Monday, 19 December 2011

Holiday Blogging Break!

Just a quick announcement to let you guys know that I will be taking a break from blogging as of today for Christmas and New Year. I'm going to use this time to relax and enjoy the festivities as well as cramming in as many Christmas books and those 2011 must reads before the years over. I'll be returning in early January and will be setting things up on the blog for 2012 with 2011 summaries, reviews for 2012 books and even the first book tour of the year! January will be a month with a lot of conclusions from 2011 and setting up for the year ahead. It's also my birthday month and I know I'm going away late January so please bare with me if posts are a bit all over the place.

February will see things getting back to normal around here and the return of some of my features like Readers Choice and the re-launch of Covers So Lovely We'd Lick Them with the new name Covers So Lovely They're Lickable! As co-creator and my best friend Rachel over at In the Library of LadyViolet has kindly handed the reins over to me solely so I'm bringing it back as I know how many of you used to enjoy those.

So this is goodbye for now my lovelies, I hope you all have a wonderful and book filled Christmas and New Year if you celebrate and for those who don't heck everyday should be wonderful and book filled so same goes to you. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and I'll see you all in 2012 for book news, reviews and plenty of bookish awesome.

Jess x

Sunday, 18 December 2011

In My Mailbox!

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren

Review Books

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
Torn by Cat Clarke
Fracture by Megan Miranda
Night School by C.J Daugherty
Stolen Away by Alyxandra Harvey

Gift/ Bought

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater (early Christmas present from my lovely friend Ellie over at Musings of a Bookshop Girl)
The Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness (I got all three of these for only £7.99 at The Works! I absolutely loved A Monster Calls so can't wait to check out more of Patrick's books!)

This is my last IMM for 2011 and I think it’s been a pretty good one! As always big thank you’s to everybody who sent me books. For more information on any of the books featured just click on the title and the link will take you to it's goodreads page. 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 week of fantastic reading ahead!

Friday, 16 December 2011

Review for Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

This is the second book in The Infernal Devices series. Although this review will contain NO spoilers from Clockwork Prince by talking about the plot there may be unintentional spoilers from the first book in the series.

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Walker
Release Date: 6th December 2011
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Paranormal Romance
Rating: 5/5 stars
Source: Received from the publisher for review

Amazon Summary:
"Love and lies can corrupt even the purest heart... In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, while her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will - the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers to who she is and what she was born to do? As their search for the truth leads the three friends into peril, Tessa's heart is increasingly torn, especially when one of their own betrays them."

I feel that The Infernal Devices trilogy really shows off how far Cassandra Clare has come as a writer since her debut City of Bones. Don’t get me wrong I’m a huge fan of The Mortal Instruments series but I feel that The Infernal Devices is so much stronger in characters, plot, and writing. I’m a sucker for well written historical fiction at the best of times but historical fiction with shadowhunters and all the paranormal creatures you can think of? Yes please!

I had a feeling after reading Clockwork Angel that I could possibly come to love this series even more than The Mortal Instruments and Clockwork Prince definitely tipped me over the edge. This has to be the most romantic of all of Cassandra Clare’s books to date, the majority of the book focusing on the complex relationships our leading lady Tessa has with shadowhunter parabatai brothers Jem and Will. Some huge plot twists get revealed about the boys in Clockwork Prince which literally changes everything for Tessa. Both Jem and Will have been through so much and in this book you get to see the extent of that and get to know the boys so much better. There are some very hot and steamy moments and I, like Tessa, spent much of the book totally convinced I loved kind hearted, silver fox, Jem only to look into Will Herondale’s blue/violet eyes and be undecided all over again. I love both boys so much and I almost don’t want Tessa to have to choose either of them, not if it will end up hurting the other one. Basically Cassie Clare has created the most intense love triangle I’ve ever read. I love it and I don’t even usually like love triangles.

What I love best about The Infernal Devices are the characters. I think Tessa is such a strong, smart and likeable heroine who I connect with way more than I ever have with Clary. Then there are my lovely- I mean bad-ass *cough* shadowhunter boys Will and Jem. But not only that the secondary characters stand out too and are so well developed.

Clockwork Prince takes a step back from the Mortmain storyline and instead focuses on lots of sub plots that are all essential to the overall story. Each character has something going on with them and the book flicks back and forth between storylines so there is constantly something exciting going down. Clockwork Prince doesn’t suffer from the dreaded middle book syndrome at all and instead reveals plenty of secrets and twists whilst creating new questions setting things up for an explosive final book.

Clockwork Prince blends together romance and none stop action seamlessly, Cassie Clare showing other Young Adult authors how paranormal romance is done. As for the book itself I really liked this exclusive collector’s edition as it includes a letter that Will writes in Clockwork Angel and a short story ‘Burning Bright’ which goes into Jem’s feelings during Clockwork Angel when he first meets Tessa. I was really excited to read Will’s letter but surprisingly found myself enjoying Jem’s short story more although both were fantastic and added a little something extra that fans will really appreciate. I think this book is my favourite out of all of Cassandra’s books so far and I absolutely cannot wait for Clockwork Princess, the final book in this series, for what promises to be a heart stopping finale.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Review for The Night Before Christmas by Scarlett Bailey

The Night Before Christmas by Scarlett Bailey
Publisher: Ebury Press
Release Date: 27th October 2011
Genre: Chick-lit, Adult Fiction, Christmas, Winter
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Source: Received from the publisher for review

Amazon Summary:
"All Lydia's ever wanted is a perfect Christmas...

So when her oldest friends invite her to spend the holidays with them, it seems like a dream come true. She's been promised log fires, roasted chestnuts, her own weight in mince pies - all in a setting that looks like something out of a Christmas card.

But her winter wonderland is ruined when she finds herself snowed in with her current boyfriend, her old flame and a hunky stranger. Well, three (wise) men is traditional at this time of year..."

The Night Before Christmas is a book, that for me, had both its highs and lows overall making it an average read. This is less of a Christmas story and more of a chick-lit novel with a Christmas backdrop. What I mean by that is that despite this book being set during those few days leading up to Christmas it just didn’t really feel festive to me and didn’t have an underlining Christmas moral which I think is key if you’re going to write a book about Christmas. Instead the book definitely reads like your usual chick-lit story focusing more on relationships and everyday situations than Christmas. Basically I guess what I’m trying to say is that Bailey could of taken advantage of the Christmas theme more than she chose to.

First off I’ll get my dislikes out of the way. Lydia and her friends aren’t exactly the most likeable characters I’ve come across. Lydia spends much of the book running from her current boyfriend, to her ex-boyfriend (not to mention who is also her best friends new man) to a hunky stranger. Her careless regard towards other people’s feelings and who she might be hurting in the process really grated on my nerves and to be honest I found her a bit selfish. Then there’s Joanna- who is currently girlfriend to Lydia’s ex- who’s really superficial and makes her own fair share of hurtful mistakes. Then there’s Alex possibly the world’s most unpleasant heavily pregnant woman ever. And Katy who to be frank is a bit of a doormat but probably the most genuine of her friends. There wasn’t really a female character that I could really get behind and connect with. If anything I felt rather sorry for their poor chaps for being snowed in with them!

Another thing that irked me was the poor editing that went into this book. The Night Before Christmas is littered with spelling mistakes and missed out words that left sentences that made little to no sense. I know that mistakes happen and being a book blogger who reads uncorrected proof copies this isn’t something that usually fazes me but for a finished copy this was just plain embarrassing, worse even, than any proof I’ve ever read. Although this is of course no reflection on Scarlett Bailey or the story itself at the end of the day if the presentations half arsed it makes the book seem sloppy and just cringey in general to read.

Those problems aside I did like this book. Scarlett Bailey writes a hilarious account of a perfect Christmas gone wrong, something I think that most people can relate to! Her writing style is fresh, modern and funny with some truly laugh out loud moments.

I also really liked the men in this story particularly the lovely Will. Bailey writes romance and complex relationships with honesty and humour and I loved reading about Lydia’s past and steamy encounters with the men she’s snowed in with. Trying to figure out which man she was going to end up with being the real highlight of the book.

All in all despite some issues I had with The Night Before Christmas I still enjoyed it for the most part and think that it would make a nice, fun, girly read for Christmas but maybe not so much if you’re looking for a book with a little more substance and festive cheer.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

I'm Guest Posting!

Hi lovelies! Today's post is over at one of my very favourite blogs the lovely Amanda is hosting Countdown to Christmas a really fun blogging version of an advent calender with a festive post every day from the 1st to the 24th December! Packed with Christmas book reviews, author Christmas themed interviews and giveaway's you really ought to stop by I've been following the posts and they really put you in a festive mood!

Amanda's been kind enough to have me on her blog today with a review for a heart-warming christmassy read Last Christmas by Julia Williams you can check out my review here. And make sure you check out all of the other Countdown to Christmas posts if you haven't already and follow for a new post every day!

Monday, 5 December 2011

Review for One Minute to Midnight by Amy Silver

One Minute to Midnight by Amy Silver
Publisher: Arrow
Release Date: 24th November 2011
Genre: Chick-lit, Adult Fiction, New Year, Winter
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Source: Received from the publisher for review

Amazon Summary:
"Nicole Blake's New Year Resolutions, 1990:

1. Start keeping a journal;

2. Lose half a stone;

3. Kiss Julian Symonds

If there are two things Nicole can guarantee about New Years Eve it's that there are always fireworks and Julian Symonds is always there.

Since she was thirteen, no New Year has been complete without Jules. Through school, university and beyond, as friends come and go, Nic and Jules are at the centre of every party.

Until one year everything changes...

Now, as another New Year approaches, Nicole has ghosts to lay and bridges to build - with her husband Dom, with her best friend Alex, and with Aidan, the man who broke her heart.

Life is about to change again for Nicole, and once the fireworks are over and the dust has settled, this time she is determined it will be for the better."

At this time of year you only have to walk into a bookshop to see the abundance of Christmas books that are released during the build up to Christmas and so what first struck me about One Minute to Midnight is that this is a book about New Year. New Year is a time that tends to be overshadowed by the excitement for Christmas something that’s also apparent in the book industry. And so reading a book about New Year and the new beginning’s that come along with it was a very welcome breath of fresh air.

First things first I have to say don’t be fooled by this book’s beautiful- but undeniably girly- cover. This isn’t your typical chick-lit read. One Minute to Midnight is a realistic, hard-hitting, tug on your heartstrings novel that covers topics such as domestic violence, grief and death and is about a group of less than perfect friends and their complex relationships with one another.

Our leading lady is Nicole and straight away I found her fascinating to read about. She’s smart, feisty and is a woman with a past. There are a lot of skeletons in Nic’s closet and secrets that not only is she keeping from her husband Dom but us readers too. The book alternates from the present build up to New Year to the New Year’s Eve’s of Nicole’s past beginning in 1990 when Nicole is thirteen and spends her first New Year’s Eve with Julian Symonds unbeknownst to them starting a tradition and friendship that will see them through many New Years to come. With the book being told on the same day each year One Minute to Midnight had a certain One Day feel about it which I loved especially as it gives you the feeling that you really know these characters that you’ve watched them grow up.

I found the characters in this book to be so well developed. Every one of them felt so real and even the secondary characters stood out. They’ve all made mistakes, some that have hurt each other, but no matter what they done I couldn’t not like any of them because Amy Silver has this way of making you understand her characters and their actions. Their mistakes, regrets and secrets are slowly revealed as the book goes on. Ultimately this is a book about the characters finding new beginnings, forgiveness and redemption themes that tie in perfectly with New Year.

Amy Silver writes like a dream and has the ability to make you both laugh and cry. The prose is so organic with some truly heart felt moments particularly between Nicole and her father, and her husband Dom. One Minute to Midnight is definitely a book that touches your heart and I can certainly see myself pulling this off the shelf for re-reads in the future. One Minute to Midnight is such a wonderful book that is so much more than just chick-lit. Definitely add this to your Winter reading piles this year, this is my first of Amy Silver’s novels and it definitely won’t be my last!

Sunday, 4 December 2011

In My Mailbox!

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren

Review Books

Someone Else's Life by Katie Dale
Everneath by Brodi Ashton
Happily Ever After by Harriet Evans (ARC)
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey (ARC)
The Flappers: Vixen by Jillian Larkin (ARC)
Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough
A Beautiful Evil by Kelly Keaton


The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
The Secret of Happy Ever After by Lucy Dillon
Miracle on Regent Street by Ali Harris
It Started With A Kiss by Miranda Dickinson

Harry Potter Box Set of AWESOME!

So I had a pretty awesome week! In review books and book bargains the 3 Christmas books I got for only £10! I'm so excited about all of these and can't wait to get round to them big thank you's to all the lovely people who have sent me books. PLUS BEHOLD! HARRY POTTER COMPLETE BOX SET!!!! I've always resisted buying the box sets as I have been waiting for the whole movie collection to come out and here it finally is! I have the limited edition collection with both DVD and Blu-Ray, hours of special features and this awesome collectors photo album. Isn't it pretty? Definitely made the wait worth while, I'm such a Harry Potter nerd! For more information on any of the books featured just click on the title and the link will take you to it's goodreads page. 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 week of fantastic reading ahead :-)

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Book of the Month! Featuring Christmas, Summer Road-Trip’s and Dystopian’s…

Welcome to November's book of the month and monthly round up! This is a feature to sum up for you my reading and recommendations for the past month and to share with you the exciting things that have been going on on the blog and books I’m looking forward to in the following month.

November's BotM is Wonder by R.J Palacio

I was lucky enough to be able to read an early proof copy of this, sadly most of you are going to have to wait until 1st March to get your hands on it but I would certainly write the date in your diary! I predict that this book is going to be HUGE. There is already an early buzz for it gathering in the blogosphere. This is the story of wonderful Auggie Pullman an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face. This is a book written through the eyes of a young boy with a facial disfigurement and also from the perspective of those who know and love him. I was completely touched by this book, for more information check out my review here.

Best Plot: The Pledge by Kimberly Derting
Best Writing: Wonder by R.J Palacio
Best Cover: One Minute to Midnight by Amy Silver
Best Characters: Wonder by R.J Palacio
Best Ending: Last Christmas by Julia Williams
Best Romance: Saving June by Hannah Harrington
Most un-put-down-able: The Pledge by Kimberly Derting
Most Memorable: Wonder by R.J Palacio
Best Moral: Wonder by R.J Palacio

Books read this month
69.) Wonder by R.J Palacio (5*)
70.) Crossed by Ally Condie (2.5*)
71.) Last Christmas by Julia Williams (4*)
72.) The Pledge by Kimberly Derting (4.5*)
73.) Saving June by Hannah Harrington (4*)
74.) One Minute to Midnight by Amy Silver (4.5*)

Top 3 Most Recommended Books: Wonder, The Pledge and One Minute to Midnight

Bookish Highlights of the month
I was really happy to bring back In My Mailbox this month, and also to be able to share with you the first official The Hunger Games trailer which I thought looked amazing. The Lauren Kate cover reveals were also very exciting and I was excited to make a start on my Christmas book to-be-read pile as I do love a good Christmassy read!

Bookish Lows of the month
Reading Crossed was a bit of a disappointment to be honest and reviewing it was pretty tough. I also didn’t read as many books as I would have liked *damn you crazy Christmas build up!!*

Book’s I’m looking forward to in December
A couple of the books I was most excited for this December I already got for review like Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare (I’m currently reading it now SO good!) and Torn by Cat Clarke (eep! Can’t wait!) Other than that I can’t say there are any I’m super excited for, by the looks of things everyone’s waiting for January to unleash all the awesome. There are some AMAZING sounding books coming out in January, lucky for me it’s my birthday month so I won’t be too broke after buying all of these books! (All links lead to the books goodreads page for more information)

So there you have it my November reading summed up for you guys I can hardly believe it's December already! Have you read any of the books I’ve read this month? What were your thoughts on them? Leave me a comment and let me know and don’t forget to treat yourselves to Wonder when it comes out – You won’t regret it! Here’s to another month of fab reading ahead and hopefully getting in some of those must reads before the year is out!

Friday, 2 December 2011

Review for Saving June by Hannah Harrington

Saving June by Hannah Harrington
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: May 1st 2011
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Grief, Suicide, Music, Summer, Road-trip
Rating: 4/5 stars
Source: Netgalley

Goodreads Summary:
" ‘If she’d waited less than two weeks, she’d be June who died in June. But I guess my sister didn’t consider that.’

Harper Scott’s older sister has always been the perfect one so when June takes her own life a week before her high school graduation, sixteen-year-old Harper is devastated. Everyone’s sorry, but no one can explain why.

When her divorcing parents decide to split her sister’s ashes into his-and-her urns, Harper takes matters into her own hands. She’ll steal the ashes and drive cross-country with her best friend, Laney, to the one place June always dreamed of going California.

Enter Jake Tolan. He’s a boy with a bad attitude, a classic-rock obsession and nothing in common with Harper’s sister. But Jake had a connection with June, and when he insists on joining them, Harper’s just desperate enough to let him. With his alternately charming and infuriating demeanour and his belief that music can see you through anything, he might be exactly what she needs.

Except June wasn’t the only one hiding something. Jake’s keeping a secret that has the power to turn Harper’s life upside down again."

Saving June has some of the most honest and fleshed out teen characters that I’ve come across in a long time. Harper’s voice is like my own was at that age and the way Harper and her friends interact mimicked my own friendships as well. Each character in this book is going through a growing pains of some sort. Harper, Jake and Laney have all been dished their fair share of pain and like all teenagers are trying to find a way to make their peace with the world despite everything it’s thrown at them.

This book explores so many different themes religion, suicide, sex, politics and music to name a few. Harrington isn’t afraid to tackle the big stuff and not only that but to put opinions out there through the eyes of angry teens who are demanding answers to why crappy things happen and are taking no prisoners. Saving June documents not only a physical journey as the three friends road-trip to California but also a mental one as Harper, Jake and Laney come to terms with both the beauty and hurt in this world and discover what it means to truly be alive.

Reading this book really felt like you were in Harper’s head that she was this real living person actually going through and experiencing all of these things. Hannah Harrington’s prose is so organic and heart felt and Harper’s observations on the world around her reads so true and honest that it’s impossible to read this book without it touching you in some way.

Music plays a big part in this story and Jake’s love for it and how he’s certain there’s a song for every situation makes him this really passionate guy who I totally swooned over. Jake’s kind of intense and damaged and the way that he feels about music is so contagious that you want to go and listen to a song he’s mentioned just because he likes it, you want to hear what he hears. A nice touch to the actual book itself is that all the playlists are at the back of the book and I’m totally going to download each song and re-live this book all over again through the music.

Saving June is in its simplest form a book about a girl who sets out to save her sister and instead ends up saving herself. If you’re a fan of books about summer road trips, intense and complex relationships, music or heck just life in general you’re going to love this book. This is one of the most honest accounts of one girl’s journey I’ve ever read and so lastly I would like to thank Hannah Harrington for taking me along for the ride.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Cover Reveals for Lauren Kate’s Rapture and Fallen in Love PLUS Sneak Peak!

I do love a good cover reveal and I think we can all agree that Lauren Kate’s in particular are always very exciting in deed! The cover’s for all of her books are absolutely stunning and so it gives me great pleasure to be bringing to you today the cover reveal for not only Rapture- the thrilling final instalment of the Fallen series- but also Lauren’s upcoming Fallen in Love a book made up of four romantic short stories featuring the characters from the Fallen series. The stories include Love Where You Least Expect It: The Valentine of Shelby and Miles , Love Lessons: The Valentine of Roland; Burning Love: The Valentine of Arriane; and Endless Love: The Valentine of Daniel and Lucinda. I’m not usually a fan of short stories but think this one will be fab as we already know and love all of the characters! Plus this will be coming out just in time for Valentine’s Day so I think this will be perfect for some romantic reading! Exciting stuff right? So without further ado check out the covers!

Rapture by Lauren Kate

Fallen in Love by Lauren Kate

Pretty right? I think they can both stand proudly next to the rest of the Fallen series and The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove! If that wasn’t enough excitement you can also read a SNEAK PEAK of Fallen in Love RIGHT HERE, right now. I’m so excited for both of these books and can hardly wait first for the 2nd February for Fallen in Love and then for 12th June for the much anticipated Rapture!

What do you think of these new covers? And if you read the sneak peak of Fallen in Love let me know what you think in the comments!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Review for Crossed by Ally Condie

Crossed by Ally Condie
Publisher: Puffin
Release Date: 24th November 2011
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
Rating: 2.5/5 stars
Source: Received from the publisher for review

Amazon Summary:
"Rules are different outside the Society.

Chasing down an uncertain future, Cassia makes her way to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky-taken by the Society to his certain death-only to find that he has escaped into the majestic, but treacherous, canyons. On this wild frontier are glimmers of a different life and the enthralling promise of rebellion. But even as Cassia sacrifices everything to reunite with Ky, ingenious surprises from Xander may change the game once again.

Narrated from both Cassia's and Ky's points of view, this hotly anticipated sequel to Matched will take them both to the edge of Society, where nothing is as expected and crosses and double crosses make their path more twisted than ever..."

I was a huge fan of Matched when it came out last year and have been pining for Crossed ever since. I went into this book with high expectations, the back of the book talks about a rebellion rising and the picture of Cassia breaking out of the bubble made me think things were going to EXPLODE in this sequel but sadly I was left disappointed.

I started this book really confused. It’s been a long time since I read Matched, as I’m sure it has been for a lot of people, and I couldn’t really remember the ending. With a lot of books this isn’t really an issue as authors are usually pretty good at re-capping past events. Yeah that didn’t happen with this one, and so I spent the first hundred pages kind of confused. Luckily as I read on I managed to figure stuff out on my own and snippets came back to me but if your memory of Matched is a bit fuzzy like mine was I would really recommend re-reading Matched before starting Crossed.

Crossed is told from both Cassia and Ky’s perspective which I think had both its pro’s and con’s. In Matched I really liked both Ky and Xander but if I had to pick one I’d probably of gone with Xander. This book really gives us a chance to get to know Ky better and I was really touched by the parts where we see Cassia through his eyes. However I didn’t think that Ally Condie did a good job at making Cassia and Ky’s voices distinctive from one another. Despite stating their names at the beginning of each chapter their voices were so similar that I had to constantly flick back to see whose perspective I was supposed to be reading from because there was no distinction between them other than a name stated at the beginning of each chapter.

There were some things I did like about this book. I really liked the introduction of some new and interesting characters particularly Eli and Indie. I also liked getting to know Ky better and watching Cassia develop from Society Cassia in to Rebel Cassia. I can’t take away from the fact that Ally Condie is an extremely talented writer who writes some incredibly moving and beautiful scenes but unfortunately a dual narrative clearly isn’t her strong point and I really hope she tells the last book from just Cassia’s perspective.

When I got to the end of the book the first thing that came to mind was- is that it? This whole book is basically Cassia wondering around some canyons. There’s no answers, no action and the book ends right where Matched left off and leaves us none the wiser regarding anything really.

Crossed for me was a really pointless book. Absolutely nothing happened plot wise. This is a book entirely based on character development. I hate to say this but I was bored and when I finished reading I felt like this book was a huge waste of my time mostly because I didn’t learn anything different that I didn’t already know from having read Matched. This is a bit of a circle book where the author takes us on this great long journey just to end up back where we started. I was disappointed with this one but as there’s only one book left in the series I will still be checking it out and hope that Ally Condie will finally give us some answers.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Review for Wonder by R.J Palacio

Wonder by R.J Palacio
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: 1st March 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Children’s, Middle-grade, Adult, Fiction, Contemporary
Rating: 5/5 stars
Source: Received from the publisher for review

"Wonder is the funny, sweet and incredibly moving story of Auggie Pullman. Born with a terrible facial abnormality, this shy, bright ten-year-old has been home-schooled by his parents for his whole life, in an attempt to protect him from the stares and cruelty of the outside world. Now, for the first time, Auggie is being sent to a real school - and he's dreading it. The thing is, Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, underneath it all? Through the voices of Auggie, his big sister Via, and his new friends Jack and Summer, "Wonder" follows Auggie's journey through his first year at Beecher Prep. Frank, powerful, warm and often heart-breaking, "Wonder" is a book you'll read in one sitting, pass on to others, and remember long after the final page."

I’d only read a few pages of Wonder when I realised that it was going to be one of *those* books, one of those rare and wonderful books that can make you both laugh and cry on the same page, that you read with a lump in your throat and a smile on your face, that as soon as you finish reading you eagerly pass on to somebody else just so you have someone to discuss it with. Yes Wonder is one of *those* books.

What I love about Wonder is how simple it is. This is a book about a ten-year-old boy whose face is deformed. And that’s it. There’s no huge complex plot, no far away land, magic, or fantasy creatures. This book doesn’t need any of that stuff to hook the reader, August’s voice is enough.

Auggie believes that he is just an ordinary ten-year-old kid but that’s the one thing I’d have to disagree with him on. But Auggie’s face isn’t what makes him different it’s his huge, brave, heart and big personality. Auggie is the kind of character who touches your heart and who you fiercely want to protect and want the best for. He’s such a special little guy who I think we could all learn a thing or two from.

Wonder is full of fleshed out and vibrant characters and although the majority of the book is told from August’s perspective the book is also told from several other characters point of view. Each protagonist has a unique outlook on Auggie and tells their story and how having August in their life has affected them in both good and bad ways. Before reading this book I’d never given much thought on what it would be like to know someone like August and the bullying a friend might go through for hanging out with him, or how a sibling might constantly come second to a little brother who has much greater needs than a normal child. This book is a real eye opener not only to what it might be like to be in Auggie’s shoes but also for what it’s like for those who know and love him.

R.J Palacio is such a talented writer. Not only has she created such warm and likeable characters but she writes with such honesty as well. Whilst this book is definitely sad in parts Auggie is such an inspiring, happy go lucky, funny kid and at times he’s simply a ten-year-old boy observing the world around him. Yes this book made me cry but it also made me laugh out loud too.

Wonder is a book for everybody young or old. It’s an important and special book to be shared and discussed by both adults and children. This book makes you want to be a kinder person and I can’t help but feel that if everyone were to read it the world would be a nicer place. This is one of the best books I’ve read all year and I would whole heartedly recommend it to absolutely anybody.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

In My Mailbox!

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren


The Pledge by Kimberly Derting
I actually started this one last night and I'm nearly finished! I'm absolutely loving this!

For Review

To Be a Cat by Matt Haig (ARC)
I think this is for a slightly younger audience than what I usually read but it sounds fun none the less!
Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
I squeed when I got this in the mail! Lovely shiny finished copy can't wait to get to this one soon!
Sea Hearts by Margo Lanagan (ARC)
This is from an Aussie author (Yay! For Aussie authors!) and is about selkies - that is, seals that come up out of the sea and transform into humans. But I believe it's had a name change to The Brides of Rollrock Island. Sounds good!
This is Not Forgiveness by Celia Rees (ARC)
I love the sound of this one. It sounds real and gritty and completely different to anything Celia has written before.


I love bookmarks and am somewhat of a collector of them so when I saw these bad boys I just had to snatch them up! I love The Vampire Diaries TV show and totally trust these guys to guard my book whilst I'm not reading it!

Netgalley has been my BFF this week for sure. I got accepted for so many awesome books I can't wait to start on so many of these eep! My Kindle is groaning with awesome!

Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber
Fracture by Megan Miranda (OMG!)
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi (OMG!)
Hallowed by Cynthia Hand
Incarnate by Jodi Meadows (OMG!)
Everneath by Brodi Ashton (OMG!)
Pretty Crooked by Elisa Ludwig
Crave by Melissa Darnell (OMG!)
Saving June by Hannah Harrington (OOOMMMMGGG!!!)
Touch of Power by Maria V Snyder (OOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMGGGGGGG!!!!!!) by KE Payne

This week has been fantastic for books and I'm looking forward to getting round to so many of these. For more information on any of the books featured just click on the title and the link will take you to the books Goodreads page. I have some pre-order's I'm waiting on so next IMM should be pretty awesome too! 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 week of fantastic reading ahead :-)

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Bookish News! The First Official Hunger Games Trailer and Upcoming Dystopian Releases

So here I was earlier this week casually y’know just chilling on Twitter when BAM. IT Happened. Tweets galore “Have you seen The Hunger Games trailer yet?” “Have YOU seen The Hunger Games trailer yet?” “HAVE YOU SEEN THE HUNGER GAMES TRAILER YET??!!” “Why no I haven’t!” So off I went on search on the interwebs. I found it, I clicked play, I clicked play again, repeat, repeat, repeat. I scrutinized, I observed, and after a good half hour of watching and much scrutiny I went straight back on Twitter and said “HAVE YOU SEEN THE HUNGER GAMES TRAILER YET??!!” I declared my love for it, told everyone I could to watch it, and let a little sparkle of hope dance around my heart that this was going to be one of those movies that actually lives up to the book. Then I went and re-read it.

For those who haven’t seen it yet I have thoughtfully provided it bellow for your viewing pleasure. And if you have seen it tell me what do you think?

You are most welcome!

Keeping with the dystopian theme I also have some awesome news courtesy of the lovely Lauren at Random House Children’s Books UK. Random House are bringing out some fantastic dystopian reads in 2012 and 2013 and I’m really happy to be able to share with you a sneak peak on what they’re about.

The first book coming our way is Starters by Lissa Price, an American screenwriter, publishing in April 2012, Starters is an action-packed thriller set in a world where eternal youthfulness can be had – at a price. One girl has the ability to bring it all tumbling down . . .

Hot on its tail in July 2012 will be Struck by Jenifer Bosworth which is set in a post- apocalyptic Los Angeles. After the city is devastated by an earthquake, Mia Price finds herself in the middle of a power struggle between two fanatical cults; one that wants to save the world and another that wants to destroy it.

Then for the first of our 2013 releases we have Sangu Mandanna’s debut The Lost Girl which centres around Eva, a feisty teen girl who technically has no true identity of her own. Eva is forced to abandon everything she's ever known and loved, finding herself torn between two worlds.

And finally, children’s librarian Emma Pass, releases ACID in early 2013. This action-packed novel introduces us to Jenna Strong, a truly kick-ass heroine who is serving time in an all-male prison for the murder of her parents. Set one hundred years in the future in a Big Brother style society; Britain is now under the control of ACID – a terrifying all-seeing police force.

Ruth Knowles, Commissioning Editor comments, ‘Dystopian fiction is a much-talked about genre, particularly with the release of The Hunger Games movie next spring. We have acquired some fantastic futuristic thrillers that we know will appeal to this audience, and are confident that RHCB will have some of the most exciting novels in the genre. The worlds within them are very different from each other, but all completely hook you in from the first page and do not let go.’

They all sound awesome right? I have to say my personal favourites that I’m most excited for are Starters and ACID they just sound so brilliant! But as a huge fan of dystopian books I’m sure I’m going to love all of them!

All together I’d say that we’re in for a fantastic dystopian filled year next year whether dooms day comes or not…

Friday, 18 November 2011

Review for October’s Readers Choice The Taker by Alma Katsu

The Taker by Alma Katsu
Publisher: Century
Release Date: 14th April 2011
Genre: Adult, Paranormal Romance, Historical Fiction
Rating: 4/5 stars
Source: Received from the publisher for review

Amazon Summary:

Have you ever loved someone so much that you'd do anything for them?

When Dr Luke Findley turns up to his hospital shift in the small town of St Andrews, Maine, he's expecting just another evening of minor injuries and domestic disputes. But instead, Lanore McIlvrae walks into his life - and changes it forever. For Lanny is a woman with a past...

Lanny McIlvrae is unlike anyone Luke has ever met. Hers is a story of love and betrayal that defies time and transcends mortality - and cannot end until Lanny's demons are finally put to rest. Her two hundred years on this earth have seen her seduced by both decadence and brutality - but through it all she has stayed true to the one true love of her life. Until now.

An unforgettable novel about the power of unrequited love to elevate and sustain, but also to blind and ultimately destroy, The Taker is an immortal love story on an epic scale..."

The Taker is an extraordinary and original immortal love story. What makes it stand out from others in its genre is that this is a story of unrequited love, which I thought was brilliant as I’m sure everyone knows from experience that unfortunately romantic feelings are not always returned and there isn’t always a happily ever after as a lot of paranormal romance suggests.

What first attracted me to The Taker was the books beautiful design. The gothic cover and black edged pages gives this book a compelling and dark feel that matched what’s inside perfectly. The book starts with Dr Luke Findley turning up for the night shift at the hospital where he works which brings him to meet Lanny a young and unusual woman brought in for examination after confessing to a murder. During Luke’s examination of Lanny he discovers that her injuries heal at rapid speed, that she’s been alive for 200 years and she needs Luke’s help. And so Lanny’s story begins and it’s one of danger, love, violence and dark magic that explain how she came to be standing before Luke today. Her story begins in 1809 and the book alternates between present and past making it part Supernatural Romance and part Historical Fiction.

The Taker is such a well written book that it’s impossible not to become totally immersed in it after only a few short pages. There are so many mysteries and the writing’s so dark and compelling making it a highly addictive read. Lanny’s is a story like no other and her journey and love for one man that transcends time is so fascinating to read.

This book has a recurring theme of unrequited love throughout but it’s also a story about the darker side of love and those darkest of human emotions that come along with it like jealousy and obsession and the drastic actions such feelings can lead someone to take. Lanny’s story is not a happy one. She goes through some terrible and horrific things and is by no means a perfect heroine. But there is something vulnerable and good about her despite everything and for that reason I really felt for her and wanted her to find some happiness and relief.

The only thing that I didn’t enjoy about this book is that some parts are quite brutal. The book features scenes of sexual violence, rape and paedophilia. I don’t think of myself as faint hearted but reading some parts of this book made me feel very uncomfortable so much so that at times I had to skim ahead just to get the jist of what had happened and move on. I understand completely why Katsu had to include these things into her story so we could understand exactly what these characters had been through and how the past had made them who they are today but I personally found some scenes a bit much.

Overall The Taker is a remarkable gothic romance like no other and I can hardly believe that this is Katsu’s debut. Terrifying and absorbing The Taker is a thrilling gothic romp that’s not for the faint of heart and not to be missed by those who can handle it!

Thursday, 17 November 2011

November’s Readers Choice

Readers Choice is my brand new feature where readers of the blog can vote for which book off my To-Be-Read pile they would like to see me read and review the following month. For more details check out my introduction post here.

November’s Readers Choice is Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

"How do you defy destiny?

Helen Hamilton has spent her entire sixteen years trying to hide how different she is—no easy task on an island as small and sheltered as Nantucket. And it's getting harder. Nightmares of a desperate desert journey have Helen waking parched, only to find her sheets damaged by dirt and dust. At school she's haunted by hallucinations of three women weeping tears of blood . . . and when Helen first crosses paths with Lucas Delos, she has no way of knowing they're destined to play the leading roles in a tragedy the Fates insist on repeating throughout history.

As Helen unlocks the secrets of her ancestry, she realizes that some myths are more than just legend. But even demigod powers might not be enough to defy the forces that are both drawing her and Lucas together—and trying to tear them apart."

This month’s Readers Choice is coming to you a bit late as last week I was unexpectedly busy and didn’t have time to blog at all. My review for The Taker will be up soon though and I am finally bringing to you this month’s winner! I can’t believe how close November’s vote was, Starcrossed literally won with only one extra vote with Divergent hot on its tail! Then The Sky is Everywhere came in at a very close third! It looks like all of you are huge fans of November’s nominees so I really will have to get to some of them soon!

As mentioned in last month’s post this is my last Readers Choice of the year. With it being Christmas next month and my birthday in January I’m taking a little break from this feature but rest assured that it definitely will be returning in February because I really enjoy doing it! I’m basically going to be getting the blog ready for the year ahead so I’m taking a break from some of my regular features to be able to fit in some Christmas and end of year things! So there is no vote this time round that will return in Feb but as usual I will read and review Starcrossed this month and who knows hopefully you may see some reviews of some of the other nominees before the new vote comes along! From some of the comments you guys left you’ve definitely made me want to check out a few of these ASAP!

So that’s all from me, keep your eyes peeled for reviews for both The Taker and Starcrossed coming soon and I will be back with some new exciting titles for you to choose from in the New Year :).

Monday, 7 November 2011

Review for Frost by Marianna Baer

Frost by Marianna Baer
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Release Date: September 13th 2011
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller
Rating: 4/5 stars
Source: Bought

Goodreads Summary:
"Leena Thomas’s senior year at boarding school begins with a shock: Frost House, her cozy dorm of close friends, has been assigned an unexpected roommate: confrontational, eccentric Celeste Lazar. But while Leena’s anxiety about a threat to her sanctuary proves valid, it becomes less and less clear whether the threat lies with her new roommate, within Leena’s own mind, or within the very nature of Frost House itself. Mysterious happenings in the dorm, an intense triangle between Leena, Celeste, and Celeste’s brother, and the reawakening of childhood fears, all push Leena to take increasingly desperate measures to feel safe. Frost is the story of a haunting. As to whether the demons are supernatural or psychological...well, which answer would let you sleep at night?"

What appealed to me most about Frost is how it’s quoted on the back of the book as being a “twenty-first-century spin on the usual gothic ghost story.” It’s true that a lot of ghost stories are told from a historical time period and so I was looking forward to reading something new and unique with Frost.

Frost begins with a group of friends retuning to boarding school for senior year all psyched to have bagged Frost House as their dorm, a cosy Victorian house secluded from the rest of the school. Leena falls in love with the big old house straight away and has high hopes for senior year and turning the house into a home. But things immediately start to take a turn for the worst when the friends are assigned an unexpected roommate- intense and eccentric Celeste Lazar. Soon enough strange and disturbing things start happening in Frost House. A series of malicious and sick events reveal that something or someone wants Celeste out and Leena to stay forever. But what’s behind these strange events? Is it a haunting? An increasingly disturbed mind? Or something else entirely? Those are the questions that race through the readers mind whilst reading this book.

What I loved most about Frost was how original the haunting itself was. Instead of the usual threats and scares Leena is made to feel strangely safe in Frost House whilst everything else in her life falls apart. The house reminded me of a possessive boyfriend alienating everyone and everything Leena loves until it’s just her and the house left. In some ways I found that even scarier than your typical haunting with Leena lulled into a false sense of security whilst what’s happening in the house destroys her friendships and her sanity. That being said Celeste- Leena’s damaged roommate- witnesses a very different kind of haunting with pictures thrown off walls and mysterious burns and bruises appearing on her body. The two opposite hauntings made for some very scary reading and added to the overall mystery of what was really going on in that house.

The only thing that I didn’t enjoy about the book was the romance. David- Leena’s love interest- is very much a suspect during this book, that along with his strange relationship with his sister Celeste, meant that I just couldn’t trust or like him. However I didn’t pick this book up for an epic romance I picked it up to be scared so that didn’t bother me too much. I also give props to Marianna Baer for indulging us in some sexy times! Marianna doesn’t shy away from some hot and heavy moments something I always respect when it comes to Young Adult books.

Frost is the kind of book that does exactly what it says on the tin. You go into this expecting an intense and creepy thriller and that’s exactly what you get. Frost kept me up late at night racing through its pages trying to get some answers. And it finished in a way that tied everything up but also leaves you to interpret what you think happened in that house too. Overall Marianna Baer has created a fantastic contemporary debut thriller and I’m looking forward to seeing what she comes up with next.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

The Return of In My Mailbox!

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren

Those of you who follow the blog will know that I’ve taken an IMM hiatus over the past few months whilst I was having computer problems. But now that I have a new laptop and it’s a new month I’m so excited to be bringing back to you In My Mailbox which you can now expect again regularly. I was going to do a huge catch up post with all of the book I received when I was away ( I got some really awesome ones) but it would literally be a monster post, pages and pages. And so instead I thought I’d just start a fresh with the books I got this week. You can also expect some possible IMM Vlogs in the future I just need to sort out the technicalities! But for now I bring to you this week’s books!

Tempest by Julie Cross (ARC copy out 5th January 2012 in UK)
This one sounds so good! It sounds a bit like a Time Traveller’s Wife for teens and the finished cover is gorgeous if you haven’t seen it yet click on the title and the link will take you to the books goodreads page where you’ll be able to see for yourself!
Crossed by Ally Condie
This one’s out in a couple of weeks and I feel so lucky to have a finished copy already! I loved Matched so I’m looking forward to seeing the story continue in Crossed.
Wonder by R.J Palacio (ARC copy out March 2012 in UK)
I think this proofs cover is really funky and to be honest I like it better than the finished copy! I actually finished this one last night and WOW. There are no words. This one is about a brave and wonderful boy named August who has a deformed face. Review for this amazing book will be coming soon!
Last Christmas by Julia Williams
Yay for Christmas books! I love chick-lit Christmas stories and this one sounds fab. The lovely Amanda at One More Page actually sent me this one for review as I will be taking part in her exciting Count Down to Christmas.

I didn’t buy any books this week so all books featured where sent to me for reviewing purposes. For more information on any of the books featured just click on the title and the link will take you to the books goodreads page. Big thank you’s to all the lovely people who sent me books this week. 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 week of fantastic reading ahead :-)

Friday, 4 November 2011

Book of the Month! Featuring Scares, God and Autumn…

Welcome to October's book of the month and monthly round up! This is a feature to sum up for you my reading and recommendations for the past month and to share with you the exciting things that have been going on on the blog and books I’m looking forward to in the following month.

October's BotM is...Angel Fire by L.A Weatherly!

This month’s favourite read was so easy to choose. Angel Fire was a stunning sequel that I absolutely loved. I’m not usually a big fan of huge books I can find them a bit intimidating as I can get bored pretty quickly of the same story but despite Angel Fire coming in at over 700 pages I couldn’t get enough! This book has fab characters and a swoonworthy male lead definitely a series to check out if you haven’t already. You can find my review for the first book Angel here and Angel Fire its sequel here.

Best Plot: Angel Fire by L.A Weatherly
Best Writing: The Taker by Alma Katsu
Best Cover: Sweetly by Jackson Pearce
Best Characters: Angel Fire by L.A Weatherly
Best Ending: Angel Fire by L.A Weatherly
Best Romance: Angel Fire by L.A Weatherly
Most un-put-down-able: Frost by Marianna Baer
Most Memorable: The Taker by Alma Katsu
Best Moral: An Autumn Crush by Milly Johnson

Books read this month
63.) Angel Fire by L.A Weatherly (5*)
64.) An Autumn Crush by Milly Johnson (4*)
65.) There is No Dog by Meg Rosoff (2.5*)
66.) Sweetly by Jackson Pearce (4.5*)
67.) Frost by Marianna Baer (4*)
68.) The Taker by Alma Katsu (4*)

Top 3 Most Recommended Books: Angel Fire, Sweetly, An Autumn Crush

Bookish Highlights of the month
I got my winning streak back on this month and won 3 fab giveaways for 3 signed books including Angel Fire, Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick and Who's Afraid of Mr Wolfe? by Hazel Osmond. I also hosted a fab giveaway myself for my favourite book of the year so far Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I also had L.A Weatherly herself stop by the blog for the Angel Fire blog tour which was amazing and I done a really fun Halloween reading recommendations post which I really enjoyed putting together.

Bookish Lows of the month
None :) Oh except I would have liked to of read a few more books I could have read more than just 6!

Book’s I’m looking forward to in November
November is the month for dystopian and Christmas releases and there are so many that I’m excited for. Dystopian wise- Crossed by Ally Condie, Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi and The Pledge by Kimberly Derting. Christmas book wise- Any Dream Will Do by Maria Duffy, The Secret of Happy Ever After by Lucy Dillon and It Started With A Kiss by Miranda Dickinson. I’m also really looking forward to The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler as I’m sure is everybody! ( All links lead to the books goodreads page)

So there you have it my October reading summed up for you guys. Have you read any of the books I’ve read this month? What were your thoughts on them? Leave me a comment and let me know and don’t forget to treat yourselves to Angel Fire – You won’t regret it! Here’s to another month of fab reading ahead and finally making a start on my Christmas To-Be-Read pile!

Monday, 31 October 2011

Review for Sweetly by Jackson Pearce

Sweetly by Jackson Pearce
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Release Date: 6th October 2011
Genre: Young Adult, Fairy-tale Re-telling, Paranormal Romance
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Source: Received from the publisher for review

Amazon Summary:
"As a child, Gretchen's twin sister was taken by a witch-like monster in the woods. Ever since, Gretchen and her brother, Ansel, have felt the long branches of the witch's forest threatening to make them disappear, too. When their stepmother casts Gretchen and Ansel out as teens, they stumble upon a sleepy Southern town and are invited to stay with Sophia Kelly at her sweet shop. Sophia moulds candied magic: coveted treats that inspire confidence, bravery, and passion. Life seems idyllic and Gretchen and Ansel finally start to forget their haunted past - until Gretchen meets handsome local outcast Samuel, who gives Gretchen a reason to fear Sophia: girls have been vanishing at Sophia's annual chocolate festival, taken by the insatiable 'witch' of Gretchen's nightmares. Can Gretchen save herself, the girls of Live Oak, and Sophia? Of one thing, Gretchen is certain: a monster is coming, and it will never go away hungry."

I’ve been pining for Sweetly ever since I first heard about it, what with THAT cover and THAT synopsis, that the story of Hansel and Gretel has to be one of my favourite fairy tales, and that Jackson Pearce and the first book in this series Sisters Red are made of awesome. With Halloween approaching I thought “A story about witches and candy? This has got to be the most perfect Halloween read!” and now that I’ve finished this book I’m happy to say I was right!

What I love most about Jackson’s books is that she strips fairy tales of their princesses, princes and happily ever afters and gives us a dark, gritty, fairy tale the way they were told in the good old days. And even though she stays true to the originals roots and the story’s morals she also makes them completely her own and brings something fresh and modern to the table so that every time I pick up one of her books it’s like I’ve never heard the story before. Think you know the Hansel and Gretel story? Think again.

Although the book is about brother and sister Ansel and Gretchen, Sweetly is told strictly from Gretchen’s point of view and I immediately connected with her as our heroine. Twelve years before the main story starts Gretchen loses her twin sister in the forest surrounding their home to a witch. Not only is she traumatized after being in such a situation but she and Ansel are also silently blamed by their mother and father for losing their sister. Gretchen hides behind books and other people’s stories to escape from her own life and the guilt she feels at being the surviving sister. I loved Gretchen so much and found her to be such an inspiring heroine as throughout the book she grows stronger and becomes so much more than that scared little girl we meet at the beginning. Gretchen’s a fantastic role model when it comes to facing your fears and I loved following her journey.

Sweetly is only a companion novel to Sisters Red but regardless I thought the stories tied together very nicely developing the world further for a possible sequel or second companion novel. Above all I was most impressed with Sweetly’s plot and the many twists and turns that Jackson throws at us. I loved the mystery surrounding Sophia and I felt so many things towards her whilst reading, sometimes I loved her, sometimes I hated her, something I felt sorry for her and sometimes I was even scared of her- that’s a lot of feelings for just one character! The mystery of the missing girls and the strange compulsion of the chocolatier made for a deliciously creepy read that suited my Halloween mood perfectly.

I was completely surprised by this books ending. I was gripped to this book from the start but the last half of the book I absolutely raced through I was so desperate for answers to the many mysteries and they didn’t disappoint! The only thing that made this book less than perfect for me - if I’m being picky - was the romance. I would have liked just a little more chemistry between Gretchen and Samuel but that aside I really can’t fault it. Sweetly is a delicious treat and probably the best fairy tale re-telling that I’ve read. Highly recommended.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Review for There is No Dog by Meg Rosoff

There is No Dog by Meg Rosoff
Publisher: Puffin
Release Date: 4th August 2011
Genre: Young Adult, Religion, Comedy
Rating: 2.5/5 stars
Source: Received as part of UK Book Tours

Amazon Summary:
"In the beginning there was Bob.
And Bob created the heavens and the earth
and the beasts of the field
and the creatures of the sea,
and twenty-five million other species
including lots and lots of gorgeous girls.
And all of this, he created in just six days.
Six days!
Congratulations, Bob!
No wonder Earth is such a mess.

Imagine that God is a typical teenage boy. He is lazy, careless, self-obsessed, sex-mad - and about to meet Lucy, the most beautiful girl on earth.

Unfortunately, whenever Bob falls in love, disaster follows.

Let us pray that Bob does not fall in love with Lucy."

I originally wanted to read this book for my British Books Challenge with Meg Rosoff being an award winning British writer. Despite a lot of critical acclaim from the press I know a lot of people who either love or hate her books so with There is No Dog being my first book by Rosoff I was interested to see which category I would fall under and now that I’ve finished reading it I have to say I’m split firmly down the middle.

There is no doubt about the genius behind this book even from the synopsis – god turning out to be a teenage boy, of course! Brilliant! Now it all makes sense! And throughout the book Rosoff continues to explore the meaning of life through the eyes of several characters. The last of an extinct creature who knows he is soon going to die. A goddess who has the gift of immortality and how that brings her to lead an “invincible” lifestyle of excessive drinking and gambling. And, most interestingly of all for me, a vicar who throughout this book witnesses first hand a less than perfect God and has to personally deal with the fall out of Bob’s actions. The genius and thought put into this book were incredibly well thought out and thought provoking. I enjoyed that even though this book is essentially a story about religion at no point did it ever feel preachy so props have to go to Meg for that.

Now on to my dislikes. From the back of the book I expected this to be a rather humorous account through the eyes of a teenage god and whilst in some parts that was the case I couldn’t help wanting more from that side of the story. I wanted more about the thought process that went into Bob creating the world and more funny mishaps as Bob try’s to date a human girl. Unfortunately because there were so many other characters these things were only touched upon which I found disappointing. I also found Bob’s character to be quite patronizing and very stereotypical of a teenage boy with Bob only caring about himself and his latest conquest with no real thought process to back it up.

Overall I have very mixed feelings over There is No Dog. Some parts of this story were down right bizarre and for that reason I’m not sure if it will be everybody’s cup of tea. I can certainly see what Meg Rosoff was trying to achieve with this book but don’t think it was executed as well as it could have been. For me this book is a bit of a risk taker, I think most people will either love it or hate it. This book wasn’t really for me but I did enjoy it to some extent and for that reason don’t regret giving this book, something completely out of my comfort zone, a go.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Angel Fire Blog Tour! Hot, Young Things; Casting the Characters for Angel Fire

It gives me great pleasure to be welcoming to the blog today L.A Weatherly author of the fabulous Angel trilogy! Now if you’re a fan of the books then you’ve probably got some ideas about who would be your perfect actors and actresses to play the characters if this series was ever adapted to the big screen. So when I was offered to take part in this tour and to do a post about who Lee’s dream cast would be I couldn’t resist! So without further ado I bring to you Hot Young Things and welcome the author herself to talk about her fantasy dream team…

L.A. Weatherly’s Fantasy Film Picks for Angel Fire


Some of you already know of my love for Sean Faris as a potential Alex! But if Sean isn’t available, how about Asher Book (Fame)? Alex faces many challenges in Angel Fire – from being a leader to dealing with Willow’s growing relationship with Seb – and Asher has just the right look of gorgeous edginess to really encompass all of that. Like Sean, he’d have to wear contacts for Alex’s blue-grey eyes. I can live with that.


My pick for Willow is still Amanda Seyfried (Mamma Mia!, Red Riding Hood). In Angel Fire, Willow has to deal not only with her confusing feelings towards Seb, but also with the suspicions of an entire team. Amanda’s slightly offbeat beauty is perfect for Willow, and I think she’d do a brilliant job of portraying the depth of everything Willow goes through.


My Twitter followers will know that I’ve been talking about New Boy a lot – well, here he is. Eighteen-year old Sebastián Carrera is a Mexican of Italian descent, with lightly-curling brown hair, hazel eyes, and a stubbled jaw. He’s also half-angel…and has been searching for Willow his entire life. Gorgeous Mexican actor Diego Boneta (90210, Pretty Little Liars) will fit Seb to a ‘T’, once we steal his razor. Sigh. Between Alex and Seb, I think Willow’s a very lucky girl!


Kara Mendez is an exotically beautiful Angel Killer with nerves of steel, whom Alex knew back at the camp in New Mexico. Kara’s half-black and half-Mexican, with high cheekbones and extremely short hair...and, now that Alex is older, her feelings for him might not just be friendship anymore. The beautiful Kerry Washington (The Last King of Scotland) would be ideal – we’ll just have to get her to cut her hair!

Thanks Lee! *fans self* Wow that’s a whole lot of hot for one post don’t ya think? I think all of these actors and actresses would be PERFECT for our favourite characters but my personal favourite pick would have to be for Willow, I think Amanda has the perfect look and would be fantastic! And Seb -wow new boy is hot! *regains composure* Okayyyy so for more on my thoughts on this series you can check out my review for Angel here and Angel Fire here. And make sure you stop by Excellent Reads on Monday 31st October for the final stop on the Angel Fire blog tour which will host a Q&A with L.A Weatherly.

What do you think of Lee’s picks? Who are your fantasy cast? I’d love to know!

Monday, 24 October 2011

Review for Angel Fire by L.A Weatherly

Angel Fire by L.A Weatherly
Publisher: Usborne
Release Date: 1st October 2011
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance, Angels
Rating: 5/5 stars
Source: Received from the publisher for review

Amazon Summary:
"Only Willow has the power to defeat the malevolent Church of Angels, and they will stop at nothing to destroy her. Willow isn't alone, though. She has Alex by her side a trained Angel Killer and her one true love. But nothing can change the fact that Willow's a half-angel, and when Alex joins forces with a group of AKs, she's treated with mistrust and suspicion. She's never felt more alone...until she meets Seb. He's been searching for Willow his whole life because Seb is a half-angel too."

Last year I fell in love with Alex, Willow, their romance, and Angel as a whole. Since then I’ve been pinning away for Angel Fire this second book in the series. Angel set the standard pretty high and I was expecting Angel Fire to live up to that but what I didn’t expect was to be blown away even more than I was with Angel and I totally was.

L.A Weatherly takes everything fans loved about Angel and develops it more with this book. Straight away you’re thrown back into the action right where Angel left off and are quickly immersed back into this amazing world. Angel Fire is very much an evolvement of Angel with the books roots being the same but with Weatherly adding more plot, more twists and obstacles for Alex and Willow to overcome, and some brand new characters to get to know and love. And this leads me very nicely on to talk about Seb. Oh god where to start with Seb? Seb is both a new character and obstacle that threatens Alex and Willows relationship. Considering how much I love Alex straight off the bat knowing Seb’s going to come between one of my favourite couples should make me hate him right? And as much as I thought I would I couldn’t, in fact I loved him. Seb makes this plot so much more fascinating and developed with him being another half angel and I loved what that meant for Willow and learning more about her abilities. On top of Seb being a beautiful half angel, he’s also a hot, fiery Mexican bad boy who has a tragic past and is the sensitive, bookish type. Seb is my kind of guy and I think his character brought so much more to the story and took it to another level.

One thing that really stood out to me was L.A Weatherly’s ability to make you feel compassion for all of the characters. Despite a lot of arguments between Seb, Alex and Willow I could always see things from every characters point of view making it impossible for me to dislike any of them or take sides. With love triangle’s I’m usually really quick to decide which team I’m on and who I like and dislike but with this triangle I love all three of them so much that I just wanted them all to be happy. Although ultimately I’m still firmly team Alex and Willow I would still like to see Seb find love and happiness and therefore think that Lee should write me into the last book!

The plot is another aspect of the book that’s more developed with the after effects of the arrival of the second wave of angels and the introduction of The Twelve- the angel’s council. Despite this book being huge coming in at 709 pages I never got bored or felt like anything was dragging on longer than needs be. There was so much action, romance and suspense and I loved every single page. The climax to this book is huge and despite just spending over 700 pages in this world I wish that the next and final book to the trilogy Angel Fever was out now. Things literally exploded in this book and I’m so curious to see where L.A Weatherly takes us next with that ending. Overall Angel Fire is an un-miss-able sequel that I loved even more than its predecessor.

I’m taking part in the UK Angel Fire blog tour! Stop by the blog on Wednesday 26th October for an exclusive post with L.A Weatherly where she will be selecting her dream fantasy cast for an Angel Fire movie!
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