Sunday, 25 December 2011

Book Haul: The Christmas Edition

Merry Christmas!

As always, Santa did well this year and brought me some shiny new books for Christmas.
I have already reviewed one but i'll still add it here, just for fun.

1. Let It Snow - John Green, Maureen Johnson, Lauren Myracle
2. Will Grayson, Will Grayson - John Green
3. Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist - Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
4. The Shadow Wife - Diane Chamberlain

Very happy with my haul! I look forward to reading and reviewing these as soon as possible a long with a ton of other books that I have planned. As mentioned in a previous blog post, there will be more activity on this blog in 2012 (and hopefully someone will actually READ this blog :P).
Until then, keep reading!

Let It Snow - Green, Johnson & Myracle

Beautiful presents wrapped in ribbons, and multicoloured lights glittering in the night through the falling snow. A Christmas Eve snowstorm transforms one small town into a romantic haven, the kind you only see in movies. Well, kinda. After all, a cold and wet hike from a stranded train through the middle of nowhere would not normally end with a delicious kiss with a charming stranger. And no one would think that a trip to the Waffle House through four feet of snow would lead to love with an old friend. Or that the way back to true love begins with a painfully early morning shift at Starbucks.
Thanks to three of today's best-selling teen authors - John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle - the magic of the holidays shines on these hilarious and charming interconnected tales of love, romance and breathtaking kisses.

Followers of my blog will know that I am a big fan of John Green and his books so it probably comes as no surprise that this book was no exception and I 100% love it, and recommend it.

Aside from that little note, this is not just a John Green book. A collaborative effort between Green, Johnson and Myracle turned into something magnificent and will now forever be my favourite Christmas book, and top 5 all year books.

Let It Snow is three completely different stories that occur at the same time, same town and has mentions and appearances from characters in each of the stories, so you can always get a little fix from the previous one. I know that was a good thing for me anyway as I really didn't want to leave the characters from any of the stories once i'd grown to love them.

The writing styles of Green, Johnson and Myracle all seem quite similar to me. This is a GOOD thing as they are continuously easy to read, follow and love. I'm not sure if this is intentional or a happy chance as I haven't yet read any more of Johnson or Myracle's works.

The stories contain a heavy amount of snow which is WONDERFUL. I live in a very rainy place where snow is practically a myth, so to get the feeling of a real white Christmas filled with adventure was perfect and made me want to snuggle up in pjs whilst reading. The adventures are exciting and unpredictable too!

As the blurb suggests, there is a lot of teens and a lot of romance - but not in the tacky way that some books have. The characters are genuine, real and identifiable and as I keep repeating - so very LOVEABLE!

I'm sad to have reached the end of the book in such a short time (literally just a couple of hours) as I couldn't put it down, but I loved every word on every page and I wish more great authors would do collabs like this. In fact, Let It Snow is probably the only reason I have any Christmas spirit at all this year :)

The Magic of Christmas - Trisha Ashley

In the pretty Lancashire village of Middlemoss, Lizzy is on the verge of leaving her cheating husband when tragedy strikes and she finds herself widowed. Her Christmas Pudding Circle - a group of friends swapping seasonal receipes - offers her a welcome distraction, whilst a simmering rivalry with local cookery writer Nick erupts over who will win Best Mince Pie at the village show...

Meanwhile, the whole village is gearing up for the annual Boxing Day Mystery Play. But who will play Adam to Lizzy's Eve? Could it be the handsome and charismatic soap actor Ritch, or will someone closer to home win her heart? Whatever happens, it promises to be a Christmas to remember!

Last year, I read one of Ashley's books and absolutely loved it, so when I was given this as a pre-Christmas gift I was very happy :)

The Magic of Christmas was a slow starter and it took me until about half way through to really  get in to it.
The stories/relationships between the characters was lovely and homely and I did feel attached to Lizzy and enjoyed hearing about her son Jasper and the start of his university life.

One of the main things I enjoyed about this book was the references to other literary works such as classic Shakespeare plays and Synge's 'Playboy of the Western World'. It always makes me feel good when I understand the intertextuality in a book! It makes me feel like my lectures are paying off ;)

The biggest downside to the book for me, is that there wasn't enough Christmas. The title of the book and the blurb on the back promises lots of Christmassy fun when in fact, there isn't. More than half of the book is the lead up to Christmas when there is occasionally mention of Christmas Cake and mince pies and the rest is post Christmas with a few short pages regarding the day itself! I figured the book itself is more about the relationships between characters but I do feel a little cheated out of Christmas reading.

That said, it was a good, quick read and didn't take too much thinking about which is perfect for the season as it's been so busy around here with Christmas and exams coming up! I probably won't read it again but it'll sit happily on my bookshelves just waiting to be discovered again.

Last Breath - Rachel Caine (Morganville #11)

No blurb for this book as it has been loaned out!

It's been a while since I read this book now and I have a ton of catching up to do but here goes.

In my opinion, the Morganville series is going stronger, perhaps even stronger than ever. Despite Last Breath being book 11 in a what seems to be never-ending series - i'm still wishing for more.
The adventures of Claire, Shane, Eve and Michael are better than ever in this book and for the first time, I genuinely worried for their safety. Last Breath is also the first Morganville book I have honestly sobbed over! At every point in the book, I wasn't sure what was going to happen to the foursome and whether they could overcome the trouble that Morganville and it's vampires had in store for them.

Myrnin, as usual, was as ambiguous as ever and one of my favourite things about the series is that I absolutely adore him, and still don't know whether to trust him! Though I think my opinion on Myrnin has now been set for good (spoiler free blog, remember! - unless stated otherwise anyway).

It's not my favourite book of the series (not that I could decide anyway!) but I enjoyed it so much. I don't think i'll ever be ready to leave Morganville but thankfully there is still at least ONE more book on the way...

Thursday, 22 December 2011

The Saga of Darren Shan Vol.1

Art by Takahiro Arai
Darren Shan was just an ordinary schoolboy until his visit to the Cirque Du Freak. There he meets Madam Octa and her master, and after that nothing is ever the same again.

Last year, I worked my way through all of the books in the Saga of Darren Shan and loved them despite hearing that they were children’s books. So when I recently saw this copy in a local bookstore for £1.99 I just HAD to have it. This is the first section of Cirque Du Freak, but in manga. I don’t own many manga’s so that was another reason to have this book in my collection, and it’s also the first “real” one I own. Meaning that the book is flipped so you read it backwards and from right to left. I’m sure you know the deal…

Despite the obvious need to condense the story in order to fit in the spectacular art work by Takahiro Arai, the story was pretty complete. As I said, the artwork itself (which is equally, if not more important, than the text) was truly amazing. I recommend this book to any Darren Shan fan and anyone who appreciates fine drawing. The RRP for this book is £5.99 which is reasonable but if anyone plans on buying it then definitely look around as it’s MUCH cheaper than that. My copy was bought from a shop called The Works.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

50 Book Challenge

I have completed the Goodreads 50 Book Challenge - early!

I thought this definitely needed blogging about. I'm actually really proud of myself for finishing. It's been a tough year for me personally and I felt that my reading had been quite slow but considering everything, it is fantastic! Originally I had planned to post a full list of everything I had read for the challenge, but as I may or may not have explained before, Goodreads isn't the full list. I had forgotten a lot of dates of the things i'd read so they didn't count, unfortunately. I'm actually closer to 60, but still :)

Instead, as i'm still reading and the year isn't over, I decided that i'll post an actual complete list all everything i've read since 1st January 2011 - 1st January 2012 in the new year :)

I enjoy writing this blog a lot, so I have also decided that i'll make it more active. Right now i'm just reviewing a book every so often rather than every one that I read. I'll change that to each book, plus i'll do book haul posts. I have been considering making videos to accompany these blog posts but I certainly don't have a face for the camera so we'll see. I will work something out!

If anyone reading this cares to follow my Goodreads account then it can be found here.
Good luck to everyone else that is frantically making their way to the end of the challenge, and here's to preparing for it all over again in the new year!

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