Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Review for Dare You To by Katie McGarry

Dare You To by Katie McGarry 
Publisher: Mira Ink
Release: June 7th 2013
Genre: New Adult, Mature YA, Contemporary, Romance
Source: Received from the publishers in exchange for an honest review

Goodreads Summary: 
"If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk's home life, they'd send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom's freedom and her own happiness. That's how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn't want her and going to a school that doesn't understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn't get her, but does....

Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can't tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn't be less interested in him.

But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won't let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all...."

I am a huge fan of Katie McGarry’s debut novel Pushing the Limits so I was hugely excited to read this companion novel following Beth’s story - who was a secondary character in Pushing the Limits. I have to say that as excited as I was for this book I was also a little apprehensive as I wasn’t Beth’s biggest fan in Pushing the Limits and always pictured her ending up with her best friend Isaiah so I wasn’t sure how I would feel about a book from her point of view and a romance with anyone but Isaiah. However I’m pleased to say that Katie McGarry pulled off another gritty and romantic novel!

Dare You To follows a very similar formula to Pushing the Limits. Beth and Ryan both have terrible home lives and diabolical parents. Beth’s mother is a drunk who puts her relationship with an abusive man above her own daughter and Beth is always looking after her when it should be the other way around. Ryan comes from a family that looks perfect on the outside but on the inside they’re falling apart after his homophobic dad kicked out his brother for being gay. His mum and dad sleep in separate rooms and his dad puts a huge amount of pressure on Ryan to live out the dreams he had as a boy. Although both families are very different they were both just as bad as each other and I felt terrible for Ryan and Beth.

I loved Ryan as a character straight away and only grew to love him more as the book went on he’s a genuinely nice guy but he also has a little bit of an edge, which I enjoyed. Although my heart broke at times for Isaiah in this book there is no denying that Ryan is Beth’s perfect match as he challenges her and pulls the goodness out of her. Ryan is exactly what Beth needs as he provides stability and security in her chaotic life. The way Ryan makes Beth feel so special and loved melted my heart; he tames the wild hurricane of Beth’s emotions into a soft and gentle rain.

I found that it took me a little longer to warm towards Beth. She has a tough, hardened exterior and she can be a real pain in the ass. But as the book goes on you see glimpses of the fragile, frightened girl underneath and you soon come to realise it’s all a front she uses to protect herself. Underneath it all Beth has a heart of gold and is incredibly loyal to those she loves. I loved following her journey as she grows as a character and learns to trust and put faith in other people.

Although I didn’t love Dare You To as much as Pushing the Limits and didn’t find Beth and Ryan’s story to be as emotionally compelling as Echo and Noah’s it was still an excellent read in its own right. My only complaint is that although Echo and Noah do feature in this book there wasn’t as much of a catch-up with them as I expected there to be, I really would have liked to have seen a little bit more from them. Overall Dare You To was another gripping novel from Katie McGarry about daring yourself to be a better, braver you and to go for what you want and not take no for an answer, even if saying yes scares you more than anything. I can’t wait for Isaiah’s story in Crash Into You, Katie McGarry is fast becoming one of my must read authors.


Friday, 17 May 2013

Billy and Me Blog Tour: Review and Exclusive Content from Giovanna Fletcher!

Billy and Me by Giovanna Fletcher 
Publisher: Penguin
Release: 23rd May 2013
Genre: Chick-Lit, Romance, Celebrity, Fiction
Source: Received from the publishers in exchange for an honest review 

Goodreads Summary:
"Sophie May has a secret. One that she’s successfully kept for years. It’s meant that she’s had to give up her dreams of going to university and travelling the world to stay in her little village, living with her mum and working in the local teashop.

But then she meets the gorgeous Billy – an actor with ambitions to make it to the top. And when they fall in love, Sophie is whisked away from the comfort of her life into Billy’s glamorous – but ruthless – world.

Their relationship throws Sophie right into the spotlight after years of shying away from attention. Can she handle the constant scrutiny that comes with being with Billy? And most of all, is she ready for her secret heartbreak to be discovered and shared with the nation?"

Billy and Me is a debut novel full of charm and sparkle about an ordinary, shy, young woman from a quaint English village falling in love with a famous actor. There are countless books out there on this subject but what really made me want to check this book out is that the book is written by a lady who knows this subject all too well with author Giovanna Fletcher being married to Tom Fletcher from McFly. Knowing this I was immediately interested in giving this book a go and I’m so glad that I did as it’s one of the best portrayals of being thrust into the celebrity spotlight that I have ever read!

Sophie May is a quiet, bookish, homely heroine. She lives at home with her mum and works in the local village teashop, her best friend is Molly the little old lady who owns it. Sophie was such a down to earth, genuinely nice, character who I warmed to straight away. Billy is a young rising star in the film industry and visits Sophie’s little village when he films his latest movie a new adaption of Pride and Prejudice. The two meet when Billy stops by the teashop and the couple have an instant connection and so begins their sweet romance that will capture your heart.

What I really enjoyed about Billy and Me was that Sophie and Billy get together fairly early on in the story unlike a lot of chick-lit where the couple get together at the end. Instead of the will they/won’t they romance, Sophie and Billy have other, more unique, obstacles to overcome than your average couple. Once they get together Sophie has to deal with the press digging into her personal life, girls throwing themselves at Billy, Billy’s odd around the clock work hours, and a new life in London away from everything she’s ever known. Sophie is the last girl you’d imagine in the ruthless world of showbiz and it was so refreshing to read about a real woman with proper values who couldn’t care less about the glamorous lifestyle. All Sophie wants is to be with Billy and I found her attitude a breath of fresh air!

The book alternates between Sophie’s life in the small village she grew up in where she has her own secrets, hopes, dreams and family and Sophie in London as Billy’s girlfriend. I really enjoyed how the book blended small town life and the busy streets of London together and I loved reading both aspects of the book from the gorgeous little teashop and lovely village locals to Sophie getting glammed up for award shows. I feel like this book has something to offer both the city girl and small town lass!

Sophie was one of the best heroines I’ve come across in a long time and I immediately connected with her. Billy was such a nice guy and I loved their relationship, you could tell that they were the best of friends as well as a couple and I found their romance to be a very sweet one that you desperately want to work out. There are also some brilliant secondary characters, I absolutely loved Molly, who is Sophie’s boss and best friend, I’d have loved to have worked at her charming little tea shop. Billy and Me is chock full of warm and likeable characters that make their way into your heart.

Overall Billy and Me was an absolute gem of a read! Although there are several similar stories out there this is one of the best that I’ve come across and a large part of that is down to the lovely heroine that is Sophie. Gi Fletcher’s writing was fresh and relatable and I look forward to what she comes up with next!

My Cupcake!
All of us taking part in the blog tour were asked what emotion we felt when we first saw the gorgeous Billy and Me cover and I chose 'Curious' as I wanted to see what was inside! This is Giovanna’s representation of 'Curious' in cupcake form, I absolutely love it! Thank you for my special design, Gi!

Guest Post from Giovanna Fletcher: Billy’s Dream Girl

At the start of Billy and Me we become aware that Billy has dated a lot of woman and that most of them have been from his showbiz world. He’s tired of their diva ways, their demanding natures and the lifestyles they expect him to give them. He longs for simplicity and a girl who loves him for him, rather than his money and celebrity status.

The girls from his past were all divine on the red carpets, there’s no denying that, but what people didn’t see was the hours that have gone into making them appear that way, or the paranoia that follows them everyday – were they looking older? Fatter? Should they go in for that new chemical peel, blah blah… outsiders also didn’t see they way they hungrily looked at his burger while they sucked on their broccoli and wheat grass juice… he just wants a girl who will sit with him and eat a blooming meal!

Billy’s life’s hectic and crazy, but it is also lonely. He wants nothing more than to walk through his front door at night and feel the comfort of being at home with the woman he loves. Who’ll prefer a night in on the sofa after a manic day rather than make him go out so they can be seen at the latest celebrity hot spot. He is looking for normality and stability.

 Thanks for stopping by the blog today, Gi! And congratulations on Billy and Me! Don’t miss the rest of the stops on the Billy and Me blog tour, check out my banner in the sidebar for more information. Tomorrow the blog tour is stopping at Novel Kicks!

Thursday, 16 May 2013

The 5th Wave Blog Tour: My Survival Pack, Audio Extract, Trailer and How to Win a Signed Copy!

Welcome to my stop on The 5th Wave global blog tour! The 5th Wave is not only one of my favourite books of this year but one of my new all-time favourites, so I’m really honoured to be one of the blogs from around the world selected for this tour.

First of all if The 5th Wave isn’t on your radar yet I urge you to stop what you are doing right now and check out my review here to get a better picture on what this amazing book is about and to hear my thoughts on what makes it so mind blowingly good, then when you’re done come back to this post as I have four exciting things to share with you today!

The Trailer 
Find out more about the waves that shatter our world in this trailer! 

Listen to an Audio Extract! 

What I’d Pack if I Was a Survivor 
• Books on Survival, First Aid, Plants and their Properties etc: 
Admittedly I know very little about survival in the wild, how to heal certain injuries, which plants are poisonous or good for healing etc. so I feel like these books would be vital to my survival. Plus how many characters get snuffed out over something as simple as not knowing if a plant is poisonous or how to properly dress and clean an infection? 
• As many none perishable food items and bottles of water that I can carry along with water purifying tablets. 
• My copy of The 5th Wave 
To feel less alone and for some helpful tips and tricks! 
• First Aid Kit 
• Matches
 No rubbing sticks together for me! 
• Basic hygiene supplies 
• A journal and pens 
I need to write to keep sane. And I’d like to think if my time was up somebody would find it one day and learn our history if there were any survivors. 
• Photos of my family 
• Sleeping bag, tent, blanket 
• As many knifes as I could carry
• Solar torch 
• A change of clothes and sewing kit 
• My phone 
In The 5th Wave power is gone and a phone would be useless but I’d like to keep mine in case the power ever came back on. It may be a way of contacting people I used to know when this is all over. 
• Compass and Map 

 Win One of Ten Signed Copies of The 5th Wave! 
Listen closely to the audio extracts on each tour stop to find the answer to the following question: What is Cassie's Name Short For? Got the answer? Email it to: puffin@penguin.co.uk with the subject heading '5th Wave Comp' by Monday, May 20th 2013. 

 Find Out More About The 5th Wave www.the5thwaveiscoming.com 

Be sure to check out the banner in my sidebar for the rest of the stops on this tour!

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Review for The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
Publisher: Penguin
Release: 7th May 2013
Genre: Sci-Fi, Dystopian, Apocalypse, YA, Survival
Source: Received from the publishers in exchange for an honest review 

In The 5th Wave Rick Yancey creates a gripping and thought provoking future of our world shattered after an Alien apocalypse. We humans live a free and fairly safe existence being the most intelligent life form but what if there was something out there more intelligent and advanced than ourselves? What if our minds were to them what an animal’s mind is to us? Could you imagine a world where we were no longer the most powerful beings? In this clever and enthralling survival story author Ricky Yancey examines the human condition.

“We’re here, and then we’re gone, and it’s not about the time we’re here, but what we do with the time.” ― Rick Yancey, The 5th Wave

The 5th Wave is about intelligent, scheming, Aliens. When they first arrive in the Earth’s atmosphere the mothership does nothing but hover for a while leaving the world in a state of suspense to wonder who the Aliens are and what they’re here for. Little do they know that the Aliens are plotting a series of waves that will wipe out humanity yet leave Earth in one piece. The 1st wave hits at the things we’ve come to depend on the most: Electricity, power, batteries. All technology is cut off. The 2nd wave is Tsunamis large enough to wipe most countries out entirely. The 3rd wave is an airborne virus deadly to all but those who carry a natural immunity. The 4th wave is Alien assassins picking off the last few survivors. And the 5th wave is coming…

Rick Yancey’s world building is some of the best I’ve come across in a long time and I quickly became immersed in this believable future. The book is full of action and suspense and mind blowing twists that I didn’t see coming at all. As well as The 5th Wave being a gripping thriller it’s also incredibly thoughtful and beautifully written. There were so many passages of this novel that I fell in love with. Rick Yancey is a wonderfully skilful writer.

“Some things you can never leave behind. They don't belong to the past. They belong to you.” ― Rick Yancey, The 5th Wave

Where this book is strong in plot it is equally strong in its characters, there were so many who captured my heart! The book is told from several characters narrative and although at the start it is a little confusing as there isn’t any indication that the point of view has switched over you do soon get used to it when you figure out who everybody is and the figuring out only adds to the mystery of the book. Once I became used to the way this story is told I really appreciated how each character offers you a different vantage point to view the affect the Alien invasion has had on earth. At first you’re not sure how these seemingly random characters connect but all is made clear as the book goes on.

I loved all of the characters in this book but my absolute favourites were Cassie, Ben, Ringer and Sammy. Cassie and Ringer are two really strong, kick-ass, female leads. I especially loved Cassie with her black humour and snark that actually had me sniggering away despite the bleak situation. Ben’s chapters were my favourite. I loved his little crew at the camp and how protective he was of little Sammy, I also felt like he grew the most as a character. Sammy was simply adorable and I wanted to protect him from all of the horrors of his world. The things he had to go through as a five year old broke my heart!

“But if I'm it, the last of my kind, the last page of human history, like hell I'm going to let the story end this way. I may be the last one, but I am the one still standing. I am the one turning to face the faceless hunter in the woods on an abandoned highway. I am the one not running but facing. Because if I am the last one, then I am humanity. And if this is humanity's last war, then I am the battlefield.” ― Cassie, The 5th Wave, Rick Yancey.

Basically if you’re a human and you enjoy reading to some extent you should check out this book. I could gush about how good it is all day long. The hype surrounding this book is totally justified and it has become a new all-time favourite of mine. The 5th Wave is up there with the very best of the Sci-Fi and Dystopian genre and although it had a nice solid ending I am still left desperate for more to find out what happens next.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Letterbox Love (26) I Got Quoted in a Book!

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

Proof Copy Bind-Up of Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
The UK are getting the US version and name (formerly known as The Gathering Dark) of Shadow and Bone re-issued along with the publication of the second book Siege and Storm so the two have been put together in this proof for bloggers to review. I already read and LOVED Shadow and Bone when it was first released so I'm looking forward to reading Siege and Storm really soon!
Lockwood & Co by Jonathan Stroud (Proof Copy, Signed)
I've heard next to nothing about this one but it sounds pretty good and my copy is signed!
Love Is a Number by Lee Monroe (Proof Copy)
This looks like a really unique contemporary and I'm really looking forward to reading it.
Taking Chances by Molly McAdams
From Ashes by Molly McAdams
I've heard really mixed things about this series. People either seem to love it or hate it! The overall rating on Goodreads is very good though so I'm eager to give them a read and I'm hoping I'll enjoy them.

Doll Bones by Holly Black
I don't usually read middle grade books but have been known to make an exception when a book sounds really good and this one sounds really good! A doll made up of the bones of a murdered girl? Sounds creepy!
Dare You To by Katie McGarry
I'm a HUGE fan of McGarry's Pushing the Limits so I was thrilled to receive this one and even more thrilled when I opened it up to find out I had been quoted inside!
AKA: Spy Society by Robin Benway
Robin Benway's Audrey, Wait! Is one of my favourite books of all time so I'm very excited to read this new one from her especially with it being about spies.
Quicksilver by R.J. Anderson
I've been waiting for this sequel to Ultraviolet for years! I'm so chuffed to finally have a copy. Although, it's been so long since I read the first book that I think a re-read is in order before I pick up this one.

 My Quote in Dare You To

This is the third time I've been quoted in a book now but it's still just as exciting to get chosen as it was the first time. Especially when it's for a book you really love! 


I won all of these beauties from Michelle at Fluttering Butterflies UKYA Giveaway, thank you!
Finding Cherokee Brown by Siobhan Curham
By Any Other Name by Laura Jarratt
Geek Girl by Holly Smale (Signed Copy)
Night School: Legacy by C.J. Daugherty

These are all of the lovely new books that found themselves a new home on my shelves over the past two weeks. If any of these books 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!

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Review for Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown

Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown 
Publisher: Little Brown (US)
Release: May 21st 2013
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Source: Borrowed from Jasprit @ The Readers Den

Goodreads Summary: 

"Ashleigh's boyfriend, Kaleb, is about to leave for college, and Ashleigh is worried that he'll forget about her while he's away. So at a legendary end-of-summer pool party, Ashleigh's friends suggest she text him a picture of herself -- sans swimsuit -- to take with him. Before she can talk herself out of it, Ashleigh strides off to the bathroom, snaps a photo in the full-length mirror, and hits "send."

But when Kaleb and Ashleigh go through a bad breakup, Kaleb takes revenge by forwarding the text to his baseball team. Soon the photo has gone viral, attracting the attention of the school board, the local police, and the media. As her friends and family try to distance themselves from the scandal, Ashleigh feels completely alone -- until she meets Mack while serving her court-ordered community service. Not only does Mack offer a fresh chance at friendship, but he's the one person in town who received the text of Ashleigh's photo -- and didn't look.

Acclaimed author Jennifer Brown brings readers a gripping novel about honesty and betrayal, redemption and friendship, attraction and integrity, as Ashleigh finds that while a picture may be worth a thousand words . . . it doesn't always tell the whole story."

Jennifer Brown is an author whose books have always sounded interesting to me but I’ve never actually took the plunge and read one. So when my blogger friend Jasprit offered to lend me her latest novel Thousand Words I jumped at the chance to finally check this author out.

Thousand Words covers the subject of teen sexting. Ashleigh and Kaleb’s relationship has been rocky all summer with Kaleb making plans to go off to college. With the pressure of Kaleb being away and surrounded by experienced college girls Ashleigh worries that they will grow apart. After being drunkenly encouraged by her friends Ashleigh snaps a naked picture of herself which she sends to Kaleb. For a while the photo seems to bring them closer together but when Kaleb goes to college the cracks in their relationship re-appear and after a nasty break-up Kaleb sends the picture to his friends. As well as being publicly humiliated it seems like everybody has something to say about the picture and have their own ideas on who Ashleigh is as a person. But whilst a picture speaks a thousand words it doesn’t tell the whole story or define who somebody is, and this is Ashleigh’s story behind the picture.

The book is told in a past and present narrative from Ashleigh’s point of view. Before, tells the story of that fateful day when Ashleigh takes the picture and follows how everything so disastrously fell apart. And the present day is Ashleigh serving her community service as she is prosecuted for child pornography for taking the picture of herself. I loved how this story was told and although I preferred the past chapters and seeing how everything went down I also enjoyed reading about Ashleigh picking herself back up again and claiming back her life and dignity in the present.

One of the things I found really refreshing about Thousand Words is the lack of a love story. A Young Adult book without a love story? You say. Yes. I was shocked too. So at the start there is Ashleigh and Kaleb’s relationship but ain’t nothing romantic about that boy! At times I wondered if a romance would blossom between Ashleigh and Mack – a guy she meets at community service who didn’t look at her picture – but Mack is just a friend who helps Ashleigh reclaim her life. I loved the lack of a romantic interest and appreciated this story of standing up for yourself and forgiveness instead, it was certainly something different!

Overall Thousand Words offers up something completely different in the YA Contemporary market and I was captivated by Ashleigh’s unique story and her journey to redemption. Jennifer Brown blurs the lines between victim and offender making Thousand Words a thought provoking novel that I really enjoyed. After reading this book I’m definitely eager to read more from this author!

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

April Round-Up and Book of the Month

April's Book of the Month is Soulmates by Holly Bourne 

So April was a bit of a mixed month reading wise for me with far too many 3 star average books for my liking. I wasn't having the best of months and then I picked up Soulmates and was completely captivated! Soulmates is a British Contemporary debut with a Sci-Fi twist and I absolutely loved it! I was lucky enough to read a very early proof copy so unfortunately this one isn't out until September but it is one you definitely want to pre-order or at least add to your wishlists. This book saved me from going into a massive reading slump and from this month being a totally rubbish reading month. If you're a fan of authors such as C.J. Skuse and Cat Clarke you will LOVE Holly Bourne's writing style. My review won't be up until closer to publication but I'd really recommend you all checking this one out on Goodreads to find out more!

*** There is kissing and crazy weather galore! ***

 Read in April 
30.) Dear Thing by Julie Cohen (2*)
31.) Fractured by Teri Terry (4.5*)
32.) Radiant by Cynthia Hand (3*)
33.) Boundless by Cynthia Hand (4*)
34.) The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult (3*)
35.) This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith (3.5*)
36.) The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa (4*)
37.) Soulmates by Holly Bourne (5*)
38.) The Prince by Kiera Cass (3*)
39.) What Really Happened in Peru by Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan (3*) 

April Book Awards
Best Plot: Fractured by Teri Terry
Best Writing: Soulmates by Holly Bourne
Best Cover: The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult
Best Characters: What Really Happened in Peru by Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan
Best Ending: The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa
Best Romance: Boundless by Cynthia Hand
Most un-put-down-able: Soulmates by Holly Bourne
Most Memorable: The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult
Best Moral: Soulmates by Holly Bourne

Top 3 Most Recommended Books: Soulmates, Fractured, Boundless

Books I’m Looking Forward to Reading/Being Released in May
French Kiss: Diary of a Crush by Sarra Manning
Angelfall by Susan Ee
Follow Me Down by Tanya Byrne
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch
Billy and Me by Giovanna Fletcher
Vivien's Heavenly Ice Cream Shop by Abby Clements 
The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller

 May looks like it's going to be a fantastic month for books! How was your month in reading? Did you read any of the books I’ve read? What are you looking forward to reading in May?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Blog design by Imagination Designs using images from the Valentine Owls and Valentine's Day clip art kits by Pink Pueblo