Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarry

ARC Received for review
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Mira Ink (3 Aug 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 184845077X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848450776
  • They say be a good girl, get good grades, be popular.They know nothing about me. I can't remember the night that changed my life. The night I went from popular to loner freak. And my family are determined to keep it that way. They said therapy was supposed to help. They didn't expect Noah. Noah is the dangerous boy my parents warned me about. But the only one who'll listen. The only one who'll help me find the truth. I know every kiss, every promise, every touch is forbidden. But what if finding your destiny means breaking all the rules? A brave and powerful novel about loss, change and growing up, but most of all love.

Cover: I love this cover, I think it really stands out amongst other YA contemporary books and this is how I thought of Echo and Noah.  But the US cover is also stunning and I like that one because it's more romantic and looks  
just like several scenes from the book.

This was one of my most anticipated releases this year, so when MIRAInk asked if I wanted a review copy I literally jumped at the chance.
And it did not disappoint.  I loved this book so much- I can't even begin to describe just how much I loved this book.
Echo and Noah are such beautifully crafted characters.  Echo has to come to terms with her scars while trying to remember the incident which gave them to her and Noah has to grieve the loss of his parents and fight to get custody of his brothers.  
To see how Echo and Noah changed each other for the better without realizing  it- and the chemistry between them doesn't hurt either!
The mystery behind Echo's scars was kept up until the very end and you felt her frustration and anger as if it was your own- a sign of an amazingly well written book.
This book made ma laugh out load but also tear up.  I can't recommend this book enough- 5/5 stars!  It's a must read for every YA contemporary fan but if you've not enjoyed this genre I highly suggest giving this a try- it may very well convert you.
While I was reading I had the thought that it was a blend of Simone Elkeles's Perfect Chemistry Trilogy (without being quite so cliche and cheesy) and John's Green The Fault In Our Stars, equaling awesome.

Friday, 27 July 2012

The Silent Touch Of Shadows by Christina Courtnay


  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Choc Lit (7 July 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906931763
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906931766
Find on Amazon here.

Professional genealogist Melissa Grantham receives an invitation to visit her family’s ancestral home, Ashleigh Manor. From the moment she arrives, life-like dreams and visions haunt her. The spiritual connection to a medieval young woman and her forbidden lover have her questioning her sanity, but Melissa is determined to solve the mystery.

Jake Precy, owner of a nearby cottage, has disturbing dreams too, but it’s not until he meets Melissa that they begin to make sense. He hires her to research his family’s history, unaware their lives are already entwined. Is the mutual attraction real or the result of ghostly interference?

A haunting love story set partly in the present and partly in fifteenth century Kent.



Cover:  Perfect cover for this book.  Beautiful colour blue which gives it a creepy feel which suits this ghost story.


The premise of this book was totally different to anything I had read before.  I really liked the idea of two stories revealed simultaneously, one from the past and the other contemporary, brought together by a ghost.  Definitely different from what I've read before.
It took me a while to get into this book, but when I did I really enjoyed it.
The setting was great, an old manor in Kent which definitely gave the book atmosphere. 
I found myself enjoying the historical parts of the book more than the contemporary plotline.  Roger and Sibell's forbidden love, as well as their characters, was just more interesting.  I also found the historical parts better paced, whereas the contemporary parts felt a little stiff and dragged in places.    
I really appreciated having all four main character's perspectives-Melissa and Jake for the modern day story, and Sibell and Roger for the 15th Century story.  I didn't warm to Melissa as a protagonist very much, I connected better with Sibell.  Roger's perspective was really fun but I felt that we didn't get to see enough of Jake to really get a feel for his character so the subsequent romance between him and Melissa seemed to come out of nowhere- one minute they like each other but think it's best to not see each other and then bam, they're together.
The mystery and suspense was amazing.  Roger is haunting Melissa, asking for her help.  He's basically driving her insane, so seeing that unfold as well as seeing his and Sibell's past in the form of dreams Melissa and Jake have is really fascinating.  We knew of course that it couldn't end well for the doomed  lovers and yet I grew to love those characters so much that I still wished for it to be otherwise.
One romance was amazing, the other just lacked a little something, but the mystery and suspense as well as the beautiful setting made up for that.  The history combined with the supernatural made this a really different and gratifying read.  I definitely recommend this book for fans of romance, the supernatural or a little of both.  Definitely a distinctive book. 4/5 stars.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Booking Through Thursday

Booking Through Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Booking Through Thursday and a different question is posted every week.  


Do you have a favorite season of the year that you read more? (Example: during snow storms, rainy weather, or sunny and warm weather) Sorry, that was the best I could come up with.


I do like to curl up with a good book when it's cold or pouring down with rain, and can really read a lot that way, but when it's hot- I just can't get comfortable enough to read very much- I don't like to read outside because I don't like the glare on the pages.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

The Executive's Decision by Bernadette Marie


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 514 KB
  • Print Length: 274 pages
  • Publisher: 5 Prince Publishing and Books LLC; Regular Strength edition (17 May 2011)


Regan Keller fell in love with a wealthy and powerful man once. He was her boss. When that turbulent relationship ended, she swore she'd never again date someone she worked with. That was before she literally fell into her new boss's lap.

Zachary Benson is the head of a successful empire and used to getting what he wants in the boardroom and outside of it - and what he wants is Regan Keller. He's determined to convince Regan that even though he's her boss, they can share a life together.

However, when Regan's past threatens to destroy the architectural firm Zach has invested his entire career in, he has to make an executive decision whether to choose his business or fight for the woman he loves.



Cover:  A sweet, gushy, romantic cover that suits the book to perfection.



I downloaded this on a total whim as it was an Amazon freebie.  I'm so pleased that I did!


It was a fast-paced, sweet and romantic read that I couldn't put down.


I enjoyed having both Regan and Zach POV.


Over all this was a perfect light read that I recommend for romance fans!


4/5 stars.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas


  • ARC received for review.
  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books (2 Aug 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 140883233X
Meet Celaena Sardothien.
Beautiful. Deadly. Destined for greatness.


In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake: she got caught.

Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament—fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin’s heart be melted?

Cover: I'm loving this cover.  Perfect match for Celaena and I love that it hasn't followed a YA trend in plastering a girl in a dress on the cover but rather has stayed true to the feel of the book!

Wow.  I'm blown away by this book and I'm worried that this review is just going to turn into a fan girl rave but I'm going to give it a try.
I have no issues with this book at all and that is rare.  Every single detail was perfect.
The world building and character development was excellent.  I was worried when I first read the synopsis that I wouldn't warm to an assassin protagonist, especially one described as having a 'heart of ice'.  I needn't have worried.  Celeana was a wonderful character.  As strong as characters such as Katniss from The Hunger Games and Tris from Divergent.  While she was tough she also had a softer side, and her snarky sense of humour made me laugh through out the book.
The action was perfect- it wasn't all the time, but there was plenty of it and it was paced perfectly.  I was never bored while reading and I just wanted to keep turning pages.  I didn't want to put it down for anything!
There is a romance element but it is in no way the focus of the book and I'm glad it was there, otherwise the plot may have been too heavy, the romance added a little something special without becoming a trope.  There is an emerging love triangle, which as you guys know I can't stand them, BUT for the first time, here I didn't mind it!  The two love interests Prince Dorian and Captain of the Guard- Choal, I just couldn't choose between them.  Normally when it comes to love triangles, I always take one side and loyally stick to it, for example in the endless Team Edward/Team Jacob debate, from the start I was Team Edward, and NEVER wavered, even for a second.  
But with Throne of Glass I'm genuinely torn between them.  Plus it is a testament to the writing style and the character development that I could like Dorian or Choal at all because of how they treat and react to Calaena at the beginning of the book, but they really grow as characters.  
So much happened in this book, the romance, the Hunger Games style competition where 23 competitors fight to be the King's champion and only one can win, and so much was set up for the next book- we saw glimpses of Celaena's past but not everything.  
I'm so glad the end wasn't a cliffhanger.  Yes I still have questions and a lot is still to come but it wasn't an evil cliffhanger, had there been one I would have cried.  I can't wait to see how everything develops in the next book.
Without a doubt 5/5 stars!  One of my favourite reads of the year so far.  I highly recommend this to everyone.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Booking Through Thursday

Booking Through Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Booking Through Thursday and a different question is posted every week.  


Series or Stand-alone?


This is a tough question.  There are pros and cons of both.
I think that it depends heavily on the series or stand-alone.
Ordinarily I would say a series allows the author more time for character development and make them more endearing to the reader, in series such as Harry Potter for example.  But then The Fault In Our Stars by John Green is a stand-alone and yet it has the most beautiful character development I have ever read and being a stand-alone isn't detrimental.
Also it depends on the genre.  For example YA paranormal/dystopian books are now almost always a series or trilogy, I find it hard to actually FIND a stand-alone.  The last one I bought being Wrecked by Anna Davies.  I think that it's hard to make a series out of contemporary subject matter.
Also the major thing about series it that they can become too long and drawn out, resulting in the later books becoming boring.  At least with a stand-alone you get that one time injection of those characters and plot line and the reading experience doesn't become tiresome or repetitive.
In conclusion though I'd have so say series, simply because it's what I read the most of.  In the YA genres I read most books are now a series- if most stand-alone were releases I'd read them.  But they aren't.  But really I read both, am happy with either, and it really comes down to the individual books.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is all about sharing the books that I'm eagerly waiting to be released.






This week the book I'm waiting on is Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake, released on August 7th.  Words can't describe my excitement for the sequel to Anna Dressed In Blood- I read it last year and it was one of my favourite of 2011 and all time.  The end was devastating so I need this book like...last year.

Monday, 16 July 2012

On My Kindle #9

Instead of cluttering up my Book Haul/IMM's with books for my Kindle, I've decided to do a separate post,  hosted by Totally Bookalicious.


This week On My Kindle:








Sunday, 15 July 2012

BLOGTOUR: Carnival Girl: Searching For God in the Aftermath of War by Sonja Herbert +Guest Post


  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Cedar Fort (12 Jun 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159955996X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599559964


The only life little Sonja Francesco has ever known is traveling the carnival circuit and living with her five siblings in a tiny caravan home. The family never stays anywhere long enough for Sonja to make friends or develop roots. The only one in her family, Sonja always believed in God and wants to belong to a church. 

At fourteen, Sonja meets the Mormon missionaries and develops a strong testimony of the truth of the Gospel. But can she live the commandments while traveling with the carnival and running one of the attractions every Sunday? Will it be possible for her to leave her family’s life behind and live the life she has always dreamed of?



This was a very moving book.  I'm so glad that I was offered a chance to read it to be part of the blogtour because it may not have been something I would have ordinarily picked up, but I'm glad I had the chance to because I found it really interesting.
I have a keen interest in history so to read about post World War 2 Germany, and Sonja's experiences in a travelling carnival at the time was intriguing, especially as most books I've read about the post war era are set in Britain, so this was a great change.
This childhood memoir was so well written and flowed nicely.  I felt we really gained insight into her life and her family.  I liked the photos included- I liked knowing whose lives I was reading about.
I found Carnival Inspiring, despite being non-religious myself, I really respected that Sonja strongly believed in God from a young age and never allowed anything to sway her belief even though her family strongly disapproved.
Over all I give Carnival Girl 4/5 stars.  I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir even thought I'm not normally a reader of memoirs so it's a testament to how good it is.  


Guest Post From Sonja Herbert



When I was a little girl, traveling in our small carnival caravan, I often listened to my mother talking about how she used to be a model in Berlin, the greatest city of Europe, and how she had to leave and hire on with the circus in order to stay ahead of the Nazis.

During the few times we carnival children attended school, I once received an A for a story about a Greek myth I had written, and on that day I decided to write about my mother’s life when I grew up.

All through the time I raised my six children here in the U.S.A., this thought was with me, and when the younger ones were a bit older, I started on my mother’s story. As the story unfolded, I realized that it would not be complete unless I also told my own story, the story of my childhood and my life with my mother.
And that’s how Carnival Girl began. I originally called it Conversations with Margot (my mother’s first name), but since the novel I wrote about her life isn’t quite finished yet, I decided to re-name the memoir and publish it first.
As I wrote the memoir and remembered the things that happened in my early life, old feelings returned, and I had to confront the childish assumptions of my younger self. Now, as a grown woman, I am able to see things I had not seen as a little girl, and when my memoir was finished, I had a new insight and understanding for my mother, who had suffered so much and still came out ahead.
My mother, Margot, is now ninety-one years old. She lives in Stuttgart, Germany, and is still going strong!
Thank you Mutti, for everything you have taught me!

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Booking Through Thursday

Booking Through Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Booking Through Thursday and a different question is posted every week.  


What book(s) have you read that you’re secretly ashamed to admit?


Hmm I'm not normally ashamed to admit anything I've read, but recently I read the Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy.  Yeah I know.  Hopped on that band wagon.  I really enjoyed them as well.  

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Clockwork Princess COVER REVEALED!

The 3rd book in The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare- Clockwork Princess's cover has been revealed and I have to say out of them all, it's my favourite so far, it's stunning!!




BLOGTOUR: Shackled by Angela Carling + Guest Post


  • Paperback: 212 pages
  • Publisher: Acacia Publishing (11 Jun 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935089544
  • After shy, quiet Lucy and her family move from their small hometown in Minnesota to Seattle, Washington, she is surprised when Ryan, the most popular boy at school asks her out. Soon, she is swept up in a whirlwind romance and her na├»ve and trusting nature allows her to fall head over heels in love with her too-good-to-be suitor. Suddenly, Lucy finds herself enraptured by the excitement of her new relationship, leaving her blinded to the warning signs of danger ahead. Can her fairy tale romance last, or will she find that her prince charming is more like a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Cover: Simple and yet this cover manages to convey sinister undertones perfect for the story.

This was very different to what I usually read, but I'm so glad that I did.  This was an amazing book and it covers the topic of abuse in a way that is both sensitive and hard hitting at the same time.
At times it was hard to read, Lucy, a kind and normal if shy girl being made to doubt and alienate herself by her boyfriend Ryan.  While you grew to hate him, you also see why he is the way he is.  While you can't forgive his actions, you understand the root of his actions stems from his creepy, psycho father.
Oh Mason.  He was such a sweetie, and I grew to love him as much as Lucy did.  
There's only one thing I didn't like and that was after we know how much Mason cares for Lucy, and he finds out what she's going through...he goes to Prom with someone else.  Just that little thing seemed at odds with how he was supposed to feel.  My one little gripe.
I really enjoyed having multiple perspectives- Lucy, Mason and Ryan really helped give an all round, in-depth feel to the story and the characters.
Overall I give Shackled 4/5 stars!  I definitely recommend this for fans of YA contemporary, particularly for those that enjoy a darker twist.  Certainly a different YA read than a lot of other out there so worth picking up!

GUEST POST


Hi, my name is Angela Carling. I am the author of a tender love story named Unbreakable Love and a zingy little tale of love and control called Shackled. Check them out here. http://www.amazon.com/Angela-Carling/e/B006P15NOG/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1 http://www.amazon.com/Angela-Carling/e/B006P15NOG/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

First I want to thank Erin for letting me take over her blog to do this post. Just after I published my first book, I wrote a post called 10 Similarities Between Publishing a Book and Having a Baby. You can read the original here http://angelacarling.blogspot.com/2011/12/10-similarities-between-having-baby-and.html

 So now that I’ve been around the publishing block a couple of times (that makes me sound so cheap), here’s my take on the whole second childbirth vs. second publishing experience….except this time it will be Five Similarities Between Publishing a Second Book and Having a Second Baby. I’ve cut the number in half because with two books or babies, you have half the timeJ Enjoy
1.     You know what you are getting into this time, yet somehow you still dive into the creative process with fresh enthusiasm.  After all, the “creating”(wink, wink) is still the fun part.
2.       After the initial creation, instead of resting and daydreaming about the future like you did the first time around, you immediately go back to nurturing the book or baby that you’ve already created in hopes that it/they thrive despite the fact that you are spread twice as thin as before.

3.       With the second book or baby, you feel a little more confident.  You at least think you know what is coming next and then that next book or baby is born and you realize that this time around is a completely unique experience and you’re as clueless as ever. 


4.       By your second book and child, your circle of friends hasn’t only changed, it’s disappeared, mostly because your only friend is your computer and anyone willing to respond to a tweet or comment on facebook and with a baby, you’re just too tired for friends.

  
5.       As with the first, one day, you wake up and look in mirror at your neglected hair and sleep deprived eyes and realized the caring for both your little creations  is so much bigger than you bargained for. Yet, somehow, you’ve grown in capacity and even though most days you wonder if you’ll survive, you feel ownership, maybe a little proud of your little creations..and maybe even crazy enough to do it all over again. Maybe.


Thanks for stopping byJ

Friday, 6 July 2012

Which Game of Thrones House Are You?

So I was browsing Facebook and saw on the Game of Thrones page you could take a quiz to see which House you belong to in the world of Westeros.


I am The House of Bracken.  If you find out yours please tell me in the comments below :)

Snow White & The Huntsman (A Novel) by Lily Blake


  • Paperback: 220 pages
  • Publisher: Atom (1 Jun 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1907411704

A breathtaking new vision of a legendary tale. Snow White is the only person in the land fairer than the evil queen who is out to destroy her. But in a twist to the fairytale, the Huntsman ordered to take Snow White into the woods to be killed becomes her protector and mentor in a quest to vanquish the Evil Queen.

Cover: Obviously the movie poster and I love it!  The contrast of light and dark works so well, and the movie was visually stunning so I was pleased to have a little bit of that on the book cover.


I loved both the book and the movie.  
Lily Blake has perfectly adapted the screenplay into a tie-in-novel.
The pacing was perfect, I was never bored and the descriptions were spot on- she didn't write a paragraph when a sentence would suffice so instead of an incredibly long book we have an amazing 220 pages.
I thought the movie was slow in some places and too fast in others which left some of the plot tangled and a tad confusing but reading the novel made everything that little bit clearer.  There are a few extra scenes in the book that don't stray far from the movie and they're great.
I loved that in the book we had Snow White, Ravenna AND the Huntsman's point of view.  While the movie was great I liked that in the book we get more of an insight into these characters, how they are thinking and feeling.  Particularly with the Huntsman.  Oh how I love him.
I don't think it matters if you read the book first or see the movie.  I saw the movie first and think this worked best for me.  But I do definitely recommend doing both. 
The only thing lacking is a breath taking romance.  For me there has to be some romance in a fairytale re-telling.  Don't get me wrong I loved the dark, sinister take on it, and that Snow White become totally kick-ass.  But it needed a sweet romance to balance everything out. 
There is a sequel planned and while I think I would enjoy one, seeing the characters and the whole again, where the book and movie leaves off I don't see why there would be a second- of course I would like to see the whole lack-of-romance-issue resolved but I don't see what else can happen.
4/5 stars to both the book and movie.  I loved the action and dark feel but the lack of romance left me wanting a bit more.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Booking Through Thursday

Booking Through Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Booking Through Thursday and a different question is posted every week.  



So other than books … what periodicals do you read? Magazines? Newspapers? Newsletters? Journals?
Do you subscribe? Or do you buy them on the newsstand when they look interesting?



I don't really read periodicals or magazines- but if I'm particularly excited for a movie I might pick up Empire magazine.  
While I studied Forensic Science I would read New Scientist. 

Monday, 2 July 2012

Tributary by Lisa T. Bergren (River of Time 3.2)


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 815 KB
  • Print Length: 163 pages
  • Publisher: Bergren Creative Group, Inc.; first edition (8 Jun 2012)



TRIBUTARY, a novella (1/2 the length of a normal novel), picks up a year after BOURNE... Lia struggles to overcome the fear that constant battle has heaped upon her; Gabi and Marcello face an unexpected crisis; and Lord Greco just may be ready to leave the grief and loss of his past behind him, so that he might grab hold of the future...


Cover: I'm glad that all the covers match and the model isn't bad either ;)


Lisa T. Bergren has done it again.  I just can't get enough of this series, the characters, setting, action and swoon-worthy romance keeps me up until I turn the last page.
I loved seeing mote of Luca and Lia, as well as Lord Greco - and it's no secret that I didn't warm to him in Torrent or Bourne but I saw a different side to him in this book and I liked it!  I wish the love interest between him and Alessandra was more developed, I felt they were great for each other but I wanted them to interact more- particularly at the end.
As well as bringing new characters to the series we still got to see our favs- Gabi, Marcello, Luca, Lia...did I mention MARCELLO???
I need Luca and Lia's relation to be finalised.  They seem closer with each book but I need to KNOW they'll actually fully get together.  The wait is killing me.
This series is a must read for everyone!  I can't get enough of these books and hope there are more to come as I will eagerly anticipate every single one.