Friday, 30 November 2012

Review:: Reached by Ally Condie

Title: Reached
Author: Ally Condie
Publisher: Dutton Children's Books
Pages: 512
Format: ARC paperback
Disclosure: Sent from Publisher for review
Review by: Mary

After leaving Society and desperately searching for the Rising—and each other—Cassia and Ky have found what they were looking for, but at the cost of losing each other yet again: Cassia has been assigned to work for the Rising from within Society, while Ky has been stationed outside its borders. But nothing is as predicted, and all too soon the veil lifts and things shift once again.

In this gripping conclusion to the #1 New York Times-bestselling Matched Trilogy, Cassia will reconcile the difficulties of challenging a life too confining, seeking a freedom she never dreamed possible, and honoring a love she cannot live without.

I've been waiting for this last installment in the matched trilogy. I loved Matched. I didn't care for Crossed. I wanted to know what happens in the end with Reached. I have a few issues with it. It is quite slow. Very poetic. I like poetry, but I was looking for more action. I mean a rebellion was happening wasn't it? You wouldn't be able to tell for how peaceful it was. To tell you the truth.

I'm concerned with the lack of world building here. If you're going to write dystopian/science fiction then you need to get into the details. I want to know what this world is like. What is there or not there. What are the people like. How are people being controlled? I just needed more. I really did.

{SPOILER ALERT} Let's talk about this love triangle that isn't really a love triangle. I'm a Xander fan. From his first page I loved him. I connected with him. I felt the most like him. I wanted him to be happy. I thought that meant being with Cassia. But as the story went on I realized she didn't deserve him. He's too good for her. I wanted Xander to be loved by someone. He deserved it gosh darn it! I will say that all ended the way it should. But there surely wasn't any romance to be had in this book. It was devoid of romance and kissing. I like books with kissing. Boo. {END SPOILER}

While I did enjoy this story, it definitely isn't my favorite. I didn't connect with Cassia during this book but I LOVED how it was written in Cassia, Ky and Xander's points of view. I loved knowing each chapter was bringing me a different version of the story. That is what kept the story going for me.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Let's Talk Romance:: Where It All Began + Linky

Let's Talk Romance is an original feature/meme hosted by yours truly {Mary @ The Sweet Bookshelf} and Jac @ For Love and Books. We love romance and wanted a place where we could discuss it freely each week! Come along each Thursday and you'll be able to participate in discussion questions, reviews, lists, and all things romance. When we have a Linky present you'll be able to post the topic on your blog as well. We hope to get to know other romance lovers as well as maybe have a few more give the genre a try. Let's Talk Romance!!

When/Where did your love of romance begin?

When I was in junior high I used to sneak over to the romance section and grab a romance novel off the shelf and flip open to any page and start reading. Those were the old school romance novels with bodice rippers on the cover. I just needed a little taste of some romance before I went home.

I've always loved the romance aspect in books the most. I was reading all these YA books and loving all the romance in them. I literally couldn't get enough. If I read one that didn't have some romance I just wasn't as interested. No matter the genre, I just needed a love story. Something to hope for. Then I noticed that I wanted a book with characters that were in the same phase as life as I was. I am married and have a son. I'm not a teenager anymore! So my mother suggested I read an actual romance novel. I wasn't exactly excited about this. What would it be like? Was it too adult for my taste?

The first actual adult romance novel I picked up was 'Yours to Keep' by Shannon Stacey. I devoured it. Let my Mom borrow it and then went to find more Shannon Stacey books. I could not get enough! Once I read it I knew I had read some romance novels before but I didn't realize they were actually romance novels. I read 'The Gable Faces East' by Anita Stansfield almost 10 years ago {I re-read it this month} and it is still one of my favorites. AMAZING!!

I'm a loud and proud lover of romance novels now! Whenever I am in a reading funk I can always count on a romance novel to pull me out. Now, I can't get enough!

It's your turn now. Grab a banner and answer the question on your blog. Then add the link to the Linky below! Let's Talk Romance! I'll be posting the December topics this next week. Be on the lookout.

don't forget to head on over to For Love and Books! Tell her I sent you ;)

Review:: If I Were You by Julia Llewellyn

Title: If I Were You
Author: Julia Llewllyn
Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 496

My name is NatashaI have a successful careerA gorgeous penthouse flatTrouble is, I'm in love with a man who already has a girlfriendMy name is SophieI have a man I love He's gorgeous and we've been together four yearsTrouble is, he won't proposeNatasha and Sophie met when they were eleven and rapidly became best friends. Natasha was always the more intelligent and Sophie the more beautiful, but it never came between them ... until now. Suddenly the tiny, niggling, inescapable fact of their envy for each other's life is trying to surface and a number of casualties are getting caught in the crossfire. Is a fading love worth clinging to at all costs? Is marriage the be-all-and-end-all? And can an affair ever be fulfilling?Natasha and Sophie need to learn that they might be hunting for happiness in all the wrong places ...

Catriona's Review:
With Julia Llewellyn’s new book just out I thought I would read another of her offerings that I haven’t read alongside it. If I were you centres around two friends Sophie and Natasha who met at school and whose lives have gone in different directions but have remained firm friends, never living too far apart from one another. This formula was sure to be a hit with me!

The book started off a little hard to get into. We are introduced to Sophie and Natasha quickly and Sophie’s former Stepbrother Marcus who also plays a big part in the story, but if anything, things move too quickly to begin with, especially when compared to the rest of the novel, and so it almost begins by leaving the reader wanting more.

One Marcus’s wedding is out of the way, however, the meaty part of the novel begins and I felt I could settle into the storyline and get to know the characters a lot better. I really enjoyed the way the characters insecurities are shown and found these really identifiable in both of the girls. The author doesn’t just deal with the problem of dating and relationships but also what happens when you find the one and the marriage perhaps doesn’t turn out the way you had planned. She also covers career problems and money problems all of which are relevant to readers in today’s society.

I think that storyline was really well thought out and some of the twist and turns you genuinely don’t see coming. I found some of the situation the girls find themselves in particularly cringe worthy, but only because I have found myself in some of these situations myself! The struggles that the girls went through also rang true with me and like in all good books, I found myself struggling along with the heroines, hoping everything would work out for them in the end.

Like her novel ‘Love Nest’ Julia Llewellyn has covered all bases with this book, humour, love and everyday life struggles and so I think that there is something here for every reader. One the initial first couple of chapters are out of the way, this is a book that you can get your teeth into and will find realty difficult to put down. A great mid-week read!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Review:: Spill Over by Jolene Perry

Title: Spill Over
Author: Jolene Perry
Publisher: Next Door Publishing 
Pub Date: July 11, 2012
Format: Kindle

"I'm not in New York.
I'm friends with a girl.
I'm living on a boat... with my dad...
At this point, I figure anything's possible."

When an assignment overseas gives Antony's Mom the opportunity of a lifetime, she sees it as a chance for Antony to get to know his dad - a guy strange enough to live on a boat. Near dreary Seattle. Antony’s sure that the next few months will feel like a lifetime. He and his dad can’t even fill up a five minute conversation on his birthday call.

Then he meets Amber, the girl from five boats down, and his prospects perk up. But when it becomes very clear, very fast, that all she’s after is friendship, Antony wonders if he’ll survive the next three months.

He is absolutely. Completely. Totally. Displaced.

And then tragedy hits. 

Spill Over is a novel about love, loss, and figuring out what’s actually important.

I had no idea what this book was about when I bought it. I didn't even read the summary. Crazy? Nope. I'll read anything by author Jolene Perry. I don't need to know what it's about. 

I was pleasantly surprised that this is a male POV. I love a male POV! I want it to be the new trend. It's so different and I love being in the guys head. I'm a girl and I already know how girls think. I like to pretend I'm in the guys head and see things in a different way. It's awesome! Antony exudes coolness. I'm pretty sure we wouldn't have been friends in high school. I wasn't exactly popular. But that doesn't make him unrelated or unlikable. He seems that way at first but he had so many facets that you find his struggles are similar to yours. Even if you've never gone through what Antony has, you will identify with him in some way. 

Amber and Antony are similar in many ways. They are both home schooled, they live on a boat and want to go to the same University. But that is really where the similarities end. They are pretty much polar opposites. Antony is confident and experienced. Amber is quiet and...well, hasn't had many of life's experiences. It makes for an exciting relationship because you never really know how the other is going to react. Or what they are thinking. 

I really loved this setting. I mean they live on a boat people!!!! One of my dreams! So amazing. Really fun story. Even if there are sad parts that make you hurt it is great to see how a life changes and when happiness is obtained. I'm such a fan of author Jolene Perry and this is another great one! 

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Favorite Holiday Books!

I am so crazy about Holiday books! They help me get into the mood for all things Christmas. I love the setting with snow and Christmas tree's and presents. Oh and miracles too!! Here are some of my favorite Christmas books that I love to enjoy every season.

*I'm participating in Top Ten Tuesday at The Broke and the Bookish

Monday, 26 November 2012

Confessions {5}

-I don't really care how bad the grammar is. If the story is good I don't even notice.

-I don't like Hardback books. At all.

-I have to finish a book. Even if I didn't like it. I think I've not finished 2 books in the last 5 yrs.

-I read Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery when I was 12 yrs old because I was jealous that my sister loved reading so much and I wanted to be like her. I'll forever be grateful for that book.

-Sometimes I mix up experiences I've had with ones I've read about in books.

-I took New Moon on a date with my husband. We went to see a movie and I read while the film was playing. I couldn't help it. But I did get weird looks.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Review:: The First Last Kiss by Ali Harris

The First Last Kiss by Ali Harris
Publisher: Simon and Schuster UK
Pages: 496
Pub date: Jan 2013
Format: Paperback ARC
Review by: Catriona
Disclosure: Book sent by Publisher for free

How do you hold on to a love that is slowly slipping away from you?
Can you let go of the past when you know what is in the future?
And how do you cope when you know that every kiss is a countdown to goodbye?

This is the story of a love affair, of Ryan and Molly and how they fell in love and were torn apart. The first time Molly kissed Ryan, she knew they'd be together forever. Six years and thousands of kisses later she's married to the man she loves. But today, when Ryan kisses her, Molly realises how many of them she wasted because the future holds something which neither of them could have ever predicted…

Catriona's Review:
This review comes with a warning… I LOVED this book, so it might get a bit gushy in parts, you have been warned!

“Do kisses fade like Polaroids if you don’t pay attention to them?”
This is the beautifully written story of two people, Molly and Ryan, and their journey together over the course of twenty years told through Molly’s memories of kisses they share, and also the kisses they don’t share. Both main characters are very likable, even though they are so different. Molly isn’t your typical girly girl; she loves her Converse and dislikes public displays of affection. Ryan is the typical lads’ lad, good at football, but much more likely to cry and slushy movies than she is! I think it is because they are so different that I found it so easy to like them.

The book isn’t written in chronological order. The chapters are interspersed with Molly’s kiss memories and the tale of her packing up a house somewhere in the year 2012, but each chapter rewinds to a different period in her life and a different memory of her and Ryan. I think that this structure gives the book a great pace. I found myself uttering the immortal lines ‘one more chapter’ because I had to find out what happened after the memory that I had just read. I think that fact that it is told in the first person also makes the book very easy to read, but it will make you fall in love with Molly and our hero Ryan! You become so easily invested in the characters you will definitely find yourself experiencing the highs and lows of their lives right alongside them.

For me the book had a definite turning point about two thirds of the way through. The first part lets you into the lives of Molly and Ryan. You get to know them and the host of supporting characters, all of whom are so well developed they will begin to feel like your own friends and family. There is plenty of fun and frolics, as one would expect from a couple in their twenties, but then the last part of the story takes you deeper into the emotions of the young couple. I enjoyed both parts equally and I thought it was really cleverly written that there was such a turning point to the story similar to a turning point that one might experience in the course of everyday life.

I so enjoyed reading Ali Harris’s second novel, it is as full of wonderful description and well-crafted writing as her Miracle on Regent Street,  but I found it so hard to review without giving away any of the major events of the story! All I can say is that you will laugh, you will cry but I have complete faith that you will enjoy every single page of this delicious fictional journey over twenty years, two hearts and countless memorable kisses!

Review:: Don't You Forget About Me by Alexandra Potter

Title: Don't You Forget About Me
Author: Alexandra Potter
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Pages: 416

After a bad break up, doesn't every girl want the same things?

* For her ex-boyfriend to stay single forever...
* Or maybe emigrate, to a remote, uninhabited island?
* Better still, that she'd never met him in the first place!

But what if one of those wishes came true?

Tess is heartbroken when Seb breaks up with her and can't help blaming herself. If only she'd done things differently. If only she could make right all her regrets... But she can't. It's over. She has to forget about him. Drunk and upset on New Year's Eve she wishes she'd never met him.

But when she wakes up to discover this dream has come true, she realises she has a chance. To do it all over again. And to get it right this time...

Catriona's Review:

What I love about Alexandra Potter’s books is the way they deal with magic and mystery. It’s like she has taken fairytale qualities such as wishes coming true, wicked witches and fairy godmothers and applied them to modern romantic fiction!

She has not failed to impress in her latest offering. Don’t You Forget About Me centres around Tess and a wish she makes at New Year which appears to have come true. Tess is a great character because she is entirely relatable. She’s not entirely happy in her work life, her love life has just taken a turn for the worse and she doesn’t seem top entirely know what she wants, elements of which most of us can identify with. Flat mate Fiona, Ex-boyfriend Seb and new friend Fergus are also the kind of people we might recognise from our own lives.

I read this book in one sitting because the storyline was so easy to get into and as I have mentioned, the characters were so simple to get along with. She gets right into the action, and we find out what is going on with Tess straight away, meeting her on new years sitting at her desk, mourning the loss of her most recent relationship. The story then progresses quickly from mishap to disaster with heart-warming moments and laughs along the way.

I think that because the characters are so easy to identify with and the magic of the story provides real escapism from our own real life dramas, anyone would find this book easy to love. For anyone who is a fan of Alexandra Potter’s previous novels, this lives up to its predecessors magical fun and frolics, and for those who have not yet discovered this author, hopefully this novel will lead you to explore her others for more romance, humour and a little bit of a fairytale ending!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Simon and Schuster Blogger Event

Simon and Schuster invited The Sweet Bookshelf to a  blogger event in London, so I sent Catriona {our Thursday reviewer} on assignment to attend. Awesome right?! She got to rub shoulders with authors and learn about new and upcoming books. She also got a stack of books to take home to review! She had a great time and I'll let her tell you all about it.

Ali Harris and Catriona
On Thursday 1st November 2012 a group of book bloggers were invited to Simon and Schuster Publishing House in London to meet four different authors (as well as each other). I was lucky enough to attend the event on behalf of The Sweet Bookshelf.

To begin with, it was just fabulous to meet some of the other bloggers out and there and put some faces to some blogs, so to speak, and it was great to find out that so many of them were aware of The Sweet Bookshelf as well! Then the real fun began, however, as we were all lead into a room to be presented with authors Ali Harris, Rob Ryan, Dean Crawford and Wendy Wallace.

Dean Crawford introduced his book Apocalypse first of all, a fantasy crime novel featuring recurring character Ethan Warner where a private Learjet filled with scientists travels across the ocean toward Miami. As it passes through the Bermuda Triangle, strange effects disturb the instruments and violent weather envelops the aircraft until it plummets out of control and vanishes without trace. Dean talked about how lucky he feels to be a full time writer and how he enjoys the fact that he can create worlds in his writing for others to enjoy.

Robert Ryan introduced his book Dead Man’s land set in the First World War, featuring a detective doctor and a mysterious murder. I found him to be thoroughly entertaining as he talked about his wife knowing how  good a writing day it had been for him based upon the cups of tea that he had drunk. He also talked about the transition from journalist to author, and how he still found it hard to believe that he is allowed to make things up in his novels. This author also confessed to working at weekends and sometimes leaving the dinner table if a good idea suddenly popped into his head, showing how being an author is a far cry from a 9-5 desk job!

I was interested to meet Wendy Wallace having read the first couple of chapter of her novel The Painted Bridge, a novel set inside a mental asylum for women in Victorian London, ‘in a world where the line between madness and sanity seems perilously fine.’ She had also been a journalist in the past, and spoke about how he enjoyed being a full time writer, but felt she couldn’t have written her novel whilst her children were younger as Ali and Rob have done.

I was most excited to hear from Ali Harris because I really enjoyed her debut novel Miracle on Regent Street. She told us all about her new novel which comes out in January, The First Last Kiss (which I admit to reading on the tube on the way home). It follows two main characters Molly and Ryan, and is told through Molly’s memories of kisses she has had, rather than going through in chronological order. Ali said that the best thing about being a writer is living her dream. She also come from a journalistic background and said that she experienced a lot of rejection but that the moment that she got the call to say someone had agreed to publish her novel, was the best feeling in the world. As a mother of two young children she said that she found that the hardest part of the job, and can remember proof reading her novel when her daughter was just a week old.

All of the authors shared some tips for budding authors. Ali said that the most important thing she has found is to have a plot for her book. Before she was published, she said she just used to write and write (she’s a big fan of lots of description in her writing) and that sitting down and deciding on a plot, she sees as the key to her getting published. Rob warned that listening to those around you as they’re reading your work isn’t always a good thing, and he relies on his own criticism of his work, as friends and family just want to be nice to you. Ali disagreed with this and said that without the help of her best friend, her latest novel may not have come together in the way that it has done, telling us that they locked themselves in a room together and decided the order of the book through a series of sticky notes laid out around the room!

It was so fantastic to hear what the authors had to say, but afterwards we were given the opportunity to chat to them, and the other bloggers whilst enjoying the wine and cheese that Simon and Schuster had laid on for us, and most importantly browse the variety of books that had been left out for us to take home with us. I was very excited to get my hands on a copy of Milly Johnson’s A Winter Flame, as well as Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of being a Wallflower and Rebecca Chance’s Bad Angels. We were also able to get the authors’ latest books signed by then and Ali wrote me a lovely message in the front of my copy of The First Last Kiss.

It was completely fabulous to meet the authors, get my hands on all those books and also to chart to other book bloggers about their books and what they are reading at the moment. I am very grateful to The Sweet Bookshelf for sending me to the event and to Simon and Schuster for laying that all on for us. I am about halfway through my copy of The First Last Kiss by Ali Harris so look out for a review as soon as I am finished reading it!

Review:: Shark Bait by Jenn Cooksey

Title: Shark Bait
Author: Jenn Cooksey
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing
Pages: 318
Pub Date: June 15, 2012
Format: Kindle

Previously homeschooled Camie Ramsey is being shoved into the shark-infested waters of public high school, where even helium filled, penguin bespeckled arm floaties likely won’t help keep her inexperienced, fifteen-year old head above water in that rip current of hormones and emotions.

Camie’s worldly wisdom might be severely lacking (i.e., the closest she’s come to being kissed was sitting too close to the TV whilst Jake Ryan leaned in to give Samantha that fateful 16th birthday kiss), but she does understand her only hope for survival is if she’s thrown some kind of “social” life preserver before she sinks like a freaking rock. However, what will her fate be when she endeavors to flag down the only lifeguard on duty, the enormously popular and ridiculously beautiful Tristan Daniels? The most sought after and virtually most unattainable guy in school who not only makes Camie’s heart flatline on a recurring basis, he’s also the one guy who seemingly doesn’t know she exists.

Feeling like an inept piece of chum that could ultimately be swallowed by Jaws, can Camie get Tristan to rescue her from floundering in the treacherous deep, or is she destined to be Shark Bait?

From the first few pages I knew I was going to love this book. The voice is the most realistic teenage voice I've ever read. The inner dialogue is so uncanny. I'm sure I've had many of the same conversations with myself. It was also really hilarious. There are so many great one liners. "I smell a fart face." Just think about what kind of face you make when that happens. See? I love the one liners. I wanted to highlight them all just so I could go back and re-read them anytime I want. Or use them in a conversation at some point in my life. I'm not all that witty, but I wish I was. 

During the book we are educated on the finer music and lyrics from some of the greatest bands and songs of all time. Many I knew {I did grow up in the 80's} but many were new to me as well. I found myself on youtube more than once checking out the songs Camie and Tristan were talking about. If you like film or TV you'll also get an education. The classic movie lines were all there. I was loving it. It was a really creative way to set the stage. It was almost as if the music/films were another character. Well played author Jenn Cooksey. Well played. 

From the get go I loved Camie and Kate's plan. This is something we all wish we could have done in high school. I'm sure we've all done some similar, but I didn't have any success! It was really fun waiting and watching the events unfold. Does he like her? What does that mean? Oh no he didn't!! I felt like I was in high school again. But in a good way. And I don't EVER want to go back to high school. 

I was a bit put out by a few things though. I felt Camie changed a lot. And not in a good way. On the very first page she said she doesn't swear. That her vernacular is so vast she needn't use it. By the end of the book she was cussing like a sailor. She'd never been kissed but by the end of the book I thought she was kind of slutty. I really did. Maybe I'm just naive, but I don't think a 15 yr old girl should be doing stuff like that. AND...where were the parentals?!?! I mean, they were there but they sure as heck  weren't being parents. I'd have crapped a brick if my son came home doing even one of those things. These "kids" were quite adult in my opinion. I don't think we should normalize under age drinking and sex. I just don't. I felt Camie's character had gone down by the end of the book. I didn't respect her like I did in the beginning. It felt like she was conforming to what everybody else was doing just to fit in. I was actually disappointed in her by the end. 

I did enjoy this book very much. The voice is just the best part. I could see myself saying so much of the same things. Or having thought them at least. It was just a really fun book. I'm really looking forward to the next one! 

*I wouldn't say this book is appropriate for those under the age of 16 {at least!}. 

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Authors I'm Thankful For

I've had a love of reading since I was young. Many authors have influenced that love and have changed my life. I'm so Thankful for them! I wouldn't be the same.

  1. LM Montgomery- I read Anne of Green Gables when I was 12 yrs old and I fell in love with reading for real. 
  2. JK Rowling- She ignited my long lost love of reading with Harry Potter. I'll still never forget the first time I ever heard about HP. The world will never be the same. 
  3. Nancy Turner- When I read These is My Words I cried so hard at the end that I had to call my sister for comfort. I couldn't even speak. She just said,"You finished it didn't you." I've never felt emotions like that in a book ever in my life. 
  4. Cassandra Clare- I read the first 3 books in The Mortal Instruments in 24 hrs. I was so crazy obsessed with the story. She is like the Pied Piper and I'd follow her anywhere.
  5. Stephenie Meyers- To say I was obsessed with Twilight when I read it is an understatement. The story literally had me hooked so hard. I'm crazy over love stories and this one was just unique. I'd not read anything like it. Stephenie ignited a flame inside me for romance reads and I've not been able to stop since. Romance is my favorite part of any story.
  6. Sophie Kinsella- I have never laughed so much while reading as I did with Confessions of a Shopaholic. People would start to look at me because I couldn't keep it in. I don't read much chic lit anymore but if Sophie writes something I'll always read it. I don't need to even know what it's about. She can pull me out of any funk. 
  7. Shannon Hale- There are almost no words to describe how much I love Shannon Hale. She is a master writer and her fairytale re-tellings are the best around. The Goose Girl will always be one of my favorite books. 
  8. Jolene Perry- I'm thankful for Jolene because she introduced me to self published books. Without her I wouldn't know about so many great books! Books and characters that I can't stop thinking about. She stopped my prejudice with the self pubs. 
  9. Suzanne Collins- Never has any book left me so speechless as The Hunger Games. It scared the bejesus out of me. I'd never read any science fiction {dystopian} before and I couldn't wait to read more. I've read The Hunger Games more times than I can count. She also taught me it is OK to re-read a book as many times as I want. 
  10. Anita Stansfield- I never knew that LDS books existed until I read her books 10 years ago. I couldn't get enough. She writes books that I wish I could live in. I'll forever wish I lived the life in The Gable Faces East. Australia is calling me.
*I'm participating in Top Ten Tuesday at The Broke and the Bookish

Monday, 19 November 2012

Discussion:: Romance Novel Cliches

I once talked about Romance Novels: Why the Stereotype? I love that post. It is one of my favorites. I came out of the closet as a romance novel fan. I thought romance novels were all bodice rippers and a half naked females on the cover that needed rescued. Maybe they used to all be that way, but not anymore.

Today I'd like to talk about romance cliches. As in predictability. We know what's going to happen--so to speak. They end up together. It wouldn't be a romance novel if that wasn't the case. Am I right? Is this a good thing? Do you like knowing there is a happy ending coming? Or is that what you don't like about them?

I personally enjoy the predictability. I do. When I find myself stressed in every day life I know I can pick up a romance novel and have something turn out the way it should. It isn't about the end result for me in romance novels. It is about the journey. What is this couples story? How do they make it work? Are they passionate or are they the peaceful quiet kind of love that comes from years of friendship?

I do enjoy many different genre's and I love those to keep me guessing. I like not knowing what is going to happen. I love being shocked when things don't go as I think they should. But, in my romance novels I really enjoy knowing it is all going to be OK.

How about you? Do you like the predictability? Or are you wanting the genre to shake it up a bit?

Friday, 16 November 2012

Review:: Rouge by Leigh Moore

Kindle | Nook | Kobo | Smashwords 
Title: Rouge
Author: Leigh Moore
Format: Kindle
Review by: Mary

Trapped in the underground theater world of 1890s New Orleans, Hale Ferrer has only one goal: escape. But not without Teeny, the orphan-girl she rescued from the streets and promised to protect.

Freddie Lovel, Hale's wealthy Parisian suitor, seems to be the easy solution. If only his touch could arouse her interest like Beau's, the penniless stagehand who captures her heart.

Denying her fears, Hale is poised to choose love until an evil lurking in their cabaret-home launches a chain of events that could cost her everything.

Oh boy. This book is full of so much stuff! I've actually never read anything like it. It has the feeling of Phantom of the Opera and Moulin Rouge. Theater, singing, dancing, danger, intrigue, and forbidden love. It is all there. A tangled weave of a mess. But, that is what makes this books so great.

Rouge is totally edgy. It is not for the faint of heart. Some scene's are hard to watch. They'll pierce your insides. For good and bad. Even when it came to sensitive issues, I think they were handled well even the painful ones. I'm not a fan of rape in books, at all, but the bits here weren't descriptive and were only there for the integrity of the story. This is not a rape story. Rape is not the main point of the story. It is just something that happens with the circumstances Hale and the other girls are in.

Rouge is first and foremost a forbidden love story. Does Hale really have the luxury of falling in love when basic survival is on the line? She must do what she needs to keep herself alive and safe. I was completely wrapped up in this story. The ending actually broke my heart. I would have bought the next book at 4am if it had been out just to find out what happens next. Brilliant. Totally fresh and new. Different. This book is totally worth your time. Buy it. Read it. Then tell me what you think! I need someone to discuss it with!

Author Interview:: Leigh T. Moore

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What does a typical writing day look like for you?

I have this giant Rube Goldberg machine that picks me out of bed, drops me in my clothes, makes my coffee, and then carries me over to my computer and puts my hands on the keyboard. It’s not so good at storytelling…

LOL! Just KIDding. I don’t know. I kind of stagger to my laptop and start pounding away. Then I’ll stop and stare off into space for a while… Then I’ll have at it again. If I get stuck, I go for a run, and that usually helps. If I get really, really stuck, I’ll take a break and listen to some music or daydream or something until I figure it out. But mostly I try to save the problem solving until after the first draft is finished.

Why did you decide to self publish?

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Peer pressure. No, I had this book (The Truth About Faking) that all of my beta readers liked, my agent liked, but I couldn’t get a publishing deal for it. Editors were very complimentary about it, but their reasons for passing were all varied and nebulous and often contradictory.

Many of my writer-friends were self-publishing and having success, and since I had a background in publishing, I decided I had nothing to lose by trying it!

What is your favorite thing about being a self published author? The worst?

For me, the best thing about being self-published is having complete control over my work—the content, the appearance, the format, the timeline, etc. I’m a bit Type A, so that’s very appealing to me. The worst part is making decisions on things like what to do next, how long to wait, etc.

I’m lucky to have a super-supportive group of writer friends—both traditional and self-published—which eases the lonely times. Marketing is tough. But so far being independent has been a fun experience!

If you were on a deserted island what 3 books would you take with you?

Oh, I love to read! I’ve been so busy lately, being stuck on an island with only three books sounds like heaven—LOL! Let’s see, I’ve only read the first Harry Potter book (I know! How is this possible? Well, I was having babies, and the movies were coming out, and I got behind!), so I’d grab the last three of that series. They’re long, and I saw all the movies. (So I have an idea about what’s going on.)

What is one place you'd like to visit someday?

I want to visit everywhere someday, but at the top of my list right now is Prague. And yes, it’s because of Daughter of Smoke & Bone. Loved that book (despite the irritating ending… ).

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What projects are you working on now?

Too many! LOL, I can’t decide what to focus on next. I’ve got a mature YA science fiction novel that I absolutely love and want to share with everyone, but it needs a little tweaking. I’ve finished the first two books in a family saga-style series, but again, tweaks are needed. I’ve also started both a companion novel to TTAF and the sequel to Rouge… Those should probably go next. But they’ll take longer than the first ones. (This is that hard part about self-publishing I described!)

When can we expect publication dates for your next projects?

Umm… what? No, I’m teasing. Depending on how it goes, I’m sure I’ll focus on the sequel to Rouge next, which I hope to have done by spring of 2013. Yes? Then I guess I’ll roll out the other books after that… 

Thanks Leigh! I can't wait for what you've got coming next!

Thank you so much for reading and for having me here today! I love chatting about books and sharing my stories with readers. <3 span="span">

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Review:: Becoming Bayley by Susan Auten

Title: Becoming Bayley
Author: Susan Auten
Publisher: Deseret Book
Genre: LDS Contemporary
Format: Kindle
Review by: Mary

Bayley Albrecht's dream is to play soccer on BYU's South Field. When she is invited to soccer camp the summer before her senior year in high school, she just knows she's one step closer to her dream. Things get even better when she meets Matt Macauley, the star of the men's soccer team. When they decide to write each other while Matt is on his mission, Bayley figures her life can't get any better. But it certainly can get worse...

After she receives a minor concussion from playing soccer, Bayley discovers she had a disease called alopecia which causes her to lose her hair. As Bayley struggles to deal with the reality of her baldness she finds herself having to make some tough decisions. Can she still play soccer? Does she even want to? More importantly, should she tell Matt? And will he still want her when she does? Becoming Bayley is the story of one girl's journey through self-discovery, of the definition of true love, and of the realization that as a daughter of God, she is of infinite worth.

I was laying in bed the other night and I decided I wanted to start a new book before bed. I grabbed my kindle and I knew exactly what I was in the mood for. I'd had Becoming Bayley on my wish list for a few days and couldn't stop thinking about it. So, I purchased it and I'd only gotten 2% into the book and I knew I was going to stay up all night to finish it. I knew I was going to love it and I knew it was going to be an un-put-down-able book. I didn't know how this story would affect me.

I love the style Becoming Bayley is written in. It feels so natural. Nothing is forced or cheesy. It's just...real. The dialogue feels like conversations I've had. Or ones I wish I'd had. I actually got giddy when Matt and Bayley met on South Field the last night of soccer camp. It was perfect. I had to re-read the scene twice before I could move on.

Bayley writes Matt on his mission but while he is away she has several trials of her own. She has alopecia. A condition that makes her lose her hair. While I was reading her struggle I felt like I was actually living it. Or that I was her mother at least. "When you hurt, I hurt." I found myself bawling into my pillow at 2am because of all I was feeling for her. Her sister and mother both perform an act of love for Bayley that still has me tearing up. I was feeling all my emotions during her struggle and my heart broke for her. I love the way author Susan Auten literally shows us how Christ can heal our wounds however big or small. What a powerful message.

Bayley stops writing Matt on his mission when she feels that she can't tell him about her hair loss. The love story from there actually look my breath away. When I finished the book I wouldn't actually put the book down. I was afraid of losing some of its magic. I sat with the book in my hands and flipped to my favorite parts just to capture a little bit more before I had to close it. There were times I laughed and cried and moments that took my breath away. I'm not sorry I didn't get to sleep until 4am. I felt like I was allowed a glimpse into the trials, life and love of Bayley and Matt. This won't be the last time I read their story. I know I'll pick it up again in the future and I'll be able to feel all those wonderful feelings again. Bravo. Becoming Bayley is a truly beautiful book and I loved it. Every minute of it.

"Something happened during Matt's talk. When I sat down I was one person, but by the time he was done, I was someone else. Someone changed. Someone new. Someone I didn't know. My arms were covered in gooseflesh. My stomach was doing this buoyant, top-of-the-roller-coaster thing. Suddenly I wanted to be pretty. I wanted guys to think I was pretty. In particular, I wanted this guy to think I was pretty..."

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Review:: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 338
Format: Kindle

A special Thank you to Jac over at For Love and Books for lending me this book! 

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war– and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

Shatter Me is quite poetic. You almost think it is written in verse, but it's not. It's just an interesting writing style. Not my favorite, but interesting. 

Did anybody else notice that this story is very....X-men? Well, it is. {Except X-men is WAY better} The beginning was really awesome. I was engrossed in what was going to happen. Was Juliette crazy or wasn't she? Why was Adam in her cell with her? What was really going on here? I was searching for the story. When it made itself know I was all for it. I can't say it was unique because I thought it was really X-men-ish but it had elements of it's own. 

I liked the romance between Juliette and Adam and the kissing scenese are hot. But I really don't like it when I can't see the love blooming. It just happened. It was as if they were strangers one minute then making out in the shower the next. What the heck? 

I suppose this is just like any other dystopian. The world building needed more. Much more. I have so many questions and I felt things were overlooked. Oh, two people are in love amongst a dystopian world? OK, we can forget all the details about where they are as long as there is kissing. It lacked a lot of description in this aspect. 

I personally think the hype was too much for this one. I liked it just fine but it wasn't blowing me away. I expected much more. 

"You can't touch me," I whisper. I'm lying, is what I don't tell him. He can touch me, is what I'll never tell him. Please touch me, is what I want to tell him." 

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Books I'd Want On a Deserted Island

Books are definitely something I'd want with me if I was stuck on a deserted island. How could I live without them? What would I be doing with all that free time? Well, after building a shelter and finding food. I'd need books from all different genre's so that I could read according to my mood and not get bored.

*I'm participating in Top Ten Tuesday at The Broke and the Bookish

Monday, 12 November 2012

Confessions {4}

-My most favorite part of book blogging is when someone tells me they read a book I recommended and loved it.

-I scheduled enough posts to cover the whole month of November.

- I did that so I could do NaNoWriMo {National Novel Writing Month} and actually have a shot at finishing it. I've never ever tried to write a novel before but I have an idea.

-When I'm really stressed I'll either not be able to read at all or I'll gorge myself on books to take it all away.

-Sometimes I re-read a book immediately after I finish it. I just don't want the magic to end yet.

-My Kindle is my most favorite thing I've ever owned. It makes me feel a bit guilty that I don't like paperbacks anymore.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Review:: The Lifeguard by Deborah Blumenthal

The Lifeguard
By: Deborah Blumenthal 

It's a turbulent summer for Sirena Shane. Back in Texas, her family's splitting apart, but at her aunt's beach cottage in Rhode Island, everything is different. Especially with him around. Pilot. He's the lifeguard with extraordinary looks and mystical powers, who's unlike any boy she's ever known. He's the one who both saves her and makes her feel lost at sea. So begins an unforgettable summer of obsession and discovery.

Christy's Review:
This book was interesting. It kept my attention. The author's writing style was catchy. But mostly I wanted to finish it because I was so disconcerted, and not in a good way. The romance was fun. But there's a paranormal aspect here that is badly fleshed out and to be honest, completely extraneous to the plot. The heroine's journey in this book is completely internal and non-paranormal, so there's really not a reason for that aspect of the book to be included and it comes off like an after-thought. 

Overall, a fun read, but confusing and fatally flawed.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Review:: What's New Pussycat by Alexandra Potter

Title: What's New Pussycat 
Author: Alexandra Potter
Publisher: Fourth Estate
Pages: 320
Review by: Catriona

Life, love and latte. WHAT’S NEW PUSSYCAT is the freshest, frothiest and funniest romantic comedy for Spring 2000. Why, why, why Delilah?

D is for Delilah. D is for decisions that you made when you were too young to know what you were doing. D is for deciding to now do something about them. Delilah Holdsworth is leaving Bradford, leaving her boyfriend Lennie and taking her Tom Jones’ collection, her pet whippet Fatso, and her belief in herself to the bright lights of the big city…My, My, My Delilah

And now that she’s arrived, it seems that Delilah was just what the big city was waiting for. And whether it’s Charlie, the ultimate meejia boy, or sweet Sam, Delilah is desperate not to make the wrong decisions again. Vivienne, the best nbf a girl could have is handing out some very strange advice, yet Delilah must still face a whole new world – on her own – and then really start to live.

Another fabulous, fresh, fast read from Alexandra potter. I was a little wary of reading this when I found out it was actually this author’s first novel. Having read most of her other, more recent, novels I was cautious in case this didn’t live up to the usual high standard that she had set in my reading expectations, however I was not disappointed!

 Delilah does what so many of us have dreamed of doing, packs her back and runs off to the big city leaving her small town life and love behind. Now I am biased as I too have run off to London from Yorkshire, and therefore this added a whole other element to the book for me. The reason the reader can identify with the character and her storyline so much is because she literally starts off with nothing. She has nowhere to live, knows no-one, the only connection she has when she heads off to the big smoke is a business card from Charlie who she met in A & E before she ran away.

 In Alexandra Potter’s usual mix of magic, mysticism and romance, good things start happening for Delilah and it was excellent fun living this out with our heroine! This was a really easy read, a total page tuner and had a satisfying ending with happiness and a twist as well. I think that even if you weren’t a fan of Potter before, you could pick this book up and fall in love with this author, very apt considering the fact that it is her first novel. I can totally recommend this novel, whether you are a Tom Jones Fan or not!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Review:: 10 Weeks by Jolene Perry and Janna Watts

Title: 10 Weeks
Authors: Jolene Perry and Janna Watts
Pages: abt 250
Format: Kindle

10 weeks, 3 counselors...summer love shouldn't be this complicated.

Kay-Kay has known Alex since she was first a camper. He's always been her friend, the guy who gets her more than anyone else. Now, she's nineteen and suddenly he's become more. But with so much of her life still ahead of her, Kay-Kay isn't sure if risking her heart will be worth risking her future.

Jody is not the girl who goes after the hottie. She's the girl who sits in the corner with her steady boyfriend and observes. But when her boyfriend unexpectedly dumps her, and the Irish bartender seems interested... This might have to be her summer of firsts.

Sam doesn't do love. She's tested those waters and has no interest in nearly drowning again. But a summer away from the perfect guy isn't doing anything to heal her heart. Memories of Nate along with his constant texts lead Sam into a self-destructive spiral. And it's only when he forces his way back into her life that she learns the only way to save herself is to open her heart.

This is the story of 3 girls and their summer working at a camp. They are the counselor's and this is their story. It's as if each girl gets her own novella and they are all compiled a book together. I loved it.  I got just enough from each story/girl. This really made me want to go back to summer camp. Oh how I miss those times! I never got to go for longer than a week though, and that would have seriously been my bread and butter. 

19 yrs old and in love with a 40 yr old. Sounds weird, but it wasn't at all. AT. ALL. I've never thought age mattered and I love hearing stories like these. Kay-Kay and Alex have been friends since she was 9 yrs old and coming to camp. Now she's a counselor and she's had her sights set on Alex for a long time. This summer she's going to do something about it. I loved her personality and I loved watching them fall in love with each other. I actually wouldn't mind a follow-up story with these two. 

She's my favorite story. I guess I'm most like Jody. She is 21 and kind of a prude, well... she's just a little naive.  She just hasn't had a lot of life's experiences. She doesn't want to drink alcohol and she's not ready to have sex yet. She is her own person. Living life the way she wants. Her boyfriend of 2 yrs broke up with her and she is heartbroken. She meets the bartender Liam {he's Irish!} and things start to change. Let me tell you that this couple was my favorite. I just love them with all of me. I love Liam and I really really hope we get a follow up novella on them. I need it. 

She's the screw up. I wanted to slap her silly a few times. She just doesn't know what to do with herself. She's in love with Nate but doesn't want to say it. Why would he want her? She is the most harsh of the group. She has really messed things up. She's running and that's why she is back at camp this summer. I loved seeing her change of heart and her courage to just go for it. 

This is a really great novella and it makes me really want to go camping. I hope we get a follow up of all these love stories. I just want to touch base with them all. See how they all are. If you're looking for a great quick read then 10 Weeks is it!! 
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