Wednesday, January 30, 2013

My TBR Combat Plan

So, I see a lot of people around the blogosphere putting themselves on book buying bans to help them with getting down their tbr piles.

At one point I was one of those people and so to try and combat my tbr pile I would buy a book every time I had read 5 books.  However, I want to build up a collection of books but I also want to shrink my tbr pile.  It seems like a huge dilemma but I have come up with a couple of ways to combat the tbr pile.

1. Buy books that I have already read.  Back when I didn’t have the money to buy a book a week I would use the library a lot and so I want to buy some of the books that I have already read from the library.  Not only that but if I like a book I read on NetGalley I buy a finished copy too.

2. Pre-order some books.  There are heaps of 2013 new releases that look absolutely amazing and I want to get my hands on so many of them.  I have started pre-ordering books I want to read from the book depository which is awesome because by the time they arrive I should have already read at least some of my own books and they’re cheaper if you pre order.

As far as the reading aspect goes, I am not going to be accepting very many books for review until I get through the ones I have.  I’m going to make exceptions for authors who I have reviewed books for before.
I’m also not going to be participating in any more blog tours for a while.

I’m also going to choose what book I want to read next myself without feeling like I have to put other books ahead because they’re review books or because they expire soon.  I’ve read through all of the netgalley books that I had to read and now I am taking a little time out from netgalley too.  Surprisingly enough, this has been easier to do than I thought it would be.  I go on netgalley every day to see what books are coming out and I haven’t requested one for well over a month.  This is because I know that I’ll be pre-ordering any I deem readable so that I can read them at my own leisure.

So anyway, that’s my tbr combat plan and I’m really hoping to reduce my tbr pile by doing this.  Of course the main thing to do to tackle the tbr pile is to actually do some reading.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Manual of Aeronautics by Scott Westerfeld

Title: The Manual of Aeronautics

Author: Scott Westerfeld

Illustrator: Keith Thompson

Published: Simon Pulse, 2012

Series: Companion to Leviathan series

Summary: The Manual of Aeronautics is an illustrated guide to the inner workings of the Darwinist and Clanker powers. Loaded with detailed descriptions and elaborate, four-color illustrations of Darwinist beasties and Clanker walkers, weapons, transport, and uniforms, this manual highlights the international powers that Deryn and Alek encounter throughout their around-the-world adventures. This guide draws back the curtain and reveals the inner depths of Westerfeld’s fascinating alternative world.  (Taken from Goodreads)

After finishing up the trilogy at the beginning of the year I was looking forward to reading this little companion book to the series.

I found the illustrations to be really insightful and I loved how they were in colour so we could get an extra glimpse into the whole story.

There’s not a lot else to say about this book so I’m just going to say, it was an awesome read and I thought it was a neat little companion to the Leviathan trilogy.

Source: Purchased

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera

Title: The Whale Rider

Author: Witi Ihimaera

Published: Graphia, 2003

Pages: 150

Summary: Eight-year-old Kahu, a member of the Maori tribe of Whangara, New Zealand, fights to prove her love, her leadership, and her destiny. Her people claim descent from Kahutia Te Rangi, the legendary "whale rider." In every generation since Kahutia, a male heir has inherited the title of chief. But now there is no male heir, and the aging chief is desperate to find a successor. Kahu is his only great-grandchild--and Maori tradition has no use for a girl. But when hundreds of whales beach themselves and threaten the future of the Maori tribe, it is Kahu who saves the tribe when she reveals that she has the whale rider's ancient gift of communicating with whales.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: Having seen the movie a few years ago I thought it was high time I read the actual story.  I don’t read nearly as many kiwi authors as I ought to because I do find them to be really talented and reading a book set in New Zealand is always something I love.

The narrator of the story is Kahu’s uncle so it shows his point of view for everything and I really liked that.  I enjoyed his voice as I found him to be really enthralling and it just made the story that much more interesting.
I felt that time seemed to jump a little bit and I found it slightly difficult to figure out how old Kahu was but it eventually smoothed out into a steady timeline and that made it far less confusing.

I really enjoyed reading The Whale Rider; it was interesting seeing the differences between the book and the movie.  There were a few differences but I think the movie did a pretty good job in representing the book.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Saturdays with Scarlett: The Harlot

Title: The Harlot

Author: Saskia Walker

Published: January 2013, Harlequin HQN

Pages: 336

Series: Book 1, Taskill Witches

Summary: It is a dark era, and a lusty lass will do what she must to survive. Even if it means bartering flesh for a palmful of coins….

Forced to watch her mother burn at the stake as a witch, Jessie Taskill was separated from her siblings in the aftermath. Jessie is similarly gifted, ripe with a powerful magic that must stay hidden. When she's accused by a rival of witchcraft, Jessie finds herself behind prison walls, awaiting certain death with a roguish priest unlike any man of the cloth she has known.In reality, Gregor Ramsay is as far from holy as the devil himself, but his promise of freedom in return for her services may be her salvation. Locked into a dubious agreement, Jessie resents his plan to have her seduce and ruin his lifelong enemy. Especially when Gregor's lust for her is so compelling. She may agree to be his pawn …even as she plots to use him just as he is using her.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts:  Saskia Walker has such a way with words.  Her erotic prose is so tangible that I seriously needed a large jug of water to cool off reading this one.

This was my first time reading an erotic novel and I have to say that if there are any more like this then sign me up to be reading them all the time.  For a long time I had been a little apprehensive at trying erotic romance but I had been reading romances that had sex scenes so I figured this wouldn't be much of a leap and it wasn't really.  All of the sex scenes were steamy but tasteful and I really found them to be quite enjoyable to read.

There is a storyline which is interesting but is kind of weak but let's face it, you really aren't going to be reading this one for the story line alone.  Nope, not exactly.

I really loved The Harlot and I actually handed the book over to my husband to read when I was done!  If you're a fan of erotic fiction or even just looking for somewhere to start then I would definitely suggest The Harlot because it is really well written and just plain awesome.

Source: Purchased

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Jinx by D. F. Lamont

Title: The Jinx

Author: D.F. Lamont

Published: Jetpack Media, 2011

Pages: 128

Summary: The Jinx is the story of Stephen Grayson, a 13-year old whose run of bad luck gets so bad he worries he is endangering his family. Fearing he is cursed, he flees home to protect his family, only to find that he is in the middle of a tug-of war between a cult obsessed with order and misshapen monsters known as “Chaons” who seem bent on hunting him down.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: The Jinx was quite an entertaining read, it’s also short so it only took me a couple of hours to get through.

One thing I really liked about The Jinx was that it talked a bit about probabilities and what’s possible and what isn’t.  It was really intriguing how probability worked; or didn’t in some cases; within the novel.

The story itself was interesting and I thought it was quite a unique concept.  I found it to be quite entertaining and the pacing was really good.  There were never any incredibly slow moments and never any that were too fast.

I really enjoyed The Jinx as it was a nice story to just sit down and read in one sitting.

Source: D. F. Lamont for review

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

To Mooch or not to Mooch?

So, there is a website called book mooch, you may or not have heard of it, in which anyone anywhere in the world can mail out books to others and request books from some others.  I was a part of it for a couple of weeks a few years ago.  Basically, what happened was that I had a bad experience with it so I shut down my account.  I had a bad experience with both a giving of a book and a receiving of a book.

However, that was about two years ago now and I’ve been looking at the books on there and there are a few books that I’m not able to buy anymore and they tend to pop up there from time to time.  So I’m doing some investigating into whether or not it is worth looking into.

So here is my question for anyone reading this post.

Do you use bookmooch?  Do you find it to be a good and reliable service?  Let me know because I’m still considering whether or not to use it.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Darkwater by Georgia Blain

Title: Darkwater

Author: Georgia Blain

Published: Random House Australia, 2010

Pages: 278

Summary: Amanda Clarke is dead. 

Her body was found floating facedown by the riverbank, and no one knows what happened. As rumours fly and fear grows, it seems that everyone suspects Lyndon, one of Amanda's friends. He's known for his temper, his cruelty and his criminal family - and now the police want to talk to him. 
It's the end of summer, 1973, the heat is enough to melt asphalt and a sleepy riverside suburb is losing some of its innocence. Fifteen-year-old Winter went to the same school and hung out in the same places as Amanda. As she finds herself alone in trying to defend Lyndon, Winter learns that you can never really know someone - and the answers she has been looking for are closer than she has ever wanted to believe.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I thought Darkwater would be an intense mystery and while there are mystery parts the main focus isn’t on clues and the investigation but on Winter and the events surrounding Amanda’s mysterious death.

I quite enjoyed Darkwater and I managed to read it in a day because the pages tend to read quite fast and the story is pretty engrossing.  I was able to guess who had played a part in Amanda’s death although the why wasn’t what I had thought it would be.

I felt that there was one part of the story that was just sort of tacked on and I felt like it was just shoved in there for the sake of being a part of the investigation on Amanda.

The characters were all quite interesting and I enjoyed reading from Winter’s perspective.  I found it sort of fitting that someone who wasn’t too close to Amanda, nor too distant from her was the narrator.  It meant that the judgements on people and what they had done was closer to neutral than anything else.  I liked that.
I liked Nicky too, he just seemed like a really cool guy and I found the parts of the book with him in them to be really interesting.  I liked Lyndon too, I just really felt like I could sympathise with him.

The book is set in the 70’s and this is usually a turn off for me but reading through Darkwater it honestly didn’t bother me so much.  I thought it was a nice difference.

Overall, I thought that Darkwater was an interesting read.  It wasn’t perfect but it was entertaining and good for an afternoon sitting when it’s too hot to do anything else.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Scarlett on Saturday

I'm back!! I have been away for a really long time because my reading tastes have changed quite a lot and I wasn't so sure if I wanted to continue blogging because the books I've been reading I felt like they didn't really fit with the blog but then Rebecca was like well you know this blog is really just a blog about books...
So here I am.

Every Saturday I'll be posting something whether it be a book review or something else related to books and most of the books I've been reading lately have been adult romances and I'll be trying my hand at reading a netgalley book so let's hope that I actually like it.  Today I just thought I'd do a little update post and then next week I'll start my review posting and hopefully you guys like them :D

My 2013 Reading Goals:
1. Read at least 52 books this year.  That's one a week and maybe just maybe I might be able to pull that one off so that I can actually write you guys some reviews.
2. Give books more of a chance.  Most of the time I write off books so fast it's not funny but this time I want to be a little more forgiving with books.
3. To have fun reading.  Reading can be totally fun especially when I can blog about the books I read and say exactly what I thought of them.

What are your reading goals for 2013?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Velveteen by Daniel Marks

Title: Velveteen

Author: Daniel Marks

Published: Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 2012

Pages: 464

Purchase Links:
Book Depository*

Summary: Velveteen Monroe is dead. At 16, she was kidnapped and murdered by a madman named Bonesaw. But that’s not the problem.

The problem is she landed in purgatory. And while it’s not a fiery inferno, it’s certainly no heaven. It’s gray, ashen, and crumbling more and more by the day, and everyone has a job to do. Which doesn’t leave Velveteen much time to do anything about what’s really on her mind.


Velveteen aches to deliver the bloody punishment her killer deserves. And she’s figured out just how to do it. She’ll haunt him for the rest of his days. 

It’ll be brutal... and awesome.

But crossing the divide between the living and the dead has devastating consequences. Velveteen’s obsessive haunting cracks the foundations of purgatory and jeopardizes her very soul. A risk she’s willing to take—except fate has just given her reason to stick around: an unreasonably hot and completely off-limits coworker.

Velveteen can’t help herself when it comes to breaking rules... or getting revenge. And she just might be angry enough to take everyone down with her.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: As soon as I read the synopsis of Velveteen I was sold, it sounded like such an awesome book.  I have to say though, that while the synopsis leads one to believe that this book is more about Velvet’s revenge on Bonesaw it is actually also about purgatory and what happens up there.

I still really enjoyed the book though.  The purgatory part was really interesting and I thought it was quite unique.  I also really enjoyed the bits where Velvet was in the land of the living and seeking revenge on Bonesaw.

The characters were interesting and I found myself really liking Velvet.  I also really liked Nick because he just seemed a very interesting and mysterious character.

I thought the ending was a good one and I’m hoping that eventually there will be a sequel to Velveteen but to be honest I would be happy enough for a release of anything from Daniel Marks as he is a very talented writer and just has this sort of gore factor that leads to something different.

Velveteen was a unique novel and I really loved it.  There’s not a lot else to say really.  I admit that the twisted sense of humour within the book probably isn’t for everyone but it was right up my alley.

Source: NetGalley

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

How to conquer the yearly book challenge

Or at least some tips on how you might go about tackling the challenge.  So you’ve decided to challenge yourself to read a certain number of books for the year and you’re not entirely sure about how you are going to go with this mean feat.  Don’t worry; I have come up with these handy little tips to show how you can possibly achieve that goal.

For the purposes of this demonstration I will use 150 books for the year as an example.

1.  Start off by realising roughly how many books you should be reading each day, week or month to settle with the goal.  So, this is how you can work out a short term goal for yourself.
Day: 150* books/ 365 days = 0.4 books a day.  This one is easier to figure it if you do the reverse and think, ok, so I have to read one book every two and a half days.
Week: 150 books / 52 weeks = 2.9 so basically you have to read about 3 books a week.
Month: 150 books / 12 months = 12.5 which means you should read 12 and a half books a month.
I find the easiest way of doing this is setting my monthly goal and saying ok so I need to read 12 and a half books a month roughly and then this can go up and down depending on the month.  I find that a certain number a day or week is a little too much and can kind of get a little stressful if your goal is for a day or week.

2.  Don’t stress.  Just relax, if you feel like things are getting on top of you and you don’t think you’ll make it just take it in its stride.  There will be good months and bad months in terms of reading.

3.  Audiobooks can be your friends.  Sometimes listening to an audiobook while doing other tasks is a great way to squeeze in a couple more books here and there.  Some audiobooks are presented so well, if you’re not sure about audiobooks some good ones I would suggest are Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld read by Alan Cumming and Beauty Queens by Libba Bray and read by Libba Bray.

4.  Have a friend or spouse or even family member cheer you along.  There is a lot to be said of encouragement from others as it just really helps.  See if you can get someone to help encourage you with your reading goals.

5. Read!  Reading is of course, always a good way to read a certain number of books and the more you read the more books you can get through.

So these are my tips on how to get through the yearly book challenge.  Got any of your own?

*or whatever number of books you have chosen to read.

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa

Title: The Lost Prince

Author: Julie Kagawa

Published: Harlequin Teen, 2012

Pages: 379

Purchase Links:
Book Depository*

Series: Book 1, Call of the Forgotten

Summary: Don’t look at Them. Never let Them know you can see Them.

That is Ethan Chase’s unbreakable rule. Until the fey he avoids at all costs—including his reputation—begin to disappear, and Ethan is attacked. Now he must change the rules to protect his family. To save a girl he never thought he’d dare to fall for.Ethan thought he had protected himself from his older sister’s world—the land of Faery. His previous time in the Iron Realm left him with nothing but fear and disgust for the world Meghan Chase has made her home, a land of myth and talking cats, of magic and seductive enemies. But when destiny comes for Ethan, there is no escape from a danger long, long forgotten.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: As someone who really loves Julie Kagawa’s writing I was super ecstatic to start this one.  Right off the bat, I’m just going to say oh my goodness what on earth happened to the sweet little Ethan we knew and loved in the Iron Fey series!  He’s grown up and he was so different to how I thought he would be but it was definitely interesting.

The story took me a little bit to get into but once the ball got rolling it kept getting bigger and I was flying through the pages.  The story line is so good and it’s really different from the iron fey series which I thought was really good.

The supporting characters Kenzie and Keirran were just as awesome as Ethan and they made the story as entertaining as it could be.  Then of course, there were a bunch of my old favourites who I absolutely loved to see.  My two favourites Ash and Grim made appearances and I won’t say to what extent but they were there.

Overall, The Lost Prince was a great start to what I hope will be a fantastic series and I am eagerly anticipating the release of the second book.

Source: NetGalley

Friday, January 4, 2013

Two and Twenty Dark Tales Anthology

Title: Two and Twenty Dark Tales

Authors included:  

In this anthology, 20 authors explore the dark and hidden meanings behind some of the most beloved Mother Goose nursery rhymes through short story retellings. The dark twists on classic tales range from exploring whether Jack truly fell or if Jill pushed him instead to why Humpty Dumpty, fragile and alone, sat atop so high of a wall.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: As someone who used to spend nights as a ten year old reading mother goose books under the cover with a mini torch I was very excited and interested in reading this anthology.

Some of the retellings were really good and there were a couple I didn’t think were so great but when the title describes them as Dark Tales they actually mean dark tales.  I was surprised at how dark a turn some of the stories took but I still really enjoyed them.

I think that my favourite story would have to be Wee Willie Winkie by Leigh Fallon.  I read that one before I went to bed and it kind of creeped me out a little.

I really enjoyed the Two and Twenty Dark Tales Anthology I thought it was worth a read, I was really impressed with some of the authors creative adaptations of the nursery rhymes.  I would definitely recommend this one to fans of the Mother Goose nursery rhymes.

Source: NetGalley

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

Title: Unspoken

Author: Sarah Rees Brennan

Published: 11 September 2012, Random House

Purchase Links:
Book Depository*

Pages: 370

Series: Book 1, The Lynburn Legacy

Summary: Kami Glass loves someone she’s never met . . . a boy she’s talked to in her head ever since she was born. She wasn’t silent about her imaginary friend during her childhood, and is thus a bit of an outsider in her sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Still, Kami hasn’t suffered too much from not fitting in. She has a best friend, runs the school newspaper, and is only occasionally caught talking to herself. Her life is in order, just the way she likes it, despite the voice in her head.

But all that changes when the Lynburns return.
The Lynburn family has owned the spectacular and sinister manor that overlooks Sorry-in-the-Vale for centuries. The mysterious twin sisters who abandoned their ancestral home a generation ago are back, along with their teenage sons, Jared and Ash, one of whom is eerily familiar to Kami. Kami is not one to shy away from the unknown—in fact, she’s determined to find answers for all the questions Sorry-in-the-Vale is suddenly posing. Who is responsible for the bloody deeds in the depths of the woods? What is her own mother hiding? And now that her imaginary friend has become a real boy, does she still love him? Does she hate him? Can she trust him?  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I thought it was high time that I read a book by Sarah Rees Brennan because I had heard so many great things about her Demon’s Lexicon series that when I read the synopsis for Unspoken and saw how mysterious it sounded I eagerly jumped right in.

I jumped in and eagerly began devouring the words; unfortunately, I was soon starting to wade out of a pool of storylines that I just did not care for.  For instance, the he likes her and her but he likes her too and she likes him and maybe him but she likes someone else was just too painful for me.

Unspoken has these really great parts that kept me reading for a couple of hours.  However, there were also parts that I really couldn’t stand and those parts made the story drag out and those were the parts that I remembered the most.  It was the parts I didn’t like that outshone the great parts.

The characters were not particularly interesting.  None of them really clicked with me and I just really could not sympathise or empathise with them.  I just didn’t care what any of them did.

The mystery wasn’t the conventional sort of mystery I was expecting and while I was curious about who the bad guy was I sort of felt that there weren’t a whole lot of clues and the big reveal was kind of confusing.
I feel a little disappointed in Unspoken, I was hoping for some incredibly awesome mystery story but that wasn’t the case at all really.  Unspoken ends on a cliff hanger and I have to say that I’m just not that interested in continuing with the series.

I was really excited to read Unspoken but unfortunately, I walk away with a bad taste in my mouth.  I think I will give Sarah Rees Brennan another chance, just not with any more books in the Lynburn Legacy series.

Source: NetGalley

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

In Which I Make My Return

It has been a while.

That's alright, I've been doing some thinking about this blog lately and what I want to do with it because I really do love to talk about books and writing about books makes me even more excited.  I just thought it would be a good idea to take a break from blogging until January so here I am again.

I have decided to make 2013 something different in terms of my reading.  This year I won't be partaking in any reading challenges and I am not going to give myself a number of books to read.  Nope, my goal for this year is to take a significant chunk out of my reading pile.  I feel like my reading pile is getting a little bit crazy and I really want to read some of these really awesome books that I have had sitting on my shelf for a really long time, so I am going to be working through my reading pile.

As for the blog, I'm not 100% sure what kind of posts I want to make as well as reviews so for now I'm just going to be doing some reviews and I will be posting at least once a week.  Just until I completely get back into the swing of things.

Either way, I'm back now :)