Top Ten Tuesday: 2014 Releases I’m Dying to Read!

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.

The topic for this week is: Top Ten 2014 Releases I’m Dying to Read! 

For this week’s list I’ve tried to list books that aren’t in the series I’ve talked about on the blog before – because otherwise my list would just be a repeat of sequels I can’t wait to read (and yes – I’m still oh-so excited for Cress, Dreams of Gods and Monsters, Secret, The One, Silver Shadows and The Forever Song).

Here are some books that I can’t wait to be released that I’ve not talked about before.

Debut Authors:

Tape by Steven Camden – Two people, twenty years apart, connected by a story on a tape. One recorded it, one is listening to it and this novel is their story. I think it sounds interesting and lets face it – cassette tapes are so very cool…. I might be biased because I have one in my car and no CD player but it appeals to me regardless. The author is a spoken word poet and you can find him talking about tape: here  (January 30th, 2014)

The Break Up Artist by Phillip Siegel – Becca isn’t a matchmaker. In fact she’s the opposite. For a fee she’ll do whatever it takes to break up a couple – and she does it all anonymously. I have a bit of a soft spot for matchmaking stories and the idea of someone trying to break couples up on purpose really appeals to me. It’s one of those stories that you know is going to get pretty dirty for the break up artist in question. (April 29, 2014)

Wish You Were Italian by Kristen Rae – I adore contemporary novels set in Italy and this one sounds adorable. The Italian sun, gorgeous ruins and some romantic drama to cap it all off.  (May 6th, 2014)

Sekret by Lindsay Smith – Psychic spies, the KGB and powerful mind erasers working for the CIA: need I say more? This book looks dramatic and suspenseful! (April 1st, 2014)

The Fire Wish by Amber Lought – I adore genies and djinn and jinni. Whatever you want to call them I have loved them since I was 7 and watched Disney’s Aladdin for the first time and recently wrote my own novel about them (although my story is only really fit for the recycling bin). I’m always glad to see new stories about the wish granters and Amber Lought’s debut looks delightful. Unwilling brides, Eastern princes and not one but two magic lamps? This book is definitely on my wish list. (July 22nd, 2014)

Tape The Break-Up Artist Wish You Were Italian Sekret (Sekret, #1)

Authors I love with New Series / Standalones

The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E Smith – I love this author as she writes lovely and fun contemporary novels which aren’t just fluff. There’s substance and more to them than you might expect. Two strangers being stuck in an elevator is one of those concepts that I love to read and I’m sure this novel will live up to my expectations! (April 15th, 2014)

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han – Books about letters are another one of those things that I really enjoy reading about. Having a box of letters written to exes but never intending for them to read them but having them sent out? Sounds like some great contemporary drama to be had! (April 22nd, 2014)

Panic by Lauren Oliver – Panic is a game played among graduating seniors with prize money that could set you up perfectly for college. Only catch it the game is illegal and it’s not unheard of that people get seriously hurt or even die. How great is this idea? I may not have finished Lauren Oliver’s Delirium series but Panic sounds like my kind of story. (March 4th, 2014)

Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong – I’m an autobuyer of anything Kelley Armstrong writes and I’m interested in this upcoming series. Sisters tasked with keeping the souls of the damned quiet. It sounds a little more high fantasy than her other books and I’m looking forward to reading this one. (April 8th, 2014)

After the End by Amy Plum – I was a huge fan of the Reverants series and because of that, I’m interested to see what Amy Plum’s next series will deliver. Post World War III and its set in Alaska, my favourite of the US states! After the End looks like a great new dystopian novel! (May 6th, 2014)

The Geography of You and Me To All the Boys I've Loved Before Panic Sea of Shadows (Age of Legends, #1) After the End (After the End, #1)

These are all books I’m very excited for. I was growing a little sad the other day when I realized just how close we are to the end of the year but with this many books to look forward to, 2014 is looking bright. Which books are you excited for? Any I should add to my to-read list? Feel free to leave me a comment – I love reading them! 🙂

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Top Ten Tuesday: BEST SEQUELS EVER!

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.

The topic for this week is: Top Ten BEST SEQUELS EVER! 

Oh yes…. capital letters on purpose! I love a good sequel. Here are the top ten that came to mind… But ones I LOVED!

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2)Series: Throne of Glass by Sarah Maas
Sequel: Crown of Midnight [my review]
Why I Loved it?: I loved the first one but the second book was everything I loved from the first book PLUS MORE! More action, more romance, more bloodthirsty Caelana being in assassin mode… HIGHLY recommend it.

Days of Blood and Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #2)Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Sequel: Days of Blood and Starlight [my review]
Why I Loved it?: Beautifully written, this second instalment was exciting and amazing. I loved the deeper look at the creatures and Karou’s past.

The Eternity Cure (Blood of Eden #2)Series: Blood of Eden by Julie Kagawa
Sequel: The Eternity Cure [my review]
Why I Loved it?: The first book, The Immortal Rules, did a great job at laying the groundwork but this book was so EXCITING! I loved Jackal and how Allie has grown throughout the book. Can’t wait for the third book!

Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles, #2)Series: The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
Sequel: Scarlet [my review]
Why I Loved it?: I fell in love with Cinder and to be honest – I was worried that the second book wouldn’t live up to my expectations. But it exceeded them. We got to see all the stuff that I loved from the first book and got to meet some brilliant new characters. When does the third book, Cress come out? Way too far awaay if you ask me 😛

Scent of Magic  (Healer #2)Series: Healer by Maria V Snyder
Sequel: Scent of Magic [my review]
Why I Loved it?: It may have been a bit of a filler novel to bridge the gap between one of my FAVOURITE first in a series books (Touch of Power) and what promises to be a brilliant third book – however it was great. I love these characters! I don’t think there are many character who are both healers and super kick-arse as Avry is.

Anne of Avonlea (Anne of Green Gables, #2)Series: Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery
Sequel: Anne of Avonlea
Why I Loved it?: I loved Anne-with-an-E when I was growing up and this was a great series. It’s one that I can mark my childhood against. I can remember where I was the first time I read parts of it and loved growing up with Anne.

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2)Series: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Sequel: Catching Fire
Why I Loved it?: The first book made such an impression on me but it was the second book that truly made me fall in love. Finnick was the best character in this series! And the events of this book…. fantastic!

Spark (Elementals, #2)Series: Elementals by Brigid Kemmerer
Sequel: Spark [my review]
Why I Loved it?: I love all the books in this series. It’s much like the adult paranormal romance books I read in terms of each book is about another pairing rather than the urban fantasy series that keep following the same main characters. Spark follows the hot-headed Merrick brother, Gabriel. He’s fantastic. I love this series! Can’t wait for Secret which is released in early 2014.

The Golden Lily (Bloodlines, #2)Series: Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
Sequel: The Golden Lily [my review]
Why I Loved it?: Sydney gets better with each instalment. And Adrian? Oh my… I know I’m a little Richelle Mead obsessed but I can’t wait for the fourth book, The Fiery Heart which is released November 19, 2013.

The Awakening (Darkest Powers, #2)Series: The Darkest Powers trilogy by Kelley Armstrong
Sequel: The Awakening [my review]
Why I Loved it?: I love Kelley Armstrong. She’s a Canadian author who writes fantastic urban fantasy novels. The Darkest Powers trilogy is set in the same universe as her adult series, Women of the Otherworld, but revolves around young adults instead. Chloe is just coming into her powers in the first book (The Reckoning) but by the time the second book starts – she’s embracing the young woman she’s starting to be. A great set of secondary cast members, this book really comes into its own.

I love sequels. I’d love to see which books you love and are on your lists this week!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Authors Who Deserve More Recognition!

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.

The topic for this week is: Top Ten Authors Who Deserve More Recognition

So here are some of my favourite authors who I think deserve more recognition.

A Corner of White (The Colours of Madeleine #1)Shadows (The Rephaim, #1)Between the LivesStormdancer (The Lotus War, #1)Saving FrancescaSpeechlessEleanor & ParkThe Summoning (Darkest Powers, #1)Poison Princess (The Arcana Chronicles, #1)Death and the Girl Next Door (Darklight, #1)

Jaclyn Moriarty (Aussie Author!) – I’m currently working my way through her Ashbury/Brookfield series and I love her writing style. I’m also a huge fan of A Corner of White which is a bit more fantasy but still fantastic.

Paula Weston (Aussie Author!) – I didn’t know about Paula or her Rephaim series until a few months ago but I’m delighted that I discovered them. One of my all time favourite YA angel series.

Jessica Shirvington (Aussie Author!)- Between the Lives is one of the coolest concepts in a book I’ve read in a while. One girl who lives each day twice as two different people. How cool? And her Violet Eden series is pretty great too.

Jay Kristoff (Aussie Author!) – Just finished Stormdancer and I’m on a mission to pimp it. It’s great. Japanese Steampunk? How could you not want to read this book and push it onto all your nearest and dearest people?

Melina Marchetta (Aussie Author!) – Okay, so she’s getting to be a fairly big name but I’ve adored her books for over a decade now (yep… I read Looking for Alibrandi back in 1999…. and it’s been true love ever since)

Hannah Harrington – Fantastic realistic contemporary writer. Speechless and Saving June were both powerful and made me think.

Rainbow RowellEleanor and Park was such a beautiful novel. And her adult book, Attachments, was a fun read that I enjoyed despite my reservations about the ethical issues the main character seemed to ignore.

Kelley Armstrong – I loved her adult urban fantasy series, Women of the Otherworld and adore her YA series that are set in the same universe. The Darkest Powers trilogy is amazing.

Kresley Cole – This author is a must buy for me. She’s more known for her adult paranormal romance series, Immortals After Dark, but has started writing for the YA crowed with Poison Princess. I loved this book. So much.

Darynda Jones – Another that I love for her adult series (Charlie Davidson) but she also writes YA! I’ve read Death and the Girl Next Door and loved her transition to the younger audience.

That’s the top 10 authors that I think need more recognition. Read them! And even if you don’t like them as much as I do, at least then we can discuss them! 😀 Hope you all have a fantastic week!

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Book Review: The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong

Title: The Reckoning (Darkest Powers Trilogy #3)
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Contemporary, magic, werewolves, witches, ghosts
Publisher: HarperCollins; Atom
Publication Date: April 2010
Pages: 391
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
My name is Chloe Saunders. I’m fifteen, and I would love to be normal.

But normal is one thing I’m not.

For one thing, I’m having these feelings for a certain antisocial werewolf and his sweet-tempered brother–who just happens to be a sorcerer–but, between you and me, I’m leaning toward the werewolf.

Not normal.

My friends and I are also on the run from an evil corporation that wants to get rid of us–permanently.

Definitely not normal.

And finally, I’m a genetically altered necro-mancer who can raise the dead, rotting corpses and all, without even trying.

As far away from normal as it gets.

My Review:

The troubled teens are still on the run from the sinister Edison Group; Chloe’s necromancy skills are getting stronger and stronger, Tori is able to perform magic that witches many times her age can’t achieve without incantations and Derek’s changes are getting more intense and more frequent. Add her romantic entanglement with both Simon AND Derek – things couldn’t get much more complicated for Chloe Saunders.

After holding up at a safe house but not feeling all that safe at the moment, Chloe has to cope with an evil teenage ghost haunting the house and a necromancer mentor who doesn’t believe Chloe’s skills. Along with the threat of the Edison Group hanging over them, the teens grow more and more suspicious of anyone and everyone until… at last – one way or another – they get to the bottom of the Lyle House mystery…

I’m always anxious when I get to the last book in a series/trilogy that I’m enjoying. I want to know just how it’s going to end but at the same time I don’t want to have to leave the characters.

Chloe has grown so much since the first book. Her powers are developing experientially and she’s come a long way from the stuttering fearful girl into the woman who overcomes her fears when it comes to protecting the ones she loves.

The other characters are great in their own ways too – I’m not sure after the first book I ever thought I could like Tori but she’s grown on me and I’m glad that the others accepted her into their merry crew of adolescent misfits.

I loved the amount of action that occurs throughout this book. There’s evil angry ghosts, get away plans, werewolves and so much more. This was a fantastic instalment in the trilogy however – I didn’t love the ending. Or rather, I didn’t like that the trilogy was ending. There’s so much more I want to know. But I did love how all the drama came to climax and the resulting resolution was fitting to the series.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository


Book Review: The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong

Title: The Summoning (Darkest Powers Trilogy #1)
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Contemporary, 
Publisher: HarperCollins; Atom
Publication Date: April 2009
Pages: 360
Rating: 4.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
If you had met me a few weeks ago, you probably would have described me as an average teenage girl — someone normal. Now my life has changed forever and I’m as far away from normal as it gets. I’m a living science experiment — not only can I see ghosts, but I was genetically altered by a sinister organization call the Edison Group. What does that mean? For starters. I’m a teenage necromancer whose powers are out of control: I raise the dead without even trying. Trust me, that is not a power you want to have. Ever.

Now I’m running for my life with three of my supernatural friends – a charming sorcerer, a cynical werewolf, and a disgruntled witch – and we have to find someone who can help us before the Edison Group finds us first. Or die trying.

My Review:

I think the Darkest Powers trilogy is going to go down as one of my favourite YA paranormal series.

The Awakening picks up at the exact moment that the first book in the series, The Summoning, finishes – with Chloe stuck in the institution after a somewhat failed break out attempt from Lyle House and the heartbreaking betrayal from Chloe’s aunt.

Now, with her every move being monitored by the staff and no escape routes visible, Chloe needs to deal with the ghosts that won’t leave her alone and her anxiety over Simon’s health and Derek’s “condition” whilst they are on the run. Not one to sit around and pout, Chloe – with the help of Liz’s ghost – needs finds a way to get out, find the boys and get to the bottom of what the sinister scientists are up to.

For me, this book had what The Summoning was lacking. It was exciting, fast paced and suspenseful. I picked this book up when I couldn’t sleep, vowing only to read a few chapters… next thing I knew it was 3am and I’d finished it.

I complained about Chloe coming across as a little bland in the first book but she’s completely redeemed herself in my eyes. I found that I enjoyed getting to see her embrace her ghost busting powers more and more as well as not letting anyone who was bigger and badder than her push her around.

Derek is a character that I adored after the first book and now I like him even more. He and the other supporting characters have issues and complicated pasts. It makes them somewhat real in an unreal and paranormal world. Tori, Simon and the others are an incredibly mismatched group but their bickering entertained me and I loved the fact that they were flawed and kept their grudges despite their current circumstances.

As a fan of Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series, I was thrilled to read the slight crossover that occurred in this novel (Clayton’s reputation precedes him!) and makes perfect sense to the plot of this story.

This book is not one that can be read as a stand alone – there is a lot that is assumed knowledge from the first book in the series – but is a fantastic story that includes some of my favourite supernatural creatures, exciting plot and interesting characters.

I jumped online and bought the third book as soon as I finished reading….

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository


Book Review: The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

Title: The Summoning (Darkest Powers Trilogy #1)
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Contemporary, 
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: July 2008
Pages: 390
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Chloe Saunders sees dead people. Yes, like in the films. The problem is, in real life saying you see ghosts gets you a one-way ticket to the psych ward. And at 15, all Chloe wants to do is fit in at school and maybe get a boy to notice her. But when a particularly violent ghost haunts her, she gets noticed for all the wrong reasons. Her seemingly crazed behaviour earns her a trip to Lyle House, a centre for disturbed teens.

At first Chloe is determined to keep her head down. But then her room mate disappears after confessing she has a poltergeist, and some of the other patients also seem to be manifesting paranormal behaviour. Could that be a coincidence? Or is Lyle House not quite what it seems…? Chloe realizes that if she doesn’t uncover the truth, she could be destined for a lifetime in a psychiatric hospital. Or could her fate be even worse…? Can she trust her fellow students, and does she dare reveal her dark secret?

My Review:

I love the concept of this novel. I’ve been a fan of Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series for a long time now and I have wondered what happens to the children when they don’t have someone incredible to introduce them into the magical and supernatural world. Those questions were answered in The Summoning. 

Chloe Saunders isn’t like other fifteen-year olds. Her mother died when she was younger and her dad is an absentee parent. Her housekeepers and aunt raised her. Oh – and she sees ghosts. After an incident in school, which resulted in Chloe accidentally assaulting a teacher, Chloe gets sent to Lyle House – an institution for troubled teens. Chloe tries to keep her head down and tell the doctor and other staff what they want to hear – that ghosts don’t exist and they were just a result of Chloe having schizophrenia. But after some strange happenings at Lyle House, Chloe isn’t too sure that ghosts don’t exist. There’s a ghost in the basement and her room-mate is plagued with a poltergeist. Add in a boy who claims to be a sorcerer and a couple of other slightly odd characters and Chloe starts to question if Lyle House is really all it appears to be…

I know I said it before but I want to say it again. I loved the concept of this story. The only problem was I found it a little lacking in execution. The cast of characters were interesting and I thought it brilliant the way they all came together. Kid who did odd things or claimed to see the unnatural – it makes perfect sense that they would be segregated from “normal” kids and placed in a psychiatric facility. The nurses served their roles well but I felt like even after reading the novel I barely knew them.

Chloe was a little bland for my liking – she only truly started to appeal to me as a character in the last fifty pages or so. I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series as I did really start to care about what happened to her but for the most part she was a little irritating. What I did like about Chloe was her interest in film and the way that when life got a little too difficult or scary, she’d imagine how she’d have her actors play the scene if it was a scene she was directing. I found that an adorable way of having the heroine face her fears and put herself into situations she didn’t want to be in and at the same time retain her timid persona.

There were times when I felt like this book dragged on a little. The middle part of this novel felt like it took forever. All the events in this book occur within a two-week time frame but it felt like a lot longer as every day and the routine of each day in Lyle House was mentioned. I do wonder if that was a way of trying to involve the reader and to try to show what things were like for Chloe and the other misfits but I got a little bored. Had I not been stuck on a train with no other reading material – I probably would have given up on this book and that would have been a shame.

The ending was fantastic. Whilst for the first part of the novel I really couldn’t care less if I kept reading or not, the ending had me hooked. I was devastated when it ended. I will definitely be reading the next book in this series.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository