Friday, 31 December 2010

Dear Followers...

Well 2010 we have had our ups and downs haven’t we? But despite getting off to a bad start we did good in the end. The start of this year sucked. My uncle passed away, I had the birthday from hell and had to figure out who my friends were pretty quickly. With a terrible January and February out of the way the year got so much better and has actually been the best in a while! This summer I got to road trip with my bestie Rachel and raid fellow book blogger and friend Ellie’s magnificent book shop Book End. I started a book blog and met wonderful bloggers, authors, publishers and readers. I gained a new cousin to spoil rotten and I’m already turning her into a mini me! And I’ve just had the best Christmas I’ve had in years. Turns out 2010 wasn’t too shabby! I know I could have done much worse, but 2011 will be my year, and I hope it’s yours too my lovely followers. You guys have never failed to cheer me up on the worst days 2010 had to bring and I appreciate every single one of you, YOU. YES. YOU who take the time to read what I have to say. I hope my blog brings some sunshine to your days too! So here’s to 2011 being bigger and better for all of us. I already plan to kick start the year off with some fabulous giveaways of, Delirium by Lauren Oliver, Paranormalcy by Kiersten White and a book of your choice out of my favourites of the year. Plus my 21st birthday is coming up on the 23rd of Jan and I’m looking forward to having all of you guys celebrate with me! Thanks for sticking with me dear readers, even when my computer fail caked and died for a month. I can’t begin to tell you how much that means to me. And so I wish you a very happy 2011, may it be smiley, happy and book filled. See you all on the other side, Jess x

My first year as a book blogger summed up. Farewell 2010!

Sooo seems as everyone’s done this and I have a few spare minutes and I LOVE surveys I decided to hop on board and get one done myself! I’m also going to be doing my own version of this announcing my book of the year and other favourite books in early January so keep your eyes peeled for that! This post is everywhere at the minute but it can be originally linked back to Jamie at The Perpetual Page-Turner. Best Book of 2010 Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly one word. AMAZING. Worst Book of 2010 Twelve days of Christmas by Trisha Ashley. Just really didn’t click with that one. Most Disappointing Book of 2010 Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel. I was SO excited to read this and everything about it disappointed me right down to our UK cover. Most Surprising Book of 2010 Actually have to say the book I just finished the last book of 2010 The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove by Lauren Kate I wasn’t sure what I was going to make of it but I really enjoyed it. Review will be coming in 2011! Best Series Discovered in 2010 The Perfect Chemistry series by Simone Elkeles those Fuentes boys are damn fine! Can’t wait for the last book Chain Reaction in 2011 *fan girl squee* Favourite New Authors you Discovered in 2010 Simone Elkeles, Lauren Oliver, Lauren Kate, Tabitha Suzuma to name a few. Most Hilarious Read of 2010 Either Looking for Alaska by John Green or City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. Plenty of LOL’s with those books. Most Thrilling, Unputdownable Book in 2010 Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead I have nothing but love for that book. Book You Most Anticipated in 2010 Again Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead and it didn’t disappoint. Like at all. Favourite Cover of a Book you Read in 2010 Holy smokes this one’s hard! Probably Fallen by Lauren Kate Most Memorable Character in 2010 Alex and Carlos Fuentes & Rose and Dimitri from Vampire Academy I can’t choose between them and you won’t make me! Most Beautifully Written Book in 2010 Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly such a gorgeously told story. Book That Had The Greatest Impact on You in 2010 Definitely has to be Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma. That book just completely changes the way you think and rips your heart out. Book You Can't Believe You Waited Until 2010 to Read The Mortal Instruments series for sure- I still need to read City of Glass! Favourite Review That You Wrote in 2010 Either the review I wrote for Forbidden or Revolution. I put a lot of thought into them and they’ve had so much positive feedback. Best Moment of Book Blogging in 2010 So many. It’s been my first year of blogging so all of it’s been incredible. Getting followers and finding out that people are actually interested in my opinions. Getting picked up by publishers to review their books. Getting signed books from favourite authors. Interacting with so many wonderful bloggers and authors. Getting to meet fellow book blogger and good friend Ellie for the first time. All of it’s just been fantastic! New Favourite Book Blog You Discovered in 2010 With it being my first year as a blogger all of the blogs I’ve discovered have been wonderful and new to me. My personal favourites and the bloggers that made me feel so welcome though are Ellie & Rach (duh) Leanna, Luisa, Amanda, Vicki, Lyndsey and Ginger. I’ve come to know and love these girls’ lots :)

Review for Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

" “I’ve left some clues for you. If you want them... turn the page. If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please. ” Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a shelf in her favourite bookshop, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept them. But is Dash that right guy? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?" Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares is my first book by co-authors Rachel Cohn and David Levithan and I have to admit I was a little bit reluctant about picking up one of their books despite hearing good things about them. I read Rachel Cohn’s You Know Where to Find Me last year and absolutely hated it so I was in no hurry to pick up another of her books not even a co-authored one. However when I heard the wonderfully bookish, Christmassy sounding synopsis for this book I decided to put it on my wish list and to my delight my brother got it me for Christmas. I read this over the holidays and actually rather enjoyed it! Cohn and Levithan are two writers who really bring out the best in each other. I’m not sure if I’d enjoy their work separately- as was the case with the Cohn book- but I really enjoyed their writing together, both providing brilliant chapters. Each chapter is told alternately through Dash and Lily’s point of view. Levithan writing Dash’s chapters and Cohn Lily’s. Both authors voices were distinctive whilst also fitting nicely together, making the story entertaining and hugely readable. I really loved both Dash and Lily and found they really balanced each other out with Dash being a brooding, bookish loner and Lily a chipper, fun loving kind of girl. I thought that they made a very sweet couple to read about and I also had a soft spot for Dash’s best friend Boomer whom I personally think should have a book of his own! The characters were great and I really enjoyed my time with them. What I loved most about this book though was the plot. Book nerds everywhere will appreciate Dash and Lily’s bookish romantic adventure and with it being set at Christmas time it made for a heart-warming holiday read. The only thing that let this book down for me was the ending. I found it to be very anti climactic and turned the last page expecting more. It was a little hurried for my liking and I’d maybe of liked more of a romantic finish. I can’t quiet put my finger on what I didn’t like about it other than I was a little disappointed and found that it was lacking the big grand finale that I was expecting. After reading Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares I’m definitely going to be checking out more books by this author duo because if Dash and Lily is anything to go by they make an excellent writing team and can produce one hell of a book! Still not sure if I’ll be checking them out separately though but you can bet that I- like so many bookish people who have read this book- will be searching my local bookshops looking for my own red notebook romance! Recommended to anybody looking for an original, fun, bookish adventure. My Rating 4/5 stars **** Synopsis taken from goodreads

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Blogger Resolutions and Books to read in 2011

As a new book blogger of 2010 I hereby promise to maintain these resolutions in the upcoming year. 1.) The most obvious resolution is to read, read, read! As much as I can whenever I can. I have this terrible problem where I can sit on twitter all evening long or I sit and watch YouTube video after YouTube video. As much fun as it is to do those things I don't need to do them as often as I do and certainly not for the length of time that I do. So my new thing is going to be to spend more free time reading! 2.) Comment on blogs more often. If you’re on my blog roll chances are I follow your blog religiously. “But you hardly ever comment!” I hear you say. Yes that is true I’m really bad with leaving comments. I myself know what a lovely feeling it is to have people take the time to comment on something you’ve written so I vow to do this more in the future and spread the comment warm fuzzys! 3.) To take up Waiting on Wednesday. I LOVE this meme and I did take part in it when I started blogging but then I couldn’t find time for it anymore so gave up. I think WoW is a fab meme for finding out about upcoming titles and sharing with others books you’re excited about so I’m going to try and at least do a WoW every other week so keep your eyes peeled for that! 4.) Carry on keeping on top of review books and reviews. 5.) Carry on writing honest reviews and not being swayed to write a more positive review for fear of upsetting anyone. 6.) Meet lots of new blogger friends! The blogging community is such a lovely thing to be part of and whilst I have met so many wonderfully bookish people this year I want to carry on and meet so many more of you in 2011. I want to find new book bloggers and make them feel as welcome as everyone made me feel. Books to read in 2011 I can’t believe how many amazing sounding books I missed out on this year, so here’s a list of some of those books that I really want to get read in 2011 1.) The Mortal Instruments series and Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare- even though I DID make a start on this series I still need to read City of Glass and Clockwork Angel. I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve read so I’m excited to carry on with this series in 2011! 2.) Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl- How did I *NOT* read this book? I loved Beautiful Creatures so I really need to get round to this one ASAP! 3.) The Jessica Darling series by Megan McCafferty- again I started this series loved it and haven’t yet read the last 3 books! I really need to because JD is AMAZING! 4.) Firelight by Sophie Jordan- I’ve been looking forward to this book for so long. It’s waiting patiently on my shelf and I WILL get round to it in 2011! 5.) Spy Glass by Maria V. Snyder- Another series that I love and this is the last book. How could I not have read the last book to one of my favourite author’s series? I haven’t been on a huge fantasy kick this year so I’ve put it off but I definitely want to suck it up and get this read in 2011 Do you have any blogger resolutions that you want to make for next year? Leave me a comment or feel free to do your own post, just make sure to link back to me and post your response in the comments so I can check out your resolutions :-)

Review for City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

This is the second book in The Mortal Instruments series. Although this review will contain NO spoilers from City of Ashes by talking about the plot there may be unintentional spoilers from the first book in the series. I really enjoyed the first book in The Mortal Instruments series and so was very excited to get round to City of Ashes. This is a series that pretty much everybody has read so it feels good to finally jump on the wagon and see what all the fuss is about! City of Ashes picks up where City of Bones left off with Jace and Clary’s new found love for each other shattered on the discovery that they are long lost brother and sister. Both of them are trying to adjust to the news and bury the spark between them, Clary by trying to start a relationship with best friend Simon and Jace by doing what Jace does best- throwing himself into dangerous situations. But Clary and Jace aren’t the only two trying to deal with this new information. The Lightwoods- Jace’s adoptive family- are hurt that Jace is not who he appeared to be and fear that Jace knew all along that he was Valentines son and was acting as Valentines spy. The Clave are also onto Jace and appear to be taking out their hatred for his father on him. With Jace’s life on the line it’s up to Clary and co to prove that Jace’s heart lies with the Clave once and for all… What I love about this series is that there’s never a dull moment. In each book you delve deeper and deeper into the world Cassandra Clare has created learning more with each chapter about Shadowhunters and the things that go bump in the night. Like with City of Bones for the last 200 pages I found it impossible to put this book down. There’s always so much going on that you just have to know what happens next. I love it when authors develop a world so much that you want to discover everything about it and Cassandra Clare has done that with this series. The only thing that lets this series down for me is Jace. For so long I’ve heard about this amazing guy and he just doesn’t live up to what I expected. I actually don’t like him all that much and think that he behaves like a spoilt child sometimes when he doesn’t get his way. I know a lot of girls are attracted to his cockiness but he’s just a bit too arrogant for my liking. That being said I love, love, love the rest of the characters and have a particular soft spot for Simon. The witty, funny dialog really brings the characters to life and makes this series a joy to read. So many exciting things happen during the few days that take place in City of Ashes, and although I didn’t love this book quiet as much as the first one I did enjoy it all the same and would recommend it if you enjoyed the first book. I was a little lost at the beginning of the story because so much happened in City of Bones that I couldn’t remember all of it having read it a couple of months ago but I soon got back into the swing of things and when I did I loved it. I’ve heard that City of Glass is the best of the lot so I’m very excited to pick that up soon to find out what happens next. My Rating 4/5 stars ****

Friday, 24 December 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!
I just wanted to take a moment to wish all of my followers a very merry Christmas. I’ll be taking a break from the blog tomorrow and Boxing Day but will be back to normal on Monday until New Year. I hope you all have a relaxing peaceful Christmas with your friends and family and get plenty of brilliant books from Santa! And to those who don’t celebrate Christmas I hope you have a wonderful day whatever you’re up to.
Speak to you all soon Jess x

Review for Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

"Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris—until she meets Étienne St. Claire: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home. As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near-misses end with the French kiss Anna—and readers—have long awaited?" I am in love with this book. Yes this review is going to be less professional and more of a fan girl squee but I can’t help it, this book has everything and I can’t act rationally about it. Every so often a book comes along that makes you laugh and cry and you close it with warm fuzzys inside your chest because it just makes you feel so damn good and that’s what Anna and the French Kiss done for me. Reading Anna and the French Kiss is the literary equivalent to eating a pint of your favourite ice cream or taking a warm bath on a cold day. It’s comforting, uplifting and guaranteed to put a smile on your face even after the most awful day. Everything about this book was brilliant but what I loved most were the characters. Anna is now up there with my all-time favourite heroines. She’s funny, smart and just an all-round nice girl. I liked Anna from the start but she had my respect when right at the beginning of the book when she first arrives in Paris and makes her wish on the point zero star she wishes not for the gorgeous boy with a girlfriend or for said girlfriend to drop off the face of the earth, no, she wishes for what’s best for her. That’s the kind of girl Anna is. She’s not bitchy or whiney or any of the other things that put me off female lead characters. Anna is awesome and I think she’s a brilliant role model for female readers. As well as Anna’s awesomeness there’s also the heart melting, swoon worthy St Clair who is one giant ball of British, Parisian, American hotness. I loved St Clair’s Britishisums, being English myself I found him hilarious and highly entertaining to read about. Then there are all of the wonderful secondary characters who each had such vivid, quirky, personalities. Stephanie Perkins is wonderful at developing her characters and making them positively sparkle. She’s a born writer who really brings Paris- the most romantic city in the world-to life, creating the perfect backdrop for Anna and St Clair’s romance to bloom. Her writings funny and charming making this book a joy to read. Anna and the French Kiss has that something about it that will make it stand out against other contemporary Young Adult fiction and I can’t wait to see what Stephanie comes up with next. A magical, feel good, read that comes with the highest of recommendations. My Rating 5/5 stars ***** Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Follow My Book Blog Friday!

Hello to all my wonderful followers and to hopefully some potential new ones! This Friday I’m participating in Follow my Book Blog Friday that’s hosted over at Parajunkee's View. If you wish to take part please stop by there and sign the Mr Linky. This week's question is... What are your plans for Christmas day? My answer: On the day itself me and my family are going to have a really lazy day and just relax. No doubt I’ll pull on my new PJ’s and slippers that I traditionally get every year, grab a blanket and sit on the sofa all day switching between reading, watching Christmas TV, watching films, playing cards and eating with my family. Christmas day at my house is a time to chill and the big family get together is always on boxing day so that’s always something to look forward to when the big day is all over! This Christmas is my little cousins first Christmas with us as she’s adopted and I can’t wait to see her on boxing day. This Christmas is going to be a very special one indeed! How will you be spending this Christmas? Please feel free to leave me the answer in the comments or link to your post! Merry Christmas and happy hopping!

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Review for Matched by Ally Condie

"On her seventeenth birthday, Cassia meets her Match. Society dictates he is her perfect partner for life. Except he’s not. In Cassia’s society, Officials decide who people love. How many children they have. Where they work. When they die. But, as Cassia finds herself falling in love with another boy, she is determined to make some choices of her own. And that’s when her whole world begins to unravel . . ." When I first heard the synopsis for Matched I just knew that it was a book that I was going to love. I adore futuristic, dystopian books and with the star crossed love story thrown in it was as though this book and I had been Matched ourselves! (Sorry for the obvious pun but I couldn’t pass up on it!) I read Matched in 2 sittings. It’s one of those books that has so much going on and has you that gripped that time just seems to fly by and before you know it you’ve sat and read half the book. I found it impossible to put down especially at the beginning when were first introduced to this amazing, highly believable future.I loved how well developed and imaginative Matched was. A key point in a good dystopian book for me is when the author has created this fascinating new world. I loved learning about a world where society chooses everything for you, especially because I could see this happening someday. The world Ally Condie has created is so layered and with a fantastic plot taking place inside it there’s always something exciting going on. I really liked our heroine Cassia. She felt like a very real character that was brave and strong but also had her moments of vulnerability and doubt making her incredibly humane and endearing. What really impressed me with Matched was the loving relationship Cassia had with her family. I liked how supportive and involved they were with Cassia. It was nice to get that supportive realistic family rather than- as is the case with a lot of young adult novels- the heroine going against her family or the family not suspecting something’s going on with their daughter. I loved the strong family unit Cassia had and it reminded me very much of my own family and rung true to how a close family would behave under Cassia’s circumstances. As well as adoring Cassia and her family I also loved both of her love interests Xander and Ky. I surprisingly liked both guys and was a little bit torn between them myself! The only thing that let this book down for me was the romance. Although I liked Cassia and Ky as characters I didn’t really feel this great love between them until the end of the book. If I could have just felt that a little more this book would have been my idea of perfection. That being said Cassia and Ky don’t get that much one on one time together in Matched so maybe I’ll be more convinced in future books when they’ll hopefully be together alone more. Ally Condie has created a fantastic new world with a brilliant cast of characters to go along with it. The plots clever and the writings poetic making Matched a must read. I can’t wait to find out what happens next. Not the greatest of love stories but one heck of a plot! My Rating 4.5/5 stars ****1/2 Synopsis taken from Amazon

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Review for Twelve Days of Christmas by Trisha Ashley

"Christmas has always been a sad time for young widow Holly Brown, so when she's asked to look after a remote house on the Lancashire moors, the opportunity to hide herself away is irresistible – the perfect excuse to forget about the festivities. Sculptor, Jude Martland, is determined that this year there will be no Christmas after his brother runs off with his fiancée and he is keen to avoid the family home. However, he will have to return by the twelfth night of the festivities, when the hamlet of Little Mumming hold their historic festivities and all of his family are required to attend. Meanwhile, Holly is finding that if she wants to avoid Christmas, she has come to the wrong place. When Jude unexpectedly returns on Christmas Eve he is far from delighted to discover that Holly seems to be holding the very family party he had hoped to avoid. Suddenly, the blizzards come out of nowhere and the whole village is snowed in. With no escape, Holly and Jude get much more than they bargained for – it looks like the twelve days of Christmas are going to be very interesting indeed!" What first attracted me to Twelve Days of Christmas was that it sounded very much like one of my all-time favourite Christmas films “The Holiday” with it being about house sitting over Christmas time so I was very excited to start reading this when the snow started to fall and I was really getting into that Christmas Spirit, and well, I guess I’m just going to come out and say it. I didn’t like this book. The story centres around 35 year old Holly Brown and the main problem I had with this book is that I didn’t get on with Holly- not because she was annoying or nasty or anything like that she was nice enough but she was also incredibly boring and dull. I just didn’t have anything in common with her and couldn’t warm towards her. It was a bit like meeting somebody at a party who seems like a nice enough person but you’d never actually be friends with them because you don’t have anything in common. Holly spends 400 odd pages either cooking, looking after the animals or “thawing off” a HUGELY over used phrase in this book, which is all fine and well if that wasn’t all that she done in excessive detail. I like food and animals as much as the next person but I really don’t need a running commentary especially when it came to the cooking. Holly spends 80 per cent of her time cooking and not being a keen cook myself I found a huge chunk of this book very tiresome. Holly was for me a rather boring character who I just try as I might couldn’t connect with. I also really didn’t enjoy Trisha Ashley’s writing style. It struck me as rather old fashioned and everyone was rather sensible and proper even nearly a teen Jess who really didn’t act like a modern day teenager and behaved more like her gran! That being said this book wasn’t all bad. Some aspects of the plot kept me interested and I rather liked some of the secondary characters. Twelve days of Christmas is one of those books with a great story idea but it just isn’t executed well. I did wonder at some points if it would be better suited to older readers, with a lot of the main characters being either middle aged or elderly and with the Old fashioned style of writing, but for me as a 20 year old who likes her chick lit funny, fashionable and sexy this book was a bit of a let-down. Although I personally didn’t enjoy it I would recommend it to people fond of their cooking or maybe to a slightly older audience than myself. But as a warming fun read for Christmas? I’d give this one a miss. My first Trisha Ashley book and unfortunately I think this will also be my last. My Rating 2/5 stars ** Synopsis taken from Amazon

Saturday, 18 December 2010

In My Mailbox!

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren Hey guys, this is my first IMM post in weeks due to- as a lot of you may know- computer problems. I wanted to do an IMM before Christmas to show you what I’ve got over the last few weeks. I bought wayyy too much and it would take ages to show you them all so I’ve just picked out the highlights ;) For Review/ Won The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove by Lauren Kate (Random House) Alpha by Rachel Vincent (Won from Book Chick City) The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney (ARC, Random House) Bumped by Megan McCafferty (ARC, From the lovely author herself and yes it is signed to me! Eep!) Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin (Bloomsbury) From Notting Hill with Love... Actually by Ali McNamara (Won from One More Page) Bought/ Gift Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A. S. King (From Rach) The Lying Game by Sara Shepard My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder Dark Heart Forever by Lee Monroe So as you can see I got a whole load of greatness whilst I was away. I was really made up about all of these especially Bumped, Megan is one of my favourite authors so to have a signed ARC is amazing. I also got my Christmas present from Rachel Please Ignore Vera Dietz through the post today so I just want to say a big thank you to her for that and as always thank you to the bloggers and publishers mentioned for my books! Hope your all having a great weekend. If you’ve read any of the books I got this week and want to leave me a comment letting me know what you thought please do and make sure you leave me a link to what you got in your mailbox. Here’s to another great week of reading ahead made even more special by Christmas, I hope all my fellow book junkies get PLENTY of books under the tree next week. Happy Christmas everyone :-)

2011 Debut Author Challenge

Hi guys! I will be participating in the 2011 debut Author Challenge hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren. Being a UK blogger I’m going to be switching between UK debuts and US debuts. Here’s a list of some of the books I might read for the challenge... Across The Universe by Beth Revis (UK and US debut) Haven by Kristi Cook (US debut) Bumped by Megan McCafferty (US debut) Wither by Lauren DeStefano (US debut) Unearthly by Cynthia Hand (US debut) Inside Out by Maria V Snyder (UK debut) The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff (UK debut) Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton (US debut) The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney (UK and US debut) Entangled by Cat Clarke (UK debut) Wake Unto Me by Lisa Cach (US debut) Clarity by Kim Harrington (US debut) Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard (US debut) So as you can see I have a lot to choose from and there’s plenty more where that come from! I’m really looking forward to doing this challenge for the first time and discovering some new authors next year. Wish me luck!

Friday, 17 December 2010

Book Bloggers Hop & Follow My Book Blog Friday!

Hello to all my wonderful followers and to hopefully some potential new ones! This Friday I’m participating in The Book Bloggers Hop which is hosted by Jennifer at Crazy for Books and Follow my Book Blog Friday that’s hosted over at Parajunkee's View. If you wish to take part please stop by there and sign the Mr Linky. This week's question from The Hop is... What do you consider the most important in a story: the plot or the characters? My answer: I think it’s very important to have both. Although if a book has brilliant characters that I come to think of as friends I definitely get more into the story because I care about what’s going to happen to them next. I think a story can survive with great characters but a not so great plot where as if you have a fantastic plot but unlikeable characters the plot sometimes isn’t strong enough to stand alone if you don’t really care what happens to the people the story centre’s around.
Thank you for stopping by my blog!! Please leave me a link back to yours if you are a new follower so I can return the hello :-)
Jess x

Thursday, 16 December 2010

British Books Challenge 2011

So over the past few days I’ve been contemplating which challenges to do for 2011. This year I’ve participated in the 75 book challenge on Librarything and have happily reached over that goal, I hope to do so again next year so I’ll definitely be signing up for that again! Plus the group and the people are so lovely and I’ve gotten to know a few of them. Another challenge I’ve decided to sign up for is the British Book Challenge hosted for the first time over with Becky at The Bookette. Now being a British book blogger I think it would be great to read and promote more British authors. I’m going to be doing The Home Grown challenge aiming to read 12 British books in 2011. I’m probably going to be reading a lot of YA but I’m hoping to throw some chick-lit and general fiction in the mix as well. Here’s a list of some of the books I hope to get read. The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney Split by a Kiss by Luisa Plaja The Long Weekend by Savita Kalhan My So-Called Afterlife by Tamsyn Murray Zelah Green: One More Little Problem by Vanessa Curtis Entangled by Cat Clarke A Note of Madness by Tabitha Suzuma Della Says: OMG! by Keris Stainton Department 19 by Will Hill That’s all I’ve got for now. Some changes may be made and more books will be added at a later date as I go along. I can’t wait to get stuck into this challenge! If you want to learn more about The British Books Challenge make sure you stop by Becky’s blog here for more information. You don’t have to be a British book blogger to enter and there are going to be plenty of fab prizes to be won so I hope to see a lot of you join in the fun! What challenges are you signing up for next year? Any fun ones you think I should know about? Leave me a comment :-)

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Calling all Vampire Academy fans!

Hey guys, I just wanted to let you know that I recently done a guest post over at the lovely Stephanie’s blog Books Are a Girl’s Best Friend on my favourite vampire series Vampire Academy. Steph and I would very much appreciate you going over to check it out and make sure you have a read of Stephanie’s blog while you’re at it. She’s one of my favourite bloggers and I think y’all would love her and her blog! Click HERE to read my fan girl squee of awesome post and make sure you enter Steph’s giveaway of your choice of either Vampire Academy or Last Sacrifice! Doesn’t get much better than that right? Happy reading until next time Jess x

Review for You Against Me by Jenny Downham

Let me start off by telling you that I wasn’t a huge fan of Jenny Downham’s debut novel Before I Die. I did enjoy it but I was in the small majority of people who didn’t love it as much as I originally thought I would. That being said when You Against Me dropped through my letterbox for review I was very excited to read it. The synopsis sounded so interesting and epic that I was not only willing but actually looking forward to giving Jenny Downham’s books another go and I’m very glad that I did! Mikey and Ellie lead two very different lives. Mikey lives in a block of flats and has to work to support his sisters and drunk of a mother whilst Ellie lives in the nice part of town in a big house with a security gate. Mikey and Ellie’s worlds should never meet but when Mikey’s sister claims that Ellie’s brother raped her two families collide. Ellie being the only other person in the house when the rape took place is the only person who really knows what happened that night, and so Mikey starts to date her- without Ellie knowing who Mikey really is- to try and figure out exactly what Ellie knows. But as the unlikely couple begin to fall in love the truth about what really happened that night becomes more important than ever as it stops being Mikey against Ellie and becomes them against their families. What I found really clever about this book is the play on the title which becomes more and more apparent as you carry on reading. You Against Me can stand for so many things. At first it’s very clear that it’s Mikey’s family against Ellie’s family, but that then shifts when Mikey and Ellie fall in love bringing you against me to imply more of an embrace, two people holding and supporting one another. Then as the story develops further the couple against their own families. I really loved that nice little touch to it and how it can be interoperated into so many things that fit with this book. You Against Me is very much a modern day Romeo and Juliet story. It’s a story about loyalties and with whom they rest. It’s about following your heart and standing up for what’s right. I found You Against Me to be a highly suspenseful read as the reader doesn’t know what really happened the night of the rape until the end so you spend the whole book trying to figure out if Ellie’s brother really did rape Micky’s sister, and to top it off you know that when the truth comes out it’s going to completely destroy one family and provide the other a starting point to rebuild their lives from. It was horrible to see the aftermath of that one night and the devastating effects it had not just on the individuals but on both of their families too. You become so attached to both Ellie and Mikey that you don’t want to see either of them suffer and it’s hard to know one of them will in the end when the truth comes out. Even though this book deals with the serious subject of rape it has a gleam of light with Mikey and Ellie’s new found romance. It adds the silver lining that this book needs. The only problem I had with this book is the writing. I’m not a huge fan of how Jenny Downham writes and this was a problem I had with Before I Die also. I love Jenny’s story ideas but I feel that her writing simplifies for the teen reader too much. Sometimes it feels like she’s trying too hard to be down with the kids. Whilst this took away from my enjoyment of reading Before I Die I could overlook it for You Against Me because the story is just too good to pass up on. You Against Me is a quick yet powerful read that I would certainly recommend. Fans of Before I die are going to love it and those who didn’t enjoy Before I die like myself are going to see a big improvement. I was pleasantly surprised with this one. My Rating 4/5 stars **** Thanks go to Random House for sending me this book to review.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Christmas Questionnaire!

Hey guys, I found this holiday tag on youtube and was feeling in a really Christmassy mood so decided to do it and share it with you all. I’ve added a few of my own questions in to give it my own style. If any of you want to do this then feel free as long as you link back to me. If you decide to do it leave me a link in the comments so I can check out your response or if you just generally want to comment that’s fine too :-) 1.) Favourite holiday destination? Home I really do think there’s no place like home during Christmas. Although if I had to choose somewhere other than home I’d pick New York there’s just something about New York at Christmas. 2.) Favourite ornament or decoration? I have two there’s this bauble with a mouse and a snowball that has my name on it that I’ve had since I was a baby and more recently a me to you bear bauble that I bought last Christmas. I LOVE me to you bears. 3.) What are you doing for the holidays? On Christmas eve I think me and my family are just having a really relaxed day in our PJ’s watching films, wrapping presents and for me reading! Then on Christmas day I’m going to be opening presents, visiting my cousin because it’s her first Christmas with us, eating and probably doing more reading and film watching! And then on boxing day my whole family’s going to get together for a buffet and celebration. 4.) Are you a late or early christmas shopper? I’m kind of in the middle. I started early this year with having my cousin to shop for but now it’s getting mid-way into December and I haven’t got everything yet so I guess I’m kind of scattered. 5.) Who usually cooks holiday dinners? It’s actually usually my dad if it’s just my family because my mum will sometimes have to work on Christmas or if it’s a big family meal then my nan cooks the main meal and my parents and aunties will each bring a desert or drinks. 6.) Do you live where it snows? Yes I live in England so we get quite a good winter here! 7.) One thing that makes you happiest at christmas? It sounds corny but I love shopping for other people’s presents. I always put a lot of time and thought into it and I love knowing that the person I’m buying for is going to love their present on Christmas morning. I actually love giving presents more than receiving them. 8.) What do you want most for christmas? Books? Duh? And for my family and friends to have a lovely relaxing fun Christmas. 9.)What's your favourite holiday drink? Hot chocolate and wine…not together mind! 10.) Favourite Christmas song? Santa baby! Love that song! 11.) Favourite Christmas film? I have so many The Holiday, Love Actually, Bridget Jones’ diary, Elf, The Muppets Christmas Carol to name a few. 12.) Favourite Christmas book? I really like The Gift by Cecilia Ahern it has a really lovely Christmas moral. 13.) What is at the top of your list this Christmas? A lot of books! Fixing Delilah, Anna and the French Kiss, Pegasus and The Lying Game and some nice cosy PJ’s and slippers to snuggle down in to read my books! 14.) What is most important to you about the holidays? Having a time of year to relax and spend with my family, seeing them happy and having fun together. That’s what Christmas is all about after all! So there you have it, I love these questions and hope some of you decide to do them too so I can find out if you guys have any Christmas traditions! Hope you’ve had as much fun reading this as I have doing it!

Review for Sing Me To Sleep by Angela Morrison

I actually bought Sing Me To Sleep a while back when I was really into fairy tale re-telling’s. This book is a re-telling of my all-time favourite fairy tale Beauty and the Beast. So with it being Winter I was drawn to this books gorgeous snowy cover and picked it up intending to read only a couple of pages to see if I should put it on my Winter to be read pile and before I knew it I was 50 pages in and totally loving it so instead of placing it on my to be read pile it went straight to my current read. Were first introduced to Beth more famously known at her high school as “The Beast” due to her freakishly tall height, bad skin, bad hair, bad everything. She gets very severely bullied by some of the most popular boys at school and her days are only made bearable by the presence of best friend, nerdy but ever increasingly handsome Scott who loves and accepts Beth for who she is. Scott believes that Beth is beautiful. Beth knows that the only thing beautiful about her is her voice. She sings at Bliss girls’ choir but has never stood out from the crowd because of the way she looks that is until her choir’s soloist gets sick and Beth takes her place. Competing at a worldwide event in Switzerland, Beth knows that the only way she can sing in front of the world is to get a drastic makeover, so with help from the girls from Bliss Beth transforms from Beast to Beauty. Her appearance finally matching the beauty of her voice. It’s during her trip that she meets Derek whose choir is also competing. Derek first falls in love with Beth’s voice, then Beth herself and Beth can’t help but fall for this guy who makes her feel so so beautiful. But Derek has a few secrets he’s not telling Beth. Secrets that could shatter their happy ever after… What really sucked me into this book was Angela Morrison’s writing. She has a really beautiful way of telling a story that has you truly enchanted. I wasn’t sure how crazy I’d be about this book not being a huge fan of Beth’s type of music but I really found myself enjoying it because that’s only really the background for the story there so much more to it than that. This book isn’t a hugely accurate telling of the classic Beauty and the Beast tale other than the gorgeous romance, Beth’s transformation and a small rose scene it pretty much ends there. Instead Angela Morrison creates her own beautiful fairy tale that I very much enjoyed reading. Above all Sing Me To Sleep is a beautiful love story. There’s not much I can really say about it without giving everything away. It has a really beautiful, poetic, thought out plot. It’s a real tear jerker and funnily enough I found myself thinking- especially towards the end- that it reads very much like a Nicholas Sparks novel for teens. Its tragically romantic and very potent and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a gorgeous, engrossing love story not just about finding love with someone but also about finding love for yourself. 4.5 stars. My Rating 4.5/5 stars ****1/2

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Review for Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead (A Spoiler Free Review)

This is the last book in the Vampire Academy series. Although this review will contain NO spoilers from Last Sacrifice by talking about the plot there may be unintentional spoilers from earlier books in the series.
The Vampire Academy series is by far my all-time favourite series. Last Sacrifice is the highly anticipated last book in the series and so when I was offered the chance to read this book early before its release date I jumped at the chance. When it arrived I had the stupidest grin on my face all day long and started it as soon as I could. I read this 584 page book in two sittings, and I have to say that this is now my favourite book in the series, it surpassed my greatest expectations. It was so. Damn. Good! Last Sacrifice starts off with only two days having passed since where Spirit Bound left off. Rose is awaiting execution for the murder of Tatiana the vampire queen- wrongful execution at that. Time is running out for Rose can Dimitri pull through for her one last time before it’s too late? Meanwhile best friend Lissa is trying to prove Rose’s innocence in finding out who really killed the queen whilst trying to compete for the royal throne. Can Lissa be queen? Does she even want to be? With the odds against Lissa and Rose both girls find themselves relying on enemies and questioning the people they trust. It’s a race against time and both girls realise that to help one another they may have to sacrifice the very thing that matters to them most…each other. The Vampire Academy series has one of the most layered plots that I’ve ever come across in Young Adult fiction. The world that Richelle Mead has created has so much depth and story. There’s so much going on that your constantly gripped wanting to know what happens next. This vampire world is a world that I love to be in, it’s so well developed that it actually feels like a real place. I think what makes Vampire Academy shine and stand apart from other vampire fiction is that it’s totally original. It’s like no other vampire series that I’ve ever read which is so hard to come across after the success of Twilight. I love that it’s nothing like Twilight and other books out there and is confident enough to stand on its own and do its own thing. Vampire Academy has no weak spots. Everything’s strong and nothing lets it down. The plots original, the characters are hugely likeable, the writings flawless. The series is simply perfection. What I find really fresh about this series is that although there’s an amazing love story, at this books heart is a story about friendship. Deep, loyal, true friendship between two wonderful yet very different girls. Rose and Lissa are brilliant role models for teen readers everywhere, and it’s great to find a series that values true friendship above all else. The characters in this series are all wonderful. I would love every single one of them as a friend. Rose is sassy, feisty, fearless, smart and strong and is my all-time favourite heroine. Head strong and confident girls of all ages will look up to and respect her. Fearless Rose, Kind hearted Lissa, Godlike Dimitri, Loyal Christian and snarky Adrian have come to feel like my own best friends. They each have such brilliant, vivid personalities and reading Last Sacrifice felt like saying goodbye to old friends so much so that I tried to slow my reading down towards the end when it dawned on me that I was getting closer and closer to those final pages. Of course I couldn’t do it though it was just too good! Last Sacrifice has one of the best plots I’ve ever come across with never a dull moment making it impossible to put down. Each chapter reveals something new and answers questions that fans of this series have been dying to know. The writings incredible and Richelle definitely ends this series on a high note. I can’t imagine fans of Vampire Academy being disappointed with the final book at all. I haven’t really gone into the plot that much with this review because I want to keep it spoiler free but you will not be disappointed. All of your questions get answered and so many new things happen along the way. The romance is hot, the betrayals deadly and the writing superb and although everything gets concluded things definitely end on a very interesting note for Richelle Meads new spin off series. I’m so, so sad to see this incredible series come to an end. I’ve loved every minute spent in this world with such a wonderful cast of characters. I can’t wait for more news on Richelle’s spin off series if it’s even half as good as Rose and Co’s story I’m sure were going to be in for a real treat and I really hope the characters from this series make some appearances! If you haven’t read this series yet you are truly missing out on something special. I recommend Vampire Academy to everyone who asks me for book recommendations and never have they been disappointed. Fans of this series are going to be blow away by this grand finale. Honestly guys I can’t even put into words how much I love this series and how you all need to check it out, in fact what are you waiting for? Why are you still reading this? Go read it now, now, now! Only the highest of recommendations for my favourite series. 5 stars. My Rating 5/5 stars ***** Thanks go to Razorbill/Penguin for sending me this book for review.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Where have I been!?

Hello my fellow book lovers, so you may or may not have noticed that I’ve been MIA as of late. My computer has died. Yes died- but it is getting fixed! It’s taking a little longer than planned though due to waiting on parts to be ordered in. I’m hoping to get it back sometime this week and I can’t wait for things to get back to normal. I’m missing blogging and you guys so much. However because the computer being fixed is taking longer than planned my brothers agreed to let me use his laptop to get the all-important reviews done so there will be some life on Jess Hearts Books but until my PC is back I won’t be doing any memes and things will just be kept to an all-round minimal. Service will continue as normal as soon as the computer is back though so don’t worry and like I say I’m hoping it’s not too long now. I’ve got some great reviews coming up for you. One being the all mighty review for Last Sacrifice amongst others. I’ve had some really great books come my way so although I can’t remember every book I bought over the last couple weeks I will be showing the highlights when things are back to normal, one such book being a personalised ARC of Bumped by one of my favourite authors Megan Mccafferty! So excited for that one. I’m currently reading Matched which I started last night and I only have 100 pages left! It is so so good! I’m really loving it so make sure you keep your eyes peeled for a review on that coming soon. Lastly I’d like to say a big thank you to everybody whose emailed me or tweeted me wanting to know if I was ok and what was happening with Jess Hearts Books. Don’t worry I’m still here and will be back with you all soon! But until then thanks for your support and happy reading until next time! Jess x
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