Monday, 7 May 2012

Musing Mondays #1

Musing Mondays is a meme hosted by Should Be Reading.

This week's musing asks:
If you were going to write a book, what would you write about? Would it be fiction, or nonfiction?
I'm actually already writing a book, which is young adult romantic fiction. I started it for NaNoWriMo which was pretty much a fail, but it gave me a good 20k word start at least. I also have another ya romance (it's definitely the genre I naturally gravitate towards writing) that I write bits and pieces of every so often. Plus, I have about 10 other book ideas swimming around in my head of varying genres. Sigh, I'd love to stop procrastinating and work my way up to being one of those people who can write a book a year.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

(Review) I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella

Release date: February 14th 2012
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Page count: 433
Genre(s): Romance/Chick-lit/Contemporary/Humour
Buy it: Amazon/Book Depository
Add it on: Goodreads
Rating: 5/5

I've lost it. The only thing in the world I wasn't supposed to lose. My engagement ring. It's been in Magnus's family for three generations. And now, the very same day his parents are coming, I've lost it. The very same day. Do not hyperventilate, Poppy. Stay positive!!

Poppy Wyatt has never felt luckier. She is about to marry the ideal man, Magnus Tavish, but in one afternoon her 'happy ever after' begins to fall apart. Not only has she lost her engagement ring but in the panic that followed, she has now lost her phone. As she paces shakily round the hotel foyer she spots an abandoned phone in a bin. Finders keepers! Now she can leave a number for the hotel to contact her when they find her ring. Perfect!

Well, perfect except the phone's owner, businessman Sam Roxton doesn't agree. He wants his phone back and doesn't appreciate Poppy reading all his messages and wading into his personal life.

What ensues is a hilarious and unpredictable turn of events as Poppy and Sam increasingly upend each other's lives through emails and text messages. As Poppy juggles wedding preparations, mysterious phone calls and hiding her left hand from Magnus and his parents... she soon realises that she is in for the biggest surprise of her life. 

Synopsis from Goodreads

I had never read any Sophie Kinsella before this (ridiculous, I know) so I can't compare this to any of her other work. But as a stand alone book, I LOVED THIS. Seriously, love is not a strong enough word. I didn't expect too much going into this. Just something light-hearted and fun to while away a few hours. A few chapters in, and I was already laughing loud enough to wake the neighbours. Seriously, it usually takes a lot for books to make me laugh. Unless it's a book actually written by a comedian or something, a chuckle or smile is the most a book gets from me. Not this. Full on cackling, I tell you. And it didn't let up! There were so many funny scenarios that you could imagine in a movie. 

Poppy had such a great sense of humour so her thoughts had me cracking up too. Speaking of Poppy - love, love, LOVE. I would be best friends with this girl in a heartbeat. She felt so real and I could relate to her so much. She was so refreshingly open and enthusiastic. Even with all the crap things happening to her, she manages to keep upbeat. She was also totally adorable and I'm not surprised Sam fell for her. Oh, Sam. He was amazing. He starts off very up-tight and harsh, but as the book goes on Poppy gets him to open up and it's adorable. I loved reading the texts Poppy and Sam send to each other. They were so funny and as the book goes on they get increasingly cute. The romance in this book was perfect for me. A little bit of love/hate to start with, leading to a blossoming friendship. I was so invested in these two it's crazy. The book wasn't especially deep, but it was still really heart-warming. Seeing Poppy and Sam change each other for the better was great, and there was also a moment towards the end had me welling up.

Sigh. If you couldn't tell, I adored this book and will definitely re-read it a gazillion times. I give it a 5/5.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #3

Once again, I have let almost a month go by without posting. Life has been pretty rough lately and put me into a bit of a reading (or doing anything really) slump. Fortunately, I feel myself getting back to normal, thanks to currently reading through 'A Song of Ice and Fire' series by George R.R Martin which has rekindled my reading buzz. I have a bunch of reviews on goodreads to post over here which I'll try and spread out over the next week or so, and once I'm done with the ASOIAF series, I'll try and speed my way through some YA reads I'm dying to read .

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

Nightshifted by Cassie Alexander
Release date: May 22nd 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Page count: 352
Genre(s): Urban Fantasy/Paranormal
Add it on: Goodreads

From debut author Cassie Alexander comes a spectacular new urban fantasy series where working the nightshift can be a real nightmare. 

Nursing school prepared Edie Spence for a lot of things. Burn victims? No problem. Severed limbs? Piece of cake. Vampires? No way in hell. But as the newest nurse on Y4, the secret ward hidden in the bowels of County Hospital, Edie has her hands full with every paranormal patient you can imagine—from vamps and were-things to zombies and beyond… 

Edie’s just trying to learn the ropes so she can get through her latest shift unscathed. But when a vampire servant turns to dust under her watch, all hell breaks loose. Now she’s haunted by the man’s dying words—Save Anna—and before she knows it, she’s on a mission to rescue some poor girl from the undead. Which involves crashing a vampire den, falling for a zombie, and fighting for her soul. Grey’s Anatomy was never like this…

Synopsis from Goodreads

After FINALLY reading my first UF book a while ago, I'm desperate to read more. This one sounds like such a fun read.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #2

I haven't posted in almost exactly a month, which is horrible. I thought I'd try to get myself back on track with a meme.

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

Holier Than Thou by Laura Buzo
Release date: May 1st 2012
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Page count: 300
Genre(s): Young Adult/Romance/Contemporary
Add it on: Goodreads

Holly Yarkov has a boyfriend who is a gift from the universe. She has a job that fulfils her even as it wears her down. She has a core group of friends from high school. And she has a layer of steel around her heart that is beginning to tarnish. Just as she is reaching for a future she can't quite see, Holly is borne back into the past by memories of her beloved father, and of the boy-who-might-have-been... 

Grief and longing run like veins of quicksilver through this beautiful novel, at once gloriously funny and achingly sad. 

Laura's confident, astute and witty voice has already been recognised with the success of Good Oil, with North American English rights sold to Knopf and German language rights sold to Arena. It was also shortlisted for the Prime Minister's Literary Awards. Her second novel is extraordinary and bittersweet – and shows us exactly what it is like to be a young person today – navigating the complexities of work, love, family and how to pay the rent. 

Synopsis from Goodreads

I had no idea Laura Buzo had written another book until I saw this on someone else's blog. I am beyond excited. Good Oil, her debut novel, made it's way straight into my favourites, and you can read my review of it here.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Random Reads March 2012

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This is an awesome meme hosted over at I'm Loving Books.

In short, Random Reads is a meme where we pick a random book from our shelf to read within the month.

I have so many books on my tbr shelf that it's getting stupid, so this is a great way for me to get through them. Go here for the March random reads post for instructions on how to take part and more info.

Using Goodreads sorting and, I picked Prey (Infected #1) by Andrea Speed.

I don't even remember adding this book haha. Still, it sounds really interesting and I've been wanting to read more m/m books so this seems like a good start! I'll try to get round to this after the few books I plan to read next :)

(Review) Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

Release date: January 1st 2010
Publisher: Vintage
Page count: 240
Genre(s): Young Adult/Zombies/Romance
Buy it: Amazon/Book Depository
Add it on: Goodreads
Rating: 5/5

A zombie who yearns for a better life ends up falling in love—with a human—in this astonishingly original debut novel.

R is a zombie. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he has dreams. He doesn’t enjoy killing people; he enjoys riding escalators and listening to Frank Sinatra. He is a little different from his fellow Dead.

Not just another zombie novel, Warm Bodies is funny, scary, and deeply moving.

Synopsis from Goodreads

I say a lot of books are great and amazing, but it takes more for me to class a book beautiful. This is definitely such a book. As soon as I started reading, I was sucked into this grim world of zombies. 'R' is the zombie who narrates the book and it's a melancholy yet humorous journey with him at the helm. I fell in love with R from the beginning. I didn't care that he was decaying. He was so sweet and his thoughts went from making me laugh to making me want to give him a big bear hug. I don't want to spoil too much but I loved seeing R develop throughout the story and it makes me feel all fuzzy now just remembering it. Julie, the love interest, was also great. I loved that she was strong and wouldn't take any crap, but as the story progresses she lets her walls down to R. The relationship between these two has instantly become one of my favourites in fiction. You might wonder how on Earth a romance between a human and a zombie can work, but trust me, it does. I defy you to read this book and not feel at least a little something in your heart as these two spend time together.

I loved the writing in this book. Really beautiful at times and also very witty. I also loved the use of different POVs in a not so conventional manner that I won't reveal. I went into this book very blind, just knowing zombie + girl + romance and I think this makes the book more enjoyable. I won't talk about the plot much either because of this, but I will say this book made me feel a lot of things. I made the mistake of reading half of this at quiet points at work. Poor customers, I must have been so pensive and sombre because this book really made me question life and humanity and love. That's not to say the book is slow. There's a nice balance of quiet moments and tense action, and as the book isn't too long, I sped through. I remember having about a 1/3 left and telling myself to go eat or something and then suddenly...I was finished.

Even if you're not a fan of zombies, I highly recommend this book. This has gone straight to my favourites. Fingers crossed the movie does the book justice! I give this 5/5.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

(Review) Greatshadow - Dragon Apocalypse #1 by James Maxey

Release date: February 2nd 2012
Publisher: Solaris
Page count: 363
Genre(s): Fantasy
Buy it: Amazon/Book Depository
Add it on: Goodreads
Rating: 4.5/5

The warrior woman known as Infidel is legendary for her superhuman strength and skin tough as chain mail. She's made few friends during her career as a sword-for-hire, and many powerful enemies. Following the death of her closest companion, Infidel finds herself weary of life as a mercenary and sets her eyes on one final prize that will allow her to live out the rest of her days in luxury, the priceless treasure trove of Greatshadow.

Greatshadow is the primal dragon of fire. His malign intelligence spies upon mankind through every flickering candle, patiently waiting to devour victims careless with even the smallest flame. The Church of the Book has assembled a team of twelve battle-hardened adventurers to slay the dragon once and for all. But tensions run high between the leaders of the quest who view the mission as a holy duty and the super-powered mercenaries who add power to their ranks, who dream only of Greatshadow's vast wealth. If the warriors fail to slay the beast, will they doom mankind to death by fire?

Greatshadow is the first book in an exciting new adventure series from a master of dragon fantasy.

Synopsis from Goodreads

(I won this book through Goodreads First Reads.)

I'm really happy I won this book, as honestly, it probably would have taken me forever to get round to it otherwise. That would have been a shame, as I really enjoyed this! From the cover and description, I was expecting an epic, high-fantasy novel. This wasn't what I got, but I'm actually kind of glad. Instead, this was a fun, quirky fantasy that separated itself from the norm. I haven't read any Terry Pratchett (shame on me) but from what I know, I'd say this book is in the same vein. Original, humorous, sometimes crude and silly but filled to the brim with likable characters and non-stop adventure. From the very first page, this was a joy to read. There were enough typical fantasy elements to satisfy me, and lots of original new ideas and creatures. I LOVED the world building. James Maxey did a brilliant job at creating a whole new world that was vivid in my mind and really fleshed out. He tells you more about the world and characters gradually throughout the book. No page long info dumps that made me want to fall asleep here!

The story of the book was so much fun. It could have ended up being a typical quest, but the cast of weird and wonderful characters and all the original ideas kept it fresh and exciting. I was so excited to read this when I learnt there'd be Dragons. They were one of my favourite aspects of the book. Dragons are amazing anyway, but James Maxey gave them his own creative spin and their lore was great. I also loved learning about the history of the different characters. They were such a mixed bunch, and I liked them all. Even the characters who weren't particularly likable at face value had some facet to their personality that made them interesting. I don't want to spoil anything about the characters as part of the fun is being introduced to them, but I will say Infidel, our leading lady, is great. She's strong and totally bad ass, but deceptively sweet and vulnerable. She is definite friend material. I only wish her looks weren't emphasised so much throughout the book, making her a bit of a male fantasy at times. Why can't she be awesome without being stunning as well?

I thought Maxey's writing style was great. Fluid and descriptive, perfect for the story. He's really good at writing dialogue as well. The conversations between characters had me totally sucked in. I must say though, I found the humour could fall a little flat at times. There were a lot of moments that had me chuckling internally, or smiling to myself, but not actually laughing out loud. Sometimes it could border a little on cheesy, but not enough to annoy me. There were times I wished the book would take itself a little more seriously, but overall, I enjoyed the tone.

I'd highly recommend this book to fantasy lovers who don't mind a little silliness, especially dragon fans. I'm counting down the days until the sequel. I give this a 4.5/5.