Friday, 31 January 2014

January Wrap Up

January Wrap Up
I feel like this is a poor start to the year, but I've written an essay, settled in at University again and recently gotten back into gaming a lot more. This made me realise a few things when it comes to blogging and I'm hoping I can balance everything a little better this year. I'll be trying a few different things out whilst I get comfy with a routine.
Women Author Challenge
1. Awakening Foster Kelly by Cara Rosalie Olsen
2. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Total: 2 / 20

Indie Fever Challenge
1. Awakening Foster Kelly by Cara Rosalie Olsen
2. Insanity by Cameron Jace
Total: 2 / 24

TBR Pile Challenge
1. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Total: 1 / 24

(Ongoing) Millionaire Challenge
29,050 (+ 10 unknowns) / 1,000,000 pages

Shelf Stacking
I've ordered two books which have yet to arrive, and these below were three freebies and one late Christmas present, I'm behaving. The only reason I have ordered two is because I promised myself I would with Christmas money once I'd paid January rent.
Mangled Hearts (Scarred Hearts, #1)Friends With Partial BenefitsIntroductions (The Academy, #1)VAMPIRE

Monday, 27 January 2014

Audiobook DNF Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Narrated by Will Patton

Published: 12th September 2012 by Scholastic Audio
Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy
Length: 11 hours 8 minutes
Format: Audiobook on Overdrive
Source: Audiobooksync

Synopsis: "There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark's Eve," Neeve said. "Either you're his true love . . . or you killed him."

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them-not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can't entirely explain. He has it all-family money, good looks, devoted friends-but he's looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she's not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we've never been before.
Purchase: Amazon UK* / Amazon US / Audible / TBD*

Maggie Stiefvater: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
*When purchasing through this link, I will receive a small amount, once I have enough saved up I will put it towards a giveaway.

2 / 5 stars

During the summer audiobooksync had a range of popular YA and classics available for free download, The Raven Boys was one of many that I grabbed, but only the second I've tried out.

It's funny because this review will be the complete opposite to the first audiobook I tried out from them (review here).

The Raven Boys follows Blue, the only family member to not have the clairvoyant powers that otherwise thrive within her family, that is until this year when the ghost of a boy steps out of the darkness and speaks to her. 

The same boy is nearby, alive and well, and whilst he heard nor saw anything of what happened, he did manage to record the sounds which he heard the next day, this obviously a complete shock to him.

And that's pretty much all I know of the book.
I think I got through the prologue, chapter one and most of chapter two until I realised I'd have to unfortunately drop this audiobook.

Why unfortunately?

Well its simple really, I loved the story, I was so engrossed with it and I can't wait to know the rest of the story.

Unfortunately, Will Patton's voice killed it for me.

I couldn't focus properly and his voice was just a drab to listen too.

Hopefully one day I can sit down and read this fully, without having to link his voice with the story.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Bought, Borrowed & Bagged (59)

Sunday Post
Bought, Borrowed and Bagged hosted by Talk Supe and Sunday Post hosted byCaffeinated Book Reviewer are both weekly memes where you can share your book haul, ongoing events and news about what is coming up on your blog for the week ahead. I take part with both of these hops fortnightly so I can be introduced to a range of blogs on the atmosphere. Please Note: All images link back to their GR pages.


Mangled Hearts by Felicia Tatum, Friends with Partial Benefits by Luke Young and Introductions by C.L. Stone.

A few freebies I've noticed thanks to different facebook pages.
Mangled Hearts (Scarred Hearts, #1)Friends With Partial BenefitsIntroductions (The Academy, #1)

Vampires by Amy Mah.
A late christmas present from my best friend.

This "fortnight" on Northern Plunder

Upcoming Northern Plunder

Review: The Raven Boys
Review: Awakening Foster Kelly
January Wrap Up 

Lauren's Progress

Read in 2014: 2 / 70
Awakening Foster Kelly by Cara Rosalie Olsen
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Currently Reading:
Insanity by Cameron Jace

News from Lauren

2014 has been a slow start on the reading front for myself, but this is mostly due to spending more of my time gaming which is something I didn't let myself do much of last year with class work and reading. I plan to tackle this blog a little differently this year, less blog tours and what have you, also I've dropped the meme's but my somewhat weekly hop. I've realised that the only way my blog can keep running is if I do it how I want and enjoy the content I'm putting out.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Short Story Review: Dealing With It by Christina Channelle

Dealing With It by Christina Channelle

Published: 29th March 2013 by Christina Channelle

Genre: Short Story
Page Count: 37
Format: eBook
Source: Freebie

Synopsis: One girl goes through the five stages of grief after the loss of a loved one whilst another deals with her emotions after a traumatic event.(Author's Note: These two short stories combined are approximately 5,000 words in length).

Purchase: Amazon UK* / Amazon US
Free: Smashwords / iTunes /

Christina Channelle:
 Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
*When purchasing through this link, I will receive a small amount, once I have enough saved up I will put it towards a giveaway.

4 / 5 stars

I was lucky enough to grab a copy of this book whilst it was still free on Amazon, I've worked with this author before on book tours and this will in no way effect my review on this book.

Dealing With It includes two short stories about the emotions we're faced with when going through tough events in life, and eventually dealing with it.

The first is about the loss of a loved one, each chapter focusing on a certain emotion and state she feels to cope (or not cope) with the death, I thought this was beautifully executed and pin pointed the effect of each emotion well.

The second follows a girl attempting to face facts with a traumatic event she went through, this story was definitely the shorter of the two but it hit the nail on the head with the effects of abuse and the damage it can cause to not only the person but those around them.

Overall I really enjoyed this book and would love to read more on both, I hope the author chooses either to revisit these characters or do other stories similar to this theme.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Art Book Review: Print & Pattern by Bowie Styles

Print & Pattern by Bowie Styles

Published: 24th March 2010 by Laurence King Publishers
Genre: Design / Art
Page Count: 304
Format: Paperback
Source: University Library / Gifted to me

Synopsis: Pattern is everywhere. Years of minimalism have been superseded by a riot of color and shape, whether on walls, fabrics, clothes, or signage. Print & Pattern is a visual celebration of contemporary surface design. 

Compiled by the creator of the cult blog of the same name (, this book documents the work of the best surface designers from around the world and features products that have been embellished with a surface print or pattern, including graphics, cards, gift wrap, stationery, textiles, ceramics, badges, stickers, and wallpaper.

As well as successful commercial designs, the book also showcases previously unseen pattern designs from designers' portfolios. Accessible but with a cool edge, the book will appeal to surface designers, graphic designers, designer-makers and craftspeople, illustrators, and fashion and textile designers.
Purchase: Amazon UK* / Amazon US / B&N / TBD*
Bowie Styles: Website | Goodreads
*When purchasing through this link, I will receive a small amount, once I have enough saved up I will put it towards a giveaway.

5 / 5 stars

I borrowed a copy of Print & Pattern from the library at my University, for a task to get us used to the library system and to write a book review. They suggested this task would take up to three hours but of course I didn't have to figure out how to use a library and writing a review wasn't all that challenging.

However the review we had to write had to answer certain questions and before a certain date, meaning I wrote the review for class after only reading half the book. So if you notice that some of this review doesn't follow my usual writing style its because I've combined the task review and my own review of the second half together to get the following.

Hopefully it fits together okay.

Print & Pattern is a collection of surface pattern designers, illustrators and graphic designers work that features patterns, prints or has been later made and sold as a surface pattern design (eg. clothing, stationary, cards).

Many of the work within the book has been featured on Bowie Styles' website first, which I really enjoyed browsing in my spare time and followed too.

Whilst a lot of the work stands out to me as interesting or inspiring I noticed a lot of it is more tailored towards a more feminine audience, which didn't bother me too much as I am of course a girl and can appreciate feminine designs, however many were simply too feminine for me to appreciate so I did further research into some of these designers as well as others that took my fancy.

I also got my own copy for Christmas so I hope to do a more relaxed browse of the book this year and maybe do a follow up post sharing some of my favourite pages.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Bout of Books: Wrap Up

BoB9.0 200x200 Bout of Books 9.0!
A few days late is better than never, surely? Well it better had be because that's what is happening.
All day Sunday and Monday I was writing up and improving an essay for University and I finally finished and had it handed in today so now I can finally concentrate on the things I wanted to do during the read-a-thon.

Yes that's right, last night, a day late, I managed to sit down and read another 108 pages of Daughter of Smoke and Bone, unfortunately it doesn't count towards BoB but I'm happy I got to treat myself!

I'm just looking at my goals now and somewhat crying over how badly I did!

"Finish off/Read 4 books"
I knew this was too high, I really did, but I thought I could at least do half. But nope. I finished off Awakening Foster Kelly and 59% of Daughter of Smoke and Bone.

"Review 2 books"
Also nope. I drafted one but that is it.

"Complete my University essay"
This was a lot harder than I imagined and found out half way through we had to Harvard Reference which is something I've not done or heard of before so hopefully that ended up okay.

Aside from my lack of reading and essay writing I did also do the following:
- Took boyfriend out for a meal
- Celebrated boyfriends birthday
- Play Smite (reached level 11 and mastered two gods)
- Play Elder Scrolls Online BETA (reached level 5)
- Played Natural Selection 2 (still unsure about this game)
- Made plans for my best friend to visit next weekend
- Packed up my room at home
- Moved back into my room at University

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Bout of Books: Challenges

BoB9.0 200x200 Bout of Books 9.0!The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 6th and runs through Sunday, January 12th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 9.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team.
I hope to take part in a few of the challenges hosted so to keep them organised and easy to view, any of the challenges I take part in my entries will be posted here! 

Imagine you've won $100 for a book buying spree, but what do you buy? Create your book buying spree wishlist.
So I'm aware this is a day late so I can't actually enter the contest but I still loved the idea of this challenge and wanted to take part even though I wont be eligible to win, because I think this'll be rather difficult for me to select which books I'd want, lets see how it goes.
Wow, believe it or not this was actually a hell of a lot easier than I imagined, my wishlist is so long I just went to my wishlist next in series and found a few before thinking really hard about other books I needed a paperback copy of or was dying to read! I enjoy doing this :)
How do you fit in as much reading as possible during Bout of Books? How do you squeeze in those extra pages?

Well usually I make sure that I have everything I need to do done before the read-a-thon starts, unfortunately this time round I didn't because I was enjoying my time at home and now I'm trying to squeeze in an essay and a read-a-thon. Oops. Other than that I also try and make sure to read before bed every night because I know I'm most relaxed then with no distractions and can usually read for a good two hours or so.
Create a found poem by picking any novel from any genre that you're reading or have finished, pick a number between 1 and 10 (8)and follow these steps:
1. Flip to a page at random, use your trusty number to could down 8 lines, then 8 words, write the word down and repeat until you have fourteen words.
2. Delete two words and add in two of your own.
3. Arrange your words any way you like to finish your found poem.

I'm using Daughter of Smoke and Bone seeing as that's what I'm currently reading and my number is eight, the fourteen words that I ended up with are: and, in, angels, himself, just, a, good, thunderous, friends, tea, assistant, still, she, whirling.
I'm removing she and tea, to add in with and times.

Just himself, whirling
in thunderous times,
with angels and friends.
Still a good assistant.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Bout of Books: Updates

BoB9.0 200x200 Bout of Books 9.0!The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 6th and runs through Sunday, January 12th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 9.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team.

I'll be updating this post daily to show my reading progress throughout the week, before we get started I just wanted to point out my goals again as I think its changed slightly because I also have an essay for university to write. 
- Finish off/Read 4 books
- Review 2 books
- Complete my university essay
Whilst I know this is a read-a-thon, I wanted to make note of my essay in the goals so I don't forget about it! I'm sure I've got plenty of time and I already know what I want to talk about so hopefully it doesn't take up too much of my time! The following are the books I'll probably read.
Awakening Foster KellyDaughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #1)Witch Eyes (Witch Eyes, #1)
InsanityShattered Veil (The Diatous Wars #1)
Awakening Foster Kelly by Cara Rosalie Olsen
Read: 19%
Roughly: 133 pages

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Read: 22 pages
Overall Books Completed: 1
Overall Pages Read: 155

Wow, so I finished my first book of the year during this read-a-thon, I'd been struggling to read since New Year because a lot has been going on, I also got half of my university results back today which where pretty good. Awakening Foster Kelly was a pretty good read, but personally I felt the ending ruined it so that drastically changed my opinion on it, I hope to get the review written up soon. I also got pretty distracted on concentrating to master my god to level two on Smite which is why I read so little of Daughter of Smoke and Bone before because oh my, my eyes were tired.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Read: 35 pages
Overall Books Completed: 1
Overall Pages Read: 190

I did a lot of travelling today whilst shopping for things to return to university with, as well as visiting my dad one last time before returning too so I didn't have much free time, I did manage to squeeze in half an hour before bed but I was so exhausted that today just didn't go as planned.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Read: 74 pages
Overall Books Completed: 1
Overall Pages Read: 264

I managed to put time aside today to actually make more of a dent in this book, oh my god! I love it so much, I'm almost half way through it and I really don't want it to end, I've convinced my auntie to order me the second one too! It should arrive on Sunday so hopefully I can drag this out until then, I also made a start on my essay for university today.

Overall Books Completed: 1
Overall Pages Read: 264
Today I got started on my essay and made a huge dent in it, but I was mostly exhausted and didn't manage to pick up my book which sucks a lot! I also went out to Frankie and Benny's for a lovely meal with my boyfriend as its his birthday tomorrow.
Overall Books Completed: 1
Overall Pages Read: 264

Shock horror! For the second day I running I also didn't read, I'm terrible. Today was my boyfriends birthday so in the morning I added a little to my essay before his friends came round and we stayed up until 4:30am gaming. My god I was tired. The Elder Scrolls Online BETA started today and was so good, though I doubt I'll purchase it upon release as its £15 a month I think? If that's correct they're going to struggle against World of Warcraft.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Read: 60 pages
Overall Books Completed: 1
Overall Pages Read: 324

I'm so happy I got to sit down and read today, even if it was for only an hour. I was super tired thanks to last nights silly antics and no doubt I'm going to feel even worse tomorrow but today I read and packed up my room to move back to my university accomodation tomorrow, hopefully I can't read in the car.
Overall Books Completed: 1
Overall Pages Read: 324

Lauren! What are you playing at? Sleeping that's what. Oh and also finishing off my essay, its due in in two days so I didn't really get a choice, I HAD to make sure the essay was almost finished before I slept today and also unpack so my flat was livable. -sigh- Maybe next read-a-thon I can actually do more reading.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

2014 Must Reads

First of all I want to apologise about how misleading this title might be, this post is not about 2014 releases that I want to read but about books I own and want to read in 2014. I couldn't think how to phrase it without insinuating both of them.

Books to Finish Reading:
Awakening Foster Kelly by Cara Rosalie Olsen, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, Witch Eyes by Scott Tracey, Memory's Wake by Selina Fenech, The Walking Dead Compendium One by Robert Kirkman and Later With Myself by Sheryl Sorrentino.
Awakening Foster KellyDaughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #1)Witch Eyes (Witch Eyes, #1)
Memory's Wake (Memory's Wake Trilogy, #1)The Walking Dead, Compendium 1Later with Myself: The Misadventures of Millie Moskowitz
All of these books I entered the year part way through reading, and I'm enjoying every single one of them for different reasons so I'm hoping I can get them all finished this year, this particularly goes for The Walking Dead due to it being so heavy. I know I shouldn't have any trouble getting them read but you never know what can happen hey?
Books to re-read:
His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman, Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling, Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris and Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr.
Northern Lights (His Dark Materials, #1)Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse, #1)Wicked Lovely (Wicked Lovely, #1)
I hope to fully re-read the His Dark Materials trilogy as I believe it'll have an even larger impact on me now than it did at 13, and I'd love to re-read the full Harry Potter series too, unfortunately I do not own them all yet so it may not be possible. I started the Sookie Stackhouse series about four years ago now, but I borrowed the four or five books I read off a friend, now I have the first two I hope to re-read them to get back into the series, its a similar story for Wicked Lovely.
Review Books:
Insanity by Cameron Jace, Shattered Veil by Tracy E. Banghart and Apocalypse Now by Andrew McFayden-Ketchum.
InsanityShattered Veil (The Diatous Wars #1)Apocalypse Now: Poems and Prose from the End of Days
These three are books I've received to review towards the end of 2013, I aim to read them in this order too though its been very hard to hold off Shattered Veil this long (its not out until February so I'm trying my hardest to hold off until a bit before release). 
Graphic Novels:
Transmetropolitan Volume 1 by Warren Ellis, Demo by Brain Wood, V for Vendetta and Watchmen by Alan Moore and Kick Ass 1 & 2 by Mark Millar.
Transmetropolitan, Vol. 1: Back on the Street (New Edition)DemoV for Vendetta
WatchmenKick-Ass Kick-Ass 2

I have a pretty sweet collection if I don't say so myself. Well um actually my boyfriend does, and he does because I have a great taste. Or so I assume. As I have yet to read any of these I bought him! Which is why I want to dig into this pile. I can't believe only the Watchmen one is mine.
Feed by Mira Grant, Red Dragon by Thomas Harris, Adam's Apple by Live Morris, City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman, A Storm of Swords: Steel and Snow by George R. R. Martin, It by Stephen King, American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis, Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami, Fight Clb by Chuck Palahniuk, Sealed with a Curse by Cecy Robinson and Handling the Undead by John Ajvide Lindqvist.
Feed (Newsflesh Trilogy, #1)Red Dragon (Hannibal Lecter, #1)Adam's Apple (Touch of Tantra #1)City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1)
Noughts & Crosses (Noughts & Crosses, #1)A Storm of Swords: Steel and Snow (A Song of Ice and Fire #3, Part 1 of 2)ItAmerican Psycho
Norwegian WoodFight ClubSealed with a Curse (Weird Girls, #1)Handling the Undead
Most of these books have been sitting on my shelves for over 5 months which proves just how bad I am at keeping up with my to be read pile, and I found myself the last two years reading a lot of Young Adult books so now I want to break that mould and get back into my usual reading habbits, yes some of these are YA and some I wouldn't have been interested in before I started book blogging but I don't want to limit 2014 to a certain genre, I want to read freely and enjoy myself! Less review books this year :)
So that is about it for the books I'm dying to get through, its a lot and not doubt I'll miss or forget some of these but I just wanted to give you an idea of what I'd be reading. Please comment and let me know if you plan on reading any of these books so we could do a read-a-long, and if not, what do you intend to read this year?