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Top Ten Tuesday: All Time (recent) Faves

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So it’s kinda contradicting itself.. all time favourites of the last three years. But hell. Let’s roll with it.

 

Ooh, ok. So this gallery style makes that last one REALLY big. Lols. I’m keeping it.

So basically, I scrolled through my Goodreads and picked out those books from the last year or so that gripped me. And I mean completely entranced. Those books that left me punch-drunk in love with them.

For instance, The King by J R Ward. I stayed up to midnight to have this on my kindle the MOMENT it was released. I then stayed up until gone 4am to read it all.

Red Rising.. do I even need to go there? I can’t stop harping on about this series. I LOVE IT.

Ten Tiny Breaths had to go on this list because it gave me hope during a summer of disappointments in the New Adult category. K A Tucker is an NA boss!

I could read any of these again, which coming from someone who doesn’t re-read books, ever, means a lot.

Wasson your list?

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ARC: The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski

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The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski (Expected March 12th 2015 by Bloomsbury Children’s) received with thanks from NetGalley

Lady Kestrel’s engagement to Valoria’s crown prince calls for great celebration: balls and performances, fireworks and revelry. But to Kestrel it means a cage of her own making. Embedded in the imperial court as a spy, she lives and breathes deceit and cannot confide in the one person she really longs to trust …

While Arin fights to keep his country’s freedom from the hands of his enemy, he suspects that Kestrel knows more than she shows. As Kestrel comes closer to uncovering a shocking secret, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth.

Lies will come undone, and Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them in this second book in the breathtaking Winner’strilogy.

Holy hell. Seriously. I’m not sure I can even approach this calmly…

As sequel to The Winner’s Curse this was everything I wanted it to be… And it broke my heart at the end. Again. AGAIN! This author keeps doing this to me.

Ok, I’ll try and keep calm. What worked for me?

The Setting – Kestrel has taken up residence in the palace of the emperor and I enjoyed the change of scenery. It meant that comparisons could be made, and it also meant that there was that degree of separation which worked both for and against her, methinks. I loved the palace setting.

Court – If you know anything about life at court in the hey day of the likes of Henry VII etc. then you’ll know what a dangerous game it was. I think the politics of it all was handled wonderfully. Kestrel often has to make decisions which are lesser of two evils.. but still creates an outcome where no one wins.

The Emperor – He’s a horrible, horrible man. And I love that for all the trouble and worry he caused. It made for great reading. I mean, those moments where he was so faultlessly kind to Kestrel… But you knew, just knew, that at any moment he could strike. Talk about living on a knife’s edge!

Verex – I really warmed to his character. I think it was the puppies. Well played Rutkoski, well played.

What did work for me?

Not a lot!

Arin – He frustrated me on more than one occasion. But I think that’s the point. He’s constantly second guessing himself and driven half mad with the love he has for Kestrel.. and in this he makes some really stupid decisions. when I think about it, it’s not just Arin that annoyed me. I wanted to bash both their heads together and have them just admit it. Admit that they love each other (and admit some other stuff which I won’t mention because.. spoilers!) but they don’t. And that’s all for good storytelling.. because these two HAVE to reconcile… and I’m aching for it to happen.

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I loved this. I can’t begin to tell you how beyond excited I was to be approved for a review copy. An epic, involving piece of fiction. If you enjoyed the first book then you sure are hell won’t be disappointed by the second installment. And that ending? Hoo boy! Just make sure you’re sitting down…

Oh! A rating? Too easy. 5 stars.

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February Round-Up

The end of February snuck up on me! I had this post half-drafted.. and sorta forgot there is only 28 days in this month. Ooops!

I’ve been working more hours this month and that’s then reflected in how much I have (or haven’t) been reading or writing.

Sucks.

But I did read some really good books, the reviews of which are scheduled and coming! They are! I promise!!

I read 6 books this month, and 1 manga.

Most memorable:

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I’m going to swear, because holy fucks, this book blew apart everything I thought about YA fiction. The ending still makes me feel funny when I think about it. Amazing. Uncomfortable. And so clever! I think Dangerous Boys is better, but it’s a completely different story. Still, so good. I’m a fan for life.

Book of the Month:

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I bought this on my Kindle, on a whim. I loved the cover. I really liked the blurb. And at first, I wasn’t sure I was gonna be won over by the story itself. But actually, I ended up completely enthralled by it. It gets ‘book of the month’ for being unexpectedly addictive. The ending was a bit meh, but I’ll discuss that in the review (coming soon!)

What else did I read?

 

A mixture of books, really. And a mixture of ratings too!

I’m hoping to read more in March. I’ve got Gayle Forman’s I Was Here and Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love on the top of the TBR pile. What about you?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Heroines

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TTT brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week it’s about heroines. Those badass bitches that keep me coming back!

1. Rose Hathaway (Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead)

415d1baf3a22f52301e2b495ea30ea1dI mean, she’s THE kickass chick, right? I love her wit and her sass, and I also love the moments where my goddamn heart broke.

I ship Rose and Dimitri so hard. Lols.

Gotta admit, I didn’t like the film as much as I wanted to. I did feel like they captured her character quite well though, there was a lot of quick fire dialogue and back chat.

But she really comes alive in the books.

My number one heroine. Fo sho.

 

2. Anna (Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins)

She’s not so much ‘kick ass’ but I really loved her attitude to life, and the way she carried herself across the pages. I gelled with her from the off and I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book (and the series) because it was a lighter read than I would usually choose.

She’s just fun to read!

3. Alexa Reed (Stay by Hilary Wynne)

I will champion this series until I die! Lols. I found much in her character that I could identify with. She was far from perfect, and at the beginning she’s still on the road to finding her strength. But I appreciate her very human response to situations. To be honest, she’s a hot mess! Ha! But I like that because so am I sometimes!

And the girl has a shoe obsession. Yup. I’m down with that.

4. Faythe (Stray by Rachel Vincent)

I devoured this series in a matter of days. Seriously, I was hooked. And the only explanation I have for that is because Faythe is such a badass heroine. She’s tough, but soft. You know? She hits the right balance and continues to carry it through the Shifters series.

5. Sookie Stackhouse (Charlaine Harris)

I love both the books and the TV series. True Blood does veer away from the book narrative (straight out of the starting blocks.. it goes in a different direction) but I felt like Sookie’s character is maintained.

I like her a lot. She’s a little frustrating at times, and I can’t say I agree with where she ends up in the last book, but! I enjoy her style. She’s sassy and ditzy in equal measures and she gets to get it on with some real heart-throbs! Heh heh.

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6. Kestrel (The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski)

She’s another that is both strong and feminine. I’m not saying a heroine should be ‘feminine’ but I like it. I like the deadly mixture of girl who can hold her own while wearing a silk gown. *shrugs* It’s just how I roll.

7. Yelena Zaltana (Poison Study by Maria V Snyder)

I love her. I want to be her. She has Valek wrapped around her finger. ‘Nuff said.

8. Sydney Sage (Bloodlines by Richelle Mead)

I nearly didn’t put Sydney on this list because there are so many of Mead’s leading ladies that I wanted to include. But she really became a star for me once her and Adrian stopped faffing around and she took charge. I like her quirks, and I admire her intelligence and grit.

9. Jane Eyre (Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte)

I had to throw a classic in here and of them all I always come back to Jane. She feels like home to me. I also really like the most recent film adaptation. Beautifully shot.

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10. Buffy Summers (from Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV Series)

If you’ve seen anything of my other blog, you’ll know how high in my esteem I hold Ms Summers. She was my teenage years. Simply put. I devoured anything Buffy related, including the books. She’s a badass, quick witted, sassy heroine.

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Quickies: Shattered Veil by Tracy Banghart

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Shattered Veil by Tracy E. Banghart (2014)

“When everything that defines you is stripped away, who do you become?

War has invaded Atalanta’s quiet villages and lush woodlands, igniting whispered worries in its glittering capitol. Far from the front lines, 18-year-old Aris Haan, a talented wingjet flyer, has little cause for concern. Until her beloved Calix is thrust into the fray, and a stranger makes her an impossible offer: the chance to join a secret army of women embedded within the all-male military.

Aris’s choice to follow Calix to war will do more than put her in physical danger; it will make her question everything she believes about herself. When she and her enigmatic commander uncover a deadly conspiracy, her expert flying may be the only hope for her dominion’s survival…and her own.

It’s Mulan meets Battlestar Galactica, with a heroine who is strong enough to save a nation…but only if she’s willing to sacrifice everything, even the one promise she swore she’d never break.”

I was hesitant about this book. I’d seen it around on NetGalley and I was tempted, but I wasn’t sure I was won over by the blurb. I then read a couple of reviews and thought I’d give it a go.

Unfortunately, I just didn’t get on with this book at all. It wasn’t a fit. I found the narrative confusing and sometimes I had to re-read passages to get to grips with what was happening.

I liked the initial characterisation, but it lost its energy and became bogged down with the politics of the story.

It’s rare for me to mark a book ‘DNF’, but I got about 40% in and after putting it down and coming back, putting it down and coming back, I just completely lost interest.

I know many people have enjoyed this book, but ultimately, it’s not for me. (I really dig the cover art thought)

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Mini Reviews: The Forever Watch, Lockstep, Forever One,

I’m not gonna lie, sometimes I just don’t review a book I’ve read. I’m trying to change that. I mean, sometimes it’s because life (the universe and everything) gets in the way, sometimes it’s because a book didn’t leave a lasting impression on me, and sometimes, just sometimes, I’m lazy.

Shocking. I know.

But I’m trying to change that. I’ve already talked about my efforts to bring this change about in another post.

I think for some titles I simply don’t feel like I have enough to say to justify giving it a whole post of its own. So I’m going to club together some books and do mini reviews. They will still contain my honest opinion, but it might not be as in depth as I usually like to go.

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The Forever Watch by David Ramirez

An imposing start. I enjoyed the world building and how entrenched you become in the science of it, in the tech. This feels like real good-bones SF.

Unfortunately, I struggled a little with the pace of things. Or more, how the internal dialogue of the protagonist seemed to take over and prattle on.. and on.. a bit too much for my reading preferences.

Wicked cover. Cool concept. Nice work with the world building.

I ended up giving it a 3 out of 5 because I was left feeling torn over what I really wanted from the book, if that makes sense?

For hardcore, tech SF fans. (GREAT cover art!)

 

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Lockstep by Karl Schroeder

Again, SF. And again, I really enjoyed the world building. I was taken in by the concept of hibernation, living for a month, hibernation. I love sleep, so hell, I’m down with that! HA!

I think my main problem with this book was that I just wasn’t feeling the characters. I liked them enough, but I didn’t feel anything for them. And that made me sad because as I say, the world building is stellar.

The writing is engaging and appealing, but ultimately I couldn’t connect with the characters, and that led me to give it a 3.5 out of 5. (And again, WICKED cover art!)

 

 

 

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Forever One by L. F. Hampton

Kinda SF? But, uh, yeah. I’m not really sure this book was for me at all. I mean, I went into this under no illusions. But I was still made to feel a little uncomfortable by the scenario (to say the least!)

It’s sort of incestuous.

And I just wasn’t down with that aspect of it at all. I also felt conflicted over who the target audience for this might be. At times it could have been easily placed in YA.. and then it switches and crosses over into NA erotica type stuff.. and then I’m just confused!

I gave it 1 star because it simply wasn’t my cup of tea.

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ARC: Promise Me (Alexa Reed #3) by Hilary Wynne

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Promise Me by Hilary Wynne

I received an ARC of this and it felt like Christmas.

But I was also a little scared.

I mean, I’ve been loving on this series ever since I read the first book. So, I was a little scared about how I would feel. I mean, there’s something about Wynne’s writing that turns me into an emotional wreck!

What really worked for me?

Alexa – She’s seriously got her shit together in this book. She’s strong, sure and so much more in control of things than in the previous books. And I love that we’ve watched her grow into this person. That doesn’t mean we’re without any ‘Alexa’ moments. She’s a crazy bean and I love her for it. I think part of her appeal as a protagonist is that she reacts in ways that I can relate to.

Julian – Ah, me! My heart broke for him in the second book. But in this book I wanted to bash him upside his head! Alright, I understand his change in character, but gawd it was painful to experience with Alexa sometimes. But I really liked that. I loved the switch up. Julian is hot mess! HA! It comes right though. He gets there.

HEA – We knew this was gonna happen. I mean, Alexa and Julian were gonna always be ‘epic’, it was just a case of getting there. The ending of this book made me melt in ways I didn’t think I could. I was swelling with so much love and sweetness that I thought I might explode, and after how raw the earlier narrative made me feel, I was so relieved. But that’s not to say that it’s all plain sailing from here though, eh?

Luke – He was the real elephant in the room, eh? And I was on tenterhooks, waiting for the moment the bomb dropped. I knew it was going to be bad, but I couldn’t predict how Julian would react. And wow. I think Luke himself redeems his character a little towards the end, but wow. The aftermath of that revelation is painful and I was nearly (nearly, because I’m made of stone) in tears.

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An explosive, emotional, heart wrenching read. One that made me deflate and then swell. I was exhilarated and exhausted by the time I finished up! Ha!

Julian Bauer though… That man broke me heart and then carefully sewed it back together in the shape of his face.

There’s still enough shoe porn to keep me more than satisfied, and there are plenty of hawt scenes too.

It will take a lot to top that first scene of Julian and Alexa in the corridor (yeah, you know the one) but I love this book for the sense of wholeness I felt when I finished it. It felt right. It felt complete. I’m just sad I have to let go of them again… *sobs* Can I has book 4 now plz? kthnxbai.

An easy 5 out of 5. Love love love.