Friday, 31 January 2014

Cover Reveal: Here Lies Love by Dan Thompson

Today I'm excited to reveal the cover of Here Lies Love by Dan Thompson, designed by Ravven. The book is described as a YA/NA thriller which sounds exactly like my kind of book! Find out more about Here Lies Love and the author below.

Plot summary: When she is sold by her father, Abbey discovers that nightmares can occur when you’re awake. Trapped inside a wooden cage, Abbey is forced to listen to the horrors and atrocities above; time ticking down until it is her turn. But Abbey isn’t prepared to become a victim; she will escape.

Although, what Abbey isn’t prepared for, is how harsh and unfair the world can be. With the sun turning its back on humanity long ago, life gives no opportunity. The only thing Abbey can do is learn to survive. To exist. And that means stealing any opportunity that comes her way. Haunted by the unpleasant memories bestowed upon her only nurtures Abbey’s paranoia, until she realises that to truly live in the world, she must confront the person who was responsible for her misfortune – her father.

Here Lies Love is a tale of actuality, of facing up to the fact that love comes in many guises. Can Abbey find the one glimmer of hope or will she be overcome with the darkness of revenge? Here Lies Love is coming April 2014.

About the author: Dan lives in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire (England) with his young daughter and his shabby dog, Skye.

He is the Author of the charity poetry book Life is all but a vast array of Colours and phobia Novella The Caseworker's Memoirs. His first full length novel, A YA Fantasy entitled The Black Petal will be available soon. Also in 2014, a dark new adult novel entitled Here Lies Love will be released.

A lover of YA and fantasy fiction, you can often find him writing on his blog, writing book reviews and connecting online with other writer-type people and interviewing authors. Dan grew up reading Enid Blyton's The Famous Five series, secretly coming up with his own inventive adventures, and R.L Stine's The Goosebump series, before turning to the works of Philip Pullman, Eoin Colfer and Marcus Sedgwick and slipping away into alternate realities. He also loves a good Historical Thriller too.

What do you think of the cover? I love it! I think the red hair is really striking and that stormy background is really atmospheric. Also you have the chance to name one of the characters over on the author's website! I'm excited to read the book and find out more! Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (#20): Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted over at Breaking the Spine and gives bloggers the chance to feature upcoming releases we're excited about.

Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong
Published: 8th April 2014
Buy the book: Amazon|Hive
Plot Summary: They hear the spirits. They must obey.

In the Forest of the Dead, where the empire's worst criminals are exiled, twin sisters Moria and Ashyn are charged with a dangerous task. For they are the Keeper and the Seeker, and each year they must quiet the enraged souls of the damned.

Only this year, the souls will not be quieted.

Ambushed by an ancient evil, Moria and Ashyn must race to warn the empire of a terrifying threat. Accompanied by a dashing thief and a warrior with a dark history, the sisters battle their way across a wasteland filled with reawakened monsters of legend. But there are more sinister enemies waiting for them at court - and a secret that will alter the balance of their world forever.

The first volume in the Age of Legends trilogy, Sea of Shadows is a thrilling dark fantasy where evil hides in every shadow and the deadliest monsters of all come in human form . .

I love Kelley Armstrong and her Darkest Powers trilogy is one of my favourite YA series, so I will basically read anything by her. Plus this book has sisters as the central characters which is always a win! What are you waiting on this week? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, 27 January 2014

Review: Sister Assassin by Kiersten White

Sister Assassin by Kiersten White

Author: Kiersten White Website|Twitter
Published: 19 February 2013 (HarperCollins Children's Books)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 241
Buy the book: Amazon|Hive|BookDepository
Buy the e-book: Kindle|Kobo

Source: Borrowed from library

Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
She never chose her deadly gift but now she’s forced to use it. How far would you go to protect the only family you have left?

Annie is beset by fleeting strange visions and a guilty conscience. Blind and orphaned, she struggles to care for her feisty younger sister Fia, but things look up when both sisters are offered a place at Kessler School for Exceptional Girls.

Born with flawless intuition, Fia immediately knows that something’s wrong, but bites her tongue… until it’s too late. For Fia is the perfect weapon to carry out criminal plans and there are those at Kessler who will do anything to ensure her co-operation.

With Annie trapped in Kessler’s sinister clutches, instincts keep Fia from killing an innocent guy and everything unravels. Is manipulative James the key to the sisters’ freedom or an even darker prison? And how can Fia atone for the blood on her hands?

My Review:
I'd been wanting to read this author for a while, so when I was at the library and both this and Paranormalcy were staring at me from the shelves, I snapped them up. I started this one first because it was shorter! Sister Assassin (published as Mind Games in the US) follows Fia and Annie, two sisters who are being trained to use their special abilities.

Instantly I fell in love with the writing style. The book alternates between Annie and Fia's perspective, and it was Fia's POV that I particularly enjoyed. She has a very unique inner monologue with her thoughts running at a hundred miles per hour. I think it helped me feel for her as well because she's carrying a lot of worry and guilt. It just gave her a really distinctive voice throughout the book and it was fascinating getting inside her head when there are so many thoughts rushing around.

Before starting Sister Assassin, I'd been keen to read more books that had a focus on the relationship between sisters. That was another thing I loved about this book. I thought the relationship between Fia and Annie really pulled at the heartstrings. They both want to look out for each other and protect each other and that bond between them was really strong. I thought it made for a really interesting dynamic that Annie is the elder sister, yet is the one who has to be protected because she's so vulnerable.

There were some great action scenes where Fia has to fight, and I liked the idea that the girls were being trained to use their schools. I think it will appeal to fans of books like the Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter. Whilst it made for some exciting scenes, I was hoping to find out a bit more about the bigger picture. I left the book not really understanding why Annie and Fia were in the situation they were in. I think the mystery was intentional in places, but some parts just left me confused and wanting to know more.

The book alternates between chapters set in the present and past, with some chapters taking place years beforehand. The flitting back and forth in time was great as an introduction to the girls and their history, but as it carried on I started to lose my place in the world and the story and if I put the book down for a while, I'd lose track of what period of time we were in when I returned to it.

It's a hard book to review, because I did like it. I loved the characters and it held my attention. It's quite a short book and by the end I started to realise I wasn't going to get some of the answers and clarification I was hoping for, because it just ran out of pages. So I enjoyed being caught up in the story but I was left a bit confused. I haven't ruled out reading the next book in the series, but I think I'd need a reread before progressing.

Rating: 3*
What to read next: Perfect Lies by Kiersten White, book 2 in the Mind Games series
Books like this: Only the Good Spy Young by Ally Carter

Saturday, 25 January 2014

The Weekly Book Round Up! 25th January

Welcome to another Weekly Book Round Up, in which I catch up on the latest news around the YA world as well as recapping the past week on the blog.

In the News

Epic Reads hosted their Book Shimmy awards live on Youtube this week. The winners of the awards were voted for by readers. You can rewatch the show and find a full list of the winners over on the Epic Reads site!

Ellie Goulding has revealed more information about her role in the Divergent soundtrack, describing herself as the musical voice of Tris. Read the full story on Hypable.

A teaser poster for part one of the film adaptation of Mockingjay, the third book in the Hunger Games trilogy, has been revealed. See it below and read the story over on Hypable. The book will be split into two films with part one coming out in November.

Natalie Dormer, star of Mockingjay, has also unveiled her haircut for the role of Cressida. Read the story over on Digital Spy.

These Broken Stars by Meagan Spooner and Amie Kaufman will be adapted for TV. Read the story over on Publishers Weekly.

And you can check out a new still from the Maze Runner film adaptation over on FangirlDaily!

On the Blog

This week I was excited to be taking part in the New Adult blog tour hosted by A Daydreamer's Thoughts! On Monday I posted an interview with Denise Grover Swank and a review of the NA book After Math. See the post at this link. I also hosted Lola from Lola's reviews on Wednesday. Read her thoughts on New Adult here.

On Tuesday I shared my review of new release The Scar Boys by Len Vlahos, which was a fantastic coming of age story written in a really clever way. And on Friday I posted my review of Wither by Lauren DeStefano.

What I've Been Reading

I finished Sister Assassin by Kiersten White which is a book I've been struggling to decide my thoughts on! I loved the writing and the idea but there were some confusing moments. Hopefully my review will be up soon. I've also just started Banished by Liz de Jager which comes out next month and it's fantastic so far!

What have you been reading this week? Let me know in the comments!

Friday, 24 January 2014

Review: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Author: Lauren DeStefano Website|Twitter
Published: 2 May 2011 (Harper Voyager)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 368
Buy the book: Amazon|Hive|BookDepository
Buy the e-book: Kindle|Kobo

Source: Swapped at the Harry Potter Alliance's Apparating Library

Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males born with a lifespan of 25 years, and females a lifespan of 20 years--leaving the world in a state of panic. Geneticists seek a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children. When Rhine is sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Yet her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can't bring herself to hate him as much as she'd like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband's strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement; her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next; and Rhine has no way to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive.

Together with one of Linden's servants, Gabriel, Rhine attempts to escape just before her seventeenth birthday. But in a world that continues to spiral into anarchy, is there any hope for freedom.

My Review:
I picked this book up at the Harry Potter Alliance's Apparating Library at Leakycon last year. It jumped off the shelves at me as I'd heard of it and knew it was a dystopian type book. Just my kind of thing! Wither follows Rhine who is sold off to marry Linden, in a world where women only live to age twenty and men to twenty-five. One of several new wives to Linden, Rhine must learn to adapt to her new life under the watchful eye of Linden's father, Housemaster Vaughn.

I loved the concept of Wither. It had that feel about it where, although it's set in a futuristic world, it still feels like something that could actually happen. Developing a cure for cancer has solved one problem and created another, being that people are now dying young and nobody has discovered a way to stop it. There are still what are known as first generations - people living late into their lives and not dying out - which gave you that connection to the real world that made the idea even more frightening. I think DeStefano has managed to conjur up some quite chilling and terrifying ideas and a really elaborate world that made for a gripping read.

I really liked the world building and how the beginning of the book uses flashbacks to give you a bit of back story of Rhine's life and what has happened to her so far. It meant you avoided tied up in boring exposition and kept the book moving.

One of the highlights of Wither is definitely the strenght of the characters. I loved Rhine who comes across as genuinely caring and nurturing. She's always worrying about her brother or the other girls she ends up living with, referred to as her sister wives, and I loved her relationship with Linden's dying wife Rose. I found her observations of other characters to be very astute, for example how well she can read Cecily, the youngest and most naive of Linden's wives. In fact the relationship between all the girls in the house was a highlight for me. I like how they all have different personalities, backgrounds and priorities.

The book does take on a bit of a love triangle, but it was one of those books where I didn't have any preference. There's Rhine's new husband Linden who is a bit of a mysterious character. At first I didn't like him at all, but over the course of the story as he gets closer to Rhine, I found myself really warming to him as a character and wanting to know more about him. When she moves into Linden's house, Rhine also meets Gabriel, a servant who attends on her. Their relationship is more natural as they haven't been forced together and they get to know each other gradually and willingly. I enjoyed Rhine's relationship with both Linden and Gabriel and think their is potential in each pairing.

The pacing of Wither is quite gentle and I enjoyed the focus on characters and the slow unravelling of secrets. As this is the first in a trilogy I was definitely left wanting more and there is a lot I am hoping is touched upon in more detail in the sequel. At times I was hoping for a few more shocks or a bit more action, but I think it's set a solid foundation for a trilogy I'm really excited to continue with.

Rating: 4*
What to read next: Fever by Lauren DeStefano, book two in the Chemical Garden trilogy
Books like this: Pawn by Aimee Carter, What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

[NA Blog Tour] Guest Post: Lola from Lola's Reviews talks New Adult!

Today I'm excited to host Lola from Lola's Reviews as part of the New Adult Blog Tour hosted by A Daydreamer's Thoughts. A huge thank you to Lola for this wonderful post! Read on for a great giveaway and your scavenger hunt clue.
New Adult:
Why I love it, some of my favourite New Adult books and my hopes for the future

Thanks Sarah for hosting me! In this guest post I start with a short intro about what I think about the New Adult genre and why I love it. Then I’ll tell you about a few of my favourite New Adult books/series and I end with a few things I would like to see in New Adult in the future.

For me a book is New Adult when it takes place after high school, when someone is going to college or in the case they don’t go to college when characters are around that age they normally are when you are at that stage in life. Actually I think calling New Adult a genre is a bit misleading, I think more of it as an age category.

I read a few New Adult books before it was called New Adult and I love seeing this genre grow and get more attention. Some people think New Adult is temporarily, but I think this age category has a future. It bridges the gap between being a young adult and being an adult. Sure you could just label it adult, but New Adult is so much more. It’s that stage where you go to college, get more freedom and spread your own wings. It’s finding out what you really want and having to stand on your own legs and not always being able to depend on your parents anymore. It’s often the first time when you are going to live on your own, without your parents or adults and it’s such a big and important period. I still think it’s an important age category in itself and I think New Adult is filling a gap there was in the age categories and makes it easier for readers to find books that take place at that age.

I really like the New Adult genre. The books are different than Young Adult. The characters are older, the books can be a bit darker and there is the possibility of sex. I don’t think every New Adult books needs to have sex, actually I have read some great New Adult books without it, but in Young Adult it sometimes feels like sex is a barrier that won’t be crossed, while I like that in New Adult there is that possibility. But what I like most is that the characters are now of college age and all the challenges that go along with it. Also as I am only 23 myself, most character in New Adult books are closer to my age and sometimes that makes it easier to relate to them.

A few of the best New Adult book/series I have read so far are: - The Rook and Ronin series by JA Huss. Tragic the first book in this series is a book I picked up when I was still fairly new to New Adult. This series has everything a good Contemporary Romance New Adult book needs: a heroine with a tragic past, a great love interest and a hot romance. It’s got mixed with some suspense elements and originality, with some great and likeable characters thrown in. This series contains 3 books and each of those are the kind of books that you want to read in one sitting, because they have the keep-reading-feel.

- Anywhere by J Meyers. While most New Adult books are a bit dark, this one is happy and light. While it still deals with some heavy issues, the overall feeling of this book is happy. Also it takes place in Europe, which is rare in books. The romance is perfect and sweet and I finished this book with a happy feeling. It’s standalone and everything get’s wrapped up nicely in this book, but I can’t help but hope the author will write another contemporary romance book.

- Losing it (Losing It #1) by Cora Cormack. I really enjoyed Losing It, it’s the kind of book that get’s named often when talking about New Adult, but it’s a good one. I love how awkward the main character is and this book is full with funny scenes.

- The Nogiku series by SJ Pajonas. This is one of the most original New Adult series I have come across so far. It’s sci-fi, post-apocalyptic romance and while I am not a big fan of sci-fi, this book totally changed my opinion of the scif-fi genre and showed how New Adult can be combined really well with a different genre than Contemporary Romance. I fell completely in love with this series and the second book in this series Released gave me a mayor book hangover (I almost never get those) and had me dreaming and thinking about this series for days to follow. I am now eagerly awaiting the
next book in this series and whatever else this author decides to write next.

What I wish for the New Adult genre in the future is for it to grow more into a real genre/ age category, at first New Adult basically only was Contemporary Romance and I want to see more other genres. I think it would be great to read more books in different genres than Contemporary romance that pick up this age category. How about New Adult Fantasy, New Adult sci-fi, New Adult Dystopia or New Adult Historical Romance? There are so many possibilities and while I see more and more New Adult books in different genres, I hope to see even more in the future.

Another thing I would like to see in New Adult books is focus on that period in life right after the main character has finished college. I am at that stage now and it’s a really difficult period in life. I would like to read about characters that struggle with getting their first job and starting their working life and all the other things that go along with. I think this is a stage in life that is vastly underrepresented in books and if someone knows a book that takes place in this stage of life, please let me know, I would love to read it!

And lastly I would like to see more New Adult books that take place in Europe. I live in Europe myself and while I love learning more about America, it’s the setting for most books and I would love to read some more books that take place in Europe for a chance.

What do you love about New Adult? What are some of your favourite New Adult books and series? And what do you wish for future of New Adult?

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Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Review: The Scar Boys by Len Vlahos

Author: Len Vlahos Website|Twitter
Published: 21 January 2014 (Egmont USA)
Format: Kindle e-book (ARC)
Pages: 256
Buy the hardback: Amazon|BookDepository
Buy the e-book: Kindle

Source: Received free copy from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thanks Egmont USA!

Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
A severely burned teenager. A guitar. Punk rock. The chords of a rock 'n' roll road trip in a coming-of-age novel that is a must-read story about finding your place in the world...even if you carry scars inside and out.

In attempting to describe himself in his college application essay--help us to become acquainted with you beyond your courses, grades, and test scores--Harbinger (Harry) Jones goes way beyond the 250-word limit and gives a full account of his life. 

My Review:
I was attracted to this book because I love books that feature music and bands. The Scar Boys tells the story of Harry, an outcast after being struck by lightning as a child, as he and his friend Johnny start their own band.

Firstly, what's really great about The Scar Boys is the way in which it's written. The book takes the form of a college application essay which is supposedly limited to 250 words, only Harry decides he can't sum himself up in such a strict limit and goes on to detail his life story instead. It was such a fantastic idea and really gave you that feeling of nostalgia as Harry looks back at his own life and achievements. You get little hints of what's to come, as the story is being narrated by someone who knows what happens, which I liked. I completely got swept away on Harry's journey and felt like I was experiencing those moments along with him, from the horrific indicent that left him scarred to his first rejections from girls and first gigs with his band. There were so many ups and down and I loved going on that journey.

It's definitely one of those books that people will be able to relate to. Anyone who's ever felt different or stood out from the crowd, especially at school and throughout their teenagers. I can see the comparison's with R. J. Palacio's Wonder, another book which focuses on a main character with a physical disfigurement.  I loved getting inside Harry's head and seeing the world from his perspective. Plus he's a pretty cool guy and I loved getting to know him.

The central friendship between Harry and his friend Johnny was an interesting one. I loved how the author has made it so it isn't perfect, and at times is always dysfunctional. Johnny has this power over Harry, who struggles to make other friends, and tends to abuse that power. I really liked how that friendship evolved over the years the story takes place and changes as the two boys' circumstances change.

I was drawn to the book because of the music theme, and that's something that was done really well. Each chapter title is a famous song lyric that ties in with what's happening with the book. It made me want to go and play all the songs featured and I'd be reading chapters with songs going round my head! I also liked how Harry was able to find comfort in music at certain times in his life, both listening and playing it.

The Scar Boys is quite a short book and a quick read. I liked the way it moved along quite quickly and the pace never seemed to drag. I was able to get through it in about a day and was hooked to the pages the whole time. The only downside to it being a bit shorter was the fact the book takes place over so many years. It means you didn't get to spend much time on each moment in Harry's life. I certainly would have liked to see some scenes in a bit more depth. It also meant the characters suffered sometimes, for example the relationship between Johnny and Cheyenne was never something I truly got on board with because I hadn't seen it develop.

Overall I was really impressed with The Scar Boys. I loved how it was written, a way that made it really stand out. I loved how I could lose myself in Harry's life and relate it to my own experiences. It's a book I'll definitely be recommending!

Rating: 4*

Books like this: Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil, Wonder by R. J. Palacio,  An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

Monday, 20 January 2014

[NA Blog Tour] Review and Author Interview: After Math by Denise Grover Swank

Today I'm super excited to be part of the New Adult Blog Tour, hosted by A Daydreamer's Thoughts. Be sure to check out the full schedule and visit the other tour stops! Read on for my review of After Math and an interview with the Denise Grover Swank, plus a giveaway and your scavenger hunt clue!

After Math Review

Author: Denise Grover Swank Website|Twitter
Published: 12 March 2013 (CreateSpace)
Format: Kindle e-book
Pages: 250
Buy the paperback: Amazon
Buy the e-book: Kindle|Kobo

Source: Received free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review as part of the NA blog tour

Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
Scarlett Goodwin’s world is divided into Before and After.

Before she agreed to tutor Tucker price, college junior Scarlett was introvert, struggling with her social anxiety and determined to not end up living in a trailer park like her mother and her younger sister. A mathematics major, she goes to her classes, to her job in the tutoring lab, and then hides in the apartment she shares with her friend, Caroline.

After junior Tucker Price, Southern University’s star soccer player enters the equation, her carefully plotted life is thrown off its axis. Tucker’s failing his required College Algebra class. With his eligibility is at risk, the university chancellor dangles an expensive piece of computer software for the math department if Scarlett agrees to privately tutor him.Tucker’s bad boy, womanizer reputation makes Scarlett wary of any contact, let alone spending several hours a week in close proximity.

But from her first encounter, she realizes Tucker isn’t the person everyone else sees. He carries a mountain of secrets which she suspects hold the reason to his self-destructive behavior. But the deeper she delves into the cause of his pain, the deeper she gets sucked into his chaos. Will Scarlett find the happiness she’s looking for, or will she be caught in Tucker’s aftermath?

My Review:
After Math tells the story of Scarlett, a high flying maths student at Southern University, who is called in to tutor the university's star soccer player Tucker Price.

Firstly, I have to say how much I loved the focus on education in After Math. One of the things I love about NA is that it gives the chance to explore the pressures eighteen to twenty-five-year-old adults face, and college is probably the biggest one. It felt so refreshing to see Scarlett, an academic character, really valuing her studies and seeing her ambitions of where they will take her, as well as juggling the pressures of student life.

I also loved how different the romance felt. Scarlett and Tucker's journey is a slow one, and they spend a lot of time getting to know each other. It was refreshing to see time dedicated to that early part in a relationship and I enjoyed seeing the gradual development of feelings for each other. I think people have perceptions that NA is all about sex, so when I saw that I was 50% into the book and there'd been no steamy sex scene yet I was pleasantly surprised!

I adored Scarlett as a main character because I could relate to her. She's shy and anxious and would rather stay at home studying than go out partying like her friends. Whilst she goes on a journey throughout the book and does push herself out of her comfort zone, she never does anything reckless or out of character, and I loved that she stayed true to herself and proved you don't have to go wild!

I also really fell for Tucker. I think popular guys (and girls for that matter!) get a bad rep in books, and Tucker was just a really nice genuine character. He has a reputation and Scarlett starts out sceptical, but as they get to know each other, his vulnerability comes out and I loved delving into his character more. There's a lot that isn't revealed about him straight away which made for some great plot twists towards the end of the book. What I loved most was how it just seemed to be a healthy, genuine relationship between him and Scarlett. They're two really nice people who fall for each other!

I think my favourite part of the book was the first half where Scarlett is falling for Tucker and deciding what to do about it, but the second half has some really sweet and gripping moments.

This is definitely a book I'll be recommending to NA fans new and old, and especially those new to the category who need a taster! I think captures the trials of being a twenty year old brilliantly, it's a cute love story and it has some fantastic characters.

Rating: 4*
What to read next: Redesigned by Denise Grover Swank, book two in the Off the Subject series
Books like this: Suddenly Royal by Nicole Chase, Dare You To by Katie McGarry

Author Interview with Denise Grover Swank

Hi Denise! Thank you for answering my questions. I loved After Math! I thought it was so exciting to read a NA novel that really focused on college and education, as that's such a huge part of life at that age. Scarlett, the main character in After Math, is quite academic. How much research did you have to do to get inside her head and understand the subjects she studies?

I know nothing about advanced math. I barely got a C in high school Algebra 2. (Although that can be attributed to a bad teacher. I got an A in College Algebra.) My family thought it was hilarious that I would attempt to get into the head of a mathematics major. So I interviewed a couple of female math majors. One was a junior and the other was a sophomore. I wanted to know why they chose their majors and what their courses were like. I also studied the UMKC course catalogue to get an idea what other courses Scarlett would take concurrently.

I absolutely loved Tucker! (Scarlett's love interest in After Math). Who was your favourite character to write?

In hindsight, I wish I had included Tucker’s POV in After Math. He’s a very complex character. It never would have worked to write Reed’s in Redesigned because I really liked the reader finding out his secrets along with Caroline. I’m currently writing Business as Usual, the third book in the Off the Subject series and I’m including Ben’s POV, which is so fun to write.
But my favorite character of all time? That’s hard. I guess I’d have to pick Rose from my Rose Gardner series.

I found myself relating a lot to Scarlett as she'd rather stay in and study than go out and party. Are you more of a staying in or going out person?
I like to go out from time to time, but mostly I’m a stay at home girl.

How would you define New Adult as a category?
I classify New Adult as that in between stage between high school when you’re living under your parents’ roof and rules, and full-fledged adulthood. Although I could argue that many of us never reach the later.

For those new to New Adult, what books or authors would you recommend? Who are your favourite NA authors?
I’m a fan of Lyla Payne, Alessandra Thomas, and J. Lynn.

What inspires you when it comes to your writing?
Everything. I literally get ideas from everything and everywhere. Sometimes an off-hand statement can spark an entire series. My Rose Gardner series sprang from me telling my son it would be fun to have a character who worked at a DMV.

What projects are you currently working on? Do you have more NA novels in the pipeline?
I’m working on Business as Usual, the third Off the Subject book. Then I start the third Curse Keepers book, a new adult urban fantasy series.

Thank you so much for answering my questions!
Thank you for having me!

About the Denise Grover Swank: New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Denise Grover Swank was born in Kansas City, Missouri and lived in the area until she was nineteen. Then she became a nomadic gypsy, living in five cities, four states and ten houses over the course of ten years before she moved back to her roots. She speaks English and smattering of Spanish and Chinese which she learned through an intensive Nick Jr. immersion period. Her hobbies include witty Facebook comments (in own her mind) and dancing in her kitchen with her children. (Quite badly if you believe her offspring.) Hidden talents include the gift of justification and the ability to drink massive amounts of caffeine and still fall asleep within two minutes. Her lack of the sense of smell allows her to perform many unspeakable tasks. She has six children and hasn’t lost her sanity. Or so she leads you to believe.

You can find out more about Denise and her other books at:

Blog | Website | Author Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Author Goodreads


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Saturday, 18 January 2014

The Weekly Book Round Up! 18th January

Hello! Welcome to another of my weekly book round ups, in which I recap the week's news as well as catch up on what's been happening on the blog and what I've been reading!

In the news

The cover for City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare was unveiled this week. The image features Clary and Sebastian. Read the story over on FangirlDaily and see the cover below!

The Book Thief has been given a DVD and Blu-ray release date. It will be available to purchase in the US on 11th March according to The Book Thief is released in UK cinemas on 14th February.

Julie Kagawa's upcoming release Talon has been option for film by Universal. Read the story over on Hypable.

HarperCollins have announced they are publishing a YA trilogy by author James Frey. The Endgame trilogy is described as "interactive" with online content such as e-books and Youtube videos also being made available. Read more over on The Bookseller.

On the blog

On Monday I posted my review of Champion by Marie Lu, the third and final book in the Legend trilogy. On Tuesday I took part in Teaser Tuesday where I shared a snippet from Sister Assassin by Kiersten White. On Wednesday I was waiting on Lobsters by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison, and on Thursday I posted my review of Teardrop by Lauren Kate.

What I've been reading

I've had another busy week but on Friday I had a free day and managed to finally jump back into Wither by Lauren DeStefano which I'd put on hold, finished it and loved it! I've also been dipping in and out of Sister Assassin by Kiersten White which I'm hoping to finish this weekend.

What have you been reading this week? Any news stories grabbed your attention? Let me know in the comments!

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Review: Teardrop by Lauren Kate

Teardrop by Lauren Kate
Author: Lauren Kate Website|Twitter
Published: 24 October 2013 (DoubleDay Children's)
Format: Hardback
Pages: 464
Buy the book: Amazon|Hive|BookDepository
Buy the e-book: Kindle|Kobo

Source: Bought

Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
Never, ever cry... Seventeen-year-old Eureka won't let anyone close enough to feel her pain. After her mother was killed in a freak accident, the things she used to love hold no meaning. She wants to escape, but one thing holds her back: Ander, the boy who is everywhere she goes, whose turquoise eyes are like the ocean. And then Eureka uncovers an ancient tale of romance and heartbreak, about a girl who cried an entire continent into the sea. Suddenly her mother's death and Ander's appearance seem connected, and her life takes on dark undercurrents that don't make sense. Can everything you love be washed away?

My Review:
I took a bit of a chance on this book. I've read two books by Lauren Kate, one which I loved (The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove) and one which I loathed (Fallen), but it was half price in Waterstones and that cover drew me in! Teardrop tells the story of Eureka who loses her mother in a freak tidal wave. With the help of the mysterious Ander, who seems to appear wherever she goes, she starts to unravel secrets about herself and her mother.

I fell in love with this book pretty quickly. In fact, I brought it straight home from the shop, read the first couple of pages to see what it was like and then couldn't put it down! The book opens with a prologue from Ander's point of view which gives you a glimpse into his world as a Seedbearer, a race of people with control over water. Straight away this insight gives you the bigger picture to the story, which Eureka herself won't discover til much later. I loved the way it teased you with a glimpse of what's to come.

Because as a reader you know there are secrets to came out, it made for an addictive read. The pacing was brilliant and I was constantly turning the pages, rooting Eureka to discover more. At the same time there was enough mystery that as a reader you didn't know much about to keep you guessing and maintain that intrigue. I thought the world building was fantastic and I was hooked into all the ideas and the history of Eureka's world. I loved all the action sequences which were written so well - the book felt very visual! And my heart was constantly in my mouth with all the times the characters were in danger.

I could really sympathise with Eureka at the beginning of the book. She's in therapy after her mother's death and is living with the stepmother from hell. There are several traumatic moments in her past which have affected how she is, for example she doesn't cry. I liked the friendship between her and her male friend Brooks because the two of them are so natural around each other. I was kind of rooting for them to be something more at the beginning, but the relationship between them becomes a lot more complicated than that as the story goes on. I also adored Eureka's friend Cat who is a complete flirt but also has brains. It was just so nice to see a character who isn't just a bimbo!

As well as the friendship with Brooks, Eureka also has a developing relationship with Ander. This was the only downside for me really as it had a touch of instalove about it. Because Ander holds all of the knowledge about Eureka and her past it sometimes felt like he abused that power. There is some back story between them but because Eureka is unaware of it, her attraction to him comes pretty out of the blue which is where the idea of the romantic bit sort of lost me. The plot was pretty solid when you take away the romance side of things so I could put that to one side and it didn't spoil my enjoyment of the book.

Overall I was really impressed with Teardrop. The ideas behind the story like the link to mythology were really interesting, and the plot was gripping. I loved Eureka and how she develops over the book and really comes into her own. I'm definitely excited to continue with the series.

Rating: 4*
What to read next: Waterfall by Lauren Kate, the sequel to Teardrop, is set for publication this year
Books like this: Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (#19): Lobsters by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted over at Breaking the Spine and gives bloggers the chance to highlight future releases we're looking forward to.

Lobsters by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison
Published: 5th June 2014 (Chicken House)
Buy: Amazon|Hive
Plot Summary: Sam and Hannah only have the holidays to find 'The One'. Their lobster. But instead of being epic, their summer is looking awkward. They must navigate social misunderstandings, the plotting of well-meaning friends, and their own fears of being virgins for ever to find happiness. But fate is at work to bring them together. And in the end, it all boils down to love.

This sounds SO cute. Anything described as "a socially awkward love story" sounds like my kind of book, plus it reminds me of that episode of Friends where Phoebe describes Rachel as Ross's lobster. What book are you waiting on this week? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Teaser Tuesdays: 14th January

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: • Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"Nothing about her was happy. I remember my parents' faces, I remember what happy looks like, of course I do."

- page 68,  Sister Assassin by Kiersten White

Monday, 13 January 2014

Review: Champion (Legend, #3) by Marie Lu

Spoiler warning! This is the 3rd and final book in the Legend trilogy and this review will contain spoilers for the previous two books. You can read my review of Legend here and Prodigy here instead.

Champion by Marie Lu

Author: Marie Lu Website|Twitter
Published: 5 November 2013 (Penguin)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 353
Buy the paperback: Amazon|Hive|BookDepository
Buy the e-book: Kindle|Kobo

Source: Borrowed from library

Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic - and each other - and now their country is on the brink of a new peaceful existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government's elite circles while Day has been assigned a high level military position.

My Review:
Champion is the third and final book in the Legend trilogy, and picks up the story with June in her position of Princeps-Elect and Day struggling to look after brother Eden whilst facing his own health battles.

I've loved this trilogy so far. I enjoyed Prodigy even more than Legend, and with the cliffhanger the last book left us hanging on, I was desperate to dive into Champion. I'm disappointed to say that this was my least favourite book in the trilogy. A lot of things just didn't come together for me, but I think the biggest problem I had was that I was expecting it to be a lot different. There were things I was hoping to see that never came to fruition.

I'm going to start with the positives, because there was still a lot I did like. My favourite scenes were those that took place in Antarctica. Throughout the trilogy I've always had that curiosity about life outside the Republic, and I loved the glimpses we got at that. I thought the descriptions of the city in Antarctica and the technology introduced there were exciting and clever. I would maybe have liked to see more of the Colonies (one of the things I was expecting after reading Prodigy) so I was sad there wasn't more focus on that.

The trilogy has always had its strengths in the political side of the story, and Champion certainly played to those strengths. There was a lot of focus on tactics, plotting and negotiation and it took a hundred pages before you really got into the action. That made the first third of the book a bit slower paced and so it was a while before I was really hooked in. Once the action kicked in I could really immerse myself in the story.

The relationship between Day and June was obviously something I was looking forward to, and there were some wonderful moments between the two of them during the story. I was hoping for more of a solid conclusion to their story, but there was a lot left open ended. It's hard to talk about the ending without spoiling anything, but I did like the closing scenes. I think it appealed to my soppier side with this romantic idea it had going on and I left the book feeling slightly uplifted. I just would have preferred more closure and a less open ending, although I guess I can always use my imagination to fill the gaps!

In terms of things that didn't work so much, I didn't like the more subdued version of June. She only really comes into her own in the last hundred pages where she becomes the quick thinking, intelligent, slightly rebellious June we all know and love. I also had problems with the pacing in the quiter moments that had me skimming over bits to get to more exiting scenes. Because of that, I think I'll have to re-read at some point to pick up on a few plot points I missed or misunderstood.

I did enjoy Champion, particuarly the last hundred pages and the closing few chapters had me glued to the pages and my heart pounding. It didn't quite have the same spark as the previous two books, but I've still come to love the writing and characters. It's a trilogy I'd like to revisit and Marie Lu is still an author I will continue to follow in the future.

Rating: 3*
What to read next:
Books like this: Allegiant by Veronica Roth, Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, Reached by Ally Condie

Saturday, 11 January 2014

The Weekly Book Round Up! 11th January

So this week has been rather eventful for me because I started my very first job! I've been doing volunteer work for a while now and I've been able to get a job working for a charity I've been volunteering for. I absolutely adore volunteering and so working for a charity is something I'm so happy and fortunate to be doing. This is such a huge step for me as I've had health problems which have prevented me from working. Obviously it's going to take some time to adjust to a new routine and I'm in such a good place that I'm just relaxing, enjoying it and letting myself settle in. I'm sorry if the blog is quiet for a while, but it's for good reasons! And I have some great posts lined up for the rest of January.

So onto the round up!

In the news

Simon and Schuster Children's Books have launched Hashtag Reads, a new platform to discover and share books online. You can follow them on Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook.

A new still from The Fault in Our Stars film adaptation has been released. See the image of Hazel and Gus over on FangirlDaily.

The cover for City of Heavenly Fire, the final installment in Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series, will be revealed on January 14th on The Insider, which airs at 7pm EST on 14th January. Read the announcement over on Cassandra Clare's Tumblr.

And the category winners for the Costa Book Award have been revealed, with the Costa Children's Book Award going to Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse by Chris Riddell. Read more in the official press release.

Book haul

I've been wanting to read Paranormalcy by Kiersten White for ages, and I popped into the main library last weekend and there it was staring me in the face! I also managed to pick up Sister Assassin by the same author which I've started already.

I also bought a couple of books this week because I can't resist a charity shop bargain! I picked up Hunger by Michael Grant in the hope it will encourage me to read Gone. I also picked up Department 19: The Rising by Will Hill because I loved the first book! Not YA, but I got Silver Linings Playbook as well after I received the film on DVD for Christmas and loved it.

What I've Been Reading

I'm juggling so many books at the moment! I'm focusing on The Scar Boys by Len Vlahos which is a review book I needed to read, and it's really good so far. I'm also reading Sister Assassin which I picked up from the library.

On the blog

 On Monday I posted my thoughts on reading challenges. Tuesday saw my Top Ten Tuesday post about bookish resolutions, and on Wednesday I was Waiting On Echo Boy by Matt Haig.

What have you been reading this week? Any news stories caught your eye? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!

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