Archive for November, 2013

Netgalley November: Week Four & Challenge Round Up

netgalleynovember3Personal Target: To read and review eight netgalley titles and improve my approved/feedback rating

Number of books read this week: 3

Number of books read for challenge: 10

Netgalley Approved-Feedback: 64.2%

Feedback:
At the start of November I set myself the challenge of reading and reviewing eight of my approved Netgalley titles. My aim was to take charge of my Netgalley TBR pile and improve my Approval-Feedback percentage. My target took a bit of a setback in week two, when, unable to rest the lure of Netgalley I requested, and was subsequently approved for, a further four titles.

I am really please that I managed to read and review ten Netgalley books. The original eight titles and two of the shiny, shiny titles I added during the challenge. Unfortunately I was unable to read and review the other two titles I collected during the challenge. I have started reading The Edge Of Always by J.A. Redmerski and I am looking forward to reviewing Witch Finder by Ruth Warburton In January.

This was a great reading challenge. It feels really good to take control of my digital TBR and I hope that I will maintain my percentage. Now all I need is a challenge to help me put my physical TBR to rights!

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner
these broken starsIt’s a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.
Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.
Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?
Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.

As These Broken Stars is not due for publication until December/January, I am planning to wait until later in the month to post my full thoughts, in a Bookish Brits Vlog no less! (Visit here to lear more about Bookish Brits). For now, let me say that this collaboration between two gifted authors, for one of whom this is a debut, had me gripped from the very first page.

With the slow burning romance I adore, strong flawed characters, a futuristic universe, space travel, survival, mystery and blindsiding twists, I can’t think of a single thing I didn’t love about this book.

Verdict: Titanic in space- but better!

These Broken Stars is due for publication on the 10th of December 2013 the US, while us Brits will have to wait until the 23rd of January 2014.

Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication Date:December 2013
Format: eARC
Pages: 384
Genre: Science Fiction
Age:Young Adult
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Netgalley
Challenge: Netgalley November

Doubting Abbey by Samantha Tonge
dounting abbey

Acting purely out of a desire to help her closest friend -and following a Ladette to lady crash course in etiquette and make under- loud, fun loving and immensely likeable Gemma finds herself imitating aristocratic Abbey

While you can’t help but root for Gemma as she attempts to maintain the charade, it is when Gemma is being her down to earth, reality TV loving, “normal” self that the story is the most fun. I couldn’t help but snort with laughter as she repeatedly attempts to give the viewers what they want, a “sexed up” Million Dollar Mansion.

I’m not going to lie. I am a fan of Light, sweet and fluffy “candy floss” books. They are my go to when I am in the need for a predictable, safe, comforting read. After the last few weeks of dystopian devastation and heart crushing contemporary I was in the mood for something fun and light hearted and Doubting Abbey fit the bill perfectly.

Verdict: Doubting Abbey was a predictable but fun and fast romp of a read.

Publisher: Carina UK
Publication Date:November 2013
Format: eARC
Pages:
Genre: Contemporary romance
Age:New Adult
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Netgalley
Challenge: Netgalley November, British book

unleashing Mr DarcyUnleashing Mr. Darcy by Teri Wilson
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single woman teetering on the verge of thirty must be in want of a husband.
Not true for Manhattanite Elizabeth Scott. Instead of planning a walk down the aisle, she’s crossing the pond with the only companion she needs; her darling dog, Bliss. Caring for a pack of show dogs in England seems the perfect distraction from the scandal that ruined her teaching career, and her reputation, in New York. What she doesn’t count on is an unstoppable attraction to billionaire dog breeder Donovan Darcy. The London tycoon’s a little bit arrogant, a whole lot sexy, and the chemistry between them is disarming. When passion is finally unleashed, might Elizabeth hope to take home more than a blue ribbon?

It is no secret that I adore Jane Austin. What you might not realise is that far from placing her books on a pedestal, behind a velvet rope and insisting that they can only be admired reverently from afar. I am the kind of Austin fan who loves to consume books, movies and web serialisations, based on her works. When I saw Unleashing Darcy, a contemporary Pride and Prejudice retelling set in the world of dog shows, I couldn’t prevent my huge smile, and I just had to request a review copy.

As a fan of Pride and Prejudice, I can recognise how Wilson has based her novel on the classic- all the important players are there and all the significant events are represented- however Wilson has taken the liberty of shuffling around the timeline to best suit her characters. She has also provided us with Darcy’s point of view. As a result Unleashing Darcy, doesn’t follow the original story line as closely as some other retellings.

Unleashing Darcy was every bit as fun as I had anticipated. One of the things that I loved about this particular retelling is the way Wilson managed to incorporate so many of the classic lines from Pride and Prejudice, very often with no alteration, without interrupting the feel of her very contemporary novel. I couldn’t help but smile every time I recognised a line from the original text.

Verdict: A comforting, smiling inducing read for like minded Austin fans.

Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Publication Date:December 2013
Format: eARC
Pages: 368
Genre: Contemporary romance, retelling
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Netgalley
Challenge: Netgalley November

Reviewed by Caroline

To learn more about the reading challenge and to sign up visit here

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Unravelled: Two Wars. Two Affairs. One Marriage.

M K Tod

unravelledTwo wars, two affairs, one marriage. 

In October 1935, Edward Jamieson’s memories of war and a passionate love affair resurface when an invitation to a WWI memorial ceremony arrives. Though reluctant to visit the scenes of horror he has spent years trying to forget, Edward succumbs to the unlikely possibility of discovering what happened to Helene Noisette, the woman he once pledged to marry. Travelling through the French countryside with his wife Ann, Edward sees nothing but reminders of war. After a chance encounter with Helene at the dedication ceremony, Edward’s past puts his present life in jeopardy. When WWII erupts a few years later, Edward is quickly caught up in the world of training espionage agents, while Ann counsels grieving women and copes with the daily threats facing those she loves. And once again, secrets and war threaten the bonds of marriage. With events unfolding in France, England and Canada, UNRAVELLED is a compelling novel of love, duty and sacrifice set amongst the turmoil of two world wars.

This is a novel based on turbulent times and dealing with conflicting emotions. We meet Edward and Ann, a Canadian married couple, in the year of 1936 when Edward has been invited to attend the unveiling of the war memorial at Vimy Ridge, one of the places Edward fought in during the 1st World War. For Edward this invitation sparks a flood of carefully buried memories and emotions of fighting in the trenches and his role in the Signals. Through his flashbacks we are flung into the violent, unstable and vital role of front line soldiering in this hideous environment. Tod eloquently describes the sights and smells and laces them with the strong mix of emotions that must have been experienced at the time, fear and courage walk hand in hand and the struggles of survival were movingly written.

Edward also remembers his lost French love Helene and his motivation to go back to Vimy Ridge and face all the difficulties from his part is largely motivated by his desire to see her again and to find out what happened to her. From this springboard we jump into finding out about Edward’s marriage to Ann and his conflict about his longing to find Helene despite having a wife and children.

As time moves on in the present and the 2nd War looms Edward is again assaulted by recollections of the hardship and those lost, accompanied by the fear of what might happen to those he knows now. As this time Edward is called into service behind the scenes, training people to work with The Resistance in Europe, the look at the war is very different, but again utterly fascinating. There is an abundance of detail woven into the story telling, and it is done with skill and compassion for the terrible situations.

Despite all his faults I really liked Edward. I felt for him in his difficulties and wanted him to overcome the challenges that came his way. In my imagined world of that era his reserve and stoicism fit right in. I found it took longer to like Ann, but she won me over as she copes with her husband’s reactions to war, his affair and plays her own part in helping others in WW2, counselling bereaved women. As Edward and Ann’s relationship is further tested it is easy to see how they represent the struggles of many families in wartime. This novel being set in Canada made it a little different from other war novels I have read set in Europe and I was caught up in the fresh perspective this gave.

I found that in this novel the experiences of Edward as a soldier and his struggles in his personal life are interwoven in a very realistic and compelling way. Equally Ann has much to cope with and her dilemma’s and hardships are so believable.

Verdict: It was a great blend of personal journey’s and world wide drama.

Reviewed by Helen

Publisher: Tod Publishing
Publication Date: August 2013
Format: eARC
Pages: 442/698KB
Genre: Historical fiction
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Provided by author
Challenge: None
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Treason (Secrets & Spies #1)

Jo Macauley
treasonFourteen-year-old Beth Johnson is a talented and beautiful young actress. She is also a spy. The year is 1664, and Charles II is on the throne, but all is not well in the bustling city of London, and there are those who would gladly kill the king and destroy the Monarchy. One morning, a mysterious ghost ship drifts up the Thames. Sent to investigate by the King’s Master of Secrets, Alan Strange, Beth quickly finds herself embroiled in a dangerous adventure. Will Beth be able to unravel the plot to kill the King before it’s too late?

Amazing! This book is very good for historical fiction novel devourers like me! So it’s 1664 and Beth is an actress at a theatre in London and a spy. She has been waiting for a while to get a good spying assignment and hopes that solving puzzles will help. The only problem is her arch enemy Benjamin Lovett is used to having the women parts in the plays but since the law changed, every theatre now needs a woman actor.

Being a spy is good, but that big assignment just hasn’t come yet and Beth is wondering if her Spymaster (Alan Strange) really doesn’t want her after all. So when she gets a call from him she rushes there to see what he wants. Her heart sinks as she gets assigned a ghost ship.

Meanwhile, John and his close friend William also go to investigate this Ghostship as he is a small junior Clerk and seeks adventure. Will disappears on the ship mysteriously, John is left alone. One day a pretty girl (aka Beth) turns up and asks him about the ship. Better together, they team up with a back street pickpocket and uncover the 2nd great gunpowder plot!

Will they save the king, rescue Will and warn everyone before it’s too late?

This book is very good and if you like historical novels this is definitely for you. This book is in the same genre as the ‘My Story’ series, although in my opinion not quite as good, but that is a lot to live up too! Definitely still worth a read though. I read this book in 4 hours and it was very good. Check out the others in the series: plague, inferno and New World.

Verdict: A very good book but may only appeal to a small age bracket (12-13 years)

Reviewed by Daisy (12)

Publisher: Curious Fox
Publication Date: June 2013
Format: Paperback
Pages: 224
Genre: Historical, Adventure
Age: YA
Reviewer: Daisy (12)
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: Debut author
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Netgalley November: Week Three Round Up

netgalleynovember3Personal Target: To read and review eight netgalley titles and improve my approved/feedback rating

Number of books read this week: 2

Running total of books read: 7

Netgalley Approved-Feedback: 58.5 %

Currently Reading: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner

Feedback: Despite illness (my children’s and my own), last minute vlog filming (once my voice returned) and distraction in the form of John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars and Lisa Desrochers’ A Little Too Much, I am actually on track to fulfil my target of eight books! I have even managed to avoid the lure of Netgalley and have not requested any new titles *raises hand in anticipation of high fives*.

Crossing by Stacey Wallace Benefiel

crossing
He stole her lipstick…and her heart. Twenty-year-old Dani Walker can’t believe her luck when she’s paired up with the gorgeous Liam Garrett as her Acting I scene partner – or when he ends up in her bed. Being a Plain Jane with a mouth on her hasn’t exactly served Dani well in the guy department. In fact, she’s had nothing but one night stands. Still, she lets go of her insecurities and falls for Liam, despite feeling like he’s holding something back. When Dani finally discovers Liam’s secret, she must learn the true meaning of accepting the ones we love for who they are, or risk losing the best thing that’s ever happened to her.

I don’t think that I am spoiling the book in anyway by talking about Liam’s big secret. One look at the title and the first line of the synopsis and most people are going to realise what forms the tension at the heart of the book. Then they are going to make a decision about wether or not the book is for them. If you find yourself uncomfortable with the subject matter, I really hope that you look beyond your initial nervousness and give Crossing a try.

At its heart Crossing is a well written and moving contemporary romance between a snarky, self deprecating, intelligent, and creative girl and the gorgeous boy who can keep up with her. A boy who just happens to enjoy wearing women’s clothing.

When I walk down the street with my short hair and my “uniform” of jeans and converse, I doubt very much that anyone is speculating on my gender identity, my sexuality or my femininity, In fact I doubt I warrant an initial thought, let alone a second one. A man walking down the street in feminine attire ?… A second glance is probably the best treatment he can expect.The other end of the wedge; discrimination? Ridicule? Suspicion? Fear? Violence?

I have witnessed conversations among intelligent and otherwise open minded individuals, who just cannot understand why someone would choose to dress outside of their perceived gender. Or at least why a man would choose to dress like a woman.I suspect that this has as much to do with the value society places on the feminine as it is to do with nervousness of the unknown.

In Crossing, the author took great pains to divorce Liam’s cross dressing from his sexuality and gender. Liam does not have a transgender identity, he isn’t described as “trying to pass as female” in fact he is in every other incidence portrayed as being very masculine. It is not about sex, or sexual fetishism . Both Liam and Dani are hetrosexual and while the physical side of Dani and Liam’s relationship appears to be stimulated by Liam’s cross dressing, my feeling is that for Liam it was less about the clothes he was wearing and more about Dani accepting him in his entirety. By Liam’s own admission, cross dressing for him is about syle and preference and a desire to wear and enjoy pretty things.

On the one hand you could see these choices as the author simplifying the issue or making it more palatable to a wider audience, either of which I find acceptable. The story is ultimately about love and acceptance and not an exploration of the complicated subject of cross dressing. On my part, I choose to believe that the author was creating a character which conflicts with as many preconceived notions as possible. I applaud Stacey Wallace Benefiel for writing Liam and Dani’s story and bring the subject of cross dressing in to mainstream YA literature.

Verdict: I think that it is safe to say that Crossing is a Marmite read. For my part I love Marmite and I loved this unique contemporary romance.

Publisher:Write Free
Publication Date:May 2013
Format: eARC
Pages: 154
Genre: Contemporary romance, Cross dressing
Age: New Adult/Mature YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Netgalley
Challenge: Netgalley November

Legacy Of A Dreamer by Allie Jean
Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00074]Chantal Breelan’s past is a mystery, and her future is even more uncertain. She can’t recall why she had been taken from her parents, leaving an empty hole where her childhood should have been. When she
awakens from her nightmares, she’s left with terrible, violent images and believes something may have happened to her that her mind tries to forget. One night at a subway station, Chantal meets a young boy who flees to a dark subway tunnel, and she’s compelled to follow him. But this Rabbit Hole reveals a world
where reality is everything her nightmares have been forewarning.
Mathias is a descendant of an ancient being and beholden to wage an unfathomable war against an primordial evil, spawned by greed and spite. A powerful fighter, he and his brethren of Warriors vow guard the most precious, piercing light against the darkness –the females of their kind. The Warriors’ pledge is to find and protect their sisters and kin. Long have they fought, shedding sweat and blood, hoping that their struggles are not in vain. Yet in his sacrifice and service he may find life’s ultimate reward – a love to surpass all time.

Legacy Of A Dreamer is a difficult book for me to review. I feel as if I have just read two books, or at least the same book by two different authors.

On the one hand I loved the premise of this book. The plot was interesting and engaging and at times the narrative was vivid, atmospheric and deliciously creepy.

On the other hand, the execution of the plot just didn’t work for me. The dialogue felt forced and clunky and as much as I wanted to root for the relationship between the protagonist, Chantal, and her warrior protector, I just didn’t feel it.

Verdict: I’m in two minds about continuing this series. I really want to know what happens next, but I don’t think that the authors writing style is for me.

Publisher: The Writers Coffee Shop
Publication Date: June 2013
Format: eARC
Pages: 179
Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Netgalley
Challenge: Netgalley November

Reviewed by Caroline

To learn more about the reading challenge and to sign up visit here

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Bookish Brits: Challenging Stereotypes With Children’s Books

As part of Anti-Bullying Week the team at Bookish Brits have dedicated a fortnight of posts to books which can help victims of bullying and maybe even help to prevent bullying.
Here is my post:

While we are on the subject of gender stereotyping, check out this awesome advert!

Reviewed by Caroline

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Netgalley November: Week Two Round Up

netgalleynovember3Personal Target: To read and review eight net galley titles and improve my approved/feedback rating

Number of books read this week: 3

Running total of books read: 5

Netgalley Approved-Feedback: 54.7%

Currently Reading: Crossing by Stacey Wallace Benefiel

Feedback: My Approved-Feedback percentage would have been much higher but I was approved for four new books this week.I know, I know! but I was posting my feedback and I just happened to look at the the newly available and most popular titles and they were just too good to pass up!

On the positive side the fact that I am being approved for titles after a bit of a drought shows how much this challenge has already helped!

If I manage to complete my original target, before the end of the month, I will go on to read from this list of recently approved titles:

The Edge Of Always (The Edge Of Never 2 )by J.A. Redmerski
Witch Finder by Ruth Warburton
Doubting Abbey by Samantha Tonge
Unleashing Mr Darcy by Teri Wilson

As usual click on the TBR title to be taken to the appropriate Goodreads page.

Time After Time by Tamara Ireland Stone
time after timeCalling Anna and Bennett’s romance long distance is an understatement: she’s from 1995 Chicago and he’s a time traveler from 2012 San Francisco. The two of them never should have met, but they did. They fell in love, even though they knew they shouldn’t. And they found a way to stay together, against all odds.
It’s not a perfect arrangement, though, with Bennett unable to stay in the past for more than brief visits, skipping out on big chunks of his present in order to be with Anna in hers. They each are confident that they’ll find a way to make things work…until Bennett witnesses a single event he never should have seen (and certainly never expected to). Will the decisions he makes from that point on cement a future he doesn’t want?
Told from Bennett’s point of view, Time After Time will satisfy readers looking for a fresh, exciting, and beautifully-written love story, both those who are eager to find out what’s next for Time Between Us’s Anna and Bennett and those discovering their story for the first time.

Time After Time is the sequel to the excellent Time Between Us. The first book was told from Anna’s first person perspective as she meets the mysterious Bennett in 1995 and uncovers his secrets. In Time After Time we are gifted with Bennett’s perspective as he navigates and attempts to reconcile the two halves of his life in contemporary San Francisco and 90’s Chicago.

While Time After Time is a time travel book (my third this month!)it had a very contemporary feel. Bennett’s gift is the tool the author uses to allow the unlikely couple to meet and to develop the tension within their relationship, however I felt that this fantasy element was much less important compared to the couples individual character developments over the duology. Both Anna and Bennett struggle with issues related to identity, self belief and faith in their relationship. For Anna the lesson was about being true to her ambitions and not being defined by her relationships.

When we met Bennett in Time Between Us is was already very familiar with his extraordinary gift and how he could use it to enhance the lives of the people he loves. Over the course of the two books he explores the impact that seemly small actions can have on people’s lives and he develops a confidence in his instincts and opinions but with an added maturity and humility.

Verdict: A sweet romantic read I can envision myself returning to time and time again

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Bookish Brits: Buddy Review Of Allegiant

Veronica Roth

imageOne choice will define you.
What if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?
The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.
But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.
Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.

SPOILER ALERT.
Faye and I found that most of what we wanted to discuss about Allegiant wasn’t suitable for our main review vlog, as it would completely spoil the book for anyone who hasn’t read it yet. As a result we have posted a separate video, packed to the brim with spoilers, over on the Bookish Brits tumblr ( click here to view). Please do not watch if you haven’t read the book. We also politely request that you post any spoiler comments on the tumblr post only.

Reviewed by Caroline and Faye

Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s
Publication Date: November 2013
Format: Hardback
Pages: 526
Genre: Dystopian
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline & Faye
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: None
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Claude On The Slopes/At The Circus

Alex T Smith
claude-slopesClaude on the Slopes
In this latest adventure, on a winter’s day, Claude goes from throwing snowballs and making snowmen to causing an all-out avalanche!

Claude-CircusClaude at the Circus
A walk in the park leads to a walk on a tightrope when Claude joins a circus, throws custard pies, and becomes the star of the show!

Publisher: Hodder Children’s
Publication Date: Oct 2013/Jan 2012
Format: Hardback/PB
Pages: 96/96
Genre: Humour, Animals
Age: Early reader
Reviewer: Ava (6)
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book
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Netgalley November: Week One Round Up

netgalleynovember3Personal Target: To read and review eight netgalley titles and improve my approved/feedback rating.

Books read this Week: 2 ( + one non Netgalley read – Time Between Us)

Running total: 2

Netgalley Approved-Feedback: 53.1%

Currently Reading: Time After Time by Tamara Ireland Stone

General feedback: I am really happy with the progress I have made so far this week. I was a little concerned at the beginning of the week as, not only was late starting the challenge but I also had a schedule filled with Allegiant themed activities; I finished reading it later than planned, spent an evening filming the vlog with Faye (see above) and then spent another evening meeting Veronica Roth.

Another small set back was that the next read on my TBR, Time After Time, is a sequel and I hadn’t managed to read the first book, Time Between Us, prior to the start of the challenge as I had originally planned. Hence the non netgalley read this week.

The Name On Your Wrist by Helen Hiorns

name on your wristIt’s the first thing they teach you when you start school. But they don’t need to; your parents tell you when you’re first learning how to say your name. It’s drummed into you whilst you’re taking your first stumbling steps. It’s your lullaby. From the moment it first appears, you don’t tell anyone the name on your wrist.
In Corin’s world, your carpinomen – the name of your soul mate, marked indelibly on your wrist from the age of two or three – is everything. It’s your most preciously guarded secret; a piece of knowledge that can give another person ultimate power over you. People spend years, even decades, searching for the one they’re supposed to be with.
But what if you never find that person? Or you do, but you just don’t love them? What if you fall for someone else – someone other than the name on your wrist?
And what if – like Corin – the last thing in the world you want is to be found?

I was introduced to The Name On Your Wrist at a bloggers event over the summer. Learning about the conception of the book, via the Sony Young Movellist Award, and hearing the synopsis, I was very keen to get my hands on a copy. Despite not being able to fit the book in to my reading schedule earlier, I was still so excited to get my teeth in to this book that I decide to go against my original plan for Netgalley November and read it first.

I absolutely loved the premise of this book, which was executed well, but for me the book dragged a little around the explanation element of the world building. I found myself disappointed that it wasn’t as original as I had first anticipated, and I recognised similar elements form other dystopians I have enjoyed.

As a protagonist, Corin was unusual for me in that I didn’t warm to her until a significant way in to the book. She came across as superior and know it all in her cynicism of her word and her distain for others who didn’t that cynicism. Despite being initially unlikeable her story was no less compelling. I loved how Colton looks beyond Corin’s sharp edges and spiky corners, exposing the lonely, hurt and much more likeable girl within.

What made this book for me was the ending. It was breath-catchingly original, brave and thought provoking. Unusually for me, I didn’t see any of it coming. It’s the kind of ending which throws all of your carefully built assumptions on their head and has you wanting to flip the book over and immediately re-read it so that you can process how this new perspective impacts your interpretation of events and actions within the story.

Verdict: I look forward to the authors future work.

Publisher:Random House
Publication Date: July 2013
Format: eARC
Pages: 185
Genre: Dystopian
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Netgalley
Challenge: Netgalley November,
British Book, Debut Author

After Eden By Helen Douglas

after eden 2Eden Anfield loves puzzles, so when mysterious new boy Ryan Westland shows up at her school she’s hooked. On the face of it, he’s a typical American teenager. So why doesn’t he recognise pizza? And how come he hasn’t heard of Hitler? What puzzles Eden the most, however, is the interest he’s taking in her.
As Eden starts to fall in love with Ryan, she begins to unravel his secret. Her breakthrough comes one rainy afternoon when she stumbles across a book in Ryan’s bedroom – a biography of her best friend – written over fifty years in the future. Confronting Ryan, she discovers that he is there with one unbelievably important purpose … and she might just have destroyed his only chance of success.

I can not resist a time twisting tale (I blame The Time Travellers Wife), so when I read the synopsis of After Eden I just had to request the eARC. Unfortunately for Eden and Ryan, I experienced their story after the mind blowing awesomeness of All Our Yesterdays, and they just weren’t in the same league.

While the world building was interesting, the characters likeable and the read enjoyably light and quick, overall the plot was a little too simplistic and predictable for my tastes.

I liked that the Eden and Ryan didn’t suffer from insta-love, that their relationship started as mutual attraction, leading to friendship and eventually more. However, because the plot skipped ahead by some weeks, we were told about their deepening friendship, rather than experiencing the development for ourselves.

With its sweet and chaste romance and simplified explanations of time travel, I think that this book would best suited to a younger YA reader. If it weren’t for the social drinking and illegal driving I would be happy to recommend it to a mature middle grade reader taking their first foray in to YA and/or time travel.

Verdict: A quick and easy time traveling tale.

Publisher:Bloomsbury Children’s
Publication Date:November 2013
Format: eARC
Pages: 288
Genre:Science Fiction
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Netgalley
Challenge: Netgalley November,
British Book, Debut Author

Reviewed by Caroline

To learn more about the reading challenge and to sign up visit here

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Bookish Brits: Buddy Review Of Deception

In the first of (what I hope to be many) our buddy reviews for Bookish Brits (subscribe here), Faye (Visit her fabulous book blog here) and I discuss Deception, the second book inC.J Redwine‘s Defiance Trilogy.

deceptionBaalboden has been ravaged. The brutal Commander’s whereabouts are unknown. And Rachel, grief stricken over her father’s death, needs Logan more than ever. With their ragged group of survivors struggling to forge a future, it’s up to Logan to become the leader they need—with Rachel by his side. Under constant threat from rival Carrington’s army, who is after the device that controls the Cursed One, the group decides to abandon the ruins of their home and take their chances in the Wasteland.


But soon their problems intensify tenfold: someone—possibly inside their ranks—is sabotaging the survivors, picking them off one by one. The chaos and uncertainty of each day puts unbearable strain on Rachel and Logan, and it isn’t long before they feel their love splintering. Even worse, as it becomes clear that the Commander will stop at nothing to destroy them, the band of survivors begins to question whether the price of freedom may be too great—and whether, hunted by their enemies and the murderous traitor in their midst, they can make it out of the Wasteland alive.
In this daring sequel to Defiance, with the world they once loved forever destroyed, Rachel and Logan must decide between a life on the run and standing their ground to fight.

Outtakes:
What happens when you take one awesome YA fantasy, two over excited book bloggers and two caramel latte’s and leave the camera rolling…

Posted by Caroline and Faye

Publisher: Atom
Publication Date: September 2013
Format: Paperback
Pages: 336
Genre: Dystopian, Fantasy, Romance
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline and Faye
Source: Own copy
Challenge: None
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