Thursday, 31 July 2014

Beach Reads in August Giveaway Hop

Hello readers! Hopefully everyone has had a great summer so far. I'm excited to be participating in Beach Reads in August Giveaway Hop because one of my favorite things to do at the beach or by the pool is read!  This blog hop is hosted by Valerie @Stuck in Books you can click HERE for the complete list of participating blogs or check out the list below.  My giveaway is INTERNATIONAL as long as The Book Depository ships to you country (click HERE for list).  I can also order an e-Copy through US Amazon or US Barnes & Noble. Winner's choice.

Winner may pick ONE book from the following selection below:

(click on cover for Goodreads link)
 Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss, #3)   Breathe, Annie, Breathe  

Nantucket Blue (Nantucket, #1)  Nantucket Red (Nantucket, #2)

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Review: Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater

Sinner (Wolves of Mercy Falls #3.5) by Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication date: July 1st 2014
My rating:  2.5 stars 
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

A standalone companion book to the internationally bestselling Shiver Trilogy.

Sinner follows Cole St. Clair, a pivotal character from the #1 New York Times bestselling Shiver Trilogy. Everybody thinks they know Cole's story. Stardom. Addiction. Downfall. Disappearance. But only a few people know Cole's darkest secret -- his ability to shift into a wolf. One of these people is Isabel. At one point, they may have even loved each other. But that feels like a lifetime ago. Now Cole is back. Back in the spotlight. Back in the danger zone. Back in Isabel's life. Can this sinner be saved?

My Thoughts:
I have very mixed feelings about Sinner.  There were parts I loved: the writing and the chemistry between Cole and Isabel, and then there was the not so much. I will say I was happy to have closure for Cole and Isabel after so long.

Cole has moved to Los Angeles in an attempt to re-start his music career.  But the main reason he chose L.A. is because Isabel is there and Cole wants a future with her.  Instead of signing on with a record label Cole has agreed to make an album while having it documented by a “reality” show.  One that specializes in featuring stars self-destruct in the process. Cole finds Isabel and inside she dares to dream that he’s here just for her.  In Cole’s mind he is, but when Isabel finds out about the “reality” show she’s ticked and rightfully so in my opinion. What sane girl relishes the idea of her potential boyfriend/partner staring in a reality show? I get hives just thinking about it!

Sinner had a couple of things going against it (for me) from the beginning that may not be a problem for other readers.  First of all, the whole premise of starring in a sensationalized reality show was a big negative for me. I can’t stand “reality” shows that are high on drama and character implosions.  Second, even though I live in a suburb of Los Angeles, I hate the fake and superficial Los Angeles/Hollywood lifestyle where everyone must have the newest, brightest, best of everything: looks and things.  And this is the setting.  Cole and Isabel didn’t buy into that, but still, that was the setting and it came through loud and clear. I think this is the main reason it felt so different from the rest of the Wolves of Mercy Falls series.  It didn’t feel anything like it, actually.  The whole shifting and wolf thing hardly factored in the story at all.

The chemistry between Cole and Isabel was palpable and they shared some very sexy moments. It was the best thing about the story, IMO.  But, this was not a couple gradually rejoining, sharing life’s burdens and bonding over common feelings. There was no such “togetherness”.   Cole and Isabel had their own problems they didn’t really discuss with each other.  Each dealt separately and then they’d come together here and there and smooch. Granted, these smooch-fests were very lusty, Maggie is a whiz at building the moment up, but I want more than just kissing.  I want a deep connection, but Cole and Isabel were never really on the same page for the better part of the book.  Cole was always chasing and Isabel was always running.  That was okay, it was nothing unbearable because, like I said they’d get together and have these amazing moments, but then the last 20% there was a series of strange and unhappy events. I wouldn’t say it was high drama, just more melancholy angstiness, and then BAM at the very end everything is settled without really sorting anything out.  I was a little bewildered, and I’m still scratching my head to be honest.

I do adore Maggie’s writing and I’m always in awe at how she’s able to set the mood and make you feel every scene as though it were happening to you, but I was hoping for more.  Especially since Cole and Isabel were my favorite couple in Forever. 

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Cover Fever #10 Boundless by Cynthia Hand


Rachel and I are back with Cover Fever this week. I decided to go with a series that we're both huge fans of, I know that we both had mixed sort of feelings with the way things ended with the final book Boundless, but nonetheless, we're still huge fans of the gorgeous covers these books have had so far, (I'm still pining to get my hands on the Aussie covers). So without further ado!

     US Cover                                        Australian Cover

German Cover                                    Danish Cover

The UK publishers decided not to publish this final book, although I wasn't a huge fan of their editions, I still wanted to see what their final version would have looked like, so instead I ended up buying the US cover, which I have to say is pretty stunning. I'm a huge fan of purply coloured books, and this one is even more pretty in real life as it has a gorgeous silver font going across it, which is sort of raised, so I love the feel and design of it. The Australian cover is so beautiful! I love the colours that they've used for the cover and as I'm a fan of the fall/winter, I love how it gives off a fall sort of feel. The German cover isn't too bad, but gives off a scary sort of vibe and definitely wouldn't make me want to give this book a go if I saw it in a bookstore. And whilst I like the tone and colour of the Danish cover too, overall it really isn't my sort of cover.

Jasprit's Final Verdict: 
The Australian cover, closely followed by the US

I've never been fond of the US cover.  I wasn't a fan of the monochrome, and of course this is the cover I have sitting on my shelf. Lol! Although, I do agree with Jasprit about the font and scrolling of the US, it's pretty.  The Danish cover is enchanting, and here we have monochrome again, sort of, but it works for me in this case. It seems heavenly which is probably what they were going for.  My favorite though is the Australian cover. I love the autumnal coloring and the flowing dress gives it an ethereal feeling.  So gorgeous!

Rachel's Final Verdict: 
The Australian cover with the Danish cover coming in second.

Which book cover would you like to have on your shelves?

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Review: Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper

Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication date: June 24th 2014
My rating:  3.5 stars 
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

Author of the beloved Half Moon Hollow series of vampire romances (Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs), Molly Harper has created a standalone paranormal romance in which a dilapidated haunted house could bring star-crossed lovers together—if it doesn’t kill them first!

When Nina Linden is hired to landscape a private island off the New England coast, she sees it as her chance to rebuild her failing business after being cheated by her unscrupulous ex. She never expects that her new client, software mogul Deacon Whitney, would see more in her than just a talented gardener. Deacon has paid top dollar to the crews he’s hired to renovate the desolate Whitney estate—he had to, because the bumps, thumps, and unexplained sightings of ghostly figures in nineteenth-century dress are driving workers away faster than he can say “Boo.”

But Nina shows no signs of being scared away, even as she experiences some unnerving apparitions herself. And as the two of them work closely together to restore the mansion’s faded glory, Deacon realizes that he’s found someone who doesn’t seem to like his fortune more than himself—while Nina may have finally found the one man she can trust with her bruised and battered heart.

But something on the island doesn’t believe in true love…and if Nina and Deacon can’t figure out how to put these angry spirits to rest, their own love doesn’t stand a ghost of a chance.

My Thoughts:
I’ve always been drawn to scary stories, even when I was much younger. I’m not sure why because I’d usually end up scared out of my wits and unable to turn the lights out at bedtime. These were times I was very grateful to have shared a room with my sister!  As a grownup I still love a good thriller, so the thought of vengeful ghosts, and spine chilling encounters, had me giddy to pick up Better Homes and Hauntings.  Add in a big, beautiful, spooky mansion as the setting, and some romance and I was happy girl!

Landscape artist Nina Linden is on her own after getting shafted by her business partner, Rick.  She’s thrilled to have landed the lucrative Whitney Mansion renovation knowing the results can make or break her. With the stakes so high, Nina doesn’t let the house’s haunted reputation deter her. She doesn’t plan on being distracted by romance, but Declan the good looking, wealthy and sweet owner is too hard to resist.  But bigger things are at play and the house seems intent on using both Declan and Nina to reenact past tragic events, and bring to light the identity of a murderer.  Can they solve the past mysteries before the sinister spirits do actual harm?  You’ll have to read it and find out!

The Crane’s Nest on Whitney Island was isolated and a ferry ride away from civilization making it a perfectly spooky setting! It was also packed with Molly Harper’s signature humor and one-liners that make you giggle, but surprisingly there were a lot of scary scenes that may make you think twice about shutting off the lights at night after reading.

Declan and Nina’s romance was sweet and at times very passionate.  Even though Declan was a multi-millionaire, he was unassuming, nerdy, and adorable.  He’s taken with Nina right away, especially because his wealth doesn’t seem to faze her.  Being too trusting, Nina had gone through some rough times.  And so I was pleased she finally had someone like Declan who cared and wanted to protect her, especially with Rick still lurking about. This girl needed some happiness.

I enjoyed Better Homes and Hauntings, but I had some issues with the many POVs.  The description makes it seem that this a story focused on Nina and Declan, but that is not the case.  We also have Jake, Declan’s best friend and architect, Cindy, owner of the cleanup crew, and Declan’s cousin Dotty, a novelist.  They all have pretty substantial story threads. Add in the past characters and mystery, and there’s a lot going on.  I feel like it was a little too much and the story would’ve benefited by focusing primarily on Nina, Declan and the haunting past.  Still, I enjoyed this story.  I was laughing one minute and getting goose bumps the next. 

I’m picturing the Whitney Mansion to resemble one of these two houses (below) after the renovation.  If I were Nina, I wouldn’t mind living here with my rich, hot geek, minus the ghosts, of course!

Photo courtesy of Flickr click for link

Castle Hill Inn
Photo courtesy of Flickr click for link

Connect with Molly Harper:


Wednesday, 23 July 2014

London Film and Comic Con (& YALC) Recap

I was lucky again this year to be able to attend Film & Comic Con. Last year I went to the Winter one, but I was thrilled to be going to the Summer one, firstly because there would be so many actors attending from one of my favourite shows Game of Thrones, but also YALC would be taking place: The UK's first YA Lit Con. I was hoping to attend on Saturday, but wasn't able to, so had to make do with the slowest trains ever on Sunday and on top of that I hadn't purchased my entry ticket. Last year I bought my ticket on the day and was inside Earl's Court within a few minutes, even though the line was pretty long, but when I was checking Twitter on Saturday night, I read about people who had no ticket, waiting for hours and not getting in. So you could say I was a bit worried that I wouldn't get in at all, (doors opened at 9 and I would be arriving on the slowest train ever!). But when I was randomly going through #LFCC tweets on Twitter, I saw that someone had an extra earlybird ticket that they would be selling. This guy was super sweet too, as he went inside and then came back out to meet me, so I could buy his ticket! So I was able to go straight in! 

Queues inside for tickets weren't too bad, being the organised person that I am, I planned my schedule thoroughly, I had a nice mix of a GoT talks, cast meet up, with author panel chats and signings. So before my schedule was about to start, I had an hour or so to walk around and see how things were. This year I ended up going to Comic Con myself, so of course I had to man up a bit and actually talk to the cast myself. I saw Gethin Anthony (Renly Baratheon) from Game of Thrones and quite literally came to a standstill, I do admit to having a little crush on him in the show, but my gosh in real life, I was lost for words. But I took my friend's advice and actually approached his table, he was lovely to chat with and actually thought my name was lovely, I admit that I don't actually remember much of what was said after that! I also got to meet with Finn Jones (Loras Tyrell), Ellie Kendrick (Meera Read), Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister) and see Kristian Nairn (Hodor), Sibel Kekilli, Kate Dickie (Lysa Tully) and Ian Beattie (Meryn Trant). 


So you can imagine I was in Game of Thrones heaven! The panel with the cast was also pretty amazing too, actors Finn, Gethin and Kristian were pretty hilarious. I have included a video of the panel which you can watch below!

The YALC part was also pretty amazing, they had a pretty neat corner just for them. There was also a cool book swap shelf, where you could take your old books and swap them for other books that people had left. They had publishers handing out awesome freebies, a little sitting area, where you could sit back and relax and workshops and authors panels throughout the day.

I was able to attend the I'm too Sexy for this book panel with James Dawson, Cat Clarke, Non Pratt and Beth Reekles. And having not picked up a book by these authors, this panel definitely made me want to. Here's a couple of tidbits from their talk:

Process behind writing love scene:
Beth's sex scene was more romantic, Non tends to write scenes that she likes best first, so scenes such as fight, love and drunk scenes. Cat tends to use Sex as a weapon, and she also keeps a sexy times playlist, which she made from her followers on twitter. She asked what got her followers in the mood and found a lot of people mentioned Prince!

All the authors would not put age ratings on books. 

Cat has been lucky, as she's never had to take a scene out of her book, she thought that a particular line in Undone would have to be taken out.

I also was able to meet Lucy Christopher (whose book Stolen I adored) and Sarra Manning for the second time, she actually remembered my name too! I was also lucky to meet many fantastic bloggers, such as Jess from Jess Hearts Books, (I loved how we bumped into each other so many times), Debbie from Snuggling on the Sofa, Kayleigh from K-Books, Lucy from Queen of Contemporary and Faye from a Daydreamer's Thoughts

Me and Jess.

Me and Lucy Christopher

Overall I had a fantastic time at the London Film & Comic Con this year. I was grateful to have met so many people, but wished I could have met the many more bloggers that I missed out on. But here's to next year or the Winter con if you're going!

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