Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Tabitha Suzuma : FORBIDDEN

Warning! This book is one of those Marmite effect books. You either love it, or you absolutely hate it.



FORBIDDEN is a controversial YA novel written by very british Tabitha Suzuma.

I have been hearing about this book for quite some time. And to be honest, I have to say it intrigued me. There were people in the YA blogosphere who absolutely fell in love with this story, others not so much. Talk about Marmite effect. So of course, I had to investigate and decide for myself if like this book or not.

*****

She is pretty and talented - sweet sixteen and never been kissed.

He is seventeen, gorgeous and on the brink of a bright future.

And now they have fallen in love. But.... They are brother and sister.

*****



First thing first, let's talk about the edition first. I own the paperback published in 2010 by Definitions, an imprint of Random House Children's Publisher UK. 418 pages divided into 26 chapters plus epilogue. The cover is very minimalistic. Black background. Only and white thorn heart with the title. Simple. But I guess it lets the story talk for itself.

The writing. It is very modern, easy to read, quite compelling to be honest. It starts off quite slow and it does take a while to get to the story, but soon enough you are thrown in the world Lochan & Maya's life. And quite frankly, their life isn't that great. Abandoned by their father, left to care for themselves by their alcoholic mother always chasing the lost youth, the older siblings look after the younger ones. Ms Suzuma managed to capture british life at the lowest quite well. It reminds me a lot of everyday life you can see around you, but at the same time it does feel a lot like an episode of Jeremy Kyle show.

The story is told from the point of both Lochan and Maya. It starts quite normal. They are brother and sister who are stuck looking after their three siblings. They don't have much time for themselves. They don't do much outside their little house apart from going to school. All their lives are submerged to an everyday routine of feeding the young ones, making sure that the house is tidy, shopping, going to school, cooking the dinner, tiding the house, sleep and then it's all over again the next day.







There is also the issue of Lochan's social anxiety. He is very intelligent. There is a bright future ahead of him and London College, but he can't talk in front of the class. He is good with the written assignments, but when it comes to presentation, he is lost. He gets a panic attack. I love that the author addresses the issue of panic attack, social anxiety and they way people suffering from it feel.



Having said that, I must say that I don't think I like this story. I felt really awkward reading it. I just couldn't look at it as a romantic love story where I route for the characters to be together. All the way through reading it, I just thought: "They are brother and sister!!!!!!!" Also, it seems like their incestual relationship just sprang on from nowhere. With one dance, their feelings suddenly changed and they craved each other in a whole different way. Also I felt like it was mostly Maya who was pushing the relationship. Lochan was careful and tried to fight it, but she kept on pushing and everything got really intense very quickly. But still I couldn't view it as a love story.

Yes, I did shed a tear or two at the ending. And yes, I do not think there could be an other way to end this story that the way it did. But I still wish that the author would go a different direction. I wish it would be more happier, more positive. It was a dark story which the saddest ending I've read in long time.






Now for the conclusion.. I am sorry Ms Suzuma, but I don't like your story as much as I don't like marmite. It didn't touch my heart and made me all mushy. Actually, I had to force myself to read it at the end as I couldn't get over the fact that it's a story about brother and sister falling in love. I know many people call your book romantic and beautiful, but I can't. Even though it reminds me of works of VC Andrews ( And I did read a lot of her books and I quite enjoy them.), I couldn't enjoy reading yours.

So I am sorry, but I won't be reading this story anytime soon again. I am glad that I have finally found out for myself what the story was about and what the fuss in the blogosphere was about. I am happy to meat Lochan, who I think is one of the most complicated and interesting characters I have the pleasure to meet in long time. But at the same time, I was a little disappointed with the novel. It wasn't the one for me.




Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Jesse Andrews : ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL

Warning! This book is nothing like what you believe to expect.



ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL is a debut YA novel written by Harvard graduate and first time author - Jesse Andrews.

I have been hearing about this novel for quite some time, but only the recent film adaptation of this book made actually purchase it and try to find the time to read it. And since the film has been shown in the cinemas this September, I had to make sure that this story finds its way onto my September TBR list.



*****

ME: My name is Greg Gaines. I am seventeen. I am the one who wrote this book. My physical appearance is unsatisfactory, and there is probably a fungus eating my brain. I'm not even sure I'm a human.

EARL: Earl Jackson is the only person who is even sort of my friend. We make mediocre films together. Werner Herzog is our biggest influence. Earl is generally filled with violent rage.

DYING GIRL : During my senior year, my mom forced me to become friends with a girl had cancer. This brought about the destruction of my entire life.


*****



Ok, let's start with the easy thing first. The description of the edition. I purchased the paperback published in 2012 by Amulet Books. 295 pages divided into 40 hilariously named chapters. The book has a very colourful design with illustrations by Brian Levy. There are 3 colours representing the 3 main characters of this story - Blue for Greg, Green for Earl and Red for Rachel. The design is very cleaver and eye-catching. To be honest, I really like this paperback. It is strange to say but it feels very soft. The pages are printing on what seems to be recycled paper and they are soft to the touch but at the same time they are quite thick. I am liking it.


The writing. Well I can certainly say that Jesse Andrews took a very casual approach to writing this story. It's hilarious, written in a voice of a modern day teenager.  There's no brain to mouth filter. Every thought is on the paper. It creates some of the funniest sentences and thoughts I have ever read. It's a mess. But you cannot help but laugh out loud most of the time. And that's straight from the start until the very end. It's easy. No brain read. I love the original, very unique titles of each chapter.



Having said that though, I must say I was a little disappointed with the story. I was expected something completely different. Maybe some kind of a epiphany. Maybe a touching tale of loss. But instead I just thought - where is this book going? Is there a point in this story? I felt like I am getting a school report on Greg's life. And even thought it was hilariously written, it didn't charm me at all. I was forcing myself to read this book. It started so well, but at the end I had to make myself to pick up the book and find out what has happened next. Quite frankly, I thought that even if I leave the book on my book shelf - not finished reading it - I wouldn't miss much. I just felt like I don't really know what this story is about.


There is Greg, an average guy who is surviving high school by being everywhere and nowhere at the same time. There is Earl, his co-worker / best friend who seem so tough, but turns out to be more than you think. He does actually think things through, he has some kind of compassion. And then there is the dying girl - Rachel, who isn't fighting to live. She just gives up. She has no strength in beating this horrible disease. And these three form a connection by watching home-made films by Greg and Earl.



That's about it. That's all I gathered from the story. There is no point for it. I don't see the appeal so many were talking about. I don't see the charismatic story they have all been charmed by. I just see a hilariously written novel with no real plot and development. It's more like a chronicle, not a heartwarming tale.

And to be honest, we are warned at the start, that we shouldn't expect magnificent things. We shouldn't expect happy ending and some amazing, un-put-down-able tale.. But you still cannot help but hope that there is something magical about it. There must be something... Some special ingredient. Why else this story was made into a film? Why else is so loved by readers? But I have to say I don't see it. I can only appreciate the original, very funny writing style and hilariously named titles of chapters. That's it for me.



I was looking forward to see the film adaptation in the pictures, but instead I am going to wait for it to come out on DVD. This book just didn't make me talk about it. It didn't make me think about it after I finish reading it. Quite frankly, I was happy that it ended and I could read other, more interesting stories.



I am sorry Jesse Andrews, but I am not going to read your novel anytime soon again. I gave it a try but I was left disappointed.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Adi Alsaid : NEVER ALWAYS SOMETIMES

Warning!! Prepare yourself questioning all the boy-girl friendships in your life!



NEVER ALWAYS SOMETIMES is a contemporary YA novel written by the lovely and incredibly talented Adi Alsaid.

This is a second book by Adi I have read this year. I enjoyed reading LET'S GET LOST so I was expecting wonderful things from his second novel. Chosen by the readers for #ZCbookclub, I was excited to find out what this new material would bring into our lives.

*****

NEVER date your best friend.
ALWAYS be original.
SOMETIMES rules are meant to be broken.

Best friends Dave and Julia were determined to never be cliches, so they even wrote their own Never List of everything they vowed they'd never, ever do in high school.  Some of the rules have been easy to follow, but Dave has a secret : he's broken rule No.8, never pine silently after someone for entirety of high school. It's either that or break rule No.10, never date your best friend.

Dave has loved Julia for as long as he can remember. So, when she suggests they do every Never on the list, Dave is happy to play along. He even dyes his hair an unfortunate shade of green. It starts as a joke, but then a funny thing happens: Dave and Julia discover they've actually been missing out on high school.

AND MAYBE EVEN ON LOVE.

*****



Let's start from the beginning. The first this which makes you even look at a book is its edition. I own the paperback published this August by Mira INK, an imprint of Harlequin (UK). 308 pages divided into three parts - DAVE; JULIA; DAVE & JULIA. Baby blue background with dark blue title and scraps of paper which I assume represents The Never List. Simple, yet beautiful design. I quite like it.


The writing is modern. Easy to read and relate to. It's quite hilarious at times. Exciting. Emotional. Eye-opening. Written from points of view of both main characters.


The story. It is a YA novel about friendship, un-required love and the right fit for everyone. When I first read the blur on the back, I thought it would be the classic plot line. A boy and a girl has been friends for a long time. He is in secretly in love with her and she doesn't feel the same. But something will happen and it will bring them together. And I was a little right than I thought.



Yes, this story is similar and follows quite familiar pattern, but at the same time it is so different. Firstly, I have to say that this is the first time I am not routing for the couple (the two best friends) to end up together. Don't get me wrong. I love Dave. He is a great guy. Polite, well behaved, romantic. Yes, he isn't perfect and has his dark moments. But I really really don't like Julia. I think she is quite selfish and doesn't think or take into consideration feelings of others or that she might hurt them. Spoiler!! Move onto the next paragraph if you don't want to read the small spoiler!!  I think she only likes day or she only realises that she loves (?) him when he is finally moving on and she isn't the complete NO.1 for him. She needs to share him now. Quite convenient! Also, she doesn't care that she will hurt Gretchen as long as she gets what she wants. Yes, as I said, Dave isn't the saint himself, but I just don't like what Julia did.


But I having said that, although I am not routing for these to as couple, I am a fan and admirer of their friendship. They have a great chemistry and connection and quite frankly they are so easy with each other. But I am a shipper of Gretchen and Dave. I think they are a great, loved-up, couple - the better equitation. And just because Julia and Dave share this wonderful friendship, it doesn't mean that they will make a good couple. So yes! There! I said it! I don't want them to end up together. Sue me! I like Gretchen. She is my favourite character in this story. I see a lot of me in her.



What I like about this novel the most is the fact that we all ponder with the thought of falling in love with our best friend. It would be easier. You know each other so well. You have a good chemistry. You understand each other like no other. But what happens when you become a couple and the friendship disappears into background and all you are is a couple. You lose the original thing which brought you two together. Should you risk it? Do you think it would work out? Adi Alsaid addresses all these issues in this story. And he writes the perfect ending to it. It couldn't come to a better conclusion.


So all in all, I have to say that I truly enjoyed reading this story. I must say that I even liked it more than Let's Get Lost. It was a heart-breaking story which make you re-think all of your friendships and their course.



So thank you Adi for approaching this subject from a different point of view. It was beautiful. Mesmerising. Emotional. I cannot wait to read more of your stories. Keep it up!!


Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Book Blitz : PICTURE IMPERFECT by Jelsa Mepsey




Book Blitz Alert!!!

There is a new YA author on the scene! And we always welcome these creatures on the this blog so I have decided to share with you my excitement about this book. 

Due out today, September 22nd 2015, it is time to introduce you to 

PICTURE IMPERFECT by Jelsa Mepsey

There is a surprise attached for you in the post so keep on reading! You have the chance to enter Rafflecopter to win $10 Amazon Gift Card + Ebook of Picture Imperfect !!


*****


PICTURE IMPERFECT 
by Jelsa Mepsey



Publication Date : 22nd September 2015

Publisher : Swoon Romance

Genre : Young Adult / Romance

Available To Pre-Order : Amazon UK , Goodreads



Sixteen-year-old Max Prescott knows all too well the joys of cheating girlfriends and traitorous friends. He's not eager to have his heart trampled again, but money and a fresh start can mean the difference between happiness and a dark path with his name on it.

So when Melly Hewson, a perky and enigmatic classmate, asks him to be her model for a year-long photography project, Max agrees. Melly Hewson is everything Max isn't. She's outgoing, witty and always knows the right words to say. And despite his best efforts, Max finds himself drawn to her.

Still, he isn't stupid. He knows a girl like Melly will only use him and then never speak to him again. Besides, he's been to that rodeo. As long as he keeps his feelings off the market, he won't make the same mistakes as last time.

Yet underneath Melly's sweet smiles lies a secret she'd rather kept hidden. And as the year goes on and the photos pile up, Max and Melly will find themselves developing through the negatives, a story that when told could push them to opposite ends of their world. But the only thing worst than the truth is, the facade that surrounds them.

*****

About Jelsa Mepsey


Jelsa Mepsey writes young adult contemporary romance fiction, drawing inspiration for daily life. With her work, she is dedicated to spurring people to think about what they have taken for granted and to shed the light on the issues people avoid talking about. As an Asian-Amerian in her 20s, she is excited to explore more of the human experience as she herself journeys through life. Writing, rock-climbing 5.12 routes, and playing various instruments have resulted in the formation of many calluses on her hands over the years. When not engaging in her previously mentioned hobbies, Jelsa can be found at her local library with a stack of at least ten books, naming her various pens, or staring at her dog Waffles for inspiration. 



Connect with the author : Jelsa's Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


*****

GiveAway

Enter the Rafflecopter  HERE !!


*****

Find a little preview of the book below :


She unzips her camera bag. “I should, um, probably take your picture.”
“Oh. Right.” I glance behind me. No noises. That’s good. “Wanna stick around?”
“Actually, I need to go home. We’ll do some shots there soon.” She scratches her head. “Do you have a music player of some sort?”
“Yeah.” I pull my iPod out of my pocket. “Why?”
She grins, revealing her braces again. Is she ever going to get those off? “Pretend to listen to it.”
She said to pretend, but I don’t. Instead, I turn it on, shuffle the music, and listen to the song that comes on.

I can’t face the truth
Since I’ve met you, I feel different
Is this what it is?
What it is to love?

I never put this song on my iPod. Where did it come from? Doesn’t matter. As I continue listening to it, Melly says something and waves before leaving. I just continue listening to the lyrics.

Stop haunting me, taking over my head
It’s best if we left these things unsaid
‘Cause I never wanted to fall for you

But now I think I have







Monday, 21 September 2015

Jojo Moyes : ME BEFORE YOU

Warning! Items required for reading the book: Box of Kleenex & an Emergency Tub of Ben & Jerry's Ice-cream, preferably Phish Food! And you shouldn't have any plans for next couple of days... You will need them to recover.



ME BEFORE YOU is a new adult novel written by the gorgeous and very talented Jojo Moyes.


I have been hearing about this book for quite some time. I have read all the reviews about this well-known book. The book bloggers around the world fell in love with it and it changed their lives. So of course, I had to find out for myself, what miracle this book beholds.

*****

Lou Clark knows lots of things.

She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not log her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now, and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.

*****



Firstly, let's talk about the package this beautiful story is wrapped up in. The edition. I own the paperback published in 2012 by Penguin Books. 481 pages divided into 27 chapters. Simple design. Beige background with bold title and a girl sending off a bird to the uncharted territory. As I said simple, but beautiful. I have noticed that a lot of the author's books are made with the similar design. I like it!!


The writing is wonderful. Jojo Moyes has a talented on capturing people's raw emotions. Their flaws. Their behaviour. And what keeps them going. She approached a subject not many writers are brave enough to do. A decision to commit an assisted suicide. And her unique story-telling told gave a wonderful touching take on it. You find yourself absolutely mesmerised with this original tale. You cannot help but wonder what would you do if you were either in Will's or Lou's shoes. What would your approached to life would be in their situation? What would you do if your lover, friend, husband decides to take his own life as he feels like the life they have now its not worth living. Would you give up? Would try to change their mind? So many questions... So many things to think about...



And this is why this book is so special. It's heart-shattering. Absolutely heartbreaking. But you cannot help but read on even if you have the feeling that this story doesn't have a happy ending. It will make you feel a whole scale of emotions. Even if you are the toughest person in the world, this book will make you cry. 100%. I swear.

It is a haunting love story which will stay with you for a long time after you have finish reading it. I was left speechless with a blotchy face, sobbing like a baby. I was an emotional wreck. It shattered my heart into pieces. I am still not OK. A pure perfection and an original which you will re-read in the future. And you will recommend it to every person you meet because this story has to be passed on. It has to be shared.



So thank you Ms Moyes for bringing this story into our lives. Thank you for sharing the subject of people left injured, disabled and with life completely changed. Thank you raising the issue of how people react to these situation. Thank you for pointing out the lack of understanding on the part of others. And thank you for approaching such a tabu subject - a decision to commit a suicide. But most of all thank you for writing this beautiful, heart-wretching, completely heart-shattering and absolutely mind-blowing love story which changes everyone who reads it. It's a true gift to your readers.

Of course, I cannot forget to mention that this amazing tale is going to be a film pretty soon. With the release day to be set it in 2016, we will have the pleasure to see the lives of Lou and Will on the big screen. And I am definitely going to see that :)

Also, I am not sure if you are aware but whilst the film was being made, Jojo realised how much people love this story and decided to treat us to a sequel which is due to be published this month. Mark September 29th into your calendars. AFTER YOU is going to be out for the world to read. I let you on a secret. I have already pre-order it.



Thank you again Ms Moyes. This was a true pleasure to read. An absolute perfection of a book.






Friday, 18 September 2015

Colleen Hoover : MAYBE SOMEDAY

Warning! I have been converted !! I am now a full pledged #CoHo fan !!!



MAYBE SOMEDAY is a new adult novel written by the queen of the NA genre - Colleen Hoover!

This is the second book I have read written by this author. UGLY LOVE was one amazing experience so I have been going into this with a little hesitation. What if #CoHo don't re-create the charm of the first book? What if I will be left disappointed? But I didn't have to worry... She made it impossible with her amazing story-telling skills.




*****

At twenty-two years old, Sydney is enjoying a great life : She's in college, working a steady job, in love with her wonderful boyfriend, Hunter, and rooming with her best friend, Tori. But everything changes when she discovers that Hunter is cheating on her - and she's forced to decide what her next move should be.

Soon, Sydney finds herself captivated by her mysterious and attractive neighbour, Ridge. She can't take her eyes off him or stop listening to the passionate way he plays his guitar every evening out on his balcony. And there's something about Sydney that Ridge can't ignore, either. They soon find themselves needing each other in more ways than one.

*****



First thing first... Let's talk about the edition. I purchased the paperback realised in USA in 2014 by ATRIA Paperback, part of Simon & Schuster Inc. The reason behind my purchase from across the pond is quite simple and vain. I prefer the US version and its edition. I like the image on the front - a couple composing music - i'd assume this is a portray of Sydney & Ridge. Big writing announcing the title - simple, modern, beautiful. And so much better than the UK edition.

Now the writing. I have to say #CoHo did not disappoint. Her writing & story telling is absolutely beautiful and mesmerising. She manages to write the most wonderful and always unique love stories you just cannot put down. Seriously, this is the second book I have read written by her and it's the second time the world ceases to exist for me whilst reading her book. Every single time, the story creates a bubble around me and I am cut off from the world until I finish reading it. It's magical. And the best thing about it? You won't ever regret reading it.



The story.. I cannot even begin to describe how much I loved this original love story. But it's not only the uniqueness I have enjoy.. It's the rawness... The true display of falling in love and not helping when or who you fall in love with.  It's the always present fight between right and wrong. Between loyalty and new adventure... Between two parts of your heart and which one to chose. It's an absolute pleasure to read this tale of love, betrayal, friendship....

The author has done it again. She took a story which initial plot line can be so simple and basic and put her own spin on. She turned it to one beautiful, unique tale of true love. It was absolutely mesmerising. Un-put-down-able. Spell-binding. Addictive. Adorable love affair.  An absolute perfection. Talk about sexual tension. You could cut it with a cake knife. It's incredible to read. 

I have a confession, I have been warned that I might cry. I did not. But I still enjoy being on this emotional roller-coaster. The way #Coho describes the love, attraction and feelings between Sydney & Ridge is magical. Every sentence is a piece of art. You just cannot help but feel a little jealous of the love between these two. And you want that for yourself. You want to find your other half who fits.


#CoHo makes me realise what true love supposed to feel like. And sometimes we to be brave to move forward and find our happiness. Thanks to her I will forever remain single. She has ruined any chance for a normal guy to ever impress me. I am looking for the right guy now, I am not settling. I want the beautiful love described in her stories. And I am thankful for it.



All the characters (well maybe apart from Hunter & Tori) are absolutely loveable and you cannot help but find bits of yourself in them. Starting with Sydney. The beautiful, smart girl who scarifies her happiness for others. So selfless that she even gives up the boy she is falling in love with. Ridge - a loyal guy, who is deaf but doesn't let that stop him. He is a great musician. Loving boyfriend. Caring friend. I just cannot help but admire the connection these two have. You feel so privilege to read it and witness their love story. I adore Maggie too. She is a wonderful person who is selfless and gorgeous and see the good in others. I admire her for taking the big step and life her shorten life to the fullest. I even like Warren. He is a great friend to both Sydney and Ridge. As I said I cannot help but like them all.


So all in all, there is nothing I don't like about this book. For me, this a pure perfection. One of the best love stories I have ever read. It just makes you want to fall in love. It makes you want to have what these two have. Charming, amazing story you just cannot have but love and adore. 


Plus, I cannot forget the mention the wonderful and very cute addition in this story - the song lyrics. This little touch made the story extra special and even more emotional. 



Thank you Ms Hoover. Thank you for bringing me Ridge and Sydney and their story to my lacking-romance life. I cannot wait to re-read this wonderful tale again. It's on the top of my to be re-read books in the future. 

Monday, 14 September 2015

Sarah J. Maas : QUEEN OF SHADOWS

Warning!! Prepare yourself for a serious state of book hangover!!!


QUEEN OF SHADOWS is the fourth book in the magnificent fantasy series Throne of Glass, written by the 'Queen of Fantasy YA', Sarah J. Maas.


You all know that when I bought these books I wasn't expecting a great story I would devote my time to time and time again. But this series stole my heart away and left me addicted for more. And now, every year I am left counting down the days till the next book is published.


QUEEN OF SHADOWS has finally arrived on September 1st and I made it my priority to read it as the first book from my September TBR. And what I read literally blew my mind away.


*****

NO MASTERS. NO LIMITS. NO REGRETS.

Celaena Sardothien is cloaked in her assassin's hood once more. She is back in Rifthold, but this time she is no one's slave. She must delve into her most painful memories and fight for her survival, while resisting a smouldering passion that might very well consume her heart. And she will face her former master, the King of Assassins, again - to wreak revenge for a decade of pain...

*****


Let me just tell you straight away, the blur doesn't give a justice to the story inside the book.



But let's start with the edition first. I own the UK paperback edition. UK has their own editions and they are absolutely stunning. White background. A picture of Aelin (Celaena) on the front cloaked in her assassin's gear. The graphic team behind these editions have been sticking to the same design which I greatly appreciate. Each cover is beautiful and slightly different. The fourth instalment is the biggest of the books by far. 656 pages divided into 89 craft-fully written chapters. Beautiful.


The story picks up straight where Heir of Fire left off and continues with actioned-packed development. We are meeting the characters we have grown to love, but new faces are popping in. And the story gets more thrilling with every chapter passing.


There are so many new dangerous challenges ahead Aelin and her return to Rifthold. New friendship are made. New unexpected alliances are formed. Relationships' dynamics are changing. New ship are sailing.



I just cannot even describe how much joy this book brings me. The writing is so imaginative and thought through that I can see the world Ms Maas created in her head clearly. There are so many twists and turns I have not seen coming that I am surprised that I am not laying on hospital bed suffering for a heart attack. The story just keeps on giving.


Aelin needs to free her cousin Aedion, avenge the death of Sam by killing the King of Assassins himself, help out Dorian, free the magic and stop the horrible King Of Adarlan. She has her hands full. But luckily she isn't on her own. Even though her and Chaol are no longer an item, they manage to work together and she actually shows him what a great queen she is. Aedion is at her side. Finally reunited with his beloved cousin he thought dead. She finds  new friends in Lyssandra and Nesryn. And Rowan is there too. Yes, he comes to be with his Queen..

This instalment finally starts to point a little more clearly where Ms Maas is heading with the story. Finally, I can understand why certain characters has been introduce to the story in the last book. And I am liking what I am reading. I have develop several theories and hypothesis about the potential development but I am sure that Ms Maas has great things in store for us.

But what I enjoy about the story the most is the constant development of the story itself and the characters. There is so much passion. So much love and loyalty. And Aelin is becoming one of the greatest female leads in the Fantasy YA.

I just can't... I cannot even beginning to describe my love for this book. It's my favourite in the series. It opens my mind to new possibilities and my ship preferences have change too. I can now see why Dorian and Chaol aren't the ones of Aelin. I understand the hype about her and Rowan. Oh, wonderful Rowan. They have a connection like no other. They aren't only friends, but (soul)mates. But that doesn't mean that Aelin is leaving her old fiends behind. The opposite is true. And I will be honest I absolutely loved Chaol's character development. Even though I am sad that him and Celaena (yes, because Celaena loved Chaol and Chaol loved Celaena - not Aelin) are not the ship of the year, he lost everything and managed to come out on the right end. He became courageous and finally saw the truth. Absolutely mesmerising. And of course, Aelin will continue to support and help out Dorian.



But I hope we will also see more action and more relationship and character development from the other characters. My predictions, well my ships - after reading this book, are :

Aelin & Rowan, Aedion & Lyssandra, Chaol & Nesryn, Dorian & Manon.


Yes, I said it. Manon is another wonderfully written character and her development continues on surprising in the good way. I cannot wait to read more.


I actually don't have anything negative to say about it fourth instalment. It was an absolute perfection. Every single chapter was masterfully written. It was a joyous ride. And I am not left with a book hangover greater than ever before, and a sad heart as I have to wait a year for the next book to come out.

A literary masterpiece. A torture for fans as they now have to wait for the next book to be published. But amazing story which just keeps on giving.




Thank you. Thank you. THANK YOU MS MAAS. You have done it yet again. I am ever surprised and appraising follower. I cannot wait to read the next book. I cannot wait to find out what more you have prepared for us.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Jenny Han : THE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY SERIES

Warning! If you are expecting another TO ALL THE BOYS I'VE LOVED BEFORE story, you might be in for a surprise.




THE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY book series is written by the wonderful and very talented story teller - Jenny Han.

I love Jenny and her stories. I fell in love with To All The Boys I've Loved Before earlier this year. It was one of those books which just makes you smile all the time whilst you were reading it. It filled your heart with content and happiness. And it set the bar pretty high for the rest of her stories.

So of course, when I decided to finally read THE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY series this summer, I was expecting a great story packed with love, emotions, laughter and a little sadness and a beautiful happy ending. But I am sorry to say, that I was left with disappointment in my heart and soul.



*****

Every year Isabel (Belly) spends a perfect summer at her family friends' house. There's the swimming pool at night, the private stretch of beach - and the two boys.

Conrad - unavailable, aloof - who she's been in love with forever.

Jeremiah - friendly, relaxed - the only one who's ever really paid her any attention.

But this year something is different. They seem to have noticed her for the first time. It's going to be an amazing summer ... and one she'll never forget.

One girl. Two brothers. The biggest decision of her life... Which one will she choose?

*****



There are 3 books in this series:


  • THE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY
  • IT'S NOT SUMMER WITHOUT YOU
  • WE'LL ALWAYS HAVE SUMMER



I own the paperback editions reprinted in 2013 by Penguin Books. They are on average 250+ pages long. The design is simple, yet beautiful. White background with neon-coloured graphic design. Very pretty. 

Now.. The hard part.. The writing and the story itself... Well let's start with the easier part. The writing is easy to read and follow. It's packed with twist and turns. But I feel like it's missing the Jenny Han magical touch. It's very strange because I know that this book series has been published way ahead of time of TO ALL THE BOYS I'VE LOVED BEFORE. And maybe it's the testament of Jenny's development as an author, but I don't get the hype about these books. I didn't feel any emotions at all whilst reading it. I wasn't on roller coaster ride with my feelings. It was bland. I actually had to force myself to read the books till the end and not abandoned them after the first one. 



The story is fairy predictable. It's too simple. A love triangle. A girl and two brothers. You can imagine where it is heading. She falls for one of them, the other one is the best friend secretly in love with her. The one she loves breaks her heart, so the one who loves her is there to pick up the pieces. And then the love triangle blooms and she needs to make a choice... Do you know what I mean when I say it is very, very predictable?

There is no real development to the characters and to be honest I don't like the way the story was heading. Straight from the start there was clear favourite (similar to Cassandra Clare's The Infernal Devices love triangle). I felt like Jeremiah was only dragged to the story to make it a trilogy. These books are all fairly short. And they feel forced. I think it story would be much more better and greater if the author would spend more time on the developing of the characters and the story itself. Maybe make it more unique. More original. More complicated. Bigger twists and turns. It would much better off as stand alone novel than trilogy. 

I will be honest. I hated Belly. I could not stand her at all. She a little spoilt brat. When she doesn't get her way, she pouts, gets angry.. And that didn't change as the story went on. She is selfish. She doesn't pay attention to others and their feelings. It's all about her and I quite frankly do not understand why these two great guys want to be with her... I am sorry but I don't see her appeal at all. She is a crappy friend (yes, I agree with Taylor). All she thinks about is summer and Conrad and her problems. I just do not like her. I am really sorry, I tried, but Belly as a character and a female lead failed me and this story.



Now,  with the boys, my feelings are slightly different. I couldn't understand the hype and why Belly liked Conrad at the start. He is this broody guy who doesn't communicate well with others. He doesn't share feelings. He bottles them up and let them eat him from the inside. Quite frankly I didn't like him and the way he treats people. But saying that,  the last book gave me a glimpse inside his mind and I have grown to tolerate him. But Jeremiah is a different story. He was and still is my favourite and I really wish that Belly would pick him and stop moping after Conrad. Jere is a good friend, son and brother. He is there when you need him. He is like a ray of sunshine which makes the shadows go away. I didn't like what Jenny did to him in the last book. Firstly, she made him cheat on Belly and then made him look quite irresponsible and irrational. Which was completely different to the previous books.


I have to say, the whole set felt not thought properly through. It was messy. The last book was just a complete waste of time. Actually, I will be honest, the whole series was a waste of time.

So I am really sorry, Jenny Han. And it does actually pain me to say this, but I did not like THE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY series at all. I hoped I would love it. I harboured a small piece of hope as I read that the story would improve but it got worse. I am was left disappointed, heartbroken for Jeremiah and angered with Belly.


I will be honest, I won't recommend it to my friends and I won't reach for this book series in forseenable future.



I am so happy and glad that Jenny Han develop so much more as an author and hopefully she will write better stories in the future. 

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Emery Lord : OPEN ROAD SUMMER

Warning! Ever wondered what it would be like to have Taylor Swift for a best friend? Wanting a perfect summer read? Look no further. You are reading it!



OPEN ROAD SUMMER is a YA debut novel written by            Emery Lord.  Firstly, let me express how my I love the author's name - so unique!!


I have been hearing about this book for quite some time. There were written many reviews about this story and of course, you all know me, I had to find out for myself if they were true. Sitting on book shelf for couple of months, I was waiting for the right time to read it. And summer and the August TBR list was the perfect opportunity.


*****

TWO BEST FRIENDS... TWO BROKEN HEARTS... ONE SUMMER THAT WILL CHANGE EVERYTHING.

After breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O'Neill is ready to leave rebellious ways behind. Her best friend, county superstar Dee Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own. Fortunately, Dee's twenty-four-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of breakup ballads and healing.

But when Matt Finch joins the tour as its opening act, his boy-next-door charm proves difficult for Reagan to resist, despite her vow to live a drama-free existence. With miles to go before Reagan and Dee are ready to risk their hearts again, this summer will be one to remember.

*****


Firstly, let's take on the easy part - the edition. I own the paperback published in 2014 by Bloomsbury. 342 pages divided into 22 chapters. Very summery design. There is a photograph of a young couple kissing. A beautiful indie design. It slightly reminds me a photograph taken by one of my vintage style cameras. It's a picture of summer.



The writing. It's modern. Easy to read. Exciting. Packed with hilarious situations at times. But also very emotional. This story gives you a great glimpse into a world of show business. It's not all glitter, money and designer handbags. It can be hard. It can packed with back stabbing. Full of gossips and photoshopped pictures which are hardly even close to the truth.

I love how easy is to relate to the story, especially to Reagan's part. She is a great female character. She has been left behind and hurt too many times. It's time for her to change her old ways. But the road to her happiness is long. She doesn't trust anyone apart from her best friend. She doesn't think that she deserves a happy ending or to fall in love. But soon enough, her walls are crumbling. Every girl or young woman can really relate to it. And that's why you find yourself even more hooked to the story. You are wishing for Reagan to find her happily-ever-after.

This story is a beautiful tale of friendship which can withstand even the biggest of unexpected tests. It's about letting go and trust again after being burnt. It's about giving yourself a chance to love again. It makes you laugh out loud. It makes you cry at some parts. It makes you an emotional wreck. And that's a sign of a great story. When an author and their writing makes you go on a roller coaster ride, when they make you feel a whole spectrum of feelings, you know that you have found a special kind of a book.


The characters is this book are all quite loveable and you just cannot help but like them all. In each of them you can find a piece of yourself. Although Reagan is the main character and the story concentrates on her finding someone she can trust again, my favourite character is Dee. Dee is the best, best friend everyone can wish for. Not only she is country music superstar with her own tour, but she is loyal, always there to help, sensitive, sees the good in others. She is nursing her own heartbreak, but it's even worse for her. There are cameras and paparazzi aiming for shot of her fall. Matt is a handsome male lead with his own sadness in his heart. But being on tour with Dee, meeting Reagan makes him smile again. He is a great friend. Tentative boyfriend. And a good man.



Open Road Summer takes you on a road trip around America. It's not a typical road trip style of book. And I like that. It's more like what it would be like if you are best friends with Taylor Swift. And to be honest that is how I saw Dee all the way reading the book - Taylor Swift. (Yes, I think she is an amazing entertainer and do like her - there I said it!)



So thank you Emery Lord for bringing a piece of summer, love & friendship we can reach for anytime, anywhere.. A beautifully-written story which put a smile on my face and warmed my romantic heart and soul. A perfect contemporary YA summer read. 


If you want to read more from Emery's pen, you can find her new novel - THE START OF ME AND YOU - in your local book store, or books-selling websites. I'll let you know if I liked it once I read it.



In the meantime, thank you Emery Lord. I cannot wait to read more of your wonderful stories. 





Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Book Blitz : QUEEN OF SHADOWS by Sarah J. Maas



The wait is finally over !!! 

The fourth book in the amazing THRONE OF GLASS series is finally being released today!! 

QUEEN OF SHADOWS by Sarah J. Maas 

If you haven't yet heard about this wonderful fantasy series by this amazing YA author, be sure to check out all the details below. 

This blitz also includes a giveaway for a set of the first 3 books in the series (in paperback format). US only. So if you'd like a chance to win, enter in the RAFFLECOPTER at the bottom of this post. 



*****


QUEEN OF SHADOWS 
by Sarah J. Maas




Publication Date : September 1, 2015

Publisher : Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Pages : 656 pages

Available To Order : Amazon UK , Barnes & Noble , iBooks , Goodreads

Sarah J. Maas's New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series reaches new heights in this sweeping fourth volume. 

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she's at last returned to the empire - for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past...

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen's triumphant return. 

Celaena's epic journey has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions across the globe. This fourth volume will hold readers rapt as Celaena's story builds to a passionate, agonising crescendo that might just shatter her world. 


Read Chapters 1-5 of QUEEN OF SHADOWS HERE !!



*****



About Sarah J. Maas: 







Sarah J. Maas is the author of the New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling Throne of Glass series - Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, and Heir of Fire, and the series' prequel, The Assassin's Blade - as well as the New York Times and USA Today bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses. She wrote the first incarnation of the Throne of Glass series when she was just sixteen, and it has now sold in twenty-three languages. Queen of Shadows, the fourth book in the Throne of Glass series, will release worldwide on September 1st, 2015. 

A New York native, Sarah currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and dog. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Hamilton College in 2008 with a degree in Creative Writing and a minor in Religious Studies. 








Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Pinterest | Instagram | Goodreads




*****

Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive the first 3 books (in paperback) in the THRONE OF GLASS series. US ONLY. 

Ends on September 11th at Midnight EST! 




Tuesday, 1 September 2015

SEPTEMBER READING CHALLENGE

Hello there my lovelies, 

How are you all doing? Enjoying the summer I hope. 

Unfortunately, all the good things have to come to an end and summer is going to leave us pretty soon. <insert very sad face, but hopeful for the upcoming Autumn>

SEPTEMBER IS HERE. 




This is a month of many changes for some many of us. We are either going back to school, college or university. We are starting the world of adulthood. Getting rid of the children for another school year, so we can get back to reading or just enjoying the last rays of sunshine before the Autumn knocks on our door. 

And since there is a new month at our door, it brings a new to-be-read list with it.  So let me share with you what I am reading this last warm month. 

Here is my SEPTEMBER TBR LIST. 

*****


SEPTEMBER READING CHALLENGE


QUEEN OF SHADOWS by Sarah J. Maas




No Masters. No Limits. No Regrets. 

Celeana Sardothien is cloacked in her assassin's hood once more. She is back in Rifthold, but this time she is no one's slave. She must delve into her most painful memories and fight for her survival, whilst resisting a smouldering passion that might very well consume her heart. And she will face her former master, the King Of Assassins, again - to wreak revenge for a decade of pain... 




FORBIDDEN by Tabitha Suzuma




'You've always been my best friend, my soul mate, and now I've fallen in love with you too. Why is that such a crime?'

She is pretty and talented - sweet sixteen and never been kissed. He is seventeen, gorgeous and on the brink of a bright future. And now they have fallen in love. But... They are brother and sister. 



IT FELT LIKE A KISS by Sarra Manning




Ellie Cohen is living her dream. A great job at an exclusive Mayfair art gallery, loyal mates, loving family, and really, really good hair. Well, there's the famous rock-star father who refuses to acknowledge her and a succession of 'challenging' boyfriends, but nobody's perfect. 

But when a vengeful ex sells Ellie out to the press, she suddenly finds herself fighting to keep her job, her reputation and her sanity. Then David Gold - handsome, charming but ruthlessly ambitious - is sent in to manage the media crisis... and Ellie. 

David thinks she's a gold-digger and Ellie thinks he's a shark in a Savile Row suit, so it's just as well that falling in love is the last thing on their minds...



ME BEFORE YOU by Jojo Moyes




Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick. What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane. 

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now, and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that. 

What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time. 



MAYBE SOMEDAY by Colleen Hoover




At twenty-two years old, Sydney is enjoying a great life: She's in college, working a steady job, in love with her wonderful boyfriend, Hunter, and rooming with her best friend, Tori. But everything changes when she discovers that Hunter is cheating on her - and she's forced to decide what her next move should be. 

Soon Sydney finds herself captivated by her mysterious and attractive neighbour, Ridge. She can't take her eyes off him or stop listening to the passionate way he plays his guitar every evening out on his balcony. And there's something about Sydney that Ridge can't ignore, either. They soon find themselves needing each other in more ways than one. 




MY LIFE NEXT DOOR by Huntley Fitzpatrick




On one summer night, everything changed. 

Life in Samatha Reed's home is neat and clean and orderly - precisely planned by her local politician mother. Next door, at the Garretts', things are loud, messy, and irresistible. And when gorgeous Jase Garrett climbs the trellis outside her bedroom and enters her life, she finds herself falling passionately  in love with him and everything he brings with him. The only hitch is, she's got to hide it from her mother. Then something unthinkable happens, and Samatha is suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself? 



ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL by Jesse Andrews




Me. 
My name is Greg Gaines. I am seventeen. I am the one who wrote this book. My physical appearance is unsatisfactory, and there is probably a fungus eating my brain. I'm not even sure I'm a human. 

Earl. 
Earl Jackson is the only person who is even sort of my friend. We make mediocre films together. Werner Herzog is our biggest influence. Earl is generally filled with violent rage. 

Dying Girl. 
During my senior year, my mom forced me to become friends with a girl who had cancer. This brought about the destruction of my entire life. 



SOMETHING REAL by Heather Demetrios 




There's nothing real about reality TV. 

Seventeen-year-old Bonnie Baker has grown up on TV - she and her twelve siblings are the stars of the one-time hit reality show Baker's Dozen. Since the show's cancellation and the scandal surrounding it, Bonnie has tried to life a normal life, under the radar and out of the spotlight. But it's all about to fall apart... because Baker's Dozen is going back on the air. Neither her mother nor the show's producers will let Bonnie quit, and soon the life she has so carefully built for herself, with real friends (and maybe even a real boyfriend), is in danger of being destroyed by the show. Bonnie needs to do something drastic if her life is going to be her own - even if it means being more exposed than ever before. 



THE REMNANT CHRONICLES: THE HEART OF BETRAYAL by Mary E. Pearson




Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape. Desperate to save Lia's life, her erstwhile assassin, Kaden, has told the Vendan Komizar that she has the gift, and the Komizar's interest in Lia is greater than anyone could have foreseen. 

Meanwhile, nothing is straightforward: There's Rafe, who lied to Lia but has sacrificed his freedom to protect her; Kaden, who meant to assassinate her but has now saved her life; and the Vendans, whom Lia always believed to be savages. Now that she lives among them, however, she realises that may be far from the truth. Wrestling with her upbringing, her gift, and her sense of self, Lia must make powerful choices that will affect her country... and her own destiny. 


*****

9 books. 9 different stories. 9 brand new adventures. I can foresee a great month of literature.  

But I want to know what is on your TBR list this month. Are you reading any of the books I am reading? Or are you discovering different adventures? Do let me know in comments below. I am always looking for an inspiration. 

Have a good September :) 

xoxo