Saturday 31 October 2015

Ann : Disney Tag 2

This isn't a very Halloweenie tag and I realise now that I probably should have done a Halloween tag instead of a Disney one. I hope you enjoy it! I have also done another Disney tag previously and if you want to see that one click here.

The Iron King (The Iron Fey, #1)1) Part of Your World - What book world would you change yourself for so you could be a part of that world?

ummmm. I don't want to go for an obvious one like The Mortal Instruments. So I am going to go with the Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa. I love this world because I think it would be so much fun to be a fairy! If I could go there today I would.

Carry On2) Let It Go - What book did you not want to finish because you loved it so much?

CARRY ON! I just want to constantly reread it over and over again! It was amazing and I recommend that everyone read it.

3) Beauty and the Beast - What book do you think is/will be timeless?

I hope that Carry On is timeless! I love it and I think that generations to come should also read it.

The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co., #1)4) So This is Love - What book were you hesitant to read at first but ended up loving?

Lockwood and Co The Screaming Staircase. I was introduced to this book by my teacher in year 8. We read the first chapter in our English lesson and I was hesitant because it didn't really sound like my kind of book. However I ended up loving it so much I read the whole book and books 2 & 3.

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1)5) Friend Like Me - Which character would you like to be your best friend?

Isabelle from the Mortal Instruments! Of course! As some of you know I love Isabelle a lot and I think me and her would get on really well. So I definitely want her as my best friend!

Girl Online (Girl Online, #1)6) Reflection - What book made you think/changed the way you view things?

Girl Online and Girl Online On Tour because they both really helped me to understand people who have anxiety better and to think about what they have to go through everyday and I have huge respect for them and want to help them all in whatever way I can.

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

Clare Reviews: Slasher Girls & Monster Boys selected by April Genevieve Tucholke

Slasher Girls & Monster BoysTitle: Slasher Girls & Monster Boys
Author: Selected by April Genevieve Tucholke
Pages: 385
Format: Hardback

Rating: 4/5
Blurb: A host of the sharpest young adult authors come together in this collection of terrifying tales and psychological thrillers. Each story draws from a mix of literature, film, television or even music to offer something new and fresh and unsettling. Even better? After you've teased out each tale's references satisfy your curiosity at the end, where the inspiration is revealed. There are no superficial scares here. These are stories that will make you think even as they keep you on the edge of your seat. From bloody horror, to the supernatural, to unnerving, all-too-possible realism, this collection has something for anyone looking for an absolute thrill.

The Birds of Azalea Street by Nova Ren Suma: 3/5, I really liked the concept of the story but I don't think Nova Ren Suma's writing style is really for me. There was a definite sense of tension though and I was very interested to see what happened. However in the end I felt like the climax was rushed and everything else was drawn out, so whilst the build of suspense was good it kind of fell flat for me at the end. Also, how sad is it that their parents didn't believe them? 

In the Forest Dark and Deep by Carrie Ryan: 4/5, This was way darker than I could have imagined and I'm not sure I can see Alice in Wonderland the same way ever again! I'm not sure I necessarily liked it, it's more the sort of story that deeply unsettles you. It got creepier and more compelling the longer I read it.

Emmeline by Cat Winters: 4.5/5, this was the story in the anthology I was most looking forward to. I thought the twist was pretty obvious but that only added to the tension. It was really beautifully written and it left me thinking about it.

Verse Chorus Verse by Leigh Bardugo: 3/5, it had its creepy moments but I'm still not entirely sure what happened. I liked the flashback parts but it just didn't make a whole lot of sense to me I guess. 

Hide-And-Seek by Megan Shepherd: 4/5, really tense. I'm not familiar with the mythology of it but I loved the game of hide and seek and the main character was very interesting. I really liked the ending as well.

The Dark, Scary Parts and All by Danielle Paige: 3/5, I didn't love this one but I liked the ending. I didn't connect with the characters really though. An interesting ending as well.

The Flicker, The Fingers, The Beat, The Sigh by April Genevieve Tucholke: 4/5, I love the atmosphere of this one. The characters are not remotely likable but I liked that this kind of had a I Know What You Did Last Summer feel to it. The four characters were very horror movie stereotype which was interesting.

Fat Girl with a Knife by Jonathan Maberry: 3/5, not my favourite. Like with The Dark, Scary Parts and All I just didn't connect with the characters that much. The first half bored me a little but I liked the second half.

Sleepless by Jay Kristoff: 3.5/5, this succeeded in disturbing the heck out of me. Not the most comfortable read but there were great twists and lots of disturbing halloween-ness. Scarier because these are humans doing descpicable things and not monsters.

M by Stefan Bachmann: 4/5, A little less scary than some of the others. I liked Misha and Kerstin and the mystery was definitely interesting. I would have liked more closure at the end though.

The Girl Without a Face by Marie Lu: 4/5, I started out super creeped out (and slightly worried about my own closet) and then when the revelation happened - I have never been so wholeheartedly on the ghosts side before! 

A Girl Who Dreamed of Snow by McCormick Templeman: 3/5, a very beautifully written story with a good twist but I wasn't totally enthralled.

Stitches by A.G. Howard: 2/5, this just wasn't my cup of tea. I don't know. It was disturbing and weird and I didn't especially like the writing style or the characters.

On the I-5 by Kendare Blake: 4/5, I liked this one, there was tension and creepiness and I liked the protagonist. Interesting concept as well, this would almost make a good start to a novel.

In total I really enjoyed this anthology, there was a great selection of authors I already loved and some from authors I will definitely be checking out in the future. There were all sorts of stories ranging from mildly creepy to outright scary/disturbing and I really loved that. I read a story each day so I got to really savour each story but there were so many absorbing reads you could easily read it cover to cover!

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

Friday 30 October 2015

Friday Reads 30th October 2015

Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's Voice, the idea is to grab a book, turn to page 56 (or 56% in an e-book) and find any sentence (no spoilers!) and then post it. Book Beginnings is hosted by Rose City Reader to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are currently reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence and impressions about the book.

Carry OnBloodlines (Bloodlines, #1)
I am going to hopefully have finished Carry On today and then I will be reading the Bloodlines series. These sound good and they are about Adrian so I cannot wait to read them soon.

Book Beginning & Friday 56
Carry On

"I walk to the bus station by myself. There's always a fuss over my paperwork when I leave. All summer long, we're not allowed to walk to Tescos without a chaperone and permission from the queen - then in the autumn, I just sign myself out of the children's home and go."

I love Carry On so much it is such an amazing book and I recommend that you all read it.

"I'm not religious, it's a talisman."

I could have honestly chosen any sentence from the whole of page 56. I just picked the first one that I spotted straight away.

A Thousand NightsHold Me Like a Breath (Once Upon a Crime Family, #1)Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children, #1)
I actually have a very free weekend this week so I think I am going to do pretty much nothing but read. I find it very hard to sleep on Halloween for some reason so I am probably going to spend all night reading/watching films. I want to read A Thousand Nights and Hold Me Like a Breath. Then for Halloween itself I want to be reading the Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children trilogy. I think this will be perfect for Halloween night.

Book Beginning & Friday 56
A Thousand Nights
"We do not know why we came from the sea to this hard and dusty earth, but we know that we are better than it."
"Spinning is a dreamer's craft, and I wished to dream of my sister, and of a place that was not so closed and full of fear." 
 I really like the beautiful, dreamy quality to the writing in this and I am looking forward to reading more!

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

Clare Reviews: This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee

This Monstrous ThingTitle: This Monstrous Thing
Author: Mackenzi Lee 
Pages: 365
Format: Hardback
Rating: 3.5/5
Blurb: In 1818 Geneva, men built with clockwork parts live hidden away from society, cared for only by illegal mechanics called Shadow Boys. Two years ago, Shadow Boy Alasdair Finch’s life shattered to bits.
His brother, Oliver—dead.
His sweetheart, Mary—gone.
His chance to break free of Geneva—lost.
Heart-broken and desperate, Alasdair does the unthinkable: He brings Oliver back from the dead.
But putting back together a broken life is more difficult than mending bones and adding clockwork pieces. Oliver returns more monster than man, and Alasdair’s horror further damages the already troubled relationship.
Then comes the publication of Frankenstein and the city intensifies its search for Shadow Boys, aiming to discover the real life doctor and his monster. Alasdair finds refuge with his idol, the brilliant Dr. Geisler, who may offer him a way to escape the dangerous present and his guilt-ridden past, but at a horrible price only Oliver can pay…

"There are monsters inside all of us, clockwork men no more so than the rest. None of us are made to be one thing or another."
I love re-tellings. There's something about twisting and re-creating a story that really appeals to me and Frankenstein was such a good choice for a retelling. That said I was expecting something a little darker from this story.

I really liked the exploration of humanity. The question of whether Oliver really was still human or was now a monster was an interesting one. However Oliver was only present for a tiny portion of the story. The world set up by the author was fascinating and I loved the whole concept of the clockwork people. But the story being told by Alasdair, a wholly flesh and blood person meant this side didn't get as explored as it could have done. 

Alasdair was a good character but I wasn't excited by his story and his thoughts. I wanted more of Oliver, and of Clemence. This story told from Oliver's perspective would be an entirely different, and from my point of view more exciting, novel. Oliver entirely dominated every scene he was in and I loved the way he was written. Clemence was compelling and sympathetic and I would love to know where she goes in the future and what she does. As interesting as it was to see whether Alasdair was a good person or not, I never really felt any trepidation about it. He annoyed me at times but I didn't doubt him being good at heart.

The plot was a compelling one and I enjoyed being pulled along by the story. There wasn't really a villain as such but there was Dr. Geisler who could possibly have crossed the boundary into absolute creepy insanity. And the Detective who despised clockwork men and really sounded like quite a lot of religious fanatics, which was scary in a whole different and more familiar way. 

With the blurb and the fact that this was a Frankenstein re-telling I was expecting something dark and disturbing, something that would make me question the humanity of everyone involved which I didn't quite get. Ironically Oliver seemed to me one of the most human of the characters. I did like the ending of this book and I kind of wish there was going to be a sequel or a spin-off (preferably following Oliver or Clemence please) because it would be interesting to see the rest of this world Mackenzi Lee created, particularly the parts where clockwork people are more accepted.

Overall I did enjoy reading Alasdair's story and I really liked the relationships between the characters, I just wish there had been a bit more darkness to the story.

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

Thursday 29 October 2015

Clare Reviews: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Carry OnTitle: Carry On
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Pages: 517
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 5/5
Blurb: Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen.

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.
Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

“He smiles, and he's made of trouble.”

Carry On has been my most anticipated book of 2015 ever since it was first announced. And that's a lot of mental hype for a book to live up to. But somehow this not only met my expectations it exceeded them. Carry On is easily my favourite book of the year so far - and I highly doubt it will be knocked off that spot any time soon. 

The world of Carry On does have some similarities to Harry Potter, at least to start with. There were some things that read like references to the Harry Potter series that had me laughing. However this is by no means a copy or in any way unoriginal. The book starts at Watford (the magical school) but the action begins to move around about halfway through and I really liked what I saw of the world.

All the characters were amazing. I loved Simon a lot and his sections were always great to read from but I think I loved Baz the most. He was so interesting and sweet but dark and I loved his interactions with Simon from the quarrelsome at the beginning to the not-so-quarrelsome at the end. There relationship was wonderful and I loved every second of it. I also really liked Penny, her interactions with both Simon and Baz were great. She had such a great friendship with Simon and I loved that, despite her distrust of Baz, she never treated him as less than human. Agatha was a little difficult to like although always fairly entertaining! She reminded me a little of Catherine from Northanger Abbey - she had such a belief in herself being a heroine of a novel except she was the kind who looked dramatic on walkways in a floaty dress and ran screaming at the first sign of trouble!

The mystery wasn't the most difficult to solve, but it was definitely engaging and I loved reading and waiting for the characters to find out. Having the perspectives of Lucy and The Mage were quite interesting because they didn't give too much information away too soon but still didn't read as awkward or cagey. 

I really liked the ending but I so wish this was a series, if only because I adore these characters and this world and Rainbow Rowell's writing and I just don't want it to end. Five minutes after finishing this book I was so ready to pick it up and start all over again (the only thing stopping me was my towering TBR pile). It put me into a book hangover of a sort I haven't had in a really long time. Believe me when I say that I definitely recommend Carry On. 

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

Wednesday 28 October 2015

Wednesday Catch-Up 28th October 2015

Every Wednesday we are linking up with WWW Wednesday, What Are You Reading Wednesday? and Waiting on 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? This is a similar meme to This Week in Books, hosted at Lipsyy Lost & Found.
What Are You Reading Wednesday are hosted on It's a Reading Thing and asks;
1. What's the name of your current read?
2. Go to page 34 or 34% in your e-book and share one complete sentence.
3. Would you like to live in the world that exists within your book? Why or why not?
Waiting on Wednesday is hosted at Breaking the Spine and is a chance to show what upcoming releases you are excited for! Each week we will take it in turns to choose a book for Waiting on Wednesday and this week was Clare's turn!

Currently Reading:

Carry On
I am currently reading Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. I had planned on reading Richelle Mead's other series but I really wanted to read Carry On because Clare finished reading it recently and loved it. Her review will be going up tomorrow.
"The Greatest Mage. The Chosen One. The Power of Powers." - Page 34, Carry On
I would absolutely love to live in this world, I would leap at the chance so fast I wouldn't even  bother packing. This is such a fabulous, wonderful book!

Recently Finished:
Little Women (Little Women, #1)Girl Online On Tour (Girl Online, #2)Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1)Frostbite (Vampire Academy, #2)Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy, #3)Blood Promise (Vampire Academy, #4)Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy, #5)Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy, #6)

Little Women was a really good book and loved it a lot. I also loved Girl Online On Tour because it was such and amazing book and also the ending was really good because it wasn't like typical YA. I will be writing a full review of it soon so if you want to find out more you can read that. Then I read the Vampire Academy book series. I made the mistake of watching the film first and I can honestly say that the books were way better than the film although I would love for there to be another film. I have been ill recently so have had a lot of time to read which is why I have managed to read all of the Vampire Academy books in the space of about 3 days.

Planning to Read Next:
Bloodlines (Bloodlines, #1)The Golden Lily (Bloodlines, #2)The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines, #3)
I am planning on reading Richelle Mead's Bloodlines. series as soon as I finish Carry On which should be soon because I am loving it!

Currently Reading:
Binge Signed EditionDelia's Shadow (Delia Martin, #1)
I am still reading Binge by Tyler Oakley which I am enjoying so far and I know Ann wants me to hurry up so she can read it! I am just starting Delia's Shadow by Jaime Lee Moyer, which I am looking forward to because it seems like such a Halloween appropriate book.
"Even if the wind hadn't chilled him to the bone, the bodies lying side by side atop one of the graves would do the job." - Page 34, Delia's Shadow
This quote sounds distinctly creepy and menacing so I think there may be a good chance I wouldn't want to live in this world but it appeals to me somehow anyway so maybe. I will see how I feel by the end of the book. And I guess I am living in the world of Binge. Although whether I'd want to live in the Youtube world I don't know. I am terrible on camera I think but I love all these people so would love to work with them.  

Recently Finished:
Black Widow: Forever RedA Bundle Of LettersSlasher Girls & Monster BoysLife and Death: Twilight ReimaginedCarry OnThe Many Lives of John StoneMore Than a Mistress (Mistress Trilogy #1)No Man's Mistress (Mistress Trilogy #2)The Secret Mistress (Mistress Trilogy #3)Cold-Hearted RakeMistress Of Mellyn

Black Widow Forever Red by Margaret Stohl was an interesting read. I loved the characters and there was a good plot but I wasn't hugely engaged. I would definitely read more Black Widow books by Margaret Stohl though. I also finished my last Classic of October which was A Bundle of Letters by Henry James. I enjoyed this, although there wasn't a great deal of plot. I also finished the short story anthology Slasher Girls & Monster Boys which I really liked, the stories were very mixed and although a couple fell flat I did enjoy them on the whole. I will have a full review for this up on Saturday! I then took the plunge and read Life and Death by Stephenie Meyer to interesting results. To see my full thoughts on this you can read my review. Having finished Life and Death I really needed something I knew would be great and I got that in Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. This is probably my favourite book of the year! I loved it so much and I wrote (or tried to write - I can't promise it wasn't just rambling praise) a review which will be posted tomorrow! I then read The Many Lives of John Stone by Linda Buckley-Archer which I liked. It was a very interesting concept but I did enjoy the present day sections more than the past ones. I was still feeling the book hangover from Carry On then so I decided to read some regency and read More Than a Mistress, No Man's Mistress and The Secret Mistress by Mary Balogh. I thoroughly enjoyed all of these, Mary Balogh isn't my absolute favourite romance writer but I do keep returning to her. I then read Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas which I really liked. I love how she always has a very eclectic cast of characters - it always makes me look forward to the future novels in the series. I finally read Mistress of Mellyn by Victoria Holt which I had accidentally managed to spoil the ending for myself but I nonetheless enjoyed.

Planning to Read Next:
This Monstrous ThingNever NeverA Thousand Nights
Apparently I am going for a re-telling theme next. This Monstrous Thing is a Frankenstein re-telling that I am super excited for, Never Never is of course Peter Pan. I put this in last week's planning to read but this time I mean it I swear! And then A Thousand Nights is an Arabian Nights re-telling. I love The Wrath and the Dawn. And this is easily the most beautiful book I have ever seen. Not even sure how I am going to read it when I am so incredibly distracted by the beautiful cover!

Waiting on Wednesday:
The Steep and Thorny Way
A thrilling reimagining of Shakespeare’s HamletThe Steep and Thorny Way tells the story of a murder most foul and the mighty power of love and acceptance in a state gone terribly rotten.
1920s Oregon is not a welcoming place for Hanalee Denney, the daughter of a white woman and an African-American man. She has almost no rights by law, and the Ku Klux Klan breeds fear and hatred in even Hanalee’s oldest friendships. Plus, her father, Hank Denney, died a year ago, hit by a drunk-driving teenager. Now her father’s killer is out of jail and back in town, and he claims that Hanalee’s father wasn’t killed by the accident at all but, instead, was poisoned by the doctor who looked after him—who happens to be Hanalee’s new stepfather.
The only way for Hanalee to get the answers she needs is to ask Hank himself, a “haint” wandering the roads at night.

Clare: I read all of Cat Winters' books recently and loved them so I am definitely excited for this! Plus, I always get excited for retellings!

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

Top 5 Halloween Recommendations

Top 5 Wednesdays are hosted by Ginger Reads Lainey and you can find the goodreads page here. Because neither of us usually read creepy or scary books, with the possible exception of a few ghost books (which we actually did a post on yesterday) we decided to do our Top 5 Halloween reads for this week instead.

The Splendour Falls
1) The Splendour Falls by Rosemary Clement-Moore
Ann: I am very excited to read this because I read Texas Gothic recently and really loved it. I am hoping this will be as good.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
2) The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
Ann: It sounds like a very creepy book and I am excited to read it. 

Delia's Shadow (Delia Martin, #1)
3) Delia's Shadow by Jaime Lee Moyer
Clare: I am actually just about to start this one. The cover is definitely creepy and I like the sound of it a lot. Ghost novels always seem to by my favourites.

This Monstrous Thing
4) This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee
Clare: This is a Frankenstein retelling I think and I have heard so many good things about it. I am really excited to read this after Delia's Shadow.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children, #1)
5) Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Clare: I have actually had this on my Halloween TBR for about three straight years but I am determined to read it this year. I have heard nothing but good things and I love the idea of all the photographs throughout so I definitely have high hopes.

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

Tuesday 27 October 2015

Top 10 Ghost Stories

Top Ten Tuesdays is an original feature created by The Broke and The Bookish and you can find their page here. Since this week was a Halloween Freebie we decided to go for ghost stories. For some reason when I think of Halloween, ghosts are the first things that come to mind. They're the supernatural creature I'm most afraid of and the books I gravitate towards most often. So here are our choices.

The Turn of the Screw
1) The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
Clare: Ann has chosen this as her next Classic to read. I believe this was the second Henry James story I ever read (the first being Daisy Miller) and it was the one that really convinced me to keep reading him. I didn't sleep at all after finishing this because I was convinced there were ghosts everywhere!

Haunting Violet
2) Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey
Clare: I read her Drake chronicles first and enjoyed them but I think she is far better at Historical fiction - particularly that involving ghosts! I wasn't especially scared by this but there was a definite atmosphere to the book.

The Haunting of Maddy Clare
3) The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James
Clare: Simone St. James is a recent discovery for me and I would include all of her books if I could but that seems like cheating. This is her first book so I chose this since they all scared me. I also love the historical details and the romances in these books.

The Uninvited
4) The Uninvited by Cat Winters
Clare: Another new discovery for me. This was less creepy (at least on the ghost side - the historical side is terrifying) but I really loved the atmosphere and the writing.

The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall
5) The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall by Katie Alender
Clare: I didn't love the ending of this one but I did love the ghostly elements, especially at the beginning. 

Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna, #1)
6) Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Clare: I never got around to reading the sequel because my local library didn't have a copy but I really liked this first book. I loved how dangerous the ghosts were.

The Name of the Star (Shades of London, #1)
7) The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
Clare: I love this series and I can hardly wait for the next book. The ghosts in this are great but it's the ghost hunters who are really what I love about this series.

The Diviners (The Diviners, #1)
8) The Diviners by Libba Bray
Clare: Definitely on the side of the creepy. This was the first "scary" book I really read, I am an easily scared person so I tend to avoid them but I love this series. The books are really long but I always read them so fast because they are exciting. It kills me how long the wait for the next book will be!

The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co., #1)
9) The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud
Ann: This was an amazing book, I read the first chapter in school and asked by teacher if I could borrow the book so I could read the rest because I loved it. 

Texas Gothic (Goodnight Family #1)
10) Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore
Ann: Recently read this and really liked it. The ghosts were just the right amount of spooky without being too scary.

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