Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Mel's Random August

Summer's over! Well, almost...hopefully there will be an Indian Summer in the UK as our weather has been very see-saw over the last couple of months. August has been a busy month for me - two of my closest friends got married - in a huge wedding up at St Pauls cathedral in London!! I was Maid of Honour - first time I've ever been that involved in a wedding so I was terrified! Luckily the whole day went without a hitch (apart from a brief rain shower) and I had a great time. :-)
Avoiding the rain! Can you spot me? :-)

So how did this impact the reading situation?

Fairy Bad Day - Amanda Ashby
Corsets and Clockworks - Anthology (FCC's Speculative Fiction Challenge)
Magic Slays - Ilona Andrews (FCC's Speculative Fiction Challenge)
Vampire Academy: Spirit Bound - Richelle Mead
From Notting Hill With Love...Actually - Ali McNamara
Kitty's Big Trouble - Carrie Vaughn
Vampire Academy: Last Sacrifice - Richelle Mead
Twelve - Jasper Kent (Transworld Book Club)

Luck of the Devil - Partica Eimer 

Hunted By The Others - Jess Haines (FCC's Speculative Fiction Challenge)
The Thirteenth Chime - Emma Michaels

Anasazi - Emma Michaels
The Invisible Man - H.G. Wells (Personal Classic Challenge)
Life, Liberty and Persuit - Susan Kaye Quinn
The Evil Inside (Krewe of Hunters 4) - Heather Graham

Joint Reviews
Sarah reviewed the Midwich Cuckoos - and I had to get in on that action to create our first joint review! Also counts as part of my Personal Classics Challenge :)

Other Posts
Same Book/Different Cover looked at Posion Study by Maria V Synder and Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler.
In addition there were the usual wishlist posts, in my mailbox and Throwback Thursdays.

I had a giveaway for a spare copy of VA: Spirit Bound - Richelle Mead and the winner is....drumroll please...

Congratulations Jade - book is on it's way to you! :-)

So with all that in mind my reading challenges status looks like this:
BCC's Mystery & Suspense Challenge - 10 Read, 2 Left to read
FTC Speculative Fiction Challenge - 18 Read - officially I've completed this! Yay! However, I'll continue to post reviews and see how I can do in the second half of the year.
BV's YA of 80s and 90s Challenge - 12 Read, Again I've officially finished this but I'll continue to add to the reviews as I picked up so many old YA books - I need to read some of them!  
Personal Classic Challenge -  6 Read

Highlight of the Month: The Wedding is my obvious highlight of the month - if not the year! However, bookwise would be a toss up between Magic Slays- Ilona Andrews and the last Vampire Academy book, Last Sacrifce - Richelle Mead

Honourable Mentions: Fairy Bad Day - Amanda Ashby and VA: Spirit Bound - Richelle Mead 

So because of the wedding and some illness in the family I didn't the chance to celebrate my first year of blogging anniversary as I was planning too. :-( However, not to worry September is my birthday month so I'm going to combine the two into a special giveaway!

Also coming up, this month is my first ever event - Eli Monpress week! I'll be reviewing all three books so far in the Legend of Eli Monpress series and partner in crime, author Rachel Aaron will be stopping by. I'm still figuring out how to do buttons properly (my html/programming skills suck!), but for now this is what I'm using so spread the word! :-)

So what was your month like? :)

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Twelve Review

-       Jasper Kent
Publisher: UK – Bantam Books
Autumn, 1812. Napoleon’s triumphant Grande Armee continues its relentless march into Russia. City after city has fallen and now only a miracle can keep the French from taking Moscow itself. In a last, desperate act of defiance, a group of Russian officers enlist the help of twelve mercenaries who claim they can turn the tide of war. It seems an impossible boast but it soon becomes clear that these strangers from the outer reaches of Christian Europe are indeed quite capable of fulfilling their promise...and more. But the fact so few seem able of accomplish so much unsettles one of the Russians, Captain Aleksei Ivanovich Danilov. As winter closes in, he begins to comprehend the true, horrific nature of the twelve and the nightmare he has unwittingly helped to unleash...
Set at the time of Napoleon invasion of Russia, the story pulls you straight into the time and place – and it’s an era and a country I don’t much about, but there are plenty of details that put me right into the thick of it. Following the adventures of Danilov and his three compatriots as they attempt to use guerrilla warfare to slow down and spy on the French army – a seemingly hopeless task until they recruit twelve mysterious mercenaries who’s skills with butchering and sending fear into the French army is more than impressive.
Like velvet, this story will provide smoothing shades and comforting prose if you like historical novels with a hint of supernatural and some philosophical discussions. There are many asides where the soldiers discuss the nature of war and the moral rights and wrongs. However, for some people this may rub them the wrong way. Personally I loved the extra layers the discussions about humanity which gave the book extra depth and raised it above being another historical swashbuckler. Not to say there isn’t plenty of action as Danilov and his companions race ahead and behind Napoleon’s army and creep around occupied Moscow. In fact I could detect a hint of the Three Musketeers about the whole adventure!
Towards the middle of the book, the preternatural element comes to the fore with Danilov’s suspicions on the twelve. From then on the blood and gore is increased with some gruesome elements – not for weak stomachs. But as one of the characters mentions, it is war time. The writing was thick and warming – like a thick coat on snowy days. I loved the historical setting, the natural introduction of the supernatural, the under siege mentality of the Russians of the period and really enjoyed this foray into historical supernatural.
Recommended for fans of Alexandre Dumas and Conn Iggulden. 8.5 out of 10.

I'm a Transworld Book Group Member!

Monday, 29 August 2011

Early Review: The Evil Inside

The Evil Inside (Krewe of Hunters 4)
-       Heather Graham
Kindle Book
E-Copy courtesy of netgalley and MIRA
For as long as it has stood overlooking New England’s jagged coastline, Lexington House has been the witness to madness…and murder. But in recent years the inexplicable malice that once tormented so many has lain as silent as its victims. Until now…
A member of the nation’s foremost paranormal forensic team, Jenna Duffy has made a career out of investigating the inexplicable. Yet nothing could prepare her for the string of slayings once again plaguing Lexington House – or for the chief suspect, a boy barely old enough to drive, much less kill.
With the young man’s life on the line, Jenna must team up with attorney Samuel Hill to pinpoint who – or what – is taking the lives of those who get too close to the past. But everything they learn brings them closer to the forces of evil stalking this tortured ground.
This is the fourth book in the Krewe of Hunters series, although it isn’t necessary to read them in order. This book is based on the quiet member of the Krewe – registered nurse and Celtic beauty, Jenna. She returns to Salem at the request of her uncle to investigate a gruesome series of murders based at a local house infamous for multiple murders in the past and teams up with Defence Attorney, Sam Hill.
I have to confess I hadn’t really connected with Jenna this far in the series – she’s had little to do compared to Whitney or Angelica, but it was interesting to have her front and centre. However, it was the complicated man that is Sam Hill that made this book for me. He is a pile of contradictions and I really liked getting to know him. The romance between Sam and Jenna is gentle and fits around the mystery well. It’s not the hottest romance in this series but suits the two of them nicely.
The mystery itself is intriguing and the investigation is the most intriguing part of the book – I loved the selection of suspects which had me  trying to figure it out! The ghostly element is downplayed in this instalment – but still important. However as one character says – a ghost has never killed anyone – people do. J
If you want a gentle romance with a strong mystery and a hint of supernatural this is the series for you – a perfect summer read.
Recommended for fans of Goddess Summoning Series and Tales of the Sazi. 7 out of 10

Sunday, 28 August 2011

My Book Haul/In My Mailbox

The Story Siren hosts a weekly meme where bloggers can share what goodies they've purchased/received this week. If you get a chance head over to The Story Siren and check out what everyone is up to!
This week I recieved my first book from Transworld as part of their summer reading challenge and the parcel from Amazon that broke my book buying ban turned up!
Twelve - Jasper Kent
Publisher: UK - Bantam
The voordalak--creature of legend, the tales of which have terrified Russian children for generations. But for Captain Aleksei Ivanovich Danilov--a child of more enlightened times--it is a legend that has long been forgotten. Besides, in the autumn of 1812, he faces a more tangible enemy: the Grande Armee of Napoleon Bonaparte. City after city has fallen to the advancing French, and it now seems that only a miracle will keep them from Moscow itself. In desperation, Aleksei and his comrades enlist the help of the Oprichniki--a group of twelve mercenaries from the furthest reaches of Christian Europe, who claim that they can turn the tide of the war. It seems an idle boast, but the Russians soon discover that the Oprichniki are indeed quite capable of fulfilling their promise ... and much more. Unnerved by the fact that so few can accomplish so much, Aleksei remembers those childhood stories of the voordalak. And as he comes to understand the true, horrific nature of these twelve strangers, he wonders at the nightmare they've unleashed in their midst....

This is the first book I asked for from the Transworld Reading Challenge. It's vampires in the nineteenth century, so it's a little different from my usual reads. I've just finished it and really enjoyed something outside my usual UF - review should go up on Tuesday! :)

Timecaster - Joe Kimball
Publisher: Ace Books
Chicago, 2064: Talon Avalon is a timecaster-one of a select few peace officers who can operate a TEV, the Tachyon Emission Visualizer, which records events (most specifically, crimes) that have already happened. With crime at an all-time low, Talon has little to do except give lectures to school kids and obsess on his wife's profession as a licensed sex partner. Until one of her clients asks Talon to investigate a possible murder. When Talon uses the TEV to view the crime, the identity of the killer is unmistakable-it's him, Talon Avalon.

This is one of my Amazon purchases - it's about time travel or rather time 'seeing' with a crime element. Really looking forward to this!

My Life As a White Trash Zombie - Diana Rowland
Publisher: DAW
Angel Crawford is a loser. Living with her alcoholic deadbeat dad in the swamps of southern Louisiana, she's a high school dropout with a pill habit and a criminal record who's been fired from more crap jobs than she can count. Now on probation for a felony, it seems that Angel will never pull herself out of the downward spiral her life has taken. That is, until the day she wakes up in the ER after overdosing on painkillers. Angel remembers being in an horrible car crash, but she doesn't have a mark on her. To add to the weirdness, she receives an anonymous letter telling her there's a job waiting for her at the parish morgue--and that it's an offer she doesn't dare refuse. Before she knows it she's dealing with a huge crush on a certain hunky deputy and a brand new addiction: an overpowering craving for brains. Plus, her morgue is filling up with the victims of a serial killer who decapitates his prey--just when she's hungriest!
Angel's going to have to grow up fast if she wants to keep this job and stay in one piece. Because if she doesn't, she's dead meat. Literally.

Diane Rowland's Demon is series is a lot fun so I knew I wanted this new series as soon as I heard about it - and now I have it!

Bitter Night (Horngate Witches 1) - Diana Pharoah Francis
Publisher: Pocket Books

Once, Max dreamed of a career, a home, a loving family. Now all she wants is freedom…and revenge. A witch named Giselle transformed Max into a warrior with extraordinary strength, speed, and endurance. Bound by spellcraft, Max has no choice but to fight as Giselle’s personal magic weapon — a Shadowblade — and she’s lethally good at it. But her skills are about to be put to the test as they never have before….
The ancient Guardians of the earth are preparing to unleash widespread destruction on the mortal world, and they want the witches to help them. If the witches refuse, their covens will be destroyed, including Horngate, the place Max has grudgingly come to think of as home. Max thinks she can find a way to help Horngate stand against the Guardians, but doing so will mean forging dangerous alliances — including one with a rival witch’s Shadowblade, who is as drawn to Max as she is to him — and standing with the witch she despises. Max will have to choose between the old life she still dreams of and the warrior she has become, and take her place on the side of right — if she survives long enough to figure out which side that is….

This is one book that I've had on my wishlist for a long time as it sounds a little different from the usual UF.

Grimspace - Ann Aguirre
Publisher: Ace Books
Sirantha Jax is the carrier of a rare gene, which gives her the ability to jump ships through grimspace. This talent shortens her life expectancy but allows her to work as a navigator for the Corp, who can then provide Interstellar travel to the paying customer. When the ship she's navigating crashes, Jax is imprisoned and interrogated. But she has no memory of the crash. A man called March breaks into her cell and offers to help her, she accepts his offer, because she really has no place left to go. But the Corp haven't finished with her yet.

As regular followers know I love Ann Aguirre's Corine Solomon series and I've heard so many good things about her Sirantha Jax series I've been wanting this book for ages. Last week I finally made the jump and bought a copy! :-)

So what have you picked up this week? :)

Saturday, 27 August 2011

On My Wishlist #53

This is a meme from Book Chick City. There are so many books out there that I want to read that this is the only way I can keep track! This week I'm eyeing up some cosy mysteries...
Secondhand Spirits - Juliet Blackwell
Publisher: Signet
Lily Ivory feels that she can finally fit in somewhere and conceal her "witchiness" in San Francisco. It's there that she opens her vintage clothing shop, outfitting customers both spiritually and stylistically. Just when things seem normal, a client is murdered and children start disappearing from the Bay Area. Lily has a good idea that some bad phantoms are behind it. Can she keep her identity secret, or will her witchy ways be forced out of the closet as she attempts to stop the phantom?

San Francisco is a great town for the supernatural - especially witches (I confess to enjoying the odd Charmed episode in the past!). I love the idea of a witch working in a vintage shop.

Night of the Living Deed - E.J. Copperman
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Newly divorced Alison Kerby wants a second chance for herself and her nine-year-old daughter. She's returned to her hometown on the Jersey Shore to transform a Victorian fixer-upper into a charming-and profitable-guest house. One small problem: the house is haunted, and the two ghosts insist Alison must find out who killed them.

This is one of those books I've had in my hands on a couple of occasions while in Forbidden Planet, but for some reason (probably monetary) means I never quite make it to the till. I love the idea of a haunted guesthouse! 

Homicide in Hardcover - Kate Carlisle
Publisher: Signet
The streets of San Francisco would be lined with hardcovers if rare book expert Brooklyn Wainwright had her way. And her mentor wouldn't be lying in a pool of his own blood on the eve of a celebration for his latest book restoration. With his final breath he leaves Brooklyn a cryptic message, and gives her a priceless and supposedly cursed copy of Goethe's Faust for safekeeping. Brooklyn suddenly finds herself accused of murder and theft, thanks to the humorless but attractive British security officer who finds her kneeling over the body. Now she has to read the clues left behind by her mentor if she is going to restore justice.
Another San Francisco based mystery - and it's about a book collector! How can I resist? :)
So what are you wishing for this week? :)

Friday, 26 August 2011

Last Sacrifice (VA 6) Review

Vampire Academy 6: Last Sacrifice
-       Richelle Mead
Publisher: UK – Penguin
**Warning there maybe spoilers for earlier books in the series**
Rose Hathaway has always played by her own rules. She broke the law when she ran away from St. Vladimir's Academy with her best friend and last surviving Dragomir princess, Lissa. She broke the law when she fell in love with her gorgeous, off-limits instructor, Dimitri. And she dared to defy Queen Tatiana, leader of the Moroi world, risking her life and reputation to protect generations of dhampir guardians to come. Now the law has finally caught up with Rose--for a crime she didn't even commit. She's in prison for the highest offense imaginable. She'll need help from both Dimitri and Adrian to find the one living person who can stall her execution and force the Moroi elite to acknowledge a shocking new candidate for the royal throne. But the clock on Rose's life is running out. Rose knows in her heart the world of the dead wants her back . . . and this time she is truly out of second chances. The big question is, when your whole life is about saving others, who will save you?
This is the last book in the original Vampire Series – and certainly the last one with Rose Hathaway as the main protagonist. This means the book has to wrap up the major plot points raised thus far to leave the series with a satisfying conclusion without any major disappointments. Luckily Richelle Mead manages to do this beautifully.
After the cliff hanger ending in Spirit Bound, Last Sacrifice picks up immediately and wastes no time jumping straight into the story. I have to confess after finishing Spirit Bound, I was desperate to see what happened next so I ignored the planned reading schedule I had planned and picked this up hours after finishing Spirit Bound. I was excited to see what Rose would do to clear her name. I wasn’t disappointed with the dual storylines – Rose, Syndey and Dimitri’s road trip around the country and Lissa, Christian and Adrian’s investigation to clear Rose’s name at Court. So many of the secondary characters are given larger roles this time – I especially liked seeing more of Sydney and Jill (so happy the spin series will feature them both!). The mystery about who framed Rose was intriguing – I didn’t figure it out until the last minute.
The complex and ever shifting relationships between the characters has been what has been pulling me into this series time after time. Although, I got a little frustrated with Rose at times for acting immature; she doesn’t seem to give Dimitri much time to recover from his experiences and treats Adrian badly, but then I realised she is only 18! The story does wrap up Rose’s story – although I think Lissa’s has only just begun. In addition there are a lot of questions around some of the other characters which will have me desperate to pick up Bloodlines as soon as I can!
This series has been a breath of fresh air in the crowded YA vampire genre. There’s been action and adventure, heartbreak and trials, joy and growing pains as well as a complex society with ever changing storylines that has kept me guessing throughout. The whole series has been great fun to read – and one I would recommend.
Recommended for fans of the Iron Fey and House of Night. 9 out of 10.  

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Throwback Thursday #21 - Across The Universe

This is a great feature that Melissa at My words and pictures has been doing for a while and I wanted to jump on board! There are plenty of books out there I desperately want...

But what about all those wonderful books that are ALREADY on my shelves?
Across The Universe - Beth Revis
Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.
Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone - one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship - tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.
Now, Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.
I bought this because I read so many positive reviews when it first came out. I've even read the first few pages and I really want to know what happens next, but once again it's been buried at the bottom of my TBR pile for a few months. I really need a super-reading skill so I can work through a few of those books on that pile! :)

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Kitty's Big Trouble Review

Kitty’s Big Trouble
-       Carrie Vaughn
Publisher: UK – Gollancz
Kitty Norville is back and in more trouble than ever.  Her recent run-in with werewolves traumatized by the horrors of war has made her start wondering how long the US government might have been covertly using werewolves in combat. Have any famous names in our own history might have actually been supernatural?  She's got suspicions about William Tecumseh Sherman.Then an interview with the right vampire puts her on the trail of Wyatt Earp, vampire hunter. But her investigations lead her to a clue about enigmatic vampire Roman and the mysterious Long Game played by vampires through the millennia.  That, plus a call for help from a powerful vampire ally in San Francisco, suddenly puts Kitty and her friends on the supernatural chessboard, pieces in dangerously active play.  And Kitty Norville is never content to be a pawn. . .
This book could easily be called Kitty Goes To San Francisco as she spends most of the time in Chinatown trying to beat Roman to a powerful magical artefact. As usual I enjoyed my time with Kitty. Over the course of the series so far, she’s grown in strength – yet remains practical about what she and can’t do. She – and her inner wolf have no qualms about running away when the enemy is more powerful. She remains a regular werewolf – not an all powerful, world saviour. It is this element of Kitty that I love – especially having read so many Urban Fantasy series where our heroine is unique/the only one of her type. (Not that this is bad but it makes a nice change!)
This was the first time in many books where we had Ben and Cormac with Kitty at the same time – and it was the first time I understood Kitty’s choice of man. It seemed much more natural than before – and while I’m sure there will be many who would like Kitty to change her mind, I don’t see that happening. Not least because of the changes that have occurred to each man since the series beginning – I doubt any other choice is possible now! However, I did enjoy the banter between them and their little ‘pack of three’ – although I think it should be a pack of four now!
However, something was missing for me with this instalment. I felt like Kitty didn’t really do much. She got lost in tunnels and ran away. She didn’t really drive the story much, but simply reacted. As such, this isn’t the best in the series, but still a really enjoyable instalment in one of the most easily readable Urban Fantasy series.
Recommended for fans of Patricia Briggs and Nicole Peeler. 7 out 10.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Same Book/Different Cover: Tempest Rising

This is an occasional feature I'm introducing comparing different covers of the same book...what I'm particularly interested in are re-issued covers for the same book.

This week I'm looking at Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler. This is a fun read that starts a great series. I've only read the first two books so far but in September Tempest's Legacy is released in the UK - I can't wait! :-) Anyway, onto the book cover...

US Cover - Same cover also used on original UK Cover

US Kindle Cover

New UK Cover
The Original US & UK cover is fun, cute and to me brilliant captures the tone of the book. I love the detail in the cover - from the teeth in the heart, the coffin and snake - all makes perfect sense when you know the story and when you don't I think they are intriguing. Plus is is different from any of the other Urban Fantasy books out there!

The Kindle cover is in the same vein as the original cover - but it has more of a focus on the moon and a large dog (well, that's what it looks like! You have to read the book if you want to know more!). I like it as well - although I don't like the cover's borders - far too pink and over powering.

The new UK cover - I'm not a fan. The model doesn't look like Jane to me and while there is a strong element of the sea, this isn't the biggest element of the book (most of the story is set inland!).

My verdict - the US cover is my favourite! What is yours? :)

Monday, 22 August 2011

From Notting Hill With Love...Actually Review

From Notting Hill With Love...Actually
-       Ali McNamara
Publisher: Sphere
She was just a girl, standing in front of a boy ...wishing he looked more like Hugh Grant. Scarlett loves the movies. But does she love sensible fiance David just as much? With a big white wedding on the horizon, Scarlett really should have decided by now ...When she has the chance to house-sit in Notting Hill - the setting of one of her favourite movies - Scarlett jumps at the chance. But living life like a movie is trickier than it seems, especially when her new neighbour Sean is so irritating. And so irritatingly handsome, too. Scarlett soon finds herself starring in a romantic comedy of her very own: but who will end up as the leading man?
It’s been a long time since I read a chick-lit book – over the last year my reading habits have slipped firmly into the Urban Fantasy arena with occasional YA, fantasy and science-fiction. Having decided to expand my reading genres again, I picked this up as I love films and it’s based in London. I’d forgotten how much fun these types of books can be!
So the story may not be the most original – girl torn between a long term but boring boyfriend and an exciting, perfect new guy. Within pages you know who she will choose, but the point of these books isn’t the choice, but the journey to get there. I loved the re-enactment of various film scenes – anyone who has seen even a couple of romantic comedies like Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill will appreciate the situations Scarlett finds herself in. While Scarlett herself is a typical light hearted heroine – a little superficial but kind hearted, she does have some serious family issues with her mother leaving her and her father when she was six months old. This adds some depth to the story and made it much more moving as a result
My major niggle was actually a language one – Scarlett continually refers to her love of movies. Fair enough. But in the UK people are just as likely – if not more so, to say film as movie. Or at least use both words. Such excessive use of the word movie was really jarring after a while – at least for my British sensibilities! J
Overall, a great romantic comedy in book form – perfect if you’re in the mood for some silly situations and funny one liners. The perfect popcorn book – no calories but filling enough for a few hours!
Recommended for fans of Sophie Kinsella and Hugh Grant. 8 out of 10.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

My Book Haul/ In My Mailbox

The Story Siren hosts a weekly meme where bloggers can share what goodies they've purchased/received this week. If you get a chance head over to The Story Siren and check out what everyone is up to!
So, my book buying ban kinda took a bit of a tumble this week and I bought a kindle book and ordered some paperback books from Amazon - but as they haven't arrived yet do they count? :)
Anyway, the Kindle book counts and I also had a fabulous book win!
Book of Secrets - Chris Roberson
Publisher: Angry Robots
Reporter Spencer Finch is a journalist embroiled in the hunt for a missing book, encountering along the way cat burglars and mobsters, hackers and mysterious monks. At the same time, he's trying to make sense of the legacy left him by his late grandfather, a chest of what appear to be pulp magazines from the golden age of fantasy fiction. Following his nose, Finch gradually uncovers a mystery involving a lost Greek play, secret societies, generations of masked vigilantes - and an entire hidden history of mankind. It's like The Da Vinci Code retold by the Coen brothers in this blockbuster blur.
This was part of the kindle summer sale and as it was only 99p and I thought it sounded interesting, I clicked on that purchase button before I remembered I wasn't supposed to be buying any book this month! Ops!
Touch of Frost - Jennifer Estep
Publisher: Kensington Publishing
 My name is Gwen Frost, and I go to Mythos Academy — a school of myths, magic and warrior whiz kids, where even the lowliest geek knows how to chop off somebody's head with a sword and Logan Quinn, the hottest Spartan guy in school, also happens to be the deadliest. But lately, things have been weird, even for Mythos. First, mean girl Jasmine Ashton was murdered in the Library of Antiquities. Then, someone stole the Bowl of Tears, a magical artifact that can be used to bring about the second Chaos War. You know, death, destruction and lots of other bad, bad things. Freaky stuff like this goes on all the time at Mythos, but I'm determined to find out who killed Jasmine and why—especially since I should have been the one who died. . .
I was so excited when I found out I won a copy of this at Book Lovers Inc - I love the sound of this story. I've never read anything by Jennifer Estep but I've heard nothing but good things about her writing. Plus when this turned up it was signed along with a couple of signed bookmarks!! Wow!
So only a small number of books this week - but I think the quality speaks for itself! :)

Saturday, 20 August 2011

On My Wishlist #52

This is a meme from Book Chick City. There are so many books out there that I want to read that this is the only way I can keep track! I'm back in steampunk mood this week - one of the joys of discovering a new genre - loads of books to find! :-)

Whitechapel Gods - S.M. Peters
Publisher: Roc
In Victorian London, the Whitechapel section is a mechanized, steam-driven hell, cut off and ruled by two mysterious, mechanical gods-Mama Engine and Grandfather Clock. Some years have passed since the Great Uprising, when humans rose up to fight against the machines, but a few brave veterans of the Uprising have formed their own Resistance-and are gathering for another attack. For now they have a secret weapon that may finally free them-or kill them all...

This looks like a fun Steampunk tale in Victorian London

Dead Iron (Age of Steam 1) - Devon Monk
Publisher: Roc
Welcome to a new America that is built on blood, sweat, and gears...
In steam age America, men, monsters, machines, and magic battle for the same scrap of earth and sky. In this chaos, bounty hunter Cedar Hunt rides, cursed by lycanthropy and carrying the guilt of his brother's death. Then he's offered hope that his brother may yet survive. All he has to do is find the Holder: a powerful device created by mad devisers-and now in the hands of an ancient Strange who was banished to walk this Earth.
In a land shaped by magic, steam, and iron, where the only things a man can count on are his guns, gears, and grit, Cedar will have to depend on all three if he's going to save his brother and reclaim his soul once and for all...

Most steampunk is set in London, but this takes a twist on that and sets steampunk firmly in America. In addition who doesn't like some brotherly guilt stories? :-)

Johannes Cabel the Detective - Johnathan L. Howard
Publisher: Doubleday
In this genre-twisting novel, infamous necromancer Johannes Cabal, after beating the Devil and being reunited with his soul, leads us on another raucous journey in a little-known corner of the world. This time he’s on the run from the local government. Stealing the identity of a minor bureaucrat, Cabal takes passage on the Princess Hortense, a passenger aeroship that is leaving the country. The deception seems perfect, and Cabal looks forward to a quiet trip and a clean escape, until he comes face-to-face with Leonie Barrow, an enemy from the old days who could blow his cover. But when a fellow passenger throws himself to his death, or at least that is how it appears, Cabal begins to investigate out of curiosity. His minor efforts result in a vicious attempt on his own  life—and then the gloves come off. Cabal and Leonie—the only woman to ever match wits with him—reluctantly team up to discover the murderer. Before they are done, there will be more narrow escapes, involving sword fighting and newfangled flying machines. There will be massive destruction, not to mention resurrected dead . . .
I've heard good things about this series and just love the idea of the ultimate locked room mystery - on an airship. This is one book I want to read!

So what are you wishing for this week? :) 

Friday, 19 August 2011

Spirit Bound (VA 5) Review + GIVEAWAY

Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy 5)
-          Richelle Mead

Publisher: UK – Penguin

**Warning this might contain spoilers for the first four Vampire Academy, but I've tried to keep it spoiler free for Spirit Bound**
After a long and heartbreaking journey to Dimitri's birthplace in Siberia, Rose Hathaway has finally returned to St Vladimir's Academy - and to her best friend, Lissa. But Rose's heart still aches for Dimitri, and she knows he's out there, somewhere. She failed to kill him when she had the chance. And now her worst fears are about to come true.

Rose is back from Russia having failed in her task, but is finally able to graduate from St Vladimir’s to become a fully fledge Guardian. This is the least of her worries though with Lissa exploring new uses of spirit  as well as her own relationship with Adrian slowly taking off. Spirit Bound takes everything we’ve learnt about the Maori world so far and starts to twist it on it’s head. The action and scheming starts at the very beginning and continues with loads of emotional ups and downs throughout. Rose is still as impulsive as ever and makes for a great narrator – even if you do occasionally want to shake her and say you’re being silly. I wasn’t keen on how she was treating Adrian when it was obvious she still has major feelings for Dimitri. She wasn’t honest with him – or even herself and it did make me feel a little resentful towards her. Still the other characters played a much stronger element this time than before with Lissa growing up and taking an active role in Rose’s schemes as well as Eddie, Adrian, Victor, Ambrose, even the Queen all playing major roles in the story.

The writing flows effortlessly and you don’t even notice the pages turning as you are so involved in plot. The story really does build on everything that’s gone before so while there is some back-story told, you really need to have read the previous four books to appreciate it all.

Once again Richelle Mead has proven that she knows how to finish a book in style – with enough meat on the bone to be satisfying, but at the same time needing you desperate for more sauce to make you want to start the next book immediately. Luckily I already had Last Sacrifice on my shelves and been able to start it straight away – as I guarantee you that if you don’t you will be desperate to get your hands on it!

Recommended for fans of Vampire Academy & Michael Grant. 9 out of 10.


Once again I’ve ended up with two copies of Spirit Bound, so I’m giving away my spare unread copy. And as I'm in a really generous mood I'm offering this up internationally. Giveaway ends on Friday 26th August 2011. To enter, fill in the below form & Good Luck! :-)

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Transworld Book Group Reading Challenge

 Transworld Book Group
I'm part of the Transworld Book Group - are you?

Transworld are once again doing this great idea where they will send you free books in exchange for your reviews (doesn’t have to be on a blog – Amazon or Goodreads reviews count as well!). And it’s international! All you have to is go here and say you want to take part. There’s a huge range of books and you can ask for any 4 – they’ll send you one and when you put your review up, they’ll send you the next on the list. Simples!

Here are the books you can ask for… so what are you waiting for? J

The Sandalwood Tree Black Swan Rising The Secrets Between Us Teacher, Teacher! Death Sentence Crippen Caligula Twelve The Obscure Logic of the Heart Nothing But Trouble The Colour of Death The Odin Mission Legacy The Water Room The Bomber