Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Blogtour: Becoming Bryn by Angela Carling [Guest Post & Giveaway]

Guest Post from Angela

I’m so excited to be here today to celebrate the launch of my third stand alone novel, BECOMING BRYN! especially want to thank Erin for letting me steal a little screen time on her blog. Here’s the blurb you’ll find on the back of the book.
For months, Jesse has been envious of her twin sister Bryn and even has a crush on Bryn’s gorgeous, popular boyfriend, Quinton. When Jesse awakens from a coma to learn that everyone thinks she is Bryn, the option of actually taking over her sister’s life is beyond tempting, but there’s a downside. She’d have to give up Ethan, her best friend and the only person she trusts. Could she actually live as Bryn for the rest of her life? And if her family and friends found out, would they ever forgive her?

When I was putting together this post, I wanted to come up with a fun way to introduce the characters of BECOMING BRYN and tell you a little about their personalities and plights. To do this I created a mock “voted most likely to” yearbook page to let you see a character from the Hunger Games (one of my favorite books) side by side with characters from Becoming Bryn. Enjoy!!

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoy meeting the main characters of Becoming Bryn! I’d love to connect again. 
Come and find me on:

Twitter @angelacarling



To enter to win a copy of Becoming Bryn- simply leave a comment below, along with a way to contact you if you win!


Sunday, 28 July 2013

Fever by Dee Shulman (Parallon Trilogy #1)

  • Received for review
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (5 April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141340266
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141340265
  • A fearless Roman gladiator. A reckless 21st century girl. A mysterious virus unites them . . .

    152 AD. Sethos Leontis, a skilled and mesmerising fighter, is unexpectedly wounded and lies dangerously close to death.

    2012 AD. Eva is brilliant - but troubled. Starting her new life at a school for the gifted, a single moment in the lab has terrifying results.

    An extraordinary link brings Sethos and Eva together, but it could force them apart - because the fever that grips them cannot be cured and falling in love could be lethal . . . Can love survive when worlds collide and threaten time itself?
  • Cover:  This cover is far more effective in person.  It's really bright and vibrant, and I love it.
  • The concept of this one really drew me in.  I loved the idea that a Roman Gladiator and a modern school girl, millennia apart, somehow being connected by a mysterious virus.
  • I loved that we had both Seth and Eva's points of view.
  • The story was unique and I was definitely intrigued to see how the two seemingly separate stories would start to entwine.
  • I did have a couple of issues with this one.
  • Eva's supposed perfection- beauty, brains, talent.  'Too' well rounded.  Guys falls at her feet without the least provocation.  In this respect I couldn't help but compare Eva to Bella Swan.
  • Another issue I had was the 'insta-love' element between Seth and Livia (yeah Livia) he's besotted without even really talking to her, let alone knowing her.  It just screamed unbelievable.
  • However I still really enjoyed reading it, and while these things were slightly irritating, they didn't mar the overall enjoyment of the book.
  • It was frustrating that the mysterious virus and fever or Parallon was never explained.  I'm hoping that it will be in the next book, that I will definitely be reading.
  • 3.5/5 stars.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Booking Through Thursday

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

My best friend is moving across country, heading back to the East Coast for the first time after years of living in California, and one of the things she’s lamented was the whole packing-the-books thing. Having moved a few years ago myself (whittling down my 3000-volume library to 2000-volumes and still ending up with something like 50 boxes of books), I sympathize.
So … the question is–what kind of moving experiences have you had with your books? (Or, just in general if you’ve got good Moving Day stories–and who doesn’t?) Did having to pack and move your books cause any changes in your book-collecting habits? Make you wish you had everything on an e-reader? Feel free to discuss! (grin)

I haven't moved for a while, about 9 years now.  And while I've always been a reader, the last time I moved I didn't have anywhere near as many books as I do now.  Before I had one shelf.  I now have five.
I don't remember it being an issue, just managed to pack up like everything else.
But now it would be a nightmare!  I think I'll need a moving van JUST for the books.
As much as I love my Kindle, and it obviously helps with storage, but I just love the physical books more.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

On My Kindle #20

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.


Monday, 22 July 2013

Darkness Falls by Cate Tiernan

Received for review
Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks (13 Sep 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1444707027
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444707021
  • You can run from your past, but it will always catch up.

    Nastasya has lived for hundreds of years, but for some reason it never seems to get any easier. She’s left behind her days of debauchery to find peace and forgiveness at River’s Edge, a safe haven for wayward immortals. There she’s uncovered her family’s epic history, reclaimed her magickal powers, and met Reyn, whom she dubs “the Viking god.” Just as she settles into her new life, Nastasya learns that her old friends might be in town....

    Reuniting with her gorgeous and dangerous ex-best-friend, Innocencio, Nas wonders if she’ll ever be truly free of her dark legacy. Is Incy dangerous, power-hungry, and wicked? Or is he the only one who truly understands Nas’s darkness? Either way, Nas is desperate to find out who she really is-even if the answer kills her.
  • Cover: I don't hate this cover, but I prefer the style of the original cover design for this series.  I'm not a big fan of facial close ups on book covers.
After finishing book 1 and absolutely loving it, I wanted to delve into book 2 straight away.
It starts up where Immortal Beloved left off, and I loved it just as much.  There were a couple of times in the second half of the book where I wanted to reach through the pages and throttle Nastasya, thinking WHAT ON EARTH IS SHE DOING?!?!  For someone over 450 years old, she was incredibly naive.
But I was hooked, seeing her struggle with her family legacy, her choices and her feelings for Reyn.
These books are totally captivating and engrossing.  Especially as we get to see more and more of Nastasya's past, and discover more about the other Immortals at River's Edge, including River herself.
I'm looking forward to getting to book 3.  I highly recommend this series.
5/5 stars.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

  • Received for review
  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing (20 Aug 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408836424
It is the year 2059. Several major world cities are under the control of a security force called Scion. Paige Mahoney works in the criminal underworld of Scion London, part of a secret cell known as the Seven Seals. The work she does is unusual: scouting for information by breaking into others’ minds. Paige is a dreamwalker, a rare kind of clairvoyant, and in this world, the voyants commit treason simply by breathing.

But when Paige is captured and arrested, she encounters a power more sinister even than Scion. The voyant prison is a separate city—Oxford, erased from the map two centuries ago and now controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. These creatures, the Rephaim, value the voyants highly—as soldiers in their army.

Paige is assigned to a Rephaite keeper, Warden, who will be in charge of her care and training. He is her master. Her natural enemy. But if she wants to regain her freedom, Paige will have to learn something of his mind and his own mysterious motives.

The Bone Season introduces a compelling heroine—a young woman learning to harness her powers in a world where everything has been taken from her. It also introduces an extraordinary young writer, with huge ambition and a teeming imagination. Samantha Shannon has created a bold new reality in this riveting debut.

Cover: A relevant cover.  Definitely makes you intrigued as to what the symbols actually mean.

I'm really torn with this book.  Everything about it screamed that it was going to be a perfect adult book for me, because as you guys know I read more YA/NA.  But I have mixed thoughts.
It started off so slow for me.  I honestly thought I'd have to abandon ship, because I couldn't seem to engage with it.
Because of the nature of the fantasy/dystopian plot, the intricacy, world building etc, we were subject to A LOT of build up, and info dumping.  It didn't seem to flow very well.  Like we were told instead of shown.  This may have been made more obvious because just before reading this I read ACID by Emma Pass, a YA dystopian, that I loved and the world in that felt very organic, and large sections of text didn't feel like a history lesson as it did with this one.
The different levels of clairvoyants, and what their actual gifts were, were so vast, I still don't know what they all mean.  It seemed overly complex.
But once I hit the halfway point, I started to fly through it.  The pace really picked up, I found Paige became much more of a likable character, and I became more intrigued about the whole set up of why she and all the other voyants were taken.
I liked the relationship between her and Warden- her 'keeper'.  I loved that it developed over time, you weren't always sure on his motives or what he was thinking.  Their relationship reminded my very much of Yelena and Valek from Maria V. Snyder's Poison Study Trilogy.
I did wish for more romance.  Distinct lack of it, and I love some romance in my books.
Over all, while The Bone Season dragged at the beginning, the second half really picked up for me and I became hooked.  The end has definitely made me want to continue the series, but I am worried that it's a seven part series, and from book one, I can't see it stretching, but we'll see.
On reflection- a week and a half after finishing this book, it's still been on my mind, and it's grown on me even more.  
3.5/5 stars.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

UStarNovels Review

[This is not a sponsored post.  I was provided a novel in exchange for my honest review]

Have you ever been reading a novel and connected with a character?  Wished you were in it?
Well UStarNovels give you that chance.
They have a large range to choose from- you can star in a classic novel, Elizabeth in Pride & Prejudice, Jane in Jane Eyre or maybe Dracula and many more.  Or perhaps a contemporary romance/erotic novel.

I chose Anne of Green Gables- one of my all time favourite classic novels, and as I was reading it for the first time, I really identified with Anne Shirley and so thought it would be great to 'be' her.

When ordering you fill out a form which allows you to change the required fields- or you can leave them as they are- pick and choose what you want to change.

The book itself is beautiful and won't look out of place on your bookshelf.  I would say that I wish that it was hardback, as I feel that it would be more 'readable' because it would allow you to read your special edition without worrying about such wear and tear as cracked spines.  It's a little thing.
I love that you're able to add a dedication as these make the perfect gift for a book lover.  They're such a fantastic, unique gift.
They remind me of a present I had from my grandparents when I was a kid.  So I feel that it has a sentimental attachment as well.
Over all I think these novels are a genius idea, appealing to something that all readers feel at some point- wanting to be in novel they enjoy.
I highly recommend them.

Monday, 15 July 2013

In Too Deep by Michelle Kemper Brownlow

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1975 KB
  • Publisher: Sapphire Star Publishing (3 Jun 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00D6T70LO
Gracie has just finished her freshman year of college in Memphis when she takes a job at a local pizza joint in her home town of McKenzie, Tennessee. She is the epitome of innocence when she meets Noah. Noah is unabashedly handsome, intriguingly reckless and just cocky enough to be sexy. Gracie’s instincts tell her to stay far away from him and based on the stories she hears from her co-workers he leaves broken hearts in his wake. But still, she can’t explain her fascination with him.

Noah puts aside his bad boy ways when what he thought was a summer crush has him unexpectedly falling in love. But soon after Gracie transfers to UT Knoxville to be with Noah, their unexpected love becomes riddled with anger, deceit and humiliation.

Jake, Noah’s former roommate and Gracie’s best friend, can no longer be a bystander. Gracie’s world falls out from beneath her and when she breaks she turns to Jake for strength. As Jake talks her through a decision she’s not yet strong enough to make, together they uncover a truth so ugly neither of them is prepared for its fallout. Will Jake pull her to the surface or is Gracie Jordan finally In Too Deep?

Cover:  I really love this cover- the black and white with the pop of light blue is really eye catching.

I had really high expectations of this one, and really wanted to love it, but I'm conflicted as it contained A LOT of my pet peeves in a book.
So for others, this will be a fantastic read.  Hands down.  But for me it was a struggle.
For me I couldn't connect to Gracie, I understand that a destructive relationship is damaging to self belief (an important to cover the topic) and can make a person insecure, but I like to read about strong female leads.  I swear it felt like she was crying on every page.
Noah is a jackass.  There's no way around it.  There's absolutely nothing redeeming about him.  But despite him humiliating her, bullying her, cheating on her- she stills takes him back.  She can't let him go.  It was kind of painful reading her thoughts when it comes to phrases like 'I don't know who I am without him.'  Sickening.  Because I seriously couldn't see why she'd want him.
The yo-yo-ing of 'it's over- I can't let go' became really tedious to the point that I just didn't care.
I felt her weakness grating on my nerves.
Jake.  Jake I liked- he's the complete opposite of Noah, but similarly, why he'd be interested in Gracie I can't possibly imagine.
Over all I feel this book had a lot of premise.  Gracie is where this books biggest problems lie.  If she had been different, I feel like I would have enjoyed this book a lot more than I did.
Most reviews for this have been rave reviews, so maybe it's just me.
1.5/5 stars.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Booking Through Thursday

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

My dog just had his birthday (12 years old, thanks), so … how do you feel about books about dogs or pets? Fluffy stories of fluffy family members? Solid books on training them or taking care of them? Touching reminiscences of trouble and the way a person’s dog (or pet) has helped get them through?
(Mind you, almost all the pet-related books on my shelf are about dogs, but I’m well aware that people love their cats, horses, ferrets, rabbits, fish, etc. just as much, so … any species is fine!)
Any favorite books to recommend?

Happy Birthday to your dog!!!
I can't think of many books I've read where animals are the main focus.
But for Christmas one year I was given Oogy:The Dog Only A Family Could Love.
It was a beautiful, heartwarming tale about a family and a dog that changed their lives.
I loved this book.

Acid by Emma Pass

  • Received for review
  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Corgi Childrens (25 April 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552566144
2113. In Jenna Strong’s world, ACID – the most brutal, controlling police force in history – rule supreme. No throwaway comment or muttered dissent goes unnoticed – or unpunished. And it was ACID agents who locked Jenna away for life, for a bloody crime she struggles to remember.

The only female inmate in a violent high-security prison, Jenna has learned to survive by any means necessary. And when a mysterious rebel group breaks her out, she must use her strength, speed and skill to stay one step ahead of ACID – and to uncover the truth about what really happened on that dark night two years ago.

Cover- Love the colour scheme, and the sexy, strong, kick-ass girl is a perfect match for our heroine.

Oh boy.  Where do I start?  I genuinely don't think I have the words to adequately describe how much I enjoyed reading this one.  But I have to give it a go.
As soon as I picked this book up- I was hooked.  I didn't want to stop for anything.  Dystopian fiction isn't normally a 'go-to' genre for me, I find it very hit or miss.  But Acid captivated me from the very first page, right up to the last.  It's non-stop action.  And the world was so well developed- the futuristic world of komms and c-cards, eFics and rotos.  Where Britain is being run by a police force that came to power through a time of economic crisis.
It reminded me of a V For Vendetta/Hitler's Rise to Power mash up.
I LOVED that it was set in a dystopian Britain, known as Independent Republic of Britain.  The other dystopian novels I've read, are all set in the US.  For example, Divergent, is a dysopian Chicago.  So it was refreshing to read about a possible futuristic Britain.  Terrifying, but brilliant. 
Jenna is the perfect protagonist.  Strong.  Independent.  Likeable.  I loved that she goes through so much, and yet you don't see her bawling her eyes on on every page.  You definitely grow to not only like, but respect her.
The romance element was perfect.  It definitely takes a back burner and isn't over done.  It's not the focus of the story, but definitely adds something.
My one and only issue, and it's nothing major, it didn't ruin anything for me, and that's the 'terrorist' group NAR that used violence to fight against ACID, we don't really find out enough about them.  Especially the groups leader.  I was left with a few questions regarding them.
Over all, this has become an instant favourite of mine.  I didn't want it to end, I could have kept turning pages for days to come.
Can't recommend highly enough.
5/5 stars.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere (17 Jan 2013)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0751548529
  • ISBN-13: 978-0751548525
When a mysterious young woman named Katie appears in the small North Carolina town of Southport, her reluctance to join the tight-knit community raises questions about her past. Beautiful yet unassuming, Katie is determined to avoid forming personal ties until a series of events leads her to begin to let down her guard.

Despite her reservations, Katie gains the courage to start a relationship with Alex, a widowed store owner with two young children. But dark secrets intrude on her new life with such terror that she’s forced to rediscover the meaning of sacrifice and rely on the power of love in this deeply moving romantic thriller.

Cover:  Despite this being the movie cover, which I normally don't like, I love this one.  I think it's because one, I love cute, romantic covers, and two, I freaking love Josh Duhamel. Mmm.

I find Nicholas Sparks reads very hit or miss.  But I wanted to read this one because I LOVE the look of the movie, again with the Josh Duhamel.
I wanted to see the movie at the cinema, but no one else wanted to go, so I have to wait for the dvd so I read this ti tide me over.  I really enjoyed it.
It was romantic but did also have it's darker side, tackling the issue of abuse.
The romance between Katie and Alex was really sweet, but for me it seemed to jump to 'love' really quickly.  I would have liked a tad more build up.
The chapters in Katie's abusive husband Kevin's point of view were really dark and twisted, and I think Nicholas Sparks really portrayed the mind set of a possessive, abusive and insane husband.
Over all I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, and while it wasn't my favourite Nicholas Sparks reads it was definitely one I enjoyed more.
4.5/5 stars.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Booking Through Thursday

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

So, Fourth of July here in the USA … Do you ever read books that could be considered patriotic? Rousing stories of heroes? History? Brave countrymen & women doing bold things?
What would you recommend if somebody asked you for something patriotic–no matter what your country?
Be as specific or as general as you like?

I actually live in the UK :)

Nothing actually springs to mind for this one.  I do read books about heroes but nothing that stands out as patriotic.
It's probably because I read a lot of YA/NA paranormal/contemporary fiction.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

The Elephant Girl by Henriette Gyland

  • Received for review
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Choc Lit (7 July 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 178189020X
Peek-a-boo I see you…
When five-year-old Helen Stephens witnesses her mother’s murder, her whole world comes crumbling down. Rejected by her extended family, Helen is handed over to child services and learns to trust no-one but herself. Twenty years later, her mother’s killer is let out of jail, and Helen swears vengeance.

Jason Moody runs a halfway house, desperate to distance himself from his father’s gangster dealings. But when Helen shows up on his doorstep, he decides to dig into her past, and risks upsetting some very dangerous people.

As Helen begins to question what really happened to her mother, Jason is determined to protect her. But Helen is getting too close to someone who’ll stop at nothing to keep the truth hidden …

Cover:  I really like the beautiful orange colours on this one, and the relevance of the elephant pendant.

I really enjoyed this romantic thriller/mystery.
I don't want to say too much about the plot because it may spoil it, and obviously half the fun is uncovering the mystery.
But I loved the pacing.  I was hooked from the very beginning and I wanted to learn who killer her mother along with Helen.  I had plenty of suspicions but was kept guessing.
Helen was such an interesting character.  When she was five her mother forgot to give her her epilepsy medication, resulting in a fit, as her mother is murdered.
The family secrets and drama were fascinating, and just as you think there can't possibly be anymore secrets...bam! There are.
I liked that Helen's feelings came across as very realistic.  There are times where she's so angry she plans to kill the person accused of her mother's murder.
The cast of supporting characters were equally interesting.  The halfway house with ex prisoners- the adorable, shy Lee, the force of nature Charlie, and the sweet old lady Fay that went to prison for Helen's mother's murder.
The romance aspect was perfectly done.  I really rooted for Helen and Jason.
I enjoyed this much more than Up Close.
4.5/5 stars!

Monday, 1 July 2013

Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan

Received for review
Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks (1 Sep 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1444707019
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444707014
Nastasya has spent the last century living as a spoiled, drugged-out party girl. She feels nothing and cares for no one. But when she witnesses her best friend, a Dark Immortal, torture a human, she realizes something's got to change. She seeks refuge at a rehab for wayward immortals, where she meets the gorgeous, undeniably sexy Reyn, who seems inexplicably linked to her past. 
Nastasya finally begins to deal with life, and even feels safe--until the night she learns that someone wants her dead. 
Cate Tiernan, author of the popular Sweep series, returns with an engaging story of a timeless struggle and inescapable romance, the first book in a stunning new fantasy trilogy.

Cover:  Love this atmospheric and relevant cover.

I loved this book.  I was totally hooked.
The whole concept of immortals and magic was excellent.
I felt this whole book was unique.  Nastasya was a fascinating protagonist.  The fact that she's over 400 years old, finding out where she's been, what's she's done, gave the story so many layers.  Seeing that she may not have always been good, made wrong decisions, been unfeeling, and we're able to sympathise with here.  I liked that her past wasn't revealed all at once, but rather we got to see more of her gradually, piece by piece, while she also started to remember her past.
River's Edge- rehab for immortals was such a fantastic idea, and seeing Nastasya start to find herself and discover who she wanted to be was brilliant.  As well as meeting the other immortals there.
There is a romance element but it's more introduced in this book, and going to develop in the next two books.  Both Nastasya's and Reyn's past make it complicated for them to be together, but their chemistry/love-hate was amazing.  I can't wait to see how their relationship develops, as I think they could become one of my favourite fictional couples.
The writing style was unique, I loved Nastaya's voice, she was witty and sarcy, and made me laugh more than once.
I loved every second of this.
I highly recommend it and can't wait to move onto book 2.