Sunday, 30 October 2011

In My Mailbox #32

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted every Sunday over at The Story Siren. A great meme which allows bloggers to share what they receive/buy/borrow each week.

Well this week has been more exciting than back to back episodes of Downton Abbey! Check out what we got!

Bungle's mailbox

This week Bungle has been working hard at keeping the book industry afloat all by herself! She bought Angel Fire by L.A Weatherly, Last Breath by Rachel Caine, Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon and my current fave Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.

Bungle also received some proofs this week. She got Oliver Twisted By Jo Sharp, Au Revoir - Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber, Skin Deep by Laura Jarrett and Tigers Voyage by Colleen Houck.

Sally's mailbox

So my week started fantastically when I was inundated with gifts from Bungle! I received this beautiful artwork which was created by Karen Hurd of Ollerina Art which I absolutely love. I also received two books; Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough and Delerium by Lauren Oliver both of which I'm really looking forward to reading.

I also received a copy of Blood by K.J Wignall which was a gift at the Cassandra Clare event mentioned below. I also received my copy of The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa which is I think one of the best releases this year.

So, this week was also very exciting as I got to go to see Cassandra Clare at a special event in Foyles book store in London. Cassandra was there with Sara Rees Brennan who was in charge of firing random questions which were written by the audience. Cassandra told us how she creates the plots for her stories and where she got her inspiration for the series. She also mentioed her next project The Dark Artifices and advises readers to look out for younger characters in City of Lost Souls and City of Heavenly fire as they may feature. It was also confirmed that a major character will die in one of the final Mortal Instruments books...

I was lucky enough to get my City of Fallen Angels book signed as well as receiving a copy of Magnus' Vow which ties the series together beautifully. Here's me with Cassandra below:

So, That's what we got up to this week - what did you get in your mailbox?

Sunday, 23 October 2011

In My Mailbox #31

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted every Sunday over at The Story Siren. A great meme which allows bloggers to share what they receive/buy/borrow each week.

So this week Bungle and I have pretty much managed to keep ourselves under control with Bungle not buying any books at all (applause, applause, applause!) and me only bought two! (slow hand clap...). That said Bungle's shop will soon be taking part in the Waterstones Children's Book Prize so there are fifty titles floating around out there somewhere! I can't wait to find out what they are!

In other exciting Midnight Reads news - we're off to London! Bungle and I will be heading to the capital from opposite ends of the country on Wednesday to meet the fabulous Cassandra Clare and hopefully get a book or two signed. We'll let you know how we got on next week...

So, onto the business of the day. Popping into my mailbox this week was the much anticipated Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl and I also received Lover Awakened by J.R Ward (Adult reading)

This week from netgalley for review I received Fractured Light by Rachel McClellan and On a Dark Wing by Jordan Dane (you know how I love my angels!)

So that's what we got this week - What did you get?

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Review ~ Shattered Dreams ~ Ellie james

Title: Shattered Dreams

Author: Ellie James

Published: 6th December 2011

By: Macmillan

Source: netgalley

First line: “I heard this place is like...haunted”

Last line: But the moment I put my hand to the dull white of her fur, the small, white cat started to purr.

Fave Line: Except for the presence that hummed like invisible blood through invisible veins.

Shattered Dreams could be best described as a YA paranormal thriller. Set in New Orleans post Katrina it tells the story of sixteen year old Trinity Monsour. Having lost her parents whilst very young Trinity has been raised by her grandmother and now after her recent death she finds herself moving to New Orleans to live with her aunt.

As the story begins we find Trinity trying to fit in with the kids in her new school as they play a game of truth or dare in an abandoned house. We get an insight into the personalities of the main characters fairly early on as we travel around the house. It’s clear that Chase likes Trinity and that she likes him too. It’s also clear that Jessica, his ex-girlfriend, is really not happy about it. It’s also during the truth or dare we first become aware that Trinity can see things that other can’t. As the night unfolds a prank is played on Trinity which triggers a sequence of events that leaves one of the group in danger and Trinity comes to realise that she is the one that has the ability to help.

There are many storylines running through this book which are typical of the YA genre, that is, a girl who is unaware of her past, the need to find acceptance, friendship, romance and the challenges one faces when trying to do the right thing. There are however other aspects that set this book apart from others in the same genre. This book is more of a thriller than your typical paranormal story and so in that respect makes a refreshing change.

I love the detail that Ellie James puts in when describing New Orleans and it’s very easy to imagine yourself in the places that she writes about. There are twists and turns that run through the story which continually throw you off track when it comes to figuring out exactly who the baddie is. I certainly had no idea of how the story would end. Whilst I liked the characters of both Trinity and Chase I did think that their behaviour in some circumstances was not typical of your average sixteen year old. The way that they react and talk to each other was far more mature than one would expect of children. There were also smaller plotlines within the story which seemed to take the story off at a tangent and did not appear to relate to the main plotline or contribute towards its conclusion. That said, James has an excellent ability to add a beautifully dark element of suspense through the tale and this only increases as the tale goes on. There are many characters I’d like to hear more about including Drew and I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to pick up the next book to find out what happens next.

Rating: 3 out of 5. This is a good read, particularly if you like a mystery, but you’ll need to keep your eye on the ball if you’re gonna solve it before you finish the book!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

A Rae Rave Review - The Pull by Chelsie Shakespeare (Guest Post)

Evie Remington had always done what people expected of her. As a result, at twenty-six she finds herself the unhappy owner and manager of a Denver hotel. That is, until deep-rooted memories of a past life and the hidden knowledge of a promise she made in that other lifetime pulls her away from it all. Without knowing where it will lead, Evie sets out on a cross-country journey that will challenge what she believes about life, death, and love

The prologue, I think, is the cleverest one I’ve read for some time.  It immediately sets the scene for the entire novel and instantly drags you in. I was hooked from the very beginning of this story, even with struggling to read it in PDF format on my phone in tiny writing because my e-reader seems to have given up the ghost on me!

We are introduced to Bria and Jude, who have just been told that that Jude is dying and that they should say their goodbyes. From the moment the door shuts behind the doctor you feel like you know Bria, what she feels.  Her despair at the impending loss of the man she loves so much, her guilt at the pity she feels for herself at the thought of him not being there and the terror of carrying on living her life alone after he’s gone.  Upon returning to the bedroom, we meet Jude, who is accepting of his demise and tries to comfort his wife as best he can.  Through their conversation the reader discerns that they will meet again, that they are meant to be together as they have been before and will be again.  The rules this time will be slightly different, this time they must wait until they are twenty six before they can meet again.  We also learn that while Bria will not remember their past life together until she turns twenty six, Jude will remember everything.  Before they drift off to sleep in each other’s arms, they settle on a meeting place for their next life.  Bria awakes in her dead husbands arms.  Unwilling to live the rest of her life alone, knowing that the sooner her life ends, the sooner they will be together again, she makes the decision to end her life.

At this point I have to confess I cried. I haven’t felt this emotionally invested in a book so early on for such a long time.  So amazingly well written and such relatable characters, even at this point had me glued to my phone screen!

We meet Evie on the day of her twenty sixth birthday and realize very quickly that she is not at all happy in the life she is leading.  After her father died, she finds herself running his hotel.  Having given up her dreams of going away to college and the career she truly wanted to look after him after his first heart attack, she feels resentful and trapped in the situation, while also suffering from the guilt that goes along with those feelings. It finally becomes too much and after suffering a panic attack in her office Evie flees.  She gets in her car and drives in a direction that feels right and that night she dreams.  She dreams of the life that Bria and Jude had and knows it was her life too.

Over the course of the book, we meet both characters. We learn about their lives to date and how they search for the other halves of their souls. I felt so sorry for Easton, he’s known all these years about Bria, that he was meant to find her, doubted that he would ever find her and feels horribly guilty about the one girl he has slept with, because he feels like he cheated on his soul mate. The ending of the book may be abrupt to some, but I clapped my hands with glee as, to me, it was the perfect finishing point to this tale.

At times there is a distinct lack of reality in the writing, there are no money worries, and they both just take off to find their love.  If I hadn’t been so swept up on the story this may have gotten to me, as I’m usually a stickler for a bit of reality.

If you haven’t guessed by now I totally loved this book!  Maybe it’s a case of the right book at the right time, but something about it really hit the spot and I think it’s awesome!  Quite possibly one of my favourite books of the year!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Review ~ Crave ~ Melissa Darnell

Title: Crave

Author: Melissa Darnell

Published: 25th October 2011

By: Harlequin

Source: netgalley

First line: I edged closer to my unconscious boyfriend, cuffed to a chair nearby.

Last line: Until then, I would just have to hold on to every second we had together and pray that it would be enough.

Fave Line: I understood then why humans have noses. So we can find each other to kiss in the dark.

I was looking forward to reading this book the minute I received it from netgalley and it did not disappoint! Crave tells the story of Savannah Colbert a teenage girl who is pretty much the school outcast after being ostracised by her closest friends as a young child. Surrounded by rumours that The Clann, the family from which her old friends descend, have magical powers, Savannah tries to carry on with as normal a life as possible with the few friends she does have. All the time however, she still has the same crush on Tristan (one of the Clann) as she did when they got married in fourth grade, never imagining for a second that the feeling is mutual. For his part Tristan begrudges the fact that he has been forced to turn his back on Savannah because of his family. All he knows is that one day he is expected to take over the family ‘business’ and that Savannah Colbert is a no go area. As much as they fight it though, Savannah and Tristan are drawn together by something stronger than they can understand and Tristan continues to fight Savannah’s corner going against his family on several occasions.

When Savannah falls ill her family are forced to tell her that she is different – half witch and half vampire, making her potentially dangerous to both the Clann who are witches and the vampire family which includes her errant father.
Savannah and Tristan begin a secret relationship, trying to stay away from the prying eyes of the clann as well as from the watchers who seem to be out to follow Savannah’s every move. When the full extent of her powers are realised and Savannah and Tristan’s relationship is exposed they find themselves in danger and Savannah is put to the ultimate test when Tristan’s life is in her hands.

I loved this story! I enjoy being able to see different perspectives so love the fact that Darnell has written from both Savannah and Tristan’s points of view. I also took a like to the main characters instantly, as much as I developed an instant hatred for the baddies in the Clann, so job done there! I realised how much I was enjoying this book when I went trawling on-line to make sure that there was a sequel when I was only half way through the first book and I’m pleased to say that there is – in fact if I’d just kept on reading I’d have found the preview for Covet at the back of the book and there’s certainly loads to look forward to given the cliff hanger at the end of Crave.

I look forward to finding out what happens to Savannah and Tristan in Crave. Fingers crossed I don’t have to wait too long!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Review ~ Waterfall ~ Lisa T. Bergren

Waterfall (River of Time, #1)
3 stars

Title: Waterfall
Author: Lisa T. Bergren
Published: February 2011
Format: Kindle edition
Source: Kindle free books

Opening line: We paused on our hike, panting and wiping our upper lips as our guide-the old Italian farmer who owned this land-chopped down a small spaling, clearing the overgrown trail.

Closing line: Back to Marcello.

Favourite quote: "Saints in heaven, I believe I'm in love," ~Luca~

Goodreads says:~
Lisa Tawn Bergren's new YA series, River of Time, is romantic, historical fiction in which the plucky heroine doesn't have to fear a vampire's bite but must still fight for her life.

In Waterfall, American teenager Gabi Betarrini accidentally finds herself in Fourteenth-Century Italy . . . Knights. Swords. Horses. Armor. And Italian hotties. Most American teens want an Italian vacation, but the Betarrini sisters have spent every summer of their lives there with their archaeologist parents. Stuck on yet another hot, dusty dig, they are bored out of their minds... until they place their hands atop handprints in an ancient tomb and find themselves catapulted into the Fourteenth Century and in the middle of a fierce battle between knights bent on killing one another.

I had read several reviews about Waterfall before reading it and most on goodreads are 4 or 5 stars with rave reviews but I'm afraid I don't fall into that band. My 3 star rating is because there are elements of the book I like but over all the story just failed to captivate me.

I like that Gabi is a strong character and she sure isn't afraid to stand up for herself, the skills she has learnt throughout her life more than aid her in the past. Hell bent on finding her lost sister, Gabi will stop at nothing.
Lia, Gabi's sister, annoys me a little but later in the story we see her character grow and her archery skills are put to good use.

I love our lead male characters, Marello and Luca. They are the sword fighting, romantic heroes, I say heroes, the females have no problems fighting for themselves. I think I love Luca just as much as Marello and I am looking forward to seeing more of these swoon-worthy 14th century men!!

It certainly is the characters that make this book for me, the over all story falls a little short of the mark.
I found the whole time travel story line a little hard simply because I don't feel readers are given an explanation as to why the sisters travel through time or why they have to be together when they do so. I also don't understand the title of the book, does the travel through time feel like you are fall down a waterfall?
I also found the end of the story and little rushed and alot is left unsaid.

Will I read the second book? Yes, because I want to see what happens with the characters.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Im My Mailbox #30

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted every Sunday over at The Story Siren. A great meme which allows bloggers to share what they receive/buy/borrow each week.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

On My Wishlist #17

On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City and runs every Saturday. It is a list of the books I want but don't yet have. The books can be old, new or forthcoming.

Shattered Dreams

Title: Shatter Dreams
Author: Ellie James
Published: December 2011
Sixteen-year-old Trinity Monsour wants nothing more than to live a normal life. But that isn’t as easy as it seems. Trinity is different. She is special. She sees visions, and for those she’s seen, it’s already too late.
Trinity arrives on her aunt’s doorstep in New Orleans with virtually no knowledge of her mysterious heritage. She begins settling into life at a new school and even starts making friends. But all too quickly her dreams accelerate; twisted, terrifying visions of a girl locked in a dark room. And when the head cheerleader, Jessica, goes missing, Trinity knows she has no choice but to step forward with what she’s seen.
But people believe that Trinity has information about Jessica’s disappearance not because of a dream, but because she is involved. She is kind-of dating Jessica’s ex-boyfriend, Chase, and Jessica did pull a nasty prank on Trinity. Revenge seems like the likeliest scenario.
Nothing prepares Trinity for the dark odyssey that ensues while searching for Jessica, including the surprising romance she finds with Chase, or the shocking truths she learns, not just about the girl who has gone missing, but the past that has been hidden from her.


Title: Bitterblue
Author: Kristin Cashore
Published: May 2012

"Book 3, tentatively titled Bitterblue and currently in progress, is a companion book to both Graceling and Fire and takes place in the seven kingdoms eight years after Graceling. Bitterblue will tie all three books together in some way. Bitterblue is the sixteen-year-old protagonist, and Katsa, Po, Giddon, Helda, and other characters from Graceling will be part of the fabric of the book. Plenty of fighting still to come!"

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Review:~ Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke and Bone
5 stars

Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Author: Laini Taylor
Published: September 2011 by Hodder
Source: Hodder

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Featuring necklaces made of wishes; an underground shop dealing in teeth; magical tattoos; a wishbone on a cord, DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE is a thrilling story about Karou and her secret life as an apprentice to a wishmonger. Karou manages to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she is a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to an inhuman creature who deals in wishes and is the closest thing she has to family. Her life is surrounded by mysteries she is desperate to unveil.

Opening line: Walking to school over the snow-muffled cobbles, Karou had no sinister premonitions about the day.

Closing line: This was not the end.

Favourite quote: "You were true to her, even if she was not to you. Never repent of your own goodness, child. To stay true in the face of evil is a feat of strength"

I loved Daughter of Smoke and Bone and I have read other reviewers state their review of the book won't do the story justice and I can totally understand where they are coming from!!

Laini Taylor's book is one of those kind of story's that stays with you long after you have finished reading. Taylor creates a world, that as a reader you never want to leave. You are sucked in from the first page and taken on an emotional roller-coaster ride. I love to read books and get lost in another world but it's not often I feel a tug at my heart (I'm emotionally hard) but this year there have been several books that do just that and Daughter of Smoke and Bone is one of them.

Living in Prague Karou is no ordinary 17 year old. She is living half her life as a normal teenager and amazing art student and the other half as a 'tooth-runner' for Brimstone, yes you read right, a tooth-runner. And what does she receive as payment for her trouble, wishes of course! In all her 17 years with Brimstone Karou has never really understood his work or why the teeth are needed, but all that is about to change as she notices black handprints are appearing on the magical doorways she uses to travel the world.

The book is set in four parts in which we see Karou's story unfold in the present and the past. I will admit this threw me a little at first but Taylor knows what she is doing and shes teases by giving us a little insight into each section. And although we might think we know what will happen it is often different.
Several different stories are told throughout Daughter of Smoke and Bone as we switch between the past and present and angels and devils. Much of the story is told through Karou but we also get to see things from Akiva's point of view, he being an angel with wings and eyes like that of fire.

At times the flashback sequences almost felt like reading a different book but overall for me this was a good thing because of what we discover. I'm sorry, I can't say much more than that otherwise it will spoil the whole book. I will say that I had a feeling about what was to happen and who a certain person was early on in the story and I was right :)

I loved Daughter of Smoke and Bone!! I loved how Taylor made her characters strong even in the face of death. Karou is the kind of female I like in a book, she's strong, determined and she doesn't take crap from anyone! As for Akiva, his tormented soul has a place in my heart. And of all the characters I was shocked as I grew to love Brimstone. He starts of as the kind of character you love to hate but in the end you will totally come full circle and like me, I think you will love him.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a story which revolves around a long ancient war and a love story that should never have been allowed to happen. It will tug at even the hardest of hearts and leave you wanting more.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

In My Mailbox #29

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted every Sunday over at The Story Siren. A great meme which allows bloggers to share what they receive/buy/borrow each week.

So in an attempt to support the Bank of England with it's quantitative easing Bungle and I decided to inject some of our own cash back into the economy this week...

Sally's mailbox

The first three books to come flying through my door this week were: Forsaken and Forbidden by Jana Oliver and Dark Lover by J.R.Ward, the first in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series (Adult reading).

I also received Beautiful Creatures and Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl - currently reading these and loving them! I also received Birthmarked by Caragh O'Brien...

...Which leads me nicely on to to the galleys that I received from netgalley for review this week which were Prized, the sequel to Birthmarked by Caragh O'Brien and Diabolical by Cynthia Leitich Smith.

Bungles mailbox:

Bungle has also had a bumper week this week. She received three proofs: Tempest by Julie Cross, All The Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin and After the Snow by S.D. Crockett.

It was Bungles birthday this week and what birthday would be complete if a couple of new books weren't thrown into the mix?! Sweetly by Jackson Pearce was a birthday present from Bungles boyf and she treated herself to Mist by Kathryn James.

But the big birthday suprise for Bungle was this signed copy of Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor which was sent to her by Hodder as she was unable to the event in London. Now that's a present!

So, I like to think we've gone some way to boosting the economy! But enough about us, what have you been buying this week?

Sunday, 2 October 2011

In My Mailbox #28


In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted every Sunday over at The Story Siren. A great meme which allows bloggers to share what they receive/buy/borrow each week.

Sally's In My Mailbox

I've been pretty good this week! I did go on-line and get myself a paper copy of The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa to replace my e-version. I don't think Ill ever get use to not having a book in my hand...

The Iron Queen (Iron Fey, #3)

My name is Meghan Chase.
I thought it was over. That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who's sworn to stand by my side. Drag me into the core of conflict so powerful, I'm not sure anyone can survive it.
This time, there will be no turning back.

...The above book leasd me very nicely on to The Iron Knight also by Julie Kagawa Which I devoured in a day. You can read my full review here.

The Iron Knight (Iron Fey, #4)
My name—my True Name—is Ashallayn'darkmyr Tallyn.

I am the last remaining son of Mab, Queen of the Unseelie Court. And I am dead to her.
My fall began, as many stories do, with a girl...

The last thing I got this week was an autograph! I was lucky enough to get a ticket to go and see Lauren Kate at the children's literature festival in Bath. Lauren was absoutely lovely and after readin an excerpt from Passion she also did a Q&A and then stayed around to meet everyone.
Good times!!

Bungle's In My Mailbox

This week I was good and didn't buy books, but I'm saving the buying until Wednesday as it's my bithday!! But I did get two books this week, Crossover & Journey by Mireille Chester and both are signed copies which I won in a giveaway :)

Crossover (The Chosen One Trilogy, #1)

Life for Hayden Carlson had never been overly exciting and that was the way she liked it, so when she meets Jasper on a trail in the woods, it never occurs to her that life as she knows it is about to change. Suddenly, Hayden crosses over to a world she never would have dreamed existed and a future she never would have believed possible. Along the way, she discovers an affinity for magic; her ability to dream of the future and the craft of healing. She meets many beings that become her friends and family, as well as others who will try to capture her for her powers. Hayden must find a way to escape being captured, save the man she loves, and decide where she stands in the balance of good and evil.

Journey (The Chosen One Trilogy, #2)

Hayden has made up her mind. If she doesn't between the Namaels and the Majs then innocent beings won't die because of her. Of course, things can never be that simple and when she is taken prisoner by the humans a whole new problem arises. It doesn't take long before everything she thought she knew no longer makes sense. Could it be possible that the prophecy was wrong?

What did you get this week?

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