Sunday, 1 March 2015

REVIEW: Dealing With Devils by Pembroke Sinclair

Bookish Details:
Series: The Road to Salvation #2
Publisher: Booktrope
Release Date: January 16th 2015
Source: Received by author is exchange for honest review
Buy it From: Amazon - Amazon UK

Synopsis:
Dating a demon has its advantages, like helping deliver souls to Hell. Wait...what? 

Katie’s world has been turned upside down. She's fallen for Josh—despite the fact that he’s a demon from Hell. Wes is finally out of her system and her life. Convinced she can change Josh, she sets out to make him a better person, only to find out things aren’t as simple as she’d originally thought. For one thing, Josh has Katie help him deliver souls to Hell, and she kind of likes it. And to top it off, other more powerful demons are battling for her soul, and revelations from the past could change the course of her life forever.

My Review:
Dealing With Devils picks up where the story left off in The Appeal of Evil, and it’s straight away more engaging than the first book. It might be because I already knew the characters this time around and had a basic understanding of the story, but it was much easier to follow this time around.

Wes is now out of Katie’s life, and she’s coming to terms with her situation. As she spends more time harvesting souls with Josh, we get to see more about him and his life. I loved that we get to know Josh a little better in this book because throughout The Appeal of Evil, I couldn’t understand at all what Katie saw in him. Although I still think he and Katie needed a few more bonding scenes together, I can see why she is drawn to him now.

I felt like the plot was a lot more in-depth and exciting in this book. What I liked most was the reveal regarding Katie about two-thirds of the way into the story. I definitely perked up when I found out the truth about her, and I think that particular plot has a lot of potential that I’m excited to see explored. Bringing the myths into it really added some much needed thrill and danger to the story, because although Josh is a demon, and has taken Katie to Hell, it still didn’t have an edge-of-the-seat atmosphere to me before then.

There are still parts of the story that focus too much on Katie’s thoughts and feelings about the guys in her life, and I sometimes found myself wanting to skim over big chunks of descriptions about Katie’s ever-changing feelings towards Josh.

In my review of the first book, I mentioned that I’d really like to see Katie get an ally in the sequel, preferably a girl, because I thought she lacked a friendship and bond without romance thrown into it. I still haven’t gotten that in this second book, and I still feel like it’s needed. A lot of the people Katie meets are romantically perusing her in some way or another, and it just doesn’t feel that believable to me for some reason.

Also, poor Deb had a really hard time in this story, and I feel that she’s been overlooked once again. She has potential to be a fantastic character, but it’s just not working out so far. I’m really hoping we get to learn more about her family’s connection to Praesuls in the next book.

The ending was great, and although I was expecting the cliff-hanger that occurred, I loved reading it. I’m curious to see what Katie’s reaction will be in the next book, and how it will shake things up. 

Royal Rating:


Wednesday, 25 February 2015

The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson

Bookish Details:
Series: Rithmatist #1
Pages: 372 Paperback
Publisher: Tor UK
Release Date: 26th February 2015 (first published in 2013)
Source: Received from publisher in exchange for honest review
Buy it From: Amazon - Amazon UK - Waterstones

Synopsis:
The Rithmatist, Brandon Sanderson's New York Times bestselling epic teen adventure is now available in paperback.

More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings. Having nearly overrun the territory of Nebrask, the Wild Chalklings now threaten all of the American Isles.

As the son of a lowly chalkmaker at Armedius Academy, Joel can only watch as Rithmatist students learn the magical art that he would do anything to practice. Then students start disappearing—kidnapped from their rooms at night, leaving trails of blood. Assigned to help the professor who is investigating the crimes, Joel and his friend Melody find themselves on the trail of an unexpected discovery—one that will change Rithmatics—and their world—forever.

My Review:
You have no idea how much I’ve wanted a book like this to appear in my life. I’ve been searching for something new, something exciting, something awesome, and this book gave me all that and more.

The Rithmatist follows Joel during one of his school years at Armedius, a school that teaches both average and Rithmatist students. The Rithmatists are a group of people who are trained from the age of eight to be sent to battle on the frontline of Nebrask. They have the ability to bring chalk drawings to life, and use them to fight and defend.

Quite the unique concept for a story, isn’t it?

Let me start by saying that the characters are brilliant. I adored Joel from the first chapter. It’s been a while since I’ve read a book from the POV of a male character, and it’s something I always want to read more of in YA, so I was excited to read all about Joel and his life. What I loved about him was that he wasn’t a Rithmatist. Usually, if there is an ‘elite’ group of people in a story, the protagonist is usually one of them. Whereas Joel’s story was more about being on the outside, looking in. He was a delightful character to read about.

The people he meets in the story are all as equally wonderful. I loved the relationship he had with Professor Fitch, and it was always enjoyable to read scenes between the two of them. I also thought that his friendship with Melody worked beautifully. The bond that forms between the two of them over the course of the story was perfectly developed. I was definitely attached to the characters by the time I closed the book, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they grow throughout the series.

The plot was genius. I had no idea chalk could make for such an epic story. Rithmatics and chalklings were so unique and fascinating, and I loved learning about this new and exciting world. There are even illustrations on some of the pages to help show you more about the chalklings and Rithmatic lines. The history and details were well thought out, and explained brilliantly. I sometimes find that fantasy novels have a lot of backstory and world-building that is too intricate to follow, but this had the perfect balance.

One of the things I loved the most about this book was that it didn’t need romance. I can’t remember the last time I read a good YA story that didn’t focus heavily on a love interest. A lot of the time, the romance can take away from the actual storylines in fantasy and sci-fi. It was extremely refreshing to read an entire story without the presence of a love triangle.

There were also plenty of twists in the lead up to the final chapter. Definitely some revealing moments that I didn’t see coming! I love it when a story can keep you guessing right until the very end, and then still leave you wanting more. 

I hate comparing books to others, but I think this is a perfect story for anyone that loves Harry Potter. It has that same magical feeling to it whilst reading. I missed the characters and the school from the moment I put the book down, and I can barely wait for the next installment. 

Royal Rating:





Saturday, 14 February 2015

VIDEO: Favourite Book Relationships

Hello, book lovers!

Happy Valentine's Day! Since it's a day for appreciating love, I wanted to share five of my favourite YA relationships. I thought I'd create this as a YouTube video rather than a post, so I hope you enjoy watching it!



I now have a BookTube channel right here, and I'm a total newbie on the scene so it would be great if you could go and check it out!





Thursday, 12 February 2015

REVIEW: The Appeal of Evil by Pembroke Sinclair

Bookish Details:
Series: The Road to Salvation #1
Pages: 210 Paperback
Publisher: Booktrope Editions
Release Date: January 13th 2014
Source: Received in exchange for honest review
Buy it From: Amazon - Amazon UK

Synopsis:
Katie wants to invest her heart and soul in love, but she may lose both to Hell.

Katie, a senior in high school, is torn between loving the "good" guy, her childhood friend Wes who makes promises he doesn't keep and abandons her when she needs him the most, and the "bad" guy, the new kid at school Josh who is also a real demon from Hell. Katie wants someone who pays attention to her and puts her first, but what is she willing to give up to find him?

My Review:
This story follows Katie, a high school student with a seemingly normal life until fellow student Josh suddenly comes to her defense in an argument with her best friend, Wes. Katie then discovers that Josh and Wes aren’t all what they seem, and her world is turned upside down.

The first few chapters throw you straight into the story, but also straight into a love triangle. I felt like I knew nothing about Katie as a character, but I knew all about her past with Wes, and her sudden feelings towards Josh. Although this is a story about Demons and Hell, I felt like it was more to do with Katie’s romantic relationships than anything else.

I really enjoyed Katie’s friendship with Deb, but it happened too late on in the story. We hear mentions of Deb throughout a bunch of chapters before we actually meet her, and I feel like the story would have benefited from her presence from the very start. I liked a certain twist that her character revealed towards the end, but it felt random and too conveniently placed. Maybe if there had been more clues hinting towards it, then it would’ve felt believable.

The characters I liked the most were Randy and Wes. I wanted to know more about them and their lives. I felt like I didn’t get to see enough of Wes, and I think he and his father have huge potential to be really interesting characters. I also want to know more about Josh, because right now, I can’t see his appeal. Katie’s feelings towards him are quite confusing and it seems like she keeps changing her mind over him. He’s untrustworthy and dangerous, yet she feels safe with him. I want to know what it is about him that she trusts, because I don’t think he’s done that much to prove he’s worth choosing.

There were some funny moments in the story that I enjoyed, and definitely some realistic scenes. For example, I like that when Katie told her mother the truth about Randy and Wes, her mother thought she was suffering with rabies. A lot of the time in fantasy, I find that shocking revelations are calmly accepted by characters, when in reality, they’d completely freak out. So I liked that this story showed a few more obvious and realistic reactions. Katie’s relationship with her mother is an aspect of the story I especially liked. I wish we’d gotten to see a bit more of their home life, and learnt about the family’s past.

The disappointing side for me was the love triangle. I prefer romance being a subplot to the fantasy and action in YA stories, but with this book, it felt a little like the fantasy was a subplot to the romance. Everything in this story revolved around the two boys. Even Katie’s thoughts were dominated mostly by the guys, and which one’s side she should choose. It made it extremely difficult for me to like Katie. I wanted to know more about her, and I wanted her to be stronger and make choices that didn’t revolve around the boys.

I know this is the first book in a series, so in the second book, I’m hoping we get to see more of Hell, and get to know more about Josh. I also think that Katie needs more of a plot away from the two guys. Maybe meeting a new friend, or taking off on her own for once. I’m rooting for her to become a stronger character. I look forward to seeing what the second book has to offer, because I still think this is a story with good potential, but it simply hasn’t delivered it yet.

Royal Rating:



Wednesday, 4 February 2015

REVIEW: The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

Bookish Details:
Pages: 336 Paperback
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: February 5th 2015
Source: Received from publisher
Buy it From: Amazon - Waterstones

Synopsis:
Seventeen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But although she’s engaged to the prince, Twylla isn’t exactly a member of the court.

She’s the executioner.

As the Goddess embodied, Twylla instantly kills anyone she touches. Each month she’s taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love a girl with murder in her veins. Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to Twylla’s fatal touch, avoids her company.

But then a new guard arrives, a boy whose easy smile belies his deadly swordsmanship. And unlike the others, he’s able to look past Twylla’s executioner robes and see the girl, not the Goddess. Yet Twylla’s been promised to the prince, and knows what happens to people who cross the queen.

However, a treasonous secret is the least of Twylla’s problems. The queen has a plan to destroy her enemies, a plan that requires a stomach-churning, unthinkable sacrifice. Will Twylla do what it takes to protect her kingdom? Or will she abandon her duty in favor of a doomed love?

My Review:
10AM on a Sunday morning. I decided to have a few minutes of reading time with my coffee. Just a few minutes. The next time I looked at the clock, it was 3:15 in the afternoon. How on earth did that happen?

There is nothing dull about this story. Set in the wonderfully created land of Lormere, it’s a tale of Kings and Queens, of killings and curses, and of love and betrayal. It has everything to offer, and delivers it all.

Our protagonist is Twylla; a girl blessed by the Gods, and can kill a person by mere touch. She is known and feared by everyone as the embodiment of Daunen, daughter of the Gods. Because of her ‘gift’, she is to marry the prince, because he can survive her deadly touch.

I liked Twylla pretty much straight away. I loved her narration of the story, and the descriptions of her emotions were written beautifully. I was rooting for her from start to finish. She wasn’t perfect, she made mistakes, and her judgement wasn’t always on point, but that only made her more endearing as a character. I was happy to see her develop and grow stronger as she learnt more about herself and the people around her.

The two guys in the story, Prince Merek and Lief, are both fantastic characters. I sympathised with Merek’s situation, and I desperately wanted things to work out for him. I get very easily fed up of love triangles in YA, and I usually have to fight the urge to roll my eyes whenever I inevitably read about it. But for some reason, I was totally okay with this one. It worked really well, and I liked the contrasting characters. The one small downer I had was that I thought there were a few too many kisses. I wish they’d been held back a little more, because they would have felt extra special if they were limited. But that’s probably just me.

The story telling in this book is enchanting. I’m a total history geek, so even if it’s fictional history, I want to know about it. And this book gave it. I love how in-depth the story goes into the history of Lormere. Sometimes, chunks of backstory can be quite confusing, but this was explained beautifully. And I absolutely adored the whole Sleeping Prince story. I really liked how the characters kept going back to that simple tale, and I was so excited to see if there was something more to it than just a wild fairy-tale.

I pride myself on being able to spot plot twists and figure out mysteries quite easily. I usually have those triumphant ‘I TOLD YOU SO!’ moments when reading most books. But not with this one, oh no. It was more a case of ‘WAIT, WHAT???’

The final few chapters were completely unputdownable. There are some wonderful twists and turns to compel you into keeping the book open. It pulled me out of the reading slump I’d been in since Christmas, and I don’t even want to admit how much caffeine I needed after a night of binge-reading this book. One thing’s for certain, I cannot wait to read more.

If you’re looking for a new thrilling adventure, then make sure this is the book you pick up next.

Also: Shoutout to Melinda for having the most entertaining acknowledgments. 

Royal Rating:


Wednesday, 7 January 2015

I've Been Blogging How Long?!

Four years ago today, I made my very first post on this blog! I can’t believe I’ve been blogging for four whole years already. I’d love to be able to do something exciting, like host a giveaway, or something creative, but I’m too broke and too unimaginative! I still feel like I should give you something back, something to thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I can offer you this completely unrelated graphic of an owl that I designed, if you’d like. Click here to download a full quality image. You never know, you might require an owl graphic in the future!


My blog idea was born during the Christmas period of 2010. I was accepted as a reviewer by a teen girl magazine, and they sent me a book in exchange for a paragraph of my thoughts on it. I had no control over which type of book I’d receive. It turned out to be a book called Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys. It was her debut novel, and I received it a few months before its release in the UK.



Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they've known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin's orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously--and at great risk--documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father's prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.

I’ll admit, at first I was pretty disappointed. At the time, it wasn’t the type of book I wanted to read. As much as I enjoyed learning about history, my taste in books was girly romances, anything by Meg Cabot, Harry Potter, and fantasy. I had no interest in reading a book set during the second World War. But I had no choice. I had to read it. And boy, am I glad I did. The book still remains one of my all-time favourites to this day, and it inspired me to learn more about that lesser-known part of history. It was such an incredible story, and I wanted to talk about it. None of my friends at the time were big readers, so I didn’t really have anyone to discuss books with apart from my mum. That was how I found the book blogging community, and I decided to set up my blog.

My first ever logo for the blog
I had no idea what I was doing. I knew very little about blogs, my writing was atrocious, and I didn’t have a clue how to promote my site. All I knew for certain was that I wanted to tell people about awesome stories, so that’s what I did.

Since then, I’ve learnt a lot about blogging, and I’ve connected with some fantastic readers and fellow bloggers. I’ve also learnt a great deal about design! I’ve always tried to design my blog myself, because as a poor little student, I could never afford to buy professional designs. But in a way, I’m glad. Even though it frustrates the life out of me sometimes, I know more about graphics and basic HTML, and it’s helped me a lot outside of my blogging!  

How my logo has changed through the years
My blogiversary also got me thinking about why I’m still blogging. I do it for the same reason why I first set up this blog: I love talking about books. But what is it that’s kept me motivated to write reviews over the years? The main reason is that I love sharing my passion for certain stories. And through this blog, I’ve discovered some wonderful hidden gems by debut and independent authors, and I love having the chance to encourage other people to pick up their work.

Another reason I’ve managed to stay a happy blogger is by keeping this site to what I always intended it to be. A hobby. I never force myself into strict schedules like many other awesome and hardworking bloggers. Instead, I simply read and review at my leisure. Otherwise, my blog would feel like a chore to me, and I never want it to come to that. I don’t make money from what I do, so I don’t treat it like a business. It’s simply my own little world of all things bookish. I’m also not the most formal person in the world with my reviews. I try to keep it casual. I’m no professional when it comes to writing, but that doesn’t stop me from sharing my opinions.

I have, over the years, had some fantastic opportunities because of my blog. I’ve interviewed some wonderful authors, I’ve been invited to take part in virtual blog tours, I’ve had tweets from some of my favourite authors of all time, and I’ve been lucky enough to receive some fabulous books and merchandise. I still get pathetically excited whenever I get an ARC, because I’m still astounded that I’m getting such an amazing opportunity!

I honestly can’t even begin to describe what this blog has done for me over the years. It’s sounds cheesy as hell, but in a way, I guess it really has changed my life. There have been too many highlights for me to condense them down into one post. It’s done so much more for me than just being a place to post my opinions. It’s encouraged me to do my own writing, and tell my own stories. It’s built my confidence in talking with new people. I’m painfully shy, but as a blogger, I have to communicate with a wide variety of people, and it’s made me more comfortable striking up conversations and conducting interviews. I never imagined how much it would do for me when I decided to write that first post four years ago.

Most of all, I have to thank YOU. The awesome people who take the time to read my reviews (which, let’s face it, aren’t the most professional reviews in the world!). And you authors and publishers who take the time to get in touch, and ask me to read your work. I’m so lucky to have the chance to do that. I can’t thank you enough for helping me to continue doing what I love.

So here’s to the next year of The Queen of Teen Fiction! 




Monday, 5 January 2015

What I Want To Read In 2015

As a book reviewer, I receive plenty of review requests throughout the year, and I’m always honoured whenever an author wants me to read their work. In the requests, I can usually spot a few common themes, and I get a lot of requests for genres that are going through a popular phase. For instance, over the past two years, I’ve seen a huge rise in the amount of dystopian books in my inbox. Don’t get me wrong, I love dystopia, but sometimes I like a change. Here’s a list of things I’d love to be able to read about this year:

5. Contemporary Stories.
I rarely received review requests for contemporary romance stories last year. Because of how much I read paranormal and fantasy stories, my love of contemporary usually goes ignored. I’m a huge fan of Sarah Dessen and Meg Cabot, so any books of a similar writing style would definitely catch my eye.

4. Books set in the 1920’s.
I adore the Flapper Girl era, and I would love more YA books set during this time. It’s such an exciting part of history, why aren’t there more stories?

3. British YA.
Last year I got to see some wonderful British YA debuts, such as Banished by Liz de Jager, and Minty by Christina Banach. I’d really like to see some more amazing YA from Britain, because there really isn’t enough.

2. Female Lead…With Glasses!
Okay, so as a glasses wearer, I’m biased here. But I really want a female protagonist with glasses! Yes, we have Harry Potter, but there’s only so many times you dress as the boy wizard for Halloween. Give me a new character to cosplay!

1. A YA book that has an Ancient Egyptian theme.
This is something that I really, really need in my life. I’ve been waiting for this for years. We have so many YA stories about Greek Gods and myths, yet barely any revolving around Egyptians. Their history is fascinating! Come on, authors, I'm begging you here!

So, that's what I’d like to be reading over the next twelve months. If there are any authors out there who happen to be reading this and have stories that tick any of the points above, PLEASE THROW YOUR BOOK AT ME. I will gladly read any book that is about any of those points.

What’s on your reading list this year? Let me know!





Sunday, 4 January 2015

REVIEW: Never by Shay Lynam

Bookish Details:
Pages: 304 (Paperback)
Publisher: Indie World Publishing and Author Services
Release Date: November 4th 2014
Source: This book was provided for free by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Buy it From: Amazon - Amazon UK

Synopsis:

Wynn Harper spends her days trying to blend into the background. This isn't very easy, especially being the great granddaughter of the late Wendy Darling. Wynn used to love Great Gran's stories about her adventures in Neverland with Peter Pan and his lost boys, but that's all they were. Just stories, right? That's what Wynn keeps telling herself.

But then she meets Peter, the beautiful boy with a voice to match, and when he whisks her off to Neverland, Wynn knows this is no fairy tale. The lost boys are a group of rebellious ex-pirates, young Hook has a soft side, and Peter Pan isn't as innocent as you might think.

My Review:
I love modern retellings of classic stories, so Never was definitely a story that caught my attention. Never is a modern retelling of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, and it follows Wynn Harper, the great granddaughter of Wendy Darling.

The book starts soon after Wendy’s death, and we see Wynn struggling to cope. At a night out with her best friend, she meets Peter and realises Wendy’s ‘crazy’ stories of Neverland were real. The events of the story all seemed to unfold quite quickly to me. I would’ve liked to have seen a little more of Wynn’s life in LA before she was flown off to Neverland.

As we follow the pair to Neverland, we meet the Lost Boys. I adored the Lost Boys. They were definitely one of my favourite things about the story. I especially liked Pal, because his story had a little more depth to it. From there, we get the all the sights and people that Neverland has to offer: the mermaids, the fairies, Tiger Lily, etc.

Who I really liked was Captain Hook. He was probably one of my favourite characters in the story. I just wish we’d gotten to know more about him. I felt like there was a lot more to his character that we could’ve learnt. The same goes for Russ. His story was definitely one that could’ve been expanded, but wasn’t.

I wanted to like Peter and Wynn more than I did. Peter made a statement at the start of the story as to how Wynn shouldn’t judge him by the Disney movie, but he then went on to act almost the same. I would’ve preferred it if maybe he was a little different, just something to make him less cliché.

I had conflicting emotions about the ending. *SPOILERS AHEAD* Now, I love happy ending. I really do. But I didn’t want Peter to go with Wynn back to LA and for the two of them to have a simple, happy ending. What I felt it lacked was some sort of explanation as to why Peter was in Neverland. Was it like the original story? Was he there because he didn’t what to grow up? And if he was, then why wasn’t there a conversation about it? I wanted a moment in the book where Peter faces why he doesn’t want to grow up, and why that’s changed because of Wynn.

Although I never judge a book by the cover, and the cover for this book is very beautiful, it doesn’t really reflect the story. It made me feel like the story should have been darker than it was, more a twisted retelling, where Neverland isn’t what it seems. But it was actually rather calm, and I didn’t feel like there was any big threat throughout the story. Even the scenes with Hook didn’t seem as dangerous as they should have.

Never is a pleasant story to read and anyone who loves fairy tales will definitely want to give it try. There were parts of the story I enjoyed, and parts that I felt let the story down. But overall, I’m glad I took the time to read it, and Lynam has a beautifully descriptive writing style.  

Royal Rating:

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

A Year In Review

So, another year has been and gone, and it has flown by, am I right? And once again, I’ve had the chance to read and review some of the most incredible stories, and I’ve also had some fantastic and exciting opportunities. On this final day of 2014, I want to take a look back over the past twelve months, and tell you what bookish things I loved and loathed about it.

Okay, so I watch my fellow book bloggers go to so many exciting events in London, and I stare sadly out of the Twitter window, always being left out because I live too far away to join in. This year, I was invited to several blogger events and book launch parties for books I’ve read, reviewed, and adored. But I couldn’t go to any of them. Note to self: teleportation would be a good skill to learn. But it wasn’t all bad, because I did, at least, get to go to the one launch party that meant the most to me. City of Heavenly Fire! My bestie, and fellow book blogger Rachel, won tickets to the launch party of the final ever Mortal Instruments book, and as you know, I’m a huge fan of the series. So getting to go to the launch, see my fellow fans adorning their runes, and getting the book a day early, was definitely one of my blogging highlights. (You can see my post from the day here.)

Another highlight was getting to meet the fabulous RainbowRowell! I’m a huge fan of her stories, so to get the chance to meet her this year was amazing. Plus, we discussed Johnlock, and she said my outfit was totally cute. Life = complete.

Just some of the amazing books I've had the chance to review this year.
I also connected with so many fabulous authors and publishers this year, and I’ve been lucky enough to interview some fantastic people, including Moira Young (whose books I adore). And as every year, one of the best parts about blogging is discovering stories I probably wouldn’t get a chance to read otherwise. Some of the highlights have been to read the first two books in The Go Girls Chronicles by Leigh Hutton, and a delightful debut novel, Minty, by Christina Banach.

So thank you, blogging community, for another fantastic year. And thank you to all the authors and publishers that take the time to get in touch. It’s an honour to be able to be among the first to read and review your wonderful stories!

A very happy new year to you all!





Monday, 8 December 2014

Festive Reads!

Not in the festive spirit yet? Well, there’s nothing like a cute Christmas story to stop that pesky bah, humbug feeling. Here’s a few of the stories I like to cosy up with before the big day.

Let It Snow by Maureen Johnson, John Green, and Lauren Myracle
Amazon - Amazon UK

Sparkling white snowdrifts, beautiful presents wrapped in ribbons, and multicolored lights glittering in the night through the falling snow. A Christmas Eve snowstorm transforms one small town into a romantic haven, the kind you see only in movies. Well, kinda. After all, a cold and wet hike from a stranded train through the middle of nowhere would not normally end with a delicious kiss from a charming stranger. And no one would think that a trip to the Waffle House through four feet of snow would lead to love with an old friend. Or that the way back to true love begins with a painfully early morning shift at Starbucks. Thanks to three of today’s bestselling teen authors—John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle—the magic of the holidays shines on these hilarious and charming interconnected tales of love, romance, and breathtaking kisses.

Ex-Mas by Kate Brian
Two Exes. One holiday adventure. Merry Ex-Mas?

Seventeen-year-old Lila Beckwith's parents just left for vacation, and Lila's all set to throw the holiday party of the season. But when her Christmas-obsessed little brother, Cooper, discovers that global warming is melting the North Pole, he and his best friend, Tyler, take off on a runaway mission to save Santa.

Lila has to get Cooper safely home before her parents get back on Christmas Eve. But the only person who can help her is Tyler's older brother, Beau — a.k.a. Lila's musician, anti-everything ex-boyfriend.
 It'll take more than a Christmas miracle for Lila and Beau to overcome their differences and find their fugitive brothers. But could a journey destined for disaster help these polar opposites fall in love...all over again?

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe
Amazon - Amazon UK

When Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy took their first steps into the world behind the magic wardrobe, little do they realise what adventures are about to unfold. And as the story of Narnia begins to unfold, so to does a classic tale that has enchanted readers of all ages for over half a century.

This stunning version of the classic The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, illustrated by Christian Burningham, comes with a special recording of the story which features a full production and specially composed music which transports the listener straight to the heart of Narnia. An absolute must for Narnia fans, and an excellent way of introducing the magical story to a new generation of readers.

Clara Claus by Alexandra Lanc

Jack Frost is about to lose everything. After attempting to again destroy Christmas, the Holiday that he hates more than anything, he is threatened with losing his job, and his Immortality. But, he is given one last chance at redemption.

That last chance lands Jack in the North Pole the week before Christmas, in order to help Santa Claus prepare for his busiest night of the year. There, Jack is tasked with the job of “Tour Guide”, in order to show Santa’s granddaughter, Clara, the sights of the Pole.

As Christmas draws nearer, and Jack’s time begins to run out, he finds himself becoming fond of Clara, who attempts to show him the real meaning of Christmas, all while shocking him with her unique view of the world.

But, the past proves hard to reconcile, and soon, Jack hatches one last plan to destroy Christmas, a plan involving Clara, which may prove fatal not only for the Pole, but for her, as well -- unless Clara can melt his icy heart in time.

The first book in the fan-favorite series, the Snowflake Triplet, Clara Claus is a fantastical adventure that reminds us of the importance of hope, and the real meaning of Christmas.

Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
“I’ve left some clues for you.If you want them, turn the page.If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have written a love story that will have readers perusing bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own.

This one is probably one of my favourite books to read at Christmas time. There was even talk of a movie adaptation possibly being made, which I hope works out because I think it would make a wonderful film! 

So, I hope you've now found a new book to read this December. If you don’t have time for a full-length novel this holiday season, last year I wrote my very own short Christmas story, and I’ve just uploaded it to Wattpad! You can check it out here

Have a fantastic Christmas, everyone!




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