book! He's actually in it a lot, which I loved. He's such an amazing character, and he went through tonnes of stuff in Bloodlines. He's slowly trying to get his life back in order after Rose left a huge stinking gap in it, but he's struggling. Really badly. 

The only thing I didn't like about this book that I feel I should mention is how many older guys were attracted to Jill. She's been at the school a few weeks and she's already got two or three guys falling for her. Seriously? She's fifteen. And she's not even that interesting. 

I would definitely recommend reading the Vampire Academy series before starting this one, otherwise I do think you could become confused with the previous plots and discoveries. However, if any of you have read this without reading VA, do let me know because I would like to know what you think! 

Oh, and you know everyone is talking about the last sentence? I totally agree with what they're saying. I was giggling like a silly fangirl for at least twenty minutes after reading those four words. *Squeals with delight*

What are you waiting for? Pick this up now.

11 September 2011

In My Mailbox - (30)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren every Sunday. Here's what I got in the mail this week.

Mister Creecher by Chris Priestly
October 3, 2011 (UK)
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Bloomsbury were kind enough to send me a finished copy of Mister Creecher. I've been told that this is a couple of peoples' favourite read of this year so far. I'm really looking forward to reading this, as it sounds bloody brilliant!

A Game of Thrones by George R R Martin
A Song of Ice and Fire #1
Amazon UK are currently selling AGOT for just £1.99 in paperbackand Kindleeditions. You should definitely go and buy a copy while the sale is still on! I love the TV show, and can't wait to get stuck into the book. Although at 850+ pages, it may take a while for me to read! 
Blood Bound by Rachel Vincent 
Unbound #1
September 1, 2011
Publisher: MIRA
As you all know, I'm a HUGE fan of Rachel Vincent's books. When I learnt that she was releasing a new adult series, I was ecstatic. I immediately preordered a copy. And look what arrived the other day! I've read the first few chapters, and am loving it so far. 

I'm really proud of myself for not breaking my YA book buying ban! I'll be posting an update on that later this week. 

What did you all get this week? Leave your links below and I'll come visit your posts! I hope you're all having and amazing weekend. 

10 September 2011

Deception by Lee Nichols

Deception by Lee Nichols
Haunting Emma #1
Release: September 5, 2011 (UK)
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5 out of 5
When Emma Vaile’s parents go missing while away on a mysterious business trip, she’s left all alone in her creepy old house. But her brother’s very cute best friend, Bennett Stern—Emma’s knight in J. Crew armor—arrives unexpectedly to whisk her away to New England. There, Emma settles into his family’s museum-like mansion and enrolls at an old-fashioned private school. She quickly finds friends in the popular legacy crowd at Thatcher and spends her free time crushing on Bennett.

But the eerie visions she’s been hiding from everyone have gotten worse. Emma has memories of Thatcher that she can’t explain—it’s as if she’s returning home to a place she’s never been. Finally, Emma confides in Bennett and learns she is a ghostkeeper, a person who can communicate with ghosts. Bennett brought Emma to Thatcher to protect her, but now he needs her help tracking an other-worldly murderer. - Goodreads Page
Having not heard much about this book before I read it, I didn't understand what all the sudden fuss was about. Another book about ghosts? Okay then. Cool. Like I said, that was before I read Deception.

Deception is told in first person, from Emma's point of view. All of a sudden, Emma's parents disappear and Emma has to go and live with the mysteriously sexy Bennett in an old museum. She also has to start a new private school, very different to her previous public one. Through various events, Emma finds out that she can see ghosts. Not just see them, mind you, she can also communicate with them and control them, and do a couple of other cool things too. 

Lee Nichols has established such an awesome take on ghosts, I was thoroughly enjoying reading all of the new 'lore' surrounding them, as well as Emma's family and friends. I've not seen such an interesting spin since I read Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready, which also features ghosts. However, Nichols' version of ghosts seemed to impress me more, although I'm unsure why. I think it's the relationship that Emma had with them.

The whole novel was amazing, and it kept me guessing all the way through. I honestly had no idea what to think of some events! But it was (mostly) all revealed in the end. Speaking of the end, the ending was amazing! Action packed, with some very emotional situations thrown in there. 

Like others I have spoken to, I wasn't to keen on Emma to begin with. She seemed very oblivious to what was going on around her. I didn't dislike her by any means, I just thought she was rather plain. But a third of the way through the novel, I started to love her. Her personality starts to shine, and I loved reading about her friendship with new people she met at her private school - Harry especially! - and her relationship with Bennett. I love Bennett. And Harry! 

I also loved Coby, he's a sweetheart, but I wish we had seen more character development from him. I'm sure we'll see some more of him in the next book, though, and I hope to see him dealing with... things. 

Like I said, I love Bennett! He's extremely mysterious, and I can't wait to find out more about him. Especially after what happened at the end of this book! 

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can't recommend it enough. It's a fantastic read, and it even had me laughing out loud at 6am in the morning - not an easy task, I must say! 

09 September 2011

Book Blogger Hop and Follow Friday

Book Blogger Hop
hosted by Crazy For Books every weekend!

Q. Many of us primarily read one genre of books, with others sprinkled in. If authors stopped writing that genre, what genre would you start reading? Or would you give up reading completely if you couldn't read that genre any more?

No, I would not give up reading! I'd be genuinely surprised if I see someone who says they would. I'm going to answer this question twice, in a way, as I read primarily YA but there are also lots of genres within YA. Firstly, if authors stopped writing the paranormal/fantasy genre then I would simply move on to another genre within YA. I took a look at my bookshelf, and realised that most of the books that I have already read are paranormal/fantasy novels. But I do enjoy other genres too! I love contemporary YA, along with sci-fi and dystopian. Especially dystopian. 

Now, if YA ceased to be written, that's another matter entirely. Again, I would NOT give up reading. No way. But I'd obviously be forced to read either MG or Adult novels. I haven't read much MG, but I do enjoy The Edge Chronicles by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell. I'd quite happily move on to MG if I could find books like those. But I also love adult novels as well, and I've been reading them ever since I was about thirteen years old. I love Lynsay Sands, Nalini Singh, Rachel Vincent, Patricia Cornwell... Loads of authors. 

So I think it'd be quite easy to move onto another genre, although I was miss the ones that are no longer being written terribly. 

hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read

Q. Have you ever wanted a villain to win at the end of a story? If so, which one?

You know, I've just been sat looking at my bookshelves for over ten minutes, and I don't actually think I have! I love villains. I love their presence in the story and I love their evil plans. I love it when the author goes into detail with their backstories - think Voldemort! - and I love reading about what made them what they are today. But I really don't think I've ever wanted a villain to win at the very end. I've wanted a struggle, yes. But a win? Nope.

Leave your links below, and I'll visit your blog to see what you make of today's question! It won't be until later though, I'm so tired right now and I need to sleep.

08 September 2011

Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts

Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts
Release: September 2, 2011 (UK)
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Source: Publisher
Rating: 3 out of 5
Buy the Book: Amazon US |Amazon UK
Four teenagers on the same road in a world gone mad. Struggling to survive, clinging on to love and meaning wherever it can be found. THE DARK INSIDE is a stunning, cinematic thriller: 28 DAYS LATER meets THE ROAD.
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. - Goodreads Page
Dark Inside is an apocalyptic novel that begins just as several earthquakes take place all over the world. One particularly strong earthquake destroys the west coast of America, causing mass destruction from Mexico up to Alaska. Hawaii has been wiped out by tidal waves, and London is full of riots. The book follows four survivors who try to keep themselves – and others – alive as the rest of the population go crazy and start to turn on each other.

I really enjoyed the fast paced, action packed storyline. Jeyn Roberts did an excellent job with creating a compelling plot that kept me sucked in. The story is told from four different peoples’ points of view; switching POVs each chapter. There is also a few chapters here and there which are told from the point of view of ‘Nothing’. What is this Nothing? That’s just one of the mysteries of the book.

The crazy people were a lot like the people in “The Crazies” movie. I loved their descriptions and actions, and Roberts did an incredible job of making them creepy. It was incredibly refreshing to read a good horror novel that actually had me biting my nails. There is one particular scene in the snow which made me shiver. So. Creepy.

I enjoyed reading about how the survivors were coping with their new lives on the run from these crazies – who some of them called Baggers. It was great to read about their different journeys to their destinations, and how each character subtly related to the others.

The crazies weren’t all as they seemed, either. There were a few discoveries to be made throughout the book, which I was very intrigued to read about. Why were people turning crazy? Why were some staying ‘normal’?

Dark Inside was an enjoyable read that kept me on my toes. That said, I disliked the abrupt ending and would have rather have had a few more pages to lengthen it out a bit. I also don’t like what happened to Daniel. I won’t spoil it! Also, the amount of characters in the book confused me a little. As there were four different points of view, there were also four characters that met up with more characters. There was, in the end, a pretty big cast, and I became confused with the names and backstories of them once they’d been off the page for a couple of chapters.

Definitely check this out, because Dark Inside is one of the best horror novels – aside from the wonderful books by Darren Shan, of course *wink* - that I have ever read. Unfortunately, there were a few points that were a bit of a letdown, and this meant the book was given a lower rating than I would have preferred.  

07 September 2011

Amber's 'Mortal Instruments' Dream Team

There's been a lot of talk about some of my favourite young adult books being turned into movies as of late, and I am always holding my breath to see who they cast next. Unlike what seems like the majority of the fandom, I am actually pretty happy with the castings for both The Hunger Games and The Mortal Instruments. I, for one, am not bothered about what the actors look like. They don't need to be carbon copies of the character they are playing. The only thing they need to be able to do is act. And act fantastically. The movie studio could have cast Katniss's identical twin, but that would have been useless if the actress portraying her couldn't pull off the part. 

Enough of my blabbering. I've decided to start this new 'feature' on the blog. I'm not sure how long it's going to last, but I love sharing and discussing my dream casts with people and so, as this is a book blog, I thought why the hell not? I'll be sharing with everyone my dream team of actors and actresses for some of my favourite novels and series. I'll be choosing my cast based on both looks and acting talents. Or one or the other. I don't know. It's MY dream team, so I'll just roll with it. 

This time, as the title shows, I'll be showing you all my dream team for The Mortal Instruments. Not that I'm not happy with Jamie or Lily, because I totally am. Okay, let's get started. 

Clary Fray/Emma Stone

Age: 16
Hair Colour: Red
Eye Colour: Green
Why Emma? I think that Emma is a fantastic actress. She can pull of comedy, which I think is needed in the TMI series, and she can also do serious. And look at her! With a bit of movie magic, I think she could pull of a sixteen year old. To be honest, I don't even care if she couldn't. I'd happily settle for Clary looking a bit older. In short: I am in love with Emma Stone.

Jace Wayland/Alex Pettyfer

Age: 17
Hair Colour: Blonde
Eye Colour: Golden
Why Alex? Why not? I'm not a huge fan of AP, if I'm totally honest, but look at that picture and tell me that's not Jace Wayland right there.

Simon Lewis/Kristopher Turner
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Brown
Why him? I just think he looks like Simon, don't you? The glasses are absolutely adorable, and I can imagine him being turned into a rat and back again. I can also imagine him being dorky with Emma Stone. (Thanks for letting me know who this guy is, Elzahh!)
Valentine/Jason Isaacs

Hair Colour: White Blonde
Why Jason? Do I really need to spell it out? Jason is a fantastic actor. He does evil really well (just look at Captain Hook and Lucius Malfoy!) and  I think he'd be perfect for the role of Valentine. I can definitely see him being creepy, and just a genuine bastard. I've actually met him in real life, and he's such a lovely person, you wouldn't have thought he could play such bad characters!

Isabelle Lightwood/Alexandra Daddario
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Dark Brown 
Why Alexandra? Okay, so I had a really tough time trying to find someone who I would choose to play Izzy. The first person that came to mind was a younger Lucy Lawless, but obvious that's now out of the question. I picked Alexandra because I think she's pretty and girly enough to play Izzy, and yet I think she'd also be great at playing a kickass character. Can you imagine her with whips?

Alec Lightwood/Gaspard Ulliel
Hair Colour: Black 
Eye Colour: Striking Blue
Why Gaspard? Look at him! He's so adorable. I can totally imagine him as Alec. I don't think I've seen him play in any lead roles, but I think he could easily pull of a supporting character such as Alec. I can't stop staring, seriously. 

Luke Garroway/Gale Harold

Hair Colour: Brown
Eye Colour: Blue
Why Gale? I think Gale would make a fantastic fatherly figure for Emma/Clary. I can just imagine him sitting in his house, reading a dusty old book. I can also imagine him turning into a wolf ;)

Aaaaand, that's it. I know I left out Magnus, but I honestly can't think of anyone who could play the glittery warlock. I'd have to do a lot more research into eccentric characters to try to find the perfect match! 

Anyway guys, did you enjoy this post? Would you like to see more? Who would be your dream team for The Mortal Instruments?