WWW Wednesday!

Happy Wednesday everyone!

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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 images for Goodreads.
Click images for Goodreads.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas.

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another.

Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

I am in love. I’m in love with this whole book and totally crushing on Celaena. She’s an assassin and kicks-ass but she’s compassionate and smart, and a bit shy. I LOVE HER.

Just Finished:
The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
I finally managed to finish this (it wasn’t a reflection on the book, just on how little time I actually spent reading last week). I really enjoyed it and gave it 4/5. Read my review here.

Up Next:
Oooh so many to choose from. I should be getting a copy of Hemlock Grove from Di which I’ve been told I HAVE to read:
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An exhilarating reinvention of the gothic novel, inspired by the iconic characters of our greatest myths and nightmares.
The body of a young girl is found mangled and murdered in the woods of Hemlock Grove, Pennsylvania, in the shadow of the abandoned Godfrey Steel mill. A manhunt ensues—though the authorities aren’t sure if it’s a man they should be looking for.

Some suspect an escapee from the White Tower, a foreboding biotech facility owned by the Godfrey family—their personal fortune and the local economy having moved on from Pittsburgh steel—where, if rumors are true, biological experiments of the most unethical kind take place. Others turn to Peter Rumancek, a Gypsy trailer-trash kid who has told impressionable high school classmates that he’s a werewolf. Or perhaps it’s Roman, the son of the late JR Godfrey, who rules the adolescent social scene with the casual arrogance of a cold-blooded aristocrat, his superior status unquestioned despite his decidedly freakish sister, Shelley, whose monstrous medical conditions belie a sweet intelligence, and his otherworldly control freak of a mother, Olivia.

At once a riveting mystery and a fascinating revelation of the grotesque and the darkness in us all, Hemlock Grove has the architecture and energy to become a classic in its own right—and Brian McGreevy the talent and ambition to enthrall us for years to come.

Also on the list:
17453243 Deer in Headlights – Staci Hart

How do the Greek gods kill time? Because they’re always bored. It’s an unavoidable downside of being alive for thousands of years. So, they play games. Games with human players. Remember Shakespeare? Yeah, that was Apollo. Bonnie and Clyde? Aphrodite vs Ares.

It’s Aphrodite’s turn once again in the rounds of competitions, and she’ll defend her domain: Love. She hasn’t lost a competition on her turf in over three millennia, and she’s not about to start now. Apollo is her first competitor, and he’s on a mission to win. If he wins, he’ll get a token; a favor that Aphrodite must fulfill. And with that favor, he’ll finally get the one woman he’s never been able to have.

Aphrodite and Apollo will choose their human players, and if Aphrodite can’t get them together before the clock runs out, Apollo will get his way. And she couldn’t have that.

12755985 Water – Terra Harmony

Elemental powers in the palm of her hand…and it won’t be enough to save her. When Kaitlyn Alder is involuntarily introduced to a life of magic, she becomes part of an organization hell-bent on saving the Earth. Just as her new-found life holds promises of purpose, romance, and friendship, the organization divides and a rogue member holds Kaitlyn hostage. Now one of the most terrifying men the human race has to offer stands between her and Earth’s survival.

AND I have the books I got on Bookswap last month.

What should I pick?
Leave a comment with the link to your post! 🙂

Di & Lipsy do The Selection!

A couple of days ago I officially declared my LOVE for The Selection by Kiera Cass but I was finding it hard to put my love into words so I enlisted my BFF Dianne of the Tanner to help me. Read my original post here. But if you’re too lazy to go and read that (shame on you), here’s the lowdown on The Selection again.

View on Goodreads
View on Goodreads

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

To my delight Di didn’t hate The Selection. WIN. We talked about the book, the similarities to the Hunger Games (because we are a bit obsessed with the Hunger Games) and the TV show that will or won’t or possibly already happened (!?). And of course, we had to decide: Team Aspen or Team Maxon.

Our rant went something like this:

ME: I’d never heard of The Selection until I saw it on Amazon and WOWed at the cover. I thought it was so pretty and looked magical and I HAD to buy it. When I handed it over to you however, you did what can only be described as a guffaw and said it looked terrible.

What were your actual first impressions from the cover and the premise? DT: Oh lord. My initial reaction when I saw the cover was ‘have you given me a Princess Diaries book to read?’ The cover is hilariously awful but I kind of love it. I felt pretty amazing reading it on the tube.

I really had no idea what to expect from the premise and initially was a bit wtf until about 3 pages in when I realised it was a bit HUNGER GAMES and perked up. Oh they live in America gone wrong in the future, it’s fine this I can get into.

What did you think of America Singer initially…apart from the stupid name of course? Aw bless her, she is trying so hard to be a stereotypical “tough girl” in a “hard world” who looks after other people and has no idea what others see in her – a bit over done at this point! *Katniss*
-Yeah it’s nice to have that ‘hardness’ and it not be about violence though. That’s refreshing. It’s all about her CHARM.
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Did the similarities to The Hunger Games annoy you? I thought it was a bit of a rip off at first but I thought the Casts were actually a pretty good idea in the end… Frankly anything that is vaguely similar to the Hunger Games to fill the gap since there is NO MORE HUNGER GAMES can only be a good thing so I have no idea what you are talking about.
-Haha true dat. I was just anticipating you hating it.

How did you picture Aspen? A bit fit obviously, but what a douche.
-SUCH A DOUCHE! Almost as bad as Peeta!

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The dialogue was pretty laughable on some occasions, OK on most occasions…especially the way Maxon talks. I bet you hate him don’t you? I actually really loved him! I KNEW you expected me to be Team Aspen. I wonder if maybe we didn’t get to spend enough time with him. He sounds like a bit of a douche, but then he gets all muscles and stuff later on so maybe IDK. Wait this question was about Maxon. What?

Oh yeah. He was quite lovely. I feel like he has a nice smile.
-I REALLY DID EXPECT YOU TO BE TEAM ASPEN. I was all ready for a ‘hunger games’ debate about it. I’m a bit disappointed in you really. WE NEVER AGREE, SO WELL DONE KIERA CASS. Also…haha ‘quite lovely’. Indeed.

But would you be his ‘Dear?’ LOL. Most certainly. I feel like there is a WHOLE LOAD of unwritten dark shit going on with the country and stuff and lets be honest he is clearly going to sort that shit out. [Let’s hope so] This book is so predictable I feel like I could write the next 3 – 4 in the series.
-Yeah I really wished that element of the story was explored more. It is a little bit in the next book but still definitely not enough. It could be a really cool dystopian series if that was concentrated on more but I guess with the dystopian element being left in the background we could focus on swooning over Maxon and hating on all the other girls. I am such a girl-hater sometimes.

America is feisty though, I love her. After all, she did kick the Prince in the balls. Discuss: In the thigh IT WAS HIS THIGH. I love how often they use the word “groin” in this book. She is feisty but it felt a little forced. Oh like you have to be the feisty one who is “true to herself” right because that’s what all girls can relate to. Unless you are Bella Swan then you are just LAME.
-(Ignoring that Bella comment!)Are you sure it wasn’t the balls? Surely ‘groin’ is just YA code for BALLS?

May Vs Prim? I liked May. Much better than Prim.God Prim is so annoying.

OK we can’t put it off any longer….ASPEN OR MAXON??? Maxon. Everything about Aspen just wound me up I feel like if he ever actually had sex with America he would be like meh.
-YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS I CAN’T BELEIVE WE ACTUALLY AGREE. And now we will have to compete for his affections.

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Pick one thing you LOVED about The Selection… I liked that although it was clearly aimed at 14 year olds, there were parts that were quite dark with regards to the “dystopian” nature of the world they live in. As I said, I feel like there is a lot more of that to come out in further books. I was like 1 chapter from the end going “but how can this book be about to end they haven’t even done anything.”
-Yeah I remember flicking through the pages that were left and I was like THERE IS HALF THE BOOK MISSING, SURELY. I’m quite worried you will be disappointed by The Elite because there is still not enough Book. THERE WILL NEVER BE ENOUGH.

And one thing you HATED?
I don’t think there was any need to end this book when it did. Right in the middle of everything, its such a short book I feel like they could have expanded a lot. I can’t work out what age group exactly it is aimed at because there is quite a lot of HEAVY PETTING.
-HAHAHA HEAVY PETTING. That is all.

Now please explain to me why I loved it so much?? Because you love trash, Lauren.
-Too right.

Would you like book #2, The Elite? Yes immediately please.
-I might not see you for a few weeks. I will post it to you if you’ll post The Selection back. I NEED IT BACK PRONTO.

What else do we need to talk about?
The One (#3) isn’t out until MAY 2014 – What kind of bullshit is that!?

I refuse to believe it takes that long to write these books.

AND, THE TV SHOW: The powers that be have been trying to turn The Selection into a TV show for a while now. Apparently the first pilot starred Ethan Peck as Maxon and PETER PEVENSIE as Aspen but wasn’t picked up.
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Another pilot is said to be in production with none other than GILES!!!!! WTFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF!
I had heard that this was already a straight to TV movie actually. PETER PEVENSIE IS THE PERFECT PRINCE MAXON! [He was Aspen, Di…oh never mind] Who is Giles playing, THE KING??? KING GILES???

KING GILES IS THE KING OF ALL KINGS!
KING GILES IS THE KING OF ALL KINGS!

OF COURSE HE IS PLAYING THE KING! It will fill the King Giles-sized hole that Merlin took away from me! IT HAS to get made.

WE WILL WATCH THIS SPACE!

About Di
I first met Di on the streets of London YEARS AGO (let’s not think about that!) when we used to stalk the same band up and down the country. She knew my name and it freaked me out. I signed her enormous NZ flag (YUSS, she’s Kiwi) and realised that she was even louder than me. It kind of went from there and long after said band disappeared and we got a bit grown-up (eurrrgh!) we have remained friends. Even though we live on opposite sides of London, we meet up for book-swapping, film-watching and ranting over a few (a lot of) drinks as often as possible. Di is a self-taught photographer and jewellry maker. She blogs about these things plus books and life n’ shiz at Icefloe. Go say hi, she is lovely.

TEAM MAXON!

If it’s not broke, don’t fix it: The Secret Keeper – Kate Morton

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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. Image and synopsis from Goodreads (Click the Image to go there).

The Secret Keeper is another winner from Kate Morton. She has found a definitive style that suits her perfectly and creates beautiful, engrossing drama and decade-spanning mysteries. So, if it’s not broke don’t fix it right?

Usually I’m not a huge fan of shifting timelines but Morton does it so well. We start in the 1960’s when our protagonist Laurel is a teenager and witnesses her beloved mother stabbing a random man. We’re then propelled foward to the present where poor mum is approaching her 90th birthday and on her deathbed. With Laurel back to take care of her she aims to find out for once and for all what exactly happened that day. The mystery emerges bit by bit in true Morton style – by following Dolly (Laurel’s mum), through War-time London and beyond.

This is a hard book to review without just relaying the story. So much goes on but so little of it seems important without seeing the bigger picture, so it’s hard to pick out certain elements. One of my favourite things though was the description of London during the raids. The characters weren’t fazed by it because they’d become so accustomed to it. It’s funny how you can just get used to something so awful. They almost seemed immune to death and destruction which definitely helped put Dolly’s story in perspective. I also really enjoyed the family dynamics, especially Gerry, he was a lovely, complicated and quirky character.

I can’t say I was gripped the whole way through, but I certainly was for the most part. On numerous occasions I thought I knew exactly where the story was going and what the secret would be and whilst part of it was easy to guess, the final blow definitely wasn’t which made for an excellent read.

If you’ve never read any Kate Morton, I definitely recommend her work. I haven’t read every single one of her books on account that they sound so similar to each other, but the ones I have read have been really pleasant surprises.

Details:Paperback, 602 pgs. Published May 9th 2013 by Pan Books.
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Unicorns
Is it a keeper? As much as I enjoyed it, I know I’ll never read it again so no. I have added it to my Book Swap List. (UK only, soz!)
If you liked this try: The House At Riverton

July 2013 on Lipsyy Lost & Found

I’ve been blogging for just over two months now and it’s really fun if not time consuming; definitely worth every second though. Now I’m all settled in I thought it would be good to do a proper monthly round-up. So here is My Monthly Activity in one handy post. Thanks to everyone who has followed me, liked posts and commented. I’m really enjoying getting to know you all!

July 2013

Total Posts: 19

New Followers: 29

Books Read & Reviewed (6):

  • Poison – Sarah Pinborough, 3/5 (Review)
  • The Maleficent Seven – Derek Landy,  A reluctant 4/5 (Review)
  • Take Your Last Breath (Ruby Redfort #2) – Lauren Child, 4/5 (Review)
  • Specials (Uglies #3) – Scott Westerfeld, 4/5 (Review)
  • Tristan & Iseult – J.D Smith, 3/5 (Review)
  • The Lies of Locke Lamora – Scott Lynch, 3/5 (Review)

Favourites Fridays:
Most Fridays I have been posting about my favourite books or authors

  • #7 Speak – Laurie Halse Anderson (View Post)
  • #6 Tuck Everlasting – Natalie Babbit (View Post)
  • #5 Silly Verse for Kids – Spike Milligan (View Post)

Most Viewed Posts:

  1. WWW Wednesday 24/07/2013 (View Post)
  2. Best Post Day! (New Arrivals) (View Post)
  3. WWW Wednesday 10/07/2013 (View Post)

Books Purchased: 
1. Tristan & Iseult by J.D Smith (Kindle Edition) I got this when it was free but it is still only £1.98

Available from Amazon
Available from Amazon

2. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (Paperback). Currently only £3.85 on Amazon

3. Poison by Sarah Pinborough (Hardback)

4. The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton (Paperback)
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5. Deer in Headlights (Good Gods Series) by Stacci Hart (Kindle Edition) This is still free on Amazon

View On Amazon
View On Amazon

6. Water (The Aksasha Series) by Terra Harmony. (Kindle Edition) Also free on Amazon.

View on Amazon
View on Amazon

Books Swapped: I am a huge fan of bookswap website Read it Swap it and did some great swaps this month. Check out the site here. (UK based) My username is lipsyp1 if you ever want to see what books I have up for swap.

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Swap #1: Tell me no Lies by Malorie Blackman for Being by Kevin Brooks.

Swap#2: On the Road by Jack Kerouac for Extras (Uglies #4) by Scott Westerfeld

Swap #3: Second Nature by Alice Hoffman for A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1) by Deborah Harkness

ARCs/Giveaways:
I received Julian Sedgwick’s The Black Dragon (The Mysterium #1) courtesy of Hodder Children’s Books via World Book Day.

*BOOK OF THE MONTH*

Click for my review
Click for my review

*COVER OF THE MONTH*

View my Review
View my Review

*MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT MONTH*
Due for Release 20th August – NEEDED for the cover alone.

View on Goodreads
View on Goodreads

What else would you like to see on my monthly round-up? I’m sure I’m missing things. 

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?

It’s well and truly Hump Day! Here’s what I’ve been up to this week. Don’t forget to leave a comment with your post or books. It will make my day go faster. 😉

Currently Reading: Poison by Sarah Pinborough
Literally just started this this morning so not much to report. But sexy Snow White, what’s not to like?

Recently Finished:
I spent a lot of time living the dream at the weekend – reading under a tree. I finished two great books…

A new retelling of Tristan and Iseult by J.D Smith. I wanted to give it 4/5 but had to settle on 3/5. You can read my review Here.

Click to view on Goodreads
Click to view on Goodreads

And Specials by Scott Westerfeld. The 3rd book in his Uglies series. I’d totally forgotten how crazy these books were. It was a fast-paced, ferocious read. Review to follow.

Click to view on Goodreads
Click to view on Goodreads

Up Next:

Probably another one of the books that arrived last week so either Kate Morton’s The Secret Keeper or Throne of Glass. I still have Storm Glass to start too.

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The Verdict: Tristan and Iseult by J.D Smith

I have adored the tale of Tristan and Iseult since I stumbled it across it when looking into Arthurian legends. I bloody love Arthurian legends btw. Soon after becoming aware of the story I found an old Puffin version by Rosemary Sutcliff that I’ve loved ever since. Her retelling has always been the only one for me…but recently I discovered this…

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In a land of fog and desperate tribes, Tristan fights to protect western Briton from Saxon invaders. In the wake of battle, he returns to Kernow bearing grave news, and the order of power shifts. As Tristan defends the west, his uncle, King Mark, faces enemies to the east beyond the sea: the Irish Bloodshields. Mark is determined to unite the tribes of Briton and Ireland and forge an alliance that would see an end to war and the beginnings of peace. Iseult, the daughter of Irish kings and a woman of the blood, resigns herself to her inevitable fate: marriage to Lord Morholt. A bloody duel changes her course, and she finds herself stranded on the coast of Kernow bringing with her the possibility of peace. But when she loses her heart to one man and marries another, her future and that of Briton flutters grey. Three people and a hope that will never fade, this is a story of promise; the legend of love. Image and Synopsis from Goodreads.

Due to the aforementioned circumstances I’m sure you can understand why I went into this a bit sceptical. At first I found that the simple, almost brisk sentences came out a bit wooden but after a few paragraphs the style really started to flow and I started to enjoy it, a lot.

It captures the time and essence of the story I know and love really well.

The book is written from both Tristan and Iseult’s point of views – each having alternative chapters – which I thought would annoy me but it actually turned out to be really great. This way Iseult is able to show us in the very beginning how revolting Morholt, her husband-to-be really is, which kind of helps us realise later why she agrees to marry King Mark when she is clearly in love with Tristan- his Nephew and chosen heir to the throne. Going from something so bad to something ‘safe’ can’t be too bad after all can it?

I did wish that the two characters had more distinct voices though, as they both sounded the same in my head and I had to constantly remind myself whose chapter it was. However, Smith builds up the lust and romance between Tristan and Iseult beautifully. I was absolutely hooked and invested in the story which is probably why I got so angry that Tristan encouraged her to marry Mark in the first place…I mean, the King loves him, all he had to do was say! I’m not sure I was totally convinced that he did it due to his guilt of the King’s son Rufus’ death. But hey ho.

Alas, King Mark and Iseult are married and clearly everyone, apart from the King is miserable. The King in fact just seems to swan off a lot on King-like business leaving Tristan and Iseult alone with a million will they-won’t they moments which was INFURIATING to say the least. Not in a bad way. In a I have to keep reading way.

And then. THEN, we skip to 20 years ahead…are you shitting me J.D Smith?

Anyway (deep breaths), without giving too much away, this is a pretty different retelling than the Suttcliff version and I do think it lacked a certain proportion of passion and excitement due to some choices Smith made with the material but I don’t mean that to sound so bad.

It is a quick, enjoyable read that has captured the essence of the medieval, Celtic folklore that the story originated from, whilst also creating more contemporary feel to it.

I’m tempted to give this 4 out 5 because I was hooked all the way through, but the last third of the story let it down for me so I have settled on 3/5 unicorns. If I could bring myself to chop one in half, I would.

Tristan and Iseult by J.D Smith is published by @TriskeleBooks

Free Books…So Hard To Resist! Damn You, Amazon!

Anyone who knows me will know that I’m not a fan of the e-book. The ‘K’ word makes me shudder. I like books. No wait, I LOVE books, physical books that you can touch and smell and crease the spines of. Real books that can sit on my real shelves not something digital and disposable like everything else is becoming.

I don’t really want to get into the debate of e-books wiping out print because everything that needs to be said on the matter has been. There are definitely some pros to e-publishing I’m not debating that, but nothing can beat holding and loving a real book for me. I do however, get really jealous of all the free books you can get with a Kindle or any other e-reader.

I love buying books from shops, whether it’s just Waterstones or an independent bookshop and I wish I could keep them in business but I can’t. I can’t justify spending £13 on a book when I can buy it on Amazon for £7. I don’t have that kind of cash. Most of my books end up coming from Amazon, charity shops & the odd car boot sale and http://www.readitswapit.com and I still end up spending a fortune. The lure of free books is really hard to resist so despite being unwilling to own a Kindle I do have the Kindle app installed on my laptop. Does that make me a hypocrite?

I’m only rambling on about this because I saw an offer on my Twitter feed for a new version of Tristan and Iseult which I’d be interested to read. The paperback is £6.99 and the Kindle version is of course free. DILEMMA.

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I have a copy of Rosemary Sutcliffe’s version which is old (1971) and battered and I love it…it will undoubtedly be on one of my upcoming Favourites Friday posts so I won’t gush about it too much yet. I’ve given in and ‘purchsed’ a Kindle copy, if you can purchase something that is free but now I feel a bit guilty.

Still, interested to see how they match up. You can ‘buy’ yours here.