WWW Wednesday!

It’s Hump Day again…it might not be Friday yet but at least it’s not Monday either. I’m especially longing for the weekend this week because I’m going home to see my family. There’s a folk festival on in a little village near my hometown on Saturday and we’re having a *do not jinx the weather* BBQ for father’s day on Sunday. IS IT FRIDAY YET?

Nope, guess I’ll have to waste some time with a WWW Wednesday then.

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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:
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

Click to view on GoodReads.
Click to view on GoodReads.
Early days with this one yet so I’ll reserve judgement for now. So far I’ve enjoyed two things – The idea of Cinnamon Lemons (yum) and this description. ‘Calo had dark liquor-coloured skin and hair like an inky slice of night.’

Just Finished:
Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan. See my review here.

Up Next:
Either the Ruby Redfort book, ‘Take Your Last breath’ or this:

Click to view on Goodreads
Click to view on Goodreads
I love the Skulduggery Pleasant series so I’m eager to read this Spin-off.

Leave a link to your post!

The Verdict: Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares

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. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York?Excerpt & Image from GoodReads7741325

I was a little, tiny bit disappointed about Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy it, I did, but it just didn’t live up to the standards of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Once again Rachel Cohn & David Levithan collaborated on this with Rachel writing Lily’s chapters and David writing Dash’s. I wonder if they’ve ever thought about doing it the other way round??

Dash’s is 100% Levithan – Cute, geeky and sensitive in a hot way, and pretty metrosexual. I haven’t read any other Rachel Cohn so I can only compare Lily to Norah…I was expecting a similar character- quirky, insecure and feisty- but she was just a bit of a let down. I’m glad she was different, don’t get me wrong, she’s not supposed to be Norah but I think the main reason I didn’t LOVE this book is because me and Lily just wouldn’t get on. She wears her school uniform in the Christmas Holidays (who does that?). She is just SO nice it’s sickening. She doesn’t even approve of swearing. I don’t think we could be friends. And I don’t think she’s a good match for Dash.

Lily does love Christmas though, as do I, so you’d think that would endear me to her. But no.

I love Christmas. I love everything about it: the lights, the cheer the big family gatherings, the cookies, the presents piled high around the tree. The goodwill to all. I know it’s technically goodwill to all men, but in my mind I drop the men because that seems segregationist/elitist/sexist generally bad ist. Goodwill shouldn’t be just for men. It should also apply to women and children, and all animals, even the yucky ones like subway rats. I’d even extend the goodwill not just to living creatures but to the dearly departed, and if we include them we might as well include the undead, those supposedly mythic beings like vampires, and if they’re in, then so are elves, fairies and gnomes.

She is so different to Norah that I couldn’t even picture her as Kat Dennings whom I’m a bit obsessed with so that was disappointing too. She just didn’t fit.

There are definitely flashes of brilliance though. One of the first things I didn’t like about the story is that Lily is basically a fraud. Dash has found the notebook and is traipsing all over New York during the holidays to fulfill these dares, and here he is thinking he’s met this quirky, clever, slightly insane, out-spoken girl (he’s clearly picturing Kat Dennings too) when really the whole thing was her brother’s idea and she’s just sort of going along with it. But then, I guess that’s what it’s like when when you’re just getting to know someone. You find out one thing about them and it defines who they are to you. If you ask me, first impressions are worthless.

I mean like most guys, you carry around this girl in your head, who is exactly how you want her to be. The person you think you will love the most. And every girl you are with gets measured against this girl in your head. So this girl with the red notebook- it makes sense. If you never meet her, she never has to get measured. She can be the girl in your head.

I think Dash would agree with me.

I wanted to write it down. I wanted to share it with Lily, even if Lily was really just the idea I’d created of Lily, the concept of Lily. . . I sat back and let my thoughts flow out. Not directed at her this time. Not directed at all. It would be just like water, or blood. It would go wherever it was meant to go.

Overall Dash & Lily is a really enjoyable read, just don’t expect it to be as poignant (I really hate that word but there’s no better in this case) or as beautiful as Nick & Norah.

I give Dash & Lily's Book of Dares 3 unicorns (out of 5 unicorns). It would be 3.5 unicorns but I can't cut a unicorn in half, that would be devastating.

This edition was published by Mira Ink, Oct 2012 and belongs to Dora. Thanks Dora 🙂

The Verdict: Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

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

There are just many things to be said about Bitterblue but let’s start with the basics. It’s the third book in the Graceling Realm Trilogy by Kristin Cashore and it looks beautiful.

In Graceling, we entered a world of seven kingdoms where some people are born graced with any number of unique skills or abilities and where we first meet Katsa, seemingly graced with the skill of killing and under the command of King Randa. Katsa becomes increasingly frustrated and depressed about being used in such a cruel way and when Prince Po comes along their journey together slowly reveals just how corrupt the seven kingdoms really are. In Fire, we’re transported to The Dells, a kingdom of ‘rainbow coloured monsters and underground labyrinths’ where Fire, the last human monster is both hated and obsessed over, constantly assaulted for being so irresistible and who refuses to use her mind control to steal people’s memories and secrets.

By the time we come to Bitterblue, it is several years after King Leck’s tyrannous and torturous reign in Graceling and we follow the young Queen Bitterblue as she attempts to rebuild her kingdom; a kingdom that is still deeply affected by her father’s spell over them. But how can you rebuild something that is based on lies and secrets and despicable acts? Especially when the people who were most under Leck’s spell are the ones closest to Bitterblue?

There are so many things I love about this book. I enjoyed Fire, but as soon I opened this it felt like I was coming back home. I was eager to meet up with Katsa and Po again and it didn’t disappoint despite the fact that they weave in and out of the narritive. I think Cashore could easy have ridden the wave of their romance and made that the main strand of this book but I think this portrays a much more realistic and exciting relationship. It’s certainly refreshing to see these characters living their own lives, putting the important things first and not just glaring at each other with puppy-dog eyes. They are definitely not the puppy-dog eyes types!

I love how this story slowly builds momentum. We find the clues as Bitterblue finds them -one by one- linking what really happened during Leck’s time to just how many secrets and lies are being maintained within the city walls. I found myself even more confused than Bitterblue as to who to trust and who to investigate. However, I did feel like there was a lull in the middle where the pace could have been picked up and I just wanted to grab Bitterblue and shake her yelling ‘haven’t you learnt by now you can’t trust anyone, get on with it!’

I enjoyed the mix of the old and new here too. Whenever I think of Kings, Queens and castles, whether it’s in this universe or a fictional one I think of times gone by, but Cashore’s world is full of modern themes making no fuss over boys and girls fighting each other, same-sex relationships, sex before marriage, birth control, or a Queen who wears trousers and slips out of the castle at night to smooch with a thief. And is it just me or is it completely devoid of religion? Hallelujah!

Cashore has created an in-depth world of strong, kick-ass girls, epic sword-fights, passion, and intriguing mystery. Essentially, Bitterblue and those before it are about the abuse of control and power, facing up to horrible truths and having the strength to overcome the impossible.

Bitterblue is published by Gollancz and I received a copy in exchange for a review as part of their Gollancz Geeks Blog.

Favourites Friday #2: Alice in Wonderland and why I have so many copies!

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Is it excessive to have four different versions of a book? Usually I’d say yes, but not where Alice in Wonderland concerned. As I’m sure is the same for a lot of people – Alice has been one of favourites practically from birth. I don’t actually remember my parents reading it to me but I’m sure they did. Along with The Chronicles of Narnia, Alice is a book I always come back to and I can’t ever remember a time of not having a copy close by.

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This is my bog-standard copy that I’ve had since Uni. I love it because it is battered and tatty and full of almost illegible notes from various essays I had to write.
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This was just a cheap copy I picked up in my teens which introduced me to some of Carroll’s other works including his plays and essays. I’m not sure if I’ve ever read it front to back…I really should.

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Then there’s my favourite.
It’s not particularly old, 1980, but you don’t see many Through the Looking Glass stand-alones these days. I found this in a charity shop and had to buy it. The eight full-page illustration plates by Tenniel are beautiful in colour.

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Books 006

Which also has the addition of The Wasp in a Wig which I’d not seen before. Books 009

And this is a 2009 Penguin Classic special edition with canvas boards and various extra notes on the text that my friend Dora gave to me. So pretty!Books 010

I love them all for all different reasons so I can’t bring myself to get rid of any of them. Oh, and I’m pretty sure if I went rummaging in my parents attic I’d be able to find the copy I grew up with. I’d love to see that again. I bet it smells amazing! I’m actually going home next weekend, I’ll try and find it if I get the time.

It’s 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:

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!

WWW Wednesdays!

My first ever WWW Wednesdays post! 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:

7962513 – Bitterblue by Krisitn Cashore. I loved the other two books in this series. I’m sad that it’s coming to an end. Start with Graceling. Also…the covers are SO pretty and kick ass.

Recently Read:
Soulless – Soulless by Gail Carriger. I really liked this in the end, it made me do a few LOLs. Read my review here.

Next Up:
7741325 – Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. These two also collaborated on Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist which I read for the first time recently and loved. So I have high hopes for this one too.

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.

Fire by Kristin Cashore: Some thoughts so far

It's not just her name that's hot! Click to view Fire on GoodReads.
It’s not just her name that’s hot!
Click to view Fire on GoodReads.

I had planned on finishing and reviewing Fire last night but alas, it was relatively sunny outside so I ended up in the beer garden having a debate about drawing a cock on Mars and putting cancer in prison (don’t ask), such is life.

It’s taken me nigh on 200 pages to really get into this but that’s not really a reflection on the book (It’s good!). I think I was just so in love with the first book in the series, Graceling that I was in mourning over it. I mean, I’d just come to terms with fancying a character called Po and allowed myself to swoon over him and then it ended. But it’s all OK, I thought, I can get the second book off my partner in YA crime, Di, and all will be OK….BUT THERE’S NO PO IN IT? WHAAAT?

But do not fret. There may be no Po, (still a really, really stupid name!) but there is Prince Brigan. Oh hello. He’s not described as being particularly hot, but he has a scar on his upper-lip (why is that so fhfgygvklso?). He’s pretty aloof to start with but that just adds to the charm. He’s serious, he’s going to war for god’s sake. All of these things clearly = swoon. But why the hell haven’t they got it on yet? Jesus.

I have about 150 pages to go and if it doesn’t happen soon, there will be hell to pay Dianne Tanner!

Also, Archer needs to get out of my face.

Fire is published by Gollancz.