Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Mel's Random January

Canadian Rockies
So a month into 2012 already! I have to admit January is usually a pretty busy time of year for me at work and this year hasn't been any exception. I've been running all other London presenting and now I would really like a break - how long is it until Easter? To be honest I would rather be somewhere else - like in the picture above, which I took a few years ago on holiday...*sigh*... And as I've been out and about a lot so haven't commented on as many other blogs as I would have liked. There's always next month though!

So how has this impacted the reading situation?

Books
Don't Call Me Ishmael - Michael Gerard Bauer
The Spellman's Strike Again - Lisa Lutz (2012 TBR Reading Pile Challenge)
The Last Dragonslayer - Jasper Fforde (2012 TBR Reading Pile Challenge & British Book Challenge)
Must Love Hellhounds - Charlaine Harris, et al (2012 TBR Reading Pile Challenge)
POD - Stephen Wallenfels
An Expert In Murder - Nicola Upson (2012 TBR Reading Pile Challenge & British Book Challenge)
The Eternal Enemy - Christopher Pike

E-Books
Silver Tongued Devil (Sabina Kane 4) - Jaye Wells
Under The Never Sky - Veronica Rossi
Darkest Powers Bonus Stories - Kelley Armstrong
Incarnate - Jodi Meadows
Horizon - Sophie Littlefield

Sarah's Reviews
A Little Magic - Valerie Gillen
Strange Angels: Jealousy - Lili St Crow

Audio Books
Eric - Terry Prachett

Author Posts
Author of Don't Call Me Ishmael, Michael Gerard Bauer stopped by for a post about school days

Regular Posts
Same Book/Different Cover looked Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison
In Books Confessions I discuss Book Obsession amongst readers...
In addition there were the usual wishlist posts, in my mailbox and Throwback Thursdays

So with all that in mind my reading challenges status looks like this:
British Books Challenge - 2 Read, 10 Books to go

2012 TBR Reading Pile Challenge - 4 Read, 26 Books to go

Highlight of the Month: No doubt the best book I read this month was Horizon by Sophie Littlefield

Honorable Mentions: POD, Under The Never Sky and The Last Dragonslayer. It's been a really good month for reading!

Monday, 30 January 2012

Early Review: Horizon

Horizon (Aftertime 3)
-          Sophie Littlefield
Publisher: Luna Books – released on 31st January 2012
E-Arc courtesy of netgalley and Harlequin Books
Cass Dollar is a survivor. She's overcome the meltdown of civilization, humans turned mindless cannibals, and the many evils of man. But from beneath the devastated California landscape emerges a tendril of hope. A mysterious traveler arrives at New Eden with knowledge of a passageway North—a final escape from the increasingly cunning Beaters. Clutching this dream, Cass and many others decamp and follow him into the unknown.
Journeying down valleys and over barren hills, Cass remains torn between two men. One—her beloved Smoke—is not so innocent as he once was. The other keeps a primal hold on her that feels like Fate itself. And beneath it all, Cass must confront the worst of what's inside her—dark memories from when she was a Beater herself. But she, and all of the other survivors, will fight to the death for the promise of a new horizon...

Throughout all three books in the Aftertime series I’ve been on such an emotional rollercoaster as I’ve followed Cass’s journey to find her daughter, to find the man she loves and to find a home all whilst battling her addictions, the end of the world and of course the body-eaters or beaters. It’s been less than a year since the blue-leaf strain of keesev created the terrible virus that created the beaters and lead to the destruction of everything. In that time Cass has attempted to make various homes for her and her daughter – in the library, in the box and now on Eden, an island across the river safe from the beaters but something has always moved them on in past – will Eden be any different...?
While I like my heroines to be stubborn, tough and brave and while Cass is all these things and more, she is also vulnerable and weak in a way not many heroines in books are allowed to be. Even without the end of the world every day is a struggle for her and this makes Cass infinitely more human and I just wanted to give her a hug at times – although I don’t think she would accept it! Her relationship with the men in her live is the main focus of Cass’s emotional journey in this book – particularly her relationship with Smoke and Dors, the two men she has worked with since Aftertime began and even her relationship with her lost father comes under scrutiny. Cass has to make a decision about what she wants and even if she wants its for the right reasons – and I was never sure what she was going to do.
Despite all this emotional upheaval, there is plenty of tension and action when they confront the beaters. The evolution of the beaters and how they are learning is particularly intriguing and tense. There is a confrontation in a shopping centre which is a great tribute to one of the great zombie films, Dawn of the Dead – putting the zombie back in their natural habitat! The gun fights and attacks by the beaters are as nail-biting as before and while Aftertime and Rebirth focussed on humanity being as destructive as the beaters to their fellow man, it feels as if Horizon has some humans attempting  to help others – although not always successfully and does leave you with a feeling of hope – even if there is still a long way to go!
This has been one of the most intense, emotional and exciting series I’ve ever read and I’ve been waiting impatiently for each book to come out. This is intelligent zombie fare with the most intense and fraught action scenes I’ve ever read. I really can’t recommend this enough! Brilliant. J
Recommended for fans of Mira Grant and Stacy Kane. 10 out of 10.  

Sunday, 29 January 2012

My Book Haul/In My Mailbox

The Story Siren hosts a weekly meme where bloggers can share what goodies they've purchased/received this week. If you get a chance head over to The Story Siren and check out what everyone is up to! Only a couple of books this week - the last of post-Christmas spree finally arrived!

Saints Astray - Jacqueline Carey
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Fellow orphans, amateur vigilantes, and members of the Santitos, Loup Garron--the fugitive daughter of a genetically engineered "wolf man"--and Pilar Ecchevarria grew up in the military zone of Outpost 12, formerly known as Santa Olivia. But now they're free, and they want to help the rest of the Santitos escape. During a series of escapades, they discover that Miguel, Loup's former sparring partner and reprobate surrogate brother, has escaped from Outpost 12 and is testifying on behalf of its forgotten citizens-at least until he disappears from protective custody. Honor drives Loup to rescue Miguel, even though entering the U.S could mean losing her liberty.

I love Jacqueline Carey's writing and this sequel to her YA book Santa Olivia is one I've wanted for ages!

Being Of The Field - Traci Harding
Publisher: HarperCollins
At the university on Maladaan, Taren has studied everything from genetics and cell communication to Quantum Physics, Astrophysics and ESP. She believes there is an ocean of microscopic vibrations connecting everything in the universe to every other universe -- an inter-dimensional field theory. Unbeknownst to Taren, her research and hidden psychic talents are the reason she is called on by the prestigious AMIE space project to investigate an ocean planet and its strange light phenomena. However, there are conflicting agendas within the organisation and she is the only one who begins to suspect that foul play might be afoot...

Traci Harding is a much underrated Aussie writer and I'm looking forward to starting her latest trilogy!

If I Die - Rachel Vincent
Publisher: UK - MIRA Ink
The entire school's talking about the gorgeous new math teacher, Mr. Beck. Everyone except Kaylee Cavanaugh. After all, Kaylee's no ordinary high-school junior. She's a banshee—she screams when someone dies. But the next scream might be for Kaylee.
Yeah—it's a shock to her, too. So to distract herself, Kaylee's going to save every girl in school. Because that hot new teacher is really an incubus who feeds on the desire of unsuspecting students. The only girls immune to his lure are Kaylee and Sabine, her boyfriend's needy ex-girlfriend. Now the unlikely allies have to get rid of Mr. Beck…before he discovers they aren't quite human, either.

I've been buying all the books in the Soul Screamers series but I've yet to start reading them. This is the latest release in the UK and I think I will have to make a start on this series in 2012!

This Is Not Forgiveness - Celia Rees
Publisher: UK - Bloomsbury
Everyone says that Caro is bad ...but Jamie can't help himself. He thinks of her night and day and can't believe that she wants to be his girlfriend. Gorgeous, impulsive and unconventional, she is totally different to all the other girls he knows. His sister, Martha, hates her. Jamie doesn't know why, but there's no way he's going to take any notice of her warnings to stay away from Caro. But as Jamie falls deeper and deeper under her spell, he realises there is more to Caro - much more. There are the times when she disappears and doesn't get in touch, the small scars on her wrists, her talk about revolutions and taking action, not to mention the rumours he hears about the other men in her life. And then always in the background there is Rob, Jamie's older brother, back from Afghanistan and traumatised after having his leg smashed to bits there. Jamie wants to help him, but Rob seems to be living in a world of his own and is increasingly difficult to reach. With Caro, the summer should have been perfect ...but that isn't how things work out in real life, and Jamie is going to find out the hard way.

I won this from Kristy at The Overflowing Library as part of her British Books Challenge. It's not the usual type of book I would pick, which means it will be something different for me!

Tempest - Julie Cross
Publisher St Martins Griffin:
The year is 2009.  Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun.
That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future. Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities. But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler.  Recruit… or kill him. Piecing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far he’s willing to go to save Holly… and possibly the entire world...


I won a copy of this from Sarah at A Dream of Books - after ending a load of giveaways as I was really curious about the story. I do love time travel stories!

What have you recieved this week? :)

Saturday, 28 January 2012

On My Wishlist #72

This is a meme from Book Chick City. There are so many books out there that I want to read that this is the only way I can keep track!
Fair Game (Alpha & Omega 3) - Patricia Briggs
Publisher: UK - Orbit (March 2012)
When the FBI request a pack consultant on a serial killer case they’re following in Boston, Anna and Charles are sent in. They quickly realise that not only the last two victims were werewolves – all of them were.
Someone is targeting their kind. And if Charles and Anna can’t get to the bottom of this mystery, they may be next . . .

I do enjoy the Mercy Thompson books and the Alpha and Omega series as well. Anna and Charles are a strong couple and I can't wait to see what they get up to next.

Raised By Wolves - Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publisher: Egmont
Adopted by the Alpha of a werewolf pack after a rogue wolf brutally killed her parents right before her eyes, fifteen-year-old Bryn knows only pack life, and the rigid social hierarchy that controls it.  That doesn't mean that she's averse to breaking a rule or two. But when her curiosity gets the better of her and she discovers Chase, a new teen locked in a cage in her guardian's basement, and witnesses him turn into a wolf before her eyes, the horrific memories of her parents' murders return. Bryn becomes obsessed with getting her questions answered, and Chase is the only one who can provide the information she needs. But in her drive to find the truth, will Bryn push too far beyond the constraints of the pack, forcing her to leave behind her friends, her family, and the identity that she's shaped?

After reading Every Other Day before Christmas and loving it (Review here), I want to read some of her other books - and this sounds like fun!

Tempting Danger (World of the Lupi 1) - Eileen Wilks
Publisher: Berkley
Lily Yu is a San Diego police detective investigating a series of grisly murders that appear to be the work of a werewolf. To hunt down the killer, she must infiltrate the clans. Only one man can help her--a were named Rule Turner, a prince of the lupi, whose charismatic presence disturbs Lily. Rule has his own reasons for helping the investigation--reasons he doesn't want to share with Lily. Logic and honor demand she keep her distance, but the attraction between them is immediate and devastating-and beyond human reason. Now, in a race to fend off evil, Lily finds herself in uncharted territory, tested as never before, and at her back a man who she's not sure she can trust...

I have to admit I don't like the cover of this book - but the description sounds interesting. I like investigations in the Urban Fantasy genre!

So what are you wishing for this week?

Friday, 27 January 2012

Early Review: Incarnate

Incarnate
-          Jodi Meadows
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books - Published on 31st January 2012
E-Arc courtesy of netgalley and Harper Collins
NEWSOUL
Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

NOSOUL
Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are suspicious and afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?

HEART
Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?
What first drew me to this book was the absolutely beautiful cover – the colours, the butterfly over the face and the stark white background really makes this stand out among various dark covers and girls in red dresses.  The story has a great hook as well – for thousands of years everyone has been re-incarnated when they die, living life after life, until one day a new soul is born for the first time. How would she fit in? What happened to the soul she ‘replaced’? This intriguing start seems set for a philosophical exploration of what it means to be human. However, most of the book is based on Ana falling for Sam and how they can breach the gap between them, which left me personally a little disappointed.
The world building is a little sketchy in places – reincarnation is explained along with how people are drawn into the same studies life after life. However, I was never sure if Heart was an advanced technology civilisation as seen by the SED (basically an i-Phone) and soul scanners – or more of a middle ages society with people keeping their own chickens and using horses. People also seemed remarkable unquestioning of the continual dragon attacks on the city. The family aspect was difficult to get my head around and I never really felt fully immersed in the world.
However, Ana was in a unique position and I liked her determination even if she seemed much too defensive at times. I wasn’t overly keen on her immediately falling for the first guy she meets, but Sam was a strong character, who genuinely seemed concerned about Ana and wanting to do right by her. His friend Stef made a strong impression as well. The writing was strong and I always wanted to know how the story would finish. There is a gem of a story here which is worth exploring – but the teen love didn’t convince me and I never really felt the stakes were that high. However, I have some hopes that the next books in the series will focus more on question of dragons and souls and less on romance.
Recommended for fans of Leigh Fallon and L.A. Weatherly. 6 out of 10

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Throwback Thursday #39 - Voice of Dragons

This is a great feature that Melissa at My World...in words and pictures has been doing for a while and I wanted to jump on board! There are plenty of books out there I desperately want...

But what about all those wonderful books that are ALREADY on my shelves?
 
Voice of Dragons - Carrie Vaughn
On one side of the border lies the modern world: the internet, homecoming dances, cell phones. On the other side dwell the ancient monsters who spark humanity's deepest fears: dragons.
Seventeen-year-old Kay Wyatt knows she's breaking the law by rock climbing near the border, but she'd rather have an adventure than follow the rules. When the dragon Artegal unexpectedly saves her life, the rules are abruptly shattered, and a secret friendship grows between them. But suspicion and terror are the legacy of human and dragon interactions, and the fragile truce that has maintained peace between the species is unraveling. As tensions mount and battles begin, Kay and Artegal are caught in the middle. Can their friendship change the course of a war?
 
Carrie Vaughn's Kitty series is a must buy for me  so when she released a YA with Dragons in it, I knew I had to have a copy. Good news is that I do. Bad news is that I haven't read it yet. I have just reminded myself that I have it though so will try to give it a whirl in the next few weeks!
 
Has anyone out there read this book?

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

The Eternal Enemy Review

The Eternal Enemy
-          Christopher Pike
Publisher: UK – Hodder
Rela has just bought herself a new VCR. She sets the machine to tape a movie, but instead she gets the news--tomorrow's news. Soon Rela is regularly recording next week's news, even what is to happen in the far future. It's fun at first, until she sees herself on the news, and learns that there is no future for her...
I remember reading this as a teen and enjoying it immensely. However, the first thing that struck upon picking this up again is how dated the premise is now. In the current age of downloads, streaming and digital recording, the idea of using a video player is very old fashioned. So the idea of recording tomorrows news by mistake is slightly bizarre to me now! However, once you get past that idea (and shudder at the idea of anyone finding Mel Gibson fancy-able any more!), there is an interesting idea. What if you knew tomorrow news – and could make money from it and perhaps save lives...? And what if my changng the furture, means there is no future for you any more...?
The set up of the story takes a while and I have to confess I don’t understand what Rela sees in her love interest, Chris. The characterisation is a little shallow but as the whole book is less than 200 pages, there is no extraneous detail. However, the initial idea is so intriguing – and just when you think it reaches a climax, there is a twist out of left-field which puts all slow introduction into perspective.  
Christopher Pike has a fascination with philosophy, what it means to be human and what is the meaning of life – all fascinating ideas that people struggle with for their whole lives and it is refreshing to see them introduced into a teen book. I think it was the early exposure to these ideas that lead to an early interest in physics and how the universe works. The last 60 pages are full of little ideas that stay with you long after the book is closed.
Recommended for fans of LJ Smith and Jeri Smith-Ready. 7 out of 10

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Book Confession: Book Obsession?

Over the last month or so I’ve had a few conversations with people that have got me thinking. In the pub over New Years someone mentioned a statistic that struck me.
10% of people are responsible for 85% of books purchased.
London Tube Commuters
Now, this was a slightly drunken discussion so I don’t know where he got these numbers, how accurate they are or how it was calculated, but my first thought was that it wasn’t right. There are loads of people who read – any commuter train or tube in London will have dozens of people reading either kindle or book in order to pass the time to work. I would have thought it would be higher than 10%. But since then, I’ve noticed it’s always the same people I see reading – the girl who sits across from me who is making her way through The Game of Thrones series and the suit guy who always has the latest booker prize shortlisted book. Is it really only a small number people of responsible for most book purchases?
I know some people who only read magazines and papers and would never pick up a book. Other people don’t even print if they can help it. And then there’s me: I have a huge number of books in my small flat. And I buy most of them – a few are giveaway wins and one or two swaps, but most of them I purchase with my own money. I even feel like I’m in withdrawal if I got a whole week without visiting a bookshop or surfing Amazon. I easily fit into the 10%. So much so that  one person upon hearing how many books I owned that I haven’t read (about 350 at last count but probably more in reality!), asked if I would ever read them all. I have enough books to continue reading at my current rate for the next three years or so before I run out. I would assume that most book bloggers would also fall into this category, from definition.
So is it an obsession? Are those of us in that 10% addicted to buying books? It may not be as bad as drugs or alcohol but a lot of our time is spent thinking about next fix and money disappears into the hands of publishing houses and booksellers.
What are your thoughts? Do a small number of people contribute to the majority of sales? Can we ever read all those books? I know I want to read all mine eventually!

Monday, 23 January 2012

An Expert In Murder Review

An Expert In Murder
-          Nicola Upson
Kindle Book
It is March 1934, and Josephine is travelling from Scotland to London for the final week of her celebrated play Richard of Bordeaux - but joy turns to horror when her arrival coincides with murder. Detective Inspector Archie Penrose is convinced that the killing is connected to the play. Richard of Bordeaux has been the surprise hit of the season, with pacifist themes which strike a chord in a world still haunted by war, but now it seems that Josephine could become the victim of her own success, as her reputation - and even her life - are put at risk. As his investigations lead him from the romance of the West End to the stark reality of the trenches, he and Josephine must confront their own ghosts in a search for someone who will stop at nothing to right the wrongs of a past generation.
Set in London’s theatre-land in the late 1930s, An Expert In Murder is a throwback to the old fashioned murder mysteries where motive and alibi are more important than physical evidence. The period feels authentic with men and women ‘stepping out’ together and plays are popular form of entertainment for the masses. The spectre of the future hardships doesn’t appear here despite the late 30s era, but it feels  as everyone is still haunted by the shadow of The Great War – whether they were fighting or not on the front. Indeed the fear and actions of the past loom large over every character in this novel – especially when they contemplate their futures.
The murder mystery itself is intriguing, and plunges headlong into the social and economic ideals of the theatre where everyone has their own secrets and desires. The writing feels traditional and adds to the atmosphere. However, I never really felt connected to any of the characters. The heroine, Josephine Tey, based on a popular but mysterious real-life writer and playwright, always feels aloof and impersonal. She never really seemed to express emotion and as such I always felt like I was following a friendly and polite stranger. Other characters experienced similar issues, although Archie Penrose, the detective was more involving –especially his feelings for Josephine which are not discussed, but shine through in his actions.
There are a number of red herrings scattered about, especially in the early half of the book which add depth and intrigue but many of these are dropped without resolution. While this adds to the mystery in the beginning but does leave you feeling a little bereft by the end – which does show how strong small glimpses of secondary characters can be! Overall, this was fun, traditional murder mystery in a forgotten era and made a pleasant change in my reading matter for a few days.
Recommended for fans of Agatha Christie and Carola Dunn.  7 out of 10

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Winners!

I've been a bit lapse at annoucing winners of verious giveaway over the last few weeks - although I have contacted the winners and sorted out their prizes! So bring us up todate, recent winners have been -

Mel's Favourite Books of 2011

I have two winners for this:

Anne Jude from My Book Addiction who choose Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep

and

Sarah from Whispering Words who choose A Touch of Power by Maria V Synder


Don't Call Me Ishmael Giveaway

Winner of a copy of Don't Call Me Ishlmael was Paul Whitney.


Dreaming of Books Giveaway

Winner of a book of her choice is Hilda from Catchthelune and she choose This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

Congratulations everyone! Sorry to those who didn't win this time, but I'm sure I won't go too long before another giveaway!

My Book Haul/In My Mailbox

The Story Siren hosts a weekly meme where bloggers can share what goodies they've purchased/received this week. If you get a chance head over to The Story Siren and check out what everyone is up to!
I wasn't sure I would have anything to share this week but then Friday a couple of giveaway wins turned up and the some more of my internet purchases post-Christmas and post-buying banned turned up!

Bitter Night - Diana Pharaoh Francis
Crimson Wind - Diana Pharaoh Francis
Shadow City - Diana Pharaoh Francis
Publisher: Pocket Books
Once, Max dreamed of a career, a home, a loving family. Now all she wants is freedom...and revenge. A witch named Giselle transformed Max into a warrior with extraordinary strength, speed, and endurance. Bound by spellcraft, Max has no choice but to fight as Giselle's personal magic weapon -- a Shadowblade -- and she's lethally good at it. But her skills are about to be put to the test as they never have before....
The ancient Guardians of the earth are preparing to unleash widespread destruction on the mortal world, and they want the witches to help them. If the witches refuse, their covens will be destroyed, including Horngate, the place Max has grudgingly come to think of as home.
Max thinks she can find a way to help Horngate stand against the Guardians, but doing so will mean forging dangerous alliances -- including one with a rival witch's Shadowblade, who is as drawn to Max as she is to him -- and standing with the witch she despises. Max will have to choose between the old life she still dreams of and the warrior she has become, and take her place on the side of right -- if she survives long enough to figure out which side that is..


I was so excited to win all three books in the Horngate Witches series from The Quillery! I've had this series on my wishlist for ages and to win all three books is so great - very excited about these books!

Blood Drunk - Angela Lovell
With summer waning quickly before the start of his senior year, a family emergency forces Blue Knightly to leave his small Midwest town and travel to New York City to locate his rebellious sister. From the morgue to Central Park to the underbelly of New York, he quickly discovers the big city is the least of his concerns as he reluctantly takes sides within a warring faction of vampires to unravel the mystery of his sister’s disappearance. In their underground world of abandoned subway tunnels, Blue finds himself falling for a femme fatale vampire whose vibe is seldom clear. Not knowing who to trust, Blue finds himself battling not only the undead, but his own heart, as the family crisis escalates and every decision could be his last.

This was a win from Melissa at Book and Things - and looks intriguing. Most of the Urban
Fantasy I've read with male leads have been fantastic so looking forward to this!

Shadow Heir - Richelle Mead
Publisher: UK - Bantam 
Shaman-for-hire Eugenie Markham strives to keep the mortal realm safe from trespassing entities. But as the Thorn Land's prophecy-haunted queen, there's no refuge for her and her soon-to-be-born-children when a mysterious blight begins to devastate the Otherworld...
The spell-driven source of the blight isn't the only challenge to Eugenie's instincts. Fairy king Dorian is sacrificing everything to help, but Eugenie can't trust the synergy drawing them back together. The uneasy truce between her and her shape shifter ex-lover Kiyo is endangered by secrets he can't--or won't--reveal. And as a formidable force rises to also threaten the human world, Eugenie must use her own cursed fate as a weapon--and risk the ultimate sacrifice...

The final Eugenie book - as far as I know! It seems like the year for endings for Richelle Mead books which is sad but I'm looking forward to seeing what she does next now both Eugenie and Georgina series are over...

Kiss of Frost - Jennifer Estep
Publisher: Kensington
I’m Gwen Frost, a second-year warrior-in-training at Mythos Acad­emy, and I have no idea how I’m going to sur­vive the rest of the semes­ter. One day, I’m get­ting schooled in sword­play by the guy who broke my heart—the drop-dead gor­geous Logan who slays me every time. Then, an invis­i­ble archer in the Library of Antiq­ui­ties decides to use me for tar­get prac­tice. And now, I find out that some­one at the acad­emy is really a Reaper bad guy who wants me dead. I’m afraid if I don’t learn how to live by the sword—with Logan’s help—I just might die by the sword...

I've been waiting for this for so long... I loved Touch of Frost!

What have you picked up this week? :)

Saturday, 21 January 2012

On My Wishlist #71

This is a meme from Book Chick City. There are so many books out there that I want to read that this is the only way I can keep track! This week I'm wishing for some exclusive online content...or at least what's available on Amazon UK's kindle page!

Easy Pickings - CE Murphy & Faither Hunter
Two heroines. Two magics. One world.
There’s nowhere in America like the Big Easy. Just ask Jane Yellowrock, shapeshifting vampire killer, whose hunting grounds run the length and breadth of the Bayou.
Just ask Joanne Walker, whose shamanic magic has drawn her to the heart of American Weird.
But it’s not Joanne’s world, and it isn’t Jane’s either. In a New Orleans where Katrina never hit and supposedly-dead vampires stalk the streets, Jane and Jo have to find and defeat the magic that brought them there–or they just might find themselves…

Two heroines from two different series meet up? It's like an UF fan dream! And even better it's official - by their offical authors! 

Silent Blade - Ilona Andrews
On Meli Galdes’ home planet, the struggle for power is a bloody, full-contact sport—in business and on the battlefield. For years her lethal skills have been a valuable asset in advancing her family’s interests. She’s more than earned her right to retire, but her kinsmen have one last favor to ask.
Kill the man who ruined her life.
Celino Carvanna’s razor-sharp business acumen—and skills with a blade—won him the freedom to do as he pleases. There’s only one thing he can’t seem to control—his reaction to the mysterious woman who tantalizes his senses. Her eyes alone set his blood simmering, stirring ridiculous adolescent fantasies about breasts and honey. With a few words she dissects his soul. Who is she? And how does she slide so easily under his well-guarded skin? It’s almost too easy to draw Celino within the kill zone. Meli plans to revel in him. Drink him in. Wring every drop of pleasure out of every moment.
And when she’s sure he belongs to her, she will finally repay a decade’s worth of pain—in a single, brutal dose of reality

I love Ilona Andrews writing and think I will add this to the many books on my kindle soon - even if it Science-Fiction.

Hidden - Kelley Armstrong
Hiking through the snow, holiday baking and playing board games by the fire – what’s not to love about an old-fashioned family Christmas?
Werewolves Elena Michaels and Clayton Danvers want to give their four-year-old twins, Kate and Logan, something their parents never had: a nice, normal holiday. No Pack responsibilities, no homicidal half-demons or power-hungry sorcerers to deal with – just the four of them, alone, at a chalet outside Ontario’s Algonquin Park. Then a strange werewolf shows up at their door…while the town is buzzing about a young man, back from college, found half-eaten in the woods. And there’s the missing little girl …
With all the signs pointing to a rogue mutt with a taste for human flesh, Elena and Clay have no choice but to investigate. But are they the hunters – or the hunted?

With the Otherworld series coming to an end, I want to savour every short and novella length story in that world!

What are you wishing for this week?

Friday, 20 January 2012

POD Review

POD
-          Stephen Wallenfels
Publisher: UK - Templar 
POD's - strange alien spheres hover menacingly in the sky, zapping anyone who ventures outside.
Josh is 15 and stuck in his house with his OCD dad. They're running out of food... Megs is 12, alone and trapped in a multi-storey carpark. The hotel next door is under the control of dangerous security staff, but Megs has something they want, and they'll do anything to get it...
When the aliens invade, the real enemy becomes humanity itself. What would you do to survive?
What happens to the ordinary people when the aliens appear in the skies in huge spaceships that look like Pearls of Death (or PODs)? This book answers some of those questions by focussing on the ordinary people during an alien invasion. Anyone outside when the PODs first appear are instantly ‘disappeared’, leaving humans to huddle indoors while the PODs hover above.
The story is told is told from two points of view; Josh, the teenaged boy trapped in his house with his father and dog, rapidly running out of supplies and Megs, an eleven year old sleeping in her mum’s car in a hotel’s multi-story car park. Megs may be young but she is resourceful, figuring out how to survive and avoid the men with the knife who are holed up in the hotel. She has a lot of humanity in her and I was really invested in her survival – worrying more about her human enemies than the alien ones. Josh’s story was less eventful and a little sad as he and his Dad argue over rationing, and if surviving was worth it. Meg’s story was fast paced and tense, while Josh’s was more thoughtful and introspective which balanced each other out. Overall though, I wanted to spend more time with Megs as I felt more drawn to her – she wanted to survive while Josh seemed ready to give up more than once.
The story is exciting and well written – I was so invested in the story I even started mentally cataloguing the food in my kitchen and figuring out what containers I could fill with water. I have to confess to purchasing more tinned food than usual this week – just in case. J
The alien PODs remain just that – alien, with no revelation as to their motive or plan. While the aliens are the catalyst for the events, PODs is really more of a study of the best and worst of humanity. Is surviving at any cost worth it? A great adventure story that I was sorry to see end.
Recommended for fans of Charlie Higson and Michael Grant.  9 out of 10

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Throwback Thursday #38 - The Hunger Games

This is a great feature that Melissa at My World...in words and pictures has been doing for a while and I wanted to jump on board! There are plenty of books out there I desperately want...

But what about all those wonderful books that are ALREADY on my shelves?
 
The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. But Katniss has been close to death before - and survival, for her, is second nature.

I know, I know! I must the only person in the world not to have read this series. Even with one of my friends continually nagging to read it, it's not made it's way to the top of my TBR pile yet. I'm hoping with the film coming out this year, it will give me the push to read it soon.

Has anyone else out there not read The Hunger Games yet either? Or am I alone? :)


 

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Audiobook: Eric Review

Eric (Discworld 9)
Written by Terry Pratchett
Read by Tony Robinson
An inept demonologist wants three wishes granted--to be immortal, to rule the world, and to have a beautiful woman fall in love with him. But instead of a demon, he calls up Rincewind, the most incompetent wizard in the universe. Because Eric gives him no other choice, Rincewind tries to grant him his wishes...
Eric is quite a short book for Terry Pratchett and this works well in audio form as there is less to cut for the abridgement. And this means that there are no strange plot jumps or unusual occurrences when listening. Tony Robinson is brilliant once again as the narrator and voices each character separately. He makes each character unique and recognisable which adds a lot of humour through his inflections to an already amusing story. This is one of the funniest Discworld stories partly because it follows a fairly standard plot  device– be careful what you wish for. But this is a Terry Pratchett book so the story is a clever rift on many expectations...from what the most beautiful woman in the world truly looks like and what would people do if they ever met the ruler of the world. And I won’t mention what it truly means to live forever...
Rincewind is possibly one of the bravest cowards you will ever meet – able to run away from pretty much anything and think on his feet, while the title character, Eric is a little annoying at first, he soon settles down. This story takes Rincewind and Eric across the Discworld, back in time and eventually to Hell, following in the footsteps of someone named Faust... While Terry Pratchett does add plenty of humour there is a biting satire to the story as well as we get treated to some great insights into a variety of subject from war to religion to office politics. I can’t say too much without spoiling a great experience but whether you listen to the book or read it, this is fun read.
I have to confess that I’ve never read any of the Rincewind books in the Discworld series – but I have listened to them all on audiobook. This is one of my favourites as Eric is an amusing and entertaining story with some fantastic images and a great twist on a familiar premise.
Recommended for fans of Douglas Adams and Jasper Fforde. 8.5 out of 10

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Guest Review: Strange Angels - Jealousy

Today I have Sarah dropping by to review one of her favourite series... 

Jealousy (Strange Angels 3)
- Lili St Crow

Publisher: UK - Quercus Publishing

It’s a good thing Dru Anderson is fast. Because the sucker chasing her isn’t slowing down—and he won’t rest until he has tasted her blood and silenced her heart . . .
Dru’s best friend, Graves, and her strange and handsome savior, Christophe, are ready to help her take on the ultimate evil. But will their battle for Dru’s heart get in the way of her survival?




Oh I do love this YA series.  It’s one of those where part of you wants to read every book back to back, because they’re just so damn readable; whilst the rest of you is all disciplined and makes you wait between books, because you just don’t want the series to end.  For those of you who haven’t read my previous Strange Angels reviews they star Dru Anderson, who may be an about-to-bloom svetocha (an uber-vampire-butt-kicker), but who is also very much a teenage girl.

That’s what I love about these books, they’re just so damn real.  Yes, I know, the book concerns vamps and weres, but St.Crow triumphs in making the story one we can all relate to.  Dru may be very well-trained in hand to hand combat, aided by her rapidly evolving powers, but fights still involve sweat and tears and bruises and blood.  She still gets hurt (and actually feels it), still gets ridiculously riled, and still quite often questions what the hell she is actually doing.  And when the dust has settled, and the adrenaline goes, boy does she crash and burn!

Jealousy is the third installment in this series, and now we’ve reached the stage of a very interesting love triangle.  Who would you chose?  The loup-garou boy her own age, who may be known as ‘goth boy’, but who is the only person since her parents died to ever make her feel safe?  Or the much older, gorgeous, slightly bad-boy djamphir who is passionately devoted to her, and especially her safety?  St.Crow doesn’t make the choice easy!

Jealousy is a pacey read, even when politics are thrown into the mix, and the fight scenes are almost visceral in their descriptions.  The fact that the story features mainly teenagers is never played down, and I dare you not to spot your teenage self in it!  Ok, so it’s not going to win a Booker Prize, but that doesn’t stop it being my favourite YA series out there, 8.5 out of 10.
 

Monday, 16 January 2012

Must Love Hellhounds Review

Must Love Hellhounds
-          Charlaine Harris, Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews & Meljean Brook
Publisher: Berkley
In these hound-eat-hound worlds, anything goes... and everything bites.
Follow paranormal bodyguards Clovache and Batanya into Lucifer's realm, where they encounter his fearsome four-legged pets, in Charlaine Harris's
The Britlingens Go to Hell. Seek out a traitor in the midst of a guild of non- lethal vampire trackers, one that intends to eradicate the entire species of bloodsuckers, in Nalini Singh's Angels' Judgment. Find out why the giant three-headed dog that guards the gates of Hades has left the underworld for the real world-and whose scent he's following-in Ilona Andrews's Magic Mourns. Embark on a perilous search for the kidnapped niece of a powerful vampire alongside her blind- and damn sexy-companion and a hellhound in Meljean Brook's Blind Spot.
Four novellas from four Urban Fantasy stalwarts each one featuring a hellhound of some description. I’ve read books by Charlaine Harris and Ilona Andrews previously but Nalini Singh and Meljean Brook were new authors to me – even if I have full books by both of them somewhere in my TBR pile...
The Britlingens Go to Hell by Charlaine Harris is a fun romp through a couple of dimesions parallel to Sookie Stackhouse. The Britlingens in question – Clovache and Batanya are fierce, determined warriors with snark and I really enjoyed this tale – more so than recent Sookie Stackhouse books! 8 out of 10
Angel’s Judgement by Nalini Singh follows two Guild Hunters as they look for a traitor in their midsts. This is a sexy short tale in which Sara Haziz takes centre stage. Having no read any books in this world before, there was a lot to get used and at first the relationships between Angels, Archangels, Vampires and the Guild was a little overwhelming and distracted me from the story. However, I soon settled in and enjoyed the ride. I’m happy I have Angel’s Blood to read at some point as I would like to get to know this world better. 7 out of 10
Magic Mourns by Ilona Andrews bypasses Kate Daniels in favour of her best friend, Andrea and an adventure with the were-hyena, Raphael. I love this world were magic and tech battle each other and anything man made slowly falls apart. Andrea has always been a favourite of mine with her preference for guns over swords and troubled past. While it kills me that I have to wait another year for the next Kate book, I’m more than happy with a Andrea based story – Gunmetal Magic this summer! 9 out of 10
Blind Spot by Meljean Brooks is an interesting story – a cute romance and an adorable hellhound makes for a fun read. I enjoyed the handicap that Blake has being blind and the determination of Maggie to prove herself. 7 out of 10
Overall, this was a high quality anthology with each story hitting highs and all worth reading. Recommended for fans of Ilona Andrews, Charlaine Harris, Meljean Brook and Nalini Singh. 8 out of 10