Sunday 30 June 2013

Goodbye Google Reader!

Just a quick reminder that as of July 1st 2013 Google Reader will be no more! Fear not though, there are still many ways to follow me and they're all over there -----> on the right hand side!

Follow me on Bloglovin'
Bloglovin' is my favorite substitute so far although there's also Feedly which I haven't tried out yet. You can also follow me by email, the sign-up box is over there as is Linky -----> Of course, there's also Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads and Pinterest if you feel like being particularly stalkery :)

Most importantly though, don't lose all your favorite blogs and join Bloglovin' or something similar and import all your feeds. If a technophobe like me can manage that you definitely can!

Serenya's Song - Mysti Parker

Serenya's Song (Tallenmere #2) - Mysti Parker @Twitter
ISBN - 9781612353807
Publisher - Melange Books
Release date - April 2012
Find - Goodreads

'No one ever said love was easy...

Serenya Crowe may be a half-elf commoner, but she's no ordinary woman. With the ability to interpret dreams, and a birth defect that forces her to wear gloves, she's endured gossip and the cruelty of her husband, Sebastian, The Earl of Summerwind. All she's ever wanted is to live a quiet life and raise a family. When she meets the new stranger in town, her world and her heart, are turned upside down.

Wood-elf Jayden Ravenwing is an ex-secret agent who wants nothing more than to forget matters of the heart. He left the bustle of Leogard and his failed marriage to make a fresh start in Summerwind. He never planned to fall in love again, especially with the enchanting Serenya Crowe.

When a strange portal opens on the Crowe property, Jayden is thrown into an investigation, knowing that if he fails, Serenya and everyone in the town may die.

Together, he and Serenya must overcome an ancient evil, and their own inner demons, to save Summerwind and find the love they've always dreamed of.'
- Goodreads

Serenya's Song is the story of Jayden Ravenwing after he leaves Caliphany at the end of A Ranger's Tale and Serenya Crowe, daughter of an innkeeper, born with strange abilities including interpreting dreams and married to the Lord of the Manor & Earl of Summerwind, Sebastian Crowe.

Serenya and her father, Douglas, move to Summerwind after the terrifying events surrounding Serenya's birth. Her mother died in childbirth and when she was minutes old the village was attacked by unknown assailants. Unhappily married but still strangely drawn to her bully, abusive husband Serenya meets Jayden when she escapes her prison-like home late one night and literally crashes into him. On discovering that he is in Summerwind to get away from his past and that they share a passion for music the two become close. For Jayden it's love, even knowing that Serenya is married, but she can't and won't leave her husband, torn between the two men. Serenya is struggling with not knowing who she is beyond the fact that her mother, Alina, was a wood-elf. With no explanation as to why she has claws at the end of her fingers and constantly has to wear gloves so as not to frighten people, suffering horrific visions and, as the story progresses, developing an intense craving to feed on meat so strong she starts to wonder whether she is insane, a fact compounded by Sebastian who tells her that this is the case, she inherited this madness from her mother and that no-one must ever know or she'll be locked up in an asylum for the rest of her life. Add to this a mysterious elixir which, at first, Sebastian forces her to take, saying it will mask the effects of the madness and give her enough time to have a child. As this is the one thing she wants, a family of her own, Serenya is soon willingly taking the 'elixir and pushing aside her conflicting feelings for Jayden, her bewilderment about why she is still desperately attracted to her brutish husband, she battles on trying to be the Lady of the manor, strong, dependable and completely sane.

Serenya's Song is a completely different read to A Ranger's Tale but I enjoyed it just as much. Serenya is a completely contrast to Caliphany, having faced adversity one way or another all her life she is a much more well rounded character with more strength and depth to her. It was really nice to see Jayden in love, the right way, rather than loving someone who could never quite commit the way he wanted. There were lots of great new people in this one too, in particular a Paladin named Sir Robert who was such a fantastic character he gets his own book. The storyline, the plot and the writing all felt much stronger in Serenya's Song, as in her first book I find it heard to believe Ms Parker doesn't have a string of books out! It kept me turning the pages rapidly, there was never a dull moment and even in the action's downtime there was still enough going to completely hold your attention. The next instalment of Tallenmere, Hearts of Exile, is about Sir Robert (the Holy Paladin mentioned above) & his lost love, Loralee and is out now! Come payday I'll be buying it - even though by then the book ban will be in place...

A big thank you to Mysti Parker who provided me with a copy of Serenya's Song to review! As with the first book there are a lot of 'adult situations' so for readers aged 18+

Saturday 29 June 2013

Book Haul #31

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly event hosted on Tynga's Reviews and Letterbox Love is a UK edition hosted by Narratively Speaking. Here we can share what new books we've picked up this past week. There are also lots of other 'book haul' memes out there for you to choose from!

Well, this was going to be my last big splurge before starting the great book buying ban of 2013 and commencing Operation TBR but it didn't happen! Newly revised plans are to start the ban on July 7th, one last splurge next weekend whilst I'm away and Operation TBR will start as soon as I've finished this current batch of library books :)


In The After - Demtria Lunetta

Another Faust - Daniel & Dina Nayeri

Poison Apples - Lily Archer

Bought - Kindle

Living In The Dark - Rebekah Campbell

Autumn - Sierra Dean


Zombie Cat: Tale of a Decomposing Kitty - Isabel Atherton & Bethany Straker
Not a bad week, I managed to get Poison Apples, which has been on my wishlist for a long time, in a quirky bookshop near my sister's and Another Faust only cost me $1.50/£1 in a charity shop, not that I went in looking for books! It was meant to be a hunt for glass vases for flowers for a friends wedding.... A huge thanks to the lovely Kate for Zombie Cat, I won a copy on her blog and she has a picture book coming out in 2015 called Pierre the French Bulldog Recycles also illustrated by Bethany Straker. Zombie Cat is hilarious and in no way meant to be a picture book for children! I'm putting my copy away for double trouble to read when they're older.

What did you get this week?

Wednesday 26 June 2013

Waiting On Wednesday #31

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 -

Witchfall (Meg Lytton #2) Victoria Lamb @Twitter
ISBN - 9780552566186
Publisher - Corgi Childrens
Expected release date - July 4th 2013
Find - Book Depository/Goodreads

Here be spoilers, 'tis book two in a series!

'London, 1554. At the court of Mary Tudor, life is safe for no one. The jealous, embittered queen sees enemies all around her, and the infamous Spanish Inquisition holds the court in its merciless grip. But Meg Lytton has more reason to be afraid than most - for Meg is a witch, and exposure would mean certain death. Even more perilous, Meg is secretly betrothed to the young priest Alejandro de Castillo; a relationship which they must hide at all costs.

In the service of the queen's sister, Princess Elizabeth, Meg tries to use her powers to foretell her mistress's future. But when a spell goes terribly wrong, and Meg begins to have horrifying dreams, she fears she has released a dark spirit into the world, intent on harming her and those around her.'
- Goodreads

I cannot wait for this one! Having loved Witchstruck I am excited to see what happens next to Meg and Alejandro. Only eight days to go!

What's your WoW this week?

Tuesday 25 June 2013

Top Ten Tuesday #12

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely people at The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is -

Top Ten Books I've Read So Far In 2013

This actually ties in with a post I was going to write about my favorite books so far this year so wasn't exactly difficult to put together! Lots of already-talked-about-by-me books on this list! Game of Thrones is a bit of a cheat because it's been amongst my favorite books every year for quite a few years! Me Before You and The First Last Kiss are books that normally I wouldn't read but since my mum died I've been reading books like these two, both of which made it on to the list because they were incredibly sad and induced full-on sobbing... in public!

Bitter Greens - Kate Forsyth

Midwinterblood - Marcus Sedgwick

The Testing - Joelle Charbonneau

Golden - Jessi Kirby

Lover At Last - J R Ward

Dust and Decay - Jonathan Maberry

A Game of Thrones - George R R Martin

The Ocean At The End Of The Lane - Neil Gaiman

Me Before You - JoJo Moyes

The First Last Kiss - Ali Harris
Looking forward to seeing your Top Ten lists so far this year, leave me links!

Monday 24 June 2013

Reading RoundUp #27

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from!

A pretty good week in the end but I didn't go anywhere, didn't have anything to do and was internet free for a few days until the miraculous PC Pete came to visit! Best book read? Hands down, The Ocean At The End Of The Lane by Neil Gaiman. It was stunning, it was beautiful, it was amazing... I'm going to try and write a review for it but it will probably utterly fail to convey just how good this book is and/or may take weeks to pull my thoughts together.

This week I have completely lost track of what I was reading, not reading, starting or finishing! Bad I know... This is vaguely what was being read in the Bookish Outsider universe :)


Linked - Imogen Howson

Year of the Great Seventh - Teresa Orts

Wicked As They Come - Delilah S Dawson

The Crimson Shard - Teresa Flavin

The Ocean At The End Of The Lane - Neil Gaiman

Still reading

Oksa Pollock: The Last Hope - Anne Plichota & Cendrine Wolf

Ink - Amanda Sun

NOS4R2 - Joe Hill


Full Blooded - Amanda Carlson

Between Two Thorns - Emma Newman

The Apothecary - Maile Meloy

Up next

Viral Nation - Shaunta Grimes

The Shadow Lantern - Teresa Flavin

What's been read in your world recently?

Sunday 23 June 2013

Don't Look Back - S. B. Hayes

Don't Look Back - S. B. Hayes
ISBN - 9780857386816
Publisher - Quercus
Release date - March 28th 2013
Find - Book Depository/Goodreads

'Sinead has been taunted by her manipulative brother Patrick all her life. Now he is missing. But he hasn't stopped messing with her. Compelled to search for him by her overbearing mother, Sinead discovers a trail of sinister clues which she knows Patrick has left for her. They lead her to Benedict House: a place where time stands still and nothing is as it seems. There she meets James, who is also looking for answers about his troubled past. Together, James and Sinead will discover terrifying truths that will test them to the very limit. For Benedict House is not a place for the living, and Patrick will stop at nothing to bring them down...' 
- Goodreads

I actually picked this book up by accident, I was looking for Poison Heart by the same author but for some reason decided to get this instead! I'm glad I did though as this turned out to be one of those books that sticks with you. I'm not entirely sure how to categorize this one - it has elements of horror, a tinge of something supernatural with suspense, romance, mystery and even a bit of Greek mythology all rolled together.

Sinead is looking for her brother, Patrick, at the request of her mother because it's what she always does. Patrick is mentally ill and an addict... Ever since they were children he has lead and Sinead followed, solving clues that Patrick leaves along the way. This is the last time though, Sinead has had enough and wants to move on, have more time. This girl is obsessed with time, not having enough seconds, hours or minutes in the world to live her life which causes her no end of problems with her friends and family, all stemming from an childhood incident when she suffered an asthma attack and thought she was dying. Without giving anything away it turns out to be something far more sinister...

We're introduced to Harry, Sinead's best friend who is in love with her, and James, an arrogant Australian who turns out to be a key character - these are the two love interests which normally would bother me but because of Sinead's complete disinterest in Harry there isn't the classic 'love triangle' situation but there is probably what most people would call instalove between Sinead and James once the story moves to Benedict House, James' ancestral home, where we meet a peculiar nun called Sister Catherine who thinks of herself as a guardian for Benedict House and for James who offers Sinead answers and the chance to finally solve the disappearance of Patrick if she stays and works for fourteen days. 

This is where it all got a bit confusing for me. The story of Orpheus & Eurydice is introduced thanks to two statues found in the grounds, a vicious guard dog called Cerberus said to belong to James' father and somehow all ties in to the secrets that are being hidden by everyone at the house. The rest of the book is chilling, full of tension but I found it hard to connect with Sinead until the very last few pages and the really quite shocking ending! I would have liked to have known more about Sister Catherine, about Patrick & his relationship with Sinead and also more about the real story behind James & his seemingly complicated life. Overall I liked Don't Look Back but at times it was incredibly disjointed, the characters were hard to like at first - especially Sinead, mostly because of this obsession with time, it felt like she was brushing everyone off all the time and the highly antagonistic relationship with her mother didn't help.

I did really like Don't Look Back despite my misgivings, the writing was creepy and atmospheric, the idea was good and the writing was almost beautiful at points. It was just lacking that final something to tie it all  together but the ending did a good job of pulling me back in!

Saturday 22 June 2013

Book Haul #30

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly event hosted on Tynga's Reviews, In My Mailbox is a weekly event hosted by The Mod Podge Bookshelf and Letterbox Love is a UK edition hosted by Narratively Speaking. Here we can share what new books we've picked up this past week. There are also lots of other 'book haul' memes out there for you to choose from!

I got an awful lot of books this week... The only reason I don't feel guilty? Nearly all the books I received this week were from my monthly library drop or free! I managed to be fairly good and bought just four five six books. Daughter of Smoke & Bone was a complete impulse buy, especially as I already have the hardcover but Tesco (a UK supermarket chain) have released this and Days of Blood & Starlight in softcover with such pretty covers I couldn't resist! I really need to rein myself in though so from July 1st I'm starting a 'Read 50 of your own books before you buy any more' project, I will probably fail spectacularly but wish me luck!


Daughter Of Smoke & Bone - Laini Taylor

The False Prince - Jennifer A Nielsen

Rebel Hearts - Moira Young

Emilie & The Hollow World - Martha Wells

Magic: Anthology of Esoteric & Arcane - ed. Jonathan Oliver

One - Leigh Ann Kopans


After Eden - Helen Douglas

The Returned - Jason Mott

The Weight of Souls - Bryony Pearce

Library Haul

Bitter Seeds - Ian Tregillis

Royal Street - Suzanne Johnson

New Girl - Paige Harbison

Ragnarok - A S Byatt

Stormdancer - Jay Kristoff

Low Town: Straight Razor Cure - Daniel Polansky

The Mad Scientist's Daughter - Cassandra Rose Clarke

A Tale Dark & Grimm - Adam Gidwitz

The Panopticon - Jenni Fagan

Fade To Black - Francis Knight

The Apothecary - Maile Meloy

What did you all get this week?

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