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!)