Thursday, June 30, 2011

Favourite Reads of 2011 (so far)

This was created by Nomes of InkCrush and it looked like a fun thing to do so I thought I would do it.

1. Favourite book read so far in 2011
Hmmm this is actually a hard one. I've read so many amazing books this year so far. If I had to pick one though, it would be Clarity by Kim Harrington.

2. Most powerful book
Definitely Shine by Lauren Myracle.

3. The most brilliantly funny
That would be Kiss of Death by Lauren Henderson. I laughed quite a lot with this one.

4. Best ache-y, heart-breaking, tear-jerker read
How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford. This one just plucked at my heartstrings because it's the kind of book that makes me sad. But it was an amazing read.

My Review of How to Say Goodbye in Robot.

5. Most beautiful story
This one I would say Shine by Lauren Myracle but How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford comes in a close second.

6. Fave rainy day comfort read
Cloaked by Alex Flinn, it's a nice read and you just know how it's going to turn out.

7. Best tense, adrenalin-fuelled, unputdownable award
Ultraviolet by R J Anderson

My Review of Ultraviolet by R J Anderson

8. The beautiful prose award
Hmmmmmmmm there are a lot I have to mention, Ultraviolet by R J Anderson, The Haunted by Jessica Verday, How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford and Shine by Lauren Myracle all had amazing prose. My favourite of them would be The Haunted by Jessica Verday however.

9. most atmospheric and vivid setting
Die for Me by Amy Plum. I now have Paris implanted on my brain. The settings in Die for Me were really unforgettable.

10. i-so-want-to-go-there award
Divergent by Veronica Roth. I would love to be a part of that universe. It sounds so different and so intriguing.

11. most original and imaginative
Hmmm it's a toss up between Divergent by Veronica Roth, Ultraviolet by R J Anderson and Genesis by Lara Morgan. I'll say Genesis this time.

12. best under-appreciated, hidden gem book
There's a few I could say for this one, but I think it would be Six Moon Summer by S M Reine. It's really well-written and it is a really nice story.

13. i-had-no-idea-i-would-love this-so award
Definitely Die for Me by Amy Plum.

14. most haunting story
I'm not sure if I got the wrong idea of what haunting means. But I would say How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford because it haunted me in that I couldn't stop thinking about it for a couple of days afterward.

15. outside of my comfort zone but gosh how i loved it
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld. I was never sure that I liked Steampunk but man did I love Leviathan.

16. series that i'm loving
The Dresden Files. I absolutely loved the first book Storm Front.

17.  most memorable voice award
Amal from Does My Head Look Big in This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah

18. completely awesome premise award
I'm going to say Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James because I did love the premise. The story however...

19.  would make the best movie
Ladystar: The Dreamspeaker by W. Scott it seemed like a movie when reading it anyway.

20.  want to re-read already
Hmmmm I'm going to say How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford.

And that is my list done. It's quite repetitive in some places but I do have some favourites that stand out more than others.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Before Versailles by Karleen Koen

Title: Before Versailles

Author: Karleen Koen

Published: Crown, 28 June 2011

Pages: 400

Summary: Before Versailles is the luscious, sweeping story of the young Louis XIV in his first year as king of France. Told in the alternating perspectives of the young king and his first love, the woman who would become his mistress, Karleen Koen's newest weaves a portrait of court and country in turmoil with the legends of this colorful period in history, including that of the mysterious man in the iron mask.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: Scandal, drama and intrigue; those are the main three elements of Before Versailles.  It had some mystery to it as well and I love mysteries so I really liked the mystery element of Before Versailles.

I thought that Before Versailles was really interesting as I didn’t know much about King Louis XIV or French history so now I feel a lot more knowledgeable on the subject.  I like reading historical novels that are set in reality for that reason.  It’s based in truth so I like to read through and search bits on the internet to learn a bit more about the time and the people.

Before Versailles wasn’t really what I had expected.  I’m not sure what I expected it to be but it was definitely very interesting.  There was so much going on in Before Versailles that there was barely ever a dull moment.

There were so many colourful characters that I had strong feelings about quite a few of them.  In other words, some were really likeable and then some were definitely bad.  I did have a few favourites.  I definitely liked Louise, she just seemed very sweet and down to earth which is the kind of character I like.

Before Versailles provides some very interesting insight into Louis XIV for a few months of his life; as well as a few other prominent people at the time.  If you like French history and are looking for something with a bit of drama and a lot of scandal then I think you will enjoy Before Versailles.

Source: Crown Publishing for review

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Heart of Evil by Heather Graham

Title: Heart of Evil

Author: Heather Graham

Published: Mira, 28th June 2011

Pages: 400

Series: Book 2, Krewe of Hunters

First Line: "Blood."

Summary: Emerging from the bayou like an apparition, Donegal Plantation is known for its unsurpassed dining, captivating atmosphere, haunting legends…and now a corpse swinging from the marble angel that marks its cemetery’s most majestic vault. A corpse discovered in nearly the same situation as that of Marshall Donegal, the patriarch killed in a skirmish just before the Civil War. Desperate for help traditional criminologists could never provide, plantation heiress Ashley Donegal turns to an elite team of paranormal investigators who blend hard forensics with rare – often inexplicable – intuition. Among them is Jake Mallory, a gifted New Orleans musician with talent that stretches beyond the realm of the physical, and a few dark ghosts of his own. The evil the team unveils has the power to shake the plantation to its very core. Jake and Ashley are forced to risk everything to unravel secrets that will not stay buried – even in death… (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: Heart of Evil is the second book in the Krewe of Hunters series and it is quite different to the first one.  Heart of Evil contains the same characters but this time it focuses on Jake.  While, I think that you don’t have to read the first one in order to understand this one I would definitely recommend reading the first book, Phantom Evil before this one; especially if you want to know more about the characters backgrounds and things like that.

Heart of Evil is so good.  It is a murder mystery, with paranormal elements and it is so suspenseful.  In my mind these three things make a fantastic read.  The suspense was in all the right places too.  I’d read on because I just had to know what was going to happen next and then just as I had started to lose my sense of suspense another event would happen that left me wanting to read on.

The chemistry between Jake and Ashley was quite intense.  Their relationship was an interesting one and I don’t think I’ve ever really read about it in books before.  In this one, they had already known each other, so the chemistry was already there.  It just made the book flow all that more smoothly.

I was actually a little bored at the start because it took quite a while to get into the story and the character set up and history was quite long but once it got past that part everything was just all go.  I also felt the ending was a little rushed through but at the same time I guess you couldn’t really do too much more with it.  It was still satisfactory.

The mystery element was really awesome.  It kept me guessing until the very end because clues appeared and so I would think I knew who the killer was for certain, but then something else would happen and I would have to form another conclusion.  I was wrong about who the killer was but it was still fun to read through and guess until the very end.

Heart of Evil is a great addition to the Krewe of Hunters series and I for one cannot wait to read the next book in the series.  If you like paranormal, mystery romances then I think you’ll enjoy this book and series.

Source: NetGalley

Monday, June 27, 2011

Blog Tour: Fanfare

Title: Fanfare

Author: Renee Ahdieh

Published: Revolution Publishing, May 2011

Pages: 240

First Line: "It's anti-capitalistic to love someone."

Summary: Cris Pereira hates starring in a cautionary tale. Alas, her recent heartbreak relegates her to this unbecoming fate. The only good thing about being dumped a foot from the altar is the newest layer to her punchy sarcasm. All she wants is a do-over, but this is not your average fairy tale, and wishes don't come true in the real world. One Sunday afternoon, she meets a movie star. Tom Abramson is intelligent, charming, and impetuous. In other words, he plays the role a bit too well. She isn’t falling for it. She knows better. All British men are not descendants of Fitzwilliam Darcy, and movie stars are genetic mutations gone awry: X-Men with statistical disadvantages and emotional handicaps. Keep your knight in shining armor. A modern girl can rescue herself, thank you very much. After all, dreams are for the foolhardy, nightmares are just a part of life, and . . . this is not your average fairy tale.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: Fanfare was amazing. After just reading a book that I didn’t like very much, I was starting to feel the beginnings of a reading slump. Thankfully, Fanfare pulled me away from that.

I’m pretty sure that for 3/4 of Fanfare I had a huge grin plastered to my face. The other 1/4 was spent lamenting and hoping that things would turn out for the best. I also laughed out loud a few times. Cristina was the kind of narrator that made me laugh. There were also a couple of times where I could feel tears springing to my eyes. Fanfare is just exceptional.

Fanfare was everything I needed. It was light, it was fun and it was just so enjoyable. It was well-written so I could just breeze through and read this one within no time.

All the characters, except for one for obvious reasons, were fantastic. They all had their own personalities and just added something special to Fanfare. Each character had their own place in the novel and it was great to see how they all worked together.

I’m not normally a fan of just romances but this one had me completely engaged throughout the book and there was never a moment where I wanted to stop reading. I just had to read the whole thing.

Fanfare is a great, fun read. It’s the sort of romance that is really believable. I really enjoyed Fanfare and can gladly say that this one is a good one for fans of romance novels that aren’t incredibly overbearing or for someone just looking for a good, well-written, light and fun read.

Source: Revolution Publishing for Review

Sunday, June 26, 2011

I'm on Twitter

This week I didn't get any books so I decided to write this random little post instead of doing an IMM.

I have a twitter, so feel free to follow me.  My handle is @BookGremlin

I got a twitter account to keep track of a book challenge I'm doing but it's a lot of fun so I'm going to keep tweeting.  I tend to follow anyone who follows me on twitter, except the spammy looking twitter accounts so feel free to follow me and I shall follow you back.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Reborn by Ley Mesina

Title: Reborn

Author: Ley Mesina

Published: 25 May 2011

Pages: 78

Series: Book 1, Goddess of Night

First Line: " 'I'm busy! Tell whoever it is that I'm busy.' "

Summary: Lily Westbrook knows she is anything but ordinary. When her powers fully mature on her eighteenth birthday, she realizes that being half witch and half vampire is more of a challenge then she was let on to believe. 

After being accepted to Kensington University in Cedar Creek, Massachusetts, she sets out on a journey that pulls her deeper into the world of witches and vampires, uncovering the truth about her past and discovering who she is meant to be. (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: Reborn is a really interesting novella that features Lily who is half vampire and half witch.  I haven’t read a book about vampires for quite a while so Reborn was quite good in that sense.

I like how this book was set up.  It was told around quite a few different characters and also through a few diary entries and notes.  I thought that the diary entries and notes were quite a good addition to the book as it added that little something extra into the book.

I don’t think that there was a lot of character building going on in Reborn but I think that Reborn was more of a setting up a really interesting story line to be carried on in the next book.  Although, I did think that Lily was an intriguing character.  I did find Xander to be quite interesting as well.

The concept of witches and vampires was really interesting.  It also mentions Nyx who I have come across in another couple of novels so it’s always good to see how different authors approach goddesses and myths and legends.

I loved the ending; it left an opening for the next book which I really look forward to reading.  If you like vampires or witches, or are just looking for a fun read, that is quite quick but has quite a lot of action and excitement, then definitely try Reborn.

Source: Ley Mesina for review

Friday, June 24, 2011

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

Title: Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Author: John Green and David Levithan

Published: Dutton Juvenile, 2010

Pages: 310

Summary: One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens—both named Will Grayson—are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most fabulous high school musical. (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: Will Grayson, Will Grayson was one of those books that I hadn’t intended to read but when I saw it at the library I picked it up.  I really enjoyed Will Grayson, Will Grayson however.  It was so good.

There were so many moments that made me laugh out loud.  Then there were moments that made me feel downright sad.  There was a whole section where I felt so down at some parts and I just had to keep reading to feel better.

The characters were all really interesting.  I liked both Will Grayson’s, they both had things about them that I could relate to and that I really liked about them.  For most of the novel I wasn’t much of a fan of Tiny Cooper, but he grew on me in the end.

Throughout the whole book I really enjoyed it, but when I got to the last two chapters I was laughing and smiling and I’m pretty sure anyone witnessing me reading it, would think I was a little odd.  But seriously, the ending is amazing!  I truly loved it.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson was a fantastic read and I recommend it to anyone looking for something different that will give you a few laughs.

Source: Library

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Abandoned by Amanda Stevens

Title: The Abandoned

Author: Amanda Stevens

Published: Mira, March 2011

Pages: 61

Series: Book 0.5, The Graveyard Queen

First Line: "Ree Hutchins was dozing at the old woman's bedside, a dog-eared copy of The Call of the Wild open on her lap, when Violet Tisdale passed away."

Summary: When her favorite patient at a private mental hospital passes away, psychology student Ree Hutchins mourns the elderly woman's death. But more unsettling is her growing suspicion that something unnatural is shadowing her.
Amateur ghost hunter Hayden Priest believes Ree is being haunted. Even Amelia Gray, known in Charleston as The Graveyard Queen, senses a gathering darkness. Driven by a force she doesn't understand, Ree is compelled to uncover an old secret and put abandoned souls to rest—before she is locked away forever....  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: For such a short story The Abandoned is packed with so much.  There is mystery, action, romance and suspense which, makes it incredibly awesome.  The Abandoned is a novella that starts before the first book in the series, The Restorer.

I really enjoyed reading The Abandoned, it had creepiness and ghosts.  There was mystery and I just had to know what was going on.

I liked Ree, and I liked Hayden.  I thought they were really interesting characters.  There were some points that I was really hoping that things were going to turn out for the best.

I thought that The Abandoned was a great introduction to the Graveyard Queen series, it shows off Amanda Stevens writing style and I really enjoyed it.  I look forward to reading the rest of the series.  Especially with Amelia, who while was in this book wasn’t the main character; she is for the rest of the series though.

Source: Own copy

Notes: *You can download this ebook for free from the Harlequin Ebook Store*

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer's Crossing by Julie Kagawa

Title: Summer's Crossing

Author: Julie Kagawa

Published: Harlequin Teen, June 2011

Pages: 57

Series: Book 3.5, Iron Fey

First Line: "Names."

Summary: A Midsummer's Nightmare? Robin Goodfellow. Puck. Summer Court prankster, King Oberon's right hand, bane of many a faery queen's existence—and secret friend to Prince Ash of the Winter Court. Until one girl's death came between them, and another girl stole both their hearts. 

Now Ash has granted one favor too many and someone's come to collect, forcing the prince to a place he cannot go without Puck's help—into the heart of the Summer Court. And Puck faces the ultimate choice—betray Ash and possibly win the girl they both love, or help his former friend turned bitter enemy pull off a deception that no true faery prankster could possibly resist.   (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I could not wait to read this little adventure with Ash and Puck, told from Puck’s perspective.  It was good to hear Puck’s perspective in Summer Crossing, he’s so funny which is awesome.  There were also moments that made me mad at Puck.  I understood where he was coming from but still.

One thing I really loved was that the little chapter titles were actually lines from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  That was awesome.  There were also references to parts of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, because duh, Puck is one of the main characters!

Reading Summer’s Crossing made me fall in love with Ash and the world of the Iron Fey all over again.  It felt like Summer’s Crossing was a way for me to get my little fix of Ash before The Iron Knight is released.
There was one point of Summer’s Crossing where I had tears in my eyes and another where I was laughing out loud.

I absolutely loved Summer’s Crossing and it is definitely a novella that any true fan of the Iron Fey series should read.  My one complaint was that there was no appearance of my second favourite character (Grimalkin) but one cannot have everything and it was still great without him.

Source: Own Copy

Notes: *You can download this ebook for free from the Harlequin Ebook Store.*