Monday, 23 December 2013

2013 End of Year Book Survey: My Year in Reading and Blogging



Welcome to my last blog post of 2013! I'm going to be taking a well earned break from the blog over Christmas and will be returning early in the new year and what better post to end the year with than Jamie's End of Year Book Survey? I absolutely love survey's and I've had so much fun reflecting on my life in reading and blogging in 2013. This year hasn't been kind to me and my family but books have really pulled me through some difficult times and as a result I've had one of the best years when it comes to books and blogging. Here's to another year of wonderful books in 2014!


1.) Best Book You Read In 2013? (If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2013 release vs. backlist)
I’m going to do my own thing here and share the best book I read each month because I can’t choose even within genres (especially for the best contemporary!)

January – Just One Day by Gayle Forman
February - Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
March - Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
April - Soulmates by Holly Bourne
May - The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
June - Crash by Nicole Williams
July - Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
August - Hurt by Tabitha Suzuma
September - Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
October - This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
November - Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

2.) Book You Were Excited About and Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Allegiant! I didn’t hate it but it was nowhere near as good as I thought it was going to be. Also The Program by Suzanne Young which I thought sounded fantastic but in the end had too many plot holes. As somebody who has had depression and knows a lot about mental health this book made me angry with how poorly researched it was.

3.) Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2013?
Mine has to be This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales. I remember reading the synopsis and thinking it sounded okay but I wasn’t hugely fussed about reading it and then a few of my blogger friends were saying how good it was so I decided to give it a go and I’m so glad I did because as you can see it was one of my favourite books of the year!

4.) Book you read in 2013 that you recommended to people most in 2013?
Probably a tie between Fangirl, Just One Day and This Song Will Save Your Life. I’ve recommend them all to so many people!

5.) Best series you discovered in 2013?
I discovered so many amazing series this year but my best discovery would have to be the Crash series by Nicole Williams. I was obsessed with this series and read all three books back to back.

6.) Favorite new author you discovered in 2013? 
Rainbow Rowell! I read all three of her books this year and have loved all of them. I’m really looking forward to Landline next year and will read whatever she writes in the future without question. I’ve also loved books by Kasie West, Carole Matthews and Susan Ee - I’m so happy to have discovered them as well!

7.) Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you? 
I’m really bad at reading books outside of my comfort zone mainly because I’m so happy in my little YA/Chick-lit bubble! I’ve really gotten into the New Adult genre this year though which is a new genre I’ve been loving!

8.) Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2013?
Hands down The 5th Wave! I was on the edge of my seat the entire time with that one.

9.) Book You Read In 2013 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year? 
I’m not a huge re-reader but if I was to re-read a book it would probably be Fangirl because I connected to Cath so much.

10.) Favorite cover of a book you read in 2013? 
Probably, Angelfall. It’s simple but eye catching because it’s different to anything else out there and I absolutely love the colours and effect used.


11.) Most memorable character in 2013?
For me it’s Sturmhond from Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo who is a newly introduced secondary character and he’s so brilliant! He completely stole the show for me.

12.) Most beautifully written book read in 2013?
Gayle Forman’s Just One Day - her writing is absolutely stunning! Warm Bodies is a close second which I never thought I’d say about a zombie novel!

13.) Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2013?
Hands down Just One Day. It has honestly changed my life. I have anxiety, panic attacks and OCD and as a result my life is very controlled and reading this book about the importance of being spontaneous and putting yourself out into the world has made me say yes to so many opportunities this year that I’d usually shy away from.

14.) Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2013 to finally read?
Unearthly by Cynthia Hand, when the final book came out earlier this year it was the perfect time to finally pick up this series and I’m so glad that I did! Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian is another book I wish I picked up sooner because I found it so much fun!

15.) Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2013?
Going back to what I said about Just One Day I have this quote from the book chalked up on a black board in my room to remind me to just say yes, no matter how scared I am.

“Everything is happening all of the time, but if you don’t put yourself in the path of it, you miss it.” – Just One Day by Gayle Forman 

16.) Shortest and Longest Book You Read In 2013?
My shortest that isn’t a novella was Warm Bodies at 240 pages and my longest was Clockwork Princess at 570 pages.

17.) Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers! 
Pretty much the whole of Clockwork Princess I needed to talk about which is why I made a discussion post about it! Also the endings to Undone by Cat Clarke, Hurt by Tabitha Suzuma and Fire With Fire by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian left me in shock.

18.) Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2013 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).
Romantic: Sydney and Adrian in The Indigo Spell and The Fiery Heart
Friendship: Jem, Will and Tessa in Clockwork Princess
Siblings: Carey and Jenessa from If You Find Me

19.) Favorite Book You Read in 2013 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
 Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas and The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater are two sequels that completely blew me away! I liked the first two in both series when I read them last year but in these two sequels both authors completely upped their game!

20.) Best Book You Read In 2013 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else
Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay which I bought solely because of Sam’s review. I actually hadn’t heard of this book before then and I bought it on her recommendation alone and really enjoyed it!

21.) Genre You Read The Most From in 2013? 
Contemporary YA, which has also been my favourite genre of this year.

22.) Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2013?
I’ve been introduced to so many swoonworthy book boys this year but the guy who completely stole my heart was Levi from Fangirl. I also have huge crushes on Raffe from Angelfall and Tucker from Unearthly.

23.) Best 2013 debut you read?
If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch - such a beautiful and heartbreaking book!

24.) Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2013?
Probably a tie between Pantomime by Laura Lam and Splintered by A. G. Howard. Laura Lam completely brought life at the circus to life and A.G. Howard took Wonderland and made it her own.

25.) Book That Was The Most Fun To Read in 2013?
Geek Girl by Holly Smale and The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah R Miller come to mind for this one. They were two super cute and funny contemporaries that I flew through that left me with a huge smile on my face.

26.) Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2013?
I’m such a cry baby and if I listed every book that made me cry or nearly cry this year we’d be here all day so I’m tweaking this question to the books that made me cry BUCKETS and they would have to be Clockwork Princess, Undone, If You Find Me and Hurt.

27.) Book You Read in 2013 That You Think Got Overlooked This Year Or When It Came Out?
I’d have to say Pantomime by Laura Lam because it is so different and outside of the blogosphere I haven’t really seen anybody talking about it. Also The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken which although hasn’t been entirely overlooked I think deserves a lot more attention because it’s such a brilliant and unique dystopian and it deserves to be HUGE!


1.) New favorite book blog you discovered in 2013?
I’ve discovered so many amazing book blogs this year and have made some great new blogger friends. The people I’m about to mention have very similar taste in books as I do and I’m regularly checking their blogs for recommendations! Jasprit and Rachel at The Readers Den, Sam at Realm of Fiction, Danielle at What Danielle Did Next, Samantha at The Secret Life of a Bookworm and Casey at Dark Readers. I’ve picked up so many good books because of them and I’m so happy to have discovered their blogs this year!

2.) Favorite review that you wrote in 2013?
Any review for a book that I’ve loved and that meant something to me on a personal level because they are always the hardest to write. So my reviews for Just One Day, Fangirl and This Song Will Save Your Life.

3.) Best discussion you had on your blog? 
I don’t really do many discussion posts on the blog and it’s something I want to get better at. I did do spoiler review/discussions for both Clockwork Princess and Allegiant that had a lot of interaction.

4.) Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else’s blog?
I loved this discussion that Leanna had on her blog called Has Book Blogging Fallen Out of Fashion?

5.) Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
Hands down meeting John and Hank Green in London at the beginning of the year. They are such an inspiration to me and John is one of my favourite authors so that was fantastic.

6.) Best moment of book blogging/your book life in 2013?
There have been so many highlights this year! I loved having some of my favourite authors on the blog and of course getting my blog makeover. But something that always makes me so proud is when I see a quote from my review in a book especially when it’s for one of my favourite books like The Grisha series by Leigh Bardugo and Dare You To and Crash Into You by Katie McGarry.

7.) Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
Definitely my Clockwork Princess Discussion. It’s actually the second most viewed post on my blog of all time!

8.) Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
Probably my Booking by Numbers Meme a lot of people seemed to enjoy reading it and a few people even did their own post. But I spent such a long time on it and was really proud of it that I wish more people got involved. 

9.) Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
For a book store definitely Foyles in London! I’ve been twice this year and absolutely love it! It has so many US imports as well as being enormous. As for a bookish website I’m so thankful for the Recaptains which, in case you haven’t heard of it, is basically a blog dedicated to recapping books that are part of a series so that you can refresh your memory before reading the new book. It’s such a brilliant idea and has stopped me from putting off many sequels because I couldn’t remember what happened in book one and didn’t have the time to re-read it.

10.) Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I don’t tend to do reading challenges any more because I find that I never stick to them anyway. But for as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to read 100 books in a year, it was even on my bucket list! For the last few years I’ve come really close but never quite made it and this year I finally reached the big 100! I’m so proud of myself and it felt very satisfying to check that off my bucket list!


1.) One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2013 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2014?
I have a whole lot of sequels I need to catch up on! I’m in the middle of so many series and its hard keeping up to date with them all. I also really want to read the Shatter Me series back to back for the first time when Ignite Me comes out next year.

2.) Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2014 (non-debut)?
There are a lot of sequels that I’m anticipating next year and I have a list on my blog here! I’m also really looking forward to Landline by Rainbow Rowell, Don't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout, The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith and To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han to name a few!

3.) 2014 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
I’m really excited about Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira and The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings.

4.) Series Ending You Are Most Anticipating in 2014? 
Isla and the Happily Ever After – it’s been such a long time coming! And of course City of Heavenly Fire. I have all of the series endings I’m looking forward to on this post.

5.) One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2014?
Number one on my list is to attend more book related or book blogger events. My panic attacks are triggered by public transport, especially travelling alone, and also being in big crowds of people which has made it hard for me to attend events that are usually held in London and I’ve had to turn down so many amazing opportunities. I’m getting a lot better with this though and am going to be saying yes to a lot more things in the new year.

As for reading I’d really like to get around to some older releases that I’ve wanted to read for ages but always seem to get pushed aside for shiny new books or review copies. I’d like to change this habit in 2014.

END

I hope you've had fun reading my answers and if you've done your own version of this survey please leave me a link in the comments as I'd love to check it out! 

Lastly I want to thank each and every one of you for reading and supporting this blog this year and I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas with plenty of books from Santa and a happy new year that holds the promise of lots of exciting new book releases in 2014!

Friday, 20 December 2013

My Most Anticipated Books of 2014 Part 3: UKYA

It's time for the third and final part of my Most Anticipated Books of 2014 series! So far I've discussed debuts, standalones and first books in a new series in Part One and sequels and series endings in Part Two. Today in this final instalment I'm going to be sharing with you the top ten UKYA 2014 releases that I'm the most looking forward to. Being a UK based book blogger I really like to support authors from the UK - we have some very talented writers over here! And these are just a handful of the gems that I'm looking forward to reading. In no particular order here are the books!

Half Bad by Sally Green 
Series: Book One in the Half Life Trilogy 
Coming: March 3rd 2014 
Add to Goodreads 
Synopsis: You can't read, can't write, but you heal fast, even for a witch. You get sick if you stay indoors after dark. You hate White Witches but love Annalise, who is one. You've been kept in a cage since you were fourteen. All you've got to do is escape and find Mercury, the Black Witch who eats boys. And do that before your seventeenth birthday.

In modern-day England, witches live alongside humans: White witches, who are good; Black witches, who are evil; and fifteen-year-old Nathan, who is both. Nathan’s father is the world’s most powerful and cruel Black witch, and his mother is dead. He is hunted from all sides. Trapped in a cage, beaten and handcuffed, Nathan must escape before his sixteenth birthday, at which point he will receive three gifts from his father and come into his own as a witch—or else he will die. But how can Nathan find his father when his every action is tracked, when there is no one safe to trust—not even family, not even the girl he loves?
Why I Want to Read it – Erm, have you read the synopsis? As well as it sounding freaking awesome the publishers are VERY excited about this one and there has been a lot of early buzz already. It sounds like Half Bad is going to be HUGE so you definitely want this one on your radar!

Say Her Name by James Dawson 
Series: None 
Coming: June 5th 2014 
Add to Goodreads 
Synopsis: Roberta 'Bobbie' Rowe is not the kind of person who believes in ghosts. A Halloween dare at her ridiculously spooky boarding school is no big deal, especially when her best friend Naya and cute local boy Caine agree to join in too. They are ordered to summon the legendary ghost of 'Bloody Mary': say her name five times in front of a candlelit mirror, and she shall appear... But, surprise surprise, nothing happens. Or does it? Next morning, Bobbie finds a message on her bathroom mirror... five days... but what does it mean? And who left it there? Things get increasingly weird and more terrifying for Bobbie and Naya, until it becomes all too clear that Bloody Mary was indeed called from the afterlife that night, and she is definitely not a friendly ghost. Bobbie, Naya and Caine are now in a race against time before their five days are up and Mary comes for them, as she has come for countless others before...
Why I Want to Read it – There is something about the Bloody Mary legend that makes me not ever want to try saying her name in front of a mirror - even as an adult! I read my first James Dawson book 'Cruel Summer' this year and absolutely loved it so I can't wait for more from him! Plus, the cover is awesome!

Shadowplay by Laura Lam 
Series: Book Two in the Micah Grey series 
Coming: 2nd January 2014 
Add to Goodreads 
Why I Want to Read it – I haven't shared the synopsis for this one as it's the sequel to Pantomime a book I read and loved earlier this year. This is a UKYA Fantasy series and it's so different to anything else that I've read before! If I had to describe it I'd say that it's like a YA version of The Night Circus but with more issues and themes. I have this one on my Kindle from Netgalley and I can't wait to see what happens to Micah next!

A Kiss in the Dark by Cat Clarke 
Series: None 
Coming: April 3rd 2014 
Add to Goodreads 
Synopsis: 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.
Why I Want to Read it – The synopsis for this one is pretty brief but Cat Clarke is one of my favourite UKYA authors and I'd read anything she writes without question. If you haven't read one of her books yet I'd urge you to, especially 'Undone' which is my favourite of hers so far.

The Fearless by Emma Pass 
Series: None 
Coming: 24th April 2014 
Add to Goodreads 
Synopsis: The Fearless. An army, powered by an incredible new serum that makes each soldier stronger, sharper, faster than their enemies. Intended as a force for good, the serum has a terrible side-effect - anyone who takes it is stripped of all humanity, empathy, love. And as the Fearless sweep through the country, forcing the serum on anyone in their path, society becomes a living nightmare. Cass remembers the night they passed through her village. Her father was Altered. Her mother died soon after. All Cass has left is her little brother - and when Jori is snatched by the Fearless and taken to their hellish lair, Cass must risk everything to get him back.
Why I Want to Read it – I LOVE the sound of this one. I still have ACID to read from this author which I'll have to get around to. I'm in a bit of a dystopian slump at the moment and I'm starting to go off the genre a bit so hopefully this one will make me fall in love all over again!

Dark Days by Kate Ormand 
Series: None 
Coming: June 3rd 2014 
Add to Goodreads 
Synopsis: The future world has been divided into sectors-each the same as the other. Surrounded by thick steel fences, there is no way in and no way out. Yet a cyborg army penetrates each sector, picking off its citizens one by one, until no one is left. Behind the sectors' thick walls, the citizens wait to die. Few will be chosen to survive what's coming; the rest will be left behind to suffer. A new world has been created, and its rulers are incredibly selective on who will become a citizen. They want only those with important roles in society to help create a more perfect future. 

Sixteen-year-old Sia lives in one of the sectors as part of a family that is far too ordinary to be picked to live. According to the digital clock that towers high above her sector, she has only fifteen days to live. Sia has seen the reports and knows a horrific death is in store for her, but she is determined to make the most of her final days. Sia refuses to mourn her short life, instead promising herself that she'll stay strong, despite being suffocated by her depressed mother and her frightened best friend. Just when Sia feels more alone than ever, she meets Mace, a mysterious boy. There is something that draws Sia to him, despite his dangerousness, and together, they join a group of rebels and embark on an epic journey to destroy the new world and its machines, and to put an end to the slaughter of innocent people.
Why I Want to Read it – Yes, yes and yes. From the synopsis alone this one is ticking all of the right boxes for me. Give me cyborgs, corrupt rulers, immanent death and a strong heroine and you have got me intrigued! We're still waiting on a cover for this one but boy, am I excited!

Shattered by Teri Terry 
Series: Book Three in the Slated series 
Coming: March 6th 2014 
Add to Goodreads 
Why I Want to Read it - This is the last book in the Slated series which is why I haven't included a synopsis. I'm so excited to see how everything ends for Kyla and I'm so glad that I don't have that long left to wait! Also this is my favourite cover of the series yet! 




The Worst Girlfriend in the World by Sarra Manning 
Series: None 
Coming: 1st May 2014 
Add to Goodreads 
Synopsis: Alice Jenkins is the worst girlfriend in the world according to the many, many boys who've shimmied up lampposts and shoplifted from New Look to impress her, only to be dumped when she gets bored of them. Alice has a very low boredom threshold. But she never gets bored with Franny, her best friend since they met at nursery school. Friends are for ever. Ain't nothing going to come between them. Girls rule, boys drool is their motto.

Well, it's Alice's motto, Franny doesn't have much time for boys; they're all totes immature and only interested in one thing. But then there's Louis Allen, lead singer of Thee Desperadoes, the best band in Merrycliffe-on-sea (though that could be because they're the only band in Merrycliffe-on-sea). He's a tousle-haired, skinny-jeaned, sultry-eyed manchild, the closest thing that Franny's ever seen to the hipsters that she's read about on the internet and she's been crushing on him HARD for the last three years. She's never worked up the courage to actually speak to him but she's sure on some deeper level that goes beyond mere words, Louis absolutely knows that she's his soulmate. He just doesn't know that he knows it yet. It's why he cops off with so many other girls. So, when Alice, bored with callow youths, sets her sights on Louis it threatens to tear the girls' friendship apart, even though they're better than fighting over a boy. They strike a devil's deal - may the best girl win. Best friends become bitter rivals and everything comes to an explosive conclusion on their first trip to London. Can true friendship conquer all?
Why I Want to Read it - I love Sarra Manning and have been reading her books since I was a teenager so I'm really excited for this one! I'm really intrigued to see where Sarra takes this one with the best friends VS boy debacle.

Heart Break Girl by Malorie Blackman 
Series: Sequel to Boys Don't Cry 
Coming: March 6th 2014 
Add to Goodreads 
Why I Want to Read it - I absolutely loved Boys Don't Cry when it came out in 2010 and four years later we're getting a sequel! I can't wait to be back with these characters again although, from the synopsis, I'm worried this one might break my heart! I'm counting down the days!

Trouble by Non Pratt 
Series: None 
Coming: March 6th 2014 
Add to Goodreads 
Synopsis: A boy. A girl. A bump. Trouble. Hannah’s smart and funny ... she’s also fifteen and pregnant. Aaron is new at school and doesn’t want to attract attention. So why does he offer to be the pretend dad to Hannah’s unborn baby? Growing up can be trouble but that’s how you find out what really matters.
Why I Want to Read it - I've heard really good things about this one and am really excited to have a proof copy waiting to be read! I love my contemporaries and am looking forward to checking this one out! Also I salute the publishers for the cover choice!


So there you have it! I hope you guys have enjoyed this little mini series and that I've managed to add some books to your wishlist! Now all that's left to do is wait for 2014 to roll around so that we can finally get on to some of these brilliant sounding books! Which UKYA book are you most anticipating reading in 2014?

Friday, 13 December 2013

My Most Anticipated Books of 2014 Part 2: Sequels

Welcome to the second part of my Most Anticipated Books of 2014 series! Last Friday I was talking about debuts, standalones and first books in a new series. If for some reason you missed it the post can be found here. Today I'll be sharing the ten sequels that are being released in 2014 that I'm the most excited about. I won't be including the synopsis for the books this time around because I don't want to accidentally spoil anybody who isn't up to date with any of these series' or hasn't had the chance to check them out yet. Without further ado, in no particular order, here are my top ten most anticipated sequels!

Cress by Marissa Meyer 
Series: Book 3 in The Lunar Chronicles 
Coming February 4th 2014 
I'm such a huge fan of this series and Rapunzel is one of my favourite fairytales! Already from the synopsis I think that Marissa's unique spin on this sounds amazing and I'm so glad that I only have to wait until early February to get my hands on a copy!

Split Second by Kasie West 
Series: Book 2 in the Pivot Point Series 
Coming February 11th 2014 
I absolutely fell in love with both Pivot Point and a certain boy earlier this year and after that ending that broke my heart I have been desperate to get my hands on this book to find out what will happen next! Luckily there's not long left to wait!

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins 
Series: Book 3 in the Anna and the French Kiss Trilogy 
Coming May 13th 2014 
We have waited for this book for so long guys! So long! It's been pushed back and pushed back but hopefully this time it will finally be released next May. Stephanie wrote a really brave and personal post on why the book was pushed back here. I love Stephanie's books and can't wait for Isla's story as well as checking in with Lola, Cricket, Anna and Étienne. I'm also ridiculously excited that Stephanie now has a UK publisher in Usborne and that all of her books will be out in the UK next year.

City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare 
Series: Book 6 in The Mortal Instruments 
Coming May 27th 2014 
I know this is a big one for many people. I'm nervous and excited to see what's going to go down and just hope that Cassandra Clare doesn't break my heart! Although I do like this series I LOVE The Infernal Devices on a whole other level and if you've read Clockwork Princess then you'll know why I can't wait to get my hands on this!

Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor 
Series: Book 3 in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy 
Coming April 8th 2014 
This doesn't have an official UK cover yet so I'm using the US one for now. This is one of my favourite series ever and I can not wait to see how it all ends! War, Love, Magic - if this is as good as the other two in the series then this is going to be a stunning finale and I absolutely love the title!

The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin 
Series: Book 3 in the Mara Dyer Trilogy 
Coming June 10th 2014 
This is another book that has been pushed back and the summer of 2014 still feels like such a long wait for us poor Mara Dyer fans! I love how different this series is and I adore Noah Shaw. I have heard next to nothing about what this book will be about yet (other than it's the last book in the trilogy) and I feel so teased!

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo 
Series: Book 3 in The Grisha Series 
Coming June 3rd 2014 
You all know what a huge supporter I am of this series! It's one of my all-time favourite Fantasy series and Ruin and Rising is one of the books I am coveting the hardest in this list!

Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead 
Series: Book 5 in the Bloodlines Series 
Coming July 29th 2014 
Richelle Mead has been one of my favourite authors for years so naturally this was going to be on my list regardless, but after reading The Fiery Heart with that ending I can't begin to tell you how much my soul needs Silver Shadows! Two words: Sydrian Feels!

The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey 
Series: Book 2 in The 5th Wave Series 
Coming May 6th 2014 
The 5th Wave is one of the best books I read this year and I am already so excited for the sequel! The 5th Wave ticked all the right boxes for me with developed and likeable characters, a terrifying world and beautiful writing. I'm hoping for more of the same from The Infinite Sea!

Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray 
Series: Book 2 in The Diviners Series 
Coming August 5th 2014 
I really enjoyed The Diviners when I read it last year and have been looking forward to the second book for the longest time. It reminds me a little of The Infernal Devices so if you like that series I'd recommend checking this one out! I really hope the UK gets a different cover because I don't like this one - the first book was so pretty! 


Are any of these books on your sequels wishlist for 2014? Which sequels are you most looking forward to? Stop by the blog at the same time next week for the final part in this series where I'll be talking about the UKYA releases in 2014 that I'm pining for!

Friday, 6 December 2013

My Most Anticipated Books of 2014 Part 1: Debut, Stand Alone and First in a Series

So last year I did a little post talking about what new book releases I was looking forward to in the coming year and a lot of you seemed to love it! So I've decided to bring it back again this year, only bigger and better! This is going to be a three part series which will all together showcase the top 30 books that I'm excited to read in 2014.



For today's post we'll be looking at books that are either the first in a new series, a debut or a stand alone. I actually think that this is the list that I'm the most excited about because there is always something so exciting about new characters, new worlds, and new authors! You never know what you'll discover. Here are my top ten books in no particular order...

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski 
Coming March 4th 2014 
Add to Goodreads
Synopsis: As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions. One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined. Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.
Why I Want to Read it – I stumbled across this one on Goodreads the other week and okay, I'll admit, the thing that first drew me in was the gorgeous cover! But then I read the synopsis and it sounds like something I would love! This world sounds really interesting and I'm glad I only have to wait until March for it to be released!

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira 
Coming April 1st 2014 
Add to Goodreads
Synopsis: It begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May did. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to people like Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Amelia Earhart, Heath Ledger, and more; though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating new friendships, falling in love for the first time, learning to live with her splintering family. And, finally, about the abuse she suffered while May was supposed to be looking out for her. Only then, once Laurel has written down the truth about what happened to herself, can she truly begin to accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was; lovely and amazing and deeply flawed; can she begin to discover her own path.
Why I Want to Read it – I actually got approved for this on Netgalley and then noticed that there was no send to kindle button! *Sobs* This sounds like a gorgeous debut and it has a quote on the cover from Stephen Chbosky - nuff said!

Landline by Rainbow Rowell 
Coming July 8th 2014 
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Synopsis: Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems besides the point now. Maybe that was always besides the point. Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her. When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything. That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts . . . Is that what she’s supposed to do? Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?
Why I Want to Read it – Two words: Rainbow Rowell. I have read and loved all of Rainbow's books this year and have vowed to read anything she writes. Also, this one sounds super interesting!

Don't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout 
Coming April 15th 2014 
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Synopsis: Samantha is a stranger in her own life. Until the night she disappeared with her best friend, Cassie, everyone said Sam had it all-popularity, wealth, and a dream boyfriend. Sam has resurfaced, but she has no recollection of who she was or what happened to her that night. As she tries to piece together her life from before, she realizes it's one she no longer wants any part of. The old Sam took "mean girl" to a whole new level, and it's clear she and Cassie were more like best enemies. Sam is pretty sure that losing her memories is like winning the lottery. She's getting a second chance at being a better daughter, sister, and friend, and she's falling hard for Carson Ortiz, a boy who has always looked out for her-even if the old Sam treated him like trash. But Cassie is still missing, and the facts about what happened to her that night isn't just buried deep inside of Sam's memory-someone else knows, someone who wants to make sure Sam stays quiet. All Sam wants is the truth, and if she can unlock her clouded memories of that fateful night, she can finally move on. But what if not remembering is the only thing keeping Sam alive?
Why I Want to Read it – I'm a sucker for a good thriller and Jennifer is an insanely popular author right now so I have really high hopes for this one.

The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith 
Coming April 15th 2014 
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Synopsis: Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they're rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father. Lucy and Owen's relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and -- finally -- a reunion in the city where they first met. A carefully charted map of a long-distance relationship, Jennifer E. Smith's new novel shows that the center of the world isn't necessarily a place. It can be a person, too.
Why I Want to Read it – HOW CUTE DOES IT SOUND!!!??? Jennifer E. Smith writes the CUTEST contemporary romances and this one sounds like THE CUTEST OF THEM ALL!!! Also, New York. And also, Edinburgh.

The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings 
Coming June 10th 2014 
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Synopsis: An action-packed, blood-soaked, futuristic debut thriller set in a world where the murder rate is higher than the birthrate. Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision. The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is—although he doesn’t know it—one of the MC’s programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family?
Why I Want to Read it – This is another promising sounding debut. I'm starting to tire of the dystopian genre but I really like the sound of this one, it sounds bloody and brutal and there are assassins so it should be an exciting read!

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han 
Coming April 22nd 2014 
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Synopsis: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister's ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.
Why I Want to Read it – Jenny Han is one of my favourite authors for Contemporary YA and this one sounds so good! There's something so romantic about love letters so the synopsis has me desperate to read this one!

The Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan 
Coming March 13th 2014 
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Synopsis: Polly Waterford is recovering from a toxic relationship. Unable to afford their townhouse, she has to move miles away from everyone, to the sleepy little seaside resort of Polbearne, where she lives alone above an abandoned shop. And so Polly takes out her frustrations on her favourite hobby: making bread. But what was previously a weekend diversion suddenly becomes far more important as she pours her emotions into kneading and pounding the dough, and each loaf becomes better and better. With nuts and seeds, olives and chorizo, with local honey (courtesy of local bee keeper, Huckle), and with reserves of determination and creativity Polly never knew she had, she bakes and bakes and bakes . . . And people start to hear about it. Sometimes, bread really is life . . . And Polly is about to reclaim hers.
Why I Want to Read it – I love Jenny's books and read them without question. She's covered sweets, cakes, chocolate and now she's on to...bread. Okay, so admittedly that doesn't sound as exciting as her previous books, however I love the sound of the plot and Jenny hasn't failed me yet!

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge 
Coming January 28th 2014 
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Synopsis: Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl's journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart. Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him. With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people. But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her. As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex's secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.
Why I Want to Read it – Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast? Yes please! I love fairytale re-tellings and Beauty and the Beast is my favourite so naturally I am all over this!

What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick 
Coming April 15th 2014 
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Synopsis: Gwen Castle's Biggest Mistake Ever, Cassidy Somers, is slumming it as a yard boy on her Nantucket-esque island this summer. He's a rich kid from across the bridge in Stony Bay, and she hails from a family of fishermen and housecleaners who keep the island's summer people happy. Gwen worries a life of cleaning houses will be her fate too, but just when it looks like she'll never escape her past—or the island—Gwen's dad gives her some shocking advice. Sparks fly and secret histories unspool as Gwen spends a gorgeous, restless summer struggling to resolve what she thought was true—about the place she lives, the people she loves, and even herself—with what really is.
Why I Want to Read it – I looovvveeeddd My Life Next Door by this author and am looking forward to this one for a fun summertime romance. Also the cover is so gorgeous!

Okay, after writing this post I now officially can't wait for 2014 to get here already! I hope some of these books have sparked your interest - they all sound so good! I'd love for you to share the debuts, stand alones, and first in a series books that you're looking forward to in the comments so that I can find even more to add to my ever growing wishlist! Make sure you stop by the blog again next week for Part 2 of My Most Anticipated Books of 2014 series - next time I'll be talking sequels!

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Review for Calling Mrs Christmas by Carole Matthews

Calling Mrs Christmas by Carole Matthews 
Publisher: Sphere
Release: 24th October 2013
Genre: Chick-lit, Christmas, Fiction
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review





Goodreads Summary:
"Cassie Smith has been out of work for a while but she has an idea. Drawing on her love of Christmas, she begins charging for small things: wrapping presents; writing cards; tree-decorating. She's soon in huge demand and Cassie's business, Calling Mrs Christmas, is born.

Carter Randall wants to make Christmas special for his children so he enlists Cassie's help, and his lavish requests start taking up all her time. Thank goodness she can rely on her partner Jim to handle the rest of her clients.

When Carter asks Cassie to join them on a trip to Lapland, she knows she shouldn't go. As much as tries, Cassie can't deny how drawn she is to Carter and everything he has to offer, but she still loves her warm-hearted Jim. Suddenly Cassie finds herself facing a heart-breaking choice that could change her entire life."

Review 
After enjoying my first Carole Matthews books A Cottage by the Sea this summer I was eager to read more from this author. Thanks to the snippet shared at the back of A Cottage by the Sea I got to read a sneak peak of Calling Mrs Christmas the latest festive offering from Carole – I loved the sound of it and was looking forward to snuggling up with a copy during the build up to Christmas. I’m going to say straight off the bat that this is one of the best Christmas books that I’ve ever read. I read the whole thing straight through in a day because I was so caught up in this story!

Calling Mrs Christmas is brimming with festivity and is perfect for getting excited for Christmas. The book follows Cassie – unemployed and struggling to stay afloat Cassie is not looking forward to Christmas this year (a time that she usually loves) because of the expense that comes along with it. Then Cassie gets the wonderful idea of turning her love for Christmas into a business and so Calling Mrs Christmas is born. Tree decorating; gift buying, organising Christmas parties, baking - it’s all in a day’s work for Cassie. As Cassie starts to really enjoy herself you can’t help but get caught up in the Christmas excitement along with her!

Unexpectedly my favourite thing about this book was Cassie’s partner Jim’s chapters. Jim is a kind and gentle soul whose meagre wage as a prison officer at a young offenders unit stretches to support both him and Cassie. Although their financial situation means that they live in a small flat and haven’t been able to get married or have children yet Jim would do anything in his power for Cassie and you see that time and time again through his actions. Jim was such a lovely bloke and he quickly became my favourite character.

Jim’s warmth and kindness also extends to two of the teenage boys in his care Rozzer and Smudge. The boys haven’t had the best start in life and Jim provides them with the chance to prove themselves as well as being a role model for the lads to look up to. Whilst Cassie’s chapters deal with the food and decorations and gifts, Jim’s chapters deal with the true meaning of Christmas tackling themes of taking care of those less fortunate than ourselves and appreciating our lot in life.

The only thing that stopped this book from being a perfect five star read for me was Cassie! She really started to annoy me towards the middle of the book, I felt like she became very selfish and ungrateful. It all went towards her character development though and so although at times I wanted to shake some sense into her I did make my peace with her by the end of the book.

I closed Calling Mrs Christmas with a big smile on my face, a tear in my eye, and that lovely heart-warming Christmassy feeling. Although everything was wrapped up nicely by the end of the book I feel like there is definitely room for a sequel – I’d love more from these characters and to find out what happens to them next! This year I have fast become a new Carole Matthews fan and I absolutely cannot wait for her next novel A Place to Call Home to be released next year!


Monday, 2 December 2013

November Round Up and Book of the Month


November's Book of the Month is Attachments by Rainbow Rowell



Rainbow Rowell has to be the best newly discovered author of mine for 2013. I read and loved both Eleanor and Park and Fangirl and Attachments was the last book I had to read from this author. Eleanor and Park and Fangirl are both YA novels so I was interested to see if I'd love Attachments as much with it being chick-lit and Rowell's debut novel but it was wonderful and is my second favourite following behind Fangirl. Attachments is an absolute delight to read. It's smart and witty and lovely and I had the biggest smile on my face from start to finish. It's like all of the best chick-flicks rolled into one and I'm sad that Nora Ephron isn't around to adapt this into the heart warming movie that it's screaming to be made into. If you haven't picked up a Rainbow Rowell book yet you are doing reading wrong.


*** Sighs happily *** 

Read in November
95.) Haze by Paula Weston (4*)
96.) Attachments by Rainbow Rowell (5*)
97.) Deception by C.J. Redwine (3.5*)
98.) A Gift to Remember by Melissa Hill (4*)
99.) The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead (5*)
100.) Crash Into You by Katie McGarry (4.5*)
101.) Calling Mrs Christmas by Carole Matthews (4.5*)
102.) Sanctum by Sarah Fine (4*)
103.) Let it Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle (4*)

Reading Challenge Completed!
Not only was this month an awesome reading month but I also reached my reading target and read my 100th book of the year! I've always wanted to read 100 books in a year but have never quite reached it before despite coming close so I'm absolutely thrilled that I've done it this year and am planning on treating myself to some books on my wishlist soon as a reward! 

November Book Awards
Best Plot: Sanctum by Sarah Fine
Best Writing: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
Best Cover: A Gift to Remember by Melissa Hill
Best Characters: The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead
Best Ending: The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead
Best Romance: The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead
Most un-put-down-able: Sanctum by Sarah Fine
Most Memorable: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
Best Moral: Calling Mrs Christmas by Carole Matthews

Top 3 Most Recommended Books: Attachments, The Fiery Heart, Crash Into You

Books I’m Looking Forward to Being Released in December 
These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
The Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine
Here's Looking At You by Mhairi McFarlane

Again, not too many releases I'm excited for this month - which is nice because it means I can catch up on some older releases from this year and maybe sneak in one or two 2014 proof copies I have waiting for me to start on! This will be my last round-up post of 2013 as Decembers I'll do in January. I'm so happy with my year in reading! I've discovered so many amazing new books and authors and looking back I think this year has been the year of Contemporary and New Adult for me because they're the genre's I seem to have been loving the most! I'm hoping that despite the craziness of December I'll find some time over the holidays to top the year off with some amazing books.

What was your book of the month for November? And what books are on your TBR that you're hoping to get to before the year is out?

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