Thursday, 29 May 2014

Monthly Wrap Up: May

You remember how I said last month I probably wouldn't be doing Monthly Re-caps anymore? Well, that's slightly true, I've changed it up, now I'm doing *drum roll* MONTHLY WRAP UP'S! I don't know why but it sounds more cheery than a re-cap, you know? Anyways, I would like to apologize for basically spazzing out near the end of the month and hardly blogging - hence why this wrap up is coming earlier than usual; there are two massive developments happening related to the blog in coming June, and I just wanted to end the month (blogging-wise) now and start again on the first of June, so its not a hiatus exactly, y'all just know that I'm not going to be posting until then! And its not like its a super long wait ;) Without further ado, let's wrap up this month.

Reading wise, I think May has gone really, really well, granted I didn't enjoy all of the books, I still got plenty read and am hoping to review most of them very soon.

BOOKS I READ in May (in no particular order):

Take Me On by Katie McGarry
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
Will The Real Abi Saunders Please Stand Up? by Sara Hantz
You're the One That I Want by Giovanna Fletcher
The Moment Collector by Jodi Lynn Anderson
All The Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry
Branded (Fall of Angels) by Keary Taylor
Come Back To Me by Mila Gray
Some Fine Day by Kat Ross
Take Back the Skies by Lucy Saxon
Branded by Abi Ketner and Melissa Kalicicki

Fourteen books, I think I pretty much kicked ass in that department.

ON THE blog:

I debuted a new feature; Consider Yourself Stalked! Which I haven't had time to carry on, yet, but I promise, sooooon! In the meantime, you can go read the post where I stalked one of my bestest friends, Charli (you should already know who Charli is, I mention her a lot... like, a lot), right here.

I also did a Top Ten Tuesday this month, yeah, I know I'm terrible at keeping up with features... anyways, the topic was books that you almost put down but didn't - you can see mine here.

And lastly I did a reply post on Bookshop Serendipity, which I think may be *one* of my favorite posts ever, in the world... okay, maybe that's a bit dramatic, buts its so relatable, just go read my post and you'll get what I mean, now go, shoo, READ IT (only if you want too...).


Sadly only two, but I promise there will be more next month!!

Fire and Flood by Victoria Scott (see review here) // 3 bookish birds
A Kiss In The Dark by Cat Clarke (see review here) // 4 bookish birds

THIS MONTH'S reads: 

The Authors Guide to Writing Review Requests by Amber (The Mile Long Bookshelf)
Marvel Madness: Females I Love by Amy (Amy Bookworm)
Review: We Were Liars by Jack (The Book Stop)
When A Series Ends by Ruby (Feed Me Books Now)
Discussion: Judging Books by Their Covers by Charli (To Another World)
Michael Gove Had Officially Gone and Done It by Rita (Weaving Pages)
Book Review // Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor by Hawwa (It Was Lovely Reading You)

IN OTHER news:

Everything's been pretty quiet with me recently, these past few days mainly consisted of me cocooned in my duvet reading and writing, I also burned through an entire pack of instant cappuccino sachets within two days... lesson one in life, don't drink coffee literally minutes before you plan to sleep, hence why I was still awake when the sun rose this morning.

But enough about me - BEA is happening this week! For those of you who have obviously been living under a rock BEA is Book Expo America, it is like *the* gathering of bloggers and book-lovers, not that I'd know personally since I've never been to America, and I *sniffle* couldn't go to BEA. But the Hay Festival was this week as well!

And I know for a fact that a very awesome friend of mine, Zoe (Bookhi) got a book signed by none other than Cassandra Clare at Hay - SPEAKING OF CASSANDRA CLARE LET ME TAKE A MINUTE TO FREAK OUT OVER CITY OF HEAVENLY FIRE, I HAVE IT AND I DONT KNOW WHAT TO DO, IM SCARED, I DONT WANT TO GET SPOILED THOUGH, SOMEONE HELP ME *curls into a ball* its also very large, I expected it to be smaller, and my book OCD is going through the roof because I got the paperback copy that's like taller than the rest of the series and oh my gosh...

Saturday, 17 May 2014

REVIEW: A Kiss in the Dark by Cat Clarke

This book is definitely going to be in my top five books of 2014. I'm sure of it. If that isn't encouragement to read on, then I don't know what is.

Book Title: A Kiss in the Dark
Author: Cat Clarke
Publisher: Quercus, April 3rd, 2014
Source: Netgalley, ARC
Format: E-book, 384 pages
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository
When Alex meets Kate the attraction is instant.      Alex is funny, good looking, and a little shy - everything that Kate wants in a boyfriend.             Alex can't help falling for Kate, who is pretty, charming and maybe just a little naive...                 But one of them is hiding a secret, and as their love blossoms, it threatens to ruin not just their relationship, but their lives. 

Wow. Just wow.

This review is probably going to be one of the shortest I’ve ever written on this blog for two main reasons; 1) I definitely can’t do this novel justice with too many words, and 2) I really, really, don’t want to spoil anything, and since a big reveal comes along fairly early in the book that means I can’t talk too much about it, but just know that you will not be disappointed if you pick up this book.

Having never read a Cat Clarke novel before (although Undone was on my TBR at the time of reading this) I didn’t know what to expect – I’d heard a lot about Cat Clarke’s novels containing plot twists and that they ripped you up emotionally so needless to say I was super excited when I got the chance to read A Kiss in the Dark before publication. I got more than I’d bargained for.

This book is amazing. Period. And YA has never been better because of it.

From the narrative, which I thought was well written and I really got attached to Alex as a character (although I didn't care much for Kate), to the subject matter - this book is bursting to the brim with elements that will make you smile, gasp, and grip the book for more. At the beginning you have that feeling that this is one of those books that doesn’t get a happy ending; the character’s lives change beyond what they could have imagined on an ordinary day – and I love it. I really, really, do.

All I have left to say is that this novel left me slightly gobsmacked when I finished it. I put the book down in shock and I just sat there for a minute. The ending didn’t surprise me, but at that moment, I just processed the book in its entirety. I don’t know what else I can say to make you pick this book up; you need this book in your life, so go pick it up. Now. 

Rating: 4 Bookish Birds

Thursday, 15 May 2014

RE: Bookshop Serendipity

The other day Ruby wrote a post about Bookshop Serendipity on her blog, Feed Me Books Now, and I just couldn't resist writing a reply post – because before I started blogging I had no clue of the latest books, who was popular, the new releases etc, etc, and a lot of my discoveries would be attributed to bookshop serendipity.

Serendipity, a noun, the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way – I like to think of bookshop serendipity as that moment when you’re just browsing at a bookshop or a library and you see it, sitting there, you’re drawn to it, you can’t take your eyes off it. Then you pick it up, stroke the cover, and you know. You know it’s the one you've been looking for. 

The best example of this I can think of is Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer (funnily enough me and Ruby were talking about this book a while back and I told her about how this was one of my ‘finds’) which I found under three piles of 50 books at this sort of book market that I used to go to (its closed down now, unfortunately).

I had actually lost all hope on this fateful day of finding a decent book because I’d visited the place so often that I knew every single book they had worth picking up. So, there I was just picking up books and setting them down, not really paying attention, then I shifted some Steven King books to get a better look and there it was. With its inviting cover, I was instantly sucked in. This is now one of my favorite books of all time. You need to go read this book, the writing and style of it is just so amazing.

I have experienced bookshop serendipity on other occasions, perhaps a mention-able one would be Catching Fire - I had never heard of the trilogy before, and I didn't even know that Catching Fire was the second book, I just saw it shoved at the back behind Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire picked it up and fell in love. 

Something I realized whilst writing this post is that these occurrences happen less and less frequently since I started blogging, now I know which books I want to get there’s no need to dilly dally, sometimes I stay in a book shop for hours just rifling through the shelves – but it is sad to think that as my ‘knowledge’ of books grows, bookshop serendipity won’t be as big a part of my reading life as it used to be.

Do you experience bookshop serendipity? Let me know!

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Top Ten Books I Almost Put Down But Didn't

1. Fire and Flood by Victoria Scott
2. The Diamond Thief by Sharon Gosling
3. Cracks by Caroline Green

4. Me Since You by Laura Wiess
5. Linked by Imogen Howson
6. Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness

7. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
8. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
9. Thirteen by Tom Hoyle

And lastly, number ten, Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Friday, 2 May 2014

REVIEW: Fire and Flood by Victoria Scott

Originally, I was supposed to review this book ages ago but I put it off, I put it off a lot, because this review has been difficult to write. It was only last week when I won a competition for a signed copy of Fire and Flood did I think about trying to write the review again, and its still as difficult. The book itself was an enjoyable read and I was starved for the next book at the end but as days passed I was able to process all my thoughts on it, and I ended up with a blank space. I liked it, but I didn't. 

Title: Fire and Flood (Fire and Flood #1)
Author: Victoria Scott
Publisher: Chicken House Books, March 6th, 2014
Source: ARC from the publisher
Format: Paperback, 366 pages
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository
Tella's brother is dying. He's got cancer, and Tella is helpless to save him. Or so she thought. When an invitation arrives for Tella to compete in the Brimstone Bleed, a deadly competition that will lead her through treacherous jungle and scorching desert, she doesn't think twice. Because the prize is a cure to any illness. But Tella will be facing more than just the elements.

In general I have very little to say about this book, I mean as far as books go it had some good humor, a nicely written female protagonist, and an alright plot. Now, I have to review the book, and the thing is that I really liked the book, it was a great reading experience so I want to do that justice, but outside of the 'then and there' experience there's a lot that really brings this book down. 

We might as well start this off with the characters; Tella, I liked her as much as the next person, and I love the fact that Scott was able to show her as someone who cares about their looks and likes wearing feathery boas but can also be a kick-ass heroine, but at times Tella just didn't sit well with me, I can't really pin point the reason why but as the book picked up and Tella matured a bit I didn't have as many issues with her character. One issue I did have with a character though was Guy, yeah, yeah, I'm not part of the majority who swooned over him. I thought the whole mysterious persona was stereotypical and wasn't written well - I didn't like the romance that transpired between Guy and Tella because of that either - logically I just really think it unrealistic for someone to even think about, you know, 'getting on' with a guy whilst trying to win a competition, perhaps if it was strategic I'd be able to accept it a bit better, but no, just nope.
"When I first saw the sand, I thought it was beautiful. Like maybe it'd be fun to just roll around in and make sand angels. Now I know the truth, that sand is actually the love child of proud parents Marie Antoinette and Joseph Stalin."
Plot-wise it was really hard to stop myself from making comparatives between Fire and Flood and The Hunger Games, they had very similar story-lines; Girl goes into a competition set in a dangerous environment to save someone she loves, pairs up with a guy and starts falling for him, eventually the government is brought into play, etc, etc. But when I did it was easier to slip in and enjoy the story, it was well written, really it was, just something that was a really negative was the similarity to other well know dystopian novels.

Personally, I think the plot would have been more effective if we'd gotten more emotion from Tella about her brother. I didn't feel the same strong emotion between Tella and her brother as with Katniss and her sister, and felt that Cody could have been developed more as a character before the book got into Tella going to the Brimstone Bleed to save him, that would have been a really worthwhile addition.

Scott had some good descriptions in here, and something I really loved were the Pandoras, although they reminded me slightly of Pokemon I still think it was a truly awesome part of the book, and I totally want my own Pandora. I'd definitely recommend this book just for you to get the reading experience, although its brought down a lot by other factors it has imaginative writing, solid characters, and a few evil plot twists.

Rating: 3 Bookish Birds

I have tried so hard to write this review and praise the book as much as it deserves to be praised, my review is entirely honest, but even now, after having written it... all I know is that I will be picking up Salt and Stone (the sequel) as soon as I can get my hands on it.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Consider Yourself... Stalked! (1)

Consider Yourself Stalked is a new feature I've been thinking of doing since the beginning of April, which was inspired by Charli's (To Another World) Consider Yourself Quoted feature - more info here. The Consider Yourself Stalked feature is just about having a bit of fun and showing some of my favorite tweets from other book bloggers who I (we!) know and love, since I have to go through their entire timeline myself I'll most likely just be sifting through the last months tweets, and no they will not be in chronological order.

*I did ask Charli's permission to do this as it was taking after her own feature, and she gave me the thumbs up, YAY - if you're reading this, Charli, then you're epic ;) *

**Charli hasn't taken part in this feature at all, its all me. So yeah, if you don't like it- my fault!**

Our very first victim guest, is none other than Charli herself, SUUUURPRISE!

I totally agree. Your opinion is your own and that's fine, but there's no need for something like that.
On second hand though, I never really realized what a harsh place GR can be...
Always leading the perfect example ;) Leaving comments on other people's blogs actually cheers me up, but I'm weird.
This has to be one of the funniest things I read today, although it makes me cringe grammar wise, hilarious xD
BLOGGING BOOKS, YAY! And at least you weren't procrastinating reviews... I should do that...
DO YOU WANNA BUILD A SNOWMAN?? Frozen aside, I wish it snowed here :(
Well, that was interesting. I just learned what doodle jump is *plays for hours*
It also happens to be Sunday when I'm writing/formatting this post, heh. 
For those who don't know Jim (YA Contemporary) and Debbie (Snuggling on the Sofa) are book bloggers!
And yes, I totally ship them (not invading their privacy or anything) but still... Debim xD
As a side note, there's only so many bloggers I know on Twitter, but if you know someone who'd be a good fit for this feature then please let me know!

That's all for today's Consider Yourself Stalked! Let me know what you thought of the feature or not so I know whether or not to continue! :D