Monday 30 May 2011

Love Story Review

I have just finished reading Love Story in one delicious sitting and have decided that Jennifer Echols is the Nora Roberts of the YA fiction world. For all of those sitting there thinking “Who???” Nora Roberts just happens to be arguably one of the most successful and talented romance writers in the publishing world today and also one of my favourite authors. Yes, she writes adult books but the romance is strong and I love me some romance.

In a TBR pile full to the brim with awesome books, I chose Love Story to read next because I wanted to read a proper romance and I knew just who could provide me with one. I’m at the stage now that I would buy anything with Jennifer Echols name attached to it because I automatically know it’s going to be good. How’s that for an accolade?!

So do you want to know what the story is about? Imagine if you will that you are a young, aspiring author and you’re majoring in creative writing in the heart of New York City. I love this story already LOL. Now imagine that you write a short romantic story based on the boy you grew up with. Your story is just about to be read to the entire class when who of all people should walk in. THE BOY THE STORY IS ABOUT. Cue embarrassment central, especially as you haven’t spoken to each other in a while as something bad went down in the past. What follows is a tale of love, loss, betrayal and forgiveness though not always from the person you thought it would come from. Erin and Hunter are inextricably linked together in a history going back to when they were children. Their paths were always destined to cross, even when a meddling grandmother is at the heart of it.

As an aspiring author myself, of course I connected with Erin and her lofty ambitions. I love the fact that she and Hunter communicated through their stories, albeit in a very public way, as they were read out to the class. I don’t know what it’s like to come from money courtesy of a wealthy Horse Farm or to be the poor stable boy who is teased in school but Jennifer wrote it so well, that I understood both of the characters just fine.

What I loved the most though was how the characters reversed their roles. Erin started off being the wealthy heiress and then through struggling to do what she wants to do rather than what her grandmother wants her to do, became poor whereas Hunter was a stable boy and suddenly he’s wearing a Rolex. I thought that created a very interesting dynamic and I could feel the sparks coming off those two! What I love about Jennifer’s writing is that she writes male characters really, really well and of course, I always fall in love with them *adds Hunter to my list of literary boyfriends*.

The secondary characters were also really dynamic with lots of nationalities being represented from an Indian boy with a smart mouth and a quick sense of humour (a devastating combination) to a Danish girl with an eye for the arts.

So basically, all in all Jennifer Echols has done it again and wowed me with Love Story. I absolutely lapped it up to the point that when the last page came upon me, I found myself STILL wanting more. Love Story is a delicious read that ticked all the right boxes for me, if you love romance like I do then this is the book and probably the author for you. Highly recommended.

Thank you to Jennifer for sending me an ARC, I will of course be buying a finished copy for my collection. Love Story is released on 19th July, 2011. I would also highly recommend “Forget You” (the one book I'm dying to re-read) which I reviewed here. To find out more about Jennifer and her books, click here. She is also active on facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday 25 May 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, originally started by Jill at Breaking the Spine , that highlights upcoming book releases everyone is waiting on...hence the title. This week's pick is Fateful by Claudia Gray. Here is the description from Goodreads:

"Fateful is about a servant girl named Tess in 1912, who wants to escape from the house where she works, and most particularly the lecherous young lord of the manor. But that's not her biggest problem. While on a voyage to America, where she plans to escape and start a new life, she meets Alec, who's ruggedly handsome, fabulously wealthy, intelligent and yet so clearly troubled that she'd rather not fall for him, but she does. That also is not her biggest problem. Alec, it turns out, is a werewolf ... one cursed to change every night, unless and until he surrenders his independence and joins the Brotherhood, a pack of violently misogynistic werewolves who have been tracking him for months. You'd think that would be their biggest problem, wouldn't you?

But no. Their biggest problem -- though they don't know it yet -- is that they're aboard the RMS Titanic.

I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to reading this book! I'm a huge fan of Claudia Gray's and I LOVE the synopsis. I remember when I first heard the idea, I thought "WHAT?!" but I really like the idea of werewolves running amock on the Titanic. I happen to live in Southampton, UK and have seen where the Titanic was launched from. There's a lot of memorabilia around here including a little museum which I'm ashamed to say I've never been to. The point is though, that I'm fascinated with the Titanic and this is certainly going to be an original story!

I've only just seen the cover for Fateful and of course I love it. I also love the way it matches the style of the Evernight books. Fateful is released on 13th September, 2011 in the US.

Sunday 22 May 2011

Off to BEA!

As a lot of you will have probably realised, it's been a bit quiet on the blog recently mostly due to the superintensive training course I've endured for the past month and the starting of my new job. Because I've been so busy, it feels like BEA has just crept up on me and I'm not prepared for it as of yet (you just knew I would end up packing and planning the day before leaving). It sounds worse than it is but I just need to pack and plan my schedule, everything else is just about sorted. I cannot even BEGIN to tell you how excited I am about going to New York and I keep telling everyone I'm a BEA virgin. I'm looking forward to meeting other bloggers I've only talked to online, meeting some of my very favourite authors and getting the chance to pick up books that haven't been released yet. Of course I will be posting all about my adventures so if you're not going, you can live vicariously through me and I hope I can do the experience justice!

So, I'll be back properly after next week as I'm spending another day or two in the city before I fly back from the UK. Wish me luck! x

Wednesday 18 May 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, originally started by Jill at Breaking the Spine , that highlights upcoming book releases everyone is waiting on...hence the title. This week's pick is Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick. Here is the description from Goodreads:

"The noise between Patch and Nora is gone. They've overcome the secrets riddled in Patch's dark past...bridged two irreconcilable worlds...faced heart-wrenching tests of betrayal, loyalty and trust...and all for a love that will transcend the boundary between heaven and earth. Armed with nothing but their absolute faith in one another, Patch and Nora enter a desperate fight to stop a villain who holds the power to shatter everything they've worked for—and their love—forever."

Silence is of course the third book in the Hush Hush series. I'm not sure if there are going to be more books or not but I hope so, as long as the storyline can keep going. I have to say that I've loved all of the covers for this series but this has to be my favourite as it's (presumably) both Patch and Nora together and it looks very romantic. I can't wait to read it and find out what happens as it looks like there's trouble ahead (isn't there always?!)

Sunday 15 May 2011

Forever Trailer

As you all know, Forever by Maggie Stiefvater is being published on 12th July, 2011 and I am dying to find out how the series ends and if I will get the happy ending I so long for! Have you all seen the trailer made by the very talented lady herself?

If you can't contain your excitement, you can always pre-order an autographed copy of the book here

Wednesday 11 May 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, originally started by Jill at Breaking the Spine , that highlights upcoming book releases everyone is waiting on...hence the title. This week's pick is The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. Here is the description from Goodreads:

"With her trademark lyricism, Maggie Stiefvater turns to a new world, where a pair are swept up in a daring, dangerous race across a cliff--with more than just their lives at stake should they lose".

So...not much to go on. I do know from Maggie herself that it involves blood, beaches and kissing. This and the fact that Maggie wrote the book is enough for me to buy it. I do wish the synopsis was out already though, especially as the cover has just been revealed. I should tell you though that I have featured the UK cover in this post. I have not yet seen the US cover and it doesn't matter to me anyway as I'll probably end up buying both!

The Scorpio Races is released on 18th October, 2011 according to Goodreads and I assume this is the US version as Amazon UK have a release date of 6th October, 2011. I'm guessing these dates may change but at least we have an idea. I can't wait to read it!

Monday 9 May 2011

Beastly - Movie Review

I remember being so excited about this movie last year. And so disappointed when they (they being the all powerful Hollywood bigwigs) pushed back the release date as it clashed with a Zac Effron Movie. As an aside, The Life and Death of Charlie St. Cloud was an AWESOME movie. And Beastly was not. To be fair, it wasn’t all that bad and to quote Lindy herself “I’ve seen worse”.

I’ve been trying to figure out why it failed to hit the mark and the only explanation I can come up with is that it was missing the wow factor. I mean, I enjoyed the book, I like the story and I think the casting choices were good but something was missing. If memory serves, I don’t think they strayed away from the book too much but perhaps the translation to screen didn’t work that well.

There’s a lot of fairy tales being reworked into modern day novels and translations onto the big screen nowadays. As well as Beastly, there’s Red Riding Hood and the upcoming Snow White remake. I don’t think this trend is going to go away anytime soon and that’s okay with me but it has to be done well.

One of the saving graces of the movie was Neil Patrick Harris who arguably stole the show in his portrayal of the blind tutor. I love his sense of comic timing; he certainly has come a long way since Doogie Howser!

I thought Alex Pettyfer was an excellent choice for Kyle/Hunter. With his boyish good looks and if we are to believe recent interviews, arrogance too, I thought he played the part really convincingly. I have to ask though, am I the only girl who doesn’t have a crush on him? I actually preferred him as a beast. Seriously.

One of the Olsen twins played the witch and whilst I’ve read negative reviews of her performance, I actually thought she was perfect for the part and actually did a good job. She certainly convinced me and I wouldn’t want to get on her bad side!

At first, I wasn’t so sure about Vanessa Hudgens as Lindy but I think she pulled it off. I do find her slightly annoying as an actress (sorry Vanessa) but thankfully that didn’t detract from the movie.

Overall, Beastly didn’t blow me away and will not go down in history as a masterpiece but I’m glad I’ve seen it and would definitely watch it again on a drizzly, Sunday afternoon. The movie is definitely watchable but my advice is to wait for the DVD.

Wednesday 4 May 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, originally started by Jill at Breaking the Spine , that highlights upcoming book releases everyone is waiting on...hence the title. This week's pick is The Girl of Fire and Thorns (also known as Fire and Thorns in the UK) by Rae Carson. Here is the description from Goodreads:

"Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.

Elisa is the chosen one.

But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will.

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he’s not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.

Most of the chosen do".

I've only really heard whispers about this book but when I read the synopsis, I knew I wanted to read it. What I love most about the book is that it features a strong, female heroine struggling with her identity and self esteem issues. What girl can't empathise with that? I foresee a journey where Elisa battles to discover her inner diva and I'm certain that there will be some romance along the way. So what more do I need to know?! Looking forward to reading this!!

The Girl of Fire and Thorns is released on 20th September, 2011 in the US and 22nd September, 2011 in the UK. To find out more about Rae Carson and her books, click here to visit her website.

Sunday 1 May 2011

Rockoholic Review

I’m going to start this review by saying that Rockoholic by C. J. Skuse is one of the funniest, most entertaining and highly original books I’ve read in a long time. Just check out the synopsis...

"Jody loves Jackson Gatlin. At his only UK rock concert, she’s right at the front. But when she's caught in the crush and carried back stage she has more than concussion to contend with. Throw in a menacing manager, a super-wired super-star, and a curlywurly, and she finds herself taking home more than just a poster. It’s the accidental kidnapping of the decade. But what happens if you’ve a rock-god in your garage who doesn’t want to leave? Jody’s stuck between a rock-idol and a hard place!

From the pen of C.J. Skuse, author of last year’s super cool debut Pretty Bad Things, comes a tale of rock star obsession gone nuts. Hilariously and sharply explores the fantasy and reality of celebrity obsession through a teenager’s eyes. C. J. Skuse has been billed as the new Nick Hornby for teens".

To be quite honest, when I first read the synopsis I thought the book sounded good but I honestly didn’t know whether I’d like it. I mean, I’m a bit past my boy band loving days although I do remember what it was like to have a crush on Ronan Keating *cringing as we speak* and I won’t tell you about the time I had front row tickets to a Boyzone concert and went deaf for three days. Oh wait, I just did. Anyway, I took Rockoholic with me to my super intensive residential training course and I’m so glad I did as it provided me with some much needed light relief, just when I needed it! Rockoholic was laugh out loud funny and I totally “got” Jodie. She is a walking disaster and always manages to get caught up in the most ridiculous and outlandish situations. But she’s also funny, witty and fiercely loyal to her friends.

Standing by her side is her best friend Mac who has a streak through his hair and is heavily involved with the Dramatic Arts. He knows Jodie like the back of his hand and together, they’re an unstoppable force. I LOVED the interaction between Mac and Jodie which provided a lot of the humour but also some of the most touching parts of the book too.

Initially, I thought that rock star God Jackson was a bit of a prat but as the plot unravels, you realise that he is merely a victim of circumstance and in a world where it seems everyone wants to be famous, I think this book is a nice reminder that fame definitely isn’t all it’s cracked up to be!

Now, I’m not a huge fan of British writers, especially in the YA genre but I think after this I’m going to have to change my stance. I thought Rockoholic was a brilliant read, both hysterically funny and incredibly moving at times which is a sign of a skilled writer and I will definitely be reading more of C.J’s books in the future.

I can’t recommend Rockoholic highly enough and now that I’ve given the ARC away to a stranger on the train (book love should definitely be shared) I’m definitely going to invest in my own copy. I strongly suggest you do too. Go get it!

C.J. Skuse does not appear to have her own website but you can find her author page at Chicken House Publishers here. She has facebook pages for both Pretty Bad Things and Rockoholic.