Saturday, March 30, 2013

NEW FEATURE: Realm of Read-Alongs

Hello Everyone! Today I have a special post to share with you all. We would like to welcome you to our BRAND New Feature:

Realm of Read-Along is a monthly feature hosted by me, Emma, from Never Judge a Book by its Cover and Kyra from Blog of a Bookaholic. We decided to start a meme that would help decrease that ever-growing pile of TBR’s whether they are eBooks, Bought or Borrowed Books and ARC’s.

Each month myself and Kyra will compile a list that will consist of number of titles that we both wish to read together. We will then create a post to showcase the Book of the Month and will include a Linky to those who would like to join in with us. There is no rush to read the book, we just want to share enjoyment of reading between you all.

We also have a Goodreads Group especially for this meme for you to join and discuss were you are currently at in the book and fan girl about it! Those of you who know us on Twitter be sure to tweet how are you are all doing through the book as well.

After the first Read-Along we will then ask what you thought and how could do it better? What do you think of this meme? Would like you to join us? Leave us a comment, we would love to know what you think?

So the Picks for this month are:

   
     

Which title would you like to read in April? You can join our GR Group and vote on our poll or you can leave us a comment below.

We would love to hear your thoughts on our meme as well. Be sure to look back soon when we reveal the Book of the Month – April!


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Guest Post - Tide Blog Tour by Daniela Sacerdoti


Hi Everyone. As you may have seen over the past couple of weeks I have been reviewing the series... first Dreams and then Tide. I was very lucky to be approached by the Publishers, Black and White Publishing for this Tour and its been great! Sarah has kindly enough written a Guest Post in the insight of 'Sarah's World'. I hope you enjoy! 

Sarah’s World 

Before humanity took over the Earth, demons (Surari in the ancient language) used to rule. Scattered tribes of human beings roamed the land, in constant danger, barely surviving. One day special children were born to the human tribes. They had powers to dissolve the Surari and exile them to a limbo parallel to our world. That’s when the Time of Humans began. The children’s descendants became the Secret Families, a net of protectors across the world to watch the openings between their world and ours. Among the demons banished away was the most powerful of all: the One who myths and legends call the God of the Underworld, or King of Shadows. Now he wants to claim the Earth back and launches a string of sudden attacks on the Secret Families, killing as many heirs as he can through his covens, the Valaya.

Caught up in the midst of this fight is Sarah, who, along with her parents, has led anything but a normal life. By day she is a secondary school student, as familiar with the ups and downs of teenage life as anyone, but by night she is a deadly hunter. She’s the heir to the Midnight Secret Family and ever since her thirteenth birthday she’s been haunted by horrifying dreams of demons.

For Sarah, life as a Secret heir has not been easy. She and her family have spent years leading double lives and lying about their true nature as demon hunters. Their cover-ups are the only way to cope with the pressures of their dual life and the only way to ensure those they care about are not in danger. Still, Sarah has battled with her emotions and struggles to conceal her true identity from her close-knit group of friends. In spite of her strange predicament though, she does her best to have as normal a life as she can. Her greatest passion is music and she hopes to become a professional cellist one day. Even throughout the chaos of losing her parents, the Valaya hunting her and the Enemy rising, she finds comfort in her music and auditions for the most prestigious music school in Scotland, where she eagerly awaits their reply.

In Tide the thin line between Sarah’s two worlds threatens to blur, and she makes another sacrifice concerning those she cares for, with dire consequences for those involved. The events that have happened in the trilogy so far have changed Sarah’s attitude toward friendship and life as a Secret heir. She begins to come into her powers, but she also starts to doubt she'll ever fulfil her dreams, to make music and find love. In the final instalment, Spirit, she’ll bet tested even further, but you’ll have to wait to find out what happens!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Showcase Sunday (#20)

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits & Tea.

Its an opportunity to highlight our newest books or book related swag and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops and downloaded onto eReaders each week.



I've had a very busy couple of weeks both personally and book-wormy. I've had a brilliant week with books through the post! One that I totally screamed when I received it through the letterbox and on my email!

For Review:
The Secret of Ella and Micha by Jessica Sorensen
Spellcaster/Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz
Infamous by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Bought: 
Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

Borrowed: 
The Host by Stephiene Meyer

eGalleys/eBooks/Edelweiss:

       

The Collector by Victoria Scott
Beautiful Disaster/Walking Disaster by Jamie McGuire
Dear Cassie by Lisa Burstein
The Edge of Never by J.A. Redmeaski
MILA 2.0 by Debra Driza
Daimon by Jennifier L. Armentrout
 Reboot by Amy Tintera

Now you can say that I have had a double whammy of fan-girling. Number One is Clockwork Princess...OMG I think myself and many others have definitely been waiting for this a while, especially this week I have seen a constant flux of reviews of CP! I can't wait to start this today! Number Two is The Collector, (swooning of the cover) I literally screamed over receiving the email! The Host is one that I've been a little reluctant to read ever since it came out... For me at first it was a bit heavy at the time, so I think I will give it a go again (possibly because of the film as well). I'm been assured that Jamie McGuire's books are brilliant, so I was pleased to have been accepted for Walking Disaster. I've been chatting to Kayleigh from K-Books a lot this week, mostly about JLA's books and after much persuading I decided to start the Covenant series. 

So a Special Thanks to Harlequin  HarperCollins UK,  Atom, Mira Ink, Little Brown, Entangled Teen and Atria Books! 

Well... What do you think? Have you read any of these novels? I would love to know... Leave me a link to your Sunday Post and I will be sure to see what you received!?



Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Review - Tide by Daniela Sacerdoti

Title - Tide (Sarah Midnight Trilogy Book 2)
Author - Daniela Sacerdoti
Genre - YA Fantasy
Publisher - Black and White Publishing
Release Date - February 21st 2013
Source - From Publisher


Sarah Midnight is no ordinary teenager. She is a demon hunter, caught up in one of the deadliest wars unknown to man. Orphaned at the age of sixteen, Sarah learned the family trade of hunting without her parents to guide her but under the watchful eye of her 'cousin', who was revealed to be Sean Hannay, no relative at all, but a dear friend of the real Harry Midnight.

Now, in the exciting sequel to "Dreams", the fight continues. Sarah and Sean may have defeated the Scottish Valaya, but the rest of the war still rages on, and Sarah, Sean, Nicholas and their companions must unearth the identity and location of the Enemy - the leader of the demons - before the world plunges into the Time of Demons once more. Their quest leads them to Sarah's family home, the Midnight mansion in Islay, and there they discover horrible truths about the demon ruler, his plans, and Sarah's own personal history.

Along the way, Sarah must battle not only the demons but her hurt toward Sean and her feelings for the enigmatic Nicholas, who has plans of his own.

When I finished Dreams, I scavenged my bedroom for the next book amongst the growing pile of my TBR list. I was lucky enough not suffer the impending long await of the sequel...but now I have to wait for the last installment until NEXT YEAR! Its just too much for me to bare.

Tide continues Sarah's journey as the only surviving Midnight of their legacy. Sarah conquered her enemy that was to destroy the remaining Secret Families across the world. However, now she is faced with the upcoming battle between herself and The Enemy. What the second installment to the trilogy focuses on is Sarah limited  perception of her destiny. Her parents, secluded her from any teaching until she was of age, but they died before she could learn anything. In attempt to succumb the growing awareness of her legacy and they danger around her she travels to her grandmother's home, hoping to find the long awaited answers to protect her in the future. Many sequels present themselves as a filler to the next or in this case final novel of the series, but we also see another perspective of the the story through the constant switch between the secondary characters.

I find with many second novels, there is this remaining question; 'does ... develop as a character?' and its one that we comment most on. But Sarah doesn't answer that question, to me she is stuck, enveloped in a tug of war between two people and also normality and power. It seems odd they I don't comment on her development, as a persona, she seems to have got worse with the sudden influence of Nicholas, clouding her judgement. She more self-obsessive over the little things and she separates herself from life, period. I hate to pity on characters but in this case, I do! The depression of Sean, really got to her and she knows deep down that he was good for her and she misses him.

Just like Carly Anne West said "Are you shouting at your book? Good?" that is what's like not just between the love triangle, but the emotional connection between the characters and the reader. That is what's important with any novel and Daniela hit the nail on the head with this series. Now Nicholas, as much as he is the bad boy (and I mean literally) and I would totally go for those, he just seems to cold and cruel to actually care about anything aside from his father's orders. He constantly surrounded by the screams and cries of his father, never alone, which in some moments, not very many, I feel sorry that he has to go through it. But in the end, he is consumed by the a black hole of dark magic and madness. What makes it hard is the situation that Sean is presented in becomes increasingly hard for both Sarah and Sean to be together, when the infuriating thing is they both love each other irrevocably.

What I loved about this book, is that I was more intriguing by the secondary characters and how they developed. I never mentioned before.. Niall the courageous, somewhat annoyingly comical that breaks the tension and makes you laugh out loud. Mike, Niall's protector and Sean's best friend, is the observant of characters. We never really saw much of his character in Dreams, very protective, secretive, sacred toward toward his duties as a Gamekeeper. Alongside the male persona's we finally met Harry's wife, Elodie. My first impression was quite controversial as she could be bitter and cold, but then I warmed to her as she revealed herself more throughout the novel. And, finally Winter, she was one of the more interesting characters as she was particular unique to Sarah but also being the maturity of 53 year old in the body of a teenager. She was both enlightened to the group but also to the reader.

At long last, I found an ending that I am capable of waiting the length of time until the next book. I know some will likely to tease me on upcoming snippets to the final book in the trilogy and I will whole heartily take what I can get!
Rating: 4.5

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Review - Dreams by Daniela Sacerdoti

Title - Dreams (The Sarah Midnight Trilogy Book 1)
Author - Daniela Sacerdoti
Genre - YA Fantasy
Publisher - Black and White Publishing
Release Date - April 18th 2012
Source - For Review


Ever since her thirteenth birthday, seventeen-year-old Sarah Midnight’s dreams have been plagued by demons—but unlike most people’s nightmares, Sarah’s come true. Her dreams guide her parents’ hunt as Sarah remains in bed, terrified but safe, sheltered from the true horrors of the Midnight legacy. But all this is about to change. After the murder of her parents, she is cruelly thrust into a secret world of unimaginable danger as she is forced to take up their mission. Alone and unprepared for the fight that lies before her, Sarah must learn how to use the powers she’s inherited and decide whom to trust before it’s too late..

The moment I received this book, I had a feeling that it would have great potential and it definitely exceeded my expectations! It was a dream to read, pun intended  (Haha) The concept behind the novel was something I haven't actually read before, so for me it was a refreshing change from the current books I have read! The combination of dreams and demon hunter worked really well, almost simultaneous throughout the progression throughout the novel. Sarah Midnight has taken up the legacy of becoming a demon hunter after her parent were killed by the Sarari. Now The Enemy lurks with the Secret Families, killing them one by one and The Midnight's are next. Sarah is left, alone, to carry on the tradition, but she has had no help, only her dreams guide her. I was hooked from the beginning, the switch between many perspectives of the characters each shedding some light and pulling together the many strings that you, as the reader will wonder. It never phased me with the transition between the various character, I embraced them instead.

Sarah Midnight had more demons than just her dreams, her parent death lurk with in the walls of her house and she hasn't felt any closure to continue on her life! As one of the main protagonists of the novel, I somehow connected with her as a reader, not necessarily personally. The loss of her parents enabled her to have an obsessive cleaning routine, neglecting herself and you really felt pity for her yet you could understand the trauma that she has had to go through. Though what I found infuriating was her past and her parents, they were so secretive, cold and uncaring that she never had even a shred of normality in her life. Sarah started her dreams at the age of three, waking up continuously crying without the aid of her parent. But in a way her her strength and skill to manipulate her power grew, fulfilling her potential as the main character. I was rooted into her character till the very end.

Alongside Sarah, there was Sean Hannay aka Harry Midnight. As Harry's last request, Sean became the role of Harry Midnight, Sarah's cousin to help and protect her family and her legacy. But for me he was the light at the end of the tunnel. Sean's disguise was just brilliant, it even got you fooled as the reader. Daniela's integration of the various perspectives and flashbacks led to your answers, making the consistency of the book more fluent. I was totally in love with his character from the beginning with his charisma, humour and his strength that he progressed and helped Sarah to no end. However there is this torn relationship between both of them, a love interest which both of them can't ignore. In once sense they know they can't get together because of there "so-called blood relation" and in another you can't help shouting at the pages, wanting them to get together. Sean was Sarah's anchor to reality and to life.

The most infuriating element of novels amongst love triangles is cliff-hangers, I detest against them when you have to wait a year for the sequel to be published. It left you once again wondering, what will happen between Sean and Sarah, how will they conquer and survive The Enemy? All of this running throughout your head will drive you crazy... and it certainly did me until I received the next instalment a few days later. Daniela's concept of the novel was propelling, interesting and intriguing, elements of which I can't ignore. If you want something unique and refreshing then the Sarah Midnight series is for you.

Rating: 4.5/4.75 (Undecided)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Showcase Sunday (#19)

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits & Tea.

Its an opportunity to highlight our newest books or book related swag and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops and downloaded onto eReaders each week


It's been another busy couple of weeks for me, both book wise and personally! But coming home with a parcel left on your porch its makes my day!


For Review:
Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Borrowed:
Cinder by Marissa Meyer

As you all may know I've done a YA Display (Click here to see the display post) at my Library and I have currently got a Review Competition. I asked a few publishers they could possibly supply some prizes for me... but I never expected these:


I also received signed editions of Young Sherlock Holmes and A Face Like Glass

From NetGalley/Edelweiss:
   
The Goddess Interrupted/The Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter
Bang by Lisa McMann
The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa

In comparison to the last Showcase I'd say again  that this is a manageable pile again! I'm trying to get myself into an organisational system of books with my next-to-be-read shelf on GR and finally sorting what to read next without thinking 'What should I read next'. I'm very excited to start the Blood of Eden series as well as the A Goddess Test series! Its seen to be a productive week on Edelweiss, I'm not usually one for my confirmed request either! With the YA Prizes I was very surprised but don't worry I will not leave you out! There will be a giveaway very soon! 

Thank you to Bloomsbury, PanMacmillan, Penguin, Simon & Schuster, Harlequin! 

Well... What do you think? Have you read any of these novels? I would love to know... Leave me a link to your Sunday Post and I will be sure to see what you received!?

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Review - Everbound by Brodi Ashton

Title - Everbound (Everneath #2)
Author - Brodi Ashton
Genre - YA Paranormal Romance
Publisher - Balzer + Bray
Release Date - January 22 2013
Source - Borrowed


Nikki Beckett could only watch as her boyfriend, Jack, sacrificed himself to save her, taking her place in the Tunnels of the Everneath for eternity — a debt that should’ve been hers. She’s living a borrowed life, and she doesn’t know what to do with the guilt. And every night Jack appears in her dreams, lost and confused and wasting away.

Desperate for answers, Nikki turns to Cole, the immortal bad boy who wants to make her his queen — and the one person least likely to help. But his heart has been touched by everything about Nikki, and he agrees to assist her in the only way he can: by taking her to the Everneath himself.

Nikki and Cole descend into the Everneath, only to discover that their journey will be more difficult than they’d anticipated — and more deadly. But Nikki vows to stop at nothing to save Jack — even if it means making an incredible sacrifice of her own.
Looking over my review of Everneath I think I may have over-rated it, it wasn't the best debut of the series, a collection of questions that left unanswered that I was a little disappointed but not overly surprised at the ending of the first instalment. But Everbound proved to be an uplifting sequel to the series.

The plotline in the sequel has progressed into something uncomplicated and the fluency was much more consistent with that of the characters and the times. The integration of the various flashbacks somehow wove in each other much more concisely than it did in Everbound. But what I loved the most is that Brodi's written style has improved drastically thus painting a more dynamic and exciting description of the Everneath. Nikki's perspective of the underworld was somewhat vague in Everneath as we, the readers were set on the Surface. I'm a bit of a Greek Mythology fan so when Brodi included the Labyrinth and various other aspects it just flowed that much better. As a sequel but also a middle instalment you would think it would decrease in your expectation but in my eyes it heightened them instead.

As main protagonists go, I found she is one that I dislike the most so far. Nikki's character annoyed me slightly, her sacrifice to save Jack did admire me however it what such a cliché that it didn't overly excite me as much. She is determined, to save Jack and as a survivor of the Everneath she has much more power than she letting on. Though now, looking over the book in my head I just find her so incredibly... weak!? (Is that inaccurate?!) What I found more exciting was the glimpse into a love triangle. As many of you all know love triangles can either work brilliantly or not at all, and I think Brodi really did add it in really well. It was inevitable that she would combine both boys into her life but which is the better suitor Jack or Cole? Is it like a Stefan or Damon or Jacob and Edward? I for one is more inclined to Cole. His character is brilliantly developed as it progresses through the book, his emotionless front is only a deception against the more caring, intriguing character that you learn to love more.

Alongside Cole, as secondary characters go, they were the more humorous of the bunch. Max and Ashe were the back-up, but what I loved was Max's bluntness and charisma when he 'kicks her out' of the Surface quite literally. Ashe has a depth of character, skin the colour of smoke, for me he symbolically shows that he is the age of time. This novel explicitly highlights the romance between Jack and Nikki and the distinct impression of something deeper between herself and Cole. The flashbacks present a emotional attachment and some very heartbreaking scenes of their life together. However, it does progress the character's emotions and the combination of their individual stories. But for me the best part was when the end arrives, and it was a total shocker! I didn't foresee this which increased my excitement for the next book even more.

This may sound like a negative review from the beginning but its only an observation on the characters, specifically Nikki,  not a book as a whole. Overall it was a thoroughly enjoyable read and one that prepares me for the (hopeful) excitement left to come in the final instalment.

Thank you to Sam (Realm of Fiction) for letting me borrow her copy of Everbound for me to review!


Monday, March 04, 2013

Guest Post- The Murmurings Blog Tour by Carly Anne West


Hi Everyone, I'm very excited to be part of Carly Anne's West Blog Tour of The Murmurings. Carly has very kindly written a guest post on "Influence of Main Characters"! This guest post is very intriguing and one of my favourites, enjoy! But first here is little bit about the book:


Title - The Murmurings
Author - Carly Anne West
Genre - YA
Publisher - Simon Pulse
Release Date - March 5th 2013

Summary:
Everyone thinks Sophie’s sister, Nell, went crazy. After all, she heard strange voices that drove her to commit suicide. But Sophie doesn’t believe that Nell would take her own life, and she’s convinced that Nell’s doctor knows more than he’s letting on.

As Sophie starts to piece together Nell’s last days, every lead ends in a web of lies. And the deeper Sophie digs, the more danger she’s in—because now she’s hearing the same haunting whispers. Sophie’s starting to think she’s going crazy too. Or worse, that maybe she’s not…
Influence of Main Characters (Carly Anne West)

Are you shouting at your book? Good.

I think in most authors, there exists this tendency to take it too far, to fall off the cliff with their writing, and to bring their characters with them. The hope, of course, is that they’re bringing their readers along for the fall as well. And when you all land at the bottom, there’s someplace awesome (or gruesome, or strange) to go. And that for better or worse, you’re all journeying there together. That’s where the whole book-shouting thing comes in.

You see this a lot in horror movies. Character hears a noise in the basement. Character knows the noise won’t be the cat she’s hoping it will be. The cat is next to her on the couch. The cat is too old to make it down the stairs. There is no cat. And so the character, driven by curiosity and a desperate need to dispel the notion of evil in the basement that she’s conjured, ventures toward the danger we in the audience know exists, the danger we all know she knows exists. And we commence screaming at the screen. Are you nuts? Seriously, are you out of your ever-loving mind? Do NOT go in the basement! And though we’re shouting at her, pleading with her not to open that door, not to descend those stairs, let’s be honest. If we could crawl into the movie, we’d push her toward those stairs ourselves, all the while begging her not to go. Because we really, really want to know what’s down there. We know it’s not good, and that’s exactly why we need to see it. We also need to see how our heroine is going to get herself out of the inevitable mess she’s entered into. How she deals is just as important as – if not more important than –what she’s dealing with.

In our ordinary lives, we make decisions every day. We choose this lane over that, the large over the small, the yellow over the green. We make mundane decisions, and occasionally, we get to make important ones – decisions with romantic, financial or entertaining outcomes. Rarely do most of us make massive decisions. There are those who decide life or death, whether or not they’d like to. There are some who get to push the all-important button. But for most of us, it’s the choice between paper or plastic. Our characters, though – our beautiful, otherworldly, seemingly ordinary and almost always unaware characters – often make extraordinary decisions, choices of epic consequence. And once those choices are made, we see how a character evolves, how she untangles herself from the web she’s walked into.

As authors, we have a task at hand when we endeavor to write a story. We are charged with creating characters with breath and life and motivation. This animation of a person – a person made entirely of words – must not only carry a story; he or she must evoke something in the reader. Something about his or her life in the book has to leave the confines of the pages and enter the realm of the reader’s living mind. Something about the choices he or she makes has to hit the reader with enough force to punch a scream straight from the reader’s gut. It’s my dearest, strongest, most deeply held hope that readers of whatever I write put the story down with a head heavy and full of the thoughts, feelings and experiences of at least one of the characters in that story. Even if you didn’t like what she did. Even if you hated him for how he handled that. Even if it is evil and wrong and still a tad sympathetic. Because ultimately, these reactions are human, and if you’re yelling at your book as though it contains humans, too, then we as authors have succeeded.

But don’t just yell at your book. Books need love, too. Hug it. Let it know you only yell because you care.
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