This Week in Books 27.01.16

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JSYK…I’m taking a blogging break this January with the exception of this (simplified) post and scheduled ARC reviews. 

I’ll be back to business as usual next week 🙂

Here’s my week in books…

 

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Now: The Merciless ~ Danielle Vega

I wanted to buy this when it first came out but didn’t manage to. Thanks to Christmas money I finally did. I hope it’s as awesome as it looks! (Update – I’ve actually already finished this, loved it!)

Then: The Poison Artist ~ Jonathan Moore // Angel of Vengeance by Trevor Munson

I wasn’t that fond of The Poison Artist unfortunately. My review went up on Monday. Angel of Vengeance was good, but I wanted more!!! I’ll be reviewing it soon.

Next: ???

Probably Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill.

If you’re joining in leave the link to your answers in the comments so everyone can take a look 🙂

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The Poison Artist by Jonathan Moore [Out this week]

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Title: The Poison Artist
Author: Jonathan Moore
Series: N/A
Format: Digital ARC, 228 pages
Publication Details: January 26th / 2nd Feb (UK) 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Genre(s): Thriller; Mystery
Disclosure? Yep! I received an advance copy in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads // Purchase

Dr. Caleb Maddox is a San Francisco toxicologist studying the chemical effects of pain. After a bruising breakup with his girlfriend, he’s out drinking whiskey when a hauntingly seductive woman appears by his side. Emmeline whispers to Caleb over absinthe, gets his blood on her fingers and then brushes his ear with her lips as she says goodbye. He must find her.

As his search begins, Caleb becomes entangled in a serial-murder investigation. The police have been fishing men from the bay, and the postmortems are inconclusive. One of the victims vanished from the bar the night Caleb met Emmeline. When questioned, Caleb can’t offer any information, nor does he tell them he’s been secretly helping the city’s medical examiner, an old friend, study the chemical evidence on the victims’ remains. The search for the killer soon entwines with Caleb’s hunt for Emmeline, and the closer he gets to each, the more dangerous his world becomes.

From the first pages up to the haunting, unforgettable denouement, The Poison Artist is a gripping thriller about obsession and damage, about a man unmoored by an unspeakable past and an irresistible woman who offers the ultimate escape.

Review

I was in the mood for a gritty crime thriller so I figured The Poison Artist was the perfect ARC for the job. Unfortunately, it ended up being a bit of a let down.

I was really intrigued by the idea of a toxicologist studying and experimenting with the chemical effects of pain, and thought it would make a great thriller, but the majority of this story was about Caleb’s obsession with a mystery woman, and the whole toxicology thing took a back seat.

I think the main reason I wasn’t enamoured with this book was because I didn’t warm to Caleb at all. He’s ruined his marriage and is heading towards alcoholism which is taking its toll on his work. You know, a total downward spiral kind of thing. All he can think about is a brief encounter with a beautiful woman who drinks nothing but absinthe.

The mystery of the bodies turning up in the bay held my attention for a little while, but I just didn’t get hooked into the story and unfortunately I found it a slog to finish (although the ending did improve it)!

Not for me, but I’m sure some people will enjoy this murder mystery/ dark tale of infatuation.

unicorn rating 2

 

This Week in Books 20.01.16 #TWIB

JSYK…I’m taking a blogging break this January with the exception of this (simplified) post and scheduled ARC reviews. 

Here’s my week in books…

 

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Now: The Poison Artist ~ Jonathan Moore

I was really looking forward to this thriller, but it hasn’t hooked me yet, and I don’t like the protagonist at all…I will plod on though…

Then: Bookishly Ever After ~ Isabel Bandeira // Sanctuary Bay ~ Burns & Metz 

From one extreme to the other this week! I LOVED Sanctuary Bay, which I reviewed here, but really didn’t get on with Bookishly Ever After.

Next: ???

Now I’ve got some ARCs out of the way I think it has be Angel of Vengeance by Trevor Munson, which was a birthday present. The TV series Moonlight (swooooooon) was based on this book….eeeeeeeeeee!!!

If you’re joining in leave the link to your answers in the comments so everyone can take a look 🙂

Bizarro High: Sanctuary Bay by Laura J. Burns & Melinda Metz #YAReview

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Title: Sanctuary Bay
Author: Laura J. Burns & Melinda Metz
Series: N/A
Format: Digital ARC, 320 pages
Publication Details: January 19th 2016 by St. Martin’s Griffin (USA) // February 13th (UK)
Genre(s): YA; Thriller; Mystery
Disclosure? Yep! I received an advance copy in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads // Purchase

When Sarah Merson receives the opportunity of a lifetime to attend the most elite prep school in the country-Sanctuary Bay Academy-it seems almost too good to be true. But, after years of bouncing from foster home to foster home, escaping to its tranquil setting, nestled deep in Swans Island, couldn’t sound more appealing.

Swiftly thrown into a world of privilege and secrets, Sarah quickly realizes finding herself noticed by class charmer, Nate, as well as her roommate’s dangerously attentive boyfriend, Ethan, are the least of her worries. When her roommate suddenly goes missing, she finds herself in a race against time, not only to find her, but to save herself and discover the dark truth behind Sanctuary Bay’s glossy reputation.

 

Review

I fell in love with the cover of this book instantly, and when I read that co-author Melinda Metz was one of the writers of Roswell (one of my favourite TV shows of all time – no shame!), I knew I had to read it.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect from the premise though. The elite prep school part appealed to me, and I assumed the story would follow the mystery of the missing room-mate, but Sanctuary Bay was SO much more than that.

Protagonist Sarah is really interesting character. She witnessed her parents getting killed when she was just three, and she remembers it vividly. Everyone tells her that it’s impossible to remember at such an early age, but Sarah knows that her brain works differently to other people’s.

Sarah has grown-up in foster homes, some good, some terrible. She considers herself pretty poor, and she’s determined to make something of herself. When she’s offered a scholarship out of the blue to the most elite prep school in the country, it’s practically a miracle. But Sarah wants to believe her luck has changed, and feels that she deserves this great opportunity, so she’s determined not to mess it up.

But of course, if something’s too good to be true, there’s usually a reason. And Sanctuary Bay is definitely not your average school.

Marketed as a ‘full-immersion’ school, in which pupils can never leave (it’s on an island so they really, really, can’t), or have any contact with the outside world including family, apart from being allowed monthly care packages to arrive through the post.

The students are therefore quick to form bonds. At first Sarah is blindsided by how friendly everyone is, and she soon feels like part a family – something she has longed for her whole life. But it’s not long until things start getting weird. She’s initiated into a secret society whose ‘missions’ get weirder and weirder. And then her room-mate goes missing and Sarah is stuck between loyalty to her brothers and sisters, her own sanity, and the truth.

There is so much more to this story as well. I absolutely loved Sanctuary Bay and couldn’t put it down! I liked the contrast between the futuristic-type technology at the school and that part of it was built on a POW camp, and how all of this is woven into a great mystery.

The setting was awesome, I couldn’t fault the writing, and it was a fast-paced, thrill-ride.

I’m extremely happy and impressed at how the YA genre has evolved over the last ten years, and it’s all down to diverse, unique, and exciting books like this one. Success all round.

If Sanctuary Bay is anything to go by, 2016 is going to be another great year for YA…have ALL the unicorns!

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Lazy Saturday Review: Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira #YAreview

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!

bookishlyTitle: Bookishly Ever After
Author: Isabel Bandeira
Series: Ever After #1
Format: Digital ARC, 416 pages
Publication Details: January 12th 2016 by Spencer Hill Contemporary
Genre(s): YA Contemporary
Disclosure? Yep! I received an advance copy in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads // Purchase

In a perfect world, sixteen-year-old Phoebe Martins’ life would be a book. Preferably a YA novel with magic and a hot paranormal love interest. Unfortunately, her life probably wouldn’t even qualify for a quiet contemporary. But when Phoebe finds out that Dev, the hottest guy in the clarinet section, might actually have a crush on her, she turns to her favorite books for advice. Phoebe overhauls her personality to become as awesome as her favorite heroines and win Dev’s heart. But if her plan fails, can she go back to her happy world of fictional boys after falling for the real thing?

Review

Oh, this book!

I was totally into it at first. I think any book-lover would find it hard to resist the premise of Bookishly Ever After, but unfortunately my initial love for it was short lived.

I liked that Phoebe is flying the flag for ‘kooky’ introverts. I liked that she’s a geek and OK with that. What I didn’t like was the painfully drawn-out he likes me, he likes me not… OMG he text me and so on and so on.

On one hand I had totally lost interest by about half way through, but for some reason I couldn’t stop. I did feel compelled to find out the outcome of all the will-they-won’t-they whiny teen angst, so I guess it was successful in that way, but I’m sorry to say that I didn’t enjoy the journey, or where the journey led. It was very bland for me.

I would like to say however, that I’m not really the target audience and I do have a love/hate relationship with contemporary YA at best. If I’d read this when I was in school, I probably would have empathised with the characters a lot more. It also didn’t help that the advanced readers copy I received was really distracting with missing words, jumbled up sentences and ADVANCE COPY plastered all over it. I really tried not to let that influence my feelings towards the book, but it made what was, for me, a slow-paced book even more tedious.

This won’t put me off reading other books by Bandeira in future; I enjoyed her fluid writing style, but not the story.

unicorn rating 2

 

 

This Week in Books 13.01.16 #TWIB

JSYK…I’m taking a blogging break this January with the exception of this (simplified) post and scheduled ARC reviews. 

Here’s my week in books…

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Now: Bookishly Ever After ~ Isabel Bandeira 

I can’t decide if I love this or hate it so I’ll reserve judgement until I’m done.

Then: Sanctuary Bay ~ Burns & Metz // The Snow Queen ~ Hans Christian Andersen

I liked both of these, especially Sanctuary Bay which I gave 5/5! Review will be up next week.

Next: ???

Either The Poison Artist by Jonathan Moore, or Corrupted by Lisa Scottoline.

If you’re joining in leave the link to your answers in the comments so everyone can take a look 🙂

This Week in Books 06.01.2016 #TWIB

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

 

JSYK…I’m taking a blogging break this January with the exception of this (simplified) post!

Here’s my week in books…

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Now: Sanctuary Bay by Burns & Metz

I’m totally loving this fast-paced, bizarre, boarding school story!

Then: Half a King ~ Joe Abercrombie

I really enjoyed my first foray into Abercrombie. Glad I started with his YA series though.

Next: ???

Hmm I don’t know actually. I have so many all vying for attention right now!

If you’re joining in leave the link to your answers in the comments so everyone can come take a look 🙂

 

End of Year Survey: 2015 #MyYearInBooks

This popular end-of-year survey is hosted by Jamie at the Perpetual Page Turner. To join in, click the link to visit the original post. 

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  1. Number Of Books Read: 66
  2. Number of Re-Reads: 0!
  3. Genre You Read The Most From: YA

 

2015survey2

  1. Best Book You Read In 2015? 

    Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

  2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t? 

    The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell

  3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read? 

    Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

  4.  Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)? 

    Erm either The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black, or The Lunar Chronicles!

  5. Best series you started in 2015? Best Sequel of 2015? Best Series Ender of 2015? 

    Red Queen – Victoria Aveyard
    The Kiss of Death – Marcus Sedgwick
    Winter – Marissa meyer

  6. Favourite new author you discovered in 2015? 

    Ahh so many…either Benjamin Alire Sáenz or Rosamund Lupton

  7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone? 

    Fearless by Devon Hartford

  8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year? 

    Red Queen

  9. Book You Read In 2015 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year? 

    The Darkest Part of the Forest/Ari & Dante/ Red Queen

  10. Favourite cover of a book you read in 2015? 

    redqueen

  11. Most memorable character of 2015? 

    Ruby from The Quality of Silence

  12. Most beautifully written book read in 2015? 

    The Darkest Part of the Forest

  13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2015? 

    Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin

  14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read? 

    The Kiss of Death – Marcus Sedgwick. Published in 2008

  15. Favourite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2015? 

    “There are worst things in life than kissing boys” – Ari & Dante

  16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2015? 

    Badjelly the Witch by Spike Milligan: 64 pgs
    Winter by marissa Meyer: 824 pgs

  17. Book That Shocked You The Most 

    The Quality of Silence

  18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!) 

    Ari & Dante / Cinder & Kai

  19. Favourite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year 

    Hazel & Ben (Darkest part of the Forest) and Celaena & Rowan (Heir of Fire)

  20. Favourite Book You Read in 2015 From An Author You’ve Read Previously 

    Winter

  21. Best Book You Read In 2015 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure: 

    Uhm none really. Though, a lot of people recommended James Dawson (Cruel Summer), and Rebel Belle to me.

  22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015?

    Rowan (Heir of Fire), follwed closely by Prince Cal (Red Queen)
  23. Best 2015 debut you read? 

    Red Queen

  24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year? 

    The Darkest Part of the Forest

  25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read? 

    Both Rebel belle (Rachel Hawkins) and Vengeance Road (Erin Bowman), were SO much fun!

  26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2015? 

    Ari & Dante, The Darkest Part of the Forest, Golden Boy…too many!

  27. Hidden Gem Of The Year? 

    Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bellfrozencharlotte

  28. Book That Crushed Your Soul? 

    Golden Boy

  29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2015? 

    The Light That gets Lost by Natasha Carthew

  30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)? 

    Red Queen!

 

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  1. New favourite book blog you discovered in 2015? 

    There were quite a few but My Tiny Obsessions was the first one that came to mind.

  2. Favourite review that you wrote in 2015? 

    The Darkest Part of the Forest, I think.

  3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog? 

    I was really rubbish at doing discussion posts this year – none spring to mind!

  4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)? 

    I really enjoyed Horror October again this year.

  5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2015? 

    I was really pleased to be invited to the Vulieo Blog Awards, and a bloggers picnic – although I couldn’t attend either due to work and sickness 😦 Nice to be invited though!

  6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year? 

    Finding the time/motivation to keep going!

  7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)? 

    Despite being published in August 2014, This is Endgame was also my most viewed post of 2015

  8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love? 

    All guest posts!

  9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)? 

    Oh, I dunno! I checked out Audible for the first time but I still haven’t subscribed.

  10.   Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?Uhm no, I pretty much failed…but that’s OK!

2015survey4

  1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2016? 

    Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill

  2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2016 (non-debut)? 

    The Glass Sword (Red Queen #2)

  3. 2016 Debut You Are Most Anticipating? 

    Save Me, Kurt Cobain by Jenny Manzer

  4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2016? 

    The glass Sword!

  5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2016? 

    Keep going!

  6. A 2016 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone 

    n/a

Woah that was long, but fun! Feel free to leave the link to yours if you joined in. 

Goals & Resolutions…How Did I Do?

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Although I’m not one to make resolutions, last year I set myself 10 goals. How did I do?

2015 Goals

  1. Find a good job (sounds simple right?): Success! Sort of. I found a job that I really enjoy. I work in a prison library, which is completely crazy, and challenging but also lots of fun, and very, very interesting. The only downside is that it pays terribly and I’m really struggling to stay afloat. 😦
  2. Be more organised, especially with blogging: I think I did achieve this to some degree, but I’ll continue to work on it.
  3.  Request less ARCs and read more of the books on my real-life shelves: I don’t think I achieved this at all so I will be challenging myself to actually do it this year!
  4.  Promote my etsy shop: I did do this, sporadically, and after a slow start my shop did make me some much needed spending money.
  5. Go to the dentist/doctors more: Complete success! Go me!
  6. Save money (after I’ve found a job of course): So this never happened, and probably won’t for as long as I’m on the wage I am, living where I do…
  7. Change the look of my blog: I’m not sure if I did that at the beginning of 2015, but I do feel like a change again….
  8. Work on more original content – less memes: I had a good run of doing Friday Features which were really fun, but I found it too time-consuming to keep up with those and all my other regular posts once I got my new job and they kind of fizzled out. Must.Try.Harder

Well that wasn’t too bad!

2016 Goals/Resolutions

As well as working on the above, I would like to achieve the following this year:

  1. Be more active in the blogosphere: I love reading and commenting on other people’s blogs, but that really took a backseat this year as I don’t have my phone or access to the internet at work, and I’m usually too tired in the evenings to spend long on it. I really want to make more time this year though. I miss reading my favourite blogs.
  2. Get a promotion/ Pay Increase: I’m holding out for a possible promotion at work, but it’s all up in the air. If it doesn’t happen, I may have to look for another job, which is really upsetting because I don’t want to leave at all!
  3. Get back to writing: This is basically a pipe dream because I never seem to have any time…but I want to make it happen.
  4. Post reviews on Amazon & Waterstones: I’m really rubbish at posting my reviews anywhere other than my blog. I usually remember to copy them to Goodreads, but I always forget to put them elsewhere, and I know I should.

That’s about all I can manage this year I reckon!

Happy New Year to You All!