Monday, 31 December 2012

Thank You

I know. I know it's a Monday and I know you want a SMILE post. I do. But I wanted to write a small New Year's message to you guys. I doubt you'll read this but... oh well! 

This is just a thank you. Thank you! THANK YOU! Thank you to each and every one of you who made this year awesome for me. From the publishers who (foolishly) sent me books to read and review. To authors who wrote wonderful, heartbreak, perfect stories (and who I met, hugged and almost fainted at their feet *cough* JK Rowling *cough*) To fellow book bloggers all over the world (but mainly to my fellow UK YA book bloggers) who have always made blogging and reading exciting and fun! And who have, always, welcomed me (and my weirdness) into the blogsphere! Thank you to my friends who have seen me go hyper over the weirdest of books and other things. Thank you to my family who I love beyond words and who have kept me mildly human and having a life away from books (does that even exist?). Thank you to my other half, who I love more than I thought possible and who bribes me with hugs when I getting into a fit of fury when I'm not enjoying a book (try it. It works). And to you, dear reader. Thank you for reading my blog, even when I doubt if my opinion matters.

Basically, am writing this post in this kinda mood...

2012 was a brilliant year. And here's to 2013, an even better year! I hope you have a wonderful New Year as well. 

And yes, I will try and keep my blog as weird as possible. Like Mike said in Friends:

(The GIFS come from CassJayTuck & FYeahFriendsGIFS. Just sharing the love...)

Night School: Legacy Blog Tour

Right, who here is a fan of CJ Daugherty? Who is a fan of her Night School series? Who here is excited for the sequel, Legacy? If you are, come here and we can talk.

Over the coming few days, several blogs (mine as well) have joined forces to do a blog tour to get you ready for Legacy. And, because of this, there's a secret. Well, not for long! Who wants to be an Official Member of Night School? If the answer is yes, then the Night School Challenge is for you. Over the course of 14 blog posts, each will have a Secret Word. Find the Secret Word on EACH blog and YOU, my dear reader, are one step closer to being an Official Member. If you are one the lucky few to be selected, you will win special Night School goodies and a chance to hang out with the author herself, CJ Daughterty, in a Google Hangout!

If you're interested, please read all the rules below and GOOD LUCK!!!

Do you have what it takes to face the Night School challenge?

To celebrate the publication of CJ Daugherty’s new book Legacy, she is offering fans of Night School the chance to join Allie and her friends in becoming members of the secret student group Night School. In order to prove you’ve got what it takes to join the highly competitive Night School you will have to distinguish the 14 skills every Night School member should have which will be hidden across the 14 blogs taking part in the tour.

Everyone who successfully completes the challenge will become a Night School member for life and will receive the Night School membership charter andNight School members’ badge as proof of membership, but, because intelligence and speed are two of the most important Night School skills, we will be rewarding those of you who are able to collect and enter the 14 skills in the fastest time. The first ten entrants to correctly enter the 14 skills will win an exclusive members only goodie bag, including: personalised copies of both Legacy and Night School as well as a Night School members material badge which can be sewn onto a book bag or school blazer and a place on an exclusive Google Hangouts chat with CJ Daugherty herself!

Night School Challenge Rules:

  1. Visit 14 book blogs between 3rd – 10th January
  2. Locate and collect 14 Night School Skill words
  3. Return to the Night School Members page to enter your collected skills by 13th January
  4. The entry form will be live from January 10th and will close at midnight on January 13th
  5. If you successfully complete the challenge you will become a Night School member for life – when this happens you will receive a membership charter and Night School members badge to download
  6. The first ten people to receive Night School membership will be rewarded for their speed with an exclusive Night School goodie bag and a place on a Google hangouts chat with CJ Daugherty!

For more information, visit the members page on CJ Daugherty’s website here

Friday, 28 December 2012

Books And Their Theme Songs - Volume 15

HELLO! Did you all have a lovely Christmas and looking forward to the start of 2013? Yeah, well, before you go enjoy another turkey sandwich and get the fireworks ready for New Year, let's get the last Book and Their Theme Songs for this year up and share the music love. Enjoy!

"Come Away To The Water" by Maroon 5 and "In My City" by Ellie Goulding

GOD OF THIEVES by Aimee Carter
"Catch My Breath" by Kelly Clarkson

BEAUTIFUL CREATURES by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
"Seven Devils" by Florence & The Machine, "Skyfall" by Adele and "Explosions" by Ellie Goulding

"I Can't Make Me" by Butterfly Boucher

"DNA" by Little Mix

GOBLIN FRUIT by Laini Taylor
"Bittersweet" by Ellie Goulding

BROKEN by AE Rought
"Secret Smile" by Semisonic and "Bittersweet" by Ellie Goulding 

DASH AND LILY'S BOOK OF DARES by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
"Collide" by Leona Lewis featuring Avicii

BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
"Seven Devils" and "Never Let Me Go" by Florence and the Machine

Thursday, 27 December 2012

GoodRead - Beautiful Darkness

Where should I put this review? That is the main question am asking myself while I write this review. I know, that is a stupid thing to think, but I am actually thinking this...

So, while I push that question to one side while I write up my review/reaction to Beautiful Darkness, the second book in the Caster Chronicles by Kami Gracia and Margaret Stohl. I'm not sure if I can keep this spoiler-free so, if you are considering or are reading Beautiful Creatures and you don't want to be spoiled, STOP READING!!! (and if you haven't read Beautiful Creatures, click here if you want to read my review...)

Right, now that's out of the way, Beautiful Darkness. After the events of Beautiful Creatures, Ethan thinks he and Lena, the Caster he's in love with, are safe from the events of Lena's sixteen birthday. She wasn't Claimed, but Lena made a choice. A choice so terrible, it's haunts her daily. A choice so terrible, even Ethan doesn't knows about it. And now, Lena is becoming more distance from Ethan and he is terrified of losing her. Losing her to the Dark, and losing her from his life. Now, her seventeen birthday is coming, and Lena has to make a choice. Whatever she decides will have unspeakable consequences. Can Ethan save her in time? And Lena want to be saved?

Am going to be honest with you. While I liked Beautiful Creatures, I much prefer Beautiful Darkness. I think this is because I put so much pressure on myself to like Beautiful Creatures, seeing as I ADORE the movie trailer (see below!). So, when the book didn't met my expectations, I felt a bit let down. Whereas, with Beautiful Darkness, I don't have that pressure. I'm reading it because I want to read it. I want to know what happens next (and because I have the other two books in the series and I am going to read them whether I like this series or not!). Having no pressure to like this book was very liberating! And it actually helped me like the book!

Anyway, Beautiful Darkness. It's darker than Beautiful Creatures (always a good thing, in my humble opinion as this shows depth in the world) and there's not so much world building andexplaining was done to the reader/Ethan. All of that is explained in Beautiful Creatures, so you sink into the story, while the authors add layers to the world of the Casters. New layers, new things to discover, new characters (well, only two, but we get very little on one of them so, technically, one character). And while we're on characters, how I love reading about Amma, Link and Ridley. They, to me, are perfect for the book. Amma and Link seem to ground the book into reality, even though they are in the supernatural world, while Ridley seems to be the book's light relief (as is Link) and gives the book a spunky edge. And with the new character of Liv... what I seem to be saying is that while the book is supernatural, it's very much character-driven.

Also, both Kami and Margaret are clever as they answer some questions most of us asked in book one, while asking new questions that hint towards answers in the next few books, Beautiful Chaos and Beautiful Redemption.

Now, I do have one or two faults. One of which, I'm not sure if it's a bad thing or something VERY clever from the authors. So, first fault. In the last quatre of the book, there were times when times happened that felt a tiny bit convenient. People would pop up with the right thing or the right information at time when Ethan most needed it... and that felt false at times. Though both Margaret and Kami explained this, I wish that it was more hinted at during the book so it would, to me, feel more real than me going "Huh?"

The second fault is Lena. Again. I know I talked about her in my review of Beautiful Creatures, and I sense from the spoiler-free reviews of Beautiful Chaos and Beautiful Redemption that she is going to bother me a bit. But in this book... oh, how ANGRY I got with. I know she is the main female lead and I know that she's only sixteen, but OH MY GOODESS! The number of times I wanted to shake her and the number of times I was cursing her very bad words was ridiculous! I spread a fair amount of time while reading this book HATING Lena! That's right, HATING! With capital letters!

But (now this is where I get a little unstuck with this fault), I think both Margaret and Kami did this on purpose. Now, stick with me on this. For the first quarter of the book, I sympathised with her. I felt Lena's pain and grief over what happened to her in the last book. And then, that vanished with Lena went nuts. Mostly during the Galtin Country Fair chapters, but there was a build up. But it was mostly here with her behaviour and the way she treated people. Because of this, I HATED her. But then, by the end of the book, though I still disliked her for what she did, I kinda understood why Lena behaved the way she did. Maybe even sympathised with her again. So, to have a reader react so physically to a character and their behaviour is one of the main things for an author to do and when a reader does react like this, you know that the character is well written!

While I still don't like Lena Duchannes, I am really surprised on how much I liked this book. And the fact I liked it more than Beautiful Creatures is an added bonus. Now, I wanted to read this before the movie came out (and oh, look. I have!) so, in the next few months, I will reading Beautiful Chaos, the third book in the series. And from what I've heard, this is darker than Beautiful Darkness. And I can not wait!

Monday, 24 December 2012

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Secret Santa

Tis the season to be jolly! (if we all survived the Mayan Doomsday yesterday).

Anyway, the reason am writing this. I took part in UKYABB Secret Santa this year! Now, I know the giftee is going to open their gifts on Christmas Day (if you're reading this, I do hope you like them!). I, on the other hand, have no will power! So, before I go into this, I want to thank Lynsey for organising UKYABB and to my Secret Santa, Vivienne from Serendipity Reviews.

So... what did I received from my Secret Santa? Well, I got...

A HARDBACK copy of The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross and an ARC of Pantomime by Laura Lam! 

I am VERY excited over Pantomime! I have been annoying people (the author, editor, bloggers) who have read this for reviews so to get my hands on this - FINALLY - makes me VERY happy! And as for The Girl in the Steel Corset... I know very little about this. I know it's steampunk but that's it. Nothing else. The cover is very eye-catching. All the red and the finger! Have you seen the girl's index finger?! 

But this EXACTLY why I signed up to this. I wanted to discover new books. Books I have never heard of or know very little of! If this is happening next year, am so up for it! And I shall be reading both of these in the coming months... 

Thursday, 20 December 2012

GoodRead - Dash & Lily's Book of Dares

Next week's CHRISTMAS! So, to get you guys in the mood, let's review another Christmas-feel of a book!

While stalking the shelves at his fave bookshop, Dash finds a red moleskin notebook, filled with dares. Curious to see what happens next, he does the dares... Lily doesn't expect anyone to fall for her brother's "lucky-in-love" plan. So when she gets a call, saying someone did her dares and returned to moleskin, Lily is thrilled and surprised.

Slowly, the two use to the book to dare each other all over New York and, while doing so, fall slowly in love with each other. Expect they haven't met. So, will they take the biggest dare and meet face-to-face and will they on-page chemistry exist in real life...

Last year, I read Let It Snow and guest reviewed it for Mountains of Instead. I was sent the copy from my lovely pal in the USA, Sasha. I loved it as it felt like a cup of hot chocolate, perfect for this time of year. And with Jo from Once Upon a Bookcase letting me read her copy of Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan earlier this year (and making me go "OMG! I LOVE THIS BOOK!"), so when Mira Ink asked if I wanted to read this, I said yes without thinking. I wanted to read more David Levithan and I had high hopes that this will be like more reading Let It Snow...

And I loved this. This is a perfect Christmas read. It was light, fluffy, sugary read and had me smiling while I was reading this, whether I was in bed or on the way to work on the Park and Ride bus. It's a very chick-flick book and with rumours on Twitter that the movie rights to this book have been sold, I am very happy!

This is a Christmas read, which made me lust for snow and want me to return for New York, so I doubt you guys want to read this in, say, the middle of Summer (unless you are a TOTAL Christmas fanatic like Lily), but this is a lovely Xmas read!

I'm sorry this is short review. And I'm sorry that the book's Theme Song is more a Summer song than a winter song, but you know... Sometimes, short things are quite sweet. Plus, aren't you all meant to be doing last minute Christmas shopping? No... just me, then... Of course, I've got all my presents. Of course I have... *rushes off with his credit card* HELP ME!

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

GoodRead - The Christmas Bake Off

Is it that time of year again? Yes, my blogger reading chums, Christmas is next week! NEXT WEEK! Am I the only one a little bit scared about this fact? No? Just me... ok. Well, to get you guys in the mood, I am going to read this Free (at the time of writing this review) eNovella, The Christmas Bake Off.

The only reason I discovered this was because another book blogger - Stacey from Pretty Books (Blog & Tumblr) - tweeted that she downloaded this book and my instant thought was The Great British Bake Off and knew I had to download it.

In the small town of Skipley village, Christmas is round the corner. And this means one thing: the Christmas Bake Off! And the whole village is involved... Kate enters the Bake Off as she dreams of baking stardom. Rachel enters to prove that she's more than a stay-at-home mum. John enters to impress the woman he loves. Bea enters just because she enters cooking.

So, when sabotage is discovered, everyone wonders who would go that far?

This is a really fast Christmas read. I read this within half an hour, but it was a fun (and free) Christmas read. And it made me hungry for biscuits, which was good as there was two biscuits recipes so I sense I will be baking in the coming few days... Anyway, I think this will get you ready for the Christmas build up. If not that, then for the food...!

Thursday, 13 December 2012

GoodRead - The Lovestruck Goddess

I'm not sure I want to explain the whole "Why is this in The Goddess Legacy in the USA while in the UK, it's released as a separate eNovella?". I tried to explain this on my review for God of Thieves, another eNovella from Aimee Carter, but not sure if I explained it well...

So, The Lovestruck Goddess follows Aphrodite, who finds herself falling for one god but might be forced to marry another by her Daddy, Zeus. So, Aphrodite runs away with the man she loves with a fiery passion, but when he leaves to fulfil his duties, where does this leave Aphrodite...? And, being the goddess of love, how much about love does she really know...?

Like with God of Thieves, I read this very quickly. And it was interesting to read Ava (as she's known in the Goddess Test [and I still haven't read Goddess Interrupted]) point of view so I sense this is more touched upon in Goddess Interrupted and The Goddess Inheritance. And she was one character I did want to know more about while I was reading The Goddess Test so this helped a bit in understanding her.

I have two problems. First, the love story. One of them happens very quickly and I wonder, now am writing this, if Aphrodite is actually in love or lust. Maybe this is me overthinking the story. My second problem is eNovella price but that isn't the author's fault so I will let this slide. This is, again, a fan read (and as I am a fan of the series, this is a good thing for me) so if you love the series and want more, this is perfect for you! If you're new to the series, then I would say read this at your peril as this want hint to the main story (which is a good thing for spoilers) but if you read The Goddess Test after this, you might be a little bit confused over how this is connected to the trilogy.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Harken Cover Reveal

I "kinda" mentioned this earlier in the week (well, I stole a This Week in YA video... [click here to have a look]). Well, yesterday, Kaleb Nation reveal the cover to his new novel, Harken.

So, my dear readers, reactions. Do you guys like? I'm intrigued over the scales and as I'm trying hard not to read any info about this book... I know, am weird!

Thursday, 6 December 2012

GoodRead - Broken

I have to admit something. I don't like classic retellings. I'm sorry, but I don't. I usually hear those words and run for the hills, screaming. If it's a retelling from a different character's point of view or a sequel/prequel, then I can take it. But a retelling... no. Sorry, but no.

After reading Mister Creecher by Chris Priestley for my book blogger pal, Emma from Book Angel Booktopia (not read the review? Are you sure you want to read it? ... fine, here's the link), I decided to stay away from all retellings for a while. And I have a few of these in my To Read pile. So, when Amanda from Strange Chemistry emailed and asked if I would be interested in reading an ARC of Broken, I was unsure, but replied saying I was intrigued.

And so, I got the book and when my other half (aka PIW) said I should read this out of the 3 ARCs I have to read before January, I risked it.

After the shocking death of her boyfriend, Emma isn't coping. Six months has passed and she's just as broken now, as she was when Daniel died in her arms. She can't seem to move on. She walked the local cemetery, knowing full well that his body isn't there. When she tries to move on, she meets newcomer Alex Franks. She's intrigued over their instant connection, as if she's known him all her life. He's strangely familiar, from the way he knows how to open her locker when it sticks to the way his eyes looks so much like Daniel. And Emma's beginning to live again. Live and fall in love again. But, all the while, a small voice in her head is telling Emma that there is something very, very wrong with Alex Franks...

Now, as I say, this is a classic retelling. Of Frankenstein. But this didn't feel like a retelling. With most retellings, it feels like you had to read the original before the retelling to "get" the story, but with Broken, that feeling didn't come... It was relief. I think we all know the outline of Frankenstein, but it was great not to feel like "You MUST read Mary Shelley before you read this!".

I really liked this book. Yes, I have some teething problems. Ok, let's get them out of the way first. Chapter 1. Yes, the first chapter. I read it and, after finishing it, I went "Huh?" and reread the last page to make sense of it. Was Emma having some kind of mental breakdown in this chapter? My brain couldn't understand it. It took several chapters before I went "Oh! Now I get it now...!". My second issue isn't the author's fault, it's the publisher. I've said this once before (with Witch Eyes by Scott Tracey, if I remember correctly) but here we go again: publishers, DON'T REVEAL TOO MUCH ON YOUR BLURBS! There's info and clues on the blurb which aren't talked/discovered till the last quarter of the book.

Rant over. Now the positive.

This book is slow. I know some of you guys will go "No! No, don't like slow reads" but here, the book's slow pace works. We get this gothic feeling because of it. We get the feeling of foreboding that something's not right with Alex, but we don't know whether to trust this as Emma is still grieving over Daniel. And because of the pace, you take your time to know the characters. Some are more instant than others (for example, Alex's father and Josh...) but it feels rare to have a YA book recently that takes its time with the story and with the answers to questions you ask in the early chapters (though I know some of you will go "The ending felt rushed"... I disagree on this).

Also, the book is very clever. At the start of the book, some of you will go "Oh. They have a connection and they only just met. Twilight, anyone?" but when you get to the end of the book, you go "Oh! OH! That's why! How did I not see that?!" And it has moments of genuine creepiness. Both of these (and oh, Alex and Emma...) will make you turn the pages, speeding forwards towards... now that would be telling.

I know some of you guys won't like this. I get that. But I like this. A lot. I am now very intrigued over what AE Rought will write next for Strange Chemistry...

Monday, 3 December 2012

Book News!

I've been meaning to write one of these for the past week but I keep getting sidetrack. So, luckily, my pals at This Week in YA have done the job for me! Thanks guys!

Although, there was a few pieces of news that they did touch (as they are Americans and this is UK book news) so, let's get started.

Simon and Schuster UK revealed that they were going to be publish Kami Garcia's new series, The Legion. The first book will be out in autumn 2013 with the second book in the series out same time the following year. Legion follows Kennedy, who after discovering her mother murdered, discovers that she is part of a Legion who sole aim is to defeat a powerful demon. But demons aren't always easy to spot...

The film rights to this series has been bought by Mark Morgan, producer of The Twilight Saga and Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief. (No news on if her author buddy, Maragret Stohl, series Icons have a UK publisher but the film rights to this series has been sold to the same people behind the Beautiful Creatures movie. Now, as someone who is slowly entering the Caster Chronicles, the news about Kami is great. But I wanna read both authors series so publishers, please! Don't let me beg...)

Second news is Maureen Johnson. The Queen of Teen 2012 is moving publishers. Hot Key Books will be publishing the last two books in her Shades of London series (The Madness Underneath is still being published by HarperCollins), her debut novel The Keys to the Firebird and her Scarlett series. These will be published over a course of two years and the Shades of London books are rumoured to be released in the UK at the same time as the US. Great to hear we're going to get more Maureen on bookshelves!

And third (and finally) the BBC. Earlier in the year, BBC Two announced that they were going to make a drama based on the award winning novels by Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall and the sequel Bring Out the Bodies (it is rumoured that BBC Two has also got the rights for the finale which is currently being written) and, last night, BBC One aired its conclusion to James Herbert's The Secret of Crickley Hall. But today, BBC One revealed that in the autumn or winter 2013, a six part adaptation of Suzanne Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell will be aired. This book was describled by its publisher, Bloomsbury, when released as the adult Harry Potter. The book is set in alternative 19th Century England where two magicians fight not only against a Napolean army, but each other as well...

And also, JK Rowling announced that BBC One was going to adapted her first adult novel, The Casual Vacancy, and that will be aired in 2014. No other information has been revealed at early stage.

Two more news articles popped up and, rather than do another post for them, I'm added them here. So...

While being interviewed about her upcoming movie adaptation, The Host, Stephenie Meyer revealed that she was working on the sequel to The Host. She admitted she wasn't that far along, but revealed nothing (and after the whole Midnight Sun affair, can you blame her?)

Also, it was revealed that Becca Fitzpatrick's Hush Hush has been optioned for a movie. LD Entertainment has bought the film rights to all four books in the Hush Hush Saga, with Patrick Sean Smith (the creator of the TV show, Greek) writing the screenplay for the first movie. Becca admits that this has been in the works for almost a year and she thinks it should translate onto the big screen very easily.

And that's it. No more! I will give you links to you can read the articles in full below. So, guys, reactions? Are you excited about The Casual Vacancy being turned into the TV drama? Have you heard of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell before today? And what about the Kami Garcia and Maureen Johnson?

Kami Garcia Being Signed to Simon & Schuster (Press Release)
Maureen Johnson Joins Hot Key Books (The Bookseller)
BBC One Adapts Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (BBC Media Centre)
 BBC One Adapts The Casual Vacancy (BBC News and Mugglenet)
Stephenie Meyer Talks about The Host sequel (The Hollywood Reporter)
Becca Fitzpatrick's Hush Hush Saga Movie Rights have been Bought (EW)

SMILE - I Wanna Read Like This!

I must thank Stevie from SableCaught for pointing this video out! Now, fill in ALL the blank notebooks to keep my brain safe...

And for those of you saying it's far too late to save my mind, RUDE!