Thursday, 30 December 2010

My January Reading Challenge

My New Years Resolution is to read more (of course!) and I seem to have gotten carried away. I have joined in several challenges on Goodreads and I also have a couple of ARCs to read and review.

So, my January reading list looks like this:
The Forest of Hands and Teeth
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Marked: A House of Night Novel

Marked by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast

City of Bones (Mortal Instruments) Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, Book 1)

City of Bones and Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Dark Visions: The Strange Power; The Possessed; The Passion

Dark Visions by L.J. Smith

Once a WitchAlways a Witch

Once a Witch and Always a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough

The Iron King (Harlequin Teen)The Iron Daughter (Harlequin Teen)Winter's PassageThe Iron Queen (Harlequin Teen)

The Iron King, The Iron Daughter, Winters Passage and The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa

Past Midnight (Harlequin Teen)One Hundred Candles (Harlequin Teen)

Past Midnight and One Hundred Candles (no image available) by Mara Purnhagen


Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Slave to Sensation (Psy-Changelings, Book 1)

Psy Changeling- Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh

Awaken Me Darkly (Alien Huntress, Book 1)

Alien Huntress- Awaken Me Darkly by Gena Showalter

The Blood That Bonds

The Blood that Bonds by Christopher Buecheler


Haunted by Kelley Armstrong

Delivered With Love

Delivered with Love by Sherry Kyle.

and The Raising By Laura Kasischke (no image available)

That should keep me busy for a while!!!

Considering I have a full time job this will be a huge challenge but will give me plenty of material to review.

Have you got a New Years Resolution or a January Reading Challenge?

Also if anyone has any suggestions on how to make more time for reading I would love to hear them.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Shades of Atlantis

I loved this book.

The writing style is very good and kept me captivated. The story was fast paced and had enough mystery to keep me interested, but provided enough just enough detail and back story to let me build an understanding of and relationship with the characters.

This was a refreshing change from some of the YA paranormal books I have read recently that have kind of 'dragged me along' with the story before I have any idea what is going on and who the characters are!

The mythology in the book is very authentic and based on actual Celtic mythology.

Triona started off very likeable but the more she 'needed' Caleb and we went through the 'does he or doesn't he love me' saga, the less I identified with her. Despite this I still thoroughly enjoyed the beautifully written love story between them, just lost a tiny little bit of respect for Triona.

I did feel she redeemed herself in the final chapters though, showing the strength of character that was hinted at in the beginning of the book.

As I have mentioned before I hate unnecessary comparisons to Twilight but with this book I feel I cannot avoid it. The romance between Triona and Caleb is quite Twilightesque: love/lust at first sight; Colossal misunderstanding where she thinks he hates her when in fact he knows he can't live without her; Heroine in constant doubt that she's good enough for her man, terrified he will leave her;
Then he does leave her for 'her own good', she crumbles and struggles to cope without him; By the time she is beginning to move on, poof he's back! Plus a little love triangle with a 'good friend' who never really stood a chance but tried his damnedest anyway.

This similarity really isn't a negative and I am sure any YA paranormal romance fan - Twilight fan or not - will adore this book.

The epic romance aspects aside, the story is very different to Twilight and is about the Fae, or Guardians as they are referred to in this book, and their history with humans. I enjoyed the battle scene near the end immensely and would have liked it if that scene had been longer.

I enjoyed this story more than other recent Fae books I have read and would highly recommend it.

Rating 5 out of 5 stars

Source- this book was won in a giveaway from Goodreads
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Stop comparing EVERYTHING to Twilight!!!!!

I am becoming increasingly irritated at the number of book reviews and comments that I see comparing everything to Twilight and accusing the author of being unoriginal and 'ripping off' Twilight. Comments such as "This book was just a Twilight copy and unoriginal" are unfair to the author unless you detail exactly why the book is a copy of Twilight. Plus they are often made about books written years before Twilight!!! One example of this is The Vampire Diaries series.

Now, I love Twilight and enjoy Stephanie Meyer's writing. Twilight kickstarted me reading for pleasure again, but it seems for some people it has ruined it as they just cannot read a book without comparing it to Twilight.

I would like to point out that Meyer did not create epic romance between two people that should not be together. Nor did she create love triangles. There are thousands of books out there written way before Twilight with that storyline. Stories about vampires and werewolves and the mythology that they are enemies also existed before Twilight. As far as I know the sparkly bit is truly original but I haven't read every vampire book so I don't know for sure.

It's not fair to compare every single book with a vampire and/or romance in to Twilight. It's like going around saying every human only love story ripped off Romeo and Juliet. What really makes a book original is how they tie all the elements together and the world the characters live in.

I am currently reading a book that does have one similarity so far to Twilight. It contains an epic romance where they can't bear to be apart but shouldn't really be together. The rest of the story so far is not like Twilight because it is a story about the Fae, contains different characters and mythology and has a totally different plot altogether. My review will discuss the similarities and differences further.

The Demon Girl by Penelope Fletcher

The Demon GirlThe Demon Girl by Penelope Fletcher

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

For a free book on my IPod this was actually pretty good. There were grammatical errors but once you get past that The Demon Girl is quite a decent short read.

It's a YA book, and I found it to fit well in the category. I didn't really find it as gory or bloodthirsty as other reviewers have done but perhaps years of horror/paranormal books and TV programmes have desensitised me.

The main thing that prevented me enjoying this book was it's pace. It wasn't that it was slow- it was too fast! I felt that I was dragged along for the ride in Rae's world with not a clue what was going on at the beginning. I just didn't feel the author had enough skill yet to carry that off. Too much was either unexplained or under explained which was a shame because the concept of Rae's world was fascinating with the different types of supernatural being and the post apocalyptic type setting.

It is the first in a series and I would like to continue with the second book to see how the storyline develops and answers some of the questions I had about Rae's world. I usually find that it's the second book of a series that makes or breaks it for me so I am looking forward to seeing what Rae's future holds......

Source- This book was downloaded from iBookstore

View all my reviews

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Uglies Trilogy Review

I've just finished reading the third book in Scott Westerfeld's Uglies Trilogy. There is actually a fourth book, so the trilogy became more of a series but I will review that separately.

Overall I enjoyed this YA science fiction trilogy. Tally was a believable character with plenty of flaws but enough strength of character to pull through when it really mattered.

The story throws up some interesting thoughts about modern society, the obsession we have with body image, how it feels to not fit in and how our modern way of life impacts the natural world.

I found the books to be reasonably fast paced and held my interest all the way through. Some of the slang phrases like 'icy', 'bubbly' and 'fashion missing' used in the books began to irritate me and were overused.

There were plenty of plot twists, but some things were left unanswered for me. Tally's parents don't get a mention after the first book and we never discover who destroyed the pre-Pretty world in the first place or introduced the operations and brain lesions. I hope that Extras (the fourth book) ties up those loose ends.

I liked that Tally was imperfect, and although Pretties and Specials disappointed me with Tally not choosing to reunite with her first love, David, It felt truer to real life and less melodramatic than the tangled love triangles in the majority of YA books.

I would recommend this trilogy to anyone who enjoys YA science fiction.

Uglies (Boxed Set): Uglies, Pretties, Specials (The Uglies)

Rating 4 out of 5 stars
Source- These books were purchased by me from a bookstore
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, 23 December 2010

I just got home from work to my shiny new signed copy of Shades of Atlantis by Carol Oates. I was lucky enough to win a copy on Goodreads and I must say the cover is beautiful.
Shades of Atlantis

The blurb:

Since the death of their parents, Triona Pryor and her brother, Ben, have lived with their aunt and uncle in Camden, Maine. Now in her senior year of high school, Triona loves her family and friends, but she has always felt that she didn't quite fit Camden, or anywhere else.

Enter Caleb Wallace, the devilishly handsome man who has recently moved to Triona's small town. While their attraction to each other is instantaneous, it also proves to be dangerous...and deadly.

When tragedy strikes, Triona flees to London for solace and to start her life anew. It's there she discovers from an unlikely source that her family has been keeping secrets from her - secrets about not only her birthright, but her ultimate destiny as well. Armed with this knowledge, Triona finds herself thrown into a whole new world and into a battle to save the lives of everyone she loves.

I read the preface and can already tell that I like Carol's style of writing and am really looking forward to reading this one but.....I  have a date tonight with a glass of red and Vampire Diaries season 1 box set to alleviate my Season 2 withdrawal symptoms (what's with these stupid breaks in seasons anyway?), and Christmas Eve is for more wine and wrapping presents. Christmas is obviously a write off with a crazy family and beautiful baby niece to spend time with, so looks like Boxing Day will be spent curled up with my shiny new book and some Alka Seltzer. I'll need it after all that wine....

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Sleep Deprivation

I am soooo tired. I was reading till 1am and had to get up for work at 5am!

The reason for my sleep deprivation is Scott Westerfeld's Uglies trilogy. I was reading Pretties- the second in the series and I just could not put the bloody thing down.

Some people read before bed to put them to sleep. If I fall asleep part way through a book I am reading the wrong book! Usually I find myself fighting the sleepiness because I can't wait to finish the book and know what happens.

Needless to say I have spent most of my day today highly caffeinated and trying to convince myself that I need an early night more than I need to read Specials- the third book- tonight.

I'm saving the actual review for when I finish the series which probably won't be long.....

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, 20 December 2010

Can't wait to get my hands on....

Cynthia Hand's new book, Unearthly, released in Jan 2011

The blurb:

In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees. . . 

Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what it is, though, isn't easy. 

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place--and out of place, at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side. 

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make--between honesty and deciet, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

I haven't yet succumbed to the whole angel phenonemenon. I have a copy of Hush Hush sitting on my bookshelf but for some reason haven't read it.

This one however, really appeals to me and the stunning cover definitely helps! As do the fantastic reviews I've seen over on Goodreads from some lucky devils (excuse the pun) that managed to get an Advanced Reading Copy.

Seeing as it's my birthday in Jan I am hoping that one of my lovely friends or family will buy me this (hint, hint....!)

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Audiobook Review of Need by Carrie Jones

I have just finished listening to my first audiobook, Need by Carrie Jones. I'm not sure what to make of the experience to be honest.

At first it was very strange, especially as the reader has an American accent. The book is set in America so this makes sense, but the 'voice in my head' when I'm reading never has an American accent (well, except when I read Sookie Stackhouse but that's another story....)

That threw me at first. As did the fact that I can't re-read a page. Rewinding isn't quite the same. It was also difficult to stay focused as my eyes were free to wander and closing them made me fall asleep. Although that could have been the book rather than the format.

Then there was the fact that I was just disappointed in the story itself. Zara is quite frankly, annoying. It takes her friends only a couple of hours to decide that the strange occurrences happening around them are caused by pixies. And Zara is being stalked by the pixie king.

Then Zara just can't make up her mind. She believes in pixies. Then she doesn't. Then she does. Then she doesn't. Aaarrrrgh make your damn mind up.

She can't believe that her boyfriend Nick is a werewolf. But she thought for a while he might be a pixie. Right, so pixies are ok but you struggle with weres? This annoyed me even more because every time we see Nick there have been more and more clues. His eyes are 'wild' and 'feral', there are clumps of fur in his car. These are just a couple of the 'hints'. Yep- subtle as a brick Ms Jones.

Some of her classmates turn out to be pixies. No real explanation is given as to why pixies would choose to attend high school for several years for no real reason.

There are more exciting parts to the story like when we finally get to meet the elusive pixie king, but overall, the story was confusing in places and transparent in others.

Need is part of a series, but I will be unlikely to carry on with it.

As for audiobooks, I am still undecided. Perhaps I will try an author I know I love like Kelley Armstong.

Rating 2 out of 5 stars

Source- This Audiobook was purchased by me

Saturday, 18 December 2010

The second beginning

I love books. My love affair started at an early age and as far back as I remember my parents and grandparents would sit me on their knee and read to me from books and even newspapers!

As a child I would spend hours in my room reading. I loved the imaginary worlds a book created in my head, and how when I read a really good book I would feel like I had made a lifelong friend. I would read and re-read my favourites and was always on the lookout for fresh reading material. Nobody's bookshelf  was safe and I even started reading my Granddad's Stephen King books at age 9.

I can't quite pinpoint when I stopped reading regularly for pleasure. It was probably during high school but I couldn't say which year, or why. It's not like I stopped reading for pleasure completely but I dropped from a few books a week to a few books a year.

I can pinpoint when I got back into books again however, and it was Stephanie Meyer's Twilight Saga. Yes, I forayed into the world of Harry Potter and he will always have a special place in my heart, but it was Twilight that sucked me back in to really reading. I didn't finish Twilight, sigh at the end of a beautiful relationship and then go back to whatever I spent my time on instead of books. I finished Twilight, grabbed my coat and joined my local library!

I know,  not everyone loves Twilight. It's probably  not as cool as reading something a bit more obscure, less mainstream and then rekindling my old love affair with the written word. The thing is, I don't care. I loved Meyers writing style, I didn't think Bella was whiny and I couldn't get enough of those sparkly vamps...

The second event that consolidated this 'love affair' was the birth of my niece. She was the first grandchild on both sides, and with a total of 4 grandparents, 2 uncles and 5 aunties- not to mention dozens of family friends - she was the newborn who had everything. I was struggling with what to buy her for Christmas and then it hit me- Books!

 I spent hours on Amazon looking for the best books for babies and toddlers, books she could grow up with. I want to read them with her and encourage her to learn to read as she grows. While I was looking i reacquainted myself with some old friends- The Hungry Caterpillar, Meg and Mog, Burglar Bill..... the list goes on and on. Obviously, some are too old yet for her, but I honestly can't wait to introduce her to all those friends when she's old enough to understand the stories.

And so, I am back to reading at least one book a week and gushing to friends and family about my latest reads. I don't know what made me stop reading in the first place but I am so glad to be back!