Monday 30 November 2015

Cover Characteristics: Beds

This is a weekly meme hosted by Sugar and Snark; each week they come up with a cover characteristic, this weeks was Beds and I struggled so much with this. I basically discovered that there aren't a lot of covers with Beds on them outside of romance novels! 

Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed
Fire with FireBeautiful Days (Bright Young Things, #2)
To All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #1)In the Prince's Bed (Royal Brotherhood, #1)

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

Sunday 29 November 2015

Sunday Post 29th November

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.

Last Week on the Blog:

Books We Got This Week:
The Beekeeper's DaughterLast Voyage of the ValentinaSongs of Love and WarTrial by Fire (The Worldwalker Trilogy, #1)
The Beekeeper's Daughter/Last Voyage of the Valentina/Songs of Love and War by Santa Montefiore: My friend recently read The Beekeeper's Daughter and loved it so I decided to get that and also Last Voyage of the Valentina which
 I've wanted for a while and her newest one Songs of Love and War.
Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini: I've been drawn to this book for a while. I would have liked to get the really gorgeous cover but this one is quite nice and it was only a pound in a charity shop.
Christmas Ever AfterChristmas on Primrose HillChristmas in the SnowThe Parisian Christmas Bake Off

Christmas Ever After by Sarah Morgan: My Christmas spirit is coming out a lot now. This has crazy good ratings on Goodreads.
Christmas on Primrose Hill by Karen Swan: Karen Swan is probably one of my favourites for Christmas books.
Christmas in the Snow by Karen Swan: And with these two I will have completed my Karen Swan set.
The Parisian Christmas Bake Off by Jenny Oliver: I haven't read anything by Jenny Oliver before but I have heard good things and this sounds cute.
Wait for You (Wait for You, #1)UprootedVengeance RoadNeed
Wait For You by J. Lynn: I have only read her Lux series and I have mixed feelings about New Adult in general but I've heard some good things about this so fingers crossed!
Uprooted by Naomi Novik: I have heard nothing but amazing things about this. I am so, so excited to read it soon.
Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman: Another one I have heard nothing but great things about. I am hoping to read this sooner rather than later since it sounds amazing.
Need by Joelle Charbonneau: This arrived sooner than I was expecting but I am very excited to read it and I think I will be reading it in the next week!
Hourglass (Hourglass, #1)Timepiece (Hourglass, #2)Infinityglass (Hourglass, #3)How We FallHow to Seduce a Scot (Broadswords and Ballrooms, #1)
Hourglass/Timepiece/Infinityglass by Myra McEntire: I have had my eye on these for a really long time but somehow never got them but I had some Cashback saved up so I traded it for an Amazon voucher and voila - new books!
How We Fall by Kate Brauning: This was a pre-order that I am excited for. 
How to Seduce a Scot by Christy English: I am looking for more romance authors to read at the moment since I've read everything by my favourites and now just have to wait for more from them so I thought I'd give this a go.

For Review:
I received quite a few books from Curiosity Quills this week for their December releases so I think I am going to put aside the first week of December to just read all of those and get the reviews written.
Catch Me When I Fall (Dreamcatcher #1)Find Me If You DareDon't Eat The Glowing Bananas
When Everything Feels Like the Movies: Received from Netgalley. This seems like a really interesting read. It's not released until February so I won't be reading it for a while.
Catch Me When I Fall/Find Me If You Dare by Vicki Leigh: Received from Curiosity Quills. Find Me If You Dare is released on 1st December.
Don't Eat the Glowing Bananas by David D. Hammons: Received from Curiosity Quills. How could I not want to read a book with a title like that? My review for this will be posted 7th December.
Broken Forest (Daath Chronicles, #1)Wicked Path (Daath Chronicles, #2)Deadly Dance: The Daath Chronicles 2.5Broken Dolls (Broken Dolls, #1)
Broken Forest/Wicked Path/Deadly Dance by Eliza Tilton: Received from Curiosity Quills. Deadly Dance is released on 10th December so thats when my review will be posted. I am very excited for these and I really love the covers.
Broken Dolls by Tyrolin Puxty: Received from Curiosity Quills. Another great cover, and a creepy sounding story. This will be released 14th December.
Havelock by Jane D. Everly: Received from Curiosity Quills. Probably the review book I am most excited for out of these! This has already been released and I will be reading it very soon!

Reading Update:
I haven't read anything again this week although I am making progress with Illuminae.
Winter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4)An Inheritance of AshesInk and Bone (The Great Library, #1)Soundless
Winter by Marissa Meyer: 4.5 stars. I loved this ending to the series. All the characters got endings I liked and the plot was great. I only wish there didn't have to be an end.
An Inheritance of Ashes by Leah Bobet: 3.5 stars, I really liked the characters and the relationships in this but I did have some problems with the world building and the plot was slow in places.
Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine: 3.5 stars, The first half was very Hogwarts and then it descended into a sort of vaguely Hunger Games-y vibe. Way more tragic than I had perhaps expected but I am definitely excited to continue the series.
Soundless by Richelle Mead: 1.5 stars, oh boy was this disappointing. I have a review of this on my Goodreads but mostly I just didn't connect with any of the story and I struggled to get through it which is bad considering how very short the book is! 
UprootedThe Burning Sky (The Elemental Trilogy, #1)
Uprooted by Naomi Novik: 5 stars, Seriously spectacular. So, so good. If you like this I would also recommend Heart's Blood by Juliet Marillier.
The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas: 4 stars, Uprooted pulled me out of whatever slump I was in and then this just made it even better. Such an addicting read, I flew through it.

Classics Update:
The Turn of the ScrewThe Hunchback of Notre-Dame
Ann: I've only got a few more pages left of The Turn of the Screw and I should be finishing it this coming week.
Clare: I am making terrible progress with The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, I put it down and haven't picked it back up again so I may have to extend this one into December.

Next Week on the Blog:
  • November Wrap Up and December TBR
  • Cover Characteristics: Beds
  • Top Ten 2016 Debut Novels We Are Looking Forward To
  • Wednesday Catch Up
  • Friday Reads
Upcoming Reviews:

  • Find Me if You Dare by Vicki Leigh

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

Saturday 28 November 2015

Clare Reviews: An Inheritance of Ashes by Leah Bobet

An Inheritance of AshesTitle: An Inheritance of Ashes
Author: Leah Bobet
Format: Hardback
Pages: 388
Rating: 3.5
Blurb: The strange war down south—with its rumors of gods and monsters—is over. And while sixteen-year-old Hallie and her sister wait to see who will return from the distant battlefield, they struggle to maintain their family farm.

When Hallie hires a veteran to help them, the war comes home in ways no one could have imagined, and soon Hallie is taking dangerous risks—and keeping desperate secrets. But even as she slowly learns more about the war and the men who fought it, ugly truths about Hallie’s own family are emerging. And while monsters and armies are converging on the small farm, the greatest threat to her home may be Hallie herself.

"Eight years' fear had finally come to pass, and I was still walking and talking and I could probably walk and talk another I hour. I could bear it a bit longer, and that was what mattered now."

An Inheritance of Ashes was very different from what I had expected it to be. It felt very familiar to me and there are elements that did seem to remind me of other books I've read although I can't quite pinpoint which book, the idea of the Twisted Things felt like something I'd read before. 

The thing I really loved about this book were the characters and their relationships with each other. Friendships, families even rivalries were all brilliantly depicted and wonderfully three dimensional. There is a love story for the main character Hallie and I loved how it developed, it felt very natural and was actually a fairly minor part of the story. I really liked their interactions with each other and I completely believed in them together. She has a best friend, who is a character I would definitely like to see more of, and their relationship too was very well done.

The character development was very good. Hallie changed a lot over the course of the book and her relationships with those around her changed as a result. She learned to swallow her pride throughout the course of the book and she became more confident as the book progressed. She behaved in ways that didn't seem to make sense but with her back story and her father and uncle I did understand. I felt for her and for her sister and I wanted to lock them in a room and force them to talk to each other. But I also get that they needed time.

The plot was a little slow in places. I really enjoyed the last part of the book, but there were bits during the middle that were less engaging. The writing was always beautiful though and that mostly made up for any points where there was less excitement. I really enjoyed the writing style in An Inheritance of Ashes, I kept having the urge to underline sentences and I almost wish I had a kindle copy as well so I could highlight without the guilt of writing on a book!

The world was not very well developed, I did find myself confused about some things towards the beginning of the book. It took me a while to work out that this is a book set in the future (I think) as they made references to a past with guns and a fall of cities. The story itself takes place on the farm and, briefly, in the town so the world as a whole didn't necessarily need to be explained fully but I wish I had understood it more at the start. I also didn't always understand what had happened with the war. Heron explained his experience in the war at one point but I never really understood why it had happened.

Before starting this book I was glad it was a stand-alone, much as I enjoy series I do tend to prefer stand-alones. However, having finished it I am now very interested to see more of these characters and this world and so am very glad to discover that there might someday be a companion novel. But for those of you who, like me, hate cliff-hangers, this does work on its own and everything is wrapped up very well.

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

Friday 27 November 2015

Friday Reads 27th November 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.


UprootedThe Burning Sky (The Elemental Trilogy, #1)The Perilous Sea (The Elemental Trilogy, #2)
I have just started reading Uprooted by Naomi Novik which I have heard absolutely amazing things about so I am very excited to get into it. I then plan to read The Burning Sky and it's sequels by Sherry Thomas, I am not sure of the exact plot of these but I love the covers and I know they're fantasy (clearly enough to go on with). 

Book Beginning and Friday 56:
"Our Dragon doesn't eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley." - Page 1
"I tried to be glad for her. I was mostly sorry for myself. It was hard to be alone and cold in my high tower room, locked away." - Page 56
It's good to know he isn't going to eat her but she is still having quite the self-pity party by page 56. Page 56 is also full of descriptions of food which is making me really quite hungry. Thanks book. I love what I've read of this so far. 

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

Thursday 26 November 2015

Clare Reviews: Winter by Marissa Meyer

Winter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4)Title: Winter
Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #4
Format: Paperback
Pages: 823
Rating: 4.5/5
Blurb: Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.
Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend—the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.
Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?

"She was prettier than a bouquet of roses and crazier than a headless chicken. Fitting in was not an option."

It took me a while to read this book. I was in a reading slump before I started it and probably an 800+ page book wasn't the best idea for pulling me out of it. But I loved Cinder, Scarlet and Cress and I was just beyond excited for Winter. 

Character-wise this has always been a strong series. With quite a large cast of characters it's amazing that none of them felt boring or flat in any way. All the characters are unique and strong and I love them all in different ways. Although, like many others I think, Cress and Thorne may be my favourites. We haven't really seen much of Winter in the previous books and she was definitely a character I grew to care about. I would say I never felt like I really got to know Jacin outside of his devotion to Winter but Winter herself was brilliantly flawed and someone to root for.

The plot was relatively fast paced for such a long book and whilst it definitely did feel long it wasn't boring and there weren't really any spots where it dragged. There was a lot of planning and a relatively short battle but that seems realistic and the battle itself was very tense. I wanted all of the characters to come out of the battle completely unscathed, which of course is a fairly unrealistic hope so I was on the edge of my seat hoping for the best. 

I really liked how all of the individual stories resolved, it felt true to them and their characters. However, I hadn't fully anticipated just how much I would already be missing these characters and this world. Despite how glad I am about how everything ended there is still a part of me that wishes it wasn't over. And that part of me is extremely happy that there will be a short story collection released soon. 

As sad as I am to see this series end and to say goodbye to characters I have really grown to love, I am very pleased with how everything was wrapped up and I know that I will be re-reading this series and enjoying it just as much again. I do wish there had been more of Cress and Thorne and I hope there will be more of them in the future. But I am also excited to see what new worlds and stories Marissa Meyer can come up with next.

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

Wednesday 25 November 2015

Wednesday Catch-Up 25th November

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? 
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! You can click any of the pictures in the post to go to that books goodreads page.


Currently Reading:
Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1)
I am still currently reading Illuminae because Clare got me started on watching the series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and I have been watching a lot of it. I am also reading The Turn of the Screw but I am nearly finished.
Recently Finished:
As I have said I have been watching a lot of Netflix because Clare got me addicted to yet another TV series. So I haven't read anything this past week.
Planning to Read Next:
Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)
I am still planning on reading the Throne Of Glass series next and am very excited to read them.
"It was gargantuan, a vertical city of shimmering, crystalline towers and bridges, chambers and turrets, domed ballrooms and long, endless hallways." -Page 34, Throne of Glass
I love this description of the Castle I find it so easy to imagine in my head it is like it is right in front of me. I don't think I would want to live in this world though.


Currently Reading:
Ink and Bone (The Great Library, #1)
I am just about to start reading Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine which I am definitely intrigued to read. I don't think I've heard much good or bad about it so I'm not sure what to expect but I do love books about books so fingers crossed. 
"Jess carefully wrapped the fragile book in waterproof layers, then put it into a smuggling harness." -Page 34, Ink and Bone
Ah yes, book smuggling. Such fun. I find it so weird to imagine a world in which owning books is illegal. I'd be locked up for sure. I am not sure I would want to live in this world. I mean, on one hand, would love to visit the Great Library of Alexandria - that would be amazing. On the other - no owning books. I couldn't do it. Physically impossible. 
Recently Finished:
Winter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4)An Inheritance of Ashes
I have had a really slow week reading wise, and it took me seven days to read Winter by Marissa Meyer. I really enjoyed Winter and I am satisfied with how the series wrapped up. I am definitely looking forward to her next series. My review for Winter will be up tomorrow. I then read An Inheritance of Ashes by Leah Bobet which I did enjoy although I had some problems with the world building and the pace of the plot. My review for this will be posted on Friday. 
Planning to Read Next:
Sing Down the StarsSoundlessUprootedThe Burning Sky (The Elemental Trilogy, #1)The Perilous Sea (The Elemental Trilogy, #2)The Immortal Heights (The Elemental Trilogy, #3)
I have been planning to read Sing Down the Stars ever since it was released and it's just sat on my TBR shelf looking pretty for well over a month so I definitely need to read that next. I also plan to read Soundless by Richelle Mead which I have heard some not so good things about but it's really short so it should be quite a quick read. I am most excited to read Uprooted by Naomi Novik since it's a book I've heard nothing bad about at all. And then I plan to read The Elemental Trilogy by Sherry Thomas which starts with The Burning Sky, I have been wanting to read these since the first book came out but was waiting for the trilogy to be complete.

Waiting on Wednesday:

Night Study (Soulfinders, #2)
Night Study by Maria V. Snyder
Ever since being kidnapped from the Illiais Jungle as a child, Yelena Zaltana's life has been fraught with peril. But the recent loss of her Soulfinding abilities has endangered her more than ever before. As she desperately searches for a way to reclaim her magic, her enemies are closing in, and neither Ixia nor Sitia is safe for her anymore. Especially since the growing discord between the two countries and the possibility of a war threatens everything Yelena holds dear.  
Valek is determined to protect Yelena, but he's quickly running out of options. The Commander suspects that his loyalties are divided, and he's been keeping secrets from Valek…secrets that put him, Yelena and all their friends in terrible danger. As they uncover the various layers of the Commander's mysterious plans, they realize it's far more sinister than they could have ever imagined.

Clare: I love Maria V. Snyder's books and I am beyond excited that there are more Yelena/Valek books because I adore them. I can hardly wait for this! It will be released on the 26th January.

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