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Another Challenge! Wordsworth Classics Challenge

 Thursday, 30 December 2010

Since I was thinking that I hadn't signed up to enough official reading challenges that I would scour the blogosphere to find some suitable one and look what I came across! Over on Deranged Book Lovers they are hosting the Wordsworth Classics Reading Challenge for 2011.

If you have been following my blog for a while you may have noticed that I have acquired a *lot* of Wordsworth edition classics over the past year with the intention of reading them... someday so this challenge sounds like a fab idea to knock a few books off my TBR pile (which is teetering ever closer to 200). The rules are pretty simple and there's even a contest running over the whole year which will be drawn on Dec 25th 2011 for $15 worth of Classic novels off the Book Depository!

Ze Rules
  • You can read any classic novels which are included in list of Wordsworth Classics. You don't need to read wordsworth edition, you can pick any publisher releases as long as those releases are unabridged.
  • It’s okay to re-read. You can put the book you’ve read in the past in your list as long as you’re going to read it again in 2011. Set your target and list the book you want to read along with the challenge button in your blog and fill the form. Don't forget to put the link in Mr. Linky! This way I can keep track of your progress and add you as candidate for the giveaway.
  • You don't have to review those books but if you want you can link them so I can read it ^^. I will provide a follow-up blog post for that and you can link your reviews or anything related to this challenge.
  • This is a year-long challenge (Jan 1, 2011 - Dec 23, 2011) so you can still commit to it in the middle of year 2011. All you need to do is fill the form. I will announce the giveaway winner on December 25, 2011.
You can choose how many books you want to attempt and the different levels are as such:
Set your target!
Peasant: 1-4 books
Bourgeois: 5-8 books
Knight: 9 – 12 books
Noble: more than 12 books

I will probably be aiming for the Bourgeois category but if I can sneak into being a Knight then that's fine by me. Since I'm thinking of doing a month-long feature orientated around Classics sometime in late Spring I may get a good few of my challenge reads done then. 

Some of the books I want to read
  1. Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen
  2. Villette by Charlotte Bronte
  3. The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
  4. The Lost World and other Stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  5. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
  6. The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
  7. Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell
  8. Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson 
  9. Dracula by Bram Stoker
  10. Vanity Fair by William Thackeray
Obviously I may read more or less than that but I'd rather like to get these in particular read.
I may sign up to a couple more challenges when I find some - does anyone know of a Chunky Book challenge? Cos I have several 600+ page tomes that I could do with knocking off my TBR pile.

It's nearly New Year and I can't wait to see what awesome books I read in 2011!


Blogging Resolutions for 2011

 Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Since I saw that my blogging bestie Jess did a post yesterday about blogging resolutions and some books that she really wants to read next year I thought it would be a cracking idea for me to think about it and do a post of my own. My blogoversary is in January although technically I was only properly blogging from about the end of April so it makes sense to have a plan for my first whole year as a blogger.

Blogging Resolutions
1. Read Slower- No really, I think that this year I have read too quickly and in doing so I find that I tend to miss little nuances about books which I really ought to savour and I get through books so fast that I forget my thoughts on them by the time that I want to write a review. So next year I would like to try and take my time a bit more when reading, to not read a book in single late-night gulps so I can keep my opinions about them straight long enough for me to review them properly which brings me onto my next resolution.

2. Review More Books- I think everyone who reads my blog has thought at some point "she reads so many books but where are the reviews?" heck *I* think that sometimes. I know I haven't done reviews for even a quarter of the books I read this year which is rather crap when I'm supposed to be a book blogger, it'd be worse of course if I had loads of ARCs from publishers that I wasn't reviewing but still I should be doing more.

3. Blog More Efficiently- by that I mean take less bloody time to write out a simple post which shouldn't take several hours to finish. I seem to spend ages doing posts that I could have done so much faster if I'd not procrastinated and messed about. I need to have templates for the meme posts I do and have a decent amount of stuff scheduled ahead of time so when I have slumps like the past week or two  there will still be posts going up on the blog even if I'm not actually writing anything new. It does nothing good for my blog traffic and only ticks off my wonderfully patient followers if I go for over a week with nary a peep and no explanation for the absence.

4. Comment More- Jess mentioned this as well but I think for me it goes doubly. I really need to step up my participation on other blogs. I follow over 300 blogs (which perhaps is a number I need to cut down) and there is no way for me to look at every post that appears in my feed but the ones that I do read I don't tend to comment on unless I have a fairly strong feeling or opinion about it. I think that next year I should dedicate time every day/week to read other blogs and comment on them even if it's only a quick "great post/review" style comment.

5. Be Less Afraid of approaching authors/publishers- I'm one of those people who hate ringing people up on landlines and is really not that good with talking to strangers in a professional capacity. To that end I get really nervous about the idea of emailing publishers about being put on mailing lists for review copies and authors about interviews or whatever. I know from following many of them on Twitter or via their blogs that YA authors in particular are the loveliest bunch of people who are really friendly and love to get to know the people who read and blog about their books. Compared to some authors who couldn't give the time of day to reply to a email from a fan, the YA authors I know of make a concerted effort to answer questions and interact with readers as far as they can.
My problem is that I am still slightly in awe of them and feel somewhat unworthy of approaching the "Mythical Author Beings" to tell them how much I loved their book. So next year I want to try and man up a bit and actually email the authors I read to ask questions about their books or to ask for a blog interview/guest post etc. The same goes for publishers and review copies although I think that will be to a lesser extent since I'm sometimes too much of a moody reader to be completely reliable about reading a book by a certain date and that's not fair if I have an obligation to a publisher to review it by a deadline.

I will do another post soonish about some of the books that I really must read in 2011 because that will take me a bit of research through my TBR list and I need some time for that.

So what are your blogging resolutions for 2011? What books are you *dying* to read next year?
Leave a comment or link to your own resolutions post


In My Mailbox #33 The One after Christmas!!

 Sunday, 26 December 2010

Happy Boxing Day! I hope everyone has recovered from Christmas Dinner and that they had some ah-mazing presents! This vlog today is showing a selection of what I got from my awesome family and friends.

As you should know by now In My Mailbox is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren and inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie

Books & Stuff I received for Christmas!
The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
Checkmate by Malorie Blackman
Entangled by Cat Clarke
Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
Sing Me to Sleep by Angela Morrison - Thanks Jess!! *hugs*
Doctor Who Annual 2011
Beauty & the Beast DVD
Atlantis: The Lost Empire DVD
Atlantis: Milo's Return DVD
Prince of Persia DVD
Torchwood DVD box set (Not shown cos my sister has yoinked it)
Stargate Atlantis Season 2 DVD box set
Gorgeously Pretty 2011 diary
Awesome I heart Nerds t-shirt

Plus since I ordered *ahem* 12 books with my Amazon vouchers (and one book off Book Depo) the next few IMM vlogs should be awesome!! :D

So that's some of what I got for Christmas - What was in your Christmas sack?


Merry Christmas!!

 Saturday, 25 December 2010

To everyone who celebrates Christmas, and even those who don't I hope everyone is having a Fab Holidays and I will hopefully be getting back to a normal blogging routine soonish *crosses fingers*

Tomorrow I'll try and get an IMM post up because I've had a few books for Christmas and some dvds so I'll show them to y'all :D

Hope everyone has a lovely Christmas Day!


Book Review - Still Sucks to be Me

 Tuesday, 21 December 2010

I really ought to have done this ages ago but my review writing skillz (if I ever had any) deserted me for a while. To make things slightly easier on myself I decided to review this book via vlog so apologies for my bedraggled appearance.

Title: Still Sucks to be Me
Author: Kimberly Pauley
Date: 11/12/2010 PM
Source: Bought
Description: With vampire boyfriend George and best friend Serena by her side, Mina thought she had her whole life—or rather afterlife—ahead of her. But then Mina’s parents drop a bomb. They’re moving. To Louisiana. And not somewhere cool like New Orleans, but some teeny, tiny town where cheerleaders and jocks rule the school. Mina has to fake her death, change her name, and leave everything behind, including George and Serena. Not even the Vampire Council’s shape-shifting classes can cheer her up. Then Serena shows up on Mina’s doorstep with some news that sends Mina reeling. Mina may look a lot better with fangs, but her afterlife isn't any less complicated! (Description Taken from Goodreads)

My Review
**Warning Spoilers for the first book are kind of inevitable because I need to explain some things so the second book makes sense**

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Also if you're interested there is a competition currently running on Roots in Myth for a *signed* copy of Still Sucks to be Me! It's only open until Midnight Wednesday 22nd of December so enter NOW! The link takes you to the post where all you need to do to enter is follow the blog and comment on the post! It's also INTERNATIONAL *yay!!!*

That's all for now folks I shall hopefully be back soon with another review to liven up this somewhat-neglected place *looks around mournfully*
Ciao for now!


In My Mailbox #32

 Sunday, 19 December 2010

Heck I am *so* sorry folks for the lack of posting this week! I've spent my weekend up in the Lake District having an early Christmas with my boyf's relatives which was awesomely hilarious (I am *badass* at Scrabble :P) I will try my best to actually get some reviews up during this week so December isn't wholly devoid of useful posts.

Sometime soon probably after Christmas but before New Year I will outline my bloggish plans for 2011 mainly involving actually reviewing more than a quarter of what I read as seems to be my current method of operation which really won't do.

But anyway I'm digressing, as always In My Mailbox is a bookish meme hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren and  inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie

No Vlog today because I only got home a little while ago but I can provide a picture.

Books Acquired this Week
Inside Book Publishing by Giles Clark - it's for an online course I'm doing about book publishing.
Who's Afraid of Jane Austen? by Henry Hitchings - a cracking book about talking about books you haven't read (i.e. the classics which will make you seem more intellectual)
Words by Ginny L. Yttrup - an ARC won from LibraryThing's ER program

I did also buy a few book but those are to be Christmas presents for the darling Boyf.

A rather interesting collection this week although I was hoping that a parcel from the Lovely Jessica would be arriving but methinks that the postal service is playing silly buggers because there has been no sign of it :(

Hopefully will get some semblance of normality back to the blog soon but with Christmas right on our doorstep (When did this happen?!?) it may not be until after the 25th unless I get a load of reviews written and scheduled *wishful thinking much?*

Hope Everyone is having a wonderful Sunday and that it's gorgeously snowy like it is here!


It's Monday What are you Reading (24)

 Monday, 13 December 2010

Hey y'all I almost forgot to write this ahead of time which would have been terribly daft of me, although technically it is Monday morning (midnight precisely in fact). Bah anyways I'm getting off-topic.

It's Monday What are you Reading? Is a weekly bookish meme where we get together to share what books we've read in the past week, what books we're currently reading and what new books we're planning on reading in the coming week along with any reviews or interesting posts. It's hosted by Sheila @Book Journey

Books Read Last Week
Ok so I went a little crazy with my re-reads and over 2 nights devoured the first 4 Vampire Academy books. *oops*
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Frostbite by Richelle Mead
Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead
Blood Promise by Richelle Mead
Still Sucks to be Me by Kimberly Pauley (Will hopefully do a review this week)
Sweetheart by Sarah Zarr (May do a review if I can get my thoughts straight)

Book Reviewed Last Week
Finally got it posted! - Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead

Currently Reading
Nada but after this post is done I will be starting Persuasion by Jane Austen out of my compendium
It's gonna be my 200th book of the Year dontch'all know?

Books I Plan to read this week
Not really sure what else since I didn't read any of my "planned" books last week. I may plump for some historical fiction books (my Non-YA ones though) since it's Winter and that's when they're most appropriate methinks. If I feel like being really weather-suitable I can always read The Siege by Helen Dunmore which is set during the 1942 siege of Leningrad where things got *pretty* chilly.

Well that's what I'm reading this Monday, What are You reading?


In My Mailbox #31

 Sunday, 12 December 2010

Howdy all! Hope everyone is having a fantabbidoody Sunday and whatnot! Sorry for lack of IMM last week I literally had no chance to buy books and I did actually try to make a vlog explaining this but Youtube ate it :(
This week however I have a rather excellent haul which I'm rather chuffed with so check it out!

In My Mailbox is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren and inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie

Ze Vlog

Books Acquired this week
Lirael by Garth Nix
Take me There by Susane Colasanti
Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers
Perfect You by Elizabeth Scott
Sweethearts by Sarah Zarr
Stealing Heaven by Elizabeth Scott
Plan B by Jenny O'Connell

Thank you also to Ellie of Musings of a Bookshop Girl for my awesome christmas card! Oh and if you don't know she's running a contest at the moment for a copy of Dreaming Anastasia! Go enter Here!!

That's what I got in My Mailbox this week, what's in Yours?


Book Review - Last Sacrifice

 Friday, 10 December 2010

I know this should have been done earlier this week but things have been a tad hectic and I have been in a bit of a reviewing funk so it's taken be longer to write this than it should have.
I've also been re-reading the earlier VA books this week in insane gulps (I'm talking two books a night over the last two days). *sigh* why do I do these stupid things to myself? :P


Title: Last Sacrifice
Author: Richelle Mead
Date: 18/11/2010 AM
Source: Received for Review from Penguin UK THANK YOU!!
Description: The 6th and final book in the Vampire Academy series! Rose is on trial for the murder of Tatiana and Lissa is now a prime candidate for the throne. But who really murdered the Queen and who is going to have to make the ultimate sacrifice?

My Review:
Words currently fail me to accurately describe how awesome this book was. Since devouring Spirit Bound back in April I've been dying to find out what happened next because lord knows that if Rose and Dimitri didn't have some kind of reconciliation I was gonna chuck one heck of a strop. I'm sorry to Team Adrian folks but considering how much effort and passion has been put into the Rose&Dimitri love story I reckon Adrian's chances of coming out on top were slim.

Over the entire series Rose has been such a fabulous heroine and it's been a joy to be in her head as it were. She's so loyal to Lissa and her other friends that she would do anything to protect them from harm. Also I would give anything to have her mad fighting skills because being *that* kick-ass would be amazing. Her snarky sense of humour and bizarrely her sound sense of duty make her a person that I would love to know (if she was real *sad face*) although I would never like to make her angry :P

Dimitri *gazes off into the distance wistfully* is there really anything else to say past that? Out of all the male characters I've read about he is up there with the best - passionate, loyal, lethal, funny and with an accent to die for Dimitri Belikov is capable of melting *any* female's heart. The intensity with which he says everything (especially to Rose) sends shivers across your body and you can't help but imagine him saying such things to you. (or is that just me?) Either way whether he's a hunk of Russian gorgeousness.

I have loved so much how wonderfully complex this series has been, compared to other vampire series of late it has so much more detail about the world and the way it works and the characters all are so layered and have their own motivations which can sometimes really surprise you. Richelle's writing is fabulous and it pulls you along at such a break-neck speed that the pages just fly by. I know I finished it all too quickly - but then I do read at ridiculously fast pace.

With regards to Tatiana's killer I had no concrete suspicions about who it might be since I'm not usually the speculating type and I probably missed a lot of the clues that other, more observant folk picked up on. The Revelation was actually a bit of a shock to me and I thought it rather sad really because I didn't think they had it in them to murder someone like that. The events that followed were equally shocking and my heart was racing for the last few chapters as things got *reeeally* worrying for a bit.

I'm really happy with how the series ended and I'm rather intrigued about where things will go in the spin-off series. I have my suspicions about who the main character will be although I don't know how they'll compare with Rose (I get rather set in my ways when it comes to narrators and DW companions :P). Who knows maybe it'll be someone completely unexpected, I can't wait to find out!

So yea if you've not already read this series then what the heck are you waiting for?!? With all six books now out you won't have to suffer the agonising waits in between publication dates, you could even marathon the whole series which knowing me will happen next year when I get Dimitri Withdrawals ;)

Richelle Mead I take my proverbial hat off to you for creating one of the best Paranormal series I've ever read and re-read. Staying up until 3am is totally worth it when you're reading a Vampire Academy novel.

My Rating: 5 out 5 Stars!!

I can't believe it's all over! *sniffs* I foresee many re-reads in my future because I'm not gonna tire of Rose and Co. for a *looong* while yet.
I'm still trying to get hold of a copy of the US version of Last Sacrifice because I need it to match my other copies but the Book Depo is being awkward and they keep flying out of stock for some reason :P
When I do get that copy my UK version will be going towards the prize pack for my Blogaversary/300 followers contest (whichever I reach first) so stay tuned for that!!

Now I must go find something to ease my beslubbering headache, toodles!


YA Historical Fiction Challenge!

 Monday, 6 December 2010

Ok folks I'm jumping on the bandwagon! I have a good chunk of YA Historical fiction (and adult HF come to that) sat on my TBR pile so this challenge will be a fab way to whittle those books off the ma-hussive pile.
It's being hosted by YA Bliss and there are a few rules for the challenge

Choose your level:
~Level 1 = 5 YA HF books in 2011
~Level 2 = 10 YA HF books in 2011
~Level 3 = 15 YA HF books in 2011

-All HF books must be YA or MG
-Books *don't* have to be 2011 releases
-Anyone can join
-You can join at any time, the challenge runs from 1st Jan until 31st Dec 2011

Some of the books I will read for this challenge
Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray
The Poisoned House by Michael Ford
Nobody's Princess by Esther Friesner
Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen
Ivy by Julie Hearn
Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper
The Lady in the Tower by Marie-Louise Jensen
The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

Although I currently only have 8 YA HF books on the TBR pile I shall aim for Level 3 since I'm sure to buy more books in 2011 that can be used for this challenge :P 

So who else is taking part? Does anyone have any suggestions for challenges I should join in 2011?
Let me know!!


It's Monday What are you Reading (23)

Dude sorry this is a little late, I didn't get chance to write it last night because I thought my laptop was broke but bizarrely it's fine now :S Sorry for the lack of IMM yesterday I bought nothing all week! Oh boy though watch out for this sunday it's gonna be a corker! :P

It's Monday What are you Reading? Is a weekly bookish meme where we get together to share what books we've read in the past week, what books we're currently reading and what new books we're planning on reading in the coming week along with any reviews or interesting posts. It's hosted by Sheila @Book Journey

Books I read Last Week
Sticky Fingers by Nikki Burnham (Surprisingly good read)
Terrier by Tamora Pierce (Yes it's another re-read :P)
Delirium by Lauren Oliver (I'll get a review up eventually)
Fourth Comings by Megan McCafferty (I love Jessica Darling but this one was much weaker than the first three)
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan (My Name is *not* Will Grayson but I fecking LOVE Tiny Cooper!!)
Numbers by Rachel Ward (Fab Brit realism/supernaturalesque/gah can't classify it novel)

Currently Reading Nothing

Books I plan on reading this week
Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl - the creepy snowy fog makes me think it's a good time to read this :)

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick - ditto

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce - snow... wolves... creepy much?

That's the shortlist but knowing me I will probably get through more than just those three (or so I hope) since I'm now at home although I'm supposed to be looking for a job :S
Apologies for this being my first post in December so far, last week was just so insanely busy and I spent yesterday rearranging my entire room. If y'all are interested to see my new bookcase setup I can do a vlog sometime :)

But anyway What are You reading this frosty Monday?


November Round-Off

 Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Erm guys? There's only 25 days til CHRISTMAS!!! WTF? I totally just blanked the last half of November after thinking the first half was actually going quite slow what with Nanowrimo and all. Gah and I've not even done any christmas shopping yet!! :O In terms of blogging it's been my most prolific month yet although that is due to the daily posts I was doing when I was still writing for Nano. In terms of reading it's not been too bad considering that until the 9th I hadn't read a thing, but unless I read something in the next four hours I will end the month on a respectable (by my standards which are stupidly high) 14 books read.

Books Read this Month
177. J.R.R. Tolkien: a biography by Humphrey Carpenter (9/11/2010 AM)
178. As You Wish by Jackson Pearce (10/11/2010 AM)
179. The Ambassador's Mission by Trudi Canavan (11/11/2010 PM)
180. Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles (13/11/2010 AM)
181. No and Me by Delphine de Vigan (15/11/2010 AM)
182. Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead (18/11/2010 AM)
183. The Poison Diaries by Maryrose Wood (20/11/2010 AM)
184. Dreaming Anastasia by Joy Preble (21/11/2010 AM)
185. Boys Don't Cry by Malorie Blackman (25/11/2010 PM)
186. Once Bitten, Twice Shy by Jennifer Rardin (26/11/2010 AM)
187. Trickster's Queen by Tamora Pierce (28/11/2010 PM)
188. Sticky Fingers by Nikki Burnham (29/11/2010 AM)
189. Terrier by Tamora Pierce (29/11/2010 PM)
190. Delirium by Lauren Oliver (29/11/2010 PM)

Favourite Books of the Month
It's kind of bad that two of the 5 Star books from this month came in the last few days and are re-reads several times over. Definitely fav fiction read of the month is Last Sacrifice which I will most likely re-read in the next week as I write my review to be posted on the 7th of December (I'm gonna do my best to keep it spoiler-free for the 6th book although it's likely that there will be spoilers for the earlier books). My favourite non-fiction read (only one at that) was the Tolkien biography I read at the start of the month. 

Books Reviewed this Month
As You Wish by Jackson Pearce
Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles
The Poison Diaries by Maryrose Wood
Gotta do better next month with reviews, three is not on when I read 14 books!

Features this Month
Only two editions of Covers So Lovely We'd Lick them this month since Jess has been having computer problems and has been internet MIA for the past two weeks :( I didn't feel like doing them without her, but hopefully if her computer has been fixed then the feature will return in December. Check out the cover licking here and Here.

I also did my first ever discussion post which has actually become more pertinent now that someone has posted spoilers from Last Sacrifice on Goodreads *pox rot you selfish buggers*.
When is an Embargo not an Embargo? - sometimes they're there for a REASON!! 

Also post explaining the NanoFail after 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 days of writing. Numbers go to each days update post if you fancy looking :)

And as always the usual In My Mailbox and It's Monday posts.

December is already shaping up to be an interesting month since I will soon no longer be a student of my current university but will straight away be applying for another degree (In Publishing no less) at another university, here's hoping I don't lose interest in *that* partway through second year. December's mission will be to somehow find a job and not annoy my mum to the point she beats the shit out of me for being a lazy git.

I will be contemplating what Reading Challenges I will be participating in next year. Since I will be doing the 75 Book Challenge again on LibraryThing (the 75ers are the best group :P) that will be my main numbered challenge although I am planning on doing some themed months to try and knock down my massive TBR pile which is rather Classic and Historical Fiction-heavy. I probably won't be doing the Debut Author Challenge since I will be trying to keep down the number of books I buy next year to prevent the necessity of another set of bookshelves :P

But yeah November is over! And dang it if it's nearly the end of the year altogether! When I do my end of year post next month it's sure gonna be jam-packed of thoughts about all the ups-and-downs.
How's Your November Been?


It's Monday What are you Reading (22)

 Monday, 29 November 2010

Hey hi hello! Tis another Monday and gosh darn if it ain't the last Monday of November! December is looming and it's already snowy and freezing! This week's posting may be a leetle bit scattered cos I have *tons* of stuff to sort out because I'm moving back home and withdrawing from my University course (just wasn't interesting me anymore). So apologies for crazyness :)

It's Monday What are you Reading? Is a weekly bookish meme where we get together to share what books we've read in the past week, what books we're currently reading and what new books we're planning on reading in the coming week along with any reviews or interesting posts. It's hosted by Sheila @Book Journey

Books I read this past Week
Boys Don't Cry by Malorie Blackman (Review coming soon)
Once Bitten, Twice Shy by Jennifer Rardin
Trickster's Queen by Tamora Pierce (A reread but DANG I LOVE THIS BOOK!)

Not Currently Reading Anything :(

Books I Plan on Reading This Week
Delirium by Lauren Oliver - Really will read it this week

Other than that I'm not sure since I'm likely to grab whatever tickles my fancy when I get the chance. Tomorrow I have three hours on a train so I'll likely take something chunky enough to read  during that journey since it's quite possible that I will suffer delays with the snow and everything.

Well I'd best be off to sleep got an early get-up tomorrow (Monday that is), I am planning on dishing out my thoughts on the new Harry Potter film that I saw earlier tonight with my sister so keep an eye out for that post during the week maybe.

So What are *You* reading this Blisteringly Cold Monday?


So Yeah, NanoFail

 Sunday, 28 November 2010

As you will have probably noticed for the second half of this month the blog has been rather devoid of Nanowrimo updates. This is because I failed. Just after the half-way point I was hit with the realisation that I was neglecting my university work somewhat and deadlines were starting to creep up on me so I was forced to shelve my novel until I could continue.

I will finish this month with less than 30K but on the whole I am still pretty happy with my effort. Before Nano I had never written anything on a story longer than 5K so to have the first third of a novel written (albeit a very shitty first third) is still quite an achievement for me. Maybe next year I will plan far enough ahead to make sure I don't run out of chapter outlines halfway through the month.

I did find it pretty exhilarating having to just write without going back and self-editing after every paragraph and I really liked my story although I'm sure that as I start to read back through the Nano work I will wince at how awful my writing truly is. Most likely I'll have rewrite the whole damn thing (something feels off about the POV) so maybe next summer once I've outlined and characterised properly I can rewrite what I already have and finish the whole novel.

What was also kind of daft was that almost a week after I'd halted writing on my Nano story a completely new story idea leapt into my head which I'm also quite enamored with so I may work on that for bit before I go back to the NanoFail at some point.

So as there's only 2 days of Nano left how is everyone doing? Have you finished? Nearly there? or like me has real life gotten in the way and your word count is *waaay* behind? Whatever your word count WELL DONE! Y'all are awesome for even signing up! There's always next year to try again!



In My Mailbox #30

Hey folks this week has been mega crazy for me and I've been making some seriously major decisions about the future and whatnot so I apologise for the lack of Dreaming Anastasia review and lack of anything really since Wednesday. In this coming week there may also be some disruption as a whole ruck of changes will be going on in my life so apologies in advance for lack of posting. Anyhow onto business!

In my Mailbox is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Kristi @The Story Siren and inspired by Alea @Pop Culture Junkie

Ze Vlog

Books Acquired this Week
Cross Stitch (Outlander) by Diana Gabaldon - not shown in vlog
Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen - Thanks you Penguin for sending me a copy for review!

Fairly minimalist week in books, tomorrow's post will also be rather slim as well but over the Christmas holidays I should be charging through books in order to reach my 200 book target for 2010 so hopefully I shall get a load of reviews done as well. I also need to be thinking what reading challenges I'll be doing next year, suggestions people?

That's What was in My Mailbox this week, What's in Yours?


When is an Embargo not an Embargo?

 Wednesday, 24 November 2010

When it's the Last Sacrifice Embargo!

Ok so I want to make this clear that this post is not intended to be a criticism of Penguin UK in any way but this is a rather perplexing issue that I want to talk about. Do tell me if I'm over-thinking these things.

I saw a tweet on Sunday 21st from Cassandra Clare stating that "Embargoed means no advance review copies. No one reads the book before its release. Bookstores can't open the boxes of books before a strict date. Foreign publishers have to sign non disclosure agreements that they will release no information or excerpts from the book. The publisher's employees are basically not allowed to read it. That's an embargo." 

I thought this to be  a very interesting point since the press release I received from Penguin UK states that Last Sacrifice (The 6th book in Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy Series) is under Embargo until its release date on December 7th, yet here I am with a *finished copy* of Last Sacrifice that I have already read. I'm not the only UK blogger with a copy of the book either! I can name at least six or seven other people who received it from Penguin in the last week and Penguin Australia (does that count as a foreign publisher since it's presumably Penguin US who hold the original publishing rights?) have been releasing teaser quotes for the last week or two! 

I know that there are restrictions on us UK bloggers in that we are not allowed to post quotes, excerpts, opinions or reviews of the book until its release date as we agreed when we signed the confidentiality agreements before the books were sent out, but when you compare this to what Cassie Clare defined as an embargo, is it really an embargo?

This is not the only book in the past year which has been under Embargo, back in August Mockingjay (the third and final book in the Hunger Games Trilogy) was supposed to be under lock and key until the 24th/25th yet some bloggers including Kristi of The Story Siren had copies nearly a week before that date and a US newspaper actually broke the embargo by posting a review - with spoilers -  the day before general US release. I'm sure that the majority of those lucky folk in the book blogging community didn't break the embargo but when it's such a highly anticipated book and a final book in a series isn't there always the risk that someone may break ranks and post a spoiler-filled review before anyone else has a chance to read it?

I am by no means pooh-poohing the fact that I was one of the incredibly lucky people who got a copy of Last Sacrifice. Heck No! I am *ecstatic* to have been given the opportunity to read the last book in a series I adore earlier than everyone else, but I'm feeling slightly antsy about the fact that thanks to me and a video I did showing my reaction to the arrival of my copy of Last Sacrifice, it has become common knowledge amongst VA fans on *FOUR* continents that I, and several other British Bloggers have copies of Book 6. I feel rather exposed even though I haven't actually said anything about the book itself. It's the fact that I've publicised the existence of it which may prompt other people to search out spoilers before it's officially released. 

But does that mean that publishers shouldn't send out copies of embargoed books before their release date to bloggers and other media people? No, as long as everyone respects the non-disclosure agreements and only post reviews *AFTER* its public release then I believe they should be allowed to read and enjoy those books, plus they get the added thrill of being one of a select few who got a sneak peek before everyone else (as does anyone who sees an advance showing of an awesome film).

However I don't think that the Last Sacrifice or even the Mockingjay embargo can be compared to the insane levels of secrecy surrounding the 2007 release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Regardless of what Anna Hathaway managed in the Devil Wears Prada you either had to be J.K. Rowling or some sort of Omniscient Deity to get a look at even the dedication page of DH before it was published let alone sitting pretty with a finished copy on the 19th of July 2007. Just look at the agreement that bookstores had to sign before they were even supplied with copies of DH - HP Embargo Contract <--- that is what I call an embargo and a half! Although sadly there were several breaches of even this incredibly stringent embargo, but I'm sure they regretted it when hit with the lawsuits that Bloomsbury and Scholastic threw their way.

I think that the definition of an Embargo that Cassie Clare stated is more reminiscent of the Deathly Hallows release than may be needed by other Highly Anticipated YA books even if the genre is now much more publicised than it was pre-HP. Until there's another book or series that reaches the world-wide, generation-spanning furour that Harry Potter did then I don't think that such extreme embargoes are necessary. Early Reviews and ARCs are part of what creates the hype and interest in a particular book in the months leading up to it's release date although if the blogosphere becomes flooded with reviews of one single book in a short space of time then it can have the opposite effect and by the time the book is generally available people are too tired of all the hype to bother picking it up straight away.

What Penguin has done with Last Sacrifice has worked very well I think, a select group of bloggers who get to read it early - BTW I'm really rather glad that it was UK bloggers since no offence to the US bloggers but you get so many awesome books before us it made a nice change :P- and with the embargo on reviews until December 7th there is enough excitement and anticipation especially with the addition of the teaser trailer quotes from Penguin Australia to ensure that release day should be a big success. 

I really can't wait for everyone to be able to read Last Sacrifice because I'm dying here not being able to share my thoughts with you all! Only 13 Days to Go!!

This has been my first proper discussion-style post so I would love to know your thoughts about whether book embargoes should be stricter or not, should bloggers post reviews of highly-anticipated or last-in-series books before or after the release date and with or without spoilers? Let me know if there's any other points about the issue of Embargoes that I haven't mentioned.

Have a great Wednesday Folks


Book Review - The Poison Diaries

 Tuesday, 23 November 2010

I'm beginning to scare myself with how many reviews I've done in the last few days I guess it's only appropriate after posting nothing but Nanowrimo updates for half the month (I'm doing a post on what happened to *that* soonish).

Title: The Poison Diaries
Author: Maryrose Wood
Date: 20/11/2010 AM
Source: Bought
Description: In the right dose, everything is a poison. Even love . . .
Jessamine Luxton has lived all her sixteen years in an isolated cottage near Alnwick Castle, with little company apart from the plants in her garden. Her father, Thomas, a feared and respected apothecary, has taught her much about the incredible powers of plants: that even the most innocent-looking weed can cure -- or kill.
When Jessamine begins to fall in love with a mysterious boy who claims to communicate with plants, she is drawn into the dangerous world of the poison garden in a way she never could have imagined . . . (Description taken from Goodreads)

My Review
I had seen this book floating around on the blogosphere at some point and thought it sounded rather interesting so when I found a copy I picked it up and gave it a try.

It's quite a short book so didn't take me very long to get through. At first it feels rather similar to the Alchemist's Daughter by Katherine McMahon in that the main character Jessamine is a young girl who's been raised by just her father, isolated from the outside world while he pursues a cure-all medicine made from poisonous plants in the 18th Century  (c.f. Emilie who is only slightly older, raised by her father who studies alchemy in the 18th Century and keeps her tucked away in their estate). But it's there that the similarities end.

Jessamine is a very sweet and caring character although I do sympathise with her feelings of exasperation towards her father who still treats her like a child although at 16 and a very sheltered 16 at that her father is sort of right. She's not completely ignorant since she helps her father tend to the gardens and can manage a house pretty darn well for her age, but she's still very naive about the world and not highly educated (unlike Emilie in A's D). She's given the task at the start of the book to tend to some belladonna berries (*very* poisonous little buggers) so that her father can plant them in his locked garden where he keeps rare and exotic and incredibly deadly plants. 

Not long into the story a rather strange boy is foisted onto Jessamine's father because he is reported to have somehow cured a bunch of mad people by putting something into their tea (the drinking sort btw). Being a botantist he's naturally very interested by this and agrees to look after the boy - Weed. At first he's very shy and stays hidden away in the coal box but Jessamine manages to coax him out and begins to feed him up. After a rather weed-like growth spurt it seems that he's actually close to her own age and not too bad-looking either :P

I found Jessamine and Weed's growth of friendship really quite nice and pleasant. Like any other young girl deprived of contact with children and especially boys of her own age, Jessamine gets rather flustered in her feelings towards Weed which isn't helped at all by his bizarre behaviour sometimes.

Without spoiling too much about the plot I shall just say that about half-way through things start to get a little weird like the story just melts into this vaguely trippy fantastical other dimension and another completely unexpected aspect appears. I'm still not entirely sure how I felt about the new developments but they definitely added a intriguing element to what was previously just a simple historical fiction novel.

Overall I did find the book very enjoyable and I believe that it is to be part of a series so I'd certainly be interested in seeing where things go after the somewhat abrupt ending. I really liked Jessamine and Weed's chemistry and the whole element of poison plants was lovely and spooky (the idea was actually thought of by the Duchess of Buckingham who owns the castle and poison garden mentioned in the book).

So if you want a quick, easy historical novel with a creepy dash of the fae then look no further!

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

There you go folks! I'm gonna try and get a review up for Dreaming Anastasia in the next couple of days, I will do a Nano-commiserations post :P and I'm also working on a discussion post about book embargoes which I'm hoping to get up before the end of the week (if it makes sense by then). 

Night Y'all


It's Monday What are you Reading (21)

 Monday, 22 November 2010

Morning Chaps! After a Highly unproductive weekend I bring you the usual Monday festivities. It's been a cracking week of reading I tell you! Although I did pretty much exhaust myself on Wednesday/Thursday by not going to sleep once I'd finished reading a certain vampire book... *facepalm* I'm such an idiot really.

It's Monday What are you Reading? Is a weekly bookish meme where we get together to share what books we've read in the past week, what books we're currently reading and what new books we're planning on reading in the coming week along with any reviews or interesting posts. It's hosted by Sheila @Book Journey

Books I read Last Week
No and Me by Delphine de Vigan
Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead **REREAD** (not counting towards 75 Book challenge)
Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead (December 7th for Review)
The Poison Diaries by Maryrose Wood (Review Here)
Dreaming Anastasia by Joy Preble (Review coming soon)

Books I'm Planning on Reading this Week
Delirium by Lauren Oliver (Thanks Jess for letting me borrow this!)

Boys Don't Cry by Malorie Blackman (Ditto!)

Apart from these two I don't know what else I'll pick up this week since I can be the moodiest of moody readers sometimes. I've got an essay due on Thursday so if I have any sense (Oh wait...) I won't do much reading until it's done but y'all and I both know what'll happen :P

So that's What I'm reading, What are *you* reading this Monday?


In My Mailbox #29 The best one Evah?

 Sunday, 21 November 2010

Howdy y'all once again it's Sunday and I have really had an *Epic* week in books - no joke. Nothing is gonna top this week for a while at least.

In My Mailbox is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Kristi @The Story Siren and inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie

Vlog time!

Books Acquired this week
For Review
Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead (Thanks *SO* much to Penguin UK for that)

Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead (From Public Library)
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Boys Don't Cry by Malorie Blackman (Thank you Jess for lending me these)

The Poison Diaries by Maryrose Wood
The Sisters who would be Queen by Leanda de Lisle
The Frost Fair by Edward Marston

Seriously what a great week I've had! I was a jittery mess on Wednesday when I heard from Jess that her copy of Last Sacrifice had arrived but I couldn't get mine until I came back from my lectures that day. I was stupid enough to re-read Spirit Bound in the evening and then stayed up ridiculously late reading Last Sacrifice unbelievably quickly. I honestly may have to re-read it before I review it on the 7th of December.

What's in Your Mailbox this week?


Book Review - Leaving Paradise

 Saturday, 20 November 2010

Egads! More reviews! I'm trying to make up for the general lack of decent posts this month by spamming y'all with reviews for this last week and a half :P

Title: Leaving Paradise
Author: Simone Elkeles
Date: 13/11/2010 AM
Source: Gift 
Description: Nothing has been the same since Caleb Becker left a party drunk, got behind the wheel, and hit Maggie Armstrong. Even after months of painful physical therapy, Maggie walks with a limp. Her social life is nil and a scholarship to study abroad—her chance to escape everyone and their pitying stares—has been canceled. After a year in juvenile jail, Caleb’s free . . . if freedom means endless nagging from a transition coach and the prying eyes of the entire town. Coming home should feel good, but his family and ex-girlfriend seem like strangers. (Description taken from GoodReads)

My Review
I got forced to pick this up sooner than I might have done, by my tyrannical sister who wanted me to send it home to her so she could read it. It was birthday book given to me *by* my sister and she was demanding it before I had a chance to read it! (I've created such a monster in her). So I said I'd read it straight away and mail it ASAP.

I loved Simone's other books and this was another brilliant story, Caleb and Maggie are the two people who by all rights should stay far apart from each other since Caleb went to jail for hitting Maggie with his car, leaving her to suffer through a year of torturous physical therapy. But when Caleb is released from jail they find themselves thrown together by unlikely circumstances and they become each other's rock - the only person they can trust to understand what the other is going through.

I officially adore Caleb, he's working the bad-boy-secretly-caring-underneath persona wonderfully and what we find out about his character during the book make him even more awesome in my eyes. Maggie has had a ton of shit to deal with in the last year and I think she's trooper for getting through it but sometimes I agree with Mrs Reynolds (the fab old lady they both end up helping out) - just cos Doctors tell you that you can't do something why should you listen? Maggie tells herself that she's lame and not going to ever get completely better because she thinks it's a fact but Mrs Reynolds makes her realise that only *you* can tell yourself whether you're gonna walk properly again or play tennis etc.

I really loved this book, Simone's writing is as always fantastic and I loved the characters although I reckon that Mrs Reynolds stole the show for me (I wanted to adopt her as my grannie she was that awesome). The ending made me desperate to get my hands on the second book ASAP so I'll get on that soonish methinks.
So if you've read Simone's Perfect Chemistry you are gonna *love* this and even if you haven't then read it anyway cos I still think you'll really enjoy it. Highly Recommended.

Oh and you know what? My sister couldn't wait for me to mail the book and bought the e-book instead and read both this *and* Return to Paradise in a few days. Yea I'm the proud sister of a fledgling book lover :D

My Rating: 4.5 Stars out of 5

Whoa officially fastest review evah! (ok I'll confess I copy-pasted this from my LibraryThing thread :P)
The next book I review will be whatever I finish next (Possibly The Poison Diaries) since I'm not allowed to review Last Sacrifice until the 7th December :(



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