Top Ten Tuesday: Books On The Summer TBR List!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join.

This week’s topic is: Top Ten Books on the Summer To-Be-Read List!

Mine are mostly not new releases but rather books that I can’t wait to read over the next few weeks.

1. Fated by Alyson Noel

I can not wait to read this book. I’m going to a book signing with Alyson Noel in the next few weeks and I’m very excited. I’ve never been to a book signing before and well… I haven’t read any of her books. So I decided that this is the perfect excuse to!

2. Delierum by Lauren Oliver

I’ve heard so many great things about Lauren Oliver’s books. And lucky for me this one was on special last week and I snatched it up before I could remember that I’m currently on a budget… šŸ˜›

3. Embrace by Jessica Shirvington

The cover is gorgeous and I love the sound of this book. I was going to read it a few weeks ago but I felt like I needed a little break before I read another book about angels.

4. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

This book could not sound any more adorable. That’s all I need to say. I love cute contemporary books.

5. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

I bought this book last week at the second-hand book sale. It sounds complicated and heartbreaking and beautiful.

6. Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

Mermaids. I love mermaids.

7. Abandon by Meg Cabot

I have loved Meg Cabot novels since I discovered the first Mediator novel in the public library. It was so long ago that it was back in the day when the Mediator Novels and 1-8-0-0 Where R U novel were published under an alias – Jenny Carroll. I have read every novel Cabot has ever published and adored them all. I can’t wait to start on this series.

8. The One that I Want by JenniferĀ EcholsĀ 

Another contemporary story that deals with teenage loves and drama. I love reading these – they make me feel like a teenager again.

9. The Night Circus byĀ Erin Morgenstern

I have heard nothing but great things about this book. It’s even in the top 10 books that the local bookstore is promoting (not that I always go by their suggestions. They claimed thatĀ The HostĀ was on it’s all time best sellers list but the list was released before the book was available in any country… me thinks something is slightly dodgy…) I can’t wait to read this book šŸ™‚

10. Grave Mercy byĀ Robin LaFevers

I can’t get enough of kick-ass teenage heroines. Especially when they’re armed with a crossbow and trained by nuns to be assassins!

Chances are I probably won’t even get around to reading any of these… šŸ˜›

But these are the books I’m currently trying to make time for.

Morganville Monday!: Lord of Misrule by Rachel Caine

After discussing this series with a friend the other day, I realized that I stopped after the first two (because that’s all that had been released at that stage). I want to get back into this series that many people I know rave about! So I’ve decided to read one Morganville Vampire book a fortnight for the next few months! Morganville Mondays I shall call the days when I post my reviews!

Welcome to the fifth Morganville Monday –Ā this week focusing on the fifth book of the series, Lord of Misrule.

Book Review:

Title: Lord of Misrule (Morganville Vampires #5)
Author: Rachel Caine
Genre: Paranormal Romance,Ā Contemporary, Vampires
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: January 2011 (first published 2008)
Pages: 360
Rating: 2 stars

Synopsis (fromĀ goodreads):
In the college town of Morganville, vampires and humans coexist in (relatively) bloodless harmony. Then comes Bishop, the master vampire who threatens to abolish all order, revive the forces of the evil dead, and let chaos rule. But Bishop isn’t the only threat.

Violent black cyclone clouds hover, promising a storm of devastating proportions as student Claire Danvers and her friends prepare to defend Morganville against elements both natural and unnatural.

My Review:

WARNING: This review will contain spoilers from the first four books in theĀ Morganville VampiresĀ series.

Morganville is burning. Refugees are fleeing to safety wherever they can find it. Bishop has taken over and the world that Claire and her friends have come to know is in turmoil. Vampires – who they have been shown can not be trusted are now the only means to their survival. Humans and vampires must band together to overcome the greatest evil that Morganville has ever known – Amelie’s father and sire, Bishop.

Lord of MisruleĀ was a hard book for me to get though. I found myself drifting off and thinking about all sorts of other thing whilst reading it and then when I’d go back to the page I’d be completely lost because things would just come out of nowhere and happen.

For a large part of the first fifty percent of this novel it felt like the characters were playing hide and seek. Claire would go off with someone looking for something and then they’d all have to flee. Someone would get lost and then they’d have to go find them. Then some more fleeing. More swooping in to rescue them. I like action. But there were times in this novel when I wanted Claire and Co. to just sit down and regroup.

I rarely understood Claire’s motivation behind her actions. I have grown to like the teenager the more I read of this series but in this book she really disappointed me. I did like how she’s changed in regards to herĀ attitudeĀ when dealing with Miss Monica Morell but I grew frustrated with Claire going off half-cocked into a life-or-death situation without really thinking anything through. She was too impulsive and her actions didn’t reallyĀ correlateĀ with the book-smart girl who I’ve grown to really like.

It must be hard to write about a war when you only have one narrator and she’s telling the story from the first person perspective. And especially with Claire who seemed to be on the fringes of the action for most of it. I felt like I had no idea what was happening. All of a sudden we’d have something happen and I’d have no idea how we went from oneĀ scene to being deep in some other drama that had not been mentioned before only a few pages later.

My favourite parts of the novel were the Claire/Shane interactions. They felt well paced and sweet. I thought that these scenes were beautifully written and I loved that everything seemed to slow down and focused on the two of them trying to figure out their relationship.

Whilst I didn’t love this novel and it leaves me with a lot of questions andĀ confusion, I hope that it’s just a bridging novel – breaching the gap between Feast of Fools (which I really enjoyed) and the sixthĀ instalmentĀ of the series. There’s still many books to go and I am eager to find out what happens. All these cliffhangers… whilst I love the drama it creates I’m starting to wish for at least one novel without the anxious climax at the end.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book DepositoryĀ 


Books on a Budget: Second Hand Books

Generally, I’m rather good at sticking to a budget. The only exception is when it comes to books.

I love buying books.

I’ve gone out in the past to buy some milk from the grocery store and come hope with a few new novels and no milk to be seen….

But lately I’ve been trying really hard to try to stick to my budget. I’m moving house soon and have a lot of expenses associated with that so I’m trying to cut down my spending on everything.

Including books.

One of the best ways so far that I’ve come up with to save whilst still satisfying my need to purchase new reading material – buying second-hand.

In Brisbane last weekend they held another Lifeline Bookfest. The Lifeline Bookfest is a giant second-hand book sale where all the proceeds go to the Lifeline charities.

Look at all the books to choose from!

I manage to attend on Tuesday afternoon and picked myself up a whole stack of books that I had wanted to read and a few cookbooks as well.

Some tips I have for buying second-hand:

1. Go with an open mind

You can never tell what you’ll find when you’re buying at a giant second-hand sale. You may find many books you like or none. But going with a preplanned shopping list is probably not the way to go.

2. Past years bestsellers – this years secondhand treasures

If it’s been a best seller in years gone by then there’s a very good chance that someone will have decided to sell it on. I saw an entire table with over a hundred copies of each of the four Twilight Books on sale. I could have picked up the entire series – good condition too – for around $10. I could have also bought many Dan Brown novels, Harry Potter, The Secret – if it was incredibly popular a few years ago, I saw it. And for only a fraction of the price of buying it new.

3. Same book, Different name…

Sometimes books get sold under different names for the same book and it’s easy to be caught out. If you see a book being sold by an author you love but haven’t heard of it before and you have a phone with internet connectivity then I recommend that you google it or look it up on goodreads to make sure it’s not a book you already own under a different name. I’ve been caught out before when I was buying books for my brother. I knew that he loved a certain author and I found a few books that I didn’t think he had. He did own them just under the names they’re been published by a few years prior.

4. It’s what’s on the inside that matters…

Sometimes second-hand books aren’t in the best condition. But sometimes they look worse than they really are. If a book looks a little worse for wear, open the cover and see how the book inside looks. Does it have all its pages? Can the cover be repaired with just a little bit of clear book covering contact?

Last year I picked up a copy of Colleen McCullough’s The First Man in Rome. It had seen better days – the front cover was falling off – but the book itself was in great condition. I bought some clear book covering contact and covered the book and now it looks fantastic. The book was only 20 cents and the contact that I used (I was using off cuts that I already owned) was probably around 10 cents worth.

I think the main thing to look at with regards to condition is the pages themselves. Are there any missing? Are they moldy or water damaged? If they are then that’s a book that I’d pass on.

5. The diamond in the rough…

Sometimes second-hand book sales manage to hold a whole horde of treasures. If you look hard enough sometimes there are rare books that are out of print or limited editions. Second hand stores (not so much the giant sales but the stores) have been places that I’ve found books that I’d been looking for in regular bookstores and been unable to find. As they say – one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

6. The Golden RuleĀ 

One of my brothers is ratherĀ conservativeĀ with his money. Not to say that he’s stingy because he isn’t. But he has always been someone who never impulse buys. And he has a saying that whilst it used to annoy me like crazy whenever he’dĀ criticizeĀ something I’d buy has always stuck with me.

If you weren’t going to buy it, then you’re not saving a thing

Basically it means that if you see something on sale, it’s still costing you more than you’d be spending anyway because you were never going to buy it in the first place. (I hope I managed to make that make sense)

For me, with regards to buying books, this means that if I’m not going to read a book then I shouldn’t be buying it no matter how cheap it could be. And not just with regards to my finances. If I buy a book then it means that no one else can buy it. I may be unknowingly be taking someone’s next favourite book just so it can still in the dusty recesses of my bookshelves.

7. Plan ahead…

This one is probably just one I need to tell myself. I took the train up to Brisbane the other day and forgot one very important fact: I had to get the train home. Along with everything that I purchased.

So this final tip is remember that whatever you buy – you have to carry. So make sure that if you aren’t parked close to wherever you’re shopping, don’t buy too much.

Or you’re get home and the next day you’re be complaining about back and shoulder pain all day long šŸ˜›

I spent $29 and brought home 26 books – most of which were ones that I had on my wish list for a while now but a few ones that just took my fancy when I saw them there. Now I just need to find some place to put them all before I have to move them to my new place next month šŸ˜›

The accidental bonus copy of the Prodigal Daughter has already found a home with my neighbour. So I think that counts as good karma too šŸ˜›

Book Review: Fallen by Lauren Kate

Title: Fallen (Fallen #1)
Author: Lauren Kate
Genre:Ā Paranormal Romance, Angels,Ā 
Publisher: Delacorte Press for Young Readers (an imprint of Random House)
Publication Date:December 2009
Pages: 452
Rating:Ā 2.5 stars

Synopsis (fromĀ goodreads):
Thereā€™s something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.

Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Priceā€™s attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. Heā€™s the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.

Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luceā€“and goes out of his way to make that very clearā€“she canā€™t let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her.

My Review:

I read this book because it had been recommended to me by a friend. And to be honest, I was a little disappointed. I wasn’t sure if that’s because I always have high expectations of book when they’ve been recommended to me or because for the majority of time that I was reading this novel I had the oddest sensation of deja vu.

This novel opens with Luce Price starting at a new school – a school for social misfits who are one step away fromĀ juvenileĀ detention. But the students at this school aren’t just socially maladjustment – they’re harbouring a secret. When Luce finds herself inexplicably attracted to the mysterious Daniel, she goes out of her way to find out just what it is about him that calls out to her. Why does she feel like she’s known him her whole life when she’s only just laid eyes on him for the first time. And why does he see to have such an attitude towards her when they’ve never met before?

Ringing any bells for anyone else?

The particulars may be slightly different but a lot of this novel was almost straight out of the YA teenage paranormal romance hand book.

I feel like if I had read this book earlier and been slightly less jaded regarding the genre then I would have enjoyed the journey a lot more.

Luce was a fairly selfish main character – selfish in actions and in thoughts. She is at the Sword and Cross because she has an incident a few months ago when the boy she was dating ended up dying tragically. And whilst she still thinks about the fire that took his life, she’s very quick to dismiss it from her thoughts before moving on too much more important topics like Daniel. And why Daniel doesn’t like her. And why she really thinks she has some sort of connection with Daniel.

I’m not a Daniel fan.

The best part of this novel was the supporting cast – Molly, Arianne, Gabbe, Cam and Penn. I would have loved to have gotten to see more of them. They’re quirky characters who are more than just the boy they’re attracted to. I would have loved to have seen theirĀ back storiesĀ and learnt more about them.

Towards the end this story does pick up its pace and becomes a novel that was new and exciting to me. There is more to this story than meets the eye at first but there’s a lot to get though before you get to see the action and drama that exists beyond Luce’s little bubble.

This is one of those books that I recommend borrowing – either from a friend or the library – before buying it for yourself. I can see that it’s going to be one that people either love or hate with not so much middle ground. It is the first in the series and there is a lot of groundwork to be laid for the future novels. I’ve read the next two in the series (Torment and Passion) and I enjoyed them both a lot more than I liked this firstĀ instalment.

Whilst there was a lot I didn’t enjoy about this novel I understand that it was necessary in order to build up for the next books in the Fallen series.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book DepositoryĀ 


Bookmarks! [3]

We just had another long weekend here and it was very wet. Constant rain for the past few weeks.

On top of that my internet was patchy all weekend…

So I sat down and made some more bookmarks – these ones were Disney inspired.

But first – everyone should go check out Tien’s Blurb. She made some gorgeous beaded bookmarks and made a tutorial to go with it!

Aren’t they beautiful? She’s inspired me to make some beaded bookmarks of my own. Possibly in a few weeks when I’m on holidays and footloose and fancy free šŸ˜‰

But onto my bookmarks from this week:

Disney Inspired Printables!!!

The best thing about the two I’m showing this week is how easy they are. Just print them, cut them out and you’re good to go!

1. Disney PrincessesĀ (link to tutorial)

I think these are very pretty. I made them up. Simple and pretty. I still need to go buy some tassels to put their the holes (and learn to make less blurry photos) but I’m rather pleased with how they turned out.

2. Magnetic Mickey Mouse and friends (link to tutorial)

I loved the Shirt and Tie bookmarks that I made from my first bookmarks post. And these ones are a similar kind of design. The magnets latch on to each other through the page that they are “hugging” so that no matter what you will not lose your page.

Action shot šŸ˜›

I covered mine in clear contact adhesive – the kind that parents cover their children’s school books in – just so that they’re be a little more durable.

They’re very cute and I’ve already given all but one of them away to the children of a friend of mine. It made me feel fantastic that they liked them so much.

 

That’s all from me for this week šŸ™‚

If anyone else is making bookmarks of their own or have any that they bought and would love to share – I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #6

Itā€™s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Book Journey. This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as wellā€¦ you never know where that next ā€œmust readā€ book will come from!

What I Read Last Week?

I skipped a week. So this post will be what I read in the past two weeks.

Saving June By Hannah Harrington
Feast of Fools (Morganville Vampires #4) by Rachel Caine
Someone Else’s Fairytale by E.M. Tippetts
Dark Frost (Mythos Academy #3) by Jennifer Estep
Dark Kiss (Nightwatchers #1) by Michelle Rowen

I participated in Armchair BEA which was a lot of fun. I discovered hundreds of blogs that I hadn’t visited before and had a blast visiting and commenting on many of them.

What I plan on reading this week:

I didn’t manage to read Lord of Misrule (Morganville #5) last week but willĀ definitelyĀ read it this week.

I have a copy of Embrace by Jessica Shirvington on my desk… I can’t wait to start it. I love paranormal YA novels by Australian Authors šŸ˜€

I also plan on reading Florence by Ciye Cho.

 

I also made some more bookmarks this weekend. More ones with paper and magnets but they look very cute and adorable.

I’m also going to a second hand book fair tomorrow so I hope to pick up some bargains and fill my bookshelves with good books šŸ™‚

Book Review: Dark Kiss by Michelle Rowen

Title: Dark Kiss (Nightwatchers #1)
Author: Michelle Rowen
Genre: Paranormal, Angels, Demons
Publisher: Harlequin TeenĀ 
Publication Date: June 2012 (IĀ receivedĀ this book as a digital ARC from NetGalley)
Pages: 348
Rating: 2 stars

Synopsis (fromĀ goodreads):
I don’t do dangerous. Ā Smart, Ć¼ber-careful, ordinary Samantha-that’s me. But I just couldn’t pass up a surprise kiss from my number-one unattainable crush. A kiss that did something to me…something strange. Now I feel hungry all the time, but not for food. It’s like part of me is missing-and I don’t know if I can get it back.

Then there’s Bishop. At first I thought he was just a street kid, but the secrets he’s keeping are as intense as his unearthly blue eyes. If he’s what I think he is, he may be the only one who can help me. But something terrifying is closing in, and the one chance Bishop and I have to stop it means losing everything I ever wanted and embracing the darkness inside me….

Nightwatchers: When angels and demons must work together, something beyond evil is rising…Ā 

My Review:

Sam never expected Stephen to notice her. Nor did she think when she went to a local club with her best friend, Carly, that Stephen would kiss her. And suck out her soul.

Soulless Sam then finds herself being drawn into a world where Angels and Demons work together to irradiate the Earth from soul sucking creatures which she is now one of.

Bishop, the leader of the Angel/Demon team who has been sent to Earth to send the Source back into the Hallow so it can no longer reek havoc on the humans, is in Ā a bad way. The only thing keeping him from losing his mind is Sam. Too bad that Sam is a “grey” and as such she’s a threat to him, his team and the rest of the world. But he can’t bring himself to stay away from her and the way she makes him feel.

In a battle of good vs. evil, Sam needs to choose a side for she may be the deciding factor.

I wanted so much to enjoy this novel. I’ve read some of Michelle Rowen’s more adult novels and had a lot of fun reading them. And I thought that the creatures she’s created in this novel wereĀ fantasticĀ – very much like a cross between a zombie andĀ a succubus. But there was something about this story that I just didn’t connect with.

I found Sam to be a little too naive about the world. There are some facts about her brought up in the first few chapters (her “criminal” actions; her days as a homeless person) that I’m still trying to work out why they were mentioned. I understand that it was her compassion based on her experiences on the street that lead to her talking to Bishop for the first time but I found Sam to be a little too naive in the ways of the world to really believe that she spent any time on the street – even just a few days.

I also found her a little too easily lead. When it came time to pick a side, she seemed to believe the thing she was told very quickly. And her romance with Bishop? It was a little under explored for my liking. There was not enough build up. It just sort of happened. But that said – I’m always fond of kissing scenes and the ones in this book were written well.

In terms of character development, I’m not sure that the characters grew for me from the time the novel started until the last page. They were at times rather simplistic and well… soulless (pun intended). And I feel like this was a huge reason why I didn’t connect very well with either of the leads. I wanted them to wow me but they didn’t and they were both somewhatĀ forgettable.

I did enjoy the Source. She was deliciously evil and a master manipulator. And I also found myself loving the other members of Bishop’s team – especially Kraven. I loved Kraven. His banter, his insults, his flirting with Sam? He’s such a funny character and a very entertaining one at that.

The plot seemed to move really slowly for me. I spent quite a bit of the first 75% of the novel being somewhat confused orĀ disinterestedĀ but then everything picked up and I thought the ending was fantastic! It was action packed withĀ deceit, romance and heroism all packed in.

Overall, I did enjoy reading this book but it was rather hard going.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book DepositoryĀ