Thursday, 28 February 2013

Blog tour: The Murmurings by Carly Anne West

Hello everyone, today as part of The Murmurings blog tour hosted by Shane @ Itching For Books I will be sharing my review with you. But first here's a bit about the book.

Publication date: March 5th 2013
My rating: 3 stars
Everyone thinks Sophie’s sister, Nell, went crazy. After all, she heard strange voices that drove her to commit suicide. But Sophie doesn’t believe that Nell would take her own life, and she’s convinced that Nell’s doctor knows more than he’s letting on.

As Sophie starts to piece together Nell’s last days, every lead ends in a web of lies. And the deeper Sophie digs, the more danger she’s in—because now she’s hearing the same haunting whispers. Sophie’s starting to think she’s going crazy too. Or worse, that maybe she’s not….

Me and horror books never go, scrap that me and horror anything never go. If you ever put on an horror film on I’ll be the first one out of the room. But when I came across The Murmurings, I admit I was intrigued, the cover totally creeped me out, also lately I have been tearing my way through mystery books more and really enjoying them. So I was eager to find out the mystery surrounding Sophie’s sister and what really happened to her.

Sophie’s sister Nell had been admitted to the Oakside Behavioural institute after displaying some strange behaviour, Dr Keller from the institute deemed this as the perfect place for Nell to be at. And Sophie and her mum thought so too. But if everything was peachy there, why would Nell run off with one of the orderlies and end up dead? Sophie immediately regrets not being there for Nell when she needed her the most, so she makes it her mission to get to the bottom of the truth.

What I liked about The Murmurings was that I totally hadn’t thought about what had happened to Nell, I had some assumptions, But Carly Anne West blew these right out of the water, with the aspect she did decide to focus on. I can’t really say what it is without giving the entire plot away, but it was never something I would have considered.

Sophie was singled out at school because of everyone knowing about what had happened with her sister and everyone else assuming the same would happen to her. So it was great that Sophie found a friend in Ethan, someone she could confide in. They both soon realised they had so much in common and decided to do some investigating of their own. Their journey was one of horrific discoveries and heartache, but they both battled on to discover the truth. I admired how Sophie soldiered on, the weedy weak individual I was first led to believe that she was one that quickly disappeared. Her love and her affection for her sister came strongly through, as she would go to any extremes to get to the truth. But the one thing that bugged me about Sophie was how she went barging into situations without thinking things through and by breaking promises along the way. I understand that she wanted to bring an end to the horrible things that had happened and which took Nell away. But there were also people who cared about her, her mum was barely coping from the loss of Nell, and then she goes and immediately puts her own life at risk.

The Murmurings wasn’t as scary as I was expecting, but there were aspects that creeped me out. The concept was different from a lot of the books that I had seen out there, the only issue I had was down to pacing, it took forever for finally something major to kick off, so I welcomed the second half which was more action packed and kept me riveted until the last page. I was pleased with the way things were wrapped up, with so many unanswered questions finally being able to put to rest.

The Murmurings was a book which was very different to what I’d normally pick, but I think West did a good job in producing a novel mixed with mystery, creepiness and romance. I would certainly recommend giving it a try if you’re looking an unconventional read.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Review: Boundless by Cynthia Hand

Boundless by Cynthia Hand
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication date: 22nd January 2013
My rating: 4 stars

The past few years have held more surprises than part-angel Clara Gardner could ever have anticipated. Yet from the dizzying highs of first love, to the agonizing low of losing someone close to her, the one thing she can no longer deny is that she was never meant to live a normal life.

Since discovering the special role she plays among the other angel-bloods, Clara has been determined to protect Tucker Avery from the evil that follows her . . . even if it means breaking both their hearts. Leaving town seems like the best option, so she’s headed back to California - and so is Christian Prescott, the irresistible boy from the vision that started her on this journey in the first place.

As Clara makes her way in a world that is frighteningly new, she discovers that the fallen angel who attacked her is watching her every move. And he’s not the only one. . . . With the battle against the Black Wings looming, Clara knows she must finally fulfill her destiny. But it won’t come without sacrifices and betrayal.

In the riveting finale of the Unearthly series, Clara must decide her fate once and for all.

I have quite a few series’ coming to an end soon. So with Boundless even though I was eager to discover how things would play out, I was sad to have to finally part with this beautiful series. My January’s from next year would never be the same again. I will no longer be stalking my postman coming down my street with such ferocity waiting for my copy to arrive. I can no longer eagerly anticipate the different cover reveals and then stare at them longily for hours on end. There will be no more visions, no more fear of the unknown, constantly guessing the what if’s, but most importantly there would be no more cute Tucker with his dimples *cries*

So you can probably tell the dilemma I found myself in, I wanted my copy to arrive as soon as possible so that I could finally find out everything I had agonisingly been waiting for the last year, but I knew once I’d picked Boundless up I’d probably whip through it so quickly and I wanted to savour every single page as slow as possible. Well I failed at my latter attempt sorry Rachel! ( I have become the worst read-along partner ever as I devoured this book right up) but anyone that has read a book by Cynthia Hand would agree with me that it’s not possible to read this series slowly. I wanted my answers and I wanted them now.

So Boundless picks off with Christian, Angela and Clara heading off to Stanford University, poor Tucker is left behind. But their visions have been telling them Stanford is the place it’s supposed to happen. Clara didn’t leave Wyoming behind in the best possible way and Tucker’s still on her mind. If you were expecting Hand to provide a smooth journey in Boundless, you couldn’t be more wrong. Cynthia Hand has once again proved to be the master of surprises; honestly the amount of spanners she threw into the works from so early on had me shook up in surprise. When I wasn’t gasping in shock, my poor heart was being thoroughly stomped upon. I always knew that Clara would have a tough decision to make between Tucker and Christian, Hand totally messed me over in Hallowed that I didn’t have a solid team anymore. And again in Boundless there were just so many sweet gestures from both guys, and they both went above and beyond what you’d expect that I knew it would be horrible for one of them to be rejected.

The settings of California and Wyoming were perfect for this novel, we were able to get to know the place where it all started for Clara where she first discovered who she was, and the place most important to her mother. But I enjoyed flitting from California to Wyoming, getting a sense of where the major life events in Clara’s life took place. Being back in Wyoming definitively had me nostalgic to back to where it all began in Unearthly.

Hand has once again provided us with a mesmerising read in Boundless; honestly this woman goes above and beyond to impress me with her latest instalment. I can’t praise her enough in creating such a magical world and restoring my faith once more in paranormal books. Her writing is exquisite and so easily to fall in love with that I had no problems in believing this picturesque world she created was real. The Unearthly series is one that will always remain a favourite in my heart with its brilliant pacing and hugely lovable characters, I’m sure it’s a series that I will read time and time again.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Review & Giveaway: Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt

Going Vintage

Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication date: March 26th 2013
My rating:  3.5 stars 

When Mallory’s boyfriend, Jeremy, cheats on her with an online girlfriend, Mallory decides the best way to de-Jeremy her life is to de-modernize things too. Inspired by a list of goals her grandmother made in1962, Mallory swears off technology and returns to a simpler time (when boyfriends couldn’t cheat with computer avatars). The List:
1. Run for pep club secretary
2. Host a fancy dinner party/soiree
3. Sew a dress for Homecoming
4. Find a steady
5. Do something dangerous
But simple proves to be crazy-complicated, and the details of the past begin to change Mallory’s present. Add in a too-busy grandmother, a sassy sister, and the cute pep-club presient–who just happens to be her ex’s cousin–and soon Mallory begins to wonder if going vintage is going too far.

Going Vintage was cute, funny and sweet.  It was an easy read one you could get through fairly quickly. 

When Mallory finds out her boyfriend of over a year has been cyber cheating on her, she feels betrayed not only by her boyfriend, but by technology.  If there were no such things as “Friendspace” or “Authentic Life” her boyfriend wouldn’t have been betraying her with a girl named “BubbleYum” his cyber wife.  When Mallory finds a list her Grandma made back in 1962, when she was sixteen, she decides to ditch modern: cell phones, computers, internet, and go vintage.  Mallory decides to fulfill the goals spelled out on the list.  She wants to get back to a simpler life where girls only had to worry about sewing their homecoming dress or starting a pep club. Sticking to authentic 1962 proves to be more difficult than Mallory imagined, but she’s determined to get her life focused on the more important things in life. 

“Find a steady,” number four on the list may not be a hard acquisition since Oliver, Jeremy’s cousin has stepped in to join her pep club.  Oliver gets Mallory more than Jeremy ever did.  Should Mallory move on when she’s so recently out of a long-term relationship?  Often times these things are not our choice.

He pauses. “You’re not going to homecoming?”

“I am. But not with Jeremy.”

“That’s the thing. It shouldn’t matter. Nothing you do should matter to me. Not like it does.”  Oliver holds out his hand and yanks me off the float with surprising force.  His grip is possessively tight…..*

I’ll let your imagination fill in the rest.

This was a cute and funny novel dealing with heartbreak and moving on.  There’s a sweet romance that’s slow to develop, as well.  Ms. Leavitt did a wonderful job with the wisecracking and witty humor.  Although, I must say that best lines and jokes were delivered by Ginny, Mallory’s younger sister.  She got to say things like this:

“Did you find pictures of Grandma's hidden lover, Eduardo?  And if so, is he atop a horse?  How many buttons are undone on his shirt?” *

She was pure spunk and fun.  While I liked Mallory, she was a little distant to me and some of her decisions I couldn’t quite relate to.  I wish she spoke up for herself a little more or maybe we saw a little more character growth.  Also, Mallory’s mother left a bad taste in my mouth and I felt she got off way too easy in the end.  Still, this story and the supporting characters made for a fun and easy novel to read.

When reading this I was struck by how reliant we are on technology.  If I forget my cell phone at home when going to work, I just about have a panic attack and feel so naked without it.  It’s a wonder that we all got by without one.  Remembering the information I was limited to for school reports was brought back to mind when Mallory had to write a school report on the Industrial Revolution just by going to the library.  We are so spoiled by immediate access to vast amounts of research and information at the tip of our fingers.  Yet, we still managed.  Do all parts of technology better our lives?  It’s something to think about.  Face to face interaction is becoming more of a rarity nowadays, with online communication becoming the norm.  

*Quotes are taken from an uncorrected proof and may change in the final copy.

All in all, Going Vintage was a fast and fun read that had me laughing throughout. 

I’ve decided to give away my ARC copy of Going Vintage. Fill out the rafflcopter below for a chance to win.  The giveaway is INTERNATIONAL with the only requirement being that you follow the blog.  Good luck and thanks for stopping by! 

Monday, 25 February 2013

Review: The Gathering Dark by Leigh Bardugo

The Gathering Dark by Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Indigo
Publication date: 7th June 2012.
My rating: 4.5 stars

The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.

Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite—the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?

The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfil her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.

But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?

The Gathering Dark is fantasy at its best. Luckily I had the day off when I picked up The Gathering Dark so I was able to lock myself in my room and devour this book much to the annoyance of my sister who wanted a good natter. But you know that adrenaline rush when you get with certain books when your eyes are just gulping the words in a frenzied pace, that before you know it you’re already halfway through the book and you’re like how the heck have I read so much already? Your hearts thrumming against your chest and there is so much chaotic-ness going on around you, but you’re lost in a world where it’s just you and your precious book? This is exactly how my reading experience was with The Gathering Dark. When I first heard about this book I honestly didn’t pay it much attention, it was not my typical genre to turn to and so I wasn’t really sure whether it would be my thing. But my great blogging friends changed my mind and I’m so thankful for that, otherwise I would never have discovered this gem of a book.

Alina and Mal are two orphans who’ve grown up together, they’re getting by in life, but everything changes when crossing the Shadow Fold and Alina makes a startling discovery. Alina’s ripped away from the life she’s known, taken away from Mal to Little Palace a world so different to what she’s known, she’s surrounded by beautiful Grisha, given a beautiful room, a kefta and spends time with the enigmatic The Darkling. She’s taught to make the most of her ability and promised great things.

Alina found herself in an extremely difficult situation, but her character development over the course of this book paid off for the tough times she had to deal with. Initially she was a clumsy girl but developed into this strong, kick ass protagonist. But what I loved most about her was that despite getting everything luxurious thrown her way, she still didn’t forget who she was, where she came from and who mattered to her the most. At times she did find herself slightly distracted by The Darkling, but who wouldn’t?

I seem to have this habit lately where I seem to be falling for the guy everyone else isn’t. First it was Warner and now The Darkling, don’t get me wrong I adored Mal, but The Darkling left the greatest impression on me with his big booming claps, dark velvety voice and his constant darkness, it’s bound to make a girl go crazy, his commanding remarks honestly sent shivers down my spine. And I know with the way things went, I should have jumped teams, but come on its The Darkling I won’t give up on him that easily.

Leigh Bardugo has created a gorgeous book in The Gathering Dark, her world building is exquisite and writing is just effortlessly beautiful. I didn’t realise that it would evoke so many feelings in me all in one go! In a way I’m glad I picked up The Gathering Dark up, because it’s given me the extra encouragement to pick more fantasy books right away, but I’m also left a bit glum, as how I have to wait torturous months like everyone else for the next instalment!

This gif describes me perfectly when I was reading this book.

funny gifs

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Review & Giveaway: Strands of Bronze & Gold by Jane Nickerson

Strands of Bronze and Gold (Strands of Bronze and Gold, #1)

Strand of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: March 12th 2013
My rating:  4.5 stars 

The Bluebeard fairy tale retold. . . .

When seventeen-year-old Sophia Petheram’s beloved father dies, she receives an unexpected letter. An invitation—on fine ivory paper, in bold black handwriting—from the mysterious Monsieur Bernard de Cressac, her godfather. With no money and fewer options, Sophie accepts, leaving her humble childhood home for the astonishingly lavish Wyndriven Abbey, in the heart of Mississippi.

Sophie has always longed for a comfortable life, and she finds herself both attracted to and shocked by the charm and easy manners of her overgenerous guardian. But as she begins to piece together the mystery of his past, it’s as if, thread by thread, a silken net is tightening around her. And as she gathers stories and catches whispers of his former wives—all with hair as red as her own—in the forgotten corners of the abbey, Sophie knows she’s trapped in the passion and danger of de Cressac’s intoxicating world.

Glowing strands of romance, mystery, and suspense are woven into this breathtaking debut—a thrilling retelling of the “Bluebeard” fairy tale.

I’m not usually drawn to historical romances, but I’m so glad I picked this one up because it was an exciting ride!  Strands of Bronze and Gold was filled with mystery and opulence, and oozed suspense.  I was on the edge of my seat for much of this read!

Sophie is a girl “genteel, but only in a theoretical way.”  As she goes on to explain, theoretically she knows how to live a fancy life but in practice can’t afford it.   This is all about to change when her father dies unexpectedly and her godfather, Monsieur Bernard de Cressac, collects her to live at Wyndriven Abbey.  Although Sophie has not seen M. Bernard since she was a little girl, he’s sent extravagant gifts to her over the years.  She assumes he’s old and married but soon finds out he is neither.  He’s not more than forty, he’s stunningly handsome and a widower. 

Sophie is both shocked and flattered by his treatment.  He doesn’t behave like a father figure but she’s captivated by his enigmatic personality and good looks.  He lavishes attention and gifts on her and it’s wonderful, but also too much.  Sophie soon feels the shine of this opulent life wear off and soon she finds M. Bernard’s demeanor can change in a heartbeat.  He’s happy and all charm one minute and the next his temper flares.  He wants Sophie only to himself, keeping her isolated from any outsiders and even frowning on her becoming friendly with the servants.  Little curiosities start popping up, and Sophie starts to wonder about M. Bernard’s past. 

This was dark, romantic, and mysterious.  The suspense notched up in intensity chapter by chapter and I was anxious to discover what would happen next.  M. Bernard’s character thrilled and attracted me in one moment, only to repel and frighten me in the next! 

“I worried you might be huddled in your bed terrified. I tried to come reassure you.”

“Did you?”

“I did, but your door was locked. Do you lock it every night?”

“I do.”

“Do you think someone is plotting against your virtue?” A gleam of amusement twinkled in his honey brown eyes.

“No sir, I simply feel more secure with the big dark house shut out.”

“You know I have all the keys, don’t you? I could enter at any time I wanted.” *

*heart beats wildly*

Sophie, who’s only seventeen, is forced into dealing with things beyond her years.  She was just the type of heroine I love:  admirable, brave, and resourceful.  She wasn’t whiny or frustrating in her choices but you wonder nervously how this will all turn out.  I will say there is romance, for those of you like me that need to know.  But I won’t elaborate any further.

The descriptions of the lavish surroundings brought this extravagant world to life. You’re impressed but at the same time a little disturbed by it too:

Knowing my past predilection for luxury, I should be in raptures to reside in such surroundings, showered with lovely things. But everything was too much. It was as if the world here were coated with glamour, as in some fairy tales, with nothing really as it seemed. *

I starting reading this knowing it was a re-telling of Bluebeard, but I’ve never been real clear on the story.  I knew it involved killing his wives, and you really don’t need to know more than that.  It doesn’t make a difference in your enjoyment one way or the other, but if you’re curious the author has the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tale on Ms. Nickerson’s blog.  There’s also an interesting history of the tale on Wikipedia and I found a few details carried into this story. 

As I said before, I don’t gravitate toward historical romance.  Usually all the descriptions make me yawn, but not in this case.  There was a lot of description, but Ms. Nickerson gave just enough to immerse me in the world without bogging down the plot.  It was a thrilling read!

I’m curious to hear what the next book will be about since this wraps up nicely.  I think it’s a companion novel set in the same world. 

*Quotes taken from uncorrected proof and may change in the final copy.
Fill out the rafflcopter below for a chance to win an ARC copy of Strands of Bronze and Gold!  The giveaway is INTERNATIONAL with the only requirement being that you follow the blog.  Good luck and thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Review: Rule by Jay Crownover

Rule (Rule, #1)

Rule by Jay Crownover
Publisher: Self-published
Publication date: December 30th 2012
My rating:  4.5 stars 

I had loved Rule Archer since the first moment I ever laid eyes on him. He was everything I shouldn't want and the only person I went out of my way to not try and please. He only saw me as a brat, and an entitled, stuck up princess but worse than that all he saw when he looked at me was his deceased twin's girl. It broke my heart because as much as I had loved Remy Archer there was never anything romantic between us and no matter how hard I tried to convince myself that loving Rule was a terrible idea, my poor heart just wouldn't listen. We tolerated each other, barely and had forged an uneasy alliance until one night I had too much to drink and changed the way we were forever. Suddenly life long secrets were no longer hidden and the one thing I always wanted for myself seemed obtainable as long as I was willing to go through hell to hold onto it.

Shaw Landon was a class act and I had no idea what to do with her. She was tied to my family, tied to the person that was my other half so I tolerated her and her haughty attitude when I didn't have any other choice. What I didn't know was that a short skirt and too many cocktails on her birthday was going to change my outlook on her for the rest of my life. Some people thought I hid behind all my tattoos and piercings, that I tried to distance myself from my dead twin, Shaw saw through it all and wasn't scared of what was underneath. We weren't supposed to be together, weren't supposed to be anything but uncomfortable acquaintances but that all changed in the blink of an eye. Now I had to figure out just how a girl like her and a guy like me were supposed to be in love without destroying each other. Add in her custom made ex and two disapproving sets of parents and the whole situation sounded like it was more trouble then it was worth.

Rule was a story you pick up and don’t want to put down.  I’m always drawn to a story where unrequited love is finally returned, and Shaw has been in love with Rule since she was fourteen.  Adding to the excitement, is a stalker ex boyfriend who won’t take no for an answer.  

I loved Rule like it was my mission in life. I loved him like it was inevitable, like no matter how many times I was shown what an awful idea it was, what a bad match we were, what a callous asshole he could be I couldn’t shake it.

Shaw has been fixture in the Archer family since she was fourteen and Remy took her under his wing, but it’s always been Rule she’s been in love with.  When Remy’s tragic death deals the family a blow, she’s determined to keep them together.   She picks Rule up every Sunday for brunch with the family to make sure he goes. Each time she does, her heart breaks a little more having to witness the string of one night stands paraded in front of her every time. 

Rule has no idea that Shaw has loved him so long.  He always assumed that Remy and Shaw were a couple, so he never paid much attention to her.  Plus, she is the polar opposite to Rule.  He’s all tatted and pierced up and does what he wants, she’s the rich perfect princess always striving to live up to everyone’s expectations.  He’s tortured every week when she picks him up and directs looks of disgust his way.  Add to that misery is having to sit through Sunday brunch with a family that blames him for his brother’s death.  He’s always been the black sheep of the family but Remy’s death has strained their relationship to the breaking point. 

Things get interesting when Rule finally wakes up and notices Shaw.  He knows starting something with her won’t be like his string of skanks.  He knows and has a history with her, so it won’t be a one night stand, but he can’t stay away.  Shaw can’t resist Rule even realizing there’s a strong possibility their relationship will crash and burn, she still can’t help but take the chance.  She’s tired of living safe and doing what her parents expect when they’ve never paid no mind to her. 

Knowing Shaw had feelings for Rule for ages made my heart break for her. I always want unrequited love to get noticed and returned, so it was very satisfying to see this come about.  I loved the passion and intensity both Rule and Shaw showed to each other, and I liked seeing Rule figure out what he was missing all these years.  There were lots of smoking hot scenes and sizzling chemistry that were such fun to read.  Plus, there was suspense that had you clicking through the pages worrying about what would happen next.  That was one crazy ex!  

I’m so glad I picked this up because it was exactly what I was in the mood for.  Now I’m eagerly looking forward to Jet and Ayden’s story. 

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Mini-reviews: How to Get Over Your Ex and The Next Forever

How to Get Over Your Ex by Nikki Logan
Publisher: Harlequin Kiss
Publication date: January 22nd 2013.
My rating: 3 stars
After her on-air proposal is turned down by her commitment-phobe boyfriend, Georgia Stone must learn to survive singledom. Unfortunately, thanks to a clause in her contract, she has to do it under the watchful gaze of brooding radio producer Zander Rush. And so begins the Year of Georgia! Lurching from salsa classes to spy school, Georgia discovers a taste for adventure. Her biggest thrill so far? Flirting with danger-aka the enigmatic Zander. But admitting she's ready for more than just a fling...? Definitely Georgia's scariest challenge yet!

How to Get over Your Ex was a super sweet book that I found great to unwind to after a long day at work. It’s one of those books where you can kind of predict what’s going to happen, but you don’t really care. 

In How to Get over Your Ex we find ourselves in the typical situation where two characters are forced to work together. Georgia just made a fool of herself on the radio by proposing to her boyfriend in front of millions of listeners and he rejected her live on air! Georgia just wants to go home and hide away forever. But on the day she finds sympathy from the radio producer Zander, he helps her sneak out of the building and then offers her a proposition she can’t reject. He will offer her $50,000 to spend how she wants, if she allows them to film a follow up show with her; the life of Georgia. All about how she’s getting on afterwards.

Georgia initially starts finding things to do that will please the listeners; salsa classes, cooking classes. But as the months progress and she starts spending more time with Zander (who of course volunteered to be the person to attend and record everything Georgia does) Georgia realises she’s not being true to herself, and decides to make a spur of the moment decision to do what she wants to do. 

It was a lot of fun watching the attraction grow between Zander and Georgia. No matter how many excuses Zander tried to come up with, it was obvious that they were just perfect for each other. Zander at times could be hugely infuriating always pushing Georgia away, but I supposed being burned badly once before did result in him holding back a lot. The way Georgia’s character grew in this book was hugely admirable, she was able to show the listeners of Eros station, that she could develop a happy fulfilling life without her ex Dan about. How to Get over your Ex was a super quick read, you can’t bear to part with Zander or Georgia until they both get what they truly deserve. 

I recommend picking up this book if you’re looking for something light and fun to squeeze in between some heavy going reads.

The Next Forever by Lisa Burstein
Publisher: Entangled
Publication date: January 13th 2013.
My rating: 4 stars
One night in college can change everything… Away at college, Amy just wants one night alone without her high school sweetheart, Joe. So when he invites her to go to the library, she heads off on her own instead. How she ended up at a house party with the mysterious bad-boy Trevor is another story… Joe so isn’t going to the library. He needs space from Amy, too, so he’s decided to rush a fraternity, to get back the swagger he had in high school. But it doesn’t take long for the brothers to invite him to the real rush here the beer is flowing and one particular girl has set her eyes on Joe. Over the course of one wild night, both Amy and Joe will have to decide if their futures belong with two new people, or whether the next forever will have their first loves in it.

The Next Forever follows up in the life of Amy and Joe; two of my favourite characters from Pretty Amy. I much prefer reading follow up books months down the line than epilogues tacked onto back of books. And The Next Forever proved this to be the case once more as it provided a heartfelt insight into Amy and Joe battling their own demons. 

I had always wanted Amy and Joe together ever since I came across them in Pretty Amy. Amy was so lost back then and needed the stability to keep her from drowning from the ideas floating around in her head. So it was great seeing months later that they’ve managed to make their relationship work. But their relationship was again tested with both Joe and Amy not quite sure about what they wanted, afraid of what could be around the corner and having niggling doubts at the back of their minds. 

Sometimes you just need to take a risk to realise what you want in life, to test what’s really out there. But then you also need to know when to take a step back, when you’re coming to a point of over stepping the line and hurting someone you love so much in the process. And this is what Burstein looks at in The Next Forever, have Amy and Joe found their next forever in each other or is it still out there just out of their reach?

With dual pov’s from both Joe and Amy, were given a much greater insight into their characters; the ideas they have tumbling around in their heads, just how much of a hardship they have in deciding what’s right and wrong and just how vulnerable they are. Amy and Joe had a lot of inner turmoil to deal with in The Next Forever but I think it was a step that they needed to deal with before they could realise that what they were after all this time was in front of them all along.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Review & Giveaway: Poison by Bridget Zinn


Poison by Bridget Zinn
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication date: March 12th 2013
My rating:  4 stars 

Sixteen-year-old Kyra, a highly-skilled potions master, is the only one who knows her kingdom is on the verge of destruction—which means she’s the only one who can save it. Faced with no other choice, Kyra decides to do what she does best: poison the kingdom’s future ruler, who also happens to be her former best friend.

But, for the first time ever, her poisoned dart . . . misses.

Now a fugitive instead of a hero, Kyra is caught in a game of hide-and-seek with the king’s army and her potioner ex-boyfriend, Hal. At least she’s not alone. She’s armed with her vital potions, a too-cute pig, and Fred, the charming adventurer she can’t stop thinking about. Kyra is determined to get herself a second chance (at murder), but will she be able to find and defeat the princess before Hal and the army find her?

Kyra is not your typical murderer, and she’s certainly no damsel-in-distress—she’s the lovable and quick-witted hero of this romantic novel that has all the right ingredients to make teen girls swoon.

Poison was a fun adventure-fantasy with murder, intrigue, and potions.  As if that wasn’t enough, there’s a sweet romance mixed in as well.  And don’t forget about the adorable pig.

Kyra, is a Master Potioner who had a bright future ahead of her.  She was highly respected in her profession, a mixer of potions that that range from sleeping mixes, truth serums, to extremely lethal poisons.  Plus, she was engaged to another brilliant Potioner, Hal.  All this was turned upside down when she attempted to kill her best friend, Princess Ariana, the future ruler of her kingdom.  Since then she’s been on the run looking for an opportunity to finish the job, otherwise her kingdom will be destroyed. So while dodging discovery by the king’s men, she tries to locate the princess who has now gone into hiding.  To find the princess, Kyra enlists the help of a despised criminal Arlo, because she has no other options at this point and time is running out.  Enter adorable tracking pig, Rosie.  Now armed with her master sniffer Rosie, Kyra goes on the hunt.  Along the way she meets the Fred, whom she can’t seem to shake.  It doesn’t help matters that Fred is distractingly gorgeous with a “heart-stopping smile.”

Oh, this story was just pure fun and adventure!  Kyra was strong, capable and a little bit kick-ass.  What more could you want in a heroine?!  The idea of her wielding potions and having the smarts to make them up was ultra-cool!  After being hunted and on the run, she can’t help but be guarded with others, but adorable Rosie and fun-loving Fred slowly creep into her heart, and chip away at her walls: 

Bad enough that she’d gone all soft at the sight of a pig. Now Kyra’s feelings were threatening to overwhelm her because of a few stupid campfire memories, a ghost of a kiss in the night, and the sensation of invisible arms around her in the soft, misty rain.*

I thought I knew the story when I picked it up, but new twists and discoveries kept popping up that had me glued to the pages.  There was never a dull moment in Poison, and it was easy to breeze right through.  Although the romance was not the center of the plot, it was sweet, adorable and enough to satisfy any romance addict.  What was a welcome change is that in a sea of YA trilogies, this is a stand-alone and the story wraps up just enough to make you happy. 

Upon reading the last page I discovered the author, Bridget Zinn passed away, and I had such a sad heart thinking about this.  I know she would’ve been a bright addition to YA had she continued writing. 

*Quotes taken from an uncorrected proof and may change in the final copy.

I've decided to give away my ARC copy of Poison to one lucky follower.  The giveaway is INTERNATIONAL with the only requirement being that you follow the blog.  Just fill out the rafflecopter below. Good luck and thanks for stopping by! 

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Showcase Sunday #21

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits and TeaThe 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.

Hello everyone! I hope you've all had a fabulous week. Rachel and I have had an eventful few weeks, Rachel has been to several great author events, I think us UK bloggers have to create a campaign to get some authors over to the UK! Also we had a new blog makeover this week, which we are both really pleased with. Now over to the book haul.

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa
Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley
The Murmurings by Carly Anne West
When the Stars Go Blue by Caridad Ferrer

Thank you NetGalley, Simon & Schuster, Edelweiss and Becky for the swap.

I'm so excited about getting a copy of The Eternity Cure, I was ready to start it straight away, but I'm making myself finish a few other review books off before I make a start, but I can't wait to get started. I started both Warm Bodies and The Murmurings this week, both are books which I wouldn't normally pick up, but I've been enjoying them so far, especially Warm Bodies. 

Lets see which books Rachel received this week.

For Review

Invisibility by Andrea Cremer & David Levithan
Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff
Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris
Shards and Ashes by Melissa Marr & Kelley Armstrong
Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland
The Rising by Kelley Armstrong
Orleans by Sherri L. Smith
Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers


The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead
Rocked Under by Cora Hawks (freebie on Amazon)
There is no Light in Darkness by Claire Contreras

I’m so excited about Invisibility which is a stand-alone, yay! I talked to Andrea Cremer about her collaboration with David Levithan and she said it was so much fun to write with him and pass chapters back and forth, sometimes surprised at what came back!  Dark Triumph has been a much anticipated read after I loved Grave Mercy so much.  I bought The Indigo Spell the day it came out and I loved it!! You can read my review here.  

If you posted a book haul or Showcase we would love to see what you received, please leave us a link in the comments and we will stop by and check it out.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...