Friday, January 31, 2014

Review Copy Cleanup 4.0!

Hi Everyone, today I'm really pleased to say that I'm joining this feature. I'm always struggling behind with my review pile. But this year I want to crack down on it with all the books that I receive through the post. Here is a little bit about RCC and if you would like join yourself, click here

RCC is a month-long event in which Celine from Nyx Book Reviews and Vicky from Books, Biscuits and Tea challenge ourselves to read as many review books as we possibly can. We are both notorious for accepting way too many requests, and consequently our to-be-read piles are pretty daunting. For some extra motivation to read, we invented the Review Copy Cleanup. This year we are keeping things simple – no challenges and just one scheduled chat, and weekly updates so we can all keep track of each other’s progress. You’re welcome to keep track of the challenge in the way that’s most convenient for you.
These will be the books that I will be reading and reviewing this are:

Paperback

 17568548 15697915 18684864   The Finisher

NetGalley

15839976 18755824 19101169 

Am I going to get through all of these?! I have given myself one hell of big Review Pile and but we'll see how it goes. This may encourage me to do so. 

Are you joining the Review Copy Cleanup? If so link me up... 
Are you reading any of these book or have you read them? I would love to hear your thoughts on them. Leave me a comment below. 


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

INTERVIEW with Holly Bourne + Giveaway



Today, I'm very pleased to have the lovely Holly Bourne, author of Soulmates where you can find me review here. She has inspired me and has created a refreshing and unique YA Contemporary based on the danger of falling in love. I would recommend this debut novel to anyone. Its truly inspiring. Before I introduce to Holly, here is a little bit about the her novel Soulmates.


Soulmates
by Holly Bourne
Publisher - Usborne
Release Date - September 1st 2013
Buy - Amazon | Book Despoistory


Every so often, two people are born who are the perfect matches for each other. Soulmates. But while the odds of this happening are about as likely as being struck by lightning, when these people do meet and fall in love…thunderstorms, lightning strikes and lashings of rain are only the beginning of their problems.

Enter Poppy, the 17-year-old cynic with a serious addiction to banana milk, and Noah, the heart-throb guitarist; residents of mediocre Middletown, sometime students, and…soulmates.

After a chance meeting at a local band night, Poppy and Noah find themselves swept up in a whirlwind romance unlike anything they’ve ever experienced before. But with a secret international agency preparing to separate them, a trail of destruction rumbling in their wake, (and a looming psychology coursework deadline), they are left with an impossible choice between the end of the world, or a life without love…

1.       Soulmates is a unique, refreshing and inspiring YA contemporary novel. What inspired you to take a different and dangerous perspective to a love story?

Thank you! I was inspired to start Soulmates round about the time Twilight went absolutely berserk and bookshops dedicated entire shelves to ‘dark romance’ stories. I, like everyone else, jumped fully on the bandwagon, devouring them all. But it did get me thinking: Is love really like this? And is it good for us to be constantly told love is like this? That’s when I wanted to write a book that challenges our conceptions of love - playing with, and subverting, romantic clichés so I could analyse how healthy our understanding of them are.

I don’t know if anyone reading this has ever seen the film Scream but that was my main inspiration – despite being a gory horror movie. I basically wanted Soulmates to be the Scream of Romantic YA fiction. On the surface, Scream’s a pretty terrifying horror movie. But, it’s also a tribute to (and take-down of) the horror genre itself – constantly making jokes about generic conventions and twisting them to refresh the genre. On the surface, I wanted Soulmates to be a beautiful, gooey love story – but I also wanted that constant underlay of self-awareness and challenge. I hope I did it…

2.       Were any of your characters based on yourself or any inspirations of yours?

I think every character you write has an element of ‘you’ in them. Because even if you’re nothing like them, you’re choosing to put words into their mouths and choosing their decisions for them. That said, Lizzie was very much based on a housemate from university who got far-too-excited by everyone’s love lives.

3.       Tell us a little more about Anita, Dr Beaumont, she seems to have a very strong connection to Soulmates… did that start the laboratory and division against ‘Soulmates’?

One of the most common questions I get asked is: Will there be a sequel to Soulmates….usually by readers who are pretty darn unhappy by the ending. I don’t have any urge to write a sequel, but I do have an itching for a possible prequel – showing how Anita became Dr Beaumont. With that in mind, I’m reluctant to spill too much here J

But, yes, in Soulmates it hints that Anita once had her very own soulmate, and that she chose to work for the company that separated them. That’s why she’s so very broken.


4.       If your book was to be turned into a film, who would you imagine playing Noah, Poppy and Lizzie?
 
They would HAVE to be British, otherwise I’d get a major strop on. I would like them to be pretty unknown (I’m not giving it the best shot of being a blockbuster with this, am I?). Noah was inspired a lot by the character Robbie from Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging – so in my head he’s looks a bit like Aaron Taylor-Johnson. But he’s too old now…
A reader pointed me towards Nico Mirallegro from My Mad Fat Diary and I was like ‘YES’. So maybe him?

5.       It was quite an emotional ending, was it a challenge to create one that differs so much from a ‘happy ever after’ cliché in most YA contemporaries.

It was a HUGE challenge, mainly overcoming my fear that nobody would like the ending! Or that no publishing house would publish a romance that finishes like that. I knew it would divide opinion, I knew it would piss people off – and I struggled with how I’d cope with that reaction. But you have to write without fear. And you have to write because you ultimately have something you want to say - otherwise what’s the point?

It was personally heart-wrenching though, to leave it like that. I sobbed for about three days after I finished it, so I can totally understand where reader’s upset has come from. But it’s been touching seeing just how many people totally ‘get’ the ending, and who’ve contacted me to say how much they liked it was different. Even if they did need a tonne of tissues and chocolates to recover.

6.       Finally as a reader and a huge fan of your writing, what is instore next for your next book or plotline?

My second book – The Manifesto on How to Be Interesting – is finished, and out this year! I’m so SO excited about people reading it.

It’s a narrative deconstruction of the age-old ‘Geek Vs Popular People’ storyline and I hope it will really resonate with people.  I basically wanted to answer the question: ‘Does school damage you permanently?’ and I did a lot of research into bullying and popularity and mental health to frame the whole story.

Here’s the blurb, for anyone interested *winks at you all madly*


“Apparently I’m boring. A nobody. I don’t embrace. But that’s all about to change. Because I am starting a project. Here. Now. For myself. And if you want to come along for the ride then you’re very welcome.” 

Bree is by no means popular. Most of the time, she hates her life, her school, her never-there parents. So she writes.
 
But when Bree is told she needs to stop shutting the world out and start living a life worth living, The Manifesto on How to be Interesting is born.

Six steps on how to be interesting. How to be someone people want to read about. Six steps that will change everything. But, the question is, at what cost?

Out September 2014


Thank you so much for being here today and answering my questions, Holly. I’ll look forward to what you have next instore for us. 

Giveaway

Courtesy of the lovely Usborne publisher I have a copy of Holly Bourne's Soulmates to only lucky winner. It is UK and IRELAND. Sorry to those who don't live in the UK. To enter, fill out the raffelcopter form below. Good Luck.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

INTERVIEW with the PUSHING THE LIMITS Boys + Giveaway

This may have spoilers of Pushing the Limits, Dare You To and Crash Into You if you haven't read any of these titles.


I'm very delighted today have the Pushing the Limits Boys, Noah, Ryan and Isaiah on the blog to discuss what they have been doing since their story begun and any future appearances. I have missed them so I brought them altogether with a little help from Katie McGarry herself. This interview spotlights her latest novel Crash Into You, which you can find my review here... So without further ado, I hope you enjoy this post... (also notice the a new version of the UK Cover as well)


Crash Into You (Pushing the Limits #3)
by Katie McGarry
Publisher - MiraInk
Release Date - November 23 2013


The girl with straight A's, designer clothes, and the perfect life - that's who people expect Rachel Young to be. So the private school junior keeps secrets from her wealthy parents and overbearing brothers...and she's just added two more to the list.

One involves racing strangers down dark country roads in her Mustang GT. The other? Seventeen-year-old Isaiah Walker - a guy she has no business even talking to. But when the foster kid with the tattoos and intense gray eyes comes to her rescue, she can't get him out of her mind.

Isaiah has secrets too. About where he lives, and how he really feels about Rachel. The last thing he needs is to get tangled up with a rich girl who wants to slum it on the south side for kicks - no matter how angelic she might look. But when their shared love of street racing puts both their lives in jeopardy, they have six weeks to come up with a way out. Six weeks to discover just how far they'll go to save each other.
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Me: How are all your girlfriends doing?

Noah: Echo’s doing great. Right now, she’s focusing on her art. Every other weekend we babysit her baby brother, Alexander. Between work and school for both of us, time is tight, but we enjoy what time we do have together.

Ryan: Beth’s really focused on school. She had a rough couple of years grade-wise so she’s hoping to make up for it this semester and on her ACTs. Beth hopes to make it into nursing school, specifically to be a trauma nurse. I think she’ll be great at it. Even with all that, she still makes time to watch my games. There’s nothing like seeing Beth smile at me from the stands.

Isaiah: Rachel has another year before she graduates from high school. Right now, she’s attempting to convince her parents to let her attend my old high school so she can take part in the magnet program that focuses on rebuilding cars. Other than that, her parents are just now letting us go out on dates again. It’s nice to be able to hold her hand without one of her brothers trying to start a fight.

Me: Describe your dream date with your girl.

Noah: For me and Echo, it’s simple. I love watching her paint and she has this thing now where she likes to paint landscapes, so we go camping. She and I miles and miles from anyone else—that’s heaven.

Ryan: I took Beth to a Red’s game a few weeks back. When I told her I bought the tickets, she rolled her eyes and grumbled, but it was worth all her crap when I saw her eyes widen when we walked out into the stadium. Her uncle raised her on baseball so it means something to her too. Later, we drove back to my home and hung out by the backfield pond. That’s a favorite place for both of us. 

Isaiah: I can’t wait to get Rachel behind the wheel of a car again. Her eyes light up and her cheeks flare red with life. She’s amazing and breathtaking behind a wheel. I’ve got a bead on an old Mustang Cobra. I’d like to fix it up for her and let her take it for a drive. She’d love that.

Me: Describe your relationship in one word?

Noah: Peaceful

Ryan: Amazing

Isaiah: Home


Me: Finally, are there any more adventures for any of you, or would that be telling?

Noah: Echo and I probably have a few more up our sleeves. Her art career is just on the tipping point of taking off and I plan on being right beside her every step of the way.

Ryan: Have you met Beth? Every day with her is an adventure. She’s hard-headed and determined and I love every second of it.

Isaiah: Rachel and I have had too many adventures over the past couple of months. Both of us are hoping for calm, at least until she graduates.

A massive thank you to Noah, Ryan and Isaiah for taking the time to join us... and of course Katie McGarry. 

Giveaway

Also as part of the post, MiraInk are giving away 3 sets of all 3 Books  AND its International!


Monday, January 20, 2014

REVIEW - SOULMATES by Holly Bourne




Soulmates
by Holly Bourne
Publisher - Usborne 
Release Date - September 1st 2013
Buy - Amazon | Book Despoistory

Every so often, two people are born who are the perfect matches for each other. Soulmates. But while the odds of this happening are about as likely as being struck by lightning, when these people do meet and fall in love…thunderstorms, lightning strikes and lashings of rain are only the beginning of their problems.

Enter Poppy, the 17-year-old cynic with a serious addiction to banana milk, and Noah, the heart-throb guitarist; residents of mediocre Middletown, sometime students, and…soulmates.

After a chance meeting at a local band night, Poppy and Noah find themselves swept up in a whirlwind romance unlike anything they’ve ever experienced before. But with a secret international agency preparing to separate them, a trail of destruction rumbling in their wake, (and a looming psychology coursework deadline), they are left with an impossible choice between the end of the world, or a life without love…
 Let me ask you this, what does Soulmate mean to you?
noun
plural noun: soulmates
1. a person ideally suited to another as a close friend or romantic partner. (source: Google)
That definition is only the beginning for Poppy and Noah...
 Soulmates is a YA Contemporary like no other... a story that has a dark side... a love that is Earth Shattering (literally)... 

Your probably thinking another contemporary review, I am sorry I have no order to my reviews but to be honest I would never class this as some ordinary YA contemporary, this is far more scientific, complex and is defined by the power of the Gods to destroy any hope of true love.  Yes... it is emotional which left me feeling hollow inside but its the emotion that you have to go through to fully understand the concept that love will never be happy ever afters (as much I would love them to be). 

I'm a hopeless romantic and I will always be; love songs, cringey rom-coms, falling for the dark, handsome guy, and happy ever afters. So when I meet Poppy she is a cynic, completely hates the ideal of love and the whole falling in love process, that may be seen as a bad aspect of her character but that only intrigues me even more. If a character starts out like that then you know that it can only get better for her, can't it!? But she didn't know what the higher powers had instore for her, especially not in the form of a beautiful guitarist. Not in her case, I'll bet. But she can't deny her feelings or let her head rule her heart in this particular situation. Noah is your cliche dark, handsome teen hearthrob who has a very entranced feel to his musical talents. Being part of a band makes him to be surrounded by beautiful girls but only one has ever captured his eyes literally. 

Holly Bourne captured their relationship as a definition of real love. Poppy and Noah never imagined a force beyond their capabilities could be their love entranced by eye contact or as simply one touch. What I loved was the scientific aspect and concept of the novel. Every page turned has your heart pounding, what will happen next, how can Poppy and Noah know, why hasn't Anita, Dr Beaumont just idly watched by when the world is in danger through treacherous storm and unexplained weather???? All these questions, I guess that's a consequence of being a reader when you can't do anything, it ends the reader's world. Holly's written style was inspiring the use of another concept seeing it from both perspectives really captured the extent of the danger and scientific cross-over of power and science. But that lies where the frustration... you want the happy ending, a solution therefore love has its consequences in life, and there's was immediately captivated by a world weakened by their very own peril. 

A refreshing, unique YA contemporary, Holly Bourne's debut novel is the discovery of true love vs real love. I mean if that's true love then what can you do...for me regardless of the the consequences you only get to experience it once and I think that is what Holly is trying to say as well as how real love is and not some happy ever after...which we all wish. 

Rating - 4.5

I received this book from Usborne in exchange for a honest review.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

REVIEW - ROOMIES by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando

Roomies
by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando
Publisher - Hodder and Stoughton
Release Date - January 2nd 2014
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository


It's time to meet your new roomie.

When East Coast native Elizabeth receives her freshman-year roommate assignment, she shoots off an e-mail to coordinate the basics: television, microwave, mini-fridge. That first note to San Franciscan Lauren sparks a series of e-mails that alters the landscape of each girl's summer -- and raises questions about how two girls who are so different will ever share a dorm room.

As the countdown to college begins, life at home becomes increasingly complex. With family relationships and childhood friendships strained by change, it suddenly seems that the only people Elizabeth and Lauren can rely on are the complicated new boys in their lives . . . and each other. Even though they've never met.
As YA contemporaries go, this is what I call a brilliant start to the new year. Refreshing, cute and enjoyable use of dual authors and perspective, two girls from opposite ends of America will embark on the next stage in a young adults life...University.

We first start with Elizabeth or EB, an only child, an absent father who for the record is gay and has his gallery in San Francisco. She also has issues with her mum with her messing with a married guy, leaving EB alone...She's the one that initiated the the emails to her new roomie known as Lauren. She begins with such enthusiasm and pride for this new friendship that she took it for granted, took it as her only escapism and pending relief to her new life. From the beginning I knew I would connect with her easily, her family situation is similar to me (not the father part!!!) so I was a little apprehensive on how I would react to the dual perspective and meeting Lauren. Her hard work, creative and energetic nature of her really shines through Sara and Tara's writing, which I loved even more.

There's just not enough quiet time in a chaotic household like Lauren's. It's very rare to have anything to herself; a big family, two jobs and some or no social time whatsoever. At first my impression of Lo was that she was going to be a posh and for what of a better phrase, stuck up at times. I was rather shocked to find that she is none of that, she is actually similar to EB in more ways than one. They are destined to be best friends in my book... There were moments between Lo and her siblings, like Gertie and PJ that makes your heart melt. Then her relationship with her parents, it almost seems so precious on both sides that you can't help but feel a part of that.

Their relationship on the other hand is very is a catch twenty two...from a reader's perspective its predictable with the way the style of the novel was written. However personally it was also unpredictable, why because I've never had the opportunity to of going Uni or how it would work. So it was an exciting to see how the plot develops with every page turned. Another element which I found wonderful was the use of dual perspective and even it being written by two authors as well. There must be great organisation and creativity to produce a book based on two minds. I wasn't sure at first as its very rare for me to connect with the two protagonists individually... but with the email at the end of each chapter, stylistically it adds to the connection of the characters and their friendship.

Aside from their friendship there definitely wasn't any lack of romance in this book, which added to my excitement of the plot. EB found herself drawn to Mark, a family as which she was assigned to landscape their front garden. They were introduced when he was looking for 'Froggy', that makes me giggle even now. It was such a wonderful and beautiful romance to read and added effect when she was sharing this with her 'roomie', which by this point they were talking  like friends. For Lo there was Keyon, a colleague, a friend or maybe in Lo's opinion a Friend with Benefits at one point. I had my reserves about him, you don't really get to know him very much. But once they started going out, he totally won me over. They both (Mark and Keyon) were very cute and enjoyable love interest to read.

Roomies, became a surprise for the start of 2014, the only disappointment was a lack of an ending, I still feel they are continuing there life without me, the reader, reading it for myself. Personally I could have used a better resolve of a heartfelt and enjoyable relations such as EB and Lo. In the end its two people from completely different lives, will be roomies. When really they aren't so different at all.

Rating - 4.5

I received this book from Hodder and Stoughton in exchange for a honest review.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

REVIEW - CRASH INTO YOU by Katie McGarry

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Crash Into You (Pushing the Limits #3)
by Katie McGarry
Publisher - MiraInk
Release Date - November 23 2013

The girl with straight A's, designer clothes, and the perfect life - that's who people expect Rachel Young to be. So the private school junior keeps secrets from her wealthy parents and overbearing brothers...and she's just added two more to the list.

One involves racing strangers down dark country roads in her Mustang GT. The other? Seventeen-year-old Isaiah Walker - a guy she has no business even talking to. But when the foster kid with the tattoos and intense gray eyes comes to her rescue, she can't get him out of her mind.

Isaiah has secrets too. About where he lives, and how he really feels about Rachel. The last thing he needs is to get tangled up with a rich girl who wants to slum it on the south side for kicks - no matter how angelic she might look. But when their shared love of street racing puts both their lives in jeopardy, they have six weeks to come up with a way out. Six weeks to discover just how far they'll go to save each other.
A very highly anticipated book from Katie McGarry and one that we really want to know the true nature of Isaiah. For me it didn't live up to the expectation of Ryan for me but despite Isiah's back story and past it was still a rather enjoyable book.

Isaiah, a wannabe mechanic wants to escape and be free of the system that he has been a part of since he was 6. If it wasn't for his lenient foster parents now to have an apartment with his friend and brother Noah, then he would still be in the thick of it... He isn't criminal but with a well built figure, tattoos and piercings, people see the bad-ass in him. Isaiah wants that...yet only have a poker face to the other who give it back to him. That what I love about Katie's writing, how she ideals in the form of judging a person before they get to know them. I have always admired that and believed in it quite passionately. But after running low on payments, he has to drag race. An illegal form of racing that receives a hell of a lot of money and one where Isaiah is accustomed to. But what he didn't expect was a blonde barbie with a need for speed and a wager that's building. 

Rachel wasn't what I expect her to be, amongst her money and status and going to the most prestigious school in the county she is actually a very fragile and innocent girl. Rachel doesn't live by any standards, she has no friends, she hates being stared at or being the center attention leads to her panic attacks, her secret panic attacks. Since her old sister died before she was born of cancer, she has always been a reminder, a replacement of the family member that was adored. Rachel will never be accepted for who she is... Until she meets bad-boy, Isaiah. 

Both of them escape with each other. They can finally breath from the expectations that society and their families has built upon. But danger looms over them when they have to collect a debt that started their relationship. Katie's plotline was a little bitty at times as it didn't quite flow for me or wasn't as fast paced as her other novels. I think for me was that Isaiah's character has been present in all of her books and seeing so many versions of him and how his nature came out on Beth in DYT, it kind of through me for a bit. But realizing this it also built on his character, to see his troubled life experienced throughout the book until now, when all the pieces fit together. 

Aside from the primary characters, I thought the secondary added something beautiful to it. Rachel's brothers added a sense of loving yet twisted family, especially West. But my favourite character has to be Abby. I loved how Rachel and her just connected in an instant as if they both needed each other in more ways than. She was kickass, fresh and unique girl who's had her fair share of a difficult past. It was also their link to Isaiah that let them be who they really are with each other.

This book isn't the end but for me its the end of the first chapter of the Pushing the Limits series. Past, present and future was entwined together to form this novel. Katie McGarry has created a beautiful adrenaline fueled contemporary that would leave your toes curled, feeling warm and fuzzy inside.

Rating - 4

I received this book from MiraInk in exchange for a honest review.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Happy Bookish New Year 2014

Happy New Year Everyone! Its been a long time since I have written a post and I think this is a good a time as any... a new year a new start. 2013 has been weird year for me with finishing and graduating college, starting a full time job and recently starting a NVQ, so I'm studying again. There has been very little time for reading, designing and blogging but that will change this year. I think I'm going to start by looking at the best 10 books of 2013...(I'm sure I could add a lot more to this list)

Obsidian_cover1600

2013 has been a great year for exploring new genres, sequels and catching up on older series. For me Dare You To was one of my favourite books of Katie McGarry's Pushing the Limits series. I felt I was inspired by the characters as well as the story itself. For it was the character building that I really enjoyed. Crown of Midnight was a sensational sequel, Throne of Glass I enjoyed but not as much as this one and well Chaol, enough said really, don't you think? I mean Chapter 12 well..if you haven't read it then you need too. I have also catched up on some older series like Shadows which was just incredible, I still have yet to read Haze but I've heard brilliant things but maybe issues on the cliffhangers. I think the ones I have been nagged most about this year is Obsidian, the Lux series which I'm halfway through and I can't believe I didn't start this sooner as well as Shadow and Bone, it took a whole new world to Fantasy and Magic for me and I can't wait to read Siege and Storm.


2013 has also shown its surprises for me like reading more Dystopian novels. As you may know I have somewhat struggled with them in the past, never connecting with them right. But this year I felt that Cristin Terrill's, All Our Yesterdays and Sarah Crossan's, Breathe were the tip of the iceberg for me this year. Also included some of my ultimate brilliant concluding novels of the series, Daylighters was just pure genius, it ended the way that a series should do, left you warm, fuzzy and content. But what about Clockwork Princess that was both brilliant and heart-breaking at the same time, you don't get that very often. Most recently I've enjoyed a very unique and refreshing contemporary, Soulmates, which was wonderful. 

I'm sure I can add plenty more like I said, but this or last year has been a bit manic for me to keep a relatively constant flow of posts. But this year should be different and better. I intend to read more books, complete the Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge and blog MORE! I hope everyone is having a good holiday and HAPPY 2014!