Saturday, 24 January 2015

Book Haul #98 - The Library/Birthday Edition

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly event hosted on Tynga's Reviews where we can share what new books we've picked up this past week be they bought, borrowed or downloaded. There are also lots of other 'book haul' memes out there for you to choose from!

It's my birthday! And I've received no books :( I've not bought any books either so... Thankfully it was library day this week so I have a nice shiny stack of library books and a couple of review titles I've been wanting to read :) I got quite a bit of birthday money but instead of splurging I'm using some to renew my passport, can't believe how expensive it is! Off out for lunch later, and a special birthday dinner tonight - one where I don't have to clean up afterwards!


No Man's World - Pat Kelleher
The Last Leaves Falling - Sarah Benwell

Library Haul

Angels of Destruction - Keith Donohue
Deep Blue - Jennifer Donnelly
The Ghosts of Heaven - Marcus Sedgwick
Hard Magic - Laura Anne Gilman
The Secrets of Life & Death - Rebecca Alexander
Tribute - Ellen Renner

The Evolution of Mara Dyer - Michelle Hodkin
The Retribution of Mara Dyer - Michelle Hodkin
Circus of the Unseen - Joanne Owen
Rooftoppers - Katherine Rundell
Florence & Giles - John Harding
The Last Wild - Piers Torday

Friday, 23 January 2015

The Boy in the Cemetery - Sebastian Gregory

The Boy in the Cemetery - Sebastian Gregory
Publisher - Carina
Release date - October 29 2014
Find - Goodreads

This is the story of a girl who didn’t want to live...

Carrie Anne is desperately unhappy. Tangled in a web of abuse, she seeks solace in the cemetery that backs onto her garden. But something creeps between the gravestones. Carrie Anne is not alone

...and a boy who cannot die.

The cemetery is home to a boy. He has guarded these forgotten bones since meeting a gruesome end two hundred years ago. Neither dead nor alive, he has been watching for a long time. And now, he finally has the visitor he’s been waiting for...

Before I say anything about The Boy in the Cemetery I think it's important to point out that this book is about a main character who is abused, mentally & physically by her parents. If that is any way hard for you to read about (the abuse is off-page for the most part but talked about) then I would suggest avoiding The Boy in the Cemetery.

The story of Boy starts off badly and doesn't get much better, losing first his mother whom he regards as an angel and then his abusive father after a grave-robbing incident gone wrong, Boy finds a new home in a cemetery. He never leaves... Fast forward 200 years and Carrie Anne arrives, withdrawn and quiet, drawn to the very cemetery where Boy has been standing guard for the last two centuries and you could say all hell breaks loose!

The Boy in the Cemetery intrigued me as soon as I read the synopsis, it's the sort of book that makes you feel like you're watching a Tim Burton movie. The overall tone of the whole book is so very dark but there are moments of hope and some touching interactions between Boy and Carrie Anne that lighten the book. What really made the book for me though was Sebastian Gregory's writing. It was beautiful, lyrical and descriptive to the point I could 'see' everything. It's rare that I get so immersed in a book (and a short one at that, Boy in the Cemetery is a scant 120 pages) that by the the time I turn the last page I feel like I've lived through the book

There's a deep seated need for revenge on Boy's part and meeting Carrie Anne gives him the perfect canvas to do so. Without giving spoilers away let's just say that everyone who wrongs Carrie Anne is punished in one fashion or another without a second thought. The only thing that took me completely by surprise was the ending, I was not expecting what happened at all. Looking back now though it was probably the only realistic ending for both Boy & Carrie Anne, obviously the law in the 21st century is far more efficient than it was in Boy's time (except it would appear, in Carrie Anne's case, serious child abuse and the fact that the family were able to move away without any consequence). I feel sad that there was no happy ending, no fairy godmother to wave a magic wand. maybe it was inevitable that things would end this way, from the moment Boy became more in the cemetery centuries ago.

Thank you to Carina, via Netgalley, for providing me with a copy of The Boy in the Cemetery!

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Waiting On Wednesday #105 - Voyage of the Basilisk

Waiting On Wednesday, where we put the spotlight on upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating, is hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine.

This week's choice is -

Voyage of the Basilisk (Lady Trent's Memoirs #3) - Marie Brennan
ISBN - 9780765331984
Publisher - Tor
Expected release date - March 1 2015

'Devoted readers of Lady Trent’s earlier memoirs, A Natural History of Dragons and The Tropic of Serpents, may believe themselves already acquainted with the particulars of her historic voyage aboard the Royal Survey Ship Basilisk, but the true story of that illuminating, harrowing, and scandalous journey has never been revealed - until now. Six years after her perilous exploits in Eriga, Isabella embarks on her most ambitious expedition yet: a two-year trip around the world to study all manner of dragons in every place they might be found. From feathered serpents sunning themselves in the ruins of a fallen civilization to the mighty sea serpents of the tropics, these creatures are a source of both endless fascination and frequent peril. Accompanying her is not only her young son, Jake, but a chivalrous foreign archaeologist whose interests converge with Isabella’s in ways both professional and personal.

Science is, of course, the primary objective of the voyage, but Isabella’s life is rarely so simple. She must cope with storms, shipwrecks, intrigue, and warfare, even as she makes a discovery that offers a revolutionary new insight into the ancient history of dragons.
- Goodreads

This should be fairly self-explanatory! I love Marie Brennan's writing and the Lady Trent Memoirs are some of my most favorite books. I'm beyond excited that there is a third 'memoir' coming and can't wait to get my hands on a copy although I could have passed away quietly when pre-ordering as it's one of the most expensive books I've bought for a while.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Top Ten Tuesday #79 - Books To Read For My Fairy Tale Challenge!

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the fabulous gals cover at The Broke & The Bookish. This week's topic is -


Therefore I have decided to do -

Retellings To Read For My Fairy Tale Challenge

And I expect everyone is now either rolling their eyes and/or thinking 'how predictable'!!! Well, I'm treating this week's TTT as an organizational post. In view of the fact we are almost through the first month of the year yet I still haven't read any fairy tale retellings yet this year and my goal for this challenge is 21 to 25 books (second highest level, I'd really like to go for the highest...) I'm getting into gear and also hoping that you may have suggestions for me that aren't on my list - especially adult retellings. I seem to have dozens of YA suggestions but not many adult that I haven't already read. I'm also hoping that a re-read of a couple of Juliet Marillier's books will boost that number! And of course, they all have to be books I own, or can borrow from the library...

Monday, 19 January 2015

Cover Reveal: Hidden Huntress by Danielle Jensen!

Angry Robot are back and not only are they back, they're back with the sequel to one of my favorite books of last year! I adored Stolen Songbird so I'm excited I get to share the cover reveal with you all! Without further delay, here's Hidden Huntress!

Hidden Huntress - Danielle L Jensen
Publisher - Angry Robot
Release date - June 2 2015

Sometimes, one must accomplish the impossible.

Beneath the mountain, the king’s reign of tyranny is absolute; the one troll with the capacity to challenge him is imprisoned for treason. Cécile has escaped the darkness of Trollus, but she learns all too quickly that she is not beyond the reach of the king’s power. Or his manipulation.

Recovered from her injuries, she now lives with her mother in Trianon and graces the opera stage every night. But by day she searches for the witch who has eluded the trolls for five hundred years. Whether she succeeds or fails, the costs to those she cares about will be high.

To find Anushka, she must delve into magic that is both dark and deadly. But the witch is a clever creature. And Cécile might not just be the hunter. She might also be the hunted…

The Bone Season - Samantha Shannon

The Bone Season - Samantha Shannon
ISBN - 9781408836422 (Hardcover) 
            9781408836453 (Paperback)
Publisher - Bloomsbury
Release date - Out now

'It is the year 2059. Several major world cities are under the control of a security force called Scion. Paige Mahoney works in the criminal underworld of Scion London, part of a secret cell known as the Seven Seals. The work she does is unusual: scouting for information by breaking into others’ minds. Paige is a dreamwalker, a rare kind of clairvoyant, and in this world, the voyants commit treason simply by breathing.

But when Paige is captured and arrested, she encounters a power more sinister even than Scion. The voyant prison is a separate city - Oxford, erased from the map two centuries ago and now controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. These creatures, the Rephaim, value the voyants highly - as soldiers in their army.

Paige is assigned to a Rephaite keeper, Warden, who will be in charge of her care and training. He is her master. Her natural enemy. But if she wants to regain her freedom, Paige will have to learn something of his mind and his own mysterious motives.'

The Bone Season introduces a compelling heroine - a young woman learning to harness her powers in a world where everything has been taken from her. It also introduces an extraordinary young writer, with huge ambition and a teeming imagination. Samantha Shannon has created a bold new reality in this riveting debut.
- Goodreads

I read The Bone Season shortly after it came out. I went to an event where Samantha was talking about the book along with its planned (six!) sequels and I knew I had to read it. I went home that night, started the book, finished it about 24 hours later but even though I completely fell in love with Paige, Nick, Warden, London, Oxford and Samantha's writing I just couldn't write a review. A draft sat in my dashboard for months until I deleted it earlier this year. I cheekily decided to request The Mime Order and somehow (despite my appalling percentage on there!) I was approved, promptly started reading The Bone Season again and this time had a completely different reading experience. And the same reviewing experience, this has been sitting for nearly two months now..

So what makes The Bone Season so difficult for me to review? I honestly have no idea. I love Samantha's writing, it doesn't feel like first book writing if that makes any sense? And her characters? Are fantastically written and alive, to me anyway. I wanted to get to know all of them, even the bad ones. The Bone Season has been marketed as an adult novel but I can certainly see why there is so much YA appeal. There is stunning, meticulous world-building, slang and vocabulary you won't have heard of anywhere else and a raft of ideas that I've not really seen woven together anywhere else.

I love that Paige's world is our world essentially, what our world could be, what our world might be if you consider the possibilities of the alternate timeline. I spent my late teens and most of my twenties living in London and Oxford so it was fun to read these alternative pictures of them and imagine what it would have been like with Voyants, the Scion Guard and the threat of death or being locked up hanging over your head if you even show a tiny bit of talent.

Paige is probably one of my favorite characters, just as well really, living and working in London for one of the Mime Lords (Jax, not one of my favorites) whilst still finding time to visit her father. It's on one such visit that she is captured and delivered to the Rephaim, prized because of her (so far) unique talent and handed over to Warden, one of the Rephaite Keepers. From the start though, her relationship with Warden is not what she expects or what we expect from the story and although he is at times cruel you can see the bond between them growing. Paige is headstrong, stubborn and independent and of course not going to settle for being locked up in Oxford with her life being threatened every day, either by other voyants or the humans living & working as Rephaite slaves. She is determined to get out of there, soon, and take as many people possible with her. First though she has to deal with a bigger threat than the Rephaim, a race called the Emim. This is why the Rephaim use the voyants and why the Scion government is only too happy to keep sending them so that the Emim don't become more of a threat.

The action starts on page one and really doesn't let off until the last page, an awful lot happens, people die (or go missing) so don't get particularly attached to anyone because you just never know! By the end of The Bone Season some of the most beloved characters are nowhere to be found, with no-one knowing if they're dead or alive. Definitely worth a read for an amazing futuristic fantasy but also completely understandable why people either seem to love it or hate it, it's a long book for some at 466 pages and there is an awful lot to take in - between the history, the different voyants, the language, you're always learning something new especially in the first half of the book but that was part of the appeal for me. If someone was writing my perfect book, tailored to what I love? I suspect it would look an awful like The Bone Season. And on that note, I'll finish. I get the feeling this is going to be the most rambling of my reviews... Coming soon, The Mime Order!

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Book Haul #97

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly event hosted on Tynga's Reviews where we can share what new books we've picked up this past week be they bought, borrowed or downloaded. There are also lots of other 'book haul' memes out there for you to choose from!

Seventeen days! That's how long I have gone without buying a book, this must be a new world record for me... I think my postman is worried I've had some sort of breakdown because he knocks on the door even though there's not a prolific amount of parcels to hand over! I forgot Ensnared was out this week so was very happy when that was the one new book that arrived, the good thing about pre-ordering from Book Depository is that you pay at the time of ordering so this was paid for last year and doesn't count! More great review books this week, mainly because a lot of publishers seem to be checking out requests that have been in weeks (or months in a couple of cases) and saying yes!

Next Saturday is my birthday so if I'm going to slip it will be then, especially knowing that I'll have birthday money!


 Review - Netgalley/Edelweiss/Publisher

Conspiracy Girl - Sarah Alderson
The Death House - Sarah Pinborough
Flex - Ferrett Steinmetz
A Reunion of Ghosts - Judith Claire Mitchell

The Pocket Wife - Susan Crawford
The Damned - Andrew Pyper 
Normal - Graeme Cameron
The Uninvited - Cat Winters

Blackout (Annum Guard #2) - Meredith McCardle
The Eighth Guardian (Annum Guard #1) - Meredith McCardle
The Creeping - Alexandra Sirowy
Dead To Me - Mary McCoy
The Fire Sermon - Francesca Haig
Invasion of the Tearling - Erika Johansen
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