Monday 30 June 2014

Review: Royally Lost by Angie Stanton

Royally Lost by Angie Stanton
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication date: May 6th 2014
My rating: DNF/ 2 stars 

Dragged on a family trip to Europe’s ancient cities, Becca wants nothing more than to go home. Trapped with her emotionally distant father, over-eager stepmother, and a brother who only wants to hook up with European hotties, Becca is miserable. That is until she meets Nikolai, a guy as mysterious as he is handsome. And she unknowingly finds herself with a runaway prince. Nikolai has everything a guy could ask for-he's crown prince, heir to the throne, and girls adore him. But the one thing he doesn't freedom. Staging a coup, he flees his kingdom and goes undercover on his own European tour. When Nikolai and Becca meet, it’s their differences that draw them together. Sparks fly as they share a whirlwind of adventures, all the while dodging his royal guard. But Becca's family vacation ends in a matter of days. Will Nikolai and Becca be forced to say goodbye forever, will his destiny catch up to him, or will they change history forever?

DNF at 29%

Royally Lost gave the vibe of being a fun book filled with adventure and a sweet romance. Instead what I got was insta love and a bunch of control freak parents. Becca was forced on trip around Europe with her dad, step mum and brother, on what was meant to be a chance for the family to get to know one another and spend quality time. Becca can’t stand her step mum and her dad never seems to have time for her, so they begin this trip on the wrong step already. Then we have Becca’s brother who can be useful at times, at pulling Becca out of quality family time, but then he never seems to be spending time with the family in the first place. I did feel for Becca, her boyfriend had dumped her on graduation and everyone knew about it and then she has to spend time with family who clearly didn’t act like one. But if I had the chance to visit Europe and all these gorgeous places, I would definitely be making the most of it, despite who I was forced to hang around with. But Becca didn’t really see it that way, but as a sort of punishment, that is until she meets her dream guy in Nikolai.

Through fate Nikolai and Becca end up at the same places in the Europe at the same time, both have one thing in common to get away from their families and experience some freedom. With Nikolai it’s perfectly understandable, he’s a prince and has a lot of pressure and expectations put on him, so running away and being someone else for the day could be a refreshing thing for him. Of course as soon as he sees Becca, she’s the most beautiful person he’s ever seen. The same goes for Becca without saying. This insta love really wasn’t for me, I know Becca had a bad break up, but Becca was quick to fall for this guy she knew nothing about, at one point when they’d arranged to meet in the next city, she ended up waiting 3 hours for him, before realising that he wouldn’t be turning up! Who waits three hours for someone? And then after that all she could do was pine over him and what could have been.

I really am gutted that I ended up dropping this book really early on, but as the book progressed I was easily able to see that Nikolai and Becca would be characters that wouldn’t be for me. 

Thursday 26 June 2014

My Trip to Greece!

Hey everyone, so I was lucky to visit Zante, Greece for my cousin's hen this month. Everything was crazy before we got there as usual, we ended flying from the furthest airport from us and at 6am in the morning. We ended up gettign there for a ridiculous time of 1am, so you can imagine when we reached Zante, we were all absolutely knackered. But the lack of sleep didn't put us off from visiting Laganas beach a few hours after we got there. The weather was absolutely gorgeous that I probably could have stayed at the beach for our entire trip!

Laganas Beach

We ended finding a pretty neat restaurant too, that we used to eat every single night, they even had PG Tips tea! And it was literally like two minutes from our hotel room!

Our favourite restaurant
My lovely food that I was never able to finish!

The next day we decided to go on a boat tour, which would take us to Marathonissi (Turtle) Island and we would also get the chance to do some turtle spotting! The boat ride over was absolutely amazing, as we were able to take in all the gorgeous scenery on the way over!

Of course I decided to be Captain of our boat!

Our ride also took us through some pretty neat looking caves. 

And then when we finally reached Turtle Island, we were told we couldn't sit too up on the beach as the turtles would be resting there, but closer to the water. I didn't mind this at all, as the view from here was gorgeous.

On Marathonissi Island

And then on the way back we finally spotted a turtle, our captain of our boat was really good, as he knew whenever it was about to pop its head up and would let us know so we could take photos.

The night life was also pretty amazing. Zante had one strip leading up to the beach with lot of bars and restaurants. We had two favourite clubs that we went to, one night they played all the latest songs and the other they had old school songs, (one night we were actually doing the Macarena in the street with a whole bunch of people, as there was no room in the club!)

Sign to when you enter one of the clubs
Me and my sister ready for the
hen night out

This was my first day on the beach.
Thank goodness for sunglasses!
Our hotel view

View from our boat ride

Our last night

A name for one of the clubs.

Zante was definitely one gorgeous place that I'm glad we decided to visit for my cousin's hen, it had beautiful beach to relax on, lovely restaurants to eat at and an awesome night life. We only went for three nights, but I've never had so much fun ever. I actually was suffering from the depressed state when you get back home and have to start doing normal things again like wearing trousers again to work. 

Wednesday 25 June 2014

Review: The Taking by Kimberly Derting

The Taking by Kimberly Derting
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication date: April 29th 2014
My rating: DNF/2 stars

A flash of white light . . . and then . . . nothing. When sixteen-year-old Kyra Agnew wakes up behind a Dumpster at the Gas ’n’ Sip, she has no memory of how she got there. With a terrible headache and a major case of déjà vu, she heads home only to discover that five years have passed . . . yet she hasn’t aged a day. Everything else about Kyra’s old life is different. Her parents are divorced, her boyfriend, Austin, is in college and dating her best friend, and her dad has changed from an uptight neat-freak to a drunken conspiracy theorist who blames her five-year disappearance on little green men. Confused and lost, Kyra isn’t sure how to move forward unless she uncovers the truth. With Austin gone, she turns to Tyler, Austin’s annoying kid brother, who is now seventeen and who she has a sudden undeniable attraction to. As Tyler and Kyra retrace her steps from the fateful night of her disappearance, they discover strange phenomena that no one can explain, and they begin to wonder if Kyra’s father is not as crazy as he seems. There are others like her who have been taken . . . and returned. Kyra races to find an explanation and reclaim the life she once had, but what if the life she wants back is not her own?

DNF at 70%

The Taking was one of those books which I went into with really high expectations, but it ended up being bit a of a disappointment. Just by reading the blurb, anyone would want to give this book a try; memory loss, kidnappings and unexplained disappearances. And whilst The Taking did start off by winning me over in the first few pages, it kind of petered off into something that I really wasn’t enjoying. Kyra has it all, a great family and she’s about to go off to college with her awesome boyfriend. But then she ends up getting into an argument with her dad and running away, all she can remember after that is a bright light and then waking up in the Gas n’ Sip five years later. I was intrigued what could have happened to Kyra, as time would tell Kyra seemed pretty much the same in the five years since she went missing, but everything else had turned into a train wreck around her. I did feel sorry for Kyra, everyone she knew had moved on, her parents had separated, her mother had got together with somebody else and had a child with him, her dad was no longer the strong figurative father that he used to be and her boyfriend had got together with her best friend. Seriously this is the thing that miffed me the most, why does this always have to happen? How many thousands of girls could there be living in their town, but Austin Kyra’s boyfriend decides to get together with his girlfriend’s best friend Cat instead. Then to top it all off, Kyra falls for Austin’s brother Tyler!! Seriously, okay Tyler was a sweet enough guy and had apparently been in love with Kyra forever, but still. 

Okay so swapping boyfriends aside, despite being annoyed by this, I found myself invested in finding out what had happened with Kyra, why was she still the same, (she still had a bruise from five years ago and an x-ray at the dentists showed her teeth were exactly the same too, even the crack in her tooth from five years ago). There were a lot of conspiracy theories flying about; her dad had thrown himself into research for the last five years looking for an answer. And I did want to know what was going on, but I think it just took too long getting there. I’m one of those readers that doesn’t DNF a book that often and instead tell myself to read another 10% and maybe something will happen, I always have that thought at the back of my head that by giving up now, I’ll probably miss out on something major just around the corner. And that’s exactly what I did with The Taking; I decided to continue reading a bit more, hoping that we would get a better insight into what was going on with Kyra. Instead we got random people lurking about claiming to know what was going on but never really explaining anything. Or Kyra being in constant denial about her feelings for Tyler! It’s a shame really as I really did want to know how things would end. But the more I read the more frustrated I became.

Tuesday 24 June 2014

Review: Laugh by Mary Ann Rivers

Laugh (Burnside #2) by Mary Ann Rivers
Publisher: Loveswept
Publication date: May 6th 2014
My rating:  4 stars
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
Mary Ann Rivers continues her Burnside family series—perfect for readers of Kristan Higgins, Jill Shalvis, and Ruthie Knox—as two people try to share their hearts without losing their cool.

Dr. Sam Burnside is convinced that volunteering at an urban green-space farm in Lakefield, Ohio, is a waste of time—especially with his new health clinic about to open. He only goes to mollify his partner, suspecting she wants him to lighten up. Then Sam catches sight of Nina Paz, a woman who gives off more heat than a scorcher in July. Her easy smile and flirty, sizzling wit has him forgetting his infamous need for control.

Widowed when her husband was killed in Afghanistan, Nina has learned that life exists to take chances. As the daughter of migrant workers turned organic farmers, she’s built an exciting and successful business by valuing new opportunities and working hard to take care of her own. But when Sam pushes for a relationship that goes beyond their hotter-than-fire escapades, Nina ignores her own hard-won wisdom. She isn’t ready for a man who needs saving—even if her heart compels her to take the greatest risk of all: love.

Includes a special message from the editor, as well as an excerpt from another Loveswept title.

My Thoughts:
Laugh was a beautifully written realistic romance with heart.

Nina Paz has built a successful business around farming, but hasn’t had much of a place for love in the last ten years.  She lost her husband in Afghanistan and besides the random and frequent hookups she partook of right after, she hasn’t had a relationship.  Nina doesn’t want or need just the casual, meaningless connection anymore, if and when she’s ready to open her heart up, she want it to be for more.

Sam Burnside loves with a powerful intensity and passion, but his ADHD sometimes makes that love come across as overwhelming.  Unfortunately, Sam’s ADHD scrambles some of his actual thoughts, and he blurts out the most offensive things when he actually means quite the opposite. So while he has one of the truest and giving hearts, he can come off as a jerk unless you know how his mind works.

Sam Burnside had the clearest, sweetest heart of anyone she had known. Even as he fought himself and struggled to understand the people he loved, fought them, he never withheld his love.

When Sam volunteers for Nina’s community co-op, they’re immediately drawn to each other, and they crash into a messy, HOT relationship.  For once, Sam feels he’s found someone who actually gets him and could love him back with the same passion.

I was surprised that Nina was so hesitant, because it seemed like she just got Sam even when others didn’t. The things she relates about her past and some of her reactions were a little puzzling to me, and I had a hard time liking her for the first half.  I get why she was cautious to some degree, but at the same time, it had been ten years since her husband died, and she didn’t want meaningless hookups anymore, so I didn’t really understand why she was pushing Sam away when he made her so happy. Fortunately that didn’t drag on for very long.

My heart split wide open for Sam.  I have to say I really related to some his impulsiveness and intensity and could easily understand his thinking and motivations. I guess I’m a little like him in the way he’s so eager to jump into love.  Not sure what it says about me that I relate so well to someone with ADHD, lol, but there it is. I cringed at his efforts at times, but with his intensions so pure and filled with love I couldn’t help but hope everything would work out for him! He was so insecure with the emotional part of his relationship with Nina, scared that he’d mess something up, but he was completely opposite in the physical department! That man was so direct, confident and just held nothing back! He lit some fires for sure!

Even with my issues with Nina, I really enjoyed this story. The writing is beautiful and sensual, and would probably appeal to fans of Laura Florand or Cara McKenna.

Connect with Mary Ann Rivers:

Sunday 22 June 2014

Showcase Sunday #54

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.  

Hey everyone I hope you've all had a wonderful couple of weeks. It seems like a while since Rachel and I posted a Showcase Sunday post with you. I had been away at Greece and can I just say that this place was absolutely gorgeous, I honestly didn't want to come back and for once in my life I actually have a proper tan! (This never happens with the UK sunshine). Here's a photo of Marathonissi (Turtle) Island that we were able to visit, so pretty right!

Since then we have accumulated many great reads. But instead of overwhelming you with all our books, we thought we'd share just a few of the books we're most excited about. (Click on the books for Goodreads link).



Thank you to Bloomsbury UK, Harper Teen, Simon Pulse and Luna's Library.

I finally have two books which I have been eagerly awaiting for since last year: Ruin and Rising and Heir of Fire. I started Ruin and Rising as soon as I received it, and it has been amazing so far. Its taking all my will power to not start Heir of Fire straight away, I want to read the novellas first, but also I was left utterly ruined last year with Throne of Glass, so I just need to prepare myself a bit more. Just One Night had everything that I had originally needed at the end of Just One Day, so I'm glad that finally know what happened afterwards with Willem and Allyson. No Place to Fall, Magnolia and Top Ten Clues You're Clueless sound like perfect reads for the Summer, my fingers are just itching to dive right in (why can't I read all the amazing books all at once?). And The Darkest Minds was a book that I hadn't heard much about at first, but the reviews have been really good from blogging friends so far. 

Over to Rachel and her haul. 

Rachel's Books:

Click on book for Goodreads link:

  Murder of Crows (The Others, #2) Better Homes and Hauntings Take Me On (Pushing the Limits, #4) Love, in English (LIE, #1) 

Thank you to Pocket Books, Harlequin TEEN, and Netgalley!

I didn't get too many books which is good, because I'm always painfully behind with my review copies. I just finished Written in Red and wow, I LOVED it!! (I'll have my review up soon.) I immediately downloaded Murder of Crows both e-Copy and audiobook.  Yes, I know a little extravagant, but I had the Audible credits, and because it's great switching back and forth.  I'm so excited for Better Homes and Hauntings! The synopsis sounds fun and I love horror mixed in with humor, and Molly Harper always has me cracking up.  I was pleasantly surprised when I got approved for Take Me On just recently when I requested it sometime ago, and never heard back. 

In other news, I'll be attending:

Vegas, baby!! This is the fourth ALA Conference I've attended, and I'm really excited, as I'm meeting up with my usual partners in book crime, Arlene and Crystal from Winterhaven Books! I'm leaving Thursday. 

Friday 20 June 2014

Series... I need your help!

After reading posts from Mel @ The Daily Prophecy and Siiri @ Little Pieces of Imagination on how they were getting on with completing series, I really wanted to get my own post together too. I love making lists, so knew that I would have a lot of fun with this, but was really scared about checking out how I was doing on Goodreads (I'm one of those readers that say they will read something, but never get around to it). So here's how I'm doing with my series so far. 

Series to complete: (Books I actually want to read)
1. Graceling Realm series by Kristin Cashore (read first two, partway through Bitterblue)
2. Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shephard (16 books in total! I've read the first two)
3. The Lotus War by Jay Kristoff (read first book)
4. His Fair Assassin by Robin LaFevers (read first book)
5. Delirium by Lauren Oliver (read first two)
6. FBI/US Attorney by Julie James (read first two)
7. The Program by Suzanne Young (read first)
8. The Au Pairs by Melissa de La Cruz (last book to read)
9. Abandon by Meg Cabot (read first book)
10. Kate Daniels by Ilona Andrews (read first book)
11. Reboot by Amy Tintera (read first book)
12. Divergent by Veronica Roth  (need to read Allegiant)
13. Legend by Marie Lu (started Legend)
14. The Artist's Trilogy by Karina Halle (last book to read)
15. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer (Only read Cinder)
16. Daughter of Snoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (need to read final book).

Series to start:
1. Across the Universe by Beth Revis
2. Insatiable by Meg Cabot
3. The Mediator by Meg Cabot
4. Hobverse by Cat Hellisen
5. Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
6. How to Ruin by Simone Elkeles
7. Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson
8. Nevermore by Kelly Creagh
9. Revenants by Amy Plum
10. Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini
11. Anna by Kendare Blake
12. The Queen's Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
13. Jessica Darling by Megan McCafferty
14. This is Shyness by Leanne Hall
15. First Comes Love by Katie Kacvinsky
16. Slammed by Colleen Hoover
17. Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin
18. Slated by Teri Terry
19. Nantucket by Leila Howland
20. Amour et Chocolat by Laura Florand
21. He's/ She's So by Kieran Scott
22. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
23. The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade
24. Dani O' Malley by Karen Marie Moning
25. For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
26. Secret Society Girl by Diana Peterfreund
27. Archetype by M.D Waters
28. The Lynburn Legacy by Sarah Rees Brennan
29. Everneath by Brodi Ashton
30. Ruby Oliver by E. Lockhart
31. Tempest by Julie Cross
32. Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
33. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
34. Crank by Ellen Hopkins
35. The Art of Wishing by Lindsay Ribar
36. Superlatives by Jennifer Echols
37. Partials by Dan Wells 
37. Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman
38. Light by Laura Whitcomb 

To complete, not released:
1. Guards of the Shadowlands by Sarah Fine
2. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
3. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
4. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
5. The Grisha by Leigh Bardugo
6. The Rephaim by Paula Weston
7. To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
8. Burn for Burn by Jenny Han
9. The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
10. The Diviners by Libba Bray
11. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

1. Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles
2. Dark Divine by Bree Despain
3. Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman
4. The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
5. Bumped by Megan McCafferty
6. Hourglass by Myra McEntire
7. Hereafter by Tara Hudson
8. Between the Lines by Tammara Webber
9. Eve by Anna Carey
10. Curse Workers by Holly Black
11. The Syrena Legacy by Anna Banks
12. Maze Runner by James Dashner

I'm sort of wishing that I hadn't checked actually! That is a lot of series that I need to complete. I realised that the only way to whittle this list down is with your help, if you think there are any books on here that I won't like or need to take off my list, just let me know, or you think there are books that I need to read immediately. Also if you plan to read any of these books soon, let me know and we can maybe read them together? My plan is to read at least one book from this list a week, I will try and update you guys in a few weeks with how I'm getting along. Thanks for your help!

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