January 2015 on Lipsyy Lost & Found // February Releases

Better late than never, right?

Well, what to say about January…it came and went in the blink of an eye as always. It was a slow start for me as I took the first two weeks off from blogging, for a much needed rest, but I’ve thrown myself back into it with gusto. I also posted less in order to build up some content for the future in an attempt to BE.MORE.ORGANISED. Seems to be working so far…ahem.

January 2015 Stats

Total Posts: 12
Books Read: 5

Reviews (3)

  • Mr Miracle by Debbie Macomber, 2/5 (View)
  • The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black, 4/5 (View)
  • Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell, 4/5 (View)

Read But Not Yet Reviewed: 2

  • Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse by Chris Riddell
  • Sixteen, Sixty-One by Natalie Lucas

The Breakdown

Most Surprising: Frozen Charlotte
Most Disappointing: Mr. Miracle
Most Exciting: The Darkest Part of the Forest
Most Swoon-worthy: The Darkest Part of the Forest
Most Beautifully Written: The Darkest Part of the Forest

Genres: YA (3/5); Fantasy (2/5); Romance (1/5); Horror (1/5); Non-Fiction (1/5)

Formats/Sources: Advance Copy (3/5); Digital (4/5); Hardback (1/5); Owned (2/5)

Friday Features:

  • It’s all about the bass Thrones & Thorns (View Post)
  • Moustache Questions: About Me! (View Post)

Guest Posts, Promos and Other Highlights:

    • This Week in Books (RIP WWW Wednesdays) (View Post)
    • Lipsy Lost & Found Vintage Bookshop Now Open! (View Post)

Most Viewed Posts:

Top Ten Tuesday: Valentines Schmalentines

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

The topic for this week is: Top Ten Things I Like/Dislike When It Comes To Romances In Books, but I couldn’t really think of much considering I don’t read a whole lot of Romance. So I decided to do a list of Romance books that I actually do want to read.

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Which of these need to be at the top of my wishlist???

 

Anyone Can Betray Anyone: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

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Title: Red Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen Trilogy #1
Edition: Digital ARC, 320 pages
Publication Details: February 10th 2015 by Orion / Feb 12th 2015 (paperback)
Genre(s): YA, Dystopia; Fantasy
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads // Purchase


The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change. Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?

Review

OMG THIS BOOK!

I’d gone through a whole array of feelings about this book before I even picked it up. Firstly, from the cover alone I was so taken with it I couldn’t wait to read it. Then I started seeing it described as The Hunger Games meets The Selection via X-men, and my mind was blown. BLOWN.

But then, the hype just went a bit mad. It was all over the blogosphere and while I tired to avoid most of the reviews, I started to doubt my first thoughts and wondered if this was just another Hunger Games wannabe; all hype and no substance….

Thankfully, I was wrong. Red Queen, whilst having some flaws, ended up completely surpassing my expectations. And it made me want to throw it across the room (yet another downside to the e-book!), in the best possible way.

In Victoria Aveyard’s take on a dystopian future, there are two classes. The Redbloods, the lowly commoners who do all the physical and menial jobs, and are conscripted to fight in the war, and the Silverbloods, the ruling class, who all have different powers such as the ability to manipulate fire, water or metal – much like the X-MEN (which I LOVE).

I really loved this world. When you break it down it isn’t anything new, but the combination of ideas from other worlds made it original in its own way. It was a little bit Noughts & Crosses (Malorie Blackman) as well as being understandably likened to The Selection and THG.

Mare isn’t talented, unless you count stealing. She doesn’t have a skill like her sister does so she’s destined for a future in the army, just like her brothers and her best friend Kilorn. She hates the Silverbloods as much as anyone for taking them away. But one night she tries to steal from the wrong person – a handsome cloaked stranger – who listens to her story and can offer her a better life.

The stranger… is Cal, the prince and heir to the throne, and Mare finds herself with a job at the palace. But this isn’t any ordinary palace. It just so happens that Mare has arrived in time for the Queenstrial, where silver nobles will fight it out (with their powers) in the arena, for the princes hands in marriage (oh yes, there’s two of them to swoon over!).

Without giving away any massive spoilers all I’ll say is that somehow, Mare finds herself engaged to a prince, disguised with silver dust and the constant threat of execution hanging over her head.

INTENSE!

I seriously couldn’t put this down. The action was good, the whole on-off love/hate romance thing was pretty hot and man, it was just so good. HOWEVER, there were so many things that didn’t make sense. A few of them did by the end, but there were some definite annoying plot holes.

For example, there wasn’t really any need for the noble Silverbloods to train in the arena every day. They use the Reds to fight on the front line, so why do they need to train, and compete against each other so much? I felt like this was just an easy way to get more action into the plot and be a bit more Hunger Games-esque. It was a bit gratuitous.

Also, they change Mare’s identity (making her a Silver Noble) and swear her to a life of secrecy, but it’s not like no one will notice her – she is filmed on a few occasions – which is shown in the Red villages… and they make her fight in the arena, where blood is often spilled, so how do they expect her to not be exposed? ARGH!

Another huge thing which got my goat is that the Queen(the big baddy)’s power is mind manipulation. She can get into your mind and see all of your memories and thoughts, not to mention make you do anything she wants, and yet Mare and others are planning a rebellion under her very nose – errrr how!!!?

And while we’re talking about war and rebellion, I don’t think we’re ever even told why the war began. Something was mentioned about the Lowlanders being the ones they’re fighting against but that’s about it. Maybe this will be explored more in the next book, who knows.

But anyway, I need to breathe.

All of these things added to my enjoyment of the book, because y’know PURE GOLD in ranting material. I was really tempted to give this ALL THE UNICORNS, but the only reason I didn’t is because I predicted a major twist from quite early on. I need to stop thinking so much!

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Red Queen is available to preorder from Waterstones now, and the paperback is due to be released Feb 12th.

Friday Feature: Alice, Alice, Who the **** is Alice?

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland I thought I’d take a look at some Wonderland-inspired reads.

The Looking Glass Wars ~ Frank Beddor

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Alyss of Wonderland?
When Alyss Heart, heir to the Wonderland throne, must flee through the Pool of Tears to escape the murderous aunt Redd, she finds herself lost and alone in Victorian London. Befriended by an aspiring author named Lewis Carrol, Alyss tells the violent, heartbreaking story of her young life. Alyss trusts this author to tell the truth so that someone, somewhere will find her and bring her home. But he gets the story all wrong. He even spells her name incorrectly!

Fortunately, Royal Bodyguard Hatter Madigan knows all too well the awful truth of Alyss’ story and he is searching every corner of our world to find the lost princess and return her to Wonderland so she may eventually battle Redd for her rightful place as the Queen of Hearts.

The Looking Glass Wars unabashedly challenges our Wonderland assumptions surrounding mad tea parties, grinning Cheshire cats, and a curious little blond girl to reveal an epic battle in the endless war for Imagination.Published September 26th 2006 by Dial Books

Splintered ~ A.G Howard

splinteredThis stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence.

Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.

When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own. Published January 1st 2013 by Amulet Books

Alice in Zombieland ~ Gena Showalter

alice2She won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.

Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real….

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies…. Published September 25th 2012 by Harlequin Teen

Hatter ~ Daniel Coleman

alice3“There’s nothing wrong with a touch of madness” – Cheshire Cat

Someday Hatta will save the kingdom. In his mind, at least. But his talents of uncharacteristic kindness and a passion for colors hardly qualify him for such a destiny. In a kingdom that doesn’t need saving, a young man ignorant of social norms is the unlikeliest of heroes.

Along the way, the Cheshire Cat, Queen of Hearts, White Queen, and other familiar characters emerge to fill their eminent roles as well.

Witness literature’s most lovable lunatic’s tangled ascent into madness. Published June 10th 2011 by CreateSpace

Gears of Wonderland ~ Jason G. Anderson

alice4James Riggs lives a normal life with a mind-numbing job, an overbearing boss, and a demanding fiancee. Then he witnesses the murder of his best friend. Saved from the murderer by a strange man in a white suit, James is cast down a hole and into a world he always believed was a kid’s story. Wonderland. But things have changed since Alice’s visit. The Knave of Hearts has seized the Heart throne, conquered all of Wonderland with his steam-powered technological marvels, and rules the land with an iron fist. Aided by the Mad Hatter’s daughter, James journeys to discover why he has been brought to Wonderland and how the tattoo on his arm could be the key to Wonderland’s salvation-or its destruction.
Published October 27th 2011 by CreateSpace

Queen of Hearts ~ Colleen Oakes

alice5As Princess of Wonderland Palace and the future Queen of Hearts, Dinah’s days are an endless monotony of tea, tarts, and a stream of vicious humiliations at the hands of her father, the King of Hearts. The only highlight of her days is visiting Wardley, her childhood best friend, the future Knave of Hearts — and the love of her life.

When an enchanting stranger arrives at the Palace, Dinah watches as everything she’s ever wanted threatens to crumble. As her coronation date approaches, a series of suspicious and bloody events suggests that something sinister stirs in the whimsical halls of Wonderland. It’s up to Dinah to unravel the mysteries that lurk both inside and under the Palace before she loses her own head to a clever and faceless foe.

Part epic fantasy, part twisted fairy tale, this dazzling saga will have readers shivering as Dinahs furious nature sweeps Wonderland up in the maelstrom of her wrath.

Familiar characters such as Cheshire, the White Rabbit, and the Mad Hatter make their appearance, enchanting readers with this new, dark take on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Published February 14th 2014 by SparkPress

One Pill Makes you Smaller ~ Lisa Dierbeck

alice6Eleven-year-old Alice Duncan has a problem her body is, literally, growing up too fast. Gawky, innocent, and tongue-tied, Alice is taller than her teachers, with long, long legs and a voluptuous chest she refers to it as “The Breasts.”

One Pill Makes You Smaller brings to life the surreal experience of being a girl–stuck in a woman’s body. Dierbeck shoots down the rabbit hole of 1970s misbehavior, combining her modern tale with the fantastic universe of Alice in Wonderland, set in the black-lit, drug-infested art world of Andy Warhol’s Manhattan. When Alice is shipped off to a freethinking art camp in North Carolina, she encounters J.D., a sweet-talking adult man who engages her in a dangerous flirtation. This deliciously pop, self-assured debut is an inspired paean to lost innocence. Published September 1st 2004 by Picador

Have you read any of these? Leave a comment and let me know!

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Upcoming Event: Children’s Book Launch in association with Born Free

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Independent children’s picture book publishing duo, PatrickGeorge, are teaming up with international wildlife charity the Born Free Foundation to promote their latest book ‘Animal Rescue’, with 50p from the sale of each book going to support Born Free’s wildlife rescue and conservation work around the world.

The Launch

Date: 18th February 2015 from 11am
Location: The Powell-Cotton Museum, Kent, UK.
Info: For further information and to attend this event, which is open to the general public, especially children and their parents see www.quexmuseum.org.

Born Free Foundation President, Will Travers OBE, will attend the book launch taking place at the award-winning Powell-Cotton Museum in Birchington, Kent on February 18th. The launch will include a book reading and signing, an opportunity to hear from Will Travers about Born Free’s animal rescue work, and a fun interactive animal rescue activity for children.

The Book

Animal Rescue is a book in which you become a rescue hero. Simply turn the transparent page and rescue the animals! It’s fun, it’s simple and it’s a gentle introduction to the importance of animal welfare. There are no words in this book so you can choose the words which are right for you.

There are eleven spreads portraying animals in need and an acetate sheet between each double page spread which, when flipped from right to left, serves to rescue the animal in need off the page and place it back into its natural environment.

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Image and synopsis taken from PatrickGeorge.com

Born Free

Born Free Foundation is a dynamic international wildlife charity, founded by Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers following their starring roles in the classic film Born Free. Today, led by their son Will Travers, Born Free is working worldwide for wild animal welfare and compassionate conservation.

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Born Free supports and manages a diverse range of projects and campaigns. The charity embraces both compassion and science in setting an agenda that seeks to influence, inspire and encourage a change in public opinion away from keeping wild animals in captivity, while in the short-term working with governments, the travel industry and like-minded organisations to seek compliance with existing legislation and improving the welfare conditions. This has included the development of ABTA’s Global Welfare Guidance for Animals in Tourism.

Through its Compassionate Conservation agenda, Born Free provides protection for threatened species and their habitats across the globe. Working with local communities, Born Free develops humane solutions to ensure that people and wildlife can live together without conflict. In 2013, the Born Free Foundation received the World Tourism Award, for its commitment to conservation.

For more information please visit: www.bornfree.org.uk

New (ish) Year, New (ish) Schedule!

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One of my blogging goals for this year is to be more organised (I can only hope). So I’ve laid out a rough weekly schedule which I’m going to try and stick to.

Review days won’t necessarily always have a review – depending on how much reading I’ve got through – but when I do have a review to post it’ll be on one of those days.

Monday: Review Day

Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday

The hugely popular meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish in which they pick a different topic each week.

Wednesday: Review Day; This Week in Books

This Week in Books is my weekly round-up which started out as the WWW Wednesdays meme but which I have now tweaked to my own format since the host cancelled it (it has since returned but I like my post). This post includes what I’ve been reading Now, Then & Next; What I’ve added to my shelves and wishlist (linking up with Stacking the Shelves), and the book I particularly can’t wait for (linking up with Waiting on Wednesday).

Thursday: Guest Post/Promo Post/Blog Tour or Bookish & Not so Bookish Thoughts

I will try to post any guest posts including author interviews, book promo posts or blog tour posts on Thursdays. If I don’t have any lined up I’ll take part in the Bookish or Not so Bookish meme, which is a really fun way of having a weekly rant about books and life. I really love that meme but my life isn’t interesting enough to find enough things to talk about every single week.

Friday: Friday Feature

Features can include spotlights of my favourite books & authors, book trends such as this one, cover love… anything goes really. I’m going to try my best to get at least 3 of these out a month.

Saturday: Lazy Saturday Review or Shop Post

I started doing ‘lazy Saturday reviews’ as a way of getting reviews done in just 30 mins, and they proved to be quite popular. They are quick and snappy and concentrate less on the plot and writing and more on my general feelings about said book. They generally end up being a bit of a rant. My fave!

Shop posts will look at any new activity going on in my Etsy Vintage Book Shop; new books I’ve found, any I’ve sold and my favourites on the shelf.

Sunday: Off/Free

Other Regular Posts:

Monthly Round-up – Hopefully posted at the end/beginning of the month. This post also includes the following month’s hot releases.

Coming Up – Where I simply discuss the books I have lined up to read and review.

Discussion Posts/Polls – Getting the blogosphere engaged in a bookish discussion needs to happen now and again.

Di & Lipsy Do…– A collaboration with my YA BFF Di in which we have a rant about a book we’ve both read. You can call them reviews if you want…but most people wouldn’t. 😉

This Week in Books 04.02.15

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Welcome to my new Wednesday post, where I sum-up what I’ve been up to in bookland the past week.

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Now: Goth Girl and the Fete Worse Than Death ~ Chris Riddell //Me & Mr J ~ Rachel McIntyre

Early days with both of these but enjoying them so far.

Then: Red Queen ~ Victoria Aveyard

I am so glad the hype didn’t ruin this book. I loved it! But I also have a LOT to say in the review. It will be up on Monday, closer to the release date (Feb 12th).

I also finished the first Goth Girl book and I’ll be reviewing book 1 & 2 together next week.

Next: ???

Once again, I’m not sure. There are lots of options. I really want to start The Ghosts of Heaven soon, and all the other books I got for my birthday. Plus I caved in and bought some new books too…

New on the Shelf

(Linking up with Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga’s Reviews)

My book buying ban is on hiatus because, well, the release of Fairest crept up on me. And it’s not like you can just order one book from Amazon. I’m sad that Fairest hasn’t turned up yet, but these two arrived yesterday:

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However, I didn’t make any Netgalley requests or borrow any from friends, so that’s something, right?

New on the Wishlist

Golden Boy ~ Abigail Tarttelin
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This book appeared on quite a few Top Ten Tuesday lists last week as a good book club read. I need it. Right now.

Max Walker: blue-eyed boy or girl next door?

To the outside world, Max Walker is a golden boy: a loving son and brother, the perfect student, captain of the football team and every girl’s dream boyfriend.

But Max was born intersex – neither fully boy nor fully girl. Now something terrible has happened to him, the consequences of which have left him questioning his true identity.

Can the people around him – his girlfriend, his classmates, his ambitious parents – accept him for who he is? Or will Max’s secret life tear his world apart?

I’m Waiting on…

(Linking up with Breaking the Spine)

The Selection Stories #2 ~ Kiera Cass

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Obviously I’m ultimately waiting on The Heir which is due to be released in the summer, but that’s way too far away for my liking. So I’m pining over this novella collection in the mean time with a much kinder release date of March 3rd.

Two novellas set in the captivating world of Kiera Cass’s #1 New York Times bestselling Selection series, now available in print for the first time! In The Queen and The Favorite, discover untold stories from the lives of two of the Selection series’ most beloved characters.

Before America Singer’s story began, another girl came to the palace to compete for the hand of a different prince. In The Queen, follow Prince Maxon’s mother, Amberly, through the Selection that made her a beloved queen.

Marlee Tames came to the palace to win Prince Maxon’s heart—but her own heart had other ideas. The Favorite goes behind the scenes of Marlee and Carter’s life together, from the fateful night their secret was discovered to the events at the end of The One.

So, that’s my week in books, now how about yours?

If you still do a similar WWW post (or just want to join in, leave your link/answers in the comments, OR why not tweet using #ThisWeekInBooks, and I’ll come and visit!