Monday, 5 December 2016

Ann's November Wrap Up and December TBR

November Wrap Up:

In November I read a total of 5 books which I am really pleased with because I wanted to have read at least 4 books so I read 1 more book than I planned on reading!

Geek Girl (Geek Girl, #1)The Wondrous and the WickedThe Lovely and the LostGirl Online Going Solo (Girl Online, #3)The Female of the Species
5) Geek Girl by Holly Smale: I actually really loved this book but compared to the other books that I have read this month I have read this week it wasn't my favourite. However I really loved this book and I am hoping to read the other books in the series.
4) The Wonderous And The Wicked by Page Morgan: I also really loved this book and I loved all of the characters and the plot, overall I thought that this was an incredible book! This was the third and final book in The Dispossessed series.
3) The Lovely And The Lost by Page Morgan: This is in the second book in The Dispossessed series as The Wonderous and The Wicked but I think that overall I preferred this one and I don't know why I just did!
2) Girl Online Going Solo by Zoe Sugg: I loved this book a lot and I loved the story and the characters and was very excited to read it and I loved it as much as I thought that I would. This is the third in the Girl Online series. 
1) The Female Of The Species by Mindy McGinnis: This was such an incredible book that I loved so much, it is one of the best books that I have read this year!

Reviews Posted This Month:

December TBR:

Once again I am going to try and read 4 books this month as I have a lot of revision to do for mock exams in January but I also really want to read at least 4 books this month.

Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper, #1)Let It Snow: Three Holiday RomancesDash & Lily's Book of Dares (Dash & Lily, #1)My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Winter Romances
4) Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco: I know that this is not a Christmas book but I really want to finish it this year so I may read this after Christmas!
3) Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle: I don't know a lot about this book but I have been meaning to read it for a while so I plan on reading it this year! 
2) Dash And Lily's Book Of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan: I'm very excited to read this book as from the blurb it sounds like the kind of book that I will really enjoy.
1) My True Love Gave To Me by Stephanie Perkins: I really wanted to read some Christmas books this month so I asked Clare for suggestions and she said I should read this so I plan on reading it this month! 

You can also find us on Goodreads (Ann and Clare) to keep up with what we are reading.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Sunday Post 4th December 2016

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted at Caffeinated Book Reviewer, it's a chance to post a recap on the past week, show the books we have received and share what we plan for the coming week. Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and the aim is to show our newest books and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops or downloaded on to their e-reader. As always you can click on any of the pictures to be taken to the Goodreads page for that book if you're interested in finding out more about it.

Last Week on the Blog:

Books We Got This Week:

The English GirlFantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original ScreenplayFantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: Magical Characters and Places Coloring Book
The English Girl by Katherine Webb: I have an ever growing collection of Katherine Webb books. The current count is at five I believe and I have yet to read any of them. I might make that a reading goal of 2017 because its starting to get ridiculous. Basically the blurbs and covers of all her books draw me in so well and then I just never find the time. This one sounds amazing.
Fantastic Beasts Screenplay by J.K. Rowling: I have already read this (of course) and it did such a good job of bring back the memory of the movie magic! 
Fantastic Beasts Magical Creatures & Magical Characters and Places Colouring Books: Because I didn't already have enough colouring books that I wasn't using?? The artwork in these is really nice and I have actually already coloured in one picture with my little brother.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - Newt Scamander: A Movie Scrapbook (Fantastic Beasts Film Tie in)A Christmas KissMince Pies and Mistletoe at the Christmas MarketThe Snow Rose
Newt Scamander A Movie Scrapbook: I have already read this one as well. I thought it was nice and I am glad I have it but reading it after The Case of Beasts last week it just wasn't as detailed. 
A Christmas Kiss by Vicky Pattison: I love Vicky Pattison as a human being so I am really curious to try out some of her books. And this is a Christmas one so I had to get it.
Mince Pies and Mistletoe at The Christmas Market by Heidi Swain: More Christmas. This appeals to me a lot, partly because I believe the main character is around my age. This rarely happens (I am too old for young/new adult but too young for adult) and I am intrigued. 
The Snow Rose by Lulu Taylor: I always see Lulu Taylor's books around and constantly want to pick one up. This was on offer at Tesco so I decided to grab it and hope for the best.

Reading Update:

Unfortunately I have not read anything this week as I have been busy with school and also I was ill so was not in the mood to read, however I am hoping to finish a book for next week. Happy reading!

Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle, #1)Burn (Dark in You #1)Slave to Sensation (Psy-Changeling, #1)
Nevernight by Jay Kristoff: 2 stars, This took me over a week to read which is so unusual for me and I really had to push myself to finish it. Something about the writing style and the characters just didn't grab me and then I found that a lot of it reminded me of other books.
Burn by Suzanne Wright: 3 stars, This probably would have been a slightly lower rating if it didn't come directly after Nevernight. I enjoyed it a lot more simply because it was a faster paced story and I actually liked the main character. The plot was a little messy in my opinion and I wasn't a huge fan of the romance but the characters I liked and it was fun to read.
Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh: 4.5 stars, A really great start to what I am sure will become a favourite series of mine. I loved the characters, even the side characters, and the world was well explained without any info dump which I am grateful for. The plot was also very focused and got quite tense for a while there so it was a quick and exciting read and I am now desperate to read the rest of the series!

Next Week on the Blog:

  • Ann's November Wrap Up & December TBR
  • Top Ten New to Me Authors I Read for the First Time in 2016
  • Wednesday Catch-Up
  • Top 5 Books I Want to Finally Read in 2017
  • Friday Reads

You can also find us on Goodreads (Ann and Clare) to keep up with what we are reading.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Clare's November Wrap-Up and December TBR

November Wrap Up:

In November I read a total of 12 books which is not my best but I did have a lot of work for my University course this month

Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle, #1)Burn (Dark in You #1)Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - Newt Scamander: A Movie Scrapbook (Fantastic Beasts Film Tie in)The Chemist
12. Nevernight by Jay Kristoff: The biggest disappointment of my reading month and the only book I can honestly say I didn't enjoy. This was just not for me. I didn't like the writing style - I never particularly cared about any of the characters. And it took me over a week to read which is very unusual for me.
11. Burn by Suzanne Wright: There were a few problems with this one if I am honest. I wasn't a huge fan of the romance (which is a shame because its a pretty romance dominated story) but overall I enjoyed reading it and it was quick and fun.
10. Newt Scamander: A Movie Scrapbook: This is a behind the scenes look with some extra knowledge about the Fantastic Beasts world. I enjoyed this but it wasn't as in-depth as I would have liked - it's clearly more aimed at children I think. I will probably re-read this over time with my younger brother as I think he might enjoy this.
9. The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer: A fun, if over-long book. I can really see the ways in which Stephenie Meyer's storytelling has improved since Twilight. I liked the main character a lot. I didn't feel strongly about the romance but it was a very exciting read.
FrictionA Most Novel Revenge (Amory Ames Mystery #3)A Study in Scarlet Women (Lady Sherlock, #1)Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper, #1)
8. Friction by Sandra Brown: Another exciting read. I didn't love this as much as I did Sting by Sandra Brown but it was an engaging story with an interesting mystery and some side "villains" that irritated me so much. I actually preferred this romance to the one in Sting and I was very invested in the plot.
7. A Most Novel Revenge by Ashley Weaver: This is the third story in the Amory Ames series. I am enjoying this series although I would say that I still like the first book the most. This was more enjoyable than the second if only because the Ames' marriage isn't so turbulent.
6. A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas: There wasn't as much investment in the main mystery as I would have liked. Because "Sherlock Holmes" is actually Charlotte Holmes in this, a lot of the on the scene investigating is done by the police. And a lot of the story was taken up with Charlotte's disgrace followed by settling in to her new life. Which is understandable. I think future novels in this series will improve on this.
5. Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco: A great mystery, more gruesome than I was expecting with plenty of twists. I really, really like the main character and it was such an interesting resolution. I am very excited for the rest of this series.
The Case of Beasts: Explore the Film Wizardry of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find ThemYesternightFantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original ScreenplayThe Female of the Species
4. Case of Beasts by Mark Salisbury: Much like the Movie Scrapbook this is a more in-depth look at the world also featuring some fascimile reproductions of props. I preferred this just because there was more information and it was more engrossing read overall. It's definitely one I will be re-reading before the second film comes out.
3. Yesternight by Cat Winters: I love Cat Winters' books so I was excited for this one and it did not let me down. Her Adult fiction is very different in tone from her Young Adult fiction - I enjoy both but they are different. This wasn't my absolute favourite of hers but it was a very twisty novel.
2. Fantastic Beasts Screenplay by J.K. Rowling: Of course I was going to read this. This makes 3 Fantastic Beasts books in one month (it's an obsession - I also have the colouring books) and I loved it. It is a screenplay and reading it so soon after the film meant that I could basically just rewatch the movie in my head which I loved. It's also just such a beautiful physical copy.
1. The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis: Oh boy this book. It's very hard to describe my feelings for this book. It had an emotional impact that I wasn't expecting, or rather wasn't expecting it to be strong. I spent almost a whole day sobbing after finishing this and then just shoved it at my sister and demanded she read it immediately. It was so, so good.

Reviews Posted This Month:

December TBR:

Last year I didn't really read a lot of Christmas novels and that's definitely something I want to change this year! I love seasonal reading and I just so happen to have quite a few Christmas books on my TBR shelf! That said - of my last TBR I managed to read 2 off the list so I am clearly awful at sticking to my intended reading! 

The Trouble with Mistletoe (Heartbreaker Bay, #2)Christmas in Eternity Springs: Eternity Springs 12 (A heartwarming, uplifting, feel-good romance series)Miracle On 5th Avenue (From Manhattan with Love #3)Christmas Ever AfterThe Parisian Christmas Bake Off
The Trouble with Mistletoe by Jill Shalvis: I was sent this for review by Headline Eternal. It is the second book in the Heartbreaker Bay series and is a book I am very, very excited about. I love Jill Shalvis's writing and characters so it should be amazing.
Christmas in Eternity Springs by Emily March: I was sent this for review also from Headline Eternal. It is the twelfth book in the Eternity Springs series. I have only read one other book from this series (number 10) but they can be read out of order.
Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan: I received a copy of this via Netgalley and then went out and bought a physical copy anyway because I have no self control!! This is the third book in the From Manhattan With Love series. I adored the first two so this is exciting!
Christmas Ever After by Sarah Morgan: This is the third book in the Puffin Island series. I read the first two earlier this year and almost read this one straight after but decided to save it for Christmas and I am glad that I did!

The Parisian Christmas Bake Off by Jenny Oliver: This was a book I bought for Christmas last year but never got around to reading. I have enjoyed Jenny Oliver's other books (although the ones I have read did follow much the same formula) so I am interested to see what I think of this one.
A Christmas KissMince Pies and Mistletoe at the Christmas MarketChristmas in the SnowChristmas on Primrose HillChristmas Under the Stars
A Christmas Kiss by Vicky Pattison: Written by the Queen of the Jungle herself, how could I resist. Honestly don't know much about this one - I've been in this mood where I pick up any book with snow on the cover.
Mince Pies and Mistletoe at The Christmas Market by Heidi Swain: Super cute, christmassy cover and the plot sounds really sweet and heartwarming and possibly even funny. 
Christmas in the Snow/Christmas on Primrose Hill/Christmas Under the Stars by Karen Swan: I have somehow missed the last three years of Christmas books from Karen Swan so these are 2014, 2015 and 2016's books respectively. I don't know what any of them are about and I don't need to. 
The Snow RoseThe Twelve Days of Dash and LilyWhat LightMagnus Chase and the Hammer of Thor (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, #2)Crystal Storm (Falling Kingdoms, #5)
The Snow Rose by Lulu Taylor: I don't know what this one is about either. But see, "Snow" is even in the title so I clearly have to read this. Although it has yet to snow here unfortunately!
The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan: I really enjoyed the first book. I've heard mixed reviews about this one but ultimately I have to read it.
What Light by Jay Asher: I loved Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher so I feel like I waited a long time for this. It seems very different in feel but I am intrigued!
Magnus Chase and the Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan: Abruptly jumping away from Christmas books we have the second book in the Magnus Chase series. I will definitely be reading this in December as I am buddy-reading it with Veronika from Regal Critiques.
Crystal Storm by Morgan Rhodes: Kind of a Christmas book in that I am pretty sure I am getting it for Christmas. I am excited and nervous for this book. Mostly nervous I'm not going to lie. I need, need Magnus and Cleo to be OK. Please Morgan Rhodes??

You can also find us on Goodreads (Ann and Clare) to keep up with what we are reading

Friday, 2 December 2016

Friday Reads 2nd December 2016

Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's Voice and Book Beginnings is hosted by Rose City Reader. The idea is to share a sentence or so from the first page and the 56th page of the book you are currently reading! 

Slave to Sensation (Psy-Changeling, #1)
Book Beginning:
"In an effort to reduce the overwhelming incidence of insanity and serial killing in the Psy population, the Psy Council decided, in the year 1969, to instigate a rigorous program called silence."

Friday 56:
"Good thing he'd never liked easy prey."
This book (the whole series actually) came highly recommended to me from Veronika at Regal Critiques. And so far it is living up to that recommendation. It's been a while since I've read a paranormal romance but it's a genre I used to enjoy a lot. The prologue (which is one and a half pages) was basically world building. Which could have felt clunky but actually worked really well and means there isn't constant info-dumping throughout the story. I am almost finished with this first book and I will definitely be continuing the series.

You can also find us on Goodreads (Ann and Clare) to keep up with what we are reading

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Blog Tour: Prelude to Mayhem by Edward Aubry

How to write a novel when OOH SHINY

I have ADD. You can read a little more about that here. It makes simple things complicated, ordinary tasks into severe roadblocks, and generally provides me with a constant source of nuisance. I can’t tell you how many times I have missed an important meeting, or left the house without some vital object, or just plain old let someone down because I could not keep my brain organized.

Oh, and I have also written five published novels. So far.

Wait, what? Yeah, no lie. Five books. Some people even like them. But that’s crazy, right? I can’t find my glasses, but I can keep track of a cast of hundreds of characters, dozens of settings, and countless subplots across a trilogy? “There must be a trick!” you say. Of course there’s a trick. Lots of tricks. High functioning people with ADD spend our entire lives contriving tricks. It’s how we can take on huge projects without setting ourselves up for failure. Presented below are a few of my own, for the benefit of any aspiring writers who feel frustrated by their own flakiness. Trust me, I’m flakier than you. These things work for me. As always, your mileage may vary. Try them on for size. Adapt as you see fit. Add your own!

For starters, I can’t write in my own house. My wife thinks that’s nuts, because she works best in her comfort zone. My problem is that my house is where all my STUFF is. And it’s all cool stuff, or I wouldn’t keep it around, right? For a person as distractible as I am (here’s a fun game: see if you can guess how many times I have checked my e-mail since starting to write this piece), being surrounded by cool stuff is a deathtrap for productivity. I’m not home right now. I’m sitting alone in a classroom, half an hour after all my students have left. I have some stuff here, but it’s all mathy, schooly stuff, and much easier to ignore than that Lego castle in my office at home.

So, where do I go? Starbucks, mostly. And no, Seth MacFarlane, I’m not doing it for the attention. Honestly, I kind of hope the people there think I’m just playing on the Internet. I love to talk about my writing, but not when I’m actually doing it. For anyone wondering “which Starbucks?” the answer is all of them. I can’t stick to the same place too often, or I run the same risk I do at home. Familiarity breeds distraction. Changing up my environment is actually much more grounding for me. The thing about ADD is that it’s linked to an underactive frontal lobe, the command and control of the brain. The rest of my gray matter is looking for directions, and my frontal lobe won’t step up and do the job with the authority it deserves. So the brain looks for direction elsewhere, and any kind of stimulation to fill that void. Hence distractible. But if I keep moving, I think my brain’s need for stimulation is satisfied by the change of environment, so it settles down and I can actually concentrate. Or something. I’m no psychologist; I just know it works. There’s a Starbucks about ten miles from my house with a window that faces toward the landscaping at the side of the strip mall instead of the parking lot. That one is great. Pretty view translates into low distraction. There is one in Exton with a gigantic triangular window taking up an entire wall. It’s beautiful architecture for a coffee shop (I think it’s a repurposed bank), and working in it is remarkably easy. And so on. I have taken writing retreats in the Poconos. Once, I stayed in an Airbnb for three days, a few towns over from where I live. I got so much done.

Regarding the writing itself, I have to work from an outline. Lots of writers do that, but I’m not sure anyone who saw one of my outlines would identify it as such. Sometimes it is a list of sentence fragments, describing plot points in vague terms. Sometimes it is just a list of chapter titles and nothing else. Keyword: list. I am extremely reliable with a list in my hands. ADD responds exceedingly well to externally imposed structure. So I force myself to write a list. Any list. As long as it provides some measure of reference to the plot, it barely matters what I write on this list. Just having the nod to organization makes the entire process less intimidating by giving me short-term, easy to meet goals. When I sit down to write, all I need to do is get from one list item to the next. Do that enough times, and I end up with a novel.

Page goals provide another means of keeping me on task. When I wrote the original version of Static Mayhem (parts of which evolved into Prelude to Mayhem, just released), it was, for reasons I now cannot recall, extremely important to me that my chapters each be fifteen typewritten pages. Knowing that my goal was always and only to make it to page fifteen freed me up from the worry of how much detail I should include. The answer was always “exactly enough detail to fill fifteen pages.” I don’t think I would recommend that method to beginners, as it resulted in the need for many revisions, trimming out chaff and developing anything I rushed through. But, if I had never made it to the end, there would have been nothing to revise.

When I wrote Unhappenings, I broke my outline (list) into more than a hundred and twenty chapters, each covering one tiny idea. The choice was deliberate and artistic, as my protagonist’s life kept changing, and I wanted the reader to pick up some sense of the perpetual starts and stops he experienced every day. It turned out that was the smartest thing I could have done to keep me moving through the first draft, because once my goal was simply to hit each idea and end the chapter, I could knock out many chapters per day. Most were two to three pages. Some were less than one. On my last day of writing that draft, I wrote 16,000 words over twelve hours, and at no time did it feel like work. I would love to write all my novels like that, but it’s a gimmick, and it would get old for readers.

The most important thing for me is to keep moving, and to do that, I have to find ways to trick my brain into thinking it’s working on a tiny task, not a gargantuan one. My brain has proved conveniently gullible in this respect. Working on novel number six now, and with at least seven more in the planning stages, I hope to exploit that gullibility for a long, long time.

Prelude to Mayhem (The Mayhem Wave Book 1)
Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult, New Adult
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Date of Release­­: November 28, 2016
Description: On May 30, 2004, the world transformed. Nearly all signs of civilization vanished, leaving in their wake a bizarre landscape of wilderness, advanced technology and magic, and leaving Harrison Cody very much alone. After weeks of surviving in solitude, he hears a voice on the radio, beckoning him to cross a thousand miles of terrifyingly random terrain to meet her, and other survivors, in Chicago. Eager to find any remnants of humanity, he sets forth, joined by an unexpected—and inhuman—companion.
For Dorothy O’Neill, the end of the world means she will never finish ninth grade. On her own, she builds a home in the ruins of a strip mall, relying on her ingenuity and hard work to maintain some semblance of creature comforts. When another survivor arrives, he brings futuristic technology and stories of monsters he has encountered. Armed with this information, she takes a new interest in exploring her world, but she is not prepared for what awaits her, and the new arrival has brought his own set of problems.
On their separate journeys, Harrison and Dorothy begin to piece together what has happened to their world. Their questions have answers to be found in what remains of Chicago, and from the mysterious voice on the radio offering the hope that civilization can be rebuilt.

Edward AubryAbout The Author:

Edward Aubry is a graduate of Wesleyan University, with a degree in music composition. Improbably, this preceded a career as a teacher of high school mathematics and creative writing.Over the last few years, he has gradually transitioned from being a teacher who writes novels on the side to a novelist who teaches to support his family. He is also a poet, his sole published work in that form being the sixteen stanza “The History of Mathematics.”He now lives in rural Pennsylvania with his wife and three spectacular daughters, where he fills his non-teaching hours spinning tales of time-travel, wise-cracking pixies, and an assortment of other impossible things. 

Find Edward Aubry Online:

You can also find us on Goodreads (Ann and Clare) to keep up with what we are reading.