Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Review: Enthralled (Part One)

Enthralled: Paranormal Diversions
Enthralled: Paranormal Diversions by Melissa Marr & Kelley Armstrong

Published: September 1st 2011

Publisher: Harper Collins

Page Count: 452
Synopsis: A journey may take hundreds of miles, or it may cover the distance between duty and desire. Sixteen of today’s hottest writers of paranormal tales weave stories on a common theme of journeying. Authors such as Kelley Armstrong, Rachel Caine, and Melissa Marr return to the beloved worlds of their bestselling series, while others, like Claudia Gray, Kami Garcia, and Margaret Stohl, create new land-scapes and characters. But whether they’re writing about vampires, faeries, angels, or other magical beings, each author explores the strength and resilience of the human heart.Suspenseful, funny, or romantic, the stories in Enthralled will leave you moved."Enthralled" is a collection of 14 original teen paranormal short stories from some of today's bestselling YA talent, united with the common theme of road trips.
Reviews: Well obviously I'd have to tackle this book a little differently due to the fact its an anthology but because of my reading slump I've also decided to review half of it now and half of it later because I seem to be getting nowhere with no book even though I'm enjoying them! How does that work? I have no idea. As each story is only a short one I will try my very best to not give too much away but this will also mean the reviews will be short too - now this makes sense!
Introduction: by Melissa Marr & Kelley Armstrong
I actually really enjoyed this introduction it was handy mostly because whilst I've heard of a few of the authors, I have only read books by Melissa Marr in the past so it was nice to get a background story behind why these authors teamed up for this perfect bundle of paranormal journeys.
Giovanni’s Farewell: by Claudia Gray
Claudia Gray, author of the Evernight series which is on my wishlist, opens the book with a ghostly experience of twins Cairo and Ravenna who are different in the paranormal kind of way! Oh did I mention its set in Rome. I was thrilled this was the first story because I went to Rome last year and could relate to a lot of things being mentioned, particularly the heat that seems to be non stop. For me it was the perfect story to open the book with.
Scenic Route: by Carrie Ryan
Carrie Ryan, author of The Forest of Hands and Teeth (also on my wishlist), provides one of my favourite short stories in this anthology. Its about Zombies but never actually says that word nor refers to them too directly, its one that definitely leaves you guessing whilst giving us insight on the lives of two sisters and how they're trying to survive in the horrible world they've been left in.
Red Run: by Kami Garcia
Kami Garcia is the author of the Caster Chronicles (yep, you guessed it! Wishlist!) and we're given another ghost story, but this one is more of a horror ghost story dealing with the murder of a young boy turned human slaughtering ghost maniac! It has a twist of course.
Things About Love: by Jackson Pearce
You have the Fairytale Retellings on your wishlist too right? Well this isn't about Fairytales but it is about Jinn or Genies or Djinn, however you know them best. I haven't been introduced to these creatures before in a book so I was happy to know all about them over these short pages, I think I also favourite this story because we have a main character who isn't hetero - hooray for breaking the mould.
Niederwald: by Rachel Vincent
For those of you who have read the Soul Screams series you need to check this out because this little treat is 4.5 of the series, if you haven't read it, no need to worry because whilst a few things may start off as confusing you're all cleared up way before the end. I adored this world I visited and will be starting the series soon I hope.
Merely Mortal: by Melissa Marr
Ah. Spoilers. That's all I had screaming through my head the entire tale. I've read the first of the Wicked Lovely series and that was a few years ago, I've been meaning to re-start it this year as I have the first three books but I'm going to have to wait until these characters names are lost in my memory. I still enjoyed it though, and all the description was lovely!Facing Facts: by Kelley Armstrong
Whilst I have a LOT of Kelley's books on my wishlist I haven't gotten any of them and I struggled a little with this story - due to being way over tired and getting confused with all the characters - but I still enjoyed it a lot, I do think having background knowledge of this series would of helped a lot though.

Amazon: UK | US
Part Two

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Bought, Borrowed & Bagged (13)

Bought, Borrowed and Bagged is a weekly event hosted by Talk Supe where you can share the books you have bought, borrowed or bagged (won) plus a recap of the previous week's reviews, upcoming reviews and on going events. 
(P.S. click the image to go to its Goodreads page)

Bagged (Won):
H.I.V.E series by Mark Walden
(As mentioned last week! They arrived Tuesday, thanks again Karina for the giveaway)

This week on Northern Plunder:

This week Lauren has been reading:
Enthralled by Melissa Marr + others

This week Nia has read:
Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

In other news:
Slow week book wise but I've picked up my reading pace a little! I can't wait to get back in the flow of finishing books in a normal amount of time. - Lauren
I didn't get anything this week I'm being a good girl and not splurging all my money on books. Hopefully....-Nia 

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Review: Zelah Green

Zelah Green (Zelah Green #1)
Zelah Green by Vanessa Curtis

Published: January 1st 2011
Publisher: Egmont UK
Series: Zelah Green #1
Page Count: 250
Synopsis:  My Name is Zelah Green and I’m a cleanaholic. I spend most of my life running away from germs. And dirt. And people. And I’m just about doing OK and then my stepmother packs me off to some kind of hospital to live with a load of strangers. It’s stuck in the middle of nowhere. Great. There’s Alice who’s anorexic. Caro who cuts herself. Silent Sol who has the cutest smile. And then there’s me. 
Review: I was browsing my local library for something new because I needed something that wasn't in my usual reading genre but at the same time I needed a short book so I wouldn't be spending ages on it as I have a habit of renewing library books a lot so I refuse to borrow something over 400 pages cause I'm lazy I guess! I found the lovely light green and small book, the title grabbed me first because lets face it Zelah Green isn't an ordinary name and I also ended up really liking the cover too, something about its cleanness just makes sense to me - then of course I read the synopsis and found out it was about a girl with OCD which explains the lovely clean and mess free cover! I hadn't read a book with a character who's dealing with OCD before. I sat in the back of the car on the way to a university open day and read the whole thing then and there, I loved the book page after page and felt the story was super gripping, if you break it down there isn't a lot that happens compared to my usual reads - no mysterious murders or zombies trying to tears your insides out - but its much more focused on happenings around her, really personal things from finding out who true friends are, overcoming her OCD little by little, helping others with their problems and waking up from a dream world. The whole book just felt right, I'm sat here trying to find a fault with it but I really did enjoy it and I can't wait to read the sequel cause it has such a teasing ending. The only reason its not a full five stars is because I think it was aimed at a slightly younger audience, maybe 15 year olds? but luckily it was the perfect read to escape from a horrendous car journey and just relax. 

Recommend? Yes its a lovely short read.

Amazon: UK | US
Vanessa Curtis: GR | Website | Twitter

Friday, 27 July 2012

Follow Friday (17)

Q. Summer Reading. What was your favourite book that you were REQUIRED to read when you were in school?

Lauren's answer: Well we weren't required to read Frozen Fire but my English teacher recommended it to me and I adored it!

Nia's answer: Because I do English at Alevel you are required to read a lot of books but at the moment they're really pushing the classical literature.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Review: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

Published:  January 2nd 2012
Publisher: Poppy/ Little Brown
Page Count: 236
Synopsis: "Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?" 

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. Having missed her flight, she's stuck at JFK airport and late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon-to-be stepmother Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's sitting in her row. 
A long night on the plane passes in the blink of an eye, and Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other in the airport chaos upon arrival. Can fate intervene to bring them together once more? 
Quirks of timing play out in this romantic and cinematic novel about family connections, second chances, and first loves. Set over a twenty-four-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it. 

Review: This book honestly shocked me I went into it thinking "Oh god I'm going to absolutely hate this" but for some reason I really didn't. The story is pretty simple you as the reader already know the end outcome, but somehow this book just pulled me in and made me want to read. I think to be honest its a nice break from those love novels that try to be complex. The characters do have some depth and they don't feel like your usual ditsy I'm so in love with him romance characters, although because it happens so quickly it left me a little bit skeptical.
The characters develop during the book I liked Oliver from the beginning but it took be awhile to like Hadley, but she grew on me kind of like this book. I'd give this book a read if you want something heartwarming with a little bit of angst thrown in.
Recommend: Its not a bad for a romance book you should certainly give it a little look see. 

                                                                   Rating:  4/5

Amazon: UK | US
Jennifer E. Smith: Website | GR | Twitter |

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Wishlist Wednesday (9)

Wishlist Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Pen to Paper where we can share books that are on our wishlist. 

Battle RoyaleBattle Royale, Vol. 1 (Battle Royale, #1)

I don't know why I haven't read Battle Royale by Koushun Takami yet, but I haven't and I really want to. Shame on me  I guess. I'd definitely love to read the novel and the manga though.
GRKoushun Takami's notorious high-octane thriller is based on an irresistible premise: a class of junior high school students is taken to a deserted island where, as part of a ruthless authoritarian program, they are provided arms and forced to kill one another until only one survivor is left standing. Criticized as violent exploitation when first published in Japan - where it then proceeded to become a runaway bestseller - Battle Royale is a Lord of the Flies for the 21st century, a potent allegory of what it means to be young and (barely) alive in a dog-eat-dog world. Made into a controversial hit movie of the same name, Battle Royale is already a contemporary Japanese pulp classic, now available for the first time in the English language.

This is The Other Life by Susanne Winnacker and it sounds like a pretty fantastic read to me. It seems to be a dystopian novel and I absolutely love that genre, so it should be a good read.
GR:   3 years, 1 month, 1 week and 6 days since I’d seen daylight. One-fifth of my life. 98,409,602 seconds since the heavy, steel door had fallen shut and sealed us off from the world. Sherry has lived with her family in a sealed bunker since things went wrong up above. But when they run out of food, Sherry and her dad must venture outside. There they find a world of devastation, desolation...and the Weepers: savage, mutant killers. When Sherry's dad is snatched, she joins forces with gorgeous but troubled Joshua - an Avenger, determined to destroy the Weepers. But can Sherry keep her family and Joshua safe, when his desire for vengeance threatens them all?

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Author Spotlight: Peter Leonard

Welcome to Northern Plunder's first Author Spotlight segment!

Peter Leonard
Peter Leonard's debut novel - Quiver - was published to international acclaim in 2008, followed by Trust Me in 2009 and Voices of the Dead in 2012. But today we're here about All He Saw Was The Girl! It is a Mafia-based suspense book, published 15th May 2012 by The Story Plant.

Rome: McCabe and Chip, two American exchange students, are about to become embroiled with a violent street gang, a beautiful Italian girl, and a flawed kidnapping plan.
Detroit: Sharon Vanelli's affair with Joey Palermo, a Mafia enforcer, is about to be discovered by her husband, Ray, a secret service agent.
Brilliant plotted and shot through wry humour, All He Saw Was The Girl sees these two narratives college in the back streets of Italy's oldest city.

GR | B&N
Amazon: UK | US
Peter Leonard: Website | GR

Sharon was thinking, who was this guy lived in a five-thousand-square-foot house – not that his taste was any good – on Lake St. Clair, had nothing but leisure time or so it seemed? He called her four, five times a day, said, “How you doing?” And Sharon would say, “Same as I was when you called fifteen minutes ago.” “Baby, I miss you. Tell them you’re sick, we’ll go to the casino.” Or he’d be at the track or a Tigers day game, he’d say, “I gotta see you. Take the afternoon off, I’ll send a car.” She’d been going out with him for three weeks and it was getting serious. They’d meet at noon, check into a hotel a couple times a week and spend two hours in bed, screwing and drinking champagne. It was something, best sex she’d ever had in her life. He did things to her nobody had ever done before. She’d say, where’d you learn that? And he’d say, you inspire me, beautiful. The only bad thing, he called her Sharona, or my Sharona. Everything else was great so she let it go. They’d take his boat out on Lake St. Clair and she’d sunbathe topless. Something she’d never done in her life and never imagined herself doing. She felt invigorated, liberated. He always told her she looked good, complimented her outfit. Showered her with gifts, bought her clothes and jewellery. She felt like a teenager again. They’d meet and talk and touch each other and kiss. She was happy for the first time in years. She had to be careful. Ray, the next time he came home, might notice something and get suspicious.Why’re you so happy? she could hear him saying – like there was something wrong with it. But this relationship with Joey also made her nervous. Things were happening too fast. She was falling for him and she barely knew him, and she was married.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Cover Reveal and Giveaway: Pledged

Pledged by Gwynneth White.
I am happy to announce that both Nia and I are taking part in the Book Tour for Pledged. Personally I really like the cover, the choice of the black and white image and font and a sneaky hint of red.

Synopsis: Everyone has a soul mate. But what do you do when your soul mate would rather give his soul to the demons than be with you? Seventeen-year-old Erin has a problem. Seth has been hers forever, but now an ancient promise is tearing him away. And Reuel, the demon to whom the promise was made, will stop at nothing to force Seth to forsake Erin and to worship him. How can Erin win against a pledge so binding that it has damned countless others to the same fate she and Seth will face if Reuel wins – an eternity alone? The answer lies in the past. To find it, Erin and Seth must risk all, travelling back in time to a dangerous world where love is forbidden, and life – and death – hang on a promise. Follow Erin and Seth as they travel to ancient Shenaya to break the pledge that has plagued their families for millennia. Caught in a war between the Angelic Guardians and the Gefallen, the disembodied dead, they must fight to keep their souls in tact and their love untainted.

Author's Bio:
I have spent my entire life living in a parallel universe of make-believe characters, only coming back to reality for long enough to check that no one burnt the house down in my absence. A few years ago I decided to commit some of those ‘friends’ and their stories to paper. The Soul Wars Saga is the result of those efforts. Before that I co-authored two non-fiction travel books – The Complete Guide to 4x4 Trails and The Ultimate 4x4 Guide. Both books became instant best-sellers in South Africa where I live. And before that even, I studied a degree in African History and Politics at the University of Stellenbosch. When I’m not writing, I am a wife to Andrew and a mom to Stephanie, Erin, and Kate, our teenage daughters. My family and I live in a small town outside Cape Town with two dogs, a cat, a horse, and some neglected fish. Now that you know a little about me, I would love to get to know you.

Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Blog
email: gwynnethwhite@4xforum.com

As part of the book tour we are able to giveaway ecopies of Pledged. That's right you see the plural. We have 5 copies up for winning!

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Bought, Borrowed & Bagged (12)

Bought, Borrowed and Bagged is a weekly event hosted by Talk Supe where you can share the books you have bought, borrowed or bagged (won) plus a recap of the previous week's reviews, upcoming reviews and on going events. 
(P.S. click the image to go to its Goodreads page)
Bagged (freebie):
Entangled by Nikki Jefford
Entangled (Spellbound #1) 

Bagged (won):

Carina Press Presents: Editor's Choice Volume II: Dead Calm by Shirley Wells, Dance of Flames by Janni Nell, No Money Down by Julie Moffett and Pyro Canyon by Robert Appleton (ecopy)
Carina Press Presents: Editor's Choice Volume II: Dead Calm\Dance of Flames\No Money Down\Pyro Canyon

Witch Eyes by Scott Tracey and Tangled by Erica O'Rourke
(paperback, thanks to Shay for $25 voucher these haven't arrived yet so will probably get featured again!)Witch Eyes (Witch Eyes, #1)Tangled (Torn Trilogy, #2)

H.I.V.E series by Mark Walden
(Again these haven't arrived yet but I wanted to give thanks to Karina for the giveaway)
H.I.V.E.: Higher Institute of Villainous Education (H.I.V.E., #1)

Bagged (tour):
Pledged by Gwynneth White

Pledged (Soul Wars Saga, #1)

Other non-book related items:
I was also was lucky enough to be gifted four games on Steam from a friend so thank you Jacob for Batman: Arkham Asylum, Terraria, Serious Sam Double D and Serious Sam: The Random Encounter. I hope to return this random act of kindness later in the year!

Borrowed (from my wonderful no book limit school Library):
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Wicked Lovely by Melisa MarrWicked Lovely (Wicked Lovely, #1)The Historian by Elizabeth KostovaThe Historian
According to my english teacher I need to read Dracula before reading this, so I might take me awhile to get round to reading this book.

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
Leviathan (Leviathan, #1)

Christine by Stephen King

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Jane Eyre

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

The week on Northern Plunder:Review: Dragon Age: The Silent Grove
Wishlist Wednesday
Review: Pushing the Limits
Follow FridayVlogging with Fanatical About Fiction
This week Lauren read/is reading:
Paper Towns by John Green
Enthralled by Melissa Marr

This week Nia read/is reading:
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
The Paladin Prophecy by Mark Frost
Dracula by Bram Stoker

In other news:
Nia - I have had a list of books from my English teacher that I need to read, so expect a lot of classic literature from me for awhile. Although this list certainly doesn't contain many classics.
Lauren - I've spent way too much time on Minecraft and with the Brothercraft community this week, they're such wonderful people! I aim to read more next week :D

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Vlogging with Fanatical About Fiction (4)

Every two weeks we're going to share what Fanatical About Fiction has been uploading onto YouTube because lets face it guys, if you're anything like us more time will be spent behind a book and organising your blog. YouTube often gets left behind. Unfortunately nothing from myself or Nia this time round due to us both being busy - her on work experience and myself at university open days and weddings - but that is why there is a group of us after all! Enjoy.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Follow Friday (16)

Q. Christmas in July! Someone gives you a gift card for two books (whatever that costs). What two books will you buy?

Lauren's answer: Well I actually just won a voucher and bought Witch Eyes and Tangled!

Nia's answer: That's so hard. At the moment I'd probably buy Insurgent with the american cover and The Great Gatsby.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Review: Pushing the Limits

Pushing the Limits
Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
Publish: July 31st 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Page Count: 383
Synopsis: "I won't tell anyone, Echo. I promise." Noah tucked a curl behind my ear. It had been so long since someone touched me like he did. Why did it have to be Noah Hutchins? His dark brown eyes shifted to my covered arms. "You didn't do that-did you? It was done to you?" No one ever asked that question. They stared. They whispered. They laughed. But they never asked. "An edgy romance that pulls you in and never lets go. I was hooked!"-Gena Showalter,  New York Times bestselling author of the Intertwined series. So wrong for each other...and yet so right. No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal. But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.  Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.
Review: I'd seen this book popping up a lot, everywhere I looked it was there. It wasn't until a good book blogging friend of mine completely freaked out about how much she adored this book that I decided I'd request it. Honestly I skimmed the synopsis and didn't really think much about it but I was still dying to read it. We're introduced to Echo first and you're instantly faced with the controlling relationship between her and her father, its one you can either relate to first hand or have friends who have parents just like that and this makes Echo seem real she is relate-able. During our first meeting of Echo we're also faced with the "pulling down of her sleeves" which if like me you haven't read the synopsis properly you're probably thinking hmm what's so important about that? along with her new Councillor and step-mom from hell who is baby obsessed to the max. We are then introduced to Noah Hutchins all round bad boy, with a bad boy attitude and hilarious in that bad boy way. It doesn't take long for you to realise the connection/friendship/relationship these two are bound to make and it does make you sit back and wonder is this going to be your every day, bog standard high school romance with the usual issue of underdog likes popular girl, she likes him back but popularity is a must and he gets hurt but in the end they end up together kissing under the stars. It makes you wonder that definitely. But it is in't. Throw down any issues you may have with the usually lame high school romances and pick this book up and read it in one sitting, its worth it. Not only are the characters "complete ends of the spectrum" but they're interesting, the character development of each of them (together and by themselves) is wonderful, there is so much hidden under their skin, troubles and problems they have to face/recall that leaves you guessing (heh unless your brain doesn't like to turn off) until the end, its brilliant. They're such strong characters that you can't help but feeling for them and wanting to help them on their journey and maybe even throwing the book down in anger whilst shouting"THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK NOAH!" out loud. I don't think its possible for me to explain how happy I was with this book, it was so much better than I expected and I think for once it's helped having low expectations for a book, I really couldn't put it down.
Recommend? Yes.
Amazon: UK | US
Katie McGarry: GR | Website | Twitter | Facebook

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Wishlist Wednesday (8)

Wishlist Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Pen to Paper where we can share books that are on our wishlist. 

I'm a complete sucker for books that are based on older fairy tale books, simply because I like seeing how the author will approach it which is why Alice in Deadland by Mainak Dhar is a must read for me.
GR: Civilization as we know it ended more than fifteen years ago, leaving as it's legacy barren wastelands called the Deadland and a new terror for the humans who survived — hordes of undead Biters. Fifteen year-old Alice has spent her entire life in the Deadland, her education consisting of how best to use guns and knives in the ongoing war for survival against the Biters. One day, Alice spots a Biter disappearing into a hole in the ground and follows it, in search of fabled underground Biter bases. What Alice discovers there propels her into an action-packed adventure that changes her life and that of all humans in the Deadland forever. An adventure where she learns the terrible conspiracy behind the ruin of humanity, the truth behind the origin of the Biters, and the prophecy the mysterious Biter Queen believes Alice is destined to fulfill. A prophecy based on the charred remains of the last book in the Deadland — a book called Alice in Wonderland.

Uglies (Uglies, #1)So this week I decided on Scott Westerfeld's Uglies because it sounds like another book that'll make me think, and I love books like that so much. (Edit from Lauren: I bought the book second hand off Amazon and after finishing it I then ordered the rest of the series, it's really good but read the series spread out!). 
GR: Everybody gets to be supermodel gorgeous. What could be wrong with that? Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can't wait. Not for her license -- for turning pretty. In Tally's world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be there. But Tally's new friend Shay isn't sure she wants to be pretty. She'd rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world and it isn't very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever.