Monthly Summary: March 2013

I can’t believe how quickly this year is going past. We’re already a quarter of the way though the year! I hope that everyone is having a happy Easter holiday.  I had a great weekend. Chocolate, lovely drooly cuddles from my almost one-year-old niece and a rainy afternoon perfect for kicking back with a book.

Today’s post is just a quick one to sum up the month.

Reviews Posted: 

Top Ten Tuesdays:

Cover Reveals:

Books Purchased:

Oh my. Now my books purchased for March is a little embarrassing. I’ve not bought this many books in a calendar month since the last second hand bookfest – and all of my purchases this month were new!

A fair few of my books this month aren’t YA – my other favourite genre is paranormal romance – so I won’t list them here but here are the YA books I’ve bought during March:

The Selection by Kiera Cass
Unravelling by Elizabeth Morris
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Melody Burning by Whitey Stieber
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James
Need by Carrie Jones
Entice by Carrie Jones
Captivate by Carrie Jones
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Sweet Damage by Rebecca James
Venom by Fiona Paul

ANDDDD…..

After reading a post by Making the Grade on over-used words. I came to the conclusion that perhaps I do give certain words a bit of a work out. So I splashed out and bought myself a elephantine (big) thesaurus so hopefully every second adjective from me will cease to just be amazing. 😉

Thesaurus Entry: Amazing

Cover Reveal: Of Silver and Beasts by Trisha Wolfe

Of Silver and Beasts (A Goddess Wars Novel)

Release Date: June 1, 2013
Genre: New Adult, Dark Fantasy 
Cover Reveal Organized by: YA Bound
Cover Designed by: Steven Novak

Summary from Goodreads:
In the sand-covered queendom of Cavan, the goddess once
saved a young Kaliope’s life, preventing the mercury her father attempted to
hide in her blood from reaching her heart. Now, a cybernetic clamp filters it,
but the silver streaks swirling faintly beneath her skin are a constant
reminder that she’s different.


When nineteen-year-old Kaliope is chosen as head of the Nactue Guard, she
becomes the sworn protector to her empress. In the midst of an invasion on a
neighboring land, Kaliope is placed in charge of guarding Prince Caben, the
last heir to his kingdom. But when they’re attacked by the feared
Otherworlders, Caben and Kaliope are abducted and taken below to a realm where they must fight for their life in a caged arena. 


Kaliope struggles to protect her princely charge, keeping him and herself alive
while battling inhumanly opponents, and trying to save the stolen, sacred relic
that will restore her empress’s life force and all of Cavan. And if she can
somehow awaken the goddess within her, she may save what’s most important.


***Excerpt***
I open my mouth to say something comforting, but I’m unsure of what. In this moment, I’m reminded that I know little about him. Other than the sarcasm and desire to understand nothing of my queendom, he hasn’t allowed me past the surface.
But then, I have my own walls, hiding things I’d never want him or any other to know. And I understand that need to hide them. You can’t trust anyone.
“Caben…” I start, but still can’t find the right words.
He lowers his hand from his face, never taking his eyes off the glinting water top. “You’re right,” he finally says. “Let’s find the access to Lilly’s section.”
A hollow pang hits my chest, and I’m not sure why. Something in his voice sounds lost, broken. I imagine the gears around my heart spinning faster, trying to keep up with my racing heart.
When he sidesteps me, I reach out and grab his arm. “Caben, I didn’t mean—”
“It’s fine, Kal,” he snaps. “We have work to do.”
“No, I’ve said something to offend you.” I drop my hand, but keep close to him, not allowing him to leave my side. Goddess, trying to understand the male brain is harder than anything in protector training. I’ve heard people say that you have to tip-toe around a woman’s emotions, but a man’s ego is every bit as fragile, if not more so.
He releases a heavy breath through his nose and walks back to the pool. He sits down along the edge and rolls up his pants, then slips off his boots. “I honestly don’t think Bax or his goons will be returning tonight.” He sinks his bare feet into the water and sighs.
Glancing at the back of the cave, I plant my hands on my hips. We don’t have time for indulgencies, but the prince is still my charge. If it were my empress, I’d give her anything she’d ask for. Allow her as much time as she needed to collect herself. I have to watch over his mental state as well as protect him, so I try to push the pending need to find Lilly aside and sit down next to him.
“Here,” he says, turning his hand out near my crossed feet. “You have to feel this.”
A smile tugs at the corner of my mouth. “I can remove my own—”
“Have you never been pampered a day in your life?” he asks, lifting an eyebrow. “I know that the Nactue are fierce and will put a hurt on any man for touching them. But try to relax.”
“Is that the rumor in Perinya?”
“What?”
I bite my lip, suddenly regretting my blurt. “Nothing. Never mind.”
From the corner of my eye, I see his lips pucker into a pinched smile, as if he’s trying not to. “Ah,” he says, like he’s made some great universal connection. “Well, there are many whisperings about the Nactue. Some I dare not repeat for fear I’d leave here missing a limb, but that’s one, yes.” He takes my booted foot and begins to unlace it. “I’ve heard that the empress’s protectors are untouchable—forbidden to give themselves to men. And that they’ll snap a man’s neck just for making an advance.”
My mouth drops open. Appalled, I counter, “That’s not true.”
“All right,” he says, as if he hasn’t just insulted my very existence. “It’s only rumors. Things men jaw about in pubs. The unattainable woman is a fantasy, Kal. Don’t be offended.”
“Unattainable?” I grit my teeth, trying to maintain my composure. “Tell me, prince. Do men in your country just go around bedding every woman they can in order to keep them compliant?” I shake my head. “If their fantasy is a woman that would have nothing to do with them, it seems to me it’s their way of feeding their egos after being rejected.”
His eyes widen. “No! How does your brain come up with these—” He bites off his words, his lips thin as he presses them together. “Look, it was a joke.”
I nod, many times. “Another joke. I’m glad that our hard work and sacrifice is amusing to the men of Perinya.”
Caben lets out another sigh and slowly pulls off my boot. His warm fingers skim my calf as he inches up my pant leg. “Just stick your foot in,” he says, then adds lower, “while I stick mine in my mouth.”
Unexpectedly, I laugh. “At least it’s now clean,” I say. “Would you like some help getting it to your face?”

***GIVEAWAY***

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter the tour wide giveaway to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card or paypal cash.

The cover is gorgeous! There’s so much detail – the sky, her hair, her back…  I have to admit that I’m looking forward to this one coming out. Goddess Warriors? Sounds engaging and adventurous! 

How do you like the cover? Does the plot intrigue you? Leave me a comment and tell me what you think. 

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Recommend The Most

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 their bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join.

This week’s topic is: Top Ten  Books I Recommend The Most

I don’t so much recommend books as thrust them at people and urge them to read them because I loved them so much. I bought a dozen copies of Cinder, Blood Song and Divergent last year as Christmas gifts as I wanted people to like my favourite books.

So here are a few of the books I recommend for people.

If you like Magical Boarding Schools then I’d suggest you check out:

If Contemporary stories that tug at the heart-strings are up your alley, think about reading: 

If sci-fi multiple souls sharing a single body stories tickle your fancy, check out:

What's Left of Me (The Hybrid Chronicles, #1)What's Left of Me (The Hybrid Chronicles, #1)

Stories with adventure and a kick-arse heroine I recommend are:

And just to round out my list for this week – Kate’s all time favourite adult UF/PNR series:

Dark Lover (Black Dagger Br...Lover Eternal (Black Dagger...Lover Awakened (Black Dagge...Lover Revealed (Black Dagge...Lover Unbound (Black Dagger...Lover Enshrined (Black Dagg...Lover Avenged (Black Dagger...Lover Mine (Black Dagger Br...Lover Unleashed (Black Dagg...Lover Reborn (Black Dagger ...Lover At Last (Black Dagger...

 

  • The Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward (Sorry to include this one but I’m just way too excited about the release of the eleventh book, Lover at Last, this week!) 

 

 

Considering these are all books I enjoyed reading, would any of you be able to recommend some books for me based on my recommendations? Link me up to your Top Ten Tuesdays and as always – comments are most welcome 🙂

Book Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction, Paris
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: October 2011
Pages: 348 pages
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion…she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit–more sparkly, more fun, more wild–the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket–a gifted inventor–steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

My Review:

Dolores Nolan (better known as Lola) is a seventeen year old budding fashion designer. Vowing to never wear the same outfit twice in a calendar year, her clothes are often somewhat eccentric but always an original. Her two dads hate her twenty-two year old on the verge of becoming a rockstar boyfriend, Max. Her birth mother is a fortune telling mess and the Bell twins, Cricket and Calliope, with whom Lola has a feud have just moved back in next door. Senior year is shaping up  nicely… and it hasn’t even started yet.

Trying to navigate through family issues and wardrobe dilemmas, Lola is just trying to make it though. But Cricket keeps popping up all over the place. In the street, in stores Lola’s frequenting – Cricket even turns up at the cinema where Lola works! After what happened two summers before, Lola doesn’t know if she can trust him. But feelings become involved and Lola becomes conflicted. Should she choose the hot glamorous older rocker Max or Cricket – the boy next door.

I loved Anna and the French Kiss and the main reason I picked up a copy of Lola was because I’d heard there was a guest appearance of Anna and St. Clair. I’m glad I decided to read Lola’s story because it’s just as adorable and sweet as Anna’s French Kiss.

Lola is fun. She’s quirky and adventurous  It’s not just her fashion sense that’s colourful. Her family life was such a delightful contrast to that of Anna’s – her dads set curfews, rules regarding boyfriends and keep an eye on just who is coming and going from their daughter’s bedroom. Her mother is an interesting character who had a very interesting relationship with Lola. I loved how they all interacted with each other – it felt authentic. Lola’s own personal conflict was more than just her love life. She becomes confused to whether it’s the girl who makes the costumes or the costumes who make the girl.

And then there’s the boys in Lola’s life. Max – whom everyone from her best friend Lindsay to her parents and even her colleagues at the cinema thinks is too old for her. I loved the contrast that he provided for Cricket. Oh Cricket. I have so many adjectives I could use to describe this character (who I absolutely adored) but I think the one that fits best is awkward. He’s delightfully awkward. In that way that makes him go from a nerd to geek chic in my eyes. I’m a sucker for romantic gestures and Cricket’s conversations and general adorableness was the kind that made my heart feel like it had grown five sizes from reading it. He’s just that dorky romantic soul that I love reading about.

Anna and St. Clair make a few appearances in this book and whilst it was great to see them again (and that was the main reason why I decided to read this book) there was something about their scenes that felt a little odd to me. It’s interesting to see a relationship that blossomed from their point of view to all of a sudden being on the outside looking in. They have certainly matured – both as people and with regards to their relationship. I have to admit that I didn’t enjoy reading about their romance as much as I did in their own book but I thought it was a lovely way to tie their story to Lola’s.

This book was a joy to read. I loved the romance and the characters. The leads were sweet and fun and the supporting characters kept things interesting and the plot moving along. Isla and the Happily Ever After comes out in September and I know for sure that I’ll be purchasing a copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 

Book Review: Nameless by Lili St. Crow

Title: Nameless (Tales of Beauty and Madness #1)
Author: Lili St. Crow
Genre: fairytale retelling, fantasy, paranormal romance
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: 20 March 2013
Pages: 336 pages
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
When Camille was six years old, she was discovered alone in the snow by Enrico Vultusino, godfather of the Seven—the powerful Families that rule magic-ridden New Haven. Papa Vultusino adopted the mute, scarred child, naming her after his dead wife and raising her in luxury on Haven Hill alongside his own son, Nico.

Now Cami is turning sixteen. She’s no longer mute, though she keeps her faded scars hidden under her school uniform, and though she opens up only to her two best friends, Ruby and Ellie, and to Nico, who has become more than a brother to her. But even though Cami is a pampered Vultusino heiress, she knows that she is not really Family. Unlike them, she is a mortal with a past that lies buried in trauma. And it’s not until she meets the mysterious Tor, who reveals scars of his own, that Cami begins to uncover the secrets of her birth…to find out where she comes from and why her past is threatening her now.

New York Times bestselling author Lili St. Crow thrilled legions of fans with her dark paranormal series Strange Angels. Now she has crafted an evocative update of Snow White, set in a vividly imagined world and populated by unforgettable new characters.

My Review:

Camille Vultusino should want for nothing. Her papa, Enrico Vultusino, is one of the living Seven Families and gives her nothing but the best. Enrico’s son, Nico, would give his life to protect Cami from anything that tried to harm her. But Cami doesn’t know who she is. Found bloody and abandoned in the middle of the snow when she was six years old, Cami has no recollection of her parents, her home or anything in her life before Papa found her. Now ten years on, Cami has two best friends (Ruby and Ellie), loyal fey maid and servants to cater to her every whim.

But Papa’s mortality is leaving him and Nico is unstable and getting in fights left and right. Girls are going missing by the dozens all over the city and Cami is scared. One of the garden boys, Torin Beale, comes into her life and offers her comfort when her emotional security is fading away. But not everything is as it seems. Mirrors hide their secrets and when is an apple more than just fruit? Cami’s past is coming to haunt her and her only hope is remembering who she was before it is too late.

Growing up I only knew the Disney version of fairy tales. My mother was traumatized by the Grimm Brother’s versions as a child and forbid us to read them. It’s only now, as an adult, that I’ve read the morbid tale in its original state.

Lili St. Crow had done an incredible job at weaving the traditional story in with a new dystopian version of Snow White. She has used so many of the elements found in the Grimm tale in Nameless whilst creating a unique dystopian world for her retelling to be set. Blood-sucking families representing the dwarfs? Somewhat ingenious.

Whilst the character of Snow White has never been one of my favourites I thought that St. Crow captured her vulnerability and naivety perfectly in Cami. Victim to the core with good intentions never quite being thought through, Cami was the epitome of Snow White to me. Ellie and Ruby as Cinderella and Red Riding Hood respectively are equally representable of their classic fairy tale counterparts. Ruby captivated me – Her feisty and take charge attitude contrasted well with Cami’s passiveness and I can’t wait to see what happens next for the trio.

For me, one of the best parts of a fairy tale is the romance and I found it somewhat lacking in Nameless. The roles of Nico and Tor in Cami’s life felt somewhat confused and I have to admit the ending didn’t satisfy the romantic in me.

Family, abuse, blood-ties and self-worth are all issues faced in this novel and dealt with in interesting ways. This is not the Snow White story you would be familiar with however I thought it was a great addition to the genre.

This is a dark and twisted fairytale retelling that would appeal to people who don’t mind a scary rendition of a childhood classic.

 

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 

 

Book Review: Dear Cassie by Lisa Burstein

Title: Dear Cassie
Author: Lisa Burstein (twitter: @LisaBurstein)
Genre: contemporary romance; realistic fiction;
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Publication Date: 5th March 2013
Pages: 352 pages
Rating: 4.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
What if the last place you should fall in love is the first place that you do?

You’d think getting sent to Turning Pines Wilderness Camp for a month-long rehabilitation “retreat” and being forced to re-live it in this journal would be the worst thing that’s ever happened to me.

You’d be wrong.

There’s the reason I was sent to Turning Pines in the first place: I got arrested. On prom night. With my two best friends, who I haven’t talked to since and probably never will again. And then there’s the real reason I was sent here. The thing I can’t talk about with the guy I can’t even think about.

What if the moment you’ve closed yourself off is the moment you start to break open?

But there’s this guy here. Ben. And the more I swear he won’t—he can’t—the deeper under my skin he’s getting. After the thing that happened, I promised I’d never fall for another boy’s lies.

And yet I can’t help but wonder…what if?

My Review:

Dear Cassie is a companion novel to Lisa Burstein’s debut, Pretty Amy however you don’t need to have read Amy’s story in order to enjoy Dear Cassie.

Cassie Wick is struggling to deal with the fallout from the Prom Night disaster. Faced with jail time or a month-long stint at a rehabilitation camp for rebellious and troublesome teens – Cassie chooses thirty days at Turning Pines Wilderness Camp. Her criminal record is not the only problem Cassie’s facing. An unplanned pregnancy and a boy who may have just been using her to cover his own behind. And now there’s Ben. Ben Claire – the type of boy you can tell is a drummer in a band and considering how they met – Cassie just knows that he has got to have as many issues as she does.

I loved Cassie in Pretty Amy. But after reading her own story I fell even harder. She’s not pretty. She’s angry and frustrated, scared and confused. But she’s real. And at Turning Pines with only fellow “inmates”, the wilderness and her journal for company – there’s nowhere to hide from her thoughts. Her regrets. Stubborn and hurt, Cassie’s story was one that I loved reading. I couldn’t put it down and read it in one sitting. She’s such an engaging narrator. The hurt, confusing and feeling that there’s no way out that Cassie experiences is something that I think every teen can related to in some way or another.

The relationships in this novel were such a pleasure to read. From the bizarre room-mates Nez and Troyer to the counsellors – they all added that element of realism to Cassie’s story. Even the often mentioned but never seen Tim. I loved wanting to know what happened next and how Cassie would react next. And then there’s Ben. He may not be a conventional romantic lead but there was something very engaging about him. He’s sweet in the oddest way. There’s one romantic gesture (you know the one if you’ve read the book!) that on one hand is the most crazy and ridiculous thing ever but on the other – it’s the kind that makes my heart happy.

My favourite books are the ones where the characters grow. They learn from their past and they try. Try to be better even when thing seem their most dire. And this book satisfied me in the best way. Cassie grew. By the end of the novel she’s not the same person who first entered Turning Pines. And I loved that about her.

Dear Cassie is a beautiful novel about regret and trying to move on. Realistic characters with heart and engaging stories, this is a novel that is both relate able and powerful.

 

Thanks to Netgalley and Entangled Teen for providing me with a review copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository