1st read: January 2014 - 5 Stars - REVIEW HERE 2nd read: January 2015 - 10 Stars - REVIEW HERE 1st read: January 2016 - 20 Stars
I'm a total fangirl when it comes to this series, I've already reviewed this book properly so I'm just going to say if you haven't discovered it yet (what the hell kind of rock have you been hiding under for the last 3 years???) just READ IT NOW!!...more
I wouldn't normally write a review for an address book but I received Simon Drew's Inappropriate Address Book as a Christmas gift and fell in love witI wouldn't normally write a review for an address book but I received Simon Drew's Inappropriate Address Book as a Christmas gift and fell in love with the quirky artwork and thought I'd take the chance to spotlight a fab British artist.
Simon Drew is a master at putting a unique twist on well known sayings or song lyrics and creating illustrations to match. Every page of this address book has something different to draw the eye and looking up an address takes far longer than it should do because I keep getting distracted by the illustrations.
This is more of a desk address book than something you'd carry around with you (it's about A5 size) but it has plenty of space for writing addresses along with slots for mobile phone numbers and email addresses. The book is a lovely keepsake and it's one I'm sure I'll be using for many years to come.
Here is just a small sample of some of the illustrations to give you an idea what you're getting:
The Square Root of Summer is a fabulous debut from Harriet Reuter Hapgood, it's a story about first love, friendships, family, grief and heartbreak anThe Square Root of Summer is a fabulous debut from Harriet Reuter Hapgood, it's a story about first love, friendships, family, grief and heartbreak and how a death in the family can have such an incredibly huge impact on every aspect of your life.
Last summer Gottie's life was pretty perfect, she was falling in love for the first time, her family was all together and she had a great set of friends but it all fell apart when her grandfather died. With the rock of the family gone her grandfather's death left Gottie, her father and her brother all devastated and while they were struggling to deal with their own grief they lost their connection to each other. If that wasn't bad enough the boy she was in love with walked out of her life at the same time and Gottie was left completely adrift. Now, a year on, Gottie is still struggling to cope, she misses her grandfather but she also misses her friends and what's left of her family because she's been so busy just trying to get through each day that she's pushed everyone away.
This story is beautiful, I loved the way it looks at grief and how it really shows the effect that it had on the entire family. Gottie's grandfather Grey is a huge part of the story even though he's no longer with them and I loved the words of wisdom that Gottie would remember every time she thought of him. I also really enjoyed the relationship Gottie had with her brother, even though he's slightly older than her they've always been close and him leaving to start university just made everything that much harder for Gottie to deal with. All of the friendships and relationships in this book just felt so real, Grey's death didn't just effect their family but had a wider impact because he was such a focal point for everyone he came into contact with. Gottie's best friend Sof has tried so hard to be a good friend but she was upset too and she's tired of being pushed away and ignored, it was heartbreaking to see how far apart the girls were but I loved seeing them rebuild their friendship.
Most of the story has a very contemporary coming of age feel to it but Gottie is a bit of a science geek and she sees the world in terms of numbers and physics equations which I really loved about her. Throughout the story we see regular flashbacks where Gottie feels like she keeps being pulled into wormholes and sucked back in time to the previous summer. It's up to the reader to decide whether she really has found a way to time travel or whether it's her way of coping with the memories that she is so desperately trying to avoid. I loved the ambiguity of it and the way Gottie tries so hard to explain what is happening to her in scientific terms when in reality it's just her brain's way of trying to process everything that happened.
I feel like I could rave on about this book for ages but I don't want to give away the entire plot so I'll stop here. I will say if you're looking for a quintessentially British story set in a sleepy Norfolk village in the height of summer then The Square Root of Summer is perfect. It's a heart warming and funny story about coping with death and finding a way to move forward and I loved every minute of it....more
Helen has been raised by her aunt and uncle to be a proper Regency Lady so she's expected to spend all her time getting excited about dresses, balls aHelen has been raised by her aunt and uncle to be a proper Regency Lady so she's expected to spend all her time getting excited about dresses, balls and her upcoming debut where she will be presented to the queen. However, when a maid goes missing and people start getting murdered Helen has other ideas and she decides to investigate, opening herself up to a whole dangerous new world and now her life will never be the same again.
I was lucky enough to hear Alison Goodman give a reading from this book at a blogger event and I knew immediately that this was a story I wanted to read. There is no doubt that they author has done meticulous research into the time period and she has infused that knowledge into the story so that you'll discover loads of fascinating little tidbits while you're reading. As much as that's a wonderful thing in many ways it was a bit of a double edged sword because as fascinating as I found those bits of information they definitely dragged the story down and made this a much slower read than it could have been. I think part of that is down to my expectations, I went into this expecting a fast paced story about a girl learning to hunt demons and what I actually got was a very slow build historical almost romance with a tiny bit of demon hunting on the side. One isn't necessarily better than the other but if you're looking for option 1 then option 2 isn't really a brilliant substitute.
It's really hard to write this review because there were a lot of things I loved about this story, I've already mentioned that I enjoyed the setting, I liked the balls and parties and debut to the queen, I also liked Lady Helen's character, she was very independent for the time period and she has a real sense of honor and duty. She never asked to have special demon hunting powers and in some ways it would be easier for her to pretend she doesn't and go back to a life of letting other people take care of her and leave the worrying to someone else but she knows that she has an important path ahead of her and she does what needs to be done.
It takes a long time before we get to the demon hunting part of the story but once we do the pace picked up nicely and I'm definitely interested to see where things go from here for Lady Helen. She is under a lot of pressure from her family to make a good match, get married and settle down but that isn't going to happen if she follows the path destiny has laid out in front of her. I will definitely read the sequel when it is released, I think the series has a huge amount of potential and I'm really hoping that new books will have a stronger focus on Lady Helen's destiny and the rest of the Dark Days Club. I'll be going in with different expectations too which will hopefully mean that I'm expecting a slower paced story and won't be disappointed by it....more
I knew before going in that One was going to break my heart but what I wasn't expecting was how beautiful the story would be. I don't tend to read manI knew before going in that One was going to break my heart but what I wasn't expecting was how beautiful the story would be. I don't tend to read many verse novels, in fact the last one I read was The Weight of Water, also by this author, three years ago but there is no doubt that this writing style can be extremely powerful when done well. Sarah Crossan definitely has the skill to pull it off and One is now my favourite of her novels.
This is the story of conjoined twins Grace and Tippi, they are joined from the waist down so although they each have two arms they only have one pelvis and two legs between them. Their condition has led to high medical bills which the family struggle to pay and it causes no end of difficulties for the girls when it comes to living their daily lives but the pair are overwhelmingly positive in their outlook. It was great to see them both as individuals and the way they work together as a team, they have an incredibly deep bond with each other and although there are times they wish for privacy most of the time they're just happy to be together.
When the girls start school for the first time it was heartbreaking to see how they were treated by the outside world, the cruel remarks don't just effect the twins though, both their younger sister and their parents are also under a lot of extra pressure. School isn't all bad though and for the first time they have a chance to make friends with people outside the family. Grace and Tippi go through so much but they are always a team, they're best friends as well as sisters and no matter what happens outside they always have each other to turn to.
I'm not going to say anything else about the story because I want readers to be able to enjoy it for themselves. It's being marked by Bloomsbury as "The ONE book to read this summer" and for once I'm completely on board with the marketing hype. If you're looking for something a little different, something that will give you an insight into the really rare condition of conjoined twins but is really all about sisterhood, love and friendship, then you really should pick up a copy of One. It's a beautiful book and it's one that has stuck with me in the weeks since I finished reading it....more
Caroline and Jason have a pretty perfect marriage, they're very much in love, incredibly happy together and they have a great sex life. So why would aCaroline and Jason have a pretty perfect marriage, they're very much in love, incredibly happy together and they have a great sex life. So why would a conversation with their best friends and neighbours change that? When Piper and Michael confess that they enjoy experimenting with other couples in the bedroom it gives Caroline and Jason all sorts of ideas. Jason knows that sex and love are two different things and is more than willing to take their sex life to the next level but Caroline is much more nervous, what if adding extra participants in the bedroom ruins the relationship they have as a couple? Caroline feels guilty even thinking about it and isn't sure if she's brave enough to try. Can Caroline put her fears to one side and let go enough to enjoy the experience or will it ruin their marriage forever?
When this book came highly recommended by Annie I knew I was going to love it, she promised me a scorching hot read and she wasn't wrong about that, What Caroline Wants is an incredibly erotic story pretty much from the first page. I've read a lot of stories with multiple partners but this is the first book I've read about a couple who are in a serious long term relationship and considering experimenting with others for the first time. I have to admit I wasn't too sure if I would like that aspect of the story, I don't think it's the kind of thing I'd be comfortable to experiment with myself and I worried that I'd have trouble connecting to the characters. I guess that's the great thing about fiction though, we can enjoy the fantasy without having to take any of the risk and I ended up loving the journey that Caroline and Jason took.
They are such a great couple and you can tell from the beginning that they are crazy in love and have a very solid relationship. They talk things through every step of the way and although Jason is the one who is initially more keen to experiment I never felt like he was pressuring Caroline into anything. In fact, he knows how much the idea appeals to her even when she is too scared to admit it and for Jason the fantasy is more about seeing how turned on it makes her. At first I found it very easy to relate to Caroline but I have to admit that her Southern Belle guilt trip started to irritate me after a while, it did seem to be a little over the top at times and it made it hard for me to believe that their experiments proceeded quite so quickly. I think her guilt at anything sexual could have been toned down just a little and there would still have been plenty for them to deal with as a couple, it isn't an easy decision for anyone to take that step but I ended up feeling that Caroline would have taken years to get to the stage they reached within a few months which was a shame.
Having said that my complaints really were fairly minor and What Caroline Wants is a scorching hot read that I had trouble putting down. It introduces us to the two couples who feature in the rest of the trilogy, each pair have their own hang ups and kink and I'm looking forward to reading more about all of them. Amanda Abbott has definitely caught my attention with this series and I have no doubt that each book is only going to get hotter. If you like your stories full of intense emotions, highly erotic and with more than a little kink then you definitely need to give this a try....more
All Amani has ever wanted is to escape her small desert hometown Dustwalk and make her way to the nearest city like her mother had always dreamed of dAll Amani has ever wanted is to escape her small desert hometown Dustwalk and make her way to the nearest city like her mother had always dreamed of doing. Now that her uncle is looking to force her into marriage she knows she has to leave soon before it's too late. Taking all the money she has spent years secretly saving Amani enters a sharpshooting contest hoping to win enough to purchase her train ticket out of there but unfortunately it all goes horribly wrong. Now Amani finds herself on the run from an army of soldiers and Jin, a young foreigner who is wanted for treason, is the only person she can trust to help her escape. Amani has no idea why Jin is a wanted man but she knows that the only way they'll survive is if they learn to work together.
I have been desperately waiting to get my hands on this book since I first heard about it at a Faber & Faber blogger event last year, it was one of my most anticipated debuts of 2016 and oh boy did it deliver in every way. I've heard Rebel of the Sands described as Wild West meets Arabian Nights and I can't think of a more apt way to summarize it. The story is wonderfully atmospheric with a harsh but beautiful desert setting and I was pulled into the world Alwyn Hamilton has created from the very first page. I don't want to go into too much detail about the mythology because I think it's the kind of story where it's much nicer to go in knowing only minimal details but the world building is very well done and djinni aren't something you come across a great deal in YA so it was nice to read about something so different.
The characters are fantastic, Amani is wonderful, a fiercely independent young girl who also happens to be a sharpshooter and is more than able to protect herself. Due to circumstances she has to hide a lot of what she is, girls aren't allowed much freedom in her culture and it would be impossible for her to travel alone so she thinks nothing of disguising herself as a boy and setting off for an adventure. As much as I love her independent streak I also love that she isn't afraid to accept help when she needs it and she is a very loyal friend to anyone who has earned her trust. There are hints of romance and I'm definitely shipping Amani and Jin but I'm glad that the romance didn't overshadow the rest of the storyline.
This book has it all: action, adventure, mystery, a wonderful setting, great characters, magic, gunpowder and a touch of romance. The pace is perfect and once I started reading I didn't want to stop. I can't wait to see where Amani's journey takes her throughout the rest of the trilogy and will be eagerly awaiting each new release.
I also have to give a little shout out to Faber & Faber for such a fantastic marketing campaign for the book too. They really built up the hype for this one and thankfully the book wasn't a let down. My favourite part was the awesome personalised proofs they sent out & this book is already taking pride of place on my favourites shelf :o)