Saturday, 25 October 2014

{Review} My Little Star by Mark Sperring

Posted by Donna
Release Date:  October 9th, 2014
Finished Date: October 17th, 2014
Publishers: Bloomsbury Children's
Genre: Children's Picture Book
Ages: 3-6 years 
Source: For Review
Format: Paperback
Pages: 32
When the day is done and sleep draws near,

When the moon's aglow and stars appear.

I'll whisper something crystal clear -

Words meant just for you to hear.

As nighttime falls and the moon starts to shine, parents and children across the world snuggle up together. So cuddle close, because it's time for a bedtime story.

With a gentle message and beautifully tender illustrations, My Little Star is the perfect way to end the day with your own little star.

The Review: Mark Sperring did a fantastic job with My Little Star. As a mother this story easily appealed to me because of its heart-warming and loving story. The story tugged on my heart because I understood and truly appreciated the message the author was trying to get across. - that the bond between a parent and a child is unbreakable no matter what, even if you’re a tiger or lion, or even a owl or the deeper meaning, that it doesn't matter what you are or what you look like, your parent will love you no matter what and I loved explaining it to my daughter and having her understanding the meaning.

My daughter enjoyed this because it's a rhyming tale and she found the illustrations very pretty. And the illustrations were beautiful! We've already read this several times now before bed because it really is the perfect bedtime read, having your child going to sleep knowing how much they are loved.

In all, My Little Star is a charming and beautiful read and it's one I will enjoy with my daughter for many years to come!

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

Friday, 24 October 2014

{Giveaway} Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little

Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little 
Release Date: November 4th, 2014
Publishers: HarperCollins 
Genre: YA, Fantasy 
Pages: 397
Buy: Amazon UK / Amazon US 

In the unforgiving Mesopotamian desert where Jayden’s tribe lives, betrothal celebrations abound, and tonight it is Jayden’s turn to be honored. But while this union with Horeb, the son of her tribe’s leader, will bring a life of riches and restore her family’s position within the tribe, it will come at the price of Jayden’s heart. 

Then a shadowy boy from the Southern Lands appears. Handsome and mysterious, Kadesh fills Jayden’s heart with a passion she never knew possible. But with Horeb’s increasingly violent threats haunting Jayden’s every move, she knows she must find a way to escape—or die trying. 


With a forbidden romance blossoming in her heart and her family’s survival on the line, Jayden must embark on a deadly journey to save the ones she loves—and find a true love for herself.


Set against the brilliant backdrop of the sprawling desert, the story of Jayden and Kadesh will leave readers absolutely breathless as they defy the odds and risk it all to be together.


On November 4th, HarperCollins unveils Forbidden, a seductive YA debut from award-winning middle grade author Kimberley Griffiths Little. Forbidden transports readers back in time to the deadly deserts and sweltering heat of Ancient Mesopotamia for a tale of danger, duty, and forbidden love. Jayden is on the brink of womanhood and betrothed to her tribe’s prince, cold-hearted Horeb. But when tragedy strikes, Jayden meets Kadesh, a mysterious visitor from the south who makes Jayden doubt everything she knows. Torn between loyalty to her tribe and the chance to escape her fate, Jayden must make a choice that will change her life forever.

Kimberley is also offering a HUGE preorder giveaway from October 6th to November 4th (release day!) to celebrate. See below for full details on how to enter. TO ENTER:
  • You must preorder Forbidden through an online retailer or your local bookstore, then email a photo of your receipt to forbiddengiveaway@gmail.com.
  • Fill out the rafflecopter below
  • US/Canada Only
  • Ends at midnight EST on November 3, 2014
  • Optional entries: share the trailer on your own site or social media, follow Kimberley on twitter, and tweet about the giveaway (can be repeated daily for extra entries!)
  • Winners will be announced and contacted November 4th (release day!)
  • If the winner does not respond with their mailing address within one week, a new winner will be chosen.
                                                                             PRIZES:
(1) GRAND PRIZE WINNER: 1. NEWLY RELEASED Kindle Fire HD6 Tablet with 6" HD Display, Wi-Fi, Front and Rear Cameras, 8 GB -- choose your color! (Black, Magenta, White, Citron, or Cobalt) 2. GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS by Rae Carson 3. CHAOS OF STARS by Kiersten White 4. Satin Belly Dance Skirt 5. Belly Dance 150-Coin Hip Scarf 6. Red Silk Veil (not pictured) 7. Red Middle Eastern Earrings 8. Belly dance DVD: Sensual Belly Dance with Blanca, a professional dancer (technique, choreography, and performances) 9. "Will YOU risk it all?" button (not pictured) 10. Set of 10 Book Club Cards 11. Jeweled bookmark (not pictured)
(1) SECOND PLACE WINNER:
1. GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS by Rae Carson
2. Red Middle Eastern Earrings
3. Red Silk Veil (not pictured)
4. Belly dance DVD: Sensual Belly Dance with Blanca, a professional dancer (technique, choreography, and performances)
5. "Will YOU risk it all?" button (not pictured)
6. Set of 10 Book Club Cards
7. Jeweled bookmark (not pictured)
(13) RUNNERS-UP WINNERS:
1. Red Middle Eastern Earrings
2. "Will YOU risk it all?" button (not pictured)
3. Set of 10 Book Club Cards
4. Jeweled bookmark (not pictured)
Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow Kimberley:
About Kimberley: Award-winning author Kimberley Griffiths Little was born in San Francisco, but now lives in New Mexico on the banks of the Rio Grande with her husband and their three sons. Her middle-grade novels, When the Butterflies Came, The Last Snake Runner, The Healing Spell, and Circle of Secrets, have been praised as “fast-paced and dramatic,” with “beautifully realized settings.” Kimberley adores anything old and musty with a secret story to tell. She’s stayed in the haunted tower room at Borthwick Castle in Scotland; sailed the Seine in Paris; ridden a camel in Petra, Jordan; shopped the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul; and spent the night in an old Communist hotel in Bulgaria. 
You can visit her online at www.kimberleygriffithslittle.com.
Share your thoughts on the trailer in the comments!

Thursday, 23 October 2014

{Review} Cipher (The Shadow Ravens #1) by Aileen Erin

23249649Posted by Melanie 
Release Date: October 31st, 2014
Finished Date: October 12th, 2014
Publishers: Monster, LLC
Genre: YA, Sci-Fi
Source: For Review
Format: eARC
Pages: Unknown
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US 

In the not-too-distant future, the color of your helix tattoo shows exactly how your DNA was modified—green for super-smart scientists, black for pumped-up warriors, white for the immortal Seligo—but Cipher’s red helix is a death sentence. It’s a sign of unstable DNA, which is probably the reason she can manipulate electricity.

When she was eight years old, Cipher made the mistake of showing her uncle the tattoo. In return, he killed her parents and tried to kidnap her.

She’s been on the run ever since, and twelve long years later, Cipher is tired of hiding. Survival isn’t enough anymore. She wants her life back.

Hacking into the Citadel mainframe is a huge risk, but it pays off when she finds a database on red helixes. Before she can copy it, she loses control of her power, charring her last processor, and the only person in the Arizona Voids that can get her back online is her oldest friend, Knight. She hasn’t seen him in person since she started running, and Knight 2.0 is fully upgraded with a six-pack and knee-melting smile.

For a girl like Cipher, trust doesn’t come easily, but Knightly makes her yearn for a life she knows she can’t have, especially when every secret she reveals endangers them both.

The Review: Cipher was a good read and I really enjoyed it!
The synopsis is spot on and I can’t say anymore so straight onto my thoughts about the book…..
The book is named for the main female character who uses the name as an online persona and to stop people from knowing her true identity. She is a computer hacker and gamer extraordinaire but she also has a secret and that is that she has a Red Helix, those with the mark are classed as having unstable DNA and usually it means a death sentence, so Cipher has spent most her life running from the Seligo – the governing body of their world and who are immortal – and most of all her uncle who is Seligo. She was very easy to connect with and I loved her hacking skills, it’s strange that she would focus her energies on computers and such because her power – manipulating electricity - is unstable and it often fries her hardware which is how Knight is brought back into her life. Speaking of Knight, I loved his character and he straddled the boundaries of hotness and geekiness – making him a very good match for Cipher. I loved their shared background and how this had spurred him on to find her for 12yrs! He became all about finding her & protecting her, even going so far as to make a huge sacrifice for her and I admired that in him, it gave his character another depth. I loved them together too, they have this great, easy, fluid nature to their relationship and could be the basis for a lasting relationship of the heart, I know I was routing for them all of the way through.
I thought the storyline was fresh and different. I like the idea behind the world the author created with the different helixes denoting different abilities or classes. There is always someone in power who would abuse that position and Cipher’s Uncle is that in this story, he is determined to find her regardless of cost or casualties, which begs the question….why? Also, when you have a hierarchy like this, there are always underdogs and that always means the little people will rise up and expose those in power for what they are and what they’re doing because they powers that be do have an enemy and they’re about to come out of the woodwork for Cipher. The story was filled with action be it from exploding lights & hard drives to run & chase scenarios and even helicopter ambushes, it had great pacing and even time for a little romance (which was hot!) . This book is definitely an introduction to the world and I was very interested, it was easy to read, not overly complicated and a series that I could see myself getting right into, so I will definitely be on the lookout for book two.

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

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

{Feature} Waiting on Wednesday (#91)

 
"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. 
Jess's WoW
18829666
Black Iris
by Leah Raeder
Release Date: April 28th, 2015


The next dark and sexy romantic suspense novel from the USA TODAY bestselling author of Unteachable.

Laney Keating's senior year of high school sucked. It began with one moment of weakness, one stupid gesture for a hopeless crush. Then the rumors started. Slut, they called her. Queer. Pillhead. Psycho. Mentally ill, messed up, so messed up even her own mom decided she wasn't worth sticking around for.

If Laney could erase that whole year, she would. College is her chance to start with a clean slate.

She's not looking for new friends, but they find her: charming, handsome Armin, the only guy patient enough to work through her thorny defenses—and fiery, filterless Blythe, the bad girl and partner in crime who becomes closer than a sister.

But Laney knows nothing good ever lasts. When a ghost from her past resurfaces—the bully responsible for everything, the boy who broke her down completely—she decides maybe it's time to live up to her own legend. And Armin and Blythe are going to help.

Because that was the plan all along.

Because the rumors are true. Every single one of them. And Laney is going to show them just how true. She's going to show them all.
Jess's thoughts: "I absolutely LOVED this authors debut novel 'Unteachable' and when I came across this one her second book, I got so damn excited. I absolutely must have it. Now. Like yesterday."

Donna's WoW
22895264

Wicked (A Wicked Saga #1)
by Jennifer L. Armentrout 
Release Date: December 8th, 2014


Things are about to get Wicked in New Orleans.

Twenty-two year old Ivy Morgan isn’t your average college student. She, and others like her, know humans aren’t the only thing trolling the French Quarter for fun… and for food. Her duty to the Order is her life. After all, four years ago, she lost everything at the hands of the creatures she’d sworn to hunt, tearing her world and her heart apart.

Ren Owens is the last person Ivy expected to enter her rigidly controlled life. He’s six feet and three inches of temptation and swoon-inducing charm. With forest-green eyes and a smile that’s surely left a stream of broken hearts in its wake, he has an uncanny, almost unnatural ability to make her yearn for everything he has to offer. But letting him in is as dangerous as hunting the cold-blooded killers stalking the streets. Losing the boy she loved once before had nearly destroyed her, but the sparking tension that grows between them becomes impossible for Ivy to deny. Deep down, she wants… she needs more than what her duty demands of her, what her past has shaped for her.

But as Ivy grows closer to Ren, she realizes she’s not the only one carrying secrets that could shatter the frail bond between them. There’s something he’s not telling her, and one thing is for certain. She’s no longer sure what is more dangerous to her—the ancient beings threatening to take over the town or the man demanding to lay claim to her heart and her soul.
Donna's thoughts: This looks awesome. Plain and simple! I hope it lives up to JLA's standards!

<What's your "waiting on" pick this week?
Want to participate? 
Grab the logo, post your own WoW entry on your blog, and leave your link at Breaking the Spine. 
Happy Reading!

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

{Review} The Murder Complex by Lindsey Cummings

18802989Posted by Donna
Release Date: June 10th, 2014
Finished Date: October 7th, 2014
Publishers: Greenwillow Books
Genre: YA, Dystopia
Source: For Review
Format: eARC
Pages: 400
An action-packed, blood-soaked, futuristic debut thriller set in a world where the murder rate is higher than the birthrate. For fans of Moira Young’s Dust Lands series, La Femme Nikita, and the movie Hanna.

Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision.

The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is—although he doesn’t know it—one of the MC’s programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family?

Action-packed, blood-soaked, and chilling, this is a dark and compelling debut novel by Lindsay Cummings.

The Review: The Murder Complex is a frightening and brutal story, one that’s full of danger and hidden secrets and overall, it did fall a little short but was still worth a read.

Meadow lives in a world which is ruled with an iron fist and one that isn’t safe. She’s grown up with her father teaching self-defence but also how to kill someone, because somewhere down the line Meadow will have to kill in order to take her place in society and get a job so she can support her family. But when Meadow meets Zephyr; a boy who she connects with, she starts to realize there is more to this world she lives in and soon she’s questioning everything she has been taught to believe.

Ever since I first heard about Lindsey Cummings' novel The Murder Complex I knew I wanted to read it. I love a good dystopian story and this sounded right up my street and Lindsey did an awesome job gripping me to the story. I found it intriguing and very brutal. I instantly liked Meadow and Zephyr and was pleasantly surprised to find the story told from alternative points of view. I always love being able to get both characters points of view and thought Lindsey did an awesome job defining each character and making them both stand out. I also enjoyed the pacing of the story. Each chapter brought something new but also like you on mini cliff-hangers leaving you dying to know what was coming next. There’s a few shocking twists to the story, some I liked and some I found a little unrealistic but could appreciate the approach the author was taking.

As much as I enjoyed the story, what stopped me from enjoying it to its full potential was the lack of details and reflection time. It’s a very driven plot and while that’s not a bad thing, it did mean this left out the added details of getting to really know the characters or understanding the world that little bit more.  I didn’t hate the story because at times I was completely gripped but again, the lack of information/reflection time/details stopped me enjoying the story fully.

Overall, The Murder Complex wasn’t a favourite but it wasn’t bad either. I’m undecided right now if I would read the sequel, I’m not sure if I was invested enough but I’m certainly glad I read the story and I know a lot of you will love it.

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

Monday, 20 October 2014

{Review} Rowdy (Marked Men #5) by Jay Crownover

Posted by Donna
Release Date: October 23rd, 2014
Finished Date: October 1st, 2014
Publishers: Harper UK
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: For Review
Format: eARC
Pages: 416
After the only girl he ever loved told him he would never be enough, Rowdy St. James knocked the Texas dust off his boots and decided he was going to do everything in his power to live up to his nickname. Life was all about a good time, good friends and never taking much too seriously. Rowdy learned his lesson early on, when you care that much about anything it can destroy you, and he never wants to risk feeling like that again. Only now he has a new coworker, a ghost from the past who’s making him question every lesson he ever learned.

Salem Cruz grew up in a house with too many rules, too many regulations, and no fun allowed. That never worked for her so she left it all behind as soon as she could, but she never forgot the sweet, blue-eyed boy next door who’d been in love with her little sister. Fate and good intentions from an old friend have placed her right in Rowdy’s path and she’s determined to show him he picked the wrong sister all those years ago. A mission that is going along perfectly until the one person that ties them together shows up and could very well tear them back.

The Review: I’m always excited for another Marked Men story by author Jay Crownover and even more excited to finally get Rowdy’s story like I know many of you are. Well, look no further because the times finally here and what a great read it was.

Salem Cruz has always lived her life under strict rules handed out her Pastor father. She was never the daughter she was supposed to be and always a disappointment to her family. When she decided to leave town when she became of age, she didn’t look back but she always remembered the one person she could be herself around, Rowland. Now making a name for herself and doing well, Salem still doesn’t settle in one place, but when an opportunity comes knocking for her to reconnect herself with Rowland, now going by the name Rowdy, she decides it’s time to see if the connection they once has is still there.

Rowdy St James has had a life where everyone has left him. His mother, his ex-girlfriend and even the one girl he had a deep connection left their small hometown and didn’t look back. Refusing to get close to anyone else again, Rowdy has put up walls that no-one can break. That is until Salem Cruz storms back into his life openly admitting that he’s one of the reasons she’s now working at Marked. Can Salem and Rowdy overcome their issues before they destroy the own happiness?

What another great addition to the Marked Men series! Rowdy and Salem didn’t disappoint. I have to say, I was a little worried to start with because the first 20% of the story was very similar to Nash’s. I didn’t want to read the same story twice but with different characters, but thankfully the story changed in a good direction that wasn’t at all like Nash’s – panic over!

Anyway, Rowdy has always had a strong presence in the other guy’s stories but I’ve never felt as though I really got to know him. This is why I was so excited to read his story and I really liked what I saw. Deep down he’s a very loving and genuine person. He doesn’t do anything by halves and is really passionate about his work and the special people who are in his life – like the rest of the Marked Men gang. I was really compelled by his and Salem’s past because it was actually a pretty sad one, but it’s their connection to one another that keeps them going. It’s a beautiful relationship trying to overcome some hard times. And Salem was an awesome character to get to know.

What I enjoy about this series so much though is the friendships and how much the characters love on another. I love the progression with the other characters and the sneak peeks into their lives so we don’t forget about them. But most of all, I love the bond they have with each other. They’d do anything for each other and it’s really touching to read.

So in all Rowdy’s story was definitely a good one and I cannot wait for Asa’s and Royal’s story now – I have very high hope for them two! And I really enjoyed Buddy reading this with Emma from Never Judge a Book by it's Cover.

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

Sunday, 19 October 2014

{Review} To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

15749186Posted by Donna
Release Date: August 7th, 2014
Finished Date: September 17th, 2014
Publishers: Scholastic
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Source: Bought
Format: Paperback
Pages: 400
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed.

But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister's ex-boyfriend, Josh. 

As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.

The Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a delightfully sweet read – one that captures your heart and leaves you wanting more!

As a way to move on from her previous loves, Lara-Jean writes letters to them. She writes things she would never say to their faces and she writes from her heart. When she finishes the letters, she address's them and keeps them stored in an old hatbox her mother gave her before she passed away. Lara-Jean never expected her letters to ever be read but suddenly they disappear and the loves from her past know everything she has wrote - they've somehow received her letters.....

I loved Jenny Han's summer series so when I heard she was writing a new book, I couldn't wait to read it. It did take me a while to get to To All the Boys I've Loved Before but it was definitely worth the wait because I had a fantastic time buddy reading this with Kate.

When I started the story I wasn't sure I was going to like it. Lara-Jean comes across very young during the first few chapters and it instantly put me off. I didn't enjoy her calling her parents Daddy and Mommy when she's 15/16 years old. But I'm glad I stuck with the story because it quickly changed. Once Lara-Jean's sister Margot leaves for Scotland, I quickly saw a change in Lara-Jean. She becomes more confident and tries to stand on her own two feet rather than letting Margot do everything for her. She realizes she has to look after her workaholic father and her younger sister and with Margot leaving, it gave Lara-Jean the room for growth and I think it was exactly what she needed as a character.

When Lara's letters get sent and the some of the boys start approaching her, I was mortified for her. If I was in her situation I would have hidden under a rock but I thought Lara-Jean handled it really well or the best she could. While trying to hide her true feelings for Josh - her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Lara-Jean turns to Peter for help and it's a win-win situation for both of them if they pretend to be dating - even though Peter received a letter from Lara-Jean too. Their relationship is completely platonic and I liked that. Their friendship/relationship really kept me guessing throughout because although this is kind of a love triangle story, the relationship with Peter is a really slow burning one. It's not clear that something with him will ever happen. It's through Peter's actions that you slowly start to notice a change and my heart completely started to warm towards him. But then I liked Josh too - he was sweet and a little bit blind to what was going on around him, but I'm firmly TEAM PETER!

I cannot wait for the sequel. I'm nervous about the blurb which looks like another boy from Lara-Jean's past will make an appearance and I'm kind of guessing to who it is. But it makes me wonder what will happened between her and Peter. These two are so right for each other and I'm hoping they see it soon too.

In all, To All the Boys I've Loved Before was an absolute pleasure to read and I'll look forward to re-reading it in the future.