Armchair BEA Day 2: Best of 2012

This week is the annual BookExpo America in New York City. I’m thrilled to be taking part in Armchair BEA which is a virtual conference for book bloggers who can’t attend the actual event.

Armchair BEA is a lot of fun with daily posts, twitter parties, giveaways and other things going on.

Today’s post focuses on 2012! I’m going to share some of my favourite books that have been published so far from 2012.

Favourites from 2012 

YOUNG ADULT BOOKS

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

I was lucky enough to win a copy of this book in a giveaway – prior to that I wasn’t too excited about it. Cinderella is one of my least favourite fairytales. But this book surprised me. It’s interesting and fun and manages to stay true to the traditional story that I know whilst still offering something new and exciting.

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

I only ‘discovered’ Divergent earlier this year and in a way that was a good thing – it meant I didn’t have very long to wait in between reading the first book in the series and the second one being released. I’ve read a few reviews from people who were disappointed in the sequel but I enjoyed the fall out from the events in Divergent and how the characters and situation are developing.

Immortal City by Scott Speer

I think angels are the new vampires – there have been a lot of new angel books flooding the YA scene in recent months and Immortal City is one of them. This book wasn’t one of the best books I’ve read this year but I liked the concept and it’s only the first book in the series and I feel like there’s a lot of potential.

ADULT FICTION

I may only blog about the young adult books I read but I love paranormal romance and urban fantasy books too. I wanted to share two of my favourite books from these genres as well. Since I don’t have reviews for these books I’ll link them to their goodreads pages.

Summoning the Night by Jenn Bennett

I loved the first book in the series, Kindling the Moon, and this book was just as good if not better. The world that Jenn Bennett has created is so complex and creative and yet not overly complicated so the reader doesn’t get lost amongst all the demons and magic. This book has action, romance, drama and one of the most adorable and likeable secondary character’s I’ve ever read about – Jupe.

Fair Game by Patricia Briggs

I’m a fan of all of Patricia Briggs’ novels and Fair Game is no exception. It’s the third instalment in the Alpha & Omega series and I was a little blown away by the ending. I don’t want to spoil anything if anyone’s planning on reading it but Briggs manages to write in such a way that I’m completely captivated by the story and I don’t see the plot twists and turns coming until they’re upon me. But everything that happens makes perfect sense and is right at home in the werewolf/vampire/fey world that she’s created. I loved this book.

Those are five of my favourites from this year. What are some of yours?

Armchair BEA Day 1: Introductions First

This week is the annual BookExpo America in New York City. I’m thrilled to be taking part in Armchair BEA which is a virtual conference for book bloggers who can’t attend the actual event.

Armchair BEA looks like a lot of fun with daily posts, twitter parties, giveaways and other things going on.

Today’s daily post is for participants to answer five questions from a list of ten so that everyone can get to know each other a little better.

Here’s my answers so you can learn a little more about me 🙂

Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging?

I’m Kate. I’m twenty-four and I’m from Queensland, Australia. I love it here. I’ve lived in many states but Queensland is my favourite. I’m currently studying at university to become a librarian. I’ve always loved books but never really considered making them a part of my career.

I’ve only been blogging a few months. I’m fairly active on goodreads and often have seen people’s blogs and thought that it’s something I could do to better manage what I’m reading. I read a lot. I’ve found that I really enjoy writing up my reviews and memes. I’ve had personal blogs since I was 13 and always seemed to lose interest or motivation or both within the first week but I have a feeling that this time it will be different.

What are you currently reading, or what is your favorite book you have read so far in 2012?

I’m currently reading a few novels. I’m one of those people who often have more than one book on the go at any time. There’s one in my car, one in my bag, one next to my bed, a few next to the couch. And I’m one of those people who prefer certain genres depending on my current mood.

Out of the ones I’m currently reading, I’m almost finished with Marked by PC and Kristen Cast. 

Tell us one non-book-related thing that everyone reading your blog may not know about you.

I love to cook. Baking is my favourite – especially cookies/biscuits and cakes. I read as many recipe books as I do fiction and subscribe to a few food magazines. I love the accomplished feeling that I get when I finish making a dish – it’s nearly as good as the feeling when you’ve finished reading a good book.

If you could eat dinner with any author or character, who would it be and why?

This is so very hard to choose. And unfortunately I’m a little indecisive. My answer to this changes depending on what I’ve just read.

But I think I’d have to pick Albus Dumbledore from the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling. He’s just such an interesting person. And he seems very patient and like my thousands of questions about magic and the world he inhabits wouldn’t irritate him. I also wonder what he’d wear to a dinner with a muggle fan – his fashion sense is kind of bizarre.

Have your reading tastes changed since you started blogging? How?

Yes and no. I have always read a lot of YA fiction but I think I’m reading more than I used to. And I’m trying to structure how I read differently. Trying to get some sort of balance between all the paranormal books and the realistic fiction.

I think what I’ve really noticed is that how I read has changed. These days I have a notebook with me to jot down notes or quotes whilst I’m reading. If I’m reading on my kindle then I have a number of coloured post-it notes on the inside of my cover. Pink ones are for notes about characters, blue ones for plot and yellow ones for other. I didn’t think that blogging would change how I read but it has and I think it’s for the better. I am remembering details better and really thinking about characters and plot rather than just finishing a book and putting it on my shelves.

 

Thanks for reading my answers. 🙂

Morganville Monday!: Feast of Fools 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 week for the next twelve weeks! Morganville Mondays I shall call the days when I post my reviews!

Welcome to the fourth Morganville Monday – this week focusing on the third book of the series, Feast of Fools.

Book Review:

Title: Feast of Fools (Morganville Vampires #4)
Author: Rachel Caine
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Contemporary, Vampires
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: January 2011 (first published 2008)
Pages: 372
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
It was hard to imagine how Claire’s day could get any worse… And then the vampires holding her hostage wanted breakfast.

In the town of Morganville, vampires and humans have learnt to live in relative peace. Still, Claire Danvers knows that after dark, her homework can take a backseat to staying alive. But this tenuous harmony is turned on its head with the arrival of Mr Bishop.

Bad to the bone, the ancient old-school vampire cares nothing about keeping the peace; staying at the top of the food chain is enough. What he wants from the town’s living and dead is unthinkably sinister. It’s only at a formal ball attended by vampires and their human dates that Claire realises Bishop’s plan—and the elaborately evil trap he’s set for the warm-blooded souls of Morganville…

My Review:

WARNING: This review will contain spoilers from the first three books in the Morganville Vampires series.

I’m really glad that I’ve been reading these books one after another. It seems like every single book ends on a massive cliffhanger. Book 1 – Shane’s dad killing Michael. Book 2 – Claire signing her life away to protect her friends. Then there’s book 3 that ended with the sinister knock at the door and the arrival of Ameile’s father and sire.

There are sometimes advantages to coming to a series late and not having to wait out super evil cliffhangers is one of them.

Claire has a whole lot of drama going on in her life. Her parents have just moved to town and are insisting she move out of the Glass House with those wicked boys. Okay, the never called Michael or Shane evil but it was in the subtext. And the project that Amelie gave her to work upon fixing the virus that is killing all the vampires with Myrnin has taking a turn for the worse with Myrnin locking himself up within a cage with the other senile vampires so that he won’t be able to hurt her. Jason, Eve’s little brother, is still on the scene after stabbing Shane and he won’t seem to leave Eve alone. Oh and Monica? She’s gone back to the evil little human she was in the first few novels – it is somewhat comforting to know that a leopard can’t change its spots even in Morganville. Who knew that a young woman of not-yet-seventeen could attract so much trouble.

And then there’s Bishop – Amelie’s sire and father. He’s come to town for sinister reasons and one of his fledglings has gotten her claws into Claire’s boyfriend, Shane. Unable to resist her compelling magical vampire gifts, he turns into a puppy dog whenever she’s around no matter how much he hates himself for it. Claire and Shane aren’t the only couple with issues. Eve and Michael are starting to realize just how difficult a vampire/human relationship can be.

I love how the characters and plot are developing. Claire is showing that she’s just as street smart as she is bookish. She’s trying all she can to save the vampire race while at the same time trying to keep up with her own teenage problems; parents who just don’t understand her and a boyfriend who won’t take advantage of her no matter how much she wants him to.

And Myrnin? I was a fan of him in the last book and in this one he just endears himself to me even more. He’s smart and cold but happy and cheerful. I’m hoping that they somehow manage to find the cure because this series is so much richer because of  this character and I’d hate to lose him.

The Bishop is so evil! After finding out in book 1 that Eve’s hippy boss Oliver was really the head of the bad vampires in Morganville and the one who tried to turn Michael I wasn’t sure we could have anyone who was hated more than him but now we have the Bishop. He’s trying to destroy everything that Ameile has created in Morganville.

This series has a long way to go – this is only book 4 of 12 – but I’m enjoying how it’s progressing. There’s enough going on now that I’m not fixated on the small things and I’m loving the journey.

There are sometimes advantages to coming to a series late and this is one of them. I think these cliffhangers would drive me crazy if I had to wait to find out.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 


Book Review: Dark Frost by Jennifer Estep

Title: Dark Frost (Mythos Academy #3) 
Author: Jennifer Estep
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Contemporary, Mythology
Publisher: KTeen (an imprint of Kensington Publishing Corp.)
Publication Date: May 2012
Pages: 352
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
I’ve seen so many freaky things since I started attending Mythos Academy last fall. I know I’m supposed to be a fearless warrior, but most of the time, I feel like I’m just waiting for the next Bad, Bad Thing to happen. Like someone trying to kill me—again.

Everyone at Mythos Academy knows me as Gwen Frost, the Gypsy girl who uses her psychometry magic to find lost objects—and who just may be dating Logan Quinn, the hottest guy in school. But I’m also the girl the Reapers of Chaos want dead in the worst way. The Reapers are the baddest of the bad, the people who murdered my mom. So why do they have it in for me?

It turns out my mom hid a powerful artifact called the Helheim Dagger before she died. Now, the Reapers will do anything to get it back. They think I know where the dagger is hidden, but this is one thing I can’t use my magic to find. All I do know is that the Reapers are coming for me—and I’m in for the fight of my life.

My Review:

I love this series. And I’m only slightly ashamed to admit I’ve been staking out the mailbox for the last few weeks eagerly awaiting the postman to deliver my copy to me.

This novel starts with a bang. Or at least a bloody battle when a group Reapers attack the museum Gwen, Valkyrie best friend Daphne and Daphne’s Celt boyfriend Carson are visiting to complete some last-minute homework before the end of winter break. I thought the most dramatic thing to happen after their holidays would be Gwen and Logan’s reunion but I was so wrong.

Not that the Logan and Gwen relationship in any way let me down. I love them as a couple. I love the drama and the issues that they have between them. Gwen manages to be in love with the gorgeous Spartan and yet, at the same time, she’s not completely besotted to the point of not being able to do or think of anything else. I admired her independence. Not only in terms of her romantic (or lack there of) relationship but also in all facets. If she really needs help then she’ll ask for it.

There’s a lot of action going on in this novel and in many ways it’s darker than the previous two novels in the series. Things are really ramping up. Loki’s Champion knows who she is and is out to get her and Helheim dagger from the first few chapters in the novel. But Gwen manages to cope with the pressure better than expected. I suppose this is starting to sound a bit like a love letter to Gwen. I just really enjoyed this novel. That’s why I was up till 4am finishing it when I had to wake up at 6.

The supporting characters were, as usual, brilliant. I love the different types of mythological warriors and creatures. And how well this novel fitted in with the others. All of the characters are growing in terms of their warrior skills and themselves as people. I’m really enjoying watching them become who they are destined to become.

I loved the plot – I was proud of myself for working out the mystery before Gwen but I wasn’t disappointed in Gwen like I was in Kiss of Frost. The evil Reapers are insanely good at being evil. I have no idea how things are going to end up which is half the fun. But I hope not too many people have to die before Loki is defeated.

Now that I’ve finished Dark Frost, I can’t wait till the end of the year for the fourth book to come out!

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 


Book Review: Someone Else’s Fairytale by Emily Mah Tippetts

Title: Someone Else’s Fairytale
Author: Emily Mah Tippetts
Genre: Contemporary Romance, 
Publisher: Self published (I received an ecopy of this novel from the author)
Publication Date: December 2011
Pages: 311
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Jason Vanderholt, Hollywood’s hottest actor, falls head over heels for every girl, Chloe Winters, who hasn’t gotten around to watching most of his movies. It’s the ideal fairytale… for most people. The last thing Chloe needs is public attention. It brings back dangers from the past that she’s worked her whole life to escape.

My Review:

Standing in the freezing cold at some insanely early hour of the morning just to be an extra in some movie isn’t Chloe Winters’ idea of a great time. The things one does for one’s star obsessed room-mate. So when the star of the film and current Hollywood heart-throb approaches Chloe out of all the people standing around, she’s not all that impressed. Especially when he brings up the fact that he knows and was friends with some members of her family she’d rather not be related to – never mind associated with.

But Jason Vanderholt isn’t going to take no for an answer. He’s instantly captivated with one of the few people on the planet who isn’t infatuated with him. To him Chloe is intelligent, brave and beautiful. To Chloe, Jason is over tanned and his teeth are just a little too perfect. But despite all this they manage to form a friendship of sorts.

When Chloe’s past comes back to haunt her and the pressures of her friends, family and Jason’s lifestyle threaten to interfere with their delicate relationship, she’ll find out if she’s strong enough to get the happily ever after she’d never even dreamed of having…

I’ll admit it. I’m a bit of a fan of the TV show, The Bachelor. And for me, this novel had all the things I love about that show and none of the things that constantly make me want to rip my hair out. It’s the fairytale story of the handsome and wealthy guy courting the everyday woman. He has everything and it’s almost as if he’s from another world. But I liked that Chloe isn’t like those woman from the show who are knocking each other over and doing everything they can just for the slightest bit of attention from the leading man. She’s got more self-respect than that. She wants really love and respect and to enjoy life with whatever man she is in a relationship with. I admired that about her.

Chloe is a strong and independent woman. Her life hasn’t been easy and she’s managed to overcome all the nightmares and all the drama of her childhood and come out the other side as a woman to be admired and looked up to. She has issues but they’re understandable all things considered and she’s aware of her own shortcomings. I loved her as a character. I loved how she grew as a character. There were times when her behaviour frustrated me but I could understand why she did what she did and why she thought what she thought. To be truthful, I’d have been disappointed had she not been the person she was. She’s an honest character with flaws but they just made her better well-rounded as a person.

And then there’s Jason. Oh my. I can understand why Chloe referred to him as being the lead in fairytale and being cast as the Prince Charming role. He’s kind of perfect. But not so perfect that he annoyed me. I like flaws and whilst he appeared to be seemingly perfect (and he was practically perfect in every way) he did have his own past that he and Chloe had to overcome and I enjoyed that he was more than just what he seemed on the surface.

The secondary characters were great too. I enjoyed Jason’s family and Chloe’s friends.

I loved the fairytale. And in my eyes it is very much like a fairytale – where Chloe was the downtrodden maiden whose family and circumstances kept her from being all that she could be – much like Cinderella. Yes there’s no magical sparks or anything in this story but it’s adorable. It’s not all sweet and innocent – there are some quite dark and heavy issues involved. I thought they added to make the novel a little more real and to stop it from being too over the top warm and fuzzy.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 


June New Releases!

June has many new releases that I’m very eager to read – I’ve pre-ordered many of them. And considering how rarely I pre-order, that’s saying a lot!


– I have to admit I wasn’t a huge fan of the first book in the Fallen series. But since then I’ve read each new instalment and I’ve grown fond of the character and how they’ve grown since the start. It’s really coming into its own as a series and I can’t wait to see how everything ends.

– I’ve read review from people who have read ARCs of this book and it sounds like a wonderful addition to the YA fantasy scene.

– I have a soft spot for cute contemporary YA fiction stories. And the trope of having the girl romantically involved with the boy next door? Well it’s one of my favourites.

– I. LOVE. MERMAIDS! It probably comes from watching Disney’s The Little Mermaid too many times when I was younger (I actually stretched the VHS from watching it too much and it got stuck in the machine once…) but regardless of why I love them – I do. And this particular mermaid book looks fairly dark and somewhat sinister. I love that it looks so very different to any mermaid book I’ve read before.

– When I was sixteen, I spent one summer (Australian Summer, Italian Winter) in Italy. It was incredible and an experience I’ll never forget. Since then I’ve had a soft spot for all YA related movies and books where the main character spends a vacation in the beautiful country (Yep… I’m not ashamed to admit it. I went and saw the Lizzie Maguire movie in the cinema and own a copy of it on DVD). This books looks adorable and full of that fantastic summer feeling that you get when you read a book about people on vacation.

 

What new releases are you looking forward to this month?