Thursday, 31 January 2013

The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines

About the book
The Vincent Boys is a New Adult novel by Abbi Glines. It was published by Hot Key Books on 17th January (Paperback) and it is 208 pages long.

Synopsis (Taken from Goodreads.com)
Beau Vincent is rude, bad, and dangerous to know. So why can't good girl Ashton Gray keep away from him? She already has the perfect boyfriend - her town's local Prince Charming, Sawyer Vincent. But Sawyer is away for the summer, and in the meantime Ashton is bored, and the heat between her and Beau is undeniable - as well as irresistible. Ashton is about to unleash her bad girl - but what will she do when Sawyer comes home? And how will Sawyer react when he returns to find his girlfriend in the arms of his best friend - and cousin?

What I thought
I am so late to the game with this one. People have been going on and on about this book on Twitter and I couldn’t wait to steal it from Kirsty (http://www.overflowinglibrary.com/).

The Vincent Boys is told in a dual narrative, from both Ashton and Beau’s perspectives. This makes it possible to know what each main character is feeling which was a really great thing in this book. Ash has been going out with Sawyer for three years, much to Beau’s disappointment. However, he’s gone away for part of the summer and Ash seems lost without him. That is until she starts hanging out with estranged friend Beau again, Sawyer’s cousin.

Ash used to be a bit of a bad girl, playing tricks on people and generally doing anything that sounded fun. Then she became Sawyer’s girlfriend and is also the Pastor’s daughter, meaning that she needs to curb her bad girl ways and behave. I really liked Ash, although she was a little confused to begin with. It was fun to watch her go from being really, really well behaved and the model girlfriend and daughter to letting her hair down and enjoying life. Ash just wants to please the people around her who she loves and she thinks by being perfect, she will achieve this.

Beau, however, is the town’s bad boy and everyone knows it. Especially Ash. When Sawyer goes away, she’s drawn to Beau for multiple reasons although she isn’t too happy about them to begin with. Beau has a reputation for sleeping with anyone he wants and the girls don’t seem to mind this because of how incredibly hot he is. He knows he can have who he wants – except Ash, who he has always wanted. The mixture of love sick puppy with intense lust and desire was a great mix for me. Although Beau is the bad boy, you can clearly see the better parts of him deep down.

Now, this is a New Adult novel so expect some extremely raunchy scenes. This is the first New Adult book that I read and loved the addition in content. Although I know some don’t agree with this, but I feel like adding in sex makes the story much more real. Ok, these characters are still teenagers but they do wild things, have sex and swear. They are real teenagers who do real things and I loved them for it. I also loved Abbi Glines for finally giving me the book I have always wanted to read. Something not quite YA but also not quite adult. A perfect mixture of what I crave in a book.

The plot was exciting and as I said, sexy as hell. I really enjoyed getting to know both Ash and Beau and exploring their relationship along with them. The book was quite fast paced and a lot happens throughout. There is plenty to keep everyone interested the whole way through and I really couldn’t turn the pages quickly enough. There are some great twists and turns which I wasn’t really expecting and there are also some good extra characters introduced.

Abbi Glines and Beau have just overtaken Alex Fuentes as my favourite bad boy of all time, which I never thought would happen. 

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Waiting on Wednesday



"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Jill from Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

The Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter



Love or life.
Henry or their child.
The end of her family or the end of the world.
Kate must choose.

During nine months of captivity, Kate Winters has survived a jealous goddess, a vengeful Titan and a pregnancy she never asked for. Now the Queen of the Gods wants her unborn child, and Kate can't stop her--until Cronus offers a deal.

In exchange for her loyalty and devotion, the King of the Titans will spare humanity and let Kate keep her child. Yet even if Kate agrees, he'll destroy Henry, her mother and the rest of the council. And if she refuses, Cronus will tear the world apart until every last god and mortal is dead.

With the fate of everyone she loves resting on her shoulders, Kate must do the impossible: find a way to defeat the most powerful being in existence, even if it costs her everything.

Even if it costs her eternity.



  • Paperback: 302 pages
  • Publisher: Harlequin Teen
  • Date Published: 19 Feb 2013

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Book to Film Review: Into The Wild



About the book
Into the wild was released in 2007 and is 148 minutes long. Into the wild is based on the book by Jon Krakauer. It is rated 15 due to some nudity and language. It was originally released to a select amount of theatres but after the amazing reviews, it went on to have a wide release and was nominated for a lot of awards.

Plot
Into The Wild tells the story of Christopher McCandless and his true story (although how true the film made it, I don't know). Christopher has just graduated from a good university and has everything going for him. His parents are very financially stable and want the very best for their son. As Christopher looks around him, he realises that this isn't the life that he wants and decides that he is entitles to his own form of freedom. He destroys everything that is used as I.D...credit cards, driver’s license and I.D card as well as donating all of his savings. The only thing he keeps is his car and a bag of clothes.

Christopher leaves his entire family, not telling them where he is going to pursue his dream of getting to Alaska to live in the wild. He drives so far but leaves his car so that he cannot be traced and continues on foot, taking on the name, Alexander Supertramp. Along the way, Christopher meets a variety of people who all live in some kind of way that he respects and desires. As his journey to Alaska continues, he finds it quite hard and emotional at times but doesn't want to rely on his new found friends. His family are really worried as he doesn't let them know where he is or how he is doing but he is determined to live out his dreams.

What I thought
The film flits from Christopher on his journey and back to his family, giving the audience the full effect of what he did. The main themes are escapism and freedom and they are wonderfully portrayed. How many times have we all dreamt about where we would like to go or see and Christopher McCandless was someone who had enough courage and determination to follow his dreams. Everything he does before his trip adds to the emotion behind his decision.

Each part of the story ends up having a huge impact on his life and the other decisions that he makes. Each separate character that he encounters plats a big part in his life even the ones that he knows only for a few days. The range of characters and personalities are truly incredible and easy to connect with. I thought their individual parts were almost as good as the main story. To be more specific, Kristen Stewart (Now famous for the Twilight Saga) and Vince Vaughn were outstanding and this was a film that showed their diversity and talent.

Emile Hirsch needs some huge praise for this role and he brings so much talent, passion and emotion to Christopher's life and he was the perfect choice for the role. It must have been hard to play someone in a true story because I'm sure that he did everything he could to make the family proud. Hirsch made this character extremely believable. When you watch the film, you will realise that he also had to go through some drastic changes throughout like losing a lot of weight to fit the story.

The cinematography throughout his film is some of the most breath taking that I have ever seen. If you thought House of flying daggers was amazing then I'm sure you will like this one for the same reason. Christopher's journey shows us so much of America that isn't on any tourist route. The scenery is beautiful and after watching this, it was hard to disagree with his decision, even though it didn't have a nice ending. When he finally gets to Alaska, you realise that his journey had to be worth all of the hard work and pain.

The film is a but long for most people that I know who have seen it but I don't think the story would have been done as brilliantly any other way. This is a very emotional film but worth taking the time to sit down and enjoy it.

Monday, 28 January 2013

How To Get Over Your Ex by Nikki Logan

About the book
How To Get Over Your Ex by Nikki Logan was published by Harlequin Kiss on 22nd January. The book is 224 pages long.

Synopsis (Taken from Goodreads.com)
After her on-air proposal is turned down by her commitment-phobe boyfriend, Georgia Stone must learn to survive singledom. Unfortunately, thanks to a clause in her contract, she has to do it under the watchful gaze of brooding radio producer Zander Rush. And so begins the Year of Georgia! Lurching from salsa classes to spy school, Georgia discovers a taste for adventure. Her biggest thrill so far? Flirting with danger-aka the enigmatic Zander. But admitting she's ready for more than just a fling...?

What I thought
It’s not very often I read adult novels anymore mainly because I don’t have the time. The majority of what I receive for review is young adult so those and uni books pretty much take over my life. However, I have really been trying to add in something different at least once or twice a month and this is one that I read during December.

Nikki Logan begins this novel with protagonist Georgia stone proposing to her boyfriend on a radio station and being turned down. Obviously, she is mortified when he says no and just wants to run away. She’s embarrassed and never thought he would ever say no. The whole proposing on air thing was part of a promotion running at the station which would have earned Georgia a fair bit of money, had he said yes. However, running the promotion is Zander and he needs to figure out a way to fix the whole mess. He offers Georgia the chance of a lifetime - £50,000 to sort her life out and reinvent herself.

Georgia is a very down to earth character who knows what she wants and thinks she knows how to get it. She loves her job and likes being sensible. She isn’t one of those big party girls who splashes her cash around. So, when Zander offers her the money to do everything she has ever wanted to do, she doesn’t really know where to begin. Her ideas are sensible and not over the top at all. I really loved how normal she was, especially in comparison to Zander.

Zander is rich, powerful in his job and likes the finer things in life – exactly the opposite to Georgia. He’s worked very hard to be in the position he’s in now and has no problem with spending his money. He urges Georgia to push her own boundaries and do things outside of her comfort zone. Zander’s confidence could have come across as him being arrogant but it didn’t. Instead, he is just sure of himself and what he wants in life.

The journey the two characters go on together was wonderful to discover. Both have things to discover about themselves and even more so about each other. The journey they go on was exciting and sexy although the sexy parts of the book aren’t too explicit so this could be enjoyed by a range of ages. The book was also a lot of fun, which is down to all of the new things Georgia tried. I would love to be able to go and try a load of random things if I had the money to experiment. Georgia was very sensible with her money although some of the things she did try were very different for her.

How To Get Over Your Ex was not the read I was expecting it to be but I liked it anyway. It’s full of romance, seduction and excitement mixed in with a lovely story about getting to know yourself and not settling for second best.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Film Review: Wrath of the Titans


About the film
Wrath of the Titans is the sequel to the fantasy/ action film Clash of the Titans and it was released at the cinema in the UK on 30th March. The film is rated 12A due to scenes of violence and action and it also has a run time of 99 minutes. 

Plot
Ten years has passed since Perseus became a hero and defeated the almighty Kraken. Now attempting to live a quiet life as a fisherman with his son Helius, Perseus believes that he can get on with his life and forget his heritage. Meanwhile, a struggle between Gods is brewing and the human world is once again in danger. Humans no longer believe as much in the Gods, resulting in the slow loss of their power and also their strength. With this problem, the Gods are losing hold on the Titans and Zeus and Hades' ferocious father, Kronos is gaining power. The only way to save the world is for Perseus to take his rightful place again as a demi-God to save the fate of both worlds. 

What I thought
I really enjoy films about Gods and ancient lands and I actually quite liked Clash of the Titans. As I have a new Cineworld Unlimited Card, I'm making the most of it and going to see something whenever I have the time. As I liked the first of these films, I figured that Wrath of the Titans would be a pretty safe bet. 

Sam Worthington takes up his place once again as son of Zeus, Perseus. His performance in the first film was far from fantastic but the role does not exactly ask for a hell of a lot of ability. All that was really needed was to be quite moody, a bit stubborn and to look good wielding a weapon. On those accounts, he passes with flying colours. When it comes to actual acting ability though, Worthington is less than impressive. I feel that although he does ok, anyone could have really played this role with those traits and probably done a better job. 

In complete contrast, Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes do amazing jobs in their roles as Zeus and Hades respectively. Fiennes especially plays his part to perfection, having such good practise playing the bad guy. As Hades, he is truly scary, although not as much as Lord Voldermort but I still wouldn't want to cross paths with him. Pitting him against his brother Zeus gave the plot an intense feeling at times and gave me some mixed emotions. In one sense I wanted Neeson to come over all bad ass and kick his arse while on the other hand I wanted the two brothers to make amends. These two characters/ actors make most of the film good and worth watching. 

Someone else who also does this is Toby Kebbell who is introduced as the son of Poseidon. Kebbell adds some much needed humour (British humour at that!) to a bland and timid script. The addition of this fun and cheeky character lightens up the mood of the film throughout and since his arrival on screen, I was a lot more interested in what was happening and I enjoyed the film a lot more in general because of him. I do wish that he had been given a lot more lines and maybe a slightly bigger part in the plot but without him this film would have been very close to terrible. 

The plot was quite confusing for many reasons. The beginning of the film starts off quite simply, establishing who everyone is and giving a small and quick recap of what happened in the previous film. From here, it all goes a bit wrong. Alliances and deceptions are set up from the very start although allegiances appear to change a million times over the course of the film. Some scenes are cut extremely short when they should have been made longer, giving a very confusing and mixed up feeling for the audience. The film is only 99 minutes long and with most films being around the 2 hour mark now; important aspects of this one could have certainly been drawn out more. 

Instead of spending more time on the plot, script and giving the audience what they needed in relation to viable explanations, time and money is spent on expensive computer graphics. While these are impressive for the most part, I would have much preferred a good and solid story with a better cast. Great scenery and graphics are all well and good but what do they really mean when the story doesn't match their quality?

I went into this one fully expecting to love it but I left with very mixed feelings. While some cast members do make up for the awful choices made in this department, the plot just wasn't strong enough throughout to make me happy.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Saving June by Hannah Harrington

About the book
Saving June is a young adult novel by Hannah Harrington. The book was published by Mira Ink on 1st June 2012 and the book is 336 pages long.

Synopsis (Taken from Goodreads.com)
Harper Scott’s older sister has always been the perfect one so when June takes her own life a week before her high school graduation, sixteen-year-old Harper is devastated. Everyone’s sorry, but no one can explain why.

When her divorcing parents decide to split her sister’s ashes into his-and-her urns, Harper takes matters into her own hands. She’ll steal the ashes and drive cross-country with her best friend, Laney, to the one place June always dreamed of going, California.

Enter Jake Tolan. He’s a boy with a bad attitude, a classic-rock obsession and nothing in common with Harper’s sister. But Jake had a connection with June, and when he insists on joining them, Harper’s just desperate enough to let him. With his alternately charming and infuriating demeanour and his belief that music can see you through anything, he might be exactly what she needs.

Except June wasn’t the only one hiding something. Jake’s keeping a secret that has the power to turn Harper’s life upside down again.

What I thought
Sometimes I get in a bit of a rut when it comes to reading, like many people. I read some good books in a row and then the bad ones come along and ruin my reading mood. Saving June was the book that got me out of my most recent rut.

Harper Scott’s sister has just killed herself, not leaving a note or any kind of clue to why. Although Harper wasn’t exactly close to June, she’s devastated and extremely confused. The basis of this book is that June had always wanted to go to California but never got the chance. Harper believes that California is the place where her ashes should be and decides with the help of best friend to run away there to do it. The idea behind this book was fantastic. Hannah Harrington took a really sad situation and put a sense of adventure and excitement next to it.

I really liked Harper, the main character. Although she was dealing with her grief and a tough situation at home with her mother not coping at all, she knew there wasn’t something right about her sister’s suicide. I admired Harper for being so brave and carrying out something which she knew would mean a lot to her sister, even though it went against what her mother and father wanted. Harper was a really spunky character, which was something else I liked about her. She was never afraid to say what she was thinking, was loud and quite outspoken but was fun at the same time.

There are really only 2 other characters who are in this book quite a lot. Best friend Laney and Jake, a random guy driving them to California. Laney was a great character because she was the opposite to Harper. Laney was extremely outgoing and had a bigger sense of fun and doing things just for the sake of it. She let go at every opportunity and made the most out of the situation they were in. I liked the friendship dynamic between the two because although they were different, they really were the best of friends and you could tell they had been for a long time.

Then there’s Jake. Oh how I loved him. Alternative music loving boy stuck in a van with 2 teenage girls for hundreds of miles was obviously never going to be straightforward. Jake was snarky, a bit defensive but really sexy. His love of music and passion about the words behind it comes through extremely clear and it makes it possible to really understand him as a character. Due to Jake’s love of music, the book has a fantastic soundtrack full of a range of songs ranging from punk to pop. It was nice to see such a mix of music so as to not exclude anyone reading.

Jake is obviously also the love interest for Harper although there are secrets between the two of them. Jake had something to do with her sister before she died but he isn’t giving away anything regarding this. I enjoyed watching Harper and Jake’s friendship progress as the road trip went on and surprisingly, Laney didn’t come across as the third wheel. There was a real sense of fun between the three characters which was only made better by a bit of tension between Harper and Jake.

Saving June is a wonderful read with some real, deep issues along with a story about finding yourself during a road trip. I loved every page of this book.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Hitched! by Jessica Hart


About the book
Hitched! by Jessica Hart is a romance novel. It was published by Harlequin Kiss on 22nd January and the book is 224 pages long.

Synopsis (Taken from Goodreads.com)
Planning the most-talked-about wedding of the year is enough to break engineer Frith Taylor out in a cold sweat. She's used to construction sites, not wedding fairs! But estate manager George Challoner's offer of help is one that's too good to resist. George may be the rebel of the prestigious Challoner family, but his insanely good looks are giving Frith wedding fever! Charm personified, he's making her feel things she hasn't dared feel before. Maybe her little sister's wedding won't be the only one Frith's planning...?

What I thought
It’s not very often I get chance to read adult books nowadays but I have a huge TBR pile and I’m going through it quite randomly at the minute. This one seemed like a quick and easy-going read at only 224 pages.

The protagonist of this book, Frith (I really hated her name) is a busy woman. She’s just taken on a huge project which she hopes will make it possible for her to get an amazing job overseas in the not too distant future. She has a plan you see, and doesn’t want to stray from it. I loved that Frith was so rigid with her lists and plans because that aspect of her character sounded just like me. She likes to be organised and likes to know exactly what’s going on. However, as she doesn’t want anything to get in the way of her plans, she doesn’t tend to have much fun. Or any really.

Even though Frith is out in the middle of no-where, her celebrity sister Saffron, is planning the wedding of the year and when she has a melt-down, she enlists Frith to help. Saffron is as opposite to Frith as you can imagine and the contrast in characters was a good one. Saffron isn’t actually in the story too much but her being around makes Frith panic and change how she acts. This is where love interest George comes in. Frith needs a date to one of Saffron’s parties and George has been asking her out for ages. While Frith just wants a favour, George wants much more.

The banter between Frith and George was funny throughout the whole book, especially as one character was more into the other to begin with. The two characters are also quite different so their personalities coming together was interesting and entertaining. The journey the pair goes on was light-hearted but also sweet and romantic at the same time. While this is an adult novel, there is no adult content in the ways of sex scenes etc. so this will appeal to readers younger than adult age as well.

It’s been quite some time since I’ve read any chick lit but Jessica Hart reminded me of why I like it so much. The story was a lovely, easy read and one that was entertaining throughout.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Waiting on Wednesday


"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Jill from Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Sister Assassin by Kiersten White



She never chose her deadly gift but now she’s forced to use it. How far would you go to protect the only family you have left?

Annie is beset by fleeting strange visions and a guilty conscience. Blind and orphaned, she struggles to care for her feisty younger sister Fia, but things look up when both sisters are offered a place at Kessler School for Exceptional Girls.

Born with flawless intuition, Fia immediately knows that something’s wrong, but bites her tongue… until it’s too late. For Fia is the perfect weapon to carry out criminal plans and there are those at Kessler who will do anything to ensure her co-operation.

With Annie trapped in Kessler’s sinister clutches, instincts keep Fia from killing an innocent guy and everything unravels. Is manipulative James the key to the sisters’ freedom or an even darker prison? And how can Fia atone for the blood on her hands?

  • Paperback: 302 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
  • Date Published: 19 Feb 2013

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

The Tragedy Paper trailer

Today I want to let you all know about the wonderful trailer for The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LeBan. Here is the synopsis for the book:

Tim Macbeth is a 17-year-old albino and a recent transfer to the prestigious Irving School, where the motto is, “Enter here to be and find a friend.” Tim does not expect to find a friend; all he really wants to do is escape his senior year unnoticed. Despite his efforts to blend into the background, he finds himself falling for the quintessential “it” girl, Vanessa Sheller, girlfriend of Irving’s most popular boy. To Tim’s surprise, Vanessa is into him, too, and she can kiss her social status goodbye if anyone finds out. Tim and Vanessa enter into a clandestine relationship, but looming over them is the Tragedy Paper, Irving’s version of a senior year thesis, assigned by the school’s least forgiving teacher.

The story unfolds from two alternating viewpoints: Tim, the tragic, love-struck figure, and Duncan, a current senior, who uncovers the truth behind Tim and Vanessa’s story and will consequently produce the greatest Tragedy Paper in Irving’s history.


I can't wait to read this one and I absolutely love the cover for the book. Quite fitting considering the weather at the minute don't you think?! 



Book to Film Review: Pitch Perfect



About the film
Pitch Perfect is a musical comedy film that was released at the cinema on 21st December although it was released much earlier, in September, in America. The film is based on Mickey Rapkin's non-fiction novel of the same name. The film has a run time of 112 minutes and is rated 12A.

Plot
Beca Mitchell has just started her first year at Barden University, mostly because of her dad making her. Really, she wants to be in L.A. making and producing music. Even though Beca gets a place as an intern for the university’s radio station, she realises they won’t actually let her play any music so is forced to join musical a cappella group, The Barden Bellas. The previous year, The Bellas made it all the way to the finals but didn’t win due to one of the singers being sick over everyone. The Bellas know they need to win this year but are stuck in the past, only singing older songs. Beca knows the group needs a new look and sound but is having a hard time convincing the leader of the group to change their ways.

What I thought
I love a good musical film and TV shows like Glee so when I saw the trailer for Pitch Perfect at the cinema, I knew it was something that I had to go see. The trailer was funny and only showed clips of songs sung so it didn’t really give too much away. The plot is pretty basic and quite predictable but that’s normally what you get with this kind of film anyway. In a made up university, different a cappella groups battle it out for places in the national championships and to prove which group is the best in the university.

Anna Kendrick has begun to do quite well for herself since having a small part in the Twilight films. I really liked her in What to Expect When You’re Expecting and because of that, it made me want to watch this film even more. Kendrick plays main character Beca, who can be described as alternative compared to the other girls at this particular university. She has a strong interest in making her own mixes of music and generally walks around with a big pair of headphones on. Beca is a witty and outspoken character which I liked about her. She isn’t afraid to state her mind when she thinks she can make something better or thinks that something is wrong. Kendrick was really good in this role and played in perfectly.

Being a film about musical groups, there is quite a large cast. From The Bellas, next to Kendrick, Brittany Snow and Rebel Wilson shine in particular. Snow plays one of the leaders of the group and is one of the nicer girls while Wilson plays Fat Amy, a larger Australian girl. I loved the character of Fat Amy so much because she was just hilarious. She has some amazingly funny lines throughout the whole film. Actually, she was probably my favourite character in the whole film and now I want to see more of what she has been in. Unfortunately, the male characters/ cast in the film were nowhere near as good as the girls and even love interest Jesse played by Skylar Astin was a let-down.

Pitch Perfect has a pretty strange soundtrack. Along with some really current songs such as Just The Way You Are by Bruno Mars and Right Round by Flo Rida, there are also songs such as The Sign by Ace of Base and Eternal Flame by The Bangles. However, the mix of songs was something that I found to be really interesting and something that set this film apart from other musicals. The mix of songs is done in such a way though that they go really well together and there are certain reasons for some of the songs. The soundtrack to this film is fantastic and one I would actually like to own.

Overall, as cheesy and predictable as this film is, I loved it. The cast and characters are what made this film so good and along with a funny script and great songs, it was an instant hit for me. This will definitely be getting a place in my DVD collection. 

Monday, 21 January 2013

Some loves are meant to be.

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell


About the book
Eleanor & Park is a young adult novel by Rainbow Rowell. The book was published by Orion on 12th April 2012 and the book is 336 pages long.

Synopsis (Taken from Goodreads.com)
Eleanor is the new girl in town, and she's never felt more alone. All mismatched clothes, mad red hair and chaotic home life, she couldn't stick out more if she tried.

Then she takes the seat on the bus next to Park. Quiet, careful and - in Eleanor's eyes - impossibly cool, Park's worked out that flying under the radar is the best way to get by.

Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mixed tapes, Eleanor and Park fall in love. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you're 16, and you have nothing and everything to lose.

What I thought
I had not heard anything about this book before reading it so I knew absolutely nothing about it. All I knew was that it was a contemporary novel and I’m really into that genre of young adult at the minute.

Eleanor & Park is set in 1986, the year I was born. The story follows Eleanor who is nothing like the other girls who go to her school. She has the brightest red hair, is not super skinny and she also dresses more like a man than a girl. Having only recently moved to the area, she sticks out like a sore thumb. Her stepdad is an abusive asshole and her family struggle just to get by every day. I have no idea how to express how much I loved Eleanor as a character. She was so different and out there but also quite comfortable in her own skin at the same time. She knows that she isn’t like other girls and never seems to let the nasty comments bother her.

Then there is Park. Park who makes me sigh out loud. Something absolutely refreshing about Park was that he is half Korean. It isn’t often we see characters of mixed cultures in young adult books so this was something I was really glad to see. It also gives him and his family a superb personality. In Eleanor’s world of torment and teasing, Park is her saviour on the school bus. When no one else will let her sit down, Park begrudgingly moves over and lets her sit next to him – a seat which becomes permanently hers from this moment on. Park and Eleanor don’t talk though, they only sit and ignore each other. That is until Park realises that Eleanor is reading his comic books while he does on the sly which is what eventually sparks up their friendship.

Eleanor & Park is a story about unlikely friendships and first loves. Eleanor and Park are two characters forced together by unfortunate circumstances. The novel is told through a dual narrative from both characters. However, it doesn’t always happen in full chapters, but instead, sometimes we only get a couple of lines from each of them. This way of telling the story made is possible to be fully invested in Eleanor and Park, to completely feel everything that they were feeling and also to understand what they were going through.

This isn’t just a love story though. Rowell’s writing is intensely raw and tackles so really tough issues. The issues that Rowell address, however hard and distressing they may be, help to mould the characters that she has created. The issues show the differences between Eleanor and Park but they also show how people from different backgrounds can come together and make things better between them. For me, everything about this book was perfection. I could not get enough of this story and the characters and I was utterly heartbroken when it was over.

Eleanor & Park is now one of my all-time favourite YA novels.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

The Five Year Engagement




About the film
The Five Year Engagement is a romantic comedy film that was released in 2012. The film is rated 15 due to sexual content and bad language throughout and it has a run time of 124 minutes. 

Plot
After only a year of being together, Tom proposes to girlfriend Violet, with her immediately saying yes. The couple live in San Francisco but when Violet gets offered her dream job at a Michigan college, Tom turns down a job as a head chef in order for Violet to fulfil her dreams. The move means having to postpone the wedding but only for a little while. However, in Michigan Tom has a hard time finding a job which suits his extensive skills as a chef. When Violet's job gets extended, Tom finds himself extremely frustrated and begins to lose himself and all hopes of actually getting to marry the women of his dreams. Violet's job extension begins to tear the couple, and their wedding date, apart, leaving them both to make some important decisions. Do these decisions include each other though?


What I thought
I have to be really in the mood for a romantic comedy and recently, I have been so there was a bit of a list I tried to get through. The Five Year Engagement was pretty high up on that list. 

This film wastes no time in getting straight to the point. We are quickly introduced to Tom and Violet who get engaged at the beginning of the film. While this doesn't give much time for getting to know the main characters, it does give a sense of what their relationship is like and what their life is like together. There is also a pretty cute flashback of how the couple met which is used a few more times throughout the film as well. Because of this start to the film, there is no chase between the guy and the girl like there is in a lot of romantic comedy films. 

Violet was quite the hard character to like. The Five Year Engagement gives us somewhat of a role reversal in the sense that Tom and Violet move to a different city because of her job offer, not his. Although both characters have good careers, his more established, the decisions are made because of Violet. I felt like Violet was quite a selfish character because she didn't give Tom's options much thought at all before saying she wanted to move somewhere with not many options for him. Also, neither character thought to actually research the place they were moving to in order to make sure they would both be ok. Maybe they did and it wasn't shown, I don't know. Anyway, it seemed to me that Violet only really cared about her career and not at all about his. However, as much as I disliked the character, I did think that Emily Blunt did a great job in the role. She was funny when she needed to be but could also be quite serious. 

Tom on the other hand, I loved. He came across as such a nice guy, being extremely thoughtful towards Violet and their relationship, especially as he gave up his dream job to move somewhere with her. He was obviously very considerate towards Violet but he did come over as a bit of a push over some of the time. He hardly ever spoke up for what he thought was right and just let Violet do whatever she wanted while he sat back and suffered. Jason Segel is fantastic as Tom and really shows what a good comedic actor he is. He timing was spot on with the jokes but he was also able to play serious really well at the same time. 

Unfortunately, this film wasn't nearly as entertaining or funny as I had expected it to be. The jokes were pretty predictable and nothing was really exciting about the development of Tom and Violet's relationship. The whole story was pretty bland and I think that there could have been a few more unexpected twists thrown in to the story to make it more exciting. As the film is just over two hours long, without anything big happening, it makes the plot seem like it drags for quite some time. The first half of the film was pretty boring and I only stuck with watching it really because I couldn't be bothered to move and turn it off. The second half of the film was better though but still not great. 

While this film was ok, it wasn't anywhere near great. The romance wasn't too good and neither were the jokes. This is definitely a film to buy only if you can get it really cheap.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Author Interview: Sangu Mandanna

I'm delighted to have Sangu Mandanna on the blog today for an interview. Sangu Mandanna is the author of The Lost Girl, which was released by Random House on 3rd January. Here is the synopsis:

Eva's life is not her own. She is a creation, an abomination - an echo. Made by the Weavers as a copy of someone else, she is expected to replace a girl named Amarra, her 'other', if she ever died. Eva studies what Amarra does, what she eats, what it's like to kiss her boyfriend, Ray. So when Amarra is killed in a car crash, Eva should be ready.

But fifteen years of studying never prepared her for this.

Now she must abandon everything she's ever known - the guardians who raised her, the boy she's forbidden to love - to move to India and convince the world that Amarra is still alive . . .

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Please describe your book in 5 words.
Romantic, heartbreaking, thrilling (I hope!), eerie, sad (okay, that last one was lame)

What kind of research did you need to do for The Lost Girl?
Not much, actually! Most of the places in the book are places I know very well, so I didn’t have to do much there – I remember looking up zoos in England once, and I frequently checked over London tube maps, but that was it – and I also did a bit of research into cloning and clones in fiction but, as echoes aren’t strictly clones (in my head they’re closer to Frankenstein’s creature than they are to clones), I didn’t go into too much detail there. I suppose most of my research revolved around reading and rereading Frankenstein.

Were any of the characters or their traits inspired by people you know?
None of the actual characters were inspired by real people – they usually appear so real and rounded to me that they feel organic, like they’re their own person already, so I don’t think it would ever work for me to try and base a character on someone I already know. But I do occasionally take a detail from someone I know and use it to add a bit more (most often their name!). I picked Ophelia’s shoes, for example, because they’re like a pair my friend Lindsey often wears; Lekha is named after my aunt; and I originally named Erik after my husband Steve, but ultimately ‘Erik’ felt much more right

How have your life experiences affected the way that you write?
I can’t pinpoint much, specifically, but I would say that three years of studying English Lit and creative writing at Lancaster University really helped me learn about new books, new genres, new styles and, consequently, taught me how to use the things I learned to make my writing better and stronger. Death is also a factor. My aunt died when I was fifteen and that loss has changed me in a lot of ways and ultimately shaped The Lost Girl, which is essentially about people wanting to create a world in which there needn’t be any death or loss anymore.

Some authors do certain things while they write like listen to music etc. Do you have to do anything like this while you write?
I do like to listen to music. All of my stories have their own playlists and music really helps me set the mood or atmosphere. It’s also a huge inspiration. But to be honest if I’m really, really into what I’m writing, it can be silent or noisy or music-y around me and I’ll shut the world out anyway. My husband frequently has to repeat himself, louder and louder each time, before I even notice he’s there! (So I guess that means there isn’t much I do when I write, except write…)

Which YA (human) character would you love to be and why?
Maybe Kate from Maggie Stiefvater’s The Scorpio Races. When I read that book I so wanted to go and live on Thisby, the little island, and race deadly water-horses along the windswept beaches.

Which YA (non-human) character would you love to be and why?
Hermione from Harry Potter. I know she’s human, but she’s also a witch so technically not human? Because she’s so amazing. And I’d get to do magic. Wingardium Leviosa!

What has been your favourite book of 2012?
Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt. I cried for over an hour after reading it. It’s beautiful and tragic and full of incredibly well-rounded, memorable characters. I also give it full points for making me love and hate its protagonist.

When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always been writing and I’ve always been telling stories, so for a lot of my childhood it was just something I did and would always do and wasn’t necessarily something I was going to do as a job. I had phases of wanting to be other things “when I grew up”, like a ballerina, actress, astronaut… I think the first time I consciously thought “yes, I want to be a writer when I grow up” (and then promptly put aside that thought for another few years) was probably when I was nine. I wrote a story starring myself, typed it up on our home computer, printed it off and stapled the pages together, and, as the little cherry on the cake, I finished by gluing a photograph of myself on the front so that it would look like a real ‘book’ with a real ‘cover’.
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Thanks so much Sangu! The Lost Girl is out now so go and grab yourself a copy. 

Friday, 18 January 2013

Abandon: Underworld by Meg Cabot


About the book
Underworld is the second book in the Abandon trilogy by Meg Cabot. The book was published by Macmillan Children’s Books on 27th September 2012 and the book is 256 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy for review.

Synopsis (Taken from Goodreads.com)
Seventeen-year-old Pierce Oliviera isn't dead.

Not this time.

But she is being held against her will in the dim, twilit world between heaven and hell, where the spirits of the deceased wait before embarking upon their final journey.

Her captor, John Hayden, claims it's for her own safety. Because not all the departed are dear. Some are so unhappy with where they ended up after leaving the Underworld, they've come back as Furies, intent on vengeance . . . on the one who sent them there and on the one whom he loves.

But while Pierce might be safe from the Furies in the Underworld, far worse dangers could be lurking for her there . . . and they might have more to do with its ruler than with his enemies.

And unless Pierce is careful, this time there'll be no escape.

What I thought
I remember not completely loving the first book in this series, Abandon, but really liking the idea of the story, which is why I wanted to read the second book.

Underworld begins right where Abandon left off, with Pierce in the Underworld with John after her Grandmother overtaken by a Fury tried to kill her… again. However, last time Pierce was in the Underworld, it didn’t go too well and she managed to get away. There isn’t an option of leaving this time though because John has locked doors and now Pierce also realises the danger she is in. I really liked the beginning of the book, it reminded me of what happened previously but without going over it too much. It also set the scene well for Pierce and John and where their relationship was heading.

Strangely, I also really liked the setting of the Underworld. Meg Cabot has created somewhere quite magical and creepy at the same time. Things happen in the Underworld which cannot really be explained and John doesn’t hesitate to give Pierce vague answers when she asks about things. The Underworld actually sounded like a pretty cool place to be - as long as you were nowhere near the dead people of course. The setting also brings with it more explanations about some of the mythology aspects which I enjoyed reading about.

Underworld was actually more exciting for me than Abandon, even though that was a book where a lot happened. Pierce finds her mobile phone in a bag and then sees her cousin Alex is real trouble. This begins the excitement of the story with Pierce and John heading back to the human world to make sure he’s ok. There are quite a few new characters introduced in this book too so there is excitement surrounding them too because there is so much to find out about them. I loved the mixture of action with new characters and introductions.

My only problem really with this book was the way it was written. Cabot’s writing style seems a little confused at times. In some parts, the book read like an essay because of the choice of some words or the way that some things were worded e.g. the way in which. This is probably just me being picky but it made some parts of the book sound more serious than it was and also not as fun as it could have been.

I did really like Underworld though and can’t wait to read the final book in the trilogy.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Giveaway: Beautiful Creatures Movie Companion

To celebrate #penguinchats and the upcoming chat with Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, Penguin have allowed me to giveaway a copy of the movie companion for Beautiful Creatures. I'm really excited to see this myself and will be going to see it as soon as it is released! 

Don't forget, the chat with Kami and Margaret will be taking place on Saturday 27th January at 8pm and it will be the very first #penguinchats. Don't forget to use the hashtag to get your questions seen! 

Here are some pictures of what you can win:








Entrants must live in the UK. The publisher will be sending out the prize once I have contacted them with postal information. A winner will be picked on 25th January. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher


About the book
Ketchup Clouds is the second novel by Annabel Pitcher. It was published by Indigo on 27th December and the book is 304 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy for review.

Synopsis (Taken from Goodreads.com)
Fifteen-year-old Zoe has a secret - a dark and terrible secret that she can't confess to anyone she knows. But then one day she hears of a criminal, Stuart Harris, locked up on death row in Texas. Like Zoe, Stuart is no stranger to secrets. Or lies. Or murder.

Zoe tells her story in the only way she can - in letters to the man in prison in America. Armed with a pen, Zoe takes a deep breath, eats a jam sandwich, and begins her tale of love and betrayal.

What I thought
Ketchup Clouds has a different way of telling the story in comparison to what I’m used to reading. Main character Zoe has done something terrible and stuck with living with the guilt, she knows she has to get it off her chest. Only, she can’t tell anyone she knows so she decides to write to a prisoner in America who is on Death Row. Knowing he can never reply or tell anyone about what she has done, Zoe begins to pour out her story on the pages of letters.

I really enjoyed the narrative style of Ketchup Clouds because it was so different. I felt that the letters Zoe wrote made it possible to really get to know her. As she writes to a man waiting to die, she really does tell him everything – apart from her real name and address of course. I feel as though if this book had been written in a normal narrative style, maybe Zoe wouldn’t have been quite so truthful. This outlet for her emotions was a great way to know everything about her.

Zoe doesn’t tell us her story in one go though, she makes us wait for the answers. I was desperate to know what actually happened but I also really enjoyed only getting little bits in each letter. Here, we get to learn about love interests Max and Aaron and the problems that Zoe’s family is having. Getting to know Zoe’s sisters in particular was a favourite aspect of the letters as the girls were so different. What I also liked was the fact that all of these things had an impact on Zoe’s life and the decisions that she made.

What made this book so special for me was that all of the characters are intensely real. They were all characters which I could picture real people being put in their places. The problems encountered in this book, for the most part, are issues or topics that a lot of people will be able to relate to. Many girls will be able to put themselves into the situation of liking two boys at once as well as going through family issues concerning money and siblings.

Ketchup Clouds is a very emotional read which I was not ready for at all. Annabel Pitcher is a wonderfully real writer and I wish I had read her first book now!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Introducing... Penguin Chats


Last week I got a very exciting email from Penguin about their brand new idea, Penguin Chats. A 'Penguin Chat' itself will be a 30 minute Q&A with a Penguin author on Twitter, using #PenguinChats and hosted by @PenguinUKBooks. Through Twitter, people will be able to put questions to the author to receive and immediate and live response. 

Penguin have some amazing authors but to kick off this great new idea, Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl will be doing the very first #penguinchats on Sunday 27th January. From 8pm, these two wonderful authors will be answering questions on the Beautiful Creatures series as well as the upcoming film which is released next month. 

This is a very exciting and different idea from Penguin and one I think will be very popular! I'm very happy to say that I'll be partnering with Penguin on #penguinchats which means I'll be one of a number of bloggers who will be posting some great content to do with the authors taking part! 

If you would like to know more; here is the official Penguin Blog, and you can also ask @PenguinUKBooks and @puffinbooks on Twitter, as well as using the hashtag #penguinchats

Over the course of this week and next, I'll be posting some fab content sent from Penguin which I hope you'll really enjoy. There may even be a giveaway in a couple of days!! Also, if you check back on the Penguin Blog, on Friday 18th January, you'll be able to find out who the other official blog partners are along with some great Beautiful Creatures content. 

Waiting on Wednesday



"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Jill from Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Sweet Shadows by Tera Lynn-Childs



Gretchen may have known she was a descendant of Medusa long before her sisters--after all, she's spent her life fighting the monsters that escape the abyss--but that doesn't mean it will be easy to teach the other girls the ropes. Can she rely on Grace and Greer, or even trust herself to keep them safe? Greer has pressing social commitments on her plate and precious little time to train in her newfound powers. But that wretched second sight won't leave her alone, and her fabled heritage seems to be creeping into her fashionable life.

Grace has worries closer to home--like why her brother, Thane, has disappeared. He's hiding something. Could it possibly be related to the secret heritage the triplets share?

With the warring factions among the gods of Olympus coming for them, the creatures of the abyss pushing into their world, and the boys in their lives keeping secrets at every turn, the three girls must figure out where their fate will take them and how to embrace the shadows of their legacy.



  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Templar Publishing 
  • Date released: 1 Mar 2013