21 June 2016

Release Day Review: Beauty and the Highland Beast by Lecia Cornwall

Powerful and dangerous highlander Dair Sinclair was once the favored son of his clan, The Sinclairs of Carraig Brigh. With Dair at the helm, Sinclair ships circled the globe bringing home incredible fortune. Until one deadly mission when Dair is captured, tortured and is unable to save his young cousin. He returns home breaking under the weight of his guilt and becomes known as the Madman of Carraig Brigh.

When a pagan healer predicts that only a virgin bride can heal his son’s body and mind, Dair’s father sets off to find the perfect wife for his son. At the castle of the fearsome McLeods, he meets lovely and kind Fia MacLeod.

Although Dair does his best to frighten Fia, she sees the man underneath the damage and uses her charm and special gifts to heal his mind and heart. Will Dair let Fia love him or is he cursed with madness forever?


5 Words: Beauty, family, scars, love, cure.

This was a really interesting take on Beauty and the Beast, but rather than being a retelling, it was more like it was inspired by it, but just a bit.

The story itself jumps around a little bit, and it's quite slow to start. I'm a fan of slow-burners so I liked that about it. I wasn't so sure about Dair's seemingly instant attraction to Fia, it seemed to go against his character. But the passion between them? Loved it.

I loved that the heroine had her flaws, that even her family sometimes resented her for them. I loved her self doubt and how despite everything she stayed strong and feisty.

I'll definitely read on :)

14 June 2016

Blog Tour: Review & Excerpt: Beautiful by Ella Bordeaux

Skylar Woods unknowingly drew Wyatt Smith toward her. He wanted... needed to learn everything about her. Though he sensed her beauty was more than just skin deep, Wyatt struggled to understand the sadness she attempted to mask with an amazing smile.

When Skylar’s eyes met Wyatt’s for the first time, her breath caught and she couldn’t look away from the new guy standing in the school office smiling at her. The connection only grew when Wyatt sat next to her in English class, allowing Skylar to dare to believe he might actually be interested in getting to know her.

For the first time in months, she felt alive.

The moment Wyatt expressed an interest, the notes started again... the ones that reminded her of a past she could never move beyond - the event that changed her life forever and robbed her of any chance of happiness.

Never believing the rumors being spread around school about Skylar, Wyatt made sure he went out of his way to prove how much he cared about her.

But when the past resurfaces, will Wyatt stand by her side? Or will he turn against her like everyone else?


5 Words: Judgement, school, friendship, trauma, family.

Mixed feelings with this one - if I hadn't have read it so soon after books with similar themes I probably would have rated it higher.

That said, it was a good book.

I loved the portrayal of high school. I loved how these teens were teens, even if it made me angry that rape culture had become so prevalent, how victim blaming and slut shaming was OK. I also loved the strong friendship between Skylar and Michelle, how Michelle just knew.

The only bad point was the creepy vibes I got from Wyatt at the start, but this is probably because those creepy vibes echoed Edward from Twilight. Not my cup of tea.

I liked how the ending has left me wanting more! I don't know if it was done purposefully to leave the story hanging pending another installment, or it it was a very very clever way to end everything.

EXCERPT

The moment I saw him walk into my English class, I had to catch my breath. That was twice now that I’d seen him. He was breathtakingly handsome. His dark hair made his eyes pop all the way from across the room. All of the girls immediately started whispering, praying he would notice one of them.
I sat in the back right corner, as far away from everyone as I could. There was no chance of him seeing me.
Then, our eyes met. I instantly felt my cheeks blush, like earlier when he’d smiled at me in the office. I wasn’t so sure if he was looking my way or not now.
Is he smiling at Jenny or at me?
Jenny was a beautiful blonde-haired, blue-eyed cheerleader. She could pretty much just look at a guy, and he would fall for her.
Mrs. Hathaway grinned at him and then told him to pick a seat. He turned and looked directly at me again. My heart started pounding so loud that I was sure everyone in the classroom could hear it.
“I heard he moved here from New Mexico. He wanted to play football for a Texas high school, so a college would notice him,” Jenny said as she started to mess with her hair.
“What’s his name?” Beth asked.
Jenny shrugged her shoulders. “Who cares? Look at that body. My God, they make them good in New Mexico.” She jumped up and moved over a seat right before he got to her table.
For some reason, my heart was breaking. How stupid of me to think he would notice me. Even if he did, everyone would tell him to stay away from me.
He passed by Jenny’s table, walked right up to mine, and smiled.
Oh. My. God.
“Hey, I’m Wyatt. Mind if I sit here with you?” he asked.
That drop-dead gorgeous smile melted my heart.
I smiled. “No, not at all. It’s open.”
He sat down, and I glanced over toward Jenny and her posse. If looks could kill, I’d be on the floor right now.

Cover Reveal & Giveaway: Lavender in Bloom by Lily Velez



Lavender in Bloom
by Lily Velez

Publication date: July 25th 2016
Genres: Historical, Romance, Young Adult

It’s the year 1802 in Avignon, France…
Noah Capet has spent most of his young life living simple and unvaried days in the hushed countryside of southern France. Quiet, reserved, and diffident, his preference for existing is to do so in solitude, keeping to himself both in town and on his family’s farm—a predilection that’s altogether disrupted when a newcomer to town by the name of Jeremie Perreault begins an unremitting quest to befriend him.

Jeremie is everything Noah is not. Charismatic and gregarious, he leaves a trail of charmed admirers in his wake wherever he goes. Expressive and idealistic, he talks without end about his deep love for old books and his spirited dream to one day travel the world on a literary pilgrimage.

Over the course of a single summer, the two form an unlikely friendship, but just as quickly as it develops, it soon entirely dissolves as they’re forced to face the truth of what has unexpectedly emerged between them.

Lavender in Bloom is a tender and tragic coming-of-age story about first love and self-discovery, and a poignant reminder that time is fleeting and always takes with it the choices we’re too afraid to make.




Lily Velez has been writing stories since she was six years old. Not much has changed since then. She still prefers the written word and her overactive imagination over the 'real world' (though to be fair, her stories no longer feature talking dinosaurs). A graduate of Rollins College and a Florida native, when she's not reading or writing, she spends most of her days wrangling up her pit bulls Noah and Luna, planning exciting travel adventures, and nursing her addiction to cheese. All this when she isn't participating in the extreme sport known as napping. You can learn more about Lily and her books at www.lilyvelezbooks.com.

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10 June 2016

Blog Tour: Love, or Nearest Offer by Adèle Geras

What if your estate agent could find you not just your perfect house, but your perfect job, your perfect partner... your perfect new life?

On paper, Iris Atkins is an estate agent, but she's not just good at finding suitable houses for her clients. In fact, she has a gift: Iris is able to see into their lives and understand exactly what is missing and what they need - and not just in bricks-and-mortar terms either.

Of course, concentrating so much on fixing other people's problems doesn't leave much time for examining your own. Over the course of one whirlwind year Iris discovers that while she may know what's best for everyone else, she doesn't necessarily know what's best for herself - and what she finds out could make her happier than she'd ever dreamed of.


5 Words: Relationships, love, loss, moving-on, family.

This was a perfect summer read, easy to curl up with when it's raining (because this is Britain and it's usually raining) and easy to stretch out with on a lounger in the sun on one of the four days of summer or while you're on holiday.

I loved Iris and how her own life wasn't perfect - things were messed up and as well as working through her own problems she made everyone around her feel a little better too. This isn't a wishy-washy romance, there's substance to the stories. Iris pushes people together who might never have met otherwise, and it's so lovely.

This was a wonderfully heartwarming story, which set itself apart from other books in the genre with an original plot featuring the amazing Iris. There are several threads to the story and I found that it wrapped up nicely.

I hadn't read anything by Adèle Geras for years - Tower Room was one of my favourite books as a teen - and I not only loved this, but I'll be seeking out more of her adult works. She has a style which is easily distinctive and always accessible.

07 June 2016

Top Ten Tuesday #62

Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and is a chance for everyone to get to know fellow bloggers and share lists. I love lists. Every week is a different list.

This week is Ten Reasons I Love... UKYA.

  • The Community
    Probably the most accepting online community ever. I was a little nervous when I first joined in, but honestly? I had nothing to worry about.
  • Authors
    They're pretty much all crazy. But in a good way. And also so accessible to fans. I'm not afraid to reach out to any of them and ask questions or even just chat.
  • Chats
    #UKYAChat is just all of the awesome. And Lucy Powrie who runs it each week is absolutely incredible.
  • Events
    There aren't many up in the real North, but those that make it up here? Amazing. There's always something a little special, a little extra touch like swag or bags of crisps
  • THE AWESOME BOOKS
    Out of all of the YA in the world, I can always tell when I'm reading UKYA. There's something special about it, something especially magical.
  • There's always someone to talk to
    You read a book, you go online and YES, SOMEONE ELSE HAS READ IT even though it's ancient and not popular and YES, THEY LOVED IT TOO.
  • Pushing boundaries
    Junk by Melvin Burgess pushed every boundary ever and probably defines what UKYA is about, it's still totally relevant 20 years later but now it's not alone.
  • Enthusiasm
    Everyone is always so enthusiastic about everything. Anything new or exciting is broadcast by everyone, everywhere.
  • Covers
    It's no secret that covers often change in different territories and with different publishers, but I think the UKYA ones are consistently stunning.
  • Support
    If you ever have a bad day, the community and books will cheer you up no end. Except maybe Melinda Salisbury, she excels in breaking hearts and crushing souls.

27 May 2016

Review: This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity High School finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03 a.m. The auditorium doors won't open.

10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting.

Told from four different perspectives over the span of fifty-four harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival. 


5 Words: Not my cup of tea.

I had really been looking forward to this one. There was so much hype, I was seeing it everywhere, I'd heard good things...

But.

I knew it wasn't looking so good when I was ready to DNF by the second chapter. Up until then it was just dull and confusing. But then it picked up a little, started to get more interesting... And quickly trailed back to just dull and confusing.

I found the characters to be pretty one-dimensional. I couldn't even tell them apart, never mind connect with any of them.

It felt like the author had picked up a "make your book diverse" checklist and tried to tick every box. A story which could have been amazing and heart-breaking just didn't come together because so much was going on in so few pages. There was a lot of telling, very little showing and a one-voice-fits-all cast of characters. Shame.

I received a copy of this for free via NetGalley for review purposes.