31 January 2013

January Wrap-Up

Oh man, January is over already?! *Freaks out*

It's been a wierd, stressful month with work kicking my butt, but I've read some awesome books and made a great start to the year.



Garden of Stones by Sophie Littlefield
14 by Peter Clines
Revolution 19 by Gregg Rosenblum
Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky #1) by Veronica Rossi
Through the Ever Night (Under the Never Sky #2) by Veronica Rossi
Ashen Winter (Ashfall #2) by Mike Mullin
By the Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead by Julie Anne Peters
The Madman's Daughter (The Madman's Daughter #1) by Megan Shepherd
In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters
Just One Day (Just One Day #1) by Gayle Forman
Cracked Up To Be by Courtney Summers 
The Dead Of the Night (Tomorrow #2) by John Marsden
Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days #1) by Susan Ee

Books Read in 2013: 13
Pages Read: 4327

How is your year going so far?

30 January 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #17 - Requiem by Lauren Oliver

Hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, Waiting on Wednesday showcases the books we're lusting after. Get ready to load up your TBR!



Requiem (Delirium #3) by Lauren Oliver

Expected Publication: 5 March 2013 by HarperTeen

Synopsis

Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.

After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancĂ©e of the young mayor. Requiem is told from both Lena’s and Hana’s points of view. The two girls live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.


Why I'm Waiting

OK, I didn't LOVE LOVE LOVE the first two books in the series, but I did enjoy them. And I want to find out what happens, dammit!

What are YOU waiting on this week?

29 January 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Frustrating Characters Ever


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. I heart lists!

I thought this would be a difficult list to write - and then once I started I realised just how many characters have made me want to tear my hair out!

Kate from The Goddess Test and Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter
Honestly, this is the first (and only) character I wished I could meet so I could slap her. Her never-ending self doubt, woe-is-me attitude just irritated me no end. She is the main reason I banished the series to my series graveyard.

Kate from Until I Die by Amy Plum
I liked Kate in the first book, but in the second the cliches just became far too much for me to stomach. Only the Parisian setting has saved this one from the graveyard fate.

Stella from Torn by Stephanie Guerra
I get the whole lack of confidence thing, I really do, but the whole ''poor me'' thing was just too much for a contemporary book where liking the characters is the most important thing.

Michael from Timepiece / Hourglass by Myra McEntire
I didn't like Michael from the beginning, and I never ever understood what Emerson saw in him. He just felt sleazy and insincere.

Mara from Sundered by Shannon Meyer
Lady, your husband is a ZOMBIE. I get that you love him with deep, eternal, undying love, but he's a fucking zombie! You cannot train him to not be a zombie!

Miranda from Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
The world is ending. What's your biggest worry? Well, if you're Miranda, it's that your mother favours your brother over you. Go out and forage for something, stop bitching!

Mary from The Forest of Hands of Teeth by Carrie Ryan
I almost didn't include Mary on my list, because she was so boring as a character that I couldn't even bring myself to dislike her, let alone work up the energy to hate her. But I can enjoy hating a character, I can't enjoy not giving a toss.

Hephzibah & Rebecca from Black Heart Blue by Louisa Reid
Cold, heartless, horrid little girl. Rather than sticking with her sister against their evil parents, she was also horrible to Rebecca. And Rebecca still loved her unconditionally! Argh!

Stephen from The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch
Another character that I had no reason to like, and no reason to really dislike either.

Who are your most frustrating characters?  Do you feel differently about any of mine?

28 January 2013

Young Adult Giveaway Hop


Hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and BookLove101, it's the Young Adult Giveaway Hop!

The winner can choose one YA book, up to the value of EUR 12.00.  Easy peasy!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Once you're done, make sure to hop over to the other stops.  Good luck!

27 January 2013

Showcase Sunday #22


Showcase Sunday is hosted by the fabulous Vicky at Books, Biscuits and Tea and is all about sharing our new books - beg, borrowed or bought.


Medicine Men by Carolyn Jourdan
Taken (Taken #1) by Erin Bowman (Thanks to HarperTeen)
World of Shell and Bone by Adriana Ryan
Cracked Up To Be by Courtney Summers
0.4 (Point 4 #1) by Mike Lancaster
Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff
Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
Wide Awake by David Levithan
Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan
Are We There Yet by David Levithan
Daddy Love by Joyce Carol Oates (Thanks to High-Bridge Audio)

That's all for this week.  What arrived in your mailbox?

25 January 2013

Review: The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd

The Madman's Daughter (The Madman's Daughter #1) by Megan Shepherd

Expected Publication: 29 January 2013 by Balzer + Bray

Pages: 432 (hardcover)

Genre/s: YA, Gothic-horror, Classics retelling

Source: Publisher for review

Synopsis


In the darkest places, even love is deadly.

Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father's gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.

Accompanied by her father's handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father's madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island's inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father's dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it's too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father's genius—and madness—in her own blood.

Inspired by H. G. Wells's classic The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Madman's Daughter is a dark and breathless Gothic thriller about the secrets we'll do anything to know and the truths we'll go to any lengths to protect.

My Thoughts

When I first saw the cover and synopsis of The Madman's Daughter I had immediate book -lust.  A pretty cover, Gothic historical fiction thriller based on a classic?  Even with an obvious love triangle in the making, I was so excited about this book.

And maybe that excitement and build-up is partly to blame for me not loving The Madman's Daughter as much as I thought I would.  Expectation can really be a killer.

The Madman's Daughter is certainly a dark, Gothic, historical fiction.  Although I have't read The Island of Dr. Moreau myself, I have a basic knowledge of the plot, and my impression is that Megan Shephard used that plot and really didn't hold anything back.  This is definitely not a book for the easily upset or rattled - it's confrontational and dark, bordering on horror.

Juliet is a bit of a lost soul and although shes tough, brave and academically clever, it doesn't seem that she's very street-smart which is quite odd for a sixteen-year-old-girl who has been fending for herself in London - some of the decisions she makes on the island, and signals that she misses did make her a little frustrating for me.  I also didn't understand her attraction to both Montgomery and Edward - I really liked Montgomery with his loyalty and calmness, but I found Edward kind of irritating, almost to the point of insipidness.

I loved the atmosphere that Ms. Shephard created in The Madman's Daughter - from London, to the sea journey and finally to the creepiness of the island, the whole book just made me feel like I was right there in the story, and although the 'mystery' was exactly what I expected, it was definitely creepy enough to get my attention. 

The plot itself is really quite chilling and definitely one of the positives, along with Ms. Shephard's writing which really reflects the time period and the feel of the story.  The island isn't described in minute detail, but it's mysterious and varied enough to really build up the plot and tension.  There's not much more I can say without really giving away huge chunks of the plot, but it definitely kept me interested, despite some of the uneven pacing which had me either unable to put it down or bored.

This review is pretty much as confused as I felt about this book.  I loved the plot, the feel and the world-building but I was underwhelmed by the characters and the pacing.   However, I'm interested to see where this series goes next - especially when I feel the need for incredibly atmospheric writing.

24 January 2013

Review: Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Just One Day (Just One Day #1) by Gayle Forman

Published: 8 January 2013 by Dutton Juvenile

Pages: 368 (hardcover)

Genre/s: YA, Contemporary

Source: Own library

Synopsis


When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.

My Thoughts

I was so excited about Gayle Forman's newest book that I turned into something of a stalker.  I entered every giveaway I could find, nearly broke my mouse requesting e-galleys and finally ended up pre-ordering on Kindle (which I nearly never do) to make sure I could get my copy as soon as humanly possible.

If you think this is leading up to the bit where I say that Just One Day didn't live up to my lofty expectations, you're almost right.  The first 30% or so I was so completely underwhelmed and disappointed I actually contemplated throwing it back on the shelf (metaphorically speaking), and pretending the whole thing never happened.  But I stuck with it, and I'm really glad that I did.

My first issue was the characters.  I get that Allyson is supposed to be a great example of what breaking out of confines can do, and growing up is hard and learning to be yourself is important, but I actually didn't like her as a character.  I found her whiny, negative and quite boring to be brutally honest.  I also didn't get the attraction to Willem - I'd built this book up in my head to be an incredibly romantic story with a swoon-worthy lead, but he just didn't work for me.  And when Allyson returns to the US and college, I literally wanted to reach through the pages and slap her.  Yeah, this was an adventure, kinda romantic and completely out of her comfort zone, but she was so fucking mopey.

But once I got past the day in Paris and the mind-numbing my-life-is-shit attitude, I really really enjoyed Allyson's coming-of-age - shrugging off the expecations of her parents, learning that things cannot always stay the same, finding her own passions and doing things outside her comfort zone, all of which made her a more likable character.

I loved the travel aspect, particularly some of the final stages of her trip, and her determination to find the answers to the questions that had been driving her crazy over the past year.

So in the end, Just One Day redeemed itself for me.  We had a rocky start, but I'm definitely looking forward to reading Just One Year.

23 January 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #16 - The Lives We Lost by Megan Crewe

Hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, Waiting on Wednesday showcases the books we're lusting after. Get ready to load up your TBR!
The Lives We Lost (Fallen World #2) by Megan Crewe

Expected Publication: 12 February 2013 by Disney Hyperion

Synopsis

First, the virus took Kaelyn’s friends. Then, her family. Now it’s taken away her home.

But she can't look back—the life she once had is gone forever.

A deadly virus has destroyed Kaelyn’s small island community and spread beyond the quarantine. No one is safe. But when Kaelyn finds samples of a vaccine in her father's abandoned lab, she knows there must be someone, somewhere, who can replicate it. As Kaelyn and her friends head to the mainland, they encounter a world beyond recognition. It’s not only the “friendly flu” that’s a killer—there are people who will stop at nothing to get their hands on the vaccine. How much will Kaelyn risk for an unproven cure, when the search could either destroy those she loves or save the human race?

Megan Crewe's second volume in the Fallen World trilogy is an action-packed journey that explores the resilience of friendship, the ache of lost love, and Kaelyn’s enduring hope in the face of the sacrifices she must make to stay alive.

Why I'm Waiting

I really enjoyed the first book in the Fallen World series with it's virusey goodness, and I can't wait to find out what happens next!

What are YOU waiting on this week?

22 January 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Settings I'd Like To See More Of (Or At All)


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. I heart lists!

Settings I'd Like To See More Of


1. Other planets - I know, there's loads of science fiction books set on other planets, but they are too 'science-y' for my tastes.  If an author can build an intricate post-apocalyptic world, surely something similar on another planet shouldn't be that big of a stretch.  The possibilities are endless!

2. Antarctica/the Arctic - despite my undying hatred for anything snow and ice-related, survival and adventure stories in Antarctic or Arctic would be awesome.

3. Africa - safaris, lost in the desert, travel!

4. 1700s - I love historical fiction, but the 1700s is a century I haven't really read much of.

5. World War I - Again with the historical fiction, but I've read loads of WWII books, so I'd love to see more set in WWI.

6. Wild West - As long as it's not a bodice-ripper! 

7. Time Travel- I'm always fascinated by time travel - and it's a great genre-bender - sci-fi/historical/contemporary fiction anyone?

8. Australia - because I have to say it!

9. Undersea - There's loads of dystopians set in domes, gated communities etc.  What about one in an undersea dome like Atlantis?

10. Tropical Islands - Just so I can imagine I'm there.

What would like you to see more of?  Or do you have any recommendations of books in the above settings?

20 January 2013

Showcase Sunday #21


Showcase Sunday is hosted by the fabulous Vicky at Books, Biscuits and Tea and is all about sharing our new books - beg, borrowed or bought.

Only one physical book this week (hence no vlog), but what a book!


In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters (huge thanks to Abrams & Chronicle)

Although it's not released until April, I started flicking through the pages on Thursday and couldn't help but start reading it.  This book is everything I hoped it would be and more - can't wait to share my thoughts with you in April!
Ebooks
Thin Wire by Christine Lewry
Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (thanks to Harlequin UK)
Notes From Ghost Town by Kate Ellison (thanks to Egmont USA)
None of the Regular Rules by Erin Downing (for Expresso Reads book tour)
Cage of Bones (Marina Esposito #3) by Tania Carver (thanks to Pegasus Books)
All the Light There Was by Nancy Kricorian (thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash (thanks to Transworld)
Jenny Plague-Bringer (The Paranormals #4) by J.L. Bryan (thanks to the author)
Hellifax (Mountain Man #3) by Keith C. Blackmore (thanks to the author)

Last Week
Books Read
The Madman's Daughter (The Madman's Daughter #1) by Megan Shepherd
In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

On the blog
Reviews of Before You Read This, I'll Be Dead by Julie Anne Phillips and Ashen Winter (Ashfall #2) by Mike Mullin, a cover reveal and giveaway for Corded by Alyssa Rose Ivy, an awesome-sounding natural disaster book for Waiting on Wednesday, my most anticipated 2013 debuts for Top Ten Tuesday, new releases on audio for Audiobook Friday and my Bout of Books 6.0 Wrap-Up.

Currently Reading
Cannibal Reign by Thomas Koloniar
A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1) by George R.R. Martin

Around the Internets

I'm featured at Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile, talking about blogging and zombie survival - a huge thanks to Jessica for featuring me for a whole month!

A fascinating interview with John Green at the Sydney Morning Herald.

If you're a blogger, this post at The Bibliotaphe Closest will really ring true.  And it made me nod my head so much I was in danger of whiplash!

Molli at Once Upon a Prologue started a new discussion series and the first post is about Blogger Jealousy.

And unfortunately plagiarism has raised its ugly head again.  Auntie Spinelli Reads and other bloggers have unfortunately discovered a blogger had been plagiarising reviews from other bloggers.  Stealing (that's what it is!) is NOT COOL!

Any bookish loveliness in your mailbox this week?

19 January 2013

Review: By the Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead by Julie Anne Peters

By the Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead by Julie Anne Peters

Published: 5 January 2010 by Hyperion

Pages: 200 (hardcover)

Genre/s: YA, Realistic fiction

Source: Own library

Synopsis

Daelyn Rice is broken beyond repair, and after a string of botched suicide attempts, she’s determined to get her death right. She starts visiting a website for “completers”— www. through-the-light.com.



While she’s on the site, Daelyn blogs about her life, uncovering a history of bullying that goes back to kindergarten. When she’s not on the Web, Daelyn’s at her private school, where she’s known as the freak who doesn’t talk.

Then, a boy named Santana begins to sit with her after school while she’s waiting to for her parents to pick her up. Even though she’s made it clear that she wants to be left alone, Santana won’t give up. And it’s too late for Daelyn to be letting people into her life…isn’t it?

My Thoughts

By the Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead (abbreviated to BTYRT for ease of typing) was never going to be anything other than an intense, sad book. For some reason, I'm always drawn to tough books that pull at my emotions and have me glued to the pages, hoping that something better will happen for the characters, and BTYRT was no exception.

Bullying is something that many of us have experienced as children and teens, from schoolyard taunts through to actual physical abuse, and whilst reading BTYRT, Daelyn's story felt so very real, I wanted to grab all the people that had made her so miserable and shake them.  Interwoven with the bullying there are also struggles with body-image and an overwhelming need for acceptance.

Daelyn is so isolated, so lonely and so very bleak that it was impossible not to feel a huge sympathy for her.  The back-story gradually reveals itself, rather than having a huge information dump at once, which makes it all the more haunting and sad as fragments of her teen years come together to form a very disturbing, cruel picture.

Ms. Peters strikes the perfect balance of parental involvement, something often missing in YA books, without having them overshadow Daelyn's very private thoughts and actions.  Their actions portrayed an overwhelming love and concern for their daughter, but it was also easy to see where they had missed the signs of things going very wrong, despite everything they were doing to try and help her live a happier life.  

Santana was certainly a bright spot in BTYRT - his outlook on life was so very different to Daelyn's, and the gradual revealing of his own story perfectly juxtaposed with Daelyn's own journey through the past few years of her life.

The website that forms the backbone of the plot was a great catalyst for the story.  I won't say much about it for fear of spoiling it, but it is mysterious, disturbing and really pulls some of the underlying themes together.

This is an intense book, folks.  It's haunting, shocking and almost ethereal and Daelyn's story is one that isn't easily forgettable. A quick read but one that is very very worthwhile.

And if you're wondering why four stars instead of five?  Although I really liked this book, I didn't love the ending - it just didn't work for me, but it does fit the tone of the book.  Does that make sense?!

18 January 2013

Audiobook Friday #11 - New Releases


Yeah, new stuff!  Here's a few audio releases from the last two weeks that caught my eye.

The Rook by Daniel O'Malley
Narrated by Katy Carmichael
Length: 17 hours, 57 minutes
Published by: AudioGo 17-1-2013

"The body you are wearing used to be mine." So begins the letter Myfanwy Thomas is holding when she awakes in a London park surrounded by bodies all wearing latex gloves. With no recollection of who she is, Myfanwy must follow the instructions her former self left behind to discover her identity and track down the agents who want to destroy her. She soon learns that she is a Rook, a high-ranking member of a secret organization called the Checquy that battles the many supernatural forces at work in Britain.

She also discovers that she possesses a rare and deadly supernatural ability of her own. Filled with characters both fascinating and fantastical, The Rook is a richly inventive, suspenseful fantasy. An astonishing debut from a brilliant new voice.

Narrated by Leslie Bellair
Length: 8 hours and 45 minutes
Published by: Audible 16-1-2013

Caro Mitchell considers herself an only child - and she likes it that way. After all, her much older sister, Hannah, left home eight years ago, and Caro barely remembers her. So when Caro's parents drop the bombshell news that Hannah is returning to live with them, Caro feels as if an interloper is crashing her family. To her, Hannah's a total stranger, someone who haunts their home with her meek and withdrawn presence, and who refuses to talk about her life and why she went away. Caro can't understand why her parents cut Hannah so much slack, and why they're not pushing for answers.

Unable to understand Hannah, Caro resorts to telling lies about her mysterious reappearance. But when those lies alienate her new boyfriend, friends, and put her on the outs with her parents, Caro seeks solace from an unexpected source. And as she unearths a clue from Hannah's past - one that could save Hannah from the dark secret that possesses her - Caro begins to see her sister in a whole new light.

Level 2 (The Memory Chronicles #1) by Lenore Appelhans
Narrated by Stephanie Cannon
Length: 7 hours, 47 minutes
Published by AudioGO 15-1-2013

Felicia Ward is dead. Trapped in Level 2, the waiting room between Earth and Heaven, she spends endless days replaying memories of her family, friends, boyfriend... and of the guy who broke her heart. The guy who has just broken into Level 2 to find her.... Felicia learns that a rebellion is brewing in Level 2, and it seems she is the key. Suspended between Heaven and Earth, she must make a choice. Between two worlds, two lives, and two loves. A choice that will change everything...

Shades Of Earth (Across the Universe #3) by Beth Revis
Narrated by Tara Carrozza
Length: 11 hours, 8 minutes
Published by Penguin Audio 15-1-2013

Amy and Elder have finally left the oppressive walls of the spaceship Godspeed behind. They're ready to start life afresh - to build a home - on Centauri-Earth, the planet that Amy has traveled 25 trillion miles across the universe to experience. But this new Earth isn't the paradise that Amy had been hoping for. Amy and Elder must race to uncover who - or what - else is out there if they are to have any hope of saving their struggling colony and building a future together. But as each new discovery brings more danger, Amy and Elder will have to look inward to the very fabric of what makes them human on this, their most harrowing journey yet. Because if the colony collapses? Then everything they have sacrificed - friends, family, life on Earth - will have been meaningless.

Zombie, Illinois by Scott Kenemore
Narrated by Pat Young
Length: 10 hours, 34 minutes
Published: 12-01-2013 by Audible

The sequel to the best-selling Zombie, Ohio, this explosive supernatural thriller from Scott Kenemore tells the story of three Chicagoans who have been thrown together by a bizarre, interconnected series of events during the first 24 hours of a zombie outbreak in the Midwest's largest city. A partnership is crafted between a pastor from Chicago's rough South Side, an intrepid newspaper reporter, and a young female musician, all of whom are fighting for survival as they struggle to protect themselves and their communities in a city overrun with the walking dead. Between the barricaded neighborhoods and violent zombie hunters, the trio encounters many mysterious occurrences that leave them shaken and disturbed.

When the mayor of Chicago is eaten by zombies on live television, and a group of shady aldermen attempt to seize power in the vacuum, these unlikely friends realize that they have stumbled upon a conspiracy to overthrow the city...and that they alone may be qualified to combine their talents to stop it.

17 January 2013

Cover Reveal and Giveaway - Corded by Alyssa Rose Ivy


Corded by Alyssa Rose Ivy

In a world where women are commodities, the only thing more rare than finding true love is a happy ending.

Kayla is in hiding—her only crime being born a girl in a society of 99% men. When her sister and niece are kidnapped, she is willing to do anything to save them. Kayla ventures into the dangerous streets of the city, a place where a woman can be claimed by anyone unless she has been marked by a club.

Desperate, she turns to Mason, a powerful club leader whose help comes at a cost—her freedom.

Cover by PhatPuppy Art


About the Author

Alyssa Rose Ivy lives in North Carolina with her husband and two young children. Although raised in the New York area, she fell in love with the South after moving to New Orleans for college. After years as a perpetual student, she turned back to her creative side and decided to write.




a Rafflecopter giveaway


 The bookish brunette

16 January 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #15 - Falling to Earth by Kate Southwood


Hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, Waiting on Wednesday showcases the books we're lusting after. Get ready to load up your TBR!

Falling to Earth by Kate Southwood

Expected Publication: 5 March 2013 by Europa Editions

Synopsis:

March 18, 1925. The day begins as any other rainy, spring day in the small settlement of Marah, Illinois. But the town lies directly in the path of the worst tornado in US history, which will descend without warning midday and leave the community in ruins. By nightfall, hundreds will be homeless and hundreds more will lie in the streets, dead or grievously injured. Only one man, Paul Graves, will still have everything he started the day with –– his family, his home, and his business, all miraculously intact.

Based on the historic Tri-State tornado, Falling to Earth follows Paul Graves and his young family in the year after the storm as they struggle to comprehend their own fate and that of their devastated town, as they watch Marah resurrect itself from the ruins, and as they miscalculate the growing resentment and hostility around them with tragic results.


Why I'm Waiting
I have an unnatural fascination with natural disasters, and it sounds like there's a fair bit of post-tornado stuff too!

What are YOU waiting on this week?

15 January 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: 2013 Debuts I'm Looking Forward To


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. I heart lists!

Being Henry David by Cal Armistead

Expected Publication: 1 March 2013 by Albert Whitman Teen

Why: A contemporary mystery where the main character has amnesia, AND it's in male POV!





PODs by Michelle K. Pickett 

Expected Publication: 4 June 2013 by Spencer Hill Press

Why:  post-apocalyptic, dystopian and what sounds like most probably zombies.  Yeah!





Taken (Taken #1) by Erin Bowman

Expected Publication: 16 April 2013 by HarperTeen

Why: Another PA / Dystopian but this time from a male POV - hurrah!  And it's prrrrrrreeetty!





In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winter

Expected Publication: 2 April 2013 by Amulet Books

Why: WWI historical fiction and a viral apocalypse - yep I HAVE to read this one!






Linked by Imogen Howson

Expected Publication: 11 June 2013 by Simon & Schuster

Why: A mix of paranormal and dystopian and shallowness of shallow, it's pretty!






Dualed (Dualed #1) by Elsie Chapman

Expected Publication: 26 February 2013 by Random House

Why: It's another dystopian and the main character sounds awesome.






Pivot Point (Pivot Point #1) by Kasie West

Expected Publication: 12 February 2013 by HarperTeen

Why: A mash-up of paranormal and science fiction, plus the advance reviews I've read are really really positive!





In the After by Demitria Lunetta

Expected Publication: 25 June 2013 by HarperTeen

Why: Surprise, surprise, it's another post-apocalyptic/dystopian this time with monsters that sound suspiciously zombie-like.





Some Quiet Place by Kelsey Sutton
Expected Publication: 8 July 2013 by Flux

Why: This sounds like a paranormaly-fantasy thingy, but I'm going to be honest, I just love the cover.





The Ward by Jordana Frankel

Expected Publication: 30 April 2013 by Katherine Tegan Books

Why: Yep, another post-apocalyptic dystopian - I'm in danger of a serious OD here!







What's on your top ten this week?  Any that are on my list too?

14 January 2013

Bout of Books 6.0 - The Final Results!

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon
Booooooooooo it's finished! I had a great time with Bout of Books 6.0, read far more than I thought I would, joined two Twitter chats and met some awesome bloggers.

So, what exactly did I read?

Books Read 
Ashen Winter (Ashfall #2) by Mike Mullin

Made Progress On
Crossed (Matched #2) by Ally Condie
The Madman's Daughter (The Madman's Daughter #1) by Megan Shephard.

Total pages read 1351!

Sadly, A Game of Thrones (A Song of Fire and Ice #1) got bumped and I didn't read a single page. But I finished four other books, so that doesn't matter.

A huge thanks to the organisers, challenge hosts and participants, it was amazing fun as always!

Leave me a link to your wrap-up if you participated!

Review: Ashen Winter by Mike Mullin

Ashen Winter (Ashfall #2) by Mike Mullin

Published: 16 October 2012 by Tanglewood Press

Pages: 576 (hardcover)

Genre/s: Post-apocalyptic, YA

Source: Publisher for review

As the second book in the series, this review may contain spoilers.  You can read my review of Ashfall here.

Synopsis


It’s been over six months since the eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano. Alex and Darla have been staying with Alex’s relatives, trying to cope with the new reality of the primitive world so vividly portrayed in Ashfall, the first book in this series. It’s also been six months of waiting for Alex’s parents to return from Iowa. Alex and Darla decide they can wait no longer and must retrace their journey into Iowa to find and bring back Alex’s parents to the tenuous safety of Illinois. But the landscape they cross is even more perilous than before, with life-and-death battles for food and power between the remaining communities. When the unthinkable happens, Alex must find new reserves of strength and determination to survive.

My Thoughts

I really enjoyed the first book in the series, Ashfall, when I read it in 2011.  Mike Mullin's characters are likable and realistic, and the storyline is frighteningly plausible.  With my own hatred for winter, snow and ice, this series pretty much reflects the most frightening of apolcayptic scenarios for me.

Ashen Winter picks up a little after Ashfall ends, with Alex and Darla working on his uncle's farm, trying to survive in an ice-entombed world, where little grows and the worst sides of humanity is showing it's ugly face.  Again, I was pulled in by the characterisation of Darla and Alex, who both felt like real people, with hopes and fears for the future, as well as being perfectly matched in personality, and there were more than a few fabulously sarcastic moments.  I did have the feeling in Ashfall that the romance between Alex and Darla was a little bit insta-lovey but Mike Mullin does present it in a way that makes it more realistic as people are thrown together in exceptional, difficult circumstances they form a stronger, more intense connection to other people around them.

New characters are also introduced, and one that I particularly liked was Ben, the autistic brother of one of the girls Alex meets on his journey.  I loved the fact that Mike Mullin used an autistic character, and his research into creating Ben was very detailed and added an extra dimension to the story, whilst helping with some of the plausibility.

Ashen Winter is a non-stop ride from the first pages - as Alex and Darla search for clues to the locations of his parents, encounter some hideously twisted survivors and return to places visited in the first book, I tore through the pages, unable to put the book down because I just wanted to see what happened next.

My only (small) complaint is that at times the things that they were able to achieve without freezing to death or getting killed seemed a little unlikely.  Sure, Alex is a Taekwondo student and Darla grew up on a farm and has an inherent knowledge of machinery, but up against some of the resources of the more organised bandits, they got lucky more than a few times. 

Ashfall is a great, realistic, post-apocalyptic series, that is based on a real environmentally catastrophic possibility, without the addition of paranormal elements or technological advances, with a real focus on survival and characterisation.  Ashen Winter continues the series really well, without falling into second book syndrome, and I'll definitely be reading the next book.



13 January 2013

Showcase Sunday #20

Showcase Sunday is hosted by the fabulous Vicky at Books, Biscuits and Tea and is all about sharing our new books - beg, borrowed or bought.

After the emptiness of last week's mailbox, this week the poor thing almost exploded!  Every year for Christmas I go on a book binge as no one ever buys me books *sniff*, and here's the result!



Purchased
After by Amy Efaw
Aftertime (Aftertime #1) by Sophie Littlefield
20 Years Later by E.J. Newman
The Forsaken (The Forsaken #1) by Lisa Stasse
Tomorrow, When the War Began, The Dead of Night, The Third Day, the Frost, Darkness, Be My Friend and Burning For Revenge (Tomorrow 1 - 5 ) by John Marsden
Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore
Cannibal Reign by Thomas Koloniar
The Diviners (The Diviners #1) by Libba Bray
Dying to Forget (The Station #1) by Trish Marie Dawson
Just One Day (Just One Day #1) by Gayle Forman
In the Land of the Long White Cloud (New Zealand Saga #1) by Sarah Lark
For Review
Broken (Extrahumans #1) by Susan J. Bigelow (Candlemark & Gleam)
Children of Liberty by Paullina Simons (thanks to William Morrow)
Dare You To (Pushing the Limits #2) by Katie McGarry (Harequin MIRA UK)

How was your week?!

12 January 2013

Review: Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi

Through the Ever Night (Under the Never Sky #2) by Veronica Rossi

Published: 8 January 2013 by HarperTeen

Pages: 352 (hardcover)

Genre/s: YA, Dystopia

Source: Publisher for review

As this is the second book in the series, my review may contain spoilers!  My review of Under the Never Sky.

Synopsis

It's been months since Aria last saw Perry. Months since Perry was named Blood Lord of the Tides, and Aria was charged with an impossible mission. Now, finally, they are about to be reunited. But their reunion is far from perfect. The Tides don't take kindly to Aria, a former Dweller. And with the worsening Aether storms threatening the tribe's precarious existence, Aria begins to fear that leaving Perry behind might be the only way to save them both.

Threatened by false friends, hidden enemies, and powerful temptations, Aria and Perry wonder,
Can their love survive through the ever night?


In this second book in her spellbinding Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi combines fantasy and dystopian elements to create a captivating love story as perilous as it is unforgettable.

My Thoughts


Once I was in the world of Under the Never Sky, I didn't want to leave.  So much so that as soon as I finished the last page of it, I immediately picked up Through the Ever Night and continued my journey through Aria and Perry's world.
Under the Never Sky really confused me on my first attempt at reading it, but the second time around everything fell perfectly into place - I fell in love with the characters, was enamoured with the world-building and really enjoyed the story that Veronica Rossi built.

Through the Ever Night is much darker than Under the Never Sky, as things start to get pretty serious for both the Dwellers and Outsiders.  Relationships are tested, the darker side of humanity emerges, and the threat to the surivial of the Tides really increases the tension in the story.   

All the characters I liked from the first book were back, as well as some really good baddies - there's nothing better than a despicable villain, and Ms. Rossi's are fabulous.  I particularly liked that Aria and Perry's relationship didn't just turn into all butterflies and roses, and they were tested in several ways, and don't spend the whole book mooning over each other.

I did mention in my review of Under the Never Sky that I hoped various parts of the world-building would be revealed, such as how the world came to be split into Outsiders and Dwellers, and in Through the Ever Night there are more details on how the aether works, the tribal interactions and clashes and a little more about Reverie and the realms, but still enough was held back to keep me curious for the third installment.

I forgot to mention in my review of Under the Never Sky that I enjoyed the various paranormal elements too - although I don't consider them really paranormal, but more connected to the post-apocalyptic effects of the changes to the world.   However they really came into play in Through the Ever Night, and it was fascinating to find out more about them.

Through the Ever Night was dark, addictive, intense reading and once again I couldn't put it down - I even considered pulling the emergency brake on my train when I was 95% done as I couldn't stand the idea of not being able to finish before I had to put it down!

As a dystopian / post-apocalyptic series, Under the Never Sky is one of the best ones that I've read recently, and I'll be eagerly awaiting the final installment next year.

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