Sunday, 30 June 2013

Stacking the Shelves #53

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.

Sally's shelves

Just me this week guys as Bungle has been extra extra good and remains book free! I however have acquired six new reads.  I got four new books from my son for my birthday which is tomorrow. This makes me very happy! He got me Slated and Fractured by Teri Terry, Scent of Magic by Maria Snyder which I've been meaning to get my hands on for ages and Fragments by Dan Wells. I received a galley of this book the review for which is here and I've been meaning to add it to the collection since it's release.  Job done!

I also got a couple of NA books on my Kindle.  The first one I got was Promise by Kristie Cook. I spotted this on Bungle's shelf last week and figured this would be a fab read! I also got Tempting the Best Man by J. Lynn who happens to be Jennifer L. Armentrout's alter-ego.  This is a cheeky little novella which I really enjoyed.  Would absolutely recommend!

 So that's it from me this week guys! Tell us what did you get?

Saturday, 29 June 2013

10 Books That Made Me

Image from Waterstones

As most of you know I work at Waterstones as a Children's Bookseller and at the moment a campaign is running called The Book That Made Me! You can pop into a shop and jot down on a postcard your thoughts or you can pop over to the special Waterstones microsite to tell them all about the book that made you: , and you can also  follow the discusssion on Twitter using the hashtag #tbtmm!

Waterstones says "The Book That Made Me... is an on going collection of stories about lives that have been changed by books." They are powerful things books and it can be hard to just pick one book that defines you, sometimes it more. Books seem to play a vital role in our lives and the right one always seems to come along at the right time.

I noticed a fellow Waterstones staff member posted his top 10 books that made him and I really liked the post so thought I would do the same. You can see Darren's post here over at his blog, some brilliant books I think you'll agree! Now onto my picks.......................

I have a collection here of all kinds of books for all different reasons and I'll do my very best to give reasons as to why I picked them. I'm sure my reasons won't be all that deep but hey, they are my reason no matter how big or small.

The Hobbit: J R R Tolkien
The Hobbit (Middle-earth Universe)

My first book is The Hobbit, although I may have read books before this one & had books read to me this book was the first book I really paid attention too. I often hear people say 'you like it because you're meant too, it's a classic so that's why you like it' NO! I like it because as a 10/11 year old my school teacher, Mr Flatly, read this story to the class. Usually every Friday afternoon before school finished, and on other occasions when the class had been extra good. I fell in love with the characters right away and was swept along on a journey that would start my love of reading. Once Mr. Flatly finished reading The Hobbit and it was time for a new story, the whole class voted for The Hobbit to be read again. It's the kind of story that everyone can fall in love with and a class of 10/11 years olds proved that. My favourite book of all time!

The Complete Tales
The Complete Tales by Beatrix Potter

This collection was bought for me by my parents back in about 1989/1990-1. My two case box set was of the newly printed images and I loved them more than anything, I still do actually! Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle is my favourite of all the stories that Potter wrote, I just love the character. I was about 7/8 years old when this set was given to me and it was the first time I remember falling for the beauty of books, the images and the cases the books came in just blew me away. I think they are still my pride and joy and possibly the thing I would save from a burning building. My parents are both avid readers, my bothers not, but I don't think they knew just how much an impact these books would have on me in later years. A set I love to recommend to customers at the bookshop.

The Book Thief
The Book Thief: Markus Zusak

Oh. My. Word. Where to start with this one!?!?! The Book Thief is a book I would always pick up in work & put back down. I would often chat to a colleague of mine about it as she loved it but said there was a fair amount of back & forth which I'm not always keen on. But in February of this year I became rather sick and was unable to read so I decided to buy the audio of The Book Thief, It's one of the best things I ever bought! My edition is read by Allan Corduner which I believe gave me a completely different feeling for the book than I had I read it. Corduner really bought this book to life for me. This is the kind of book that celebrates the power of words and the effect those words have on people, it's a book full of anger and hurt yet somehow remains restrained and a book that is written and told with such beauty that we rarely find these days in fiction, or maybe I haven't read enough!? It's the kind of book that should be read in schools along side To Kill A Mocking Bird and Of Mice & Men. More than anything I love that Zusak is true to the setting and era of this book and his characters live & die just as would be expected from a story set in WW2. A must read for all book lovers!!!!!

Degas and the Dance
Degas and the Dance: Jill DeVonyar & Richard Kendall

I don't often read non fiction other than art books, as I come from an art background. I have a Degree and a Masters within the art field and my Degree dissertation focused on Edgar Degas. This book has to be one of the most informative books I've ever read and so beautiful! Without this and my trip to Pairs, for research or course, I don't think I would have gotten that dissertation done! I ended up with a 2:1 degree and it was thanks to books like this one and the pure enthusiasm of authors that got me to where I am now. As well as working at Waterstones I also work in an art gallery as education facilitator, my dream job!!

One Seriously Messed-Up Weekend in the Otherwise Un-Messed-Up Life of Jack Samsonite (Jack Samsonite, #2)
One Seriously Messed-Up Week-End: Tom Clempson

First of all I LOVE TOM CLEMPSON! Don't tell him I said that though!!! His wife Laura is super talented too and is the mind of Cupcakes for Clara and she is so very lovely!! Now Tom's very funny, sometimes crude but funny book has made my list because when I was very ill at the start of the year I wasn't able to do anything including reading but when I could I picked up Tom's book. He actually sent it to me after drawing pictures of poo & cake all over it! This story, along with Tom's art work almost made me pee myself several times and honestly, it was just what I needed! My illness became very serious at one stage and this book got me through it all! I'm rather sure Tom still doesn't understand how much this book means to me and no matter how good an author you tell him he is he still won't believe it. I'm so very glad Atom sent me his first book and we got chatting on twitter after me reading it. I'm happy I get to call him a friend and I thank him and his writing abilities for getting me through my rubbish illness!
(For Tom's eyes only: You can pay me later for this! And if I'm not a character in book 3, well, no more cake!;)

Poison Study (Study, #1)
Poison Study: Maria V. Snyder

Yelena is one of the strongest heroine's I think I've ever encountered! She's the kind of character that makes you think about yourself and put things into perspective and I kind of think I did. Poison Study was my way back to fantasy reading and I finished the trilogy within a matter of days. I hadn't read any fantasy in a very long time and when I read Poison Study I remembered just how much I loved the genera and went on a buying craze! It's funny how we slip in & out of reading and the things we read. Although I read a lot of YA I try and make it a point to read from all generas so I'm not missing out. This is a series I would recommend to everyone as well as Snyder's other titles too.

The Sugar Queen
The Sugar Queen: Sarah Addison Allen

Now and again I like to read a good fairy-tale ending book and with Allen that's what you usually get! I'm not a fan of chic lit as it were and I need something a little more to keep me hooked and Allen gives it me every time. There is always a magical element with her books and her characters are so accessible, likeable & the kind of people you can relate too and that is why The Sugar Queen makes my list. I can sooooooooooo very much relate to Josey, I think most females can and do at some point in their lives. Although I may still struggle with things this book made me realise that people will always love you for who you are no matter what you think and the things you hate about yourself are the things that someone will love the most about you. An author I often talk too much about at the shop :)

Skin Deep
Skin Deep: Laura Jarratt

Books like Skin Deep always surprise me! I had a copy of this and never actually thought about reading it until it was announced as a contender for the Waterstones Childrens Book Prize for 2013. So as you can tell it was a book I read for work and I loved it. The story really struck me because my mother suffers with mental illness which is touched on and our main protagonists has an unsightly scar down her face, my father is an amputee. So for me this story had similarities to my own life and it came just at the right time for me! It made me realise that no matter how bad things seem they will get better and Jarratt encourages us to make changes by starting with ourselves and from then things will only get better. This was just the perfect story at the perfect time in my life!

Ink Exchange (Wicked Lovely, #2)
Ink Exchange: Melissa Marr

I think on the surface this may seem like an odd choice but not for me. Another perfect book at the perfect time. A book that lets all survivors know they are just that and not a victim.
And that's all I need to say about this one!

Holy Bible: King James Version
 Holy Bible

I'm adding my Bible as the 10th book that made me because without it I'm not sure where I would be sometimes. I am not the most perfect Christian and I'm not the type of person to force my religion on to people. But if asked about it I will talk about it.

So they are my picks. If you have 1, 2, 5 or 10 books that made you why not do a post and let us all know. I think it's a brilliant idea and one of Waterstones better ones and it's really nice to see people taking the time out to write into the website or post their cards in the shops.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Stacking the shelves #52

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

My books are from the last two weeks or so this week as my bedroom has been redone & things are all over! But I've got some fab books to show you! Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff, hearing good things about this one! From my iTunes bookshelf I have Parallel by Claudia Lafeve & Promise by Kristie Cook who I think will be at Authors After Dark this year go YA day :D This week at the shop I received a proof of Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas, I'm hoping book 2 is more kick ass than book 1! And a finished copy of TheRithmatist by Brandon Sanderson which looks brilliant!! I was also sent a gift this week which was Entwined with You by Sylvia Day which I'm actually hearing mixed things about. I have started reading & it already feels different but we'll see.

Sally's shelves

Quite a quiet week for me this week as I've been snowed under with work.  At one point I even found myself scouring the books in Paddington train station just to get my fix! I was lucky enough however to get a copy of The School for Good and Evil  by Soman Chainani so huge thanks to the guys at Harper Collins for that!  Reviews for this book have been fab so far so I'm looking forward to getting my reading gear around it! Next week is birthday week so I can feel some special spends coming on!

So, that's what we've been up to! What have you been buying this week?

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Reviewers Needed

As you know/can see the Midnight Reads blog hasn't been very active of late. Most of you know I have been very ill and Sally has not only been travelling all over the country for work but all so all over the world. I work two jobs as well as being the main source of transport for my parents and the blog is suffering.

Sally and I love this blog and the last thing we want to do is shut it down so we are looking for 2 new reviewers to join the Midnight Reads team!!! Yes I did say 2! Sally and I feel very positive about this and we are really excited to expand the Midnight Reads family.

A while back we mentioned we are reviewing ALL genres on the blog from now on so if you love to read and can commit to reviewing at least one book a week we want you! To apply please email a review sample to us at no longer than 500 words of any book you wish along with your name and a little bit of information about yourself. Closing date is Noon (UK time) Sunday 30th June.

Sally and I will pick our favourite reviewers from the information we receive and who we think is right for the blog. We will let the chosen 2 know via email before announcing it on the blog. And to quote The Hunger Games:~

"May the odds be ever in your favour"

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Review ~ No Strings Attached - Nicolette Day

Title: No Strings Attached

Author: Nicolette Day

Published: June 10th 2013

By: Entangled Brazen

Please note: This is an adult read

As you probably know, here on Midnight Reads we have traditionally focused on the YA genre but there were so many fab reads out there that were passing us by we decided to spread our wings a little and boy am I glad we did because it means I get to read beauties like this! We were lucky enough to get in on the No Strings Attached blog which celebrates the release of the first smexy warm and squidgy in all the right places adult read by Nicolette Day. For those that don’t know Ms Day is the minxy alter-ego of Tara Fuller whose YA release Inbetween I absolutely adored. I love her writing style so to get my hands on something a little different by her made my day and believe me, No Strings Attached does not disappoint!

No Strings Attached tells the story of Hayden Summers and Jace Jennings. Hayden is out for one last night with her assistant Lily before she travels abroad to take up a job as a photographer which may put her in danger. Before she leaves though there’s one thing she’s determined to do and that is to finally wash her old boyfriend right out of her hair. Cue Jace’s bar.  Jace is a childhood friend who clearly isn’t happy about her going away, and he hasn’t made a secret of it.  In fact he’s as displeased about that as he is about the men leering at her in the bar that he owns. You see, Jace is a man in lurve and as we quickly learn there’s nothing he won’t do to keep Hayden all to himself, even if it means putting their friendship on the line at times.

I loved this book!  I devoured every page and was genuinely disappointed when I came to the end. Unlike a lot of the adult reads that are hitting the shelves at the moment there are no dark secrets that leave these two bitter and twisted and gnarled inside, no-one has the urge to beat anyone and no-one is being chased by stalkers, bitter exes or the office CEO. Instead No Strings Attached revolves around friends who become lovers and in writing this novella Day has created two really likeable characters. The story briefly delves into their childhood, following the change in their relationship as things suddenly get serious and I really liked getting to see a little of their past as it adds context to the here and now making the read all the smoother for it.  Hayden and Jace are two realistic characters that have normal relationship hang-ups, who struggle with them from time to time but who both have actual real social skills! Imagine! That doesn’t mean that Day doesn’t deliver the sexy time. Far from it! The two protagonists have an amazing chemistry and their physical relationship is made more intense by the emotional ties that already exist between them. Oh, and um, body shots? Hello! There is a spark between these two right from the beginning, even when they’re too busy antagonising each other to see what’s going on under their own noses but that doesn’t mean that they’re afraid to show each other their weaknesses and that’s what makes their relationship so endearing.  The result is a sexy read that pulls at the heartstrings in equal measure.

I have to say if there were to be a sequel or two to this series, I wouldn’t complain. Something about Nate and Lilly perhaps? Or maybe a what happened next? I could happily read about Jace all the live long day! Both would be well received!

4/5 Love! If you’re looking for a quick read then this is the one for you. I have to warn you though, you will be left wanting more.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Stacking the Shelves #51

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.

Sally's shelves

No new purchases from Bungle or me this week which I think is a first! Bungle has been busy in DIY land and I've been working in Norway so I've been really good and haven't bought anything at all! Having said that whilst on a touristy walk I somehow managed to spend ages in a shop in Oslo looking at all my favourite books written in Nynorsk and trying to convince myself to buy a stack of books that I have no ability to read... Turns out too that no matter where I am I can always sniff out a bookshop!

I do however have a few e-books to add to my shelves from last week.  Firstly, I got my hands on a copy of Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) by Sarah J Maas.  This is one of my most anticipated reads for 2013 and is due out in August.  I'm loving what I've read so far. Review to follow.  I also got my hands on a copy of The Bell Between Worlds (The Mirror Chronicles #1) by Ian Johnstone.  I'm hearing really good things about this book so I can't wait to get started!  Again, review to follow on that one. I got both Crown of Midnight and The Bell Between worlds from netgalley. The last book I got last week was Among the Nameless Stars by Diana Peterfreund. This is a prequel to For Darkness Shows the Stars #1 of the series of the same name.  Those of you who have read our Winter Warmer recommendations may recognise this one.  This series was recommended by Lauren Kate and I've been dying to get my hands on it for months so to find out that there was a prequel was very exciting!  I'll be reading this one next I think!

 So that's it from us this week!  So what have you been up to?

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Stacking the Shelves #50

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.

Bungles Shelves

This week I was so very good and just got a few free ebooks which were Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers & Reasons to Breath by Rebecca Donovan. Both were free from iBooks :) Happy happy!!

Sally's shelves

What a week I've had!  On Friday I was lucky enough to be able to spend a few hours at the Hay book festival where I saw Malorie Blackman giving a talk on her new book Noble Conflict as well as talking about the Noughts & Crosses series which was one of my faves of last year. Malorie was really entertaining and it was interesting, if not more than a little disturbing to see how her own childhood experiences provided some of the inspiration for the book, particularly Callum's story. So while I was at Hay I bought a copy of Noble Conflict (would have been rude not to) and I also got a copy of The Disappearances by Gemma Malley which is book two of The Killables series.  I loved book one which was a gift from Bungle so I can't wait to start book two! 

I devoured the Covenant series by Jennifer L Armentrout and I wasn't ready to  put Daimon down yet so I managed to grab a couple of e-novellas, namely Daimon and Elixir.  Really looking forward to these two! How pretty are the covers?! I also picked up Obsession which is linked to the Lux series but is told from the viewpoint of one of the Arum.  You can probably tell from the cover that this is more of an adult read.  No complaints from me there!

Ooh! I also got Blurred by Tara Fuller for review which means I'll be spending some one-on-one time with Cash soon. Midnight Reads will be taking part in the blog tour for Blurred.  More on that soon... I also got What Really Happened in Peru,The Bane Chronicles #1 by Cassandra Clare and Sara Rees Brennan. Magnus. Need I say more? 

And finally in keeping with my new regime of reading books within books I have selected a couple mentioned within The Infernal Devices trilogy (insert timeout for a Team Jem moment here).  I got my hands on copies of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte (which I also heard part of as a radio play a while ago - very good!) and not surprisingly A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dicken.  

Just a couple to be getting on with then. I think I've bored you for long enough now though.  So tell us, what have you been buying this week?

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