Tuesday, May 31, 2011

And We're Back

So, after a month long holiday from blogging we are back, refreshed and full of reviews, interviews and a couple of other bits and pieces relating to books.

May was a really good month for me when it came to reading books.  I managed to read a total of 15 books this month.  So that is super exciting.  I'm hoping to read just as many in June but we'll see.

Now, it is time to announce the winner of our May contest.  So congratulations go to:
Congrats and I shall be emailing you very soon.

Now on to the contest we are holding for June.

This month the winner will get to choose a book of up to £7 value from the Book Depository.
Must be over 13 years old to enter.
Open anywhere the Book Depository ships to (You can check here)
Entries close midnight 30 June 2011 NZST
Winner will be announced 1 July 2011
To make this one a little more interesting, for every new comment you leave on ANY review (new or old) you can have a +1 entry.  (One comment per review though)

Click here to fill in the form to enter this months contest.

So, good luck to everyone :)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Currently I'm...

I saw this at Khy of The Frenetic Reader's blog who in turn got it from Jordyn of Ten Cent Notes and so I decided to do it because it looks like fun.

Current Book: The Last Days by Scott Westerfeld, Ladystar: The Dreamspeaker by W. Scott, The Summoner by Layton Green and Zombies vs. Unicorns.

Current Playlist: Usually I listen to a playlist made up of HIM, The Rasmus and The 69 Eyes.  Lately however, I have been listening to Sophie Ellis-Bextor and in particular these two songs.  Here and here.

Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: To be honest, right now, my love of the novels of Heather Graham; just because they are the little mass market paperbacks that Harlequin makes and I never ever thought I would read any of 'those' types of books.  But Heather Graham is amazing with her Harrison Investigation series and her Krewe of Hunters series.

Current Color: Green (which it pretty much always is)

Current Drink: Coca-cola, and I wouldn't have it any other way

Current Food: A packet of chocolate biscuits (Yep, I'm definitely health conscious alright)

Current Favorite Show: Fringe but also Big Bang Theory I just love them both.

Current Wishlist: At the moment I just wish I had my car back.  (Has been getting rust repairs for almost two months now!)

Current Needs: To do my three statistics assignments and two philosophy essays this week.  Also to finish The Last Days by Scott Westerfeld (I love Scott Westerfeld but I'm just having trouble getting through this one).

Current Bane of My Existence: My amazing skill at procrastination.  Not a good thing.

Current Celebrity Girl-Crush: Ummmmmm maybe Sophie Ellis-Bextor because her songs are so catchy!

Current Outfit: A checkered shirt, black pants and my hoodie shoes, which are the coolest shoes ever.  Even cooler than crocs which I loved.

Current Excitement: That I have a month off in two weeks time.

Current Link: Hmmmmm Goodreads because I am always on it 24/7.  Friend me if you like, I am always updating :)

Just as an additional, since this is a currently thing.  I love how I am currently on a blog break for the month of May but I just keep posting things.  That's alright, all systems are go to starting up again tomorrow so I guess I just came back a couple of days earlier.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

My TBR Woes

I have been thinking about writing this post for a while now but just haven't gotten around to it.  Today I saw that Amber from Down the Rabbit Hole has a discussion post about tbr piles so I figured, I may as well make my post now.

This is a picture of my tbr pile from a while back.  I've read some of those books now but I have gained a lot more since then.

How do I tackle my tbr pile?
With great difficulty thats for sure.  I have tried so many things to whittle down my tbr pile such as:

I have stopped going to the library.
I just know that if I step foot into the library I'm going to walk out with a large pile of books.  They all have return dates so I will have to prioritize those and my own books and review books will just get put on the back-burner.

I wrote a list and used a random number generator to pick what book to read next.
I wrote down a list of all the books I had to read and then numbered each one.  Then I used random.org to pick out what book to read next.  This actually worked pretty well but then I started getting a bunch of pre-release books for review so I had to push those up to the top.

I prioritized and made sure I would read all my review books first.
This is alright but I keep getting the feeling of being bogged down by having to read the review books and not reading any other books.

I tried to alternate between reading a review book and a book of my own.
I started to feel guilty about not reading my review books first.

I tried to read an ebook, an audiobook and a physical book at the same time.
This one is going alright for me but I keep getting carried away and so I start reading more and more books at the same time like right now I am reading Zombies vs Unicorns, Ladystar: The Dreamspeaker, The Summoner and The Last Days.  None of them are getting read any faster by me reading them all at the same time.

So, what am I going to do now?
I keep stressing myself out with trying to read what I want, and what I feel like I have to.  This is no good because then it makes my reading seem like a huge chore and the other day a friend and I were discussing work vs play and my friend said that often when we feel like we are doing something because we have to it isn't enjoyed as much as doing something because we want to.  Which is entirely true.  So I have taken a step back, looked at my books and am now thinking that I should just read the books I said I would read and review on the set dates.  Then after that I'm just going to read what I feel like, and review the books that I read.  I don't think it matters when I review a book, just so long as I do write a review for it.

I am also not going to buy any books for the month of June and possibly longer after that.  I have plenty of books to read.  I think my main problem is that I always think, but I want to read all those new shiny books as well.  I think I'll use the rest of this year to try and read a lot of the books already in my tbr pile and from there see what happens.

My main goal is to not stress out over the fact that I keep buying more books.  If I buy a book that I want to read when I've told myself I won't.  Then thats fine.  One day I will read all the books in my tbr pile.  In the meantime, I can add to my collection of books with exciting new reading materials.

I think I've gotten a little carried away with this post so if you've made it this far, I'll be stopping my ranting now.

This has been my two cents about tbr piles, definitely check out Amber's Post if you haven't already!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Book Bucket List Challenge

I'm starting this challenge in the middle of the year but you can join at any time so thats ok, it gives me half a year to complete the challenge.  So here is my challenge post.

This challenge was created by YA Reads.

Choose your level -
Level 1: 4 books in 2011
Level 2: 8 books in 2011
Level 3: 12 books in 2011
  • Books can be either YA or adult
  • Books don’t have to be 2011 releases.
  • Anyone can join. Please link to a public (web) place.
  • You can join at anytime. The challenge runs from now till to December, 2011
  • You are required to review the books if you want to enter the giveaway. The review can either be a proper review, or simply use the short template (see the actual post)
  • You do not have to run a blog to participate, although there must be a public website where you can be found (Goodreads, LibraryThing, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Tumblr, etc)
    **Tip – if you link to Facebook, a good way to do it is to write a note or use the Visual Bookshelf application
  • Your blog does not have to be a book blog
  • If you enter with your blog link, you must post about the challenge.
  • Reviewers, the book can not be part of your review books that you would’ve read anyway, it defeats the whole purpose of the challenge.

For more information or to sign up for the challenge click this link!

My challenge part:
I will be linking up my reviews as I post them.  Also, I have chosen to do the Level 3 challenge.  So, to motivate myself I have created two lists of 6 books each.  Those are the 12 books I plan to read for the challenge.  The first list I have picked is 'classic' type books that I would like to read but haven't yet.  The second list is books I have had on my shelf for forever and I think it is time that I actually read them.  So without further ado, here are my lists:

The Classics
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
A Treatise of Human Nature by David Hume
A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
Foundation by Isaac Asimov
The Stranger by Albert Camus

Gathering dust on my Bookshelf
This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen
Glass Houses by Rachel Caine
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
Betwixt by Tara Bray Smith
The Winter's Tale by William Shakespeare
Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink

So those are the 12 I hope to read and basically starting in June I will attempt to read one from each list a month.  When I post my reviews of the books I'll link them in the above lists so wish me luck!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Inkpop Live Chat with Josephine Angelini

This week Inkpop are having a live chat with Josephine Angelini, author of Starcrossed.

When: WEDNESDAY MAY 25th, 2011 5:00p.m. Eastern Time
Inkpop Forums thread

To find out more information, including a link to a time zone converter for those of us with a different time zone be sure to click the link below:

Click here to find out more info and join the chat with Josephine on Wednesday!   

InkPop Weekly Writing Contest

This week Inkpop's Weekly Writing Contest is related to Melissa Marr's Darkest Mercy.

In Melissa Marr's DARKEST MERCY, conflict is escalating in the Dark Court. A missing King, an emerging war and a mistake that could cost one brother his life. Darkest Mercy is a novel embroiled in conflict. As every good author knows with conflict comes resolution.

Write a short story or poem that displays good conflict resolution. While the end results might always be fair to all those involved, your writing should seek to bring peace to the troubles at hand.  

inkpop Challenge Marker: ic#62
Format Selection: Any
Genre: Short Story,Poem, Essay
Launch Date: May 20th, 2011
Deadline: May 26th, 2011 (12 p.m. EST)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Title: Divergent

Author: Veronica Roth

Published: Katherine Tegen Books, 3 May 2011

Pages: 495

Series: Book 1, Divergent

First Line: "There is one mirror in my house."

Summary: In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself. 

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts:  Signs this book is amazing: 
• I sat down to read a chapter just quickly and ended up sitting down for hours. 
• I was called for dinner but was so immersed in my reading I forgot to get up to get my dinner. 
• I stayed up late two nights in a row because I couldn’t put it down. 
• Once I had put it down I couldn’t stop thinking about it. 

In a nutshell, Divergent is so good. I absolutely loved it. I started reading it and couldn’t put it down. The story just kept flowing on and on and I just didn’t want to tear myself away from it. Divergent is almost 500 pages long yet it seemed much smaller. 

The characters were so memorable. There were the good and the bad, and then there were characters that completely surprised me. As a main character I loved Tris, she wasn’t perfect and she didn’t have the “oh woe is me” attitude that a lot of characters seem to have when bad things happen to them. Nope, Tris was awesome, she’s the kind of girl that I’d like to be friends with. Then of course, there was Four. How could I forget Four? I couldn’t, he is just so awesome. It’s hard to describe Four without giving too much away but I loved him and thought he was a wonderful character in Divergent. 

I’m not a fan of in your face romance and I have to say that Divergent’s ‘romance’ was really good and didn’t annoy me at all. For starters, there is absolutely no love triangle and there is no instant love. I won’t say what it was like because it would give away too much but it was a lot more realistic than the majority of romances in books. 

It’s not very often that I get to read a book that keeps me up all night after I’ve finished it because I can’t stop thinking about it. Divergent just happened to be one of those books. Divergent offered up so much to think about. For starters, I had a lot of fun thinking about what faction I’d choose if I was in the Divergent world. I also had questions about some of the characters and I’m really curious to find out what is going to happen in the next book. 

Divergent is one of the best books I have read this year and I would definitely recommend it. I’m not the biggest fan of dystopian fiction but I would say that this one is good for those who don’t really like dystopian fiction. Divergent is utterly amazing and I would definitely recommend reading it. 

Source: HarperCollins NZ for review

Saturday, May 14, 2011

InkPop Weekly Writing Contest

InkPop are having another fantastic contest this week, and this week it coincides with Heidi Ayarbe's Compulsion.

Author Heidi Ayarbe is the acclaimed author of Freeze Frame and Compromised. In her third book, Compulsion, she tells the story of a seventeen-year-old boy living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. So what does it take to write from the opposite perspective? Take a chance and find out.

Write a story, poem or essay that explores looking at the world through a perspective other than your own. Like Heidi you can write from the POV of the opposite gender or you can look at the world as an animal would see it. The possibilities are endless.

Author Heidi Ayarbe will select two writing winners to receive her new book Compulsion as well as three books of their choice from HarperTeen. Two comment winners will be selected at random to win a copy of Compulsion as well as three books of their choice from HarperTeen. 

Click here to learn more and to enter this awesome contest!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Die for Me by Amy Plum

Title: Die for Me

Author: Amy Plum

Published: HarperTeen, 10 May 2011

Pages: 341

First Line: "The first time I had seen the statue in the fountain, I had no idea what Vincent was."

Summary: My life had always been blissfully, wonderfully normal. But it only took one moment to change everything.
Suddenly, my sister, Georgia, and I were orphans. We put our lives into storage and moved to Paris to live with my grandparents. And I knew my shattered heart, my shattered life, would never feel normal again. Then I met Vincent.
Mysterious, sexy, and unnervingly charming, Vincent Delacroix appeared out of nowhere and swept me off my feet. Just like that, I was in danger of losing my heart all over again. But I was ready to let it happen.
Of course, nothing is ever that easy. Because Vincent is no normal human. He has a terrifying destiny, one that puts his life at risk every day. He also has enemies . . . immortal, murderous enemies who are determined to destroy him and all of his kind.
While I'm fighting to piece together the remnants of my life, can I risk putting my heart—as well as my life and my family's—in jeopardy for a chance at love? (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I was really nervous about reading Die for Me by Amy Plum. Mostly because I thought it might’ve been a really clichéd story line with a cliché love interest etc. It actually wasn’t.

Amy Plum’s writing is fantastic, the flow of the book was nice and smooth and I really enjoyed reading through Die for Me.

I have to say that when I started I thought Die for Me was quite a dramatic title. Now that I’ve read the book I know a bit more about what it means and can say that it is actually quite a fitting title.

Katie is a fantastic main character, she has her head screwed on and she can definitely think for herself. I found myself really able to relate to her which was great. She was in no way perfect and that made her all the more interesting and believable. Not to mention, the fantastic supporting cast. Both Katie and Vincent’s families were great and I just loved all of them as they all had their different characteristics and their own unique place in the book. I can’t wait to find out more about them.

The book captured me and I just had to finish reading it as soon as I could. I remember there was one moment where something happened that upset the main character, Kate, I have to say that as I was reading it I could feel my own stomach twisting up in knots too. There were also parts that had me grinning like a fool. I just really felt like I could get into this book and I actually enjoyed it too.

The paranormal part of the book was both similar but also different. This isn’t really a spoiler but if you’re a bit iffy about spoilers you might want to skip this paragraph but the fact that Vincent was an immortal made me roll my eyes a little, however, the way his immortality works is completely different to any other book I have ever read and I actually really enjoyed that part and I am curious to read more about it.

Now, I am not a huge fan of romance in books however, the romance element in this book was quite sweet. It was there and it was nice. It wasn’t that whole, hot guy meets plain girl and they fall instantly in love. It was hot guy thinks girl is cute, hot guy talks to girl, girl talks to boy, they get to know each other and don’t make insanely large promises to be together forever. In other words, the romance element had me smiling and enjoying it rather than cringing and being angry with how lame it was.

Set in Paris, was a hugely refreshing thing. I felt like it was a great change of scenery from a lot of the other books I read. I just really loved that the book was set in Paris. It kind of added to the romantic flavour of some parts of the book.

Overall, would I say that Die for Me is a good read? Well if you hadn’t already noticed from my extremely long and adoring review; yep, I sure would say it’s a good read. It wasn’t perfect, but the romance is really cute, the paranormal element is similar but also different in certain aspects, the writing is crisp and lovely and the cover is really pretty. If you’re a fan of paranormal romance then by all means add this one to your list. I know that I cannot wait for the next book.

Source: InkPop