Hi, I’m Jess, a twenty-something Hufflepuff, Feminist and animal lover who lives in the middle of England. I love reading, writing, Netflix and anything Disney. I’m a Freelance Editor who blogs and aspires to one day (maybe) be an author. Jess Hearts Books was nominated for the UKYABA Blogger of the Year award in 2016.
Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry Publisher: Mira Ink Release Date: 3rd August 2012 Genre: YA, Contemporary Rating: 5/5 stars Source: Received from the publisher for review
"They say be a good girl, get good grades, be popular. They know nothing about me. I can't remember the night that changed my life. The night I went from popular to loner freak. And my family are determined to keep it that way. They said therapy was supposed to help. They didn't expect Noah. Noah is the dangerous boy my parents warned me about. But the only one who'll listen. The only one who'll help me find the truth. I know every kiss, every promise, every touch is forbidden. But what if finding your destiny means breaking all the rules? A brave and powerful novel about loss, change and growing up, but most of all love."
I was really looking forward to reading Pushing the Limits but for some reason despite the praise it’s received from amazing authors and bloggers I love, I wasn’t expecting to love it quite as much as I did. I went into this book expecting to enjoy it, but I wasn’t expecting it to make me cry or to capture my heart.
I think the reason I loved Pushing the Limits so much is that I could relate to both of our main characters. Off topic, but relevant to this review all the same, I have scars on my arm that I got from a partner in an abusive relationship. Although there are only two of them and are not all over my arms like Echo’s and although Echo got hers from her mother not an abusive boyfriend, I’ve still experienced some of what she goes through. From the judgmental stares of people jumping to conclusions and suspecting self-harm because of where they are, to those sweltering summers spent in long sleeved clothes to cover them up. I understood completely not only Echo’s body image issues with her scars, but the feeling of somebody who you love and trust intentionally hurting you and the changes you go through as a person when something like that happens to you.
As well as the book being narrated by Echo it’s also narrated by Noah in alternating chapters. Like Echo, Noah has a whole lot of issues that no young person should have to deal with but the most prominent to his story is being separated from his two little brothers who are in foster care. Although nothing like this has happened to me personally I have a family member who has and so I know how messy, emotional, and complicated that whole situation is for everybody involved. The scenes with Noah and his little brothers never failed to bring a tear to my eye and touch my heart.
Although my experiences are vastly different to the characters in this book the feelings behind them weren’t all that different at all and so I connected with Noah and Echo in a rare and special way. I understood them and had empathy for their situations and really wanted the best for them both. My emotions were totally invested in this book and so I really connected with it and can see it holding a special place in my heart for years to come.
The romance in Pushing the Limits is hot, hot, hot! I’m not surprised that this book is blurbed by Simone Elkeles - one of my favourite authors, because the writing style and relationship between Echo and Noah reminded me of the Perfect Chemistry series. Noah could very well be a secret fourth Fuentes brother! Don’t get me wrong though Pushing the Limits is in no way a copycat and is unique in its own right, but if you’re a fan of Simone Elkeles then you’re going to love Katie McGarry!
Pushing the Limits has a great cast of characters who I feel in love with. Noah is a bad boy with a soft side that is brought out by his love for his brothers and Echo. Echo is feisty, smart and I admired her courage, as the book goes on she gets stronger and stronger and I respected her for facing her fears head on. There are so many great secondary characters too like Mrs Collins, Noah’s foster siblings and his little brothers.
I adored everything about this book and think it’s an amazing debut. It’s definitely one of my favourite contemps of 2012 and I already can’t wait for Dare You To a companion novel to Pushing the Limits to come out! Highly recommend to fans of hard hitting, edgy, contemporary and to anyone who loves a smouldering, sexy, consuming love story to boot!
My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick Publisher: Dial Books Release Date: 14th June 2012 Genre: YA, Contemporary, Summer, Romance, Family Rating: 4.5/5 stars Source: Bought
"A gorgeous debut about family, friendship, first romance, and how to be true to one person you love without betraying another
“One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts. All the time.”
The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them...until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs her terrace and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love, Jase's family makes Samantha one of their own. Then in an instant, the bottom drops out of her world and she is suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?
A dreamy summer read, full of characters who stay with you long after the story is over"
My Life Next Door is one of my favourite contemporary’s that I’ve read so far this summer and is a strong debut novel. I loved that this book instead of focusing on just one topic tackles lots of little ones the ones that pretty much every girl goes through as she grows up. My Life Next Door was a bundle of bittersweet learning curves all mixed in to one long hot summer.
Samantha is a heroine with a lot going on. Despite coming from a wealthy family with a mom working in politics, Samantha doesn’t take money for granted and is juggling several jobs this summer all whilst trying to support a friend with alcohol and drug addictions, her best friend whose growing increasingly more distant, and no one being around at home lately with her older sister making plans for the summer with her boyfriend and her single mother spending more and more time at work. During those first few lonely summer evenings Samantha watches from her roof her next door neighbours the Garrett family a noisy, messy and affectionate brood of eight ranging from all different ages and personalities, and their parents Mr and Mrs Garrett who are still very much in love. Samantha longs to be one of them as they are so different to her own family, and then one evening Jase Garrett climbs up to join her on her rooftop perch and through their budding summer romance introduces her to his charming if chaotic world.
The Garrett family completely stole the show in this book. Every single one of them has a distinct personality that’s different from their siblings and like Samantha I felt welcomed into their home and quickly became part of the family. The Garrett’s are the complete opposite to Samantha’s family, the house is lived in and although their not wealthy in money they are wealthy in love and I think that’s why Samantha’s initially so drawn to them. I loved the different personalities and closeness to this vibrant family and especially loved little George who is pretty much the cutest kid ever!
Jase and Samantha have the sweetest summer romance, the kind that every girl dreams of having, and I adored them both as characters. Samantha’s a really kind, generous, hardworking, girl who despite her privileged upbringing isn’t afraid of getting her hands dirty and is always willing to help others out and would much rather have her mom around more than the materialistic things that her mother’s job means they can afford. Jase was the ultimate boy next door sweet, kind, affectionate nothing is ever too much trouble for him and the way he respected and helped his parents and would be so loving and playful with his younger siblings really melted my heart. Jase is perfect first boyfriend material and his and Samantha’s relationship was such an accurate take on first love.
I absolutely loved everything about this book and think that if you love summer contemporary’s My Life Next Door needs to be on your reading pile this summer. Because this book covers a range of topics there’s something to offer everyone, it has the sweetest romance, loveable characters and the timeless moral of standing up for yourself even if it means standing against someone you love. I couldn’t get enough of the Garrett’s and this gorgeous summer romance and you won’t be able to either!
On The Island by Tracey Garvis Graves Publisher: Penguin Release Date: 16th August 2012 Genre: Fiction, Adult, Romance, Survival Rating: 4/5 stars Source: Received from the publisher for review
"It would always be summer on the island...
When thirty-year-old English teacher Anna Emerson is offered a summer job tutoring T.J. Callahan at his family's holiday home in the Maldives, she accepts without hesitation: a tropical island beats the library any day.
T.J. has no desire to leave town, not that anyone asked him. He's almost seventeen and if having had cancer wasn't bad enough, he now has to spend his first summer in remission with his family instead of his friends.
Anna and T.J. are en route to join T.J.'s family in the Maldives when the pilot of their seaplane suffers a fatal heart attack and crash-lands in the Indian Ocean. Marooned on an uninhabited island, Anna and T.J. work together to obtain water, food, fire and shelter but, as the days turn to weeks then months and finally years, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man..."
I have to admit that when this book came through my letterbox I hadn’t heard of it before and wasn’t sure if it was going to be my cup of tea. On the proof copy it talks about the book being hugely successful in the US with 5 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and film rights already sold so I decided to look online at some reviews and the hype that I found for this book overseas was staggering and convinced me that I needed to give this book a go.
I started reading On the Island that very same day and within only a few short chapters I could see what all the fuss was about. This book was totally gripping, I found myself reading late into the night, and was fitting in a few more pages whenever I could. I’m a sucker for a good love story and this book delivered that in a unique and original way.
The circumstances behind the book forces two people together who under normal circumstances most likely would never have gotten together. But life on a deserted island creates a situation like no other that not only brings TJ and Anna together but also creates an unshakeable bond between them. Although at its heart this book is a romance it’s also so much more than that. It’s a story of survival and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough as I went through the highs and lows of island life with Anna and TJ.
What initially put me off reading this novel was the age different between Anna and TJ and that the book begins with Anna being his teacher. I have to admit that I was worried that their relationship would feel wrong to me and the uninhabited island too farfetched a plot but it was so brilliantly done. Every step of their journey on the island and in their growing relationship felt so natural and right and was so well developed and believable that I quickly fell in love with TJ and Anna and the new home and lives they build together on the island.
On the Island is one of those books that totally transports you to the books setting and so I felt all of the feelings that the characters felt. I would feel desperate when one of them got sick or if it hadn’t rained that day and they didn’t have enough water. And I’d rejoice with Anna and TJ on days when they’d catch food or when something useful would wash up on the shore. This book was a rollercoaster of emotion and the uncertainty to if they’d ever be rescued or even survive made this book a total page turner.
Ultimately On the Island was an excellent surprise that I’m so glad I gave a chance. If you’re looking for a gorgeous romance with all the intensity and uncertainty of a thriller, or are just generally after something a little bit different and gripping for your holidays this summer On the Island comes with a high recommendation from me.
Own a Kindle? You can snatch this book up NOW on Amazon for only £2.99! Download your copy here.
Letterbox Love is a new meme hosted by Lynsey @ Narratively Speaking for UK based book bloggers to showcase the books that they’ve received each week.
These are the books I received over the past two weeks, there are quite a lot of them so I decided now would be a good time to do my very first vlog so I could talk about them a little bit more, I know the quality's not very good but bare with me as I'm still learning and getting the hang of this vlogging thing! I'd love to know whether you prefer a vlog or my usual pictures so let me know! :)
For more information on the books featured click on the title of each book and it will take you to the books Goodreads page for a full description and so you can add it to your wishlists!
I hope you like my first video! Happy reading till next time guys!
Congratulations guys! An email has been sent to both of you to confirm your win! Big thank you's to everybody who entered and supported these giveaways and to those who sent me lovely blogoversary wishes - they were very much appreciated! Here’s to a third year here on Jess Hearts Books and until next time happy reading! :)
Reading Snacks: None, it was back to normal for me on Wednesday so no yummy snacks! :|
Non Reading Activity: Again no fun activities! When I wasn't busy I was cramming in as much reading time as possible on this last day.
Thoughts: Read, read and read!
That's a Wrap!
What I Read: (In order) Hunting Lila, Heist Society, Uncommon Criminals and Losing Lila Total Pages Read: 1283 Challenges I Participated In:The Cover Challenge and Bookish Fight Favourite Book Read: Probably Losing Lila it was so gripping! Final Thoughts: With this being my first readathon I wasn't sure what to expect, or how much I'd get read, so I was really happy to reach my overall goal of two books when I was only half way through the readathon and even happier when I upped my target to 4 books and finished my fourth book two hours before midnight on the final day! I'm so happy that I not only surpassed my goal but reached the new one I set myself as well. I've certainly been bitten by the readathon bug and have already signed up for another one in August! I had so much fun, probably more than I even thought I was going to, and I can't wait to do it all again with the Summer Wrap Up Read-A-Thon next month. But for now? It's over and out! *goes and lies down for a little nap*
I just wanted to take the chance to thank Lori, Angela and Candace for hosting this readathon and for all the bloggers who hosted the wonderful mini challenges, it's been a blast!
Reading Snacks: This time I went for a "mood food" snack, I was reading Uncommon Criminals so I matched it up with some mini muffins seems as they’re teen heists, smarties as all of the characters are incredibly witty and bright and a caffeine fix - hey! Even the *best* criminals need a pick me up now and then! - In my “I Solemnly Swear That I'm Up To No Good” Harry Potter mug. I think Fred and George would get along very nicely with these mischievous teens ;) AND it was yummy!
Non Reading Activity: Day two was pretty much a solid day of reading, after reaching my 2 book target already I started to get competitive with myself and thought "okay how about now we aim for FOUR books, double the stakes." So I really pushed myself yesterday. I did have a break over lunch though and caught up with the latest episode of Once Upon a Time again totally fitting for the readathon but this time it wasn't intentional - I watch this show every week! And I also updated on Twitter and took part in a mini challenge before finally crashing for a few hours of sleep!
Thoughts: The readathon is catching up with me now and today I'm feeling a little headachey, icky and tired PLUS I have a busy day ahead of me for day three. I can be quite self-competitive though and I'm determined to squeeze in one more book before it's all over or at least get a good chunk read, wish me luck! I feel like today I need that “you can do it!” boost!
As the story teller, I now want you to tell me which two characters are fighting and WHY! If you want to, you’re also more than welcome to guess the outcome. ;)
Once upon a time there was a bookish fight between Alex (Hunting Lila) and Hale (Heist Society) Jess could not decide which book boy in the two series she was reading for the readathon was hotter and whilst she was sleeping, as the books sat next to each other on her desk, they argued it out…
Alex: So I ride a motorbike
Hale: *snort* I'm a billionaire I have a freakin’ boat!
Alex: I am a bad ass lieutenant
Hale: I'm one of the best criminals in the world
Alex: My girl has cool supernatural powers
Hale: My girl has pulled off some crazy heists
*Jess wakes up for the next leg of the readathon*
Alex: You might be winning now Hale but it's MY turn for story time next, we'll see who comes out on top after the readathon! *evil cackles*
*Alex and Hale puff out chests and shake hands*
I'm looking forward to seeing who comes out on top after the readathon! Have you read either or both series? Who would win in YOUR fight?
Reading Snacks: Today’s snacks of choice were cookies and popcorn which were the perfect sugar high I needed when I started to feel sleepy in the afternoon.
Non Reading Activity: Updates on twitter and generally stalking other readathoners to see how their doing, Mondays mini challenge, searching on youtube for old readathon videos for inspiration and an episode of friends over lunch the one where Joey finds Rachel’s dirty book I found a bookish episode to be fitting for the occasion ;)
Thoughts: I wish I’d taken part in a readathon sooner! They always looked like so much fun and they really are! I’m at a really nice point at the minute where I don’t feel like I’m rushing through books or forcing myself to read I’m just sailing along and enjoying every minute! I’m doing much better than I predicted and should have my second book (reading two books being my overall goal) finished today, let’s just hope I can keep it up! But overall? We’re off to a good start people!
Seems as I'm currently in between reads (one book down, yay!) I decided I'd reward myself with some internet time whilst I'm absorbing my last read and then after dinner I'll be cracking on to book two! But seems as I'm online I thought I'd do todays mini challenge hosted over on http://ibbookblogging.net/
What is your favorite cover that has been revealed this summer and why? Post a link or picture of the cover if you want.
Oh so many gorgeous covers! But I'd have to say my recent favourite is Everbound (Everneath #2) by Brodi Ashton. I just love everything about it! I have some serious hair envy going on with the model - such big, glossy, bouncy, curls! I love how her dress swirls off into a smoke-like mist and the dark smoke gathering around her gives this book such a dark and sultry feel. I loved the first book Everneath and I can't wait to see what happens next in Everbound!
Do you rely on the cover to help you choose whether you want to read a book or not?
A lot of factors go into me deciding on whether I want to read the book before the cover like reviews from blogger friends, online hype, whether it sounds like something I'd enjoy, the synopsis etc. But if I’m in a bookshop browsing does a pretty cover catch my eye? Certainly! If the covers a bit naff and the e-books way cheaper then I'll end up buying the e-book, if the covers gorgeous and will look amazing on my bookshelf then I'm willing to pay the extra money for it!
Are you taking part in the Once Upon a Read-a-Thon? How’s it going so far? Stay tuned for more updates and bookish fun from me and if you’re not taking part but want to let me know what you think of the cover for Everbound or your favourite cover reveal so far this summer feel free to leave a comment!
Like what I did there? I'm such a poet! So some of you may know that I’ve signed up to take part in my first ever read a thon! Once Upon a Read-a-Thon is hosted by Lori at Pure Imagination, Angela at Reading Angel and Candace at Candace's Book Blog and you can find out more about it by clicking on the image.
The books I want to read over the three days are…
Hunting Lila and Losing Lila by Sarah Alderson Heist Society and Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter Kindle Books
Hunting Lila and Heist Society are both books that I *had* to have as soon as they came out but got pushed aside for review copies. Since I recently got both books sequels for review I wanted to take the read a thon as an opportunity to read these fab books! I’m a fairly average reader neither fast nor slow so I in no way think I’ll read all of these in three days. On an average week I’d probably read one book in three days so my goal is to read two books or more if I can manage it! I’ve added my Kindle as an option as I find reading on it less strenuous on my eyes and it may be ideal if the books I’ve chosen aren’t grabbing my attention as much as I need them to, or if my eyes get tired and I want to switch over to an e-book.
Ideally I’d like to do an update post every day on how much I’ve read, how I’m feeling, what I’ve been eating (because no read a thon is complete without snacks right?) and all that good stuff. And I’ll also be updating on Goodreads and Twitter so if you want more updates you know where I’ll be! There should be some fun challenges that I’d like to take part in as well!
My overall plan of action is to read, read, read! But I also have some activities prepared for times when I need a pick me up. The first obvious choice is blogging, updating, and generally seeing how everybody else taking part is getting on. These will be the times when I need cheerleading so if you see me around the web a quick morale boost would be lovely! I also plan to break off from reading at meal times, to sleep (although I do plan to cut down my sleeping hours to fit in more reading!) and when I have to get on with y’know normal day to day stuff. And for times when I really need a break from books I have some short and fun Youtube videos to watch and Friends episodes which are usually only around 20 something minutes long and never fail to perk me up!
What I want to get out of this mainly is to read some fantastic books, find some lovely new bookish people to follow, and have loads of geeky awesome fun!
If you’re taking part good luck and have fun! And if you’re not then, well, I’ll see you on the other side…hopefully ;)
Letterbox Love is a new meme hosted by Lynsey @ Narratively Speaking for UK based book bloggers to showcase the books that they’ve received each week.
The Charm Bracelet by Melissa Hill This book has such a pretty cover! I love how the light shines off the charms. I adore Melissa Hill she's probably my favourite chick-lit author so needless to say I'm really looking forward to this one!
On The Island by Tracey Garvis Graves(Proof Copy) I've already read this book and it was a total surprise for me, wasn't expecting to love it as much as I did but it was great! A review for this will be coming soon.
Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry (Proof Copy) I've heard amazing things for this book and you guys know how I love my contemps so I should be reading and reviewing this sometime this summer.
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas This book has to be the highlight of the week for me, I've been looking forward to reading this one ever since I first heard about it a few months back, since then I've heard so many rave reviews, Cinderella, meets Fantasy, meets The Hunger Games? Er yes please! *Strokes book and mouths I can't wait to read you!* Oh, and this cover? Totally gets a fist pump from me *pumps!*
The Secrets Between Us by Louise Douglas Last month I took part in Random Acts of Kindness and this was very kindly sent to me from Jenn Renee, I really enjoyed Louise Douglas' novel The Love of My Life and this sounds like a modern day Rebecca a book I really love so I've got high hopes for this one!
Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally Another gorgeous sounding contemp that I can't wait to get stuck into this summer, this was a fab swap I did with Michelle at Fluttering Butterflies, I really want to read this before Stealing Parker comes out in October so you can expect a review for this sometime before then!
If you've been following the blog for a while now you may know that I have quite the obsession with bookmarks and actually collect them! And so every so often as a treat the people in my life will pick me up some new editions. My best friend Rachel recently went on a trip to Paris and so brought me back these lovelies as a gift! Thanks Rach! Three beautiful new bookmarks to add to the stash!
So that was everything that I got over the past week, I was expecting a book I ordered from Amazon but Amazon failed and it is now officially late! *Le sigh* I'm looking forward to showing you what it is next time, I'm really excited for it, and there are some other books on my wishlist coming out so there may be another Amazon order placed soon, sorry Mr Postman! As always huge thank you's to the lovely people who I was lucky enough to get books and goodies from this week, and I hope you've found some new books to add to your wishlist I'll leave a link to each books Goodreads page in the book titles so all you have to do is click on the link for more info on the book that interests you! 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, Showcase Sunday, 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! ^_^
Jodi Picoult, for many years now, has been my favourite author of adult fiction so to say that I was excited to hear that she was coming out with a new book, this time co-written with her teenage daughter Samantha, for Young Adults (which just so happens to be my favourite genre) would be a huge understatement. I was fortunate enough to read and review a copy of Between the Lines early and really enjoyed it so I was thrilled to have the chance to interview both Sammy and Jodi about the book and have some of my questions answered. In case Between the Lines isn’t on your radar yet here’s a little bit about what it’s about...
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...
Interview with Sammy and Jodi
First of all how did it feel to write with your mom a world-wide bestselling author? Was there any pressure to appeal to her fans? To me, she’s not famous – she’s just my mom. So the challenge was really in staying focused, and doing the work. I wasn’t thinking about her fans, really; just THIS book. It was REALLY hard to sit for hours at a computer and just WRITE. I sometimes wanted to get up and burst through the window – and I’m sure there were times she wanted to kill me because I got distracted. But then there were times it was really amazing to work together. Sometimes we tripped over each other’s sentences just to get to the next line – it was sort of like we were having the same dream and seeing exactly the same images in our heads, so that when we were writing we were telepathic.
Between the Lines was originally your idea, how did you come up with the story? I was daydreaming in French class (I know, I should have been focusing…) when I started to wonder what happens when a book is closed. What’s it like for the characters? Can they see us? What does it feel like for them, when we read? Through the rest of that period, I tossed around the idea of what would become our book. When I went home I called my mom, who was on book tour, and told her I had an idea for a story. She was intrigued and started adding her opinions – and suggested we write the book together.
How does it feel to be a published author so young? How did you find the time to write on top of school and everything else? We wrote during school vacations, on weekends, over the summer. It was really hard to find the time. But it turns out it’s even harder to find time to do the interviews leading up to the publication of the book, because I’m a junior now and taking lots of standardized tests to get into college, and also playing varsity softball. So the publisher has to set up phone calls with newspapers and magazines for me at 8PM! As for being a published author – it doesn’t feel “real” yet. I’m more worried about getting a good grade in Chemistry class!
Is writing full time a career path you want to go down? And can we expect any more books from you any time soon? I love to write, and I write poetry all the time, but I don’t know if I’ll be a full-time writer. I feel like I have a really good sense of how hard that career path is after writing this book, but there’s a lot more I want to explore too – like psychology. I’ll be pretty busy at college so I don’t know when I’ll have time to write another book!
Lastly did your mom give you any good writing tips? Did you learn anything from her during this experience? I learned to respect my mom’s profession. It’s hard work! And I also learned how similar we can be, when we’re writing.
Between the Lines is very different to your other books, how did it feel to write a YA novel? It wasn’t that different to write, really. The characters still have to ring true – even if one of them is a fairytale prince. Plus, the themes in BTL – like to whom does a story really belong – are very adult concepts. Add to this the general unease Delilah and Oliver feel about not fitting in and frankly, it’s very similar to the things I address in my adult books. The difference was the humor. Although I write humor into my grownup novels, it isn’t as broad as some of the jokes in here, and I rarely have characters like Socks, whose job is purely to lighten the mood.
How did you find co-writing with Sammy instead of alone? Was it a big adjustment? I have collaborated before – when I wrote Wonder Woman for DC Comics. But this was very different because there were times I felt like Sammy and I were two halves of the same brain. We’d be writing together and we’d finish each others sentences, as if we were both seeing the same image of what was supposed to be on the page. I’ve never had that sort of experience before –and it wasn’t an adjustment; it was really a pleasure!
Between the Lines began as Sammy's idea, did anything significantly change or develop as you wrote the book together? Yes. We had a few arguments, some of which she won and some of which I won! She was insistent that the fairytale bits sound like a traditional gothic fairytale; I wanted it to be tongue-in-cheek. She fought me and she was ultimately right. I wanted Oliver to be dark-haired; she wanted him blond…I won that one. We also made some significant edits to the book in subsequent drafts. Delilah’s friend Jules didn’t exist in the first version; neither did Frump’s backstory. I think they’re both incredibly important additions to the story. One thing that DIDN’T change – the last line. Sammy came up with that very early in the writing process, and we put it at the bottom of the Word document, and just kept writing toward it.
Is writing for Young Adults or any other genre for that matter something you might explore again in the future? I think a lot of my grownup novels are appealing to YA because I often include a narrator from that age group. I will probably continue to explore some major themes of growing up through those characters in my adult novels. Then again, it was great fun writing this book with my daughter and I’d love to do another one with her!
What's been your favourite part of creating this book with your daughter? How many moms get to spend hours with a daughter, creating something that lets you feel incredibly proud of her intellect, her creativity, and her determination? I couldn’t be more proud of Sammy for tackling this and for putting her heart and soul into the writing of the story. And I am SO looking forward to touring with her in the US, UK and Australia. There will be some major shopping, I’m sure!
Between the Lines is published by Hodder & Stoughton and is released today! For more information on Between the Lines you can visit my review here, add this book to your goodreads wishlist, or buy the book from Amazon.
Many thanks to Kerry at Hodder for arranging this interview and to Jodi and Sammy for taking the time out of their busy schedules to be on the blog today!
June's BotM is The Gathering Dark by Leigh Bardugo
The Gathering Dark (also known as Shadow and Bone in the US) was not only my favourite book read in June but my favourite book read in 2012 so far! I’m usually quite picky with my fantasy but this one completely swept me away into another magical fantastical world, this book has a gorgeous romance, vibrant characters, and a literal battle between light and dark I can’t begin to recommend it enough, even if fantasy’s not usually your preferred genre I’d really recommend stepping out of your comfort zone for this one. For more info on the book and more of my thoughts my full review can be found here.
Books Read in June
42.) The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead (4.5*)
43.) What I Did On My Holidays by Chrissie Manby (4*)
44.) Fallen in Love by Lauren Kate (3.5*)
45.) The Gathering Dark by Leigh Bardugo (5*)
46.) Rapture by Lauren Kate (5*)
47.) I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella (3*)
48.) Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout (3.5*)
49.) My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick (4.5*) Total Books Read = 8 Thoughts: This month was a really scattered month with ratings ranging from 5 star all-time favourites to 3’s it has to be said that even the 3 stars I enjoyed reading this month and there were no bad books with them ranging from average to fantastic! I was a bit gutted that I didn’t make it to 50 books this month with the end of June being half way through the year it would have been exciting to get to 50 books, half way through the year, half way to a hundred books read! It’s always been a lifelong ambition of mine to read 100 books in a year and even though I’m not taking part in any reading challenges it would still be great to reach that goal! This Months Book Awards Best Plot: Rapture by Lauren Kate Best Writing: The Gathering Dark by Leigh Bardugo Best Cover: Rapture by Lauren Kate Best Characters: The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead Best Ending: Rapture by Lauren Kate Best Romance: Rapture by Lauren Kate Most un-put-down-able: The Gathering Dark by Leigh Bardugo Most Memorable: The Gathering Dark by Leigh Bardugo Best Moral: My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Top 3 Most Recommended Books: The Gathering Dark, Rapture, My Life Next Door
Honourable Mention to Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor which I read in hardcover last year and was my favourite book of 2011, on July 5th it will be out in paperback and I’d fully recommend you checking it out. (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 I hope you’ve found some interesting books to add to your wishlist and don’t forget to treat yourselves to The Gathering Dark – you won’t regret it! Here’s to another month of fab reading ahead!
Unrest by Michelle Harrison Publisher: Simon & Schuster Release Date: 26th April 2012 Genre: Young Adult, Ghost Stories, Paranormal, Mystery, Romance Rating: 5/5 stars Source: Received from the publisher for review
Amazon Summary: "Seventeen-year-old Elliott hasn't slept properly for six months. Not since the accident that nearly killed him. Now he is afraid to go to sleep. Sometimes he wakes to find himself paralysed, unable to move a muscle, while shadowy figures move around him. Other times he is the one moving around, while his body lies asleep on the bed. According to his doctor, sleep paralysis and out of body experiences are harmless - but to Elliot they're terrifying. Convinced that his brush with death has opened up connections with the spirit world, Elliott secures a live-in job at one of England's most haunted locations, determined to find out the truth. There he finds Sebastian, the ghost of a long-dead servant boy hanged for stealing bread. He also meets the living, breathing Ophelia, a girl with secrets of her own. She and Elliott grow closer, but things take a terrifying turn when Elliott discovers Sebastian is occupying his body when he leaves it. And the more time Sebastian spends inhabiting a living body, the more resistant he becomes to giving it back. Worse, he seems to have an unhealthy interest in Ophelia. Unless Elliott can lay Sebastian's spirit to rest, he risks being possessed by him for ever, and losing the girl of his dreams..."
Review I’d heard a lot of praise for Michelle Harrison’s The Thirteen Treasures series for younger readers and so was excited to hear that she planned to venture into YA with this standalone novel Unrest and it only took me until the end of chapter one to realize what all the fuss was about. The first chapter completely sucked me in, Michelle Harrison has this atmospheric way of describing what’s happening that sent a chill down my spine. Her writing is suitably creepy and suspenseful and I became absorbed in this book from the start longing for the next chilling scene to get my next terror fuelled buzz and to find out exactly what was going on with Elliott and what happened to give him his strange abilities.
When Elliott is in an accident that actually clinically kills him for all of two minutes and is resuscitated by paramedics and brought back to life he finds himself somehow newly connected to the spirit world. Elliott’s experiences with sleep paralysis chilled me to the bone. Sleep paralysis is a sleeping disorder I hadn’t heard of prior to reading this book and I found it a fascinating albeit terrifying illness to read about. The way that Michelle Harrison connected the condition to a ghost story made Unrest something new and exciting to read. Whilst at its heart this book is a ghost story it also reads as part contemporary romance and part mystery too. When Elliott wasn’t fighting off spirits trying to enter his sleeping body he also has a budding romance with his co-worker Ophelia developing, and had to learn the history and ghost stories of Past Lives the living museum where he’s recently started to work. There are also the mysteries of the ghosts that haunt Elliott that he has to solve in order for them to move on. There was always something exciting going on making Unrest totally gripping.
I really loved the characters in this book, Elliott wasn’t a perfect character and had a past and reputation with the ladies before his accident. I liked that in the beginning Elliott wasn’t perfect because as the book goes on he takes the horrible things that have happened to him and lets his experiences shape him into a better person. I loved watching him grow as a character and by the end of the book he was such a lovely guy who I really wanted the best for. I also really liked Elliott’s love interest Ophelia she’s feisty, smart, and doesn’t take any crap from anyone least of all Elliott. She has an interesting back story too that gets revealed as the book goes on and again, like Elliott, she’s flawed but not in a way that makes her unlikeable only more relatable and real as a character.
Unrest if the kind of book that does exactly what it says on the tin and more. Yes it’s scary and creepy which is exactly what I was after when I picked this book up but it was also rich with history, romantic, and addictive with plenty of page turning mysteries surrounding the plot. It was a flawless read that ticked all the right boxes and that I couldn’t bear to part with until I’d turned the final page. I loved everything about this book and look forward to seeing what Michelle Harrison writes in the future.
Letterbox Love is a new meme hosted by Lynsey @ Narratively Speaking for UK based book bloggers to showcase the books that they’ve received each week.
How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr (Proof Copy)
Obsidian Mirror by Catherine Fisher (Proof Copy)
Angel Dust by Sarah Mussi (Proof Copy)
Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter
Dreams by Daniela Sacerdoti
A Witch in Love by Ruth Warburton
The Beach Holiday by Anita Hughes
The Out of Office Girl by Nicola Doherty
Between the Lines by Samantha van Leer and Jodi Picoult
The Wedding Guests by Meredith Goldstein
God Save the Queen by Kate Locke
Geekhood: Close Encounters of the Girl Kind by Andy Robb (thanks to my lovely friend Ellie for this blogoversary pressie!)
Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins (thanks to Lauren for this RAK!)
Jar of sweets from the lovely Rosi at HarperCollins for helping to promote Insurgent.
Shift by Em Bailey (currently reading and really enjoying)
My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick (read and LOVED review coming soon!)
Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
E-Books For My Kindle
Obsidian by Jennifer L Armentrout (already read and enjoyed review coming soon!) (Bought)
Shadows by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Bought)
Something Like Normal by Trish Doller (Bought)
Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker (Bought)
Yours Truly by Kirsty Greenwood (For Review)
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (For Review)
So that was my HUGE haul from the last couple of weeks, apologies for the super long post but I hope you enjoyed it and kudos if you made it through to the end! As always big thank you’s to everybody who sent me books in this haul. 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, Showcase Sunday, 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! ^_^