Saturday, 29 September 2012

Update: Why the blog has been quiet!

Hi everyone! Just wanted to post a little update for you.

Last week I lost my Internet after our router broke which meant I wasn't able to post a few of my reviews or my regular round up. The good news is the new router arrived this morning - hurrah! (I've been going a bit mad living off mobile web...)

What I was going to mention in the round up post that never got posted is that the blog will be a little quieter than usual for the next few weeks as I'm currently recovering from some routine keyhole surgery. My health comes first! I'm also just not able to read as much as I usually do at the moment.

Please stay tuned to the blog as I hope to start posting regularly again really soon! I have a review of Linger by Maggie Stiefvater to come as well as a load of books that have arrived on my shelves to squee over! I've had so many ideas for opinion posts, too.

Now like the rest of the world, I'm going back to my copy of The Casual Vacancy!

Sarah x

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Trailers Galore!

I've been seeing new book trailers here there and everywhere recently, so I've assembled a few of them into one handy post (as well as one sneaky film trailer!). Enjoy!

Neptune's Tears by Susan Waggoner
(out now - Piccadilly Press)

Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter
(published 5th October - Mira Ink)

What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang
 (published 27th September - HarperCollins Children's Books)

And finally this trailer was just released for the film adaptation of Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. I'm yet to read the book but it's high up on my to-read list, and after this I'm even more excited to read it!

Beautiful Creatures Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
(book out now -Puffin/film released 2013)

Friday, 21 September 2012

Friday Finds - 21st September

FRIDAY FINDS is hosted over at Should Be Reading and showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).
I've been scouting out some contemporary YA this week so here are my finds!

The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson
Skin Deep by Laura Jarratt
The DUFF by Kodi Keplinger
My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

Thursday, 20 September 2012

My Bookshelves

So I mentioned in my round up this week that I was getting new bookshelves, and so I've decided to dedicate a whole blog post to them! Here's a little tour.

New bookshelves - hurrah!

I'm still rejigging things a bit because I'd like some kind of order to them eventually, but right now the focus is on them not being piled up everywhere... As I've mentioned a lot, most of the books I review for my blog come from the library. It's a good think I have to return them because I managed to fill this bookcase pretty quickly (oops!). I've dedicated my top shelf to YA <3

I've reviewed most of these!

I'm thinking I'm going to have to start investing in more Flipbacks because a) I love them and b) they're certainly a lot easier to store!

My much loved Flipbacks

I'm a huge Jodi Picoult fan as this shelf somewhat demonstrates...

My new Jodi Picoult section!

These are my wall shelves, which look a lot neater now I've offloaded some of the books to my new shelf. Of course organising my books is an awful lot harder when one entire bookshelf of mine is dedicated to Harry Potter, but I wouldn't have it any other way <3

The bottom shelf here is my Potter shelf, which includes French copies of all 7 books

Do you have the same trouble storing your books?

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Teaser Tuesdays - 18th September

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"I looked away quickly as he turned back around, but I knew he had seen me watching. I wanted to scratch the cocky lift of his eyebrows from his face."

- page 99, Linger (Wolves of Mercy Falls, #2) by Maggie Stiefvater

Monday, 17 September 2012

Review: How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

Author: Meg Rosoff. Website|Twitter
Published: 30 June 2005 (Puffin)
Pages: 224
Amazon: paperback|Kindle
Waterstone's: paperback|e-book
Book Depository: paperback

Source: Borrowed e-book from library

Plot Summary:
To get away from her pregnant stepmother in New York City, fifteen-year-old Daisy goes to England to stay with her aunt and cousins, with whom she instantly bonds, but soon war breaks out and rips apart the family while devastating the land.

My Review:
I discovered this book purely by chance whilst browsing my library's e-book catalogue. It sounded like my kind of book so I added it to my to-read list. Whilst a lot of people have shelved this book as a dystopian/post-apocalyptic book on Goodreads, it's really more of a modern day wartime story. Daisy has landed in England to stay with her cousins as the world is on the brink of war.

The book is told from Daisy's point of view and she's a fascinating, beautifully written character with a lot of depth. She's never known her mother and has had to flee her stepmother, and found herself in the midst of war in a foreign country. As well as all that, she struggles with an eating disorder. I liked how that issue was dealt with. You get to see inside her head and it's continually referenced throughout the book, but it doesn't dwell on it too much. I felt it was a very accurate portrayal as well.

The writing style itself is quite quirky. It's written as if Daisy is telling her story to somebody and as such has a spoken quality to it, including long sentences that sometimes felt quite ramble-y (for want of a better word!). And there's no speech marks as well, but I still found the text easy enough to follow. The writing style certainly added to the reading experience.

There's a romantic storyline weaved into the main plot but I won't go into too many details about. I think it was really a sensitive reflection of how people come together in tragic situations, although I don't know if everyone would be comfortable with the relationship. It did make me slightly uncomfortable at times.

I really liked the fact that unlike the wealth of post-apocalyptic novels I've read, this one takes place when the war is actually happening. It was interesting to see a wartime Britain set in the present day where suddenly the absence of electricity has a massive impact and because phone lines and internet connections are down, families, like Daisy's, are struggling to stay in touch. The book really got across the harsh realities of war as well as the devastating effects it has on people and the aftermath of all that death and destruction. There's some pretty brutal scenes of violence and emotional trauma but it was all done really well.

The only flaw I really had with this book was that it was so short! The characters still go through of a hell of a lot for such a short book, and for the first half I liked the pacing (it tailed off a bit at the end for me) but I felt like there was so much more potential in those characters that I could happily have spent another 100 pages with them.

How I Live Now is a wonderful tale of that fight for survival and really gets across the bleakness and brutality of living through war. I will definitely be checking out more by this author and I'd really recommend this book.

Rating: 4*
What to read next: What I Was by Meg Rosoff
Books like this: Blood Red Road by Moira Young

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Weekly Book Round Up - 16th September

Weekly Book Round Up!
10th - 16th September
Another week's reading and blogging to document! This week I've also been trying to sort out that well known book-lovers' dilemma of finding space to store my many books. So at the moment this pile of books is sitting outside of my bedroom:

Luckily I've managed to nab a bookcase of my parents which my dad is very kindly painting for me at this very moment! Then I'll be sacrificing my bedside table to make space for the bookcase. What I do when that one fills up I have no idea ;) it makes me glad I manage to get so many of my books from the library because at least I don't have to worry about storing them!
Books finished: Cinder by Marissa Meyer, Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick and How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff (review coming soon!)
Library books: Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick
What I'm reading next: Either Linger by Maggie Stiefvater or Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick. Haven't quite decided yet!

What have you been reading this week?

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Review: Crescendo (Hush, Hush #2) by Becca Fitzpatrick

Spoiler warning! This book is the second in the Hush, Hush series. If you haven't read Hush, Hush then look away now! Or read my review of Hush, Hush right here.
Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick

Author: Becca Fitzpatrick. Website|Twitter
Published: 28 April 2011 (Simon & Schuster Children's Books)
Pages: 432
Amazon: paperback|Kindle
Waterstone's: paperback
Book Depository: paperback

Source: Borrowed from library

Plot Summary (from Waterstone's):
Nora should know better than to think her life can return to normal after falling in love with a fallen angel. And Nora's life isn't normal - her dad was murdered, and the facts about his death just don't add up. Now Nora's own life is in imminent danger. Are she and Patch strong enough for the battle ahead?

My Review:
I really enjoyed Hush, Hush so I was excited to pick this book up! It's not all roses for Nora and Patch as their relationship faces new obstacles and Patch is acting even more mysterious. Throw in a guy from Nora's past and more problems with Marcie Millar and Nora's got a lot on her plate.

What was great about this book was that it delved a little deeper into Nora's family. There's more of a focus on her dad's death and even her mum gets a bit more notice. I love all the description and tension throughout the book. I think the stand out character for me, though, is Vee. She just adds that fantastic wit and humour throughout and some of the stuff she comes out with is brilliant. Every book should have a Vee!

When it comes to the relationship between Nora and Patch there's a lot of bickering and jealousy, which wasn't quite what I was hoping for. Patch had won me over as a bad boy in the first book but I wasn't sure he had he same allure this time round. I think the thing with this series is that so much of the book hangs on Patch being mysterious to make the story work. You spend the whole time as a reader wanting to know what he's really thinking and really up to but sometimes I can't help but feel sorry for Nora. I just wish she had more to be happy about! There's definitely a certain pull between them though that made me still care about what happens. I think the author gets that tension between them pretty spot on.

In this book we also get to meet Scott, a guy Nora knew as a child. He adds a new element of mystery to the book as Nora's sure there's more to him than he's let on. With so many shady characters it's so hard to work out who's just being secretive and who's genuinely up to no good. It meant I was completely in the dark by the end which I loved, but sometimes I was struggling to keep up!

This being the second in a series, it really builds up the world that Fitzpatrick has created which is so detailed and intricate. I totally love her writing. It's so addictive! And as with Hush, Hush, the ending to this book was what really made it. There was plenty of drama, action and revelations which had me on tenterhooks!

Rating: 4*
What to read next: Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick, book 3 in the Hush, Hush series
Books like this: Fallen by Lauren Kate

Friday, 14 September 2012

Friday Finds - 14th September

FRIDAY FINDS is hosted over at Should Be Reading and showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

Lots of books this week so I'll cut the waffle! These were either found through Goodreads, books i'd read previously or my local library. Here are my finds:

The Recruit (Cherub, #1)Obsidian (Lux, #1)Perfect Chemistry (Perfect Chemistry, #1)The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle, #1)Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles, #2)I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You (Gallagher Girls, #1)StarcrossedThe Scorpio Races

The Recruit by Robert Muchamore
Obsidian by Jennifer L. Aremntrout
Perfect Chemistry by Simole Elkeles
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
I'd Tell You I Love You but then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter
Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Opinion: What makes a good review?

As well as reviewing books myself, I am also a huge reader of other book reviews. For me, I like to know a bit about a bit before picking it up. This is particularly the case with books I know nothing about or authors I haven't read before. I love reading other book blogs and spend far too much of my life on Goodreads, so for this blog post, I've decided to share my opinion on what makes a good book review.

These points are purely my thoughts, based on what I like including in my own reviews and what I don't like reading in others. I'd love to hear your contributions in the comments!

approvals,businesses,businessmen,cropped images,cropped pictures,evaluations,gestures,hand gestures,hands,PNG,positives,ratings,thumbs,thumbs up,transparent background,yes
The Dos

Plot summary: I always include a Goodreads or bookseller description in my reviews, and I'll often summarise the plot in my own words in my opening paragraph. When reading reviews I will probably decide a lot from the plot. Does it sound like my kind of book?

Number of pages: I totally judge a book by its length. Ideally, I like books to be 300-400 pages because I'm not always a quick reader, and so that length of book I can read in a reasonable amount of time. If I've just read a long book I'll probably be looking for something shorter/lighter to follow it. In the book details of my reviews I always state the amount of pages.

Themes: Is the book dealing with dark subjects? Or is it a light-hearted tale that will make me laugh? I like to mix up my reading so knowing the overall themes in a book before picking up often dictates my reading order. This applies to genre as well. Reading too much of one genre can be enough to put you off for a while!

Characters: Are the characters likable? Are they horrible? Do they feel realistic? All things I aim to include in my reviews! The main character in particular can be make or break in a book.

Writing style: Is the book effortless to read or does it sometimes feel like a real effort to battle through clunky writing? Does the author have a unique style? Do they do a certain thing brilliantly, or have some characteristics of their writing that really bug? I'm a writer so I know it can be quite harsh to criticise somebody's writing sometimes, but if getting to the details of the plot is being hampered by the writing then it can affect my enjoyment of a book.

Point of view: First person or third person? Did it work? Did you wish it was told from somebody else's point of view? I mention this a lot in my reviews. I tend to like multi-POV stories told in the first person so if that's what's aided my enjoyment of the book then I'll be sure to mention it.

Highs and lows: This bit is pretty self-explanatory really! In my reviews I always try and balance which bits I did like with which bits I didn't, and try my best to explain why. I know not everyone will agree with personal favourite moments or low points so I try and make sure these bits are stated well as being my personal opinion.

Pacing: Did the book leave me bored? Was I left waiting ages and ages to find out one detail? Was it fast paced? Did I struggle to put it down? This is good to mention to help get a feel for a book, especially if the book is over 400 pages where pacing is even more vital.

Climax: Whilst I'll never give the way the ending to a book, I always like to mention whether I thought it did the book justice? Did I feel disappointed by the end or was I on the edge of my seat? If the book has a sequel, did the ending make me want to go out and get my hands on it as soon as possible?

The Don'ts

businesses,businessmen,cropped images,cropped pictures,disapprovals,gestures,hand gestures,hands,negatives,negatory,no,PNG,thumbs,thumbs down,transparent backgroundSpoilers: I try my best to keep my reviews spoiler-free. The only exception to this is where a book is part of a series, and so by summing up the plot you could effectively spoil somebody who hasn't read the preceding book. In that case, I always put a big spoiler warning at the top of the review. I think a lot of us will have been spoiled in book reviews. My worst one recently was a Goodreads review for a book I was adding to my shelves. The first line of one review stated "even though [insert name] died, this book was still good". It broke my heart a little. Just remember that any kind of information can be considered a spoiler, from which characters get together, to who dies, to what exactly happens during the book and most definitely what happens at the end. If you want to write spoiler-ish reviews then label it or hide the spoilers under tags or a page break. Win-win!

Not justifying your rating: This was the thing that gave me the idea to write this blog post. I've been reading a lot of reviews where the star rating felt completely out of sync with the written review. For example, if you gave a book 3/5 stars but then mentioned absolutely no negative points about the book in the written review, how do I gauge your true feelings about the book? Obviously it wasn't perfect, or else it would have been given 5/5. Reading what people didn't like about a book doesn't put me off. If you mention what bothered you and why then I can draw my own conclusions from it. For example, if you hated the swearing, it may be something I know wouldn't bother me. Does that make sense? I hope so! The same goes for 5* reviews that are littered with comments about not liking certain parts or bits being disappointing. That doesn't sound like a 5* review to me. If I feel a book has flaws, I tend to mark it down immediately. Sometimes being constricted to ratings out of 5 can be tricky, though. If I feel a book was more of a 4.5 than a 5, I might still give it a 5 on Goodreads, say. But I'll be sure to mention that somewhere in the review.

Poor spelling and grammar: I'll admit to being a bit of a grammar freak in all aspects of life. Apostrophes used incorrectly and using the wrong form of your/you're or there/their/they're is going to bug me, I won't lie. I'm not saying all book reviews should be written like essays because that would be ridculous (and boring). And I love a bit of fangirling/squeeing/freaking out in a review! But if a review is littered with spelling and grammar mistakes (I can forgive the occasional typo because I'm totally guilty of that myself!) then I start to judge (sorry!).

Hopefully this gives you a little more insight to how I write my reviews, as well as giving you my opinion on what I like to read.

What things are essential to you in a book review? Let me know!

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Author: Marissa Meyer. Website|Twitter
Published: 5 January 2012 (Puffin)
Pages: 400
Amazon: paperback|Kindle
Foyles: paperback
Google Play: e-book
Book Depository: paperback

Source: Borrowed from library.

Plot Summary (from Amazon):
A forbidden romance.
A deadly plague.
Earth's fate hinges on one girl . . .
CINDER, a gifted mechanic in New Beijing, is also a cyborg. She's reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister's sudden illness. But when her life becomes entwined with the handsome Prince Kai's, she finds herself at the centre of a violent struggle between the desires of an evil queen - and a dangerous temptation.
Cinder is caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal. Now she must uncover secrets about her mysterious past in order to protect Earth's future.

My Review:
I was completely intrigued by this book and wanted to read it purely to satisfy my curiosity. Cinder is a modern re-telling of the Cinderella story, only set in a futuristic world where Cinder is a cyborg. I'm all for a modern twist on fairy tales and this sounded like a pretty interesting twist!

It took me a little while to get into this book. At first all the talk of cyborgs and androids left me thinking "really?!" and I wasn't totally convinced it was going to work. But as I read on, I settled into the book and started to get used to the world it's set in. It felt a lot like some of the post-apocalyptic/dystopian books I read so I sort of got myself into that frame of mind whilst reading and it seemed to help.

The fairy tale twist is interesting. There's Cinder herself, stepsisters, a prince, a ball (and even an orange carriage of sorts) so all the building blocks of the Cinderella story were there. There's an awful lot more to the book than that, though, and once I started to see the story as a standalone novel with its own plot I found myself able to enjoy it more. I almost wished it hadn't been linked to Cinderella in places so it could focus on the story Meyer has dreamt up, but it's still really fun to spot all the little fairy tale references!

I really enjoyed the plot, and felt that it had a little bit of everything to keep me satisfied: a potential love story, a deadly disease threatening the planet as well as the possibilty of war and conflict with a rival society. It definitely had the feeling that the story was really building to something, and I'm really glad it's the first in a series (Cinder is the first of the Lunar Chronicles) because I really want to read more of this world.

The story flits between several characters point of view throughout the book, but I enjoyed Cinder's POV the most. Her story had so many levels to it and she was a really fascinating character. I liked her relationship with stepsister Peony as well as with her robot buddy Iko. The love story element of the book didn't feel too overwhelming, and I think it was balanced well with everything else that was going on.

I was really enjoying this book by the end already, but then the ending absolutely blew me away! I was on the edge of my seat and totally didn't see the end coming. It really raised my opinion of the book as a whole.

I'd definitely recommend this book. It's worth persevering with, because any doubts about it I had at the beginning were obliterated by the end. It's a very, very high 4*.

Rating: 4*
What to read next: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer, book 2 in the Luna Chronicles series.
Books like this: Glitch by Heather Anastasiu

Related links:
Win a copy of Scarlet on Goodreads right here! (Competition open internationally - closes 30th Sept)

Be sure to check out some great extras on Marissa's website, too! Click here.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Teaser Tuesdays - 11th September

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1)  '"Are you alive?" Kai said, pushing her mussed hair back from her forehead. His fingers felt hot and clammy against her skin before she realized that she was the one who was feverish.'

Monday, 10 September 2012

Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness and Siobhan Dowd

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness and Siobhan Dowd

Author: Patrick Ness. Website|Twitter. Siobhan Dowd. Website
Published: 2 February 2012 (Walker Books)
Pages: 216
Amazon: paperback|Kindle|audio
Waterstone's: paperback|e-book
Book Depository: paperback

Source: Borrowed from library.

Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting — he’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments.

The monster in his backyard is different. It’s ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth.

My Review:
I read The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness a little while ago and so I was excited to read something else by him. The story behind this book is quite interesting, as the original idea came from Siobhan Dowd, who sadly never got a chance to write the book before losing her fight against cancer. Patrick Ness has then taken her idea and crafted it into his own take on the story.

A Monster Calls tells the story of Conor, who is repeatedly visited by a monster at 12.07 who insists on telling him stories. Alongside his visits from the monster he must deal with his ill mother, absent father and school bullies.

It's really quite hard to sum up this book because everything about it is so magnificent. The concept is absolutely brilliant, as Conor's visits from the monster echo what is happening around him and reflect the emotions he's feeling at the time. The stories the monster tells Conor a fairy tale/fable quality to them which gave a sort of magical twist to the book. Conor doesn't always like them and starts to seek out the hidden meaning in each one, as he battles his own demons.

Conor's mother is ill, and throughout the book we see how this has affected his life. He doesn't seem himself as the victim, and the sort of attention and special privileges his mother's illness has given him are baffling to Conor. There's some really poignant moments between him and his mum, as well as the other family members around him. The book really focuses on family and how people cope in difficult situations.

The writing itself was just beautiful, and the magical, imaginative quality the story has was completely captivating. The story is accompanied by a stunning range of illustrations that really help bring the book to life. The length and layout of the book would make it accessible to younger readers, as well, who would definitely get something out of reading this story. It deals with the topics of death and grief in a truly unique way. The messages are threaded throughout what it an entertaining story, with enough wit to lighten the tone just when it's needed.

I think it's fair to say I was blown away by this book. It's definitely worth the praise and awards it has received so far. A beautiful story of life and death, and how to battle those fears inside all of us.

Rating: 5*
What to read next: Solace of the Road by Siobhan Dowd
Books like this: Silenced by Simon Packham

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Weekly Book Round Up! - 9th September

Weekly Book Round Up!
3rd - 9th September

Hi everyone! It's time to round up my book antics for this week. I have major love for my library at the moment for managing to get my hands on some really amazing titles. I put a hold on Cinder and only had to wait a few days before it turned up, waiting for me. As well as that, I've also been reading on the Kobo again this week after a bit of a break from e-books. Here are the books I've been checking out.

Currently reading: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Books finished: The Tower by Jade Varden, A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (review coming soon!), Blue Moon by Alyson Noel

Bought: Linger and Forever by Maggie Stiefvater. Grabbed these today on 4 for £5 in The Works (I split the cost with a friend and we got 2 books each for £2.50). Not bad! I actually had Linger on hold from the library but I already own Shiver (another Works bargain) so I couldn't pass up the opportunity to own the set, could I?!

Library books: Cinder by Marissa Meyer, A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness and Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick. I'll be starting Crescendo next. I loved Hush, Hush so can't wait to dive into that one!

What have you been reading this week?


Saturday, 8 September 2012

Review: The Tower by Jade Varden

Spoiler warning! This is the 2nd book in the Deck of Lies series. If you have yet to read Justice then look away now, or read my Justice review right here!

The Tower by Jade Varden

Author: Jade Varden.Website, Twitter
Published: 28 May 2012 (CreateSpace)
Pages: 160
Amazon: paperback|Kindle
Smashwords: e-book
Barnes and Noble: Nook

Source: Free download from Smashwords (during sale)

Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
Death brings some families closer, but it’s ripped mine apart. I wanted to convince the police that they had the wrong suspect...but I never expected them to start suspecting me. Now, I have no choice but to keep searching for the truth, even if all my relationships fall to pieces around me.

Someone is trying to make me look guilty. I never thought my mission to prove my own innocence would lead me to more family secrets. I thought I had already discovered the truth about myself. But every answer raises more questions, and everything I think I know is about to change...again.

I have to find the truth, no matter how much it hurts -- before I get charged with murder.

My Review:
I really enjoyed Justice and I've been looking forward to reading The Tower for a while now. Picking up after the events of the previous book, Rain must try and get to the bottom of Laurel's murder and try and clear River's name.

As with the first book, I really loved the mystery element of the story. I really like crime fiction and having the police investigation and Rain's ongoing confusion and suspicion throughout the story made for a gripping, tense read in places. I really like Jade Varden's writing style. It's just so seamless and creates a great atmosphere.

I felt for Rain as she suddenly finds herself in the spotlight. Her determination to find out just what happened to Laurel kept me rooting for her. I really like the high school drama and atmosphere of Sloane Academy and I think my favourite scenes are probably those that take place at the school. Rain's friendship with Fallon was something I really liked in this book as well.

The first couple of chapters of the book go over what happened in Justice as a kind of recap. As Rain's love interests were recapped it reminded me that I really didn't like the number of romantic links she has. She's with boyfriend Owen, trying to clear River's name and at the same time trying to rebuild a relationship with Sawyer. It was just too much, and I became very confused as to where Rain's loyalties actually lie. I don't like Owen, and I was really hoping to hear more about River in this book but his character made very little appearance which was disappointing.

Just when I was really getting into the murder investigation, the book started to take some other twists. At first I loved the extra drama and all the things the author had managed to weave into the story. But after a while it just got too hard to keep track of. The book delves more into Rain's past and by the end I was not only lost as to who was who, but annoyed that yet more elements of Rain's past had been thrown into doubt. It just felt like one or two steps too far. There were a lot of names and connections to process and seeing as I didn't really like the twist in the first place, it was hard to remember and take in everything towards the end.

I feel like this series has a lot of potential. I like the writing, and the mystery and drama has me hooked for the most part. I just think it's gotten a little too out there. I'll probably still check out the third book because I really want to know what happens after the end of this one. A little disappointing, sadly.

Rating: 3*
What to read next: Death by Jade Varden, book 3 in the Deck of Lies series.
Books like this: Paper Towns by John Green

Friday, 7 September 2012

Friday Finds - 7th September

FRIDAY FINDS is hosted over at Should Be Reading and showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

My finds for this week:

In Your DreamsIn Your Dreams by Amy Martin. Amy got in touch with me this week to ask if I'd review this book so I looked it up and it sounds great! Can't wait to give it a read.

Defiance (Defiance, #1)Defiance by C.J. Redwine. I've seen this on a lot of blogs lately. Seems like this book of the moment!

Across the Universe (Across the Universe, #1)Across the Universe by Beth Revis. Came across this on Goodreads.

 Take a Bow
Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg. Another Goodreads find!

Ruth de LuneRuth De Lune by Andy Davidson. I was given a code by the author to get a free copy of this and so I've downloaded it. Looking forward to checking it out.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Review: Blue Moon (Immortals #2) by Alyson Noel

Spoiler warning! This book is the 2nd in the Immortals series. If you haven't read Evermore then look away now, as there will be spoilers. You can read my review of Evermore, book one in the Immortals series, right here!

Blue Moon by Alyson Noel

Author: Alyson Noel. Website, Twitter
Published: 5 March 2010 (Macmillan Children's Books)
Pages: 384
Amazon: paperback|Kindle
Waterstone's: paperback|e-book
Book Depository: paperback

Source: Borrowed from library.

Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
Just as Ever is learning everything she can about her new abilities as an immortal, initiated into the dark, seductive world by her beloved Damen, something terrible is happening to him. As Ever's powers are increasing, Damen's begin to fade after he is stricken by a mysterious illness that threatens his memory, his identity, his life.

My Review:
I really liked Evermore so I've been wanting to check out this book for a while. Picking up where Evermore left off, we see Ever and Damen as they settle into their relationship. Things don't stay happy for long when Damen starts acting weird, and the new guy at school Roman is acting suspiciously.

I like it when a sequel starts off recapping what happens in the previous book because I have a memory like a sieve! It can sometimes be a little off putting if you feel the author is going over everything, but in this case I found it really handy to be caught up on what had gone on in Evermore. I liked how the book started off with Damen and Ever exploring their new relationship and Ever discovering her new found abilities. Just when you think everything is going swimmingly, though, a spanner gets thrown in the works and suddenly Damen is acting totally weird. I loved that twist! Cue Ever trying to find out what's really happening whilst feeling completely heartbroken.

A lot of the story revolves around the mysterious new guy Roman. He's totally creepy and Ever's suspicions about him made for a great mystery as she strives to find out just what he's up to. I loved having that villain role filled by a fresh, new character to the series. There were other new additions as well, with Romy and Rayne, who Ever meets in Summerland playing a key role.

As well as new characters, there's plenty of attention on some of the ones we met in Evermore. I particularly liked getting more of Damen's history and seeing more of Ava, who becomes a guide to Ever even more in Blue Moon.

I loved the fact that Summerland was featured a lot more in this book and in greater depth. It made the whole book feel a lot more magical and some of the settings were beautiful and imaginative.

As with the first book, I really like Noel's writing style for the most part. There's one thing that really puts me off, though, and I think I even mentioned this in my Evermore review. The use of the phrase "pressed my lips together" just jumps out at me every time. It's completely overused to the point of becoming annoying. Perhaps a bit picky of me but it was starting to ruin my enjoyment of the book! I had a few issues in places where I had to go back and re-read things just to make sure I'd understood, and some things happened quite quickly within the story.

There were some big twists towards the end which totally took me by surprise! The ending felt very Mortal Instruments-esque  but I love that series so it'll be interesting to see how that carries on into the next book and how the series compare. Blue Moon has definitely made me want to invest more in this series, and was a book I really enjoyed.

Rating: 4*
What to read next: Shadowland by Alyson Noel, the third book in the Immortals series
Books like this: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Review: Blood Red Road by Moira Young

Blood Red Road by Moira Young

Author: Moira Young. Website, Twitter
Published: 2 June 2011 (Marion Lloyd Books)
Pages: 492
Amazon: paperback|Kindle
Waterstone's: paperback|e-book
Book Depository: paperback

Source: Borrowed from library

Plot Summary:
In a lawless future land, where life is cheap and survival is hard, Saba has been brought up in isolated Silverlake. She never sees the dangers of the destructive society outside. When her twin brother is snatched by mysterious black-robed riders, she sets outon an epic quest to rescue him.

My Review:
I first heard of this book a while ago when it was being tipped as the next big thing after The Hunger Games. This book follows Saba who sets out to rescue her twin brother Lugh who has been captured.

Starting this book, the first thing you notice is the style it's written in. It's very similar to The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness in that words are spelt the way the characters speak and how the characters would spell them. It makes for some strange spellings and odd words, but it's a very effective tool at really getting inside the main character's (in this case Saba) head and hearing their voice. Once you get used to it, though, it's one of the things I came to love about the writing.

The story is set in a barren, post-apocalyptic world where dust storms are frequent, humans of the past are referred to as Wreckers, and only odd bits of human technology remains. Most of the main characters are illierate (hense the odd spelling and way of speaking) and Saba and her family live in almost total isolation. It creates a great atmosphere and a wonderful setting for a gripping plot.

I really liked the characters. Saba is really fierce and gobby and prepared to put up a fight. She's completely determined to track down her brother which makes her quest to find him all the more poignant. I really enjoyed the strained relationship between her and her younger sister Emmi, as well as her interactions with the other characters throughout the story. During her mission to find her brother she meets Jack, who completely confuses her. She's never met anyone like him before and I really enjoyed the development of their relationship.

It quickly becomes apparent that as well as Saba's mission to save her brother, there is something much bigger going on in the world she lives in. People are being controlled, captured and killed. It makes for a pretty brutal story in parts. I think the closest comparison to The Hunger Games I felt was the scenes where children are attacking children. It's definitely a gritty, harsh world that this book takes place in. There's plenty of villainous characters that stir up strong emotions both for the characters and the reader.

Overall I was pretty impressed by this book. The characters, plot and unique writing style all come together to create an intense read that I couldn't put down. I sometimes struggled with bits of the story where I would get confused, which maybe wasn't helped by the lack of speech marks. I would have to go back and re-read certain sections to check just what was speech. I wasn't too sure about the ending, but there's a book that comes after this and I can see the potential for the next book. There were a few issues that were only just touched upon that I'm really hoping take centre stage in the following book. Despite all that, I'd definitely recommend this as a must-read.

Rating: 4*
What to read next: Rebel Heart by Moira Young, book 2 in the Dustlands trilogy
Books like this: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, The Hunger Games by Patrick Ness

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Teaser Tuesdays - 4th September

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Blue Moon (The Immortals, #2)"The moment I turn toward the door it opens before me. And since it's not one of those automatic doors like the kind they have at supermarkets, I'm guessing it means I'm worthy of entering."

-page 181, Blue Moon by Alyson Noel

Monday, 3 September 2012

August's Book of the Month!

At the end of each month I pick one stand out book (that I've read in that month, not necessarily released that month) that did enough to earn a 5* review and shower it with even more praise!

And August's book of the month is...

Pushing the Limits

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry!

This was a book I was really excited about. A love story that went so much deeper, tackled some huge issues and created the ultimate chemistry between Echo and Noah. The characters remained with me long after I'd finished the book and they felt so real. I loved the fact the chapters alternated between Echo and Noah's perspective, giving you a chance to see so much of both of them. And Noah became one of my all time favourite characters! Read my full review here.

Runners up:
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Legend by Marie Lu

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Weekly Book Round Up! - 2nd September

Weekly Book Round Up!

27th August - 2nd September

Well this week I have a very exciting announcement. I'm going to Leakycon! :D Leakycon is a Harry Potter fan convention and in 2013 they're coming to London. They have Leakycon Lit events which feature YA authors, so I decided to go for that as well so I could get to indulge myself in YA goodness. I can't wait!

Now on to the round up! Here are the books I've been reading this week:

Blue Moon (The Immortals, #2)Currently reading: Blue Moon by Alyson Noel. I'm finally starting to move onto some sequels of series I've only read the first book of! Excited about this one. I really liked Evermore.

Books finished: Blood Red Road by Moira Young (review coming soon!), The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove by Lauren Kate, Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins, Sabriel by Garth Nix.

Library books: Blood Red Road by Moira Young and Blue Moon by Alyson Noel.

What have you been reading this week?

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Review: The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove by Lauren Kate

The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove by Lauren Kate

Author: Lauren Kate. Website, Twitter
Published: 6 January 2011 (Corgi Children's)
Pages: 288
Amazon: paperback|Kindle
Waterstone's: paperback
Book Depository: paperback

Source: Bought (charity shop)

Plot Summary:
Natalie is utterly determined to cement her position at the top of the high school social ladder by becoming prom queen. When it looks like an interfering ex-boyfriend might get in her way, she devises a little prank to humiliate him. But when the prank goes devastatingly wrong, Natalie starts to lose control of her life.

My Review:
I'm still waiting for Fallen to become available from the library, so when I spotted this book in my local charity shop I decided to grab it and get my first Lauren Kate fix. Natalie Hargrove is the queen bee, and with the prestigious Palmetto ball approaching, Natalie wants nothing more than to be crowned princess alongside her boyfriend and hopeful prince Mike.

I'm going to start out by saying that this book was a total guilty pleasure. It felt like the kind of book I really shouldn't have liked as much as I did! Natalie Hargrove is a totally horrible character. She'll do whatever she can to get exactly what she wants, and holds this influence over her fellow students. After her mum's marriage got her a ticket to the nice side of town, she's determined to stay there and forget her past. Basically, she's pretty ruthless.

Despite this, I found myself completely hooked into the drama. The writing style really grabbed me and even though I knew I should hate Natalie, I just couldn't put this book down and I loved finding out what was round the corner for her. It's pretty typical high school drama for the first half of the book. Everyone's talking about the school ball and there's parties, drinking and plenty of steamy make-out sessions between Mike and Natalie. Just when I thought this was looking to turn into some kind of love triangle, the plot took a completely different turn to what I was expecting, and suddenly lives are on the line.

If you want a book where characters learn from their mistakes or go on a journey then this isn't really that book. If you like American high school drama with a massive order of bitchiness and scheming then it is. I would have liked a bit more depth to Natalie's character. It felt there could have been a lot more to her than there was in the end and I was a bit disappointed by the way it ended. What it definitely has done is tickled my tastebuds and made me want to read more by Lauren Kate.

Rating: 4*
What to read next: Fallen by Lauren Kate
Books like this: Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood by Eileen Cook
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