Monday, 8 October 2018

{Review} Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel by Val Emmich + UK Giveaway

39088507Posted by Laura (Guest Reviewer)
Release Date: October 9th, 2019
Finished Date: October 2nd, 2019
Publishers: Penguin
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction, YA
Source: For Review
Format: Hardcover 
Pages: 368
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / The Book Depo 
From the show's creators comes the groundbreaking novel inspired by the Broadway smash hit Dear Evan Hansen.

Dear Evan Hansen,

Today's going to be an amazing day and here's why...

When a letter that was never meant to be seen by anyone draws high school senior Evan Hansen into a family's grief over the loss of their son, he is given the chance of a lifetime: to belong. He just has to stick to a lie he never meant to tell, that the notoriously troubled Connor Murphy was his secret best friend.

Suddenly, Evan isn't invisible anymore--even to the girl of his dreams. And Connor Murphy's parents, with their beautiful home on the other side of town, have taken him in like he was their own, desperate to know more about their enigmatic son from his closest friend. As Evan gets pulled deeper into their swirl of anger, regret, and confusion, he knows that what he's doing can't be right, but if he's helping people, how wrong can it be?

No longer tangled in his once-incapacitating anxiety, this new Evan has a purpose. And a website. He's confident. He's a viral phenomenon. Every day is amazing. Until everything is in danger of unraveling and he comes face to face with his greatest obstacle: himself.

A simple lie leads to complicated truths in this big-hearted coming-of-age story of grief, authenticity and the struggle to belong in an age of instant connectivity and profound isolation.

The Review: “Even when the dark comes crashing through, when you need a friend to carry you and when you’re broken on the ground, you will be found.”

Having been constantly obsessed with the Dear Evan Hansen soundtrack and watching YouTube videos of the cast singing on repeat. I was overjoyed to receive a early copy. As I don’t see myself visiting Broadway anytime soon. As much as I wish I was. 

So the novelisation of The Broadway show is the closest I’ll get. From the first page I was pulled into this fabulous story and all its characters had me gripped. 

I read this book in two sittings and was so sad when I had no more pages left to read. It’s official I’m Dear Evan Hansen trash, I’m even more in love than before. 

Thank you to Penguin for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

{Blog Tour} The Caged Queen (Iskari #2) by Kristen Ciccarelli

40873495Posted by Donna
Release Date: September 25th, 2018
Finished Date: September 19th, 2018
Publishers: Gollancz
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Source: For Review
Format: paperback
Pages: 400
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / The Book Depo 
Once there were two sisters born with a bond so strong that it forged them together forever. When they were angry, mirrors shattered, and when they were happy, flowers bloomed. It was a magic they cherished - until the day a terrible accident took Essie's life and trapped her soul in this world.

Dax - the heir to Firgaard's throne - was responsible for the accident. Roa swore to hate him forever. But eight years later he returned, begging for her help. He was determined to dethrone his cruel father, under whose oppressive reign Roa's people had suffered. Roa made him a deal: she'd give him the army he needed if he made her queen.

Together with Dax and his sister, Asha, Roa and her people waged war and deposed a tyrant. But now Asha is on the run, hiding from the price on her head. And Roa is an outlander queen, far from home and married to her enemy. Worst of all: Dax's promises go unfulfilled. Roa's people continue to suffer.

Then a chance to right every wrong arises - an opportunity for Roa to rid herself of this enemy king and rescue her beloved sister. During the Relinquishing, when the spirits of the dead are said to return, Roa can reclaim her sister for good.

All she has to do is kill the king.

The Review: The Caged Queen is the second book in Kristen Ciccarelli’s Iskari series and this time around we have Roa and Dax’s story and don’t worry, this book features some very interesting old stories that keep you captivated from start to finish.

The starts only a few days have passed since the events of The Last Namsara so as a reader you really don’t miss out on anything. I was so pleased when I finished The Last Namsara I had this book ready and waiting for me because I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next.

Both characters are in the first book so, it was nice to already be familiar with them. Dax is Asha’s brother and Roa is Dax’s new wife. They married to join their forces together to overcome the Dragon King. I really wasn’t sure what their story would bring. There is a lot of miscommunication between the pair and as a lot of history to uncover as well. They each don’t know if they can trust the other and both having to play a role made for a lot of drama and suspense to the story while you could see that these two characters deeply character for one another.

What made this book for me was that we got chapters from the past from when the characters were younger. It made me understand their friendships and relationships with each other as well with Roa’s sister Essie. It made me root for these characters all the more, I wanted them all to have that happy ending that they all deserved. But I also love how each characters story is linked with the other. Even though Asha and Torwin aren’t a big part of this story, they stories are still entwined and brings the story all together.

I was literally on the edge of my seat the whole time while reading this book because it’s just so captivating and compelling. The authors writing is so addictive that I wish I’d savoured this book more but it was simply impossible to put down.

The Caged Queen is a fantastic follow up to The Last Namsara. These books are definitely a favourite of mine and I’m dying to hear news on the third book because I just can’t wait to get my hands on it.

Thank you to Gollancz for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Monday, 1 October 2018

{Feature Post} Bookworm Candles & Crafts: October's Candle of the Month

We all love candles right? Well today I’m sharing with you a very special offer that Bookworm Candles and Crafts have. This will be a new monthly offer starting this month where you can buy the offer of the month for at a fantastic discounted price of £5.
October’s offer of the month is

And if you’re a fan of the Throne of Glass series you will know which character this candle relates to.
The Crochan Queen has a gorgeous dark fruit scent with warm woods, jasmine, iris, dewberry and pomegranate. 

Doesn’t the candle look gorgeous? And don’t forget it’s only £5 for an 8oz tin which is an absolute steal!
It is available from today throughout the whole of October but there is only a limited amount of these so make sure you’re quick.
Unfortunately rep codes will not work with this candle but if you wish to purchase any other items while purchasing The Crochan Queen you can use my rep code: DONNABOOKWORM20 for 20% all other items.  You can purchase it here:

Keep your eyes peeled for November’s candle of the month!

Thursday, 27 September 2018

{Review} The Last Namsara (Iskari #1) by Kristen Cicceralli

30846371Posted by Donna
Release Date: October 12th, 2017
Finished Date: September 18th,  2018
Publishers: Gollancz
Genre: Fantasy, Romance 
Source: Bought
Format: Hardback
Pages: 420
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / The Book Depo 
In the beginning, there was the Namsara: the child of sky and spirit, who carried love and laughter wherever he went. But where there is light, there must be darkness—and so there was also the Iskari. The child of blood and moonlight. The destroyer. The death-bringer.

These are the legends that Asha, daughter of the king of Firgaard, has grown up learning in hushed whispers, drawn to the forbidden figures of the past. But it isn’t until she becomes the fiercest, most feared dragon slayer in the land that she takes on the role of the next Iskari—a lonely destiny that leaves her feeling more like a weapon than a girl.

Asha conquers each dragon and brings its head to the king, but no kill can free her from the shackles that await at home: her betrothal to the cruel commandant, a man who holds the truth about her nature in his palm. When she’s offered the chance to gain her freedom in exchange for the life of the most powerful dragon in Firgaard, she finds that there may be more truth to the ancient stories than she ever could have expected. With the help of a secret friend—a slave boy from her betrothed’s household—Asha must shed the layers of her Iskari bondage and open her heart to love, light, and a truth that has been kept from her.

The Review: Who loves a story about dragons? Well I do and all I knew going into The Last Namsara was that this story was about dragons and about a warrior girl who told forbidden stories. And I’m so glad that it didn’t disappoint!

The Last Namsara is a spellbinding and powerful story and one that once I started was so hard to put down. Author Kristen Ciccarelli provides a story that is story telling at its best where stories are woven into each chapter making it a captivating read. I adored getting to the story parts of the book because I could try to and see how they would connect to Asha’s story.

Asha is an interesting character, one that develops and opens up more with the development of the story. She’s been trained all her life to hate dragons because the first dragon, Kozu burned her when she was a little girl and since them she does her father’s bidding in hunting and killing them. It’s when the opportunity comes for her to get out of an arranged marriage by killing Kozu, it’s there that fate steps in and Asha starts questioning all she’s believed in.

I really loved Asha. I loved her story, I loved how she adapts to the things around her and I loved how she cares for the people around her. I definitely think Torwin and Kozu soften Asha and make her open her eyes and think for herself. Towrin, Safire, Dax, Shadow and Kozu also all play a huge part in the story and I came to care for each and every one of them.

I also loved that the story isn’t over! I’m glad there are more books to come even though they will be about different characters. The Caged Queen which is Dax and Roa’s story is next and they played a big part of Asha’s story that I can’t wait to see what happens next.

The Last Namsara is definitely an instant favourite of mine and it’s one I highly recommend.

Friday, 14 September 2018

{Review} Poison Princess (Arcana Chronicles #1) by Kresley Cole

20759393Posted by Donna
Release Date: October 2nd, 2012
Finished Date: August 28th, 2018
Publishers: Simon & Schuster 
Source: Own
Format: Hardback 
Pages: 384
Buy : Amazon UK / Amazon USThe Book Depo

Sixteen year old Evangeline “Evie” Greene leads a charmed life, until she begins experiencing horrifying hallucinations. When an apocalyptic event decimates her Louisiana hometown, Evie realizes her hallucinations were actually visions of the future—and they’re still happening. Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she must turn to her wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate: Jack Deveaux.
But she can’t do either alone.
With his mile-long rap sheet, wicked grin, and bad attitude, Jack is like no boy Evie has ever known. Even though he once scorned her and everything she represented, he agrees to protect Evie on her quest. She knows she can’t totally depend on Jack. If he ever cast that wicked grin her way, could she possibly resist him?
Who can Evie trust?
As Jack and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have gotten the same call. An ancient prophesy is being played out, and Evie is not the only one with special powers. A group of twenty-two teens has been chosen to reenact the ultimate battle between good and evil. But it’s not always clear who is on which side….

The Review: This was my first book by author Kresley Cole and honestly she couldn't have done it any better. She had me compelled from the very first page with her amazing talent for storytelling and also for her intense and incredible scenes. It's safe to say, Poison Princess is a gripping page turner! 

This story follows the life of teenager Evangeline 'Evie' Greene. She's a popular girl, with a loving boyfriend and awesome friends, but even though her life appears to be normal, it's anything but. Evie experiences hallucinations but mostly they are disturbing and horrifying. Not only that but Evie also gets visions of people that she's never met and they come with warnings. But soon it's to late for Evie to figure these warnings out because her hometown - including the rest of the world has been hit by an apocalyptic event called 'The Flash' where most people are wiped out. 

Evie is among the survivors and soon enough she finds out that the one person she hates is alive - Jackson. Evie needs answers about her visions and decides she needs to travel to see her grandmother - who she thinks is still alive. Jackson agrees to protect Evie on her mission but as her visions get worse, she soon comes across other people who have been having the same call, and she realizes she is not the only who is meant to play out their destiny. 

Let me tell you right now, this book is so unique! Twenty-two teens who all have special abilities based on their characteristics of their Tarot card so they can play their part in an ancient game made by the Gods and Goddesses. Honestly, I've not read anything like this book before and I'm still in awe with how brilliant it really is. 

Evie is a strong protagonist - one I instantly loved. She has the weight of the world on her shoulders and still she tries to remain upbeat, happy and generally tries to stay sane. Even after the flash, she tries to remain the same even though as Jackson points out on a number of occasions, she can't hunt, start fires or protect herself - but you know there's something bubbling under the surface of Evie and it's just waiting to be unleashed. At time's my heart broke for her because whatever is happening to her, she has no control over and at times it is very scary. I'm glad she had a person like Jackson to lean on because without him, I think she would have struggled. 

Now Jackson, oh gosh, he's a complete bayou boy through and through. However, he can be so harsh and mean sometimes and yes, he does do stupid things but really, you can overlook everything because he's a total sweetheart at heart. It was pretty clear from the start that he was attracted to Evie - despite how he acts and even in the end, he'll always go to her. Their relationship is pretty intense and I was just waiting for something to happen. 

Then, that ending comes in and no sooner than you's all finished...I could have cried. This book is simply unputdownable and I couldn't stop reading until I knew the how the book would end and it was absolutely breath-taking and heart-breaking all at the same time! 

Overall, Kresley Cole has leaped into the YA market by a storm and it's left me wanting more of her work. 

Saturday, 18 August 2018

{Review} Top Ten by Katie Cotungo

33799302Posted by Donna
Release Date: October 3rd, 2017 
Finished Date: August 15th, 2018
Publishers: Balzer + Bray
Genre: Contemporary, Romance 
Source: For Review
Format: eARC 
Pages: 320
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / The Book Depo 
Ryan McCullough and Gabby Hart are the unlikeliest of friends. Introverted, anxious Gabby would rather do literally anything than go to a party. Ryan is a star hockey player who can get any girl he wants—and does, frequently. But against all odds, they became not only friends, but each other’s favorite person. Now, as they face high school graduation, they can’t help but take a moment to reminisce and, in their signature tradition, make a top ten list—counting down the top ten moments of their friendship: 

10. Where to begin? Maybe the night we met.
9. Then there was our awkward phase.
8. When you were in love with me but never told me…
7. Those five months we stopped talking were the hardest of my life.
6. Through terrible fights…
5. And emotional makeups.
4. You were there for me when I got my heart broken.
3. …but at times, you were also the one breaking it.
2. Above all, you helped me make sense of the world.
1. Now, as we head off to college—how am I possibly going to live without you?

The Review: I was excited to start Top Ten by Katie Contungo because I’ve read a couple of the author’s other books and have always come away happy. This is no different from Top Ten, I enjoyed it but I definitely thought it could have been better.

Best friends Gabby and Ryan have always had a connection. Their friendship has never made sense to either of them because they are the complete opposite. Ryan is a popular Hockey player and Gabby keeps to herself because of her social anxiety. When one night their friendship changes into something more, this story tells us their story from becoming friends to everything that happens in between being told through their top favourite moments of their friendship. 

I really liked the idea of the story being told through the character’s top ten moments. It was definitely interesting but I have to say it was slightly confusing because the story jumps from different moments in the past in no particular order. So one moment could be from Junior year, while the next could be Sophomore year or Freshman year. It was honestly a little hard to keep track of the story this way. For me I felt like the story would have worked better had they had alternative chapters from past to present. Because in all honestly, it was the present story I was more interested in. 

I liked both characters, Ryan more so than Gabby who struggled with several issues and refused to do anything about it all the while putting pressure on Ryan to deal with his own issues. There was some really sweet moments through the story but also some moments that really made you connect to the characters. 

The ending, really? Can I even say it was an ending? I hate open endings and unfortunately Top Ten provides no conclusion to what actually happens to the characters – did they get together? Did they remain friends? I guess it’s down to each person to decide but after spending the last 320 pages reading about these characters I was really disappointed by this ending. There isn’t even an epilogue. 

Thank you to Balzer + Bray for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Saturday, 11 August 2018

{Review} Fire in You (Wait for You #6) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

32613692Posted by Donna
Release Date: November 28th, 2016 
Finished Date: August 12, 2017
Publishers: Hodder & Stoughton 
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Source: For Review
Format: Paperback
Pages: 392
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / The Book Depo 
From the # 1 New York Times bestselling author of Wait for You and Be With Me, comes a richly moving story about heartbreak and guilt, second chances and, most of all, hope...

Six years ago, Jillian Lima's whole world was destroyed. The same night her childhood love Brock Mitchell broke her heart, her life was irrevocably altered by a stranger with a gun. After years spent slowly rebuilding the shattered pieces of her life, Jillian is finally ready to stop existing in a past full of pain and regret and is determined to start living. The one thing she never expected was the impossibly handsome Brock walking back into her life...

Brock can't believe that the breath-taking woman standing before him now is the little girl who used to be his shadow growing up. Unable to stay away from each other, their tentative friendship soon sparks into something more and the red-hot chemistry sizzling between them can no longer be denied.

But falling for Brock again risks more than just Jillian's heart. When the past resurfaces, and a web of lies threatens to rip them apart, the fallout could lay waste to everything they've ever cared about...

The Review: Being one of Jennifer L. Armentrout’s biggest fans I just knew I had to finish reading her Wait for You series because as much as I didn’t want to say goodbye to these characters, I still wanted to see how all their stories ended.

Like all the previous books in the series, Fire in You features a different couple Jillian and Brock. These books can be read as standalone but because all of the characters’ lives intertwine I would highly recommend reading them in order.

Jillian and Brock’s story was a great way to end this series. Their story not only has struggles in their present story but it also has struggles from their past which makes this a very suspenseful read. I’ve always had a soft spot for stories where the character already know each another and Jillian and Brock’s story didn’t disappoint. Their story is a little heart-breaking because Brock feeling obligated to Jillian’s father for taking him in when he was a teenager felt like he could never be with Jillian. He broke her heart to protect her. But with Jillian struggling with her life changing trauma where she believes that Brock let her down in a serious way and the events of that night kind of leave Jillian broken, it’s only Brock that can help her overcome these struggles even though she really is trying on her own.

I loved these two character. I loved reading their back story and seeing what the present and future held for them. They were great characters to get to know and even with their struggles their story was very addictive. As a reader I could definitely relate to Jillian who loves reading books as much as I do so it was really nice to connect with her that way.

And of course all the other characters popping up through the story it definitely was a great way to end this series. Jennifer L. Armentrout really is a fantastic writer and I really need to get myself up to date with all of her other books. 

Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review.