Monday 30 July 2012

Pushing The Limits Review

"I won't tell anyone, Echo. I promise."

Noah tucked a curl behind my ear. It had been so long since someone touched me like he did. Why did it have to be Noah Hutchins?

 His dark brown eyes shifted to my covered arms. "You didn't do that-did you? It was done to you?"

No one ever asked that question.
They stared.
They whispered.
They laughed.
But they never asked.

So wrong for each other...and yet so right.

No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal. But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible. Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.”

I was lucky enough to be invited to the very first UK Mira Ink blogger party earlier this year and when they talked about Pushing The Limits by debut author Katie McGarry, I actually put “!!!!!” by the title as I knew immediately that I would love this book.  A bad boy, a lost girl and a forbidden romance?  My name is written ALL OVER this (figuratively speaking, of course). 

Echo is hiding from everyone, including herself.  She’s retreated from her life in a big way.  Noah is known as the “bad boy”, he’s gone off the rails and stopped engaging at school.  They’re brought together against their will and BOOM, the chemistry sizzles right off the page but it’s certainly not instalove and they’re going to have to work just to get along with each other let alone anything else.   Their relationship is a slow build up and develops moment by moment which is delicious to watch.  Told through alternating viewpoints, Pushing The Limits has got to be one of the best character driven, contemporary and edgy romances I’ve read this year.  The whole bad boy romance thing sounds like a cliché but in this case, it isn’t and McGarry will have you believing it isn’t with her heartfelt writing which will take you on an emotional rollercoaster.  Echo and Noah aren’t bad kids, they used to be good kids but life dealt them a really crappy hand and they’re still reeling from it.  By coming together, they make each other want to be better and ultimately help each other to find themselves. 

I have to say that Noah makes for a swoonworthy romantic lead and I loved his fierce family loyalty and the fact that underneath his cool exterior, he’s really quite smart if he would engage again.  In fact, I connected with all the characters and they became very real to me, as if I were hanging out with friends which made it hard when the story ended.

I loved Pushing The Limits even though I don’t normally do “issue” books but the romance and excellent writing got me through.  It was delightfully unputdownable and I would have finished it in one sitting had it not gotten to 3am! There is a next book which is more like a companion novel featuring one of the other characters, Beth and I will definitely be picking that up.  Knowing that there isn’t going to be a Noah/Echo sequel makes me want to write fan fiction to continue their story and that’s saying something!   In the meantime, I’ve ordered a hardback for my collection.  Do yourself a favour and pick up this book.  You won’t be sorry.

Pushing The Limits is published on 31st July, 2012 in the US and 3rd August, 2012 in the UK.  To find out more about Katie McGarry and her books, please click here to visit her website.

Sunday 29 July 2012

Letterbox Love (#13)

As always, Letterbox Love is a weekly feature that I'm hosting on the blog and basically, the idea came out of a discussion with other UK book bloggers about the need to do a weekly meme with more of a British feel to it.  Therefore, Letterbox Love was born and the logo was lovingly designed by Dark Readers.  Letterbox Love is a way for us to share the books that come through our letterbox, galleys and e books (through our electronic letterbox) and any other bookish goodies that we want to tell you about.  Letterbox Love is intended to showcase upcoming books and build up some excitement for them as well as let you know what is available out there.  It is not about competing with other bloggers or boasting of any kind (c'mon, we're British and we don't do drama!)

Review Books

13 by Kelley Armstrong
This book looked great on arrival until I learned that it was the 13th book in this series and I've never read or reviewed any other others.  As much as I'd like to read it, I'm not about to spend £120 on 12 other matching hardbacks I'm afraid so unless I can read it as a standalone, then I don't know what I'm going to do with this one.  I should mention that whilst I am grateful to receive it of course, it was unsolicited.

The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse
I think this book sounds FANTASTIC.  It's a dystopian and part of a planned trilogy.  I love the UK cover which is very 'Katniss' like in its design although I quite like the US cover too.  Definitely looking forward to reading and reviewing this one. 

Heaven by Alexandra Adornetto
Can you believe I still haven't started this series and this is the third book!!  I definitely want to read it as it's an Angel book so I endeavor to start it this year!

League of Strays by L.B. Schulman
I don't really know what to think about this book.  I know it's about bullying and I've seen A LOT of mixed reviews about it.  Like anything though, I'm going to give it a chance and make up my own mind about it.

Thank you publishers!

Books Bought

The Reckoning by Alma Katsu
I am a huge fan of the first book The Taker and so of course I had to buy the sequel.  I'm less than impressed with the UK cover though and LOOK AT THE PRETTY that is the US hardback?!  So yes, I paid a small fortune to get this but I love it and am looking forward to reading it :)

The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Beccca Puglisi
I heard Lisa Burstein (author of Pretty Amy) talking about this book and on investigation, I thought it would be really helpful for me when writing.

Insignia by S.J. Kincaid
I'm actually quoted in the UK paperback but I loved the book so much that I had to get myself a US hardback for my collection.  If you haven't read this yet, do yourself a favour and pick it up.  The movie rights have been sold to a major film company and I guarantee this will be a blockbuster movie.  My review of the book is here if you're interested.


Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson (Bought)
It's set in the Med (where I may just be going on holiday this year), there's underwater treasure and a hot guy.  WHO COULD WANT FOR MORE? I thought this would make for a cute holiday read and it's Maureen Johnson, so I'm sure I'll enjoy it.

I'm just about to start Throne of Glass by Sarah Maas as I know it comes out in a few days and I'm dying to read it anyway.  The fact that I keep calling it Game of Thrones by accident is causing all sorts of misunderstandings in my house!  Please leave me your links for Letterbox Love and let me know what you're reading and if you're enjoying it. 

Saturday 28 July 2012

Such a Rush Review

 “A sexy and poignant romantic tale of a young daredevil pilot caught between two brothers.

High school senior Leah Jones loves nothing more than flying. While she’s in the air, it’s easy to forget life with her absentee mother at the low-rent end of a South Carolina beach town. When her flight instructor, Mr. Hall, hires her to fly for his banner advertising business, she sees it as her ticket out of the trailer park. And when he dies suddenly, she’s afraid her flying career is gone forever.    

But Mr. Hall’s teenage sons, golden boy Alec and adrenaline junkie Grayson, are determined to keep the banner planes flying. Though Leah has crushed on Grayson for years, she’s leery of getting involved in what now seems like a doomed business — until Grayson betrays her by digging up her most damning secret. Holding it over her head, he forces her to fly for secret reasons of his own, reasons involving Alec. Now Leah finds herself drawn into a battle between brothers — and the consequences could be deadly.”

I could just start and finish this post with the words “It’s Jennifer Echols.  Need I say more?!”, but that wouldn’t make for a very interesting review.  Basically, I adore her books and will pre-order anything she writes.  When I found out that Such a Rush was going to be her first hardback?  I may have squeed with excitement but I cannot of course confirm that.   If you know me at all, you know that I love romances involving brothers and so Such a Rush was PERFECT for me.

Our main protagonist Leah is a diamond in the rough.  She’s had a shit life so far, growing up with a deadbeat mother on a trailer park in the middle of nowheresville.  The only consolation? It’s close to a regional airport and whilst others hear the noise and nuisance of overhead aircraft, Leah sees only a thing of beauty.  She ends up working part time at the airport but secretly she longs to fly.  She makes a deal with Mr. Hall who runs a banner flying business and he agrees to teach her to fly if she quits smoking.  I think that’s a pretty sweet deal personally.  Mr. Hall has two sons (Grayson and Alec) who aren’t in his life that much but they visit occasionally.  Leah has had a crush on Grayson for years and has had to watch him from afar but when Mr. Hall dies unexpectedly, and the boys swoop in and take over, suddenly he’s not close enough.

I really enjoyed the story and the fact that it was centred around airplanes and flying.  I admired Leah for being true to herself but also trying to make something of her life.   Grayson was a nice romantic lead although I have to admit that he was a bit of an idiot at times and I wanted to slap him.  I mean, he bribes Leah into going out with his brother but he wouldn’t tell her his reasons for doing so, all the while having a crush on her himself.  He also continued to press her about something repeatedly although Leah explained and explained and explained.  We do find out the reasons behind his behaviour but at the time, he pressed my frustration buttons a bit and if I were Leah, I might have walked away (or at least pretend to storm off and secretly hope he will come after me).

I don’t think you can NOT enjoy a Jennifer Echols book and I did enjoy this one immensely.  With lots of tension, lots of chemistry and lots of swoonworthy moments, this is a book to put on your reading list.

Such a Rush was published on 10th July, 2012.  To find out more about Jennifer and her books, please click here.  She is also active on Facebook and Twitter.   And just in case you haven’t seen the back cover yet, you may just notice a certain blog being quoted there *coughs* which I’m ECSTATIC BEYOND WORDS about.   It is a bloody good quote and one which I wholeheartedly stand by.

Thursday 26 July 2012

Awry Review

“Sometimes love is meant to be. But is the death of you....

Seventeen-year-old Scarlet has just died. Only, dying isn't unusual for a girl under a centuries old curse that left her semi-immortal.

This time, though, she comes back to her current life instead of awaking in a new one, and she realizes the curse is changing. Together with the immortal Archer brothers, Scarlet must piece together her life and try to break the curse before her impending death comes again.”

Awry if of course the second book in the Archers of Avalon series and so it goes without saying that if you haven’t read Anew (glowing review here) then carry on no further as you will likely encounter spoilers.

So, I’ve been DESPERATE to find out what happens next after reading Anew AKA the book I loved like woah, especially with that cliffhanger of an ending!  Chelsea is one of only a handful of authors that make me want to re-read their books and yes, I will admit to re-reading Anew but only because of how awesome it is.  I read Awry in one sitting and loved every minute of it.

All the regular characters are present and Heather continues to crack me up, I love her to pieces!!!  My favourite thing though?  The way Chelsea interlaces the past with the present through alternating chapters and we finally find out how Scarlet came to be engaged to Gabriel and why Tristan is also in love with her.  We also find out about the origins behind THAT tattoo.  I can’t possibly give anything away but it makes for intriguing reading and isn’t what I initially thought.  Let’s just say that it’s SWOONTASTIC (C’mon, it’s Tristan - would you expect any less?!) I am so in love with Tristan at this point, it’s unreal.  I may not be part of the curse but he hurts my heart!

I will admit that I started to doubt Gabriel’s love for Scarlet until I saw the flashbacks and understood everything.  The explanations for what happened were very clever and well executed, that’s for sure.
In Awry, we find out that the curse is changing and in this life, Scarlet can feel everything that Tristan feels (the connection is no longer one way) which again makes for VERY INTERESTING READING but also throws everything into turmoil and suddenly, it’s not just Scarlet’s life that hangs in the balance unless they find that bloody fountain.  Yes, it shall now be named “that bloody fountain” which remains elusive in its location. The curse is not the only threat to Scarlet and the Archer brothers however as the ashmen are still around and the source of the threat might be a bit too close to home for comfort.

I have to end on my favourite part of the entire book and that, surprisingly, is the ending – you’ll see why.  My heart swelled and soared at Scarlet’s last words and I CANNOT WAIT to read the next book.   Seriously.

Overall, Awry is a very worthy sequel and I adore this series too much for words.  I’ve recently found out that the film and TV rights have been sold (OMG YES!) and I hope, hope, hope that something comes of it.  Do yourself a favour and start reading this series now before it hits the big screen.  It’s so worth it.  

Awry was published on 10th June, 2012.  To find out more about Chelsea Fine and her books, please click here to visit her website and here  to visit the series website. Chelsea is also active on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

Wednesday 25 July 2012

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 Nightingale by Dawn Rae Miller. Here's the synopsis:

"Depressed and confused after her rescue from Summer Hill, Lark Greene trusts no one—not even herself. Cut off from Beck, all she wants to do is fade away and forget everything, but her mother has other plans: she wants to teach Lark how to master her Dark magic and pair her off with a new mate.

Lark is desperate to keep herself from going completely Dark, while also keeping Beck safe, so she allows herself to be drawn deeper into the dangerous, yet glamorous, world of the State. But as the Splinter Group launches attacks to wrest governmental control from the Dark witches, Lark finds herself drawing on her Dark magic more and more.

As her magic spirals out of control, no one around Lark is safe.
Certainly not Beck.
And not even Lark herself."

OK, you have no idea NO IDEA how much I want to read this book!!!!  I LOVED Larkstorm with a passion (I've read it several times now) and I'm desperate to know what happens next.  Beck and Lark have to be one of my favourite doomed YA couples of all time and I need to know that somehow they can be together.  

Nightingale is published on 25th September, 2012 so not long to wait now, thank goodness!

Monday 23 July 2012

My Life Next Door Review

“One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts. All the time.”

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs her terrace and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love, Jase's family makes Samantha one of their own. Then in an instant, the bottom drops out of her world and she is suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

A debut novel about family, friendship, first romance, and how to be true to one person you love without betraying another.”

Let’s get one thing straight, right off the bat.  I love the cover, I love the title and I love the concept.  Sometimes you just see a book that has your name written all over it and My Life Next Door by debut author Huntley Fitzpatrick was that book for me.  Also, who doesn’t love a story about the boy next door?!  This was a fabulous character driven contemporary novel and the characters felt like real people to me. 

Let’s talk about our main protagonist, Samantha or Sam as she’s known.  I really liked how just because she is from a privileged background – she goes to a private school and has a trust fund – she doesn’t act like a spoiled brat.  She has a part time job as a lifeguard over the summer and makes her own money.  She doesn’t drive a BMW or a Mercedes Benz, in fact she doesn’t even have her licence yet.   Her older sister has a rebellious streak (or just seems to get away with overstepping the boundaries) whereas Sam is considered “the sensible one”.  Sam has grown up with the family Garrett next door for the past ten years but has never engaged with them due to her mother’s snobby and judgemental attitude.  Then one day Jase talks to Sam and BAM, just like that she’s part of the family and their relationship grows from neighbours to friends to something indefinable and then well beyond that.  This is all pretty much in secret of course as her mother is a *insert bad word here*.  I’m a sucker for forbidden romance although really it’s only Sam’s mother that has the problem.  This is the mother who is so wrapped up in her political work that I often wondered whether she really gave a shit about her kids at all.  And the Garrett’s?  I love them all and sometimes I long to be part of a big family like theirs.  

Now, I love a bad boy as much as the next girl but you know what really melts my heart?  A NICE GUY and really, they should be cheerleaded a hell of a lot more!  Jase is a decent guy – he’s hard working, kind, sharing, family oriented and btw he’s not bad looking either and incredibly athletic.  YES PLEASE.   It’s worth mentioning at this point that one of the things that was addressed exceptionally well in this book, was the issue of sex.  It was done responsibly but it was also authentic - it wasn’t glamourised or dressed up, it was a tender moment between two teenagers in love but it shows readers that the first time isn’t necessarily mind blowing and I think this is to be commended.

As far as secondary characters go, I want to give a shout out to Tim (Sam’s best friend’s brother – you know how I love the brother characters) as he was hilarious at times although he paints a somewhat tragic figure.  Towards the end of the book though, there’s a glimmer of hope for him and I hope Alice gives him a chance ;) 

My Life Next Door is not a comedy but it had plenty of comic relief when needed with definite laugh out loud moments.  The latter part of the book however is a little more serious as Sam’s world instantly falls apart and she’s forced to make the hardest decision of her life so far.  My Life Next Door will give you all the feels and I thoroughly enjoyed the book but I almost felt like the story stopped before the true ending but then again, the reader can draw their own conclusions and who knows whether there will be a continuation of the story.  I’d certainly read it!  I’m not always a huge contemporary fan but My Life Next Door definitely gets my seal of approval as a perfect summer read.

My Life Next Door was published on 14th June, 2012.   To find out more about Huntley Fitzpatrick and her books, please click here to visit her website.

Sunday 22 July 2012

Letterbox Love (#12)

As always, Letterbox Love is a weekly feature that I'm hosting on the blog and basically, the idea came out of a discussion with other UK book bloggers about the need to do a weekly meme with more of a British feel to it.  Therefore, Letterbox Love was born and the logo was lovingly designed by Dark Readers.  Letterbox Love is a way for us to share the books that come through our letterbox, galleys and e books (through our electronic letterbox) and any other bookish goodies that we want to tell you about.  Letterbox Love is intended to showcase upcoming books and build up some excitement for them as well as let you know what is available out there.  It is not about competing with other bloggers or boasting of any kind (c'mon, we're British and we don't do drama!)

Review Books

Now is Good (AKA Before I Die) by Jenny Downham
I've already read and reviewed this as Before I Die.  This version is obviously the movie tie-in book and I will be passing it on to someone who hasn't read it yet. 
Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs
This one sounds interesting and is based on Greek Mythology I believe, which is definitely something that interests me.  

Ocean of Secrets (AKA Sea Change) by Aimee Freedman
I have no idea why the title and cover have been changed, perhaps it didn't sell so well in the beginning so it's being relaunched.  I actually think I have the hardcover of this so I'll read, review and pass it on. 

The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver
I don't normally do MG but this is Lauren Oliver so I kinda feel I have to read it (because she is an excellent writer).  It looks cute anyway.

Grace Doll by Jennifer Laurens
This is the new, upcoming novel from Jennifer Laurens.  I was lucky enough to read an early version of this novel and let me tell you that it is very different from a traditional Jennifer Laurens book but equally as good.  

Debutantes by Cora Harrison
Marketed as a "gorgeous historical romance, perfect for fans of Downtown Abbey", this sounds great.  It's set in the 1920's which seems to be all the rage for YA books at the moment and I still can't figure out why! 

Review Books

The Edge of Nowhere by Elizabeth George
This is a book written by a traditionally adult writer, moving into YA.  I've seen a lot of mixed reviews for this and so I will wait to see what my friends and fellow book bloggers think before I have a look at it. 
Cavalier Queen by Fiona Mountain
This was unsolicited and is obviously a historical.  Whilst I do enjoy a good historical at times, I'm not sure this is the book for me so will probably be passing this one on.

The Feathered Man by Jeremy De Quidt
This sounds like a strange fantasy book and to be honest, I think I'd like to see a few reviews before I consider whether or not to read it.

Witch Crag by Kate Cann
I don't really know what to say about this book other than comment on the weird title.  It is a YA book, a fantasy I presume and I'm definitely intrigued.  I've seen the finished cover floating around the internet and I like it.

Thank you Publishers!

Books Bought

Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols
I've had this pre-ordered since forever, I mean c'mon, it's a Jennifer Echols book! AND I just happen to have a quote on the back cover which I knew nothing about until recently!!!  I've read this, it's awesome and my review is scheduled for next week, I believe. 
Nine Rules to Break when Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean (Bought)
I've just read this in paperback and absolutely loved it! I decided to buy them for my e reader so I could potentially take them on holiday, they're cheaper on kindle and I hate mass market paperbacks - the size puts me off.  I definitely recommend this historical romance series and my review is coming soon!
Ten Ways to be Adored when Landing a Lord by Sarah MacLean (Bought)
This is part of the series (see above) and features another one of the main characters which I think is Ralston's brother Nick.
Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart by Sarah MacLean (Bought)
This is the final book in the series (see above) and features another one of the main characters which I believe is Juliana, Nick and Ralston's sister.
About Last Night by Ruthie Knox (Bought)
This is an adult book that was recommended to me.  It was OK but having the main love interest called Neville was perhaps a mistake.
Not the Marrying Kind by Nicola Marsh (Bought)
Another adult book, I thought it sounded interesting and entertaining.  I mean, divorce parties?  I like the idea of a challenging romance.

Seducing Cinderella by Gina L. Maxwell (Bought)
Another adult book, I was interested in the idea of someone getting lessons in seduction to lure the object of their affection but it sounds like the lessons might just spill over into real life. 

Wrong Bed, Right Guy by Katee Robert (Bought)
Another adult book.  Don't worry, I'm still into YA but I'm liking some adult romance reads at the moment.  This book really intrigued me as Elle tries to seduce her boss and climbs into bed with him only to find that the guy who is turning her on, is not him.  Love the idea of it and the hilarity that must ensue. 

Inbetween by Tara A. Fuller (For Review)
This is a YA book and features a reaper who falls in love with a girl.  I do like the sound of it and I LOVE Entangled books!

So, yes I got lots to read this week which is obviously going to take some time!  My next read though is Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas as it comes out in the next two weeks and I'm so intrigued to read it.  I LOVE the cover and I just wish we could have had a hardback with the UK cover as I'm not a huge fan of the US version.  As always, please leave me your links below.

Saturday 21 July 2012

Rapture Review

“The sky is dark with wings . . . .

Like sand in an hourglass, time is running out for Luce and Daniel. To stop Lucifer from erasing the past they must find the place where the angels fell to earth. Dark forces are after them, and Daniel doesn’t know if he can do this—live only to lose Luce again and again.

Yet together they will face an epic battle that will end with lifeless bodies . . . and angel dust. Great sacrifices are made. Hearts are destroyed. And suddenly Luce knows what must happen.

For she was meant to be with someone other than Daniel. The curse they’ve borne has always and only been about her—and the love she cast aside. The choice she makes now will be the only one that truly matters.

In the fight for Luce, who will win?

The astonishing conclusion to the FALLEN series. Heaven can’t wait any longer.”

I’m guessing you’re reading this review because you’ve read the first three books in the Fallen series, yes?  If not, you need to leave right now and stop trying to spoil the ending for yourself because ultimately, it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.

Rapture is of course the final book in the Fallen series and the stunning conclusion to not just Luce and Daniel’s story but the fate of the world itself as everything hangs in the balance. Luce, Daniel and the gang are trying to stop Lucifer's fall which will erase everything that has come before it, including their relationship.  They are forced to go on a quest and seek out relics to help them as well as meet others along the way who have no interest in stopping anything but them.

 Picture the scene.  It’s a little after midnight and I’m sitting here in near darkness trying to gain some coherence whilst simultaneously mopping up tears after reading Rapture.  The beauty of the ending in particular has me bawling my eyes out.  I want to try and explain my relationship with the Fallen series because we have had a relationship.  I liken it to that with my boyfriend.  Whilst I continue to love him, he does frustrate me so at times and never has a book series evoked such frustration from me.   So many secrets, so many “we can’t tell you’s”, so many “you must discover it on your own”.  Fuck that, if I were Luce I totally would have googled.

 The point is, as a reader I never had a clue what was going on or more specifically, I could not see the big picture until the last few pages of the final book.  That structure works during the course of book one but NOT FOUR or else the hounds of frustration are unleashed and eat away at your soul.  Know what I’m saying?!

Having said all of this, it sounds like I didn’t enjoy the story when on the contrary, I did!  The big twist at the end wasn’t an overwhelming shocker to me and whilst I suspect I had known for some time (there were definitely some hints), I didn’t see all the details.  There were a couple of characters that I would have liked to see have a happier ending but I’m not bitter about it.

Rapture brings a gorgeous end to the series and the divine explanations were plausible and well thought out on the surface.  I loved the explanation of “the beginning” and the ending wins the most incredibly romantic part of a book EVER award.  With regards to the frustration (see above) it does make me wonder though if Lauren knew where she was going from the start or just bullshitted her way to the finish line.  Either way, bravo Lauren.  Bravo.

Rapture was published on 12th June, 2012.  To find out more about Lauren Kate and her books, please click here to visit her website.   I don't like the UK trailer so I'm posting the Australian one which I LOVE:

Friday 20 July 2012

Kissing, kissing and more kissing. Did I mention the kissing? (Obsidian Book Trailer)

I may have only said this a few hundred times but I'm a HUGE fan of Jennifer L. Armentrout's books and I cannot urge you enough to read them, especially Obsidian which is SO HOT, you could cook your dinner off it.  And yes, it's Young Adult but I think it's a really nice crossover title and if you're interested, my review is here.

Obsidian is still one of my favourite books and Jennifer recently got together with the cover models and made a book trailer.  If this doesn't make you want to read the book?  I don't know what will ;)

Thursday 19 July 2012

Larkstorm Review

“In the years following the destructive Long Winter, when half the world’s population perished, the State remains locked in battle against the Sensitives: humans born with extra abilities.

As one of the last descendants of the State’s Founders, seventeen-year-old Lark Greene knows her place: study hard and be a model citizen so she can follow in her family’s footsteps. Her life’s been set since birth, and she’s looking forward to graduating and settling down with Beck, the boy she’s loved longer than she can remember.

However, after Beck is accused of being Sensitive and organizing an attack against Lark, he disappears. Heartbroken and convinced the State made a mistake, Lark sets out to find him and clear his name.

But what she discovers is more dangerous and frightening than Sensitives: She must kill the boy she loves, unless he kills her first.”

When I first saw the beautiful cover and read the synopsis of Larkstorm by Dawn Rae Miller, I thought I might like this book but OMG I LOVE IT WITH THE FIRE OF A THOUSAND SUNS.  I thought it was just another dystopian book but boy was I wrong as the “Sensitives” or humans with extra abilities are basically witches.  Now, in some ways that might be considered a spoiler but in this case, I want you to know how the story will develop as it might be a deal breaker for some.

Larkstorm is basically all about light and dark magic with a boy and a girl at the heart of it all.  Lark and Beck have been paired together since childhood and have an arranged binding which means that they’ll spend the rest of their lives together.  At first, this reminded me a little of Matched by Ally Condie but the scene very quickly changes when Beck is accused of being a Sensitive and he disappears.  Lark is understandably devastated but she can’t just let him go and so she goes after him to find out what the hell is going on.  What she discovers will change both of their lives forever.

I LOVED Beck and Lark’s relationship and they have to be one of my favourite ill fated YA couples of all time.  Their relationship is well established from the beginning of the book and I believed it from the get go.  They might have different natures but opposites attract and they complement each other well.  I love his undying optimism, his hope and ultimately his love for Lark which never waivers despite everything that happens and it’s a love that is reciprocated wholeheartedly by Lark.

Larkstorm is basically a book in two halves or a book with two acts, if you will and perhaps would have benefited from some kind of visual divider (like Julie Kagawa did with The Immortal Rules).  The first half is very dystopian like, set in snow and ice whereas the second half is set in warmth and Summer sun and this is where the witchedy goodness happens.  I really enjoyed all the witchy politics and the fact that not everything is as simple as light vs dark.  I have to say that the ending was particularly gutting but paves the way for the sequel which I cannot wait to read! For reals.

Larkstorm is a gorgeous book full of angst, love, heartbreak and magic.  It’s a little gem hidden amongst all the bigger titles and when you read it, you’ll see that the story pours into you, gets a hold of your heart and squeezes.

Larkstorm was published on 10th January, 2012.  To find out more about Dawn and her books, please click here to visit her website.

Wednesday 18 July 2012

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 Spellcaster by Claudia Gray. Here's the synopsis:

"When Nadia’s family moves to Captive’s Sound, she instantly realizes there’s more to it than meets the eye. Descended from witches, Nadia senses a dark and powerful magic at work in her new town. Mateo has lived in Captive’s Sound his entire life, trying to dodge the local legend that his family is cursed - and that curse will cause him to believe he’s seeing the future … until it drives him mad. When the strange dreams Mateo has been having of rescuing a beautiful girl—Nadia—from a car accident come true, he knows he’s doomed.

Despite the forces pulling them apart, Nadia and Mateo must work together to break the chains of his family’s terrible curse, and to prevent a disaster that threatens the lives of everyone around them. Shimmering with magic and mystery, New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray’s new novel is sure to draw fans of the Hex Hall and Caster Chronicles series, and fans of the hit CW TV show The Secret Circle."

I am a fan of Claudia's and I think this book sounds great.  I'll read anything to do with witchcraft and curses and did I mention that I loved the Secret Circle?  The TV show that is, I hated the books (sorry).  I've had this book on my wishlist since I first heard Claudia talking about it and I'm looking forward to reading it.  

Spellcaster is published in March, 2013 in the US with no news on a UK release as of yet.  

Monday 16 July 2012

Catching Suki Review

"The Unit are closing in and Demos needs one of his team to go deep cover. 

Enter Suki. 

Fashion obsessed, boy-crazy and more than a little kooky, Suki is a mind reader with a special talent for buying shoes and for listening in on private conversations. 

Tasked with infiltrating the enemy (namely Jack and Alex) Suki rises to the challenge, leaving a trail of chaos, destruction (and a large room service bill) in her wake. 

A prequel to the events of Hunting Lila and including many of the characters from the book, this short story told through Suki’s eyes, will have you laughing out loud and gripping the edge of your seat.” 

I only recently found out after reading Hunting Lila and Losing Lila that Sara Alderson wrote a short story entitled Catching Suki and so of course I had to track it down! I should start this review with an advisory – read Hunting Lila first so that this story will make sense to you.

Suki is HILARIOUS and this story had me chuckling to myself throughout. She is such a girlie girl and you can imagine that she’s just a teeny bundle of cuteness. I always enjoy reading scenes from alternative points of views or reading deleted scenes that whilst they didn’t make the cut, are still important and the reader generally has to imagine them taking place. I love when authors bring out short stories or novellas from a series that I adore and I would send out a plea for more authors to do that please! The fans love it!

I’m not going to say too much about the story but if you’re a fan of the series then it’s a must read. It was originally released as a free short story and it’s still floating around online somewhere. I believe it will be re-released in the near future.

Hunting Lila (review here) was published in August, 2011 and Losing Lila (review here) is published on 2nd August, 2012.   To find out more about Sarah Alderson and her books, please click here to visit her website.

Sunday 15 July 2012

Letterbox Love (#11)

 As always, Letterbox Love is a weekly feature that I'm hosting on the blog and basically, the idea came out of a discussion with other UK book bloggers about the need to do a weekly meme with more of a British feel to it.  Therefore, Letterbox Love was born and the logo was lovingly designed by Dark Readers.  Letterbox Love is a way for us to share the books that come through our letterbox, galleys and e books (through our electronic letterbox) and any other bookish goodies that we want to tell you about.  Letterbox Love is intended to showcase upcoming books and build up some excitement for them as well as let you know what is available out there.  It is not about competing with other bloggers or boasting of any kind (c'mon, we're British and we don't do drama!)

Review Books

The Double Shadow by Sally Gardner
I met Sally for the first time recently and she sent me a signed copy of her book The Double Shadow (Thank you Sally!)  It's based around the time of the second world war and I'm definitely intrigued to read it. 
Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler
This book came as a surprise although I have heard of it before.  I'm fascinated with relationships and what makes them work and what doesn't, so yes I will be reading this for sure. 

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Do I even need to say anything about this book?  I pre ordered it about 100 years ago and it's Maggie so HELL TO THE YES I want to read it.  I'm not overly keen on the tiny ARC format that Scholastic prefers but at least I get to read it!

Thank you publishers (and Sally)

I also got this little teaser in the post from Scholastic about The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater.  It's a diary entry from one of the characters.  I have to say that I *LOVE* when publishing companies do things like this and really make an effort with the publicity for books.  It makes the book, the author and the reader feel special so bravo Scholastic!

Books Bought 

The only books I bought this week were E-Books although I did place a pre-order for Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi as I thought I'd already done it but I hadn't.  If I could have pre-ordered Destroy Me, I definitely would have as I'm DYING to read that! Warner FTW!


Spectral by Shannon Duffy (Bought)
I'd been meaning to get this for aaaaages and had forgotten all about it until a recent twitter party reminded me.  Forbidden romance? Yes please. 

Bared To You by Sylvia Day (Bought)
This is an adult book and I will admit to buying it out of curiosity as this seems to be the book that people keep recommending after reading Fifty Shades.

So, as always - it's not about the quantity but the quality and I'm looking forward to reading these books although I did just pick a historical romance off the shelves that was published back in 2010!  I don't know why I do this but I do.  In case you're curious, it's called Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean AND I've just found out that there are two sequels so if I like the book, don't be surprised to see the other two pop up in a future Letterbox Love post!   What did you get this week? Leave me your links :)

Friday 13 July 2012

The Great Book Cover Debacle

I am perplexed as to why the decision is made to redesign the book covers of a series part way through said series and this is something that continues to piss me off, quite frankly.  I HATE when my books don't match but I'll be damned if I'm going to pay AGAIN for a book I already have.  I already spend too much money on books as it is!  From what I can see, despite constant negative feedback from fans/readers, this situation keeps happening.  I understand the need to increase marketing and sales, I really do but sometimes I feel like the person making the decisions just doesn't care or isn't that bothered about what the fans have to say and this makes me sad.  And WE are the people buying the books.

Let's get something straight.  It is NOT the author's fault and I know that.  Often they have little to no say in what the cover will look like and we've all heard the saying "Don't just a book by it's cover" and "It's what's underneath that counts".  YES.  That's entirely true.  Did I refuse to buy the US hardback of Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer when they changed the cover?  No, I didn't because I wanted to continue with the story but I was pissed off about the cover change, especially as the US Arc was BEAUTIFUL. Have a look for yourself...
This is the original US hardback cover for Nightshade by Andrea Cremer.  When I saw it for the first time, I thought it was incredibly beautiful and yes, it drew me into wanting to read the book. 

This is the original US Arc cover for Wolfsbane and everyone thought this was going to be the final US hardback cover BUT someone decided to overhaul the covers and instead we ended up with....

The thing is, I have nothing against these covers but I much preferred the originals and now my books don't match :( 

Let's look at some other examples.  This is the original cover for the US hardback of Shine by Jeri Smith-Ready.  I thought it was striking when I first saw it.

And Shift, the sequel - equally as nice.


THEN, they decided to change the covers completely and this is the final book in the series, Shine.  WHY? WHY? WHY?  The original cover style was lovely, just as it was.     

And another example...

This is the UK original hardback copy of Delirium by Lauren Oliver, which is not unlike the US version and is pretty :) 

Now have a look at the UK original hardback copy of the sequel, Pandemonium.  It does not even remotely look like the same series.  Had I not known, I would have thought this was a standalone by the same author.

This is the original US hardback version of Delirium, which looks different from the ARC but I like it. 

Look at the original US hardback of Pandemonium on the right.  COMPLETELY DIFFERENT.  On the left you will see a "special edition" of Delirium should you wish to purchase it AGAIN so your books match *makes a face*.   I suppose we should be grateful for the option but I'm still frustrated about it. 

 This is the US original hardback of The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney.  

This is the sequel to The Mockingbirds and WOW, has it had a cover overhaul which means that now my hardbacks don't match. 

The original UK release of Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel had a beautiful cover treatment AND it was a hardback (BONUS!) so of course I had no reason to think that the sequel would be any different.  WRONG. 

Stolen Night (p.s. why is it not Stolen Nights like the US title?) is completely different and is a paperback ergo the series doesn't match. 

These are the original US paperback covers for Infinite Days which the one on the right not even being released yet BUT someone, somewhere has decided to overhaul the covers and so here are the new ones:

Now, to be fair I actually quite like this cover redesign despite the fact that besides the UK hardback of the first book, I'd also bought the US paperback and now they won't match.  

Another example of a cover overhaul is the UK release of Divergent by Veronica Roth.  

The top left cover of Divergent is the original UK paperback release which pretty much matched the US hardback copy.  The second picture (top right) is the US hardback of Insurgent, the sequel.  Now check out the bottom two pictures after the UK cover makeover for the series.  Personally, I prefer the originals but maybe that's just me, although I do think they're pretty. 

Now we come to the latest cover overhaul and really, the one that inspired this blog post. 

Across the Universe by Beth Revis WAS and STILL IS one of the prettiest book covers I've ever seen.  Period.  I'm of course referring to the original US hardback release as the UK copy was slightly different.  As you can see, A Million Suns (the sequel) was of the same design and still pretty.   What was incredibly awesome about Across the Universe however, was that the book cover was REVERSIBLE (see below) and this is the first time I'd ever seen such a cool concept!


It was recently announced that the books had received a cover overhaul and now they are going to look like this...

I hasten to add that the final book in the series, Shades of Earth (and I'm speaking about the US hardback release) will look like the above.  WTF?  I wouldn't mind if this was the paperback release only but to do this to the hardback?  NO.  JUST NO.  I am BITTERLY DISAPPOINTED about this and am hoping that either they reconsider or they bring out a special book sleeve for it that matches the rest of the series otherwise I'm going to be pissed off for a long time to come.

There are countless examples of cover changes - UK cover changes include Blood Red Road by Moira Young (and don't even get me started on why the sequel title has to be different  here than in the US), Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts, and the Vampire Academy trilogy when they brought out the red cover for the final book in the series so it didn't match.

I don't think there is any answer to this to be honest.  The decision makers know that we're not going to stop buying the book so what do they care if we're annoyed at the cover change? We're still going to buy it.  The thing is, often the cover change is completely unnecessary and is often not better than the original in my opinion (although there are of course exceptions to the rule). 

What do you guys think?  Does anyone care about this besides me?

Thursday 12 July 2012

Losing Lila Review

“Alex and Lila are on the run, desperately trying to stay one step ahead of the Unit, which somehow is managing to track their every move. Whilst Alex is determined to keep Lila safe and her ability secret at any cost, Lila’s only thought is of finding a way back to California so that she can rescue her brother and mother from the military base where they’re being held.

Struggling to control both her growing power and her deepening feelings for Alex, Lila decides the time has finally come to stop running and start fighting. Together with Alex, Demos, and the people she’s come to think of as family, Lila plans not just to save her brother and mother, but to completely destroy the Unit and everything it stands for.

But the plan requires Lila to return alone to California, make friends with the enemy, and to risk losing everything - Alex, her family, and even her life.”

OK, just to be clear – if you haven’t read Hunting Lila (the first book which I reviewed here) then I suggest you go no further as you WILL encounter spoilers for the first book. 

Still with me?  Well, let me tell you that whilst I’m still hating the covers, I’m still loving the books! Losing Lila is a fantastic follow up to Hunting Lila which took me by surprise recently when I read it.  Losing Lila is in some ways a little bit more intense as the stakes are definitely higher than ever before.  I mean, not only is Lila’s mother still alive and being tortured for research purposes but her brother Jack (oh, Jack *sigh*)  is in a critical condition, at the mercy of The Unit.   Thank God Lila has Alex and the rest of the Psygens who band together to bring down The Unit once and for all.  Damn straight! But can they pull it off?!

So, if you’ve read my review of Hunting Lila, you’ll know that whilst Alex is all kinds of super sexy, I actually have a bit of a thing for Jack and I’m pleased to say that we learn a little bit more about him in this book.  Quite obviously, I have a thing for older brothers (who are not mine of course, I don’t actually have any brothers) and Jack is just...well....*melts*.  He’s uber protective and he’s a little hot headed which means he is PASSIONATE and I can live with that.  I know he’s been a bit of a player in the past but I really do feel that he is just waiting for the right girl!   And when he got shot? Seriously,  I can’t stand the thought of anything happening to him and that’s when I knew that he’d overtaken Alex in the literary boyfriends stakes for me.   Speaking of which, I think my favourite sequence in Losing Lila has to be Lila’s attempt at breaking Jack out of hospital (at The Unit).  That was just genius. 

Losing Lila was very plot driven with touches of character development sprinkled throughout the book.  I loved learning more about the Psygens and seeing Lila’s abilities develop.  There are a few revelations in the book which include family secrets that I can’t possibly reveal but believe me when I tell you that they will change everything.  And whilst this book is full of tension, there is definitely a lot of funny there too and I love any author that can make me snicker or laugh out loud when reading.  I REALLY, REALLY hope there are more books in this series as there definitely could be and I may have to start some kind of petition if needed.  Whilst the story comes to a satisfying conclusion, some things are still left open as a possibility.  There could even be a spin off with say...Jack as the main character?  ;) 

 Full of angst, tension and comedic relief, Losing Lila will keep you gripped until the very last word. With the movie rights being sold recently, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that 'Team Psygen' is introduced to the masses SOON. 

Losing Lila is published on 2nd August, 2012 and at the end of the paperback, there is a snippet of a scene from Alex’s point of view taken from when he first sees Lila again after 3 years and you’re going to want to read that.    To find out more about Sarah Alderson and her books, please click here to visit her website.   You’ll find some deleted scenes, a play list and a fantasy cast (I can’t stop picturing Chris Hemsworth as Alex).

Wednesday 11 July 2012

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 Taken by Erin Bowman.  Here's the synopsis:

"There are no men in Claysoot. There are boys—but every one of them vanishes at midnight on his eighteenth birthday. The ground shakes, the wind howls, a blinding light descends...and he’s gone.

They call it the Heist.

Gray Weathersby’s eighteenth birthday is mere months away, and he’s prepared to meet his fate–until he finds a strange note from his mother and starts to question everything he’s been raised to accept: the Council leaders and their obvious secrets. The Heist itself. And what lies beyond the Wall that surrounds Claysoot–a structure that no one can cross and survive.

Climbing the Wall is suicide, but what comes after the Heist could be worse. Should he sit back and wait to be taken–or risk everything on the hope of the other side?

Ok, first things first - I'm loving the cover.   Secondly, I am a huge fan of dystopian books and I like the idea that this mysterious event somehow rids a town of young men on their eighteenth birthday.  I mean WTF right?!  I have to know the who, the how and the why so basically, I'm SOLD. 

Taken is published on 16th April, 2013 with no news on a UK release as of yet.