Sunday, 21 December 2014

2014 Wrap-Up, and End of Year Survey

So, this is it for 2014 - my last post of the year. It’s a little surreal, actually! I’m taking the next couple of weeks off and hopefully de-stress (is that even possible over Christmas??), maybe work on a blog redesign, and get lots of reading and pigging out on chocolates and other glorious Christmas food done.

But, most importantly, I want to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone that has stopped by and read my bookish ramblings over the year, and I’m sending loads of virtual hugs and best wishes to everyone who took the time to visit, write a comment or follow my blog. Thank you so, so very much!

I may not have been born in the ‘70’s, but once I hear this song, it’s Christmas!

5th Annual End of Year Book Survey – 2014 Edition

This survey was created by Jamie over at The Perpetual Page-Turner, and it’s the perfect way to end the year :)

Number Of Books You Read: 114, but I hope to have read 120 by the end of the year.

Number of Re-Reads: 3.

Genre You Read The Most From: Fantasy

Best Book You Read In 2014? Oh gosh! Limiting to just one is impossible, so I’m going to name three – Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas, Resistance by C.J. Daugherty and Unhinged by A.G. Howard.

Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t? Opposition by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I was positive I’d love Opposition. I didn’t have any doubts at all, but… it just didn’t deliver as much as I hoped it would.

Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2014?
Good way: Resistance! I had a pretty good idea I’d love it, but I wasn’t expecting to be completely speechless after reading it. And it was the cause of a huge reading slump after the summer - that was definitely a surprise!
Bad way: Anna Dressed in Blood. I thought it was meant to be terrifying… Erm, it wasn’t.

Favorite new author you discovered in 2014? Ooh, this is an easy one! Sarah J. Maas.

Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone? Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers. I don’t read many ‘historical’ books, as I usually get bored pretty quickly with the ye olden ways, but this one really appealed to me.

Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year? I get the feeling you’ll be seeing this book pop up a lot in this post… but… Resistance by C.J. Daugherty! I couldn’t stop reading that book, and every chance I could get I’d read another chapter.

Book You Read In 2014 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year? It wouldn’t be just one book, but I’d love to reread the entire Throne of Glass series next year. Hopefully before book #4 is released!

Favorite cover of a book you read in 2014? Ink by Amanda Sun. I read it way back in January, and I absolutely LOVE the cover.

Most memorable character of 2014? Female character: Celaena Sardothien from Throne of Glass. Male character: Morpheus from Splintered

Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to finally read? Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Yep. Very embarrassing!

Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2014? It’s from Crown of Midnight, and it’s

“The rest of the world quieted into nothing. In that moment, after ten long years, Celaena looked at Chaol and realised she was home.”

Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013? Shortest: Challenging Zed by Joss Stirling – 32 pages. Longest: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas – 562 pages.

Book That Shocked You The Most: Resistance! (Not much of a shock, I keep talking about that ending!)

OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!) Celana and Chaol (Throne of Glas), and Alyssa and Morpheus (Splintered). I love BOTH so much!

Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year: Roar and Aria from the Under the Never Sky trilogy.

Favorite Book You Read in 2014 From An Author You’ve Read Previously Love, In English by Karina Halle

Best Book You Read In 2014 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure: Well, from peer pressure… the Harry Potter books! I mean, it’s about time :D

Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2014? Well, there's Morpheus, and Chaol, and Tucker, and Puck... Ok, I'll never be able to just choose one!

Best 2014 debut you read? Loop by Karen Akins

Best World building/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year? It’s a tie: Splintered and the Throne of Glass books.

Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read? The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade, and Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins.

Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2014? Oh gosh, I cried so much this year! I have two that I remember being in floods of tears over: Love, In English and Dust to Dust, both by Karina Halle.

Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)? Carrier of the Mark. My review pretty much sums up why… That is also my most ranty review of the year!

Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog? Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Blogging

Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2014? Well, one of my most memorable was when two of my favourite authors tweeted me. That was just so crazy awesome!

Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year? I’m determined to finish my Goodreads goal by the end of the year - *fingers crossed!* Only 6 books left! It’s not looking very promising…

One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2014 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2015? Ooh boy, I have a list! But, I'll choose We Were Liars.

Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2015 (non-debut)? Ensnared. Oh, and Throne of Glass #4, End of Days, Endgame…

2015 Debut You Are Most Anticipating? Shutter by Courtney Alameda.

Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2015? Ensnared and End of Days (Angelfall #3)

See you in 2015! Merry Christmas!

Friday, 19 December 2014

Fairytale Retelling Reading Challenge 2015 Sign-Up

The Daily Prophecy

I love reading challenges, and I love fairy-tale retellings, so the idea of a reading challenge where the objective is to read as many fairy-tale retellings as I can in a year is just perfect! I love that this challenge is so flexible, with a really short rules list – definitely my kind of challenge :) The challenge is hosted by Mel over at The Daily Prophecy, and the challenge will run from January 1st – December 31st 2015.

Here are the official rules and guidelines:

• The goal is to read fairytale retellings, but if you want you can also pick other retellings. It’s up to you what you count as a fairytale. Here are a couple of books you can pick from: my bookshelf with fairytale retellings and Fairytale lists on Listopia. You can read Middle Grade, Young Adult and Adult books for this challenge. Obviously, the book doesn't have to be published in 2015 and re-reads count.

• There are 6 different levels you can aim for:
-Prince Charming: 1 – 4 books.
-Magic mirror: 5 - 9 books.
-Big bad wolf: 10 – 15 books.
-The wise princess: 16 – 20 books.
-Wicked fairy Godmother: 21 – 25 books.
-Bluebeard: you are killing it! 26+ books.

• Every beginning of the month, Mel will make a link-up post where you put all your reviews in and they will have fun/informative introductions.

• Most important thing: HAVE FUN and spread the word :) Let's tweet with: #fairytaleRC

If you’d like to join the challenge, you can sign up here!

I’m a little scared to post the list of books I hope to read for the challenge. Anytime I post a list like this, I usually AVOID reading all the books on the list, rather than reading them! I’m going to aim for the Big Bad Wold level (10-15 books), so listing five should be a fairly safe bet? Plus, I’ve been dying to read these five books for months now, so I should have plenty of motivation to actually read them!

Ensnared by A.G. Howard (Already pre-ordered, so this WILL be read as soon as it lands in the post box! Or I tackle-hug the postman… well, both options will result in me reading the book, so, WIN! *nods*)
A Court of Thorns and Roses (It’s Sarah J. Maas. Need I say more??)
Cress and Fairest by Marissa Meyer (I think novellas count?)
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Review: Red at Night by Katie McGarry

Red at Night by Katie McGarry book cover image

Title: Red at Night
Author: Katie McGarry
Series: Standalone novella
Format: Kindle Freebie
My rating: 4 / 5

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In Red at Night, Stella and Jonah are total opposites. She's the girl with purple hair from the wrong part of town. He's a high school senior who hangs with the cool crowd. Until a car accident leaves him haunted by guilt, and Jonah starts spending time at Stella's favorite refuge…the local cemetery.

Stella knows she should keep her distance—after all, she spent her girlhood being bullied by Jonah's friends. Once he's sorted out his tangled emotions, Jonah won't have time for her anymore. Too bad she's already fallen for him….

-- As seen on Goodreads

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Top 10 Books I Read in 2014

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme run by The Broke and the Bookish.

When I saw the topic for this week, I originally planned to choose from my 5 and 5+ star ratings and go from there. But I changed my mind at the last minute, as I usually do! I grabbed a pen and paper and I sat down far away from the computer (and Goodreads), and scribbled down the books I remembered loving this year. Some ended up being from the same series, and I ended up going with it. I thought of combining each series together so I could cover more books, but nope, I’m going to let each book have its own little mini-moment :) Being honest, in every series I read I end up loving some books more than others!

I have listed these in reverse numerical order, but in honesty, depending on my mood these books will continually move up and down the list! They are in no way set in stone, and I’ve already switched the order dozens of times just creating this post!

10 - Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

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Grave Mercy started off a bit slow, but once the plot picked up pace, I was hooked! I’m a little hit or miss with historically themed books in general, so for a historical book to make a lasting positive impression on me is a rare occurrence!

9 - The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris by Jenny Colgan

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This was my first Jenny Colgan book and I read it way back in January! The story has stuck with me ever since, as it had so much more depth to it that I initially expected. I clicked with Jenny’s writing style very quickly, and I ended up trying (and loving) Little Beach Street Bakery later on in the year as well! I know she has lots more books previously released, and I’d love to get the chance to read them all in the New Year.

8 - Nevermore by Kelly Creagh

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One word: VAREN! I swear, 2014 has been the year I’ve become obsessed over so many fictional characters! Nevermore surprised me on so many levels and it’s easily one of the best atmospheric books I’ve read in a long, long time. It’s a densely detailed and descriptive book, and I know this might put some readers off, but for me, it worked so well!

7 - Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

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I loved this book! I loved seeing all the original characters we met in Cinder grow, and I loved seeing how the new characters blended in with the story. Plus, Scarlet and Wolf! I love those two :)

6 - Splintered by A.G Howard

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I completely fell in love with the world building in Splintered! (Ok, and with Morpheus.) I LOVE this darker version of Wonderland, and if you haven’t read this trilogy yet, please, please, please give it a go! I don't think you'll regret it!

5 - Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

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Argh, this ranking think is so complicated! I think Heir of Fire deserves to be higher up than this, but we’ll have to go along with it. I LOVE all the characters in this series! Each one is distinct, unique and completely captivating, and while I’m still holding out hope for my Chaolaena, I’ll be happy if all the characters make it out from this series ALIVE!

4 - Love, In English by Karina Halle

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This was my most emotional and tear-filled book of the year. I literally SOBBED so much I had to stop reading until I calmed down (and I could actually see my iPad again!) I don’t know how Karina manages it, but she is in full control of my tear ducts!

3 - Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

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Humm, now that I think about it, Crown of Midnight and Love, In English are tied for the most emotional and tear-filled books of the year! My gosh, Crown of Midnight dragged my emotions through heaven, then hell and left them there to be tortured repeatedly. Holy crap, it was phenomenal! The first half of the book was pure bliss, and I didn’t think I could possibly get any happier. Then my poor heart was shattered into a zillion tiny pieces, and I don’t think I’ve fully recovered since!

2 - Unhinged by A.G Howard

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I LOVED this book so much! I am officially obsessed with the Splintered series, and it’s all Unhinged’s fault! Or, more accurately, it’s all because of Morpheus! As long as my Morpheus gets his happily ever after in Ensnared, I shall be one happy little reader! *Nudges Alyssa* Go on Alyssa, you KNOW it’s the right choice!

1 - Resistance by C.J. Daugherty

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This book! Holy crap, this book! I’m still freaking out about that ending, *sobs!* Carter, Carter, Carter!! How the heck am I supposed to wait until the summer to find out what happens *sobs even harder* Resistance is the only book that rendered me speechless and incoherent of any thoughts this year. Once I read the last page, I sat there in stunned silence for at least ten minutes, with my jaw on the floor. This never happens to me! So by default, it has to be my favourite book of 2014!

So, that's my top 10 books of 2014! Wow, seriously though, I can't believe this year is almost over. Thank goodness they're so many more awesome books on the way in 2015! Let the countdowns begin!

Did you read any of the books on my list this year? What did you think of them? Share a link to your TTT post if you like, or tell us in the comments!

Happy Reading!

Monday, 15 December 2014

‘Bout This Blogger Tag

One of my favourite bloggers, Cait @ Notebook Sisters, made the big switch from Blogger to Wordpress a few weeks ago. She also took the chance to change her blog name to Paper Fury, and in celebration of her newly revamped blog of awesomness, she created this equally awesome tag! And I love tags! So, naturally, I have to take part :)

1. Why did you start blogging?

I had thought about starting a blog for a little while, but I didn’t take the idea very seriously. I mean, I also want to travel the world, climb Kilimanjaro, visit the Antarctic, and maybe see a tiger in the wilds, but I know all these things most likely won’t happen.

And then one day, I sat down and created a blog. It was all very spur of the moment!

I don’t really know what was running through my head at the time, in honesty. I think the whole process sort of went like… ‘I like books. I like talking about books… Let’s blog!’

Shame I didn’t think that I might actually need to learn HOW to blog, and to have some back up posts instead of posting four reviews in the one day!

2. What's the story behind your blog's name?

I wish I had some awesome story about my blog name! It’s a sad truth, but I’m terrible at naming things.

At that same eureka moment that I decided to start a blog, I was listening to Journey Through Pressure by Katatonia. And things just sort of clicked. Being honest, Journey Through Fiction was a placeholder name until I thought of something better. Unfortunately, I must be all out of eureka moments as I haven’t been able to come up with anything else that I like. To make it harder, the name has kinda grown on me!

3. How many designs have you been through since you started blogging?

This is the second design I’ve had, and it’s not terribly different to my first design. True story: I’ve had a ‘RE-DESIGN BLOG’ task (yes, it’s in Caps, too!) on my Google calendar for the past five months, and I keep putting it off until tomorrow… or the day after… or how about next weekend? Rinse and repeat fifty times.

Now you can see that I totally deserve my Master Procrastinator crown.

I’d love to be able to do some design work myself, but I’m kind of afraid of tinkering around too much and then breaking the blog!

4. Have you ever switched blog platforms? What made you move? If you haven't ever changed... why?

I’m barely competent with Blogger… I can only imagine the chaos that would happen if I moved to WordPress!

Eventually, I’d probably have to make the move. I really doubt I’d be able to do it myself, so I’d need to hire someone to do it. The deciding factor comes down to the bank balance. Money is extremely tight, so all of this is way, way, WAY off in the future!

5. How long does it take you to write a post? What's your postly process like?

Remember how I said I was a Master Procrastinator? Well, the same principle applies to writing posts. I sit down to write a review, tap out a few lines, and clearly the song I’m listening to is not adequate for my mood… so I skip over to Spotify. Ten minutes later, I come back and tap out another few sentences. Then shuffle produces one of my favourite songs, and I just HAVE to watch the video on YouTube… An hour later, I’ve managed to write two paragraphs. I totally deserve a reward for my hard work! Three hours of gaming later, and what the heck is that document doing open??

I really do treasure those days when I wake up in a writing mood! The first person that interrupts me would probably get yelled at.

6. Have you ever been super nervous about a post? Why? What was it?

I don’t really get nervous, necessarily, but the posts I would get a bit concerned about are lower star and negative reviews. You never know what can of worms will be opened!

7. Do you have a blogging schedule?

HA! I wish! I try to be organised, but it never works. I do try to post two reviews a week, but beyond that, anything goes! I’d love to be more organised and have a month or two scheduled in advance, but it doesn’t seem to be in my nature, unfortunately.

8. Do you tell people In-Real-Life about your blog? Their reactions?

I don’t really go out of my way to tell people about the blog, but I don’t hide it either. I guess it depends if the conversation comes up, then I’ll mention it. When I do mention it, I usually get a blank stare as a reward!

9. Top ten blogs you read/comment on the most.

Oh my gosh, only ten?! Aargh, ok, here we go!

Paper Fury
Reviews from a Bookworm
Between My Lines
The Innocent Smiley
(un)Conventional Book Views
Parajunkee's View

And SO MANY more!

10. If you could change/improve things about your blog, what would they be?

Everything! If I had to choose one thing to tackle right now, it would be the blog design. I’m not uber happy with it, and I maybe if I have extra time over Christmas or early in the New Year I’ll change a few things.

Thanks for reading!

And don’t forget to stop by and say 'Hi' to Cait over at Paper Fury!

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Weekend Wrap-Up: Christmas, Night School Web Series and The Sims 4

Hello my lovelies! As you probably noticed, I haven’t been blogging as frequently the past couple weeks. One little fact has been distracting me: Christmas is less than two weeks away. Yep, I think it’s safe to say, we can all form an orderly line and PANIC! Believe me, I’m in full on Christmas panic mode, and blogging time has evaporated quite drastically!

I envy each one of you that has everything sorted – Send all your wisdom my way, pretty please. We do have the Christmas decorations up, so YAY, progress has been made! But… each year I forget just how LONG it takes to decorate the house. To make it a bit harder, my inner perfectionist comes out. Sigh, it does get a tad frustrating when I end up convincing myself I need to take all the lights off the tree and start again! But it’s worth it; the decorations look pretty good this year, I will admit :)

I’m linking up to The Sunday Post meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It's a chance to share news, recap what has happened on the blog, what is upcoming and anything everything in between.

Night School Web Series

I LOVE The Night School book series – and it’s a little obvious as I talk and blog about it every chance I get! If you haven’t read them, then you’re missing out on so much awesomeness. It’s so amazing to say that The Night School Web series is finally HERE! And I love it!

A new webisode is set to be released every Friday morning for the next two months. There really is only one thing left to say … #TeamCarter! (I really DO love Sylvain, too! But for Allie, Carter gets the thumbs up ;) Read the books, and you’ll know why :D)

The Sims 4

Speaking of Christmas-y distractions, I bought The Sims 4 recently (thank you Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales for making me even poorer!) After the buggy mess that The Sims 3 turned out to be, I was a bit hesitant to get the latest incarnation, but I ended up giving in.

What do I think of it?

It’s … small.

And VERY restrictive.

When I started playing at first, it was all shiny and new and pretty (‘cause it’s a very pretty game, I will give full credit for that, at least!) But, I ran into restrictions with the things I could do quite quickly. And also, things I expected to be there… were not.

1)Toddlers have disappeared. Babies age up straight from the cradle à la The Sims Medieval style. Now, in that game, it makes sense. But in a LIFE SIMULATOR? I don’t think so! (I can’t believe I’m going to say it, but I miss those little suckers.)

2) No family trees. This just boggles my mind that it wasn’t included. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to know if my Sim was about to fall in love with her cousin twice removed! And prevent it from happening!

3) NO BOOK SHOP. <--- Cardinal sin.

4) Actually, community lots in general are SEVERELY lacking. No grocery store, no spa, no stadium, no hospital, no city hall, no restaurants, no diners, no science lab, no military base, no beaches – and these are the ones off the top of my head.

For me, a good game can be rated on re-playability, and how many times I can come back and find something entertaining. I can find that with both The Sims 2 and 3. But I haven't with The Sims 4. Put simply, there is next to no content! I know this is a base game, but there should be some sort of 'hook' to keep me playing and make me want to fork out more money for an expansion pack.

Now, onto the serious question…

Would I recommend buying The Sims 4 for Christmas in its current guise?

I have to say… no. If you can get your hands on The Sims 2, I would highly recommend that. Or even The Sims 3.

Now onto much happier topics: BOOKS!

Books I read this past week

Red at Night by Katie McGarry
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Red at Night is a Kindle freebie (and still is, at the time of writing this post) and I LOVED it! I haven’t read anything by the author before, and this novella has convinced me to try some of her other works. Anna Dressed in Blood. One look at the cover and I was convinced it would be terrifying. It wasn’t. I was hoping for a good scare, so that made it even more disappointing.

I finally started The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater! I said I’d read it last month, but I’m only getting around to it now. It took me a little while to settle into the book, but this has been happening to me a lot since I read Heir of Fire. Now that I’ve settled in, I’m really enjoying it! And Ronan! I really hope he’s in the rest of the series. :D

I’m trying to catch up with my Goodreads reading challenge, and it’s sort of happening... Kind of. I have 9 books to read by the end of the year to complete my goal of 120 books. Would reading 5 or 6 novellas be classed as cheating??

Thanks for reading, and have a fab week!

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

WoW #38 - Ensnared by A.G. Howard

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Ensnared by A.G. Howard

Expected publication: January 6th / 13th 2015

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retellings

Series: Splintered, #3

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 Ensnared by A.G. Howard book cover

After surviving a disastrous battle at prom, Alyssa has embraced her madness and gained perspective. She's determined to rescue her two worlds and the people and netherlings she loves. Even if it means challenging Queen Red to a final battle of wills and wiles . . . and even if the only way to Wonderland, now that the rabbit hole is closed, is through the looking-glass world--a parallel dimension filled with mutated and violent netherling outcasts. In the final installment of the wildly popular Splintered trilogy, Alyssa and her dad journey into the heart of magic and mayhem in search of her mom and to set right all that's gone wrong. Together with Jeb and Morpheus, they must salvage Wonderland from the decay and destruction that has ensnared it. But if they succeed and come out alive, can everyone truly have their happily ever after?

The reason why I’m featuring Ensnared today? Only ONE MONTH of waiting left!! I cannot WAIT!!

*deep breaths*

Sorry for the freak out. This genuinely is my most anticipated release right now. But, I require there to be lots and lots of Morpheus in this book. LOTS! There is only one outcome I’m hoping for … well, you probably can guess what that outcome is…

*glares suspiciously at Jeb on the cover* I agree with the comparisons, the guy on the cover does look annoyingly like Harry Styles. Unfortunately, I cannot UNSEE said comparisons! That’s the final nail in Jelyssa’s coffin. I reject that potential ending, and substitute Morpheus!!

This is a vital question: Team Jeb or Team Morpheus?

What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Top 10 New-to-Me Authors I Read in 2014

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme run by The Broke and the Bookish, and the topic this week is our Top 10 New-to-Me Authors we read in 2014.

My favourite author list expanded quite a bit this year! I would have had no problems completing a top 20 list, so I had to be a little picker than normal. To help me stick to 10, I chose the authors I would add to my auto-buy authors list. Heck, I’ve already marked A Court of Thorns and Roses and Fairest on my calendar and pre-ordered Ensnared… (Not that I’m addicted or anything *cough*)

My list is in no particular order, and links below the images are to each authors Goodreads page.

Sarah J. Maas -- A.G. Howard -- Marissa Meyer

I’m so glad that I took a chance on Throne of Glass, Splintered and Scarlet (and the sequels!) this year. The hype surrounding these books is HUGE, and I was so apprehensive to start them. Now, I wish I had read them sooner! I loved each one a little more than the last, and they’re all amongst my all-time favourite reads. And it’s not just the books and their authors: I love the characters as well, and they’ve become my new favourites, too! Morpheus, Alyssa, Celaena, Chaol, Dorian, Cinder, Scarlet, Iko, Wolf… You HAVE to try these books if you haven’t! I highly, HIGHLY recommend them.

Stacey Rourke -- Cynthia Hand -- J.K. Rowling -- Kelly Creagh

Jenny Colgan -- Morgan Matson -- Karen Akins

Yes, you read that right. J.K. Rowling. I’m EXTREMELY late to the Harry Potter world, but better late than never! I can’t wait to read the rest of the Harry Potter series, and I have the rest of the books, but I’m going to take my time. I loved Nevermore and Crane, and I can’t wait to continue on with the next. I started and completed the Unearthly trilogy this year, and I really enjoyed it. Since I read Angelfall, I didn’t think a series featuring angels would be able to hold my interest, and I’m so glad I tried the Unearthly books. While it doesn’t quite beat Angelfall, I still loved the series - and the way it ended!. I read two Jenny Colgan books this year – The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris and Little Beach Street Bakery – and I was so surprised that I enjoyed it so much more than I was expecting. Loop was such a fun read, and it’s another series I can’t wait to continue on with.

What do you think of my list? Who made it onto your new favourite authors list this year?

Thanks for reading! Leave a link to your TTT post, if you like.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Mini-Review Selection Box - The Calm Before, Crown of Midnight and Challenging Zed

Remember those Cadbury selection boxes that were guaranteed to be under the tree on Christmas morning when we were kids? Those Curly Wurly’s? Ooohh, so much YUM!

Well, unfortunately, I don’t have any Curly Wurly’s to give, but I do have a couple of novella mini-reviews, and my very poor attempt to review Crown of Midnight!

The Calm Before

The Calm Before book cover

Title: The Calm Before
Author: Jules Hedger
Series: Reign and Ruin, #0.5
Format: eBook, kindly provided by
the author. (Thanks Jules!)
My rating: 4 / 5

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Three men. One girl. The stage is set for the storm to hit.

Maggie's story did not begin with a fall into Palet. Before she gave up her life on Earth to enter the Reign Walk, her fate was long decided by three points of a triangle: Marty, Cirrus and Lucan.

In this special Reign and Ruin novella, spend time with the men of the Wilds in their final moments before the Daughter of Palet entered the room and changed their lives forever.

-- As seen on Goodreads

My Thoughts

I really enjoyed The Calm Before! It’s a prequel novella in the Reign and Ruin series that could be read before or after The Wilds. My personal recommendation would be reading it after The Wilds, as it gives a great insight into the three guys – Cirrus, Marty and Lucan’s – minds. I loved seeing more of Marty’s past with Maggie’s Uncle, and Lucan will always be my preferred choice out of the guys ;)

We get a lot more information about the world of Palet, and things from The Wilds become a lot clearer. I know some people tend to skip over novellas, but I have to say The Calm Before is a must read if you’ve read The Wilds!

Crown of Midnight

Crown of Midnight book cover

Title: Crown of Midnight
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass, #2
Format: Paperback, owned
My rating: 5+ / 5

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Crowned by Evil.
Bound by Duty.
Divided by Love.

Celaena Sardothien, royal assassin, is the King of Adarlan's deadliest weapon. She must win her freedom through his enemies' blood - but she cannot bear to kill for the crown. And every death Celaena fakes, every lie she tells, put those she loves at risk.

Torn between her two protectors - a captain and a prince - and battling a dark force far greater than the king, Celaena must decide what she will fight for: her liberty, her heart or the fate of a kingdom...

-- As seen on Goodreads

My Thoughts

Oh boy, Crown of Midnight took every emotion I experienced in Throne of Glass, tortured them, and then tore them to shreds! THIS is the Fantasy genre at its finest, as far as I’m concerned! I’ve tried so many times to write a full review for CoM and it’s not happening – I’m just a bundle of emotions that can’t be put into words that make any sort of sense!

Seriously, I went from this:

To this:

To this:

And then back to this!

Holy crap, it was EPICNESS! All the characters grew so much over the course of two books. Dorian changed so much, and I ended up loving him as the book went along. But, both Celaena and Chaol are my two favourite characters from the series. The first half of the book, I was so HAPPY, but the second I was kind of devastated! I’m still holding out hope for my good ship Chaolaena. IT WILL HAPPEN, PEOPLE!

And that ending!? Holy crap! I had a hunch about what would happen, but it definitely didn’t occur the way I thought it would. It sneaks up on you, and takes you by surprise!

Yep. Just like that.

I’m kicking myself that I didn’t start these books so much sooner; I missed out on so much awesomeness. If you haven’t started this series yet – YOU MUST! I promise, I don’t think you’ll regret it!

Challenging Zed

 Challenging Zed  book cover

Title: Challenging Zed
Author: Joss Stirling
Series: Benedicts, #1.5
Format: Kindle Freebie
My rating: 2.5 / 5

Add to Goodreads

Want to know what Zed Benedict was thinking when he met his soulmate Sky Bright for the first time? Find out for FREE in this compelling short story.

The Benedict brothers all have different abilities and powers. One can move things with his mind, another can heal. Zed Benedict is the youngest and the most powerful of the seven brothers and he is on the road to destruction until he meets his soulmate, Sky Bright. She is his balance, the light to his dark. Together they are even more powerful. Zed knows that they are meant to be together and that there is a connection that cannot be denied. But how can he convince Sky that their destinies are entwined when she doesn’t even realize the true nature of her potential? A brilliant addition to the Finding Sky series for both new and old fans alike.

-- As seen on Goodreads

My Thoughts

There really isn’t a whole lot I can say about Challenging Zed. It’s a novella written in Zed’s POV, and it reads like a summary of first third of Finding Sky. I read the first book in the series over a year ago, and it definitely helped jog my memory of what actually happened in the book! But… I didn’t really see anything terribly new or insightful about Zed. While it’s nice to get the chance to see inside his head, everything that’s revealed would be easily guessed at anyway. One thing I did like was the flash-back scene to when he was nine. It helped cement more of the family dynamic between the brother and their parents, and gives a glimpse at the other brother’s personalities. Overall, it’s a good novella, and a great read for fans of the series.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Review: The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black

The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black book cover

Title: The Iron Trial
Authors: Cassandra Clare
and Holly Black
Series: Magisterium, #1
Format: eARC, via Netgalley
from the publishers. (Thank you!)
My rating: 1.5 / 5

Add to Goodreads

Most kids would do anything to pass the Iron Trial.

Not Callum Hunt. He wants to fail.

All his life, Call has been warned by his father to stay away from magic. If he succeeds at the Iron Trial and is admitted into the Magisterium, he is sure it can only mean bad things for him.

So he tries his best to do his worst - and fails at failing.

Now the Magisterium awaits him. It's a place that's both sensational and sinister, with dark ties to his past and a twisty path to his future.

The Iron Trial is just the beginning, for the biggest test is still to come . . .

-- As seen on Goodreads

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

WoW #37 - Duplicity by N.K. Traver

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Duplicity by N.K. Traver

Expected publication: March 17th 2015

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 Duplicity by N.K. Traver  book cover

A computer-hacking teen. The girl who wants to save him. And a rogue mirror reflection that might be the death of them both.

In private, seventeen-year-old Brandon hacks bank accounts for thousands of dollars just for the hell of it. In public, he looks like any other tattooed bad boy with a fast car and devil-may-care attitude. He should know: he’s worked hard to maintain that façade. With inattentive parents who move cities every couple of years, he’s learned not to get tangled up in things like friends and relationships. So he’ll just keep on living like a machine, all gears and wires.

Then two things come along to shatter his carefully-built image: Emma, the kind, preppy girl who insists on looking beneath the surface – and the small matter of a mirror reflection that starts moving by itself. Not only does Brandon’s reflection have a mind of its own, but it seems to be grooming him for something – washing the dye from his hair, yanking out his piercings, swapping his black shirts for … pastels. Changes he can’t explain to his classmates, who think he’s having an identity crisis, and certainly not to nosy Emma, who thinks this is his backward apology for telling her to get lost. Then Brandon’s reflection tells him: it thinks it can live his life better, and it’s preparing to trade places.

And when it pulls Brandon through the looking-glass, not only will he need all his ill-gotten hacking skills to escape, but he’s going to have to face some hard truths about who he’s become. Otherwise he’s going to be stuck in a digital hell until he’s old and gray, and Emma and his parents won't even know he's gone.

When I read the blurb the first time, it all seemed just ok and it wasn’t really grabbing my interest - until I got to the reflections moving by themselves part. Then, the reflection begins to talk back, wanting to trade places with Brandon! And he's sucked through the mirror into a digital world and he has to hack his way out? Yeah, you’ve definitely got my attention now! I really hope Duplicity focuses on the second half of the blurb – if it does, I think I’ll love it!

What do you think of Duplicity?


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