30 Dec 2011

Audio Friday #7 - Shut out - Review

Audio Friday is a bi-weekly feature for audio reviews posted by myself and regular guest Wanda, normally we take turns but I'm going again this week.
Read by Kate Reinders.
Available now.

What's it about?
Most high school sports teams have rivalries with other schools. At Hamilton High, it's a civil war: the football team versus the soccer team. And for her part, Lissa is sick of it. Her quarterback boyfriend, Randy, is always ditching her to go pick a fight with the soccer team or to prank their locker room. And on three separate occasions Randy's car gas been egged while he and Lissa were inside, making out. She is done competing with a bunch of sweaty boys for her own boyfriend's attention.
Lissa decides to end the rivalry once and for all: she and the other players' girlfriends go on a hookup strike. The boys won't get any action from them until the football and soccer teams make peace. What they don't count on is a new sort of rivalry: an impossible girls-against-boys showdown that hinges on who will cave to their libidos first. And Lissa never sees her own sexual tension with the leader of the boys, Cash Sterling, coming.
Inspired by Aristophanes' play Lysistrata, critically acclaimed author of The Duff (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) Kody Keplinger adds her own trademark humor in this fresh take on modern teenage romance, rivalry and sexuality.

My review
On the narrator: I really enjoyed the narration of Shut out, I found Kate Reinders easy to listen to and the story easy to follow when listening to her. She did a great job with the dialogue and made the funny bits really funny so I was laughing out loud, she really made the book enjoyable and as fun as it should be.

On the book: Shut out is a really fun book but at the same time it addresses a lot of questions I think teenage girls have about sex and the weird social politics of sex, such as why are guys heroes for 'putting it about' and girls are sluts. Keplinger does a great job of working these things into conversations throughout the book and manages to keep it light and fun at the same time. I really enjoyed the story and the characters, Lissa was really interesting, I love her little neuroses and quirks and Cash is completely swoon worthy! This is a great book for girls (and women!) and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a quick, fun read.

On the cover: I really like this cover, the war paint is funny when put in context with the story and gives the idea of a fight or war so it matches perfect.

Find the author

My favourite sidekicks of 2011

Often sidekicks can get overlooked and forgotten for the main hero so here is a list of my favourite sidekicks from the books I read in 2011 (not books that were released)
The idea to list sidekicks was Ninfas so I can't take credit for it, but never the less...

Here are my favourite sidekicks.

Wesley Lincoln from The Caster chronicles by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl - Aww I've always been a fan of Ethans best friend Link and I loved him the best in Beautiful chaos which I read this year. He's just so funny and I love the banter between him and Ethan but in book three he really started coming into his own, and it's so sweet how he's really head over heels for Ridley. I still haven't read his short story Dream dark but hope to soon.

Newt from The maze runner trilogy by James Dashner - Though Thomas becomes the leader Newt was the leader first and still is partly throughout, I don't want to give anything away but I was crying for him during The death cure.
Sam Goode from The Lorian legacies by Pittacus Lore - It seems someone from this series is making it onto all of my lists! But I do love Sam, I felt so sorry for him at the start of I am number four, he's the geeky kid that gets bullied and believes in aliens :( He's a great guy and is there for his friend no matter how scared he is and I was so glad he's also in The power of six, he's great in that!
Grimalkin from The iron fey series by Julie Kagawa - I should point out first that I found this super cute image TeenBookaholic reviews and hope she doesn't mind me borrowing it! Yes I've added a cat to my list! But if you've met Grimalkin you'll understand, he's sarcastic, funny but extremely clever and sneaky and I love him!
Scout Green from The dark elite by Chloe Neill - I instantly liked Lilys new best friend when I met her in Firespell at the start of the year, the girls have a great relationship and Scout will help her friend whenever, no questions asked, but maybe that's because she also has her own secrets, I liked her in the second book Hexbound as well when we get to learn more about her.
Jenna Talbot from The Hex hall series by Rachel Hawkins - Aww I love Jenna and her friendship with Sophie is really great. I warmed to her right away as I learned her story, she's the only vampire in the entire school and everyone is wary of her, this petite little girl so it was great when Sophie befriended her and we saw their relationship grow, I' looking forward to more of her in the next book.

Eddie Castile from Bloodlines by Richelle Mead - Ahhh I've always liked Eddie, with so many great characters throughtout the Vampire academy series it was always easy to forget Eddie, and again in Bloodlines there are some old favourites and some newbies to overshadow him but I love Eddie, he's ever vigilant and takes his assignments seriously, I'd love to have him as my protector because I'd feel completely safe.
Eve Rosser from The Morganville Vampires by Rachel Caine - She's confidengt, sassy, knows her own style and goes out with the hottest vampire in Morganville! What's not to love!

And there you have it, my favourite sidekicks of 2011, whilst I did meet lots of other nice sidekicks and best friends throughout the year, these are the ones that still stick out to me enough to remember their names so they've made my list.

Who were your favourite sidekicks of 2011?

29 Dec 2011

The Christmas spirits - Review

Available now. (Kindle only)

What's it about?
George Moore is a modern day Scrooge, a futures trader who drives his staff hard, and won't let his assistant go home to look after her autistic son on Christmas Eve.
Like Scrooge he is mean with money, but he is also mean with his sympathies and his time. He has to swerve to avoid putting money in a charity box and also crosses the road to avoid a family he thinks are probably gypsies on his way to dinner at a cheap cafeteria. An old man sitting nearby looks as if he might be looking for the warmth of some human contact. George refuses to meet his eye and hurries home.
Various slightly odd, even disconcerting things happen. He encounters a nun who looks like an elderly child. He sees a Santa in the window of a department store, who seems to emerge from his Grotto, look confused, and is then surrounded by small elf-like figures who drag him back behind the curtains. Finally, when he arrives back in his apartment the old man from the cafeteria suddenly appears and reveals himself as George's old mentor in trading and in greed. Bill Hill reveals that he is dead and that he has come to give George a warning. He warns George he will have three visitors that night, and then in a flash he disappears.
So it comes about that, as Bill Hill said, George receives three visitors that Christmas Eve, just as Scrooge was visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. But these are not the ghosties and sprites that frightened Dickens's readers. George's visitors are more ambiguous, more frightening to a modern sensibility. They are visitors that will give even today's reader goose bumps.
They take George on an emotional journey that like Scrooge's journey - and the journey in another Christmas story, It's a Wonderful Life - teaches him the true value of Christmas, the true meaning of life and finally ... how to love. This new classic is both very scary and very Christmassy.

My review
Having already read Charles Dickens' A Chritsmas carol I couldn't help but compare this modern retelling with it and whilst it did stick to the theme and general storyline it did manage to hold it's own to. Whilst I did love it as much as the classic I did enjoy it and I loved the writing style, it's classic and modern at the same time. There were some parts of the story that were a little bit confusing and I felt could've been a exlained a little better but overall the story was a good one, George really is a 'Scrooge' and of course really does learn the error of his ways by the end to make for a heart warming ending.
I don't know that I found the ghosts as scary as I was expecting but there was an eerie feel to this short book that left me a little creeped out.
Overall I'd recommend this to anyone looking for a quick holiday read that's looking for a new twist on an old story.

My favourite book villains of 2011

Again this list is based on the books I read this year, not books that were released.
It's not a top ten or twenty, it's a top however many there are when I'm done lol
I've tried to find pictures of people I think look how I imagine the characters but I suck at fantasy casting so I may have "borrowed" some ideas.

So here are the bad guys and girls I loved to hate in 2011.

Kalona from The House of night series by P.C. and Kristin Cast - I'm so glad I read Awakened at the start of the year so that I could add Kalona to my list. He's one of my favourite bad guys, yeah he's done totally, ok completely evil things, but at the same time as we get to know him I can sense the vulnerability in him, his longing to get back home and back into Nyxs good graces, though deep down he knows that will never happen, in his anger at being kicked out he did unforgivable things. He has a lot more depth than some other bad guys I've read.

Sabine Campball from My soul to steal by Rachel Vincent - I shouldn't love Sabine, she's trying to steal Kaylees boyfriend for frigs sake! But I do, she's so confident and sexy and well a little bit psychotic. She's also really funny and was one of the things that made the fourth book in the series so much fun. I'd love to be friends with her but I'd hate to be on her bad side, I imagine that would be a bit of a nightmare. (Pun intended!)
The Mogadorians from The Lorian legacies by Pittacus Lore - Seriously these guys are just creepy, and the "pets" they keep *Shudders* I know I'd poop my pants if they were after me, they're relentless, have the best weapons and skills and are damn scary!

The zombies from Outpost by Adam Baker - There was no way i'd be able to find a picture to depict just how creepy these different and scary zombies are in this chilling book so you'll just have to trust me that they are, I didn't want to turn off the light at nigth when I'd finished this book.
Romeo Montague from Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay - Ahh another tortured bad guy that really just bad some baaad decisions that he thought were for the best. I loved Stacey Jays take on Romeo and Juliet and her version of Romeo, I'm really looking forward to Romeo redeemed next year to get more of him!

King Tohon from Touch of power by Maria V. Snyder - Tohon is the perfect mix of evil and smouldering sexiness and a dash more evil. He does some really evil things, he's not anice person but I couldn't help having a guilty crush on him.

Wow, so my list only ended up being six people! Though I read a lot of books this year (113 so far) most were dystopias and post apocalyptic books whose bad guys were faceless governments and natural disasters rather that good old fashioned evil geniuses with manical laughs lol And any other bad guys I did encounter just weren't memorable enought to make my list.

Which villains did you love this year?

Same difference (19)

Well I have to say I definitely prefer the second cover here. The pink and purple are gorgeous and really give it a dusky feel (as in the time of day lol) There are more branches but less birds which makes it feel more like it's in the woods, whilst Touching the surface is the opposite but you can see flowers making it feel like a field, it's so facinating the small touches that can make one picture feel so different.

Which do you prefer?

28 Dec 2011

Masquerade - Review

Available now.

What's it about?
Before. Everything was so much better Before. I wasn’t haunted by nightmares, my place at school was secure and my face was flawless. Now, I’m a freak and everything has changed. The worst part is that I can’t remember the night I was sentenced to the shadows. The memory has been stolen from me and I just can’t shake the feeling that someone, something is out there -watching.
Just when I think I have my life handled, Sam, with his intimidating golden stare and shiver inducing voice, makes me realize that I don’t know anything. He makes me see that my scars don’t matter. That they never mattered. I can’t help but fall for him, completely unknowing that he knows exactly how I got this way. Not knowing he was involved.
Heven has no idea how closely death stalks her. She has no idea what I have done to keep her alive. I fear the day she learns my secrets, finds out what I really am. But even then I cannot stop, I vow to make things right. Finally her hunter will be hunted, Heaven and Hell, faith and sin will battle, and we will be victorious. But first, Heven must learn to be what she never imagined. I know her strength is there – I feel it. If we are to overcome all odds, she must push past her flaws - her frailties - to become much more.

Before - My review for the short story prequel.

My review
I enjoyed the short story prequel, Before so I was thrilled when Masquerade landed in my inbox for review and I wasn't disappointed! Masquerade picks up ten months after Before left off and straight away I feel for Heven, after being attacked she's left with horrific scars marring her face and it's stripped her of her self confidence, she hides behind her hair, wears big baggy clothes and generally tries not to be seen, I really felt how she was feeling, and how she forces herself to look at herself in the mirror every morning before leaving for school, oh I just wanted to cry for this poor girl. But as the story continues and she starts to regain the person she was and falls in love I was genuinely pleased for her. She was a really nice character to read, though most of the book is told from Hevens pov there are parts that are told from Sams which I think helped give a great insight into him.
I really enjoyed the story, I felt it was original and the twist was not what I was expecting, in a good way! There is a good use of some mythology and some great ideas I haven't seen anywhere else, the only complaint I'd say I have is that the end seemed to drag a little, there were things that are obviously the set up for book two but I think perhaps some may have been more suited to be in the start of book two rather than introducing something new and the ending the book, but yeah, that's just my opinion, it didn't take away my enjoyment of this very well penned novel and I'm excited for book two!

My thoughts on the cover
I want to love this cover, I really should with the cold lips, the big eyelashes and the eyes themselves but the models expression is what puts me off, it's to hard and doesn't look like the frail, self concious girl I imagine at the start of the book. I do love the font though and the little bubbles around it.

Favourite quotes

'My good side was still the only side of me showing, and for a brief moment I stared at us both and pretended that I was beautiful enough to fit with him.' Heven

'If I could make her love me. Maybe then my secrets wouldn't matter as much. Maybe then she would understand.' - Sam

Find the author:

Ashfall - Review

Ashfall by Mike Mullin.
Ashfall book one.
Available now.

What's it about?
Under the bubbling hot springs and geysers of Yellowstone National Park is a supervolcano. Most people don't know it's there. The caldera is so large that it can only be seen from a plane or satellite. It just could be overdue for an eruption, which would change the landscape and climate of our planet.
Ashfall is the story of Alex, a teenage boy left alone for the weekend while his parents visit relatives. When the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts unexpectedly, Alex is determined to reach his parents. He must travel over a hundred miles in a landscape transformed by a foot of ash and the destruction of every modern convenience that he has ever known, and through a new world in which disaster has brought out both the best and worst in people desperate for food, water, and warmth. With a combination of nonstop action, a little romance, and very real science, this is a story that is difficult to stop reading and even more difficult to forget.

My review
One of the things I loved about this book is the realism, the author has really done his research into the supervolcano and theories on what might happen if it were to erupt. The book felt entirely realistic, from the eruption to peoples reactions and what people do to survive, Alexs journey through the book is not an easy one and I was there for every nail biting minute, seriously, I couldn't put the book down to go to bed!
It's written so well and I loved the characters and everything that happened, Ashfall is a long book but it never felt like it, as I followed Alex on his journey to find his family I was really rooting for him and I liked him a lot. But I loved tha character of Darla, she's so clever and resourceful.
Both characters are young and you really see them grow up throughtout the boko as they go through some pretty horrific ordeals, things I was not expecting! By the end they really are adults and the relationship that grows between them was great to read.
I don't want to say more to avouid spoilers but Ashfall really was a terrific read and I cannot wait for the next book!

My thoughts on the cover
Whilst I like this cover I don't love it, it does give the feeling of destruction but I don't know why they're looking in a mirror, if it's a scene in the book then I don't remember it lol It is an eye catching cover but I don't know that it's memorable.

Favourite quotes
'I heard a cracking noise, like the sound the hackberry tree in our backyard had made when Dad cut it down last year, but louder: a forest of hackberries, breaking together.'

'For the first time ever I felt ashamed of my species. The volcano had taken our homes, our food, our automobiles, and our airplanes, but it hadn't taken our humanity. No, we'd given that up on our own.'

Find the author

My favourite book boys of 2011

Although I don't participate in the 'My book boyfriend' meme hosted by The unread reader I wanted to list my favourite book guys from the books I read in 2011 because I love making lists and I love heroic hot guys!
They're not in any particular order other than the one I thought of them and they're from books I read this year not ones that were released this year.
I wanted to add a picture for each guy but I suck at fantasy casting so I did some searching around the world wide web and 'borrowed' some ideas, but the ones I found I do think fit my imagination, and I'm pretty sure by clicking on any of the pictures you will be able to see them in their full sized glory!

So here goes...

Ethan Carter Wate from The Caster chronicles by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl - Whilst I said this list is in no particular order, Ethan does get the top spot, and not even because I fancy him! At ten years my junior he's way to young for me! lol But he's been my favourite book guy ever since I read the first instalment in this series, Beautiful creatures, and since I read the latest release, Beautiful Chaos this year it means I get to add him to my list yay! Ethan is just the perfect southern gentleman, he's polite and thoughtful and would (and does) do anything for the girl he loves, he's also loyal to his best friend Link(ubus) and is just such a good guy, I hope my son grows up to be like him because then I'll know I've raised him right.
"Lena Duchanne, it rhymes with rain."
is one of my all time favourite quotes!

John Smith from The Lorian Legacies by Pittacus Lore - I loved John in I am number four and I loved him again in The power of six, both of which I read this year. He totally kicks butt, but he also holds back and is the bigger man when he needs to be, and when he falls in love it was just so sweet to read.

Thomas from The maze runner series by James Dashner - I keep choosing guys that are to young for and am starting to worry about myself lol I love Thomas because he's clever and follows his instincts, he's one of those reluctant leader types that end up being brilliant at it, I love those types! Good that.
And if you slintheads haven't read this series then your missing out!
Prince Ashallayn’darkmyr Tallyn from The iron fey series by Julie Kagawa - Finally a guy I can swoon over! Ash is dark brooding and handsome, not just in my head, look at that guy on the cover of The iron knight! But he's also loyal, strong, and defiant.

Niall from The Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr - If Ethan is my favourite good guy then Niall is my favourite bad guy! I've been in love with him ever since I read Ink exchange and will be forever and ever! I read Darkest Mercy right at the start of the year and was sad to see the series end but there a couple of novellas I still haven't gotten to reading and I'm pretty sure at least one of them features Niall - silver lining!

Cameron Cabellero from Blood bound by Rachel Vincent - Have you fainted from swooning yet because I know I nearly am! Next up is Cam from Rachel Vincents fabulous new series, I only met Cam this year but boy did i fall for him. He's not afraid to lay his cards on the table when it comes to his feelings and he's intensely protective.
Seamus Doran from The Nightshade series by Andrea Cremer - With so many 'Team Ren' out there I just had to put Shay on my list! When I was immersed in Nightshade I was Team Shay so you can imagine my surprise when I came up for air at the end to find that fans were split between him and Ren, I was never a fan of Ren, he was to pushy but I loved Shay, he's a nice guy.. or maybe it's because I keep imagining him with an Irish accent *sigh*
Adrian Ivashkov from Bloodlines (and VA) by Richelle Mead - Ever since I met Adrian in Frostbite I've been lusting after him and I've always had the image of  Ed Westwick in my head whenever I read him. I was team adrian all through VA and was super glad when I found out he'd be in this spin-off series, and as a big part character to. He's a charming rogue and funny but also kind of tortured inside, you can't help but love him and want to give him a hug.

Four from Divergent by Veronica Roth - Contrary to this list I don't actually fall in love with a lot of book guys, sure there are guys I think are great, like the first three on this list, and i have temporary crushes, then there are the guys I fall for and they become long standing relationships, like Niall and Adrian and I think Four is my newest addition to this short list, there was just something about him, I can't even place my finger on exactly what it was, but perhaps that's why I fell for him and I think he's here to stay with me for the long run.

Xander from Unveiled by Trisha Wolfe - This was a short story I read a few months ago and I am not so patiently waiting for the full novel so I can get another taste of the handsome soldier Xander!
Well there you have it, my favourite guys of the year and I even managed to make it a top ten list, but that was coincidental, I had no idea how many guys would make the list when I started lol

Who are your favourite guys from 2011?
If you've made a simlair list leave a link :)

UK vs. THE WORLD! (5)

UK vs. THE WORLD is a weekly feature that I've recently started.
Each week two UK book covers will battle it out against their foreign counterpart as we judge them and decide which we like better because who doesn't love judging books by their covers!

UK                                vs.                     Germany

Oupost book one.
('Die Wandlung' translates to 'The conversion' - According to Google translate)

Mist: Whilst the German cover is pretty I just don't get the Zombie feel from it... at all. That's why I'm voting UK, I love the cover anyway with the lone man and the shock of red at the top but it also gives that creepy feel that I know, having read it, the book has, the tagline is also pretty awesome.
The blue on the German cover is gorgeous but all the fish don't do much for me.

Ninfa: I like the UK cover, really love the tag on it, makes it really interesting and makes me curious about the plot.

I don't get the German cover with the fishes...it's a little confusing for me and doesn't really tell me anything about the book.
UK wins :)

UK                                 vs.                     Australia
The Violet Eden chapters book one.

Mist: Oh this is hard, they both pretty, but I think I'm swayed slightly more by the Australian cover, the girl is just more interesting and with her eyes open you can see there is a story she wants to tell, I love the purple to.
I do like the UK cover, the colours are lovely but I'm not sure if the girl is asleep or falling or, er something else.

Ninfa: That's got to be an Aussie win for me, both covers are very pretty but the Australian one is really sweet and I love the exspression on the model and the faint outline of the wings.

Which do you prefer?

27 Dec 2011

My favourite books of 2011

Here are my favourite reads of 2011!
I was going to post this on the last day of the year in case i read something fabulous in this last week but since this weeks Top ten Tuesday is Top ten favourite reads this year I thought I would incorporate the two and post today.
It's not a top ten though or in any particular order, other than the one I thought of them, it's just all the books I loved so much they made my 'Team awesome' shelf on Goodreads!

Out of the 113 books I read this year, here's the ones that made the cut.

Note: Book links go to my review where there is also book info, if I haven't reviewed it the link will take you to Goodreads instead

Firespell by Chloe Neill - A great start to a new series!
The Scorch trials and The death cure by James Dashner - I loooooooved this series so much so it was bittersweet to get to the last book but super exciting when Mr Dashner annouced he would be writing a prequel to the series, I cam't wait to read that!
These first four books in the soul screamers were all released here in and (obviously) I read them all and loved them. My soul to take was one of my very first reads of the year and my first ever review and post on the blog!!

And whilst we're talking about Rachel Vincent...
Bloodbound by Rachel Vincent - Yup, this really was the year I discovered Rachel Vincent! I read all of her books that are available to me and loved them all so much! She's a very talented author and I'm looking forward to her new releases next year.
I am number four and The power of six by Pittacus Lore - Here's another great series I discovered this year, I think I might die soon if I don't get me hands on The rise of nine! Tidbit: I also read and reviewed the short story The lost files: Six's legacy and it was my most viewed review this year!

Raised by wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes - I enjoyed this one a lot more than I was expecting which is always a great surprise.

Entangled by Cat Clarke - Another surprise book but I did just like it, I loved it so much, I related to the character of Grace so much, and I cried so hard!

And my list wouldn't be complete without Maria V. Snyder
Outside in and Touch of power make the list - I did re-read Inside out and Poison study this year but I decided not to include re-reads. My review for touch of power is due o go up on the 10th Jan but I can tell you it is sooooo good.

Hex hall and Raising demons by Rachel Hawkins - This series is so funny, I'm so glad I choose it as my hospital read when I had a baby in May!
 Nightshade and Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer - Team Shay!!!!!
The throne of fire by Rick Riordan and Gone by Michael Grant - I also read Hunger, the second book in the Gone series and it was great, I'm just itching to get to the rest!
Divergent by Veronica Roth, Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan and Ashfall by Mike Mullin - I really had a dystopian obsession this year and these three in particular were brilliant! My review for Ashfall will be up this week.

Bloodlines by Richelle Mead - Loved, loved, loved it!! Can't wait for The golden lily.
Dark in side by Jeyn Roberts and Outpost by Adam Baker - Zombies anyone? Ones YA and the others adult but they're both equally chilling gore fests!
Daughter of smoke and bone by Laini Taylor - I really enjoyed the whimsical way this was written.
Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay - This is my first book by this author but it won't be my last, the twist she put on the classic Romeo and Juliet was really different and the book was great.
The girl of fire and thorns by Rae Carson - Carson has created a great world with an equally great heroine in this book.
Well there it is, of the 113 books I read here's the 30 that made it to my favourites list, there were others that I really enjoyed to that didn't quite make it, like Forgive my fins and Oh. My. Gods by Tera Lynn childs and The Goddess test by Aimee Carter, there was also Variant by Robison Wells, Birthmarked by Caragh O'Brien and Matched by Ally Condie that didn't quite make the cut because I didn't want this list to go on forever lol

Which books this year were your favourites?

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