31 October 2013

Shift by Hugh Howey

Shift by Hugh Howey
Silo #2
Release Date: April 25, 2013
Publisher: Century
Source: Publisher
Star Rating: 3
Rating: Enjoyable

In a future less than fifty years away, the world is still as we know it. Time continues to tick by. The truth is that it is ticking away. A powerful few know what lies ahead. They are preparing for it. They are trying to protect us. They are setting us on a path from which we can never return.

Shift was a bit of a disappointment for me. I really enjoyed Wool, and I was looking forward to finding out how everything began and how the silos first came about. Unfortunately, Shift fell flat in terms of excitement, action, and character development. It's quite a boring book for the most part, with little important events and a mystery scattered throughout. Wool was so much better, and I think I was expecting too much from this one.

30 October 2013

Endless Knight by Kresley Cole

Endless Knight by Kresley Cole
The Arcana Chronicles #2
Release Date: October 1, 2013 (UK)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher
Star Rating: 2
Rating: Hodgepodge

Shocking Secrets

Evie has fully come into her powers as the Tarot Empress, and Jack was there to see it all. She now knows that the teens who've been reincarnated as the Tarot are in the throes of an epic battle. It's kill or be killed, and the future of mankind hangs in the balance.

Unexpected Allies

With threats lurking around every corner, Evie is forced to trust her newfound alliance. Together they must fight not only other Arcana, but also Bagmen zombies, post-apocalyptic storms, and cannibals.

Gut-Wrenching Treachery

When Evie meets Death, things get even more complicated. Though falling for Jack, she's drawn to the dangerous Endless Knight as well. Somehow the Empress and Death share a history, one that Evie can't remember—but Death can't forget.
This is what I truly am...
I adored Poison Princess when I read it last year, and I have been waiting months to get my hands on Endless Knight. I needed to know what happened after Evie discovered how to use her powers, and what Jackson would think! I had also heard that we'd be meeting Death properly in this one, so of course that was exciting stuff. But, Endless Knight falls flat. I am so disappointed in this instalment that I almost want to cry.

29 October 2013

Top Ten Scariest Book Covers

Top Ten Scariest Book Covers

I'm a huge horror fan, when it comes to books and movies and TV shows, so I am really looking forward to Halloween this year! It's a great excuse to eat a bunch of chocolate and hide under the cover with your laptop. This week, I'm sharing my top ten scary book covers. These are in no particular order, and the level of scary varies. You might not even be creeped out by them. Just know that I hate dolls, children, clowns, and eye operations.

28 October 2013

New Releases: October 29 - November 4, 2013

There are a lot of sequels out this week, to books that I either didn't enjoy or I have not yet read. I really enjoyed the first book in The Reaper Diaries, so I'll be checking out Unchosen eventually. And I need to hurry up and pick up Crewel, since everyone seems to love it! Relic also sounds pretty good, although I haven't heard much about it. Which new releases are you looking forward to this week?

25 October 2013

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein
Code Name Verity #2
Release Date: September 10, 2013 (This edition)
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Source: Publisher (NetGalley)
Rating: 4/5

While flying an Allied fighter plane from Paris to England, American ATA pilot and amateur poet, Rose Justice, is captured by the Nazis and sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious women's concentration camp. Trapped in horrific circumstances, Rose finds hope in the impossible through the loyalty, bravery and friendship of her fellow prisoners. But will that be enough to endure the fate that’s in store for her?

Elizabeth Wein, author of the critically-acclaimed and best-selling Code Name Verity, delivers another stunning WWII thriller. The unforgettable story of Rose Justice is forged from heart-wrenching courage, resolve, and the slim, bright chance of survival.

I've been avoiding writing this review ever since I finished Rose Under Fire, which was a little under a month ago >.< I have a lot of mixed feelings about this novel, some good and some bad. I wanted so badly to love this book, especially because Code Name Verity is one of the best books I've ever read, but maybe because I went in expecting so much, I have to say I was disappointed.

24 October 2013

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Release Date: October 3, 2013 (UK)
Publisher: Orchard Books
Source: Publisher
Star Rating: 5
Rating: All Time Favourite

Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . .

Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn't believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.

Peter is unlike anyone she's ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland's inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she's always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.

With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it's the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who's everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Peaches comes a magical and bewitching story of the romance between a fearless heroine and the boy who wouldn't grow up.

Let me tell you something straight off. This is a love story, but not like any you have ever heard. The boy and the girl are far from innocent. Dear lives are lost. And good doesn't win. In some places, there is something ultimately good about endings. In Neverland, that is not the case.
I wasn't expecting much from this novel. I'm not a huge fan of Peter Pan for various reasons, the main one being that I dislike all of the characters. Peter, Wendy, Tinker Bell... I don't like any of them in most of the adaptations I have come across (Once Upon a Time aside). The only character I have liked is Captain Hook, and that's mostly because he's either hilariously ridiculous in the movies, or bloody gorgeous in the Once Upon a Time TV show. But Tiger Lily made me see the characters in a whole new light, and I have to say that this is one of the best adaptations of any story that I have ever read. 

23 October 2013

Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill

Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill
Locke & Key #1
Release Date: September 29, 2008
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Source: Bought
Star Rating: 4
Rating: Essential

Locke & Key tells of Keyhouse, an unlikely New England mansion, with fantastic doors that transform all who dare to walk through them.... and home to a hate-filled and relentless creature that will not rest until it forces open the most terrible door of them all... Acclaimed suspense novelist and New York Times best-selling author Joe Hill (Heart-Shaped Box) creates an all-new story of dark fantasy and wonder, with astounding artwork from Gabriel Rodriguez.

I had been looking forward to reading this graphic novel for a long time. My first graphic novel was The Kite Runner, and since I read that I've been craving more. But I had to wait until I found a job, because graphic novels can be bloody expensive, and that is certainly true for the Locke & Key series. So, I bought this ASAP, and I absolutely devoured it!

I am a huge fan of horror and blood and gore, and as soon as I started reading this I knew that it would be the book for me. There's a murder in the first couple of pages, and Welcome to Lovecraft only gets darker from there. 

22 October 2013

Top Ten Character Names I Love

Top Ten Character Names I Love
hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

I always love a good character name. I think it's something that my mum instilled in me from a young age. She has always preferred names that aren't so common. When she named me, she was debating between Amber and Brooke (which is now my sister's name). Both names were ones that she'd never come across in real life, only heard about in the media. I think she is the reason that I tend to sway more towards the less common names, and I always value a creative name, as long as it's not too ridiculous. So, here's a list of my favourite character names. You guys should let me know what yours are in the comments, because I always love talking about names!

21 October 2013

New Releases: October 22 - 28, 2013

There are very few releases this week. I guess nobody wanted to go up against Allegiant.

18 October 2013

The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer

The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
Matteo Alacran #1
Release Date: September 26, 2013 (UK)
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children's Books
Source: Publisher
Star Rating: 4
Rating: Essential

Matt is six years old when he discovers that he is different from other children and other people. To most, Matt isn't considered a boy at all, but a beast, dirty and disgusting. But to El Patron, lord of a country called Opium, Matt is the guarantee of eternal life. El Patron loves Matt as he loves himself - for Matt is himself. They share the exact same DNA.

As Matt struggles to understand his existence and what that existence truly means, he is threatened by a host of sinister and manipulating characters, from El Patron's power-hungry family to the brain-deadened eejits and mindless slaves that toil Opium's poppy fields. Surrounded by a dangerous army of bodyguards, escape is the only chance Matt has to survive. But even escape is no guarantee of freedom… because Matt is marked by his difference in ways that he doesn't even suspect.
In the beginning there were thirty-six of them, thirty-six droplets of life so tiny that Eduardo could see them only under a microscope.
How had I not heard of this book before a few months ago? It seems as though everyone I speak to has already read it, and yet it has been avoiding my radar for the past few years. What?! 

The House of the Scorpion is a great read. It's about love and family, and how those two things make us human. It's about rising up, and empowerment, and fighting your so-called destiny. I love all of those things, so I knew as soon as I picked this book up that this would be one for me. Add to that a writing style that reminds me of Neal Shusterman's Unwind, and we have a winner.

17 October 2013

Why LGBT+ Representation is Important in YA

Amber: A couple of weeks ago, I was casually scrolling through my Twitter feed when I saw that Christina had asked about ships. If you know me at all, you'll know that I am a huge shipper; in books, on TV, and in movies. I am a fangirl, and I can't help myself. So of course I jumped into the conversations that were going on, and the topic of slash shipping came up. One thing led to another, and I found myself getting annoyed for the thousandth time about the lack of LGBT+ representation in YA. I asked people to name books with queer protagonists, whose sexuality is not the main focus of the plot. I wanted fantasy novels, dystopia, science fiction, with characters who just happened to be anything other than straight. I got a mere handful of responses. Seriously. I got so annoyed that I ran to Lauren and asked her to write a guest post, because I think that this is an important topic of discussion, and I felt that Lauren could say it better than I could.

16 October 2013

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Shatter Me #1
Release Date: October 2, 2011 (This edition)
Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Bought
Recommended by: Judith (Epic Recs)
Star Rating: 1
Rating: Troll

No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal, but The Reestablishment has plans for her. Plans to use her as a weapon. But Juliette has plans of her own. After a lifetime without freedom, she's finally discovering a strength to fight back for the very first time—and to find a future with the one boy she thought she'd lost forever.
I've been locked up for 264 days.
Shatter Me was not good. Prior to picking it up, I had heard a lot of mixed things about this book but I wanted to give it a go since I had heard a lot about the unique writing style, and the slightly crazy main character. Those always draw me in. Also, Judith told me that Warner was evil and also slightly crazy. Obviously, I assumed we were meant to be.

15 October 2013

14 October 2013

New Releases: October 15 - 21, 2013

I'm only looking forward to a couple of new releases this week: UnSouled (!!!!!!!!!!!), and Meet Me At The River, which is about two step-siblings who fall in love. I don't know, it sounds interesting.

09 October 2013

Thornhill by Kathleen Peacock

Thornhill by Kathleen Peacock
Hemlock #2
Release Date: September 10, 2013
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Source: Bought
Star Rating: 4
Rating: Enjoyable

Mac can’t lose another friend. Even if he doesn’t want to be found.

The ripple effect caused by Mac’s best friend Amy’s murder has driven Mac’s new love, Kyle, to leave Hemlock and disappear from her life forever. But Mac knows that Kyle plans to enroll in a rehabilitation camp, where he can live with other werewolves. She refuses to accept his decision, especially since the camps are rumored to be tortuous. So she sets out in search of Kyle with a barely sober Jason—and Amy’s all-seeing ghost—in tow.

Clues lead Mac to find Kyle in a werewolf den in Colorado—but their reunion is cut short by a Tracker raid. Now Mac and Kyle are trapped inside the electric fences of Thornhill, a camp for young werewolves. As she devises an escape plan, Mac uncovers dangerous secrets buried within the walls of Thornhill—and realizes that the risk to the people she loves is greater than ever before.

Some rooms looked better in the dark.
I can't believe Thornhill is finally out! It feels like I've been waiting for it for years. Kathleen Peacock, y u no write faster? Are you too busy watching Doctor Who? Ehem. So, anyway, I adored Hemlock, so much so that I recommended it to Tatum. I was actually surprised that she loved it so much, because she does have trouble with some YA and first person perspectives. Weird, right? But she adored Hemlock as much as I did, so that was, to me, a sign from the heavens that Peacock is as fabulous as I thought she was.

08 October 2013

Top Ten Best and Worst Series Enders

Top Ten Best and Worst Series Enders

Tatum and I had to team up this week because I a) couldn't think of ten, and b) I had a slight breakdown over Spartacus. Still, we couldn't come up with ten books between us because clearly we suck at finishing series. We did, however, think up some, and I brought a TV show into the mix, AND I saved you from Tatum's initial spoilery rant about Clockwork Princess. You are welcome.

07 October 2013

New Releases: October 8 - 14, 2013

This week I am looking forward to The Broken Hearted (look at that cover!), Red (because it sounds hilarious), and Premeditated (because I loved Arclight). I also want to check out The Eye of Minds, because I really enjoyed The Maze Runner. What about you?

06 October 2013

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
Release Date: April 25, 2013
Publisher: Harper
Source: Bought
Rating: 3/5

The girl who wouldn’t die, hunting a killer who shouldn’t exist…

A terrifying and original serial-killer thriller from award-winning author, Lauren Beukes.

1930’s America: Lee Curtis Harper is a delusional, violent drifter who stumbles on a house that opens onto other times.

Driven by visions, he begins a killing spree over the next 60 years, using an undetectable MO and leaving anachronistic clues on his victims’ bodies.

But when one of his intended ‘shining girls’, Kirby Mazrachi, survives a brutal stabbing, she becomes determined to unravel the mystery behind her would-be killer. While the authorities are trying to discredit her, Kirby is getting closer to the truth, as Harper returns again and again…

I picked this up on a whim because Lauren had mentioned it in passing and it sounded interesting, which is generally all it takes for me to read a book tbh.

I don't really read a lot of crime fiction because I find it difficult to get into but The Shining Girls offered an intriguing premise that set the book apart from the genre. I have to say though that the book doesn't really live up to expectations, and after reading the author interview at the back of my copy I don't really think the book achieves what Beukes wanted it to either.

05 October 2013

September Wrap Up and October TBR

September was a great month, although I didn't have much time to just sit back and relax. I spent the first couple of weeks running around like crazy, trying to get things sorted before my holiday, and on the 18th I set off for Rome. I spent an amazing five days there, and I wish I could have stayed longer. I definitely want to go back in the near future! I recorded the first four days of my trip, and I plan on putting all the videos up on my Youtube channel at some point this month. 

03 October 2013

The Killing Woods by Lucy Christopher

The Killing Woods by Lucy Christopher
Release Date: October 3, 2013
Publisher: Chicken House
Source: Publisher
Goodreads Stars: 1
Rating: Bland

Emily’s dad is accused of murdering a teenage girl. Emily is sure he is innocent, but what happened that night in the woods behind their house where she used to play as a child? Determined to find out, she seeks out Damon Hillary the enigmatic boyfriend of the murdered girl. He also knows these woods. Maybe they could help each other. But he’s got secrets of his own about games that are played in the dark.

A new psychological thriller from the award-winning and bestselling author of STOLEN and FLYAWAY. - Goodreads

Having heard a lot of amazing things about Lucy Christopher's Stolen, I was very intrigued to check out her work. I hadn't planned on buying anything else by her until I had read Stolen - which has been sitting on my shelf for a good three years now - but I was sent an ARC from the publisher, followed by a finished copy, so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to give her books a go.

02 October 2013

Resist by Sarah Crossan

Resist by Sarah Crossan
Breathe #2
Release Date: October 8, 2013
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Source: Publisher (Edelweiss)
Goodreads Stars: 3.5
Rating:  Enjoyable

The sequel—and conclusion—to Sarah Crossan's Breathe. Three teen outlaws must survive on their own in a world without air, exiled outside the glass dome that protects what's left of human civilization. Gripping action, provocative ideas, and shocking revelations in a dystopian novel that fans of Patrick Ness and Veronica Roth will devour.

Bea, Alina, and Quinn are on the run. They started a rebellion and were thrown out of the pod, the only place where there's enough oxygen to breathe. Bea has lost her family. Alina has lost her home. And Quinn has lost his privileged life. Can they survive in the perilous Outlands? Can they finish the revolution they began? Especially when a young operative from the pod's Special Forces is sent after them. Their only chance is to stand together, even when terrible circumstances force them apart. When the future of human society is in danger, these four teens must decide where their allegiances lie. Sarah Crossan has created a dangerous, and shattered society in this wrenching, thought-provoking, and unforgettable post-apocalyptic novel. - Goodreads

We didn't think sailing to Sequoia would be easy, but we hoped for better luck than freezing rains and winds.
I very much enjoyed Breathe when it came out last year, and I have been eagerly anticipating the release of Resist. Bring on the rebellion! While I did enjoy Resist, there were some issues that I had with it. Some aspects of the novel felt rather underdeveloped, and I think adding an extra hundred pages would have given Crossan time to cover things properly. There was just so much happening in this book that it was difficult to evenly develop and progress certain parts.

01 October 2013

Blackout by Robison Wells

Blackout by Robison Wells
Blackout #1
Release Date: October 1, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher (Edelweiss)
Goodreads Stars: 4
Rating: Essential

Laura and Alec are trained terrorists.

Jack and Aubrey are high school students.

There was no reason for them to ever meet.

But now, a mysterious virus is spreading throughout America, infecting teenagers with impossible powers. And these four are about to find their lives intertwined in a complex web of deception, loyalty, and catastrophic danger—where one wrong choice could trigger an explosion that ends it all. - Goodreads
"Ready?" Alec asked, looking in the rearview mirror at Dan, whose eyes were closed in a kind of nervous meditation.
The reason I wanted to pick this book up was that I adored Variant. Robison Wells’ debut novel was action packed, engrossing, and I lost myself in the mystery. While I thought Feedback, the sequel, fell totally flat at the end, I was thrilled to find out that Wells had another YA novel coming out this year. Even better, it was uploaded onto Edelweiss, so that meant I spent a good fortnight with everything crossed in the hopes that I would get approved for this. And I was! So my sacrifices to Jupiter totally worked out.

Top Ten Book Turn-Offs

Top Ten Book Turn-Offs

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

True story, I'm a bitch. Also I'm pretty sure prolonged years of studying English Literature has broken something fundamental in my brain so that I can no longer simply 'enjoy' a thing without feeling the deep instinctual urge to compose a three thousand word (minimum) essay on a topic of discussion relating to said thing. It's a problem; I should probably look into therapy tbh. That's not to say I'm hard to please exactly, but when I don't like a thing, I really don't like a thing. Which is why I've commandeered this week's Top Ten Tuesday :'D Because I'm English and this is what we were born to do.