Top Ten Tuesday #4: Top ten books on my to-be-read pile this Autumn

toptentuesday
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 Books on my to-be-read pile this Autumn.

These aren’t all necessarily new books, but they are the ones I have lined up that I am most exited to read in the next few months.

Autumn Reads2

Autumn Reads1

Feel free to leave a comment with the link to your TTT post so I can check them out!

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare: A reread review plus film rant!

256683

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder — much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing — not even a smear of blood — to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know. . . .

When I first read this last year I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would, or as much as other people expected me to. I didn’t dislike it, but I just wasn’t completely captivated by it. I enjoyed it enough to read the second book but I got distracted by a million other books after that and didn’t continue the series.

This time round however, I enjoyed it more. I forgot how funny Jace was (I found myself having a LOL frequently) and Clary didn’t annoy me as much, although it does still piss me off that she goes on and on about how much she loves Simon (as a friend of course) but always seems to forget he even exists or care how much danger she’s gotten him into.

I was impressed that Cassandra Clare’s story is based in our normal world but she’s created a whole new world within that, rich and complex and with its own history and by the end of the book we have one foot firmly in each side just like Clary does.

I also liked how religion and sexuality were portrayed in a ‘real’ and frank way. Clary questions Jace’s beliefs suggesting that if he believes in demons then he must believe in God.

“I’ve been killing demons for a third of my life. I must have sent five hundred of them back to whatever hellish dimension they crawled out of. And in all that time I’ve never seen an angel. Never even heard of anyone who has.”

My father believed in a righteous God…And when I saw him lying dead in a pool of his own blood, I knew then that I hadn’t stopped believing in God. I’d just stopped believing God cared. There might be a God Clary, and there might not, but I don’t think it matters. Either way, we’re on our own”

It’s clear to Clary that Alec is in love with Jace and I liked the fact that no one has an issue with it but they worry about the reaction from ‘the elders’ which definitely reflects our society at the moment. Naturally, the Jace/Alec bromance/unrequited attraction was hot!

Howwwwwever, the chapters dragged for me and seemed way too long than was necessary. I think it could have done with another edit to cut out some of the filler. And what is it with YA novels where the female protagonists are just so dumb when it comes to romance??? It’s like writers are scared of having a character who can admit to themselves that someone fancies them, as if we’ll think they’re vain or arrogant or something. They’re all like, ohmygod, why is he looking at me like that, he must hate me. Or, ohmygod he couldn’t possibly like me even though everything he has ever said or done has proved that he does.

None of it had been real anyway. Jace might be an exceptional kisser but he didn’t care about her at all. He’d said as much.”

Arrgh.

But other than that, I’m glad I gave this another go and will hopefully continue with the series at some point.

AND NOW FOR THE INEVITABLE FILM RANT ***MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD – 1ST BOOK ONLY****

Oh, where to start.

1. Never before have 3 hot men been made to look so unattractive. Whyyyyy? Jonathan Rhys Meyers is hot. Jamie Campbell Bower is hot. Robert Sheehan is hot. In City of Bones they look like this:
tmi-trailer-2-forweb-cropped-341mortal_instruments_jonathan_rhys_meyer

robertsheehan

Not very hot.

2. The whole Simon not being turned into a rat thing: Isabelle was supposed to be much more of a bitch than she was in the film and was supposed to let Simon drink the blue drink that turns him into a rat. I don’t have an issue about him not becoming a rat, but why include the drink in that case? In this version someone spikes Simon’s drink and Isabelle tries to stop him drinking it. She fails…but it doesn’t do anything to him anyway. Pointless.

3. The vampire fight scene in the hotel was awesome but why does Simon say they kidnapped him to get the cup…why do they want the cup??? They were just trying to get revenge for them ruining their vampire motorbikes…which don’t exist in this version. Tenuous.

4. Magnus Bane…really? I was picturing a flamboyant, hot version of Elton John but we get this:
Godfreymagnus

5. Jace’s quips and sarcasm just didn’t translate. I’m assured that Jamie Campbell Bowers .. is a good actor but he was just wooden and flat.

6. The whole last 40 minutes or so just went batshit. Did they lose the script? What was Hodge doing? Why are we told that Valentine is just going to lie about Jace being his son – we’re all supposed to think it’s the truth the whole time- and why would Jace even believe him? He gave him no reason to. Plus how/why has Clary ended up with the Mortal Cup…Valentine is supposed to have it…therefore I have no idea what they’ll do for the next film….oh there’s not going to be a next film because this one did so badly. RAGE.

7. The kiss was pretty hot.

8. There was no homoerotic bromance going on between Alec & Jace. Which made me sad.

I’m sure I could go on but I won’t. I didn’t hate it, which is a feat. The action was good but it was way too long and lost its way towards the end. It provided me and Dora (Hi Dora – please add your additions below!) with many laughs however. All for the wrong reasons of course.

Here Endeth the Rant.

A Confused Werewolf in Pennsylvania: Hemlock Grove by Brian Mcgreevy

12510849
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.

I feel like Hemlock Grove desperately wants to be Dracula (but y’know with Werewolves) when in fact it’s just one big mess. I finished reading this over a week ago and this whole time I’ve just been thinking what the hell WAS that!?’ I honestly didn’t know whether to rate it 1 or 5, it was that baffling.

Initially I appreciated the style, Mcgreevy was clearly trying to mimic the old school gothic lit of the past and give it a fresh going over, but it just didn’t work….I don’t think. The more I read the more I realised that his writing is so over the top and so laden with unnecessary symbolism that I had no idea what was going on, but I couldn’t stop. It was like watching a car crash.

For some reason I was interested in the story. The murders were brutal and gory (to my liking) and I enjoyed the ‘whodunnit’ element. Peter goes around telling everyone he’s a werewolf so obviously he’s prime suspect number one, even though no one really seems that bothered that he’s a werewolf, and I don’t really understand why they believe him in the first place because we don’t actually see any Werewolf action for most of the book. Or did I miss that? I honestly have no idea.

The other suspect is Roman. who’s a bit of a dick. That’s pretty much all I have to say about him, but I did like the dynamic between the two who then team up to discover the real truth about what’s going on. They definitely had some kind of homoerotic bromance going on, which kept me reading, obviously.

Shelley is a character who provides some Gothic Horror GOLD. She’s practically a giant with blocks on her feet, who is mute, glows demonically and is clearly supposed to be the Frankenstein’s Monster of the story. I think Shelley did work in that she pertains to the gothic atmosphere and provokes the questions ‘what/when/how/who’ but I don’t really understand how she fits into the ‘normal’ small town without people batting an eyelid. Odd.

I did really enjoy the setting though. The mystery and creepiness of the Biotech facility -which you can’t help but suspect is behind Shelley and the deaths – created an industrial, gothic feel to it which is new. Industrial Gothic…now there’s a genre we’ve been waiting for, no? The White Tower at least made the story plausible in that you can pretty much explain everything on scientific experiments, right?

I think that if McGreevy wasn’t concentrating so hard on nailing the Gothic Horror genre, and concentrated on just telling a good story that Hemlock Grove could be 100% better. But as it is it just seems a bit pretentious. The terrible grammar and inconsistencies made each sentence a chore. A CHORE. And the dialogue was just laughable.

Some of my favourite baffling lines:

She pulled Peter into a hug and kissed his cheek and gave his ponytail an annoyed jerk and harangued him didn’t he have a girlfriend to cut his hair.

So many things wrong with that sentence. WTF?

He pronounced ‘this’ in the phonetically correct fashion, but somehow it still rhymed with ‘us’.

???

‘Her Heart was a flicked mold of gelatin’ – What the hell does that mean???

A quality of thereness was missing from his face, his green eyes were windows to nothing. He was mercurial.

“Of course, minute as its impact may be in our physical universe, the fact of quantum entanglement is this: If one logically inexplicable thing is known to exist, then this permits the existence of all logically inexplicable things. A thing may be of deeper impossibility than another, in the sense that you can be more deeply underwater–but whether you are five feet or five fathoms from the surface you are still all wet.” You what now?”

Not to mention chapter titles such as ‘God doesn’t want you to be happy, he wants you to be strong’, Peter’s hierarchy of shit he can live without’ and ‘The most fun a girl can have without taking her clothes off’. Brilliant.

So yeah, Hemlock Grove is entertaining in a way but so overwritten it’s hard to get to the actual story. I hope they did a better job with the TV series.

Details: Paperback, 319 pages. Published March 27th 2012 by FSG Originals. Thanks to Di for lending me this(I think)
My Rating: 3 out of 5 Unicorns (I think)
Is it a keeper? It’s not mine, but err no.
If you liked this try: Dracula

WWW Wednesday!

www_wednesdays4

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: Once again I am blaming my friends’ wedding for my lack of reading time (the wedding was awesome and beautiful and epic btw) so I’m still reading Frost Hollow Hall by Emma Carroll. No reflection on the book, I am really loving it now I’ve had time to sit down and read it. Will get a review posted in the next few days. I also picked up City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments) again as I want to reread it before I go and see the film (which looks pretty rubbish).

Recently Finished: Hemlock Grove by Brian McGreevy I finished this last week and it was one of those books that I didn’t know whether to give 1 Unicorn or 5, so I settled for 3. I’ll try to formulate a review in the next few days.

Up Next: I honestly have no idea…I have so many to choose from.

Leave a comment with the link to your post!

WWW Wednesday!

What a week! I have been recovering from a Bank Holiday Hen Party Extravaganza so it’s been a slow reading week for me. Looking forward to my friend’s wedding this weekend though! Therefore I am apologising in advance for lack of updates.

But Happy Wednesday Everyone. I did manage to finish one book and I have no idea how to review it!

www_wednesdays4

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: Frost Hollow Hall – Emma Carroll

View on Goodreads
View on Goodreads

Recently Finished: Hemlock Grove – Brian McGreevy

View on Goodreads
View on Goodreads

Up Next: I’m under instructions from my friend Dora to re-read The Mortal Instruments before we go and see the film. I couldn’t decide if I liked it the first time round and gave up after book 2. But I’d like to be able to compare them with it fresh in my mind.

WWW Wednesday!

www_wednesdays4

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: Hemlock Grove by Brian McGreevy According to Goodreads it’s an exhilarating reinvention of the gothic novel, inspired by the iconic characters of our greatest myths and nightmares, according to my friend Di, it is so terrible I will love it.

Recently Finished:
51LCpAM70DL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_SX385_SY500_CR,0,0,385,500_SH20_OU02_
The Mysterium: The Black Dragon by Julian Sedgwick
This was a fun read but it didn’t have a lot to it.

12755985

I also finished Water By Terra Harmony which gave me a lot of ranting material even though I liked it a lot. My Review is here.

Up Next: I kinda just want to read The Selection and The Elite again. Send help!

WWW Wednesday!

Happy Wednesday everyone!

www_wednesdays4

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:

Water (Akasha #1) by Terra Harmony.
12755985
I’m not LOVING this so far but I have the feeling it is going to improve.

I’m also reading The Mysterium: The Black Dragon by Julian Sedgwick which I received from Hodder via World Book Day.

Click to view on Amazon
Click to view on Amazon

East meets West; past meets present; criminal minds meet skilled artists – welcome to the Mysterium, a circus with dark and thrilling secrets at its heart.

Twelve-year-old Danny Woo is half-Chinese, half-British. His parents are performers in the Mysterium. Following their death in a mysterious fire, Danny is sent to live with his aunt Laura, an investigative journalist. When Danny’s school is closed after an explosion, he joins Laura on a trip to Hong Kong. She is researching the Triad gangs; he is trying to understand more about his cultural background.

But Laura disappears, and Danny is plunged into a dangerous quest to find her – which opens the door on the past he could never have imagined, and which leads him to question everything he has ever known about his past.

Just Finished I finished Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas which I loved. I’ll get a review posted soon.

Up Next: Hemlock Grove by Brian McGreevy
12510849
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.Leave a comment with your link 🙂

WWW Wednesday!

Happy Wednesday everyone!

www_wednesdays4

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:
12510849
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! 🙂

The Verdict: Soulless – Gail Carriger

Cheap clothing is no excuse for killing a man! Click to view on Goodreads
Cheap clothing is no excuse for killing a man!
Click to view on Goodreads

Synopsis: First, she has no soul. Second, she’s a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire – and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London’s high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

As I mentioned before, I don’t really know anything about Steampunk. Other than the fact that it’s everywhere at the moment, I like the clothes but would never be able to pull it off and that there seems to be a whole lot of what I can only describe as gold binocular type goggles and mechanical Blimps, or Glassicles and Dirigibles as I now know them to be (see, learning). That being said, I actually really enjoyed that element of the story. It brought a new dimension to your average ‘Paranormal Romance’ genre.

Soulless is basically a sort of Victorian mystery-cum-paranormal-romance in which Miss Alexia ‘I’m the one with no soul’ Tarabotti accidentally kills a feral, unregistered vampire with her parasol. Oh, how very uncouth! This results in her spending more time with Lord Maccon of BUR – The Bureau of Unnatural Registration – whose job it is to investigate such improper occurrences. Chaos and an unlikely romance ensues. Obviously.

After the initial LOLs from the almost farcical “Victorian” language Carriger uses,(can you image a vampire saying ‘she is trying to make a funny’? No, me neither) there’s actually a lot to like in this book. Lord Maccon for one. Hot, Scottish (‘of all barbaric places’) Werewolf type who I like to picture as Simon from Biffy Clyro:

Simon 'Sexy Jesus' Neil AKA Lord Maccon.
Simon ‘Sexy Jesus’ Neil AKA Lord Maccon.

AND we later come across a character named Biffy! Coincidence? I think not!

The fact that pale girls with some flesh on their bones are the desirable ones is also a confidence booster, good work Victorians. And well , it’s all pretty funny really. I’m still not entirely sure if I was laughing at it, or with it. Probably a bit of both, but either way it brought a smile to my face.

I made some really in-depth review notes for your perusal:

Don't call him your mistress!!!
Don’t call him your mistress!!!
Excellent Vocab!
Excellent Vocab!
Angry-sticking-up-for-his-but-not-his-woman-hot-Werewolf-action!
Angry-sticking-up-for-his-but-not-his-woman-hot-Werewolf-action!

I’ll definitely have a go on the next in the series! I give it 4 Unicorns. (Out of 5 Unicorns, BTW)

Soulless is published by Orbit.

A Novel of Vampires, Werewolves and Parasols?

I’m in one of those moods where I can’t decide what I want to do: Go out; stay in; watch something; read something; do some housework…I’m annoying myself!

So I just picked up Soulless by Gail Carriger which I’ve had lying around for months and from the first chapter all I can say is LOL. It’s already hilariously bad, which by the way, is one of my favourite genres. Is this Steampunk? apparently it is…I can’t say I really understand the whole Steampunk thing but nevertheless I have a feeling that this is going to be either complete trashy brilliance or absolute utter bollocks.

See for yourself…

To put the pudding in the puff: she had retreated to the library, her favourite sanctuary in any house, only to happen upon an unexpected vampire.

She glared at the vampire.

For his part, the vampire seemed to feel that their encounter had improved his ball experience immeasurably. For there she sat, without escort, in a low-necked ball gown.

Oh, and now the vampire is dead. That was quick. (Not a spoiler – it’s in the blurb!)

We have also just encountered Lord Maccon, a (probably) hot werewolf with a scottish accent. Pretty much anyone with a Scottish accent is hot, right? And now I’m picturing Fit Hemsworth in Snow White and the Huntsman. Nice.

I’m not sure why I’m only reading books with Lords in lately, or for that matter only ones with young ladies in exceptional attire on the covers.

You just wait for my The Selection/Elite rant…just saying.