Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books on my Spring TBR list

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 Ten Spring TBR books.

Some of these aren’t new, but they’re the ones on the top of my TBR list!

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  1. The One (The Selection #3) by Keira Cass: Obviously! Released May 6th
  2. Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marrissa Meyer: I CANNOT wait until this arrives.
  3. The Selection Stories (The Selection 0.5 & 2.5) by Kiera Cass: I’m not sorry.
  4. The Assassin’s Blade (Throne of Glass 0.1 – 0.5) by Sarah J. Maas: I finally got round to ordering this!
  5. The Prisoner of Brenda (Mystery Man # by Bateman: I love this series, and it’s been patiently sitting on my shelf since the new year!
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  7. Frog Music by Emma Donoghue: Released March 27th
  8. After Wimbledon by Jennifer Gilby Roberts: This is sure to get me in the mood for Wimbledon this year!
  9. House of Ivy & Sorrow by Natalie Whipple: Released April 15th
  10. Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2) by Richelle Mead: I was so pleasantly surprised by the first book in this series, so I’m looking forward to continuing it.
  11. A Love Like Blood by Marcus Sedgwick: I’m intrigued to see what Sedgwick has done in his first book aimed at adults. It sounds like quite a departure for him. Released March 25th

Blood Orange Soda by James Michael Larranaga

blood Darius Hunter is a bullied high school freshman. When he drinks Blood Orange Soda to transform into a Vampire and earn respect, he soon learns life as a Vampire has its own challenges.

Set in the future on the rural landscape of St. Cloud, Minnesota where pre-Vampire teens are required by the government to take a daily Red pill to prevent their urge to bite, Blood Orange Soda is a coming of age story of love, life and death.

I really liked the sound of Blood Orange Soda, picturing a gritty dystopian future in which Vampires are are somehow forced to suppress their urges. Unfortunately, it didn’t meet my expectations…any of them.

Blood Orange Soda is written in diary-entry format from the perspective of protagonist Darius, a goth teen who is constantly bullied at school and plays in a rock band. Oh, and he’s a pre-vampire. If he stops taking his pills he will become a full vampire, although that’s not really recommended until he turns 18.

Although I did find some things I liked in this story – enough to keep me reading – I felt constantly let down. I was waiting for things to get interesting but they never did. There’s this whole sub-text about under-age sex (biting-before-love, surely not!) and drug culture (the Blood Orange Soda of the title which speeds up the transformation in pre-vamps, and ‘Normals’ just get ‘juiced up’ on) which could have worked well but was just too transparent and read as immature.

I thought it was going to get interesting when Darius’s Uncle Jack was training him for his impending fight (a ridiculous concept in the first place). There was pretty much a Rocky-style training montage and everything, and I started to think Jack may have ulterior motives for helping him and encouraging him not to tell anyone about taking the Blood Orange Soda, but no, it was just another false alarm and led nowhere!

I found the characters one dimensional, and not a lot happens. I did like that it had an urban feel to it, but Blood Orange Soda is a coming of age story with no bite, excuse the pun!

unicorn rating 2

Disclosure?: I received an advanced copy from the author/publisher in exchange for an HONEST review
Title: Blood Orange Soda
Author: James Michael Larranaga
Details: ebook, 350 pages
Published: Expected March 15th 2014 by JML
My Rating: 2/5

WWW Wednesday 12.03.2014

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?

www

Currently Reading: I’ve just started Blood Orange Soda by James Michael Larranaga and I also finally picked up Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness, which I’m not loving yet, but if the other books are anything to go by, I will be soon.

Recently Finished: The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh. I really enjoyed this beautifully written Thriller. See my review here.

Up Next: I have quite a few (too many!) ARCS that I need to read by the end of March, and also The Medea Complex by Rachel Roberts. I also realllly want to read The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen that I’ve had on my shelf since Christmas. Ahhhh.

Leave a comment the link to your post and I’ll come visit 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Vintage Books I own

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 Ten Books in X Genre .

It was too hard to pick one genre, so I went for the top ten vintage books I own.

Most of my favourite books are old, musty ones. I love everything about old books. Their aged boards and pages, the smell, and how they look on my shelves. I’m always amazed at how cheap you can buy vintage books from car-boot sales or charity shops. It’s one of my favourite things to do.

So, here are 10 of my favourites, in no particular order.

  1.  Shakespeare’s Complete Works, Oxford University Press, 1930: This book is so battered but I love it!
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  3.  Enid Blyton’s Run-Abouts Holiday & The Put-Em Rights, Lutterworth Press, 1955: I love the certificate at the fromt of one of these, and both books have a loose colour illustration in too.
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  5.  Beneath the Magic, Hutchinson’s Universal Book Club, 1951: This book is a bit of a a mystery. I haven’t read it yet and can find nothing about it online, but it says the author, Robert Hichens had written over 20 books by the time this was published. I found the author on Wikipedia but there is still no mention of this title. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Hichens_(author))
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  7.  Dicken’s Christmas Stories, The Heirloom Library, 1954: I remember this from my childhood. Not reading it particularly but it just always being there.
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  9.  Through the Looking Glass, Macmillan Children’s Books, 1980: I just love this version of TTLG. The red boards with gold embossed front. And inside it’s patterned with Tenniel’s Alice. So cute
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  11.  Edward Lear’s Book of Nonesense, Faber and Faber, 1989
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  13.  Best Loved Books, Reader’s Digest, 1980: It took me a long time to realise that these were condensed versions of the novels…vastly improved I’d say!
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  15.  Poe’s Tales of Mystery & Imagination, Galley Press, 1987
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  17.  Sigmund Freud’s The Psychopathology of Everyday Life, Ernest Ben Limited, 1966: I love the sub-title of this book – Forgetting, Slips of the Tongue, Bungled Actions, Superstitions and Errors.
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  19.  Hart’s Rules for Compositors and Readers, Oxford University Press, 1967: With sections entitled ‘Nor and Or’ and ‘O and Oh’ this tiny book shows exactly how much the English language has changed in the last 40 years or so. I think my favorite part is the section covering A, or An, in which it basically says you will know which sounds right!
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Keep Your Enemies Close…

The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh

weight The Dane family’s roots tangle deep in the Ozark Mountain town of Henbane, but that doesn’t keep sixteen-year-old Lucy Dane from being treated like an outsider. Folks still whisper about her mother, a bewitching young stranger who inspired local myths when she vanished years ago. When one of Lucy’s few friends, slow-minded Cheri, is found murdered, Lucy feels haunted by the two lost girls-the mother she never knew and the friend she couldn’t protect. Everything changes when Lucy stumbles across Cheri’s necklace in an abandoned trailer and finds herself drawn into a search for answers. What Lucy discovers makes it impossible to ignore the suspicion cast on her own kin. More alarming, she suspects Cheri’s death could be linked to her mother’s disappearance, and the connection between the two puts Lucy at risk of losing everything. In a place where the bonds of blood weigh heavy, Lucy must decide where her allegiances lie.

Reading The Weight of Blood felt like sitting on a swing-chair on a porch in the sticky night-time heat with Dragonfiles bashing against your lantern; kind of peaceful and beautiful but there’s this uncomfortable feeling rising to the surface, and you know where it’s coming from but if you just ignore it, it might go away. Obviously, it never goes away…

The Weight of blood is set in a small town with big secrets and a growing number of disappearing teenage girls. Each chapter is told from the perspective of a different character and from two different periods of time. In the present Lucy is hell-bent on finding out what happened to her friend Cheri, a girl with learning-difficulties who was found dismembered in a tree, and also trying to discover what happened to her mum, Lila who vanished a year after she was born.

We also follow Lila as she first arrives in Henbane with the promise of a job and board from local business man, Crete Dane. It’s not long before Lila realises that all is not quite as it seems in this town.

McHugh really did a great job here in intertwining these two stories to create a compelling read. I wasn’t ferociously trying to find out who was behind it all, or on the edge of my seat as I was fed more pieces of the puzzle like I sometimes am when reading thrillers, but that’s not to say it wasn’t compelling.

The story unfolds at a gentle pace (and the plot continues to thicken all the way to the end) but I was never bored. There is something enchanting about her writing that makes it a joy to just float along for the ride. The style really reminded me of Alice Hoffman in that way.

I was a little disappointed that there were no major unexpected turns or twists, but as it was the writing and the characters were enough to keep me happy. The characterisation was great, with more than enough seedy, sinister ones to keep you guessing, and Lila and Lucy were both so likeable that it was hard to not get invested in their well-being.

I look forward to reading more by Laura McHugh.

unicorn rating 4

Disclosure?: I received an advanced copy from the publisher in exchange for an HONEST review,
Title: The Weight of Blood
Author: Laura McHugh
Details: Hardcover, ebook, 320 pages
Published: March 11th 2014 by Spiegel & Grau (Random House)
My Rating: 4/5
You’ll like it if you liked: Blackbird House by Alice Hoffman

Cinderella meets Star Wars? Err YES! (Lazy Saturday Review)

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer

11235712 (1)Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Every review I’ve read for Cinder, gushes about it, which is probably why it took me so long to get round to it. I’m weird like that. But this is another one of those books that I can’t believe I didn’t pick up sooner. STUPID, STUBBORN ME.

This review will be no different to everyone else’s out there. THERE WILL BE GUSHING.

It really shouldn’t work: A re-imagining of Cinderella set in the future? Cinderella as a Cyborg? Interplanetary crisis and impending war… starring Cinderella? It should be ridiculous, but it’s not. It’s pretty Amazing with a capital A!

I literally couldn’t find a single thing I disliked about this book. Nothing.

Cinder is an awesome protagonist. She’s feisty but vulnerable, she’s not particularly happy that she’s a cyborg, and worries about certain hot princes finding out (OK just one), but she’s not whiny, and she doesn’t let it rule her life.

Enter Prince Kai, he’s stuck in an impossible position. He’s about to become King and the only way of keeping peace between his kingdom and the powerful, menacing Lunars is to marry the sinister Luna Queen. Not only that, but a plague is striking people down left, right and center and the evil Queen has a cure. At a price, of course.

I completely fell in love with Kai. He’s not conceited, or stubborn like most princes in YA novels are. He’s afraid for his country, and afraid that he can’t rule it, but again, there’s no whiny self degradation here. He doesn’t particularly want to be a martyr either, but he’s willing to do anything to stop his people from dying.

The action was constant, the romance was a breath of fresh air, and the ties to Cinderella really fit into the narrative.

I’m going to stop here because… GUSHING.

Just get me the next book, STAT!

Cinder, have all the unicorns, take them all!

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Disclosure?: Nope, I bought it!
Title: Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Details: Paperback, 387 pages
Published: January 5th 2012 by Puffin
My Rating: 5/5

Blog Tour: Eden Forest by Aoife Marie Sheridan (Review & Giveaway)

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Today, Aoife Marie Sheridan stops by on her blog tour for the first book in her Saskia Trilogy, Eden Forest, a fast-paced YA Fantasy.

Eden Forest (Saskia Trilogy #1)

EDEN Sarajane Anderson is your regular twenty one year old. With family, friends and a normal job. She also happens to be the only person who can save Saskia, a world parallel to earth.

When Sarajane is taken to Saskia, she could never have imagined the reality of the world she steps into, a world where magical abilities are in everyone’s possession.

She must face a father she never knew, a world that is beyond her belief. A guardian who captures her heart, and a darkness that wants to take it.

On this journey Sarajane discovers her magical abilities and realizes they come with a price. Sarajane is truly tested, as her loved ones are put at risk. The question she must ask herself is, how do you choose who lives and who dies?

Add Eden Forest on Goodreads

Purchase:
Amazon
B&N

My Review

Eden Forest is told through the perspectives of protagonist Sarajane, her mother who had disappeared without a trace, and Bellona, the evil queen of Saskia.

Saskia is a world parallel to earth in which magic exists and people are categorised into whichever type of magic they show an affinity for, earth, air, fire or water. It is here that Sarajane is reunited with her mother, but at the same time she’s thrust into a world in turmoil. It’s up to Sarajane to save Saskia from Queen Bellona and the angel Lucian who are hell-bent on destroying everything.

After what I found to be a slow start, Eden Forest really picked up the pace and I didn’t want to stop reading. The characters are all well rounded enough to either love or hate them (I can’t stand wishy-washy characters). Queen Bellona was a great villian; both evil and intelligent, and Sarajane was the perfect ratio of innocence and sass.

Sheridan did a good job at world-building here too. Saskia is a complex place with its own history, morals and values, and I was pleased that we learnt about the creation of the world, even if I felt we were told too much too quickly sometimes.

The main thing that fascinated me about this story, was the way it looked at relationships and family. Sarajane was judged harshly for her mother’s relationship with the King, even though it was pretty clear that he loved her, not to mention that Queen is totally evil. I also really liked the whole ‘matching’ thing.

I also loved the friendship that developed between Sarajane and Alana – who she appoints as her personal guardian – despite women not usually being permitted to fight, and I thought the love story between Sarajane and Tristan was exciting and realistic. He definitely did it for me…Tristan’s are always hot!

Eden Forest is an ambitious, entertaining story. Once I was sucked in, I couldn’t put it down. At times, I felt like I was being told too much at once, and there was quite a lot of telling not showing, but considering the scope of the story it’s not surprising…there was a lot to explain!

I have the feeling that this series will get better and better.

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(3.5/5 – but I can’t chop a unicorn in half!)

Meet the Author

aoifeAoife Marie Sheridan has loved reading from a very young age, starting off with mills and boon’s books, given to by her grandmother her love for romances grew, by the age of 14 she had read hundreds of them.

Aoife had a passion for writing poetry or in her eyes her journal entries. It was something she did throughout her teens and into her twenties. Aoife won first place for two of her poems and had them published at a young age of just nineteen. Realising she needed to get a real job (What writing isn’t) she studied accountancy and qualified working in that field for many years, until her passion for reading returned and she found Maria V Snyder. Poison study one of her favourite books has been read and re-read countless times.

Aoife’s first book Eden Forest (Part one of the Saskia Trilogy) came to be after a dream of a man and woman on a black horse jumping through a wall of fire and the idea of Saskia was born. Now with her first novel published and taking first place for Eden Forest with Writers Got Talent 2013, Aoife continues to write tales of fantasy and is currently working on her third book for the Saskia Trilogy amongst other new works.

LINKS:
Website
Goodreads
Facebook
Twitter

*Giveaway*

Aoife is giving away 2 e-copies of Eden Forest, and 2 e-copies of book 2, City of Secrets. Open Internationally.

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway here.

WWW Wednesday! 05.03.2014

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?

www

Currently Reading: I’ve just started The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh, not much to report so far, but I think I’m going to like it. Needed a break from all the YA/Vampire stuff I’ve been reading lately. (See below for more)

Recently Finished: I finished Cinder, which I loved! Review should be up soon! And Eden Forest by Aoife Marie Sheridan for her book tour, stopping here tomorrow!

Up Next: I’ve said it 3 weeks in a row now (things keep coming up!!), but either Blood Orange Soda or Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking Trilogy #3) by Patrick Ness

The Weight of Blood – Laura McHugh

weight
For fans of Gillian Flynn and Daniel Woodrell, a dark, gripping debut novel of literary suspense about two mysterious disappearances, a generation apart, and the meaning of family-the sacrifices we make, the secrets we keep, and the lengths we will go to protect the ones we love.

The Dane family’s roots tangle deep in the Ozark Mountain town of Henbane, but that doesn’t keep sixteen-year-old Lucy Dane from being treated like an outsider. Folks still whisper about her mother, a bewitching young stranger who inspired local myths when she vanished years ago. When one of Lucy’s few friends, slow-minded Cheri, is found murdered, Lucy feels haunted by the two lost girls-the mother she never knew and the friend she couldn’t protect.

Everything changes when Lucy stumbles across Cheri’s necklace in an abandoned trailer and finds herself drawn into a search for answers. What Lucy discovers makes it impossible to ignore the suspicion cast on her own kin. More alarming, she suspects Cheri’s death could be linked to her mother’s disappearance, and the connection between the two puts Lucy at risk of losing everything. In a place where the bonds of blood weigh heavy, Lucy must decide where her allegiances lie.

Leave a comment with your link and I’ll come visit!

February Finds!

This is a monthly post where I share some of the books that I’ve found through fellow bloggers that I HAD to add to my wishlist immediately. I’m hoping I’ll look back on these posts and remember to buy/request the books (wishful thinking!).

My TBR Pile is out of control so I was a very good girl in February; I only made a note of two books that I want to buy:

Click on the links to go to the original posts.

FF

Found on: Just a Normal Girl in London
Why: Fairy Tales; The Cover!

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Found on: Cleopatra Loves Books
Why: I say all the time that I should read more Thrillers or Crime novels because I enjoy them so much when I do, but I get side-tracked by other genres. I really love the look of this one!

Top Ten Tuesday: Popular Authors I’ve Never Read

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 Ten Authors I’ve never read.

For some reason I found this really hard. I’m sure there are loads of popular authors that I’ve never read but most of the ones that came to mind were Chick-Lit so I tried to mix it up a bit.

J.K Rowling: I know this will be the big shocker on this list. Everyone who meets me expects me to love Harry Potter. It is the kind of thing I like, granted, yet I’ve never read them. I’m not really against reading them, but I just feel it’s a bit too late now. That, and I’ve seen a few of the films – which were positively average – and I hate reading books after seeing the films. Maybe one day…
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Cecelia Ahern: I’m not averse to Chick-Lit at all, but it’s never my go-to genre. I’ve been told I’d really like Cecelia’s books by a few people though and still haven’t picked any up. I totally secretly love the P.S I Love You film, mainly because of this guy:

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Marian Keyes & Jodie Picoult: Again, I’ve heard good things but I’ve never really felt the need to pick up their books!

Gillian Flynn: I’ve had Gone Girl on my TBR pile since it came out. I know, I know, I NEED to read it. I Will, I promise. Soon.

Lee Child & Jo Nesbo: I really love gritty crime/ suspense novels and I like the sound of both of these authors…I just haven’t got round to them yet. One day.

Alexander McCall Smith: I doubt I’ll ever pick up the Detective Agency books for the simple fact that I hate the covers. I know that’s really bad, but they do nothing for me whatsoever and have really put me off.

AMS

Phillipa Gregory: I think I would probably like these books but I feel like I’ve missed the boat a bit. When I feel like a bit of Historical Fiction I usually go for the Arthurian Era reads because I’m fascinated by that period, but I should definitely branch out.

Rick Riordan: I love books that take mythology and bring it into a modern setting so I have no doubt that I’d love the Percy Jackson books, but like Harry Potter, I saw the film first. Unlike Harry Potter though, I think I will definitely try and read these at some point.

What would make your list? Feel free to leave your link in the comments!