Thursday, March 31, 2011

2nd Blogoversary/April Giveaway

Crack out your party hats because today is our second blogoversary.

Last year we had a whole month of celebrations.  Due to different events happening etc. we are going to have a week long party to celebrate our blogoversary. And what better way to start a party than by offering a gift.  So to celebrate our 2nd year of blogging going into our third we are going to have a giveaway.

Here are the details:
The winner(s) will get to select a book of their choice of up to £7 from the Book Depository.
At first we will start off with one winner but for every fifty entries we get we will be adding another winner.
Open to everyone anywhere the Book Depository ships to. (Click here to check the list)
Must be 13 years or older to enter.
Fill in the form to enter.
Entries close midnight 9th of April GMT +12
Throughout the time period we will offer up some opportunities to gain extra entries.
Good luck everyone!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What's Up With Your Blog?

In other words, why do you blog? Or, maybe this could get a little controversial but most likely not.

Well, I blog because I love books.  I absolutely love reading and I have my whole life.  I just haven't found someone who obsesses about books as much as I do and while I do push books at my sisters and friends to read they don't exactly jump at the chance to have a conversation about the books with me.

So I made this blog so I could write about all the books I read and what I thought about them.  So if you ever agree or disagree with my thoughts on a book then go ahead and comment and discuss what you like or didn't like about a certain book.

Sometimes it bothers me a little bit when people talk about how bloggers are unprofessional and shouldn't be taken seriously.  For starters it's a blog so it's really only somebody's ideas.  It's like everything on the internet if you want to read it then read it and if not ignore it.  I try to make my thoughts on the books I talk about honest because thats the point.  What would be the point of writing about my thoughts if I was going to lie.

When it comes to accepting books for review I'm actually really flattered that someone out there is interested in my opinion and if they're willing to send me a book (which is rare when you live in New Zealand) then I will definitely take the time to read it and be honest about what I thought of it.

One thing I have noticed about when I first started my blog was that I would look at raving reviews of books and think wow I need to read that and I would do that with a lot of books, so the books I'd end up reading would be books that I wouldn't always enjoy.  This year I'm trying to be more picky about the books I read and it's working out well so far.  I'm also currently reading my way through my review pile so that I can get on to reading more of the books I would prefer to read.

So some of my thoughts/reviews of books on this blog may be of older books but that doesn't matter to me because at the end of the day, it's a book I wanted to read and it's a book that I have an opinion about and this is my blog so I can pretty much post anything I want to on here.

So really, I blog because it is a way for me to ramble about books and see what other people think about the book if they've read it too.

Sorry if this post was extremely long and rambling, there are times when I have to get things off my chest and I can get carried away some times so if you made it to the end of the post congrats and let me know your thoughts.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Phantom Evil by Heather Graham

Title: Phantom Evil

Author: Heather Graham

Published: Mira, 2011

Pages: 320

Series: Book 1, Krewe of Hunters

First Line: " 'Mommy.' "

Summary: A secret government unit is formed under the oversight of Adam Harrison, famed paranormal investigator. The six members he’s gathered know a little of the otherworldly — each has honed a psychic talent of their own.
Jackson Crow, part English, part Cheyenne, heads the group. Haunted by his experience with an ancestral ghost who saved his life as a child, and the recent murders of two previous teammates, Jackson can’t tell if Adam’s demoted him or given him an extraordinary opportunity. Despite his link to the realm of spirits, he’s well aware that the living commit the most heinous crimes, with spiritualist charlatans existing merely to fool and seduce the unwary.
To counterbalance Jackson’s careful skepticism, Adam Harrison has paired him with Angela Hawkins, a young woman who learned the painful lesson of loss at an early age. A police officer utilizing her paranormal intuition in Virginia, she already has her hands full. But Adam’s call to New Orleans is strong.
The case: In a historic mansion in New Orleans’ French Quarter, a senator’s wife falls to her death from a balcony. Most think she jumped, distraught over the loss of her young son. Some say she was pushed. And yet others believe she was beckoned by the ghostly spirits that inhabit the house — once the site of a serial killer’s grisly work
(Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: Phantom Evil is the third book by Heather Graham I have read and I really enjoyed it.  In Phantom Evil there is some paranormal activity of the ghostly kind and it’s just the kind I liked.

One thing I really liked was that the book was creepy enough that I got a little nervous reading it at night time.  I felt that there was just the right balance between the paranormal part and the real life part.  The mystery itself was really good too.

I felt that Phantom Evil was quite well paced as there were no parts that were too slow and boring and there were no parts that were too fast so I didn’t know what was going on.

The characters were all interesting and I thought that the team or the Krewe of Hunters worked together really well and I really enjoyed reading about them.  I look forward to reading more of the series especially if it’s going to be from one or two of the other team members’ perspectives.

The ending was quite a surprise, I had no idea what was going to be the conclusion but when it happened I was surprised.  I honestly didn’t expect it and to be honest I still felt like I didn’t quite understand what had fully happened.

Overall I found Phantom Evil to be quite a pleasant read and I look forward to reading more by Heather Graham.

Source: NetGalley

Monday, March 28, 2011

Clarity by Kim Harrington

Title: Clarity

Author: Kim Harrington

Published: Scholastic Point, 2011

Pages: 242

Series: Book 1, Clarity

First Line: " 'You don't want to kill me,' I said."

Summary: Clarity "Clare" Fern sees things. Things no one else can see. Things like stolen kisses and long-buried secrets. All she has to do is touch a certain object, and the visions come to her. It's a gift.
And a curse.
When a teenage girl is found murdered, Clare's ex-boyfriend wants her to help solve the case--but Clare is still furious at the cheating jerk. Then Clare's brother--who has supernatural gifts of his own--becomes the prime suspect, and Clare can no longer look away. Teaming up with Gabriel, the smoldering son of the new detective, Clare must venture into the depths of fear, revenge, and lust in order to track the killer. But will her sight fail her just when she needs it most? (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: Absolutely AMAZING!  That pretty much sums up my feelings on Clarity by Kim Harrington.  I started it in a day and sat down and read it all day until I finished it.  The first chapter had me very intrigued and it offered up some clues about who the killer could be, it also made me want to get to that part of the book.  It’s not every day that I actually enjoy a book that starts with part of the ending first, I find that it often annoys me but in Clarity I thought it well fitting.

I liked Clarity as a character and I found her brother Perry to be an interesting specimen too.  In fact, all of the characters had their own little secrets and part of the excitement of the book was finding these secrets out.  Not everybody’s secrets were let out of the bag however and I have a feeling that in some character’s secrets/ things that happened there is more than meets the eye.

Anyway, back to Clarity.  She is just a really awesome character in that she stands her ground when it comes to her beliefs and ideals and I respect that.  I found Clarity to be incredibly relatable and really well developed.

As far as the romantic side of this book goes, I honestly wasn’t a fan of either of the two boys vying for Clarity’s affection but there was another guy who just seemed so great.  I am kind of hoping that maybe in a later book she will end up with him?  Who knows?  I know I can’t wait to read on to find out.

The whole psychic angle was very very well played out too.  I love psychics in books and I just love how they were in Clarity because they seemed realistic.  I didn’t feel the psychic thing was overdone but I did love it when Clarity used her psychic ability.  I think of the three family members Clarity’s mum, Starla had the coolest ability.  The others’ were very cool too however.

There is just so much going on in Clarity but it didn’t feel like everything was swarming in and overpowering everything else; it felt like there was just the right balance of everything.  That includes the hints of who the murderer is.  I felt there were enough clues that kept me entertained and I could figure out half of what had happened but I was surprised at the other half of it.

The ending of Clarity alludes to more of what could be happening in the next book, Perception and it is unfortunate for me that it does not come out for quite a while.

Overall, Clarity is one freaking fantastic book and definitely a favourite of 2011 for me.  In fact, it has just become my favourite book of 2011 so far.  If you love murder mysteries and a dash of psychic you will absolutely adore Clarity just as I did.

Source: Own Book

Sunday, March 27, 2011

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox was created by Kristi at The Story Siren.

This week I only got one book and it is a book I have read before but it now completes my collection for the series so far and it is:

The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa

May Contain Spoilers. My name is Meghan Chase.
I thought it was over. That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who's sworn to stand by my side. Drag me into the core of conflict so powerful, I'm not sure anyone can survive it.
This time, there will be no turning back.  (Taken from Goodreads)

And that was my week in books.  Can't wait to see what everyone else got.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Inkpop Weekly Writing Contest

This week inkpop are having another awesome writing contest and it is related to the book Through her Eyes by Jennifer Archer.

For the contest there are four winners.  Two writers and two commenters!

Visit the Inkpop Page here for more details on how you can enter!

Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld

Title: Behemoth

Author: Scott Westerfeld

Published: Simon Pulse, 2010

Pages: 485

First Line: "Alek raised his sword."

Summary: The behemoth is the fiercest creature in the British navy. It can swallow enemy battleships with one bite. The Darwinists will need it, now that they are at war with the Clanker powers.
Deryn is a girl posing as a boy in the British Air Service, and Alek is the heir to an empire posing as a commoner. Finally together aboard the airship Leviathan, they hope to bring the war to a halt. But when disaster strikes the Leviathan's peacekeeping mission, they find themselves alone and hunted in enemy territory.
Alek and Deryn will need great skill, new allies, and brave hearts to face what's ahead.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: Behemoth is the second book in the Leviathan series and it is just as good as the first one, Leviathan.  It starts off right where Leviathan ends and caught my interest from the very first page.

The story line is amazing and all of the contraptions of the Clankers and all of the creatures of the Darwinists are so amazing and so imaginative.  They bring the whole story to life and make it into something fantastic.

I’m not usually one to read steampunk novels but I love Scott Westerfeld so I gave this one a go.  I’m really glad I did because Behemoth was not a steampunk novel but a great story.

One thing that really adds to the book is the illustrations by Keith Thompson.  They add a whole other layer to the book and make the machines and creatures come to life that much more.

Both Deryn and Alek are great protagonists and I love reading about their adventures.

Behemoth is a great sequel to Leviathan and I would definitely recommend this series to anyone who is a fan of steampunk novels and also Scott Westerfeld’s novels.  Behmoth is really awesome and I look forward to the next book in the trilogy Goliath.

Source: Library

Friday, March 25, 2011

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

Title: How I Live Now

Author: Meg Rosoff

Published: Wendy Lamb Books, 2004

Pages: 194

Summary: Fifteen-year-old Daisy is sent from Manhattan to England to visit her aunt and cousins she’s never met: three boys near her age, and their little sister. Her aunt goes away on business soon after Daisy arrives. The next day bombs go off as London is attacked and occupied by an unnamed enemy.

As power fails, and systems fail, the farm becomes more isolated. Despite the war, it’s a kind of Eden, with no adults in charge and no rules, a place where Daisy’s uncanny bond with her cousins grows into something rare and extraordinary. But the war is everywhere, and Daisy and her cousins must lead each other into a world that is unknown in the scariest, most elemental way.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts:  How I Live Now was very different to what I thought it would be.  I’m not sure what I expected it to be but I didn’t expect what it turned out to be.

Daisy was an interesting character and provided a good voice as the main character.  Some of her choices were a little weird but it all seemed to come together in the end.

I found the relationship between Daisy and Edmond to be really odd, mostly because they’re cousins so I was a little surprised by it but it made the whole book what it was so I got past the initial shock of it quite quickly.

As I was reading How I Live Now I couldn’t help but think it reminded me a little of Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer only in this instance it is war that changes the world.  I quite enjoyed How I Live Now and I think that fans of dystopian fiction will enjoy this book because it felt like a dystopian sort of book to me.

Source: Library

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Reading more Adult Fiction: James Patterson

I had the idea for this post for a while and then as I was writing it I realised that I actually have a lot more to say about the topic than I thought so I am going to make it a sort of series of posts with one a week.  So if you're interested, read on, if not, come back tomorrow for some more reviews.

There are times when I find young adult books to be a bit boring and I want to find some more adult fiction books to read.  So these posts are about my experiences with that and each week will have a themed post.  This weeks theme is James Patterson.

The reason I decided to start reading James Patterson's adult novels was because I had really enjoyed the first couple of Maximum Ride books and reading the back of one of them told me he had very loosely based these books on two books called When the Wind Blows and The Lake House.  I read The Lake House and I thought it was alright but it did have some sex scenes which, when I read this book, I was very very uncomfortable about reading.  I still am a little uncomfortable about reading those scenes but I can handle them sometimes.

Anyway, I figured The Lake House was decent enough and that idea as well as my love of mysteries made me move on to the first book in the Alex Cross series by James Patterson - Along Came a Spider.

I enjoyed the mystery part of Along Came a Spider, I felt the court case dragged out a little too long and then the twist ending was very awesome and not something I expected at all.  There was one thing that annoyed me about Along Came a Spider that made me not feel like reading any more books in the series and that was one issue the main character had that he bought up all the time even when it wasn't relevant to anything.  In doing research on Goodreads for this post however, I have learned that this is only an issue in this book so I may carry on with that series.

After reading Along Came a Spider I had a read of 1st to Die by James Patterson and to be honest it wasn't really my type of book just because the ending kept changing.  I did write a post on that book so if you want to read my opinion you can find it here.

So, journeying into James Patterson's adult novels I didn't feel an instant love and it didn't make me want to read too many more although, I did plan to continue both the Alex Cross and Women's Murder Club series books, I haven't yet and we'll see whether I actually do or not.  James Patterson's novels did not whet my appetite for a great adult fiction read, this however, does not stop me from continuing on my journey to find some good adult fiction to read.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer

Title: The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner

Author: Stephenie Meyer

Published: Little Brown, 2010

Pages: 178

Series: Book 3.5, Twilight

First Line: "The newspaper headline glared at me from a little metal vending machine: SEATTLE UNDER SIEGE - DEATH TOLL RISES AGAIN."

Summary: Bree Tanner can barely remember life before she had uncannily powerful senses, superhuman reflexes and unstoppable physical strength. Life before she had a relentless thirst for blood... life before she became a vampire. 

All Bree knows is that living with her fellow newborns has few certainties and even fewer rules: watch your back, don't draw attention to yourself and, above all, make it home by sunrise or die. What she doesn't know: her time as an immortal is quickly running out. 

Then Bree finds an unexpected friend in Diego, a newborn just as curious as Bree about their mysterious creator, whom they know only as "her". As they come to realize that the newborns are pawns in a game larger than anything they could have imagined, Bree and Diego must choose sides and decide whom to trust. But when everything you know about vampires is based on a lie, how do you find the truth?  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I hadn’t originally planned to read this one but a friend of mine gave it to me for my birthday so 6 months later I’m reading it.  I actually enjoyed reading The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner.  It didn’t take me too long to get through and it wasn’t filled with over 200 pages of filler.

I thought a few of the characters were interesting.  I liked Fred he seemed like an interesting character more so than any of the others.

I found a couple of things to be slightly confusing but I think that’s just because I don’t remember much of Eclipse which I read quite a few years ago.

If you’re a fan of the twilight series and aren’t sure whether you want to read this one or not, I’d say give it a read.  It’s not too big and it’s not full of boring filler.  You might just enjoy it.

Source: Own book

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford

Title: How to say Goodbye in Robot

Author: Natalie Standiford

Published: Scholastic Press, 2009

Pages: 276

Summary: New to town, Bea is expecting her new best friend to be one of the girls she meets on the first day. But instead, the alphabet conspires to seat her next to Jonah, aka Ghost Boy, a quiet loner who hasn't made a new friend since third grade. Something about him, though, gets to Bea, and soon they form an unexpected friendship. It's not romance, exactly - but it's definitely love. Still, Bea can't quite dispel Jonah's gloom and doom - and as she finds out his family history, she understands why. Can Bea help Jonah? Or is he destined to vanish? (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: Refreshing and different sums up my thoughts on How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford.  However, I do have a lot more to say on this book because I absolutely loved it.

It’s not very often in the YA world I come across a book where the two characters of opposite sex are just friends and they stay that way.  I loved Jonah and Bea’s relationship and I loved how it was so simple but still pretty complicated.  They weren’t romantically involved and it just made their friendship that much stronger.
I think that How to Say Goodbye in Robot is a truly beautiful story.  It’s written incredibly well and I loved reading every moment of it.

The story line is unique and the characters are really unique.  I loved the radio show and it just added this whole other layer to the story that made it all the more enjoyable.  I also cried reading this book.  It was quite a sad book.  Natalie Standiford does a great job at portraying emotions and really making you feel for the characters.

I loved How to Say Goodbye in Robot and I think that it’s a book that anyone who likes books about friendships should read.  It is an amazing read and I will definitely be reading more by Natalie Standiford.

Source: Library

Monday, March 21, 2011

InkPop Writing Contest

This weeks weekly writing contest from Inkpop is related to Afterlife by Claudia Gray.

This time there will be four winners and awesome prizes for them!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox was created by Kristi, The Story Siren.

This week I got five books in the mail which is really exciting.  I got four of them on the same day so that was really cool.  The books I got were:

The Liar Society by Lisa and Laura Roecker

Kate Lowry didn't think dead best friends could send e-mails. But when she gets an e-mail from Grace, she’s not so sure. 

Sent: Sun 9/14 11:59 PM 
Subject: (no subject) 

I'm here… 
sort of. 
Find Cameron. 
He knows. 
I shouldn't be writing. 
Don't tell. 
They'll hurt you. 

Now Kate has no choice but to prove once and for all that Grace’s death was more than just a tragic accident. But secrets haunt the halls of her elite private school. Secrets people will do anything to protect. Even if it means getting rid of the girl trying to solve a murder... 

Blood & Flowers by Penny Blubaugh

Three years ago, Persia ran away from her drug-addict parents and found a home with the Outlaws, an underground theater troupe. This motley band of mortals and fey, puppeteers and actors, becomes the loving family Persia never had, and soon Persia not only discovers a passion for theater but also falls in love with Nicholas, one of the other Outlaws. Life could not be more perfect.
Until an enemy with a grudge makes an unfair accusation against the group and forces them to flee the mortal world and hide in the neighboring realm of Faerie. But in Faerie, all is not flowers and rainbows—with bloodthirsty trolls, a hostile monarchy, and a dangerous code of magic, the fey world is not quite the safe haven the Outlaws had hoped for. And they must decide what’s more important: protecting their right to perform or protecting themselves.

The Shadow of the Evening by Laura Brylawski-Miller

Against the background of the mystery of the Etruscans and the beauty of Tuscany, The Shadow of the Evening interweaves the lives of two cousins, David and Alexander, from a summer spent at their grandmother's farm in Maryland, to a dark resolution in the Tuscan city of Volterra. Fifteen-year-old Alexander is a genius, whose brilliant, flawed mind is obsessed with the Etruscans, an obsession that will end in tragedy. Twelve-year-old David, more rooted in reality, is caught up in their "summer of the Etruscans" and almost comes to believe in Alexander's fantasies. The two lose track of each other, but that long ago summer remains unfinished business and will bring David, thirty years later, to Volterra to find out what happened to his cousin. There he will not only find the answers, but also reach an epiphany in his own life.

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

The story revolves around Kvothe, an enigmatic red-haired innkeeper who, as he shares his incredible life story with a renowned scribe, turns out to be much more than he appears. Born into a family of nomadic court performers, Kvothe's unconventional education was broadened by spending time with fellow travelers like Abenthy, an elderly arcanist whose knowledge included, among other things, knowing the name of the wind. After his parents are brutally murdered by mythical beings known as the Chandrian, Kvothe vows to learn more about the godlike group, and after suffering through years of homelessness, he finally gets his chance when he is admitted into the prestigious University.  But the pursuit of arcane knowledge brings with it unforeseen dangers, as the young student quickly learns.

Peeps by Scott Westerfeld

Cal Thompson is a carrier of a parasite that causes vampirism, and must hunt down all of the girlfriends he has unknowingly infected before they can create even more of their kind.

And that was my week in the way of books.  Can't wait to see what everyone else got.