Monday, 12 March 2012

Review for Everneath by Brodi Ashton

Everneath by Brodi Ashton
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 2nd February 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Greek Mythology, Re-telling, Romance, Paranormal
Rating: 4/5 stars
Source: Received from the publisher for review

Amazon Summary:
"Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she's returned- to her old life, her family, her friends- before being banished back to the underworld...this time forever. She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can't find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists. Nikki longs to spend these months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there's a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he'll do whatever it takes to bring her back- this time as his queen. As Nikki's time grows short and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she's forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole's..."

After a series of world shattering events in her life Nikki Beckett wants oblivion and so agrees to go to the Everneath with Cole, the enticing immortal, who promises to take Nikki’s pain away. And so that’s where she stays for a century (six months in our time) her feelings and everything that makes her Nikki sucked away by Cole who drains mortals of their emotions in return for eternal life. However Nikki is different from the other Forfeits, instead of emerging from the feed old and senile she’s still seventeen years old and despite being emotionally drained her minds still in one piece. With the feed finished Nikki gets to go home for six months before the Everneath comes to claim her this time for good. And so begins a race against time for Nikki to try and find out why she’s different from the other Forfeits and if she can find a way to escape the Everneath before it comes back to take her forever.

Everneath begins with a brilliant prologue that grabbed my attention straight away but despite the explosive prologue it took me a few chapters to get into this book. I found it to be quite a slow paranormal read at the beginning and I felt that it took a while for the plot to really get going. That being said once I was about a quarter of the way through the pacing really picked up as more and more secrets are revealed about the Everneath and the Immortals. And as Nikki’s time left on earth dwindled down it became a real race against time for her to find a loop hole in her deal with the Everneath.

Whilst I liked the supernatural side to this book what really made this a great read for me was the more realistic themes of grief and redemption. Nikki has to confront the things that happened in the past that made her go to the Everneath with Cole in the first place all the while trying to find redemption, forgiveness and a way to say goodbye to the people she loves. The fact that Nikki had an expiration date on her life was very emotional and really makes you think about how you would spend the last six months of your life if you were in Nikki’s situation. Nikki’s need to say goodbye and leave things on good terms VS the hurt she knows she’s going to put everybody through by leaving again really moved me and I found the blend between myth and real raw emotions to be an interesting one.

The thing that I want to talk about most in this review though is the romance. Romance wise this is the best paranormal story I’ve read in a long time. Not since Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver series have I been so moved by a relationship. Nikki’s boyfriend Jack is one of the nicest guys I’ve ever read about and he’s now my newest member of swoonworthy book boys. Nikki and Jack would go to hell and back for each other quite literally. And how true and strong their relationship was really struck me as, not a teenage puppy love, but an all-time love. If you’re looking for a brilliant romance I’d highly recommend this one. The tender scenes and bittersweet last kisses in the remaining time they have left together had me fighting back the tears on a few occasions!

Overall I’m really surprised by how much this book touched me, for a paranormal read it certainly wasn’t what I was expecting! This is one of the most beautifully told paranormal romances I’ve read in a while and I’d definitely recommend this heartbreakingly gorgeous re-telling of the Persephone myth.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Review for When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle

When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 26th April 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Re-telling, Romance
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Source: Received from the publisher for review

Goodreads Summary:
" "What's in a name, Shakespeare? I'll tell you: everything."

Rosaline knows that she and Rob are destined to be together. Rose has been waiting for years for Rob to kiss her--and when he finally does, it's perfect. But then Juliet moves back to town. Juliet, who used to be Rose's best friend. Juliet, who now inexplicably hates her. Juliet, who is gorgeous, vindictive, and a little bit crazy...and who has set her sights on Rob. He doesn't even stand a chance.

Rose is devastated over losing Rob to Juliet. This is not how the story was supposed to go. And when rumors start swirling about Juliet's instability, her neediness, and her threats of suicide, Rose starts to fear not only for Rob's heart, but also for his life. Because Shakespeare may have gotten the story wrong, but we all still know how it ends."

As soon as I heard about this book I knew it was one that I just had to read. The concept of a contemporary re-telling of the Romeo and Juliet story, this time featuring Rosaline- Romeo’s first love, I thought was such a fantastic idea. And so debut author Rebecca Serle tells a modern time Rose’s story, the love story before Juliet came along, the love story that was never told.

Rose and Rob have been best friends and next door neighbours since they were kids. Their parents are long-time friends, and their best friends are in relationships with one another and so it seems natural and eventual that Rose and Rob will end up together, and they do, and everything is perfect and right and how it was always meant to be. That is until Rose’s cousin Juliet moves back into town and well we all know what happens when Juliet meets her Romeo who is in the case Rob. When You Were Mine is an account of a devastated and heartbroken girl and is in equal parts as romantic as it is moving. This is a book about getting over your first love, experiencing lost love and betrayal for the first time, and how it feels to not be the leading lady in your own love story.

Basically if a friend of mine came to me saying she’d just broken up with her boyfriend I would tell her to read this book. It’s such a perfect contemporary read that deals with all of those horrible heartbreak moments like seeing him with his new girlfriend for the first time, and how every little thing reminds you of him because he was such a huge part of your life. I felt especially terrible for Rose as not only does she get broken up with in a terrible way but she’s also betrayed by family and loses not only her boyfriend but her best friend in Rob. This book captures the getting over your first love process perfectly and I felt like I was there holding Rose’s hand as she got back on her feet. In spite of some scene’s being sad and heart-breaking the overall message to this book is one of hope and strength and so is the perfect book to heal your heart with.

As for the adaption from the original Romeo and Juliet story I thought it was done really well and I hugely enjoyed the modern day setting. Rebecca Serle certainly gets all of those feelings of being young and in love spot on and what I loved most was that I felt everything the characters were going through. One minute I was in a total rage with Rob and Juliet, and the next I was devastated for Rosaline, then I’d have butterflies in my tummy and a smile on my face as I read a gorgeously romantic scene, and next I was getting all teary eyed at the unfairness of the whole situation! It was such an emotional rollercoaster that took me through the ups and downs of being in love.

This was such a beautifully romantic and achingly moving story that I absolutely loved. I loved Rose’s voice as our heroine and after reading this I don’t think that I’ll ever be able to look at Romeo and Juliet in the same way again! Totally recommended to anyone who loves epic romances, Rebecca Serle is a debut author to watch!

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Recipe for Success! What Makes a Popular Blog Post?

For anyone who missed my Most Popular Blog Posts! (And I Want to Know What Are Yours!?) post Vicki from Cosy Books and I hosted a post with our top ten most popular blog posts stat wise and encouraged other bloggers to let us know what theirs are too. We also promised a discussion post with what we found out which is what we’re bringing to you today! If you missed the first part of the post click the title above and you can find out what my all-time most popular blog posts are.

Jess say's
"I think what I've learnt from doing this post is that there are a wide variety of blogs out there with different strengths and specialities and our followers seem to respond to those strengths best and the same follower/person might visit one blog for reviews and they may visit another for the discussions or meme's or blog tours etc. I think together we make a complete, strong, and varied community and so all together essentially work as one big team to promoting reading and books.

I think I've learnt that hype and popular books or posts is not created solely due to one blogger but the whole blogosphere mentioning the book whether that be with a great review, guest post or giveaway. I think we all have a strength that makes this big community work and if you didn't have the people who write really great reviews, or the people who do meme's religiously, or the people who do lots of giveaways the whole thing wouldn't be as successful as it is on a whole.

I think the key is to find what your good at and what you enjoy, what you contribute to the blogging world and what your followers like to read and then work with it and your followers will respond to that and that's how a popular post, or book even, is made.

On a side note one thing that Vicki and I found was that a lot of bloggers most popular blog posts have something to do with angels! Now whether this is because their very popular to read about, or if it’s religious bods googling angels or even some very real angelic assistance ;) either way most bloggers who do a post on the topic of angels whether that be guest post, review or giveaway seems to be on to a win when it comes to stats!"

Vicki say's
"Looking at my most popular posts and hearing about other peoples has been an interesting experience. I actually thought that giveaways and possibly some In My Mail Box posts might have dominated my top ten, so to see reviews there has been a pleasent surprise. What I've learned is that the posts we write have much further reach than the bloggers who comment on them and just because a post doesn't have many comments doesn't mean it's not being read. And in the case of my most popular reviews, long after they've been published and disappeared from the home page. Sometimes I think we forget about the internet readers beyond our cosy blogging group.

The other thing I've learned is not to worry that I'm writing what people want to read and instead I should write what I want, the readers will come! There's been a lot of debate about blog tours and interviews and their worth. And sometimes it does feel like no-one reads them as they often don't attract the most comments. But with three such posts taking places in my top 10, again the wider audience is there and hopefully enjoying the content they find. With 90% of my traffic coming from google/search engine searches and finding posts written over two years ago at times, I've also learned that older book reviews are just as worthwhile as having the most upto date releases. Oh and people *really* like Angels!"

If you’d like to take part and do a post featuring your most popular blog posts feel free! Just make sure you link it up in the comments on either this post or the original post, we’d still love to read them! If not a quick comment on what you think makes a popular blog post would be fab and greatly appreciated. I also just wanted to say a big thank you to Vicki for suggesting this idea to me and asking if I’d like to take part it’s been fun and make sure you stop by her blog Cosy Books too!

Monday, 5 March 2012

Review for Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

This is the second book in the Delirium series and so there are spoilers from the first book in this series.

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Release Date: 1st March 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Romance
Rating: 4/5 stars
Source: Received from the publisher for review

Amazon Summary:
"Love, the deadliest of all deadly things.
It kills you when you have it.
And when you don't.

I'm pushing aside the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school,
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame.

Pandemonium is a poignant, explosive, recklessly romantic and utterly heartbreaking novel. Like Delirium, the first in the compelling trilogy, it will take you to the very edge. That's all you need to know. We'll let Lena do the rest of the talking..."

Pandemonium felt like an entirely different book from the first book in this series Delirium. Delirium ended with Lena escaping Portland to go into The Wilds heartbreakingly without Alex after he is captured. Pandemonium is told in alternating chapters beginning with Now, in the present time Lena is in New York City as an undercover member of the resistance scouting for information on the DFA (Delirium Free America,) a pro-cure organisation, to help the resistance discover their plans and bring them down. In the alternative Then chapters we get to go back to where we left Lena in Delirium in The Wilds and follow her journey to see how she ended up where she is today.

In Pandemonium everything has changed completely since Delirium most importantly Lena. At the beginning of the book Lena talks about being reborn in The Wilds and I completely agree with that statement. Lena has evolved completely from the well behaved law abiding citizen she was when we first met her in Delirium and is now strong and hardened after her time in The Wilds. To go along with this new Lena she has a new home in The Wilds and new friends and family too in particular Raven who’s like a mother, sister, best friend and mentor all rolled into one for Lena and who I absolutely loved. Like Lena we leave her old life behind the fence and emerge into a new chapter of her life.

Whilst Delirium had a very romantic feel to it Pandemonium is more of a survival story with more action. This was a nice improvement for me as despite loving Delirium I did find it a little slow at times but Lauren Oliver really picks up the pace with this book.

The only thing that I didn’t not necessarily not like but which drove me a little bit crazy was the lack of Alex. Alex is presumed dead and this book sees Lena grieve and come to terms with that and slowly move on and discover a new love. This part of the book broke my heart for Alex, for Lena and for what should have been and whilst I liked Lena’s new love interest and that surprising twist to the story I couldn’t help but think he’s not Alex.

Despite the action and suspense this book at its heart remains a beautiful tragic love story this time dealing with lost love. Like all of Lauren Oliver’s books Pandemonium is gorgeously written and moving and whilst it’s very different to Delirium I enjoyed it just as much. One thing that Delirium and Pandemonium have in common though is that they both have world shattering endings. Just like at the end of Delirium my heart broke all over again leaving me in painful need for the next and final book to this series Requiem. I have no idea where Lauren Oliver’s going to take us next after that ending I really don’t, but I am excited to find out.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

In My Mailbox!

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren

Review Books

Struck by Jennifer Bosworth (ARC)
Fever by Lauren DeStefano
When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle (Read last night and LOVED!)
Dark Parties by Sara Grant (Signed!)
The Look by Sophia Bennett (Also signed! Eep!)


Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour
Perception by Kim Harrington

Fantastic week right? I had a voucher for The Book Depository and so had to treat myself to some US titles that I've absolutely been dying to read for ages! I've already read and loved When You Were Mine so you can expect a review on that coming soon! So excited for all of these books 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!

Friday, 2 March 2012

February’s Book of the Month!

February’s BotM is Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

After reading this book I can certainly see why it’s been receiving so much praise! This book is totally worth its hype and is so much more than just chick-lit. This is the incredibly moving story of a quadriplegic man who wishes to end his life legally in Switzerland and his carer the warm and likeable Lou who is on a race against time to show Will the beauty in life to make him change his mind before it’s too late. This was just such a beautiful, controversial, thought provoking and moving book, I read a lot of fantastic books this month but this one is one that really stands out to me and will be an all-time favourite for years to come. You can check out my full review here.

Books Read in February
8.) A Witch in Winter by Ruth Warburton (4*)
9.) Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (5*)
10.) Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler (3*)
11.) A Million Suns by Beth Revis (5*)
12.) Someone Else’s Life by Katie Dale (4.5*)
13.) The Storyteller by Antonia Michaelis (4*)
14.) Bunheads by Sophie Flack (4*)
15.) Everneath by Brodi Ashton (4*)
16.) Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver (4*)
17.) Two Truths and a Lie by Sara Shepard (3*)
Total Books Read = 10

This Month’s Book Awards
Best Plot: A Million Suns by Beth Revis
Best Writing: The Storyteller by Antonia Michaelis
Best Cover: Someone Else’s Life by Katie Dale
Best Characters: Everneath by Brodi Ashton
Best Ending: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
Best Romance: Everneath by Brodi Ashton
Most un-put-down-able: Someone Else’s Life by Katie Dale
Most Memorable: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Best Moral: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Top 3 Most Recommended Books: Me Before You, A Million Suns, Someone Else’s Life

Books I’m Looking Forward to Being Released in March:
Welcome To Rosie Hopkins' Sweetshop of Dreams by Jenny Colgan
The Look by Sophia Bennet
The Book of Summers by Emylia Hall
Fateful by Claudia Gray
The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting
The Repossession by Sam Hawksmoor
(Links lead to books Goodreads page for more info!)

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 Me Before You – you won’t regret it! Here’s to another month of fab reading ahead!

Thursday, 1 March 2012

It's That Time of Year Again! Happy World Book Day!

Happy World Book Day folks! Today is one of my very favourite days of the year for anyone out of the loop World Book Day happens once a year and booky sorts like publishers, authors, librarians, book sellers etc. get together to promote reading (especially in children) as much as possible. All around the world book shops and schools celebrate by hosting fun events for the kids, like going to school dressed as your favourite book character, and readings and games with authors. World Book Day is more famously known though as being the day where children under the age of 18 who are in full time education are entitled to a free World Book Day book and so are given a £1 book token that they can use to get one of the specially selected £1 books for free from their local bookshop.

This year there are some fantastic titles to choose from for all ages. So if your kids come home with a token all you have to do is go to your nearest Waterstone’s, if you live in the UK most across the country are taking part, let them pick a book on the special World Book Day £1 offer, hand over your token at the register and ta da! One book for every child absolutely FREE! Here are the books on offer for this year…

The What the Ladybird Heard Song by Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks (Ages 2+)
Winnie Flies Again by Valerie Thomas and Korky Paul (Ages 3+)
Where’s Wally Now? by Martin Handford (Ages 5+)
Magic Molly: The Clever Little Kitten by Holly Webb (Ages 5+)
Roald Dahl's Fantabulous Facts by Roald Dahl (Ages 8+)
How to Train Your Dragon: The Day of the Dreader by Cressida Cowell (Ages 8+)
Big Day Out by Jacqueline Wilson, Illustrated by Nick Sharratt (Ages 8+)
Skulduggery Pleasant: The End of the World by Derek Landy (Ages 9+)

For teen readers or just fans of Young Adult like myself you can also get the fantastic Department 19 by Will Hill and/or The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson for just £1 each!

Or if none of the above tickle you’re fancy you can use your £1 book token to get £1 off any book of YOUR choice. How awesome is that?

Basically I think that World Book day is a fantastic way to spark a lifelong love of reading in young children. When on average one in three children doesn’t even own a book this day gives every young person a chance to own their very own book for FREE. Even as a grown up I still remember how excited I would get about World Book Day as a kid and today I’m a little envious of all the little ones who get to dress up as characters and have authors speaking at schools and get to play games at the library or bookshop and who at the end of a fun filled day get to go home with a brand new book that may be the first in a lifelong love of reading. Today is a day that I’m really passionate about and I hope that whatever you’re doing to celebrate today whether you’re taking the kids to their local library or bookstore or are simply an adult looking forward to reading a good book when you get home from work today I hope you all have a wonderful World Book Day and I encourage you all to take part in the celebrations in any way that you can! For more information on World Book Day visit the website here.
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