Monday, 27 February 2012

Review for A Million Suns by Beth Revis

This is the second book in the Across the Universe series. Although this review will contain NO spoilers from A Million Suns by talking about the plot there may be unintentional spoilers from the first book in the series.

A Million Suns by Beth Revis
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: January 10th 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi, Space, Mystery
Rating: 5/5 stars
Source: Bought

Goodreads Summary:
"Godspeed was once fueled by lies. Now it is ruled by chaos. It’s been three months. In that time, Amy has learned to hide who she is. Elder is trying to be the leader he’s always wanted to be. But as the ship gets more and more out of control, only one thing is certain: They have to get off the ship."

I’ve experienced a lot of disappointment lately regarding sequels to books that I love. I adored Across the Universe, the first book to this series, and couldn’t imagine how Beth Revis was going to top it so to say I began reading A Million Suns cautiously would be an understatement. But not only did it break my streak of disappointing sequels, I also loved it more than the first book something I didn’t think was possible!

Like Across the Universe, A Million Suns launches into the action straight away with the first chapter revealing a huge twist that changes everything. With this twist revealed the book takes off and continues on this breakneck speed journey with never a dull moment. I read it in its entirety in one evening because I couldn’t put it down and when it ended I felt a little like I’d come off a rollercoaster. My heart was thumping, adrenaline was buzzing, and I was in this sort of awe struck daze as to what I’d just been through. Beth Revis’ books have a certain urgency to them and the high stakes and clever twists make them incredibly fast, thrilling, reads.

The book takes off a few months after the events that happen in Across the Universe and life on Godspeed is very different from how we left it. Elder is now leader of the ship and has made some drastic changes, the biggest being no more Phydus, the mind numbing drug, and no more lies especially those regarding the failing mission to Centauri-Earth. Godspeed is in chaos and with the residents minds clear from Phydus they are free to make their own decisions and in anger at being controlled all this time they want the Eldest system out and an election for a new leader in causing an uprising on board the ship. But when Amy and Elder discover a set of clues left behind from Orion that leads to a shocking truth about the ship the people of Godspeed are going to need their leader more than ever before.

This book like Across the Universe is told alternately through both Amy and Elder’s perspective. I especially enjoyed Elder’s chapters the most in this book because it was so interesting watching him try to navigate his way not only as a new leader but a leader of a ship in chaos. Amy’s chapters were also fascinating to read as she finds more pieces to the puzzle that Orion has left for her which reveals a huge hidden secret about Godspeed. Between the two alternating chapters there is never a dull moment if you’re not with Elder trying to control a failing ship then you’re with Amy on a race against time trying to figure out the next clue to the puzzle. What I loved most is how this books main focus is on the ship itself and the people who inhabit it, for one small space ship Godspeed has a lot of big secrets!

The only thing that disappointed me about this book was that whilst I really liked Amy in Across the Universe in this book I found her a little annoying at times but that alone wasn’t enough to take away from my love for this book. Overall A Million Suns was a fantastic sequel with a mind blowing ending. Beth Revis’ books just keep getting better and I can’t wait to read what promises to be an epic conclusion to this series when Shades of Earth comes out next year.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

My Most Popular Blog Posts! (And I Want to Know What Are Yours!?)

The other day on Twitter me and a few other bloggers where discussing our most popular blog posts and it seemed that everyone had a range of different things. It really led me to thinking about what exactly makes a post popular? How much is down to content and how much is chance, date and time and where it’s linked to? I found it really interesting to hear what other bloggers most popular posts are their reaction to them and why they think that is. So Vicki at Cosy Books and I have decided to do this post to share with you our blogs most popular posts. We’d also love to know what yours are as well if you’re a blogger so please feel free to do your own post or if you don’t have time leave a comment with what yours are. We’re also planning a discussion post about this topic so all input would be hugely appreciated!

My Top Ten Most Popular Posts

1.) My most popular post of all time is My First Year as a Blogger Summed Up! A post which has had 3,019 Pageviews but only 5 comments so you wouldn’t think it comments wise! I think this could be my most popular post for a number of reasons, one it was a very popular meme going round at the time, two it has links going to several other blogs, three it features a lot of books and information about blogs and blogging and could be an ideal post to read if you’re looking to start a new book blog. And fourth it has a picture of the Fuentes brothers I mean who doesn’t want to see that right?
2.) In second place hot on the tails of my number one post is Passion Blog Tour: Lauren Kate’s Favourite Luce and Daniel Moments including a scene from Passion and upcoming and final book Rapture! I think the title for this one pretty much speaks for itself. This series is hugely popular worldwide and on the tour I was lucky enough to give readers a sneaky glimpse of what to expect from not only new book Passion but also Rapture the final book. This was also linked up to a lot of places like the books Facebook page and Lauren Kate’s facebook page. Random House did a fantastic job of promoting it and this post still gets a few page views every week to this day!
3.) Third is a review, yay! And it’s for the last book in possibly my favourite series ever Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead. I was lucky enough to read this book on embargo before the release date so I managed to get my review up pretty speedy and close to the books release. I think that and the fact that again it’s the last book in a hugely popular series really played a part in the success for this one. But because it was never really linked to anywhere I like to think my actual review and love for that book factors in somewhere too!
4.) Next up is my 1st Blogoversary Giveaway. This was an awesome giveaway (if I do say so myself!) giving away a choice from my favourite books. Again the numerous books mentioned I think had something to do with this posts success and also the fact that it was my blogs birthday and all of my lovely readers wanted to pop over and say congrats! And of course who doesn’t like winning books? Especially when it’s international!
5.) Fifth is strangely a random In My Mailbox post. These always do well on my blog and get a lot of views but I really can’t place my finger on what makes this one so special. I’ve had bigger hauls so I guess this is one of those posts where I just got lucky and a lot of people must have been following IMM that week! I think this is one of those posts that just had to do with timing.
6.) In sixth place is one of my personal favourite posts my Scary, Spooky and Supernatural – Jess’s top pick’s for Halloween! I absolutely loved writing this post and this is another one that still gets a lot of views today! This one was never linked up to anywhere but I think it’s just one of those fun posts that people enjoy and again it recommends a lot of books in one post.
7.) Next is another review this time for Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick. Funnily enough when speaking to Vicki one thing that we found is that Angel books seem to be VERY popular as they featured in both of our top posts. This one has never been linked to anywhere and I didn’t receive this one for review or get it early. I think it’s just a popular series and hopefully people like the review!
8.) Keeping with the theme for 8th is ANOTHER angel related post this time with a review for Passion by Lauren Kate. Basically what I said above for this one except I did get this one early for review. Further more proof that people seem to really love books about angels!
9.) In at 9th place is another post that I loved writing it’s one of my Random Rambling posts this one talking about My Top 10 Bookish Peeves and Loves. This one isn’t a meme and so isn’t linked to anywhere. It doesn’t even really feature any books or exclusive information so it seems like people just liked this one in general for the content and writing which is a nice thought. I love writing my Random Rambling posts so it’s nice that one of them has made it into my top ten!
10.) And last of all is a post from when I was a newbie blogger and took part in the Book Bloggers Hop. And I think that the reason for this one’s success is purely because it’s a popular meme and like with the IMM post it must have been a very busy week with lots of people taking part!

So that’s it for my popular posts. Make sure you stop by Cosy Books for Vicki’s most popular posts! Again we would LOVE you to take part in this if you too are a book blogger partly for research on a discussion post but mostly because we are nosy! Even if you’re too busy to take part we would love for you to leave your top 3 posts or any thoughts you have in the comments but if you do decide to do a post feel free to leave a link in the comments we would love to read them.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Breaking News!! J.K Rowling’s New Book Deal

Yes. I’m not shitting you my friends. J.K Rowling queen of book land has today announced her plans to write and publish her first novel for adults. Here are all the official, important stuffs that you no doubt want to read…

"Little, Brown has world English rights to the first novel for adults by JK Rowling, the company announced Thursday morning. Little Brown UK publisher David Shelley will serve as Rowling's editor and Michael Pietsch will oversee publication in the US. All other details--title, pub date "and further details about the novel will be announced later in the year." But one important element has been settled: While the world waits for Pottermore and the Harry Potter ebooks, Little, Brown promises they will publish "both in print and ebooks."

Rowling says in the release: "Although I’ve enjoyed writing it every bit as much, my next book will be very different to the Harry Potter series, which has been published so brilliantly by Bloomsbury and my other publishers around the world. The freedom to explore new territory is a gift that Harry's success has brought me, and with that new territory it seemed a logical progression to have a new publisher. I am delighted to have a second publishing home in Little, Brown, and a publishing team that will be a great partner in this new phase of my writing life." Rowling was represented by Neil Blair at The Blair Partnership."
- Publishers Marketplace

Wow. I kind of gave up hope that this day would come I mean Jo certainly doesn’t need to write another book after the mammoth success that was Harry Potter, but with all of the Harry Potter films now finished with I think this is a really good time for the next chapter in Jo’s writing life. I don’t mind that her new book will have nothing to do with Harry or that world and that it’s going to be different. I don’t think anything will ever compare to Harry Potter it was a masterpiece, a little piece of real life magic, and that stuff surely only comes around once in a lifetime? So I’m reluctant to compare the new novel not only because they will be so different but also because I really do believe that Harry Potter was a rare and beautiful thing. Instead I’m mostly intrigued to read something new from Jo and to see how she’s developed as an author since writing the Harry Potter books and to as an adult now enjoy an adult book by her, hopefully as much as I did the Harry Potter stories when I was a child. How do you guys feel about this news? As soon as I hear any more info on the title, cover, synopsis etc you can rest assured that I will be all over it and keep you updated! Feel free to fan girl/boy me in the comments, let’s get our celebration on! *puts on the sorting hat and jigs around with a butterbeer*

Review for Bunheads by Sophie Flack

Bunheads by Sophie Flack
Publisher: Atom
Release Date: 1st March 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Dance, Self-Discovery
Rating: 4/5 stars
Source: Received from the publisher for review

Amazon Summary:
''In a crowd of beautiful and talented dancers, how can one girl stand out?

As a dancer with the Manhattan Ballet Company, nineteen-year-old Hannah Ward is living her childhood dream. She gets to be up on stage in front of adoring crowds every night. And while she might not be a prima ballerina yet, she's moving up the ranks and surely if she works hard enough she can make it happen. But devoting her whole life to ballet leaves very little time for anything else: friends, family, school have all fallen by the wayside. Hannah doesn't mind, until a chance encounter in a restaurant brings Jacob into her life. He's cute, he plays guitar and he's offering a whole future that Hannah never considered. And now she must choose between her lifelong dream or what could be the love of her life...''

Bunheads was such an indulgent read for me, I’m fascinated by anything to do with dance- despite not being a dancer myself- I love watching movies like Black Swan and Step Up, old childhood books like Ballet Shoes, and TV show dancing competitions. I love everything from the beautiful costumes and dramatic make up to the fairy-tale like sets to the art of dance itself. I’ve been to the theatre to watch ballet a few times and every time I get so caught up in the story that the ballerina’s tell with their feet and reading Bunheads was almost like watching one of those dances, it gave me the exact same feeling of enchantment, magic and excitement.

What I loved most about Bunheads was the behind the scenes feel to it. Author Sophie Flack danced with the New York City ballet for nine years before writing this book so she shares with us first-hand information on exactly what goes on behind closed doors and what goes into this kind of profession. Not only did I love reading about our main character Hannah and her friend’s performances but I also loved reading about a dancer’s life off the stage from the extreme and challenging rehearsals to the gruelling training and physio. I found the simplest things like how they get their shoes to fit them perfectly and all the different moves fascinating. The life of a professional dancer is fiercely competitive and I came away from this book with a newfound respect for dancers and the dedication and passion they have for what they do. Despite the gorgeous dresses and fairy-tale’s that they dance to the job is at times anything but glamorous and I loved this insider’s look on the life of a young dancer trying to stand out from the crowd.

Whilst this books main focus is on the world of ballet dancing it also has themes of romance, friendship, rivalry and self-discovery. Hannah is a really interesting leading lady to read about with her conflicting emotions about ballet and her journey as she tries to decide what she wants from life. I also loved the love interest in this book Jacob and wanted Hannah to be with him pretty much from the moment they met! I also really liked Hannah’s best friend Bea who was such a good friend to Hannah and didn’t let the pressures of trying to get noticed come between their friendship.

Overall I thought that Bunheads was a really unique contemporary read. This book made me feel like a little girl again devouring a magical ballerina story wishing all the while that I too could get all dressed up and dance with princes and feel like a princess every night. Sophie Flack captures the magic and beauty of ballet and transforms it to the page flawlessly. This was a gorgeous debut that has made me see the world of competitive dance in a whole new light!

Monday, 20 February 2012

Review for Someone Else’s Life by Katie Dale

Someone Else’s Life by Katie Dale
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 2nd February 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Contemporary, Family Drama, Romance
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Source: Received from the publisher for review

Amazon Summary:
"How can you face your future when your past is a lie? When Rosie Kenning's mother, Trudie, dies from Huntingdon's disease, her whole world falls apart. Not only does Rosie desperately miss her mum, but now she has to face the fact that she could have inherited the fatal illness herself. Until she discovers that Trudie wasn't her biological mother at all ...Rosie is stunned. Can this be true? Is she grieving for a mother who wasn't even hers to lose? And if Trudie wasn't her mother, who is? But as Rosie delves into her past to discover who she really is, she is faced with a heart-breaking dilemma - to continue living a lie, or to reveal a truth that will shatter the lives of everyone around her..."

This book was pitched to me as Jodi Picoult for teens and with Jodi being one of my all-time favourite authors I just had to try this YA equivalent. Now that I’ve read Someone Else’s Life I would certainly agree with that statement, debut author Katie Dale writes an honest and moving account on hard hitting topics such as grief, and Huntington’s disease to name a few in this gripping family drama.

What I loved best about this book is that instead of focusing on friendships and relationships this books main focus is on family in all its glorious shapes and sizes. I found that really refreshing for a young adult book and whilst there was a brilliant love interest for our heroine Rosie in the form of Andy the boy that she loved and gave up as just one of the many sacrifices she made in order to become a full time carer to her mum whose recently died from Huntington’s. What I loved most was the focus on family and the lies we keep to protect those we love.

Katie Dale tackles a wide range of controversial topics and I loved the many layers to this book. Right from the start your thrown this massive curve ball in the plot and as you read on the problems just snowball there are so many twists and turns, the plot constantly changing and developing right until the final pages. I was gripped by the many secrets that make up Rosie’s life and found it impossible to put the book down.

Someone Else’s Life reads as part contemporary and part mystery and so offers something new and different to the YA genre. The book is told from Rosie and a mystery person’s perspective, I found Rosie to be a really strong inspirational heroine and right from the beginning I had a huge amount of respect for her for practically giving up her life in order to look after her mum. I also loved reading from the perspective of the mystery character, for the first part of the book, because I had no idea who they were and I loved trying to suss out the mystery behind that, and once they’re revealed because I found their point of view fascinating to read from and they actually ended up being my favourite character and who I connected with most.

I could talk about how much I loved this book and why all day but because its very mystery orientated I’ll leave it there as I don’t want to give away any spoilers! But if you’re looking for a book that makes you feel ALL THE THINGS you should check out Someone Else’s Life, Katie Dale is certainly an author to watch!

Saturday, 18 February 2012

In My Mailbox! The Bumper Edition

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren

Before I start this week's IMM I just want to say I didn't get all of these books this week. This is a bundle from the last few weeks grouping some of my must read books, I got a few more than this but if I was to list them all we'd be here for a very long time! So here are some of my top picks from the last few weeks...

Review Books

I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella
A Walk in the Park by Jill Mansell
Fallen in Love by Lauren Kate
Never Coming Home by Evonne Wareham (ARC)
Heart-shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne (ARC)
The Angel at No. 33 by Polly Williams

Hollow Pike by James Dawson (ARC)
Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Legend by Marie Lu (ARC)
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake (ARC)
Starters by Lissa Price (ARC)
Slated by Teri Terry (ARC)

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman (ARC)
Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
Heaven by Christoph Marzi
Ticket to Love by Marilyn Kaye
Bunheads by Sophie Flack
The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams


The House of Silk: The New Sherlock Holmes Novel by Anthony Horowitz
Two Truths and a Lie (Lying Game) by Sara Shepard
This is a Love Story by Jessica Thompson
The Storyteller by Antonia Michaelis
Before I Go To Sleep by S J Watson

There you have it my HUGE haul of 23 books! As I said at the beginning I received and bought a few others but decided not to show the ones I’ve read simply because they’ve been featured/will be featured on the blog in a review. I’m so looking forward to all of these; I’ve been a very lucky girl! As always HUGE thank you’s to all of the lovely publishing people who have sent me these books to review. 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!

Review for Night School by CJ. Daugherty

Night School by CJ. Daugherty
Publisher: Atom
Release Date: 5th January 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller, Mystery
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Source: Received from the publisher for review

Amazon Summary:
"Sometimes school can be murder. . . Allie Sheridan's world is falling apart. She hates her school. Her brother has run away from home. And she's just been arrested. Again. This time her parents have finally had enough. They cut her off from her friends and send her away to a boarding school for problem teenagers. But Cimmeria Academy is no ordinary school. It allows no computers or phones. Its students are an odd mixture of the gifted, the tough and the privileged. And then there's the secretive Night School, whose activities other students are forbidden even to watch. When Allie is attacked one night the incident sets off a chain of events leading to the violent death of a girl at the summer ball. As the school begins to seem like a very dangerous place, Allie must learn who she can trust. And what's really going on at Cimmeria Academy."

First off I want to say that I had a real love/hate relationship with this book. I say this because the first 200 pages I couldn’t stand and the last 250 pages I loved and absolutely devoured. So I guess I’ll split this review into two parts the first talking about why I didn’t like the book and the second what I loved about it.

Okay so the book begins with our main character Allie being shipped off to boarding school after her third arrest of the year. My main dislike at the start of the book was with Allie, she acts out and hates her life and is basically your stereotypical rebellious teen. Allie really annoyed me at the beginning because of this, she was just so rude and arrogant and at times I wanted to throw the book at the wall she irritated me that much. Allie also makes a lot of bad choices at the beginning of the book the main one in my opinion was getting involved with Sylvain. Sylvain absolutely made my skin crawl he’s just such a slimy sleezeball and I just couldn’t understand what Allie saw in him. So at this point in the book I wasn’t connecting with Allie and I didn’t understand her choices and because of that I very nearly gave up on this book. However I was really enjoying reading about the school and the strange mysterious things that were happening there so curiosity alone made me read on.

Then the summer ball happened and that’s when this book really got interesting. The last half of this book I felt completely different about and it really made up for the first half. Cimmeria Academy is such a fascinating school with a lot of interesting history and hidden rooms, quirky staff and strange rules to boot. The mystery surrounding the school is really unique and I loved how different it was to anything else out there. In the last 250 pages there is so much action, danger and suspense that I couldn’t put this book down. And as for Allie well she really grows as a character and I liked her more as the book went on. I also loved the new relationships she made with Carter and Rachel who are much nicer more likeable characters than the first set of friends she makes at the school.

So although I had my problems with this book at the beginning by the end I ended up really liking it, so if like me you have trouble getting into this one it’s definitely a book I’d recommend sticking with. Overall Night School is a unique and interesting debut and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next with this series.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Review for The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: September 27th 2011 (US edition) releasing in the UK on March 1st 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller, Mystery, Romance
Rating: 4/5 stars
Source: Bought

"Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.

There is.

She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love.

She's wrong."

I was so excited to read this book as I’m a huge fan of Young Adult thrillers and with THAT cover, THAT synopsis and the amount of praise from some of my favourite authors (Cassandra Clare and Veronica Roth to name a few!) I had really high expectations for this book.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer grips you straight away with a mysterious letter to the reader from Mara Dyer herself and a thrilling first chapter. During the beginning of this book I was completely swept away in the mystery surrounding who exactly Mara Dyer is and Michelle Hodkin’s beautiful atmospheric writing. However I felt that during the middle of this book the pacing really slowed down as the book started focusing more on the growing relationship between Mara and Noah. Don’t get me wrong I loved the romance to the story, fans of smart ass, dark and dangerous bad boys like me are going to fall hard for Noah Shaw. The best way I can describe Noah is he is what you would get if you mixed together Jace from The Mortal Instruments and St Clair from Anna and the French Kiss. I loved following his and Mara’s deliciously twisted romance but I couldn’t help but feel that the focus switched off the plot and on to them too often which really slowed down the pacing so the middle to me read more like a contemporary romance than a heart pounding thriller.

At the end the book took another U- turn and we were flung back into the darker more suspenseful side of this book which is the side I loved best. Some of the twists I guessed but others took me by surprise and then something HUGE was revealed right at the very end finishing the book on a gigantic cliff hanger that left me dying for the sequel. Seriously Michelle Hodkin I tip my hat to you as the new queen of cliff hangers!

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is a captivating and twisted love story that is in equal parts as disturbing and dark as it is beautiful and poetic. Whilst this isn’t the best young adult thriller out there I can’t deny that this book has something unique and exquisite to add to the genre and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Review for A Witch in Winter by Ruth Warburton

A Witch in Winter by Ruth Warburton
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Release Date: 5th January 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance, Witches
Rating: 4/5 stars
Source: Received from the publisher for review

Amazon Summary:
"Anna Winterson doesn't know she's a witch and would probably mock you for believing in magic, but after moving to the small town of Winter with her father, she learns more than she ever wanted to about power. When Anna meets Seth, she is smitten, but when she enchants him to love her, she unwittingly amplifies a deadly conflict between two witch clans and splits her own heart in two. She wants to love Seth, to let him love her - but if it is her magic that's controlling his passion, then she is as monstrous as the witch clan who are trying to use her amazing powers for their own gain.

When love is tangled up in magic, how can you be sure what's real?"

I haven’t read a lot of books about witches but was really interested to check out A Witch in Winter purely because it’s written by a British author and the story’s set in England which is a bit of a rarity with paranormal young adult fiction. It was really refreshing to read a book set in an old British seaside town but at the same time it wasn’t so British that it wouldn’t do well over seas. I think that Ruth Warburton does a fantastic job of writing a solid British supernatural book that can stand proudly next to the popular US paranormal titles.

The book begins with Anna moving to the seaside town of Winter her and her dad taking residence in the old abandoned Wicker House more notoriously known by the locals as “The Witches House.” Despite the house being seriously creepy nothing is out of the ordinary until Anna finds an old spell book and messing around accidently casts a love spell on her crush Seth Waters. Seth quickly falls head over heels for Anna and dumps his popular girlfriend Caroline which makes life more than a little difficult for Anna at her new school. However Caroline is the least of Anna’s problems what with her discovering that she has magical powers, and not being able to remove her love spell on Seth. Plus there’s the Ealdwiton, a council of the most powerful witches, who are after Anna to use her new found powerful magic for their own purposes. Anna’s magic appears to be hugely powerful and with no training Anna manages to get herself into some serious trouble but with Anna’s growing attraction to Seth and his love that she knows she can’t believe in can Anna undo all that she’s done before she causes any more damage to Seth, her dad, and her new found friends?

What I loved most about this book was Seth and Anna’s romance. I really felt for Anna having to constantly do the noble thing and fight her attraction to Seth so as not to take advantage of him whilst he’s under the influence of her spell. Then of course there’s the mystery as to why the spell can’t be removed is it because Seth’s feelings are real? Or is Anna’s magic just too strong? I loved their complicated relationship and really hoped that Seth’s feelings for Anna were real because they made such a fantastic couple. I really liked them both as characters and had instant respect for Anna for not taking Seth for granted and always trying to do the right thing. With a guy like Seth fawning over her I can tell you she’s a stronger girl than me that’s for sure!

I think that A Witch in Winter was a fantastic start to what promises to be an awesome series. I’m so intrigued as to how strong Anna’s powers actually are and what’s in store for her next. This was a fantastic book that I read in one evening because I couldn’t put it down and I am already looking forward to its sequel A Witch in Love!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Review for Happily Ever After by Harriet Evans

Happily Ever After by Harriet Evans
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: 19th January 2012
Genre: Chick-lit, Adult Fiction, Woman’s Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Source: Received for review from the Amazon Vine Programme

Amazon Summary:
"At twenty-two, Eleanor Bee is sure about three things: she wants to move to London and become a literary superstar, she wants to be able to afford to buy a coffee and croissant every morning, and she doesn’t believe in happy endings. She saw what divorce did to her parents, especially her mum: happily ever after’s fine on the last page of a book, but it just doesn’t happen in real life.

Elle moves to London. She gets a job at Bluebird Books, a charmingly old-fashioned publishers. She falls out of pubs, wears too-short skirts, makes lots of mistakes and feels like she’s learning nothing and everything at the same time. And then, out of the blue, she falls in love, and that’s when she realises just how much growing up she has to do…

Ten years on, and Elle’s life has changed in ways she could never have predicted. Because no matter where you go and how much you try to run away, the past has a funny way of catching up with you, and Happily Ever After comes in all shapes and sizes…"

Every now and then I love to read a book about books so Happily Ever After naturally was a real joy for me to read and I’m sure a lot of book lovers who are passionate about reading, especially chick-lit fans, will feel the same. Our heroine Eleanor Bee better known as “Elle” loves to read, particularly romance and woman’s fiction. Her love for books and support for romance against literary snobs- many of which she has to deal with in her job at a publishing house- made me instantly fond of her. Her love for strong heroines, romantic heroes, and the perfect happily ever after really shines through the pages.

The majority of this book focuses on Elle’s career in the world of publishing and so this is ultimately a real career girls kind of book although it does also tackle family problems, and of course relationship drama too. My dream job would be to work in publishing like Elle so I thoroughly enjoyed reading about her experiences in the behind the scenes book industry, from editing manuscripts to hosting fabulous parties for authors. I found it really refreshing to read a book about a young woman who loves her job and puts her career first before anything else.

Whilst I loved Elle and the bookish aspect of this book I have to say that I was a bit let down by the romance. Because Elle’s very much a career girl the book focuses mainly on her antics in the work place leaving the romance to be quite weak and barely touched upon. I felt that Elle and her love interest didn’t spend enough time together to properly fall in love and so things felt a bit forced and fake with that side of things and is my one complaint about this book.

Happily Ever After is a real book lover’s book with a smart headstrong heroine. If you love your career girl chick-lit stories and dream about rubbing shoulders with your favourite authors and reading books for a living this is the perfect book to live your fantasies through. But if you’re looking for an epic romance I’d maybe give this one a miss.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Review for The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg

The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg
Publisher: Puffin
Release Date: 2nd February 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Afterlife
Rating: 5/5 stars
Source: Received from the publisher for review

Goodreads Summary:
"Brie's life ends at sixteen: Her boyfriend tells her he doesn't love her, and the news breaks her heart - "literally." But now that she's in heaven, Brie is about to discover that love is way more complicated than she ever imagined. Back in Half Moon Bay, her family has begun to unravel. Her best friend knows a secret about Jacob, the boy she loved and lost - and the truth behind his shattering betrayal. And then there's Patrick, Brie's mysterious new guide and resident Lost Soul who's been D&G (dead and gone) much longer than she and who just might hold the key to her forever after. With Patrick's help, Brie will have to pass through the five stages of grief before she's ready to move on but how do you begin again, when your heart is still in pieces?"

I’m a big fan of what I’ve come to think of as “Afterlife” books. With what exactly happens after death being the world’s biggest mystery I think that it gives authors artistic licence to really put some imagination into their take on life after death. I found Jess Rothenberg’s version of an afterlife fascinating and thought that it was a brilliant idea for the deceased to have to go through the five stages of grief- Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Sadness and Acceptance- just the same as those they left behind have to in order to move on.

What makes this book stand apart from others in the “Afterlife” genre is that our main character Brie literally dies from a broken heart when her first love Jacob tells her that he doesn’t love her. There’s a real mystery behind the book as to why Jacob broke up with Brie when their relationship seemed so perfect. I loved watching Brie visit her old life and go from seeking revenge on Jacob to slowly coming to understand and accept the reasons why their relationship didn’t work out all whilst struggling with her growing attraction to her new friend and guide to all things afterlife Patrick. Patrick himself is another big mystery to the book, I was so curious to know why he had been in this “in-between” place for so long and what was keeping him from moving on to the other side. The Catastrophic History of You and Me is a book that explores love in all its glorious and devastating forms and is ultimately a unique and quirky romance.

As well as the romance aspect to this book, Brie is also trying to navigate her way and learn the rules of the afterlife as well as trying to tie up loose ends and act as guardian angel to her best friends and family. What really impressed me with this book was Rothenberg’s ability to write a story that is in equal parts as funny and life affirming as it is heart breaking and sad. I loved Brie’s voice and could completely relate to her and the mistakes she makes with love.

I would whole heartedly (cheesy pun totally intended) recommend this book to anyone who’s ever had their heart broken. The Catastrophic History of You and Me is a love story like no other, with a hilarious heroine, and the ultimate disaster romance this is a story of life, death, love and all the glorious things in between at its best.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Review for Kiss Date Love Hate by Luisa Plaja

Kiss Date Love Hate by Luisa Plaja
Publisher: Corgi (Random House Childrens)
Release Date: 2nd February 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Chick-lit
Rating: 4/5 stars
Source: Received from the publisher for review

Goodreads Summary:
"What if you could change your friends' lives and loves through the settings of a computer game...?

Lex Murphy's group of friends have all dated, hated, ignored and lusted after each other for the last few years. If only there was a way of matching people perfectly to avoid all the unrequited love, dumping and drama! Then Lex's friend George is given a mysterious Sims-like game by his software-testing dad which involves building character profiles in the categories of Life, Looks and Love. Lex and George populate the game with avatars for all their mates, making a few 'wishful thinking' adjustments to the settings - and find that the next day these tinkerings have come true! But how long can this new calm, loved-up atmosphere continue?"

Many girls wish that they could magically get their ex-boyfriend to like them again, or even for something as simple as bigger boobs and longer hair. If given the chance I’m sure that we’d all change something about ourselves or our lives so when our heroine Lex and her best friend George play a mysterious online Sims like game starring not only themselves but also their group of friends who can blame them for tinkering around with the online settings? Giving themselves a better image and adding a few wishful thinking improvements regarding who likes who in the group. But when what’s happening in the game starts also unexplainably happening in real life too Lex and George feel like they’ve won the jackpot. They have ultimate control over their friend’s looks, love lives and even personalities and can change things for the better right at their fingertips. But sometimes what we think we want isn’t always what we need which is something that Luisa Plaja explores to extremes in this weirdly wonderful story.

Kiss Date Love Hate is a contemporary romance with a cute modern twist that makes it stand apart from others in the genre. This book has everything you want in a chick-lit read, a funny likeable heroine, an adorable nerdy best friend, a swoon worthy bad boy, and an original fun filled plot that young adult readers will enjoy.

What surprised me most about this book was how seamlessly Luisa Plaja delivers a cute and funny story that also has themes on the importance of being yourself. I read this book in a day when I was sick and the likeable characters, and heart-warming plot made that day so much better than it should have been.

This is the perfect feel good read about accepting yourself the way you are and how the people who matter will accept you too, warts and all. I loved this tale of finding love where you least expect it and would definitely recommend it to anyone who appreciates warm, funny, contemporary romance for teens.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Review for Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Publisher: Penguin
Release Date: 5th January 2012
Genre: Adult Fiction, Chick-lit, Romance
Rating: 5/5 stars
Source: Bought

Amazon Summary:
"Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time."

As soon as I heard about this book I was desperate to read it. The whole prospect of a book about a quadriplegic man wanting to go to Dignitas in Switzerland- a clinic that legally allows a patient to take their own life- I thought was such a brave and controversial topic for Moyes to tackle. My mum, like our heroine Lou, is a carer and I was fascinated to get a glimpse of what she has to deal with on an everyday bases through the eyes of Lou. There are so many books out there that cover a number of serious illnesses like cancer, mental health, STI’s and so forth but this is the first book I’ve come across about what it’s like to live with such a sever disability and the effort it takes just to live out day to day life.

Me Before You is a real eye opener of a book. Prior to reading it I’d never given much thought as to how dramatically different life is for someone as severely disabled as Will. I’d never for instance thought of the embarrassment of having somebody have to feed and clean and dress you. How whilst a shop may say it’s wheelchair friendly simply because it has a ramp to access the shop sometimes that’s really as far as it goes regarding the width of aisles or how high up the products are. I’d never thought about how you can never do anything spontaneously as everything has to be planned in advance to fit your needs, and how people can be so damn patronizing despite your mind being perfectly sound. Jojo Moyes does a brilliant, thoroughly researched job in showing the many ways that life for someone like Will is different to ours and so much of a struggle that you can totally understand and even support his right to choose to end his life.

That being said Me Before You isn’t a depressing read. Of course with the subject matter in parts it’s terribly sad and peoples treatment of Will made me ever so angry, but Moyes counterbalances the plot with a lot of black humor from Will and those who care for him regarding his disability, his bickering with Lou in particular being a real highlight of the book. For a lot of the story I didn’t even see Will as a quadriplegic but just this charming, brilliant man with a wicked sense of humor. Whilst being utterly fascinated by the medical side of things I also loved the lighter side to this book, like Lou and Will’s growing relationship, and Lou’s attempts to try and get Will to change his mind about going to Dignitas with her plans for humorous and sometimes disastrous “life changing” trips and outings that never seem to go to plan.

I absolutely adored this book and can see why it’s been selected for so many book clubs most famously perhaps Richard and Judy’s as it really gives you a lot of food for thought and plenty to discuss. This book is definitely one of those life affirming type of reads that is guaranteed to touch the hearts of all who read it. A brilliant book that will make your heart ache in the best possible way.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

An Apology

Dear faithful blog readers,

Some of you may have noticed that I’ve been MIA for the last few weeks without warning and I apologise for that. Basically my personal life kind of took over everything, first with getting sick, then with it being my birthday, then with going on a mini break, then with getting into a reading slump, into then caring for my dad who has a leg injury. So that’s what’s been keeping me from the blog these past few weeks but I’m hoping things will continue to settle down now so I can get back into blogging, I’ve really missed it!

To get things back on track I’m going to first be concentrating on catching up with all of the reviews for the books I’ve been reading. I can’t believe I haven’t reviewed a single book that I’ve read this year! I’ve been reading some great and not so great books so I’m looking forward to telling you guys all about that and recommending some new 2012 titles! So yeah this is going to be a strictly review zone until I’m up to date, which I’ve got to admit I’m excited about as writing reviews are pretty much my favourite thing to do on the blog! I may also do some sneaky In My Mailboxes if things go well as with going to Oxford- home land of bookish awesome, my birthday, and weeks worth of book hauls missed I have a lot to show you guys although sadly I might not be able to show them all as I really have had SO many make a new home with me these last few weeks.

So can you guys forgive me? I’m sorry I’ve been a sucky blogger and forgot to be awesome. But I’m here now, if you’ll have me. Watch this space for the first of an abundance of reviews going up tomorrow; it will be happening, promise.

Happy reading till next time,

Jess x
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