Monday, 30 April 2012

May releases I can't wait for

There are some great books coming out next month and I’ve been quite good lately as I haven’t brought many books. So I’ve decided that I may have to treat myself and go on a bit of a splurge!

Here is a list of my books coming out in May that I’m most excited about. If you want more information on the books just click on the image and it will take you to the description on Goodreads.

Charlaine Harris - Deadlocked (1st May)
Laura Buzo - Holier Than Thou (1st May)
Veronica Roth - Insurgent (1st May)

Good Oil by Laura Buzo was one of my favourite Aussie books I devoured last year when I was taking part in the Aussie YA reading challenge. So when I heard about her new book I nearly squealed, it sounds fantastic and it looks like I’ll be popping over to Fishpond to order my copy.

I initially couldn’t get enough of Charlaine Harris' series, but as the series has progressed personally I think the books have gotten weaker. However I find that I still can’t stop reading them. I’m hoping that this book will be a lot better than the last one.

Gosh I absolutely loved Divergent I devoured it a few days ago and I don't think my review could ever express just how good this book really is! I've already pre-ordered my copy of Insurgent, so I'll be sitting their impatiently for it to arrive on my kindle, because honestly I need more Four as soon as possible!

Jessi Kirby - In Honor (8th May)
Katie Kacvinsky -  First Comes Love (8th May)
Morgan Matson - Second Chance Summer (8th May)

M. Molly Backes - The Princesses of Iowa (8th May)
Meg Cabot - Underworld (8th May)
Stacey Kramer and Valerie Thomas - From What I Rememeber (15th May)

I know a lot of readers didn’t enjoy Meg Cabot’s Abandon, the style was a lot different to her usual books, but I actually liked the darker tone and feel she went for. And I can’t wait to find out what happens with John and Pierce in Underworld.

Melissa Walker - Unbreak My Heart (22nd May)
Susane Colasanti - Keep Holding On (31st May)

I was extremely lucky to get a galley of Susane Colasanti’s Keep Holding On. I’ve always been meaning to pick up one of her books, so now I have the perfect chance to do so. 

Last but not least, there are also some great contemporaries coming out next month;

A debut from M. Molly Backes – The Princesses of Iowa, about a once popular girl, but after making a mistake one night everything changes and no one wants to know her anymore.

Melissa Walker – Unbreak My Heart. About a girl who had her heart broken when she fell for her best friends boyfriend, now it’s the summer and she meets a new guy can he help her overcome her heartbreak?

Stacey Kramer and Valerie Thomas – From What I Remember. This book sounds like so much fun, it follows the adventures of four teens who find themselves stranded in Mexico. Book covers are really important to me, it’s the first thing that draws me to a book, so I was quite happy when the authors announced this new cover, I prefer it a whole lot more than the other one.

Jessi Kirby’s In Honor. About a girl who embarks on a road trip to fulfil her dead brother's wishes, however she gets stuck on this trip with her brother's best friend, whose quite arrogant but gorgeous too. Just reading the blurb reminds me of Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour, I had so much fun reading it. And I absolutely love books about road trips. I also have a feeling that this will be a heartbreaking read too.

I don’t know about you guys, but these books are certainly getting me in the mood for the summer!

So which books coming out next month are you most excited about? Are there any which aren't on my list?

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Review: The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

Title: The Book of Blood and Shadow
Author: Robin Wasserman
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 10th April 2012
Source: NetGalley
My rating: 4 stars

“Better to be slain by an arrow than
by the words of the one I most trusted”

When I received a galley for The Book of Blood and Shadow I was quite pumped as there had been some great reviews for it. But I was also quite worried as I only received the galley a few days prior to its publication date; I’m not the fastest reader and I had not been having much luck lately with books, a lot I found a struggle to get into or ended up being disappointments. But I’d hoped this would not be the case with The Book of Blood and Shadow.

Nora, Chris and Max had volunteered to be research assistants to the former talented and respected professor Hoff to translate and decipher the codes within the 700 year old copy of the Voynich book and letters written in Latin left by Elizabeth Weston. For years many had tried to decipher the code, but had failed to do so. So three evenings a week Nora, Chris and Max at Hoff’s office tried to make sense of the book which so far has outwitted everyone. After spending a fair amount of time with Elizabeth's letters, Nora seemed to be making a huge amount of progress, what initially had started off as a means of escape from the silence that filled her house, her broken parents with their forlorn expressions, Nora found herself wanting to spend every opportunity she got with the letters. She seemed to be getting a better understanding of just who Elizabeth was, what her life back then was like, her connection with her became stronger and she felt protective of a woman who has been dead for over 400 years and her letters. When Nora thinks she’s getting closer to unravelling the mystery of the Voynich manuscripts, things suddenly go downhill with unsuspected attacks and the letters and transcriptions of the book going missing. It seems like somebody else is in a hurry to decipher the code too, someone with no care about who gets hurt in the process. Nora is forced to make a decision; does she want to solve the mystery for Elizabeth? Continue down a dark and dangerous path, who knows where it may lead her? Or try and forget the last couple of days of hell and everything about it like it never happened?

The Book of Blood and Shadow I found extremely difficult to get into, I remember sitting there with a bewildered expression thinking what is going on? At times I seriously felt like giving up. I probably would have had it not been for Giselle at Xpresso Reads who told me the pace picks up after a 100 pages or so. So I stuck it out and I’m glad I did because the pace picked up to a whole another level. I found myself gripping my kindle in terror until the early hours of the morning. I wanted to know what was going to happen but at the same time I was so afraid to read anymore just in case it caused my heart to rip into further tiny shreds.

Nora was a character I felt an immediate pull towards, you would think that with all the heartache she’d been through and everything life had thrown her way, she would be fragile, curled up in a corner and given up on life. But I truly admire her for the amount of heart she put into her research, her gusto and fierceness she displayed as the book progressed. Her character development was admirable. This book couldn’t have been the same without Adriane (Nora’s best friend) Max, Chris and Eli (Chris’s cousin). Rarely ever do I come across a book where all the characters have a massive impact on me, (I think the last time this happened was with Courtney Summers This is Not a Test). They all in their unique ways managed to wheedle their way into my heart and left an unforgettable imprint in their wake.

What I loved most about The Book of Blood and Shadow was the mystery about everything; you thought you had a grasp on reality; the clues and letters were slowly bringing you closer to providing answers to all the unanswered questions. But then when you least expect it, you’re thrown something so unexpected, so out of the blue, I literally felt like a lifeless ragdoll thrown about after finishing this book.

This book has also left me this huge urge to learn as many languages as possible. If someone was to ask me how many languages I could speak, my lame response would be two; (English and Punjabi). I think I may have to make it my priority to learn some Czech, so if someone asked me a question I could just give a response back in rapid fire Czech! And also to visit Prague one day, the descriptions in this book were so beautiful and enticing and I’d never really given it any thought, but this book made Prague sound to be such an enchanting place that I’d be a total nutter if I didn’t go! 

It’s been a long time coming since I felt this pumped and excited about reading a book, so thank you
Robin Wasserman for creating this epic masterpiece!

I highly recommend if you haven’t read this book yet, that you do so as soon as possible.

Thank you NetGalley and Random House for giving me this amazing opportunity chance to read this book.

Favourite quote:
“He was a freshman at some small school in
Maryland, he knew three languages and counting
he had whimsical taste in boxer shorts and...
and that was about it”

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (#3)

Is a meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases were eagerly anticipating.

The book I'm most excited about this week is...

Title: Second Chance Summer
Author: Morgan Matson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 8th May 2012

Add to Goodreads

Blurb from Goodreads
Taylor’s family might not be the closest-knit – everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled – but for the most part, they get along fine. Then they get news that changes everything: Her father has pancreatic cancer, and it’s stage four – meaning that there is basically nothing to be done. Her parents decide that the family will spend his last months together at their old summerhouse in the Pocono Mountains.

Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven’t actually gone anywhere. Her former summer best friend is suddenly around, as is her first boyfriend. . . and he’s much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve.

As the summer progresses, the Edwards become more of a family, and closer than they’ve ever been before. But all of them very aware that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance – with family, with friends, and with love.

My thoughts 
I absolutely fell in love with Morgan Matson's debut novel; Amy and Roger's Epic Detour. Since I heard about her second novel I've been endlessly searching for titbits of information. And already I can say the blurb doesn't disappoint. It has the essence of aching that was in Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour, its sounds like it will be a heartbreakingly beautiful read and I think I will have to keep my tissues at the ready with this one.

On a side note, I much prefer the cover of the hardcover (above) to the cover of the paperback (below).

I’d love to hear your thoughts on my pick for the week and what you’re waiting on.  

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (#3)

Is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where each week they post a new top ten list and ask fellow bloggers to share their lists on that topic.

Today's Top Ten Topic is: Top Ten all time favourite characters in books.

This week’s top ten list was a tough one, I spent long and hard thinking this through but I’m sure afterwards I’ll still think of several characters to add to my list! So here goes.

1    1. Barrons from Karen Moning’s Fever series
2. Tucker from Cynthia Hand’s Unearthly and Hallowed 
3. Alex from Hunting Lila

These three characters made it to my list because they are three of the most irresistible fictional guys I have come across, who can resist Barrons and his overwhelming presence?, Tucker and his dimple/dimples and Alex who had me non-stop swooning?

4. Tom Mackee from The Piper's Son
5. Jonah Griggs from Jellicoe Road

My two favourite Aussies! Both of these characters just crushed my heart into smithereens.

6. Fred and George Weasley
7.  Étienne St. Clair

I absolutely adore Fred and George, they were characters which thoroughly entertained me with their banter and I was always eagerly anticipating their scenes. Étienne *sigh* I don’t think I can add anything to what’s already been said about this unforgettable guy, he’s hot, has an English accent and basically made me melt.

8. Mia Thermopolis from the Princess Diairies
9. Lizzie Nichols from Queen of Babble
10. Adam from If I Stay and Where She Went

Mia and Lizzie are my absolute favourite female characters, both are absolutely hysterical and characters which I became hugely attached to. Especially with Mia; you see her growing up from when she first found out she was a princess, to her first real boyfriend and finally when she was going to college. I have to admit I was feeling a little teary eyed by the end of this series. And Adam he was a tortured, broken musician who basically broke my heart.

Other significant characters that would have totally made my list if I could do a top 20 list; Jeremy (Virtuosity), Karou (Daughter of Smoke and Bone), Nora (The Book of Blood and Shadow) Ed (Graffiti Moon) Dobby (Harry  Potter).

I admit I kind of cheated with this weeks top ten list, but it was so difficult just sticking to ten characters! So which characters would make it to your top ten list?

Sunday, 22 April 2012

In My Mailbox (#2)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren in which bloggers share their books which they have recently received.

This week’s mailbox was quite a small one, but I still got some great books.

Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti
Thank you NetGalley and Penguin Young Readers Group. I have been forever meaning to pick up a book by Susane Colasanti, but never got around to it. So I was super excited when I saw one of her books up on NetGalley. I really want to start this as soon as possible, it’s been glaring at me from my kindle for the past week, but I really should get my other galleys out of the way first.

Won; Red Glove by Holly Black
Thank you Donna and Jess at Book Passion For Life for hosting this giveaway. A lot of my friends on Goodreads have thoroughly enjoyed this series. And I’ve had the first book for a while now, so I should really get a wriggle on. And this cover I prefer much more than the other versions.

Won; Sean Griswold's Head by

Gifted: The Duff by Kody Keplinger.
A while ago I gave my friend a copy of the Duff, my friend is the complete opposite to me. I have a certain OCD with my books, I normally like to keep them in pristine condition and cracked spines make me so mad! As I still had to read it, and my friend loved it so much (she’d read it through several times, so it was a bit tatty and battered!) and knowing me so well she brought me a brand new copy! And kept my old one!

Gifted: My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent.
This is a book on my 100+ books I have every intention of reading list (so far I have read two books off my list which you can see here.) My friend has been endlessly talking about this series and how amazing it is. I think she got quite sick with the fact that I still haven’t read it yet. So by buying me a copy she’s hoping that this will make me start it sooner (I promised her I would try...)

Won; bookmarks, thank you Jill Hathaway. 
I love collecting bookmarks, what was special about these bookmarks was that they were signed by three different authors; Jill Hathaway, Jessica Spotswood, and Megan Miranda. I’m not sure if you can see them properly in the picture, sorry if it’s a bit blurry.

So what did you get in your mailbox this week?

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (#2)

Is a meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases were eagerly anticipating.

The book I'm most excited about this week is...

Title: Breaking Beautiful
Author: Jennifer Shaw Wolf
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Publication date: April 24th 2012

Blurb from Goodreads:
Allie lost everything the night her boyfriend, Trip, died in a horrible car accident—including her memory of the event. As their small town mourns his death, Allie is afraid to remember because doing so means delving into what she’s kept hidden for so long: the horrible reality of their abusive relationship.

When the police reopen the investigation, it casts suspicion on Allie and her best friend, Blake, especially as their budding romance raises eyebrows around town. Allie knows she must tell the truth. Can she reach deep enough to remember that night so she can finally break free? Debut writer Jennifer Shaw Wolf takes readers on an emotional ride through the murky waters of love, shame, and, ultimately, forgiveness.

This book sounds amazing. I just get nervous chills thinking about it. My relationships with books dealing with memory loss hasn’t been so great in the past, but this sounds like it will be a brilliant debut from Jennifer Shaw Wolf.

I’ll leave you with this brief extract the author posted on her page.

I can still see his face, the way he tilted his head. How excited he was for me to see the gift. The pain spreads from the back of my head, cuts across my right temple and curls around the smaller scar above my eye.

I’m saving something special to give you on your birthday.

My whole head throbs.

It hurts too much to remember.

Allie can’t remember the night her boyfriend, Trip died.

She knows they were driving on the cliff road.

That Trip lost control.

That she woke up later broken and bruised.

That somehow, she survived.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on my pick for the week and what you’re waiting on.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Review: Paradise by Jill. S Alexander

Title: Paradise 
Author: Jill S. Alexander 
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends 
Publication date: July 5th 2011 
My rating: 4 stars

Covers can be so deceiving at times; in the last few weeks I have come across several gorgeous covers, but the story hasn’t been worthwhile at all. I had my doubts when picking up Paradise, thinking it may be some light easy going read full with sexual banter, but the saying never judge a book by its cover could never have been more true than for this book.

Paisley has wanted to be a drummer for as long as she can remember, she’s always busting out beats on anything her hands can find, always carries her drumsticks everywhere and when she gets a chance on the drums, it’s easy to see that she is one talented drummer. It’s their band the Waylon Slider’s band dream to make it to Texapalooza; an amateur band contest where big scouts come and watch. However first they need to find a singer and practice, practice practice. The only thing that is holding Paisley back is her mother, she isn’t aware that Paisley has been playing in a band, especially in a band with Waylon (the band leader). Paisley’s mother has never really gotten along with Waylon’s family. But also Paisleys mum wants much more for her daughters, she doesn’t want them stuck with a kid by graduation, stuck with a dead end job and no career like she was. She wants them to go for the best opportunities in life and grab them with both hands. So Paisley's dream of becoming a drummer and Lacey her sister’s dream of becoming a beautician, they have to try and achieve in secret.

Paradise was such a gut wrenching story; about having dreams but not being able to grasp them because there’s always something or someone holding you back. Gabe/Paradise was the only real character whose mere presence made such an impact on the other characters around him; he gave Paisley the confidence to believe in herself, make her want to stand up to her mother and reach for her dreams; helped Waylon break out of his shell; a shell which he was smothered with because of his talented families expectations, and so he always he expected himself to fail. Paradise encouraged the group to go forward, to actually believe they had a chance at Texapalooza. Paradise was such a talented lovable character, he easily brought a smile to my face, he had such a huge impact on me on an emotional level; had me bawling like a baby and just broke my heart.

I really enjoy music themed books, sometimes it’s hard to find the balance; a book which focuses on the music aspect and brings out a story strongly too, Paradise does just that; the detail in which Alexander goes into the practice sessions I felt like I was actually there with the bass pumping and the drums pounding a steady beat, the atmosphere at times was electric, I was so caught up in the moment, it really got me in the mood for a music concert.

“When Waylon turned the song over to him, Paradise growled out Waylon’s lyrics in his velvety bass. The more he sang, the more his voice melted with the whining guitars, the more the deep drum tones seemed to sink like an anchor in a dark sea”

The music theme was matched well with all the characters battling with their own problems, and the music; practising with the band being their only means of output of coping with it all. One of my favourite parts of this book was the lyrics we got to the songs in between the chapters, they had an essence of yearning, they were raw and just so heartfelt.

"We’re heading back home, but it won’t be the same
Me and my boys, only a mention of your name   
It would’ve have been sweet to have you along
But when he took your hand, I knew you were gone
Some place away from the crowd and the noise
I should tell you I love care, but I can’t find the voice
So this is how I do
Six strings and a heart for you."

Paradise was a tender, poignant novel which definitely over-whelmed me in so many ways. I’m actually kicking myself for not picking it up sooner.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Review: Always the Designer Never the Bride by Sandra D. Bricker

Title: Always the Designer Never the Bride
Author: Sandra D. Bricker
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Publication date: 1st April 2012
Source: Netgalley
My rating: 1 star

I went into this book with the assumption that it would be a bit like the film 27 dresses. The title kind of gave me that impression and because I really loved that film you could say I sort of got over excited. But as per usual the title was kind of deceiving.

Audrey Regan has been into designing wedding dresses ever since she was a little girl, when she was just nine years old, her friends were busy playing with Barbie dolls, Audrey was creating  “haute couture” for her dolls, so it’s not surprising that Audrey grew up and became a wedding dress designer. However everything’s not as easy as Audrey thought it would be, she took the chance and moved to New York, aiming for the big clientele, but it’s been tough, brides are typically going for the recognised designers and Audrey is just managing to scrape by. However with her best friend Carly’s wedding looming Audrey has to put everything on hold and fly out to Atlanta in the middle of her big chance of winning over socialite Kim Renfroe. But things go from bad to worse as Audrey’s big chance slips through her fingers and she knows her hopes and dreams of becoming a well established designer are fading away. While she’s in Atlanta however she meets her best friends fiancé’s brother J.R. who’s a whole different kettle of fish, for one he hasn’t stopped gawking at her, but he also seems a lot different to the other guys she’s known.

The thing about this book was that everyone was so nice all the time, it’s like something bad would happen to someone but then everyone would gather around and cheer them up with a sleepover or something else pointless. I felt the bad things weren’t even that bad but because Audrey had all her “girlfriends” around her who she had known for all of two minutes everything would be hunky dory!

The secondary characters from Sherrilyn to Emma I didn’t really get the point of; their constant chirpy moods, knowing friends of friends who could work miracles, basically it’s frustrated me how everything always fell into place for everyone. Is it so wrong of me to want some drama or mayhem?

J.R. didn’t really do it for me either, I know he was meant to come across as a dapper hot guy who rides a Harley, but the only image that remained in my head was J.R. from Dallas, certain names are a no go with me, once I get a certain image in my head about a person it’s kind of hard to get rid of.

Some of the writing was also full of info-dumping, paragraphs and paragraphs about the amount of detail Audrey had to put into measuring mannequins, cutting and measuring fabrics then details about lunch, it was at times pointless. A couple of conversations also went down the same pointless track;

“Please be careful on the road J.R. I will
and wear your helmet.
I always do
oh, that’s right. It’s me who doesn’t she realised
with a giggle. Well zip your jacket and all that.
Will do, and you do the same”

“Dual head stainless steel head gas grill, Andy
continued without notice, with forty- five
thousand BTU, full rotisserie and eleven hundred
square inches of cooking surface. It’s the
champion of excellence and precision in grilling
my friend”

I wished I had liked Always the Designer Never the Bride more, but it had too many always happy characters and perfect endings for my liking.

Thank you Abingdon press and Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to read this book.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (#1)

Is a meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

The book I'm most excited about this week is...

Title: The Story of Us
Author: Deb Caletti
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: April 24th 2012

Blurb from Goodreads:

Cricket’s on a self-imposed break from her longtime boyfriend—but she’s picked a bad week to sort out her love life. For one thing, her mother’s romance is taking center stage: After jilting two previous fiancés, her mom is finally marrying Dan Jax, whom Cricket loves. But as wedding attendees arrive for a week of festivities at a guesthouse whose hippie owners have a sweet, sexy son—Ash—complications arise:

Cricket’s future stepsisters make it clear they’re not happy about the marriage. An old friend decides this is the week to declare his love for Cricket. Grandpa chooses to reveal a big secret at a family gathering. Dan’s ex-wife shows up. And even the dogs—Cricket’s old, ill Jupiter and Dan’s young, lively Cruiser—seem to be declaring war.

While Cricket fears that Dan is in danger of becoming ditched husband-to-be number three, she’s also alarmed by her own desires. Because even though her boyfriend looms large in her mind, Ash is right in front of her....

Deb Caletti is on my list of authors that I can’t wait to get around to reading this year. So what better book to start off with, than The Story of Us. Ever since I heard about this book last July I’ve been slightly giddy with anticipation. The cover looks absolutely gorgeous and the story comes across as complicated but fun. I also have a feeling this book will have me sighing with some swoony scenes.

I‘d love to hear your thoughts on my pick and what you’re waiting on this week.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (#2)

Is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where each week they post a new top ten list and ask fellow bloggers to share their lists on that topic.

Today’s top ten Tuesday topic is Top Ten books that were totally deceiving. This could be in terms of covers which didn’t fit books, covers which were different to their summary or books you expected to be fluff by which were actually serious.

1.       Past Perfect by Leila Sales
2.       Delirium by Lauren Oliver
3.       Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Covers I just didn’t get; I honestly have no idea why these specific covers were chosen for these books. To me they don’t fit the story at all. But despite the weird covers I unexpectedly did enjoy these books.

4.       Kiss Crush Collide by Christina Meredith
5.       Chain Reaction by Simone Elkeles

Covers with public display of affections but misleading; I went in to these books enticed by the covers, but these scenes were completely missing.

6.       Fury by Shirley Marr
7.       Paradise by Jill S. Alexander

Don’t judge a book by its cover; I went in to paradise expecting it to be a fluffy light-hearted read. But I couldn’t have been more wrong some of its serious undertones completely blew me away. The same with Shirley Marr’s book. I didn’t know what I’d be getting myself into just by looking at the cover, but it was such a dark book with an intricately woven plot.

8.       Halo by Alexandra Adornetto
9.       Where it began by Ann Redisch Stampler
10.   Guitar Highway Rose by Brigid Lowry

Beautiful covers but disappointing story; these three covers are absolutely stunning, especially Halo, it’s a pity not much could be said about the story.
So which books made it to your Top Ten books that were totally deceiving?
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