Thursday, 31 October 2013

Geek Girl: Model Misfit by Holly Smale

About the book
Geek Girl: Model Misfit is the second book in the Geek Girl series by Holly Smale. The book was published by Harper Collins Children’s Books on 26th September and it is 400 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy.

Plot Synopsis
Newly a model, always a geek, Harriet Manners has a lot going on. She knows an unlimited amount of random facts, is about to have a little brother or sister and has no idea where she fits in. After her plans for the whole summer are ruined, she’s surprised by a fabulous opportunity to model in Japan. But, even though she can’t wait to be as far away from home as possible, nothing seems to go right for Harriet in Tokyo. Her shoots are going terribly and hot boy Nick is everywhere she doesn’t want him to be. Japan was supposed to be the best summer ever but is quickly turning into Harriet’s worst nightmare.

What I thought
Geek Girl was one of those books that I couldn’t put down as soon as I started it and I was so hoping that the second instalment was going to be exactly the same.

At the beginning of the book Harriet is just about to take her final exam while painted gold (it’s okay, it was for a photo shoot) and is stressing about Nick, the guy she hasn’t heard from in ages. She has a whole plan for the summer with her best friend which are quickly destroyed when she finds out Nat is going to France for the summer. Luckily, her agent gives her the news that she’s landed a job in Tokyo and must leave right away so things begin to look up.

Harriet’s unique voice shines through from the very beginning and I quickly remembered why I loved her so much in the previous book. She’s a quirky girl and is definitely different from the other girls at her school, which doesn’t really do her any favours. However, she always tries her hardest at everything, even if things don’t seem to go her way a lot of the time. She’s silly and clumsy, which makes me laugh and even though she is incredibly clever, she does the silliest things at times.

I really loved that this book focused on Harriet getting another shot at modelling and jetting over to Japan to try again. The location brings in a completely different culture to what Harriet is used to and also provides some fantastic scenes of her exploring and getting to know her new surroundings. Not only that but Holly Smale brings in the pop culture of Japan and makes it a focal point of the story. It was so funny to see Harriet learn about the cuteness of everything and how important that was in Japan.

While the plot and Harriet were both fantastic, other characters help make this book as good as it is. In Japan, Harriet is forced to live with other models Poppy and Rin and these two provide so many funny moments. I have to say that I absolutely loved Rin and her misunderstandings of English and the fact that she tried so hard to get things right. Then there is Nick, who I loved so much in the first book. Nick is the love interest of the series and he’s broken Harriet’s heart. So when he turns up in Japan, she doesn’t know how to act and the fact that she’s without her best friend doesn’t help any. Nick and Harriet always have this wonderfully unique chemistry going and I couldn’t get enough of these two together.

I cannot really express how much I loved this book apart from to say I did love it more than the first book. Holly Smale has definitely done it again! 

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Time After Time by Tamara Ireland Stone

About the book
Time After Time is the second book in the young adult ‘Time Between Us’ series by Tamara Ireland Stone. The book was published on 24th October by Corgi Children’s and it is 400 pages long. I received a copy of this review through NetGalley.

Plot Synopsis
Anna and Bennett are in a long distance relationship… but with a difference. Anna lives in Chicago 1995 and Bennett comes from San Francisco in 2012. They never should have met, never should have fallen in love… but they did and now they can’t go back to being without each other. However, Bennett is only able to travel back to ’95 for short periods of time which puts a huge amount of strain on the relationship and also causes him to lose time in his own life. Both Anna and Bennett are confident they can make things work but after witnessing something he shouldn’t have, Bennett isn’t so sure. Will he be able to keep the future he wants with Anna or use his ability to time travel for something else entirely?

What I thought
The first book in this series, Time Between Us was one of my favourite books of 2012 and it has been a long wait for the sequel.

In this book, Anna and Bennett are now in a pretty good relationship, even though Bennett has to travel back in time in order to see his girlfriend. I really enjoyed the problems that came with the time travel aspect of this book. It isn’t easy for Bennett to leave his regular life and to lie to the people he loves in order to see Anna. He does have his own life to live, his own school to go to and his own friends to see but Anna is so important to him. There is a lot more of Bennett and his home life put into this book and I really enjoyed getting to know more about him instead of Anna.  

Sadly, I didn’t completely enjoy where the plot was taken in this book. In the first book, I felt as though there was quite a lot of excitement and a lot to find out about but in this one, I didn’t feel that there was much of either of those things in this book. While Anna and Bennett come across problems in their relationship, I found them to be a bit bland. I wanted bigger problems or problems that caused greater consequences. What I mean by that is that there just wasn’t a lot of urgency in the plot and it just plodded along at a quite steady pace.

However, there were a few new things that happened in Time After Time that I did like. There were questions raised about Bennetts ability and what he could actually use it for. Not only that but what would he use it for. There was quite a lot going on regarding the right choices to make and what would happen should Bennett change things too much in the past. These were the aspects of this book that I did really enjoy because it was about time travel. I wanted more of this and slightly less about the relationship between the two main characters; or for them and the time travel to be better intertwined.

Being a book about time travel, there are obvious references to the two different years visited, among a few that aren’t. I absolutely loved the things that brought into the story to make it both current and to give older readers a sense of nostalgia. Bennett and his sister use the ability to time travel to see their favourite bands and very current names such as Maroon 5 were mentioned and some certain things about Adam Levine which made me very happy. Then, there were mentions of awesome ‘90s films such as Empire Records (which is a favourite of mine) that really made me smile.

While I didn’t completely love this book, I did enjoy reading it and being immersed in the lives of Anna and Bennett once again. The ending was pretty good though and it left a lot of questions for what could happen next. 

Friday, 25 October 2013

Rolling Dice by Beth Reekles

About the book
Rolling Dice is the second young adult book by Beth Reekles. The book was published by Random House on 29th August and it is 464 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy for review.

Plot Synopsis
Now that she’s moved to Florida, Madison Clarke no longer needs to be known as Fatty Maddy. She’s got a new life, new look and is hoping that will come with new friends too. Madison is sick of being the outcast loner and a new school means a second chance. Her luck seems to be in when the popular girls take her under their wing and the most popular guy in school instantly takes an interest in her. But, the first guy in town she met was Dwight, a funny and cute boy who seems to get Madison. Problem is, he’s one of the nerds in school and her new friends are not impressed with Madison even talking to him. Will she stay with the popular Bryce or will she follow her heart and take a chance on Dwight?

What I thought
I had mixed feelings about Beth Reekles first book, The Kissing Booth but I was still looking forward to giving her second book a try.

Protagonist Madison has just moved from Maine to Florida and couldn’t be more excited about starting a new life for herself. Back at her old school, she was the outcast – not as slim and pretty as any of the other girls. Now, Madison has reinvented herself, complete with nose piercing and funky hair ready to start again. I honestly loved Madison from the very beginning. It sounded as though she’d had a really rough time of it at her old school and just needed to find somewhere to fit in and make friends. She’d decided that the new Madison would take risks and do daring things because she didn’t want to hide away any more. Pretty much, Madison just wanted to be liked and while this could have come across as whiney, it didn’t. She was very real about what she wanted and yes, she did worry at times about things she was doing but I liked her more for that.

Early on, Madison meets Dwight, who quite obviously is into her. However, at a beach party he invites her to, she meets Bryce who is one of the most popular guys in school – not that Madison knows that. She’s quite torn between her feelings for both but once school starts and she realises who Bryce is, she takes a chance on him. Unlike a lot of the ‘popular’ guys in books, Bryce was actually pretty damn nice. He did really sweet things for Madison, complimented her and was generally, a nice boyfriend. I could understand Madison’s torn feelings though because Dwight was also wonderful and super sweet. The only real difference between the two was their social standing in school.

Plot wise, Rolling Dice is pretty romance centred. Madison is just finding her place at school and quite a lot of the book follows her relationship with Bryce. I actually really enjoyed the time spent with these two characters though because they were so cute together and the getting to know each other bits were fun to read. Reekles also spends time on Madison’s feelings for Dwight though and shows how their friendship progresses with the chance of it being something more. It was great to see Madison sticking to her guns about being friends with Dwight. Okay, her friends were less than impressed but for the most part, she didn’t overly care what they thought. Many girls in young adult books care too much about their friends’ opinions so it was a breath of fresh air for someone to stand up for themselves a bit more.

Although a lot of time is spent between Madison and the boys, there is also more going on. Even though Madison’s friends at school were bitches for the most part, some of them were quite nice and it was fun to see them hanging out and doing things that teenagers do. They go shopping, parties and gossip about boys. None of these things were overdone though but they were a nice touch to the plot. Also, the plot is solely focused on Madison’s friends and boyfriend. The whole book is really about Madison finding who she is and being comfortable with that, regardless of peer pressure or what other people think about her.

As a second book, Rolling Dice addressed many of the problems I had with Reekles’ first book. As a British author, Reekles seemed to have a hard time distinguishing her voice in the first book and it came out as half American and half British. Thankfully, Rolling Dice reads as an American book without any little Britishisms sneaking through. The plot was also a lot stronger, with it having somewhere to go rather than a straight forward romance story. For those reasons, I liked Rolling Dice so much more than The Kissing Booth!

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Author Interview: Beth Reekles

Beth Reekles is an internet sensation. Her first published book, The Kissing Booth, originally on Wattpad, now has over 19 million reads and 40,000 comments. Beth is now a published author with Random House and her second book, Rolling Dice was released on 29th August. 

Before I get into interviewing Beth, here's what Rolling Dice is all about:

They say that the higher you climb, the harder you fall - and Madison Clarke will do anything to keep her new life from crumbling to pieces. Moving from a small town in Maine to Florida, Madison grasps the opportunity to reinvent herself, to forget about those days of being a lonely, loner outcast, and jumps at the chance when the popular kids decide to take her under their wing. A hot boyfriend, parties, friends... If only there wasn't the slight problem by the name of Dwight, a cute, funny and totally nerdy guy in Madison's physics class who she can't help but enjoy spending time with. Running from her past and stumbling through the present, who knows what lies ahead in this new life in Florida?

Please describe Rolling Dice in 5 words. 
New beginnings and first love. 

What made you want to be an author?
I've always really liked writing and reading. I just love books - so being an author always sounded like a dream job when I was younger, but I never thought it would actually happen!

How have your life experiences affected the way that you write?
I think that being a teenager writing about teenagers gives me a different perspective when writing, because I don't have the benefit of hindsight, of knowing that in the long term, nobody's going to remember how badly that maths test went, or how bad that break-up was. I try and write about teenagers in realistic situations that people like me can relate to. I don't base any of my stories directly on my own life experiences, but I draw on them for inspiration.

Do you read books similar to those that you write, or a different genre altogether?
I read all kinds of books: dystopian, historical fiction, fantasy... I mostly write YA romances (and I read a lot of those, too!) but sometimes I'll write other genres, just for fun.

For you, what components make up a good book?
I think that a compelling protagonist is one of the most important things - someone relateable and endearing. As long as the character is someone I like to read about, I'll read almost any story. A good book is usually well-paced, too - not so fast that everything happens in a couple of chapters, but not so slow that in twenty chapters, nothing of consequence has happened.

If you could be any character from any book for just one day, who would you by and why?
I'd love to be someone from Hogwarts - not necessarily one of the main characters, but just a Hogwarts student. I loved the Harry Potter books growing up, so I think it would be really awesome if I could experience the magic and mystery of Hogwarts!

Some authors do certain things while they write like listen to music. Do you need to do anything similar?
I usually listen to music, or sometimes I'll put re-runs of TV shows on. I'm not too picky about what I have on in the background, though - it's just whatever takes my fancy!

Were any of the characters in Rolling Dice, or their traits, inspired by people you know?
As a teenager, I think it's inevitable that you come across people who'll put other people down, so I drew on my experiences of people in high school to develop some of the characters, but I didn't base any of the characters directly on people I know.

What is your favourite book of all time and why?
That's a really difficult question; I've read so many books it's hard to choose! I think that maybe my all time favourite book is The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, because it's got everything I could want in a book: it's funny, sad, compelling, and it makes you think. It's a fantastic read and one that I couldn't put down, even when I re-read it. The protagonist is witty and relateable, and I'd recommend it to anyone.

Do you have a favourite book that you've read this year?

I recently read A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin, and I couldn't put it down! I thought it was brilliant, and I loved the world that Martin created, and the menagerie of characters.

Thank you Beth for such a wonderful interview. Rolling Dice and The Kissing Booth are out now, published by Random House! 

Monday, 21 October 2013

Starters by Lissa Price

About the book
Starters is the first book in the Starters and Enders series by Lissa Price. The book was published by Corgi on 4th July 2013 and the book is 352 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy for review.

Plot Synopsis
Since their parents died, Callie and her younger brother are constantly on the run and living as squatters. People like them don’t have homes anymore. Callie thinks that she’s find a way out of her bad situation though. The Body Bank promises cash and fast, giving her hope for the future with her brother.

While the Body Bank allows teenagers needing money to rent out their bodies to anyone wanting to know what it feels like to be young again, Callie’s experience comes at a cost. Her renter intends to use Callie’s body for things against the rules, for things other than partying, for murder…

What I thought
After being in a phase of reading a fair few New Adult books I was in the mood for something a bit different and Starters looked exactly like that kind of book.

Lissa Price has created a world where the young are cast out unless they’re rich and the old(er) have all of the luxury. One of those luxuries is being able to rent out younger bodies and relive the more fun years of their lives. The plot revolves around protagonist Callie and her need to make money, and fast. Her little brother is ill and without their parents, she’s struggling to cope. The only way she can think of for making the money she needs is by renting her body out. I really enjoyed the way in which the world was explained, and how clear it was that the young were in the worst position. It was also quite horrifying to see how badly some people were being treated and the conditions they were forced to live in.

However, as interesting as the plot sounded to begin with, I found myself losing interest as the book went on. Callie having the best possible reasons for being a body donor, annoyed the hell out of me but I’m not completely sure why. I really liked her to begin with, and thought she was extremely brave for doing what she did but that didn’t last long. I think one of the biggest problems was that I didn’t really connect with her. Maybe this was due to the body renting situation or maybe I just didn’t agree with some of her choices. However much I ended up disliking Callie, she was a pretty strong and determined character.

Except for the beginning, I found the plot to be quite the let-down. Once Callie agrees to be a body donor, I expected everything to be extremely fast paced and exciting. However, Callie’s realisation of what is really happening around her comes slowly. For various reasons, she’s able to hear the voice of the woman renting her body in her head. Her renter has reasons for renting Callie’s body and reasons strictly against the rules. I found the whole thing a bit confusing with two voices inside one head, and that’s probably why I still haven’t read The Host. I understand that this was needed in order to explain the plot but I just couldn’t get on with it.

While there are quite a few characters in this book, they all lacked depth. There is very little character development throughout Starters and this is probably a big part of why I just didn’t connect with Callie. Starters relies on its plot and while that was quite strong on its own, it just didn’t have the great characters it could have had to back up what was written. I wanted Callie to have come a long way on her journey throughout this book and while she did change a little, it wasn’t enough for me and I didn’t really feel as though her actions were so worthwhile.

So as you can probably tell, Starters was unfortunately not the book for me. 

Friday, 18 October 2013

Forever Too Far by Abbi Glines

About the book
Forever Too Far is the third book in the Too Far series (New Adult) by Abbi Glines. The book was published on 1st August 2013 by Simon and Schuster and it is 288 pages long.

Plot Synopsis
After promising her forever, Blaire began to believe that it was her and Rush until the very end but she’s realising that promises can be broken. Now that Blaire is pregnant, Rush knows that Blaire and the baby need to come first but his crazy family are threatening everything that he’s been working for. While Rush tries to figure out how to fit everyone into his life, Blaire struggles with making the right decision that could break her heart.

Will the couple that’s been working so hard to be happy together finally get what they deserve?

What I thought
The Too Far series is one I have had mixed feeling about. Whilst I’ve really liked one book, I didn’t like another so much so I was going into this final book not really knowing whether or not I would like it. However, I was happily surprised with this one.

Rush and Blaire have gone through so much by this point in the series. After secrets, lies and betrayals, they have to really work together if they’re going to have a happy ending. A quick recap is given at the beginning of the book, reminding readers that Blaire is now pregnant with Rush’s child and both characters couldn’t be happier. It isn’t long until new characters are introduced to stir things up a bit though but I loved the new additions and the way that the story was taken.

Someone who has been mentioned many times is Rush’s father, Dean Finlay – rock god! Up until this point, I had been hoping he would turn up at some point because I wanted to know where Rush got his attitude from. Dean is very much a smooth talker and womaniser but we get to past his rocker reputation as soon as he realises Blaire is pregnant. I loved the different sides to Dean because you could really see that although in love with his job, he really did love his family and would do anything for them – very much like Rush. Dean’s appearance is for a reason and not because of Blaire. Instead, Dean delivers some news that sets off the whole plot. Rush’s sister Nan is being a pain in the arse and no one but Rush will be able to sort her out so really, Dean comes to get Rush to help.

Over the course of the series, Nan has been a complete bitch to Blaire and has always been jealous of her and Rush’s relationship. I was so glad to see Blaire be the better person here as Nan threw a lot more at her. She managed to try to be understanding for Rush, to be there for him while helping Nan but also, she didn’t take any crap from Nan and stood up for herself which was nice to see. I really enjoyed the plot surrounding Nan as not only did it bring in new characters but it also set up other books and other plots.

Along with Blaire’s development in regards to her empathy towards Nan, Rush has also come a hell of a long way. Gone is the shallow, play boy and instead we get such a loving and sweet young man. His relationship with Blaire has definitely changed Rush for the better and it was so wonderful to see how much he cared for both Blaire and the baby. Rush has some struggles with who to put first in his life but once he got it into his head that he would be a father and a husband, he and everything around him changed. He couldn’t have become a more caring person.

Overall, Forever Too Far has a mix of fantastic plot, utterly sweet romance with a few steamy scenes and great characters. What a great ending to the series!

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Here Without You by Tammara Webber

About the book
Here Without You is the fourth and final book in the Between The Lines (New Adult) series by Tammara Webber. The book was published on 29th August by Penguin and it is 336 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy for review.

Plot Synopsis
Reid and Dori are finally in a happy relationship, even if it is a still a secret from her parents and the rest of the world. Dori is about to head off to Berkley while Reid has new films lined up. Their relationship already has enough distractions in the way but will it be able to handle one more. Reid has a bigger secret than his new girlfriend looming over him and it’s one that could ruin everything. Will Dori be able to see past the lies and deceit and remember just who she fell in love with in the first place?

What I thought
Only hours after finishing the third book in this series did I start reading Here Without You. I’ve said before that Tammara Webber’s writing is addictive and I couldn’t wait to find out how things were going to turn out for Reid and Dori. This final book in the series is told through multiple characters, two of which are Reid and Dori while there are also a couple of others although I won’t mention names. I love the way that Tammara Webber brings in not only the main characters but others around them as it makes for a much more interesting story.

In this book, Reid and Dori have finally admitted their feelings for each other and are now in a relationship, even if it is a secret one. Dori’s parents don’t approve of Reid and she’s about to head off to Berkley to start college. Even though they’re together, her life is still so different from Reid’s. He’s a Hollywood star while she’s studying to be a Social Worker. Since the previous book, Dori has definitely learned to take chances, especially when it comes to things she really wants – namely, Reid. She’s begun to fight for what she believes in and is coming to realise that her parents can’t run her life for her. Even though I liked Dori before this book, I ended up liking her a whole lot more this time around.

Then there is Reid. Once the bad boy, womaniser, the guy who didn’t give a crap about anyone but himself, he’s changed. Dori’s influence on him has inspired Reid to become a better person and to generally do better things. Gone is the arrogant, full of himself play boy and instead, there is a sweet, caring and thoughtful young man standing in his place. I don’t think I could be more proud of a fictional character. Even with him being a changed man, the Reid I began to love was still there. He’s hot and he knows it but he now uses that in a playful way instead of to get everything he wants. Honestly, there is so much character development with Reid. But, it isn’t all in this book – that has happened from book one all the way up until book four.

Something I love about Tammara Webber’s books is that she isn’t all about the romance. Yes, there are some fabulous scenes between Dori and Reid as we watch their relationship go to the next level but there is so much more than that. Here Without You has, in my opinion, the best plot in this series. Reid and Dori have their own things going on so it was interesting to see how they coped with a long distance relationship. Obviously, Reid’s money and the ability to fly to Dori whenever he wanted helped matters. But, there is more. Reid has one big secret that Dori doesn’t know about and this is one of the main focuses of the book. For those who have read the other books in the series, if I say Brooke is back you might know what that secret is all about. If you haven’t, I don’t want to ruin everything.

Here Without You tackles issues from Reid’s past and how things can come back when you least expect it. I really loved how characters from previous books were brought back in order to help Reid figure out his life and what he really wants. This plot also helped Reid to become an even better man and to realise that he made some massive mistakes when he was younger. There are some great messages in this book about trust, getting a second chance in life and also how to make up for things you wished you’d done differently.

I cannot say enough about how much I loved this book. I am sad it was the end of such a different series in the new adult genre though but I will definitely be reading anything Tammara Webber writes from now on. 

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Film Review: Now You See Me

About the film
Now You See Me is a thriller film that was released at the cinema in the UK on 3rd July 2013. The film has a run time of 115 minutes and it is rated 12A.

After receiving a mysterious summons, four magicians arrive to a strange address in New York and find a room full of secrets. A year later, they’re working together as The Four Horsemen, stage illusionists about to perform to a sold out venue in Las Vegas. The big part of their show is that they apparently robbed a French bank for real, showering their audience with millions of Euros. With a trick that big, and a crime committed, the show gets the attention of the FBI and Interpol and Dylan Rhodes and Alma Vargas are assigned to the case. With The Four Horsemen constantly one step ahead, Thaddeus Bradley, a magician who reveals how big tricks are done, also becomes involved.

As the investigation continues there is one illusion after another and it becomes clear that the closer you look, the less you see!

What I thought
Now You See Me was one of the films that I have been most looking forward to seeing this year. As soon as I saw the trailer, I was desperate to see it. I haven’t seen a film that looked anything like this and because of how different it looked, I wanted to see it even more.

The film begins by showing us the lives of what will be The Four Horsemen. Either a street magician, an escapist or a mentalist, each of the four have special skills which are needed for a secret reason. Within a couple of days of each other, the four characters receive a card with an address on although no further information. On the date specified, the four arrive at the mysterious location and realise that they’re being hired for something bigger than any of them could have ever imagined. Then, we skip to a year later and The Four Horsemen are just about to perform in Las Vegas together, claiming that they can rob a bank. The beginning of the film is very exciting and is filled with fantastic magic tricks and illusions, although these are nothing compared to what comes later in the film.

The first big trick we see is that of The Four Horsemen apparently robbing a bank in France during their show. Part of the plot of this film concerns the tricks being done and the FBI and Interpol attempting to figure out how they’re done, especially because robbing a bank is a crime. This brings in something more than just magic into the film and makes it a race against time and a huge mystery to solve. If the magic and illusions weren’t exciting enough, there is the FBI trying to figure everything out as well. I absolutely loved the plot in Now You See Me. The trailers made the film look different and exciting and that’s exactly what it is. There are things happening all over the damn place over the whole 115 minutes of the film.

One big aspect of the film is trying to figure out how magic tricks and illusions are done and I absolutely loved this. Not only are the FBI trying to figure out what is going on, but so was I as an audience member. Throughout, it is said that the closer you look, the less you see and that’s exactly true. You could have been sat right up next to the screen and still not be able to see how tricks were done. One of the biggest aspects of the magic for me was the mentalism stuff, mainly because of how much I love Derren Brown and the things he does. Thankfully though, some secrets are revealed throughout the film but at the end, there are still plenty of unanswered questions which leaves it perfectly open for a sequel which has been confirmed now.

Cast wise, Now You See Me gets even better. Starring as The Four Horsemen are Jesse Eisenberg as J. Daniell Atlas, Woody Harrelson as Merritt McKinney, Isla Fisher as Henley Reeves and Dave Franco as Jack Wilder. I couldn’t have been more impressed with this bunch. Eisenberg sheds his geeky image from The Social Network and is now a sexy, cool and interesting magician. Isla Fisher brings some sex appeal to the show with her skimpy “assistant” looking outfits while Dave Franco’s character Jack has street smarts and Woody Harrelson plays a mentalist. The four work extremely well together and as characters with varying personalities. They bounce off of each other at times, have some great and funny banter but most importantly, they work well together to get the job done.

As The Four Horsemen are a young bunch, we have some older actors to even things out a bit. Mark Ruffalo plays Dylan Rhodes, FBI agent assigned to the case. He’s ruthless throughout the film and desperately wants to find out what is going on. He’s a bit of an angry man and definitely does not believe in magic so is very dubious about what The Four Horsemen are doing. Then we have Morgan Freeman as Thaddeus Bradley, an ex-magician who reveals the secrets of tricks for a living. What I loved about this character is that he’s so straight with everyone and tells them that they’re looking too closely but will they listen? No, of course not.

So, overall, Now You See Me was one of my favourite films this year. It is amazing to look at in regards to the magic being done but it is also so exciting. Add in a bloody awesome cast and you can’t really go wrong. 

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Good For You by Tammara Webber

About the book
Good for You is the third book in the Between the Lines series (New Adult) by Tammara Webber. The book was published by Penguin on 6th June and it is 400 pages long.

Plot Synopsis
After being the cause of a dangerous car accident that nearly destroyed a house, Reid Alexander is sentenced to community service – which is getting off lightly. In order to carry out his time, Reid must help repair the house he nearly destroyed. Instead of being able to breeze through the court order, Reid is assigned to Dori, who is not at all impressed with his celebrity status and neither does she fawn all over him like other girls.

Once Reid has realised that this might be the one girl completely unaffected by him, he makes it his mission to change her mind. But, getting to know Dori better has an effect on Reid that he could have never predicted. Dori knows that deep down, there is a good person hidden away in Reid and she intends to make him see that but it may cost her her own secrets at the same time.

What I thought
In the new adult genre, there tends to be a lot of books with excessive sex scenes and not a lot of substance when it comes to the plot. Thankfully, Tammara Webber gives us the Between The Lines series, revolving around movie stars, which is something very different.

This third book does not follow on exactly from books one and two but instead focuses on Reid Alexander, a character from the previous books. Before Reid has been a massive player who has had his ego bruised after not being able to get the girl he so desperately wanted. After going on a bit of a downwards spiral, he crashes a car while drunk and causes some big damage to a house. He’s sentenced to community service which he is not pleased about, especially as it means fixing up the house he trashed. Even though he’s been a bit of a bad boy, I have liked Reid in the past.

Dori comes from a family of do-gooders. Before heading off to college, she’s helping out a group of kids, helping to rebuild a house and going off to Ecuador for a mission trip. She’s everything Reid is not. Dori is the one who gets stuck supervising Reid at the house and she’s dreading having to spend time with someone as self-centred and selfish as he is. I really liked Dori because she was a take no crap kind of girl. She doesn’t have time to waste and very much enjoys what she does to help others. She also saw straight through Reid and knew that he wasn’t being completely truthful with anyone.

Unlike many other new adult books, this one has a lot going on in the plot. Not only is there the slow building relationship between Reid and Dori but there is also a lot going on around them. Dori thinks she knows what path she is on in life but Reid’s influence begins to change that. Reid thinks he knows exactly who he is but Dori brings out a completely different side to him and makes him want to be a better person. There are also twists and turns in regards to both character’s families. I really enjoyed that we got to know both main characters through secondary characters such as Dori and Reid’s mothers. While I wouldn’t say the plot was exciting, there was a lot going on and it made for a very entertaining read.

For me, the romance was an added bonus to a great plot. Reid and Dori aren’t characters who fall in love instantly and there is a fabulous chase between the two. Neither character is sure of their feelings for the other as they’re polar opposites to begin with. I enjoyed getting to know them separately and then to watch them both grow as they spent more time together. It really did make a nice change for the characters to have depth and purpose, to have interesting backgrounds and also for them both to be likeable as well. In regards to romance, this one comes very slowly but it is extremely sweet at the same time. While there are sex scenes, they aren’t as graphic as in other new adult novels. Tammara Webber manages to let the reader know exactly what is going on and what the characters are feeling without being too descriptive which was something I was very thankful for.

Reid has come a long way since his time with Emma in books one and two and Dori was a wonderful addition to this series. Tammara Webber writing is extremely addictive and she writes a plot that you don’t want to stop discovering. Thankfully I have book four waiting to be read and I know it won’t take me long to read the whole thing!

Monday, 7 October 2013

Never Too Far by Abbi Glines

About the book
Never Too Far is the second book in the Too Far (new adult) trilogy by Abbi Glines. It is also part of the larger Sea Breeze series. The book was published by Simon and Schuster on 1st August and it is 272 pages long.

Plot Synopsis
Blaire thought she had found her perfect guy in Rush. That was until she found out the secret he was keeping that would end up destroying everything she had ever known.

She thought she could run back home and forget about the guy who affected her in such an important way, and she could, until something changed her and her life forever. Now, she’s forced to face Rush once more. Blaire knows she’s still in love with Rush but will be she able to trust him again after hurting her so badly?

What I thought
The Sea Breeze series by Abbi Glines has been a bit hit and miss for me and before this one, I had read 4 in the series. The first book of Blaire and Rush’s story wasn’t one I was completely in love with but I’m still always left wanting to know what happens next. So, when the sequel came out, I had to buy it and it didn’t take me long to finish reading it once I had started.

Never Too Far starts off with a bang. Blaire has run away back to her home town after finding out secrets about her mother and extended family, leaving her unable to deal with Rush, the hot guy/step-brother she’d been having a romantic tryst with. However, Blaire has some shocking news that changes everything and means that she has to head back to the one guy she wanted to be able to trust but can’t.

There are some great twists right from the very beginning of this book which is partly why I liked it much more than the first book. My problem with Fallen Too Far was the severe lack of plot but luckily that aspect was much better in this sequel. Although there is still a lot going on between Rush and Blaire, they now have a past, things to work on and a lot more character development. The things revealed at the end of the previous book means that Never Too Far works on problems between characters, how relationships can move forward after shocking events and how certain things affect different people. I loved how this book contained much more than just hot sex scenes.

I was honest in my review of the previous book and said how much I disliked Rush. He was shallow, a player, possessive and a bloody idiot. However, I am so happy to say that my opinion of him has now changed. Rush started off living a pretty wild lifestyle and doing whatever the hell he wanted. But, Blaire has helped him to see the error of his ways and what loving someone can do to a person. While the possessive side was still there, it was toned down a lot. Now, Rush manages to be possessive but in a caring way at the same time. His bossing Blaire around at times was clearing for her own good and he really did want what was best for her.

While I liked Blaire before, I disliked her a bit in this book. I loved how strong she was in Fallen Too Far and although she had been through a lot, she seemed to have lost that strength here. Gone is the girl that threatens people with guns and stands up for herself. Instead, she changes her mind every two minutes and seems to be a bit flakey when it comes to making solid decisions. She flitted from one thing to another quite quickly and while there may have been some reasons for that, they just weren’t good enough for me. I wanted to see the determined and free-willed girl come back and stand up for herself.

Secondary characters really helped to make this book better than the first. Bethy and Woods especially were two of my favourites, mainly because they were so thoughtful, caring and there for Blaire when she needed friends the most. Not only that though, but they were great characters with great personalities all on their own. Bethy has gone from a girl without much confidence to really standing up for herself and saying exactly what she thinks. I loved her! Other characters such as Rush’s sister Nan also helped to add drama to the plot and to make it more substantial.

I am so happy that I liked this book much more than the first. Now, I can’t wait to read the last book in Rush and Blaire’s trilogy.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Guest Post: Reading Romance by Emma

Today I have a wonderful guest post about reading romance by Emma from Book Angel Booktopia. Like me, Emma likes her books steamy and she sure does like to swoon over the male leads! So, over to Emma...

Where to begin?

I never considered myself overly romantic, I would even go so far as to say I was rather cynical about the whole ‘romance novel’ concept. I remember my mother reading the stereotypical Mills & Boon books when I was younger – you know the ones with the picture of Fabio on the cover and the bodice ripping – yeah well those – that’s enough to make anyone scoff at the ‘romantic’ relationships portrayed.

THEN I started reviewing. Why would this make a difference to reading romance I hear you ask? Well, via reviewing you tend to learn a lot about your own personal tastes and it provides a lot of time for reflection; you know one of my catchphrases is ‘Reading is Subjective’ you project your own experiences and views onto the characters and situations you read about. This is how I discovered that for me to really enjoy a book, I had to connect with the characters, be swept away by their interactions and relationships. You can see where I am going with this can’t you. For me the difference with giving a book an OK to giving it a good would be based upon the Romance within the story. I can tell you this came as a little bit of a shock to me – WOW I had a romantic side.

You may be aware, if you have followed me for a while, that I have been through a rough break-up in the last few years. Rather than it having a negative impact on my love of romance, I have found that I crave the romance within the stories more than ever. It’s my version of an adult fairytale (these words appear a lot in my reviews, lol) It takes me away from the ‘real world’ it makes it possible to find your Prince/Soul-mate in the most unexpected of places. It shows love lasts and endures, that relationships grow rather than fall apart – utter swoonage.

Don’t get me wrong, I can’t read just any romance – oh no – I maybe 42, separated with 3 children but I don’t want to read about characters that are in the same sort of situation as I am. I’m living that reality I don’t want to read about it. I read about first love, the feelings you get when you find the person you belong with. The increase in heart rate, the butterflies in the stomach, the silly grin for no particular reason. How the characters are better people because of the other person *happy sigh* There maybe struggles involved for the characters that wrench your heart apart but ultimately it’s the Happy Ever After that keeps the candle of romance burning bright. I know a lot of people don’t like the insta-love concept, I am not one of them, for me it just re-enforces the soul-mate ideal and that makes me blissfully happy.

Young Adult and New Adult Romance has all the feels. It takes me away from the reality of raising 3 girls by myself and into a world where I can be swept away on a tide of emotion. I utterly love it.

Have you ever thought about why you like a certain type of book and why? 

Thank you so much Emma! Even though I'm newly married, I love a good steamy romance and losing myself in someone else's story! 

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Romance in films

As a big lover of films, I thought I would give you my top romances/ couples in films. This could have turned into one massive list considering the amount of films I have seen but I've tried to cut it down a little. 

The thing about romance in films for me is getting to see people be so utterly happy and in love. I absolutely love the big, grand gestures as well as impressive and romantic weddings. I also really enjoy watching a couple as they grow to love each other and the things that bring them together. Romance films for me are something that never fail to cheer me up, or enable me to have a good cry at a soppy story if that's how I'm feeling. 

So, here we go:
(These are in no particular order)

Melanie and Jake (Sweet Home Alabama)
Oh, how I was routing for these two to finally get it together again at the end of the film. Melanie and Jake has instant chemistry from the moment we see them on screen together and you can tell that they've had a troubled past. Their story was a heartbreaking one as we realise exactly what they have been through. Although moving so far apart, Melanie and Jake are more alike than they're willing to admit and that's partly what made them such a great couple for me. 

Patrick and Kat (10 Things I Hate About You)
So these two aren't one of my favourite couples in the romantic sense, because that doesn't happen too much in 10 Things I Hate About You. But, Patrick and Kat have such a fire between them and their chemistry was amazing. I couldn't get enough of their banter and Kat being quite mean to Patrick throughout the film. But, they also do have a wonderful relationship once they pull down the walls each of them have up. 

The Princess Bride
One of my absolute all-time favourite films. The love story between Buttercup and Westley is one I could never forget and one that makes me sigh at its sweetness every single time. Westley will go to any length to protect his one true love and the adventure taken to get to a happy ending makes their relationship even more exciting and lovely to watch. I remember the first time watching this thinking, 'Buttercup, its Westley behind the mask!'. I couldn't wait for her to realise who she was spending time with and to realise that her love had returned for her. 

Pretty Woman
Who doesn't love Pretty Woman? I think this must have been one of the first romance films I ever saw and I remember my aunt introducing me to it. Never have I cheered on a couple so much and desperately wanted them to have their happy ending. The ending of this film is what gets me every time, where Edward 'rescues' Vivian and climbs up the steps to get her. The ending is just so unbelievably romantic for me because really, every girl wants to be treated like a princess. 

Jack and Rose were doomed right from the start bless them. Coming from completely different worlds, these two characters never stood a chance of happiness in the long run but what makes this film so romantic is the little time they do get to spend together. Jack and Rose make the most of every minute they have together and spend it as though it is their last. Titanic is one of those films that never fails to make me cry because even though I know the outcome, I still want them to end up happy together. 

Do you agree with my choices? What films/ couples would you have on your list?

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Guest post: Romance in YA fiction by Raimy

Today I want to welcome the wonderful Raimy from Readaraptor to the blog. She's written a wonderful post about romance in young adult fiction from a different perspective. 

Over to Raimy...

Ok I am not the best person to ask about romance, I am not a romantic, I would rather have something practical, or a dinosaur, bought for me than a box of chocolates or some flowers... in fact once when my boyfriend bought me flowers, he also bought a vase because he knew I didn’t have one! So with this in mind, me being here today to talk about my favourite romances in books may seem a bit crazy... I don’t like it being put into books for the sake of it and I don’t often read contemporary romances, if there is romance in my book I want there to be a real reason for it... and don’t even get me started on intsa-love.

Anyway the type of romance I do like is subtle romance, the romance you can see blossoming during the book and that builds ever so slightly, at a steady pace and nicely. I don’t like macho rubbish and I don’t like giggly girls. The below are great examples of romance in some of my favourite books. 

Belle Epoque - Elizabeth Ross 
I read this just a week or so back and it is incredible, I loved everything about it and the romance between the main character and a gentleman she meets in the book is just perfect. They are obviously attracted to one another but its so subtle that its a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it kinda thing until right at the end. Everything is in Maude’s perspective in the book and I don’t even remember her admitting to being attracted to him so by the end of the book I was so happy to see them becoming even closer. 

Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares - Rachel Cohen & David Levithan 
So this is a contemporary romance, however there are so many things going on in addition to the romance that I loved it anyway. The romance that developed between Dash & Lily though was beautiful and I loved ow they used a notebook to get to know one another. The whole book is very serendipitous and I loved it for that. 

The Grisha Trilogy - Leigh Bardugo 
Mal and Alina are special and I love the two characters separately and together. The romance in this trilogy (which is currently only up to book two) is beautiful and I love that it is a back story to everything and takes its time to develop. In book one I wasn’t even sure they were going to actually get together or stay together but in the second I was happier with them how they were but it didn’t take over the full story either which was awesome. 

Chopsticks is quite possibly the most bizarre book I have read for review, ever. In fact you can’t really call it reading because there are around 100 words in the entire thing I think! It like a scrapbook that tells the story of two characters who each have a lot of crap to deal with and take comfort in each others company. The two characters find themselves falling into each others world, each trying to deal with the others’ problems rather than their own and it made for an incredible book and a beautiful romance.

There are probably loads more romances that I have loved despite my inclination to be a muttering old hag when it comes to love. I think when done well I can’t get enough of romance but I find it takes over so much that I come to hate it, so I really like it when it can co-exist with other topics and not be the full story. If you have any romances you loved that I should check out do let me know! 

Thank you so much Raimy! It's refreshing to hear about different kinds of romances in novels and the types of romance different people like. What's your favourite kind of romance?!

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Guest Post: Top 5 Favourite Book Couples From 2013 by Jessica

When I need a recommendation on a book, especially New Adult books, Jess from Jess Hearts Books is someone I know I can always turn to. We have very similar taste in books and I know if she says I'll love something, I will love it! 

In the theme of love this week, Jess has written a fabulous guest post about her top couples from 2013 books. So, over to Jess!

Firstly, I want to say thank you to Lyndsey for having me on her wonderful blog today! And secondly I want to congratulate her on her marriage! To celebrate the happy occasion today I’ll be sharing with you my top five favourite new book couples that I’ve discovered from books I’ve read in 2013. I’ve read some really romantic books this year so it was hard picking just five but these are the ones that have made my heart swell and have had me swooning the most this year, in no particular order.

Crash (Crash, #1)Lucy and Jude (from Crash, Clash and Crush by Nicole Williams)
I actually picked up this book thanks to Lyndsey (we have similar taste in NA!) so I have her to thank for introducing me to this couple. For Lucy and Jude the odds are really against them but no matter what life throws at them they always find a way back to each other. Their romance really hit my heart and I was obsessed with this series and read it back to back earlier this year.

Addie and Trevor (from Pivot Point by Kasie West)
Addie and Trevor are another couple that life just keeps getting in the way of! (I think I must enjoy this type of love story!) Although this romance isn’t as steamy as Lucy and Jude’s it is very, very sweet. I wanted them together from beginning to end and I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book!

Allyson and Willem (from Just One Day by Gayle Forman)
I never thought I’d love a couple who fall in love in just one day with insta-love being a pet peeve of mine. But Gayle Forman filled this book with gorgeous moments set in Paris that had me fully behind this couple. I completely believed that after this one magical day together that this couple are meant to be. Just One Day is without doubt one of my favourite books of this year.

The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden (The Coincidence, #1)Callie and Kayden (from The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden and The Redemption of Callie and Kayden by Jessica Sorensen)
This is another NA book that Lyndsey and I both love! I still remember us raving over it at the start of this year. Callie and Kayden have such damaged pasts and they find peace and happiness with one another. They are each other’s safety and home. I absolutely loved The Coincidence and have Redemption on my Kindle ready to read very soon!

Eleanor and Park (from Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell)
These two are simply adorable! What I loved about Eleanor and Park is that it is such a realistic romance between two ordinary teenagers. It’s about imperfect characters that are a little bit nerdy and a little bit awkward falling in love for the first time. This book reminded me of how it felt to fall in love for the first time as a teenager and bought all those memories back.

So there you have it! Five of my new favourite romances that I’ve discovered this year. Would any of these make your top 5? And if not who would?

Apart from Pivot Point which I haven't read, I couldn't agree more with Jess' choices. I have loved the couples from these books and I have to say, quite a few would definitely be in my own top five! 

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Top Romantic Destinations

It's no secret that I love a holiday but since being with John, my ideas about holidays have changed slightly. Before, I would try to go somewhere a little bit random like Finland and Estonia but now, I want to go somewhere at least a bit romantic and to have a perfect getaway with my man. So, seeing as we are now on our honeymoon, I have been thinking about romantic getaway destinations. 

Where we got married
Ok, so I know this isn't the most romantic place that you could choose for a holiday but it is where we are spending our honeymoon and where we got married so in itself, it will always be quite a romantic place for us. I also think that experiencing Disney together is quite romantic as it is both our first time there and it is supposed to be a magical place, no matter what age you are. 

Orlando also has the most romantic wedding venues. It took us quite some time to decide on a location with so many on offer but in the end, Cypress Grove was our number one pick. To get married at an estate house, overlooking an absolutely breathtaking lake is definitely romantic in my eyes. 

It is also no secret that I have been dying to go to Paris for a long time now. With France so easy to get to, I'm not quite sure why I haven't been already. However, we have decided to go for my 28th birthday in March and I couldn't be more excited to explore the city of love with my husband. Something I really want to do while there is visit the bridge on the Seine aka The Lock Bridge and take part in the tradition of putting our names on there. This is something I've read about in books and seen on films and it's certainly on my romance to do list.

Playing footsie while resting our aching feet
This is where John and I went on our first holiday together and is well-known as a top romantic holiday destination. I can't agree with this completely though because I didn't love it as much as I was expecting to but it was still magical in parts. The Spanish Steps are a wonderful place to sit and take in what is going on and a lovely place to spend time with a loved one. There were also some lovely little restaurants with intimate settings and romantic lighting.

For me, these three places will always be extremely special and romantic for their own reasons for me and John but I want to know where your ideal romantic destination would be and why!