Monday, 21 April 2014

Review: Locked by Eva Morgan

Bookish Details:
Pages: 219 Kindle Edition
Release Date: February 10th 2014
Source: Received from author
Buy it From: Amazon US - Amazon UK

Synopsis:

When eighteen-year-old Irene Adler meets her new neighbor, the gorgeous, brilliant, and arrogant Sherlock Holmes, she never expects him to be the one to make her feel like life is worth living again. Ever since her sister's death, she's been addicted to risk-taking as a way to deal with her depression, and Sherlock quickly becomes the biggest risk she's ever taken.

Locked is the story of a broken girl and the genius who gives her life back to her. It's the story of a witty asshole who's never known love, and the girl who shows him what love means. It's the story of an unexpected connection, two people who save each other, and the importance of seeing the goodness underneath.

*Based on the Sherlock Holmes series by Arthur Conan Doyle. 

My Review:
As a lover of all things Sherlock Holmes, I was immediately excited to read Locked, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Locked is a modern reinvention of Sherlock Holmes, and even if you’ve never been particularly interested is Sherlock before, you can easily pick this story up. It’s been wonderfully adapted to a modern day, high school setting.

The writing is fabulous. There is a perfect mixture of drama and humour. There really are some hilarious moments in this story. I have so many quotes I could pick put that caused me to laugh out loud. It added to the overall entertainment.

The dialogue was also great. It was realistic and believable. Morgan did a wonderful job of getting Sherlock’s dialogue spot on. He’s not an easy character to write, but she managed it perfectly!

I loved Irene. She had everything I look for in a protagonist. She’s witty, strong, daring, and unexpected. I really enjoyed her narration of the story. Her relationship with Sherlock is brilliant, and the development between the two of them is touching and entertaining.

The thing I loved most about Locked was definitely the ending. I’m a spoiler-free blog, so I won’t say anything, but it really was a fabulous twist. I’m actually surprised I didn’t see it coming.

Overall, Locked is a highly enjoyable read, and I found myself fighting to put it down at times. The characterization is perfect, and the writing is flawless. And for that, I’m giving it a five out of five. Eva Morgan is a talented writer, and I’m expecting big things from her in the future!

Royal Rating:

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Movie Talk: The Book Thief

A few days ago, I finally got a chance to see The Book Thief after its cinema release in the UK. I was eager, and nervous, to see how such a unique story would play out as a film.

I’m a huge fan of the book. When I first read it a few years back, it was unlike anything I’d read before. It was intriguing and beautiful and heart-breaking, and I loved it. But after the recent stream of movie adaptions that haven’t lived up to my expectations, I was trying not to get my hopes up over The Book Thief.

However, I was left completely surprised by how wonderfully it was adapted for the big screen. The director did an absolutely fantastic job of fitting as much content from the book as possible into the two hours and ten minutes screen time. In fact, I’d probably say it’s one of the most faithful adaptations I’ve seen in a while.

Yes, there were scenes that were cut from the film, as is the case with every book-to-movie adaption. I’d say there was one important scene that I was disappointed about being left out, and that was Max writing stories for Liesel. For me, that was one of the more important aspects in the book, and I think it should have been in the film. The other scene I was disappointed to see cut was the one in which the enemy plane comes down on Molching, and Rudy comforts the Pilot in his dying moments. I found that to be very touching in the book and would have liked to see it in the film.

With that out of the way, let’s talk about the positives.

For one thing, the cast were absolutely perfect, in my opinion. I think that every cast member portrayed their character brilliantly, and I wasn’t left disappointed with their performance. I don’t have one bad thing to say about any of the cast members, there were no let downs in that area. The girl playing Liesel gave a beautiful performance, as did the actor who played Max. I adore Max, in the book, and in the film. The boy who portrayed Rudy also needs a mention for how superb he was. It’s literally like the cast just stepped out of the pages of the book.

Aside from the scenes I mentioned earlier, I think everything else about the film was extremely well done, and as faithful to the book as possible. Especially the first half of the movie, it was incredibly accurate. The scenes were exactly how I pictured them, especially the settings.

Overall, I am really pleased with the film, and pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I’m usually left feeling disappointed after movie adaptions, but I was left happy with this one. I’m sure the author will be proud of how his story played out on the big screen.


Saturday, 29 March 2014

Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Bookish Details:
Pages: 459 Paperback
Publisher: St Martin's Press - Pan Macmillan (UK)
Release Date: 10th September 2013 (US) 30th January 2014 (UK)

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .

But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

My Review:
It feels like I’ve been waiting my entire life for this book.

We all have that one book we can just relate to, right? The one that has words that seem like they came right from our own minds? This is that book for me.

How do I even start this review? I have so much love for this book that it’s hard to put into words. I’ll try my best to form something of an actual review, rather than just endless paragraphs of fangirling about Fangirl.


Fangirl follows fanfiction writer, Cath, as she heads to the big wide world of college. And for the first time, she has to cope with life without her twin, Wren, who has decided that they shouldn’t be roommates.

I absolutely adored Cath. She is such a wonderful character and I loved reading her story. I feel like she’ll be very relatable to a lot of readers out there, and she definitely connects with the target audience. The changes her and Wren face as they go college is so realistically written, and I loved seeing how their relationship was affected throughout the story.

The fanfiction side of this story was brilliant and definitely a unique selling point. I think actually being able to read the fanfiction that Cath was writing was awesome, and it created a small fantasy story within the story itself, which was great.

Cath’s growth throughout the story was written beautifully. I loved seeing her adjust to this new chapter and finally learning to let people into her life. This is a book very much about family and moving forward, it’s not just a typical YA romance story.

But whilst we’re on the subject of romance, I do have to mention my love for Levi. His constant smiling and general enthusiasm for life made him such an enjoyable character to read about. I found myself looking forward to the interaction between him and Cath. His acceptance of her personality and interests was sweet, and it certainly made me wish there were more guys like Levi out there in the world.

All of the other characters were wonderful in their own way. The story definitely is true to real life by showing the variety of different people you meet when you go to college, and how find yourself becoming friends with people you never in a million years thought that you would.

Fangirl is a fun yet extremely heartfelt story, and it’s one that will stay with me for a long time. If you haven’t yet picked up this book, then I really suggest you should. It’s honest and beautiful, and you will fall in love with it. 

Royal Rating:


Thursday, 20 March 2014

The Maze Runner Trailer is Here!

Hey, everyone! 

So, the trailer for The Maze Runner movie has finally been released. I think it looks great at the moment and it's definitely made me more excited to see the film. Also, the maze itself looks awesome! What are your thoughts? Do you think it will live up to the book? Let me know!






Monday, 10 March 2014

Review: Thrall by Jennifer Quintenz

Bookish Details:
Series: Daughters of Lilith #1
Pages: 218 (Kindle Edition)
Publisher: Secret Tree Press
Release Date: May 16th 2012
Buy it From: Amazon - Amazon UK

Synopsis:

Braedyn is a normal girl just trying to survive high school with her two devoted friends, Royal and Cassie. Together they’re doing a pretty good job of shrugging off the slings and arrows cast their way by the popular crowd when a new boy, Lucas, moves into the house next door. Suddenly Braedyn finds herself falling in love for the first time.

But as her sixteenth birthday approaches, Braedyn discovers humankind is at war with the Lilitu, an ancient race of enticing demons that prey on human souls. Her father is a member of the Guard fighting against the Lilitu - and so are the new neighbors, including her crush, Lucas.

As her world starts to unravel at the seams, Braedyn learns the right answers aren’t always clear or easy. And as for “good” and “evil” – it all depends on how we choose to act.


Inspired by the ancient Mesopotamian myths of Lilith and her offspring, Thrall explores first love, strong friendships, and taking on adult responsibilities against the backdrop of powerful supernatural forces and life-and-death stakes.

My Review:
Thrall follows the story of fifteen year old Braedyn as she discovers that she’s not the normal human girl she once thought she was. Her whole world is thrown upside down when she discovers secrets that her father has been keeping from her throughout her life. As Braedyn turns sixteen, the full realisation of what her life is to become slowly begins to present itself.

I’ll admit, when I started to read Thrall, I expected it to be cliché. I expect it of most YA fantasy stories. But I was left completely surprised by how fresh Thrall was.

The Lilitu provided a fascinating and unique enemy for the story. I’m really excited to find out more about their history as the series continues. I think they’re shrouded in mystery in the first book, making you eager to read more about them.

The characters are a huge part of why I enjoyed Thrall so much. I prefer Braedyn in the second half of the story when she starts becoming stronger and more determined. I think she has the potential to become a really great YA heroine. Lucas is a brilliant match for her and I loved the progression of their relationship.

But it was also the not-so-important characters that I really loved in this book. Braedyn’s best friends, Cassie and Royal, are great additions to the story. I especially loved Royal. Everybody needs a best friend like him and I adore how willing he was to be there for Braedyn no matter what, even when she was sounding completely crazy to him. I hope we get to see more of Royal and Cassie within the series.

I think the Guard are really interesting and I’m excited to read more about them, also. Hale, Gretchen and Murphy are great characters and they bring a lot to the overall story.

The writing in Thrall is fabulous. Quintenz has a way of describing the scenes that easily allows you to see it clearly. The action scenes are really well done and keep you hooked on every sentence.

The ending of Thrall definitely left me wanting more. I have to say I was quite surprised by which of the characters created the cliff-hanger to the story. It’s a character that I didn’t really think much about throughout the story, but the ending makes me think that they will become a major part of the next book.

Thrall is a strong start to what I hope continues to be a fantastic series and I’m eager to read more. Anyone looking for a new twist in fantasy needs to pick this story up, you won’t regret it. 

Royal Rating:

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Free Day Blitz: Summer Demons by Mia Hoddell

Summer Demons
by Mia Hoddell


Genre: YA Romance
Release Date: 26th February 2014
Length: Novella

Blurb:
Jenna Shaw ran away to escape her past. In fact, she jumped on a plane and flew to Portugal to try and forget it. However, it turns out leaving everything behind isn’t as easy as it sounds.

She thought she could move on and break free of her fears—that if she had some space the pain would stop. But as memories resurface due to an ill-timed joke, the past crashes into her present once more and she didn’t see it coming.

Jenna’s plans for normality are derailed by the charismatic Ethan Brooks. She sees him as an annoyance; he sees her as a challenge. But as he tries every trick known to him to impress her, they only serve to push her further away. He’s never faced this problem before and Ethan has to work harder than he ever has if he wants to win over and help his mysterious girl.


Download in now for FREE!
Only free 1st & 2nd of March





 Excerpt

She saw red. Seeping into the crystal clear water it spread, bleeding and merging as the ripples around her pushed it closer towards her feet. The deep crimson only grew darker as it surrounded her.
She could feel her breathing quicken, coming in short, sharp rasps as she started to panic. Her chest constricted, an unbearable pressure tightening like a boa constrictor refusing to release her from its clutches. Her throat felt dry, her increased breathing doing nothing to help the situation as she forced herself to swallow in the hope of dislodging the lump that had formed there.
This isn’t happening. This isn’t real. I came here to escape this, she told herself repeatedly as she laid there, her turquoise bikini embellished with golden sequins shining in the sun as her back tanned slowly. Bringing up an arm to adjust her chestnut-brown hair that was dangling in the water, she tried to pull away before the colour reached her and tainted the beautiful locks. The damage done would be irreparable if it touched her.
Moving it just in time, she threw it over her shoulder so it rested between her shoulder blades, the damp tips feeling nice as they cooled her back by trailing droplets of water down either side. She tried not to flinch as her gaze returned to the bloodied water that lapped at the li-lo beneath her chin. With every wave it seemed to grow closer, making its way further up the yellow plastic to try and touch her. The tapping that was normally so soothing tormented her now, like a crowd clapping and cheering her sanity on as it fled for safety.
Rather than listen to the logical side of her brain, her body had other ideas. Shuffling back, she put a bigger distance between her face and the abnormal pool beneath her. As her toes dipped into the cool water behind her though, she flinched, automatically drawing herself up so that no part of her body was near the edge. No matter how disgusted she was, she couldn’t stop staring; her eyes were hypnotised by the gentle movements that swirled the colour into the water even more. The red had become so thick that not one tile beneath the surface was visible.
The more she stared, the more she remembered.
The more she remembered, the more she was pulled into her memory.
It might not have been real at that moment in time, but it had been, and Jenna was once again pulled into the unbearable memory.

About the Author

Mia Hoddell lives in the UK with her family and two cats. She spends most of her time writing or reading, loves anything paranormal and has an overactive imagination that keeps her up until the early hours of the morning.

With three poems published before the age of sixteen, Mia moved on to short stories but finding she had too much to tell with too little space, Mia progressed to novels. She started her first series (The Wanderer Trilogy) at the age of fourteen and since then hasn’t stopped writing. Elemental Killers is her second series and with an ever growing list of ideas, Mia is trying to keep up with the speed at which her imagination generates them.


Connect with Mia:


**Giveaway**

Prize: x3 Amazon gift cards ($5 or UK equivalent)

Rules: 
Winners must be able to accept Amazon gift cards.
Open to US and UK residents only.
Winners have 48hrs to respond before a new winner is chosen.

 




Saturday, 1 March 2014

Blog Tour: Banished by Liz de Jager

Hey everyone! Today is my stop on the blog tour for Banished by the wonderful Liz de Jager. She's written a fabulous post about going from blogger to author. Enjoy!

Hi Katie

Thanks so much for having me!

Going from book blogger to author is such a difficult one to chat about as it still feels a bit surreal.   I started My Favourite Books so long ago, before book blogging was a thing here in the UK.  Basically I had a captive audience as publishers didn’t quite know what to do with me.  I’m talking about kids reviews here, by the way.  Reviewing for adults and especially the genre market, blogs have been going for some time, especially in the States and Australia whereas the UK was a little slower on the uptake.

I ended up being invited to a lot of publisher events which was fantastic and maybe for the first year people would go: so what exactly does a blogger do? And then you’d explain how you’d read the book, write a review about it, interview an author and such.  And the other person would go: woah, that’s interesting and invariably they’d mean it.  And very few people would understand how much time it took; because working in publishing was their job and so that’s what they did all day.  They didn’t stop to think that blogging was a hobby, but a hobby that took up a lot of time.  It made for hugely interesting conversations and chats with publicity people and editors when they realised the expectations they were placing on bloggers were becoming more focussed.

Being a blogger is a weird thing, as you know.  You get the proof in the mail or the finished copy.  You follow an author online via their blog or twitter or tumblr and you chat to them.  To me authors initially seemed a little unreal.  Like...they’ve broken through a barrier or something.  This was what it was like for me when I started my blog or it can still be said for me, with some super famous authors whom I adore (Gaiman for instance), and a handful of others folks like Robin Hobb or the two Cathys (Cathy Hopkins and Cathy Cassidy).   I sort of don’t see them as real.  I hope they never read this, but really, it’s how it felt to me. I sort of put my idols on pedestals and when I got to interview and talk to them, I’d be scared and lose my voice (again with Gaiman who I think I scared by gurning at him during a signing).

Whilst I was blogging, and long before that even, I was writing stories.  Long stories, short stories.  I read countless how-to books and hoped that one day something might happen for me.  I started taking myself and my writing seriously in 2008.  I just had this moment of: if I don’t start taking myself seriously, no one else will.  

I changed the way I reviewed, I got reviewing partners and I started writing before work, during lunch and had dedicated hours after work and on weekends to write.  

When I got my agent and subsequently my book deal I fully suspected a little man with a sign to jump out of a closet and go: ha! Fooled you! This isn’t real. It was all fake. The joke is on YOU! 

That’s not yet happened, I’d like to point out, but it turns out feeling weird and fraudulent is not so unusual.  Everyone gets it –and lot of creative people feel like frauds, like they are going to be found out any minute! I would never be able to be a spy. Can you imagine the paranoia!? It’s bad enough being a debut author!

So, being on the cusp of having people read my book is really weird.  There’s this expectation lurking inside me: what will it be like? How should I react? Should I tweet reviews? Should I make friends with all the bloggers following me on Twitter whom I don’t know?  I feel like I have to behave like a grown up (I am 41) and the thought terrifies me because I don’t feel my age and I get ridiculous crushes on books and writers and want to share that with the world.  So, in the end I’ve opted to not change how I behave online (which is basically how I behave in real life: i.e. crazy fangirl about so many things) because that would be a lie.  And I’m not good at lying at all. Also it’s so tiring! Who has time for that? Trust me, I’m a writer! 

The stuff I learned as an almost published author?  

1. Publicity and marketing people work incredibly hard in the background to do All The Things.   


2. Editors are lovely people who want to make your wurdz really prettified and editorial teams are the bone and marrow of the industry.  They also like manuscripts returned to them secured with a pretty bow.  


3. Cover designers are insanely creative people and I wouldn’t want their job for all the tea in China. 
 

4. Writing is hard work.  You should enjoy doing it when you don’t have deadlines because when those deadlines roll around (especially for book two) you will find yourself writing till 2 in the morning and possibly learn how to type in your sleep.

5. Green and Blacks and Montezumas chocolates are lifesavers when it comes to doing edits.

6. You need to cut yourself some slack on occasion.  Sometimes you need to just walk away from the internet and your friends and go watch a rubbish movie or tv show because your nerves can’t cope anymore. 


7. Walking your dog (or cat or pet llama) is sometimes the best thing in all the world.

8. You will learn who your friends are.  Keep them close because they will be the ones to see you through thick and thin.

9. Don’t listen to the self-doubt but do listen to your agent and editor – they will guide you and invariably knows best!  

10. Don’t stop reading. Not ever.   


Thanks for stopping by, Liz! 

Banished is available to buy in paberback and on Kindle now, so go and get your copy! You can read my review of the book here. Be sure to stop by at The Book Zone For Boys tomorrow for the last stop on the Banished tour.

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