Thursday, 30 January 2014

From the Review Pile (84)

From the Review Pile is a meme hosted by Stepping Out of the Page every Thursday.
The aim of this meme is to showcase books that you've received for review (or if you don't receive review books, any book that you own and really want to read/review) but haven't yet got around to reading, in order to give the book some extra publicity.

I know that a lot of you have a huge pile of books that you want to read/review, but it understandably takes a while to get around to reading them all - here you can give a book (or two!) some of the publicity that it deserves, even if you haven't read it yet!

-----------------------------------

This week, I'm going to showcase Fangirl!
Today is the expected release of Fangirl and although I've not yet reviewed it, I thought it would be good to feature such a popular book on it's public release date - I have seen many positive comments about this book and look forward to writing my own review soon!

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Paperback, 480 pages

Expected Publication: 30th January 2014 by Pan Macmillan

Cath and Wren are identical twins, and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they're off to university and Wren's decided she doesn't want to be one half of a pair any more - she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It's not so easy for Cath. She's horribly shy and has always buried herself in the fan fiction she writes, where she always knows exactly what to say and can write a romance far more intense than anything she's experienced in real life. Without Wren Cath is completely on her own and totally outside her comfort zone. She's got a surly room-mate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words ...And she can't stop worrying about her dad, who's loving and fragile and has never really been alone. Now Cath has to decide whether she's ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she's realizing that there's more to learn about love than she ever thought possible ...

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Salvage

Salvage by Keren David
Hardback, 320 pages

Published 16th January 2014 by Atom

Shelves: 
abuse, arc-or-review, books-i-own, read, read-in-2014, realistic-fiction, too-much-hype, young-adult
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:

Aidan Jones was my brother. But I couldn't really remember his face. I couldn't remember talking to him or playing with him. He was just a gap, an absence, a missing person.

Before she was adopted by a loving family and raised in a leafy Home Counties town, Cass Montgomery was Cass Jones. Her memories of her birth family disappeared with her name. But when her adopted family starts to break down, a way out comes in the form of a message from her lost brother, Aidan. Having Aidan back in her life is both everything she needs and nothing she expected. Who is this boy who calls himself her brother? And why is he so haunted?

I glance at the paper. There's a big picture on the front page. A girl with dark red hair. A girl with eyes that might have been green or they might have been grey. I sit down and stare at Cass, and it is her, it is. My stolen sister.

Aidan's a survivor. He's survived an abusive step-father and an uncaring mother. He's survived crowded foster homes and empty bedsits. His survived to find Cass. If only he can make her understand what it means to be part of his family. . .


Salvage is a book that has had many positive comments and quite a bit of excitement revolving around it, especially here in the United Kingdom, so I was very excited to receive a copy for review. Salvage is a young adult book with interesting subject matter, exploring an interesting story. I usually really enjoy books about real life issues, so I was really hoping that I'd love this one.

I really liked the idea behind this book. We are introduced to Cass, our female narrative, as her adopted family has started to break up. As her father is a well known politician, the story hits the newspapers, one including a photograph of Cass. This is when we're introduced to our male narrative, Aidan, who despite having not seen her for years, almost instantly recognises his long lost sister. As Aidan contacts her, a lot of his history unravels and we read through the complexities of both Cass and Aidan's lives and learn a bit more about their past. In Aidan's eyes, Cass received the best adoptive middle-class parents possible, whereas he himself had more problems, partially due to issues with his birth mother's partners and also with his own emotional/anger problems. 

Cass was a reasonably likeable character, she wasn't anything special which worked to the novel's advantage, it's easy to imagine her as someone you know and it was great to see her as a regular daughter to her adoptive parents, rather than simply seeing her as an adopted child - it just seemed like a 'normal' family dynamic. I can't say that I loved Cass, because there wasn't anything about her that particularly enamoured me, but I found her simplicity to work well, especially when paired with perhaps the quirkiest member of her school, the desirable and individual Will. I really liked Will ask he did seem to have an edge to him - he didn't go out of his way to be different, he simply was and he was also a very loveable character and if he was real, I would definitely like to have a friend like him.

Aidan was a much more interesting character to me and he certainly had, or at least remembered, a much more unstable beginning, living with some abuse and also, understandably, going through periods of time where he found it difficult to control his own emotions. Aidan is now living with his girlfriend and her son, a family relationship which is explored in the story and possibly the most interesting exploration, in my opinion. It was interesting to see how Aidan coped when bringing his past and current life together, and seeing how he and Cass both differed yet bonded.

Overall, Salvage was a well written and easily to read book that I would recommend to teenagers and fans of realistic YA. I think that the book was written simply and modestly enough to attract young teens, but perhaps it's a little too simplistic or modest for those older young adult fans who prefer a little more complexity. The story is interesting enough to hold your attention throughout, though I admit that I did find it a little too predictable to enjoy the 'big reveals' towards the end. Nevertheless, I can see why this book has been given great praise as it is exactly what it offers, a page turner which will attract young adults who enjoy reading about gritty real life issues.


Sunday, 26 January 2014

Stacking the Shelves and Showcase Sunday (81)

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's ReviewsShowcase Sunday is hosted by Books, Biscuits and Tea.
These memes are a replacement of The Story Siren's In My Mailbox.

Stacking the Shelves and Showcase Sunday make a place to showcase your new books,
whether you obtained them through the post or otherwise.



 I received three books for review this week and I'm especially excited about the two young adult books which sound quite original. The two YA books were Grasshopper Jungle and Fangirl. I also received a chick-lit read by an author whose writing I was introduced to over the Christmas period - Veronica Henry. Her latest book is called Love On the Rocks.


I bought three books this week, all chick-lit and all by the same author. I read a couple of books by Carole Matthews over Christmas and absolutely loved them, so I am hoping that these three will be just as good! The three books are For Better, For Worse, A Comprimising Position and The Difference A Day Makes.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

From The Review Pile (83)

From the Review Pile is a meme hosted by Stepping Out of the Page every Thursday.
The aim of this meme is to showcase books that you've received for review (or if you don't receive review books, any book that you own and really want to read/review) but haven't yet got around to reading, in order to give the book some extra publicity.

I know that a lot of you have a huge pile of books that you want to read/review, but it understandably takes a while to get around to reading them all - here you can give a book (or two!) some of the publicity that it deserves, even if you haven't read it yet!

-----------------------------------

This week, I'm going to showcase How They Met!
This is a book that I'm very excited to read. I would class myself as a fan of David Levithan and undoubtedly, his last book, Every Day, was one of my favourite reads of 2013. I really hope that I can get around to reading this soon and that it's as good as I expect it to be! 


How They Met And Other Stories by David Levithan
Paperback, 320 pages

Published January 2014 by Electric Monkey

Just in time for Valentine’s Day comes a confection from David Levithan that is sure to appeal to fans of Boy Meets Boy. Here are 18 stories, all about love, and about all kinds of love. From the aching for the one you pine for, to standing up and speaking up for the one you love, to pure joy and happiness, these love stories run the gamut of that emotion that at some point has turned every one of us inside out and upside down. What is love? With this original story collection David Levithan proves that love is a many splendored thing, a varied, complicated, addictive, wonderful thing.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Mother, Mother

Mother, Mother by Koren Zailckas
Hardback, 363 pages

Published 16th January 2014 by HarperCollins

Shelves: 
adult-fiction, arc-or-review, books-i-own, crime-thriller-mystery, drink-and-drugs, medical-conditions, mental-health, read, read-in-2014, realistic-fiction, really-good, suicide
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:

All is not well with the Hurst family.

There is gentle teenage daughter Violet, whose experiments with fasting and drugs land her in a psychiatric ward; eight-year-old Will who is smart, funny and caring but has already been labelled autistic and is being home-schooled; and mother Josephine, whose subtly controlling and seemingly innocent manoeuvres may just be the source of everyone else's despair.

And then there's Rose, the sister who got away. Tired of Josephine's interferences, Rose ran away from home years earlier and hasn't been heard from since. But as her mother's intentions become more terrifyingly clear, Violet begins to wonder whether something far, far worse happened to her older sister…



Mother, Mother is a story unlike any other that I've read before it. When I first read the blurb of the book, I thought it sounded fantastic - like something I would find fascinating, and it was, but it was actually so much more. This book messed with my mind, it made me unsure of who to believe, what to believe and as soon as I thought I had a stable idea of a character, I could turn the page and the author could shatter the illusion. Strangely enough, this is why it exceeded my expectations!

Mother, Mother asks us a question - what if your mother, someone you are meant to trust above all, is your worst enemy? We are introduced to the Hurst family who help us to see what could happen. We're introduced to the points of view of Josephine and Douglas Hurst's two children - Violet, a teenage girl who enjoys experimenting with drugs and ends up in a psychiatric ward and her younger brother Will, who is homeschooled as he has been diagnosed with autism and seizures. There was another daughter in the family, Rose, who ran away years earlier. One night after taking drugs, Violet claims to see Rose, but is swiftly admitted into hospital. After receiving a letter from her, Violet tries to investigate what really went on with Rose. 

It's difficult for me to say much about this book without giving anything away, so I will try not to mention any particular events or happenings. I was particularly interested in Rose's experience at the psychiatric hospital, as it seemed quite genuine and I also think that I connected with her above all of the other characters, she is the one that I trusted the most.  I did however, also become very interested in Will's way of thinking - it was clear that he didn't think in the same way as others of his age, but the mystery of whether or not it was nature or nurture really  fascinated me.

Other than that, alI can say is that the whole book seems is full of twists and turns, the author cleverly swaying your emotions and trust, surprising you until the last minute. Zailckas seems to have a fantastic psychological knowledge and certainly knows how to write thrillers like this one. I found all of the characters to be fascinating, each different and fighting their own personal battles - even the support characters, such as Detective Flores, Imogene, Finch and their mother. Although we did meet several characters, each felt important and as though they each added value and substance to the story. 

I hope it's clear from my review that this is a book that I'd certainly recommend. I haven't read many books that I can compare this one to, but I would definitely like to read more books that are written like this and leave such an impact. The only book that compares to this, impact/afterthought-wise is Room by Emma Donoghue. I would recommend this to anyone because to be honest, I think a lot of different people will enjoy this - I'd imagine that the fan base will be spread very diversely. I truly look forward to seeing what Koren Zailckas comes out with next!

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Stacking the Shelves and Showcase Sunday (80)

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's ReviewsShowcase Sunday is hosted by Books, Biscuits and Tea.
These memes are a replacement of The Story Siren's In My Mailbox.

Stacking the Shelves and Showcase Sunday make a place to showcase your new books,
whether you obtained them through the post or otherwise.


I received two books for review this week, one young adult and the other chick-lit. The books are called How They Met (and other stories) and The Vintage Girl. I look forward to delving into them both!

I hope you've all had a lovely week!

Thursday, 16 January 2014

From The Review Pile (82)

From the Review Pile is a meme hosted by Stepping Out of the Page every Thursday.
The aim of this meme is to showcase books that you've received for review (or if you don't receive review books, any book that you own and really want to read/review) but haven't yet got around to reading, in order to give the book some extra publicity.

I know that a lot of you have a huge pile of books that you want to read/review, but it understandably takes a while to get around to reading them all - here you can give a book (or two!) some of the publicity that it deserves, even if you haven't read it yet!

-----------------------------------

This week, I'm going to showcase Christmas at Rosie Hopkins' Sweet Shop!
This book was released in perfect time for Christmas, but it's just a book that I regrettably didn't have time to read at the end of last year. Though I do own the book, I'm still yet to read the first in this series which I really should do before next Christmas, so I can pick up and hopefully enjoy this one later this year!  

Christmas at Rosie Hopkins' Sweet Shop
Paperback, 400 pages

Published 7th November 2013 by Sphere

Rosie Hopkins is looking forward to Christmas in the little Derbyshire village of Lipton, buried under a thick blanket of snow. Her sweetshop is festooned with striped candy canes, large tempting piles of Turkish Delight, crinkling selection boxes and happy, sticky children. She's going to be spending it with her boyfriend, Stephen, and her family, flying in from Australia. She can't wait.

But when a tragedy strikes at the heart of their little community, all of Rosie's plans for the future seem to be blown apart. Can she build a life in Lipton? And is what's best for the sweetshop also what's best for Rosie?

Treat yourself and your sweet-toothed friends to Jenny Colgan's heart-warming new novel. The irresistibly delicious recipes are guaranteed to get you into the festive spirit and will warm up your Christmas celebrations
.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Calling Mrs Christmas


Calling Mrs Christmas by Carole Matthews
Paperback, 452 pages

Published 24th October 2013 by Sphere

Shelves: 
adult-fiction, arc-or-review, better-than-expected, books-i-own, chick-lit, christmas-books, mums-books, read-in-2013, really-good
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:

Cassie Smith has been out of work for a while but she has an idea. Drawing on her love of Christmas, she begins charging for small things: wrapping presents; writing cards; tree-decorating. She's soon in huge demand and Cassie's business, Calling Mrs Christmas, is born.

Carter Randall wants to make Christmas special for his children so he enlists Cassie's help, and his lavish requests start taking up all her time. Thank goodness she can rely on her partner Jim to handle the rest of her clients.

When Carter asks Cassie to join them on a trip to Lapland, she knows she shouldn't go. As much as tries, Cassie can't deny how drawn she is to Carter and everything he has to offer, but she still loves her warm-hearted Jim. Suddenly Cassie finds herself facing a heart-breaking choice that could change her entire life.


Without much doubt, Calling Mrs Christmas was the stand-out book of Winter 2013 for me. Previously, I hadn't read any books written by Carole Matthews, but after reading this one, I was absolutely desperate to read more! It may no longer be the festive period, but I still believe that it's still a good time to pick up Calling Mrs Christmas if you haven't already. With scenes in dark and dreary England and the almost magical Lapland, this is the perfect book to cosy up with.

I'm still somewhat finding my footing with chick-lit authors, but it within a few chapters of this book, I knew that Matthews would become a firm go-to author within this genre. She managed to put everything that I wanted into this book - spectacular settings, strong characters and both heart wrenching and humorous moments. This is one of those books that would be lovely to sit and spend an evening reading, it's such a page turner and the writing flows so easily. 

This book revolves around our protagonist, Cassie, who decides to start up her own business, Calling Mrs Christmas!, helping people to organise their festivities. Cassie lives in a flat with her long time partner, Jim, who works with young offenders at a prison. Cassie's business  quickly becomes successful and she is hired by a rich and very charming client, Carter, who wants her to plan the perfect Christmas trip for his two children. Cassie plans a trip to Lapland, and is happily surprised when asked to attend the trip with them. Jim is left at home, continuing his work at the prison and specially taking two young lads, Smudge and Rozza, under his wing, helping them to adjust to leaving prison. Jim and the two boys both help out and do some of Cassie's work whilst away.  During Cassie's trip to Lapland, she forms a strong bond with Carter's children and a complex relationship with Carter himself, leading her to question her relationship with Jim. 

I had real affection for Cassie and Jim, so you can easily guess who I was rooting for. Jim and Cassie's relationship seemed very sincere and I could feel their chemistry. Both characters were easy to connect with and seemed very real, down-to-earth. Though he wasn't the main character, Jim was definitely a star of the book in his own right - I was just as interested in him as I was in Cassie and his bond with the two young offenders was really heartwarming to read about. I loved seeing how the four interacted together, even through the most testing of times.

Carter was a charming man, but mostly I appreciated his contribution of the trip to Lapland which provided us with exploration, education, fun and majestic settings. We got to experience sledging with huskies, the Ice Hotel and the Northern Lights amongst other atmospheric activities. I can understand why Cassie was swayed by him, but real moral, the question of the book was materialism vs love. To me, it was obvious who would 'win', but the questions and quandaries that were explored during Cassie's break were well handled and actually did have me seriously considering both options.

Overall, I absolutely loved Calling Mrs Christmas, and after finishing it, I immediately picked up and started reading another book by Carole Matthews (review to be posted soon!) who is definitely a new favourite author. A perfect winter page-turner, and something that I would definitely recommend to anyone who likes chick lit, or anybody who just wants to relax and get lost with an easy to read story. 


Sunday, 12 January 2014

Stacking the Shelves and Showcase Sunday (79)

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's ReviewsShowcase Sunday is hosted by Books, Biscuits and Tea.
These memes are a replacement of The Story Siren's In My Mailbox.

Stacking the Shelves and Showcase Sunday make a place to showcase your new books,
whether you obtained them through the post or otherwise.




 Hello everybody, it's good to be back!
I hope that you have all had a fantastic Christmas and New Year.

I'm going to kick off this years blogging by showing you some of the books that I received for review whilst I was away. The books that I received included Salvage, When Mr Dog Bites, Charm and Strange, The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon In Two as well as A Breath of Frost! I was especially excited to receive Salvage, which I am currently reading as it looks like it's going to be one of 2014's biggest hits.

I hope you've all had a great haul during the past few weeks!

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...