Friday 29 August 2014

Movie recap: If I Stay.

Rachel and I were huge fans of the book If I Stay by Gayle Forman, it was such a gorgeously written story that we couldn't wait to see how it would come out as a movie. We both got even more excited when teaser trailers started coming out and when bloggers we followed went to watch it and ended up loving it too. So for today's post I decided to share my experience of the film.

I (Jasprit) was lucky enough to win tickets to the movie premier of If I Stay. The release date for the film wasn't until the 29th in the UK, but my sister and I were able to attend the premier on the 26th. Of course I kept telling my sister beforehand to read the book and to take loads of tissues with her, but she decided she wanted to fully experience the film by not knowing anything about it, so she didn't watch any trailers either. When we entered the screening there was a lovely performer playing her cello, I loved how for this premier, they had decided to add this extra touch before the film.

Then we also had a surprise guest appearance from Jamie Blackley, of course as they were really strict on keeping our phones off, I had to scramble about to turn my phone on to get this blurry photo! 

I hadn't thought much about the casting of Mia and Adam before I went into the film, but I have to say the selection made was perfect especially that of Adam *sigh*. I had read the book back in 2011, but by watching the film, it felt like I had just read it the other day, it bought back so many memories and feelings that I had when I first read the book. I loved how well they showed the story, the way we were given the backstory and then the story would jump to the present day. My sister who didn't know what it was about was able to follow it and enjoyed it too. I of course had tears streaming down my face very early on, and found that I couldn't stop after that. My sister is usually the opposite of me and never cries, but of course couldn't hold the tears in with this gorgeous film. I was also a huge fan of the soundtrack too, there's only a few films that I end up liking the entire soundtrack for and this film is definitely one of them. Of course this soundtrack isn't in stock when I needed it *shakes fist*. 

This film definitely has left a special place in my heart, when going back to catch our train, I actually heard someone playing the violin near the tube station and I felt like bursting into tears there and then. Its also one film for sure that I wouldn't mind going to see again and again despite all the tears. 

Thursday 28 August 2014

Author Event Recap: Leigh Bardugo with Moira Young

Last week I was lucky to get the chance to attend the Leigh Bardugo and Moira Young event at Birmingham Waterstones High Street. High Street Waterstones have been having loads of great author events lately, I was lucky to meet Laini Taylor in May and now both Leigh Bardugo and Moira Young. 

The event was a question and answer session with both authors about their writing styles, problems they had experienced in the past and upcoming books. I was lucky again to attend this event with Jess from Jess Hearts Books and Rachel. 
Rachel, Jess and I being photobombed

Both authors were absolutely lovely ahd had a great sense of humour, there were many occasions where I was constantly laughing out loud. Here's a brief recap of the event.

Leigh Bardugo's new book will feature five different pov's

Leigh's series The Grisha Trilogy's has been sold to be made into a movie by Dreamworks and will be produced by the producer who made the film Gravity.

Moira Young has also sold rights for Blood Red Road to be made into a film and directed by Ridley Scott


Moira has a small critique group who has supported her. Moira likes to check back on what she has written on the day before. Sometimes she find description or detail of something that she has written before which she can use later on. Whereas Leigh doesn't like to look back at her previous days work.

Both authors were asked about death of characters in their books. 
Moira said she normally includes a death when it has a purpose or for a switch of momentum. 
Leigh always thinks whether death is the worse thing she could do to her characters. 
Moira's husband actually wrote a two page essay on why she shouldn't kill off one of her characters.

Leigh likes to revise her current read, whilst also writing her new book, whereas Moira only focuses on one book at a time.

When becoming a published author Moira did have a lot of good offers, but was waiting for the right person to come along. And then when she met her publishers to be she knew they were the right ones to sign up with. They also had a crow at the meeting too!

Leigh needs to know the name of her main characters before writing

Moira has been constantly writing since 2009 and said you need the occasional break to let you get back to it. 

Leigh is looking forward to reading Isla and the Happily Ever after and Sarah Rees Brennan new book.

Both authors were lovely enough to take time out to sign our piles of books. 


And take photos with us too!

There was also wonderful bookmarks, badges and postcards that we received from both authors. It was also a great pleasure meeting Nina from Indigo! I've been chatting with Nina through email and Twitter, so it was finally great to meet her in real life!

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #27: Vision in Silver by Anne Bishop

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating.

The book I'm eagerly looking forward to is:
Vision in Silver (The Others #3) by Anne Bishop 
Expected Publication Date: March 3rd 2015
Publisher: Roc 

About the book:
The Others freed the  cassandra sangue  to protect the blood prophets from exploitation, not realizing their actions would have dire consequences. Now the fragile seers are in greater danger than ever before—both from their own weaknesses and from those who seek to control their divinations for wicked purposes. In desperate need of answers, Simon Wolfgard, a shape-shifter leader among the Others, has no choice but to enlist blood prophet Meg Corbyn’s help, regardless of the risks she faces by aiding him.

Meg is still deep in the throes of her addiction to the euphoria she feels when she cuts and speaks prophecy. She knows each slice of her blade tempts death. But Others and humans alike need answers, and her visions may be Simon’s only hope of ending the conflict.

For the shadows of war are deepening across the Atlantik, and the prejudice of a fanatic faction is threatening to bring the battle right to Meg and Simon’s doorstep…
 I loved the first two books and I can't wait to continue the series.  I'm hoping Simon and Meg stop tip toeing around their feelings and dive right into romance in this installment! Pretty please, Anne Bishop!!

What are you waiting on?  Leave me a link and I'll come check it out.

Friday 22 August 2014

Review: Hammered by Kevin Hearne

Hammered (Iron Druid Chronicles #3) by Kevin Hearne
Narrated by: Luke Daniels
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Length: 9 Hours 40 Minutes
Audiobook Publication date: July 5th 2011
My rating: 4.5 stars

Thor, the Norse god of thunder, is worse than a blowhard and a bully—he’s ruined countless lives and killed scores of innocents. After centuries, Viking vampire Leif Helgarson is ready to get his vengeance, and he’s asked his friend Atticus O’Sullivan, the last of the Druids, to help take down this Norse nightmare.

One survival strategy has worked for Atticus for more than two thousand years: stay away from the guy with the lightning bolts. But things are heating up in Atticus’s home base of Tempe, Arizona. There’s a vampire turf war brewing, and Russian demon hunters who call themselves the Hammers of God are running rampant. Despite multiple warnings and portents of dire consequences, Atticus and Leif journey to the Norse plain of Asgard, where they team up with a werewolf, a sorcerer, and an army of frost giants for an epic showdown against vicious Valkyries, angry gods, and the hammer-wielding Thunder Thug himself.

My Thoughts:
I went into Hammered thinking it wouldn’t be as good as the first two books, but I was wrong. Just as the first two, this was filled with action, clever humor, and a engrossing plot.  While the beginning started off a little slow it wasn’t long until I was completely caught up in the story. 

Atticus is delivering on his promise to take Leif Helgarson, his vampire lawyer to the Norse plain of Asgard to find and kill the god Thor.  They band together with three other gods and Gunnar, the Alpha werewolf of the Tempe pack, all parties having a bone to pick with Thor.  I knew Leif had a grudge against Thor, but it wasn’t explained until this book and I think one of my favorite parts of Hammered was the turns each of these men took telling their story of how Thor wronged them.  Gunnar and Leif’s touched me the most, and I became more attached to these secondary characters because of it. 

As with the first two books there was a lot of action, and I enjoyed “seeing” Atticus’ sharp strategizing play out.  The final battle with Thor was exciting and brutal, and there were some very sad losses. One thing I did find surprising was the (highlight for spoiler) fate Atticus was willing to let Freya come to.  I’m choosing to believe he would’ve done something if she didn’t get away on her own. (end of spoiler)

I was hoping for a little more Granuaile, Atticus’ Druid apprentice, but what we did have of her was pleasing.  (highlight for spoiler) I keep looking for any little hint of a romance, and there was one little exchange I zeroed in on, but still nothing substantial. I’ve been assured it’s coming.(end of spoiler)

There were several things left up in the air and a mild cliffhanger that made me happy the next book is already released. 

As with the first two books, I listened to the audio version and I highly recommend it.  Luke Daniels is an amazing narrator, nailing the accents and humor!  His performance breathed life into the story that surely enhanced my experience with this series.  

Monday 18 August 2014

Review: Exchange of Fire by P.A. DePaul

Exchange of Fire (SBG #1) by P.A. DePaul
Publisher: Penguin InterMix
Publication date: August 19th 2014
My rating:  3 stars 
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Faking her death was easy, living with her past is harder, but nothing is more dangerous than falling in love…

Sandra Walsh was a deadly sniper for the Sweet Briar Group, a covert agency with assassins for hire, until her last mission went horribly wrong, accidentally killing an innocent girl. Knowing she’s a danger to her team, Sandra goes off the grid, becoming a Shade—an agent declared dead but secretly hiding among the living. She intends to honor her vow never to pull another trigger or have contact with the spy world again. Until she meets Casper Grady…

Grady is a former Marine with a troubled past and a debt to pay. His life mission has gone from protecting the nation to helping local children and their families. The moment he meets Sandra, he knows there’s more to her than meets the eye, but he can’t help but be drawn to the mysterious femme fatale. And when Sandra’s past suddenly catches up to her, Grady is determined to protect her at all costs, no matter how dark and dangerous her secrets are.

As the danger increases, so does their intense attraction. But when they’re forced to choose between each other and the people they’ve sworn to protect, their growing love might not be enough to keep them together—or alive…

My Thoughts:
I do enjoy romantic suspense so I was looking forward to Exchange of Fire, and while it did deliver in some ways, it disappointed as well.

Sandra left her position as a sniper for the clandestine black ops group, Sweet Briar Group, after she accidently shoots and kills a fourteen year old girl who gets in the line of fire. In order to protect her team she faked her death, and is now hiding out in the small town of Ridge Creek, North Carolina; working at the Gradwick Adventure Center for an ex-marine hottie, Casper Grady, and she’s been slowly falling for him. Sandra knows she can never act on the simmering attraction because she doesn’t even know how long she’s staying in Ridge Creek and right now all her senses are screaming to get out and run while her heart is protesting.

Grady was attracted to Sandra the minute she walked in for her interview.  Now it’s a matter of when not if he makes a move on her.  When danger sets Sandra off to run, Grady chases after her in an attempt to get her to let him in and help, but when he finds out the full extent of the threats against her, he’s angry she lied and brought this shitstorm to his door.

I had high hopes for Exchange of Fire and the thrill and action did not disappoint. There was danger at every turn making a good portion of this book an exciting read. Unfortunately, the romance was a huge disappointment filling me with frustration.  I adored Sandra. She was a great character and I could totally get behind her actions and motivations.  Grady was another story entirely. 

From the synopsis, supposedly Grady won’t leave Sandra’s side once he finds out she’s in danger, but that’s not the way it happens at all. Yes, he does chase her down to help her, but once he finds out her secrets, Grady’s ticked off and leaves!  He also tells Sandra she’s no longer welcome or employed at Gradwick. I get that he was frustrated by Sandra keeping dangerous secrets, but what did he expect? They knew each other for a total of four months and they weren’t even involved romantically yet.  Was she supposed to divulge her past when the knowledge could put him in danger or worse, marked for death?  I was annoyed Grady wasn’t more sympathetic and the fact that he was downright mean when Sandra came to apologize.  I was sort of hoping she’d forget him and move on with Talon, a teammate clearly in love with her! This played out for so long without Grady pulling his head out until the very end of the book! By then I really didn’t care if they worked things out, like I said I would’ve totally been on board for Sandra waking up to feelings for Talon, someone who was a whole lot more understanding and went to bat for her several times.

I’m hoping the next book in the series continues on with the thrill ride and delivers more in the romance department.

Sunday 17 August 2014

Showcase Sunday #57

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 all! Its been a while since we last shared a book haul post with you, we've both had some pretty neat books in over the last few weeks, but will just be sharing a few of the books we received. With so many pretties, I really am struggling with deciding what I should read next, I think that takes most of my time than the actual reading does! 

                                                      (Click cover for Goodreads link)


I have the lovely Siiri from Little Pieces of Imagination to thank for the first picture, she was such a doll in sending me Things You Kiss Goodbye, which had been high on my wish list and The Evolution of Mara Dyer, a series that Siiri thought I needed to get back to. The Kiss of Deception has piqued my interest for the last few weeks, the reviews have been a mixed bunch, but I'm hoping that I will end up loving it. And the last three books need to introductions, I'm getting excited just thinking about them now!

Lets see what Rachel received.

(Click on cover for Goodreads link)

Hope Burns (Hope #3)  Carolina Blues (Dare Island, #4)  Burying Water In Her Wake (Ten Tiny Breaths, #0.5) 

Worth the Fall (The McKinney Brothers, #1)  Broken (Redemption, #1)

After having a hard, busy week at work I was happily surprised to come home to this lovely book package from my lovely co-blogger Jasprit!  These books and bookmarkers are signed by Sarra Manning and Mila Gray as well. This immediately cheered my mood! From the books below, I think I'm most excited for Burying Water by K.A. Tucker. After enjoying her Ten Tiny Breathes series, I can't wait to dive in.  This is a memory loss/mystery/romance so I'm really intrigued. I think Worth the Fall would be a great cover/book to participate in Top Off Tuesday that the lovely Mary @The Book Swarm participates in frequently, and I always have and/or drool at the covers she presents.  Those are some very nice abs, right?

How about you? Did you get some awesome reads this week?  Link us up and we'll come check it out!

Saturday 16 August 2014

Bout of Books 11: Sign up and Goals

Bout of Books

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 18th and runs through Sunday, August 24th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 11 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

Bout of Books is back for another read-a-thon which starts on Monday! I am super excited to be taking part in this read-a-thon once more, firstly because I always have so much fun taking part; getting to know other bloggers and readers through the chats, completing new challenges every day and pushing myself to read more than what I normally would (which hasn't been a lot if I'm honest with myself) so this read-a-thon couldn't have come at a better time. I've picked the following books that I will most likely be reading over the next week (this list could change depending on my mood), but I have heard that a number of these books will evoke all the feelings, which I'm quite happy about!. 


To read at least three books this week.
To take part in one Twitter chat
To complete three challenges
To comment on at least five new blogs each day
To have fun!!

I really want to get to know more enthusiastic readers like myself this time, its always great when you get chatting to someone who likes similar books to yourself or even will be planning to read the same books as you. I shall be updating my progress on this page every morning. But you're likely to find my most current updates on my Twitter profile here and see some neat photos of the books I'm reading on my Instagram profile here. If you're taking part in this Bout of Books leave me a link to your goals in the comments. And I'd love to know what you think I should start off with first! 

Friday 15 August 2014

Review: Up at Butternut Lake by Mary McNear

Up at Butternut Lake (The Butternut Lake Trilogy #1) by Mary McNear
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication date: April 8th 2014
My rating:  4 stars

In the spirit of Kristin Hannah and Susan Wiggs, comes this debut novel-the first in an unforgettable new series by Mary McNear

It's been ten years since Allie Beckett crossed the threshold of her family cabin at Butternut Lake, Minnesota. Now, newly widowed after the death of her husband in Afghanistan, she's returned with her five-year-old son.

There, she reconnects with the friends she had in childhood-best girlfriend Jax, now married with three kids and one on the way, and Caroline, owner of the local coffee shop. What Allie doesn't count on is a newcomer to Butternut Lake, Walker Ford.

Up at Butternut Lake follows these four unforgettable characters across a single summer as they struggle with love, loss, and what it means to take risks, confront fears, and embrace life, in all of its excitement and unpredictability.

Allie Beckett could never have imagined, when she ran away from her old life, that she was running into a whole new life, up at the lake….

My Thoughts:
Up at Butternut Lake was a story of finding love again and overcoming problems with the support of good friends. While the description makes it sound as if the story centers only on Allie, there are two other women with their own dramas that take up a good portion of the novel as well.

Allie Beckett has had a hard time moving on since the death of her husband, Gregg. He was killed in the line of duty two years prior.  Staying in the town where she was married meant pitying looks and reminders everywhere, and it was just too much for Allie to bear.  So she takes her five year old son to Butternut Lake to lead a simpler life where no one knows her history first hand, and where she has wonderful memories, staying at the family cabin. Allie finds a couple of good girlfriends, and the support she needs with Jax and Caroline.  She also meets Walker Ford, a new resident and owner of the big, ostentatious (by her standards) cabin directly across the lake from her.  They get off to a rocky start when he makes a few choice comments that come off arrogant, but there’s definitely a spark there, and it completely takes Allie by surprise, waking up a part of her that’s been long dead.

Walker has his own scars to bear as far as relationships go.  He married a woman he barely knew out of obligation and they had a miserable, lonely time together.  They parted ways, and Walker’s not sure he’s cut out for a relationship or marriage.  That is until he lays eyes on Allie.  She gets under his skin immediately and he can’t stop thinking about her. 

Jax and Caroline factor heavily into the book as well. Jax is a native of Butternut Lake and when Allie would visit they would hang out and have fun together.  Jax is now grown up and married to Jeremy, owner of the town hardware store, with three girls and another on the way.  Jax loves and appreciates the happy family she and Jeremy have built, and she loves him to pieces.  After being raised by two drunks with no inclination for parenting, she values her family like a treasure. But Jax is harboring a secret that could destroy it all.

Caroline factored a little less in the story because her story continues in the next book, but she still plays a large part.  She’s a forty-something owner of the town coffee shop, and a single mother. She raised her daughter, Daisy by herself when her cheating husband took off.   Caroline has basically put her romantic life on hold, choosing to focus on raising her daughter, but now that Daisy’s off at college, Caroline can’t seem to get out of that rut.  When a nice customer starts visiting the diner and showing interest in Caroline she’s uncertain about starting anything.  While she vacillates back and forth on that, Caroline is a caring friend to both Jax and Allie, providing a listening and supportive ear, and sage advice.

These three women bond and share strength, and it was lovely reading about positive female relationships, instead of women only being the source of competition and jealousy in a story.  Of course, it was the romances that held center stage for me.  Allie and Walker’s was the main one, and it was full of longing and passion.  Allie did struggle with guilt at the thought of moving on, and Walker’s had a smidge of cold feet, but nothing that was drawn out or frustrating. For the most part, this was a satisfying story of two mature people falling in love.

I really enjoyed Up at Butternut Lake, but I have to say that I’d rather have my romance more focused on one couple rather than parceled out between three women. I like having well fleshed out secondary characters, but I wanted more time spent with just Walker and Allie.  The ending was a little abrupt, but I have a feeling they’ll play a large role in the next book, just like Jax and Caroline did in this one.  This is really, just a very small complaint. In the end Up at Butternut Lake was a lovely, easy read! 

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