GRAPHIC [those books I judged by the cover]

28 July 2014

Covers, whether we admit it or not, are one of the main factors affecting our purchase of a book, if we see an unappealing book in a library and you've never ever heard of it before, will you pick it up? If you do then it's out of curiosity, not attraction. Pretty and unique covers attract readers. Yes, it's not one of the only things that makes you pick a book up, there's the blurb, the title, whether you've heard of it before - there are many things. Here are a few books I have started reading without really knowing anything about the book [other than what the blurb has told me] because the cover piqued my interest.
NOTE: not all of these books I have bought, two were review books and only one I bought. But the idea is the same - I ended up owning them. Why? Because of the cover.
When I was first offered this to review, I had never heard of it before, So I inspected the cover, read the blurb on Goodreads, and accepted it. Not because I was completely enamored with the story-line, there was nothing wrong with it, but it wasn't amazing. Just - the cover.
THE DIVINERS by Libba Bray
I still haven't read this book, but when I bought it: the cover attracted me. I had a book voucher in my hand, I was stood in Waterstones, I had heard some good things about this book; but what made me buy it was the cover [let's hope I'm not disappointed by it.]
OH YEAH, AUDREY by Tucker Shaw
I was disappointed by this book. It fell flat for me, I felt there wasn't enough depth in the characters and the plot for me to really connect with it; and this was another cover buy request. 100%. I literally knew nothing about this book but I flew head over heels for the cover, and that was my downfall. [HEH, get it?]. Sometimes, pretty covers aren't always a good thing. Because they can hide an *ugly* inside and that is worse. Because I horde pretty covers; so even if I disliked the story, I will keep it on my bookshelf BECAUSE THAT COVER I CAN'T RELINQUISH IT.
What books have you read based on the cover? Did you enjoy them?

[never again] review: only ever yours by louise o'neill

24 July 2014

Title: Only Ever Yours
Author: Louise O'Neill
Publisher: Quercus
Publication Date: July 3rd 2014
Source: For Review
Find: Goodreads || Amazon
Summary: In a world in which baby girls are no longer born naturally, women are bred in schools, trained in the arts of pleasing men until they are ready for the outside world. At graduation, the most highly rated girls become “companions”, permitted to live with their husbands and breed sons until they are no longer useful.
For the girls left behind, the future – as a concubine or a teacher – is grim.
Best friends Freida and Isabel are sure they’ll be chosen as companions – they are among the most highly rated girls in their year.
But as the intensity of final year takes hold, Isabel does the unthinkable and starts to put on weight. ..
And then, into this sealed female environment, the boys arrive, eager to choose a bride.
Freida must fight for her future – even if it means betraying the only friend, the only love, she has ever known…
once upon a time i read a book full of rainbows and sunshine, a book that made me smile and laugh and cry happy tears. this was not that book. once upon a time there was book spilling with twists and turns, paranoia, heart break and pain and worry and stress and the dark dark gloom of a life without hope or light. i just read that book.
i don't know. i just don't know anymore. it has been one minute and thirty seconds since i finished only ever yours and i am currently wondering aimlessly around the house trying to dispel the darkness from my veins and the chills that are creeping up my neck. because i am still in the world of frieda and isabel. i am still banging banging bleeding. trapped. i will not cry. i give myself up. and none of this will make sense to you if you have not read this book but i can tell you this: louise o'neill's prose will have no qualms in drawing you utterly and completely into this place, this world of  horrors. it will make you react to things emotionally and physically and mentally. in all seriousness, at times i honestly felt like vomiting as an answer to the impulse of feelings this book conjured up within me. her writing is chilling, jarring and brutal and sharp. she carves with a knife and only ever yours will leave an imprint in your mind for a long long time afterwards.
only ever yours? you are raw and powerful, painful and gripping and you are overflowing with a hidden emotion that will transfer onto your readers and smother them totally. you are honest and upfront and i will never read you ever again. but i will remember you forever.
Huge thanks to Quercus for sending me a copy of this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

[crown me] review: the queen of the tearling

20 July 2014

Title: The Queen of the Tearling
Author: Erika Johansen
Publisher: Bantam Press
Publication Date: July 17th 2014
Pages: 380
Source: For Review*
Format: ARC
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fairytale-esque.
Find: amazon || goodreads || the book depository
Summary: Kelsea Glynn is the sole heir to the throne of Tearling but has been raised in secret by foster parents after her mother - Queen Elyssa, as vain as she was stupid - was murdered for ruining her kingdom. For 18 years, the Tearling has been ruled by Kelsea's uncle in the role of Regent however he is but the debauched puppet of the Red Queen, the sorceress-tyrant of neighbouring realm of Mortmesme. On Kelsea's 19th birthday, the tattered remnants of her mother's guard - each pledged to defend the queen to the death - arrive to bring this most un-regal young woman out of hiding...
And so begins her journey back to her kingdom's heart, to claim the throne, earn the loyalty of her people, overturn her mother's legacy and redeem the Tearling from the forces of corruption and dark magic that are threatening to destroy it. But Kelsea's story is not just about her learning the true nature of her inheritance - it's about a heroine who must learn to acknowledge and live with the realities of coming of age in all its insecurities and attractions, alongside the ethical dilemmas of ruling justly and fairly while simply trying to stay alive...-goodreads
The Queen of the Tearling's plot is one that I love to read. No matter how many times I get offered something like this; I will say yes. This may have something to do with the fact that the first book I read with a similar story-line remains one of my favourite books of all time: The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale - or it may be because I love fairytale-esque books. No matter what the reason, I jumped at the chance to review this book and I don't regret it in the least. Before accepting, I searched it on goodreads and had a quick look at the ratings from reviewers who had already read this. Let's just say the findings were not in the least bit favorable from many of the ones that I saw. Nevertheless I accepted anyway.
I found The Queen of the Tearling to be an enjoyable read, it absorbed me from the first couple of pages and I read the whole thing in two nights, (NOT easy fete as the book is a hefty brick with very, very large chapters.) The characters were likeable, the plot was strong and extremely enjoyable, the writing was descriptive enough to satisfy me. Only one thing stood out amongst the reams of words that I really disliked.
At first glance the book looks like a fairy-tale type story: princesses, re-claiming crowns, fantasy. So when i first came across the swearing I literally jumped in my chair. It was like coming across little pebbles in your cake: not welcome, and completely out of place. The language was too crude and modern to fit in the book and not stand out. I have had swearing come up in other fairy-tales, but for the most part I didn't mind as it wasn't the day to day swearing you hear around you. It was made-up, ''foul'' language to fit the characters and the book. I would have been okay with that., but in this book there wasn't. And I didn't like that part at all. There wer also some other references to the modern-day world that we live in that did not fit in with the perception I had of this being being medieval sort of fairy-tale. However, a lot of well-known references to books made-well in the story, without being to obvious to stand out.
The characters were all very different, in that some were too stereotypical to be classed as 'original', and others were altogether very intriguing indeed. Such as The Fetch, who became my favourite character at the start of the book, and stayed that way all through to the end. One thing that surprised me was the lack of romance. Usually I love books without much romance as they are a breath of fresh air from the typical love-interests that revolve around the plot. This book, i think, would have benefited from some romance, as the action and plot twists were fairly limited so it would have added a bit more interest to the book.
Overall, I thought The Queen of the Tearling was a promising book and I can't wait to read the next. Think assassins, murder-plots, evil queen versus good queen and some surprising elements that will bring a lot to the book and will make you stay reading until the very last page. My rating: 
*thank you to the publishers for sending me this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

[a trial to read] DNF review: trial by fire

15 July 2014

Title: Trial by Fire
Author: Josephine Angelini
Series: The Worldwalker Trilogy #1
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Publication Date: August 28th 2014
Source/Format: For Review/ARC

Summary: Love burns. Worlds collide. Magic reigns.

This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying many of the experiences that other teenagers take for granted...which is why she is determined to enjoy her first (and perhaps only) high-school party. But Lily's life never goes according to plan, and after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class Lily wishes she could just disappear.

Suddenly Lily is in a different Salem - one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruellest of all the Crucibles is Lillian . . . Lily's identical other self in this alternate universe. This new version of her world is terrifyingly sensual, and Lily is soon overwhelmed by new experiences. Lily realizes that what makes her weak at home is exactly what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. It also puts her life in danger. Thrown into a world she doesn't understand, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can't hope to shoulder alone, and a love she never expected.

But how can Lily be the saviour of this world when she is literally her own worst enemy? -goodreads
When I first heard about this book I was slightly dubious. I had never read any of Josephine Angelini's books before so I couldn't make judgement; so I checked on Goodreads - and after seeing all the hyper fangirling going on I was like this:
-then when I started reading I was, let's say, a *little disappointed*, why? the teenage *activities* going on...
The writing you ask, what about the writing? Mediocre, I will say. A tad dry. A little like stale bread left in the open for a week.
Five chapters in I gave up. I am not normally that person that gives up so early but this book just made me sigh:
So my overall thoughts? I can't make a complete opinion as I didn't finish the book but, well, look above. Other than that?
While I obviously, did not love this book, I just wanted to make sure I point out that I do not think everyone will feel the same way about this book. I have never done a DNF review before purely because of this and the fact that I always feel bad afterwards saying something negative about a book. Because books take time and effort and stress and hard work to write, I know that, I've tried [and failed] to write many books. So it never seems completely ok for me to write a DNF review for a book an author has obviously tried very hard to create. Hence the lack of DNF posts. But, I decided I would start:
a] Because some people think I read every single book I pick start and never DNF. NOT TRUE!
b] I'm going to make them less wordy and more visual [any excuse to add gifs.] to add humour and show that while I did not love the book, I am not bashing it and being a horrible person towards the author, I appreciate that they have laboured over the writing of their book, I personally did not love it, but I am sure others will, I know others will - I've seen the reviews.

[waiting for my phone call] review: landline by rainbow rowell

10 July 2014

title: landline
author: rainbow rowell
publisher: orion
publication date: July 31st 2014
pages: 320
source // format: for review, ARC
find: amazon || goodreads || the book depository
summary: georgie mccool knows her marriage is in trouble. that it’s been in trouble for a long time. she still loves her husband, neal, and neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems besides the point now.
maybe that was always besides the point.
two days before they’re supposed to visit neal’s family in omaha for christmas, georgie tells neal that she can’t go. she’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in los ageles. she knows that neal will be upset with her — neal is always a little upset with georgie — but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her.
when her husband and the kids leave for the airport, georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. if she’s ruined everything.
that night, georgie discovers a way to communicate with neal in the past. tt’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts . . .
is that what she’s supposed to do?
or would georgie and neal be better off if their marriage never happened?. -goodreads
like a cupcake with beautiful icing, and a soft and sweet inside; i can't say enough good things about landline to successfully sum up my feelings. rainbow rowell captured my expectations and flew them to the moon and back with her unique dialogue, exquisite characters and her plot that swept me away from the first page. this book was poignant, powerful and perfect, a blend of pathos and humor that i devoured in one sitting. literally. when it dropped into my porch i pressed pause on my life, sat down and read it without once looking up. landline was different to rainbow rowell's other novels in the best possible way. it's probably my favourite out of all her books even though as you can see in my fangirl review, i loved that one to death. this book could have been corny, the whole book could have been terrible because of its huge scope for the dialogue to be corny, the plot to be corny. however. it wasn't. rainbow rowell takes love to another level in landline. she explores the many shades of love with a depth and freshness that makes it a delight to read. it is a hard task to tear yourself away from this book because of its utter awesomeness. this book made me stare at the wall long after it had finished, trying to absorb the sheer magnificence of it. and this book re-instated my adoration for rainbow rowell's writing capabilities. she weaves words into a seamless cloth of realistic, funny, raw moments that are able to touch the heart of her readers in such a way that they feel as if they are the characters. as if they are set withing the pages of the book and not on the outside looking in. landline will make you smile, laugh, and tear up at times. it is the perfect book to accompany you anywhere and everywhere and will stay one of my favourite books forever and always. if landline was a person, i'd hug it to death. rating: 
huge thanks to gaby from orion for sending me a proof copy for review purposes. 


05 July 2014

One of my favourite fantasy books I have read this past year has been The Night Circus. It is without a doubt one of the most complex and intriguing novels to ever land on my TBR pile and I am so so glad Ruby book-pushed it enough for me to take note and investigate. It may look hefty [well, it is], but so are half the Harry Potter books and you read those didn't you? Give it a try.
For those of you who love intrigue, enchantment, dreams mixed with reality, or just reality? or just dreams? For those of you who love romance and a strong plot interweaved with many fascinating characters. This one's for you. And even if you just thing the cover is beautiful, high five those eyes because they're right. Then find and read a copy. What harm can it do? Because in the world of The Night Circus, everything is possible: you may think you will hate it, but how do you know until you try.

[capture that heart] review: the winner's curse by marie rutkoski

01 July 2014

Series: The Winner's Trilogy #1
Title: The Winner's Curse
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books
Publication Date: March 4th 2014
Format // Source: Finished Copy, For Review
Find: Amazon || Goodreads
Summary: Winning what you want may cost you everything you love.
As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions. One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction.
Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.
Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart. -goodreads
After all the hype surrounding this book I was extremely dubious to try The Winner's Curse, less so because I thought it wouldn't be good; the main reason being whether my expectations would be fulfilled and I would come out of the book feeling even more disappointed than if I hadn't managed to get my hands on it in the first place, because I did want to own it: look at that cover. But oh my goodness this book was amazing. The fact that I stayed up all night to finish it in one sitting dubs it one of the best books I've read in 2014 - I only stay up all night reading five star books, and this was a five star book for definite. It was just after midnight when I finished it, the first word that sprang to mind was a variation of a swear word, I sat there for a good ten minutes staring at the book, then I let myself collapse onto my pillow and close my eyes to let my inner emotions explode like fireworks. The ending was a killer. Rutkoski's way of writing was like nutrients to a growing plant; expanding the story and the characters in every dimension and the intricately crafted plot clung to my like a spider's web. I honestly did not want this book to end.
Finally, finally, a book interweaving a romance that did not annoy me, a romance that did not blossom over night, after a few minutes, or even a few days: Kestrel and Arin's relationship was a carriage bumping over potholes, jolting over ruts and occasionally, sailing smoothly over flat ground; but never for very long. The spark that kindled between them was never given the chance to ignite fully and flame, their responsibilities held them back and that was what made this book so refreshingly different: both characters made sure that their heart never fully ruled their head - their mind was always in the game and with their lives both being full of turmoil, overshadowed by war and personal goals; their desires never ran free.
The characters were not your average YA heroines/heroes, Kestrel wasn't the typical bold, strong-willed, ruthless and driven protagonist - but she wasn't weak either. She was tactical, cunning, thoughtful and driven when she saw fit. She knows she isn't the best at fighting, but even her father understands her eye for detail when coming up with a plan.
This is the type of fantasy I would read every day if I could. The Winner's Curse soared above my expectations with ease and pounded at the door to my heart with it's smoldering romance, well-paced plot and characters you cannot help but root for all the way, whatever path they may choose to follow. Think sword fights, sleek dresses, rising war and a plot that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end - when your emotions hit you with one punch and you fall off your chair onto the floor; because the ending will do that to you. It will. 
Thank you a hundred times over to the lovely publicists at Bloomsbury for sending me a copy free of charge in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. I need the next book now. A gif to sum up my feelings for this book.