Thursday, 31 January 2013

Cool Covers of the Future

It's been a strange week in that I've only had time, and the head space, to do a Top Ten Tuesday post.  I've got plenty to review (and some reviews to edit) but I'm all over the place at the moment.  Hopefully, after tomorrow, I'll calm down and get back into the swing of all book blogging things.
In the meantime, I spotted this via Gail Carriger's twitter feed and web page:

I love the wall paper!  It would look great in my fantasy library!

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Top Ten Most Frustrating Characters Ever

This week the subject for Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is the most frustrating characters ever.  Get ready for exclamation marks galore.

1 + 2.  Ferney and Julia from James Long's Ferney

For me, the whole of James Long's Ferney was frustrating.  I didn't fall in love with the characters, I actively despised the selfish pair.  Horrible.
3. Charley Davidson from Darynda Jones' First Grave on the Right 

 Everyone else seems to love Darynda Jones' Charley Davidson series about a female grim reaper.  I can't get past a whiny narrator who is obsessed by a man that constantly treats her like dirt.  It's such a shame as the series has potential for greatness.

4.   Laura Caxton from David Wellington's 13 Bullets

Again I want to like this ultra violent series, but protagonist Laura Caxton is just whiny as hell.  Not to mention completely bull headed and hasn't learnt a thing from her horrific experiences.

5.  Michael Beard from Ian McEwan's Solar

I would have put all of Ian McEwan's characters on here, as they are all frustrating in a good way, but I manged to whittle it down to two.  I found Michael Beard obnoxious and self-obsessed.  While reading I was wishing that he could see himself from his wife/girlfriend's perspective and realise what a idiot he was.
6.  Serena Froome from Ian McEwan's Sweet Tooth

Again, like Michael Beard, Serena Froome is self involved.  The difference with Serena is that she is also naive and seemed to only be making decisions based on what the men in her life were telling her to do. 

7.  Sookie Stackhouse from Charlaine Harris' Southern Vampire Mystery Series

This applies from book 8 onwards.  I think.  What happened to my Sookie from Dead until Dark? 

8.  Daniel from Erick Setiawan's Of Bees and Mist

Believe the person you love and don't be manipulated by your psychotic mother!  And while you're at it:  grow a pair!

9.  Hope Morrison from Ken Macleod's Intrusion

I never understood why she didn't want to take the pill.  Was it just because she could say no?
10.  Lord Maccon in Gail Carriger's Blameless

This one is a little different, as Lord Maccon's actions are totally in character, but it's still frustrating that he's too hot headed to see the obvious!

What characters do you find frustrating?  And have they angered you enough that you've put the book down, never to be read again?

Friday, 25 January 2013


Los Angeles, California, Republic of America.
He is Day, the boy who walks in the light.
She is June, the girl who seeks her brother's killer.
On the run and undercover, they meet by chance.  Irresistibly drawn together neither knows the other's past.  But Day murdered June's brother and she has sworn to avenge his death...
I saw Legend on so many TTT lists last year that I had to know what all the fuss was about.

While I enjoyed Marie Lu's dystopian tale, I could have done without the smoochies.  It just read like this: "Oh I find you attractive, now I must save youuuuu!".  I know I'm a grinch, but Lu had developed more than enough to bind Day and June together.  Without the romance there would have been a far more interesting dynamic between the two of them and how they represent the same ideals whilst having completely different backgrounds.

Other than that one disappointment, I was astounded and fascinated with the world that Lu had created.  Maybe I haven't had my share of Dystopian novels yet, so I'm still pretty amazed that writers can come up with all these different post-apocalyptic situations.  I'm not surprised that the film rights have already been snapped up.

I'm still interested to see how Lu will develop her characters, and expand the world outside the Republic, when book two in the planned trilogy, Prodigy, is released at the end of the month.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

The Hunger Games

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts.  The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. 
  Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games.  But Katniss has been close to death before - and survival, for her, is second nature.  Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender.  But is she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

I wanted to avoid the hype and make up my own mind about Suzanne Collins The Hunger Games.   I managed to prolong reading the book - especially as the reservation queue at the library was long - but at the time my sister dragged me to the cinema to see the film.  Nearly a year later, there was a copy available on the shelves at the library and I decided to give it a try.  I'll only offer up one thought in relation to the movie: I found it funny how my attention waned in the same place in the book as it did in the film.

In a bizarre way, I went into reading The Hunger Games with a Katniss-like mind set.  Survive.  Just get through it and establish feelings about it later.  I've got to admit, that even though I got a little bored, I thought that Suzanne Collins had created a fascinatingly brutal world.  Collins certainly has a great imagination.  Some parts made me laugh (the word Muttations, anyone?), but there was always a darker undercurrent ready to stop me from acting like a resident of the Capitol.  I now understand why she has inspired, and perhaps created a gateway for, similar dystopian YA.

This may come as a surprise, but I thought that Suzanne Collins presented me with a believable love triangle; if you can call the relationship between Katniss, Gale, and Peta that.  My understanding of the whole situation was that because Katniss is so singly focused on survival - at home and in the Games - of course she would be thrown by Peeta's admissions of love and want to question them.  Is he saying that to distract her?  Or does he really mean it?  Throughout the book Collins expands the scope in which Katniss sees the world and the people around her.  Because of this Katniss begins to question her relationship with Gale, something that she had always thought of as a brother and sister type dynamic.  This is the type of story-telling I like when it comes to book characters giving each other smooches.  Give me reasons as to why they feel this way, not a just because he/she is pretty.  Logic is always your friend. 

Overall, colour me impressed.  I'm not in a hurry to read Catching Fire, but I'm sure I'll get around to it some time in the future.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

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

Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is here again!  This week I actually had to use my brain as the topic is all about settings I'd like to see more of.  While coming up with my list, I tried to imagine what places would suit my favourite genres (eg. Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Speculative, etc.) and if I would buy the book just because it was set in this certain place.

1.  Local
Every time I see or hear that word all I can think of is this: "This is a local shop, for local people", but it'd be nice to read some more genre fiction that is based around East Anglia
2.  Fens
My best friend lives in the Fens, and as we drive about I often think that you have a limited amount of places to hide.  Imagine what would happen if there's a zombie invasion!
3.  Scotland
I had my first visit to Scotland last year, and there's so many places where you could set a horror novel.
4.  Australia
I think I have only read one book that has been set in Australia.  I need to seek out more... 
5.  Prague
 I visited Prague a few years ago and loved it, and then reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Lani Taylor made me wish that I could find more genre fiction that features Prague as a base.
6.  Ireland
 Evil Leprechauns anyone?
7.  Theme Parks
 I'm a bit of a theme park nut.  I was thinking about this last night, about Alton Towers in the U.K and how if it became abandoned it would be like an extreme version of Zombieland.  Either that or expand the story of Hex and the Forest...
8.  Dystopian/Speculative Fiction Set Outside of America
 This may be my fault, but all the speculation fiction I have read - bar Cinder - has been set in a decimated America.  The characters often wonder what happened to the rest of the world, as do I! 
9.  Sweden
Sweden - Let the Right One is one of my favourite reads of all time and I thought that the surroundings described led to a heightened atmosphere.  I'd really like to find some fiction in the same vein.
10.  Norway
I've never read a book that has been set in Norway, and I think that's a shame because it sounds like such an interesting place.  I wish it wasn't so expensive, as I would love to go there on holiday!
What was on you list this week?  Or if you've read any books that are set in any of these places, do let me know!  Recommendations are much appreciated!

Monday, 21 January 2013

The River of No Return

Just before he is about to die on the battlefield in the 19th Century, Lord Nicholas Falcott jumps forward in time.  He awakens in 2003 and finds that he has been recruited by a mysterious organisation known as the Guild.  They teach him how to adapt to life in the 21st Century and then leave him to his own devices for 10 years.  Then in 2013, he receives a letter summoning him to return to their London headquarters.  On arrival Nick learns that although he had been previously told that he could never return to his family; he is now being sent back to the 1800's on a mission to investigate a mysterious group working against the Guild, known as the Ofan.

Meanwhile, in 1815, Julia Perry is trying to cope with the death of her Grandfather.  He too, had powers that could bend time to his will.  Now that he has passed, her loathsome Cousin (who inherited her Grandfathers estate) is determined to find something called the Talisman in order to garner these powers for himself.

With The River of No Return, Bee Ridgway has created something special.  She has perfectly balanced all the elements of her story: history, timey wimey shenanigans and love.  There is a warmth that radiates from the pages, and a self awareness for when events get a bit ridiculous or twee.

Both of the lead characters were interesting, both completely flawed, and not the simpering duo that would normally inhabit this type of book.  I liked that the focus of the story wasn't on the romantic relationship between Julia and Nick; their falling in love was more of a side note.  As people, they were defined by much more.  For example: Nick's struggles between his past self and the role of which he filled, compared to the person he had become in future, was conveyed superbly.

Bee Ridgway's The River of No Return is a marvelous debut. There is a lot of information to put across in order to explain her story, but Ridgway is more than adept, and has created a fantastic world of which I would be more than happy to visit again.

Sunday, 20 January 2013


I received John Lanchester's Capital as part of a 'Mystery Book' scheme held for their cardholders just before Christmas.

The residents of Pepys Road, London - a banker and his shopaholic wife, an elderly woman dying of a brain tumour, the Pakistani family who run the local shop, the young football star from Senegal and his minder - all receive an anonymous postcard with a simple message: 
We Want What You Have.  Who is behind it? What do they want?

  As the mystery of the postcards deepens, the world around Pepys Road is turned upside down by the financial crash and all of its residents' lives change beyond recognition over the course of the next year.

When I started reading Capital, I loved it.  It was so easy to read and Lanchester introduced me to a variety of interesting characters inhabiting a wealthy London Street.  He also provided an element of mystery with the 'We Want What You Have' cards being posted through the residents doors. 

  Unfortunately, at about 200 pages in, I became less enthused about reading Capital, and it was a struggle to reach the end.  The problem with the book for me was that Lanchester couldn't stop adding POV's of minor characters.  Not only this, he never develops them into something more than a cliche.  I was disappointed with the revelation of who was posting the cards - that whole element of the plot could be erased and no one would notice - and I  wish that Lanchester had developed this plot line into something a bit more sinister.  In fact, I wish the whole book had been developed into something more thoughtful and original.

Perhaps with some tweaks Capital could have been great, as Lanchester certainly has a readable writing style, but as it stands, I don't think I would ever want to read it again.


Saturday, 19 January 2013

Imagination Illustrated: The Jim Henson Journal

I am a huge fan of Jim Henson's work and am always on the lookout for books about him and his projects.  I only found out about the existence of Imagination Illustrated: The Jim Henson Journal in late November.  Upon my discovery, I immediately asked nicely if I could perhaps receive a copy for Christmas and my lovely Mum bought it for me.
Imagination Illustrated is a glorious book; there are so many beautiful things within to admire and new facts about Jim to be amazed by.  Every time I pick it up, I discover something new.  I had to share a few photos, especially of the inside cover, as I don't think my words can ever convey how wonderful this book is.
Jim Henson's iconic puppet characters, fantastic worlds, and warm humour have delighted millions of people of all ages.  His incredibly diverse body of work, from the Muppets to the world of The Dark Crystal, reveals his charm and genius o fans old and new.
  Compiled directly from The Jim Henson Company archives, Imagination Illustrated adapts the diary that Jim Faithfully kept throughout his career, supplementing it with a trove of little-seen visual material, including rare sketches, personal and production photographs, storyboards, doodles, and much more.  Throughout, archivist Karen Falk delves into the behind-the-scenes details of Henson's life and his artistic process.
Sure to delight anyone who has enjoyed Henson's creations- seeing early drawings of Kermit and Rowlf is like seeing childhood photos of dear friends - this lovely book celebrates Jim's life and his magical creations.

If you're a Henson or Muppets fan, please track down a copy of this book (or visit the Blog that inspired it's creation ) as you won't be disappointed.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

I Love Post

This was waiting for me after a crappy day on the trains.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Top Ten 2013 Debuts I'm Looking Forward To


 It's Top Ten Tuesday time again, and as always it is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week is all about 2013 debuts I'm looking forward to.  I'll be honest, I'm not normally up to date with who are the hot new authors, and I'm limited with time this week so couldn't do as much research as I would have liked. Therefore, this week my list was compiled by doing a quick scan on goodreads (where all the blurbs have been taken from) with the deciding factors being a mix of: ooh I like that cover or that blurb sounds interesting.

1. Ink - Amanda Sun
On the heels of a family tragedy, the last thing Katie Greene wants to do is move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn’t know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks, and she can’t seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.

Then there’s gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school’s kendo team. How did he really get the scar on his arm? Katie isn’t prepared for the answer. But when she sees the things he draws start moving, there’s no denying the truth: Tomo has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being near Katie is causing his abilities to spiral out of control. If the wrong people notice, they'll both be targets.

Katie never wanted to move to Japan—now she may not make it out of the country alive.
2.  Level 2 - Lenore Appelhans
Three levels. Two loves. One choice. Debut novelist, Lenore Appelhans has written a thrilling otherworldly young adult novel about a place that exists between our world (Level 1) and what comes after life (Level 2).

'I pause to look around the hive - all the podlike chambers are lit up as the drones shoot up on memories ... I've wanted to get out of here before, but now the tight quarters start to choke me. There has to be more to death than this.'

Felicia Ward is dead. Trapped in a stark white afterlife limbo, 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, 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.
3. Taken - Erin Bowman

There are no men in Claysoot. There are boys—but every one of them vanishes at midnight on his eighteenth birthday. The ground shakes, the wind howls, a blinding light descends…and he’s gone.

They call it the Heist.

Gray Weathersby’s eighteenth birthday is mere months away, and he’s prepared to meet his fate–until he finds a strange note from his mother and starts to question everything he’s been raised to accept: the Council leaders and their obvious secrets. The Heist itself. And what lies beyond the Wall that surrounds Claysoot–a structure that no one can cross and survive.

Climbing the Wall is suicide, but what comes after the Heist could be worse. Should he sit back and wait to be taken–or risk everything on the hope of the other side?
4. Coda

Ever since he was a young boy, music has coursed through the veins of eighteen-year-old Anthem—the Corp has certainly seen to that. By encoding music with addictive and mind-altering elements, the Corp holds control over all citizens, particularly conduits like Anthem, whose life energy feeds the main power in the Grid.

Anthem finds hope and comfort in the twin siblings he cares for, even as he watches the life drain slowly and painfully from his father. Escape is found in his underground rock band, where music sounds free, clear, and unencoded deep in an abandoned basement. But when a band member dies suspiciously from a tracking overdose, Anthem knows that his time has suddenly become limited. Revolution all but sings in the air, and Anthem cannot help but answer the call with the chords of choice and free will. But will the girl he loves help or hinder him?
5. Fade to Black - Francis Knight

Mahala: a city built in the dark depths of a valley. A city built up in layers, not across – where streets are built upon streets, buildings balance precariously upon buildings. A city that the Ministry rules from its lofty perch at the sunlit summit & where the forsaken lurk in the shadowy depths of the Pit.

Rojan is a bounty hunter trying to make his way in the city. Everyone knows he’s a womaniser, a shirker of all responsibility, but they don’t know he’s also a pain-mage: able to draw magic from his own & other people’s pain. He’s not keen on using it (not least because it’s outlawed), but when his niece is abducted and taken to the dark depths of the Pit, he may just be forced to unleash his power...
6.  Charm and Strange - Stephanie Keuhn
Andrew Winston Winters is at war with himself.

He’s part Win, the lonely teenager exiled to a remote Vermont boarding school in the wake of a family tragedy. The guy who shuts all his classmates out, no matter the cost.

But he’s also part Drew, the angry young boy with violent impulses that control him. The boy who spent a fateful summer with his brother and teenage cousins, only to endure a family secret so painful it led three children to do the unthinkable.

Over the course of one night, while stuck at a party deep in the New England woods, Andrew battles the pain of his past and the isolation of his present. Before the sun rises, he’ll either surrender his sanity to the wild thoughts inside his mind or learn that surviving can mean more than not dying
7.  Pantomime - Laura Lam

R. H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic is the greatest circus of Ellada. Nestled among the glowing blue Penglass—remnants of a mysterious civilisation long gone—are wonders beyond the wildest imagination. It’s a place where anything seems possible, where if you close your eyes you can believe that the magic and knowledge of the vanished Chimaera is still there. It’s a place where anyone can hide.

Iphigenia Laurus, or Gene, the daughter of a noble family, is uncomfortable in corsets and crinoline, and prefers climbing trees to debutante balls. Micah Grey, a runaway living on the streets, joins the circus as an aerialist’s apprentice and soon becomes the circus’s rising star.

But Gene and Micah have balancing acts of their own to perform, and a secret in their blood that could unlock the mysteries of Ellada.
8.  The Holders - Julianna Scott

17-year-old Becca spent her whole life protecting her brother from, well, everything. The abandonment of their father, the so called 'experts' who insist that voices in his head are unnatural and must be dealt with, and the constant threat of being taken away to some hospital and studied like an animal. When two representatives appear claiming to have the answers to Ryland's perceived problem, Becca doesn't buy it for one second. That is until they seem to know things about Ryland and about Becca and Ryland's family, that forces Becca to concede that there may be more to these people than meets the eye. Though still highly skeptical, Becca agrees to do what's best for Ryland.

What they find at St. Brigid's is a world beyond their imagination. Little by little they piece together the information of their family's heritage, their estranged Father, and the legend of the Holder race that decrees Ryland is the one they've been waiting for. However, they are all--especially Becca--in for a surprise that will change what they thought they knew about themselves and their kind.

She meets Alex, a Holder who is fiercely loyal to their race, and for some reason, Becca and Ryland. There's an attraction between Becca and Alex that can't be denied, but her true nature seems destined to keep them apart. However, certain destinies may not be as clear cut as everyone has always believed them to be.

Becca is lost, but found at the same time. Can she bring herself to leave Ryland now that he's settled and can clearly see his future? Will she be able to put the the feelings she has for Alex aside and head back to the US? And can Becca and Ryland ever forgive their father for what he's done?
9.  Reboot - Amy Tintera
Five years ago, Wren Connolly was shot three times in the chest. After 178 minutes she came back as a Reboot: stronger, faster, able to heal, and less emotional. The longer Reboots are dead, the less human they are when they return. Wren 178 is the deadliest Reboot in the Republic of Texas. Now seventeen years old, she serves as a soldier for HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation).

Wren’s favorite part of the job is training new Reboots, but her latest newbie is the worst she’s ever seen. As a 22, Callum Reyes is practically human. His reflexes are too slow, he’s always asking questions, and his ever-present smile is freaking her out. Yet there’s something about him she can’t ignore. When Callum refuses to follow an order, Wren is given one last chance to get him in line—or she’ll have to eliminate him. Wren has never disobeyed before and knows if she does, she’ll be eliminated, too. But she has also never felt as alive as she does around Callum.

The perfect soldier is done taking orders.
10.  Etiquette and Espionage - Gail Carriger*

It's one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It's quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to finishing school.

Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is the bane of her mother's existence. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper etiquette at tea--and god forbid anyone see her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. She enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But little do Sophronia or her mother know that this is a school where ingenious young girls learn to finish, all right--but it's a different kind of finishing. Mademoiselle Geraldine's certainly trains young ladies in the finer arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but also in the other kinds of finishing: the fine arts of death, diversion, deceit, espionage, and the modern weaponries. Sophronia and her friends are going to have a rousing first year at school.
*Cheating I know, but it is Carriger's YA debut...
What was on your list?  Let me know so I can expand my knowledge of 2013 debuts!


Acknowledging that she was different from everyone else wasn't difficult for Wendy Everly - she'd always felt like an outsider.  But a new world and new family is a little hard for any girl to accept.  Leaving behind the mysterious country of her birth, she is determined to fit back into normal life.  But the world she's left behind won't let her go that easily...
Kidnapped and imprisoned by her true family's enemies, Wendy soon learns that the lines between good and evil aren't as defined as she thought.  And those things she'd taken for granted may have been lies all along.  With the help of the dangerously attractive Loki, she escapes back to the safety of Forening - only to be confronted by a new threat.
  It's time to make a choice - can she put aside her personal feelings for the sake of her country?  Torn between duty and love she must make a choice that could destroy her one chance at true happiness.

I read the first novel in the Trylle series, Switched, just under a year ago.  I wasn't completely won over with the whole instant love triangle, but I found Amanda Hocking's modern take on trolls and the 'cuckoo in the nest' story to be fascinating.  I think the same can be said for Torn.  There are no big action sequences or heart in mouth finales, but Hocking does, in my opinion, manage to avoid the second book slump by expanding the mythology of both the Trylle and the Vittra.

While informing the reader of events past, Hocking has created room for her characters to grow and be seen in a different light; none more than Wendy's mother Elora.  Throughout the course of the book Wendy's perception of Elora changes from that of a cold woman who barely cares for her daughter to someone who has been bound to her duties since childhood and understands that sometimes what is best for the self is not what is best for the people you rule over.

Torn is not without problems.  Unfortunately, I loathed the introduction of a completely new love triangle (argh!), even if it did help Wendy realise that you can't be in love on your own.  Another sticking point for me were Wendy's sometime idiot tendencies.  For example, her musings on what Matt and Willa are doing spending so much time together ended a few too many chapters to have been a plausible thought going through Wendy's head, as it was pretty obvious what they were up to!

I really enjoyed reading Torn. I read the whole book in one morning, which is a feat for my present case of scatter brain, and if you haven't read this series yet, and fancy something a bit fluffy and marginally different, then give the Trylle novels a try.  The final book in the series, Ascend, has a long waiting list, so it might be a while before I get my mitts on a copy but I'm happy to wait and hopefully my patience will be rewarded with a brilliant wrap up to the series. 
I also have to mention the short story at the end of my edition "One Day: Three Ways" as again, Hocking's condensed stories with different narrators steals the whole book, and really should have been part of the main novel.  So don't skip over it once you've finished reading Torn, trust me!

Friday, 11 January 2013

I Hate Everyone...Starting With Me

I had such high hopes for Joan Rivers new book I Hate Everyone...Starting With Me.  Not in the 'this will be amazing' way but in the 'this will take a day to read and be totally trashy and I will love it' way.

Unfortunately, after the novelty wore off, I was bored to tears and struggled to make it to the end.  I think the problem lies in how the book is set up.  It's comprised of chapters set to different topics and then within the chapters are numerous sentences that begin with "I hate so and so and why..." and only a few are really funny.  I think that I Hate Everyone... should have been condensed into the type of read you'd find in the humour section of Watersones: a small book with only one of Joan's rants per page.  Then maybe the whole thing would of had some of that bite that I've come to expect from watching Joan on Fashion Police.
     I feel bad for not liking this book.  Yet, alas, after the first three chapters of the same thing, over and over and over again, I realised that I was extremely glad I didn't pay nearly £13 for a copy, as I think it would have ended up straight in the charity shop bag.  Thanks library for helping me dodge a bullet!

Christmas Haul

Yes, this blog post about my bookish Christmas gifts is about 3 weeks late!  There is a reason for this tardiness:  I normally go away with my family for Christmas and New Years.  This means our present opening is delayed until the Sunday after we return.   This year, I was taken aback to see that I had received quite a few books that had been on my TTT list and had some great surprises to open too!  So, a big thanks has to go out to my Santas this year!

Wednesday, 9 January 2013


This is the blurb on the back of my copy:

One choice decides your friends.
One choice defines your beliefs.
One choice determines your loyalties - forever.
One choice can transform you.

Bit vague, huh?  For those wanting a bit more info, here's the blurb from

She turns to the future in a world that's falling apart. For sixteen-year-old Tris, the world changes in a heartbeat when she is forced to make a terrible choice. Turning her back on her family, Tris ventures out, alone, determined to find out where she truly belongs. Shocked by the brutality of her new life, Tris can trust no one. And yet she is drawn to a boy who seems to both threaten and protect her. The hardest choices may yet lie ahead...A debut novel that will leave you breathless.
It has been a week since I finished reading Divergent.  I tried to hold off writing a review straight away as I instantly came away thinking that not a lot happened story-wise.  However, if this had been true, I wouldn't have felt so compelled to keep on reading Veronica Roth's dystopian YA novel.  While Divergent could never be compared to the works of speculation fiction genius Margaret Atwood ( but then I wasn't looking for another Onyx and Crake, I was looking for a end of holiday read), it had a good momentum and interesting characters.  The first in a planned trilogy, it suffers slightly from having to build a world, so very different to our own, with so many rules, but is a great introduction nonetheless.

What stood out for me, and what was ultimately gratifying, was that Tris wasn't a typical YA narrator.  She wasn't perfect, or helpless and she wasn't unaware of her stunning beauty, waiting for a boy to notice this and save her from the big bad evil world.  Tris has plenty of major flaws, her pride and selfishness to name only two, and I liked how Roth explored this young girl's desire to do not only the right thing, but what was also in her best interests.  Of course there was the obligatory romance, but I'll let it slide as it wasn't love at first sight.  Roth aptly decided that this romance, and the feelings of her two characters, would be shown through their actions rather than just told through their exclamations and thoughts of all conquering love.

I've already ordered Insurgent from the library and I'm hoping that now all the introductions are out of the way, and the characters have been established, that there will be a stronger storyline in place and that the series reaches its full potential. 

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Goals For 2013

I've missed the last three Top Ten Tuesdays in a row, which are hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, but I'm back on blog updating track and determined not to include Chuck Wendig on this list!  That aim should be easy to accomplish this week, as the topic is all about my bookish goals for 2013.

1. Stop ordering so many books from the library.  I've already been on an ordering binge, and it's good to support your local library, but I need to limit how many books I reserve each month in order for me to achieve goal no.2.

2. Read more books from our own bookshelves.  I have about 15 books that I have bought over the last two years that haven't been read because of my library addiction.  This is the year that I will read and conquer!  Also, I plan to read all the interesting looking supernatural anthologies that my mum owns before she passes them on to make more room! 

3. Update blog at least three times a week.  Last year I managed to update my blog more than I did in 2011 (with 90 posts compared to 38), and I want the same for this year.  I'm not going to be strict with this goal, as life always throws up surprises, but if I had around 150-160 posts by the end of the year I'd be happy.

4. Purchase more books from independent shops.  This was one of my goals for last year, but I arrived home after my Christmas holiday to find that my town's only non-second hand bookstore was closing!  It was back to Waterstones, who I was becoming increasingly dis-satisfied with, especially after they depleted their Horror and Paranormal sections and only seemed to stock 50 Shades of Grey  (I walked in one day and I kid you not, there was at least four areas in the shop of which the series could be found.  I know it was popular and got people to actually buy a book again, but just shelf would have been enough!).  However, sometime in the spring/summer a new, independent, books/stationary store popped up exactly where the old one used to be.  I fully intend to spend my book voucher/money there this year, while also purchasing books from the two excellent secondhand book sellers we have in town.

5. Try to read and finish a book on my KindleFire.  I'm still not sold on the whole e-reader thing.  While I've managed about 100 pages before, I think this has to be the year that I get with the times and read a novel entirely via my Kindle. 

6. Find a YA with absolutely no romance!  I'll be the first to admit that I have, in the past, been a YA book snob.  While there are exceptions to this rule, and indeed my snobbery subsided in 2012, my main problem with YA was that it was too soppy.  The girl was always mooning over two boys that she had just met and couldn't quite decide which one loved her more.  This post on instalove by Christina over at A Reader of Fictions pretty much sums up everything that I hated about the Young Adult fiction I had been reading.  Therefore, this year my quest is to find books without any romance and then tally them up at the end of the year and perhaps create a fancy pants graph and maybe a 'no-ro' button.

7. Embrace the book blogging community and comment on other people's blogs more.  I'm shy in real life, and I'm just as shy on the Internet.  I say or type things and they come out wrong but you know what, as long as it's not mean or spam, who cares?  I started doing Top Ten Tuesdays at the end of last year as a way to find out what other bloggers were up to and through it I've found some great blogs and had some nice comments, too. 

8. Recommend books to friends, and don't be afraid to lend them to friends.   A friend has lent me two books.  She lent them to me in October and I still haven't read them.  I am going to read them this month, but I'd love to lend her some of the books that I've read as I think she'd rather enjoy them.  Only problem is, the majority of my books come from the library!  Hence, this goal is really about buying more books...any excuse, I know! 

9. Do something on World Book Night.  I wish that I had been a giver on World Book Night last year, but I couldn't think of a good place to give them out to put on my application form  (Annoyingly, I was travelling to Norwich that evening, so I could have easily left them as a trail of breadcrumbs on my journey - if only I was psychic!).  This year I'm not as passionate about any of the books being given so I've not applied but I'd still like to attend an event or maybe on second thoughts I'll just apply...

10. Read more.  I read just over a hundred books in 2012, and I could have read more if I cut down on my 'staring into space' time.  Also, if I read more, I can get more books out of the library without feeling guilty!

So that's my long-winded list of goals and reasonings for 2013, what are yours?

Friday, 4 January 2013

Lost Souls

At a club in Missing Mile, just outside New Orleans, the children of the night gather.  They dress in black and they're looking for acceptance.  There's Ghost, who sees what others do not; Ann, looking for love; and Jason, whose real name is Nothing, seeking the deathless truth about his father - and himself.
  But into Missing Mile tonight come three beautiful, hip vagabonds.  They are on their own lost journey, slaking their ancient thirst for blood, aching for supple young flesh.
  They find it in Nothing and Ann.  Now Ghost must pursue them all to save Ann from her new friends, to save Nothing from himself.

When telling my Mum about this book she was sure she had read it.  However, upon reading the blurb to her she was all, "that's not what my copy said...and mine had a green cover', which is to be expected when the book is about 20-years-old.  When I started reading Lost Souls I realised that both the blurb and the cover had been re-done to appeal to a Twilight obsessed market looking for their next fix of those lovable people of the night.  The problem with this is that Lost Souls is most certainly not Twilight.  Poppy Z. Brite's book is dark and twisty to the extreme, and most certainly an adult read where anything (and I am not using that word lightly...) goes.  It has shades of Interview with the Vampire, not just because of it's partial New Orleans setting, but with it's non romanticised concept of what a vampire truly is. 

I'll be the first to admit that I was disturbed by some of the content.  Nonetheless, I couldn't stop reading this book.  I did wonder if Brite wanted her story to be as offensive as possible, to get a rise out of her readers, but then I'm always complaining that all vampire stories have merged into one huge sparkly love fest.  It was nice that behind all this sometimes heinous activity, there was complexity and interesting discussion points; the standout being only a few lines with Ghost's musings on, and if you can even define, what is evil.  I'm not sure I would read it again, even if I did enjoy the ride, but it did help me realise that maybe I have been reading books that have been written in the wrong decade.  Obviously, pre-noughties is the way to go for original vampire fiction.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Happy New Year!

So, I'm back!  Naughty me as I didn't post anything for the last half of December, but I have a goodish reason...Firstly, the week prior to Christmas, I was round my boyfriend's house and things worked out that I didn't manage to get any computer access while I was there and then for the past 11 days I've been on holiday.  Hence all my time had to be used going on roller coasters, being a sorcerer of the Magic Kingdom and exploring The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. 

Some book things were accomplished...eventually.  Just before I went I read Poppy Z. Brite's vampire tale, Lost Souls, and while away I did manage to read Mockingbird, Chuck Wendig's superb - if slightly inferior -sequel to Blackbirds, which I will get around to reviewing sometime this week or next. Also, as part of my MIB:Alien Attack winnings, I got a copy of Veronica Roth's Divergent after seeing the sequel, Insurgent, on so many 'I want to read this book in 2013' lists and a copy of Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry.

So did everyone else have a good time over the holidays?  And did you receive any of the books that were on your Top Ten Tuesday list?  I hope you did, and that you have a prosperous reading year in 2013!

P.S....while looking for Community season 3 DVDs and failing, I found something else...

My Life a Pancake Top Books of 2012

For me, 2012 was a great and varied year of reading.  The list bellow are all the books I gave 5* to on goodreads, which I thought was the fairest way of compiling this list.  In no particular order, here are my top ten books I read in 2012:

Nothing to Envy

The Killing Place

When She Woke
Hell Train

We Need To Talk About Kevin

 vN - Madeline Ashby
Blackbirds - Chuck Wendig
Mockingbird - Chuck Wendig

Of course, if I had included my 4* also, this list would have gone on forever!  But, if you want to know which other books narrowly missed out being on this year wrap up, have a look here.