Thursday, 29 December 2011

My Top Eleven Books of 2011

Finally the old best of post! I bet ya'll are fed up of this but oh well ;) And to top it off I'm doing the cheesy top 11 because it's 2011! I'm just so clever... These are all books that I've read this year, not that have essentially come out this year. On to the list making! (In no particular order)

1. Chime by Franny Billingsley

At first I really didn't like this book, but I gave it another go and I ended up loving it a lot more than I thought I would! A seriously incredible book. Possibly one of my favourites EVER. Yeah. (My review)

2. Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel

This book is amazing! Possibly not everyone's cup of tea, and there was a few too many POVs, but regardless it was one of the funnest books I've read of the year. And the romance between Nora and Bram was one of the best romances of the year, no doubt. (My review)

3. Divergent by Veronica Roth

May as well get the one's that'll be on everyone's lists out of the way! Divergent is probably my favourite Dystopia of the year. It was just so tense and fast paced I literally couldn't put it down for two days. (My review)

4. Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough

Long Lankin is a book you might not have heard much about, what with it currently only being out in the UK, but it is immensely creepy and original, and the writing style does take a little getting used too, but it's well worth it. (My review)

5. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

I only need one word to sum this book up: Hilarious. Honestly, I was laughing so much, and it has the most awesome cast of characters, as well as a lovely, heart warming story at it's core. (My review)

6. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

This book is just amazeballs. The poetry, the story, the writing, the boy, all of it was completely swoonworthy. It's one of my favourite contemporaries ever. (My review)

7. Stolen by Lucy Christopher

One of the most chilling and interesting books I've ever read, and not a paranormal in sight. It will twist your morals and while you may not enjoy per se, you will not be able to forget it. (My review)

8. Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott

This book captivated my imagination and I was completely hooked on it. An amazing Cinderella retelling with an oriental fantasy twist, it haunted me and stuck in my mind completely. (My review.)

9. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

One of the most adorable books ever, I think I liked it even more than Anna if not just because I'm in love with Cricket. (My review)

10. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

I have never been a huge fan of the Shiver series, so I wasn't expecting to love TSR as much as I did. It snuck up on me and took me by surprise. I loved it. (obviously, otherwise it wouldn't be here... ;) (My review)

11. Naked by Kevin Brooks

Another fantastic UK book, it tore my heart out. Honestly, the ending is just so sad but in a kind of natural way. It's all kind of expected. But an incredibly amazing book, full of punk and raw energy and brilliant writing. Loved it. (My review)

This list was bloody hard to write, and these are just my favourites at this minute in time... There are too many honerable mentions to count, but here we go...

Torn by Cat Clarke, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare, Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts, Poison Study by Maria V Snyder, Sean Griswold's Head by Lindsey Leavitt, Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson and Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead. I think that's about it... 

What are your favourite books of 2011?

British Books Challenge 2012

I did warn you about all the sign up posts! This one's for the British Books Challenge which has changed hosts this year and now the lovely Kirsty from The Overflowing Library is hosting it. The goal is to read at least 12 books written by British authors and I (think) I won it this year though I;m not sure... Any how I love British books and I love supporting them so I'm looking forward to participating again. Also, there are loads of giveaways and treats lined by by UK publishers for all those who enter :D

My list of books (which I will be adding to over time):

The Wood Queen by Karen Mahoney
Hollow Pike by James Dawson

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

2012 ABC Reading Challenge

Hello guys! I'm just pre warning you I have a whole bunch of posts coming up soon in the vein of challenge sign ups and best ofs, so, if you don't like lists, you're gonna hate me for the next week. But any hoo! I decided to do this sign up post first because I'm actually co hosting this challenge! Yeah. You heard it. ;) Mia from Gripped Into Books (link leads to sign up post), April from Book Geek Central and I (but mostly Mia) came up with the idea of doing the 2012 ABC challenge!

The aim is to try and read at least one book for each letter of the alphabet. Most of them will be pretty easy, but we all kind of accept that X,Y,Z are going to be mighty difficult, so if you DO manage all 26, you get my kudos. Also, I know 26 books might seem like a lot, but all books start with a letter f the alphabet (unless it starts with a number) so it shouldn't be too difficult or out of your way.

All you have to do to sign up is create a list on your blog or on Goodreads of the books (or at least some of the books) you aim to read for this challenge, and add it too the linky at the end of Mia's post (she's kind of the head honcho)! Sounds easy enough right? Yay! And no, your sign up post need not be this long. (sorry about that...)

You do need either a blog or a goodreads account to enter, but any fictional book counts regardless of who it's for or what genre it is (unless it's like, an alphabet book or something.)

My list of books (Which I'm going to figure out better as time comes along.)

A. A Million Suns by Beth Revis
I. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
S. Saving June by Hannah Harrington

Good luck, and I hope you enjoy the challenge (if you do choose to sign up) because we thought it sounded pretty good! ;D

Waiting on Wednesday #63

A Witch in Winter
Ruth Warburton
January 5th 2012

Anna Winterson doesn't know she's a witch and would probably mock you for believing in magic, but after moving to the small town of Winter with her father, she learns more than she ever wanted to about power. When Anna meets Seth, she is smitten, but when she enchants him to love her, she unwittingly amplifies a deadly conflict between two witch clans and splits her own heart in two. She wants to love Seth, to let him love her - but if it is her magic that's controlling his passion, then she is as monstrous as the witch clan who are trying to use her amazing powers for their own gain.

I LOVE the cover for this book, and it looks like it's going to really fun. Also, I think it's set in England? Yeah. Go England! ;D And I've heard awesome things about it from people I know have similar taste to me. Looking forward to this!

What book are you waiting in this Wednesday?

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine :)

Monday, 26 December 2011

Chime review

Franny Billingsley
April 4th 2011

Before Briony's stepmother died, she made sure Briony blamed herself for all the family's hardships. Now Briony has worn her guilt for so long it's become a second skin. She often escapes to the swamp, where she tells stories to the Old Ones, the spirits who haunt the marshes. But only witches can see the Old Ones, and in her village, witches are sentenced to death. Briony lives in fear her secret will be found out, even as she believes she deserves the worst kind of punishment.
Then Eldric comes along with his golden lion eyes and mane of tawny hair. He's as natural as the sun, and treats her as if she's extraordinary. And everything starts to change. As many secrets as Briony has been holding, there are secrets even she doesn't know.
Chime is not your average YA book. I think that's probably the best way I can start this review. It is definitely not going to be to everyone's taste, and I know a lot of people gave up on it pretty early (trust me, I was one of them) as it's very hard to get into, but honestly, it is worth it. Or at least, in my case it was.
I first tried to read this book in March, and try as I might, I just could NOT get into it. I'd had a plethora of easy, fun, contemp reads, and for some reason me and this book didn't click. So I gave up and put it away for a while. I wasn't going to DNF it, but I knew I wasn't going to try it again for a while. Come December, I'm in a bit of a funk, so I decide I'm going to try it again just for the hell of it. Won't do me any harm, right?
I'll admit, it was still quite hard to get into, and you do kind of have to force yourself through the first 60-100 pages, but please, please do. And if you still don't like it when you've read it all, fine, but you cannot deny that it is one of the most inventive, clever, original, different, fascinating books that you've read. You just can't. Like, that's not even my opinion, it is just pure fact. And it does deserve it's place on the Book Award list as much as Shine, and it does deserve more recognition and to be read more by people. IMO.
At first, I was very confused. Very, very confused. The writing style was very jumpy and Briony is a little bit hard to get used to at first. I mean, she's just so odd, and different from  the kinds of MCs you get in YA.  She is so stuck in hating herself that it's almost contrived, and she's very kind of self-assured in her own way. She's so stuck on the fact that she's wicked that it's hard to like her. At first. But she's not a self pitiful person. She hates herself not like an emotion, but like it's just a fact, and she just kind of gets on with it, especially when Eldric comes along and she starts to actually show her personality to someone.
And honestly, I love Eldric. Not in a fancying kind of way, but he's just kind of incredible, y'know? As Briony says, he's electric and alive and like a lion. He's rarely ever down and always sarcastic and funny and there was a lot of excellent banter and friendship and you were never certain if he truly liked Briony, because he's 22 and she's only 17 and she's innocent in that way at least, and she doesn't really know anything... She doesn't even think she's capable of love and stuff so... 
The plot is very confusing, and Briony herself is not particularly reliable as a narrator, but that just means that everything that comes up is a surprise, and a completely convincing surprise to both the reader and Briony, as you're never completely sure what's going on. Until the end, where everything comes together (as it usually does). And the writing is really beautiful. I got a really strong sense of Briony and who she was and exactly how she thought and when I got used to it, I got kind of lost in it. The imagery is stunning and the setting of Swampsea along with the old ones, and Lion-Boy and Wolfgirl, and Rose who's so clever in her own way, and all the mistruths that we thought were truths for so long, everything was just so vivid, and all the events were so blurred by Briony's perspective on it. I haven't felt this involved in a character, because she is just so distinct and set in her ways. I can't really describe it well. I guess you'll just have to read it! ;)
This book will not be for everyone, and it is kind of a labour of love. It takes effort to get into, and will not be appealing to a lot of people, and some people will just hate it because it's not easy to read, or isn't all romantic, or because Briony is not a character you are meant to become or feel like you are, but her story is well worth sticking through. It took me a while to finally properly read this book, but it was so worth it, and I know I'm kind of in a minority here, but I thought it was kind of amazing. So go forth, and read it, my younglings! 
*PS: I have no idea why I just called you younglings. It will never happen again. I promise.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas!

Hello guys! It's nearly CHRISTMAS! Like, it's going to be Christmas tomorrow! Y'know. Just in case you weren't aware or anything...

Anyway! I just wanted to say Happy Christmas to everyone of you! Thanks for putting up with me for a whole bloody year. ;) I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas, and that you get everything you wanted, and more. And I hope you don't burn your turkey, and that you get to watch the Doctor Who Christmas special, and that you don't have to spend the WHOLE morning peeling various troublesome vegetables, and most of all that you have FUN! Yay! And even if you don't celebrate Christmas, I hope you have the best 25th Decemeber EVER.

I won't be taking a break over the next week or so, but I probably won't be posting as regularly as usual, mainly because I haven't actually read enough so far to review anything, but I will try and keep up and all that!

Also, don't forget to buy Hana and Alex Day's Forever Yours (the latter mainly if your in the UK, but it's a great song, so buy it regardless!) 

Merry Christmas! (Again ;)) DFTBA!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Stolen Away review

Stolen Away
Alyxandra Harvey
January 5th 2012

For seventeen years, Eloise Hart had no idea the world of Faery even existed. Now she has been abducted and trapped in the Rath of Lord Strahan, King of Faery. Strahan was only meant to rule for seven years, as Faery tradition dictates, and then give up his crown to another. But he won't comply, and now chaos threatens both worlds. 

The only one who can break his stranglehold on the Faery court is his wife. . . Eloise's aunt Antonia. Using Eloise to lure Antonia, Strahan captures his wife, desperate to end the only threat to his reign. Now Eloise must become the rescuer. Together with her best friends Jo and Devin, she must forge alliances with other Fae, including a gorgeous protector named Lucas, and Strahan's mysterious son, Eldric—who may or may not betray them.

I really enjoyed Stolen Away. I've only read Haunting Violet by Alyxandra, and  while this book didn't quite live up to that in my opinion, I still thought Stolen Away was great.

I've read quite a few faerie books, and while they aren't my favourite paranormal creature (thinking about it, I don't think I have a favourite paranormal... Unless zombies count?) I do enjoy reading books about them. It can get a little tiring sometimes, hearing the same old mythology, but I find that most authors write about faeries in different ways so they're not something I ever really tire of reading about. I enjoyed the faeries in this book, though (apart from Strahan) they weren't quite as trixy and riddly as they usually are. Most of them were pretty good faeries, actually. But I think my favourite was Isadora, if not simply because I love the idea of a poet believing her to be tiny actually made her tiny. I thought that was pretty cool.

I liked the dual narration, and I think it was interesting that it was told from 2 best friend's perspectives rather than  a boy and a girl, though I didn't really like how the romance between Jo and Eldric completely overshadowed that of Eloise and Lucas. Though it did mean I only had to have one sappy romance type-thing, I did feel that it meant Eloise and Lucas's relationship was a little underdeveloped. I did like how we got to alternate between them, and the two different worlds, and their voices were pretty distinct. I just feel kind of sad that Devin didn't get anyone... I did like the romance between Jo and Eldric, mind, but it was a little insta-love at first. Their relationship did develop well though.

While reading this book, something just kind of felt a bit incomplete about it. You know how sometimes a book doesn't feel properly like a book? I don't know, just, it feels like something was missing from it, and I think that's what makes me feel that Haunting Violet was a bit better. It's not bad, it's just not really, really amazing. I did start enjoying it  a lot more towards the end though. And her writing is really quick to read.

If you're looking for a quick, easy faerie book with a lot of romance and a bit of action, this is for you ;D

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Waiting on Wednesday #62

The Immortal Rules
Julie Kagawa
April 24th 2012

You will kill. The only question is when. 

In the dark days since the insidious Red Lung virus decimated the human population, vampires have risen to rule the crumbling cities and suburbs. Uncontested Princes hold sway over diminished ranks of humans: their "pets." In exchange for their labor, loyalty and of course, their blood, these pets are registered, given food and shelter, permitted to survive. 

Unregistered humans cling to fringes, scavenging for survival. Allison Sekemoto and her fellow Unregistereds are hunted, not only by vampires, but by rabids, the unholy result of Red Lung-infected vampires feeding on unwary humans. One night, Allie is attacked by a pack of rabids, saved by an unlikely hero...and turned vampire. 

Uncomfortable in her undead skin, Allie falls in with a ragtag crew of humans seeking a cure, or cures: for Rabidism and for Vampirism. She's passing for human...for now. But the hunger is growing and will not be denied. Not for friendship—not even for love.

Julie Kagawa, writing a vampire dystopian? With a beautiful, awesome cover? This book is going to be SO GOOD.  What book are you waiting on this Wednesday? :)

WoW is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Lauren Oliver News!

So, you've probably seen about this already, but Lauren Oliver has released a new novella set in the world of Delirium, about Lena's friend Hana. It's (aptly) called Hana, and is coming out this Christmas time, possibly (though don't take my word on this) exclusively for the Holiday season, and it is available for a very reasonable 99p! Here is the lovely cover: 

Isn't it prettyful! Don't go away yet though, Hodder are asking us to hold back on buying it until Christmas Eve, because they want to give Lauren Oliver the gift of being number one on the e-book charts for Christmas! Which is lovely, don'tcha think? If you want to know more, click through on the banner on the side of my blog, and it will (fingers crossed) take you to the Hodder website. Or you could just google/Amazon it if I fail at making it work. Which is a possibility. ;)

Top Ten Books I Hope Santa Brings

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where bloggers make lists about books and other suitably bookish things. This week we're doing books that we want Santa to bring us!

1. Red Glove by Holly Black. I've been needing this book for a while now! But I have no money, so I'm hoping Santa will be kind enough... ;)

2. A Gathering Light by Jennifer Donnelly. So, I STILL haven't read Revolution (soon, my friends. SOON.) But I really like the sound of her other book, plus Foyles has some signed copies... So Santa... You know where to go.

3.  Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty. So, I know this series is technically Adult, but everyone says they're SO AMAZING, plus she's a teenager at first right?

4.  Where She Went by Gayle Forman. Been wanting this book for a year now... If I Stay was incredible, so I can't wait for this! Though it'll probably make me cry... Like a baby...

5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Don't you ever just get a craving for windy moors and angst? No? Well. I do, so...

6.  Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A S King. I have been meaning to read this book for AGES. And everyone tells me it's great.

7. Soulless by Gail Carrigher. I've been interested in this book since I first saw it a while ago, and even though it's adult, it still looks freaking awesome...

8. Magic Study and Fire Study by Maria V Snyder. Do I need to say more? You saw my Poison Study review. That pretty much explains it. 

9. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake. This book is meant to be amazing, and it sounds right up my street! Yay scary YA!

10. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. This book is meant to be amazing, and I do want to read it, but I don't know if I'll love it... For some reason I just feel like I won't get on with it? Ever get that? But I still want to read it, just to see ;)

Saturday, 17 December 2011

In My Mailbox (61)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. :)

For review:
Stolen Away by Alyxandra Harvey (excited for this one! Haunting Violet was awesome, so... Thank you Bloomsbury!)
Sea Hearts (now retitled The Brides of Rollrock Island) by Margo Lanagan (this book sounds really awesome. Thank you Random House!)

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (everyone says this book is amazing. I've been meaning to read it for years...)
The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney. I didn't technically buy this copy of TIW, but my mum bought a copy, so it counts. Anyway, we went up to Aylesbury to go and meet Karen Mahoney, and she was lovely, and we had a proper long chat about books and writing and she signed our books for us and it was really great! Yay! (That's me and her down there, though I should note the hat I'm wearing is not mine... I stole it off of my mother. She would want me to point that out so... ;p)

What did you get in your mailbox? (Plus, I made that scarf. Yeah. ;p)

Friday, 16 December 2011

Clockwork Prince review

Clockwork Prince
Cassandra Clare 
December 5th 2011
Walker books

In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa's powers for his own dark ends.
With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister's war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move and that one of their own has betrayed them.
Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will; the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?
As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.
Right. Okay. Clockwork Prince. I'm not really sure how the hell I'm going to sum up all of my feelings for this book, but you can be damn sure that I'm going to try my best! I loved it, and I think that this series is better than TMI, and it's totally worth the five stars that I gave it on GR, but Tessa has kind of started to annoy me. And I know that this is just me! And I like her for the most part. But her relationship with Will and Jem frustrates me. Which I will come into soon (think back to that love triangle post. Might give you some clues to my emotions.)
I love Will. I know that after this book, everyone is all thinking Jem is amazing, and he is, but I just love Will so much! And now that we have the back story for why he's been a prick, it's so much better! Plus we get to see him start being nice and have him show his emotions more, which is awesome, because it means he isn't going to go all Jace on us. Besides, I only like Jace when he's being a jokey sarcastic arse. I just hope that this means Will isn't going to get all sappy on us in book 3, because sappy people are NOT fun to read about. Crazy, demon pox obsessed, secretly lovely people are fun to read about.
And Magnus! I love getting to see more of him. He's probably my favourite character from all the books. I won't lie, him and Alec are the main reason I still read TMI. (I love the series but we all know it should've stayed 3 books long.) And Jem is a lovely person, but I just struggle to buy into any romance there... I know that Tessa loves him, but I don't think that she is IN love with him. And anything that happens with Jem feels forced, and just, not right, I guess? But all of the side characters in this book were wonderful, as they always are. The members of the institute (I think I'm most in love with Henry out of all the characters), and Gideon and Gabriel! Okay, so Gabriel's a meany, but Gideon turned out to be a really nice guy! Plus I'll always love Sophie.
But Tessa. Okay. Controversial here, but I think Tessa's a teeny tiny bit of a Mary-Sue. And I'm not saying this to be horrible, and I'm not accusing her of just being a way for Cassie to vicariously live out her fantasies, or that she's a HUGE Mary-Sue, but I do think she has aspects of Mary-Sue-ishness. She's nice, but I don't think she has that much of a personality, and I don't really think she does much. I can't really see what she's done to make two people fall so desperately in love with her in such a short span of time. Also, she doesn't have any flaws.  I mean, she has them, but they're never presented as such. She never does anything wrong, even if she asks an inappropriate question or hurts someone's feelings, nobody ever gets pissed of at her. There is no one like that. I WANT her to have something or other that irritates people, or some kind of flaw, something to make her seem more relateable... But again, this is just me, and in most other reviews I've read, people seem to love her, so maybe there's just something off with me... I think the way I most want this series to end (whilst being kind of tragic) is with Jem dying, Will going away and finding happiness some other way, and for Tessa to find someone else, because if she's so confused about both of them, and can't pick between them, then she should save everyone and not get involved with either of them romantically. Again, just my opinion.
One thing I love about these books though, is that without the love triangle, the plot would still be plenty enough to keep the book interesting. All this with the Magister and Nathaniel, you just know that tension is building, loyalties are going to be tested, and some BIG SHIT is going to go down. And that it is going to test our hearts to the very max. I am probably going to be a puddle of tears, knowing me, reading Clockwork Princess. Just as long as she doesn't chicken out and have everyone come out safe. I want at least one tragic deaths please and thank you. It's not a good series of books if someone loveable and brilliant doesn't die.
Clockwork Prince has not failed to impress me, as I was worried it was considering how much I loved CA. No second book syndrome here, AT ALL. You will not regret reading these books.

*Also, Cecily, which is, like, nearly my name. That itself makes CP AWESOME.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Waiting on Wednesday #61

Spell Bound (Hex Hall 3)
Rachel Hawkins
March 13th 2012

Hailed as “impossible to put down,” the Hex Hall series has both critics and teens cheering. With a winning combination of romance, action, magic and humor, this third volume will leave readers enchanted. 

Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. Now Sophie is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies—the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium. Or at least that’s what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t as confident. 

Sophie’s bound for one hell of a ride—can she get her powers back before it’s too late?

SO excited for this book! Hex Hall is one of my favourite series and I cannot wait to see how it ends - hopefully not with an evil cliffhanger like the previous two... ;)

What books are you waiting on?

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Want To Give As Gifts

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where bloggers make lists about books and other suitably bookish things. This week we're doing books that we want to give as gifts!

1. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. I just kind of want to bestow the joy of this book upon everybody that I know... 

2. Divergent by Veronica Roth. For all of my friends that I've forced to read THG, and enjoyed them, I think this book would soon be a favourite for them too ;)

3. Any John Green book. I just want more Nerdfighters in the world! If they like his books, I'll casually tell them to watch all of John and Hank's videos and it will be WONDERFUL.

4.  Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. I have this friend who LOVES fantasy, and I think this would be right up her street.

5.  Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins. This probably doesn't really count, but my sister read and loved Anna, so if I were to buy a book for her, it would be this one.

6. Poison Study by Maria V Snyder. Again for my fantasy loving friend, I just need someone IRL to fangirl about this book with! 

7. Matilda by Roald Dahl. For anyone I know that's like, 5-1000 years of age. It's probably one of my favourite books.

8. The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han. I scoffed at this book when I first saw it, now it's one of my favourites and I would gift it to ANYONE.

9. Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. The perfect Christmas book (or the only one I have actually read...) But still! 'Tis the season and all that ;)

10.  Paranormalcy by Kiersten White. Because fun books are the best ones to get and Christmas time ;)

Monday, 12 December 2011

Luurve Triangles: A Discussion (Of Sorts)

I know what you're thinking, two discussion posts from Cicely in a month? It must be a sign of the apocalypse. But it's something that's been on my mind of late, particularly because I've been reading Clockwork Prince. Love triangles.

There are two kinds of love triangles. Well, there are more than two, but in my eyes, they're pretty much either good love triangles or bad love triangles. Rather, well done triangles. Because, for me, even well done love triangles are a bad thing.

See, my key problem with love triangles is: if the main character is finding it so hard to pick between two (most likely hot..) people, and has a mostly lustful as opposed to loving relationship with both of them, surely neither of them are right for him/her. But that might just be me.

It might be all fun and stuff to see some normal plain girl struggling to pick between two ridiculously hot guys, who, for some reason, have fallen into an incredible, mountain-moving love with aforementioned girl without sufficient reasoning, as it's a pretty unlikely situation to be caught in, and it's a fantasy and all that, but it's really annoying. And there are always two ways for this to go (aka, good triangle, bad triangle). It can either be an incredibly well done love triangle, where you genuinely have no idea who he/she is going to end up with (I will touch on this soon) or a bad, predictable love triangle where you know exactly who she's going to end up with, and the other person doesn't even seem to be an obstacle in their relationship, because, obviously, the two main characters are SO IN LOVE. 

This annoys me because it's pretty much an attempt to add drama that a) will fall flat because the reader knows that the other guy is NOT going to get the MC, and b) kind of feels like an overdone attempt to get readers involved in 'picking teams' and such. It feels much less like these people involved are less characters and more objects which kind of makes me sad. Also, it can sometimes feel like an attempt to make a book more exciting, which is annoying, because I kind of like love triangles to be sub-plots (if existing where not necessary at all), and, I like books with actual stuff happening in them as well as relationships! Books feel so much better when there is something else going on for it, because somehow romance feels way less forced when other stuff is happening? Yeah. 

Onto well done love triangles. These kind of annoy me because it usually means that the girl is just going to go about kissing everyone because 'she's so confused' and 'she doesn't know who she wants to be with' and whatever. That's NOT an excuse to kiss ALL THE BOYS. Because, even though no one will blame you for it, MC, you WILL be hurting people. i.e. the two people you've been going around kissing. Who love you. While you're being all wishy washy and 'but they're BOTH so pretty and lovely'. Stop it, please. It just feels like you're playing around with two of the people who will appreciate you most. Also, please refer back to that paragraph near the top. If you're lusting after both of them, maybe you shouldn't be kissing them both, and instead stay away from the for a while, clear your head, and think rationally about the situation. Do you really, actually, LOVE either of them? If the answer is no and you just think they're sexy, then take yourself, kindly, out of the equation please? Because you are helping no one. And I think that this was my main problem with Nightshade. Every one said how 'kick ass' and strong Calla was, but I didn't get that. I didn't get strong independent female at all. I saw a little lost girl who didn't know what to do with herself around these two unnaturally attractive, sexy guys. And it annoyed me!

So. Yeah. Got a little bit carried away there... But this is like, 2 years of pent up love triangle frustration. You can forgive me that, can't you? And this isn't me saying I completely and utterly hate ALL the love triangles, because there are some that I don't mind at all, but 9 out of 10 times, they just really, really irritate me. Please feel free to rant or disagree with me as you see fit. You'll probably be way more rational on the matter than I am anyhow... ;)

Contest for Aspiring YA Writers

Win a literary agent or acclaimed author's feedback on your unpublished manuscript for young adult or middle grade readers.  This rare opportunity is being offered to the six winners of an essay contest recently announced by the literacy charity Book Wish Foundation.  See for full details.

You could win a manuscript critique from:

  • Laura Langlie, literary agent for Meg Cabot
  • Nancy Gallt, literary agent for Jeanne DuPrau
  • Brenda Bowen, literary agent and editor of Karen Hesse's Newbery Medal winner Out of the Dust
  • Ann M. Martin, winner of the Newbery Honor for A Corner of the Universe
  • Francisco X. Stork, winner of the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award for The Last Summer of the Death Warriors
  • Cynthia Voigt, winner of the Newbery Medal for Dicey's Song and the Newbery Honor for A Solitary Blue

All that separates you from this prize is a 500-word essay about a short story in Book Wish Foundation's new anthology, What You Wish For.  Essays are due Feb. 1, 2012 and winners will be announced around Mar. 1, 2012.  If you win, you will have six months to submit the first 50 pages of your manuscript for critique (which means you can enter the contest even if you haven't finished, or started, your manuscript).  You can even enter multiple times, with essays about more than one of the contest stories, for a chance to win up to six critiques.

If you dream of being a published author, this is an opportunity you should not miss.  To enter, follow the instructions at

Saturday, 10 December 2011

In My Mailbox (60)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren :) 

Please forgive the woolly mess in the corner.. 

For Review:
Cinder by Marissa Meyer (Really excited for this one! I love fairytale retellings! Thank you Puffin!)
Fracture by Megan Miranda (So, this is, like, my third copy of this book? Not that I'm complaining, mind you ;) Thank you Bloomsbury!)
Black Arts by Prentice and Weil (Hadn't heard of this until it came in the post, but it sounds really cool! So yay! Thank you Random House!)

Clockwork Prince by Cassadra Clare. *dies* (I am reading this and reeling from how awesome it is.)

The Double Shadow by  Sally Gardner. (Another book I already have, but me and my mum joined the Foyles YA book club so they sent us a copy each. So now we have 3 copies of it actually... ;P)

What did you get in your mailbox?

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