WWW Wednesday 30.04.14

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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: The Unicorn Thief by R. Russell. I requested this from Netgalley without realising that it’s the second book in the series…but it just looks so cute.

Recently Finished: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer – so SO good. I’m finding it hard put together a review that isn’t just OMG THIS IS AMAZING, but I’ll try! I also finished Insurgent, which was pretty amazing too. I haven’t reviewed it (4/5), but Di did…when she was drunk.

Up Next: I really have to catch up on ARCS again…first on the list is After Wimbledon by Jennifer Gilby Roberts, plus I’m waiting on The One by Kiera Cass to arrive next week!

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

Top Ten Tuesday: Books You Should Read If You Like…

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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 10 Books You Should Read if you Like X (TV show/Film etc).

Ooh I like this topic, it’s fun. But I had a hard time coming up with 10 books for just one TV Show or film so I’ve split it into a few categories.

Books you should read if you like…

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
BTVS is my favourite show of all time. It’s everything a high school drama with vampires should be! It’s witty and has a kick-ass protagonist, as do the following books.

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The Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

Veronica Mars
V Mars is so awesome. She’s ridiculously intelligent and mature for her age, and she can’t help getting herself into sticky situations. Her dad -who is pretty adorable- is a PI, and the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree. These books also have feisty female protagonists whose inquisitive natures get them into all sorts of scrapes, whether it’s fighting octopuses (Ruby Redfort) or studying poisons (Flavia de Luce).

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The Ruby Redfort books by Lauren Child
Skulduggery pleasant by Derek Landy
The Flavia de Luce mysteries by Alan Bradley
The Lily Pascale mysteries by Scarlett Thomas

True Detective
I just finished watching this show last night (gooooood ending), and I did enjoy but it has such a slow-burning pace. And that’s what really reminded me of this book.

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The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh

Guest Post: Di does…Insurgent!

insur One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

It turns out I don’t need to review Insurgent which I finished last week, because my friend Di got hammered and wrote this hilarious and strangely almost-insightful rant/review and sent it to me. She’s probably regretting that right now. But it’s too good to not share.

Here she goes…[I am butting in in square brackets]

When I was first handed Divergent it was with the promise of the Hunger Games but with guns. That seemed OK to me because of the Hunger Games shaped hole in my life that no matter how many times I reread, it never filled that first anxious fist-chewing time.

I did not have this feeling reading Divergent. In fact I don’t even recall a feeling. I was jet-lagged, it was 3 AM and it filled a space of time in my life that needed filling. And I don’t know if I even liked it, it was just… Fluff.

So, imagine my surprise whilst reading Insurgent to find that I’m so transfixed I can barely use my phone to inform Lipsy [Hi] of this unexpected glee. IT’S THE HUNGER GAMES ALL OVER AGAIN I believe was all I could text whilst not looking at my phone. Followed by FOUR IS BEING A DOUCHEBAG….This is amazing!

After that day, whilst a bit pissed reading The Sun in a kebab shop, I found a double page spread in which the chap playing Four in the film (not hot enough) [agreed x 1000] was heralded as ‘THE NEXT RPATZ’ and I stifled a smirk. Is this actually the new Twilight?

Fact: Factions, Districts, Tributes, Divergents – Hungervergents.[LOL]

[Anyway] Whilst reading Divergent, I spent a lot of time thinking (as you do) GOOD LORD I COULD HAVE WRITTEN THIS WHEN I WAS 20. Then I read that it was in fact written by a 25 Year old.

RESPECT!

Where Divergent was a bit meh, [I could not disagree more] Insurgent soars. Tris and Four argue a lot, it’s great. They are real people that you get pissed off with for their petty reasonings before remembering they are 16 years old. Also the make out scenes are hot. So much hotter than divergent, SRSLY [this I do agree with].

The relationships are real. Christina and Tris as Bffs is REAL YOU GUYS. Four and Tris as teenagers in love, real in the lamest way possible. As it should be.

HOWEVER what the Hunger Games lacked in hotties (let’s be honest, the movies tried and failed to make either Peeta or Gale ‘leading males’ – the Hunger Games is 100% Katniss…OK and a bit of Gale being moody) Divergent probably fills the Twilight / RPatz void.

Four is unavailable, distant, hot, moody, difficult, all the things we apparently want in a teen heart-throb (srsly though) and it’s strange to see the film version neatly slotting into the void left behind by Twilight, when the books are so obviously more Hunger Games in nature. It’s an interesting case study… except we know it’s all trash (apart from the Hunger Games which is genius). [Anyone getting a bit lost here?]

Let’s talk about the end of this book. ***no spoilers*** The end of this book… is perfect [I thought it went on a bit tbh] I could see it coming a mile off (to the point where I was like ‘that’s too obvious and clearly not going to happen’) then it HAPPENED and woah. Perfect.

In hindsight, Insurgent is a lot more like a Margaret Atwood novel than any YA I’ve read. You know, maybe… The Handmaids Tale or Oryx & Crake. I have heard nothing but REALLY BAD things about Allegiant, the final novel in the Divergent series, but controversially, I am gagging to read it and think it will be amazing. But then, I really loved Mockingjay so…

THIS HAS BEEN A DRUNK REVIEW WRITTEN BY DIANNE TANNER. [She wrote that, not me, honest!]

Di Di has a photo blog called Icefloe, which is awesome. You can go there by clicking on the image.

Dear Netgalley….

…You have been an invaluable service to me and my blog. You have allowed me read an abundance of books before their release date. You are extremely easy to use, and have asked for little in return – a review.

However, if you ‘archive’ one more book BEFORE the publication date so I can no longer download it, and therefore can not read and review it, we are going to have words. This has been the second time in as many months that a book when originally requested, had no archive date set. And then, at least one week BEFORE the publication date you have suddenly archived it, making it redundant.

It’s not just the missing out on reading the book itself, it’s more what it is doing to my NetGalley profile. I now only have a 60% feedback to approval ratio. That can’t be good can it? Can I dispute it?

Answer me, Netgalley Gods!

Sincerely Annoyed,

Lipsy

Friday Feature – Let’s Fangirl for a Second

I had a a proper post all planned out for today’s feature – with notes and everything – but then I saw that the cover reveal for Throne of Glass #3 came and went yesterday and it got me excited/distracted!

The ToG books, not to be confused with GoT which I kept calling it at first, is becoming one of my favourite series. I haven’t found them perfect reads by any means, but the protagonist Celaena Sardothien is so awesome I’d probably read about her painting her nails and still enjoy it! Not to mention how pretty they are…and you should all know by now that pretty book covers will eventually be my downfall.

So here are the two covers revealed on the Throne of Glass Fb page yesterday. They may be pretty similar but I still think we Brits get the better one! In your face America. Ahem.

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And while I’m in fangirl mode, guess what’s coming out in LESS THAN TWO WEEKS….

….THE ONE (The Selection #3), OBVS!

FINALLY!!!

Blog Tour: Cutlass by Ashley Nixon (Review & Giveaway)

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I’m delighted to host a tour stop today for Ashley Nixon’s pirate adventure, Cutlass. It made me want to be a pirate, you guys! Keep reading for my review and to enter the awesome giveway.

cutTitle: Cutlass
Author: Ashley Nixon
Series:(Cutlass Series #1)
Publication date: April 23rd 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Purchase from Amazon: Paperback / Kindle

Synopsis
Notorious pirate Barren Reed has one thing on his mind: Revenge against the man who killed his father. So kidnapping his enemy’s fiancé seems a perfect plan…until he actually does it.

Larkin Lee is more than a pretty face and fiancé to a powerful man. Her fierce personality is enough to make any pirate want to push her overboard.

But when the King of the Orient comes to Barren with a task—to find the Bloodstone, a powerful gem thought only to exist in legend, Barren sees another opportunity to destroy his enemy. Together, Barren, Larkin and a crew of pirates set off to find the stone, only to discover it caused the death of Barren’s own mother and Larkin’s, too. As his strongest allies turn into his greatest enemies, and the life of the girl he kidnapped becomes more important than he ever dreamed, Barren’s quest for revenge becomes a fight to save the Orient.

Review

I don’t think I’ve really read many good pirate books, certainly not since I started blogging, so all I really had to compare Cutlass to before I started reading was classics like Treasure Island and Peter Pan, and it turns out Cutlass, is completely different to both of those, but just as fun!

As all good pirate stories should, Cutlass starts with the kidnapping of a beautiful young woman. The infamous-beyond-his-years pirate Barren Reed and his crew gatecrash his brother William’s engagement party to kidnap Larkin (the fiancé) in an attempt to exact revenge for their father’s death. The only problem is that Larkin doesn’t seem too keen to marry William anyway, and is not quite the damsel in distress that Barren expected her to be.

I was hooked from the start of this book, despite it taking me a while to warm to Barren himself. I felt like he really came into his own as he got to know Larkin better. Larkin was such a strong, feisty character I really felt like she carried a lot of the book, which is no bad thing.

The relationship between Barren and Leaf was adorable too. Other than Larkin, Leaf seemed to be the only person who could put Barren in his place, without fearing for his life. He’s mischievous and funny, and it was easy to believe that they’d been friends forever.

Ashley Nixon did such a great job at world-building. I felt like the history of The Orient was rich and interesting and I just wanted to jump on board and sail along with them.

I did think it took a bit too long to get to the main body of the story – the hunt for the mysterious bloodstone – but even though the pacing was a bit slow at times, it reminded me of a good old-fashioned yarn so I was OK with that! I mean, everything about it screams epic adventure, from a chapter entitled Old Salt, to Barren yelling “If the sea had wanted you, I wouldn’t have been able to save you.”

I also devoured it in two sittings (OK, so I kind of had to because -DEADLINE- and I left it to the last minute but that’s besides the point!), they were two very enjoyable sittings!

I thought the use of elves, magic in a story centered around a pirates was unique and clever, and the myth of the bloodstone was intriguing. And yes I admit it, I was totally in love with Barren by the end of the book. I look forward to reading more of his and Larkin’s adventures.

“I am a pirate, I always follow my heart. It is the only thing I am loyal to.”

unicorn rating 4

Meet the Author

Ashley Ashley was born and raised in Oklahoma, where the wind really does sweep down the plains, and horses and carriages aren’t used as much as she’d like.

When she’s not writing, she’s hard at work on her Master’s degree in Library Science and Information Technology, working out, or pretending she’s Sherlock Holmes.

Her obsession with writing began after reading the Lord of the Rings in the eighth grade. Since then, she’s loved everything Fantasy–resulting in an unhealthy obsession with the ‘geek’ tab on Pinterest, where all things awesome go.

 

Links:
Twitter
Goodreads
Facebook
Website

Giveaway

Tour wide giveaway (INTL)

• Prize 1) A signed Paperback Copy of Cutlass, a cute octopus mug (it’s purple and ADORABLE), Bookmark, and maybe a poster.
• Prize 2) A signed Paperback of Cutlass + a bookmark
• Prize 3) E-book of Cutlass

Enter Rafflecopter giveaway

WWW Wednesday 23.04.14

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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 almost done with Insurgent and I’m also reading Cutlass to review for the blog tour tomorrow. It’s piratey good!

Recently Finished: Dark Eden by Chris Beckett which I reviewed here.

Up Next: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer… I know I keep saying it but I WILL get to it in the next few days! I’ve been busy with ARCs!

Bookish (and not to bookish) Thoughts #3

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.

1. Easter Funtimes: Did everyone have a good Easter? I did! I drank too much, ate too much, watched a lot films and generally just lazed about. I really enjoy not being at work.

2. Locke: On Friday I went to the cinema to see Locke. It is basically Tom Hardy driving a car, talking on the phone and being angry and sad for about 90 minutes. Hot! It’s not the kind of film you’d watch more than once, but I enjoyed it. Obviously! Also, I NEED this in my life:
hardy

3. Books Bound in Human Skin: How creepy/cool is this guardian article? The macabre art of anthropodermic bibliopegy is a bit of a mouthful, also, a good pretentious band name.

4. Search Terms Advice Column: I found some really awesome new blogs last week and this one had me stitches. I’ve posted about hilarious search terms before but Captain Awkward takes it one step further.

5. Fancy Dress: So I went to a friend’s baby shower last weekend, which was Disney themed. It was a lot of fun, but the idea of having to get a costume together was a bit of an annoyance. I used to love fancy dress, and would go all out. For an 80s birthday party one year I dressed as a giant rubix cube. I couldn’t pee all night, and people kept leaving drinks on me (winning!). So I don’t really know where my new-found hatred of fancy dress has come from. Has it happened? Am I old and grumpy now?

6. OMG GoT! I try not to give away any spoilers about anything so all I can say is episode 2 of Game of Thrones…SRSLY O.M.G!

When Darkness Falls…

Dark Eden by Chris Beckett

arc2On the alien, sunless planet they call Eden, the 532 members of the Family shelter beneath the light and warmth of the Forest’s lantern trees. Beyond the Forest lie the mountains of the Snowy Dark and a cold so bitter and a night so profound that no man has ever crossed it.

The Oldest among the Family recount legends of a world where light came from the sky, where men and women made boats that could cross the stars. These ships brought us here, the Oldest say—and the Family must only wait for the travelers to return.

But young John Redlantern will break the laws of Eden, shatter the Family and change history. He will abandon the old ways, venture into the Dark…and discover the truth about their world.

Woah, was my initial reaction to this book! Not because it completely blew me away, but because it’s such an epic journey to go on. I’m just not sure how much I enjoyed that journey.

Dark Eden is a book full of questions and very little answers. It is set on what we assume is an alien planet (although it’s pretty similar to earth) where almost two hundred years ago, humans crash landed. Some attempted to get back to earth, while one man and one woman thought it was too dangerous and stayed behind, deciding to make a go of living in the blackness of Eden until they were rescued.

Fast forward a hundred years or so and Eden is inhabited only by Family, who live a simple, deprived life, in a monotonous cycle of hunting, building fires and increasing the population by ‘slipping’ with anyone who offers, and a few species of animals similar to ours but with a few extra legs and lights on their heads. Sort of.

I found everything about Dark Eden intriguing. Beckett keeps us in the dark as much as the setting itself. We’re never quite sure where or what Eden is, nor can we trust what any of the characters say or think, because they don’t actually know anything. The world-building was good, and I liked that we were left to our own devices to imagine what certain things looked like but sometimes the lack of any specific details was irritating.

History and ideas about earth have been passed from generation to generation of Family, and many things have gotten lost, which is sometimes how I felt reading the book. Family cling onto a few surviving relics such as a toy car and keyboard but they know nothing of these things. Words have also been passed down like the biggest game of Chinese Whispers, so these too have altered in time making Dark Eden a challenging read to begin with.

Family are also taught that they must stay in one patch of Eden in case Earth returns for them, because that’s what the first settlers did. No one questions it, and no one tries to make their lives better by learning new things or exploring, that is until John Redlantern does.

At the start of the book, John is respected and sought after (for his juice – eww), but his new found inquisitiveness and out-spoken nature turns people against him, and eventually he is banished, sent away from their settlement to explore Dark Eden alone.

One of the main things that prevented me from loving this book was that I found it hard to like any of the characters. John was brave and clever but came across as a bit too aloof and I never felt like I knew him. All of the women in the book were betrayed pretty badly too, and the older members of the family were all completely unlikable – probably because of their tendencies to sleep with teenagers.

But what it lacked in character, Dark Eden made up for in themes and ideas. Each chapter gave me a new outlook on life, and how we live it; how we have evolved, and how society is only as good as the people in it. Family had no forward-thinkers, no one to teach the children and no one who could use their surroundings to invent new things and evolve as race. So they were stuck but didn’t know it.

There is also the obvious ties to the Garden of Eden story. Having to rebuild humanity afresh from just two people, inevitably means incest. The original father Tommy, had sex with his children and their children, and they had sex with their brothers and sisters, which is obviously the reason why some babies are born Batfaces or Clawfeet – although that is never stated, because they are ignorant to it. There’s a lot of talk of ‘baby juice’ which is pretty gross, but it does make you think about relationships and sex in a different way.

I feel like this book could have been shorter, but it was compelling and thought provoking. I wish I liked the characters more, and at times it was infuriating but it is a science fiction story that is scarily believable.

It reminded me of a cross between The Lord of the Flies, The Knife of Never Letting Go, and even Robinson Crusoe at times. It’s quite a feat. Read it.

unicorn rating 4

Disclosure?: Yep, I recieved a copy from the publisher/author in exchange for an HONEST review!
Title: Dark Eden
Author: Chris Beckett
Details: Paperback, 448 pages
Published: April 1st 2014 by Broadway Books (first published January 1st 2012)
My Rating: 4/5

Friday Feature: 5 Rabbit Books I Haven’t Read!

Happy Easter Everyone!

I’ve been pondering what to do for today’s Friday Feature all week. I wanted to do an Easter special, because y’know, four glorious days off work deserves at least that but I kept coming up blank where Easter-ish books are concerned.

It turns out, I’m not really big on rabbits – something you have to associate with Easter, right? So I thought I’d educate myself and post a top 5 of books featuring rabbits.

If you’ve read any of them, let me know if they’re worth a read.

5. When God Was A Rabbit by Sarah Winman

ff1 This is a book about a brother and a sister. It’s a book about secrets and starting over, friendship and family, triumph and tragedy, and everything in between. More than anything, it’s a book about love in all its forms.

In a remarkably honest and confident voice, Sarah Winman has written the story of a memorable young heroine, Elly, and her loss of innocence- a magical portrait of growing up and the pull and power of family ties. From Essex and Cornwall to the streets of New York, from 1968 to the events of 9/11, When God Was a Rabbit follows the evolving bond of love and secrets between Elly and her brother Joe, and her increasing concern for an unusual best friend, Jenny Penny, who has secrets of her own. With its wit and humor, engaging characters whose eccentricities are adroitly and sometimes darkly drawn, and its themes of memory and identity, When God Was a Rabbit is a love letter to true friendship and fraternal love.

Funny, utterly compelling, fully of sparkle, and poignant, too, When God Was a Rabbit heralds the start of a remarkable new literary career.

4. Masquerade by Kit Williams

ff2 Somewhere in Britain Jack Hare lost the Moon’s gift to the sun. Solve the riddles, unravel the puzzles, and see if you can figure out where.

3. Who Censored Roger Rabbit by Gary Wolf

ff3Gary K. Wolf creates a wonderfully skewed and totally believable world made up of equal parts Raymond Chandler, Lewis Carroll, and Walt Disney. A riotously surreal spoof of the hard-boiled detective novel. Packed with action and laughs. Wolf s cult classic, highly praised novel is the basis for the blockbuster Walt Disney/Steven Spielberg film Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

2. Redwall by Brian Jacques

ff4Redwall Abbey, tranquil home to a community of peace-loving mice is threatened by Cluny the Scourge – the evil-one-eyed rat warlord – and his battle-hardened horde of predators. Cluny is certain that Redwall will fall easily to his fearsome army but he hasn’t bargained for the courage and strength of the combined forces of the Redwall mice and their loyal woodland friends. . . . .

1. Bunnicula by Deborah & James Howe

ff5BEWARE THE HARE!
Is he or isn’t he a vampire?

Before it’s too late, Harold the dog and Chester the cat must find out the truth about the newest pet in the Monroe household — a suspicious-looking bunny with unusual habits…and fangs!

 

And here is one that I have read, and recommend:

The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits by Emma Donoghue

ff6Emma Donoghue vividly brings to life stories inspired by her discoveries of fascinating, hidden scraps of the past. Here an engraving of a woman giving birth to rabbits, a plague ballad, surgical case notes, theological pamphlets, and an articulated skeleton are ingeniously fleshed out into rollicking, full-bodied fictions.
Whether she’s spinning the tale of an English soldier tricked into marrying a dowdy spinster, a Victorian surgeon’s attempts to “improve” women, a seventeenth-century Irish countess who ran away to Italy disguised as a man, or an “undead” murderess returning for the maid she left behind to be executed in her place, Emma Donoghue brings to her tales a colorful, elegant prose filled with the sights and smells and sounds of the period. She summons the ghosts of those men and women who counted for nothing in their own day and brings them to unforgettable life in fiction.