Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle

Title: Let It Snow
Authors: John Green, Maureen Johnson, Lauren Myracle
Publisher: Speak
Released: October 2nd 2008
Pages: 352 (Paperback)
Buy: Amazon UK / Amazon US
Add on Goodreads

An ill-timed storm on Christmas Eve buries the residents of Gracetown under multiple feet of snow and causes quite a bit of chaos. One brave soul ventures out into the storm from her stranded train and sets off a chain of events that will change quite a few lives. Over the next three days one girl takes a risky shortcut with an adorable stranger, three friends set out to win a race to the Waffle House ( and the hash brown spoils), and the fate of a teacup pig falls into the hands of a lovesick barista.

So this was the one John Green book I hadn't read (excluding Zombiecorns but I have a copy of that so ssssh) and that's ultimately what lead me to buy it. What I thought would be quite a cheesy romance novel was actually pretty interesting, and whilst it had it's cheesy moments, it still managed to hold my attention. I mean, I'm pretty sure I devoted more of my Christmas Day to reading this than conversing with my family.

The Best of 2013

I can't believe another year has gone by! And what an incredible year its been, especially for the blog and all the amazing followers I have gained! So here's my yearly review, with my top three picks from several different topics.

Top Three Anticipated Releases of 2013
the releases that i last year stated i couldn't wait for
15746527

3. Splintered by A.G.Howard - I will still stand by it - gorgeous cover, but the read really wasn't what I had hoped it would be. But I'm still intrigued to read the sequel. What can I say; Morpheus has me wrapped around his little finger.
2. Allegiant by Veronica Roth - When I chose this last year, it didn't even have a title! Allegiant was incredibly disappointing, but I guess it was a fitting end to one of my favourite trilogies.
1. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare - I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH. UGH. MY FEELS. The reception for this read was quite controversial, but personally I really liked it. No matter what team you were on, you got your happily ever after, and Clare managed to do that in a realistic way. Well, realistic for Shadowhunters, anyway.

Top Three Covers
the most beautiful covers from books i have read this year


134233463. Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi - For this I'm talking about the UK cover. I could stare at it for ages - it represents literally everything about this book in the most beautiful way. Note to self: I need a copy.
2. Mystic City by Theo Lawrence - The book wasn't all I thought it would turn out to be, but the cover is absolutely breathtaking. 
1. Ink by Amanda Sun - When I found out about this novel, I was intrigued. But when I saw it - well, it was love at first sight. The fact that the novel is set in Japan and has a cover that links to Japanese culture is wonderful as well as gorgeous; I need a copy to stare at...in a non-creepy way.




Top Three Debut Authors
first novels from authors that were absolutely amazing

3. M. P. Attardo - I read Intermix Nation for a blog tour, and I absolutely loved it. It took the idea of racism, of a kind of apartheid, and brought it together to create an amazing read. It's one of the best indie books of the year.
2. Kara Taylor - I was really surprised - though definitely in a nice way - when reading Prep School Confidential. At first I just thought it'd be a nice, light, interesting read - a bit of Gossip Girl mixed in with a murder mystery? What more could I want? However, I found it held so much more depth than your average Gossip Girl episode. I adore this series, and I am so excited for Wicked Little Secrets.
1. Katie McGarry - author of the Pushing the Limits series. I read the first three books this year, and I loved each and every one of them. I really can't wait to see what she comes up with next.

Top Three Book Boyfriends
men that made me swoon

134942373. Chaol from Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas - Oh, Chaol. When I first read Throne of Glass, I couldn't choose whether to side with Dorian or with Chaol. But after reading Crown of Midnight...it just had to be Chaol. Whilst not your typical bad-boy, there is a ruggedness and fearless aspect about him that makes him seem so.
2. Jem Carstairs from The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare - I will always love Jem, and I am so sad that The Infernal Devices series came to an end this year. However, it had the ending I wanted and Clare definitely did him justice. 
1. Étienne St. Clair from Anna and the French Kiss - I do love me some French boys (even if he isn't actually French...but sssh) Étienne swept Anna and myself off our feet, and although this isn't the end of the series, I'm sad that the books focus on different characters - I'm not ready to say goodbye just yet.

Top Three Couples
the most adorable couples

134942373. Eleanor and Park from Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell - I only recently finished this book, but heck did I adore it. This is one of the most realistic relationships I have ever come across in a YA novel, and I could see endless similarities to teen relationships of my own. It made me nostalgic in the best way.
2. Allyson and Willem from Just One Day by Gayle Forman - I want them to get married and have babies. Why does this not happen? They sewed my heart up and then broke it all over again. 
1. Anna and Étienne from Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins - So. Much. Chemistry. It was like every single page would just fizzle up it was so hot! I don't believe I've ever shipped two characters as much as I shipped these two (well, apart from Destiel...but still...)

Top Three Favourite Reads
the ultimate reads this year

113875153. This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales - I was expecting this novel to be good, but not as good as it turned out to be. Weirdly, this novel taught me a lot about myself, and I was able to relate to Elise in more ways than I can count. It's strange when an author manages to target your feelings and experiences so precisely - but Sales did just that, and I will forever remember this book.
2. Fireblood by Trisha Wolfe - Wolfe had a reputation that I was aware of, but I'd never read a book of hers myself. This was my first, and it was absolutely breathtaking. It combined elements of several genres and bundled it into a single novel, and it was so addictive that I had difficulty putting it down. I need more *grabby hands*
1. Wonder by R. J. Palacio - Wonder left me speechless and mildly broken. I don't think I will ever be over this read.

Top Three Anticipated Releases for 2014
most anticipated books to be released the next year

176750313. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell - The title says it all really. I'm a fangirl, both for a range of fandoms and Rowell's writing. Hopefully I'll be getting an ARC of this in the new year.
2. Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano - Since finishing the Chemical Gardens trilogy, I was mildly disappointed but still excited to see what DeStefano would churn out next. And then this. A floating island in the sky? This has never been done before and I just can't wait to get my hands on it.
1. This Star Won't Go Out: The Life and Words of Esther Grace Earl - I joined the Nerdfighteria just after Esther's death, and from what I heard, it seemed like an amazing voice had been lost from the world. This book captures aspects of that voice and her personality, bringing together and compliation of her diary entries, stories, and much more.

So that's my year in books! I managed to reach my goal of 100 books and have overpassed it by almost half. I think next year I'll aim for 125 books - oh look, and that's tomorrow! Here's to another great year in the blogasphere.

Friday, 27 December 2013

Perfection by J. L. Spelbring

Title: Perfection
Author: J. L. Spelbring
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Released: May 7th 2013
Pages: 320 (ARC)
Buy: Amazon UK / Amazon US
Add on Goodreads

The personification of Aryan purity, Ellyssa's spent her whole life under her creator's strict training and guidance; her purpose is to eradicate inferior beings. She was genetically engineered to be the perfect soldier: strong, intelligent, unemotional, and telepathic. 

Only Ellyssa isn't perfect. 

Ellyssa feels emotions--a fact she's spent her life concealing. Until she encounters the epitome of inferiority: a dark-haired boy raised among renegades hiding since the Nazis won the war a century ago. He speaks to her telepathically, pushing thoughts into her mind, despite the impossibility of such a substandard person having psychic abilities. 

But he does. 

His unspoken words and visions of a place she's never visited make Ellyssa question her creator. Confused and afraid her secret will be discovered, Ellyssa runs away, embarking on a journey where she discovers there is more to her than perfection.

Oh dear....I really don't know what to say. I couldn't wait to read Perfection when I received it  through the ARC share - I mean, imagine a world where Hitler had succeeded and won the war? It's an understatement to say I was excited. However, halfway through and I just knew it wouldn't get any better than disappointing. I think this is a classic example of a book with an amazing concept that just isn't delivered in a way that makes it interesting.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (#39)

Waiting on Wednesday' is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Title: Eleanor & Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: Orion
Released: April 12th 2012
Pages: 325 (Paperback)

Eleanor is the new girl in town, and with her chaotic family life, her mismatched clothes and unruly red hair, she couldn't stick out more if she tried.

Park is the boy at the back of the bus. Black T-shirts, headphones, head in a book - he thinks he's made himself invisible. But not to Eleanor... never to Eleanor.

Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall for each other. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you're young, and you feel as if you have nothing and everything to lose.

I FREAKING LOVED THIS BOOK! I hate romance novels, I'm sick to the back teeth of them, yet adored this (Yeah I know; go figure.) I think there is just something about Rowell's writing that you can't help but fall in love with. I've read good review after countless good review, but I never realised it'd be as amazing as this.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson

Title: The Madness Underneath
Author: Maureen Johnson
Publisher: HarperCollins
Released: February 26th 2013
Pages: 290 (Paperback)
Buy: Amazon UK / Amazon US
Add on Goodreads

When madness stalks the streets of London, no one is safe…

There's a creepy new terror haunting modern-day London.
Fresh from defeating a Jack the Ripper killer, Rory must put her new-found hunting skills to the test before all hell breaks loose…

But enemies are not always who you expect them to be and crazy times call for crazy solutions. A thrilling teen mystery.

Do you ever read a book that you just don't know how to review? For me, this is one of them. I'm trying to find the words to explain how I feel about this read, but nothing I think of really sums up what I mean. I guess the closest thing to it would be disappointing.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (#38)

Waiting on Wednesday' is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

Title: This Song Will Save Your Life
Author: Leila Sales
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Released: September 17th 2013
Pages: 288 (Paperback)

All her life, Elise Dembowski has been an outsider. Starting a new school, she dreams of fitting in at last – but when her best attempts at popularity fail, she almost gives up. Then she stumbles upon a secret warehouse party. There, at night, Elise can be a different person, making real friends, falling in love for the first time, and finding her true passion – DJ’ing. 

But when her real and secret lives collide, she has to make a decision once and for all: just who is the real Elise?

I feel as if it'd be wrong to review this without sharing a bit of personal information. This novel hit me hard - it was as if Sales had crawled into the very depths of my brain and dug up my past, writing down a story that I just wish fourteen year old me could have read (it sure would have saved a lot of teen angst!) I'm a year older than main character Elise, but I still face many of the problems she conquers. I've never been a "popular" kid - heck, I stick out like a sore thumb, not just in looks but in personality, and that doesn't exactly endear anyone to you. I've never been without friends, but I get glares and snide comments made all the time from people who know nothing about me, and I just end up floundering around wondering what the heck I have done to deserve it. The truth that Sales reveals is that, as sad as it is, teenagers don't need a reason to dislike you; they just can, and they will. Sometimes this can push you to the breaking point - sometimes you wonder if suicide really is the only way out. In this novel, Sales shines a light onto the other pathway available to you; accepting yourself. It is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Title: Allegiant
Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher: HarperCollins
Released: October 22nd 2013
Pages: 526 (Hardback)
Buy: Amazon UK / Amazon US
Add on Goodreads

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories. 

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love. 

In a way, this feels like the end of an era - and to a certain extent, I guess it is. I've spent the past year anticipating the release of Allegiant after the godsmacker of a cliffhanger Insurgent left us on, and in a weird way, I don't think it could ever live up to whatever expectations I as the reader had - every fan wanted something different to happen, but nothing would ever be quite right for everyone. However, I think that's the difficulty with most trilogies - it will never be the perfect goodbye because we just don't want to let it go.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

13480671Title: Insurgent
Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher: HarperCollins
Released: May 1st 2012
Pages: 525 (Paperback)

I HAVE DONE BAD THINGS.
I CAN'T TAKE THEM BACK, 
AND THEY ARE PART OF WHO I AM.

Tris has survived a brutal attack on her former home and family. But she has paid a terrible price. Wracked by grief and guilt, she becomes ever more reckless as she struggles to accept her new future.

Yet if Tris wants to uncover the truth about her world, she must be stronger than ever... because more shocking choices and sacrifices lie ahead.

It's always the way, isn't it, in dystopian trilogies? Fantastic first book and then second book syndrome. The first time I read Insurgent, I was swept away by the trilogy on a whole and it could do no wrong. But now that I've reread it, I can actually pick out some major faults. Whilst I still enjoyed it, I didn't enjoy it enough to warrant the previous five star rating.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Bitter Like Orange Peel by Jessica Bell

18086608Title: Bitter Like Orange Peel
Author: Jessica Bell
Publisher: Vine Leaves Press
Released: November 1st 2013
Pages: 179 (eBook)
Buy: Amazon UK / Amazon US
Add on Goodreads

Six women. One man. Seven secrets. One could ruin them all.

Kit is a twenty-five-year-old archaeology undergrad, who doesn’t like to get her hands dirty. Life seems purposeless. But if she could track down her father, Roger, maybe her perspective would change.

The only problem—Roger is as rotten as the decomposing oranges in her back yard according to the women in her life: Ailish, her mother—an English literature professor who communicates in quotes and clichés, and who still hasn’t learned how to express emotion on her face; Ivy, her half-sister—a depressed archaeologist, with a slight case of nymphomania who fled to America after a divorce to become a waitress; and Eleanor, Ivy’s mother—a pediatric surgeon who embellishes her feelings with medical jargon, and named her daughter after "Intravenous."

Against all three women’s wishes, Kit decides to find Roger.
Enter a sister Kit never knew about.
But everyone else did.

What a bloody awful book. I'm sorry, but it has to be said. I've read some bad books in my time, but this is most definitely in the top five. The synopsis held the promise of a novel that wasn't delivered.

The basic premise is a group of six women who all have ties to this one man - to some of them he was a lover, a husband, and to others he was a father - or an absentee one at that. Kit, one of the daughters, is desperate to find out about this man who she has never met, so sets out on a journey to meet him. However, in doing so she unveils a whole load of buried family secrets.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Title: Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher: HarperCollins
Released: February 2nd 2012
Pages: 489 (Paperback)

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is--she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

After receiving a copy of Allegiant for review, I thought that to celebrate (aaaand to remind myself of the story) I'd reread both Divergent and Insurgent. Now I always remembered that I'd found Divergent addictive and very difficult to put down, but I think I forgot to what extent. All I can say is Bloody. Hell. After all this time, it is still one of the best dystopian novels I have ever read.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Pawn by Aimée Carter

Title: Pawn
Author: Aimée Carter
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Released: November 26th 2013
Pages: 346 (eBook)
Buy: Amazon UK / Amazon US
Add on Goodreads

YOU CAN BE A VII. IF YOU GIVE UP EVERYTHING. 

For Kitty Doe, it seems like an easy choice. She can either spend her life as a III in misery, looked down upon by the higher ranks and forced to leave the people she loves, or she can become a VII and join the most powerful family in the country. 

If she says yes, Kitty will be Masked—surgically transformed into Lila Hart, the Prime Minister's niece, who died under mysterious circumstances. As a member of the Hart family, she will be famous. She will be adored. And for the first time, she will matter. 

There's only one catch. She must also stop the rebellion that Lila secretly fostered, the same one that got her killed …and one Kitty believes in. Faced with threats, conspiracies and a life that's not her own, she must decide which path to choose—and learn how to become more than a pawn in a twisted game she's only beginning to understand.

I've had my eye on Pawn for quite a while, so once I got accepted for an eGalley of it, I was ecstatic. Despite the surge of dystopian novels over the last few years, many of them still manage to come up with original concepts; Pawn is a perfect example of this.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Netgalley November: Week 3 & 4 Wrap Up

I'm still awful at posting wrap ups! Oh well. Anyway - Netgalley November is over! I can't believe how quickly the month went, and how amazing some of the reads were.


Books I Finished in Week 1

Books I Finished in Week 2

The Kissing Booth

Books I Finished in Week 3

Books I Finished in Week 4
10838787
Fireblood by Trisha Wolfe / Pawn by Aimee Carter

So there are the Netgalley books I read this month! To be honest, they were all good, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading each and every one of them. I managed to read 7 which is roughly half the maximum amount I thought I could get through, so I'm pretty pleased to be ranked Medium. It was wonderful to take part in Netgalley November, as it was lovely to see what everyone was reading and how everyone was doing. I'll most definitely be taking part next year!

Book of the Month: November

I feel quite proud of myself this month, as I managed to get through - wait for it - ten books! Sure I've read more before, but considering I've just started my A-Levels, I'm pretty chuffed. I have to say, I've read a variety of books this months; some really good, and some...well...some really bad (I'm looking at you, Bitter Like Orange Peel). However, the winner this month to me is obvious.

Fireblood by Trisha Wolfe took my breath away. You know when you read an absolutely amazing book, and everything else dims in comparison? Yeah. That. It combined two of my favourite genres and made it into one amazing read that I don't think I will ever get over. If you've read it, good. If you haven't, read it.



Fireblood by Trisha Wolfe

Title: Fireblood
Author: Trisha Wolfe
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Release: December 17th 2013
Pages: 376 (Kindle)
Pre-Order: Amazon UK / Amazon US
Add on Goodreads

To save a kingdom, Zara must choose between a prince who could be the answer and a rising rebellion that threatens to take control.

When Zara Dane is chosen to marry Prince Sebastian Hart, son of the man who ordered her father’s capture, Zara knows she must fight to save everything she loves from ruin. 

Being betrothed to the prince means a life trapped behind the towering stone walls of the Camelot-forged realm. Under the watchful eye of the prince's first knight, Sir Devlan Capra, changing her future becomes difficult. 

When an unlikely rebel reveals the truth about the deadly secrets that fuel King Hart’s twisted world, Zara’s path to rescue her father becomes clouded by deception. The Rebels clear her path by forcing Zara’s hand with an ultimatum: sway Prince Sebastian to join the Rebels, convincing him of his father’s evil nature, or they will take him out. 

But Zara is uncertain about a future under the Rebels’ command and where the prince’s heart truly lies. She must decide who to trust, what to believe, and what she’s truly fighting for before the king destroys all of Karm, including her heart.

You know that feeling when you finish a book and you just become speechless? Yeah, I'm like that with Fireblood. I don't think there is any word in the dictionary that could properly sum up just how breathtaking it is. I went into it with high expectations - everyone has heard of Trisha Wolfe, and the reviews I've read have been nothing but praise for her writing. I finished the book with those expectations raised; Wolfe is a tremendous author, and I am now definitely on the bandwagon.