Sunday, 26 August 2012

Letterbox Love no.10 - 26th August 2012

More gorgeous stuff that I've received - now including things on my kindle!!! (unfortunately can't really blurb the stuff that I get on my kindle, but hopefully you'll be inspired to explore nonetheless!)

Breathe by Sarah Crossan
When oxygen levels plunge in a treeless world, a state lottery decides which lucky few will live inside the Pod. Everyone else will slowly suffocate.
Years after the Switch, society is divided into Premiums and Auxiliaries. Only Premiums can afford enough oxygen to live a normal life. Dissenters to the regime are ejected from the pod.
Alina belongs to a rebel group. On the verge of capture, she is rescued by a Premium boy and together they escape from the pod - with just two days worth of air. Outside, they unearth conspiracy on a breathtaking scale. But can they survive long enough to tell anyone?
Published by Bloomsbury, October 2012

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a new way of living.
One without massacres and torn throats and bonfires of the fallen, without revenants or bastard armies or children ripped from their mothers' arms to take their turn in the killing and dying.
Once, the lovers lay entwined in the moon's secret temple and dreamed of a world that was like a jewel-box without a jewel - a paradise waiting for them to find it and fill it with their happiness.
This was not that world.
Published by Hodder books, November 2012

Feed by M. T. Anderson
Titus doesn't think much of the moon. But then Titus doesn't think much period. He's got his "feed" - an internet implant linked directly to his brain - to do his thinking for him.
Then Titus meets Violet, a girl who cares what's happening to the world, and challenges everything Titus and his friends hold dear. A girl who decides to fight the feed...
Published by Walker, September 2012

The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer (yes, THAT Chris Colfer)
Alex and Conner Bailey's world is about to change...
When the twins' grandmother gives them a treasured fairy-tale book, they have no idea they're about to enter a land beyond all imagining: the Land of Stories, where fairy tales are real.
But as Alex and Conner soon discover, the stories they know so well haven't ended in this magical land - Goldilocks is now a wanted fugitive, Red Riding Hood has her own kingdom, and Queen Cinderella is about to become a mother!
The twins know they must get back home somehow. But with the legendary Evil Queen hot on their trail, will they ever find the way?
Published by Atom, OUT NOW!

Wolf Princess by Cathryn Constable
Alone in the world, Sophie dreams of being someone special. But she could never have imagined this...
On a school trip to Russia, Sophie and her two friends find themselves abandoned on a train. They are rescued by the glamorous Princess Anna Volkonskaya, who takes them to her winter palace and mesmerises them with stories of lost diamonds and a tragic past.
But as night falls and wolves prowl, Sophie discovers more than dreams in the crumbling palace of secrets...
Published by Chicken House, October 2012

On my Kindle:
The Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers
ALL OF HOT KEY'S NEW TITLES (particular yeyness)
Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Uninvited by Liz Jensen
Shadows by Ilsa J Bick
A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
Crewel by Gennifer Albin
All My Friends are Superheroes by Andrew Kaufman
The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Review: Rebel Heart by Moira Young

In One Line:  the sequel to the superb Blood Red Road

Genre: dystopian epic

The Gist:

Obviously can’t give too much away as this is a sequel and don’t want to ruin Blood Red Road if you haven’t read it yet (why haven’t you read it yet? Read it. It’s awesome). But even though Saba and Lugh are reunited, Saba has some psychological demons to contend with following the heightened action at the end of book one. Plus there’s Jack, who she’s determined to be reunited with. Cue another quest narrative, a journey through the dust-lands confronting new friends, old friends, and potential new enemies. 

The Cover:

Hotness. Absolute hotness. I wasn’t keen on the original Blood Red Road cover, as I felt it was far too similar to Patrick Ness’ The Knife of Never Letting Go, but the following paperback release was astoundingly good. This paperback cover matches that. I sincerely hope that that is Jack on the front. Because if you’ve read book one, you’ll already know that Jack is supremely delicious. And that cover model is making me all a-flutter proper Jack style. Serious hot stuff.

Blood Red Road Original Cover

Blood Red Road new cover

Why You’ll Love This Book
  • If you loved Blood Red Road as much as I did, you would have been waiting for this book for a while. I was desperate to get my hands on it. The tension between Jack and Saba, Saba’s electric personality, plus her relationship with her twin brother Lugh. Everything you were excited about and looking forward to is here. 
  • The lack of speech marks, the phonetic spelling - all help to create a tone and atmosphere that I loved to read. You get lost in the style, and whilst it takes a few pages to adapt to, once you’re there it’s like being lost in another world. 
  • Nero the crow is awesome. I want a Nero the crow. I have a Ruby the guinea pig, but she’s really not that intelligent and is only nice to me when I give her pieces of melon. Nero the crow is much more excellent.
  • Sexual tension comes from unexpected places in this book, and it wasn’t an unpleasant surprise. Some of the issues that arise are positively grown-up and a little beyond the YA zone. I think this is a good thing. As the readers mature, so do the books. You may not agree with some of the choices some characters make, but the way these choices are handled and conveyed to the reader are frankly brilliant. 

Why You May Not Love This Book:
  • Not enough Jack. There I said it. Don’t care if that makes this a spoiler for you. But just as Lugh was the source of the quest in book one, so Jack becomes the source of the quest in book two. I needed more Jack. I adore Jack. The lack of Jackness in this book just made me grumble under my breath.
  • I read Blood Read Road as an advance reader copy, therefore read it a few months before it came out. Then there has been quite a big gap before this book has arrived. So I forgot some stuff, some characters, some scenarios. I don’t think there was anything I missed, and Moira Young covers the background from book one as well as she can, but I just hated the fact that I had forgotten so much stuff about characters. 
  • Tommo. No. Stay a young boy. He was a child in book one. He’s not a child now. He didn’t work for me. Am not going to spoil anything for anyone, but I think you’ll all agree with me. 
  • Emmi failed me in this book. In Blood Red Road she was such an essential quality, but I feel that she didn’t have quite the same spark in this book. Perhaps it’s because she’s grown up a bit and isn’t a kid anymore, but the tension between her and Saba was so utterly brilliant in book one - not so brilliant here. 
  • DeMalo. Seth. Pathfinder. Whatever his name is. He’s left me feeling very confused, and I have a feeling that I’m going to remain confused until book three. Dammit. 

The Hypersomnia Test:

Passed! Because this book doesn’t have chapters - it just draws you from one scenario to another in quick snippets (neatly depicted by the appearance of Nero on your page) and I was just reading and reading and reading in the hope that Jack would turn up at some point. The Jack/Saba sexual tension was such a massive part of the enjoyment of Blood Read Road for me. The lack of it here really really really annoyed me. But I read it quickly because I was desperate for him. 

Final Verdict:

This book suffers from Middle Book Syndrome. You know it’s the second part of a trilogy, so somewhere in your mind you know you’re not really going to actually get anywhere. This makes reading Rebel Heart really frustrating. You always know you’re going to have to wait for the final part for the answers, and that you’re not going to get them here. This happens in every sequel within a trilogy. It’s never going to satisfy. In fact I’d be willing to argue that it’s impossible for a Middle Book to satisfy. It simply can’t, because it has to keep you hooked and ready for book three - which I hope isn’t going to be such a long wait away as the wait for this one. Another factor that disappointed me was that without Jack, this book lacked the spark of Blood Red Road. It’s a different book, with a different tone, and for me it didn’t quite reach the dizzying heights of amazement that book one provoked. But I am excited about book three. SO LONG AS IT HAS MORE JACK. 

Further Reading:

Blood Red Road by Moira Young
Pure by Julianna Baggott

To buy Rebel Heart click HERE!!!

Monday, 6 August 2012

Review: Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman

In One Line:  Min fell in love with Ed - but this is why they broke up. 

Genre: Epic stream-of-consciousness poetic perfection

The Gist:

This is one of those reviews when I don’t want to tell you a single thing about the book because I want you to read it SO MUCH and I just can’t stand to think of clouding your opinion and whatnot. But essentially the brilliant and incredible Min has just broken up with basketball co-captain Ed, and is heading over to his house to dump a big box on his doorstep. A box containing all the trinkets and magic of their short relationship, and all the reasons why they broke up. 

The Cover:

Let’s not just talk about the cover here people. Let’s talk about the ILLUSTRATIONS. Because this book is illustrated throughout with all the stuff that’s in Min’s big box. And I was on the tube reading this, and even though I knew they were just pictures I actually had to trace each one with my fingers because they were all so tangible and beautiful. And the cover is so stunning, and I could see people on the tube glaring at it wondering what the hell I was reading and I wanted to just shout out and insist that everyone else read it too. Just holding the hardback book in your hands is an experience in itself. So yeah. You might be able to tell that I like it. 

without the dust jacket

Why You’ll Love This Book
  • It’s beautiful. Poetic. Intelligent. Deserves to escape the boundaries of ‘genre’ and get on some literary prize shortlists. Because there are still some suckers out there who think that fiction for teenagers is all about vampires and children killing children for TV kicks. Well this isn’t just a book. It’s a fricking piece of art. 
  • I love Min so much. I love that her full name is Minerva. I love that she has to tell everyone the story of how she got her name. I love that she FEELS so deeply and thinks that she’s an adult but really she isn’t and is completely obsessed with movies that I’ve never even heard of. I especially love that I’d blatantly be part of her group of friends. God I wish Min were real so we could chat about how much the world bloody sucks right now. 
  • I love that there is absolutely NOTHING like this book out there at the moment. Apologies if there actually is, but I’m just not aware of them. I hate that people may want to copy the style and will never, ever be able to emulate it. Because Daniel Handler is obviously not a real person, but some kind of literary genius. And also Lemony Snicket. 
  • Are the movies referred to in this book real? No, wait, don’t tell me. I absolutely don’t want to know. Min is obsessed with Golden Age cinema, and maybe at the beginning of the book I thought about googling some of the things she talks about, and then I thought HECK NO. I don’t even care if they’re real or not. In fact I prefer to believe that Daniel Handler made it all up and this is just part of the magic. So if the movie references are real I just don’t care. It all makes Min just that bit more beautiful. 

expensive plum wine

Why You May Not Love This Book:
  • Ed needs a lot of showers. He showers very frequently throughout the book. This concerns me. 
  • There’s lot’s of weird food in this book. Even an egg igloo. I’m not a foodie, and I don’t really get foodies, so maybe this didn’t work so well for me. Also, apparently there is caviar inside the egg igloo, and I think that’s kind of gross. 
  • By the time you get to the end, your heart will be broken into a million rose-petal-shaped pieces. And you may have to take some quiet time to pull yourself back together. This book has ALL OF THE FEELINGS. And if you can’t handle those feelings right now, just give yourself some space. But do please still read this book. Every single living soul on the planet should read this book. 

I can't stop thinking about you

The Hypersomnia Test:

No brainer. I didn’t want this book to end. I read it slowly, languorously, hoping that I could make it last a little longer. And when I was on the tube, prime nap time I should point out, my journey went by in double speed because I was so entirely engrossed in Min and all her deep, deep and many feelings. 

movie star
Final Verdict:

This book is utterly perfect. There is not a single word out of place. The gorgeous pictures enhance everything and never detract. And I just wish that I could wipe my memory so that I can read it all over again. One of my books of the year so far. And it will take some beating, I’m telling you. 

Further Reading:

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan

To buy Why We Broke Up please click HERE!!!

Friday, 3 August 2012

Top Ten Ultimate Angel Books

So this week I've reviewed two books about those fantabulous mythical beings known as angels. To see my reviews, please click below:

For Angel Dust by Sarah Mussi please click HERE!
For Immortal City by Scott Speer please click HERE!

So I thought that with those books in mind, I'd present to you my ultimate Angel books, for whether you want to be saved, or just because maybe you find feathery wings HOT. Please note that these are in no particular order. 

1. Angel by LA Weatherly 

2. Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

3. Fallen by Lauren Kate

4. Going Bovine by Libba Bray

5. The Fallen by Thomas E Sniegoski

6. Halo by Alexandra Adornetto

7. Kissed by an Angel by Elizabeth Chandler

8. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

9. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

10. Mercy by Rebecca Lim

Have I missed anything? Your comments, as always, absolutely welcome!

Hugs and high fives,


Thursday, 2 August 2012

Review: Immortal City by Scott Speer

In One Line:  Girl who hates angels meets the super hottest of all angels and falls in forbidden love. (to be fair, I totes would too.)
Genre: Angelic guilty pleasure
The Gist:
Maddy lives in what we would call Los Angeles. But in this alternate reality, it is known as Angel City, because about 100 years ago Angels ‘came out’ and started saving people for money. If you can afford the protection, then you can get saved. But Maddy hates all the silly celebrity business that surrounds the angels. She’s too busy being poor and making college applications. Until Jackson Godspeed walks into her life. Turns out she’s a sucker for a hot bod and feathery wings after all. But whilst we have this sexy romance thing happening, someone, or something is killing angels, ripping off their wings and leaving them on the Angel City walk of fame. And of course Maddy and Jacks get involved. How could their insta-love possibly survive?
The Cover:
It’s a little bit racy fantasy, don’t you think? A little bit like those genre novels that pretend not to be blatant erotica because they’ve got vampires in them? But that’s ok. Because this book is absolutely the teen (and therefore chaste) version of that. It’s teen-porn (yes, I’m saying it). Erotica without the sex for teenagers who like their angels hot and hunky and like to imagine all the naughty things that might happen if a hot and hunky angel appeared in their bedroom but don’t actually know the technicalities of the deed yet. Bless ‘em. In the meantime, this book cover does exactly what it says on the tin: you want hot and hunky angels falling in love? You got ‘em!!! 
Why You’ll Love This Book
  • This book is totally a mash-up of Sarah Alderson, L.A. Weatherly and Becca Fitzpatrick. And if that’s ok with you, it’s totally ok with me. We’re in full-on guilty pleasure zone here people. 
  • There’s actually some pretty witty satire going on. Like, imagine if the Kardashians and the Hiltons and whatever other Hollywood famous family has a reality show and a clothes line were actually the people charged with saving your lives? What if they were Immortal? God help us. An immortal Kim Kardashian. Anyway, I’m pointing this out as a good point. Because it is, I promise. It paints a gloriously satirical slant on the nature of celebrity, how it actually means nothing at all, and is possibly (make that probably) intrinsically evil. Excellent work Mr Speer.
  • We’re also in alternate reality realm here, which I love because it opens up so many possibilities. Similar to the Charlaine Harris and the True Blood series, immortal Angels ‘came out’ to the world about one hundred years ago and have been building on their popularity ever since. And just like the True Blood series, what this means is endless potential for alternate history, further characters, and basically, a whole series. I could see this being a TV series - if they could afford all the special affects. 
  • The superman flying scene is HOT. Seriously HOT. 
  • There is actually a pretty great twist towards the end that I did not see coming. When you actually analyse it (as I am doing whilst I write this review) then you realise that it doesn’t make much sense, but I’m going to give kudos to the twist, because I totally didn’t predict it. 

Why You May Not Love This Book
  • Ooooh there are a lot of visual cliches going on here. I think that’s because the author actually works in music videos. So we have Superman style flying, as mentioned earlier, then there’s a creeping into the bedroom thing (my most hated thing EVER) and worst of all, some sexual tension with Angel Dude half naked in the pouring rain. I’m not necessarily complaining about this stuff, because a half naked Angel Dude in the pouring rain is undoubtedly HOT, and yet... cliches just get on my nerves. Visual or not. I’m surprised there wasn’t an upside down kiss at some point really. 
  • There are verbal cliches too!!! One bit made me laugh out loud, because it kind of reminded me of the bit in the Little Mermaid when Ursula the Sea Witch goes mental and giant and tries to keep Ariel and Eric apart. If you read this book, and are familiar with this film, then when you get to The Bit you will know EXACTLY what I mean. 
  • Despite what I just said about cliches, I wouldn’t have minded Maddy having a bit more personality. Perhaps being a bit more Buffy like? She’s just a tad dry on the personality front. And on a similar note, Jacks is just a big ol’ Angel jock. Once you get past the looks (the gloriously, distractingly HOT looks) then I didn’t catch much of a personality going on there either. 

The Hypersomnia Test:
It passed - and this is because of some clever novel structuring. Sexual tension scenes between Jacks and Maddy are broken up by some actual plot stuff, so I raced through this novel skimming over the Sylvester murder plot scenes because I was just desperate to get to the next Maddy and Jacks scenes!
Final Verdict:
An enjoyable, fun, brilliant little guilty pleasure. This book won’t change your life, it won’t rock your world, but it will give you a lovely distraction from real life for a little bit. And that makes it great in my book. This is what guilty pleasures are for, after all. However, there are a lot of elements that I’ve read before, so there is something predictable about this book. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a pleasing predictability, but if you’re looking for the next big ground-breaking fad fiction, I don’t think you’ll find it here. What you’ll find is good old clean fun. 
Further Reading:

Fated by Sarah Alderson
Angel by L.A. Weatherley
Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
To buy Immortal City click HERE!!!