Sunday 29 September 2013

Showcase Sunday #36

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.

Hello lovelies, I hope you've had a great week. I actually received quite a few books since I last posted our haul, but I don't want to overwhelm you so I've decided to share a few of the goodies I received. 


Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton

I was lucky to finally have to chance to visit the Foyles book store in London this past week, I'd heard great things about their incredible range of books through fellow bloggers, so couldn't wait to have a look around myself. Their Young Adult section was just amazing, I was so surprised by the amount of US books that they had. Of course I couldn't leave without purchasing a few gems; Pivot Point, The Distance Between Us, Bruised and The Waking Dark. Going Vintage and The Disenchantments were books which had been high on my wish list for sometime, so I was pleased to get them through a swap, along with Cruel Summer which fellow bloggers Jess @ Jess Hearts Books and Leanna @ Daisy Chain Books Reviews really enjoyed, (you can click on the links to read their reviews). And World After, seriously I was over the moon at receiving a copy of this book out of the blue, I think my sister was a bit scared of my reaction when I opened up my package to find this book inside. I of course started it as soon as possible, it has been a lot different to what I was expecting, but I'm so happy to be back with Raffe this world once again.

Over to Rachel to see the goodies she received.

Cinderella Screwed Me Over by Cindi Madsen | The Wager by Rachel Van Dyken | Cold Blooded by Amanda Carlson | Capstone by Misty Provencher | Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi | Isn't She Lovely by Lauren Layne.

Thank you to Entangled Publishing, Forever, Orbit, Misty Provencher, HarperCollins, Random House, Netgalley, and Edelweiss!

I’m really excited to read Cinderella Screwed Me Over because I love Cindi’s writing, and I recently saw a status update from Andrea @The Bookish Babe that makes me even more so!  Two series’ that I’m eager to pick up are The Cornerstone Series and the UF Jessica McClain series. I’ve heard a lot of good things about both, and I’ll be able to read all the books one right after the other! Always a big win in my books!

I have to mention the awesomeness of getting approved for Into the Still Blue, the last book in the Under the Never Sky series! Both my husband and I LOVE this series and hopefully I’ll be reading it when this post goes live. Yeeessss!!!

If you have posted a book haul of any sort, feel free to leave a link in the comments and Rachel and I will stop by later to check it out! 

Saturday 28 September 2013

Review: The Wager by Rachel Van Dyken

The Wager (The Bet, #2)
The Wager (The Bet #2) by Rachel Van Dyken
Publisher: Forever
Publication date: October 1st 2013
My rating: 3.5 stars

Lose a bet, lose your heart...

What is it about a junior-high crush that can send an otherwise intelligent woman into a tailspin? TV reporter Char Lynn wishes she knew. Jake Titus is too rich, too handsome, too arrogant: a trifecta that once lured Char into the best night-and worst morning-after-of her life. Now they've been thrown together in a wedding party. It's awkward, but survivable . . . until Jake stops acting like a jerk, and starts acting like the man she'd always hoped he could be.

If watching your brother marry your best friend is weird, being attracted to your best friend's other best friend is downright bizarre. Unfortunately for Jake, Char hasn't forgotten how he once tossed her aside. Worse still, Jake's already-nutty grandma is even crazier about Char. Cue meet-cute shenanigans and all manner of meddling, and somehow, Jake's falling. For Char. Now all he has to do is make her believe it . . .

The Wager was a fun and sweet romance filled with lusty kisses and wacky humor!

Char had a wicked crush on Jake when they were in middle school, but after he hurts her by not coming to her defense they’ve had nothing but an antagonistic relationship.  Char can’t forget about Jake though because he’s a good friend of her best friend, Kacey, making for awkward.  Then complicating things more is the amazing one night stand they shared. Jake ends up ruining that as well with a hasty morning exit.  Char didn’t take his scribbled “thank you” note left on the pillow well.  With both of them in Kacey’s wedding, meeting again is unavoidable, and you know sparks are bound to fly.  Maybe some fists, too, lol!

Jake is a spoiled, rich bachelor who regrets the way he left things with Char. But he’s never been one for commitment, because if you don’t commit, they can’t leave you.  Fortunately, Jake’s scheming Grandma Nadine has plans for both Jake and Char, and neither one of them can ruin the HEA she has planned for them.

This was a cute romance filled with humor mostly provided by the manipulative Grandma Nadine, an eighty-six year-old who’s force to be reckoned with!  This lady has plots, and machinations that would give the devil a run for his money! Thankfully, she uses her power for good, (mostly) and Char and Jake are the current recipients of her talents.  She shoves them together making it impossible for their mutual attraction and old feelings to be ignored.  It’s a good thing too, because Jake and Char’s pride are difficult things to overcome.  Misunderstandings from the past provide obstacles that only Grandma’s interventions could overcome. 

This was a predictable, yet enjoyable romance. I don’t mind predictable if it’s entertaining and I crave it sometimes. The chemistry and magnetism between Char and Jake was palpable, but I would’ve been happier if they weren’t so contrary to each other for so much of the story.  I also had a little bit of an issue with the history between Jake and Kacey.  It almost felt like Jake was more attached emotionally to Kacey than Char, especially since Jake and Char were at odds for most of the story. Other than that, this was an enjoyable and quick read that had me cracking up in so many places!

Favorite quote:

“I want to ruin you for anyone else’s kisses.  I want to brand you as mine. I want to hear you say my name, not because you’re irritated, but because you’re so damn turned on you can’t think straight. I want to do that to you. I want to make you mine.”
“Yours?” Her eyes welled with tears.
“I’m a very possessive man if you can’t tell. I’m done walking away.”

Thursday 26 September 2013

Review: The Vow by Jessica Martinez

The Vow by Jessica Martinez
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication date: October 15th 2013
My rating: 3.5 stars 

No one has ever believed that Mo and Annie are just friends. How can a guy and a girl really be best friends? Then the summer before senior year, Mo’s father loses his job, and by extension his work visa. Instantly, life for Annie and Mo crumbles. Although Mo has lived in America for most of his life, he’ll be forced to move to Jordan. The prospect of leaving his home is devastating, and returning to a world where he no longer belongs terrifies him. Desperate to save him, Annie proposes they tell a colossal lie—that they are in love. Mo agrees because marrying Annie is the only way he can stay. Annie just wants to keep her best friend, but what happens when it becomes a choice between saving Mo and her own chance at real love?

The Vow was another book which I had highly been anticipating, the pretty cover and story of two friends who would do anything for one another I found highly appealing. However in parts it delivered everything I was asking for, but in other parts it left me feeling sort of conflicted.

Mo and Annie had been friends for years, no one ever understood their friendship; how could these two only just be friends? But Annie and Mo found friendship in one another when they had nobody else. Mo and Annie saved one another when they needed to be saved the most and since then their friendship has just become even stronger. Their friendship is easy going that they’re there when they need each other the most. But then news comes through that Mo has to go back to Jordan with his dad’s visa no longer valid, the whole family has to leave as soon as possible. Annie feels bereft; she knows she will end up losing so much with Mo not being around, so they decide to do the only thing which will keep Mo in the US. Get married.

I from the very beginning really wanted Mo to stay too, it was clear even though they weren’t going the right way about it, there would be so many consequences for both of them, but their friendship was one that kept them both going through life. Annie had her parents constantly watching her, things had ended badly for Annie’s sister and so her parents had been over protective ever since. Only Mo was able to understand this. And then with everything Mo had to go through with moving to the US and everyone immediately assuming he was a terrorist, Annie understood how tough it could be for him. So yes more than anything I wanted Mo to stay in the US.

As expected Mo and Annie’s marriage wasn’t smooth sailing, there were several obstacles along the way which prevented them from keeping their marriage under wraps, as they wanted to. And of course unsupportive parents on both sides who couldn’t understand why they would want to ruin their lives or even offer an inch of support. So Mo and Annie truly found themselves on their own. But I appreciated watching Annie and Mo trying to make the most of what they had. I enjoyed getting both characters sides of the story, despite having so many differences. I liked how Martinez intertwined their stories together at the start of each of their pov. Instead of getting that jolty vibe of having to get used to a different perspective, the subtle linking of chapters really made the flow of the story a smooth one.

With both Annie and Mo having so many problems of their own to deal with, it was easy to get inside their head and connect with them both. With dual pov stories, I usually end up finding myself with a favourite pov and not really caring about the other one, but it was not the case here. I didn’t find myself wanting to skip ahead, but enjoyed taking my time and appreciating both stories.

My only real complaint (if you can even call it that) is that things didn’t really go the way I expected it to. (Highlight text to view spoiler).With Annie and Mo having to actually live together and put on a front for everyone else as husband and wife, I actually thought that their friendship would develop into something further; I think I was kind of hoping it would go this way, even though I adored Reed (Annie’s boyfriend). So I guess I kind of was disappointed that this didn’t happen. Also the ending where did that come from? It happened so quickly, but I suppose it was the realistic ending for both characters.

The Vow was a story which really took me by surprise, Martinez ability to write heartfelt stories is clearly evident. Although I didn’t really enjoy The Vow as much as Martinez debut novel Virtuosity, The Vow was still a great read which I’m glad I gave a try. 

Wednesday 25 September 2013

Review & Giveaway: Bang (Visions #2) by Lisa McMann

Bang (Visions, #2)
Bang (Visions #2) by Lisa McMann
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication date: October 8th 2013.
My rating: 4 stars


Jules should be happy. She saved a lot of people’s lives and she’s finally with Sawyer, pretty much the guy of her dreams. But the nightmare’s not over, because she somehow managed to pass the psycho vision stuff to Sawyer. Excellent.

Feeling responsible for what he’s going through and knowing that people’s lives are at stake, Jules is determined to help him figure it all out. But Sawyer’s vision is so awful he can barely describe it, much less make sense of it. All he can tell her is there’s a gun, and eleven ear-splitting shots. Bang.

Jules and Sawyer have to work out the details fast, because the visions are getting worse and that means only one thing: time is running out. But every clue they see takes them down the wrong path. If they can’t prevent the vision from happening, lives will be lost. And they may be among the casualties…

***Spoilers if you haven’t read Crash***

I liked Crash, the first book in the Visions series, but it failed to “wow” me.  It was entertaining and fun, but only just that.  I’m happy to report that Bang was a much better read for me. 

Bang takes up the story where Crash left us. Jules’ vision came to an end after she successfully thwarted the tragedy, (phew!) only to find out Sawyer is now having his own vision of tragedy! Any peace over her success is quickly replace by unease and worry for Sawyer.  But with each other’s help and support they piece together the clues that are gradually revealed.  Unfortunately, Sawyer’s vision is disturbing and dangerous!   

One of the things I really loved about Bang was getting to witness Jules experiencing the joys of romance and love for the first time.  Feeling all the overwhelming aspects: mental, emotional, and physical, and realizing that until you experience it yourself no one can fully explain the intensity!  So yes, there was some major swoon in this installment between Sawyer and Jules! Love it when the girl gets the guy she’s been pining over for years! I also loved the fact that they were a united couple throughout, facing all their troubles together.

The loving sibling relationship between Jules, Trey, and Rowan warmed my heart.  Their parents have so many issues, primarily the father, so it’s nice to see how they lent support and strength to each other.  I felt sorry for Sawyer who’s had to deal with all his family drama and dysfunction on his own, before he became close to the Demarco’s.  He sort of becomes the fourth musketeer in their pack, fitting in easily with such a common background.  I was so happy Sawyer finally had friends watching his back. 

Bang’s suspenseful plot lent excitement to the story, but I would’ve been just as happy just to read about the personal relationships, as this interested me the most.  I don’t know if there will be a third installment but it certainly seems that way even if the story wrapped up for the most part. 

Bang was a solid follow-up surpassing Crash, IMO, and if there are more books in the series, I will happily pick them up! 

And now for the good part!  I’ve decided to give away my personal copy of Crash (Visions #1) along with my ARC copy of Bang (Visions #2) to one lucky reader! The giveaway is INTERNATIONAL.  Simply fill out the rafflecopter for a chance to win. Thanks for visiting The Readers Den and good luck!

Monday 23 September 2013

Review: The Bride Wore Size 12 by Meg Cabot

The Bride Wore Size 12 by Meg Cabot
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication date: September 24th 2013.
My rating: 5 stars 

Heather Wells is used to having her cake and eating it too, but this time her cake just might be cooked. Her wedding cake, that is. With her upcoming nuptials to PI Cooper Cartwright only weeks away, Heather's already stressed. And when a pretty junior turns up dead, Heather's sure things can't get worse—until every student in the dorm where she works is a possible suspect, and Heather's long-lost mother shows up. Heather has no time for a tearful mother and bride reunion. She has a wedding to pull off and a murder to solve. Instead of wedding bells, she might be hearing wedding bullets, but she's determined to bring the bad guys to justice if it's the last thing she does . . . and this time, it just might be.

The Bride Wore Size 12 is one of the reasons I love Meg Cabot so much. Her witty writing had me involved with the story from the very beginning, Meg has a great knack of making characters appear so realistic and real and she weaves the best romance and mystery in a story that you could ever ask for. When I first started the Heather Wells series I remember not being the biggest fan. Don’t get me wrong I adored the book, but I didn’t have a calendar made up and counting down the days until the next release. This didn’t happen until the third book. I was really actually feeling really gutted when it was announced that the third book would be the final book. What would I do without fun loving Heather around? But I didn’t have to despair for too long as two more books were announced and let me just say these were the best books in the series. They were actually that good that they had me rethinking my favourite series by Meg Cabot (Queen of Babble was at the top) I honestly don’t know how Meg does it, it’s like each time I come back to this fantastic series I fall in love even more with these fantastic characters all over again.

If you were expecting The Bride Wore Size 12 to be devoid from any drama with Heather’s wedding just around the corner then you couldn’t be more wrong. Heather’s entire wedding was put to the side once again for another murder investigation at Fischer Hall. Things were a lot different this time though as His Highness crown Prince Rashid Ashraf bin Zayed Faisal who preferred to be called Shiraz was also a resident of these halls. There was top level security lurking around where ever he went. And instead they had the bureau of Diplomatic security controlling the murder investigation because of threats being made to the prince!

It was great seeing the mystery behind the murder unravel slowly as the story progressed. One of the best things about this series is that not once have I ever been able to guess the true identity of the killer or his/her motive behind the killings. So it’s always a great surprise when Heather makes this discovery. Once again Heather had been warned by Cooper to not get involved in the case, but maybe it’s her mothering nature for these students (despite not having her own great role model) that Heather has always felt the need to take care of these students. And actually this time around, she actually found herself getting involved through no fault of her own.

Heather has come a long way since the Heather we were introduced to in 2005, she still finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation every single time but she has as many of her colleagues pointed out become a hardened character, which I truly appreciate. Ever since her success and fame people took too much advantage of her, but with unexpected visitors turning up in this book, Heather excelled in finally standing her ground. Heather is definitely one of the best MC’s that you could ever ask for, she’s witty, fun, always has the back of those closest to her covered and is renown to bring you a darn good time. I was actually very close to tears at having to say goodbye to such a fantastic character.

Of course The Bride wore Size 12 couldn’t be complete without the wonderful secondary characters. These characters have played such an integral role to this entire series that I don’t actually consider them to be secondary characters. They have participated in illegal activities when Heather needed them to, saved her in moments of need and have gone on to demonstrate what friends should exactly be like. Cooper as always stole a piece of my heart, if you all think you’ve met the best fictional crush then sorry ladies you haven’t met Cooper yet. Again he showed his love for Heather had no bounds, his scary threats to anyone who harmed Heather in anyway made me love him even more. Honestly his every appearance brought a huge smile to my face. And I couldn’t go without mentioning Gavin, Magda, Lisa, Julio, Detective Canavan, Hal, Pete and so many others who truly made this book a gem of a read.

The Heather Wells series has been a huge part of my life since 2005, with this series finally coming to an end it feels like the end of an era. Meg Cabot has truly created an unforgettable series which I’m sure will hold a special place in my heart and on my book shelf for a very long time.

On a side note, I don’t want to winge, but a special part of this book was actually ruined for me because somebody on Goodreads didn’t use the spoiler tags when discussing it and so it came up on my feed when I was scrolling through. I love Goodreads, but I love reading more and specially reading without being anything spoiled for me. So please in future please use spoiler tags. 

Friday 20 September 2013

Box of Books Giveaway #3

Hello readers.  I can’t believe the summer is almost over!  I’m doing my last Box of Books Giveaway for a little while.  It's a US giveaway only.  I thought I’d share a photo of the Paris hotel library that my husband and I read in a few evenings when we visited back in March.  It was a cozy and warm place to read with the fire raging!  I want to go back!!

Our cozy reading space in Paris

Below you’ll see the photos of the books I’m giving away.  Fourteen books in total:

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl-Hardcopy Signed
Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl-Hardcopy Signed
Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl-Hardcopy Signed
Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl-Hardcopy Signed
Nightshade by Andrea Cremer-Hardcopy
Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer-Hardcopy
Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer-Hardcopy
Surrender by Lee Nichols-Hardcopy
Betrayal by Lee Nichols-Hardcopy
Deception by Lee Nichols-Hardcopy
The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han-Paperback
It's Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han-Paperback
We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han-Hardcopy
 Will Grayson Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan-Hardcopy (signed by DL)

This giveaway is limited to US RESIDENTS ONLY.  Just fill out the rafflecopter for a chance to win.  Thanks for visiting The Readers Den and good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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