Sunday, 26 May 2013

Stacking the shelves #49

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. All links added here will take you to goodreads.

Bungle's shelves

This week I was naughty and bought Alice's Adventures inWonderland which is both books in one, I love the cover! For review I was sent The School for Good & Evil by Soman Chainani which I requested through work. The inside is amazing!! I was also sent a signed copy of Fall of Night by Rachel Caine with an awesome Morganville Resident card & wrist band which was sent to me by Michelle from Much Loved Books! THANK YOU Michelle :)

Sally's shelves

I have had a rather marvellous week this week! I started reading Half-Blood by Jennifer L Armentrout last week having fallen in love with the Lux series and immediately realised that my shelf would not be complete unless I had all four books sitting on it immediately.  So within a couple of days I'd also added Pure, Deity and Apollyon to my collection.  I'm already reading the last of the four and am freaking out about the fact that I'll have to wait until November to get my hands on Sentinel, the last of the series. I love the covers for this series, they are just beautiful and what with so many other series done and dusted this may be the right time to tuck into something new.  Love!!

I also happened upon Angelfall by Susan Ee whilst out food shopping the other day.I don't know a great deal about this read yet but I do understand that it's been a huge hit on the tinterweb so I'm really looking forward to reading it.  I also got my hands on a work library copy of The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness.  This has been on my to-read list for ages so I'm really chuffed that I managed to get my hands on a copy.

So, another busy week for us! What have you been adding to your shelves this week?

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Stacking the shelves #48

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. All links added here will take you to goodreads.

Bungle's shelves

This week I was sent Icons by Margaret Stohl which was a freebie from work. Works a bit like blogging, they send a book & we review on the Waterstones website. I bought By Any Other Name which is by Laura Jarrarr. I loved Laura's first book, Skin Deep, so I'm really looking forward to this one!

Sally's shelves

Well what a week I've had!  I finally managed to get one over on  B in that I didn't buy any books! That said, I did get a fantastic parcel from B! I was cock-a-hoop to get a massive box with six fabulous reads in it!  This week I got The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey, The Beautiful and The Cursed by Page Morgan, How to Fall by Jane Casey, Goddess by Josephine Angelini (which I loved btw!), Paper Aeroplanes by Dawn O'Porter and No Where by Jon Robinson.  How's that for a haul!  So many books, so little time!!

Well I think that's enough to be getting on with!

But enough about us!  What have you been buying?

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Stacking the shelves #47

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. All links added here will take you to goodreads.

Bungle's shelves

This week I was sent one of my most anticipated books of the year for review which was Goddess by Josephine Angelini!!! I'm so excited but I think I'll be sad once it's over! I was a little naughty & bought two books but at £1.99 each I couldn't say no! They were  BZRK by Michael Grant, hardback, & the trade paperback of Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare (Team Jem! Sorry to interrupt. That is all. Thank you. Sally :-)). Rather happy with my books this week :)

Sally's shelves

Well what a week it's been this week!  Not only did I get another of my most anticipated books for 2013 I also made some amazing purchases!  Did I go a little crazy because this week is payweek?  Possibly. But who cares?! You  only live once right? So, going on the shelves this week:

The first three books I got my hands on were Icons by Margaret Stohl and The Selection and The Elite by Keira Cass.  Pretty covers no? I did have a preview copy of Icons and loved it so I had to add it to my shelf.  If you haven't already seen it there's a review of Icons which is linked here.  There's also a link to the book trailer on the same page which is amazing!

So then the next two I acquired were Chosen at Nightfall by C.C Hunter and Breathe by Sarah Crossnan.  Chosen at Nightfall was on my most anticipated list and I've spent the last few days re-reading Whispers at Moonrise which is book four of the Shadow Falls novels so that I was up to speed to begin the new instalment.  I'm a few pages in and loving it so far! Review to follow. Breathe is a read I've been meaning to get my hands on for a long time as I've heard some good things about it.  Hopefully it won't be too long before I get round to reading it!

Then I came across these two, that is Immortal City and Natural Born Angel by Scott Speer as a pack in Asda (Other supermarkets are available).  What could I do? If someone offers me the chance to catch up on a series in one tiny package then I'm afraid I'm going to have to take it.

Lastly, I also got a review copy of No Strings Attached by Nicolette Day from Entangled Publishing.  For those that don't  know Ms Day is the rather minxy alter ego of Tara Fuller who writes for YA as well.  Can't help but think it's a good idea to have a separate identity for the two genres.  That kind of mix-up could get real messy.  No goodreads link to this one as yet but we will provide one as soon as we get it and of course we'll also be adding a review closer to publication.

So that's it from us this week, although I think that's enough don't you? So tell us, what did you get?

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Changes are afoot

As you all know Midnight Reads is a Young Adult, YA, blog but both Sally and I have made the decision to change that. From now on Midnight Reads will review ALL genres!

We have had a good chat about this and we feel because we read more than just YA it's the right move for us and our blog.

Young Adult or New Adult as it's now become is just a cross over really and although we understand the differences there's not always that much between YA/NA and adult books.

We feel very happy about this change and we hope you do to and can understand why we have decided to go in this direction. We also feel that this change will bring more action to the blog, and even more so now that Bungle is on the mend.

Sally will be making a feature of some of her reviews which will concentrate on the books that authors make reference to within their own stories. So for example Jack Kerouac's On the road is in Beautiful Creatures, Tale of Two cities is in The Infernal Devices, and so on. We will always let you know where a particular book has been mentioned with this feature.

We would love to know what you think of these changes and wonder if any other YA bloggers have thought about making similar changes. We are looking forward to this change and we look forward to sharing all our reads with you.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Review ~ Clockwork Princess ~ Cassandra Clare

Title: Clockwork Princess

Author: Cassandra Clare

Published:  March 19th 2013

By: Walker Books.

First line: "I'm afraid" said the little girl sitting on the bed.

Last line:  Sorry, spoilery!

Fave line: Sorry, if I started adding fave lines in here, I'd end up re-writing half the book!

So Clockwork Princess has been my most anticipated book since the release of its predecessor, Clockwork Prince.  I've certainly made no secret of my affiliation to Team Jem and I have devoured every teaser and every plot theory on every website that I could get my hands on whilst I waited for its release.  To compound the anticipation further I spent hour after hour speculating further with my twitter peeps as to how things might conclude.  In the end was I disappointed? Um, that would be a huge no! Actually I got everything I wanted and more!

Clare has managed to wrap up the lives of everyone in the Infernal Devices series very neatly and I will talk about that soon. Now is not the time. We have far more pressing matters to get out in the open. I can’t really go any further without discussing what is undoubtedly the most perfect love triangle ever created! EVER! Jem, Tessa and Will. Oh. My. God. There were so many feels  in this last read I can’t even begin to explain.  Are there winners and losers in the end? I actually think there are but you have to get right to the end of the book, right to the end of the epilogue and then you have to think about it for a bit to realise it.  Or at least I did, but then I was pretty numb for about a week so it did take me a while… No spoilers here, but just to say that what with Jem being so ill and so in love with Tessa, with Will being so in love with Tessa and trying to hide it because of his love for Jem, with Tessa being in love with both of them and with Will and Tessa both fearing for Jem’s health this book chewed me up and spat me out over and over again.  I lost almost a whole nights’ sleep, partly because I couldn't put the book down, partly because when I did put the book down, when the words were starting to blur, I was so overdosed on the feels I couldn't sleep anyway!

The furore surrounding the Jem/Tessa/Will triangle does have the potential to steer readers attention away from the main plot.  Thankfully this did not happen for me.  Mortmain’s plans really start to take centre stage in this final instalment and we finally get to see just how deluded he is and how much he is prepared to sacrifice to get his own way.  The final battle scenes in this story are really well written and provide a fitting conclusion to the story as a whole.

I was pleased that the peripheral stories still stood out, even amongst the angst and the feels. Jessamine’s return to the Institute, Gideon Lightwood’s relationship with Sophie, Charlotte’s battle to keep her role as leader of the Institute and to keep her family together and Henry’s devotion to her kept me transfixed from the first page.  Magnus was a joy as ever, and I love how much softer he is in this series. He often speaks throughout both TID and TMI about how immortality and the losses one experiences hardens one over time and I can see how that has clearly happened to him over the centuries.  I will admit I was a little annoyed by Will’s sister Cecily at first and she seemed to come across as a spoilt brat but I did start to warm towards her towards the middle of the book.  Did I like her by the end? Jury's still out on that one…

There are some fab little snippets in here that tie in really nicely with The Mortal Instruments, not that I'm telling you here because that would be spoilery but when they do pop up it's like a eureka moment.  You'll see what I mean when you get there. There is also a lot of humour in this book and it stands out even more when it crops up in the most dramatic of scenes.  As ever most of the humour revolves around Will, unsurprisingly. There were also a couple of scenes that took me completely by surprise, more because of their timing than anything else but having read the rationale behind Clare’s decisions I can kind of see why she wrote what she wrote even though I may not fully agree.  We do also lose a couple of well-loved characters along the way but by the epilogue we have gained so much more.  As for the epilogue itself  Yeah, that was the final nail in my coffin.  And whatever you do, do NOT look at the family tree until you've finished the book.  It will totally spoil it for you!

Clare states that this book is about love and loss and she handles both beautifully. One day soon, once I've taken the books out of the freezer I'm hoping to sit down and read the series again from start to finish.  Until then I'm just going to sit on my sofa and sigh a lot and hope that there are other books out there that can match this one.  I don’t think they’ll be easy to find…

Rating: 5/5  Team Jem! That is all. Thank you.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Review ~ Icons ~ Margaret Stohl

Title: Icons

Author: Margaret Stohl

Published:  May 7th 2013

By: Little, Brown Books

Source: netgalley

First line: One tiny grey dot, no bigger than a freckle, marks the inside of the baby’s chubby arm.

Last line:  May silence bring her peace.

Fave line: But just because something comes from the sky doesn’t make it an angel.

If you follow the reviews on Midnight Reads you’ll know how much I’ve shipped the Beautiful Creatures series. I loved the style of writing and the warm that is held within the words that Margaret Stohl and kami Garcia wrote.  Imagine my excitement then when I discover that one of my fave authors is starting a new series and taking on the dystopian world.  That’s like Christmas in my world! Give me a preview copy for review and I’m on the verge of cartwheeling around the garden!

In writing Icons Stohl has created a world no less rich in detail than those she has built before.  The setting for Icons has the potential to be cold and bleak and yet she has created characters who, for all their in-fighting and battles against those that hold them captive, are still drenched in warmth and who still have hope.

Being dystopian Icons is not surprisingly set in the future, roughly a hundred years from now and the current situation that our main protagonists find themselves in is an event which has been called ‘The Day’. It was on the day that aliens landed on earth depositing thirteen icons in major cities around the world, wiping out all forms of energy as they saw fit and killing millions in the process. Only those that have been allowed to live are still breathing. Enter Dol and Ro, who have survived the invasion and have been raised by the Padre in the wilderness.  Both have a mark on their arms although they differ and neither knows what it means until Dol is kidnapped.  As Ro attempts to rescue her they end up hostages of the Embassy where they meet Tima and Lucas.  Tima like them is a hostage of the Embassy and has been for years.  Lucas on the other hand is the son of the Ambassador, the woman who holds all three hostage.  What links all four characters is that they all bare marks on their wrists, each is different and together they seem to hold the key to overthrowing the icons that have all but wiped out earth.

First, I loved the layout of this book.  The additional notes that were added in between chapters sent me off at all kinds of tangents which was marvellous and certainly kept me thinking until the final pieces of the plot began to fit together.  I did like the pace of this first instalment.  As with any series you need time to develop the world and the setting, particularly so with sci-fi dystopian reads as they take us further from reality.  Stohl has done this amazingly and it was easy to picture every setting and every building as she took us through them.

There are some amazing characters in this read.  Each has their strengths and their weaknesses and there is a certain fear that seems to underlie a lot of the behaviours that we read about, whether it’s fear of rejection, fear of loss or just fear of the unknown there are times when you want to hug these characters and times when you want to slap them. Dol has the potential to become a strong female protagonist and I look forward to seeing her develop over future instalments and the same goes for Tima.  I think between the two of them they could seriously kick ass!  As for the two male leads who form our triangle I find myself flitting between them which is not something I often do.  I normally join my team and that’s where I stay.  But there are pros and cons with Ro and Lucas and I think it won’t be until I read more about their characters that I’ll decide which camp I’m in.  I also liked the character Doc and his really bad attempts at humour and I hope that Fortis features more in the next instalment as he had me hooked from his first appearance in the train.

The action is this book is fast paced and as ever Stohl delivers it well, particularly as you reach the climax of the story, the ending of which sets the scene for what promises to be a pretty marvellous sequel.  I look forward to getting my hands on it in the near future!

Rating: 4/5.  It looks like we have another winning series on our hands! If you love a dystopian read then this may be the one for you!

p.s. Just in case you missed the trailer for Icons you can find it here.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Stacking The Shelves #46


 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. All links added here will take you to goodreads.
Bungle's shelves
This week I bought two books :) My first is so very beautiful! I treated myself to Johanna Basford's Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Colouring Book. I actually bought two copies, one as a gift for a friend. It's so lovely and the perfect book for all the creative people out there. Johanna was a featured artist here on Midnight Reads before we concentrated solely on books. I feel like owning this book is like owning her art work, I have yet to add any colour to it! The next book I bought was Fall of Night by Rachel Caine which is book 14 in the Morganville series. I'm reading Bitter Blood and the moment and just love these characters! It will be a sad farewell once book 15 is released and the series is over!
Sally's shelves
So this has been a particularly good week for me.  I've gotten my hands on three grand finales all of which I've been looking forward to for a long time!  I received copies of If I Should Die by Amy Plum, Shades of Earth by Beth Revis and Boundless by Cynthia Hand.  Boundless has actually been out for a while and I've been patiently waiting for the paperback edition to be released. That was until I read somewhere on the intermaweb that there was no longer a UK publisher and that the American hardback was the only option.  It's a pity in as much as 1) it's more expensive and 2) my series no longer matches but what's a girl to do? I'm Team Tucker first and foremost and sometimes a girl's just gotta prioritise right?

Some rather fabulous books we think. We hope you got some good ones too.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Icons by Margaret Stohl ~ Book trailer!

It's not long now before Icons, book one in a brand new series by Margaret Stohl hits our shelves! Just in case you're new to this one here's the blurb:

Everything changed on The Day. The day the windows shattered. The day the power stopped. The day Dol's family dropped dead. The day Earth lost a war it didn't know it was fighting.

Since then, Dol has lived a simple life in the countryside -- safe from the shadow of the Icon and its terrifying power. Hiding from the one truth she can't avoid.

She's different. She survived. Why?

When Dol and her best friend, Ro, are captured and taken to the Embassy, off the coast of the sprawling metropolis once known as the City of Angels, they find only more questions. While Ro and fellow hostage Tima rage against their captors, Dol finds herself drawn to Lucas, the Ambassador's privileged son. But the four teens are more alike than they might think, and the timing of their meeting isn't a coincidence. It's a conspiracy.

Within the Icon's reach, Dol, Ro, Tima, and Lucas discover that their uncontrollable emotions -- which they've always thought to be their greatest weaknesses -- may actually be their greatest strengths.

Bestselling author Margaret Stohl delivers the first book in a heart-pounding series set in a haunting new world where four teens must piece together the mysteries of their pasts -- in order to save the future.

Exciting no? I'm slap bang in the middle of the book at the moment and I have to say, it's fab!  I'll be adding a full review to the blog in the near future but in the meantime here's something to whet your appetite...It's the trailer!  You can find the trailer for the book here. It really sets the scene and it's well worth a look!

Hope you guys enjoy it as much as I did.  Let us know what you think!

Happy reading!

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Review ~ Awakening ~ Karen Sandler

Title: Awakening

Author: Karen Sandler

Published:  April  2013

By: Lee and Low Books.

First line: Everything hurt.

Last line:  In the next moment, everything turned to black.

Tankborn was one of the first books that I read for review when I started writing for Midnight Reads so I have a soft spot for this series.  It’s probably also why it feels as though I have been waiting forever for the sequel to be released.

In the first book in this series Sandler really focussed on the story of Kayla, how her place in the world changes, her budding relationship with Devak and throughout the story we see her develop to become a stronger independent woman by the time the story draws to its temporary close.  In Awakening the story takes on a much wider viewpoint.  The disease, Scratch, which affects and kills GENS, is spreading wildly and even as those around her are dying a political uprising seems to be taking hold as the phrase Freedom. Humanity. Equality. begins to appear through the sectors that Kayla works in with Risa.   When you look even deeper it would seem that even those individuals who claim to be pursuing equality for GENS like Kayla are actually using them for their own benefits whether they wish to see it or not.

There is an interesting mix of characters in the Tankborn series.  I particularly like reading about Risa and Kayla.  They both portray a strength that I wish more female protagonists had.  I also liked Abran and the little fliratations between him and Kayla, although I found some of the plot surrounding him to be a tad obvious.  For me it was the complexity of his situation and the reasons behind his behaviour that I found intriguing and I kind of hope he pops up again somewhere in the future.  I also liked Junjie, mainly for the loyalty he displays to those he cares about.  The one person who disappointed me was Devak.  At the beginning of the book his budding relationship sours and whilst he argues that he isn’t with Kayla purely because he wants to protect her I can’t help but feel that his behaviour is most triggered by his own fears of the potential repercussions he might face.  I hope he sorts himself out for the next book or I won’t be pleased!

It took me a while to get into this book, mainly because of the gap between the two publications and the unique language that Sandler has developed that does give it an ‘other-wordly’ feel but also means that you might be flipping back to the glossary from time to time to remind yourself of the meaning of certain words phrases etc.

The story winds along at a slow comfortable pace until you get to the final couple of chapters and then everything begins to take off at a lightning pace, indeed I think it’s the final chapters that really up the ante for this sequel.  After the ending, well I can’t wait until the next instalment is published.  Hopefully, we won’t have to wait as long next time around. 

Rating: 3.5/5  If you enjoyed Tankborn you will enjoy this sequel.  Now book three is due out when exactly?

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Me, Illness & Reviews

After being away from blogging for sometime I just wanted to offer a quick explanation as to why there have been no reviews up on the blog for the best part of two months.
I have often seen people say 'why bother having a review blog if you're not going to review anything for a while or just take part in memes!?' Well if I had to answer that question my answer simply would be you don't know what goes on in a person's life to stop them posting reviews on their blog so what gives you the right to question what they do with their blog? You don't get to judge! And those same people don't get to judge me or my blog!
Both my parents have illnesses and I have now become my father's driver after he was diagnosed with seizure epilepsy and told he was unable to drive for two years. And just as we were settling into a routine I became very sick!
Two months ago I had a severe reaction to some medication I was prescribed but this led to other things happening with my body and brain. I'm not prepared to go into detail, and would never judge somebody who used their blog to either reach out with their own problems or decided to go into detail about their own illnesses. As if my family doesn't have enough to deal with the last few months have been rather scary because of certain referrals I had and although I am not 100% fit I now seem to have nothing too serious going on.
I hope any author, PR person or publishing house who has sent me a book for review, if you ever read this post, understand why I am behind with my reading and reviewing. But I will get to all the books I have waiting. (I'd just like to point out here none of the mentioned have ever questioned why I haven't reviewed books they have sent).

I love reading and reviewing and as much as I know it helps authors and the sale of books I review for me, myself and I. I read and review because it is my hobby, my pleasure and my job. I review the books I read to keep track and to refer back to for work so I know what to recommend to my customers. I have a particular customer who will only buy what I recommend when he buys from my shop and most of those books end up being books I am sent for review. The power of bloggers and booksellers is rather important as far as I'm concerned. That said my family will always come first and if that means I don't get to visit my blog and review for a month or two than so be it.

My love goes to all those who have helped me while I've been ill! Sally has been very supportive with her emails, constantly making me laugh and my friends have been lovely, especially Nix and Rae, who visited me and bought me flowers and strawberries :) They both constantly text me and even diagnosed my symptoms simply as old age! My cousin, Loubie Lou has been fantastic and her 3 beautiful children, two of which I'm Godmother too, have made me cards and sent sweets, baby Thomas who was just 7 months when I first became ill sent me flowers and chocolates.

My boyfriend, when not seeing me, has text constantly and bought me the Pandora fairy-tale book charm which put a smile on my face. My aunty Collette phoned constantly, visited and cancelled plans when I was unable to drive in the event I needed another hospital trip. My brothers partner, Kelly took me to see my first specialist when I was unable to drive. Tom and Laura Clempson sent lots of messages and Tom and I got to have a good chat and he was able to understand just how I felt with being through a few similar things himself. And as if that wasn't enough they even sent me cake!! I t didn't last long :)

And thank you to all those who tweeted, commented and emailed with your well wishes, it really meant a lot!!

And the two most important people, My parents! My dad isn't able to do much these days but he has kept me laughing with old tales and loves when needed :) And my mum has been amazing! She would simply say she was just being a mum but she was up with me in the night, lay with me while I has body tremors and well did everything to be honest! She is more than a mum, she is a gift from God. No daughter could ask for a better mother.

And as I make my recovery I've been able to finally start reading again and have read two books, it may not seem a lot but when your close constantly it's rather hard to read! And I plan to get reviewing again asap.


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