Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #2

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by breaking the spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating. 

The Rising by Kelley Armstrong

Release Date: 9th April 2013

From Goodreads:

Things are getting desperate for Maya and her friends. Hunted by the St. Clouds and a rival Cabal, they’re quickly running out of places to hide. And with the whole world thinking they died in a helicopter crash, it’s not like they can just go to the authorities for help.

All they have is the name and number of someone who might be able to give them a few answers. Answers to why they’re so valuable, and why their supernatural powers are getting out of control.

But Maya is unprepared for the truths that await her. And now, like it or not, she’ll have to face down some demons from her past if she ever hopes to move on with her life. Because Maya can’t keep running forever.

Blood Moon by Alyxandra Harvey

“Oh Crap," Connor muttered. "She's going Darth Vader on us.” 

Blood Moon is the fifth book in the Drake Chronicles and starts where Bleeding Hearts left off with Solange having drank from Kieran and sets in motion a lot of dark and disturbing events. Its told from the perspective of Solange, Nicholas and Lucy.

 Gone are the days where the Drake family lived in exile in Violet Hill, they are now the ruling family and have a lot more to worry about including Solange and her blood lust. Ever since her change, Solange's craving for blood had been getting stronger and stronger and since she has met the mysterious and creepy Constantine in Bleeding Hearts, its only been getting worse. I've never been a big fan of Solange's character, she was always a little too broody for me (I like my female leads, fun and snarky like Lucy) but in this book she has become down right detestable.

I loved that we got to see things from Lucy's views again, she is definitely my favourite character in this series, she doesn't mind throwing some punches and adds a lot of humour to scenes that are otherwise rather dark and this book has plenty of darkness to it and even though we didn't get to see a lot of her and Nick together, you can tell that their relationship has grown and developed from the first book.

This book has plenty of atmosphere and a great plot line, that is fast paced and keeps you hooked.  Harvey doesn't let up with the drama and even though it can get a little confusing with the points of view and scenes changing each chapter, it definitely makes you want to read more to find out what's coming next.

Overall this was a great instalment to the series and with only one more book to go, it set up the story nicely, I'm excited to find out what is going to happen to the Drake family.

Oh and one more thing, the cliffhanger at the end is a killer, it had me itching to buy the next one.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

The Calling by Kelley Armstrong

“Remembering. Forgetting. I'm not sure which is worse.”

The Calling is the second instalment in the Darkness Rising trilogy, its picks up where The Gathering left off. Full of mystery, suspense and intrigue, any fan of Kelley Armstrong will definitely love this series.
Maya has discovered that she and her friends are part of an experiment that has genetically altered their DNA to enhance previously dormant traits. They now have powers that have not been seen in hundreds of years and were thought to have died out. Maya is a shape shifter like Rafe and can change into a cougar, her friend Daniel and Sam are 'benandandi', an extinct witch/demon hunter.

Maya and her friends are stuck in the Alaskan wilderness, desperate to get home but after the events of the first book, who can they trust? Are their rescuers really rescuers at all, or just people from the mysterious research facility, waiting to take them back.

I really liked this instalment, yes the plot isn't face paced but their is plenty of exhilaration and chase scenes to keep you occupied. Armstrong constantly keeps us on the edge of our seats with who our characters can trust, friends become enemies and enemies become friends.

Once again the main aspect of this book is the character development, Armstrong builds on the characters we've previously met. This I find is where Armstrong's talents lie, she is able to create believable and well rounded characters that when put in harrowing situations react in a way most of us would (if you'd just been in a helicopter crash and witnessed the death of three people, wouldn't you freak out just a little bit), Maya is strong willed, level headed and smart, we get to see her in a leadership role in this book and struggling to come to terms with her blossoming powers. I also thought that Armstrong's secondary characters came into full effect in this book, we got to see more of Sam and understand her actions and hostility a little bit more and of course my favourite Daniel the lovable best friend.

The plot doesn't really move on much, they start off in the woods and are pretty much still there when the book ends which is a little annoying, even though I was never bored when reading the book, I did feel that it just ended and wished we had had a little more progression, saying that though Armstrong has set us up for what should be an explosive finale, where Maya and her friends will face off against the scientist who have experimented on them (and a little spoiler Chloe and the gang will be back from the Darkest Powers series).

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Waiting on Wednesdays

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by breaking the spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating. 

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

Release date: March 19th 2013

From Goodreads:

If the only way to save the world was to destroy what you loved most, would you do it?

The clock is ticking. Everyone must choose.

Passion. Power. Secrets. Enchantment.

Danger closes in around the Shadowhunters in the final instalment of the bestselling Infernal Devices trilogy.

What books are you looking forward to?

The Bell Jar, 50th Anniversary

Esther Greenwood is brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under--maybe for the last time. In her acclaimed and enduring masterwork, Sylvia Plath brilliantly draws the reader into Esther's breakdown with such intensity that her insanity becomes palpably real, even rational--as accessible an experience as going to the movies. A deep penetration into the darkest and most harrowing corners of the human psyche, The Bell Jar is an extraordinary accomplishment and a haunting American classic.

In January we celebrated the 50th Anniversary of Slyvia Plaths, The Bell Jar. The Bell Jar will always hold a special place in my heart, I remember reading it for the first time whilst studying for my A-levels, we  were studying Plath's poetry and comparing it to The Bell Jar, at this time in my life, I was feeling isolated from my friends and family and this book spoke to me, it opened up a world of understanding, before reading this I didn't know anything about depression, I didn't know what it was or what the symptoms were and this helped me discover that and in-turn discover more about myself. Whilst it still took me a few years to speak to other people about the way I was feeling, the bell jar will always be the book that made me understand and for a while it was the only way I knew that other people had and were going through the same thing as me. It made me realise I wasn't alone.

So even though I am a little late in writing this post I thought to celebrate I would share with you some of my favourite quotes from the book:

“I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.”

“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.” 

“I couldn’t see the point of getting up. I had nothing to look forward to.” 

“I thought the most beautiful thing in the world must be shadow, the million moving shapes and cul-de-sacs of shadow. There was shadow in bureau drawers and closets and suitcases, and shadow under houses and trees and stones, and shadow at the back of people's eyes and smiles, and shadow, miles and miles and miles of it, on the night side of the earth.” 

“I felt myself melting into the shadows like the negative of a person I'd never seen before in my life.”

So Thank you Sylvia for letting me know I wasn't alone and that what I was feeling wasn't abnormal, I'll never be able to tell you how much you helped me to survive.

The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong

“I want you to have big dreams, big goals. I want you to strive to achieve them. But I don't want to see you beating yourself up every time you make a mistake.” 

Maya lives in a very secluded research town in Canada, her father is a park ranger and so Maya has always grown up around animals, she feels a connection with them and the outdoors. After her best friend mysteriously drowned, things started changing for Maya, she knew it was no accident but hasn't been able to discover the truth and now she is starting to realise that this small town holds more secrets than she could have imagined.

This book is set in the same world as Armstrong's Darkest Power series and so you should probably read those first before moving onto this one as you wont get the hints dropped unless you have.

I loved this book, Maya is a great female lead, I loved her connection to the Mountain Lions and nature in general, I'd love to be able to experience the freedom Maya feels when exploring the forest. She is funny and loyal but she has her flaws, she can be quick to judge and doesn't forgive people easily. I think what I liked about her the most is that she was able to stand up for herself, she didn't run to her friends for help at the first hint of a crisis but she also knew when she should. She didn't want to accept who is was at first, or what she would turn in to but I liked her rational approach, she didn't freak out, she sorted through the facts and knew what Rafe was telling her was the truth.

Rafe, even though at the beginning I was unsure about him, I thought he would be your typical bad boy turned good, he actually surprised me at the end. Everything he does, he does for his sister and even though he does really like Maya, he is honest about why he came to find her but I think my heart belongs to Daniel, he was sweet and kind, always looking out for Maya but you can see he has a temper and I think  I know where this story is going to take these characters. The rest of the support cast seem really well rounded, this is what Armstrong does best, create real characters, whose emotions and reactions seem plausible given the situation they are in.

Even though this book ended on a cliff hanger, its set so much up for the next book, I can't wait to dive in. Its full of mystery and intrigue, what's really going on at that research lab and what really happened to Maya's friend?  Whilst its not face paced, Armstrong builds the world and the characters superbly well and leaves you wanting more.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Fault in Our Stars by John Green

“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book."

Warning: You will cry when you read this book.

Hazel is a sixteen year old terminally ill cancer suffer, who has to carry an oxygen tank everywhere she goes, she is depressed, she is dying. Hazel meets Augustus Walters at her cancer support group, he is charming, handsome and has lost his leg due to cancer. Augustus or 'Gus' wants to make a lasting impression in life, he wants to be heroic. 

This is not a book about cancer, the fact that these characters have cancer is just a small part of who they are, its a book about life shown with brutal honesty that only those that know how precious time is can give.

I absolutely loved this book even if it made me an emotional wreck, I cried continuously through the final few chapters and longer after it finished.

Hazel and Gus relationship is played out beautifully, she is scared of getting to close to him because she doesn't want to leave any more casualties behind after she dies. Hazel was my favourite character from this book, she was realistic about her life, she'd come close to dying before and she knew that she wouldn't get a miracle, nothing was going to save her from the cancer that was ravaging her body. She was strong and funny and above all else she was relatable. Even though at the beginning Gus seemed arrogant and head-strong he was far from it, his favourite book was a retelling of his favourite video game, he was funny and smart and would move heaven and hell just to make Hazel smile. 

I don't want to talk about how amazing John Greens writing is, you'll know that yourself from the first chapter. He sucks you in and doesn't let go. He creates a world that should be dark and depressing but instead is filled with laughter and happiness. Its a beautiful story that's both heart-warming and heartbreaking and the characters will stay with you long after you finish reading.

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the Broke and The Bookish.

Today's topic is Top Ten Romantic couples, with valentines just around the corner, what a perfect topic for this weeks discussion. I've never really considered myself a reader of Romance novels until I realised how many of the books I read have a romance plot withing them, whether that be a subplot or the main story line. I enjoyed looking back over all the books I've read and reliving those romantic experiences, I've laughed and cried with these realtionships and had my heartbroken many a time.

1. Romeo and Juliet 

2. Shane and Claire from the Morganville vampires

3. Elizabeth and Darcy from Pride and Predjuice

4. Ron and Hermione from Harry Potter

5. Gus and Hazel from The Fault in Our Stars

6. Jane and Rochester from Jane Eyre

7. Daniel and Luce from Fallen

8. Elena and Clay from The Woman of the Otherworld Series

9. Clary and Jace from the Mortal Instruments series

10. Will and Tessa from The Infernal Devices

Friday, 8 February 2013

The Mage in Black by Jaye Wells

“Wait,” he said, pulling me to a stop when I tried to march off toward my destiny. “Is there something you want to tell me?” I looked at him, trying to think of anything I’d done recently that I needed to admit to. When nothing came to mind other than the usual, I shook my head. “Not really. Why?” He reached out and touched my leather jacket. “Is that a bullet hole?” Freaking great.” 

The second book in the Sabina Kane series, after Sabina was betrayed by her Grandmother, she left LA and headed to New York to meet her sister, who has been bought up by the mages.

I love this series, its entertaining and funny, Sabina may not be your typical heroine, she is stubborn and has one hell of an attitude problem but I think that's what makes me like her even more. 

Its packed full of action, laugh out load moments but not a whole lot of romance. It was nice to see Sabina get to know her sister a little bit more and towards the end even her hard vampire exterior was softening and her relationship with her mage mentor was fun, Rhea definitely doesn't go easy on her, Sabina has a lot to catch up on and a destiny to fulfil and not a lot of time to do it.

Adam isn't in this book too much and so we don't get to see their relationship deepen but I liked this, I think it allowed Sabina's character to develop, which she needed to do, she had a massive bomb dropped on her in the last book and we needed to see her deal with that.

It ended on a cliffhanger and I can't wait to start the next one. If you like your heroines strong and feisty  than this series is definitely for you.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Top Ten Tuesday

I've seen the Top Ten Tuesday meme ran by the Broke and the Bookish but I've never had the courage to do it until this week.

This weeks is Top Ten Best Bookish Memories (waiting in line for a new release, meeting an author, or some sort of great experience with a particular book that was unlike others).

Finding Harry Potter. My grandparents had bought my brother Harry Potter for Christmas, not long after it came out and considering he wasn't really into reading I took them and decided to read them for myself. It was the first time a book had truly transported me into another world, I was addicted to these characters and they became the defining point of my childhood. I remember waiting each year until the next one would come out and devouring the second I got it. I grew up with Harry, Ron and Hermoine. Rowling ignited my passion for reading supernatural and paranormal books and I'm so glad she did.

Sylvia Plath. The first time I was introduced to Sylvia Plath was when I was studying for my A-levels, I had to write an essay comparing her poetry to her novel The Bell Jar. From the first page I fell in love with her, her writing spoke to me in a way no one else had before, I was suffering badly with depression at the time and reading the Bell Jar really helped me understand what it was and why I felt the way I did. I make sure I re-read this every year and it will allows hold a special place in my heart.

Getting my job, let me explain, I work in a bookstore, I spend my days talking about books and being able to recommend books to people. I especially love recommending things people wouldn't normally have thought to pick up. Also its been a great place to meet some amazing people who also share my passion for reading and are constantly giving me new books to read that are out of my comfort zone.

Sharing books with my mum. The first books I remember reading by myself were Enid Blyton's famous five and secret seven and the Nancy Drew series, these were books my mum had given me to read as she had read them herself when she was younger, I absolutely loved them, they made me want to be a detective and solve crimes (I quickly grew out of that).

Finding those books that change your life. The moment you're reading a book and you realise you are falling in love with it, the characters, the setting, everything just seems perfect to you, you realise that the book is life changing and can't stop telling everyone you know that they "just have to read it". This recently happened to me when I read John Green's Fault in our Stars, I laughed, I cried and I still find myself thinking about the characters from time to time and have basically forced everyone I know to read it.

Finding Alice in Wonderland. When I was younger I had a book of poetry, that had a short excerpt from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, this was my first introduction to the wonderful world of Alice and has had me captivated ever since, I'm obsessed with anything Alice and every time I see a new edition I need to have it.

Starting my blog. I've only had my blog for two months now but I love it, sharing my thoughts and feeling about books is what I love to do and its great having a place I can do that.

Connecting with people over books. I remember when the twilight books had come out and me and my friend in work were both reading them, everyday we worked together we would get so excited over what was happening we had many "oh my god, I can't believe that happened moments" and in-depth discussions over Edward and Jacob, even though I'm not a massive fan of the twilight books any more, those memories will always stick with me.

January Round-up

I didn't really get the chance to review everthing I read in January but still here is a round-up of what I did manage: