Monday, May 27, 2013

The Bookshelf Scavenger Hunt Tag

So on Youtube the other day, polandbananasBOOKS (she's a great book Youtuber, you should check her out) posted this video:

It looks like fun! Now I don't make Youtube videos, so I thought I'd write a little post about it. If you can't tell from the name of the tag, the aim is to find a book on your bookshelf that fits each of the criteria. So lets give it a go!

1. Find a book where the title or the authors name contains a letter 'Z'.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

2. Find a classic.
Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers - this would be considered a classic, right?

3. Find a book with a key on it.
NADA - I couldn't find anything with a key on it :(

4. Find something that's not a book.
Oh lots of stuff - photos, candles, moneybox, signature bear, DVDs, sporting trophies, etc etc 

5. Find the oldest book on your shelf.
Time Stops for No Mouse by Michael Hoeye

6. Find a book with a girl on the cover on it.
The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross; Wither by Lauren Destefano; Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon; Slide by Jill Hathaway; Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza...nailed that one :D

7. Find a book with an animal on it.
Water for Elephants by Sara's got an elephant in the background, so it counts

8. Find a book with a male protagonist.
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

9. Find a book with only words on it. 
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 

10. Find a book with illustrations in it.
Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith

11. Find a book with gold lettering. 
Rumors by Anna Godbersen 

12. Find a diary (truth or fictional).
Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison 

13. Find a book written by someone with a common name. 
Splintered by A.G. Howard

14. Find a book that has a close up of something on it.
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (close up of hands with an apple); L.A. Candy by Lauren Conrad (close up of candy); Cinder by Marissa Meyer (close up of a foot) - just to name a few

15. Find the book on your shelf that takes place during the earliest time period. 
The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory (1500s?)

16. Find a hardcover book without a jacket.
Luuurve is a many trousered thing... by Louise Rennison

17. Find a teal/turquoise coloured book.
The Alchemyst by Michael Scott

18. Find a book with stars on it.
This Charming Man by Marian Keyes

19. Find a non-YA book.
All my Marian Keyes novels, of which I have 10

Annnnd that's the end of the tag. I WAS SO CLOSE - IF ONLY I HAD A BOOK WITH A KEY ON IT! Oh well, 18 out of 19 ain't bad either. 

Think you can defeat the Bookshelf Scavenger Hunt Tag - have a go for yourself!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Book Review: Fatal Voyage (Tempe Brennan #4) by Kathy Reichs

Fatal Voyage (Tempe Brennan #4) by Kathy Reichs
Release Date: 25th June 2002
Publisher: Random House
Format: eBook
Pages: 448
Rating: 4.5/5.0

This book was read as part of the 2013 OTS, 2013 ODY, 2013 EBC and 2013 BSR

Summary from Amazon:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery"She has a passion for the truth . . . and this time, it's taking her down.
A commercial airliner disaster has brought Tempe Brennan to the North Carolina mountains as a member of the investigative agency DMORT. As bomb theories abound, Tempe soon discovers a jarring piece of evidence that raises dangerous questions -- and gets her thrown from the DMORT team. Relentless in her pursuit of its significance, Tempe uncovers a shocking, multilayered tale of deceit and depravity as she probes her way into frightening territory -- where someone wants her stopped in her tracks."

**This review has spoilers! (Sorry, I couldn't help myself). Read at your own risk!**

These books never cease to be fascinating. Yet again Kathy Reichs has pieced together a complex murder mystery that will keep you guessing until the last page. I will admit, I was convinced that the centre of our mystery would be the place crash. We opened with it, it was established pretty early on that a bomb could have been involved, and they were following lots of leads. Then Tempe leads us to the cabin, and I was sure that whoever lived at the cabin had something to do with downing the flight. It wasn't until I was quite a fair bit in that it because pretty obvious that the cabin had nothing to do with the plane crash, but involved something else entirely. 

And boy, that storyline. I have to hand it to Reichs, she writes some of the most compelling, but also disturbing, mysteries that I've ever read. (That being said, I'm sure there's more disturbing stuff out there). This is the fourth Tempe Brennan book I've read, and I still can't figure out the ending until it happens - Reichs is good a throwing you red herrings, which send you down the wrong path. 

Whilst I immensely enjoyed this read, it was confusing at times. Lots of people involved, lots of details to remember - if too much is thrown at me at one point, I can get confused quickly. That being said, Reichs is pretty good at explaining things as she goes. Another thing that bothered me was the excessive description at times - Reichs wants to make sure that you understand everything completely, but a full description of a diner isn't really neccesary if nothing of importance if going to happen there. Also, I've read the description of the Laboratoire des Sciences Judiciaires et de M├ędecine L├ęgale (where she works in Montreal) 4 times now. I guess with the books being able to be read as stand alone novels with little back story confusion, Reichs feels the need to include these descriptions everytime in case someone picks up a novel midway through the series. All the same, it bugs me. 

Overall, a strong 4th book for the series, and a really interesting read. I would highly suggest this series. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Book Review: Beautiful Darkness (The Caster Chronicles #2) by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Beautiful Darkness (The Caster Chronicles #2) by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Release Date: 12th October 2010
Publisher: Little Brown Books
Format: Paperback 
Pages: 503
Rating: 4.5/5.0

This book was read as part of the 2013 OTS, 2013 ODY and 2013 BSR

Summary from Amazon:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery"Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals for generations. A Gatlin where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen.

Sometimes life-ending.

Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan's eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there's no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town's tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems."

Boy did I enjoy this book. Whilst I will say that there were some things wrong with this book, I thought that it was a solid follow up to Beautiful Creatures. 

I really am enjoying having the story told from a male POV. What with YA fiction dominated by female narrators, having Ethan tell us the story is something different. I also think it's a clever choice. Ethan is a mortal who is just being introduced to the Caster world, just like us. He learns as he goes along, and we're right there with him. I think having Ethan as our narrator is more effective than having Lena might be, so smart move by Garcia and Stohl.

I've heard that some people found Beautiful Darkness a bit hard to get through. But I absolutely loved it - I just couldn't get enough! I thought the plot did well in following up what was established in Beautiful Creatures. I thought it tied in well with both Lena's caster problems, but also the problems of teenage love - I liked reading both problems side by side. And overall, we moved forward, finding out more information of Lena's problems and her indecision over the most important decision in her life.

I have to say, some parts of the plot didn't make sense. Especially involving Macon - I tried to wrap my head around that one, but I honestly don't see how that would have worked. And then there's Lena's decision at the end. I have a hard time believing that the well being of the entire Caster world rests of the decision of one girl. I also have a hard time believing that Lena is the only caster ever to have issues with deciding to be dark or light. So yes, some parts of the plot didn't make sense, but overall, I really, really enjoyed this book, and am excited to continue on with the series soon!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Allegiant UK Cover Revealed

The UK cover for Allegiant had been dropped online! I'm particularly interested in this because this will be the book I own, since I have Divergent and Insurgent with UK editions. 

I have to say, I really like this cover. It's got some of the same features as the US edition - the water and the Chicago cityscape. I love that its blue - I just love the colour blue. And the feathers, I like those feathers. I just really like this cover, which is good considering I will own it.

Allegiant comes out on the 22nd October this year. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Catching Fire Movie Poster Revealed

Just the other day, Lionsgate unveiled the Catching Fire movie poster on Instagram

How cool does it look! Katniss, her bow and arrow, the cloud shaped as a mockingjay - it all looks so good! And the tagline, taken straight from the book itself: "The sun persists in rising, so I make myself stand". Just perfect. 

Anyone else eagerly awaiting it's release, because I know that I sure am!

Wishlist Wednesday (7)

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Wishlist Wednesday is a weekly Meme hosted at Pen to Paper

Yes, yes, I know I'm a day late, but I got very busy yesterday and just didn't get around to this. Better late than never?

This week I'm wishing for...

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Summary from Amazon:

"What if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?

What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?
The explosive conclusion to Veronica Roth's #1 New York Times bestselling Divergent trilogy reveals the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent." 

Why I'm Wishing for It:
I don't think this pick is much of a surprise. After all I have posting about the Divergent series over the past couple of weeks, I think it's pretty clear that I am one major fan of the series. And I just cannot wait to read the final chapter in this trilogy. Insurgent left us on a cliffhanger, where something very very important had just happened, and I am so keen to see what happens next. Cannot wait until October! 

What about you? What are you wishing for this week?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Musing Mondays (23)

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Musing Mondays is a weekly Meme by Mizb @ Should Be Reading

This weeks musing asks...Tell us what book/s you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those books.

I got another pre-order in the mail today! A couple of weeks ago I was on the Book Depository, eager to buy some books, and I noticed that a version of Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, due to be released on the 7th May 2013, was only $8.52 - bargain! So I pre-ordered the book and today it turned up in the mail! I'm excited to start this series, considering all the great things I've heard about it.

What about you? What books/s have you recently bought?

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Book Review: Splintered (Splintered #1) by A.G. Howard

Splintered (Splintered #1) by A.G. Howard
Release Date: 1st January 2013
Publisher: Amulet Books
Format: Paperback 
Pages: 370
Rating: 5.0/5.0

This book was read as part of the 2013 ODY and 2013 BSR

Summary from Amazon:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery"This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.
When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own."

I think I loved everything about this book - but I don't find that particularly surprising. Around about the end of last year, reviews for Splintered started popping up in the blogosphere, and there was not a negative review in site. When I found out it was a retelling of a classic story, I knew I just had to read this.

Splintered is the twisted retelling of the classic Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. In the novel, we follow our heroine Alyssa (and her crush Jeb) as she travels to Wonderland to break the curse that's been haunting her family ever since little Alice fell down the rabbit hole all those years ago. And what ensues is definitely not something you'd be expecting. 

As I've said already, I loved everything about this book - and I mean everything. I loved our three main characters; Alyssa, the strong heroine, Jeb, Alyssa's crush, and Morpheus, Alyssa's childhood friend and guide to Wonderland. I liked how these three main characters interacted, with Jeb and Morpheus basically representing the two worlds (our world and Wonderland) and in doing that, being polar opposites. It was interesting to see different sides of Alyssa become more pronounced when she was around one or the other. And Alyssa herself was a great female protagonist - I mean, she was so determined the break her family curse in order to save her mother, how could you not love her?

And the retelling of a classic - my word, Howard did an amazing job taking Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and building upon it to create this fascinating read. All the main characters you know - the Red Queen, the Caterpillar, the White Rabbit, the Mad Hatter - have been taken, but they've been twisted into these new, more gruesome characters, and I absolutely loved it. However, my favourite part of this book has to be the plot itself. This was an unpredictable read for me, and I didn't see that twist at the end coming, at all. Even after the 'tests' were revealed, I still couldn't see the vitally important connection between Alyssa and a certain Wonderland character. That twist at the end, and that final battle, brought the story to a satisfying end, and left it open for future sequels. All in all, this is a story that I loved completely and wholeheartedly, and I would recommend it to anyone.  

Friday, May 10, 2013

Finally we have Allegiant in all its glory...

While I was sleeping, Veronica Roth went on the Today Show in America, had a little chat with Ryan Seacrest, and revealed the cover for Allegiant, the eagerly anticipated finale to the Divergent trilogy

Doesn't it just look gorgeous? And that much for it being another faction symbol! For Divergent we had the Dauntless symbol, for Insurgent we had the Amity symbol and for Allegiant we've got something entirely different! What could it mean?!? And that picture at the bottom - the Chicago O'Hare International Airport - what could that mean?!? It's an amazing cover, but why does it have to raise so many questions!

Let's not forget about the synopsis:

What if your whole world was a lie?

What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?

What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?

The explosive conclusion to Veronica Roth's #1 New York Times bestselling Divergent trilogy reveals the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.

I'm so excited to see how this story ends - are you eagerly awaiting the books release on the 22nd October too?

Did you miss Veronica Roth on the Today Show this morning like I did (what with being in Australia and all)? Check it out below 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Wishlist Wednesday (6)

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Wishlist Wednesday is a weekly Meme hosted at Pen to Paper

This week I'm wishing for...

Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Summary from Amazon:

"Is death the end . . . or only the beginning?

Ethan Wate has spent most of his life longing to escape the stiflingly small Southern town of Gatlin. He never thought he would meet the girl of his dreams, Lena Duchannes, who unveiled a secretive, powerful, and cursed side of Gatlin, hidden in plain sight. And he never could have expected that he would be forced to leave behind everyone and everything he cares about. So when Ethan awakes after the chilling events of the Eighteenth Moon, he has only one goal: to find a way to return to Lena and the ones he loves.

Back in Gatlin, Lena is making her own bargains for Ethan's return, vowing to do whatever it takes -- even if that means trusting old enemies or risking the lives of the family and friends Ethan left to protect. 

Worlds apart, Ethan and Lena must once again work together to rewrite their fate, in this stunning finale to the Beautiful Creatures series." 

Why I'm Wishing for It:
I've recently started reading Beautiful Darkness, the 2nd book in the Caster Chronicles series, and I am absolutely loving it. I've no doubt that I'll want to finish this series, and since I already have book 3, Beautiful Chaos, I'm going to have to get my hands on this. 

What about you? What are you wishing for this week?

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Book Review: The Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes

The Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes
Release Date: 9th April 2013
Publisher: Penguin Books
Format: Paperback 
Pages: 580
Rating: 4.5/5.0

This book was read as part of the 2013 ODY and 2013 GVR

Summary from Amazon:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery"As the youngest of the five Walsh girls, Helen has had a tough time finding her way in the world—at thirty-three, she has her job as a private investigator that has proven less than fruitful and after losing her flat, she’s moved back in with Mammy Walsh. Her hunky new boyfriend, Artie, and his three adorable children are a great distraction, but his beautiful ex-wife lives a little too close for comfort. Meanwhile, Helen runs into her ex-boyfriend Jay Parker and reluctantly signs on to help him locate Wayne Diffney, the recently disappeared fourth member of Ireland’s biggest mid-nineties boy band, Laddz. Of the five Laddz, the Talented One has long gone on to better things, but the Cute One, the Gay One, and the Other One are all busily shunning carbs and rehearsing their reunion tour, and it’s Helen’s job to track down Wayne, the Wacky One. Wayne hasn’t left a trace, and Helen throws herself into the search wholeheartedly, leaving no stone unturned while watching her own life slowly fall apart, one unpaid bill at a time."

I love Marian Keyes' novels. Quite a few years ago I bought my first Marian Keyes novel, Anybody out There?, and ever since then I've sought out and read all of her novels. So, when I saw that a new novel was being released, I preorded it on The Book Depository and read it pretty much as soon as it got here. And, just as I suspected, I quite enjoyed it. 

The novel centres on Helen Walsh, a 30-something private investigator who's pretty much hit rock bottom. She struggling for work, but then her ex swoops in and offers her a job to find a missing person, Wayne Diffney. So, over the next 4 or so days, she splits her time between searching for Wayne, spending time with her boyfriend and dealing with her family. I have to say, at first I didn't particularly like Helen - she just seemed snarky and annoying to me. But, as a read further and found out more about her and her back story, I did come to like her. I also enjoyed the reappearance of the Walsh family, who Keyes has centred many of her novels on (each of Helen's 4 sisters have a novel centred around them). 

I like how Keyes tackles big issues in some of her novels. One of my all time faves, Rachel's Holiday, deals with drug addiction and the rehabilitation process. In this novel, we dealt with depression. I liked how Keyes developed Helen's problem, and I thought that the picture she painted of a depressed person was pretty well done. Helen wasn't the stereotypical depressed person, the sort of person who doesn't do anything and stays in bed all day. She worked well and efficiently at her job, she interacted with her family and was getting along well with her boyfriend. Helen was struggling with some big problems, but from the outset, if you didn't know her you probably wouldn't think that she was depressed.

I also liked the mystery aspect of the novel. I honestly didn't know where Wayne was until it was revealed in the novel, and that very rarely happens to me. Some novels these days can be quite predictable in their story lines, and in mystery novels I tend to find that I can predict the endings fairly well. But with this one, I had absolutely no idea. Maybe that's why I loved the ending so much - not only did it fit in quite well with Helen's main storyline, but it surprised me.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, but I had no doubt when I picked it up that I would. I love that Keyes can write fun and entertaining novels that also deal with big issues - they've got a bit of everything really. Her novels really are great, I couldn't recommend them enough. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Liebster Blog Award

This is exciting - my first blog award. I'm so flattered that someone thought my blog deserved nomination :D. So, to the award itself..

The Rules:

1. Accept the award, post the picture of the Liebster Award on the top of your post and say who nominated you for the award and list their blog site
2. List 11 random facts about yourself
3. Nominate 11 other bloggers for the Liebster Award and list their blog sites
4. Notify the bloggers of their award
5. Ask the award winners 11 questions to answer when they accept their Liebster Award
6. Answer the questions left for you by the blogger who gave you the award

Thanks go out to Bethany Mitchell from Reading by the Bookful for nominating me for this award!

11 Random Facts

1. I don't know how to ride a bike
2. Along with reading, I watch waaaaay too much TV
3. I have two brothers - a 17 year old and a 3 year old
4. I'm a shy introverted person, so it takes a long time to get to know me
5. My favourite quote is "A day without laughter is a day wasted"
6. I'm currently at university, studying a science degree
7. My favourite colour is green
8. If I buy the first book in a series and I continue on with the series, then I need to buy the rest of the books in the series, and they have to have to same cover designs
9. We've got a fair few boards games at home - including a sudoku board game
10. Along with science, I enjoy studying history from time to time
11. I probably had at least 6 goldfish throughout my childhood, and I used to name them after my aunts and uncles

Now to Bethany's Questions

1. What started your blogging adventure?
After finishing high school at the end of 2011, I was faced with 4 months of nothing before I started at university. One of my major plans was to really get back into reading, because I put it to the wayside to focus on studies during my final year. Since I was reading so much, I thought I might take a stab at blogging about it

2. Describe yourself in one word.

3. Favourite fictional character?
Sherlock Holmes, hands down. So many ways to enjoy him - in novels, in movies, on TV...

4. What do you do the relax besides reading and blogging?
TV, lots and lots of TV

5. Favourite genre and why?
I'm going to choose a broad one and go for Young Adult

6. Favourite quote from a book?
I don't think I have one

7. Dream vacation?
A trip all around Europe

8. Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Night owl - I am seriously not a fan of early mornings

9. Favourite thing about blogging?
Writing the reviews - I enjoy breaking down a book and giving my opinion

10. Your ideal place to read a book?
Curled up in my bed

11. Favourite food dish?
Either spaghetti bolognese of Thai green chicken curry 

Now, my Nominees:

Here are my Questions for you:

1. What got you into blogging?
2. What are some of your hobbies besides reading?
3. Cat or Dog person?
4. If you had $1000 to spend on anything, what would you buy?
5. Favourite childhood memory?
6. Favourite book you've read this year so far?
7. You're having a dinner party and you can invite any 5 fictional characters - who do you pick and why?
8. Favourite TV show?
9. Favourite reading snack?
10. What was the first book you remember reading as a child?
11. Summer or Winter?
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