Posts Tagged ‘Romance’

Self Published Sunday: Interview with Elida May

Please welcome Elida May as she talks about her book Following Evan
Following EvanThree years on from the sudden death of her husband Matt and a subsequent miscarriage, interior designer Laura is still lost in grief, hiding out in the smart London townhouse that was going to be her family home. On the encouragement of her best friend Carla, she signs up to a dating website and receives a message from a mysterious stranger, imploring her to visit him in New York because he has seen her face in his dreams.
Meanwhile, Laura visits an art gallery and is captivated by a painting of a beautiful woman in a flowing dress. It seems to be speaking directly to her, beckoning her to take a leap of faith.
These seemingly disparate events lead Laura on an epic journey to the bustling streets of the Big Apple and the desert landscape of Wyoming, where the clues to her future happiness are waiting to be discovered…

Tell us a little more about Following Evan, where did the initial inspiration come from?

I was inspired by my own life experience and by my hopes and dreams during two very difficult times in my life. In 1993, when I was 18, my father, whom I considered my Guardian Angel, died from lung cancer. A year later, and still grieving, I got married, but I quickly realized that my husband’s view of life and marriage was the complete opposite of mine. I felt suffocated, but I didn’t have the strength to walk out. After 16 long years he died suddenly. I poured years of accumulated thoughts and feelings into my main character, Laura. She stared to live with my pain and hopes.

Laura starts the book struggling with depression. How did you research this mental illness?

I experienced it. I was born in 1972 in communist Albania. It was a poor, repressed and atheist society, which was ruled by the military. I left the country aged 21 and moved to London, but life for me didn’t improve. I had no one to talk to, I was far away from my family and I was forgetting my mother tongue while not yet knowing how to properly express myself in English. I became more and more withdrawn until I was almost incapable of looking after myself. My recovery was a process that took several years and involved medication and the help of a psychologist.
Following Evan came out of all those experiences and the impact they had on me. Writing became a therapeutic outlet. Starting was the easy part, but finishing the novel was much more difficult. I started it as a distraction, but I completed it as a way of proving to myself that I could accomplish what I had aimed to do.

When you started writing this book, did you have a plan for where it would go or did you just put pen to paper and see where it took you?

I knew the beginning and I knew the end, but I didn’t know the route. As the book emerged, I was surprised to meet so many new personalities and characters.

Where and how do you do most of your writing?

I do most of my work in my bedroom. I like it when the window is open and I can see the white clouds embellishing the deep blue sky. I handwrite everything first, then once a week I type up all my notes on my computer. I prefer to write at night when the noises of day have quieted down and it’s only me, a cup of coffee and a clean sheet of paper. It then that the magic happens for me and the words flow. However, sometimes I do sit and write in my favorite coffee shop, where I can people-watch. I love the hustle and bustle of public spaces and hearing the buzz of conversations going on around me.

Do you have any plans to write more books?

I have been writing short stories and poems since I was 12. I started writing them in Albanian and Italian. When I moved to London I didn’t know any English, so it was a major challenge learning the language in order to express my feelings and write my book. Despite these difficulties, I plan to write novels for the rest of my life.

If you had to describe your book in a Tweet(140 characters),what would you say?

After becoming involved with a mysterious artist, depressed Laura is led to another continent and finds a new reason for living and loving.

Who is your favorite character in your book? (we won’t tell anyone! ;))

These characters are my babies and what mother can admit to having a favourite? Each has their own challenges and attractions, and I love them all – even if they are naughty at times!

What was your favorite thing about writing this book?

Surely every author’s first novel is a process of emptying out the accumulated thoughts and feelings of a lifetime. Writing this book gave me a sense of freedom I hadn’t experienced as a child or during my early adult life. It also gave me the opportunity to find my voice…it was almost like a silent song bursting out.

Interview questions by Faye

ElidaElida May was born in Albania in 1972. Growing up in a Communist country, where access to books was severely restricted, helped to nurture her love of the written word, and she avidly read whatever genre she could get hold of, including a lot of European literature. Today Elida lives in London with her son Elidon. Following Evan is her first novel, and she is currently working on her second, Diary of Michael Vica. TO learn more about Elida and her work check out her social media accounts on Facebook (here), Twitter (here) and Instagram (here).

Following Evan is available to buy now from Amazon (here)

Posted on:

Pan’s Revenge

Anna Katmore

pan's revenge“Are you ready to be kissed?” he breathes against the corner of my mouth.
My knees start to tremble and there are butterflies in my belly now. Way too many. “I don’t think this is a good idea.”
“I think it’s the best idea I had in a long time.”
Desperate to leave Neverland and find his love in this notorious town called London, James Hook makes a grave mistake. He puts his own wishes above those of his half-brother and once-arch-enemy, Peter Pan.
The consequences alter Peter’s life in a way no one could have foreseen. The boy who wouldn’t grow up swears revenge, and what better way than by stealing Hook’s girl?
The first to arrive in London, Peter finds Angel once again without any memory of ever being in Neverland. That gives him time to plant the idea of a ruthless pirate captain in her mind—someone who tried to kill her once and is now on his way to kidnap her again. If only this stubborn girl would stop playing with Peter’s head. He’d completely forgotten how beautiful she was. Or is it only because he sees her through different eyes now?
Through a shower of falling stars, a loop around the moon, and then a hard left at the Clock Tower—when James Hook finally arrives in London, he has to fight with a vengeance for his love and face a boy who grew up after all…

*this is the review of a sequel so inadvertent spoilers may be present*

I delved into this sequel not long after reading Neverland as I had enjoyed it so much, and I have to say it did not disappoint!

Having never really come across a sequel to Peter Pan’s story except for what Disney presented to me as a child, and might I say it did not seem like a likely plot-line option, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. The only thing I was certain of was that Peter Pan was going to become darker than before, Angelina had lost her memory and poor Captain James Hook was going to have to prove himself all over again after it had already taken him 300 odd pages the first time!

My hunch was correct and the book delivered more upon that.

The alternate point of views for each chapter once again gave the book a little more depth, and I was pleased to see that Peter Pan himself had a stronger voice this time. Seeing the story unfold from the supposed “good” and “evil” characters is always very interesting and makes for a good read but especially when the latter get a voice as it is so uncommon.

Needless to say romance was a strong theme as poor Jamie was left to prove his love again, restore lost memories and save Neverland. But equally a strong thread of family, trust, betrayal and forgiveness was laced through the book. Infact I would almost dare say that it was as important if not almost more so than the romantic theme, as a reminder that love is familial too and just as important. And although I am a declared sappy and romantic saddo through and through, I will happily admit that I was not at all disappointed or saddened by this. The equal sharing of this made the book that much more of an enjoyable and interesting read.

The pace was initially slow but picked up as the story unravelled and I flew from Neverland to London and back again. Anna Katmore threw several rather unpredictable twists in her plot and left me hanging on the edge off a cliff right until the very end.

Verdict: A sequel that lived up to it’s prequel’s set standards, and that proved to be not only a fun and romantic read, but one with a little more depth and emotion than I expected endearing itself to me that much more.

Reviewed by Prudence

Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: July 2014
Format: eBook
Pages: 346
Genre: Retelling, fantasy, romance
Age: YA
Reviewer: Prudence
Source: Own copy
Challenge: None
Posted on:

TTT: Top Ten Books That Would Be On My Syllabus

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the wonderful, list making gurus, The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they publish a new Top Ten list and invite their fellow book bloggers, bloggers and bookworms to join in.

I’ve done one Top Ten Tuesdays and like to think I didn’t completely botch it so here’s my second attempt!
I tried to put on my mentor/teaching hat. When teaching my students (and I do genuinely have students) I aim to be honest, fun and enthusiastic. So with this post I’ve made a mixture of things that would be just for fun, thought provoking, educational and all 3 put together. Here’s hoping a disaster did not come of it!!

1 – Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Yup I’m going old school!!! This amazing woman and her literary achievements need no introduction. The style of writing is one that is sadly being lost, especially now with increasing texting and shorthand with stuff such as OTT, TBH and (my personal favourite – not) OMG!!! Aside from the fact that the story itself is wonderful, full of characters that reflect a truthful representation of the time, and there are several themes aside from the most obvious romantic one; the choice of words and language is simply beautiful and something I would like more to appreciate. The woman uses no swear words and yet her tongue is sharper than any string of profanities, her wits are fast and cunning, ruled by a cool and pensive mind that thinks before acting something that too many of us have long forgotten by speaking before ensuring the brain and mouth are properly connected! I think a lot could be learned and it is a masterpiece that should not be forgotten.

2 – Harry Potter by J.K.Rowling

I believe this series equally needs no introductions. Who hasn’t heard of Harry Potter, and who wouldn’t happily write an essay on it dissecting any number of characters, themes or just let the imagination run wild!!!
I remember a school friend of mine, with whom I was not in class with sadly, who actually had Harry Potter on her syllabus and I was sooooo jealous!!!!
I would also like to point out that I could rather easily use each Harry Potter book to fill this Top Ten Tuesday post but I won’t. Just saying though :p

3 – Splintered series by A.G.Howard

Ok well it’s no secret that I love this series very much, all you need do is read my previous Top Ten (Tuesdays) Fairytale Retellings. And not just from an amazing plot line point of view. I think this series has a lot of potential from both a literary point of view as well as storyline. I cannot praise A.G.Howard’s genius, style of writing, narration technique enough and the effort that went into planning the words as well as the characters and their thoughts. This series would make a fantastic adventure for any class to dissect any which way they like from any point of view!

4 – The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Yes my English teacher would be very proud of this choice of mine. This is a book that when I first bought it for my own syllabus at school I thought I was going to get bored stiff. And to be fair initially I did. This is a book that I never would have picked up of my own accord off of any shelf, in any bookstore. But my very own amazing English literature teacher made me appreciate it and the narrative depths and themes it reached in the creepy dystopian world not fair away from our own, created by Margaret Atwood. The Handmaid’s Tale holds a special place on my syllabus and bookshelf, not only for the endless theme possibilities and narrative stances any reader can take, but because of what it represents to me. Being able to turn a book that I would have never picked for myself, into one that I thoroughly enjoyed analyzing and appreciating on a literary level, is a rare gift for most literature teachers, and I would hope that someday I can achieve this.

P.S. I now hold this book in high esteem and care for it a great deal. I highly recommend it for those who want more than just another dystopian novel with a good story, it’s for those of view who wish to read into every colour, every expression, every gesture all the possibilities of what Margaret Atwood was actually meaning and hinting at.

5 – Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

I’m taking another leaf out of my teacher’s classes (in case you hadn’t noticed, I loved reading and dissecting themes, narration styles and passage analysis from the word go lol). I picked this book for the simple reason that I thought the difference between it and it’s screen counterpart would be a good example of the variations between the two, and how little changes can drastically alter the bigger picture and significance to the story. Zombies who can fall in love raises a variety of themes ranging from religious, to social etc but throw in a few varying twists and well you have a whole new set of delivered meanings! I felt Isaac Marion was trying to give us more than just another zombie story. I think perhaps an underlying gentle reminder to enjoy life, and that love is what fills us and separates us from the insensitive cold empty corpses. But that’s just my opinion. Watch and read, and you may come up with a whole new theory of your own. Discuss…

pride and prejudiceharry potter 1splinteredthe handmaids talewarm bodies

6 – Do No Harm: stories of life, death and brain surgery by Henry Marsh

Ok I’ll be honest I haven’t read this book yet but it’s almost at the top of my TBR pile and fast climbing. I figured that aside from adventure, drama, period drama and paranormal I should have some in depth emotional reading going on. And I thought this would do the trick. Written by a brain surgeon and with each chapter a particular case that hit him strongly, made him stop and think, I thought this would be perfect. I’m a total sucker for Grey’s Anatomy so I was totally sold! I thought this would be the perfect read for some emotional searching and philosophical inner turmoil.

7 – Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Eeeeeeer I have a confession to make about this one. I kept thinking about what I would want to be on my syllabus and this book kept popping back into my head no matter how many times I pushed it aside. I studied it myself right at the beginning of secondary school and I’m not entirely sure why but it struck a chord with me. Something about the particular dysfunctionality and polar opposite characters who somehow though manage to survive together and make it work got me hooked. I’ve done several passage analysis on this novel and there’s always something to be found hidden among the language styles, scenes, actions and choice of words. It’s hard to explain but I felt this book deserved a spot on my list. For those of you who have read it hopefully this will make more sense to you :p

8 – Stardust by Neil Gaiman

I thought we were overdue for a not-so-serious choice lol!
I discovered stardust initially as a film and absolutely loved it!!! And when I then found out it was based on a book…. well the love just deepened.
Stardust is an amazing and thrilling story that has something in it for everyone. Some magic, some scary parts, adventure, pirates, fighting and romance. And if that none of that appeals to you, well then the chance to imagine and see Robert DeNiro in a pink tutu should be reason enough!!!
I loved this story in both forms and picked it because I thought every student reader could find something in it to fall in love with and relate to.

9 – The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde

Well I figured we were due a little more darkness and horror. I’m trying to be sensible and keep romance, adventure and horror equally balanced here :p
The Picture of Dorian Grey is a very interesting tale and each reader will find his own interpretation of the curse, it’s purpose or lack of and indeed the mystery behind it all. This is a novel that has left authors and readers alike puzzled for a longtime and to be honest there is no right or wrong answer. One of the few lessons I truly learnt in literature is that no opinion or interpretation is incorrect or wrong so long as you can back it up.
So bring it on. What’s your interpretation of Dorian Grey and his creepy (I think we can all agree it is creepy) picture? Thoughts anyone? You there at the back speak up!

10 – Finding Sky by Joss Stirling

I thought I should finish on a high note and on something that I personally identify with, something that represents me. I have fallen for a lot of books and their tales (all of the above included in varying different ways) but this is one of my all time favourites that I simply cannot get away from. This story is basically me in a book essentially. It’s simple, sarcastic, short and sweet and with some magic.
I picked it as my final choice because I think it’s important that whilst you’re learning that you don’t forget who you are and what opinions are your own, ensuring that others do not rub off on you simply because you’ve heard it enough times. I would encourage all readers, students and learners to stick to their guns, thoughts and opinions.
Learning is serious, but it’s also about having fun and staying true to yourself.

do no harmof mice and menstardustpicture of dorian greyfinding sky

And on that note I wanted to add a little bonus. Being the amazingly cool teacher that everyone wants *cough cough modestly cough cough* I would let every pupil pick a book of their own choosing that they feel resonates the most with them, that they relate to or that they just simply enjoy time and time again. They can make this choice provided they can justify their reasoning and attempt to put into words what it is that keeps drawing them back for another read.
And with that….. Classed dismissed!!! :p

Posted by Prudence

Posted on:

Ensnared

A.G.Howard

ensnaredAfter surviving a disastrous battle at prom, Alyssa has embraced her madness and gained perspective. She’s determined to rescue her two worlds and the people and netherlings she loves. Even if it means challenging Queen Red to a final battle of wills and wiles . . . and even if the only way to Wonderland, now that the rabbit hole is closed, is through the looking-glass world–a parallel dimension filled with mutated and violent netherling outcasts. In the final installment of the wildly popular Splintered trilogy, Alyssa and her dad journey into the heart of magic and mayhem in search of her mom and to set right all that’s gone wrong. Together with Jeb and Morpheus, they must salvage Wonderland from the decay and destruction that has ensnared it. But if they succeed and come out alive, can everyone truly have their happily ever after?

As this is a review of a sequel it may contain spoilers

Before I type up my review of this amazing book (I wish there was a better word than amazing but I can’t find it right now) I need a moment to piece myself together because it was, as previously said, amazing and I need to do it justice, or atleast try to.

*zen position assumed to gather my thoughts that are still reeling from awesomeness*

Ok here goes.

Ensnared is, unfortunately, the final book of what has been a fantastic rollercoaster ride of a retelling of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, and although I can by no means speak for Lewis Carroll I think I can safely say A.G.Howard has done an amazing job of taking his story and bringing it to a whole new level whilst staying true to the spirit of the world he’d created.
Once more I plunged into A.G.Howard’s novel except that this time my journey started in AnyElsewhere a world in equal parts dangerous, beautiful and crazy as Wonderland if not more, as this is the home of the rejects. And if wonderland didn’t want them, you can only imagine what they’re like!

Alyssa and her father are on a mission to save her mortal and netherling knights, and to end Red’s tyrannical existence that sows death, pain and destruction once and for all. But the tasks at hand are harder than what they appear. Morpheus is unchanged and eager to save his beloved Wonderland but Jeb is not. All two volumes worth of adventures, emotional blackmail, torture and near death experiences in this deliciously creepy world he cannot call his own have finally taken their toll. Both the knights of Alyssa’s heart demand her attention, undying devotion and love, and both stake a claim to her heart. And although Alyssa is desperately trying to give just that to both in fair and just fashion, Wonderland’s undoing by Red’s hand declares and demands her immediate attention as both a netherling queen and a human with a conscience and a sense of responsibility.

This tug of war triangle increases with emotional and physical strength throughout the book with rapid pace until it spirals out of control and the ultimate price is paid.

But dear readers do not forget the most important thing of all, this is a story taking place in a world where madness and genius are two blades of the same sword that can take life, as it can give it. You need only but let go of sense. Afterall to quote the brilliant mind behind this enticingly dark novel “netherling logic, and therefore the solution, resides in the hazy border between sense and nonsense”.

The final chapter in this deliciously dark and yet vividly coloured novel that dances on the fine line between insanity and reason, plays out on Alyssa’s heart. The heart of this book is hers and it is equally the battlefield where the final verdict for herself and wonderland will be decided. And although the common enemy is Red, the remaindering opposing sides are none other than Morpheus and Jeb. They will be Alyssa’s undoing and her salvation, for what can tear apart can equally reunite. Netherling logic is at work readers and only by walking this incredibly tortuous path, forsaking sanity and clarity will you truly understand the true beauty of this novel.

A.G.Howard’s narrative techniques and style of writing clearly showed her skill in not only creating a fantastic storyline but also utilizing language and themes that further enhanced and brought to life the world that she was creating, a skill unfortunately not many use. Creating the story is half the battle, but it takes a lot of talent and dedication to carefully pick words, language and metaphors that stick to the storyline, are faithful to each character whilst generating the feeling of a dark, dangerous world so vividly coloured that you’d want to step into despite everything you know.

This was a simply beautiful and amazing ending to a fantastic series that I will be sad to see end, but that I will not hesitate to revisit. I cannot help but feel that I have been infected with netherling logic where every “act of madness is driven by the voice of reason”. Afterall the two are so closely entwined they are virtually one and the same, it just depends which side you choose to look from.

Verdict: High praise to A.G.Howard from a humble book worm who is now a little insane, but then again all the best people are 😉

Reviewed by Pruedence

Publisher: Amulet Books
Publication Date: January 2015
Format: Paperback
Pages: 384
Genre: Fairytale retelling, fantasy, romance
Age: YA
Reviewer: Prudence
Source: Own copy
Challenge: None
Posted on:

Neverland

Anna Katmore
neverland“Any last words?”
“Go to hell, you freaking…filthy…godforsaken…”
Our noses almost touch as he dips his head and brushes a strand of my hair behind my ear. “Angel, the word you’re looking for is pirate.”
Why is there a boy who doesn’t want to grow up?
How can an apple start the sweetest romance in fairytale history?
And what does a ruthless pirate have to do with it all?
Although Angelina McFarland loves reading fairytales, she never dreamed of falling right into one herself. But that’s exactly what happens when she slips on her balcony and a flying Peter Pan catches her mid-fall.
Ending up in Neverland where no one seems to age and laws of nature are out of control, Angel has no idea how to get home. Worse, the ruthless Captain Hook captures her and keeps her trapped on his ship, the Jolly Roger, where she gets caught between the lines of a timeless battle. But the more time Angel spends with the captain, the more she sees beneath his ruthless façade. The feelings she’s growing for him are as intense as shocking, and soon she can’t stop thinking about how soft his lips felt on hers when he kissed her under the stars. But Angel and a pirate? That’ll never work. Or can it?
As Angel desperately tries to find a way to return to her real life, she discovers a train ticket to London in her pocket. It won’t be any help in getting off the island, but as her memory fades away the longer she stays, this is all she has left to remind her of her former life and why she can’t give up trying.
Or is staying in Neverland forever the better choice after all?
Grab a happy thought and follow Angel on an adventure that will keep you breathless and smiling long after you read the last page…

We were all once children, and as such I do believe there isn’t a single child who doesn’t know the story of Peter Pan, the boy who never grew up, as told by J.M. Barrie. And then we grew up. We learnt all about those annoying things called responsibilities, about being mature and sensible, and above all that fairy tales are just for children.

Anna Katmore however had a different opinion. What if Peter Pan wasn’t quite the hero and all round good guy he appears? What if the gift of never growing up was actually a curse in disguise, holding back more than just a gang of orphans? And what if Captain James Hook wasn’t quite the black-hearted pirate our younger selves thought he was?
Having thrown several spanners into my childhood fairy tale I was quick to get my mitts on the book and dive into Mermaid Lagoon and unravel the mystery.

Angelina was a strong and interesting female character, but for once she wasn’t the one stealing all the limelight and I found myself very intrigued by both Peter Pan and Captain Hook too.

The narration was alternated between Angelina and James (Captain Hook) giving the reader even more food for thought as both sides of the tale are depicted. But do not be fooled, if you read Neverland in search for Barrie’s version from a different angle that is not what you will get. Anna Katmore took Peter Pan and his comrades gave the whole story more depth and background than you could imagine. Gone are the gentle themes for children of good and bad within harmless games. Neverland was enriched with the strong emotions of betrayal, hate, love, anger and loss. Feelings that would not mean much to a child too young to comprehend, but that in an adult cause a lot of damage. These emotions transcend time and space wreaking all sorts of havoc across decades.

But that is not all, because just as you think things may be finally over Anna Katmore turns things around one more time. Surely you didn’t think Captain Hook and Peter Pan were left on Neverland and suddenly learned to play nice? Did you?

Verdict: I very much enjoyed the easy read and yet thought provoking tale of Neverland and anxiously await for some fairy dust so that I may follow the second star on the right and fly straight on ‘till morning to land in the sequel Pan’s Revenge.

Reviewed by Prudence

Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: April 2014
Format: eBook
Pages: 301
Genre: retelling, romance br />
Age: YA
Reviewer: Prudence
Source: Own copy
Challenge: None
Posted on:

The Sin Eaters Daughter

Melinda Salisbury
sin eaters daughterSeventeen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But although she’s engaged to the prince, Twylla isn’t exactly a member of the court.
She’s the executioner.
As the Goddess embodied, Twylla instantly kills anyone she touches. Each month she’s taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love a girl with murder in her veins. Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to Twylla’s fatal touch, avoids her company.
But then a new guard arrives, a boy whose easy smile belies his deadly swordsmanship. And unlike the others, he’s able to look past Twylla’s executioner robes and see the girl, not the Goddess. Yet Twylla’s been promised to the prince, and knows what happens to people who cross the queen.
However, a treasonous secret is the least of Twylla’s problems. The queen has a plan to destroy her enemies, a plan that requires a stomach-churning, unthinkable sacrifice. Will Twylla do what it takes to protect her kingdom? Or will she abandon her duty in favor of a doomed love?

What were your initial thoughts of the book?
I very much enjoyed this book. I instantly connected with it, found it to be truly fascinating and struggled to put it down. I had been dying to get my hands on a copy of this book because I had heard so much about it and thought that it sounded like a truly brilliant read that I would love. And I did. There were so many things going on in this book and Melinda truly knows how to bring forth emotions in a reader. I’m very much looking forward to the sequel.

What was your favourite aspect of the book?
There were quite a lot of fantastic elements in this book that I adored reading about and choosing just one is proving to be rather difficult but I think I’m going to go with the world. I loved the world that Melinda has created in this book. I loved the idea of the Daunen Embodied, loved the idea of the Sin-Eater and I just loved the different countries that were mentioned. I could really picture this world and that isn’t always easy to do with fantasy books.

Who was your favourite character and why?
Finally, a favourite character that wasn’t the main protagonist! I loved all of the characters in this book but my favourite of them all had to be the Queen. I loved her so much. Melinda has truly created the embodiement of an evil queen. She’s created someone who is evil but also flawed and still human and it was just so great to read. I loved that she reminded me of the Red Queen but also that she felt different from her too. I think this was a really strong character that worked so well in this story.

Would you recommend this book?
Yes. Definitely. This book is fast-paced, addictive and has such a wonderful complex and tantalizing plot. It is full of in-depth characters that you can easily imagine, a beautiful, well thought-out world and is just one of those books that you can’t stop reading. It’ll hook you from the start and will leave you dangling at the end. So if you like fantasy, intriguing plots and lovely, heart-throbbing romance, then you should definitely give this book a go.

Summarize the book in one sentence. (Verdict)
A fantastic read that will keep you entertained for hours… and then begging for more.

Reviewed by Faye

Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: February 2015
Format: Paperback
Pages: 336
Genre: Fantasy
Age: YA
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book, Debut author
Posted on:

Finish It February 2015: Week Three Round Up

FinishItFeb1

Personal Target: Finish/get up to date with four series

Books read this week: Half

Total books read: Two

Series completed for challenge: Two

General feedback: With the bigs off for half term I was expecting this week of the challenge to be a struggle. As a result I am actually really pleased that I managed read half a book.

Having taken the last three weeks in to consideration, I know that I am unlikely to meet my personal target of four books. While I am really excited to read This Shattered World by Kaufman and Spooner I have decided to prioritise Ensnared by A G Howard. Finishing this book will allow me to “cross off” one of my outstanding series.

If I do happen to have any additional time this week I will try to finish some of my half written reviews from last years reading and reviewing slump.

Meanwhile, for those of you who are interested, my Downton obsession is still going strong and I am just about to start season three.

Currently reading: Ensnared by A G Howard

Faye’s week:Faye shares her Finish It February update post over at her personal blog (here). I am excited to see that Faye is currently reading C J Redwine’s Deliverance and I can’t wait to sit down with her and discuss it over coffee.

Other Participants:Debbie of @Snugglingonsofa fame is speeding through this challenge with seven books read!

Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan
unmadePowerful love comes with a price. Who will be the sacrifice?
Kami has lost the boy she loves, is tied to a boy she does not, and faces an enemy more powerful than ever before. With Jared missing for months and presumed dead, Kami must rely on her new magical link with Ash for the strength to face the evil spreading through her town.
Rob Lynburn is now the master of Sorry-in-the-Vale, and he demands a death. Kami will use every tool at her disposal to stop him. Together with Rusty, Angela, and Holly, she uncovers a secret that might be the key to saving the town. But with knowledge comes responsibility—and a painful choice. A choice that will risk not only Kami’s life, but also the lives of those she loves most.
This final book in the Lynburn Legacy is a wild, entertaining ride from beginning to shocking end.

Sarah Rees “I feed on the tears of my readers” Brennan’s The Lynburn Legacy trilogy turns me in to a two year old. One minute I’m smiling and laughing and clapping with glee, then in the next I’m shouting, stomping and flinging myself and my toys (the book) on the floor*. Like any fickle toddler I’m easily distracted by shiny things and guided back to the cooing happy version of myself** before, with very little warning , I’m repeating the cycle again.

What I am essentially trying to communicate is that SRB has a way of leading you in to a false sense of security before pulling the rug out from under you. Her use of sparkling dialogue, laugh out loud quips and loveable*** charismatic characters make you wish that you could visit Sorry-In -The -Vale, become a member of the Scooby gang and fight blood thirsty sorcerers. Despite having experienced SRB’s own brand of evil genius before (in the first two books) I was unprepared for each gasp of shock, cringe of horror and snot bubble of sadness. I felt so emotionally involved with the characters, that at one point I actually had to take a break from the book.

I loved this series and will be seeking out more of SRB’s books in the future.

Verdict: A series for people who like their angst sprinkled with snorts of laughter.

*Ok I didn’t actually throw the book across the floor. I would never do such a terrible thing to one of my beautiful, beautiful hardbacks.
** No I’m not exactly sure where I’m going with this analogy either. I blame half term and a continuous child filled week.
*** Also despicable. She writes despicable very, very well

Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: September 2014
Format: Hardback
Pages: 384
Genre: Fantasy, Magic
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Own copy
Challenge: Finish It February

Posted by Caroline

Posted on:

Divergent

Veronica Roth

DIVERGENT_B_Format_UK.inddSociety is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue, in the attempt to form a ‘perfect society’. On her Choosing Day, Beatrice Prior renames herself Tris, rejects her family’s Abnegation group, and chooses another faction.

Beatrice Prior lives in a dystopian future world, in a city surrounded by The Fence, keeping everyone safe from whatever lies behind. Her world is divided into 5 groups or ‘Factions’ based on desirable traits and created as a consequence of the war that got them landed behind The Fence. People who blamed the war on selfishness joined Abnegation, those who blamed the war on dishonesty joined Candor, and those who blamed the war on weakness joined the ‘warrior’ Faction, Dauntless. Stupidity, Erudite and aggressiveness, Amity.

The Factions do not mix and live very different lives. Beatrice lives in Abnegation she has been born into that Faction and has always seen herself as a misfit for the faction, their ability to totally forget themselves and their needs and to always help someone in need. Even small things like looking in the mirror are named vain and therefore selfish. Beatrice’s brother Caleb has got it down to a tee. He always helps the elderly person across the street and feeds the Factionless (those who have nowhere to go or have been kicked out of their faction). He belongs in Abnegation whereas Beatrice thinks she doesn’t.

As Caleb and Beatrice are both 16 they have to come up to their Choosing Ceremony where they pick whether to leave their Faction to join another or stay. Beatrice doesn’t know whether she wants to stay with her family or go.

Her Mum and Dad are both important members of the Abnegation society. Because they put their needs before their own, Abnegation are trusted to run the Government. Beatrice’s Dad works alongside Marcus who is getting a lot of questions thrown at him about the soundness of Abnegation’s teachings because Marcus’ son transferred to Dauntless the Warrior Faction 2 years ago and they are blaming Marcus for beating him.

Beatrice has to take an Aptitude test to see which Faction she has the best qualities for. She does the test and finds out she has an Aptitude for Abnegation…and Dauntless and Erudite. Having an affinity for more than one Faction is dangerous and means that you are hard to keep under control. “They call it Divergent”. You can’t tell your family, friends or anyone. You’re in a lot of trouble and have to try and pick the right Faction with no help whatsoever from the Aptitude Test. Beatrice surprises everyone with her choice…

A new name, new friends and a new life but with extra enemies and an elusive instructor who is mysterious and scary but also protective.

Please excuse me while I hyperventilate.

Okay, that over let’s proceed to the book. It is very good. If you get the chance to read it, it is strongly recommended.

Verdict: Teen Fiction! Woo! It’s a really brilliant book and will get you really excited. Fast-paced and thrilling. Not suitable for under 12s.

Reviewed by Daisy (13)

Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: February 2012
Format: Paperback
Pages: 489
Genre: Dystopian
Age: YA
Reviewer: Daisy
Source: Own copy
Challenge: None
Posted on:

Buddy Review: The Girl Who Never Was

Skylar Dorset

the girl who never was coverTHE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS is the story of Selkie Stewart, who thinks she’s a totally normal teenager growing up in Boston. Sure, her father is in an insane asylum, her mother left her on his doorstep—literally—when she was a baby, and she’s being raised by two ancient aunts who spend their time hunting gnomes in their Beacon Hill townhouse. But other than that her life is totally normal! She’s got an adventurous best friend who’s always got her back and an unrequited crush on an older boy named Ben. Just like any other teenager, right?
When Selkie goes in search of the mother she’s never known, she gets more than she bargained for. It turns out that her mother is faerie royalty, which would make Selkie a faerie princess—except for the part where her father is an ogre, which makes her only half of anything. Even more confusing, there’s a prophecy that Selkie is going to destroy the tyrannical Seelie Court, which is why her mother actually wants to kill her. Selkie has been kept hidden all her life by her adoring aunts, with the help of a Salem wizard named Will. And Ben. Because the boy she thinks she’s in love with turns out to be a faerie whose enchantment has kept her alive, but also kept her in the dark about her own life.
Now, with enchantments dissolved and prophecies swinging into action, Selkie finds herself on a series of mad quests to save the people she’s always loved and a life she’s learning to love. But in a supernatural world of increasingly complex alliances and distressingly complicated deceptions, it’s so hard to know who to trust. Does her mother really wish to kill her? Would Will sacrifice her for the sake of the prophecy? And does Ben really love her or is it all an elaborate ruse? In order to survive, Selkie realizes that the key is learning—and accepting—who she really is

Posted by Caroline and Faye

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: June 2014
Format: Paperback
Pages: 304
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal
Age: YA
Reviewer: Faye & Caroline
Source: BEA14
Challenge: Debut author
Posted on:

Buddy Review: Since You’ve Been Gone

This month Faye and Caroline divulge their deep dark secrets as well as their thoughts on Morgan Matson‘s newest novel, Since You’ve Been Gone.

since you've been goneThe Pre-Sloane Emily didn’t go to parties, she barely talked to guys, she didn’t do anything crazy. Enter Sloane, social tornado and the best kind of best friend—the one who yanks you out of your shell.
But right before what should have been an epic summer, Sloane just… disappears. No note. No calls. No texts. No Sloane. There’s just a random to-do list. On it, thirteen Sloane-selected-definitely-bizarre-tasks that Emily would never try… unless they could lead back to her best friend.
Apple Picking at Night? Okay, easy enough.
Dance until Dawn? Sure. Why not?
Kiss a Stranger? Wait… what?
Getting through Sloane’s list would mean a lot of firsts. But Emily has this whole unexpected summer ahead of her, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected) to check things off. Who knows what she’ll find?
Go Skinny Dipping? Um…

Posted by Caroline and Faye

Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Publication Date: May 2014
Format: Hardback
Pages: 449
Genre: Contemporary
Age: YA
Reviewer: Faye & Caroline
Source: BEA14
Challenge: None
Posted on: