Friday, 26 December 2014

November and December Book Haul

Over the last month and a half or so, I have ended up with a few new books, due to both my birthday and Christmas being in December.  Here's a picture of them.

1)  Four: A Divergent Collection by Veronica Roth
2)  The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
3)  The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan and Maureen Johnson
4)  Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
5)  Literary Listography by Lisa Nola
6)  The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black
7)  A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

The Christmas Gift Guide Tag + The Christmas Carol Tag

I have two tags today, so beware, it's going to be a long post!  I'm finally getting into the Christmas spirit, and what better way to celebrate?

Thank you to Jennie over at A Bookworm Called Jennie for tagging me in this one!

The tag was created by Crazy For YA and these are the guidelines:
1)  Pick at least one book/series for each category
2)  Spread some holiday cheer by tagging at least 3 bloggers
3)  Add your link to the original post

Here are the books I would give to the people in the following categories:

The YA Contemporary Lover


The Fantasy Lover

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Soundtrack Saturday - Cruel Beauty

Soundtrack Saturday is a book meme created by the lovely Erin over at The Hardcover Lover, where you pick songs that match a book you've read.  Today I'm matching songs to Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge.  There's spoilers if you don't want to know what this book is about, it's nothing that you wouldn't know if you have read the synopsis, this is just a warning in case you plan to read the book with no idea of what is going to happen.
* I've linked all the songs to their lyrics, not a clip of the song.

A Song That Fits the Beginning
For this, I've picked You Should've Killed Me When You Had the Chance by A Day to Remember due to lyrics such as "So I say goodbye to a town that has ears and eyes I can hear you whispering as I walk by," because at the beginning, Nyx is essentially leaving a town, and her family, who have been talking about her her entire life, and the plans for her future.
"The only thing that's going to bother me is that you'll all call yourselves my friends" fits with her family, as she doesn't believe that they truly care about her, and are only using her as a means to an end.
"I walked into your house this morning, I brought the gun from our end table" sort of fits as she is to live with Ignifex and kill him right under his nose.

(I realise this is a bit of a stretch and I'm taking the lyrics very literally and a little out of context).

A Song That Fits A Character
I chose Riot by Three Days Grace as a song that fits Nyx, the main character, as a lot of the emotions mentioned in this song are things that Nyx feels throughout the novel.  For example: "empty", "let down", "angry" and "walked on".

A Song That Fits A Relationship
I chose another Three Days Grace song for this category: I Hate Everything About You.  "I hate everything about you, why do I love you?" pretty much sums up the relationship between Nyx and Ignifex, from both their perspectives.

A Song That Fits the Ending
Beauty and the Beast (Tale as Old as Time) from the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack is the song I've picked for this because, 1) I couldn't pass up an opportunity to include a song from the soundtrack and 2) I think it actually fits pretty well with the ending.  The phrase "tale as old as time" itself has some pretty significant connections to the ending, I believe since (highlight for spoilers):[ all the little myths/stories from throughout the book seem to end up being true/relevant, even though they are tales that they've been telling for as long as they can remember].  "Barely even friends, then somebody bends, unexpectedly" fits well with the relationship side and ["Finding you can change, learning you were wrong" fits with the main characters at the end too].  And I don't think I could find a better phrase to sum up the overall ending of this book than "bittersweet and strange".

So that's my Soundtrack Saturday for today!  Thanks for reading!

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Mini Reviews ft. Please Ignore Vera Dietz, Made For You and The Raven Boys


Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A. S. King
This was the most unexpected book I have read this year.  I picked it up fully expecting to get halfway through and then put it down.  However, I was somehow hooked from the first page, and it's now one of my favourite books ever.  It's one of those special stories that you feel in your heart, and they are very rare to come by.
Moving on from my emotional raving...
The writing is entertaining as well as the actual structure of the novel - it alternates between chapters of the current time, and chapters depicting times in Vera's past, with a few random chapters thrown in from her Dad and the pagoda.  That's right, the pagoda.  I couldn't help feeling sorry for the main character Vera, whilst cheering her on as she grew and made big decisions throughout the story.  I definitely related to her on some level - I think everyone has had the experience of losing a friend for some reason or another.
Even though I really disliked what Charlie did and how he turned out, I couldn't help but love him and feel just as sorry for him as Vera - not to mention her poor father.
I loved figuring out what was going on by the little clues Vera's tales from the past revealed, and becoming ready along with her to face the truth.
The whole story was real and raw (if a little unbelievable) and the magical realism elements really added to the reading experience.  I may be finished reading this book, but I will remember it for a long time to come.

Made For You by Melissa Marr
I had some pretty high expectations for this book, but they fell flat.  I was expecting an exciting thriller, but it was a little more on the romantic and paranormal side, for me.  I didn't hate the book (obviously as I gave it 3 stars), I just didn't feel that it was anything special.  If you enjoyed The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting, however, I would highly recommend this.
My biggest problem was probably that I didn't really connect to any of the characters, and I can't relate to that small-town vibe.  I didn't mind the best friend, Grace, but other than that, no one really stood out to me.  The parents also really got on my nerves.  I'm not sure if this actually happens in real life, but I can't understand how a child can have such a different personality/intellectual ability to their parents.  The main character, Eva, just seemed so much smarter than her mother in different ways and it was unrealistic to me.
Similar to this, I couldn't reconcile the point of view of the killer with how he was portrayed by the other perspectives.  I couldn't relate the thoughts in his head to his actions - it didn't make sense to me.  He was super creepy though, I will give him that.
I did enjoy the romantic and slight paranormal aspects (highlight for spoilers)[I liked how the visions were never really explained, they were just there].  While Eva wasn't an annoying character, some of her concerns seemed a little out of place [eg. facial scarring] considering there was someone out there looking for her.
The end of the novel was what I had wished the entire thing had been - suspenseful and exciting.  So, again, my expectations affected my enjoyment of the book.
Not Quite Thrilling

Slow Start, but a Brilliant Finish

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
I've been hearing some amazing things about The Raven Boys for over a year now, and I finally decided to pick it up.  Honestly, the first half of the book started to drag for me.  This could be due to the fact that I was reading it very slowly (but then again, maybe I was reading it very slowly because it was starting to bore me?).  I was definitely intrigued and curious - and I understand that everything had to be explained - but I felt like not much really started to happen until the 200-page mark.  After that point though, wow.  I loved every second of the second half of the novel.
I also adored the characters.  They were all so different and the way they were written gave a sense of who they were on both the inside and outside, even if their perspective wasn't shown.  I can't even pick a favourite character because I loved all The Raven Boys (and felt so bad for each of them) and Blue and the other women of 300 Fox Way.  Although, okay, I have a soft spot for Gansey - just like everyone else!
I really enjoyed the creepiness of Cabeswater and all the mystery surrounding ley lines and Glendower.  It was exciting finding things out and being a part of the magic.
So overall, I liked this book, it was just a shame about the first part.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Top 10 New-To-Me Authors of 2014

Today's Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) is new-to-me authors of 2014.  I have to say that I don't really have too many, and even some of the ones I'm going to list, I have only read one book from (but I just know they're great).  So, here are my Top 5 favourite, new-to-me authors of this year.

1.  Laini Taylor

Have I talked about these books enough this year?  Laini Taylor's writing grabbed me and never let go.  I know she is definitely a new favourite author (and one I regret not reading sooner).

2.  Holly Black

I read The Spiderwick Chronicles this year and adored them.  The dark atmosphere created by Holly Black has me interested in trying out one all of her young adult novels.

3.  Leigh Bardugo

This was a book that I knew I was going to love from the first page.  The reason I haven't continued with the series:  I'm waiting until next year so I have a good enough excuse to reread this one.

4.  Rosamund Hodge

I absolutely fell in love with this book when I read it last month.  I am seriously anticipating Crimson Bound so much I can't even deal with it.  I have to get my hands on Gilded Ashes soon.

5.  A. S. King

Another author I read just last month.  I've been wanting to get around to A. S. King for a while, since one of my favourite booktubers (Ariel Bisset) is a huge fan.  I wasn't expecting to love Please Ignore Vera Dietz as much as I did, and now I am thoroughly excited to read more of her work.

I know my list is short this week, but I didn't want to add authors to the post just to make up numbers.  I'll see you soon with another post!

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold

I was recently contacted by a member of Book Publicity Services about a novel called Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold by Iain Reading.  After reading the synopsis, I realised it was something I was actually really excited about reading, now that I'd heard about it.  It's a young adult mystery / adventure book, and the synopsis reminded my of my Trixie Belden days.  I've been provided with an e-copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review, and you can expect to see that up on the blog in the next month.  In the meantime, here's the synopsis and a small excerpt!

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold
Goodreads | Amazon
Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is the thrilling first installment in a new young adult series of adventure mystery stories by Iain Reading. This first book of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series introduces Kitty Hawk, an intrepid teenage pilot with her own De Havilland Beaver seaplane and a nose for mystery and intrigue. A cross between Amelia Earhart, Nancy Drew and Pippi Longstocking, Kitty is a quirky young heroine with boundless curiosity and a knack for getting herself into all kinds of precarious situations. 

After leaving her home in the western Canadian fishing village of Tofino to spend the summer in Alaska studying humpback whales, Kitty finds herself caught up in an unforgettable adventure involving stolen gold, devious criminals, ghostly shipwrecks, and bone-chilling curses. Kitty's adventure begins with the lingering mystery of a sunken ship called the Clara Nevada. As the plot continues to unfold, this spirited story will have readers anxiously following every twist and turn as they are swept along through the history of the Klondike Gold Rush to a suspenseful final climatic chase across the rugged terrain of Canada's Yukon.

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is a perfect book to fire the imagination of readers of all ages. Filled with fascinating and highly Google-able locations and history this book will inspire anyone to learn and experience more for themselves. 

There are currently four books in the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series: Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold (book 1), Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway's Ghost (book 2), Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue (book 3), and Kitty Hawk and the Tragedy of the RMS Titanic (book 4). Each book can be read as a standalone. 

“In the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series the heroine finds herself in a new geographic location in each book. The series will eventually have a total of 13 books in it (maybe more) and her flight around the world will be completed in the end,” says Iain. “The books are sequential but one could definitely read any of the later ones before reading the earlier ones.”

Friday, 5 December 2014

Sisterhood of the World Blogger's Award - Q&A

I was tagged by the lovely Veronika @ Reading is Dreaming With Open Eyes to do the Sisterhood of the World Blogger's Award, but as I've already done this tag, I've decided to respond to it as a Q&A.

These are Veronika's questions, and my answers:

1. Do you prefer hardbacks, paperbacks, ebooks or audiobooks? 
I love hardbacks but practicality calls for paperbacks - they're cheaper and lighter to carry around.

2. What is the book that would make a great movie in your opinion? (Choose one that hasn't been filmed yet.)
I'd have to say Legend by Marie Lu.  That whole trilogy would be awesome as movies, I believe.

3. You are having a horrible day. What book can lighten your mood?
Something funny, I guess.  Like Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews, any of the Clarice Bean books by Lauren Child, Harry Potter... maybe Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor or Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck.  I have a lot of comfort books.

4. Who are your favorite musicians? 
If this is purely intended for those who play instruments, I'm afraid I'm going to disappoint.  Carter Burwell maybe?

5. Do you like Christmas themed books? Favorite one? (I'm dying to get some recommendations.)
I honestly think I am yet to read a Christmas themed book.  I'm about to read the collection My True Love Gave to Me, so that's exciting.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

November Wrap Up and December TBR + Updates

Here's what went down in November:

1.  These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (review; 3 stars)
2.  The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (reread; 5 stars)
3.  The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (reread; 5 stars)
4.  Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge (5 stars)
5.  Four by Veronica Roth (5 stars)
6.  Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A. S. King (5 stars)
7.  Made For You by Melissa Marr (3 stars)
8.  Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch (DNF)
9.  The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (5 stars)

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