Sunday, 30 September 2012

Showcase Sunday #6

Hello and welcome to Showcase Sunday. Inspired by Pop Culture Junkie and the Story Siren, the aim of Showcase Sunday is 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 is hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits and Tea.

Bought Books-

Borrowed Books
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, by Rachel Joyce
Marked, by P. C. Cast and Kristen Cast
The House of Silk, by Anthony Horowitz
Lady of Quality, by Georgette Heyer

Defining Moments, by Faye Hicks
Order of the Dimensions, by Irene Helenowski
Zeus, Inc, by Robin Burks

Plans for this coming week.... 
Find time to actually go and buy my ipad, and get lots of reading done. And another library visit- 7 day loans are really annoying!

What did everyone get their mits on this wek? Let me know in the comments below.
Have a great week, and see you next weekend!!

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Title: Beautiful Disaster
Author: Jamie McGuire
Format: Paperback
Length: 432 pages
Genre: Romance
Add this: Goodreads
Buy this: Paperback |Ebook

So did anyone see the episode of New Girl where Jess realises she wants a relationship full of passion after this conversation with Ouli...

Ouli: "You know what it's like with Russell. It's this roller coaster, it's like standing on the bow of a catamaran, blasted with spray during a perfect storm. But you're naked and you're on fire."
Jess: "Yeah, I'm just like, 'Russell, put away the passion. And show me a moderately good time.'"

Ouli's description is a perfect description of the relationship between Abby and Travis in Beautiful Disaster. But I am getting ahead of myself here....

The book centres around the relationship between Abby and Travis, two university students, and is told from Abby's point of view.  There are a number of events, both big and small, that happen throughout the book, but these are all directly associated with the relationship, rather than a plot line of their own. Normally I'm not too keen on this type of focus, where the main focus is the relationship, but Abby and Travis' relationship is so all-consuming that the book almost HAS to be told in this way, and so it works.

Travis is a massive slut. He is a sexy, heavily tattooed, hunk of a hunk, who attracts all the loose girls on campus, ready to drop their panties for a chance to try and change him.  Oh, and he rides a motorbike, and fights in an illegal underground fighting ring. So when Travis tries his act on Abby, she calls bullshit, and they become friends. The chemistry and the tension is.... *fans self to cool down*... Hot stuff. So, at one of these secret fights, Travis and Abby make a bet- if he wins without being hit, Abby has to live in his apartment for a whole month. Obviously, he wins, and enter even more sexual tension, and their friendship being even more challenged, especially as she is temporarily dating another guy called Parker (who I just couldn't buy into as a love interest; in my head he was the guy from Legally Blonde who wasn't Luke Wilson). He was definitely there as a symbol of the life Abby had been trying to get for herself, but meh, I didn't like him.

As both friends and later when they are dating, there is no way in hell that Abby and Travis's relationship is a healthy one, at ALL! They are all passion, whether its good or bad they give it their all. But the book draws you in, and their relationship is addictive, for both the characters and the reader.

I think the blurb oversells Abby's good girl image; yes, she wears a cardigan, once, and is trying to turn her life around, but in the opening scene she is at an underground fight club. You don't really get to see Abby being a good girl, its more that she is trying to be a normal student. There were some other flaws too; after all of the sexual tension, you would think that the sex scenes would be sizzling hot too, but they are actually quite tame, and a tad disappointing. And as usual there are moments when you wanna slap most of the characters for the various things they say or do- this applies to not just Travis and Abby, but also to America (Abby's best friend) and her boyfriend Shepley.

In theory, this book should not work, because of the narrow focus on the relationship rather than on a definitive plot. But, I am a little bit in love with Travis, despite him often  making an ass of himself, and despite his terrible behaviour. Plus, Abby can be strong and take charge when she needs to. That girl has cahonies! I know from other reviews that I have seen that this book is a real divider of lovers and haters of the book. But personally, I really enjoyed the book, and can not wait for the companion book that is to be released next year!

My advice to you; read this book, and watch New Girl! Do IT!!! 8 stars.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Ill Wind, by Rachel Caine

Title: Ill Wind
Author: Rachel Caine
Format: Paperback
Length: 414 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Add this: Goodreads
Buy this: Paperback |Ebook

Surreal Conversation with the Fairy Book Mother... (or my version/summary of it, as it was several months ago)

FBM: "You have to read this series of books, they are really so so good. Honestly Rach, you'll love them." *proceeds to look for these books while mentioning something about vampires* *Hands me a large pile of books*

Me: So these are about vampires?

FBM: "No, thats a different series. I couldn't find the ones I was looking for."

Me: "Erm, ok, so are these any good? What are they about?"

FBM, who is now gesticulating wildly with a large stack of books: "These are really good too! I thought they were brilliant. They are about the weather."
*sees my look of totally-not-convincedness*
"No really they are good!!! There are people who change the weather magically.... And genies."

Me: (partly from fear and partly intrigue) "Ok, I'll take them!"

So that was how I came to have the first 6 books from the weather wardens series on FBM loan, and was within the week reading all about magic weather and genies etc. in Ill Wind. This book is proof that sometimes, trusting your weird godmother's taste in good books (or any one else's, for that matter), can totally pay off, even when you don't really believe them at first.

Ill Wind is about Joanne Baldwin, a weather warden who is in serious trouble. Like the deep dark troublesome trouble, up the creek, where the hell is my paddle, seriously deep trouble. Most of the book is following Joanne drive cross country to try to find the only person who can help her, Lewis, the most powerful (and wanted) warden ever known. But, this isn't boring, as accusations of corruption and murder, seriously bad storms (metaphorical and physical), and a hit team are all chasing after her. Joanne spends most of the drive in her head, filling you in on what in her life got her into the whole mess, and explaining just what that whole mess is. I really like this form of mixed order story telling, because it is literally like Joanne is telling you a story, in the messed up order of someone stressed trying to tell you why the hell they are running for their life, and what has happened between her and all the people involved to make it really awkward.  Each character has so much past already mixed in to Joanne's relationships, and I really like how each mini flashback adds to your understanding of Jo, the other characters, the situation she is currently in, and is all relevant to the story as it develops.

I enjoyed how Joanne understands her ability to change the weather (which is undoubtedly a magicy juju thing) in terms of science and meteorology, rather than a vague, "oh, I will it and the magicy stuff happens" cop out concept. I also really like how she explains it all so casually, because she has always had those talents (which is unusual, as most books seem to be from the perspective of someone just discovering this new thing/talent/world/lifestyle etc. to get a fresh look where everything is explained to the reader). Plus, Joanne is witty, and has a great love for cars and fashion.

And the love interest, David... wait while I think of a suitably retro phrase... Holy Moly!! Joanne and David in the hot tub, and the imagined bikini! Crikey! There are also the Djinn, (what the Fairy Book Mother described to me as Genies), who are a bit creepy with all of their rules and loopholes and insane magical power. And the ending, wow. It totally sets up for the next book to start off straight away, and is a total game changer.

It did have some weaknesses in my eyes. If you aren't big on science then some of the way it is described is going to stilt your reading of it, and I had to think back to GCSE physics to make sense of some of the science behind it, but thats purely because I like to fully understand things. The constantly driving part is a bit wearing, but just about broken up enough by the flashbacks to not get too annoying. I did think that there were some elements of Caine's creation that were explained beautifully, but there were some parts that were too vague, and relied too much on the reader's own interpretation/imagination. (But, if you read the next book in the series, as I have, between the two books every concept is explained well enough). The description of Paul being a knight and living in a castle was one example. I found that you often couldn't take the descriptions too literally, especially when comparing normal sight to Oversight.

But, overall, I really enjoyed this book, and have high hopes for the rest of the series. 7.5

Teaser Tuesday #6

This is a post for Teaser Tuesday, which is where I randomly pick a page of the book I'm reading at the moment, and share with all you lovelies two sentences off that page, with no spoilers allowed. This is a weekly event, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. The button is supplied by the lovely Kylee of Babbling of a Bookaholic. 

 This week I'm (still) reading Rivers of London, by Ben Aaronovitch. Its really good, and I have nearly finished it, although it has taken me longer to read than most books of a similar length.

p. 67.
She sighed and spooned against me. I got an erection, but she was much too polite to mention it.

Has anyone read any books from this series? I'd love to know your thoughts. 
See you next week!

Monday, 24 September 2012

Things I'm Loving... #1

Because sometimes, I do things other than read....

This week I am loving...

Downton Abbey
(Series 3 is now on ITV, Sundays, 9pm. USA, sorry but you have to wait until the spring!)

Its a new series! And there's all the stuff going on! Plotting!

And Maggie Smith is a genius (as usual).

"Don't be defeatist, Dear. It's very middle class." 

Ok, so that was a detailed description. For anyone who doesn't know, Downton Abbey follows the dramatics of all the residents (upstairs and downstairs), of Downton Abbey. It started in series 1 based in pre-WW1, and by series 3 is just getting into the 1920s. It is full of dramatics, from love triangles, to murders, scandal, and more scandal. Can never have too much scandal.

It is so addictive, and all escapism, mostly because it all seems totally ridiculous. For example, last week, there was a great deal of drama because Matthew turned up to dinner in black tie instead of white tie. OMG, how do they cope with these societal infractions?

Totally recommend it! In fact, I order you to watch it, or at least a clip. Oh, look, I have provided one below.

Enjoy a video of just some of Lady Grantham's finest lines...

Showcase Sunday #5

Hello and welcome to Showcase Sunday. Inspired by Pop Culture Junkie and the Story Siren, the aim of Showcase Sunday is 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 is hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits and Tea.

Bought Books-

Borrowed Books

None, but there is a growing list of ebooks to download when I finally get my ipad next week. 

Plans for this coming week.... 
Last weekend was my birthday (in case you missed my very excited post last week), so I spent this week trying to fix the house post-party, finding places to store my box of piratical decorations, and trying to fight off the boredom fidgets caused by prolonged time off work, by walking the dog, LOTS. And this week coming, I have plans to swim lots, and revisit the library, so next weeks Showcase should be good for books. Oh, and get my ipad; finally can afford one without bankrupting myself thanks to birthday money and a few days and evenings babysitting to boost my financials. Yipee!

Have a great week, and see you next weekend!!

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Nominated for One Lovely Blog Award!

The other day I was nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award by Kylee from Babbling of a Bookaholic! Kylee's blog is fantastic, and I follow it like a creepy stalker, plus she is lovely and super helpful when I am being a bit internet-simple. So go stalk her too!

Here are the rules:
1. Include the blog award logo in your post.

2. Thank the person that nominated you.

3. Nominate 15 other people, and let them know you have done so.

4. Give 7 random facts about yourself.

Seven random facts:

1. I had a pirate themed party for my birthday last weekend (I was 22, you would never have guessed from my maturity levels).

2. I have a staffordshire bull terrier called Ozzy, who is super daft.

3. I talk to my dog as if he understands me (and look crazy doing it).

4. I get insomnia when I am stressed.

5. I have an addiction to hair dye.

6. I'm pescatarian (I don't eat meat, but I do eat fish).

7. I'm currently hiding hanging out in my room because my sister is in a terrible mood.

My nominations (admittedly not 15 of them):

1. I love these reviews! Aa'Ishah puts all the stuff into a review that I think should be there (and lots of stuff that I forget to mention), and she likes Dr. Who.

2.  Ellie reads some seriously good sounding books. Her most recent review is on a book summarised as a Japanese-inspired Steampunk Dystopian... need I say more?

3.  I read, I LOL, and I am also knowledgeful about the good books. Plus, the girls who write this make use of the "slow clap". 

4. Succinct and good reviews - totally a talent I wish I had.

There are lots of other blogs that I really enjoy and read regularly, but these are the ones that I have enjoyed this week and I think are lovely blogs. 

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Teaser Tuesday #5

This is a post for Teaser Tuesday, which is where I randomly pick a page of the book I'm reading at the moment, and share with all you lovelies two sentences off that page, with no spoilers allowed. This is a weekly event, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. The button is supplied by the lovely Kylee of Babbling of a Bookaholic. 

 This week I'm reading Rivers of London, by Ben Aaronovitch. It is all about Peter Grant, a police officer in the London MET, and how a murder and subsequent interview with a witness who just happened to be a ghost open his world up to all the secret magical malarky in London. Magic and Men in Uniform, yes please!

p. 213.
The fireball I had already practiced, but when it came to apply Iactus it felt slippery as if, unlike the apples, there was nothing to get a purchase on. When I flung out my arm in the approved dramatic fashion my fireball drifted gently down the length of the firing range, burned a small hole in the target and embedded itself in the sandbags behind. 

Has anyone read any books from this series? I'd love to know your thoughts. 
See you next week!

Monday, 17 September 2012

Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble, by H. P. Mallory

Title: Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble
Author: H. P. Mallory
Format: Ebook
Length: 255 pages
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Add this: Goodreads
Buy this: Ebook its free!!

This was another book from the recent bout of books read-a-thon that I have only just got around to reviewing. Its a free download on both kindle and ibooks, and I totally recommend it!

Jolie Wilkins is a psychic, which is something she has come to terms with. She has her own shop, telling fortunes, and works with her best friend, but doesn't speak to her mother too often (too many holy water baths growing up). And then Rand Balfour turns up, all English and Hunky and Brooding. He informs her that he is a warlock, and that she isn't JUST psychic, but also a witch. Apparently quite a powerful one. He hires her to help with a spell for a customer (a dead, ghosty one), nice and simple. But then Jolie accidentally raises the customer from the dead, and it turns out that she is a lot more powerful than anyone anticipated. Naturally, this attracts the attention of Evil Witchy Lady, who is recruiting for her evil army of evil.

So, to protect Jolie from the Evil Witchy Lady, Rand whisks her away to the UK, (WHOOP! UK!) to his manor. And then there is magicks, fights and sexual tension. Then a proper cliff hanger ending designed to make you buy the next book in the series, which I might do (totally will do, post birthday, when I buy my own ipad! *pathetic girly squeal!!*)

I love that the whole magic thing is mainly thought/imagination based. Like, Jolie creates a dress out of thin air based on one she saw Jennifer Aniston wear once. Wish I could do that. I would be the worst superhero EVER, but I would look fab! Wasn't too sure about the best friend dropping her entire life to move to the UK with Jolie, but, once she was there she really helped the story along, as she was there to have genuine conversations with Jolie so that the reader wasn't just being told stuff, but shown it.

Overall, it was a really fun read, with lots of witchy stuff going on, which is always good, and I am really looking forward to the next book in the series. And sorry that this is a fairly crap review, I am so post birthday weekend mentally deficient atm! Reviews may improve through the week, but I cant promise anything. erm...
 7.5 stars... for the book. My weekend was rated higher than that.

Friday, 14 September 2012

AAHHHH ITS THE WEEKEND!!! (a very early showcase on a friday!?!)

Ozzy is looking forward to this weekend too!
He loves licking the tops of left over beer bottles

Its my birthday weekend!!! Yes!! Excitement!!

I have totally neglected my reviews and reading this week while making lots of decorations and buying far too much alcohol, but I will get back to it next week!!

So next week there are lots of reviews to look out for!! (I am so behind!!)

1. Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble
2. Ill Wind
3. Beautiful Disaster
4. The Vampire Diaries Series, books 1-4

See you after the weekend. I won't remember much of it, but there may be pics.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Date a girl who reads

I found this quote posted by Jen on Books and Libations, and thought it was really lovely, so I am sharing it with more of the internets. Yay, sharing! Enjoy!

“You should date a girl who reads.
Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes, who has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.
Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she has found the book she wants. You see that weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a secondhand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow and worn.

Buy her another cup of coffee.She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.
Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or if she would like to be Alice.
It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas, for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry and in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.
She has to give it a shot somehow.

Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who read understand that all things must come to end, but that you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.
Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.
If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.
You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.
You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.
Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.
Or better yet, date a girl who writes.” 

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Is Audible any good?

Title says it all.. Is Audible any good? Or does anyone else use any audio book downloads, and where do they get them from?? Help me people? I need to be in the know!!

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Teaser Tuesday #4

This is a post for Teaser Tuesday, which is where I randomly pick a page of the book I'm reading at the moment, and share with all you lovelies two sentences off that page, with no spoilers allowed. This is a weekly event, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. The button is supplied by the lovely Kylee of Babbling of a Bookaholic. 

 This week I'm reading The Reunion, by L. J. Smith. It is the fourth book in the Vampire Diaries Series. 

p. 46.
Matt had the flashlight trained on the iron gate that separated the anteroom of the crypt from its main chamber. The stone below was stained black with blood in several places.

I'm a bit torn with the Vampire Diaries series so far; the writing is pretty poor, and some of the characters are really annoying, as are some of the amazingly early 90s names, but then the story is ok (with a few very good bits), and some of the characters are quite endearing. Not too sure about this 4th book yet either, but I'll see how I go. I do think I will review them all together though, as they are all fairly short, and the story overlaps so so much between each.

See you next week!

The Host, by Stephenie Meyer

Title: The Host
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Format: Paperback
Length: 617 pages
Genre: Sci-fi
Add this: Goodreads
Buy this: Paperback |Ebook

Ah! So GOOOD! I saw a meme hating on twilight and being all like "take the love triangle out of twilight and all you are left with is a girl who moves to a town where it rains lot". But if you take the love triangle out of The Host, you still have an alien invasion going on, and a small group of the human resistance hidden in caves, and did I mention that there are aliens invading human bodies. So, well done, Stephenie Meyer, mucho improvo.

So, more specifically, Melanie was found, her body salvaged after her failed escape and attempted suicide by the aliens for memory interrogation, to see if there are other human resistors out there. Wanderer has been placed in Melanie's body, given the task of searching Melanie's memories for information about the humans that might still be out there. The problem is, Melanie won't go away. Every other host that Wanderer has been in has been silent, but Melanie is still there, being a pain in the ass, and filling Wanderers thoughts with images of Jared, the man Melanie loves. All this first bit of the book is a bit of a snore-fest really; it drags for the first 100 pages until they get out into the desert and the other human characters start to feature. Oh, and Meyer can't help herself and puts in a very twilight-esque older male love interest who lets Melanie's age and his own honour get in the way of a them having a bed shaking good time. But once it gets into the caverns where the humans are hiding, the story gets a lot more interesting. There are a lot of characters to keep track of, but the main ones stand out fairly quickly. Wanderer and Melanie find the remaining members of Melanie's family, and Wanderer has a new challenge on her hands: instead of fighting Melanie, she now has to survive for both of them.
The story itself is really interesting. I like that there are parts of the whole invasion thing that are not all doom and gloom, boo hoo, end of the human race. I also really like that the book is from the perspective of Wanderer, rather than a human. I think that if the primary POV was human it would be a lot harder to empathise with Wanderer.

 I really like how Melanie and Wanderer interact, and how their closeness (sharing a mind) means that their relationship and dynamic changes so much throughout the book. However, I really didn't like Wanderer's self sacrificing spiel in the last third of the book, and her whole "difficult decision has to be made, but I can't tell anyone, and I am going to stare at people sadly instead of saying goodbye" bit gets on my nerves.
Overall I really liked this book, and am really looking forward to the film version coming out next year (although the two love interests, Ian and Jared, look far too similar in the preview pics I have seen on IMDB). Definite re-read potential. Thanks to the Fairy Book-Mother for lending it to me. 8 stars.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Showcase Sunday #4

Hello and welcome to Showcase Sunday. Inspired by Pop Culture Junkie and the Story Siren, the aim of Showcase Sunday is 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 is hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits and Tea.

Bought Books-
None! Had a browse, but nothing caught my attention (that I could afford).

Borrowed Books

The Pirate's Daughter, by Margaret Cezair-Thompson
The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening and The Struggle, by L. J. Smith
The Fury, by L. J. Smith
Dark Reunion, by L. J. Smith
Rivers of London, by Ben Aaronovitch


 None! Mother dearest has told me to get my own ipad and to leave hers alone, so no ebooks at the moment.

Plans for this coming week.... 

Two big projects for this week, and unfortunately neither of them involve books!! Finally getting around to properly unpacking so that there is room for lots of lovely people to visit for my birthday next weekend! And, also to prepare for next weekend, my sister and I are spending some time getting creative with paint, cardboard and papier-mâché to turn my house into Pirate's bay. Think I'll post some pics on twitter this week. EEE!! So excited!!!

Have a great week, and see you next weekend!!

Thursday, 6 September 2012

The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern

Title: The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Format: Paperback
Length: 490 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Add this: Goodreads
Buy this: Paperback |Ebook

Wow. Erin Morgenstern is a genius. 9 stars.

Ok, so that's not my whole review. As usual I have opinions! I finished the book, put it down and was kind of stumped as to what to do or read next. It really was one of those fully engrossing reads where you drop back into reality at the end with a rather unforgiving bump. This is a seriously amazing book. I read the final 150 pages whilst at a soft play area surrounded by many small screaming hyperactive and hysterical children, and I barely noticed them. That's how amazing it is.

The Night Circus is exactly that; a travelling circus that opens at sunset and closes at dawn, comprising of scores of tents, each filled with an act, exhibit or creation, each of which are so amazing that they must be touched by magic. But Le Cirque Des Reves is also a venue for a competition; a demonstration of magical strength and skill between magician's apprentices, Marco and Celia. They have been magically bound to this competition since childhood, never fully understanding the rules of the game they are playing. 

I really like how this book was written. Lots of the imagery and almost dream like quality to the writing (and use of the present tense) really fits with the image of the circus itself, and so really adds to the effect of the book. I did think that the romance part of the book needed developing some more, but I still liked Marco and Celia's relationship, especially in the scene with the umbrella.

Although the ending isn't the ending that I would have chosen as the ideal happily ever after, I was still happy with the balance/compromise/solution that meant happy ever-afters all round. Going through the book there were lots of parts that I thought were put in just for artistic effect or to bulk out the plot, such as following Bailey, a visitor to the circus, or the mentions of the Reveurs, a group of dedicated fans of the circus. But, once it all came together in the final few chapters, everything had a purpose and a place, and suddenly the solution to the problems the characters faced had been put forward much earlier on in the book. I really like books that do that, where everything that is put in is relevant, but also written all prettily too.
What people seem to expect from this
book (but really shouldn't)

Plus, did I mention that its Victorian, and there is magic. Don't think it needs much more than that! I know that some reviewers on goodreads have felt that there is a lack of plot, but I can think of lots of books with much less going on than this one, so I don't see a problem with that. I suppose if you read a description of it that describes their competition as a fierce duel (read that somewhere on the internets) then you are bound to be disappointed. Don't expect it to be like in Disney's The Sword in the Stone. Its definitely more of a slow burner, but it builds up all the way through for a big ending where everything makes sense!! 9 stars!!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

What makes a good book good?

 Or... what can a book be missing before it becomes a bit crap?

So my recent Amy and Isabelle review made me wonder, out of plot, characters and writing ability/skill, if you could have two good elements and one just about ok element, what arrangement would make the best book. Obviously all three being great together makes the best books, but there are loads of books where one element just has not been as good as the other two. I really struggled to come up with a definitive opinion on this one, but here is my vague reasoning anyway.

I said at some point somewhere that the point of a book is to make you care about the characters- love them or hate them! Neutrality in my opinion is the sign of an underdeveloped character.

Feeling ALL of the emotions towards someone- Good!
Feeling none of the emotions = Bad!!

When I read about a character, I want to be made to feel all of the feelings! I kind of want a good book to be like a pantomime in my head- not the cheesiness or the bad jokes, but the sheer amount of energy that the audience puts into watching the characters, supporting them, hating them, and advising them ("He's behind you!!")

Writing Ability
This is the part that made me think of this question. Amy and Isabelle was written beautifully; Elizabeth Stroud had a clear sense of style, it was individual and well-formed and left you with a clear image/impression of what was going on. But, I didn't care about the characters or what was happening to them, and I really struggled to power through to the end of the book (and I ended up giving it a rating of 4). So all that would make me think that writing ability is not the most important aspect, as it couldn't make Amy and Isabelle a good book in my opinion.

But then on the other hand, in other books, missing out on small details or not mentioning them for ages really bugs me, especially if that detail changes/interrupts the way I am imagining the story. Fantasy Lover is, in my opinion, a very good book; its sexy and fun, with an interesting plot idea and characters I love, but whenever I read it, I imagine Grace with honey blonde curly hair; that is until the point when Grace's long dark straight hair does something that Julian finds sexy, and suddenly I feel robbed of the image in my head. Petty? Yes. But hey, I'm fussy.
I also want the images in my head to flow, and clunky writing causes (for me) stilted images in my head. So the quality of the writing is important to me.

Silly Mel Gibson is rather glum!
So this is kinda really necessary- if nothing happens to the characters, what is there to write about? Coming across a really unusual plot idea is fantastically exciting and I love books being unique enough for me to not guess what is going to happen as its going along. Slow burners are fine, but unless I get the sense that eventually something will happen, I will stop reading it.

And it also has to make sense. Like it was pointed out to me that the plot of the film Signs makes no sense what-so-ever. (Aliens who are killed by contact with water invade Earth, which is made primarily of water. They don't even go to the desert. Silly aliens. Silly writers. Silly Mel Gibson.) Logic (or a loose interpretation of it) is my friend.

I think, if I had to pick, I would chose good characters every time, and a toss up between plot and writing ability as to what element is a bit naff and what one is good. Maybe good plot would win out, purely because it is easier for me to read a good plot written badly than a bad plot written prettily.

What do you think? This is just my vague interpretation- what parts of a book are most important to you? Obviously this is a very large generalisation, as I could split a book into many more than just these three categories. Is there another element that I have missed that you feel you absolutely need in the books you read? Let me know in the comments below!

Teaser Tuesday #3

This is a post for Teaser Tuesday, which is where I randomly pick a page of the book I'm reading at the moment, and share with all you lovelies two sentences off that page, with no spoilers allowed. This is a weekly event, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

 This week I'm reading The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern. When it was on my reading list for Bout of Books 5.0 I had loads of comments saying that it was amazeballs and I was so worried that it would then be a disappointment after all of the hype, but, so far its really good. 

The random number generator came up with page 280, which, it turns out is entirely blank... so, another click gave page 258.

' "You could have been a ballerina," Mme. Padva remarks to Celia. "You are quite good on your feet."

"I am good off my feet as well," Celia says, and Mr. Barris nearly knocks over his own glass while Mme. Padva cackles.'

What does everyone think of that? I'm really enjoying this book so far, and hope to have my review for it done in the next week or so. Feel free to leave your comments, strong opinions are welcome here! See you next week!!

Ready, Set, Read-a-thon Goals and Updates

Ready, Set, Read-a-thon is a read-a-thon where those with overpowering and over-towering TBR piles can join us as we pledge to read as many of them as we can in one weekend. It is being hosted by Faye from A day dreamer's thoughts and Danie and Kate from Booktacular.

Since this is so me, I have signed up, and will be participating through sheer stubbornness, as I have work on both the Friday and Saturday during this read-a-thon. 

So, these are my goals.

1. Read these three books...

'Scuse Me While I Kill This Guy, by Leslie Langtry 
A Family Affair, by Mary Campisi
Thirst, by Claire Farrell

2. Get my twitter interaction on

3. Comment and Encourage/ Be nosey.

4. Reviews for all finished books.

5. Update every day

Friday 31st August
Book(s) read: Thirst, by Claire Farrell
Pages read: about 30 I think
Have realised that all three of my books are on the ipad, and as my mum is not letting me near it while she is using it, I have very little chance to actually read these books!! 

Saturday 1st September
Book(s) read: The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern
Pages Read: 48
Had work again, and went out with the family to a local regatta. So tired I fell asleep with book open, contacts in and lights on. 

Sunday 2nd September
Book(s) read: Thirst, by Claire Farrell; The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern
Pages Read: 28 + 197
Lots more reading done today, so although I didn't even finish one book this weekend, I'm still happy with my progress over the readathon. It was a nice jump-start that I needed as I haven't read much in the previous week at all. Reviews for the books will be up after I actually finish them. Thanks to Faye, Danie and Kate for hosting the Ready Set Readathon!!!

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Showcase Sunday #3

Hello and welcome to Showcase Sunday. Inspired by Pop Culture Junkie and the Story Siren, the aim of Showcase Sunday is 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 is hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits and Tea.

Bought Books-
None, I'm trying to cut back on buying books due to lack of the monies... and space!

Borrowed Books

None, can't even get near the ipad to try to download any.

Plans for this coming week.... 
I've been participating in the Ready Set Read-a-thon this weekend, trying to shorten by tbr pile. After that's all done and dusted I want to try to get my reviews updated!! I still haven't fully emptied out my drafts folder following my long blogging absence before June/July time, or finished my reviews from my Bout of Books 5.0 readathon!! So reviews coming up this week are for these books....
Ill Wind, by Rachel Caine
The Host, by Stephenie Meyer
Beautiful Disaster, by Jamie McGuire
Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble, by H.P. Mallory
Have a great week, and see you next weekend!!