Saturday, 30 August 2014

Stacking The Shelves #8

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we can share what books we've accumulated in the past week.

I only got ebooks this week and I'm still waiting for my Book Depo delivery *rolls eyes*... Click on the books if you'd like to buy them for yourself!


What books did you guys get this week?:)

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Life of a Blogger: Fears!

This is a weekly meme hosted by Novel Heartbeat. Each week a new subject is chosen and everyone who wants to can talk about that specific subject whether it be on their own blog or in the comments of someone else's post.

This week the topic is fears!

So my first fear is a majorly common one; spiders. *shudders* I've had this fear forever, I've just never liked spiders. They're gross and their legs are all spindly and long and just writing about them gives me the creeps. A couple of days ago I literally cleared out everything from my room, bar the furniture, because I was having a little spider issue. Because I had so much clutter in my room courtesy of me using my 'floordrobe' more often than my actual wardrobe to put clothes in and various other stuff which didn't need to be in my room, the spiders liked to hide in the stuff and then if I moved something I was constantly terrified that one would crawl out. So guess what? I didn't move anything. BAD MOVE, AMBER. One night I was happily laid on my side watching Maid In Manhattan on my laptop when something touched my arm and crawled. So I leapt out of bed thoroughly freaked out and contemplated going back to bed or going downstairs. I chose to go back to bed because I was tired. So after laying down and snuggling under the covers once again IT HAPPENED. (Yes I am being super dramatic, but I'm allowed to be b/c this was a little traumatising for me okay?!) A spider, not a massive one but still a spider, ran past my face and under the covers. *violent shuddering* So I shot out of bed, grabbed an empty glass from my bed side table and put it over the spider. I then went downstairs for the night and slept on the sofa, loathing the spider for trying to sleep in my bed and vowing to get everything out of my room and to move my bed. My bed used to be in the corner of the room and now it's in the middle. I have seen no spiders since I moved everything out and moved my bed and I am happy.

So yeah, I think my fear of spiders is a full blown phobia. It's my only big fear, the other ones are the usual. Like sometimes I'll think about not wanting to die, or not wanting to die without doing something important or standing on top of a skyscraper building with no way down but to climb the fire escape ladder or whatever. These things are more like momentary fears that I get when I stay up past 1am and my brain is like the fourth of July and all I want to do is sleep.

This subject really interests me so tell me about your fears!

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Waiting On Wednesday #6

The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty—because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring.
Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel’s glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.
Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence... and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess’s petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for.

This book sounds so promising! Illicit relationships are usually exciting when they're not overdone so I can't wait for the release date. Some time in September, right?

What are you waiting for?:)

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I'd Love To Read But Don't Own

This is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week we get a new topic and make a list of the top ten things in said topic.

This week it's the top ten books I'd love to read but don't own yet!

What about you? What books would you like to read that you don't own yet?:)

Monday, 25 August 2014

Book Review: Cursed by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Dying sucks
...and high school senior Ember McWilliams knows firsthand.
After a fatal car accident, her gifted little sister brought her back. Now anything Ember touches dies. And that, well, really blows.
Ember operates on a no-touch policy with all living things--including boys. When Hayden Cromwell shows up, quoting Oscar Wilde and claiming her curse is a gift, she thinks he's a crazed cutie. But when he tells her he can help control it, she's more than interested. There's just one catch: Ember has to trust Hayden's adopted father, a man she's sure has sinister reasons for collecting children whose abilities even weird her out. However, she's willing to do anything to hold her sister's hand again. And hell, she'd also like to be able to kiss Hayden. Who wouldn't?
But when Ember learns the accident that turned her into a freak may not've been an accident at all, she's not sure who to trust. Someone wanted her dead, and the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she is to losing not only her heart, but her life.
For real this time.
All Ember wants to do is get through high school and keep her remaining family above water. After a horrific car accident kills Ember and her father, her gifted little sister brings her back with a single touch which in turn gives Ember a 'gift' of her own... although she's more convinced that what happened to her is a curse. She now has the ability to kill with a simple touch which means no touching at all. Not even for her sister or her mother who hasn't left her room since the accident.

Enter Hayden, a gorgeous guy who sees past the gloves Ember wears to protect everyone from her. He shows up, quoting Oscar Wilde and telling her that he can help her with her gift if only she'd trust him and his adopted father; a man who collects gifted children like trophies for his shelves.

When Ember learns that the accident that killed herself and her father may not have been an accident she has no choice but to stick around and figure out who wanted something so badly that they'd be willing to kill off an entire family for it. All clues are pointing in one direction but with this revelation comes a price. Does she risk her relationship with Hayden, the only guy who's ever wanted to be close to her, or does she just let things be?

It's fair to say that I loved this book considering I read it in 2(ish) days but I was slightly disappointed with a couple of things...

First things first, what I liked about Cursed. This was a quick, easy read and I found myself not being able to put the book down. Not even for sleep and I love sleep. I love whatever Jen Armentrout writes and this was no exception, it never takes me long to become a part of the world within her stories and with the characters.

Those who are familiar with my reviews know that I do not like a book when it only has one single story line - especially when that single story line is about a relationship. I do not want to read about your character's relationship for 400 pages! So I was happy to see that there were two story lines; Ember trying to control her 'gift' and her trying to figure out what happened on the night of the car accident that changed her life forever. Then, of course, there was the ever-building relationship between Hayden and Ember which took it's time and didn't rush into anything. They usually tried to put training and other things first which I really liked. I can't count on one hand the amount of times I've read a book where the main characters drop everything and start making out or something. Like, come on you animals. Their parents could be in danger of dying and there the two protagonists are just fooling around like they can't control themselves for two seconds. Keep it in your pants.

I liked Ember as a character because of how strong willed she was even after everything she's gone through. I, for sure, would have been sent to the nut house by now. She's extremely pessimistic in the first half of the novel but... she's died once so I'm sure I'd be a little down in the dumps too. She also didn't know when to shut up at times, especially when she started bad mouthing Hayden's family, the people he's lived with for years, who love him completely. She does apologise though for everything she said, even when it turns out that she was partially right. She really does grow as a person but I can't really explain why without spoiling anything which I'm trying so hard not to do. Basically, she gets her priorities in check, fights with everything she has in her and puts other people first every single time. By the end of the story I really liked her, yay!

I loved Hayden. He was swoon-worthy and a total sweetheart even when Ember is accusing his adopted family of awful things. He was also compassionate and loyal and even though his past had been absolutely awful and something no child should ever go through, he was still standing strong and willing to fight any battle for the people he loved. He was also willing to fight for Ember instead of lying down like a pansy-ass and waiting for her to go to him. As for the other characters, it took a lot more time to like them but that was the point. They were complete assholes in the beginning. I mean they didn't even know Ember yet they didn't want anything to do with her because of what she could do. Kind of understandable, all she has to do is lunge forwards and bam you're dead but give the poor girl a chance! In the end I did like most of them like Parker, Kurt and even Cromwell. When all was explained in the last chapter I really felt for him and everything kind of fell into place. A girl had committed suicide because of what he had allowed to happen and that's not something you can just live with. The girl also had the same gift as Ember which caused a whole load of shit when she went through those damn files! It looked like the file was about her and THAT'S WHY YOU LEAVE THINGS ALONE, EMBER. All of the questions I had about him were answered!

The build-up to Ember and Hayden's relationship was utterly adorable and innocent (mainly *wiggles eyebrows*). It wasn't instalove, more like insta-attraction which is much better in my books. The relationship didn't happen overnight and every time they were together, they explored what could happen between them a little more. They were so scared of hurting each other and every interaction, especially in the cabin, was so tender and I found myself wanting that. I want a guy like Hayden. *pouting*

My original idea about how the story would go was mainly wrong although I did suspect the right person before it became totally obvious. That was disappointing because I'd basically known the entire story half way in. There were still some twists in the story but I'd figured most of it out before it was told.

JLA made Cromwell seem super creepy without actually giving him many actions that were creepy in nature. He was just one of those characters that you know you don't want to run into in a dark alley. He never hurt her or anything but he was that character. You know, the one who the author wants you to think is behind everything but he turns out innocent in the end with only good intentions and when all the 'whys' are explained they turn out to be okay. Yeah he was that character. The author had me fooled too, for a little while, but then everything pointed to him and I just knew it wouldn't be Cromwell behind everything. It's the author's way of trying to pull of a major plot twist and unfortunately, like many others who've read this book, I figured things out too soon.

Now for the things I didn't like so much; As I said - I figured out pretty much everything by the time I was half way through which was a little disappointing. I like for there to be a major plot twist that was so cleverly thought out that it completely knocks me on my ass. I knew who would be behind all of this but there were still a few surprises like the part Cromwell played in all of this and how Kurt wasn't even remotely involved.
I am majorly disappointed that some questions were left unanswered, especially about her mum. Is that what we're leaving it at? Her mum just doesn't know she exists so the only conversations they can have are one sided. It's not such a happy ending for Ember and her mum. And there's no sequel! I love stand alone books and this one ended with an adorable little moment but I wish I had a few more answers. I feel like I need more closure. We didn't really get to see how the others acted around Ember after everything that happens. It could have done with one more chapter at least, just to explain a few more things and to show the 'family' dynamics after everything. That would have been a full happy ending! Knowing that everyone is happy under the same roof and all if forgiven would have made the ending much sweeter.

The end scene was my absolute favourite! I'm pretty happy with the closing chapter but as I said, I wish my questions had answers. I am super glad that it wasn't one of those 'pick your own ending' kind of stories. Cannot stand those! Like no, give me the happily ever after and then you can stop.

Overall I did enjoy this book and the story flew by but I felt like it lacked closure and knowing there wont be a second book is kind of a bummer. Definitely recommended for most ages though. There's some swearing but it's pretty rare and the two main characters make out a little but that's about it. Nothing R rated in Cursed!

OH! I genuinely thought the very last sentence was a kind of cross over between Cursed and Origin, being that they're set in the same place, and the ending of this book is kind of similar to how the fourth book in the Lux series, Origin, ends. I almost squealed... I'm not fully convinced that it was a coincidence. I'd like to think the star falling to the earth was the beginning of the Luxen invasion, that would be an awesome little merge of the two stories!

What about you? What did you think of Cursed? I'd love to hear your own rating and opinion so leave them in the comments:)

*I received this book as a review copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own unless stated otherwise.*

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Stacking The Shelves #7

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we can share what we bought in the past week, whether it be a physical book or an ebook.

I didn't buy much this week at all! Well done to me! But... I may or may not have put in an order at BookDepo for a 'few' books. Oops. But anyways, here's what I got this week: (All of the ebooks were free!)

What have you stacked your shelves with this week?:)

Friday, 22 August 2014

Author Interview: Caroline Batten

When Caroline emailed me to see if I'd like to read her book I jumped at the chance! The synopsis sounded exciting and original with not only one story but two entwined. I completely fell in love with her writing and the characters she created in #Forfeit - you can read my review here. I urge you all to at least go and check the book out on Goodreads, it's honestly fantastic and very British.

So, without further ado, here's the interview. Enjoy:)
1. Where did you get your inspiration for #Forfeit?

I had a dream... Seriously, as cheesy as it sounds, I woke up one day feeling utterly bereft. I’d dreamt about this couple and the boy left the girl, saying he couldn’t live with her anymore. And even though her heart was breaking, she just let him go. I had to write about that couple, that feeling.  I wanted to understand why she’d let him go when she clearly felt so strongly. (#Forfeit readers might recognise the scene) But I had no plot for the book, and books that are only about a relationship don’t cut it for me.

The next day, with the scene still playing on a loop in my head, I sat down to watch the Antique Roadshow. (What? The AR’s cool as.) Someone brought this antique dice along and the antiques expert explained it was a Victorian Forfeit ball. Ta-da! I had a plot.

2. Xander is definitely my new book boyfriend. Who is yours?

Ooooh, currently it’s West from Robin York’s Deeper. He’s a bit of a stereotype – the drug-dealing bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks, but he bakes. That’s kinda hot.

3. Who was your favourite character to write about in #Forfeit?

Making James unspeakably horrid to Daisy is always never a chore, but I think I’ll go for Finn. I’ve rewritten Forfeit NINE times, but the last one, the one I published, is the first to feature Finn. In previous versions, Daisy’s husband was Tonio, and he was dead. In Draft Ten, when I brought him back to life, I really got to know him. God, he’s so much fun to paint. Hot, irresistibly sexy, downright naughty, but he also allowed me to show a different side to Daisy.  

4. Are any of the characters inspired by real people?

No. Well, bits maybe. At uni, there were people I knew who were educated at private schools, people who seemed so effortlessly confident – like they always knew what they’d do when they graduated, they always knew what to eat and how to pronounce the name of wines I couldn’t afford. The Dowson-Jones’ are a heightened version of those people. I was more like Daisy – clueless and skint.

5. Did you have to do a lot of research in preparation for writing this book or did you just see where the story went?

The story didn’t really require any prep, but I like detail to be correct. I spent a lot (= too much?) time researching things like Cumbrian place names, high-end wines and everything on Net-a-Porter. But the best bit of research went into something that got cut. In the original version, Xander goes off to Lech – a totes swanky ski resort in Austria, but how could I write about a place I’d never visited?:) Cue one insanely awesome ski trip. Sadly, to cut the word count, I sacrificed the two chapters in Lech, but the memories will live on. Forever.   

6. Who would be your dream cast for Xander and Daisy? Do you have an actor/actress in mind for any of the other characters?

Without doubt, Juno Temple is Daisy. It took a long time to find someone worthy to play Xander, but I’m pleased to say that Max Irons is invited to audition. Tabitha could be played by Lindsay Lohan (in her pre-surgery days), but the others... I’ll let the casting director put some names forward.

7. Why did you choose Daisy Fitzgerald as the female protagonist's name? A Great Gatsby fan?

It’s not so well thought out, I’m afraid. I’ve barely skipped through the book. Once I’d had my plot epiphany, I was so desperate to get it written down and out of my head, I didn’t waste time picking the perfect names for my characters. I’d always loved the name Daisy and when I needed a surname for her, I just plucked a name from my bookshelf. I’d not long left university and I still had the novels I’d studied for my Eng Lit degree. F. Scott Fitzgerald and William Golding provided Daisy and Xander’s surnames. I wish it was cleverer than that. But it’s not. 

8. Would you want to play Forfeit?

No. Well, sober I wouldn’t to, but after a few glasses of Prosecco... 

9. Are you working on anything new that your fans can look forward to?

Of course. Although it’s not a sequel, Distraction’s set in the same village as #Forfeit and does follow on chronologically. Expect to see familiar faces, most notably Patrick (the best man from Clara’s wedding). He’ll be flanked by his best-friends, Scott and Robbie, and the whole thing opens with a murder...  

About The Author

Caroline lives in the Lake District with her husband, small child and two Kune Kune pigs.
She daydreams of one day owning a pair of Louboutin’s and having somewhere fabulous to wear them. Until then, she’ll be found plodding up a mountain in her trusty hiking boots.
#forfeit is Caroline’s debut novel. Her second novel, Distraction, is due for publication in February 2015.
Forfeit Advert for Website_Banner

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #5

The clock chimes midnight, a curse breaks, and a girl meets a prince . . . but what follows is not all sweetness and sugarplums.
New York City, 1899. Clara Stole, the mayor's ever-proper daughter, leads a double life. Since her mother's murder, she has secretly trained in self-defense with the mysterious Drosselmeyer.
Then, on Christmas Eve, disaster strikes.
Her home is destroyed, her father abducted--by beings distinctly not human. To find him, Clara journeys to the war-ravaged land of Cane. Her only companion is the dethroned prince Nicholas, bound by a wicked curse. If they're to survive, Clara has no choice but to trust him, but his haunted eyes burn with secrets--and a need she can't define. With the dangerous, seductive faery queen Anise hunting them, Clara soon realizes she won't leave Cane unscathed--if she leaves at all.
Inspired by The Nutcracker, Winterspell is a dark, timeless fairy tale about love and war, longing and loneliness, and a girl who must learn to live without fear. 
This book is being released in September (I think) and I can't wait! Have any of you read this yet?!

What book are you waiting for?:)

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Book Review: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.
Eleanor... Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough...Eleanor.
Park... He knows she'll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There's a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises...Park.
Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

Let me just start by saying that I really wanted to like this book because of all the wonderful things I've heard about not only Eleanor and Park but about all of Rainbow Rowell's books. The truth is, I didn't like it at all, so much that I had to DNF it and I absolutely hate doing that.

The main reason I didn't like it was because of what I expected when I started. I thought, from all the reviews I'd read, that this would be a fun, light story with a fluffy romance and some awkward teenage moments. I thought it would be another Anna and the French Kiss but in the 80's. Oh my goodness was I wrong.

I do not like reading about abuse, rape or anything in that area. To stop myself from ranting, the short answer as to 'why?' is that those kinds of things hit way too close to home for me. I feel uncomfortable and instantly put off when I read a synopsis and see that's what the book will be focused on. These subjects are a very personal matter and I refuse to read anything like that. I had no idea Eleanor and Park would have these kinds of deep, hard-hitting subjects in it's pages. The first time I read the line about the bruises on her mother's wrist, I read it fifty times over and then shut the book. After an hour or so of scrolling through Goodreads and Google for reviews, I picked it back up again determined to get past this bad feeling I had. Most people had said this was an inspiring story with a cute romance that reminds them of their first time in love. I did not see this at all. As I said before, I really wanted to like this book and when I knew it was going straight over my head I thought 'what am I missing here?' Was I not seeing something that everyone else saw? Had a section of my book not been printed or something? I felt totally disconnected from the characters and the story they were telling.

Also, the point of view literally changes on every page. Actually, we're lucky if we get one full page of Eleanor's or Park's POV. It changes so quickly and at first I didn't mind but then I just got confused as to who I was reading about. 
The relationship; all I'm going to say is that their relationship is not the stuff of dreams. I didn't see the transition from being indifferent to each other and becoming friends because it happened so fast and in such a strange way. I didn't read far enough to see them become more than friends unfortunately. I was hoping this would be the thing that redeemed the entire book but I just couldn't read that far.

So... against my better judgment, I read on. I got 60(ish) pages in and knew I couldn't read anymore. The racism was another thing that bothered me. I understand this book is set in the 80's and all but apart from the offhanded Chinese comment about Park, Eleanor was the one who bothered me the most. She was kind of casually racist, as in she thought it was okay to think that about the boy. Does she have no conscience or common sense?

I made the mistake, just before writing this review, to skim through the book towards the end just so I could see what happened. What I read was absolutely vile and it turned my stomach. Notes from someone who I wont mention in case I spoil it. These notes... I can't even begin to explain my horror. I absolutely will not be picking this book up again as I do with many of my past DNF books. Safe to say I never made it to the end pages. The book is in my drawers so I wont be reminded of the disappointment it was and what the story held.

The one and only thing I liked about Eleanor and Park was the short chapters. I'm one of those people that have to finish the chapter I'm on before closing the book to take a break so having 60 pages in one chapter isn't my cup of tea. I felt like I was reading two different stories too, like I would be reading about how awful her stepdad is and them BAM, she's back on the school bus and thinking about why Park wont look at her.

I'm kind of sad now that I didn't get the experience everyone else seems to have had. I thought about not even doing this review because I don't want all the fans to torch my house down or something but this blog's reviews can't all be sunshine and happiness because there will always be a book I don't like. No one likes everything they read, so I wrote the review. I'm happy I did as it gave me a chance to write down all my feelings on this book and I bet Nicole from daysofbooksandstarlight is suuuuper relieved because now she doesn't have to listen to me rant on and on about this book or have 30 messages sent to her in the space of a minute. Thanks for putting up with me, lovely;)

So, did anyone else not like the book? I feel kind of alone on this one so hearing how you felt about it would be awesome! (Oh and please, E&P fans, do not come and torch my house down. I'm rather fond of it.)

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Must Read!

This is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where we get a new top ten list each week. This week's list is the top ten books people have told me I must read!

Now, I get a lot of recommendations from people on Goodreads, Twitter and Blogger and if a book has been really recommended I'll usually end up picking it up online. I also like to read books that have lots of mixed reviews but are really hyped up as I prefer to make my own judgement, so here are the books (in no particular order) that people tell me I need to read!

What books MUST you read?:)