Monday, 27 February 2012

Giveaway Winner!

My International Giveaway for a copy of Lenobia's Vow ended yesterday and I'm very pleased to announce the winner:

Courtney (Shortskie)

Congratulations to Courtney, your book will be making their way to you as soon as I receive a reply from you. Please check your e-mails for further details.

Thank you to everyone who entered and who supported the Giveaway by tweeting about it - stay tuned for more giveaways in due course!

Legend (Legend #1)

Legend (Legend #1) by Marie Lu
Paperback, 368 pages

Published February 2nd 2012 by Razorbill (Puffin)

My shelves: apocalyptic, arc-or-review, books-i-own, dystopian, read-in-2012,series-or-companions, too-much-hype,young-adult

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:
The United States is gone, along with its flooded coasts. North America's two warring nations, the western Republic and the eastern Colonies, have reached a breaking point. In the midst of this broken continent and dark new world are two teenagers who will go down in history.... 
Born into the slums of Los Angeles, fifteen-year old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. A mysterious boy with no recorded image or fingerprints. A boy who should no longer exist. A boy who watches over his family until one evening, when the plague patrols mark his family's door with an X--the sign of plague infection. A death sentence for any family too poor to afford the antidote. Desperate, Day has no choice; he must steal it. 
Born to an elite family in Los Angeles' wealthy Ruby sector, fifteen-year old June is the Republic's most promising prodigy. A superintelligent girl destined for great things in the country's highest military circles. Obedient, passionate, and committed to her country--until the day her brother Metias is murdered while on patrol during a break-in at the plague hospital. 
Only one person could be responsible. Day. And now it's June's mission to hunt him down. The truth they'll uncover will become legend.
My thanks go to Puffin for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

I was very excited to read Legend as I'm a huge fan of the ideas behind dystopian stories and this one has had rave reviews. I did enjoy it, but unfortunately not as much as I'd expected to. Saying that, the book was entertaining enough, had several good points to it and I would still like to read the sequel. I believe that the film rights to this book have been bought, and I do think that it has a very cinematic feel, maybe making this better off as a film. 

Legend is set in the urban setting of futuristic Los Angeles and follows two protagonists, Day and June.  There is a war in America and Day and June are on opposite sides. June is a prodigy, a soldier who works with the Republic. Day leans more towards the Patriot side, he is a Robin Hood character who steals from the rich to give to the poor. He is also the most wanted person in the Republic.  There is a plague that is ravaging the country and has infected Day's family. There is a lot more to the plague than a simple virus outbreak though, and several people come to realise this throughout this book. Whilst attempting to steal a plague cure, Day is accused of killing June's brother. June then makes it her mission to capture Day. 

The plot itself is interesting and there is a lot more to still be explored in the sequels to this book. I don't think that the plot was anything particularly new, at least not so far, but it'd be unfair to judge that just from the first instalment. There were quite a few similarities to other Dystopian books out there. The world building could've been stronger - The setting wasn't terribly clear and I would've liked to know more about the two sides at war and exactly why, but again, there is room for exploration of this. Lu does start to hint at some reasoning by the end of this book, which makes me anticipate the second book to really see what's going on. 

For me, the strongest aspect of this book were both Day and June. They both seemed to be strong characters and well formed. Day was loyal, brave and compassionate and June was a brave, self-determined character. I thought that they were both very likeable. Despite both having different views and upbringings, they were morally quite similar. They were also both logical and clever, though I think that they jumped to conclusions too often. I felt that the way that they worked things out so quickly and without much evidence sometimes weakened the book. Whilst we didn't learn all that much about other characters, including Tess (Day's friend), Matias (June's Brother) and Day's family, I thought that they were very solid and intriguing.  

What I didn't like about Day and June was the insta-love. As soon as they met, they seemed to fall in love, which seemed unrealistic and felt a little 'lazy'. There was certainly potential for chemistry between the two characters, and I did see some as they interacted. I do like the two characters though, and together they did work well. The fact that their relationship was forbidden added to the suspense. I do look forward to seeing how their relationship progresses later on. 

Legend is an action packed and reasonably fast paced book that I think the majority of young adults will enjoy. If you like a lot of action and perhaps a 'thriller' feel to your reads, you will probably enjoy it. Although this wasn't one of the best dystopian books that I've read, it was decent enough and I would like to see how the rest of the series pans out.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

In My Mailbox (12)

In My Mailbox (IMM) is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren
In My Mailbox is a place to showcase your new books,
whether you obtained them through the post or otherwise.

 I received a lot of awesome looking ARC and review copies this week! I received Darkness Falls and Infamous - both of which I do need to read the first in the series, but they're already bought and sitting on my bookshelf! I think Heaven and Poison Heart have gorgeous covers and really great ideas behind them, so I'm excited to read those. I've not read much steampunk, but I'm very excited to see what all the fuss is about and get stuck into Corsets & Clockwork. I was kindly given Juniper Crescent by the author for review. The two books I'm most excited to read that came into my house this week is Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different and I've finally got my hands on a copy of the hyped up Anna Dressed in Blood!

 I think that I made some pretty good swaps this week! The books Choker, Trapped, The Alchemy of Forever, Revolution, Want To Go Private, Pretty Twisted, Let The Right One In and Before We Say Good Bye all came into my home this week and I'm excited to read all of them!

I bought a new hardback of Attachments which was on sale and although I've not yet gotten around to reading Blue Bloods, I have them on my shelf and found a brand new copy of Keys to the Repository for only 33p! I bought Infinity after being given the second two books by the publisher for review and I couldn't resist buying Dear Bully as it has been contributed to by some fantastic authors.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Cover Reveal (Taste)

I was kindly asked to feature a cover reveal on my blog this week and after seeing the gorgeous cover of this new book, I just could not refuse!

Taste by Kate Evangelista is expected to be published in both eFormat and paperback in Autumn/Fall 2012.
Here is a sneak peek at the gorgeous cover and intriguing description:

Taste by Kate Evangelista

At Barinkoff Academy, there's only one rule: no students on campus after curfew. Phoenix McKay soon finds out why when she is left behind at sunset. A group calling themselves night students threaten to taste her flesh until she is saved by a mysterious, alluring boy. With his pale skin, dark eyes, and mesmerizing voice, Demitri is both irresistible and impenetrable. He warns her to stay away from his dangerous world of flesh eaters. Unfortunately, the gorgeous and playful Luka has other plans.

When Phoenix is caught between her physical and her emotional attraction, she becomes the keeper of a deadly secret that will rock the foundations of an ancient civilization living beneath Barinkoff Academy. Phoenix doesn’t realize until it is too late that the closer she gets to both Demitri and Luka the more she is plunging them all into a centuries old feud. 

If you want to learn more about the author of Taste, you can find her on these sites:

Friday, 24 February 2012

Follow Friday (6)

Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee & Alison Can Read
The question that everyone was asked this week was not actually a question! 
Instead, it was an activity:

Take a picture or describe where you love to read the most...

This one was easy!
Here's a picture of my (rather messy) super comfy bed, the place where I love to read the most.
I find it difficult to read when there's any noise or distractions, so I love reading in bed. However, I love reading when it's raining and the rain pounds loudly off the attic windows, which I love hearing in the background.
You may be able to see a lot of candles on one of the bedside tables, because I also love to read by candlelight sometimes. 
Reading really helps me to wind down, relax and get really cosy before I go to sleep.
The downside is, if I'm reading a really gripping book, I find it hard to put it down, so I get hardly any sleep!
My bed + a good book = my perfect combination! 

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Lone Wolf

Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult
Hardback, 384 pages

Expected Publication: February 28th 2012 by Hodder & Stoughton

My shelves: adult-fiction, arc-or-review, books-i-own, comfort-novels, currently-reading, medical-conditions, read-in-2012, realistic-fiction, hodder and stoughton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:
Edward Warren, 23, has been living in Thailand for five years, a prodigal son who left his family after an irreparable fight with his father, Luke. But he gets a frantic phone call: His dad lies comatose in a NH hospital, gravely injured in the same accident that has also injured his younger sister Cara.

Cara, 17, stll holds a grudge against her brother, since his departure led to her parents’ divorce. In the aftermath, she’s lived with her father – an animal conservationist who became famous after living with a wild wolf pack in the Canadian wild. It is impossible for her to reconcile the still, broken man in the hospital bed with her vibrant, dynamic father.

With Luke’s chances for recovery dwindling, Cara wants to wait for a miracle. But Edward wants to terminate life support and donate his father’s organs. Is he motivated by altruism, or revenge? And to what lengths will his sister go to stop him from making an irrevocable decision?
My thanks go to Hodder & Stoughton for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

As soon as I heard about Jodi Picoult's latest novel, I just had to get my hands on a copy. When I did receive a copy from the publishers, I just couldn't wait to get started on it! Whilst I haven't read them all, I've read most of Jodi Picoult's novels and I've really enjoyed them, giving her a firm place in my favourite authors. 

I'll start by admitting that I was slightly wary of the 'wolf' aspect of this book. Whilst I love animals, I'm not usually keen on reading about them and I have had no interest in wolves before. Still, I really wanted to read it just because of the author. Thankfully, once again, she didn't let me down! 

Picoult does go into detail about wolves as they play a huge part in the novel, as you can expect simply from the title. I never felt overwhelmed by this information though - it became very fascinating and it's clear that a great amount of research went into the writing. I was extremely impressed with how Picoult formed the story - the recollections of Luke's time living with wolves worked extremely well in parallelling the events that were happening in the present. However, this book is not just about wolves - It is also about relationships, loyalty and family. It's also a novel about deciding what is right, not only for yourself, but for others. It's about letting go of perceptions, beliefs and people.

There are several important characters, the main ones being Luke, Cara, Edward, Georgie and Joe, which we get to hear from as they independently narrate. Luke is the father of Cara and Edward, as well as the ex-husband of Georgie. He is our central character in this novel as the story revolves around him. After a car crash with his daughter, he is left in a coma and it must be decided what to do - turn off the machine that is keeping him alive so that his organs can be donated, or keep him alive and wait for a miracle? We learn more about Luke through accounts of his time living with wolves and through the thoughts and actions of his children and his ex-wife. Even after completing the book, I am still torn on my thoughts regarding Luke, but I think that it's a good thing that the author still has me thinking, even after I've finished reading.

All of the characters that we are introduced to are deeply complex and have had so many experiences that have shaped and affected them. They each have distinctive voices opinions and it is interesting to see how they all interact. Picoult is fantastic at portraying the characters that she has created and allows us to really get to know them and feel their emotions. 

Picoult has a formula that she knows works - she crafts realistic stories, adds twists and turns, throws in well written arguments for both sides of often controversial topics and manages to come up with stories that have an impact upon you. 
If you liked her previous novels, there's no doubt that you'll enjoy this one just as much. If you haven't read any of her novels before, I promise you that you are missing out! I'd have no hesitation in recommending this book to anyone. This is yet another astonishing piece of writing from an incredibly talented author and now I'm impatiently waiting to see what she can offer us next!

[Jodi Picoult's last book, Sing You Home, also made it into my top picks of 2011 which you can check out here]

Behind the scenes footage of the audio recording of Lone Wolf.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

In My Mailbox (11)

In My Mailbox (IMM) is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren
In My Mailbox is a place to showcase your new books,
whether you obtained them through the post or otherwise.

 These are the ARC and review copies I got this week! As the next book in The Demon Trappers series is released soon, I had better check out the first two, Forbidden and Forsaken, to find out the story so far! I also received Invincible by Sherrilyn Kenyon, The Witch of Turlingham Academy and 666 Park Avenue. I'm so excited to read Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe as I'll be participating in a book tour for it very soon!

I swapped four books this week and received two for postage costs, which is great! I've had Plan B and Define Normal on my wish list for a while. I've also heard good things about Pretty Bad Things, Princess Academy, Friend or Fae and Kiss Date Love Hate - so here's hoping they are enjoyable, as some of those aren't books that I'd usually choose.

I got a whole load of bargains last week at Waterstones and this week I managed to pick up even more - I found and purchased Zombie Queen of Newbury High, Lost It, Bruiser, Emma's Luck, Tomorrow When The War Began, Faultline, Easy and Code Talker. After buying their sequels last week, I needed to buy My Girlfriend's a Geek v.1.0 and The Treasure Map of Boys, so I ordered those which arrived yesterday. I also couldn't resist ordering Shine which has been on my wish list for such a long time. One charity shop find this week too, One Minute to Midnight which I think I'll put aside for next New Year!