Friday, 31 October 2014

Six Spooky Books for Halloween!

Love getting spooked? 
Looking forward to a book about the living dead and creatures of the night? 
Like tales filled with blood and gore?

Well it's that time of year to stock up on books that send a shiver down your spine! Seeing as Halloween is upon us, it's the perfect chance to sit back with a spook-a-licious book or two and prepare yourself for a fright. 

Which is why I've come up with six spectacularly spooky books for you to take a look at! 

So without further ado, here's my Spooky Six List...

Cover Reveal ~ Lost Blood by Emma Raveling

It's time to reveal the amazing cover of author Emma Raveling's Lost Blood! A big thank you to Xpresso Book Tours for organizing this book reveal. 

Lost Blood is an upcoming Mature YA Urban Fantasy novel. The cover was designed by the talented Michelle Preast.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Every Ugly Word by Aimee L. Salter ~ Review

Every Ugly Word
By Aimee L. Salter

Rating: 5+

'My physical scars aren't the reason I'm here. He can't fix those. But he can help me by letting me out. 

(...) He will let me out today. He must. If I can get home in time, I can fix...everything.'

What if you gazed into the mirror...and someone else was staring back at you.

When seventeen-year-old Ashley Watson looks in the mirror, she sees her twenty-three-year-old self. 

Older Ashley lives on the other side of the mirror. She's Ashley's lone confidant...the only person who knows the truth behind the lies that make up Ashley's life.

Always enduring. Always alone.

With bullies for classmates and a callous mother, Ashley escapes through her art. Pictures come to life on the page - haunting images that speak volumes about the ugliness Ashley endures day to day. 

However, her art doesn't only reflect the bad. It reflects the longing, too. In particular, her longing for her best friend Matt to finally fall in love with her. To see her, as she truly is.

But as the bullying reaches new levels, will Matt stand by Ashley's side? Will she find the courage to confide in him - not only about the bullies her hurt her, but about her biggest secret...Older Ashley?

'She knew. She knew this was coming and she didn't tell me.'

Older Ashley has been through it all already—she endured the bullying, too, and survived the heartbreak. Yet, little by little, Ashley begins to question Older Ashley's advice and her true motives. 

What isn't Older Ashley telling her? 

As events tumble out of control, Ashley may be forced to confront her biggest fear: that neither Ashley has the answers. And that she's going to have to face whatever is coming alone.

You can't go back. You can't wish it away.

A rollercoaster filled with unforeseeable twists and turns, Every Ugly Word is a raw, emotional tale that will have you hanging on to every perfectly written word. 

Exploring what it means to be broken, and what it means to be truly brave, Aimee L. Salter provides readers with a story and characters that will live in your heart long after the final page.

My thoughts on the book:

I cried bucket-loads.

For those who know me well, this will not come as a surprise! I'm the kind of person who only needs to be given the slightest incentive in order to start bawling - whether I'm re-watching Tuck Everlasting, or I'm flicking through family photo albums.

And Every Ugly Word gives you hundreds of reasons to tear up. From the beautifully conveyed emotions, to the heartbreaking character of Ashley. Poor Ashley - I just wanted to hug her so bad! She goes through situations no person should have to go through. 

And yet, she shows such strength.

True, it's not your typical 'strength'. But it's a quieter type of bravery. One that is perfectly described in the book itself:
"What makes a decision brave, Doc?"
(...) "I suppose I would define someone - or a decision they made - as brave when they choose a path that could have either serious gains or extreme consequences. When they're choosing that path not out of recklessness, but out of hope. For something better."
The true stand out feature of this book are the concepts.

Everything about this book's concepts intrigued me. Especially the use of 'Older Me' (Older Ashley) and the mirror. 

It added an edge to the story - moments where you questioned the main protagonist, where you questioned the reality that was being told to you. 

Apart from the 'edge' it added, the mirror and Older Ashley caused me to tear up the most. Because it spoke to me on so many levels to read about this lost, hurting girl who found solace in her reflection. In an older, wiser version of her whom she believes will give her the answers she needs, and the love no one else can give her.

It reminded of the lyrics to Justin Timberlake's Mirror (to listen to Madilyn Bailey's cover version of this song that I listened to whilst typing up this review, see here!)
'Cause I don't wanna lose you now
I'm lookin' right at the other half of me
The vacancy that sat in my heart
Is a space that now you hold
Show me how to fight for now
And I'll tell you, baby, it was easy
Comin' back here to you once I figured it out
You were right here all along
This book deserves more than five stars.

Words don't really give it justice. I could type and type about its merits but there's no way I could convey to you all how amazing this book is. It's unique - a book that you walk away from changed, with a different perspective on life. A book that touches you. 

I highly recommend picking up a copy today. I want to give a big thanks to Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book - and to Aimee L. Salter for writing it! :) 

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Swoon Worthy Saturday ~ Jennifer Armentrout's Roth

Hosted by: Stay Bookish

It's Swoon Worthy Saturday! Saturday is a day for swooning. Swoon Worthy Saturday is a weekly meme where in we present a fictional boy who has swept us off our feet, given us butterflies, made our heart do acrobatics and driven us absolutely crazy!

This Saturday's pick is the gorgeous Roth from author Jennifer L. Armentrout's The Dark Elements series. There are so far four books planned in the series, with the second book Stone Cold Touch just recently released on October 21st.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Keen Cover Friday ~ The Heir by Kiera Cass

Hosted by: Keepbooked 

It's Keen Cover Friday! Keen Cover Friday is when we post a book cover that totally attracts and captures our eyes the moment we laid them on that cover and one that might make others swoon over its beauty just as much as we did.  

And this week's must-see book cover belongs to Kiera Cass' The Heir.  

Friday, 24 October 2014

Don Your Armour ~ The Book Reviewer Battle

Do reviewers have the right to express their opinions on a book? 

Do they have the right to their anonymity? 

Do reviewers have rights?
In case you were wondering...the answer to all of these questions is a solid yes.

These questions and more have been circling the web, flying across a range of social media platforms. Although they haven't been asked outright, they're the basis of what I'd like to call 'The Kathleen Hale Debacle'. 

I want to start off by saying that I mean no disrespect to anyone at all, by writing this post. But I want to address some key issues that have been bothering me and that have only been made worse by recent events.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Once Upon A Dream ~ Briar Rose by Jana Oliver Review

Briar Rose
By Jana Oliver

Rating: 4.3 

'Over the years this curse will remain vigilant, growing in  strength, changing course as needed. 

Then, when the time is right, it will fulfill its calling. Sate its near-human desire for  revenge.  

No mercy. No second chances. Only more tears to feed  the bitterness.'

A riveting re-telling of Sleeping Beauty, Jana Oliver's Briar Rose gives the classic fairytale a modern twist like never before.

Fairytale re-tellings are tricky things. Mainly because, honestly, everyone knows these fairytales. We've been read them as children, in order to ignite our little imaginations or to send us off to sleep with minimal bribing involved.

And although there are hundreds of fairytales, from different cultures and different times, there are a set of classics. Sleeping Beauty, being one of them.

The thing with classics, though, that makes re-tellings difficult is that the re-telling should bring to mind the fairytale it has been inspired by without copying it.

Often, this doesn't happen. What does happen is that we see the main elements of the fairytale re-ordered and served back to us with a different topping to 'spice things up.'

Briar Rose, however, ticks all the boxes.

This book manages to include several Sleeping Beauty elements, whilst flawlessly combining a bunch of the author's own concepts to create an engaging tale.

Parts of it reminded me of Jodi Picoult's Between The Lines. A modern day protagonist, who longs for romance and reads far too many fairytales, is sucked into a fairytale and discovers it all isn't sunshine, rainbows and My Little Ponies.

I will wasn't the basic structure of the story that won me over. It was pretty obvious where the story was headed, who would end up with who, etc.

But what made the story intriguing was:
- Its characters
- Its concepts
- Its humor

Jana Oliver has a knack for creating beautifully flawed characters. None of them is perfect - from our female protagonist with her slightly-but-not-really adorable vain streak and horrible taste in guys, to a line of guys who are either too charming, too hot-and-cold, or too self-absorbed.

Each character is three-dimensional. All have flaws, and most have a few redeeming qualities thrown in so that you don't have to hate every character you meet!

The concepts were amazing. The whole metal thing, with the creatures and the magic...I was hooked. Some voodoo magic + creatures with magic dust + some A.G. Howard's Splintered-like horror (featuring a bunch of metal caterpillar creatures in a pit that would have perfectly suited a gothic, darker Wonderland) = a whole lot of awesome.

And the humor. Oh the humor!

I like how it was a refreshing mix of everyday comedy and YA humor. The jokes aren't funny outright, but are delivered with a subtle hand that makes them all the more humorous.

So if you love fairytales & you're looking for a badass re-telling, Briar Rose is for you!

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

A Long Trip Home ~ A Cliché Christmas by Nicole Deese Review

A Cliché Christmas
By Nicole Deese

Rating: 4.8

'Eleven months of the year, I lived in a perpetual state of holly-jolly fanfare. But by the time the first of November rolled around, I was completely Christmased out.

I know I sound like a Scrooge to admit such a travesty, but believe me, when you build a career on Christmas cheer and holiday hype, the warm fuzzies of nostalgia fade faster than Hollywood's latest scandal.

(...) Ironically, December was my only month off.'

Hollywood knows her as the 'Holiday Goddess'. Lenox knows her as Georgia Cole. 

Georgia has her December holidays all planned out. 

A remote getaway in the Hawaiian Islands is calling her name and she can hardly wait to take a break from writing clichéd Christmas screenplays. No snow for this girl - bring on the palm trees, sandy beaches and fruity drinks!

The very last place she expects to be for Christmas is Lenox, Oregon.  

But when Georgia's grandmother volunteers her to direct a pageant at Lenox's community theater, Georgia finds herself heading back to her hometown for the first time in seven years. 

He's known as the Lenox Heartbreaker. To Georgia, he's the man she left behind.

Weston James. Once her childhood friend and crush, he's now the one man Georgia can't forgive...or forget.

But he's also the man she has to work with in order to make the pageant a success. 

As the two work side by side, will they be able to overcome the past that divides them? Or will Georgia's fears cause her to miss out on a second chance at love?

Thaw your heart this Christmas with a heartwarming tale that puts true love to the test.

Refreshingly honest and beautifully written, A Cliché Christmas is anything but cliché! Emphasizing the importance of family, love and making memories, it's a book you're going to want to have on your bookshelf these December holidays.

Be prepared to add A Cliche Christmas (and Weston!) to your Christmas list! 

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Whatever It Takes ~ Disruption by Jessica Shirvington Review

Disruption (Disruption #1) 
By Jessica Shirvington

Rating: 4.9

'"Ditch the driver and meet me back here at nine and..." I gave him a look up and down, settling on his shoes."...wear appropriate shoes.

"What are appropriate shoes?" he asked, standing. 

"Shoes you can run for your life in," Gus answered helpfully. Then added, unnecessarily, "Welcome to the Maggie-verse."'

This book is totally badass in every way possible.

Spotting the book on the library shelf, I feel in love with its shiny gold cover (plus Jessica Shirvington is an amazing author, so it was an instant pick). People will always tell you, 'Never judge a book by its cover.'

Well, judging from Disruption's cover, it was going to be an incredible read. And the story most definitely lived up to its beautiful cover. It was incredibly engaging from the first few pages and I couldn't put it down.

So if you're a fan of the TV show Revenge you'll love this book.

I was trying to pinpoint what this book reminded me of, and I finally realized it whilst typing this review up - Revenge. Girl's dad is involved with some dealings that then get him taken away from his daughter, who swears that she'll get her revenge (or in this case find her father) no matter what it takes...yeah, there are a lot of similarities between the two.

However Disruption comes out on top by a mile, with its unique concepts, technology, kickass fighting demonstrations, and cliffhanger. Actually, I reckon Disruption should have its own TV series...actually, make that a movie. A big blockbuster film with a great soundtrack & a dreamy actor who plays Quentin ;)

Hey, a girl can dream!

Ah the web we weave when we begin to deceive!

Never did the above saying make more sense than in this book. A major theme in Disruption is guilt. Guilt is our female protagonist Maggie's constant companion.

And the more guilt she feels, the more lies she uses to cover it up, aaaaaaand so the vicious cycle continues!

One thing that did confuse me in this book. Maybe I missed a part where it was explained to the reader, but...where are the rest of the world, exactly? 'Cause all I'm reading is 'United States of America', 'USA Individual Identification Act', etc, etc etc.

Did England get wiped out? Is the USA separated from the world by a big shield? Does everyone else have these M-Bands, courtesy of the USA?

To sum up, I have no why - if the USA are the only ones using these M-Band - no other country has stepped up saying, "Uh...these are a bad idea, guys. Like...really bad."

No one? No UN meeting to discuss the ethical controversies surrounding these M-Bands? Everyone's just ok with the government monitoring everything about us and turning us into pheromone-crazed tech-heads?

The future looks grim indeed. 

If someone you loved was in danger, how far would you go to save them? Find out how far Maggie is willing to go by grabbing yourself a copy of Disruption today!

'"To do what you're doing, to risk everything the way you are. He must be an amazing man. He's lucky to have you."
(...) I shook my head sharply. "I've done nothing to help him."
"But you will won't you?"
"Whatever it takes."

He nodded, as if we were pleased with my response. "I have no doubt."

Good to hear, I suppose. Considering he was the 'whatever' it was going to take.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Books That Need More Attention Hop ~ Ondine Quartet by Emma Raveling

I'm so happy and honored to be a part of the Books That Need More Attention Blog Hop

What is this, you may be asking?

This hop is about books you love that not enough other people have found out about. With our busy lives and lengthy 'to be read' lists, sometimes those special books that can truly alter our reading experience slip through the cracks, unnoticed. 

And this hop is about making sure you bookworms know about the books worth reading that you might not have picked up yet! 

As a part of the Books That Need More Attention Hop run by the amazing Valerie Fink, I'm blogging today to bring to your attention a truly unique & exciting YA series.

The Ondine Quartet by Emma Raveling.

This feature includes a whole lot of excitement - from a fun Q&A with the author, to lots of great giveaways!

So hang on to your hats...and let's get started!

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