Monday, 30 March 2015

Review: When Joss Met Matt by Ellie Cahill

When Joss Met Matt by Ellie Cahill
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: February 24th 2015
My rating: 4 stars 


Dating can be fun, but it can leave a nasty taste in your mouth. For Joss, ever since her longtime boyfriend cheated on her, she doesn’t want her last memory of a guy to be that jerk. Enter her college friend, Matt. They come up with a theory: after a bad break-up, a person needs to cleanse the palate with a little sorbet sex. Lovers for a night, but always back to being friends in the morning. The two can handle it because they have a contract: rules they wrote, rules they follow and rules they can sometimes bend. The arrangement works: everyone needs a little sorbet now and again … until it starts to be the only thing you want. And then Joss breaks the one rule they never wrote down: don’t fall in love.

I haven’t had the best of luck with NA books, so I’ve always been a little wary when going into an NA read, however with the steady trickle of praising reviews for when Joss met Matt and the fact that it was written by Liz Czukas, an author whose debut I adored, I went into this book with some hope that I would finally have an NA read which I would adore and I’m glad that this was the case.
Joss had been in a long term relationship with her boyfriend Ben, but when he dumps her saying he has met somebody else, Joss just needs someone to make the pain go away and that’s where Matt comes in. It sort of casually just happens where they come to an arrangement to have a sorbet sex, to sort of cleanse their palate after their last relationship which goes wrong. I could see the appeal of having a back up guy like Matt to fall back on; he was funny, handsome and knew the right things to say when you had come out of a bad relationship. I loved how Czukas gave us the story of Matt and Joss’s relationship, with the story flipping back and forth to when Matt and Joss first met and to the present day. The flips to the past weren’t random at all but in a chronological order, so giving you all their insights into all the relationships Matt and Joss had to experience to what they were doing now. To be honest I don’t think Matt and Joss’ arrangement would last that long, Matt and Joss found themselves in a lot of relationships and some did seem as if they had the potential to be a long term (I was especially heartbroken for Matt, when his relationship with Megan didn’t work out, honestly who wouldn’t want to be with Matt?). But at the time I was kind of happy when their relationship with other people didn’t work out. Okay Joss and Matt fell into their routine with each other really easily, I guess because they had been with each other for such a long time, they were comfortable around one another, but with the more time they spent around one another, it was obvious that they had something special going on,, more than what the other relationships they had been having had to offer.
At first I just wanted to gulp down everything Czukas had to offer from Matt and Joss’s past in one go, I didn’t  want to be with them in the present for now. I loved seeing their relationship develop and seeing how they were always there for each another through some of the dodgiest relationships. But then as things started getting more serious, I was dying to be in the present with Matt and Joss, I needed to know what would eventually happen between them, also the serious tone of Matt in the present scenes did have me super nervous that things wouldn’t work out the way that I was hoping them to. I’m not actually going to say how things actually turn out for Matt and Joss, but their story is one you don’t want to miss out on.
When Joss met Matt has a sort of restored the faith that I had lost in NA reads, it has definitely made me want to reconsider some NA books and to not to put them all in one typical bracket as I have come to experience. As When Joss met Matt is not your typical NA read; it’s a fun, flirty read which explores a great relationship between two really funny (not broken *first pump*) characters. Joss is an amazing character which I had no problem relating to, she wasn’t you typically damaged character who needed someone to build her confidence. She was quite a confident girl, saying what she felt needed to be said when necessary and although she went through some crappy relationships, she was still willing to get out there (with some encouragement from some great friends, Nellie her friend was awesome in being honest with Joss and telling her how it should be). And Matt where do I even begin with this guy? He was a character any girl would have a hard time resisting, but also he was a great guy, the guy that Joss really needed around.

Overall When Joss met Matt is one of the best NA books I have read in a long time, if you like me have been burned by the NA genre definitely give this book a go. It will leave you with a big dopey grin on your face and warm fuzzies; it’s definitely a book that you won’t regret giving a go 



Saturday, 28 March 2015

New Covers: March Edition

 

Hi all, March was definitely a busy month for releases of new covers, but there were also a lot of new updated covers floating about too. Once again we won't be sharing all the covers that were revealed this month, but a handful that certainly caught our eye. 


NEW COVERS
(Click on titles for Goodreads link)


  

  


U.S & U.K editons


  

  


UPDATED COVERS
(Click on titles for Goodreads link)

Hardcover and New Paperback







U.S & U.K editons

  


Hardcover and New Paperback

  

Updated cover for the series. (You can view the previous covers here).




Hardcover and New Paperback



So many pretty covers right? I'm not sure how I feel about some of changes from Hardback to paperback, especially for Katie Finn's series, I definitely think I prefer the hardcover edition, the same can be said for the U.S cover for From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess, but I do like the paperback for This Song Will Save Your Life and I'm loving some of the cover reveals we got this month, Jenny you are super talented for you cover of City of Fae! And I love the covers to Queen of Shadows and Winter! Which are some of your favourites?



Friday, 27 March 2015

Review: Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby

Today I have a special sort of post to share with you guys, the lovely Danielle from Love at First Page and I read Things We Know by Heart together, so we decided to feature a sort of short Q & A related to the book. You can see our answers by scrolling down to the end of our reviews, check out Danielle's review and answers here!


Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: 21st April 2015
My Rating: 4 stars 



When Quinn Sullivan meets the recipient of her boyfriend’s donated heart, the two form an unexpected connection. After Quinn loses her boyfriend, Trent, in an accident their junior year, she reaches out to the recipients of his donated organs in hopes of picking up the pieces of her now-unrecognizable life. She hears back from some of them, but the person who received Trent’s heart has remained silent. The essence of a person, she has always believed, is in the heart. If she finds Trent’s, then maybe she can have peace once and for all. Risking everything in order to finally lay her memories to rest, Quinn goes outside the system to track down nineteen-year-old Colton Thomas—a guy whose life has been forever changed by this priceless gift. But what starts as an accidental run-in quickly develops into more, sparking an undeniable attraction. She doesn't want to give in to it—especially since he has no idea how they're connected—but their time together has made Quinn feel alive again. No matter how hard she’s falling for Colton, each beat of his heart reminds her of all she’s lost…and all that remains at stake.

I’ve been struggling a lot lately with finishing books, it’s taking me over a week to finish some, because it’s not suiting my mood or I’ve just found my focus drifting elsewhere. But I’m glad to say this was not the case with Kirby’s Things We Know by Heart, once again Kirby was able to weave a gorgeous story which totally stole my heart.

Quinn’s boyfriend Trent left a big gaping hole behind when he unexpectedly died. Quinn’s world was everything with Trent, that even a year later Quinn’s barely getting by. As Trent was an organ donor, he was able to help so many other people’s lives afterwards and slowly Quinn has been getting in touch with these individuals, it’s sort of the only way that she can still connect with Trent. But one person, who Trent helped in the biggest way, still hasn’t got back in touch with her. Quinn doesn’t intend to but ends up tracking down this person, she ends up frequently checking up his sister’s blog posts about his life and how tough it was for him, soon enough Quinn feels like she knows him pretty well without meeting him at all. Quinn finally decides to take the biggest step of all, going out to see him. She doesn’t really know what she intends to do, but just seeing this person that Trent made a difference to could probably help all the hurt Quinn had to deal with.

Kirby writes Thing We Know by Heart wonderfully, over the course of the book she would give us snippets into Quinn’s beautiful relationship with Trent, it was hard enough to see Quinn struggle with taking each day one day at a time without Trent by her side, but when we’re given insights into small meaningful parts of their life, it made my heart break all over again. Why did life have to be so unfair and take away the best thing Quinn ever had? The struggle that Quinn had to go through was understandable, her best friend, boyfriend, her everything was taken away from her and she was just expected to carry on, all she had left were small reminders of Trent in her room, or memories of their time together, but even these were beginning to fade. So the last real life things left of Trent were with those people he helped out when he became an organ donor. But Quinn never expected what would come about from the last person that Trent helped out.

I loved the slow build up of relationship between Quinn and Colton, even though Quinn already knew so much about him through reading his sister’s blog post, she couldn’t really let on that she knew who he was. There must be a really good reason as to why he didn’t respond to her initial letter and she had to respect that. Also Colton was just the sweetest guy, I loved him from their very first encounter he was sneaky enough to get Quinn’s attention, but also he was super nervous about taking the first step to spending more time with Quinn. I really do adore guys who wear their hearts on their sleeves and have a vulnerable side to them, so I was easily able to become a fan of Colton. The slow build up of their relationship really just left butterflies in my stomach, I was eagerly anticipating what their next day together could entail, and I loved the gorgeous scenes that Kirby infused into the story, they truly contributed to making the sweet gestures between Quinn and Colton that more much meaningful.

I also adored how Kirby made family once again an integral part of this book, Quinn’s family was always there for her, they were concerned about her well being, always doing things together and were ready and willing to dish out well needed advice when necessary. It’s always great to see great family dynamics in YA books these days.

Things we Know by Heart was a book which I adored, Kirby’s beautiful passages really spoke volumes with me that my kindle was overfull with highlighted passages. Kirby dealt with the issue of losing a loved one and being able to move forward and find happiness again, but not forgetting this person in the most eloquent way. (Highlight to view spoiler) my only slight miff was that I wanted Quinn to tell Colton the truth earlier on, I knew there would be more heartbreak to deal with later on the longer that she kept the truth from him . But other than that I’m thrilled to have picked up Things We Know by Heart, it was one of the most beautiful, and heart breaking reads I have read in a long time!



Colton takes Quinn to his favourite places around their California coastal town as a way for him to get to know her better. Do you have any "special spots" that you frequently visit or wish you could go back to
I don't think that I have a favourite spot that I like to frequently visit, but one place that I can go to again and again and never tire of is London. I remember when I took my first trip to London on my own and I was super nervous, all the commuters around me knew exactly what they were doing and then there was me all by myself. But since then I've grown more confident catching the train down and and getting lost in the commuter rush. I love going down for movie premiers, London Film & Comic Con. But most of all around Christmas time when London has a extra special Christmas vibe going on (Convent Garden and Winter Wonderland are places you should definitely visit around then). And of course visiting the gorgeous bookstores of Foyles and Waterstones Picadilly (the six floors in this store are all sorts of heaven!).

This is going to sound cheesy. What's one thing in life that you "know by heart"?
Okay so I asked my sister this question as I found it super tough to answer and she was like your photographic memory of course! You're like Mike Ross from Suits! My sister can barely even remember what she did the other day, whereas I tend to keep all the memories that everyone seems to want to forget or have forgotten, but then there's me always bringing stuff back up. Sometimes it can be a good thing, when one of our cousins is trying to lie and they'll be like Jasprit do you remember what happened? And of course I remember it, but other times it can be kind of annoying like when I bring up memories that makes my sister cringe. So you can say the one thing I know by heart is past memories

Quinn and her sister create an Inspiration Board to map out what they'd like for their future. What's one picture that would be on your board were you to make one?
A photo of New York City. It has always been one of my dreams to visit there one day. I'd love to get lost in the hustle and bustle of Times Square and just to go on endless shopping sprees. 

A big thank you to Danielle for doing this post with me, make sure you check out her answers today too over here


Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Review: The Last Time we Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand

The Last Time we Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: February 10th 2015
My rating: 4 stars  


There's death all around us. We just don't pay attention. Until we do. The last time Lex was happy, it was before. When she had a family that was whole. A boyfriend she loved. Friends who didn't look at her like she might break down at any moment. Now she's just the girl whose brother killed himself. And it feels like that's all she'll ever be. As Lex starts to put her life back together, she tries to block out what happened the night Tyler died. But there's a secret she hasn't told anyone-a text Tyler sent, that could have changed everything. Lex's brother is gone. But Lex is about to discover that a ghost doesn't have to be real to keep you from moving on.

Hand’s Unearthly series was one of my all time favourite paranormal series; it was a series which made me want to look at paranormal reads in a whole another light, instead of despair all the time. So when I heard of Hand dipping into contemporary genre I was over the moon, I’m typically a contemporary girl at heart, so was excited about her first foray into this genre. As expected Hand didn’t disappoint; she wrote such a poignant novel in The Last Time We Say Goodbye and explored a girl dealing with the loss of her brother eloquently.

The Last Time We Say Goodbye was a different sort of book which dealt with the loss of a loved one, with so many books already out there dealing with this tough subject, Hand approached this story with it not only being about Ty, getting to know his character and why he may have taken his life, but from the perspective of his family and how by coming to terms with his loss they could finally come to terms with closure, but it was also a sort of journey for Ty’s family to sort of come to terms with and forgive one another.

To be honest The Last Time We Say Goodbye did take me a while to get into, I didn’t have a hard time with connecting with the characters at all, but I think it may be because I’d been on a fantasy kick and so coming back to a contemporary read dealing with a really serious issue took some time adjusting to. But I liked the way Hand explored the different venues in Lexie’s life, it wasn’t a straight forward path in which Lexie was able to deal with the loss of her brother Ty, but over the course of her grief, a new door would open which would shine light into something she didn’t know about or bring in a person into her life that was unexpected but sort of necessary for her to move forward with her life. Every one deals with grief in a different way and although Lexie’s way was to keep going, but drop everyone around her, her friends and boyfriend, I sort of wanted to know why she did, was it her only coping mechanism? Or was it something they did? We were given insights into these characters, but a full explanation doesn’t really come until the end and honestly it really took me by surprise, but I’m glad Hand left it to the end, because it did give me a better understanding of Lexie’s characters, but also the chance to appreciate her character more.

Overall The Last Time We Say Goodbye to me was a successful transition for Hand into the contemporary genre; really I didn’t expect any less of this super talented author. I fully appreciated this beautiful, but at times difficult journey that we were able to experience with Lexie.



Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Blog Tour Review & Giveaway: Breath of Scandal by Sandra Brown


I'm a big fan of Sandra Brown after just discovering (and becoming addicted to!) her books this last year, so I'm thrilled to be part of the Blog Tour for Breath of Scandal hosted by Xpresso Book Tours! For a complete tour schedule click HERE.  As part of my tour stop I have my review as well as the awesome giveaway provided: 5 Winners will each win a paperback copy of Breath of Scandal & a signature Henri Bendel candle.


Breath of Scandal by Sandra Brown
Publisher: Grand Central
Publication date: February 26th 2013
My rating:  4.5 stars 

 https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20957871-return-to-me

On a rainy Southern night, Jade Sperry endured a young woman’s worst nightmare at the hands of three local hell-raisers. Robbed of her youthful ideals and at the center of scandal and tragedy, Jade ran as far and as fast as she could. But she never forgot the sleepy “company town” where every man, woman, and child was dependent on one wealthy family. And she never forgot their spoiled son, who with his two friends changed her life forever. Someday, somehow, she’d return . . . exacting a just revenge, freeing herself from her enemies’ grasp, and, perhaps, fulfilling a lost promise of love.

My Thoughts:
Breath of Scandal was a sweeping tale of broken dreams, shattered hearts, and revenge! But it was also, a story of letting go, moving on and falling in love again. Very addictive stuff!

At the start, Jade Sperry’s story was heartbreaking! At age eighteen she had a bright future ahead: about to graduate high school and looking forward to attending college on a full scholarship with the love of her life by her side. Jade was on the cusp of living out all her dreams when something awful happens that changes her entire future.  The town offers no support, we have a case of “the good old boys club” covering and turning a blind eye, and even her mother and best friend are not in her corner.  Instead, Jade must pick up the pieces and move on, for now… Jade spends years preparing for revenge, yet at the same time she doesn’t allow bitterness to poison her life.

Concurrently, we have our hero, Dillon’s story unfolding, and his is a tragic tale as well. He had a rough beginning losing his parents at a young age, going into foster care, but eventually finding happiness. Dillon also had the very brightest future ahead until tragedy struck leaving him shattered.  Plagued by guilt, Dillon goes through the motions, barely living, but things change when Jade Sperry walks into his life. 

As I said, Jade’s story was heartbreaking. I was outraged for her!  I wanted to smack several people, including her crap-excuse for a mother, while simultaneously grabbing Jade up to give her a big hug! The first 25% of the story was shocking, painful and unbelievable, but somehow Jade rose above it all and settled in for long term plans.  Revenge is best served cold, as they say, and Jade made some delicious preparations!  

I admired Jade’s strength of spirit, and while she was focused on revenge it didn’t stop her from being a caring, good person.  Her mother may have been severely lacking in compassion or love, but Jade gains others that fill that void in her life, and love her like she deserved in the first place. I find I have issues with “revenge” stories because it’s hard to connect with someone whose main focus is so very negative.  This was not the case with Jade who had such a big heart in spite of everything she went through.

Dillon’s and Jade paths don’t cross until about the 50% mark but the timing was perfect. If they met earlier in life I’m not sure things could’ve worked out.  He ends up being a rock Jade can count on, even though at first she’s determined to handle problems created by the past on her own.  Having gone through so much as well, Jade provides comfort and understanding to help Dillon cope with his feelings of guilt and loss, as well.

Breath of Scandal took me on an emotional roller coaster, but I enjoyed the ride. I have to say if you pick this up, be patient.  Like I said the first 25% was painful, but the payoff was well worth it!  I wanted to high five Jade at more than a few points, and I’m thrilled with the way it all worked out. 

I’m relatively new to Sandra Brown’s stories, but every one that I’ve picked up so far has been riveting!  I stayed up until three a.m. to finish Breath of Scandal, because I could not put it down!  A total recommend.






AUTHOR BIO
Sandra Brown is the author of more than sixty New York Times bestsellers, including DEADLINE(2013), LOW PRESSURE (2012), LETHAL (2011), TOUGH CUSTOMER (2010), SMASH CUT (2009), SMOKE SCREEN (2008), PLAY DIRTY (2007), RICOCHET (2006), CHILL FACTOR (2005), WHITE HOT (2004), & HELLO, DARKNESS (2003).

Brown began her writing career in 1981 and since then has published over seventy novels, bringing the number of copies of her books in print worldwide to upwards of eighty million. Her work has been translated into over thirty languages.

A lifelong Texan, Sandra Brown was born in Waco, grew up in Fort Worth and attended Texas Christian University, majoring in English. Before embarking on her writing career, she worked as a model at the Dallas Apparel Mart, and in television, including weathercasting for WFAA-TV in Dallas, and feature reporting on the nationally syndicated program “PM Magazine.”

In 2009 Brown detoured from her thrillers to write, Rainwater, a much acclaimed, powerfully moving story about honor and sacrifice during the Great Depression.

Brown recently was given an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Texas Christian University. She was named Thriller Master for 2008, the top award given by the International Thriller Writer’s Association. Other awards and commendations include the 2007 Texas Medal of Arts Award for Literature and the Romance Writers of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Connect with Sandra Brown:





5 winners will each win a trade paperback of Breath of Scandal + a signature Henri Bendel candle (see photo below).  Giveaway is open to US & Canadian residents only.  Simply fill out the rafflecopter for a chance to win.

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