Top Ten Tuesday: Why Can’t I Quit Youuuuuu!

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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.

This week the topic is: Ten Bookish Things I Want to Quit Or Have Quit (aka ten book series I think I’m going to abandon, ten bookish habits I want to quit, ten authors I quit reading, ten types of books I’m quitting, ten tropes I want to stop reading about, ten books I marked as DNF (did not finish) recently, etc.

Hmm bit of a strange topic this week, I thought. But, as I’m in the midst of Horror October, I’m going for 10 things I’m bored of in the Horror genre.

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1. Zombies: Just enough already!

2. Werewolves: I don’t have anything against werewolves, but I hate that they always appear in Vampire books. I like my vampire books to be about vampires, not werewolves…OK!?

3. Zombies masquerading as a virus: From The Girl with all the Gifts to The Scorch Trials…why does this keep happening!

4. Unsatisfying endings: I’m mainly thinking of Stephen King here. Horror has the tendency to go over the top at the end in order to shock readers one last time, but mostly it doesn’t work and just ruins the book.

5. The token creepy old guy: These characters are NEVER the killers and are out there to throw you off. But after seeing one, you’ve seen them all and they just became an annoying cliché.

6. Messing about with classics: I’m thinking of Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies and that trend of books. Just no.

7. Evil Faeries: I find it quite hard to accept that faeries are scary, and have read very few books which do that well.

8. Friendly, Fuzzy Vampires: NO! I’m sure I don’t need to explain.

That’s it, I’m done. I’m sure there’s loads more but I need to go and brush my horns and polish my fangs….

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Mini Review: City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments #3) by Cassandra Clare

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To save her mother’s life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters – never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.

As Clary uncovers more about her family’s past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he’s willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City – whatever the cost?

Love is a mortal sin and the secrets of the past prove deadly as Clary and Jace face down Valentine in the third installment of the New York Times bestselling series The Mortal Instruments.

The further I get into this series, the more it seems to be taking over my life! I’m all like…what’s Jace up to? What’s Isabelle wearing?… I hope they don’t die. Ahem.

Suffice to say that I’m glad I decided to give TMI another go. The 3rd book is pretty epic, we’re building up to an all out war between the Nephilim and Downworlders with the evil Valentine at the helm. Secrets are (finally) revealed, some hot kissing happens and Isabelle finally kicks ass with her whip. And when I say kicks ass, I mean severs body parts. Oooosh.

The main thing I enjoyed about this book though was that it was the first time I really appreciated the whole world that Clare has created. It’s pretty vast and impressive.

I still want more Alec/Magnus action though, and I hope Jace and Clary don’t get all boring…we shall see.

4/5 Unicorns

Favourites Friday #17: The Book Of Lost Things by John Connolly

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This one of my favourite books to read in the winter. It is a dark reimagining and fusion of various fairy tales and the whole thing is just a bit sinister yet magical! Plus how epic is that cover!?

There’s Wolf-men, trolls, slutty Red-riding Hood and evil Snow White, a girl in a jar, a great villian in The Crooked Man and a whole lot more.

Goodreads Synopsis:
High in his attic bedroom, twelve-year-old David mourns the death of his mother, with only the books on his shelf for company. But those books have begun to whisper to him in the darkness. Angry and alone, he takes refuge in his imagination and soon finds that reality and fantasy have begun to meld. While his family falls apart around him, David is violently propelled into a world that is a strange reflection of his own — populated by heroes and monsters and ruled by a faded king who keeps his secrets in a mysterious book, The Book of Lost Things.
Taking readers on a vivid journey through the loss of innocence into adulthood and beyond, New York Times bestselling author John Connolly tells a dark and compelling tale that reminds us of the enduring power of stories in our lives.

What People Are Saying About The Book of Lost Things:

This was one of the best books i’ve read in a long while. every single page was amazing…the characters rich and full of life.

Beth Anne (Goodreads)

“The Book Of Lost Things” can at times be extremely violent as Connolly seems to enjoy twisting and taking apart various fairy tales.

Brandon (Goodreads)

John Connolly, a Dubliner, is best known – celebrated, indeed – in America, where he sets his supernatural crime fiction. Evidently The Book of Lost Things represents a major departure for him, and Heaven forbid we should discourage ambition. His publisher claims it’s “a novel to transcend genre”: positive spin for what a less partial commentator might call uncertainty of address. Who is this book for? Generic boy hero, schematic adventure plot, heavy-handed explicatory narrative tone: all would try the patience of any reader no longer juvenile. Yet the material is as grim as Connolly’s customary horrific fare. The torture chambers, martial dismemberments and surgical miscegenations, the continual nervous drift towards themes of sexual corruption: all firmly indicate adults only.

Colin Greenland (The Guardian)

Werewolves, Ghosts & A Christmas Ball: The Wolves of Midwinter by Anne Rice

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The tale of THE WOLF GIFT continues . . .

As lush and romantic in detail and atmosphere as it is sleek and steely in storytelling, Anne Rice brings us once again to the rugged coastline of Northern California, to the grand mansion at Nideck Point—to further explore the unearthly education of her transformed Man Wolf.

The novel opens on a cold, gray landscape. It is the beginning of December. Oak fires are burning in the stately flickering hearths of Nideck Point. It is Yuletide. For Reuben Golding, now infused with the wolf gift and under the loving tutelage of the Morphenkinder, this Christmas promises to be like no other . . . as he soon becomes aware that the Morphenkinder, steeped in their own rituals, are also celebrating the Midwinter Yuletide festival deep within Nideck forest.

From out of the shadows of the exquisite mansion comes a ghost—tormented, imploring, unable to speak yet able to embrace and desire with desperate affection . . . As Reuben finds himself caught up with the passions and yearnings of this spectral presence and the preparations for the Nideck town Christmas reach a fever pitch, astonishing secrets are revealed, secrets that tell of a strange netherworld, of spirits—centuries old—who possess their own fantastical ancient histories and taunt with their dark, magical powers . . .

Before I start this review I have some confessions to make. Firstly, I requested this from NetGalley thinking I would have time to read the first book in the series beforehand – I did not. And secondly, those of you who have read some of my previous posts will know that I just was not in the mood to read ANYTHING for like two weeks. Major book funk.

So, it’s quite hard to review this objectively. It has never taken me so long to read a 400 page book, and I honestly don’t know if it was because of my book funk, or because I just couldn’t get into it.

But, I can tell you one thing for sure, Anne Rice writes beautifully.

From what I’ve read about the first book, The Wolf Gift, Reuben, a young reporter heads to the magnificent mansion Nideck Point to interview a woman about the estate. While he’s there he is attacked by a group of Wolf Men and in turn, receives the Wolf Gift himself, becoming one of them, The Morphenkinder. He struggles with his new animalistic, vicious side throughout.

In The Wolves of Midwinter, Reuben is now the owner of Nideck Point, pursuing his love for Laura (who is in the midst of also becoming one of the Morphenkinder), and trying to keep the wolf attacks underwrap from the village.

There were things I liked in this book that convinced me to not give up on it despite really not being in the mood to read. For one, being set at Christmas is a big win for me this time of year. In the hopes of being accepted by the village, The Morphenkinder plan a grand Christmas ball. The descriptions of the lavish festivities, decorations and food had me seriously pining for Christmas and made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

However, I was expecting something terrible to happen at the ball when it eventually came about, but it didn’t.

And that’s kind of the way this book went for me. I kept expecting things to happen but they just didn’t materialize. The main conflict in the story was that of Marchent, a ghost (who I assume was a main part of book 1) whom the Morphenkinder are being haunted by. They clearly loved her once, and seeing her ghost upsets them, especially Reuben who tries to help her despite being scared of her appearences. But that never really went anywhere either.

And then there’s Reuben’s Dad. I really enjoyed their relationship and thought it was quite refreshing to see a man’s relationship with his father in a genre like this. It doesn’t seem to happen very often. But, I found the rest a bit predictable – Reuben’s dad comes to stay with them at Nideck Point and he finds out that they are Werewolves. Didn’t see that one coming. And again, not much happens. It turns out that his dad already knew what he was and doesn’t care!

Overall, I think if I’d read this at a different time, and after having read the first book (usually helps) that I might have liked it a bit more, but there just wasn’t enough conflict or surprise in this for me. I loved Anne Rice’s style, and the beautiful way she has of describing her opulent worlds, but the story fell a bit flat.

Disclosure: I received a copy from the Publisher via Netgalley for an HONEST review. Many Thanks!
Details: Hardcover, 400 pages. Published November 7th 2013 by Chatto & Windus (Random House UK)
My Rating: 3 out of 5 Unicorns
If you liked this try: Second Nature by Alice Hoffman

Monthly Round Up!

October 2013
October on Lipsyy Lost & Found was Horror October.

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Total Posts: 30

New WP Followers: 28

Books Read & Reviewed (6):

  • Human Remains – Elizabeth Haynes, 4/5 (Review)
  • Doctor Sleep – Stephen King 4/5 (Review)
  • Words Once Spoken – Carly Drake 3/5 (Review)
  • The Coldest Girl in Coldtown – Holly Black 5/5 (Review)
  • Zom-B Underground – Darren Shan 3/5 (Review)
  • The Polaris Whisper – Kenneth Gregory 4/5 (Review)

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

  • #13 The Birthing House – Christopher Ransom (View Post)
  • #14 Edgar Allan Poe (View Post)
  • #15 The Pilo Family Circus (View Post)
  • #16 Exquisite Corpse – Poppy Z. Brite (View Post)

Most Viewed Posts:

  1. WWW Wednesday 09/10/2013 (View Post)
  2. *Fangirl Alert* The One (The Selection #3) by Kiera Cass (View Post)
  3. WWW Wednesday 16/10/2013 (View Post)

Books Purchased: 
I was good this month and told myself NO MORE PROPER BOOKS until I get my TBR pile down. It didn’t stop me from getting some Kindle Bargains though.

1. A Shade of Vampire by Bella Forrest £0.77
2. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn £0.99
3. Sixteen Sixty-One by Natalie Lucas £0.99
4. The Seance by Tricia Drammeh £0.00

Books Swapped: 
I only Swapped one book this month. Head to Readitswapit.co.uk if you’re in the UK and want to join. My username is Lipsyp1

Swap #1: Murphy’s Law by Colin Bateman for Trainspotting (never read this!) by Irvine Welsh.

ARCs/Giveaways:
I had waaaaay too many books in my NetGalley library for a while there so I’ve stayed well clear of requesting anymore.

I did receive Orbital Kin by James E. Parsons however. I follow James on Twitter and he was looking for reviewers. Looking forward to it!

*BOOK (AND COVER) OF THE MONTH*

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I hope you guys enjoyed Horror October as much as I did. It’s nice to have a theme!

WWW Wednesday (06/11/2013)

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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?

I think I’m finally coming out of my book funk. *phewwww* For some reason I’ve found less time to read this week but hopefully normality shall resume from here on out!

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Currently Reading: City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments #2) by Cassandra Clare. I’m slowly getting back into this series.

Recently Finished: The Wolves of Midwinter by Anne Rice. Wow. It has never taken me so long to read a 400 page book. But it wasn’t bad! Review to follow.

Up Next: Orbital Kin by James E. Parsons: I meant to start this last week but I am DEFINITELY reading it next!

Leave the link to your post and I’ll take a look at what you’ve all been up to!

Fantasy & Foliage: Words Once Spoken by Carly Drake

YA meets high fantasy in this lush series debut about a girl who never quite fit in — and the reason why…

Evelyn might not love the confines of her village life, but she takes her small freedoms where she can get them. But everything changes when her parents decide it’s time for her to wed. Suddenly she loses her tunic and breeches, her bow, her horse, and gains rigid gowns, restrictive manners, and carriage rides.

The best way to escape is through her dreams, but as they become more and more real, Evelyn begins to worry that she is losing her grasp on reality. It is only when she makes two new friends that the truth is revealed: she is destined for far, far more than even she could imagine.

Words Once Spoken was a book of two halves for me. I was so blown away by the cover and loved the synopsis so I was really looking forward to it. And from the off I was delighted.

The story of a girl frustrated by the restrictions and expectations placed on her growing up in medieval England isn’t a new one to me, but I loved the simplicity of the writing which flowed like a fairy tale and what made it for me was the characterisation of Evelyn herself.

She was different in that she needed freedom with a capital N! She hates confined spaces and even being inside with the windows shut is a big no-no for her. Evelyn also can’t stomach regular food and instead nibbles on flowers and other foliage. I found it quite cute, especially her mother’s exasperation of her daughter’s odd habits (including sleeping on a pallet of moss rather than a bed). This was a great way to introduce magic into the story and I could tell from the beginning that Evelyn clearly wasn’t going to turn out to be human. I was banking on a nymph or the like.

Evelyn arrives at court (where she’s forced to go to be married off, of course) leaving behind her horse because she can’t side-saddle, and her mother has burnt all of her ‘boys’ clothes and packed only dresses. Which she rebels against, obviously. Her ‘odd habits’ can be seen as yet another portrayal of female oppression if you want to go down that route, which I don’t. Moving on.

It’s not long before Evelyn has caught the eyes of both Lord Devon and the Prince and a pseudo-not quite- love triangle ensues. Unfortunately this is where Words Once Spoken started to lose me.

This book is ridiculously fast-paced. A little bit too fast-paced, which I don’t think I’ve ever used as a criticism before. The second half of this book was just too simple. At some point it turned into thishappens, thishappens, this,this,this, boom, the end. I felt a bit shell-shocked by the end of it.

Not only do we found out what Evelyn really is, all of a sudden there are vampires and werewolves, good faeries, bad faeries and everything in between all thrown together for i’m not really sure what reason. You can’t just tell me that that guy is a vampire when he has shown NO SIGNS of being anything but human.

Alas, Words Once Spoken is still a nice, uber quick read that is definitely enjoyable; it’s lots of fun. I’m hoping this is just the introduction to Evelyn’s new world that will grow into something great. The ending certainly makes it seem possible.

Disclosure: I received a copy from the Author/Publisher for an HONEST review. Thanks!
Details: ebook, published October 2013 by Escape Publishing
My Rating: 3 out of 5 Unicorns
If you liked this try: Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely

Horror October 2013!

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Next month will be dedicated (of course) to the spooky, the creepy, the gory and the downright terrifying! I have quite a few books lined up so depending on how much I get through it may even spill over to November. I do love a good horror!*

Coming Up:

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Doctor Sleep (The Shining #2) – Stephen King
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown – Holly Black
The Wolves of Midwinter (The Wolf Gift Chronicles #2) – Anne Rice
The Foreshadowing – Marcus Sedgwick
Human Remains – Elizabeth Haynes
Zom-B Underground (Zom-b #2) – Darren Shan
The Dead in their Vaulted Arches – Alan Bradley
Good Omens – Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman

* They are not exactly all ‘Horrors’

I’ll also be spotlighting my Favourite Freaky Reads and Films, discussing the weird and wonderful things I love (and probably hate) about the horror genre, and maybe even visiting some Graveyards. So watch this space.

Are you a Horror Fan? Get Involved: What to you think I should read first? Do you have a favourite on the list above? Want to discuss or rant about something Horror/Halloween related? I’m always up for guests posts. Get in touch!

xxLipsyxx

Coming Soon!

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Title: Let the Games Begin
Author:Niccolò Ammaniti
Details: Translated
Expected Publication: 1st August 2013 by Canongate Books

In Let the Games Begin, internationally best-selling author Niccolò Ammaniti, winner of the prestigious Strega Prize, fuses a riotous dose of anarchic absurdity with a clear-eyed critique of contemporary society caught in a narcissistic spiral of longing and striving.

It begins on the night of the most decadent party of the century. A rags-to-riches real estate magnate has planned an over-the-top weekend safari for the who’s-who of celebrities at his sprawling residence in Villa Ada—once a public park, now the largest private home in Rome. Starlets, politicians, soccer stars, and intellectuals all turn up to rub elbows. Among them is a neurotically charming author struggling to write his next literary tome and pining for renewed recognition. In an unexpected turn of events, he crosses paths with The Wilde Beasts of Abaddon, a satanic sect planning to ruin the evening’s festivities in order to go down in history as a world-famous cult. What was intended as the most spectacular fête of the year quickly descends into apocalyptic chaos. In this satirical tragicomedy, Ammaniti reveals a side of modern culture riddled with superficiality and vulgarity that nourishes our deepest dreams and insecurities.

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Title: The Wolves of Midwinter (The Wolf Gift Chronicles #2)
Author: Anne Rice
Details: Hardback
Expected Publication: November 7th 2013 by Random House UK, Vintage Publishing

It is the beginning of December and it is cold and grey outside. In the stately flickering hearths of the grand mansion of Nideck Point, oak fires are burning. The Morphenkinder are busy getting ready for the ancient pagan feast of midwinter. Everyone is invited, including some of their own who do not wish them well…

Reuben Golding, the newest of the Morphenkinder, is struggling with his new existence as a Man Wolf, struggling to learn to control his desires and bloodthirsty urges. His pure, luminous girlfriend Laura seems all set to join him in this new way of life, but Reuben is not at all certain he will love her if she becomes as he is. Beyond the mansion, the forest echoes with howling winds, which carry with them tales of a strange nether world, and of spirits – centuries old – who possess their own fantastical ancient histories and taunt with their dark, magical powers.

As preparations for the feast gather pace, destiny continues to hound Reuben, not least in the form of a strange, tormented ghost who appears at the window, unable to speak. But he is not alone: before the festivities are over, choices must be made – choices which will decide the fate of the Morphenkinder for ever.

I’m really excited about both of these!

Bloody Good Fun (pun intended): The Eye of the Moon (Bourbon Kid #2) by Anonymous – A Mini-Review.

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Following a massive rampage that left the streets of Santa Mondega soaked with blood, the elusive supernatural serial killer known only as the Bourbon Kid is now himself being haunted. Hot on his heels are several vampire gangs, the Secret Service, a couple of werewolves, corrupt cops, and the Dark Lord himself, and none will rest until he is dead. But the Kid has a vengeance of his own to wreak, and young lovers Dante and Kacy, hapless bartender Sanchez, Peto the Hubal monk, and the mysterious Jessica will each be drawn into the escalating vortex of violence.

Let me start by saying that this book is not for everyone.

  • If gory, mindless violence offends you, you shouldn’t read this book.
  • If colourful, constant swearing offends you, you shouldn’t read this book.
  • If laughing at religion and sexism offends you, you shouldn’t read this book.

And most importantly, if you only like your vampires to be the sparkly kind, you really shouldn’t read this book.

However….

If the idea of Elvis as a Hitman, a vampire clan of corrupt cops called the Filthy Pigs, a useless rap-star werewolf and a cowardly bartender who serves his own piss instead of whisky sounds like your idea of a party, then you are going to LOVE this series.

If you’ve seen any of the Tarantino/Rodriguez Grindhouse films or trailers, imagine the most ridiculous and gory one, convert it to a novel and BAM – there it is. If you have no idea what I’m referring to then this quote from the back of the book also sums it up pretty well:

Possibly drug-induced lunacy of a book – 4 stars” [Zoo Magazine]

With all of these ridiculous, mainly evil characters trying to get their hands on the Eye of the Moon and avoid The Bourbon Kid at all costs, this sequel to The Book With No Name is a fast-paced blackest-of-black comedy that is a whole lot of fun. I felt that the plot wasn’t quite as strong as the first book but I enjoyed finding out more about The Bourbon Kid and where he came from and I hope I can get my hands on the next one in series soon.

Details: Paperback, 384 pages. Published April 1st 2009 by Michael O’Mara (first published 2008)
Unicorn Rating: 4/5
Is it a keeper? Yes!
Start With: The Book With No Name.