31 May, 2012

100 Followers International Giveaway!

I'm happy to announce that I've reached the 100 follower milestone! Since beginning to blog about two and a half months ago I didn't know how dedicated I'd be to it. I thought perhaps it would only last a week with me. Because of the crazily dedicated bloggers I've followed and followers I've gained, I have only gained more motivation! So here's a thank you for helping me start my book-blogging journey!

If you don't like any of the books above, feel free to choose your own (up to £10)!

By entering the Rafflecopter below you could win one book of your choice (up to £10 [GBP]) from The Book Depository.

Giveaway Rules/Notes:
  1. Entrants may use only one account per media (ex. GFC, Twitter, and Facebook) to enter. Multiple and wrongful entries will be disqualified. 
  2. You must be a public follower of my blog through either GFC, Linky, or Networked Blogs.
  3. This giveaway is international so long as The Book Depository ships to your country. Please see this page for a list of countries. 
  4. If you are under 18, please obtain permission to give me your address should you win.
  5. Since I am ordering the book myself and shipping it via The Book Depository, I don't have any control over the speed or efficiency of the book or its condition, but I will communicate with TBD for you should a problem arise.
  6. I will email the winner. If you are the winner you must respond within 48 hours along with your book choice or I will pick another winner. 
  7. The giveaway ends on June 23, 2012 at 12:01am EST. 

From the Review Pile (#3)

From the Review Pile is a new meme hosted by Stepping Out of the Page every Thursday. It's a great way to give some books I've received for review (and have yet to review on our blog) some extra love! If you're interested in this weekly post, head on over to her blog!

This week, I'm showcasing The Immortal Rules! There has been much hype around this book and I'm in the mood for something darker to read, so I couldn't be more excited to get to review it! No sissy vamps here!

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
Provided by publisher via NetGalley
Published April 24, 2012 by Harlequin Teen 
Check out more on Goodreads

Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.
Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked—and given the ultimate choice. Die… or become one of the monsters.
Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.
Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend—a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.
But it isn’t easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what—and who—is worth dying for.

30 May, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which bloggers post books they are eagerly anticipating to be released. I can't wait to read what everyone else is waiting on. I know my book wish-list appreciates it! This week, I'm waiting on:

Throne of Glass 
by Sarah J. Maas
(UK) To be published August 2, 2012 by Bloomsbury 
(US) To be published August 7, 2012 by Bloomsbury Children's
After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.
Her opponents are men—thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the kings council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.
Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.
Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

The Bloomsbury cover and Bloomsbury USA cover

Book Trailer:

This book just looks really (for lack of a better word) kick-ass. It's been awhile since I've read a summary that promises such a cool heroine. I also really have been wanting to read more cross-over YA/Adult books. 

What do you think of the two different covers?

29 May, 2012

Review: The Dead Girls' Dance by Rachel Caine

Morganville Vampires #2
Genre: Paranormal
Format: Audiobook
Published July 6, 2009 by Tantor Media
Originally published April 3, 2007 by NAL Jam
More about the author: Website // Bio
Goodreads // Amazon UK // Audible

Claire Danvers has her share of challenges---like being a genius in a school that favors beauty over brains, dealing with the homicidal girls in her dorm, and above all, finding out that her college town is overrun with vampires. On the up side, she has a great roommate (who tends to disappear at sunup) and a new boyfriend named Shane, whose vampire-hunting dad has called in backup: cycle punks who like the idea of killing just about anything.
Now a fraternity is throwing its annual Dead Girls' Dance and---surprise!---Claire and her equally outcast best friend, Eve, have been invited. When they find out why, all hell is going to break loose. Because this time both the living and the dead are coming out---and everybody's hungry for blood.
This book picks up soon after the end of the first book. Shane's dad and his friends have returned to Morganville with vampire killing on their mind. This isn't good for the residents of the Glass House who want to keep a low profile. Turmoil has finally come to Morganville and Claire has to do her best to protect her friends. This book is far more exciting than the first in the series Glass Houses. It's filled with more action and a heroine who has discovered her gutsy side.

As compared with the shaky Claire from the first book, this Claire has really come into her own. She's gotten herself wrapped up with the town's vampires and has some serious motivation to keep her friends safe. I really enjoyed Claire in this book, along with the other supporting characters of Michael, Eve, and Shane who seem to really provide something for the storyline now other than entertaining scenes. They become much more complex, as does Claire's romantic connection with Shane.

The book has so much more action than Glass Houses. The characters were right there in the thick of it all. I'm glad I didn't give up on this series after the first one! This book is action packed, hilarious, and teeming with some really awesome characters I could easily get attached to. I would pick up this quick read if you like creepy vampires and goths with a snarky sense of humour! Highly recommended!

*Audio Review*: The narration on this book was just so-so. I prefer the edition I listened to for Glass Houses. It doesn't add much to the experience and I'm thinking about skipping the audiobook for Midnight Alley, the third book, and just reading it instead.

28 May, 2012

Review: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Genre: Romance, Light Fantasy
Format: Audiobook
Published by Scholastic Audio
More about the author: Website // Twitter
Goodreads // Amazon UK // Audible

It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.
At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.
Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

I wouldn't describe myself as someone who loved horses or even enjoyed the riding culture. In fact, I would say that I was a little bit scared of horses. The thing about The Scorpio Races is that it both enthralled and terrified me in the best way possible. Let me see if I can do this book justice. It is quite possibly the most beautiful book I've read in a very long time. There aren't any paranormal creatures or demon slaying heroines, just people surviving on a tragically gorgeous island, somewhere I'd guess was in the Irish Sea, braving mythical horses so terrifying that I won't want to touch a real horse for a very long time.

The story is told between the point of views of Puck (also called Kate) and Sean, two very different characters with the same courage. Sean is a young man of quiet strength trying to achieve his dream. He doesn't just want to win the races; he wants his freedom and the right to call his horse his. Sean races to validate the innate bond and special relationship between him and his horse, while Puck races for what's left of her family. While Sean is quiet, Puck is a wild yet calculated strength determined to prove herself and win the money for her brothers. It's their slow and tantalising relationship that creates an irresistible romance that builds and builds whilst devouring up the book. There is no insta-love here.

The plot was not at all what I expected. I had pictured in my mind some sort of Hidalgo-esque race, but we don't get that. We get masterfully crafted tension. The race itself is very brief, but not disappointing. It's a finale to a story that becomes emotionally driven with action added on the side. So, once readers understand that it has action but is not based upon it, I think it will truly be appreciated as I have appreciated it.

*Audio Review*: I don't know how to describe how fantastic the audiobook was. The two narrators voices were perfect (though I swear that Sean sometimes sounded like a bored Rupert Everett), and the small amount of music was composed and performed by the author herself. It's a beautiful listening experience that only makes the book better.

26 May, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (#4)

Stacking the Shelves is a brand new weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Here I will post the books that I've acquired throughout the week each Saturday. This week I've put myself on a spending ban. I've already got a lot of books lined up and if I buy any more, I'll just get behind!


Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
by JK Rowling
Borrowed from library
I had to borrow Goblet of Fire from my home library in California. I just prefer Jim Dale's narration. I've read it countless times but not on audiobook. 

For Review

The Immortal Rules
by Julie Kagawa
From publisher via NetGalley

I can't wait to read The Immortal Rules! Glad I have the opportunity to review it.

What did you get this week?

25 May, 2012

Feature and Follow Friday (#7)

Feature & Follow is a weekly blog hop hosted by Parajunkee and AlisonCanRead. It's set up so bloggers to discover new blogs and gain new followers. Every week two different blogs are featured. This week's featured blogs are Charissa Books and Underworld Love Addiction!

Q: Activity! Dreamcast your current read. 

A: The first thing I thought while reading this Friday's question was 'oh great, I'm finishing Insurgent tonight'. I get the daunting task of casting Insurgent by Veronica Roth. I'm obviously no casting director, so don't go beating down my door and yes, you probably have better ideas for the cast. But here's my try:

Saoirse Ronan as Tris

She's quite an in demand actress but I think she's feisty enough and she's not typically pretty in the blonde-Hollywood way. 

Ben Barnes as Four 

I have no idea about his acting abilities, but I'd say his look was pretty spot-on to me. Ignore the old pic. I just wanted one with short hair.

Rachael Harris as Jeanine

Yeah I don't know about his one, but she plays a pretty mean beeyotch when she wants to.

I would love to do the whole cast, but I just don't have the skills! Who would you pick?

If you are a new follower, please comment so that I can follow you back!

24 May, 2012

From the Review Pile (#2)

From the Review Pile is a new meme hosted by Stepping Out of the Page every Thursday. It's a great way to give some books I've received for review (and have yet to review on our blog) some extra love! If you're interested in this weekly post, head on over to her blog!

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
provided by publisher via NetGalley
To be released July 10, 2012
Check out more on Goodreads
Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.
Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.
In her exquisitely written fantasy debut, Rachel Hartman creates a rich, complex, and utterly original world. Seraphina's tortuous journey to self-acceptance is one readers will remember long after they've turned the final page.

23 May, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Gravity by Melissa West

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which bloggers post books they are eagerly anticipating to be released. I can't wait to read what everyone else is waiting on. I know my book wish-list appreciates it! This week, I'm waiting on:

by Melissa West
To be published October 16, 2012 by Entangled Publishing

In the future, only one rule will matter: Don’t. Ever. Peek.
Seventeen-year-old Ari Alexander just broke that rule and saw the last person she expected hovering above her bed--arrogant Jackson Locke, the most popular boy in her school. She expects instant execution or some kind of freak alien punishment, but instead, Jackson issues a challenge: help him, or everyone on Earth will die.

Ari knows she should report him, but everything about Jackson makes her question what she’s been taught about his kind. And against her instincts, she’s falling for him. But Ari isn’t just any girl, and Jackson wants more than her attention. She’s a military legacy who’s been trained by her father and exposed to war strategies and societal information no one can know--especially an alien spy, like Jackson. Giving Jackson the information he needs will betray her father and her country, but keeping silent will start a war.
This book has a lot going on. Aliens and perhaps a little romance. And just maybe a soupçon of dystopia? I so hope it lives up to its awesome summary! What are you waiting on?

22 May, 2012

Review: Fallen by Lauren Kate

Genre: Paranormal, Romance
Format: Audiobook
Released December 8, 2009 by Listening Library
Originally published by Delacorte Books
More about the author: Website // Twitter
Goodreads // Amazon UK

Seventeen-year-old Luce is a new student at Sword & Cross, an unwelcoming boarding/reform school in Savannah, Georgia. Luce’s boyfriend died under suspicious circumstances, and now she carries the guilt over his death with her as she navigates the unfriendly halls at Sword & Cross, where every student seems to have an unpleasant—even evil—history.
It’s only when she sees Daniel, a gorgeous fellow student, that Luce feels there’s a reason to be here—though she doesn’t know what it is. And Daniel’s frosty cold demeanor toward her? It’s really a protective device that he’s used again... and again. For Daniel is a fallen angel, doomed to fall in love with the same girl every 17 years... and watch her die. And Luce is a fellow immortal, cursed to be reincarnated again and again as a mortal girl who has no idea of who she really is. -Goodreads

Fallen was exactly what I had expected. That gorgeous cover and irresistible premise draw you in only to give you something fairly enjoyable and altogether just okay. I knew it, yet I still wanted to listen to this audiobook and find out what I was missing. I was, in fact, missing a fairly predictable romance set in a fabulous setting with a storyline much darker than I expected.

I absolutely enjoyed the eerie, moss covered setting of Sword and Cross and was literally begging for more information about the angels as I read. It's just that I didn't think the things that happened in the meantime were all that exciting. Personally, I think what kept me from singing this book's praises was Luce herself. While Daniel, Cam, and the other supporting characters all had their charm, Luce didn't do it for me. I know she's had life a bit rough recently but she really needed to stop whining and assuming that Daniel was dating a girl that,  for all Luce knew, Daniel had only met just two or three days prior.

I had come to grips with Luce's obsession-love before I even began this book, so the romance in this story didn't bother me. It was what it was and it wasn't too bad. I often found myself enjoying the scenes where Daniel was present and I understood what Luce saw in him. Their mysterious connection was actually very fascinating to me and it kept me wanting more. To get that, I think I'll have to pick up the other books in the series, something which I just might do.

Overall, this was a really easy book to keep up with. While the romance was predictable, the rest of the book wasn't and it definitely has some potential to keep me happy with the books to follow. I'd recommend it to somebody unafraid of insta-love (though it's with a reason) and intrigued by fallen angels. I think I may have to pick up the second book in the series to satisfy my curiosity of Lauren Kate's angel mythology.

*Audio Review:* This book was narrated by a single female reader with a pleasant voice. It was entertaining to listen to and I'd recommend the audiobook.

21 May, 2012

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon Recap

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon

I had a really good experience participating in the  Bout of Books read-a-thon last week. It helped to motivate me to tackle my TBR pile and raid my library for audiobooks. Here's a link to my daily updates post.

Here were my goals! I put a strikethrough on those I finished. As you can see, I was one book short. I'll have to read that one later!

Finish Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Finish Fallen by Lauren Kate
- Read Glitch by Heather Anastasiu 
Read Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
Listen to Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Listen to Dead Girls Dance by Rachel Caine
Start reading Insurgent by Veronica Roth (pending my ability to obtain said book)

My Read-A-Thon Totals:

684 pages read and 25 hours, 50 min listened to

Review: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Genre: Paranormal, Romance
Format: Audiobook
Released August 1, 2009 by Scholastic Audio
Originally published by Scholastic Inc.
More about the author: Website // Twitter
Goodreads // Amazon UK

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf--her wolf--is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again.
Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human--or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever. - from Goodreads
This book was genuinely a good surprise. While the book centres more on Grace and Sam's relationship (and their dual narratives) rather than the wolves themselves, I still found this to be a charming read. The wolves of Mercy Falls aren't what I would call werewolves. They're more like people who turn into actual wolves for half the year. Whilst they are wolves, they don't have superpowers but their bite can turn other humans into wolves. It's a new take on werewolves that doesn't involve scary monsters, just people clinging to their life before they turn wolf forever.

The romance between Sam and Grace was nothing short of sweet. While Grace's parents were conveniently out of the picture for most of the book, Sam and Grace spent their cold evenings trying to keep Sam warm and human. Although there is some extremely toned down only mentioned teen sex, their romance isn't as physical as you would expect from the previous sentence. It's actually the romance that stole my heart and didn't have me focusing on some of the plot that would otherwise irritate me (like the convenient lack of parents). Because of an event that took place six years before the start of this book, Sam and Grace were already infatuated with each other and I actually believed it! While not the deepest of romances, I enjoyed it.

If you want a book that centres on romance with a side of wolves, then this book is for you. It isn't perfect, but this book has me looking forward to reading more of Maggie Stiefvater. She is obviously full of talent. This is a highly recommended read for those sappy-paranormal-romance lovers who don't mind the lack of scary werewolves in a werewolf book.

*Audio Review*: This book had really good pacing in the narratives (read by both a male and female). The female's voice was the typical high school girl voice and the male's voice was a tad boring to me. In fairness, Sam is a really serious person anyway. I'm not sure if I gained anything more by listening to it rather than reading it.

19 May, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (#3)

Stacking the Shelves is a brand new weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Here I will post the books that I've acquired throughout the week each Saturday. As usual, I have picked up quite a few audiobooks, but I've also gotten two paperbacks I've been dying to get my hands on!


Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Gifted to me by my lovely boyfriend

City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare


The Dead Girls' Dance by Rachel Caine

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Die for Me by Amy Plum

What did you add to your shelves this week?

18 May, 2012

Feature and Follow Friday (#6)

 Feature & Follow is a weekly blog hop hosted by Parajunkee and AlisonCanRead. It's set up so bloggers to discover new blogs and gain new followers. Every week two different blogs are featured. This week's featured blogs are Tribute Books Mama and Addicted to Heroines!

If you are a new follower, please leave a comment on this post so I can follow you back!

Q: Summer Break is upon us! What would be the perfect vacation spot for you to catch up on your reading & relax?

A: Well, since it doesn't feel like summer is on its way whatsoever in England, I would have to go some place warmer. I would love to be able to go back home to California and read on the beach where I've spent many summers vacations. Here's a picture for your viewing pleasure and to make my homesickness worse!

Where would you go?

17 May, 2012

From The Review Pile (#1)

From the Review Pile is a new meme hosted by Stepping Out of the Page every Thursday. It's a great way to give some books I've received for review (and have yet to read) some extra love! If you're interested in this weekly post, head on over to her blog! 

I've been changing some of the memes I participate in, as I prefer to participate in memes that give my blog a bit more substance and get people more excited about what I'm reading. 

This week I'm featuring:

Glitch by Heather Anastasiu
provided by publisher via NetGalley
To be Released August 7, 2012 by St Martin's Press
Check out more on Goodreads

In the Community, there is no more pain or war. Implanted computer chips have wiped humanity clean of destructive emotions, and thoughts are replaced by a feed from the Link network. When Zoe starts to malfunction (or "glitch"), she suddenly begins having her own thoughts, feelings, and identity. Any anomalies must be immediately reported and repaired, but Zoe has a secret so dark it will mean certain deactivation if she is caught: her glitches have given her uncontrollable telekinetic powers. As Zoe struggles to control her abilities and stay hidden, she meets other glitchers including Max, who can disguise his appearance, and Adrien, who has visions of the future. Together, this growing band of glitchers must find a way to free themselves from the controlling hands of the Community before they’re caught and deactivated, or worse. In this action-packed debut, Glitch begins an exciting new young adult trilogy.

Book Trailer:

Review: Legend by Marie Lu

Genre: Dystopian, Action
Format: Audiobook
Released November 29, 2011 by Penguin Audio
Originally published by Putnam Juvenile
More about the author: Website // Bio
Goodreads // Amazon UK

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.
From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.
Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills.
I honestly didn't know what I was getting myself into when I borrowed this audiobook from the library. I'd read some good reviews and knew it was a dystopian book, but I had no idea how amazing this book actually is! The book summary doesn't really do the book enough justice.

I personally enjoyed having the story alternate between the views of June and Day. They are both rather similar characters set in completely different situations, and that stark contrast between privileged prodigy and wanted criminal (Robin Hood style) really added something to this story. I liked reading all sides of the spectrum. The only trouble is that sometimes, they are so similar they can be indistinguishable (this is not a problem with the audiobook as there are alternating male and female narrators). I really enjoyed it when they were together and it's when they start really working together toward a common goal that the book becomes seriously action packed.

The plot, while quicker in the end, is actually comparatively quick throughout the book. There isn't a shortness of action with illegal street fights and mastermind crimes just like in the action movies. The world building itself brings the edge of action to the book. The dystopian society, The Republic, is at war with the other half of the former United States. It's this constant strain of war that had led to this incredibly detailed militaristic country of which June was raised around and Day was raised against. I hope we learn more in the books to come.

Overall, this book was action-packed, fast, and pretty heart-felt at times. I'd recommend it to a reader interested in militaristic dystopian societies and a lot of book action. I enjoyed it, and if you don't mind multiple narrators, you will too!

*Audio Review*: I thought the two narrators, one male, one female, was really helpful (though, to be honest there isn't any other way). It was read at a good pace and I liked the female voice. The male voice was a little boring to me.