Lazy Saturday Review: Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead

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Title: Shadow Kiss
Author: Richelle Mead
Series: Vampire Academy #3
Edition: Paperback, 460 pages
Publication Details: November 13th 2008 by Razorbil
Genre(s): YA; Paranormal Romance
Disclosure? Nope, I bought it.

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It’s springtime at St. Vladimir’s Academy, and Rose Hathaway is this close to graduation. Since Mason’s death, Rose hasn’t been feeling quite right. She has dark flashbacks in the middle of practice, can’t concentrate in class, and has terrifying dreams about Lissa. But Rose has an even “bigger” secret . . . .She’s in love with Dimitri. And this time, it’s way more than a crush. Then Strigoi target the academy in the deadliest attack in Moroi history, and Dimitri is taken. Rose must protect Lissa at all costs, but keeping her best friend safe could mean losing Dimitri forever…

These books will be the death of me. I swear not a lot happens for 300 pages and then BAM just before the end Richelle Mead hits us with a brick and makes it impossible to not buy the next book. What’s up with that!?

In this, the third book in the series, everyone is concentrating on graduating to become fully fledged Moroi Guardians, or for the Moroi themselves (vampire royalty) just staying alive long enough to be assigned on of the said guardians.

A lot of the story surrounds the last test for the trainees, a six week long field experiment where they’re assigned a Moroi to protect and can be attacked at any time by the guardian teachers pretending to be the crazy, murderous vamps known as Strigoi. Rose can’t wait to prove herself, but one thing is getting in the way – Mason’s ghost, and he’s not the only thing she is seeing.

I enjoyed Shadow Kiss. It just sort of ambled along nice and pleasantly for a while and then the shit hit the fan and I have no words. Mead upped the ante in respect of the action, and the romance, and I need to know what’s going to happen next with Dimitri and Rose, and Adrian and Lissa. Ahh too many good characters!

The more I read of this series, the more it stands out in the vampire genre. There’s definitely a lot more to it than you’d think, but I feel like the plots are getting thinner as it goes on.

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The Vampire Academy Series is available in paperback from Waterstones now.

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts #9

This meme is hosted by the Bookishly Boisterous and the idea is simple. It’s a round-up of your week, in and out of book world. A place to store your thoughts, and basically anything you’d like to share on your blog.

So, what’s been going on this past fortnight…

Good TV: It’s almost that time of year again when the days get shorter, (and colder) and we all start to hibernate a little bit. But do not fret, it’s also the time of year where TV gets good. I have my eyes on a few new shows which I’ll be posting about soon. YES! I love Autumn & Winter.

Sober September: I’m over the half-way mark and still going strong. But to say I’d like a large glass of wine right now would be the understatement of the year.

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Taasky: Like making to do lists? I do! Last week, I found this great app which manages all your to do lists and it is a REVELATION. I love it. Before, I was just using the standard notes and calendar iPhone apps to do all that stuff, but this is easier and more satisfying. Geek Love!

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How? (Part 1): Last week Keanu Reeves was 50. FIFTY. How is that even possible (Insert ‘I feel so old’ wails here). Not that his age actually matters because he’s clearly Immortal.

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Work Woes: I got some pretty bad news at work which has led me to look for a new job. After just two evenings of job hunting I want to dip my head in acid. I’m already feeling the strain of trying to fit in looking for a job and writing this blog, but I’ll do my best to maintain it. Anyone want to hire me? I’m really great, honest!?

How? (Part 2): Does it put you off blogs when they claim to read 25 books a month? Because it does me. I don’t see how anyone can read 25 books in a month, even YA books. Do they skim read (the idea of that makes me sad)? Even if I wasn’t working…no, even if I was bed-ridden with no visitors I don’t think I’d read close to that many. It really makes me wonder about the quality of their reviews too. If you’re one of these people, please don’t be offended…but do tell me how you do it…

Under the Dome: I started watching the second series and I’m not enjoying it at all. I mean, granted it’s been a while since I read the book so I can’t remember all the ins and outs, but who are all the new characters they’ve introduced? Have they just completely made them up? Did they do the entire book in the first series?…I can’t remember how it ended to be fair.

The Guest: I went to see The Guest last week and it was not what I expected at all, but really good. It took me a while to figure out the guy is that one off’of Downton Abbey – man, us Brits gets around a lot these days don’t we!? But yeah, it was good. I loved the 80’s prom slasher-film vibe towards the end.

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I guess this week it was mainly not so bookish thoughts, but there you go!

What about you guys?

WWW Wednesday 17.09.14

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To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading? • What did you recently finish reading? • What do you think you’ll read next?

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Currently Reading: I’m reading How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff which is totally not what I was expecting but I’m liking it a lot.

Recently Finished: This week I finished Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead, which I’ll review at the weekend, and Of Scars and Stardust by Andrea Hannah, which I LOVED SO HARD, and reviewed on Monday.

Up Next: Ahh I honestly have no idea this time. I have lots of ARCs and also need to start on my Horror October reads…if only I could decide on what they are!

Blog Hop: Why I Write

This blog hop was started by Katy at Folly and Bloom and the aim is to find out more about bloggers and what makes them tick. I was tagged by the lovely Dorristhelorris – many thanks!

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Why Do I Write?

There are a lot of reasons why I started this blog, and why I write in general, but I guess they all add up to the same thing: I like it.

The only part of school I enjoyed was writing. I even quite enjoyed writing essays. Whenever we were given a topic to write about I was off, no questions asked. My best friend at the time used to give me a weird look and ask how I did it. How did I start writing straight away? How did I know what to write? How could I just think of something on the spot and have two pages written before she’d even finished a sentence? I still don’t really know the answer to that, but I used to say just write whatever comes into your head. Simple.

I think I’ve always loved writing stories. My mum found some of my infant school books a few years back which prove that I’ve always had a good imagination (and been a little weird).

See if you can decipher them…

Not much has changed...still writing rubbish stories, still can't draw, still want to be a lovely young princess in a dig castle...

Not much has changed…still writing rubbish stories, still want to be a lovely young lady princess in a dig castle…

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As for this blog. I mainly started it to improve my writing. Obviously, I love to read, and I’m a firm believer that the more you read, the better you write. So I wanted to start reading a bit more seriously, and keeping a record of what I love and hate in a book. I also wanted to get into the habit of writing everyday.

I always blame this blog on the fact that I’ve barely written any fiction since starting it, but to be fair I was always pretty rubbish at that. I’d have short bursts where I’d write non-stop in all my spare time, but then never finish what I started.

I’m still working on finding a balance between blogging and creative writing.

What am I working on?

Apart from all the usual blog stuff, I’m currently working on my Horror October month. I did a horror-themed month last year too, when I was relatively new to blogging, and it seemed to go down a storm. It was totally off the cuff last year, so this time I’m actually planning it and hope to have some amazing guest posts and features.

In my almost non-existent creative writing time, I’ve started editing the YA novel I wrote when I was at uni. It’s a complete mess, to the point where I don’t know if it’s salvageable, but I really want to try. Until last month, I hadn’t looked at it for about three years!

Anyway, it’s set in a fictitious village in Shetland and is about two brothers who are being pursued by Odin as he believes they can help him destroy the world of the living. Their arrival in Shetland, where they plan to hide, turns a young couple’s lives up-side down.

How does it differ from others of its genre?

There are so many book blogs out there that it’s hard to say what’s different about mine. I like to cover all genres, but YA is my favourite so I can’t help featuring that genre a lot. I like to think I bring my own personality to it, which makes it unique to me. And I don’t own a reading device! BOOKS, PEOPLE!

If we’re talking about my messy novel, I guess it’s your average YA paranormal novel with a few twists. When I started writing it, Twilight hadn’t happened yet (the two brothers have all the characteristics of vampires, but they’re not- it’s a long story. A messy novel-length story), and Norse mythology wasn’t being used much in fantasy. Both of these things are quite popular now, which is good and bad. But, at this rate, it won’t be finished for another 10 years anyway so I don’t have to worry about the marketplace right now.

How does my writing process work?

Hmm. Well, it differs.

For reviews I used to write notes as I went along to make writing them up easier, but I felt like it made them too clinical. Now I simply read the book and if I like a quote or want to remember something I’ll note down the page number, but other than that I just go ahead and write exactly what I thought of the book a day or two after finishing it.

I try to encompass the feeling I got when reading the book, but without it just being OMG I LOVED IT SO MUCH. And as I said earlier, I think it’s really important to think about why you loved or hated whatever it is you’re talking about.

I used to write most of my blog content during the working day (and by that I of course mean lunch time if my boss is reading this), but as my days have got busier, and the blog has grown, I have to set aside a good few hours at the weekend, and a couple of week nights to write all the posts for the following week. I could probably do it all in one night if I didn’t procrastinate so much. And by procrastinate, I mean watch TV.

This post has made me realise how much I want to add in at least one night a week for editing my novel, or writing new things.

Will there ever be enough time?

Thanks so much to Kelly from Dorristhelorris for tagging me.

I’m tagging Amanda from Amanda’s Nose in a Book, who does it all – blogs, writes and crotchets! And Mishka from A Writer’s Life for Me, who is the author of romance books in a variety of sub-genres, including Prophecy of Stones that I’m due to review soon (I haven’t forgotten!). :)

Top Ten Tuesday: One Hit Wonders?

toptentuesday Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the image to visit them) who pick a different topic each week.

This week the topic is: Top Authors I’ve Only Read One Book From But NEED to Read More

I’m loving this topic! There were so many I could choose from, so I just went for the ones that came to me first.

Emma Carroll: I loved Emma’s debut, Frost Hollow Hall, which was one of the first ARCs I reviewed for this blog. Her second book, The Girl Who Walked on Air was released last month. I’m on a book-buying ban, but NEED!

Audrey Niffenegger: I was pleasantly surprised that The Time Traveller’s Wife lived up to the hype (just don’t watch the film) but I’ve heard mixed reviews about her other books. I still really want to read Her Fearful Symmetry, and Raven Girl though.

Sophie McKenzie: Sophie’s second psychological thriller for adults, Trust in Me, was released last week and was my first experience of her work. I loved it! I can’t believe how many books she has under her belt – including YA – how did I miss that?

Sarah Moore Fitzgerald: I thought The Apple Tart of Hope was a really unique contemporary YA book, so I want to check out Sarah’s first book Black to Blackbrick.

Debbie Macomber: Debbie Macomber has written so many books, including a lot of Christmas-themed ones, so big yay for that. The only one I’ve read is Starry Night, which was set in Alaska, and was great!

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Chris Beckett: I read Dark Eden earlier in the year and was impressed by it. It’s one of those Science Fiction books that makes you think and stays with you. Well it definitely stayed with me. His other books sound pretty interesting too.

Holly Black: I LOVED The Coldest Girl in Coldtown so much, and Holly Black just seems like an awesome human being. I really need to read her other books (I have Doll Parts waiting for me). I’m not counting the books she’s collaborated on like The Spiderwick Chronicles, or Zombies Vs Unicorns, which were also great.

Alan Bradley: My introduction to Alan Bradley was book #6 in the Flavia de Luce books, which was a NetGalley request error by me as I didn’t realise it was a series. But, it so didn’t matter. I absolutely loved it and now I need to read the whole series!

Terra Harmony: Water, the first book in The Akasha series was one of those books that I found fascinating but wasn’t sure how much I enjoyed it. However, every now and again I find myself thinking about it so I think I need to read more.

Kenneth Gregory: I really loved Kenneth Gregory’s debut The Polaris Whisper and thought it was the perfect winter read. I’m waiting for more. MORE PLEASE.

Cherry-loving Wolves, Bloody Knives, and People Made of Magic…

Of Scars and Stardust by Andrea Hannah

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Title: Of Scars and Stardust
Author: Andrea Hannah
Series: N/A
Edition: ARC, 366 pages
Publication Details: October 8th 2014 by Flux
Genre(s): Mystery; Thriller; YA
Disclosure? Yep! I received a copy from the Publisher/Author in exchange for an HONEST review.

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After her little sister mysteriously vanishes, seventeen-year-old Claire Graham has a choice to make: stay snug in her little corner of Manhattan with her dropout boyfriend, or go back to Ohio to face the hometown tragedy she’s been dying to leave behind.

But the memories of that night still haunt her in the city, and as hard as she tries to forget what her psychiatrist calls her “delusions,” Claire can’t seem to escape the wolf’s eyes or the blood-speckled snow. Delusion or reality, Claire knows she has to hold true to the most important promise she’s ever made: to keep Ella safe. She must return to her sleepy hometown in order to find Ella and keep her hallucinations at bay before they strike again. But time is quickly running out, and as Ella’s trail grows fainter, the wolves are becoming startlingly real.

Now Claire must deal with her attraction to Grant, the soft-spoken boy from her past that may hold the secret to solving her sister’s disappearance, while following the clues that Ella left for only her to find. Through a series of cryptic diary entries, Claire must unlock the keys to Ella’s past—and her own—in order to stop another tragedy in the making, while realizing that not all things that are lost are meant to be found.

Woah. This book.

I have a total book hangover from this so please excuse my babbling review.

First of all, I didn’t even read the synopsis of this book before I picked it up. I requested it on the basis of the title and the cover alone, and went into it pretty blind and I’m so glad I did.

Not that I think it would have been any less amazing if I’d heard more about it, but I wasn’t expecting that.

Claire is living an average teenage existence in Ohio, going to bonfire parties where they drink cherry vodka and tell stories about the wolves that stalk the cornfields. Claire’s little sister, Ella is full of creativity and imagination and sees the world through magical eyes like only an eight year old can.

When Ella is asked to leave a party that she followed Claire to, she’s attacked on her way back. Her face will never be the same again, and Claire, now obsessed with the wolves that she believes attacked her is shipped off to New York. The only thing that brings her back to Ohio is when Ella disappears.

Of Scars and Stardust completely blew me away if you can’t tell already. It was a mystery, a psychological thriller, a romance, and it was written so beautifully it made me want to cry.

I loved how Claire saw her sister, and tried to make sense of the world as she saw it. She was terrified, damaged, and often alone, but she never felt like a victim. As the book went on it became clear that not only did Claire not know who to trust, but we as readers are not sure if we can trust her either.

I don’t think I even took a breath during the second half of this book, I was literally on the edge of my seat – which is pretty hard to do when you read in bed. If someone could come and pick my jaw up off the carpet, that would be great.

I loved setting, I loved the characters and I loved the uniqueness of this book, but I don’t want to say much more about it in case I ruin it for others.

What I will say, is that as soon as I finished it, I wanted to start over. Therefore, I give it all of the unicorns. Keep them all. And let them breed.

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Pre-order Of Scars and Stardust now, you won’t regret it!

Friday Feature: Ghostly Guest Posts & Slimy Submissions Wanted!

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Brush the cobwebs off your costumes, because Horror October is fast approaching!

After the success of last year’s horror-themed month I’ve already started planning to make this year’s bigger and better. There will be reviews, features, guest posts, and all the blood you can stomach.

If you’d like to get involved, (anything goes – well, almost anything!) leave a comment or email me on:

lipsyylostnfound[at]gmail[dot]com.

Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

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Title: Prince of Thorns
Author: Mark Lawrence
Series: The Broken Empire #1
Edition: Paperback, 399 pages
Publication Details: April 12th 2012 by Harper Voyager
Genre(s): Dark Fantasy; ‘Grimdark’
Disclosure? Nope, I borrowed it from a friend!

Goodreads
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When he was nine, he watched as his mother and brother were killed before him. At thirteen, he led a band of bloodthirsty thugs. By fifteen, he intends to be king…
It’s time for Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath to return to the castle he turned his back on, to take what’s rightfully his. Since the day he hung pinned on the thorns of a briar patch and watched Count Renar’s men slaughter his mother and young brother, Jorg has been driven to vent his rage. Life and death are no more than a game to him–and he has nothing left to lose. But treachery awaits him in his father’s castle. Treachery and dark magic. No matter how fierce his will, can one young man conquer enemies with power beyond his imagining?

I had such high hopes for this book. Numerous people have told me that I should give Dark Fantasy, or Grimdark – as all the cool kids are calling it – a go. I like action. I like violence and gore, and I’m a fan of Game of Thrones (although I have yet to embark on the books), so it sounds like a match made in Heaven, but unfortunately Prince of Thorns didn’t quite tick all the boxes for me.

Our protagonist is young Prince Jorg, who’s on a mission of debauchery and revenge along with his own band of loyal, marauding brothers. He has two main goals: The throne, and revenge on Count Renar who killed his mother and brother. Both of these goals lead him back to his father’s castle, where he must face the ghosts of his past.

The way in which I was pitched this book was kind of like imagine Joffrey let loose on a kingdom, and I liked the sound of that. We all love to hate characters like Joffrey, right? But I didn’t quite get that with Jorg.

Having a protagonist who rapes and murders for a hobby is always going to be tricky, and a bit of a risk. It’s not even that I always feel like I need to relate to the protagonist, but I need to have some kind of feelings towards them. With Prince of Thorns, it took me too long to find that. I felt like I needed something extra to get myself invested in Jorg’s story. I didn’t even particularly hate him, I just kind of felt sorry for him.

Saying that, I was compelled to keep reading. I liked the flashbacks to Jorg’s earlier life in the castle, and then, once he returned and faced his father, I definitely started getting into the story as I felt I could finally understand him a little. It was here he showed the first signs of fear and vulnerability, and you could finally see him for what he is – a disturbed and scared boy pretending to be a man.

As for the writing and style of this novel, I’m torn. On one hand I loved the epicness of it, but on the other I found it a bit OTT, enough with the metaphors already.

I love the whole medieval-meets-post-apocalyptic world, but at times I found it hard to picture what was going on, probably because it was over-written for my taste, again, the metaphors!

I’m not at all put off by the Grimdark genre though, or by Mark Lawrence. As a debut novel, Prince of Thorns was a ridiculously daring feat, and I look forward to trying his later offerings to compare.

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Prince of Thorns is available in paperback from Waterstones now.

Book Promo: My Soul Immortal by Jen Printy

Today I have a great promo post for you, for Jen Printy’s YA Paranormal Romance My Soul Immortal. I’ll be reviewing this in near future, which I look forward to (especially after watching that awesome trailer), but here’s a little teaser in the mean time!

msiTitle: My Soul Immortal
Author: Jen Printy
Series: Fated Eternals #1
Genre(s): Paranormal Romance
Page Count: 310
Format(s): Paperback; Kindle
Published: February 15th 2014 by Red Adept Publishing, LLC
 
Links:
Goodreads
Website

Purchase:
Amazon
B&N

Synopsis

Jack’s immortality is exposed when he prevents a liquor store heist, forcing him to flee to protect his secret—a secret not even he understands. But when he meets eighteen-year-old Leah Winters—a mirror image of his decades-lost love, Lydia—his very soul is laid bare. He begins to question his sanity. Is she real, and if so, what does that mean for Jack and his secret?Jack’s not the only mystery man in town. A stranger named Artagan hints at knowledge Jack is desperate to possess. But can he trust Artagan, or does the dark newcomer harbor deadly secrets of his own?As Jack’s bond with Leah grows, so does the danger to her life. Jack must discover just how much he is willing to risk in order to save the woman he already lost once.

An endless love, for an endless price.

Book Trailer


 

Meet the Author

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Since childhood, Jen Printy has been writing. Whether working on stories about a fantasy world or everyday life in Maine, Jen loved losing herself in the worlds she created on paper. The arts in all forms have always been an important part of Jen’s life, a love instilled in her by her father. When Jen isn’t writing, she’s sculpting as a freelance doll artist.

Jen lives with her husband, two daughters, and diva dog Cookie in southern Maine, where she loves spending time friends and family, finding treasures along the seashore, or enjoying a Guinness at her favorite local pub.

What People Are Saying About My Soul Immortal

 
“I loved it!! Every aspect.” - Michaela, Goodreads


My Soul Immortal by Jen Printy is a beautiful tale of love, loss and second chances.”

- Dianne, Goodreads

“I look forward to seeing what new adventures book two will bring.” - Pink Fluffy Hearts

WWW Wednesday 10.09.14

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To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading? • What did you recently finish reading? • What do you think you’ll read next?

Here’s what I’ve been up to this week:

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Currently Reading: I’m almost done with Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead. And I’ve just started Of Scars and Stardust by Andrea Hannah which I have high hopes for.

Recently Finished: Last week I finished Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence which I’ve only just got round to reviewing. It’ll be up tomorrow. I also finished Trust in Me by Sophie McKenzie which I really liked (and it’s out tomorrow). Click on the link for my review.

Up Next: Probably How I live Now, or Back to Blackbrick , but of course, you never know!