Friday, 30 August 2013

Monthly Wrap Up - August 2013

I can't believe that its the end of August already. I managed to read quite a few books this month. Only 8 more books until I reach my goal of 100.

Book of the Month:

My book of the month is All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill. This is a mind bending story that was completely brilliant. It's one of the best books I have read this year. What are you waiting for, go find a copy at your local bookseller or library.

Books Reviewed in the Month of August:

Indelible by Dawn Metclaf
Banish by Nicola Marsh
Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
Chosen at Nightfall by C.C Hunter
Black City by Elizabeth Richards
For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
Earthbound by Aprilynne Pike
All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill
Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian
The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke
If I Should Die by Amy Plum
Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

Elsewhere on the Blog:

Cheatsheet for Indelible
A to Z Survey
Books for the Freezer

Review: Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

Title: Out of the Easy
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Publisher: Pengiun
Release Date: 12th February 2013
Source: Bought
Rating: 4 out of 5

Description: Josie Moraine wants out of The Big Easy - she needs more than New Orleans can offer. Known locally as a brothel prostitute's daughter, she dreams of life at an elite college, far away from here. But then a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie caught between her ambition and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans is luring Josie deeper in as she searches for the truth, and temptation beckons at every turn.

Out of the Easy is a touching story about a girl who grew up in the clandestine world of New Orleans.  This book has what I would call old school charm. Its heart warming and devastating at the same time, with interspersed humor.  Set in New Orleans in the 1950’s Ruta Sepetys paints a very vibrant picture of life in the Quarter.  This book has its own identity. Out if the Easy does not shy away from a clandestine world of crime but embraces it.  This book is slower paced. Instead of a plot driven story, this book is a character exploration. It takes us into Josie’s life and explores the decisions, expectations and dreams of a young girl who’s had a very tough life.

Josie is the daughter of a prostitute. She has a tumultuous relationship with her mother and has lived on her own since the age of 11. She cleans the house for the local madam Willie and works in a bookstore. This is not the life she wants, she wants out of New Orleans and an education in a top university.  However her dreams are dashed when unfortunate circumstances have Josie caught between leaving and staying wrapped up in the underground world of the Quarter. Josie is a beautifully flawed character. She is a product of her environment, with plenty of intelligence, independence and street smarts. When push came to shove, she was very bold and willing to get herself dirty when she wants something. She has decisions to make this book. These decisions are not to be taken lightly but ones with lasting consequences that will haunt her. As the book goes on, there is a desperation that creeps into Josie. As they say desperate times call for desperate measures and lead Josie down a path to make some bad judgment calls.

Josie also has to reconcile who she is compared to who she wants to be. This book highlights the differences between the social orders. Being the daughter of a prostitute, Josie has balance the perception of how people see her, with what she views herself to be. There is a whole cast of eccentric and diverse secondary characters in this book, right from sleazy men to the girls working in the house. I loved the Madam Willie. She was blunt, fierce and loyal.  She was a surrogate mother to Josie. Cokie was charming.  The girls who worked the brothel were all distinct layered characters with ambiguous traits.  I hated Josie’s mother, and if you read this book you will understand why. I liked the portal of the world of crime. The criminal activities weren’t frowned upon it and the prostitutes were not tragic souls in need of saving. These characters were completely three-dimensional with flawed personalities. 

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Review: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Title: Across the Universe
Author: Beth Revis
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: 3rd March 2011
Source: Bought
Rating: 4 out of 5

Description: AMY has left the life she loves for a world 300 years away. Trapped in space and frozen in time, Amy is bound for a new planet. But fifty years before she's due to arrive, she is violently woken, the victim of an attempted murder. Now Amy's lost on board and nothing makes sense - she's never felt so alone. Yet someone is waiting for her. He wants to protect her - and more if she'll let him

Across the Universe by Beth Revis is some of the finest Science Fiction I have come across in young adult literature. Simply put this book is brilly, as Elder would say. This is one voyage on a spaceship that is not to be missed. The story was fast paced, intense, emotional and action packed with plenty of shocking twits and turns. The pages just flew by.

Told from dual points of view, Across the Universe is a murder mystery set in the wilderness of space.  Across the Universe is about the spaceship Godspeed, which is enroute to a new planet 300 years away from earth. Godspeeds mission is to inhabit and colonise this new plant. Amy and her parents have been frozen aboard the ship, only to be woken when the ship lands, in order to carry out their mission. However unfortunate circumstances lead to Amy being woken up 50 years early as a victim of an attempted murder.  Amy is now alone on a ship that is drastically different from anything else she has known.  To survive Amy tries to find the murderer along with Elders help. The attempt to find the murderer results in the unraveling of hidden secrets, which forever change the future of Godspeed.  In this book up is down and down is up.

This story pulled me in from the first paragraph. When you first learn about Elder’s life aboard the ship, you can feel the unnaturalness of it all. There's a feeling of wrongness. You can just see how creepy the situation is.  The plot focus on a lot of heavy hitting topics such as race, politics, and dictatorship. There’s plenty of discussion about morality, discord and differences between people. This book definitely makes a political impact and is graphical. If that is something that you don’t like to read than I would give this book a miss. Despite the darker themes of the book, there’s a message of change/revolution interwoven throughout the story.  There were so many secrets hidden on the spaceship. As the mysteries and injustices of this ship come to light the more you learn the about the extreme nature of the situation. I was shocked by the lies on this ship and the chaos they caused.  The one issue minor issue I had was that it was very easy to figure out who the murderer was.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

W..W..W.. Wednesdays #4

W.W.W Wednesdays is a weekly event bought to you by MizB from Should Be Reading 

It feels like this week is slowing dragging its feet. I wish the weekend would just get here. Enough whinging, It's Wednesday and that means its time to let you all know what I've been reading. Hope everyone has a good week.

What are you currently reading?
At the moment I'm reading Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys. So far I'm really intrigued by Josie's life and all the criminal activities she's in the middle of.

What did you recently finish reading?
I just finished Across the Universe by Beth Revis. This book was, as Elder would say Brilly. I loved all the science fiction elements and it had so many shocking moments.

What do you think you'll read next?
I really want to get started on The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon. On the other hand, I have so many books that I have bought and not read. Might dust some of these off.

Thats all for me. Let me know what you guys have on this weeks reading list.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Review: If I Should Die by Amy Plum

Title: If I Should Die
Author: Amy Plum
Publisher: Atom
Release Date: 1st May 2013
Rating: 3 out of 5

Description: I will not lose another person I love. I will not let history repeat itself. Vincent waited lifetimes to find me, but in an instant our future together was shattered. He was betrayed by someone we both called a friend, and I lost him. Now our enemy is determined to rule over France s immortals, and willing to wage a war to get what they want. It shouldn’t be possible, none of it should be, but this is my reality. I know Vincent is somewhere out there, I know he s not completely gone, and I will do anything to save him. After what we’ve already fought to achieve, a life without Vincent is unimaginable. He once swore to avoid dying - to go against his nature and forsake sacrificing himself for others - so that we could be together. How can I not risk everything to bring my love back to me?

This review contains spoilers that have been hidden. Highlight the text to view spoilers.

If I Should Die is the final book in Amy Plum’s Revenants trilogy. Once again this tale of love, death and immortality delves into the romantic and history filled world of the Revenants. This series has been a pleasure to read, with its unique take on supernatural people. The final instalment sees the return of beloved characters and gives them a wonderful farewell that is full of possibility.

I have enjoyed this series since the minute I began reading Die for Me.  The elements that attracted me to this series, the romance, history and mythology are still a huge part of this book. The Revenants have an extensive history that ties in with humans. It’s interesting to see their past being explored more in If I Should Die. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy this book but I did have a few issues. When I picked up this book I found that I was not invested in these characters as I used to be. I think part of it is due to time. Having read the last book well over a year ago, I had forgotten most of the mythology involved in this story. It took me about half the book to remember all of the facts and history tied into the plot. If you are like me and have forgotten the history of the Revenants, I would recommend reacquainting yourself with the mythology before reading this book,

This book picks up where the massive cliffhanger left us in Until I Die. Vincent and Kate have been separated, and the book concentrates on finding a solution to their dilemma and bracing for a final showdown with the Violette. I found that there were two distinct parts of this book. There was the first half of this book, which focused on finding a solution to the cliffhanger. This part of the book was a little less action packed and slower paced. It took me awhile to get into the story. The second half is where this story gets interesting and the action all comes to a head culminating in an epic showdown. Questions pertaining to the champion and prophecy are resolved.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Stacking the Shelves #3

Stacking The Shelves is a meme created by Tynga at Tynga's reviews. It is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual.

Hi guys. Hope everyone is having a good weekend. This week I bought these lovely books for my shelves. I've seen a lot of hype surrounding the The Bone Season so I'm looking forward to it.

On the blog this week I posted a few reviews:

That all for me. Let me know what you guys are reading. 

Friday, 23 August 2013

Review: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

Title: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
Author: April Genevieve Tucholke
Publisher: Dial
Release Date: 15th August 2013
Rating: 4 out of 5

Description: Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White’s sleepy, seaside town…until River West comes along. River rents the guesthouse behind Violet’s crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard. Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something more? Violet’s grandmother always warned her about the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who takes naps in the sun, who likes coffee, who kisses you in a cemetery...who makes you want to kiss back. Violet’s already so knee-deep in love, she can’t see straight. And that’s just how River likes it.

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea is a little book of horrors. It all begins with an ancient crumbling estate set on a cliff by the sea, with an eccentrically strange girl and The Devil.  This book is terrifying and messes with your mind. Mark my words it is dark.  But at the same time, this book is mesmerising and completely takes you in.  This book is bound to make an impact. It’s not for everyone, but I sure did enjoy its evil ways.

Violet and her twin brother Luke live in the small town of Echo, in a massive decrepit estate on a cliff by the sea. Their parents have abandoned them to travel around Europe. To make ends meet, Violet rents out the guesthouse to the mysterious River West. From the moment River arrives in town, strange occurrences happen. Soon, rumors of The Devil are whispered around and begin to haunt Violet. Rivers presence also dredges up old family secrets. Secrets that haunted Violet’s grandmother and secrets that will haunt Violet as well.  

The story is very disconcerting to read. But there is a certain quality about the book that makes you keep reading despite all of its crazy. Its creeps up on you. April Tucholke is able to invoke vivid images with her words. Her writing is evocative and fresh at the same time. The words capture your imagination and plunge you into the darkest parts of your mind. As you keep reading, you learn that there is no end to the lengths these characters will go to. Everyone suffers in the end.  This story exposes the darker sides of human conscience. The characters in this book believe that they operate in the grey area when in reality they have firmly crossed the line into black. The book also explores the different levels of evil.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Review: The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith

Title: The Cuckoo’s Calling
Author: Robert Galbraith (J.K Rowling)
Publisher: Sphere
Release Date: 18th April 2013
Rating: 4 out of 5

Description: Detective Cormoran Strike investigates a supermodel's suicide.After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office. Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, thelegendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man. You may think you know detectives, but you've never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you've never seen them under an investigation like this.

The Cuckoos Calling is a meticulously plotted, brilliantly written, intriguing mystery delving into the life and death of model Lula Landry. Set in London, this contemporary mystery focuses on extracting the truth from a myriad of suspects and uncovering the factual circumstances behind Lula’s apparent suicide. The Cuckoos Calling boasts of a down on his luck detective, an eager assistant and a captivating mystery.

The Cuckoo’s Calling is a straight crime novel. Like other murder mysteries I have read, this book is not filled with intense tension and suspense.  There is no pressing need for this mystery to be solved. Lula Landry is a famous model, whose unfortunate death has been ruled a suicide. Her brother John Bristow asks Detective Cormoran Strike to look into the suicide of his famous sister. At face value there seems to be no foul play involved. As Strike delves deeper into the investigation, the details don’t seem to add up. This book is about the cold hard facts of the case, and unearthing the truth behind Lula’s suicide.  This book relies entirely on good old fashion detective work, consisting of interviewing those in Lula’s life and piece by piece putting together the events leading up to her death. Cormoran Strike is a very intelligent and meticulously detective. Along with his training and army background, he relies on methodology, fact gathering and trading favours to unwrap this case.

Cormoran Strike is having a bad time. He is at a crossroads in his life. He has to figure out what direction his life is going in and reconcile that with the type of person he is becoming after leaving the army. When we meet him he’s lost his leg, broken up with his on again and off again girlfriend Charlotte and currently homeless. He also has an interesting parentage that haunts him. Despite his gruff nature, he is a very likeable character who displays a lot of discipline and strong convictions.  Helping Strike in his investigation is his new temp Robin. Robin has a secret ambition to become a detective. She’s also very organised and efficient, with a very enthusiastic attitude. Their relationship is very interesting as it develops. In the beginning it is a begrudging relationship, which turns into awkward acquaintances and ends in a burgeoning friendship.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

W..W..W.. Wednesdays #3

W.W.W Wednesdays is a weekly event bought to you by MizB from Should Be Reading 

It's Wednesday and that means its time to let the world know what I've been reading. When I say the world, I mean this tiny corner of the internet that I call my blog. Hope everyone is having a good week.

What are you currently reading?
At the moment I am re-reading City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. I wanted to read it again before I go see the movie. Its really interesting to go back and discover this world again, especially since I already know where this story goes.

What did you recently finish reading?
I just finished Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke. This story was a little book of horrors, starting the Devil, a decrepit old estate on a cliff and an eccentrically strange girl. It was twisty, dark and very disturbing but in a mesmerising way. If that makes any sense.

What do you think you'll read next?
I am not too sure what to read next. I was thinking If I Should Die by Amy Plum or Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys. I also want to start reading the Across the Universe by Beth Revis, which I have heard a lot about.

Thats all for me. Let me know what you guys have on this weeks reading list.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Review: A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan

Title: A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent
Author: Marie Brennan
Publisher: Tor
Release Date: 5th February 2013
Rating: 3 out of 5

Description: All the world, from Scirland to the farthest reaches of Eriga, know Isabella, Lady Trent, to be the world’s preeminent dragon naturalist. She is the remarkable woman who brought the study of dragons out of the misty shadows of myth and misunderstanding into the clear light of modern science. But before she became the illustrious figure we know today, there was a bookish young woman whose passion for learning, natural history, and, yes, dragons defied the stifling conventions of her day.Here at last, in her own words, is the true story of a pioneering spirit who risked her reputation, her prospects, and her fragile flesh and bone to satisfy her scientific curiosity; of how she sought true love and happiness despite her lamentable eccentricities; and of her thrilling expedition to the perilous mountains of Vystrana, where she made the first of many historic discoveries that would change the world forever.

A Natural History of Dragons is a chronicle of Lady Trent’s first expedition into the study of dragons. In this memoir, Lady Isabella Trent recounts in a strong confident voice her adventures in Vystrana and how they shaped her into the famous dragon naturalist. The memoir starts with her childhood and how various misadventures in her youth led to a lifetime of curiosity about dragon kind.  Right from the start, Isabella is a fleshed out character. From her youngest memories you can see the curiosity and intelligence this women possesses. As Isabella grows up, her curiosity and desire for knowledge continue to be an essential character trait. 

The historical setting of the book is very reminiscent of the Victorian era. The land of Scirland seems to be based on olden day England. It was a time where women were frowned upon for wanting to learn more than was needed. It was a very male dominated society. It was interesting to see Lady Trent’s thoughts on society at the time as she reflects on her naive nature.  Marie Brennan weaves a realistic story about a young girl achieving her wildest dreams, in a society that disapproves of women practicing science.  One of the best parts of the book was learning how Lady Trent overcomes societies conventions to become a naturalist.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Review: Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

Title: Burn for Burn
Author: Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 18th September 2012
Rating: 4 out of 5

Description: Lillia has never had any problems dealing with boys who like her. Not until this summer, when one went too far. No way will she let the same thing happen to her little sister. Kat is tired of the rumours, the insults, the cruel jokes. It all goes back to one person– her ex-best friend– and she's ready to make her pay.
Four years ago, Mary left Jar Island because of a boy. But she's not the same girl anymore. And she's ready to prove it to him.Three very different girls who want the same thing: sweet, sweet revenge. And they won't stop until they each had a taste

Burn for Burn is a soapy drama about revenge and righting apparent wrongs.  Three different empowered girls join forces to extract acts of revenge on those that have wronged them. With added suspense and tension, Burn for Burn contains the usual teenage tropes. The popular rich girl, bitchy head cheerleader, insufferable jock, tomboy and shy girl all play primary roles in this dynamic story about righting wrongs. Set on a small island, Burn for Burn is a quick read with plenty of drama, betrayal and brutal consequences.

Mary, Lillia, and Kat are very different and distinctive characters. Each character had a very unique defined voice. Mary returns to Jar Island as a way to prove that the past is behind her, and that she is ready to move forward. She was a very shy and reserved character, whom we learn more about as her rough childhood is exposed. Lillia is the popular girl at school, rich, beautiful and always in the spotlight.  After an experience changes her, all she wants to do is protect her little sister. Kat is the rebel. She’s a tomboy, with a love of music and a strong need to escape from the island. Kat’s angry with her former best friend Rennie who dumped her for better prospects.  Due to all the betrayal Mary, Lillia and Kat endure; they decide to join forces to punish those who have caused them pain.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Review: All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrrill

Title: All Our Yesterdays
Author: Cristin Terrill
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: 1st August 2013
Rating: 5 out of 5

Description: Em is locked in a bare, cold cell with no comforts. Finn is in the cell next door. The Doctor is keeping them there until they tell him what he wants to know. Trouble is, what he wants to know hasn't happened yet. Em and Finn have a shared past, but no future unless they can find a way out. The present is torture - being kept apart, overhearing each other's anguish as the Doctor relentlessly seeks answers. There's no way back from here, to what they used to be, the world they used to know. Then Em finds a note in her cell which changes everything. It's from her future self and contains some simple but very clear instructions. Em must travel back in time to avert a tragedy that's about to unfold. Worse, she has to pursue and kill the boy she loves to change the future

All Our Yesterdays is bold and brilliant. From the moment I sat down to read this book, I was enthralled. I was so captivated that I stayed up until 2am reading. I couldn’t stop thinking about these characters and their story. Cristin Terrill’s debut is remarkable and leaves a lasting impression. The story is nothing short of ambitious. Terrill encompasses action, romance and politics into a time travel tale filled with tension and suspense. It’s an addictive adventure that will make you turn the pages until the last words.

Time travel books are often a hit or a miss and this was one of the best stories about time travel I have read. The story will leave you grasping for more, despite the satisfying conclusion. All Our Yesterdays is about saving the world and in the process, saving yourself.  In the future, Em is trapped in a cell, along with Finn.  In the past Marina is part of the wealthy elite of Washington and in love with her next-door neighbour James. James is a socially awkward genius who is the key to everything. In the future, Em escapes from her cell along with Finn and travels back to the past to kill James in order to save the future.  She’s tried multiple times in the past to fix the future and this might be her last chance. Told for Em and Marina’s point of view, All Our Yesterdays combines the future and the past to present a plot full of twists and turns.

The plot is elaborate and complicated. The characters from the future merge seamlessly into the past. The timelines all flow into each other flawlessly and click into place like puzzle pieces. There are flashbacks to past events that give insight into the events that occurred in the future and past. These flashbacks also allow great insight into the characters themselves and highlight their motivations. Marina, Em, Finn and James demand your attention and time.  I was completely invested in their story and the outcome.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Books for the Freezer

I love the TV show Friends and have been re-watching a lot of the episodes lately.  There's an episode where Joey puts certain books in the freezer because they make him emotional. For those of you who haven't seen the episode or need a bit of a refresher there is a clip included below. While I was watching this episode it got me thinking about what books I would put in the freezer because they were emotional, scary or just plain shocking. So I thought I would share with you guys my list of books for the cold, dark recesses of the freezer.

Warning: this post contains some spoilers so read at your own risk.

Books for the Freezer:

The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson: 
The THING happens. I haven't recovered from the THING and I don't think I ever will. Maureen Johnson gave me everything I wanted and then ripped it away from me. I wanted to throw this book across the room after I read that but instead I will settle for putting it into the freezer. If you don't know what The Thing is, I highly recommend you read The Shades of London series.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: This book is such an emotional roller coaster that messes with your heart and head. Its sad, depressing and at the same time very funny. I just couldn't stop thinking about this book after I read it. It's a phenomenal read and because of all the emotions it too goes in the freezer.

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare: This book broke my heart. Actually I take that back. The Infernal Devices broke my heart. Will isn't cursed, Tessa's heart is split in two and Jem is dying. These characters cared about each other so much that they sacrificed everything. 

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn: This book has the most messesed up psychotic characters I have ever read. I got to the end and was just shocked. I have no idea what to even make of it. I hope I never meet anyone like that in real life.

Of Poseidon by Anna Banks: This book ends in one hell of a cliffhanger. We finally find out about Nalia and the book just stops, smack bang in the middle of the action. 

Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan: Unspoken is about Kami and Jared and their unconventional relationship. A relationship that ceases to end by the end of the book. Why would you do that Sarah?

Unravelling by Elizabeth Norris: This book is full of suspense and features a race against the clock. A lot of people don't make it through this book but did Alex really need to die at the end? I got to the end and was just hoping that it was a joke. Ben leaves and Alex dies. My heart goes out to Janelle.

The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa: In the end, Ash and Megan are separated after everything they have been through. That was just heart breaking. So grateful that Julie wrote The Iron Knight and we finally got a happy conclusion to their story.

Let me known what books you would put in the freezer? 

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Review: Earthbound by Aprilynne Pike

Title: Earthbound
Author: Aprilynne Pike
Publisher: Harper Collins AU
Release Date: 1st August 2013
Rating: 4 out of 5

Description: Eighteen-year-old Tavia is the only survivor of a plane crash that killed her parents. Grieving and lonely, she starts having strange visions; of a boy she's never met but feels compulsively drawn to. A boy who tells her to do things she never dreamed of. Tavia begins to suspect that secrets are being kept from her, and that her kindly aunt and uncle know more than they are letting on. Was the plane crash really an accident? Or is Tavia part of something bigger than she ever imagined? With only her instincts and long-time crush, Benson, to rely on, Tavia must decide where her destiny lies, and who with

Earthbound is not a groundbreaking new story. Its follows the pattern of many YA books out there about a young girl learning about mysterious powers that she never knew that she had. Despite being a run of the mill story I really enjoyed Aprilynne Pike’s take on this paranormal mystery.  This is my second Pike book, after previously reading Life After Theft and I have to say that she writes some excellent paranormal stories. Earthbound had all the elements I love to read in books. Part paranormal, part mystery and part secret society all wrapped up in a mystifying conspiracy that spans centuries.

Tavia is the only survivor of a plane crash that leaves her completely alone in the world. With the loss of her parents, she moves in with her aunt and uncle who she barley knows and begins the long process of healing both physically and emotionally.  Tavia starts having visions of a stranger who she is drawn to. In addition to the visions she cannot explain, she also sees some strange occurrences in the people and environment around her. As secrets surrounding her past come to light Tavia needs to run away in order to protect herself. She is left to figure out what’s happening to her with the help of her best friend Benson whom she has feelings for. The answers all seem to revolve around the handsome blond stranger in her visions.

The best part of this story was the conspiracy theory that Tavia was smack bang in the middle of.  Although the twists and turns were predictable, I was invested in the mystery and wanted to know what was happening to Tavia and why she had these magical powers. I especially wanted to know who Quinn (the mysterious stranger) was. The mystery gains momentum, moving faster as Tavia learns more about her past and about Quinn.  The story ramps up to an ending that I would say is more of a beginning to the actual story. Pike has built a very strong mythology for these books that I am sure will be further explored in the next book. I loved that the conspiracy and mythology presented in these books, blends together with world history and world events.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

W..W..W.. Wednesdays #2

W.W.W Wednesdays is a weekly event bought to you by MizB from Should Be Reading 

It's Wednesday and I hope everyone is having a good week. If not, hang in there because the weekends nearly here. Here's what I have been up to book wise for the last couple of days.

What are you currently reading?
Just started the first chapter of Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian. I've had my eye on this book for awhile and it's the free book of the week over on Pulseit so I decided to give it a go. 

What did you recently finish reading?
I just finished reading All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill. This book kept me up until 2am and then I couldn't stop thinking about it. Its a brilliant debut and a remarkable book.

What do you think you'll read next?
Up next for me is The Cuckoo's Calling by J.K Rowling and A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent by Marie Brennan. I also plan on re-reading City of Bones by Cassandra Clare before the movie comes out next week.

Thats all for me. Let me know what you guy have on this weeks reading list.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Review: For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

Title: For Darkness Shows the Stars
Author: Diana Peterfreund
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: 12th June 2012
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Description: It's been several generations since a genetic experiment gone wrong caused the Reduction, decimating humanity and giving rise to a Luddite nobility who outlawed most technology. Elliot North has always known her place in this world. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family's estate over love. Since then the world has changed: a new class of Post-Reductionists is jumpstarting the wheel of progress, and Elliot's estate is foundering, forcing her to rent land to the mysterious Cloud Fleet, a group of shipbuilders that includes renowned explorer Captain Malakai Wentforth--an almost unrecognizable Kai. And while Elliot wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she let him go. But Elliot soon discovers her old friend carries a secret--one that could change their society . . . or bring it to its knees. And again, she's faced with a choice: cling to what she's been raised to believe, or cast her lot with the only boy she's ever loved, even if she's lost him forever. Inspired by Jane Austen's Persuasion, For Darkness Shows the Stars is a breathtaking romance about opening your mind to the future and your heart to the one person you know can break it.

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund is a beautiful love story between childhood friends, set in a world where the future is full of unexpected possibilities. I am an immense fan of reading sweeping love stories that capture the entire heart and this story completely manages to be captivating and heartbreaking at the same time. It was a pleasure to watch Elliot and Kai find each other despite all the hurdles between them. Peterfreund weaves a mesmerising tale, which explores hopeless love, sacrifice, freedom, duty and the consequences of one’s choices.

For Darkness Shows the Stars was inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion. I have not read Persuasion so I do not know how much source material Diana Peterfreund used but I immensely enjoyed this book on its own merit. For Darkness Shows the Stars has wonderful science fiction elements. Its set in a post apocalyptic society where genetic engineering has caused radical changes in humans leading to a reduction of society. The only people free from reduction are those who chose not to undergo any genetical enhancements and survived to become the Luddite and consequently leaders to the people that have become reduced. It has become the responsibility of the Luddite to take care of those reduced and provide for them. Elliot is a Luddite. She has always had a duty to the reduced under her care on her family’s property.  She grows up with Kai who works for her family and is part of the reduced community. Kai asks her to run away with him but Elliot refuses knowing that the farm needs her. Years later Kai returns as part of the Cloud Fleet and Elliot has to come to terms with the man that has returned and what the future has in store for her.

This is a thought-provoking book. The book is set in a world on the brink of change, and it provides a lovely commentary about change and revolutionarily ideals. It also explores duty versus desire, what a person wants and dreams compared to what they are bound by duty to accomplish. There is also a lot of discussion between characters themselves and within Elliot herself about the consequences of mankind having too much power with scientific advancements and opportunity. Is having too much power mean that you are playing god and going against nature? Its something that Elliot struggles with because of all the traditions she has been bought up with. The scientist in me loved the sci fi nature of this book, and I would love to learn the specifics behind the experiments that lead to the reduction.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Review: Black City by Elizabeth Richards

Title: Black City
Author: Elizabeth Richards
Publisher: Speak (Penguin Group)
Release Date: 13th November 2012
Rating: 3 out of 5

Description: A dark and tender post-apocalyptic love story set in the aftermath of a bloody war. In a city where humans and Darklings are now separated by a high wall and tensions between the two races still simmer after a terrible war, sixteen-year-olds Ash Fisher, a half-blood Darkling, and Natalie Buchanan, a human and the daughter of the Emissary, meet and do the unthinkable—they fall in love. Bonded by a mysterious connection that causes Ash’s long-dormant heart to beat, Ash and Natalie first deny and then struggle to fight their forbidden feelings for each other, knowing if they’re caught, they’ll be executed—but their feelings are too strong. When Ash and Natalie then find themselves at the center of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to pull the humans and Darklings back into war, they must make hard choices that could result in both their deaths.

Black City by Elizabeth Richards was a fine read but when I think about what to rate this book, I’m a bit perplexed. Black City is a mix of genres, combining elements of fantasy, paranormal and dystopia. It is a story of vampires and humans who live in an oppressive dystopian society, fighting for better circumstances. While I enjoyed most of the aspects of this story, there were certain things that I did not take a liking to.

Black City is set in a society that has various types of vampires called Darkling. The Darkling are feared, hunted and oppressed by the ruling government of the Sentry. They are kept separate from humans by a wall.  Ash is a half-blood Darkling, who lives among humans. He has to deal with the stigma of being a Darkling in a nation that that been taught to hate and fear them. He then meets Natalie, a member of the Sentry and these two find themselves falling in love, despite all the rules and consequences. Black city is more a star-crossed love story than it is about the dystopian society.

Black City is told from the dual point of views of Natalie and Ash. The book jumps straight into the action and immediately introduces us to the characters and the type of world they live in. Richards’s writing is effortless and flows smoothly making it very easy to immerse oneself into the story. The narrative moves along at a good pace and sets up an ending that is fiery. The events towards the end of the book are some of my favourites. Richards’s does not shy away from the darker aspects of this society such as drug use, crucifixion, segregation and concentration camps, giving this world more credibility. I liked how all the drug use present in this society tied into the overall story. However I would have liked to have more about how vampires came into this world, the war that was mentioned and how the United Sentry States came into being. There were a few gaps that need to be filled in and more background information would have been a plus. I also loved the setting of these books: A city that was still slowly burning and blackened due to the war. This is one of those books in which the title is related to the story. The setting was very haunting and fit with the tone of the book.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

A to Z Survey

 Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner created this fun A to Z survey. It looked like a lot of fun so I decided to play along. 

Author you’ve read the most books from:
According to Goodreads the authors I have read the most books by are Cassandra Clare and Ally Carter

Best Sequel Ever:
Siege and Strom by Leigh Bardugo. I love the Grisha books. They are so wonderfully complex and addictive. Added bonus you get The Darkling, Sturmhond and Mal.

Currently Reading:
Earthbound by Aprilynne Pike

Drink of Choice While Reading:
Tea. I love drinking tea, especially peppermint tea.

E-reader or Physical Book?
Both. I love my Kindle. It’s so easy to carry around and you can get a book instantaneously, but I also love the feel of a book. I also love the typography of physical books.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:
Oliver from The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight.

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:
The Gathering Strom by Robin Bridges.

Hidden Gem Book:
Degrees of Wrong by Anna Scarlet. I love all the snark in this book.

Important Moment in your Reading Life:
The day I got and finished reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The end of a series that was such a big part of my childhood.

Just Finished:
For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund.

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:
I try and read as many genres as possible. There are not a lot of books I won’t at least attempt to read but I will never read erotica.

Longest Book You’ve Read:
The longest book I have read is A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin with approximatly 760 pages. This series is massive and I need to get around to finishing it. I keep putting them off because the books are so big and need a big commitment to get thorough them.

Major book hangover because of:
Siege and Strom by Leigh Bardugo and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Number of Bookcases You Own:
Two small bookcases, but I need to get more as I am running out of room.

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I try to read this book at least once a year.

Preferred Place To Read:
On my bed or in a comfy chair by the window.

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read:
“My thoughts are stars that I cannot fathom into constellations” The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

Reading Regret:
That it took me so long to read The Fault in Our Stars. I kept hearing what a great book it was but I was reluctant to read it because of all the emotions in that book. I did not want to read a sad book. So glad that I finally read it because it just blew me away.

Series You Started And Need To Finish (all books are out in series):
The Curse Workers series by Holly Black. I loved White Cat and now I just need to get around to reading the others.

Three of your All-Time Favorite Books:
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, The Harry Potter Series and The Time Travelers Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.

Unapologetic Fangirl For:
The Iron Fey Series by Julie Kagawa. I cannot wait to read The Iron Traitor

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:
There are so many books that I want in my hands. If I had to pick just one I would have to go with Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo.  Just wondering which book gods I would need to pray to, in order to get more Sturmhond.

Worst Bookish Habit:
I have a tendency to dog-ear pages on books that I am reading. I have a set of lovely bookmarks now, so I have been cutting back on turning the pages down. I also always carry a book on my person usually in my purse, so the books sometimes tend to get a little beaten up.

X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:
This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith.

Your latest book purchase:
All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill.

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late):
Crown of Midnight By Sarah J Maas. This book is just phenomenal.