Monday 30 December 2013

My Favourite Books of 2013

I've read so many fantastic books in 2013 that it's been incredibly difficult trying to choose my top ten favourite titles.  I've picked books that have been impossible to put down and have kept me up reading until late into the night, as well as books which have made me want to start reading them again as soon as I've got to the end.  These are in particular order and have not necessarily been published this year.

1. Angelfall by Susan Ee
I said - 'A stunning, spellbinding story which absolutely captivated me. It's hard to list all the things I loved about it but it pulled at my heartstrings and captured my imagination'.  This is one of the best angel books I've ever read.
2. The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines
I said - 'The Vincent Boys' is the hottest book of 2013. If you're trying to banish those winter blues then I would recommend picking up this title immediately'. 
 3. Losing It by Cora Carmack
I said - ''Losing It' is one of my top books of 2013 and is a 5 star read! It has wonderful characters, a sizzling romance, a brilliant plot and so many memorable moments that it would be hard to pick a favourite'.  If you love New Adult fiction then you need to read this book.   
 4. Because of Low by Abbi Glines
I said - ''Because of Low', the second book in Abbi Glines Sea Breeze series, is a steamy New Adult romance that was so good I devoured it in one sitting and then went back and read all my favourite parts again.'
 5. All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill
I said - 'It's no exaggeration to say that this is the must-read book of the year. Whether you've got to beg, borrow or steal a copy, I implore you to get your hands on it. Utterly tense, exciting and gripping, this book will keep you up all night reading, as well as the night after that when you'll be re-reading it all over again'.
 6. As You Were by Samantha Summers
I said - 'The whole book is a real roller-coaster of a ride. Each chapter is packed full of excitement, fraught with danger and laced with romance. There is also a jaw-dropping revelation at the end which makes me even more desperate to find out what lies in store next.'
7. Becoming by Samantha Summers
I said - ''Becoming' was a superb read which delivered romance, adventure, action and excitement in spades! I was absolutely engrossed in the story and found it compulsive reading. I'm so sad that the series is over because I've become invested in the characters and their lives and I don't want the adventure to end. I'm going to be re-reading the trilogy over and over again because I have so many favourite moments that I want to go back and relive'.  I can't wait to see what Samantha Summers writes next but I won't give up hope that she might return to Ronnie and Kalen at some point! 
 8. The Trap by Andrew Fukuda
I said - 'Andrew Fukuda is an incredible writer. The scenes in the book leap off the page as his writing leads you on a journey full of horror, terror and danger. There are some wonderfully rich descriptive passages in the book which made everything feel very real and frankly left me quite terrified at times'.  This series is brilliant and the concluding instalment provided explosive action and adventure.       
 9. Fallen Too Far by Abbi Glines
I said - 'I can't get enough of Abbi Glines's books. She really can't write them fast enough for me. They are sooo good!'  I love the residents of Rosemary Beach and this story about Blaire and Rush delivered the perfect romance.   
 10. While It Lasts by Abbi Glines
I said - 'What I particularly loved about the story was the fact that when I was reading it, I was completely swept away from reality and ended up totally engrossed in the characters' lives. I enjoy realism in books but sometimes I just want a break from real life and 'While It Lasts' delivered that for me.'
 Comment and let me know if you've read any of these and what your personal favourites of 2013 were.

Thursday 19 December 2013

News: Launch of Bloomsbury Spark

Today sees the launch of Bloomsbury Spark, a brand new digital imprint dedicated to YA and New Adult e-book titles. 

The first seven titles available are:

Pride’s Run by Cat Kalen – @CatKalen

Pride has been enslaved and raised in captivity for her power as a shape shifter, but when she finally gets the chance to run, she must trust in the boy who promises her freedom, the same boy she was sent to hunt. This is the first book in a planned series. Pride Unleashed and Pride’s Pursuit will follow in February and March, respectively.
The Secret of Isobel Key by Jen McConnel – @Jen_McConnel

When an indecisive college student runs away to Scotland, she discovers romance, dark secrets of witchcraft, and learns to trust her own intuition.

The Sound of Us by Ashley Poston – @ashposton

Eighteen-year-old Junie Baltimore is glad the band Roman Holiday is dead, done, so last year-- but she never planned on falling in love with the lead singer.

The Art of Falling by Jenny Kaczorowski – @jennykacz

Bria knows exactly who she is – the militant vegan, purple-haired Queen of the Art Room - until she kisses the high school quarterback. 

Beyond Our Stars by Marie Langager – @MarieLangager

Fleeing a destroyed Earth, Hope has become a young leader for the people who remain, searching for answers in a new world. But when she is the only one who can withstand the tests of the natives on their new planet, she is about to become their last chance for survival. 

Until We End by Frankie Brown – @frankiebrown25  

If saving her brother from the government post-apocalypse means a suicide mission, Cora's willing. But there's one guy who can't let her go. 

Positively Mine by Christine Duval – @ChristineDuval1

Freshman year is hard enough without having to hide an unplanned pregnancy from a summer fling...
Find out more by visiting Bloomsbury Spark.  Comment and let me know which ones you are looking forward to reading?

Wednesday 18 December 2013

Review: Let It Snow - John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle

Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle, published by Penguin on 5th September 2013

Goodreads synopsis:
An ill-timed storm on Christmas Eve buries the residents of Gracetown under multiple feet of snow and causes quite a bit of chaos. One brave soul ventures out into the storm from her stranded train and sets off a chain of events that will change quite a few lives. Over the next three days one girl takes a risky shortcut with an adorable stranger, three friends set out to win a race to the Waffle House (and the hash brown spoils), and the fate of a teacup pig falls into the hands of a lovesick barista.

I decided to wait to read this one until December so that I could enjoy the Christmas themed stories in the run up to the big day.  You definitely want to start this title when you're curled up by the fire with a big mug of hot chocolate in your hands.  'Let It Snow' consists of three festive and inter-connected stories by bestselling YA authors John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle.  Each is extremely unique and quite quirky.  Personally I'm not a big fan of short stories as I often find that I'm not given enough time to become properly acquainted with the characters or that I'm just getting into a story when it's suddenly all over.  I did find this was the case with this collection although I still enjoyed it.   

The first story is called 'The Jubilee Express' by Maureen Johnson.  It's about a girl called Jubilee who is on her way to stay with her grandparents for Christmas when her train gets stuck in the snow in the small town of Graceland.  Here she meets an interesting cast of characters who also feature later on in the book.  This is followed by John Green's 'A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle' which features Tobin and his friends trying to get to the Waffle House after finding out that fourteen cheerleaders have descended there after being stranded in town.  The final story called 'The Patron Saint of Pigs' by Lauren Myracle was actually my least favourite.  It centres around Addie who has promised to collect her friends teacup piglet but can't seem to focus after having split up with her boyfriend Jeb.

Each story centres around the themes of love and friendship.  They feature romance and new beginnings, as well as what happens when friendship turns into something more.  There's the promise of forgiveness and starting over, with all the characters' stories concluding in quite unexpected ways.  It's not the best Christmas book I've ever read but I still enjoyed this wintery, festive collection which would make a great present for the holiday season.

Monday 16 December 2013

Review: Simple Perfection - Abbi Glines

Simple Perfection by Abbi Glines, published by Simon and Schuster on 3rd December 2013

Goodreads synopsis:
Woods had his perfect life mapped out for him. Rise up the ranks of the family business. Marry the rich girl of his parents’ dreams. Pretend that wealth and privilege was all he’d ever wanted. Then a girl named Della breezed into town, a beautifully imperfect stranger who captured his heart and opened his eyes to a new kind of future. Woods is ready and willing to sacrifice everything for her when the sudden death of his father leaves him with his mother to care for and a business to manage.

Della is determined to be strong for Woods, even as she’s quietly falling to pieces. No matter how far from home she’s run, the ghosts of her past have never stopped haunting her. Struggling to hide her true feelings from Woods, Della fears she can’t be his rock without dragging him down into the darkness with her. But is she strong enough to let go of the last thing holding her together?

It's no secret that I love Abbi Glines so when this book arrived I dropped everything to start reading it immediately.  It continues the story of Della and Woods's romance which began in 'Twisted Perfection' and proved yet again to be an unputdownable read.  I love the Rosemary Beach gang and I enjoyed not only getting to see whether Della and Woods would finally achieve a happy ending but also seeing some of the other characters who we've been introduced to so far.

Della's personal story has often been pretty dark and twisty.  Her terrible childhood has left her with deep scars which she has been trying to overcome and with Woods she thinks she may have finally found her future.  But there are a few more hurdles to get over first.  Worried that she may not be the best thing for him, she takes drastic action, believing that she's doing what's right for him.  Della's story took quite an unexpected turn in the second half of the book which did come a little out of the blue but for me, proved to be the right conclusion for her.  Although she has never realised it, she's incredibly strong and resilient and so it was great to see her get some happy news for once.  It was also a nice change around to have Della providing Woods with a shoulder to cry on when his father dies and he's left in charge of the family business.

Woods has always been one of my favourite characters in the series.  He adores Della and worships the ground she walks on and he would do anything for her.  I did think he got a little bit needy at times when he had to have Della near him constantly but it was also sweet and very romantic. 

Now, I thought this book was brilliant and I really, really enjoyed reading it but I have to admit that I wasn't a huge fan of a major twist that takes place at the end.  I can understand why Abbi decided to follow this path but it slightly took the gloss off what up until that point had been a pretty much perfect read.  I can imagine that a lot of fans of the series may not be too happy about it but it does open up an interesting path for a couple of the other Rosemary Beach characters.  That aside, 'Simple Perfection' was fantastic and another five star read from the wonderful Abbi Glines.   

Friday 6 December 2013

Review: The Lost Boys - Lilian Carmine

The Lost Boys by Lilian Carmine, published by Ebury Press on 26th September 2013 

Goodreads synopsis:
Fate has brought them together. But will it also keep them apart? Having moved to a strange town, 17-year-old Joey Gray is feeling a little lost, until she meets a cute, mysterious boy near her new home. But there’s a very good reason why Tristan Halloway is always to be found roaming in the local graveyard.

Girls, ghosts and forbidden love.  All the ingredients for what should be a stellar read but which for me, didn't quite live up to my admittedly high expectations.  'The Lost Boys' was a Wattpad sensation for author Lilian Carmine and this book is the first in a trilogy featuring main character Joey and the handsome but ghostly Tristan. 

Described as being perfect for fans of Stephenie Meyer and Lauren Kate, I really wanted to love this title but it didn't sweep me off my feet as I was hoping it would.  It focuses on teenager Joey who at the start of the book meets Tristan in the graveyard near to her house.  I won't spoil you with what happens next except to say that the two share a very unusual bond which leads to them going off to attend boarding school together.  The latter half of the book centres on Joey's friendships with the other boys at the school, as well as her budding romance with Tristan. 

My main issue with this book is that I found some of the dialogue to be extremely stilted.  This could possibly be because the author is Brazilian.  It just didn't flow off the page particularly well, so I found it difficult to become fully immersed in the story or to care hugely about the characters. 

Although this title wasn't for me, there are millions of Wattpad readers that have fallen in love with Joey and her boys and would disagree with me, so I would suggest that if it piques your interest, you give it a try for yourself.  It will appeal to fans of paranormal romance and ghostly love affairs. 

Wednesday 4 December 2013

Review: Teardrop - Lauren Kate

Teardrop by Lauren Kate, published by Doubleday Children's Books on 24th October 2013

Goodreads synopsis:
Seventeen-year-old Eureka won't let anyone close enough to feel her pain. After her mother was killed in a freak accident, the things she used to love hold no meaning. She wants to escape, but one thing holds her back: Ander, the boy who is everywhere she goes, whose turquoise eyes are like the ocean.

And then Eureka uncovers an ancient tale of romance and heartbreak, about a girl who cried an entire continent into the sea. Suddenly her mother's death and Ander's appearance seem connected, and her life takes on dark undercurrents that don't make sense.

Can everything you love be washed away?

'Teardrop' is the first book in Lauren Kate's new series.  After the huge success of her Fallen series it has high expectations resting on it's shoulders.  The cover is absolutely stunning!  All the artwork for Lauren's books have been amazing so far but this one is achingly gorgeous.  There's no way that you could resist picking this off the shelf. 

I loved the whole concept for the book which is unique and original.  The way in which Lauren Kate has combined elements of mythology with a modern day story is extremely clever and I thought the idea that Atlantis could be raised again by one girl's tears was brilliant.  Although I did think it was very slow at the start, it really picked up at the half-way point and from then on I was hooked.  If you find the same as me at the start and your attention wanders a bit, then I would strongly suggest you stick with it because the plot totally sucked me in during the latter half of the book. 

I wasn't hugely keen on the main character Eureka but she grew on me throughout.  A large part of the book deals with her grief about her mother's death, but things get a lot more interesting when she discovers that her mother Diana was keeping some pretty major secrets which she begins to unravel with the help of the mysterious Anders.  Eureka is strangely drawn to Anders who I liked immediately.  I do hope there's more romance between the two of them in further instalments of the series because I thought it was a little lacking at times. 

The ending was fantastic and I have a feeling that although 'Teardrop' may have been a bit of a slow burner, the rest of the series will be amazing.  I can't wait to see how Lauren Kate will transition the story into a more mythological realm and how she will take the characters down their new future paths.

Monday 2 December 2013

Trailer: Storm and Stone - Joss Stirling

I'm a massive fan of Joss Stirling's Soulfinder series, so I was excited to hear about a new standalone book called 'Storm and Stone' which is being published by Oxford University Press in February 2014.

Here's the fantastic trailer which has been put together by Joss herself!

Behind the ivy-clad walls of an exclusive boarding school, lurks a sinister web of corruption, scandal, and conspiracy. American student Raven Stone has noticed something is horribly wrong. First there were the unexplained disappearances. Then there were the teachers' lies. And now the death threats ...Also entangled in the disturbing turn of events is the enigmatic Kieran Storm - a fellow student with a killer intellect and a body to die for. He's heading for trouble and taking her with him. Raven can feel herself falling in love, but can she trust a boy she knows almost nothing about?

Also, for those of you that, like me, love the Soulfinder books, then you'll be excited to hear there's a new one out next year called 'Misty Falls'.  I can't wait!
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