Stacking The Shelves (02/11/2014)

(Hosted by Tynga's Reviews)

Ergh, so I kind of left the blogging world for about a month.
I do that.

Blogging here has always been sporadic and probably always will be, so thanks for sticking with me and all - I am liable to blog every day for like, 6 months and then drop off the face of the earth. But I am alive! I just do other stuff.

Acquired This Week

Happy Halloween! It's Halloween today actually, since I'm doing this on a Friday. This week I managed to get myself a whole set of Young Sherlock books and the boxset of Horrible Histories, which are hilarious and amazing and everyone should read them. I got them to replace my old set, that I read so much they were falling apart...

Happy Reading!

Curse of the Granville Fortune by Kelly Hashway - Tour Stop/Giveaway

Find the fortune, break the curse!

The hunt is on for an ancient treasure tied to nine-year-old J.B.'s family history. He's been having visions that make him sweaty, lightheaded, and certain he’s turning into some kind of freak—or worse, going insane. But things are worse than he imagined. The visions stem from a family curse. An ancient ancestor was accused of stealing the massive Granville fortune, and now J.B.’s entirely family will suffer.

To break the curse, J.B. must find and return the Granville’s stolen property. But he's not the only one searching for the treasure. As he sets out on his journey through a dark and foreboding forest, he'll battle his worst fears and fight terrifying creatures along the way. And when he meets two others who share the missing pieces of his visions and suffer from the same curse, the three soon realize they need to work together to break the curse before it's too late.


Check out a character profile about Jack! 

Name: Jack Beaumont but he is best known as J.B. because he grew up watching old James Bond movies with this dad, who actually gave him the nickname.
Age: 9
Hair color: brown
Eye color: brown
Ancestry: French descent; his ancestor Jean Beaumont was cursed for stealing the Granville fortune, and now J.B. and his family are suffering from that curse
Major conflict: his family’s curse brings on mind-numbing visions that make J.B. certain he’s going insane
Siblings: J.B. has one sister, Holly, who was born on J.B.’s first birthday. He plays protector to Holly once they embark on a journey inside Braeden Forest.
Favorite pastime: riding his bike
Biggest fear: that he’s losing his mind
Biggest strength: He’s good at figuring out puzzles


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Review of Beware The Wild by Natalie C. Parker

Format: eBook
Genres: Mystery, Magic, Horror,
Pages: 336
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: 21/10/2014
Find The Author: Website ¦ Twitter
Book Depository ¦ Amazon UK/US ¦ Goodreads

There’s something about the swamp in Sticks, Louisiana. Something different, something haunting... something alive. Everyone knows this, and everyone avoids going near it. And even the Mardi Gras–bead-decorated fence that surrounds it keeps people away.

Until one morning when Sterling Saucier’s older brother Phineas runs into the swamp...
And doesn’t return.

Instead, a girl named Lenora May climbs out in his place, and all of a sudden, no one in Sticks remembers Phin at all. They treat Lenora May as if she’s been Sterling’s sister forever.

Sterling needs to figure out what the swamp’s done with her beloved brother and how Lenora May is connected to his disappearance - but first she’s got to find someone who believes her.

Heath Durham might be that someone. A loner shrouded behind rumors of drug addiction, Heath has had his own strange experience with the swamp. He and Sterling will have to piece together enough bits of memory and ancient swamp lore to get to the truth. But as the wild swamp encroaches on their town, Sterling and Heath may find a lot more than they expected... and Phin may be lost to them forever.

Beware The Wild definitely lives up to it's cover - this is a dark, creepy read that felt completely unique, I never felt like I'd read any parts of it before. The swamp and it's creatures themselves were grotesque and the story as a whole made me feel like this is something that Frances Hardinge fans would happily devour, much like the swamp does.

Sterling is my favourite type of character - complicated. She has a history of an abusive father and relies heavily on Phin to protect her. Hearing the news that he's leaving, she sinks into depression and forgets to eat, making her friends worried. Interestingly, her mother doesn't seem to notice this. Sterling is one of the most developed characters in this, she goes from lonely and depressed to happy and strong and I was happy when I left the book, knowing that she was going to be okay.

I had started avoiding the types of books that throw in a romance that seems unneeded, but this romance worked really well. I loved Heath and how he was willing to listen to Stirling's suggestions and go along with them and they worked really well as a couple. The other guy in Stirling's life, her brother Phin, I didn't really connect with, probably because most of his parts are just flashbacks.

Beware The Wild is a great mystery story that has a campfire tales feel about it. It was something I would love to see made as a movie. This is the author's debut, and she really has a knack for storytelling. I can't wait to read more from her!

Review of Of Scars And Stardust by Andrea Hannah

Format: eBook
Genres: contemporary, mystery, romance,
Pages: 336
Publisher: Flux
Release Date: 08/10/2014
Find The Author: Website ¦ Twitter
Abe Books ¦ Book Depository ¦ Goodreads

After her little sister mysteriously vanishes, seventeen-year-old Claire Graham has a choice to make: stay snug in her little corner of Manhattan with her dropout boyfriend, or go back to Ohio to face the hometown tragedy she's been dying to leave behind.

But the memories of that night still haunt her in the city, and as hard as she tries to forget what her psychiatrist calls her "delusions," Claire can't seem to escape the wolf's eyes or the blood-speckled snow. Delusion or reality, Claire knows she has to hold true to the most important promise she's ever made: to keep Ella safe. She must return to her sleepy hometown in order to find Ella and keep her hallucinations at bay before they strike again. But time is quickly running out, and as Ella's trail grows fainter, the wolves are becoming startlingly real.

Now Claire must deal with her attraction to Grant, the soft-spoken boy from her past that may hold the secret to solving her sister's disappearance, while following the clues that Ella left for only her to find. Through a series of cryptic diary entries, Claire must unlock the keys to Ella's past—and her own—in order to stop another tragedy in the making, while realizing that not all things that are lost are meant to be found.

If you're after a great mystery, the opening chapters of Of Stars And Stardust will completely suck you in - Claire goes to a party that's supposed to be a birthday party organised by her friend, and she's only interested in going to see Grant, a guy she has a crush on. But Grant doesn't arrive and Ella does, Claire's younger sister. Drunk, she tells Ella to go home and it's not until morning that Claire realises her sister never came home.

This is a brutal, bloody story that packs a punch, but left me wanting - a decent story. There's only so much blood and violence you can add to a book without seeming to have any idea where you're going with it and I really felt like the author didn't have a clue. After we find Ella, the book switches to a few years later and slowly goes downhill from there.

Claire has to come back home, for reasons unknown (to me), to help find her sister. Ella's disappeared and no-one seems to have a clue where to even start and I don't actually remember anyone looking for her either, other than Claire. Claire's a hard character to love, mainly because she's constantly rambling on about how these wolves must have her sister and she mustn't have anything cherry scented because they like that.

The middle was slow, but the ending was just abysmal. There were far too many ideas just thrown at the wall and nothing stuck. The last few lines were so bizarre I was just left dumbstruck that this was even published. I have no idea what was going on for the most part and on top of that, a lot of the ending had that 'so this happened' mentality of shoving everything into one chapter to tie loose ends up.

This could have been a great book and it's certainly very unique. However, I'm not a fan of throwing stars at something just because it's a unique concept. It would have received just one star, however I loved Ella and the opening chapters were really amazing (I even cried a little), so it gets upgraded to two.

Review of Summer's Shadow by Anna Wilson

Format: eBook
Genres: mystery, romance, childrens,
Pages: 272
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Release Date: 01/10/2014
Find The Author: Website ¦ Twitter
Abe Books ¦ Book Depository ¦ Goodreads

Summer's mother's will states that Summer's legal guardian is her uncle Tristan: a man Summer has never even heard of before. Forced to leave her life in London, Summer moves to Tristan's creepy, ancient house in Cornwall. There she is met with indifference from him, open hostility from her cousin, and an aunt who has chosen to leave rather than to tolerate her presence. Soon Summer comes to believe that the house may be haunted. But is it haunted by ghosts, or by the shadows of her family's past? Scared and lonely, Summer begins to spend more and more time in the beautiful sheltered cove she discovers nearby. But she's not alone. A local boy frequents it too. Can Summer find first love and the answers to the mysteries of her new home with this good-looking boy who appears to be too perfect to be true?

A super quick read, I finished this in a morning. Summer's Shadow is the story of Summer, who moves down to Penzance to live with her distant uncle after her mother's death. Trying to fit in with her new family would be hard enough, but only her Uncle seems to want her around, his wife is never there and Kenan, her cousin, is constantly threatening her. Meanwhile, she thinks she's going crazy, seeing her mother's ghost everywhere and hearing creepy noises in the walls.

This was a fun read but definitely aimed towards the younger end of YA - it's not quite children's but it's not quite YA either. The main character is 14 and the story is told in a YA style, but with a younger feel. I do think younger readers would enjoy this more than older readers, and it's a good story to start with for a child looking to start reading YA.

I loved Zach and Summer's relationship. It's a very sweet, summer romance and he really helps he get through the summer while she's trying to cope with her grief, new surroundings and a cousin that loathes her and just wants her out of the house. Nearly all of their relationship is set on the beaches of Cornwall, somewhere I've been near but never visited.

The story is unusual because it has a creepy, gothic feel to it at the same time as having a summery romantic feel. The cover is super summery too! It's a great mystery, I spent nearly all of my time reading it trying to work out if Summer was indeed seeing ghosts, or if something else was going on. I was surprised by the ending, though.

Stacking The Shelves (27/09/2014) *zombie noises*

This week has been horrible, I've been walking round with a stomach bug like I'm about to turn into a zombie at any moment, so I might as well start acting like it. I finally got my ass in gear today and went outside for some fresh air... which seems to have cured me. I now have a ton of reviews to write but I haven't read much this week anyway, just The Raft. I have started Trial By Fire and I've nearly finished In The End though, which is terrible. Ergh.

Acquired This Week

For a sick person, I sure do acquire books. I've been waiting to get my hands on copies of Afterworlds and A Little In Love for MONTHS. Afterworlds spine is just amazing, I keep stroking it for no particular reason. A Little In Love is Eponine's story from Les Miserables and has inspired me to actually try and read the original book, because apparently I'm crazy.

5 Things I Do Outside Of Blogging

Bloggers are unusual people, and I often find that what a blogger does outside of blogging really surprising - but that information isn't often known! If you have 10 (or more) things you want to tell people, feel free to make your own post. And then link me to it so I can stalk you.

1. I play and excessive amount of Facebook games. It's kind of embarrasing. I loved the Facebook simulation games like Cafe World, Fashion World and even Social City or whatever it was called, but sadly all of these have now been closed. So I'm left madly playing Bubble Witch 2 and Slotomania...

2. I cross stitch. This is better known, as I have links to my Etsy page on the side bar. I've been cross stitching since I was 13 and... I'm really good at it. *shameless brag*

3. I collect things. I've always been a bit of a collector. My biggest collection is Kinder Surprise toys, which you have never heard of if you're American because they're banned in your country. Pretty sad. I have boxes and boxes of these toys that I need to sort out... when I get a chance! I also collect Lego figures and some small Hello Kitty figures.

Christmas ones are harder to get, and worth more. This one's a penguin with a parachute. Stop judging me.

4. I seem to have turned book hunting into an art form. Normal people just go out and buy books, but I actually spend a lot of time trying to find new places to get books cheaply. I've been to charity shops in Blackpool, Whitby, Somerset, York, Leeds, London and probably a few more places too. Last week I found 6 YA books for £1 each in a shop that sells wool, which was a weird moment.

Pretty sure most readers relate to the towering bookshelves.

5. Photography! I like to take photographs of things. Yep... bout it really. I do have a pigeon obsession though.

Review of 1984 by George Orwell

Format: Paperback
Genres: Dystopia, Classics,
Pages: 326
Publisher: Penguin Books
Release Date: 1949
Find The Author: Website 

Abe Books ¦ Book Depository ¦ Goodreads

Winston Smith works for the Ministry of truth in London, chief city of Airstrip One. Big Brother stares out from every poster, the Thought Police uncover every act of betrayal. When Winston finds love with Julia, he discovers that life does not have to be dull and deadening, and awakens to new possibilities. Despite the police helicopters that hover and circle overhead, Winston and Julia begin to question the Party; they are drawn towards conspiracy. Yet Big Brother will not tolerate dissent - even in the mind. For those with original thoughts they invented Room 101 . . .

Ninteen Eighty-Four is George Orwell's terrifying vision of a totalitarian future in which everything and everyone is slave to a tyrannical regime.

1984 isn't the usual sort of book I would pick up, you only have to see my Goodreads page or my blog to know that. I usually stick pretty solidly with young adult books, but I've always been curious about cult classic like Fight Club and A Clockwork Orange, both of which have movies I love. I thought 1984 would be a good choice for me because I love the Dystopia genre but sadly, I was wrong.

I spent a lot of time hating reading this book, but I was determined to finish it, just to say that I had read it. I found a lot of problems. The first was the characters. Winston himself and most of the other characters are just... cardboard. There's nothing really there. Easily forgettable, and I never cared very much for Winston or whether he would survive the book.

Another problem was well, the whole concept. I did have a little difficulty swallowing the idea that in about 20 years, the entire world had changed so much as to divide into 3 super states, or whatever they were called. It just seemed too far fetched that anyone could take over that quickly, and have the entire population under their thumb that quickly too.

I was expecting that introduction of Julie to really speed up the story, and it did a little. Guess what, I had a serious problem with Julie too. You may have heard this term attributed to John Green's girls, but Julie really was a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. She had no real personality and I had no idea why this young girl loved Winston, a guy in (or nearing?) his forties.

Julie did start off Winston questioning the system, breaking the rules and starting to do something, as per her MPDG requirements... even if breaking the rules was so they could have somewhere quiet to have sex. A lot. Thankfully, Julie magically never got pregnant, because if she did there would sure be a lot of questioning going on.

About three quarters into the story we come across what can only be described as a text book by me, and wonderful by Julie. We're 'treated' to this text book for freaking thirty pages without a break inbetween, which has a lot of details about the war, without me actually understanding how these powers took over so quickly. I nearly fell asleep on numerous occasions.

The ending was okay. It was certainly stronger than the rest of the book and it wasn't the ending I was fully expecting, which was a nice surprise. Honestly, I was just glad to finish it finally, it took me about 6 days in total, rather than my usual 1-2. I don't think I'll be picking this book up again.

Review of Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell

Format: Paperback
Genres: Childrens, Historical
Pages: 288
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Release Date: 26/02/2013
Find The Author: Twitter
Abe Books ¦ Book Depository ¦ Goodreads

Everyone thinks that Sophie is an orphan. True, there were no other recorded female survivors from the shipwreck which left baby Sophie floating in the English Channel in a cello case, but Sophie remembers seeing her mother wave for help. Her guardian tells her it is almost impossible that her mother is still alive, but that means still possible. You should never ignore a possible. So when the Welfare Agency writes to her guardian threatening to send Sophie to an orphanage, she takes matters into her own hands and flees to Paris to look for her mother, starting with the only clue she has - the address of the cello maker. Evading the French authorities, she meets Matteo and his network of rooftoppers - urchins who live in the sky. Together they scour the city for Sophie's mother before she is caught and sent back to London, and most importantly before she loses hope.

I love stories like this, full of dreams and hope in a world where anything is possible. As a baby, Sophie is found by a man called Charles after her ship is wrecked. He raises her the best he can and she grows up to be resourceful and intelligent. Finding themselves in Paris, searching for Sophie's mother, Sophie meets the Rooftoppers, children who have made their home on the roofs of Paris.

A strange thing I noticed about this book's description was the complete lack of mention of Sophie's Guardian coming with Sophie to Paris. Charles is my favourite character in the story, and very important. He knows how to bring up a child, but not in the 'proper' way the government insists on. To avoid them getting separated, as well as trying to grant Sophie's wish, he makes the arrangements to travel to Paris. 

The writing style is just lovely, with an almost musical quality to it. “He was thirty-six years old, and six foot three. He spoke English to people and French to cats, and Latin to the birds. He had once nearly killed himself trying to read and ride a horse at the same time.” is just one example of the many times I laughed out loud.

The introduction of the Rooftoppers really added to the story, and added a lot of suspense too! I was pretty worried about Sophie, scrambling along the Rooftops, trying to keep up with Matteo. They made a great pair though and I almost forgot about Sophie's goal to find her mother.

I've been reading more children's books lately, and this one made me want to read even more. Often young adult books deal with difficult subjects with bittersweet endings, so it was nice to dive into a book where I was almost certain I'd leave with a smile on my face and a great ending for the characters involved, which I did.

Review of The Trap by Andrew Fukuda

Series: The Hunt #3
Format: eBook
Genres: Vampires, Paranormal, Fantasy
Pages: 352
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: 24/10/2013
Find The Author: Website ¦ Twitter
Abe Books ¦ Book Depository ¦ Goodreads

After barely escaping the Mission alive, Gene and Sissy face an impossible task: staying alive long enough to stop an entire world bent on their destruction. Bound on a train heading into the unknown with the surviving Mission girls, Gene, Sissy, David, and Epap must stick together and use everything they have to protect each other and their only hope: the cure that will turn the blood-thirsty creatures around them into humans again. Now that they know how to reverse the virus, Gene and Sissy have one final chance to save those they love and create a better life for...

The third and final? book in the Hunt series, this continues where we left off, in a train bound to some unknown destination. Gene and Sissy later find themselves back where they started, in a city filled with millions of Vampires. This final book often some pretty amazing plot twists that I really enjoyed and some amazing word play. Some loose ends were not tied up sadly and I was left wanting more. Still, it was an incredible ride!

When we're throw back into the story, we find ourselves hurtling across The Vast (giant barren landscape thing), heading to destination unknown. There is hope that they're heading to a city of humans, a legend told by members of the crazy cult they'd just left, but it quickly becomes apparently that in reality they're literally just meals on wheels - and heading straight towards a Vampire stronghold. 

Andrew is just full of wacky ideas, and doesn't disappoint with this story. After they arrive they have to cram themselves in a lift, with anyone left being quickly devoured. From there, they enter a maze of caves. This next part is a little difficult to explain. The caves are filled with kids that are all awaiting their fate. When an alarm sounds they have to dive into one of many holes in the walls (see Saw 5 and the nail bomb) and then pray they don't get selected as dinner.

Gene finds himself meeting the King of the Vampires, who wants him to travel back to the city with Sissy - or else he'll eat the youngest kid. So, instead of continuing our journey as I hoped, we head back to the city and do a whole lot of wandering around, trying not to get caught while trying to find April June and kill her. It's all very strange.

I honestly wish going back hadn't of happened. I saw no real point to it and some loose ends that could have been tied up, weren't. There were characters where we never found out what happened to them and despite the intense amount of action and some amazing wordplay, I was left wanting another book. It was a great conclusion though, I have to say.