Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Book Review: The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (7 Nov 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 1780876823
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780876825

Cassie Hobbes can tell you what you will do before you do. She can tell what kind of person you are, how you will react and how you will behave. But she can’t tell you what happened to her mother.

Cassie is recruited by the FBI, identified as a ‘Natural’, one of few who are uniquely gifted in human behaviour, emotional reading, lying or statistics. Cassie is a natural born profiler, and the FBI want her to join it’s team of teenage naturals to solve cold cases and to hone her talents. For Cassie, it is a rare opportunity to perhaps work on the inside and find out what exactly happened to her mother that night in the dressing room that Cassie found drenched in blood.

Pretty soon Cassie is living with four strangers. People who can answer her questions before she’s even asked it, read her feelings off her face, call her out on lies and tell the exact probability of certain situations. Life isn’t easy and Cassie has to figure out the two boys and her feelings for them, all while a serial killer has locked their gaze on Cassie. Pretty soon the case the Naturals focus on aren’t so cold...but active.

Okay, first of all, let me just say that I LOVED The Naturals. I’m a huge fan of movies like The Silence of the Lambs and TV shows like Criminal Minds. This was like an amazing mash up of the two and maybe The. O.C. Boy drama, girl drama, and serial killers. 

It was expertly written and very clever. I didn’t get lost in the information or the details, but sunk fully into the story as though it was happening all around me. Dean was probably my favourite character...and more than likely will be for a lot of people. After all, we’re all suckers for the dark, brooding type, aren’t we?

I seriously couldn’t put this book down and very much hope there will be another one to follow on. 


Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Book Review: Crash Into You by Katie McGarry

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: MIRA Ink (26 Nov 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
Rachel and Isaiah are two totally different people with two totally different lives. Rachel is the girl with the good school marks, designer clothes and on the surface, the perfect life. Isaiah is the boy with the sketchy past, the guy people cross the street to avoid. He’s a foster child he relies on person - himself...anyone else will just disappoint you.

But they share one thing - their love of cars. Rachel literally crashes into Isaiah’s life. After Beth, Isaiah never thought he would meet a girl who would catch his interest, but then he see’s Rachel who looks like an angel and knows he has to get her far away from his world before something happens to her. 

What he does is ensure they are thrown together for at least six weeks where they battle the odds to save their lives. Neither one thought they would fall so far into each other. How they would lose everything if only it meant the other would be saved.

Ok, let me just say one thing....holy smokin’ Isaiah, batman! I’ve loved all Katie McGarry’s previous books and hoped and prayed and crossed everything that Isaiah would get his own book. And it does not disappoint. Not in the least. He’s the quintessential bad boy with the heart of gold. On the outside he’s tatted up and pierced and so scary Chuck Norris better watch out. But on the inside, he’s just a boy. 

Rachel was one of the more interesting female leads of this series. I really felt for her and at times could feel just how restricting her family was and how they were choking the life right out of her. Rachel and Isaiah often appear two sides of the same coin - Isaiah, the boy no one wanted or watched out for, Rachel - the one who barely has a second that isn’t monitored or unaccounted for. They both crave freedom, Rachel from her brothers and Isaiah from the social work system. 

There is so much more to this book than you would ever think. My heart broke for these two characters and I have never rooted so hard than I did for this pair. From the outside looking in, it’s a bit of a YA version of Gone in Sixty Seconds (only, Rachel doesn’t have blonde dreds). But as soon as you scrape the surface you discover a great big beating heart of love and trust and friendship. 

Noah and Isaiah’s brotherly bond was one of the most interesting aspects of the book. Though not blood, they care and would literally do anything for the other. 

Really, I could gush about this book all day long. It’s a fantastic read, beautiful romance and exhilarating adventure. Not to be missed.


Friday, 1 November 2013

Book Review: Iron Prince by Julie Kagawa

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Mira Ink (1 Nov 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184845189X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848451896

After the events of Iron Prince, Ethan Chase is dealing with the fallout of going missing for a week. His parents worried sick, he is banned from ever seeing his girlfriend, Kenzie, ever again, and Kenzie herself is dealing with poor health after the adventures. All Ethan wants is to get back to normal. To date Kenzie and forget all about the fey.

But unfortunately for Ethan, his sister is queen of the Iron fey, and desperately needs his help. His nephew, Keirran, has gone missing and no one has any idea where he is. Except Ethan. He knows his nephew would do anything to save the fate of the summer faery he loves with all his heart...even potentially fracture the gap between the human and faery worlds.

Once again Kenzie and Ethan are thrown into the tumultuous world of faeries - of bargains and betrayals, hidden agendas and life-threatening decisions. When Keirran and Ethan’s fates are entwined, it is up to Ethan to pull Keirran from the darkness he is falling into...and hopefully save them all in the process.

Iron Traitor felt a lot darker than its predecessor. I’m really enjoying Ethan’s spinoff series, and he is a fascinating character. And while Megan’s books are wildly different from Ethan’s, they are very similar in the natures. Both would do anything to save the people they care about, both feel the weight of duty and expectation on their shoulders. Ethan is way more upfront in his feelings and has no issue in telling it like it is. He’s a tortured yet refreshing character and though he probably wouldn’t say the same about himself, is about as loyal and dependent as they come.

The story was a roller-coaster ride of adventure and danger and intrigue. I quite simply couldn’t put it down, and happily let myself be pulled into the Nevernever to catch up with friends - old and new. I do really like that we see glimpses of past characters (though I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to see more of Ash...) but am very much liking the new set of characters. Keirran and Ethan are the two alpha males and together create a storm of testosterone. 

There was never a spot I felt like I wanted to put the book down. After each chapter I had to know what happened next and gobbled up this book like a giant fat-free chocolate cake. The way Ethan struggles with trying to keep a normal life when the fey keep throwing themselves into it really made me feel for him. In a way, Megan threw herself whole-heartedly into her heritage but Ethan still craves to be ‘normal’. 

I simply cannot wait for the next part of Ethan’s story, and the wait is sure to be excruciating. 

Many thanks to Mira Ink for the review copy.


Friday, 25 October 2013

Book Review: Allegiant by Veronica Roth

What if your whole world was a lie?
The thrillingly dark conclusion to the No. 1 New York Times bestselling DIVERGENT trilogy.
What if a single revelation – like a single choice – changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered – fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she's known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.
But Tris's new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature – and of herself – while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice and love.
Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.

Faction-based society is over. A dictator stands in charge but an uprising is brewing. When Tris and her friends are offered a chance to escape, to go beyond the fence and see the outside world, she is ready to accept. 

They were told the outside world was in danger and they needed the Divergent to survive. But this proves to be just one more lie to influence decisions. The reality is far graver than Tris or Tobias could ever have imagined. All of them will have to face the bottom of human natures, and closely examine themselves. They must decide which is a lesser evil and if betrayal can ever truly be forgiven. 

There has been a lot of hype over Allegiant and I can honestly say this book did not disappoint me in the slightest. We have alternating view points from Tris and Tobias, and both are equally enjoyable to be shown the story through. 

It has been a pleasure to watch Tris grow during this trilogy. She has turned into a strong, resourceful and independent young woman. She is brave and truthful and loyal to the select few she lets in. By getting his POV, we learn a lot more about the inner workings of the stoic and mysterious ‘Four’. I have been a major fan (okay, embarrassingly eager) of his since the beginning and it was brilliant to get inside his head. Tobias takes a lot on himself and I think the hardest person he finds to forgive, or give a break to, is himself. He has leadership qualities and he feels responsible for everyone around him.

Tobias and Tris clash quite often, especially in this installment. Both are stubborn and headstrong which more often than not is a recipe for disaster. But together these hard, broken people come together into something beautiful and unyielding. 

We get quite a lot of new information in Allegiant. It has less action that the previous two books and it comes across quite political at a few points. Tris and her friends are essentially in the middle of civil war that is pulling the world as she knows it apart. So while there is a lot of details, it didn’t feel like an information dump. My mind whirled with every page as I tried to keep up with the characters and figure out what move they could possibly make next.

In a lot of ways, I feel so proud of the characters in this series. The road hasn’t been easy and a lot of mistakes have been made. But each of them have been shaped by the events, by their decisions, and mostly by each other. 

You could describe this series as a dystopian novel about a flawed government with a tender romance. And it is, but it is also a story about love and courage and bravery and betrayal and forgiveness and good versus evil. This series has a huge beating heart at its centre and I will truthfully mourn that it is over. 

I adored this series, and I adored this book. It always feels like the end of something special when a treasured series comes to an end and it is no different in this case. I will miss these characters and while I can always re-read it, you can only read a book for the first time once. 

And really, they were magnificent. 


Monday, 14 October 2013

Book Review: Storm Glass by Maria V. Snyder

  • Print Length: 432 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0778314553
  • Publisher: MIRA Ink (6 Sep 2013)
Untrained. Untested. Unleashed. With her unique magical abilities, Opal has always felt unsure of her place at Sitia's magic academy. But when the Stormdancer clan needs help, Opal's knowledge makes her the perfect choice - until the mission goes awry. Pulling her powers in unfamiliar directions, Opal finds herself tapping into a new kind of magic as stunningly potent as it is frightening. Now Opal must deal with plotters out to destroy the Stormdancer clan, as well as a traitor in their midst. With danger and deception rising around her, will Opal's untested abilities destroy her - or save them all?

Opal has never felt totally secure in her place at the Keep, the magical academy in Sitia. She feels isolated from her peers and has never really gotten over the brutal events of her kidnapping and torture. But there is one thing in her life that she understands and controls above anything else - glass. She has been making her glass animals for the masters and the small amount of magic she traps inside allows the owners to use them to communicate. 

When a powerful Stormdancer clan approaches the Keep for help, it is Opal’s unique abilities that can save them. And it is there that Opal meets the strongest Stormdancer, Kade, who carries with him an unbearable load of grief and guilt. Opal understands him in ways few others can and as she helps the rest of his clan, their bond deepens. 

As she tries to get to the bottom of the Stormdancer’s problems, it forces Opal to push her own magic and develop her powers which are frighteningly strong and has the potential to make Opal an unbeatable force. 

Storm Glass was an absolute pleasure to read. I am a massive Maria V. Snyder fan and thoroughly enjoyed the first three books in the Chronicles of Ixia series. Opal makes her first appearance in the third book, so it was a delight for her to get her own spinoff. 

Opal herself is a complex character. She struggles with what happened to her when she first met Yelena and doesn’t really know who she is or what her place is at the Keep. I really enjoyed seeing Opal begin to discover herself and form real bonds with other people. 

Storm Glass was an exhilarating adventure story that had me on the edge of my seat. It has a softer side with a love triangle. It’s a slow burner that will more than likely take the length of all three books to fully develop. Opal still has a lot of growing to do...and some decisions to make. 

This stunning fantasy book will please all fans who adore Ixia and all her people. 


Wednesday, 9 October 2013

I'm Back!!!!!

Hi everyone,

Just a quick note to say...I'm back! 

I took a little leave of absence from my little blog. Totally unplanned or expected, but as with life, it sneaks up on us when we aren't looking. Lots of exciting things going on and I can finally take a breath and get back into the swinging blog of things.

I hope to start posting lovely sparkly shiny reviews again very soon.

See you all soon!




Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Book Review: Goddess by Josephine Angelini

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books; 1 edition (23 May 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 0330529765
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330529761

She must rise, or they will fall . . . Helen's powers are increasing—and so is the distance between her and her mortal friends. To make matters worse, the Oracle reveals that a dangerous traitor is lurking among them, and all fingers point to Orion. Still unsure whether she loves him or Lucas, Helen is forced to make a terrifying decision, or risk all-out war. The final book in this heart-stopping trilogy.

Helen has released the gods from Olympus. After being imprisoned for thousands of years, their thirst for revenge and retaliation knows no bounds. 

Now it is up to Helen to find a way to conquer them once again. War is coming to the Scions, and with a traitor in their midst the odds are working against them. 

Goddess was an absolute thrill to read. My heart pounded, I sat on the edge of my seat, I cried, I stayed up chanting one more chapter. It was THAT good.

I’ve been a fan of the Starcrossed trilogy since the very first book. After meeting Lucas and Helen and being shown their world, I knew I was in for an epic book series. Not one instalment disappointed, and with Goddess, the pressure was really on not just to deliver a satisfying ending to this amazing series, but to produce a brilliant book on its own. 

It feels like I travelled a journey with these characters, and with a story as big as the Trojan war itself, what a journey it has been. 

Helen is the ultimate Goddess in this book and she carries the story heroically. We get more viewpoints in this book, and while it is refreshing to see inside Lucas’s head (and a few others that I won’t mention here...) it really feels like it belongs to Helen. I rooted for her throughout this entire series and it has been a joy to see her grow. Gone is the awkward, shy Helen Hamilton. In her place is a young woman who is finally embracing her destiny. 

Lucas and Helen’s romance is achingly heartbreaking. At times it was very reminiscent of Clary and Jace and their similar predicament, but it remained very true to itself. I adored Orion and as a character I couldn’t ask for more. As Helen starts to lose her mortal friends, it was beautiful to see Orion step up and be exactly what she needed. 

As for the gods...wow. While Greek mythology has been done a few times now in YA, thankfully  the Starcrossed series is totally unique when it came to their interpretation of the myths. I absolutely adored the mirroring of the major players in the Trojan war with our very own Scions. 

This is the ending we have been waiting for. 

Many thanks to MacMillan Children's Books for the review copy.


Friday, 24 May 2013

Book Review: Rush Me by Alison Parr

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 467 KB
  • Print Length: 246 pages
  • Publisher: Carina Press (8 April 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English

When post-grad Rachael Hamilton accidentally gate-crashes a pro-athlete party, she ends up face-to-face with Ryan Carter, the NFL's most beloved quarterback.
While most girls would be thrilled to meet the attractive young millionaire, Rachael would rather spend time with books than at sporting events, and she has more important things to worry about than romance. Like her parents pressuring her to leave her unpaid publishing internship for law school.
But when Ryan's rookie teammate attaches himself to Rachael, she ends up cohosting Friday-night dinners for half a dozen football players.
Over pancake brunches, charity galas and Alexander the Great, Rachael realizes all the judgments she'd made about Ryan are wrong. But how can a Midwestern Irish-Catholic jock with commitment problems and an artsy, gun-shy Jewish New Englander ever forge a partnership? Rachael must let down her barriers if she wants real love—even if that opens her up to pain that could send her back into her emotional shell forever.

When Rachael accidentally gatecrashes the wrong party, she ends up face to face with Ryan Carter. She has no idea who he is, and he is unwilling to believe her stumbling on the party is a harmless accident. 

Chance brings them back together and before she knows it, Rachael has befriended half a dozen famous football players. For the most part, Rachael knows and adores them all. Except Ryan, who pushes all of her buttons yet is there whenever she turns around. 

Pretty soon Rachael and Ryan realise their bickering is mutual attraction and flirty banter. Both have big, strong personalities that do clash. Jealousy and passion  keep things lively with doubt and uncertainty clouding their potential happiness.

Rush Me is both a hit and a miss for me. In a lot of ways I loved it - loved how the football players were like a big, dysfunctional family who are loyal and fierce. I loved Rachael and Ryan’s bickering and their gradual attraction. But, there were far too many cliches and fakeness that just made the story fall flat at times. 

It’s a good, easy read that fills the time but doesn’t really satisfy in the way I wish it could. 

Many thanks to Netgalley and Carina Press for the review copy.


Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Book Review: True by Erin McCarthy

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 584 KB
  • Print Length: 235 pages
  • Publisher: InterMix (7 May 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00B7NPS60

When Rory Macintosh’s roommates find out that their studious and shy friend has never been with a guy, they decide that, as an act of kindness they’ll help her lose her virginity by hiring confident, tattooed bad boy Tyler Mann to do the job…unbeknownst to Rory.

Tyler knows he’s not good enough for Rory. She’s smart, doctor smart, while he’s barely scraping by at his EMT program, hoping to pull his younger brothers out of the hell their druggy mother has left them in. But he can’t resist taking up her roommates on an opportunity to get to know her better. There’s something about her honesty that keeps him coming back when he knows he shouldn’t…

Torn between common sense and desire, the two find themselves caught up in a passionate relationship. But when Tyler’s broken family threatens to destroy his future, and hers, Rory will need to decide whether to cut her ties to his risky world or follow her heart, no matter what the cost… 

Rory is studious, focused and uncertain around guys. She knows exactly where her future will lead and won’t allow herself to become distracted. Her roommates have different philosophies. They work hard and party harder. They enlist the help of tattooed bad boy, Tyler, to get Rory’s eyes off the books and start living her life...starting with losing her virginity.

Rory is intrigued by Tyler. He smokes. He drinks. Has tattooes. Sleeps around. And yet the more she gets to know him, the more she discovers there is to him. She learns how he protects his younger brothers with a loyalty so fierce it takes her breath away. He is smart with a burning desire for knowledge, ploughs through books and escapes into their worlds. He makes her feel beautiful.

Tyler and Rory fall into a fast and burning hot romance, both of them awakening in ways they never thought possible. But desire is not the only factor in their relationship, and when their different backgrounds threatens to pull the pair apart, Tyler and Rory must decide whether to fight or let go.

True is a welcome addition to the New Adult genre. With so many flooding the bookshelves, it’s hard to find an original one. Going in, I must admit, I expected True to be very similar to other ‘tattooed bad boys with a heart and surprising intelligence’ books. But, it holds its own. There is a rawness to this story that plucks at heartstrings and a romance so hot and tender all at once it has you melting. 

Rory and Tyler were memorable characters. I sympathised for both of them and thoroughly enjoyed reading their story. 

Many thanks to Netgalley and InterMix for the review copy.


Friday, 17 May 2013

Book Review: Kite Spirit by Sita Brahmachari

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books; 1 edition (9 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330517929
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330517928

During the summer of her GCSEs Kite's world falls apart. Her best friend, Dawn, commits suicide after a long struggle with feeling under pressure to achieve. Kite's dad takes her to the Lake District, to give her time and space to grieve. In London Kite is a confident girl, at home in the noisy, bustling city, but in the countryside she feels vulnerable and disorientated. Kite senses Dawn's spirit around her and is consumed by powerful, confusing emotions - anger, guilt, sadness and frustration, all of which are locked inside. It's not until she meets local boy, Garth, that Kite begins to open up - talking to a stranger is easier somehow. Kite deeply misses her friend and would do anything to speak to Dawn just once more, to understand why . . . Otherwise how can she ever say goodbye? A potent story about grief, friendship, acceptance and making your heart whole again.

The morning of their first day of exams, Kite’s world falls apart. Her best friend, Dawn commits suicide. Plagued with questions and a sense of suffocations, Kite’s dad takes her out of the city to the Lake District, to give her time and space to grieve.

Kite feels as though Dawn’s spirit is around her. She envisions her as an owl, soaring in the sky and leaving her mark on Kite’s window. Kite feels so many emotions she can barely process them, and can’t even cry. It is when she meets Garth, a local boy who helps her in more ways than she could ever expect. 

Kite Spirit was raw and beautiful, a truly haunting yet uplifting story. Kite’s grief radiated off the page and swirled in the air around me, much like Dawn’s presence did for Kite. 

With the rolling hills of the Lake District as the backdrop of this story, it really set the scene for Kite and her bleak mood. But as anyone who knows this area, when the sun breaks through, it is outstanding. 

Kite and Dawn’s history is cleverly revisited by the author in well timed flashbacks. We get a glimpse of the girl Dawn was, and also of the girl Kite was around her. Though totally different and from totally different methods of upbringing, the girls were inseperable. Kite wanted to swing in the circus, Dawn to play her oboe. Through these flashbacks we also begin to understand why Dawn may have taken her own life. 

It was at times hard to read, the story is very raw. But it was a pleasure to watch as Kite overcame her grief, and learned how to say goodbye and let go of Dawn and look into the future of her own life.

The other intriguing part of this book was Kite’s dad’s back story. As Kite is trying to imagine her future, her dad is trying to discover his past. A very well done secondary plot line.

I am sure first time readers of this author will be racing out to get her other books. 

Many thanks to MacMillan Children's Books for the review copy.


Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Book Review: Vortex by Julie Cross

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books; 1 edition (3 Jan 2013)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0230757162
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230757165
Jackson Meyer has thrown himself into his role as an agent for Tempest, the shadowy division of the CIA that handles all time-travel-related threats. Despite his heartbreak at losing the love of his life, Jackson has proved himself to be an excellent agent. However, all that changes when Holly—the girl he altered history to save—re-enters his life. And when Eyewall, an opposing division of the CIA, emerges, Jackson and his fellow agents find themselves under attack and on the run. Jackson must decide between saving the love of his life and the entire world . . .

Jackson Meyer has thrown himself into being an agent for Tempest. While still struggling with a broken heart, Jackson proves himself to be a brilliant agent. But all the training in the world can’t prepare Jackson for when Holly reenters his life. Holly, the girl who altered history to save.

Vortex starts shortly after Tempest ends. With the loss of Holly still very raw for Jackson, he throws himself into his training. Jackson must prove himself not only to his instructors, but to many of his other classmates, a lot of whom have seen him in his pre time travel days living it up as an Upper East Side party boy. 

Vortex was a lot more complex than the first book in this series. We have a lot of jumps and more questions than answers.  In this book we get more of a scientific explanation of time travel, and why certain EOT’s and Jackson have different jumps. For this reason, I found I could only read Vortex when I was feeling sharp. No distractions. You will lose yourself in this book like never before and the world around you will be totally shut out. 

The Jackson we see in this book is a lot harder than Tempest Jackson. Because of his training he bulks up and because of Holly, he has extra thick, bomb-proof walls up. I adore Jackson. He’s the kind of guy who takes everything on his shoulders and expects so much of himself. The guy who thinks he has to save everyone and figure out everything else. 

And, can I just say, I love the girl power in this book! Stewart and Kendrick, two completely different women, two totally kickass agents. Stewart is this bilingual chameleon than can work any situation to her advantage. Kendrick is super smart with a softer side, who is determined to work for Tempest and have her home life too. She grounds Jackson and reminds him the world isn’t the hard place he makes for himself. 

Vortex is full of action and suspense. It is utterly heartbreaking and tragic. Really, it is everything. It steals you away to another world (or two) and makes you believe it is possible for people to appear right in front of you from the future. And with an ending like that? Safe to say, I need the third instalment like yesterday. 

Many thanks to MacMillan Children's Books for the review copy.


Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Book Review: Speechless by Hannah Harrington

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Mira Ink (1 Feb 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184845192X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848451926
  • Everyone knows that Chelsea Knot can’t keep a secret

    Until now. Because the last secret she shared turned her into a social outcast—and nearly got someone killed.

    Now Chelsea has taken a vow of silence—to learn to keep her mouth shut, and to stop hurting anyone else. And if she thinks keeping secrets is hard, not speaking up when she’s ignored, ridiculed and even attacked is worse.

    But there’s strength in silence, and in the new friends who are, shockingly, coming her way—people she never noticed before; a boy she might even fall for. If only her new friends can forgive what she’s done. If only she can forgive herself.

Speechless is a brilliant new contemporary YA. Speechless will have you cringing, laughing, swooning and everything in between.

Chelsea is best friends with the most popular girl in her school. She goes to all the great parties, crushes on the hottest guy and knows she has to earn her keep if she wants to stay at the top. Chelsea takes her cues from those around her and doesn’t think twice about ruining someones reputation by sharing all the gossip she hears. But when her last secret nearly gets someone killed, Chelsea does some serious life-evaluating. 

After reading an article about vows of silence, Chelsea figures this is best for everyone if she simply stops talking. But people don’t appreciate her silence. Her secret and truths have already been spoke and it’s too late to take them back...no matter how much she is pressured. 

Her friends abandon her. She is verbally attacked in school. No one understands her. Except Sam. Who should, in theory, hate her more than everyone else combined. But Sam takes the time to listen even when she doesn’t say a word. Sam is the one who tries to get Chelsea to forgive herself. It is Sam who shows Chelsea who she really is. 

Speechless concentrates on some really important matters. But it doesn’t lose its quirky and funny voice. I couldn’t put this book down. It was simply brilliant. And I want to reread it, like right now. 

Many thanks to Mira Ink for the copy to review!


Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Book Review: Unremembered by Jessica Brody

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books; 1 edition (28 Feb 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 1447221125
  • ISBN-13: 978-1447221128
Sixteen-year-old Sera is the only survivor of an explosion on a plane. She wakes up in hospital to find that she has no memory. The only clue to her identity is a mysterious boy who claims she was part of a top-secret science experiment. The only adult she trusts insists that she shouldn’t believe anything that anybody tells her. In a tense and pacy novel exploding with intrigue and action, Sera must work out who she is and where she came from. Eventually she will learn that the only thing worse than forgetting her past is remembering it.

When Sera wakes up in hospital, she realises she has absolutely no memory, and no way to answer the question on everyone’s lips: how did she survive the plane crash when no one else did?

Suddenly she is front page news. Everyone wants to know who she is. Including Sera. She doesn’t know who to trust and knows that people around her are lying. A strange boy keeps appearing, insisting she isn’t safe.

Trusting him is like taking a leap of faith and while she cannot deny the pull she has to him, or the familiarity of his words, Sera will come to realise that forgetting is sometimes better than remembering. 

Sera and Zen are two unforgettable characters. I felt almost maternal towards Sera as she struggled to make her way through a world with no memories to aide her. 

Unremembered was a fantastic adventure read with corrupt societies and evil corporations and true love. It will appeal to a broad audience, fans of The Hunger Games and The Bourne Identity will love it. Every page had me guessing and I didn’t anything coming. This is sure to be a brilliant new book series. 

Many thanks to Macmillan's Children's Books for the copy to review. Make sure to check out MyKindaBook for all the best Macmillan news and gossip and bonus material!


Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Special Post: Vortex by Julie Cross

So, like loads of other people, I absolutely loved Tempest by Julie Cross. Full of intrigue, action and suspense, sweet romance and double-crossing, Tempest  was one of my favourite reads of 2012. And to get everyone in the mood to run out and read the highly anticipated sequel, Vortex, I have a few little extras for you all! Oh yes, we are talking diary entries, playlists, deleted scenes...and the first chapter of Vortex itself!

Read and enjoy...and let me know what you think!

Also, be sure to check out My Kinda Book  for more behind the scenes content on all your favourite books :)

First Chapter of Vortex

Jackson's Diary Entry

Deleted Scene

Holly's Diary

Vortex Playlist

Check back soon for my review of Vortex.



Friday, 4 January 2013

Sick Lit or Simply Sick Reporting?

Like a lot of people, the article by the Daily Mail yesterday was brought to my attention. It was mentioned by an author I follow on Twitter and like the curious numpty that I am, couldn't help but track down said article and have a gander. And I almost wish I hadn't. Almost - because as much as I hated reading such utter stupidity, now I have an opportunity to speak out. 

I read a lot. I'm a book blogger, a writer, and have been an avid reader from a very early age. I've read classics. I've read YA. I've read crime. I've read historical. I've read romance and science fiction and war accounts and even a book by Snookie (loved it, but that's not the point). When it comes to books, I have a voracious appetite. And even though they weren't huge readers themselves, I owe a lot of that appetite to my parents. The rule was, if I could read it, I could have it. I enjoyed the usual kid stuff - Enid Blyton's The Barney Mysteries was one of my favourites, as were R.L. Stine books from the Goosebumps series. And by eleven I was reading Stephen King.

That will horrify some people. And yes, I suppose it is shocking. But I could read it. And I enjoyed it. And no, just to put some minds at rest, I did not turn out to be homicidal in my later years, nor did I walk around dressed as a clown pulling the arms off children.

So yes, I love books. That point has been made, I think. But I have never heard the genre 'sick-lit' until now. And even the term is sickening to me. 

According to the Daily Mail's article, publishers are desperately seeking the new trend for kids. It's no great secret that over that last five years or so, book sales have shot up remarkably. Books like Harry Potter and Twilight have given books back some of the press they so deserve, and most importantly, got kids reading again. New genres are coming out of the woodwork with YA having a new, trendy and sexy facelift. Dystopian are giving a cool edge to science fiction. For the first time, being a book geek is something to be loud and proud about. 

Vampires have been done to death (so not true - read The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda or Dinner With a Vampire by Abigail Gibbs for a fresh take on our loveable blood-suckers), werewolves are like, so passé  So what's next? Dying kids? Perfect. We'll rake the cash in with that one, mates. 

And I kid you not, that is the tone of said DM article. The DM are horrified and so concerned for our teens because of these naughty, naughty publishers. A few books targeted by this article were The Fault  In Our Stars by John Green, 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher and Before I Die by Jenny Downham. And the problem the DM has with these books? They are glamorising death of kids for kids. 

I remember exactly how I felt when I read 13 Reasons Why and Before I Die. They both shocked me. They both affected me. They were both difficult to read. Why? Because they made me feel, which, if you have read any of my reviews, is something I treasure with books. If you can make me cry, get me angry, provoke a laugh or a smile, make me scared with your words? You're doing something seriously right. 

13 Reasons Why is a book about a girl who leaves behind thirteen cassette tapes explaining why she killed herself. According to the DM, "While the media stops short of reporting even the most basic facts of suicide for fear of encouraging copycat behaviour, publishers are commissioning entire works of fiction on the subject." This has lead to fears that by writing about suicide or self-harming, our teens and influential minds will be led astray and more likely to take a leisurely stroll down that path too. Do you know what Jay Asher has done by writing this book? He has given a voice to a subject that, while, taboo, is very real. 

As for Jenny Downham and Before I Die, she gives her protagonist the chance to seize life before it is taken from her - to experience what she wants and just live

I have read a lot of contemporary fiction lately, and do you know what I have noticed? More and more authors are getting braver. It wasn't so long ago that your book would have been burned for swearing or if your characters have premarital sex or heaven forbid have a sip of alcohol. But now the teens in these books are swearing. The F-Bomb drops, knickers come off and they get pissed. Why? It's what teenagers do. It's what I did (but we won't get into that...) and it's what they will continue to do. Granted, it's not all they do, and not all of them do it, but the point is they do do it. And anyone who says otherwise is just kidding themselves. 

Do you know what else they do? 

They die. 

They get awful illnesses. They kill themselves. They hurt themselves. 

Death, as they say, is just another part of life.

And yet we are supposed to pretend it doesn't happen in our books? Shame authors who have the bravery to write about it? 

Sadly I have not read The Fault in Our Stars, but a very good friend of mine and a fellow book addict has. This is what she had to say on the book:

"The Fault In Our Stars is a beautiful and moving novel about two teenagers who fall in love while they're both battling cancer. It's so honest and real but never strays into mawkishness. Yes it made me sob but it was healthy, cathartic sobbing and sometimes we need that, no matter what age we are. There is a lot of humour in the book too, it's really well balanced with the light-hearted moments and the devastating ones and that's what makes it so true to life. It's one of those novels that really makes you view the world a little differently and it makes you think about the legacy that you're leaving to the people around you."

Sounds a tad different to this, doesn't it? :

"Diagnosed with stage four thyroid cancer at the age of 13, Hazel spends most of her time tethered to an oxygen tank and is running out of hope.
When she is attracted to a fellow cancer sufferer, she has to weigh up if she has enough time to fall for him before she dies."

Which is what the DM had to say about the book. Doesn't even sound like they read it. 

And so this book that is described as beautiful and funny and honest and real is potentially damaging to our young people? 

What about The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas or The Book Thief? Both these books take place during Nazi Germany and both can be found in the children section in bookshops. I can honestly think of no worse time humanity has seen than the Second World War. Concentration camps saw just what humans are capable of doing to one another. So do I think that any book that even mentions Nazis or war or concentration camps should be pulled from our shelves and tossed on a bonfire? No. Because ignorance does not protect us. In fact it does the opposite. We need to talk about the hard stuff to be able to appreciate the good. And because it happens. It happens

Saving June by Heather Harrington was one of my absolute favourite books last year. This time it was about the people left behind and how they cope. But it was about suicide, so it must be bad, right?

And how about Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson? That is one of the most powerful books ever written. Yes, it's about rape. But that's not all it's about. It's about gaining the strength to rebuild yourself and to trust the people around you again and to carry on. Ah, right. Rape. We're not supposed to talk about that either. Whoops.

To Kill a Mockingbird. I guarantee every single person has heard of it. It features a rape case and racism. Burn it.

Guess we should get rid of Romeo and Juliet whilst we're at it, eh? All that suicide. Messy business. Can't have people reading about that.

So publishers are trying to find their next goldmine. Because vampires are so overdone. 

Let me say something about those bloody vampires.

But before I do, let me say I did enjoy them, I still do enjoy them, and I will continue to read them. 

If we're about to point fingers about whose book is most damaging, get you're fecking finger away from the people honest enough to write the truth. In my opinion, not that it's really worth much, but if I was to look closely at the YA market I would say it was the ruddy vampires who are more damaging. The DM said they are clearly fantasy like it makes it okay. But how is it okay to make our teenagers believe that some of these boyfriend figures are what they should want and lust after? Many are controlling to the point of obsessive. And no, that is not an admirable character trait. One YA fantasy book even had the object of affection struggle to decide whether or not to kill the girl or kiss her. 

And everyone knows Fifty Shades of Grey started as Twilight fanfic. Just sayin'. 

Yes, authors have a responsibility when they write for children. And again, let me say, I do enjoy these 'fantasy' books. And no, I don't particularly think they are harmful to our young readers. But to say that a book about someone with cancer who has the audacity to want to live before they die is? Come on. Seriously. 

To be honest, I started this blog post enraged. Every time I thought of that article I felt sick to my stomach. Now I just feel sad. 

The article ends urging parents to check what the book their teen is reading is about. Which in a way is great - there's nothing better than a good book chat. But to censor your teen? Not cool. And as for this: 'Let's hope publishers do have young people's interests at heart - and they are not selling books by sensationalising children's suffering.'

Really? *scornful look*

I just hope parents who read the article don't start believing what is written, that these books have a potential damaging affect on those who read them. Books have an amazing ability to heal you, even the sad ones. 

Let me end this blog post by saying that all the pics are linked to their pages on Amazon. Where you can buy them. And love them. Bugger what the DM says. 


Thursday, 3 January 2013

Ending The Year With Books

To anyone who knows me, Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year. Not because of the cheer or the food or the presents or even the telly. But because of the books. At Christmas I get to go mad and stock pile all the books I've been desperate to get...boxes and boxes of them. 

This Christmas saw the same - me going mad, scouring the sales for hidden bargains and new words to devour. But this year, not one paperback was purchased. 
I've been a heavy Kindle user for over a year now, but mostly for convenience, not preference. I travel a lot for work and it's simply easier to carry one small device, than several large and heavy physical books. Not to mention for digital review books. 
But when my awesome husband got me the new Kindle Fire HD (and Amazon gift voucher) for Christmas, I seriously got my ebook on. 

 I honestly didn't think I would read so much on the Kindle Fire. I thought it would be too much like staring at a computer screen and get one of my fabulous headaches. Instead, I have found it to be great to read on. The screen isn't harsh on my eyes, it's super easy (probably too easy - damn you, Amazon) to access the Kindle store. Instead of the ads bothering me, which if I'm honest, they do unless it's a book one, I love seeing new recommendations...although how long this will be a good thing, I'm not sure. I'm not one for resisting book temptations...

It's a little sad, but the biggest appeal is that now my covers are in full blown colour. It's what I always missed with ebooks. When I'm reading a paperback, sometimes I need a breather. Just a second to process, or to savour what I've just read, maybe to put off something I don't want to happen. Usually I close the book, stare at the cover a bit then dive back in. I couldn't do that with ebooks...until now. Now when I turn on my beautiful new tablet my books are there in technicolour, waiting for me to slip back into their world. And I love it.

 So the theme this year seems to be Contemporary. And I'm loving it. As a die hard YA fan, I didn't think there would be a genre to tempt me away so fully, but Contemporary has gone and done it. But don't worry, YA, there will always be room in my heart (and Kindle) for both of you.

 Also, just how is it possible I've gone this long without Daemon? No seriously, how is it possible? Obsidian has been on my recommended page for as long as I can remember, and it was always a, yeah I'll get it eventually, book. Cor blimey...I don't think five seconds had gone by at the end of that book before I had the second in the series downloaded!

Another new, but not new, discovery, is the Archers of Avalon series. I'm not too far into the first book yet but so far I'm really enjoying it :)

But my absolute gem out of all my Christmas books has got to be Hopeless by Colleen Hoover. I adored Slammed and Point of Retreat, so as soon as I spotted Hopeless I knew I had to have it. And my goodness, seriously. It's just one of those books. The kind that grips you and weaves into your subconscious and just simply entrances you. I loved it. Haven't read it? Get it now. NOW.

So that's how I spent my Christmas Holidays. Nose deep in my Kindle Fire. With brief surfacing for air and to watch Harry Potter.

I hope you all had an amazing holiday, and an even better start to the year. I set myself a 200 book challenge for 2013 on Goodreads, so I'd best get cracking!



Sorry About The Wait...

Hi all!

I just wanted to say that regular posting will be commencing soon. I've been neglecting my poor blog for too long and it's time to get back to it!

Things have been crazy the last few months with work and the holiday season. A lot is changing for me and I can't believe it's only the third day of the year.

Anway, more to come soon before I start on a ramble!


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