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January Round-Off

 Monday, 31 January 2011

Egads! Tis basically February and I can already foresee that March will be steamrollering its way over us faster than we can blink. In both bloggy and reading terms this month has been pretty darn good, I've managed to post at least once a day and by the time I've caught up on reviews for this month I will have reviewed three-quarters of the books I've read which is more than my aspirational half.

What now follows is the list of books I've read this January, those I have reviewed will have links and those that don't will have them once I've written the reviews.
1. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
2. Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen
3. Once Dead, Twice Shy by Kim Harrison
4. The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
5. The Radleys by Matt Haig
6. Stolen by Lucy Christopher
7. The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
8. Across the Universe by Beth Revis
9. Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready
10. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
11. Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill
12. Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld
13. The Will of the Empress by Tamora Pierce
14. Never Suck a Dead Man's Hand by Dana Kollman
15. Firespell by Chloe Neill
16. Soulless by Gail Carriger
17. Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal
18. Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols
19. Friday Night Bites by Chloe Neill
20. Street Magic by Tamora Pierce
21. Shatterglass by Tamora Pierce

Favourite Books of the Month
I only have two 5 star reads that are new (three are re-reads) so I'll just show them both. I'm sure that almost everyone will agree that these highly-anticipated books were *well* worth their hype and I'll be damned if they weren't two of the best debut novels I've read... well ever. So cheers to Steph Perkins and Beth Revis for writing such freaking awesome books!

Leftover 2010 Reviews
Since I was incredibly bad at posting during December last year I posted two reviews from the last week of 2010 at the very start of this month so I would actually have something to post while I was getting into my reading stride. These two books were Entangled by Cat Clarke and Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder. Both were also fecking awesome and I seriously recommend that you check them out!

Other Shenanigans
Due to the re-occurrence of computer troubles for my dear friend Jess there were only 2 editions of our joint cover-loving feature Covers So Lovely We'd Lick Them. Hopefully once everything is all straightened out we'll do the sensible thing and plan out a month or two of posts and get them all scheduled so we don't have to worry if this happens again :P (but we are a daft pair so don't hold your breath)

Also since it was my 1st Blogaversary on the 16th of January I launched a month long contest to win a copy of Last Sacrifice or Crescendo with the promise of a third winner if I reached 300 blog followers before the closing date on February 16th SO GO ENTER HERE!! Please it would mean a lot to me if you did *bats eyelashes*

What To Expect in February
Well due to lack of employment currently I will be going on a Book Buying Ban for the whole month and I might be doing some posts about budgeting and working through the crazy-massive TBR pile instead of continually adding to it.
Of course there'll be the standard Monday and Sunday memes plus hopefully Covers So Lovely returning on Thursdays. I may occasionally pitch in with Top Ten Tuesdays and the Book Blogger Hop but it probably won't be a weekly thing.
And lastly expect reviews of books on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays - I will try my best to keep to that schedule but if I happen to miss a review day then I'll try to make it up as soon as I can.

So that was January... Let's see how February fares


It's Monday What are you Reading (28)

Well dang.. it's already the end of January and I'm still awfully confused as to where the month has gone. Currently I have no idea how February is gonna turn out so here's to surprises (hopefully more good than bad)

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
Firespell by Chloe Neill (Review Here)
Soulless by Gail Carriger (Review Coming Soon)
Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal (Review Coming Soon)
Going too Far by Jennifer Echols (Review Coming Soon)
Friday Night Bites by Chloe Neill (Fab kick-ass sequel 4 Stars)
Street Magic by Tamora Pierce (Review Coming Soon)

Books I reviewed Last Week
Behemoth by Scott Leviathan - Review
The Will of the Empress - Review

Books I'm Currently Reading
Shatterglass (Circle Opens #4) by Tamora Pierce - I'm in a random re-read mood and this is one of Tammy's books that I've not read in a while.

Books I'm Planning to Read this Week
The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney - Jess lent me this so methinks I get to it this week :)

Past those two I have no clue what I might read although if events go the way I'm foreseeing there may be several more comfort re-reads this week.

So what are you guys reading this week?


In My Mailbox #38

 Sunday, 30 January 2011

This may come as a surprise but when I went to Coventry on Wednesday to see my wonderful bestie Jess we only actually bought 3 books between us. I know you're a tad shocked but it's true! We spent most of the day in the cinema dashing from the mind-fuckery that was Black Swan to it's polar opposite Morning Glory - both were cracking films but Black Swan really does blow you away. So yea basically this is going to be a very small haul this week.

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

No Vlog this week I'm afraid but I has pretty pictures instead!

Books Bought
Ghost Town by Rachel Caine (This is gonna be the third prize for my current giveaway *if* I get to 300 followers so if you've not entered already then swing on over to here)

Jinx by Meg Cabot - it was going super-cheap in the Works so I just couldn't pass it up!

Books Borrowed
The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney - Ze lovely Jessica of Jess Hearts Books let me borrow her ARC of this highly talked-about book. I'm hoping to get to this later this week. P.S. the link goes to Jess's Review of said ARC.

So that's all I've got for this week! And from the 1st of February I'm planning to go on a book buying ban so I may forego doing IMM posts for a while (unless of course I crack like the weak-willed egg I am and splurge).

What did y'all get in your Mailboxes this week?


Book Review - Firespell

 Saturday, 29 January 2011

Ack my delay in posting my Wednesday review has now resulted in a bit of pile-up in reviews so I really oughta not finish any books for a couple of days but I think we all know that it's not likely to happen as planned.

Title: Firespell
Author: Chloe Neill
Date: 24/1/2011 PM
Source: Borrowed from library
Description: As the new girl at the elite St. Sophia’s boarding school, Lily Parker thinks her classmates are the most monstrous things she’ll have to face… When Lily’s parents decided to send her away to a fancy boarding school in Chicago, she was shocked. So was St. Sophia’s. Lily’s ultra-rich brat pack classmates think Lily should be the punchline to every joke, and on top of that, she’s hearing strange noises and seeing bizarre things in the shadows of the creepy building. The only thing keeping her sane is her roommate, Scout, but even Scout’s a little weird—she keeps disappearing late at night and won’t tell Lily where she’s been. But when a prank leaves Lily trapped in the catacombs beneath the school, Lily finds Scout running from a real monster. (Description taken from Goodreads)

My Review
In recent months I have found myself getting a bit tired of the whole "paranormal shenanigans in a boarding school" plot idea and with having read Hex Hall only the other week I was wary that I'd just be getting the same story set in Chicago instead of a creepy gloomy island. However I found myself pleasantly surprised by Firespell.

The main thing that stood out for me was the interesting philosophy that Scout and her friends have with regards to their magic. They believe that magic eventually corrupts the user and pledge to only use their gifts until they're 25 before irreparable damage to their soul occurs. Add in the vair interesting firespell and the various different gifts that the other folks have and you have a pretty original magic system. 

Lily was a pretty cool heroine; snarky enough to not be a complete goody-two-shoes but not overdone on the attitude however it's Scout who was my favourite character. She's kinda wacky with a love of words and down-to-earth despite her rather wealthy roots. She's not one of the "brat pack" and quick to befriend Lily.

I can't forget the two lovely lads Michael and Jason; it's hilarious seeing the banter between Michael and Scout since you just know that they're gonna end up together despite how much Scout wants to deny it :P The flirting between Lily and Jason was teasingly delicious and I can't wait to see how that relationship develops in Hexbound.

There was also a great setup for the next book with the unknown past of Lily's parents and the strange boy Sebastian who throws the Firespell at Lily. There are some subtle hints but not enough to give it all away so I'm still really intrigued to know where things are going.

Overall a quick fun adventure through the underground tunnels of Chicago and a solid start to this paranormal series. I do rather like Chloe Neil's style although I haven't quite decided whether I like this more than her adult series but reading both around the same time has given me a craving to visit Chicago although I doubt that's gonna happen any time soon.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

This is a somewhat shorter review than I usually write but I hope it's informative enough :)



Book Review - The Will of the Empress

 Friday, 28 January 2011

This is the first re-read of the year and it was desperately needed, I had a really crappy end to what started out as a good day and by the end of it I'd lost someone I thought was a friend. It's almost reflex to turn to a book you already know when what you need most is comfort and boy did I need some Tamora Pierce last Wednesday night.

Title: The Will of the Empress
Author: Tamora Pierce
Date: 20/1/2011 PM
Source: Bought
Description: Daja, Briar, Tris, and Sandry have grown up and grown apart since their days together at Winding Circle, and Sandry's especially disappointed with the change. When Sandry's uncle requests that her three old friends accompany her on a visit to Sandry's vast lands within the Empire of Namorn, the young mages discover that they've landed in a trap. Namorn's iron-willed Empress has plans for Sandry and her companions, and she has wily and powerful mages to help her. But so, of course, does Sandry--if only she can get them to work together . . . . (Description taken from Amazon)

My Review
I should point out at the start of this review that this book is technically the 9th chronologically that is set in Tamora Pierce's Emelan world. There are two quartets that follow the tangled lives of Sandry, Tris, Briar and Daja from the discovery of their strange powers through the years of them learning to control them up to the start of this book. I'm not gonna recap all the backstory that lead up to this book so apologies if things get a little confusing.

While the earlier books in the Emelan world were rather more geared to the younger end of the YA spectrum; Will of the Empress is definitely for the other end. The four mages are all grown up now and have seen more of the world than they'd perhaps like to. Despite how close they once were as children Sandry feels frustrated  that she and her foster family have drifted so far apart.

Out of the four main characters I am most attached to Tris and Briar - Tris being the most powerful of the four with her weather magic she's also the most private and is generally pretty crotchety with people. I love her loyalty to those she does care about and her tendency to read whilst riding makes me crack up cos I'm sure it's exactly what I'd do (were I to live in a world where travelling by horse was the norm). Briar is the kind of charming guy you could introduce to your grandmother without fear even if he was a thief as a child. I love his carefree attitude that can switch to high alert at a moment's notice if he or his friends are in danger.

Not that I have anything against Sandry and Daja though - Sandry can be so bad-ass when she's seriously vexed and darn if she doesn't wield the stitch-witch powers with some clout in this book! But she does get a bit het up when someone offends her noble sensibilities and I can understand Tris, Briar & Daja's dislike of being bossed about as though they were the hired help by someone they consider as family. Daja is the one character who I related to the least - I don't quite know why but she just wasn't my favourite although it was really good to see a whole unexplored and rather unexpected side of her in this book.

The main reason why I chose this book to re-read when I did was because of the overall message that no matter what horrors you may go through in life, true friends will be there for you even if you've been apart for some time. The loyalty between the four mages in the face of adversity and danger helped remind me that not all people are fair-weather friends and those who truly love you will stick by you no matter how many lightning bolts you may throw at them in a moment of anger.

If you have already read some of Tamora Pierce's books but none of the Circle of Magic/Circle Opens/Circle Reforged books then I do really recommend them. The first two quartets are comparatively smaller than Will of the Empress and perhaps more simplistic but I find that Tammy's characters are always ones you get attached to and want to know more about so even if you start off reading this book I reckon you'll find yourself wanting to go back and meet these wonderful characters at the beginning of their journey. 

I am probably a bit biased when it comes to rating Tammy's books because I think that most of them are fantastic but out of the Emelan books the Will of the Empress is probably my favourite with Shatterglass and Street Magic not far behind (They are the books that focus on Tris and Briar respectively in the Circle Opens quartet). I now anxiously await the third book in the Circle Reforged Quartet so we can learn about what happened Briar while he was travelling since all the ominous hinting throughout WotE makes it sound like it'll be a fascinating yet dark read. *crosses fingers that the wait won't be too long*

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Eek terribly sorry that this is two days later than planned in going up - I've had a couple of busy days where I've been far from the computer and not getting these reviews done ahead of time means it's buggered up my pseudo-schedule of posting reviews for Firespell and Soulless supposedly today and tomorrow. I'm gonna do my best to clear the backlog this weekend.

Anyways must fly, dinner awaits!


Book Review - Behemoth

 Monday, 24 January 2011

Reviews! Reviews! Never ending stream of reviews! It's all I seem to do anymore :P

Title: Behemoth
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Date: 19/1/2011 PM
Source: Bought
Description: The behemoth is the fiercest creature in the British navy. It can swallow enemy battleships with one bite. The Darwinists will need it, now that they are at war with the Clanker powers.
Deryn is a girl posing as a boy in the British Air Service, and Alek is the heir to an empire posing as a commoner. Finally together aboard the airship Leviathan, they hope to bring the war to a halt. But when disaster strikes the Leviathan's peacekeeping mission, they find themselves alone and hunted in enemy territory.
Alek and Deryn will need great skill, new allies, and brave hearts to face what's ahead. (Description taken from Goodreads)

My Review
I read Leviathan last year and pretty much fell in love with the Steampunk genre so I was counting down until I could get my mitts on the second book - Behemoth. This series is the best mix of historical fiction, fantastical invention and outlandish creatures along with the most *gorgeous* illustrations I have ever seen. Seriously why can't Keith Thompson illustrate everything I read?

This book carries on from where Leviathan ended, Deryn (or Dylan as she's known to everyone else) and Alek are travelling to Turkey aboard the massive creature Leviathan in order to deliver Dr Barlow's mysterious eggs to the Sultan in Istanbul. Only they run into a bit of trouble once they arrive and Alek has to escape from the ship to keep his identity hidden from the many German soldiers present in the city.

Despite the fact that this story is obviously *very* altered from true history I really liked how Scott Westerfeld incorporated some real people and events into the plot and got everything to work extremely well around the brilliant concepts of the Darwinists and the Clankers. It really makes you wonder what might of happened at the beginning of the 20th Century if Charles Darwin *had* discovered DNA along with evolution and been able to manipulate it to create strange new creatures. What if the Germans *had* got mechanical walkers and Tesla Cannons? It's slightly scary to consider the possibilities when you see the destructive capabilities of such inventions in Behemoth. 

Out of the characters I love Deryn the most, she's sparky and her dry sense of humour is fab plus she's from Glasgow and has a barking way with the exclamations. She really had to step up in this book to not only help her country but also to help her friend Alek and although sometimes those didn't exactly coincide she did an admirable job of not getting hung for treason :P Her interactions with Alek and later Lilit were pretty darn amusing at times and you gotta wonder how much longer it'll take for Alek to twig she's actually a girl :P

Also I absolutely adored the little creature Bovril, not least because he was actually given the name Bovril which made me chuckle immensely but because he really was the cutest little mimic you've ever seen. I'm sure it'd get kinda irritating having him repeat what you say all the time but I thought he was absolutely delightful and I will be most put out if he's not in the third book. 

Overall Behemoth was a marvellous romp of an adventure and despite the fact that the creature which gives the book its title doesn't physically appear until page 446 (of 480) I still thoroughly enjoyed every minute of reading this book and can't wait for Goliath which will be coming out on the 29th September 2011 *sniffs* it's a far way off but I'm sure the time will fly by.

My Rating: 4.5 Stars out of 5

I really ought to try and read some other Steampunk books as it is *such* a fantastic genre, perhaps I shall pick up Soulless soon since by all accounts that is fairly steampunky in addition to its paranormal skew.

Have a barking good day chaps


It's Monday What are you Reading (27)

Morning all, I hope everyone is having an alright Monday so far. Mine is potentially gonna be tedious as hell but hopefully it won't take all day. But anyway on to business...

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
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins - Quick Paranormal read 3.5 Stars
Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill - Fun, Feisty Urban fantasy 4 Stars
Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld - Review up later today
The Will of the Empress by Tamora Pierce - Review Coming Wednesday
Never Suck a Dead Man's Hand by Dana Kollman - Morbidly funny non-fiction read 4.5 Stars

Books I Reviewed Last Week
The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner - Review
Across the Universe by Beth Revis - Review
Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready - Review

Books I'm Currently Reading
Soulless by Gail Carriger - Tis a bit slow-going at the moment but quirky

Firespell by Chloe Neill - I've got a little way into this but I need to pick it up again

Books I'm Planning to read this week
Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal - I'm under strict orders to read this before Wednesday :P

Friday Night Bites by Chloe Neill - I really liked the first book in this series so I wanna get to this soon

So What are You reading this Week?


In My Mailbox #37

 Sunday, 23 January 2011

Bonjour a tous! Tis time for that ever-joyous event that we call IMM and this week I have a pretty decent haul to show y'all. So let's get cracking!

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

Books Acquired this week
From Library
Friday Night Bites by Chloe Neill
Never Suck a Dead Man's Hand by Dana Kollman
March Hares and Monkeys' Uncles by Harry Oliver
The Strange Laws of Old England by Nigel Cawthorne

The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson
The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
The Swan Maiden by Jules Watson
Halo by Alexandra Adornetto
Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal

**Also Don't Forget I'm still running a contest for a chance to win a copy of Last Sacrifice or Crescendo! Enter Here by Feb 16th and it is INTERNATIONAL!!**

***AND Today it is Jess's (Jess Hearts Books) 21st Birthday so click the link to go wish her Happy Birthday and if you fancy you can enter her giveaway of her ARCS of Delirium and Matched! Closing date is 25th Jan so be quick!!! INTERNATIONAL as well***

Well I do believe that's everything,
What's in Your Mailbox this week?


A few changes and a request!

 Saturday, 22 January 2011

Aft'noon all I just wanted to do a quick post and let you know about some things that you may have only noticed if you were staring at my sidebars yesterday and also to ask you lovely people for some assistance.

First off, as most people know this weekend is Bloggiesta but as you can see by the lack of update posts I am not officially signed up, *however* I have been doing a few housekeeping tasks about the Library in the spirit of Bloggiesta. Nothing too major like layout change because I am very much attached to my header and the whole rigmarole of finding another design that I really love and installing it properly would be rather tedious.

I've got all my reading lists up-to-date with links to reviews and you can find them either by looking at the Pages section just at the top of the left sidebar (I would love to have them across the top of my blog but alas there is no tab functionality with this design), or by scrolling down past the list of favourite authors (now with links to the author's websites) where there's a simplified list of the books I've read so far in 2011.

On the opposite sidebar I haven't done much, just added the button to the third reading challenge I've signed up for - British Books Challenge and down-sized my blog roll to just the UK bloggers I follow although I will add a list of some of my favourite International Bloggers at some other time.

One thing I want to announce is that I shall no longer be accepting awards on this blog. Although I am very grateful to all the people who have left me comments telling me I have an award over on their blogs, I simply don't have the time or energy to scour through my blog reader finding umpteens more blogs to pass them on to. I've not actually done an awards post in months but I thought I'd best make it official so that folk know not to pass them on to me anymore.

Another thing I want to announce is that I'm thinking of putting myself on a book buying ban for at least 3 months and making a feature out of it during February with the tentative title of Frugal February. Basically I want to not buy any books be they new or second-hand for at least a whole month and dedicate myself to reading only from my bookshelves since my TBR pile has probably crested 200 books now. So I'm making a plea for Guest Bloggers to contribute their plans for keeping to their book buying bans, reading Off the Shelf, or just budgeting themselves wisely enough to be able to buy the essential books.

So if anyone wants to contribute to this feature then please email me with a possible post subject to libraryofladyviolet(at)gmail(dot)com. I would love to have 3 or 4 people sharing their opinions on book buying bans and I want to make this feature actually last the whole month (unlike my Favs Fortnight :S)

That's all for now folks!


Book Review - Shade

I'm beginning to worry that I'm inundating you poor folk with all these reviews and since I'm sure the quality is varying wildly I do apologise - it's taking a bit of getting used to and what I mention is mainly what stood out when I read it and I'm pretty crap with the whole critical analysis stuff. But I'll do my best to make *some* sense.

Title: Shade
Author: Jeri Smith-Ready
Date: 16/1/2011 PM
Source: Borrowed from Library
Description: Love ties them together. Death can't tear them apart.
Best. Birthday. Ever. At least, it was supposed to be. With Logan's band playing a critical gig and Aura's plans for an intimate after-party, Aura knows it will be the most memorable night of her boyfriend's life. She never thought it would be his last. Logan's sudden death leaves Aura devastated. He's gone. Well, sort of.
Like everyone born after the Shift, Aura can see and hear ghosts. This mysterious ability has always been annoying, and Aura had wanted nothing more than to figure out why the Shift happened so she can undo it. But not with Logan's violet-hued spirit still hanging around. Because dead Logan is almost as real as ever. Almost. It doesn't help that Aura's new friend Zachary is so understanding—and so very alive. His support means more to Aura than she cares to admit.
As Aura's relationships with the dead and the living grow ever complicated, so do her feelings for Logan and Zachary. Each holds a piece of Aura's heart...and clues to the secret of the Shift. (Description taken from Goodreads)

My Review
I'd been a bit on the fence about buying a copy of this since I worry slightly about how much YA Paranormal fiction I read. I don't wanna reach a saturation point where I've basically seen almost every plot type, creature or relationship setup. But I was intrigued enough about the concept of a whole generation that can suddenly see ghosts, to pick this book up from my local library. (It's getting pretty good in the Teen section)

Aura was a pretty cool gal who had a hell of a lot of stress to deal with after Logan her boyfriend dies. It has to be incredibly hard to move on from the guy you loved when he has the ability to pop into your bedroom like a perverted purple glowstick whenever he likes. To be honest I think Logan was a bit of a prat, when you know that your girlfriend wants to hand over her v-card to you after the most rocking night of your life it is *really* bloody stupid to get blindingly drunk because how the hell are you even gonna manage getting upstairs let alone doing the deed? And to top off a particularly brainless evening by actually taking drugs... *doh!* Logan my friend you are a plonker of epic proportions. Aura I reckon you're better off.

Now this is where I could ramble on, as soon as I read "Scottish exchange student" my attention was firmly fixed onto Mr Zachary Moore. Now I don't know how weird this makes me but whenever Zach was speaking I felt the need to read aloud in my somewhat-passable Scottish accent. I am sure people will understand how heart-meltingly lovely a Scot can sound (Particularly if he happens to be David Tennant *swoon*) so who wouldn't want to listen to them talking? But anyway Zach is so sweet and deliciously flirtatious that you can't blame Aura one bit for getting a bit flustered around him. He's also such an enigma that you really wanna know how he, Aura and the Shift are linked.

I really liked the idea of the Post-Shifter children being able to help out in legal cases because they can see and hear the ghosts who may have been murdered or just need justice for some reason or other. It is a very cool concept that as this generation of children come of age that a whole new type of job sector opens up- one that specialises in dealing with ghosts. Although as is apparent in the book there is massive potential for these children to be exploited by adults who don't know fully what they're dealing with.

Despite the title being Shade (as in the rather scary beings that normal ghosts can turn into) there is not a whole lot of them to be seen in this book and we don't really know why some people who seem good can turn Shady. What's even more puzzling is the significance of Aura in relation to the Shades. But the biggest mystery that we all want the answer to is what the fandazzle caused the Shift? All the cool stuff about the megaliths and ancient astronomy was really interesting and dang it if I wouldn't love to be out in an empty field stargazing with yummy scotty Zach!

This was a really enjoyable read and while it ends with some closure to the main plot arcs there is massive "Qu'est-ce que fook?" moment on the last page which makes me really ruddy anxious to find out what happens next and how the hell it even happened at all! Jeri Smith-Ready you are messing with my mind!

I foresee things getting vair complicated in Shift...

My Rating: 4 out 5 Stars

The second book in this series SHIFT is coming out in the UK on the 9th June 2011 and I might just have to buy myself a copy when it comes out although I'm sorry but it'll have to be the US edition as the cover on the UK one is fecking dire I mean look at it yeesh it's hideous!

But anyway I'll now leave you to thoughts of bonnie Scottish lads :P


Book Review - Across the Universe

 Friday, 21 January 2011

*Eep* I'm falling behind! Must catch up!!

Title: Across the Universe
Author: Beth Revis
Date: 15/1/2011 AM
Source: Bought
Description: Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.
Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.
Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming. (Description taken from Goodreads)

My Review
With all the furore and excitement surrounding this book I could not wait until March when the UK paperback edition came out to read it. Plus I *so* wanted the awesome hardcover with the insanely cool reversible dust jacket that I "slipped" onto The Book Depository and it happened to "fall" into my basket :P

This has to be the first YA Science Fiction book I've read- I know some dystopia books I've read have been set on spaceships or other planets but they are more about the people and society whereas Across the Universe focuses more heavily on the ship itself and its journey through the stars, ergo it's more Sci-Fi. 

First off I loved the alternating POVs of Amy and Elder as you really see the differences between their views of the world - Amy found everything so alien while Elder found *Amy* to be strange and new whilst still intriguing at the same time. The reader feels very much like Amy trying to understand how life works on Godspeed and ponder on how the society became structured like it did.

I thought that the murder mystery aspect of the story wasn't all that difficult to figure out but I wasn't too concerned as there were plenty more surprises which I didn't see coming at all. The relationship between Amy and Elder was curious because she was still pretty hung on the guy she'd known on Earth before she was frozen so even though it'd been 250 since she left it still only felt like the other day for her - confusing much?

Elder was a really interesting character since for all his intelligence and the fact that he was the future leader of Godspeed he was incredibly ignorant about what actually went on in the ship- albeit thanks to the rather tyrannical rule of Eldest which was challenged wonderfully by Elder's rebellious curiosity.

Amy was a fantastic disruption to the previously smooth running of the ship. Her attitude and belief in choice and free will were the perfect ingredients to shake-up the docile populace aboard Godspeed. I thought she dealt marvellously well with the drastic changes she had to face although it's easy to understand her frustration at being trapped in a ship, unable to be with her family because she got woke up too soon.

The book sped by nicely and by the end we have had some questions answered but there is still much that I want to know. I am fascinated by the ship itself (in my nerdy way) and I really want to know more about the actual mechanics of it. There is a whole universe of possibilities for what could happen next and I know I'm not the only one who's dying to know!

Beth Revis has done a stellar job of creating the world on Godspeed with so many different facets despite it all being encapsulated within the comparatively small spaceship. It provides a most intriguing look into what our future could look like were we to ever stuff a load of people onto a generation ship and launch it into the unknown. A truly magnificent debut - I am now waiting impatiently for whatever she writes next.

This is not just a Sci-Fi story, this is a *YA* sci-fi story :P (all the awesome with none of the mind-sploding science jargon)

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

I really hope that this book is the start of a trend of YA science-fiction stories since I really love the genre but most adult Sci-Fi books scare the pants off me because of the uber hard-core physics concepts they bandy about. Having stories about generation/cryo ships etc. where the character development isn't neglected would be *so* fabulous.

Godspeed folks


British Books Reading Challenge!

Although I had kinda said to myself "don't sign up to loads of reading challenges cos you'll only put pressure on yourself to complete them" I still thought I ought to sign up for this particular challenge what with being British and all.

The British Books Challenge is being hosted by The Bookette

The idea behind the challenge is simple, for those home grown Brit folk like myself the aim is to support our marvellous authors by trying to read 12 books by British Authors in 2011. The books can be new or old and from any genre you like.

If you need more motivation to sign up then never fear! The Bookette has had loads of support from several Fab UK publishers and there will be awesome prize packs chock full of goodies that BBC participants can win during the year (a la The Debut Author Challenge).

My Brit Books Reading List
I'm a tad late to start this challenge but I've already read a couple of books by Brits so it's not too bad. I don't want to pick out a set list of books I want to read since I'll invariably end up not wanting to read them when it's an obligation.
1. The Radleys by Matt Haig - Review
2. Stolen by Lucy Christopher - Review

I'll update reviews on this post as the year goes on and hopefully I can smash the 12 book target to smithereens since I have multiple works by non-YA authors such as Elizabeth Chadwick and Daphne du Maurier which I really need to read.

Toodles folk!


Book Review - The Queen of Attolia

 Wednesday, 19 January 2011

It's typical that as soon as I get caught up on reviews I suddenly have a reading binge and end up 4 behind again! *grumbles* ah well I'm determined to stick to this reviewing resolution as best I can so here we go!
**Warning!! Description contains fairly important spoilers for The Thief so Beware!!**

Title: The Queen of Attolia (Queen's Thief #2)
Author: Megan Whalen Turner
Date: 13/1/2011 AM
Source: Bought
Description: When Eugenides, the Thief of Eddis, stole Hamiathes's Gift, the Queen of Attolia lost more than a mythical relic. She lost face. Everyone knew that Eugenides had outwitted and escaped her. To restore her reputation and reassert her power, the Queen of Attolia will go to any length and accept any help that is offered...she will risk her country to execute the perfect revenge. 
Eugenides can steal anything. And he taunts the Queen of Attolia, moving through her strongholds seemingly at will. So Attolia waits, secure in the knowledge that the Thief will slip, that he will haunt her palace one too many times. 
When Eugenides finds his small mountain country at war with Attolia, he must steal a man, he must steal a queen, he must steal peace. But his greatest triumph, and his greatest loss, comes in capturing something that the Queen of Attolia thought she had sacrificed long ago... (Description Taken from Goodreads)

My Review
After thoroughly enjoying The Thief when I read it late last year I bought the 2nd book with some of my christmas vouchers and then devoured it in one sitting last week. I'd seen some comments that people said they found this book predictable but I honestly couldn't see that. I find that Eugenides surprises me all the time and I can never really anticipate what crazy thing he might do next.

In this book we see a completely different side to Gen since in the Thief he was rather cocky and brash about his ability to steal anything but now we see how vulnerable he can really be. Very early on in the book he is punished harshly by the Queen of Attolia (the rival Queen to Gen's Queen) and he has to adapt to life with this injury. I didn't realise in the first book how young he was but I believe that he can't be much more than 20 years old which makes him even more impressive and yet it's kind of tragic what he has to go through.

I liked all the political intrigue in this book although we don't see much of the actual fighting between the three main countries in this world (Eddis, Soumis and Attolia). I also love it whenever Gen gets up to one of his schemes since they're always wonderfully entertaining and I definitely didn't expect the direction of his plans but then he is rather good at keeping things close to his chest. 

It was good to learn more about the Queen of Eddis and the difficulties she had to overcome because of being both young and female in a fairly male-dominated world. She's the kind of no-nonsense person you'd like to keep on good terms with or you can bet that things won't end well for you. Her sort-of brotherly relationship with Gen was also really interesting to read about.

Overall a very enjoyable and solid sequel to the Thief. I'm looking forward to reading the third book King of Attolia and seeing what will happen next to Gen and co. Megan Whalen Turner has created a wonderfully rich world and is written so that each volume ends well despite there only being 350ish pages long. If you like Tamora Pierce then I reckon this series would be right up your street.

My Rating: 4 out 5 Stars

If anyone knows of any other fantasy series that are similar to this one then please give me recommendations in the comments below!



Book Review - Stolen

 Monday, 17 January 2011

*puffs* Nearly There! Only one more review after this and then you're caught up! *keeps plodding*

Title: Stolen
Author: Lucy Christopher
Date: 12/1/2011 AM
Source: Bought
Description: Sixteen year old Gemma is kidnapped from Bangkok airport and taken to the Australian Outback. This wild and desolate landscape becomes almost a character in the book, so vividly is it described. Ty, her captor, is no stereotype. He is young, fit and completely gorgeous. This new life in the wilderness has been years in the planning. He loves only her, wants only her. Under the hot glare of the Australian sun, cut off from the world outside, can the force of his love make Gemma love him back? The story takes the form of a letter, written by Gemma to Ty, reflecting on those strange and disturbing months in the outback. Months when the lines between love and obsession, and love and dependency, blur until they don't exist - almost. (Description Taken from Amazon)

My Review
When I heard the premise of this book I knew it was going to be one of those books that really blurred the lines of what is right and what is wrong. The topic of abduction is no laughing matter yet it is possible to smile at this book. Kidnappers are portrayed in real life as evil, cruel people yet I could see a very human and vulnerable side to Ty. Boy this is gonna be a tough review.

I really loved the format of this book as a 2nd person letter written by Gemma to Ty, her thoughts and emotions from those months with him come across so vividly and beautifully that you're almost expecting to rub your eyes and find them full of red dust from the Outback. You can't help but be affected by the kaleidoscope of emotions Gemma goes through, from terror, confusion, and fury to resignation, acceptance and even sympathy. Lucy Christopher does an outstanding job of portraying how a kidnap victim would feel in that kind of situation.

Ty is an enticing yet horrifically disturbing character. As you discover the degree of planning that went into his kidnapping of Gemma you become more repulsed by him yet as you relive the time in the Outback along with Gemma you are met with the conflicting images of him taking honest pleasure in the upkeep of the shack and outbuildings to allow them to survive in the wilderness. You can really see how happy he is in that environment although the nagging feeling of how *wrong* the situation is never leaves you.

I spent a good deal of time worrying about how the book would end as with a story like this there can be no happy ending. You feel intensely concerned about both Gemma *and* Ty even though you know that what he did was completely and utterly wrong on so many levels. There is a strange beauty to him that attracts you despite the sensible part of your mind screaming at you in warning and you can really understand the contradictory feelings that Gemma has for him.

Overall this a powerful, heart-wrenching read and I'm awe-struck that this was a debut novel, Lucy Christopher's writing is so gorgeous and the characters are wonderfully complex. I shall be most eager to read her second book Flyaway and whatever else she may write in the future if they're all as excellent as Stolen.

My Rating: 4.5 Stars out of 5

Man I'm on a reviewing roll right now! If I can keep this up all year then I will produce a *lot* of reviews - of course whether they're good reviews remains to seen.

Good day to you all *tips hat*


It's Monday What are you Reading (26)

Hello chaps! Isn't it crazy to think we're nearly 3 weeks into 2011? I have a feeling that this year will be speeding by just as quickly as 2010 did. But right now I have other concerns, firstly being that it's Monday and therefore I have books to tell y'all about.

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
The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) by Brandon Sanderson (Review Here)
The Radleys by Matt Haig (Review Here)
Stolen by Lucy Christopher (Review Here)
The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner (Review Coming Wednesday)
Across the Universe by Beth Revis (Review Coming Friday)
Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready (Review Coming Saturday)

Books I reviewed Last Week
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (Review Here)

Books I Plan on Reading This Week
Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld - I feel the need to read something other than YA Paranormal & Contemps so I fancy mixing in a bit of steampunk.

The Rescue by Nicholas Sparks - I still have a few of his books to read in my collection and I have a craving for one since I watched the film of A Walk to Remember with my sister.

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins - I will probably read this and the other two library books I have out currently.

So that's the basic list of what I want to read but depending on my mood and how busy I am it could be more or less than what I plan.

Also in case you didn't see it yesterday - the 16th Jan was my first Blogaversary and to celebrate I'm running a contest where two people can win one of two books- Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead and Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick. Click HERE if you want to enter- it's INTERNATIONAL dontcha know?

So that's What I've been Reading, What are *you* reading this week?


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