29 June 2014

Showcase Sunday #12

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.

Quite a haul this week with my physical books - even a few surprise parcels through the door! I'm doing a buddy read of The Falconer by Elizabeth May. I received a copy last year and I'm ashamed to say it's taken me this long to get to it!

THE HAUL

As I said, quite a nice little haul this week. I finally got my hands on The Summer Queen, which I've been looking for in paperback forever! Gutted that the cover is so different from all of the author's other books, but at least it's still pretty.

Happy about the Carole Matthews one too as she's quick becoming my go-to for chick-lit and summer reads.

When Fairy Nuff came through the door, my mum grabbed it and read it before I could even look at the blurb - and she loved it. So now I can't wait!

Amazingly, there isn't one YA title in this weeks haul! What's wrong with me? At least I'm heading to town on Tuesday, so I can stock up then and fix that.


The Long War by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
A Place to Call Home by Carole Matthews
The Summer Queen by Elizabeth Chadwick
Roll 'Em Mister Bones by Mark Stewart-Jones
Fairy Nuff by Jane Killick
Cop Town by Karin Slaughter

27 June 2014

Review: The Girl Who Never Was by Skylar Dorset

Today is my birthday.

In Selkie's family, you don't celebrate birthdays. You don't talk about birthdays. And you never, ever reveal your birth date.

Until now.

The instant Selkie blurts out the truth to Ben in the middle of Boston Common, her whole world shatters. Because her life has been nothing but a lie-an elaborate enchantment meant to conceal the truth: Selkie is a half-faerie princess.

And her mother wants her dead.



5 Words: Oh, I'm a fairy princess.

Although I pretty much enjoyed this story overall, it was one hell of a confusing read.

This takes every fantasy/fairy tale trope and puts it on its head and never explains why anything's different. And that whole time thing was rather annoying, even if it did become a little endearing towards the end.

I felt that Selkie was a bit of a moaner, and perhaps even a little bit of a brat. There were times when I really didn't like her. She seemed to take everything a little too well. And so did her best friend, Kelsey. If someone told me I was a fairy princess and all that jazz, I wouldn't simply thing everything was OK and embark on some silly quest.

I liked the subtle romance between Selkie and Benedict, and Ben was a great character. Until we got to the end and it was like a role reversal where Ben was the unreasonable tool and Selkie was talking sense. It was out of character and pretty weird.

Despite my gripes with The Girl Who Never Was, I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for the next one. Because I liked what I read even if I did huff and roll my eyes.


24 June 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #10

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 Ten Book Cover Trends (or just elements of covers) I Like/Dislike.

So... I'm going to do 4 of each and then reveal my all time most loved and most hated covers. Because why not? Also, I think some covers are so just breathtakingly beautiful.

Covers I Like

   
From beauty to drama, simple designs to pretty little details and a special little penchant for stags, I know what I like and I'll automatically pick it up if I spot it! But pretty covers can also be the bane of my life, because the story doesn't always match up. Lucky for you guys n gals, these were all gems.

Covers I Dislike

    
WELL. Think wrongly-laced corsets, overly pretty dresses, thigh gaps, bitchy looking girls and trying to be all cool and minimalist and... I think you get the idea. It's often the little things that annoy me. And that incorrectly laced corset splashed all over A Great And Terrible Beauty just annoys me so much. Lacing a corset is not hard, I've been able to do it since I was 14. And you couldn't even Google things as easily back then!

The Best Cover

My favourite book of all time just happens to have one of the most beautiful covers ever. How gorgeous is this? I seriously bought it just for the cover, even though I already have another 4 editions. Can you ever have enough copies of your favourite book?

The Worst Cover

I've just never (ever) liked Quentin Blake. Just... No. I can't even explain it. It's the same as how I know I don't like artichoke. I'll try it over and over a million different ways and always spit it out. Blerrrgh. I've never liked the covers, not even as a child when I first read Roald Dahl's books.

So, share your most and least liked covers with me. I'm looking forward to all the pretty!

19 June 2014

Blog Tour Review and Giveaway: Desperately Ever After by Laura Kenyon

One part Sex and the City. Two parts Desperate Housewives.
Three parts Brothers Grimm.

Imagine what might happen if our most beloved fairy tale princesses were the best of friends and had the dreams, dilemmas, and libidos of the modern woman. How would their stories unfold after the wedding bells stopped ringing?

Set in a fictional realm based on New York City, DESPERATELY EVER AFTER sprinkles women’s fiction with elements of fantasy, and encourages readers to rethink everything they know about happy endings.

Years after turning her husband from beast back to man and becoming his queen, Belle finds out she’s finally going to have a child. But before she can announce the wondrous news, she catches him cheating and watches her “happily ever after” go up in flames.

Turning to her friends for the strength to land with grace, she realizes she’s not the only one at a crossroads:

  • Cinderella, a mother of four drowning in royal duties, is facing her 30th birthday and questioning everything she’s done (or hasn’t) with her life.
  • Rapunzel, a sex-crazed socialite and one-woman powerhouse, is on a self-destructive quest to make up for 20 years locked away in a tower.
  • Penelopea, an outsider with a mother-in-law from hell, is harboring a secret that could ruin everything at any moment.

One part Sex and the City, two parts Desperate Housewives, and three parts Brothers Grimm, DESPERATELY EVER AFTER picks up where the original tales left off—and reimagines them a la Gregory Maguire’s Wicked.

With the wit of authors like Jennifer Weiner and the vision of ABC’s Once Upon a Time, the women of DESPERATELY EVER AFTER rescue each other from life’s trials with laughter, wine, and a scandalous new take on happily ever after.


5 Words: Disney Princess girl power madness.

This was freaking EXCELLENT! Seriously. When I first started this book I wasn't expecting it to be so good.

Take a cast of traditional fairy-tale princesses, familiar to every Disney fan, and smoosh them all together into a wacky union of pretty modern kingdoms where they all rule together and then watch everything go to shit. It's wonderful. I had so so much fun reading it and it really made my day.

My favourite character was probably Belle. And not because I love Belle anyway. It was because of how she changed and developed and discovered so much.

I'd definitely say this book has a slightly feminist vibe to it, but absolutely do not let that put you off. It's subtle and more a part of some of the characters and what they're going through than an agenda being pushed forward. And it made for plenty of laughs.

I had a whole playlist of kick-ass girl-power tunes and Disney classics going through my head as I read this. Empowering and hilarious, I think everyone should read this.

I desperately want to read the next one!

GIVEAWAY

Win an e-copy of Desperately Ever After!

17 June 2014

Blitz: The Job Proposal by Wendy Chen

All's fair in love and work.

Kate is enjoying being engaged—that it's a hoax is beside the point. To succeed at her ultra-conservative finance job she needs to reform her flighty, party-girl reputation, and a good old fashioned marriage of convenience is exactly what she needs to put her one step closer to the promotion of her dreams. But when Adam, Kate's best friend from high school, arrives for a visit, her perfect arrangement suddenly isn't so perfect anymore.

The nerdy boy she remembers from her teen years has grown into a gorgeous and successful man, and he's vying for her affection. Soon all the things Kate thinks she wants will change, and everything she doesn't know she needs, she may not be able to live without.

But will she be able to let down the walls she’s built to guard her heart and trade her fierce independence for love?


Top Ten Tuesday #9

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 Summer TBR list.


This is a hard one for mew, as I just pick up whatever, whenever. Also, a lot of my summer reading is re-reads of old favourites that I know are prefect for reading in that good old English summer rain. So here goes, in no particular order as usual...
  1. Goose by Dawn O'Porter
  2. This Northern Sky by Julia Green
  3. Pirates! by Celia Rees
  4. Peace Weavers by Julia Jarman
  5. Acid by Emma Pass
  6. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
  7. Secrets of the Henna Girl by Sufiya Ahmed 
  8. The Dead House by Anne Cassidy
  9. The Castle by Sophia Bennett
  10. Entangled by Cat Clarke
Oh look, it's all UKYA again. Whoopsie! (But not really, cause UKYA rocks!)

15 June 2014

Showcase Sunday #11

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.

Getting back on track now! Some exciting tours, blitzes and reviews are coming up this week, and give-aways... Woo! Not many purchases or books through the door, but plenty to keep me happy - especially as I got Vampire Academy e-books.

THE HAUL

So, not much as I said, but plenty to keep me happy. The Swimmer by Joakim Zander came through the door courtesy of Head Zeus and it definitely looks interesting. I bought Hexed by Michelle Krys at Asda yesterday for a little bit of light reading - it was an impulse buy and I honestly haven't even looked at the back yet. But now I've had the time to scan some reviews, I'm kinda regretting it!


Yesterday I went to the Magical Worlds exhibition at The Great North Museum with my mum and sisters and we had a lot of fun dressing up and messing around. From fairy tale princesses, to witches, to woodland pixies, we dressed up whenever possible and got loads of picture. Even the museum staff nabbed a picture of us to show that it's  not only the kiddies that enjoy interactive exhibitions.

12 June 2014

Review: Gracie by Ellie Keaton

London 1938 - Gracie Thompson has a job, a loving family, a twin brother who drives her insane and a great friend. A chance meeting introduces her to the love of her life. But the storm clouds are gathering, Europe is teetering on the verge of war and threatening to destroy everything Gracie holds dear. When war arrives her family are split up, her lover is in daily danger and her life is threatened. Her father and boyfriend believe a woman's place is in the home but she is equally determined to do her duty for King and Country. 

She succeeds in her ambition to do her bit but at what cost? Will she ever see her twin again? And can she live with the knowledge her actions may have led to the loss of the one man she loves. Not only could he die, but he may do so believing she never loved him. Is she brave enough to pull the life she wants back from the abyss?


5 Words: Heartbreaking, war, conflict, love, misunderstanding.

This was a great read, and I enjoyed every second of it. It was an interesting interpretation of World War Two from a young woman's perspective.

I loved Gracie, even if she was a little hot headed and I didn't like her at times. She was also quite stereotypical for her type of character, but I think that's probably why I loved her so much. She was comfortable to read and I kinda knew what to expect. Charlie was just as stubborn and hot headed, and I thought they were a great match.

This book made me laugh and cry in equal measure, and although I sobbed my heart out with the whole Pat thing, I came out with a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. It's a story about love in a time of uncertainty.

I'd recommend this book for fans of Annie Groves, as Gracie has those same qualities which I love.

11 June 2014

Wishlist Wednesday #5

Wishlist Wednesday is hosted by Pen To Paper and is a chance to share the book you're currently lusting after. It's weekly because we're bookworms and we love to read. A lot. So sometimes our MOST WANTED is quickly read and replaced.


I'll also be posting a non-book wishlist item. But it will probably be book-related because let's be honest, I can't help myself. Books are my life.

THE BOOK

A search for the truth about her father’s death takes schoolgirl Zetta Jones to a dangerous place, where she discovers that what some people will do for money, she will do for hope...

Zetta Jones is an ordinary girl struggling with the loss of her father, an army hero who died in mysterious circumstances. When she receives clues that he may still be alive, but no one believes her, she embarks on a dangerous rescue across the crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean to a cliff-top castle, home to a billionaire in exile.

Why do I want this?

It's UKYA by a fab UK author. Look out for my review of The Look by Sophia Bennett later this month. Plus, I've already read the extract of The Castle and I absolutely cannot wait to get my hands on it. Seriously, it looks all kinds of fabulous-awesome.

And THAT is what is wrong with this picture. Although the peach satin comes a close second.

THE NOT A BOOK

What can I say, these are perfect! They kinda describe our relationship but the OH doesn't think it's so funny. But I love them. Lots.

These mugs are by Bright Side and I can't wait to get them. I love most of Bright Side's things if I'm honest, they're so quirky and cute and they make me smile. Especially the ones, because tea is liquid happiness.

10 June 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #8

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've Read So Far This Year.

Now I have to admit that i'm a little behind schedule this year! Between being shunted between courses (most of them useless) and finding a new job and starting training, I've had little time left for reading. But there have been some gems in the 78 I've managed so far, despite a lot of them being rereads. The following are in no particular order and all new-to-me this year.
  1. Thief's Magic by Trudi Canavan
  2. Gracie by Ellie Keaton
  3. Paper Aeroplanes by Dawn O'Porter
  4. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
  5. Made in Nashville by Mandy Baggot
  6. Full Steam Ahead by Valerie Chase
  7. Wolf Bride by Elizabeth Moss
  8. The Book of Spells by Katie Brian
  9. The Druid Stone by Helen McCann
  10. A Dark and Twisted Tide by Sharon Bolton
I'll be back to add links later, but work calls!

What are your top ten books this year (so far!)?

08 June 2014

Showcase Sunday #10

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.

I haven't posted for a while, so this is the highlights of my bumper crop. A huge focus on UKYA here as I'm trying to buy every book that has ever been short-listed for the North East Teenage Book Awards. Also, yay for me, I got a job!

THE HAUL

Like I said, a bumper haul with a huge focus on UKYA. I'm getting started on my immense NETBA UKYA project, which I hope to start posting in the run up to the 15th anniversary of the awards starting. It's a huge task, with 87 books so far - this year's haven't been announces yet. 


  1. Banished by Liz de Jager
  2. Witch Child by Celia Rees
  3. Blood Tracks by Paula Rawsthrone
  4. The Savages by Matt Whyman
  5. Slated by Teri Terry
  6. The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray
  7. Rebel Angels by Libba Bray
  8. Trouble by Non Pratt
  9. Someone Like Me by Lesley Cheetham
  10. The Swan Gondola by Timothy Schaffert
  11. Sisters of Treason by Elizabeth Fremantal
Witch Child is the only on of these books I've managed to read - and it was a re-read! I'd forgotten how lovely the writing was and how I was hooked even though when you get to the end you realise that not all that much has happened.

The two Libba Bray's Gemma Doyle books were a birthday present from Steph, who's going to be helping me with the NETBA project, as she knew I had the first but not the other two. We both took part together in the 2004 NETB Awards and then whenever we could after that and we're still best friends now and always sharing books.

I also want to give a shout-out to a wonderful book I read last week set in WW2 Britian. Gracie by Ellie Keaton was a great read and I enjoyed every second of it. I now can't wait for the second book, Penny! Ellie Keaton's writing style and tone puts me in mind of the late Annie Groves and was an altogether quite lovely read.

Come back tomorrow for my full review, but for now you can have my five words and get a bit of an idea about what I thought about it.

5 Words: Heartbreaking, war, conflict, love, misunderstanding.


02 June 2014

Blog Tour: Second on the Right by Elizabeth Los

Spawned from an ancient promise, treachery and intrigue follow the protagonists through our world and one lost to the waves. Bound by an invisible bond, they are thrust into a fantastical world of pirates and demons.

James Benedict is a just man haunted by evil. Pushed to the edge, everything stripped from him, a new man arises . . . a man whose name strikes fear into the hearts of all who hear it: "Captain Hook".

Eileen Davis was a timid woman. Through a fateful cruise she finds herself in the company of the Captain of the Mistral Thief. With his guidance, and the meddling of the local barista, she eventually finds her inner strength.

Will the two of them unite through time to fulfill the promise of their ancestors or will tempers ignite leading all to failure?

Amazon UK | Amazon US | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Createspace



Everyone loves a scavenger hunt so jump aboard and collect the clues to form a hidden message pertaining to Second On The Right. Visit all the blogs touring and look for the word in RED in each scavenger hunt graphic. It is a contest after all, so the first person to email the MESSAGE to bitnbooktours@gmail.com wins! For a full schedule of all the blogs participating go here: http://bitnbooktours.wix.com/bitn#!second-on-the-right-by-elizabeth-los/c1y0z


EXCERPT

Eileen woke with a start. Carefully, she peeled back the privacy sheet. A lump caught in her throat. The cabin door was open. She frowned. In the dim moonlight, a shadow stood just within the captain’s quarters. It moved. Her heart raced. She blinked, then stared. The dark silhouette glided silently. She watched, unbelieving. The shape loomed over the captain. She released the sheet.
He doesn’t know. He’s still asleep. I have to do something. But what? Her thoughts rattled through her mind. She had to be quick.
As quiet as possible, she slipped from her hammock. Her stocking feet made no sound. She crouched. Her fingers slid down her leg until they found her dagger. She removed the blade. Her hand trembled as she pulled back the sheet. Squinting, she could make out the shape. She rose. The floor creaked under her shifting weight.
Red eyes stared at her from across the room. They seemed to float in midair. She held her breath. The hairs on the back of her neck rose. She blinked. The eyes grew larger. She looked to the door. When she looked back, the eyes were closer. She panicked. The shadow lunged towards her.
Eileen screamed. “Captain! Captain, wake up!” She stomped on the floor boards and yelled, “Smythe! Anyone! The captain’s in danger!”
The creature howled.
Eileen swung her dagger at the intruder. He slid to the right. She slashed. He slipped to the left. She thrust. Her blade met air. He moved with little effort. And now, he drew closer. She slashed haphazardly. She hit nothing.
The shadow hissed. She felt a rush of wind. The creature flew at her. A powerful blow to the chest, her back slammed into the wall. She tried to defend herself. Another rush of wind and her dagger was knocked out of her hand. Her head hit the wall. Sliding to the floor, she felt cold. She heard a raspy inhalation. Looking up she was met with red eyes that glared at her. A cold breeze wrapped around her. She tried for her dagger, but it was gone. As she struggled for breath, her hearing diminished. The shadow loomed over her. Eileen’s vision tunneled until darkness enveloped her and there was nothing.


GIVEAWAY