Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Stacking The Shelves (2)

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we showcase the books we're adding to our shelves (real or virtual!) each week. Here's my second week, a bit behind schedule because I've been ill all weekend: 
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Is This Tomorrow by Caroline Leavitt*
Lie Still by Julia Heaberlin*
The Kissing Booth by Beth Reekles*
Twigs by Alison Ashley Formento*
Deeper We Fall (Fall and Rise #1) by Chelsea M. Cameron*
Skinny Bitch In Love by Kim Barnouin*

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Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park*
Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder*
My Big Fat Low-Fat Wedding by Katya Starkey*

Thank you to NetGalley, the publishers and the authors who provided the books stated for review!
*Indicates e-books or e-ARCS

Monday, 20 May 2013

Review - Five Summers by Una LaMarche

Published: 16th May by Razorbill
Source: E-Galley from NetGalley & publisher

Four best friends, five summers of camp memories. 

The summer we were nine: Emma was branded “Skylar’s friend Emma” by the infamous Adam Loring...
The summer we were ten: Maddie realized she was too far into her lies to think about telling the truth...
The summer we were eleven: Johanna totally freaked out during her first game of Spin the Bottle...
The summer we were twelve: Skylar’s love letters from her boyfriend back home were exciting to all of us—except Skylar...
Our last summer together: Emma and Adam almost kissed. Jo found out Maddie’s secret. Skylar did something unthinkable... and whether we knew it then or not, five summers of friendship began to fall apart. 

Three years after the fateful last night of camp, the four of us are coming back to camp for reunion weekend—and for a second chance. Bittersweet, funny, and achingly honest, Five Summers is a story of friendship, love, and growing up that is perfect for fans of Anne Brashares and Judy Blume's Summer Sisters.

Five Summers was a light, easy read that brought back warm summer days on these horrible rainy days we're having at the moment in England. 

Emma, Skylar, Jo and Maddie became best friends at summer camp and decided to make a pact to stay that way forever. However, when camp ended, they started to drift and found that they never really kept in touch anymore. Each chapter is a different girl and a different summer, whether it's in the past or the present - 3 years on at camp reunion. I was worried this would become confusing but LaMarche directly states which girl and which summer the chapter follows, and it was actually a really great touch as I found out more and more about each girl to explain their behaviour in the present day. 

The girls' characters followed an almost set mould - there was inexperienced with boys, brainy Ivy League bound Emma; beautiful, care-free, artistic Skylar; secretive Maddie suffering from family problems back home and tomboy Jo - the camp owners daughter who always follows the rules yet needs to learn how to let go and have some fun. 
Having said that though, I did enjoy reading about the girls, they seemed very genuine and acted as 'real' girls would for the most part. I never really became bored by them or thought the stereotypes went too far. I also have zero experience of summer camps here in England so for me it was a fun world to explore and it was lovely to see their friendship grow over the 5 summers they spent there. 

For me, it was a bit predictable - there was no big secret reveal or anything really shocking. It just seemed to be an endearing story of a group of friends growing up together and finding ways to keep that friendship growing. It didn't totally grab me though, for me it was just OK. However, if you're looking for a light-hearted, coming of age read then it might very well be perfect for you. 

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Waiting On Wednesday (1)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine which highlights upcoming releases we can't wait to read!

This week's selection is:

When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney

Publication date: 4th June 2013

Danny's mother lost her five-year battle with cancer three weeks before his graduation-the one day that she was hanging on to see.

Now Danny is left alone, with only his memories, his dog, and his heart-breaking ex-girlfriend for company. He doesn't know how to figure out what to do with her estate, what to say for his Valedictorian speech, let alone how to live or be happy anymore.

When he gets a letter from his mom's property manager in Tokyo, where she had been going for treatment, it shows a side of his mother he never knew. So, with no other sense of direction, Danny travels to Tokyo to connect with his mother's memory and make sense of her final months, which seemed filled with more joy than Danny ever knew. There, among the cherry blossoms, temples, and crowds, and with the help of an almost-but-definitely-not Harajuku girl, he begins to see how it may not have been ancient magic or mystical treatment that kept his mother going. Perhaps, the secret of how to live lies in how she died. [Goodreads]

Why I'm Waiting? 

This sounds incredible! I don't usually make it my mission to read books about cancer - there's been the odd few but they're usually too heartbreaking for me, but I'm definitely intrigued by this one. It's also been a while since I read a book from the point of view of the male protagonist so I'm really excited about this release. 

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Top Ten Tuesdays: Dealing with Tough Subjects

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is:


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1. Easy by Tammara Webber - This deals with quite a lot of different issues that are revealed throughout the book so I don't want to give away any spoilers. It does, however, start off with an assault scene involving the main character and a frat boy and the book continues to explore how she deals with her terrifying ordeal. 

2. Hopeless by Colleen Hoover - A heartbreaking tale of love, secrets, lies and a twist that will turn your stomach. 

3. The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult - This explores the issues surrounding the alleged rape of 14 year old Trixie, and how reactions to the assault are not always as they seem or should be. 

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4. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë - This classic includes a wild love affair, family bullying, revenge, violence and abuse - all set on the background of the of the moorland - truly haunting. 

5. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion - Featuring Don, an associate professor of genetics suffering from Asperger's - this story appears light-hearted on the surface due to the humour, but underneath you find a man trying to deal with the chaos of finding someone to love whilst battling with everyday social dynamics. 

6. True by Erin McCarthy - Story following the relationship between shy Rory and bad boy Tyler. But Tyler is hiding secrets from all his friends and learning how to grow up too fast. 

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7. The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides - This book explores the story behind the Lisbon sisters and their suicides, told through the memories of the boys who lived on their street and worshipped everything about them. Disturbing yet beautiful, the story looks at abuse, hopelessness and the effect of suicide on those left behind. 

8. The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden by Jessica Sorensen - Explores the past of Callie and Kayden and all the secrets they've kept hidden from their childhoods. They come together in a passionate relationship as they try to heal and save each other. Be warned - it ends on a cliffhanger!

9. Whatever You Love by Louise Doughty - This book follows the story of Laura's revenge after her daughter Betty is killed in a hit-and-run. The courts don't provide the justice she needs to she sets off to seek it herself. 

10. Slammed by Colleen Hoover - Another CH, but I love her so much! This is one of my all time favourite books, so I'm ending on a high (albeit a slightly depressing high). It covers many, many issues that come between families and love but I don't want to give them away too much and spoil the book. It mainly looks at loss, death and forbidden love. 

Monday, 13 May 2013

Stacking The Shelves (1)

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we showcase the books we're adding to our shelves (real or virtual!) each week. Here's my first week:
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Crime of Privilege - Walter Walker*
A French Affair - Katie Fforde*
This Girl - Colleen Hoover*
Wicked Ambition - Victoria Fox*

Books 1-11 in The Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine

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Debutantes - Cora Harrison (How beautiful is this cover!!)
Fractured (Slated #2) - Teri Terry

Thank you to NetGalley, the publishers and the authors who provided the books stated for review!
*Indicates e-books or e-ARCS

Friday, 10 May 2013

Review - School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins

School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins
Published: 14th May 2013 by Disney Hyperion
Source: E-Galley from NetGalley & publisher

Fifteen-year-old Izzy Brannick was trained to fight monsters. For centuries, her family has hunted magical creatures.

But when Izzy's older sister vanishes without a trace while on a job, Izzy's mom decides they need to take a break. Izzy and her mom move to a new town, but they soon discover it's not as normal as it appears. A series of hauntings has been plaguing the local high school, and Izzy is determined to prove her worth and investigate.

But assuming the guise of an average teenager is easier said than done. For a tough girl who's always been on her own, it's strange to suddenly make friends and maybe even have a crush. Can Izzy trust her new friends to help find the secret behind the hauntings before more people get hurt? [Goodreads]

Confession: I haven't read the Hex Hall series yet, so Izzy is brand new to me...and I love her!

She and her mum are ass-kicking monster hunters, their whole ancestry is - it's in her blood, it's who she is, it's all she knows. They move to Ideal, Mississippi to take on a new ghost-hunting case so Izzy can basically prove her worth and her skills. Whilst there, she enrolls in high school for the first time and meets Dex, Romy and Anderson, otherwise know as Paranormal Management Society (PMS! :) hehe) and she begins her quest to stop the hauntings. 

I really, really enjoyed this. It was fun, witty and the whole story and Hawkins' writing just seemed to invite you in. I loved Izzy as a character, she was so easy to read and follow along - just the right balance of attitude and warmth. I also always have a thing for characters with red hair (I wonder why...!) and Izzy really didn't disappoint. She was perfectly complimented by Romy, Anderson and Dex, and they seemed like a genuinely nice group of friends. Dex was the perfect leading man for the story - unconventional yet full of heart and bravery. He came across so sweet and brought out this side in Izzy that she didn't really ever show to anyone else - even when they were just hanging out, the banter was brilliant! 

I also loved the scenes with Torin - so, so funny! His was a really unusual premise (being trapped in a mirror and all) and one that added a extra depth to the story. I hope we find out a lot more about him in the next book! 

Speaking of the next book...I wish I didn't have to wait! I'm itching to know what's going to happen next, especially after the ending. Overall, School Spirits was very entertaining with exactly the right balance of mystery, romance, family and friendship. All the characters provided their own special part to the story and had me hooked right from the beginning. 


Thursday, 9 May 2013

Review - Glass Houses (The Morganville Vampires #1) by Rachel Caine

Glass Houses by Rachel Caine
Published: 26th May 2008 by Allison & Busby
Source: Borrowed

It’s a small college town filled with quirky characters. But when the sun goes down, the bad comes out. Because in Morganville, there is an evil that lurks in the darkest shadows—one that will spill out into the bright light of day.

Claire Danvers has had enough of her nightmarish dorm situation. The popular girls never let her forget just where she ranks on the school’s social scene: somewhere less than zero. And Claire really doesn’t have the right connections—to the undead who run the town.

When Claire heads off campus, the imposing old house where she finds a room may not be much better. Hew new roommates don’t show many signs of life. But they’ll have Claire’s back when the town’s deepest secrets come crawling out, hungry for fresh blood... [Goodreads]

OK, I went into this expecting to be bored (vampires just aren't my thing unless it's Bill Compton whispering 'Sooooookie' - and definitely the TV version only!) but I actually adored it. I've read a lot of the reviews and I see where a lot of people are coming from, but I just felt a lot of love for this. I was completely drawn into the world of Morganville from the very start and read the book in more or less one sitting. In fact, I even passed up watching Pitch Perfect for my second ever time to read this (well, I may have sneaked into the lounge a couple of times…)

For me, it was the drama I think. There was always something happening to put me right on the edge of my seat turning the pages like a maniac. I haven't read a book like that in so long, even when I love a book I can quite often leave it for a few hours and come back later. This just wasn't an option for me with this book! I'm actually annoyed with myself that I didn't find it sooner and it actually took one of my students begging her mum to let me borrow it and then thrusting it into my hands and not letting me say no. Her perseverance is my massive gain. 

Character wise, I loved Claire and her friends. The fact that she was only 16 was portrayed well as although she showed a lot of strength, she was also still very naive and often thoughtless to her own danger in the way 16 year olds often are (well, I was anyway!). I don't want to reveal too much about Michael, Shane and Eve just because their development through the book was a fantastic journey for me and I set off on it not knowing anything about them either. 

Caine's writing was also a very pleasant surprise. I've read too many YA novels where the writing comes off preachy and dumbed-down, but her writing was full of such humour, drama and warmth that I didn’t find it patronising at all. 

Overall, a completely entertaining, fast-paced novel that I literally cannot stop grinning about or thinking about. It doesn't really get much better than that!

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Here it goes...

I've wanted to start a blog for a while, but I've always felt so intimidated by the prospect. However, I've decided this is the year to take the plunge because I really am itching to do it now!

I already share my reviews on Goodreads and this blog provides a bigger outlet for me and my book loving antics! I also love connecting with other people with a love of books, so please feel free to comment and say hello!

Thanks for stopping by :)

NB: Please excuse some of the links that aren't working, they will be fixed ASAP.

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