Review: Stones for my Father by Trilby Kent

Corlie Roux’s farm life in South Africa is not easy: the Transvaal is beautiful, but it is also a harsh place where the heat can be so intense that the very raindrops sizzle. When her beloved father dies, she is left with a mother who is as devoted to her sons as she is cruel to her daughter. Despite this, Corlie finds solace in her friend, Sipho, and in Africa itself and in the stories she conjures for her brothers.
But Corlie’s world is about to vanish: the British are invading and driving Boer families like hers from their farms. Some escape into the bush to fight the enemy. The unlucky ones are rounded up and sent to internment camps.

Will Corlie’s resilience and devotion to her country sustain her through the suffering and squalor she finds in the camp at Kroonstad? That may depend on a soldier from faraway Canada and on inner resources Corlie never dreamed she had….

As a lover of historical fiction I knew that I had to read Stones for my Father when it was pitched to me and overall I liked the story. I loved how short this book was; (I managed to read it in a one single bath and I didn't come out all pruney and the water was still quite warm!) this also meant that the story was purely about Corlie's struggle meaning that even though I still learnt about the Boer war, I didn't have to try to follow any complicated politics or anything.

Corlie was a fantastic character with an honest voice. Whilst most of the time she seemed her age - twelve or thirteen, she also had times where we saw how the war and her mothers treatment had forced her to act like an adult. The character of Corlie's mum was well written and utterly unlikable, we're later given a backstory to why she dislikes Corlie but I still didn't really sympathise. I loved Byrne, the soldier who helps Corlie through brief appearances in the story, he gave Corlie a way to see the soldiers as people and show the reader both sides to the war. I also loved Gert, Corlie's funny and clever younger brother.

I felt that the narrative was okay, but nothing great and at times Kent seemed to slip into parts where she was explaining things too much and it bored me a little, there were times when things were thrown in the cover the plot holes or explain something foreign and it kind of threw the narrative off balance for a while. the pacing was okay as well, but I would have liked a little more confrontation as it went a little slow for me.

Overall, this book was enjoyable enough and had a fantastic group of characters and great description, however the writing wasn't something that I found particularly good and would maybe appeal to the target audience of young/preteens more than young adult.

Overall rating: C

Book released on March 22nd 2011 by Tundra books.
Book released from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Arcadia Awakens by Kai Meyer

Arcadia Awakens (Arcadia, #1)To New Yorker Rosa Alcantara, the exotic world of Sicily, with its network of Mafia families and its reputation for murder and intrigue, is just that—exotic, and wholly unknown. But when tragedy strikes, she must travel there, to her family’s ancestral home, where her sister and aunt have built their lives and where centuries of family secrets await her. Once there, Rosa wastes no time falling head over heels for Alessandro Carnevare, the son of a Sicilian Mafia family, whose handsome looks and savage grace both intrigue and unsettle her. But their families are sworn enemies, and her aunt and sister believe Alessandro is only using Rosa to infiltrate the Alcantara clan. And when Rosa encounters a tiger one night—a tiger with very familiar eyes—she can no longer deny that neither the Carnevares nor the Alcantaras are what they seem.

What a wonderfully imaginative story this was, with common paranormal aspects such as shapeshifting mixed in with less common ideas, such as the mafia. the setting was amazing and the story was fantastic. The thing that really excelled in this book was the attention to detail paid by Meyer that really made the setting come to life, with the wealthy mafia families battling it out in the beautiful parts of Sicily.

I loved Rosa as a main character, to be honest she started out very simple - a messed up kid - but as the time passes we begin to see her change into a strong woman, ready to stand up to anybody who knocks her down. i didn't find her particlurly relatable but it was a pleasure to read her story. I love the romance with Alessandro as well, it was Romeo and Juliet story (and yes, the Romeo was very swoonworthy), but with a far less tragic ending. i loved watching their relationship develop, there were the sweet moments and the moments filled with doubt and sadness but to me this was one of the better romances in a paranormal book.

The writing style in this book was nothing exceptional, but the descriptions of the places were so vivid that i could honestly imagine this beautiful area of Sicily, and the islands and the country roads and that really made me warm to this book. I struggled with the pacing for a little while, mostly in the first quarter of the book, before Rosa began to find out the mysteries of the families, but then when she did find out and when we start to get to the more action and suspense packed parts of the books I was absolutely gripped...

I really cannot wait to read the sequel to this book because despite not loving it, I really did enjoy this read and I can't wait to see where Rosa and Alessandro's story will go. I'd recommend this to people looking for a paranormal book with a little more substance.

Overall Rating: B-

Due to be released March 1st by Templar Publishing
Book received as and ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Happy Birthday to You by Brian Rowe

Happy Birthday to YouNewlyweds Cameron and Liesel Martin aren't able to celebrate their wedding bliss for long. Not only is Liesel unexpectedly pregnant... they're also facing the end of humanity!

Liesel's evil witch sister Hannah has cast a spell to make all humans on Earth age a whole year with every day. It's up to Cameron and Liesel to stop her... and save the world! Who will survive? And who will perish?

The first two books in this series were laugh out loud funny and fantastically romantic and I loved them. I loved this one just as much, but it was very different, it was intense and a lot darker. There are a lot of deaths in it and in a way it reminded me of gritty, end-of-the-world books in that it showed the darker side of the human psyche at times, some of the deaths were gruesome and funny, it was kind of like a sick joke and whilst it was different to the first two book and some readers may be annoyed by this, I welcomed the change in tone.

In this installment we see Liesl and Cameron racing against this time to stop the rapid aging of everybody but them, it's different because here Cameron is a lot more active in this one and I liked to see him be the hero, both of the main characters seemed a lot more mature in this book, which went well with the change in tone and I liked to see. Hannah was a great bad guy, she really is an evil witch and I also liked the introduction of their adopted sister, who served as a smaller but still important bad guy in the storyline. The other characters, like Kimber, Cam's younger sister and Wesley, his best friend also pop up as main characters and we get to read from their points of view.

There are some pretty crazy twists in this book, I won't describe any for fear of spoilers but there's one at the end of the book that left me with tears falling and some more during the book that I seriously hoped were going to turn out to not be true. I loved the pacing - it was quick and action packed read, and I think that the change in tone really showed Rowe's versatility as an author.

Overall, a fantastic end to a serious that I have completely loved. I would recommend this series to absolutely anybody, even my worst enemy.

Overall Rating: A-

Received as an eBook for review from the author.

In My Mailbox (25/02/12)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, 
in which you post all of the books/e-books/audio books that you have recieved/bought/won this week and link 'em all up!

For Review:

Forgiven (The Demon Trappers, #3) Shooting Stars  The Weepers: The Other Life The Treachery of Beautiful Things Talisman Of El (Talisman Of El, #1) The Plight and Plot of Princess Penny Intangible Open Minds (Mindjack Trilogy, #1)

Forgiven (Demon Trappers #3) by Jana Oliver (Print: 1st March, Macmillan Chlidrens)
Shooting Stars by Allison Rushby (Print: 28th February, Walker Books)
Big Frog by Rob Badcock (Print: From author)
The Weepers, The Other Life by Susanne Winnicker (NetGalley: May 1st, Marshall Cavendish) 
Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Frances Long (NetGalley: August 16th, Penguin Book)
Talisman of El by Alecia Stone (NetGalley: May 20th, Centrinian Publishing)
Intangible by J Meyers (eBook from author)
Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn (eBook from author)

College Library

Warm Bodies

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion


Once Dead, Twice Shy (Madison Avery, #1) Bright Young Things (Bright Young Things, #1) The Girl Who Was on Fire: Your Favorite Authors on Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games Trilogy


The Alchemy of Forever (Incarnation #1)

from the awesome Lesley at My Keeper Shelf

Free from Amazon UK:

The Rock Star's Daughter (Treadwell Academy, #1) Bound (Arelia LaRue, #1) 44 (44, #1) Stained Evernight (Evernight, #1) Daughter of the Sea

Review: Pure Enough by Sandy DeLisle

Pure Enough by Sandy DeLisleHaving sex for the first time is a big decision for anyone, but for sixteen-year old Katherine Brinkman, the decision is even more complicated. Under the close watch of her parents, Katherine has never had a boyfriend. But that changes when she moves to a Chicago suburb for her mom’s teaching sabbatical and meets a group of free-spirited friends, including the charming and incredibly hot Aidan Koutsoukos. When Aidan isn’t serenading Katherine with love songs or making her laugh with his charismatic wit, he’s tempting her with his wavy, black locks, riveting brown eyes and perfectly sculpted body. While Katherine is falling for Aidan, her hometown of Black Earth, Iowa, is planning its first purity ball; a ceremony where girls publicly pledge to remain virgins until marriage. Once she returns home, will she honor her family and friends and pledge her virginity with her father as a witness? Or, will she give in to her desires under the influence of her new friends? As Katherine wrestles with this life-altering decision, she must decide if she is…PURE ENOUGH…

Okay, despite a very shaky start I ended this book LOVING it. I knew that there was going to be a lot of religion in here, but at the beginning I thought i was going to have to stop reading because it started out a bit preachy, continuing into the book though I found that it was completely different message that was being put across and I believed in it and supported it.  This book is, more than anything, a story of coming of age and finding independence as it focuses on Katherine (Kat) who has come from the rural, religious country to a city suburb and begins to see that some of the things she was told are wrong aren't that wrong at all.

I loved slowly watching Kat develop from this religious girl living under the thumb of her strict family into an independent and strong person, but still somebody who kept her beliefs and that is what I loved. It wasn't a girl changing herself for a boy, it was a girl who realised that what she was being forced to think wasn't actually what she belueved in. Her feelings towards the purity ball idea were were well written and I agree with them, I think she was such a relatable character, one of the most believable characters I have read in a long time. The background characters were fatastic, Aidan was lovely, i love how he himself wanted to have sex but like Kat he treated it like a life changing decision and respected what she wanted to do, he was caring an supportive and I loved him, Char was also a great supportive friend and I did enjoy her as a character.

Finally, I absolutley loved the writing in this book, it was so realistic and the author definitely got into Kat's head. DeLisle definitely made me believe the Kat was real and relate to her and I had no problems at all with pacing or plot points.

Overall, I absolutely adored this book, though the start was a bit shaky the rest of it was amazing. a fantastic coming of age story with a well written moral.

Overall Rating: A-

Received as an eBook from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Slide by Jill Hathaway


Vee Bell is certain of one irrefutable truth—her sister’s friend Sophie didn’t kill herself. She was murdered.

Vee knows this because she was there. Everyone believes Vee is narcoleptic, but she doesn’t actually fall asleep during these episodes: When she passes out, she slides into somebody else’s mind and experiences the world through that person’s eyes. She’s slid into her sister as she cheated on a math test, into a teacher sneaking a drink before class. She learned the worst about a supposed “friend” when she slid into her during a school dance. But nothing could have prepared Vee for what happens one October night when she slides into the mind of someone holding a bloody knife, standing over Sophie’s slashed body.

Vee desperately wishes she could share her secret, but who would believe her? It sounds so crazy that she can’t bring herself to tell her best friend, Rollins, let alone the police. Even if she could confide in Rollins, he has been acting off lately, more distant, especially now that she’s been spending more time with Zane.

I cannot explain how excited I was when I got this book through the post, I have totally been looking forward to it, I've heard great reviews and the synopsis sounded awesome. Did it live up to my expectations? Absolutely.

One of the best things for me was the narration. Vee is this very anti-popular and punky character but this isn't thrust in the readers face as these characters so often are, it's hinted at within the story but only for storyline purposes. The narration is great, it's very well written with some absolutely beautiful passages.

The storyline is kind of original but you could compare it to books such as The Body Finder or Wake/Gone/Fade. I also feel as though there was an element of predictability in the way that the romantic aspect developed. The murder mystery side of things was totally unpredictable though, I really kept me guessing all the way through so I was gripped by that. The book is quite short and whilst it's never on-the-edge-of-the-deat page turner it has pretty good pacing and I never got bored.

The romance in this book was amazing. Not really a love triangle, but I totally knew that Rollins had feelings for her even if Vee wasn't admitting it, I loved Rollins but I was not keen on Zane, he was okay but I didn't really feel the romance. There are also family relationships that are so authentically written. I liked the relationships between Vee, Mattie and their dad, they were so real.

Overall, a great read despite some similarities to other books. there was great romance and fantastic writing. Well recommended.

Overall Rating: B+

Released by HarperCollins on 1st March 2012.
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Storyteller Blog Tour: On Translating The Storyteller

Today, I am happy to be hosting this stop on 'The Storyteller' blog tour.

The Storyteller is a beautifully written, gripping and gritty story which was orginally written in German and the guest post that I am hosting today is written by the translator of the book into English!

‘We did it!!!’

This jubilant email from the Storyteller´s author, Antonia, reached me well over a year ago. The story that originally had been written in German would be published in America in January 2012! So now the complete book needed to be translated –which is where I come in.

I begin with reading the Storyteller:
The author takes me on a journey back into my past. We were school mates for nine years. Even when we were only teens, Antonia would ask her friends to help her with her latest story: Would we type out these pages of handwritten text for her? Imagine: Pages full of the tiniest handwriting you´ve ever seen, and the most fantastic stuff – someone I know wondered how anyone could write such stories without blatantly being on drugs. Turns out Antonia was/is a talented writer and lover of stories.

I read about the two antagonists of the story – and am promptly reminded of pupils that actually existed. When I get to meet the lighthouse keeper I recognize him instantly. Despite the slightly altered name and the description it was so obviously our former literature teacher! Never will I forget how he enthused about a couple he had watched kissing at the crowded bus stop (“They were oblivious to the world, as if they were on an island with no other person nearby – it was beautiful”). Or the disgusting and weird German poems he made us read (maggots in decomposing bodies .. ). Yeesh!

Further along the story I get worked up about how merciless the author treats her antagonists! How can she?! She created them, and then she lets them go through… HOLD UP, you don´t know the story yet. On the other hand I am fascinated by her beautiful, poetic language. Reading is like watching a film in your head anyway, but Antonia Michaelis paints these pictures like no other!

Then I start the actual translation. I`m a Brit (I´ll come back to that one later!), but grew up in Germany, and so the author had asked me to do translations or corrections quite a few times before. I enjoy the work – it´s a privilege to read the books before they´re out on the market. And I like working over the text until not only the words, but the feeling´s right too.

When a difficult word or sentence appears, I shove it to the back of my mind. The kids, 3 and 6 years old, are in bed and everything´s quiet and …
“MUM! I need more drink!” (The seventh in ten minutes.) “MUM! What happens when you die?” (This a favourite bed-time question.) The “front” of my mind is often so crammed with kids stuff I wouldn´t even hear if the back of my mind was yelling answers at me.

After the intro has been translated, the author decides to simply write her novel again, in English. Talk of an all-rounder, and no, it´s no use being envious! So my task changed: Now I should correct the author´s English. Working on the text, I note she has changed something: In the English version, she differs between the teen’s language, covering everything from good English to almost slang. (Author´s note: it probably didn´t help Antonia had just been reading Pynchon´s Inherent Vice) Good, this is something the American publisher had been a little worried about: Will the teens sound authentic? None of us is an American teen, so…
We had warned the American publisher that I was a native Brit, and yet, after “all was done”, we were told the following: This reads a little weird, it’s just so BRITISH!! There will be so much to Americanize. After that the teen dialogues had to be changed to sound a little more US centric.

Now the Storyteller will be published in the UK.I wonder if they will have someone re-British-ize it? Go figure!

Thank you so much for writing this post! I now understand how it was possible for the book to be written so absolutely beautifully but also so technically and grammatically correct but I now see that it's down to some awesome author/translator teamwork! Thank you both for making the book so easy and gorgeous for me to read!

Review: The Storyteller by Antonia Michaelis

The Storyteller Anna and Abel couldn’t be more different. They are both seventeen and in their last year of school, but while Anna lives in a nice old town house and comes from a well-to-do family, Abel, the school drug dealer, lives in a big, prisonlike tower block at the edge of town. Anna is afraid of him until she realizes that he is caring for his six-year-old sister on his own. Fascinated, Anna follows the two and listens as Abel tells little Micha the story of a tiny queen assailed by dark forces. It’s a beautiful fairy tale that Anna comes to see has a basis in reality. Abel is in real danger of losing Micha to their abusive father and to his own inability to make ends meet. Anna gradually falls in love with Abel, but when his “enemies” begin to turn up dead, she fears she has fallen for a murderer. Has she?

I'm not saying that I was expecting this book to be light and fluffy but WOW this one was gritty, but at the same time it was absolutely beautifully written and weaved a beautifully horrible plot. Yes, I just used an oxymoron in a review, that is how well this book is written.

I may have cried at this book, actually I will admit it, I bawled my eyes out. From beginning to middle to end I was immersed in it, it started out as a gritty, heartbreaking love story and slowly made it's way to be that plus a thriller, plus a murder mystery. I loved Abel and Anna at the beginning, but slowly I began to find myself falling for Abel, despite watching his character change and I honestly wanted things to turn out so much different to how they did. I won't say too much as I may give away spoilers, but this book is one that grabs you emotionally and refuses to let go.

This book isn't one that I'd recommend to younger readers, but it's one that I would thrust into the faces of any contemporary, mystery or fairytale fan ages 16 up. there are some violent elements and it's very real despite being told in a fairytale manner, the world created is so desperate, so difficult that it isn't hard to relate some aspects of your own life to it making it that bit more heartwrenching, but let me promise you that you will enjoy it, even if you don't think it's your thing. This is one beautifully woven fairy tale without the happily ever after that I don't think I will ever forget.

Overall Rating: A

Released January 2012 by Amulet Books.
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Surfacing by Shana Norris

Sixteen-year-old Mara Westray has just lost her mother, and now, being shipped off to live with the father she doesn’t know is not how she imagined grieving. She’s already counting down the days until she turns eighteen and can leave the tiny island of Swans Landing.

But from the moment she steps off the ferry, nothing is as ordinary as it looks. Whispers of a haunting song on the wind make her see impossible things, and she isn’t sure she can trust her judgment about what is real and what isn’t anymore. Maybe she can’t even trust her judgment about quiet Josh Canavan, whose way of speaking in riddles and half-truths only confuses her more, luring her deeper into the secrets hidden beneath the ocean’s surface.

As she tries to unravel the events that led to her mom fleeing the island sixteen years ago, Mara finds that the biggest secret of all is only the beginning.

Surfacing was one of those books that I thoroughly enjoyed and I can't really find any big problems with, but at the same time there just seemed to be something lacking that's holding it back from being absolutely amazing.

Now I am a massive fan of paranormal young adult books and this particular paranormal creature is a favorite of mine. Norris manages to put an original spin on the mermaid legends that I found grabbed me and made me want to carry on reading and the other half of the story - the non-mermaid half was also pretty awesome. I liked reading about Mara, she was a strong character and it was also lovely to slowly watch Mara's life settle and her relationship with her father grow.

As I said above, Mara was a very strong character, from page one she was a strong, level-headed character, I did find that she just let people bully her and didn't really massively try too hard to find out why she was getting all the stick, but as a character I supported her, and her voice was well written. I liked the other characters as well, Dylan was a nice friend, and there was a slow camaraderie developed between Sailor and Mara which I liked. Josh was a really good love interest and I liked the rate at which the relationship developed.

What really grabbed me was the writing. Shana Norris has a talent in getting into a surly teenagers head and also manages to grip a reader with great plotting and story and character development. the pacing wasn't bad though I was a lot more gripped by the second half and the first half was a bit slower, not that I struggled with it but there was a noticeable change in the pacing.

Overall, a great book with amazing writing and believable characters. A new take on mermaids that will grip YA fans all over. Recommended for any YA paranormal romance fans.

Overall Rating: B+

Released 15th November 2011.
eBook received for review from the author.

Guest Post: Katie Dale, author of Someone Else's Life and Giveaway

Hi everybody! 
Today I'm happy to welcome Katie Dale, author of Someone Else's Life, for a stop on her blog tour!

Today Katie is going to tell us about her favorite contemporary reads!

Top Contemporary Reads

There’s nothing I love more than snuggling down with a good book, and for me that generally means YA. I’ll admit it, I’m a bit of a Peter Pan when it comes to books – I’ve read and enjoyed my share of adult books, and love a good Jane Austen, Jodi Picoult or James Patterson, but given the choice, the books I still find most inviting, intriguing, romantic and exciting – the books I really delight in picking up and losing myself in – are still YA. It’s such a vital stage of life – when there are so many choices and complications and heartaches and discoveries – and that to me is endlessly fascinating, and probably why I choose to write YA myself.

And within the YA genre, while I’ll read and enjoy a paranormal or dystopian novel now and then, the stories that really get to me are the contemporary ones. For me, you can’t beat the feeling of “what if this happened to me” and while I can fantasize about having a werewolf and a vampire fighting it out over me, I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen any time soon! Contemporary novels about people like me (alright, me when I was a teenager!) with realistic problems and heartaches and issues can be just as gripping and exciting and terrifying – if not more so – as any imaginary world.

The Long WeekendFor instance I couldn’t sleep after reading Savita Kalhan’s The Long Weekend, in which two young boys are kidnapped by a paedophile. Skilfully and tautly written, Kalhan’s story subtly implies terrifying and horrific scenes without once being graphic, and I made the mistake of reading it on the bus home one dark night and totally missed my stop and ended up in a part of town I wasn’t familiar with. It was the most terrifying walk home I’ve ever had – I was jumping at every shadow! – and I live in what is probably one of the safest suburbs in the country! It is also a masterclass in suspense – I could not put it down. With the end of each chapter I just had to know what was going to happen next, how the boys could possibly get out of each impossible situation they found themselves in – or whether they’d get out at all…

Looking For JjLooking For JJ by Anne Cassidy is another gripping read – but this time the “evil villain” is the book’s narrator, the eponymous JJ, newly released from prison after killing her friend when she was a young child. Cassidy effectively shows us that behind every villifying newspaper headline are real human beings with their own stories to tell, and I found it difficult not to sympathise with JJ, whilst being horrified by the events that led up to that one life-defining moment. It left me with a new perspective and plenty of food for thought long after I turned the last page.

While JJ is after a new life, what if you suddenly discovered you’re living the wrong life? This is exactly what happens in Sophie McKenzie’s gripping fast-paced Girl, Missing, when Lauren finds a photo of herself as a toddler on a missing children website. A hunt for the truth turns her life upside down – and Lauren finds herself in terrible danger…

When I Was Joe (When I Was Joe, #1)Similarly, what would you do if you witnessed a terrible crime, and you had a choice to lie and betray an innocent victim, or tell the truth and run for your life? Ty in When I Was Joe (Keren David) finds himself in a terrifyingly realistic situation when he witnesses a knife crime that sends him and his mum into
hiding. He suddenly has to take on a whole new identity in a whole new town in order to hide from the gang who’ll do anything to stop him testifying. But Ty is hiding more than just his real identity…

That Summer
Of course not all contemporary issues are so dramatic, and I equally love immersing myself in the worlds of first love, family conflict, self-discovery, and frenemies as deftly painted by authors such as Sarah Dessen, Judy Blume, Caroline B. Cooney, and Sharon Creech. Cooney and Blume 
between them effectively created an invaluable guidebook to my teenage years, describing problems and experiences I was going through and reassuring me that I was not alone, with novels such as Among Friends (Cooney) and Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret (Blume) and me and my friends used to pass them round our class until they fell to pieces! Nowadays, Sarah Dessen does the same thing – every time I pick up one of her novels I know I’m in for a treat, spending time with her well-drawn characters, families and relationships (especially in That Summer), while Sharon Creech connually surprises me with her clever twists and emotional depth, particularly in the wonderful unforgettable Walk Two Moons.

Whether I’m in the mood for romance, family drama, social politics, self-discovery, humour, excitement, or a thriller, contemporary fiction has it all.

Top Picks:
The Long Weekend – Savita Kalhan
Looking For JJ – Anne Cassidy
Girl, Missing – Sophie McKenzie
When I Was Joe – Keren David
Among Friends – Caroline B. Cooney
Are You There God? It’s me, Maragert – Judy Blume
That Summer – Sarah Dessen
Walk Two Moons – Sharon Creech

Chosen by Katie Dale author of Someone Else’s Life
Published by Simon & Schuster February 2012.
Twitter: @katiedaleuk Website:

Thanks so much Katie! I'm a massive fan of contemporary but there are a few on there that I haven't read that now have to go onto my own to read list!

Someone Else's LifeKatie has agreed to give a copy of 'Someone Else's Life' to one luck UK winner.
There's only one entry available but of course I'd be happy if you spread the word!
This giveaway is open to followers only.
Giveaway will end on the 30th of February!

Review: Someone Else's Life by Katie Dale

Someone Else's LifeWhen seventeen-year-old Rosie’s mother, Trudie, dies from Huntington’s Disease, her pain is intensified by the knowledge that she has a fifty-per-cent chance of inheriting the crippling disease herself. Only when she tells her mum’s best friend, ‘Aunt Sarah’ that she is going to test for the disease does Sarah, a midwife, reveal that Trudie was not her biological mother after all... Devastated, Rosie decides to trace her real mother, hitching along on her ex-boyfriend’s GAP year to follow her to Los Angeles. But all does not go to plan, and as Rosie discovers yet more of her family's deeply-buried secrets and lies, she is left with an agonising decision of her own - one which will be the most heart-breaking and far-reaching of all...

I've been dreading writing this review, not because I didn't like this book, I really did, but because it was a difficult, raw book to read and is probably going to be just as hard to review.

When we first meet Rosie, she's hurting because her mother has just died from a genetic disease that she may possibly have, so this book throws a reader right into the emotion which kind of tells you that this book is going to be difficult the whole way through, and it is (I even shed a few tears at times!) - this makes it great though.

The first thing I'm going to touch on is the characters, because if I had anything to complain about with this book it's the character. The main character Rosie is a great and believable character but at times she was very selfish and she didn't take into consideration the consequences of her actions which I found a bit annoying. I found it very hard to like Holly until the end because she was quite spiteful, but I definitely warmed to her at the end. Andy was pretty much perfect except from the way that he always seemed to be walking away and this made it difficult for me to like him at some points, but when he shows his feelings for Rosie it really made me happy and I fell in love with him again. There are a great cast of background characters which add to the book.

The story flowed so well apart from at some points things happened that didn't make sense. At one point a character has a test done in America and gets her results in the UK, which doesn't make sense as they wouldn't have the medical records in both countries. I could see that the story was well thought out though, and I never got bored because the pacing was fantastic and of course there was plenty of drama to keep the story going.

Overall, I loved this book because it takes horrible issues such as Huntington's disease and brings them to an oblivious audience whilst also writing an entertaining and romantic book. There may have been a few character issues and a few things that didn't make sense but I still really enjoyed it.

Overall Rating: A-

Book released 2nd February 2012 by Simon and Schuster UK
Book received from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Where Thy Dark Eye Glances by Chani Lynn Feener

Where Thy Dark Eye Glances
Three hundred years ago Lily Bryg was someone else. Now, she's dealing with demons from the past in the form of ghosts, fairies, and even a dream stalker bent on convincing her they belong together. As a witch, Lily has an advantage. But that all changes when she's summoned back to the third realm she used to live. And where she died. 

With the help of a Shade, a tattoo artist, and her three best friends, Lily tries to escape the faeries out to get her, and the evil king who wants to make her his consort. Ronan will stop at nothing to have her back, and she'll stop at nothing to keep that from happening. Too bad her life isn't the only one on the line, and returning to Bevain might be the only way to save herself, and the world.

When the author approached me with this one I knew that I had to read it - Reincarnation? Witches? Yes please! To top it off, it's a prequel novella meaning that it was relatively short so a quick read, which I really like to read between longer books. I can't say I had massively high expectations because I haven't read anything from the author before or seen much about the book and I didn't love it but I still enjoyed this book.

This book was a great introduction to the characters and their powers and I really liked the fantasy side of things as it put some unique touches on the urban fantasy genre, this was the part that was the best for me to read. I also liked the real world aspects of the book, but at times some of the things just seemed pointless and I just wanted to get back to the fantasy and the action.
When the action did come it was pretty well written, I was impressed by the fighting scenes that Feener created and I was so whisked into that battle, especially the duel near the end, now that was so well written I was properly faring for Lily's life.

I had problems with the characters though, Lily was an okay character to follow but I don't think I got enough characterisation and I think i will actually read the rest of this series because I'd like to see more from her. The others, Caer, Brid and Ruarc were just... there, I didn't think they were developed at all and I was always getting mixed up with who was who. The bad guys were very stereotypical bad guys and once again, I think it's something I'd need to read the real books for - to get the whole story and maybe be able to fear the baddies a bit more.

There were quite a few grammatical errors, which put me off when I was really getting into a scene, I'm not really a person to hold it against an author unless these errors are all over the book, which there aren't, but the few that there were did disrupt the flow and pace a little.

Overall, a fun novella that I didn't absolutely love but I still liked and I think that I will give the rest of a series a try if I get time. The grammatical errors and lack of character development brought this one down for me, but I did actually enjoy the fantasy elements and the storyline.

Overall Rating: C+

Book received from the author in exchange for an honest review.

In My Mailbox (12/02/2012)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, 
in which you post all of the books/e-books/audio books that you have recieved/bought/won this week and link 'em all up!

I've been on a book buying ban (and swapping ban) for the past 2 weeks, so my mailbox has dramatically decreased in size, but I've had a few for review and some free books from Amazon.

For Review

Unravelling  Fireseed One    Ties To The Blood Moon

Unravelling by Elizabeth Norris (Print: June 7th, HarperCollins Children's. This sounds AMAZING!)
Fireseed One by Catherine Stine (eBook: From the author, it sounds great and I love futuristic books)
Eden's Root by Rachel Fisher (ebook: From the author, more sci-fi dystopia!)
Ties to the Blood Moon by Robin P. Waldrop (eBook: From the author, paranormal and it looks awesome)

Free from Amazon Kindle UK:

The Mind Readers (Mind Readers, #1) Shimmerspell (The Shimmer Trilogy, #1) Farsighted (Farsighted, #1) Marked (Soul Guardians, #1)

Review: 8: The Previously Untold Story of the Previously Unknown 8th Dwarf by Michael Mullin

8: The Previously Untold Story of the Previously Unknown 8th DwarfWritten in verse, this is the previously untold story of the previously unknown 8th dwarf, named Creepy. He is banished to the basement for being different and, well, weird. Yet he plays a vital - and of course previously unknown - role in the popular tale of Snow White (whose title character is an intruder Creepy refers to as "the Maid").

When the author initially approached me with this request I wasn't sure it was my thing but at 24 pages it was worth giving it a go and I actually did enjoy it. it's a nice short read, written in simple verse, nothing complex and nothing detailed but still entertaining.

In 24 pages Mullin manages to take a well known fairytale, give it a new character and tell that story from that character's point of view. It can't be easy to write something like this because the characters have to be developed into something that we enjoy to read about, especially in this one where the poem is based completely around this character's ideas and views of things. I must admit, Creepy was a pretty, well, creepy character and in 24 pages he feels lots of different emotions that really help us to care about this weird dwarf, of course this iks down to some ingenuity on Michael Mullin's front.

I can't say much about storyline apart from that the story intergrated so well into the well known fairytale, despite using a character that didn't exist in it, which is great. Obviously it's very difficult to get much substance out of 24 pages of verse, but I still really enjoyed this one. I really enjoy Mullin's writing and this is just the sort of thing that I like to read to break up the long books that I'm used to reading.

Overall, this was a clever and well written little poem that despite not being amazing is well worth reading because it's only short and a nice little break.

Overall Rating: B

Book received from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen

Many readers know the tale of Robin Hood, but they will be swept away by this new version full of action, secrets, and romance. 

Posing as one of Robin Hood’s thieves to avoid the wrath of the evil Thief Taker Lord Gisbourne, Scarlet has kept her identity secret from all of Nottinghamshire. Only the Hood and his band know the truth: the agile thief posing as a whip of a boy is actually a fearless young woman with a secret past. Helping the people of Nottingham outwit the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham could cost Scarlet her life as Gisbourne closes in. It’s only her fierce loyalty to Robin—whose quick smiles and sharp temper have the rare power to unsettle her—that keeps Scarlet going and makes this fight worth dying for.

I love books that take a good legend and spin it around, putting a brand new edge on it and so when I read the blurb for this I knew that I had to read it. It wasn't a book that I got into straight away but when I did I could not put it down. 

With a story line that is so new and fully of action, secrets and romance but still completely recognisable as the Robin Hood tale that we all know and love, just with a female twist. The characters were similar to those in the old legend. The courageous and strong Robin Hood is just as honourable, despite being a bit more angsty and a lot more swoonworthy, Little John is still big and strong, but now he has a heart of gold. much wasn't as well developed as I liked, but he was still a nice character. There were some nasty villains as well, Gisbourne was darned scary and I was actually terrified of him.

Don't think that this is a fun book though, if you want the Robin Hood from the Disney movie look somewhere else. The world here is a bleak one, with poverty and capital punishment and rape and arranged marriages, it isn't graphical but it isn't light and despite some funny scenes there's also a lot of darkness in this book. 

The light in this book came from the amazing, well written romance. There are two potential suitors for our girl Scarlet, but this isn't a love triangle because we know and it;s made obvious exactly which way our girl's heart bends. There are some fun scenes, some sad scenes, some romantic scenes and  some scenes where I was sat there screaming in my head "Just kiss already" but it ended well. The book ends on a questionable note; there's something that could potential be in the way of their relationship but at the same time it ends on a hint of hope.

Overall, an action packed, romantic read. I can't believe how much I loved this book. It was dark and tense but well written and believable. At times, the pacing dropped a little and it did take me some time to get into it.

Overall Rating: B+

Book to be released by Bloomsbury Childrens on 14th February 2012.
Book received in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley

Review: Above World by Jenn Reese

Above WorldThirteen-year-old Aluna has lived her entire life under the ocean with the Coral Kampii in the City of Shifting Tides. But after centuries spent hidden from the Above World, her colony's survival is at risk. The Kampii's breathing necklaces are failing, but the elders are unwilling to venture above water to seek answers. Only headstrong Aluna and her friend Hoku are stubborn and bold enough to face the terrors of land to search for way to save their people. But can Aluna's fierce determination and fighting skills and Hoku's tech-savvy keep them safe? Set in a world where overcrowding has led humans to adapt - growing tails to live under the ocean or wings to live on mountains - here is a ride through a future where greed and cruelty have gone unchecked, but the loyalty of friends remains true.

This book is a prime example of the times that I don't really read the synopsis of a book and dive into it after reading the first book. That's why when I started this one I was expecting a fantasy book about mermaids under the sea and what I really got was a fun science-fiction, futuristic adventure. Not that I'm complaining, it was a nice read nonetheless. 

The pacing of this book was very difficult for me and I did struggle through some parts despite the fact that i enjoyed the storyline. it seemed as though there were some scenes described that could have been cut down to make this book less tedious and maybe a little shorter. 

That being said, I did enjoy the story. it was fun read that, despite some difficult concepts I think would be suitable for older kids and younger middle grade. I liked that Aluna was a brave and honest person, and I loved watching Hoku come into his own. The other characters, Dash and Calli, were fantastic background characters that brought their own goodness into the characters and I think each of these characters will attract middle grade readers.

I liked the way that the story had a fixed storyline. I got the feeling that Reese had planned every aspect out and it made the storyline flow, the backstory was so well developed and that must have been my favorite part, I loved the idea that population growth had led to humans having to branch out to live in different previously uninhabitle places.

Overall, a fun story with great characters. This is one that I'd recommend to middle grade readers, but for me the pacing was a little slow.

Overall Rating: B-

Book received for review (NetGalley)
Book to be released by Candlewick Press on 14th February 2012

Review: Spirits of Glory by Emily Devenport

Spirits Of GloryOne morning the people of the North woke up and the people of the South were gone. That s the first thing every child learns on the colony world of Jigsaw. But for one girl, knowing about The Disappearance is not enough. Hawkeye wants to know why.

That's why she spent half her life researching The Disappearance. And that's also why eight Neighbors show up on her doorstep, demanding that she accompany them into the Forbidden Cities ruled by the Southern gods to speak with the Spirits of Glory. Everyone thinks Hawkeye is an expert on Neighbors, these almost-humans who move, talk, and think as if they were born inside one of the Time Fractures. But she can't imagine what they want to ask the ghosts of their ancestors, or why they need her to go along. The Southern gods caused every human inhabitant of the Southern cities to disappear overnight, what else might they do?

Wow, I got through this book in one sitting (it's pretty short) and every single page of it had me entranced. I like my books to have some good world building and I think that that is exactly what gripped me with this one. Devenport's sci-fi world of Jigsaw was so well written, there are so many places where the world could have gimmicky, or confusing but despite everything going in in the history of this world it was so easy to follow. I loved how well written the sci-fi elements, like the 'time fractures' were and I was totally immersed in this broken world that I was reading about.

The storyline was fantastic. I knew it was going to be different from page one, but it was so unique. I loved reading about the Neighbours, as well as discovering their secrets along with Hawkeye, I loved travelling to all these places which were fascinating and thrilling as well as damn right scary. The pace of the story was perfect and never let me get bored and Devenport's writing is just magical, it literally took my breath away at places.

If anything was even slightly lacking it was some of the characters. I don't think that Boss was developed quite as well as I would have liked, which gave him an air of mystery but also made him unnapproachable as a love interest, none of the other neighbours were quite developed very well. Ebony and Ivory were nice enough, but I didn't really feel anything for them. On the other hand, the scavengers were developed as bad guys and I was terrified of them, I loved the characters of Brat Cat and Wolfy Dog as well, for animals they were pretty awesome. Hawkeye was an amazing protagonist, though not as relateable as I like but then again she is living in a world very different to our own.

Overall I absolutely loved this book, it was sci-fi at its best. If I have any issues it may be that the characters weren't developed as well as I would have liked.

Overall Rating: A

Book received as an eBook from the author, for review.

Review: Notes to Self by Avery Sawyer

Notes to SelfTwo climbed up. Two fell down.
One woke up.

In the aftermath of a traumatic brain injury, Robin Saunders has to relearn who she is and find out what happened the night everything changed.

I can't believe how much this book moved me, I actually struggled to get into it at the beginning but then I was gripped, Robin's story was beautiful and touching and dealt with not only her brain injury but also the worry over her best friend, love, the loss (and creation) of friendships and finally, deciding who she is.

As I said above, I did struggle with the pacing at the beginning a little, and to be honest it wasn't amazing all of the way through - it seemed slow and it was really only the storyline that kept me reading. I'd advise anyone to push their way through it because it's definitely worth forcing yourself through one or two slow chapters.

I was so involved in Robin's story and I began to feel so much emotion for her, when she was happy, so was I and when she was sad I was too. I felt at times she became a little whiny and I was put off her a little but most of the time she was a pleasant and realistic main character. I loved her story because it wasn't just her getting over her accident, it was the journey that she went to to find out what happened and to find herself and it was such a beautiful and well written story.

The side characters are well written, it wasn't hard to fall for Reno, or sympathise with Josie. I had mixed feelings for Emily, but came to like her at the end, I think this was because I didn't actually get to know her as a person, only through Robin's memories.

Overall, a beautifully written book with great characters. A fantastic coming of age story. The pacing was lacking a little though that was my only issue.

Overall Rating: A-

Book received from the author for review.