Monday 30 June 2014

Chrysoprase by B. Kristin McMichael: Book Blitz, Giveaway and Excerpts

I love this cover, so pretty! Welcome to the Book Blitz for book two in B. Kristin McMichael's YA Chalcedony Chronicles series, Chrysoprase. I have a blitz-wide giveaway of signes copies of both books one and two in the series, "Carnelian" and "Chrysoprase"(Open to US only.) and some excerpts for you. The tour is hosted by Xpresso Book Tours. Enjoy!

Chrysoprase by B. Kristin McMichael

Chalcedony Chronicles, #2

Publication Date: February 1st 2014

Genres: Time-Travel, Young Adult

Chrysoprase by B. Kristin McMichael book cover


Mari’s return to the present was not exactly what she expected. As the goddess predicted, there are always consequences to going into the past. Now, with the help of her friend Ty, Mari must find a way to get her loved ones back. Unfortunately, it may require the assistance of an ex-boyfriend whom she never wished to see again. He just might be the key to learn how to time travel on her own, or he might have another motive. Mari is left to decide, can he be trusted to help?

Sunday 29 June 2014

Sunday Post, #6 - June 22 - 29

The Sunday Post

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It's a chance to share news, recap what has happened on the blog, what is upcoming and anything everything in between.

Anyone can participate as long as you:

-- Enter your link on the post- Sundays beginning at 12:01 am(CST) (link will be open all week)

-- Link back to Caffeinated Book Reviewers blog

-- Visit others who have linked up

June Re-Cap

So, this happened.

Mockingjay Teaser Video.

One word is needed: PEETA!! *sniffles*

Thursday 26 June 2014

Life of a Blogger: Favourite Sports Teams

Life of a Blogger is an event created by Novel Heartbeat. Click here to see all the future topics and for more information.

I’ve wanted to join in with Life of a Blogger for a while now, and I never get around to writing up a post in time. This week’s topic is a perfect match for me. I love most sports, but there is only one sport I’m passionate about, and that’s football (or soccer). I love the tactics, the competitiveness, the mind-games and the awesome feeling when your team wins. I love everything about it!

European football is home to the best players and the best football leagues in the world. From La Liga in Spain, the Bundesliga in Germany and The Premier League in England, there is no shortage of awesome teams to support. My team is in The Premier League, and I don’t think it’ll come as too much of a surprise as I’ve mentioned them countless times in the past. My team is Chelsea Football Club.

I grew up in a house with a Leeds fan and a both a Manchester City and Manchester United fan, and then I come along and blossom into a Chelsea fan, much to their collective horror. Growing up, the vast majority of the rest of my family/friends were Manchester United fans… so that was always a nice topic of debate! (Or more accurately, ridicule!) And yes, I just might have been floating around in glee looking at the Premier League table this season - At least they know what the rest of us have had to suffer through for years!

I loved each time Chelsea won The Premier League title. Up until 2012, there was always one that got away. If you support a team in one of the top leagues in Europe, there is one trophy that every fan wants their team to win, apart from their own league title. And it’s this:

The UEFA Champions League Trophy

If you get to play in this league, chances are you are the best of the best. Drogba, Ibrahimović, Neuer, Ronaldo, Müller, Messi, Neymar, Schweinsteiger, Mata, Hazard, van Persie, Bale, Robben, and Torres to name a very small number of players, all play (or have played) in it with their respective teams. When your team actually wins the trophy, it’s one of the best feelings in the world.

What about you? What sports are you into and who do you support?

Wednesday 25 June 2014

WoW #16 Welcome to the Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz

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

Welcome to the Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Expected publication: July 22nd 2014 by Disney-Hyperion

Genres: Young Adult Horror / Thriller

Add to Goodreads


What’s your worst nightmare?

For Ivy Jensen, it’s the eyes of a killer that haunt her nights. For Parker Bradley, it’s bloodthirsty sea serpents that slither in his dreams.

And for seven essay contestants, it’s their worst nightmares that win them an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at director Justin Blake’s latest, confidential project. Ivy doesn’t even like scary movies, but she’s ready to face her real-world fears. Parker’s sympathetic words and perfect smile help keep her spirits up. . . at least for now.

Not everyone is so charming, though. Horror-film fanatic Garth Vader wants to stir up trouble. It’s bad enough he has to stay in the middle of nowhere with this group—the girl who locks herself in her room; the know-it-all roommate; “Mister Sensitive”; and the one who’s too cheery for her own good. Someone has to make things interesting.

Except, things are already a little weird. The hostess is a serial-killer look-alike, the dream-stealing Nightmare Elf is lurking about, and the seventh member of the group is missing.

By the time Ivy and Parker realize what’s really at stake, it’s too late to wake up and run.

-- As seen on Goodreads

I like scary books. Welcome to the Dark House seems like it could be a scary book. Hopefully! I'm not sure if the name "Garth Vader" has put an evil grin on my face or the blurb...

What upcoming books are you waiting to read? Tell us in the comments or leave a link you your WoW post!

Monday 23 June 2014

Don't you just love it when...

You’re away from home and you forget your blogger password?

Yep. No joke!

Since I started blogging, I’ve read lots of blog posts sharing tips on scheduling posts in advance and sharing how everyone organises their time and blogging/reading/reviewing schedules. How I envy those of you that can stick to schedules! I take one look at a planner or calendar that’s full of appointments or tasks and I feel like all the freedom has been sucked out of me and I begin to, well, procrastinate. Also, when I make a list of things I need to do, everything I write down tends to be exactly what I don’t do!

Last week, I was rather proud of myself. I knew I was going away for a few days, so I had my posts scheduled in advance, and I was feeling all angelically organised. I began to see that, yes, organisation and task lists really are awesome! I knew I’d have access to Wi-Fi where I was staying, so I’d be able to grab an hour to reply to comments, emails and the like, so I boot up the laptop one afternoon, and the log in screen pops up asking for my password. I type in my usual randomness, and then those lovely red letters pop up telling me the email or password you entered is incorrect. What do you mean it’s incorrect!? That’s my password, damn it! Then the penny drops… In my epic moments of organisation, I changed all my passwords like a good little blogger. Shame I didn’t add my new passwords to my friggin’ task list!

Instead of going through all the hoops of getting yet another new password, I decided to take a break until I went home. I’ve been so caught up in the read-review-blog circle I didn’t realise how much I needed the time away. Plus, the weather was absolutely beautiful and when that happens in Ireland, you have to make the most of it! And yeah, that view did help drag me out into the great outdoors! I mean, twist my arm and all that... ;-)

Dromineer, County Tipperary, Ireland

Dromineer is a little village in County Tipperary, right on Lough Derg, the biggest lake on the Shannon. It's a small harbour village and really quiet, but on a really warm sunny day, it's beautiful. The ruins of Dromineer Castle is in the bottom picture. It's impossible not to run into forgotten castles, towers, monasteries and church ruins all over the country. If anyone happens to visit the Tipperary/Clare area, think about staying in The Lakeside Hotel in Killaloe/Ballina. The food is amazing!

Dromineer, County Tipperary, Ireland

Thursday 19 June 2014

Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Delirium by Lauren Oliver book cover

Title: Delirium
Author: Lauren Oliver
Series: Delirium, #1
Format: Paperback, owned
My rating: 1.5 / 5

Add to Goodreads

They say that the cure for Love will make me happy and safe forever. And I've always believed them. Until now. Now everything has changed. Now, I'd rather be infected with love for the tiniest sliver of a second than live a hundred years smothered by a lie.

-- As seen on Goodreads

My Thoughts

I’m getting very good at unintentionally reading two very similar books straight after each other. Last month, I read Life Eternal and Die for Me back-to-back. This month, it’s Matched and Delirium. On page two, I should have backed away and thought 'Leave it a few weeks'. I had a warning! I should have taken it:

“I will have the procedure and then I’ll be paired with a boy the evaluators choose for me. In a few years, we’ll get married. Recently I’ve started having dreams about my wedding.”

Delirium was all too similar to Matched, and I regret not putting the book aside for a while. As you can probably gather from my rating at the top of the page, I wasn’t a fan of the book. Is Delirium a bad book? No, definitely not. But it’s a bad book for me. In short I had three main problems: I don’t see how Delirium is a dystopian; I didn’t enjoy the writing style and I didn’t connect with the characters.

The biggest stumbling block I had: I do not understand how this is a dystopia. It reads like a dictatorship set in quite a modern contemporary setting that we would be familiar with today. It’s unconvincing and very tame. When I read a book that is tagged ‘dystopian’, I automatically have expectations. I expect a very fast paced plot, with lots of action. I want crisp and believable world-building. I need to be invested in and sympathetic to the characters struggles and their daily lives, which are usually incredibly cruel and full of hardship. I love a unique and believable sci-fi element. I want to be on the edge-of my seat, feeling the panic, fear, desperation and whatever else the character experiences. Unfortunately, I didn’t experience one thing on my little list.

The Delirium world is basically a dictatorial government that has sealed off the United States from the rest of the world, and decided that compulsory lobotomies to suck out half your brain will cure the population of the dreaded love virus. In theory, this should be awesome! In practice, for my tastes, I hate to say but it failed miserably. The way it’s portrayed in the book is so far-fetched. The characters live pretty cushy lives, quite similar to how we do now. Cars are the only thing that stuck in my mind that was mentioned as being missing, due to limited gas and electricity. Now, a dictatorship and no cars on the streets do not make a believable or appealing dystopian world in my eyes.

It might seem that I was dead set against this book from the outset. This isn’t the case. I actually liked and enjoyed the book up until around page 136, when I noticed something that I couldn’t un-notice. I don’t like repetitiveness. I also don’t like inconsistencies, and when I notice them I can’t un-see and forget them. Lena goes to meet Alex at the beach one afternoon, and she takes off her shoes and leaves them on the sand [Page 136-7]. After some info-dumping disguised as conversation, they race each other out into the water to see who will reach one of the marker buoys out in the bay. [Page 143] Lena gets her “toe caught in a tangle of red and purple seaweed” then at the bottom of the page, she states that “my shoes are leaden and filled with water” – Uh… honey, your shoes are still on the beach. If that was it, I could have brushed it off as a mistake that fell through the cracks. It happens! I’m usually quite lenient with mistakes and carry on and not think of it again. Unfortunately, it’s repeated again on Page 144 - 5, Page 148 and then again on Page 149, each time she’s telling us about how her shoes or sneakers scrape along the bottom of the ocean, or they are dragging her down. At this stage I was thinking did I imagine it when she took off her shoes? I mean, it’s been mentioned four times now that she’s wearing them. It must be me. As she is leaving the beach at the end of the chapter, this happens: “I haul myself to my feet, grab my shoes, and limp up to my bike.”

Sigh, I don’t like doing this, and I feel like I’m being a nit-picky bitch, but when I notice something like this, I can’t forget it. This is the problem with densely descriptive and detailed books. If there are any inconsistencies at all, they are immediately blatantly obvious. What makes it worse though: the more I try to forget and overlook it, the more I keep thinking that it should have been picked up at some point during the editing stage.

I purposely try to avoid books with animals in the story. The reason I do this? I hate animal cruelty, both in real life and in fiction. Some people don’t like love triangles. Some don’t like insta-love. I can’t tolerate animal cruelty, and when I had to endure reading about a dog being clubbed by a guard and the owners leaving the poor thing with a crushed skull, dumped on a rubbish tip outside their house to bleed to death, I just about threw my book out the window with the hopes it would land in a shredder. I understand why this was done: to show the lack of humanity, brutality and how cold and heartless the government officials are. This might work as a shock factor for some readers and some might think I’m over-reacting, but it personally turns my stomach and it made me want to DNF in a fit of rage and nudge my book into a fiery pit of boiling lava.

The only character I could have connected with was Alex, but by the time things slowly got interesting it was too little, too late. I didn’t connect with Lena at any stage. I thought she was very robotic at the beginning of the book, and quite the goody-two-shoes. By the end, she had transformed into a brat with a terrible attitude and it didn’t endear me to her at all. The ending was as expected: a cliff-hanger. They don’t surprise me anymore. It’s more of a surprise if there isn’t a cliff-hanger!

I want to love every book I read, but I know that isn’t realistic. If the book wasn’t so long-winded, if everything was condensed and the book was maybe two hundred pages shorter, I might have been able to enjoy it. Delirium is my biggest disappointment so far this year, I was almost certain I would have at least liked it. I’m learning my lesson to go in with no expectations!

Wednesday 18 June 2014

WoW #15 Some Fine Day by Kat Ross

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

Some Fine Day by Kat Ross

Expected publication: July 1st 2014

Genres: Young Adult Sci-Fi - Dystopian

Add to Goodreads

Some Fine Day by Kat Ross book cover

Sixteen-year-old Jansin Nordqvist is on the verge of graduating from the black ops factory known as the Academy. She's smart and deadly, and knows three things with absolute certainty:

1. When the world flooded and civilization retreated deep underground, there was no one left on the surface.

2. The only species to thrive there are the toads, a primate/amphibian hybrid with a serious mean streak.

3. There's no place on Earth where you can hide from the hypercanes, continent-sized storms that have raged for decades.

Jansin has been lied to. On all counts.

-- As seen on Goodreads

Yeah, the cover did draw me in at first. Then I saw the word "toads". Well, I've read books about aliens, vampires, countless different types of shifters, ghosts, angels, demons, automatons, zombies and witches... why not add toads to the list? Ok, all joking aside, it does seem a little different to some of the dystopians around at the minute and it's got me a bit curious.

What books are you waiting on this week? Leave a link in the comments if you have a WoW post so I can visit :)

Tuesday 17 June 2014

Top Ten Books On My Summer TBR list

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme run by The Broke and the Bookish. This week the topic is our Top Ten Books On Our Summer TBR lists.

Looking back at my Spring 2014 TBR post, I’ve only read 4 out of the 10 books I listed. Let’s see if I can do a little better this time around!

Just released, or soon to be released books

Four out of these five are series continuations: Resistance – #4 in the Night School series; Rain – #2 in the Paper God’s series; Dust to Dust – #9 and the finial book in the Experiment in Terror series and Opposition – #5 and the final Lux book. I’m determined to finish some series and trilogies this year. I start dozens and dozens of series, but actually completing them is a rarer occurrence! I’m very curious about Boomerang. Veronica Roth writing NA? I’ll try it!

Books on my shelves I want to read this Summer

Harry Potter won’t be a re-read… I haven’t read the series yet, so it’s about time I started it! Breakable, Cinder, Throne of Glass and Shadow and Bone are all books I hope I’ll love. I’ve learned my lesson not to go into hyped books with too high expectations, so I’m trying to keep things in check!

What books are you planning on reading this summer? Leave a link to your TTT post :)

Sunday 15 June 2014

Sunday Post, #5 June 9 - 15

The Sunday Post

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It's a chance to share news, recap what has happened on the blog, what is upcoming and anything everything in between.

Anyone can participate as long as you:

-- Enter your link on the post- Sundays beginning at 12:01 am(CST) (link will be open all week)
-- Link back to Caffeinated Book Reviewers blog
-- Visit others who have linked up

June 9 - 15 Re-Cap

The World Cup – the event that happens every four years that brings all football fans together… until the drama-lama referee’s make crazy decisions and start favouring one team over the other. Good times. It’s no secret I love football, so yeah, I’ve been a little bit distracted the past few days. I’m completely neutral as Ireland failed (miserably) to get into the competition. But I'm showing my support to all the European teams, and I do think out of the teams I've seen they have been the most consistent so far. As long as a European country wins, I think I shall be happy ;-)

On the reading/blogging side of things, I’m not having the best start to June. We are halfway through the month and I’ve read nothing that I really enjoyed. It felt like a chore to finish some of the books in honesty. Love, Lex might have been a little funny, but in hindsight, it’s quite badly written and didn’t deserve the 2.5 stars I gave it. I must have been in a generous mood that day. My expectations were very high for both Matched and Delirium, and I was so sure I was going to love them both. It’s so disheartening to have not one, but three books disappoint one after the other. It left me very discouraged for every other book I need to read this month. The only book I’ve completed that was pretty good was Spider’s Bite.

I was so afraid to start this book given my current mind-frame, but I decided to give The Iron King by Julie Kagawa a shot. I started it last night, and so far, sooooo good! I haven’t had much time to read the past couple of days – the World Cup being the reason – but from what I have managed to get done, I think I’ll like it *knock on wood!*

On the Blog this past week

Monday: Review: Matched by Ally Condie
Tuesday: Top Ten Books I’ve read in 2014 so far
Wednesday: WoW Tone Deaf by Olivia Rivers
Thursday: eARC Review: Love, Lex by Avery Aster
Friday: Feature & Follow: Armchair Travel

Books I read this past week

I included Delirium in my list last week, as I had hoped I would finish it last Sunday. I didn't get it finished then, so I'm re-including it this week. I won't be reviewing Over You, I don't feel I have enough to say about it.

Current and Upcoming Reads

I'm not expecting a whole lot of reading time this coming week. If I get The Iron King finished, I'd say that might be it, but I think I'll move onto My Soul to Take once that is finished.

Posts I loved

Emily May from The Book Geek shared this post on Goodreads this week and I agree with it. I haven't read The Fault in Our Stars, and I hadn't planned on reading it either. I'm not sure if it's for me, but with all the hype surrounding the movie, it's becoming overkill and it will make a lot of people turn against the book. -- The -- No, The Fault in Our Stars Is Not Young-Adult Fiction’s Savior

I should have included this post last week, but Reviews from a Bookworm made an excellent point: CAPTCHA is evil. Discussion: Why Commenting Makes Me Feel Like A Performing Monkey

Ashley over at Nose Graze wonders how we market ourselves as bloggers and our blogs. I'm not a very in your face person, and quite a lot of the points Ashley makes applies for me too. Hell, even commenting on other blogs can be a huge step for me at this stage, never mind approaching others for things! What do you think, and how do you market yourself and your blog? How Well Do You Market Yourself & Your Blog?

Soundtrack for the Week

Katatonia -- My Twin

Thanks for stopping by! Have a great week and happy reading!

Friday 13 June 2014

Feature & Follow #9 -- Armchair Travel

Feature and Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee of Parajunkee’s View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host has their own Feature Blogs.

The goal is to increase blog followers and to make new friends. If you want to take part, answer the question posted and add your post to the linky, follow the hosts and the featured blogs, and hop from blog to blog leaving a comment to say hello, and follow as many or as few blogs as you like.

This Weeks Question:

Armchair Travel! Tell us about your favorite book in a setting you’d like to visit (a real place for this question)

The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris book cover

There are so many places I’d love to visit, but one of my favourite places to read about is Paris. It’s such a beautiful city, and I love when that atmosphere is captured. Unfortunately I’ve never been, but it’s very close to the top of my must visit places list.

The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris by Jenny Colgan is one of my favourites that is set in Paris. I just loved the way Paris was described, and how everything seemed quite authentically French. As far as I know, the author spends a lot of time in France, and I do think this helped so much in making the atmosphere seem very realistic. And obviously the chocolate part of the book was a big plus, and the chocolate recipes at the back makes it even better!

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Thursday 12 June 2014

eARC Review: Love, Lex by Avery Aster


Title: Love, Lex
Author: Love, Lex by Avery Aster
Series: The Undergrad Years, #1
Format: eARC via Netgalley
My rating: 1.5 / 5

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This summer, I’d planned to celebrate my eighteenth birthday in Europe with my fellow Manhattanites—Taddy Brill, Blake Morgan, and Vive Farnworth—until I caught my boyfriend screwing my mother. According to the police report, this vomit-inducing incident happened around the same time I’d supposedly blown-up my mother’s penthouse. Like I’m walking around Soho with a stick of dynamite in my Louis Vuitton purse—not! Now, my besties and I are in jail.

Officer Ford Gotti, the Harley-wheelin’ biker cop who arrested us, keeps sticking his perfectly-sculpted nose into my case. His inked body is jacked like a superhero, and he says I can trust him. He wants me to fess up. I won’t. Not again. Why should I? My friends and I had a previous stint in juvie that nearly destroyed us. I gotta protect them and keep my mouth shut. Right? —Lex Easton, women’s studies major, motorcycle enthusiast, and virgin.

The Undergrad Years is a New Adult contemporary miniseries about first loves, independence, and everlasting friendships.

Reader warning: Contains mature content intended for readers 17 and up.

-- As seen on Goodreads

* I received this book via NetGalley, with thanks to the publishers, in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence my opinion in any way.*

My Thoughts

Lex is determined to lose her “Lady V” card to her boyfriend Kelle on her upcoming birthday trip to Paris – only, according to Kelle, if she loses some weight beforehand. She returns home one day to find Kelle screwing her mother. And we get details. Now, I will congratulate Lex on her restraint. If it were me in her shoes, I’d: 1) Vomit, then 2) Scream bloody murder, and then 3) Threaten to annihilate my so-called boyfriend’s manly parts. Painfully. But that might just be me.

Love, Lex is the first book in the The Undergrad Years series, and it’s a prequel to The Manhattanites series. I haven’t read The Manhattanites and this probably affected my overall feelings toward the book. I feel like I’ve missed out on a lot of things that had happened to the characters, and I’m not sure if all of this is covered in the main series or not. There are quite a few summary moments to help give some prior details and that helped a little. For those that have read The Manhattanites, you’ll definitely benefit more from the book that I did.

The entire book reads a bit like a TV show. I loved the Spice Girl references, they were so funny! That’s the thing, the book started out very funny and quite over-the-top and I liked it for what it is: rich New York socialite kids getting away with things they shouldn’t. But it does have a flip side: all the crazy over-the-top drama became a little too much and my attention slipped a bit at times.

There isn’t much character background or development in this novella, as I’m assuming all that is taken care of in the main series. I didn’t really like Lex, I didn’t connect with her. This is mainly because I didn’t know much about her! I mentioned it above, reading the main series would be extremely beneficial.

Love, Lex is exactly like I expected: a light, fun, sugary entertaining rom-com that will appeal to some people more than others. Did I like it? Overall, I did, but I don’t feel I got to know the characters, and that’s why I chose this rating. It’s funny and entertaining, I can’t deny that. It may not be exactly to my tastes, but definitely give it a shot. If you like those Reality TV shows that follow and show celebrities daily lives, I’d suspect you’ll love this series.

Wednesday 11 June 2014

WoW #14 Tone Deaf by Olivia Rivers

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

Tone Deaf by Olivia Rivers

Tone Deaf by Olivia Rivers

Expected publication: July 4th 2014

Genres: YA/NA Contemporaty; Music; Realistic Fiction

Add to Goodreads

His world is music…
…Her world is silent.

Ali Blinde was a prodigy destined to become one of the greatest musicians of the 21st century.

Until the brain tumor struck.

Now seventeen, Ali lives in a soundless world where she gets by with ASL and lip-reading. So when she meets Jace Beckett, she thinks he’s her worst nightmare come true. Jace is the lead singer in the wildly-popular band, Tone Deaf, and he’s exactly the kind of success-story Ali hates and resents.

Nineteen-year-old Jace has it all: fame, money, and any girl he wants. Every night on tour brings a new performance and a new girl, which is just what he needs to avoid the pain of relationships.

But when Jace learns Ali is being abused, he reluctantly proposes a solution: Run away with him and his band as they tour the country. With freedom in sight, Ali takes the offer. Immediately, she’s swept into a world filled with wild punk music, wilder musicians, and maybe—just maybe—love.

-- As seen on Goodreads

I accidentally stumbled across Tone Deaf on Goodreads, and it seems like a really good concept. I haven't read a book with a deaf main character before, but I have read books with other secondary characters who are hard-of-hearing or deaf. From the blurb, it touches on quite a few issues, and it'll be interesting to see how it's handled. I'm hoping it doesn't fall into the same old New Adult traps though. If it doesn't, it could be really good.

What books are you waiting on? Tell us in the comments or leave a link to your WoW post!

Tuesday 10 June 2014

Top Ten Books I've Read So Far This Year

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme run by The Broke and the Bookish. This week, the topic is our Top Ten Books We've Read So Far This Year.

I’ve read 57 books so far this year. That’s a heck of a lot, and about eight or nine more than I read this time last year. I wish all of those were books I loved, but they can’t all be favourites. Only sixteen out of those fifty-seven I’d consider to be books I loved. I’m not sure if I’m being becoming incredibly picky, or if I’m losing my ability to choose books I’ll like!

I tried to put these in order, and this is the final ten I’ve come up with. I’ve switched it around four times already, so it’s not necessarily set in stone!

Monday 9 June 2014

Review: Matched by Ally Condie

Matched by Ally Condie book cover

Title: Matched
Author: Ally Condie
Series: Matched, #1
Format: Paperback, owned
My rating: 2.5 / 5

Add to Goodreads

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

-- As seen on Goodreads

My Thoughts

Matched begins with Cassie on her way to her Match Banquet, the event that happens once in each person’s lifetime when they turn seventeen years old. They attend a Banquet (bet you didn’t see that coming) where they are paired with their perfect match. This is the person they will love and cherish, and have however many children the Officials dressed in white tell them they can have, all before their thirty-first birthday. Then they will continue to work at their assigned job and go on and live the perfect life, just as Society dictated them to.

Naturally, there is a little glitch that happens for our main character, Cassia. She is matched with Xander at the Banquet, but a second face replaces his image when she looks at her microcard when she returns home. This created the entire plot for at least two hundred pages of the story: a love triangle smattered in with a daily account of Cassia’s life.

I had an issue with the book: I was bored! I don’t like repetitiveness, and reading about having breakfast, then going hiking, then Second School, then Sorting, then dinner, then sleeping and Cassia wondering if she will dream about Ky or Xander just became so tedious!

I’m going to do something I absolutely hate: I’m going to compare Matched to Divergent. Please, hear me out. I’m not comparing the plot or the characters; I’m comparing how I felt when reading both books.

Divergent starts out with Tris choosing which faction she will belong to. She attended an event, just like Cassia does. The major difference: Divergent’s plot never stopped. It zoomed on ahead and I never lost interest for one second. There was action and something jumping out at you on every page – basically everything I love reading about in a good dystopian. On the complete opposite: Matched started out semi-interesting, and it plodded on with very little action happening. We got a breadcrumb of information here and there, and then it was back to the same old account of daily life. I was so disappointed. With thinking of Divergent right at the beginning, I think I set myself up for disliking the book in a way. I was expecting the same fast pace with endless action.

This isn’t all doom and gloom. The last maybe hundred pages or so were so much better! If everything that happened at the end was dispersed throughout the book, I probably would have ended up really liking the book. Right up until then, I was contemplating a one-point-five star rating. Two things make me rethink this: the ending and Ky.

I really liked his character right from the beginning. I loved seeing his story grow through the book, and getting little snippets of his past. I think this is the main reason I kept reading for so long. Usually with love triangles, we have the good boy and the bad boy. Both Ky and Xander have both good and bad traits, which makes them more believable rather than having the shining golden boy and the moody bad boy. If I was in Cassia’s shoes, I would have made my choice pretty instantaneously – Ky – even though there is merit for both guys. Unfortunately, Xander annoyed me right at the beginning, and nothing that happened helped to change my mind.

I’m so glad I continued on reading. While the ending doesn’t discount the utterly boring middle, it has sparked my curiosity. I want to see what happens both Ky and surprisingly, to Cassia next. I didn’t take to her very quickly. It took a very long time for me to sort of connect with her. The choices she made early on infuriated me, and lots of things should have been pretty obvious to her. She has a “sorters” brain, so she should be able to pick up the subtle differences in things and get to the bottom of issues very quickly. I don’t feel this part of her personality was actually shown properly, certainly not at the beginning. Yes, we are told about it, but I didn’t see much initially to back these statements up with actions. I’m glad I can say she grew on me as the story went along. I much prefer the girl she is at the end of the story to the one at the beginning.

It’s a combination of the ending, and Ky and I’ll even tack on Cassia, that I think are making me want to give Crossed a chance. I’ve seen lots of negative things about Crossed, so I’m a little bit apprehensive. If you’ve read both books, do you think it was worth it? I have so many books I really want to read, and I’m not a hundred percent sure if I want to add Crossed to that list. Any help you can give me would be appreciated!

If I was rating the ending, it would get four stars easily and I would have liked to have given that rating to the book. Unfortunately it’s a case of too little too late, and I like to try to be as consistent in my ratings as I can, hence why I’ve given Matched 2.5 stars. I don’t feel it warrants a higher score just because I liked the ending.

Sunday 8 June 2014

Sunday Post #4 - June 1 - 8

The Sunday Post

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It's a chance to share news, recap what has happened on the blog, what is upcoming and anything everything in between.

Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

I'm combining both memes together again this week, and I'll be linking this post up to both linky's.

June 1 - 8 Re-Cap / Mini-discussion

I’m a little curious about something: Do you plan what you are going to read in advance?

I do. The main reason? Goodreads Challenges. I joined a couple of reading challenge groups last year, and I’ve become slightly addicted to challenging myself to complete the tasks or spell out the chosen words using book titles/author initials by the deadline date. I, erm, have over forty challenges currently active. Yeah… ok. Maybe the words “slightly addicted” don’t quite cover it? The only way I have a hope of completing any of these is to select the books I need to read in advance, and that’s usually a list of ten or eleven titles, and I read them in any order I like throughout the month.

There is a reason why I’m rambling about this. Having a list of books to read does help with knowing what to read next. But… the big downside is when I buy a bunch of new books and I can’t really read any of them immediately – it sucks! I have three books that are driving me absolutely bonkers for the past week: Cinder; Throne of Glass and Breakable. They are sitting on my bookshelf, tempting me, and I know I can’t read them this month unless I finish my TBR pile for June early.

This is going to be my little note-to-self moment: No. More. Reading. Challenges! Bring on the spontaneity!

Phew, I feel better after that little outburst… ok, carrying on: My beautiful shiny books I've added to my never-ending TBR shelves this week!

Books I Bought

Hallowed is book two in the Unearthly trilogy which I'm really looking forward to continuing. I've seen some mixed things about it, so, trying to keep lower expectations for this one. The Scorch Trials is number two in The Maze Runner trilogy. It's been a couple of months since I read The Maze Runner, and I'm not as big a fan as I was back then. It happens. Hopefully book two will help me remember what I saw in the first book.

And finally, the three little gems that I'm pretty sure I'll love, that I can't read just yet. *cries*

The links will open up each books Goodreads page.

Bitten by Kelley Armstrong
Hallowed by Cynthia Hand
The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Breakable by Tammara Webber

On the Blog this past week

Tuesday: Ten Books That Will Be In My Beach Bag This Summer – 2014 Edition
Wednesday: WoW #13: Complicit by Stephanie Kuehu
Thursday:Review: The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna
Thursday:2014 Book Blogger Summer Reading Programme – May Update
Friday:Feature and Follow #8 – Guilty Pleasures
Saturday:Review: Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Books I read this past week

Marched by Ally Condie -- Love, Lex by Avery Aster -- (And almost finished) Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Soundtrack for the Week

Chris Cornell and Ben Shepherd (Soundgarden) -- Black Hole Sun

Thanks for stopping by, and feel free to leave a link you your Stacking or Sunday Post posts.

Saturday 7 June 2014

Review: Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins book cover

Title: Hex Hall
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Series: Hex Hall, #1
Format: Paperback, owned
My rating: 4 / 5

Add to Goodreads

Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire student on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.

As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

-- As seen on Goodreads

My Thoughts

Hex Hall is absolutely hilarious. I’m not sure what I was expecting when I decided to read it, but humour wasn’t on the list. I really enjoyed it.

Sophie Mercer is a witch. She was raised by her human mother, and they had to move around a lot as Sophie received her witchy powers when she hit puberty. Prodigium – witches, shapeshifters and fairies – are not supposed to show their powers to humans, so when a love spell backfires on Sophie, turning her High School prom into a disaster zone, she used up one too many of her last chances. She is sent to Hecate “Hex” Hall in Georgia, or “Juvie for monsters” – Sophie’s words, not mine – until she turns eighteen. It is a reform boarding school for supernaturals that have broken the rules and the aim is to try to teach them to be good little monsters.

I’m finding it a bit difficult to come up with a full length review without revealing spoilers. So I’m airing on the side of vagueness and sticking to what I enjoyed about the book. All the teens were very believably teenagers. I could picture them in any boarding school, just adding in some magic, fur and sparkly wings. I absolutely adored Sophie. She is such a fun and witty narrator. She’s quite like a regular teen girl, but with witchy powers that she doesn’t know how to control properly. I think one of my favourite moments is right near the start of the book, when she just arrives at Hex Hall and encounters a werewolf…

“For a second the werewolf, er, Justin, paused, his head cocked to the side, making him look less like a throat-ripping-out beastie and more like a cocker spaniel.

The thought made me giggle.

And suddenly those yellow eyes were on me.

It gave another howl, and before I even had time to think, it charged.

I heard the man and woman cry out a warning as I frantically racked my brain for some sort of throat-repairing spell, which I was clearly about to need. Of course the only words I managed to yell at the werewolf as he ran at me were, “BAD DOG!””

From that moment on, I knew I’d like the book. Sometimes when books are funny, it starts to go overboard and by then end I’m all laughed out. That didn’t happen here thankfully. I laughed out loud quite a few times, and I did earn a few disapproving glances from my dog when I woke her up giggling. Archer is our main boy crush. I liked his character. He’s quite realistic and I think most of us would have known a guy similar to him back when we were in school.

Hex Hall has is similar to most Academy or boarding school YA books out there, and the plot is as expected, but I didn’t find that off-putting. The writing is quite simple. It’s not trying to be a literary masterpiece, just a good story and I think it succeeds on this front. The mystery element isn’t anything unusual, and there is a twist toward the end that reminded me of a book I read recently. I won’t name the book as the twist is very similar, and it’ll spoil the surprise element if you’ve read one book and not the other.

I’m so happy I tried Hex Hall. It ticks the boxes for a really funny, light, entertaining and quick read with really nice characters. I’d definitely recommend it.


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