Thursday, 30 August 2012

From the Review Pile (17)


From the Review Pile is a meme hosted by Stepping Out of the Page every Thursday.
The aim of this meme is to showcase books that you've received for review (or if you don't receive review books, any book that you own and really want to read/review) but haven't yet got around to reading, in order to give the book some extra publicity.

I know that a lot of you have a huge pile of books that you want to read/review, but it understandably takes a while to get around to reading them all - here you can give a book (or two!) some of the publicity that it deserves, even if you haven't read it yet!

-----------------------------------

This week, I'm going to showcase Black Dawn!
I actually have no idea how I haven't made the time to get around to this book. I absolutely adore The Morganville Vampires books and was desperate for this one to be released... however, I just haven't had the time to read it. I will definitely try and make time for this one soon!
Black Dawn (The Morganville Vampires #12) by Rachel Caine
Paperback, 512 pages
Published 1st May 2012 by Allison and Busby
In Last Breath, the rain brought a new and dire threat to Morganville and its vampires... their ancient enemies, the draug. Now, the vampires are fighting a losing war, and it will fall to the residents of the Glass House: Michael, Eve, Shane and Claire, to take the fight to an enemy who threatens to destroy the town, forever.

Lovers of Morganville, rejoice: Black Dawn takes the intrigue, romance and nail-biting suspense of the series to its highest level yet!

Happy Snow Day! Guest post from Eowyn Ivey


Happy Snow Day! 

Today is 30th August, the release date for The Snow Child in paperback, and a day that I have devoted to the wonderful book on my blog. Please see my previous post to see my review of the absolutely fantastic read.
I feel honoured that the wonderful author, Eowyn Ivey, has spent some time writing a guest post for my blog and I'm very happy to share it with you today. Here it is:


As a bookseller and writer, I had always heard horror stories about authors and their covers. I’ve read blog posts about agents and publishers duking it out over cover art, even with threats to end contracts. I’ve heard authors whisper loudly about the repulsive color schemes, irrelevant scenery and miscast genres they’ve had to put up with. So when my debut novel The Snow Child was acquired by publishers, I held my breath. What would they come up with?
I knew authors typically have little if any say over how their book ultimately appears on the shelves. I fretted that the publisher would dot the landscape with maple and oak trees, which we don’t have in Alaska, or they would turn Faina into a buxom snow princess with a skimpy fur-trimmed outfit -- just scroll down through the Google-images for “Snegurochka” and you will see the interesting possibilities.
So it came as a complete and delightful surprise as the covers for the various editions began to appear in the inbox of my email. They are all so different from each other, and yet each so perfect to my story, each so elegant and artistic and beautiful.
Before the novel had even been released in either country, the UK and US editions were earning praise for their art work. “Thank you,” I’d say. “But I really can’t take any credit.”
Now, with The Snow Child being translated into more than 20 languages and sold in around 30 countries, I continue to be amazed and thrilled with each foreign cover as it is revealed to me. I’m not sure why the book gods have smiled down on me so, but I keep thinking perhaps I earned some good karma as a bookseller.
To top it off, I now have the good fortune to travel along with The Snow Child to some of the very places that have blessed me with these covers. Aug. 31-Sept. 9, I am in Australia; Sept. 15-17 London, and Sept. 20-24 Paris. You can read about the specific events I’ll be attending here and if you’re in town, I do hope you stop by and say hello!


Eowyn Ivey is the author of the internationally bestselling novel The Snow Child. You can learn more at her website www.eowynivey.com and her blog lettersfromalaska.wordpress.com. 

The Snow Child

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

Paperback, 423 pages

Published 30th August 2012 by Headline Review

My shelves: 
adult-fiction, arc-or-review, books-i-own, christmas-books, currently-reading, favourites, historical, lasting-impression, magical-realism, read-in-2012, realistic-fiction, really-good
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:

Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart—he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season’s first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone—but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees.This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them...

Buy this book:

My thanks go to Headline for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

Though it may sound silly, I am always a little scared of reading books that I have high hopes for. I've only seen positive, rave reviews for The Snow Child which on one hand is fantastic, but also gave me very, very high expectations. I am also a sucker for anything story with a snowy backdrop, so I knew that I had to try this one out. After reading both the blurb and reviews and finding out that the book was now available in paperback, I had to get a copy and try it out!

I usually like reading books that feature snowy or wintery backdrops in winter, but reading this book in summer was certainly not a problem - the author managed to pull me into the book almost straight away. I was thrown into the setting and could sense the atmosphere, feel the cold - everything was so vivid. From the very first chapter, it was clear to me that Eowyn Ivey has a talent for writing. There is nothing pretentious about this book. The writing flows very well and is really captivating. This was an effortless read for me - I devoured it, reading page after page without realising where the time was going. The story is quite simple, yet still holds complexity. I find it very difficult to describe this book as I feel that there's only really one word that fits it, and that is magical.

The plot of this book revolves around an adult couple, Mabel and Jack, who have not had children of their own but wish they had. One night, they build a snow child which soon disappears, but from then on, they see a girl in the woods near their house. There is a slight paranormal feel to this book at the start, but definitely nothing to put off those who prefer realism - I am sure that this book will appeal to those who enjoy magical realism and even those who don't. As I've said, I really got sucked into this book and into the story - it was so easy to live through the characters and to empathise with them.

Every single character played their part and held their own. All characters were well written and formed. There was no character that I disliked or that I found lacking. Whilst reading, I was Mabel, I was Jack, I was Faina... Our main characters were all incredible. I could feel all of Mabel's diverse, raw emotions - her connection with the snow child was especially full of emotion. Though I didn't shed a tear or physically felt heart wrenched, I was emotionally connected to this book from the first page to the last. I loved reading about the friends of Mabel and Jack too, they really added another dimension to the book and helped the story to progress a huge amount. It was fascinating to see how all the characters interacted, especially once Faina was visibly around all of them.

This is a book that really does need to be experienced. This is a truly beautiful, emotive and magical (in every sense of the word) book. It's a story that will certainly be staying with me for a while. If you haven't already read this book, please do - it definitely won't be something that you'll regret.


Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Neptune's Tears (Timedance #1)


Neptune's Tears by Susan Waggoner
Paperback, 224 pages

Expected publication: September 2012 by Picadilly Press

My shelves: 
arc-or-review, blog-tour, books-i-own, dystopian, read-in-2012, sci-fi, series-or-companions, to-be-reviewed, young-adult
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:
It is love against the odds. There is his word, and there is hers. How can they feel so connected?

It is 2218 and Zee McAdams is in her second year as a healing empath at a busy London hospital. When a mysterious young man arrives for treatment, Zee's hard won calm is pierced. She will need all her courage if she's to follow her heart.

Especially when David reveals a devastating secret.


Buy this book:

My thanks go to Picadilly Press for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

Neptune's Tears is the first book in the Timedance series by Susan Waggoner. It's set in 2218 and follows a young empath in a London hospital. For such a quick read, the pages inside this book contain a lot. The story mainly revolves around Zee's career as an empath, her powers related to this and her romance with a boy, David, who one day appears at her hospital.

Zee was a very decent, relatable character. I liked what we got to know about her and particularly admired her for her love of her job and the care she wanted to give to the people around her. I thought Zee's job was really interesting and it was the best, most interesting part of the book for me - I look forward to learning more about her work in the next book. David, her love interest was mysterious and  likeable even though we didn't really get to know all that much about him until the end. The thing that makes me somewhat undecided about  the characters inside this book is that there is a huge case of instalove. As soon as Zee meets David in hospital, they are in love. I really dislike instalove, but I realise that in the case of this book, instant attraction and love seems to be somewhat the norm and part of being an empath. The characters also needed this instant love in order for the book to progress as quickly as it did. It wasn't a major problem for me as it's something to do with Zee being an empath, but I still couldn't bring myself to like or accept the fact - it felt too rushed.

As I mentioned, a lot of things happen in this book. I seemed to speed through this story - it's definitely easy to read and a page-turner and I think even the most reluctant reader would find it difficult not to rush through this one! There isn't a dull moment in this book, something is always happening or something being revealed. Though the pace was good as it left no time for boredom, I do think things could've been slowed down a little more so that they could be developed or elaborated upon. I don't want to include any spoilers, but the huge revelation at the end has made me very excited for the next book - the plot has huge potential.

Neptune's Tears has a lot of good ideas behind it - it's clear that Waggoner's imagination is certainly not dull! For the most part, this was a very enjoyable, captivating story and I am looking forward to reading all of the drama in the next instalment! 



Interested in learning more about Neptune's Tears? Follow the UK blog tour!

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Stacking the Shelves and Showcase Sunday (16)


Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's ReviewsShowcase Sunday is hosted by Books, Biscuits and Tea.
These memes are a replacement of The Story Siren's In My Mailbox.

Stacking the Shelves and Showcase Sunday make a place to showcase your new books,
whether you obtained them through the post or otherwise.

I received some very, very exciting ARCs this week! I have had How to Save a Life on my wishlist ever since it was released in the US, so I am ecstatic that a UK publisher has decided to publish it - I can't wait to delve into it. Defiance is a book that I'm really looking forward to, too, as hopefully I'll be participating in the blog tour for that one. I also received Wolf Pact and two adult books, Sworn Secret and The Secret Supper Club.

Unfortunately I only received one swap book this week, Guitar Highway Rose, even though I have been waiting to receive other book exchanges for more than a week now. Hopefully they will arrive sometime soon...

As you may know, I can't resist a Christmas book and so I picked up The Perfect Christmas straight away when I spotted it in a charity shop. I've also been after Beautiful Disaster for a while, despite the controversy, so I picked a copy up from the supermarket this week!

What did you get this week?

Thursday, 23 August 2012

From the Review Pile (16)


From the Review Pile is a meme hosted by Stepping Out of the Page every Thursday.
The aim of this meme is to showcase books that you've received for review (or if you don't receive review books, any book that you own and really want to read/review) but haven't yet got around to reading, in order to give the book some extra publicity.

I know that a lot of you have a huge pile of books that you want to read/review, but it understandably takes a while to get around to reading them all - here you can give a book (or two!) some of the publicity that it deserves, even if you haven't read it yet!

-----------------------------------

This week, I'm going to showcase The City's Son!
This book came into my house without me knowing much about it! I hadn't seen any mentions of this book before I received it and even now, I haven't seen very many reviews for it. This slight sense of mystery does make me want to pick it up and see what it's like! It's the first in The Skyscraper Throne series. Have any of you read it? What did you think of it?


The City's Son by Tom Pollock
Hardback, 422 pages
Published 2nd August 2012 by Quercus
Expelled from school, betrayed by her best friend and virtually ignored by her dad, who’s never recovered from the death of her mum, Beth Bradley retreats to the sanctuary of the streets, looking for a new home. What she finds is Filius Viae, the ragged and cocky crown prince of London, who opens her eyes to the place she’s never truly seen.

But the hidden London is on the brink of destruction. Reach, the King of the Cranes, is a malign god of demolition, and he wants Filius dead. In the absence of the Lady of the Streets, Filius’ goddess mother, Beth rouses Filius to raise an alleyway army, to reclaim London’s skyscraper throne for the mother he’s never known. Beth has almost forgotten her old life – until her best friend and her father come searching for her, and she must choose between the streets and the life she left behind.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

The Inn at Rose Harbour


The Inn at Rose Harbor by Debbie Macomber
Paperback, 416 pages

Published 16th August 2012 by Arrow Publishing

My shelves: a
rc-or-review, books-i-own, chick-lit, death, mum-has, mums-books, read-in-2012, realistic-fiction, series-or-companions
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:
The Rose Harbour Inn welcomes you to Cedar Cove…
From the minute she sees the Rose Harbour Inn, Jo Marie Barlow knows that this is the place that will help her find the peace she craves. And if the inn can comfort her, surely it can offer the same refuge to her first two guests.

Joshua Weaver has come home to care for his ailing stepfather. The two have never seen eye to eye, but a long-lost acquaintance proves to him that forgiveness is not out of reach and love can bloom in the unlikeliest places. 

Abby Kinkaid left Cedar Cover twenty years ago after a devastating accident. But as she reconnects with family and old friends, she realizes that she needs to let the past go if she is to embrace her future.

Buy this book:
My thanks go to Arrow for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

Debbie Macomber is a very popular, well known author and she's even one of my mum's favourites. Due to her popularity, I knew that I had to give her writing a go. Upon a little bit of internet searching, I discovered that she was starting off a new series, so I thought that'd be the perfect place for me to start. I picked up The Inn at Rose Harbour and before long, I'd finished it.

From reading only this one book, I can understand why many people enjoy Debbie Macomber's writing. This was a very pleasant, easy to read book. Though the book was effortless to read, there were still a plentitude of characters and some rather serious issues addressed. It is clear that Cedar Cove is a place that is set firmly in the author's mind - it feels very real and as though everyone living there really does have a history. 

The Inn at Rose Harbour is a series set in Macomber's famous Cedar Cove and so it features a lot of characters from her previous Cedar Cove series. I thought that I may have a little problem as I haven't actually read any of her other books, but it wasn't any problem at all. I think that it would have been even better if I had read her other books - I think it'd be great to be able to revisit old, loved characters, but as a new reader of her stories, it was still a nice introduction. I think Macomber had a fantastic idea when she decided to write this new series. I love the idea of a book set in a B&B - it allows so much room for exploration of ideas, for exciting plots and for so many new characters, whilst still having some constants.

The main characters we were introduced to were all very strong and each were interesting in their own way. We were introduced to Jo Marie, the woman who impulsively bought the Inn after her husband died in Afghanistan, Josh Weaver who stays at the Inn whilst he visits his hostile stepfather who is dying and Abby who is still trying to gain forgiveness for the death of her best-friend in a car accident. As you can tell, these are all deep, emotive issues. Though we are following three different stories, it doesn't get confusing at all and all three storylines were well developed. At the start, I felt myself favouring Jo Marie's story but by the end, Josh's story was by far my favourite as I felt it was the most intense, effective part of the book. This is a romance book and the romance was decent, but it wasn't anything that I got excited over. The most interesting romance, for me, seems like it's still to come and will be further explored in the next books as we get to know more about Jo Marie.

I did have a couple of issues with this book and the main one was that it was so predictable. After reading around only 50 pages, it was quite obvious who was going to pair up with who and what was going to happen. There wasn't one point in this book where I was shocked or even slightly surprised. Of course, this isn't always a bad thing. Sometimes knowing where a book is going and waiting for a happy ending is nice. Personally, I prefer some twists and turns but as I've said, this was a lovely, easy read. I will look forward to reading more of Macomber's books in the future.


Monday, 20 August 2012

Ashes (Ashes #1)


Ashes (Ashes #1) by Ilsa J. Bick
Paperback, 465 pages

Published 29th September 2011 by Quercus

My shelves: 
apocalyptic, books-i-own, cover-appeal, dystopian, horror, read, read-in-2012, sci-fi, series-or-companions, young-adult, zombies
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:
No, she thought. No, please, God, I'm not seeing this

Seventeen-year-old Alex is hiking through the wilderness when it happens: an earth-shattering electromagnetic pulse that destroys almost everything.

Survivors are divided between those who have developed a superhuman sense and those who have aquired a taste for human flesh. These flesh-hunters stalk the land: hungry, ruthless and increasingly clever...

Alex meets Tom, a younge army veteran, and Ellie, a lost girl. They will fight together and be torn apart, but Alex must face the most difficult question of all: 
In such a vastly changed world, who can you trust?

A srtory of high-wire tension, gut-wrenching twist, and burgeoning love, Ashes will leave you breathless.

Buy this book:
I bought Ashes last year and to be honest, I'm really not sure why it took me so long to get around to it. I absolutely loved the premise of this one as I'm a big fan of post-apocalyptic type books, even if they do scare me a little bit! As the next book in this trilogy, Shadows, is being released very soon, I thought it was definitely time to pick this one up off my shelves.

Ashes is about a girl named Alex who has a brain tumour and seems to have given up on all of the available treatments, instead deciding to live her life by herself, exploring the wilderness. When Alex is out in theforest, she comes across an old man, his somewhat troubled granddaughter, Ellie, and her dog, Mina. After forming a bond with the old man and being frustrated by Ellie, something very strange happens. The real action of the book starts when the world is hit with several electromagnetic pulses (EMPs) which changes everything. The old man dies, and Alex is left with Ellie and her dog and no idea of what has happened.

I really loved the start of this book. Learning about our protagonist was enjoyable and so was the mystery of the big 'zap' that changed the world. I loved moving through the wilderness with Alex and was quite captivated. The first half of the book was certainly a page turner. Parts of the story were very gruesome and quite disgusting, but the vivid imagery did work well - it gave the book a rather horrifying edge - I certainly wouldn't recommend this for younger teens, though!

Unfortunately, as the book progressed I did start to become a little bored. I absolutely loved following Alex, Ellie and Tom but around halfway or three-quarters of the way through, the book felt a bit disjointed as the characters were separated and I started to lose interest. The last section of the book, where Alex is led into living with some sort of cult was okay but it just didn't capture my imagination as the rest of the book had. The whole cult situation felt a little bit random and the introduction of a love triangle was unnecessary.

Getting to know our main character was very fascinating - Having a character with a terminal illness was different and interesting, I liked reading about her past and the thoughts she had in the present-day. We got to learn more about her as the book progressed and I found her to be a very likeable character. Whilst I didn't find anything about her particularly stand-out or striking, she was strong yet still very human and vulnerable - I liked that about her. I also came to love Ellie, the girl who was at first quite hostile but came to be slightly more mature, yet still kept her fragility. During their exploration of the woods to try and find some safety, we also met Tom, a character who certainly played a big role and is one of the romantic interests in the book. I did like Tom, he seemed like a genuine, caring guy but I personally wouldn't have been able to trust someone as quickly as Alex trusted him, especially in the situation that they were in. We do meet several other characters during the book and they are all well written and quite well formed.

This book does end on quite a big and somewhat exciting cliffhanger, so I do want to know what will happen next to all of our characters. It will be interesting to discover what has become of each character and what they plan to do in regards to the cult. This book had enough positive features in the first half for me to want to read on, so I will be looking forward to trying out the second book, Shadows.



Saturday, 18 August 2012

Stacking the Shelves and Showcase Sunday (15)


Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's ReviewsShowcase Sunday is hosted by Books, Biscuits and Tea.
These memes are a replacement of The Story Siren's In My Mailbox.

Stacking the Shelves and Showcase Sunday make a place to showcase your new books,
whether you obtained them through the post or otherwise.

I received some really cool ARCs this week! I was given a copy of Neptune's Tears which was recently brought to my attention. I love the colour of the cover and it sounds very appealing. I was also sent a copy of Rage Within which I'm very excited to read as I loved the first instalment! The blog tours for both of those books will hopefully be stopping by this blog soon! I also received copies of The Diviners, Darkness Falls and Wolf Princess!

I impressed myself again this week, by only purchasing one book, and that was because it was half price! I hadn't heard of it before, so I look forward to seeing what it's like. It's Destined to Play by Indigo Bloome.

P.S. Sorry for the lack of posts this week, I have been reading The Snow Child and I am keeping the review hidden until 'Snow Day' (30th August!) - the blog tour will also be visiting soon, so keep an eye out for that!

Thursday, 16 August 2012

From the Review Pile (15)


 
From the Review Pile is a meme hosted by Stepping Out of the Page every Thursday.
The aim of this meme is to showcase books that you've received for review (or if you don't receive review books, any book that you own and really want to read/review) but haven't yet got around to reading, in order to give the book some extra publicity.

I know that a lot of you have a huge pile of books that you want to read/review, but it understandably takes a while to get around to reading them all - here you can give a book (or two!) some of the publicity that it deserves, even if you haven't read it yet!

-----------------------------------

This week, I'm going to showcase The Hobbit!
This is one of those books that I've been meaning to get around to but have never managed to! The story is both a classic and extremely popular, so I will have to pick this one up soon and see what all of the fuss is about! 


The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
Paperback, 368 pages
Published 7th June 2012 by Harper Collins

The Hobbit is the unforgettable story of Bilbo, a peace-loving hobbit, who embarks on a strange and magical adventure.
A timeless classic.
Bilbo Baggins enjoys a quiet and contented life, with no desire to travel far from the comforts of home; then one day the wizard Gandalf and a band of dwarves arrive unexpectedly and enlist his services – as a burglar – on a dangerous expedition to raid the treasure-hoard of Smaug the dragon. Bilbo’s life is never to be the same again.
Seldom has any book been so widely read and loved as J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic tale, ‘The Hobbit’. Since its first publication in 1937 it has remained in print to delight each new generation of readers all over the world, and its hero, Bilbo Baggins, has taken his place among the ranks of the immortals of fiction.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Stacking the Shelves and Showcase Sunday (14)


Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's ReviewsShowcase Sunday is hosted by Books, Biscuits and Tea.
These memes are a replacement of The Story Siren's In My Mailbox.

Stacking the Shelves and Showcase Sunday make a place to showcase your new books,
whether you obtained them through the post or otherwise.

I'm impressed with myself this week - I didn't buy any books at all - that has to be a first! I was sent some fantastic books this week though, which I'm very grateful for. I am very surprised with all of the fantastic copies of ARCS and other review books that I received this week. I never expected to get so many - though that's certainly not a complaint - I am going to be kept very busy! I received The City's Son, Shadows (I haven't read Ashes yet, but I will definitely read it very soon - sounds amazing!), Eighty Days Yellow, The Half Life of Ryan Davis (I love the sound of this and love the cover!), The Ghosts of Young Nick's Head (Fabulous title!), Furt Bent From Aldaheit, High Speed, Soul Beach and Soul Fire!

What did you get this week?

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