Thursday, 31 January 2013

Review for Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans

Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans 
Publisher: Usborne
Release: 15th January 2013
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-fi, Dystopian, Afterlife, Contemporary, Paranormal.
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Source: Received from the publisher for review

Goodreads Summary:
" "I pause to look around the hive – all the podlike chambers are lit up as the drones shoot up on memories… I’ve wanted to get out of here before, but now the tight quarters start to choke me."

Felicia Ward is dead. Trapped in Level 2, the waiting room between Earth and Heaven, she spends endless days replaying memories, of her family, friends, boyfriend…and of the guy who broke her heart. The guy who has just broken into Level 2 to find her…

Felicia learns that a rebellion is brewing in Level 2, and it seems she is the key. Suspended between Heaven and Earth, she must make a choice. Between two worlds, two lives and two loves. A choice that will change everything…


Lenore Appelhans is a book blogger who I’ve followed for a few years now and so when I heard that she was releasing a book I was really excited to read it and followed her from book blogger to debut author. 

Level 2 is like no other book I’ve ever read and is a total mash up of genres, Sci-fi, Dystopian, Afterlife, Contemporary and Paranormal. Lenore takes the best parts about each genre and creates something really unique and awesome with Level 2’s premise. What impressed me was how each aspect of the book tied together seamlessly so it didn’t read choppy or like I was reading several different books at once which I was worried about when I found out just how diverse this book was, instead it read very smoothly and felt like I was reading a whole new genre.

I really loved the setting of Level 2 and thought it was a really fascinating version of the afterlife. Level 2 is a waiting room of sorts between this world and the next where people view their memories and come to terms with their lives in order to move on to Level 3. I loved how we got to know Felicia by accessing her memories from when she was alive and that contemporary aspect was one of my favourite things to read about.

Felicia’s a very humane and flawed character who despite her faults I couldn’t help but like. The only thing I didn’t get was her obsession with Neil. Neil was the one thing I disliked about this book. I just found him very boring and flat as a character and didn’t really understand what Felicia saw in him at all. Needless to say I am totally Team Julian, who like Felicia, has his faults but I still loved him in spite of them. Heck I might come to regret this in later books but at least he was interesting to read about unlike Neil. Plus I felt like Julian and Felicia had much more chemistry between them.

I loved the twists at the end of this book and didn’t see them coming at all. And although the ending felt a bit rushed everything was tied up nicely. Overall Level 2 was a great debut. Lenore’s writing was full of feeling and exciting to read and I’m looking forward to seeing what she has in store for us next in Level 3.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Review for The First Last Kiss by Ali Harris

The First Last Kiss by Ali Harris 
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release: 17th January 2013
Genre: Chick-Lit, Romance
Rating: 4/5 stars
Source: Received from the publisher for review

Goodreads Summary
"How do you hold on to a love that is slowly slipping away from you? Can you let go of the past when you know what is in the future? And how do you cope when you know that every kiss is a countdown to goodbye?

This is the story of a love affair, of Ryan and Molly and how they fell in love and were torn apart. The first time Molly kissed Ryan, she knew they'd be together forever. Six years and thousands of kisses later she's married to the man she loves. But today, when Ryan kisses her, Molly realises how many of them she wasted because the future holds something which neither of them could have ever predicted…"

Ali Harris’s debut novel Miracle on Regent Street is one of my all-time favourite chick-lit books so when I heard about The First Last Kiss I was incredibly excited to read a new book from her and had very high expectations. Although I didn’t love The First Last Kiss quite as much as Miracle on Regent Street it was still an exceptional read in its own right.

The book alternates between chapters from present day to the past with snippets about the different kinds of kisses in between. The chapters told in the present take place during a day counting down the hours until Molly’s big move, without Ryan. We know from the start that Ryan isn’t in Molly’s life anymore but we’re not told why and as the story goes on in these chapters you get clues as to what has happened to come between this amazing couple.

The chapters told in the past tense are told at different times during Molly and Ryan’s relationship so one minute we’ll be reading about them falling in love as teenagers the next as a married couple going through a hard time. It’s as though we are given puzzle pieces that we put together as the book goes on - the big picture being Molly and Ryan’s love story. Although I really like the idea of the book being told this way and found it very unique I did get confused at times trying to remember what had happened on the timeline and where exactly we were in the story. I enjoyed the snippets on the different kinds of kisses and really loved how they fit into the plot as the relevance is made clear towards the end of the novel.

The romance in this book was absolutely beautifully written and very realistic which was refreshing to read. Ryan and Molly have arguments, tough times in their relationship, and are far from a perfect couple, yet they still have this epic love story. I loved how their romance wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine and how they had to put effort and compromise into their relationship to make it work. Ali Harris has created a love story that people will relate to and yet it still has that fairy tale feel to it.

I had a love/hate relationship with the characters in this book. Again they are entirely realistic and can be quite hard to like at times when their bad sides show. Younger Molly really frustrated me at times but she grows a lot throughout the book and by the end I loved her. My favourite characters throughout were Ryan and Mia, Ryan is such a loveable hero as he’s just such an all-round good guy and Mia was always such a fantastic friend to Molly.

The First Last Kiss kept me guessing as to where it was going to go and although the last few chapters were really heart-breaking to read the ending has a beautiful hopeful message. The First Last Kiss was a rollercoaster of emotions to read and will stay with me for a long time to come. Ali Harris is quickly becoming one of my favourite authors and I can’t recommend her books highly enough.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Letterbox Love (19)

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

This week was my birthday week but because of the dumb snow a few of my books haven't arrived yet and NONE of them arrived in time for my birthday but they did show up later on in the week when the snow started to thaw. I also got a nice bundle of review books when the snow had melted enough for the postman to trudge to my door, and they were epic so it totally made up for the silence earlier on this week. I do love the snow but when it interferes with birthday plans and books I do wish it would go. It's nearly all melted now which I'm thrilled about because for a while there I was worried it would interfere with me meeting John and Hank Green next weekend. SAY WHAT!? Yep this time next week I'll be on my way to London to meet them so I hope that's the last of the snow for now. ANYWAY let's get on to the books...

 For Review

The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead (I know, I know! Eeek!)
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (I have no idea why my copy doesn't have the title filled in, it is a finished copy. Printing mistake perhaps? Either way it's slightly annoying)
Drowning Instinct by Ilsa J. Bick (Teacher/Student relationships fascinate me and this one sounds really good)
Gilt by Katherine Longshore (I have heard great things about this one from US bloggers, excited!)
Anthem for Jackson Dawes by Celia Bryce (This sounds sad but wonderful)

 Birthday Presents

The Archived by Victoria Schwab (Squeals!)
The Essence by Kimberly Derting (Even more squealing. Also the US covers for this series are so pretty!)  
Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher (this sounds really good and has an interesting premise)
Altered by Jennifer Rush (ALL of the hot boys! Or so I'm told)
The Valentine's Card by Juliet Ashton (Valentines read 2013)

That’s it from me for another week! If any of these beauties have caught your eye and you’d like to find out more about them simply click on the title and the link will take you to goodreads for a full synopsis, reviews, and to add them to your wishlists. As always thank you to the lovely publishing folk for the review copies and various family members for my pressies! If you’re looking forward to a certain book in particular and want to request a review feel free to in the comments and I’ll do my best to get around to the book sooner rather than later. 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! ^_^

 Happy reading till next time!

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Winner of Dance of Shadows Giveaway

The winner of a proof copy of Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black is...

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congratulations Imogen! An email has been sent to you :) Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway and spread the word. To everyone who didn't win as a heads up you can still download the first 3 chapters to get a taste for this book on kindle for free now at Amazon UK!

EDIT: As the first two winners never got back to me a third winner has been drawn.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Review for The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden by Jessica Sorensen

The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden by Jessica Sorensen 
Publisher: Self Published
Release: December 13th 2012
Genre: New Adult, Romance
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Source: Bought

Goodreads Summary:
"There are those who don’t get luck handed to them on a shiny platter, who end up in the wrong place at the wrong time, who don’t get saved.

Luck was not on Callie’s side the day of her twelfth birthday when everything was stolen from her. After it’s all over, she locks up her feelings and vows never to tell anyone what happened. Six years later her painful past consumes her life and most days it’s a struggle just to breathe.

For as long as Kayden can remember, suffering in silence was the only way to survive life. As long as he did what he was told, everything was okay. One night, after making a terrible mistake, it seems like his life might be over. Luck was on his side, though, when Callie coincidentally is in the right place at the right time and saves him.

Now he can’t stop thinking about the girl he saw at school, but never really knew. When he ends up at the same college as Callie, he does everything he can to try to get to know her. But Callie is reserved and closed off. The more he tries to be part of her life, the more he realizes Callie might need to be saved."

You guys! I fell hard for this book. I had “the feeling” about it so I bought it and read it straight away as soon as I stumbled across it on the Kindle store. This book totally lived up to my expectations and was by far the best 77p I have ever spent!

The book centres on Callie and Kayden and is told in their alternating view points throughout the novel. Callie was raped at a young age and Kayden has been abused by his dad since childhood. Both of them deal with their issues in a very different way Callie by making herself as unnoticeable as possible and Kayden by not caring about anything and covering it up with the cool popular guy façade. Both of them have suffered in silence until one night Callie accidently witnesses one of Kayden’s father’s beatings, steps in, and saves Kayden’s life. It’s from there that the story really takes off.

As well as Callie and Kayden there are also their best friends Seth and Luke who have also had their fair share of problems. All of the characters in this book are deeply damaged and didn’t have the best of lives back home so when they start college it’s a chance for them to craft a new life of their own and start over. So far this is probably sounding like a really depressing read but what I loved about it is how these damaged people come together and create a safe and happy place amongst them really solidifying their friendship. Each character wants to better their life and Callie and Seth even create a list of things they want to do but are afraid to and one thing must be crossed off every day. I loved the idea of this and thought it a brilliant way of facing your fears so much so that I’m planning on starting my own list!

The romance in this book was so incredibly beautiful. I loved watching not only Callie and Kayden’s love but their trust for one another grow throughout the book. They both bring out the best in each other and for the first time in their lives they each have something to live for. This was one of the most achingly romantic, not to mention steamy, books I’ve read in a long time and how gentle and patient Kayden was with Callie made him one of my new favourite book boys.

This book ends on a killer cliff-hanger and I am so happy the sequel is coming out in February because I have to know what happens next! The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden was the kind of book I thought about for days afterwards and raved about to anybody who’d listen. Fans of authors such as Simone Elkeles and Katie McGarry are sure to find a new favourite author in Jessica Sorensen.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Letterbox Love (18)

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

 For Review

Cupcakes at Carrington's by Alexandra Brown
The Last Time I Saw You by Eleanor Moran
Unremembered by Jessica Brody (Proof Copy)
The Last Minute by Eleanor Updale

 Early Birthday Gifts

Shades of Earth by Beth Revis (Already read and LOVED!)
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (Gorgeous Clothbound Classics Edition)

Another bookmark for the collection! I love owls and this one has been on my wishlist for ages now so I'm so glad to finally have it!

 Bought For Kindle

The Edge of Never by J.A. Redmerski

That’s it from me for another week! If any of these beauties have caught your eye and you’d like to find out more about them simply click on the title and the link will take you to goodreads for a full synopsis, reviews, and to add them to your wishlists. As always thank you to the lovely publishing folk for the review copies and my mum and Ellie @ Musings of a Bookshop Girl for my pressies! If you’re looking forward to a certain book in particular and want to request a review feel free to in the comments and I’ll do my best to get around to the book sooner rather than later. 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! ^_^

 Happy reading till next time!

Thursday, 17 January 2013

My Bookish Birthday Wishlist!

So I’m hitting the big 23 next Wednesday so I thought it would be fun to share with you guys the books that I’m hoping to receive for my birthday. I probably won’t get all of these but I’m hoping for at least one or two of them and I also thought this list would be handy for all of those “what do you want for your birthday?” conversations I can just head all relatives on over here! :) I’d love to know if you guys have read and enjoyed any of these, maybe your comments could persuade someone to choose one book over the other who knows? So if you loved a book or are looking forward to it please say to give my relly’s a nudge in the right direction ;) Anyway here are the books I’m wishing for. It’s also worth noting that Shades of Earth, The Essence and The Archived were also originally on this list but my mum has already snatched them up and I might have received and read one already, ooops! Thanks mum!

Altered by Jennifer Rush 
Currently Available On: The Book Depository and Amazon
"When you can’t trust yourself, who can you believe?

Everything about Anna’s life is a secret. Her father works for the Branch at the helm of its latest project: monitoring and administering treatments to the four genetically altered boys in the lab below their farmhouse. There’s Nick, Cas, Trev . . . and Sam, who’s stolen Anna’s heart. When the Branch decides it’s time to take the boys, Sam stages an escape, killing the agents sent to retrieve them.

Anna is torn between following Sam or staying behind in the safety of her everyday life. But her father pushes her to flee, making Sam promise to keep her away from the Branch, at all costs. There’s just one problem. Sam and the boys don’t remember anything before living in the lab—not even their true identities.

Now on the run, Anna soon discovers that she and Sam are connected in more ways than either of them expected. And if they’re both going to survive, they must piece together the clues of their past before the Branch catches up to them and steals it all away"

Why I Want It- Four hot genetically altered to perfection boys? Yes please! Plus I've read several good reviews from blogger friends. This one is pretty high on my list!

The Valentine's Card by Juliet Ashton 
Currently Available On: The Book Depository and Amazon  (5 to 9 day dispatch)
"The Valentine's card was meant to be Orla's fairy tale ending, but really, it was only the beginning . . .

Orla adores her actor boyfriend, Sim, who's away filming a sumptuous costume drama. Although the long-distance relationship means that she can eat toast for dinner and watch as much reality TV as she likes, she misses him like crazy.

But Valentine's Day changes everything . . . The same morning Orla learns that Sim has died, she receives a card from him. As Orla travels from Ireland to London, to live and breathe Sim's final moments, can she bring herself to open the Valentine's card and read his final message?"

Why I Want It- This sounds beautiful yet heartbreaking and I'd really love to have it for my Valentine's Day read.

Splintered by A. G. Howard 
Currently Available On: Amazon 9-12 day dispatch
"Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.

When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family.

She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own."

Why I Want It- This sounds brilliant but I haven't seen it ANYWHERE it seems to be hard to get hold of which is odd seems as it came out on the 1st :S

Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher 
Currently Available On: The Book Depository and Amazon 
"Secrets, romance, murder and lies: Zoe shares a terrible secret in a letter to a stranger on death row in this second novel from the author of the bestselling debut, My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece.

Fifteen-year-old Zoe has a secret—a dark and terrible secret that she can't confess to anyone she knows. But then one day she hears of a criminal, Stuart Harris, locked up on death row in Texas. Like Zoe, Stuart is no stranger to secrets. Or lies. Or murder. 

Full of heartache yet humour, Zoe tells her story in the only way she can—in letters to the man in prison in America. Armed with a pen, Zoe takes a deep breath, eats a jam sandwich, and begins her tale of love and betrayal."

Why I Want It: Another one high on my list, I need to know what Zoe's terrible secret is. Nuff said.

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken 
Currently Available On: The Book Depository and Amazon 
"When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

 Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living."

Why I Want It: This sounds epic! I've also heard countless times how good Alexandra Bracken's books are.

Those are the books! There’s not really much else I want for my birthday but books are always welcome or Amazon Gift Cards because there are so many February releases I’m craving that I could use them for pre-orders. I’ll of course be doing some kind of haul so you guys can see if I get any of these and remember to shout out your favourites to my relatives in the comments, that should get their attention! ;)

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Giveaway for Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black! (UK/ Ireland Only)

Hello lovelies! Today I wanted to bring to your attention an exciting upcoming February release that I am really looking forward to Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black which is being published in the UK on the 12th February by Bloomsbury. This book is being pitched as Black Swan meets Gossip Girl and I can’t wait to read it! And thanks to the publisher I have one proof copy to giveaway to one of my UK readers but in case this book isn’t on your radar yet here’s a little bit more about it…

"Vanessa doesn’t believe that her sister is a runaway. She wouldn’t leave her family behind without saying a word. The only way Vanessa can discover the truth behind her mysterious disappearance is to follow in Margaret’s footsteps, but to do so she risks her sanity and maybe even her life . . .

Vanessa Adler is one of the talented few to get a place at the acclaimed New York Ballet Academy. Between backbreaking rehearsals for the school’s production of The Firebird she desperately tries to find out what happened to her sister before she vanished. There are rumors that the pressure of performing the lead role, the same role Vanessa is now rehearsing for, drove her mad. Other girls have gone missing too. Can the role be cursed? Vanessa’s new relationship with leading-man Zep only seems to complicate things further. What is he hiding from her and can she really trust him?

Black Swan meets Gossip Girl in this thrilling first book in a new series. Sexy, sinister and full of secrets, readers will be hooked on Dance of Shadows from the first page. Look out for the sequel in 2014."

 Watch the stunning trailer! 

You can also like the Facebook page, add to your Goodreads wishlists, or even download the first three chapters for free from Amazon UK to get a taste for the book! For your chance to win simply read these rules and enter the Rafflecopter good luck! 

To enter please fill in the Rafflecopter 
Open to UK/Ireland residents only 
End date: January 24th 2013 
Winner will be contacted by email and will have 1 week to reply else another winner will be selected.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Letterbox Love (17)

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

 For Review

Vortex by Julie Cross
Everbound by Brodi Ashton
Ferryman by Claire McFall (Proof Copy)

Don't Want to Miss a Thing by Jill Mansell
The Love Book by Fiona O'Brien
Speechless by Hannah Harrington (Proof Copy)
Reason to Breathe by Rebecca Donovan

 Gifted From Mira Ink 

This week Mira Ink sent me this epic bundle of books and a lovely card for getting into the top ten of the blog ink competition. Because I already review for them I already have most of these but it was lovely to swap over my proof copies for glossy finished ones and the rest I'm either donating to libraries and charities or passing on to people who I think would like them. Thanks guys! This was such an awesome surprise!

New Girl by Paige Harbison
Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
Confessions of an Angry Girl by Louise Rozett
Here Lies Bridget by Paige Harbison
Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter
The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa
Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder
Scent of Magic by Maria V. Snyder

From Netgalley

Dare You To by Katie McGarry

That’s it from me for another week! If any of these beauties have caught your eye and you’d like to find out more about them simply click on the title and the link will take you to goodreads for a full synopsis, reviews, and to add them to your wishlists. As always thank you to the lovely publishing folk for the review copies. If you’re looking forward to a certain book in particular and want to request a review feel free to in the comments and I’ll do my best to get around to the book sooner rather than later. 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! ^_^

 Happy reading till next time!

Friday, 11 January 2013

Review for Pantomime by Laura Lam

Pantomime by Laura Lam 
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Release: 7th February 2013
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Rating: 4/5 stars
Source: Received from the publisher for review

Goodreads Summary: 
"R.H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic is the greatest circus of Ellada. Nestled among the glowing blue Penglass – remnants of a mysterious civilisation long gone – are wonders beyond the wildest imagination. It’s a place where anything seems possible, where if you close your eyes you can believe that the magic and knowledge of the vanished Chimeras is still there. It’s a place where anyone can hide.

Iphigenia Laurus, or Gene, the daughter of a noble family, is uncomfortable in corsets and crinoline, and prefers climbing trees to debutante balls. Micah Grey, a runaway living on the streets, joins the circus as an aerialist’s apprentice and soon becomes the circus’s rising star. But Gene and Micah have balancing acts of their own to perform, and a secret in their blood that could unlock the mysteries of Ellada."

Pantomime is one of the strangest, most fascinating, and daring YA debuts that I’ve read in a while and I mean that in the best possible way. Every time I put this book down I felt like I’d awoken from a peculiar yet wonderful dream as that’s what the tone of this book sets in the fantasy world of Ellada in a circus of magic.

The book is told in alternating perspectives between Micah a training aerialist at the circus and Iphigenia a girl from one of Ellada’s most honourable families. Both of them are hiding a secret that is revealed later on in the book and interweaves these two characters together. This books secret is a brilliant one and makes the book stand apart from other YA books out there. Unfortunately for me I figured out what it was after only a couple of chapters which I must admit took away from the experience a little bit as I do love a good twist. 

As mentioned Pantomime is set in a fantasy world and I thought the world building to this book was excellent. At the beginning of each chapter is an article or old legend about Ellada. I really loved these snippets as they allowed you to find out more about the history and politics of the land as you go along without lots of heavy description interfering with the story which I’m never a fan of. I thought this was really clever and was a brilliant aspect to the book.

Despite being set in a fantasy world Pantomime had a very contemporary feel to it and even with having a circus as a backdrop was very character driven. Every single character in this book has more to them than meets the eye and I loved finding out their secrets and peeling away their layers as the book went on. I loved how emotionally complex this book was and how Laura Lam tackled subjects that other YA authors are afraid to. That being said I’d recommend this book to a mature teen audience simply because this book can be rather dark and brutal at times and requires a mature outlook and approach.

Even though Pantomime was a brilliant read in its own right it felt very much like Laura Lam was setting us up for a fantastic series as not much happens plot wise until the end and this book was all about the world building and character development. From what was hinted at and the way that this book ended I think Pantomime is only a taste of the wonder that is to come from both this series and Laura Lam as an author.

Overall what I loved most about Pantomime was the message that whoever you are, whatever you’ve done, whatever your past. There is a place for you somewhere to belong to with people who will embrace and accept you as you are. Pantomime is a truly unique and wonderful experience that will resonate with anyone who’s ever felt like they don’t fit in.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Review for The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey 
Publisher: Headline
Release: 30th August 2012 (Paperback Edition)
Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction, Fairy-tale, Family
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Source: Received from the publisher for review

Goodreads Summary
"Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart—he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season’s first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone—but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees.

This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place, things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them."

Following the roaring success of The Snow Child last winter I knew that I had to make it a priority read this Christmas. From the synopsis it sounded like the perfect book to get me into that magical childlike frame of mind, and I’m so glad that I finally read it because this book was, in a word, enchanting.

The start of the book is really quite heart-breaking with one half of our beloved couple Mabel attempting suicide. Mabel and Jack are so utterly alone in their relationship and are still grieving for a baby they lost years ago and with it their one chance of being parents. The first few chapters are really gutting to read in a beautiful yet fragile kind of way, until in a rare act of tenderness and joy they build a snow girl together during the first snow fall of winter.

The book reads as part adult fairy-tale, part historical fiction on life in rural Alaska during the 1920’s. I have to say that I enjoyed the fairy-tale aspect to this story the most but can see how the setting created the perfect backdrop for this story. At times the solitude and snowy landscape of a wintery Alaska made the place read like a magical land itself.

I think that what I loved most about this novel was how you never really know exactly what Faina is or how she came to be. Throughout the book you’re not quite sure if she is the little snow girl Jack and Mabel built come to life, if she belongs to someone else, or if she’s simply a figment of the couples imagination. I loved the mystery and magic surrounding Faina and although some things are cleared up as the story goes on there is still a lot of room for the reader to interpret the story in their own way.

Reading The Snow Child had the same effect on me as the fairy tales I read and loved growing up did and will be sitting proudly next to the classic fairy tales on my bookshelf. In turns heart-breaking, magical and beautiful this book will awaken the inner child in adult’s worldwide.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Review for Easy by Tammara Webber

Easy by Tammara Webber 
Publisher: Penguin
Release Date: 3rd January 2013
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Abuse
Rating: 4/5 stars
Source: Received from the publisher for review

Goodreads Summary:
"Jacqueline seems to have a knack for making the wrong choices. She followed her boyfriend to his choice of university, disregarding her preference. Then he dumped her. She chose a minor she thought she could combine with her music studies, but she's falling behind. And then, leaving a party alone one night, she is attacked. If it wasn't for the timely intervention of a stranger, she would have been raped. Now she must make a choice - give up and give in, or toughen up and fight on. Only the support of the man who is tutoring her and the allure of the guy who saved her from the attack convince her that it's worth fighting on. Will Jacqueline now have to make a choice between them too? And can she make the right decision? It's not easy..."

New Adult is a genre that is receiving a lot of love lately and so being this genre’s target audience I figured it was high time I gave one of the genre’s big guns a read and was recommended to start with Easy. Because this is my first New Adult book I’m going to talk about my experience with the genre as well as my thoughts on this book.

Easy starts off with an attempted rape scene which is pretty much like jumping into the deep end of the pool! This could have been too much too soon but as this book is set around the subject of abuse it sets the story up well, is tastefully handled, and important to the rest of the novel.

One of the things I loved about Easy is how it sets an excellent example for young women. In my opinion there are too many books out there at the minute that glorify abusive relationships not just the physical kind but the mentally unhealthy ones too. All too often absolute psychopaths that I’d want a restraining order against are portrayed as misunderstood irresistible bad boys who simply need love to save them. After being in an abusive relationship myself I can’t help but wonder what kind of example these books are setting? A potentially dangerous one if you ask me with these sorts of relationships on the rise. I feel like Easy sets the world back to rights with women telling somebody, learning self-defence, standing up for one another, and perhaps most importantly of all calling abuse by its name.

Our heroine is Jacqueline and I really liked her voice. It’s much more mature than a YA character but just because she’s older doesn’t mean she’s perfect, she still makes mistakes and grows throughout the book. At the start Jacqueline is getting over her three year relationship. I feel like this will be something I enjoy about NA books. Getting over your first serious relationship is something I’ve always wanted to read about but is never offered in YA as the characters are usually at the stage of finding that first big love. It was interesting to watch Jacqueline go from high school romance to her first adult relationship and was something I could really relate to as a twenty something reader.

Jacqueline’s love interest Lucas was such a swoon-worthy guy. Not only is he intelligent, gorgeous and artistic but he also teaches self-defence class and is all for women knowing how to protect themselves. I adored Lucas from the start and only loved him more when we find out what skeletons he has in his closet. I also loved how Jacqueline and Lucas’s stories tied together nicely creating a strong message to this story. Their romance not only has substance to it but is also incredibly hot and steamy without being full out erotica, another thing I think I’m going to love about New Adult Fiction.

Overall my first experience with this genre was definitely a good one and thanks to Easy I have already bought some other New Adult titles to try! If you’re new to this genre I’d definitely recommend giving this book a go. Steamy, romantic and empowering this is a book about things not ending up as you might have originally planned, only to find that you’re exactly where you’re meant to be.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Giveaway Winner!

The Winner of my Merry Christmas Giveaway for a January 2013 Pre-Order is... a Rafflecopter giveaway Congratulations Hanna! An email has been sent to you :) Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway and spread the word and for those who didn't win this time round there will be more fabulous giveaways from me in the coming year so stay tuned and better luck next time. Happy reading everyone!

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Love Hurts Blog Tour: Teasers from New Adult novels Reason to Breathe and Easy!

To kick off 2013 I’m very excited to be bringing to you for my post in the Love Hurts Blog Tour some teaser lines from two upcoming New Adult titles releasing this month in the UK Reason to Breathe by Rebecca Donovan and Easy by Tammara Webber. I adored Easy and my review for it will be up very soon and I’m really excited for my copy of Reason to Breathe to arrive in the post as I have heard fantastic things about it! If you haven’t heard of these two novels yet they should definitely be on your radar and I think that teasers are a perfect way to get a taste for a book and what the authors writing style is like, so here they are chosen by the authors themselves!

 Reason to Breathe by Rebecca Donovan

Click on the cover to add to Goodreads!

I wasn’t embarrassed by my grades or what other students thought of my high marks. I knew I earned them. And I also knew that they were going to save me some day. What no one understood, besides Sara, was that all I really cared about were the days I counted down until I moved out of my aunt and uncle’s house to go to college. So if I had to put up with the whispers behind my back as I received the highest marks in the class, then so be it. They weren’t going to be there to save me if I did anything but succeed, so I didn’t need to get involved in the gossip and typical teenage tripe. Sara was the closest I was going to get to any semblance of the high- school experience, and she definitely kept it entertaining. She was admired by most, envied by many, and could discreetly seduce a guy with a grin. What mattered most to me was that I trusted her with my life – which was saying a lot, considering the unpredictability that awaited me at home each night.
I noticed his presence so much more than I had before. Every time he brushed past my arm when we walked down the hall or leaned in close to whisper to me in Anatomy, it sent thousands of sparks flying through my body. I found myself smiling more and caught up in his gaze longer. It was like I was noticing him for the first time, all over again. But this time, I knew he noticed me too. Evan sat closer, walked nearer and looked longer. He started storing his books in my locker in between classes, placing his hand on the small of my back when reaching over me to retrieve them. These subtle touches would ignite a warmth in my chest, and release tingles up the back of my neck. He didn’t hold my hand in school, but he always found a way for the backs of our hands to lightly touch when we were near enough. We were engaged in a very intricate dance of touching without touching, knowing without saying, and feeling without expressing. We were friends walking along a ledge, a very thin ledge – and I was too caught up in my heightened awareness of his existence to realize how close the ledge was to crumbling beneath my feet.
In the uneven balance of my life, I experienced love and loss, more loss than I thought I could handle. But the love was unexpected. I almost missed out on it, too afraid and uncertain to give it a chance. Love helped me live life instead of just survive it. It challenged my resolve, proving I was stronger than I ever thought possible. The comfort of it healed my wounds and caressed my scars. It gave me the confidence to stand taller than the inches within my body. In the dark I searched for it, yearning for its reprieve, only finding that I was alone.

 Easy by Tammara Webber

Click on the cover to add to Goodreads!

I shook off my reverie and looked across the counter, prepared to give my usual order, and there stood the guy from Saturday night. The guy I’d avoided sitting next to this morning in economics. My mouth hung open but nothing came out. And just like this morning, Saturday night came flooding back. My face heated, remembering the position I’d been in, what he must have witnessed before he’d intervened, how foolish he must consider me. But then, he’d said it wasn’t my fault. And he’d called me by my name. The name I no longer used, as of sixteen days ago. My split-second wish that he wouldn’t recall who I was went ungranted. I returned his penetrating gaze and could see he remembered all of it, clearly. Every mortifying bit.
‘Hey, Jackie.’ Buck’s piercing gaze roamed over me and my skin crawled. ‘Lookin’ good, as always.’ His words gushed flirtation, but all I felt was the threat underneath, intended or not. The bruises had faded from his face, but weren’t entirely gone. One yellowish streak ringed his left eye, and another brushed along the right side of his nose like a pale smear. Lucas had given him those, and only the three of us knew it. I stared back, mute, the coffee clutched in my hand. I’d once thought this boy handsome and charming—the all-American veneer he wore fooling me as thoroughly as it fooled everyone else.
I’d barely let anyone else touch me at all tonight, adamantly refusing all slow dances. Dizzy from weak but plentiful margaritas, I closed my eyes and let him lead, telling myself that the difference was the alcohol in my blood, nothing more. A minute later, he released my fingers and spread his palms across my lower back, and my hands moved to his biceps. Solid, as I knew they would be. Tracking a path, my palms encountered equally hard shoulders. Finally, I hooked my fingers behind his neck and opened my eyes. His gaze was penetrating, not wavering for a moment, and my pulse hammered under the close scrutiny. I stretched up toward his ear, and he leaned down to accommodate my question. ‘S-so what’s your major?’ I breathed. From the corner of my eye, I watched his mouth pull up on one side. ‘Do you really want to talk about that?’ He maintained the closeness, our torsos pressed together chest to thigh, ostensibly waiting for my answer. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d been so full of pure, unqualified desire.

I hope you enjoyed the teasers! Just click the covers to read the synopsis, add to a wishlist or read reviews on Goodreads! Thank you to the authors and publisher for putting this tour together and be sure to stop by Once Upon a Bookcase for the next tour stop tomorrow!
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