Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly: Special Post and Giveaway

Hi Guys! If you've followed this blog for a long, long time then you'll know that I absolutely love Jennifer Donnelly. Her latest book Deep Blue sees Jennifer take a change of direction in genre as instead of Historical Fiction this book is all about Mermaids. With the UK publication date coming up on May 1st the publishers have put a very exciting post together for me to share with you along with a very cool giveaway! Firstly lets get to know a little bit more about the book...

When Serafina, a mermaid of the Mediterranean Sea, awakens on the morning of her betrothal, her biggest worry should be about reuniting with handsome Prince Mahdi, her childhood crush. Instead she finds herself haunted by strange dreams foretelling the return of an ancient evil, and dealing with the deaths of her parents as assassins storm the betrothal ceremony, plunging the city into chaos.
Led only by her shadowy dreams and pursued by the invading army, Serafina and her best friend Neela embark on a quest to avenge her parents' death and prevent a war between the mer nations. In the process they discover a plot that threatens their - and our - world's very existence.

 Four thousand years ago, six wise rulers with mystical powers oversaw the golden realm of Atlantis. When an evil force overtook the mythical island, sinking it into the sea, Merrow, the leader of the ancients, beseeched the gods to grant her drowning people the power to breathe underwater. Those who survived, their legs magically fused into tail fins, formed an undersea civilization called The Mer. 

 From their Mediterranean realm, five others grew to form six undersea nations, led for generations by descendants of the ancient Circle of Six. Now, the evil forces that consumed Atlantis threaten destruction once again. The Mer nations’ only hope lies with six teenagers, descended from the ancient rulers, who’ve inherited their magical powers. Together, they form an unbreakable bond of sisterhood to save their worlds. 

Loyal, brave, just, and strong—with copper brown hair, bright green eyes, and a nascent gift more powerful than all the others—Serafina is descended from the ancient ruler Merrow. Heir to the original civilization of Merfolk, Sera has been raised with the expectation that one day, she’ll be their ruler. When the undersea nations come under threat and Sera’s mother, Queen Isabella, is poisoned, Sera’s destiny leaps to meet her. She must embark on a journey to find and vanquish the evil forces at work. Her powerful magic—the gift of a love so powerful she would sacrifice herself for those around her—will guide her as she leads the mermaids in their quest. By her side is her best friend Neela… 

Sassy and daring, with a non-stop sweet-tooth, jet-black hair to her tail fin, and a bioluminescent body that emanates a bright blue light, Neela is descended from Navi, ancient ruler of the waters of India, a kind and good-hearted leader who used her riches to build hospitals, orphanages, and homes for the poor. It was said Navi could hold light in her hands as well as her heart, pulling down beams from the sun and moon and stars and bending them to her will. She gave her people hope in their darkest hours. Neela, able to create and throw powerful formations of light, is the intrepid inheritor of these gifts. 

With a gentle but powerful nature and a keen intellect she’s not afraid to show, Ling—with almond-shaped eyes, high cheekbones, and a sword in a scabbard slung over her back—is descended from Sycorax, who ruled from the shores of the Qin in China. An omnivorax, Sycorax spoke the languages of all creatures—people, animals, birds, flowers and trees. She was Atlantis’ supreme justice, a peace- keeper and negotiator of treaties between realms. Ling is the able and ready inheritor of these gifts. 

Fierce and quick—with curly red hair, blue eyes, and a smattering of freckles—Becca is descended from Pyrrha, who ruled the shores of Atlantica, the ancient realm between South America and Africa. Pyrrha was a brilliant and strategic military commander, but she was also an artisan—a blacksmith who could bid fire. She had a forge on Atlantis where she transformed farm tools into weapons; when her people came under attack, Pyrrha saved her people with her quick thinking. Becca, her descendant, will do the same. 

Wise, witty, frank and prescient—with glossy black braids, deep brown scales, sunglasses, and a guide-pet piranha she keeps on a leash—Ava is descended from Nyx who ruled the fresh waters that flowed from the Mississippi River. Nyx was blind, but he could feel things he could not see. He never flinched from what he felt, or from speaking his visions truthfully. The magic bestowed him by the gods strengthened his gift and transformed it into prophecy. Ava is the knowing inheritor of this gift of prescience and foresight. 

Headstrong, bold, and possessed of a deep well of magical power, Astrid—with cascades and braids of white-blonde hair, icy blue eyes, and the black and white markings of an orca—is descended from Orfeo, who ruled the arctic waters around Greenland. A musician who played the lyre to soothe the sick and suffering, he was a healer whose people loved him. Of the six who ruled Atlantis, his powers were unsurpassed. But it was Orfeo who mysteriously defected from the Circle of Six, unleashing a monster of his own creation whose wrath destroyed Atlantis. Like her father, Astrid turns away from the group. Unlike her father, she will rejoin them…but not until she tests them first. 

 Watch the Trailer

To celebrate the release of Deep Blue the publishers are giving away a very special prize pack to one of my UK/ Ireland readers. Here's what you could win!

The prize includes a hardback copy of Deep Blue, a shell bracelet and Guylian chocolates in an organza gift bag. Simply read the rules and fill in the Rafflecopter to be in with a chance of winning. Good luck! 

 Giveaway Rules 
 To enter please fill in the Rafflecopter 
 Open to UK/ Ireland residents only 
 End date: 7th May 2014 
 One winner will be drawn and will be contacted by email with 1 week to reply else another winner will be selected

Monday, 28 April 2014

Review for Tease by Amanda Maciel

Tease by Amanda Maciel 
Publisher: Hodder Children's
Release: 1st May 2014
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Bullying
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

"Emma Putnam is dead, and it's all Sara Wharton's fault. At least, that's what everyone seems to think when Sara, along with her best friend and three other classmates, has been criminally charged for the bullying and harassment that led to Emma's shocking suicide. Now Sara is the one who's ostracized, already guilty according to her peers, the community and the media. But Sara is sure she hasn't done anything wrong. Emma brought it on herself. Emma stole Sara's boyfriend. Emma stole everyone's boyfriends. Surely Sara was the victim, not Emma. During the summer before her senior year Sara is forced to reflect on the events that brought her to this moment - and ultimately consider her role in an undeniable tragedy. And she'll have to find a way to move forward, even when it feels like her own life is over."

Before going into Tease it’s important to know a few things about it. Tease is a gritty and controversial look at bullying. Don’t pick this up expecting to fall in love with the characters – in fact you’re going to get frustrated with them and will want to throw this book across the room at times although I say that in the best possible way. Tease is an angsty read that raises important questions on topics such as mob mentality, slut shaming, peer pressure, bullying and the competitive and destructive relationships girls have with each other. It’s an incredibly important book that isn’t afraid to ask the big questions and gives you difficult answers that will make you think outside the box.

The book is told from Sara’s perspective, a girl who was part of a group whose bullying drove classmate Emma Putnam to suicide. Tease is told in alternating past and present chapters as we watch Sara go on trial for the abuse she showed Emma and also go back in time to see how the bullying began.

It was fascinating reading from a deliberately unlikeable characters point of view. At the start of the book I really disliked Sara and her casual slut shaming drove me mad but as we get to see past events I could begin to understand her hatred towards Emma. Amanda Maciel never excuses Sara’s actions but she does make you understand her reasons. What I loved about this book is that the victim Emma isn’t a particularly nice person either. She deliberately goes after Sara’s boyfriend and does her fair share of name calling. It was so interesting having a victim who wasn’t entirely innocent in all this herself.

Another thing I loved about Tease was how Amanda Maciel shows how easily Sara’s boyfriend Dylan gets away with everything. To me he was the worst character in this book and as the cheat was the one who’d done something wrong. Yet the girls, law and media never blamed him or held him accountable for his actions. It really disturbed me how the girls would rip and claw at each other and yet never think to blame Dylan. This story is happening between girls everywhere and I think that Amanda Maciel drove a very clever yet subtle message home about girls uniting and holding the guy who’s actually at fault responsible.

Overall Tease was a captivating read. It definitely offers up something different in YA and is like a grittier more important version of ‘Mean Girls’. It’s about how we make mistakes as teenagers and learn to become adults by taking responsibility for them. Teens and adults alike are certain to relate to the issues raised in Tease in one way or another. This reader certainly did.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Letterbox Love (39)

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.

Hello and Happy Easter book friends! I have a large and rather awesome book haul to share with you today that I've accumulated over the past month. The books have been coming in slow but steady and now I have a nice hefty haul to share with you. Some were bought as Easter treats, a couple I won and the others are exciting review copies. So sit back with your chocolate egg of choice and behold all of the pretties!

 For Review/ Won

You're the One That I Want by Giovanna Fletcher (Proof Copy)
I won an early proof of this through Goodreads and promptly devoured it as soon as it arrived! I absolutely loved this book and you can expect a review for it soon.
The Geography Of You And Me by Jennifer E. Smith
Yep, I've read this one already too and have just posted my review here. This is my favourite Jennifer E. Smith book so far. It was one of those books that was so perfect that I felt like it was written just for me! This one got a very rare 5 star rating.
Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
And I might have already read this one too! The writing is so gorgeous and fans of books like The Perks of Being a Wallflower are going to absolutely love it!
Precious Thing by Colette Mcbeth
At last! One that I actually haven't read yet! This is supposed to be a fantastic adult thriller about friendship. It's something a little bit different on my TBR and the synopsis has me really intrigued to read it.

The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa
I wasn't a fan of this cover change when I first saw it but I must admit it has been growing on me the more I look at it. I'm still mad that my trilogy doesn't match (WHY!? PUBLISHERS WHY!?) but cover aside I'm so excited to see how this series ends!
The Fearless by Emma Pass
Although I've fallen out of love with the dystopian genre a bit this year this one sounds really good and it's UKYA so I'm excited to give it a go.
Alex As Well by Alyssa Brugman
This one arrived through my letterbox as a complete surprise but it sounds fantastic! I'm loving my LGBT reads this year and this sounds like a very interesting one.
Say Her Name by James Dawson (Proof Copy)
I'm so excited to have an early copy of this! I loved James' book Cruel Summer and am excited for another horror YA!

 Bought/ Won

The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas
I'm so in love with the cover for this one! I'm not a huge fan of short stories or novella's but I am a huge fan of this series and having a bound up prequel makes this much more appealing to me than reading each novella individually on my Kindle.
A Place to Call Home by Carole Matthews
I won this from the lovely Sophie at Reviewed the Book and I'm so excited to read it! I love Carole Matthews and this is coming up soon on my Spring TBR! Thanks again Sophie!
Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
I absolutely adore David Levithan's writing and have had this on my wishlist for ages so I was so happy to get a copy for Easter! This is another one that won't stay on my TBR for long.

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
I had this one on pre-order and although my pre-order arrived days later than everybody else's it's here now and I couldn't be happier! This sounds like such a 'Jess book' and is high on my TBR at the minute!
Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
I finished this book last night and it was EPIC! Seriously one of my favourite series endings ever. I loved every moment of this 600 page beast and I'm so sad that the series is over. I'm going to be meeting Laini next month and I'm going to be so in awe of her that it's going to be hugely embarrassing on my part. I'll be that girl that everybody hates who is crying and will not freaking step away from the line and let everybody else have a turn with Laini.
What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick
This sounds like another gorgeous summer read that again is super high on my TBR. We're having some beautiful spring days here in England right now and it's making me crave beachy contemporaries so I imagine I'll be picking this up sooner rather than later.

While I'm here I just wanted to share with you guys my gorgeous signed and illustrated copy of Dreams of Gods and Monsters! The publishers had a limited number signed and illustrated by Laini for people who pre-ordered and I was lucky enough to get this special edition! 

 As always thank you to the lovely publishing folk for the review copies. 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!

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Review for The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith 
Publisher: Headline
Release: 15th April 2014
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance, Travel
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

"Owen lives in the basement. Lucy lives on the 24th floor. But when the power goes out in the midst of a New York heatwave, they find themselves together for the first time: stuck in a lift between the 10th and 11th floors. As they await help, they start talking...

The brief time they spend together leaves a mark. And as their lives take them to Edinburgh and San Francisco, to Prague and to Portland they can't shake the memory of the time they shared. Postcards cross the globe when they themselves can't, as Owen and Lucy experience the joy - and pain - of first love.

And as they make their separate journeys in search of home, they discover that sometimes it is a person rather than a place that anchors you most in the world."

The Geography of You and Me was one of those rare and special books that was so perfect that I felt like it was written especially for me. It’s almost as if I gave Jennifer E. Smith a list of ingredients that would make my ideal cute contemporary read and The Geography of You and Me is the end result. I’ve read and enjoyed all of Smith’s books but this one is hands down my favourite so far.

The book begins in an elevator in New York during a blackout that sweeps across the city on a scorching summers evening. Despite living in the same building Lucy and Owen have never met before but sparks fly as NYC plummets into darkness and the two get to know one another over free melting ice cream, cool kitchen tiles, and the rare sight of thousands of stars lighting up the sky. New York in the dark sounded strangely magical and exciting. It was such a fun note to kick start the book on and created the perfect backdrop for Lucy and Owen’s relationship to begin.

Lucy and Owen find each other just when they need someone the most. Both are incredibly lonely for different reasons. After spending that one whirlwind night together there’s hope that they will become something more but fate has other plans for the couple as Owen’s dad is taking him on a road trip and Lucy’s father has been offered work in London. Despite the distance between them and the unlikeliness of ever meeting again the two write to one another from all around the world. As they try on different countries and different cities all they really want is a place to call home but perhaps they’ve already found it in each other.

The Geography of You and Me has to be Jennifer E. Smith’s most beautifully written book to date. Her way with words really brought this global love story to life as we visit New York, London, Edinburgh, Paris and Rome to name only a few destinations visited during our characters travels. I loved seeing these places through Lucy and Owen’s eyes and there were times when they’d be thinking of each other at exactly the same moment on the other side of the world that would make my stomach dance with butterflies. The written postcards were another lovely touch to their story. You spend the whole book waiting in anticipation with the hope that they will find their way back to each other.

I was completely charmed by The Geography of You and Me it was over all too soon for my liking and I’m already craving a re-read. If you love cute contemporaries with gorgeous prose then you’re going to love this story of carrying your home in your heart.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Review for Spare Brides by Adele Parks

Spare Brides by Adele Parks
Publisher: Headline
Release: 13th February 2014
Genre: Historical Fiction, WW1, Women’s Fiction, Romance
Source: Received for review via Netgalley

"New Year's Eve, 1920. The Great War is over and it's a new decade of glamorous promise. But a generation of men and women who survived the extreme trauma and tragedy will never be the same.

With countless men lost, it seems that only wealth and beauty will secure a husband from the few who returned, but lonely Beatrice has neither attribute. Ava has both, although she sees marriage as a restrictive cage after the freedom war allowed. Sarah paid the war's ultimate price: her husband's life. Lydia should be grateful that her own husband's desk job kept him safe, but she sees only his cowardice.

A chance encounter for one of these women with a striking yet haunted officer changes everything. In a world altered beyond recognition, where not all scars are visible, this damaged and beautiful group must grasp any happiness they can find - whatever the cost."

I’ve read and enjoyed some of Adele Parks’ books in the past and Spare Brides is her first venture into Historical Fiction. After reading the synopsis I knew this was a book for me. There is a wealth of books set during WW1 and so I found the idea of a book set post war really refreshing. This book focuses on the outcome war had on society, particularly the women, a generation of ‘spare brides’ left behind after losing their men.

The book centres around four friends who have been affected by the war in different ways. Firstly there is Lydia who is more fortunate than most. She has her husband, money and title still intact but instead of feeling lucky she feels ashamed of her stay at home husband and so begins an affair with a Sergeant. Lydia brought out a range of emotions in me as a reader. At times she really frustrated me and other times I felt incredibly sorry for her. She’s a complex character that’s for sure and she constantly surprised me. Although not my favourite of the girls she was definitely the one I enjoyed reading about the most.

Then we have Sarah, Lydia’s opposite, who lost her husband and money to the war and is left bringing up their children alone. Although we don’t hear from Sarah as much as the other girls I loved her character and felt sympathy for her situation.

Ava is a modern and forward thinking young woman. She’s the life and soul of the party and a flapper through and through. She embraces the idea of this new future war has given her and all the exciting new opportunities that come along with it for women.

Then there’s Beatrice who has an opposite attitude to Ava. A single and plain woman with no fortune she faces a life alone without the husband and babies she so desperately wanted for herself. Beatrice is incredibly lonely and my heart ached for her.

I loved the different vantage points having four very different heroines provided and each lady had a different story to tell and brought out different emotions in me. Each voice stood out and sounded authentic and I adored the women’s friendship. In a new world that was different and uncertain in many ways all they truly had was each other.

Sexy, scandalous and sad Spare Brides perfectly captures the mood of the early twenties from the grief of what was lost to the hope of a new future and tells the untold story of a generation of women who lived and endured through it all.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Review for A Kiss in the Dark by Cat Clarke

A Kiss in the Dark by Cat Clarke 
Publisher: Quercus
Release: 3rd April 2014
Genre: YA, Contemporary, UKYA
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

"When Alex meets Kate the attraction is instant. Alex is funny, good-looking, and a little shy - everything that Kate wants in a boyfriend. Alex can't help falling for Kate, who is pretty, charming and maybe just a little naive... But one of them is hiding a secret, and as their love blossoms, it threatens to ruin not just their relationship, but their lives."

Cat Clarke has struck gold yet again with her latest book A Kiss in the Dark. Her stories feel like they come straight from teenager’s hearts and A Kiss in the Dark is no exception. The synopsis for this book is very vague not really giving anything away about this story so I’m unsure of how much to say in this review so I’m going to keep this short and sweet.

In a nutshell A Kiss in the Dark is a tale of first love gone wrong. It’s about love and hate, betrayal and revenge, secrets and lies, boy and girl and how they’re not all that different. They are each a side on the same coin and A Kiss in the Dark shows two sides to the same love story.

Reading A Kiss in the Dark is like watching a train wreck in slow motion. You know it isn’t going to end well for the characters and you’re on the edge of your seat waiting for the impact that is inevitable and will change the characters’ lives forever. Needless to say I couldn’t put this book down and read it in a few hours.

At its heart A Kiss in the Dark is a story about identity and loving blindly. It was such a beautiful and powerful read and yes I had a little cry over the ending. Alex and Kate’s story touched my heart; they are two characters whose journey will stay with me for a long time to come. Despite my brief review I hope I’ve said enough to get you interested in picking this book up. If you love complicated love stories that blur right and wrong I couldn’t recommend this book more.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

March Round Up and Book of the Month

March's Book of the Month is A Hundred Pieces of Me by Lucy Dillon

So last month I didn't get as much read as I wanted to. I caught a cold I couldn't shake off and then I was really busy so my reading took a back seat during the last two weeks of March. Although I didn't read much what I did read was FANTASTIC! Everything got a 4 star rating or higher and there were a couple of books that could rightfully be March's book of the month but in the end I decided to go with A Hundred Pieces of Me. I'm really loving women's fiction this year and this book was so emotionally captivating and offers something really different too. It was such a beautiful, hopeful story about living for now and I know that it's going to have a special place in my heart for the rest of the year. To read more of my thoughts on this book check out my review here.

Read in March
19.) Spare Brides by Adele Parks (4*)
20.) A Hundred Pieces of Me by Lucy Dillon (4.5*)
21.) Far From You by Tess Sharpe (4*)
22.) Split Second by Kasie West (4*)
23.) A Kiss in the Dark by Cat Clarke (4.5*)
24.) Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira (4*)

Monthly Book Awards
Best Plot: A Kiss in the Dark by Cat Clarke
Best Writing: Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
Best Cover: A Hundred Pieces of Me by Lucy Dillon
Best Characters: A Kiss in the Dark by Cat Clarke
Best Ending: A Hundred Pieces of Me by Lucy Dillon
Best Romance: Far From You by Tess Sharpe
Most un-put-down-able: A Kiss in the Dark by Cat Clarke
Most Memorable: A Hundred Pieces of Me by Lucy Dillon
Best Moral: A Kiss in the Dark by Cat Clarke

Top 3 Most Recommended Books: A Hundred Pieces of Me, A Kiss in the Dark and Love Letters to the Dead

Books I’m Looking Forward to Being Released in April
The Break-Up Artist by Philip Siegel
Precious Thing by Colette McBeth
The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa
The Year of the Rat by Clare Furniss
The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick

 What was the best book you read in March? 
And what are you looking forward to reading this month?

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