Sunday, 30 October 2011

In My Mailbox (7)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. Each weekend I'll post about any new books I've gotten either in my mailbox or from a store or library that week. If I haven't gotten any new books, I'll wait until I do.

After last weeks massive haul I didn't intend to get any new books this week at all. Fate, however, turned out to have other plans. I went to a Cassandra Clare signing (which was awesome) and noticed the Gallagher Girls books sitting on the shelf, signed by the author so of course I had to buy them. Then it turned out Sarah Rees Brennan was at the event too, so it would have been rude not to buy a couple of books for her to sign right? Then I won a bag of swag including four books, two of which aren't released until next January :o

Then I stopped by The Works (a UK bookstore that sells books really cheap) to pick something up for my Mum and saw Divergent which I'm super psyched about reading so that had to come home with me, and then a copy of The Giver also snuck into the basket. Add to that a couple of amazon one-click impulse buys and a trip to pick up my holds from the library and this week became another haul.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Shelf Candy Saturday (1)

Shelf Candy Saturday is an awesome weekly meme hosted by Five Alarm Book Reviews where each Saturday bloggers defy the saying "never judge a book by its cover" and showcase one that really catches their eye. Covers play a huge role in the books I choose so it's great to have the opportunity to showcase the pretties :)

My shelf candy for this week is The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

The circus arrives without warning.

No announcements precede it...

It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.

I love the simplicity of the cover, using just four colours. The majority is black and white, but there is a flash of red and the stars in the background are shiny silver.

It's very pretty but it isn't just the main cover that caught my eye and won it a starring role in my first ever Shelf Candy Saturday. As you can see from the pictures below, the inside cover pages are gorgeous and the edges of the pages are black. There is also a built in red bookmark which is brilliant for me as I'm terrible for losing bookmarks.

Also when you take the slipcover off the book, there is a gorgeous design on the cover:

The Night Circus has different covers for the UK and US markets. Below the UK cover is on the left and the US is on the right. I personally prefer the UK cover because it fits best with the blurb. Also the US cover looks suspiciously clown-like.

So what's your shelf candy this week?

Friday, 28 October 2011

Lover Mine by J. R. Ward

Title: Lover Mine
Author: J.R. Ward
Publisher: Piatkus
ISBN: 978-0-7499-4178-9
Pages: 653
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #8
Type: Adult Paranormal Romance
Source: Purchased

John Matthew has now passed through his vampire transition and fights along the other Brothers against the evil Lessening Society. John's heart belongs to Xhex, a half-symphath assassin, who has been kidnapped by Lash. The problem is Lash is no ordinary Lesser, he is half vampire and the son of the Omega and has some nasty tricks up his sleeve. John is desperate to find Xhex, but the question is not whether he'll find her but whether she'll survive her imprisionment and whether she'll let herself be found.

This is the eighth Black Dagger Brotherhood novel (after Dark Lover, Lover Eternal, Lover Awakened, Lover Revealed, Lover Unbound, Lover Enshrined and Lover Avenged) and focuses on John Matthew whose story has been told in the background since book two.

This picks up four weeks after Xhex's abduction at the end of the previous book, and John is losing hope of ever finding her. The plot is cleverly written and well paced. The author has managed to find a balance between action and emotion that keeps you turning the pages desperate to see what happens next. John and Xhex's relationship has been slowly developing over the last few books so I was eager to what happened next and how they dealt with their traumatic pasts.

As usual the book has additional storylines running alongside the main John/Xhex perspectives. This time there are flashbacks to when Darius and Tohrment first met, along with a view on Lash and the Lessening Society and a TV show. These sections following the TV crew for Paranormal Investigators in South Carolina detracted from my enjoyment of the book quite a bit. While I understand their relevance to the longer series arc, I found the transition between these segments and John's story to be jarring.

One thing I loved about the book is that John and Xhex were able to develop as individuals, and other characters managed to get some page time. Tohrment and John's relationship regains it's balance, and Qhuinn and Blay's relationship goes through some unexpected changes. The ending was very cleverly done, giving closure to some characters and coming up with some unexpected twists. It also creates a good lead into Payne and Manny's book which is up next.

All in all this was a great read and I can't wait for Lover Unleashed.

Plot: 10/10
Characters: 10/10
Ending: 10/10
Enjoyment: 9/10
Cover: 9/10

Overall: 48/50

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Booking Through Thursday (8)

What’s the hardest/most challenging book you’ve ever read? Was it worth the effort? Did you read it by choice or was it an assignment/obligation?

I honestly don't know. I've spent a good part of the day trying to think of the most challenging book I've ever read and it's been tricky to come up with an answer. I think it must be Firmin by Sam Savage. My stepmother loaned it to me and the whole book was just so disturbing I ended up reading it desperately hoping it got better. It was purchased as part of a Borders haul (sorry Dad, your credit card must still be wincing!) and we both thought it sounded really good. It wasn't :(

I've also read quite a few classics which are more challenging than modern books purely for the language but I still enjoyed them and felt they were worth the effort. There have also been modern books with scenes I found difficult to read emotionally (like the end of Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs) but again I still liked the book.

I think my problem is that if I find a book too challenging to read then I won't keep reading it. There are very few books I've given up on but if I find I'm really forcing myself to keep reading I'll stop. I've mentioned it here before, but The Time Machine is one of these. I just couldn't get into it so I gave up.

Fall into Reading - Question 5

As part of the Fall into Reading challenge, Katrina at Callapidderdays is going to be posting a reading related question each Wednesday. I'm hoping to answer them here each week, partly to keep me motivated for the challenge itself (I find it way too easy to forget about challenges) and partly because there's a great group of people taking part and I'd like to see their answers.

If you're wondering what the whole Fall into Reading thing is about, check out my original post here or Katrina's "The Basics" post here.

This weeks question is: Do you skim? Or are you faithful to read every word?

Okay so my answer for this is a day late as I intended to do this last night but didn't get home from a Cassandra Clare signing (which was awesome) until late so I pretty much ate and fell asleep.

I very rarely skim, but occasionally it does happen. If I'm reading a book and I get bored, my first thing to do is check to see how much is left. If I stay bored for several chapters then there's a good chance I'll start skimming. If more chapters pass and I'm still bored I'll stop reading that book all together, unless I'm reading it for a reason. That said I stopped reading The Time Machine out of boredom in high school and never finished it, even though it was for an English exam (which I passed - yay for Cliff Notes!)

The only other thing that will make me skim is if the book becomes excessively graphic in terms of violence or sexual content. I do read adult books and I'm rarely bothered by either, but every now and then I'll come across a book that is too graphic and then I'll start skimming those sections.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Top Ten Tuesday (7)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the Broke and the Bookish where a new top ten list is posted each week. This week is: Top Ten Books To Read During Halloween.

1. Hallowe'en Party by Agatha Christie
There is no way this book wasn't ending up on this list. I brought it last Halloween (partly for the cover) and it is brilliant. If you haven't read her other Poirot books you'll be missing a few things, but I'd only read one and still really enjoyed this. It features Ariadne Oliver as a character who plays off Poirot really well.

2. The Harrowing by Alexandra Sokoloff
This has made several of my TTT lists already, but it's placed here because (a) it's scary, (b) it's written by a screenwriter so is similar to watching a horror movie, and (c) it's scary!

3. I Know What You Did Last Summer by Lori Duncan
This has very little in common with the movie, and I didn't realise just how old it was until I realised the war they were talking about was in Vietnam. It stands the test of time really well and it has a creepy whodunnit vibe throughout.

4. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Come on - creepy ghosts, haunted moors and mist? Throw in the Kate Bush song Heathcliff and you've got a Halloween special. I read this a couple of years ago and surprised myself by actually enjoying it. It's got amazing atmosphere that would really suit the Halloween season.

5. Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Also known as The Scottish Play by actors who are too superstitious to use the actual title in a theatre. It fits pretty well with the Halloween theme with witches, murder and mayhem.

6. Dracula by Bram Stoker
Pretty much what I'm likely to be reading for Halloween. I've never read it before but it made the list because it is basically the original vampire novel. Also I've been lucky enough to visit Whitby in Yorkshire where his boat crashes and that is a very creepy place.

7. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Purely based on the title alone, this is the ideal Halloween read. I don't think my copy remain unread until then because it sounds awesome! Also look at the cover - doesn't that just scream Halloween?

8. Possess by Gretchen McNeil
Another one on my Halloween reading list, this time about demons. I saw some great reviews for this and loved the cover, but it was the teaser video that really got me to pick up a copy. The video can be found here and is uber-creepy.

9. The Hollow by Jessica Verday
Beautiful, haunting and atmospheric this is the ideal Halloween read and it comes with the added bonus of snippets of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow at the start of each chapter. I loved it and read it in a day, which is impressive even for me as it's over 500 pages.

10. Anything by Edgar Allan Poe
"Quoth the Raven, nevermore" Poe has written some of the creepiest poems and short stories around, and while I haven't read all of them I've been impressed with those I have read.

Teaser Tuesdays (8)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Miz B at Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers.

My teaser:

"He had the car door open before the Bentley was in park and he was walking for the front entrance before Rehv was out from behind the wheel. The overriding sense of dread he got was actually a good sign."

~ Page 194, Lover Mine by J. R. Ward

Monday, 24 October 2011

Wonderfully Wicked Read-a-Thon - Round Up

I didn't post a progress check yesterday as I had a massive headache and went to bed. I did manage to finish Lover Avenged and I've started Lover Mine.

So, over the readathon I have finished 3 books and started a fourth for a total of 1477 pages. I've also had a ton of fun and met some other awesome bloggers :) Links to my reviews are below:

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Lover Avenged by J. R. Ward

Title: Lover Avenged
Author: J.R. Ward
Publisher: Piatkus
ISBN: 978-0-7499-4173-4
Pages: 719
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #7
Type: Adult Paranormal Romance
Source: Purchased

Caldwell has long been the battle ground for the war between the Brothers and the Lessening Society. On the sidelines Rehvenge has built a successful business providing his nightclub clientele with whatever they want so it is unsurprising when he is asked to kill Wrath, the vampire King. Rehvenge has secrets of his own to keep, like his true symphath nature that would result in his imprisonment, and when the plots become too much he turns to Ehlena, the only source of light in his dark world.

This is the seventh book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series (after Dark Lover, Lover Eternal, Lover Awakened, Lover Revealed, Lover Unbound and Lover Enshrined) and one I approached with trepidation. Not only was the previous book a let down, but this is the longest one yet at 716 pages. This is a total return to form though and I loved it.

The plot is cleverly done and there is a lot of it. Rehvenge's life is more complex than the previously featured Brothers, and this book reflects that showing his separate business, family, symphath and romantic lives. It also has different plotlines relating to Xhex and John Matthew whose relationship gets even more complicated and messy (luckily their book is next), Lash's new life as a lesser and his role within the Lessening Society and Wrath's changing role as fighter and King. There is so much story here I became a little overwhelmed but it is well paced with a ton of tension.

I've liked Rehvenge ever since his introduction as the Reverend at the beginning of the series. We've seen him grow and change throughout the books, showing his protective family side and the responsibilty he has taken on to keep Xhex safe. He lives in a very dark place because of his responsibilities, and Ehlena is brilliant for balancing out Rehvenge's darkness. As someone who cares for a parent I can say that her emotions as a carer are spot on and this really made her character come to life for me.

The ending is incredible, giving all the characters an opportunity to be the best they can be - even Wrath and Tohr who had occasionally annoyed me earlier in the book. It reshapes the BDB world and also leads straight into the next book so I can't wait to see where the author goes from here.

All in all this was an awesome read and I can't wait to get stuck into Lover Mine.

Plot: 10/10
Characters: 10/10
Ending: 10/10
Enjoyment: 9/10
Cover: 9/10

Overall: 48/50

In My Mailbox (6)

 In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. Each weekend I'll post about any new books I've gotten either in my mailbox or from a store or library that week. If I haven't gotten any new books, I'll wait until I do.

As part of last week's fall from grace, I placed a massive amazon order which has now arrived and I took advantage of a buy-one-get-one-half-price plus 20% off deal at the bookstore so this week is a massive haul! Once again it's just a cover gallery, and this is likely to be the last big mailbox for a while as I'm all shopped out.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Blog Design by Imagination Designs all images from the Glamor Amour by Irene Alexeeva