Sunday, 30 June 2013

Upcoming Read-A-Thons

You guys know how much I love my Read-A-Thons, I love being able to put a dent in my tbr pile, I love getting to know other book bloggers and readers in the process, and I love being able read what I want and how much I want no pressure. I actually had three Read-A-Thons that I signed up to. I'm currently taking part in the Debut-A-Thon hosted by Books of Amber. I've read All Our Yesterdays so far which I loved and started Infinite Sky yesterday.

For my upcoming Read-A-Thons, there is still time for you guys to sign up (by clicking on each button this will take you to the sign up page). I've decided to go for a stack of books I've been meaning for a while, or books which my blogging friends have been praising highly for so long. These are the books I have in mind. 

Friday Brown by Vikki Wakefield  | Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys  | The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater | The DUFF by Kody Keplinger  | Over You by Emma Mclaughlin & Nicola Kraus

The books I pick up however are often dependent on my mood, so I will try to tackle some of the above books, but may read some not in this reading list either. I am really excited to finally start reading some of these books. If you're taking part in any of the upcoming read-a-thons above let me know, I'd love to see your updates. 

I will most likely be updating my read-a-thon progress on my twitter profile which can be found hereor this update page. 

Pages read: 35% of The Truth About You and Me by Amanda Grace.
Books read: 0
Challenges Completed: 2

Cover to Cover Blog Mini-Challenge:

Which book are you most excited to read in the coming year?
I can't wait to read Just One Year by Gayle Forman. I loved Just One Day this year, and I am dying to read Willem's pov and to get a better understanding of his character.

Which book would you re-read if you had the time and weren't so busy reading all of the other good things?
I've always wanted to go back and make time to re-read some of my favourites, but never have the time, but if I had the time to do so I would read the entire Queen of Babble series by Meg Cabot again. I adored the entire series and sometimes go back to re-read some of my favourite parts, but I really need to make time for all of them! 

And lastly if you could meet any fictional character who would it be and why?
Can I just say all my ficitonal crushes? I have far too many favourites to just choose one! 

Pages read: 65% of The Truth About You and Me by Amanda Grace.
Books read: 1
Challenges Completed: 2

Mini-Challenge: IB Book Blogging:
Make your dream guy using characteristics, personalities, looks, and anything else you can think of from your favorite book boyfriends. 

I have so many book boyfriends, that this is oh so difficult but here goes: My dream guy would havw the strength and courage of Four from the Divergent series, the personality and humour of Cooper Cartwright from the Heather Wells series by Meg Cabot, Willem from Gayle Forman's Just One Day allure and the body of Alex from the Hunting Lila series by Sarah Alderson.

Better Read Than Dead Mini-challenge:

You're in a bookstore and you've just purchased 5 books you've been dying to read, when the apocalypse hits. (Zombie, Demons, Vampires, Dean Winchester vs. Sam Winchester (yes, I'm watching Supernatural reruns) I don't care what apocalypse). You've got one chance at survival, what 2 books do you take and what 3 other items do you take? 

Okay so the two books that I've had my eye on lately and would totally grab off the shelves would be: Bruised by Sarah Skilton and Pivot Point by Kasie West. The other three items I would take would be a Kindle (my bookstore totally stocks these now, so I can read even more), some water and some weapon of some sort to try and keep the bad guys away!

Friday, 28 June 2013

ARC Giveaway & ALA Chicago

Hello readers! Our bookcases can't handle all the books we read, so we thought we'd giveaway a couple of ARCs that we've review here on the blog recently.  Gorgeous by Paul Rudnick, Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith and The S-Word by Chelsea Pitcher.  You can read Jasprit's reviews by clicking on the titles.  

Gorgeous   Wild Awake   The S-Word

Just fill out the rafflecopter below for a chance to win. The giveaway is INTERNATIONAL.

I've been a little scarce on the blogs and on Goodreads because I've been strategizing and planning my attack for the Chicago ALA!  By the time you read this post I'll should be in Chicago wandering with stars in my eyes, as I usually do at these events.  I'll be meeting up with some of my best book friends: Arlene and Crystal at Winterhaven Books and a couple of other friends.  If it's anything like the last ALA event, I know we're going to have a blast running around, chasing authors, fellow bloggers *stares pointedly at Arlene* and gossiping books! If I end up getting any postable pictures (most are blurry and are of the "what is that face I'm making?" variety) I'll share them with you here on the blog.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Review: Parallel by Lauren Miller

Parallel by Lauren Miller
Publisher: Scolastic UK
Publication Date: June 6th 2013.
My rating: 4.5 stars.

Two worlds. Two separate identities. Two guys. A collision of parallel universes leaves 18-year-old Abby Barnes living a new reality - every time her parallel makes a new decision. Never-without-a-plan Abby is forced to cope with the consequences of waking up in a life she has no memory of creating. With chapters that alternate between our world (Here) and the parallel one (There), Abby's Here comes complete with a Yale address, a new roomie, and birthday blind date with a super-hot lacrosse player. In the parallel world, Abby's still navigating senior year class schedules, college applications, and her relationship with Astronomy Boy at her high school. This story explores the nature of identity, the role of cause and effect in young lives and the defining power of choice.

“Your path will change. Your destiny doesn’t”

Parallel is a book which has been receiving the most conflicting reviews from my friends, with a few not finishing it, some two star ratings and a few four star ratings. Books with mixed rating are ones which often intrigue me the most. I also tend to have a weird track record with these books, with my last couple of one’s ending up as memorable reads.  Also I’ve noticed that parallel worlds seems to be the new trend in YA, this is another concept I’ve been hugely intrigued by especially when it’s done well and the book leaves you all frazzled.

Parallel was a book which ticked off a lot of boxes for me, despite the initial slow start, I’m not the most patient reader. But I’m glad I stuck out the sluggish start, as I was just left mind blown afterwards. Miller took a really unique concept and really flipped it on its head. Due to a cosmic entanglement, the world Abby lived in ends up colliding with a parallel world. The Parallel world is set a year and a day behind the current world, with the parallel self creating new memories for the current self and erasing all the memories the current self may have created. The only person that could remember this had happened was Abby. This concept is a lot to take in but Abby was lucky that her best friend had been studying under one of the professors, who established and believed this theory in the first place. Caitlin was a great best friend despite things not being great in the past year due to Abby in the parallel world. Caitlin was the friend Abby needed the most in the most confusing situation ever. Abby in the parallel world was causing a ruckus, with things being completely blown off course and endless dreams and happily ever afters being destroyed. Because of this I was quick to side with our current Abby. She found herself in a mess with no control over what could happen. I truly hoped that she could get back to things the way they used to be. But as the story progressed I began to hugely appreciate parallel Abby and her world. Miller did a great job in toying with my feelings, there were so many end results possible through the course of the book, and I was up for nearly all of them.

I immensely enjoyed how just one little decision could change Abby’s current world in an instance. It truly had me thinking about all the decisions I had made in the past and if I had decided something else would things have ended completely different? Parallel was such a thought evoking story, never have I found myself so caught up in the two worlds at the same time. Abby’s world was everything to me for the five days that I read this book, I hated all the normal day activities that I had to do such as going to work because it cut in to my crucial reading time. Another thing which made Parallel stand out for me as a brilliant read was its characters; I seriously loved them all even when parallel Abby screwed things over. Even with a potential love triangle couldn’t ruin this story for me because I found myself totally invested and totally torn with who I wanted Abby to be with. Both guys were really different to one another and definitely brought the swoon factor in their own respective ways. With all the chaotic things happening I really looked forward to these sweet and tender moments

Okay I’m totally digressing; this is what these guys do to me. As you can tell from my mini-novella of a review I absolutely loved Parallel, Miller in my eyes has written one of the best debuts of this year. It had crazy twists and turns which were totally unexpected, it had some truly heartbreaking scenes, moments which had me frightened that everything would be screwed over in Abby’s world and some really dreamy scenes. If this year you are on the lookout for a brilliant debut which truly takes the concept of Parallel worlds up a whole another notch I highly recommended Parallel, you seriously won’t regret giving the wonderful story a go. 

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Review: Never Seduce a Scot by Maya Banks

Never Seduce a Scot
Never Seduce a Scot by Maya Banks
Audio-Book Read by Kirsten Potter
Publisher: Tantor Media
Publication date: September 25th 2012.
My rating: 5 stars

Eveline Armstrong is fiercely loved and protected by her powerful clan, but outsiders consider her "touched." Beautiful, fey, with a level, intent gaze, she doesn't speak. No one, not even her family, knows that she cannot hear. Content with her life of seclusion, Eveline has taught herself to read lips and allows the outside world to view her as daft. But when an arranged marriage into a rival clan makes Graeme Montgomery her husband, Eveline accepts her duty-unprepared for the delights to come. Graeme is a rugged warrior with a voice so deep and powerful that his new bride can hear it, and hands and kisses so tender and skilled that he stirs her deepest passions. Graeme is intrigued by the mysterious Eveline, whose silent lips are ripe with temptation and whose bright, intelligent eyes can see into his soul. As intimacy deepens, he learns her secret. But when clan rivalries and dark deeds threaten the wife he has only begun to cherish, the Scottish warrior will move heaven and earth to save the woman who has awakened his heart to the beautiful song of a rare and magical love.

 Never Seduce a Scot was amazing and epic with a romance that turned me into a puddle of goo! I listened to the audio version, and the performer, Kirsten Potter, was perfection!! I’m supposed to save my audio books for my commute but there was no way I could stop listening to this mesmerizing story once I got home! I was up until 2am to finish.

The Montgomery’s and the Armstrong’s are enemy clans engaged in bitter feuding for ages. Being the largest and the most powerful clans in Scotland, the king forms a plan to unite them and stop their feud from weakening the kingdom. He decrees a marriage between the Laird of the Montgomery clan, Graeme, and the Laird’s daughter of the Armstrong clan, Eveline. Needless to say, this does not go over well, and the king only hopes they don’t kill each other at the wedding! Both clans acquiesce out of loyalty to the king and because if they don’t, the act of disobedience would be a death sentence for their clan.

Graeme hates the Armstrong’s but doesn’t hold this against an innocent woman. He’s not happy forcing this marriage, first and foremost because Eveline is an Armstrong but also because she’s reported to be “touched” or “daft.” How can he have a real marriage and heirs with such a woman?

For three long years Eveline has been carrying on a deception with her family. After a grave horse riding accident left her with a severe fever and unconscious for two weeks, she came out of it deaf but mentally sound. However, in order to avoid a marriage to Ian McHugh, a man who she was betrothed to against her wishes, she allows everyone to believe she’s mentally compromised. She has her reasons that we discover later, and I have to say, I would’ve done the same thing!

This story captivated and mesmerized me! I was on the edge of my seat, eager to find out how everything would work out! Both Graeme and Eveline captured my heart in their own way. Both were resolved to make the best out of an unwanted situation, but they didn’t count on the intense attraction and connection they would form. Each is an advocate for the other right from the beginning. I loved the fact there was zero frustration from either character, they made rational and reasonable decisions. *sighs in relief*

Oh my heart, this romance just filled my heart to bursting! There are so many swoon-worthy moments and also enough spice make your insides zing!

I can’t recommend this story enough, and I plan on reading the next in the series: Highlander Most Wanted. I’m a little nervous to pick it up, though because it seems like a much darker read.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Top Ten Tuesday #11: Books I've read in 2013 so far.

Is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where each week they post a new top ten list and ask fellow bloggers to share their lists on that topic.

Today's top ten topic is: Top Ten Books I've read in 2013 so far.

2013 has been an incredible reading year so far, that I once again had a tough time just sticking to ten books for this weeks post. 

Just One Day by Gayle Forman | If He Had Been with Me by Laura Nowlin | The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler

These three books became instant favourites as they left me in a complete mess in the best way possible. I remember staying up until the early hours just to find out how things would end and thinking about the book for days afterwards.

These three books had been receiving incredible hype from by blogging friends and I was extremely wary about jumping on the bandwagon. But I'm so glad that I gave these books a try, they simply blew me away and I can't wait for their follow up books.

You Look Different in Real Life by Jennifer Castle | Parallel by Lauren Miller | The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna

These three books I hadn't heard a lot about when I first went into them, so didn't really have any high expectations. But these books were breath-takingly beautiful.

Confessions of An Almost-Girlfriend by Louise Rozett | The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa | Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

These three books were just the best follow up books ever, I loved all first books in the series, but these books in my eyes just took things to a whole another level.

So that's my top ten twelve books that I've read in 2013 so far, did any of these books make it to your list too? Feel free to link me up with your own list in the comments below!


Monday, 24 June 2013

Review: Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
Publisher: Puffin
Publication date: March 7th 2013.
My rating: 4.5 stars.

Out of the Easy is set against the vivid backdrop of 1950s New Orleans. Written by New York Times bestselling author Ruth Sepetys, this novel has something for everyone: love, mystery, murder, blackmail and warmth. Josie Moraine wants out of The Big Easy - she needs more than New Orleans can offer. Known locally as a brothel prostitute's daughter, she dreams of life at an elite college, far away from here. But then a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie caught between her ambition and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans is luring Josie deeper in as she searches for the truth, and temptation beckons at every turn.

Several of my friends for sometime had been encouraging me to pick up a book by Ruta Sepetys. I think with Between Shades of Gray I was terrified of being left in a complete mess, so I knew it would be safer to go with Out of the Easy first.

Ruta’s gorgeous writing is evident from just the first few pages; she pours her heart and soul into every single word. That you lulled in by its beautiful presence with such beautiful prose. I was expecting a beautiful story, and we did get this, but it’s also a story tinged with heartache and loss. Josie Moraine is a girl who deserves so much more, having a mother as a prostitute people tend to make judgemental assumptions about her before they even got to know the real Josie. The real Josie despite having an uphill struggle in life with a mother who never gives a damn and not knowing her father tries to make the best out of every situation. She is intelligent, pretty and fun and thanks to people looking out for her is just getting by. But Josie doesn’t want to just get by, she wants more from New Orleans and she knows she deserves it. But the only way this is possible is by leaving every bad memory, and the friends who helped her behind. She knows it’s a big step, she does have the money, but most of all courage to make it?

I adored Josie Moraine, with a sharp head on her shoulders unlike her mother, I wanted more for her. I know she had great friends which looked out for her, but she didn’t deserve the life she had, cleaning after clients the night after, running around cleaning her mother’s mess, or even hiding because of her mother’s mess. I’ve come across some right old mother’s in previous books, but Josie’s mother was a right old piece of work, she had no care for anyone but for herself, she was either off her face or caught up with some criminal. What mother in their right mind steals from their daughter and then runs off with her criminal boyfriend and then leaves their daughter to clear up the mess afterwards? I just wished that her mother had left sooner, instead of stumbling back into her life and messing up her life all over again. Josie’s mother was a bit like a tornado, she left a destruction of mess every time she left. So I was glad when Mr Hearne visited the bookshop where Josie worked at and gave her the wakeup call she needed. It was unfortunate that his circumstances led to Josie taking this big step. 

Poor Josie constantly had to face so many different battles. So I was grateful to the strong set of secondary characters that Josie had silently supporting her. Willie was one heck of a scary woman, but she was such a great judge of character, she knew how worthless Josie’s mother was and so in so many unspoken ways become a sort of surrogate mother to Josie. I liked how Willie was up to her eyeballs in her own business she had to take care of, but she was always alert to what was going on around her, even though no-one told her anything; she was always willing to help out in any way possible. And there was Cokie, Sadie and Jesse, three characters who also quickly became favourites alongside Willie. They weren’t in the best situations themselves, but had such generous hearts where Josie was concerned.

Out of the Easy was a novel that I normally wouldn’t have picked up, but I’m so glad that I did, as it is one of the most gorgeously written and memorable reads I have read in a long time. With the great impression Out of the Easy left with me, I think I need to find the courage to read Ruta’s Between Shades of Gray sometime soon too.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Showcase Sunday #29

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits and Tea. The aim is to showcase our newest books or book related swag and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops and downloaded onto eReaders this week.

Thank you to Katie Kacvinsky, St. Martin's Press, YA Bound and Random House

The last two weeks have been relatively quiet in terms of incoming books, but awesome nonetheless. I've had my eye on Endless Summer, Red and How My Summer went Up in Flames for sometime now, so was ecstatic to receive copies. And Brooklyn Girls had been receiving really favourable reveiws as of late from my blogging friends, that I couldn't hold back in requesting this one.

Over to Rachel and her goodies over the last two weeks.

Thank you to Amazon Publishing, Flux Books, Bloomsbury and Netgalley. 

Well, you can see I went little nuts with audio-books lately! Audible saw me coming and knows exactly how to tempt me. Throw a sale and a coupon at me and I’m hooked! I actually did get amazing deals for the books above. I logged into download a book and they said “hey, we haven’t seen you for a while here are some sale books for you.” That’s when I got Covet for $4.95. Then they sent me a coupon for $10 and an email with a bunch of audio books for $7.95. I bought three and then used my coupon so I ended up paying about $14 for the three! I’m so excited when I get a good deal. I keep trying to tell my husband how much money I’m saving by buying, unfortunately, my logic isn’t always apparent in his eyes! Go figure. 

I’m so excited about my review copies, Drowning by Jessica Park who wrote Flat-Out Love, one of my all-time favorite geeky romances! Simone Elkeles wrote Perfect Chemistry, Leaving Paradise and Return to Paradise *swoon* has a new read coming out!! I hope I love Wild Cards as much. The Cutting Room Floor sounds really suspenseful and creepy, and I’m giddy in anticipation! 

So once again we've had some great incoming books, if you posted a book haul of some sort, feel free to share a link with us in the comments and we'll be over as soon as we can to check it out!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Review: Jet by Jay Crownover

Jet (Marked Men, #2)
Jet by Jay Crownover
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication date: May 28th 2013.
My rating: 4 stars

With his tight leather pants and a sharp edge that makes him dangerous, Jet Keller is every girl’s rock and roll fantasy. But Ayden Cross is done walking on the wild side with bad boys. She doesn’t want to give in to the heat she sees in Jet’s dark, haunted eyes. She’s afraid of getting burned from the sparks of their spontaneous combustion, even as his touch sets her on fire.

Jet can’t resist the Southern Belle with mile-long legs in cowboy boots who defies his every expectation. Yet the closer he feels to Ayden, the less he seems to know her. While he’s tempted to get under her skin and undo her in every way, he knows firsthand what happens to two people with very different ideas about relationships.

Will the blaze burn into an enduring love. . . or will it consume their dreams and turn them to ashes?

I loved Rule by Jay Crownover.  It was full of longing and unrequited love, a type of romance I can’t resist and Ms. Crownover got it just right for me.  When I heard she was writing a companion novel I was over the moon!  Jet did not disappoint!  

Ayden, seems like a sweet and wholesome Kentucky country-girl, but looks and packaging can be deceiving. Ayden is far from being an innocent even though that’s the image she wants to cultivate. She wants nothing to do with the previous life she led and doesn’t want the image her new friends have of her to tarnish.  She left all that behind when she came to Colorado to attend college.  That was her ticket out of her old life and she doesn’t want anything tempting her back into her old ways.  Her off-the-charts attraction to Jet has the danger signs flashing red, but her willpower is slowly weakening. 

I had waited forever for this boy, and had wanted him, coveted him for so long it felt like the longing was a living, breathing thing inside of me.*

Looks are deceiving when it comes to Jet, as well.  He looks like the typical bad-boy rocker, but underneath it all you’ll find a good friend with a big heart.  He has a passion for music but not all the notoriety and fame that goes with it.  He has no desire to lead an empty life filled with nothing but drugs, booze and woman.  This is the life his father craved, and often abandoned his mother and him for while he was growing up.  He’s tried to get over Ayden’s pull, but it’s like electricity sparking when they get together. 

Jet was a captivating combination of fiery chemistry, angsty push and pull, family drama, and a little bit of danger.  Jet and Ayden may look like opposites from the outside, but they had more in common in the way of family disappointment, so it was easy for them to relate and get each other.  Both of them faced the sad reality of having a parent that didn’t put them first.  There were obstacles along the way of their romance, and a few times I seriously wanted to strangle Ayden, but I knew it would all turn out.  Any frustration I felt was made insignificant when I got to the sweet parts!  

This man, who was all metal and tattoos that bled out anger and frustration, really had the softest and kindest heart I had ever encountered in my life. Now that I knew how easy it was to snap in half, I told myself it was going to be my job to take care of it from here on out.*

Jet’s story put a smile on my face and was a worthy companion to Rule.  I can’t wait to see what Ms. Crownover comes up with next! 

*Quotes taken from an uncorrected proof and may change in the final copy.

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