Monday, 27 January 2014

Cress by Marissa Meyer - First chapter review!

Title: Cress

Author: Marissa Meyer

Published: 4th February 2014

By: Macmillan Children's Publishing Group

Source: netgalley

Synopsis: In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and prevent her army from invading Earth.

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl trapped on a satellite since childhood who’s only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s being forced to work for Queen Levana, and she’s just received orders to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice. 

When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is splintered. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a higher price than she’d ever expected. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai, especially the cyborg mechanic. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has. 

So I was only a few sentences into the first chapter and I was already drawn in!  This time, in book three of the Lunar Chronicles series we delve into the story of Cress and it's the tale of Rapunzel that provides the basis for our adventure.  Banished from Luna Cress now spends her life revolving around the planet she once lived on and gazing out at planet earth wondering what life would be like if she were to live there (or in our case, here).

Leading a life of solitude,with the exception of the occasional visit from Queen Levana, Cress spends the majority of her time working on the computers within the satellite. It is this work that her makes her an excellent hacker and for that reason she's wanted by everyone, good and bad. Which is how she fits oh so neatly into the plot that began developing in Cinder and continued to grow in Scarlet.  I only got to read the first chapter but what I could read grabbed me completely.I immediately warmed to Cress and I like the way that Meyer adds enough info that you're pretty much up to speed within the first few paragraphs, outlining earlier interactions between herself and Linh Cinder.  Everything about this short instalment promises a spectacular sequel.   Just crossing my fingers for Prince Kai and Cinder now...Eeshk!

In short, I can't wait to get hold of a copy.  Only days to go now!

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Review ~ Bitter Fruits ~ Sarah Daltry

Title: Bitter Fruits

Author: Sarah Daltry

Published: 1st December 2013

By: Harlequin Enterprises Australia

Source: netgalley.

Note: This book is for readers aged 16 or over.

Synopsis: For fans of dark urban fantasy comes a novel that questions why forbidden fruit is always the most tempting...

A vampire-themed masquerade party isn’t really her scene, but Nora is sick of frat parties and bars. When she meets Alec, the appeal suddenly becomes clear. It’s obvious that they’ve been struck by the same intense mutual attraction, but Alec keeps his distance. Intrigued despite herself, Nora pushes a little deeper — and discovers Alec’s unimaginable secret...

Nora is not afraid of following Alec into the darkness, but the choice is soon taken from her. Someone is hunting her — someone tied to the secret and desperate to see it play out. But when Nora finally meets her aggressor, she finds herself hopelessly drawn to him. She needs to make a choice between the two men, but can she save them both, knowing one is destined to die?

I love me a NA read and I have to say this book is no exception. It's starts off with a masquerade ball so what's not to like there and it's leads very nicely on to two relatively hot brothers.  Again nothing to complain about.  We also have vampires (my favourite!) to add to the mix so once more we're on to a winner. so far then it's all good!

I like the fact that the heart of this read is set back millennia ago, back to a point in time when one bad decision triggered a scenario that was doomed to repeated lifetime after lifetime. Until now.  Enter Nora.  Could she be the one that can put an end to the brothers' perpetual misery and if she does what happens after?  You'll have to read and find out. And I can't tell you about the point in time either as that would be majorly spoilery.  Sorry!

I did like both of the brothers in this book.  Their outward personalities are very different for very obvious reasons when you are reading the story but there are underlying aspects that are similar and highlight the bond between the two boys as much as they may try to hide it. I liked Nora as well.  She has a little kickass going on and she has a wicked tongue at the most inappropriate moments.  I like that.  I also liked their professor, Henry.  I love his enthusiasm although there are some aspects to his behaviour that make me question his career choice.  

One thing that did irritate was the speed with which Nora enters into a relationship with her vamp of choice. Talk about diving in! Also, I didn't get how Nora and her best friend Scarlet was so accepting of everything.  And I mean everything.  In a  sort of a "I'm a vampire!" "Oh, OK." "And I'm going to drink your blood." "Righto!" sort of a way.  Just a few more questions might at least have made both female characters look a little more intelligent.

There's a lot of the steamy action in this book as well with the inclusion of your traditional YA love triangle that almost everybody loves.  Except this is NA.  Just sayin'...

That said, these things didn't effect the way I felt about the book. I'm looking forward to finding out what happens next.  Hopefully, it won't be too long!

3.5/5. This was a nice read. I say go grab yourselves a copy!

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Stacking The Shelves #81

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

We love sharing our books with you each week but more importantly we loving see what you add to your shelves. Clicking on a book will take you to goodreads.
Amy and Matthew Dance of the Dark Heart  The Time of My Life (Rachel Riley #7)
Ironheart Thirteen The Way of Shadows (Night Angel, #1)
Wait for You (Wait for You, #1) Impostor (Variants, #1) Teardrop (Teardrop, #1)

Amy & Matthew ~ Cammie McGovern ~ for review
Dance of the Dark Heart ~ Julie Hearn ~ for review
The Time of My Life ~ Joanna Nadin ~ for review
Ironheart ~Allan Boroughs ~ for review
Thirteen ~ Tom Hoyle ~ for review
The Way of Shadows ~ Brent Weeks ~ bought
Impostor ~ Susanne Winnacker ~ from Michelle @ Much Loved Books
Teardrop ~ Lauren Kate ~ from Michelle @ Much Loved Books
A Boat Made of Bone ~ Nicole Grotepas ~ for review
The Belief in Angels ~ J. Dylan Yates ~ for review

A massive thank you to Michelle at Much Loved Books for sending Bungle 3 amazing books!

So that's it from us - what did you get this week?


Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Review ~ Angelbound ~ Christina Bauer

Title: Angelbound

Author: Christina Bauer

Published: December 17th 2013

By: Ink Monster LLC

Source: A free galley of this book was supplied by netgalley

Synopsis: Eighteen year old Myla Lewis is a girl who loves two things: kicking ass and kicking ass. She’s not your every day quasi-demon, half-demon and half-human, girl. For the past five years, Myla has lived for the days she gets to fight in Purgatory’s arena. When souls want a trial by combat for their right to enter heaven or hell, they go up against her, and she hasn’t lost a battle yet. 

But as she starts her senior year at Purgatory High, the arena fights aren’t enough to keep her spirits up anymore. When the demons start to act weird, even for demons, and the King of the Demons, Armageddon, shows up at Myla’s school, she knows that things are changing and it’s not looking good for the quasi-demons. Myla starts to question everything, and doesn’t like the answers she finds. What happened seventeen years ago that turned the quasi-demons into slave labor? Why was her mom always so sad? And why won’t anyone tell her who her father is? Things heat up when Myla meets Lincoln, the High Prince of the Thrax, a super sexy half-human and half-angel demon hunter. But what’s a quasi-demon girl to do when she falls for a demon hunter? It’s a good thing that Myla’s not afraid of breaking a few rules. With a love worth fighting for, Myla’s going to shake up Purgatory.

This was a hard one for me. I'm sorry to say that I did not finish this book.  That's not to say that the book was bad, far from it, hence my difficulty in writing this review.  The idea behind the story was good, the plot was progressing well, albeit slowly and there was a fair bit of action with a variety of battle scenes going on but for some reason there was nothing calling me to pick up the book and read it.

I've spent a good while thinking about the reasons why and I think the long and short of it was that I just didn't care about the characters.  As much as there was a lot going on and we were heading somewhere I still didn't feel as though I knew enough about the main protagonists to make me care about them and what information was provided became repetitive after a while.  There was a lot of questions to be answered and very little being revealed, or at least it felt that way to me. I wanted to learn more as the plot progressed and that didn't seem to happen. There are a lot of books out at the moment that really are all about the feels. They make you laugh, cry, seethe, whatever the emotion, but as well as that they give you insight into the personalities on the page.  It's their motive or their reaction to something or someone or their behaviour that triggers an emotion in the reader. You get to understand what drives them to behave in the way that they do.  I get that the main character here doesn't have all the facts but even then aside from the physical mechanics of the situations she faces I felt as though I got very little of anything else from her.

As I say, perhaps it's because I've read so many angsty books that I now expect the feels as part of the plot.  That may well be the case and it may also be the case that other readers will prefer this book simply because it doesn't have all the angst.   I get the feeling that if I had been drawn further into the book there would have been characters that I would have warmed to, Walker in particular but for the most part I found I was pretty uninterested.

I've given this a DNF but I don't want it to be seen as a totally negative thing.  It's absolutely not.  Different books call to different people.  Unfortunately this one didn't call to me.

DNF - Don't take my word for it.  Try it, you may enjoy it.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Review ~ Pawn ~ Aimee Carter

Title: Pawn

Author: Aimee Carter

Published: 26th November 2013

By: Harlequin Teen

Source: netgalley.

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

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

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

I enjoyed Aimee's Goddess Test series so to find out that she had 'gone dystopian' for her next release pleased me - a lot! I'm glad to say I'm not disappointed!

There are a lot, a lot, a lot of dystopian series out there at the moment and it would be reasonable to suggest that there are only a certain number of ways that a dystopian plot can develop. Usually it's something political which involves a breakdown in social morality and which if we're lucky will have a female protagonist who isn't afraid to stick her own head above the parapet instead of waiting for her boyf to come along and stick his own head above for her.  

Whilst Pawn does fit many of these expectancies there are also some nice new twists in here that make it an enjoyable read.  The intricate plot is well thought through and where other writers may have left us confused Carter has instead taken us on a rather multi-faceted journey with some very complex characters.

Which leads me to the Hart family. They make The Simpsons look like The Waltons.  In short, they are the family from hell driven by apretty dark form of politics alone it would seem, until you scratch beneath the surface and get involved in Lila's world.  The twists and turns in the plot kept me reading and by the end I had no idea who genuinely supported who.  But then I guess that's politics right? 

I was pleased to see that Kitty developed as a character throughout the book and whilst she has a Benjy by her side, and he does at times ask her not to do things that may put her at risk that doesn't prevent her from following the path she believes she should.  No sign of a love triangle either... Unless Knox  figures out he prefers fake Lila to real Lila.  And as I said earlier.  It's politics.  Who knows what could happen. I found the characters in this book deliciously dark at times.  Especially Daxton and Celia, probably the most dysfunctional couple ever!  There were also some inherently good characters like Greyson.  I wish for only good things for him!

Loved the ending of this book.  We leave it at a kind of 'check' (note the chess term - impressive no?) situation.  I'm looking forward to finding out what Kitty's next move will be.

3.5/5 A promising start to a new series.  If you like your dystopian reads you should enjoy this one.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Review ~ Enders ~ Lissa Price

Title: Enders

Author: Lissa Price

Published: 7th January 2014

By: Random House Children's Publishing

Source: netgalley.

Synopsis: Someone is after Starters like Callie and Michael - teens with chips in their brains. They want to experiment on anyone left over from Prime Destinations -With the body bank destroyed, Callie no longer has to rent herself out to creepy Enders. But Enders can still get inside her mind and make her do things she doesn't want to do. Like hurt someone she loves. Having the chip removed could save her life - but it could also silence the voice in her head that might belong to her father. Callie has flashes of her ex-renter Helena's memories, too . . . and the Old Man is back, filling her with fear. Who is real and who is masquerading in a teen body?

No one is ever who they appear to be, not even the Old Man. Determined to find out who he really is and grasping at the hope of a normal life for herself and her younger brother, Callie is ready to fight for the truth. Even if it kills her.

And so we reach the dramatic conclusion for Callie, Michael et al. I actually bought Starters when it came out as I was drawn to the cover and then to the synopsis. Then it sat on my shelf for ages.  Until that is I was given a copy of Enders and then wow did I regret not reading Starters sooner.  There's an underlying hint at the death of humanity in both stories that makes the plotline a little bit darker I think.  It's interesting that the Elders don't see the Starters as the opportunity to start again post spore wars but more as an opportunity to selfishly experience life again themselves.  It's like the human spirit has deserted those who are left behind and in power, replaced by greed and disregard for the sanctity of life. This effect understandably trickles down to the next generation and it can be seen in the relationships between all the main characters over the course of the two instalments. The links forged between them and their forefathers and the issues that each brings to the table as a result make for a fast paced and intricate plot with more than a few curve balls thrown in for good measure.

It's a bit of a case of just when you thought things couldn't get any worse with Enders.  Having gotten rid of Prime Destinations at the end of Starters you'd think everything would be lovely and rosy in the Callie garden. But no.  Callie can still be controlled via her chip even whilst conscious in her own body which makes her the worst kind of weapon.  She could in essence be commanded to commit murder, even to murder her loved ones, and do it consciously without ever having the ability to prevent her body from doing so.  Nasty eh? And enough of a reason for the old gang to reform and to finally put an end to those who still want control of the starters who still carry the chip in their heads.

We have old characters, new characters, the arrival of previously heard of characters and the death of characters in Enders.  Callie seems a little less kickass in the sequel, as though things have now gotten to be too much for her and I guess you can kind of see why at times.  Various things happen that do eat away at her as the plot develops. Then of course there's the obligatory romance, or in this case, a serious of possible contenders for...  I have to say I took a liking to Hyden, even though he's the grandson of The Old Man and even though he does something which seems to fly in the face of the whole cause just to get some lip action.

The final scenes in this booked are pretty action packed and I thought it was a pretty fitting ending. In some ways.  There are some pretty cool twists in here as people switch sides and loyalties are challenged.  It does mean that right until the end you aren't 100% sure as to how things are going to work out and I do like that in a finale. I'm also glad this was a two parter.  Price could have stretched it out, turning it into the usual trilogy but to do so would have weakened the story I think.  The two books together pack quite a punch and I'm glad I got round to reading them.

4/5 - A more than worthy follow up to it's predecessor and a fantastic conclusion to the story.

p.s. Incidentally, the cover of the galley that I got for review in the UK was different to the cover of the paperback I received. The paperback cover I much prefer as it ties back to the Starters cover.  You can see the different cover here on this weeks Stacking the Shelves.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Stacking The Shelves #80

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

We love sharing our books with you each week but more importantly we loving see what you add to your shelves. Clicking on a book will take you to goodreads.

PoisonFangirl Unhinged (Splintered, #2)

Fangirl ~ Rainbow Rowell ~ from publisher for review
Unhinged ~ A.G. Howard ~ bought
Poison ~ Sarah Pinborough ~ bought
Charm ~ Sarah Pinborough ~ bought
Dark Triumph ~ Robin LaFevers ~ pressie from B :)
Enders ~ Lissa Price ~ Pressie from B :)

Bungle and I both did amazingly well this week! Bungle got a copy of Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell for review.  All the feedback on goodreads is pretty amazing so I'm looking forward to hearing more about this one!  She then also treated herself to copies of Poison and Charm, books one and two of the Tales from the Kingdom series by Sarah Pinborough. We both treated ourselves to copies of Unhinged, book two in the splintered series  by A.G Howard. Love her covers! Then as part two of of my Xmas pressie from Bungle I chose Dark Triumph, book two of the His Fair Assassin series by Robin LaFevers and Enders, the sequel to Starters by Lissa Price.  I have already read Enders and will be putting the review up on the blog soon.  Loved the conclusion to this story and look forward to telling you why!

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Stacking The Shelves #79

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

We love sharing our books with you each week but more importantly we loving see what you add to your shelves. Clicking on a book will take you to goodreads.
Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1) Half Bad (Half Life, #1)
The Visitors The Edge of Nowhere (Saratoga Woods, #1)
Anna and the French Kiss ~ Stephanie Perkins ~ publisher: for review
Half Bad ~ Sally Green ~ gift
The Visitors ~ Rebecca Mascull ~ gift
The Edge of Nowhere ~ Elizabeth George ~ gift
This week I received a copy of Anna and the French Kiss which I've heard nothing but good things about. Shocking that I haven't read it before but I'm very much looking forward to it. The book came with a galaxy hot chocolate which I think is the perfect thing for reading a good book!
This week I got three books from Bungle as part of my Christmas present and they all look amazing! I got The Edge of Nowhere, The Visitors, which has a really pretty cover and sounds amazing and Half Bad.  Film rights to this book have already been sold so this book may well be one to watch in 2014. Thanks B! You're a star!

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Review ~ The Temptation of Ethan and Lila ~ Jessica Sorenson

Title: The Temptation of Ethan and Lila

Author: Jessica Sorenson

Published: May 6th 2014

By: Forever

First line: Beauty.

Last line: Spoiler...Sorry!!

Where to start... This book contains feels of magnificent proportions! Jessica Sorenson has the ability to pull me into a story with the first few pages, and this book is no exception. 

Not surprisingly this story tells us the tale of Ethan and Lila (the biggest clue being right there in the title). To say they come from different backgrounds is an understatement.  Lila's childhood, to those that are looking in, might be considered to be a privileged one. Her family are wealthy, she is an attractive girl and it seems as though the world could be hers on a plate if she wanted it.  If she wanted it the way her family wanted it to be for her that is. Behind closed doors is a different story where Lila is continuously made to feel like a failure that does not meet the standards required by her parents.  Strange considering extra-marital affairs and perpetual misuse of medication are what holds her parents' marriage together. Ethan on the other hand is a drop out who having escaped his own abusive family has experienced further loss after the end of a traumatic relationship where again drugs are the root cause of everything falling apart. It is the break-up of the latter that leads him to the conclusion that relationships just aren't worth the grief.

The coming together of Ethan and Lila has the potential for all manner of toxicity between two people given their experience with the use of drugs and their screwed up backgrounds. What emerges however is an amazing friendship that we as the reader get to experience in an beautifully traumatic way. There are times when you want to either hug/shake/slap/laugh with/cry with (delete as appropriate) these characters but underneath it all you're rooting for them all the way. Ethan stole my heart completely!

The peripheral characters in this book make the story all the richer.  I detested Lila's parents with a passion, as well as those individuals who prey on Lila's weakness for their own gain.  There are  however other characters who I adored equally, namely Ella and Micha, who we get to read more about soon.  I should mention that this book is part of a series but can be read as a stand-alone.

There are a lot of dark aspects to this book.  Drug addiction and abuse are the root causes of the issues that Ethan and Lila have so at times this is not a pretty read.   For that reason and owning to the hotness of Ethan and Lila's relationship (and boy is it hot!) I would have to say that this book is for older readers.  Those of you that do read it will not be disappointed. Can't wait to get my hands on the next in the series.

Rating:4/5 Loved this book!  Oh, the feels! And can someone find me an Ethan please..I'll wait here...Thank you...

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Stacking The Shelves #78

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

We love sharing our books with you each week but more importantly we loving see what you add to your shelves. Clicking on a book will take you to goodreads.
Hay all and a big Happy New Year!!! I hope you all have a lovely Christmas as well as New Year. Here's to the first STS of 2014 and hopefully many more....
Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2) Darkest Fear (Birthright, #1) The Name On Your Wrist A Breath of Frost (The Lovegrove Legacy, #1)
Signed 'Happy Birthday' Crown of Midnight ~ Sarah J. Maas ~ A fab birthday present from the amazing Sally!!
Darkest Fear ~ Cate Tiernan ~ unsolicited  
The Name On Your Wrist ~ Helen Hiorns ~ gift/bought
A Breath of Frost ~ Alexandra Harvey ~ gift/bought
I love my signed edition of Crown of Midnight, I had no idea Sal had this as a birthday present, it was just perfect! Darkest Fear was a lovely surprise in the post and we are big fans of Cate here at Midnight Reads. I was given a gift-card by my manager for Christmas and bought The Name on Your Wrist & A Breath of Frost after reading come fab reviews.
Happy reading everyone, off too see what you all got!
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