Thursday 31 January 2013

2013 TBR Pile Reading Challenge

I have so, so many books on my TBR shelf and I always seem to be distracted by new books.  So I'm entering a TBR Pile challenge again this year in hopes it will encourage me to read more from my TBR shelf. Fingers crossed!  It's holded by the awesome blog Bookish.  Anyway, this one looks so much fun: not only are we reading the books from 2012 and before, but there are also loads of challenges and prizes to be won!  Check it all out by clicking on the picture:

There are five levels. I've decided to start at the middle and work up, so I'm going for 20-31 books: A Sweet Kiss. Aww. ;) 

1-10 - A Firm Handshake
11-20 - A Friendly Hug
21-30 - A Sweet Kiss
31-40 - Love At First Sight
41-50 - Married With Children

Books Read:
TimeRiders (TimeRiders, Book One) by Alex Scarrow

Books To Read:
So so many I can't even start....

Debut Author Challenge 2013

Ok, so I love love love reading books by debut authors.  Last year I had loads of fun doing this challenge, so I've followed it over to its new host: the brilliant Hobbitsies.  My goal?  To win 12 debut author books in 2013.  Yay!

Any YA debut novel published between January 1, 2013 and December 30, 2013 count. To complete the challenge you have to read a minimum of 12 debut novels between January 1, 2013 – January 31, 2014.

  If you guys wanna take part too, click on the image below:

Books Read:
House of Secrets by Chris Columbus & Ned Vizzini

Books To Read:
Geek Girl by Holly Smale

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

Series: Heroes of Olympus, Book One
Publisher: Puffin
Format: Paperback
Published6th October 2011
Number of Pages: 576
Book: Borrowed
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Magic, Mythical, Thriller, Suspense, Humour, Romance, Action-Adventure, Mystery, YA, YA-Child Crossover
Recommended Age: 9+
Contains: Violence, Death
No Alcohol, Drug References
Author's Site: Rick Riordan

Three New Heroes.
One Missing Demigod.
A Curse That Threatens To Destroy Them All…

“What do you want from me?” she screamed.  “What have you done with him?”
“Annabeth,” said the bald dude, Butch, “we gotta leave.  Let’s get these three to camp and figure it out there.  Those storm spirits might come back.”
She fumed for a moment.  “Fine.”  She fixed Jason with a resentful look.  “We’ll settle this later.”
She turned on her heel and marched towards the chariot.
Piper shook her head.  “What’s her problem?  What’s going on?”
“Seriously,” Leo agreed.
“We have to get you out of her,” Butch said.  “I’ll explain on the way.”
“I’m not going anywhere with her.” Jason gestured towards the blonde.  “She looks like she wants to kill me…”

Beware: "The last chapter approaches, just as it did before.  The worst is yet to come..."
Jason doesn't know who he is.  And not in an identity-crisis, don't-know-who-I-am kind of way.  No.  Jason has complete and total amnesia. He doesn't even know how old he is.  Or that he has a girlfriend called Piper or a best friend called Leo.  Or why he's at the Wilderness School: "where the kids are the animals", a place for "bad kids".  He just has no idea.  About anything
All he knows is that he has a very, very bad feeling about everything - but especially when he's taken to Camp Half-Blood, where the offspring of the Greek gods go.  He has a feeling that he just doesn't belong – especially here.  Doesn't belong at all...
Piper was dating Jason.  But now he doesn't even remember her.  To make things worse, her father is missing – and has been for three days.  Ever since she had a foreboding dream, threatening her father's life if she doesn't follow the instructions they – whoever they are – give her. 
She doesn't know what everything means.  Only that she might have to sacrifice everything to get her father back...
Leo's always been good at making things.  He has a way with his hands.  So Cabin Nine at Camp Half-Blood feels right – like home.  Even if he doesn't really buy any of the demigod crap.  
But there's more than meets the eye to Camp Half-Blood, especially with one of the most important campers missing, the Gods being silent, the talk of a mysterious curse and rumours of a missing goddess.
And the possibility of a whole new war, one that reveals a long hidden secret and threatens everything the demigods believe...
Welcome back to Camp Half-Blood, everyone...
I love the Percy Jackson series to death – like literally.  So I just had to read this new series.  A break in my reading schedule meant I could get stuck in.  And, oh, how I wish I'd picked it up much, much sooner!  I forgot just how much I love Rick Riordan.  His books are action packed, fast paced, addictive, hilarious and just so all-round amazing.  And I just adored all the new characters and seeing some of my old favourites.  I can't wait to get stuck into the next book – God, I love this world...!
Rick Riordan's characters are always amazing: so real and totally believable.   Jason, even though he had no memories, was somehow an amazingly strong character.  He was brave and strong and caring, always looking out for the ones he cared about.  I'll admit that at the beginning, his lack of memory made him a little flat but his fierce personality and strong spirit just won me over.  And Piper was so strong – snarky and totally her own person.   I absolutely adored her reaction to finding out who her goddess mother was - it was freaking hilarious!  With her strength and determination and iron will, you wouldn't think her mother would be who she is.  I just loved her fight, her strength, her spirit: she was the perfect heroine.  But Leo was just my favourite.  He really was a very, very "special boy".  Every time he was in a scene, I was cracking up. And underneath the wisecracks, he was so, so damaged.  That damaged, vulnerable side made me love him even more – I love him so, so much that he might just be my favourite character in the whole of this world.  At the very least, he's tied with Percy. 
I loved all of the new characters – and seeing some of my favourites from the original series.  Like Thalia: I’ve always loved her, but even more now we know more about her past.  Her story melted my heart!  And one of my new faves is Coach Gleeson Hedge - who called everyone "cupcake" and liked to yell "die" all the time and wanted to kill anything that moved.  He was hilarious!  I also really liked Hephaestus, god of blacksmiths, and Aeolus - he was funny!  I also liked the way Riordan portrayed Aphrodite – she wasn't just petty or whatever like she is in most people's minds.  Instead she was caring and clever too.   And Hera killed me, with her love-hate relationship with our heroes.  I especially liked it when she threatened to turn people into an "aardvark".  LOL!  I loved how we got to know Hera so much better - why she's always so bitter towards demigods.  She just makes so much more sense to me now. 
I’ve always loved Rick Riordan's writing and I loved the split POVs in this book: our narrators were Jason, Piper and Leo.  I felt like we really, really got to know each of our main characters, something I loved.  Sure, it made the beginning a little less actiony than the Percy Jacksons, but I loved it so much nonetheless.  Especially as the different perspectives seemed to have a different voice – it was all in 3rd person, but it felt like three totally different people. I loved that!  Now, Rick always seems to open his books on such classic and amusing one liners that always leave you desperate for more.  The Lost Hero, for example, starts with the line: "Even before he got electrocuted, Jason was having a bad day."  Classic or what?!  And it so works.  I couldn't put the darn book down from that point onwards.  Which brings us to the plot.  It was amazing!  The beginning bit and some of the quest bits gave me a little déjà vu moment for The Lightning Thief - but I didn't really care: I was enjoying it way too much!  And I loved how the action soon kicked off with a real bang!  I did see bits of it coming, but that didn't take away from my enjoyment in the slightest!
And I really like the romance in the story - enough to keep me completely interested but not so much it would put younger people off. 
As I mentioned before: My freaking Gods, I love this world!  It kicks all kinds of butt!  I so wanna move there and be a demigod at Camp Half-Blood!  But quick question: haven't the gods heard of birth-control?!  I love all the mythology - especially as we have a whole new set of myths to get stuck into.  Man, I wanna go to Camp Half-Blood.  But, word of warning - never play "got-your-nose" with a child of Hecate, 'cause they actually take your nose.  What else d'you expect from an offspring of the goddess of magic?
It's no wonder Riordan's series are made into films.  They're classic cure-reluctant-readers type books – books kids, teens and adults can fall in love with like that, instantly.  The books are literally faultless - I honestly can't think of a single negative thing about any of these books!
Action packed, fast paced and so utterly addictive, The Lost Hero had me hooked start to finish, hanging onto every single word and left me wanting more, more, more!  I laughed, I was scared, I was hooked.  I couldn't get enough.  I swear, Riordan is like a freaking drug - you read a single page if one of his books and you instantly need more – to gobble up the whole book and the rest of the series.  I'd be more than happy – overjoyed, really – to read all of the books he's ever written back to back in one sitting.  So if you're looking for a kickbutt, action-packed, hilarious and just overall fun read, you must check this one out!  ASAP!

Star Rating:
4½ Out of 5

Read this book if you liked:
Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan
The Medusa Girls by Tera Lynn Childs
Department 19 by Will Hill

Challenges It's Taking Part In:
Happy Reading

Wednesday 30 January 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (#37)

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, and it's a weekly meme all about the books that are coming out soon that we really can't wait to read.

Ok, so I was surfin' Goodreads Lists, looking for one about YA 2013 books.  I found like a million I was already waiting desperately for - namely, The Indigo Spell, Requiem, and about a million more that would just take too long to write down.  But as I was surfing through the list, I found one I hadn't seen before but really jumped out at me.  

Series: Spellcaster, Book One
By: Claudia Gray
Published: 19th March 2013
Published By: HarperTeen

Synopsis From Goodreads...
When Nadia's family moves to Captive's Sound, she instatnly realies there's more to it than meets the eye.  Descended from witches, Nadia senses a dark and powerful magic at work in her new town.  Mateo has lived in Captive's Sound his entire life, trying to dodge the local legend that his family is curses - and that curse will cause him to believe he's seeing the future... until it drives him mad.  When the strange dreams Mateo has been having of rescuing a beautiful girl - Nadia - from a car accident come true, he knows he's doomed.
Desoire the forces pulling them apart, Nadia and Mateo must work together to breath the chains of his family's terrible curse, and to prevent a disaster that threatens the lives of everyone around them.
Shimmering with magic and mystey, New York Times bestselling authors Claudia Gray's new novel is sure to draw fans of Hex Halls and Caster Chronicles series, and fans of the hit CW TV show The Secret Circle.
Squeee!!  Seeing as I love all three series mentioned in this last paragraph, as well as Gray's other novels, I'm super duper excited about this one.  Plus, how gorgeous is this cover?!

Hey, I'm pretty pleased with myself.  So far, I'm doin' pretty good when it comes to memes.  Go me!
What are you guys waiting for today? :D

Tuesday 29 January 2013

Teaser Tuesday (#38)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

Here are the rules:
  • Open your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • Be careful not to include spoilers!
  • Share the title and author too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR list if they like your teaser!

    A teaser from a brilliant book that's coming out in a cinema near you really really soon!!  Squeee!! :D

     Beatiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, Chapter Gathering Days, Page 161

    "For the holidays?  Aunt Del?  Rhymes with hell?  Ring a bell?" 

    Beautiful Creatures (Beautiful Creatures, Book One) by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

    Synopsis From Goodreads:
    Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations.  But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps, and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret  cannot stay hidden forever.
    Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met.  When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.
    In a town with no suprises, one secret could change everything.
    I've alraedy read this book once - loved it! - but I've decided to read it again before the movie comes out!  Squee, I'm SO excited!!  :D

    Hope you all enjoyed the teaser!! :D

Monday 28 January 2013

Knock Down by Chris Ould

Series: Street Duty, Case One
Publisher: Usborne
Format: ARC
Published: 1st October 2012
Number of Pages: 320
Book: For Review*
Genre: Crime Fiction, Realistic-Fiction, Thriller, Suspense, Mystery, Contemporary, Gritty Realism, YA, YA-Adult Crossover
Recommended Age: 14+
Contains: Violence, Swearing, Smoking, Alcohol and Drug References
Author's Blog: Chris Ould's Profile

Victim: teenage female, 14 years old.
Unconscious.  Head injury.  Laceration to arm.  Struck by lorry.

Why was Ashleigh Jarvis running so fast that she didn’t see the lorry?  Why was she so scared?  And why was she barefoot on a cold winter’s evening?
It’s Holly Blades’ first case and she wants to know the truth.  But how much is she willing to risk to get at the real facts…?

Gritty, electrifying drama from BAFTA award-winning writer, Chris Ould: the freshest blood in YA crime fiction.

“Ashleigh Jarvis was lying bleeding and unconscious in the gutter behind him. 
“She was no longer hugging herself though, and perhaps that's why she looked as if she had finally fallen apart...”
The police service has just set up a pilot scheme called the Trainee Police Officer program.  It lets exceptional young people join the force at the age of sixteen and fast track them those with the ability to be amazing officers through the ranks...
Holly Blades is one if those people. Her first serious case is that of Ashleigh Jarvis.  The fourteen year old girl ran shoeless and terrified through the streets before running into the road and into the path of an oncoming lorry...
Holy knows she shouldn't allow herself to become emotionally involved in cases, but she can't help it.  She is determined to solve the case for Ashleigh. 
Even if she puts her future as a TPO in danger...
Oh, how I love crime fiction!  There seriously isn't enough YA stuff around and Knock Down was such a gem!  Gritty, addictive, thrilling and unique, it had me hooked from start to finish.  I even missed my favourite shows to finish gobbling it up!  Now that's a sign of a good, good, good book if ever there was one!  Knock Down was amazing and Ould is definitely a YA author to look out for!  I loved this book to pieces – all sixteen-year-old must read this!
The characters felt so real to me.  Even if I didn't know much about them, they all really jumped off the page.  None of them felt like they were stereotypes or just walking props.  All of them had a personality, all of them had secrets and hidden agendas.  I loved that.  How they were all so complex.  Take Holly for example: she was caring and devoted, and knew how to stand up for herself – which was important as people didn’t always take her seriously, since she was only sixteen.  I felt like I really knew Holly’s personality and character but not much about her past – what made her her, if that makes sense.  But I didn’t care: she was such a good person and such an amazing copper and I can’t wait to see where she goes.  Plus, she’s really relatable, even though she’s a policewoman (girl?).  I also really liked her fellow TPO Sam: I don’t really know why but I found Sam really, really cute!  He was funny and protective and dedicated: I can’t wait to see more of him!  Plus, I just really loved all the cops – they were all awesome.  And while I didn't really like them, I loved getting to know all the gang people - they were all really complex. 
I found myself addicted to the gritty realism in Ould's writing.  It was so realistic and authentic.  The writing was very detailed yet simple, a real pleasure to read.  Plus, I just loved all the cop stuff – and how real it made it all.  And I was just as intrigued as Holly was about the events behind Ashleigh’s accident.  The pace was non-stop and action-packed, full of suspense and thrills.  And I did not see anything in the whole darn plot coming!  On top of that, the chapters were so short – a danger! danger! alert on that front, I'm afraid!  But as well as the police stuff, I was thrilled and intrigued by all the gang related chapters and trying to figure out what was going on on that front.  And all the unanswered questions - well, I just can't wait to get them answered!  I need a new book, a new case - ASAP!
I loved how real all the police stuff was.  I loved all the cop talk and cop procedures.  It was awesome!  You could tell that Ould had a background in the genre – his The Bill experience definitely came across in his gritty, realistic writing style.  Loved it!  And I loved even more that Ould doesn't talk down to you – he shied from nothing and sugar-coated nothing.  Loved that!
Speaking of the awesomeness of crime fiction and gritty realistic, anyone else notice that crime thrillers are sneaking and coming into YA fiction?  Gotta say, can't wait for it to explode!  Teens love CSI and whatnot and there's nothing more gripping than a good crime thriller - especially if we wanna get teens back into reading!  And it's even better when our leads are people teens can relate to - say, teen cops!  Plus, all the issues tackled were just so relevant, so current, which is just the cherry on the cake of crime awesomeness!
A totally kickbutt crime drama, the first in a series I just know I'm going to love to bits and never want to end!  Twisty, gritty, action packed and just plain awesome, Knock Down has just left me desperate for more, more, more!  I'm always saying we need more crime fiction in YA lit and I so wish there are more now I've read how freaking AMAZING Knock Down was!  I can't tell you how bad I want - no, need - a sequel!
Crime loving people, young or old, you all have to read this!  It's so awesome, awesome, awesome, AWESOME!!  I can't wait for Case número Two!

Star Rating:
4¾ Out of 5

Read this book if you liked:
Cherub by Robert Muchamore
Dark Eyes by William Richter
Empty Coffin by Gregg Olsen
Crusher by Niall Leonard

Challenges It's Taking Part In:

Happy Reading
* This book was received from Usborne in exchange for an honest review

Sunday 27 January 2013

#PenguinChats With Beautiful Creatures Authors... TODAY!

Ok, so those of you who read my earlier post on #PenguinChats and have been following my countdown (check out all the posts - there's loads of awesome content!) should know what this is all about.  Those who didn't: don't worry!  You don't need to jump back to another post: I'll explain it all really quick before you get onto the fun stuff!  Well, the basic idea of #PenguinChats is to connect us bloggers and readers with authors on Twitter for a 30 minute chat.  Our first authors are, you may have guessed, Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl - we get to chat with them 27th January at 8pm GMT and all you need to do to take part is use the trend #penguinchats - squeee!   
And, oh, what's the date today...
The 27th you say?  Time for another SQUEEE people!!
So today: all you gotta do is head on over to Twitter.  Take part by using #PenguinChats - also you can keep in touch with @PenguinUKBooks, @kamigarcia and @mstohl!  
Don't forget!!  It's gonna be SO much fun!!!
To check out more and to find out all the blogging partners taking part, head on over to the Penguin Chats Blog!

Saturday 26 January 2013

#PenguinChats: Beautiful Creatures Quotes, Pictures and Extract

Ok, so those of you who read my earlier post on #PenguinChats might remember what this is all about.  Those who didn't: don't worry!  You don't need to jump back to another post: I'll explain it all really quick before you get onto the fun stuff!  Well, the basic idea of #PenguinChats is to connect us bloggers and readers with authors on Twitter for a 30 minute chat.  Our first authors are, you may have guessed, Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl - we get to chat with them 27th January at 8pm GMT and all you need to do to take part is use the trend #penguinchats - squeee!   That's TOMORROW PEOPLE!!!!! SQUEEEEEE!!!!!!
Also, there are a whole bunch of blogging partners, myself included, that have a whole load of scrummy Beautiful Creatures content.  This is one of them - fun Beautiful Creatures Character Profiles!  I hope you enjoy them:D
To check out more and to find out all the blogging partners taking part, head on over to the Penguin Chats Blog!

Quotes From . . .


“There are only kinds of people in my town. The stupid and the stuck.”
“I’m a freak, you’re a freak. Your house makes rooms disappear, my house makes people disappear. Your shut-in uncle is nuts and my shut-in dad is a lunatic, so I don’t know what you think makes us different.”
“Maybe you don’t have to be a Caster to have power. Maybe you just have to fall for one.”


“You’re not the only one falling.”
 “In case something happens tonight, I just wanted you to know; I love you, Ethan.”
“You’re a Mortal. You can’t understand. I don’t want to see you get hurt, and that’s what will happen if you get too close to me.”


“Ladies, ladies. There’s no need to fight. There’s plenty of this to go around.”
“I know I’m an idiot, but there’s one girl in my head right now.”
“You’re not gonna kiss me, are you?”

Macon Ravenwood

“Do you know what lengths I will go to, to keep her safe for five months? What it will cost me? How it will drain me, perhaps, destroy me?”
“I warned you that this friendship would be dangerous, that it could develop into something more. A future between the two of them is an impossibility.”
“Mortals. I envy you. You think you can change things. Stop the universe. Undo what was done long before you came along. You are such beautiful creatures.”

Ridley Duchannes

“Take a good look Hot Rod. This is the last time you’re ever gonna see me.”
“Got any big plans for your birthday, Cuz?”
“Don’t look so wounded. We had fun while it lasted.”


“Nonsense. That boy doesn’t have power anymore than I have a tail.”
“Nobody messes with my boy. Not Abraham Ravenwoood, nor the serpent or Old Scratch himself, you hear.”
“I’ll take care of this. I’ll tell him he can’t see her anymore.”

Squee!!  Now I'm even MORE excited!!  Didn't even think it was possible!  And if you aren't totally bouncing up and down with excitement about the #PenguinChats interview, then read this awesome extract - the fourth chapter!  Enjoy! :D

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Is falling in the love the beginning . . . or the end? In Ethan Wate’s hometown there lies the darkest of secrets . . .
There is a girl.
There is a curse.
In the end, there is a grave.
Ethan never even saw it coming.