Sunday, 30 September 2012

Best of the Bunch September 2012

Best of the Bunch is a meme 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.
I always put up my post on the last day of the month, but remember, you can add your link anytime in the following month :D
For more info and to grab the button and stickers visit the BOTB page here and then add your linky to the list below. 

September 2012
I have been struggling with illness for most of September, so I haven't posted anywhere near as much as I'd like.

  • Blackwood by Gwenda Bond- 4 of 5 stars My Review
  • Shift by Kim Curran- 3.5 of 5 stars My Review
  • Article 5 by Kristen Simmons- 5 of 5 stars Review to come
  • Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan- 4.5 of 5 stars Review to come
  • Dearly, Beloved by Lia Habel- 4 of 5 stars My Review

And the winner for Best of the Bunch September 2012 goes to...


Article 5 by Kristen Simmons!


New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., have been abandoned.

The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.

There are no more police—instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior—instead, there are arrests, trials, and maybe worse. People who get arrested usually don't come back.

Seventeen-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren't always this way. Living with her rebellious single mother, it's hard for her to forget that people weren't always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark. It's hard to forget that life in the United States used to be different.

Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs, like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes, and how to pass the random home inspections by the military. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow.

That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings—the only boy Ember has ever loved.


I loved this book- look out for my review in the next few days!

I would love to know which book wins your Best of the Bunch for August. Please let me know which book you read or reviewed in August was your favourite by linking up below.

Who gets your bananas?

Thanks for taking part in Best of the Bunch!

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Review: Dearly, Beloved by Lia Habel

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Can the living coexist with the living dead? 

That’s the question that has New Victorian society fiercely divided ever since the mysterious plague known as “The Laz” hit the city of New London and turned thousands into walking corpses. But while some of these zombies are mindless monsters, hungry for human flesh, others can still think, speak, reason, and control their ravenous new appetites.

Just ask Nora Dearly, the young lady of means who was nearly kidnapped by a band of sinister zombies but valiantly rescued by a dashing young man . . . of the dead variety.

Nora and her savior, the young zombie soldier Bram Griswold, fell hopelessly in love. But others feel only fear and loathing for the reanimated dead. Now, as tensions grow between pro- and anti-zombie factions, battle lines are being drawn in the streets. And though Bram is no longer in the New Victorian army, he and his ex-commando zombie comrades are determined to help keep the peace. That means taking a dangerous stand between The Changed, a radical group of sentient zombies fighting for survival, and The Murder, a masked squad of urban guerrillas hellbent on destroying the living dead. But zombies aren’t the only ones in danger: Their living allies are also in The Murder’s crosshairs, and for one vengeful zealot, Nora Dearly is the number one target.

As paranoia, prejudice, and terrorist attacks threaten to plunge the city into full-scale war, Nora’s scientist father and his team continue their desperate race to unlock the secrets of “The Laz” and find a cure. But their efforts may be doomed when a mysterious zombie appears bearing an entirely new strain of the virus—and the nation of New Victoria braces for a new wave of the apocalypse.

Lia Habel’s spellbinding, suspenseful sequel to Dearly, Departed takes her imaginative mash-up of period romance, futuristic thriller, and zombie drama to a whole new level of innovative and irresistible storytelling.

Book 2 in the Gone With The Respiration series

First Line-
When I got to the top of the hill, the zombie caught me. I dropped my parasol and leather-bound digital diary in shock. He pulled me to his body from behind, imprisoned my tiny hands in his so I couldn't fight back, and parted his cold lips at the nape of my neck.
I squealed with delight, even as I drummed my boot heel on his shin. “Bram, let go!”

This is one of the best opening paragraphs ever! It sums up the book so well- something unique and fun and what I can only describe as a futuristic zombie steampunk romance novel! I really like how it plays on zombie steriotypes but then also throws all that aside and manages to be so different, and keeps a side of playfulness.

I absolutely loved Dearly, Departed when I read it last year, and couldn't wait to get my hands on this, the sequel. But I have to say that I struggled a lot with this book.

Don't get me wrong- I love the background and steampunk setting of the story, I love the quirky characters, and the witty dialogue is so great- I love how they all spark off each other.

But sometimes there is a lot of explanation and not a lot of action, there are whole sections where nothing happens. There seems to be a lot of politics and scheming (that I didn't always follow), and masses of characters (that I couldn't always keep straight).

This book is so long- and features SIX different points of view, which means that most chapters end up leaving the story hanging, and it takes so long to get picked up again, that the story seems to move at a crawling pace- I felt like I had to plow through all the different viewpoints, just waiting for something to happen.

On the positives though, I love the trusting and honest relationship between Nora and Bram- they are so sweet, and Bram's zombie friends are so cool as well. The kind of loyal but oddball people you wished you knew in real life! The characters are what really makes this book.

There is a wide mixture of personalities and the main characters grow and transform throughout the book as they overcome obstacles. You can definitely identify with, and root for the good guys, and easily hate the evil bad guys, and that's what good writing should do.

This book has drama, emotion, hardship, and a good balance of gory details and quirky humour. I really liked Dearly, Beloved- but it did fall a little short of the awesomeness of the first book. I will still recommend these books to everyone I meet though, and I will still definitely be reading the next one.

Book 1:

Dearly Departed. Read my review here

Alternative covers:
These are the UK covers- very different from the US!

Dearly Beloved is due for release in the UK in January 2013

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Wishlist Wednesday #2

Wishlist Wednesday is a weekly book blog hop hosted by Dani at Pen to Paper where we will post about a book that has been on our wishlist for some time, or just added, that we can't wait to get off the wishlist and onto our bookshelves.

This is a book that despite being set in England, is not actually published in England at the moment- and it is very difficult to get hold of. I love dystopian novels, and I love the sound of this one-

The Last Princess by Galaxy Craze

A series of natural disasters has decimated the earth. Cut off from the rest of the world, England is a dark place. The sun rarely shines, food is scarce, and groups of criminals roam the woods, searching for prey. The people are growing restless. When a ruthless revolutionary sets out to overthrow the crown, he makes the royal family his first target. Blood is shed in Buckingham Palace, and only sixteen-year old Princess Eliza manages to escape. Determined to kill the man who destroyed her family, Eliza joins the enemy forces in disguise. She has nothing left to live for but revenge, until she meets someone who helps her remember how to hope-and love-once more.Now she must risk everything to ensure that she does not become... The Last Princess.

The reviews on Goodreads are mixed,  but I'm still so curious and would like to read it. Has anybody read it already? What did you think?

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Showcase Sunday 23rd September 2012

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted every Sunday by Vicky at Books, Biscuits and Tea, and inspired by The Story Siren's In My Mailbox. This is a chance for all us book bloggers to showcase our newest books and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops and downloaded onto eReaders this week.

I can't believe that I haven't had many new books lately- that's so unlike me! No books at all last week, and only 1 this week- this is one that I pre-ordered a while ago.

Bought: Hidden by Sophie Jordan. This is book 3 in the Firelight series, a romance about shifter dragons, I love the gorgeous covers on these books. I actually still haven't read book 2 Vanish yet, so I have some catching up to do!

Help me decide what I should read next! I have too many books to read, these are some of the choices I have to pick from.

What should I read next? free polls 

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Wishlist Wednesday #1

Wishlist Wednesday is a weekly book blog hop hosted by Dani at Pen to Paper where we will post about a book that has been on our wishlist for some time, or just added, that we can't wait to get off the wishlist and onto our wonderful shelves.

Even though I have way too many books at home at home already, I can't stop lusting after more!
Here's one that has been on my wishlist for a while now-

Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

Galen is the prince of the Syrena, sent to land to find a girl he's heard can communicate with fish. Emma is on vacation at the beach. When she runs into Galen — literally, ouch! — both teens sense a connection. But it will take several encounters, including a deadly one with a shark, for Galen to be convinced of Emma's gifts. Now, if he can only convince Emma that she holds the key to his kingdom . . . 
Told from both Emma and Galen's points of view, here is a fish-out-of-water story that sparkles with intrigue, humor, and waves of romance. 

Aside from THAT gorgeous cover, I love the sound of it, and I'm encouraged that it's getting such great reviews from bloggers. 
Has anyone else read it already? What did you think?

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Review: Shift by Kim Curran

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Synopsis from Goodreads:
When your average, 16-year old loser, Scott Tyler, meets the beautiful and mysterious Aubrey Jones, he learns he's not so average after all. He's a 'Shifter'. And that means he has the power to undo any decision he's ever made. At first, he thinks the power to shift is pretty cool. But as his world starts to unravel around him he realises that each time he uses his power, it has consequences; terrible unforeseen consequences. Shifting is going to get him killed. In a world where everything can change with a thought, Scott has to decide where he stands.

Imagine that you could undo any decision from your past just by thinking about a different course of action. You could completely change the course of your life and of those close to you, and only you would remember the old past.  This is the basis of Kim Curran's debut novel Shift.

When 16 year old Scott discovers that he can "Shift", (by accidentally falling from an electricity pylon) he also finds himself at the centre of a conspiracy between secret organisations of Shifters, and in danger from those who would manipulate his power for their own ends. And of course, some of the decisions he makes have terrible unforeseen consequences that affect not only Scott but his friends and family too.

I liked Scott's voice in this. He is not a very popular guy- a self described loser, but he in narrating the story he is honest, and quirky and very funny. He has a very sarcastic and pessimistic outlook on life, and this lends such a great edge of humour to an otherwise dark and action based story. I love it when I'm reading a book with a big smirk on face because of the comical things the characters are coming out with.

The twists and turns in the plotline from when a decision has been reversed and the story goes a different direction are surprisingly easy to follow (I thought I would get confused), but it always made sense, and added an exciting new layer to the story.

I loved the dynamic between kick-ass experienced shifter Aubrey and nerdy clueless Scott, and how they grew closer as they were forced to work together to uncover the truth. With everything changing constantly with the different shifts, and with not knowing who and which organisation could be trusted, these two characters were always steady like a rock in a storm.

This book was great fun, exhilarating, and riveting, with unexpected twists and turns. It's action packed and quirky, and I liked the characters, and the idea of teenage shifters running a secret organisation. It reminds me a little of Jumper or The Butterfly Effect. A definite must-read for sci-fi or time travel fans.

Thanks to Netgalley and Strange Chemistry for the review copy.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Review: Blackwood by Gwenda Bond

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Publisher for review

Synopsis from Goodreads:

On Roanoke Island, the legend of the 114 people who mysteriously vanished from the Lost Colony hundreds of years ago is just an outdoor drama for the tourists, a story people tell. But when the island faces the sudden disappearance of 114 people now, an unlikely pair of 17-year-olds may be the only hope of bringing them back. 

Miranda, a misfit girl from the island's most infamous family, and Phillips, an exiled teen criminal who hears the voices of the dead, must dodge everyone from federal agents to long-dead alchemists as they work to uncover the secrets of the new Lost Colony. The one thing they can't dodge is each other.

Blackwood is a dark, witty coming of age story that combines America's oldest mystery with a thoroughly contemporary romance.

Weaving old legends with new mythology, Blackwood is weird, creepy and... different.

The setting of this small island is itself very creepy, and these people who all know each other and have their own very ingrained sense of their history. The fact that it is based on a genuine old legend, and even uses real historical names gives the story a real edge.

I instantly liked Miranda who is odd and a bit of a loner. I also loved the many pop-culture references she uses to TV shows like Battlestar Galactica, Alias, the Joss Whedon shows and others (because of being a big geek myself :D).

Miranda comes from one of the islands most notorious family names. She is also cursed. She works backstage at the theatre where they re-enact the legend of the Lost Colony for the tourists, and is obsessed with the history of the island.

Both the main characters Miranda and Phillips have odd quirks and mental powers connected to the history of the island- Miranda has visions and cannot leave the island, and Phillips hears the voices of the dead- but only when he is on the island. Only the two of them may be able to solve the mystery when 114 people mysteriously disappear overnight from the island again, as they are able to know things that others couldn't know.

I loved how the two main characters Miranda and Phillips had to get past their fears and how they grew and changed throughout the book, especially how they grew to trust each other and rely on each other. I love a story with a slow building romantic sideline to it, and this book fits in with that.

The writing is eerie and lyrical, and the story feels a lot like an episode of supernatural. At times it takes a little bit of a leap to accept the paranormal elements of the story, as it heads off it strange directions with spirits and curses, but go with it, and it's a fun book. It is spine-tingling but at the same time still feels believable and compulsively intriguing.

It is really refreshing to read a stand-alone novel for a change, and Blackwood is certainly unique. I really liked it.

Thanks to Strange Chemistry for the review copy. Blackwood is out now.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Showcase Sunday 9th September 2012

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted every Sunday by Vicky at Books, Biscuits and Tea, and inspired by The Story Siren's In My Mailbox. This is a chance for all us book bloggers to showcase our newest books and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops and downloaded onto eReaders this week.

All the books I had reserved have all come in at once! 

From the library:

  • Arise by Tara Hudson. Goodreads. This is the sequel to Hereafter, which I read and loved last year, about the spirit of a girl was drowned in a river and her mission to find out what happened to her- with the help of a human boy. 
  • Once by Anna Carey. Goodreads. This is the sequel to Eve, another new series from last year- dystopian romance. 

  • Frostfire by Zoe Marriott. Goodreads. I absolutely love anything Zoe Marriott writes so I'm very excited to finally get hold of this book- a YA fantasy. 
  • Stolen Night by Rebecca Maizel. Goodreads. Another sequel, this is the sequel to Infinite Days about a centuries old vampire girl who turns back into a human girl in the 21st Century. 

  • Losing Lila by Sarah Alderson. Goodreads. This is the sequel to Hunting Lila, one of the best books I read last year- I can't wait to read this one. 
  • Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin. Goodreads. I have heard so many amazing things about this book, I'm excited to read it now. From what I can tell, it's a kind of steampunk dystopian influenced by Edgar Allen Poe. 
  • This Is Not A Test by Courtney Summers. Goodreads. This is another one that I have been waiting on for ages, I'm really excited to read it, it's about a group of students who take shelter in a high school during a zombie invasion. 
Those were all the amazing books I got this week- better get cracking reading them all!
Thanks for stopping by! Happy reading!

Saturday, 8 September 2012

I'm still here!

Apologies for the lack of posts lately.

I am still here and still blogging, I just haven't been able to write anything up lately. Hopefully this will just be a temporary pause, and everything will be back to normal in a week or two.

Thanks for sticking with me!

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Showcase Sunday 2nd September 2012

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted every Sunday by Vicky at Books, Biscuits and Tea, and inspired by The Story Siren's In My Mailbox. This is a chance for all us book bloggers to showcase our newest books and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops and downloaded onto eReaders this week.
It's a great way to see what new books are coming out, which books people are most excited for, and a great way for me to find new books to pine after, to find new blogs to follow, and new bloggers to squee over books with! 

A few great books this week, I'm so excited about both of them.

Bought: Enshadowed by Kelly Creagh. GoodreadsThis is the sequel to Nevermore which ended on a cliff-hanger two years ago! Sequel is finally here so I need to remind myself what happened in book 1 and dive into this one. [YA romance based on a legend around Edgar Allen Poe]
From the library: The Gathering Dark by Leigh Bardugo. GoodreadsYes! I can finally get to read this one after badgering the library to buy it for a while. I've read so many 5 star reviews about this book, so I'm really looking forward to it now! This is published with a different cover under the title Shadow and Bone in the USA. [YA fantasy]

So, those were the books I got this week. What did you get?
Happy reading!


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