Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Review ~ A Witch in Winter ~ Ruth Warburton

A Witch in Winter (Winter Trilogy, #1)
4 stars

Title: A Witch in Winter
Author: Ruth Warburton
Published: January 2012
By: Hodder

From the back of the book:~

When love is tangled up in magic, how do you know what's real?

When Anna meets Seth, it's magic. But her hidden powers unleash a spell that sparks a war among witches and enslaves Seth's heart.

Opening line: The first thing that hit me was the smell - damp and bitter.

Closing line: It was a thing of beauty, a little piece of magic made out of nowhere. From just oil and water.

I want to start off by thanking Cait over at The Cait Files for holding a giveaway which led to me winning a signed copy of A Witch in Winter, and also thank you to author Ruth Warburton.

I loved this book!! And one of the main things I love is that this is a British book, set in Britain by a talented new British author and one I will be keeping boths eyes on!!

Anna Winterson has no idea that a move to the small town of Winter with her farther will lead to her discovering that she is a witch and has powers that only others could dream of. After meeting Seth, Anna enchants him to fall in love with her, and it works only a little too well. She loves Seth and wants him to love her the same way, without magic, but as she uses her powers to try and fix her original enchantment she causes destruction and unleashes evil. Anna also attracts the attention of other witches, some good and wanting to help her, and others not so good that I think would use her power for all the wrong reasons.

Anna is a brilliant character, her world may be changing and in spite of it all, and her self doubt at times, she is a strong-willed and strong minded character. I love the relationship with her dad and I can't wait for the questions and answers about who her mother really was.

I liked Seth, he's a guy with a mildly bad past after falling of the rails and I love his relationship with Anna. I really like how his own story pans out in the book and I love the whole idea of not knowing if he truely loves Anna or if it's just the spell at work. Warburton did this rather well and her writing is just brilliant!

I can't memtion Anna and Seth with out mentioning Emmaline! Yes there are some fantastic secondary characters in this book but I just love Emmaline! I love her whole attutide, she isn't affraid to speak her mind and stand up for her family and friends. She's the kind of girl who speaks her mind and I love that!!

4/5 stars. Why? Because A Witch in Winter is a brilliant start to a promising new series from a fantastic new author and I can't wait to read more. For me, Ruth Warburton has already made her name in the YA genre and one I'm recommending to all my customers!

Sunday, 26 February 2012

In My Mailbox #47

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted over at The Story Siren. This meme allows us bloggers to show what books we recieve each week.

Quite a mixed bag for the Midnight Reads team this week and the e-book certainly seems to be taking hold!

Bungle's Mailbox

Bungle was pretty good with the spends this week buying only the one book but what a corker! She bought Torn by Amanda Hocking #2 of the rather brilliant Switched trilogy. Bungle's plan is to save both Switched and Torn until #3 is out and then she's going to have a Switched reading marathon! If only I could be that patient!

So whilst Bungle kept a fairly tight reign on the purse this week she did get some fab ibooks free of charge! Excellent work I think! she got Marked, #1 of the Soul Guardians series, Shimmerspell, #1 of the Shimmer series by Kimberley Spencer and Raven by Suzy Turner, #1 of the Raven series.

She also got Thirst #1 of the Ava Delaney series by Claire Farrell, Evernight by Claudia Gray and Coexist by Julia Gray. More than one of these has tickled my fancy so am looking forward to hearing about them!

Helen's Mailbox

Helen has maintained her exemplary behaviour and has managed to keep her purse in her bag again! She did however receive a copy of A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness which I have to say intrigues me more than a little!

Sally's Mailbox

My big surprise this week was having Forgiven (Demon Trappers #3) turn up on my doorstep a week early. This was one of my anticipated for 2012 so of course I dropped everything and devoured and loved it - would absolutely recommend! I also received Kiss of Midnight (#2 of the Midnight Breeds series) by Lara Adrian. This one is an adult read and I'm looking forward to this one!

I also got two books from netgalley this week for review. I received The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda and Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore.

But that's enough of our wittering - what did you get this week?

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Review ~ Under the Never Sky ~ Veronica Rossi

Title: Under the Never Sky

Author: Veronica Rossi

Published: 7th February 2012

By: Atom Books

First line: They called the world beyond the walls of the pod “the death shop”

Last line: Sorry, would be a spoiler!

Under the Never Sky brings me back to the dystopian genre, something I don’t seem to be able to get enough of at the moment. In this instance we are transported to the future where the planet has, due to climate change, become a dangerous, inhospitable place to live. As a result a large proportion of the population, also known as dwellers live in an underground environment known as the realms where through the use of a smarteye you can imagine any environment you would want to. The dwellers are I guess ‘the haves’. The ‘have-nots’ are the outsiders, 'savages' that live outside the walls of the realm where resources are scarce and survival is a constant struggle.

At the beginning of the story we meet Aria, a dweller, who is trying to make contact with her mother, a scientist who works in a different area of the realm. As her plan to find out about her mother’s welfare goes wrong Aria finds herself cast out into ‘the death shop’ to die. Things take a turn however when she ends up meeting Perry, a boy she has met fleetingly before and who considers to be a savage. Perry has his own issues. Cast out by his clan after his nephew is kidnapped he is now searching for the child, his only goal to bring him home. The two outcasts team up with Perry helping Aria to find her mother before he begins his own search.

I love the way that Rossi writes. She gives the information you need and that’s pretty much it – no guilding the lily, no get my drift. But there is enough information there for the reader to be able to visualise everything and to get to know the characters and their flaws and weaknesses as well as their strengths. I also like the use of the dual POV here. She switches flawlessly between the two perspectives as she moves through the plot and the switch is made just at the right time when one character or the others view or opinion becomes more salient.

I love the slow build up in Aria and Perry’s relationship considering the hostile circumstances in which they meet but what I really like is that both are such strong characters, never losing sight of their goals in the pursuit of each other. I also liked Roar and Cinder and I look forward to reading more about them in the sequels. And the ending...well it just left me craving the next book.

The only thing that annoys me about this book is that I have to wait so darned long for the sequel ‘Through the Ever Night’ which isn’t due out ‘til 2013. Now that is just wrong. It’s so so wrong...

4/5 Do I have to wait a whole year for book two? Seriously?!

Monday, 20 February 2012

Review ~ Fever ~ Lauren DeStefano

Title: Fever

Author: Lauren DeStefano

Published: 21th February 2011

By: Harper Voyager

First line: We run, with water in our shoes and the smell of the ocean clinging to our frozen skin.

Last line: Sorry, would be a spoiler!

Fave Line: “You children are flies. You are roses. You multiply and die."

Had I read Wither prior to writing my ‘most anticipated books of 2012’ post, I think I can say with some certainty that Fever would have been part of that list. One added bonus of course of only reading Wither at the beginning of this year was that I didn’t have to wait so long for Fever as I’m sure plenty of other fans of the series have.

Fever picks up almost where we left off in Wither. Rhine and Gabriel have escaped from the confines of the mansion where she had been forced into a polygamous marriage, stolen a boat and travelled further up the coast. Their aim now is not only to get away from her husband Linden and Vaughn his tyrant of a father but also to go back to Rhine’s home in Manhattan and to find her twin brother.

Their joy is short-lived however as they find themselves captured and made to work in what I can only describe as brothel that exists within the confines of a bizarre carnival and even there they find they are unable to evade Vaughan. With the help of the residents of the carnival de l’amour they escape, taking a new companion with them in the form of Maddie, daughter of one of the residents. The story follows their journey back to Manhattan and it is a journey which is often fraught, leaving Gabriel feeling disappointed at the new world that he has entered and Rhine wondering whether leaving the mansion was the right decision after all given the risk that she has placed herself and Gabriel in.

I love the way that DeStefano has built the relationship between Rhine and Gabriel. It isn’t all passion and hearts and flowers, but rather it is solid, trusting and utterly devoted even when everything seems to be against them and things certainly are against them. There are so many unexpected twists in the plot (not that I’m giving any of them away here!) and they kept me turning the pages eager to find out what was going to happen next. As for the ending, well... You read it, you’ll see...

The plotline makes this a much faster paced book than Wither and I thought that the writing flowed even more smoothly than its predecessor. DeStefano describes things beautifully, allowing you to form such detailed images in your own mind that you can picture every place, character and action she creates within this world.

Fever is a more than worthy follow-up to Wither and where the middle book in a trilogy can sometimes almost be seen as a filler this one certainly is not. The plot speeds along and you begin to get an idea of the magnitude of the battle that awaits the characters in the final book of this trilogy. I can’t wait to get my hands on it!

Rating: 4/5. I loved it! Can’t believe I have to wait a whole year to get closure!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

In My Mailbox #46

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted over at The Story Siren. This meme allows us bloggers to show what books we recieve each week.

Well, Helen was the star of the show this week and she managed to avoid raising the national average debt by steering clear of all book purchases. A lesson for us all I feel...

Bungle's mailbox

So Bungle was pretty good this week and she bought one book which was Stolen Away by Alyxandra Harvey. This book has been on her wishlist for ages and with a few chapters read I hear it was worth the wait! She also received a copy of Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer for review - lucky little tinker!

Sally's Mailbox

I was not so good... Big excitement of the week for me was the arrival of Fever by Lauren DeStefano. I devoured the book in just over a day and what can I say - just brilliant! Review to follow later... I also got Kiss of Midnight which is part of the adult Midnight Breed series (already ordered #2!) and After Midnight, #1 of the Youngbloods series (I'll be reviewing #2, Dead of Night soon)

For review from netgalley this week I was really excited to get a copy of Pure by Julianna Baggot. I also got a copy of Ghost Crown by J. Gabriel Gates and Charlene Keel. This looks a little bit different to my usual reads so looking forward to this one.

But enough of us, what did you get this week?

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Mini Review ~ Here Lies Bridget ~ Paige Harrison

Here Lies Bridget

Title: Here Lies Bridget
Authour: Paige Harrison
Published: January 2011

Bridget Duke is the uncontested ruler of her school. The meanest girl with the biggest secret insecurities. And when new girl Anna Judge arrives, things start to fall apart for Bridget: friends don't worship as attentively, teachers don't fall for her wide-eyed "who me?" look, expulsion looms ahead and the one boy she's always loved--Liam Ward--can barely even look at her anymore.
When a desperate Bridget drives too fast and crashes her car, she ends up in limbo, facing everyone she's wronged and walking a few uncomfortable miles in their shoes. Now she has only one chance to make a last impression. Though she might end up dead, she has one last shot at redemption and the chance to right the wrongs she's inflicted on the people who mean the most to her.
And Bridget's about to learn that, sometimes, saying you're sorry just isn't enough....

Ok, this review will be short and sweet. To start with I haven't finished the book, I know, I know! I love the authors writing and can not fault the premise of the book but oh my gosh I can't stand Bridget! It grates on me to think people in the real world are actually like that!! I can't help but feel the author wants readers to dislike Bridget!

I kept putting this book down and picking it and then putting it back down. At the moment it is down and even though I'm not liking Bridget I find myself wanting to find out how she changes and I have read other reviews that say the book gets better as it goes along.
I think for now this book is going to stay

As I said I love the authors writing and I'm more than happy to read more by her in the future.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Review ~ The Fault in Our Stars ~ John Green

Title: The Fault in Our Stars

Author: John Green

Published: 10th January 2012

By: Dutton Books

First line: Late in the winter of my seventeenth year, my mother decided I was depressed, presumably because I rarely left the house, spent quite a lot of time in bed, read the same book over and over, ate infrequently, and devoted quite a bit of my free time to thinking about death.

Last line: I do.

Fave line: You gave me a forever within the numbered days and I’m grateful (there were many more lines but they would have been plot spoilers!)

Synopsis: Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now. Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means) Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault. Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly, to her interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

For the most part I like to write my own brief outline of any book that I’ve read because I think we all tend to come at a story from different angles. The story that I perceive will most likely be completely different to half the reviewers who post their thoughts and I think this makes life more interesting for potential readers of any book.

For TFIOS I decided to stick with the synopsis. Why? One, because I don’t want to write anything that might bias the reader before they get their hands on the book and two, my mouth is too big and I know I’ll give too much away! One thing I will say – I was warned that this would be an emotional read and oh boy, was it! And by emotional, I don’t mean soppy or wretched, but rather it is beautifully worded, it tugs at the heart strings and each chapter will drag you further into the story, so much so that the line between the reality and the story almost blurs.

This is in no small part due to the characters, three teenagers who use their illnesses to get perks, are wise beyond their years and who find themselves trying to find all the answer in what could possibly a cruelly short period of time. John Green’s previous experience working with cancer patients shines through in this tale. Some sections are graphic and difficult to read, made more so by their honesty and accuracy whilst others are so relatable i.e. the overprotective parents and the need for people to use humour to mask the tragedy within which they find themselves.

In amongst all this however, they are still teenagers. They have the same issues as any other teenager embarking upon a relationship, they still have tantrums and still want to do the things that other teenagers do. The relationship that blossoms between Augustus and Hazel is simple and beautiful and the friendship between all three kids just amazing. The roles that surrounding family members play in this tale felt real and natural and by the time you have finished reading it’s almost like you became a member of their combined family too. TFIOS will pull you in and make you laugh, cry, then cry some more but it’ll be worth it, believe me!

5/5 – As I said on Twitter – just wow! Loved it and looking forward to reading more of John Green’s work.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

In My Mailbox #45

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted over at The Story Siren. This meme allows us bloggers to show what books we receive each week.

First of all we are sorry for our lack of posts this week! Bungle has been very busy on the job front, and so has Helen and Sally has had a crazy busy week in work. Everything seems to come at once for us all! Anyway, lets get to the real reason you are here, the books we got this week:~
I was a little naughty this week and I bought 3 books which I have been hearing alot about, Grave Minder by Melissa Marr, Everneath by Brodi Ashton and Heaven by Christoph Marzi.

This week I also got an envelop full of books for review:~

Wyrmeweald: Returner's Wealth ~ Paul Stewart & Chris Riddell
Starters ~ Lissa Price
Dearly Departed ~ Lia Habel
Black Heart Blue ~ Lousia Reid
Now is the Time for Running ~ Michael Williams

A few of these I already have so I passed them on to work friends to read.

Sally's Mailbox:~

This week I tried to tighten the pursestrings and failed abysmally!  I bought Witch in Winter by Ruth Warburton, something I had to have for my own after reading what Bungle is saying about it! I also bought Entangled by Cat Clarke and Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin so loads to look forward to there:~

A Witch in Winter (Winter Trilogy, #1)  Entangled  Low Red Moon

From netgalley for review I got Dead of Night by Lynn Viehl, #2 of the Youngbloods series.  Guess I'll have to treat myself to book one now! Oops!!

Dead of Night

Helen's Mailbox:~

I have been very good this week and only purchased one book! Which lucky for me was free on amazon! Rising Tides by Maria Rachel Hooley.

Rising Tides

So that's what the Midnight Reads team got this week, now we're off to have a good look in your mailbox!

Monday, 6 February 2012

Review ~ New Girl ~ Paige Harbison

Title: New Girl

Author: Paige Harbison

Published: 31st January 2012

By: Harlequin

Source: netgalley

First line: The panoramic views outside the windows of the bus showed a world that wasn’t mine.

Last line: And as I left for the last time, I could have sworn I saw a tall, thin blonde girl standing at the entrance of Manderley.

Fave line: No, no, say no. “Sure”.

New girl is a re-telling of the Daphne Du Maurier classic Rebecca which I have to confess I haven’t read so I’ve come to this title anew. It tells the story of Callie, whose name incidentally we do not find out until the end of the book and who is for the most part just referred to as new girl. As we begin this tale New Girl finds herself relocating to Manderley, a prestigious boarding school that she aspired to years earlier and where a vacancy has unexpectedly arisen. We soon find out that the reason for the vacancy is the unexplained disappearance of one of its pupils, namely Becca. Becca was by all accounts the life and soul of the party and for some strange reason, New Girl finds that most of the residing pupils seem to begrudge her arrival, assuming that she is in some way trying to take the place of their missing friend, none more so than her new roommate Dana with whom Becca used to reside.

The story is told from two POV, New Girl’s and Becca’s. Over the course of the story we learn more about Becca and the events which lead to her disappearance as well as witnessing the struggle New Girl goes through to forge friendships in an environment which has shown her little more than pure hostility.

From the outset I detested the sociopath that is Becca. She’s promiscuous in order to gain notoriety among her peers, she is a perpetual liar who manipulates everyone around her and she will tread on anyone that threatens to damage the partygirl-loved-by-all image she has so carefully crafted for herself. New Girl on the other hand is honest, trying to live by her principals and you can’t help but pity her as she is so unfairly treated, particularly by Dana whose behaviour made me suspicious of her throughout the book. Her reactions depict something more than grief over the loss of a friend. The two male protagonists, Max and Jonny seem almost spineless at times, as though they are easily manipulated in their grief and perhaps guilt as Dana weaves webs around them. It was a relief to finally see Max begin to find his own strength towards the end of the book.

The story is almost like a puzzle. At the beginning there are a thousand fragmented pieces, coming from different perspectives which we gradually watch being put back together and by the end of the book we are finally able to see the bigger picture. In this respect I guess it fits into the mystery genre very well and I thought Harbison tied things up nicely for all the major players. I thought this was a really enjoyable read!

4/5 New Girl certainly does keep you guessing until the end. Would absolutely recommend!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

In My Mailbox #44

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted over at The Story Siren. This meme allows us bloggers to show what books we recieve each week.

It's been quite a quiet week this week on the book buying front here at Midnight Reads but what we have received has been utterly fantastic! First praise of the week goes to Helen who managed to steer clear of any purchases. I'm not entirely sure how she does it - I think I may need to get her advice...

Bungle was also extra extra good this week and didn't buy any books!! That said she's also been off from the bookshop so she hasn't been tempted by anything. I wonder what that means for the pursestrings this week...

In the post this week however she did receive swag from author Marissa Meyer. Marissa sent swag to everyone who tweeted a picture of their red shoes on the release day of Cinder! Bungle thought it was a brilliant idea and had to join in!! Thank you Marissa :)

I was a very lucky girl this week and I got three books that I have been desperate to read! I was bouncier than a box of frogs when I got this copy of Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver. This was a gift from Bungle and it made my weekend! I also got a copy of Fallen in Love by Lauren Kate (Yay Daniel!) and Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi which I have heard so many good things about. BTW, Pandemonium... read it in one day ~ BRILLIANT!!

But that's enough about us ~ What did you get this week?

Saturday, 4 February 2012

On My Wishlist

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.

Fractured Light

Title: Fractured Light
Author: Rachel McClellan
Published: February 2012
Llona Reese is used to living on the run. After the Vykens killed her parents, she knew they would eventually come for her too. But she never felt ready to face them---until now. Defying the Auran Council and everything she's been taught, Llona must learn to use her power over light as a weapon if she wants to survive.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Review~The Vision~Jessica Sorensen

The Vision (The Fallen Star, #3)
Add caption

Title: The Vision
Author: Jessica Sorensen
Published: October 23rd 2011
By: createspace
Gemma thought she was trapped—that Stephan had finally won. But then time resets and she’s given another chance.
The clock is ticking as Gemma tries to figure out how to change the vision that ends the world in ice. If she can, then maybe she can save the world from Stephan and give her and Alex a chance at a real future. But changing visions can be dangerous, and sometimes one small mistake can lead to disastrous results
First Line: “I kept having these dreams, or maybe they were more like nightmares.”
Last Line: “The only answer I got was the fire crackling in the streets.”
Favourite Line: “I remembered the Blood Promise, I remembered he was my forever.”
Due to a nasty cold and being stuck in bed all day I managed to read this book in one day! And I can honestly say I have never been so glad to be poorly because it enabled me to devour this book!
This is the third instalment in The Fallen Star series which follows Gemma in her quest to save the world from the evil Stephan and his Death walkers. All our favourite characters are back, Gemma (of course!), Alex, Laylen, and some new characters that shock us with their appearance.
The first being Gemma’s father, Julian Lucas an all-powerful foreseer who has been trapped in his own mind for changing a vision, something which is strictly forbidden amongst foreseers. He also has the unique ability that Gemma possesses, to be able to travel in and out of visions without a crystal ball. I was really excited when we met Gemma’s Dad he brings in a whole new set of questions that need to be answered! ‘The Vision’ is primarily a new mission for Gemma, connected to her Father this time, she must travel through a crystal ball and stop her father from changing the Vision he was imprisoned for changing. Confused? Yes so was I a little however Sorensen tries to help us along by explaining the butterfly effect, if one aspect of a sequence is changed then it therefore has an effect on the rest of the sequence. Gemma has to change the sequence that her father created however this change also has consequences. What these consequences are start to happen as the book comes to a close and we will have to wait until the fourth book in the series ‘The Promise’ is released sometime in February to see what happens.
At the end of ‘The Underworld’ Sorensen explains that Gemma, Alex, Laylen and Aislin all play a part in Stephan’s plan to end the world due to the fact that they are half of one thing and half of another, for example Aislin is half witch, half keeper. To open the portal he needs the star, a keeper who is also a witch, a keeper who is also a Vampire and a Keeper who is also a Faerie. In ‘The Vision’ we meet our half Faerie, half Keeper; Aleesa.  Aleesa does not have much of a storyline in this instalment however I feel as in the previous books she will be introduced to us further in the next book.
Gemma’s character develops further in this book, and she starts to emerge as a strong leader, though still afraid, and shows her fear (which I liked about her from the beginning). However with every new revelation she gains strength and a bit more personality. I loved that Sorensen makes her a Keeper; the once clumsy ungraceful Gemma is now a cat like Ninja.
The love triangle between Gemma, Alex and Laylen develops a little further, I think Laylen realises in this book that Gemma is meant to be with Alex, and he starts to soften towards Aislin who broke his heart when she left him after his ‘turning’. Aislin gets a bit more action in this outing Yay! I was really glad Sorensen did this, and she hadn’t just introduced a character that ha one dimension. I feel we will see further action from Aislin in the next book.
When I first started reading this series I heard it had been compared to Twilight, and I started to see these similarities come forward in the third book. Gemma and Alex cannot be close to one another due to the electricity (I won’t go into too much detail because I don’t want to spoil the story too much), I found this aspect of the story heart-breaking, they obviously feel very strongly for one another and they cannot be together!
Rating 4 out of 5 stars: The fast pace story continues on its roller coaster ride, with new characters bringing with them new questions. I like that Sorensen picks one secondary character in each book and elaborates on their story. This is a brilliant saga and we are left at the conclusion with the departure of a major character, and the end of the world beginning! How could you not be excited for the next book!
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