Goodbye Old Hello New

I would have liked to include my 2011reading challenge statistics but I can’t seem to find them on Goodreads. Maybe they think its best to look forward not back, or something.

Ok so I failed my 150 book reading challenge of 2011! I only read 102 books but that’s no reason not to set another goal. I’ll just aim a little lower this time 🙂

I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump for the last few months so now is the perfect time to consider how to go about this. I still have a TBR pile that if the books where lined up, could wrap around the world at least once :/

So maybe I need to get these books read.

My goal this year is to read 75 books. That is half of last years challenge I know, and I know that I’m able to read more than that, but I’m setting myself up to win 🙂

Plus I want to take it slower this year because I only end up neglecting everything else and I have a ton, a TON of reviews and various blog posts to finish and get posted, that they really need to be my first priority.

Again, I know I’ve failed the 3 reading challenges I took part in from the blog sphere but I’ve seen a few I want to participate in. Like I said though; I’m going to keep them manageable.

So, a goal of 75 it is. I’ll think of the particulars later.

Up next will be November and December’s Monthly Round Up, then a 2011 Round Up. After that it’ll be back to the reviews. I have so many to finish. Last year I tried (and did manage to keep up for a while) to post three a week but this year I’m going to stick to one, remember I’m setting myself up to win!

Happy reading 🙂

Monthly Round Up: June

A good month this time round, especially if it’s compared to the last few months. 13 books read and no re-reads! Mid month I began my zombie kick and it hasn’t abated yet. Two of my favourite authors had books released. Nalini Singh with Kiss of Snow, and Ilona Andrews with Magic Slays. I really enjoyed reading both of them. I’ve been waiting for Hawkes story for a while now. (Psy-Changling #10 by Singh). My favourite of the month has got to be Feed, with Deadline a close second. Feed introduced me to the zombie genre (although maybe Enclave prepared me a little) and blew me away.

70 books read out of the 150 challenged. I think I may be one book behind, but I think that’s only happened because I have at least four books that I’m more than halfway through and can’t seem to finish (Darkfever, Shiver, Passion, Dime Store
Magic), and I’m not really keen to abandon and read again in december.

58. Kiss of Snow, Nalini Singh
59. Magic Slays, Ilona Andrews
60. Street Magic, Caitlin Kittredge
61. Divergent, Veronica Roth
62. Enclave, Ann Aguirre
63. Feed, Mia Grant
64, Deadline, Mia Grant
65. Unearthly, Cynthia Hand
66. Matched, Ally Condie
67. Warm Bodies, Isaac Marion
68. The Forest of Hands and Teeth, Carrie Ryan
69. The Dead-Tossed Waves, Carrie Ryan
70. The Dark and Hollow Places, Carrie Ryan

Review:Tangled Threads (Elemental Assassin #4) by Jennifer Estep

I’d rather face a dozen lethal assassins any night than deal with something as tricky, convoluted, and fragile as my feelings. 

But here I am. Gin Blanco, the semi-retired assassin known as the Spider. Hovering outside sexy businessman Owen Grayson’s front door like a nervous teenage girl. One thing I like about Owen: he doesn’t shy away from my past—or my present. And right now I have a bull’s-eye on my forehead. 

Cold-blooded Fire elemental Mab Monroe has hired one of the smartest assassins in the business to trap me. Elektra LaFleur is skilled and efficient, with deadly electrical elemental magic as potent as my own Ice and Stone powers. Which means there’s a fifty-fifty chance one of us won’t survive this battle. I intend to kill LaFleur—or die trying—because Mab wants the assassin to take out my baby sister, Detective Bria Coolidge, too. 

The only problem is, Bria has no idea I’m her long-lost sibling . . . or that I’m the murderer she’s been chasing through Ashland for weeks. And what Bria doesn’t know just might get us both dead

Oh was I glad to have this little beauty in my hand. After struggling with Darkfever I was finally able to abandon it and read some quality story telling.

I love Gin. I really do. Even more now she’s out of retirement 🙂

I’m going to be realy annoyed if Caine taints Gin’ and Owen’s relationship.

Again, the only thing I can pick at it the constant retelling of past events, but that is a very, very small thing, but it does distracted me from the story. Although, if i’ve only got that to moan about I should really shut up.

I want to mention Vampires. I really like the fact that they aren’t anything special. It makes an nice change.

Hum, I’m thinking LeFleur’s brother going to make an appearance. Whether this book or the next. The actual name of the next book is starting to scare me… Spider’s Revenge. I reckon it means something’s going to hit Gin hard.

Yet again a fantastic installment of the Elemental Assassins Series

Rating: 6/6 – It Was Amazing

Review: Pale Demon (Rachel Morgan/The Hollows #9) by Kim Harrison

Condemned to death for black magic and shunned, Rachel Morgan has three days to somehow get to the annual witches convention in San Francisco and clear her name. If she fails, the only way she can escape death is to live in the demonic ever after . . . for ever after. 

Banned from the flight lists, Rachel teams up with elven tycoon Trent Kalamack, headed for the West Coast for his own mysterious business. But Rachel isn’t the only passanger along for the ride. Can a witch, an elf, a living vampire, and a pixy in one car survive for over 2,300 miles? And that’s not counting the assassin on their tail. 

A fearsome demon walks the sunlight, freed after centuries of torment to slay the innocent and devour souls. But his ultimate prey is Rachel Morgan. While the powerful witch with nerves of steel will do whatever it takes to stay alive, even embracing her own demonic nature may not be enough to save her

I was a little worried when I started this book because I really struggled to connect to Black Magic Sanction. Let’s just say that I was pleased that it didn’t happen here.

I was looking forward to seeing how the full moon ride with Trent played out, if we got to see it at all. I really did as I really liked and the ending of WWBC, so I was kinda disappointed.

I really enjoyed the roadtrip. It was eventful but not overly so. I also started liking trent a little more. I usually find him quite the arsehole so it was good that he kept that to himself during the journey. I’ve never been a Rachel/Trent fan (or a Rachel/Al/Nick/Pierce fan for that matter) but I saw flashes here that I liked, but then I’d remember the arseholey things he’d said/done in the past. Because let’s face it he has been a total arsehole to Rachel in the previous books.

I’ll admit that I teared up quite a few times in the second half of the book (one time on the bloody bus on the way home from work!). I think this is my favourite book so far, in fact I think it’s the first to get 5 stars from me.

Now I’m caught up. Booo!

Rating: 6/6 – It Was Amazing

Review: Magic on the Hunt (Allie Breckstrom #6)

In the secret lockup of the Authority, the council that decides what can and can’t be done with magic, an undead magic user has possessed one of the prisoners. He wants his freedom-and then some. Now Allie Beckstrom and her lover, Zayvion, are the first line of defense against the chaos he’s about to unleash on the city of Portland

It’d only been a few months since I read the first 4 books but I really do hate waiting. I pre-ordered this to ensure I recieved it straight away, and even marked in my diary so I wouldn’t forget. So as you can see I was just a little excited.

I moaned about about Allie a lot in my review of the last book. She was driving me crazy with all the dad hate. So I’m glad to say I didn’t have any issues with this instalment. It was a great read. I’d even go as far as saying it was back to it’s best but I didn’t dislike the story last time, Allie just got on my nerves. I really love Shame and there was a lot of him so of course I was happy 😀

I was a little concerned about Allie and Zay at the start. There didn’t seem to be any emotional connection between them, or maybe I’d lost my connection with them both, IDK. I couldn’t put my finger on it but something was off (even with the short steamy kisses). I thought we were being prepared for a split or something.

Things kicked off for me once Allie brought in the hounds. I was hooked from then on. Shame was great. Have I mentioned how much I love him? The plot was great, and I really enjoyed seeing Allie, Zay, Shame, and Terric work as a team. They’re awesome together.

Over 70% in and things still seemed abit off between the two leads and it was niggling at me. There was an edge to Zay that’d not been there before, except maybe in the first book. There’s a lot of pushing and pulling. I love Zen Zay but I could’t help thinking there was something more to it.

The next instalment is out sometime in November (I think) and I can’t wait, because the ending… Well, yeah. Although I’m sure it won’t go there, it sure did put a smile on my face.

5/6 – really liked it

Review: The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking #1) by Patrick Ness

Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee – whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not – stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden – a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives.

But how do you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought?

Nothing gets me ‘into’ a story quicker than trying to escape another story that’s boring me. That’s what happened here. I’d started to read Holidays are Hell (an anthology; which I’m not good with anyway). I was only reading it for Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan short. Unfortunately after a while I found myself skipping whole paragraphs trying to avoid whatever his name was; him with the awkward flowery speech. And avoid him I did.

This was my second venture into dystopic fiction, and, again (because I loved The Hunger Games), I really liked it. I read it for March’s Book Club over at Calico Reaction. I’d voted for it, so I was looking forward to it even though I’ve still to read The Curse of the Charlion from January (I don’t know why I’m having issues finishing that. Maybe because I haven’t given myself time to actually get into it properly) I didn’t matter to me that I didn’t read it in the allotted time. I was just pleased I’d read it, having failed to read Charlion.

I liked Todd. I liked the tone of his voice. The informal dialogue worked really well and I settled into it right away. I loved that he had a god damn dog that he didn’t god damn want. I loved Manchee. Manchee made me smile.

I’m not sure why certain words were spelt a certain way but it didn’t interfere with the reading. They are phonically correct; it was usually ‘tion’ words (statshun, communicashun) but I don’t know if this had any meaning to it.

The one thing that irritated me (although irritated may be a little strong); why didn’t they just read the bloody book? Okay, It must be horrid and embarrassing not being able to read, and seemingly not knowing anything about much at all, but if he’d just let Viola read that bloody book he might have got a clue.

I couldn’t help but root for him though. The more you read the more you realise how vulnerable he is. It’s heart breaking. He’s helpless and everything is out of his control. He can’t even kill when he really, really needs to (except obviously that one time when I really didn’t want him to.. No one wanted him to!). Things got so bad at one point that he starts hallucinating, and his personality splits. It was hard to feel any kind of hope.

It didn’t grip me as The Hunger Games did, and it really isn’t a happy read. At least with the Hunger Games I felt that there was hope. I didn’t feel that reading this. But it was compelling; you want to read on.

The message I’m left with is ignorance breeds ignorance. But I’m not sure that’s the right one. I don’t know if I’m going to read the next in the series as I’ve heard that it doesn’t get any better for Todd or Viola, and that just fills me with dread.

Rating: 5/6 – Really Liked It

Review: Mind Games (The Disillusionists Trilogy #1) by Carolyn Crane

Description (from Goodreads)

Justine Jones has a secret. A hardcore hypochondriac, she’s convinced a blood vessel is about to burst in her brain. Then, out of the blue, a startlingly handsome man named Packard peers into Justine’s soul and invites her to join his private crime-fighting team. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime deal. With a little of Packard’s hands-on training, Justine can weaponize her neurosis, turning it outward on Midcity’s worst criminals, and finally get the freedom from fear she’s always craved. End of problem.

Or is it? In Midcity, a dashing police chief is fighting a unique breed of outlaw with more than human powers. And while Justine’s first missions, including one against a nymphomaniac husband-killer, are thrilling successes, there is more to Packard than meets the eye. Soon, while battling her attraction to two very different men, Justine is plunging deeper into a world of wizardry, eroticism, and cosmic secrets. With Packard’s help, Justine has freed herself from her madness—only to discover a reality more frightening than anyone’s worst fears.

I just need to point one thing out before I go any further. The cover has nothing to do with anything. Justine never NEVER has a knife. Just wanted you to know.

A reviewer I’m following on Goodreads gave this 5 stars, and since I kinda of trust this reviewer’s opinion I reluctantly put it on my TBR list. I say reluctantly because of the fact that the main character is a hypochondriac, and that did not appeal to me at all. I kept seeing good reviews for it, though, and I admit that I began to look forward to reading it, but then I’d remember that she was a hypochondriac and I’d start reading something else.

When I did finally pick it up it took me a few false starts to get into it, but by the 5th chapter I was totally sucked in and I began to really enjoy it. Justine has a way about her. I just love the way she talks. The dialogue is great. She’s actually only one of the few heroines I’ve liked right off.

The hypochondria element gave the story a great angle. I can’t believe I was apprehensive about it. The super-villan talk is hilarious when it appears.

I don’t even know how to talk about the last 1/3 of the book. I was reading through one eye. Gah! By chapter 32 I didn’t know wtf the think. I was just as confused as Justine, even more so I imagine.

Any fan of urban fantasy really needs to read this book. It was great.

I’m gutted that’s this is a trilogy. I want more than 3 books! I might even sulk. I have a new favourite author 🙂

Rating: 6/6 – It Was Amazing

Review: Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott

Description (from Goodreads)

Once upon a time, I was a little girl who disappeared.
Once upon a time, my name was not Alice.
Once upon a time, I didn’t know how lucky I was.

When Alice was ten, Ray took her away from her family, her friends her life. She learned to give up all power, to endure all pain. She waited for the nightmare to be over.
Now Alice is fifteen and Ray still has her, but he speaks more and more of her death. He does not know it is what she longs for. She does not know he has something more terrifying than death in mind for her.
This is Alice’s story. It is one you have never heard, and one you will never, ever forget.

Wow.

I don’t actually think I knew fully what I was reading when I first started this book. It was a breath taking read. I read it in one sitting. It’s a short book with some very short chapter (some literally a paragraph long), but it was both powerful and haunting. “Alice’s” voice was strong and unforgettable.

Rating: 4/6 – Liked It

Review: River Marked (Mercy Thompson #6) by Patricia Briggs

 

Description (from Goodreads)

Car mechanic Mercy Thompson has always known there was something different about her, and not just the way she can make a VW engine sit up and beg. Mercy is a shapeshifter, a talent she inherited from her long-gone father. She’s never known any others of her kind. Until now.

An evil is stirring in the depths of the Columbia River—one that her father’s people may know something about. And to have any hope of surviving, Mercy and her mate, the Alpha werewolf Adam, will need their help

I’ve been waiting for this for aaaages. I really love me some Mercy Thompson… and Adam, of course.

Mercy sure did talk more than usual in this installment 🙂 she seemed to be a little more open and relaxed. Her relationship with adam is obviously going well and it seemed to be doing them both some good. It was great to have some Adam and Mercy time. Usually Adam’s the rescue guy, but here he’s right beside her and it’s wonderful. I did miss the pack though, and funnily enough, Ben. I love the growing relationship Mercy has with him, and with Darrell as well but we at least we got a glimpse of that right at the beginning.

This time around we get to read about Mercy’s heritage. I really loved the Native American mythology, and meeting Coyote. It didn’t seem to be as action packed as the books that came before it, but I think that’s to be expected. They are on their honeymoon! But trouble sure does follow Mercy around.

You really cant go wrong with this series, and this is another fabulous addition.

Rating: 5/6 – Really Liked It

Review: Mockingjay (Hunger Games #3) by Suzanne Collins

Description (from Goodreads)

Young Katniss Everdeen has survived the dreaded Hunger Games not once, but twice, but even now she can find no relief. In fact, the dangers seem to be escalating: President Snow has declared an all-out war on Katniss, her family, her friends, and all the oppressed people of District 12. The thrill-packed final installment of Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy will keep young hearts pounding

I couldn’t wait to get stuck in to this book. I started it as soon as I finished Catching Fire -which I read right after the Hunger Games. So now it feels like one book not three. I have no idea how I’m going to review it. I can’t seem to gather my thoughts. I was left speechless. My boyfriend kept asking me what the matter was, as I was unusually quiet. I tried to explain that I’d just finished reading an intense trilogy, but how to explain something you can’t explain, to someone who doesn’t read so has no understanding of how it can affect you?

I was kinda detached throughout this book though. I think I realised early on that anything was possible and to not to become too attached to the characters. I had to really try hard to not go over to Goodreads and read some reviews just to find out if everything was going to be okay. I think at some point I didn’t even believe katniss was safe.

I wish that katniss was a little more involved in the fighting, but as it was she was usually knocked out, waking up in hospital. We found out what happened through someone else retelling it. But then again she was only a tool in the rebels war. Yeah, ok she was old enough to be sent into the games, but I don’t think the leaders of the rebellion (well at least those from district 13) ever took her seriously. She was just a tool to manipulate the common people. Propaganda can win wars people and Katniss was the Rebels mascot. I was amazed she managed to stay alive after she outlived her usefulness.

Spolierish so scroll if you dare…

I don’t think that katniss should have been allowed to ‘not’ choose between Gale and Peeta. She should have had to chose one or the other. I was really disappointed that Gale just drifted out of her life. They were really close, and he apparently loved her so why would he desert her when she needed her friends the most? Also it just felt like she and Peeta slipped into a relationship only because he was the only one to stick around. It was an easy way out. Then again, after everything else maybe she deserved to take the easy choice, but I was left a little unsatisfied by the ending and epilogue.

This book ends a great trilogy. I’m so glad I read them, and I can’t wait for the film 🙂

Rating: 6/6 – It Was Amazing