29 April 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #7

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 If You Like Skins (TV).

Gritty, controversial, and all UKYA, here's my top ten books to accompany the series. They cover a variety of genres and subjects but are all awesome and evocative.


  1. Black Rabbit Summer by Kevin Brooks
  2. Looking for JJ by Anne Cassidy
  3. Junk! by Melvin Burgess
  4. Pretty Bad Things by CJ Skuse
  5. My Daylight Monsters by Sarah Dalton
  6. Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman
  7. The Dark Beneath by Alan Gibbons
  8. Berserk by Ally Kennen
  9. Slam by Nick Hornby
  10. Megan by Mary Hooper


26 April 2014

Review: Sealed With a Kiss (Diary of a Crush) by Sarra Manning

Will a lengthy road trip test Edie and Dylan's hard-won couplehood to the breaking point?

Edie and Dylan have been dreaming about their road trip across America forever, but nine weeks in a car together is going to be a huge test for them.

They're crazy in love, but what if that's not enough? Trailer parks, diners, motels, and glitzy casinos are the backdrop for an adventure that threatens the whole future of their relationship. Will Edie and Dylan be able to go the distance?

5 Words: Now it's finished. Empty feeling.

I came to the end of this book with a slightly empty feeling. It wasn't that it was a bad book, in fact it's far the opposite. It's just that you end up investing so much in the series that you can't help feeling a little bit lost when it finishes.

Edie and Dylan grow up a lot in this book, probably more than they have in the previous two books combined. They discover so much more about themselves and their relationships.

Edie and Dylan's journey is lovely and frustrating and tough and revealing. And a little bit scary. I really enjoyed reading it.

I thought the ending was somewhat bitter-sweet, and I was left wanting more. But there never will be :(

25 April 2014

Review: Kiss and Make Up (Diary of a Crush) by Sarra Manning

Edie's having major boy issues. Trying to get over Dylan is hard, but snogging new boy Carter isn't hurting...

When everyone heads off to a summer festival, Edie wants to forget her troubles and try and have fun. But she didn't count on her leftover feelings for Dylan and now she's all churned up again. Edie's got some big decisions to make, but is she ready to kiss and make up?

5 Words: Obsessive, psycho, growing-up, toxic, angst-y.

Oh Edie, what has happened to you? You're just not the same girl any more. I liked you more when I was younger.

This whole series is basically a re-read of my teenage years. I couldn't resist those gorgeous new covers.

This is still fluffy and fun, but Edie is all kinds of stalker-obsessive-psycho and it's scary. As this book is written as her diary it's a crazy-mad ride. And it was just too much for me. Edie is relentless in her pursuit of Dylan. Dylan is a Grade A dick. Dylan's new girlfriend Veronique is only slightly more bat-shit than Edie. And Veronique's brother Carter is as toxic as they come.

If you like toxic, poisonous relationships then look no further as this book has them in spades. I guess that's why I can't stop reading this series.

This is a guilty pleasure read for me. Sarra Manning will always be the Queen of Teen to me. When I was the same age as the protagonist I related much more to her. But now that I'm a lot older I just don't get it.

But hey, we do crazy things in the name of love.

24 April 2014

Review: French Kiss (Diary of a Crush) by Sarra Manning

New town, new college, new people, Edie's feeling overwhelmed. What if nobody wants to be her friend? But then something happens that turns her life upside down: Edie spots Dylan. Messy-haired, pouty, frustratingly elusive Dylan...

Fast forward to the college trip to Paris and things are really heating up. In between the shopping, the clubbing, the kissing and the making up, something happens between Edie and Dylan that changes both their lives for ever. But do boys like Dylan ever play for keeps?

5 Words: Fluffy, fun, messed up relationship.

This book is a little guilty pleasure for me. A fantastic start to the Diary of a Crush series.

Although it's been years since I first read of Edie and Dylan (almost a decade!) I still think back to this book - well, this series - and wonder about the characters and re-imagine the situations.

It's a slightly fluffy story, very teenage-y and fun. And frustrating. If there is anything frustrating in this book then it's Edie and Dylan for the majority of this book. He treats her like crap and she lets him, so long as he kisses her again. But it's not as poisonous as it sounds, it actually works. They're both growing up and getting a grip on who they want to love.

Who is your art-boy Dylan? Pictures please!

I have to go and find my own boy now. I need a kiss.

20 April 2014

Showcase Sunday #9

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.

This week has been all about UKYA on the reading front. I'm preparing for an exciting little project so I have lots of planning and reading (and re-reading") to do. I can't wait to share it with you.


Guess what? It's almost World Book Night! So I stopped by the library and picked up my books, 18 copies of Ben Aaronovich's Rivers of London. I can't wait to start giving them out, foisting this awesome urban fantasy on unsuspecting geezers in town and thrusting it into the hands of anyone who looks particularly bored or miserable.

And on to my own books! Sharon at Shaz's Book Blog kindly sent me a voucher to download an e-copy of The Midnight Rose to review. But since the paperback was only £1 or so more and I get free delivery, I shelled out the extra to get the book. And boy, am I glad I did! It's awesome, awesome, awesome and I can't wait to tell everyone about it and lend it to all of my friends.

I'll be honest and say that I have no idea where Prisoner of Night and Fog came from. It might have been Book Bridgr, it might have been the author, or it might have been a publicist sending it on spec. But I'm so so excited to start reading it. It looks so good and I've heard so many good things about it.

Also, it's Easter. And I got Izzy the Owl <3 Isn't she cute? I almost don't want to eat her. Almost.

19 April 2014

Why I Love UKYA

Today is UKYA Day and it got my thinking about why I love UKYA, what makes it special to me, and why over 75% of the books on my YA shelf are UK.

My love affair with UKYA started when I was around thirteen. This is when my librarian at school got me interested in the North East Teenage Book Awards, an award based on UK-based authors only. She started me reading some of the previous nominees, and when the time came I read all six nominees, attended all of the author events, and voted for my favourite - and my favourite won. And, I was addicted. I took part in many of the later awards (even though I was technically too old!) and met more authors and read more amazing books.

As we come up to the fifteenth year of the North East Teenage Book Awards, stand by for my own little UKYA feature, where I revisit all of the nominees and winners and introduce a fellow reader who shared this journey with me.

From then on I was always in the library.

I helped read prospective nominees to help with the shortlist, I devoured every book on the shelves and I spent every spare second in the library. The librarian let me read her new books, which weren't on the shelves yet, and I loved nothing more than browsing the secret stash of books in her office for my next read.

What I love the most about UKYA is how it's not afraid to face the toughest of issues head on. And nothing is ever glossed over or prettied up. Racisim, drink, drugs, crime, arranged marriages, abuse... Everything is explored. And there's something about UKYA writing that is consistently haunting. I'd have absolutely no trouble picking out a quote from whatever UKYA book you set in front of me that would stay with me and touch my soul.

If I don't know whether a book is UKYA when I pick it up I'll know after a few pages. The quality speaks for itself. Rather like the British film industry, UKYA has an atmosphere all of its own that you can easily discern.

17 April 2014

UKYA Readathon

UKYA played a huge part in my reading life - it's what actually got me into reading. So when I heard all about Project UKYA I couldn't wait to get involved. And I will be in my own little way later on in the year. But until then I have the wonderful Readathon to take part in!

Are you taking part? If not, why not join in now? It's never too late!

What I'm Reading:

The Dark Beneath by Alan Gibbons
Junk! by Melvin Burgess
Looking for JJ by Anne Cassidy
Finding Jennifer Jones by Anne Cassidy

And I'll probably pick up another few books if I get these all finished - my shelves are crammed full of amazing UKYA. There's no other writing like it, where everything is so gritty and real. UKYA doesn't gloss over the crap bits of life, it properly explores them and makes you stop and think, tackling tough issues head on.

What are you reading?

From Thursday 17th April to Sunday 20th, there will be a UKYA readathon. The aim of this is to read lots of amazing UKYA books and have fun at the same time. 

The details: 

- The readathon will start from 9 AM on the 17th and finish at 11 PM on the 20th.

- During the readathon, there will be reading sprints and activities going on over on the Project UKYA Twitter and Facebook page.

- We will ONLY be reading UKYA books - that's any book written by an author born or currently residing in the UK. If you're not sure, feel free to ask! 

You can tweet the books you pledge to read by using the hashtag #readukya - let's get people really shouting about UKYA over the duration of the readathon.

Anyone can join in - readers, bloggers, authors, publishing people - EVERYONE!
If you're also looking for UKYA recommendations, we'll also be answering in the hashtag.

Don't forget to spread the word too - let's get as many people as possible to read UKYA over the four day period and for UKYA Day.

Speaking of UKYA Day, if you have a blog it would be lovely if you could write a post for the 19th April talking about UKYA - why you love it, your favourite books and authors. Anything to do with UKYA! If you could also link back to us, that would be lovely!

Happy reading! x 

Review: Pulled Beneath by Marni Mann

What happens when you uncover years of secrets and find out everything you thought to be true was a lie?

Drew Stevens finds her world turned upside down when her parents are brutally murdered. Soon after, she learns she inherited a property in Bar Harbor, Maine from recently deceased grandparents that she believed had died when she was a baby.

Drew travels north to settle her grandparents’ estate, but finds more questions than answers as the truth starts unravelling. What she didn’t expect to find was Saint, whose reputation was as tumultuous as his past. But the very thing that brought them together was the same thing that kept them emotionally caged.

With Saint’s scars so deep and Drew’s so fresh, can the pair heal from their painful wounds or will they be pulled beneath the darkness of their pasts?

5 Words: Grief, heartbreak, attraction, uncertainty, love.

At first, I wasn't sure I liked this book. Despite that killer first chapter, I didn't click with Drew. I wanted to know what happened, I wanted to read on, but I didn't particularly want to get to know the main character better. Cue me liking and then disliking her over and over.

And so this was a very up-and-down read.

It's based on choices and what-if's. I found myself really thinking over a lot of things, about the choices Drew was making and how things could have been different. And then I spent far more time thinking "what if" than actually reading, so it took me ages to finish. But it's good when a book makes you stop and think. It means that there must be something in there, some little chain of thought or plot device that grabs you and holds you.

Pulled Beneath is very clever - you feel exactly as Drew does about the other characters. You're right there, in her head, wondering what's true and who to trust and what's being hidden. You start trying to figure everything out along with her.

The small community was done well - it's different from any small community I've ever encountered (they welcomed her :O ) but it worked within the story and was right for the personality of the setting.

Overall, I did enjoy it. Drew just wasn't my kind of character. I didn't agree with more than a few of her actions and there was that huge great big turn off - drugs. But despite all of this I read to the end and found that I had quite liked the story and the shocking emotional roller coaster read I'd just experienced.

12 April 2014

Blogoversary Bonanza Take Two!

My blogoversary was on April 1 and to celebrate I'll be hosting 4 fantastic weeks of giveaways! Come back each Saturday and you can see what goodies you could win. There will be one UK only giveaway and one International giveaway running at any one time, so that's potentially 2 chances to win. Woo!

The giveaways both have questions, but why not answer them here too?
What's your ultimate comfort food?
What is your favourite book?
In what country are you based?

The Prizes

This week, lucky UK readers could win a signed copy of Paper Aeroplanes by Dawn O'Porter. It's a lovely story, so genuine and heart-warming and in the style of the very best UKYA and everyone ever should read it.

If you're an international reader, you could win an amazing pair of earrings. THEY'RE SO CUTE! I kinda want to keep them to myself! If the winner is outside the UK these might take around 2 weeks to arrive.



06 April 2014

Showcase Sunday #8

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.

This week has been pretty hectic, but not as hectic as the two weeks before. Because I now have a puppy! I went to the Dawn O'Porter event in Newcastle on Monday and got signed copies of Paper Aeroplanes and Goose to giveaway. It's my 1 year blogoversary too, so I'm running 2 weekly giveaways to celebrate - one UK and one International!

Meet Belle

Belle is a Lancashire Heeler cross Jack Russell and she's gorgeous. And mischievous. We got her at 8 weeks, so she's 10 weeks now. She is a handful and growing by the day.

She'll be popping up quite often on here because she's so adorable, I can't help myself. And doesn't everyone love their baby?

Have you got any pets? Pictures, I'm a sucker for cuteness!

Blogoversary Bonanza

I've been blogging for a year, can you believe it? I can't! This week I'm giving away a signed copy of The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson and a copy of The Snow Queen by Alana Albertson.

Next week I've not decided what to give away yet - could be a necklace, earrings, more signed books... Anything! So keep checking back.

As a treat to myself I got two book shelves. They're already crammed with books, each shelf doubled up to fit more on. Previously, my books have been in piles and boxes, so it felt great to sort through them all. I have to admit to still having my Rebus and Discworld books in boxes, but that's because there are so many!

Paper vs Pixels

I picked paper and I'm reading so much more! I was 11 books behind on reaching my target of 200, but now I'm only 7 books behind. Go paper!

It's never too late to join!

I'd forgotten how great it was to settle down with a book and just read, with no ping in the background because you have a notification on Twitter. I know my NetGalley ratio will suffer this month, but I'm having fun!


I did actually get some books this week. It's not all not-quite-relevant news.

I finally got Weed, the third book in the Poison Diaries series. I've only had a quick glance, but it seems very different. I got Paper Aeroplanes and Goose by Dawn O'Porter signed at the event put on by Waterstones and Hot Key Books, and I got Ash by Malinda Lo because it looks pretty good and when I saw it I impulse-bought. The lovely Elizabeth Moss sent me a copy of Rebel Bride and I'm itching to get stuck in as I loved Wolf Bride.

05 April 2014

Blogoversary Bonanza!

My blogoversary was on April 1 and to celebrate I'll be hosting 4 fantastic weeks of giveaways! Come back each Saturday and you can see what goodies you could win. There will be one UK only giveaway and one International giveaway running at any one time, so that's potentially 2 chances to win. Woo!

I can't believe it's been a year already since I started blogging. I've really stepped it up a notch since the beginning of 2014 though and I've made so many friends and had so much fun.

And, I got a puppy. Belle is so cute. But she can be a bit of a horror when I'm trying to sleep.

This month I'm taking part in the Paper vs Pixels Challenge, head on over to the page and give it a go yourself. I'm having a lot of fun already!

The giveaways both have questions, but why not answer them here too?
  1. Do you believe in ghosts?
  2. What is your favourite season?
  3. In what country are you based?

The Prizes

This week, lucky UK readers could win a signed copy of Maureen Johnson's The Name of the Star. This book means that I now pick up anything with ghosts in. ANYTHING. If you're an international reader, you could win a copy of Alana Albertson's The Snow Queen, which is a delightful read for anyone who loves dancing and The Nutcracker. I really enjoyed this one and the author was kind enough to send me two copies (one of which is doing the rounds with my bookish friends).



04 April 2014

Cover Reveal and Giveaway: Holding Paradise by Fran Clark

On a grey and miserable morning in 2008, London businesswoman, Angelica Ford boards a plane and flies off to the blues and greens of her mother’s island in the Caribbean. Angelica is desperate. She is looking for a way to save her marriage and win back her daughter. A web of lies has torn a hole into her seemingly perfect world and she is convinced that only her mother, Josephine Dennis, can help her turn her life around.

Josephine Dennis arrived in England by ship on a cold winter’s morning as a young mother joining her husband. She weathers a lifetime of secrets and betrayal, as she raises her family in 1960s London. A matriarch with strong family values, she told her children colourful stories to guide them through life. It is the wisdom of one of these stories that Angelica seeks. Josephine has one last story to tell – the story that could change both of their lives.


The Prize: a copy of Holing Paradise by Fran Clark
How To Win: follow Fran Clark on Twitter @FranClarkAuthor and let her know in the comments below: What was your favourite story growing up and how did it change your life?

For UK entrants the giveaway is a paperback copy and International entrants, an ecopy.
Don’t forget to leave your Twitter name and whether you are entering for UK or International.
The author will choose the overall winner after the closing date of 11th April 2014.

03 April 2014

Review, Guestpost and Giveaway: His Hometown Girl by Karen Rock

This is my stop during the book blitz for His Hometown Girl by Karen Rock. The book blitz runs from March 31 till April 13, and you can view the complete blitz schedule on Lola’s Blog Tours.

He'd always managed to best her…

Jodi Chapman will do whatever it takes to get top care for her autistic son. If that means going home and convincing local farmers to sell their land, so be it. Even if her biggest opponent, childhood rival Daniel Gleason, is equally determined to convince farmers to buy into his co-op plan. And he's not playing fair.

Facing off against Daniel is the last thing Jodi wants. The attraction that's always fueled their competitiveness is as strong as ever and just as distracting. But with both their futures on the line, and years of distrust between them, how can they ever be on the same side?

5 Words: Heartwarming, family, friendship, love, loyalty.

This was a particularly sweet story.

I liked Jodi right from the start. She'd been through so much but was so strong and she knew her priorities. Her ex-husband Peter was a complete and utter arsehole and men like him should just be chemically castrated because they don't deserve to have children. I felt very strongly about how Peter acted and treated Jodi and Tyler and it riled me up a little. Ok, more than a little. The scumbag.

Daniel was an interesting character and my views on him did chop and change - but ultimately I quite liked him. He too knew what he wanted and was determined to get it.

I loved the relationships between the characters. I loved all of the conflict. But most of all I loved how Jodi loved Tyler so so much. She'd do anything for him and it really was heartwarming. You learn a lot about love from Tyler.

I loved the ending too. It just fit so perfectly into the story that it couldn't have worked any other way for me. But I don't want to spoil it so you'll have to read for yourself.

Pick this book up if you need your heart to swell and to feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It's a great read.

Karen Rock Farm Anecdote: The Proof is in the Salsa

Although I wasn’t raised on a farm, I spent every Sunday and lots of weeks in the summer on my grandparents’ Century dairy farm in Malone, New York. A Century farm means that it’s a farm that’s been owned by the same family, continuously, for over a hundred years. My family had raised cattle on that land in upstate New York for over two hundred plus years. It always gave me so much pride whenever we took the turn up their long, sugar maple-lined drive because I’d imagine that Almanzo Wilder, another Malone farm kid, would have grown up seeing the same things I did. As a huge fan of the Laura Ingalls Wilder series, Little House on the Prairie, this meant so much to me.
Although there were lots of things I loved doing on the farm, spending time with neighbors was also a big favorite. There were lots of excuses to get together and the best ones involved potluck suppers. While these gatherings were friendly affairs, there was something a bit electric and competitive feeling about those suppers. Women brought their best main courses, side dishes and desserts and anxiously watched to see that their pan was scraped clean. My grandmother was just as eager to have her cooking skills praised and/or recognized as the rest. Whenever a potluck approached, we’d spend lots of time discussing what she’d bring… everyone loved her three bean salad, but last time Nancy Martineau had brought the same dish which meant we’d come home with- gasp- leftovers. That could not. Would not. Happen again.
We’d picked blackberries and her cobbler could not be beat, so we were all set for bringing a desert. As for a main course, we settled on meatloaf with a sweet ketchup sauce on top. It wasn’t my Gram’s favorite thing to make, but Bernice, who usually provided this staple, had broken a hip and no potluck was complete without it. As the Vice President of the local Daughters of the American Revolution chapter (DAR), my grandmother had the clout to fill Bernice’s shoes- temporarily. But a side dish… the agony… what if Nancy breeched the unspoken etiquette of who brought what and produced another three bean salad? Gram could make coleslaw but another neighbor always made that. The same was true for potato salad, pasta salad and fruit salad. Pistachio and Ambrosia salads were also popular but other ladies had claimed those long ago too.
So perhaps a hot dish? I voted for scalloped potatoes but Gram reminded me that Marlene always made them. When I suggested baked beans and bacon, the green bean salad topped with fried onions, or creamed baby onions she just shook her head sadly. Nope. The politics of a potluck supper ran deep. It was an insult and a bit of a challenge to bring the same dish another neighbor was known to contribute. Yet we needed something extraordinary to avoid loading a half-filled aluminum tin in the back of the pick-up on the way home.
Then it came to me. Salsa! We’d been picking tomatoes for days. Jarring them too. And since we also had fresh peppers and onions, we couldn’t miss. When I suggested it to Gram, she looked puzzled and shook her head. It would stick out. Sounded too exotic. People wouldn’t know what to make of it. But I pressed on, certain that our old-fashioned Yankee potlucks could use a little updating- though I never wanted us to lose the bread pudding or banana cream pies! Finally, if only to make me happy, she gave in and we took a rare trip into town to get some cilantro, hot sauce and tortilla chips.
We ran into Marlene who was very curious about what we had in our shopping cart by the way she kept looking. But I had to hand it to Gram. Once she committed, she was all in and didn’t give away a thing other than to observe that – yes- the corn was coming along nicely this season. I could have laughed at the shocked look on Marlene’s face when she caught sight of the hot sauce jar.
Back home, we chopped, diced and mixed and the smell was so good even my Uncle Bob, a notoriously picky eater, wandered into the kitchen to investigate. We set the bowl in the ‘fridge and, since I was spending the night, went to sleep. The next morning, I rushed to the kitchen to find Gram with her head stuck inside the refrigerator, checking on the salsa. It smelled even better than yesterday, but she decided, after tasting it, to add a little sugar to sweeten it. Gram was never big on measuring. She tasted, she looked and she smelled. That’s how she cooked and despite the lack of scientific measurements, her dishes won prizes at fairs and were the talk of potluck suppers. She was widely known as one of the best cooks in the county. Would her reputation stay intact after this risky potluck contribution?
At the supper, long foldout tables were laid out, end to end in a long ‘L’ shape with deserts down on one end, main dishes at the other and the sides in the middle. We arrived early to set up and I noticed that, although Gram had set out her meatloaf which earned her cautious praise (no one dared say it looked better than Bernice’s), and her berry cobbler, the salsa was nowhere to be found. Had she left it in the truck? After a quick trip to check, I came back empty handed. We’d worked so hard. Maybe we’d left it at home. My heart sank. I just knew people would have liked this new treat and now they’d never taste it.
Locals filed in and the noise grew even louder until the minister raised his hand for the blessing. We all bowed our heads, though mine was already low. I barely listened for thoughts of the salsa until I heard him actually say the word. Salsa. What’s more, he mentioned me. He was giving thanks to me for bringing my first dish to the supper and when I peaked up I saw my grandmother behind the table, her sparkling eyes meeting mine as she nodded at the bowl on the table in front of her. The salsa!
After grace, I joined her to help serve, and she told me she’d wanted to surprise me. I was so happy that my feet didn’t feel connected to the ground. Even better, people were lining up to taste this fresh garden salsa… and coming back for more. Suddenly, I felt the pressure and responsibility of having brought a tasty dish. It wasn’t until someone scooped out the last spoonful that I breathed easy and shared a jubilant hug with Gram. I’d done it! My contribution was a hit- especially with the men who confided that they liked spicy food- something you rarely heard up North.
The ride home was full of excited chatter… mostly mine. Uncle Bob asked me if we’d kept any more of the salsa back home and I promised him I’d make more. In fact, from there on out, I always made salsa for potlucks. It became my dish. While I never quite earned my grandmother’s reputation as a great cook, I was happy to contribute to our neighborly gatherings. It’s the best part about being in a close community like ours.


How about an international giveaway to celebrate this lovely, sweet book of love and loyalty? Here's what you could win...
  • Grand Prize: $50 gift card and a signed copy of Karen Rock's earlier Heartwarming, Wish Me Tomorrow and her YA contemporary romance, Camp Boyfriend.
  • Two runner-ups both win a 15$ Amazon gift card

02 April 2014

Review: A Wicked Pursuit by Isabella Bradford

As the eldest son of the Duke of Breconridge, Harry Fitzroy is duty-bound to marry - and marry well. Giving up his rakish ways for the pleasures of a bride’s bed becomes a delightful prospect when Harry chooses beautiful Lady Julia Barclay, the catch of the season. But a fall from his horse puts a serious crimp in his plans. Abandoned by Julia before he can propose, the unlucky bachelor finds himself trapped in the country in the care of Julia’s younger sister.

Harry has never met a woman like Lady Augusta. Utterly without artifice, Gus is clever and capable, and seems to care not a fig for society. After a taboo kiss awakens passion that takes them both by surprise, Harry realizes he’d almost given his heart to the wrong sister. While London tongues wag, he’ll use his most seductive powers of persuasion to convince the reluctant Gus that she belongs with him - as his equal, his love, his wife.

5 Words: Historical, passionate, pleasantly surprising, lovely.

At first I wasn't convinced. I thought it was another one of those stories.

Thank goodness it wasn't.

Gus is a rather different character from what you usually see in these romances. She has her sister for a start, her perfect, beautiful sister who everyone adores and who overshadows Augusta at every turn. And rather be upset about all of this Gus doesn't mind it so much - sure, she's not the prettiest and she's never asked to dance, but who cares?

She is a strong and capable young woman who was a pleasure to read.

This was a very passionate story, with a falling-in-love which felt so real. There was a slow burning fuse of passion, of building love, and it was wonderful to experience.

I  liked the conflicts that built and how Harry felt unworthy. It was good that he had been knocked down a peg (or twenty) and it really added to his character. He was not at all who he appeared at first and it was good that he changed.

Overall this was a great read, and I really enjoyed it. I'd recommend it for a rainy day to cheer you up but keep you thinking. I will definitely seek out more of this author's work and read on in this series.

01 April 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #6

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 "Gateway" Books/Authors In My Reading Journey.

So this is a list of the authors and books that got me reading in the first place, and the ones that kept me reading and made me try out new and different genres. Theses books are all pretty special and I still read them over and over even now.

The Authors That Started me Reading

These are the authors that I could not get enough of. The ones that dragged me into the world of reading. They're special to me because they really inspired me and pretty much changed my life. They are the ones that started me reading and the ones that got me back into reading.
  • Enid Blyton
  • JK Rowling
  • Jill Murphy
  • Dodie Smith

The Authors That Kept Me Reading

These are the authors that kept me reading. I have read their books over and over and love them more every time. This list could be so so much longer, I could probably easily list 20 and still think of more! The authors that kept me reading are exclusively British. It was the gritty, dark realism of UKYA to which I was addicted. Never tried it? These authors will change your life.
  • Kevin Brooks
  • Anne Cassidy
  • Melvin Burgess

The Authors That Inspired Me to Try Something Different

There are some authors which take you right outside your comfort zone and for me it was these three. From the wacky-ness of high-fantasy and sci-fi worlds, to the vampires and werewolves of the Parasol Protectorate universe, these were not my cup of tea until I tried them. They opened me up to trying completely different things from what I was reading.
  • Terry Practchett
  • Gail Carriger
  • Octavia Butler

Share your top tens with me!