Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Winter Warmers Event

We are so excited here at Midnight Reads to be hosting our first event. Our Winter Warmers event will see authors highlight debut authors from 2011.

Starting tomorrow, December 1st, we will be posting daily reviews & interviews by the authors you love to see which debut author has stood out for them this year.

Our event will last just over a week with the intention to help readers find something new and to highlight some possible Christmas stocking fillers :)

So pop back and see us if you can over the next week and see which books authors are excited about this year.

Review ~ Watch Over Me ~ Daniela Sacerdoti

Title: Watch Over Me

Author: Daniela Sacerdoti

Published: 15th November 2011

By: Black and White Publishing

First line: The strangest, most amazing day of my life, the day that changed my perception of life and death, started like any other.

Last line: Elizabeth heard my call, and I’ll hear our children’s call when it’s my turn, and if they turn to the unknown looking for help, I’ll listen when they say, ‘Watch over me’.

Fave Line: A secret love will eat itself and die, or eat your heart and kill you.

I’ve strayed from the YA path with this one, delving instead into an ethereal romance written for the adult by debut author Daniela Sacerdoti. Watch over me is the heart-rending story of childhood friends Eilidh and Jamie. Adult life until this point has not worked out well for either of them. Jamie has found himself in the role of single father after his partner walks out on both him and their daughter, followed not too long after by the death of his mother. For Eilidh, life has been equally cruel. She tragically miscarries the baby she has long hoped for and whilst struggling to cope with her loss comes to realise that her marriage is over as a result of her husband’s infidelity, something that she has, for some time, turned a blind eye to.

In an attempt to escape her old life Eilidh returns to her old family home in Scotland where Jamie still resides. Both carry the scars from their previous relationships and are have cocooned themselves away, unwilling to risk of getting hurt again even though the connection between them is apparent from the outset. Help is at hand however and Eilidh and Jamie continually find fate bringing them together through a strange series of events. The overlying theme is about loss, letting go and if you’re lucky, moving on and finding happiness again. The story is beautifully written, tapping into all those emotions that anyone who has suffered from a broken heart can identify with but always maintains an air of hope that keeps you turning through the pages.

I loved the main characters in this story. It was great to see Eilidh rediscover her old passion for life which had clearly eroded away over time and I thought the way that Jamie takes on his role as single parent was utterly enchanting. His devotion to his daughter and his desire to protect their family unit weaves itself through the story. There are many supporting characters which help to create an intricate tale especially Elizabeth whose narrative was beautifully written and Harry and Doug who provided the much needed humour. I also like the way that Sacerdoti sets a scene and having only visited Edinburgh I have now added the Highlands as somewhere I need to visit in the near future!

Rating: 4 out of 5. This book is like a big comfort blanket! I found it to be completely charming and would absolutely recommend to anyone looking for a bit of squidgyness!

Monday, 28 November 2011

Darkness Falls Blog Tour January 2012

I'm so excited to announce that Midnight Reads will be taking part in it's first blog tour and we couldn't be happier that it's for Cate Tiernan's Darkness Falls. Read our review for Immortal Beloved here and Darkness Falls here. Check out the poster for other bloggers taking part in this January tour and be sure to visit everyone for all kinds of awesomeness.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Review ~ On A Dark Wing ~ Jordan Dane

Title: On a Dark Wing

Author: Jordan Dane

Published: 27th December 2011

By: HarlequinTEEN

Source: netgalley

First line: I had countless excuses for missing that bus five years ago.

Last line: And now, neither would I.

Fave Line: It sounded cool like we were in a megabowl of punch with ice floating around us, but I guess the folks on the Titanic might have thought the same thing.

On a Dark Wing is a fantastic new book by author Jordan Dane. At the beginning of the story we are taken back five years to the death of Abbey Chandler’s mother in a crash that Abbey survives. Five years later Abbey is still weighed down with guilt over the loss of her mother and her mood certainly isn’t lightened by her still grieving father or the dead bodies in the basement (her father is a mortician). At school she spends most of her time with her friend Tanner all the while carrying around a huge crush on Nate, one of the more popular kids in school.

Every year Abbey and her father spend a few days in a cabin in the wilds of Alaska where they take time out to honour her mother’s memory around the time of her death. This year however, whilst Abbey is away Nate and his friend Josh are on an adventure of their own climbing Denali, the biggest mountain challenge they have faced yet. However, as the weather turns bad Nate and Josh find themselves trapped in a ravine the victims of an avalanche and it seems as though their deaths is inevitable. It is during this time that Abbey starts to receive ‘visits’ from Nate and then gradually over the course of the story we find out more about the crash in which Abbey’s mother died as well as the hold that death has over all of the main characters.

I found myself gripped by this book. The storyline devoted to Nate and Josh being trapped is tense and well written, the visits that Abbey receives heart warming yet tinged with darkness and the way that the story eventually unfolds keeps you turning the pages. The character of Tanner, I thought, was utterly endearing, especially his devotion to Abbey which is apparent throughout. I also liked the teen fantasy world inside Abbey’s head when it comes to Nate. It’s certainly a world I recognise from my teens! Figuring out what is reality and what is fantasy is one of the elements that make the final few chapters of this book a really enjoyable read. I also enjoyed the vulnerability of Abbey in as much as whilst she may be vulnerable she certain doesn’t come across as a weak or a victim, indeed, by the end of the book she is as strong as most of the female protagonists I have read about.

I love the way that Dane can set a scene. From the cabin where Abbey and her father stay while they mourn to the harshness of Denali, everything is so easy to picture and the emotions portrayed easy to relate to. Her writing can pull at the heartstrings and freak you out at the same time! The ending I think, rounds the book off really well. Well, it made me happy anyway!

Rating: 4 out of 5. Really enjoyed this. I look forward to reading more of Jordan Dane’s work!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

In My Mailbox #35

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, after Bungle's adventures last week rubbing shoulders with the stars she has achieved something I can only dream of. She didn't spend any money! I unfortunately went completely against my buy books after payday only deal and acquired seven new reads. Oops....

So the first two of my books this week are White Cat annd Red Glove by Holly Black. Have just finished White Cat and really enjoyed it so am very much looking forward to the sequel. I also received a copy of Watch Over Me by Daniela Sacerdoti which is the next book I will be writing a review for. Have heard good things about this one...

I also got copies of Pyxis by KC Neal which I bought for my Kindle as well as Matched by Ally Condie which I've heard loads about so looking forward to this one!

I also got a copy of Prized by Caragh O'Brien which I reviewed and loved recently as well as Ultraviolet by RJ Anderson.

So, that's all we have to report this week - what did you get?

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Review ~ Lonely Werewolf Girl ~ Martin Millar

Lonely Werewolf Girl (Kalix MacRinnalch, #1)
4.5 stars

Title: Lonely Werewolf Girl
Author: Martin Millar
Published: first published 2007
By: Piatkus
Series: Kalix MacRinnlch

NOTE: This is NOT a teen book it is YA. For me teen starts from 13 and YA starts around 16/17+. I know we have only done this once or twice with our reviews but sometimes it needs to be pointed out and this is one of those books that needs it :) It is not for younger readers.

As you know I'm reading for the WCBP so I thought I would add some reviews from past reads. Also thought this would be nice as it will introduce older books.

I really really liked this book!!!! Totally different to anything I have read!!

This is a Royal werewolf family with more problems then the Royal family of the UK!! Cross-dressers, self harmers, drug takers, drinkers, fighters and killers, it's a roller-coaster of a book and I loved every page!!

Werewolf Kalix MacRinnalch is on the run from hunters and her own family after attacking her father the Thane leaving him on deaths door. She is in the deepest kind of depression after her lover was banished from seeing her, she spends her days fighting off hunters and sipping laudanum wishing her life away. Then she is 'rescued' by Moonglow and Daniel and forms a kind of friendship she has never known before.

Kalix's family have always hated her and with a price on her heart everyone is looking for her. Her brothers need her dead to win votes for the Thaneship and her sister, the werewolf enchantress, doesn't care less if Kalix lives or dies. The enchantress is more concerned with her fashion designs and seeking out a new lover.

There are so many stories involved with this book that all come together to create an unputdownable story! I don't want to give to much away and there is so much going on with these werewolves, you won't be disappointed!! I just can't wait to get my hands on the next one!!*

*I now have the next book but the blog came about the same time so I haven't got to it yet. However after reading Lonely Werewolf Girl over a year ago it's still fresh in my mind and I'm still very much looking forward to book two.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Author Event with Maggie Stiefvater

Maggie & I :)

On Saturday night I got the chance to meet author Maggie Stiefvater in Liverpool. The event was organised by Formby Books and it was a lovely evening. Maggie started off by telling us the 10 steps to writing a Maggie Stiefvater novel which you can read about over at Michelle's blog Much Loved Books. It was really nice to meet Michelle and we came up with the idea of doing this join blog post so make sure you pop over there and have a read.

Questions and Answers

When the books get made into films how much input will you have?

Short Answer: None what-so-ever

Maggie's answer: Shiver was optioned a year ago and has a director & screen play and Scorpio Races was optioned just two seconds after I came out by Warned Brother, I'm super excited. But I have no input what-so-ever. People always ask who I would cast as my characters, and the first time I was asked I was in London at a posh restaurant my publishers had taken me too and in the middle of trying to order food off a menu I couldn't understand I was asked who I would cast as Sam but I don't know, I don't think of Sam as a handsome Hollywood actor. It says in the book he's got a big nose a girl couldn't get away with & floppy hair & he's kinda gangley, I was thinking maybe Alex Turner from the Artict Monkeys, he's got the big nose and the floppy hair and he walks kinda gangley and he's so funny looking he's almost cute. And then as we leave my editor says, that was his girlfriend right behind us. (I understand there not together anymore but I don't think it's my fault).

Maggie reading

Sally's question: Is there going to be a third fairy book?

Short answer: There should have been

Maggie's answer: There was always meant to be a third fairy book called Requiem but when you're writing under contract things are like double-dutch so Lament jumped when it was supposed to Ballard jumped when it was supposed to and Requiem is standing there and it looks at me like a stricken deer and then Shiver comes along and kicks it in the head and it falls into the ditch and it's laying there kinda injured and wounded but not dead and then of course Linger has to come next because it comes after Shiver and then Forever has to come next and I can see Requiem staggering out and then Scorpio Races comes along and kicks it back into the ditch again and it's looking a little bit worse for wear now but still at the end of Scorpio it stars to come back up and then the magical novel comes along. But I can tell you know it has been trying to crawl its way back out of the ditch and it's standing right there wearing Christmas finery but so help me, if it does not jump this time I myself might put it into the ditch.

Question: You said earlier you won't see daylight in Liverpool, is there a reason for this?

Short answer: I'm leaving early.

Maggie's answer: Are you asking if I'm a vampire? I'm leaving at 9:30am so I think even in Liverpool that's daylight, is there something different about Liverpool that I should know about, maybe I should stay on look out for the sun.
I have to confess I'm not a huge fan of vampires, I'm not a huge fan of werewolves when it comes down to it. How many of you are team Jacob? (hands go up, and I mention I was after he took his shirt off! and people laughed) Back to Maggie: So how many of you have seen New Moon? (again hands go up). I went with a bunch of book bloggers, I was on tour with nothing else to do and was talked into going after saying no because we will be trampled by Twi-hards, and I was right! So we're sat there watching and it gets to the part where Jacob rips his shirt off and behind me this woman who is every bit of 50 goes 'grrrrrrrr, now it's getting good' a small voice came from the front saying 'jailbate'.
So I'm not really a huge werewolf fan actually and reviewers are always asking me why werewolves and it makes me cross because the little voices in my head say, 'you don't write about werewolves, there just wolves, and when your werewolves are human they're emo teenagers, there's no in between, there's no were, that makes them shapeshifters' OK, maybe they are werewolves.

Question: How long did it take you to write the book? (Scorpio Races)

Short answer: 4 months

Maggie's answer: Well this is really easy to answer because all my books have taken me 4 months to write and I wrote Forever in 4 months but threw it out and redid it in 4 months and Scorpio Races took me 4 months but now I've hit a glitch in the pattern because magical novel has taken me 9 months and I don't know what's going on.

Question: Do you think it's important as a writer to surround yourself by other creative people?

Short answer: Not really

Maggie's answer: No. I think as a writer the more you have to look at the outside world the more you will become affected and sometimes confused. You have to almost become your own island, you shouldn't completely ignore the outside world but it's important not let your own creativity be influenced by other things.
I do like to surround myself with creative things, like my headphones on listening to my music and maybe reading a book. So I think surrounding yourself with products of creative people is a good idea.

Maggie answering

Michelle's question: Why did you end Forever the way you did?

Maggie's answer: Many people have asked why isn't Forever a happy ending or why is Forever a cliffhanger or why is Forever so open, but it's not because all the information you need for how things are going to turn out is there and all you need to do is ask yourself this question, do you believe that Cole St.Clare has turned into a decent human being bu the end of the series, so roses and flowers and litter for everyone. If you think that he is still a terrible person and he got it wrong everyone dies in pools of their own vomit and blood.
Here's the thing, if I tied it up neatly in a bow it wouldn't fit with the rest of the series, it's about being a teen, it's about hope and if you end it by saying, everyone got into the minivans and drove away with no kind of looking to the future, it's already there, so there is no ending until you're dead. Also, it's the same reason I didn't write a fourth book because things would only get worse for them if I kept on writing, people would die!

Question: Will there be anymore Scorpio Races books?

Maggie's answer: It was meant to be a stand alone and I'm happy with it as a stand alone. I'm pretty happy with then ending of it.

My question: You said that Scorpio Races is your favourite novel, why is that?

Short answer: I wanted to write a book that I would have loved as a kid.

Maggie's answer: It is a very Maggie novel. I grew up in the middle of no where, my parents were very stricted in many ways but they would always let us have any sort of animal we wanted as long as we could, earn the money to by the animal, earn the money for the enclosure, build the enclosure and learn how to take care of it. My sister and I really wanted horses and so we did everything we needed to and we got our horses. And I love the fact that the story has that sort of Mr. Darcy thing going on, and it's more of an adventure story rather than a full love story going on.

Maggie signing my
books, ALL of
them :)

I really hope this might answer some of your questions. I had a brilliant time and was so pleased I got to meet Maggie as well as Michelle :) Maggie was brilliant, she made everyone feel at ease and it was such a great way to spend my Saturday night.

If you haven't yet read anything by Maggie, get your hands on some of her books and get reading :)

Sunday, 13 November 2011

In My Mailbox #34


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 it's been a bumper week for Bungle and I have pretty much kept myself to a minimum even though it's killed me!

Loads of goodies came Bungle's way this week! She received a copy of Geekhood by Andy Robb, as well as a copy of Pandemonium, the much anticipated sequel to Delirium by Lauren Oliver. She also got a heap of signed bookmarks from Michelle at Much Loved Books including Shadow Bound by Rachel Vincent, The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton and Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday.

Bungle has been a girl on a mission this week and she was lucky enough to get to go and see Maggie Stiefvater at her book signing in Liverpool! So Jealous! I hear that Maggie was very funny and highly entertaining and blog readers will be able to find out exectly what went on as Bungle is going to write a little something about it tomorrow - Am looking forward to finding out what Maggie is up to next...In the meantime, Bungle got a beautifully signed copy of The Scorpio Races, Maggie's latest release:

So I've been trying to be good this week and I've only bought three books. In view of the fact that Darkness Falls is out soon, I've gotten hold of Immortal Beloved (You can never have to many series on the go...!). For adult reading I've gotten hold of the next two of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by JR Ward. This time Lover Revealed and Lover Unbound fell through the letterbox. Four more to collect and I'll be up to date!

So, that's enough about us - what did you get this week?

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Review ~ Prized ~ Caragh M. O'Brien

Title: Prized

Author: Caragh M. O’Brien

Published: 8th November 2011

By: Macmillan Children’s Group Publishing

Source: netgalley

First line: She grabbed the hilt of her knife and scrambled backward into the darkness, holding the baby close in her other arm.

Last line: Very.

Fave Line: It seemed all the stars that had been missing from the sky for the last two weeks had delicately come down to delicately gleam in the meadow.

Prized is the fantastic sequel to Birthmarked by Caragh M. O’Brien. I’ve developed a soft spot for the dystopian genre so was thrilled to be able to get hold of Prized for review having enjoyed its predecessor so much. I was not disappointed.

We begin this story where we left off in Birthmarked. Having managed to escape the confines of the enclave with her newborn sister Maya, Gaia is found struggling to survive in the wilderness by Chardo Will. Her sister at death’s door she is taken to Sylum a matriarchal community which is an unequal as the Enclave, the only difference being that the underdogs i.e. women are now revered. With the numbers of females in the community dwindling, women are considered to be a prize rather than being equal in their chosen partnership. Social rules have taken a backward step to say the least. Any attempt to touch or become involved with a female before marriage is punishable and once married, women are required to bear ten children in order to help boost dwindling numbers, the ultimate goal being to produce more females.

As Gaia returns to midwifery she finds herself trying to reconcile her own beliefs with those that are imposed on her in the society that she now resides and it is the disparity between the two which takes her on a journey that not only tests her own principles but threatens to undermine the philosophy of her new home and it’s hierarchy.

I really enjoyed reading this book from start to finish. It flowed on from Birthmarked flawlessly and whilst Gaia may appear to be weaker at times it’s easy to see the bigger picture and to understand the reasons for the choices she makes, particularly at the beginning. By the end of the book I think she is stronger than she has ever been and it was great to see a female character that will go to such lengths to stand up for what she believes in. I love how her perception of herself changes as a result of the new social order that she becomes a part of. I also like the way that the book encourages the reader to think about freedom of choice. The detail that O’Brien puts into the characters and the backdrop is flawless making everything so easy to envisage and if anything is going to beat a love triangle then I guess it would have to be a love square – especially when there are brothers involved!

There are several storylines (I shall remain spoiler free!) which weave together seamlessly through this story and the dramatic conclusion at the end paves the way very nicely for the next book in the series. I see big journeys and major battles ahead for the main characters! There are also some characters which didn’t appear in this story and so I do have some questions that remain unanswered. I hope I get to read more about them in the next instalment...

Rating: 4 out of 5. This is fantastic sequel. If you enjoyed Birthmarked then you will love Prized. I can’t wait for book three!!

Monday, 7 November 2011

Mini review ~ Poison Study ~ Maria V. Snyder

Poison Study (Study, #1)
5 stars!

Title: Poison Study
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Published: September 2007

As several of you now know I work in a Waterstone's bookshop and we are going through several changes at the moment and even though we have always written staff recommends we are writting them more than ever at the moment with 'feature spaces' and really getting to grips with our sections. Unfortanly I no longer run the children's section but I am likning the fantasy section I'm running and there are a lot of cross-over books.

As Christams is upon I have been writing more and more recommends and Poison Study is one of them and I was reminded of how much I love this book, well the series actually.

Yelena is about to be executed for murder but is offered a reprieve, she will have a room in the palace and get to eat meals fit for a King but a the risk of being assassinated by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia. Saved from execution only to face death everyday, Yelena takes the risk and becomes the new food taster.

Not one to take a chance, Valek, the chief of security feeds Yelena a poison that will only be kept at bay by a daily antidote. As she tries to escape her new dilemma rebels plot to seize Ixia and she develops magical powers that she can't control.

I love Yelena!! She is one of the strongest heroine's I think I've ever encountered! Yes shes had a bad life but she doesn't sit moaning about it, she does something about it and if that means having to kill then so be it! This is the kind of female I want to read about in all books!! She holds her head high with no hesitation to the murder she has committed and even though part of her feels lost she still knows there is hope.

And as forValek, he holds a place in my heart! At first he doesn't seem that sepical but he sure develops as a character as Yelena's story unfolds. Valek is intelligent, a cunning spymaster and a deadly assassin. Even though his allegiance lies with the Commander it doesn't mean he always agress with his rules and he isn't afraid to stand for what he himself believes in.

Snyder is a genuis!! She creates a world that as a reader you want to live in and never leave even if it isn't all happy and peaceful. I am looking forward to reading the glass series which is a spin off from the poison series. I can't reccomend This series and author enough!!


Sunday, 6 November 2011

In My Mailbox #33

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 we need to say sorry for lack of reviews. Work is crazy busy for both me and Sally and I'm also reading for the Waterstone's Children's Book Prize which has books from, teen/ya, 5-12 and picture books. As the WCBP is still in the long list I won't be able to share books and reviews but once the short list is sorted I will be posting reviews of the teen/ya books.

OK, on to the real reason you're here, the books we got this week!!!

After last week I thought I'd be really good and not buy books but I did get sent two books for review:

Last week Sally mentioned I was keeping the publishers going all by myself but this week I think she's helping too, She spent her hard earned cash on these four books:~

So, that's enough about us - what did you get this week?

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