Sunday, 30 June 2013

Weekly Book Round Up! 30th June




 Weekly Book Round Up!

24th - 30th June

Welcome to another round up of what I've been posting on the blog, as well as the books I've been reading and acquiring over the past week. My blogoversary ended this week so I'll be contacting the winner today, check your emails if you entered! As always I love hearing from you, so let me know your thoughts or what you've been reading in the comments and I'll do my best to reply.

Currently reading: 

Hold Your Breath by Caroline Green
The Second Virginity of Suzy Green by Sara Hantz

Received Hold Your Breath for review and it looks really intriguing and I'm liking the premis so far! The Second Virginity of Suzy Green is my iPod read at the moment. Started it last night when I couldn't sleep and it's very enjoyable so far!

Books finished:
Geekhood: Close Encounters of the Girl Kind by Andy Robb
Finding Sky by Joss Sterling
Challenging Zed by Joss Sterling
All the Truth That's in Me by Julie Berry
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Books reviewed:

Kindle freebies:
For review:


Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keli
A Really Awesome Mess by Trish Cook and Brendan Halpin
Tunnelville by Erin Callahan and Troy H. Gardner

These were both read now on NetGalley and both look right up my street. Thanks Egmont and Peachtree! Tunnelville is the sequel to Wakefield which I reviewed recently and really enjoyed. It had a great cliffhanger ending so I'm really excited to read the sequel! Thanks to Erin Callahan for the review copy.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

News Round Up! 29th June


Welcome to another round up of the latest YA news! Here's where I post the news stories that have been catching my eye over the past week.

Ally Carter has announced a new deal for a YA trilogy with Scholastic titled Embasy Row. Read more about the deal and read a short synopsis of the new book here on PublishersWeekly.

A German trailer for City of Bones was released this week which is jam packed with lots of new footage! There's quite a lot of important scenes in this one so I'd be weary if you're trying to avoid spoilers. You can watch the trailer below.


Also, Hot Topic has released a sneak peak of the accompanying clothing line. Read more about that over on Fandomsnews.

Leakycon Portland is taking place this week. You can follow all the goings on from the Harry Potter fan conference on the official Leakycon Twitter.

And speaking of Harry Potter, there are new covers being released left right and center right now. You can see the newly designed adult covers for the first three books over on the Bookseller. The new US design for Prisoner of Azkaban was also revealed this week. You can see that cover over on Hypable.

The Divergent photos released in Entertainment Weekly are now available in high-res. You can see them over on Hypable.  Divergent author Veronica Roth has also been speaking about the new Four-centric short stories and the filming of the ferris wheel scene for the film adaptation. You can read more about those stories here and here thanks to Fandomsnews.

Which of these news stories are you most excited about? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!



Friday, 28 June 2013

Review: Glass Houses by Rachel Caine





Glass Houses by Rachel Caine

Author: Rachel Caine Website|Twitter
Published: 26 May 2008 (Allison & Busby)
Format: E-book
Pages: 223
Buy the paperback: Amazon|Waterstone's|Book Depository
Buy the e-book: Kindle|Kobo

Source: Borrowed from e-library

Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
Peer pressure sucks.
So do vampires - Morganville is a small town filled with unusual characters - when the sun goes down, the bad come out. 

In Morganville, there is an evil that lurks in the darkest shadows - one that will spill out into the bright light of day.
For Claire Danvers, high school was hell, but college may be murder. 

It was bad enough that she got on the wrong side of Monica, the meanest of the school's mean girls, but now she's got three new roommates, who all have secrets of their own.
 
My Review:
This is one of those series I've been meaning to read for absolutely ages. It seems like I'm probably one of the last people on the planet to start the Morganville Vampires series! Glass Houses is the first book and introduces us to Claire, who's studying in the town of Morganville. When she decides to move out her school's dorm she meets some new people who enlighten her to the secret history of the town; that it's run by vampires.

It was really easy to get into this book because straight away we see what a crappy time of it Claire is having. I completely sympathised with her. She's being bullied pretty bad at school and is desperate to escape. I liked how different Glass Houses felt to other supernatural series I've read. Most of the action takes place outside of school which was interesting. And because Claire has such a rough time of it there, the only characters we really see her interact and bond with are the new people she meets when she moves out. 

The story really gets interesting when Claire moves into the Glass House where she meets Eve, Shane and Michael. And oh my god, I loved all of them! Eve was really nice and caring and I loved how she took Claire in and looked out for her. I thought Shane was really funny and Michael was completely intriguing. The relationship with the group and Claire was really sweet. They totally look out for her whilst at the same time she becomes somebody they can confide in. It felt like Claire was meant to be there the whole time.

The romance in Glass Houses took a bit of a backseat which was another thing I really liked. It wasn't shoved in your face but you could tell there was chemistry between certain characters. I also thought it was interesting that although it's a vampire novel, the focus was on the non-vampire characters. The vampires still played an important role but it gave you a chance to get to know Claire and her friends first.

I adored the world building in Glass Houses. Morganville is a town run by vampires, which is not something everyone knows, including Claire. Her ignorance to what was really happening made it work really well when she starts discovering what's going on as Eve, Michael and Shane explain it to her, because you learn everything as she does.

The book had a pretty gentle pace and as I got to the halfway point I was starting to wonder when something was going to happen. The second half of the book definitely picked up and all the build up was worth it. There was plenty of mystery and I liked waiting for certain things to be revealed. There was a real cliffhanger at the end too which left me dying to read the next book.

Glass Houses was a pleasantly surprising read that hooked me in and made me fall in love with the characters. The writing was punchy and funny and I really liked the unique feel to it. I may be a latecomer to the series but the exciting thing is that I know have a whole load more books to read after this one! And I can't wait to immerse myself into more of this world.

Rating: 4*
What to read next: The Dead Girls' Dance by Rachel Caine, book 2 in the Morganville Vampires series

Books like this: Evernight by Claudia Gray

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Review: Insignia by S. J. Kincaid


Insignia by S. J. Kincaid
Author: S. J. Kincaid Website|Twitter
Published: 26 July 2012 (Hot Key Books)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 446
Buy the paperback: Amazon|BookDepository
Buy the e-book: Kindle

Source: Borrowed from library

Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
More than anything, Tom Raines wants to be important, though his shadowy life is anything but that. For years, Tom’s drifted from casino to casino with his unlucky gambler of a dad, gaming for their survival. Keeping a roof over their heads depends on a careful combination of skill, luck, con artistry, and staying invisible.

Then one day, Tom stops being invisible. Someone’s been watching his virtual-reality prowess, and he’s offered the incredible—a place at the Pentagonal Spire, an elite military academy. There, Tom’s instincts for combat will be put to the test, and if he passes, he’ll become a member of the Intrasolar Forces, helping to lead his country to victory in World War Three. Finally, he’ll be someone important: a superhuman war machine with the tech skills that every virtual-reality warrior dreams of. Life at the Spire holds everything that Tom’s always wanted—friends, the possibility of a girlfriend, and a life where his every action matters—but what will it cost him?


My Review:
This book had been glaring at me from the library shelves for a while and I knew it wouldn't be long before I caved and checked it out! Insignia follows Tom as he finds himself recruited to Washington to take place in the military training academy, where recruits prepare to become combatants fighting in World War Three.

There were so many things I liked about Insignia! Firstly it's male POV which I always love, and Tom himself is an extremely likable character. Early on we see his existence isn't all that great. His dad is addicted to gambling and ends up neglecting Tom and leaving him with a very disrupted childhood, for example he misses a lot of school. But despite everything he has to put up with, Tom has this great ability at playing virtual reality games. I could see from the beginning that he had this great potential and he didn't let me down.

The world the book takes place in is fascinating as well. The virtual reality environments play a huge part. Not only does Tom play virtual reality games but once he gets to the Pentagonal Spire where his classes take place, we see the lessons involve those virtual reality simulations. And I'll be honest, they were so cool. I loved seeing Tom transported to all these different environments and the author has used to to create some brilliant settings which were wonderfully described, for example when Tom and his classmates take on characters from the King Arthur legend in their virtual reality setting to stage a battle.

One of my favourite characters from Insignia was most definitely Tom's roommate Vik. He's absolutely hilarious, and the way the two boys bounce off each other really made me laugh. Their friendship kind of reminded me of Harry and Ron from Harry Potter. They have that great sense of humour between them where they can take the mick out of each other but at the same time they really help one another out. The other students they hang around with were pretty cool, too. I thought Wyatt was a great addition to the group as well because she's not your typical girl, and she's pretty damn smart. I loved that.

There's lots of technology and cool stuff in Insignia but despite the heavy terminology I was always able to keep up. It helped that I found it all really interesting! Each of the kids at the Pentagonal Spire are given a neural transmitter which is inserted into their brains, giving them technology inside their heads. It meant they got cool little information displays in the corner of their eye that gave them information about a person they'd just met etc. You don't have to understand all the nitty gritty of what's being explained because most of it is glossed over and explained in general terms. It liked that the kids had these lessons where they had to use their brains and then got to come up with computer viruses to use on each other. It definitely made me want to read more sci-fi!

I think fans of post apocalyptic and dystopian fiction will adore Insignia. There's this whole war going on, a controlling regime Tom gets wrapped up in and plenty of suspicious characters high up in the government. It's also a very political novel, with both the government and these big corporations who sponsor the combatants trying to gain this control over people like Tom. There were also a whole load of shady characters, and trying to work out who exactly Tom could trust was really interesting.

There's so much to love about Insignia, from the incredible characters and the fantastic humour, to the fascinating world the book takes place in. I loved all the futuristic technology and virtual reality. It really stood out from other novels I'd read and the writing was incredible. I can't wait to read more about these characters and find out what adventures they get up to in the next book. I can't recommend Insignia highly enough!

Rating: 5*
What to read next: Vortex by S. J. Kincaid, the next book in the Insignia trilogy or Allied by S. J. Kincaid, an Insignia novella
Books like this: Cinder by Marissa Meyer, Spy School by Stuart Gibbs

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (#1): Vortex by S. J. Kincaid


Waiting on Wednesday is hosted over at Breaking the Spine and gives bloggers the chance to highlight the upcoming releases we're excited about. This is my first Waiting on Wednesday post so I'm really excited to take part!


Vortex (Insignia, #2) by S. J. Kincaid
Published: 4th July 2013 (Hot Key Books)

Plot summary: The impossible was just the beginning. Now in their second year as superhuman government weapons-in-training at the Pentagonal Spire, Tom Raines and his friends are mid-level cadets in the elite combat corps known as the Intrasolar Forces. But as training intensifies and a moment arrives that could make or break his entire career, Tom’s loyalties are again put to the test.

Are you excited for Vortex? Which book are you waiting on this week? Let me know in the comments - I'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Review: Addicted to You by Colina Brennan

Note: This book is New Adult and will contain themes that may not be suitable for younger readers. For more information on New Adult and my policy on reviewing it, please read this post. Thank you!




Addicted to You by Colina Brennan

Author: Colina Brennan Website|Twitter
Published: 25th June 2013
Format: E-book
Pages: 222
Buy the e-book: Kindle|Kobo

Source: Received free copy from New Leaf Literary in exchange for an honest review

Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
When twenty-one-year-old Leah Carter's latest one night stand burglarizes her apartment, her roommate forces her to attend therapy for sex addicts. Leah insists she isn't a sex addict; she just doesn't do relationships. After all, sooner or later, everyone lets you down.

My Review:
Addicted to You follows Leah who is attending therapy for sex addiction, despite being sure she doesn't have a problem. Only things get more complicated when the mysterious "Blue Eyes" starts turning up to therapy sessions and she finds her willpower well and truly tested.

I was sent this book to review as part of the Addicted to New Adult promotion and I was immediately hooked by that synopsis. I was completely intrigued about the idea of a character attending therapy for sex addiction because the subject is something that is brought up in the media a lot. I liked how it was handled and how it didn't ridicule the idea of sex addiction like so many people do. Leah ends up going because her friend and roommate forces her after a one night stand burgles her apartment. Despite the fact Leah isn't a full blown sex addict, it's quite clear she has relationship issues and so it was interesting to see that explored and learn about her past and what's influenced the way she sees herself and her relationships with others.

The book is told in chapters alternating between Leah and Will, a psychology research student who is sent undercover to Leah's therapy group to learn more about the treatment process from the inside. Cue instant attraction and a developing love story! Needless to say the romance doesn't run smoothly, especially considering the fact that Will is hiding the fact he isn't a genuine sex addict. I loved the ups and downs in their relationship and the amazing chemistry and sexual tension between the two of them. This was quite a short book so I could maybe have done with a bit more build up in the beginning, but as soon as the two characters started talking and interacting you could just feel the connection. And there are plenty of intense and steamy scenes to look forward to!

I have to say Will completely made this book for me. I rarely say this about any character, but he was definitely swoon-worthy. I mean, he's Scottish (any guy with an accent is instantly more attractive, right?) he's adopted a stray cat called Bonny (he loves animals = cute) and he really looks out for Leah. New fictional boyfriend material, for sure. I defy you to read this book and not fall for Will!

The characters in Addicted to You are a real strength and, despite the short length of the story, are incredibly well developed. I felt like I really got to know them and the attention to detail when building those characters was wonderful. When I wasn't swooning over Will I was definitely drawn to Leah who is extremely likable. I loved her relationship with her little brother Elijah, who she's pretty much taken sole responsibility for. They just had such a great bond and I always love seeing brother/sister relationships like theirs that really come from the heart. She's a student who dreams of being a writer and I really liked that glimpses into that creative side of herself.

As well as Leah and Will, the smaller characters had their time to shine as well. Leah's best friend Helena and Will's best friend Finn get their own little plotlines which I was just as invested in. They also provided that humour between friends which made it a very enjoyable read. I could really relate to Leah and Helena's friendship as well, as it felt so realistic and recognisable.

Addicted to You delivered incredible characters and a romance I got totally carried away with. I thought the premise was really unique and the writing gripping and well executed. I only wish it was longer so I could spend more time with Will! If you love NA then you won't want to miss this one.

Rating: 4*
Books like this: Losing It by Cora McCormack

Monday, 24 June 2013

Addicted to New Adult



Today kicks off New Leaf Literary's Addicted to New Adult campaign, where bloggers are getting together to share why they fell for New Adult.

As a twenty-two year old, NA is an age category with huge appeal to me. The characters are going through similar things to me to and it's great to be able to relate to those characters. It also gives scope for issues to be delved into a little deeper than they can with YA. So far the NA novels I've read have hugely impressed me and I can't wait to get my teeth stuck into more of them!

You can read my reviews of some fantastic NA novels below, along with the reasons why I loved them:

One Week by Nikki Van De Car
Plot summary (from Goodreads):
Reluctant celebutante Bee had everything that second tier fame could offer—and hated every bit of it. In search of an identity of her own, not some media creation, she takes off from LA with nothing. Bee discovers that one week can change everything. She may even have a chance at love. But is it real or just another illusion?
Why I fell in love with it: This was a real story of self-discovery, with Bee having to really grow up as she enters the big wide world for the first time.




Suddenly Royal by Nichole Chase
Plot summary (from Goodreads):
Samantha Rousseau is used to getting her hands dirty. Working toward a master’s degree in wildlife biology while helping take care of her sick father, she has no time for celebrity gossip, designer clothes, or lazy vacations. So when a duchess from the small country of Lilaria invites her to dinner, Samantha assumes it’s to discuss a donation for the program. The truth will change the course of her life in ways she never dreamed.
Why I fell in love with it: The main character, Sam, was definitely a character I could look up to. I loved seeing the story told from the perspective of a grad student who obviously cares a lot about her work. Yay for smart people!

The Edge of Never by J. A. Redmerski
Plot summary (from Goodreads):
Twenty-year-old Camryn Bennett thought she knew exactly where her life was going. But after a wild night at the hottest club in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, she shocks everyone-including herself-when she decides to leave the only life she's ever known and set out on her own. Grabbing her purse and her cell phone, Camryn boards a Greyhound bus ready to find herself. Instead, she finds Andrew Parrish.
Why I fell in love with it: This book was packed with amazing chemistry and made me crave more NA contemporary romance. It delved into some darker issues as well which was done really well.



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Sunday, 23 June 2013

Weekly Book Round Up! 23rd June


Weekly Book Round Up!

16th - 23rd June 

This is my weekly recap of the books I've been reading and the things I've been posting on the blog from over the past week. It also gives me a chance to share the books I've been acquiring over the week. I love hearing your thoughts in the comments! Let me know which books you've been reading or which of the books I got my hands on I should read next.

Currently reading:
Geekhood: Close Encounters of the Girl Kind by Andy Robb

I won the second book in this series (see below!) so I downloaded this one from the library straight away. I'd been wanting to read it for a while and I'm so glad I've bumped it up the list because it's freaking hilarious!

Books finished:
Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness
Addicted to You by Colina Brennan

Books reviewed:

Won:
Geekhood: Mission Improbable by Andy Robb
Waiting for Gonzo by Dave Cousins

Huge thank you to Laura at SisterSpooky for these amazing signed books! I've been wanting to check out the Geekhood books for a while and Waiting for Gonzo was one I didn't know much about so I'm really excited to dive in. The bookmark (in the middle of the photo) is super cute as well!

Library books:

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
Geekhood: Close Encounters of the Girl Kind by Andy Robb

I finally have my hands of The 5th Wave! You can't avoid the hype for this one so I'm really intrigued to see if it lives up to it. I read the free chapter sampler and really enjoyed it so I'm excited to carry on. And I downloaded Geekhood through Overdrive from my library to read after winning the sequel.


For review:


Addicted to You by Colina Brennnan

I was sent an e-book copy of this as part of New Leaf Literary's Addicted to New Adult promotion.My review should be up next week!


Hold Your Breath by Caroline Green

This was a complete surprise waiting for me when I got home from work yesterday! It looks really interesting though and right up my street. Thanks Piccadilly Press!

Kindle Freebies:
I am the Enemy You Killed, My Friend by John Stephen

I saw the publisher tweet about this one on Twitter and it looks a bit different - about a young war veteran.


Other posts:
Top Ten Tuesday: Books at the Top of My Summer TBR
News Round Up!

Saturday, 22 June 2013

News Round Up! 22nd June


Here's my latest round up of this week's YA news stories. Enjoy!

A plethora of new stills from Divergent filming were released this week thanks to an issue of Entertainment Weekly. You can check out the image over on FandomsNews.com at this link.

Divergent fans will also be happy to learn that more short stories focussing on Four are in the works. Read more about the e-book shorts over on Veronica Roth's blog.

There's exciting news for fans of Lauren Oliver as the rights to her as yet unreleased YA novel Panic has already been picked up by Universal. Read more about the story over on The Wrap.

The winner of the Carnegie Medal was announced this week. The excellent Maggot Moon took home the prize. You can find out more about the prize and see clips from the ceremony on the Carnegie Medal website. Don't forget to check out my review of Maggot Moon right here as well!

More posters for the latest Percy Jackson film, Sea of Monsters, have been released. See the group posters over at Fandomsnews.com.

And finally check out this awesome book trailer for Ink by Amanda Sun which is published in July by MiraInk.






Which of these news stories are you most excited about? Let me know in the comments!

Friday, 21 June 2013

Review: Crossing the Line (Pushing the Limits, #1.5) by Katie McGarry


Crossing the Line by Katie McGarry
 
Author: Katie McGarry Website|Twitter
Published: 1 April 2013 (MiraINK)
Format: Kindle e-book
Pages: 67
Buy the e-book: Kindle|Kobo

Source: Kindle freebie

Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
Lila McCormick first met Lincoln Turner when tragedy struck both their lives. But she never expected their surprise encounter would lead to two years of exchanging letters-or that she'd fall for the boy she's only seen once. Their relationship is a secret, but Lila feels closer to Lincoln than anyone else. Until she finds out that he lied to her about the one thing she depended on him for the most.

My Review:
I really loved Pushing the Limits so I was intrigued by this novella. I've been putting off reading it because I don't usually bother with these little extras because they cost a lot of money for what you get, but when it was made available for free how could I possibly resist?!

Crossing the Line follows Lila and Lincoln, as they deal with the aftermath of the death of Lincoln's brother. When they meet at the funeral they decide to stay in touch via writing letters, and soon strike up a close friendship.

The first thing to win me over with this story was the letter writing thing. I am an absolute sucker for books that include letters and emails or anything like that, more so the letter because I love letter writing and it's something that seems to be dying out. The book opens with a letter and then little excerpts from Lila and Lincoln's letters are used at the beginning of chapters. I thought it was really sweet to see glimpses at what they wrote to each other.

Crossing the Line alternates between Lila and Lincoln so we get to learn a lot about them both. For a short story I definitely felt I knew the characters and even in that short time they were incredibly well developed. They both had their vulnerabilities and it was good to see how they helped each other overcome them.

The chemistry in Crossing the Line was the absolute winning thing about it. Lila and Lincoln have this amazing connection and obviously care about each other so much. They had a few obstacles to overcome which added a bit of tension. When I was writing my notes whilst reading this there were a lot of exclamation marks! They were just so cute together, I absolutely loved them. And the kissing! Oh there's lots of kissing. Yay.

This is a novella set between Pushing the Limits and the next book in the series Dare You To. You could probably read this on its own but it does give away some of what happens in Pushing the Limits. The story stands on its own but there are lots of references to Pushing the Limits, such as Lincoln's brother Josh having a connection with Echo's brother and references to Beth, the character who takes the central role in Dare You To. Echo and Noah make an appearance in the shape of a phone call. I was really excited to see them and learn what they were up to.

I'm so glad I got a chance to read this one. It reminded me what I love about Katie McGarry's writing and got me really excited to read more from this series. I think looking back I would have been quite happy to pay for this novella. It felt substantial enough and I came away feeling like I'd been immersed in the story and gotten to know some amazing characters. If you loved Pushing the Limits then definitely get your hands on this!

Rating: 5*
What to read next: Dare You To by Katie McGarry
Books like this: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry, Feeling Sorry for Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Review: Starlet's Light (Starlet Series, #3) by Carla J. Hanna

Spoiler warning! This is the 3rd book in the Starlet series and will contain spoilers from books 1 and 2. Read my review of the 1st book, Starlet's Web, right here, or the 2nd book, Starlet's Run, here. You have been warned!


Starlet's Light by Carla J. Hanna

Author: Carla J. Hanna Website|Twitter
Published: 1 May 2013 (CreateSpace)
Format: Kindle e-book
Pages: 322
Buy the paperback: Amazon
Buy the e-book: Kindle

Source: Received free copy from author in exchange for an honest review

Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
Isolated on set in the United Kingdom, Lia struggles through the 5 Stages of Grief while shooting her last feature film. Cancer survivor, Oscar winner, and victim of several crimes, Lia sinks into despair as her heart fails. With supportive childhood friend Manuel Biro, and the help from Swiss billionaire-heir Pierre Lambert, Lia is 'so done' with acting and learns that she needs more than just a man's love to prevail.

My Review:
This is the third book in the Starlet series and follows Lia/Marie as she heads to the UK to start filming her latest project. With the moment she meets Pierre fast approaching and her health still in the balance, there's still a lot for her to deal with.

I was really excited to read this book as I knew there were going to be scenes in the UK. It was really cool to see Wales used as a filming location because let's face it, Wales gets neglected a lot when people think of the UK. I love the scenes where Marie is on set and we get a sneak peak at the movie business.

There was tons of drama to sink your teeth into with Starlet's Light. Marie is still having health issues and it seems her life is hanging in the balance at times. I really feared for her. It was also really moving to see her relationship with her mother, whose health is deteriorating even faster. They've had a lot to overcome and it's not easy, but it was really heartbreaking to read about.

What I was most looking forward to in this book was a chance to really meet Pierre. In the previous two books we've only heard from him in email conversations and I couldn't wait for him to make an appearance as Marie heads to Europe. And I wasn't disappointed! He was just as charming and gorgeous a character as I was hoping him to be and I was doing all sorts of squeeing as Marie realises how much she cares about him. I was really rooting for the two of them from the last book and they had great chemistry together in person. I adored that we got to see Pierre's family too and how they became included in the story.

Sadly, Manuel was still very much present and I disliked him even more in this book. He's still completely horrible and very controlling. What made it worse is that Marie seemed to have lost all ability to make decisions for herself, and instead made her choices of who to be with based on everybody else telling her who she'd be better of with. I feel like Marie has the potential to be that strong character and make decisions but she's far too easily influenced by those around her in Starlet's Light, and seems to spend more time talking to people about being in a relationship with someone than actually enjoying being in one. In the middle of all the drama with Manuel it seemed like Pierre got forgotten about which made me sad.

The first half of Starlet's Light was definitely more enjoyable for me and like the previous books it raised some really important issues. I liked the plotline about Marie's health and what her future holds. She had some really tough things to face up to such as the chance she may not have children. There were also some really tense scenes where her stalker shows up on the scene. I've become really invested in the characters so with one more book left to read I'd definitely be interested in carrying on with the series. I just hope Marie gets a chance to become a stronger, happier character in future and that Manuel gets what's coming to him!

Rating: 3*
What to read next: Starlet's End by Carla J. Hanna, the unreleased final book in the series
Books like this: The Rock Star's Daughter by Caitlyn Duffy

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Audio Review: Teen Idol by Meg Cabot



 Teen Idol by Meg Cabot
Author: Meg Cabot Website|Twitter
Narrator: Elisabeth Moss IMDB
Published: 31 October 2006 (Listening Library)
Format: MP3 download
Running time: 5 hours, 59 minutes (unabridged)
Buy the paperback: Amazon|Waterstone's|BookDepository
Buy the e-book: Kindle|Kobo
Buy the audio: Amazon

Source: Borrowed from e-library

Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
High school junior Jenny Greenley is good at solving other people's problems ... so good she's the school newspapers' anonymous advice columnist. Even if solving other people's problems doesn't make her own—like not having a boyfriend—go away, it's still fun. But when nineteen-year-old screen sensation Luke Striker comes to Jen's small town to reserach a role, he creates havor that even levelheaded Jenny isn't sure she can repair... especially when he asks her, and not Jenny's Luke Striker-groupie best friend, to the Clayton High Spring Fling.

Can Jen, who always manages to be there for everybody else, learn to take her own advice, and find true love at last?
 


Plot review:
Teen Idol tells the story of Jen who works as an agony aunt for the "Ask Annie" segment of her school paper. Her teachers then entrust her with the knowledge that famous actor Luke Striker will be joining the school as research for his latest film project, and they assign Jen to be his student guide.

I'll be honest, it took me a little while to get into the flow of this one. The story starts out with Jen telling lots of anecdote about her school life as a way to introduce us to her fellow characters and setting the scene. I thought this part of the book went on for far too long and soon I was getting slightly impatient and itching to get to a part where something important happens.

The story really picks up when Luke Striker arrives at the school. Understandably all the girls go crazy for him so it added a lot of interest to the story. Luke as a character didn't play quite a big a role as I was expecting, but he did surprise me by being a really fascinating character. I loved how he saw the best in Jen and tried to help her out, even if it didn't always go as planned!

I really fell in love with the whole idea of the school's Ask Annie project. At the start of each chapter you get a question from someone who's written in to the paper which is then answered by Jen who writes secretly as Annie. I thought it was a great platform for Jen and really helped me as a reader get inside her head. I ended up agreeing with all the advice she gave too! The girl talks sense. I also loved the sarcasm and humour Jen demonstrates as well as her sensitivity. There were other aspects of school life I loved too, like Jen's reluctant involvement in show choir which had me giggling away.

There's lots of romance to get stuck into with Jen developing a crush on Luke. There's also the matter of her best friend Scott who is a really nice guy. Then of course there are the many, many girls who want to try and win Luke's affections, as well as Jen's best friend having relationship drama.

Jen herself goes on a real journey as a character throughout Teen Idol and we see her change and develop in both good ways and not so good ways. I loved seeing her stand up for herself a bit more and take on some of Luke's advice.

Despite it's slow start I did settle into this book and ended up enjoying it, particularly the second half. The ending was really sweet and I liked how all the little bits of the story came together.

Plot rating: 4*

Audio review:
Unfortunately I didn't really enjoy the audiobook experience of this one. The copy I downloaded from the library wasn't the best quality, but obviously that might have just been a problem on my end so I'm not going to judge it on that. It was more the narration that was a bit of an issue for me. It didn't flow very well and there were pauses in odd place sand it sometimes sounded like the narrator was running out of breath.

I did, however, think the narrator had the voice of Jen spot on and it did help bring her character to life. The slightly sarcastic Ask Annie segments at the beginning of each chapter really packed a punch. I just wish that could have carried to the rest of the story.

Audio rating: 2*

What to read next: The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot
Books like this: Hidden Gem by India Lee

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Books At The Top Of My Summer TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish and this week's list is books top of your summer to-read list. There's so many books I want/need to read this summer (if summer ever arrives...) but here are the essentials! Links go to Goodreads so you can add them to your summer TBR if you wish ;)


 

1 & 2. Paper Aeroplanes by Dawn O' Porter & Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Okay so these two are at the top because Wein and O'Porter are the only two confirmed authors for Leakycon London which takes place in August. I'm going to be there so I need to read these books! And I'm actually really excited about them both because I've heard amazing things about Code Name Verity and Paper Aeroplanes looks really intriguing.



3. All the Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry

This comes out in August in the UK and I had the chance to request a proof copy to review. It sounds like one to watch and I was completely hooked by the plot summary: Four years ago, Judith and her best friend disappeared from their small town of Roswell Station. Two years ago, only Judith returned, permanently mutilated, reviled and ignored by those who were once her friends and family. Unable to speak, Judith lives like a ghost in her own home, silently pouring out her thoughts to the boy who’s owned her heart as long as she can remember—even if he doesn’t know it—her childhood friend, Lucas.



4. House of Secrets by Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini
 I won this in a giveaway and I was already buzzing about it before the release, but it's still sitting unread on my bedside table - oopsie! Must get round to it this summer because it looks like good fun.

5. The Wolfstone Curse by Justin Richards
Saw this in a publisher's catalogue and my library already had it available to request, even though it's not out until July, so I'll be getting my hands on it in time for summer reading. Sounds like a great action adventure with a bit of archaeology and werewolves thrown in for good measure.





6. Summer Unplugged by Amy Sparling
 It has summer in the title so I must read it! I got this for free on my Kindle ages ago and I've been saving it for the summer. The main character ends up having to live without technology which sounds like a great story and something I could never do.

7. Camp Kiss by J. K. Rock
 This is a prequel novella to Camp Boyfriend which was available for free. It sounds really sweet and summer camp - woo!

Again, another summer themed novel I've been saving. Heard good things about this trilogy.




9. Hopeless by Colleen Hoover
 I bought this ages ago and it's still on my Kindle, but I'm aiming to read it as part of the NA readathon in July. I've heard so many good things about this book and this author so I can't wait to get stuck in.
.
10. Freshman Forty by Christine Duval
Another book I'm saving for the NA readathon. It's about a girl who discovers she's pregnant a few weeks into her college course which sounds like a great premise. It definitely sounds like something that is perfect to address in an NA novel.


Which books are top of your summer TBR? Let me know in the comments and if you have your own top ten post then link me up and I'll check it out!


 

Monday, 17 June 2013

Review: Gemini Rising by Eleanor Wood



 Gemini Rising by Eleanor Wood

Author: Eleanor Wood Website|Twitter
Published: 7 June 2013 (Carina)
Format: Kindle e-book
Buy the e-book: Kindle|Kobo

Source: Received free copy to review from author/publisher via NetGalley

Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
How far would you go to fit in? Sorana Salem is ok with being not quite bottom of the pile at her exclusive private school. Until the mysterious Johansson twins arrive unexpectedly mid-term. Hypnotically beautiful and immensely cool, magnetic Elyse and mute Melanie aren’t like the school’s usual identikit mean girls.Soon Sorana’s sharing sleepovers and Saturday nights out with the twins. But their new world of Ouidja boards and older boys might not be as simple as it seems. And the dark secrets that they share could be about to take Sorana down a path that’s impossible to turn back from…

My Review:
Gemini Rising tells the story of Sorana, whose world is tipped upside down by the arrival of two new girls at her school; twins Elyse and Melanie. Suddenly weird stuff is happening and the social spectrum is changing as Sorana and her friends get caught up in the twins' lives.

I could tell I was going to like this book from early on, because as soon as I started reading it I fell straight in love with the British setting. I love books set in the UK (and don't read nearly enough of them!) so it was really refreshing to dive straight in to a book set in a British sixth form. The scenes were so familiar and the pop culture references were spot on and made me laugh. I think I enjoyed the story even more because of that feel to it.

When Elyse and Melanie arrive Sorana finds herself drawn to them, as does the rest of the school. The twins were these fascinating characters who provide the backbone to the story, even though it's told from Sorana's point of view. I loved how different they were. Elyse was this bold, outgoing, loud character who completely dominates every scene she's in and Mel was really quiet. My curiosity about Mel was piqued all the way through and I couldn't wait to find out more about her because I just couldn't shake that feeling there was more than meets the eye! The story itself is completely gripping because of that constant feeling of there being something bigger going on and it all leading to something, and throughout the book the suspense just builds and builds. 

The characters were the real strength in Gemini Rising and they were all incredibly well developed. Sorana herself is likable and has a great voice that narrates the story. I adored the relationship with her mum and sister as well as her mum's boyfriend Pete. The family dynamic was just spot on! Her mum is slightly overprotective yet they still seem to have a strong bond underneath it. It was interesting to see how Sorana juggled her moral compass when it came to trying to gain a bit of independence.

The book tackles some really great issues and ideas. Elyse is putting a lot of pressure on Sorana and her friends Shimmi and Nathalie, and the things she manipulates them into doing aren't that nice. There's shoplifting, drugs and bullying, but it demonstrated a very realistic take on things like that. I was impressed by how well the author managed to display Sorana getting swept up in these things but without making her a horrible character. Sorana is somebody who gets manipulated and controlled by peer pressure and I think it's a situation she has very little say in. Elyse spends all this time making her feel special and important and I think Sorana is very vulnerable to that because she feels like an outcast. There's a really great line in the book where Sorana talks about finding her "soulmate like friends" and I could completely relate to that desire to want to fit in and have a place in a group of friends, because that's something we've all felt at some point, even if that desire is misplaced.

Another thing I really enjoyed in Gemini Rising was the presence of music within the story. Sorana is obsessed by Trouble Every Day - a local band. I remember what a huge part of my life music was at that age (for me the obsession was Green Day!) and so I was really excited to see Sorana getting excited about gigs and finding other people who loved the band as much as she did. It's only a small detail but I think it was hugely important in creating that completely realistic feel of the book. I also found the focus on astrology really intriguing. Elyse has all this knowledge but the author has done really well at integrating it into the story so it doesn't feel like some sort of astrology textbook. It was interesting without being dull!

It couldn't be a YA novel without a touch of a love story and I enjoyed seeing Sorana juggle her feelings for the two main male leads. There's Josh, a son of one of her mum's friends who she's got history with, and the mysterious Jago who catches her attention. It didn't dominate the story but it was really nicely weaved in. I think because I came to care so much about Sorana I really enjoyed seeing her get a chance at finding a bit of love and attention!

I think Gemini Rising will appeal to a good range of people, from fans of contemporary to those who love a good mystery or thriller. It reminded me in places of Em Bailey's Shift so if you loved that then I'd definitely recommend getting your hands on this one, because I loved it even more. Gemini Rising created the perfect balance of fun characters with great senses of humour, drama by the bucket-full and this underlying tension which made it ultra creepy. Reading it really kept me on my toes and I was so desperate to keep reading and find out just what was going on and about to happen. The ending was a fast-paced, roller-coaster ride that really toyed with the emotions! It's a book I'll definitely be recommending from now on and I hope to see more from this author in the future.

Rating: 5*
Books like this: Shift by Em Bailey


Sunday, 16 June 2013

Weekly Book Round Up! 16th June




 Weekly Book Round Up!

Lots to catch up on this week! I'm posting this late on Sunday because I've had family commitments this weekend. It did mean a few train journeys, though, and they make great places to read! Here's a recap of what I've been reading and reviewing this week, as well as the books I've been getting my hands on.

Links go to Goodreads or my reviews.

Currently reading:
Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness
Finding Sky by Joss Sterling

Monsters of Men is from the library and Finding Sky is my Kindle read. I only took my Kindle away with me so ended up starting this one on the train. I'm enjoying them both equally so I don't know which one to stick with!

Books finished:
Gemini Rising by Eleanor Ward
The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
Program 13 by Nicole Sobon

These are all books I received to review so it felt like a very productive week! My review of Gemini Rising will be coming asap, and my reviews of The Testing and Program 13 will be up in July so keep an eye out for those!


Freebies:
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (free Sync audiobook)
Fated by Alyson Noel (free from the iBooks store)
Vampire University by V. J. Jackson (Kindle freebie)
Just Like Heaven by Clarissa Carlyle (Kindle freebie)
Inevitable by Tamara Hart Heiner (Kindle freebie)
The Forgotten Ones by Laura Howard (Kindle freebie)

I've already read The Raven Boys and didn't get on that well with it, but I'm going to try and give it another go at some point and see if I enjoy the audio any more. Excited about Fated as well! 

For review:
Gemini Rising by Eleanor Ward


Finished this already and it was fantastic! Huge thank you to the author and Carina for the review copy.

Library holds:
Vortex by S. J. Kincaid

This comes out next month and I loved Insignia. Excited!

Other posts:
Teaser Tuesdays
 News Round Up!

What books have you been reading or getting your hands on this week? I'd love to hear from you in the comments! 

Review: The Rising (Darkness Rising, #3) by Kelley Armstrong

 Spoiler warning! This is the third and final book in the Darkness Rising trilogy and will contain spoilers for the first two books. You can read my reviews of The Gathering and The Calling instead, otherwise avert your eyes or else be spoiled. You have been warned!


The Rising by Kelley Armstrong

Author: Kelley Armstrong Website|Twitter
Published: 2 April 2013 (Atom)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 406
Buy the paperback: Amazon|Waterstone's|BookDepository
Buy the e-book: Kindle|Kobo

Source: Borrowed

Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
Things are getting desperate for Maya and her friends. Hunted by the St. Clouds and a rival Cabal, they’re quickly running out of places to hide. And with the whole world thinking they died in a helicopter crash, it’s not like they can just go to the authorities for help.

All they have is the name and number of someone who might be able to give them a few answers. Answers to why they’re so valuable, and why their supernatural powers are getting out of control.

But Maya is unprepared for the truths that await her. And now, like it or not, she’ll have to face down some demons from her past if she ever hopes to move on with her life. Because Maya can’t keep running forever.


My Review:
I really enjoyed the first two books in this trilogy so I've been eager to read the third and final book! The Rising picks up with Maya, Daniel and Cory on the run in Vancouver. They're torn between escaping the people on their tail and reaching out the only people who can explain more about what's happening to them.

As with any book in a series or trilogy, I tend to look at it as both a novel on its own as well as how it fits in with the preceding books. On its own, I think The Rising really holds its own. It had a great plot and I ended up devouring the book in practically a day. Kelley Armstrong definitely has the power to hook me in! The near misses the gang faces whilst on the run meant there were a wealth of chase scenes and action which had me on the edge of my seat. I loved that there were still elements of mystery as Maya and the others try to work out how their powers affect them and do a little detective work to try and find people who can help them.

I really enjoyed the introduction of new character Ash, who I won't say too much about for fear of spoiling! But I was completely intrigued by him and loved his attitude. It was good to see the return of characters from the previous books as well. The thing I was most anticipating  before starting The Rising was how Kelley Armstrong would incorporate the characters and storylines from her previously released Darkest Powers trilogy, In the end I really loved how it was done and getting to see some familiar faces so to speak! You don't need to have read the Darkest Powers books to understand The Rising, but I think it's great being able to spot references between the two.

A lot of the plot of The Rising seems to be dedicated to Maya's feelings for best friend Daniel and boyfriend Rafe. The (dare I say it) love triangle does get resolved by the end. I'm still torn over how I feel about it. I didn't have a preference beforehand so I don't think I could have been disappointed either way, but I wasn't completely won over by how it was executed.

As the final book in the Darkness Rising trilogy, the ending of The Rising felt a little too open for me. On the one hand we get enough of a conclusion to confirm the fates of those characters we've been invested in, but it certainly wasn't the climax I was hoping for or expecting. I did leave this story with a twinge of disappointment.

This is a trilogy I'll definitely revisit and recommend. I'd really like to read the books back to back one day as the action takes place over such a short period of time that I think they'd benefit from being read in one sitting. At the end of the day I do love these books and Kelley Armstrong is an incredible writer whose books always get me excited and The Rising definitely still ignited that fire.

Rating: 4*
What to read next: Bitten by Kelley Armstrong
Books like this: The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

Saturday, 15 June 2013

News Round Up! 15th June



It's Saturday which means it must be time for another news post! Here's my latest recap of YA related stories that caught my eye this week.

Paramount have acquired the film rights to The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau. The book is published in the UK in August by Templar, and having just finished it I can guarantee it's one not to miss if you're a fan of dystopia! You can read more about the book and the acquisition on Deadline.

The paperback edition of Tethers by Jack Croxall is now available. Half of the royalties made from the sales of the paperback edition will be going to M.E Research UK. You can read more about the decision to raise money for an M.E charity over on Jack Croxall's website. As an M.E sufferer myself I'm really excited to see an author supporting such a worthy cause! You can check out my review of Tethers right here.

The schedule for Leakycon Portland was revealed this week! The Harry Potter conference takes place at the end of June and will feature several YA authors contributing to panels and signings as part of Leakycon Lit. You can check out the schedule at this link.

A character poster featuring Percy from the upcoming adaptation of Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters has been released. Check out the poster over on Fandomsnews.com.

The trailer from the second part of The Hobbit film adaptiation - The Desolation of Smaug - was revealed this week. Watch the trailer below!


British Mortal Instruments fans will be happy to learn that the release date of City of Bones has been moved forwards to the 21st August, which matches the new U.S release date.

And the cover of the third installment in the Bane Chronicles has been unveiled. See the cover for Vampires, Scones, and Edmund Herondale over on EW.com.


Which of these news stories has got you excited? Let me know in the comments!

Friday, 14 June 2013

Review: Struck by Lightning by Chris Colfer


Struck by Lightning by Chris Colfer
Author: Chris Colfer Website|Twitter
Published: 20 November 2012 (Atom)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 272
Buy the paperback: Amazon|Waterstone's|BookDepository
Buy the e-book: Kindle|Kobo

Source: Borrowed from library

Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
Struck by Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal follows the story of outcast high school senior Carson Phillips who blackmails the most popular students into contributing to his literary journal to bolster his college application; his goal in life is to get into Northwestern and eventually become the editor of The New Yorker.

At once laugh-out-loud funny, deliciously dark, and remarkably smart, Struck by Lightning unearths the dirt that lies just below the surface of high school.


My Review:
I love Chris Colfer from Glee and I was really excited when I saw he was publishing a couple of books. I picked this one up from the library as soon as I saw it on the shelves. Struck by Lightning tells the story of Carson Phillips whose greatest ambition is to study and Northwestern and go on to be a journalist.

This book turned out to be a real disappointment for me. I started out with really high hopes because I like Chris Colfer and had been wanting to read this for a while. Usually I love books written in a diary style, but that was one of my biggest problems with Struck by Lightning. The book is written in journal entries, but Carson's voice just didn't read like a diary entry. It should be a great way to get inside somebody's head because a diary can be such a personal thing but I just did not get those vibes from Carson's journal.

The second major obstacle for me was Carson himself. He's horrible. Now, I've read books in the past with horrible main characters and still been able to like the book and connect with the story, but I just couldn't get past the fact I couldn't stand Carson.  Not only is he rude to everyone around him, but the main plot revolves around him blackmailing people for his own benefit. I just didn't like that at all. I was hoping there'd be some moment of redemption where I'd suddenly understand why he was like he is and change, but by the time there was any tiny glimmer of hope of that happening, I was 200 pages in and it was way too late. I get that his family situation isn't great (his parents are separated, his dad abandoned him and his mum is really messed up, his grandmother is in a care home etc.) but I just couldn't connect with Carson enough to feel for him.

The other characters let me down slightly as well. I felt like characters such as Malerie and Ms Sharpton were intended to provide comic relief and I just didn't find them funny. In fact the humour throughout the whole book was sadly lacking for me. I think sense of humour can be quite a personal thing butall of the set-ups in Struck by Lightning fell flat for me.

The good thing about Struck by Lightning is that's it's a quick read. I think as a book to kill a few hours it was fine. It managed to keep my attention all the way through, but I was starting to get a little bored by the end. Nothing grabbed me and made me want to invest in the story and the characters and I think if it was any longer it would have lost my attention. Even the dramatic twist at the end didn't really grab me.

I was so sad to finish this book with the feeling of disappointment I had. I'm sure there are some people who will love this book, and after seeing the pictures of the film which were included in the copy I read I'd be interested to see that and see if the story being told through a different medium made it more enjoyable, but for me there were just too many obstacles to enjoy it as a book.

Rating: 2*
What to read next: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer
Books like this: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

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