31 January 2014

Monthly Wrap Up and TBR: January - February 2014

Reading wise, January was a very average month for me. I read some very good books, but nothing blew my mind like it has in the past, which is unfortunate because a lot of these books had such potential. Even though I said I wasn't going to, I did end up reading mostly review copies. This is good, because it means I'm getting through the giant stack, but I also want to try to balance my reading with my own books as well. Hopefully that will improve in February.

On the Blog

January was also the month that I relaunched my Debut Showcase feature, which had been on hiatus for a while. Speaking of relaunching, I also posted my first book haul post in forever.

Judith and I hosted Epic Recs, which was once again open for the public. As far as we can tell, everyone has been having a great time, especially Gaby and Lisa, who are so enthusiastic about this project. Love it!

Me in January
Nothing much happened out in the real world. It's now only six weeks until I visit Dee in Virginia, which is so exciting that I can't handle it. I am currently on a random health kick, and am trying to eat healthily. Well, I'm trying not to snack so much. Healthy is subjective. I watched The Wolf of Wall Street, and it kicked off my intense adoration for Leo DiCaprio again. I kept up with my new year's resolution to comment on other blogs more often - I hope the people that I'm following are appreciating the new me!

30 January 2014

Book Haul: January 2014

I haven't done a book haul post on my blog in ages, but I thought that I would bring it back this year because I always love seeing what other people have got in the mail, and I hope that people will be interested in my hauls too. I have a lot of books here, most of which were bought or gifted to me during December (not even this month!), so prepare yourselves.
Women of the Otherworld #2-6, by Kelley Armstrong

29 January 2014

Cress by Marissa Meyer

Cress by Marissa Meyer
The Lunar Chronicles #3
Release Date: February 6, 2014
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Source: Christina!
Star Rating: 
Rating: Essential

In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker—unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.

Scarlet was one of my favourite reads of 2013, and I had been looking forward to Cress for a year prior to its release. The lovely Christina let me and a bunch of other European bloggers borrow her ARC, and I almost fainted when it arrived here from Judith's house. It was the best belated Christmas gift ever.

27 January 2014

New Releases: January 28 - February 3, 2014

This week is a fantastic week! I have read a few of these new releases already, the most notable Secret by Brigid Kemmerer, which was absolutely fantastic. I'm looking forward to reading a lot of them, such as Red Rising, The Unbound, And We Stay, Minders (because Michele Jaffe!), and Divided We Fall. Which books will you be buying?

23 January 2014

DNF: Fugitive X by Gregg Rosenblum

Fugitive X by Gregg Rosenblum
Revolution 19 #2
Release Date: January 7, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher (Edelweiss)
Star Rating: DNF
Rating: DNF

A war between humans and robots is on the horizon, and only one side will survive.

Siblings Nick, Kevin, and Cass are struggling to survive in a world where deadly, sophisticated robots have turned on their creators and enslaved mankind. Fugitives from one of the bot-controlled Cities, the siblings venture into the woods, but when they are attacked by bot foot soldiers, the siblings are separated...and for the first time, they are on their own.

Despite the fact that I thought Revolution 19 was a fairly average read, I was still excited to check out the sequel. The ending of Revolution 19 opened up a lot of possibilities for the sequel, and I wanted to see where the characters could go next.  But Fugitive X was a book that I just couldn't get into, no matter how hard I tried.

22 January 2014

Bitten by Kelley Armstrong

Bitten by Kelley Armstrong
Women of the Otherworld #1
Release Date: May 1, 2010 (This edition)
Publisher: Little Brown Book Group
Source: Tatum
Star Rating: 
Rating: Essential

Elena Michaels didn't know that her lover Clay was a werewolf until he bit her, changing her life for ever. Betrayed and furious, she cannot accept her transformation, and wants nothing to do with her Pack - a charismatic group of fellow werewolves who say they want to help.

When a series of brutal murders threatens the Pack, Elena is forced to make an impossible choice. Abandon the only people who truly understand her new nature, or help them to save the lover who ruined her life, and who still wants her back at any cost.

I have to. I've been fighting it all night. I'm going to lose.
Bitten is one of those books that I have picked up to buy multiple times, but have always swapped it for another book that I deemed more important, or one that I was more excited for. Thanks to the new Canadian TV show, and the fact that this is Lauren's favourite series ever, I finally managed to pick it up. Or, rather, Tatum bought it for me for my birthday so I had no other choice. It was either this, or read Code Name Verity, and I don't want to be destroyed just yet, thank you. 

21 January 2014

Top Twelve Things On My Reading Wishlist

Top Twelve Things On My Reading Wishlist
I feel like I have been talking about the kind of stuff I want to see in books a lot lately, so I've mixed it up this week and gone with bookish things that I want in my life as well as things I want to see in books. Because diversity is good.

1. The rest of Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld books
Lauren made me and Tatum read this series because it's one of her all time favourites. I've read the first two books, and I own the first five, so I definitely need to get a move on and buy the rest so I can marathon them whenever I please. Or, rather, whenever my reading schedule allows.

20 January 2014

New Releases: January 21 - 27, 2014

This week has fewer releases, for which I am quite thankful because I'm sure most of us need a breather! I've already read Avalon, and really enjoyed it, and I'm very intrigued by The Rule of Three. Give it to me!

17 January 2014

White Cat by Holly Black

White Cat by Holly Black
Curse Workers #1
Release Date: May 4th 2010
Publisher: Indigo
Source: Bought
Star Rating: ★★★★

Cassel comes from a family of Curse Workers - people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they're all criminals. Many become mobsters and con artists. But not Cassel. He hasn't got magic, so he's an outsider, the straight kid in a crooked family. You just have to ignore one small detail - he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago.

Cassel has carefully built up a facade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his facade starts to crumble when he finds himself sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He's noticing other disturbing things too, including the strange behavior of his two brothers. They are keeping secrets from him. As Cassel begins to suspect he's part of a huge con game, he must unravel his past and his memories. To find out the truth, Cassel will have to out-con the conmen.

Okay, so I bought this book on a whim one day; I have vague memories of Amber telling me it was good so I was reasonably sure I'd enjoy it. Plus, criminals! Not everyone knows this about me but um, I love stories about villains. Immoral people, people with broken moral compasses (actually my favourite part of TVD was Damon and Elena constantly being terrible people, it was so great), people who don't care about crossing lines or just plain ruthless mercenary types. I love 'em all. I am that girl who used to watch all the Mafia documentaries on the History Channel, so, like, an entire YA series about criminals(!!!!) with powers(!!!!!) was obviously something I had to check out. I was so not disappointed, either.

16 January 2014

And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard

And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard
Release Date: January 28th, 2014
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Source: Publisher (NetGalley)
Rating: ★★★★

When high school senior Paul Wagoner walks into his school library with a stolen gun, he threatens his girlfriend Emily Beam, then takes his own life. In the wake of the tragedy, an angry and guilt-ridden Emily is shipped off to boarding school in Amherst, Massachusetts, where she encounters a ghostly presence who shares her name. The spirit of Emily Dickinson and two quirky girls offer helping hands, but it is up to Emily to heal her own damaged self.

This inventive story, told in verse and in prose, paints the aftermath of tragedy as a landscape where there is good behind the bad, hope inside the despair, and springtime under the snow.

And We Stay was my first official read of 2014 and was kind of an impulse request on my part; I wasn't expecting much but guys, I really, really liked this book. It tells the story of a teenage girl left to pick up the pieces when her boyfriend kills himself in a school shooting he is the perpetrator of. Sent away to a boarding school hundreds of miles away, Emily begins to express her grief and the secrets that burden through poetry, which is interspersed through the novel.

15 January 2014

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Release Date: February 28, 2013 (UK)
Publisher: Orion
Source: Princess Judith
Star Rating: ★★★★
Rating: Essential

It's 1986 and two star-crossed teens are smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you'll remember your own first love--and just how hard it pulled you under.

 A cross between the iconic '80s movie Sixteen Candles and the classic coming-of-age novel Looking for Alaska, Eleanor & Park is a brilliantly written young adult novel.

XTC was no good for drowning out the morons at the back of the bus.
Judith recommended Eleanor & Park to me for our Epic Recs back in November, and she even went as far as buying it for me for my birthday because she thought it was truly epic. I was very, very hesitant to pick this book up, because there is so much hype surrounding it and sometimes I really dislike the books that the community raves about.

Thankfully, I ended up really enjoying Eleanor & Park, and it gave me a lot of feelings. So Judith can put the knife away now.

14 January 2014

Top Ten 2014 Debuts I'm Excited For

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
Top Ten 2014 Debuts I'm Excited For

Debuts are one of my favourite parts of the new year. I recently relaunched my Debut Showcase feature which I started last year, which talks about the debuts that I'm excited for each month. I love discovering new authors, especially when they shoot up to my Must Buy list, like Jennifer Rush and Kasie West!

13 January 2014

Bout of Books 9.0 Wrap Up

I did it! I met my goal of three books. To be fair, I was already in the middle of one of them by the time Bout of Books started for me, but let's ignore that. I finished three books! I wasn't expecting this, since I get very distracted during the week due to work, and then of course I didn't actually start my third book until yesterday evening. I'm so pleased to have managed it though! Here are some stats:

11 January 2014

Tatum's 2014 Challenges

Basically this is what happens when Amber corners you.

Amber: Are you doing any Challenges this year?
Me: What? What?
Amber: I'll find you some!
Me: What?
Amber: You can sign up, it'll be fun!
Me: ...Okay?
So I mentioned that I wanted to read more Classics this year because last year I started off quite well but then just...stopped?? I don't know, I get distracted. Amber found me this rather excellent Challenge and this is me, officially signing up! For this Challenge, there are six required categories and five optional ones. I've decided I'm going to do three optional categories since I don't really fancy sitting through any BBC adaptations tbh. 

10 January 2014

Map of Bones by James Rollins

Map of Bones by James Rollins
Sigma Force #2
Release Date: 1st April, 2005
Publisher: Orion Fiction
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★

"During a crowded service at a cathedral in Germany, armed intruders in monks' robes unleash a nightmare of blood and destruction. But the killers have not come for gold; they seek a more valuable prize: the bones of the Magi who once paid homage to a newborn savior . . . a treasure that could reshape the world."

With the Vatican in turmoil, SIGMA Force leaps into action. An elite team of scientific and Special Forces operatives under the command of Grayson Pierce and accompanied by Lieutenant Rachel Verona of Rome's "carabinieri," they are pursuing a deadly mystery that weaves through sites of the Seven Wonders of the World and ends at the doorstep of an ancient, mystical, and terrifying secret order. For there are those with dark plans for the stolen sacred remains that will alter the future of humankind . . . when science and religion unite to unleash a horror not seen since the beginning of time.

Lauren recc'd this book to me for Epic Recs.

Okay so, this novel is in the vein of Dan Brown - tonnes of fast paced action, super intelligent people, ~conspiracies~ and of course, the love story involving the tough yet sensitive main male character and a strong yet vulnerable female character, who may be recurring, main or if you're reading Dan Brown, completely token and will never be heard of again after the novel ends. I actually really enjoy Dan Brown's novels (NOT Inferno, fuck that book forever) but Lauren and I will both tell anyone interested in reading pulp fiction for the first time that it has flaws.

09 January 2014

Taste of Darkness by Maria V. Snyder

Taste of Darkness by Maria V. Snyder
Healer #3
Release Date: January 3, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin
Source: Publisher (NetGalley)
Star Rating: 
Rating: Bland

She's fought death and won. But how can she fight her fears?

Avry knows hardship and trouble. She fought the plague and survived. She took on King Tohon and defeated him. But now her heart-mate, Kerrick, is missing, and Avry fears he's gone forever.

But there's a more immediate threat. The Skeleton King plots to claim the Fifteen Realms for his own. With armies in disarray and the dead not staying down, Avry's healing powers are needed now more than ever.Torn between love and loyalty, Avry must choose her path carefully. For the future of her world depends on her decision.

Okay, so this entire series has been one giant letdown for me. I am a huge fan of Snyder's Study and Inside series, but the Healer series has been disappointing me the whole way through. Why did I keep reading? I hear you ask. I hoped it would get better. Like I said, the previous two series of Snyder's (that I have read) were fantastic. Poison Study remains one of my all time favourite books. I couldn't not try. 

08 January 2014

Avalon by Mindee Arnett

Avalon by Mindee Arnett
Avalon #1
Release Date: January 21, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: Publisher (Edelweiss)
Star Rating: ★★★★
Rating: Essential
A ragtag group of teenage mercenaries who crew the spaceship Avalon stumble upon a conspiracy that could threaten the entire galaxy in this fascinating and fast-paced sci-fi adventure from author Mindee Arnett.

Of the various star systems that make up the Confederation, most lie thousands of light-years from First Earth-and out here, no one is free. The agencies that govern the Confederation are as corrupt as the crime bosses who patrol it, and power is held by anyone with enough greed and ruthlessness to claim it. That power is derived from one thing: metatech, the devices that allow people to travel great distances faster than the speed of light.

Jeth Seagrave and his crew of teenage mercenaries have survived in this world by stealing unsecured metatech, and they're damn good at it. Jeth doesn't care about the politics or the law; all he cares about is earning enough money to buy back his parents' ship, Avalon, from his crime-boss employer and getting himself and his sister, Lizzie, the heck out of Dodge. But when Jeth finds himself in possession of information that both the crime bosses and the government are willing to kill for, he is going to have to ask himself how far he'll go to get the freedom he's wanted for so long.
Stealing a spaceship shouldn't be this easy.
Avalon is on a lot of people's most anticipated books for this year, and I can say that I am almost certain that most people will end up really enjoying it. Science fiction is my favourite genre, and Avalon is packed full of space-y goodness. You sci-fi fans should definitely give it a go, and even if you're hesitant towards the genre, you should know that it's not necessarily the sci-fi element that makes it fantastic. Sure, it's set in space and there are spaceships, but the most important part of the plot is the family part. The action is pretty good too. 

07 January 2014

Top Ten Goals for 2014

Top Ten Goals for 2014

1. Take more blogging breaks
After taking a blogging break at the end of 2013 after posting almost every day for 50 weeks, I realised that I should do it more often. I definitely do not need to be posting consistently all year. It's tiring, somewhat stressful at times, and I think it's one of the reasons I get into reading slumps so often. So in 2014 I'm going to take more frequent blogging breaks, perhaps four times a year or something. Just whenever I need to so that I can rest, relax, and read!

Giveaway: Altered or Erased by Jennifer Rush

In order to celebrate Erased finally being released, I'm hosting a giveaway! Woo! Cheers! Applause! Altered was one of my favourite reads last year, and Erased was just as good. There's a lot more Nick, which is enough to make anybody excited. 

You can enter to win either a paperback copy of Altered or a hardback of Erased. There will be one winner. Giveaway is international, and will run for two weeks. All terms and conditions and other fancy things can be found in the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck everyone, and happy release day!

06 January 2014

New Releases: January 7 - 13, 2014

I do love January! It's always full of so many releases. I've read a few of these, and I can say that Erased by Jennifer Rush is freakin' amazing! SO GOOD, YOU GUYS. You have to check it out. Aside from Erased (obviously), which new releases are you looking forward to?

Bout of Books 9.0

I'm doing Bout of Books again! Hopefully this will go well, although I am at work all week this week so who knows. I'm still going to try! And I can't have Judith @ Paper Riot showing me up, since she has exams and is still taking part.

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 6th and runs through Sunday, January 12th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 9.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

05 January 2014

Epic Recs: January 2014

A few months ago, Judith and I started up an impromptu book club called Epic Recs. The aim of this was to force each other to read books that we have previously loved. You know, because Judith is a self proclaimed book pusher, and I just like forcing people to do things.

A couple of months ago, we opened Epic Recs up to the public, and in December a hell of a lot of people signed up, either to be paired by us or after pairing themselves. Judith and I are so pleased at Epic Rec's success. We truly hope everyone enjoys this as much as we do!

This month we're doing the same thing, there's a form you can fill in if you want to be paired with another person, or you can sign up right away with someone of your choosing using the Linky.

04 January 2014

Monthly Wrap Up and TBR: December 2013 - January 2014

December was a very slow and frustrating reading month for me. I have been in a giant reading slump for the past three weeks, and it was showing no signs of ending until I took part in a 24 hour readathon, which kicked me up the backside and got me reading. Here are the books that I read:

03 January 2014

Debut Showcase: January 2014

After a long hiatus caused by my fabulous new job, the Debut Showcase is now back and ready to show off some debuts! I'll be doing things slightly differently this year, but you'll have to wait a while to see what I mean by that. (Because I'm still working out the kinks and I need more time.) 

The purpose of this feature is to show you guys which YA debuts I'm most looking forward to, and which ones I've enjoyed. Hopefully it'll also help build some buzz around some of these debuts. There will be one post at the beginning of each month, this time showing all the debuts that are being released in that month. I'll also be linking to my reviews of debuts from the previous month, rather than listing them all here.

02 January 2014

Erased by Jennifer Rush

Erased by Jennifer Rush
Altered #2
Release Date: January 7, 2014
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Jenn Rush, because she's lovely and fabulous
Star Rating: ★★★★★
Rating: All Time Favourite

After fleeing the Branch with Sam, Cas, and Nick, Anna is trying to make sense of the memories resurfacing from her old life. At the same time, she's learning how to survive in hiding, following Sam's rules: Don't draw attention to yourself. Always carry a weapon. Know your surroundings. Watch your back.

Then a figure from Anna's childhood reappears. Is it a Branch setup, or could it be the reunion Anna has hoped for? Uncertain of where her loyalties lie, Anna must fight to learn the truth -- before she is betrayed again. Ultimately, the answers hinge on one question: What was the real reason her memories were erased?

Jennifer Rush delivers a thrilling sequel to Altered in a novel packed with mysteries, lies, and surprises that are sure to keep readers guessing until the last page is turned.
Like clockwork, I woke after midnight and immediately had the urge to see Sam.
I have been book pushing Altered on all of you since I read it almost a year ago, so when Jennifer Rush offered to send me a copy of Erased back in the summer, I was over the moon! At first I was a little bit nervous about Erased not living up to my expectations, but once I started reading it I realised that those hesitations were silly. Erased is just as good as Altered, meaning this series stays as one of my all time favourites that I want to reread RIGHT. NOW.

01 January 2014

No One Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale

No One Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale
Release Date: January 7, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher (Edelweiss)
Star Rating: ★★
Rating: Hodgepodge

Small towns are nothing if not friendly. Friendship, Wisconsin (population: 688) is no different. Around here, everyone wears a smile. And no one ever locks their doors. Until, that is, high school sweetheart Ruth Fried is found murdered. Strung up like a scarecrow in the middle of a cornfield.

Unfortunately, Friendship’s police are more adept at looking for lost pets than catching killers. So Ruth’s best friend, Kippy Bushman, armed with only her tenacious Midwestern spirit and Ruth’s secret diary (which Ruth’s mother had asked her to read in order to redact any, you know, sex parts), sets out to find the murderer. But in a quiet town like Friendship—where no one is a suspect—anyone could be the killer
A police officer comforts a woman on the shoulder of a rural highway.
I had a few issues with No One Else Can Have You, and yet I still ended up weirdly enjoying the book. Don't ask me why, because I have absolutely no idea. No One Else Can Have Me offended me, made me roll my eyes, made me want to poke my eyes out, and yet there was something oddly captivating about it.