Archive for January, 2014

The Geography Of You And Me

Jennifer E Smith

the geography of you and meFor fans of John Green, Stephanie Perkins and Sarah Ockler, THE GEOGRAPHY OF YOU AND ME is a story for anyone who’s ever longed to meet someone special, for anyone who’s searched for home and found it where they least expected it.
Owen lives in the basement. Lucy lives on the 24th floor. But when the power goes out in the midst of a New York heatwave, they find themselves together for the first time: stuck in a lift between the 10th and 11th floors. As they await help, they start talking…
The brief time they spend together leaves a mark. And as their lives take them to Edinburgh and San Francisco, to Prague and to Portland they can’t shake the memory of the time they shared. Postcards cross the globe when they themselves can’t, as Owen and Lucy experience the joy – and pain – of first love.
And as they make their separate journeys in search of home, they discover that sometimes it is a person rather than a place that anchors you most in the world.

This book has been a bit of a first for me, not the weeks (and weeks) of stalking twitter and Netgalley in anticipation of the review copy release, not even the squealing excitement on receiving an approval email, but my total inability to wait.

Ordinarily I organise my To Be Read (TBR) pile and therefore my reviews, by date of publication, aiming to post in the two weeks preceding or following publication date. However, on this occasion I succumbed to the temptation of instant gratification and devoured this gorgeous book within days of receiving it, abandoning my carefully planned January TBR in the process.

It is not my intention to torment you, dangling this gem before you, when it is still two whole months out of reach. It is simply that as far as this author, and that synopsis, is concerned, I am without willpower, and I simply COULD NOT WAIT and what is more, I feel no remorse.

There is always a real concern when starting a book with such high expectations, in this case based on previous experience of Jennifer E Smith novels and my own hyped anticipation of the release. Fortunately, Jennifer’s books just get better and better, and The Geography Of You And Me lived up to everyone of mine.

Jennifer E Smith is the Queen of serendipitous meetings, palpable chemistry and the kind of sparkling, witty dialogue and verbal sparing, that I can only imagining participating in (Why is it that you can only think of the perfect verbal comeback, when you relive the experience, hours too late?). Added to this is Jennifer’s refreshing perspective on family relationships( read more about it in my This Is What Happy Looks Like review here), an inspiring and beautifully written dual narrative (I have highlighted lots of large passages to re-read at my leisure) and travel, lots and lots of travel, and you are left with the perfect, feel good contemporary escapism.

After their fortuitous meeting and magical night together where they experienced an immediate, undeniable connection, Lucy and Owen actually spend most of the book apart and very little of the book is actually dedicated to maintaining that connection. Never-the-less there was this overwhelming feeling of togetherness and of being on the same wavelength, that you always felt the presence of the other and the influence of that night, and so it never felt as though the couple were truly apart.

While Lucy and Owen’s story wasn’t exactly as I had envisioned it, I imagined something similar to the email exchanges at the beginning of This Is What Happy Looks Like, I spent the duration of the book with a big, goofy grin on my face.

I have now been left with an over whelming desire to re read all of my Jennifer E Smith collection, but before indulging in her back catalogue, I’m going to slide back the progress bar on my ereader and and revisit with Lucy and Owen in NYC in that elevator- Sorry February TBR!

Verdict: An easy to read, happy making, hug of a book.

Reviewed by Caroline.

Publisher: Headline
Publication Date: April 2014
Format: eARC
Pages: 357
Genre: Contemporary romance
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Via Netgalley
Challenge: None
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Boys don’t read books about girls…

We are delighted to host Jo Cotterill, author of the stunning middle grade book, Looking At The Stars.

looking at the starsAmina’s homeland has been ravaged by war for many months, but so far she and her family are safe, together. When a so-called liberating force arrives in the country, the family think their prayers for peace will soon be answered, but they are horribly wrong . . . The country is thrown into yet further turmoil and Amina’s family is devastated . . .
Through it all, Amina has her imagination to fall back on – of a better place and time. But can her stories get her through this?

Some time in 2013 there was an online argument among authors and readers about writing ‘strong’ female characters. Why should girls be ‘strong’? asked some people. Why were they supposed to be emotionally strong and assertive above all else? Surely a good three-dimensional character can be strong, weak, confused, angry, wrong, passionate and frightened. When authors write male characters, are they referred to as ‘strong’?

Our society persists in dividing the sexes with a line so thick you can’t see through it. As a mum of two young girls, I see an insidious creep towards the Disney Princess. Many toys are now aimed at boys or girls, as though children should be placed carefully into categories because of their gender. Well-meaning people buy pink purses for my daughters instead of toolkits or Meccano. My five-year-old already has firm ideas about what ‘girls’ like and what she should prioritise. Yet the female of the species is worth more than that! Possibilities should not be limited by gender, and that’s why fiction is important, because it can show a world of options.

There is also a persuasive idea going around that boys don’t read books that feature a central female character. I don’t think this is true for all boys, but I do think society teaches boys that girls are still less important than they are. Why else would boys avoid ‘girly stuff’ and lump female characters in with it? And yet many books written about girls are hugely useful. They teach us about relating to people; about finding inner strength in realistic situations; about kindness and cruelty; about discovering your own talents. All of these are vital skills for real life. Not to mention that girls make up half the population: shouldn’t boys want to read about them?

In Looking at the Stars, Amina and her sister Jenna are the two central characters. They have been living under a very repressive regime that prevents them going to school and forces them to wear headscarves that identify their age. This is not a ‘female issue’; it’s a human issue. And to test out a boy’s reaction to my book, I sent it to a friend of mine. Her twelve-year-old son, an avid reader, sent me this review:

Even after reading the Hunger Games, which had some really sad moments, this is the first book that ever made me cry. Because it was so life-like. I almost felt I was with the characters, on their journey. It is now one of my favourite books. I think it is like…nothing else I have read.

THAT is why boys should read books about girls, and why we should stop assuming they won’t be interested in them. And it’s why I hope lots of boys and girls will read my book.

Written by Jo Cotterill

Jo headshotJo’s first story at the age of five was a festive one entitled ‘Chismas’. After writing a lot of stories about unicorns, she decided at the age of thirteen to become an actress. Her professional acting career was enjoyable but frustrating, so she became a teacher instead, writing stories on the side. Her first book was published in 2004, and she gave up teaching in 2009. Jo now lives in Oxfordshire and fits writing around her young family. She enjoys music and card-making, and is an avid fan of Strictly Come Dancing.

Looking At The Stars was published today by Bodley Head.

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Bookish Brits: TFiOS Trailer Reaction

Yesterday there was a great deal of soggy, tear stained, excitement in the blogosphere. It was all down to the release of the trailer for The Fault In Our Stars movie, based on the heartbreaking book by John Green.

Take a look at this beautiful trailer for yourself. Then if you want you can scroll down and watch my reaction to it!

Posted by Caroline

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Bookish Brits: Bomb Maker Buddy Review

Claire McFall.
bombmakerThe English government have closed the borders with their Celtic neighbours. Any Celt found in England is branded with a tattoo, found twice they are executed. Scottish Lizzie is the ‘property’ of psychopathic London gang boss Alexander. Can Lizzie escape Alexander’s deadly grip and at what price her betrayal?

Posted by Faye and Caroline

Publisher: Templar
Publication Date: February 2014
Format: ARC
Pages: 336
Genre: Dystopian
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline and Faye
Source: Borrowed
Challenge: British book
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Don’t Wake The Bear Hare

Steve Smallman and Caroline Pedler

Don’t Wake The Bear HareIt was Spring Party Day, the best day of the year,
So why were all the animals trembling with fear?

Bear has gone to sleep in a tree very near where the animals are planning to have their Spring party. The animals think that bears are scary and are terrified of waking him up so they set about their party preparations as quietly as they can. As they totter back and forth with noisy crockery and a slippery jelly they have the odd mishap, but when hare starts to blow up a balloon and then gets carried away and it pops what will happen when bear wakes up? Of course bear turns out to be quite different from what the animals expected and is very excited at being able to join in with the party.

This is a sweet, rhyming story that my girls like to join in with, they enjoy wondering what bear will do, the anticipation of the balloon bursting and then the party at the end. The pictures are charming, light hearted and weave in beautifully with the text. There is plenty to look at and enjoy. I also liked the uses of different sizes of text in the book, it definitely makes it easy to read aloud with lots of emphasis and drama.

Verdict: This is a lovely story and fun for younger children.

Publisher: Little Tiger Press
Publication Date: January 2011
Format: Paperback
Pages: 32
Genre: Picture book
Age: Picture book
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Own Copy (Booktrust)
Challenge: British book
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Miss Dorothy-Jane Was Ever So Vain

Julie Fulton

miss dorothy janeMiss Dorothy-Jane was ever so vain.
She stared in the mirror for hours.
Was her hair brushed just right? Was her jumper to tight?
Would her hair look much better with flowers?

This has everything my girls like in a story; brightly coloured, fun pictures, a humorous, rhyming story and plenty to talk about. Dorothy-Jane likes to look nice and wants to be noticed. When the Queen is coming to Hamilton Shady she chooses her best outfit so that she will be chosen to welcome her to the village. Dorothy-Jane then has several near misses trying to keep her clothes clean, but when her dog falls in the pond will she sacrifice her appearance to save him? Well I am going to put in a spoiler and tell you that she does, in the end, rescue her dog and the villagers are so impressed that for this reason she is chosen to welcome the Queen to the village.

We all enjoyed laughing over the near misses with the seagull who nearly pooped on Dorothy Jane and the car that nearly splashed her. I liked the moral message in here that your actions are more important than your appearance and we had a good chat about why Dorothy-Jane deserved to meet the Queen.

Verdict: This is another in a great series of books by Julie Fulton and it didn’t disappoint.

Reviewed by Helen

Publisher:Maverick Arts
Publication Date: September 2013
Format: Paperback
Pages: 23
Genre: Picture book
Age: Picure book
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book
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Why I read NA, and why YOU should

We are delighted host the latest stop on the New Year, New Adult blog tour. Please welcome Katie, book blogger and book tuber extraordinaire, as she shares her reasons for reading NA.

NATourBannerSo I stumbled across New Adult in 2013. I hadn’t heard of it before, and I was intrigued. When looking at a couple of books, I decided to give it a try.

New Adult is a genre that is designed for people who are not quite ready for adult books. The majority of New Adult is contemporary romance. New Adult is a step up from Young Adult, but it will contain a few more graphic things like from swear words to erotica. As a girl in my 20’s, I feel comfortable with New Adult as it is more for my age range.

The first New Adult book that I ever read was The Edge of Never by J. A. Redmerski. I went into this book with no expectations whatsoever. Redmerski blew me away with her writing, and I soon became obsessed. I definitely recommend this book as your first NA book choice.

A couple of years back, I thought I was never going to expand from YA books, but now I’ve found NA, things will change. I now don’t feel as childish, and I don’t feel so ashamed. If you are in your 20’s and you would like the venture into NA books, then I encourage you to give it a try =)

Posted by Katie.

Katie PicHowdy! My name is Katie. I’m 23 & a book lover.
I blog over at Katie’s Books and have YouTube channel called Kitkatscanread.
I review books in both written & video formats. I also l love discussing books.
I currently work as a ride operator at a theme park. But I’d much rather be reading ^_^
I was always an avid reader in primary school and I think that’s where it begun.
I also enjoy acting, writing, singing and dancing.

Click on button to visit Katie’s Books 



Katies Books

Your scavenger hunt clue is;
25.
For more information on the Scavenger hunt visit The New Year, New Adult tour page (here).

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Sawbones

Catherine Johnson

sawbonesSixteen-year-old Ezra McAdam has much to be thankful for: trained up as an apprentice by a well-regarded London surgeon, Ezra’s knowledge of human anatomy and skill at the dissection table will secure him a trade for life. However, his world is turned on its head when a failed break-in at his master’s house sets off a strange and disturbing series of events that involves grave robbing, body switching … and murder. Meanwhile, sparky, persuasive young Loveday Finch, daughter of the late Mr Charles Finch, magician, has employed Ezra to investigate her father’s death, and there are marked similarities between his corpse and the others. The mystery takes Ezra and Loveday from the Operating Theatre at St Bart’s to the desolate wasteland of Coldbath Fields, from the streets of Clerkenwell to the dark, damp vaults of Newgate Prison, and finally to the shadowy and forbidding Ottoman Embassy, which seems to be the key to it all…

What initially caught my attention with Sawbones was the somewhat dark and a little macabre cover, and subsequently the very short and brief synopsis that hinted to one mystery and perhaps an even bigger one lying beneath.

Having read The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson and more recently Unrest by Michelle Harrison, two books that both took me out of my comfort zone I decided to follow my gut, take a leap of faith and go for it. Turns out I should do that more often!

Catherine Johnson’s story unfolds from an uncommon source in the rough and dirty London of 1792. Our narrator is non-other than a sixteen-year-old mulatto boy by the name of Ezra, a surgeon apprentice to one of the most prestigious and experienced surgeons of London. Under William McAdams wing he has grown up free, a man of truth and science, where rationality and reason reign sovereign, and where the mysteries of life lie in death and the veil that hides them will eventually be cut down by the scalpel of a surgeon postmortem.

Science is bursting with the desire to grow, expand and pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable faster than it is accepted. Surgeons need to practice and need to learn, and they need corpses to both. Unfortunately not everyone willingly gives their body to science. It is in this environment that the resurrectionists are born, also known as grave robbers. Thieves paid well by thirsty scientific minds to bring to the anatomizing table a dead body that perhaps was laid to rest with the intention of staying that way.

When we meet him his biggest concern is not losing the girl he is giving his attention to now that he has come of age, and being taken seriously in the blooming surgeon community given the colouring of his skin. But when a corpse turns up on his master’s anatomizing table with a couple too many unexplained quirks, ones that might get undesired attention and might imply that the poor soul may actually be missed and claimed, Ezra raises his concerns with his master. Add to the mix a red headed girl with a fiery and willful personality who seeks revenge for the death of her father which she claims is murder, and you have yourself a mystery. But the mystery goes beyond that. There are more ingredients to this recipe, and the intrigues run deeper than the scalpel has initially cut and further than the streets of London.

Sawbones’s narration was as clean cut and objective as the scalpel and the mind of he that wields them. Ezra tells us his most peculiar adventure in a fashion that shows a mind brought up surrounded by reality and reason, where no laws are defied and common sense and logic are the rules that must be abided. The language and style were faithful to such a mind and showed great care and research on behalf of the very clever author. Every detail was delivered with some detachment; detachment that I would also expect in someone who has made the examination of death his business, and therefore no description appeared or transpired as gruesome or stomach churning. The critical eye delivered an accurate picture allowing both my mind and his to soak in the relevant information to attempt to solve the ever growing puzzle of bodies.

Sawbones wasn’t quite what I expected, for some reason I had some version of Jack The Ripper murders in my mind. But it did not dissapoint by any means and was a very welcomed break of the increasing thrillers that has some romantic thread along the way. The pure science and riddle solving mind that Ezra brought to the story was refreshing. And because his reasoning was so dictated by logic I was able to follow each of his steps and conclusions, meaning that for once I was actually able to solve the murder mystery at the same time he was!!! Total bonus!!! And I have to say that I am (admittedly rather pathetically) very proud of myself!!! * claps and dances around *

Verdict: Dark, sharp and refreshing.

Reviewed by Pruedence

Publisher: Walker
Publication Date: October 2013
Format: Paperback
Pages: 240
Genre: Thriller, Historical fiction
Age: YA
Reviewer: Pruedence
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book
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Bookish Brits: These Broken Stars

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.

Posted by Caroline

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

SEEKING HER is a New Adult contemporary romance novella being published by HarperCollins’ William Morrow Impulse imprint and is a part of Cora Carmack’s Losing It Series. This is Jackson’s side of the story, and it is currently just $.99/£.99!

seeking her uk

Exclusive Excerpt of Seeking Her by Cora Carmack by WilliamMorrowBooks

Seeking Her is available to preorder now from Amazon.com (here), Barnes and Noble (here) and from Amazon.co.uk (here)

For more information about Seeking Her and the Losing It series check out Goodreads (here).

cora cormackCora Carmack is a twenty-something writer who likes to write about twenty-something characters. She’s done a multitude of things in her life– boring jobs (like working retail), Fun jobs (like working in a theatre), stressful jobs (like teaching), and dream jobs (like writing). She enjoys placing her characters in the most awkward situations possible, and then trying to help them get a boyfriend out of it. Awkward people need love, too. Her first book, LOSING IT, is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller.

To learn more about Cora and her work visit Cora’s Website (here), her Facebook page (here), or her Goodreads author’s page (here) Alternatively you can converse with her on