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