Tuesday, 31 January 2012

A Perfect Ten with Sarah from The Bibliomouse!

It's time for my new feature A Perfect Ten, where bloggers talk about their top ten favourite series of all time! Today I am being joined by Sarah from The Bibliomouse who has picked some great series for you all to salivate over. So without further ado I will hand you over to Sarah.

It was so hard to pick ten series, especially as once I’d begun to think of them, all of my favourite books seemed to be part of a series!

Chalet School by Elinor Brent Dyer
I’ve read this series for almost as long as I can remember; I think I got my first one when I was about 8, and I certainly remember spending my pocket money on them in Waterstones on a Saturday morning. I desperately wanted to be Jo, whose sister starts a school in the Austrian Tyrol. The series starts when she’s 12, and the first pupil at the Chalet School, and ends, 62 books later, when her eldest daughter is head-girl. I still read them when I’m feeling ill, they’re perfect comfort-reading.

The Babysitter's Club by Ann M. Martin
These also fall under the ‘comfort reading’ banner, especially since it takes about half an hour to rip through one! Martin’s stories about a group of 13 year olds who set up a club to make money by babysitting for the neighbourhood’s small children, intrigued me when I was about 7. Looking back, 13 seems incredibly young for that, but at the time they seemed like the most grown-up beings (especially Stacey, with her leggings and perm...)

"The Burglar..." Series by Lawrence Block
Bernie Rhodenbarr owns a second-hand bookstore in New York, but makes most of his money from his second job, as a burglar. The books are fun easy-reading, and Bernie is, in the words of a reviewer quoted on the cover, ‘adorable’. They’re very American, but none the worse for it, and I’ve even learnt to forgive Bernie for loving someone called Lettice.

The Adam Dalgliesh novels by PD James
For a crime fiction nut like me, it’s surprising, and a little embarrassing, that I only read my first PD James novel last year. I really should have read them before as I was hooked after the first one. I’m trying to read them in order, starting with Cover Her Face. Adam Dalgliesh is a typically flawed policeman, who is also a poet, charming and very English. Luckily for me, James has written 14 Dalgliesh novels so far.

Agatha Raisin Series by MC Beaton
Written by the author who created Hamish McBeth, the Agatha Raisin novels were never going to be serious crime novels. Instead, they are as fluffy and light as cream puffs, to be devoured quickly, but addictively. Raisin is a middle-aged P.R. who moves to the Cotswolds, becomes involved in solving some local murders and sets up a detective agency. There are as many murders in her part of Gloucestershire as there are in Midsomer…

Delirium Series by Lauren Oliver
I love Oliver’s writing, and Before I Fall was one of my novels of 2010. This series explores what it would be like living in a dystopian world in which love was classed as a disease. Lena is approaching her 18th birthday, which is when citizens undergo ‘the cure’, when she does the unthinkable and falls in love. Deliruim is the first of a trilogy, the second part of which is published at the end of Feb. 2012. I, for one, cannot wait.

Sherston's Trilogy by Siegfried Sassoon
Slightly more serious than my other choices, Sassoon’s largely autobiographical trilogy are about George Sherston’s journey from a shy and nervous child, growing up surrounded by fox hunting and village cricket, to an officer in the trenches of the First World War, to his time at Craiglockhart hospital and brief time in Palestine and then back to the trenches. Sassoon is obviously a brilliant and lyrical writer, and this trilogy, especially the middle book, Memoirs of an Infantry Officer, moves me every time.

The Flavia de Luce by Alan Bradley
Continuing my love of mysteries, I had to choose Bradley’s novels featuring Flavia de Luce, 11 years old when the series starts, and a keen chemist with a particular interest in poisons. She lives with her two awful sisters and her father in a crumbling mansion in the village of Bishop’s Lacey. She’s precocious, opinionated, wilful and fabulous, and I’ve loved all of the four books in the series so far.

Tiffany Aching (part of Discworld) by Sir Terry Pratchett
My boyfriend introduced me to Sir Terry’s books, having loved them since childhood, and I do enjoy the ones written for adults, but the ones that really got me hooked were the ones featuring young witch, Tiffany Aching. They are apparently aimed at young adults, but they deal with much more serious issues than Pratchett’s adult novels, especially my favourite, I Shall Wear Midnight, but without being preachy or in any way less than fantastic, literally.

Poirot's mysteries by Agatha Christie
Last year I completed my Masters, and somehow I managed to persuade my supervisor to let me write my thesis on Poirot, which was ace. I started reading Christie’s novels when I was about 11, and have now read them all. Poirot is such a memorable character, with all of his quirks and his ‘little grey cells’, and even though I’ve read them all numerous times, they never fail to make me smile.

Thanks Sarah! There are a few series there I haven't heard of before and a couple that are already on my ever-growing TBR list!

How about you guys? Anything here you've read and loved? Anything that you'll be adding to your TBR list? Let Sarah and I know what you think!

Monday, 30 January 2012

It's Monday! What are you Reading? (30th January 2012)

This is a weekly meme hosted by Book Journey that gives us all a chance to list the books that we read last week and what we hope to read this week.

Books Completed:
Seizure by Kathy Reichs (Virals #2)
Fallen by Michele Hauf (Of Angels and Demons #2)

Books Reviewed:
The Icebound Land by John Flanagan (Ranger's Apprentice #3)
Seizure by Kathy Reichs (Virals #2)

Books I'm Currently Reading:
Eternal Kiss by Laura Wright (Mark of the Vampire #2)

Books Up Next:
Ashes of Angels by Michele Hauf (Of Angels and Demons #3)
Archangel's Blade by Nalini Singh (Guild Hunter #4)

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Series of the Week: Kate Daniels Series by Ilona Andrews

Each Sunday I will be highlighting a series that I have been wanting to read for a while, and that I hope to read very soon! This week my pick is the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews. I've heard so many good things about this series and I really can't wait to make a start on it... and hopefully soon!

Have you read this series? Let me know what you thought!

Magic Bites
When the magic is up, rogue mages cast their spells and monsters appear, while guns refuse to fire and cars fail to start. But then technology returns, and the magic recedes as unpredictably as it arose, leaving all kinds of paranormal problems in its wake.

Kate Daniels is a down-on-her-luck mercenary who makes her living cleaning up these magical problems. But when Kate's guardian is murdered, her quest for justice draws her into a power struggle between two strong factions within Atlanta's magic circles.

The Masters of the Dead, necromancers who can control vampires, and the Pack, a paramilitary clan of shapechangers, blame each other for a series of bizarre killings—and the death of Kate's guardian may be part of the same mystery. Pressured by both sides to find the killer, Kate realizes she's way out of her league—but she wouldn't have it any other way…

Magic Burns
As a mercenary who cleans up after magic gone wrong, Kate Daniels knows how waves of paranormal energy ebb and flow across Atlanta like a tide. But once every seven years, a flare comes, a time when magic runs rampant. When Kate sets out to retrieve a set of stolen maps for the Pack, Atlanta's paramilitary clan of shape shifters, she quickly realizes much more is at stake. The stolen maps are only the opening gambit in an epic tug of war between two gods hoping for rebirth, and if Kate can't stop the cataclysmic showdown, the city may not survive.

Magic Strikes
When her werewolf friend Derek is discovered half dead, Kate Daniels knows that she cannot rest until she neutralizes his attackers. Her hunt for the culprits ultimately leads her to the Midnight Games, an invitation-only, no-holds-barred paranormal fighting tournament. Magically appealing.

Magic Bleeds
Kate Daniels cleans up the paranormal problems no one else wants to deal with- especially if they involve Atlanta's shapeshifting community.

And now there's a new player in town-a foe that may be too much for even Kate and Curran, the Lord of the Beasts, to handle. Because this time, Kate will be taking on family.

Magic Slays
Plagued by a war between magic and technology, Atlanta has never been so deadly. Good thing Kate Daniels is on the job.

Kate Daniels may have quit the Order of Merciful Aid, but she’s still knee-deep in paranormal problems. Or she would be if she could get someone to hire her. Starting her own business has been more challenging than she thought it would be—now that the Order is disparaging her good name, and many potential clients are afraid of getting on the bad side of the Beast Lord, who just happens to be Kate’s mate.

So when Atlanta’s premier Master of the Dead calls to ask for help with a vampire on the loose, Kate leaps at the chance of some paying work. Turns out this is not an isolated incident, and Kate needs to get to the bottom of it—fast, or the city and everyone dear to her might pay the ultimate price...

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Review: Seizure by Kathy Reichs (Virals #2)

Publisher - Arrow (Young)
Publication Date - 5th January 2012
Paperback - 496 pages
Genre - Young Adult/Paranormal

Source - Received from publisher for review

Rating - 3.5 out of 5: I liked it

Book Info - Since their dangerous transformation, the Virals have been lying low. But now Loggerhead Island is at risk, and with it, their parents' jobs. The pack suddenly faces seperation, and the only thing that can save them from dealing with the fall-out from their new powers alone is money, and lots of it.

Never one to shy away from a challenge, Tory Brennan, great-niece of famous forensic anthropologist Tempe Brennan, thinks she's devised the perfect plan, so she rounds up her fellow Virals and persuades them that the only way they're going to get the money they need is if they find famous she-pirate Anne Bonney's legendary treasure. Rumour has it that she hid it in Charleston, but in over 200 years no one has been able to find it.

With the help of their new-found powers, and a nudge from modern technology, the Virals are on the right track. The problem is they're not the only ones looking and, as well as being followed, they discover that Anne Bonney booby-trapped the trail every step of the way, with dead bodies to prove it... One way or another, the path ahead is fraught with danger. And this time, their special powers may not be enough to save them.

Review - Now, those of you who read my review for Virals, the first book in the series, will know that I wasn't all that impressed. But I'm glad to say that I enjoyed Seizure a lot more! I didn't go into reading this book with the wrong impression, as I did with Virals, so I could focus more on the story instead of waiting for something that is never going to happen. As a result I instantly got pulled into the story and found it difficult to put down. With the mixture of action and suspense, I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat wanting to know what would happen next. And Ms. Reich's style of writing is so easy to read, with great depictions of characters and places.

My favourite aspect of the story though is the interaction between Tory and her friends, who now call themselves the Virals. The banter between the four of them provides some light relief between all the action, which was great fun to read. I love how the book doesn't focus on romance - and with Tory being surrounded by three boys all the time it would be easy to fall into this trap. Although there have been hints that one of the friends has a slight thing for Tory the author is obviously taking this aspect of the storyline very slowly. I am actually pretty happy about this though as I think if Tory did start taking a romantic interest in one of her friends it would completely change the group dynamics - which would not be good at all.

The one thing that did spoil it for me a bit though was that they were searching for pirate treasure to save Loggerhead Island. It just seemed like quite an immature thing for such mature teenagers to do and reminded me of things I used to read in stories as a child. Although this is obviously a large part of the storyline I didn't find that it ruined by enjoyment of the book by much though. More like I would get swept up in the action and mystery and then every now and then I would remember what it was they were looking for and think - Pirate treasure? Really? And even with this I still enjoyed the book.

Summary - A great mystery, full of action and intrigue, with a group of incredibly likeable main characters. After not liking the start of the series, I now find myself looking forward to finding out what else is in store for the Virals.

Other books in this series:
1. Virals
2. Seizure

Other reviews of this book:
Ella Bella Reviews / Much Loved Books / Nayu's Reading Corner

This book counts towards the following challenges:
Book #7 for 2012 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

A Perfect Ten with Heather from Based On A True Story...

It's time for my new feature A Perfect Ten, where bloggers talk about their top ten favourite series of all time! Today I am being joined by Heather from Based On A True Story who has picked some great series for you all to salivate over. So without further ado I will hand you over to Heather.

I'd like to thank Chrissie for having me as a guest blogger. When I first started thinking about my favorite series I thought it would be hard to find ten but it wasn't. In no particular order:

1. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
Of course. What else is there to say that hasn't been said a million times? I go back and reread these over and over.

2. The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
These are dystopia with a strong female lead. It is The Running Man meets American Idol.

3. Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong
This starts with Bitten and there are 12 books so far. Each features a woman of one of the supernatural races - werewolf, witch, necromancer, or demon. This series progresses by introducing secondary characters in one book who will be the protagonists in the next book. By book 12 there is a complex universe that is a delight to explore.

4. The Rachel Morgan series by Kim Harrison
In an alternate history, the humans on Earth were almost killed off by a virus in genetically modified tomatoes in the 1960s. Since then vampires, werewolves, witches, and all manner of magical creatures have started to live openly since they are no longer outnumbered. Rachel Morgan is a private investigator working with supernaturals. These books are more about her life than just about the cases that she is working on.

5. Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan
I'm counting these as one since Heroes of Olympus builds on Percy's story. I heard about these first after the movie version came out. The books are so much better! Percy is a teenager who finds out that his father is a Greek god. He goes to Camp Half-Blood to learn how to deal with his powers.

6. Gabriel Allon series by Daniel Silva
Gabriel Allon is an Israeli spy and assassin. He was trained to be part of the team that killed the people responsible for murdering Israeli athletes at the Olympics in 1972. Since then he has lived undercover as an art restorer which lets him travel around Europe as needed. This series is similar to Robert Ludlum-type thrillers with the twist that time is passing in the books. By the later books Allon is at retirement age and trying to get out. His exploits necessarily become more cerebral than brawny.

7. The Discworld series by Terry Pratchett
If I was forced to pick, I'd have to say this is my favorite series ever. The Discworld is an alternate universe where anything can and will happen. There are several subseries in this series - stories following the police, the witches, the wizard professors of Unseen University - as well as stand alone stories. On the surface these seem like silly fantasy stories and then there will be a great satirical insight. I read them over and over but I particularly love the witches. I want to be Granny Weatherwax when I grow up.

8. Marcus Didius Falco series by Lindsey Davis
Marcus Didius Falco is a down on his luck investigator in ancient Rome. This series makes Rome come alive like nothing else I've ever read. It is funny too.

9. The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
Harry Dresden is the only wizard in the Chicago phone book. Most people thing he is a fake but when the Chicago PD have a case that might have a supernatural element they call him in even if they don't totally believe. I've read all of these in the past year and I've totally fallen in love with Harry. The world is wonderfully detailed and complicated. You have to read these in order or you will be totally lost. Even better, listen to the incredible audio books read by James Marsters who played Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

10. Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde
This is cheating because this isn't a series yet. It is the first book in a series and the series I can't wait for the author to finish writing. This is my favorite book of his because it is a completely original premise. In the distant future humans have lost the ability to see more than one color. Everything about their society from social status to careers to medicine is dictated by what color you are able to see. Kids are tested one time only for their color ability. This is the story of a group of kids in an outlying province who start to discover some disturbing things about their society on the eve of their color test.

Thanks Heather for taking the time to put together such a great list for us! I loved The Hunger Games and Women of the Otherworld, but I still haven't read the others yet! But a lot of them are already on my TBR list.

How about you guys? Anything here you've read and loved? Anything that you'll be adding to your TBR list? Let Heather and I know what you think!

Monday, 23 January 2012

Review: The Icebound Land by John Flanagan (Ranger's Apprentice #3)

Publisher - Corgi Yearling
Publication Date - 7th February 2008
Paperback - 320 pages
Genre - YA Fantasy

Source - Received from publisher for review

Rating - 3 out of 5: I liked it.

Book Info - Will and Evanlyn are bound for Skandia as the captives of the fearsome Skandian wolfship captain, Erak. Halt has sworn to rescue Will, and he will do anything to keep his promise - even defy his King. Expelled from the Rangers, Halt is joined by Horace as he travels through Gallica towards Skandia. On their way they are constantly challenged by freelance knights - otherwise known as thieving thugs. Horace knows a thing or two about combat, though, and he soon begins to attract the attention of knights and warlords for miles around with his uncanny skill. But will they be in time to rescue Will from a life of slavery?

My Thoughts - The first thing I would like to say about this book is that it states on the back that these stories do not need to be read in order as each book is a separate adventure. However, I do not agree with this. There is a strong plot arc throughout this series that I think would make it difficult to read them out of order. The Icebound Land carries on directly from book two with little explanation of past events. I think I would have found it difficult to really understand what was going on if I hadn't already read the first two books in the series and I recommend that they be read in order.

Anyway, now onto the review. Once again, Mr Flanagan has written an engaging adventure story that I think a lot of young boys will love. Will and Evanlyn have been kidnapped by the Skandians and this book tells of their sea voyage to Skandia and how they are sold into slavery once they arrive. I really enjoyed seeing a new mature Will as he is away from Halt and has to try and get himself out of the predicament that he has found himself in. But he never gives up, no matter how desperate the situation seems. I love this aspect of his character and I am sure this will be inspiration to any boys who read this series.

But there are certain things that happen to Will in the second part of this novel that absolutely broke my heart. I just wanted to reach into the pages of the book and give him a big hug. It upset me to think of a young boy being put into such a position and the ending did bring a little tear to my eye. However, this part of the storyline seemed a lot more mature than the rest of the series so far and it makes me wonder if the author is trying to reach out to older readers too. I will be interested to see where the author goes with this as the series continues.

The Icebound Land also details the travels of Halt and Horace as they go in pursuit of Will and Evanlyn in an attempt to get them back. I really started to like Halt in this novel. Up until now I have felt pretty indifferent towards him but, for me, he really shone in this book. He will, literally, go to the ends of the earth to help his apprentice and this really endeared him to me. And I really noticed his sense of humour as he travels with Horace. I felt as though we were finally seeing the human side of the legendary Ranger and I hope to learn even more about him as the series continues.

Summary - An engaging adventure story that had me hooked from the start. But for me, the real strength of The Icebound Land is its lovable and realistic characters. I can't wait to read more about this fascinating group of people.

Other books in this series:
1. The Ruins of Gorlan
2. The Burning Bridge
3. The Icebound Land
4. Oakleaf Bearers
5. The Sorcerer in the North
6. The Siege of Macindaw
7. Erak's Ransom
8. The Kings of Clonmel
9. Halt's Peril
10. The Emperor of Nihon-Ja
11. The Lost Stories

Other reviews of this book:
Eclectic/Eccentric / Kids Reads

This book counts towards the following challenges:
Book #2 for 2012 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge

It's Monday! What are you Reading? (23rd January 2012)

This is a weekly meme hosted by Book Journey that gives us all a chance to list the books that we read last week and what we hope to read this week.

Books Completed:
Angel Slayer by Michele Hauf (Of Angels and Demons #1)
Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning (Fever #1)

Books Reviewed:
Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs (Mercy Thompson #5)
Angel Fire by L.A. Weatherly (Angel #2)

Books I'm Currently Reading:
Seizure by Kathy Reichs (Virals #2)

Books Up Next:
Bloodfever by Karen Marie Moning (Fever #2)
Eternal Kiss by Laura Wright (Mark of the Vampire #2)

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Series of the Week: Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare

Each Sunday I will be highlighting a series that I have been wanting to read for a while, and that I hope to read very soon! This week my pick is the Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare. I am currently halfway through the Mortal Instruments series and I am really enjoying it so I am hoping to get a chance to read this series soon too!

Have you read this series? Let me know what you thought!

Clockwork Angel
Magic is dangerous - but love is more dangerous still...

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray arrives in England during the reign of Queen Victoria, something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Friendless and hunted, Tessa seeks refuge with the Shadowhunters, a band of warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons. Drawn ever deeper into their world, she finds herself fascinated by - and torn between - two best friends, and quickly realizes that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.

Clockwork Prince
Love and lies can corrupt even the purest heart...

In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, while her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will - the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers to who she is and what she was born to do? As their search for the truth leads the three friends into peril, Tessa's heart is increasingly torn, especially when one of their own betrays them.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Follow Friday #14

Hi all and welcome to Follow Friday!

This is a great feature hosted by Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read and I am very excited to be taking part today.

Every week participants have to answer a question so that we can all get to know each other a little better. This week's question is:

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to get your hands on any particular book?

Umm, I'm not sure how to put this without making myself sound incredibly boring. I have never done anything crazy to get my hands on a book. But I am looking forward to reading some crazy stories as I work my way through the blog hop :)

On a side note, next month I will be devoting my blog to all things paranormal romance to celebrate Valentine's Day. I have got loads of reviews and author guest posts lined up and I have organised some very good giveaways for you all. But what I am lacking is some blogger guest posts. If you are a fan of paranormal romance and you think you've got a few minutes to put together a short guest post for me then please see my post here for more details.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Review: Angel Fire by L.A. Weatherly (Angel #2)

Publisher - Usborne
Publication Date - 1st October 2011
Paperback - 720 pages
Genre - Young Adult/Paranormal Romance

Source - Purchased

Rating - 5 out of 5: It was amazing!

Book Info - Only Willow has the power to defeat the malevolent Church of Angels, and they will stop at nothing to destroy her. Willow isn't alone, though. She has Alex by her side - a trained Angel Killer and her one true love.

But Willow will always be a half-angel, and when Alex joins forces with a group of AKs, she's treated with mistrust and suspicion. She's never felt more alone... until she meets Seb. He's been searching for Willow his whole life - because Seb is a half-angel too.

My Thoughts - Wow, what a rollercoaster this book is! I really can't remember the last time I got so emotionally involved with a book and I felt all the pain and heartbreak that Willow and Alex did over the course of their story. And once I had finished reading Angel Fire, it was all I could think about for days afterwards. In fact, hubby got slightly bored hearing me talk about it so much!

I have to say that Alex and Willow are, by far, my favourite YA couple ever! Not only did their love grow slowly in the first book (no insta-love here!) but it has grown into a strong love that makes them seem so perfect together. So at first I really wasn't sure if I was going to like the introduction of Seb. I didn't want anything to come along that could spoil the perfection that is Willow and Alex and I most certainly didn't want a love triangle! But I have to say that Ms. Weatherly handled it perfectly and it did bring a lot of emotion into the story.

There were many times that I found myself screaming at the book or clutching my chest to stop the heartache as either Alex or Willow made another mistake that would tear them slightly further apart. I didn't think there was any way that the pair could survive the arrival of a half-angel who has been in love with Willow for his entire life and I became absolutely hooked to this part of the storyline to see how it would end. I was slightly worried that the love triangle wouldn't be resolved by the end of Angel Fire, leaving me heartbroken for another few months, but I was so happy to find out this wasn't the case!

And the storyline involving the angels was amazing too! It provides lots of action, suspense and an ending that was completely devastating. It has made me very eager for the next book in the series to find out what else the angels have planned for the humans.

Summary - All in all, Angel Fire was a completely compelling read that was impossible to put down! It had highs that would have me cheering with joy, and lows that would leave me heartbroken. I really can't recommend this series enough. You need to read these books now!

Other books in this series:
1. Angel
2. Angel Fire

Other reviews of this series:
About Happy Books / Excellent Reads / Heaven, Hell and Purgatory

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

A Perfect Ten with Amanda from One More Page!

It's time for my new feature A Perfect Ten, where bloggers talk about their top ten favourite series of all time! Today I am being joined by Amanda from One More Page who has picked some great series for you all to salivate over. So without further ado I will hand you over to Amanda.

I didn’t think I’d read many series’ but when I started listing them there were loads!! Here are ten of my favourites in the order that I first read them:

Mallory Towers by Enid Blyton
I was about 10 when I found the first book in this series on my gran’s bookshelf and I was soon hooked. The series follows the adventures of Darrell Rivers as she attends boarding school Mallory Towers. I loved reading about Darrell and friends with their tricks and capers and midnight feasts – it made boarding school sound like so much fun! Seeing the cover on the left brings back lots of happy memories.

Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin 
I started this series on the recommendation of a friend when I was at university and have loved all of Maupin’s eclectic San Francisco ‘family’ ever since. Tales of the City was first published in 1978 as a newspaper serialisation and follows the lives of the occupants of 28 Barbary Lane in San Francisco. The seventh novel in the series was released last year after a twenty year break and is as good as ever!

Queen of Babble by Meg Cabot 
I’m a big fan of all of Meg Cabot’s adult novels but the three books in this series are my absolute favourites. Queen of Babble, Queen of Babble in the Big City and Queen of Babble Gets Hitched follow the story of Lizzie Nichols and are light fluffy chick lit at its best with tonnes of Meg Cabot’s sparkly humour – guaranteed to make me smile every time.

Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz
My favourite Vampire series at the moment; I discovered Blue Bloods when I was looking for something to fill the gap after reading the Twilight series. Set in New York with a cast of rich and fabulous teenage vampires at the centre, these are quick but gripping reads and I’m now looking forward to reading the spinoff series Witches of the East.

Secret Shopper by Kate Harrison
There are three books in this series; The Secret Shopper’s Revenge, The Secret Shopper Unwrapped and The Secret Shopper Affair. I haven’t actually managed to read the third one yet but it’s on my Kindle waiting! The series follows three women who meet as a result of secret shopping; young mum Emily, Shop manager Sandie and the glamorous Grazia who recruits them into her secret shopping team. I love Kate Harrison’s writing; despite the titles, these books aren’t really about shopping but are funny and observant takes on life and Kate isn’t afraid to tackle more serious issues (bereavement, single parenthood, losing your job) and the characters and the situations they find themselves in are very real.

Nightshade Series by Andrea Cremer
Nightshade, Wolfsbane and Bloodrose (out in February 2012) tell the story of Seventeen year old Calla Tor, the leader of the Nightshade pack. Calla and her pack have the ability to shift into wolf form at will and are designated ‘Guardians’, charged with protecting the secrets and sacred sites of their masters ‘The Keepers’ from their enemies ‘The Seekers’. Calla, as female Alpha, is the leader of her pack and is destined to unite with her opposite number Renier (Ren) Bane, Alpha of the Bane pack bringing their packs together in a powerful alliance. Throw in the mysterious new boy Shay Doran and things quickly get complicated. The mythology is complex and well thought out with a huge cast of fantastic characters and creatures who move seamlessly through our world; the romantic element is gripping and the plot fast paced.

The Cousin’s War series by Philippa Gregory
There have been three books in this series so far (The White Queen, The Red Queen and The Lady of the Rivers) set during the Wars of the Roses. I love the way Philippa Gregory focusses on ‘forgotten’ women in history and gives them a voice by trying to piece their stories together.

I Heart … series by Lindsey Kelk
Part travel guides, part witty, fun chick lit, this series (I Heart New York, I Heart Hollywood, I Heart Paris and I Heart Vegas) follows Angela Clark who after discovering her boyfriend is cheating on her at her best friend’s wedding flees to New York and starts a new life. Angela is one of my favourite chick lit heroines ever. She’s incredibly lucky and unlucky at the same time and her escapades never fail to make me smile. The books in this series are all brilliant escapist reads and I love the travel guides at the back. The final book in the series, I Heart London will be out next year.

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
My favourite book of 2011! This is the first in a planned trilogy (book two, Shadow of the Night will be out in July 2012) and tells the story of Diana Bishop who discovers a bewitched manuscript, Ashmole 782, in the Bodleian Library, Oxford; a manuscript that has been ‘lost’ for centuries and soon has a whole host of witches, daemons and vampires trying to get their hands on it.

I love this book/series firstly, because the early part of the book is set in Oxford and more specifically the Bodleian Library where I worked as a trainee librarian. Secondly, it’s a book about books, libraries and history which are three of my absolute favourite subjects and finally, it combines of all of these elements with a good dose of paranormal romance involving vampires, witches and daemons!

The Taker by Alma Katsu
Another 2011 debut that blew me away. The Taker is something a little different in the paranormal market. It’s about immortals and immortal love but there are none of the usual paranormal subjects here just a mysterious vial promising eternal life. In contrast to the majority of immortal love stories I’ve read, the driving force behind most of the action in this book is unrequited love which makes for a story that is both dark and gripping. This book is as dark as it gets with some shocking scenes and kept me thinking long after I’d read it. I can’t wait to find out where the story goes next. Book two The Reckoning will be published in 2012.

Thanks for taking  part today Amanda! I have only read one series on your list so I think I will be adding some more to my TBR list today! I have had A Discovery of Witches on my bookshelf for ages and I really must stop worrying about how big it is and just get on and read it!

How about you guys? Anything here you've read and loved? Anything that you'll be adding to your TBR list? Let Amanda and I know what you think!

Monday, 16 January 2012

Review: Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs (Mercy Thompson #5)

Publisher - Orbit
Publication Date - 1st April 2010
Paperback - 352 pages
Genre - Urban Fantasy

Source - Received from publisher for review

Rating - 5 out of 5: It was amazing!

Book Info - When mechanic and shapeshifter Mercy Thompson attempts to return a powerful Fae book she'd previously borrowed in an act of desperation, she finds the bookstore locked up and closed down. It seems the book contains secret knowledge - and the Fae will do just about anything to keep it out of the wrong hands. And if that doesn't take enough of Mercy's attention, her friend Samuel is struggling with his wolf side - leaving Mercy to cover for him, lest his own father declare Sam's life forfeit. All in all, Mercy has had better days. And if she isn't careful, she might not have many more to live...

Review - Wow, I really love this series! There is a great mystery surrounding a fae item that Mercy was given in a previous book and once again Mercy finds herself in a whole heap of trouble as the fae try to find this item. This part of the storyline is full of intrigue and, luckily, was nowhere near as complicated as the plot for Bone Crossed.

Samuel plays a big part in Silver Borne too, as he becomes suicidal and his wolf has to take control (this is only a slight spoiler as it happens very early on in the book). It becomes Mercy's responsibility to care for him and to make sure he doesn't have a run in with Adam's pack. It is obvious that Mercy cares a great deal about Samuel and I really hope he gets his Happy Ever After.

But, for me, the best part of Silver Borne is seeing how Mercy interacts with the others in her new pack and watching how she learns to deal with her mate bond with Adam. Although this storyline is first established in Bone Crossed, it was never fully examined as she spends a lot of time away from the pack. In Silver Borne it becomes obvious that, although Mercy does have some supporters, there are a lot of members of the pack who think a coyote has no place within a wolf pack and Mercy has to work hard to prove her worth to them.

In this book I also felt as though Mercy and Adam are a real couple now. She is slowly learning to trust him and to rely on him to help when she gets into trouble - not that she has become any less kick-ass though! Mercy and Adam are, by far, my favourite fictional couple and I hope to see them become stronger as the series continues.

Summary - I loved this book! It is full of drama, mystery, action, romance and supernatural creatures. If you haven't started this series yet then you need to go to your nearest bookshop/library today and get your hands on the first book!

Other books in the series:
1. Moon Called
2. Blood Bound
3. Iron Kissed
4. Bone Crossed
5. Silver Borne
6. River Marked
7. Frost Burned

Other reviews of this book:
Book Smugglers / Dear Author / Feeling Fictional

It's Monday! What are you Reading? (16th January 2012)

This is a weekly meme hosted by Book Journey that gives us all a chance to list the books that we read last week and what we hope to read this week. 

Books Completed:
Heart of the Incubus by Rosalie Lario (Demons of Infernum #4)
Sinful Magic by Jennifer Lyon (Wing Slayer #4)

Books Reviewed:
Angel by L.A. Weatherly (Angel #1)
Virals by Kathy Reichs (Virals #1)

Books I'm Currently Reading:
Seizure by Kathy Reichs (Virals #2)

Books Up Next:
Angel Slayer by Michele Hauf (Of Angels and Demons #1)
Eternal Rider by Larissa Ione (Lords of Deliverance #1)

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Series of the Week: Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Each Sunday I will be highlighting a series that I have been wanting to read for a while, and that I hope to read very soon! This week my pick is Paranormalcy by Kiersten White. I've heard so many good things about this series and I really can't wait to make a start on it... and hopefully soon!

Have you read this series? Let me know what you thought!

Evie's always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she's falling for a shape-shifter, and she's the only person who can see through paranormals' glamours.

But Evie's about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

So much for normal.

Evie finally has the normal life she's always longed for. But she's shocked to discover that being ordinary can be... kind of boring. Just when Evie starts to long for her days at the International Paranormal Containment Agency, she's given a chance to work for them again. Desperate for a break from all the normalcy, she agrees.

But as one disastrous mission leads to another, Evie starts to wonder if she made the right choice. And when Evie's faerie ex-boyfriend Reth appears with devastating revelations about her past, she discovers that there's a battle brewing between the faerie courts that could throw the whole supernatural world into chaos. The prize in question? Evie herself.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Follow Friday #13

Hi all and welcome to Follow Friday!

This is a great feature hosted by Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read and I am very excited to be taking part today.

Every week participants have to answer a question so that we can all get to know each other a little better. This week's question is:

Many readers/bloggers are also big music fans. Tell us about a few of your favorite bands/singers that we should listen to in 2012.

Oh no, I hardly listen to any music at all so I haven't really got an answer for this one! I occasionally listen to the radio in the background whilst I'm reading but I don't have a band or singer that I really like. Maybe I should jot down some names while I'm visiting other blogs today and get some ideas :)

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Review: Virals by Kathy Reichs (Virals #1)

Publisher - Arrow (Young)
Publication Date - 27 Oct 2011
Paperback - 464 pages
Genre - Young Adult/Paranormal

Source - Purchased

Rating - 2 out of 5: It was ok

Book Info - Tory Brennan, niece of acclaimed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan (of the Bones novels and hit TV show), is the leader of a ragtag band of teenage 'sci-philes' who live on a secluded island off the coast of South Carolina. When the group rescues a dog caged for medical testing on a nearby island, they are exposed to an experimental strain of canine parvovirus that changes their lives forever.

As the friends discover their heightened senses and animal-quick reflexes, they must combine their scientific curiosity with their newfound physical gifts to solve a cold-case murder that has suddenly become very hot - if they can stay alive long enough to catch the killer's scent.

Fortunately, they are now more than friends - they're a pack. They are Virals.

My Thoughts - I will admit that I went into this book expecting something entirely different to what it was and I think that this may have something to do with my dissatisfaction with the story. I somehow got the wrong impression that this was a book about a group of kids becoming werewolves. Instead it is about a group of kids who get infected with a virus who then develop some characteristics of a wolf, such as super-sensitive sense of smell/hearing/sight etc. So I kept on waiting and waiting for this major event to happen but when it never did I found myself confused and slightly disappointed. Although my misconception of the book is not at all the authors fault, it did hinder my enjoyment of the book.

Also, I found the pace of the story very slow-going at the start and I found I really had to push myself to continue reading. The first half of the book focuses too heavily on setting the scene and describing the locations and I just felt as though it was too much and my attention kept on wandering.

But once the action did start, I enjoyed the story a lot more and I became a lot more engaged in the story. Also, there were some good twists near the end which meant that the killer's identity was a complete surprise for me.

One of the best parts of the book, for me, were the characters. I really liked Tory - she's brave, intelligent bordering on genius, and not afraid of anything. She is quite awkward socially with the other kids at school though and I liked the vulnerable side that this showed us. Tory's group of friends were all fun to read about too and the group's interactions were realistically portrayed. I loved the closeness that they felt for each other without there being any romantic feelings to complicate matters.

Summary - A good murder mystery that could have done with kicking into gear quite a lot sooner than it did. I loved the characters and, now that I have put myself right on the nature of the changes that have happened to them, I look forward to reading the sequel and finding out about how they learn to cope with these new-found powers.

Other books in this series:
1. Virals
2. Seizure

Other reviews of this book:
Annette's Book Spot / Between the Covers / Book Chick CityFeeling Fictional

This book counts towards the following challenges:
Book #1 for 2012 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Review: Angel by L.A. Weatherly (Angel #1)

Publisher - Usborne
Publication Date - 1st October 2010
Paperback - 506 pages
Genre - Young Adult/Paranormal Romance

Source - Library

Rating - 4 out of 5: I really liked it!

Book Info - Angels are all around us: beautiful, awe-inspiring, irresistible. Ordinary mortals yearn to catch a glimpse of one of these stunning beings and thousands flock to The Church of Angels to feel their healing touch. But what if their potent magnetism isn't what it seems?

Willow knows she's different from other girls. And not just because she loves tinkering around with cars.
Willow has a gift. She can look into people's futures, know their dreams, their hopes and their regrets, just by touching them. But she has no idea where she gets this power from.

Until she meets Alex…
Alex is one of the few who know the truth about angels. He knows Willow's secret and is on a mission to stop her. The dark forces within Willow make her dangerous – and irresistible. In spite of himself, Alex finds he is falling in love with his sworn enemy.

My Thoughts - In this book angels are the bad guys who have come to earth to feed off of the life energy of humans. It is because of the angels that humans suffer from things like cancer and mental illness. For me, this was an entirely new take on the angel genre that made it stand out as a unique and completely engaging read.

I fell in love with both of the main characters from the start. Willow is a young girl who has never really fit in well with her peers due to her skills as a mechanic and her psychic abilities. Her world begins to fall apart when she realises that these predatory angels walk among humans every day, and that she is in fact half-angel, half-human. But Willow shows an amazing strength of character as she comes to understand this other side to herself that she initially hates.

Alex is an Angel Killer who has been hunting angels ever since he was twelve. Despite his young age he has lost a lot of people that he loves and at times this pain emanates from the page like a living thing. But he has somehow managed to overcome all of this loss to become a caring and compassionate young man. Alex is quite possibly my favourite YA male character.

The romance element between Willow and Alex is incredibly sweet. They work well together as a couple and, although at first they find their differences hard to work around, after a while they come to accept each other completely.

The slow pace of the romance is offset by the fast pace of the action and mystery elements of the novel. Apart from a couple of slow points when Alex and Willow are in hiding, Angel kept me completely gripped and I had real difficulty putting it down once I had started reading the book.

There are  a lot of surprises throughout the course of Angel and, with the exception of one minor plot point that I guessed at about halfway through the novel, the ending was a complete surprise to me.

Summary - I absolutely loved Angel, with its complex characters and combination of unique plot, mystery and romance. I am really excited about reading Angel Fire and this has got to be one of my favourite YA books ever!

Other books in the series:
1. Angel
2. Angel Fire

Other reviews of this book:
About Happy Books / Dear AuthorFeeling Fictional / Girls Without a Bookshelf /
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Our Bloggers...

Maddie sometimes guest blogs here!