Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Review: Broken Dolls by Tyrolin Puxty

Broken Dolls Broken Dolls by Tyrolin Puxty
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summary: Ella doesn't remember what it's like to be human; after all, she's lived as a doll for thirty years. She forgets what it's like to taste, to breathe...to love.

She watches the professor create other dolls, but they don't seem to hang around for long. His most recent creation is Lisa, a sly goth. Ella doesn't like Lisa. How could she, when Lisa keeps trying to destroy her?

Ella likes the professor's granddaughter though, even if she is dying. It's too bad the professor wants to turn Gabby into a doll, depriving her of an education...depriving her of life.

With time running out and mad dolls on the rampage, Ella questions her very existence as she unearths the secrets buried in her past; secrets that will decide whether Gabby will befall the same fate...


  What a unique little book.

Broken Dolls is a fairly quick read, coming in at only around 150 pages, but it still packs quite a bit in to a short space.

We're introduced to Ella in the midst of her excitement over getting a new friend - another doll to join her, and share the little space that the Professor has carved out for her to live her life in. She's not a perfect doll, but she can dance, and that's all that matters... At least, that's what she had always thought, until Lisa comes into her life and everything starts to change.

This book seems to skew a little younger than most YA, both in length and subject matter, but I still really enjoyed it. The concept is original and fascinating - the idea of a doll who used to be human, but who has forgotten what that was like... The struggle that she faces as she wavers between wanting to remember and not, wanting more and being terrified of it.

Woven into this is the mystery of her past, and that of Lisa, and the mysterious Professor. Who is she? Who is the Professor? How did she come to be a little dancer doll, living out her life in a dusty little attic, never seeing the outside? Is the Professor just a mad collector, wanting more and more dolls, or is there something more to it?

All of this makes this an intriguing little book, especially as the ending unfolds and we start to learn some of the truths that Ella discovers - and remembers - along the way. It's a mystery with a hint of dystopia, with a little foray into what it means to be human, as well. I see that there's to be a sequel, and I would definitely check it out.

I received a copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Monday, December 28, 2015

Review: The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker

The Witch Hunter The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Just got this as a Read Now on Netgalley... I hope it's good!


Ohhh, I liked this.

Now, just as an aside, I do wish that publishers would stop with the book comparisons! This book is nothing like GoT, and the comparison is honestly kind of weird. I understand why the comparisons are made, but I still wish that it wasn't so common.

I quite liked how this book went against my expectations. There are moments in this book where you expect the usual tropes to appear and annoy you, but the author seems to have mostly resisted them, which I quite liked.

Elizabeth is strong, stubborn, quick-thinking, with a strong sense of right and wrong. This book is very much about all of that getting up-ended and the fallout of that, with some adventure, magic, pirates, witches and spells along the way.

In case I haven't made it clear, this was a lot of fun to read.

I really enjoyed the world-building in this. The book is set in our past, but an alternate one - a universe where there actually is magic in the 1500's, and we meet a society dealing with trying to stamp that very magic out. It's recognizable as 'our world with a twist', but it's also very unique - I really enjoyed the little touches that the author has brought in as she's built this world, and carved out places for each character and how they fit into that world.

The plot flags for a bit in the middle, but overall it was an enjoyable ride. It's as much about self-discovery and choices for Elizabeth as it is about anything else, but that doesn't mean that we're stuck in her head as she daydreams about it - there's a lot of action, and we meet an interesting cast of characters along the way without getting bogged down, either.

The book does stumble a bit when it comes to coherency, however. We're told that Elizabeth is one of the best witch hunters alive, yet we see very little of this. We learn her background in bits and pieces throughout the book, and while I'm guessing that that was in an effort to avoid an 'infodump', unfortunately the execution is lacking a bit. There are also a few things that I'm still not entirely clear on - whether that's due to poor reading on my part or whether it legitimately wasn't explained, I'm not sure.

Overall, though, I really enjoyed this. The romance is sweet, not overly in-your-face the way so many YA books are lately, and I like that the characters seem real, and there are consequences for Elizabeth's past actions and decisions. I'm pretty sure I'll be checking out the sequel when it comes out!

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Sunday, December 27, 2015

Review: Need by Joelle Charbonneau

Need Need by Joelle Charbonneau
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Summary: What do you really need?

One by one, the teens in Nottawa, Wisconsin, join the newest, hottest networking site and answer one question: What do you need? A new iPhone? Backstage passes to a concert? In exchange for a seemingly minor task, the NEED site will fulfill your request. Everyone is doing it. So why shouldn’t you?

Kaylee Dunham knows what she needs—a kidney for her sick brother. She doesn’t believe a social networking site can help, but it couldn’t hurt to try.

Or could it?

After making her request, Kaylee starts to realize the price that will have to be paid for her need to be met. The demands the site makes on users in exchange for their desires are escalating, and so is the body count. Will Kaylee be able to unravel the mystery of who created the NEED network before it destroys them all?


This book had so much potential, but unfortunately it came up short for me.

First, I'm going to say that the premise of the book is definitely interesting. It's something new that I hadn't come across, at least, and I found the idea compelling. What do you need? What would you be willing to do to get it? Combining that with being a teenager leads to a certain sort of desperation, because I remember feeling on more than one occasion that my life was going to be over if things didn't go a particular way, and that I might never recover.

All of this is a potent mix, and it certainly does lead to compelling moments in the book. At the forefront is Kaylee, a teenager with heavier burdens than most - an absent father, a sick brother, a distant mother. She's the main character, and though she is easy to identify with, her presence doesn't quite offset the rest of the mess that is the characterization in this book.

See, this novel has no less than ten different people who we follow throughout the course of the plot. This is a mistake mainly because it makes it so very different to emphasize with these people and their hopes, wishes, needs and the ensuing fallout. There's so much going on that it's hard to keep track, and without the connection some of the plot points that should have been a big deal just kind of become a jumble instead, lost in everything else that's going on.

There's also the tenuousness of the plot - you definitely have to suspend your disbelief a little bit when reading this one. Now, there's nothing wrong with that, I want to point out - I'm not really one to fuss over that sort of thing. As long as it's at least somewhat believable, I'll be happy. People who really dislike wondering about the mechanics of things and what's going on behind the scenes might find that this book rubs them a bit the wrong way, however. The behaviour of some of the adults in this book will definitely make some raise their eyebrows, and I think it was a bit too much at times.

That being said, this book was still fun to read. There are a lot of thrills, and I think that younger readers will love it. Social media, friendships, romance, thrills - it's a pretty slick combination, and it's something that will seem very familiar to some, I think. It's a cute, fun read, I just wish that it had had a bit more depth.

Disclaimer: I recieved a copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Saturday, December 26, 2015

Review: This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

This Is Where It Ends This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Unlike most of the people who I know who have read this, my review is not going to be overly negative. I will say that I understand a lot of the criticisms but this book still had aspects that worked for me, so I am not going to be overly negative in my review.

Part of this may be because one particular character really resonated with me, keeping me turning the pages throughout the book. Sometimes a book does that to you - in spite of the flaws that you are aware of, or issues that are present - a character is still compelling, and you want to know more, you have to know what happens. This is what happened for me with this book, and with Tomás - a bright and beautiful character for me, at least, one that kept me interested.

As a Canadian I am incredibly aware of the United States, and as such I am very aware of the spectre of mass shootings. So when I saw this available on Netgalley I had to go for it, though I was aware that the spectrum of how this could be handled in a book was pretty vast.

This book is definitely not without its issues. Fareed is a caricature in many ways. Some of the relationships could have used more exploration, particularly since the author chose to have one particular relationship be a primary driver for the conflict of the book. If an author's going to do that, there should be more attention paid to fleshing it out.

The other, bigger issue is that the antagonist could have used more depth - not once do we get insight from his side, which might have helped to cover the chasm between villain and victims. The trail that he must have followed is traced out, but we have to connect the dots and speculate as to what his motivations and reasons were. In some ways that's fitting, I guess, because so often these tragedies leave us doing just that when it comes to real life and the tragedies we see play out on the news. And honestly, I think this book is less about understanding the villain than it is about getting to know the victims and the survivors, and while I understand why that doesn't work for some, it did for me.

In spite of that, though, this book gutted me. Sometimes all it takes is one or two characters to draw me in, and that happened in this book. Tomás, and Autumn and Sylvia - they carry the past on their shoulders, and their fear, yet love and strength carry them forward, and that's what kept me reading, along with the rawness of their emotions. And there are other things in that book that added to it, for me - the sense of the predatory nature of the media, the terrible curiosity and fascination of the public. It stands in contrast to the fragility and enormous pain of the victims.

In the end this would be a book that I recommend, in spite of its issues. Whether it be a stepping stone to other books (I'm going to check out Hate List next) or just as a brief foray into this topic or to get you thinking, I think it's worthy of some time.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Review: The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow

The Scorpion Rules The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is so many things that I didn't expect when I first opened it, and all of them are amazing.

I'll admit that when I first cracked open this book and read the first few pages, I was distinctly reminded of the Hunger Games. It was almost enough to make me set the book aside, since I don't particularly like reading books that are too strongly like others that are very popular in any one genre. This book happily surprised me, though, which is why I mention this here - if I'm making this comparison I'm sure that I'm not the only one, and I wouldn't want anyone to turn their backs on this book needlessly!

This book is both lyrical and painful in the way that good dystopians are, and surprised me in more than one instance. Our heroine is a Princess and a 'Child Of Peace' - or more succinctly, a hostage of peace. The threat of war is an axe-blade that forever hovers above her neck, for if her family chooses war, then she will die. She's not the only one, either - she and her friends are all in the same predicament, their lives balancing on the whims of man. They all feel that burden, and this book is an exploration of how it feels to live like that as a teenager, and the choices that she makes - because that's what makes us who we are, in the end.

There will be things that readers will think are obvious as they start into this book, and they will be wrong. There will be events that they are sure are certain, and they will most likely be wrong about those, too. That is what I loved about this book, along with the lyricism and the emotion that is conveyed in the writing, that drew me in and kept me wrapped up in this book until I finished the last page.

If there is one complaint that I have it's that the history isn't quite conveyed as well as I would have liked. There is still a lot to be learned at the end of this first book (yes, it's a series), and that's something that I hope is delved into a lot more in the next book, because dammit, I'm curious!!

But overall, nnngh. That is my reaction to this book. The romance, the themes, the plot - just fascinating and lovely, and definitely worth the read.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Friday, December 25, 2015

Review: Dead Ringers by Christopher Golden

Dead Ringers Dead Ringers by Christopher Golden
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summary: When Tess Devlin runs into her ex-husband Nick on a Boston sidewalk, she's furious at him for pretending he doesn't know her. She calls his cell to have it out with him, only to discover that he's in New Hampshire with his current girlfriend. But if Nick's in New Hampshire...who did she encounter on the street?

Frank Lindbergh's dreams have fallen apart. He wanted to get out of the grim neighborhood where he'd grown up and out of the shadow of his alcoholic father. Now both his parents are dead and he's back in his childhood home, drinking too much himself. As he sets in motion his plans for the future, he's assaulted by an intruder in his living room...an intruder who could be his twin.

In an elegant hotel, Tess will find mystery and terror in her own reflection. Outside a famed mansion on Beacon Hill, people are infected with a diabolical malice...while on the streets, an eyeless man, dressed in rags, searches for a woman who wears Tess's face.


 Ahhh, this book.

I'll start off by freely admitting that I was approached to read this book since I previously read Snowblind by the same author. I quite enjoyed that one, so I was more than happy to give this one a shot, and I'm glad that I did!

I've always been fascinated by way that the human brain works. Body Integrity Identity Disorder is both terrifying and interesting when you consider that your own brain can convince you that parts of your body aren't actually yours. So if you start off with that in mind it'll probably be easy to see why this book appealed to me, with its exploration of both doppelgangers *and* horror - (I am a sucker for horror, as well!)

One thing I really liked about this book is how we get into the heads of the characters. We know how conflicted Tess is over the slow fracturing of her marriage to her now ex-husband, her guilt over balancing work and life and being a mom to her precious daughter. We know the anguish of another main character, Frank - a man who has turned to alcohol and despair, but has reason to want to hold on to his life after all when he finds himself facing the prospect of having it stolen away.

Beneath all of this runs a thread of horror, a slowly building edge of creepiness and terror that intrigued me and kept me reading, wanting to find out what happened next. I couldn't help thinking how I would react if I suddenly found myself facing my doppelganger and it turned out that having a twin wasn't so great after all, or that even worse, their existence threatened my own. There's a unique sort of horror to the idea of that - it's one thing to fear the 'other', so to speak, and another to fear something and see it looking back with your own face.

Woven with all of this are other aspects that are sure to please many - magic, demons, a sense of the thrill of the chase so to speak -  as the pace and the sense of danger builds throughout the book, right until the very end. A nice contrast to the Christmas season, I have to say!

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Review: Ask The Dark by Henry Turner

Title: Ask The Dark 

Author: Henry Turner
Publisher: Clarion Books
Publication Date: April 7th, 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller, Action
Rating: 4 stars

Summary: Loads of people have asked me 'bout what happened. Tell the truth, I'm tired of getting asked. I want to answer everybody all at once and get it all the hell over with…

Billy Zeets has a story to tell.

About being a vandal and petty thief.

About missing boys and an elusive killer.

And about what happens if a boy who breaks all the rules is the only person who can piece together the truth.

Review: Finally read this months later, and oh, I enjoyed it!

I have a weakness for dark and gritty YA, I have to admit. In this weird way, because the first time I read The Hunger Games I actually wasn't sure that I could finish it, yet I love books like this...

This was the perfect time of year to read this book, and I quite enjoyed it. Billy Zeets used to be a hellion of a child - until his mother died and he turned over a new leaf, determined to live life as a good son, the boy his mother would have wanted him to be. So far he's been successful, but things are changing.

Boys are going missing. His father is going to lose the house. His sister is in trouble. So when Billy finds himself being dragged back onto a darker path, he decides to follow it - because just this once, it might be that being the good kid isn't going to get the job done.

The tone and language in this book might deter some people, but it fell into a rhythm for me after awhile, and above all it actually suited the character, and the story being told. Sometimes dialect or accents serve to throw you out of the story, but in this case it just made Billy more real in my head, a character explaining his story to me with vivid clarity.

As for the story itself? Well, it's the story of a young boy and his family, and the duty he feels to them. It's a story of being young and the scrapes that kids can get into, that hearkens back to maybe fifty years ago with some of the hijinks that Billy gets up to. (Yes, hijinks is the word I think fits in this case.) At times it had the tone of a slow, wandering tale of young boys and their adventures, and at other times it had me tense, wondering what was going to happen next!

It's also a story with all the makings of a good mystery, with an unlikely hero at the forefront to save the day and make choices that nobody expects him to make - and who saves the day because of his past, not in spite of it.

Overall a book I quite enjoyed, and I'll definitely keep an eye out for future books from this author!

A copy of this book was provided through Netgalley in return for an honest review.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Review: Just A Few Inches by Tara St. Pierre

Title: Just A Few Inches  
Author: Tara St. Pierre
Publisher: Createspace
Publication Date: May 31st, 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Contemporary
Rating: 3.5 stars

Summary: All Carrie Roberts wants is to be a little bit smaller.

To fit into the perfect dress for the Valentine’s Day Dance. To look beautiful for her boyfriend, the school’s star basketball player. To keep his jealous ex-girlfriend, a rival cheerleader, away from him. And to be noticed by her classmates.

Exercising and dieting don’t work, but an advertisement for weight loss pills promises a quicker solution to her problem. As time runs out, she takes more than the recommended dose until she’s just a few inches slimmer. Heads turn when she arrives at the dance, and the wonderful night with her boyfriend is beyond what she dreamed it would be.

Days later, Carrie discovers that her body is changing in ways that should be impossible. While her doctor searches for a cure, she desperately turns to her friends and family for support. Everyone is noticing her now whether she likes it or not, and even the media is intrigued by her incredible story. Getting everything she once wanted has created new problems—problems that are growing more terrifying every day.

Because Carrie Roberts is shrinking.

Review: The moment that I read the summary for this book, I was intrigued. The issue of teens - both girls and boys - feeling the pressure to be something that they're not is something that has gotten a lot of attention throughout the years. Rather than the usual story, though, this had the hint of a promise of something more - a meld of contemporary and fantasy, but also actual issues that impact young adults. 

In other words, I had to check this out. 

All Carrie (we share the same name!) wants to do is a lose a few pounds. We've all been there, right? Her gorgeous boyfriend's ex is hanging around, and she just seems to be everything that Carrie isn't - the opposite of average, the label that Carrie is so incredibly tired of. She wants to stand out and impress people. A few weight loss pills, a few lost pounds... It's the perfect solution for the perfect dress that Carrie wants to wear to go out with her boyfriend in a few days, and with the added bonus of making her feel better about herself and show up Todd's ex, Janelle.

It sounds so simple, right? This isn't your average young adult novel, though, and we're not headed down the path that you might expect if you haven't paid close enough attention to the summary. It seems as though everything is going to plan, until Carrie realizes that she's not shrinking in, she's shrinking down

This is the point where the book starts to become interesting and it's an approach that I really admire the author for taking, because it's unique. Body image issues are not something new in the world of young adult, but this particular approach is. I actually quite like it - it adds a bit of intrigue and mystery that balances a look at the concepts of self esteem and self image with a bit of medical/science fictiony drama, set against a backdrop of normal highschool life with all the drama and social media back and forth that's so common now.

By her side throughout the book are Carrie's two friends, Laura and Trish - and her boyfriend, Todd. After all, where would we be in YA without friendship and a hint of romance? Todd is the catalyst to a lot of the issues that are explored throughout the book, both someone Carrie clings to and yet struggles in terms of defining herself at the same time. Lauren and Trish aren't without their issues as well - there are times when Carrie wonders if Trish is her friend or her fan, and moments when she struggles with the way that Lauren pushes her to look beyond just her own problems, her own insecurities. Still, the three of them are pretty much inseparable, and it's clear that Carrie heavily relies on their support and caring.

There are weak moments in the book - I would have loved to learn more about why Todd and Carrie were together, even though I could understand why their relationship took a backseat to the events of the book. I also sometimes felt as though Lauren's behaviour didn't quite make sense for a teenager - we've all known that friend that gets a bit preachy and up on their soapbox, so that's not what I had an issue with. It was just more that it didn't quite ring true, somehow. It seemed to be the primary facet that we got to see about Lauren, though I have to admit that she was supportive of Carrie throughout - I just would have liked something more, I guess, a hint of who she was beyond the look that we got at her throughout the book.

This soap-boxy feeling was what I noticed at times in other areas of the book, and why I knocked the rating down the half star from 4 to 3.5. I really enjoyed the story and the ideas that were presented, it's just that at times I felt as though I was being preached to, which I didn't quite like. Others may not mind this tone at all, though!

In spite of these two small issues, I really enjoyed this book. I think that it's unique and refreshing, and I liked the lens that the author used to explore a very common problem and issue that will resonate not just with teenagers but also with adults, whether as memories of when they were teens or how they're still feeling. The book also has more depth than many - we actually learn more about the so-called antagonist, which I really liked - too many books don't take the time to delve into this sort of character, or have a comeuppance involved without us ever learning more. It's also neither purely contemporary or purely fantasy or dystopia - something else that helps it stand out.

So, to sum up - a traditional young adult story of self image and self discovery, set in a contemporary fantasy scene, with friendship and a hint of romance. Worth checking out, in my opinion!

Disclosure: A copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review. 

Testing... Is this thing still on?

*blows dust off of blog*

So, I, uh, kinda vanished for a few months there. Seems to happen every summer, unfortunately :( Perhaps it's things like Big Brother and just general sunny weather and traveling etc! Either way I feel bad and I'm completely behind on my reading schedule, haha.

I have a review to post tonight, though, and I hope to get back to a more regular schedule for the next few months... No guarantees, though! This is what makes me glad that I don't have deadlines looming over my head. I do this for fun and pick it up when I'm in the mood. :)

Monday, May 18, 2015

Review: Dare To Dream by Carys Jones

Title: Dare to Dream
Author: Carys Jones
Publisher: Reuts Publications, LLC
Publication Date: February 14th, 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Post-Apocalyptic
Rating: Three stars

Summary: Fourteen-year-old Maggie Trafford leads a normal life. Well, as normal as being crammed in a three-bedroom house with four siblings and a single parent can be, anyway. But despite being somewhat ignored at home, Maggie excels, earning top grades, a best friend who would do anything for her, and stolen looks from a boy in Maths.

It’s not until the dreams start that Maggie realizes “normal” is the least of her problems. Every night, she lives the same nightmare—red lightning, shattered glass, destruction. But nightmares are just that, right? No one believes her when she says it’s an omen. At least, not until the already mysterious pillars of Stonehenge start falling.

No longer alone in her fear, Maggie and the world watch with bated breath as one after another, the historic stones tumble, like a clock counting down. But only Maggie knows what it means: when the last stone falls, destruction will reign. And when the world ends, there’s only one option left—survive.

Horrifying and raw, Dare to Dream is equal parts tragedy and hope, detailing the aftermath of apocalyptic catastrophe, the quest for survival, and the importance of belief.

Review: Looook at this cover!!! It's so beautiful *_* I was actually recently in the UK and went to Stonehenge, so the timing on this is perfect!

I have a thing for fiction where someone completely ordinary finds out that there's something extraordinary about them, or figures out that something extraordinary is going to happen. So as you can imagine, when I read this summary I was fascinated and wanted to know more!

I think one of my favourite things about this book was the build-up. So often apocalyptic fiction focuses on the action - and for good reason, of course, since that's what fascinates a lot of people. Sometimes, however, that is at the expense of character development or even just world building - if I'm going to read about a world being torn apart, the author had better make sure that I care about the world and the people in it, and illustrate fully why what's about to happen is a bad thing. 

So this book does a great job of that. Maggie's home life isn't the happiest - she has four siblings, a small house, a mother run ragged. When things start going haywire, all of that adds to the pressure on Maggie's shoulders as she finds nightmares plaguing her, seemingly in sync with the mysterious events at Stonehenge... Then when the proverbial crap hits the fan things really get fascinating as the world falls apart around them and Maggie and her two friends find themselves running for their lives, struggling for basic survival and to keep themselves hidden.

At times the plot dragged, however. Finding a balance between build-up and dragging is very difficult and there were points where I wanted things to move along just a wee bit faster, particularly in the first part of the book. The repetition of dreams, fights with her mother and siblings, difficulty at school, etc, all became a bit too much after awhile. In the second half of the book things were much better, though it did remind me of the complaints that people had about the 'tramping through the forest' in the Deathly Hallows!

The end of the book was also a bit uneven and left me with a lot of questions. What's going on? Who caused it? What's going to happen next? To what end is all of this going on? Etc. None of that is a bad thing, I just wished that we'd gotten some more hints along the way, but it serves as a bit of a build-up for book two.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Teas, books and trips, oh my!

So... I kinda fell off the map for a month and a half there!

So, last update I mentioned that I was going to be going to London - and I did, and I had a fabulous time! The city is beautiful... I am such a history nut, and there's something amazing about going to a place and realising that you are walking where people such as Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII walked, or Lady Jane Grey... We also took a day trip and saw the city of Bath and Stonehenge, which was freaking amazing!

So what have I been doing for the last month and a half? Well, to be honest, I've been sick and then trying to get myself organized. I've been sucked into the organisational side of Youtube and picked up a planner from PlumPlanner Designs, and hopefully that's going to help me keep track of things much better! Here is a link to their shop if any of you are in the market for a planner (other than Erin Condren) and want to check it out! I may post a review once June starts up, as that is when my planner actually starts :)

I've also developed a bit of an obsession with tea (this just over the last week)... See, I spend a crapload of money on coffee. We're talking your grande white mocha at Starbucks every day - a lot of calories + a lot of money, yikes! So I have switched to tea and so far it seems to be going pretty well! I may post a bit about some of my favourites. 

Other than that, though, I really don't have much of an excuse for not updating. I haven't been doing much reading and looking at the last three years, that seems to be a bit of a pattern for me. Perhaps it has to do with the changing of the seasons?

I do have some books that I plan on reading and (hopefully) reviewing, though!

 - Dare to Dream, by Carys Jones: I've actually finished this and plan on posting a review this weekend!
 - A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab
 - A Court of Thorns And Roses by Sarah J Maas
 - An Ember In The Ashes by Sabaa Tahir (this one I got from Edelweiss, so I really should get on top of this!)
 - Uprooted by Naomi Novik (this from Netgalley, again something I should get on top of!)

So that's where I'm at right now, hopefully I'll have another update soon!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

March Wrap-up

Okay, let's just get this out of the way first: I am very disappointed in my reading this month. :( I don't know what it was, but I just did not have much motivation! I've just been wasting a whole lot of time on Youtube and on Reddit and not nearly enough time reading. Hopefully that will change in April!

Here is what I got up to in March...

First up was Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children! I mentioned my intention to read this in one of my earlier entries this month and I'm happy to say that I read it :) You can find my review here and I will say that I quite enjoyed it. It's just got this spooky, satisfying air to it that made it thoroughly enjoyable, and the mixture of photographs and writing was compelling.

Next was this:

This was a melancholy little book and I reviewed it here. (Wow, the 14th feels forever ago, can't believe it's been less than three weeks...)

And lastly, my first ever graphic novel:

I thoroughly adored this and intend to read it again sometime soon! Thoroughly recommend it.

Honestly a bit pathetic, this month! But as I said, hopefully April will be better... I am going away for a week to London so I don't expect to be doing much reading then, but I do have the plane ride to take advantage of! (Oh, that just reminds me that I need to bring my kobo home from work...)

Hope to update soon :) 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Book Haul!

Helloooo everyone!


I really shouldn't have a book haul today. I just have no willpower. Anyway, I actually went to the store thinking that I would pick up Anna Karenina but ended up putting that off for now... It's such a big book, and I'm not sure whether I'll like it or not, so I decided that I'll borrow it or get it from Project Gutenberg.

That said, I have three books today! And two that caught my eye...

So anyone who has read previous posts of mine will know that I recently picked up Hollow City by Ransom Riggs... And given how beautiful the second one was, I had to pick up the first, Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children! Now I'll have a matched set, which makes me super happy.

Then I have this lovely copy of Little Women. Now, I actually need to check at home to see if my grandmother still has her copy of this book, because it was quite old... But I wanted my own, and the cover of this one is quite gorgeous. Little Women is one of my favourite books, and I adore the movie with Winona Ryder... Only thing I disagree with is how things went for Jo and Amy, but that's for another post. :P

The third book here may surprise some of you, because I have not read it...

Yes, that is One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey. Idk, somehow I just didn't end up reading this one! I guess I'm working on that list of 'classics everyone should read'. :P I hope to read this soon and post a review for you guys to check out.

Lastly, I have the two books I caught sight of in the store:

My foray into bookstores recently has reminded me of just how beautiful some books are. I mean... Look at this beauty! This is a collection of some of Austen's earliest works, and from what I can tell the book is meant to be a replica of an actual book out there, down to the cover and the pages inside. Seriously gorgeous, it has her handwriting and everything. If you know any Austen fanatics this would be a great choice, imo.

This is a book that I may pick up at some point in the future, but my goal was to not spend too much today. Dreamwalker is a book about dragons - if you couldn't tell by the cover - and not only did the cover catch my eye, but it sounded pretty interesting, too! Man, if I bought half the books in the bookstore that I wanted... Well. I wouldn't have any room in my apartment. :P

So that's all for today! I hope to have some reviews to post shortly. :)

Monday, March 16, 2015

Review: The Sculptor by Scott McCloud

Title: The Sculptor
Author: Scott McCloud
Publisher: First Second
Publication Date: February 3rd, 2015
Genre: Graphic Novel, Fantasy, Contemporary, Romance
Rating: Four Stars

Summary: David Smith is giving his life for his art—literally. Thanks to a deal with Death, the young sculptor gets his childhood wish: to sculpt anything he can imagine with his bare hands. But now that he only has 200 days to live, deciding  what  to create is harder than he thought, and discovering the love of his life at the 11th hour isn't making it any easier!

This is a story of desire taken to the edge of reason and beyond; of the frantic, clumsy dance steps of young love; and a gorgeous, street-level portrait of the world's greatest city. It's about the small, warm, human moments of everyday life…and the great surging forces that lie just under the surface. Scott McCloud wrote the book on how comics work; now he vaults into great fiction with a breathtaking, funny, and unforgettable new work.

Review:  This book just so happens to be the first graphic novel I have ever read, and I must say that it was the perfect place to start :)

Let's get into it, shall we?

I loved this book, honestly. First of all, I love the artwork. The shades of blue, the facial expressions, the artistry... It's fantastic and really worked for me. Maybe that's something that's just taken for granted in the graphic novel world, I really don't know - like I said, first one! But the style here just really worked for me, all in blue-black tones that convey so much - the surreal qualities of the world we're reading about, the depths of David's emotions. 

I've included a picture of the front and back covers, here, just to give you an idea... The cover really doesn't do it justice, imo. I know some people don't like the monotone artwork but I loved it. 

Some very good criticisms have been leveled at this book, and many of them are accurate. Is this book a bit predictable in ways? Yup. Does it fall prey to the usual tropes of the tortured artist and the manic pixie dream-girl? Yup.

Here's the thing, though - a very important thing that I think some people forget - acknowledging the flaws in a work of art doesn't necessarily mean that it's unlikeable. Now, do tropes and flaws ever mean that we find it impossible to read a book or enjoy the story? Of course. That happens all the time. However, that's not always the case, and that was the situation with me, here.

David is absolutely the epitome of the tortured artist. He gives up what remains of his life to have a chance at attaining the level of artistry he's always dreamed of, only to struggle when he doesn't find instant satisfaction and completion the way that he expects to. He's had a rough childhood and a rougher adulthood, and on top of that, the course of love never did run smooth...

Then we have Meg. Meg is another artist, she sleeps through her friends like that's totally normal (hey, in some circles it is), she pushes people away but doesn't want them to ~leave her~, she's got mental health issues and in spite of all of this everyone loves her.

In spite of it all, though, I loved this book. It moved me. I rooted for David, I cared about his friendships, I wanted things to go right for him, both in art and elsewhere. I knew what was coming but held my breath against the inevitability of it all, because it didn't seem fair. The book touches on family and life and love and art and what it means to be alive, the decisions and the choices we make and how they shape us as people. It's a journey of growth and birth and death.

And when I closed the last page the first thing I thought was that I wanted to read it again.

This book definitely has its flaws, and some people may rightfully find it difficult to get past them and enjoy the story. For me it worked, though, and for some other people out there it may work as well. I'd recommend giving it a chance, at least!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Review: Painless by S. A. Harazin

Title: Painless
Author: S. A. Harazin
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company
Publication Date: March 1st, 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Rating: Three Stars
Summary: A first kiss. Falling in love. Going to prom. These are all normal things that most teenagers experience. Except for 17-year-old David Hart. His life is anything but normal and more difficult than most. Because of the disease that wracks his body, David is unable to feel pain. He has congenital insensitivity to pain with anhydrosis--or CIPA for short. 
One of only a handful of people in the world who suffer from CIPA, David can't do the things every teenager does. He might accidentally break a limb and not know it. If he stands too close to a campfire, he could burn his skin and never feel it. He can't tell if he has a fever and his temperature is rising. 
Abandoned by his parents, David now lives with his elderly grandmother who is dying. When David's legal guardian tells him that he needs to move into an assisted living facility as he cannot live alone, David is determined to prove him wrong. He creates a bucket list, meets a girl with her own wish list, and then sets out to find his parents. All David wants to do is grow old, beat the odds, find love, travel the world, and see something spectacular. And he still wants to find his parents. While he still can.
What an odd, melancholy book this was.

David is a teenager with CIPA, a genetic condition that means that he doesn't feel pain, and he also doesn't sweat. His whole life has been a journey of having to be careful, worrying about hurting himself, and knowing that he puts those around him through difficulties due to his condition.

The book takes us on an exploration of what life is like for David - the way his social skills have suffered, his tenuous relationships with his guardian and friends, his reliance on his grandmother, who just might be the one person in the world who doesn't look at him and just see his condition.

With the threat of being put in assisted living looming over his head, David wants to live his life and accomplish all the things that normal teenagers dream - meet a girl, live on his own, swim in the ocean. The sort of bucket list that's pretty average, except that David's condition makes it anything but average.

The story is a mixture of romance, growing up, angsty road trip and self discovery, and surprisingly enough, it worked okay for me. I'm generally not a fan of road-trip books - I don't know why, but just hearing that a book has a road trip is enough to turn me off a bit. This story worked for me, though, maybe because I can identify with the kid who doesn't know why their parents didn't want them.

There were parts of the book that didn't go over so well, though. It honestly dragged in spots, and I found himself wondering where it was going, and what the point was, and when we were going to get there. The ebook copy I have is 300 pages and I feel like a good 50 should have been shaved off, or more content should have been added. It meanders and I wasn't really sure what the point was, even though I think that the author was aiming for a general story of growing up and self discovery. I shouldn't wonder that, though, the book should make it clear to me.

The ending also just left me kind of cold, to be honest... On one level, I get that it's a moment of self discovery for David, and it's about independence and self-reliance. The climax of the book actually worked for me, in that way. But then I got to the last few pages and I was just sort of left wondering what I'd just read, and was that really the ending? I don't know. It's the sort of non-ending that can be executed well, and I can see the attempt here, but it just didn't work for me.

Overall, I'd say that it was 'okay', but not really a book I would consider rereading. The meandering and the weak ending will push it down many people's lists, I think.

I received a copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Tiny book haul!

So I was very proud of myself the other day - I went into Chapters looking for A Darker Shade Of Magic, which was out of stock - and I actually did not buy anything else!

However I cracked today when I was in Shoppers Drugmart, of all places... They had some books on for 25% off! And I couldn't resist.

As a sidenote, do you know what's dumb? Well, first of all, buying books when you have over 1k on your TBR list on Goodreads (hey, that's every book that I've ever encountered on there that I might be interested in reading) and at least fourteen physical books waiting for your attention.

So there's that.

Then there's buying a book that is actually the second in a series when you haven't read the first... But we'll get to that in a minute.

So here we have Hollow City - The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs and The Book Of Negroes by Lawrence Hill.

I'll be honest, I wasn't intending on buying The Book Of Negroes. It was a book that I intended on reading, of course! But it wasn't high up there. Still, something about it appealed to me in the store, and it has good reviews from people I trust on GR, so I picked it up. How could I resist $12.99? :)

Now, let's talk about this second book... I'll be honest, I bought this book because it's beautiful.

I mean, look at this image. That dark background, the white, jagged writing, the tunnel in the background... Ugh, it's so gothic and awesome.

And look at these illustrations! I love books that have this sort of stuff in them. I somehow missed the fact that they are also present in the first book, otherwise I wouldn't have put off reading it for so long.

So, as you may be able to guess, I just couldn't resist how utterly gorgeous this second book is. I've been meaning to read Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children for quite awhile, but somehow never got around to it - that's about to change :) And then I'll be able to move on to this gorgeous copy of the second one!

So those are my two purchases for today, so hopefully this will break the slump that I've been in :) I have quite a pile of ARCs that I need to get to so they are next on my list.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Reading Slump :(

I am going through a bit of a reading slump :( The last book I finished was Flowers For Algernon. It's odd, this happened around the same time last year, too!

Anyway, I'm hoping that this week if I focus when I get home from work I'll be able to work on some books - it's not that I don't have anything interesting to read, it's just that other things keep distracting me in the first place!

On a side note, I ordered a new camera which should be arriving in the next few weeks... Maybe I'll take the plunge and do a video! We'll see.

At any rate, I'm still around! I think the next book I read will either be Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake, Unhinged by A. G. Howard, or Cinder by Marissa Meyer. Wish me luck!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Book Haul!

I have a tiny book haul today! Actually, I have a couple of books to mention from my last haul, too... Let's do those first!

As you can see, this is the trip where I bought Flowers For Algernon. Complete impulse buy but totally worth it! And I also picked up Forge Of Darkness by Steven Erikson... I don't know whether you can see in the image, but he's the guy who wrote the Malazan series. Epic fantasy, basically. We'll see how I like it! I think this is also the trip where I bought Written In Red by Anne Bishop, but I don't seem to have taken a picture. Anyway, if you want to know more you should check it out over here! She just so happens to be the author of one of my favourite series ever - The Black Jewels books - and I hope this one lives up to my expectations.

Now, moving on to today, the first book I got for a very specific purpose, and I'm going to be using it in a month... :D
Yes, I am going to London!!! I am going in April and I am so excited! I'll be travelling with a good friend of mine are we are starting (after some unavoidable delays) to make plans and things. I love history and I'm really looking forward to having a week to spend in this city!

Of course, it wouldn't be a trip to a bookstore without an unintentional purchase... But I just couldn't help it! There was a display in Chapters of 'fairy-tale' books, and this one just popped out at me! It's Little, Big by John Rowley. And it's gorgeous inside, too: 

I mean, I'm a sucker for things like that :D It's just so pretty.

And finally, this lovely:

American Dervish, by Ayad Akhtar. I'm going to be honest, I picked this up because it was $5.99. :P It looks interesting, though - seems to be a mixture of romance and religion, which should be interesting.

Hmm. It just occurred to me that I didn't check out Goodreads for either of these! They both could have horrible reviews, haha. But then, I used to pick out books based on my own thoughts all the time... :) Just covers and blurbs and that's it! No harm in seeing how my tastes lead me.

And that's what I picked up today! I do have some pictures to post for some books that caught my eye, though... I will post those later tonight or tomorrow :)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

February Wrap-Up!

Wow, February just flew by! I feel like I could have done better on the reading front in February, but March is a whole new month... :) Hopefully I don't have the slump from April to September that I did last year, that was no fun at all.

So here's what I read this month!

First up is Peter And The Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. This was the book that I started off February with, and it was a fun, light-hearted read! I gave it four stars, and you can find my review over here on Goodreads. This is the first book in a series and I plan to check out the others at some point.

Next was Riding The Odds by Lynda K Scott. Science fiction/fantasy with romance, always something I keep an eye out for! I gave this one three stars and you can find it here on my blog. This was a fun read - when all else fells, romance usually pulls me in!

Next was... To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee! Yes, I know. Somehow I escaped reading this as I was growing up - maybe because I'm in Canada? Anyway, I have a confession to make - I actually tried to read this last year and completely failed. With the announcement that there's a new book coming out this July, though, I decided that it was time that I finished it. I enjoyed it, and gave it 3.5 stars (mostly because the ending felt a bit abrupt). So that's one classic down!

From there I went on to something entirely different...

Arguably my favourite book this month!! I had had my eye on this for awhile, drawn by the cover and the synopsis. See, once upon a time - before the show dragged on about six years too long - I used to be a huge fan of Supernatural. This book reminds me a lot of that, and I wouldn't be surprised if the author was inspired by the show. It's entirely unique, though, and I really loved it. My review is here and I gave it five stars!

One book that I have rather deliberately ignored this year is All The Bright Places, mostly because I don't think the world needs another The Fault In Our Stars, if I'm honest. I was curious about My Heart & Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga, though, because I don't think depression is explored often enough in young adult books, at least not in a thorough enough fashion. There were things I liked about this book but also things that I really disagreed with. I gave it three stars and my review is over here.

<3 this book. The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey is one of those books that manages to be poignant and yet still make you laugh. It was rather insightful and I think I'd say that it's my second favourite out of the books I read in February. My review is here on my blog.

Of Metal And Wishes is a Phantom Of The Opera retelling, and I had high hopes for it... I ended up giving it three stars, though. I didn't actually write a review of it, if you want an idea what I would do is read this review and this one, both written by two reviewers I respect quite a bit. Mash the two of them together and you'll find me in the middle. :P

From there I moved to another solid three star book:

This one was a case of definite cover lust for me... Has been since I first spotted this book a couple of years ago! I enjoyed this but it wasn't quite as good as I had hoped - I'm crossing my fingers that I'll find the other two to be an improvement. My review is over here.

Okay... Only two more, I promise!

Yes, this is the cover of the one that I got in the set that I posted about earlier this month <3 I love them so much, they are so easy to carry around and read. Do I really need to say more about the book itself? Five stars, I quite enjoyed it. I'm currently working on The Fellowship and hope to post a review when I'm done that one.

And last but not least...

Okay, I'm sorry but I lied earlier, because this is my favourite out of the books I read in February. I'm sure that many of you read Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes when you were in elementary or highschool, either as the short story or as the book. I loved it, to be quite honest. It was moving, thought provoking, and made me cry. If you haven't read it, please do... And in the meantime, you can find my review here. This is a book that has made its way on to my 'to reread' list, which is rare.

So there you go! That's what I read in February - not too bad, if not as good as January - and I'm looking forward to March!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Sidetracked Saturday: Fifty Shades...

One thing that's bothered me ever since 50 Shades hit popularity - other than that existence of the books, that is - is the constant refrain of 'you can't criticize them without reading them!!' Which I strongly disagree with, to be honest. I've read several take-downs of the series (over here, for example) and I find that more than sufficient, along with the fact that people whose opinions I trust completely have eviscerated the books for the way they have romanticized an abusive, controlling relationship.

Yet still. 'You can't criticize unless you've read them!" And just, no. I am not willing to give up that much of my precious time. My wall would also probably suffer from having a book hurled at it more than once, too, and well, I rent. Probably not a good idea!

So what's a girl to do? Simple: watch the movie instead.

So that's just what I did. It only involved sacrificing two hours of my time rather than triple that, plus I don't seek to deliberately raise my blood pressure, so this was better for everyone involved.

I've had people tell me that the movie is better than the books in terms of the relationship depicted. That honestly distresses me because good fucking lord, people, the movie is BAD. I knew that the books were bad, even terrible, but now I am just left shaking my head at how god-awful terrible they must be!

So let's go through a few things here.

First of all, we have the downright ridiculous. Like there's a moment where Grey strips off his shirt, tells Ana that if she was his then she wouldn't be able to sit down for a week, followed by sexy-toast biting. Yes, you read that right. He does this lean towards her and takes a bite out of her half-eaten toast, and the cinematography make it clear that we are supposed to find this sexy.

Oh dear.

Anyway, hilarious moments like that aside, the rest of the time I just spend being really pissed off. Listen, I love reading good BDSM. Not touched on much on this blog, but I do! It can be really hot to read about that sort of absolute submission and the heights of pleasure that can come along with it. None of that exists in 50 Shades.

Let's take Anastasia's virginity, for example. That would have most experienced doms backing off entirely, or at least slowing the hell down. Instead Christian gets all intense, says that they should rectify that. Ana agrees, and what follows might be the quickest deflowering I've ever witnessed. I'm pretty sure it took about five minutes of screen time and it felt like that was supposed to be *accurate timing*.

Virgin + five minute sex. Yeah, that sounds like a recipe for *disaster*, just saying. In this case I'm going to blame it on the cinematography because it seems like the scene in the books is longer.


Pesky virginity dispatched, that still doesn't change the fact that Ana's pretty inexperienced, which is another reason this damn movie pissed me off so much. Does Christian back off, sit down to have a serious talk about this with her, introduce her to things gradually, etc, etc? Nope. He just wants the bloody contract signed (btw, she doesn't know what a butt-plug is) and for her to be his. Nevermind that she shows no real interest in BDSM on her own, or that she obviously has no idea what she is getting into... Nope. Apparently none of that even makes Christian Grey pause for even a minute.

It's just all irresponsible, inaccurate, dangerous bullshit. BDSM is so much more than what was depicted in the movie and I can only imagine the impression that young teenagers and people in general are coming away with, now. It's just really gross and if E. L. James had done the slightest bit of research she could have done so much better.

When combined with Christian's stalkery behaviour (and the fact that he sold her car, wtf - I don't care that he bought her a new one, you don't just sell someone's property like that) it was just not something I would recommend to anyone.

Ironically enough, the end of the movie - which is likely intended to be a cliffhanger - was actually completely satisfying for me. Ana's had enough and she tells Christian that! And she leaves! She's standing up for herself and she has confidence! So you'll forgive me if I move forward pretending that that's how things really ended. Because you know, a story about a shy, unassuming woman gaining confidence and moving on with her life is far better than 50 Shades could ever manage to be.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Review: The Last Days Of Ptolemy Grey by Walter Mosley

Title: The Last Days Of Ptolemy Grey

Author: Walter Mosley
Riverhead Hardcover
Publication Date:
November 11th, 2010
Adult, Contemporary, Literary Fiction
Rating: Four Stars
Ptolemy Grey is ninety-one years old and has been all but forgotten-by his family, his friends, even himself-as he sinks into a lonely dementia. His grand-nephew, Ptolemy's only connection to the outside world, was recently killed in a drive-by shooting, and Ptolemy is too suspicious of anyone else to allow them into his life. until he meets Robyn, his niece's seventeen-year-old lodger and the only one willing to take care of an old man at his grandnephew's funeral.

But Robyn will not tolerate Ptolemy's hermitlike existence. She challenges him to interact more with the world around him, and he grasps more firmly onto his disappearing consciousness. However, this new activity pushes Ptolemy into the fold of a doctor touting an experimental drug that guarantees Ptolemy won't live to see age ninety- two but that he'll spend his last days in feverish vigor and clarity. With his mind clear, what Ptolemy finds-in his own past, in his own apartment, and in the circumstances surrounding his grand-nephew's death-is shocking enough to spur an old man to action, and to ensure a legacy that no one will forget.

Review:  This book was a welcome change from everything that I have been reading lately - definitely not YA, and definitely not full of magic and fantasy! And because of that it stood out all the more, I think. One of the goals that I have in mind for 2015 is to try to read a wider range of genres, and that was partly why I picked up this book.

Ptolemy Grey is 91 and in the early stages of dementia, and this is the story of how a young girl named Robyn comes into his life and changes it for the better. It's a story of how there's still living to be done no matter how old you are, and an exploration of Ptolemy's life and the people that have meant the most to him over the last almost-century.

It's also a story of racism and black culture in the US, of family and love and violence and betrayal. It takes us through Ptolemy's childhood and the things he's experienced and seen - horrible things - and also the loves of his life. All of this is shown to us through his memories, both unbidden and reclaimed as the book unfolds and he pushes back the shroud clouding his mind. There are some incredibly poignant moments as Ptolemy struggles with his own mind and considers the perceptions of those around him, and we see his strength and the type of man he is, 'even' at 91.

It's by turns entertaining, soulful and incredibly moving, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. If you have any older relatives, like I do - my grandmother is 89 - then it may hit even closer to home. I'd recommend it and I'm glad I took a chance on it.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Book Haul Round-up!

Helloooo everyone!

It's been a few days since I last posted, so I have some reviews and such to post, but I thought I'd touch on the books that I've picked up over the last few days!

I... have been to the bookstore more often than I probably should have been. It wasn't entirely my fault... Chapters was having a 'buy a gift card, get a percentage off' with these coupons' deal, which I'd been studiously avoiding. But then one of the employees gave me a coupon and said that he thought that the percentage would be higher than normal, and, well.. I couldn't resist!

This is one of the books that I picked up - Splintered, by A. G. Howard! I've wanted to read these for awhile, to be honest - the covers are gorgeous, and the story sounds interesting. I'm partway through this one at the moment and I'm liking it so far. Very dreamy, 'out there' sort of writing that really suits the idea of a sort of creepy, everything's gone wrong Alice in Wonderland. I also picked up Unhinged today on a whim (shouldn't have done that, prolly) and will obviously buy the third one assuming that I like the first two.

This was one of the others, another buy partly because of the cover and also because it has pretty good reviews on Goodreads.

I also picked up 'Written In Red' by Anne Bishop (I love love love her Black Jewels series) and Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano. $5.99, how could I resist!

Then last night my Book Depository order came... With this!

My pretty LoTR + The Hobbit box set!!

I'll be honest, I'm kind of annoyed because the printing on the set is off-kilter :/ Luckily it only matters if you're looking at the case for the books, and the books themselves are perfectly fine. They're gorgeous - small and easy to hold, but the printing isn't too small. They also have some gorgeous maps:

Gorgeous, right? :D

I bought these for two reasons. First of all, I realised that at some point or another, I had misplaced the set that I had! I had a one-volume version of LoTR and the movie version of the Hobbit, but neither of those was particularly satisfactory anyway, to be honest, so I'm not too upset.

Second of all - and I have a confession to make, here - I've never actually finished LoTR. I always get stuck partway through The Two Towers, right around where they run into the Ents. So a goal for 2015 for me is to get through the whole series! I've seen the movies and I love the story in general, plus these are such classics, it feels wrong to not have read them.

Ohhh and I almost forgot, I picked up this:

My local bookstore finally had them in stock, so I had to go in to pick up a copy. I was lucky enough to get an ARC from Netgalley and I've already posted my review here, but this is one of the books this year that I feel strongly about and I want to support it!

In the coming weeks I think I'll be picking up 'Red Queen' by Victoria Aveyard and also A Darker Shade Of Magic by Victoria Schwab, but I think I'm going to try and limit my purchases other than that! I need to go through my bookshelves and get rid of some of the books that I don't necessarily want - or at least my DVDs, so that I'm not just accumulating more stuff that I will eventually have to move.

Anyway, so that's what I've been up to! I will be posting at least one review later tonight or maybe tomorrow :)