Sunday, 31 July 2011

New to my shelves this week - IMM

Titles all linked to Goodreads

This week I bought some great books that I really can't wait to get started! After reading the first book in the Soul Screamers series by Rachel Vincent I loved it so much (review to come soon) that I went and bought the next two books
and 


I also bought The Captive Queen by Alison Weir - I've read and loved some of Alison Weir's other fiction books so I can't wait to get started on this one!


And finally I bought two chick lit books that I have been eagerly awaiting for a while now!
Heaven Scent by Sasha Wagstaff
and
Baby be Mine by Paige Toon
  

For Review - 

Forbidden by Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee. I'm really looking forward to reading this one!

Saturday, 30 July 2011

July in Review

July has been a great reading month for me and I've read some fantastic books! As well as received some fantastic books for review! 


I also reached 400 followers! Thank you :) 
If you haven't entered my giveaway yet - please do!






(If you are interested in reading any of the reviews I've written this month- Click on the Book cover to see the review)










Friday, 29 July 2011

Covers - Great? Good? or Bad? -1-

Fever the second in the Chemical Garden trilogy has been receiving a lot of attention the past day or so because of the cover finally being revealed and I thought that I would throw in my opinion as well! - please remember it's just that only my opinion. 


I've not long finished reading Wither by Lauren DeStefano and I think it has one of the best covers I've seen all year! 




However I don't like the cover for the second in the trilogy, Fever - I know that is going to be controversial because I've already read a lot of cover reveals that love it, but I'm not fond of how drugged the model looks, I'm not too sure about the green and it just doesn't look as striking as Wither...


What do you think?

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Illicit Magic Blog tour and GIVEAWAY - Open Internationally








More than three hundred years after the most terrifying witch hunts the world has ever known, it's happening again. Young witch, Stella, has to put her faith in strangers just to stay alive but she might not be any safer in their midst than from the danger she is running from.There is more than one dark secret in her new family: Étoile’s sister is spoken of in fear and sadness; Marc is supposed to be a powerful witch but is missing his magic; where does the owner of their safe house vanish to every day and why does Evan have the eyes of someone not quite human? There is only one secret that someone will do anything to keep quiet, but whose secret is it and will Stella have to pay the price for silence?


Was this always the genre that you wanted to write in?

It was always a genre that I really enjoyed (right back from when I was about 10 years old and I picked up Zilpha K. Snyder's A Witch in the Family) but I never thought I would write in the genre. I decided one day that I would just write a story that I would enjoy writing (and reading) and Stella Mayweather was born.

I love finding out a bit about a writer’s routine, so when and where do you write best?

I write best between the hours of 10 and 3 when I'm most awake. I tend to use my evenings for muddling through what's going to happen next or envisioning scenes and how they'll play out ready for writing the next day. I try not to do too much on the weekends but I'll often sneak off to get an extra hour of writing in then too.
As for where, Illicit Magic was largely written while sitting on my sofa but - after six years working from home freelance - I finally got a desk (an Ikea Micke in glossy white, in case you wondered) which is in the corner of the family room.


Do you set yourself daily/weekly/monthly goals or deadlines?
For Illicit Magic, my main goal was just to get it written (and have fun doing it!) so it took about six months to write, then it languished on my hard drive for a few more months before I did the relentless editing including moving scenes around, adding new scenes, changing the title etc.

When it came to the sequel Unruly Magic (out July 30th) I set myself a crazy target of two months to produce 80-90,000 words. I wanted to be a lot faster on this one so that I didn't leave my readers too long wondering what happens next, plus I was really into the characters and taking their story forward. I try to not be too rigid about daily word counts so long as I hit my weekly or two weekly counts. I think if you're too rigid, it can almost become a chore and I don't want to feel that way about writing. Writing should be about enjoying what you're doing rather than staring at the screen thinking 'I must produce 3000 words to do or I'll feel really bad.'

Are you more of a plotter or a panster?
I start out writing a skeleton plot so I know where the story is heading, then when I get started... I end up as pantser. Things crop up in my story and I'm like, 'huh? I did not see that coming'. Having direction is more important to me than having every single scene plotted out.

Do you have any favourite authors that you would like to tell us about?
One of my go-to favourite authors is Sarah Addison Allen. She writes beautiful magical realism set in North Carolina and I always want to pack my bags and catch a flight straight there whenever I read one of her books. Getting my Kindle has revolutionised my reading life and lately I've read HP Mallory's Jolie Wilkins series which I adored, Katie Salidas' vampire series Immortalis and Linda Welch's Demon series - all great additions to the paranormal genre.


And finally would you like to tell us a little bit about what you are currently working on?

I've just about finished plotting the third book in the Stella series and just started writing that. I've been sketching an idea for a new series that I'm very enthusiastic about and I have had a standalone book idea in my head for about two years that I'm very eager to get started on too. I wish I had a clone to help me out!

Thanks for having me as your guest today!


I also have one e-copy to giveaway to one lucky follower! The Giveaway will be open until the end of the tour - August 13 and is OPEN TO ALL FOLLOWERS. Please fill in the form bellow.








Hi, I'm Camilla and I'm the author of Illicit Magic and Unruly Magic, the first two books in the Stella Mayweather Paranormal Series. The series starts with a lonely young woman, Stella, who has been caught up in a terrifying witch hunt and is whisked thousands of miles away to what she thinks is safety to learn her craft. The series is a blend of magic, mystery and romance with a splash of humour - and while the girls really do go all out to save themselves, there's always a hunky guy or two on hand to help them out.
I live in London, UK but I try to travel as often as I can - lately I've been to Paris, all over Denmark, Luxembourg, and several US states. In my day job I'm a journalist and editor so I write for magazines, newspapers and websites throughout the world (my favourite assignment was spending a week riding rollercoasters - if you listen carefully you can probably still hear me screaming).

The next blog stop: The Bookish Snob http://thebookishsnob.blogspot.com


You can buy Illicit Magic from Amazon UK or Amazon US

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Waiting on Wednesday




Jacquetta, daughter of the Count of Luxembourg and kinswoman to half the royalty of Europe, was married to the great Englishman John, Duke of Bedford, uncle to Henry VI. Widowed at the age of nineteen she took the extraordinary risk of marrying a gentleman of her house-hold for love, and then carved out a life for herself as Queen Margaret of Anjou's close friend and a Lancaster supporter - until the day that her daughter Elizabeth Woodville fell in love and married the rival king Edward IV. Of all the little-known but important women of the period, her dramatic story is the most neglected. With her links to Melusina, and to the founder of the house of Luxembourg, together with her reputation for making magic, she is the most haunting of heroines.


I'm waiting on The Lady of Rivers because it is the third installment in the Cousin's war series by Philippa Gregory, who is one of my favourite authors. I really love a good historical fiction novel and I don't read as many as I would if I had all the time in the world.


Plus isn't that just a beautiful cover!?!?


It will be released in Sept 2011 (Hardback - UK by Simon and Schuster)

Monday, 25 July 2011

Book Review: Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick



It could happen tomorrow... A cataclysmic event. An army of "The Changed." Can one teen really survive on her own? An electromagnetic pulse sweeps through the sky, destroying every electronic device and killing billions. For those spared, it's a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human... Desperate to find out what happened and to avoid the Changed, Alex meets up with Tom---a young army veteran---and Ellie, a young girl whose grandfather was killed by the electromagnetic pulse. This improvised family will have to use every ounce of courage they have just to survive.

I found this book quite a hard book to review, as there were both things that I very much enjoyed about it and a few things that I thought weren’t all that great. I also thought that the first half of the book was much better and really different to the second half of the book, which slightly confused me as it does have a very different feel about it.   


Unlike the majority of books I have read recently, I picked this one up knowing virtually nothing about it, I couldn't even remember what the synopsis said when I started reading. Right from the beginning I found this story gripping and the action starts straight away making it easy to find yourself glued to the page, as the story really hurtles along.

The first half of the book concentrates on Alex, Tom and Ellie as they struggle to survive vicious attacks by zombie children, wild animals and still find all the practical things like food and shelter, because as luck would have it they all met deep in a hiking trail in a massive forest where civilisation is days away. However, that was also a key to their survival because they were away from the hordes of diseased killing teens and other desperate people trying to survive. I grew too really like these characters and the growing love between them all, they were becoming a family and that is where the first half of the book ends and the second half begins. All three of them decide to descend from the mountain range and wilderness and see what is left of civilisation while making their way to somewhere more permanent to live. I really want to say more about this but I am aware that a lot of people won’t have read this book yet so I will just say that it was slightly jarring and I didn’t want to let go of the characters that I started to care about. I really hope the second book in this series picks up from the end of the book, but more so I really hope that it picks up from the middle of this book as well and I get to find out what happens to the characters that just disappear!


There really is a lot going on in this book and the characters are all individually dealing with quite a lot of their own personal baggage – Tom a former solider may be suffering from post-traumatic stress, Alex has a brain tumour that may be lethal and Ellie who is still very young has lost all her family, her parents before the event and her grandfather just after. These characters were definitely a more unique bunch than you often find in YA, and I also loved that these personal baggage characteristics have been linked into the plot – again sorry but I don’t want to spoil anything so you will just have to read it to find out for yourself.

I liked the run up to the ending of the book, but the actual ending left me feeling a little confused and a bit annoyed. One of my pet peeves with books in a series is that they just stop in mid action, it’s almost like a chapter break rather than a book ending. I know this book is going to be part of a series, but please, please don’t cheat me out of an ending and just stop the story wherever you want and in what felt like mid-flow. The ending of Ashes bugged me a lot, Bick’s hasn’t even attempted to tie up any plot threads and I’m left hoping I remember all the things I wanted to find out so I don’t get confused in the next book


I did find that there were a few gory scenes that really made me glad that I wasn’t eating while I was reading Ashes, I would definitely say that Ashes has a very strong horror element. I would recommend Ashes, it has an interesting take on a zombie post-apocalyptic theme. 


 – 8/10


Genre – YA?, Horror
Published by Quercus Publishing (UK - Sept 2011)
Paperback 352 pages (£6.99)
I received a copy of Ashes by Ilsa J. Bicks in exchange for an honest review. 

Sunday, 24 July 2011

New to my shelves - IMM



This week I have a rather small IMM post, but one that I am REALLY excited about, both the books that I got for review this week are ones that I have wanted to read for ages! :)


Wither By Lauren DeStefano


What if you knew exactly when you would die? Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb — males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out. When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape — to find her twin brother and go home. But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.


Eve by Anna Carey
The year is 2032, sixteen years after a deadly virus—and the vaccine intended to protect against it—wiped out most of the earth’s population. The night before eighteen-year-old Eve’s graduation from her all-girls school she discovers what really happens to new graduates, and the horrifying fate that awaits her. 
Fleeing the only home she’s ever known, Eve sets off on a long, treacherous journey, searching for a place she can survive. Along the way she encounters Caleb, a rough, rebellious boy living in the wild. Separated from men her whole life, Eve has been taught to fear them, but Caleb slowly wins her trust...and her heart. He promises to protect her, but when soldiers begin hunting them, Eve must choose between true love and her life.




Saturday, 23 July 2011

400 Follower Giveaway INTERNATIONAL!! Start a new series...



I wanted to do something slightly different for my 400 follower giveaway so I've decided to offer one follower the chance to win a copy of the first book in some amazing newer and older series! (Ends 1st Sept 2011)


So you can pick from :-






A game of thrones by George R. R. Martin (A song of ice and fire #1)




Die for me by Amy Plum (Revenants #1)


















All you have to do is fill out the form below and decide which book it is that you would like to be in with a chance of winning - The Tweet info and giveaway button are below the form








If you are having any problems with the form above you can also find it HERE


Tweet - I'm entering @Jules_TGTGTB 400 follower INT - Start a series giveaway! Come and join in - http://thegreatthegoodandthebad.blogspot.com/




Button - Please link it back to this page (when you add a picture to your blog through gadgets it allows you to link it to a web address please link it back to my blog - it makes it easier for other people to find the giveaway! :D) 


Thank you for helping me spread the word and Good luck!

Friday, 22 July 2011

It's FRIDAY!



Bookshelf Tour: Where do you keep your books at home? Are they organized?



I am quite lucky in that I have a whole spare room that I store all my books, my exercise stuff and generally all my other clutter. 


I do also like to organise my books but only loosely, I have them roughly placed in genre, but I never bother with anything like alphabetical arrangement - often I do put them in order of how I want to read them. I do also like to give all my books a re-shuffle every so often because I get lazy about organising them and then newer books end up going anywhere and everywhere. 




~~***~~


QuestionWhat’s the ONE GENRE that you wish you could get into, but just can’t?


That's never really been a problem for me, I've always read most genres. If I am honest I don't read all that much Fantasy, and I usually only pick those books up on recommendations, but I still read them from time to time. I have the Game of Thrones waiting in my TBR pile now, which I am quite looking forward to as I have read some really positive things! :)


~~***~~

Name 3 authors that you would love to sit down and spend an hour or a meal with just talking about either their books or get advice on writing from?

Hmm, I always wanted to meet and discuss writing and plotting with Agatha Christie because when I was much, much younger I always wanted to write murder mysteries and whodunnit type stories - which I did and I think my mum was sometimes a bit miffed to often find herself the killer! :)

There are loads and loads of great writers out there, I've actually been lucky to already get the chance to discuss writing and/or interview a few of my favourites. I was just jumping about when I did an interview with the very lovely Clodagh Murphy - She writes the best romantic comedy! 

Thanks to blogging and twitter there is a much better connection between authors and readers and what I keep finding is that authors are really lovely people, and they will squeeze you into a hectic schedule for even a couple of questions if you ask nicely. 

I would also love to meet J. K. Rowling - of course! I'm sure she'll be popping up a bit in todays answers :)

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Book Review: Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry


In the zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic America where Benny Imura lives, every teenager must find a job by the time they turn fifteen or get their rations cut in half. Benny doesn't want to apprentice as a zombie hunter with his boring older brother Tom, but he has no choice. He expects a tedious job whacking zoms for cash, but what he gets is a vocation that will teach him what it means to be human.


Let me just start by saying that I loved this book, absolutely loved it! I started it and I just couldn’t put it down until I had finished it, Rot and Ruin completely took me surprise by how good it was.

In the past I have read some of Jonathan Maberry’s adult fiction (Patient Zero) and I did enjoy it, but I wasn't planning on rushing out and buying any of his other work. Don’t get me wrong it was good, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea, I think it was something more suited to my husband – it was filled with loads and loads of gadgets, super secret Army types and I thought the female leads were quite lacking – it was easy to tell they had been written by a man. So sadly, Rot and Ruin wasn’t something that I rushed out to buy and when I finally did, it ended up sat on my book case for quite some time – I just didn’t know what I was missing!

I think that this book has one of the best opening chapters that I have read in a while, I really picked this up on a whim and I was instantly hooked, with the funny, witty and fascinating insight into the characters and how the Mountainside community live and function on a daily basis. As the blurb states by the time a child turns 15 they are expected to work part time along with school or their daily rations of food and supplies will be drastically cut. Benny is looking for a job that is easy, and really he is searching for the path of least resistance. He shows up and tries for several jobs, some with funny consequence and some jobs that you really wouldn't wish on your worst enemy - I'm not going to go into too much detail it really is something I recommend you read for yourself!

Although this book is all about the undead and has some Zombie gore filled moments it really wasn’t what I would classify as a scary read (definitely a teen book rather than young YA). However, don’t get me wrong there were certainly a few tension filled scenes when the life of Benny, his friends and family are only inches away from the death bite of a Zombie. The story is one of family bonds, adventure and growing up - although it is growing up with the imposing threat of being eaten by a Zombie. I really liked the tag line for this book and in a lot of ways it sums the story up well -

"In a world full of Zombies, who are the real monsters?"

What I really liked about this book was that the Zombies weren’t the real evil out there beyond the fences of the towns. Zombies existed, they were dangerous, they were a huge threat to daily life but they just were, there are no intentions or malice behind their actions. However, the same couldn’t be said for some of the people out there living and conquering the Rot and Ruin, their actions were deliberate and evil. I really don’t want to say more in case I let something slip about the story, just go and read it for yourself!

There are some great characters in this book, I loved Benny but I also loved his older brother Tom, even thou they have a bit of a bumpy and complex relationship Tom makes for a constant and reliable source of stability for Benny, even when he is completely not appreciated. He is also a Samurai Katana wielding bounty hunter, Zombie wrangler and closure specialist good guy that is doing the best he can in a whole bad situation of a world.

Definitely one to read! Highly recommended.

 10/10

Genre – YA, Zombie, post-apocalyptic 
Published by Simon And Schuster (paperback March 2011)
Paperback – 464 pages (£6.99)

Dark Corners Blog Tour







Ella Reynolds is in a dark place. She is losing touch with reality more and more everyday. Ella lives as much in her memories as she does in the present. She often drifts back into her own mind and relives the past as the terror of the present becomes overwhelming. Under constant mental strain from living with the murder of her husband and in a house she hates, Ella must look deeper into her past as well as the present to discover the truth. She knew from the first moment she walked into the old home someone or something was watching her. Waiting. A string of uncanny events takes place and practical explanations run thin. As the past and present come to a head, Ella must decipher who or what the murderer is before it takes her as well.


Was it always the paranormal
 genre that you wanted to write in? 

I don't know that there is one particular genre I have always wanted to write in. I love mysteries and anything paranormal or scary. So I think it was a natural fit.

On a typical day when and where do you write best?

I do my very best writing when I start off with exercise. If I go for a run or do yoga then settle into my big red chair with a relaxed, clear mind the words flow.

Do you set yourself daily/weekly/monthly goals or deadlines?

I don't. I have participated in some writing challenges and they work well for me. I tend to get really competitive, but I mostly prefer to write what comes to me and not push for word goals.

Are you more of a plotter or a panster?


I am a panster. I tried to outline one book and felt stifled, instead of listening to my characters I tried to direct them and it came across as forced. I have massive respect for people who can plot out their books like that.

Do you have any favourite authors that you would like to tell us about?

I love to read so I have so many authors I adore. I like Edgar Allen Poe, Jane Austen, Jim Butcher, Brett Easton Ellis, Joseph Heller, Oscar Wilde, HP Mallory, Jeaniene Frost, and I could keep going.

And finally would you like to tell us a little bit about what you are currently working on?


I am work on an urban fantasy trilogy called The Guardian Trilogy. I have the first draft completed on the first and second book and am currently working on the third. I am very pleased with it and excited to share with everyone. The first book, Secrets, will come out in November. 


The next blog stop: Melanie’s Book Addiction http://melaniesrandomthoughts-melanie.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Waiting on Wednesday


This week my Waiting on Wednesday pick is:-

Angel Fire by L. A. Weatherly

This is the thrilling second chapter in the electrifying "Angel Trilogy". Angels will never be seen in the same way again. Gorgeous, charismatic Alex has the courage and skill of a trained Angel Killer. Unique, dazzling Willow has the beauty and power that comes with being half-angel. As the power of the malevolent Church of Angels grows, now it's up to Alex and Willow to train a new team of Angel Killers. Willow soon finds her half-angel identity met with hostility by some of the other AKs, while privately, she must wrestle with the knowledge that her father, Raziel, is a depraved, evil angel. However, while life in the AK training camp is tough, at least Alex and Willow are together. But when Alex discovers that the death of his brother and fellow Angel-Killer, Jake, was linked to a secret CIA mission to defeat the angels, he is forced to leave the camp to complete his brother's work... without Willow. Alex promised Willow he would never leave her, but with the fate of the human race at stake, destiny has ruled that Alex and Willow must be parted once more...


Angel Fire is the second in the trilogy of Angel books - if you are interested you can read my review on Angel/Angel Burn (#1) HERE

Angel Fire will be released in Oct 2011

I'm waiting on Angel Fire because I really liked the concept and story behind Angel/Angel Burn. I slightly down rated the book because there was an awful lot of slightly cringe worthy love scenes between the two main characters, but I am really interested to find out where L. A. Weatherly is going to go with the series!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Book Review: The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan


In one week, Manhattan will be gone. In one month, the country. In two months ... the world. 
At New York's JFK Airpot and arriving Boeing 777 taxiing along a runway suddenly stops dead. All the shades have been drawn, all communication channels have mysteriously gone quiet. Dr. Eph Goodweather, head of a CDC rapid-response team investigating biological threats, boards the darkened plane ... and what he finds makes his blood run cold. 
A terrifying contagion has come to the unsuspecting city, an unstoppable plague that will spread like an all-consuming wildfire - lethal, merciless, hungry ... vampiric. 
And in a pawnshop in Spanish Harlem an aged Holocaust survivor knows that the war he has been dreading his entire life is finally here... 



I’ve been reading quite a lot of YA and Chick lit lately so I was keen to step away (just for a moment) and read something that was a bit different. I do love a good scary movie every now and then and the same goes for a good and scary horror novel, which I hoped The Strain would be. And it absolutely was. It was creepy, tension filled and had me checking over my shoulder while I was reading it, as well as having a pretty good story. My husband even asked at one point if I wanted to 'put it in the freezer'! :D

Right from the beginning I enjoyed this book and it was the writing style that completely drew me in, it was descriptive and really helped to build the tension and horror of the situation unfolding. I am sure some people might think that the beginning was rather slow, but I really liked it. It set the scene and allowed me to get to know the characters before all the real action started and just didn’t stop. Having said that there were a few moments when the writing was a little cringe worthy and I found myself almost laughing at some of the sweeping statements about Eph going from a healer to a warrior.

"Eph too had been turned. Not from human to vampire, but from healer to slayer."

The main collection of characters was Ephraim (or Eph) Goodweather, head of a CDC rapid emergency response team as well as his colleague and girlfriend Nora, who played a much smaller role. They were also joined by the enigmatic and worldly Abraham Strakian who was a survivor of the Jewish holocaust and had been hunting ‘the evil’ for many, many years. Also towards the end of the book there were a few other characters introduced that I can imagine will play a larger role in the subsequent books. I really liked all the main characters and unlike some other horror stories the author didn’t skip over letting you get to know them well, I was invested and I found myself screaming at them to run away instead of opening that door...

Although I really enjoyed the story of The Strain, it really isn’t anything new to the genre. However, I did like that the vampire 'strain' was like a realistic disease type spread of some other virus as it would occur in a city setting. It read like the authors had done their research and the virus took out whole neighbourhoods and communities, just like a virulent disease might do. I will give a slight warning that this book did have a few gory scenes in it, but it wasn’t too bad – I much more prefer the creepy kind of horror to the blood and guts type that can just make your stomach churn.


I am really looking forward to reading the next one in the series when I get round to buying it. I completely recommend The Strain if you are in the mood for a creepy, tension building horror. I know The Strain is not everyone's cup of tea but I do like a good scary read every so often, as long as my doors are locked and my puupies are on guard duty - not that they'd be much help, unless the monsters are allergic to puppy saliva :)


 -9/10 

Genre – Adult, horror
Published by Harper Collins (April 2010)
Paperback –495 pages (£6.99)



1) The Strain (April 2010- paperback)

2) The Fall (June 2011 - paperback)

3) Eternal night (Oct 2011 - Hardback)


 
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