Saturday, 30 November 2013

Best of the Bunch November 2013

Best of the Bunch is a book blog hop hosted here on the last day of each month, where we can look back over the books we have read over this past month 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 in anytime in the following month.
For more info and to grab the button and stickers visit the BOTB page here and then when you've written up your post, add your linky to the list below. 

October 2013
This month I have read-

  • The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black- 4 of 5 stars
  • Tributary by Lisa T. Bergren (River of time novella 3.2)- 3 of 5 stars
  • Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson- 4 of 5 stars
  • More Than This by Patrick Ness- 4.5 of 5 stars
  • The Originals by Cat Patrick- 4.5 of 5 stars
  • The 100 by Kass Morgan- 5 of 5 stars
  • Crash Into You by Katie McGarry- 4 of 5 stars
  • Sanctum by Sarah Fine- 4 of 5 stars
  • Pawn by Aimee Carter- 4 of 5 stars
I have reviewed-

...dramatic pause...

...The 100 by Kass Morgan!

The 100  by Kass Morgan

An epic journey from the depths of outer space to a wild, futuristic Earth

In 3010, humanity lives in city-like spaceships orbiting far above Earth's toxic atmosphere. No one knows when, or even if, the planet will be habitable again. But faced with dwindling resources, government leaders know they must reclaim their homeland . . . before it's too late.

Now a hundred juvenile delinquents are sent on a high-stakes mission to re-colonize Earth. After a brutal crash landing, the teens arrive on a savagely beautiful planet. Confronting the dangers of this rugged new world, they struggle to form a tentative community and to get over their dark pasts. In order to survive, they must learn to trust - and even love - again.

I LOVED this book! It spoke to me, it moved me, it enthralled me, and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since. Since I finished it I've thrust it into two people's hands crying "read this book"! Unquestionably one of the BEST books I have read this year (and I read a lot of books). If I could give it more than 5 stars I would. 

It was an easy pick for a winner for me this month. 

So I'd love to know- what was the best book you read/ reviewed this month? Link it up here! 
Already written up a monthly wrap-up post? Why not link it up here!? And don't forget to visit the other blogs to get some great new book recs. 

Just let me know- Who gets your bananas?

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Sunday Post 24th November 2013

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba at The Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~ It's a chance to share news~ to recap the past week on the blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

A good week this week-


  • Deadly Thorns by Kathleen Peacock (Hemlock, book 2)
  • Champion by Marie Lu (Legend, book 2)
From the library:
  • Allegiant by Veronica Roth (Divergent, book 3). Woo! My reservation finally came in! Looking forward to reading this one.

For review:

  • White Space by Ilsa J. Bick. 

I posted two book reviews:

I wished for Shifting on Wishlist Wednesday

This Saturday is the last day of the month- which means it's time for Best of the Bunch!

Click the link above to find out more, and then write up your post ready to join in on Saturday.

Children's Laureate Malorie Blackman is launching an initiative to find the public's favourite teen books

"A mission to name the nation’s ultimate teen tomes has begun as Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman invites nominations for ‘Writes of Passage’.

The award-winning author of bestselling teenage series Noughts and Crosses is calling on book lovers of all ages to help compile the definitive range of titles for young people to try by the time they hit 16.

We want to know which books YAs have read that they couldn’t wait to tell their friends about. And we also want grown-ups to cast their minds back to their teenage years and nominate the reads that rocked their world."

Click the link above to join in by voting for your favourite books. 

Thanks for stopping by! What's your book news for this week?

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Review: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Source: Bought hardback and audiobook

Synopsis from Goodreads:

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.

This book blew me away with how emotional it actually is! Its a great story too- thrilling and action-packed, but I mainly loved the bonds between the characters, and the journey they take together. Its a fabulous sci-fi/ superhero journey. A great read- recommended.
Darkest Minds is a brilliantly written, exciting and moving sci-fi story. It's a book about teenagers with superpowers, the rest of the world who are afraid of them and want to contain them, and a world all gone to hell. 
A mutated virus is spreading across the world infecting children, and around age ten either kills them or leaves them with dangerous and strange powers. This is a very pacy book- a real thrill ride- and there is always something going on, the characters escaping capture, or rushing here and there, or just trying to survive. And you are thrown into the middle of the story right from the first page.

What I loved most about it was the depth of the characters and the journey they take together. They all have such a complicated past, and issues. Ruby and the band of misfits that she falls in with- Liam, Chubs and Suzume are a great support to each other, and their skills and characters complement so well. They become like a little family and only trust each other. I liked the "us against them" sense about them- that they would rush in defend each other if necessary. You can't help but become attached to these characters and their quirks as they drive across America searching for answers.

Ruby has spent six years in a rehabilitation camp, so her knowledge of the politics of the world outside is very limited, and we find out everything that is going on with the world as she does. The story is told completely from Ruby's point of view, which I liked, but it still takes a while to understand exactly what she has been through. Her traumatic past is hinted at but not fully explained until later.This is a dark run-down world run by corrupt organisations, and Ruby is only just starting to get to grips with understanding her powers. I enjoyed this slow revealing of the whole story though, and was never left confused.

There is also a love story in this book and it is very sweet. I instantly liked the guy, and the good-hearted way about him. Their romance is slow to develop but had a real substance to it, and it was nice to see the attraction brewing between the two characters even in such extreme circumstances. There are no awkwardly forced conversations, they just fit, and I liked the easiness of the two of them together. He always made me smile, and is one of the bright sparks in a dark book.

Its a dark and gut-wrenching adventurous tale of survival through persecution and desperation. Quite harrowing and violent in parts, it can get quite sinister. The adults are afraid of the teenagers, but with the desperate circumstances and lack of any rules or guidance the kids can turn on each other as well. It's quite a long book and it felt like a heck of a journey that they all went through.

A haunting, emotional and beautiful crafted world and story.  In a YA market saturated with dystopian stories, this is one of the better ones. It definitely stands out from the crowd and offers something a little different.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Wishlist Wednesday #39

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.

I really love the sound of this one- a girl with a supernatural secret. This was published in 2011, and I keep hearing good things about it. 

Shifting  by Bethany Wiggins

After bouncing from foster home to foster home, Magdalene Mae is transferred to what should be her last foster home in the tiny town of Silver City, New Mexico. Now that she's eighteen and has only a year left in high school, she's determined to stay out of trouble and just be normal.

Agreeing to go to the prom with Bridger O'Connell is a good first step. Fitting in has never been her strong suit, but it's not for the reasons most people would expect-it all has to do with the deep secret that she is a shape shifter. But even in her new home danger lurks, waiting in the shadows to pounce. They are the Skinwalkers of Navajo legend, who have traded their souls to become the animal whose skin they wear-and Maggie is their next target.

Full of romance, mysticism, and intrigue, this dark take on Navajo legend will haunt readers to the final page.

Looks good right? Anybody read this one already? 

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, 18 November 2013

Review: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Source: Bought paperback and audiobook

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . .

Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn't believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.

Peter is unlike anyone she's ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland's inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she's always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.

With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it's the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who's everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Peaches comes a magical and bewitching story of the romance between a fearless heroine and the boy who wouldn't grow up

Tiger Lily is a brilliantly imaginative re-working of the Peter Pan story, showing a love story between Peter and Tiger Lily before Wendy came into the picture, and telling us a different version of the original tale. It focuses on Tiger Lily's life with the tribe, and the links between all the different characters. 

It is also told from Tink the fairy's point of view, as she spies from various perspectives on her favourite personalities like we might watch soap operas unfolding, and this gives a unique edge to the narration. It gives us an insight into different aspects of the island and the characters on it. 

The whole book feels full of magic and possibility, but there are dark patches as well, and it's not a light and easy read. There is a subtle undercurrent of menace all the way through- with the pirates scheming and the murderous mermaids, not to mention Tiger Lily's pending arranged marriage with a nasty brute of a man. I liked the magic and the sense of suspense as we are led through this doomed forbidden romance, and the beautifully and richly described land of Neverland. 

Reading about Captain Hook, the mermaids and Tiger lily, and all these half- remembered characters from my childhood has made me want to re-visit J.M Barrie's original story (or at least watch the Disney film again), as it felt so new and vaguely familiar all at the same time. 

Tiger Lily herself is a feisty and strong young woman- which is not a quality which is admired in her tribe. She gets a reputation for being cursed, and being bad luck (which she plays up by wearing crows feathers in her hair), and although she is independent and brave, she is also very lonely. Normally it takes a lot for her to open her heart up to anybody except her adoptive father, so it takes a while for Peter to break down her barriers. 

Although Peter Pan himself doesn't came out as a very great character in this version of the story, I liked the telling of it, and that the emphasis was on alternative characters. One of my favourite characters has to be Tiger Lily's cross-dressing adoptive father -the shaman of the village Tik Tok. He always made me smile, and I also loved her sweet best friend Pine Sap. His devotion to Tiger Lily is so endearing. I really loved to hate the mean-spirited character of Aunt Fire who seems determined to make Tiger Lily suffer.

All in all, the book is a clever, mesmerising read, and I would describe it as a fantasy story but with the feel of a contemporary. It's moving and sad in places, heart-warming and magical in others, but it has definitely left a stamp on me. It's a bleaker story than I was expecting to read but just beautifully lyrical in the telling, and heart-breakingly tender.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Sunday Post 17th November 2013

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba at The Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~ It's a chance to share news~ to recap the past week on the blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

I got a load of new books this week-


  • Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
  • World After by Susan Ee (Penryn, book 2)

From the Library:

  • Antigoddess by Kendare Blake
  • Deception by C.J Redwine (Defiance, book 2)
  • Elites by Natasha Ngan
  • Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano

I posted two book reviews-

I have also set up an Always Lost in Stories Facebook page where I post updates on blog posts/ books I'm enjoying/ reading goals. If you are interested in following the blog via Facebook here is the link to "like" the page-

Look out for reviews of The Darkest Minds, Tiger Lily, and The Originals!

Thanks for stopping by my blog today- What new books did you get?
Happy reading!

Friday, 15 November 2013

Review: Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger

Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Source: Bought paperback and audiobook

Synopsis from Goodreads:

It's one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It's quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to Finishing School.

Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners—and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine's, young ladies learn to finish...everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but they also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage—in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year's education.

Set in the same world as the Parasol Protectorate, this YA series debut is filled with all the saucy adventure and droll humor Gail Carriger's legions of fans have come to adore.

This was clever, intricate, and very humourous. It way exceeded all my expectations. I thoroughly enjoyed Gail Carriger's other series- the Parasol Protectorate series- and this series is a similar version of that but aimed at younger readers. 

Etiquette and Espionage reminded me a little of the first Harry Potter book- in the same sense of the fabulous world- building, the characterisation, and that excitement of being at a magical school full of possibilities, and learning these strange and fabulous subjects. It is funny and great fun, and there is that expectant feeling that anything can happen. This book oozes with possibilities for the rest of the series. 

Steampunk settings are so cool anyway, but this felt really fantastical, with a floating school, mechanical creatures as pets, werewolf teachers wearing top hats, and a general sense of a much wider political plot. There is that feeling that you are only beginning to scratch the surface of a wider world, and a bigger story. There is a big mystery to solve and the cunning and skill of the first year students is way underestimated by the teachers!

Sophronia as a leading character is adorable. Despite her mother attempting to raise her as a typical Victorian lady, Sophronia is in no way annoying or feeble, but I love her bright, inquisitive, and tomboy-ish characteristics. She is not too stuck-up to make friends and allies anywhere she finds them- even the boiler room of the school/ ship, and her keen eye for observation always picks up on the little details.

One of my favourite aspects of the book is Sophronia's developing friendship with Soap from the boiler room, and her sneaking around to see him. He is quite obviously smitten with her, and I think this will develop as the series goes on (I hope!), as he is very sweet. There is no real romance story in this book (which is fair enough as the MC is only 14), but I like the possibility that the seeds have been planted. 

With plots and schemes afoot at the school, the first-years use their cunning and sneakiness to find out secrets, discover hidden sections of the school and ways to manipulate their teachers and sneak about undetected. It is fabulous that even when they are under attack by flywaymen whilst travelling, they use all the resources available to them to formulate a plan of escape- even if it is only a handkerchief! Sophronia is usually somewhere she shouldn't be, but manages to climb up walls and through pipes to avoid being found out. If that fails she could always use her newly learned skill of eyelash fluttering!

I love the goofy overdone style of writing as well- all the pomp and pretension of Victorian society is charicaturised in the language, and also in the daft names everybody is given- Bumbersnoot, Mrs Barnaclegoose etc. It gives it a very whimical mock-formal tone and you can't help but smirk as you read it. 

This book is great- magical and full of adventure. So funny in parts- but always smart and endearing, I just loved this book, and am looking forward to seeing what kinds of trouble Sophronia and her friends can get up to in their second year at the school!

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Review: More Than This by Patrick Ness

More Than This by Patrick Ness
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Source: Library

Synopsis from Goodreads:

From two-time Carnegie Medal winner Patrick Ness comes an enthralling and provocative new novel chronicling the life — or perhaps afterlife — of a teen trapped in a crumbling, abandoned world.

A boy named Seth drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments, losing his life as the pounding sea claims him. But then he wakes. He is naked, thirsty, starving. But alive. How is that possible? He remembers dying, his bones breaking, his skull dashed upon the rocks. So how is he here? And where is this place? It looks like the suburban English town where he lived as a child, before an unthinkable tragedy happened and his family moved to America. But the neighborhood around his old house is overgrown, covered in dust, and completely abandoned. What’s going on? And why is it that whenever he closes his eyes, he falls prey to vivid, agonizing memories that seem more real than the world around him? Seth begins a search for answers, hoping that he might not be alone, that this might not be the hell he fears it to be, that there might be more than just this. . . .

Well it did it- this book made me cry! And not just a little bit either- proper sobbing!

That is all I can coherently say anyway after reading this. This book is brilliant, ingeniously clever, controversial and weird. 

I have to say I preferred the first part of the story- where we see main character Seth after his suicide living in his own version of Hell, completely isolated and re-living his memories of his life. It's this part that got me the most choked up. Seth's back story, with his broken family, and doomed relationship is incredibly tender and moving, and built Seth up into a character that you feel for and care about.

I don't really know any way to describe this book, other than it is essentially an afterlife/ sci-fi story. What happens after you die, smashed against some rocks in a freezing ocean? Well, in Seth's case it is so strange and unbelievable that it makes you want to keep reading, through all the bizarreness until all the little puzzle pieces start clicking together. 

This is a moving, riveting and life-affirming story, with completely unusual twists and turns that I guarantee that you will not see coming. It's a roller coaster ride of a read and expect your mind to be blown completely with this one. 

I can't say too much without giving things away- all I can say is- it's really, really good. Read it. 

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Sunday Post 10th November 2013

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba at The Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~ It's a chance to share news~ to recap the past week on the blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

This is a mammoth book haul because I haven't done one of these posts in around 4 weeks, and I had a birthday in that time. I always send my family an Amazon link full of books that it's okay to buy me- so lots of book shaped presents! 
  • Dr. Frankenstein's Daughters by Suzanne Weyn
  • Slayers by C.J Hill
  • Ten by Gretchen McNeil

  • Bourne and Tributary by Lisa T. Bergren. These are 2 novellas from the River Of Time series published in a paperback. Read 'em already!
  • The Seven Year King by Kiki Hamilton.

  • Curtsies and Conspiracies by Gail Carriger (Finishing School, book 2)- I'm really enjoying this series.
  • Promised by Caragh O'Brien. This was (annoyingly) never published in the UK, so I have waited until the US version was published in paperback, and I have bought the whole series in paperback to match. 
  • Rosebush by Michelle Jaffre from a library sale.
  • The 100 by Kass Morgan 

On Audiobook:
  • Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken (Darkest Minds, book 2). I just finished book 1 and loved it. 
From the library:
  • Black City by Elizabeth Richards- I have been on a waiting list for this book for ages!
  • The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black- read it already and loved it- look out for my review this week.
  • Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Green.
For Review:

  •  Impostor by Suzanne Winnacker
  • Shadowplay by Laura Lam (Pantomime, book 2) *Yay, happy dance!* Pantomime is one of my favourite books of this year.

  • Witch Finder by Ruth Warburton. A new series from the author of Witch in Winter, these books are set in the past.
  • Crash Into You by Katie McGarry (Pushing The Limits, book 3) I love this series so much!

Phew! I think that was all of them. I need to get back into the habit of doing these posts more regularly. 

Thanks for stopping by today- leave me a link to your Sunday book haul in the comments!
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