Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (#23): In the Shadows by Kiersten White and Jim Di Bartolo

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine and gives bloggers the chance to highlight upcoming releases we're excited about.

In the Shadows by Kiersten White and Jim Di Bartolo
Published: 29th April 2014 (Scholastic)
Plot summary: From the remarkable imagination of acclaimed artist Jim Di Bartolo and the exquisite pen of bestselling author Kiersten White comes a spellbinding story of love, mystery, and dark conspiracy, told in an alternating narrative of words and pictures.

Cora and Minnie are sisters living in a small, stifling town where strange and mysterious things occur. Their mother runs the local boarding house. Their father is gone. The woman up the hill may or may not be a witch.

Thomas and Charles are brothers who’ve been exiled to the boarding house so Thomas can tame his ways and Charles can fight an illness that is killing him with increasing speed. Their family history is one of sorrow and guilt. They think they can escape from it . . . but they can’t.

I love the idea of an illustrated book! It definitely sounds like a book you'd want to buy and own a physical copy of. I've just read two of Kiersten White's books after having wanted to check her out for a while, so this one is definitely on my radar.

What are you waiting on this week? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Belated Book Round Up! 25th February

 So my life has been a little crazy of late. I'm working irregular hours which means I'm not really sure when and where I'll be working, so any kind of blogging schedule has gone out of the window! But I've acquired a few exciting books lately I wanted to talk about, so here's a book round up to get caught up on everything.

Book Haul

I'll start with a book haul this week! I've had a few exciting books to review come my way recently that I wanted to talk about. A few weeks ago I was approved for Take Back the Skies by Lucy Saxon. I love YA sci-fi so I'm really excited to read this. Thanks Bloomsbury!

If you've followed the blog for a while then you'll know I'm a big fan of Amy Martin's In Your Dreams series. Book three - Before You Sleep-  has just landed on my Kindle and I couldn't be more excited! Thanks Amy. And another exciting sequel came my way in the shape of Unwoven by Jack Croxall, the sequel to Tethers - a book I really enjoyed. Thanks Jack.

What I've Been Reading

I'm currently reading Panic by Lauren Oliver which comes out in March. She's one of my favourite YA authors and I'm thoroughly enjoying this one. My review will be up in a few weeks! I also finished Paranormalcy by Kiersten White which was really good.

In the News

The cover for Take Me On by Katie McGarry has been unveiled over on Facebook. See it below. This is the US cover so I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for the UK version soon.

Cassandra Clare has opened up about her latest Shadowhunter series. The Last Hours will be a trilogy set between the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Read more over on FangirllDaily.

Ellie Goulding has debuted her song Beating Heart, taken from the upcoming Divergent film soundtrack, on Radio 1. The lyric video was also revealed on Entertainment Weekly. Watch it below.

J. K. Rowling has announced the title and release date of the sequel to her detective novel The Cuckoo's Calling. The Silkworm will be published in June. Read more over on Hypable.

Phew! I think I'm caught up. Plus I'm including this Vlogbrothers video which is Hank Green ranting about books because a) it made me laugh, a lot, and b) it is completely accurate.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Review: Banished by Liz De Jager

Banished by Liz De Jager

Author: Liz De Jager Website|Twitter
Published: 27 February 2014 (Tor)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 400
Buy the book: Amazon|Hive|BookDepository
Buy the e-book: Kindle|Kobo

Source: Received free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
Sworn to protect, honour and slay. Because chaos won’t banish itself…

Kit is proud to be a Blackhart, now she’s encountered her unorthodox cousins and their strange lives. And her home-schooling now includes spells, fighting enemy fae and using ancient weapons. But it’s not until she rescues a rather handsome fae prince, fighting for his life on the edge of Blackhart Manor, that her training really kicks in. With her family away on various missions, Kit must protect Prince Thorn, rely on new friends and use her own unfamiliar magic to stay ahead of Thorn’s enemies. As things go from bad to apocalyptic, fae battle fae in a war that threatens to spill into the human world. Then Kit pits herself against the Elder Gods themselves – it’s that or lose everyone she’s learnt to love.

My Review:
Banished was one of my most anticipated releases of 2014 so I was super happy when a copy popped through my letterbox! The book follows Kit Blackhart who is just getting used to her new supernatural life when her abilities are called upon to save her family.

I really enjoyed the beginning of the book as we're introduced to Kit and her family. The real world, teenage life feel which made me instantly relate to Kit and provided a great balance to the fantasy side. I thought the magical side of the story and the world building was done really well. You were never overwhelmed with terminology, and at the start of each chapter were little exerpts from archives or history books etc. which provided you the history of Kit's world in nice bite-size chunks, without the need for exposition, which was incredibly smart and well done.

One of the real highlights of the book for me was the characters, particularly Kit and Thorn, and the developing relationship between them. The author has managed to carve out distinctive voices and personalities. There is a brilliant sense of humour weaved throughout the book that provided some really funny moments between all the characters. I thought Kit herself was particularly sharp and witty which drew me to her even more!

In terms of the fantasy side of the book, I loved the Banished had a little bit of everything. There were faeries, trolls and even dragons! (I was really, really excited when a dragon showed up.) It was just such a great mix of creatures and magic, all cleverly weaved into our own world. Even though there were a wide range of characters who come from different realms (the book takes place in two worlds; the Frontier which is the human world, and the Otherwhere) everything really flowed. Every character from every race fitted in perfectly with the story and everything was linked together really well.

I felt the first half of the book was a lot more focused on the characters, and on how Kit adapted to her situation. There was definitely that element of her going on a quest or journey to prove herself, and I love how she overcame the insecurities we see at the beginning of the book. The second half of the story is definitely more action packed, and although I probably enjoyed that first part more, it made for a well paced, exciting read throughout.

Banished will definitely appeal to a lot of readers. Fans of books such as Artemis Fowl and City of Bones will fall in love with the fantastic world Liz De Jager has created. The ending had me dying to read the next book and gave a good old tug at the heartstrings! I'm excited to see where things go from here.

Rating: 4*
What to read next: This is the first book in the Blackhart Legacy series
Books like this: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer, Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (#22): Take Back the Skies by Lucy Saxon

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted over at Breaking the Spine and gives bloggers the chance to highlight upcoming releases we're excited about.

 Take Back the Skies by Lucy Saxon

Published: 5th June 2014 (Bloomsbury)
Buy: Amazon|Hive
Plot summary: Catherine Hunter is the daughter of a senior government official on the island of Anglya. She’s one of the privileged – she has luxurious clothes, plenty to eat, and is protected from the Collections which have ravaged families throughout the land. But Catherine longs to escape the confines of her life, before her dad can marry her off to a government brat and trap her forever.
So Catherine becomes Cat, pretends to be a kid escaping the Collections, and stows away on the skyship Stormdancer. As they leave Anglya behind and brave the storms that fill the skies around the islands of Tellus, Cat’s world becomes more turbulent than she could ever have imagined, and dangerous secrets unravel her old life once and for all . . .

So I love me some YA sci-fi! This sounds like it has some great political stuff to sink your teeth into and I love books that explore class divisions. I'd chosen this book before I was approved for a review copy so now I'm even more excited that I'll be getting a chance to read it soon. Keep an eye out for the review nearer publication date! What are you waiting on this week? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Reasons I Love Being a Reader/Blogger

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week we're talking the reasons we love reading and blogging. I'm sure there are hundreds of things I could have said but these were the first ten that came to mind. I'd love to hear yours so let me know in the comments!

Discovering new books
Being a blogger has led me to discover other blogs and that's where I get the best recommendations. I read a much wider range of books since I started blogging!
Strenghtening friendships
When I started my blog, it led me to start having more bookish conversations with my friends. They saw how much I loved reading and would come to me to ask for/give recommendations. There were friends I didn't realise loved books as much as me, despite knowing them years!

Chatting with authors
Authors are still kind of like rock stars to me, but through Twitter and email I've been able to chat with authors whose work I enjoy and respect, and that's pretty darn cool!
Recommending books
I just love sharing my recommendations. I can't keep a good book to myself! Having a blog is the best platform for being able to share those books you want to shout about from the rooftops.

Someone saying they love a book you recommended
This is literally the best feeling ever! It makes me so happy when someone enjoys a book I recommended and thanks me for it.
Supporting authors
Since I started blogging and widening what I read, I've discovered a wealth of authors I may not otherwise have come across, from indie and self-published authors, to debut authors. I love being able to support them and spread the word about their awesome work to others who may not have heard of them.

I love writing and starting my blog has given me a chance to share thoughts and feelings through things like opinion posts. Reading and blogging also motivate me to write my own novel one day!

A whole online community to fangirl over the latest YA books with? Heaven!

Meeting like minded people
It's so nice to be able to chat with people who care about books just as much as you do! Book lovers always have something to talk about.
Being comfortable with yourself
I don't think I'm the only person who was slightly embarassed about my reading habits at one point in my life. I was scared of talking about my love of books and my love of YA, but seeing how many other people share my passion has caused me to be more comfortable with myself and made me a more confident person.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

The Weekly Book Round Up! 15th February

Welcome to the latest Weekly Book Round Up, a post where I recap the latest news stories and posts from the blog. Enjoy!

In the news

Waterstones have revealed the shortlists for their Childrens' Book Prize. In the 9-12 category, the shortlist is as follows:

The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chaniani,
Darcy Burdock by Laura Dockrill,
Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell
Shiveton Hall by Emerald Fennell,
The Last Wild by Piers Torday
The Skull in the Wood by Sandra Greaves

And the teen shortlist is made up of the following books:

Geek Girl by Holly Smale
Our of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
Butter by Erin Jade Lange
The Bone Dragon by Alexa Casale
Paper Aeroplanes by Dawn O'Porter
If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

The winners of the prize will be announced on 3rd April. For more information and to read the shortlist in full, head over to the Waterstones website.

A rumour has appeared online that a trailer for Mockingjay Part One could be released in April. Read more over on FangirlDaily.

Robert Schwentke has been lined up to direct Insurgent, the sequel to Divergent, with filming set to begin in May. Read the story over on Hypable. In other Divergent news you'll soon be able to get your hands on Four and Tris dolls.

On the blog

On Monday I talked about reading slumps and shared a few of my tips for overcoming them. On Tuesday I got in the Valentine's Day spirit by sharing my Top Ten Books to Make You Swoon. Wednesday saw me waiting on Love, Lies and Lemon Pies by Katie Canon. And on Friday I shared the book trailer for Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith.

What I've Been Reading

I'm about halfway through Paranormalcy by Kiersten White which I'm really enjoying. I've been dying to read it ages and the main character, Evie, is fab! My friend lent me a couple of sporting autobiographies this week. It's nice to dive into something different every now and then! I've already started David Weir's Weirwolf, My Story and next up is the Brownlee brothers' Swim, Bike, Run.

What are you reading this weekend? Let me know in the comments!

Friday, 14 February 2014

Book Trailer: Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

This week I watched this trailer for Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith, and it definitely has me intrigued! You can watch the trailer below and let me know what you think in the comments. Is it a book you'll be checking out?

Published: 27th February (Egmont)
 Buy the book: Amazon|Hive 

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (#21): Love, Lies and Lemon Pies by Katy Cannon

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted over at Breaking the Spine and gives bloggers the chance to highlight upcoming releases we're excited about. Without further ado, here's what I'm waiting on this week!

Love, Lies and Lemon Pies by Katie Cannon
Published: 5 May 2014 (Stripes)
Buy: Amazon|Hive
Plot summary: Love, Lies and Lemon Pies, the debut YA novel from Katy Cannon, is the perfect summer read for fans of Sarah Dessen and Louise Rennison. With a Bake Club recipe at the start of each chapter, this book perfectly captures the current appetite for all things baking! Lottie, our narrator, captures the experience of a young teenage girl navigating the world of school cliques, difficult teachers and new romance, creating a world that young readers are sure to recognize. Since her dad died, life hasn't been the same for Lottie - it was easier to push her friends away than cope with their awkwardness. But when the school suggest she joins Bake Club to get her back on track, Lottie reluctantly agrees. But Lottie's uncertainty about Bake Club melts away as she rekindles her love of baking and gets caught up with Mac, the school rebel and another unwilling Bake Club member. Both Lottie and Mac have secrets to keep, and as Bake Club progresses towards an end-of-year competition, the tension rises between the Bake Club members. Can Lottie keep up the facade of her perfect life without the others finding out what's really going on at home? Can Mac keep his demanding, heavy-handed father off his back - not to mention the school counsellor who's written him off as a no-hoper? And can their bubbling romance survive the pressure?

So I first heard about this one through the publisher's Twitter a while ago, and now it has a cover! And a pretty cool looking cover at that. I've just started baking and it's kind of taking over my life (and my kitchen), so I am all over a book that features baking.

What are you waiting on this week? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Will Make You Swoon

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, and with Valentine's Day just around the corner, this week is all about the books that will make you swoon!

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
It's set in Paris, how much more romantic can you get?!

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
This book plays on the idea of chance meetings and fate and I love it!

 Suddenly Royal by Nicole Chase
It has a swoon-worthy prince nicknamed Prince Yummy, enough said!

Anywhere by J. Meyers
Ahh this book definitely made me swoon! Throw in some travel and exciting locations and it makes for a perfect love story <3

Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt
I just love Oliver, okay? You will too.

Dare You To and Crash Into You by Katie McGarry
Katie McGarry is the queen of swoon. Ryan from Dare You To is one of my favourite book boyfriends and Isaiah, who features in all McGarry's books, really won me over in Crash Into You.

The Edge of Never by J. A. Redmerski
More New Adult! This one is a steamy, swoon-worthy read that will tug at the heartstrings.

Jessie Hearts NYC by Keris Stainton
Oh loveable Finn! Again this has travel and fate which is obviously a running theme throughout this post.

Red by Alison Cherry 
And the romance doesn't take centre stage in this one, but I loved Jonathan so much that I'm including it.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Sarah's Reading Habits: Fighting the Slump!

Sarah's Reading Habits is an occasional feature on the blog where I delve into my reading habits a bit more! So my reading has taken a bit of a backseat recently which has prompted me to talk about reading slumps. We've all had them! You know you want to read, because you love reading, but just finding the energy and motivation or knowing what you want to read can be so darn difficult sometimes! I thought I'd get out my frustrations in this post as well as sharing a few of my tips for tackling the dreaded reading slump.

My current problem, why I'm not reading so much, is that I'm busier than usual. When I first started this blog I had a lot of free time on my hands so I was reading crazy amounts. At the moment, I don't have the time during the day to read and by evening I just want to relax and chill out. Even on my days off I've found myself slipping into old habits and watching trashy daytime TV (hello property shows!) instead of curling up with a book. It's time to change that!

So how do you break the slump? Here are a few ways I tend to fight my way out!

1. Have a few days off. For those of us that read every day, it seems weird for a day to go by and not pick up a book. But sometimes it's just what I need! I know in a few days time I'll be itching to have a book in my hands again.

2. Read something different! I turn to adult books when I need a bit of a break. Because I only review YA, it gives me the chance to read a book without having to make notes and worry about writing a review at the end of it. Plus sometimes it's just nice to have a change of scene and pace and read something that bit different. Switching genres is usually a good way to get me out of a slump. Just battled your way through fantasy? Try a nice, fun contemporary read instead!

3. Audiobooks! I know a lot of the problem I have at the moment is finding time to read. The great thing about audiobooks is that they are much easier to multitask with! I've downloaded a couple from the library which I'm going to use on my bus commutes this month. I can't read regular books on the bus because it makes me travel sick, plus at least it'll make all those traffic jams more interesting!

4. Re-read. When you're finding it hard to focus and concentrate on a book, then I find going back to something where you're familiar with the story really helps. No thinking required! Plus if you loved it the first time round then you're going in knowing what to expect. No worrying about struggling to finish it!

5. Write! I find I can't read and write at the same time (as in have a book on the go and be focusing on writing a novel or something), so if I can't read then maybe I can release some energy by writing.

6. Read what you want to read and not what you feel you should/have to. As a book blogger, there's probably a million and one books I should be reading, either review copies or library books or books I bought ages ago and still haven't read yet. Sometimes that feeling of having to read something can spoil the fun. Go with your heart and not with your head!

7. Treat yourself! I'd been in a bit of a slump before Christmas where I was reading about four books at once and struggling to finish any of them. I ended up treating myself to a book in the sales and devouring it in a few days. Sometimes getting excited about a new book is just what you need!

What are your tips for getting out of a reading slump? Let me know in the comments!

Saturday, 8 February 2014

The Weekly Book Round Up! 8th February

Welcome to my weekly recap of the week's news and what's been happening here on the blog. Lots of exciting news this week! I've been a little quiet on blog posts because I've been busy with work and driving and grown up things like that, but I did manage to finish a book this week which is an achievement! I'm still learning how people with busy lives fit in their reading because mine has slipped badly. Anyone any tips?! Anyway, on with the round up!

In the news

A final theatrical trailer for Divergent has been released this week, and I think it's my favourite look at the film so far! Watch it below:

J. K. Rowling has hit the headlines by suggesting she regrets putting Ron and Hermione together. Read the story over on Hypable. What do you think of JKR's comments?

Clips from the shelved Delirium pilot featuring Emma Roberts have appeared online. See the clips over on FangirlDaily.

This week's new releases include sequels Cress by Marissa Meyer, Through the Zombie Glass by Gena Showalter and Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi.Also released is This Star Won't Go Out, the story of Nerdfighter Esther Earl who passed away from cancer in 2010, and Anything to Have You by Paige Harbison.

On the blog

It's been a quiet week this week due to real life stuff, but I posted my Book of the Month for January on Monday which went to Red by Alison Cherry and Tuesday I shared my top ten tearjerkers.

What I've Been Reading

I finished Banished by Liz De Jager this week which I really enjoyed. It comes out at the end of February so keep an eye out for my review. I've started Paranormalcy by Kiersten White which I have on loan from the library. I've been dying to read it for ages and it's going well so far!

What have you been reading this week? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Will Make You Cry

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish and this week is all about the tearjerkers! Now I have a confession to make and that is that I don't really cry at books. Not because I don't feel anything or they don't move me, but I just don't physically cry. It's the same with films and TV shows. I think I'm just too self-conscious! Anyway, there are still some books that have me tearing up and that break my heart and leave me shaken which as close as it gets. These are some of them.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
I had to include this, but I think people write it off because of the subject matter and the fact it;s a sad book. Whilst it is in places, I probably laughed just as much as I got teary with this book.

Looking for Alaska by John Green
This is one of those books where I just wasn't prepared for the heartbreak and it hit me like a tonne of bricks when it finally arrived.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling
All those lost lives, all that fighting, and that Epilogue! Gah my poor little heart.

Undone by Cat Clarke
Cat Clarke writes pretty powerful, gritty stuff and I'd been warned about this one before I started it. And that warning was much appreciated!

Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein
I can't find words to describe how moving these books are. You just need to read them and find out.

Falling Through the World by Rachel Clarke
This is more of a personal one for me, because I related so closely to it. It's about a girl with M.E, an illness I myself live with. Not everyone may well up at this book, but it really struck close to home with me.

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
This book just blew me away and as it builds to its conclusion, the emotion really starts to kick in!

If I Stay by Gayle Forman
I just saw the cover for this has a quote that says "read it and weep" on the front. Sounds about right!

The Girl Next Door by Selene Castrovilla
Like The Fault in Our Stars, this had a really good balance of uplifting moments to sad ones, so it's an all round moving read.

What books have you reaching for the tissues, or at least feeling a bit choked up? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, 3 February 2014

January's Book of the Month!

Each month I look back on the books I've reviewed and pick a favourite to award the title of Book of the Month. So without further ado, my book of the month for January is...

Red by Alison Cherry!

I loved the idea of this one before I'd even started it, and it didn't disappoint. It was well executed and had some fantastic characters I really came to care about. Plus high school drama! Who doesn't love a bit of blackmail and bitchiness? Read my full review at this link!

Runners up: 
Pawn by Aimee Carter 
Wither by Lauren DeStefano 
Teardrop by Lauren Kate 
The Scar Boys by Len Vlahos

Saturday, 1 February 2014

The Weekly Book Round Up! 1st February

Hello brand new month! It's time for a catch up of what's been happening on the blog and in the news over the past week. Enjoy!

In the news

The first trailer for the film adaptation of John Green's The Fault in Our Stars has been unveiled. Watch it below!

(I love it! Each watch throws up more hidden gems I recognise from the book. So excited for this film!)

Cat Clarke, author of YA novels, Torn, Undone and Entangled, has announced a new two-book deal with Quercus. Clarke's new novel Safe and Sound will be published in 2015. Read more about the deal over on the Quercus website.

A new clip and poster for the upcoming Vampire Academy film adaptation have been revealed. Both can be seen over on FangirlDaily. Check out the clip of Christian using his fire power at this link and the new friendship themed poster here.

Cassandra Clare will be touring to celebrate the release of City of Heavenly Fire. The tour starts in New York City on 26th May. Read more over on Fandomsnews.

And a new still from Divergent featuring Four and Tris has been released. See the image below.

On the blog

On Monday I posted my review of Sister Assassin by Kiersten White, a book I liked, but was slightly confused by! On Wednesday I was waiting on Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong, and on Friday I got to share the cover for Here Lies Love by Dan Thompson.

What I've Been Reading

I'm halfway through Banished by Liz de Jager which is fantastic and is jam packed with magical, fantastical stuff! I was also approved on NetGalley for Echo Boy by Matt Haig so I can't wait to dive into that.

What have you been reading this week? Any blog posts or news stories you'd like to share? Let me know in the comments!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...