Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Review: Hunting Lila (Lila #1) - Sarah Alderson

Hunting Lila (Lila, #1)

Name: Hunting Lila
 Author: Sarah Alderson
Release Date: 5th Aug 2011
Date I finished it: 25th May 2012
Source: Paperback gifted from a friend

Hunting Lila has been on my bookshelf for months now, it's one of those ones that I know I had to read soon, but just never quite got around to it! 
It is Sarah Alderson's debut novel following the story of seventeen year old Lila who when we first meet is her is running away to America to stay with her brother.

Things are getting to much for her at home with her very absent father, Lila has also been hiding a secret power, she can move things with her mind. She hasn't told anyone about her power yet, and is trying her best not to use her power at all.

While staying with her brother she also gets to spend time with his best friend Alex, who Lila has been in love with for years. The two soon start to grow closer throughout the course of the book.
Something isn't quite right though Lila's brother and Alex are working on something top secret, they hiding the truth from Lila and taking incredible measures to keep her safe while she is staying, but safe from what exactly?

I really loved this book, there are some major plot twists which came out of nowhere and really took me by surprise!
I liked Lila as the narrator for the story, she is a really likeable character and I fell for her charm from page one. 

The plot is fast paced and action pact from the word go, it is easy to fall into Lila's world and forget the real world around you. I did and ended up sunburnt because of it, oops!
Alex is completely swoon-worthy! No wonder Lila has a major crush on him, he is fast becoming one of my favourite book boys!

Overall, I really loved this book!
It was much more than I originally imagined it would be, it has everything a good book should have, suspense, action, romance and twists! I cannot wait to get my hands on Losing Lila, I need it now please!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Review: Grace - Morris Gleiztman


Name: Grace
Author: Morris Gleitzman
Release Date: 3rd Feb 2011
Date I finished it: 25th May 2012
Source: Paperback bought from Amazon

Grace has been brought up with strict religious beliefs, in school she is taught that outsiders are all sinners and she must avoid contact with them. At home however her father allows Grace to think for herself, and answers all her questions as truthfully as possible. 
This leads to Grace also asking questions about God, the church elders and even her school teachers. About whether they are following God in the right way or not.

After one to many questions, Grace's father is banished from the community for poisoning her mind. Grace soon realises that she may never see her father again and tries everything she can to get him welcomed back into the church.

I really enjoyed this book, even though it's a quick read (180 pages or so) it's message is strong.
Throughout the book Grace is constantly talking to God and asking for his advice and help, even after her family is torn apart. She believes in herself and believes that she is doing the right thing, even though in this book the right thing leads to more punishment for Grace.

It is a book aimed at younger readers but at 25 I still liked it.
The only thing missing for me was background. I would have liked to have seen more about the family before this tragedy struck, I also would have liked to have known more about the church they belonged to.

Considering the subject matter I know this book isn't going to be everyone's cup of tea. But the book doesn't encourage nor discourage any religion, it simply tells a story.
Overall I did enjoy it, younger readers would probably get more out of the moral and messages in the book though.

Sweet Evil Giveaway Winner!

Sweet Evil (The Sweet Trilogy, #1)

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway!
Don't forget I still have my Splash Into Summer Giveaway happening right now and it's international!!

The winner of Sweet Evil is....

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Splash Into Summer Giveaway Hop!

I am super excited to be taking part in the Splash Into Summer Giveaway Hop again this year!
Last's year hop was so much fun, I'm sure this year's one will be too!

I'm stop #3 on the blog hop, and my giveaway is International, as long as The Book Depository ships to your country!

The winner can pick their prize from the following books:

The Infernal Devices: Clockwork Prince Bk. 2Night LifePretty Dead

Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe RingsReal Mermaids Don't Hold Their Breath

All you have to do is fill out the rafflecopter below to be in with a chance of winning!

Don't forget to stop by the rest of the blogs taking part in the blog hop!

Review: Insurgent (Divergent #2) - Veronica Roth

Insurgent (Divergent, #2)

Name: Insurgent (Divergent #2)
Author: Veronica Roth
Release Date: 1st May 2012
Date I finished it: 7th May 2012
Source: Bought Paperback

I've been waiting a while to write my review for Insurgent, because to be honest I'm not completely sure what to say about it. I was super excited for the book, I devoured Divergent in one afternoon and was desperate for more of the story right away.
So when I finally got my hands on a copy of Insurgent, I cleared my plans for the day and dived in right away. 
Right from the start it did seem different to Divergent in many ways, I knew it wouldn't be the same. Lots of things happened in the book and things had to be switched around and changed, but to me it just wasn't as good as Divergent was.

I know a lot of bloggers read and loved Insurgent. I just don't feel the same way about it, and I know I'll probably end up taking abuse for putting up this review, as it's not going to be all gushy about Four and how great this book is.
Don't get me wrong, it was a really great read! I loved the plot and getting to see some of my favourite book characters again after a long year without them. It just didn't seem to have the same element of suspense or thrill that Divergent did.
I think that maybe this is just me though, I find that with a lot of dystopian series', I feel let down by the second book in the series. I was the exact same way about the Matched series as well.

I did feel let down by it, and to be honest I can't explain why. There was a lot of action and drama going on in the book, which I loved! There was a few Tris and Four scenes, which again I loved!
I also liked seeing the different factions and learning more about them, especially with a war raging around them all.
I think I just expected more from this book, which again is probably my fault for getting my hopes up, and nothing at all to do with the book, really I can't fault anything in the story line at all.

I did give it four stars, like I said there is nothing wrong with the book, it's just me and my alarmingly high expectations. The plot is good and fast paced, which I like. The characters that I came to know in Divergent are back and smarter and funnier that ever! There are a few plot twists thrown in, which I am a huge sucker for! The writing style is easy to follow and sucks you in, the ending left me awe-struck and desperate for the third book!

Overall, it was a really great book!
I just need to learn not to expect miracles from authors, they are only human after all!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Review: We'll Always Have Summer (Summer #3) - Jenny Han

We'll Always Have Summer (Summer, #3)

Name: We'll Always Have Summer
Author: Jenny Han
Release Date: 3rd May 2012
Date I finished it: 22th May 2012
Source: Paperback for review

So this is the third and final book in the Summer series by Jenny Han.
After being a bit unsure about the series at the beginning, I have to say now I've finished all three I'm really glad I read them.

This book is set 2 years from the goings on that happened in It's Not Summer Without You. Belly has finished her freshman year in college and is dating Jeremiah. 
Ugh what can I say really, I was rooting for Conrad from the beginning, so I really didn't like reading about Belly and Jeremiah's relationship at all.
It was cute, but in my mind it's not who she is meant to end up with, so it frustrated me a little reading this book. 

Like the last book this one has alternative view points, this time including Conrad. Reading Conrad's thoughts just made me fall for him even more! I wish this boy was real and was a few years older.
Everything he's ever done was for Belly, for her happiness and only now is he realising this his happiness matter as well. How long should he wait to tell Belly the truth about how he feels, and should he ruin his own brother's wedding just to get the girl?

From about halfway through this book, I completely fell in love.
I mean I enjoyed the last two books, but there was something about this one that just gripped me in a way the previous two didn't. I can't really place my finger on what exactly it was. Maybe it was because they were all older in this one and I felt I could relate more to them. Maybe it was all the wedding drama and disasters, or maybe just the excitement and Belly finally making a decision and choosing between the Fisher brothers.

I was happy about the ending to this series, it left me feeling like the story had some closure. Which a lot of YA books don't seem to have.

This is really a great series, full of ups and downs that will leave you questioning what Belly and her boys will get up to next! A great summer read for fans of YA Romance.

Review: It's Not Summer Without You (Summer #2) - Jenny Han

It's Not Summer Without You

Name: It's Not Summer Without You
Author: Jenny Han
Release Date: 1st May 2012
Date I finished it: 20th May 2012
Source: Paperback for review

After really enjoying the first book in this series, The Summer I turned Pretty. I had to reach for this one right away, I wanted to know more about Belly and her Summer boys and I didn't want to wait!

This book picks up right where we left everyone in The Summer I Turned Pretty. It has a very different feel to it that the first book, for one the characters have grown up a bit because of the grief they are gong through. They have also grown a bit distant as well.
They have all lost someone special to them, and this book shows the different ways in which all the characters deal with that grief.

I did like the different points of view in this book, as with the first one it was all told from Belly's point of view. Having read the the first book I felt like I got to know the other characters as well, so it was really nice getting to see things from their perspective.

I'll be honest, I didn't like the thought of Belly and Jeremiah getting together in this book. I can see how it makes sense though he was there for her during the hard times when Conrad wasn't. But I still believe Belly belongs with Conrad.

Parts of the book frustrated me at times, there was a bit much retelling of what happened in the previous book. Having literally just put down that book and picked up this one, I really didn't need the refresher. I can understand why it's there though.
Sometimes Belly annoyed me in this book as well, there were parts of the book when I really just wanted to slap her round the head and tell her to get a grip! 

Overall though I enjoyed this one much more than The Summer I Turned Pretty. To me this one was more grown up and more real. I could relate more to the characters and I really felt their pain.
Needless to say I'm reaching for book three now!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Review: The Summer I Turned Pretty (Summer #1) - Jenny Han

The Summer I Turned Pretty (Summer, #1)
 Name: The Summer I Turned Pretty

Author: Jenny Han
Release Date: 5th May 2009
Date I finished it: 18th May 2012
Source: Paperback for review

I've heard nothing but good things about this series, and I really wanted to read it for myself. Although I'm not usually the biggest fan of summer reads, or YA romance (without any paranormal elements in it), after receiving all three books in the series for review, I decided to give them a shot.

This first book, The Summer I Turned Pretty follows 15 year old Belly (Isabel) as she begins another summer at the beach house with her mum, her brother, her mum's best friend and her two sons.
This summer is different from previous ones though, Belly is older, more mature, and this year she feels pretty. The two boys she usually spends her summers swimming and hanging out with are starting to see her differently.

I'll be honest, I thought this book would be a quick bit of fluff type read. Once I actually got into the story though I realised that there is actually much more to the story than that. I don't want to give too much away, but there is a lot more going on underneath the surface of the story.

I really liked the flashbacks to previous years spent at the beach house, throughout the book we see Belly and the boys at different stages of their lives. I liked getting to know more about the history they all share, and it made feel like I got to know the other characters better as well.
I liked Belly as the narrator for this book, she is likeable, funny, and I can see younger readers being able to easily relate to her.

I gave this book 4 stars, because I really enjoyed it.
Like I said, it wouldn't be classed as one of my favourite genres, but I am really glad I gave it a shot. It really surprised me, and I'm looking forward to reading more about Belly and her boys.
I will be carrying on with this series, so keep an eye out for reviews on the rest of the series!

Thanks again to Razor Bill for sending me these to review!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Sweet Evil UK Giveaway!

Sweet Evil (The Sweet Trilogy, #1)

I am giving away 1 brand new copy of Sweet Evil via Amazon.
Sorry this giveaway is UK only, but I will have an international giveaway coming in a few days :)

Review: Venom (Elemental Assassin #3) - Jennifer Estep

Venom (Elemental Assassin, #3)

Name: Venom (Elemental Assassin #3)
Author: Jennifer Estep
Release Date: 28th September 2010
Date I finished it: 20th May 2012
Source: Audio book 

Be warned - this review will have a few spoilers

As most of you who follow my reviews and reading habits will probably know by now, I am in love with this series!
This is book three, and once again I listened to it on audio. I really love my audio-books, especially after a long day at work when I'm too tired to read, I just need to put on my ipod, close my eyes and I'm swept away into a new world!

First of all I want to talk about the cover for this book, I love the change from the red/orange theme of the first two books, the blue/purple really suits the mood of this book.

Anyway this time around things take a bit of a strange turn for Gin, the city's new detective and Gin's long lost sister Bria, has been trying to find out who killed her family. Completely unknown to her that Gin is her sister, she finds herself in Mab's bad books for digging up the past. When giant's attack her at home, Gin is the one to come to her rescue, but like before she isn't ready to reveal who she really is yet!
I really wish Gin would just tell Bria who she is, I can see why Estep is dragging it out, but the suspense is killing me! I just want them to be a happy family for once!

The main plot line in this book revolves around Roslyn, who is being terrorised in her own night club by Elliot Slater, Mab's right hand man. Gin agrees to help her out, but also knows that going up against Elliot is a declaration of war against Mab, the most powerful fire elemental in town, who also happens to be the person who killed Gin's mother and older sister years ago.
Gin must come up with a way to save Roslyn, kill Slater and not get herself killed in the process!

There was a bit too much repetition in this book for me, things that had been told or explained in the previous two books cropped up again in this one.
I usually don't mind it, as it is nice to have a quick refresher now and again, but this time as I'm listening to the series back to back, it did get to be a bit annoying.

I gave this book 5 stars, to me this is the best book in the series (so far). 
You can see a clear turning point in Gin's life and the decisions she is making in Venom. I especially loved the ending, all I can say about it is WOW!
I loved her conversation with Mab, I loved the way Gin had everything planned out perfectly, and how it all came together.
Honestly, Jennifer Estep is fast becoming one of my all time favourite authors, with each book in this series the writing, plot and character development just gets better and better.

I need to keep going with this series now as I am well and truly hooked!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Review: Web of Lies (Elemental Assassin #2) - Jennifer Estep

Web of Lies (Elemental Assassin, #2)

Name: Web of Lies (Elemental Assassin #2)
Author: Jennifer Estep
Release Date: 25th May 2010
Date I finished it: 19th April 2012
Source: Audio book 

After I finished Spider's Bite, I had to keep going with this series!
Web of Lies is the second book in Jennifer's Elemental Assassin series.

Once again, straight from page one I was hooked on this plot!
The book opens up with Gin's restaurant being robbed, something she finds rather funny being an a bad ass assassin, that is until one of the robbers turns out to be a fire elemental, then the real show down begins!
This is only one of many action packed scenes in the book, but I just love how these books start with something that draws you in from the very beginning!

In this book we get to see a different side to Gin, when an old friend of Fletcher's asks for her help it stirs up a lot of memories about her own past.
We see a caring and loving side to Gin, which we didn't get to see much of in Spider's Bite. 
I really liked these scenes in the book, it shows that even though Gin is an assassin. She's still human, she has feelings and she has limits as well.

I'll be honest, I think I actually preferred this book to Spider's Bite, now that I've got to know Gin, I'm starting to love her as a main character!
She really is one of my top book heroines ever, coming a very close second to Richelle Mead's Georgina Kincaid and Eugenie Markham. And those who know me, know that I could gush for hours over those two fictional women. Gin Blanco is definitely one to keep my eye on!

Jennifer Estep's writing style is growing on me more and more.
Even though I listened to this as an audio-book, and will probably keep listening to the whole series on audio (I really love the woman's voice who reads it!). Estep manages to mix really good, action packed fight scenes, witty dialogue and even murder into these books, but still keep parts of it light hearted, funny and best of all enjoyable to read!

Now I am just looking forward to starting the next book in the series!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Weekly Additions #2

Welcome to the second edition of Weekly Editions!
Where I showcase all the books I got in the previous week!

So here is what I got this past week:

For Review: 
Deadly Hemlock - Kathleen Peacock (got this last week but forgot to photograph it!)

Blood Red Road - Moira Young (got this last week but forgot to photograph it!)
Insurgent (Divergent #2) - Veronica Roth
Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades of Grey #2) - E.L. James
Fifty Shades Freed (Fifty Shades of Grey #3) - E.L. James

Review: Spider's Bite (Elemental Assassin #1) - Jennifer Estep

Spider's Bite (Elemental Assassin, #1)
Name: Spider's Bite (Elemental Assassin #1)
Author: Jennifer Estep
Release Date: 26th Jan 2010
Date I finished it: 15th March 2012
Source: Audio book 

Spider's Bite is the first book in the Elemental Assassin series by Jennifer Estep.
I have heard a lot about Jennifer's YA series Mythos Academy and they are on my list to read soon, but when I saw this book available as an audio book I decided to go ahead and give it a try!

Spider's Bite follows Gin Blanco, otherwise known as the Spider, a deadly assassin for hire. But when Gin is double crossed and finds out her handler, Fletcher has been tortured and murdered Gin sets out to find the truth about what happened and will stop at nothing to track down and kill the person responsible.

I think that this series is starting to become one of my favourite adult paranormals. There is so much depth and intrigue packed into every page, twists and turns around every corner and one very kick-ass heroine that manages to snare you into her world from the very start!

I really loved how this book manages to both set the scene for this new world Jennifer Estep has created as well as tell the readers an awesome story.
In Gin's world vampires, giants, elemental magic and even dwarfs are the norm. 
The main character, Gin is what really makes the book.
We see glimpses into her past and come to realise just how she has wound up as the most deadly assassin around. She is witty, quick thinking and smart. I know that if I was even in a jam, Gin would be the one I'd be calling on to help me out! As the story progresses, you just can't help but to root for her!
As the plot unfolds, the reader is thrown into even more unexpected twists and more of the truth about Gin's tragic childhood comes to light.

Overall, 4/5 stars I really loved this book, it ticked all the right boxes for me and I can't wait to start with the second one!
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