30 December 2015

Review: Famous in Love by Rebecca Serle

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24125430-famous-in-love
She fell in love with him in the books - now she has the chance to star opposite him in the film...

Paige doesn't think she's particularly special, but after getting the starring role in a massive film adaptation of the bestselling Locked trilogy, the rest of the world would disagree. Now she's thrown into the spotlight, and into a world of gossip, rumour and deceit. The only people who know what she's going through are her two male co-stars, and they can't stand the sight of each other.
Paige knows it's a mistake to fall in love on the set of a movie, but days of on-screen romance and intensity start to change her mind.
The question is, can she keep what happens behind the scenes a secret when the world is watching her every move?

Source: Purchase

5 Words: Fame, acting, love, friendship, change.

I'm a little torn about this book. On one hand it was quite fun and enjoyable, but on the other it was a bit lacklustre and felt a little overdone.

Paige was a little annoying at times, and sometimes quite shallow. But then all of a sudden she'd be this amazing, deep character who I loved to read. It was a little frustrating. Why couldn't she be awesome all the time? Instead of just for a few sentences here and there?

And it's safe to say that I wasn't such a fan of Rainer. Could not see the appeal at all. He was just... Add to that the other two guys in this weird love triangle/square/thing and it was just. Meh.

I think this book is more powerful as a standalone, but I can understand why the author wants to drag it out into a trilogy. The ending really stood out, and was probably the best bit of the book, and I think it's a bit of a shame that it won't be left that way. It just seemed so right, and so brave for a YA writer.
  

22 December 2015

Release Day Blitz: This Raging Light by Estelle Laure



Title: THIS RAGING LIGHT
Author: Estelle Laure
Release Date: December 22nd, 2015
Pages: 288
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook
Find It: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

Can the best thing happen at the worst time? 

Her dad went crazy. Her mom left town. She has bills to pay and a little sister to look after. Now is not the time for level-headed seventeen-year-old Lucille to fall in love. But love - messy, inconvenient love - is what she’s about to experience when she falls for Digby Jones, her best friend’s brother. With blazing longing that builds to a fever pitch, Estelle Laure’s soulful debut will keep readers hooked and hoping until the very last page.
 

Excerpt

When Wrenny and I roll up the hill to Eden’s house in Mom’s ancient Corolla, Digby and his dad, John, are outside playing basketball, and I want to get in the house as fast as possible, because otherwise I might be trapped here all day, staring. I get a little twinge of something seeing a dad and his kid playing ball like dads and kids are supposed to. That’s a real thing, and my hand wants to cover Wren’s face so she can’t see all that she is missing.

Which reminds me. “Wren.”

“Yeah?” She’s wiping at her shirt, reading a book on her lap, and she’s a little bit filthy, her hair greasy and knotty in spite of my efforts this morning. At some point the braids came out, and she’s reverted to wild.

“You know how Mom hasn’t been around lately?”

She stops. Tightens. “Yeah,” she says.

“Well, we don’t want anyone to know about that, okay?

Even Janie and Eden and Digby and John.”

“But Mom’s on vacation. She’s getting her head together. She’s coming back.”

“Okay, yes,” I say, “but still. We don’t want to tell anyone, because they might not understand that. They might get the wrong idea.”

“Like that she left us permanently?” There is so much more going on inside that Wrenny-head than I can ever know.

“Maybe, or at least for longer than she was supposed to.” I reach for the handle to the door because I can’t look at her. “Someone might think that.”

“She didn’t, though,” she says. “She’s Mom.”

“Of course she didn’t.” Lie.

“So who cares what anyone thinks?”

“Wren, just don’t, okay?”

“Okay.”

“Some things are private.” I open the door, then lean back across and wipe uselessly at her shirt with my thumb. “Like Mom being on vacation. So, okay?”

“I said okay, okay?” She gets out and waits, stares at me like I’m the most aggravating person on earth. “Hey, Lu?”

“Yeah?” I say, bracing myself for what’s next.

“Your mama’s so fat, she left the house in high heels and came back in flip-flops.”

I would tell her that I hate her new obsession with fat jokes, but I’m not in the mood for any dawdling, so I half laugh and get moving. I want to get inside and quick because there’s also the other thing. And by “other” I mean what makes me sweat just standing here. And by “thing” I mean Digby, who I have known since I was seven but who lately makes a fumbling moronic moron out of me, a full-on halfwit. Ask me my name when I’m in his presence and I’m not likely to be able to tell you. I’d probably just say, “Lllll . . . lllllllu . . .” and you’d have to catch the drool running down my chin.

I know. It’s not at all attractive.

But really. Tall, sweaty, and not wearing a shirt, so the muscles are all right there for the watching. He doesn’t exactly glisten, on account of the fact that he’s whiter than white, that he tans by getting freckles so he’s covered in them now after a whole summer outside. But seeing his hair all plastered to his forehead, his body so long and lean, looping around his dad to get the ball into the hoop, I want to fall out of the car and onto my knees in the driveway, say Lord have mercy, hallelujah, write sonnets and paint him, and worship that one little curve where his neck meets his shoulder that is just so, so perfect.

He is beautiful.

Which is why when he says hi as I pass him, I barely raise a pinky in response. There are two main problems here, aside from the fact that he is Eden’s twin and that’s all kinds of weird.

One, he’s had the same girlfriend since the dawn of time. They’re pinned, she wears his jacket, their marriage certificate is practically already signed. Angels bless their freakin’ union. And two, if I ever did get a chance with him, like if he ever kissed me or something, I would die of implosion. I know I sound like a twelve-year-old mooning over some celebrity, and not the extremely self-possessed woman-tobe that I actually am, but something about him makes me lose my mind. Something about the way he moves, about his himness — it shatters me all the way down. So I hope he never does kiss me. That would be nothing but a disaster. No one needs to see me fall apart like that. Least of all him.

Actually, maybe least of all me.

About Estelle

Estelle Laure is a Vonnegut worshipper who believes in love and magic and the power of facing hard truths. She has a BA in Theater Arts from New Mexico State University and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and thinks everyone should have to wait tables or work in a kitchen at least once in their lives. She lives in Taos, New Mexico with her children. 

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram

 

Giveaway

1 winner will receive a hardcover of THIS RAGING LIGHT and a bottle of Essie Nail Polish that matched the book cover. US Only. Ends on December 31st at Midnight EST!

Top Ten Tuesday #49

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 Wouldn't Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree This Year.
 
This was the easiest list ever:
ALL OF THE BOOKS.
 
But joking aside, here are my top ten, in no particular order.
  • A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas
  • Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne
  • Liberty's Fire by Lydia Syson
  • Emeralds & Ashes by Leila Rasheed
  • If You Were Me by Sam Hepburn
  • The Vanishing Throne by Elizabeth May
  • All My Secrets by Sophie McKenzie
  • The Girl Who Walked On Air by Emma Carroll
  • The Next Together by Lauren James
  • The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich 
 SURPRISE! They're all UKYA. My one true love.
 
No really a surprise though, when is my list not packed with it?
 

What's on your list?

 

16 December 2015

Review: Christmas at Lilac Cottage by Holly Martin

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26052279-christmas-at-lilac-cottage
Penny Meadows loves her home – a cosy cottage decorated with pretty twinkling fairy lights and stunning views over the town of White Cliff Bay. She also loves her job as an ice-carver, creating breathtaking sculptures. Yet her personal life seems frozen.

When Henry and daughter Daisy arrive at the cottage to rent the annex, Penny is determined to make them feel welcome. But while Daisy is friendly, Henry seems guarded.

As Penny gets to know Henry, she realises there is more to him than meets the eye. And the connection between them is too strong to ignore…

While the spirit of the season sprinkles its magic over the seaside town and preparations for the ice sculpting competition and Christmas eve ball are in full swing, can Penny melt the ice and allow love in her heart? And will this finally be the perfect Christmas she’s been dreaming of?

Source: NetGalley Request

5 Words: Christmas, love, loss, family, community.

This story takes a well used trope and adds in some extra sweet treats in a lovely festive setting.

I found the story itself just a bit too predictable, but I did like the community spirit and the artisan workers and the cast of characters.

When I first started, the main character felt about 10 years older than what she was. It took a while for me to settle in to the story, it seemed to ramble on a little before the plot was established. But once I was into it I found it hard to put down. I wanted to learn more about White Cliff Bay.

It's a simple festive romance that ticks all of the right boxes. It wasn't spectacular, but it wasn't bad. There was drama, attraction, a sprinkling of heartwarming do-gooders... Very enjoyable.

15 December 2015

Top Ten Tuesday #48

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 Best Books I Read In 2015.
 
I have read some absolutely AMAZING books this year. I honestly cannot recommend these books enough, if you haven't read them yet then get them. And read them. And love them.
 
For once, my list is going to be in order, with my absolute favourite at the top and working down. But since I read an average of 200 books a year, it means that these top ten were truly extraordinary.
  1. Darkmere by Helen Maslin
  2. Slated by Teri Terry
  3. Night School by CJ Daugherty
  4. Vendetta by Catherine Doyle
  5. Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton
  6. Vampire State of Mind by Jane Lovering
  7. Holy Island by LJ Ross
  8. Monster by CJ Skuse
  9. In Bloom by Matthew Crow
  10. The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury
What was your ultimate favourite book in 2015?
 

11 December 2015

Book Beginnings #14

For Book Beginnings, Rose City Reader invites us to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

I am currently reading Acid by Emma Pass.

Mileway Maximum Security Prison, Outer London 
12 April 2113
The first time I notice the new inmate is when we're all lined up outside our cells for morning head count. He's standing five doors down from me, sneaking glances at the rest of us as the guards wave their wrist-scanners across our hips to read the spytags that are implanted when we first get here.

This has been on my TBR for a long, long time. Now it's a pick for the YA Shot read-a-long. I'm only a few chapters in but it's promising to be amazing. Wow.

If you take part in the read-a-long then you could win a YA Shot paperback of your choice, so it's worth joining in! Just follow the link.

10 December 2015

Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway: The Accidental Guest by Tilly Tennant

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27130476-the-accidental-guest
Soulmates don’t just fall from the sky… do they?

Hannah Meadows doesn’t believe in fate or destiny, or any of the other things people reach for when they lose control of their lives. That is, until a man arrives on her doorstep on Christmas Day begging for help. Hannah’s not the sort of woman to turn her back on someone in need, but this isn’t what compels her to aid the handsome stranger, nor is it the intense dark eyes, or the inexplicable feelings she quickly develops for him.

Something magical is coming her way, something that will turn her life completely upside down. Hannah Meadows may not believe in fate or destiny, but they seem to have other ideas…
  

Source: Blog Tour | Review Consideration

5 Words: Family, Christmas, stranger, heart-warming, attraction.

This was a pleasant little story perfect for a coffee break while you're Christmas shopping. It was quite charming and heart-warming, and although I enjoyed it, I was a little disappointed towards the end because it seemed to end so quickly and with a cliff-hanger.

As much as I've recently grown to love serials, this first part passed a little too quickly for me. I think that I'd like reading this much more as a complete work rather than the separate parts as they come out, it would suit the pacing better.

That said, the cliff-hanger will drive me to read the other parts ASAP! I want to knooooooowwwww.

I liked the family dynamics, I thought it was a little bit of a shame that they treated Jess as though she was still a child. She was a bright and witty teen, and she injected a good deal of humour into the story.

GIVEAWAY

Tour-wide giveaway of an Amazon gift card worth £10/$15

08 December 2015

Top Ten Tuesday #47

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-To-Me Favorite Authors I Read For The First Time In 2015.
 
I am a creature of habit and I read the same authors again and again. And again. And I reread a lot. But this year I actually discovered quite a few gems!
I think there's only one author on that list who is not British, but it just so happens that her books are set in Britain. Creature of habit and all. I love where I live.
 
If I haven't already read everything by these authors, then it's on my TBR and ordered. Or pre-ordered.

04 December 2015

Book Beginnings #13

For Book Beginnings, Rose City Reader invites us to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

I am currently reading Midnight at Tiffany's by Sarah Morgan.
"Champagne?"

Matilda circulated carefully among the glamorous crowd, trying to keep her eyes off the glittering view of the Manhattan skyline and concentrate on keeping the tray steady. The last thing she needed was another catastrophic spill. She'd already had one warning from her boss and even though, technically, her last disaster hasn't been her fault she knew another accident would get her fired. Her brief was to be invisible, and she considered herself perfectly qualified for the job.

I love Sarah Morgan's writing, and this little novella came out today. Of course I had it pre-ordered before even a synopsis was up, it dropped on to my Kindle at midnight, and I'm just about to start. Yay!

I always have high expectations when I pick up anything by this author, and I've never been disappointed so far. Just from this first paragraph, I feel that I'm going to enjoy this a lot.

 

03 December 2015

Review: Four Weddings and a White Christmas by Jenny Oliver

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25618917-four-weddings-and-a-white-christmas
Hannah’s holidays are normally spent nibbling chocolate coins with her daughter and praying she’s not too old for a stocking on Christmas morning. But this year, she’s been offered the dressmaker’s job of a lifetime: creating a one-of-a-kind a gown for her friend Annie’s Christmas wedding on the picture-perfect Cherry Pie Island.
Many mince pies and one hot-pink organza dress later, Hannah is set to snuggle back into her old routine… Until she discovers that there are three more weddings to come – and not a dress in sight!
Four themes, four brides and four parties spent avoiding chef Harry Fontaine, whose cynicism is as much a wedding day guarantee as confetti and cake. Hannah has her work cut out for her! Yet, with a sprinkling of snowflakes and Christmas magic, it could be that this is the year when miracles really do happen… If Hannah will let them.

Source: Purchase

5 Words: Christmas, weddings, design, food, family.
I love Cherry Pie Island. I'm definitely going to miss my regular trips.
This book really did have a very "final" feel about it. A bit like the end of an era. But it's not all sad. In fact, this is a very uplifting story full of happy endings and guaranteed to make you smile. And it's absolutely perfect for Christmas.
This book made me so hungry though. All of that food!
Despite this being part of a series, it could easily be read as a standalone, as we meet a new character, Hannah, and it mostly focuses around her and her meetings with Harry. That said, it's the perfect culmination to the series with all of these weddings and un-engagements so if you've read the previous books you'll likely love this.

02 December 2015

Review: Christmas Ever After by Sarah Morgan

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25649030-christmas-ever-after
Skylar Tempest has never understood Alec Hunter’s appeal. So what if he’s a world-renowned historian? He’s also cynical, aloof and determined to think the worst of her. So when a twist of fate finds her spending the lead-up to Christmas with Alec and his family, she’s not expecting the season to be either merry or bright.
Alec has learned the hard way not to trust beautiful women—and Skylar is the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen. But as he watches her throw herself into his family’s festive chaos, Alec realises there is far more to this blonde bombshell than meets the eye.
With Christmas around the corner, Alec and Skylar return to Puffin Island, a tentative bond forged between them. Neither intends to fall in love, but as the nights become darker, and the fire between them grows hotter, could this be the chance for Alec and Skylar to find their own happy ending?

Source: NetGalley Request | Purchase

5 Words: Friendship, attraction, passion, hesitation, love.
That was absolutely amazing and a truly wonderful way to end the Puffin Island series. I loved it in every way.
The tension between Sky and Alec has been obvious to anyone who has read the previous books, that spark of attraction and the overlying resentment and bitterness and contempt. In case you weren't sure, they really do not like each other.
Until they're thrown together.
Alec is a true gent, a wonderful man. He's slightly bitter and hardened but he has good reason. He's intelligent and savvy and tall, dark and handsome...
Excuse me while I swoon. I'm sure he'd catch me, chivalrous as he is.
Then we have Sky, the young woman who has an amazing talent but is put down and manipulated by her controlling family and boyfriend. So she is unsure and self-depreciating and holds back.
The passion between these two is crazy, and by the end of the story they are completely different people.
My favourite part of this story, much as I love Puffin Island, was the time that the two spent in the UK. The descriptions were breath-taking and I had to read all snuggled up in a blanket with a large cup of tea. And Alec's family are fantastic, funny and loving, and reminded me of my own family.

01 December 2015

Top Ten Tuesday #46

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 2016 Debuts Novels We Are Looking Forward To.
 
This was actually a little difficult, I usually have no idea what books are coming out unless there's been a lot of buzz or a tour. And then there are the review copies floating around that have you second guessing the release dates and wondering how on earth it's been sitting on your kindle for so long. I decided to focus on YA because it's what I read most.

Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman
Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker
Thief of Lies by Brenda Drake
The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye
Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira
Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace
After the Woods by Kim Savage
The Heir and the Spare by Emily Albright
Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard

13 November 2015

Book Beginnings #12

For Book Beginnings, Rose City Reader invites us to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

I am currently reading Snowflakes on Silver Cove by Holly Martin.
Squeak. Squeak. Squeak. Squeak. Squeak. SqueakSqueak, SqueakSqueak, SqueakSqueak, SqueakSqueak, SqueakSqueak, SqueakSqueak, SqueakSqueakBang, SqueakSqueakBang, SqueakSqueakBang, SqueakSqueakBang, SqueakSqueakBang.

"Oh!"

SqueakSqueakBang.

"Oh!"

SqueakSqueakBang.

"OH!"

SqueakSqueakBang.

"OH!"

SqueakSqueakBang.

"OH GOD!"

BangBang.

"OH GOD!"

BangBangBangBang.

"OHHHHHH!"
Hahahahahahaha. What a freaking hilarious start. I hope that the rest of this is as funny! I felt like a right tit typing that out though, especially as the font is so big. The word "squeak" now just looks completely wrong to me.
 
I'm now into Day 2 of the Ho-Ho-Ho Read-A-Thon and I'm loving the festive reads. This is the second White Cliff Bay book and I've read a lot by Holly Martin, so I know what I'm in for.

11 November 2015

Ho-Ho-Ho Read-a-thon 2015

http://caffeinatedbookreviewer.com/2015/09/ho-ho-ho-read-a-thon-november-12th-through-the-17th-sign-up.htmlThe Ho-Ho-Ho Read-a-thon is hosted by The Book Shelfery and Caffeinated Book Reviewer. For this read-a-thon you must read holiday themed or winter setting reads between 12th and 17th November, and I can't wait. This is my favourite time of year and although I usually only read festive through December, I'm only too happy to start early this year.
 
There's a Twitter party on the 17th November and until then you can tweet using #HoHoHoRAT. Best of all? There are prizes to be won!
 
Over the five days, I plan to read five books. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I manage to sneak an extra one in somewhere since this spans a weekend. Wish me luck!
 

Reading List

One Wish in Manhattan by Mandy Baggot
Merry Mistletoe by Emma Davies
 
 
  

10 November 2015

Top Ten Tuesday #45

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'd Love to See on Screen.
 
OK, so today should really be Top Ten Book To Movie Adaptations I'm Looking Forward To or Ten Book To Movie Adaptations I Still Need To Watch but I'm not excited about any of that. Certainly not enough to write a list. I can't even think of one...
 
What I am excited about is my own fantasy wish list of what I've love to see on the big screen. Or the small screen as an epic series. You know, so everything fits in... Onwards to five series and five films!

5 TV Series

  1. The Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas
  2. The Parsol Protectorate by Gail Carriger
  3. The Finishing School by Gail Carriger
  4. The DCI Ryan Mysteries by LJ Ross
  5. Prep School Confidential by Kara Taylor

5 Films

  1. Darkmere by Helen Maslin
  2. Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton
  3. The Poppy Factory by Liz Trenow
  4. Pirates! by Celia Rees
  5. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Which books would you most like to see on screen?

 
 

06 November 2015

Blog Tour - Review: The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23868734-the-little-bookshop-on-the-seine
Bookshop owner Sarah Smith has been offered the opportunity to exchange bookshops with her new Parisian friend for 6 months! And saying yes is a no-brainer – after all, what kind of a romantic would turn down a trip to Paris… for Christmas?
Even if it does mean leaving the irresistible Ridge Warner behind, Sarah’s sure she’s in for the holiday of a lifetime – complete with all the books she can read!
Imagining days wandering around Shakespeare & Co, munching on croissants, sipping café au laits and watching the snow fall on the Champs-Élysées Sarah boards the plane.
But will her dream of a Parisian Happily-Ever-After come true? Or will Sarah realise that the dream of a Christmas fairytale in the city of love isn’t quite as rosy in reality…


Source: Blog Tour | Review Consideration | Purchase

5 Words: Paris, love, Christmas, relationships, books.
This was a perfect Christmas story and a fantastic continuation of Sarah and Ridge's story from The Bookshop on the Corner. It was also the perfect introduction to the Little Paris collection and I will absolutely be reading on.
From the very first page, that was me. Sucked right in. This book is pretty magical, perfect for the festive season. But it is also startlingly realistic. It isn't a fairy-tale. It has me craving gingerbread lattes and bread and cheese and cheap red wine. I want to get my Christmas decorations up now, a whole month early.
I loved how this story tested Sarah and Ridge's relationship. It forced them to change, to develop, to grow. And it forced them to acknowledge some home truths. It felt like their relationship really went to the next level.
You can read this as a standalone, but it's definitely better if you read The Bookshop on the Corner first. And I don't know how you'd be able to resist reading the other Little Paris books, because I'm itching to get my hands on them!

Book Beginnings #11

For Book Beginnings, Rose City Reader invites us to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

I am currently reading Christmas Ever After by Sarah Morgan.
 

Skylar Tempest stepped out of her hotel and lifted her face to the sky. Soft, thick flakes of snow drifted down from a sky of midnight blue, dusting her hair and blending with the wool of her white coat. It was like standing in a snow globe.
 
I can barely contain my excitement. I love Sarah Morgan's writing and I love Puffin Island. Add Christmas to the mix and I'm in heaven! There have been so many excellent reviews already for this final instalment to the series that I can't wait to jump in.

04 November 2015

Blog Tour - Review & Giveaway: Rescued by Phoebe Rose

At 23, successful entrepreneur Thomas York has to be one hundred percent focused on his latest startup. He has no time for dating and even less time to deal with the litter of stray kittens who've claimed his patio as their new home. Falling for the pretty and passionate animal rescue volunteer who shows up to help with his feline problem is not on his agenda.

A born nurturer, Tessa Cantalupe is used to caring for everyone but herself. She has a history of giving too much and getting too little, and she has no doubt a sexy, ambitious businessman like Thomas has nothing more to offer her than one more dead-end relationship. But can a guy who loves kittens be all bad? Maybe it's time she let someone rescue her and give her lonely heart a forever home. 

RELEASE 10th NOVEMBER

Source: Blog Tour | Review Consideration

5 Words: Love, family, discovery, change, loneliness.

I knew pretty much straight away that I was going to like this book. I loved the writing style and although I had rolled my eyes a little when I first read the synopsis, it worked. It really really worked.

The characters are rather complex and passionate, and their relationship? It was on fire. Wowsers. I haven't read anything like that for a while. Excuse me while I go cool down...

Although everything happens quickly, it's no insta-love. Even when he buys her first class ticket to Hawaii less than 24 hours after meeting her, it strangely works. It's right.

The cats and kittens in this book made me gush a lot. Little cuties! I can't wait to read more Alley Kitten stories.

I loved how so many different types of relationships were explored. And there was a nice dose of poisonous-relationship, which is my ultimate catnip.

There's nothing like standing kissing-close to a beautiful stranger to make you really feel your loneliness. 

27 October 2015

Top Ten Tuesday #44

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 to Read at Halloween.
 
Three years ago, if you had asked me about what I read a Halloween, I'd have given you a weird look and told you that I just read the same all year round. But then I discovered seasonal reading, and it's amazing. I read a lot. But here are the very Best of British books to read at Halloween. And no, they're not all horror.

Do you have any specific Halloween reads?

 
 

21 October 2015

Blog Tour: All I've Never Wanted by Ana Huang

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25464015-all-i-ve-never-wanted
The Scions were the four richest, most powerful guys at Valesca Academy, and they ruled the school with iron fists. Everyone wanted to date them or be them... Everyone, that is, except Maya Lindberg, who just wanted to avoid them until she could graduate.

She almost succeeded, until an ill-advised outburst on her part put her right in the Scions' path. Just like that, one became her fake boyfriend, one her unwanted matchmaker, one her guardian angel, and the one she couldn't stand the most? Yeah, he's her new housemate.

Source: Blog Tour | Review Consideration

5 Words: Money, school, control, lies, attraction.

Take the Number 1, Grade A douchebag with a God complex and bad parenting, add in a bet between a bunch of beautiful, stunning, amazing, overly rich and obviously spoiled kids, and then toss in a poor, innocent girl who is on a scholarship at their prodigious school.

It's a formula that's been done time and again, and this did feel a bit like a rehash of numerous stories I've read before.

That said, exclusive schools are one of my catnip tropes in YA. I love reading about luxury. And the descriptions in this book are certainly what redeemed it.

Honestly, I didn't connect with any of the characters. They mostly spent far too much time lying and being complete tossers. I did like how Maya stood up for herself, but I wish she had developed more as it didn't feel like she reached her full potential as a character, especially with how much her life changes.

The scenes with Maya's grandmother were quite hilarious. I read them with a giggle.

It was a good book, but with a little more development and polishing, a bit of a more original storyline, it could have been great.

20 October 2015

Top Ten Tuesday #43

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 Wishes I'd Ask The Book Genie To Grant Me.
 
This was a difficult one. So. Difficult. And I thought it would be easy!
  1. A bigger YA section in all libraries
  2. More UKYA audiobooks
  3. Bookish events outside of London
  4. My own personal library, of Beauty & The Beast proportions
  5. More time to read!
  6. Merchandise for my favourite books
  7. No cover changes, so series match
  8. More bookmarks, and to never lose them
  9. A little book nook for when I wanted somewhere cosy to read
  10. Unlimited supplies of tea at perfect drinking temperature for when I read

19 October 2015

Review: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22610732-siege-and-storm
Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can't outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka.
But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling's game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her - or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

Source: Purchase

5 Words: Magic, revenge, surprises, death, life.

Well. This book.

It's taken me a while to piece together my thoughts. I had a bit more than usual to think about as I attended an author event and heard Leigh Bardugo talk about her writing and characters and all sorts of other things.

I really enjoy The Grisha books. They're books that I know I'll be able to pick up again and again. And they're books I'm currently letting all of my friends borrow and read (and then buy, because they love them too).

I love the characters and I love how nothing is straight forward. And I absolutely adored every scene with Strumhond, I could read his character all day long and not get bored. And I never liked Mal. Not at all. I kinda wish there was even less of him in this book than there is!

It didn't bother me much that the Darkling wasn't in this book so much. There was so much going on that it didn't really matter. He was a presence that was always there, lurking in the shadows, anyway.

I like how this story has been left so open that it could go anywhere in the next books. Desperate to get stuck into the next one now!
Dear Leigh Bardugo,
Please write a series of novellas about Strumhond's time at sea before he meets Alina. It would be awesome.

17 October 2015

Review: Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell

Dunvegan School for Girls has been closed for many years. Converted into a family home, the teachers and students are long gone. But they left something behind...

Sophie arrives at the old schoolhouse to spend the summer with her cousins.

Brooding Cameron with his scarred hand, strange Lillias with a fear of bones and Piper, who seems just a bit too good to be true. 

And then there’s her other cousin.

The girl with a room full of antique dolls. The girl that shouldn’t be there.

The girl that died.


Source: NetGalley Request | Purchase

5 Words: Family, Ouija, evil, dolls, isolation.

So, I didn't sleep very well last night. I kept waking up, sure that I could feel icy little hands grabbing at my legs.

This book is creepy and chilling. And it stays with you.

I loved the poisonous relationships, the twists and turns, the horror, the way I felt so scared. I loved it all. This is fantastic horror writing and everything is perfect, from the feelings of the characters to the isolated setting.

I liked the way that this book wasn't afraid of technology, that the characters had smartphones and it all started with an app. 

This book had me spending an hour or so researching Frozen Charlotte dolls. How creepy are they?

16 October 2015

BLITZ! The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin

23868734-the-little-bookshop-on-the-seine
La Vie En Rose
 
Bookshop owner Sarah Smith has been offered the opportunity to exchange bookshops with her new Parisian friend for 6 months! And saying yes is a no-brainer – after all, what kind of a romantic would turn down a trip to Paris…for Christmas?
 
Even if it does mean leaving the irresistible Ridge Warner behind, Sarah’s sure she’s in for the holiday of a lifetime – complete with all the books she can read!
 
Imagining days wandering around Shakespeare & Co, munching on croissants, sipping café au laits and watching the snow fall on the Champs-Élysées Sarah boards the plane.
 
But will her dream of a Parisian Happily-Ever-After come true? Or will Sarah realise that the dream of a Christmas fairytale in the city of love isn’t quite as rosy in reality…
 
A deliciously feel-good Christmas romance perfect for fans of Debbie Johnson and Julia Williams
 
I can't wait. I absolutely cannot wait. I love, love, LOVE reading Christmas books all through December, and this year I'll be kicking it off early, because I just can't wait. Starting with this beauty in November.
 

EXCERPT

My email pinged and I dashed over to see who it was from. That’s how exciting my life was sans Ridge, an email was enough to make me almost run, and that was saying a lot. I only ran if chocolate was involved, and even then it was more a fast walk.

Sales@littlebookshop.fr

Sophie, a dear Parisian friend. She owned Once Upon a Time, a famous bookshop by the bank of the Seine. We’d become confidantes since connecting on my book blog a while back, and shared our joys and sorrows about bookshop life. She was charming and sweet, and adored books as much as me, believing them to be portable magic, and a balm for souls.

I clicked open the email and read. 

Ma Chérie,

I cannot stay one more day in Paris. You see, Manu has not so much broken my heart, rather pulled it out of my chest and stomped on it. The days are interminable and I can’t catch my breath. He walks past the bookshop, as though nothing is amiss. I have a proposal for you. Please call me as soon as you can.

Love,

Sophie


Poor Sophie. I’d heard all about her grand love affair with a dashing twenty-something man, who frequented her bookshop, and quoted famous poets. It’d been a whirlwind romance, but she often worried he cast an appraising eye over other women. Even when she clutched his hand, and walked along the cobbled streets of Paris, he’d dart an admiring glance at any woman swishing past.

I shot off a quick reply, telling her to Skype me now, if she was able. Within seconds my computer flashed with an incoming call.

Her face appeared on the screen, her chestnut-colored hair in an elegant chignon, her lips dusted rosy pink. If she was in the throes of heartache, you’d never know it by looking at her. The French had a way of always looking poised and together, no matter what was happening in their complex lives.

“Darling,” she said, giving me a nod. “He’s a lothario, a Casanova, a…” She grappled for another moniker as her voice broke. “He’s dating the girl who owns the shop next door!” Her eyes smoldered, but her face remained stoic.

I gasped, “Which girl? The one from the florist?”

Sophie shook her head. “The other side, the girl from the fromagerie.” She grimaced. I’d heard so much about the people in or around Sophie’s life that it was easy to call her neighbors to mind. “Giselle?” I said, incredulous. “Wasn’t she engaged – I thought the wedding was any day now?”

Sophie’s eyes widened. “She’s broken off her engagement, and has announced it to the world that my Manu has proposed and now they are about to set up house and to try immediately for children –”

My hand flew to my mouth. “Children! He wouldn’t do that, surely!” Sophie was late-forties, and had gently broached the subject of having a baby with Manu, but he’d said simply: absolutely not, he didn’t want children. 

The doorbell of her shop pinged, Sophie’s face pinched and she leaned closer to the screen, lowering her voice. “A customer…” She forced a bright smile, turned her head and spoke in rapid-fire French to whoever stood just off-screen. “So,” she continued quietly. “The entire neighborhood are whispering behind their hands about the love triangle, and unfortunately for me, I’m the laughing stock. The older woman, who was deceived by a younger man.” 

I wished I could lean through the monitor and hug her. While she was an expert at keeping her features neutral, she couldn’t stop the glassiness of her eyes when tears threatened. My heart broke that Manu would treat her so callously. She’d trusted him, and loved him unreservedly. “No one is laughing at you, I promise,” I said. “They’ll be talking about Manu, if anyone, and saying how he’s made a huge mistake.” 

“No, no.” A bitter laugh escaped her. “I look like a fool. I simply cannot handle when he cavorts through the streets with her, darting glances in my bookshop, like they hope I’ll see them. It’s too cruel.” Sophie held up a hand, and turned to a voice. She said au revoir to the customer and spun to face me, but within a second or two, the bell sounded again. “I have a proposal for you, and I want you to really consider it.” She raised her eyebrows. “Or at least hear me out before you say no.” Her gaze burned into mine as I racked my brain with what it could be, and came up short. Sophie waved to customers, and pivoted her screen further away.

“Well?” I said with a nervous giggle. “What exactly are you proposing?”

She blew out a breath, and then smiled. “A bookshop exchange. You come and run Once Upon a Time, and I’ll take over the Bookshop on the Corner.”

I gasped, my jaw dropping.

Sophie continued, her calm belied by the slight quake in her hand as she gesticulated. “You’ve always said how much you yearned to visit the city of love – here’s your chance, my dear friend. After our language lessons, you’re more than capable of speaking enough French to get by.” Sophie’s words spilled out in a desperate rush, her earlier calm vanishing. “You’d save me so much heartache. I want to be in a place where no one knows me, and there’s no chance for love, ever again.”

I tried to hide my smile at that remark. I’d told Sophie in the past how bereft of single men Ashford was, and how my love life had been almost non-existent until Ridge strolled into town. 

“Sophie, I want to help you, but I’m barely hanging on to the bookshop as is…” I stalled for time, running a hand through my hair, my bangs too long, shielding the tops of my eyebrows. How could it work? How would we run each other’s businesses, the financial side, the logistics? I also had an online shop, and I sourced hard-to-find books – how would Sophie continue that?

My mind boggled with the details, not to mention the fact that leaving my books would be akin to leaving a child behind. I loved my bookshop as if it were a living thing, an unconditional best friend, who was always there for me. Besides, I’d never ventured too far from Ashford let alone boarded a plane – it just couldn’t happen.

“Please,” Sophie said, a real heartache in her tone. “Think about it. We can work out the finer details and I’ll make it worth your while. Besides, you know I’m good with numbers, I can whip your sales into shape.” Her eyes clouded with tears. “I have to leave, Sarah. You’re my only chance. Christmas in Paris is on your bucket list…”

My bucket list. A hastily compiled scrappy piece of paper filled with things I thought I’d never do. Christmas in Paris – snow dusting the bare trees on the Left Bank, the sparkling fairy lights along the Boulevard Saint-Germain. Santa’s village in the Latin Quarter. The many Christmas markets to stroll through, rugged up with thick scarves and gloves, Ridge by my side, as I hunted out treasures. I’d spent many a day curled up in my own shop, flicking through memoirs, or travel guides about Paris, dreaming about the impossible…one day.

Sophie continued: “If you knew how I suffered here, my darling. It’s not only Manu, it’s everything. All of a sudden, I can’t do it all any more. It’s like someone has pulled the plug, and I’m empty.” Her eyes scrunched closed as she fought tears.

While Sophie’s predicament was different to mine, she was in a funk, just like me. Perhaps a new outlook, a new place would mend both our lives. Her idea of whipping my sales into shape was laughable though, she had no real clue how tiny Ashford was.

“Exchange bookshops…” I said, the idea taking shape. Could I just up and leave? What about my friends, my life, my book babies? My fear of change? And Ridge, what would he have to say about it? But my life…it was missing something. Could this be the answer?

Paris. The city of love. Full of rich literary history.

A little bookshop on the bank of the Seine. Could there be anything sweeter?

With a thud, a book fell to the floor beside me, dust motes dancing above it like glitter. I craned my neck to see what it was.

Paris: A Literary Guide.

Was that a sign? Did my books want me to go?

“Yes,” I said, without any more thought. “I’ll do it.”
 
The Little Paris Collection:
The Little Bookshop on the Seine
The Little Antique Shop under the Eiffel Tower
The Little Perfume Shop off the Champs-Élysées


 

Book Beginnings #10

For Book Beginnings, Rose City Reader invites us to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

I am currently reading Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo.

The monster's name was Izumrud, the great worm, and there were those who claimed he had made the tunnels that ran beneath Ravka. Sick with appetite, he ate up silt and gravel, burrowing deeper and deeper into the earth, searching for something to satisfy his hunger, until he'd gone too far and lost himself in the dark.


This is the third book in the Grisha series and I'm about half way through so far. The very beginning does seem a little disconnected from the rest of the story, and then I remembered that Alina's search is based on myth and legend. So really, it is kind of fitting. I also quite like how this first paragraph seems to act as a bit of a warning about getting in too deep.
 
I'm almost finished now, and I can't believe it. This is an awesome, awesome series. I will admit that I procrastinated a lot when it came to starting this book, because I didn't want it to end. The Grishaverse is wonderful. Amazing. Read it.
 
If you're in the UK you can win a signed copy of the first book here, and a signed copy of this book next week.

14 October 2015

Review + Giveaway: Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22819449-shadow-and-bone
The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.
Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom's magical elite - the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free? The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha.
If Alina is to fulfil her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him. But what of Mal, Alina's childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can't she ever quite forget him?

Source: Purchase

5 Words: Fantasy, magic, evil, betrayal, love.
As I read this, I wasn't sure if I liked it. It's not that it's bad, it's just that I couldn't decide what I thought. I think this is one of those love/hate books and I could see both sides of the argument. So I was a little torn, but by the end I knew that I'd loved it.
Some bits of this book frustrated me. Really frustrated me. And some bits were a bit predictable. And some bits were a bit "I've read this before".
But I really enjoyed it. I read this book quickly, even around my working hours. It was an easy story to fall in to, to get lost in. For every little thing that annoyed my about Alina, there was something in the story to redeem her. For everything thing about Mal that made me sigh in frustration, there was something that reflected well on him.
I liked the ending, how this could easily be read as a standalone. Not that that will happen. I'll be reading on.

GIVEAWAY

This is a UK only giveaway of a signed copy of Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo.

13 October 2015

Top Ten Tuesday #42

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 Author Duos You'd LOVE To See Write A Book Together.
 
I fangirled so hard. I couldn't help it. That still didn't make it easy to come up with ten killer writing duos.
  1. Sarah J Maas and Leigh Bardugo
    I saw these two speaking together last year and they just seemed to click SO WELL. It would be a crazy book full of awesome.
  2. Kevin Brooks and CJ Skuse
    I think something magical could happen here.
  3. Jonathan Stroud and Maureen Johnson
    It would be all of the creepiness ever. EVER!
  4. Sarah Morgan and Jenny Oliver
    Maybe some romantic series that spans the US and UK?
  5. Teri Terry and Helen Maslin
    Their writing is haunting in different ways, and it would definitely be a story that haunts you forever. And it would be super creepy. And it would probably make you a little bit wary of technology.
  6. Sharon Bolton and LJ Ross
    Oooh! OOOOH!
  7. Mia Thompson and Kara Taylor
    A grown up Anne teaming up with Sapphire to fight the rich baddies? YES!
  8. Sarra Manning and Eleanor Wood
    The ultimate girly YA.
  9. Gail Carriger and Colleen Gleason
    Steampunk ahoy! Just imagine what these two could create.
  10. Elizabeth Wein and Celia Rees
    Just think of what these two ladies could do with history. Makes me shiver.
 

Do you have a perfect writing duo in mind?