Friday, 31 May 2013

Book Haul | May

1. Fall of Night (Morganville #14) - Rachel Caine
2. Inferno - Dante
3. The Single Girl's To-Do List - Lindsay Kelk
4. Doctor Who books x4 (This seems to be becoming a habit..!)
5. Carniepunk - Anthology (Various authors)

A much more reasonable haul this month, thankfully. Not sure how long i'll be doing hauls for as my book buying seems to have slowed down dramatically and with so many unread books screaming for my attention, I don't think i'll be changing that any time soon. We'll see :)

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Review // If I Stay - Gayle Forman

Published -13th May 2010
Publisher - Black Swan
Format - Paperback
Synopsis - Life can change in an instant. A cold February morning . . . a snowy road . . . and suddenly all of Mia's choices are gone. Except one. As alone as she'll ever be, Mia must make the most difficult choice of all. Gripping, heartrending and ultimately life-affirming, If I Stay will make you appreciate all that you have, all that you've lost - and all that might be.

If I Stay was an impulse buy (Brianna's, not mine!) after I told her i'd read good reviews and the plot sounded really original and, well, pretty awesome. I wasn't wrong - so thanks bloggers! ;)

I'd never read anything by Forman before so I had no idea of her writing style etc but it was so easy to just jump in. After a couple of pages it didn't feel so much of a story as an experience.. however cheesy that sounds! Mia's life could easily be the same as any reader. She has a close and friendly relationship with her family but she still feels like a bit of an outsider. She loves music, her best friend and her gorgeous, rockstar boyfriend. Okay some some bits are just an imagined realism ;). It felt like a shock when tragedy struck Mia and yep, I cried. I'm okay with admitting that, mostly. 

If I Stay is so incredibly powerful and emotional and really did make me stop and think about the choices I have made, should make, would make but not in a pushy kind of way. It was honest and real and I felt really connected to the story. The book flitted between past & present scenarios but it wasn't confusing as I thought it might be at the beginning. They worked really well together. A few people have said that they felt there was no real 'plot' but I totally disagree. Sometimes it was a little fragmented and seemed 'off topic' if you will, but I think that only adds to what Forman is really trying to get across. Making decisions, no matter the importance of them is difficult and IS fragmented. I guess I just loved the way she wrote and how it worked itself out as the book progressed. 

This edition of the book also had an interview, backstory, playlist information etc at the back of the book which I did actually read and definitely added to the book as a whole. I'm looking forward to coming across more by Gayle Forman.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Review // Forgiven (Demon Trappers #3) - Jana Oliver

Published: March 1st 2012
Publisher:  Macmillan
Format: Paperback
Synopsis:  Riley has made a bargain with Heaven, and now they've come to collect. Lucifer's finest are ruling the streets and it seems that Armageddon might be even closer than Riley imagined. But with her soul and her heart in play it's all she can do to keep herself alive, let alone save the world. Riley's not afraid of kicking some major demon butt, but when it comes to a battle between Heaven and Hell, she might need a little help...

 Caragh's review of Forbidden (#2) is here

I guess the first thing to say about Forgiven is that I really enjoyed it in a can’t-put-down kind of way, in fact I'm not sure if I did put it down. Jana Oliver has kept the quality of the Demon Trappers books pretty consistent in my view with well developed, interesting characters which are explored over the series rather than in an info dump (technical term). The plots are always well balanced with action and low points which are tender and sweet. 

It’s a fairly fast paced book with little time where characters aren’t involved in something important - things are heating up in Riley's world! This book lets you get to know some of the characters that we’ve known since the first book a bit better, especially Master Stewart, Master Harper and Mort and also raises a few more questions about Beck, specifically his history before he moved to Atlanta and became a trapper, which leave you wondering about the morality of Beck.

Although I really enjoyed this book I was a little disappointed by the ‘apocalypse’ that Riley is supposed to stop. Personally I think it was over a little too quickly and as the 3 books so far have been leading up to this, I think it leaves a bit of a plot vacuum for the next book. What is the last book going to be about?! However I know that some people I’ve spoken to (Caragh) don’t share my view on this, and although I was disappointed it was by no means bad and if you've already started the series, I would definitely recommend giving it a read and let me know what you thought of the ending.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Review // Fall of Night (Morganville #14) - Rachel Caine (SPOILERS!)

Published - 2nd May 2013
Publisher - Allison & Busby
Format - Paperback
Synopsis - Thanks to its unique combination of human and vampire residents, Morganville, Texas, is a small college town with big-time problems. When student Claire Danvers gets the chance to experience life on the outside, she takes it. But Morganville isn’t the only town with vampire trouble...

Fall of Night is the fourteenth book in Rachel Caine's Morganville Vampires series.

This time, things are different. Bitter Blood (#13) left off with everything up in the air and left me with a bit of uncertainty as to the final two books in the series (there will be 15 in total) and Fall of Night has kind of broken the mold. The previous books, though vastly different to each other still held one thing in common; Morganville. 

Claire is now free of the restraints of Morganville and has gone to her dream college, MIT, leaving the rules, and vampires, behind her. With this move and the events of Bitter Blood, Claire has also left behind her boyfriend and her best friends; everything she knows. This huge change shocked me and for a long time I wasn't sure how I felt about it. After all, i've invested a lot of time in these books and all of a sudden, like Claire, I was pushed into a world that I didn't really understand. Anything could happen.

Luckily, Rachel Caine's risk on changing things up at the end of the series really worked. Personally, the thing I've learned most from these books is how strong a character, and more importantly a woman, Claire is and Fall of Night really shows that off beautifully. Despite being uncertain and scared, she follows her heart and proves to herself that she is strong and independent without being too preachy. As the story progresses, even more light on shed on these wonderfully written and intelligent characters when each of them discover that yes, they are strong - but they are so much stronger together and that it isn't weak to rely on your friends and have that support.

Of course, a Morganville book just wouldn't be the same without the crazy antics of Myrnin but again, Rachel Caine stepped up the vampires as well as her humans. For the first time in the history of Morganville, I felt truly afraid of what they are capable of. Their raw, instinctual solutions are terrifying and leave a lot of room for further writing. The scene at the 'farm' is not one that I will forget any time soon and VLAD's effects on Michael and the other vampires were jaw-dropping and emotional.

So there's one book left to wrap up the Morganville Vampires; Daylighters. After reading Fall of Night i'm not concerned at all with how Caine is going to settle the score between vampires and humans. However, I am concerned about the effects that Fall of Night will have on my favourite character of the series, Shane. What was that dog and what the hell is happening to him?

Saying goodbye to Morganville and the residents of the Glass House is not something I look forward to at all - but I honestly can't wait to see what transpires in Daylighters.

Review // Blood, Sweat and Tea - Tom Reynolds

Published - 28th May 2009
Publisher - HarperCollins
Format - Kindle
Synopsis - A beautifully written insight into the stresses, strains and successes of working for the London Ambulance service.Is there anyone who hasn't wondered about the state of the occupant of an ambulance, screaming along with its sirens on and blue lights flashing? Have you? And have you wondered about the other people inside the ambulance, maybe fighting to save the patient's life? Or have you considered that the ambulance may be another 'maternataxi' ordered by a woman who can't be bothered to book a real cab and who then complains she can't smoke on the way to hospital? And that the medical technician inside might just be desperate to get back home from a busy shift, to have a cup of tea and catch up with his blog?Meet Tom Reynolds. Tom is an Emergency Medical Technician who works for the London Ambulance Service in East London. He has kept a blog of his daily working life since 2003 and his award-winning writing is, by turn, moving, cynical, funny, heart-rending and compassionate. It is never less than compelling.From the tragic to the hilarious, from the heartwarming to the terrifying, the stories Tom tells give a fascinating - and at times alarming - picture of life in inner-city Britain, and the people who are paid to mop up after it.
Tom Reynolds began work for the NHS when he was 23 and specialised as an A&E nurse. He moved to the London Ambulance Service when he discovered that 'he wanted to 'torture the patients in A&E'. In his own words, this is 'not healthy'. He has kept his critically-acclaimed blog since 2003 and is frequently quoted in the national press. This is his first book.

Brianna was actually the one who told me about this book after she spotted it during her time doing work experience in a bookstore and honestly, it didn't really interest me until much later. After she told me a few choice quotes from the book that had me tearing up with laughter, I decided to take advantage of the fact that it was a free ebook and see what it was like.

Right off the bat, this book is hilarious. After reading around 20% I told everyone I could think of that they just needed this book. At one point I was visiting my mum and we were both sat next to each other, Kindles in hand, laughing at the book and all of the crazy things that 'Tom' faces on a daily basis.

It's definitely a 'British' book, right down to humour, language and every day perception but that shouldn't deter any one else from reading it. Each chapter only spans 2 or 3 pages, and is basically a retelling of whatever madness happened that day on shift. Blood, Sweat and Tea deals with minor incidents that will have you laughing to the point of tears but that's not all. There are some serious issues dealt with in the book such as the death of babies and miscarriages, so be prepared for that if you decide to read it for yourself. It IS an enjoyable book though (for the most part) and gives a real insight into what the Ambulance Service in Britain has to deal with. I've since got 3 other people to read this book and nobody was disappointed!

I recently discovered there is a second book too so if you enjoy Blood, Sweat and Tea, make sure to check it out.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Caragh's Review // Finale (Hush, Hush #4) - Becca Fitzpatrick

Published - 1st October 2012
Publisher - Simon and Schuster
Format - Paperback
Synopsis - Fates unfurl in the gripping conclusion to the "New York Times" bestselling Hush, Hush saga.Nora is more certain than ever that she is in love with Patch. Fallen angel or no, he is the one for her. Her heritage and destiny may mean they are fated to be enemies, but there is no turning her back on him. Now Nora and Patch must gather their strength to face one last, perilous trial. Old enemies return, new enemies are made, and a friend's ultimate betrayal threatens the peace Patch and Nora so desperately want. The battle lines are drawn--but which sides are they on? And in the end, are there some obstacles even love can't conquer?

Hush, Hush Review - click here
Crescendo Review -  click here
Silence Review - click here 

Hurrah! I was starting to wonder if I would ever get around to finishing this series. As you can probably gather from my previous reviews, this series and I just do not mix. Out of an irrational sense of duty to myself, I continued reading and finally, it's over. I did it. Surprisingly.

One thing that's different between this review and the my previous ones is that I didn't end this book with an overwhelming feeling of anger. I laughed. Genuinely, perhaps madly, laughed. Finale took a leap and just became hilariously ridiculous. I didn't get angry at Nora, or Patch. I didn't shake my head in disbelief. I just found everything overly funny. I think anger might have made for a better review but i'll do my best.

This series gets a lot of hate, and of course a lot of that comes from me, but there were actually parts of the book that I liked and thought were well written. Dante's character grew wonderfully and although tensions and the flirting was reminiscent of early Patch and therefore felt a little stale, I enjoyed it and the relationship between him and other characters. The idea of this book, and the entire series really, is good. It has great potential that is disappointingly never met and that is what compels me to keep reading (if you were wondering why I spent hard earned money and time on a series I hate); in the hope it improves.Four books in and unfortunately, nothing changed.

It feels like Fitzpatrick tried to surprise her readers over and over with plot twists that were noticable from a million miles away. If she had accepted the fact that her readers weren't oblivious, I think it would have been more enjoyable.

Vee will always a point of frustration for me, even more so than Nora (which is a LOT). Right from the first book I had huge hopes for her. She was fun, exciting and adventurous; the complete opposite of Nora, but she just..flopped. Fitzpatrick didn't do her justice and by the end of the book she was laughable. It's hard to explain without spoilers but Fitzpatrick, as always, took it too far and just made the whole situation a joke and the same goes for Detective Basso.

Basso is one of the most interesting characters in the series as he's set up to be mysterious and without fail i've questioned just what it is he's up to and the resolve of his character was a major letdown. He's explained in about 5 lines and it's just not good enough. That sums up the series for me. The interesting sections of the books were the ones that were brushed over and made to feel pathetic whereas the rest took the spotlight and failed miserably.

I don't regret finishing the series - at least Brianna and I had a good laugh about it along the way - but I can say with certainty that I wont be reading them again and I wouldn't recommend them either unless you feel like taking on a four-book series just to vent some frustration.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Wrap-Up | April

April was really poor for me regarding reading! With essays piling up around more and more stress than I care to remember, not much got read :/ Next month will be better, but it still didn't stop me from obtaining a HUGE book haul again! I've got problems.

1. Forgiven (Demon Trappers #3) - Jana Oliver
2. Doctor Who: Summer Falls - Amelia Williams
3. The Hero of 1000 Years - Christine. E. Schulze
4. Blood, Sweat and Tea - Tom Reynolds

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