Friday, 19 October 2012

Well lookie here...

Dear Readers,

After much deliberation I decided to give the page a new look and feel, this may tweak as time goes on but for the moment I'm quite happy with it.

Please do tell me your thoughts, is it better? worse? is there anything you would like me to include? Being still relatively new to blogging I'm always open to other opinions so please comment away!

All the best,

Expect the Unexpected

The Raven Boys - Maggie Stiefvater
Schoolastic - Available, its brand NEW y'all! 

Well, Maggie's done it again! another tale I can't get out of my head and yet again I find I'm having trouble surmising into words what I feel or what it was all about except that I loved it and need more.

What I love most about Maggie's writing is her characters - they are warm, familiar and incredibly sensible, so much so that no matter what weird situation they get themselves into you can't help but take it as seriously as they do, be it boys that are also wolves (Shiver, one of my all time fave series) or mystic happenings on a magical ley line as its the case in this new series.

Like her previous stories the plot line is fractured into 3 or more view points which I always find engrossing, the different perspectives make for a very well rounded story and allow for greater character depth. Set in Henrietta USA we first meet Blue Sargent and her mother's entertaining female household of clairvoyants, Blue is individuality personified and while she has no psychic abilities herself, her special talent is amplifying the energies around her and helping others to 'see' more clearly. Now you may think that living in a house full of seers would be interesting and at times helpful unless of course the future they predict is yours and involves you killing your true love with a kiss, poor Blue! 

Enter the Raven Boys - rich entitled youths playing with their parents money and Blues last choice as love interests until fate brings them together and seeing their depth blurs the lines between what Blue thought she knew and what she wants to know more of…it would seem even sensible girls can be  seduced by the best of intentions. 

The Cabeswater Chronicles will be a four book series and I eagerly await book 2. 

Monday, 15 October 2012

Bloody and Brillant!

Beautiful Disaster - Jamie McGuire
Simon and Schuster - Available Now

"Why don't you just read the whole thing in 48 hrs then?" When my FiancĂ© mutters these words it means two things, 1. He's not getting enough attention because 2. whatever I'm reading is just too good to leave alone for any period of time. Sadly I am by no means a fast reader, I've tried believe me, but I end up missing things and its the 'Great' books I often try to savour - so to finish something in two days means I'm irrevocably hooked and will make no time for anything else until its finished (sound familiar to anyone else?). 

And this is a 'Great' book - sure the storyline isn't ground breaking…A tale of unrequited love set in college, young smart girl (Abby Abernathy) falls for bad boy (Travis 'Maddog' Maddox, and this guy is seriously a disaster, he sleeps around, fights for a living and rides a Harley - yep) who then turns his world upside-down to claim her... but its the things that make it unique that sets it above the norm - the back story for example is slowly revealed, building good suspense (no I'm not going to tell you what it is - it'll ruin the surprise!) the characters are real making me feel like a part of their world and the writing is clear - it flows and I can't wait to see more of it!

Luckily we don't have too long to wait as the second book Walking Disaster is due out April 2013 which I am super excited for as its the other side of the story as told by the bad boy Trav himself! I have craved a good "his side of the story" ever since Midnight Sun was axed (Grrr Stephanie) and theres another treat for those of you who, like me are fresh to Jamie's writing there is a whole previous series we can sink into - her paranormal Providence series is available on ebook comprising of Providence, Requiem and Eden. 

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Beautiful Days and Sparkling Nights

Beautiful Days - Anna Godberson
Penguin - Available Now

Firstly I need to apologise for all of the sequels I have been reviewing lately of which this is another  - due to all of this free time I'm actually finishing series rather than reading the first and having to move on, thank the Gods.

So, this is the follow on from Bright Young Things and another glamorous offering highlighting the lives of New Yorks brightest young stars in the era of Jazz, speakeasies and danger masquerading as a good time, where life as you know it can turn on a dime and your next big break is just around the corner...

Featured are the same three hopefuls of the last book: the self named starlet on the rise Letty Larkspur, self involved good time girl Astrid Donal and the mysterious heir to a rum running empire Cordelia Grey and now is the time for each girl to find her destiny! You may fondly remember Anna's previous series the 'Luxe' based in the same town in an earlier time (late 1800's turn of the century for those of you who don't) which I absolutely loved - I have to be honest with you this series doesn't manage to hit the same height, don't get me wrong its still gorgeous and fun like only she can do but the characters I found a little grating at times as each of the three girls take turns self obsessing and whining as things don't go their way, which I suppose in a way is quite true to life as we all grow up and realise the sky isn't falling each time we have a set back (hell I think I'm still learning this one). 

At this stage there is only the two books available but this makes them a quick and enjoyable read with enough closure and perfect for those roaring 20's fans! I found by doing some minor detective work that book 3 The Lucky Ones should be out via Harper in December this year so keep your eyes peeled for another beautiful package from Anna around Christmas. 

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Eve's Lovely Lords and Ladies

The Queens Lady - Eve Edwards
Penguin - (Books 1-3) Available Now

Blending just the right amount of suspense and drama this is a historical love story not to be missed!

I have to admit I'm a huge fan of the period drama as it provides a fascinating look into the past while remaining relevant and entertaining, The Lacey Chronicles with plenty of humour and gorgeous gowns are a sure winner in this genre with each volume telling a different character's tale from the branches of the Lacey family tree making each story fresh with some new faces but without loosing the progress of the previous character. 

This is part two for the series and picks up exactly where book one left off and while they can be read as stand alone's I highly recommend giving your attention first to book one - The Other Countess for greater understanding and of course just for the sheer fun of it! Set in the late 1500's Tudor England we continue the story now following the hazardous romantic tale of the newly widowed Lady Jane (at the ripe old age of 18 mind you) and her downtrodden hero Master James Lacey as Jane is set upon by one villain after another and James unable to help after having felt himself worthless and undeserving of her love takes himself off on a risky voyage to the new world - The Americas. Suffice to say it makes for a lot of nail bitting and as I'm not a fan of the unknown it took me a  mere 48 hours to finish (and that was dragging it out). 

Now if you'll excuse me I'm off to read the third and hopefully not final volume - The Rouge's Princess in the hope that I can stretch it out to at least two days...though I don't like my chances :)

Thursday, 20 September 2012

The Light and Dark in ALL of us

Beautiful Chaos - Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Penguin - Available NOW!

Firstly - Two authors, yes I know, but it totally works!

This is the third instalment of the Caster Chronicles as told by Ethan Wate a true Southern gentleman, I always find it refreshing to read from a male perspective but this would have to be one of my utmost favourites - just to give you a glimpse this is from page 477... 

"Please have a seat, Ethan."
I automatically sat in the flowered chair, then stood right up, because there was nowhere else to sit in the room. No son of Gatlin would sit while a lady stood. "I'm fine standing. You go a ahead, ma'am."


Set in the small Southern town of Gatlin which is pretty much a character in itself, what with all its God-fearing yet highly superstitious, pie-making, civil war re-enacting town folk. I swear you can even hear the Southern drawl in your head as you read!

Due to the cataclysmic ending in the previous book where Lena, Ethan's Caster girlfriend claimed herself to be both light and dark - indadvertedly throwing out the balance and bringing on the beginning of the apocalypse unless they can figure out how to return the order of things and bring an end to the chaos.

Be warned - it will leave you on a massive cliff hanger, but now for the good news - thankfully we don't have long to wait for the 4th book Beautiful Redemption due out October and for those of you who haven't had the pleasure of book one through three yet then you get all four at once, all I can say is set aside the weekend and enjoy :)

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Love, Life and Reading...

Succubus Revealed - Richelle Mead
Available  - NOW

lately I've had quite a bit of "down time" and it has afforded me the rare opportunity to read unfettered - for the first time in a long time I have been able to choose any book I wish from my expansive To Read pile without suffering any guilt over the fact that I should be reading something else! Which leads me to discussion of a book that Ive been saving for years now the 6th and final instalment of Richelle's Succubus series, so long put off because it has been a series so consistently enjoyable that I knew seeing it end would bring me physical pain, and so it was that I entered the turbulent and familiar world of Georgina Kincaid for the last time....

Honestly these books have it all - razor sharp wit, giggle out loud humour, saucy sex scenes (though a little lacking in this final volume sadly), action, drama, secrets and love as we follow Georgina and her likewise dammed colleagues antics in their battle of good vs evil (or evil vs evil via bowling, oddly enough).
Georgie you may be surprised to hear is on the side of evil, Hell to be exact who own her immortal soul after she brokered a deal with an Imp to escape past mistakes. Sadly we all know that running away is never the answer and all bad deeds will catch us in the end: this being the theme for our final adventure.

I was extremely happy with the ending of this tale and gasped while gripping my fiancé's arm quite a few times (he wasn't as enamoured with the unfolding events as me, especially as he began to loose sensation in his left bicep), I think I've spilled enough suffice to say that all will indeed be revealed!


            GO, BUY, DEVOUR! 

Friday, 31 August 2012

Come meet the Rivers

Rivers of London - Ben Aaronovitch
Hachette Australia - Available NOW

This is dry British humour at its best and tremendously entertaining to boot.

The story peeks behind the veil into London's present day magical forces and those in charge of monitoring said forces in a detailed and practical matter, so believable is the main character Constable Peter Grant that if it wasn't for all the melting faces and spiritual embodiment you would be forgiven for mistaking this as a contemporary crime novel.

Quirky, Funny and cleaver I can confidently say that this is a book for anyone and everyone!

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Spanking good fun

Fifty Shades series - E.L.James
Random House - Available NOW (unless sold out, again)

Yes, I read all three - I'm a total masochist what can I say?
Ok so if you can get past the fact that for a large portion of the book Ana is the most irritating character ever written then you will at least find some moments of enjoyment - particularly with some of the sex scenes, which when not being repetitive (like most of the dialogue, plot and just about everything else I'm sorry to say) are a bit different and Ana's obvious pleasure does make them quite fun for female readers... you know what I mean ;).

There is some genuine character growth as you progress through the series and the writing does in its way, get better if a bit predictable, at the end of the last book is a great insight into Christian's experience of their first meeting which I found quite interesting, in fact I would have loved more of that in the actual series rather than Ana's at times incessant internal dialogue of 'Oh My's' etc.

As a whole they are a bit of fun and I applaud E L James for having the courage of conviction to write them and give women a healthy outlet for sexual tension. There really isn't a lot readily out there for women to assimilate too and Im sure that there are many women who have benefitted from these books, bringing them out of their sexual 'shell' and returning fun to their relationships and their beds and that, can only be a good thing!

The Changeling Tale

Switched - Amanda Hocking
Pan Macmillan - Available NOW

Wendy is different to the other girls, well Wendy is different to everyone - namely because she's a troll...interest spiked? mine was too!

My thoughts immediately turned to horrific creatures with very little skill for english or personal hygiene that lurk under bridges and in draughty caves, apparently, I was wrong.
After long having thought herself abnormal Wendy is informed she is actually TryIle, being one of the many secluded communities living under the radar of normal human society. 

Now sure all of this may seem like a lot to take in but the worst shock of all was yet to come by learning that her family are not really hers at all but one she was advantageously placed in like a cuckoo (the term used is Changeling) so that when the time came for her to leave said 'fake' family she could take all of their riches and her trust fund with her.

Wendy as a character is your quintessential unassuming teen thrown into a magical world but I think that if I were her I would be asking more questions and demanding some answers - she's not nearly as pissed off as I would be thats for sure. But as to wether she sinks or swims in this new land I will let you find out...

Thursday, 24 May 2012

OH How he thrills me!

Say You’re Sorry – Michael Robotham
Hachette – Available August 2012

Yet another amazing and unputdownable (yes it’s a word!) thrilling mystery from Michael. Once started it kept me up well past my bed time and was the first thing I reached for come morning!

Joe O’Loughlin is back and better than ever as he navigates the depths of a cold case for two missing girls, The Bingham Girls, presumed runaway troubled teens until one turns up in the oddest of places. Joe’s ability to untangle the truth by seeing the full spectrum of human emotion and what drives criminals to acts of brutality and deprivation are what stands this character out from the crowd and its these powers of human detection that lead him to the twisted culprit but be warned – he’ll keep you guessing to the very end and even then will Joe figure it out in time to save the day??

So so so Good….what more can I say?

NOTE: Not AUS cover art.

Can you outrun a Plague?...

The Masque of the Red Death – Bethany Griffin
Hachette – Available August 2012

This somewhat different tale is based on the story of the same name by Edgar Alan Poe and it feels just as sinister…

The year is 1870 and the world has been decimated by plague – the lucky few who can afford the manufactured porcelain masks which are the only known prevention to the deadly contagion are frivolously wasting their time and money trying to ignore the bodies piling up around them.

Our protagonist Araby is daughter to the famous inventor of the masks and living with her own demons and guilt from a long past tragedy while trying to find oblivion in all the wrong places resulting in drug and alcohol abuse – partying to dull the pain.

This is a girl that clearly needs saving, enter the vital love triangle with the dark and mysterious Will who tries to see past the insipid party girl and the would be revolutionary Elliott who is running from demons of his own  but which boy can she trust and who will she turn to as the city burns?

Let me take you back....

A Half Forgotten Song – Katherine Webb
Hachette – Available August 2012

A truly mesmerising read where the characters, times and places leap off the page and into your mind to hold on with a tenacious grip!

Via Katherine’s marvellous writing I swear I could smell the salt laden and chilly Dorset winds and feel the baking heat of the Moroccan desert. Rich in interesting characters and what a tale – love, betrayal, jealousy and pain with twists I never saw coming woven from the past only to creep into the present  as all good secrets have want to do…

I craved to know Mitzy’s terrible secrets just as much as I wished I could leave them be – I defy you to not feel the same!

A Must Read!

Unsaid – Neil Abramson
Hachette – Available JULY 2012

Sometimes great books have a way of finding us just when we need them most, Unsaid was, for me one of those books.

It came to me at exactly the right time to help me through a painful and sad period and gave me small comfort in a way nothing else could.

Neil’s writing is honest, humorous and heartbreakingly beautiful – I often found myself pausing during reading to mentally bask in the pictures he painted or let the information I had just learned sink in as I turned it over in my mind or on occasion, read the passage to aloud to my partner or Mum, so important was the message it had to be shared.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that this book is important to me, almost a reflection of myself and the values I hold dear. I'm not going to provide the usual synopsis, I feel its best to come to it fresh with no preconceptions, I think Neil explains it very well with a quote from the main character Helena “it is so much more than the sum of its parts”.

I hope it can provide you even an ounce of the warmth it gave me.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Missing: Mother, Menace and Architectural Genius...

Where’d you go Bernadette? – Maria Semple
Hachette – Available July 2012

I'm not going to spoil it by telling you where she went – so don’t even ask!

Set in Seattle we get a private look into the Branch family: Techno wonder-mind Elgin Branch, Architectural genius and unknowingly lost Bernadette Fox and their brilliant (of course) yet blind sighted daughter Bee Branch.

This story has humour, honesty, technological advances, malicious blackberry bushes, Russian Mafia, drama, adultery and plenty of Penguins….intrigued? GOOD!

I have no idea how to describe this book (especially without giving away all the surprises) except to say – read it, it will all make sense in the end and you’ll be happy you tried it (similar, coincidentally to a Tapas party I went to recently..)

Keep an open mind and great things will happen!

Sunday, 26 February 2012

I see Demons

The Boy Who could See Demons – Carolyn Jess-Cooke
Hachette – Available May 2012

A startling look into the curious workings of the human psyche and the darkest places it can take us, perfect for fans of ‘The Six Sense’.

I loved the characters that create the duel dialogue of this novel, first and foremost is 10 year old Alex, the star of the story who is wonderfully warm, funny and so caring of his severely depressed mother Cindy…he also happens to be best friends with a Demon – Ruen.

The other half of this tale features Anya, Alex’s psychiatrist who’s interest moves beyond professional when Alex’s case becomes a stark reminder of her own troubled daughter Poppy’s who died 4 years previous.

As Ruen makes his presence known Anya finds herself questioning her diagnosis and her belief in the reality of personal ‘demons’ and their role in the suffering and temptation of our race. Which poses an interesting question…can the baser level urges of suffering humans – such as depression, greed, self-hatred and harming really be fuelled by lecherous nether realm demons?? That I will let you read and decide – its well worth discovering!

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Teen Romance based in reality.

Eleanor and Park – Rainbow Rowell
Hachette – Available May 2012

Don’t let the author’s name lead you to believe that this is a story of sunshine and bunnies. True there is an epic love story at work but it is nestled between real life problems of broken families, domestic abuse and each characters own feelings of alienation.

Park is the only Asian kid in a middle America white-bread town and like the opposite of what everyone else seems to be into, enter Eleanor, larger than average with curly red hair and a flamboyant dress sense spawned from wearing whatever has the least holes in it from her woeful poor wardrobe.

Eleanor’s shattered family life is slowly eclipsed by her growing feelings and time spent with Park and his loving family, drawing her out of her shell and helping Park to see the love he already has with the acceptance he thought he needed.

Reading the character growth and blooming love and lust (don’t worry all G rated) of these well drawn characters is entrancing and all consuming. However if your after a tale with a neatly tied up ending then this isn’t the book for you, trust me – you’ll find yourself wanting more.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Pack Endings...

Bloodrose – Andrea Cremer
Hachette: Available NOW in all good bookstores

“I’d always welcomed war, but when the last battle ends, what life is left for a warrior?”

Wow, just wow. I don’t think this series could have ended more differently than I had imagined – naturally I won’t give away the surprise, suffice to say I'm not sure exactly how I feel about the final developments….Happy – yes, Sad – yes, elated, devastated, confused yet assured and overall nostalgic for the way things were.

The final battle may have been fought but what is the price you would be willing to pay to banish evil for good?

There is one thing that I do know for certain – I’ll miss Calla and her pack, there really isn’t another story like this one!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Saving Grace Winter

The Lifeboat – Charlotte Rogan
Hachette – Available April 2012

In the summer of 1914 a mere two years after the tragic sinking of the Titanic the Empress Alexandria suffers a mysterious explosion and sinks beneath the waves.

One of the few to escape disaster in Grace Winter, 21 years old and newlywed -  in a state of shock she finds herself being lifted into the comparative safety of one of the remaining lifeboats and thus begins the striking tale of her survival against the harsh and unforgiving sea and the baser tendencies of humanity of those around her.

As the days and weeks Stretch on conspiracy, jealousy, dependency, bigotry and weakness slowly consume the 39 passengers aboard the Lifeboat briefly highlighted by moments of compassion, strength and self-sacrifice. But even so rescue may not be the only thing needed to save Grace.

Grace is a  character that I was equally intrigued and irritated by and this is an original debut with an authentic voice however I would have liked a more conclusive ending, but I suppose that said unpredictability and adventure is the very nature of life itself.

Aye, it's set in Scotland!

Stonemouth – Iain Banks
Hachette – Available April 2012

Our story begins with the dubious return of Stewart Gilmour to his costal home town of Stonemouth, Scotland after being unceremoniously run out of the Toun five years previous. Waiting for him are his Family, Friends, old flame and old life that is familiar and relieving as much as it is disappointing and diminished in his opinion. However also lying in wait are the Murston Clan – the reason behind his running and even though Stu is back in town to pay respects to the recently departed Grandfather Jo Murston they seem to be having some trouble putting the past in the past and some still crave retribution…

Despite the somewhat ominous feel often delved into, the story is still incredibly entertaining and filled with loveable characters and that brilliant Scottish brogue (I swear the highly versatile word ‘Aye’ has now worked its way into my regular vocabulary much to the amusement of my friends and family).

It is wonderfully nostalgic and witty as well as quite lyrical when Stu describes his beautifully troubled town creating a funny, touching, relevant and generally uplifting read!

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

NASA returns to the Moon!

172 Hours on the Moon – Johan Harstad
Hachette - Available April 2012

I only really need 3 words to describe this teen sci-fi space odyssey – Thrilling, fascinating and absolutely terrifying!!

Set in the not so distant future of 2018, NASA’s failing popularity (sound familiar?) has driven them to concoct the marketing plan of a lifetime - NASA is going back to the Moon, and they are taking 3 teens with them! The winners of an epic international lottery, enter Mia of Stravanger – Norway, Midori of Yokahoma – Japan and Antoine from Paris – France, each of whom feel a trip to the moon is well timed to either escape their lives or make it big when they return famous (no real ‘moon love’ seems to be required…) amidst the internal plotting and secrets of NASA Mia, Midori and Antoine are walking into the unknown, and the dark side of the Moon.

Translated from its original Norwegian, Johan portrays a believable and interesting view on the inner mechanisations of the American space organisation, in fact the plot reads like a solid conspiracy theory and for all of our sakes I pray this remains a work of fiction!

The Daughter's Tale continues

Lookie, Lookie waht I just found out....

The LOOONG awaited sequel to my fave book for 2011 Daughter of Smoke and Bone finally has a name!! Thanks to Laini for posting this great news :)

OMGosh I'm so excited and can hardly wait to read this, hopefully my job perkiness will award me an early manuscript soon xxx

Friday, 27 January 2012

Jamie's Story

My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece – Annabel Pitcher
Hachette – Available NOW

Never before has the title of a novel been more evocative of the story for Jamie’s sister Rose truly ‘Lives’ on the mantelpiece, at least in the mind of his father.

After Rose’s tragic death during a London Terrorist bombing his father retreats into a world of his own grief fuelled by alcohol, his constant despair and blaming push their mother away who feels the best way to move on is to abandon her family for a life with their therapist!

The story beautifully delves into the dynamics of the family members left behind – Jamie and Jasmine (twin sister to Rose). As their relationship with their father dwindles the two children become stronger together, caring and protecting each other from the harsh realities that surround them.

Many little moments make this book into something quite special, covering a multitude of issues and ideals that I cant even begin to describe, I will tell you though that when I finished I was so close to Jas and Jamie and so proud of them that I didn’t want to let them go – A truly wonderful little story.

Mean Girls meets The Craft

Hollow Pike – James Dawson
Hachette – Available March 2012

The best description I can think of for this debut teen thriller is a blend of the movies Mean Girls and The Craft – but missing most of the ‘craft’ element….

There’s the towns mysterious witchcraft laden history that creates Hollow Pike’s very own brand of ghost stories (mostly used to scare children out of going into the forest or ‘pike’) but it doesn’t really amalgamate into magic wielding teens as I thought it inevitably would. Instead the focus is more on the age old topis of bullying and the ‘mean girls’ taking over the school and a strong theme of embracing your individuality and not judging people by the way they look or dress or whether they are part of the ‘in crowd’ because as long as your happy with the choices you make and the people you call friends then that’s all that matters.

The drama, characters and romance are all fantastically solid but a little more ‘parra’ and a little less ‘normal’ would have been welcome especially with such a striking witchy jacket!