Thursday, 31 May 2012

Review for Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer

Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer 
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Release Date: 5th July 2012
Genre: Fairytale, Crossover, Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance
Rating: 4/5 stars
Source: Received from the publisher for review

Amazon Summary:
"Delilah knows it's weird, but she can't stop reading her favourite fairy tale. Other girls her age are dating and cheerleading. But then, other girls are popular. She loves the comfort of the happy ending, and knowing there will be no surprises. Until she gets the biggest surprise of all, when Prince Oliver looks out from the page and speaks to her. Now Delilah must decide: will she do as Oliver asks, and help him to break out of the book? Or is this her chance to escape into happily ever after? Read between the lines for total enchantment..."

I’ve read almost all of Jodi Picoult’s adult books over the years and have loved all of them. I’d definitely consider Jodi to be one of my very favourite authors so when I heard that she was venturing into the ever popular Young Adult market with something completely new I was excited especially with YA being my favourite genre to read. Little did I realise that this novel was co-written with debut author Samantha Van Leer who just so happens to be Jodi’s teenage daughter.

At the beginning of the book is an author’s note from Jodi explaining how this book came to be about. At the young age of fourteen Sammy came to her with an idea for a book and over a span of two years they worked on her idea together. Sammy must have inherited her mom’s talent for storytelling because the idea behind this story is a wonderful one. Despite the ever trending topic of paranormal romance in YA Sammy and Jodi have gone down a different route and have created a story that reads as part contemporary part modern day fairytale.

The book itself is about Delilah a teenage girl who instead of dating, shopping and experimenting with make-up would much rather be reading a good book (a girl after my own heart!) particularly Between the Lines a fairytale she came upon in her school library. Delilah can relate to the hero of the story Oliver in a way that she can’t with other boys her age and like Oliver understands how it feels to grow up without a dad. Delilah’s read this book countless times and knows the story by heart so one day when there’s a subtle chance that anybody else probably wouldn’t notice Delilah does and so begins an enchanting adventure about a book that is so much more than your average fairytale.

Between the Lines is told alternately between Prince Oliver who wants much more from life than what the author of his story gave to him and Delilah who feels a real connection with Oliver and so try’s to help him escape from his story into our world. In between their chapters is also the fairytale itself and some gorgeous illustrations of not only the fairytale but also of Delilah’s life in the real world too. I loved the idea behind this book of a story that’s real. A place that really has magic and our favourite characters, who have a whole life of their own outside of the story as we know it. And although I loved Delilah and Oliver’s chapters I found that the sections I most enjoyed were the chapters of the fairytale itself it was so well imagined and I know I would have loved to have read it when I was younger as a fairytale in its own right.

Overall I found Between the Lines to be an enchanting, magical read it’s a modern day fairytale that has all the wonder and excitement of the original fairytales I grew up with. This is a book with huge crossover appeal that can be enjoyed by tweens, teens and adults alike. I enjoyed the seamless combination of this mother daughter duo and hope there will be more books by both Jodi and Sammy in the future.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Letterbox Love (4)

Hi guys! Just wanted to leave a quick update on this post for those of you who’ve been wondering where I’ve got to this week. I’ve had the worst summer cold, just as the weather’s started to get really nice here in England as well! This is why I haven’t posted over the last few days. I’m starting to recover now though and although my brain still feels a bit too headachy and icky to write a coherent book review, I do feel well enough to post something so decided I’d share with you the wonderful books I’ve received this week! They certainly cheered me up and put a smile on my face when I was feeling miserable and the rest of the UK was so cheery and enjoying the sunshine, summer colds really are the worst aren’t they?

Letterbox Love is a new meme hosted by Lynsey @ Narratively Speaking for UK based book bloggers to showcase the book’s that they’ve received each week.

 Review Books

Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin (Proof Copy) I've heard nothing but great things about this book from US bloggers, this is defintely a book that is creating quite a stir in the book world already and it sounds right up my street, I have a feeling that I'm going to love this one so I'll defintely be reading this sometime over the summer!

The Reckoning by Alma Katsu I really enjoyed the first book in this series The Taker so I'm excited to get to this one soon!

Soul Fire by Kate Harrison (Proof Copy) This is the sequel to Soul Beach a book that I absolutely loved when I read it last summer, very excited to read this next instalment it will make for a thrilling beach read that's for sure!

The Vampire of Highgate by Asa Bailey This is a vampire story based on true events and is set in the UK! I do love books set in my own country so I'm looking forward to checking this one out.

Summer Nights by Allie Spencer You guys know that I love a bit of chick-lit to break up some of my YA reading especially beachy, fun, romantic, summer reads! This one looks like it's going to tick all of those boxes so I look forward to reading this over a sunny weekend in my garden.

So those were all of the wonderful books I was lucky enough to be sent for review this week. As always HUGE thank you's to the lovely publishing people who have sent me these brilliant new titles. If you’ve read or are looking forward to any of the books I got feel free to let me know what you thought about them or request reviews and such in the comments. And if you decided to do a Letterbox Love, Book Haul, IMM, Mailbox Monday or whatever else featuring the books you got this week leave me a link as I’d love to check out your books too! ^_^ Hopefully things will be back to normal next week and I can bring you some reviews for some excellent books that I've been reading lately but until then happy reading till next time folks!

Monday, 21 May 2012

Review for Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

This is the third book in the Seven Kingdoms trilogy. Although this review will contain no spoilers from Bitterblue by talking about the plot there may be unintentional spoilers from the first two books (Graceling and Fire) in the series.

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
Publisher: Gollancz
Release Date: 1st May 2012
Genre: Fantasy, Crossover, Fiction
Rating: 4/5 stars
Source: Bought

Amazon Summary:
"Eight years have passed since the young Princess Bitterblue, and her country, were saved from the vicious King Leck. Now Bitterblue is the queen of Monsea, and her land is at peace. But the influence of her father, a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities, lives on. Her advisers, who have run the country on her behalf since Leck's death, believe in a forward-thinking plan: to pardon all of those who committed terrible acts during Leck's reign; and to forget every dark event that ever happened. Monsea's past has become shrouded in mystery, and it's only when Bitterblue begins sneaking out of her castle - curious, disguised and alone - to walk the streets of her own city, that she begins to realise the truth. Her kingdom has been under the thirty-five-year long spell of a madman, and now their only chance to move forward is to revisit the past. Whatever that past holds. Two thieves, who have sworn only to steal what has already been stolen, change her life forever. They hold a key to the truth of Leck's reign. And one of them, who possesses an unidentified Grace, may also hold a key to her heart..."

Fans of Kristin Cashore’s bestsellers Graceling and Fire have been waiting for this much anticipated companion novel for years. Bitterblue has been one of my most anticipated reads for the longest time and after such a long torturous wait I had only the highest expectations, so did it meet those expectations? Eh, not as much as I hoped, but expectations aside it was still a good read.

My main beef with Bitterblue is that I was expecting more of a plot. With King Leck being dead for a good eight years now as much as I love to hate Leck and his twisted little mind I was really looking for Bitterblue to move away from that storyline but instead Leck’s ghost and terrifying grip he had over Monsea reins on and whilst that’s understandable after the horrors he put his people through it didn’t really do anything for me plot wise as it felt very much like we were covering old ground without the story moving forward. Bitterblue is a huge book coming in at five hundred and thirty nine pages and because the book is very character driven there where sections that although were great for character development didn’t really move the plot along and so I’d find myself getting bored at times. Some sections certainly could have been edited down and I found the book to be overly long and lagging in places. The revelations at the end regarding Leck’s secrets didn’t offer much in way of plot development and I felt didn’t add anything new to the story from what we already knew at the beginning. The revelations of Leck’s past seemed to be for Bitterblue’s own personal growth to become the queen she needs to be and nothing more.

That being said I could never not like this book. I fell in love with this world and these characters long ago and nothing was ever going to change that. What I loved most about this book was that it felt like I was catching up with old friends. Characters that we got to know and love in both Graceling and Fire have a part to play in this book and although Bitterblue is a companion novel and not a direct sequel to either book I would recommend reading Graceling and Fire first for the ultimate experience and a better understanding of the world and the events of the past. Along with all of our old favourites there are new characters to get to know and love too particularly Teddy, Death and Hava my personal favourites. Whilst all of our much loved characters return the most interaction we had (Bitterblue aside) was with Prince Po who is very much a main character in this book. Po has always been my favourite character in the series and I grew to love him even more in Bitterblue. In a way we get to know Bitterblue all over again too this time as a queen and young woman rather than the little girl we met in Graceling. As always the characters are warm, vibrant and fully visualised her characters are one of Kristin Cashore’s strongest attributes as a writer and I loved being able to catch up with them.

My only other complaint about the book is Bitterblue’s love interest Sapphire whilst nice enough he didn’t really stand out to me as this great love interest and was by far overshadowed by Po, a worthy book hero, and even Giddon whose relationship with Bitterblue although not romantic I much preferred over hers and Sapphire’s. Don’t get me wrong Sapphire was nice just a little ordinary and personally I felt that Bitterblue could do better.

That being said I enjoyed everything else about this book it was brilliantly written and full of characters that you fall in love with and although the plot was slower than what I was expecting and felt a little bit undeveloped for my tastes especially compared to my favourite of the series Graceling it was an interesting read never the less with ciphers, old journals and family secrets to boot. Although Bitterblue wasn’t quite the amazing book I was expecting it is still a worthy read for fans of the series.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Letterbox Love (3)

Letterbox Love is a new meme hosted by Lynsey @ Narratively Speaking for UK based book bloggers to showcase the book’s that they’ve received each week.

 Proof Copies

The Blessed by Tonya Hurley (Out 2nd August 2012, I don't know much about this one but have heard some great things!)
Blackwood by Gwenda Bond (Out 6th September 2012, Yay for the first Strange Chemistry proofs a new YA publisher! 114 people mysteriously disappear on Roanoke Island two teens may be the key to bringing them back )
Shift by Kim Curran (Out 6th September 2012, ditto on the Strange Chemistry! This one's about a boy who can undo any decision he's ever made but there are consequences sounds very The Butterfly Effecty a film that I love so excited to get round to this!)

 Finished Copies

Emma Hearts LA by Keris Stainton (I read a proof of this last weekend and absolutely loved it, was only talking about the pretty foiled finished copy with Keris and some blogger buddies when one arrived in the mail, so pretty!)
The Selection by Kiera Cass (Two of my favourite colours, a pretty dress, and a dystopian style The Bachelor? This has my name written all over it!)
Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson (Was SO excited when this dropped through my letterbox I LOVED Amy and Roger and our UK cover is so fun and funky and eye catching! I'm on the blog tour for this which you can find more info on in the sidebar :-) Can't wait to get to this one!)
Unravelling by Elizabeth Norris (I've heard some amazing things for this book from US bloggers so excited that were publishing in the UK! Am excited to get to this one soon y'all know how I love me my dystopians!)

I wasn't planning on doing a Letterbox Love this week as I only do them every other week but I got so many good books that I just couldn't wait till next week to share with you guys! As always HUGE thank you's to the lovely publishing people who have sent me these books this week, once again I got so, so lucky and I'm really grateful. If you’ve read or are looking forward to any of the books I got feel free to let me know what you thought about them or request reviews and such in the comments. And if you decided to do a Letterbox Love, Book Haul, IMM, Mailbox Monday or whatever else featuring the books you got this week leave me a link as I’d love to check out your books too! ^_^

 Happy reading for another week everyone!

Friday, 18 May 2012

Review for Adorkable by Sarra Manning

Adorkable by Sarra Manning 
Publisher: Atom
Release Date: 24th May 2012
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 5/5 stars
Source: Received from the publisher for review

Amazon Summary:
"Jeane Smith's a blogger, a dreamer, a dare-to-dreamer, jumble sale queen, CEO of her own lifestyle brand and has half a million followers on Twitter. Michael Lee's a star of school, stage and playing field. A golden boy in a Jack Wills hoodie. They have nothing in common but a pair of cheating exes. So why can't they stop snogging?"

I’ve been a fan of Sarra Manning’s books since I was a teen myself but I think that Adorkable has to be my favourite of her books yet. This book was always going to be a winner for me, I consider myself to be a dork and nerds are my very favourite kind of people, plus the fact that Jeane runs her own blog where she talks about dorky things and considers the people she meets online to be real friends. As a book blogger, self-proclaimed dork and long term fan of Sarra Manning this book might as well of had my name written all over it, throw in a hot mixed race boy and I was putty in Sarra Manning’s hands from the start.

I can’t begin to tell you how refreshing it was to have a heroine like Jeane Smith. Jeane may consider herself a dork but to me she’s the epiphany of cool. I know people like Jeane, my friends are like Jeane, heck I even have a bit of Jeaneness in me too and I found her so relatable. At last comes a heroine who is neither perfect nor as limp as a lettuce leaf. Whilst Jeane is obviously awesome for running a hugely successful dork blog, having her own style, living off Haribo and not being afraid of who she is she’s also vulnerable, in your face, opinionated, and wrong about so many things namely being that unless you’re a dork and wear your dorkyness like a badge of honour then your boring and predictable and not worth knowing. Enter Michael the perfect popular golden boy who Jeane can’t stand and believes she has nothing in common with who softens her hard exterior and teachers her not to put a label on people, that people can surprise you, that everyone has a little dork in them somewhere.

Michael and Jeane have to be my new favourite book couple. They’re just so unlikely and so oddly matched and yet it totally works. They have a real love/hate relationship and the heat from their arguments, make up sessions and chemistry between them practically sizzles off the pages. I loved watching them go from being friends with benefits to so much more. “Wait a minute, back up, did you say friends with benefits!?!?” I hear you cry, why yes, yes I did my friends because Sarra Manning is not afraid to bring the sexytimes! And get this, they *le gasp!* aren’t even boyfriend and girlfriend, I know. I can’t tell you how liberating it is to read a YA book where the author doesn’t build up sex to be this great big deal. Her characters are young and legal and so they have safe sex which is totally okay. It’s so refreshing to read a YA book where the characters actually hook up like the majority of teens would in their situation and I loved that Sarra Manning doesn’t brief over the sexytimes either but gives us all the juicy details without being overly graphic. I love when authors are cool enough to respect that their readers are mature enough to read about this stuff and Sarra Manning handles the sex scenes tastefully, honestly and appropriately something I had the utmost respect for.

Adorkable really ticked all the right boxes for me it was funny, sexy, smart and charming with a plot that is current and relatable to a YA audience and a hot and hugely swoonworthy book boy and a heroine that whilst is awesome is by no means perfect. I loved the moral to this story about being comfortable in your own skin, not judging a book by its cover, and learning that people come in all kinds of shades of awesome not just dork kind. I loved, loved, loved this book and can’t sing its praises enough.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Review for A Walk in the Park by Jill Mansell

A Walk in the Park by Jill Mansell 
Publisher: Headline Review
Release Date: 16th February 2012
Genre: Chick-lit, Women’s Fiction, Adult Fiction, Romance, Families
Rating: 4/5 stars
Source: Received from the publisher for review

Amazon Summary:
"It's been a while, but Lara Carson's back in Bath and lives are set to change as a result. Because Lara left her family and boyfriend Flynn eighteen years ago without a word to anyone. Why has no one heard from her since? Her childhood best friend Evie is thrilled Lara's back and able to share her happiness. Evie's about to walk down the aisle with her dream man, Joel. Or so she thinks... Then there's Flynn Erskine, even more attractive now and stunned to see Lara again. The spark between them is as strong as ever, but how's Flynn going to react when he discovers the secret she's been keeping from him? Oh yes, there's a lot of catching up to be done..."

After only discovering Jill Mansell last year with the wonderful To the Moon and Back I’m definitely a newbie fan of her books but she’s already fast becoming one of my favourite chick-lit writers. A Walk in the Park is Jill’s twenty third novel a huge landmark and testament to how beloved Jill Mansell is as an author. She truly is a chick-lit legend and after reading three of her books (To the Moon and Back, An Offer You Can’t Refuse, and now A Walk in the Park) I can certainly see why she’s such a popular author.

What I love most about Jill’s books is that they appeal to women of all ages. There are always a range of heart-warming characters of different ages and personalities which means that there’s always a character you can connect with and a little something for everyone. I enjoy Mansell’s books as a twenty two year old as do my mum and nan, and I think that has something to do with Jill’s success over the years. She has this way of catering to everyone both younger women discovering her books for the first time and old fans who have been reading her books for years. A Walk in the Park is no different with the book following a variety of wonderful characters from Lara and her friend Evie to Lara’s teenage daughter Gigi not to mention the lovely secondary characters Harry and Flynn to name a few. Jill’s books are always full of characters you can’t help but want the best for and I love how likeable and relatable her characters are. In this book I particularly loved Harry- oh if only all men were a little bit more like Harry!

The book is made up of many themes the most prominent being the relationship between fathers and daughters, and how there’s a lot more than meets the eye when it comes to people and relationships. It has a moral of not taking things at face value and shows that no relationship is as straight forward as it seems. This book has a little bit of everything from romance, to family drama, to mysteries, to friendship. I became so involved with all of the different characters and I particularly liked Lara’s story as she uncovers old family secrets and tries not to repeat her mother’s mistakes. A Walk in the Park has a lot of veiled mystery and I found the twists and turns made this book a real page turner.

Once again Jill Mansell is on the money with this one. There’s not a lot that I can say that’s not in the synopsis that wouldn’t spoil the book so all you need to know is that this book ticks all the boxes and is a good all round solid read with some of the loveliest characters I’ve had the pleasure to read about. Reading a Jill Mansell book is pure escapism at its best and I would thoroughly recommend this latest offering to old Jill fans and newbies alike.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Letterbox Love (2)

Letterbox Love is a new meme hosted by Lynsey @ Narratively Speaking for UK based book bloggers to showcase the book’s that they’ve received each week.

Review Books

The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda (does anyone else think that the boy on the UK cover is ridiculously fine? *drools on book*)
Changeling by Philippa Gregory
Unwholly by Neal Shusterman (US ARC)
Emma Hearts LA by Keris Stainton (Proof copy, reading this next, yay!)
Life Eternal by Yvonne Woon
Shine by Jeri Smith-Ready (I need to read the first two books, are they good? Should I get on that? Lemme know!)


City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare (*Flails!* I'm sure THIS is happening on a lot of book hauls this week have you read it yet? Did you love it? Let me know! But NO SPOILERS please people! This is coming up soon on my reading pile, can't wait!!!)

So that’s all the activity I've had in my letterbox over the past two weeks!*snorts at how dirty that sounds* Big thank you’s to all of the lovely publishing people who have sent me review books (particularly to Simon and Schuster for four of these bad boys! You guys rock!) and to my poor postman for lugging them all to me, poor guy *looks sheepish* if you’ve read or are looking forward to any of the books I got feel free to let me know what you thought about them or request reviews and such in the comments. And if you decided to do a Letterbox Love, Book Haul, IMM, Mailbox Monday or whatever else featuring the books you got this week leave me a link as I’d love to check out your books too! ^_^

 Happy reading for another week everyone!

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Review for 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad

172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad
Publisher: Atom
Release Date: 5th April 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi, Dystopian, Horror, Thriller
Rating: 4/5 stars
Source: Received from the publisher for review

Amazon Summary:
"Three teenagers are going on the trip of a lifetime. Only one is coming back. It's been more than forty years since NASA sent the first men to the moon, and to grab some much-needed funding and attention, they decide to launch an historic international lottery in which three lucky teenagers can win a week-long trip to moon base DARLAH 2-a place that no one but top government officials even knew existed until now. The three winners, Antoine, Midori, and Mia, come from all over the world. But just before the scheduled launch, the teenagers each experience strange, inexplicable events. Little do they know that there was a reason NASA never sent anyone back there until now-a sinister reason. But the countdown has already begun..."

Despite 172 Hours on the Moon being a futuristic novel instead of being set way in the future like other books in the ever popular dystopian genre this book begins in 2010 with NASA setting in motion plans for a huge global event with three teenagers from around the world being sent on a life changing trip to the moon in 2019 to spark an interest in space in a younger generation and to attract media attention for publicity and much needed funding. And so jumping ahead to the year 2018 a global lottery is held and three lucky teens Mia, Antoine, and Midori are chosen to be the youngest people ever to venture into space after a years worth of training with NASA marking a historic and life changing event.

However there’s a reason why nobody has been sent back to the moon before now. Something evil and destructive awaits them that has the potential to change life as we know it. As soon as they land strange and increasingly disturbing situations start taking place and so begins one of the most terrifying books in YA. On a fight for their lives and a race against time the groups only chance of survival is to get off this planet. In a group of eight with five trained astronauts, and three teenagers only one will make it back to earth alive…

This book was a total thrill ride of a read that read like part sci-fi part horror story. Imagine being stranded on the moon so far from home with people who are barely more than strangers with dwindling oxygen and supplies and worst of all an evil and horrifying presence determined that you’ll never make it home? Yeah pretty scary stuff! I was so gripped by this book and needed to know what on earth (or should I say moon?) was going on and what would happen next so badly that it was a total case of thinking “okay just one more chapter” “okay just one more” after that to looking up and realising hours had gone by this book was that terrifying, exciting, thrilling and claustrophobic to read.

The book has an alternating narrative told between the three teen winners Mia, Antoine and Midori and occasionally other secondary characters in the book like the astronauts and perhaps most interestingly of all an old man in a retirement home who used to work for NASA and seems to know the horrors of what’s awaiting the group on the moon. The book begins a whole year before the launch with the teens entering this lottery and going into their different reasons for entering. There’s a lot of story before the space journey even begins where you get to know the characters personalities and lives on earth and then their reactions to winning the trip and intensive training with NASA in preparation for a week in space. Although not as action orientated and compulsive as the second half of this book I still really enjoyed learning about the reasons behind them wanting to leave earth and the training and science that goes into a journey such as this one. I also really enjoyed the pictures throughout documenting the trip. It really gives you more of an idea what the group are experiencing which really added to the book.

This book has an insane ending that left me wanting more. I would love it if there was a sequel but in a way it makes a good, if terrifying ending if it’s a standalone too. 172 Hours on the Moon is very different to anything else I’ve ever read before and despite the overflowing genre of dystopians it still brings something fresh and unique to the table. I thoroughly enjoyed this breakneck journey into space although a word of warning: if you haven’t got the time don’t start this book because it will take over your life and I mean that in the best possible way.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Review for Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Publisher: Orchard
Release Date: 5th July 2012 (UK)
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance, Ghost Story
Rating: 4/5 stars
Source: Received from the publisher for review

Amazon Summary:
"Cas Lowood is no ordinary guy - he hunts dead people. People like Anna. Anna Dressed in Blood. A beautiful, murderous ghost entangled in curses and rage. Cas knows he must destroy her, but as her tragic past is revealed, he starts to understand why Anna has killed everyone who's ever dared to enter her spooky home. Everyone, that is, except Cas..."

Anna Dressed in Blood is a book that I’ve heard a lot of hype for especially in the US and I can certainly see why! This has to be one of the best YA ghost stories that I’ve read. I absolutely loved the idea of this book and was immersed in Cas’s world as a ghost hunter from the start. The concept behind the existence of these ghosts and how to “kill” them was brilliant, with the ghost replaying their last moments over to you (and they’re usually pretty gruesome!) and then killing the living in the same way that they died in a vengeful fury made for creeptastic gold.

The book kicks off with Cas getting a call to investigate a particularly terrifying and unusual ghost Anna Dressed in Blood a girl who acts as protector of her old house from 1958 and who literally tears apart limb by limb any person who dares enter her home, her dress once white now dripping red with blood. No one who has entered that house has ever came out but after a horrendous prank gone wrong Cas miraculously manages to escape Anna’s curse of rage and murder and what’s more Anna willingly lets him go free and so begins an unputdownable read of evil and tragedy, of magic and murder and a moving love story between a living boy and a dead girl.

There are three different plots running alongside each other in this book. One about Cas and how he came into the job of resident ghost hunter, another about Anna and what she went through when she was alive that made her into this awful ghost that’s so different and so much stronger than any other that Cas has come across, and then there’s the magical aspect of the book which focuses on curses and voodoo and how they play a big part in the story. Blake isn’t afraid to go full out on the blood and gore and there was always something interesting and exciting going on so that my adrenaline was pumping right till the end.

Whilst this book is chilling and haunting it’s also funny and romantic too. I loved having a bad ass male protagonist who lightened the mood with his witty and snarky comments on many occasions and I loved the unlikely common ground and companionship he found with Anna, who when she’s not ripping people to shreds is actually a very nice girl. I also liked the friends they made along the way Carmel your typical popular girl who actually turns out to be pretty tough and awesome and Thomas a newbie witch in training. The characters personalities put a fun light hearted spin on a chilling ghost story and I loved that unexpected element that lightened the book up when it needed it.

The only complaint I have is with the lack of explanation regarding some areas of the book. The ending was a bit of a disappointment for me in that respect as I hardly got any answers to my burning questions and while I get that the author did that to get us pumped for the sequel I would of liked a little something more to leave me satisfied with the end to this book and to make it feel like a completed novel in its own right.

Overall Anna Dressed in Blood is an amazing and original addition to the YA genre and is as beautiful as it is haunting. If you like your books action packed and your romances deliciously twisted this is your perfect read.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Giveaway for The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

As part of the UK blog tour to celebrate The Immortal Rules I will be giving away a copy of the book to one UK winner I really loved this book and am excited to be giving it away! For more information on the book or to find out what I thought you can read my full review here.

Amazon Synopsis:
"My Vampire Creator Told Me This: Sometime in your life, Allison Sekemoto, you will kill a human being. The question is not if it will happen, but when. Do you understand? I didn't then, not really. I DO NOW. In a future world, vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity. Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten. Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who killed her mother and keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked - and given the ultimate choice. Die...or become one of the monsters. Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must work with her vampire creator and learn the rules of being immortal. Including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad. When Allison is separated from her creator, she flees into the unknown, the world outside her vampire city, beyond the wall. There she joins a ragged band of humans who don't know what she is, seeking a legend - a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike."

To enter please fill in the Rafflecopter bellow.
Open to UK residents only.
End date: Wednesday 16th May 2012
Winner will be contacted by email and will have 1 week to reply else another winner will be selected.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Review for Welcome to Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop of Dreams by Jenny Colgan

Welcome to Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop of Dreams by Jenny Colgan
Publisher: Sphere
Release Date: 29th March 2012
Genre: Chick-lit, Romance, Adult Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Source: Bought

Amazon Summary:
"Were you a sherbet lemon or chocolate lime fan? Penny chews or hard boiled sweeties (you do get more for your money that way)? The jangle of your pocket money . . . the rustle of the pink and green striped paper bag . . . Rosie Hopkins thinks leaving her busy London life, and her boyfriend Gerard, to sort out her elderly Aunt Lilian's sweetshop in a small country village is going to be dull. Boy, is she wrong. Lilian Hopkins has spent her life running Lipton's sweetshop, through wartime and family feuds. As she struggles with the idea that it might finally be time to settle up, she also wrestles with the secret history hidden behind the jars of beautifully coloured sweets. Welcome to Rosie Hopkins' Sweetshop of Dreams - a novel - with recipes."

Welcome to Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop of Dreams was my first book by Jenny Colgan and I absolutely loved it! Her last two books have really appealed to me what with being a real foodie, and her pretty charming covers have really caught my eye. I think the concept of having a chick-lit novel intermingled with a delicious treat, in this case old fashioned sweets, is a bit of a genius idea as it really gives the sense that your indulging in something naughty but nice and it’s refreshing to see a chick-lit novel that celebrates the joys of sweets instead of the heroine counting the calories and going on a diet in a bid to lose weight.

The book begins with our loveable heroine Rosie living out a pretty mundane existence. She’s in a steady relationship and has a good job in a city that she loves. Rosie’s always been a true Londoner and has never known anything else but the hustle and bustle of city life. So when she gets a call from her mum pulling in a family favour asking her to go and care for her Great Aunt Lilian in the countryside Rosie’s not at all thrilled. But as she gets settled in and swept up in the gorgeous quaint country village of Lipton Rosie not only finds herself falling in love with this way of life and her aunt’s old fashioned sweetshop but the people too particularly three strapping countrymen a doctor, his patient, and the local handy man who are a far cry from her high maintenance boyfriend back in London. Soon enough Rosie has some big decisions to make, return to the life she’s always known? Or take a leap of faith into something new? And if she does take the plunge which local lads arms will she be falling into?

The story’s told in an alternating narrative between Rosie and her Aunt Lilian. Rosie’s chapters are told in present tense as she refurbishes Lipton’s Sweetshop and Lilian’s are told in the past tense taking us back as far as 1942 when she was a young lass running her family’s sweetshop through war, heartbreak, and family feuds. I have to admit that I did prefer Rosie’s chapters simply because I found her more relatable than Lilian. But that being said Lilian’s chapters where fascinating to read about and gave a little something extra to the story especially as we come to learn of Lilian’s mistakes and regrets and how they start to mirror Rosie’s own situation. There’s a strong moral of living with no regrets, of taking what you want from life, and learning from past mistakes.

I absolutely fell in love with the Hopkins’ Sweetshop. The way that Jenny Colgan describes the sweets and scenery was so vivid that my mouth would water as I imagined the sweet sugary scent which made me nostalgic (not to mention hungry!) for the sweets I enjoyed as a child. Chocolate Limes, Flying Saucers, and great big thick slabs of creamy Fudge they’re all here and celebrated in this book. I particularly enjoyed the sections on sweets taken from Lilian’s recipe book at the beginning of every chapter particularly the one about life being like a bag of Revels rather than a box of chocolates!

Overall Welcome to Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop of Dreams is a charming and delicious treat of a book for foodies and chick-lit fans alike. The blend of sweet nostalgia, warm characters, and yummy men make it a book good enough to be eaten up in one single satisfying bite.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

April Round-Up and Book of the Month!

April's BotM is Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Well this should come as no surprise right? The blogosphere is absolutely heaving with rave reviews for this book at the moment and mine was no exception. I love this series and Insurgent was possibly the strongest sequel that I’ve ever read, period. If you loved Divergent I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with this sequel and if you haven’t read Divergent yet are you crazy? Go read it/buy it right now! This was the first 5 star that I’ve given in a long time and my books don’t get their 5 stars unless they are perfection so that alone should give you an idea of why this book was my favourite book read in April. For more on either Divergent or Insurgent click on their titles and it will take you to my full reviews.

Books Read in April
27.) 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad (4*)
28.) Fateful by Claudia Gray (3.5*)
29.) The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa (4.5*)
30.) Heart-Shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne (4.5*)
31.) Welcome to Rosie Hopkins’ Sweet Shop of Dreams by Jenny Colgan (4.5*)
32.) Insurgent by Veronica Roth (5*)
33.) Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer (4*)
34.) Unrest by Michelle Harrison (5*)
Total Books Read = 8 

This Month’s Book Awards
Best Plot: Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Best Writing: Heart-Shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne
Best Cover: Welcome to Rosie Hopkins’s Sweet Shop of Dreams by Jenny Colgan
Best Characters: Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Best Ending: Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Best Romance: Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Most un-put-down-able: Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Most Memorable: Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Best Moral: Heart-Shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne

Top 3 Most Recommended Books: Insurgent, Unrest, Heart-Shaped Bruise

Books I’m Looking Forward to Being Released in May:
City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare (x1000!!!)
Until I Die by Amy Plum
Life Eternal by Yvonne Woon
The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda
The Charm Bracelet by Melissa Hill
(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? Do you want to see a particular review for any of the books I’ve read this month sooner rather than later? Leave me a comment and let me know and don’t forget to treat yourselves to Insurgent (or Divergent if you haven’t read the first book) – you won’t regret it! Here’s to another month of fab reading ahead!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Review for Insurgent by Veronica Roth

This is the second book in the Divergent Trilogy. Although this review will contain no big spoilers from Insurgent by talking about the plot there may be unintentional spoilers from the first book in the series. You can find my review for the first book Divergent here.

Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: 1st May 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Romance
Rating: 5/5 stars
Source: Received from the publisher for review

Amazon Summary:
"Fighting for survival in a shattered world… the truth is her only hope. The thrillingly dark sequel to New York Times bestseller, DIVERGENT. I have done bad things. I can’t take them back, and they are part of who I am. Tris has survived a brutal attack on her former home and family. But she has paid a terrible price. Wracked by grief and guilt, she becomes ever more reckless as she struggles to accept her new future. Yet if Tris wants to uncover the truth about her world, she must be stronger than ever… because more shocking choices and sacrifices lie ahead."

Insurgent is the kind of sequel I’ve always dreamt of reading. Y’know when you read a really fabulous debut and you’re left dying to read the next book only for it to be kinda disappointing compared to the first? Well Insurgent isn’t like that AT ALL. Firstly there is NO love triangle something that is so overdone in YA fiction and tends to develop in the second book in a series. Secondly, like Divergent, Insurgent reads like a fully accomplished novel that is, whilst part of a series, a complete well rounded book in its own right. And lastly it answers ALL OF THE QUESTIONS fans have been dying to know and the answers breed new questions for the next book. In short it’s not the same plot repeated all over again or just one long dragged out premise. I think Insurgent has to be one of the strongest sequels I’ve ever read and I loved it even more than Divergent.

The book jumps in right where Divergent left off with no re-caps so if it’s been a while since you read Divergent you might want to fit in a re-read before picking up this book if your memory needs refreshing. Insurgent takes off at break neck speed when Tris, Tobias, Peter, Marcus and Caleb arrive at Amity headquarters seeking refuge from the war that is unfolding between the other factions. In Insurgent you really get to know each faction better as throughout the book Tris spends time in each one, you also learn more about the factionless and their way of life which I found really interesting as Veronica Roth’s factions are something completely different to other societies in dystopian fiction. All of the big questions get answered in this book like why Erudite are interested in the Divergent? Why the attack on Abnegation at the end of the first book took place? And perhaps biggest of all how the world came to be this way with each person being assigned to a faction in the first place?

As mentioned earlier this book doesn’t have a love triangle something I personally found hugely refreshing. Instead Tris and Tobias have their own ups and downs I wasn’t sure how I felt about this at first as no one wants to see one of their favourite couples arguing but as I read on it made their relationship feel that much more real to me and overall I believe made them even stronger as a couple.

Tris is a very different Tris to the one we met in Divergent. Whilst still being a total bad ass we see a softer side to her in this book. Tris’s grief over losing her parents and guilt over the death of her friend Will really takes its toll on her and she’s a little bit more fragile and vulnerable than she was before. I really liked this different side to Tris I thought it gave her more dimension as a character and I enjoyed watching her grow and find a new kind of strength. Despite everything she’s been through she’s still a total trooper and I had a new found respect for her because of that.

I won’t go into any spoilers on the ending of this book so all I will say is that my jaw literally dropped. The ending to this book blew my mind and I LOVE the direction that Veronica Roth has taken this series. Its genius and sad and terrifying and is different to anything else in the dystopian market. When I read the last word I just sat there mouth hanging open thinking about what this means and what might be to come. I don’t think that fans of Divergent could ever be disappointed with such a strong sequel; I loved everything about Insurgent and will anxiously be awaiting the next book to this series.

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