July 2013 on Lipsyy Lost & Found

I’ve been blogging for just over two months now and it’s really fun if not time consuming; definitely worth every second though. Now I’m all settled in I thought it would be good to do a proper monthly round-up. So here is My Monthly Activity in one handy post. Thanks to everyone who has followed me, liked posts and commented. I’m really enjoying getting to know you all!

July 2013

Total Posts: 19

New Followers: 29

Books Read & Reviewed (6):

  • Poison – Sarah Pinborough, 3/5 (Review)
  • The Maleficent Seven – Derek Landy,  A reluctant 4/5 (Review)
  • Take Your Last Breath (Ruby Redfort #2) – Lauren Child, 4/5 (Review)
  • Specials (Uglies #3) – Scott Westerfeld, 4/5 (Review)
  • Tristan & Iseult – J.D Smith, 3/5 (Review)
  • The Lies of Locke Lamora – Scott Lynch, 3/5 (Review)

Favourites Fridays:
Most Fridays I have been posting about my favourite books or authors

  • #7 Speak – Laurie Halse Anderson (View Post)
  • #6 Tuck Everlasting – Natalie Babbit (View Post)
  • #5 Silly Verse for Kids – Spike Milligan (View Post)

Most Viewed Posts:

  1. WWW Wednesday 24/07/2013 (View Post)
  2. Best Post Day! (New Arrivals) (View Post)
  3. WWW Wednesday 10/07/2013 (View Post)

Books Purchased: 
1. Tristan & Iseult by J.D Smith (Kindle Edition) I got this when it was free but it is still only £1.98

Available from Amazon
Available from Amazon

2. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (Paperback). Currently only £3.85 on Amazon

3. Poison by Sarah Pinborough (Hardback)

4. The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton (Paperback)
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5. Deer in Headlights (Good Gods Series) by Stacci Hart (Kindle Edition) This is still free on Amazon

View On Amazon
View On Amazon

6. Water (The Aksasha Series) by Terra Harmony. (Kindle Edition) Also free on Amazon.

View on Amazon
View on Amazon

Books Swapped: I am a huge fan of bookswap website Read it Swap it and did some great swaps this month. Check out the site here. (UK based) My username is lipsyp1 if you ever want to see what books I have up for swap.

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Swap #1: Tell me no Lies by Malorie Blackman for Being by Kevin Brooks.

Swap#2: On the Road by Jack Kerouac for Extras (Uglies #4) by Scott Westerfeld

Swap #3: Second Nature by Alice Hoffman for A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1) by Deborah Harkness

ARCs/Giveaways:
I received Julian Sedgwick’s The Black Dragon (The Mysterium #1) courtesy of Hodder Children’s Books via World Book Day.

*BOOK OF THE MONTH*

Click for my review
Click for my review

*COVER OF THE MONTH*

View my Review
View my Review

*MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT MONTH*
Due for Release 20th August – NEEDED for the cover alone.

View on Goodreads
View on Goodreads

What else would you like to see on my monthly round-up? I’m sure I’m missing things. 

WWW Wednesday.

Sorry guys, my answers are the same as last week as I was away at the weekend and did not even manage to open a book. I’m really enjoying The Secret Keeper though and will hopefully get it finished soon. Busy Busy. Please still leave a comment with your post so I can peruse them through the day! Hope you’ve all been more productive than me this week. 😉

www_wednesdays4

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?

Currently Reading:
The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton – ‘A a spellbinding mix of mystery, thievery, murder, and enduring love’. View on Goodreads.

Just Finished:
Poison by Sarah Pinborough – ‘A beautiful, sexy, contemporary retelling of the classic Snow White fairy tale’. I was sooooooooo excited about this and it hurts me to say that I was a bit disappointed. Maybe I expected too much? Sad Panda. Review to follow shortly. View on Goodreads.

Shiny!
Shiny!

Up Next:
Either Throne of Glass or Storm Glass. It’s all about the glass apparently.

Click to View on Goodreads
Click to View on Goodreads
Click to view on Goodreads
Click to view on Goodreads

Favourites Friday #7: Speak – Laurie Halse Anderson

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The first ten lies they tell you in high school. “Speak up for yourself–we want to know what you have to say.” From the first moment of her freshman year at Merryweather High, Melinda knows this is a big fat lie, part of the nonsense of high school. She is friendless, outcast, because she busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, so now nobody will talk to her, let alone listen to her. As time passes, she becomes increasingly isolated and practically stops talking altogether. Only her art class offers any solace, and it is through her work on an art project that she is finally able to face what really happened at that terrible party.

In Laurie Halse Anderson’s powerful novel, an utterly believable heroine with a bitterly ironic voice delivers a blow to the hypocritical world of high school. She speaks for many a disenfranchised teenager while demonstrating the importance of speaking up for oneself.

Speak was a 1999 National Book Award Finalist for Young People’s Literature. Image & Synopsis from Goodreads.

Speak is one of those books that doesn’t blow you away at first. It’s a slow burner but once you have read the final word you are left speechless. It is a dark and frank portrayal of the high-school experience that will speak to many, and move most. It’s harrowing and depressing but also intensely funny.

Anyone who has ever felt like an outcast or a victim can find solace in Speak, and all can learn from it. Pay attention to your kids, World.

Favourite Lines:
Opening line: ‘It is my first morning of high school. I have seven new notebooks, a skirt I hate, and a stomach ache’.

OUR TEACHERS ARE THE BEST… My English teacher has no face. She has stringy hair that droops on her shoulders. The hair is black from her parting to her ears and then neon orange to its frizzy ends. I can’t decide if she has pissed off her hairdresser or is morphing into a monarch butterfly. I call her Hairwoman.

‘Sometimes I think high school is one long hazy activity: if you are tough enough to survive this, they’ll let you become an adult. I hope it’s worth it.’

When people don’t express themselves, they die one piece at a time. You’d be shocked at how many adults are really dead inside—walking through their days with no idea who they are, just waiting for a heart attack or cancer or a Mack truck to come along and finish the job. It’s the saddest thing I know’

You should probably read the book before you watch this video, just sayin.

A Snow White tale for Adults: Poison by Sarah Pinborough

Sexy Snow White?
Sex and the Snow White

A beautiful, sexy, contemporary retelling of the classic Snow White fairy tale, illustrated by Les Edwards.

Poison is a beautifully illustrated retelling of the Snow White story which takes all the elements of the classic fairy tale that we love (the handsome prince, the jealous queen, the beautiful girl and, of course, the poisoning) and puts a modern spin on the characters, their motives and their desires. It’s fun, contemporary, sexy, and perfect for fans of Once Upon a Time, Grimm, Snow White and the Huntsman and more. Image & Synopsis from Goodreads.

If you’ve read my blog posts over the last week or so you’ll know that I was really excited about Poison. I love fairy tales, I love retelling of fairy tales and this being an ‘adult’ version of Snow White appealed to me. Not to mention how awesome the cover is. Basically, I set myself up for a massive let down didn’t I? Damn, not again.

I didn’t hate Poison, but I didn’t love it either. Which makes me sad because it’s too pretty to get rid of.

We start with Lilith, Snow’s step-mother who we expect to be evil but she’s just kind of sad. As is traditional, she’s jealous of Snow White’s beauty and charm but also of how free and wild she is. Snow White is out partying with the dwarves and getting drunk whilst poor old Lilith is stuck in her castle being a lady. I’m not sure if we’re supposed to feel sorry for her with this new back story but it didn’t really work for me.

Snow White herself is fun. She drinks the Dwarves under the table and basically just does what she likes but I didn’t feel any investment in her or her well being. I was glad the huntsman didn’t kill her but not because I liked her but because I liked him. And the Prince…don’t even get me started on him. What a waste of space he turned out to be.

I did like some elements of Poison though. I liked that no one was quite what they seem, and definitely not what you’d expect them to be, Pinborough did a good job in that sense. And I liked that Snow White was just a normal girl. A normal beer-drinking, curvy girl who has family issues. But on the other hand, that realism took away a lot of magic from the story which is a shame. I guess you can’t have the best of both worlds.

I also liked that Pinborough took elements from different fairy tales and integrated them into this one story. Apart from the Aladdin part…really, what was the point in that??

Overall, I think Poison is a great idea in theory but just didn’t quite work, for me. Pinborough could have really taken ownership of the source material but it was just a bit too thin to really get your teeth into. I think I’ll give the next book, Charm a go just to see if she manages to do this…I still live in hope.

Plus, they really are very very pretty books.

I give Poision 3/5 unicorns…just. It was published by Gollancz, April 2013

WWW Wednesday!

www_wednesdays4

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?

Currently Reading:
The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton – ‘A a spellbinding mix of mystery, thievery, murder, and enduring love’. View on Goodreads.

Just Finished:
Poison by Sarah Pinborough – ‘A beautiful, sexy, contemporary retelling of the classic Snow White fairy tale’. I was sooooooooo excited about this and it hurts me to say that I was a bit disappointed. Maybe I expected too much? Sad Panda. Review to follow shortly. View on Goodreads.

Shiny!
Shiny!

Up Next:
Either Throne of Glass or Storm Glass. It’s all about the glass apparently.

Click to View on Goodreads
Click to View on Goodreads
Click to view on Goodreads
Click to view on Goodreads

Spin-off or Spin on? The Maleficent Seven (Skulduggery Pleasant spin-off) by Derek Landy

View on Goodreads
View on Goodreads

A brilliant, hilarious one-off novella in the Skulduggery Pleasant universe, from number-one-bestselling author Derek Landy

This time, the bad guys take the stage.

Tanith Low, now possessed by a remnant, recruits a gang of villains – many of whom will be familiar from previous Skulduggery adventures – in order to track down and steal the four God-Killer level weapons that could hurt Darquesse when she eventually emerges. Also on the trail of the weapons is a secret group of Sanctuary sorcerers, and doing his best to keep up and keep Tanith alive is one Mister Ghastly Bespoke.

When the villains around her are lying and scheming and plotting, Tanith needs to stay two steps ahead of her teammates and her enemies. After all, she’s got her own double-crosses to plan – and she’s a villain herself…

Firstly, The Skulduggery Pleasant books are one of my favourite series ever. One because they are hilarious and captivating and two, because I have them all in hardback and they look pretty on my shelves. Secondly, it’s been a while since I read this spin-off (I know, I’m rubbish) and Goodreads tells me I gave it 4/5 but now I cannot for the life of me remember why.

I was really excited to see that Tanith Low was getting her own book, she’s an interesting character, especially now that she’s evil and has this strangely cute relationship with evil Billy-Ray. I must have enjoyed the story to give it 4/5 but thinking back on it now I can’t even tell you what happened, which can’t be a good thing can it?

I know that my favourite character in it died. Sob. And that Tanith was leading an army of misfits to steal the God Killer Weapons so that they can’t be used against Darquesse, if of course, Valkyrie ever turns into her. So as ever Tanith is kind of evil but not really which was just a bit annoying really. I’m finding it hard to remember what the point of the story was…sorry…

Also, I thought this would be a good opportunity for Landy to prove that he can write in a different tone to Skulduggery and Valkyrie, (they are VERY sarcastic)but that didn’t really happen either. I love sarcasm as much as the next person – probably a lot more actually- and that’s one of the main things I loved about the early Skulduggery books. They made me L.O.L. But as the series went on the constant sarcasm seemed to seep into every single character: Overkill. It hasn’t stopped me enjoying them, but I did hope that this would be different.

I’m sure this must have been entertaining enough but with hindsight…I was probably being quite generous because I love the series so much. Basically, I can only really recommend this to lovers of the Skulduggery Pleasant series. He’s a sarcastic skeleton detective…what’s not to like!?

The Maleficent Seven is published by HarperCollins Children’s Books, March 2013.

Teen Girls Make Good Spies Too, Buster: Take Your Last Breath by Lauren Child (Ruby Redfort #2)

I’m a bit behind on reviews so I thought I’d try and get them out today instead of a Favourites Friday post. But Happy Friday regardless!

Image from Amazon
View on Amazon

Everyone’s favorite girl detective is back for a second mind-blowing installment, packed with all the off-the-wall humor, action, and friendship of the first book. This time, though, it’s an adventure on the wide-open ocean, and Ruby is all at sea. . . . Can she crack the case of the Twinford pirates while evading the clutches of a vile sea monster as well as the evil Count von Viscount? Well, you wouldn’t want to bet against her.

I should have written this review when the book was fresh in my mind but hey ho, better late than never right? I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the first book in this series Look Into my Eyes and Take Your Last Breath was more of the same; it didn’t disappoint.

Ruby is a great character with her sarcky, feisty wit and quick thinking. She makes these book extremely fun to read, you can’t help but cheer her on the whole way through, even if she calls people ‘Buster’ too much, and has a penchant for t-shirts with annoying slogans on them, it all adds to her unique character.

The book starts with Ruby on a deep-sea-diving training course with Spectrum, the Secret Agency that head-hunted her in the first book, which is pretty convenient considering the mission she is later assigned to happens to be about a body found dead at sea (coincidence?). This leads to all manner of crazy oceanic occurrences such as sharks in the harbour, dead turtles, ships being kidnapped by pirates, confused cargo shipping including some missing elephants and the strange whispering of the sea that only kids can hear. Oh not to mention the old legend of the sea monster which may or may not be currently strangling people.

With codes to crack and the many pieces of the puzzle to piece together, Ruby is a busy a girl and the story just flies by. It’s a perfectly entertaining, light summer read.

But, I hear you cry, but you do have to just go with it and take it with a pinch of salt. Don’t expect much realism here. I mean, I know it’s aimed at a MUCH (sob) younger audience than me but Lauren Child doesn’t even try to make the unbelievable believable. Ruby as a teenage secret agent didn’t manage to convince me enough this time round, she just didn’t seem clever, or serious enough and a lot of time she just sat around thinking but not actually doing anything. Surely the ‘real’ secret agents wouldn’t just wait for her to solve it? but they didn’t seem to really care that people were turning up dead.

Despite those things, I’m really glad this series exists. There are a lot of YA novels out there the moment featuring kick-ass girls with real personalities but not so much for the 8-12 age group which I think this falls into, and definitely not when it comes to spy novels. Comparisons to the Stormbreaker series are endless and it’s pretty cool that Ruby Redfort is out there doing it for the girls. Even if Alex Rider would totally kick her arse.

I gave Ruby#2 4/5 unicorns. My copy is published by Harper Collins Children’s Books.