Friday, July 29, 2011

Follow Friday #4

Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee

This week's question is
Let's step away from books for a second and get personal.
What T-Shirt slogan best describes you?

I think this T-Shirt pretty much sums me up perfectly!

Updated review policy

I have updated my review policy which is here
The main changes are to review requests from indie/self published authors.
From now on I will have a certain amount of spots open every month for reviews, once they are filled thats it sorry, no more for that month!

With the one exception being to self published authors I have previously worked with. If they ask for a review, they will probably get it (especially in the case of a book series), regardless of how many spots are still open for that month.

As much as I really want to and try to support self published authors and help to get their work the recognition they deserve. I am just one person. I have other published books that I enjoy and want to read, I have an ever growing pile of review copies from publishers, and I also have other interests outside of reading and book blogging which have been pretty much been put on hold for the last few months while BelleBooks really started to take off.
Now that my blog is a bit more established, I feel that this is the time to take a step back and this is the way that I am going to do it.

I hope you can all understand and respect my decision and the new review guidelines for the blog. Hopefully from now on I won't feel under so much pressure and can get back into reading for enjoyment rather than feeling like I have to read this in one day to get a review posted!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Review: How to Ruin A Summer Vacation (How to Ruin #1) - Simone Elkeles

Name: How to Ruin a Summer Vacation (How to Ruin #1)

Author: Simone Elkeles

General Release Date: 1st October 2006

Date I finished it: 8th July 2011

Type: Book

From: My library

My Rating: 4/5 stars

How to Ruin a Summer Vacation is pretty much what you would imagine, a easy, quick, light-hearted and fun read. Ideal for summer in my opinion!

The book follows 16 year old Amy who has a pretty average life until a phone call from her father changes her world upside down for the rest of the summer.

Amy ends up spending the summer in Israel with her father and his family, rather than going to summer camp with her friends like she was planning. And to make it even worse she hardly even talks to never mind see's her father, knows nothing about his family in Israel and doesn't speak a word of Hebrew!
Things go from bad to worse when Amy see's her "accommodation" for the summer. It's certainly not the 5 star hotel she was expecting, throw in a bitchy cousin and a grandmother who didn't even know she existed and she is off to a great start with her new relatives!!

I did really enjoy this book, it is very short, straightforward and easy to get into. Amy's story captures the reader right from page one and drags them into the rest of the story.
It is a story about growing up, falling in love and learning who you really are and where you fit in.

I'm really looking forward to reading the second book in this series now!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Siren - Tricia Rayburn

Name: Siren

Author: Tricia Rayburn

General Release Date: 3rd Feburary 2011

Date I finished it: 29th June 2011

Type: Book

From: My library

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Siren follows seventeen year old Vanessa and her family as they set out for their annual vacation in a small seaside town.
Tragedy strikes the family when Vanessa's older sisters body washes up on the shore and she is only the first in a long line of water related deaths in the area. People are washing up on shore almost everyday and their bodies are always grinning ear to ear.

Vanessa decides to do some investigating of her own and realises that her sister kept secrets from her, massive secrets! Digging a little deeper Vanessa soon discovers the truth about the sleepy little town of Winter Harbour.
Soon the race is on, not only to get some closure for her sister's death, but also to protect the residents of Winter Harbour and protect her friends from these creepy going-ons thats happening.

At first I found Siren quite difficult to get into, it took me about 3 days just to get past the first 5 chapters. I don't know why that is, but I am really glad I stuck with it because the book really picks up about halfway through.
Vanessa is a very well written character, I found myself cheering her on or shouting at her asking "why are you not doing something?!". She is a very life like and believable character.

I really enjoyed this book, especially the murder mystery feel to it before Vanessa discovers what is really happening. It was almost as if anyone could be the next victim and you wanted to read as quickly as you could to fins out who was going to be next.

I've heard talk of a second book, I'm not entirely sure if this is true or not. To be honest I haven't looked into it yet. I'm not entirely sure what a second book would have to say about the story, as for me this book was all wrapped up at the end.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Along For The Ride Giveaway!

I know I've not been keeping this blog up to date recently, I've just been super busy with work.
To say sorry I am going to have a giveaway!

So what can you win?

There are 3 copies of Sarah Dessen's Along For The Ride up for grabs!
This giveaway is open to UK residents only and will run from today 17th July till the 31st of July and the winner will be announced on the 1st of August!
You must be a blog follower to enter, and there are extra entries as well for those who want an extra chance of winning!

Good luck everyone, and again I am really sorry I've not been around much!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Review: Ashes Ashes - Jo Treggiari

Name: Ashes Ashes

Author: Jo Treggiari

General Release Date: 1st June 2011

Date I finished it: 19th June 2011

Type: Audiobook


My Rating: 4/5 stars

I listened to this as an audiobook and absolutely loved it!
The story follows sixteen year old Lucy living in New York after a virus has killed off 99% of the world's population.

Lucy is a survivor, living alone in the woods and barely getting by. When a pack of dogs chase her one day a boy called Aiden comes to her rescue. Aiden lives in a camp a few miles away, but Lucy has lived on her own for so long it would be strange to go back with him and live among other human beings again.

When she sees a tsunami which will wipe out her little hut she has called home for months now, Lucy has no choice but to head to high land. And with high land comes Aiden and his camp.
And with the camp comes new dangers, Sweepers.

Sweepers work for what is left of the government, rounding up people to run tests on them in order to understand why they survived the virus. Lucy soon finds herself stuck in an impossible situation and finally realises that she herself might be important in the search for a cure for the virus.

Throughout the book there are little flashbacks to the time before the virus, and you get to see what life was like for Lucy before. The reader gets to meet her family who were all wiped out from the virus. I really enjoyed this, as to me it was as if the book was telling both sides to the story, the before and after the virus hit.

The book left me completely gobsmacked, I really did not see that one coming at all! I cannot wait to read more of Lucy's story to find out what will happen next!

Teaser Tuesday #10

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share one or two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other Teaser Tuesday participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

1. "Holy Shit. You got in, didn't you? He sounds quiet, and I wonder if he's annoyed, but then he says, Jenna! Tell me you got in!"

2. "She was looking at that one bottle of nail polish, holding it up in the air in her hand and studying it and at the same time, she used her other hand to knock a bottle into her purse."

Monday, July 11, 2011

Once Upon a Read-a-Thon

Once Upon a Read-a-Thon

I am taking part in another read-a-thon over the next couple of days!

I have picked out some books that I want to try to get through during this read-a-thon:

Sticky Fingers - Niki Burnham
Inside Out - Maria V Snyder
Chime - Franny Billingsley
Some Girls Are - Courtney Summers
Two Way Street - Lauren Barnholdt

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Burn The Night Giveaway Winners

The two winners who have bagged themselves a signed copy of Burn the night are:

Lucy (The Secret Life of Books)
Crystal ♥

Congrats to the both of you!
I will pass on your address to Jocelynn who is posting the books out!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Forest of the Hands and Teeth Winner!

The winner of Forest of the Hands and Teeth is....

Angela Moore

please email me your home address [bellebooksATgmailDOTcom]
and I will get it posted out this week!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Guest Post and Giveaway from Jocelynn Drake!

I am very happy to have a guest post today from Jocelynn Drake, author of the Dark Days series!

Today Jocelynn is going to talk about some of her characters from the Dark Days series

A Visit with Old Friends

I started writing what would become Nightwalker: The First Book in the Dark Days Series close to seven years ago. On June 28, 2011, Burn the Night: The Final Book in the Dark Days Series was released, bringing to a close a fantastic journey with a number of characters that I would now consider to be close friends. I’d like to take this time to visit with some of these characters and look back at their growth.

Mira: I’ve known Mira for years. We got to know each other well before I even started writing Nightwalker. I could see her dancing through my brain, but she wasn’t very clear. I tried her out in different bits of fan fiction that I would occasionally write. In those stories she moved from witch to vampire to elf. She was violent and tortured and more than a little sarcastic. But the important thing was that she was strong, and I felt that she could take whatever I threw at her.

I think the thing that always surprised me with Mira is her capacity to love. Mira was beaten, tortured, and betrayed by people she loved and trusted, and yet she never seemed to hesitate to risk her heart on someone. She loved even when common sense said that it was suicidal. Maybe it was born from her father’s unflinching love of her and his sacrifice to keep her safe. Maybe it was just something in her soul that kept her searching for love in a dark world. Or maybe it was because she encountered creatures that were so starved for love that she couldn’t stop herself. I don’t know, but the Dark Days world is a better place because of her.

Danaus: I found the vision of my lovely Danaus while flipping through a video game review magazine one day. I carefully ripped out the ad and ran to my office where I quickly started typing. I still have that image sitting next to me on my desk. When I was attending conferences, trying to sell Nightwalker, I would tape the image of Danaus up on the mirror in my hotel room and use it as a constant reminder to remain focused on my goal. It was as if it wasn’t about me. It was about telling his story. I had to tell the world about Danaus and Mira. He will continue to be the driving force behind my writing even after I’ve stopped typing his name. His image symbolizes perseverance, determination, and focus. It symbolizes passion and love.

Danaus only surprised me in Pray for Dawn. It was always difficult to get him to talk and even more difficult to get him to tell a whole book. But was surprised me most was his interaction with Lily. Before that book, he was always the warrior, endeavoring to protect the weak and helpless. When he met Lily, I think for the first time in a very long time Danaus considered what it might be like to put down his sword and have a normal life. He thought about having a family and the warm comfort that came with such a life. I think it was the first time he thought about what he had missed out on.

Tristan: Tristan isn’t a favorite character of readers, but he will always be one of my favorites. He was the boy who lived. I had created him purely as a better way of describing Sadira, but when I closed Nightwalker, I was stunned to find that he was still alive. To me, that proved that he had more inner strength that people would see at first glance. I think in many ways Tristan was what Mira had been centuries ago when she had escaped Sadira. She was weak and vulnerable and in desperate need of protection and guidance. Mira sees herself in Tristan and that’s why she takes him in. I always saw such promise in Tristan. He had a good, wise old soul but a battered, wounded psyche. In time, he could have become great, but I just wasn’t able to give him that time.

Valerio: I am always surprised to find how much readers love Valerio. He’s a slippery, sexy devil that can’t be trusted under any circumstances. There’s no doubt that he loves Mira very much, but he will always act to protect himself above all else. I love his smoothness, the fact that he can’t be ruffled by anything. You get the feeling when you meet him that he’s seen it all, done it all, and has the T-shirt packed in the back of his luxurious walk-in closet. Valerio is that piece of chocolate that you can’t turn down. Pure temptation. And I love him. I’ve got some vague notes for his own story. I would like to give him someone to fill his heart. He’s had a hole growing in his heart ever since he and Mira went their separate ways. He needs to meet someone that will make the world new again.

Ryan: There are four family names that are very dear to my heart that I work into many of the things that I write. “Ryan” happens to be one of those names. I am very careful about the characters that receive those names. The characters aren’t really a reflection on their benefactors, but it’s more that those characters have a special place in my heart. No matter what I did with Ryan, I always felt like he had a secret agenda that he wasn’t willing to tell even me. Ryan was both older and more powerful that anyone ever knew. He was similar to Jabari in many ways because he wasn’t above manipulating people to get what he wanted. Both characters also believed that what they were doing wasn’t particularly selfish, but what needed to be done because it was for the best. Ryan wasn’t to be trusted. But where Jabari was cruel and vicious, Ryan was cool and reasonable. He would rather use logic to sway you to his
way of thinking than force. I would have liked to spend more time with Ryan, but he was dangerous to be around.

Thanks for spending this time with me. I’ve enjoyed this walk down memory lane with some of my favorite characters. This is just a small glimpse of who you will meet in the Dark Days series. I’ve closed the door on the series, but I miss them all. I miss Gabriel, Knox, Amanda, Barrett, Archie, Alexandra, Jabari, James, Sadira, Michael, Macaire, Shelley, Rowe, Cynnia, and Nyx. But most of all, I miss Mira and Danaus.

And now it is giveaway time!

Jocelynn has been amazing and is going to donate two signed copies of Burn The Night to my lucky followers!

The giveaway is INTERNATIONAL!
You need to be a blog follower to enter, and I will be checking!
What are you wating for...all you have to do is fill out THIS FORM

Giveaway will run from 1/7/11-8/7/11
Two winners will be announced on the 9/7/11

Follow Friday #3

Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee
This weeks question is:
Your favourite book/movie character (example Hermoine Granger played by the Emma chick) just walked into the room! Who is it and what would be your first reaction?

I have too many to pick just one!! Gosh this is hard!
If I have to pick just one I think it would have to be Katniss from The Hunger Games books.
My first reaction would be "OHHHHH MYYYY GODDDDDDD It's Katniss!"
I would probably stare at her and stalk follow her around the room for a bit before asking for a photo with her.
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