Top Ten Tuesday: Recommended books (that I still haven’t 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: Top Ten Books People Have Been Telling You That You MUST Read!

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Harry Potter: Everyone assumes I’m a Harry Potter fan because I love YA and most things fantasy/magical. When I tell them I’ve never read them or even got into the films they don’t hesitate to tell me that I should, once they’ve picked their jaws up off the floor that is.

Rainbow Rowell: I’ve been recommended all of Rainbow Rowell’s books at one time or another. I know I really should pick them up, and I will at some point. I really hate some of the covers though.

The Fault in Our Stars: I have this book and will read it, I just haven’t got round to it yet so you can all stop nagging me! 😉

Middlesex: This was recommended to me by a friend many years ago and I still haven’t read it despite having owned it for over five years. It’s at the top of my TBR pile…well, almost at the top.

Tiger Lily: I love anything Peter Pan and have heard great things about this book. I just need to buy a copy.

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The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland…: I haven’t personally been recommended this book but I’ve seen it on so many blogs which have nothing but good things to say about it. It looks right up my alley.

Magician: A good friend of mine lent me this book so long ago, and like a bad friend I still haven’t read it.

Shadow and Bone: This one has been on my radar for some time, and the lovely ChrissiReads thinks I’ll like it. It’s at the top of my wishlist!

The Rosie Project & Finnikin of the Rock: Both of these are books that have been highly recommended by blogs that I follow and trust. I’d give you a shout out, but it’s probably most of you tbh! I’ll definitely get hold of them at some point.

Ever Near by Melissa MacVicar

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Title: Ever Near
Author: Melissa MacVicar
Series: Secret Affinity #1
Edition: Paperback, 200 pages
Published: September 2013 by Red Adept Publishing, LLC
Genre(s): YA; Supernatural; Romance
Disclosure? Yep! I received a copy from the publisher/author in exchange for an HONEST review.

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Purchase

Love is ever near. But trouble is never far.

Nantucket Island is haunted, but only sixteen-year-old Jade Irving knows it. Ignoring the disturbing spirits isn’t an option, because one dwells in the enormous historic home she shares with her newly blended family. Jade is finding it more and more difficult to explain away Lacey’s ghostly, anguished tantrums, especially with Charlie, her gorgeous, almost step-brother, living right across the hall.

When a power-hungry ghost hunter tracks down Jade and blackmails her, Jade’s secret teeters on the edge of exposure, and her entire future hangs in the balance. If anyone finds out Jade can talk to ghosts, her life will be forever changed.

Can she save herself, free Lacey, and hang on to her tenuous connection with Charlie? Or will everything she ever wanted slip through her fingers?

I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy this book as I’ve always found ghost stories a bit hit or miss. Done well and they can be chilling, creepy and utterly compelling, but done badly and they can be completely clichéd and cheesy.

Thankfully, Ever Near fell into the former category, and hit the mark for me.

Protagonist Jade is your regular 16 year-old girl who is having to adjust to separation from her father and her mum’s forthcoming second marriage, resulting in Jade and her mum moving into old mansion Fair Ever, with her soon-to-be step-father and brother.

Considering everything she’s had to adjust to, Jade gets on with her new family just fine – a little too well where her hot step-brother is concerned – but it’s the house that’s the problem. For years, Jade has tried to hide the fact that she sees ghosts, but at Fair Ever there is one very pissed off ghost that’s making it impossible for Jade to keep her secret.

There were a lot of things I liked about Ever Near. I thought MacVicar really nailed the tone throughout the book and Jade felt like a very ‘real’ character making her instantly likeable. I also thought it was written well and the short, sharp chapters really pulled me in and hooked me into the story.

Step-brother Charlie was just the right amount of swoon and I liked the dynamic between the two characters, but I wished they didn’t get together so quickly. One minute Jade was dead against the idea, because ‘it’s wrong’ and the next they were sucking face, but let’s put it down to teenage hormones, yeah?

Initially, I was a bit dubious of Jade’s paranoia about her secret getting out and wondered why she didn’t at least confide in her best friend, but the more this was explored the more I realised that it summed up adolescence pretty well; that need for self-assurance, acceptance and the fear that people might see you as different.

Overall I really enjoyed Ever Near. It is a super-quick, entertaining read with a nice balance of action from the violent ghosts, romance between Jade and Charlie, and coming-of-age issues that everyone can relate to.

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Ever Near is available now in paperback and e-book, as is book #2, Ever Lost

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts #7

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.

Highlights and notable findings of the last few weeks have included…

1. A Day by the Seaside: I went to Brighton and marched with some mermaids, ate the best fresh mackerel I’ve ever had and found an amazing antique bookshop. Bliss.
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2. Wedding Bells: My friend’s wedding last weekend was amazing, and the reception at Brocket Hall was stunning. Way too much wine was consumed, and definitely too much dancing like an idiot happened, but that’s what it’s all about right? Also, what did people do at weddings before the photobooth craze? So brilliant!
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3. Blogging Perks: When one of your favourite authors emails you…mind blown. I got an email from James Frey after he saw my rant about the Goodreads Trolls slagging off his new book before they’ve even read it. Insert fangirling here. I’m stunned that he saw my blog in the first place never mind caring so much to get in touch with me, and saying nice things, AND sending me the book. 🙂

4. Filmage: I’ve seen two awesome but very different films at the cinema so far this month. The Purge Anarchy was ridiculous and violently epic – just how I like it, and Guardians of the Galaxy was hilarious and unexpectedly my film of the year so far. When did Chris Pratt get ALL THE BITS?
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5. The Cutest Thing Ever: I can't draw at all. But maybe this will help? I need to find the time to sit down and perfect my own unicorn, for if there’s one thing I should be able to draw, it should be a unicorn.

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6. Book Slump: OK so being in a book slump isn’t a highlight but it does mean I’ve been watching more TV than usual. I watched both series of Hannibal in the space of two weekends. Oh man, it’s so good. I’m totally in love with Will Graham, obviously. He’s unhinged and hot – lethal combination.

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7. Twitter Lolz: Inigo Montoya started toying with me on Twitter. Inconceivable!

8. To Prologue or Not to Prologue: I really enjoyed this article on prologues. I’ve always hated prologues and been told that publishers hate them too, but this article explores when it’s OK to use a prologue, as well as when it’s not.

9. Sloth Cam: I’m kind of obsessed with this. Having it open on my computer at work makes me happy. Not productive, but happy.

10. Join In!

It’s a Love or Hate Kinda Thing: Godmother by Carolyn Turgeon

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Title: Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story
Author: Carolyn Turgeon
Series: N/A
Edition: Paperback, 288 pages
Published: March 3rd 2009 by Broadway Books
Genre(s): YA; Fairy Tale Retellings
Disclosure? Nope, it was a gift.

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Turgeon’s shockingly original and magical novel advises you to be careful what you wish for, because fairy tales come true – whether they should or not. The tiny figure making its way to the book shop in Manhattan’s West Village every day looks just like another sweet little old lady. But Lilian has a secret.

Oh, where to start.

I was all set to love this book and was totally in the mood for a dark, gritty retelling of Cinderella but unfortunately that wasn’t what I got in Godmother.

Godmother is centered around Lil, a seemingly normal, lonely old lady with a penchant for cheeseburgers. Lil, lives by herself in Manhattan and works hard in a book shop downtown.

An encounter with a vivacious young girl reminds Lil of her past, bringing the world of fae back into her life and we learn that she was one of Cinderella’s fairy Godmothers.

Sigh. I don’t know whether it was just not what I was expecting, but I couldn’t get on with this book at all. I found it pretty painful to read to be honest. I couldn’t find anything new or exciting about this retelling. Turgeon even managed to make working in a beautiful bookshop sound dull, and that’s like my dream job – if only it paid more.

***Spoilers lie ahead, but they’re quite early on in the book***

I gather that the whole crux of this book was that Lil fell in love with the Prince rather than help Cinderella get to the ball, and then she spends her old age trying to set up her boss with the young girl she meets to make up for it, but honestly I was lost by then. Away with the actual fairies, if you will.

I did like that the protagonist was a pensioner, as that’s hardly ever something you see in YA, and think there was potential here but I was more interested in the betrayal of Cinderella than the present day and I felt like that was just glossed over. I didn’t care about the present day story at all.

Godmother is quite a small book, but I just couldn’t make myself finish it. I had about 50 pages left before I went away for the weekend and when I got back I knew I wouldn’t pick it up again.

From the look of Goodreads, Godmother is the Marmite of the book world so you may well enjoy it if you give it a go, don’t just take my word for it.

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I read this book as part of the TBR Pile Reading Challenge and the Once Upon A Time VIII Challenge.

WWW Wednesday 13.08.14

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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?

Holy Crap! How is it Wednesday again already?

That aside, here are my answers this week.

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Currently Reading:
I’m almost finished with Ever Near by Melissa MacVicar, which is a really easy and enjoyable read about a girl who is being troubled by ghosts.

Recently Finished:
Godmother by Carolyn Turgeon. I didn’t get on with it at all and gave up about 50 pages before the end. My rather grumpy review will be up tomorrow.

Up Next:
I really don’t know what I’m in the mood for, but probably either Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead, She’s Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick or Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence.

Top Ten Tuesday: To Read or Not to 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: Top Ten Books I’m Not Sure I Want To Read (books you may have bought but aren’t sure if you are into it anymore, books you wanted to read but heard mixed things about, hyped books you aren’t sure about — basically any book that has you going, “TO READ OR NOT TO READ?”

All of these books have been sitting on my TBR shelf for a while. The reasons why I haven’t read them yet varies, from reading bad reviews (A Discovery of Witches) and the length (The Historian), to friends not enjoying them so much (The Girl With the Glass Feet/The 5th Wave) and being disappointed by the author’s previous book (Emma Donoghue).

I could only come up with 8, soz.

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1. A Discovery of Witches – Deborah Harkness
2. Jamrach’s Menagerie – Carol Birch
3. The Girl With the Glass Feet – Ali Shaw
4. The Historian – Elizabeth Kostova

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5. The Sealed Letter – Emma Donoghue
6. Extras – Scott Westerfeld
7. Trainspotting – Irvine Welsh
8. The 5th Wave – Rick Yancey

Friday Feature: 2014 Challenges Update

I’ve been putting off doing this post because I am failing SO HARD on all of the challenges I set myself at the beginning of the year. Crappola.

Here is the progress I’ve made so far this year (AUGUST…REALLY?):

The TBR Pile Reading Challenge

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I signed up for this challenge to get through all of the books that have been sitting on my shelves for ages, some for up to 5 years, but at the time I’d just received loads of books for Christmas and my birthday so I decided to make a rule that only the books that had been on my shelf for over 4 months would count towards it. What a mistake that was!

Obviously I read all my shiny new books first, hence my ridiculously bad start! But luckily I only went for the 11-20 level, so I can still make it, right?

TBR Pile Challenge Books Read: 4

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen, 3/5
The Princess Bride by William Goldman, 4/5
The Prisoner of Brenda by Bateman, 3/5
The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Mass, 4/5

Rereads Challenge

REREAD

Since I started blogging, one of main thing I miss doing is rereading my favourite books. I used to reread a lot, but it’s hard to find the time when there are so many new books coming out all the time. Hence, this challenge. I challenged myself to reread 10 books and I did a poll to decide.

I doubt I’m going to complete this challenge by the end of the year, but I’m going to pull my socks up, I promise!

Reread Books Read: 2
Northern Lights by Philip Pullman, 4/5
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, 4/5 – I’ve just realised I STILL haven’t reviewed this.

Once Upon a Time VIII

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I signed up for this very loosely termed ‘challenge’ at some point because it sounded so much fun. Thankfully I went for the minimum participation which was to read one book that falls into the categories of Fairy Tale, Folklore, Fantasy or Mythology, and to read (or watch) A Midsummer Night’s Dream in June. I kind of forgot about that, but I’m hoping if I read it while it’s still summer it won’t be held against me.

I am also currently reading Godmother by Carolyn Turgeon, which will fulfill the Fairy Tale requirement.

Must.Try.Harder

Goodreads Challenge

2014 Reading Challenge

2014 Reading Challenge
Lauren has
read 44 books toward her goal of 70 books.
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In better news I am 3 books ahead on my overall book challenge for the year. Hurrah!