Friday, August 30, 2013

A-Z Bookish Survey

Gosh, how I love surveys. This one just appeared on my screen and I want to join in on the fun! The A-Z Bookish Survey was created by Jamie over at the Perpetual Page-Turner -- don't forget to stop by her blog, it's aweome! (I wrote this post about two weeks ago but it didn't go up -- story of my life.)

Author you’ve read the most books from:
According to Goodreads, that is Rick Riordan with 19 books. Yup. Though I must say, I read some of the same books in different formats, but whatevs.

Best Sequel Ever:
Eh, does The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan count? It's the sequel series to Percy Jackson and the Olympians, so I think it should.

Currently Reading:
I am currently reading no books! I just finished All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill and will start The Lonesome Young by Lucy Connors next.

Drink of Choice While Reading:
During summer, it's Crystal Clear lemon and passion fruit, during the winter, it's tea. God, I love tea.

E-reader or Physical Book?
I'd pick physical books over e-books any time, even though I love my Kindle. It's convenient, mostly for ARCs but I just can't do without the smell of book pages.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:
I seriously had to think about this one. I think quite possibly Dexter from Just Listen, not because he's a mucisian, but because he has that dorky cuteness that is adorable.

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:
Pivot Point by Kasie West.

Hidden Gem Book:
Probably Adorkable by Sarra Manning.

Important Moment in your Reading Life:
Discovering there was such a thing as YA books. I loved reading, but most books I read were adult fiction, either chicklit or mystery/thriller and I just wasn't enjoying them much. I picked up Harry Potter in 2007 and everything took from there, even though I didn't discover the blogosphere until 2010. That really turned my reading life around: so many books that sound awesome! So many people talking about books!

Just Finished:
All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill. Good lord, my poor heart. IT ACHES.

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:
I'm not too keen on most adult books, but I'd never read horror because I'm such a chicken. I'd have nightmares for weeks. #wimp

Longest Book You’ve Read:
A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin (807 pages)

Major book hangover because of:
There are several that come to mind: Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson, The Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness and Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen.

Number of Bookcases You Own:
Including the one in my living room, I have 9 (of which 6 are double shelves).

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling. I think I've read the entire series about a dozen times, but I always start with the first book when I re-read.

Preferred Place To Read:
On my sofa, the part with the chaise lounge. So comfy!

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read:
“Dumbledore watched her fly away, and as her silvery glow faded he turned back to Snape, and his eyes were full of tears.
"After all this time?"
"Always," said Snape.” 
~ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling -- I was a sobbing mess.

Reading Regret:
I can't really think of anything.. Maybe starting Harry Potter earlier, but if I had, I wouldn't have discovered the entire world of YA books when I did. So I'm going to settle on not reading the classics. I've been blogging for almost three years now (okay, I started my blog about 3 years ago) and I have read not even a handful. I'm trying to work on it, but I just grab newer releases instead.

Series You Started And Need To Finish(all books are out in series):
Have you got a while? There are so many series I need to finish! On top of my list now are Across the Universe trilogy by Beth Revis, Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth (can you believe I have yet to read Insurgent?) and the A Touch Trilogy by Leah Clifford.

Three of your All-Time Favorite Books:
Only three?! What is this madness?! Okay, fine. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan and The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. Plus the accompanying books in the series. Ha!

Unapologetic Fangirl For:
Anything to do with The Hunger Games, Percy Jackson, Rick Riordan.

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:
Blackout by Robison Wells. Variant was brilliant!

Worst Bookish Habit:
Reading multiple books at the same time. Sometimes I find myself reading 5 or 6 books at once and I wonder how I got there.

X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:
The Long Walk by Stephen King.

Your latest book purchase:
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo.

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late):
I don't usually read super late.. But I remember reading Sing Me To Sleep by Angela Morrisson and straight after trying to sleep. Alas, my ugly-cry had taken away any chance of sleep.


If you haven't done this survey yet, what are you waiting for? I tag you! Link your post in the comments, I'd love to check out your answers :)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Book Haul (79)

It's been a while since I did a book haul, but a little while back I felt like filming a video, so here I am! I'm planning to get back into doing videos as well so you might see them around on the blog more from now on :) Anyhoo, here's a recent book haul!

Books mentioned in this video
Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith
All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

I've already read All Our Yesterdays and ladies and gentlemen, if you haven't read it yet, I urge you to pick up a copy because it's fan-flipping-tastic! I loved it to bits! My review will be up soon-ish :-)

Have you read any of these books? What did you think?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Review: Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
Published: August 14th, 2012 (Simon & Schuster)
Pages: 418
Source: for review via Netgalley
Series: Beautiful, #1
Buy the book: Bookdepository
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆ ½

The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate number of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance from the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University's Walking One-Night Stand.

Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby needs—and wants—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match.

Okay. So I don’t really know how to write this review. This book hadn’t really captured my interest because of the synopsis or anything, but the hype surrounding it made me curious. Even though it was compared to books I thoroughly disliked and/or books I wouldn’t poke with a stick, I decided to give it a try. It was like watching a train wreck. Disaster? Yes. Beautiful? Not so much.

Abby is the so-called good girl in this book, who tries to evade the flirting of Travis Maddox, Bad Boy Extraordinaire and Womanizer Deluxe. With a simple bet, Travis tricks Abby into moving in with him for a month, and the story unfolds.

Okay. So where do I start? Let’s start with the bad news. Abby is a bland main character. Of course, she doesn’t know that she’s pretty and of course she doesn’t know Travis has the hots for her, oblivious as she is. Travis is the typical womanizer; dangerous, hot, muscular, popular and of course incredibly charming. He’s never had a girlfriend, and doesn’t have any interest in getting one, until he meets Abby. They get into some kind of mating dance, denying they like each other for the first half of the book and obsessing about each other in the second half. That also means there is a lot of arguing, fighting, drinking and destroyed doors, which of course results into Abby thinking that’s sweet.

In my world, that’s called a dysfunctional relationship. And while Abby seems to realise that once or twice in the book, she doesn’t act on it, besides a half-hearted attempt to escape him by going back to the most obvious place known to man; the dorm room. This was the point that I was seriously considering throwing my Kindle across the room.

However, there were sparks in some of the dialogue, which was funny in odd places. I liked their bickering, until it turned into jealous rage and the whole thing started up again. Travis is obsessed with Abby, whom I’m pretty sure he considers his property, and it hurts to look at. He calls her Pidgeon or Pidge about fifty billion times in the book and no, I’m not over exaggerating. Which leads me to another problem I had with this book; the storyline and the characters were so predictable, so obvious that I was so damn annoyed with this book. It’s like this book really knew what got on my nerves and then just did exactly that.

The weird thing is, McGuire can write. I mean, seriously write. The book read quickly, and easily, and it pretty much had me hooked. Like I said, it was like watching a train wreck and not being able to look away, no matter how hard you try. Which is exactly what the problem was with Beautiful Disaster for me. It was terrible, and awful, but I read it faster than books that I actually enjoyed reading. It’s disturbing.

I’m terribly sorry for this rant. I really am. I don’t like talking about books like this, but I feel like I had to get it out of my system.. So to conclude this review; I won’t be reading the sequel, Walking Disaster. I’ll be running.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Review: Heart-Shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne

Heart-Shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne
Published: September 1st, 2012 (Headline)
Pages: 308
Source: bought
Series: NA
Buy the book: Bookdepository
Rating: ★★★★☆

They say I'm evil. The police. The newspapers. The girls from school who shake their heads on the six o’clock news and say they always knew there was something not quite right about me. And everyone believes it. Including you. But you don't know. You don't know who I used to be.

Who I could have been.

Awaiting trial at Archway Young Offenders Institution, Emily Koll is going to tell her side of the story for the first time.

Heart-Shaped Bruise is a compulsive and moving novel about infamy, identity and how far a person might go to seek revenge.

I’m going to start off by saying that I have no idea how to write this review. It has been almost two weeks since I finished reading the book and I still have difficulty putting my thoughts into words. I’m trying to write something at least semi coherent, so bear with me.

Heart-Shaped Bruise is one of those books that tell you what happened throughout the book so you only find out the real reason towards the end of the story. Emily is in an institution, but we don’t know why. Whatever happened with Emily, and because of Emily, is a complete mystery at the beginning. Slowly but surely, by flipping the pages and continuing reading, you find out a little bit of what happened, working up to the big reveal at the end of the book. To say that this is compelling is a bit of an understatement – I was unable to stop reading until the very last page.

Emily’s character is an interesting one. She’s flawed, that’s for sure, but Byrne writes her in a way that enables you to identify with her. In a way, she turned the story around; you feel for the offender, and even though somewhere deep inside you know Juliet is the victim in this situation, you kind of hate her with the same passion Emily does. Which kind of threw me off balance, because I knew the roles were reversed. But I felt with Emily.

While the climax was a bit of an anti-climax for me since I figured out the outcome way before we got to the end, I really like the way it was done. It was fitting and it made perfect sense as to why Emily was behaving the way she did. Yes, I’m aware this is kind of disturbing, but it works with the novel. It ties in perfectly and I’m sure a lot of readers will be surprised.

Heart-Shaped Bruise is a brilliant story that kind of feels like a tale that you shouldn’t enjoy, but I just couldn’t help myself. I was completely immersed in Emily’s tale. Byrne has truly created a unique story and I would definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys reading contemporary – I know I will be on the lookout for more Tanya Byrne books.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Review: Percy Jackson and the Olympians [audio]

Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan
Published: June 4th, 2005
Narrator: Jesse Bernstein
Source: bought
Buy the book: Audible
Rating: ★★★★★

Look, I didn't want to be a half-blood. I never asked to be the son of a Greek God. I was just a normal kid, going to school, playing basketball, skateboarding. The usual. Until I accidentally vaporized my maths teacher. That's when things started really going wrong. Now I spend my time fighting with swords, battling monsters with my friends, and generally trying to stay alive.

This is the one where Zeus, God of the Sky, thinks I've stolen his lightning bolt - and making Zeus angry is a very bad idea.

Can Percy find the lightning bolt before a fully-fledged war of the Gods erupts?

As you may know, I’m a massive fan of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan. I think I’ve forced it on just about anyone. So when I was checking out audiobooks to spend my credits on and stumbled across The Lightning Thief, read by Jesse Bernstein, I decided to give it a try, even though I already own a set of the series. And I’m so glad I did.

Jesse Bernstein is a fantastic narrator and storyteller. He captures the story perfectly, with his slight changes of voice while speaking like the characters in the story. I particularly enjoyed his way of portraying Tyson, for whom I now have an even bigger soft spot.

There isn’t much to tell about the story itself, since I already reviewed all five books before when I finished reading them. But somehow, when Bernstein reads it, the story feels slightly different and it gets the same quality as the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling; you discover new things along the way. And I loved that. Even though I already knew the story, I was hooked and couldn’t stop listening.

I found myself laughing out loud while I was listening to one of the books on one of my walks. I only realised I was laughing because I was getting funny looks from several people walking past. And you know what? It didn’t even bother me. I just let myself embarrass myself by laughing, snorting, frowning and talking along with some of the parts of the story. It was that good.

If you have the slightest interest in audiobooks, whether you’ve read the books before or not, I’d recommend checking out the audiobooks of Percy Jackson and the Olympians. It’s worth it.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Review: Pivot Point by Kasie West

Pivot Point by Kasie West
Published: February 12th, 2013 (HarperTeen)
Pages: 343
Source: bought
Series: Pivot Point, #1
Buy the book: Bookdepository
Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier...

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through... and who she can’t live without.

Pivot Point is a perfect example of the kind of book that can get me out of any reading slump I might having. While we live in a world filled with ‘what-if’s’, Addie has the ability to Search a decision and choose the best one and actually see the what if of her decision. When her parents announce their divorce, Addie is forced to choose: live with her mum, who she doesn’t feel a particular bond with, in their home in The Compound, or move off The Compound with her dad, whom she loves dearly. So she does what everybody would do in her place. She does a Search.

Told in alternating point of views, Pivot Point shows what Addie’s life would be like when she makes either decision. I loved this Sliding Doors kind of concept, even though it’s based on making only one big decision instead of several smaller ones. It reminded me a bit of Before I Fall, another one of those books with a strong contemporary feel but with some paranormal/sci-fi elements to it. I absolutely adored Pivot Point in all its glory. West has cleverly woven the storylines together and it was interesting to see what would happen to the other characters when Addie would leave them for her decision.

If I wouldn’t have known this was a debut, I would never have guessed. The writing was fluent and addictive, keeping me captivated while I flipped the pages. The characters were well-developed, their little quirks taking them off the pages for me. This is one of those books where you just really see a film playing in your head while you read and I loved that.

And the best news: there will be a sequel! Yay! Pivot Point ends on somewhat of a cliff-hanger and I really really really need to know what happens next. I felt so sad when she made her decision in the end, even though there wasn’t really a question about it. It was heart-breaking and I really, really have high hopes that everything will work out in Split Second.

Massive thanks to Debby, without whom I probably wouldn’t even have picked up this book. I adored the cover, which is incredibly pretty, but I never would have guessed the magic between the pages. I will be eagerly awaiting West’s future books – with Split Second high on my most anticipated list for 2014.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Review: Imposter by Jill Hathaway

Imposter by Jill Hathaway
Published: April 26th, 2013 (HarperCollins Children's)
Pages: 272
Source: for review
Series: Slide, #2
Buy the book: Bookdepository
Rating: ★★★★☆

Note: this is not the first book in a series, and can therefore contain (minor) spoilers for the previous book(s) in the series. Reading of this review is at your own risk.

Be afraid of your shadow...Vee Bell has witnessed murder. She nearly died trying to track down the killer, all because of her secret condition. She'd tell her best friend Rollins but lately he seems more interested in his colleague Anna than her. Maybe she should confide in her long-lost aunt who's turned up out of the blue? All of a sudden life is happening in reverse: Vee is waking up in weird places not knowing what she's done. The only thing she's sure of is that someone is messing with her. And when a prank goes horribly wrong, this time the hands with blood on them might be hers.

When I got Imposter in the mail I did a little happy dance. I read Slide all the way back in 2011 because I was lucky enough to read an early copy. I really enjoyed it and when I heard there would be a sequel I knew I needed to read it.

Vee is able to ‘slide’ into other people when she touches an object that has an emotional imprint from someone. But when she notices someone starts sliding into her, she starts to worry. There are more people like her? Who could it be? When it looks like that someone could have murdered someone while he or she was in Vee’s body, she is determined to find out who did it.

While it wasn’t as awesome as I thought Slide was when I finished, the book makes for an excellent and easy read that I breezed through in one sitting. The only thing I had a problem with were the scenes with Vee and Rollins. They were so sappy and uncomfortable that they were hard to read. I don’t understand why; while I read Slide I didn’t have such a problem. There was a little tension there and sure, you felt that, but there wasn’t anything making the reader uncomfortable. It took away some of my enjoyment and that was a shame, because I really liked the rest of the story.

The writing was easy to read and I thought the storyline was well thought out with plenty of opportunity for the reader to speculate about the who would be behind it and I loved that. While the story was a little predictable at times, that didn't hold me back from flipping the pages.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this. I wouldn’t say it’s necessary to read Slide before you read Imposter, but it will help you understand Vee’s talent.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Review: Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead

Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead
Published: August 1st, 2010 (Zebra)
Pages: 360
Age group: adult
Source: bought
Series: Georgina Kincaid, #1
Buy the book: Bookdepository
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Being a succubus sounds pretty glamorous. Shape-shifting, killer wardrobe, what's not to like? But Georgina Kincaid's life is far from exotic. Her boss is a middle-management demon with a thing for John Cusack movies, and she can't have a decent date without sucking away part of the guy's life, which means her crush on sexy writer Seth Mortensen is going nowhere fast. But all of that pales in significance when an unknown entity "helpfully" begins killing her immortal adversaries. For once, all her hot charms and drop-dead one-liners won't help, because there are some creatures out there that both heaven and hell want to deny...

Where do I start with this one? After enjoying the first two books in the Dark Swan series a whole lot, I picked up Succubus Blues, expecting to be just as addicted to Georgina’s story as I was to Eugenie’s. But alas, this wasn’t nearly as good as the Dark Swan books. Let me explain.

Whereas Mead sucked me into the story very easily with Storm Born and Thorn Queen, she failed to do so with Succubus Blues. The story wasn’t all that interesting, except that the main character is, well, a succubus, which makes for some pretty awkward conversation and interaction with certain characters. But other than that, it didn’t have anything special for me. It lacked the excitement and awesomeness that the other series has and quite frankly, this book failed to keep my interest for long.

Now, I know this sounds like I was merely looking for another Dark Swan book, but that wasn’t the case. I was just expecting to be blown away by this one as much as I was with the others, and that failed pretty miserably. I know Mead’s writing can be better and more compelling than she did in this one so I guess that’s where my disappointment comes from.

Having said that, I did enjoy this book, hence the three star rating. The ending made up for a lot, as well. I’m quite curious to see where the story is going, but I’m unsure if I will go ahead and actually pick up the sequel.

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