Saturday 31 May 2014

Clean Sweep ARC Challenge 2014 Results Post

My out-of-control ARC pile was dangerously large so I signed up to take part in the month long Clean Sweep ARC Challenge, hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer & Angela's Anxious Life. I didn't set out to read a certain number of ARC's or make a definite list because I always up reading little/none of what I intend to read! This worked well as I managed quite a few ARC's, admittedly some were for blog tours but that just meant I was reading them earlier than I normally plan to. I'm also sure I could have managed to read quite a few more than I did but there were so many good books calling my name this month. Here's a final list of what I did read with links to reviews on here or Goodreads.

Now, if I could just figure out a better way of organizing my ARC's I wouldn't get quite so snowed under. Looking forward to Netgalley November later on in the year though!

Jumping Genres In June Giveaway!

Welcome to the Jumping Genres in June Giveaway hosted by Valerie of Stuck In Books!  The purpose of this hop is to give away a book that is in a genre you don't typically read, only thing is I'm a pretty eclectic reader and read most genres (even romance occasionally!) so what I decided to do is offer up the chance to win a book from one of two genres I don't read very often, Contemporary and Romance. So, up for grabs is one YA or Adult book of your choice but must be either a Romance or Contemporary novel, up to the value of $15 from the Book Depository providing you live in a country that they ship to - find the list of countries here. The hop runs from now through until midnight on June 14th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the list below for all the other blogs taking part, thanks for entering and good luck!

Book Haul #79

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!

Another good week, just two books in the mail! And only three books for review but one of them? Eeek! I can't believe my WoW choice this week popped up on Edelweiss the next day and of course I was going to download it :) And I got approved for Glimpse! I'm rather obsessed by the story of the Highwayman's Daughter, absolutely love the song version by Loreena McKennitt too, so I'm excited to read Kendra's re-imagining of the tale! Over the next few weeks my book haul posts should be fairly non-existent, I'm saving like mad for YALC in July and LonCon in August so I'm determined to cut down my book buying for at least a couple of months. It's not like I don't have thousands of books to keep me going...


Blackfin Sky | City of Heavenly Fire

A Thousand Pieces of You | Falling Into Place | Glimpse

Friday 30 May 2014

Blog Tour Review: Branded by Abi Ketner & Missy Kalicicki

Branded (A Sinners Series #1) - Abi Ketner & Missy Kalicicki

Fifty years ago the Commander came into power and murdered all who opposed him. In his warped mind, the seven deadly sins were the downfall of society. He created the Hole where sinners are branded according to their sins and might survive a few years. At best.
Now LUST wraps around my neck like blue fingers strangling me. I’ve been accused of a crime I didn’t commit and now the Hole is my new home.

Darkness. Death. Violence. Pain.

Now every day is a fight for survival. But I won’t die. I won’t let them win.

The Hole can’t keep me. The Hole can’t break me.
I am more than my brand. I’m a fighter.
My name is Lexi Hamilton, and this is my story.

I was contacted by the authors and asked if I'd be interested in reviewing Branded, as I already had Branded on my wishlist naturally I said yes as I loved the premise of the book and it sounded like something I would love.

Branded is the story of Lexi Hamilton and her fight to survive in a compound known as the Hole after being falsely accused of lust. In this Dystopian society when people sin they are branded with whatever color their sin is represented by, literally branded around their neck like a tattoo, in Lexi's case her brand is blue for lust but from the very beginning Lexi protests her innocence. Once in the Hole she is handed over to Cole, a young guard in the Commander's forces who comes with a sidekick, Zeus the Great Dane. Luckily for Lexi Cole isn't like the other guards who are cruel, vicious and wouldn't hesitate to take advantage of Lexi given that her sin is Lust and most others in the same situation work as prostitutes.

Sent to work in the hospital as a nursing assistant she meets Sutton, a doctor who is obviously connected to Lexi in some way given that he seems to know far too much about her. Escorted to and from the hospital by Cole and living together means they become close quite quickly, their relationship rapidly develops into something far beyond guard & sinner and in amongst all the action is the story of Lexi and Cole trying (and failing) not to act on their respective feelings. 

The main theme of the book seems to be romance, with a Dystopian twist, which is fine if you like your books heavy on the romance side but I wanted to know more about their society, how it worked and more about the Seven Deadly Sins. The action in Branded is virtually non-stop, almost from the beginning of the book. Lexi is an easy target, both for other Sinners and the guards, and they spend most of their time either running or hiding. Things get interesting when the character of Bruno is introduced and she starts learning self-defence which comes in handy in the second half of the book when her training becomes far more intensive. I really wanted to like Lexi but I found it really hard, on one hand I felt awful at everything she'd gone through previous to landing in the Hole but sometimes her behavior made me want to scream! She veered between victim and heroine frequently, she thought nothing of ignoring warnings about not doing things/going places she's not meant to but fell apart when faced with the consequences.

Cole is still as much a mystery at the end of the book as he is at the start, we don't really get to know much about him beyond the fact that he's a guard, he still has some faith left in humanity  and he has a great dog! I'm hoping we maybe get to hear more about Cole's life in another book as it really would flesh out things out knowing even just a little of his back-story. Hands down the best character in the book though was Cole's dog, Zeus the Great Dane and from someone who is not a huge dog fan that's saying something! Zeus brought something else to the book, a little bit of humor (I fear for any more pillows/sheets/blankets, he seems to have a thing for shredding bedlinen!) and after a while becomes fiercely protective of Lexi, a good thing as sometimes she needs all the protection she can get!

Overall I did like Branded but I was left wanting more by the end of the book, more detail, more insight into the characters and more depth. I'm glad I read it and I will definitely look out for the second book in the series which is apparently going to feature Lexi's brother Keegan more prominently. He was another character I wasn't sure if I liked or not so I'm intrigued to read more about him. 

Buy Branded - Amazon US | Amazon UK | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

Many thanks to the authors for providing me with an e-ARC for review!

Wednesday 28 May 2014

Waiting On Wednesday #78 - A Thousand Pieces of You

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 -

A Thousand Pieces of You - Claudia Gray
ISBN - 9780062278968
Publisher - Harper Teen
Expected release date - November 4th 2014
Find - Goodreads/Book Depository

Every Day meets Cloud Atlas in this heart-racing, space- and time-bending, epic new trilogy from New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray.

'Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.'

A Thousand Pieces of You explores a reality where we witness the countless other lives we might lead in an amazingly intricate multiverse, and ask whether, amid infinite possibilities, one love can endure.
- Goodreads

Look at that cover! I think I would probably pick this up just for the cover but add in comparisons to Every Day and Could Atlas, I'm sold. Who do I have to maim to get hold of this? Just kidding...

Tuesday 27 May 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #55 - Freebie Day!

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely people at The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is a topic of your choice so I chose my favorite female authors! And, because it's a freebie this week, I'm throwing the rules out of the window and you get some bonus answers too :) This is a fairly comprehensive list of either my favorite book or the first book I read by them. It's a list female authors who have written books that I've fallen in love with and have become auto-buy authors. I'm sure I've missed some off the list that should be startlingly obvious but I cannot think of who they are!

Top Fifteen Favorite Female Authors

Margaret Atwood | Juliet Marillier | Kate Forsyth

Jo Walton | Frances Hardinge | Freda Warrington

Patricia McKillip | Robin Hobb | Susan Cooper

Ursula Le Guin | Catherynne Valente | Cherie Priest

Elizabeth Bear | Kim Harrison | Marianne de Pierres

Saturday 24 May 2014

Book Haul #78

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!

What a great week! I was really good this week and only bought one book, there are two in the picture though as I forgot to add House of the Rising Sun last week! I also put in a cheeky request for two books on Netgalley/Edelweiss and got approved, cue much happy squealing! I'm away this weekend as it's my sister's birthday (she's 40 on Monday!!! But you didn't hear that from me...) so probably not a lot of time for reading but I will get to spend time with my favorite four year olds!


The Quick | House of the Rising Sun
Library Haul

End of the Road | The Naturals | Leviathan Wakes

She is Not Invisible | The Golem & the Jinni | Dark Inside

The Society of Thirteen | The Considine Curse | The Thornthwaite Inheritance

Now You See Me | Trouble | We Were Liars


Winterspell | Unwept | The Mirror Empire

The Bullet-Catcher's Daughter | Crushed | Delete

Friday 23 May 2014

Cover Reveal & Giveaway: Predator by Janice Gable Bashman

Welcome to the Cover Reveal for

PREDATOR by Janice Gable Bashman

presented by Month9Books!
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!
"Predator is a fast-paced, creepy page-turner! Bashman had me at the opening sentence and she's still got me. I want more!"
Nancy Holder, New York Times Bestselling Author, The Rules
The hunt is on!

Sixteen-year-old Bree Sunderland must inject herself with an untested version of her father’s gene therapy to become a werewolf in order to stop a corrupt group of mercenaries from creating a team of unstoppable lycanthrope soldiers.

When Bree went with her scientist father to Ireland, she thought it would be a vacation to study bog bodies. She never expected to fall in love with a mysterious young Irishman and certainly never expected to become the kind of monster her father said only existed in nightmares. Dr. Sunderland discovers that lycanthropy was not a supernatural curse but rather a genetic mutation. When they return home, her dad continues his research, but the military wants to turn that research into a bio weapons program and rogue soldiers want to steal the research to turn themselves into unstoppable killing machines.

Bree’s boyfriend Liam surprises her with a visit to the United States, but there are darker surprises in store for both of them. As evil forces hunt those she loves, Bree must become an even more dangerous hunter to save them all.

Predator gives the werewolf legend a couple of new spins by introducing the Benandanti (an actual folkloric belief that certain families of Italy and Livonia were werewolves who fought against evil), as well as a modern scientific approach to mutation and the science of transgenics.
add to goodreads
Publication date: October 14 , 2014
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Janice Gable Bashman
Janice Gable Bashman
Janice Gable Bashman is the Bram Stoker nominated author of Wanted Undead or Alive and Predator. She is managing editor of the The Big Thrill (International Thriller Writers' ezine). Janice lives with her family in the Philadelphia area, where she at work on her next novel. Visit her at
Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!
(Winners will receive their book on release day)

Wednesday 21 May 2014

Waiting On Wednesday #77 - Crushed

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 -

Crushed (Soul Eater #2) - Eliza Crewe
ISBN - US 9781783450053
            UK 9781783450046
Publisher - Strange Chemistry
Expected release date - August 5th 2014

*May contain spoilers for book one!*

'Meda Melange has officially hung up her monstrous mantle and planted her feet firmly on the holy and righteous path of a Crusader-in-training. Or, at least, she’s willing to give it a shot. It helps that the Crusaders are the only thing standing between her and the demon hordes who want her dead.

The problem is, the only people less convinced than Meda of her new-found role as Good Girl are the very Crusaders she’s trying to join. So when a devilishly handsome half-demon boy offers escape, how’s a girl supposed to say “no?”

After all, everyone knows a good girl’s greatest weakness is a bad boy.'
- Goodreads

I absolutely loved book one, Cracked, by Eliza Crewe so can't wait to get my grubby little hands on Crushed. If the devilishly handsome half-demon boy is who I think he is Meda is most definitely in trouble!

Tuesday 20 May 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #54 - Books About Friendship

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

Top Ten Books About Friendship

Books about friendship - best friends, ex-friends, keep your friends close and your enemies closer 'friends', sisters, friends who are gone, friends who become more. Hands down, my favorite book about friendship will always be the Anne books by L M Montgomery. When I was a child and first read them I used to daydream about all the kindred spirits I would meet!

Anne of Green Gables

Hold Still | Aristotle & Dante | Attachments

Perks of Being A Wallflower | The Secret History | Cruel Summer

Harry Potter | Daughter of Smoke & Bone | Pride & Prejudice

Monday 19 May 2014

Bout of Books 10 - It's A Wrap!

And that's another Bout of Books done, more successful in the reading part than the socializing/challenge part but I expected that with everything that suddenly appeared on my calendar last week! I managed to read 6 books, enter 1 challenge and I think I commented on a pitiful 3 blogs but hey, I finished 6 books! My goal was 8 so I'm pleased with 6 and I intend to visit people's wrap-up posts to congratulate you all on a job well done! If you want to join in the madness next time, Bout of Books 11 has been confirmed and the dates are August 18th to 24th! Check the BoB blog for announcements, sign-ups and so on.

Books read

Glaze | Panic | Rivers of London

Jasmyn | We Were Liars | Now You See Me

Sunday 18 May 2014

Bout of Books 10 - The Final Countdown

So, it's nearly all over :( Halfway through day 7 and I've yet to pick up a book but the UK has had amazing weather the last few days and it would have been ridiculous not to take advantage. Apart from the event I went to on Friday night I've spent most of the last 2 days in the garden and I have the aches & pains to prove it! Who knew it was so much hard work emptying pots and replanting them ?! Off to lie down with a cold drink and a good book...

Day 7

Time reading - 4 hours

Pages read today - 576

Books started

Books finished
Day 1

Time reading - 4 hours

Pages read today - 290

Books started 

Books finished

Day 2

Time reading - 3 hours

Pages read today - 416

Pages read total - 706

Books started

Books finished
Day 3

Time reading - 20 minutes

Pages read  - 41

Pages read total - 

Books started
Books finished
Time baking birthday cake - 1 hour

Time spent shopping - 3 hours

Day 4

Time reading - 2 hours

Pages read  - 270

Books started
Books finished
Day 5

Time reading - 1 hour

Pages read  - 140

Books started

Books finished
Time spent traveling - 2 hours

Time spent with hilarious authors - 2 hours

Day 6

Time reading - 0

Pages read today - 0

Books started

Books finished

Saturday 17 May 2014

Review & Giveaway: To Bear An Iron Key by Jackie Morse Kessler
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for the fabulous To Bear An Iron Key by Jackie Morse Kessler! Click the banner above to follow the tour, read interviews, guest posts and other reviews!

To Bear An Iron Key - Jackie Morse Kessler
ISBN - 9781939765192
Publisher - Month9Books
Release date - May 6th 2014

To Bear an Iron Key is the first in a new and exciting series from acclaimed author Jackie Morse Kessler.

Five years ago, the young witch Bromwyn refused a gift from the powerful fairy king. Tonight, on Midsummer, that decision comes back to haunt her. When her best friend Rusty picks the wrong pocket, he and Bromwyn are all that stand between their village and the rampaging fairies who have pushed through the World Door. If they cannot outwit the fairy king and queen before the World Door closes at sunrise, the friends will lose everything—their village, Bromwyn's magic, and Rusty's life.

From To Bear an Iron Key by Jackie Morse Kessler: 

"Bromwyn turned to face the burning fields. Reaching deep inside of herself, she closed her eyes and touched the core of her power, the place where her magic lived, where it connected her to all of Nature. She held onto that magic, let it fill her almost to the bursting point, and then she cast it out onto the fields. It blanketed the rows of spelt, and she felt as it rode the wind—Air—and then touched the grain—Earth—and then sizzled around the fire."

I find it hard to resist stories involving the fey/fairies/faeries so when I read the synopsis for To Bear An Iron Key it went straight on to my wishlist and I jumped at the chance to join the blog tour.

Bromwyn lives in a world where her grandmother is known as Wise One, her mother is Mistress Cartomancer and Bromwyn herself is in training to become a full-fledged witch and betrothed to Brend, the blacksmith's apprentice. The action all starts when Rusty (real name - Derek!) steals something from the wrong person, Bromwyn's grandmother but it soon becomes clear that this has somehow come about as part of Bromwyn's final test before finishing her apprenticeship. What looks like a swirling silver marble turns out to be the iron key that locks the World Door where the Fey come through once a year, on Midsummer's Eve. She knows this can't possibly be a good thing and is more worried about what it means for Rusty, as the one who bears the Key is the Guardian of the door, has to deal with the Fey and ensuring chaos doesn't ensue whilst they are free in the human world

Rusty surprises her though, by showing that he can be mature and not act the fool - he interacts with the Fey as if he had been doing it all his life and he finally be the man he wants Bromwyn to see, not just the little boy who has been her best friend for so long. I loved all the characters in TBAIK, Bromwyn and Rusty were fantastic main characters and the supporting characters too were well written, well developed and likeable - even the bad guys of the piece! The relationship between Bromwyn and Rusty was great, truly believable 'best friends' with the hint of something more - no instalove here thankfully. Bromwyn's relationships with her mother and grandmother were much more complicated, there seemed to a lot of resentment and anger on Bromwyn's part but this all added to the authenticity of the characters. Both the writing and the world-building were fantastic, you find yourself completely immersed in village life, down to the finest detail and I completely agree with Bromwyn's need to be barefoot all the time. It was the little details like this that made TBAIK a really lovely read, it has a dollop of fantasy, fairy tale, romance and mystery that would make it appeal to both a YA and older MG audience. The Fey in TBAIK were more 'real' than a lot of fairy books, there were no sparkling and glitter bombs here, just a great read! I'm not sure if TBAIK is a stand-alone or a series but either way if you like books about the Fey (that aren't Tinkerbell like) then do make sure to read Iron Key, it's got a bit of something for everybody and I'd love to see more of the world Jackie has created.

About the Author

Jackie is the author of the acclaimed YA series Riders of the Apocalypse, published by Harcourt/Graphia. The first two books in the quartet, HUNGER and RAGE, are YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers; in addition, HUNGER has been nominated for several awards and RAGE is an International Reading Association YA Choice. RAGE, LOSS and BREATH are Junior Library Guild selections.

International Giveaway
  • Four (4) winners will receive an ebook copy of To Bear an Iron Key by Jackie Morse Kessler (INT)
  • One (1) winner will receive an ebook copy of To Bear an Iron Key by Jackie Morse Kessler AND a $10 Amazon Gift Card or B&N Gift Card – Winner’s Choice (INT)
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Book Haul #77

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!

I was doing really well this week, up until Friday the only book I'd bought was actually a pre-order that I'd been waiting for a long time to arrive - a signed, limited edition of Jack in the Green by Charles de Lint! Then I went to an event/signing, came home with two more books and found another three books waiting for me... I got a couple of great books on Kindle and I got approved for some great books on Netgalley which I'd seen recommended by a couple of my favorite bloggers. All in all, an amazing bookish week!


Interesting Times | Moving Pictures | Jack in the Green

The Color Master | My Real Children | The Severed Streets

Defenders | In Dark Service

The Buried Life

The Diamond Thief | Nihal of the Land of the Wind | The Memory Garden

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