Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Best of the Bunch April 2013

Best of the Bunch is a monthly wrap-up and award ceremony hosted here on the last day of each month, where we can look back over the books we have read and give a Best of the Bunch award to our favourite book of that month.

It is also a blog hop for bloggers to showcase their pick of "Best of the Bunch". I always put up my post on the last day of the month, but remember, you can add your link anytime in the following month- please join in, I love hearing about which books you thought were the most amazing!

For more info and to grab the button and stickers visit the BOTB page here, then all you need to do is write up your post showing us which book wins your award for Best of the Bunch and add your linky to the list below. Don't forget to check out the other blogs to find out which books other bloggers have awarded the best.

April 2013
This month I have reviewed on the blog-

  • Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor My Review 5 of 5 stars
  • Fever by Lauren DeStefano My Review 4 of 5 stars
  • Blink Once by Cylin Busby My Review 4 of 5 stars
  • The Girl with the Iron Touch by Kady Cross My Review 4 of 5 stars
  • Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans My Review 2.5 of 5 stars
  • Weather Witch by Shannon Delany My Review 3.5 of 5 stars

And the award for Best of the Bunch April 2013 goes to...


... Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor!

This is book 2 in the series (The sequel to Daughter of Smoke and Bone) and it's no secret that I absolutely adore this series. The writing is beautiful, the story is powerfully moving, and the incredible characters have the power to make me laugh and cry along with them. Magical, fun, and terrifying all rolled into one- I'm itching to read book 3. 

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.

Art student and monster's apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she'll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

So- I want to know- what was the best book you read/ reviewed in April? If you write up a monthly wrap-up post link it up here so I can check it out!
Who gets your bananas?

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Sunday Post 28th April 2013

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba 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'm trying not to get too many books while I catch up on what I already have to read, but books seem to find me anyway!


  • The Diviners by Libba Bray. Okay I have already read this one on audiobook and loved it, but when I saw a brand new copy at the market for £2 I couldn't resist!
  • Heart-Shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne. Another market bargain that I've been wanting to read. 
  • Storm by Brigid Kemmerer. This is the first book in a series I have been wanting to read for ages. I ordered it because I was seriously considering taking part in the read-a-long of this series with Starry Eyed Revue, but it didn't arrive on time. 
From the library:

  • Requiem by Lauren Oliver. Book 3 in the Delirium series. So excited to read this!


  • Dead Silence by Kimberly Derting. Book 4 in the Body Finder series. More Violet and Jay- woo hoo!

For review:

  • After Eden by Helen Douglas. A new YA sci-fi due to be published in July. Thanks to Bloomsbury and Netgalley for the review copy.
  • The Elite by Keira Cass. Book 2 in The Selection series. Love this series as well. Thanks to Harper Teen and Netgalley for the review copy. 

I posted-

Jess Hearts Books is hosting a read-a-long of the Soul Screamers series. I adore this series, so if you haven't read these books yet but have been meaning to go sign up! Starts this weds May 1st. 

How has your week been? Leave me a link and thanks for stopping by!
Happy reading!

Friday, 26 April 2013

6 books I'm always recommending to everyone

I always find the question "so what's your favourite book?" impossible to answer- there are way too many and it depends on my mood etc. BUT- there are certain books that I always feel like I'm saying to people "you have to read this!"

(more of my stunning artwork!)

These are 6 books that I recommend all the time. 

  • Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder. I love anything written by this author  but this book especially is one of my all-time favourites. I usually try and re-read it about once a year. It's a fantasy series but I think that it because it focuses on the emotions and lives of the characters it could appeal to anyone. I love Yelena the main character- talk about your strong every-woman. 

  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. This series has to be one of the best ever written! It's beautiful, amazing, romantic, terrifying and just- wow! Read it!
My review

  • Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman. This series is unique and powerful. I read it years ago and it blew me away then- it still blows me away now. Such a good book. 

  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Hehehe- I got everybody at work (who were initially like- "but it's a kid's book")- reading this and everybody LOVED it! This is one of those books I literally couldn't put down. I like my sleep so it takes a LOT to keep me up all night but this book managed it! This series is just amazing. 

  • Northern Lights by Philip Pullman. It's the whole series I love not just this first book. This is another one that kept me up all night reading it. Thrilling, clever, and just brilliant- this is the book that I wish I'd written myself. It's pure genius. (Don't bother watching the movie though- it's crap).

  • Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck. This is a series that I wish more people knew about. It deserves hype because it magical, lyrical and sweet, and I love how much detail goes into the story and the world-building. And Ren is pretty great too!  ☺ I love this book and am always recommending it to people. 
My review

So those are some of my absolute favourite books ever. What are you waiting for?! Go read them!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Wishlist Wednesday #26

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 love the sound of this book- a dystopian sci-fi full of action and tough lead characters. I haven't seen much about it on the web, but it does look great. 

Dualed by Elsie Chapman
You or your Alt? Only one will survive.

The city of Kersh is a safe haven, but the price of safety is high. Everyone has a genetic Alternate—a twin raised by another family—and citizens must prove their worth by eliminating their Alts before their twentieth birthday. Survival means advanced schooling, a good job, marriage—life.

Fifteen-year-old West Grayer has trained as a fighter, preparing for the day when her assignment arrives and she will have one month to hunt down and kill her Alt. But then a tragic misstep shakes West’s confidence. Stricken with grief and guilt, she’s no longer certain that she’s the best version of herself, the version worthy of a future. If she is to have any chance of winning, she must stop running not only from her Alt, but also from love . . . though both have the power to destroy her.

Elsie Chapman's suspenseful YA debut weaves unexpected romance into a novel full of fast-paced action and thought-provoking philosophy. When the story ends, discussions will begin about this future society where every adult is a murderer and every child knows there is another out there who just might be better.

Has anybody read it yet? What did you think? 

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Review: Weather Witch by Shannon Delany

Weather Witch by Shannon Delany
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Synopsis from Goodreads:
In a vastly different and darker Philadelphia of 1844, steam power has been repressed, war threatens from deep, dark waters, and one young lady of high social standing is expecting a surprise at her seventeenth birthday party–but certainly not the one she gets!

Jordan Astraea, who has lived out all of her life in Philadelphia’s most exclusive neighborhood, is preparing to celebrate her birthday with friends, family and all the extravagance they might muster. The young man who is most often her dashing companion, Rowen Burchette, has told her a surprise awaits her and her best friend, Catrina Hollindale, wouldn’t miss this night for all the world!

But storm clouds are gathering and threatening to do far more than dampen her party plans because someone in the Astraea household has committed the greatest of social sins by Harboring a Weather Witch.

This story is set in an alternate version of 1844 Philadelphia, where steam power has been rejected in favour of harnessing the power of witches. It's a very unique and magical ride, and I really liked the witch-hunt idea turned into using them as a source of power. Families reputations could go down depending on whether magic (*gasp*) is found in a family member.

The bad points
I thought that the book had a fantastic concept but I would've liked a little bit more explanation and world-building, as the reader is just dropped in the middle of events in this unfamiliar setting, and I spent a large portion of the book feeling very confused and trying to work out what was happening and who everybody was.

I would have liked a little more explanation, especially with the unfamiliar terminology. Bran is a Maker- but I couldn't tell you what this really means. We are told that Jordan is Fifth of the Nine which is important, but I'm not sure why, and there are sea monsters called merrows which are introduced as a threat part-way through the story and then disappear.

There are also multiple Points of View which took a bit of getting used to as well. This made the story even more confusing to me, as it often felt very disjointed. I never really felt any attachment to any of the characters either. In terms of character development I just never felt like I got to really know and understand any of them because the story jumped around too much.

The good points
What I did like however, was the magic and the mystery in a uniquely almost-fantasy historical setting.  Any books about witches I'm pretty guaranteed to read, as I love the idea of people with special powers and that sense that anything can happen. And this book mixes magic and an alternate vision of the past with an underlying sense of mystery very well. You get the impression that things aren't what they seem, so you want to keep reading to find out the truth.

Main character Jordan goes through such an emotional journey throughout the book- from spoilt rich girl, obnoxious and privileged and superior, to defiant prisoner- and I grew to really admire her bravery. Many of the characters seem such a mystery, but I also grew to like Rowan, who in a very gentlemanly way journeys out to prove Jordan's innocence, and his flawed rescue mission is very endearing. I even rooted for initial bad-guy Bran, whose character alters for the better when he discovers he has a little daughter. It was these little details that helped give the characters that humanity and made everything have a purpose. Parts of the book are very sweet.

Part steampunk, part witches, part historical, part fantasy, Weather Witch has a bit of everything! The ending of this book never completely explains everything or is properly resolved. Nothing is wrapped up at the end which leads me to believe that this is only the first installment in a wider story still to be unravelled.

Magical, atmospheric, and very fresh and different I'd recommend this one to fans of the paranormal, or historical fantasy.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Review: Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans

My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

Source: Audiobook

Synopsis from Goodreads:
In this gripping exploration of a futuristic afterlife, a teen discovers that death is just the beginning.

Since her untimely death the day before her eighteenth birthday, Felicia Ward has been trapped in Level 2, a stark white afterlife located between our world and the next. Along with her fellow drones, Felicia passes the endless hours reliving memories of her time on Earth and mourning what she’s lost—family, friends, and Neil, the boy she loved.

Then a girl in a neighboring chamber is found dead, and nobody but Felicia recalls that she existed in the first place. When Julian—a dangerously charming guy Felicia knew in life—comes to offer Felicia a way out, Felicia learns the truth: If she joins the rebellion to overthrow the Morati, the angel guardians of Level 2, she can be with Neil again.

Suspended between Heaven and Earth, Felicia finds herself at the center of an age-old struggle between good and evil. As memories from her life come back to haunt her, and as the Morati hunt her down, Felicia will discover it’s not just her own redemption at stake… but the salvation of all mankind.

I'm not really too sure what to say about this book! I possibly had too high expectations from it, and ended up just not getting it. 

Level 2 is a stage of the afterlife where people go to relive memories of their life and to start to move on. It is a very high-tech vision of death, almost Matrix-like, where people "plug in" to pods and can keep track of the number of views, rate their memories (1-5 stars), and even share them with others to garner a user rating and "credits". Level 2 is essentially a social network of the afterlife.

We learn the story of Felicia's life in disjointed bits and pieces through her memories of her parents, her best friend, and her boyfriend Neil, and also of another mysterious boy Julian. I did like this way of reliving Felicia's best and worst memories, and having such a unique window in her life from an early age. I also like that you always get the impression that there is something important that you are not being told- the mystery around Neil and Julian and Felicia's strong feelings of dislike for Julian leave you constantly reading on to find out why.

There is also an almost dystopian element to the book when Felicia learns that a higher power is erasing memories and deleting lives, and she discovers the existence of a rebellion against the way of life in Level 2. These rebels have the power to hack into the system, to move around between hives and to alter memories and track people. But who are really the good guys and who are not?

My rating is my own personal opinion of this book. I don't think it's a bad book in any way- just that it never caught me. I didn't always follow these invented rules of this new plane of existence- the concept of life after death, (and death after death) became very strange and confusing, and stretched the power of my imagination just that bit too far. Also sometimes the disjointedness of the narrative, the jumping backward and forward in time left me really confused at points, and the character of Felicia herself is very hard to puzzle out. She makes some bad choices at times, and is not a character that I could easily relate to.

For a book dealing with the subject of death I didn't really see any emotion or get any sense of regret or loss from it. I missed the after effect of Felicia's loss to her friends and family- there is nothing there.

But it's definitely a fresh and unique book and will appeal to fans of dystopia and sci-fi through it's unique take on the world, fans of contemporary through Felicia's flashbacks to her old life and romances, and fans of a mystery story because there is a puzzle to be unravelled. Because of the way it's told it often feels like two stories in one, with the two strands of before and after death weaved together. It seems to be a book that people either enjoy or hate- so read it yourself and form your own opinion!

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Sunday Post 21st April 2013

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba 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 2 new books this week-

From the library:
  • Crown of Embers by Rae Carson (Fire and Thorns, book 2) The second book in a fabulous fantasy series.
For review:

  • This is W.A.R by Lisa and Laura Roecker. This is the first book in a new series by this sisters writing team- a contemporary mystery book.  Due to be published July 2013, thanks to Soho Teen publishers and Edelweiss for the review copy. 

I posted 
- I wished for Furious on Wishlist Wednesday
- Help me choose which audiobook to listen to next on What's Next

-I signed up for the Netgalley/ Edelweiss month 15th May- 15th June at Book Passion For Life to try and read through some of the pile of galleys I have waiting to be read and to be in with a chance to win a book from The Book Depository. 

- Next Saturday (27th April) Queen of Contemporary is hosting a worldwide "Embrace Your Inner Geek" feature where she will invite everyone to talk about about all the nerdy/ geeky things they do or stuff they own. I will be taking part in this and sharing photos of all the geeky stuff I own- from mugs and necklaces to posters and figurines!  

Thanks for stopping by my blog- let me know how your week went by leaving your link in the comments!
Happy reading!

Friday, 19 April 2013

Review: The Girl with the Iron Touch by Kady Cross

The Girl with the Iron Touch by Kady Cross

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Synopsis from Goodreads:
In 1897 London, something not quite human is about to awaken 

When mechanical genius Emily is kidnapped by rogue automatons, Finley Jayne and her fellow misfits fear the worst. What's left of their archenemy, The Machinist, hungers to be resurrected, and Emily must transplant his consciousness into one of his automatons—or forfeit her friends' lives. 

With Griffin being mysteriously tormented by the Aether, the young duke's sanity is close to the breaking point. Seeking help, Finley turns to Jack Dandy, but trusting the master criminal is as dangerous as controlling her dark side. When Jack kisses her, Finley must finally confront her true feelings for him...and for Griffin. 

Meanwhile, Sam is searching everywhere for Emily, from Whitechapel's desolate alleyways to Mayfair's elegant mansions. He would walk into hell for her, but the choice she must make will test them more than they could imagine. 

To save those she cares about, Emily must confront The Machinist's ultimate creation—an automaton more human than machine. And if she's to have any chance at triumphing, she must summon a strength even she doesn't know she has....

Book 3 in the Steampunk Chronicles

I was really in the mood to read something easy and light, and this book hit the spot perfectly! Girl With The Iron Touch is cheesy, light-hearted, and fun, and I just love it.

A Victorian steampunk setting full of clever mechanical gadgets and automatons, and a wonderful gang of friends (with powers that remind me of the spirit of the X-Men), that have an evil super-villain to stop- this is an entertaining and heart-warming read.

I love how fiercely loyal they all are to each other, and how all the different personalities complement each other nicely. In some cases affection even developing into romance. I am talking about Emily and Sam here- they are the absolute sweetest couple and so protective of each other. I love getting sappy at their banter and declarations of love for the other.

Plenty of action, thrills, peril, romance and magic- this is my kind of book! Love these characters and this world, which is very easy to imagine. Sticking to a similar theme from the first two books only this time the gang is all back together again in London-they work to develop their technology, solve mysteries and protect London, but when one of their own is taken as hostage the situation becomes really desperate. The mysterious and charming Jack Dandy is also back on the scene, providing information and hilarious back-chat. I had missed him from book 2- he is such a colourful character!

Each book is a self-contained story which I like, but there is still more of the wider story to tell, more bad guys to defeat and more Finley and Griffin I'm sure- so I'm certain there will be more to come from this series. Fantastically fun and feel-good- I love these books.

Rest of the series:

book 1
book 2

Thursday, 18 April 2013

What's Next? Audiobook edition

What's Next is a weekly meme hosted by Hafsah at Icey Books.

I love listening to audiobooks while I walk to work, or do boring tasks like washing up etc. but I have gone a little overboard with audiobook downloads lately and I can't decide which one to listen to next.

What do you think?

What should I listen to next?
pollcode.com free polls 

Thanks for voting!

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Wishlist Wednesday #25

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.

How badass does this book sound?! I want it! Drawing on Greek myths and legends with a modern twist- looks pretty cool.

Furious by Jill Wolfson
Three high school girls become the avenging Furies of Greek legend.

We were only three angry girls, to begin with. Alix, the hot-tempered surfer chick; Stephanie, the tree-hugging activist; and me, Meg, the quiet foster kid, the one who never quite fit in. We hardly knew each other, but each of us nurtured a burning anger: at the jerks in our class, at our disappointing parents, at the whole flawed, unjust world.

We were only three angry girls, simmering uselessly in our ocean-side California town, until one day a mysterious, beautiful classmate named Ambrosia taught us what else we could be: Powerful. Deadly. Furious.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Sunday Post 14th April 2013

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba 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 week...


  • The Savage Grace by Bree Despain (Dark Divine, book 3)

  • Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers (His Fair Assassin, book 2)
  • The Hourglass Door by Lisa Mangum. This is the first in a series I have been recommended to read. 

I posted-

I read so many amazing blog posts this week, but among my favourites have been...

-Embracing my inner geek  at Queen of Contemporary
-Fab review of The Eternity Cure at Book Passion For Life
-Bookish Trends at Book Chick City
-Stop by Mel's To Tweet or Not To Tweet post and convince her why she does (or doesn't) need a twitter account at Mel's Random Reviews 
-I have been so tempted by the Elementals read-a-long at Starry-Eyed Revue which starts with Brigid Kemmerer's Storm on Monday. I have wanted to read this series for so long, and I love taking part in read-a-longs, but I just don't think I have the time at the moment. If you've been tempted by this series go sign up though- it looks like fun! 

Hope you had a great week too- happy reading!


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