Friday, 30 May 2014

Giveaway for DIVIDED (Dualed Sequel) by Elsie Chapman (US/Canada)

Hello you lovely lot! As a UK based blogger I get asked to make a lot of my giveaway's UK only and so I'm really happy to be able to treat my US and Canada based followers today to a giveaway! The awesome people at Random House US are providing one copy of Divided by Elsie Chapman to one of my readers to celebrate publication. I know a lot of people who read and loved the first book in the series Dualed last year so I hope you're excited for this sequel! 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 US/ Canada residents only 
 End date: 7th June 2014 
 One winner will be drawn and will be contacted by email with 1 week to reply else another winner will be selected

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

The YALC Readathon Sign Ups: Read the books before you meet the authors!

The YALC Readathon is a brand new readathon being hosted by myself, Vicky at Books, Biscuits and Tea, Carly at Writing from the Tub and Michelle at Fluttering Butterflies that will take place between the 23rd-29th June 2014 starting and ending at midnight in whichever time zone you’re in.

What is the YALC Readathon?
If you haven’t heard of YALC yet where have you been!? It’s the first Young Adult convention happening in the UK and in case you haven’t heard about it you can find out more here.

There are so many fantastic authors attending and I wanted to try to read as many of their books before I meet them at YALC. I noticed on Twitter that a lot of people felt the same way and so the idea of hosting a readathon was born.

The YALC Readathon is dedicating a week to reading as many books by YALC authors as possible. A list of the authors attending can be found here. We’re also planning plenty of fun stuff during that week and are collaborating with the authors and people behind YALC to bring you guest posts and a Twitter chat which will take place on Thursday 26th June at 7pm UK time.

If you’re attending YALC this is a great opportunity to read the books before you meet the authors and to discuss their books with other readers. However if you’re not attending YALC but would like to join in anyway then please do feel free to take part!

Sounds great, how do I join in? 
To sign up share your intention to join us along with our image on your blog, Twitter, Youtube, Facebook, Goodreads etc; then post the URL in the linky below.

If you have goals and a TBR in mind feel free to share them! This isn’t mandatory.

When talking about the readathon on social media please use the hashtag #YALCReadathon so we can all follow each other’s updates and progress.

That’s it! I hope that you’ll join us! If you have any questions feel free to ask me in the comments. In the meantime here is my own TBR, I doubt I’ll get around to all of these but I have an amazing pile to choose from and I’m looking forward to seeing how many I can read!

Monday, 26 May 2014

First Loves Global Blog Tour: Fool Me Twice Chapter Extract

Hey guys! Welcome to my stop on the global First Loves blog tour! First Loves celebrates those super cute YA reads from authors Mandy Hubbard, Jillian Cantor, Kristin Rae, Emery Lord, and Lindsey Leavitt that deal with the heart soaring highs and heart breaking lows of first love. I am here today to share a chapter extract from the first book in the "if only" series Fool Me Twice by Mandy Hubbard. I hope you enjoy this sneak peak and are as excited to read this book as I am!

Make sure you stop by Fiction Fascination today for more First Loves goodness and make sure you follow First Loves on Tumblr if you'd like to hear more from the First Loves team and authors!

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Letterbox Love (40) the last for a while...

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 my lovely book geeks! I hope you're all having a great weekend. This is going to be my last book haul for a while. We are in the process of decorating and a lot of my books have gone into storage and so are unavailable to me. Because everything is everywhere right now and we are using the weekends to decorate I'm going to be taking a break from Letterbox Love for a while. I hope you like this last haul and know that if you follow me on Instagram I usually share exciting book post on there as they come in.

 For Review

Fool Me Twice by Mandy Hubbard
This sounds like a really cute summer contemporary and you know how I love those! I'm on the blog tour for this and my stop is tomorrow so make sure you look out for that!
Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae
I have heard so many good things for this book! Like Fool Me Twice it sounds like a really fun summer read and I can't wait to get to it.
The Rain by Virginia Bergin (Proof Copy)
I am so excited for this one. It's a funny British take on the Dystopian genre and I can't wait to try it out.
The Year of the Rat by Clare Furniss (Proof Copy)
So many of my blogger friends have read and loved this one already. It's certainly creating a splash in the YA community and sounds like such an emotional read.

Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly (Proof Copy)
I'm such a Jennifer Donnelly fan girl and Deep Blue is her first venture away from Historical Fiction. I'm not the biggest mermaid fan but I love this authors writing so much that I'm looking forward to giving this one a go.
The Moment Collector by Jodi Lynn Anderson (Proof Copy)
I absolutely love Tiger Lily by this author and am looking forward to reading a new book from Jodi. I really like our UK cover and am hoping for more gorgeous writing.
Don't Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski
I've heard some mixed things about this one. People seem to either think it's a lot of fun or a bit silly. I really like the sound of it so I'm hoping I'll enjoy it!
Between the Lives by Jessica Shirvington (Proof Copy)
I'm ridiculously excited for this! So many people have been telling me how good it is and the only reason I haven't picked it up yet is because it isn't out until August and so I'm waiting until a little closer to release date. It sounds a bit like another book I read and loved called Lucid and so I'm hoping I'll love this one too!

The Unpredictable Consequences of Love by Jill Mansell
I really like Jill's books although I haven't picked one up for a while. This sounds like a lovely beach read which is on my Spring/ Summer TBR.
Thirteen Weddings by Paige Toon
I read this one last weekend in my garden whilst the weather was lovely and it was an enjoyable read although I'm not head over heels in love with it like I know some people are. I'll have a review up with more of my thoughts soon.
The Unfinished Symphony of You and Me by Lucy Robinson
I've never read anything by Lucy Robinson before and so many people have told me how much I'll enjoy her books so I'm really excited to make this my first! I read the first couple of pages out of curiosity when it arrived and it had me giggling away so I can't wait to make a start!
The Story of You by Katy Regan (Proof Copy)
This one arrived as a complete surprise and after reading the synopsis I have to say I'm really looking forward to reading it! It definitely sounds intriguing.
The Best Thing That Never Happened To Me by Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice (Proof Copy)
I won this in a Twitter giveaway that Jimmy hosted and I'm so glad I did because I've heard nothing but good things about this book. I absolutely love these what if? stories.

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld (Proof Copy)
This is another surprise book that arrived just as I was putting this post together which is why it's added on at the end. This book sounds crazy in the best possible way and the blurbs from John Green and Maureen Johnson have definitely caught my attention! This isn't out until September but I might have to read it soon because I'm so intrigued to know what this one is all about!


Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
I've already read this one and although I enjoyed it it's another one that I didn't fall in love with like everybody else has. It was a fun read but nothing more for me unfortunately.
Lips Touch by Laini Taylor
I bought this one at the Laini Taylor event to get signed. I'm a major fan girl of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy and am happy that I have more of Laini's gorgeous writing to look forward to!
Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson
I'm so happy to finally have a copy of this! Morgan writes amazing summer contemporary stories and this has been high on my wish list for such a long time. I'm going to be saving this for some summer time garden reading!

 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!

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Review for Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout 
Publisher: Hodder
Release: 10th April 2014
Genre: YA, Thriller
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

"What if you had the chance to start again...but only if you promised never to look back? Samantha is popular, rich, and seemed to have it all...until the night she and her best 'frenemy' Cassie disappeared and only Sammy resurfaced, with no recollection of who she is or what happened. Sammy's a stranger in her own life - a life she no longer wants any part of. Losing her memory is a chance to start again. Then Sammy begins receiving mysterious notes warning her about that night, urging her to not look back. But she can't let it go. As she starts poking around in her past she begins to remember...and something sinister begins to surface."

Don’t Look Back was one of those books where I absolutely loved the first half of the book and was sure I was on to a winner only to be left a little disappointed by the ending. I can’t explain how addicted to this book I was for the first two hundred odd pages. I stayed up way too late tearing through the chapters without knowing where the time had gone.

Samantha has no memories of her life before she was found by the police whatsoever and that made her and the people around her unreliable characters. You’re never sure who to trust, who is lying, and who isn’t telling the whole truth about their history with Samantha. I think I suspected everybody at some point during the book! Jennifer includes plenty of red herrings which definitely help develop the characters as you go along and kept me on my toes. There’s one character who I was praying throughout would not turn out to be involved with Samantha’s disappearance and that was Carson Sam’s love interest who I completely fell in love with too. The romance in this book was fantastic and I also really enjoyed the relationships Sam had with her brother and his girlfriend who I also really liked.

I was really enjoying this book until I was just over half way through and suddenly all of the clues came together and I guessed both the killer and their motive. I felt at this point that Armentrout gave a little too much away; the clues are definitely there to find if you pay attention to them! Knowing the who and the why half way through kind of spoiled my enjoyment of the rest of the book – you want to be kept in suspense throughout with a thriller! I also found the whole unveiling at the end really rushed. The Epilogue didn’t feel like it fit in with the tone of the rest of the book and I was still left with some questions. After such a fantastic start I’m sad to say I closed the book feeling disappointed.

Overall Don’t Look Back was definitely a read I had mixed feelings over. If you don’t guess the ending I think you’ll really enjoy this but the fact that I did really affected my experience with this book which was a real shame.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Review for The Dead Wife’s Handbook by Hannah Beckerman

The Dead Wife’s Handbook by Hannah Beckerman 
Publisher: Penguin
Release: 13th February 2014
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Afterlife, Grief
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

"'Today is my death anniversary. A year ago today I was still alive.'

 Rachel, Max and their daughter Ellie had the perfect life - until the night Rachel's heart stopped beating.

Now Max and Ellie are doing their best to adapt to life without Rachel, and just as her family can't forget her, Rachel can't quite let go of them either. Caught in a place between worlds, Rachel watches helplessly as she begins to fade from their lives. And when Max is persuaded by family and friends to start dating again, Rachel starts to understand that dying was just the beginning of her problems.

As Rachel grieves for the life she's lost and the life she'll never lead, she learns that sometimes the thing that breaks your heart might be the very thing you hope for."

There are an abundance of books about fictional afterlives out there and I always really enjoy reading them so when I read the synopsis for The Dead Wife’s Handbook I knew it was a book that I just had to read. When I started reading I was quite surprised to discover that this book is less about the afterlife and more about life itself which put a refreshing new twist on the dead heroine narrative.

The book begins on the one year anniversary of Rachel’s death where we find out that Rachel died unexpectedly in her thirties leaving behind loving husband Max and young daughter Ellie. Rachel isn’t sure where she is or why she’s there but every so often the clouds part and she is allowed to see Max and Ellie begin to build a new life without her.

I say this book is more about life than the afterlife because the focus is never on where Rachel is now. Instead we watch the living through Rachel’s eyes and experience the different stages of grief for everybody who Rachel’s death has affected, including Rachel herself.

A year after his wife’s death Max is gently pushed back into the world of dating by concerned friends and family. Max thinks it’s too soon and his first few dates go horribly wrong, that is until Max meets Eve and beings to fall in love all over again. Rachel is heartbroken watching another woman take her place and so she grieves not only for the life she’s lost but also for the life she’ll now never lead. You see throughout the book how Rachel’s death and Max moving on affects Rachel’s family, friends and young daughter Ellie in different ways showing the messy complexity of grief.

This book brought out a range of emotions in me and my feelings towards each character would shift and develop throughout the book. Sometimes I’d feel so frustrated with Max but then he’d have a heart to heart with Ellie and I’d suddenly understand his feelings. At the start I really didn’t like Eve and was fiercely on Rachel’s side but as I got to know her I warmed to her and began to see that even though she didn’t know Rachel her death has very much affected her life as well.

Overall The Dead Wife’s Handbook is an emotionally powerful debut novel about life, death, love and everything in between. It broke my heart and put it back together again and is a firm favourite of mine for 2014. I’m hugely looking forward to seeing what Hannah Beckerman writes next.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Review for The Worst Girlfriend in the World by Sarra Manning

The Worst Girlfriend in the World by Sarra Manning 
Publisher: Atom
Release: 1st May 2014
Genre: UKYA, Contemporary, Friendship
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

"My best friend was now my deadliest enemy, the one person I'd hate beyond all measure for the rest of my life . . .

Franny Barker's best friend, Alice, is the worst girlfriend in the world according to the many boys of Merrycliffe-on-Sea. She toys with them, then dumps them. But she'll never dump fashion-obsessed Franny. Nothing and no one can come between them. Not even tousle-haired rock god, Louis Allen, who Franny's been crushing on hard. Until Alice, bored with immature boys and jealous of Franny's new college friends, sets her sights on Louis. Suddenly, best friends are bitter rivals.

Is winning Louis's heart worth more than their friendship? There's only one way for Franny to find out."

Alice Jenkins is the worst girlfriend in the world. Notoriously known in Merrycliffe-On-Sea as the girl who will happily steal your boyfriend only to dump him the next week Franny is the only girl who stands by her best friend. Sure, Alice has a bad reputation but they’ve been friends since they were in nappies and besides Alice would never do anything to hurt Franny, right? After ups and downs put strain on their friendship the battle lines are firmly drawn when Alice goes after Franny’s long term crush and suddenly the title ‘The Worst Girlfriend in the World’ starts to take on a whole new meaning.

When I first read the synopsis for this book I wasn’t sure if we’d get along. Despite being a diehard Sarra Manning fan books on this subject tend to make me see red but Sarra Manning did a brilliant job of examining the unspoken rivalries between girls and how we masochistically compare ourselves especially to our friends. I loved this story where friendship in all of its glorious highs and devastating lows was the central theme.

As with all Sarra Manning novels the characters were funny, bright and thoroughly British. Franny and her friends were so much fun to read about and although I should have disliked Alice I could always understand her actions and could see why she was Franny’s best friend. The Worst Girlfriend in the World was such a fun read but it also tackles important themes such as growing apart from old friends, mental illness, caretaker teens and finding your place in the world whilst never forgetting your roots.

In a nutshell queen of teen Sarra Manning has delivered another hilarious yet important book about the complex friendships between girls all wrapped up in a coming of age story. I suspect readers will be talking about it and sharing it with their own best friends all summer long.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Event Write Up: Laini Taylor talk and signing at Waterstones Birmingham

On Thursday 1st May Waterstones on Birmingham High Street hosted an evening with Laini Taylor to celebrate the release of Dreams of Gods and Monsters and I was lucky enough to be there. I went with the bestie (Rachel for those of you who don’t know) we’re both huge Laini Taylor fans who fell in love with her stunning writing way back when we read early proof copies of Daughter of Smoke and Bone in 2011 so we literally bought the tickets as soon as we heard about the event. We don’t get many YA author signings local to us and so this news was super awesome. This was only our second time meeting an author (our first was John Green) so we were ridiculously excited!

We arrived just before the event started at 7:30pm, we wanted to get there sooner but there was traffic and our food took what felt like forever to arrive in Nandos. Luckily we still managed to get two seats on the second row right behind the lovely Jasprit who it was so great to finally meet! By the time we’d had a quick chat and grabbed a copy of Lips Touch and some bookmarks for signing Laini was ready to come on for a Q&A. I’m just sad that we arrived a little later than planned because I saw a few other bloggers there that I sadly didn’t get a chance to talk to. If there are more events like this one in the future then hopefully next time.

Laini talking

The Q&A part of the event went on for quite a while which was great! We got to hear Laini talk about her involvement with the Daughter of Smoke and Bone movie, how travel has influenced her writing and most interestingly to me how she loves playing with language. Anybody who’s read Laini’s books will tell you she has a beautiful way with words. She also told us that she likes to perfect each scene as she writes. Rather than writing a rough first draft of a book and editing it all later on she likes to edit as she goes.

Afterwards the fans were asked if they had any questions for Laini and my hand went straight up! Mine was the first question called on and I got to ask her if she has any plans to write a spin off series set in the same world as the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series (is it just me or is anybody else craving an Eliza series!?) Unfortunately the books she’s working on at the minute are not but she did say there’s a possibility in the future. Either way she’s working on a few different ideas for a novel right now and I can’t wait to see what she writes next. As a shy person I was quite proud that I struck up the courage to ask my question!

Free goodies!

After the talk Laini and the host went downstairs to get ready for the signing and while we waited we were given tattoos, bookmarks and the most amazing cakes (Zuzana would totally have approved!) They had cake pops that we could take away and blue cupcakes for Karou and orange ones with feathers for Akiva – I had a blue one which was delicious!

Before we knew it it was our turn to meet Laini. We had plenty of time with her to chat and get our books signed without feeling like we were getting rushed along. Laini signed and dedicated my books and we spoke about how awesome books with maps are, how pretty the foiling effect is on her UK covers and how Rach was live texting me her reactions as she read Dreams of Gods and Monsters.

My signed books

After all of that it was 9:00pm so we had to rush off to get our train home. The time absolutely flew by but I had such an amazing time. Laini was such a sweetheart and was a very interesting lady to get to know better. I want to thank Waterstones for giving me the chance to meet one of my favourite authors and for being so helpful and friendly. I’m hoping that they’ll be hosting lots of other amazing events like this one in the future!

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Review for You’re The One That I Want by Giovanna Fletcher

You’re The One That I Want by Giovanna Fletcher 
Publisher: Penguin
Release: 22nd May 2014
Genre: Fiction, Chick-Lit, Romance, Friendship
Source: Won via Goodreads

"Maddy, dressed in white, stands at the back of the church. At the end of the aisle is Rob - the man she's about to marry. Next to Rob is Ben - best man and the best friend any two people ever had. And that's the problem.

Because if it wasn't Rob waiting for her at the altar, there's a strong chance it would be Ben. Loyal and sensitive Ben has always kept his feelings to himself, but if he turned round and told Maddy she was making a mistake, would she listen? And would he be right?

Best friends since childhood, Maddy, Ben and Rob thought their bond was unbreakable. But love changes everything. Maddy has a choice to make but will she choose wisely? Her heart, and the hearts of the two best men she knows, depend on it..."

Straight off the bat I want to put it out there that I am not a fan of love triangles. A story where one girl is in love with two guys and messes everybody around as she tries to decide which one she wants to be with has a tendency to rub me the wrong way. But once in a while a book comes along featuring the kind of love triangle that I adore, one where love runs not just between the girl and each man but between the two guys also. The love story in You’re The One That I Want is between three best friends and this anti-love triangle girl loved every minute of it!

The book follows Maddy, Ben and Rob from childhood right up to their early twenties on Maddy’s wedding day. From days of tree climbing and scraped knees the three best friends have been inseparable. Ben has loved Maddy for as long as he can remember but has worried what confessing his love might do to their friendship and so has kept his feelings bottled up for years.

On a school trip to Paris Maddy and Robert’s friendship blossoms into first love leaving Ben in a world of pain. Falling in unrequited love with your best friend is bad enough but watching her fall in love with your other mutual best friend? That is on a whole other level of hurt.

Right from the beginning Ben stole my heart and I just knew that he was the guy I wanted Maddy to end up with. He’s kind, selfless and loyal and my heart broke for his awful situation. Being such a Ben fan you’d think that I wouldn’t like Rob but I loved him and Maddy together too! They’re all such wonderful characters and friends that you quickly see why the situation is so messy and impossible.

The book is told between Ben and Maddy but I would really have liked Rob’s point of view in there as well. I’d constantly wonder what Robert thought of things and if he ever had an inkling as to Ben’s feelings.

The ending was hands down my favourite thing about this book. It’s not an ending I saw coming but afterwards you can’t imagine it ending any other way. It was perfect and bittersweet and the last couple of chapters and epilogue made me cry.

Overall I’d say that I enjoyed You’re The One That I Want even more than Giovanna’s debut Billy and Me. I was emotionally invested from start to finish and fell in love with all three characters and their beautiful friendship. Giovanna Fletcher is quickly becoming one of my favourite authors and I can’t wait to see what she writes next!

Saturday, 3 May 2014

April Round Up and Book of the Month

April's Book of the Month is Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor

I had such an amazing reading month in April. I had two 5 star reads and everything else took either a 4 or 4.5 star rating. Months like this are incredibly rare and I had so much fun reading so many great books but that just makes choosing my favourite books of April all the more harder! 

Dreams of Gods and Monsters was one of the 5 star reads and I went with this one purely because it was the perfect ending to one of my most favourite series. It's definitely one of my favourite trilogy endings ever and I thoroughly enjoyed every single page! If you haven't read this series yet I strongly recommend that you do. I had the pleasure of meeting Laini Taylor on Thursday and am hoping to have an event write up on that next week.

*** If you've read Dreams of Gods and Monsters you'll know why I love this so, so much! If you haven't it doesn't really give anything away. Taken from lucky-ziri's Tumblr *** 

Read in April
25.) Bad Brides by Rebecca Chance (4*)
26.) The Worst Girlfriend in the World by Sarra Manning (4*)
27.) The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski (4.5*)
28.) You're the One That I Want by Giovanna Fletcher (4.5*)
29.) The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith (5*)
30.) Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor (5*)
31.) A Place to Call Home by Carole Matthews (4*)
32.) Tease by Amanda Maciel (4*)
33.) To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han (4.5*)

Monthly Book Awards 
Best Plot: Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
Best Writing: Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
Best Cover: You're the One That I Want by Giovanna Fletcher
Best Characters: Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
Best Ending: You're The One That I Want by Giovanna Fletcher
Best Romance: Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
Most un-put-down-able: Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
Most Memorable: Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
Best Moral: Tease by Amanda Maciel

Top 3 Most Recommended Books: Dreams of Gods and Monsters (if you hadn't got that from my book awards) The Geography of You and Me and To All the Boys I've Loved Before.

Books I’m Looking Forward to Being Released in May
Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour
Just One Night by Gayle Forman
City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare
Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson
Take Me On by Katie McGarry 
Torn Away by Jennifer Brown

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

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