Wednesday 31 October 2012

Review: Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill

Meant to Be

  Meant to Be
 Author: Lauren Morrill
 Publisher: Random House Children's Books
 Publication date: November 1st 2012
 Source: Netgalley
 My rating: 4 stars


Meant to be or not meant to be . . . that is the question.

It's one thing to fall head over heels into a puddle of hazelnut coffee, and quite another to fall for the—gasp—wrong guy. Straight-A junior Julia may be accident prone, but she's queen of following rules and being prepared. That's why she keeps a pencil sharpener in her purse and a pocket Shakespeare in her, well, pocket. And that's also why she's chosen Mark Bixford, her childhood crush, as her MTB ("meant to be").

But this spring break, Julia's rules are about to get defenestrated (SAT word: to be thrown from a window) when she's partnered with her personal nemesis, class-clown Jason, on a school trip to London. After one wild party, Julia starts receiving romantic texts . . . from an unknown number! Jason promises to help discover the identity of her mysterious new suitor if she agrees to break a few rules along the way. And thus begins a wild goose chase through London, leading Julia closer and closer to the biggest surprise of all: true love.

Because sometimes the things you least expect are the most meant to be.

 Meant to Be was entirely too cute! It was sweet, wacky, and fun, with a sweet romance a-brewing.

Julia is taking a class trip to London.  A dream-trip, in Julia’s opinion, without parents, and as she says an: “itinerary full of visits to places I’ve only read about or imagined.” Unfortunately for Julia, her trip “buddy” she’s assigned to is none other than the wisecracking, never-serious, and highly irritating Jason.  They are basically stuck together like glue, and he is the complete opposite to her.  She has the entire trip planned out with guidebooks filled with post-it notes, while he’s more of the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type of guy.  She follows the rules, he breaks them.  Really, a nightmare of a buddy in her opinion… first.

Jason is nothing like what she envisions as her Meant To Be, "MTB," someone who is perfect for her in every way.  Julia has it in her mind that Mark, a close childhood friend who’s just moved back to her neighborhood, could be her MTB.  She remembers their fake wedding when they were five, and when she turned six he gave her a baggie full of yellow Starburst for her birthday, fished out of several packages. He remembered it was her favorite flavor.  Then there’s Chris, a mysterious boy she met at a party who keeps texting sweet things to her.  

Julia was so ordered and well-behaved, worrying about grades and following the rules.  It’s funny how when a tightly wound girl breaks the rules, she REALLY breaks the rules.  I may or may not know a thing or two about that, *ahem*  Anyhow, moving on, Jason gets Julia to let her hair down a bit, to do the unexpected, and she slowly starts to see another side to Jason.  She has fun with him.  Maybe he’s not just the shallow prankster she’s always thought he was. But Jason’s hot and cold with her, one minute Julia thinks they’re becoming friends, and the next Jason’s ignoring her.  But then they share some moments where sparks are definitely flying and she’s more confused than ever.  Here’s a bit of spark to tempt you: 

“Let me up!” I scream, trying to wriggle out from underneath him.  But he doesn’t.  And then something changes and I realize Jason’s lying on top of me, staring at me, and his lips are inches from my lips, and there is rain dripping off his hair, curling it around his ears, running down onto my neck.  My heart pounds and I feel the tingle starting in my toes again.  Jason drops his phone in the grass and uses the free hand to brush a fat, wet curl out of my eyes……….

I’ll leave it to your imagination from there. ;)

This story was predictable in parts but it was so utterly sweet, I didn’t care.  It’s what I wanted to happen anyhow!  There was a lot of adorable humor stemming from Julia and Jason’s total klutziness, making a lot of scenes madcap fun.  Reading this seriously made me want to visit London.  Julia and Jason visit touristy places like the Tower of London, the London Eye, and the famous Shakespearean theater, the Globe, making them sound so wonderful, I felt like I was touring London with them.  

When I finished Meant To Be, I couldn’t help but mutter, “awww sooo sweet,” *sigh*. A vanilla queen's dream!! 


Tuesday 30 October 2012

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Deity by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Hello readers.  I pleased to be be taking part in the blog tour for Deity by Jennifer L. Armentrout in anticipation of its coming release, November 6th 2012, hosted by the fabulous StuckInBooks. You can find the full tour schedule here.  I love the Covenant series and the story just seems to get better and better, you can read my review here. There's an International giveaway provided by Spencer Hill Press for prize package which include a $25 Amazon gift card, a copy of book, a shirt, and lots of swag. There will be three winners, so be sure to scroll down and enter the rafflecopter for a chance to win this amazing prize!  Now my tour stop includes a character profile of Alex:

Character Profile: Alexandria “Alex”

Half-Blood/Sentinel in Training

Description: Medium size and build, long brown hair, eyes the color of warm brandy (Aiden’s words*sigh*)
Age: 18

Alex is headstrong, reckless, kick-ass, snarky, but also committed to protecting the ones she loves.  She follows her heart which often gets her into trouble.  Her actions used to frustrate me, always the act-first-think-later type of girl, but she’s done a lot of growing up.  Heart break, grief and experience have shaped her, but she still manages to have hope.  Maybe it’s because she has two hot guys constantly swooning and fighting over her!  Oh Aiden!! ♥♥♥   Who will win her heart, Aiden, her forbidden true-love, or the powerful all-consuming Seth?  Time will only tell, but I know who I’m rooting for.

Alex has recently found out that she’s the other half to the Apollyon, Seth, and when they come into full power by Awakening, they’ll have the ability to kill gods, which has painted a huge target on her back.  She has no idea what will become of her once she Awakens, and fears that Seth will overpower her will and overtake her.  I guess we shall see.  


"History is on repeat, and things didn't go so well the last time. "

Alexandria isn't sure she's going to make it to her eighteenth birthday--to her Awakening. A long-forgotten, fanatical order is out to kill her, and if the Council ever discovers what she did in the Catskills, she's a goner... and so is Aiden.

If that's not freaky enough, whenever Alex and Seth spend time "training"--which really is just Seth's code word for some up-close and personal one-on-one time--she ends up with another mark of the Apollyon, which brings her one step closer to Awakening ahead of schedule. Awesome.

But as her birthday draws near, her entire world shatters with a startling revelation and she's caught between love and Fate. One will do anything to protect her. One has been lying to her since the beginning. Once the gods have revealed themselves, unleashing their wrath, lives will be irrevocably changed... and destroyed.

Those left standing will discover if love is truly greater than Fate...

About the Author:
USA TODAY Bestselling Author Jennifer L. Armentrout lives in West Virginia. All the rumors you've heard about her state aren't true. Well, mostly. When she's not hard at work writing, she spends her time reading, working out, watching zombie movies, and pretending to write. She shares her home with her husband, his K-9 partner named Diesel, and her hyper Jack Russell Loki. Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent her time writing short stories...therefore explaining her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes Adult and Young Adult Urban Fantasy and Romance. She is represented by Kevan Lyon of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.

Check out Jennifer L. Armentrout on the following sites:

International giveaway provided by Spencer Hill Press for prize package which include a $25 Amazon gift card, a copy of book, a shirt, and lots of swag. There will be three winner.  Enter the rafflecopter below for a chance to win. 

Click on these links for a chance to win extra swag: US or International.  

Monday 29 October 2012

Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway: Reaping Me Softly by Kate Evangelista

Today I'm pleased to be part of the Blog Tour for Reaping Me Softly by Kate Evangelista.  This tour is hosted by AToMR Tours and you can find the complete tour schedule here.  Be sure to scroll down below my review and enter the rafflecopter for a chance to win and e-copy of Reaping Me Softly.  

Reaping Me Softly by Kate Evangelista
Publisher: Omnific Publishing
Publication Date: October 30th 2012
My rating: 3 stars


Book Description: Ever since a near-death-experience on the operating table, seventeen-year-old Arianne Wilson can see dead people. Just as she’s learned to accept her new-found talents, she discovers that the boy she’s had a crush on since freshman year, Niko Clark, is a Reaper.

At last they have something in common, but that doesn’t mean life is getting any easier. All while facing merciless bullying from the most powerful girl in school, Arianne’s world is turned upside down after Niko accidentally reaps the soul of someone she loves. This sends them both into a spiral that threatens to end Arianne’s life. But will Niko break his own Reaper’s code to save her? And what would the consequences be if he did?

Reaping Me Softly was an engaging start to a planned trilogy.

Arianne has a lot going on in her life.  Her sister Carrie is sick in the hospital, she has the full attention of Darla, the queen bee and ruling bully of the school, and Ari has a special ability to see the souls of those who’ve died.  There is one bright spot in her life, Niko a classmate she’s had a crush on since freshman year finally takes notice of her after years of crushing on him. 

Niko is a Reaper, one who is depressed and lost the desire to live. He sees no purpose or reason to his life after living lifetime after lifetime reaping souls.  Why? What is the point?  That is until Arianne catches his attention and saves him when he foolishly allows himself to fade.   

Arianne is at a point in life, when you crush on a boy and it means the world to you.  Her feelings felt very young, although not uncommon for someone her age.  I should know, I’ve felt that all-consuming crush drown out the rest of my life before, while in school.  What I did have to wonder at was Niko’s feelings.  Why has Niko only just now noticed Ari after spending three years in the same school, and sharing classes with her?  Now he’s suddenly entranced by her? The whole thing smacks of insta-love on his part.  I will say that there was chemistry between these two, and a few swoony scenes as well. 

Darla is the obligatory mean girl, in this story but for a reason that surprised me.  I was happy there was a twist in the usual plot-line.  I liked the unexpected.  Arianne’s best friend, Ben, was an interesting secondary character, and I wished we would’ve seen him a little more fleshed out.  Her sister Carrie was sweet and positive in spite of her condition, and I always love reading about close sister relationships, so it was a pleasure to read their interactions.

The Reaper aspect and world in this story ended up being more interesting that I expected, and I’m wondering how this will factor into the next couple of books. 

All in all, I felt like Reaping Me Softly was a promising start to the series. 

A big thanks to AToMR tours and Omnific Publishing for allowing us to participate in the tour. 

You can find out more about the author at these links:

Kate Evangelista
Social Media links:
Twitter: @KateEvangelista

Make sure you enter in the rafflecopter for a chance to win one of the ten e-books up for grabs.  Good luck and thanks for stopping by!

Sunday 28 October 2012

Showcase Sunday #13

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

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey
Pink by Lili Wilkinson
Everneath by Brodi Ashton
Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey
Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
In the Woods by Tana French

Thank you Hodder & Stoughton

Severed by Sarah Alderson *there's currently no cover for this at the moment
Stalk Me by Jillian Dodd
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt

Thank you Sarah Alderson, Jillian Dodd, St. Martin's Press and NetGalley. 

This has to be my best showcase yet; Days of Blood and Starlight and Severed have been on my priority to acquire list forever, so I was on a high when I received both for review. Days of Blood and Starlight did take me a while to get into but I loved being back in the magical world Laini created.

On my shopping trip this week I decided to treat myself, it feels like I haven’t splurged on books in ages and plus this Waterstones I went to was massive, I think maybe four times the size of my local one. I could have probably spent all day in there but I had my sister trailing after me, telling me to hurry up and taking photos of me looking at the books! Sisters hey they just don’t understand our book obsession, so I grabbed Cold Kiss and Pink, books which I’d mean getting to get around to for a while and which my bookstore didn't stock.

I totally succumbed to the peer pressure around me this week, Jasper Jones and Unspoken have been receiving endless praising reviews, and with me being the last to jump on the bandwagon, I thought it was high time I did so. In the woods was a book I hadn’t heard of until Keertana’s review, she described it as a phenomenal and original thriller and so I knew I had to get some of that.

Everneath is another book I’ve been meaning to get around forever, but with work and everything I didn’t know when I could squeeze it in, so I decided to copy Rachel’s idea and get an audiobook instead, which I could listen to and from work. I’ve also never listened to an audiobook before; so if I end up enjoying it will definitely be buying more. (Also what is up with this scary looking cover?).

Over to Rachel to see what she the pretties she received.

For review:

Rockoholic by C.J. Skuse
Devil's Bargain by Rachel Caine
The Hiding Place by David Bell

A big thank you to Mira, Scholastic, NAL Trade, NetGalley and Edelweiss.


Losing It by Cora Carmack
The Secret of Ella & Micha by Jessica Sorensen
Dreamfever by Karen Marie Moning
Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning


First Grave on the Right (Audio CD) by Darynda Jones

A big thank you to Arlene at Winterhaven Books. Audio versions are not cheap!

I’m real excited to read The Hiding Place. It’s an adult mystery and it sounds really good.  I can’t believe Edelweiss actually approved me. They hardly ever do, to the point that I just don’t even request from them anymore. Losing It and The Secret of Ella and Micha are New Adult, a genre I’ve been loving lately. These two have been really popular on Goodreads lately, both self-published titles.  

I’ve been listening to the Fever series on audio, and I have to say it’s addicting! Oh-my-heart Barrons! There’s been a switch in narrator’s from book three to book four and while I love the new Barrons voice (so sexy!!), I’m not loving the new Mac’s voice. The old Mac had a wonderful Southern accent that seemed pretty true to her locale. I have a friend from Atlanta and their accents were very similar. Hopefully, I’ll warm to the new Mac soon. 

Do you have a Showcase Sunday or similar post? We'd love to see the goodies you received, leave us a link and we'll come and check it out.

Saturday 27 October 2012

Author Event Recap and Giveaway: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Hello readers.  Well it's been a busy week for me.  Between working and trying to squeeze these author events in, I'm tired, but it was worth it. I immediately perk up when the authors show up, fan-girling away.  As an added bonus, I'm giving away a Signed Copy of the latest and last in The Beautiful Creatures series: Beautiful Redemption, so don't forget to scroll down and enter below.  There's probably one more author event I'll be attending before the holidays.  I think the events will quiet down for a bit until after the New Year.

Leigh Bardugo, Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl are the authors of the hit series Beautiful CreaturesThe first book has been made into a movie which is due to hit the theaters February 13th, 2013 (see trailer below). I was pleasantly surprised to find out this event would be moderated by Leigh Bardugo, author of Shadow and Bone, who did a fabulous job.  Kami and Margaret were fascinating to listen to, and you can see how these larger-than-life personalities could come up with such a wonderful story.

Kami and Margie began the night by relating how they decided to write Beatiful Creatures, and it was a fascinating story.  Apparently, Kami was the third grade teacher to all three of Margaret's daughters, and due to the many meetings Margaret was called into over her daughter's "spirited behavior," they struck up a friendship.  In response to a challenge given by Margaret's daughters to come up with a story that was different from what was on the market, they crafted the idea of Beautiful Creatures in one long lunch.  They wrote chapters and passed them around to family members, and to Margaret's daughters to get the teenage perspective.  Soon her daughters were sharing these chapters with school friends, and then it went viral, moving through high schools.  They would get feedback on the story and characters, and this shaped the first book.  Link and Ridley were originally throw away characters but in response to feedback their roles become much larger.  They never shopped the story around, and had little idea how the whole publishing industry worked.  A writer friend of Margaret's submitted their book without their knowledge and it was bought.  Soon after the movie rights were purchased, before the book was even released.  

Both Kami and Margaret are very happy with everything about the movie, from the casting, to the sets, and costumes.  Before filming, the director Richard LaGravenese, sat them down and grilled them for hours on the universe and rules of Beautiful Creatures.  He had a notebook full of notes and questions, and was very serious about staying true to the story.  They said Ethan and Lena are spot on casting, just observing the actors on set, they knew they were the perfect choices.  The trailer looks amazing, and I can't wait to see how the movie turns out!  

I have a Signed copy of Beautiful Redemption plus some swag to giveaway to one lucky person.  The giveaway is INTERNATIONAL.  So fill out the rafflecopter below for a chance to win.  The only requirement is that you follow the blog via GFC. The giveaway will run for two weeks, so make sure you get your entry in soon.  Thanks for visiting and good luck! 

Friday 26 October 2012

Review: Death and the Girl Next Door by Darynda Jones

 Death and the Girl Next Door
 Author: Darynda Jones
 Publisher: St. Martin's Press
 Publication date: October 2nd 2012
 Source: Netgalley
 My rating: 3.5 stars

Ten years ago, Lorelei's parents disappeared without a trace.  Raised by her grandparents and leaning on the support of her best friends, Lorelei is finally beginning to accept the fact that her parents are never coming home.  For Lorelei, life goes on.

High school is not quite as painful as she thinks it will be, and things are as normal as they can be.  Until the day the school's designated loner, Cameron Lusk, begins to stalk her, turning up where she least expects it,  standing outside her house in the dark, night after night.  Things get even more complicated when a new guy—terrifying, tough, sexy Jared Kovach—comes to school.  Cameron and Jared instantly despise each other and Lorelei seems to be the reason for their animosity.  What does Jared know about her parents?  Why does Cameron tell Jared he can't have Lorelei?  And what will any of them do when Death comes knocking for real?  

Darynda Jones is an author whose books I’ve always been curious about. With my friends singing high praises of her Charley Davidson adult series, I was given the extra push when I heard she was dipping into the YA, something that was completely new to her. I like it when authors try something outside of their comfort zone.  So I was willing to give it a try.

Lorelei has been living with her grandparents for the last 10 years after her parent’s disappearance; there’s never been any clear evidence as to what happened, so Lorelei lives in the hope that one day they will return. Lorelei is lucky to have two best friends Glitch and Brooke to help keep her sane through the stressful times. They know what she’s been through and what she’s capable of yet are still there for her constantly. When strange things start happening with Cameron Lusk the school loner suddenly stalking her and a gorgeous boy Jared starting their school, Lorelei is creeped out but excited at the same time. She’s happy as she likes Jared and he seems to want to spend time with her too, but Cameron constantly keeps butting in, she has no clue what’s up with these two and she doesn’t really want to find out. But despite this she is dragged into the middle of it, if Lorelei thinks her life was bad it takes a turn for the worse.

What I loved about this book was that I was immediately drawn into Lorelei’s world. Books which take such a long time building up to something big which isn’t even big at all I tend not to have the patience for. But Jones sure knows how to get things kick started; she’s not one to beat around the bush. Lorelei finds herself smack bang in the middle of a tug of war competition between Jared and Cameron. Usually I’m quite quick to pick sides between two male characters, but I found that neither Cameron nor Jared were fully able to win me over. As the book progressed I did like the character development of both characters but neither of them made a massive impact on me. I admit Jared occasionally made me swoon (one favourite scene which comes to mind is the shower scene ;). He was always the gentleman in my eyes despite Cameron’s accusations. Cameron on the other hand just bugged me; he had this huge big secret which I’m still constantly thinking about. He seemed to know everyone’s life story but didn’t seem to want to share it. Consequently most of the time Cameron had me utterly baffled! I think another reason Cameron and Jared didn’t work for me was because they were constantly in each other’s faces, not one time did they agree with each other, the constant manning up and puffing their muscles did eventually lead to a few eye roll moments.

This book was definitely made for me by Lorelei’s friend Glitch and Brooke, with these two around there was never a dull moment, the constant banter, winding each other and Jared and Cameron up lightened the mood loads, when you had two big giants squaring off all the time, a joke from these two would have me cracking up.

Despite the great start, this book did drop off quite a bit in the middle I found it hard to pay attention with the repetitiveness, but thankfully the book picked up its brilliant pace it originally started off with in the last 30% or so. It also threw a nice couple of surprises in the mix which I for one didn’t foresee. Death and the Girl Next Door was a very promising to start to this series, I’m quite eager to find out how things will pan out in the next book; Death, Doom and Detention.

Thank you Sam for reading this with me!

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