Monday, 31 August 2015

Counting Stars by Keris Stainton

Big city, big dreams, no money, no problem...

Six 'friends', one flat, big dreams... what could go wrong? When eighteen-year-old Anna leaves school and moves to Liverpool, she feels like her life is finally beginning. She's landed her dream job at a theatre, and she's moving into an exciting (if not slightly run-down) flat on a buzzing street lined with shops, bars, and buskers. Best of all, her new flatmates are kind, welcoming and a lot of fun - what more could she ask for?

But although her new life is fun, it's also a little overwhelming. Anna's job quickly falls through, and then she realises that although her new friends are great, they're also a little mixed-up... and it's not long before Anna starts using her blog to talk about her experiences, from the hilarious to the ridiculous to the little-bit-scary. But when Anna spills a bigger secret than she can handle, suddenly the consequences are all too real. She'll have to prove she has the mettle to make it in the big city, or risk losing everything she thinks she wants.


I was so impressed with Keris' latest novel, it was funny and raw and heartfelt and so well balanced. It tells of Anna moving to Liverpool, moving out of her childhood home and starting an exciting new job in the big city. However, things aren't that great; her job isn't there waiting for her anymore due to hiring freeze, she's terribly homesick and embarrassed and so annoyed. Not that I blame her, her perfect new start was pulled out from under her feet. But Anna does an admirably job of taking life's lemons and all that.

It was such a great coming of age novel, as Anna is out in the grown up world for the first time and navigating brand new friendships and relationships. Speaking of, straight from the offset, it was very honest in its portrayal of adult relationships, and very funny too, banishing those silly myths of perfect love. Right from the new house-mate dinner where they shared stories of embarrassing first times, I knew Keris would be brutally honest about love and sex. And I loved that!

The variety of characters, all the house-mates, was amazing. They all seemed like their own person, with histories and complications and as Anna got to know them all, we saw more to them than meets the eye. Anna finds her place in her new home, becomes stronger and more confident in herself and her capabilities, and makes some true friends. A brilliant story about growing up, love and first times, and trusting yourself. 

Published 3rd September 2015 by Hot Key Books. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Weekly Highlights: the 'September TBR' edition



Weekly Highlights is a feature borrowed from Faye of A Daydreamer's Thoughts, where I get to highlight my posts of the week, show you my new books and talk about bookish things!

I'm getting into the swing of balancing a new job and volunteering and everything! Even with only 10 hours a week, I'm really happy at my new job and am looking forward to new challenges and hopefully picking up some more hours. Alongside that, I've done my last shift for the SRC at my library with is kinda sad but I had loads of finishers which is great. 


On The Blog
Blog Tour: Here Be Dragons
Review of Trouble Is A Friend Of Mine by Stephanie Tromly (4 stars)

Currently Reading
Playlist for a Broken Heart - details below - is really easy to read and nice and simple, just what I need at the moment. I'm expecting to fly through it this weekend.

On My Bookshelf
This Is Not A Love Story by Keren David
Kitty dreams of a beautiful life, but that's impossible in suburban London where her family is haunted by her father's unexpected death. So when her mum suggests moving to Amsterdam to try a new life, Kitty doesn't take much persuading. Will this be her opportunity to make her life picture perfect? 

In Amsterdam she meets moody, unpredictable Ethan, and clever, troubled Theo. Two enigmatic boys, who each harbour their own secrets. In a beautiful city and far from home, Kitty finds herself falling in love for the first time. 

But will love be everything she expected? And will anyone's heart survive?


A request from the library, I read and finished it as soon as I got it on Monday. It was really good, I loved the setting in Amsterdam and the set up of before and after. Review will be up soon.

The Secret Fire by CJ Daugherty
French teen Sacha Winters can't die. He can throw himself off a roof, be stabbed, even shot, and he will always survive. Until the day when history and ancient enmities dictate that he must die. Worse still, his death will trigger something awful. Something deadly. And that day is closing in.

Taylor Montclair is a normal English girl, hanging out with her friends and studying for exams, until she starts shorting out the lights with her brain. She’s also the only person on earth who can save Sacha.

There’s only one problem: the two of them have never met. They live hundreds of miles apart and powerful forces will stop at nothing to keep them apart.

They have eight weeks to find each other.

Will they survive long enough to save the world?


I had actually forgotten I requested this but now I can finally read CJ Daugherty's new book! Thank you Netgalley!

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions. One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. 

Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined. 


I've heard so many great things about this book and this series, so when I was browsing the library, I had to pick it up.

Playlist For A Broken Heart by Cathy Hopkins
When Paige finds an old mix CD in a local charity shop, she can't help but wonder about the boy who made it and the girl he was thinking of when he chose the songs. The tracks tell the story of a boy looking for his perfect girl, a girl to understand him, a story of being alone, being let down, misunderstood and not knowing where to turn. 
Following the clues of the music, Paige sets out to find the mysterious boy, going from gig to gig and band to band, hoping to track him down. But will who she finds at the end of the trail, be the boy she's imagined?


Another library pick, I wanted something light hearted and quick to read.


September TBR
Surprisingly I'm already caught up with all my September review books, so the only review book I need to read it Illuminae, due to be published early October. I have these few library books and of course the last few books on my TBR: Everything, Everything and Ink and Bone. I've also treated myself to 2 new releases that I couldn't wait for: Lair of Dreams and Queen of Shadows. I should be picking them up this next week and will almost certainly read them straight away!

Friday, 28 August 2015

Trouble Is A Friend Of Mine by Stephanie Tromly

After her parents get divorced, high school junior Zoe Webster moves with her mother from Brooklyn to upstate New York, determined to get back to the city and transfer to the elite private school her father insists on. But then she meets Philip Digby--the odd and brilliant and somehow attractive?--Digby, and soon finds herself in a series of hilarious and dangerous situations all centered on his search for the kidnapper of a local teenage girl who may know something about the tragic disappearance of his kid sister eight years ago. Before she knows it, Zoe has vandalized an office complex with fake snow, pretended to buy drugs alongside a handsome football star dressed like the Hulk, had a serious throw down with a possible religious cult, challenged her controlling father, and, oh yeah, saved her new hometown.

Digby is a boy all of his own species; smart, quick thinking, impulsive, tiny bit insane. And new girl on the block Zoe gets caught up in his world when she moves to the neighborhood and Digby comes a-ringing. She can't help but be swept up with Digby's madness, it was addictive and strangely fun, if major trouble and with the threat of being arrested and/or killed. 

Digby is on the hunt for missing girl, with the possibility that her case will intersect with his little sister's disappearance several years ago. As with all good mysteries, things are uncovered along the way that you wouldn't expect, like the local doctor filming his unknowing patients or the friendly neighborhood cult selling drugs. Things get complicated but Digby, quick-thinking as ever, is always there to get them out of trouble. Most of the time. 

It was very quick and full of one liners and clever comebacks, however this book probably isn't for everyone. And although it did give me a slight headache trying to keep up, it made me laugh out loud and hold my breath. It was just so very funny and bizarre and I couldn't put it down. Just go into it with an open and sharp mind and you'll love it like I did.

Published 6th August 2015 by Hot Key Books. Thank you to the publisher for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Blog Tour: Here Be Dragons



Today we have post number two in Sarah's epic blog tour as she explains her motivation and writing method for Here Be Dragons, first book in her new series about Welsh dragons. Check out my review here and then read on! Take it away Sarah!

Go to the bottom of Sarah’s blog to see competition details

The HERE BE DRAGONS Blog Tour – Post Two: The Inciting Incident

And huge thanks to Anya of An Awful Lot of Reading for hosting my second post!

Hello and Welcome back to my Blog Tour for HERE BE DRAGONS, Book One in my new trilogy: THE SNOWDONIA CHRONICLES!

Welcome to Sarah’s journey of discovery in which Sarah interviews herself about:

Why she decided to write HERE BE DRAGONS in the first place.
a) Where she got the inspiration from.
b) Her whole mountain obsession thing
c) What she did in the way of research, and
d) How she actually wrote the book etc etc !



So right now if you were climbing Everest you would now be at:
Icefall, 5500 m - 6100 m / 18000 ft - 20000 ft.
This place is similar to a huge horror-chamber at an amusement park. Only this one is for real. There are countless scary things that can happen here.
A crevasse might open under you. An ice-pinnacle can fall on top of you. The entire area can collapse. It’s simply not a place for a picnic and most of us just concentrate on getting out of there as quickly as we possibly can.’

On my Blog Tour you are at the Inciting Incident. It is very like Icefall and not just because it begins with an “I”

You see I have structured my Blog Tour around the idea of how you actually structure a book! So Post One was about me finding The Hook, the background, the Set-up, the Buzz to get me through. But this post is about the Inciting Incident (The Three Act Structure…)

How does the Three Act Structure figure in this Sarah?

When I was first starting out as a writer, I thought I knew how to tell a great story. I thought I knew how to write it down too. I was totally sure I did - it must be just about as easy as buttering toast…

Wrong.

I realised my mistake as soon as I got started. I hit the Icefall hard. An ice pinnacle fell on my head and a crevasse opened up under my feet. Frankly, I had no idea about: tension, pace, voice, setting, structure, plot or character…

Need I go on?

Then I found a very helpful book on screen writing, which had a very easy to read diagram that looked exactly like a mountain. And I love mountains. So once I got hold of that shape and discovered The Three Act Structure, I was able then to put my ideas into some kind of shape too.

So I thought as mountain shapes are good for writing a book, they might also be good for writing a blog tour as well.

So ta-da! Here we go.

Okay, if the hook, the background was the mountains in Wales and trains and the mythology and the idea of dragons, then the Inciting Incident, of course, was actually starting out on my narrative, finding the exact right time and place to begin my story.


So where was that, then, Sarah?

Now as every writer knows, it's all very well to start a story at the start - with: ‘I woke up with a start.’ or “Wake up! Wake up! Its time to start getting up to go to school!” but we all know that that is not actually the best way to start a story.

According to age old wisdom – the very best way to start a story is, apparently, according to the Romans who obviously spoke in Latin is in medias res (in cool Roman-ish style writing) that means: in the middle of things. Not at the beginning like you’d think.


Well ‘In Medias Res’ is all very well – but in the middle of what? Obviously not in the middle of a boring conversation or in the middle of eating breakfast or in the middle of watching a soap opera, because those things don't start up or open a door or create a domino topple to get the story moving.


A good way to start the day, but not a story.

So I had to find somewhere to start ‘in the middle of things’ after/or before my hero, Ellie has seen the boy in the mist… that would be interesting and important enough to get the story moving (fingers crossed) and at the same time would hold my reader to the page, so they might want to know what might happen next.



Dragon in the mist – start here?

Or here?
Boy in the mist?

So I thought about putting some ideas into what I call my cauldron: my mental cooking pot. I put in the ideas of:
  • Ellie
  • the mountain
  • and winter (to get the mist – obvs)
  • mist
  • and snow (because I wanted this opening scene to be very much a death/like a death– so that I could start a rebirth story/new love/new life and what better than to set is around the time of the death of the old year when there is snow?) So into the pot went
  • near death
  • the winter solstice
  • Christmas
  • New Year
  • new beginnings
  • dragons
  • first love.

So with all these things, I started trying to think what might happen -  I needed something that would demand urgent action (plot is action – innit?) that might get the story going? (Of course, it would have to be a problem /something gone wrong, because as we all learn in nursery school that a story is a character plus a problem.)

So how did you solve that, Sarah?

Ah. Well into the pot I put: 
  • a problem
  • action
  • how they might solve it so what went wrong could get worse
  • in the middle of things
  • up a mountain 
  • a boy.

Then I had a jigsaw think. (Does that need explaining?)
And came up with - obviously, somebody could get lost, or they could be in danger on the mountain? Like mist=lost +snow=cold = freezing= death?
That seemed to me the most exciting and likely kind of opening ‘in Media Res’ that could happen on Snowdon.

Somebody is in danger, there on the mountain, lost in the snow, freezing to death.

Fabulous - that was really great because we know avalanches/mountain rescues etc do happen. So into the pot:
·         a mountain rescue
But who could be caught out in the snow? Ellie? The boy? Another?


Not Ellie, my main character, because she is a feisty girl of the mountains, so she's not going to be daft enough to be caught out needing to be rescued, is she?  Plus heroes don't need rescuing do they? So she has got to be part of the rescue team. She can go to do the rescue. *(That's great, except she is too young to be part of a proper search and rescue team – put on To Be Fixed later pile)

But excuse me, Sarah, who is she rescuing?

Don’t know.

And why would they be out on the mountain in the middle of winter all alone, so as to need rescuing?

Well that was my first challenge. If I knew that, if I could crack that, I would have a fantastic inciting incident to start my story off with. And I did crack it!

So here it is, the inciting incident, set in the prologue, a sneak preview of HERE BE DRAGONS.

Prepare yourself for a visit to Icefall.

‘The girl turns her face to the summit, above her the air shudders. Just thirty paces. If she can only reach the safety of the rocks. Heart pounding, blood hammering, she poises herself.
Run.
She races forward. She leaps from the ground, stumbles past the stony crags of the lair, bursts through the drifts of dark snow. The air shivers around her; she tears through it, swerves past the cliff edge above the llyn.
That dark fearful cliff edge.
An appalling shriek rents the air. The sound of teeth crashing, talons scraping. She imagines the yellow eyes searching for her. Soon they will know she’s gone. They will nose the air, catch her scent. Soon they will come for her.
Get to the rocks.
Steps crash behind her, mighty footfalls. She hears ragged breath at her back. A fetid stench slams into the dawn. They are coming.
Up ahead the rocky cave opens. Ten metres away. Ten metres of cliff edge. She weaves in between the clumps of snow-bound heather, ducking, leaping, twisting. The ground is icy, smooth, treacherous. She slips, rights herself. A booming, a shrieking tears at her ears.
They know she’s gone.
Just one chance now.
Just run
Just pray.
Just make it away from the old fortress of Dinas Emrys.
A deafening roar splits the dawn.
Hurry
She sprints. The path turns. She skids out of control. She’s falling. She screams; her arms outstretched. She hits the ground, tumbles forward.
“Help!” she cries weakly, “Oh somebody help me!”
And the earth beneath her feet gives way. Heart bursting, body falling, twisting, turning, down she plummets over the icy cliff edge.
Down into the gully beneath.’


Thank you so much for hosting my Blog Tour. See you all at Camp 1, Valley of Silence
6100 m - 6400 m / 20000 - 21000 ft.
in Blog Post Three. Once there, we will look again at structure and see how I handle the First Turning Point in HERE BE DRAGONS.

XXX Sarah


To be in with a chance of winning a copy of Sarah’s book, answer this question: who is Ellie’s best friend? The answer can be found by following this link: https://www.v-publishing.co.uk/books/categories/fiction/here-be-dragons.html.
Email your answer to info@v-publishing.co.uk and one winner will be picked at random each week of Sarah’s blog tour.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Weekly Highlights: the 'New Job' edition



Weekly Highlights is a feature borrowed from Faye of A Daydreamer's Thoughts, where I get to highlight my posts of the week, show you my new books and talk about bookish things!

So, the main and most important exciting thing from this week is that I've started my new job! I'm doing 2 days a week of training for a few weeks before starting my regular weekend hours. So I've done 2 half days and I've learned loads about behind the scenes of libraries and dealing with customers and cheating ways of sorting books and it's been so much fun!

On The Blog
Review of The Name of the Blade trilogy by Zoe Marriott (5 stars)
Blog Tour: review of Becoming Death by Melissa Brown (3 stars)
Review of The Good Girls by Sara Shepard (4 stars)

Currently Reading
Fans of the Impossible Life - just over a third of the way through right now, it's really interesting to see different styles and characters work alongside other. 

On My Bookshelf
Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres has an open-door policy when it comes to her bedroom, but only if the guy fulfills a specific criteria: he has to be a virgin. Mercedes lets the boys get their awkward, fumbling first times over with, and all she asks in return is that they give their girlfriends the perfect first time- the kind Mercedes never had herself.

Keeping what goes on in her bedroom a secret has been easy- so far. Her absentee mother isn’t home nearly enough to know about Mercedes’ extracurricular activities, and her uber-religious best friend, Angela, won’t even say the word “sex” until she gets married. But Mercedes doesn’t bank on Angela’s boyfriend finding out about her services and wanting a turn- or on Zach, who likes her for who she is instead of what she can do in bed.

When Mercedes’ perfect system falls apart, she has to find a way to salvage her reputation and figure out where her heart really belongs in the process. Funny, smart, and true-to-life, FIRSTS is a one-of-a-kind young adult novel about growing up.


Oh God, doesn't this sound hilarious? I couldn't resist, I'm really excited to see how this is going to work! Thank you Netgalley and St Martin's Griffin!

Friday, 21 August 2015

The Good Girls by Sara Shepard

Mackenzie, Ava, Caitlin, Julie, and Parker have done some not-so-perfect things. Even though they all talked about killing rich bully Nolan Hotchkiss, they didn't actually go through with it. It's just a coincidence that Nolan died in exactly the way they planned . . . right? Except Nolan wasn't the only one they fantasized about killing. When someone else they named dies, the girls wonder if they're being framed. Or are they about to become the killer's next targets? 

Second and, I think, final book in The Perfectionists series, it's been a while since I read book one so details were foggy. But Shepard did write a clever little prologue, which went back to the original discussion that started it all, that really helped and everything came flooding back.

Still following each girl as they try and piece together what has happened, not be the next target or suspect. There were a few more killings as well as interrogations but the suspect list was getting shorter and yet more confusing. 

The ending was such an epic twist! I had run out of guesses in the first book, more than happy to just go along for the ride, but when its revealed: holy crap! It was concluded but with an open ending. I'm actually kinda happy with that, the killer was caught (sort of) but there's a possibility for more mayhem in another book. 

Basically it's all paranoia and suspicion and the girls turning on each other. It was really fun to read and I am ever so glad the killer was revealed, plus with a clever twist that kind of knocked me over! A good and mostly rounded off conclusion to their story. 

Published 2nd July 2015 by Hot Key Books. Thank you to the publisher for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Becoming Death by Melissa Brown


Ever since her father's demise, Madison Clark knew death had her number. After losing her first job, she is ushered into the cryptic family business. Little does she know her family is hiding a dark secret; they are grim reapers, custodians of souls on their journey to the beyond. Madison expects her historic legacy to have benefits beyond immortality. What she doesn't expect is to still be struggling for cash while reaping souls on the side.

As if being Death's minion wasn't strenuous enough, Madison finds herself back at school with her worst enemy studying the ancient rules, methods and paperwork of her vocation. In a cascade of life changes: her best friend admits he’s in love with her and she starts a new job as a professional mourner, but she can’t help thinking her family might have other secrets. 

Just when things are finally starting to feel normal again Death throws her a curveball: her next victim is her best friend. Madison must find a way to overcome the strict guidelines of being a grim reaper in order to save his life.


At 18, Madison really doesn't know where her life is going next but taking up the family business of taking souls was not what she expected! Understandably, she has trouble adjusting to her new job, it's violent and strange and terribly sad, but she's got to do it. Brown had a very odd way of setting it, with rules, classes, paperwork, hierarchy, just like a real business, even "Mr D" has an office! 

It was a very cool, if morbid, premise and for the most part it was handled pretty well. Not how I thought it was going to play out but good none the less. However, it could have been flushed out a lot more, and even only at 200-odd pages, some things were skipped over and I ended up a little lost. But it did have a good mix of creepy, sad and gruesome with funny, light and normal family drama. 

There is also a tour-wide giveaway! You could win a prettiful necklace as well as a copy of the book! Just click here to enter!

Published 12th June 2015. Thank you to the author for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, 17 August 2015

The Name Of The Blade trilogy by Zoe Marriott


When fifteen year old Mio Yamato furtively sneaks the katana - an ancestral Japanese sword - out of its hiding place in her parent's attic to help liven up her Christmas party costume, she has no idea of the darkness she is about to unleash on modern day London, or the family secrets that she is going to uncover.

The paralysing paranoia that descends on her before she gets to her friend's party is her first clue. The vivid and terrifying visions that nearly get her killed are a pretty good warning too.

The giant nine-tailed cat demon that comes after the sword and tries to rip her throat out? Overkill.

Seconds away from becoming kitty-food, Mio is saved by Shinobu, a mysterious warrior boy. But it's already too late. Mio has ruptured the veil between the mortal realm and the Underworld, and now the gods and monsters of ancient Japan stalk the streets of London, searching for her and the sword. 

With the help of her best friend Jack, a fox spirit named Hikaru - and the devoted protection of the betwitchingly familiar Shinobu - Mio attempts to discover the true nature of the sword and its connection to the Yamato family. Because if she doesn't learn how to control the katana's incredible powers, she's in danger of being overwhelmed by them. And if she can't keep the sword safe from the terrible creatures who want it for their own, she'll lose not only her own life... but the love of a lifetime.


Ah, another trilogy full review! And this was one incredible trilogy! You know how some, especially the middle book, can feel like filler? That was not the case here, every page seemed to have a point, even if the point was to make the reader giggle or some down time for the protagonist. 

Amazingly simple thing, accidentally unlocking the sword's power - the trouble was stuffing it back in! When Mio unleashes an ancient and dark battle for power, she takes it one step at a time to figure out a way to stop the world from ending. She and the gang were fighting demons on the London streets, trying to cure a deadly plague from one touch of a demonic feather, and stop the ancient gods of Japan. To succeed, Mio has to sacrifice too much; the boy she loves, the safety of her family and sometimes her mind. It was all a little complicated but I adored the mixture of old Japanese traditions and battling them on new streets.

Mio was damn adorable. Only half aware of her heritage, she was easy to relate to with her parent troubles, a mental best friend, and of course her reaction to everything when it hit the fan: to try not to cry! Even when the katana was trying to possess her, Mio kept her head... mostly. Yeah, she was totally winging it, but she had that inner strength to help her through, and the support of her friends, and later, parents. 

Speaking of, Marriott gave us some amazing characters - the best friend and upstairs neighbour Jack, goth girl extraordinaire; Shinobu, the boy who should't exist; and Hikaru, magical fox boy with extra charm. Then of course things get a little complicated, like Mio and Shinobu are even more intertwined than previously thought and Hikaru might actually be perfect for Jack after all! 

I loved this series. I took a bit of a gamble, buying all 3 books without knowing hardly anything about them, but I got an amazing urban fantasy with kick-ass and witty characters and a well paced and thought-out story line. Highly recommended. 

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Weekly Highlights: the 'Bleurgh' edition



Weekly Highlights is a feature borrowed from Faye of A Daydreamer's Thoughts, where I get to highlight my posts of the week, show you my new books and talk about bookish things!

While my fiancĂ© was away visiting friends this week, I had loads of things planned; I was going to volunteer, go shopping, have days out with my family. But no, I spent all of Sunday night throwing up! So yeah, not a lot happened - this was my first time ever to get food poisoning and it completely killed me and has taken me all week to get back to normal. Hence the radio silence on the blog and twitter.


On The Blog
Review of Crow Mountain by Lucy Inglis (5 stars)

Currently Reading
The Game of Love and Death - I've heard mixed things about this so I'm looking forward to finding out for myself!

On My Bookshelf
All Of The Above by James Dawson
When sixteen-year-old Toria Bland arrives at her new school she needs to work out who her friends are in a crazy whirl of worry, exam pressure and anxiety over fitting in. Things start looking up when Toria meets the funny and foul-mouthed Polly, who's the coolest girl that Toria has ever seen. Polly and the rest of the 'alternative' kids take Toria under their wing. And that's when she meets the irresistible Nico Mancini, lead singer of a local band - and it's instalove at first sight! Toria likes Nico, Nico likes Toria, but then there's Polly ... love and friendship have a funny way of going round in circles.

I just missed the chance to get a physical copy, which I would love for my collection, but I did get a review copy on Netgalley. I am extremely excited to see what Dawson has up his sleeve next! Thank you Hot Key!

Monday, 10 August 2015

Crow Mountain by Lucy Inglis

While on holiday in Montana, Hope meets local boy Cal Crow, a ranch hand. Caught in a freak accident, the two of them take shelter in a mountain cabin where Hope makes a strange discovery. More than a hundred years earlier, another English girl met a similar fate. Her rescuer: a horse-trader called Nate.

In this wild place, both girls learn what it means to survive and to fall in love, neither knowing that their fates are intimately entwined.
 


Firstly: oh my gods! After the slightly disappointing story of Inglis' first novel City of Halves, I wasn't all too sure about this. But very quickly I realised that her writing style and pace had improved but not lost her love and knowledge of history. 

I started preferring Hope's story to Emily's, as it was the modern one, but very quickly I fell completely in love with Emily and Nate. Both couples were somewhat forced together but came to love each other because of who they were, what they had to survive together, and understand each other's perspectives. 

Both girls stories were so romantic, proper sweeping, whole hearted romance with great build up and epic landscapes. Set in Montana, this was perfect for both girls. Cut off from everything, even in modern times, you were really one with nature and had to depend on the land, like the original pioneers. I so felt for Emily, her circumstances were not the best but her parents wanted her to be happy. It was also shocking to believe they were pushing her into marriage without explaining, well anything! Like a different world, the past; the historical research was evident in Emily's story, from her arranged marriage to the Native American tribes.

I was happily surprised by how much I loved this. I fell completely in love, like you wouldn't believe, with Emily and Nate. And the connection with the modern story, Cal's family history, Hope's mirrored part - just excellent story telling. I think I have a new favourite historical romance!

Published 3rd September 2015 by Chicken House. Thank you to the publisher for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Weekly Highlights: the 'I Want A Kitten' edition


Weekly Highlights is a feature borrowed from Faye of A Daydreamer's Thoughts, where I get to highlight my posts of the week, show you my new books and talk about bookish things! 

Another rather uneventful week. I've been volunteering at the library and at BHF, which is always fun. I saw my oldest best friend from school on Wednesday and she bought her new kitten over, who is the cutest thing! Great entertainment as she fought herself in the mirror. And as for reading, recently I've been on a bit of a Marvel kick and read quite a few graphic novels in that universe which I might talk about next week. 


On The Blog
Review of The Diviners by Libba Bray (5 stars)
Review of Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne (5 stars)
Review of Here Be Dragons by Sarah Mussi (4 stars)

Currently Reading
Finished The Name of the Blade trilogy, which was just incredible! Now I've just started The Good Girls, the sequel to The Perfectionists. Details from the first book are a little fuzzy but things are coming back - I'm really looking forward to some answers!

On My Bookshelf
The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough
Antony and Cleopatra. Helen of Troy and Paris. Romeo and Juliet. And now . . . Henry and Flora.

For centuries Love and Death have chosen their players. They have set the rules, rolled the dice, and kept close, ready to influence, angling for supremacy. And Death has always won. Always.

Could there ever be one time, one place, one pair whose love would truly tip the balance?

Meet Flora Saudade, an African-American girl who dreams of becoming the next Amelia Earhart by day and sings in the smoky jazz clubs of Seattle by night. Meet Henry Bishop, born a few blocks and a million worlds away, a white boy with his future assured — a wealthy adoptive family in the midst of the Great Depression, a college scholarship, and all the opportunities in the world seemingly available to him.

The players have been chosen. The dice have been rolled. But when human beings make moves of their own, what happens next is anyone’s guess.


I've been eyeing this up for ages but have been swayed by mixed reviews, so when I spotted a copy in the library, I had to find out for myself!

Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine
Knowledge is power. Power corrupts.

In a world where the ancient Great Library of Alexandria was never destroyed, knowledge now rules the world: freely available, but strictly controlled. Owning private books is a crime.

Jess Brightwell is the son of a black market smuggler, sent to the Library to compete for a position as a scholar... but even as he forms friendships and finds his true gifts, he begins to unearth the dark secrets of the greatest, most revered institution in the world.

Those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life - and soon both heretics and boooks will burn...
 


Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol
Anya could really use a friend. But her new BFF isn't kidding about the "Forever" part.
Of all the things Anya expected to find at the bottom of an old well, a new friend was not one of them. Especially not a new friend who’s been dead for a century.
Falling down a well is bad enough, but Anya's normal life might actually be worse. She's embarrassed by her family, self-conscious about her body, and she's pretty much given up on fitting in at school. A new friend—even a ghost—is just what she needs.
Or so she thinks. Spooky, sardonic, and secretly sincere, Anya's Ghost is a wonderfully entertaining debut from author/artist Vera Brosgol.


These two I treated myself to with a 10% off at Book Depository. Ink and Bone I've been looking forward to for months and Anya's Ghost was a surprise find but it's my name! I had to! 


The Good Girls by Sara Shepard
Mackenzie, Ava, Caitlin, Julie, and Parker have done some not-so-perfect things. Even though they all talked about killing rich bully Nolan Hotchkiss, they didn't actually go through with it. It's just a coincidence that Nolan died in exactly the way they planned . . . right? Except Nolan wasn't the only one they fantasized about killing. When someone else they named dies, the girls wonder if they're being framed. Or are they about to become the killer's next targets?

Trouble Is A Friend Of Mine by Stephanie Tromly
After her parents get divorced, high school junior Zoe Webster moves with her mother from Brooklyn to upstate New York, determined to get back to the city and transfer to the elite private school her father insists on. But then she meets Philip Digby--the odd and brilliant and somehow attractive?--Digby, and soon finds herself in a series of hilarious and dangerous situations all centered on his search for the kidnapper of a local teenage girl who may know something about the tragic disappearance of his kid sister eight years ago. Before she knows it, Zoe has vandalized an office complex with fake snow, pretended to buy drugs alongside a handsome football star dressed like the Hulk, had a serious throw down with a possible religious cult, challenged her controlling father, and, oh yeah, saved her new hometown.

And these two I requested; I'm really looking forward to finding out what happens next in The Perfectionists sequel and I couldn't resist a witty, funny crime solving novel. Thank you Hot Key!

Counting Stars by Keris Stainton

Big city, big dreams, no money, no problem...

Six 'friends', one flat, big dreams... what could go wrong? When eighteen-year-old Anna leaves school and moves to Liverpool, she feels like her life is finally beginning. She's landed her dream job at a theatre, and she's moving into an exciting (if not slightly run-down) flat on a buzzing street lined with shops, bars, and buskers. Best of all, her new flatmates are kind, welcoming and a lot of fun - what more could she ask for?

But although her new life is fun, it's also a little overwhelming. Anna's job quickly falls through, and then she realises that although her new friends are great, they're also a little mixed-up... and it's not long before Anna starts using her blog to talk about her experiences, from the hilarious to the ridiculous to the little-bit-scary. But when Anna spills a bigger secret than she can handle, suddenly the consequences are all too real. She'll have to prove she has the mettle to make it in the big city, or risk losing everything she thinks she wants.


And finally, a lucky find on Netgalley. I like Keris' books, they're fun and light and perfect for summer. Thank you Netgalley and Hot Key!