30 April 2014

Wednesday Wishlist #4

The week's wishlist is entirely devoted to everything Cassandra Clare-related. I have seen Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, and I have read Clockwork Angel, but now is the time to read all the rest:

The Mortal Instruments Series

I was introduced to Clary and Jace by way of film, and I really enjoyed it. But with most films adaptations, I know that something will be missing to make the series even better for me. Some aspects of books simply don' translate into films, and sometimes side plots distract too much from the central action, so I would love to know all the side plots that will come out of this series, and what they put in or missed out. Comparing books to their film adaptations has always been a bit of a hobby for me, so I'm looking forward to reading these books.

The Infernal Devices Trilogy

Apparently this is the best trilogy out of the lot, and it doesn't matter which order you read it all in. Naturally, I went chronologically by date and started with Clockwork Angel. I loved it, and now I am craving more steam-punk to add to my steadily growing collection.

The Bane Chronicles

Sometimes you just want a bit of context, and this series of short stories based on warlock Magnus Bane (the character that really links the two series up) promises to deliver that. They're not so important to me as the other two series, but as a point of interest I would like to read them at some point.

Have you read these series? What did you think of them?

29 April 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #3 - Classics I Want to Read

Top Ten Tuesday is something I made up on my own, but recently I discovered a Meme over at The Broke and the Bookish that is entirely the same, and so I've decided to go ahead and join in with them, because honestly I am already running out of good top ten topics. Instead of joining in on their set lists, I'm being a rebel and picking those ideas I like the best. This week's Top Ten is therefore:

Top Ten Classic Books I Want to Read:

Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
I've read Pride and Prejudice and it was a joy to read, now I want to further my reading with all the rest of Jane Austen's novels, starting with this one. I already own it, it's just getting around to reading it that's the issue!

Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
Widely translated into films and tv, this classic is etched deep into my childhood memory with songs from the musical being sung at school plays. It will be nice to see what the adaptations have missed out, as well as to understand the story better.

To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
I've only ever heard of this book a little bit, but I know that it is widely read and deals with difficult issues such as rape, ethics and discrimination from the perspective of a child, which sounds not only intriguing but like a learning experience.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Arthur Conan Doyle
Sherlock Holmes has been in the spotlight for a while now, with the Robert Downey Junior films and the Benedict Cumberbatch TV series coming out one after the other. Our fascination with the detective who showed modern policemen how it was done never seems to end, and neither do the adaptations. I'd love to know what the real stories were like.

The Time Machine - HG Wells
Not quite his most famous work, but still sounds like a good read. I'd love to read War of the Worlds even though it seems a bit daunting, The Island of Doctor Moreau and The Invisible Man when I get the chance, too.

Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
My friend studied this at College and adored it, so based on that recommendation I think I'll rather like it too.

Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
Strangely, I've never seen any adaptations of this hugely famous novel, but I know enough that although I'm quite sceptical about the way that Cathy will act, i am still really intrigued to see how their story plays out.

Animal Farm - George Orwell
This has been on my wishlist for ages, and it is one that I simply must read. I enjoyed 1984 immensely (though I still think Brave New World is better) and I can't wait to get my teeth sunk in to the strange world of animal society.

Farenheit 451 -Ray Bradbury
I love dystopias, and this is meant to be one of the best. It's all about the power of words and the power of books. If there's anything I love, it's books that are about books.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame - Victor Hugo
Ever since I watched Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame as a little girl, I was enraptured by the story of the gypsy woman Esmerelda, the misshapen Quasimodo and the pious Frollo, and now that I am a bit older, I want to take on the task of reading through this classic French story to see the reality behind the Disney gloss-over.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?

28 April 2014

Cover Reveal: Carnival - K.B. Nelson + Giveaway!

Cover reveals are getting pretty commonplace on my blog now. This one is very pretty, and perfect for that carnival theme. If you're into romance, this is the book for you.


Carnival by K.B. Nelson
Publication date: June 2014
Genres: New Adult, Romance

Blue’s a carny and he’s got molly. Charlie’s a local and she’s got ninety-nine problems but Blue ain’t one. Enter the world of neon lights…

Charlie never intended to sleep with a perfect stranger at the county fair. Finding out he was a carny was like winning the bonus round of the worlds worst game. Blue grew up in the carnival, never staying anywhere long enough to call home. He didn’t mean to seduce Charlie that night, but he’s use to living life on the edge.

Charlie’s supposed to be packing her bags for college. Blue’s supposed to get in his jeep and drive to the next town. She’s ready to leave for a life she’s not certain she wants and he’s searching for a place to call home.

Unable to resist him, Charlie makes the choice to stay. She follows Blue down the rabbit hole; into a world with no regard for rules and consequences. But when tragedy strikes, will it send her and Blue down a more destructive path? Or will it bring them closer together? Either way, they both come to realize that life is just like a carnival ride.


I grew up on a farm in Ohio, but that's not very interesting, is it? When I'm not writing you can find me doing one of two things; getting lost on highways or getting lost in the lives of fictional characters. If my heart had two feet, one foot would be in romance and the other solidly in geekdom. I hope you'll all follow me on my journey through this carnival they call life.I promise there will be a happy ending.

Author links: 

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To win a signed copy of Carnival, please enter the Goodreads giveaway in this link.

27 April 2014

Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins

Caution: Spoilers

Here it is then, the last one of the trilogy before I have to decide what to do after this. But that is my problem and it's neither here nor there, or not anything to do with this review come to that. Not that that ever really matters in the first paragraphs of my reviews, I tend to ramble on a bit before I get down to the point. But not today! Shall we begin...?

Another quick read for me but not necessarily because I was so completely into it that I could not put it down. I made myself read this one quickly because it was the only one where I did not have a basic outline of what was going to happen because of the films. This meant that I went into the book blind with only my ideas gleaned from the previous book to tell me what might happen. Now I can see how they are going to split the book into two films, there is a fairly obvious point in the book in which you can split it in two.

From the beginning of the book we find ourselves with a civil war going on in the background. Despite this we do not actually get to see much of it as our main character, Katniss Everdeen, plays very little part in the war itself. She is used by the President of District 13 as a propaganda weapon against President Snow in the Capitol. This lasts until Peeta Mellark, who is held prisoner by the Capitol, is put on television by President Snow and Katniss realises that he is being tortured, at which point she has a mental breakdown. The war itself is very much in the background of this book as we focus mainly to Katniss’ struggle in district 13. Now when Peeta is rescued in order to try and bring Katniss back into the war we see the result of this torture. This leads to Peeta and Katniss being unable to be near each other, seeming to bring an end to their developing love affair.

As the war is won in the Districts Katniss moves in to the fight against the Capitol itself, in order to escape from Peeta. With people on both sides who want her dead, she manages to use an attack in the Capitol to fake her own death in order for her to exact her revenge on President Snow, which is the only thing keeping her going at this point. Through this mission she is constantly battling the decision she will eventually have to make concerning the two men she loves as well as the defences set up by the Capitol. As her mission climaxes she loses many people she loves which drives her fragile mental state into an almost complete breakdown. At her mission end everything is resolved from the point of the revolution, but not as you would expect it to be.

My first issue to characters in this book is Katniss Everdeen herself. If you were expecting a strong female lead in the book who is the powerhouse behind the whole resistance you will not get this. Katniss is an unstable mess throughout this film, driven mad through loss and the war she sparked with her antics in the first book. She is controlled and kept alive by other characters throughout the whole story, even succumbing to drug addiction and two separate points during the book. When the book finishes she has given up completely and is a psychological mess living with someone who is not much better and on top of that occasionally has the urge to kill her, completely abandoned by most of the people who claim to care about her.

Now another part I did not enjoy was the death of my favourite character, Finnick Odair. Now Finnick is not exactly his normal self in this film, suffering in a similar way to Katniss mentally, but he is still a source of the only humour to be found in the book. Finally, and this is no one’s fault just something that I personally did not enjoy, Plutarch Heavensbee. Now this character was played brilliantly by the late great Phillip Seymour Hoffman, who really makes you connect and admire Plutarch. Now in the book this character could not be more unlikable if he tried, he comes across as manipulative and uncaring despite his role in Katniss’ escape and the revolution.

Now I was very complimentary of both of the books that came before this one but I am afraid I did not enjoy this one. Maybe because I enjoyed the first two books so much that I raised my expectations so high that the third book was only ever going to fall short. I did not like the storyline, which areas were focused on or the eventual outcome of everything that goes on. I would still recommend the series to anyone who asked me about it but I am disappointed that the final book could not live up to the first two.

4 out of 10

26 April 2014

Bone Quill - John and Carole E. Barrowman

The sequel to Hollow Earth is enrapturing from the start, and we soon figure out that there is a whole lot more to this story than first thought. Solon's story, dated in the middle ages, finally begins to make sense when we realise that Matt and Emily have one amazing animare power fairly early on in the book. Every aspect of the plot from then on is driven by this realisation to enable a very complex and interesting story. The children find themselves in much more grave situations than before, and finally all the tiny pieces of information that we have been fed are culminating and turning into action. This is a whole lot darker than the previous installation.

While some questions from the first book get answered, a good deal more are brought forward to make you question the motives of every adult involved in the book. One issue, though, is that the book appears to go entirely away from the societies that were chasing the Calders and into something with a lot more depth. Considering the Hollow Earth Society was such a large aspect of the first book, it feels strange that it has been written out entirely of this one.

As this is the second book of the series, you can expect a few plot twists, as well as a gaping cliffhanger, the likes of which I'm not sure I want to even live with. The story has a great pace and the characters develop slightly by coming into themselves as individuals instead of brother and sister. Speaking of which, this is something I have always had an issue with; the twin thing. As a twin myself, I get a bit huffy with the way that twins act in real life (if they're really creepy like the Cheeky girls, or just plain annoying like Jedward) Generally speaking, I don't feel it's a big deal that two beings were born at once, it happens all the time with mammals, and it's nothing newor interesting. in the first book, the twin treatment was slightly grating; the ability to telepath, the weird knowing exactly what they're thinking, it was all a bit twin cliche. However, as the story has progressed and the twins are growing up, you see many more differences and brother and sisterly feelings and thoughts. yes, they still telepath, and yes, there is an eye-roll-worthy part where Emily says she would be able to feel if Matt were gone, but other than that everything was peachy.

The writing was a nice surprise for me. The first book felt a little young for me, but this book was more complex and filled with more action and less getting-away-from-adults-because-they-can. I liked the change and thought it actually added more to the story as a whole.

A good, fast-paced read, suitable for teens but also for adults who love a bit of YA fiction. 8 out of 10.

Goodreads Site
Amazon Site

25 April 2014

The Patchwork Girl of Oz - L. Frank Baum

Mini Review Time!

This is a fairly short book intended for children set in the fantasy world of Oz, and is the seventh in the Oz series. It follows the adventures of a young munchkin named Ojo as he goes on a quest to save his Unc Nunkie from being a statue forever, following a terrible accident involving a crooked magician and some Liquid of Petrifaction. Scraps, a patchwork girl, and Bungle, a glass cat, both brought to life with the magician's powder of life (seen in The Marvelous Land of Oz) accompany him along his journey to find ingredients for the magician in order to bring his uncle back. Along the way he picks up a few more travelling companions, a few of which we have already met.

This is a nice little book, but since it is quite old, I find the writing style quite tiring to read, and therefore what should be a few quick book tends to get extended and a little boring. However, this one was more enjoyable to read than some of the others, and I was interested in whether the boy would succeed in his quest. In many of the Oz books, it seems that there is one mini-adventure after another, and in this book it was very much the same, only it had an overall goal, which I found much easier to digest than the previous two books.

A nice little book that imaginative children will love being read to them. 6 out of 10.

24 April 2014

Cover Reveal; Coral and Bone - Tiffany Daune + Giveaway!

Another Cover Reveal! How Exciting! This one is absolutely gorgeous, and the premise of underwater worlds and magical powers sounds really interesting. It actually reminds me slightly of Helen Dunmore's Ingo series, so i can't wait to read it and compare. Without further ado, here's the cover:

Coral & Bone by Tiffany Daune
Publication date: July 7th 2014
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

Halen knows the sparks igniting under her fingertips are dangerous. She has spent her entire life trying to quell the tingly feelings that make her destroy things, but now that she is back in Rockaway Beach, where she watched her father drown, the flames have become impossible to tame. Halen is trying to hold on, but when she is thrust into a mysterious new world, the underwater realm of Elosia, she unravels the secrets of her past, and can’t help but ignite. As she explores Elosia, she realizes her life has been a lie. And when those who have deceived her come to her for help, Halen must choose—walk away or unleash the magick that could destroy them all.

Tiffany Daune doesn't get why people want to grow up, or why anyone would ever stop eating candy. Her purse is filled with books, lip gloss and a few pieces of Lego bricks. She writes best with a dish of chocolate chips on hand, and finds licorice makes a better straw than plastic. She lives on an island and believes mermaids may be raiding her candy stash, though she hasn't caught them, yet.

Author Links:

Tiffany is also hosting a giveaway to celebrate the cover reveal! Please fill in the Rafflecopter below to enter.

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23 April 2014

Wednesday Wishlist #3

This week's wishlist is all about the pre-orders. These are the books I am really looking forward to getting hold of when they come out:

Carrier - Anne Tibbets

You may have seen the cover reveal for this one on my blog a little while back, and the reason I included that was because this book really intrigued me. It's a dystopian fiction that seems really gritty, involving sex slavery and motherhood. It also deals with poverty and I can imagine that is has some pretty horrific stuff in there. This could be a really engrossing read.

Trial by Fire - Josephine Angelini
I haven't read Starcrossed yet, but it's on my Kindle, ready to go (look out for a review on that one) and I can't wait. This series looks really interesting; Set in Salem but travelling to a different world where her other self is a powerful Crucible (I think that's a witch, but I'll have to read the book to confirm), and Lily is the only one to save this world.

Camelot Burning - Kathryn Rose
An alternate idea of the Legend of King Arthur, with a lady-in-waiting come sorcerer's apprentice protagonist? Sounds good to me! It features all the much-loved characters, plus a couple of new ones to keep the story fresh. It seems to be that it will also have a slightly steampunk quality next to all the magic and chivalry. I'll be keeping track of this one.

Which books are you looking forward to reading this year?

22 April 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #2 - Fantasy Places I'd like to Experience

Top Ten Tuesday is a Meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where I will be picking from their top tens and attempting to reveal what my thinking is behind these choices

Top Ten Fantasy Places I'd like to Experience:

1. Gallifrey
Home planet of the Time Lords, and the most beautiful place in the galaxy, before it was destroyed in the Time War... or not. What good fan-girl wouldn't wan't to go there?

2. Asgard
Mythical land of Norse Gods, home of Thor, Loki and Odin. Looks like a big shining city sitting on top of clouds and has a really nice-looking rainbow bridge. I'd love to go there and hang with the Asgardians.

3. Camelot
The legendary castle of King Arthur has been depicted in so many films, books and TV series, but I want to see how it really would have been.

4. Inkworld
Cornelia Funke's imaginary book-world certainly grabs your attention. Whether you're having a meeting with Dustfinger or a confrontation with Basta, you'd never be short of amusement or danger, but it sure sounds beautiful.

5. Rivendell / Ellesmera / Greenwood (before it got Mirkwoodified)
Anywhere were the elves live sounds like a nice place to me, and whether they belong in the Inheritance cycle or The Lord of the Rings really doesn't make a huge difference. Bring on the beautiful woodland realms and the idyllic peace.

6. Westeros
This Game of Thrones land is rife with danger, but wouldn't you love to see it? The beauty of Highgarden, the desolate mountain of the Eyrie, the silent rock of Dragonstone and the splendour of King's Landing are something that every reader /watcher of this series would want to visit for themselves.

7. Oz
Nothing says holiday like the bright, happy fairyland of Oz, with its girl ruler and its cute little munchkins. Yes, there may be a few witches and trolls lurking about, but every now and again they are killed or thwarted, so they aren't too much of a bother. You can go off here and have adventures any time you like.

8. Wonderland
The fantastical world of Wonderland isn't one you'd want to stay in for too long or you may end up with a pretty bad headache, but wouldn't it be great to go wandering in and find yourself face to face with a frumious Bandersnatch, or a Cheshire Cat, or a Tea Party where it is everyone's unbirthday?

9. Narnia
But specifically, it has to be the Narnia in the time zone when the Pevensie children are the rulers, because that's when everyone is free and there are hardly any men to mess things up. Imagine walking down the beach with a faun and talking with a Mermaid or two on your way to Cair Paravel.. bliss.

10. Neverland
Never has a tiny island hosted so many types of person; a ticking Crocodile, a group of lost boys, some Pirates, some Mermaids, some Indians, and a load of random creatures or people that flit about in the woods. For a few days, it would be nice to stop time and just relax, and as long as you don't side with anyone, you could do just that.

11. Special Mention; Discworld
Terry Pratchett's incredible imagination knows no bounds, and niether does the Discworld, by the looks of it. Pratchett can't stop writing about it and choosing things to make a satire of, and we love him for it.

21 April 2014

Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins

Well then, you know why I read the series, but you don’t know why I am writing reviews on each individual book. This is very simple and a lot more boring than my rant at the beginning of the previous review, and here it is...I read The Hunger Games series at my girlfriend's request so I could post as a guest reviewer on this blog. Anyway I think I let her down a little bit because instead of writing a proper review, which you may have guessed I have no idea how to do, I just rambled on about how I felt about the book rather than tell you what actually happened. Then again if I did that before you read it you may as well not read it so chew that over when you’re bored some time! On top of that rather than just doing it as a guest reviewer I decided to set up my own blog and do a few things myself, so please check me out! I am still not sure why I decided to do this but I guess I’ll either get bored of it or just rant about random crap at some point in the future.

Anyway, on with it! At this point in the last review I wrote about how the book was written but since it was written in exactly the same style as the first book I guess that is out of the question. So to recap; written in first person, blah blah blah, I  love David Gemmell, blah blah blah, quick to read...and so on.

This time the book and the film are a little further apart, but not enough to annoy me or make me think that one is overly better than the other. Our young heroine, Katniss Everdeen, is in the aftermath of the annual event known as The Hunger Games, of which she was last years winner. The book begins with her struggle to cope with the obligations towards the Capitol that winning the Hunger Games brings as well as dealing with the psychological ramifications as she struggles to regain her former life. Tours of the country, fake marriages and personal threats from the president himself are among some of the events she has to deal with as her mental state deteriorates. Then the bombshell, which if you have seen the film you already know, she must go back to compete in a special Hunger Games as part of an event called the Quarter Quell. We go back to the Capitol to meet many previous victors who also have to compete and then begin the ‘75th annual Hunger Games!’ as Stanley Tucci so brilliantly puts it. Her and her fellow victor Peeta Mellark go back into an arena to once again fight to the death. However this time there is a twist at the end of the tail as the games go on and people die it is made clear that the tributes are trying to keep Katniss and Peeta alive. This culminates at the end when Katniss destroys the arena and is rescued by a group of rebels who inform her on the last pages of the book that ‘this is the revolution’ and ‘you are the Mockingjay’.

After reading this book I realised how perfectly Josh Hutcherson had played the role of Peeta Mellark in the films. His character's kindness, compassion and devotion to Katniss come across very strongly in this book and you get the sense of a real relationship developing between them, rather than the fake one they had in the previous book.  We are also introduced to another of my favourite characters in Finnick Odair, who is just brilliant. Also, if you have seen the film you will be glad to know that his sugar cube speech is almost word for word with the book, so credit to both writer and director there! As I mentioned in my review of the previous book you begin to lose the illusion that Katniss is the strong independent girl that she is meant to be. This continues in this book as her every move is controlled by another characters and she begins to have a couple of breakdowns because of the mental stress of her ordeal.

Once again I surprised myself by reading this book in a couple of days without having to spend hour upon hour reading. Once again I enjoyed how close my read was to what I had seen in the films. I thought the book was a brilliant read and did not want to put it down again. You are pulled into a political situation that goes well beyond the first book and creates complex plots which I instantly bought into. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book just as much as the first one and would recommend it again to anyone who has any lingering doubts.

8 out of 10

19 April 2014

Review: The Diamond Thief - Sharon Gosling

Remy is the headlining act in the Cirque de la Lune, but she is also a notorious jewel thief. That is, until her latest and most important robbery goes awry, and she ends up presenting her manager with a fake diamond. The blame is eventually pinned on her, and so Remy soon finds herself alone and on the run. Thaddeus is the youngest policeman on the force, and seemingly the only one paying attention to what is going on around him; he thinks that a famous diamond will be stolen when it is shown to the public, and he is very right. He does his best to secure it, but when the jewel does get stolen, the blame is laid at his feet by the other policemen. The only way to clear both of their names is to team up and, with some help from a few friends, find the real thief, but what they uncover goes much further than a simple robbery.

Character-wise, most were fairly straightforward, and their motives were easy to figure out. It is a small book, so that much is expected. However, it would have helped the complexity of the plot if it was less obvious how each character would react to situations. Thaddeus, for example, is only ever good and his other traits are kindness and courage; a stereotypical hero, but not much else. His initial cleverness is soon lost to stupid questions and he just becomes a simple love interest.

Remy is tiny, agile, french and has some anger issues. Her character is much more rounded than Thaddeus's as she has a few allegiances and secrets that are slowly revealed. She even has a small character arc, which adds some more interest to the book. However, the most interesting character is Abernathy, and it is a shame that his character appears to be glanced over briefly. I would have preferred a longer explanation as to why he acted the way he did and the reasons behind it. I do not believe that simple anger at being denied something can lead to madness, and there should have been something more than that to support the claim he was unhinged.

The ending is compulsive and exciting to read , but somehow it felt like it should have gone on for longer, with more content to build up the dimensions of character as well as the plot. There is a lot that is left unsaid, and there is definite room for another book.

This book fits more into a teen category, as it is short with plenty of action to keep their attention. A bit of romance has also been thrown in for good measure, and amazingly it really ties into the plot. A dose of steam-punk completes the mix, making it a pretty good read for the target audience. For me, however, it needed to be a bit more involved. It gets a 7 out of 10.

This book was kindly given for review from Capstone

18 April 2014

Author Love

I have hardly reviewed any of her books on this blog, but if I had, they would get nines and tens all around. You may have heard of Chocolat, and you may have watched the film (made more wonderful by the acting efforts of Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp, not to mention a few other recognisable faces), but have you ever read the book?

Have you guessed who it is yet? Joanne Harris is the author I am giving love to today, because she is an utter marvel. Her books are wonderfully emotive, flawlessly descriptive and very distinctive. She will never give you the same book twice, and none of her stories seem to be regurgitated from other authors. She can write about murderers, online messaging, vampires, norse mythology and food, and make it all enthralling.

But enough gush, the real way to show you all what an incredible writer she is, is to give you a few quotes from her books, my favourite books.

'Nests of spun caramel with hard-shelled sugar eggs, each topped with a triumphantly plump chocolate hen; piebald rabbits heavy with gilded almonds stand in rows, ready to be wrapped and boxed; marzipan creatures march across the shelves.'

Blackberry Wine:
'The wasp crawled thickly against the glass, it's wings were clotted with syrup. He thought he could hear the insect inside the bottle. buzzing in a growing frenzy, but perhaps that was the wine itself calling, its hot bright scent distressing the air.'

Five Quarters of the Orange:
'This is something different again. A feeling of peace. The feeling you get when a recipe turns out perfectly right, a perfectly risen souffle, a  flawless sauce hollandaise. It's a feeling which tells me that any woman can be beautiful in the eyes of a man who loves her.'

As you can probably tell, my favourites are the foodie one, but I have to say that Gentlemen and Players is also an exceptional read. The story is intense and intriguing, leaving you hanging on a thread to find out how the book will finally fit together.

If you do one thing this year, pick up a Joanne Harris book and give it a read.

17 April 2014

Review: The Immortal Circus: Act 2 - A. R. Kahler

Enter back into the world of the Winter Court's circus, where Queen Mab plays ringleader to a troupe of magical beings.

What happened in the last book was only the beginning, but the show has quickly picked itself up again with the addition of new members. Vivienne now knows all about the dream trade and it's place in the Cirque Des Immortels, but there are more secrets that are yet to be discovered.

Vivienne still does not know who she is or how to use her new-found powers, but she is about to find out. All the memories that she had pleaded to forget are coming back to her, as is the power that was kept at bay by Kingston.

A short but engrossing read, The Immortal Circus, Act 2 is something you can't simply put down. Vivienne's character is now completely believable, and Kingston becomes even more intriguing in this book. We learn a lot more about the fey and the land of faerie, as well as the Summer Court. Characters are brought into focus that were not before as Kahler creates an even more complex and involved world to go with his story.

The only qualms I have are that the story was slightly too quick, so everything change of mind seemed to happen too fast. Vivienne seems too easily convinced by Oberon and Pan and her feelings toward Mab are extremely quick to change. Despite this, the book was still a great read.

The plot is growing thicker, and a surprising twist at the end leaves Vivienne in a very difficult position, What one earth will she do? I can't wait to find out! 8.5 out of 10.

16 April 2014

Wednesday Wishlist #2

Hello and welcome to my second wishlist! I'm carrying on with my unfinished series today, so we shall kick-start it off with;

Hero - Alethea Kontis

I absolutely adored Enchanted, with the way that the fairy-tales were so cleverly intertwined and the brilliant heroine. This time we take a trip aboard a pirate ship with Saturday, whose exploits we only had a glimpse of in the first book. I'm looking forward to some swashbuckling adventures in this one (er, sorry for the cliche but sometimes it can't be helped). Also, I'm beginning to notice that most of the items on my wishlists have an awful lot of pretty detailing and pretty dresses. I do apologise to those who are against such girlieness.

Cress - Marissa Meyer

Who doesn't love the Lunar Chronicles? Cinder and Scarlett are captivating, and the way that Meyer has invented a detailed futuristic setting for each of her fairy-tale characters is incredible. The series is a wonderful invention and it really make me want to start writing my own fairy-tale retelling. I can't wait to meet Cress properly and hear more about her story. Oh and check out the stunning cover design.

Bitterblue - Kristin Cashore

I read Graceling utterly years ago, and I loved it, but really it was Fire that set my heart alight. Fire was everything a book should be, and she was the protagonist I loved the most (at the time anyway). I think I'll need to re-read the first two for Bitterblue, but I've been told very,very good things about it.

Have you read them yet? What did you think? Please let me know in the comments section.

15 April 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #1 - Most Aggravating Female Characters

Top Ten Five Most Aggravating Female Characters

I was sitting on the sofa the other day, trying to thinking about things to do for my first ever top ten, and looked over to my boyfriend who was sitting across from me, reading Catching Fire (I'm so proud). As I thought about certain annoying parts of that book, it occurred to me that I hate an awful lot of characters. So here is my definitive list of hated females. Oh and by the by, there will most definitely be spoilers in this blog.

1. Katniss Everdeen, The Hunger Games
Everyone loves Peeta, every sane woman out there would choose him over Gale, but Katniss is quite clearly insane, because for 2.9 books she procrastinates between them both, and then finally decides she wants Peeta when she can no longer (feasibly) have him. This girl is too selfish and too mean in my opinion, even if The Hunger Games is awesome, she's just not.

2. Bella Swan, Twilight
This one's a vampire, and this one is a werewolf. Exactly how long do you really need to get the picture? I got bored waiting for her to click. Also, she is always walking into trouble on purpose. If a guy tells you he's like to drain you dry, you do not come on to him, you run. Sappy and stupid, not a good combination.

3. Annana, The Assassin's Curse
Badass pirate lady escapes from an arranged marriage only to find herself pining for a scary, surly guy she just met, who nearly killed her, by the way. Enough said.

4. Rebekkah Barrow, Graveminder
Unable to admit she loves the man who she's been toying with all her life. Is constantly running away or avoiding awkward stuff, which makes for some very frustrating conversations. Eventually she grows up, but not nearly enough in my opinion.

5. America Singer, The Selection
This girl entered a competition to win the Prince's heart, having just broken up with someone. Not only does she fall swiftly back into said dumper's arms as soon as he beckons, but she then can't make up her mind about which boy she liked more. To make matters worse, she constantly thinks up issues so that her feeling tend to alternate between one and the other for the most part of two books (probably three, but as I haven't read The One yet, I don't know).

Guest Annoyance:
6. Claire Tanith, Cursed
Always feeling sorry for herself and putting herself down. The story and the idea aren't bad, but the character makes it a DNF.

These are all really enjoyable books, but these characters made me want to shake them, or tear my hair out, or both simultaneously. These ladies clearly need to learn the art of 'not procrastinating' and the other two simply need to grow working brains.

Rant over. Do you agree? Is there anyone you would like to see added to the list?

14 April 2014

The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins

OK, so this is how it begins. I have seen the first two films and am well aware that there is a book series but have no desire to read it despite my love of reading. Why you ask? It’s quite simple. I thought both films were brilliant, but as most of you know any film based on a book can never be as good as the book itself, for obvious reasons. So my logic is this ‘why would I want to read the books and ruin the films for myself when the last one hasn’t even come out yet?’. This whole scenario is going on with my girlfriend, by the way, and my logic seems to have won out, but then you must be thinking 'why this report?' If you worked that out, well done my learned friend! The problem came when the announcement that the third film would be split into two films. This of course means my missus will have to wait two years for me to read that books and this isn’t good enough! So the nagging begins...nag nag nag nag nag nag nag. This is of course when I give in. Oh, you thought at the start of this paragraph that I was talking about how the book begins. Don’t be stupid! I called you clever earlier and now you throw it back in my face, shame on you! For this is not necessarily a review of the books but a review of the franchise itself! And of course in order for me to tell you this I have to tell you about not only the books, but the film and my personal experience with it all.

So this is how it begins...no, still not the book, will you get over that? I open the book onto page one to see the size of the font and the spacing used throughout the book. At this point I should probably tell you I am dyslexic; so you will understand when I thought I would finish this book in just over a week, I meant it would not take me long to do so, by my standards anyway. Secondly, I read the first couple of lines and discover to my horror that it is written in the first person. Now as you may have guessed from this statement that I am not a fan of books written in this style. However, when I first picked up a David Gemmell book I did not like the style it was written in but after reading the first book, Legend, I fell so in love with the character he created that I ended up with him as one of my favourite authors. So for this reason I give it a chance...

Now as the book unfolds I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the book plays out more or less exactly like the film, with a couple of minor bits that couldn’t be less relevant. The book follows a young girl who lives in a country called Panem that consists of twelve districts plus a city called the Capitol. A civil war 74 years ago between the districts and the Capitol, which the Capitol won, has lead to an event called the ‘Hunger Games’. In these game two ‘tributes’, one male and one female, are selected from each district to go to the Capitol and fight to the death on a television show in which the last person alive is the ‘victor’. Events ensue and our main girl ends up winning the ‘Hunger Games’ along with her male competitor from twelve, which is unheard of since there should only be one winner. In doing this she embarrasses the Capital and insights a small uprising in a couple of the districts. The whole story is told from the point of view of our main girl as she does everything possible to protect herself from death in the arena, enemies in the Capitol and her eventual return to her district.

 You begin to feel for some of her characters and as things go on you meet more characters that you actually like rather than ‘feel for’. The main character, Katniss Everdeen, is obviously meant to be your strong independent female character but this is often challenged as she is young and often relies on other characters to help her deal with situations. This is not completely clear at the start of the book but is made more apparent as you read on. However, she is ruthless and is solely focused on her own survival, even when at a later date she is protecting her fellow tribute, Peeta Mallark. The best character is without a question Haymitch Abernathy, a drunken former champion who acts as a ‘mentor’. Of course I already wanted to like this character since he is played in the film by Woody Harrelson, one of my favourite actors. He offers an often outspoken and straightforward view on events as well as being able to ‘play the game’ as it were.

Now I said at the start of this rant that I expected to finish this book in just over a week, so imagine my surprise when less than three days after I began the book that I had already finished it. Despite having seen the film and knowing what was coming, I completely bought into the characters and their struggle for survival. The complexity of events, the consequences of every action and the game itself are so elaborate that they keep your attention from start to finish, with your mind always working to keep up with all the information you are allowed by the author. All in all I am very glad that I read this book despite my reservations about ruining the film and would recommend it to anyone who was on the edge like me!
8 out of 10

13 April 2014

The Reading Pile #1

So many new posts this month!

Today I want to share with you some of the books I got in the past couple of weeks. Some will take longer to read and review than others so bear with me! I've included some links for you, just in case you want to find out more information on this lot.

The White Queen - Phillipa Gregory
I found this in a charity shop and absolutely had to have it, since it cost all of £1.99. I've seen the TV series, and no doubt the book will be even better.

Starcrossed - Josephine Angelini
A Kindle Daily Deals special; I can never resist a book that's been on my wishlist for ages, especially when the price is a meager 99p.

The Diamond Thief - Sharon Gosling
A circus, a big diamond, thievery and steampunk all mixed into one? Yes. Please. A big thank you is in order for this one, because it had been gifted to me by Capstone to review. So thank you!

Cursed - Casey Odell
I've been hearing things about this book recently, and yesterday I decided to buy it. I was doing a bit of research for a new blog post (coming out on Tuesday) and it was mentioned to me. Since it's free on Kindle, I went for it. I'm looking forward to reviewing it, that's for sure.

Tempus - Holly Lauren
This one is my favourite of the lot at the moment, because I won it yesterday! Thank you very much to Daisy Chain Book Reviews for hosting the giveaway. I can't wait to read it!

Have you read any of these books yet? What did you think?

11 April 2014

Review: The Immortal Circus - A. R. Kahler

Imagine the world of The Night Circus, now update it to the present and instead of a fight between two wizards (or two young lovers) make it about an age-old battle between the fey courts of summer and winter. Add to that some murder, a dash of amnesia and a pinch of extremely binding contracts and you have got The Immortal Circus. In a word, it is awesome.

Vivienne joined the circus less than a month ago, and someone has been murdered. The worst part is that she appears to be the only suspect, and had absolutely no answer for it. It soon turns out that the entire circus is in jeopardy, under attack by the summer court, and now the secrets that Mab, the queen of the winter court, has been hiding will be let out.

The plot starts heavy, pulling you in from the first chapter with a gruesome murder juxtaposed by an unrequited love. So far, so good, and soon we realise that this murder was never supposed to happen; the circus really is immortal and the people in it are all magical. Well, everyone except Vivienne, it seems. However, Vivienne's amnesia also begins to gain your attention, and soon you begin to wonder if there is more to our protagonist than meets the eye as well, even if she doesn't know it yet.

As characters go, this book is really good at delivering. Vivienne is really easy to empathise with, even if her constant yearning for Kingston does grate from time to time. She is in the same boat as you, being dragged along by the current, and her reactions are precisely the kind of reactions any sane person might have. Well, nearly... I say this because I found that it was much too easy for her to accept that magical beings exist in the world, and her ability not to freak out is something most people decidedly lack. However, I think we'll get to know more about that side of her in the remaining two books, and to me, this wasn't as important as the plot was. Now Kingston, Mab and Lillith are the really interesting characters. They are so complex, and in-between the writings of the contracts forcing them not to say certain things, you can really see who they are, and who they have been striving to be, especially in the case of Kingston.

Sure enough when it all comes to a head there is an incredible crescendo. Vivienne's fragmented memories finally make sense, along with Mab's confusing actions and the riddle that is Lillith. A battle takes place that is unlike anything you were expecting, and all hell breaks loose.

If you want a quick but utterly enthralling read about a circus and the fantastical, this is the book for you. If you liked Wicked Lovely, this is also for you. Heck, if you like some action and a bit of romance with some paranormal stuck in, this is for you, too.

10 out of 10.

10 April 2014

Book Cover Reveal: Carrier - Anne Tibbets

I am overjoyed to announce that this is my first participation in anything of this sort, and I am really interested in this book. So without further ado, here is the brand-spanking new cover. I can't wait to read the book!

Carrier by Anne Tibbets
Publication date: June 16th 2014
Genres: Dystopia, New Adult

Twenty-two -year-old Naya has spent nearly half her life as a sex slave in a government institution called The Line. When she’s kicked out after getting pregnant with twins, she’s got no way to earn a living and a horrifying choice to make: find someone to replace her, or have her babies taken in her stead.
A doctor with a history of aiding ex-Line girls, Ric Bennett, wants to help. He runs a team of rebels that can delete Naya’s records and free her forever. But when The Line sniffs out his plan, things get bloody, fast. Naya means more to them than just a chance at fresh faces—her twins are part of the government’s larger plan.
As they hide from government search parties, Ric comes to admire Naya’s quiet strength. And Naya realizes Ric might be a man she can trust. If they make it off the grid, they could build a new life. But first they’ll have to survive the long, vicious reach of The Line.

Anne Tibbets is an SCBWI award-winning and Smashwords.com Best Selling author. After writing for Children’s television, Anne found her way to young/new adult fiction by following what she loves: books, strong female characters, twisted family dynamics, magic, sword fights, quick moving plots, and ferocious and cuddly animals.

Along with CARRIER, Anne is also the author of the young adult fantasy novella, THE BEAST CALL and the young adult contemporary, SHUT UP.

Anne divides her time between writing, her family, and three furry creatures that she secretly believes are plotting her assassination.

Find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AnneTibbetsAuthor or on Twitter @WriteforCoffee. To contact Anne, visit www.annetibbets.com and click the ‘CONTACT’ tab.

Author Links:

9 April 2014

Wednesday Wishlist #1

So I am trying something new starting this week. In an attempt to make my blog a bit more consistent, from now on I'll be writing this little post. Every Wednesday (hopefully) I'm going to outline things that I've discovered recently (or ages ago, there's a lot of catching up to do) and tell you lot why I need them in my life.

This week's Wishlist is all the YA series that I feel I must read;

The One - Kiera Cass

Every time I glimpse the beautiful cover on my Amazon wishlist I always think about America and the competition to win Maxon's heart. This finale is going to be brilliant, and just look at that stunning dress on the cover.. wow.

Sever - Lauren DeStefano

Again, another beautiful cover and another compelling story. Maybe I need to re-read the first two though, because my mind is coming up blank as for the end of the second. What I do remember is that the first one was beautifully told and emotionally tangible, and the last will probably, hopefully, be no different.

Insurgent and Allegiant - Veronica Roth

With the film of Divergent out right now, I should be brushing up on Tris and Four's story by reading the next two. I'm feeling rather guilty that I haven't at least read Insurgent yet, as the ending of Divergent was so sad and so shocking that at the time I immediately wanted to read on. I'm looking forward to what Roth has in store for me.

Requiem - Lauren Oliver

My fellow YA readers must all be shocked and appalled at me by now, and I wouldn't blame you. I'm not as enthralled with the Delirium series as I am by the others, but nevertheless it's on the wishlist. Sometimes you just want to know how these messed up scenarios turn out in the end.

8 April 2014

A Storm of Swords: Blood and Gold - George R.R. Martin

As I slowly make my way through A Song of Ice and Fire, I am trying to contemplate how on earth someone can create a world so full of characters that they can kill off so many people and still have plenty left to cause trouble.

This fourth book is the bloodiest one yet (hence the title, I suppose), in which several main characters die. What's more, the deaths of these people and the reasons behind them are going to cause further issues down the line for the likes of Tyrion Lannister. The best part about it is that two of my most hated characters die in this book, and that has made me extremely satisfied.

As we read on, the plot thickens to a point where the complexity begins to have no rival in any book I have ever read. Honestly, the series is so complex that it feels entirely real, as if Westeros and the Summer Isles are only across the shore, albeit in a different time zone.

Without utterly ruining the plot for all you readers who haven't read the previous books, or have only watched the TV series, I want to make a few points about the characters. Good points I think:

Sansa's story is really beginning to take shape now, and I like who the girl is becoming. Hopefully she will no longer be a pawn played in someone else's game, and she won't need a knight to take care of her. Well, here's hoping. Tyrion is awesome. Sometimes he is also a bit scary, but on the most part I love him, and his story is really going to get interesting now (as if it wasn't already!). Jaime is, yet again, one of the best characters in terms of growth and in doing interesting things.

The only thing that bugs me is that I used to empathise with Arya, but now I don't feel that any more. Her story is just growing more chaotic and her character is getting more.. well.. mean.

Now for the TV series. It would usually go that each season would represent each book, but the front half of this book has all been melded into Season 3, leaving not too much else for Season 4. Saying that, there is one super-shocking death that has been held up for Season 4, and I can't wait to watch it (yes, it is a hated character).

All in all it gets yet another thumbs up from me. I'm going with a 9.5 out of 10.

5 April 2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Steve Rogers (Captain America to you and me) is still adjusting to his new life, having lost everything after being frozen in the ice... or so he thought. The past finally catches up with him in the second installment of this superhero's films. Some old faces come back to haunt him, some only memories, some aged and dying and some scientifically preserved. After Nick Fury is shot and killed, the Captain doesn't know who to trust, and he must battle with himself and with the people he thought were his friends to find out the truth.

Captain America's second outing alone lives up rather well to the first film. This time he's teamed up with shield agent Natasha Romanoff (the Black Widow) to fight evil. The only issue is, they have no idea who it is that they're fighting. A dark secret is hidden away in SHIELD, and all of it links perfectly back into the Steve's past. This is the part that I love best; the flashbacks in time, the museum with all of the old outfits and all the memories captured inside. It really brings back the feel of the first film, which was definitely a sort of love letter to the 1940's.

The plot is fast-paced and really intriguing, with a nice scene between Rogers and a new face (known as Falcon later on, all you Marvel buffs) early on to ease you in, and then a shooting to leave you horrified. Steve and Natasha become fugitives, but despite this, they're determined to stop the threat to the earth that Nick Fury was trying to unearth before he died. Plenty of explosions, lots of fighting scenes and action sequences and a couple of mysteries to be answered make this film a really exciting watch. I loved it , and so did the boyfriend.

One issue that probably needs to be addressed here is the end credits. You know the little scenes? Well, things are getting a lot more complex, and I have a problem with this. While everything will add up in the end, it feels like Marvel are holding too many threads. We have multiple story-lines for each superhero, and issues for each one that have in no way been resolved. Does anyone remember the red-faced bloke at the end of the Thor credits? Well, no, and I honestly thought that he would come back in sooner, maybe into Thor 2 instead of giving him a whole new enemy to fight, which then stems off with this collector man at the end. There, two things already, and now there's yet another bad guy with his hands on an Asgardian weapon. It is getting very complex and quite difficult to remember, and I do wonder how this will all tie in.

Anyway, that is a small qualm, and surely it will all be resolved sooner or later. Apart from that, the film is really enjoyable, perfect for Marvel Studios fans and action lovers, and also a great carry-on from the first film. 9 out of 10. (Oh and also, the amount of naked muscly torsos on display are a lovely addition. Keep it coming, Marvel.)