Christmas Shopping for Book Nerds 2016

Peeps, it is nearly Christmas! And along with festive cheer that the holiday season brings, it also brings along the anxiety of trying to find that perfect item for the fellow book nerd in our life!

Buying for book nerds can be HARD! Sure, book nerds like books, but what book? Do they already have it? Do they like that genre? Do they prefer hardcovers or paperbacks? SO MANY QUESTIONS! So, I have put together a list of suggestions to find the perfect present for a book lover.

You can find my suggestions for buying the perfect present that hard to buy for bibliophiles below:

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Review: The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

Release Date: November 1st 2016
Published By:  Simon & Schuster
Goodreads: Add it to your reading list
Purchase: Booktopia     The Book Depository

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Synopsis: A Diabolic is ruthless. A Diabolic is powerful. A Diabolic has a single task: Kill in order to protect the person you’ve been created for.

Nemesis is a Diabolic, a humanoid teenager created to protect a galactic senator’s daughter, Sidonia. The two have grown up side by side, but are in no way sisters. Nemesis is expected to give her life for Sidonia, and she would do so gladly. She would also take as many lives as necessary to keep Sidonia safe.

When the power-mad Emperor learns Sidonia’s father is participating in a rebellion, he summons Sidonia to the Galactic court. She is to serve as a hostage. Now, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia. She must become her. Nemesis travels to the court disguised as Sidonia—a killing machine masquerading in a world of corrupt politicians and two-faced senators’ children. It’s a nest of vipers with threats on every side, but Nemesis must keep her true abilities a secret or risk everything.

As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns there is something more to her than just deadly force. She finds a humanity truer than what she encounters from most humans. Amidst all the danger, action, and intrigue, her humanity just might be the thing that saves her life—and the empire.

 

Review:

The Diabolic is the story of Nemesis.

A Diabolic. An engineered bodyguard – strong, fierce, deadly.

And that is where the similarities end.

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The Diabolic Australian Blog Tour – Guest Post from S.J. Kincaid

 

Hello! And welcome to Book Nerd Reviews’ stop on the ‘The Diabolic’ Blog Tour!

The THE DIABOLIC Blog Tour will be running 27 October to 4 November, thanks to Read Me, Love Me, Share Me and of course the fantastic S.J. Kincaid. There are a lot of amazing Aussie blogs bringing you posts direct from S.J. Kincaid, where we get to some awesome things including playlists, weird writing rituals, secrets of writing a YA novel and writing advice.

And there is even a chance to win a SIGNED COPY OF THE DIABOLIC!

Please go visit all the stops on the tour (you can find out all the stops below). All the stops are filled with awesome,  S.J. Kincaid’s genius thoughts and even more pictures of this glorious cover!

Welcome to the tour… I hope you enjoy the journey.

 

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Review: Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland

Release Date: October 3rd 2016
Published By:  Penguin / Putnam (US)
Goodreads: Add it to your reading list
Purchase: Booktopia     The Book Depository

Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis: Henry Page has never been in love. He fancies himself a hopeless romantic, but the slo-mo, heart palpitating, can’t-eat-can’t-sleep kind of love that he’s been hoping for just hasn’t been in the cards for him-at least not yet. Instead, he’s been happy to focus on his grades, on getting into a semi-decent college and finally becoming editor of his school newspaper. Then Grace Town walks into his first period class on the third Tuesday of senior year and he knows everything’s about to change.

Grace isn’t who Henry pictured as his dream girl-she walks with a cane, wears oversized boys’ clothes, and rarely seems to shower. But when Grace and Henry are both chosen to edit the school paper, he quickly finds himself falling for her. It’s obvious there’s something broken about Grace, but it seems to make her even more beautiful to Henry, and he wants nothing more than to help her put the pieces back together again. And yet, this isn’t your average story of boy meets girl. Krystal Sutherland’s brilliant debut is equal parts wit and heartbreak, a potent reminder of the bittersweet bliss that is first love.

 

Review:

Our Chemical Hearts is a book about first love. It is messy, beautiful, bittersweet and wonderful. But this is not your average love story – it is complex, disastrous, joyous and is poignant in a way that only real first true loves can be.

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Review: Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

Release Date: October 6th 2016
Published By:  Penguin / Knopf (US)
Goodreads: Add it to your reading list
Purchase: Booktopia     The Book Depository 

Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis: Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed ‘America’s Fattest Teen’. But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to see who she really is. Since her mum’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for EVERY POSSIBILITY LIFE HAS TO OFFER. I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything.

Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the art of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his own brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don’t get too close to anyone.

Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game which lands them in group counseling, Libby and Jack are both angry, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world – theirs and yours.

 

Review:

The truth is often confronting and beautiful and messy… and so is Holding up the Universe.

Beauty, truth, secrets, confrontation, emotion… realness.

It is all within this book.

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Review: A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes #2) by Sabaa Tahir

Release Date: September 8th 2016
Published By:  Harper Voyager
Goodreads: Add it to your reading list
Purchase: Booktopia     The Book Depository

Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis: Elias and Laia are running for their lives.
After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.

Laia is determined to break into Kauf – the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison – to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.

But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene – Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike.

Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own – one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape… and kill them both.

 

Review: This review contains no spoilers for this book. It does however contain spoilers for An Ember in the Ashes. See my review here. (more…)

Review: The Map of Bones (The Fire Sermon #2) by Francesca Haig

Release Date: April 7th 2016
Published By: Harper Voyager
Goodreads: Add it to your reading list
Purchase: Booktopia     The Book Depository

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Synopsis: The Omega resistance has been brutally attacked, its members dead or in hiding. The Alpha Council’s plan for permanently containing the Omegas has begun.

But all is not entirely lost: the Council’s seer, The Confessor, is dead, killed by her twin’s sacrifice.

Cass is left haunted by visions of the past, while her brother Zach’s cruelty and obsession pushes her to the edge, and threatens to destroy everything she hopes for.

As the country moves closer to all-out civil war, Cass will learn that to change the future she will need to uncover the past. But nothing can prepare her for what she discovers: a deeply buried secret that raises the stakes higher than ever before.

 

Review: This review contains no spoilers for this book. It does however contain spoilers for The Fire Sermon. See my review here.
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Review: Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5) by Sarah J. Maas

Release Date: September 6th 2016
Published By:  Bloomsbury
Goodreads: Add it to your reading list
Purchase: Click here to purchase

Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis: The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those who don’t.

As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

Aelin’s journey from assassin to queen has entranced millions across the globe, and this fifth installment will leave fans breathless. Will Aelin succeed in keeping her world from splintering, or will it all come crashing down?

 

Review: This review contains no spoilers for Empire of Storms. It does however contain spoilers for previous books in the Throne of Glass series.
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Review: Shield (Spark #3) by Rachael Craw

Release Date: September 1st 2016
Published By:  Walker Books Australia
Goodreads: Add it to your reading list
Purchase: Click here to purchase

Rating: 5 out of 5

Synopsis: “This is the Affinity Project – where freewill is turned to ash.”
Evie is out of options. She must comply with the Affinity Project – obey their rules, play their deadly games, give up Jamie. And her losses keep growing…

When she decides to help a small group of Shields trying to affect change, Evie finds herself in the firing line. Counsellor Knox is intent on revealing her secrets and shackling her to the Affinity Project for life. To protect her family, Evie must betray those closest to her.

The odds of success – let alone survival – are slim.

The final thrilling conclusion to the Spark series.

Review: This review contains does not really contain spoilers for previous books in the series but to read my reviews on those books, you can find them here and here.

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Review: The Winner’s Kiss (The Winner’s Trilogy #3) by Marie Rutkoski

Release Date: March 24th 2016
Published By:  Bloomsbury
Goodreads: Add it to your reading list
Purchase: Click here to purchase

Rating: 5 out of 5

Synopsis: War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it with untrustworthy new allies and the empire as his enemy. Though he has convinced himself that he no longer loves Kestrel, Arin hasn’t forgotten her, or how she became exactly the kind of person he has always despised. She cared more for the empire than she did for the lives of innocent people—and certainly more than she did for him.

At least, that’s what he thinks.

In the frozen north, Kestrel is a prisoner in a brutal work camp. As she searches desperately for a way to escape, she wishes Arin could know what she sacrificed for him. She wishes she could make the empire pay for what they’ve done to her.

But no one gets what they want just by wishing.

As the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover that the world is changing. The East is pitted against the West, and they are caught in between. With so much to lose, can anybody really win?

Review: This review contains spoilers for previous books in the series. To read my reviews on those books, you can find them here and here.

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Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, Jack Thorne

Release Date: July 31st 2016
Published By: Little Brown UK / Arthur A. Levine Books
Goodreads: Add it to your reading list
Purchase: Click here to purchase

Rating: 3 out of 5

Synopsis: Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

Review: Like the rest of Australia, and the world, I rushed out to get Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on release day. I was more excited than an eleven year old boarding Hogwarts Express for the first time – I just could not wait to get my greedy little hands on the next piece of the magical world created by J.K. Rowling – to get another sliver of magic, to cling on to another piece of this wizarding puzzle, to have another moment of wonder in this phenomenal world that will always hold a place in my heart.

So with the spell cast, I got my copy and I read eagerly wanting to get every bit of Harry Potter that I could – and the result was similar to the Hermiones first attempt at polyjuice potion: both fantastic and down-right ugly.

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Review: Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle #1) by Jay Kristoff

Release Date: July 25th 2016
Published By: Harper Voyager
Goodreads: Add it to your reading list
Purchase: Click here to purchase

Rating: 5 out of 5

Synopsis: Destined to destroy empires Mia Covere is only ten years old when she is given her first lesson in death.

Six years later, the child raised in the shadows takes her first steps towards keeping the promise she made on the day that she lost everything.

But the chance to strike against such powerful enemies will be fleeting, so if she is to have her revenge, Mia must become a weapon without equal. She must prove herself against the deadliest of friends and enemies, and survive the tutelage of murderers, liars and demons at the heart of a murder cult.

The Red Church is no Hogwarts, but Mia is no ordinary student. The shadows loves her. And they drink her fear.

ReviewNevernight was one of my most anticipated releases of 2016, so did it live up to my very high expectations? Hells yes it did!

The short version of my thoughts about Nevernight is this: IT IS BLOODY AWESOME!!! Run out to get yourself a copy. Don’t walk, RUN! This is book is filled with so much awesomeness that I cannot form proper words!

Jay Kristoff is a beloved Aussie author, and following the success of Illuminae, everyone had high expectations of this book. But this book is not Illuminae, but it certainly holds its own ground on every level. I am a fan of Jay’s, not just because of his previous work, but as a person. He is honest, down to earth and absolutely hysterical (follow him on Twitter to see what I mean). He doesn’t hold back in his thoughts and opinions, and this book is everything, and more, that I expected from him. It encompasses everything about him and his amazingly twisted creativity. From the vivid imaginary to the brutality of this world, Jay does not hold back on creating a full and complex world filled with everything from first lust/maybe-love, to blood and gore, revenge, conflict and sacrifice. This book is as complex, raw, honest and funny as I would have expected from Jay. During a conversation with a friend I said “if you read this book without knowing who the author was, you would pick Jay as the author”. That isn’t saying it is predictable in any way, it is saying that it is a 448 page book of what I would expect from this amazing author: world-building, amusement, abruptness, complexity, mystery, quirkiness, bloodshed, intricacy, secrecy, darkness and one absolutely amazing ride! (and a few Jay Kristoff-isms thrown in there too).

This book had me hooked right from the start, with a phenomenal first chapter that is clever, intriguing and somehow sucks you right in! As the pages go on, you find a dark world filled with luscious detail. This is masterful storytelling my friends! The past and present are masterfully weaved together, with little pieces of the puzzle coming together in due course. And the footnotes throughout this book are sometimes relevant to the storyline, sometimes funny antidotes – literally some laugh out loud moments are to be found within these little gems.

The storyline is intricate and dark, with a fierce and determined protagonist, Mia. Mia deeply misses what has been ripped from her, and this fuels her desire for revenge. From the age of ten years old when Mia was pulled away from her life of privilege and hiding from the very people who murdered her father, she has been training to become an assassin. Now at sixteen, she has finally found her way to The Red Church, a training facility for the best of the best, in the hopes of becoming one of the few that survive the training and become the ultimate assassin, a Blade.

The training is not for the weak of heart or stomach. It is brutal and only the sharpest, quickest and most cunning will survive. And even survival does not guarantee that one becomes a Blade. This is everything Mia has dreamt of since she was child, and she will do whatever she needs to do to make sure it happens. She is determined to become a Blade so that she can extract her revenge on those who killed her father and stole her mother and brother away from her. Her only reason to be here is become a Blade, and while at The Red Church she seeks comfort from the shadows that are always there, she tries to keep her distance from the possibly-would-be-allies within the walls of The Red Church, she is ruthless, cunning and utterly determined to make her dream a reality. But hidden secrets, plots and betrayal within The Red Church may change Mia’s life forever.

Never flinch. Never fear. Never forget.

To be honest, I cannot form the words to accurately describe the awesomeness that is Nevernight. I just can’t do it justice, and my brain can’t even try, it is still fan-girling over this AMAZING book!

And that cover! OMG – that cover!!!! The Aus/UK cover is beyond stunning; it is filled with beauty, intricacy, mystery and darkness. It perfectly showcases the amazingness on what these pages contain.

Without getting into the debate on whether this book is YA or not, as YA is subjective, let me say this: this is a fantasy book that does contain some graphic content. Personally, I loved the frankness of it all, but if you classify swearing as “gosh darn”, or if you consider graphic deaths as “she shot an arrow into his heart” and you think that sex scenes should fade to black, then this is not the book for you. Jay does not hold back, his descriptions are vivid and detailed; with lots swearing, stabbing and blood and gore, and sex scenes that could make some blush (bravo Jay for these scenes by the way!). If you want your adult themes to be like an episode of Neighbours or Home and Away then this book will shock you. It is brutal, it is upfront, it is completely honest… and I loved it!

Nevernight is amazing first instalment into this new world with lots of blood, inner-turmoil, courage, despair, treachery and hope – along with a few OMG moments, luscious writing and fantastic twists that will keep you furiously reading page after page and leave you desperate for the next book.

After finishing Nevernight, my only thoughts were really “holy shit that is amazing!” – and a few other profanities to go along with it. And to be honest, a few weeks after reading it, my thoughts are still the same. The random words that keep running around my head when trying to form sentences about this book include: Phenomenal. Bad-ass. Brilliant. Vengeance. Stab. Epic. Betrayal. Amazeballs. Murder. Dark. Assassins. Intense. Fantastic. Blood. Cats. Violence. Tremendous. Fierce. Brutal. Heartbreak. Shadows. Heart. Delicious. Fucking-amazing!

Basically, I absolutely adored everything about this book! Besides the fact that it put me in a huge reading funk and now I just don’t know how other books could possibly compare. Nevernight is epic. This is easily the best book of 2016! I know the year isn’t over yet, but I cannot foresee anything topping the awesomeness that is Nevernight.

 

 

 

 

Pokemon Go Book Tag

 

Hello everyone! So apparently Pokemon Go has overtaken mobile phones, lives and brains all over the world! I have to admit, I don’t know much about it personally, but I have been tagged by Julia @ Picnic Reads to do the Pokemon Go Book Tag!

The Pokemon Go Book Tag was created by Aentee @ Read at Midnight, and all graphics in this post were made and belong to Aentee (just so we are clear, I know nothing about Pokemon or creating graphics).

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Strange the Dreamer Samplers – 10 Things I Learnt

   

 

OMG! I have been ridiculously spoiled by certain someones, and I now have my little Laini Taylor obsessed hands on both the UK and US Strange the Dreamer samplers!!!

Now I don’t normally read samplers, because I find that they are nothing but dirty teases – but of course I was going to read these… and this is what I learnt.

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Review: Glass Sword (Red Queen #2) by Victoria Aveyard

Release Date: February 11th 2016
Published By: Orion  (UK/Aus) / HarperTeen (US)
Goodreads: Add it to your reading list
Purchase: Click here to purchase

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Synopsis: Mare’s blood is red – the colour of common folk – but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from the prince and friend who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by the Silver king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red and Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat. Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

Review:  This review contains spoilers for the previous book in this series: Red Queen. You can read my review of Red Queen here.

I loved Red Queen – it was dark and edgy, with sass and action, so naturally Glass Sword was one my most anticipated sequels of 2016!

Sequels are always exciting! They can make the whole series a success, be the start of its demise, or anything in-between – and sadly, I think that Glass Sword is somewhere in-between.

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