Top Ten Tuesday: You don’t write, you don’t call…where’s the love?

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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: Ten characters I’d like to check in with (as in who you’d like to catch up with and see what they’re up to).

**Beware they may be spoilers ahead**

Ari and Dante // Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe: It’s only been a few weeks since I finished this book but I already want an update! Has Dante completely come out, are him and Ari going to live happily ever after??? Ahhhh.

James Frey // A Million Little Pieces/ My Friend Leonard: I’d like to know if James has stayed on the wagon and what he’s up to. I hope he’s found happiness & love!

Katsa, Po and Princess Bitterblue // The Graceling Realm: I don’t need an excuse to catch up with these awesome characters. I just wanna hang with them!

katsa

Jack // Room: I want to know how Jack grew up, what’s he like? What does he remember about his time in the room and how has it affected him?

Gale // The Hunger Games: Let’s face it, Gale is never far from my thoughts. Where you at Gale?

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Claire Graham // Of Scars and Stardust: I loved this book so much. I want to check in on poor Claire and see if she’s still institutionalised!

Everyone from The Darkest Part of the Forest: I loved them all. I’m really hoping that Holly Black will give in and write a sequel to this; I need to know how Hazel, Jack, Ben and the horned boy are!

Tiny Cooper // Will Grayson, Will Grayson / Hold Me Closer: Why isn’t Tiny Cooper my BBF, WHY? I want to know what’s going on in his life! Did he find lasting love???

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Bella, Edward & Jacob (ugh) // Twilight: It kind of goes without saying that I want to check up on this lot. Mainly just to make sure Jacob is behaving. Team Edward til I die. lol.

Winnie and Tuck // Tuck Everlasting: I’d love to know how Winnie and Tuck’s lives played out. Did Winnie ever see Tuck again? Did she live her life differently knowing the secret to immortality? Has Tuck stayed under the radar?

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Top Ten Tuesday: YA Books for YABC

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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: Ten Books I’d Love to Read With My Book Club/If I Had A Book Club (or you could pick a specific kind of book club — like if you had a YA book club or an adult book club or a science fiction book club etc.)

My friend Di and I have an unofficial YA book club (YABC) where we meet up, drink wine, exchange books and rant/swoon over them. It’s pretty awesome. Therefore, I am choosing the books that have been the most successful YABC topics in the past.

Oh the rants we’ve had…

(Links go to related posts)

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1. The Hunger Games: Well, durrr. There was a period of time where myself and Di were banned from talking about THG in public because we just couldn’t stop, and it always ended in the same very heated (but y’know, friendly..) argument.

Mainly because it turns out that Di likes NICE BOYS like Peeta and is therefore WRONG ABOUT EVERYTHING. I mean really, Peeta over Gale…?? SERIOUSLY. Other topics included why I hated the first movie (because I’m right) and why Di didn’t (because she’s wrong).

2. Vampire Academy: Oh, we are not even close to be being done with VA YABCs! But the series so far (we are up to book 3 I believe), has already provided us with so much good ranting material.

There’s been the obvious Dimitri-in-my-pants rants and girl crushing all over Rose Hathaway and her complete awesomeness. And then there’s the hilarity that ensued when we realised we couldn’t pronounce any of the vampire species so anyone listening in to our convo in the bar at Waterloo station probably thought we were having a stroke.

And lastly, there’s the fact that it’s impossible to discuss VA without comparing it to our favourite topic ever – Buffy!! So good!

3. Twilight: Possibly the first ever YABC-type rant in the history of Di and Lipsy book rants.

Topics mainly revolved around how ridiculous it is but quickly descends into how much we want to have sex with control freak Cullen, and ultimately how much we COULDN’T STOP READING. There has also been a lot of discussion over the TERRIBLE fashion choices Meyer made – if there’s ever a BEIGE POLO-NECK shortage just head to Forks, yeah!

Oh and in case you were wondering, I’m the lion and Di’s the lamb. LOLZ.

4. The Selection Series: The big debate here is clearly Team Maxon Vs Team Aspen but for once I think me and Di actually agreed (we did, right?). Team Maxon to the max…see what I did there. There was also a lot of talk about how this series helped with our post-Hunger Games blues, and how much we want GILES to play the king in the TV Series. What ever happened to that?

5. Graceling: Oh so much swooning went on at the Graceling edition of YABC. We swooned over the pretty much perfect Prince Po, and at how AWESOME Katsa is. We just love her. KATSA & PO 4EVA.

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6. The Chaos Walking Trilogy: This wasn’t so much a YABC meet-up as it was a constant texting/tweeting/ranting/raving/crying over how amazing, heartbreaking, and just plain HORRIBLE this series is. I think at one point I declared how much I hate Di for giving it to me. IT HURT MY IMPENETRABLE HEART. We cried over poor Todd. And how cute him and Viola are. And let’s not even mention the dog. I just can’t.

7. Uglies: After giving this to Di to read and hearing her thoughts on it I can’t even think about the book without bursting into laughter. I liked it. Sure, the protagonist was annoying, but I thought it was a really brave book that covered some important teenage issues. Di did not. Di hated it with a firey passion which naturally led to a particularly loud edition of YABC.

8. Divergent: There were only really a few topics we managed to focus on when discussing Divergent. First…back to The Hunger Games. Second, HOT MAKE OUT SCENES ON TRAINS. We did manage to briefly discuss which faction we’d be before quickly returning to swoon over Four and his tattoos. Sigh.

9. The Mortal Instruments: Let’s face it. There’s only really one topic in discussion where TMI is concerned – whether Jace and Clary will EVER get it on (I only got up to book 3). And not forgetting the whole possible incest thing. INCEST IS BEST. Ahem. I have a brother – It is NOT. Shudder.

10. The Lunar Chronicles: This is only so far down the list because for once we pretty much agree on everything about these books. Mainly, that they are beyond awesome. We’ve swooned over Prince Kai, Captain Thorne and even Wolf – or maybe that was just me? We love Cinder, and Scarlet and Cress and want to poke Levana’s eyes out. And now we’re just waiting for more.

One more thing: I feel the need to include Narnia here too. I don’t think we’ve even had an actual Narnia YABC but it’s never really far from our thoughts to be honest. Whether we’re discussing if it’s OK to fancy High King Peter, or laughing at Ben Barnes’ accent in the Prince Caspian movie….it’s always a Narnian life for us. For Narnia!

A Cyborg, A Red Head and Some Wolf-Men…

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

www1 Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison–even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder.

Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

I never expected to love this series as much as I do. I am a fan of fairy tale retellings and reimaginings, but I thought the idea of Cinderella being cyborg was going a bit far. Oh how wrong was I!? It’s not too far. It’s exactly far enough, and it’s amazing.

In this, the second book, we continue where Cinder left off – with Cinder captured and imprisoned – and so naturally the first port of call is for our head-strong protagonist to escape, which she does with the help of loveable if not slightly stupid Captain Thorne (not even a captain).

I really liked the introduction of Thorne. He’s one of those hopeless rogues with a good heart, and he bounces off Cinder well. I was so glad this didn’t turn into some kind of love triangle between him, Cinder and Prince Kai as well. There’s a bit of initial flirting, but I think we can always tell his attempts are going to be futile, and it’s amusing.

At the same time we are introduced to Scarlet, a feisty, humble farm girl who’s had a bit of a rough ride. Her mother died and her father left and now her grandma has disappeared. With the help of the mysterious Wolf, she sets out to find her and discovers that her grandma is not quite the person she thought she was, and maybe Wolf isn’t either.

Oh seriously guys, I just loved this. Meyer did such a great job at intertwining these two stories. I never felt annoyed about the changing POV like I usually do with multiple perspectives, probably because I was equally as in love with both of them.

The action in Scarlet is constant, the pace is fast and it’s written beautifully, I can’t find anything bad to say about it. I thought the Wolf-Men army was genius, the relationships are all so realistic and refreshing, and Queen Lavana – even with little page space is truly, truly evil.

I wanted more Kai action, but this wasn’t his story so it made sense that he had a smaller role. I think we needed that distance between Kai and Cinder to further the plot. This book reminded me a lot of Graceling in that way. The protagonist’s relationship is not what’s important in the plot, they are their own people, working on their own agendas and without that it wouldn’t be nearly as compelling.

Meyer also continues to do an amazing job at using fairy tale elements and completely turning them on their head. Scarlet in her red hoodie, being taken in by Wolf makes you think of Little Red Riding Hood in a different light, just as cyborg Cinder does with Cinderella; it’s genius. A lot of people have tried to retell fairy tales, but I’ve read none as successful as this series.

And seriously, how awesome is Wolf!? Being a fan of his is not without its ups and downs in this book, but…I can’t help it…LOVE!

I am champing at the bit to get my hands on Cress. Scarlet ends on a ‘arrrrrrrrrrrrrrghhhh what’s going to happen now’ moment and I can’t wait to see what Cinder and Scarlet will do next! Will they stop the war? Will they save Kai from Levana? ARGH!

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Disclosure?: Nope, I bought it.
Title: Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2)
Author: Merissa Meyer
Details: Paperback, 452 pages
Published: February 7th 2013 by Puffin Books
My Rating: 5/5

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors that were new to me in 2013!

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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). This week the topic is Top Ten authors that were new to me in 2013.

So this is all a bit rushed because IT’S CHRISTMAS AND I’M BEHIND ON SO MANY THINGS (deep breaths), but I really wanted to take part because I’ve discovered so many great new authors this year. So here goes:

  1. Kiera Cass (The Selection; The Elite) Obvs
  2. Kristin Cashore (Graceling; Fire; Bitter Blue) I miss this series 😦
  3. Emma Carroll (Frost Hollow Hall) This was my first ever ARC review. Loved it.
  4. Kenneth Gregory (The Polaris Whisper) Another ARC review, Kenneth recently tweeted me to say that they used one of my quotes in the book launch promo video (below). Chuffed!
  5. Sarah J. Mass (Throne of Glass; Crown of Midnight) Celaena has been one of my favourite characters this year.
  6. Glynis Cooney (Daughter of Camelot) I loved this Arthurian YA adventure.
  7. Rachel Hartman (Seraphina) This was only the 2nd book I read this year, but it definitely stands out as one of the best.
  8. Rachel Cohn & David Levithan (Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist; Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares) I’d read some Levithan before but never these two together, I love both of their collaborations.
  9. Debbie Macomber (Starry Night) I just reviewed this here
  10. Terra Harmony (Water) I need to read the other books in the series!

 

The Polaris Whisper Book Launch:


It looked like a great event. What made you list? Feel free to leave a link!

Top Ten Tuesday: Character Names

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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). This week the theme is Top Ten Character Names.

This is a weird one for me. At first I completely drew a blank. Do Character names really have much impact on me? And then I realised how easily bad character names annoy me, (I could do a great Top Ten bad Character Names!) so I realised that they must mean something!

Here’s what I came up with.

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  1. Tristran Thorn, Stardust: Tristan is my all time favourite name which stems from Tristan & Iseult and also The Patrick Wolf song. Although officially Gaiman’s character is called Tristran, I still say Tristan in my head. Either way, the name Tristran Thorn is perfect for that character. Perfect!
  2. Abra Stone, Doctor Sleep: Abra was my favourite character in Doctor Sleep. It’s a strange name but it works. And I loved that her email address went Cadabra@…pretty cool.
  3. Celaena Sardothien, Throne of Glass: I think Celaena’s name is pretty much perfect. It sounds kick-ass and pretty at the same time. Exactly how a beautiful yet deadly assassin should sound.
  4. Katsa, Graceling: Same as above really, Katsa just suits her. It’s unique and ballsy.
  5. Lestat De Lioncourt, The Vampire Chronicles: Lestat? That is all.
  6. tttPicMonkey Collage2

  7. Barbie, Under the Dome: Dale Barbara is an Iraq vet turned short-order cook with a penchant for doing the right thing, even though he clearly has his secrets. I love that his nickname  Barbie stuck, because it just doesn’t suit him at first, but somehow it’s perfect. It really warmed me to him.
  8. Stargirl, Stargirl: Stargirl is everything you would think a character called that would be. ‘From the day she arrives at quiet Mica High in a burst of color and sound, hallways hum “Stargirl.”’
  9. Ariel Manto, The End of Mr Y: Ariel is just one of those characters I always remember. It’s a simple name, but I like saying it.
  10. Princess Bitterblue, Bitterblue: Another one from The Graceling Trilogy, as far as princess names go, this one is pretty cool.
  11. Christian Grey, Fifty Shades of Grey: Whether you’re a fan of this or not, Christian Grey is now a household name. The mere mention of it sends ladies everywhere into a frenzy!

 

 

 

BEST POST DAY! (New Arrivals)

It FINALLY arrived! I’ve been waiting for a delivery all week and I was getting anxious because I bought one book in particular that I’m really eager to read (Poison), and Amazon told me it had arrived on Wednesday…when it didn’t. 😦

Turns out it actually did, but it wouldn’t fit through the letterbox and the STOOPID postman put my flatmate’s name on the ‘Sorry you were out form’ instead of mine! Grrr.

So poor Dora went to pick up what she thought was her package today…to find out it was mine. HURRAH! (Sorry Dora, thanks Dora!)

So yeah, eventually…BEST POST DAY!

Yesss!
Yesss!

I thought all of these would be great summer reads and Poison looks especially amazing! I totally forgot it was hardback too. I’m in love with it already. I hope it doesn’t disappoint.

Shiny!
Shiny!

Sneak Peak:
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I featured Poison in my WWW Wednesdays post here, but here’s a bit more about the other two.

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
I’ve only ever read one other Kate Morton book which was The House at Riverton. It’s not usually the kind of thing I like but I was surprised by how much I loved it. This one looks more of the same.

The new novel from the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of The Distant Hours is a spellbinding mix of mystery, thievery, murder, and enduring love.

During a party at the family farm in the English countryside, sixteen-year-old Laurel Nicolson has escaped to her childhood tree house and is dreaming of the future. She spies a stranger coming up the road and sees her mother speak to him. Before the afternoon is over, Laurel will witness a shocking crime that challenges everything she knows about her family and especially her mother, Dorothy.

Now, fifty years later, Laurel is a successful and well-regarded actress, living in London. She returns to the family farm for Dorothy’s ninetieth birthday and finds herself overwhelmed by questions she has not thought about for decades. From pre-WWII England through the Blitz, to the fifties and beyond, discover the secret history of three strangers from vastly different worlds—Dorothy, Vivien, and Jimmy—who meet by chance in wartime London and whose lives are forever entwined.

The Secret Keeper explores longings and dreams, the lengths people go to fulfill them, and the consequences they can have. It is a story of lovers, friends, dreamers, and schemers told—in Morton’s signature style—against a backdrop of events that changed the world. Synopsis from Goodreads.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

I’ve seen this around everywhere and couldn’t resist. Sounds pretty epic. I’m hoping it’ll fill the void of there being no more Graceling Realm books.

In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake: she got caught.

Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament—fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin’s heart be melted? Synopsis from Goodreads.

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I also got good post in the week when my Gollancz goodies arrived for getting my review posted. Fun! You can never have too many geeky t-shirts and badges right?

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It’s WWW Wednesday!

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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?

Currently Reading:

Click to view on GoodReads
Click to view on GoodReads

“I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares.– Goodreads.

Just Finished:

Click to view on GoodReads.
Click to view on GoodReads.

It took me a whole week to finish this and I keep telling myself it’s because it was so good that I didn’t want it to end, but it was probably because I’ve just been watching a lot of tennis and drinking in a lot of beer gardens (oh, hello, Sun). That said, the former statement was true too. I loved this one as much, if not more than Graceling and it brought all the three stories and the kingdoms together beautifully. I want more. If you liked the Graceling books as much as I did, I highly recommend Rachel Hartman’s Seraphina too, and its cover is just as pretty. Win all round. I’ll be reviewing this for The Gollancz Geeks Blog ASAP.

Up Next:

I’m torn between the next Ruby Redfort book which I totally forgot I’d pre-ordered and a book I was recommended ages ago and really need to read and give back – The Lies of Locke Lamora.

Click to view on GoodReads.
Click to view on GoodReads.
This does sound good…’Gentleman Bastard #1’…haha interesting…and no, it’s obviously not YA but I do like to branch out now and again.

As for Ruby Redfort, I probably never would have picked up the first book, Look Into My Eyes if it hadn’t been released by Harper Collins with its spangly hypnotic silver cover. The previous cover looked a bit too young for me, and the same goes for Take Your Last Breath, the second in the series. Ruby is sassy and witty and fearless and makes a pretty amusing 13 year old secret agent, none of which I get from this cover:

Image from Amazon
Image from Amazon
But this one, on the other hand is much more appealing to my inner teenage spy.
Image from Amazon
Image from Amazon

Leave a comment with your WWW Wednesday books or the link to your post!