Monday, 3 August 2015

Blog Takeover: Science Geek Appreciation Week Day 1!



Welcome to Day 1 of Science Geek Appreciation Week with author Kelly Oram--a fun-filled week of teasers, interviews, games, giveaways, and lots and lost of science! We're going to kick off the week by introducing you to the stars of the Spanish Fork High Science Squad--Club President Avery Shaw and her newest recruit, Grayson Kennedy--in their debut novel The Avery Shaw Experiment.

Title: The Avery Shaw Experiment
Author: Kelly Oram
Publisher: Blufields
Pages: 221
Available: AmazoniBooksB&NKobo

Summary: 
When Avery Shaw’s heart is shattered by her life-long best friend, she chooses to deal with it the only way she knows how—scientifically.

The state science fair is coming up and Avery decides to use her broken heart as the topic of her experiment. She’s going to find the cure. By forcing herself to experience the seven stages of grief through a series of social tests, she believes she will be able to get over Aiden Kennedy and make herself ready to love again. But she can’t do this experiment alone, and her partner (ex partner!) is the one who broke her heart.

Avery finds the solution to her troubles in the form of Aiden’s older brother Grayson. The gorgeous womanizer is about to be kicked off the school basketball team for failing physics. He’s in need of a good tutor and some serious extra credit. But when Avery recruits the lovable Grayson to be her “objective outside observer,” she gets a whole lot more than she bargained for, because Grayson has a theory of his own: Avery doesn’t need to grieve. She needs to live. And if there’s one thing Grayson Kennedy is good at, it’s living life to the fullest.

Teasers:
Avery


I was so out of it that I’d slipped into the bathroom while Grayson was in the shower, and I didn’t even notice until he poked his head out from behind the curtain with a surprised look on his face. “Aves, babe, I’m a little busy here.” He cocked an eyebrow and gave me a crooked smile. “Unless you’re planning to join me...?”


Just then there was a loud knock on the door, and my mother’s worried voice called out to me. I looked up at Grayson and in a moment of sheer panic didn’t think twice before jumping behind the curtain with him.


“Whoa! Avery! I was only teasing!”


I could hear Grayson, but I couldn’t really respond. I leaned my back against the cold tile wall and closed my eyes, letting the hot water rain down on me. There was another knock, louder this time, and then the door opened. “Avery? That you in here, sweetie?”


I frantically shook my head, praying that Grayson would do the right thing.


“Sorry, Kaitlin. It’s just me.”


“Oh. Sorry, Grayson. I thought maybe you were Avery.”


“Yeah, I get that a lot,” he teased.

My mom laughed and then sighed heavily. “If you see her after you’re done, tell her I’m looking for her.”


“Will do.”


The door clicked shut and things got quiet. I stood there for so long that my head started to hurt and I got really dizzy. My knees buckled. Grayson quickly caught me under the arms. “Avery, breathe,” he commanded.


I took a breath. As oxygen flooded my lungs, I realized it was probably the first breath I’d taken in minutes. Literally.


“Aves,” a low steady voice said. I felt hands on either side of my face. I opened my eyes, and Grayson’s beautiful piercing blue ones were staring down at me from just inches away, taking up my entire field of vision. “You good now?” he asked.


I may have been breathing, but I would never be “good” again. I flung my arms around him and began to release gut-wrenching sobs into his chest.

Grayson

I always looked at her as sort of a pesky little sister, but that all changed the day my brother dumped her. Why, you ask? Let me put it this way: When a girl lets you be the one to hold her as her entire world falls apart, even though you’re ass naked, it changes the way you see her. The soaking-wet, see-through t-shirt didn’t hurt, either.
...

“You look really nice,” I blurted, unable to hide my surprise.


The compliment startled her. She blushed and looked at her feet as she mumbled, “I need to blow my hair dry.”


I grinned. “Don’t want to have to explain to anyone how it got wet, eh?”


She turned even brighter red but then glared at me. “I just don’t want my hair to freeze.”


I laughed as I threw my hands up in surrender and then laughed even harder when she stalked past me into the bathroom. I leaned against the door and watched, curiously, as she dried her hair. There was something oddly fascinating about watching Little Avery Shaw primp. She’d never seemed like such a real girl to me before. She wasn’t so little anymore, either. She caught me staring at her in the mirror, so I quickly said, “I thought dorks were supposed to have bad hair and horrible, frumpy fashion senses.”


“Just because I enjoy learning doesn’t mean I’m a dork,” she said, insulted.


“Two words for you Aves: science club.”

This week only, The Avery Shaw Experiment is on sale for just $0.99! Make sure to snag a copy while it's cheap! 

Amazon * iBooks * B&N * Kobo

For more bonus material, teasers, games, and chances to win things like signed books and swag stop by the Facebook event, happening now through Friday.


Kelly wrote her first novel at age fifteen--a fan fiction about her favorite music group, The Backstreet Boys, for which her family and friends still tease her. She's obsessed with reading, talks way too much, and likes to eat frosting by the spoonful. She lives outside of Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, four children, and her cat, Mr. Darcy.

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Saturday, 1 August 2015

REVIEW: The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts by K.C. Tansley

Bookish Details:
Series: The Unbelievables #1
Pages: 256 Paperback
Publisher: Beckett Publishing Group
Release Date: August 1st 2015
Buy it From: Amazon - Amazon UK

Synopsis:

Kat Preston doesn’t believe in ghosts. Not because she’s never seen one, but because she saw one too many. Refusing to believe is the only way to protect herself from the ghost that tried to steal her life. Kat’s disbelief keeps her safe until her junior year at McTernan Academy, when a research project for an eccentric teacher takes her to a tiny, private island off the coast of Connecticut.

The site of a grisly mystery, the Isle of Acacia is no place for a girl who ignores ghosts, but the ghosts leave Kat little choice. Accompanied by her research partner, Evan Kingsley, she investigates the disappearance of Cassie Mallory and Sebastian Radcliffe on their wedding night in 1886. Evan’s scientific approach to everything leaves Kat on her own to confront a host of unbelievables: ancestral curses, powerful spells, and her strange connection to the ghosts that haunt Castle Creighton.

But that’s all before Kat’s yanked through a magic portal and Evan follows her. When the two of them awaken 129 years in the past with their souls trapped inside the bodies of two wedding guests, everything changes. Together, Kat and Evan race to stop the wedding-night murders and find a way back to their own time—and their own bodies—before their souls slip away forever.

My Review:
Ghosts, a murder mystery, and even time travel, this exciting first installment in The Unbelievables series has it all.

This book follows Kat as she is sent to the magnificent Castle Creighton to try and solve a murder that happened 129 years ago. Along with the added pressure of trying to break a curse, Kat and her fellow researchers have just a matter of weeks to figure out what is causing the death of first-born Radcliffe sons on either their honeymoon, or their 23rd birthday, whichever comes beforehand.

This story just ticked all of the right boxes for me. I have always adored stories that feature ghosts, so I was immediately intrigued by the synopsis. Then to find out it included historical murder mysteries and some time travel, too, made me even more excited. So it's safe to say I had high hopes for this book, and I was not left disappointed.

Kat has been able to see ghosts for as long as she could remember, but after a spooky ordeal as child when a ghost tried to possess her, a spirit named Toria stepped in to help. She warned Kat to block the spirits out by ceasing to believe in them. That was when Kat started to label ghosts as the Unbelievables.

After years of successfully avoiding belief in the Unbelievables, studying a historical murder rakes up her own past that she can no longer run from. At Castle Creighton, Kat can't continue to pretend that ghosts don't exist.

Whilst Kat and a fellow researcher, Evan, are investigating the murder, they stumble through a portal to the past, where they must witness the days leading up to the wedding night on which the murder occurred.

Reading this book, I felt like someone had taken all of the story elements I love and mixed them together to create the perfect combination. Ghosts, mysteries, and time travel. What more could you possibly ask for?

Along with the awesome plot, we're also treated to a fantastic set of characters. Kat is wonderful, and I love how she develops over the course of the story. I think there's so much more of her that we still haven't seen, so I'm excited to see her progression over the course of this series.

I also loved Kat's sweet and genuine friendship with Morgan, and also her developing relationship with Evan. Seeing them constantly get on each others nerves at first, only to watch them be thrown into the past together was a great element to the plot. The pair being forced to live through this nightmare together brings them closer, and I'm definitely excited to see how they move on from that in the second book.

The mystery was paced out beautifully and kept me guessing throughout the story. Just when you think you're figuring it out, you discover there's more to it than you originally thought. It kept me needing to read on, so I had plenty of those 'just one more chapter' moments. Also, the fact that the characters are faced with a race-against-time situation makes for some real heart-stopping scenes.

The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts is such a promising start to what I predict will be a thrilling series. It was exciting and fast paced throughout, and I've been utterly sucked into the mysteries of Kat's world. I can't wait to see what lies ahead for her and the others. 

*Also: on my reading wishlist for 2015, I said I wanted to find a bad-ass female character who wore glasses - I guess I can tick that one off my wishlist now! 

**Another also: I'll be posting an awesome interview with K.C. Tansley next week, so be sure to stop by and check it out!

Royal Rating:




Friday, 31 July 2015

Camp NaNoWriMo 2015

Hi, everyone!

As you may have noticed, things have been extremely quiet on here for the past month. That's because I've been taking part in Camp NaNoWriMo throughout July! I kept to the traditional NaNo goal of 50,000 words, and I've just completed it - yay!


I've been filming weekly videos diaries for my YouTube channel, discussing all things writing-related, and updates on how my story was coming along. You can view the video playlist here.

So now that my wild month of writing is over with, I can get back to my usual reading schedule. I've got a few exciting posts planned for this week, including an interview and two stops on a blog tour, so be sure to check them out!



Thursday, 16 July 2015

REVIEW: Revived by Sarah Noffke

Bookish Details:
Series: The Lucidites #3
Pages: 327 Kindle
Publisher: One-Twenty-Six Press
Release Date: November 20th 2014
Buy it From: Amazon - Amazon UK

Synopsis:

The pieces of Roya’s life don’t fit together anymore. Nothing makes sense. Joseph could be to blame for the fall of the Lucidites’ society. Zhuang is back and more powerful than ever. Chase, a gorgeous psychopath, is demanding her love and commitment. And the Institute is swarming with lies, betrayals, and conflicts. Roya knows she needs to focus and reconnect with Joseph if she is to survive, but how can she find clarity when everything around her is unraveling? 
 
The final chapter in The Lucidites Series will take up residence in reader’s bones. All secrets will be revealed. All villains will be confronted. And the greatest obstacles will be that of the heart. Revived delivers, giving audiences what they want most from the last in a fast-paced, thrilling series. 

My Review:

This review contains spoilers for the two previous books in this series. Please don't read on if you haven't read either of those books.

So here it is, the final installment in The Lucidites series, AND I HAVE SO MANY FEELINGS. Roya's journey has finally come to it's conclusion, and it was everything I wanted for her and more. 


This is one of those books that I struggle to review because I can't quite put into words how awesome it is. The entire series has gotten better and better as it went along, resulting in a fantastic final installment that was nail-biting from start to finish.

We continue Roya's story after the discovery that Zhuang has been brought back to full strength by an unsuspecting Joseph. The siblings are trying to come to terms with Trey being their father, and Roya is still struggling to deal with Chase's mind control over her, so the stress levels are high. Amongst everything else going on in her life, Roya also has to face the situation she's stuck in with George and Aiden.

Whilst news reporting for the Institute, Roya witnesses an event that will put the Lucidites in grave danger at some point in the future. They don't know when it'll come to pass, so they must sit and wait for the day to arrive.

Refusing to be forced to exit the institute when the danger arrives, Joseph and Roya come up with a plan to put an end to the terror, no matter the risks to their own lives. What follows is an epic battle between good and evil, and Roya learns more about her past and herself along the way.

The personal journey of each of the characters in this final book was wonderful. I just have to take a moment to talk about Joseph because he truly shone through this time around. He's been one of my favourites from the start and it's been great to see him develop over the course of the series. There have been many times when I've wanted to wrap him up in a blanket and protect him from the world. There was a little twist regarding his personal life in this book that I don't want to mention directly because I don't want spoilers here, but I absolutely loved it. His developing relationship was beautifully written and put a huge smile on my face by the end of the story.

As for Roya's love life, there was a perfect conclusion that I'd waited for all along. But I'll admit, even though I didn't really have much love for George in the first book, I've grown to adore him throughout this series. He's undeniably sweet and caring, and I felt sorry for him by the end of everything.

Roya was stronger than ever in Revived. I love everything about her character: her wit, her courage, her dream travels. I always adore strong female characters that can fight for themselves and those they love, and she's delivers all that and more. She's been so entertaining to read about over these past three books, and I'm going to miss her a lot!

What I also loved is that even though the story focuses on the relationship between her and Aiden, it didn't interfere with the main plot. A lot of the YA series' I have read recently put way too much focus on the romance, and the plot would depend heavily on the love interest. With this series, Roya's overall journey was something she fought through herself. Although she had Aiden's support, she didn't need saving by him. She was strong enough to fight her own battles! This is one of the reason's why their relationship worked so well for me. We were given just the right amount of it.

All of the lose ends were neatly tied up by the final chapter of Revived, leaving me more than happy with the ending. I'm not going to lie, there were parts that tore my heart apart, especially towards the end. The epilogue was as much of an emotional roller-coaster as the entire series – I was a mess by the end of it! 


It has been such a pleasure to be able to read this series and I'd like to thank Sarah herself for introducing it to me. I have enjoyed the company of these wonderful characters over the past couple of months, and I can't wait to see what awesome stories Sarah Noffke has in store in the future.

Royal Rating:


Wednesday, 1 July 2015

REVIEW: Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot

Bookish Details:
Series: Princess Diaries #11
Pages: 451 Kindle
Publisher: Macmillan (UK)
Release Date: July 2nd 2015
Source: NetGalley
Buy it From: Amazon UK - Waterstones


Synopsis:
In ROYAL WEDDING (William Morrow), Princess Diaries XI, Princess Mia’s planned nuptials to longtime love Michael Moscovitz are in jeopardy when the paparazzi uncover a startling secret: Mia has a long lost younger sister.

Now a scheming politico is using the royal scandal to force Mia’s father from the throne, leaving Genovia without a monarch . . . unless Mia can prove to everyone—especially herself—that she’s finally fit to rule.

ROYAL WEDDING will be the first ever adult installment of the Princess Diaries, published by the adult division of HarperCollins, the company that brought you the YA books in the series.

My Review:
If you're here expecting an informing and insightful review, I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but you're not going to find one. It's quite impossible for me to come up with anything that isn't overly emotional fangirling.


The Princess Diaries is one of my favourite series of all time, so you can imagine how shocked/confused/ecstatic/emotional I was when I discovered that Meg would be writing a new adult book in the series. I fell in love with Mia's story as a teen, and now I get to rejoin her in adulthood. I couldn't ask for more.

Oh how I have missed the journals of Mia Thermopolis. Catching up with her again after all these years has been such a joy, it's like reuniting with an old friend. She's still as hilarious as ever, and her dramatic life as a royal is just as entertaining to read about as it always was. The story takes place several years after the ending of the tenth book. Mia is now 26, she's still hopelessly in love with Michael, and unbeknown to her at the start, they're about to be engaged. I still adore her and Michael's relationship. And as the book says, he really is the world's greatest lover.

I enjoyed getting to see how the characters were doing in adulthood. Lilly is still wild, Tina is as sweet as usual, and I was completely shocked to see that Boris had become the world's hottest superstar. It was also great to see that Grandmere was her usual self. Her character is fabulously intimidating and always super hilarious. Mia trying to have a touching moment with her near the end of the book was brilliant.

This story takes place around the same time as Meg's spinoff series, 'From The Notebooks of a Middle School Princess' in which twelve-year-old Olivia discovers that she is Mia's half sister and a Princess of Genovia. Because I've read this part of the story from Olivia's perspective, it was great to finally see Mia's reaction to it all. She handled it in true princess style, keeping calm about it on the outside, yet freaking out in her journal.

Now, of course, I don't want to spoil anything, so I won't. BUT THE ENDING. I didn't expect the final few chapters at all, even though there were hints to it throughout the story. I had to put the book down for a little while and have an 'OHMYGOD' moment. It was such a cute surprise.  

Obviously, the book is called Royal Wedding, so it's not exactly a spoiler to talk about the wedding between Michael and Mia. His proposal was so adorable, and so Michael. The scene where Mia is trying on the wedding dresses is awesome because it brings together her friends and finally gives us a chance to see them all interact again.

I had so many high hopes for this book, and it delivered all of them and more. I've loved getting to reconnect with this series throughout the course of this book, and it tied everything up perfectly. Thank you to Meg Cabot for once again creating a story that has left me smiling from ear-to-ear.  

Royal Rating:

Of course I had to give the future Queen of Genovia the highest amount of crowns. 





Wednesday, 17 June 2015

REVIEW: The Establishment by Mel Deverell

Bookish Details:
Pages: 249 Paperback
Release Date: April 7th 2015
Buy it From: Amazon UK


Synopsis:
Fourteen-year-old Cassie is different from most people, and The Establishment wants her eliminated. Her brother Dan has been sent on a desert expedition and is already missing, presumed dead. Her dad is acting strangely and her mum has told Cassie that they must escape to 'the outside'. Travelling separately to avoid detection, Cassie has to cope alone.

But she doesn't understand why this is all happening to her. She doesn't know where to go, how to get there, or who to trust.

As Cassie makes her way towards the outside, she is pursued by members of The Establishment. Fighting for survival she discovers that the world is not as it seems...

My Review:
This story follows siblings Cassie and Dan on the start of separate journeys. Cassie has been separated from her mother, and she believes that Dan is dead. Dan is part of an expedition team who are searching for a water source, and none of the team members are yet aware of the fact that The Establishment has informed their families that they're dead.

We follow Cassie's journey in first person, and Dan's in third. I'm usually not a huge fan of books that have split narratives/tenses, but it worked brilliantly for this story and keeps us readers toes. I much preferred having two different locations and plots to follow.

Cassie is searching for her mum, and on her journey she meets a wonderful variety of characters who help her on her way. Because we don't learn much about them, I'd love to hear from them again in further instalments of the series. Throughout the story, Cassie has recurring dreams about a girl who's face she doesn't yet know, and it adds an element of mystery until the end.

Dan is on an expedition with four other team members, including Chloe, who's boyfriend died on a previous expedition. Because of the loss she has suffered, she is protective of her team and acts almost like a mother to them in order to avoid a repeat experience. I really enjoyed the bond that started to form between her and Dan as they shared more scenes together. The team have only ever known the ways of The Establishment, so it's exciting when they finally start to discover the truth.

The relationship between Cassie and Dan is touching to see when they finally get reunited. I can't wait to see the pair of the them getting to work together in the future of the series, because I just know they'll make a fantastic team.

I found most of the secondary characters highly intriguing, especially Peter., one of Dan's fellow teammates. I have no idea which direction his personal story is taking him, but I am keen to find out. I'd also love to find out more about Mack and Sam, the two remaining members of The Expedition. 

What I really wanted to learn more about was The Establishment itself. I felt like this book only gave a basic knowledge of how they came to be. Although I knew that the characters had reason to fear them, I wanted to see more of that threat, so I'd definitely like to learn more about the leaders and their plans, and see more of the atrocities that take place behind closed doors. The pills that are mentioned throughout the story were fascinating and showed exactly what The Establishment is capable of, so I'd love to see more of that in this series.

Deverell sets up her world strongly from the start, giving you a clear picture of the Zones and the way things are run. This book is perfect for anyone who loves dystopia, and it's always great to see a good UKYA dystopian novel. With an exciting plot and well-developed characters, this is a thrilling world to lose yourself in.

Royal Rating:





Friday, 5 June 2015

REVIEW: P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

Bookish Details:
Series: To All The Boys I've Loved Before #2
Pages: 368  Paperback
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: June 5th 2015
Buy it From: Amazon - Amazon UK - Waterstones

Synopsis:
Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times bestseller To All the Boys I've Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so amazing.

My Review:
Lara Jean is back, and her love life is filled with drama once again. P. S. I Still Love You follows on a little while after the events of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. Her relationship with Peter Kavinsky is in jeopardy and she desperately wants to fix things.

The first book in this series was super fun and this second installment is just as entertaining. It perfectly captures the drama-filled lives of teenagers in love. It’s complicated, things don’t run smoothly, and heartbreak is bound to happen along the way. It paints a perfect picture of what relationships are like during high school.

Lara Jean is a perfectly relatable character. I like that she is still a little naïve and clumsy when it comes to dealing with her love life. It makes her even more endearing. Her and Peter’s relationship can be all over the place at times, but it’s touching to see them bond during their genuinely heartfelt moments.

During this story, their relationship is tested more than they expected. Along with Peter’s ex-girlfriend, Genevieve, there is the extra complication of John Ambrose McLaren. He is part of Lara Jean’s childhood, and she believes that the feelings she once had for him are in the past, but as always, things aren’t that simple. When he arrives back in her life, there is an added strain between her and Peter.

I enjoyed John being added to the story. It definitely brought an uncertain edge to things, and it was interesting to watch Lara Jean question her feelings for him. I felt like we got to learn a lot about him and his past throughout the story, which I really enjoyed. Knowing more about him made me root for him.

What I adored about this story was the scenes that took place in the nursing home. Stormy was a delightful character and I much enjoyed her chats with Lara Jean. She had a wickedly entertaining life to talk about, and I loved getting to know her just as much as Lara Jean did.

As with the first book, family is an important part of the story. I love Lara Jean’s relationship with her sisters and her father. Kitty is so wonderfully sassy. I adore all of her scenes and I love how she is sometimes the character that speaks the most sense, even though she’s the youngest.

I loved returning to Lara Jean’s world and seeing more dramas unfold. The story is packed with touching scenes between characters and plenty of fun filled moments. I can’t wait to see where Lara Jean’s journey takes her next, and what decisions she’ll make.

Royal Rating:


Thursday, 28 May 2015

10 Reasons Why You Should Read The Princess Diaries


The Princess Diaries found me at the perfect time. I was fourteen, and as someone who kept a diary during my teens, I found myself drawn to a book that was written in a diary-style. I wasn't a huge reader at the time, but I gave it a try anyway. And then I didn’t stop. I faithfully followed the entire series right up until the last book was released. It sculpted my reading tastes, encouraged me to pick up more books, and gave me a genre to love. Since then, I haven’t stopped reading YA.

So The Princess Diaries holds a special place in my heart, and when Meg announced that she would be releasing an adult sequel, I was beyond excited. With Royal Wedding being released this June, (or July for us in the UK) I hope even more people will find their way to the series. I have so many reasons why you should fall into Mia’s world, but I’ve narrowed it down to ten.


10. The movie is good, but the books are way better.
I, like most of you, love The Princess Diaries movie. It’s cute, it’s heart-warming, and it’s perfect sleepover viewing (it also contains both Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews, and that’s really awesome). But the books offer SO MUCH MORE. 


Seriously, you miss out on a lot. For example, if you have only ever watched the movie, and never read the books, you do not get to meet the wonderful gem on this earth that Tina Hakim Baba. And you also believe that Mia’s father is dead. But you are wrong. Very, very wrong.

9. The secondary characters are equally awesome
Like Boris, for example. Boris is that adorable, geeky guy that every good YA book series needs. He also provided one of my favourite scenes. It includes a world globe. That’s all I’ll say.

8. Grandmere is fierce
The Dowager Princess Clarisse Marie Grimaldi Renaldo is a spectacular character. When you think of grandmothers, you think of crinkled eyes and smiles, stories of the good old days, and baking cookies on a Sunday. Not this grandmother. She is intimidating, she is feisty, and if she doesn’t like you, she will tear you apart. She’s brilliant.

7. Lana Weinberger is more than just the cliché ‘bitch’ character
Lana is a cheerleader, she’s blonde, she dates the guys that every girl wants, and she is the girl that everybody wants to be. And, naturally, she’s Mia’s nemesis. But she becomes so much more than just the stereotypical, bitchy character that you first assume she is.

6. Mia may be a princess, but you can still relate to her
No, you can’t relate to her problem of having her every move followed by the world’s media, and you can’t possibly understand what it’s like to have the weight of an entire country on your shoulders, but you can relate to her as a person. She’s shy, awkward, and she messes up in front of the guys she likes. She's believable. 

5. Family and friendship are important themes
There are arguments and dramas between friends and relatives, but this series shows how important the people closest to you are, and how, in the end, they will always be there to support you. A particular aspect of the series that I like is how much Mia’s friendship with Lilly is tested. It’s no secret that high school can be a challenging time for best friends, and Mia being a princess changes things. It causes strains on the pair of them. But it shows that whatever you’re faced with, your best friends mean the world to you, and you can overcome anything together.

4. The writing is seriously funny
Meg effortlessly puts humor into her stories, and The Princess Diaries is full of funny moments. You will laugh until you cry, and you will have a smile on your face whenever you join Mia in her forever chaotic world.

3. Genovia
I like that Meg created her own fictional country for this series. The place sounds so absolutely gorgeous that I almost want it to be real. It’s exciting to watch Mia fall in love with the country she is princess of, and win its people over.

2. You WILL fall in love with Michael Moscovitz.
What is there not to love about Michael Moscovitz? He’s cute, he’s caring, and he has some seriously adorable romantic gestures up his sleeve. The love story between him and Mia is an epic one. But it’s not without its ups and downs, which only makes their relationship all the more believable. And most importantly, he adored Mia before he found out she had a crown. He’s dreamy and…wait, what do you mean he’s not real?

1. Princess Amelia Mignonette Grimaldi Thermopolis Renaldo
Of course, she is the number one reason why you need to immerse yourself in her diaries. She’s always entertaining, she’s a great friend, she’s brave, she’s fierce, and she’s basically everything you want in a character. But she isn’t faultless. I don’t know about you, but I’m always irritated whenever I read a YA book that has a seemingly ‘perfect’ protagonist. A girl that can do no wrong and is always selfless and positive. We all know life doesn’t work that way. We don’t always make the right decisions, and we’d be lying if we said we’ve never been selfish before. Mia has her flawed moments, especially when it comes to her relationship with Michael. She doesn’t always do or say the right things, but that’s okay. Part of why she’s a great character is because we get to see her learn and grow along the way. I loved joining her on her journey. 


So there you have it. That is why you need to read The Princess Diaries (if you haven’t already). No matter how old you are, this series is timeless, and it’s just as entertaining to me now as it was when I was a teenager.

For other posts from this year’s Meg-a-Readers, check out the weekly roundup posts over on The Romance Bookie



Tuesday, 26 May 2015

REVIEW: Stunned by Sarah Noffke

Bookish Details:
Series: The Lucidites #2
Pages: 312
Publisher: One-Twenty-Six Press
Release Date: 21st November 2014
Buy it From: Amazon - Amazon UK

Synopsis:

Roya desperately wishes she was above ground, on a sunny patio, watching the lake lap up on the shore. Instead, she finds herself trapped with the Lucidites. Her brother is mysteriously wasting away, and at every turn she finds a new betrayal. Just when she thinks she’s finally escaping the Institute, a new danger unveils itself. A secret society of Dream Travelers has declared war on the Lucidites by abducting a head official. It’s up to Roya to figure out who’s behind it and how to save everyone she cares about most. More action packed than its predecessor, Stunned is captivating and will leave audiences squirming from the tension and also begging for more.

My Review:
Stunned picks up after the events of Awoken. Zhuang has been defeated, and the Lucidites are attempting to get things back to how they were. Roya’s friends and her brother, Joseph, have all been given assignments to work on over summer and are settling in at the institute. Roya, however, doesn’t quite know what to do. She has nothing to work on, and left feeling like a spare part

Her feelings for Aiden are complicated and she finds it difficult to accept that anything between the two of them must be kept secret to protect Aiden’s career. Her strained relationship with George isn’t making her situation any easier. This leads to her deciding that she wants to leave and move in with her faux parents, Bob and Steve. 

The plot, just like in the first book, was exciting from start to finish. Just when you think you have things figured out, another new twist is thrown into the mix to keep the characters constantly on their toes.

As always, the characters were fantastic. I loved Roya’s strength and her natural wit. I was pleased to see some more interaction between her, Bob, and Steve. It’s great that she has their constant reassurance and support. They are like the calm amongst the raging storm.

I felt sorry for poor Joseph. He gets messed up in something he shouldn’t, and takes it out on the people around him. But seeing Roya’s determination to help him overcome whatever he’s working on is touching and shows the development between the two of them.

I was happy to get to know George a little better this time. In the first book, his relationship with Roya wasn’t appealing to me, but now I understand the connection between the two of them a little better. I’d like to learn more about him away from his relationship with Roya.

With that being said, I still prefer Roya with Aiden. I adore Aiden. He’s geeky, and cute, and can sometimes be a little foolish. And that’s what makes him a great character. I wanted to give him a good talking to myself at certain points in the story because of the poor way he was handling certain situations. But he learns from his mistakes and grows from them. Again, he is a character whose backstory I would love to learn more about. 

The secondary characters in this story are just as fantastic. Trent shared a wonderful little moment with Roya towards the end that I really enjoyed, and it left me curious to see how his story unfolds in the last instalment. I also love Ren. I seem to have a particular interest in angry, snarky, pessimistic characters, and he definitely fits that bill. 

The Grotte was a creepy addition to this series, and one I highly enjoyed getting to read about. The new characters we meet through the Grotte are disturbing and a dangerous threat. I’m so curious to see what the overall plan is.

I need to mention the end of this book because holy mother of plot twists. I did not see the twist coming, so when it happened, it was glorious. I had one of those ‘oh, snap’ moments, and then wanted to go back through the books to see if I’d missed the clues. It was a fantastic ending that definitely left me desperate to read the fallout.

This series is always full of action and excitement. I’m eager to see what wild adventures the characters will be sent on in the final book, and how they’ll face whatever situations are thrown at them next.  

Royal Rating:



Thursday, 21 May 2015

REVIEW: Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Bookish Details:
Pages: 437 Hardcover
Publisher: Macmillan
Release Date: 21st May 2015
Buy it From: Amazon - Amazon UK - Waterstones

Synopsis:
Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, ambitious wizard, known only as the Dragon, to keep the wood's powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman must be handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as being lost to the wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows - everyone knows - that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia - all the things Agnieszka isn't - and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But no one can predict how or why the Dragon chooses a girl. And when he comes, it is not Kasia he will take with him.

From the author of the Temeraire series comes this hugely imaginative, engrossing and vivid fantasy novel, inspired by folk and fairy tales. It is perfect reading for fans of Robin Hobb and Trudi Canavan.

My Review:
There are four major issues I have with this book:

1. When I sat down to start reading the other morning, I only intended to read for a little while. I had other things I needed to be doing. However, when I next looked at the clock, I realised that the ‘little while’ had turned into hours. It left me wanting to scold my bladder for needing a toilet break, and glare down at my growling stomach for needing me to put the book down for lunch.

2. My heart says I love this book, but my eyes, stinging from lack of sleep, would hugely disagree. They really didn’t appreciate being forced to stay open until 3am when they needed to reopen at 7am that morning.  

3. I am now suffering from the nightmare we call ‘book hangover’. Do I have other books in my ‘to-read’ pile? Yes. Do I want to pick them up right now? No. Why is that, you ask? Because their pages do not contain the beautiful world within Uprooted, and Agnieszka and the Dragon are nowhere to be seen. AND I MISS THEM SO MUCH ALREADY.

4. This book is one of those books. You know the ones, a book that is so awesome you actually struggle to summarise the awesomeness into a review. Now I have to try and find something to say that’s a little more informative than just ASDFGHJKL;

But I’ll try.

This is enchanting fantasy at its best. It takes fairy-tale elements that we know, and twists them into something new and exciting. The writing  is truly gorgeous. The characters emotions are demonstrated beautifully and the action scenes are captivating. There is a creepy darkness to this story in the form of the Wood. I was completely sucked into the horror within it, desperate to know why it was there, and what it was doing.

What I also loved was the fact that it’s a stand-alone novel. Fantasy so often comes in the shape of a trilogy or more, so it was refreshing to read a book that gives a complete story with a satisfying conclusion.

What else do I need to mention? THE CHARACTERS. Seriously, the characters in this book are just so brilliant. Agnieszka was feisty when she needed to be, and I loved her coming-of-age journey. Her friendship with Kasia is touching, and the scenes that the pair shared were packed with emotion.

The Dragon was a fascinating character. The idea of him coming to the valley every ten years to take a young girl away intrigued me from the start. I loved how mysterious and cold-hearted he was in the beginning. He made me want to reach into the book and shout at him myself a lot of the time. But then I enjoyed getting to know more about his life, and understanding why he acts in the way that he does. I also loved how Agnieszka comes to challenge him rather than fear him. There was humour in the way he clearly didn’t know how to react to her attitudes and stubbornness.

The relationship between Agnieszka and the Dragon was well developed. Sometimes I find myself a little disappointed in the romantic elements of fantasy, because it can easily take away from the story itself. But the romance in this book adds to the story beautifully. There were no cringe-worthy moments. The tension between the two of them was unbearable at times, leaving you eager for further scenes between them. And there was just the right amount of *ahem* steaminess.

Everything from the Prince, the politics, the Wood, and the corruption is compelling to read about. It's a world that is well built for getting completely drawn in to. This is no Disney-style fairy-tale. It’s dark, it’s violent, and it will drag you through the wars within it. But it’s also beautiful, and magical, and thought-provoking, and everything you want from a fantasy story.

It is so difficult to not spoil anything here because I’m desperate to talk about all of it. It consumed my life for the couple of days I was reading, and by the end it felt like I had returned home from the same epic journey as the characters. I just hope I've said enough to ensure that you read this book for yourself, so you can fall in love with it as I have. 

*gently nudges you in the direction of the bookstore*

Royal Rating:



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