Goodbye and Thank You!

So I have to say this is the end of Shelf of Melanie. 😦 I’m gutted to leave. I love blogging, I love chatting with followers and other bloggers, and of course I love the books that come with book blogging!

I know I’ve barely been around five months, but life has become somewhat stressful and I have to focus on the bigger things. If things were going to plan, I’d keep the blog. Sadly, that isn’t the case.

I want to say thank you to everyone who’s looked at the blog, read a post, commented, subscribed, tweeted me or shared a link to the blog. It mattered. It still matters. Thank you.

I also want to say thank you to Netgalley, Bookbridgr and Goodreads and the subsequent authors and publishers, as they are the websites and people who have given me books to review. They took a chance on a new, small blog and I’ll always be grateful for that.

I won’t drag this out, because I want to keep blogging but can’t and I’m sad about it. Maybe one day I’ll get to a place where I can blog again.

I’ll still be around the web; Pinterest, Goodreads, Twitter. If you add me on any of them (if you haven’t already), do let me know you’re a follower from here. I’ll still be reviewing books on Goodreads and the links to those reviews will appear on my Twitter as they’re posted.  It’ll look like this:

 

I’ll also be posting Library Trip photos, which will look like this:

 

Thank you.

 

Melanie.

Rest-of-the-Year Releases I’m Drooling Over!

OCTOBER

7th

Pennyroyal Academy

14th

Damsel Distressed

Clariel

[Abhorsen #4] Technically a prequel but it’s book four in the series.

Legacy of the Claw [Animas #1]

The Accidental Highwayman: Being the Tale of Kit Bristol, His Horse Midnight, a Mysterious Princess, and Sundry Magical Persons Besides

28th

Atlantia

Talon

NOVEMBER

4th

Waistcoats and Weaponry [Finishing School #3]

The third in Gail Carriger’s Finishing School Quartet (final book out November 2015).

11th

The Bane Chronicles

The ten Magnus Bane (of Infernal Devices trilogy and Mortal Instruments series fame) stories previously only available as ebooks, in physical book form!

DECEMBER

There isn’t anything I know of yet, releasing in December that I’m excited about.

Best Books: July/August 2014

Welcome to Rosie Hopkins’ Sweet Shop of Dreams by Jenny Colgan: 4 out of 5 stars

We Were Liars by E.Lockhart: 5 out of 5 stars

Moth and Spark by Anne Leonard: 4 out of 5 stars: Review here

Darkest Mercy by Melissa Marr: 5 out of 5 stars [Synopsis will spoil first four books]

Threats of Sky and Sea by Jennifer Ellision: 4 out of 5 stars: Review here (This has a similar feel to Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo)

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins: 5 out of 5 stars

Counting By 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan: 5 out of 5 stars (highly recommended if you like John Green)

Sea Legs by Guy Grieve: 4 out of 5 stars (a non-fiction tale I couldn’t put down; it read like fiction; good for those who don’t get on with non-fiction normally – like me!)

A Madness of Angels by Kate Griffin: 5 out of 5 stars (The definition of urban fantasy. No romance. Takes a while to get into but is SO worth it. Awesome worldbuilding. Author writes as Catherine Webb and Claire North as well.)

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce: 4 out of 5 stars (I nearly DNF’d this one as the descriptive language was so… bizarre. It grew on me though. The book that is, not the langauge. It’s a sweet, fun read. It’s toted as challenging and moving, but I found it sweet and fun, with a few heart-achey bits. And it definitely surprised me. A lot.)

Skink No Surrender by Carl Hiaasen [Skink #7 – Synopsis may spoil previous books] My Review here 5 out of 5 stars

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Landline by Rainbow Rowell – I wasn’t expecting to like this as it didn’t seem like my kind of story, even though I LOVE Fangirl and Attachments. I am so so glad I read it. It is quite different to Rainbow Rowell’s other books, but I LOVED it. The characters were just awesome. ALL of them. This is a new favourite for me. 5 out of 5 stars

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Just One Day [Just One Day #1] by Gayle Forman – I was finally persuaded to read this and I am so glad I did! I LOVED the characters (all of them were so well developed, even passing minor characters. Everyone was unique and solid.) I also loved the travelling parts, loved Wren, loved-to-hate Melanie and Allyson’s mum. I loved Allyson and identified well with her. I wasn’t too crazy about either Willem or the plot. But there was plenty else I loved about this book! 4 out of 5 stars

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Nocturnal Academy #1 by Ethan Somerville – This is free for Kindle, but is the first in a ten-part (so far), series. Also, just to warn you, she doesn’t start the school in this book, which would usually disappoint me massively, but not with this one, This was awesome! Alice just really pops. 4 out of 5 stars

What are the best books you’ve read this summer? Have you read any of these? 

September Releases I’m Drooling Over!

September is the month of many releases!

2nd:

Trial by Fire

    The Scavengers

8th:

Words and Their Meanings

9th:

The Iron Trial

    Falling Into Place

11th:

Dragons at Crumbling Castle (A preview story was released August 7th: The Abominable Snowman. I think this is one of the story’s contained within the full book, but I’m not sure. Sadly, the preview short story isn’t free.) If you happen to know who the cover artist is please let me know! It looks a lot like Roald Dahl’s books so I’m hoping it is Quentin Blake!)

16th:

I’ll Give You the Sun

   Jackaby

 (This one’s being promoted as Sherlock meets Dr Who. I’m not a major fan of either, but this still looks good. And the cover is such an awesome shade of blue!)

23rd:

Skink No Surrender [Skink #7] My Review here

           The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place

A boarding school murder mystery!

25th:

More Fool Me

The third volume in Stephen Fry’s memoir series (I think). #stephenfryfangirl

   Afterworlds

The tale of a young woman writing and publishing her first novel. It includes a lot of details about the publishing process apparently, so that is the biggest draw for me. It also includes the book the main character is writing which is a paranormal thriller. And it’s Scott Westerfeld, author of the Peeps duology! [Parasite Positive and Last Days].

30th:

Lies We Tell Ourselves

This is about a white girl and a black girl falling in love in the middle of the racial segregation in 1959, America. I’ve read a sample and it is BRUTAL.

  Belzhar

I wasn’t sold on this until I read the sample. Now I want it badly!

     Winterspell

A Nutcracker retelling.

Review: Cursed by Jennifer L Armentrout

 

“Dying sucks
…and high school senior Ember McWilliams knows firsthand.
After a fatal car accident, her gifted little sister brought her back. Now anything Ember touches dies. And that, well, really blows.Ember operates on a no-touch policy with all living things–including boys. When Hayden Cromwell shows up, quoting Oscar Wilde and claiming her curse is a gift, she thinks he’s a crazed cutie. But when he tells her he can help control it, she’s more than interested. There’s just one catch: Ember has to trust Hayden’s adopted father, a man she’s sure has sinister reasons for collecting children whose abilities even weird her out. However, she’s willing to do anything to hold her sister’s hand again. And hell, she’d also like to be able to kiss Hayden. Who wouldn’t?But when Ember learns the accident that turned her into a freak may no have been an accident at all, she’s not sure who to trust. Someone wanted her dead, and the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she is to losing not only her heart, but her life.For real this time.”
 –
 –
Thanks to BookBridgr and Hodder and Stoughton for the copy! 🙂
 –
The most I can say about Cursed is that it’s ok. Nothing in it really surprised me, it fell kind of flat, to be honest. I’d guessed things a long time before they were revealed, the romance seemed entirely based on lust, and I didn’t connect well with Ember.
 –
My favourite character was Phoebe, purely because she had some depth. Olivia was very well done but I felt like her storyline was unresolved. Ember was just ok. Hayden was just ok.
 –
As for the plot, well it started off great, went through a boring patch in the middle, and then picked up a bit again at the end. The best part was the opening few chapters. There wasn’t enough explanation for some things and other things were mentioned and then just left.
 –
The writing style… It’s hard to explain what I thought here… The images in my head were vivid and somewhat immersive, and there were a few lines I really liked. On the other hand, it isn’t the best-written book ever. And there were a few lines or words that made me cringe. There were some uncomfortable parts, for sure.
This book reminds me of something I might have watched as a TV series in the afternoons as a child. Not a particular show, but just the general feel. Kind of juvenile, the dangers don’t feel all that threatening etc.
You may want to check this one out if you like the idea of kids with superpowers, but there are any amount of books I’d recommend first.
Ratings
Quality of Writing: 2 out of 5
 –
Enjoyment Level: 2 out of 5
 –
Emotional Depth: 3 out of 5
 –
[Goodreads Rating: 2 out of 5 ]
 –
*Plus kudos for being a standalone! [Standalones are rare and precious beasts!]
 –
Other JLA Reviews from Shelf of Melanie: Obsidian [Lux #1] and Half-Blood [Covenant #1]
 –
Have you read this one? What did you think? If not, is it on your TBR?

Review: Half-Blood by Jennifer L Armentrout [Covenant #1]

“The Hematoi descend from the unions of gods and mortals, and the children of two Hematoi pure bloods have godlike powers. Children of Hematoi and mortals–well, not so much. Half-bloods only have two options: become trained Sentinels who hunt and kill daimons or become servants in the homes of the pures. Seventeen-year-old Alexandria would rather risk her life fighting than waste it scrubbing toilets, but she may end up slumming it anyway. There are several rules that students at the Covenant must follow. Alex has problems with them all, but especially rule #1:Relationships between pures and halfs are forbidden. Unfortunately, she’s crushing hard on the totally hot pure-blood Aiden. But falling for Aiden isn’t her biggest problem–staying alive long enough to graduate the Covenant and become a Sentinel is. If she fails in her duty, she faces a future worse than death or slavery: being turned into a daimon, and being hunted by Aiden. And that would kind of suck.”

Goodreads Description

Sadly, I DNF’d this one. It borrowed so much from two major series’ I just couldn’t keep reading. It was in the plot, the worldbuilding, even the characters.

It wasn’t original at all, even the main character, Alex, seemed such a generic, cardboard cut-out, type of character. I just didn’t find anything believable; there wasn’t any depth to it.

I loved JLA’s Obsidian (my review here), although I had issues with that one too, and I’m currently reading Cursed (review coming soon), which is also good so far. Both of those are quite original and I can connect with the characters and the world. I guess Half-Blood is a JLA book that just doesn’t do it for me.

There was one part I really liked, that will stay with me. I had such a good image of it in my head. I don’t want to spoil anything, but it’s in the first chapter and it talks about purple flowers. It’s just a brief image, but it was vivid for me.

Other than that, I’m sorry to say I don’t have much else to say about Half-Blood.

Look out for my Cursed review later this week.

Ratings

Quality of Writing: 1 out of 5

Enjoyment Level: 1 out of 5

Emotional Depth: Can’t rate as I didn’t get far enough in

[Goodreads Rating: 1 out of 5 ]

*Plus kudos for a gorgeous cover

Have you read this one? What did you think? If not, is it on your TBR?

Review: The Shadow of War by Stewart Binns [The Great War #1]

 

“The Shadow of War is the first novel in Stewart Binns’s new series which will see a book release for each year of the First World War.

June 1914: the beginning of another long, prosperous summer for Britain. But beneath the clear skies, all is not as it seems – the chill wind of social discontent swirls around this sceptred isle.

Shots ring out in a distant European land – the assassination of a foreign aristocrat. From that moment the entire world is propelled into a conflict unlike any seen before.

This is the story of five British communities, their circumstances very different, but who will all share in the tragedy that is to come. All that they have known will be changed forever by the catastrophic events of the Great War.

This is a story of love and comradeship, of hatred and tragedy – this is the story of the Great War.

The Shadow of War, the first novel in The Great War series from Stewart Binns, is a thrilling read and perfect for those who enjoy the writing of Conn Iggulden and Bernard Cornwell.”

Goodreads Description

Thanks to Goodreads and Penguin Books for the copy! 🙂

I didn’t get very far into this before giving up. I thought this was going to be a really awesome series, but as I started reading the Shadow of War I just felt like I was being lectured to by someone who was pretending not to lecture. I felt like the novel was a history textbook trying to be fictional. It was really difficult and uncomfortable to read.

There were so many characters, titles, regiments, places, battles etc thrown around in the first twenty or so pages . It was almost impossible to grasp anything. There were too many backstory facts every time a character was mentioned.

I loved that it opened in Wales, because I’m Welsh and I haven’t come across many books set in Wales. There’s even a bit in Newport (where I live)! So that was interesting, but the way the characters were depicted made me cringe, and again, I felt uncomfortable.

I spent most of the time I read this, uncomfortable. And confused.

I think this book is meant for WW1 history buffs, not the average joe.

Ratings

Quality of Writing: 1 out of 5

Enjoyment Level: 0 out of 5

Emotional Depth: Can’t rate since I didn’t really get far enough in

[Goodreads Rating: 1 out of 5]

Have you read this one? What did you think? If not, is it on your TBR?