Sunday, 28 February 2016

Sunday Post 28th February 2016

The Sunday Post STSmall_thumb[2]
The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted at Caffeinated Book Reviewer, it's a chance to post a recap on the past week, show the books we have received and share what we plan for the coming week. Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and Showcase Sunday is hosted by Books, Biscuits and Tea and the aim is to show our newest books and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops or downloaded on to their e-reader. As always you can click on any of the pictures to be taken to the Goodreads page for that book if you're interested in finding out more about it.

So last week I went up to visit my brother at University again and had an amazing time. We saw Deadpool which we enjoyed. And I read absolutely nothing the entire time. Which is why I didn't really have a Sunday Post for last week so I've decided to make a fortnight's worth Post instead. 

Books We Got This Week:
Dorothy Must Die (Dorothy Must Die, #1)All the RageTake The FallRebel Mechanics (Rebel Mechanics, #1)Starflight (Starflight, #1)
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige: It's a retelling (kind of) and I love the idea of it so I really hope I enjoy this.
All the Rage by Courtney Summers: I've already read this and I thought it was amazing, you can see some of my thoughts below.
Take the Fall by Emily Hainsworth: I have actually already read this one as well (well done me!) and enjoyed it, I would love to read more by her.
Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson: I have been meaning to read this one for so long and I am excited to finally have it.
Starflight by Melissa Landers: This sounds a bit like Cinder and a bit like These Broken Stars in style - both of which I love. Hoping to read this soon!

Reading Update:
The Art of Being NormalWe Are the AntsAll the RageTake The Fall
The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson: 4.5 stars, Firstly I love that this book even exists. As Philip Pullman says on the cover this is a "life-changing and life-saving book". I read this in one sitting which is something that hasn't happened in a while and I will definitely be recommending it to my family. 
We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson: 4.5 stars, Nothing like I expected but infinitely better. Loved the characters and the depth and complexity of the story. The depictions of depression rang true for me, it's rare that I find such a real representation of mental illness. Highly recommended.
All the Rage by Courtney Summers: 5 stars, This book emotionally drained me. It's a very sensitive subject and its not an easy book to read but it was accurate and honest and real and that's what makes it so heartbreaking. 
Take the Fall by Emily Hainsworth: 3.5 stars, I really liked the mystery element of this and the twisted friendship/scandal element was just what I wanted to read at this point. Didn't fully love the ending but I did love who the murderer turned out to be.
Burning MidnightWolf WinterBeatrice and Benedick
Burning Midnight by Will McIntosh: 3 stars, I am a bit torn about this. I liked the concept a lot and I would actually prefer this had been a series since I feel the relationships and the characters needed more development. I never got emotionally attached to any of the characters.
Wolf Winter by Cecilia Ekback: 4 stars, This was kind of an odd one for me in that it was absolutely nothing like I had expected. There were some magical elements in there I didn't see coming but they really worked. I thought the mystery element was a tiny bit easy but the atmosphere and the complexity of the characters definitely made up for it!
Beatrice and Benedick by Marina Fiorato: 4 stars, I always enjoy Marina Fiorato's books and this was no exception. I did enjoy Beatrice's sections more than Benedick's but overall I really loved the story. 

You can also find us on Goodreads (Ann and Clare) to keep up with what we are reading

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Wednesday Catch-Up 24th February 2016

Every Wednesday we are linking up with WWW Wednesday. WWW Wednesday is hosted at Taking on a World of Words and asks 3 questions: What are you currently reading?, What did you recently finish reading? What do you think you'll read next? 

Clare:

Currently Reading:
Wolf Winter
I am a few chapters into Wolf Winter and I am tentatively enjoying it. It's a little different from my usual reads and I am not fully convinced yet but I do like the writing style and I am intrigued to see where this is going! The blurb is a little vague so I know there is a mystery surrounding the body the girls find and a potential murder but so far it's the atmosphere that I am loving.

Recently Finished:
In a Dark, Dark WoodHow Not to DisappearThe Art of Being NormalWe Are the Ants
All the RageTake The FallBurning Midnight
The first book I finished in the last fortnight was In a Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware. I struggled with this but I feel like that was more my fault than the books. I got very stressed by the thriller aspect and kept wanting to skip to the end to see who did it! Ultimately I think the ending was actually a bit predictable which was a shame. I then read How to Disappear which I really enjoyed. I've heard good things about Clare Furniss and I will definitely be looking to read more by her. There were some difficult issues but I loved the characters and really cared what happened to them. I then finally read The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson and I am just so glad this book even exists. I think it's tremendously helpful and hopeful and I really enjoyed it. We are the Ants was nothing like I had expected. It was way better than I had hoped and I really really enjoyed it. I will definitely be re-reading it in the future. The same goes for All the Rage by Courtney Summers. I always love her writing and the way she can make unlikable characters likable. This wasn't really necessary here since the main character felt very realistic and interesting and seemed the sort of person I would genuinely want to be friends with but I appreciated the way Courtney Summers dealt with the subject at hand and I highly recommend this book. I then read another thriller that I had slightly more luck with which was Take the Fall by Emily Hainsworth. I thought this was a really good read, I didn't see the ending coming at all but once it was revealed who killed Gretchen it definitely made sense to me. I am sure there were plenty of hints throughout the book that I completely missed so I definitely want to re-read it at some point and see if that affects my enjoyment at all. I was slightly disappointed with the very end of the book because I usually prefer a little more resolution but overall I enjoyed it. And finally I read Burning Midnight which was a new purchase for me on impulse and I did enjoy it but I wasn't overwhelmed by it. I felt like the character development was lacking and the development of relationships was just way too fast in book time. A lot happened off the page so it wasn't insta-love but it just didn't feel real to me. I almost wish this was a series so there had been more development time.
Planning to Read Next:
Beatrice and BenedickKitSong of the Sea Maid
I am planning to read Beatrice & Benedick and Kit by Marina Fiorato next. I have enjoyed all of her books that I have read and these two are her most recent and the only ones I haven't read yet so I am excited to get into them. Beatrice & Benedick intrigues me a lot since it is based around Much Ado about Nothing. I am then planning to read Song of the Sea Maid by Rebecca Mascull which I heard about recently and was intrigued by. 


You can also find us on Goodreads (Ann and Clare) to keep up with what we are reading

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Clare Reviews: The Lady's Command by Stephanie Laurens

The Lady's Command (The Adventurers Quartet, #1)Title: The Lady's Command
Author: Stephanie Laurens
Series: The Adventurer's Quartet #1
Format: Paperback
Pages: 312
Rating: 2.5/5
Blurb: The instant Captain Declan Frobisher laid eyes on Lady Edwina Delbraith, he knew she was the lady he wanted as his wife. The scion of a seafaring dynasty accustomed to success, he discovered that wooing Edwina was surprisingly straightforward—not least because she made it plain that she wanted him as much as he wanted her.
Declan’s vision of marriage was of a gently-reared wife to grace his arm, to manage his household, and to bear his children. He assumed that household, children, and wife would remain safely in England while he continued his life as an explorer sailing the high seas.
Declan got his wish—up to a point. He and Edwina were wed. As for the rest—his vision of marriage…
Aunt of the young Duke of Ridgware and sister of the mysterious man known as Neville Roscoe, London’s gambling king, even before the knot was tied Edwina shattered the illusion that her character is as delicate, ethereal, and fragile as her appearance suggests. Far from adhering to orthodox mores, she and her ducal family are even more unconventional than the Frobishers.
Beneath her fairy-princess exterior, Edwina possesses a spine of steel—one that might bend, but will never break. Born to the purple—born to rule—she’s determined to rule her life. With Declan’s ring on her finger, that means forging a marriage that meets her needs as well as his.
But bare weeks into their honeymoon, Declan is required to sail to West Africa. Edwina decides she must accompany him.
A secret mission with unknown villains flings unexpected dangers into their path as Declan and Edwina discover that meeting the challenge of making an unconventional marriage work requires something they both possess—bold and adventurous hearts.



“Marrying the lady of his dreams had proved suprisingly easy. Forging the marriage of his dreams…That, apparently was an entirely different challenge.”


It's generally hard for me to review regency romance books, I tend to go into them and enjoy them as just light-hearted and escapist and fun and not worry about any slightly repetitive writing or overly predictable plot lines. And I do usually enjoy Stephanie Laurens' books so it is frustrating that I just couldn't get into this one.

The romance is very different from her usual ones. The main characters are married and in love from the start so there is less tension with the relationship, however it does lead to arguably a more healthy relationship for the couple. I admired Edwina and I liked that Declan was, for the most part anyway, willing to listen to and respect her opinion. That's fairly unusal and very welcome for this genre. There was an element of romance and the relationship did develop and grow stronger over the course of the book but it just wasn't overly compelling.

The plot follows Declan as he is sent on a mission and Edwina tags along uninvited. The mystery itself wasn't particularly exciting. There were enough hints dropped that it was fairly easy to figure out who the villains of the piece were and it was frustrating that there was no real resolution. I understand that this is the first in the series and that the characters of the next book will pick up where Declan and Edwina left off - but the lack of resolution left me feeling fairly empty by the end.

There was a bit of repetition, especially with Declan's internal monologues but overall I didn't have many problems with the writing style itself and although I did occasionally want to skip through to get to the more exciting parts I didn't really struggle to read it. If you are a fan of Stephanie Laurens then I would recommend it but it's definitely my least favourite of her books to date. I will still be reading the sequel though and I am hopeful that I will enjoy it more. 


You can also find us on Goodreads (Ann and Clare) to keep up with what we are reading

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Sunday Post 14th February 2016

The Sunday Post STSmall_thumb[2]
The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted at Caffeinated Book Reviewer, it's a chance to post a recap on the past week, show the books we have received and share what we plan for the coming week. Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and Showcase Sunday is hosted by Books, Biscuits and Tea and the aim is to show our newest books and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops or downloaded on to their e-reader. As always you can click on any of the pictures to be taken to the Goodreads page for that book if you're interested in finding out more about it.



Books We Got This Week:

Grace & Style: The Art of Pretending You Have ItAssassin's Heart (Assassin's Heart, #1)Revenge and the WildSalt to the Sea
Grace & Style The Art of Pretending You Have It by Grace Helbig: I really enjoyed her first book and all her videos, I've already had a quick flick through this and thought it was very funny!
Assassin's Heart by Sarah Ahiers: I love assassins, but please, please be more vengeance and less romance.
Revenge and the Wild by Michelle Modesto: The last two (and my first two) westerns were incredible so I have high hopes for this.
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys: I haven't read any Ruta Sepetys and I've always meant to, the synopsis of this intrigued me so I am excited to get reading.
Traveler (Seeker, #2)Stars AboveAlive (The Generations Trilogy, #1)Wolf Winter
Traveler by Arwen Elys Dayton: I actually haven't read the first book yet but I've heard there was a cliff-hanger of sorts so I kind of wanted to wait for this first!
Stars Above by Marissa Meyer: I was in love with the Lunar Chronicles and it had such a bittersweet ending in Winter so I can't wait to return to that world.
Alive by Scott Sigler: It's been a while since I read a great dystopian and I am hoping this could be it?

Wolf Winter by Cecilia Ekback: This sounds very interesting. The cover intrigues me and the plot sounds very compelling. I hope to read this soon.
KitSong of the Sea MaidThe Secrets of Drearcliff Grange SchoolThese Vicious Masks (These Vicious Masks, #1)
Kit by Marina Fiorato: I love Marina Fiorato's books, she is an auto-buy author for me and I am very excited for her new book.
Song of the Sea Maid by Rebecca Mascull: I had heard some good things about this and the idea of a female scientist in this time period does intrigue me.
The Secrets of Drearcliff Grange School by Kim Newman: I had only read half the blurb by the time I had put this in my basket at the supermarket. I got to the bit that said it was about a school for the children of master criminals. I need know no more.
These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker: Jane Austen meets X-Men??! Yes! I am beyond excited for this.
Front Lines (Soldier Girl, #1)Glass Sword (Red Queen, #2)Curio (Curio #1)Princess of Thorns
Front Lines by Michael Grant: I have heard some great things about this. I got this along with The Secrets of Drearcliff Grange School as they were on offer and I am hoping to enjoy this.
Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard: Another one where I haven't read the first book (because of a rumoured cliff-hanger) but I am keen to get into this series.
Curio by Evangeline Denmark: I have heard mixed things about Curio but a steampunk western intrigues me so I definitely want to try it.
Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay: Stacey Jay has written some great retellings and I have been meaning to read this one for a while.


Reading Update:

Clare:
Salt to the SeaThe Lady's Command (The Adventurers Quartet, #1)In a Dark, Dark WoodHow Not To Disappear
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys: 4.5 stars, I actually have a review up for this here (my first review in a while). I really enjoyed this. I loved the characters and how complex and three dimensional they felt and I really loved the unique plot. This isn't something I think I've really seen in other books set during this period.
The Lady's Command by Stephanie Laurens: 2.5 stars, I have a review coming for this next week. I didn't enjoy this as much as I had hoped to but I will still be reading the sequel.
In a Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware: 3 stars, This was kind of a failed experiment. The book itself was fine, although not particularly compelling and the characters were less than sympathetic but I just couldn't cope with the anxiety of reading a thriller.
How Not to Disappear by Clare Furniss: 4 stars, Very compelling. The subject matter was difficult but well dealt with and I found it interesting to read. The characters were very strong, especially the two main characters and I really felt like I was drawn into the world. 


You can also find us on Goodreads (Ann and Clare) to keep up with what we are reading

Saturday, 13 February 2016

January Favourites and February TBR

Ann:

This month I didn't manage to read many books as I have been a bit busy this week but I did finish about 2 books neither of which I really liked.
Dear Dylan
My favourite read had to be Dear Dylan though as it was very realistic - unlike some books which seem like the characters have lives that are unrealistically perfect whereas in Dear Dylan she goes through a lot of problems and it seems more realistic.

Clare:

This month I read a total of 16 books. It was kind of a slow reading month for me and I didn't often feel like picking up books but I did read a few that I absolutely loved. 
Frozen Tides (Falling Kingdoms, #4)The MartianPrisoner of Night and Fog (Prisoner of Night and Fog, #1)
1) Frozen Tides by Morgan Rhodes
My brother got me the Falling Kingdoms series for Christmas and I loved it, I thought the first book was a little slow but from the second onward it was incredible. Frozen Tides was definitely my favourite of the series (so far) and I cannot wait for the next book!
2) The Martian by Andy Weir
This book surprised me so much. This was definitely one of those books I picked up entirely for the hype around it. It doesn't sound like my kind of book at all and yet I really loved it. The science went completely over my head (my Mum is a scientist and assures me the science is amazing) but it felt so real and the humour was such a wonderful type of humour. I am very much looking forward to seeing the movie.
3) Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman
The second book wasn't as good as the first in my opinion but I loved these characters and particularly how original and well researched the story was. I really felt like Anne Blankman had made an effort and it paid off with the detail and the realistic feel to the events. I look forward to reading more by her.


February TBR:

Since our TBR's often get out of control we've decided to list our top three books we plan to read in February which should hopefully be easier to manage!

Ann:
Scarlet (Scarlet, #1)Fracture (Fracture, #1)Lament (Books of Faerie, #1)

Scarlet: This sounds like a very interesting book and the cover is also wonderful. All three of theses books are on the AR reading scheme at my school.
Fracture: This also sounds like a very good book and I love the sound of it and the cover also looks very nice
Lament: I love the sound of Lament and also the cover looks wonderful.

Clare:
We Are the AntsAssassin's Heart (Assassin's Heart, #1)How Not To Disappear
We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson
There is nothing about this blurb that I don't love. You can click the picture to go to the goodreads page and check it out - honestly this just sounds so intriguing to me and I've heard amazing things.
Assassin's Heart by Sarah Ahiers
I am actually kind of nervous for this one, I love the idea of assassins and vengeance but I am so worried it will just devolve into Romeo & Juliet style romance. With any luck the vengeance will be the main focus though!
How Not to Disappear by Clare Furniss
This sounds right up my alley. I've heard good things about Clare Furniss and this sounds like a good book to start with so fingers crossed I enjoy it!


You can also find us on Goodreads (Ann and Clare) to keep up with what we are reading