Wednesday, 19 October 2016

{Blog Tour} Gemina (Book 2: The Illuminae Files) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

29364863Posted by Donna
Release Date: October 13th, 2016
Finished Date: October 9th, 2016
Publishers: Rock the Boat 
Genre: YA, Sci-fi
Source: For Review
Format: ARC
Pages: 672
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / The Book Depo 
The highly anticipated sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller that critics are calling “out-of-this-world awesome.” 

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

Once again told through a compelling dossier of emails, IMs, classified files, transcripts, and schematics, Gemina raises the stakes of the Illuminae Files, hurling readers into an enthralling new story that will leave them breathless.

The Review: Gemina is the highly awaited sequel to Amie Kaufman’s & Jay Kristoff’s YA sci-fi series The Illuminae Files and for me Gemina was so much better than Illuminae. I loved Illuminae but I loved Gemina even more so, well done Amie & Jay! 

At the end of Illuminae we see the survivors of the Hypatia heading towards the people on Jump Station Heimdall. They will be with them within a matter of days and of course they will be telling them know about the Kerenza invasion. Now Gemina starts right after Illuminae ends and shows us what is happening at the space station through a new set of characters. Both Gemina’s and Illuminae’s stories are tangled all up together because ultimately they all have the same enemy and if they want to defeat them then they’re going to need to work together. 

I know some people aren’t fan of when each book is about new set of characters but I really love it and Gemina was definitely better for it. Even though Kady & Ezra’s stories aren’t over they are involved in Hanna and Nik’s so even though we’ve come to love them we still get to see them but, it’s just through Hanna and Nik’s eyes. 

Now Hanna and Nik are great character and I really did love getting to know them. They’re both strong characters with different backgrounds but somehow they just work together. The banter from their conversations was simply hilarious at times. As a reader I felt like I was their listening to their conversations and it was so much fun. Their stories are completely different especially with the dangers that surround them on the space station that their stories aren’t dull for one minute. I found their story more intense and felt it had a lot more action and generally just felt like a stronger story. Maybe that’s because Illuminae was the opening story and now with Gemina the story is much more developed. Also Ella was a great secondary character. She’s so much fun and brings so many laugh-out-loud moments but it wasn’t all LOL moments and there was some pretty intense and sad scenes that left me in shreds while reading. And there is one MAJOR character from Illuminae that for some reason I was very happy to see in Gemina – I’ll say no more! 

The end of the story is left on a cliffhanger – sorry people – but although there is some conclusion to some parts of the story, the major ones unfortunately are left waiting until the release of final book in the series. I don’t know about you but I’m excited to see what comes next. I’m looking forward to getting to know the new characters. 

In all, for me Gemina was a much stronger book and definitely my favourite out of the two books so far. 

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

Monday, 10 October 2016

{Feature Post} Bookworm Candles & Crafts

Today I have a very special feature post for you and I'm excited to share it with you. It's going to feature a newly opened UK bookish merchandise company. 

Who else like myself wants all the bookish merchandise from candles to bookmarks to well anything we can get our hands on? I know you all do! But being in the UK where a lot of the sellers are from another countries has its downside because shipping costs are so expensive, but I’ve recently discovered a new company who are UK based and that means us UK’ers can finally get more involved with the bookish merchandise.

And this company is: Bookworm Candles & Crafts which is a UK based store created by owner Danielle Robinson where she brings to life all your favourite bookish scents through handmade candles, melts, soaps, jewellery, badges and bookmarks.

Danielle kindly agreed to visit the blog today and tell you all about her amazing bookish products which she has for sale on her Etsy store. She’s also here today to show you her newest addition to her store and for all you Sarah J Maas fans, you might want to keep reading. And so I’m going to ask her a selection of questions that I hope you will all enjoy and give you the opportunity to get more familiar with her work and products so here we go.

Q1: Hi Danielle, thank you for taking the time to speak with us today. Firstly, can you tell us a little bit about what inspired you to start making handmade items for book lovers like ourselves? 
What inspired me to start this venture initially wasn't actually books, well I guess it was a little. I've worked in the perfumery industry for nearly 20 years and was doing a course in London and was traveling two hours so it gave me the chance to read, at the time I was re-reading Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas for the hundredth time! I went into my course with my head full of the story and we had to smell over 200 raw fragrance ingredients and I smelt pine wood and thought so this is what Rowan would smell like! And it kind of went from there. I've always been artsy and did jewellery design at college. I also did a course on creating natural body products and soaps and an aromatherapy course, so combining all these elements and of course my book obsession bookworm candles and crafts was born. 

Q2: How long has your store been open? 
My store has only been opened since July this year so we are still very new. 

Q3: What’s your favourite product to make? 
Oh gosh I love making them all. I would probably say our soaps though. I love creating the bases and adding in all the things that make the soap beautiful like our Gryffindor soap. We have added in coconut and Argan oil and poppy seed so using our soaps are a pleasure. 

Q4: Can you recommend a first time customer an item to purchase?
I would recommend our candle tins. They are slightly cheaper so for a first time purchase they are great, and they are super cute too. 

Q5: Are there any benefits for customers who purchase homemade items rather than store bought items?
I think it's essential, but I may be a bit bias. My few is when you buy handmade you are buying something individual and you are supporting a small, possibly local, business too. Take our character candle jars, each piece is handmade from the painted lid and artwork to the charm and the crochet band and book button. All our scents are chosen by me and put together individually too.

Q6: Are all your products from your favourite books? 
Yes they are and I've got so many too, I love Sarah J Maas, Suzanne Collins, Cassandra Clare and of course JK Rowling just to mention a few. 

Q7: Do you take custom requests from customers? 
 Yes we are happy to take custom orders, obviously it would be our interpretation of character, location or event. 

Q8: Can you tell us about your newest addition to your store? 
Oh our newest product is fab and so much fun it's a selection of mini candles tins, like a pick a mix! Basically it's a choice between a individual tin, 3 tins and 6 tins in a certain book and you can pick and choose from characters, locations and events. So for instance, we have a selection in A Court of Mist and Fury and there are 18 scents you can choose from so, you can pick just 1 tin or 3 tins or 6 tins. Or you could be really daring and let us pick them for you and surprise you. 

Q9: Can you give us a clue to what other products might be coming our way soon? 
We have so much in the pipeline and I'm so excited, we have more characters coming from different books. We are also expending our body line with a few new products and our badges are growing all the time.

That's amazing! Thank you for stopping by today Danielle. And you guys aren't already won but I know you are, but still just take a peak at Danielle's Etsy store (link below). She had so many amazing products to offer and her new A Court of Mist and Fury tins start from as little as £3.00! So go and show your support to a this UK seller. 

💗Free Worldwide Shipping for the month of October when you spend over £35.00💗

Bookworm Candles & Crafts Contact details: 
Etsy Store:
Instagram: Bookwormcandles 

Friday, 7 October 2016

{Review} Ruined by Amy Tintera

26074185Posted by Donna
Release Date: May 3rd, 2016
Finished Date: September 29th, 2016
Publishers: HarperTeen
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Source: For Review
Format: ARC
Pages: 368
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / The Book Depo 
A revenge that will consume her. A love that will ruin her.

Emelina Flores has nothing. Her home in Ruina has been ravaged by war. She lacks the powers of her fellow Ruined. Worst of all, she witnessed her parents’ brutal murders and watched helplessly as her sister, Olivia, was kidnapped.

But because Em has nothing, she has nothing to lose. Driven by a blind desire for revenge, Em sets off on a dangerous journey to the enemy kingdom of Lera. Somewhere within Lera’s borders, Em hopes to find Olivia. But in order to find her, Em must infiltrate the royal family.

In a brilliant, elaborate plan of deception and murder, Em marries Prince Casimir, next in line to take Lera’s throne. If anyone in Lera discovers Em is not Casimir’s true betrothed, Em will be executed on the spot. But it’s the only way to salvage Em’s kingdom and what is left of her family.

Em is determined to succeed, but the closer she gets to the prince, the more she questions her mission. Em’s rage-filled heart begins to soften. But with her life—and her family—on the line, love could be Em’s deadliest mistake. 

The Review: This is the second book I’ve read by author Amy Tintera, the first being her YA sci-fi book Rebooted and now YA fantasy book Ruined. I actually preferred Ruined more because it’s a fantasy book and I just can’t get enough of fantasy series. It also helps that Ruined was one of them books that you just can’t help like. It’s an easy read, fast-paced and very intriguing. I could easily have read this in one or two sittings if I didn’t have work commitments. 

The story is about Emelina Flores who has watched family, friends and community killed by a neighbouring kingdom all because Emelina’s people have magic and the other kingdoms see them as a threat. To some extent that is true but most of the Ruined are looking for a peaceful life, however now there is only a small number left and on the run. Em’s sister – the next ruler of the Ruined has been captured by the Kingdom of Lera and Em is determined to get her back no matter the cost – even if that means marrying the Prince of Lera while pretending to be someone else. But one thing Em wasn’t expecting from the prince is his kindness and willingness to see that not all the Ruined are bad people. Soon Em’s feelings start clouding her actions but her plans are already set in place and it’s too late to change what’s to come. 

I really liked Ruined. It’s a good introduction to a series that I believe will get stronger and stronger. I did felt a time the story lagged in parts but I kept going because I was interested in the characters enough to carry. And I’m glad I did carry on. The story was full of suspense and very enjoyable and I’m definitely interested in reading more about the series with the release of the next book.

The romance between Em and Cas is predictable and at times I found myself rolling my eyes but still I couldn’t help but love it. It’s a sweet romance. With them being from two different kingdoms it’s hard to predict what will happen but of course I’m rooting for a happy ending for them. 

In all, Ruined was an enjoyable book and I’ll look forward to reading more when the sequel Avenged is released. 

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

Friday, 23 September 2016

{Review} The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

29852514Posted by Donna
Release Date: November 3rd, 2016
Finished Date: September 21st, 2016
Publishers: Corgi Childrens
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Source: For Review
Format: ARC
Pages: 384
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / The Book Depo 
Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

The Review: I really enjoyed Everything Everything last year when I read it even though I wasn’t blown away by it like many people as but I did love how unique the story was and I definitely enjoy it enough to want to read more from author Nicola Yoon. So as soon I heard about The Sun is also a Sun I knew I had to read and so I dived in straight away.

The Sun is also a Star is a story told over one day about two characters coming together during the day where their lives are about to change. The story is told from Daniel and Natasha’s point of view but also from different strangers the characters meet or know. I enjoyed Daniel and Natasha’s point of view but honestly I didn’t like the other chapters that featured the other people such as the security guard or Daniel’s brother and many more. If I’m honest I took me away from the two main characters story and I was reading the story for them. As much as I liked both characters at times they felt a little flat. Their chapters are quite small and with all the different points of view I felt I couldn’t connect to them as much as I would have liked because of all the jumping around. 

What I really liked about the story was how diverse the characters are and I loved to see the different cultures that were in the book. Daniel is Japanese-American and Natasha African-American. It is freshing to read about two different characters with different beliefs and ways coming together in a YA novel. 

The story itself was sweet but I do think the one day story has been done a few times now and I guess I just enjoyed them more than this. That’s not to say this book is bad. I can guess at how many people will love it but for me I didn’t enjoy it as much as I was hoping. But I’d still look out for more books by the authors in the future. 

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

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

{Review} Die for Me (The Revenants #1) by Amy Plum

9742373Posted by Donna
Release Date: May 10th, 2011
Finished Date: June 3rd, 2016
Publishers: HarperCollins
Genre: YA, Paranormal 
Source: Bought 
Format: eBook 
Pages: 357
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / The Book Depo 
In the City of Lights, two star-crossed lovers battle a fate that is destined to tear them apart again and again for eternity.

When Kate Mercier’s parents die in a tragic car accident, she leaves her life—and memories—behind to live with her grandparents in Paris. For Kate, the only way to survive her pain is escaping into the world of books and Parisian art. Until she meets Vincent.

Mysterious, charming, and devastatingly handsome, Vincent threatens to melt the ice around Kate’s guarded heart with just his smile. As she begins to fall in love with Vincent, Kate discovers that he’s a revenant—an undead being whose fate forces him to sacrifice himself over and over again to save the lives of others. Vincent and those like him are bound in a centuries-old war against a group of evil revenants who exist only to murder and betray. Kate soon realizes that if she follows her heart, she may never be safe again.

In this incandescent debut, newcomer Amy Plum has created a powerful paranormal mythology with immortal revenants. The Paris setting comes enchantingly alive as a relentless struggle between good and evil takes place in its streets. Rich with romance, atmosphere, and thrills, Die for Me will leave readers breathlessly awaiting its sequel.

The Review: I decided a few months ago that I was going to try and complete of some the series that I’ve never finished, so Die for Me was top on my list because I really loved the first two books in the series when I read back when they released, so I started from the beginning again and it was definitely a good choice.

Die for Me story follows Kate and her sister moving to Paris to live with their grandparents after the death of their parents. While her sister Georgia has no problem making new friends, Kate is the opposite. She’s still struggling with her parent’s deaths and completely shuts out the world. Her days consist of reading in a cafe until one day she meets Vincent – an attractive 19 year old who doesn't appear to be as he seems. Not only does Kate fall head over heels for Vincent but as she gets to know him, she knows he's hiding a deadly secret and it’s one she intends to find out regardless of the consequences.

I really enjoyed Die for Me the first time reading it and I definitely enjoyed it all the more the second time around. It still surprises me how much information I forgot so doing the re-read was definitely worth it. I did feel that the story started off a little slow but once I read more it started picking up. I have to say I’m really not a huge fan of ghost stories but while the Revenants aren’t exactly ghosts they are the undead so ghosts is probably the best way to describe them. I have read a few books before on the ghosts but I never really enjoyed them. They’re always just okay. But Die for Me however couldn't help but love it as it was a completely new take and Amy Plum made this story her own and I truly loved the concept it. I also loved the French influence that Amy Plum brought to the story. I loved reading about Paris and what it has to offer. I could easily imagine myself standing in the middle of Paris on a cold day looking at all the famous landmarks.

What also made this book for me was the characters. I loved every single character and the humour that they all brought to the story. The boys were all completely swoon worthy and Kate was really likeable too. Although Kate and Vincent’s romance is a bit of on insta-love I could put that to one side because I was enjoying the story so much.

Overall, I think Amy Plum has done a fantastic job of introducing something fresh and new to the supernatural book world and I’d definitely recommend you read it.

This is an update version of my first review which you can read here.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

{Review} The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout

28509179Posted by Donna
Release Date: May 17th, 2016
Finished Date: September 18th, 2016
Publishers: Mira Ink
Genre: YA, Contemporary 
Source: For Review
Format: eARC
Pages: 480
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / The Book Depo 
For some people, silence is a weapon. For Mallory “Mouse” Dodge, it’s a shield. Growing up, she learned that the best way to survive was to say nothing. And even though it’s been four years since her nightmare ended, she’s beginning to worry that the fear that holds her back will last a lifetime.

Now, after years of homeschooling with loving adoptive parents, Mallory must face a new milestone—spending her senior year at public high school. But of all the terrifying and exhilarating scenarios she’s imagined, there’s one she never dreamed of—that she’d run into Rider Stark, the friend and protector she hasn’t seen since childhood, on her very first day.

It doesn’t take long for Mallory to realize that the connection she shared with Rider never really faded. Yet the deeper their bond grows, the more it becomes apparent that she’s not the only one grappling with the lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory faces a choice between staying silent and speaking out—for the people she loves, the life she wants, and the truths that need to be heard.

The Review: YA contemporary is one of my favourite genres so when I found out Jennifer L. Armentrout – one of my favourite authors – was writing one I was completely ecstatic. She always writes good stories that have amazing characters and smoking hot love stories and The Problem with Forever is no different. If you liked Katie McGarry’s Pushing the Limit series or Simone Elkeles Perfect Chemistry series then this book will be perfect for you. And if I’m honest, there just isn’t enough of these stories around so I’m really hoping that JLA decides to write more. 

The Problem with Forever is an emotional story about two teenagers who have terrible pasts after being in a group home together but found strength in one another during the dark days. Years later they are reunited and given a second chance but can they overcome the past and move on with their future?

I always love stories that can pull me in from just reading a few pages and The Problem of Forever did that. I was about two chapters in and I just knew I was going to love this book. From the get go your pulled into an emotional and dark story that was honest, raw and sad. It’s not all sad though. It’s also a story full of hope and about creating a future that was better than the past. Not only that but it has an amazing love story that is tangled up in all the hurt so prepare yourself for an emotional ride. 

I loved Mallory as a character. She was fantastic! She’s a survivor and she is trying to move on from her past. She does struggle but she also tries to push herself. The events from her past have left her feeling like she can’t speak up so she’s a very quiet person but like I said she’s trying to change that. She’s been in therapy and found ways to cope with her issues. But now she wants a future and she pushes herself to have a better life. I really came to respect her for trying, even though at times she fails, she still continues to try. But I found once she found Rider again that was a big turning put for her. She found the one person again that always believed in her no matter what and accepts her for who she is.

Rider was also a fantastic character. He and Mallory both handle things completely different and while Mallory’s issue affect her where she can’t talk, Rider seems to have no hope for himself. I felt sad for him at times. He’s such a protective character. He’ll do anything for Mallory or for the ones he cares about. He realises that this second chance they’ve been given is a good thing. He doesn’t want to lose any moments especially seems they’ve been apart for so long. I really admired Rider’s strength. He’s really is an amazing and supportive character. 

The secondary characters were second to none and I’m totally shipping a story for Hector and Ainsley. Seriously their story cannot be left that way. I need more! I loved how JLA added something personal about herself in this book as well – Ainsley’s medical condition. I have to be honest when I say I didn’t know anything about it before now and now I’m aware of it, I’m glad I am. I don’t want to say to much as it’s something Ainsley discovers herself throughout the story so I want you to experience it for yourself. But it’s an interesting one.

In all, The Problem with Forever was without a doubt one of my favourite YA contemporary stories for 2016 and at just under 500 pages somehow this book still wasn’t big enough. I urge you all to read it because if you haven’t guessed by now it is amazing! 

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

Monday, 19 September 2016

{Review} A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas

23766623Posted by Donna
Release Date: May 3rd, 2016 
Finished Date: August 24th, 2016
Publishers: Bloomsbury 
Genre: YA, Fantasy 
Source: Bought 
Format: Paperback
Pages: 624
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / The Book Depo 
Feyre is immortal.

After rescuing her lover Tamlin from a wicked Faerie Queen, she returns to the Spring Court possessing the powers of the High Fae. But Feyre cannot forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin's people - nor the bargain she made with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court.

As Feyre is drawn ever deeper into Rhysand's dark web of politics and passion, war is looming and an evil far greater than any queen threatens to destroy everything Feyre has fought for. She must confront her past, embrace her gifts and decide her fate.

She must surrender her heart to heal a world torn in two.

The Review: After reading A Court of Thorns and Roses last year like everyone else I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the next book in the series A Court of Misty and Fury. However I started seeing early reviews of the book and it put me off. So I waited. Then I started hearing more things about the book and still I waited. I guess you want to know why I waited? Well I finished ACOTAR knowing that Feyre and Tamlin were together, safe and somewhat happy. I was excited to see what the next story would bring but hearing things about a possible break-up? I was so not happy! I refused to believe it and tried to hide from the book because at that point I was firmly Team Tamlin. But certain bookish friends kept feeding me pieces of the story and so, what can I say? Curiosity got the better of me and I finally felt ready to read ACOMAF. And my gosh I was honestly lost for words after. 

A Court of Mist and Fury is really Feyre realising she is more than she thinks she is. She was weak as a human and now she’s been turned into an immortal – fae like Tamlin and Rhysand, she’s no longer weak. Even though Tamlin tries to keep her that way. Tamlin still looks at her as unbreakable and will do anything to keep her safe even if that means keeping her from developing her gifts, trying to keep her busy with their upcoming wedding or even by the worst means possible, locking her inside the house so she cannot leave. I understand why Tamlin did the things he did but it doesn’t mean it was right. If only he’d listened to Feyre more or could really see that she was becoming a shell of a person after what happened with Amarantha under the mountain, then she wouldn’t have felt like she needed to leave. 
After Rhysand saved her at the end of ACOTAR and she now has to spend one week of the month with him. Through their magical link he created with Feyre he can connect with her at any time. So when Feyre simply can’t take no more at The Spring Court, without realising it, she calls out to Rhysand and he takes to The Night Court away from Tamlin. It’s there that Feyre starts to heal and starts to become a stronger person. Rhysand doesn’t make her hide away, he confines in her, lets her help him sort out problems with the upcoming war and more importantly he trusts her and includes her in things whether that be with his court, family or just normal day-to-day stuff. 
The main reason I was so adamant that I wasn’t going to read ACOMAF was because I’m really not a fan of relationship changes. But I really shouldn’t have doubted Sarah J Maas because Feyre and Rhysand’s relationship is developed over time and at times you don’t even realise what’s going on and before you know it you’re swooning over Rhys too. He creeps up on you and then it’s like Tamlin who? I could sit and talk about Rhys for hours and hours – the things he does in this book, the things he revels, the way he is, it’s honestly no wonder why Feyre and Rhysand belong together. 

ACOMAF isn’t just about Feyre and Rhys, although they are a huge part of it but it’s also about the upcoming war and developing the story more. There’s a lot going on and I can’t wait to see what happens next. And I definitely think my lesson is learned – never doubt Maas again!