Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Giveaway!!! [NOW CLOSED]

"Jen takes refuge in a rundown mansion when her life falls apart. To escape reality she finds herself choosing between the world of the living and the dead. She begins having vivid experiences with a beautiful male entity who longs to be her soulmate.
Her childhood friend, 19 year old Ivy, has come from a rough past and has always been different. She learns she has the ability to communicate with the dead and as time passes other supernatural gifts emerge. Ivy will stand against the evil that would separate a love that transcends time and her true destiny emerges.
Jen & Ivy are drawn into the compelling world of the dark side and propelled on the most important journeys of their lives.
“Let’s go Jen. It won’t do him any good if we are all caught”. With one final glance behind her, Jen urged her horse forward, and toward the safety of the mountains. Her heart was heavy and she immediately thought of the other realm. Her hope was that they were aware of what had happened and would help. Chaos was already breaking out; and the world was in danger of slipping back to a time of great darkness, reminiscent of the Middle Ages.
In the quiet of early dawn she hears his distant voice "you are beautiful. I love you always"...."

This is my first ever giveaway on this blog so please bear with me!

M.L. Woolley has been kind enough to offer my readers a chance to win one of 20 eBooks or one of 2 paperback copies of her brilliant novel "Dark Passage"!

To enter, here is what you need to do:
  1. Follow/subscribe to my blog :)
  2. Write a comment on this post telling me your favourite kind of fiction and your favourite book in that genre :)
  3. Provide me with your email address via comment so I can contact you if you win! :)
It's that simple!

This is an international giveaway so feel free to enter wherever you are in the world! All winners will be chosen at random and notified by email :)

UPDATE: One of the 20 eBook winners will also receive a $20 gift card so even more reasons to join in!

Competition ends 8th July 2012.


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Will Grayson Will Grayson - John Green & David Levithan

Title: Will Grayson Will Grayson
Author: John Green & David Levithan
Publication information: Speak (2010)

This was another one of the books I picked up at the library the other day. I was shocked that it was the only John Green book they had, but I'd heard good things so I picked it up. Will Grayson Will Grayson is about two strangers who cross paths on a cold night. They both have the same name but have very different lives which suddenly take new and unexpected directions, culminating in heroic turns-of-heart and the best musical ever to grace the school stage. From the synopsis, I was unsure if I'd enjoy this book. I've never read any of David Levithan's previous work and only read one of John Green's novels; Looking For Alaska.

The plot was unusual in this novel because you have the two Will Grayson's lives, in alternating chapters, running parellel. This means that you learn their personalities and backgrounds before they meet, giving a higher impact afterwards. A big part of this novel is the romance between certain characters, which is something I don't usually like, but in this story I think that the romance was a vital part of the puzzle and helped to give even more depth to the main characters.

The characters themselves were all very interesting. I really liked John Green's Will Grayson from the start, with his dry sense of humour and group of few friends; much like the protagonist in Looking For Alaska. I found this character easy to relate to as he stumbles through life with his unusual friends. David Levithan's Will Grayson, however, took a while to get used to. He is so depressed throughout most of the book that it kind of slows the read down and even though I liked this character by the end, I really struggled to relate to him at all at the beginning. Of all the side characters, Tiny Cooper was my favourite. His personality shone through the writing and you feel like you really get to know him by the end. 

The writing in this was different depending on which chapter you were reading. John Green's writing was easy to read, was full of personality and was quite quick to get through, whereas David Levithan's took some time to get used to just because he didn't use any capitals. This made it a slower read at first but I soon got used to it and realised that it went together nicely with Will Grayson's personality and attitude.

Overall, I would give this book 4 out of 5 stars. I really liked the whole thing but when I finished I didn't feel as emotionally attached to the characters as I have in other books, however, it's a great story about homosexuality, relationships and friendships, and it was a great, quick read.

Friday, June 22, 2012

A Sky Full of Kindness - Rob Ryan

Title: A Sky Full of Kindness
Author: Rob Ryan

This is the kind of book that is written for the sole purpose of relaying a message in a beautiful way. There isn't really a plot as such, just, like a fairytale, there is a moral to the story. This book is about a female bird who takes a journey around the world and learns about what it means to be a parent. The way it is written is poetic and the beauty of the words is enhanced by the illustrations. 
Rob Ryan's illustrations are simple; being only two colours; and yet they are unbelievably detailed when you think about how they are created. Due to the formatting of the book, this is a very quick read but I found some of the handcut letters quite difficult to read.
I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars but I think that it would be suitable for all age groups and is definitely one that you could read multiple times.

Masterpiece - Miranda Glover

Title: Masterpiece
Author: Miranda Glover
Puplication information: Bantam Press (2005)

"In an audacious stroke, celebrated British artist Esther Glass puts herself up for sale by auction at Sothebys, as a living masterpiece, to be owned by the highest bidder for a week. For each day of her possession, she will perform as one of seven iconic women, themselves the subjects of great paintings from the past: Christina of Denmark by Holbein; Olympia by Manet; Madonna of the Pinks by Raphael; Madame de Sengonnes by Ingres; Mrs. Leyland by Whistler; Isabella D’Este by Leonardo da Vinci; and, Judith and Holofernes by Klimt. Esther’s extraordinary art adventure takes her to major European galleries and the Frick in New York to research her seven selected masterpieces. Once sold, she goes to Manhattan for her week of ownership. There she is forced to confront financial corruption by her dealers, the instability of her relationships with her lovers and, on her return to London, her own intrinsic values as an artist, daughter and woman."

The premise of this book was what drew me in beyond the cover. Being an illustration student, I am really interested in art and fine art especially so the historical elements of this book were a highlight for me, backing up Esther's decisions throughout the story. Although the plot was good, I think that the book was a bit slow for me. With 377 pages, it is an average sized novel but I think that some of the points were not needed and if they had not have been included, there would have been a more interesting mystery surrounded the protagonists past. Despite this being quite a slow read, I was interested from the start and due to the small chapters, I did just keep reading on.

The characters were slightly under-developed but I think that on the whole they were all very individual and in some ways relatable. Esther, the protagonist, has the same traits as most arty-types, being quite an introverted person when it came to her emotions and passionate about her projects, but on the other hand, she is a very head-strong character and in some ways this helps the reader to relate to her a lot more.

The writing in this novel was wonderful and easy to read. As it is told from first person perspective, you get inside the head of Esther Glass and the way it is written reflects this personal approach to story telling. I like that historical details were included in this novel because this added extra dimension and although some facts were embellished, this made you connect more with the masterpieces as Esther does throughout the story.

Overall, I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars because although I enjoyed it, I found it quite slow but interesting all the same. I really like the cover of the book as it reflects the plot perfectly and the inclusion of the paintings on the inside of the particular edition that I bought made it easier for me to visualise the paintings as Esther describes them.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Gone at Zero Hundred 00:00 Cover Reveal!

Sydney Marie McSwain and her pal, Cody Beck, team up to take on a secret club called The Devil’s Door where members are branded with the tattoo of a devil and call themselves The Privileged Ones.

Sydney Marie McSwain – a tomboy who yearned for a father.

Cody Beck – a wannabe filmmaker, wisenheimer and flirt.

Jaden White – the star who led the high school hockey team to two championships, and was now on the A-list for NHL scouts.

Sydney Marie McSwain loves her mom, Anna – a private investigator in the coastal city where they live – but they had a major issue between them. Anna refused to give Sydney the identity of her father. On the day of her high school graduation, they were battling it out, once again. An hour later, Sydney, Cody and Jaden were at the local cafĂ©, and watched as Anna was gunned down, and it was broadcasted on live TV.

Faced with immediate responsibility, Sydney and Cody agreed to take over the agency, only they changed the name to McSwain & Beck. At the same time, Sydney convinced Sutter Beach Detective, Ace Carter, to help her track down her father.

Out of the blue, a model walked in and hired them to follow her step-brother. While Cody was busy editing a trailer to solicit new clients, Sydney settled into her lemon-yellow pickup to do surveillance, and wound up staking out a secret club called The Devil’s Door whose suspicious members wore the tattoo of a devil.

That same night, Sydney received a call from one of her mom’s former clients, only the client was gunned down at the location where they agreed to meet. The mysterious discovery of a DVD revealed the possibility that teenagers were being abducted, only nobody reported them missing.

On the hunt for the victims, McSwain & Beck were chased by men in ski masks, nearly gunned down by members of a cartel called the outlaws, Sydney’s precious pickup was broken into; then the step-brother they were hired to follow, was found dead and Sydney was the number one suspect.

If things weren’t bad enough already, they had to figure out how to crash a red-carpet Mardi Gras bash being held on a private cruise ship, before it sailed off into the sunset, where they just might meet the devil, himself.

Now, the clock was ticking…

And time was running out…

How was she ever going to find her father, now?

“Their lives were in the hands of two 18 year-olds…”

Title: Gone at Zero Hundred 00:00
Genre: YA action-mystery thriller
Published: March 30, 2012
Author: CR HIATT
Twitter: @mcswainandbeck
Facebook Page:

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Soul of the Band by K.L. Brady

From the Award-Winning Author of The Bum Magnet, Got a Right to Be Wrong, and Worst Impressions, a new novel for young adults of all ages.

After years of living with her mother’s mental illness, Brandy Jackson gets a new start in a new town where she finds love, frenemies, a spot in an all-white high school marching band…and lots of trouble!

Music-loving 16-year-old Brandy Jackson has had it up to here with "they"--the annoying voices inside her mother's head. She isolates herself from the dreaded schizophrenic episodes with Beethoven and her iPod. Her long-suppressed desire to learn music is squelched by the burden of mental illness, at least until she arrives home from school to find her belongings on the DC streets and her mother vanished. Fortunately, Aunt Charlie comes to her rescue and moves her to Mapleton, Ohio, where she begins a new life free of her troubled past—or so she thinks.

Brandy’s plans to fly under the radar at school in order to conceal her family's shame are quashed when Jenny Lee, her new next-door neighbor and a flutist, recognizes Brandy's musical obsession and urges her to join the all-white high school marching band. Brandy obliges and soon realizes she’s traded her old troubles for new ones. Now, she stands out like a chocolate chip floating in a sea of milk; she has less than three months to learn to play her dreaded tuba-—her only ticket to earn a spot on the band; and a near kiss with the Queen B’s boyfriend lands her in triple trouble with the popular chick clique. But when another band member’s failed plot to get rid of his nemesis unexpectedly leaves Brandy in contention for the band’s most coveted position, the ensuing drama will give her the strength rise above her circumstances—or leave her paralyzed in the shame of her past.

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Scandal in Bohemia - Arthur Conan Doyle

Title: A Scandal in Bohemia

Author: Arthur Conan Doyle

This is an extremely short story but as the first Sherlock Holmes book I have ever read, it did not disappoint.
Being a huge fan of the BBC adaptation, Sherlock, I thought that this may ruin the reading experience but I found that they can be enjoyed completely separately and one does not seem to overshadow the other. Being set in the Victorian age rather than the modern times helps this differentiation, as well as the perspective the stories are told from. In the TV series, we see an overview of all of the characters, whereas the books are from the first-person perspective of Dr. Watson which adds a more personal touch, and also makes his opinions and feelings a lot more real.

This story was completely different to the on-screen version, A Scandal in Belgravia, despite the similar title, yet the main side character, Irene Adler, was described very similarly. I soon came to realise to approach this as a completely new story because the time period and the language used are so different and also the style of writing that Arthur Conan Doyle employs.

Overall, I gave this story 4 out of 5 stars but I am very interested in reading more of the Sherlock Holmes stories because I think that they make a good contrast to the television series and they are enjoyable to  read due to the writing style and character personalities.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Demdike Legacy - Barry Durham

Title: The Demdike Legacy
Author: Barry Durham
Publication information: (2012)

"When Jennifer Southern is found murdered in her cottage on the outskirts of a Lancashire village, it reopens the book on a legacy of witchcraft that was thought to have ended four hundred years ago when the Lancashire Witches were hanged at Lancaster Castle in 1612. But their descendents have lived on, following the old religion and keeping themselves to themselves until now it seems someone it determined to wipe them out. Jennifer’s murder is just the first, and the fact that she is found with a noose round her neck, points to the fact that that her killer considers her death an execution. While the police puzzle their way through the case, Jennifer’s husband Nicholas (a direct descendent of the original Demdike) decides to deal with things his own way but finds himself pitted against an implacable enemy. As the body count rises, the police reluctantly realise they must join forces with the modern-day witches if the killer is to be brought to book. But will they find him before he carries out his plans?"

I think that the plot was fantastically researched and although graphic in parts, I think that it was all completely relevant to the enormity of the plot. In my opinion, this is a very adult novel but would be suitable for more mature teenage readers. The plot itself is complex and engaging, making you want to turn the page whether that is through interesting romantic relationships or the darker aspects of the mystery. Although, to me, it was obvious who the murderer was from the beginning, I found that this just made me more interested in his plans and how the police were going to find him.

The characters in this novel were what kept me reading through even the darker parts of the story. The mystery surrounding Nicholas was intriguing and the methodical techniques of Stone and Johnson kept me interested throughout. I think that all of the characters were really well developed and even now I have finished reading, I want to read more about them, especially Stone and Johnson. I found that these were especially well developed characters which were quite relatable in some ways. I like that the murderer was given a lot of background history and personality, despite him being the "villain" in this book. I think that this made the darker parts of the story more real and necessary to the plot and gave the reader enough reasons to want to know why these events were taking place.

I found the writing in this novel very easy to follow and the pace was perfect throughout making this a steady read. Sometimes books like this can be slow because too much information is being thrown at the reader but in this case, I found that there was a perfectly balanced mix of fact and fiction which made the reader wonder how much of the plot was based on history. This added a lot to the creepier parts of the plot and kept me hooked as I am fascinated with this kind of subject.

Overall, I would give this 5 out of 5 stars as I loved every aspect of the premise and the way it was written. I think living near the area where this story is based made it all the more enjoyable but creepy, making this an interesting and engaging read for anyone who enjoys supernatural, mystery or history based novels.