Wednesday 28 March 2012

Review: Where it Began by Ann Redisch Stampler

   Title: Where it Began
   Author: Ann Redisch Stampler
   Publisher: Simon Pulse
   Publication date: 6th March 2012
   My rating: 2 stars

I was truly suffering from a brain funk after finishing Where it Began. It wasn’t that the book was complicated, so I had a lot to get my head around. But it was just the long winded path the book well more specifically the main character Gabby took to finally discovering the truth! Seriously Gabby kind of made your head spin in exasperated circles.

Gabby wakes up near the remains of her boyfriend Billy’s battered car with no recollection of how she got there, when in hospital she still can’t remember a thing, it takes her a while for things to slowly make sense. She was driving and ended up slamming into a tree and smacking her head. Her blood level showed she was way over the limit and consequently the smack to her head has left her with retrograde amnesia. The only thing that she remembers was that Billy Nash her boyfriend was with her in the car, but she doesn’t know what happened to him after that. Did he manage to escape? Is he hurt? Is he still alive? No one’s telling her anything, her mum just flips her off, and she won’t let her friends come to visit her either. She’s more concerned with making sure Gabby’s looking perfect physically, not the least concerned about her mental state. On top of all that Gabby also has the police breathing down her neck.

I really enjoy reading books dealing with memory loss, I’ve come across some okayish ones in the past but Where it Began started really well. You’re thrown head first into Gabby suffering from a head trauma, and you have all these questions flying all over the place, what are they not telling Gabby? Where’s Billy? Is the fact that he’s not got in contact with her and everyone’s tight lipped about him mean he’s dead? Why’s Gabby’s mum so selfish? Will we ever find out what really happened? Would Gabby get her memory back?

Despite starting off well, I had several problems with this book and thus my 2 star rating. Initially the book had the constant need to flit back and forward between time spans, so one minute you’re in hospital with Gabby, the next she’s recalling a memory of when she first started dating Billy and then you’re thrown back into the hospital and then back into the past, and so on, at times it was utterly mind boggling. I know it was there to establish the back story about Gabby’s huge make-over; finally becoming noticed, becoming part of the popular crowd and everything she remembered up until the accident. But at times I really wanted to shout would you please get on with it! I really didn’t give a toss about the back story; I just wanted to know what really happened. It was also hugely frustrating when Gabby kept constantly yammering off the point.

However what truly grated me about Gabby’s character was her infatuation with Billy. It’s like she had blinkers on throughout the entire book he was loving, caring, good-looking, everything he said was right, he was doing everything for her, basically she thought he was perfect. I don’t know if when Gabby banged her head that she knocked the part of her head which was for common sense too, but ugh some of the drivel she spouted about Billy I really wanted to slap some sense into her. Gabby’s parents were also another major annoyance in this book, like seriously does no child have decent parents anymore? Gabby’s mum Vivian honestly made my blood boil, first her daughter has suffered a major head trauma, she’s lucky to be alive, but all she’s concerned with is how she looks, instead of remaining by her bedside, she goes shopping whilst she’s in hospital for make-up so she can spruce her daughter. Obviously because that would be Gabby’s number one concern right now her appearance?

“You were so beautiful, you were”
“It kills me to see you like this.”

What a way to boost her daughter’s confidence, whilst she’s lying in bed cut off from her friends and the outside world, not having a clue what’s going on and suffering from a head trauma. Gabby’s dad was just the invisible parent, wandering aimlessly in the background making occasional appearances or just drinking himself away.

Basically Where it Began started off as a highly anticipated read but ended up being a big disappointment. The book went around in maddening circles and frustrated me to a no end with two faced and pathetic characters.

Favourite quote;

“I thought she knew” argghh!!”

Monday 26 March 2012

Review: Jersey Angel by Beth Ann Bauman

   Title: Jersey Angel
   Author: Beth Ann Bauman
   Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
   Publication date: 8th May 2012
   Source: NetGalley
   My rating: 1 star

Where shall I start with this book? Well the blurb was what drew my attention to the book in the first place. I read it and thought a perfect summer read, this is just what I need. I thought it would be along the lines of Jenny Han’s Summer series, but my assumptions couldn’t have been more wrong

Angel is having a break from her on-off boyfriend Joey, Angel doesn’t want to be tied down with a guy for too long; she likes to be care free and having fun. So after Angel’s had enough fun, she decides she wants Joey back, but this time Joey decides to put his foot down, he’s sick of Angel running from one guy to another, he’s sick of the breaks, he genuinely loves Angel and he wants her to his girlfriend, so he refuses to take her back. Angel finds herself in a dilemma she wants to be with Joey; he understands her, whenever she needs someone she knows she can turn to him, he’s a reassuring presence but she’s unsure whether she loves him back and she’s still so young there’s plenty of time to settle down.

I had several issues with this book, and thus my reason for giving it 1 star. First the characters lacked depth; they were flaky with no idea what was going on. Angel just kept flitting back and forth from one guy to another, she had the perfect guy who wanted to be with her, openly admitting his feelings for her, standing right in front of her, but Angel was so caught up in her own little world that when she realised what she wanted it was a little too late. Her messing around with her best friend’s boyfriend aggravated me and her continually going back on her word aggravated me. That by the end of the book I was so utterly fed up with her that I couldn’t care less what she did.

I also couldn’t connect with the secondary characters at all, they were under developed in places, were at times like back ground noise; completely unnecessary. Inggy the best friend was clueless and couldn’t see what was going on in front of her, Cork Inggy’s worthless boyfriend; who knows how many girls he was playing around at the same time? The only character I initially liked was Joey; he was strong, put his foot down when Angel came wallowing back. But then his decision at the end kind of tarnished the impression I had of his character.

The plot kind of went round in endless circles, Angel unsure of what she wanted so hooked up with a guy, Joey still turning her down so she hooks up with someone else and so on. I thought that when a life changing situation did happen that Angel would take something from it, but no the story continued to trundle along its same tortuous pointless path.

I really wished I liked this book and had more positive things to say about it but it really wasn’t my cup of tea.

Thursday 22 March 2012

Review: I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella

   Title: I've Got Your Number
   Author: Sophie Kinsella
   Publisher: Bantam Press
   Publication Date: 16th February 2012
   My rating: 4 stars   

Sophie Kinsella’s books have always been a guilty pleasure of mine; her books are ones that I can re-read time and time again and never get tired of; they’re certainly feel good books which leave you with warm fuzzies.

However with I’ve Got Your Number I found it an extremely difficult read to get into (I’m blaming this completely on my reading funk, as lately I’ve found it hard to find a book which has really kept my attention). At first I didn’t care about the main character Poppy Wyatt, she came across as frivolous and a bit naïve, her fiancé Marcus seemed like a huge bore and his parents a right snobby pair. As I had extremely been looking forward to reading this book and didn’t want to tarnish my reading experience, I did the best thing possible and took a break and a couple of days later when I picked it up again it still took me a while longer to get into but I certainly enjoyed it a lot more.

Poppy’s wedding ring goes missing before her wedding; it’s a priceless family heirloom dating back to her fiancés Magnus’ grandmother. How will she be able to break the news to Magnus? To top it off within a short time of losing her wedding ring her mobile is stolen. Just by chance she stumbles across an elegant mobile dumped in a bin nearby seeing no one else in a flutter over it, she knabs it. However as soon as the owner of the phone Sam realises she has the phone he insists on having it back.

The escapades and problems Poppy found herself in reminded a lot of Becky from the Shopaholic series. In a lot of ways they were quite similar; both intelligent women, but always finding themselves caught up in some mess, fraternising with big successful businessmen and always never thinking before acting. But Poppy’s character certainly grew on me as the story progressed and my first assumptions I had of her as a needy brat, I take back because yes at times she was someone who always wanted to impress others, never get on their bad side, but she was also a lot of fun, she was at times like a fire cracker, that you’re waiting to go off, uncertain about how much havoc she will cause in her wake.

Sophie Kinsella has again lived up to her reputation for managing to create swoony businessmen there was Jack from Can You Keep a Secret (yes he was older but I always thought of him as a bit like George Clooney). Luke from the Shopaholic series (my absolute favourite) and now Sam. Sam was often closed off and aloof, but when he did come out of his shell, he was passionate, fiery and just straight to the point and that’s what I liked about him, he didn’t beat around the bush or scuttle around in circles like Magnus, if he wanted to say something he would say it.

I’ve Got Your Number was a charming story but also quite predictable, I knew how the story would turn out but that’s also the great thing about Sophie Kinsella’s books. Despite being predictable, the humour and the characters sneak their way into your heart and that before you know it, you can’t stop reading.

The added extra of footnotes in this book, at first I didn’t actually get and several times I completely missed them until I got to the bottom of the page and realised they were there. But they definitely brought an interesting aspect to the story and brought more humour to the book.

I’ve got your number was a funny enjoyable read which nicely satisfied my long overdue Sophie Kinsella fix. I just wish we didn’t have to wait so long for another one of her books to come out.

Tuesday 20 March 2012

Giveaway - Fated By Sarah Alderson

Sarah Alderson has quickly become one of my favourite authors; her books Hunting Lila and Fated I devoured in quick succession, they’re fast paced, action packed and full of dreamy characters which will play havoc with your heart.  She is such fantastic writer that both books had me utterly transfixed. So as a huge fan I’ve decided to give away a copy of Fated.

The giveaway is international; the only requirement to enter is that you are a follower of my blog. Additional entries are also available. Just fill out the rafflecopter form below. The giveaway ends on the 27th of March. Good Luck!

Thursday 15 March 2012

100+ books I have every intention of reading

Flannery at The Readventurer came up with the idea of sharing her list of books she has every intention of reading. I just knew that I had to make one of my own. I love making lists, I have tons of lists lying around all over the place I usually keep a to read next list of the next 5 books I plan on reading. Sometimes I’m quite good at sticking to it but mostly my plan usually goes out of the window, other books always end up getting pushed to the top and books which are in my next 5 to read list I don’t end up reading until months later. But this current list I’m hoping to try and stick it out. So here goes...

Series to start
1. Morganville Vampires by Rachel Caine (currently 11 in the series but by the time I get round to it there will probably be 13)
2. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead (6 to read)
3. Cut and Run by Abigail Roux (4 to read)
4. Kate Daniels by Ilona Andrews (5 to read)
5. Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordon (5 to read)
6. Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness (3 to read)
7. The Queen’s Thief by Megan Whalen Turner (4 to read)
8. Gone by Michael Grant (5 to read)
9. Jessica Darling by Megan McCafferty (5 to read)
10. River of Time by Lisa Tawn Bergren (3 to read)
11. Maze Runner by James Dashner (3 to read)
12. How to Ruin by Simone Elkeles (3 to read)
13. Dairy Queen by Catherine Gibert Murdock (3 to read)
14. Soul Screamers by Rachel Vincent (5 to read)

I’ve heard so many great things about Patrick Ness and Megan Whalen Turner’s series, I think I will prioritise these two. With Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief I made the mistake of watching the film first, I thought it was fantastic, but when I went back to read the first book I just couldn’t get into it. I found myself constantly comparing it to the film. I think I will try it once more and if I still can’t get into it I will start the second book The Sea of Monsters as the second film isn't scheduled to release until 2013!

Series to finish 
15.      Iron Fey by Julie Kagawa (2 to read) 
16.      Delirium by Lauren Oliver (1 to read) 
17.      Ashbury/Brookfield by Jaclyn Moriarty (3 to read) 
18.      Stephanie Plum by Janet Evanovich (17 to read)

There’s been mixed reviews over the series by Lauren Oliver but I enjoyed Dellinium quite a lot so have been immensely looking forward to reading it but I’ve heard the second book Pandemonium ends on sort of a  cliffhanger that I think I may wait until 2013 when Requiem (book 3) is out so I can read them together! It’s been well over a year since I picked up the first book in the Stephanie Plum series then there was only 16 books altogether now there is 18! I think I better get a wriggle on before any more are released!

Some of the books I own
19. Divergent by Veronica Roth
20. Die for Me by Amy Plum
21. Wish you Were Here by Catherine Clarke
22. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
23. Blood Red Road by Moira Young
24. North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley
25. Ultraviolet by R J Anderson
26. Bunheads by Sophie Flack
27. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
28. Jumping off Swings by Jo Knowles
29. Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
30. Nevermore by Kelly Creagh
31. Hate List by Jennifer Brown
32. Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler  
33. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
34. Everneath by Brodi Ashton
35. Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
36. The Catastrophic History of you and Me by Jess Rothenberg
37. Cross my Heart by Katie Klein
38. The Duff by Kody Keplinger
39. I’ll be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan
40. Psych Major Syndrome by Alicia Thompson
41. Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Shroeder
42. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

I’m such a book hoarder, so many books I have which I have brought on or around release dates but still haven’t got around in reading, I’ll be there and Divergent being prime examples. However the oldest book sitting on my shelf unread is Catherine Clark’s Wish you Were Here. I brought it whilst on holiday in 2008! 

On a side note, it frustrates me to no end, when I’ve already brought a book, and then they decide to change the cover to something really stunning, and I’m just left there fuming, wishing that I’d waited it out. For example Blood Red Road and Divergent, I brought the books when they had the covers on the left, but now they have the gorgeous covers on the right!

43. A Long Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan
44. Flat Out Love by Jessica Park
45. Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
46. The Survival Kit by Donna Freitas
47. Fat Cat by Robin Brande
48. Split by Swati Avasthi
49. Hold me Closer Necromancer by Lish McBride
50. Suicide Notes by Michael Thomas Ford
51. Wonder by RJ Palacio
52. Angelfall by Susan Ee
53. The Storyteller by Antonia Michaelis
54. Saving June by Hannah Harrington
55. The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
56. Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma
57. Something About You by Julie James
58. Lips Touch Three Times by Laini Taylor
59. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
60. Solace of the Road by Siobhan Dowd

I actually have the audio book for Siobhan Dowd’s Solace of the Road so not only will I be able to cross another book off my list by reading this but I can also tick off my first audio book.

Authors I want to pick up
61 - 62. Sarah Dessen – Just Listen and The Truth About Forever
63. John Green The Fault in Our Stars
64 - 65. Elizabeth Scott Pefect you and As I wake
66 - 67. Courtney Summers Cracked Up To Be and Some Girls Are
68 - 69. Sara Zarr Story of a Girl and Sweethearts
70 - 72. Deb Caletti - Stay, The Story of Us and Wild Roses
73 - 74. Kate Atkinson – Case Histories and One Good Turn


Authors such as Sara Zarr and Courtney Summers I have just read one of their books and already fallen in love with their writing, I will make it my aim to devour more of their books as soon as possible. I borrowed a copy of Kate Atkinson’s When will there be good News? from a friend, I enjoyed it so much but then I realised it was the third book in the series so now I’m going to go back and read the other two. I also have a secret to confess I still haven’t read a book by Sarah Dessen, but everyone I’ve spoken to have recommended thes above two as their favourites.

Aussie goodness
75. Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
76. Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta
77. Gorgon in the Gully by Melinda Marchetta
78. Alaska by Sue Saliba
79. A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley

Last Year I became a huge Aussie book fan when I signed up for the Aussie ya reading challenge set up by Nic at Irresistible Reads. Since then I haven’t been able to get enough. Marchetta and Crowley have quickly become my favourite authors.

Tried but failed
80. Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
81. Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
82. Invincible Summer by Hannah Moskowitz

Again I made the same mistake with the Lord of the Rings books, I watched all three movies and each time I try and go back to read them, I just can’t get back into them.          

83. The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt
84. Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S King
85. A Gathering Light by Jennifer Donnelly
86. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
87. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau–Banks by E. Lockhart

88. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
89. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
90. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
91. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
92-94. Emma, Sense and Sensibility and Persuasion by Jane Austen

I’ve been slacking when it comes to reading classics, but I recently brought all of Jane Austen’s books in one for just a £1, so now I have no excuse. Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca hadn’t even been on my radar until a few weeks ago when I attended a two hour workshop on it and I was literally blown away by some of the discussions and I just knew I had to start it soon.

I had to finish my list by including a few books which I definitely will be buying as soon as they come out.

Can’t wait until publication date;
95. Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg
96. The List by Siobhan Vivian
97. Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
98. Losing Lila by Sarah Alderson
99. If I lie by Corinne Jackson
100. Holier Than Thou by Laura Buzo
101. Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally
102. Preloved by Shirley Marr
103. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

*edit* forgot to include the following books which I also can't wait to read;

104. Wander Dust by Michelle Warren
105. Unravelling by Elizabeth Norris

So that’s me done, if I work it out, I think I will have read everything from this list by 2014!

I’d love to know you’re thoughts on books you’ve been meaning to read but haven’t yet got around to. Or any suggestions on which books from my list you think I should read sooner rather than later.

Wednesday 14 March 2012

Kiss Crush Collide by Christina Meredith Review

Title: Kiss Crush Collide
Author: Christina Meredith
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication date: 27th December 2011
My rating: 2 stars

What first caught my attention about Kiss Crush Collide, was the edgy enigmatic blurb and the enticing cover. Once I started this book however I soon realised that this maybe the only real positive about it, as the story was a huge disappointment.

Leah is the youngest of the Johnson sisters, being the youngest can be a pain for Leah especially as she has two successful well established sisters already; Yorke and Freddie. Of course Leah is expected to follow in the footsteps of her sisters; become valedictorian (she has a tough task here as the school geek Valerie is definitely the one she has to beat), go prom with boyfriend Shane captain of the football team and become home coming queen. She can expect no less otherwise she’ll have to deal with the wrath of her mother.

But everything changes when Leah meets Porter/Duffy, it’s different when she’s around him, he sets her pulse racing and she gets a thrill sneaking out to see him. The dilemma Leah faces is she really wants to be with him, but each time she wants to meet him she has to do it on the sly, she can’t tell her sisters as they would go blabbing to their mother, who would totally disapprove. In her mother’s eyes Duffy is seen as “hired help”, so definitely not good enough for Leah. So what’s a girl like Leah to do? should she follow her heart and be with Duffy and end her relationship with Shane? Or should she follow the path that’s already being planned by her mother?

The main reason for giving this book two stars was because of the characters; they were hugely frustrating. Firstly Shane, I didn’t blame Leah in the slightest for wanting to be with Duffy instead of Shane. Shane was a complete jerk. I didn’t understand how her mum thought she should be with him, he was always checking out her sisters in front of her and only had one thing on his mind. This quote pretty much sums up everything he had going.

"And there’s nothing wrong with Shane. He’s nice
he’s fit. He’s super cute. He smells good. Occasionally
he’s funny. I’ve got it good. I get that"

Leah’s mum was a right old snobby control freak, always trying to keep her daughters in check, telling them what was and wasn’t acceptable for them. But the character who annoyed me the most was Yorke; she was flaky, obnoxious and self centred. Always looking her nose down at everyone, thinking she was perfect when she wasn’t, she made my blood boil every time she turned up (let me tell you she popped up so many times, by the end of this book, I wanted to throttle her)

I really wanted to enjoy this book; it was one of my highly anticipated books of the year. But I found the story dragged for most of the book; Leah was either sneaking off spending time with Duffy or pondering over what she should do. I think this could have been resolved a lot quicker. It was also full of really grating and shallow characters; the only intelligent character in the book was Valerie! I’m sorry to say this book wasn’t for me, hopefully others will enjoy it a lot more than I did.

Tuesday 13 March 2012

My first post!

Hi and welcome to The Readers Den!

I can’t actually believe that I’m posting my first blog post, after several manic and stressful weeks I’m pleased to present to you my new blog

I’m so excited about sharing new posts, reviews, giveaways and getting to know other book fanatics like me!

So thanks for stopping by, next time you pop by I will hopefully have a few more posts up and a giveaway! So here’s to having fun times and discovering some fabulous books!

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