30 November 2014

Showcase Sunday #19

Showcase Sunday is hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits and Tea and is a chance for everyone to show off what they've acquired during the week.

Fantastic haul this week! And behind the scenes we have a large box of books for presents. Books are the best gift and I think I've gone a bit OTT on how many I've bought already for other people.

THE HAUL


And what a great haul it is! That one all wrapped up pretty is Thornfield Hall, it's just too gorgeous to open just yet. And I didn't even realise that Rose Bride was out, so as I have Wolf Bride on my kindle, and a signed copy of Rebel Bride, I just splashed out on the paperbacks so I could have all three matching.


Today I'm powering through everything that's left on my Currently Reading list so I can get started on my Christmas Readathon tomorrow. Seriously, all I read in December is Christmas books! Want to join in? It's just for fun, but if enough people join I'll have a GC giveaway for participants :)

Also, coming up on the blog tomorrow is a giveaway for a signed copy of Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas and later in the week a signed copy of the prequel novella collection Assassin's Blade. How lovely am I?

29 November 2014

Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Maas

Crowned by Evil.
Bound by Duty.
Divided by Love.

Celaena Sardothien, royal assassin, is the King of Adarlan's deadliest weapon. She must win her freedom through his enemies' blood - but she cannot bear to kill for the crown. And every death Celaena fakes, every lie she tells, put those she loves at risk.

Torn between her two protectors - a captain and a prince - and battling a dark force far greater than the king, Celaena must decide what she will fight for: her liberty, her heart or the fate of a kingdom...


Source: Purchase

5 Words: Secrets, tragedy, death, lies, betrayal.

5 More Words: Love, regret, heartbreak, magic, surprises.

This series definitely gets better as it goes on. Read the first book, even if it's only so you can read this one and know what's happened before because Crown of Midnight is the complete opposite of the Second Book Curse. I even gave it ten words instead of five, a very rare occurrence.

In Crown of Midnight we see the kick-ass assassin that the first book promised really come to life. She rips through the pages, tearing them to shreds. She is cold, calculating. But that's not the sum total of all her parts. We see different sides of this dangerous assassin and even a surprise dose of romance, affection and soul-baring love.

The only reason this book didn't get a full 5 stars is because I'm still not head-over-heels for Celaena. But she sure is growing on me. I understand her far more than I did before. I'm starting to fall for her. I don't care that she's often gazing in the mirror. Heck, I stare in the mirror long enough myself (even if I'm not thinking about how pretty I am) and I care about my appearance. Isn't that just a sign of the girl, the barely-a-woman adolescent that Celaena is?

After that ending, I can't wait to get on to Heir of Fire.


28 November 2014

Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

Meet Celaena Sardothien.
Beautiful. Deadly.
Destined for greatness.

In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake: she got caught.

Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament—fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin’s heart be melted?


Source: Purchase

5 Words: Let me take a selfie.

So.

This book.

Well.

When I picked up this book I was expecting a kick-ass assassin. Someone who totally embodied girl-power and was dark and nasty and strong and smart.

But at the beginning of this, Celaena is a simpering, vain, arrogant and very silly little girl.

For all of her mutterings that she could take out everyone, kill everyone, maim everyone, there was some simpering in front of a mirror wondering how pretty she was and whether everyone was attracted to her or not.

I'm going to kill EVERYONE because I'm the best most kick-ass assassin in the world. But first, let me take a selfie.

That being said, I decided to stick it out with this book. It was hard going. Celaena is so freaking vain, she probably thought this book was about her. By the time I got half way I wanted to give up. But I'd gotten so far.

Just one more little push?

It was worth it.

Throne of Glass picks up so much towards the end. We finally get to see Celaena being that deadly world famous assassin she's always bragging about being. This book got very dark, very quickly within those last chapters, and I loved it.

But was it worth so much hard work with one of the most shallow characters I've ever read? Absolutely. I'm going to try the next one to see if Celaena will keep this wonderful dark persona that developed at the end.


25 November 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #21

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and is a chance for everyone to get to know fellow bloggers and share lists. I love lists. Every week is a different list.

This week is Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR.

In December all I'm going to read is Christmas themed books. It's something I've only done for the past couple of years, but I look forward to it pretty much from January and snap up any holiday books I see. It's so much FUN. But since winter is more like 3 months than 1, I'd better shove a few none-holiday ones up there.
  • Maybe This Christmas by Sarah Morgan
  • Christmas is Cancelled by Aurelia B Rowl
  • A Christmas to Remember by Jenny Hale
  • Mistletoe Mansion by Samantha Tonge
  • Baby It's Cold Outside by Kerry Barrett
  • Driving Home for Christmas by A L Michael
  • Winter Seige by Ariana Franklin
  • Forever His Darling by Sarah Randall
  • The Little Christmas Kitchen by Jenny Oliver
  • The Little Shop of Hopes and Dreams by Fiona Harper

What about you?

23 November 2014

Showcase Sunday #18

Showcase Sunday is hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits and Tea and is a chance for everyone to show off what they've acquired during the week.

It's been a while since I did a post, and since the last there have been far too many books to put on just one post. So I'm just going to do this week and then try to keep up in future!

THE HAUL

This week, I picked up the next book in the Wesley Peterson series by Kate Ellis (yes, I'm addicted!) and got To the Edge of Shadows by Joanne Graham through the post thanks to Legend Press.

Then, I hit Net Galley. Because it's almost December and all I read in December is holiday-themed books, I went a little over the top with my requests. But next month is definitely going to be fun!

    
      
    

I recently read Langdown Manor by Sue Reid but it wasn't really my cup of tea. I'm giving it away to the first UK blogger/reviewer/reader who asks. So if you want it just say.

Also, coming up this week will be my reviews of Sarah J Maas' Throne of Glass series along with more than one giveaway of signed copies. Keep your eyes peeled!

20 November 2014

Review: Pirates! by Celia Rees

Nancy Kington, daughter of a rich merchant, suddenly orphaned when her father dies, is sent to live on her family's plantation in Jamaica. Disgusted by the treatment of the slaves and her brother's willingness to marry her off, she and one of the slaves, Minerva, run away and join a band of pirates.

For both girls the pirate life is their only chance for freedom in a society where both are treated like property, rather than individuals. Together they go in search of adventure, love, and a new life that breaks all restrictions of gender, race, and position. 

Told through Nancy's writings, their adventures will appeal to readers across the spectrum and around the world.


Source: Purchase | Library

5 Words: Swashbuckling adventure. Love, danger, life.

I always find it so difficult to review my favourite books. I just can't put my feelings into words. It's particularly hard when I have read that book so many times over the past decade that the pages are falling out and the cover's peeling off, because by now my love for the book has no reason, it just is.

Pirates! is such an adventure. It has so many twists and turns and shocks and some really sweet and poignant moments. It's a book that sets my heart racing, it's a book that has such a vivid world that I am lost to real life when I read it. It's dramatic and thought-provoking.

Every time I read this book, I get more out of it than before. It's one of those books that I itch to read at least once a year and turn to when life's just getting too much. It's a safety blanket make of pure escapism.

This book is wonderfully written, in a quirky style. I love the journey that Nancy takes, both physically and as a person.

It's a book I can see clear as day when I close my eyes. It would make an amazing film or mini-series.

Now that I'm kind of finished gushing (for now) I urge you to get out and grab a copy of this book and get stuck in.

19 November 2014

Wishlist Wednesday #6

Wishlist Wednesday is hosted by Pen To Paper and is a chance to share the book you're currently lusting after. It's weekly because we're bookworms and we love to read. A lot. So sometimes our MOST WANTED is quickly read and replaced.

I'll also be posting a non-book wishlist item. But it will probably be book-related because let's be honest, I can't help myself. Books are my life.

THE BOOK

When Prudence Alessandra Maccon Akeldama (Rue to her friends) is given an unexpected dirigible, she does what any sensible female would under similar circumstances - names it the Spotted Crumpet and floats to India in pursuit of the perfect cup of tea.

But India has more than just tea on offer. Rue stumbles upon a plot involving local dissidents, a kidnapped brigadier's wife, and some awfully familiar Scottish werewolves.

Faced with a dire crisis and an embarrassing lack of bloomers, what else is a young lady of good breeding to do but turn metanatural and find out everyone's secrets, even thousand-year-old fuzzy ones?

Prudence by Gail Carriger

I don't think this needs any introduction, or indeed any reason.

But in case you've never been introduced to Gail Carriger's FABULOUS steampunk world, here are five reasons to pick up any of her books.
  1. Tea
  2. Strong female characters
  3. Strong male characters
  4. The details are fabulously researched
  5. It's crazy imaginative
And shall I mention again the world? Amazing.

THE NOT A BOOK

Knock Knock Bookmarks

Shall I let you know a secret? I already have the green ones. These Knock Knock bookmarks are a reviewer's best friend.

I'm forever stopping and starting books and away from goodreads, so I use these to write down any thoughts that will come in handy when it comes to reviewing. Sometimes it's as little as one word (Argh!) and sometimes it's a few lines, but they make it much easier to review physical books.

I also use them to make nots of any quotes I particularly like, instead of using my old method of underlining them with a pencil.

18 November 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #20

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and is a chance for everyone to get to know fellow bloggers and share lists. I love lists. Every week is a different list.

This week is Top Ten Sequels I Can't Wait To Get.

You know when you start a book and you love it then you realise it's part of a series? How awesome. Here's my top ten next-in-series books I can't wait for, in no particular order.

What book can you just not wait for?

17 November 2014

Review: Goddess by Laura Powell

Strikes. Starvation. Riots.

Britain is at breaking-point and Aura is blind to it all. The Cult of Artemis is the only home she’s ever known.

Enclosed in its luxury lifestyle, the unrest gripping the country seems to belong to a distant world. Her dream is to serve the Goddess and taking a vow of chastity and obedience seems a small price to pay.

But days before Aura is due to be initiated as a Priestess, she meets Aiden, the rebellious son of a cult insider, whose radical ideas and unsettling charm force Aura to question everything – and everyone – she knows.


Source: NetGalley Request

5 Words: Cult, politics, revolution, mythology, prophecy.

When I started this book, it was with the thought "this is a pretty cover" running through my head. Because yet again I didn't read the blurb. But I think if I'd read the blurb I wouldn't have gone on to read the book, because it just doesn't sound like my cup of tea.

This alternate universe mixes mythology and magic with the political unrest and distrust that is evident today. And it's quite good.

This is quite a fast paced book for all that it sometimes feels like nothing is happening. I was never bored while I read it, and it kept me turning the pages. Because of the pace, it's a relatively quick read.

I liked Aura, and how she changed and the story progressed. She's almost unrecognisable from the quite girl you meet in the first pages, by the time you get to the end she's really come out of her shell. I also liked the complexities of the cult, and the corruption spreading throughout.

04 November 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #19 + GIVEAWAY

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and is a chance for everyone to get to know fellow bloggers and share lists. I love lists. Every week is a different list.

This week is Top Ten Books I Want To Reread.

There are some books that are just so darn awesome you have to reread them again and again. Then you get the amazing series that you have to reread. And these books are in order, starting with my number one reread.
  1. I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith
  2. Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling
  3. Black Magician Trilogy by Trudi Canavan
  4. The Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger
  5. Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J Maas
  6. Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella
  7. Lucas by Kevin Brooks
  8. Junk by Melvin Burgess
  9. Shadows and Strongholds by Elizabeth Chadwick
  10. Sundowners by Leslie Lokko

GIVEAWAY


03 November 2014

Review: Since You've Been Gone by Mary Jennifer Payne

Is it possible to outrun your past? Fifteen-year-old Edie Fraser and her mother, Sydney, have been trying to do just that for five years. Now, things have gone from bad to worse. Not only has Edie had to move to another new school she's in a different country. 

Sydney promises her that this is their chance at a fresh start, and Edie does her best to adjust to life in London, England, despite being targeted by the school bully. But when Sydney goes out to work the night shift and doesn't come home, Edie is terrified that the past has finally caught up with them. 

Alone in a strange country, Edie is afraid to call the police for fear that she ll be sent back to her abusive father. Determined to find her mother, but with no idea where to start, she must now face the most difficult decision of her life.


Source: NetGalley Request

5 Words: family, friendship, bravery, strength, loyalty.

This is a very quick read with a pretty fast pace. It's gripping enough to keep you reading, and deep enough to make you stop and think.

Edie is a character that I felt very sorry for but who I also thought was incredibly strong. It was definitely a little weird.

This story hooked me. It was pretty heavy reading for something so short and I feel that a lot of the issues and the other characters could have been explored more. If only there were more pages!

With some more pages I think this would have gotten a higher rating. But this book started fast, continued racing and then BAM it was finished. It was all over so quickly.