Wednesday, 27 May 2015

C.J Daugherty's ENDGAME (Night School #5) June 4th 2015 by Little Brown/Atom (UK)


BOW down to the QUEEN of 

Young-adult suspense 


8 days and we'll finally have all the answers. 8 days until it all ends. 


Are you ready to let go?


                                                                                                                 With only 8 days left until the release of the final instalment in the Night School Series, I'm both excited and sad to see the series end. 



It's been a wild ride since the start of the series and we have so much to be thankful for. We laughed and we loved, we cried and we loathed, but no matter what happened, we.never. stopped wanting. more. 

There was always that nagging question that nearly burned us alive:  What's going to happen next? Who's going to win and who will  lose everything? 

Well, next Thursday we'll have all the answer, (unless you've cheated yourself and read the Netgalley Arc already) and we'll finally know how it all ends and that's super exciting...but despite all of that, I can't help but feel a little sullen.


All right, I'm just going to come out and say it now -- The Night School series was my personal gateway drug into the Young Adult world and my very first glimpse into a new world of exciting, beautiful things.  
After my teenage potter years, I read mainly classics and in all honesty had no idea about all the beautiful things I was missing out on over in the Young Adult world. It was like a secret unknown world to me. No Goodreads, no hunky book boyfriends, no blogger conventions, no nothing. How did I survive? I don't even know the answer myself. 
The Series opened up a whole world of inspirations and I'm so thankful for that. 
Not only is CJ an incredibly talented writer, but her books were the reason I fell in love with young adult books in the first place and without her I wouldn't be here, blogging about all things YA.
So, CJ, this is for you

Thank you for my unhealthy obsession with brooding, snarky dark haired men, 
 for the inspiration and the motivation to be stronger, 
thank you for the love and the hard work, 
the passion and joy you've brought into our lives, 
the mystery and the ever so slow burning thrills,
thank you for the special mention in the Resistance acknowledgments, 
but most of all, 
thank you for this, 
for picking up the pen and writing your way into our hearts. 

Alright, enough with the mushy stuff. I hope you're all looking forward to next Thursday! You can pre-order the paperback/Kindle edition here:

Monday, 13 April 2015

Booktalk: Vanishing girls by @oliverbooks Lauren Oliver


New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver delivers a gripping story about two sisters inexorably altered by a terrible accident.


So if you've been following previous posts, you know that Vanishing Girls was featured in the March favourites. I was incredibly excited for this to hit the shelves and practically screamed with joy on the morning of the 10th. 

Sadly, only three hours after the Hardback arrived at my house, I was almost kind of ready to send it back. Couldn't believe it and I'm still a little bit in denial, but I guess these things happen. I'm saying this with a really heavy heart because the book wasn't terribly written, nor was the story by any means ludicrous, just couldn't seem to hold my interest for more much than 10 minutes. 

The writing itself, was of course, compelling, well written and just typically Oliver-esque, but unfortunately, whatever it was, every time I sat down with it, nothing really went in. I just felt super frustrated because none of the actual plot made sense to me. I couldn't keep up with the changing narrative, couldn't seem to differentiate between the two girls and really wasn't too keen on the slightly unsettling element of romance. All in all the narration felt jumbled and unfinished. 

I initially thought, 'Heck to the yeah-yah, this book is going to be a sure favourite. Mystery, suspense and Lauren Oliver magic, what could be better?!

Who knew I'd be eating my own words in this review? I honestly don't understand it and I'm truly heartbroken. I'll put it down for now and give it another go in a couple of month and perhaps it'll all be different so I can give it the 5 star review I know it deserves.

For now, I'm just going to have to go with this:

I was dismayed because I don't quite think the plot (and its slight transparency) would hold up all too well under closer examination. The end sort of demands that you forget all the evidence you've been given prior to the big reveal and asks you to blindly accept the ending as it is with no convincing explanation. 

Bam, just don't question it and you'll be fine, otherwise... things don't really add up or make much sense. In all honesty, the reveal was neither surprising nor was it very original in its execution and that really hurts me to say because, as I've said numerous times in this review, I'm a big fan of Lauren's work. 


Please, do still make pick up a copy and see for yourself. It's still a wonderful piece of work and for what its worth, deserves all the attention it can get.




Sunday, 12 April 2015

How reading saved my life


Okay folks, let's get real for a second. I thought about doing a post like this for a long time, but always managed to find a reason to talk myself out of it. There have been quite a few post on the subject popping up here and there and after reading through a good dozen I kept thinking, 
'Why am I being such a coward? All of these people are so brave to put their feelings out there, so why can't I? 

So today, I'm going to try and add my views and personal experiences to the subject 'Reading your way out of depression.'  I'll talk about the experiences I've made and what kind of role reading played in my battle with depression. 

This post will probably consist of a lot of rambling, so just bear with me. Writing this post is something I've been meaning to do for over a year so there'll be a lot of ground to cover. 

I've been meaning to make my posts a little more personal in general, rather than just churning out clinically neat columns about this and that, I thought, what I really want to do is add something that y'all can perhaps relate to as well. 

Right so, I've was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder about a year and a half ago and have been plagued with anxiety attacks for a couple of years beforehand.  I can't actually put my finger on a specific date when it all started, thinking about it now, I'd wager that I was around 15, maybe a little younger.  At the time I thought that the negative thoughts I felt would fade away, or that it was just the way I was meant to feel. 

Illnesses of any kind weren't really something my parents took very seriously and never had much sympathy for if I'm being honest. Being the perfect little daughter was that mattered to them most, so my siblings and I grew up believing that, too and so, for many years, I thought I was just being overdramatic and that it was 'just a phase’ I was going through. 

Alas, that was not the case. I can't describe what I went through apart from saying that there were days where I thought I was going to die. Yup, straight up thought, ‘alright chaps, this is it. I guess I've had a good run. Catch y'all on the flip-side.’   

I know that this'll be hard to understand if you've never experienced a full blown panic attack, but it's the truth. All I can say is that I wouldn't wish those thoughts and feelings upon anyone, not even my worst enemy. 

I've had weeks where I didn't do anything but stare at the white washed walls of my room. Sounds super fun, I know. Luckily, one late September day a good friend handed me a copy of Virginia Woolf's 'Ms Dalloway' and everything changed. I finally found the comfort I'd been looking for. I found solace, but most importantly, I found peace, for a little while at least. My depression is and will always be a part of me, but reading helped me  find a way out of the haze. I finally felt like I could crawl out from under the huge rock I'd been trapped under for so long.

Like I could make choices for myself again rather than letting my thoughts control every moment of my day and I've gotta tell you, I'll never forget that feeling. Never. Reading brought me an immense relief because I was able to lose myself in the vast depths of each new novel I picked up. With each new book, I felt my confidence renewed and with that came a new found passion for living. 

So, yes, I think books can be a great help if you're struggling and can't find a way to deal with negative thoughts, but you also have to realise that literature alone cannot cure you, so please don't unnecessarily put yourself through hell like I did. Get help and get help soon. Don't put it off because you're ashamed. Having mental health problems is nothing to feel to ashamed about and you'll only regret wasting precious moments. Don't underestimate the importance of counselling and seeking help from your local GP. 

Finding the right medication can work wonders and bring the change that your life needs. If I'm honest, at first I didn't believe it either. I thought taking medication would do more harm than good, but take it from me when I say that I couldn't have been more wrong. Yes, it's a little tricky to find the medication that suits you just right, and yes, it'll take a little while to adjust but trust me, it is SO worth it in the end. 

When I finally made the choice to seek help and got my diagnosis, everything finally fell into place. All those years of self loathing, blaming myself for thinking I was just being overdramatic and hating myself for not being able to just 'snap out of it' like everyone told me to finally came to an end and even better, none of it had been my fault. 
Just hearing that was worth all of the stress.  

Yes, it was super tough, I cried like a baby in my first evaluation and thought I wouldn't ever be able to talk about my problems to a stranger, I mean, I hardly understood them myself, so how on earth could I explain it to someone else, but I somehow managed to and finally got the help that I needed. 

So yes, I firmly believe that literature can help dealing with depression, curing it however it cannot. Please make no mistake when it comes to the gravity of depression. Mental health is no joke, so please don't treat it like one. 

If you're still reading this, thank you for you time and thank you, Christabelle for your copy of Ms Dalloway all those years ago. I don't know where I would have ended up without it.

(Phew, it's done! *High five*) 

All the love as always, 

xo


Monday, 2 March 2015

Wonderful May Books to look forward to!

Two days into the new month and we've got a great list of books to look forward to. 
March is a SUPER Book month with a ton of good titles!  We'll be celebrating non-stop. 

Here's a list with OUR March favourites: 
(No particular order) 


1. Confess by Colleen Hoover (By Atria Books)                           
   Publication date: March, 10th 


320 pages in this bad boy, huzzah!

''Auburn Reed has her entire life mapped out. Her goals are in sight and there’s no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a risk and puts her heart in control, only to discover Owen is keeping major secrets from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.

The last thing Owen wants is to lose Auburn, but he can’t seem to convince her that truth is sometimes as subjective as art. All he would have to do to save their relationship is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin…''



Confess is yet another a new, exciting YA/NA novel by superstar COHO. Colleen is truly unstoppable, releasing new hits, left right and centre. You go girl. We're certainly NOT complaining and can not wait for this one to hit the shelves. 
Can we quickly talk about the Cover?! Those colours? Damn girl. Coho's got it goin' on. 

Pre order it here: 
Get the e-book for £4.68  $7.22 
£8.99 paperback 


2.  Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver (By HarperCollins) 
      
Coho & Lauren are publication twins - Vanishing girls comes out on the same day, March the 10th. 
One day, TWO good books. What more could you want? Other than a bathtub full of kittens, but hey! This is almost as good, right?  



386 pages, Hardcover - the good stuff! (If we Brits get the hardcover in our bookshops however, remains up for debate...we'll have to see.) 
What a beautiful cover as well. Goodness. 

''Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before the accident that left Dara's beautiful face scarred and the two sisters totally estranged. When Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl, nine-year-old Madeline Snow, has vanished, too, and Nick becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances are linked. Now Nick has to find her sister, before it's too late.

In this edgy and compelling novel, Lauren Oliver creates a world of intrigue, loss, and suspicion as two sisters search to find themselves, and each other.''

Vanishing Girls tells the story of two sisters inexorably altered by a terrible accident.  

Sounds spooky eh? Well the book is listed under suspense/mystery thriller so we'll have to be careful. Perhaps not a book for the faint-hearted. Better read it when its still light outside. ;) 

Pre-order it here: 

Get the e-book for £5.03  $7.76
Paperback £6.55 


3. Liars, Inc by Paula Stokes (By HarperTEEN)       
    Expected publication date is on March 24th 


Another Hardcover, hurray.  Liars, Inc. comes with 386 pages as well and is another murder-mystery we're super excited about. 

''Max Cantrell has never been a big fan of the truth, so when the opportunity arises to sell forged permission slips and cover stories to his classmates, it sounds like a good way to make a little money and liven up a boring senior year. With the help of his friends Preston and Parvati, Max starts Liars, Inc. Suddenly everybody needs something and the cash starts pouring in. Who knew lying could be so lucrative?

When Preston wants his own cover story to go visit a girl he met online, Max doesn’t think twice about hooking him up. Until Preston never comes home. Then the evidence starts to pile up—terrifying clues that lead the cops to Preston’s body. Terrifying clues that point to Max as the murderer.

Can Max find the real killer before he goes to prison for a crime he didn’t commit?'' 


Absolutely burning to get my hands on this! If you haven't heard about this book or Paula Strokes, we'd definitely recommend to check out her other works; some really great stuff. 


Pre-order links below: 
No e-book links up just yet... SAD.
£11.64 HC       $13.46 HC


4.  Where Sea Meets Sky by Karina Halle (Atria Books) 
      Expected publication: March 31st 

This exciting paperback has 384 pages and a blurb that will knock you sideways. MUST. HAVE. NOW.

''Joshua Miles has spent his early twenties spinning his wheels. Working dead-end jobs and living at home has left him exhausted and uninspired, with little energy to pursue his passion for graphic art. Until he meets Gemma Henare, a vivacious out-of-towner from New Zealand. What begins as a one-night stand soon becomes a turning point for Josh. He can't get Gemma out of his head, even after she has left for home, and finds himself throwing caution to the wind for the first time in his life.

It's not long before Josh is headed to New Zealand with only a backpack, some cash, and Gemma's name to go on. But when he finally tracks her down, he finds his adventure is only just beginning. Equally infatuated, Gemma leads him on a whirlwind tour across the beautiful country, opening Josh up to life, lust, love, and all the messy heartache in between. Because, when love drags you somewhere, it might never let go even when you know you have to say goodbye.'' 


This new travel-drama hits the nail on the head. The story is fresh, intriguing and comes from a top author. I've been a fan of Karina's works for a while and was lucky to get an early copy because this book is absolute GOLD. 

Pre order the book here:

Get the e-book for £3.95       $6.10

Paperback: £8.99 



5. Fall with Me (Wait For You #4)  By Jenn Armentrout /J.Lynn  (Avon) 
     Expected publication date: March 31st 



The fourth one in the Wait For You series is finally almost upon us. Rejoice! As someone who really enjoyed this series, I can't wait to get stuck into this one. 

''Eleven months ago, bartender and weird-shirt-wearing extraordinaire Roxy and Officer Reece Anders had a one night stand. Well, kind of. She’s been in love with him since she was fifteen, and he wishes that night they shared never happened. She’s sworn him off forever, but the past and future collide, forcing her to rely on the one man who broke her heart not once, but twice.

Her best friend since birth has been in a long-term care facility since he became a victim of a hate crime years ago, and the person who put him in there is out of prison and wanting to make amends with him and Roxy. She’s not sure she has room for forgiveness in her and when she begins to receive frightening messages and is on the receiving end of escalating violence, she thinks she knows who is to blame. The man who already destroyed one life already.

But Reece isn’t convinced. The threats are too personal, and even if Roxy doesn’t believe him, he’s not willing to let anyone hurt her. Including himself. He’s already messed up more than once when it comes to Roxy and he’s not going to let history repeat itself. ''


If you haven't read any of the 3 previous books in the series, you should really check 'em out. I flew threw them. Couldn't put my kindle down. If you like a story with charm, sass and plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, combined with raw emotion and sizzling romance; this is the series for you. 

Get the e-book for £3.77    $7.99  Mass paperback  
Paperback for: £6.99


Quite the selection, eh? We think so! Feel free to comment if you'd like to add or recommend any of your March favourites! We'd love to hear about them. 


Enjoy March and HAPPY READING. 


x

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

NEVER NEVER POSTER - C. Hoover & T. Fisher







So after recently finishing CoHo & Tarryn Fisher's gem Never Never,  I felt inspired and quickly whipped up a little poster with one of my favourite quotes during my lunch break. After I finished the book, I kept seeing a dark and rusty orange combined with a little turquoise.  Sort of came to mind when thinking of Silas and Charlie together. I wanted to incorporate a bit of the eeriness I felt, and this is what came out of it. 
Hope y'all like it.   



I really recommend getting the ebook if you haven't already. It's fairly short compared to their usual stuff, as it's a Novella, but don't be fooled by its length... It'll knock you sideways. 


Cheerio for now, folks. 
x





Monday, 2 February 2015



My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Super savvy spy-thriller by NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Ally Carter. Need I say more?!

Recipe for kick-ass spy thriller:

5 spoonfuls of dark espionage
4 ounces of HOT Russian love interest
2 tsp of ambiguity

add
1 ounce of creative genius.

Stir generously and consume with care.


Oh, Carter, you've done it again...


All Fall Down  

is the first in Ally Carter's Embassy Row Series and starts off with a bang.

The story combines the joys of a good thriller with the right amount of fine-tuned conspiracy.

I must confess that I wasn't the biggest fan of the Heist Society books, for whatever unknown reason I couldn't quite connect to the characters. I tried and tried, but in the end decided to move on. I know, big, fat sigh.

Regardless, I was really excited for this one to hit the 'virtual' shelves. Everyone knows I'm sucker for a good spy-thriller with a kick-ass heroine. That stuff is like peanut butter cups to me; absolutely, IRRESISTIBLE.

The plot for All Fall Down is carefully crafted and impressed me with its solid characters.

The story begins with protagonist Grace. Her mother passed away and all she has left is her deployed military father. Ouch.
To say life has been tough for Grace would be an understatement at this point. She's soon sent away to start a new life with her Grandfather, a very well known US ambassador stationed in Adria.

Starting over is always tough, especially for a young woman, but doing so on an embassy block where tensions are always running high seems damn near impossible. Oh and, the last time she visited Embassy Row, her mother was murdered right before her eyes...and no-one seems to believe her.

Easy enough, right? Er... no.

The nightmares of her mothers murder return as soon as she arrives at the embassy. Haunted by dark memories, Grace is tormented by the images of her mothers brutal murder and with the pain comes the plan to avenge her mothers murder, once and for all. The only problem being, Grace is still considered a child...Especially around all those internationally trained professionals. With all that in mind, Grace sets out fulfil the task of her life: finding her mothers killer and restoring her honour.


Embassy Row:

I quite enjoyed the way Ally painted the Embassy. The reader very quickly feels that clinical feeling associated with visiting a hospital or the dentist, (Yeah, that one) and it is fantastic. I was hooked straight away.

Everyone is so cautious, so cold and so, so, bloody calculating. Just taking a breath while turning the page felt tense and almost too much. One false move and its over, right? Well, goodness me, I really loved it and if I'm honest, the way Carter set her scenes was just magnificent.

What I had a little difficulty with were the constant flashbacks. Granted, the majority was necessary to establish a little more of Grace's background, but for me personally it became a little difficult to differentiate between reality, hallucinations and flashbacks. I had to re-read certain bits to make sure that I wasn't getting myself lost in between the lines.


Our protagonist:

The SASS, Oh the SASS. Golly me, I fell in love with Grace so hard. Her personality won me over straight away and it was so easy to connect to her on a personal level because I could see a little of myself in her. Top marks for creativity there, her sarcasm was to die for.
Grace was sassy, determined and not afraid to get get what we wants. Bam, perfect female heroine right there and If I'm honest with y'all, this is exactly what this genre needs; MORE SASSY FEMALES.

YA GODS, LET IT RAIN SASSY FEMALES.


Additional thoughts:

The thing about Ally Carter's writing is that she has a very distinctive style, her stories aren't complex or too hard to understand. Her style is simple, easy writing, but she really makes it work. Simple doesn't always mean boring, especially not when it comes to Carter's works. Ally always manages to pull the reader in, keeps them on their toes and has them hanging on her every word. It's easy reading at its best which is something we should all learn to appreciate more. Don't get me wrong, I do love a good complex story, clever lyricism goes a long way for me, but I think it is so important to relax once in a while. Read for fun on a cold Sunday morning, wrapped up in your favourite patchwork blanket with a nice cup of tea and enjoy yourself. Your Kindle will thank you, trust me.

Sometimes less is simply more.

The only thing that sort of irritated me were certain bits with Grace's character, as much as I loved her, sometimes I would've wished for a little more realism. Yes, its fiction, but come on. Some scenes were just a little bit too far fetched, which wasn't all too good for credibility and thus, sort of ruined a handful of moments for me, but hey. I still rather enjoyed the overall tone; sassy, fun easy reading.


Top marks for the supporting cast as well, as I mentioned above, Ally did a marvellous job with her cast. I'd like to order two Noah's for personal use, please? Please do get back to me on that, Ally. (Sigh.)


While All Fall Down has a handful of flaws and may not appeal to all YA fanatics, I'm still rather glad I picked it up. I'm so excited to see what happens in book two.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Booktalk: Review of Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover


Alright, deep breaths guys... I'm really not quite sure where to begin with this.  First, I'd like to thank Colleen once again for sharing her talent with us; her very faithful readers. 

Secondly, I think it's most impressive that there has not been one single book of hers that I didn't like. I mean, not one, not even close and I think that is quite something. I'd say I'm quite a tough cookie to break and certainly have quite high standards when it comes to literature in general. Long story short; I'm quite hard to please. Colleen however has found a way to waltz right through that tough exterior and hits the target every time.  

If I'm totally honest with you, I have the strangest feeling Colleen is actually a Witch. Like, a fully fledged magical being with the most wonderful imagination. So if you're reading this right now and you're thinking, ''heck, what is this chick on about... magic isn't real...''

 I urge you to pick up one of her books, (it doesn't matter which one because, to me, they're all equally brilliant) have a relaxing bath, open up the vino and just get down to reading. Trust me, you'll see what I mean. 

Maybe Someday is a wonderful example because its so different to her previous stories. I've never quite read a book where the main character is deaf, so I really did not know what to expect. I didn't really know how she'd go about it. I mean, how does one work that? Dialogue wise?  

One of the things I love about Colleen's writing is that she keeps on challenging herself and that is what keeps her ideas fresh and compelling. She's not afraid to really push the boundaries.  

To give you a brief overview, MS is about college student Sydney who has to find out that her best friend and her long time boyfriend have a little thing going on behind her back. 

Sounds quite generic so far, but don't fret. It gets so much better. 

Enter witty musician Ridge Lawson. He's fun, charming and very talented. The only down-sight; Ridge is deaf. Long story short, the two of them become friendly and Sydney starts helping out with his song writing. After the whole thing with her now ex-boyfriend, Sydney moves into the spare room in Ridge's apartment where were introduced to two other fun chaps.  

The idea was just so refreshingly original and I loved how Colleen played it out. I actually can't think of a single book to compare it with and that alone is crazy. Its a book that keeps you on your toes. It shows you that love is unpredictable and can happen in the strangest ways. Best of all, it will keep you guessing till the very last page.  

I absolutely loved the way Ridge and Sydney interacted. Watching their romance blossom was absolutely marvellous. The slow build up was wonderfully executed and deserves all the awards if you ask me. Still get goosebumps when I think about certain chapters. 
Colleen never rushes things, nor does she overcomplicate her characters lives. What you see is what you get and that is exactly what makes her books so powerful. 

Without going into too much detail, I must say Maybe Someday might be my favourite out of CoHo's array of wonder works, purely because it has the perfect amount of laugh-out-loud moments and hair-gripping-heartache.

The ending was rather sensational and in true COHO style.  I mean, don't get me wrong, finishing this book was painful and I would've loved to just keep on reading forever, but hey. Guess you can't have everything... 

Once again, give it up for COHO for delivering yet another masterpiece. 

I'm awarding it 5 out of 5 stars.