Friday, 30 January 2015

Cover Fever #14 Saving June & I Was Here

Hello lovelies! Jasprit and I are back with another Cover Fever. We both adore covers so this is a favorite feature of ours. Today we're featuring Saving June by Hannah Harrington, a story both Jasprit and I enjoyed, and I Was Here by Gayle Forman, because the stories sound very similar to me.

Australian Cover                     UK Cover

Saving June      Saving June

US Cover

Saving June

  USCover                             UK Cover

I Was Here     I Was Here

The faded out image of the Aussie version of Saving June is pretty but not my favorite. I think I like the crisp contrast of colors with the UK version a little more.  I'm drawn to Harper's (I'm assuming) face.  I'm not really fond of the US version, it feels impersonal and remote for some reason.  I like the US version of I Was Here better than the UK version.  The colors and the scenery are beautiful and it looks like the heroine is about to take a journey, maybe a road trip, to find the answer behind her friend's suicide.

Rachel's Verdict:
Saving June: UK Cover
I Was Here: US Cover

I always tend to find myself falling in love with Aussie covers, on occasion I have found myself ordering books from Fishpond, just so that I can get my hands on the Aussie cover. So you can probably tell that I'm going to say the Aussie cover of Saving June is one of my all time favourites, I love the subtle colours on the cover and just how simple the cover looks. I do like the petals, colour and font used on the US cover of Saving June and do much prefer it to the UK cover (I don't like the close up image here at all). For I Was Here I absolutely love the US cover, it has me interested about where there this girl could be off to and where is here? When I first saw the UK cover of I Was Here I was disappointed, I have slowly come to like it a bit more, how the bits of square represent different parts of the story, but I would still prefer to have a US edition on my shelves.

Jasprit's Final Verdict:
Saving June: Aussie cover
I Was Here: US cover

Which books would you like to have on your shelves?

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Review: Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman

Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman
Publisher: Headline 
Publication Date: November 6th 2014
My rating: 4.5 stars.

Gretchen Muller has, as best she can, dealt with the horrors of her family's past. Her father, a senior Nazi officer, died to save the life of their leader, Adolf Hitler. And now Germany has the chance to be great once more. Swept up in the excitement and passion of life in Munich in 1931, seventeen-year-old Gretchen has embraced the life laid out for her by that leader, her 'Uncle Dolf'. But the secrets of the past cannot be silenced forever. When Gretchen receives a letter from an anonymous sender claiming to have more information about her father's death, she becomes swept up in a desperate and dangerous search for the truth. With the full might of the ever-powerful Nazi party on her tail, it is a race that will risk everything she has and change her life forever...

I have always been a fan of history, about learning about history. At school I was all set to pick History as my GCSE level choice, but none of my friends were doing it and everyone was saying religious studies was the safer option, so I decided not to follow my heart and go with what everyone else was choosing; religious studies. Did I get a good grade in religious studies, yes? But did I regret not picking history? Big time. Then when I started work I got to attend first year history lectures because it was my students chosen degree, I was once again fascinated, I think I was more eager than my student at times to go to the workshops and lectures. But I think my biggest reason for my fascination with history in particular the first and Second World War is because my great-grandfather served in the Second World War and my great-great grandfather (which I recently learned about in the first). I was too young to know about this when my great-grandfather was alive, but once in a while I like chatting with my dad about what it was like at the time. (My great-grandfather was missing for 9 years, before he returned home) and only recently we brought back his military stick from India. So I do tend to find myself invested in anything that deals or focuses on either world war.

But I didn’t know why it took me the longest time to pick up Prisoner of Night and Fog, I had heard brilliant things about it, but was finally glad to be able to experience Blankman’s brilliance for myself. I couldn’t remember all the going’s on with Hitler before, but Blankman did an excellent job at bringing it to life once again in this story. She weaved Gretchen’s fictitious story so well in to this book that I firmly believed by the end of it that Gretchen and her family were real.

Gretchen’s family had been taken under uncle Dolf’s wing when Gretchen’s dad had been killed, by putting his life before Hitler. Uncle Dolf did nothing but look out for Gretchen and her family, but when Gretchen bumps into a Jewish man Daniel (someone who she’s been taught to despise and be disgusted by) Gretchen realises that everything she’s listened to by Uncle Dolf and all those around her, maybe more misleading than she could have imagined. I so wanted Gretchen to remove the blinkers that she had worn for such a long time, yes by discovering the truth, it may put Gretchen in more danger not only from Uncle Dolf but also her brother Reinhard, but wasn’t it more important learning what had happened to her father and actually doing what was right?

The scenes Blankman infused in to the story were really fierce, but at times also hard to follow through. Not only did I feel like I was actually there in Munich, Germany, it was horrid at times learning about everything that was happening, and seeing what some of the characters had to go through. Also in most cases, we were never given the full picture, things were covered up or distorted that we had to make our own assumptions. But this didn’t take out the enjoyable factor out of this story at all. But more than that, it had me rooting for Gretchen even more to discover the truth, but also to be able to get out alive whilst she could. I loved how Gretchen was able to find friends in the most unexpected places, most of all I loved the introduction of Daniel’s character. I don’t really want to give too much away, but you really need to experience Daniel and Gretchen’s story for yourself.

Blankman’s writing was absolutely exquisite in Prisoner of Night and Fog, not only did it make me fall in love with some great characters, but it totally brought out the history nerd within me. I can totally see myself digging out my history books which will keep me occupied until the release of Blankman’s next book Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Review: Burned by Karen Marie Moning

Burned (Fever #7) by Karen Marie Moning
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication date: January 20th 2015
My rating:  4.5 stars 
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

It’s easy to walk away from lies. Power is another thing.

MacKayla Lane would do anything to save the home she loves. A gifted sidhe-seer, she’s already fought and defeated the deadly Sinsar Dubh—an ancient book of terrible evil—yet its hold on her has never been stronger.

When the wall that protected humans from the seductive, insatiable Fae was destroyed on Halloween, long-imprisoned immortals ravaged the planet. Now Dublin is a war zone with factions battling for control. As the city heats up and the ice left by the Hoar Frost King melts, tempers flare, passions run red-hot, and dangerous lines get crossed.

Seelie and Unseelie vie for power against nine ancient immortals who have governed Dublin for millennia; a rival band of sidhe-seers invades the city, determined to claim it for their own; Mac’s former protégé and best friend, Dani “Mega” O’Malley, is now her fierce enemy; and even more urgent, Highland druid Christian MacKeltar has been captured by the Crimson Hag and is being driven deeper into Unseelie madness with each passing day. The only one Mac can depend on is the powerful, dangerous immortal Jericho Barrons, but even their fiery bond is tested by betrayal.

It’s a world where staying alive is a constant struggle, the line between good and evil gets blurred, and every alliance comes at a price. In an epic battle against dark forces, Mac must decide who she can trust, and what her survival is ultimately worth.

My Thoughts:
I was a little worried picking up Burned for a couple of reasons, but it turns out I had nothing to be worried about because it was AMAZING!!

So why was I worried?  Well first of all Burned was supposed to be the second book in the Dani trilogy and it turned out to be about 70-80% Mac’s POV.  Second, I was worried about Dani’s age, especially since I already picked a ‘ship I’m rooting for (Ryodan, of course!) and that was hardly appropriate considering Dani’s fourteen! Third, the many times the release date got pushed and delayed smacks of an author making some major changes in their original plans, and that usually doesn’t bode well for a story. Fourth, the time in between usually means I’m was going to be fuzzy on past details unless I do a re-read.  Did any of these concerns diminish my enjoyment?  HELL NO!! Trust, Karen Marie Moning delivers and now I’m counting down the days to book eight!

Like I said I was a little disappointed to hear we were getting mostly Mac’s POV instead of Dani in Burned, BUT even though we don’t get as much Dani POV as we thought/wanted, we “see” Dani though Mac’s eyes quite a bit! The other reason I was a little troubled by this change is because I don’t like it when a couple is pretty much settled with their HEA only to have an author create more drama and mess things up, so I was happily surprised that I really enjoyed getting back to Mac and Barrons! Their chemistry is even more combustible *fans self* than it has been in the past. Burned is arguably the hottest book in the series!  The “betrayal” mentioned in the blurb was something we knew about a long time ago, and I can understand why Mac was miffed, but their relationship was never in question, IMO, even so.

As far as Dani’s age problem: Well, I won’t spoil things for you, but I will say KMM has presented another pickle that has me reading every passage where Dani appears with a fine tooth comb, searching for hints and nuances that will give me what I want!! Highlight for Spoiler: Original MEGA back as she was, or maybe a melded Dani 2.0.  I did guess the twist early on, something about a scene tipped me off. I was glad to know that early into the book, though.  Ryodan and Dani continue to be a relationship I’m OBSESSED with and it’s clear that Ryodan is, too.

The push backs of the release date were frustrating, but in the end it didn’t impact the quality of the story for me. I was hooked from page one and it was a thrilling read! I’m surprised by how many revelations we got in Burned because usually KMM is slow in giving them out! Mac finds herself in a unique situation that allows her to discover several juicy tidbits that I’m going to be pondering for a while.  Fuzzy memory wasn’t an issue either for two reasons: there are some reminders as you’re reading Burned that bring key points back, and there’s a glossary at the end of the book that includes key people, places, fae, and objects. That was a big help. I suggest reading it before you dive into Burned.

Last little tidbits:
I HATED Jo in Iced, but I like this new direction the author is taking with her!  I’m definitely on board! As I said, Burned was probably the HOTTEST book of the series, and it wasn’t only because of Mac and Barrons’ relationship. 

Burned just sort of ends, not on a cliffhanger or anything, but the story just kind of stops, so as usual I’m anxious to get my hands on the next book. Feverborn has the release date listed on Goodreads and Amazon as October 2015, and I just checked KMM’s blog and she says she still hoping to release Feverborn this year. I guess we’ll see.

I didn’t summarize the plot because I think I’ve said enough.  If you’re a fan of this series, it’s best to get yourself a copy AND READ IT!  We can gossip/theorize when you finish.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Review: I Was Here by Gayle Forman

I Was Here by Gayle Forman
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Publication Date: January 29th 2015
My rating: 4 stars

This characteristically powerful novel follows eighteen-year-old Cody Reynolds in the months following her best friend's shocking suicide. As Cody numbly searches for answers as to why Meg took her own life, she begins a journey of self-discovery which takes her to a terrifying precipice, and forces her to question not only her relationship with the Meg she thought she knew, but her own understanding of life, love, death and forgiveness. A phenomenally moving story, I Was Here explores the sadly all-too-familiar issue of suicide and self-harm, addressing it in an authentic way with sensitivity and honesty

I was here was a lot different to what I was expecting it to be, Forman’s writing was gorgeous once again, but I think the turn of events in this book took me by surprise.

Cody ends up losing her best friend in the worst possible way she gets an email from Meg saying she’s taking her life. What’s so unexpected about it is that Meg seemed to have it all; a scholarship, a loving family (neither which Cody had), so what would make Meg want to do that? Cody is then put in charge of bringing Meg’s things back from college and what is only meant to be a day trip, Cody finds herself discovering this whole other life of Meg she didn’t know about, the deeper she delves the more dangerous it becomes, but after all the heartache everyone has been through over the loss of Meg, they all need some sort of closure.

If I was in Cody’s shoes and I had just lost my best friend, I too would want to get to the bottom of things. I could understand the way Cody had been feeling, but at times I didn’t get why she did things. I liked her as a character, but at some points I think she just frustrated me, I know she had to get to the bottom of the truth and she hadn’t had the best life herself and now her biggest anchor in life and just left her. But she was constantly angry, people who’d she just met were trying to make the effort with her, but she’d either leave them hanging, no call back, just push them away or the worst run away from them. Maybe this way was her way of coping, but I wanted her to have somebody to turn to, someone she could confide in, not feel as if she had to try and do everything herself.
So when the mysterious Ben made an appearance, I was grateful for it, okay he had a sort of shady background with Meg, but in a lot of ways too helped Cody when no one else was coming through for her. Some readers may say that he seemed full of himself, and a bit of a player, but trust me this guy could be utterly charming when he wanted to be and he did go out for Cody to help any way he could. Which guy would go all the way to Idaho, Nevada with you, and a guy you’ve only met recently without an inkling as to why? Which guy would take in a pair of kittens, so they don’t have to go to the animal shelter and did I mention Ben had a growly voice; you probably know that I can never say no to a hot guy who growls! I kind of guessed which way things would go with Ben and Cody, but I didn’t mind it one bit. Forman really worked the slight romance well into the story, she didn’t make it centre of attention, but you kind of had an inkling that it was slowly building up. And it wasn’t like Meg was ever forgotten, what I think made it longer for the characters to realise each other’s feelings was because of the constant reminder of Meg.

So whilst I wasn’t a huge fan of Cody at times, Ben certainly made up for it, also Forman was able to give us some great secondary characters in Alice, Richard and Harry. I think Richard became one of my favourites, he was a funny guy but I especially adored the scene we got to experience with him and his family. And once again all three characters didn’t know Cody that well or even Meg, but went on to show just how great friends they could be.

With I was here I wasn’t able to guess which way things were going to be, the whole reasoning behind Meg’s death I didn’t see coming at all. It was a horrible discovery, I just wished that Meg’s parents had clued Cody into things before and who knows maybe things would have turned out differently.

I was Here was a different sort of read from Forman for me, but one that I still enjoyed experiencing. It was an achy raw beautiful read at times, but with some great characters coming through when you least expected them to leaving you with some hope that even though things were dire right now they could get better.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Showcase Sunday #65

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits and Tea. The aim is to showcase our newest books or book related swag and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops and downloaded onto eReaders this week.  

Hi all, it's been a while since we shared a book haul post with you, but seriously in that time we received some gems that make me want to throw away my schedule right away and get stuck in with them. 

 (Click on titles for Goodreads link)



Thank you to Simon Pulse, Poppy, St. Martin's Griffin and Random House

See what I mean? Where do I even get started? I was planning on reading Please Remain Calm on release day, but as usual life got in the way, but I'm hoping to finally get some time with it this weekend. And the rest of the books have been super high on my wish list, I've loved Echols Superlatives series, so I'm looking forward to Most Likely to Succeed. I'm super excited about going into Seraphina's world once more in Shadow Scale, I remember Seraphina was one of the first books I actually got when I first started blogging! Summers and Ockler have quickly become some of my favourite authors, so I know I will be devouring The Summer of Chasing Mermaids and All the Rage soon. And Spalding has really surprised me with her previous books and this one sounds super cute. Sarah Maas' A Court of Thorns and Roses needs no introductions, the early reviews I've read have been pretty amazing, so I know I have an excellent read of me here.

Rachel's Haul:

Hi everyone! I've been a little slow about getting around to everyone because I'm on vacation at the beach:

Me getting a close look at tide pools

A gorgeous sunset!

 I'm having a great time and I finished Burned by Karen Marie Moning last night!! I LOVED it and my review will be coming this week.

(Click on cover for Goodreads link)

Burned (Fever, #7) Once Upon a Rose (La Vie en Roses, #1) And I Love Her (Green Mountain, #4) Crash & Burn (Tessa Leoni, #3)

I bought both the e-Copy and audio version of Burned and I loved going back and forth with both versions. I think I'm going to start the audio version again and listen to it on my commute next week.  As you all know, I'm a huge fan of Laura Florand so I was over the moon to get Once Upon a Rose! I'm told it's more of a cozy and cuddly read with less angst than her prior stories and I can't wait! The Green Mountain series by Marie Force is one of my favorite small town romance series so I'm looking forward to the latest installment. Megan has been kind of a witch in the last books, so it will be interesting to see if I like her in And I Love Her. Lisa Gardner's mysteries are light on romance, and don't always end happily in that department, but they're well-plotted and always keep me guessing!

Which books did you receive and are most excited about? Leave us a link in the comments below.
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