Saturday, 31 March 2012

Best of the Bunch March 2012

Best of the Bunch is a meme previously hosted at Lyrical Reviews, and now hosted here on the last day of each month, where we can look back over the books we have read and give a Best of the Bunch award to our favourite book of that month.
For more info and to grab the button and stickers visit the BOTB page here and then add your linky to the list below.

March 2012
This month I have reviewed on the blog:

  • Sweetly by Jackson Pearce- My Review- 3.5 of 5 stars
  • New Girl by Paige Harbison- My Review- 4 of 5 stars
  • Cloaked by Alex Flinn- My Review- 4 of 5 stars
  • Hallowed by Cynthia Hand- My Review- 4 of 5 stars
  • The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore- My Review- 4.5 of 5 stars
  • Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter- My Review- 4 of 5 stars
and the award for Best of the Bunch for March 2012 is going to go to...


The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore!

I really enjoyed this for it's action and adventure, but also it's heart. This is the second book in a series, and adds new characters, and a whole new dimension to the story. 
I thought this book was so much better than book I Am Number Four. I loved the dual narrative as the story switches between John (Number Four) in America, and Marina (Number Seven) hiding out in Spain. Their lives are so different, and this made the story seem so multi-layered. They are all discovering their powers and starting to talk about fighting back, and this gives it a great atmosphere of tension and building drama. 
Intense, fast-paced and exciting. A great story. 

Honourable mentions also go to Hallowed and Goddess Interrupted. Both also great books. 

So which book gets your award? Add the link to your post below, and visit some of the other blogs taking part.


I've been poorly on and off throughout February and March, so I haven't written many reviews lately- but that is going to change next month as I try to catch up- promise! I've read so many fantastic books lately and I really want to talk about them, and get all these half-written reviews done and up on the blog. April will be a better month!

Friday, 30 March 2012

Unblogged Favourites, part three

Recently when I was making my Review Archive I realised that there are so many of my absolute favourite books that I've never talked about on the blog before, because I read them long before I started blogging. I still love and re-read these books and recommend them to all my friends and family. I want people to know about these books because they are amazing, and will always have a permanent place on my bookshelf and in my heart. So, for the next few weeks I'm going to feature some of these previously unblogged favourites.

His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In my opinion this is one of the best series ever written. I absolutely, completely love these books. If you were to ask me what books I wish I'd written myself, the answer would be these. They are sheer perfection. I read them years ago but they are still top of my favourites list. I can remember still reading Northern Lights at 2am despite having to get up for work at 6am- every time I tried to put the book the story would be spinning round in my head and I just HAD to know what happened next! Now this NEVER happens to me- I am a person who loves  needs her sleep! Adventurous, magical, emotional, thrilling and so clever. Just amazing.
But trust me- don't watch the movie- it's crap!

The Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

A fantasy adventure series for younger teens. This was a captivating series that had me completely hooked. A magical world that I could really believe in with fantastic characters. Loved this.

Harry Potter by JK Rowling

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Of course this had to be on the list! These FANTASTIC books are on my list of my all-time favourite books. Aside from textbooks and required reading, these were the only books I brought with me to university, and I read them so many times I knew my favourite scenes practically by heart. Any time I needed a pick-me-up I would just grab one of these books and dive right in, and lose myself in the magical world of Hogwarts. Magical, funny, dangerous, and just the perfect story of lifelong loyalty and friendship, and the classic battle of good vs. evil.

More next week!

Thursday, 29 March 2012

The Time Will Come #55

The Time Will Come is a weekly meme hosted by Jodie at Books For Company, where we can spotlight those books that we've had sitting on our shelves for too long. Books that we really want to read but never seem to get around to.

This book was everywhere a few months ago, and I kept seeing so many 5 star reviews of it. I got given it for my birthday back in October- yet I STILL haven't read it. It does sound emotional and moving though, it's a contemporary story about an abusive relationship. A manipulative boyfriend, and a girlfriend trying to break away. 

Stay by Deb Calletti  (Goodreads)

Clara's relationship with Christian is intense from the start, and like nothing she’s ever experienced before. But what starts as devotion quickly becomes obsession, and it's almost too late before Clara realizes how far gone Christian is—and what he's willing to do to make her stay.
Now Clara has left the city—and Christian—behind. No one back home has any idea where she is, but she still struggles to shake off her fear. She knows Christian won't let her go that easily, and that no matter how far she runs, it may not be far enough....

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Review: Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter

Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Source: E-galley for review

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Kate Winters has won immortality. 
But if she wants a life in the Underworld with Henry, she’ll have to fight for it. 
Becoming immortal wasn’t supposed to be the easy part. Though Kate is about to be crowned Queen of the Underworld, she’s as isolated as ever. And despite her growing love for Henry, ruler of the Underworld, he’s becoming ever more distant and secretive. Then, in the midst of Kate’s coronation, Henry is abducted by the only being powerful enough to kill him: the King of the Titans. 

As the other gods prepare for a war that could end them all, it is up to Kate to save Henry from the depths of Tartarus. But in order to navigate the endless caverns of the Underworld, Kate must enlist the help of the one person who is the greatest threat to her future. 

Henry’s first wife, Persephone.

Book 2 in the Goddess series *May be a little spoilery if you haven't read the first book!*

I finished this book a couple of weeks ago and yet it is still swirling around in my head. I think it is a good sign when a story has got under my skin, and the characters are living on in my imagination after I finished turning the pages.

This series gives a completely original twist on the myth of Hades and Persephone- with Hades (now called Henry) ruling the underworld still, and ordinary Kate, after passing the tests and now Henry's wife returning from her 6 months away to take her place by his side as his queen. Kate is expecting a warm welcome from him, however, with Henry hardly ever there, and so detached when he is there, Kate begins to wonder if she made the right choice.

I loved how well written the emotionally charged scenes are. This book made me cry so many times, as during Kate's darkest moments I felt right there with her, and just hoping everything would work out okay in the end for her. She is desperate for Henry to love her back and give her at least some sign of affection. But his experiences in the past have made Henry reluctant to give his heart away completely, and he is suspicious of Kate's friendship with James. I found the book to be so frustrating in places, because Henry and Kate are both so insecure- which in Henry's case makes him cold and aloof, and in Kate's case a little whiny and clingy. I wanted to bash their heads together a few times and make them see sense!

Everything is thrown further into chaos when a betrayal by one of their own unleashes the ever present danger of the only power that can harm the immortal gods- a Titan. Admist the dangers of a war Kate has to ask for help from the only person who may be able to save them- Henry's ex-wife Persephone. Henry has never got over her, and Kate has to go through the pain of watching Henry and Persephone slip back into their old comfortable friendship again.

Despite Kate's insecurities I still thought she was a strong determined and brave character, and I couldn't help but admire her, and feel for the heartbreak and the choices she has to make. I think she is understandably justifiably jealous of the past bond between Henry and Persephone, especially when evidence of their past is all around her in Persephone's decorating choices. And the introduction of Persephone was a genius move, in this roller-coaster novel of laughs, tears, action and romance. I liked Henry as a character as well, a very swoon-worthy crush.

The verdict- This book is romantic, emotional, dramatic, dangerous, exciting, (slightly corny) and I loved it! Goddess Interrupted swept me off into another world for a short time, and it is different enough from the bulk of YA fiction out there to make it fresh and unique. In my opinion this book is better than the first one and I can't wait for the next one!

Thanks to Harlequin publishers and Netgalley for the review copy.

Rest of the series:

Book 1- The Goddess Test
Book 3- The Goddess Inheritance (Out soon)

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Review: The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore

The Power of Six
by Pittacus Lore

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads:
We are the last defence. I've seen him on the news. Followed the stories about what happened to John Smith. To the world he's a mystery, but to me ...he's one of us. Nine of us came here, but sometimes I wonder if time has changed us, if we all still believe in our mission. There are six of us left. We're hiding, blending in, avoiding contact with one another, but our Legacies are developing and soon we'll be ready to fight. Is John Number Four - and is his appearance the sign I've been waiting for? And what about Number Five and Six? Could one of them be the raven-haired girl with the stormy eyes from my dreams? The girl with powers that are beyond anything I could ever imagine? The girl who might be strong enough to bring the six of us together? They caught Number One in Malaysia. Number Two in England. And Number Three in Kenya. They tried to catch Number Four in Ohio ...and failed. I am Number Seven. And I'm ready to fight. 

Book 2 in the Lorien Legacies series
I loved The Power of Six way more than I Am Number Four and I'm annoyed at myself that it's taken me so long to get around to reading it. This book dives straight into the action without needing the preamble of the explanations about Lorien and the Nine.

What I loved most about it was the switching between the two parallel storylines of number four John and and the new narrative of number seven Marina. With John on the run in America and Marina hiding in a convent in Spain suspecting she has been discovered by the Mogadorians, there was always something happening, and it felt like each chapter ended on a cliff-hanger and there was a wait to find out what had happened while the narrative switched back to the other story. Their lives are so vastly different that it felt like two novels rolled into one. The story is a wonderful mixture of these alien powers and technology, then the drama of John living and hiding on the road in America, and then this remote old-world mediterrainean nunnery.

I also enjoyed the relationships between all the characters. John, Sam and Six have a complex bond between them, looking out for each other and living in each other's pockets. Sam has a massive crush on Six, but John and Six have so much more in common and banter with each other and make plans so easily, causing a little friction between John and Sam. And Marina has grown up in such an isolated community on the other side of the world, with just a few close friends and a very conflicted relationship with her Cepan Adelina.

The other thing that was interesting was seeing how different the relationships were between the Nine and each of their Cepan's (guardians). John and Henri had a relationship like father and son, and Henri was always desperate to keep running, keep hidden and stay safe and under the radar. In comparison, Six and her Cepan trained constantly in defense, were always trying to find the other Nine and trying to fight back against the Mogadorians. Their relationship was like a soldier and a general. Marina and her Cepan in Spain seem to have had the hardest time adapting to living on Earth, and we learn that after starving on the streets, Marina and Adelina eventually set themselves up to live in a convent school, with Adelina saying that their old life was a fairystory and denying that Lorien even existed.

Marina, John and Six are all developing their powers and discovering new ones, and the focus is turning not just on trying to hide away and keep hidden, but to start to make contact with each other again, and to start to fight back. The story feels like it is building up and gaining momentum right up to the end. They are having to involve more humans in their war, and develop alliances, all under the radar of the Mogadorians. There are a few new twists and surprises, tons of action and not a dull moment.

At all times it was an intense fast-paced ride, but also heartfelt, and dramatic, and there is always something going on. Even readers who are not traditionally fans of sci-fi will like this, for it's emotion, it's focus on the characters, and the action of the story. There is the constant fear of being hunted, and the emotion of falling in love. I loved this. I was completely addicted reading this book- always wanting to read just a little bit more, when I was supposed to be getting ready for work! This is a great story that had me utterly hooked.

Rest of the series:

Book 1- I Am Number Four (My rating- 4 of 5 stars)
Book 3- The Rise of the Nine (Due to be published August 2012)

Sunday, 25 March 2012

In My Mailbox 25th March 2012

In My Mailbox is a weekly event hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren where book bloggers can talk about the books they've gotten the past week- whether bought, borrowed, swapped, or given for review. This feature was started to increase interaction between bloggers and to increase our awareness of all the new books coming out.
Some amazing books again this week- I need more hours in the day to read them all!


  • Steelflower by Lilith Saintcrow. (Goodreads). This has been sitting on my wishlist for a long while, and I saw a bargain on Amazon Marketplace so I treated myself. I was so thrilled when it came because it looks brand new. This is written by the author of the Strange Angels series (which I loved), and is a fantasy story with magic, elves, princes, and assassins.  

Kindle Freebies:

From Fame To Shame by Veronica Blade. (Goodreads). I have another book by this author (Something Witchy This Way Comes) which I still haven't read yet, but this book was free from Amazon this week, so I grabbed a copy. It's a contemporary story about twins who switch places- " When good-girl Maddie switches places with her famous bad-girl twin Jackie, she has some pretty high stilettos to fill. "
It looks like a sweet romance. 

From the library:

  • Forbidden by Syrie James and Ryan M. James. (Goodreads). I'm intrigued by a book written by a mother and son writing team. The cover looks eerie and from what I can gather about the blurb it's about angels, a girl discovering her new powers through terrifying visions, and a forbidden romance.


  • Pure by Julianna Baggott. (Goodreads). This is a dystopian sci-fi book that sounds incredibly creepy and very strange, but I'm really intrigued. Set a few years after a nuclear holocaust where many people are hideously deformed, and a society trying to rebuild itself in a cruel militaristic way. Words I've heard used to describe this book are "bizarre" "disturbing" and "surreal". But it's piqued my interest.

  • Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost. (Goodreads). This is an adult urban fantasy series that I've been meaning to read for absolutely ages.

For Review:

  • The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa. (Goodreads). I'm so excited to get a copy of this book because it's written by Julie Kagawa, the author of the incredible Iron Fey series which I loved for being so beautifully written and so richly detailed. This is her take on a vampire series. Set in a future world where vampires reign and humans are blood cattle. 
Thanks to Harlequin Publishers and Netgalley for the review copy. 

Those were all the books that came to me this week- what did you get?
Happy reading!

Friday, 23 March 2012

Unblogged Favourites, Part two

Recently when I was making my Review Archive I realised that there are so many of my absolute favourite books that I've never talked about on the blog before, because I read them long before I started blogging. I still love and re-read these books and recommend them to all my friends and family. I want people to know about these books because they are amazing, and will always have a permanent place on my bookshelf and in my heart. So, for the next few weeks I'm going to feature some of these previously unblogged favourites.

Poison Study series by Maria V. Snyder

My Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Poison Study is one of my favourite books of all time. These are the kind of books that you lose yourself in, and you don't even notice the pages turning and time slipping by. This is a fantasy adventure story with real heart and soul to it- with real characters, lifelong friendships, bad guys, and plenty of romance! I love these books and can't recommend them highly enough. Yelena is the best kind of MC- smart, feisty, determined and kick-ass! The plot is fast moving, full of action and drama, and unexpected twists and turns, but also humour and love. I have re-read Poison Study so many times- love it!
These are the UK covers.

A Great and Terrible Beauty series by Libba Bray

My Rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this back in 2008, and loved it. Set in a boarding school in Victorian England, with trips to India, magic, and alternate realms, this was sweet, strange and romantic. I have some issues with the ending- but overall I liked it.

And finally... yes.... I have to admit it-

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

My Rating: 5 of 5 stars

After I finished reading A Great Terrible Beauty I went looking for something similar to read and Amazon recommended Twilight. I think this was my first step into getting completely hooked on YA fiction. I know they're not the most amazing books in the world, and a lot of people have a lot of complaints about these books, but I know that I was completely hooked while reading these- always late because I had to read just another chapter. Again, I have read and re-read my favourite parts of these books again and again. Loud and proud, I'm a fan of Twilight (although Team Jacob!)

More of my unblogged favourites next week!

Thursday, 22 March 2012

The Time Will Come #54

The Time Will Come is a weekly meme hosted by Jodie at Books For Company, where we can spotlight those books that we've had sitting on our shelves for too long. Books that we really want to read but never seem to get around to.

I have way too many books and not enough time to read them all. I think it's an addiction. But I have to confess that I think 90% of the reason I bought this book in particular is because of the pretty cover. Look at it! So, so pretty. Shallow, I know! One day I may actually find the time to crack open that cover and actually read it.

Watched by Sharde Richardson

Mikayla doesn't want much: just to rock out to her favorite band, become the next Kwiki Stop video gaming champion, and keep her Q-tip habit under control. What she does want is the sight of the sudden inexplicable dark auras around everyone to stop. Problem is, those auras are demons and Mikayla is the last trait holder with the power to ban them. Which is a total buzz kill. 

To make matters worse, the town folk of Sulphur Springs don't look the same, and her classmates are a little dark in the eyes. There are murders, suicides, reckless skinny-dipping, gratuitous use of Q-tips, and newfound powers that Mikayla must learn to control. 

Her past becomes present when a shape-shifter tells her what her true identity is, and how to keep the demons of Hell from nipping at her Converse. Through him she'll discover who to trust, who to kiss, and how valuable her abilities are to the right beings. Because the evils of Hell aren't staying down without a fight... 

Or without her soul. 

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Ta da!

I've had a make-over!
Introducing the brand new-look Always Lost in Stories blog.

The blog has been re-designed by Lori from Pure Imagination who has been completely lovely and really patient through all my demands and dithering! What do you think of the new look?

I also have a grab button now, so please take my button to display on your blog. Thanks!

I would definitely recommend Lori if you want a new blog design- check out her web design page Imagination Designs for blog info and prices.

Use Your Imagination Designs

Sunday, 18 March 2012

In My Mailbox 18th March 2012

In My Mailbox is a weekly event hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren where book bloggers can talk about the books they've gotten the past week- whether bought, borrowed, swapped, or given for review. This feature was started to increase interaction between bloggers and to increase our awareness of all the new books coming out.

This week I got the following amazing books-

From the library:

  • Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver. (Goodreads). Yayayayayay! This is the sequel to the amazing Delirium, which I've been waiting for for a year. This is set in a scary world where love is forbidden, and where teenagers are required to get a cure, against the disease of love. I have one question- what happened to Alex?!


  • Legacy by Cayla Kluver. (Goodreads). Some mixed reviews about this one, but I think it looks good- a romantic fantasy story. Princess Hytanica is set up for an arranged marriage, in a story of court conspiracies, enemies of the kingdom, and magic. 

  • The Maze Runner by James Dashner. (Goodreads). I've heard lots about this book and have wanted to read it for ages. I finally tracked down an audiobook version of it. This is a dystopian/ sci-fi/ mystery/ survival adventure- I don't really know, but it sounds good!

I got some great books this week- can't wait to get started on them. What books came into your house this week?
Happy reading!

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Review: Hallowed by Cynthia Hand

Hallowed by Cynthia Hand
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Borrowed from library

Synopsis from Goodreads:
For months Clara Gardner trained to face the fire from her visions, but she wasn't prepared for the choice she had to make that day. And in the aftermath, she discovered that nothing about being part angel is as straightforward as she thought.
Now, torn between her love for Tucker and her complicated feelings about the roles she and Christian seem destined to play in a world that is both dangerous and beautiful, Clara struggles with a shocking revelation: Someone she loves will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning.
In this compelling sequel to "Unearthly," Cynthia Hand captures the joy of first love, the anguish of loss, and the confusion of becoming who you are.

Book 2 in the Unearthly series

Unearthly was one of my favourite books of 2011, and after eagerly awaiting the sequel (and more Tucker!) I have to say, that this is also amazing. It's an emotional rollercoaster of a book, that kept me engaged and tense with emotion the whole way through. I think I sped through this book because telling myself "just one more chapter" didn't work!

The story picks up shortly after the events of the fire, and with Clara having to deal with the consequences of what her decision that day might entail.  Clara is also having dreams of a funeral, and as the mystery of whose funeral it might be unfolds, Clara and Christian slowly piece together the clues to work it out, and to deal with what that will mean.

It did upset me that Clara seems to lean on Christian for support a lot more in this book, and starts to push Tucker away, because I think Tucker is such a sweetheart. He always seems determined to be there for her, even though he struggles to really understand her world. Clara and Christian are both having visions involving the two of them again, but because of their history involving the higher powers tricking them into feeling something for the other, Clara is not sure if what she is feeling for Christian is the real deal, or if they are being manipulated again into starting a relationship. She does start to rely on his friendship however. Christian wants his visions of being with Clara to be true, but Clara is still in love with Tucker.

Clara herself is very strong in this book. She has to deal with so much, and she grown up so much in the past year, when she relied on her mother's advice for everything. The other wonderfully quirky characters in the story are also brilliant. There is Clara's best friend (and Tucker's sister) Wendy, giving Clara advice and acting like a mother hen, part angel Angela forming an Angel Club for her, Clara, Jeffery and Christian to find out more about their angel powers and history, and Clara's brother Jeffrey acting suspiciously dark and moody. All the characters have substance and personality, and I really believed everything between them.

We also learn a lot more about a whole Angelic community, and also a lot of back-story about Clara's family. With dreams of an impending tragedy, a few shock family surprises, and being stalked by an evil angel of hell, this book is more than just a focus on a love triangle. There is a good strong plotline to it too, making it feel more than just a typical middle book- a bridge between the action of the first and third book- this is a wonderful story in it's own right.

Cythia Hand writes in a way that grabs me and twists my heart strings. I love how powerfully moving her books are, how she can make me feel Clara's love and heartache, and her strong focus on the characters. Recommended for all fans of a paranormal romance. Bring on book 3!

Friday, 16 March 2012

Unblogged Favourites, Part one

I noticed as I was compiling my Review Archive recently that there are many of my absolutely favourite book series that I have never talked about on my blog. I have only been blogging for a little over a year, but I have been a prolific reader all my life, and there are certain books and series that I have loved, and still think about and re-read, books that I will always enthuse about to my friends (or strangers) in a bookshop, books that will have a permanent place on my bookshelves and in my heart- but they have never before had representation on my blog. I want to rectify that now by talking about some of these amazing books.

These are some of my favourite series, read long before I started my blog-

Noughts and Crosses series by Malorie Blackman (Goodreads)

My Rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved these books so much. They are so clever and so powerfully emotional. This is a love story like no other. I have vivid memories of sobbing my heart out at certain scenes, taking the book into the bath with me to read, and wanting to keep reading and reading, even though I was getting cold and wrinkly!
These books are amazing! Looking at this book on Amazon, out of 341 ratings, 295 of them are 5 star. What does that tell you!

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Goodreads)

My Rating: 5 of 5 stars

This series exceeded all my expectations of it and just blew me away. WOW! The first book especially is just amazing. I've even got work colleagues who normally hate YA books reading it and raving about it and recommending it to all their friends. This is full of action, tragedy, and yet hope and love- set in a scary dystopian world. So, so good. I love these books. The movie is out next week and I cannot wait!

Choas Walking series by Patrick Ness (Goodreads)

My Rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was so moving- such a desperate quest to replace a corrupt government, and a slow-building love story that was so incredibly sweet.
Imagine a world where you can hear everyone else's thoughts all the time- even animals, and being constantly surrounded by noise. Todd and Viola find themselves caught up in a war when Viola's  spaceship crash lands near Todd's village. This was very different from anything else I've ever read, but so powerful and such an amazing action-packed adventure.

More of my favourites next week!


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