Sunday, 31 March 2013

If You Stay by Courtney Cole

Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 432 KB
  • Print Length: 354 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0615748996
  • Publisher: Lakehouse Press (7 Feb 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • *Contains scenes of a sexual nature, adult language and drug and alcohol use.
24-year old Pax Tate is an asshole. 

He’s a tattooed, rock-hard bad-boy with a bad attitude to match. 

But he’s got his reasons. 

His mother died when Pax was seven, leaving a hole in his heart filled with guilt although he doesn’t understand why. What he does know is that he and his dad are left alone and with more issues than they can count. 

As Pax grew up, he tried to be the kid his father always wanted; the perfect golden boy, but it didn’t work. His dad couldn’t overcome his grief long enough to notice and Pax couldn’t keep up the impossible perfect façade. 
So he slipped far, far from it. 

Now, he uses drugs and women to cope with the ugliness, the black void that he doesn’t want to deal with. If he pretends that the emptiness isn’t there, then it isn’t, right? 

And it’s never more apparent than when he meets Mila. 
Sweet, beautiful Mila Hill is the fresh air to his hardened frown, the beauty to his ugly heart. He doesn’t know how to not hurt her, but he quickly realizes that he’s got to figure it out because he needs her to breathe.

When memories of his mother’s death resurface from where he’s repressed them for so long, Mila is there to catch him when the guilt starts making sense. Mila is the one…the one who can save him from his broken troubled heart; from his issues, from the emptiness. 

But only if he can stop being an asshole long enough to allow it. 

He knows that. And he’s working on it. 

But is that enough to make her stay?

Cover: Super sweet, sexy cover.  I love it.

As you guys know, I've recently started getting into New Adult novels.  And this is yet another.

I loved this.
Pax is a bad boy with some serious issues, and Mila is the girl with an artistic soul that will heal him.
I loved the chemistry and passion between, and that they both acknowledged how difficult them being together is, but they still want it, and will make it work.
The writing and plot had me totally engrossed.  I couldn't put it down.
The only thing for me was that it had one of my pet peeves in it! I can't say it here as it will spoil it for you.
But I still loved the book, it didn't ruin the book for me, the characters and the romance were amazing so I give it 4.5/5 stars and definitely recommend for anyone that loves or wants to try New Adult books.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Booking Through Thursday

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

Movies have a rating system to help guide the consumer weed out adult/violent/inappropriate knds of films. Video games do, too. Do you think BOOKS should have a ratings system?

This is a really interesting question.  I personally think books are so varied that it would be hard to put into any more categories than we already have- for example, YA, NA, ADULT, CONTEMPORARY, ROMANCE, etc.  So many books already cross over.

Out of Sight Out of Mind by Evonne Wareham

Received for review
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Choc Lit (7 Mar 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1906931755
ISBN-13: 978-1906931759

Madison Albi is a scientist with a very special talent – for reading minds. When she stumbles across a homeless man with whom she feels an inexplicable connection, she can’t resist the dangerous impulse to use her skills to help him.

J is a non-person – a vagrant who can’t even remember his own name. He’s got no hope, until he meets Madison. Is she the one woman who can restore his past?

Madison agrees to help J recover his memory, but as she delves deeper into his mind, it soon becomes clear that some secrets are better off staying hidden.

Is J really the man Madison believes him to be?

Evonne describes J, the hero, in terms of chocolate:
J would be the last perfect liqueur in the battered box at the back of the fridge. The contents is a mystery, but on biting into it there is a breathtaking rush of fire, spirit and power.

Cover: Not the sort of cover that really jumps out at me.

The premise of this book really intrigued me and drew me in- the idea off mind reading combined with someone that has amnesia and finding out who or what they really are was definitely something that hooked me into picking this one up.
However, after Madison and Jay's initial meeting, I found myself getting bored for the first hundred pages or so.
The mystery of Jay's identity and why someone would tamper with his mind was definitely interesting, but I didn't 100% buy into the romance between them.  I just didn't feel any chemistry.
The plot twists, revelations and betrayals were really well done- definitely didn't see them coming.
Over all I really enjoyed it.  It was something a little different as I hadn't read anything like it before.  The mystery elements were the better part of the book, with the romance falling a little flat for me, and the 'experiment' element dragging out.
Definitely recommend contemporary fans looking for something new.
3.5/5 stars.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Professor Gargoyle: Tales From Lovecraft Middle School #1 by Charles Gilman

Received for review
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Quirk Books (25 Oct 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594745919
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594745911
  • Every volume in the Lovecraft Middle School series is fully illustrated and features an original lenticular portrait on the cover. Display them on bookshelves—and then watch the cover characters morph into monsters as you pass by!

    Strange things are happening at Lovecraft Middle School. Rats are leaping from lockers. Students are disappearing. The school library is a labyrinth of secret corridors. And the science teacher is acting very, very peculiar. Robert Arthurt knew that seventh grade was going to be weird, but this is ridiculous!

    With the help of some unlikely new friends, Robert discovers there's more to Lovecraft Middle School than meets the eye. Can he uncover the secrets of the school before it's too late?
Cover: Has to be one of the greatest middle grade covers ever!  The lenticular design is so fun and creepy at the same time.  A cover to really stand out on the shelf.  Will definitely appeal to its middle grade audience.

This book had me hooked from page one.  It wasn't slow to get going at all, and it flowed so well that I just kept turning page after page until I'd devoured the entire book in a single evening.
As I was reading I was reminded of stores by Roald Dahl or Lemony Snicket.
It's such a dark and twisted read that still managed to be fun.
The illustrations were fantastic and have now made me want a two-headed pet rat.  Just saying.
There is action, mystery and suspense on every page.
The perfect monstrous-middle-grade read.
An absolute must read for readers of any age.
5/5 stars!

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Booking Through Thursday

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

Happy Spring Equinox, everyone! What book are YOU choosing to celebrate with?

I can't say I'm celebrating it exactly, but my current read it Out of Sight Out of Mind by Evonne Wareham, and I'm reading it as it's a review copy.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

  • Received for review
  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin (7 Feb 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 0141340231
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141340234
This is not the fairytale you remember.

But it’s one you won’t forget.

Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. The police have closed her case. The only person Scarlet can turn to is Wolf, a street fighter she does not trust, but they are drawn to each other.

Meanwhile, in New Beijing, Cinder will become the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive – when she breaks out of prison to stay one step ahead of vicious Queen Levana.

As Scarlet and Wolf expose one mystery, they encounter Cinder and a new one unravels. Together they must challenge the evil queen, who will stop at nothing to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner . . .

Cover:  Another perfect, relevant and beautiful cover for this series.

Scarlet picks up where Cinder left off.  And after I finished Cinder I needed to delve into Scarlet right away.

The same fast paced, action packed sci-fi/fantasy read.

I really liked that we still got to see Cinder, and that her story merges with Scarlet (Red Riding Hood).

I loved that we get a different setting.  Cinder was set in New-Beijing and Scarlet takes place in France.  The diversity helped keep the story fresh.

This was a really clever re-telling of Red Riding Hood.  The way Marissa Meyer introduced the wolf element of the story was amazing.

There were some twists and turns that I didn't see coming.

I liked Scarlet's character but wasn't as attached to her as Cinder, who I found to be the more compelling heroine.  However she is strong minded and doesn't take no for an answer, and she's determined to find her grandmother.
I loved the new characters that we are introduced to.
Wolf- a streetfighter that helps Scarlet track down her missing grandmother but may be hiding something, and the hilarious womanizing convict that escapes with Cinder.

I still wished that we got to see more in Prince Kai's point of view.

The villain, Queen Levana, is one of the best villains I've read.  She is so evil.  You love to hate her.  She tried to murder her 3 year old niece.  Yeah.  That is one mean Queen.

The end of evil. I need book 3 right now!  

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Author Interview with Marissa Meyer

To celebrate New York Times bestselling author of CINDER and SCARLET, Marissa Meyer's first UK signing on March 26, 6:00p.m., at Waterstones Bromley I have an interview with her here on the blog!

1. In the Lunar Chronicles so far we've had the setting of New Beijing and France, is travel something you like or want to do? And where would you most like to go?

Oh yes, I LOVE to travel. I wish I could say it was mostly for cultural enrichment and personal growth, but mostly I just really love food, and exploring new kinds of food, lol! My list of places I'd love to see someday is ridiculously long, but I think Germany is at the very top. Because it's the home of the Grimm Brothers! I would love to see some awesome German castles and also travel the "Fairy Tale Road," which I guess is a road that cuts through the middle of the country and passes a lot of sites where the Grimm Brothers lived and worked, and also some places that may have inspired different fairy tales. (Such as the Town of Bremen, which has a statue in its square of the Bremen Town Musicians.)

2. I've never read a YA novel where the heroine was part cyborg before, the originality blew me away. Where did your initial idea come from?

Thank you! I had the idea of combining fairy tales with science fiction after I entered a writing contest with a futuristic retelling of "Puss in Boots," but the idea for a cyborg Cinderella specifically came to me in a dream. I saw Cinderella running down the palace steps, but instead of losing her glass slipper, her foot fell off! I woke up with this idea of a cyborg Cinderella and her world and character started to come together really fast.

3. If you could co-write a book with anyone, who would it be and why?

Well, I honestly don't think I would be a very good co-writer. I'm such a control nut! But I would LOVE to work with an illustrator someday on a graphic novel. I would probably choose my best friend, who's an artist - she and I have actually been talking about doing a manga together since we were teens. Maybe someday it will happen...

4. Do you any writing routines or quirks?

I tend to be pretty flexible with when and where I write - most of Cinder was written on a cramped bus during an hour-long commute. Really, I think my only true requirement is that I'm wearing socks. If my feet are cold, I can't think about anything else.

5. Since The Lunar Chronicles are fairytale re-telligs, what is your favourite fairytale and why.

This is SUCH a difficult question! I tend to go for the darker ones, like Bluebeard, about the serial killer husband, or the old versions of Little Red Riding Hood that feature cannibalism and strip-teases. (Seriously.) I also like stories in which the heroine is able to rescue herself instead of relying on a prince or whatever. Little Red originally saved herself from the Wolf, before Charles Perrault got ahold of it. Gretel, too - lots of people think Hansel shoved the witch in the oven, but nope, it was the sister. Go Gretel!

Thank you so much for stopping by my blog Marissa.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Booking Through Thursday

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

Does your current mood affect your reading? Affect your choices? I know there are plenty of books I enjoy, but only if Im in a particular kind of mood–or books that can lift me out of a bad mood without fail. Surely I’m not alone?

I know a lot readers say the same, but I don't think I do this.  And if I do it's certainly not a conscious decision.  I never know what I'm going to read one book from the next, and I just whatever jumps out of my shelf at me at the time.  But I know a lot of people that say when they're down they like to read a happy, contemporary romance book or something but I just don't do it.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

The Unloved by Jennifer Snyder

Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 304 KB
  • Print Length: 265 pages
  •  ISBN: 1478259531
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
Sometimes the love our heart needs to heal can be found in the familiar eyes of a childhood friend...

Julie Porter learned the hard way that trust is something which must be earned and not something to be given out lightly, those who say they love you are those who hold the power to hurt you most, and best friends can help you survive anything—until they move away.

Nick Owen knows a thing or two about a hard life. At a young age Nick learned how to take a hit and to make lemonade out of the lemons life tossed his way. Returning home after nearly two years of being away, all Nick cares about now is protecting his mom from the abusive hands of his father and catching up with his best friend—the girl who lived across the street, the girl he can’t seem to stop thinking about.

Finally reunited after two years apart, Nick and Julie are about to learn that age does nothing to protect you from life’s trials and tribulations, heartache and loss, but maybe together they’ll find a way to survive.

(Mature Young Adult, contains violence, language, and sexual situations.)

Cover:  I love this cover.  A super cute image with people I consider to be good matches for the characters of Julie and Nick.  My only issue is that it's supposed to be set in a small town, and the background here seems to be more urban.

This is yet another New Adult book I've stumbled across on Goodreads.  This one appealed to me because a few reviews compared it to Sophie & Carter by Chelsea Fine and Heart On A Chain by Cindy C. Bennett both of which I loved.
Nick and Julie both ave trouble lives, and when they were children, they sought solace with each other, hanging out in a shed.  Their shared experiences brought them together and made them best friends, until Nick moved away.
I really enjoyed seeing Nick and Julie's friendship move into something more, but felt there needed to be more chemistry between them.  It just lacked passion in a lot of places.  And the end (which I won't spoil here) just felt a tad unbelievable. 
I loved that we got both their points of view in alternating chapters.
I really enjoyed this book but I didn't love it as much as I loved Sphoie and Carter of Heart On A Chain, but it's still a great read that I highly recommend for New Adult fans.
4/5 stars.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Always on my Mind by Bella Andre

Received for review
Format: Kindle Edition

  • File Size: 448 KB
  • Print Length: 216 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Lori “Naughty” Sullivan finally falls in love in ALWAYS ON MY MIND, the new book in Bella Andre’s New York Times and USA Today bestselling series about the Sullivan family.

    After a tragic loss three years ago, Grayson Tyler left his life in New York City behind and started over in the rolling hills of the California coast. He's convinced himself that all he'll ever need again is the blue sky, a thousand acres of pasture, and the crashing waves of the ocean. Until one day, Lori Sullivan barges into his life and promptly blows his emotionless and solitary world to shreds, driving him crazy as only a woman nicknamed “Naughty” can. But will Lori be able to convince him that it's safe to love her...and that forever isn't actually out of reach?
  • Cover: Super sweet and sexy cover.  Great choices to match the characters of Lori and Grayson.  Great cover.
I was lucky enough to participate in the 'Fall In Love With The Sullivans' blogtour back in January, when I had the opportunity to read the first seven books.  And read them I did!  Back to back!  I was so engrossed and invested in all the characters and their stories, I couldn't put them down.  I really did fall in love with the Sullivans, so I was devastated when I ran out of books.
So when I was asked if I wanted to review 'Always on my Mind' I jumped up and down with excitement.  I couldn't wait to start it.
Everything about it was amazing.  I loved the farm setting and the cranky farmer Grayson as bubbly, lively Lori's love interest.  And I also really enjoyed seeing the vulnerable side to Lori that we didn't really see in the other books.
Their chemistry was sizzling and the sarcastic banter between them was hilarious.  Both of them fighting their inevitable attraction to each other.
The only thing I missed was seeing more of the Sullivan clan.  They were in there towards the end but I just missed seeing so much of the big family.
I did love that Lori named Grayson's pig after her brothers and sister...made me laugh a lot.
4.5/5 stars!  Not my favourite of the series but still absolutely loved it, and couldn't stop reading it.
This is definitely my favourite contemporary adult romance series.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Booking Through Thursday

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

Clocks change this weekend here in the US, which means one less hour to read … does anybody else begrudge that hour like I do? Wish the Powers That Be would just pick a time-frame and stick to it instead of inflicting clock-driven jet lag on an innocent public twice a year?
(Yeah, so not a question so much about reading … except, of course, you do need to use your electric light to be able to read, so the hour it gets dark IS relevant!)

Here in the UK, the clocks don't go back just yet.  But when they do, I won't really mind.  It's not something that's ever bothered me.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Publisher: Puffin Books
Published: 5 Jan 2012
Format: Paperback 400 pages

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, the ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . . 

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Cover:  I think it's a universal opinion that this is one of the most beautiful and striking covers in YA.  It's the perfect cover for this futuristic, Cinderella-cyborg retelling.  I love the contrast between the sci-fi-esque leg, combined with the classic fairytale font. 

I've finally pick this up...a year later!  I don't know what has taken me so damn long because it was bloody brilliant.

I'm a big fan of fairytale re-tellings- but this one has blown them all out of the water.
The setting was incredible.  Most YA novels take place in the US, so to see this one being set in 'New Beijing' was so refreshing and original.
Making Cinderella part cyborg made her one of the most original and stand-out female protagonists that I've ever read.
I liked the there was a 'feel' of romance but it's extremely light, and is in no way the focus of the book, but I'd really like to see it develop in the later books, and I hope that Cinder will get her Prince.
I would say that I wish that we had more from Prince Kai's perspective.  I really liked his POV but we never get to read his thoughts on Cinder, which I really wanted.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, I couldn't put it down and I can't wait to pick up book 2, Scarlet. 
5/5 stars!

Sunday, 3 March 2013

The Gilded Fan by Christina Courtnay

Received for review
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Choc Lit (7 Feb 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781890080
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781890080
How do you start a new life, leaving behind all you love?

It’s 1641, and when Midori Kumashiro, the orphaned daughter of a warlord, is told she has to leave Japan or die, she has no choice but to flee to England. Midori is trained in the arts of war, but is that enough to help her survive a journey, with a lecherous crew and an attractive captain she doesn’t trust?

Having come to Nagasaki to trade, the last thing Captain Nico Noordholt wants is a female passenger, especially a beautiful one. How can he protect her from his crew when he can’t keep his own eyes off her?

During their journey, Nico and Midori form a tentative bond, but they both have secrets that can change everything. When they arrive in England, a civil war is brewing, and only by standing together can they hope to survive…

Cover:  One of the most stunning covers I own.  It is really is beautiful.  And on last week's Booking Through Thursday I had several comments from fellow readers admiring the gorgeous cover.

I loved this book!  I'd never really read a historical novel set in/about Japan and I was completely engrossed.  Midori is forced to flee Japan under the threat of death because of her mixed parentage.  She leaves on a trade ship captained by Nico.
I really enjoyed seeing the clash of cultures Midori faced, her English and Japanese sides seemingly in competition. 
Midori was a delightful character.  She was so strong and independent.  And Nico was definitely a swoon worthy hero.  Their romance wasn't instant, yes the attraction was sizzling, but instead slowly building over a number of years.
I really love historical novels but had no idea about the shogun persecuting practicing Christians in Japan, and I loved learning something new.
The English Civil War and the siege of Plymouth was also interesting to read about.
I definitely recommend this for historical or romance fans!  It explores religion, culture, war, love, family and standing up for what's right whilst taking you around the world.
5/5 stars!