31 March 2014

Quote of the Week

"My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations."

-John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

A Witch in Winter

A Witch in Winter by Ruth Warburton

Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary (From Back Cover)
When love is tangled up in magic, how do you know what's real?
When Anna meets Seth, it's magic. But her hidden powers unleash a spell that sparks a war among witches and enslaves Seth's heart.

Review
If I'm being completely honest, and lets face it I usually am, I bought this book because I liked the cover - I do this a lot. I wasn't expecting it too be that great, but I was wrong and should start judging books by their covers more often. It has some really interesting moments that connect a greater story of finding a comfortable place between your heart and you conscience.

I'm going to kick things off with some of the negatives because truth be told I kind of want to get to the part where I can gush over how much I liked the story! The main problem I had with this, and it's one I've had with other books, is that I didn't like the main character. I mean, I don't hate Anna the way I do Katniss from THGs but I struggled to feel sympathetic to her situation. I read this with a book buddy on GoodReads and we both said that Anna's inability to make the right decision was a constant snag in the story. It's hard to feel sorry for someone who's hit themselves in the face and all that.

Okay, now that's out the way I can move onto Seth! Seth is kinda of adorable - in a bod boy kind of way. The girl I was reading this with fell for him straight away although it took me a little more time to get won over by his charms. If there was anyone in this story that I wanted to get a happily ever after it was Seth... and maybe Abe. Abe is complicated - to say the least. You don't really find out much about him, he's a secondary character but his power over the weather is enchanting and his dry wit is endearing. I really hope we see more of him in the next book!

One character that I would tell you to keep an eye out for is Emmaline! She quickly became one of my favourite character's; if it was possible for the story to have been told from her point of view I would have preferred it. Actually keep an eye out for that whole family!

The story itself was really interesting. I would have liked a little more of the 'old' magic but the way in which this book is written you could close your eyes and see every spell being cast. I got a little frustrated with the fact the main character is unable of making a decision that didn't endanger the entire population of Winter, but when the story unfolds towards the end her rashness come in handy - I guess.

Another thing I loved about this book was that you could tell that it was written by a Brit! Now, it's not really that big a deal it's just little things here and there that make it feel all the more familiar. Simple things like instead of grassing or narcing Warburton sticks to good old fashioned dobbing.

Overall it's a great witchy read that is full of plot changes and unexpected twists, adorable and intimate moments, as well as a great last line! Definitely worth adding to your list if your into fantasy. The writing flows effortlessly making it such an easy read!

This is one witch you don't want to miss... mainly because she'll probable decide to cast a spell and end the world, so best to keep an eye on her!






Official Book Trailer



30 March 2014

Book of the Month

Book of the Month


Wither by Lauren DeStefano

EXCERPT

"I wait. They keep us in the dark for so long that we lose sense of our eyelids. We sleep huddled together like rats, staring out, and dream of our bodies swaying.  
I know when one of the girls reaches a wall. She begins to pound and scream - there's a metal in the sound - but none of us help her. We've gone too long without speaking, and all we do is bury ourselves more into the dark. 
The doors open. 
The light is frightening. It's the light of the world through the birth canal, and at once the blinding tunnel that comes with death. I recoil into the blankets with the other girls in horror, not wanting to begin or end.
We stumble when they let us out; we've forgotten how to use our legs. How long has it been - days? Hours? The big open sky waits in its usual place. 
I stand in line with other girls, and men in gray coats study us.
I've heard of this happening. Where I come from girls have been disappearing for a long time. They disappear from their beds or from the side of the road. It happened to a girl in my neighbourhood. Her whole family disappeared after that, moved away, either to find her or because they knew she would never be returned. 
Now it's my turn. I know girls disappear, but any number of things could come after that. Will I become a murdered reject? Sold into prostitution? These things have happened. There's only one other option. I could become a bride." 





For my full review of The Chemical Garden's Trilogy click the links bellow

Wither     .     Fever     .     Sever

29 March 2014

Shadow of Night

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary (From Back Cover)
It began with a discovery of witches. 
Historian Diana Bishop, descended from a line of powerful witches, and long-lived vampire Matthew Clairmont have broken the laws dividing creatures. When Diana discovered a significant alchemical manuscript, she sparked a struggle in which she became bound to Matthew. Now the fragile coexistence of witches, daemons, vampires and humans is dangerously threatened. Seeking safety, Diana and Matthew travel back in time to London, 1590. But they soon realise that the past may not provide a haven...

Review
I had a little break after reading the first book, even though I had this sitting on my self and that was because as much as I loved A Discovery of Witches, so much happened I needed some time for my brain to process before moving onto Shadow of Night. I'd recommend doing the same, not because this world isn't mesmerising and fascinating and fiercely enlightening - because it is - it's just when you read books back to back they can run into each other and these books deserves your full attention. You don't want to miss anything.

The story picks up exactly where we left it, with Diana and Matthew hurling themselves back through time into 1590. They do this to get away from all the problems they're relationship has coursed in the present, from the fact the whole of the magical community is out for blood and answers. They also need to figure out what magic Diana has, as in A Discovery of Witches we see her powers being to emerge, and even though the present isn't safe, neither is the past. Matthew picks a time where witches are being tried and killed and a time where Diana couldn't be more out of place if she tried. But with the help of the mysterious School of Night (well most of them) and some old/new friends they do their best to fix the problems that have arisen in the present.

First thing I have to say about this is I loved the setting. I have a mad obsession with the War of the Roses and the Tudor period so this book was all the more interesting for it's new time period. Like with it's predecessor you are dragged into this world and Harkness' writing style makes you feel like you're walking the streets of Tudor London - as well as all the other cities in this book.

I'm also growing less stubborn about Diana and Matthew's relationship as the series goes on. I've always been a fan of the couple but I just can't quite understand how anyone would put up with being dominated the way Matthew wants to control Diana. But, with this book Diana grows even more confident within their relationship and craves out her own family in 1590. It's sweet and amusing - keep an eye out for little Jack and his sticky fingers! Another character that's introduced in this instalment is Gallowglass de Clermont! In my head I imagine this almost viking esk character, and every time he calls Diana 'Aunty' I get a smile on my face. I don't exactly understand my love for Gallowglass but I defiantly have a soft spot for this guy.

A lot of questions are answered in this book - or at least you're given a bit more of the puzzle. You find out about Diana's powers, where they come from and what they mean, as well as being teased with what the manuscript actually means for our favourite Witch and Vampire.

Things to keep an eye out for... there are odd chapters here and there that focus on the present. They give you a small insight into what's happening while Diana and Matthew get twisted into the past. Also towards the end a character that you wouldn't expect to see pops up in London 1590. I won't say anymore because I don't want to spoil it! But it's brilliantly written!

Overall it's another intelligent and gripping book from Harkness that will have you combing through it's pages seeking out answers and wanting to delve into Tudor England. I can't wait for the final instalment of this - quite frankly - epic series that makes Vampires interesting again.







If you haven't done so already check out my review for the first All Souls book

A Discovery of Witches

28 March 2014

Boo!

Ghost Stories 


"Shall I tell you a story? A new and terrible one? A ghost story? Are you ready? Shall I begin?"
- Libba Bray, A Great and Terrible Beauty


I hate ghost stories! When I was 10 I went on a school trip and the owner of the hotel we were staying at decided to tell us all this a story. It was about a man who's family died in a car crash and then one night at EXACTLY midnight the wife turned up and well I can't remember the rest, but I do remember that I was terrified of midnight for about four years! I'm a total wimp. I can't watch horror/thriller movies and if I even think someone about to tell me a scary story I leave the room... and yet I seem to find myself picking up books that are about ghosts.

Why is it we feel the need to be scared? It doesn't make sense and yet there's this dark, almost seductive pull towards the supernatural that terrifies and enchants us. Maybe it's the fact in my head I keep thinking how much I loved Casper - so ghost's can't be that scary can they? And then I'm surprised when I put down a book or finish watching Supernatural and I'm sleeping with the lights on.

All of this is out of context for me though, because I don't believe in ghosts. I don't believe in other dimensions or gods... Zombie Apocalypse is totally plausible, but ghosts? Nope, sorry I'm not buying it. And yet my imagination runs wild with these stories and I'm able to freak myself out over something I fully believe doesn't exist. I'm not going to lie I said Bloody Mary three times in front of a mirror when I was about 8 and was more than a little worried when I turned 21 I'd look into a mirror and die. For the record I'm fine, 21 and breathing!

So what I guess I'm wondering is am I the only one? And why do we feel the need to make ourselves scared? I mean, you're not going to walk down a dark ally in the middle of  a dodgy area in the city late at night for kicks are you? Well I hope you're not... and if you are? Please stop it's really not safe! So if anyone has any plausible answers please feel free to enlighten me because I'd really like to know!

27 March 2014

Paper Valentine

Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff

Rating: 2 out of 5

Summary (From Back Cover)
Hannah's best friend, Lillian, starved herself to death six months ago, and Hannah's been haunted by her ever since. But now Lillian's ghost has an urgent task for Hannah - someone is killing girls in their suburban neighbourhood, and the victims want justice. Drawn into a world of ghost girls and horrifying secrets, Hannah slowly pieces the clues together, starring with the child-like paper valentines the killer leaves on each body. But her investigations are bringing her into the Valentine Killer's orbit. How long before he strikes again?

Review
Your first thought when putting down a book should never be, well I've read worse. Which is exactly how I felt when I finally finished this book. I was really disappointed with this book because I loved Yovanoff's first book The Replacement. It's a slow burner, that if I'm completely honest, I though I wasn't going to finish it for a while. It wasn't until the last 100 pages or so that it actually got interesting.

I think the main issue I had with this story was that the character's didn't seem real. The way Hannah's little click is described seemed a little farfetched and it was a struggle to imagine them... but maybe that's just because I'm British. Maybe girls dress and act like that in America? I don't know, but I think that no matter what, you should be able to imagine the character's in a book - even if you don't relate to them, they should at least seem real. Which unfortunately these did not.

The story itself takes way too long to get going. I wanted to know more about the killings, I needed to have something other than bitchy teenage girls to a plot line. It seems the the author wanted to set the scene and drop lots of little hints the we'd be able to pick up on later, but that doesn't work if we get so bored that we put the book down before we get to the end!

Redeeming aspect are few and far between but there are some. For instance I thought that the whole family dynamic was sweet, I could imagine Decker cooking pancakes for the two kids and Hannah. Also I really liked Finny's character. Maybe I just need a love story? Because until we really got to know a bit more about him - I wasn't really interested. I mean, I wasn't fangirling over him or anything, but having someone other than a winy teenage girl was a real boost to the story!

As far as the story goes, it had potential, it could have been really good and maybe it would have been more interesting if I was slightly younger? I wouldn't recommend this to anyone over the age of 16. I really wanted this book to be good, but unfortunately it just wasn't. It had it's moments but I struggled to make it to the end.




Book Trailer...



26 March 2014

A Discovery of Witches

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary (From Back Cover)
It begins with absence and desire.
It begins with blood and fear. 
It begins with a discovery of witches
A world of witches, demons and vampires.
A manuscript which holds the secrets of their past and the key to their future. 
Diana and Matthew - the forbidden love at the heart of it. 

Review
An intelligent and well written vampire novel - all most unheard of and yet here we are. You can tell when reading this that Harkness has an interest in research with it's so methodical in it's story plots. There are so many different intellectual themes that you'll defiantly need your thinking cap on with this one. It's a little like reading A Game of Thrones, in the sense that you have to be paying attention, no skimming over bits because if you start doing that you're just going to get lost.

The story follows Dr Diana Bishop, a witch in her early thirties who comes across an old manuscript when researching a paper in Oxford's Bodleian Library. Unbeknown to Diana, the manuscript she's found was lost a long time ago and it's resurfacing has also led to Oxford being invaded with Demons, Witches and Vampires. One of those Vampires being Matthew Clairmont. The story follows these two creatures as they come to terms with what Diana has uncovered and their ever growing feelings towards each other. No to mention the fact Diana has refused to acknowledge her powers for the past two decades, so being dragged into the magical world beyond human eyes it's exactly top of her to do list.

I'm going to start with the main problem I have with this book, because it's the ONLY problem I have with this book. Now, I understand why Harkness has written Matthew to be fiercely protective and almost obsessive over Diana, it makes sense. She's taken the biological traits of a predator and made a real and multi-layered vampire that works. None of this glittering nonsense. However, maybe it's just the feminist in me but I found it almost cringe worthy in parts where he's proving his dominance over Diana. I wanted to shake her and slap him! But in all fairness, that might just be me.

Saying all that, I have a soft spot of Matthew. Yes he's a slightly controlling 1509 year-old but he's also rather damn sweet at times. Although I don't think I like him as much as Marcus Whitmore, his dashing lab assistant. I could go into all the different character's but there are so many that I don't have the time and you lovely people defiantly don't. Which means you'll have to read it and find out for yourselves - you can thank me later. What I will say is keep an eye out for Emily, Sarah and their cat Tabitha - as well as the magic house that has a mood all of it's own!

This is a great book! It's as epic a fantasy as you're going to get set in the present day. It's magical and charming, as well as extremely interesting and intuitive. That's not even mentioning the epic love story at it's centre. It's an intelligent outlook on the vampire/witch culture we've all come to love. If you're someone looking for a fantasy novel, but are fed up of all the teenage nonsense that comes along with it? Then this is the perfect book for you. Would recommend to any lover of fantasy fiction!




I could get behind this... fan made 'dream cast' vid for A Discovery of Witches. FYI there is a movie in development, I do believe that the screenplay has been finish, although it's a long way off being cast.



From Page to Screen #2

Fallen

Now, I don't know if you lot have heard but Fallen by Lauren Kate is currently in the process of being made into a movie! I only found out yesterday and I'm still a little giddy from the news. 
Filming has already begun and the blockbuster is due to hit our screens some point next year. The cast include, Addison Timlin as Luce - you might know her from Californication and Zero Hour. The one and only Jeremy Irvine as Daniel - think Now is Good and War Horse. As well as Harrison Gilbertson - AWESOME name by the way - as Cam! 
The film itself is directed by Scott Hicks, now if you didn't know he is responsible for The Lucky One featuring one Mr Zac Efron.




Story Line (via IMDb)

"There's something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori. Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price's attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at Sword & Cross boarding school. Except Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce - he goes out of his way to make that very clear. But she can't let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, Luce has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret. Ever if it kills her." 


Official Book Trailer for Fallen:



25 March 2014

Anna and the French Kiss

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Rating: 4.5 out of 5


Summary (via Goodreads)
Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris--until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all... including a serious girlfriend.
But in the City of Lights, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

Review
I'm not one for girlie books - not unless there's some kind of supernatural or fantasy twist to it. And this book is most certainly a girlie girl book, although I have to admit, this story has a soft spot in my heart. It's chick-lit at it's best! I loved the setting, Perkins was able to make me believe I was walking the streets of Paris along side St. Clair and Anna, Mer, Rashmi and Josh. It's written beautifully and is brilliantly funny.

So the story... Anna is sent to boarding school in Paris by her annoyingly orange father and she is more than a little resentful. Not just because she has a life back in Atlanta but also because she can't speak French! Which if you ask me, is kind of an necessity when living in France. It follows Anna as she has to learn to be her own person, to be independent, as well as figure out how to not too fall in love with your best friend.

The reason I don't usually like these kind of books is because they're usually told by winy fifteen-year-old girls whose problems are so tedious you want to rip your hair our by the start of chapter three. However, this is told by a seventeen/eighteen-year-old that actually has a morsel of common sense! Anna is a film geek with a neat and organised personality that spills out into her everyday life. She's not the loner or the popular girl which makes her relatable without throwing her into clique territory. I love her! And I was routing for her all the way through... well apart from the odd chapter in the middle when she went a little too 'love-sick-puppy' for my liking.

The character's in the story all have their own personalities, which is a rarity! Mer is the sporty one, Rashmi is the academic one (or at least more so than the others). You have Josh the artist and St. Clair the totally hot - if not slightly short - history nerd who you will have to stop yourself from falling in love with. Along with a handful of less amicable creatures such as Dave and Mike.

Now, it's not the next War and Peace! It's not literary greatness, with long fancy words that give you a headache. It's a sweet little book that will melt your heart and make you dream of Parisian cobble stones. It will make you want to make a wish on Point Zéro and fall in love in the City of Light. I'd recommend this book to any girl wanting a feel good read, because it will make you laugh. Each new chapter brings something new and exciting.

The only thing I can think of as a negative is that there were a couple of odd sentence in French and as I don't speak French I obviously couldn't read it. But trust me it won't make a difference to you're reading experience.

This would make the perfect beach read! Enjoy my lovelies!




Book Trailer


24 March 2014

Cover Love

Time for another round of cover lovin'. There are so many new books hitting the shelves this year and they all LOOK amazing! These are some of the more intriguing covers I've seen for new releases. 


Elusion by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam



Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige



Fiendish by Brenna Yovanoff



Vitro by Jessica Khoury



Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira




All images link to GoodReads, so give them a click my lovelies and have a peek at the books themselves. 



Quote of the Week

"Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on."

-Louis L'Amour


The Hunger Games Mockingjay

The Hunger Games Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Summary (From Back Cover)
"if we burn you burn with us"
Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But she's still not safe. A revolution is unfolding, and everyone, it seems, has had a hand in carefully laid plans - everyone except Katniss.
And yet she must play the most vital part in the final battle. Katniss must become their Mackingjay - the symbol of rebellion - no matter what the personal cost.

Review
There's this rule. You've probably noticed it, and it's that sequels suck! Now, this rule is more appropriate for film rather than books however, there are occasions when it also applies to the written word. Where the author hasn't spent as much time perfecting the story lines as they did in the first book. This, unfortunately, falls into that category. Don't get me wrong, it's defiantly worth the read if you've read the other two books but at the same time I couldn't help being disappointed. I wanted to be able to write this was an epic conclusion to an exciting series but I can't.

The book picks up with Katniss being introduced to the rebellion she's - unknowingly - helped build. Peeta's still stick in Precedent Snow's slimy grasp and the rest of their world is falling to pieces as the citizens of Panem prepare to fight back. I'm not going to lie, I'm a little surprised it took them 75years to get up the courage to tell the officials that they can't kill their kids anymore, but who am I to judge?

One of the main things I was disappointed in with this book is the way in which Collin's kills off her characters. I won't tell you who, but trust me you won't be able to guess either! And that's because they don't make sense. I have no problem with authors killing off character's, I think it's a necessary evil to make the world seem more real. After all, you're not got going to have a full blown rebellion without a couple of casualties. However, it seemed that she chose these character's for the purpose of shocking the reader rather than because it was vital to the story. They were sloppy kills that, in all honestly, let the book down. It deserved more thought than what it got.

Of course there's also a conclusion to our little love triangle and again I think the ending was sloppy and unsatisfactory. This book had so much potential and it was almost upsetting to read it, it felt rushed.

However, there was one good thing to come out of this book. One that I was never expecting, I no longer hate Katniss. Now, those of you who have read my other reviews will know that I've always had a problem with this particular heroine, as she can come across annoying and selfish, but in this book I can finally get behind her. I can finally stop wishing that someone would blow her up. Which, I hate to admit, I had hoped that on more than one occasion.

I know this isn't the most complementary review, and it's really not that bad of a book. But I think as I am a fan of the series I just found it upsetting that when I closed the book I didn't feel like it was properly resolved. I still had unanswered questions. It's brilliantly written, as always, but it left me feeling a little frustrated. I could have done with another couple of chapters to fill in some of the blanks. Fingers crossed that the movie adaptation is better than the book! They have been thus far, and I hope that it continues to get better and it corrects some of the fatal plot flaws that happen in this instalment of The Hunger Games.



There's no official trailer for the Mackingjay films so I thought I'd share this little gem with you. It's just some info on the upcoming films, but the presents is so enthusiastic it's kind of funny.




If you haven't done so already check out my reviews for the previous THG's books

The Hunger Games     .     The Hunger Games Catching Fire

22 March 2014

Sever

Sever by Lauren DeStefano

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Summary (From Back Cover)
Time is running out for Rhine.
Having escaped from Vaughn's mansion, Rhine finds respite in the dilapidated home of her husband's uncle, an eccentric inventor who hates Vaughn almost as much as Rhine does.
Rhine's determination to be reunited with her twin brother, Rowan, increases as each day brings terrifying revelations to light about his involvement in an underground resistance. She realises she must find him before he destroys the one thing they have left: hope.
In this breathtaking conclusion to Lauren DeStefano's The Chemical Garden trilogy, everything Rhine knows to be true will be irrevocably shattered. But what she discovers along the way has alarming implications for her future - and about the past her parents never had the chance to explain.

Review
I only finished reading this a couple of hours ago and I'm still wiping away the tears! This is my favourite of The Chemical Gardens books and I'm going to try and give a non-biased review, but in all honesty, I think I'm going to struggle.

The story itself picks up a couple of days after Fever left off, with Rhine in hospital and Linden by her side. It has quite a slow start in comparison to the other two books with a lot of trying to convince Linden his father's a complete sociopath but once uncle Reed is introduced the whole thing picks up pretty fast. All your unanswered questions from the previous two books are answered and there are more than a couple of surprises on the way. Along with some familiar faces we thought - maybe even hoped - we had seen the last of.

In the past I've been in two minds about Rhine and it's all come down to the fact I have a soft spot for the men in these books. Both Linden and Gabrielle have this naivety to them that makes you want to jump into the page and protect them from all the evil things this world has in store for them. And more often than not Rhine's the reason - even if unintentionally - they're hurting. But in this book you're able to look past that, to really get behind some of the decisions she makes. Because no matter what, you can see her heart is in the right place.

There is one new face in this instalment that you need to look out for and that is Reed - Linden's uncle. Rhine goes to live with him pretty early on in the book so I don't feel bad telling you about him. He's an eccentric first generation recluse who's grumpy mannerisms had me smiling when other events in the book made my heart ache. Although, I was a little worried when he started showing Cecily how to shoot a gun!

Speaking of Cecily, throughout these books she turned from a child playing wife to something I never expected her to be when I opened the first book. She's gone through just as much as Rhine, and learned a lot of lessons the hard way, making her into a strong and independent woman that I hope you all come to love as much as I have.

I don't feel like I can say much more because I don't want to give the story away! There were so many surprises in this book that make you see previous events in a whole new light. There's also moments that will make you cry, moments that you won't see coming. One in particular, that if I had know was coming I would have shoved the book in the freezer faster than the speed of light!


If there was any part that I felt disappointed with it may have been the ending. It wasn't bad, it just felt a little rushed. I would have like another 50 pages or so, to unravel the final events of the books a bit more. But that might just be because I really don't want this series to end. It's well written and will captivate you mind while steeling your heart. If you haven't read this series then I don't know what you're waiting for!


If you haven't done so check out my reviews on the previous books in The Chemical Garden's Trilogy.



Wither     .     Fever



Official Book Trailer...

The Boy in the Smoke

The Boy in the Smoke by Maureen Johnson

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Summary (via Goodreads)
On a cold night, Stephen Dene went to the Eton boathouse to perform a desperate act. But someone stopped him along the way, sending his life in a new and decidedly strange direction-leading him to London, to two new friends and to a world of shadows and mystery.

Review
There are two ways I can review this book. I can either give my opinion on it as a stand alone or I can tell you what it adds to The Shades of London series. Now if I was to review it as a stand alone I wouldn't be able to give it more than a 2 out of 5 because the story itself isn't exciting enough to grab hold of the reader and make you want to turn the page. HOWEVER, as part of the series I loved it! It gives you a glimpse into our favourite ghost-fighting policeman and makes the events at the end of The Madness Underneath all the more heartbreaking. So, what I guess I'm saying is that if you haven't read at least the first Shades of London book then don't bother with this short eBook as its not going to do anything for you.

That being said I HAVE read the series so this is what you get... You find out how it came to be that Stephen can see shades. You get a small insight to the devastating family relationships and you get a little creeped out at the same time.

Being as its only a short book I won't go into too many details as I don't want to spoil it. Johnson has produced a book that will keep fans of the series going until the third instalment of the series is released. Recommend to anyone who has read The Shades of London books.




If you haven't already check out my reviews for The Shades of London series thus far.

21 March 2014

The Hunger Games Catching Fire

The Hunger Games Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Rating: 3 out of 5

Summary (From Back Cover)
Katniss Everdeen survived The Hunger Games. Now the Capitol wants revenge.
Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark are still alive. Katniss should be relieved, but now these are whispers of a rebellion against the Capital - a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.
As the nation watches Katniss and Peeta, the stakes are higher than ever. One false move and the consequences will be unimaginable.

Review
For those of you who have read my review of The Hunger Games you'll know I have a disdain for Katniss and unfortunately this instalment doesn't change my opinion. However, there are so many new character's introduced in this book I can almost overlook my disliking of the winy main character. 

The story line for this is why I rated it lower than the first. As far as the actual writing, it's easy to read and has it's moments, although I think that - spoiler alert - sending Katniss and Peeta back into the arena was - in some ways - a lazy way to move the story forward. The story itself if set just after THG's finishes and takes a look at Katniss and Peeta's life after the games and the way they cope with their new celebrity status. It also follows Present Snow as he tries to rid himself of his biggest problem - Katniss and the rebellion she seems to ignite. 

The character's for me are this books saving grace. I do like THG's trilogy and I think it's entirely because of Collins vivid character building. In Catching Fire you get a better look at some of your favourite character - Effie's back - as well as the newbies. Look out of Finnick - I think I'm in love - and also Mags. 

Then there's Snow. We got a glimpse of the sociopath in the first book however, in this (and the next) instalment he will truly make you blood run cold. I don't think I've read a character that I've hated as much as Snow. He's diabolical and disturbing on a level that I've not seen before. After reading these books just the mention of a white roses gave me the creeps. 

Overall it's a half decent second novel, although I would have liked to gotten something new. The problem I had with this book is there were a lot of moments where I was getting a serious case of deja vu and it it's until the end or maybe even the next book that you see the point to any of it. But saying all that if you loved the first book then you'll like this one. Keep reading because Collin's does tie up the series well in the final book, Mockingjay.



Move Trailer





If you haven't check it out already that have a gander at my review for the first Hunger Games book. 

The Hunger Games

20 March 2014

APRIL 2014

Via +HarperTeen 

Vampires

WARNING 

 This blog contains one serious rant!


Okay so I love a good Vampire as much as the next girl but I'm not going to lie to you, I'm getting a little bored. I keep getting recommendations to read The Vampire Academy but after Twilight, The House of Night, Morganville, The Vampire Diaries, True Blood and so many more I don't think I can cope with another one!

Now, I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels this way, but I think we need a bit of a break! Maybe throw in some more Zombie stories or fairies even - I've only ever read two GOOD fairy books! I just don't think I can deal with another wannabe vamp that's meant to make me want to joint to land of the living-dead. Because they just don't!

Also, has any of you noticed how vampires have stopped being scary? When did this happen?? Bram Stoker - author of Dracula if you didn't know - would be turning in her grave if he could see what we've made of these blood sucking fiends! 

Dracula
AKA a REAL vampire

VS


Edward Cullen
AKA Mr Glitter


What's your opinion on the Vampire crisis? I'd love to know I'm not the only one worried about the future of Vampires.

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary (From Back Cover)
Winning will make you famous. Losing means certain death.
In a dark vision of the near future, twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to appear in a live TV show called the Hunger Games. There is only one rule: kill or be killed.
When sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen steps forward to take her sister's place in the games, she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.

Review
Where to start! I picked this series up just before the first film came out and I read them all in two weeks. I couldn't put them down! There's something for everyone - you've got the love triangle and a strong family aspect, with epic fight scenes and a futuristic world that not only seems vivid and real, but magical and full of fantasy all at the same time.

The story itself follows a young girl - Katniss - as she has to fight in a live TV show. I loved the connection between this world and our current obsession with reality TV. Now days you can watch everything live, from 12 strangers in a house to a trial in court - for the record I don't agree with that last one. No matter what they put on our screens someone out there will watch it! Which of course makes The Hunger Games all the more terrifying, because deep down, you know that under the right circumstances a future like this is completely plausible!

Now for those of you who don't know, The Hunger Games is a live battle between 24 children (tributes) that takes place every year as a way for the government to keep control of the country. To remind them who's in charge. The 24 tributes are chosen from each district, 2 from each. One girl and one boy, but the further you get from the Capital (District One) the more poverty stricken you become and you're chances of survival dwindle. Only 1 person has ever won the games from District 12.  Twenty-four go in but only one can come out of the arena, and no matter what that child will come out a killer. Katniss (District 12 tribute) goes into the Games after volunteering when her sister gets chosen. She'll have to fight to get home.

The other tribute chosen from district 12 is Peeta - now I love Peeta and his burnt bread. Even though I know that a lot of people are routing for Gale. This is where the tragic YA love triangle comes in. Gale is Katniss' best friend, but he'll never understand the situation that she finds herself in. Peeta on the other hand. You'll have to make your own mind up on what team you're on!

However, unlike a lot of other books I couldn't stand the main character. I disliked her so much that there are moments when I'd be happy to see Katniss die in the arena. She's irritating and frustrating. She gets under my skin and I think that's why I had to rate this down slightly. Because if you can't get behind the heroine of the story then somethings got to be wrong.

Other character's to look out for are the eccentric Effie and the grumpy drunk that is Haymitch. These two give the book some humour, which is needed in a book like this. Effie with her naive outlook on the world and Haymitch and his bitter views. They're the polar opposite of each other and the book wouldn't be anything without them!

Overall it's a must read for any lover of YA fiction and will make you question a lot of things, or maybe I'm just thinking too much about it. It's a good easy read though, and when you get into it you wont be able to put it down. 

Bellow is the official movie trailer:



19 March 2014

Shades of London - eBook

For someone who really doesn't like eBooks I'm starting to get quite the collection. This weeks new buy is The Boy in the Smoke by Maureen Johnson. Author of The Shades of London books. This short focuses on our - or at least my - favourite ghost-fighting hottie, Stephen. I haven't had the chance to read it yet as I'm working my way through Lauren DeStefano's Sever, but it's next on my list. Also if you haven't got it yet it's currently 62p on Amazon... just saying!


Future Favourite

There are several books I'm looking forward to this year, from the final instalment of The Mortal Instruments to the last Discovery of Witches. But there was one I really wanted to share with you.

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige 


"I didn't ask for any of this. I didn't ask to be some kind of hero.
But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado - taking you with it - you have no choice but to go along, you know?
Sure, I've read the books. I've seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little blue birds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can't be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There's still the yellow brick road, though - but even that's crumbling."
Taken from GoodReads

I don't know about you, but I was a massive Wizard of Oz fan growing up. Still am, to be fair. So when I heard about this book the child inside me was very happy! I've only heard good things about this book thus far, although it's not actually released until later next month. Soon as this ones out I'll be down the book store, not to mention writing a full review as soon as possible. But in the mean time you can read the first three chapters by clicking here.

Enjoy my lovelies and tell me what you think.

18 March 2014

The Book Thief


I've had the book for this sitting on my shelf for the last three years or so and never gotten around to reading it. But with the DVD coming out soon, and the trailer for it looking REALLY good I'm starting to think maybe I should give it a whirl. 
What do you lovely people think of The Book Thief?? There's a lot of hype around this book and I'm worried that I wouldn't live up to my expectations. 

The Underdog

When it comes to the YA love triangle there's almost always an obvious pairing. But on more occasions that I can count I find myself routing for the underdog, even though you know he's not going to get the girl.

LINDEN from The Chemical Garden Trilogy
I know he technically bought Rhine and was holding her against her will and all, but he didn't know that! I felt that he genuinely fell into love with her and I can;t help but feel sorry for the guy! Although in all honestly I think that both Gabriel and Linden would have been better off without Rhine.


SIMON from The Mortal Instruments
Poor Simon, he never really stood a chance did he? Even when Clary found out - spoiler alert - that Jace was her brother she still loved him more than Simon. This is one of the few cases where I wasn't routing for the underdog though, because, I don't know about you? But I love him and Isabelle, which would never have happened if him and Clary had worked out.

DAMON from The Vampire Diaries
Okay I've not actually read this one, I tried, but I just couldn't get into it. However, I am a HUGE fan of the TV show. And I'm team Damon all the way! He's got just enough bad boy in him, not to mention the fact he's so much hotter than Stephan!! The only other underdog I love more than this guy is Klaus! I just want to give Klaus a massive hug and tell him he's not really a deranged sociopath.

CAM from Fallen
I don't know why I'm team Cam. In fact to start with I really wasn't! However, I think it must be the whole bad boy thing because I can't quite get behind Daniel. Maybe it's because he shakes things up a bit, it wouldn't be much of a story without Cam.


Xander from Matched
I was all for Ky to start with, I was, honest! But, Xander's just so perfect and understanding and kind. I honestly can't see why Cassia isn't dating him. I think this is one of the few times where I'd pick the safer option.



So their my teams. I have about a dozen more, but their the ones I'm most passionate about. What do you think? Are you routing for the underdog? Or do you prefer the more obvious couples??

17 March 2014

Reached

Reached by Ally Condie

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Summary (From Back Cover)
Cassia's journey began with a momentary glitch in the otherwise perfect facade of the society. After crossing canyons to break free, she waits, silk and paper smuggled against her skin, ready for the final chapter.
The wait is over.
Cassia has raged against those who threaten to keep away what matters most - family, love, choice. Her quiet revolution will soon explode into full scale rebellion.
In the gripping conclusion to the bestselling Matched trilogy, Cassia, Ky and Xander return to the Society to save the one thing denied to them for so long: the power to choose.

Review
It's been a steady and enjoyable series, maybe not one of my all time favourites but after it pushed away from some of the cliche YA plots in the last book it's become a series I would happily recommend.

Ky and Cassia are FINALLY back together (after dragging that out in the last book) but now they have other things to worry about. Although when I say finally back together it really doesn't last long, with Cassia being sent back into the society and Ky staying outside it in hopes of being trailed as a future Pilot. But as a deadly toxin is released into the society everyone is forced to acknowledge that the perfect world they live in is flawed. Both the Rising and the Society will have to fight it out to keep control over what's left of civilisation.

In this book you also get a better look into the workings of the mysterious Rising which we were properly introduced to in the last book, Crossed. You find out about this Pilot figure and what the people outside of civilisation have been doing all this time while the people inside the city have been living their perfectly manufactured lives.

I think that this is one of the best conclusions to a book series that I've ever read. Now, I'm not saying it's my favourite book of all time but more often than not you find that the last book in a series can be kind of sloppy and/or rushed, leaving questions unanswered and the reader unsatisfied with how their beloved character's story ends. But with Reached you get the feeling that as much thought and time and effort has gone into making the story as complex and exciting as any of the other. It answer's all unresolved questions and leaves you feeling content as you close the back cover.

I don't want to give too much away with this one, but I will say I was happy with the way the love triangle played out and thoroughly enjoyed the last instalment of the Matched trilogy. If you haven't read these books then give them a whirl because they're well written and overall just bloody exciting!



Official Book Trailer for Reached:




If you haven't read my reviews for the other two books in the Matched Trilogy give them a gander here...

MATCHED    .    CROSSED



Quote of the Week

"I hope she'll be a fool -- that's the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool."

- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby


16 March 2014

Killing Our Heroes One Word at a TIme

THIS BLOG CONTAINS SERIOUS SPOILERS!!!

One of the most controversial things an author can do is kill off one of it's main characters. Whether it's a baddie or one of our favourite hero's, killing off a character can cause quite a riot. But, I think that sometimes it's a necessary evil, it gives the book that degree of believability - no matter the genre. I mean Zombie Apocalypse comes not everyone going to live! And if they are, then why the hell are we so worried?

Bellow are some of the most controversial kills in YA books that I've come across. If you haven't figured it out yet, I'm going to name some dead people. If you've not read the book I suggest skipping to the next one.

The Hunger Games Trilogy - Finnick Odair
Okay, first of all I think this is probably one of the sloppiest kills I've ever read in a book, period! It didn't seem to do anything for the story line or serve any purpose what so ever. I remember reading it and thinking what the hell just happened. It almost felt like Collins killed him just because she could, because she needed something to pad out the chapter a bit. I'm all for axing off a beloved character but this one just felt irrelevant.
On the plus side I've read - although it may just be a rumour - that they plan to rectify this mistake in the movie, as Collins herself also believed it was wrong to kill of Finnick!

Noughts and Crosses - Callum
AH! I read ahead with this one - last page first - and I wish I hadn't. Yes Callum's dead was well written and paramount to the WHOLE series but it was heartbreaking and I wish he hadn't had to die. Author's quite often kill off main character's but I've never known someone to kill off THE main character at the end of the FIRST book. And in all honesty, the other three never quite lived up to the first book.

The Divergent Trilogy - Tris
I'm on the fence with this one. I would have liked to see Tris and Four get their happy ending after everything they've been through but it did feel right. If Tris had let her brother die she wouldn't have been the girl we've comes to love. She's reckless and doesn't think past the now, causing destruction pretty much everywhere she goes. So, really, I don't think I would have been happy with any other ending. Damned if you do, damned if you don't with this one I'm afraid. Although, as far as the writing goes I did like the fact even with her death it wasn't what we expected, Roth still managed to sneak a little twist in there.

The Madness Underneath - Stephen
Okay so technically not dead, well he is dead but it's a book about ghost's so it's not like we're never going to see him again. I think what hurt the most with Stephen's sudden demise what just that, I didn't see it coming. One minute I was awwing at the relationship beginning to develop between him and Rory and the next he's brain dead and they want to turn off the machines. NOOO! I'm dying - no pun intended - to find out what happens in book three and I really hope killing him off was worth it and in some way beneficial to the story line.

Harry Potter - Fred Weasley, Dumbledoor, Dobby & Snape
Where to start... we go six books without having any serious issues with JK and her choice of kills  - except maybe Cedric - and then from the last chapters of The Half Blood Prince and the entirety of The Deathly Hallows we're constantly reaching for our tissues. There are so SO many people to choose from with HP but I think that Fred, Dumblerdore, Dobby and Snape where the most heartbreaking.
The Weasley's are the heart of the books and to have one of them killed -for lack of a better word -sucked. I mean couldn't it have been Percy? Who would have really cared if it was Percy? Poor George, he looses his ear and his twin in one book!
Dumblerdore was upsetting, but I don't completely object to his death. You can see why he needed to die, and it was very cleverly done in reference to the elder wand story line. I can now, after a couple of years, accept my favourite bearded wizards death... just about.
Dobby was just... well there are no words for Dobby's death. It was unnecessary and all it did was make us cry. Would it really have hurt to keep him alive?
As for Snape, I think that was the most devastating for me because it wasn't until his death that you found out he wasn't such an evil prat after all. I'll ALWAYS miss him!


SO what do you think? Are there any character kills you wish had never happened? Or do you agree with the authors decision to stick our favourites in the printed graveyard?

Billy and Me

Billy and Me by Giovanna Fletcher

Rating: 5 out of 5

Summary (From Back Cover)
Sophie May has a secret. 
One that she's successfully kept for years. It's meant that she's had to give up her dreams of going to university and travelling the world to stay in her little village, living with her mum and working in the local teashop.
But then she meets the gorgeous Billy - and actor with ambitions to make it to the top. And when they fall in love, Sophie is whisked away from the comfort of her life into Billy's glamorous - but ruthless - world. 
Their relationship throws Sophie right into the spotlight after years of shying away from attention. Can she handle the constant scrutiny that comes with being with Billy? And most of all, is she ready for her secret heartbreak to be discovered and shared with the nation?

Review
I'm going to start off by saying sorry, because this is going to be nothing but a gush-fest. I love this book, it's not strictly YA but every girl at one point or another imagined what it would be like to fall in love with a hansom movie star. Not to mention having him fall in love with you. It's chick-lit at it's best and I'd recommend it to anyone who likes a love story. 

The story's pretty much been covered on the back cover, Sophie May falls in love with Billy. Billy falls in love with Sophie May. Their whirlwind romance takes Sophie from her little village and drops her into the middle of Billy's celebrity bubble, and she's faced with the - sometimes harsh - realities that come with dating a movie star. 

The concept of a movie star falling in love with you may not happen to everyone, although the fight within Sophie is something I think most people will relate to. Her secret - which I wont give away - is something that's plagued her life and stripped her confidence, giving her nasty anxiety issues and a quite life she may not have always wanted. But when she moves to London to be with Billy she has to find a way to stay true to herself amongst all the chaos in his life. She doesn't want London to change who she is as a person. She doesn't want to get lost in Billy's life and not have one of her own.  

Now I'm no expert on dating an actor, although I like how Fletcher doesn't keep to the rose-tinted ideals we have of falling in love with someone famous. It's hard, not just because Billy's flipped Sophie's world upside down but also because the insecurities you have in a relationship are heightened. For example I have way too many friends who are constantly worried about their other half cheating, but what happens when those lines are blurred? It's Billy's job to kiss someone else, to act like he loves someone else, and even if you know it's not real it's going to drag on a relationship. Especially if your not used to it and if that someone else just happens to be the love of your life's ex! 

Billy. Can you buy him on amazon? Because I'd really like one of my own please! At times he's a bit of a idiot, but what boys aren't (at times)? But in all honesty I don't care, Fletcher's written my perfect man! That's all I have to say on my fictional crush really.

Overall it's a great book, well worth the read. It's not YA but I think any young adult reader will love this book as much as any classic YA's because the love story is so current and sweet. A great book to take on holiday with you, or just snuggle up in bed and read. 5 out of 5. Pretty impressive for a debt.




Giovanna Fletcher talks Billy and Me...

15 March 2014

BABY FLETCHER

This is a quick post, I just wanted to say a BIG congratulations to Mr & Mrs Fletcher on the arrival of their baby boy. The Author and Mcfly/McBusted singer tweeted the good news yesterday.




AND that little boys name is... Buzz Michelangelo Fletch. 



If you didn't know then Giovanna Fletcher is the author a Billy and Me, not to mention the up coming You're the One That I Want (which I'm really excited about). So a massive congrats again to the couple, as well as a good luck for Mrs F's upcoming book!

Fever

Fever by Lauren DeStefano

Rating: 3 out of 5

Summary (From Back Cover)
What if you knew exactly when you would die?
Running away from her forced polygamous marriage leads 17-year-old Rhine Ellery straight into a trap: a twisted carnival whose ringmistress desires the beautiful and unusual Rhine as her start attraction. But with Gabriel - her lover and fellow escapee - Rhine remains determined to reach Manhattan, find her twin brother, Rowan, and start a life far from the gilded prisons the have confined her.
The road to freedom is long and perilous - and in a world where women only live to age 20 and men die at 25 - time is very precious. And worse still, Rhine's sinister father-in-law, Vaughn, is determined to bring Rhine back to the mansion... by any means necessary.

Review
In Wither you got an idea of that harsh world Rhine is a part of, although with the majority of the book set in the Florida mansion with is locked windows and holographic illusions you don't get to see the whole image. For Rhine leaving the mansion is freedom, but once she and Gabriel have escaped you come too see the full extend of the cruel world outside the gates. Was running away the right decision? After all if she had just placed nice she could have lived the last four years of her life in luxury... but what is luxury worth when you're a prisoner?

First things first I have to say that I feel a little sorry for Gabriel going into this book, he's obviously in love with Rhine and I think she may have started to develop something resembling affection towards Linden. And things don't get better for the poor guy, it's just one thing after another with this book, with the land outside the mansion's gates turning out to be nothing but hell for the couple. But at least Rhine knew what was coming, Gabriel had been told only half truths about the world he now finds himself in.

I really liked the story line with Fever, it's constantly moving forward where as with Wither it was all very much about Rhine's escape. Now outside the gates the evens unravel quickly, with everything developing in an eery way that tells you that nothing is ever going to go right for these characters.

Although being the second book it had some of the classic blunders that sequels have. For instance the way certain character's act in this book were every similar to the character's in the previous book, giving you a serious case of deja vu. Another thing about the writing that frustrated me a little was the amount of times we were told about the musty perfumed smell of the carnival tents and it's tacky ringmistress. You can barely go a page without it being mentioned, and if Rhine had stayed there much longer I don't think I would have been able to cope!

Overall though it's an exciting continuation of the first instalment and shows the reader exactly what this kind of world this dystopai future is capable of. Can't wait to read the third and final book and find out how DeStefano concludes one of my favourite dystopain series.



Official Book Trailer:





If you haven't read my review for the first The Chemical Garden's book Wither that click the link below and give it a gander. 

WITHER

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Summary (From Back Cover)
"Don you ever feel like you're invisible? I know I do - just call me Cammie the Chameleon. But at my school, that's seen as cool. Why? Because the Gallagher Academy might say it's for geniuses, but it's really a school for spies."
Cammie Morgan might be capable of killing a man in seven different ways, but she's about to begin her most dangerous mission yet: falling in love. 

Review
We all have out guilty pleasures, for some it might be chocolate or horror films or maybe you're into Justin Bieber (I'll try not to judge you if you fall into that last category) but for me it's The Gallagher Girls series. It's target audience is more towards the younger YA readers - 11 to 17 year olds i'd say - but, I mean, who didn't want to be a spy when growing up? Not to mention it's such an easy read, I'm pretty sure I read this book in less than two days. 

So the story, Cammie Morgan is the daughter of the Gallagher Academy's Headmistress Rachel Morgan, who also just happens to be one hell of a spy. Instead of the traditional lessons you'd expect a teenager to be taking the girls at the academy are taught covert operations, including surveillance, detecting threats and deception. 

But on one of Cammie's class assignments with her spy-in-training-classmates she's spotted by one of the townies, Josh. During the course of the book Cammie and Josh get to know each other and young love blossoms, however, being part of a secret spy school isn't exactly an advantage when dating an ordinary boy.

So my thoughts on the book are pretty black and white. It's a fun read, it's not the most intelligent of books - I mean it's not going to have to questioning they way we live our lives or what true love really means. But it is a sweet story of young love and the way a secret (or several) can affect the relationships in a young girls life. It's a amusing and enjoyable read with some exciting story plots that will make you wish you had gone to Gallagher Academy. It's the prefect book for teens and maybe the odd older reader who has always dreamed of being one of Charlie's Angles.