10 December 2014

Review: A Christmas to Remember by Jenny Hale

Everyone loves Christmas – don’t they?

Carrie Blake loves her job as a nanny but, while her friends are settling down, all of Carrie’s spare time is spent with other people’s families. Though it breaks her heart, her New Year’s resolution is to embark on a new career and fix her love life.

As Carrie starts her last job, she’s sure she’ll be going out on a high – the house is amazing , the kids are adorable, and she’s in charge of decorating the tree! 

The only problem could be her boss… single-dad Adam Fletcher might be both handsome and successful, but he’s always working. Doesn’t he realise he’s missing out on precious moments with his son and daughter?

As Adam’s family arrive for Christmas including his sensitive sister, Sharon, and his fun-loving elderly Grandpa, Walter, Carrie realises that she might just have found the perfect allies in her quest to persuade Adam to loosen up. There’s still time for Carrie to make this the best Christmas ever… after all, Christmas is the time for miracles, isn’t it? Let the festivities begin!


Source: NetGalley Request

5 words: family, love, christmas, making time.

Damn, that was sweet! So sweet. I think my teeth hurt.

This book takes a very well used story line of a super-rich work-obsessed single dad who hires a nanny/au pair/party planner and all sorts of warm fuzzies ensue. And this book does it so well.

I actually loved every single character. Every one of them. I couldn't help it! Carrie tugged at my heart strings with all of the love she had to give, Olivia was just freaking adorable, David was seriously cute and Adam sounded delicious.

This story really got me in the mood for Christmas, and I loved the underlying message. You should always make time for your loved ones, and it's something you can very easily forget to do.

05 December 2014

Review: Christmas is Cancelled by Aurelia B. Rowl

It’s impossible to forget…

Matilda ‘Tilly’ Carter has had the week from hell – and now, with all trains cancelled, it looks like Christmas will be too! With a mascara-streaked face, a broken heel and nowhere to go, there’s never been a worse time to run into the man who once broke her heart. Especially when he looks better than ever. 

The one that got away…

For Dean, Christmas has always been hard. The Tilly standing before him is no longer the firecracker of his memories—even if the way she makes his heart race hasn’t changed at all. He is determined to uphold the promise that kept them apart nine years ago. But spending a cosy Christmas with Tilly would break a better man and each accidental touch, heated look and stolen kiss is taking its toll on Dean.

After all this time, can the magic of Christmas bring Tilly and Dean together at last?


Source: NetGalley Request | Purchase

5 Words: Passion, love, tradition, family, HEA.

What a great story! I wanted it to go on and would happily read this story again. It's a heart-warming, steamy, passionate, sensual tale of that first love working out after all those years. And I loved it.

Tilly was a great character, she knew what she wanted and she went for it. And boy, did she want Dean. Her love and passion for him was almost addictive.

Then Phil comes along and throws a spanner in the works and everything goes a little crazy and because Tilly doens't know what's happening the reader doesn't either and that was a fantastic piece of writing.

This was a quick Christmas read and really got me in the mood for the festive season. And I just noticed that it's part of a series. IT'S A SERIES GUYS! I can't wait to read about Phil, he was a bit of a dick, but there's definitely something there.


03 December 2014

Review: French Kissed by Chanel Cleeton

On the surface, Fleur Marceaux has it all. If only the facade matched reality. With one year left at the International School in London, Fleur’s struggling to graduate, her love life is a mess, and she can’t stop thinking about Max, her ex-boyfriend’s best friend. But all that pales compared to the blackmailer determined to destroy her. 

There’s a social hierarchy at the International School and Max Tucker is outside the velvet ropes. After watching Fleur break his friend’s heart, Max knows to stay away from trouble, despite the crush he’s had on her since freshman year. But when they’re partnered on a project, Max learns there’s more to Fleur than meets the eye, and she just might be worth the wild ride. 

The more time they spend together, the further Max falls. And when a kiss awakens a passion Fleur never imagined, she’s unable to resist Max, who she had thought was all wrong for her but might be the only thing that’s right. But will he stand by her when her secrets are revealed?


Source: NetGalley Request | Review Consideration | Purchase

5 Words: Heaven, passion, love, blackmail, culture.

The best thing about the International School series is this weird mesh of different cultures. It's a situation you don't come across often, even in books. And all of the misunderstandings and miscommunication and the sharing and learning and love... Man, it's perfect.

Which would explain the mass of pink highlights throughout my copy.

I adored Max's infatuation with Fleur. If I tell you about it, it will just sound creepy, so I deleted that whole paragraph of my review. You just gotta go read the book to know what I'm on about, it's the only way you'll understand.
Other guys might have fantasized about porn stars or lingerie models. I fantasized about Fleur Marceaux.
I love Fleur, and when I found out she was getting a book of her own I was so excited - she was just so freaking intriguing in the first two books, despite being a supporting character.

I loved the little hints we got about Maggie and Samir, but I would have loved to find out more about Mya too - she's always been this peripheral not-really-there character that seems to make up the threesome when it's convenient.

This was a sizzling, steamy romance, and I loved it. How passionate and desperate it was yet how they still tried to take it slow... Ish.

I was sad when I got to the end... Because this really is the end :(


02 December 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #22

Top 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 Top Ten Books I'm Looking Forward To In 2015.

This was a difficult one to write... Mainly because I rarely look even a week ahead when it comes to my next read! The result is that these books are mostly books I am looking forward to because I've already read the previous books in the series. But there are a few standalone gems and new starts, and of course some UKYA.
  1. Untitled (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J Maas
  2. A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1) by Sarah J Maas
  3. Queen of Tomorrow (Stolen Empire #2) by Sherry D. Ficklin 
  4. The Shadow Cabinet (Shades of London #3) by Maureen Johnson
  5. Angel of Storms (Millenium’s Rule #2) by Trudi Canavan
  6. Prudence (The Custard Protocol #1) by Gail Carriger
  7. Emeralds & Ashes (At Somerton #3) by Leila Rasheed
  8. The Devil's Angel by Kevin Brooks
  9. Persist by Melvin Burges
  10. The Beloved by Alison Rattle
The Throne of Glass series is absolutely at the top of my list. The series just goes from strength to strength and I'm sharing the love this week with a giveaway. It gets even busier this month with the Christmas Readathon, where seasonal books and another giveaway are on the cards.

What do you have on your list?





01 December 2014

Review and Giveaway: Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas

Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. 

Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy. 

While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?


Source: Purchase

5 Words: IT'S SO FREAKING KICK ASS!

When I finished this book I just sat there, staring at the gorgeous back cover. Because. Because...

I read that ending twice. TWICE. And I still can't get my head around it and WHERE IS THE NEXT BOOK ALREADY?

This series truly goes from strength to strength. I cannot get enough of it. I've pushed it on my friends, my family, strangers in the street. Really, I have. I gush about it and tease people with snippets.

With every book, I understand Celaena a little bit more. And I love her more and more with each page of her story.

This story introduced so many new characters. SO MANY. Really. Lots and lots. And there were some I didn't like at the start, who I now can't wait to read more of, and one who I'm not quite decided on.

GIVEAWAY

29 November 2014

Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Maas

Crowned by Evil.
Bound by Duty.
Divided by Love.

Celaena Sardothien, royal assassin, is the King of Adarlan's deadliest weapon. She must win her freedom through his enemies' blood - but she cannot bear to kill for the crown. And every death Celaena fakes, every lie she tells, put those she loves at risk.

Torn between her two protectors - a captain and a prince - and battling a dark force far greater than the king, Celaena must decide what she will fight for: her liberty, her heart or the fate of a kingdom...


Source: Purchase

5 Words: Secrets, tragedy, death, lies, betrayal.

5 More Words: Love, regret, heartbreak, magic, surprises.

This series definitely gets better as it goes on. Read the first book, even if it's only so you can read this one and know what's happened before because Crown of Midnight is the complete opposite of the Second Book Curse. I even gave it ten words instead of five, a very rare occurrence.

In Crown of Midnight we see the kick-ass assassin that the first book promised really come to life. She rips through the pages, tearing them to shreds. She is cold, calculating. But that's not the sum total of all her parts. We see different sides of this dangerous assassin and even a surprise dose of romance, affection and soul-baring love.

The only reason this book didn't get a full 5 stars is because I'm still not head-over-heels for Celaena. But she sure is growing on me. I understand her far more than I did before. I'm starting to fall for her. I don't care that she's often gazing in the mirror. Heck, I stare in the mirror long enough myself (even if I'm not thinking about how pretty I am) and I care about my appearance. Isn't that just a sign of the girl, the barely-a-woman adolescent that Celaena is?

After that ending, I can't wait to get on to Heir of Fire.


28 November 2014

Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

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?


Source: Purchase

5 Words: Let me take a selfie.

So.

This book.

Well.

When I picked up this book I was expecting a kick-ass assassin. Someone who totally embodied girl-power and was dark and nasty and strong and smart.

But at the beginning of this, Celaena is a simpering, vain, arrogant and very silly little girl.

For all of her mutterings that she could take out everyone, kill everyone, maim everyone, there was some simpering in front of a mirror wondering how pretty she was and whether everyone was attracted to her or not.

I'm going to kill EVERYONE because I'm the best most kick-ass assassin in the world. But first, let me take a selfie.

That being said, I decided to stick it out with this book. It was hard going. Celaena is so freaking vain, she probably thought this book was about her. By the time I got half way I wanted to give up. But I'd gotten so far.

Just one more little push?

It was worth it.

Throne of Glass picks up so much towards the end. We finally get to see Celaena being that deadly world famous assassin she's always bragging about being. This book got very dark, very quickly within those last chapters, and I loved it.

But was it worth so much hard work with one of the most shallow characters I've ever read? Absolutely. I'm going to try the next one to see if Celaena will keep this wonderful dark persona that developed at the end.


25 November 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #21

Top 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 Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR.

In December all I'm going to read is Christmas themed books. It's something I've only done for the past couple of years, but I look forward to it pretty much from January and snap up any holiday books I see. It's so much FUN. But since winter is more like 3 months than 1, I'd better shove a few none-holiday ones up there.
  • Maybe This Christmas by Sarah Morgan
  • Christmas is Cancelled by Aurelia B Rowl
  • A Christmas to Remember by Jenny Hale
  • Mistletoe Mansion by Samantha Tonge
  • Baby It's Cold Outside by Kerry Barrett
  • Driving Home for Christmas by A L Michael
  • Winter Seige by Ariana Franklin
  • Forever His Darling by Sarah Randall
  • The Little Christmas Kitchen by Jenny Oliver
  • The Little Shop of Hopes and Dreams by Fiona Harper

What about you?

20 November 2014

Review: Pirates! by Celia Rees

Nancy Kington, daughter of a rich merchant, suddenly orphaned when her father dies, is sent to live on her family's plantation in Jamaica. Disgusted by the treatment of the slaves and her brother's willingness to marry her off, she and one of the slaves, Minerva, run away and join a band of pirates.

For both girls the pirate life is their only chance for freedom in a society where both are treated like property, rather than individuals. Together they go in search of adventure, love, and a new life that breaks all restrictions of gender, race, and position. 

Told through Nancy's writings, their adventures will appeal to readers across the spectrum and around the world.


Source: Purchase | Library

5 Words: Swashbuckling adventure. Love, danger, life.

I always find it so difficult to review my favourite books. I just can't put my feelings into words. It's particularly hard when I have read that book so many times over the past decade that the pages are falling out and the cover's peeling off, because by now my love for the book has no reason, it just is.

Pirates! is such an adventure. It has so many twists and turns and shocks and some really sweet and poignant moments. It's a book that sets my heart racing, it's a book that has such a vivid world that I am lost to real life when I read it. It's dramatic and thought-provoking.

Every time I read this book, I get more out of it than before. It's one of those books that I itch to read at least once a year and turn to when life's just getting too much. It's a safety blanket make of pure escapism.

This book is wonderfully written, in a quirky style. I love the journey that Nancy takes, both physically and as a person.

It's a book I can see clear as day when I close my eyes. It would make an amazing film or mini-series.

Now that I'm kind of finished gushing (for now) I urge you to get out and grab a copy of this book and get stuck in.

18 November 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #20

Top 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 Top Ten Sequels I Can't Wait To Get.

You know when you start a book and you love it then you realise it's part of a series? How awesome. Here's my top ten next-in-series books I can't wait for, in no particular order.

What book can you just not wait for?

17 November 2014

Review: Goddess by Laura Powell

Strikes. Starvation. Riots.

Britain is at breaking-point and Aura is blind to it all. The Cult of Artemis is the only home she’s ever known.

Enclosed in its luxury lifestyle, the unrest gripping the country seems to belong to a distant world. Her dream is to serve the Goddess and taking a vow of chastity and obedience seems a small price to pay.

But days before Aura is due to be initiated as a Priestess, she meets Aiden, the rebellious son of a cult insider, whose radical ideas and unsettling charm force Aura to question everything – and everyone – she knows.


Source: NetGalley Request

5 Words: Cult, politics, revolution, mythology, prophecy.

When I started this book, it was with the thought "this is a pretty cover" running through my head. Because yet again I didn't read the blurb. But I think if I'd read the blurb I wouldn't have gone on to read the book, because it just doesn't sound like my cup of tea.

This alternate universe mixes mythology and magic with the political unrest and distrust that is evident today. And it's quite good.

This is quite a fast paced book for all that it sometimes feels like nothing is happening. I was never bored while I read it, and it kept me turning the pages. Because of the pace, it's a relatively quick read.

I liked Aura, and how she changed and the story progressed. She's almost unrecognisable from the quite girl you meet in the first pages, by the time you get to the end she's really come out of her shell. I also liked the complexities of the cult, and the corruption spreading throughout.

04 November 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #19 + GIVEAWAY

Top 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 Top Ten Books I Want To Reread.

There are some books that are just so darn awesome you have to reread them again and again. Then you get the amazing series that you have to reread. And these books are in order, starting with my number one reread.
  1. I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith
  2. Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling
  3. Black Magician Trilogy by Trudi Canavan
  4. The Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger
  5. Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J Maas
  6. Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella
  7. Lucas by Kevin Brooks
  8. Junk by Melvin Burgess
  9. Shadows and Strongholds by Elizabeth Chadwick
  10. Sundowners by Leslie Lokko

GIVEAWAY


03 November 2014

Review: Since You've Been Gone by Mary Jennifer Payne

Is it possible to outrun your past? Fifteen-year-old Edie Fraser and her mother, Sydney, have been trying to do just that for five years. Now, things have gone from bad to worse. Not only has Edie had to move to another new school she's in a different country. 

Sydney promises her that this is their chance at a fresh start, and Edie does her best to adjust to life in London, England, despite being targeted by the school bully. But when Sydney goes out to work the night shift and doesn't come home, Edie is terrified that the past has finally caught up with them. 

Alone in a strange country, Edie is afraid to call the police for fear that she ll be sent back to her abusive father. Determined to find her mother, but with no idea where to start, she must now face the most difficult decision of her life.


Source: NetGalley Request

5 Words: family, friendship, bravery, strength, loyalty.

This is a very quick read with a pretty fast pace. It's gripping enough to keep you reading, and deep enough to make you stop and think.

Edie is a character that I felt very sorry for but who I also thought was incredibly strong. It was definitely a little weird.

This story hooked me. It was pretty heavy reading for something so short and I feel that a lot of the issues and the other characters could have been explored more. If only there were more pages!

With some more pages I think this would have gotten a higher rating. But this book started fast, continued racing and then BAM it was finished. It was all over so quickly.

22 October 2014

Tour: Review and Giveaway: Third Time Lucky by Pippa Croft

'It's Sister Dixon from the Royal Infirmary here. I'm sorry to tell you that Captain Hunt has been involved a serious incident.'

Lauren Cusack should be on her way home for an holiday in Washington before her final term at Wyckham College, Oxford. But this call changes everything. Her relationship with impossibly handsome aristocrat Alexander Hunt has been turbulent and Lauren knows she needs to walk away. Yet now as she rushes to his side she knows she will be inevitably sucked back into his world.

And sure enough, Alexander - even a seriously injured Alexander - is an intoxicating cocktail Lauren cannot resist and despite everything that is sent to thwart them - and with Alexander there is drama at every turn - she finds herself happier than she's ever been.

But as her final term races by, and she is offered the perfect job back in Washington, the impossibility of their romance hits home.

Can there be a future for Alexander and Lauren?


Source: Blog Tour | Review Consideration | NetGalley Request

5 Words: Passion, lust, love, conflict, family.

I have read all of the books in this series and I'm glad I have. As much as each of these books can be read as a standalone, you really get a better feel of the situation if you read all three. And you can experience all of the drama, passion, attraction and plotting.

I couldn't get enough of Lauren and Alexander. They're like an addiction, but also a little like that pile up on the motorway that you can't help but sneak a peek at as you pass.

This series has one of my absolute favourite love-to-hate characters. Valentina is one evil twisted bitch. I actually get angry when I'm reading about her. And I love that. I love that this book makes me feel so I angry I start to shake, that one character can provoke that within me.

The scene has been set in The First Time We Met, the passion builds in The Second Time I Saw You and everything comes to a fantastic climax in Third Time Lucky.

This is a series I will certainly read again. I loved it. It was fun and flirty and filled with passion, but it still touches upon serious issues and makes you think. And it even has a gorgeous set of covers, I could stare at them all day.


GIVEAWAY

21 October 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #18

Top 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 Top Ten New Series I Want To Start .

So, it was supposed to be new series that I wanted to start... But there are so many series in general and I'm not really up to date with new series, so this is just a general list with some oldies that I've been meaning to read forever. As always, these are in no particular order!
  • Game of Thrones
  • Outlander
  • Sabriel
  • Boodlines
  • Vampire Diaries
  • Cormoran Strike
  • Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children
  • The Lunar Chronicles
  • Daughter of Smoke & Bone
  • On Dublin Street
What about you? Got a series sitting on your shelf just waiting to be read? I have a lot of the first books in these series but I haven't even started. And I'm ashamed to say that there's some of them I've had for years. Years. They've just sat there and been passed up but another book.

If you've read any on my list please link to your review. Maybe you'll tempt me to finally get started. Or not.

20 October 2014

Review: Oh Yeah, Audrey! by Tucker Shaw


It’s 5:00 am on Fifth Avenue, and 16-year-old Gemma Beasley is standing in front of Tiffany & Co. wearing the perfect black dress with her coffee in hand - just like Holly Golightly.

As the co-founder of a successful Tumblr blog - Oh Yeah Audrey! - devoted to all things Audrey Hepburn, Gemma has travelled to New York in order to meet up with her fellow bloggers for the first time. She has meticulously planned out a 24-hour adventure in homage to Breakfast at Tiffany’s; however, her plans are derailed when a glamorous boy sweeps in and offers her the New York experience she’s always dreamed of.

Gemma soon learns who her true friends are and that, sometimes, no matter where you go, you just end up finding yourself.


Source: NetGalley Request

5 Words: Friendship, attraction, obsession, vintage, quirky.

This was a very quick read.

It's not the best quickie out there, but it was enjoyable. Especially if you're a fan of Audrey Hepburn and Breakfast at Tiffany's.

This is a great day-in-the-life of Gemma Beasley, and I loved how her story was told. It was sweet and fun and light and fluffy, and perfect for reading in your lunch break when it's raining outside and you need to cheer up a little.

Don't walk into this book expecting amazing revelations and a gripping story, you won't find that. What you'll find instead is a fun and flirty look at a teenager who loves all things Audrey and is struggling to grow up following the death of her mother.

And look at that cover. It's a stunner.

14 October 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #17

Top 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 Top Ten Places Books Have Made Me Want To Visit.

Now, I read to escape. Escapism is hand down the BEST thing about reading for me. And despite me being a proper scaredy-cat when it comes to travelling, I have a list of places I just can't wait to visit thanks to books. Glorious books.


  • London
    OK, so I've been here a few times before, but it was flying visits of a day or two each time. I want to properly explore, to see everything. Well, more things than I've seen
  • New York
    I don't think this one needs any explanation!
  • Paris
    There's something about the way Sarra Manning writes about Paris that just makes me ache to get myself there to explore.
  • New Orleans
    This is one that me and my buddy Faye really want to do together, a proper bookish over-the-top-touristy stay.
  • Vermont
    Blame Sarah Morgan for this one, I freaking love reading about Snow Crystal. I know, the resort is fictional, but the picture painted is gorgeous.
  • The Welsh Marches
    Elizabeth Chadwick's Shadows and Strongholds is one of my most favourite books ever. Me and Steph want to do a tour of all of the castles.
  • Monts├ęgur
    Chadwick strikes again!
  • York
    This is mostly because of Yorvik Viking Centre - I spend a lot of my reading time reading historical novels. And what better way to experience those stories than a living history museum? Also, York's pretty awesome.
  • Devon
    There are so many books that paint this county as picturesque and so drastically different from where I stay myself.
  • Northumberland
    Is it cheating to put where I already live? From Catherine Cookson to Valerie Laws, I love everything about where I live. Especially reading about it. Even a tiny mention by Elizabeth Wein in Code Name Verity made me smile. And the castles. SO MANY CASTLES.
Where else is there a castle ten minutes walk away?

11 October 2014

Review: A Girl Called Malice by Aurelia B Rowl

It’s not easy being the Queen Bee. Alice Taylor should know. 

You know that girl. The one that the whole school’s social life seems to revolve around. Alice used to be that girl until she decided to quit sixth form college. Suddenly her ‘friends’ aren’t so interested in following her around and her attention-grabbing behaviour is about to get her kicked out of home. With nowhere to go and no one to turn to, her world starts spiralling seriously out of control.

Only new friend Zac Newton seems to believe in her. Lifeguard and poolside hottie, Zac is quite literally her lifesaver. But then, he’s never met ‘Malice’, her mean-girl alter ego, and Alice wants to keep it that way. She knows this is her last chance for a fresh start until her sordid past catches up with her at the worst possible moment.

As everything Alice has worked towards comes crashing down around her, she realises that the hardest thing of all is being yourself…


Source: NetGalley Request | Purchase

5 Words: Mean-Girls, friendship, love, surprising, change.

If I had to describe this book in one word, I would fail. I would fail terribly.

When I read Popping the Cherry I have to admit that I pretty much hated Alice. She was a mainly peripheral character, she didn't really take up the limelight, but she was one nasty bitch. So when I heard about A Girl Called Malice, a chance to read the mean girl's story, I'm not sure what I expected.

I certainly didn't expect what I read.

A Girl Called Malice is one of those books that challenges your judgement. And I absolutely love it. It's a little different from the first book, more NA than YA, but it's still about growing and and finding out who you are.

Alice is a fantastically complex character. Just when you think you know her, BAM. Surprise! You learn something new.

The ending was just beautiful. I really liked how it played out.

THAT dress not only sounds exquisite, it is. Don't you just love authors who interact with their readers?

And... Hazelnut Lattes are delicious and addictive. Trust me, after reading this book I tried one.

06 October 2014

Review: The Poppy Factory by Liz Trenow

For Jess and Rose, the realities of war have terrible repercussions...

2012 and Jess, an army medic, is back home following her tour of Afghanistan. Shell-shocked by what she has seen, she wonders if her life will ever be the same again. Can help come through her great-grandmother Rose’s diaries?

1922 and Rose has just welcomed her beloved husband Alfie home from the First World War. But the homecoming is not what Rose had expected; Alfie returns from war a changed man, and not the same person Rose married. As he struggles to find work and to cope with life, Rose struggles with temptation...

Can an old factory, set up to help injured soldiers, help Jess, Rose and Alfie and save them from the heartache of war?


Source: Review Consideration

5 Words: Dramatic, emotional, thought-provoking, war, love.

When I finished this book, I had to sit in silence and contemplate what exactly I had read. And I read this book cover-to-cover, the authors notes, acknowledgements, the Q&A. I didn't want it to end.

This book is fantastically written with two distinct voices telling two incredible stories in two very different times.

This is a book that I took my time reading. I sat down with a cup of tea and really thought about what I was reading. This book just got to me. Even now I'm thinking of it, and it's been a week since I finished it! The author has been so very clever with how she's tackled the difficulties of adjusting to home life again after time in a war zone, and especially with PTSD. I loved reading both Jess and Rose, but my favourite was probably Rose - the sporadic diary entries worked so well, felt s personal.

I liked how the stories were connected, that The Poppy Factory and the impact of war hit both Jess and Alfie in such striking ways.

I received a copy of this from the publisher, and was under no obligation to review (or even read it) and this has had no bearing on my review.

As I received this copy free, I sent in a private donation to The Poppy Factory. Reading about the work they do, the author has done such a great job in highlighting a charity I never even knew about.

30 September 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #16

Top 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 Top Ten Books That Were Hard For Me To Read.

This list was quite a thought provoking one! So, on to the books and the reasons. Five good ones that were hard for me to read and five bad ones.

THE GOOD
  1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling
  2. The Midnight Rose
  3. Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas
  4. A Dance of Ghosts by Kevin Brooks
  5. Timeless by Gail Carriger
THE BAD
  1. The Girl Who Never Was
  2. The Selection by Keira Cass
  3. Starcrossed
  4. The Bone Season
  5. Ink

What's yours?

28 September 2014

Review: An American Duchess by Sharon Page


It's 1922, and New York heiress Zoe Gifford longs for the freedoms promised by the Jazz Age. Headstrong and brazen, but bound by her father's will to marry before she can access his fortune, Zoe arranges for a brief marriage to Sebastian Hazelton, whose aristocratic British family sorely needs a benefactor. 

Once in England, her foolproof plan to wed, inherit and divorce proves more complicated than Zoe had anticipated. Nigel Hazelton, Duke of Langford and Sebastian's older brother, is as austere and imposing as the family's ancestral estate. Still reeling from the Great War, Nigel is now staging a one-man battle against a rapidly changing world—and the outspoken Zoe represents everything he's fighting against. 

When circumstances compel Zoe to marry Nigel rather than Sebastian, their heated quarrelling begets passion of another sort. But with Nigel unwilling to change with the times, will Zoe be forced to choose between her husband and her dreams?


Source: Purchase

5 Words: historical, romance, surprising, aristocracy, progress.

I got to around the half way point in this and thought "oh, what a sweet ending!"... But it wasn't the end.

An American Duchess takes a much used trope in historical romance and goes far beyond the usual happily-ever-after. Where most books end with the wedding and the honeymoon, this book goes far beyond.

This was a sweet book that had me totally engrossed. I couldn't tear myself a way from the pages. The characters really came to life and I loved reading about Zoe and her passions. And she was one hell of a passionate character.

Langford was a little bit infuriating at times, but it was the way his character was. Watching him develop and grow and change was fantastic, and it really upped the power of this story.

This book is Downton Abbey meets My Last Duchess, with a dash of Girl Power for good measure. I loved it and will definitely look out for more of this authors work!

And look at that cover. Just sit and stare at it. I did.

25 September 2014

Review: Diamonds and Deceit by Leila Rasheed

The London Season of 1913 is in full swing, and Rose has never felt more out of place. She can't help but feel like a servant dressed up in diamonds and silk. Then she meets Alexander Ross, a young Scottish duke. Rose has heard all sorts of gossip about Alexander, but he alone treats her as a friend. Rose should know better than to give her heart to a man with a reputation, but it may already be too late.

Meanwhile, Ada's also feeling miserable. She should be happy - she's engaged to a handsome man who shares her political passions and has promised to support her education. So why does she feel hollow inside? She knows that without this marriage, her family will be ruined, but it seems that in matters of love, the Averley's can only follow their hearts...


Source: Purchase

5 Words: Lavish, historical, romance, betrayal, scandal.

I am in love with this series.

Yet again, Leila Rasheed plunges us into the luxurious world of the people at Somerton and I loved it.

This series will be one I can easily reread again and again. I love the characters and how they all have their own distinct voices and personalities that really come through when you're reading from their perspective.

I was so disappointed in Laurence. He was so good around Ada, a different person really, and if he hadn't been such a dick-head it could have actually worked. But Charlotte isn't totally to blame, from reading her perspective I really understand her motives. I actually pitied her a little bit! But her mother? Well, I definitely don't like Lady Westlake.

Rose really struggled in this book, even more than in the first book. But she's such a strong character and I loved how everything ended for her. I could read about Rose all day, and how she gallantly stumbles through the life she's thrust in to. She puts up with so much, coping with some of the nastiest people and most awkward situations.

This book is just as lavish and extravagant as the first, perhaps even more so. And now I have so long to wait for the next one!

23 September 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #15

Top 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 Top Ten Books On My Fall To-Be-Read list.

Why are these lists always so hard? Not many new releases here, mostly stuff that's been sat on my TBR and that I'm finally going to get round to reading. Hopefully. Think I'll get through them?

  • The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters
  • Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian
  • Queen of Someday by Sherry D. Ficklin
  • Geek Girl: Model Misfit by Holly Smale
  • Trouble by Non Pratt
  • Slated by Teri Terry
  • Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
  • Heart of Dread: Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston
  • The Witch of Salt and Storm by Kendall Kulper
  • An American Duchess by Sharon Page

What are you going to read this fall?

18 September 2014

Review: Secrets and Sapphires by Leila Rasheed

One house, two worlds...

Rose Cliffe has never met a young lady like her new mistress. Clever, rich, and beautiful, Ada Averley treats Rose as an equal. And Rose could use a friend. Especially now that she, at barely sixteen, has risen to the position of ladies' maid. Rose knows she should be grateful to have a place at a house like Somerton. Still, she can't help but wonder what her life might have been had she been born a lady, like Ada.

For the first time in a decade, the Averleys have returned to Somerton, their majestic ancestral estate. But terrible scandal has followed Ada's beloved father all the way from India. Now Ada finds herself torn between her own happiness and her family's honor. Only she has the power to restore the Averley name-but it would mean giving up her one true love... Someone she could never persuade her father to accept.


Source: Purchase

5 Words: History, romance, upstairs, downstairs, responsibility.

If you like Downton Abbey, you'll love this. I did. Secrets and Sapphires nicely filled up that empty gaping hole that's been sat inside of me while I wait for series five.

I loved the intrigue and the lifestyle and even the class system. I loved the whole upstairs, downstairs relationships and how Rose was so torn by how those relationships were starting to change. She's such a loyal and proper young girl, such a gem of a character. She has all of this ammunition and never once does she use it.

I also loved how Ada had all of these internal conflicts. As much as she wanted one thing, she wanted another just as much. But there's no way she can have both. And I'm not sure whether she'll be happy with the compromise she was offered at the end, but I think it was a quite happy medium and I hope her feelings start to change.

This book is luxurious and extravagant, deceptive and eccentric... This book has a bit of everything, all set against the lavish backdrop of Somerton.

As unbelievable as the ending was, I even liked that! This book was pure escapism, and such a pleasure to read

I can't wait to get my hands on the next book.

16 September 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #14

Top 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 Top Ten Authors I've Only Read One Book From But NEED to Read More.

This was a hard one! There are so many authors I just haven't gotten round to reading more of, but they're on my list. I'll get to them. One day. Maybe. Eventually. I hope. So on to my list, as always in no particular order...

  • Lucina Riley
    I read The Midnight Rose earlier this year and I loved it. It was all kinds of wonderful, a truly beautiful if dauntingly long book.
  • Elizabeth Wein
    It was when I listened to the audiobook of Code Name Verity that I feel in love. I don't know what it was, but the mix of Wein's writing and Christie's narration made me fall in love.
  • Sarah Dessen
    When I was younger, I'd look at Sarah Dessen's books then think "eh, one day" and head for Sarra Manning instead, but oh my. When I read Last Chance I was charmed.
  • Dawn O'Porter
    I don't think I can put into words how much of an awesome book Paper Aeroplanes is. Which is why I don't understand why I haven't read Goose yet, despite having a signed copy sitting looking pretty.
  • Mandy Baggot
    Made in Nashville was just such a fun read. Thinking back to it makes me smile, months on, and I really want to read it again. So why haven't I picked up another of her books? I'm not sure.
  • Tania Unsworth
    The One Safe Place was one of the first books I reviewed on the blog this year, and it's still one I think back to. It was fantastic, well written and jam-packed with wonderful world building.
  • Katie Flynn
    I think I had the wrong idea about her books - I thought they were your typical romantic sagas that you'd find lounging in charity shops. How wrong was I? A Christmas to Remember opened my eyes.
  • Geoffrey Gudgion
    It's safe to say that I'm not a fan of horror, but Saxon's Bane blew my mind. With it's typically British subtlety and the creepiest atmosphere I've ever experience when reading, I'm definitely a fan.
  • Rainbow Rowell
    I read Eleanor & Park a while ago, it was one of the first books I read in 2013, and I can only remember how much I enjoyed it. But I'm not sure if any of her other books appeal to me in quite the same way?
  • Leila Rasheed
    I've only just read it, but Secrets and Sapphires was so lavish and such a pleasure to read that I can't wait to get my hands on the next one.

What about you?


14 September 2014

Showcase Sunday #16

Showcase Sunday is hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits and Tea and is a chance for everyone to show off what they've acquired during the week.

Lots of lovely books this week, I can't wait to share them all with you! And, a giveaway is coming up this week as I review some books I picked up at a certain author event. Also, a bookswap with my guest-blogger!

THE HAUL


All of the lovely books! Acid is a NETBA book that I've been after for a while, but had always been sold out, so when I saw it I had to grab it. My little sister picked out Since You've Been Gone, I had some Waterstones points to spend and couldn't decide on a second book.


Acid by Emma Pass
Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Mateson
Langdown Manor by Sue Reid
The Poppy Factory by Liz Trenow
One Last Dance by Judith Lennox

THE BOOKSWAP


This is where me and Steph get together to swap and talk books over a drink. Because that's what two bookish best friends do best.


Assassin's Creed: The Secret Crusade by Oliver Bowden
The Glimpse by Claire Merle
The Doomspell by Cliff McNish
Fated by Alyson Noel
Echo by Alyson Noel
Mystic by Alyson Noel

What have you got this week?

04 September 2014

Review: Half-Blood by Jennifer L Armentrout

The Hematoi descend from the unions of gods and mortals, and the children of two Hematoi - pure-bloods - have godlike powers. Children of Hematoi and mortals - well, not so much. Half-bloods only have two options: become trained Sentinels who hunt and kill daimons or become servants in the homes of the pures.

Seventeen-year-old Alexandria would rather risk her life fighting than waste it scrubbing toilets, but she may end up slumming it anyway. There are several rules that students at the Covenant must follow. Alex has problems with them all, but especially rule #1:
Relationships between pures and halfs are forbidden.

Unfortunately, she's crushing hard on the totally hot pure-blood Aiden. But falling for Aiden isn't her biggest problem - staying alive long enough to graduate the Covenant and become a Sentinel is. If she fails in her duty, she faces a future worse than death or slavery: being turned into a daimon, and being hunted by Aiden. And that would kind of suck.


5 Words: family, school, training, plotting, death.

This book surprised me a little. I wasn't altogether sure that I was enjoying it at first and a lot of it seemed awfully familiar. But by the time I reached the end I was ready for the next one.

As predictable as a lot of the story was, there were twists and turns and I kept reading. And I want to keep reading. 

I wasn't sure about the main character, but she definitely grew on me. I loved the fact that she felt pain. I loved that when she returned she couldn't just slip back in with no problems and that she hurt all over. It made it a much more believable storyline.

02 September 2014

Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway: Forecast by Elise Stephens

Calvin isn't a teenager, not really; instead, he’s spent his life trying to protect his mother and sister from his alcoholic father. Calvin keeps a knife close and sleeps with one eye open, even years after his father has left the family. A summer vacation spent at their late grandfather’s estate promises him and his sister the chance to leave their problems behind. 

Instead of blissful freedom, they find the old house harbors secrets at every turn, like a mysterious stone door in the forest with rumored powers to give its entrants the gift of future-seeing. When Calvin faces the return of his seemingly-reformed father, he throws himself through the door to receive the gift of foresight. But the door offers more doubt than certainty, and the future he sees is riddled with disturbing confusion. With a revenge-obsessed lawyer hunting him down and a secret society out to control him, Calvin must figure out how to stop what he’s started before he loses what he holds most dear. 

As he battles the legacies of his past and the shadows of his future, Calvin must accept help from unlikely sources, give trust he never thought possible, and learn that the greatest challenges lie not in the things to come, but in the present moment.


5 Words: future, family, revenge, power, deceit.

You know when you get so caught up in an ebook that you don't even think to charge your kindle and then it dies when you're madly swiping to the next page and you want to cry?

Yes. That happened.

It's fair to say that this book is nothing like what I expected it to be.

I loved the relationship between Calvin and Cleo and how much Cleo changed - she needed to grow a pair and she did. And I loved how Natalie put such a spanner in the works.

The whole Forecast thing was a little weird and I didn't understand it, especially when it came to VisumOris, but the characters didn't seem to understand it either.

This was a good book about seeing the future, and I loved the restrictions and problems that come with such power.

GIVEAWAY