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!

Friday, 21 October 2011

Scary, Spooky and Supernatural – Jess’s top pick’s for Halloween! (YA Edition)

Last year I done a post like this and it was really well received, in fact it’s one of the most viewed posts on my blog! So seems as everyone seemed to enjoy it so much I decided to do another post this year recommending those perfect Halloween reads but this time as a Young Adult edition. Because of this the books aren’t going to be as scary as say a Stephen King book like I picked last year but being a mainly Young Adult book blog I really wanted to focus on that genre this time especially because there are so many fantastic reads to choose from that fit the Halloween period perfectly! Like last year I’m bringing back the Fear Factor scale to help you find the book that has the right level of terror for you! All of these Halloween picks have been read by me and come highly recommended, only the best of the best for my readers!

Fear Factor
S-cream your pants scary! – Is someone behind me? What’s that noise? Sleeping with the lights on scary.
Terror-ific! – Oooh okay this is some scary stuff I…oh wait is that candy? mediocre scares.
Spook-tastic! - Oh man I wish my Halloween had as much spooky fun as this! Mild Halloween reading for those easily scared.

The Long Weekend by Savita Kalhan
This is probably the scariest YA book that I’ve read. The Long Weekend is the story of two friends who get kidnapped and taken to a huge house far out in the middle of nowhere. What makes this so scary is the reality that these things happen in real life. An edge of your seat thriller.
Fear Factor = S-cream your pants scary!

The Lying Game by Sara Shepard
Don’t be fooled by this book’s pretty, girly, cover! This is the ultimate girly Halloween read centered around a group of the meanest girls. But are they capable of murder? This one had me looking over my shoulder!
Fear Factor = S-cream your pants scary!

Soul Beach by Kate Harrison
Another one not to be judged by its cover! This one’s about a social website for the dead that seems to have our main character Alice strangely addicted after receiving an email to visit there to talk to her recently murdered sister. With parts told from the killer’s point of view this is an original and chilling thriller.
Fear Factor = S-cream your pants scary!

Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton
Blood Magic is such an eerie gothic read that’s jam packed with creepy atmospheric scenes. This is a totally original paranormal romance full of dark magic and murder. I loved this book and think it would make a fantastic Halloween read for paranormal lovers!
Fear Factor = S-cream your pants scary!

The Maze Runner by James Dashner
This dystopian book is such a thrill ride of a read and up there as one of my favourite dystopians. This has lots of death and scares in this frightenly believable future perfect for fans of The Hunger Games.
Fear Factor = Terror-ific!

The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
This is the perfect paranormal read for Halloween as its chock full of several different paranormal creatures. These kids aren’t your typical supernatural’s though, genetically engineered and super powerful their creator’s feel like they’ve made a mistake a mistake that can only be resolved by death…
Fear Factor = Terror-ific!

Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon
This is a completely original, gothic, supernatural read with a whole new take on a brand new supernatural creature. This book is set in a gothic boarding school that studies the dead language of Latin amongst other strange things. A captivating gothic love story.
Fear Factor = Terror-ific!

Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey
Haunting Violet is the perfect historical ghost story. Violet’s never believed in ghosts after spending her life working for her fraudulent medium mother but with a murder mystery going on, and the murdered girl in question haunting her Violet will have to start believing in ghosts because they believe in her.
Fear Factor = Terror-ific!

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
This book is definitely a more fun Halloween read what with loveable and girly heroine Evie. Don’t be fooled by Evie’s girly exterior and pink Taser though this girl can seriously kick some ass and has to as it’s her job to keep the paranormal creatures in line and protect humans but with her unique powers which category fits Evie? Human or supernatural?
Fear Factor = Spook-tastic!

Velvet by Mary Hooper
Velvet is a gorgeous historical ghost story set in the Victorian/Edwardian period when spiritualism was at its peak. This is a fascinating read that takes an in depth look into the medium and spiritual craze, are the ghostly encounters Velvet is witnessing fake? Or the real deal?
Fear Factor = Spook-tastic!

To find out more about any of these books click on the title and the link will take you to the books page on goodreads for a synopsis, reviews, and more information.

So there you have it my recommended Halloween reading! I hope some of you decide to check these out for some spooky reading and whatever you’re doing this Halloween- whether it’s trying to hunt down a hot vampire for the night, or snuggling up with lots of goodies, some films and a book I hope you all have a great time enjoying the most paranormal night of the year!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Review for An Autumn Crush by Milly Johnson

An Autumn Crush by Milly Johnson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: 29th September 2011
Genre: Chick-lit, Romance, Seasonal Reads, Autumn, Adult Fiction.
Rating: 4/5 stars
Source: Bought

Amazon Summary:
"After a bruising divorce, headstrong Juliet Miller invests in a flat and advertises for a flatmate, little believing that in her mid-thirties she'll find anyone suitable. But along comes self-employed copywriter Floz, raw from her own relationship split, and the two woman hit it off. When Juliet's twin brother Guy meets Floz, he is overcome with a massive crush. But being a shy, gentle giant, he communicates so clumsily with her as to give her the opposite impression. Guy's best friend Steve has always had a secret, unrequited crush on Juliet. After a night of too much wine, Steve and Juliet end up in bed, after moaning about the lack of sex in their lives. Convinced that Juliet doesn't feel the same way, Steve agrees to a 'just-sex' relationship, until they can both hook their dream partners. Just when Guy has finally plucked up the courage to tell Floz how he feels, he finds she has rekindled an old romance. Floz has never had much love in her life and is obviously thirsty for affection. She loves the whole Miller family, from Juliet and Guy's warm, loving parents, to their ancient one-eyed black cat. But can Guy turn Floz's affection for his family into something more - into love for him? Then Juliet makes a series of discoveries which will turn the lives of all four friends upside-down and turns that Autumn into a season where love can be harvested."

An Autumn Crush is a complete breath of fresh air in the chick-lit genre. My bookshelves are groaning with summer reads, and cosy Christmas stories yet An Autumn Crush is my first book that celebrates the beauty of the season. I think autumn is by far our most beautiful season with the warm, golden tones of the leaves, the dazzling fireworks and sparklers and there’s that woody, cinnamoney smell in the air. Some days are beautiful with the last sunshine of summer and some crisp and fresh with the promise of winter. I absolutely love this time of year and enjoyed snuggling down as the early nights drew in with this book that really captures the beauty of the season.

An Autumn Crush is such a lovely read and completely heart-warming. The story centers around loveable divorcee Juliet, her gentle giant of a twin brother Guy, Steve- Guy’s best friend, and latest addition to the group Floz Juliet’s new flatmate. As you can imagine the foursome get thrown together quite a lot! But even though Juliet and Steve, and Guy and Floz are perfect for each other- something any reader can see from the start!- the boy’s huge crushes on the girls lead to many a mishap and clumsy misunderstandings making them less than desirable to Floz and Juliet! I really loved all four of our main characters but Steve and Guy really stood out to me which was a nice change for a chick-lit novel. They were both total sweethearts and I became so endeared towards them as they tried and failed to impress the girls. Each character in this book has had a really tough time of it each with a less than perfect past and so I really wanted the best for them and for them to find a bit of happiness- especially with each other!

As well as the fun and vibrant foursome there are some really fantastic secondary characters in particular Juliet and Guy’s parents and Juliet’s gay best friend Coco. The book also tackles some difficult themes such as alcoholism and mental illness but that is also counterbalanced with some very funny and heart-warming moments and doesn’t take away from this books ultimately uplifting feel.

An Autumn Crush is my favourite book that I’ve read by Milly Johnson so far. Although this book is ultimately a romance it also has strong themes of parenting, family and friendship too. The book is written like a dream with some gorgeous Autumnal imagery. An Autumn Crush was an absolute joy to read and the perfect book to celebrate the season with.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Review for Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Publisher: Dutton
Release Date: September 29th 2011
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Books Made of Awesome
Rating: 5/5 stars
Source: Bought

Goodreads Summary:
"Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket -- a gifted inventor -- steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door."

Stephanie Perkins. Wow. This lady and her books blow my mind. Stephanie Perkins doesn’t just write a book, she creates actual magic. Seriously it’s like she has a check list of all the things that would make THE perfect book throws them all in a pot, adds her secret Stephanie sparkle and ta da! Result the kind of books girls could only ever dream about- until now.

Last year I was blown away by Stephanie’s debut Anna and the French Kiss. I thought never could there be a more perfect contemporary read and then along came Lola in her combat boots and Marie Antoinette dress. Guys I LOVED it, and I heart it so much harder than Anna. I knew I was going to love this book but no way did I expect it to surpass my affections for Anna and the smart arse but oh so sexy St Clair but it totally did you wanna know why? Two words, Cricket Bell.

So let me just talk to you guys about Cricket. I love him. I love him so much that every time I walk past this book on my bookshelf I have to pick it up and hug it. You can all keep your Etienne St Clair because Cricket is MINE. Seriously I know I’m totally fan girling right now but Cricket is SUCH a good guy. The nicest guy you’ll ever read about. You know in all of those books where the hot sexy guy gets the girl and the sweet best friend who’s loved her forever goes home with his tail between his legs? Well this book is about the nice guy, the kind of guy your parents would want you to date, coming first for once and doing it for the good guys! *Fist pumps for the good guys.* I loved that about this book and I don’t just want my own Cricket I want Cricket, period.

Lola and the Boy Next Door has the sweetest love story. It’s the story of two best friends falling in love. It’s about the guy you grew up with who knows everything about you good and bad and wants to take you out anyway. It’s about that guy who sees you dancing around your room in your PJ’s with no make-up on and flat hair and loves that version of you best. Lola and Crickets story has this innocence and pureness to it that I loved so much more than Anna and St Clair’s story and whilst this book features them as secondary characters after a while I was like “Anna who? Go back to Lola and Cricket I want more of them!”

I loved Lola and I loved Cricket, I loved the writing, the plot, basically everything about this book. Every page was perfect and I couldn’t get enough. I actually read the last few chapters with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat and when I read the last sentence (the most perfect and romantic sentence in history!) I just burst into tears and cried over it and thought about it forever. But I wasn’t crying because I was sad. This book made me so happy that I cried great big happy tears. I mean can I get any clearer than that about how much I loved this book? Lola and the Boy Next Door is a special, special story and whilst I’m excited for the next and last companion novel to Anna and Lola, Isla and the Happily Ever After I kind of just want it to be called Lola, Cricket and the Happily Ever After and to read book after book about them forever. Stephanie Perkins please would you fuel my addiction? But in the meantime whilst I’m waiting for my bookish fantasies to come true I’ll be re-reading Lola and the Boy Next Door over and over and will be raving about it like a fan girl to everyone I meet. This book has brought out my crazy book nerd you have been warned.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Review for Soul Beach by Kate Harrison

Soul Beach by Kate Harrison
Publisher: Indigo
Release Date: 1st September 2011
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Source: Received from the publisher for review

Goodreads Summary:
"When Alice Forster receives an email from her dead sister she assumes it must be a sick practical joke. Then an invitation arrives to the virtual world of Soul Beach, an idyllic online paradise of sun, sea and sand where Alice can finally talk to her sister again - and discover a new world of friendships, secrets and maybe even love . . . . But why is Soul Beach only inhabited by the young, the beautiful and the dead? Who really murdered Megan Forster? And could Alice be next?"

As soon as I heard about Soul Beach I just knew it would be a book that I was going to love. This year I’ve quickly become a big fan of the young adult thriller trend and Soul Beach is up there as one of my favourites from this genre.

The book is told from sixteen year old Alice’s point of view but every so often between chapters there are a few paragraphs told from the killer’s perspective. The book actually starts off with the murderer narrating which I thought was fantastic as it jumps straight into the mystery. Right from the very first chapter you’re spooked and I was sucked into this book right away.

Soul Beach has several mysteries to it. What is Soul Beach? Who created it? Is Megan really dead? And if so who killed her and why? Will Alice be next? The book is chock full of suspense and I had no idea where this book was going or what was really going on. Soul Beach has an addictive, unique plot and I was so caught up in the story that I could hardly put it down. I couldn’t even bare to go online whilst I was reading this I was that creeped out by the seemingly perfect “paradise” of the dead online beach that at times seemed to have Alice strangely addicted.

This is the kind of book where I don’t want to go into anything too much as its important with books like this not to give too much away but I will say that I loved the end of this book. I felt that Kate Harrison gives you just enough to feel like the book has a proper ending but in a way that still leaves things open for the next two books in the trilogy. It’s also one of those clever endings that resolves some of your original questions but also opens up lots of new possibilities and leaves you with new ones in their place.

Overall I thought that Soul Beach was a unique and welcome addition to the young adult thriller genre. I didn’t want this book to end and when it did I started immediately pining for book two. If you’re looking for an original, modern day, teen thriller that will make you see social networking in a whole new light then Soul Beach is a must read!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

October's Readers Choice and November Vote!

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.

October's Readers Choice is The Taker by Alma Katsu

"True love can last an eternity...but immortality comes at a price...

On the midnight shift at a hospital in rural Maine, Dr. Luke Findley is expecting another quiet evening of frostbite and the occasional domestic dispute. But the minute Lanore McIlvrae—Lanny—walks into his ER, she changes his life forever. A mysterious woman with a past and plenty of dark secrets, Lanny is unlike anyone Luke has ever met. He is inexplicably drawn to her . . . despite the fact that she is a murder suspect with a police escort. And as she begins to tell her story, a story of enduring love and consummate betrayal that transcends time and mortality, Luke finds himself utterly captivated.

Her impassioned account begins at the turn of the nineteenth century in the same small town of St. Andrew, Maine, back when it was a Puritan settlement. Consumed as a child by her love for the son of the town’s founder, Lanny will do anything to be with him forever. But the price she pays is steep—an immortal bond that chains her to a terrible fate for all eternity. And now, two centuries later, the key to her healing and her salvation lies with Dr. Luke Findley."

The Taker was a firm favourite in last month’s vote and stormed ahead as your winner. I think this sounds like a fantastic read for the Halloween period and something very different and unusual as well! I’m really looking forward to tucking into this gothic tale and will have it read and reviewed for you soon! As always thank you to everybody who voted if your choice didn’t win this time check out this month’s nominees and have your say for next month!

November will sadly be my last Readers Choice for this year with the month after being Christmas and New Year and the month after that my birthday month I’m taking a little break with this feature but it will be making its return in February! I really love doing Readers Choice but will be taking a more relaxed approach to blogging during December and January to be able to have some well-earned chill time with my family. Keeping that in mind my theme for Novembers Readers Choice is Book’s I’ve Been Dying to Read but Just Haven’t Got Around to Yet. This month’s nominees are all books that I’m so desperate to read and with the end of the year creeping up on us I can’t believe I still haven’t gotten around to them! So what do you think? Which book do I HAVE to have read by the end of this year? This month is full of popular choices so I think it will be a close one! Voting’s open to anyone and everyone whether you’re a follower or not and you can vote once for any reason you like whether you’re interested in the book and want me to review it, loved it and want me to check it out, or simply think it sounds like the best of the bunch! All votes are very much appreciated so thank you to everyone who takes the time to fill out the form!

Novembers Readers Choice Nominees: Book’s I’ve Been Dying to Read but Just Haven’t Got Around to Yet!
Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything- including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

Divergent by Veronica Roth
Beatrice "Tris" Prior has reached the fateful age of sixteen, the stage at which teenagers in Veronica Roth's dystopian Chicago must select which of five factions to join for life. Each faction represents a virtue: Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, and Erudite. To the surprise of herself and her selfless Abnegation family, she chooses Dauntless, the path of courage. Her choice exposes her to the demanding, violent initiation rites of this group, but it also threatens to expose a personal secret that could place in mortal danger. Veronica Roth's young adult Divergent trilogy launches with a captivating adventure about love and loyalty playing out under most extreme circumstances.

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.

Rosebush by Michele Jaffe
Instead of celebrating Memorial Day weekend on the Jersey Shore, Jane is in the hospital surrounded by teddy bears, trying to piece together what happened last night. One minute she was at a party, wearing fairy wings and cuddling with her boyfriend. The next, she was lying near-dead in a rosebush after a hit-and-run.

Everyone believes it was an accident, despite the phone threats Jane swears were real. But the truth is a thorny thing. As Jane's boyfriend, friends, and admirers come to visit, more memories surface-not just from the party, but from deeper in her past . . . including the night her best friend Bonnie died.

With nearly everyone in her life a suspect now, Jane must unravel the mystery before her killer attacks again. Along the way, she's forced to examine the consequences of her life choices in this compulsively readable thriller

The Demon Trappers: Forsaken by Jana Oliver
Riley has always wanted to be a Demon Trapper like her father, and she's already following in his footsteps as one of the best. But it's tough being the only girl in an all-guy world, especially when three of those guys start making her life more complicated: Simon, the angelic apprentice who has heaven on his side; Beck, the tough trapper who thinks he's God's gift, and Ori, the strikingly sexy stranger who keeps turning up to save her ass.

One thing’s for sure – if she doesn’t keep her wits about her there’ll be hell to pay...

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker, bookworm and band geek, plays second clarinet and spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulted to center stage of her own life - and, despite her nonexistent history with boys, suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two. Toby was Bailey's boyfriend; his grief mirrors Lennie's own. Joe is the new boy in town, a transplant from Paris whose nearly magical grin is matched only by his musical talent. For Lennie, they're the sun and the moon; one boy takes her out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it. But just like their celestial counterparts, they can't collide without the whole wide world exploding.

This vote is now closed check out the results here!

Winner of Daughter of Smoke and Bone Announcement!

and the winner is as selected by Random.Org...

The Library Owl

Congratulations to the winner! I hope you love this book as much as I did. I'll be sending an email to you shortly to confirm your win please reply within the week so I can get your book sent out to you.

Big thank you's to everybody who entered!

Happy reading till next time!

Monday, 10 October 2011

Review for September’s Readers Choice Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore

Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore
Publisher: Corgi (Random House)
Release Date: 7th July 2011
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Paranormal, Ghosts, Witches, Romance
Rating: 2/5 stars
Source: Received from the publisher for review

Amazon Summary:
"Amy Goodnight's family are far from normal. She comes from a long line of witches, and grew up surrounded by benevolent spirits and kitchen spells. All fairly harmless, but Amy can't wait to get to college and escape the "family business".

But things take a darker turn when she and her sister Phin spend the summer looking after Aunt Hyacinth's ranch. Amy is visited by a midnight spectre who is clearly trying to send her a message. It seems that the discovery of an old grave on a neighbour's land has been the catalyst for an apparent ghost uprising.

Aided by local friends and Ben, the handsome cowboy who just can't take his eyes off Amy, the sisters investigate. And they soon find that there's something strange and dangerous going on, deep in the heart of Texas..."

So it actually took me a while to get into Texas Gothic. It felt like it took a good hundred odd pages for me to really settle into the story and throughout that time I felt like giving up on this book several times. Looking back now that I’ve finished I kind of wish that I hadn’t bothered.

The thing is I just didn’t like the actual story itself. It reads a little bit like a Scooby Doo mystery and I’ve never been a fan of Scooby Doo. From the back of the book I expected a lot of cool paranormal goings on with the main character and her family being witches but to be honest they were kind of boring witches. I felt that the paranormal aspect of the book was barely there instead it was definitely more of a mystery which would have been fine except I found that side of it a bit dull as well and sussed out all the plot twists and who the bad guys were from the beginning. So the twists didn’t come as a surprise to me making the plot just feel really amateur and underdeveloped. Basically and I know this sounds harsh but the book just wasn’t all that interesting to me.

That being said I will give props where props are due. There were things I did enjoy about this book. Texas Gothic has a really hot and sexy romance between our heroine Amy and Ben the smokin’ local cowboy. The dialog between them sizzled and gave the Texas desert a run for its money in heat! I also really liked the characters especially Amy. She got on my nerves at the beginning with her so desperately wanting to be normal I found that to be a little unbelievable and irritating I mean who wouldn’t want to be a witch and be able to do super awesome spells? But as she rediscovered her Goodnight roots and started to develop an unwanted attraction to Ben I bonded with her more. Amy and Ben make a fiery, quick witted duo who I really wanted to see get together.

Overall Texas Gothic wasn’t really for me but that was mainly down to the issues I had with the plot because plots really what makes a good book for me. If you’re a plot kinda person yourself you may want to give this one a miss but if your all about the hot and sexy romance by all means give this one a go as Amy and Ben have chemistry to boot!

Friday, 7 October 2011

Book of the Month! Featuring Dead Sisters, 15th July and The Boy Next Door…

Hi guys, welcome to September'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.

September's Book of the Month is...One Day by David Nicholls...AND Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Okay so this month I’m totally cheating and having TWO books of the month. If I’ve had a good book month then yes its usually hard for me to pick just one book that I would absolutely recommend above all others for you guys to check out but this month it was IMPOSSIBLE seriously I loved these two books so hard and if they’d been read on separate months they would both totally be deserving of Book of the Month so this month I’m cheating and having two. But seriously two amazing love stories that are so much more than love stories. I like the fact that one’s YA and one’s adult so depending on what you follow the blog for ( I know some people are here strictly for chick-lit and others YA) there’s something for hopefully all of you :-) Reviews coming soon!

Best Plot: Soul Beach by Kate Harrison
Best Writing: One Day by David Nicholls
Best Cover: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Best Characters: One Day by David Nicholls
Best Ending: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Best Romance: One Day by David Nicholls
Most un-put-down-able: The Lying Game by Sara Shepard
Most Memorable: One Day by David Nicholls
Best Moral: One Day by David Nicholls

Books read this month
56.) Velvet by Mary Hooper (4*)
57.) The Lying Game by Sara Shepard (3.5*)
58.) Never Have I Ever by Sara Shepard (3.5*)
59.) One Day by David Nicholls (5*)
60.) Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement- Moore (2*)
61.) Soul Beach by Kate Harrison (4.5*)
62.) Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins (5*)

Top 3 Most Recommended Books: One Day, Lola and the Boy Next Door and Soul Beach

Bookish Highlights of the month
Lots of excitement this month! I got a lot of amazing new books and a new laptop for blogging but the best thing to happen this month has to be being quoted in a book for the first time for those who missed the post it was a quote in Angel Fire by L.A Weatherly you can find the post with me squealing here.

Bookish Lows of the month
Being ill for half of the month. Literally. I kept getting colds one after the other which really affected my blogging but I’m all better now so hopefully that’s it for a while!

Book’s I’m looking forward to in October
There’s quite a few I’m excited for this month but my number 1 has to be The Death Cure by James Dashner which is the last book in The Maze Runner series can’t wait! Between by Jessica Warman I’ve been hearing some great things from my blogger friends about that one, Past Perfect by Leila Sales, Sweetly by Jackson Pearce, Beautiful Chaos and Destined the latest books in the Beautiful Creatures and House of Night series although I have to get up to date with both series first!

So there you have it my September 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 One Day and Lola and the Boy Next Door! – You won’t regret it! Here’s to another month of fab reading ahead especially with the spooky and supernatural books for Halloween!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

UK Giveaway for Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor!

If you’re a regular follower of the blog or my twitter than you’ve probably recently seen me raving about my love for Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone. This book is by far my favourite of the year so far and so I’m excited to be bringing to you today the chance to win your own shiny finished copy courtesy of the publishers! This book has already been receiving phenomenal praise from, well, everyone really! But in case you’ve been living under a rock here’s what it’s all about or for my opinion you can check out my review here.

Amazon Synopsis
Errand requiring immediate attention. Come.

The note was on vellum, pierced by the talons of the almost-crow that delivered it. Karou read the message. 'He never says please', she sighed, but she gathered up her things.

When Brimstone called, she always came.

In general, Karou has managed to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she's a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to a monstrous creature who is the closest thing she has to family. Raised half in our world, half in 'Elsewhere', she has never understood Brimstone's dark work - buying teeth from hunters and murderers - nor how she came into his keeping. She is a secret even to herself, plagued by the sensation that she isn't whole.

Now the doors to Elsewhere are closing, and Karou must choose between the safety of her human life and the dangers of a war-ravaged world that may hold the answers she has always sought.

Open to UK residents only.
End date: Wednesday 12th October 2011
One entry per person.
You do NOT have to follow my blog to enter.
Winner will be contacted by email and will have 1 week to reply else another winner will be selected.

This giveaway is now CLOSED and the winner has been announced here
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