Monday 30 September 2013

Review! The Secret Life of Evie Hamilton by Catherine Alliott

Evie Hamilton has a secret. One she doesn’t even know about. Yet . . . She's blissfully unaware that her charmed and happy life is about to be turned upside down. And it all begins one sunny, Oxford morning when a letter – a ticking time bomb – lands on Evie’s immaculate doormat. Something she never anticipated threatens to sabotage all that she holds dear. It’s time for her to reappraise everything in her carefully arranged universe. Is Evie strong enough to fight for what she loves? What will be left and what will change forever? And can her world really be as fragile as her best china?

Review: This is going to be a review of two parts, because I felt that the book was split into two separate parts. Unfortunately, to me, it felt like the book had been written by two separate writers! The start of this book has the class ditzy chick-lit female. I really warmed to Evie Hamilton initially, she has a gorgeous house, a gorgeous husband and a gorgeous daughter and she knows she had it easy. There are a host of other characters introduced at the start of the novel. Sometimes this is a bit hard to follow, but because this is a fairly long novel, all of the characters have their own story-they are pretty in depth-and so it becomes clear who each of them is and how they fit into Evie's life!

The storyline is pretty clear to begin with too. Evie is happily living the suburban life, getting on with a teenager in the house, visiting her sister in law and her nephews and nieces, but then everything changes. From this point the story becomes about Evie dealing with this new revelation, and I really enjoyed this part too! Whilst this change in storyline was enjoyable in itself, this is the point where I begin to really dislike Evie. She reacts to everything in such extreme ways, running off into the street, drastically changing her life and begging others for help. She also becomes a bit of a bitch, judging people before she has even met them and definitely having a prejudice about northern people, something which I took very personally!

To begin with Evie's funny antics really made me laugh and then the dramatic turn in storyline had me completely hooked, but then the last part of the book really changed. It almost felt like events were happening simply as page fillers, because the author had another few thousand words to write. We kept revisiting things I thought had been covered and resolved and I found myself wondering when the book was going to actually end! The ending itself was pretty good because it tied up everyone's story lines but it was a case of everything being tied up a little to easy in some situations.

Overall I'm glad that I read this book, I wouldn't have stopped listening to it because, as I said it really made me laugh. I liked that fact that it was set in Oxford because I could picture most of the settings the author was describing, and I liked the bookshop that Evie found herself working in at various points throughout the book. I thought the book jumped around a little too much and could have been cut down by 50-100 pages and still been a quality piece of chick-lit. If you are looking for something that is going to take up some of your holiday reading time then you will enjoy this one, but if you are looking for something a little clearer and fast paced then this won't be the book for you.

To get your copy of this novel, just click here

Friday 27 September 2013

Review! The Girl Under The Olive Tree by Leah Flemming

I was lucky enough to receive a copy of this for review and thought it sounded like the kind of thing my mum loves to red, so I asked her if she'd do a guest review for me. She agreed and so here is her thoughts on The Girl Under The Olive Tree!

May 1941 and the island of Crete is invaded by paratroopers from the air. After a lengthy fight, thousands of British and Commonwealth soldiers are forced to take to the hills or become escaping PoWs, sheltered by the Cretan villagers.

Sixty years later, Lois West and her young son, Alex, invite feisty Great Aunt Pen to a special eighty-fifth birthday celebration on Crete, knowing she has not been back there since the war.

Penelope George - formerly Giorgidiou - is reluctant to go but is persuaded by the fact it is the 60th anniversary of the Battle. It is time for her to return and make the journey she never thought she'd dare to. On the outward voyage from Athens, she relives her experiences in the city from her early years as a trainee nurse to those last dark days stranded on the island, the last female foreigner.

When word spreads of her visit, and old Cretan friends and family come to greet her, Lois and Alex are caught up in her epic pilgrimage and the journey which leads her to a reunion with the friend she thought she had lost forever - and the truth behind a secret buried deep in the past ...

The Girl Under the Olive Tree is a story of one girl’s journey through adversity and survival against all the odds, and of the people she meets along the way.
We first meet Penny George as a young girl in 1936, trying to evade her mother’s plans to launch her into society and marry her off to a suitable man. She definitely has other plans, but the problem is how to escape. Her interest in archaeology is fuelled by meeting Bruce, a New Zealander with a passion for the subject. Unbeknown to her, their paths will cross many times in the years to come.
Penny’s escape from her mother’s clutches comes unexpectedly, when her brother-in-law is posted to Athens and she is allowed to go for a visit. During her extended stay with her sister and brother-in-law, she is able to follow her interest in archaeology, but, with the threat of war coming, she decides to train as a Red Cross nurse. She meets up with a young Jewish girl, Yolanda, who trains with her, and the two become firm friends, Penny learning a lot about the Jewish people and their customs in the processYolanda, like Penny, has parents who wish to map out her future and choose a husband for her, which is not entirely to her liking.
With war clouds gathering, British people are leaving Greece, but Penny is determined to stay behind and carry on with her chosen vocation. She has inherited Greek colouring from her paternal grandfather, and can pass herself off as Greek, especially when she reverts to the family name of Georgiou and dyes her blonde hair dark. Despite attempts to make her leave Greece many times, Penny finally ends up in Crete, nursing wounded soldiers. The German invasion and occupation of the island brings new challenges, and Penny becomesheavily involved with the resistance movement there.
In the course of her nursing duties, Penny meets up with a high-ranking German officer, Rainer, injured during the invasion. He develops a fascination for her. Despite her attempts to avoid him, and the fact that they are on different sides, they meet up several times over the years.
Running alongside the story of Penny during the war is a tale of her return to Crete in the present day (2001), and her surprising discoveries when she gets there. This part involves her grand-niece, Lois, and Lois’s son, Alex. Lois is recovering from a broken marriage, and decides to take Aunt Penny back to Crete as a birthday treat, the timing coinciding with a sixtieth anniversary reunion on the island. The narrative jumps back and forward between the 1940s and 2001, which is a bit distracting.
In this novel, we see a different image of Crete from the idyllic island we are used to as modern-day tourists. As has been seen many times in history, we see the war causing devastation of the landscape and ancient sites. During the occupation of the island, there is also muchlooting of artefacts that were centuries old. We also learn of the strength and tenacity of the Cretan people under conditions of great hardship and oppression.
Although Penny and Yolanda both find the loves of their lives during the course of the narrative, it is more a tale of war and survival than a love story. The ending of the story is quite abrupt and unexpected. It would be nice to know what happened next.
To get your copy of this novel click here

Thursday 26 September 2013

Review: Geek Girl 2: Model Misfit

“My name is Harriet Manners, and I am still a geek.”

Harriet knows that modelling won’t transform you. She knows that being as uniquely odd as a polar bear isn’t necessarily a bad thing (even in a rainforest). And that the average person eats a ton of food a year, though her pregnant stepmother is doing her best to beat this.

What Harriet doesn’t know is where she’s going to fit in once the new baby arrives.

With summer plans ruined, modelling in Japan seems the perfect chance to get as far away from home as possible. But nothing can prepare Harriet for the craziness of Tokyo, her competitive model flatmates and her errant grandmother’s ‘chaperoning’. Or seeing gorgeous Nick everywhere she goes.

Because, this time, Harriet knows what a broken heart feels like.

Can geek girl find her place on the other side of the world or is Harriet lost for good?

Review: "Never underestimate the power of a well-placed apostrophe." This quote just sums up how much I loved this book. I spend my life telling children how to use apostrophes, rolling my eyes at misplaced apostrophes in shops and so the fact that this author understands the importance of a good apostrophe shows just how awesome she is! I was very excited about this sequel, I was literally holding my breath waiting for it to come out, and it was just as good as I expected. It was fabulous to catch up with Harriett again and you are thrown right into the action with her, back into her world of obscure facts, exams and a little bit of modelling thrown in!

Harriett is such a fab character and its great to be able to learn her life lessons along with her. This books really does show her growing up. Whilst she develops and has adventures in the first Geek Girl book, she goes out on her own, on her own to another country, on her own to model in another country and so her character really does have to mature and develop! Her friends are all there in this sequel too. Toby plays much more of a role in this book, and 'Lion Boy' much less of a role-I loved this! Nat is there too, and my favourite character of all-Wilbur! Wilbur and Harriett's dad really are just pure comedy genius-i defy anyone not to laugh at the things they come out with and the ways in which they challenge our poor misguided model.

The storyline of this novel is really quite different from Geek Girl, I was really pleased to discover this, Whilst Geek Girl was most definitely a winning formula, its nice that this novel has a bit more of a mystery about it, the added aspect of travelling to Tokyo, and also of course, has Harriett dealing with a broken heart! I loved the whole sabotaging storyline, and also loved the sub plot of everything that was going on at home with Harriett's family!

Overall this was just a great read. It had the comfort of revisiting familiar characters with the bonus new setting and new storyline. It delivered a strong message of doing the right thing, once again, which is wonderful, and also had that pure comedy which really did have me laughing out loud-something which is pretty hard to bring on! If you enjoyed Geek Girl then this is a must read for you. If you haven't read Geek Girl then this novel can definitely be enjoyed on its own, but I can bet anything that you will have to rush out and buy Geek Girl straight afterwards! A fabulous sequel!

Click here to see my review of Geek Girl

Click here to see my interview with the fabulous Holly Smale

Click to get your own copy of Geek Girl and Model Misfit

Wednesday 25 September 2013

Author interview! Holly Smale

I was so excited when this brilliant author agreed to answer my interview questions and her answers were well worth the wait, as you can see. I am so excited for the release of Geek Girl: Model Misfit but without further ado, I hand you over to the FABULOUS author Holly Smale...

First question-bit of a cliche-how did you get into writing?

I’ve always been obsessed with words: my first memory is of reading the word GAS on a lorry going past, getting over-excited and scribbling it all over bits of the scrap paper my dad brought home from the office. I’ve wanted to be a writer from that moment, as cheesy as it sounds. I’ve been writing on scraps of paper ever since.

Do you write full time & if so, have you always done this?

I do, but I haven’t always. Like most writers, I spent most of my life fitting paragraphs and chapters into lunch-breaks, evenings, weekends; on buses, trains, escalators. I’ve done a lot of different jobs: pubs, PR, teaching, courgette-packing, cleaning, waitressing, bar-tending. It was only when I sold theGEEK GIRL series that I had the luxury of writing full time for a little bit. I don’t know if it will last,though - I may have to go back to cleaning floors -so I take every day as it comes and try to enjoy it while I can.

Do you have a particular writing style or genre that you prefer?

I have an enormously eclectic taste in literature (and music, and fashion… everything, in fact). I studied English classics at University, so I love Dickens, Hardy, Austen, Shakespeare, and I’m also a big fan of American classics: Steinbeck, Harper Lee, Fitzgerald. I love children’s classics as well, so Charlotte’s Web, Anne of Green Gables, The Faraway Tree etc. Saying that, there’s a lot of great stuff going out at the moment: both in YA/Children’s and in adult fiction. I think it’s important to read as wide a mix as possible, although I’ll admit I’ve never loved Dystopian very much. (Apart from 1984, Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451: three of my favourite books of all time.)

How do you develop your characters as you write, are any of them based on real people?

To be honest, I don’t really develop characters as such: I let the story do that for meOccasionally they’re based on “real” people, but generally they turn up fully formed: meeting my new characters is my favourite bit of the writing process. They feel so real to me, though, that the narrative tends to reveal them gradually just as it would reveal people in real life. As long as they react to situations and events and change the way real people do, I think that’s development: it’ll come through naturally. Forcing it is like going up to a stranger and shouting “I LIKE CHEESE” at the top of your voice.

What was the inspiration behind your Geek Girl?

I wanted to write something funny and different, and I modelled as a teenager so I thought that would be a fun topic. I sat down to write a story about models, and then realized it wasn’t actually about modeling at all: it was about how much of a geek I was at school, and feeling left out, and struggling to work out where I belonged. There was a heart to the story I hadn’t really thought about before, and by the time I’d written the first sentence I was excited about the story and I knew what I wanted from it.

What is your writing process-do you map it out first? Write a bit at a time?

With the first one, I kind of winged it: now that I’ve finished two I can see a pattern to my madness. I tend to have a general idea of where it’s going to go, scribble ideas on bits of paper, and then write a very bad first draft. Then I read it, realise exactly why it’s terrible and write it again from scratch. It’s not a very time-efficient way of doing it, but it works for me. I use the first draft to get the ideas and narrative down, and the second to turn it into a proper story. I’m just not organized enough to plan it all perfectly from the start.

How much of you is reflected in your novels?

All of me. It’s easy to draw a line between me and Harriet, but every single character comes from me: every breath, every movement, every word. There are parts of me in all of them: in Toby, in Wilbur, in Annabel, in Nat, in Richard. Even in Yuka or Alexa. It’s impossible to separate the writer from what they’re written: those characters come from a part of us. Even if we’re writing about somebody real we know, we’re writing what we see, how we interpret them. I don’t think there’s ever a real separation between the book and the author, even if there seems to be. They come from the unique ingredients that make us… US.

What kind of research did you do before/during writing Geek Girl?

I used the internet a lot for facts and details, but I was lucky enough to have a lot of experience in most areas: I was a geek at school, I modelled, and I’d already been to Russia on a school trip. For the second book, I lived in Japan for two years, so I had an entire database of information in my head ready for dipping into. The third will require a lot more research, so that’ll be an exciting challenge.

Do you have any plans to develop your novel further, write sequels, turn it into a series?

The second book in the series comes out on the September 26th, and I’m incredibly nervous. For the first book, I was an unknown debut so there were no expectations. This time I have readers, and I don’t want to disappoint anyone! There’ll be a third, and I’m thinking about what will happen after that at the moment.

How much attention do you pay to the reviews that you get?

At the beginning, I paid a huge amount of attention and read every single one: I was exhilarated and crushed on an almost hourly basis. Now, I tend to avoid them as much as I can. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion, and I think it’s great that there’s so much active discussion on the internet, but it can be slightly damaging from an author’sperspective. What some people love, other people hate, and visa versa: it’s literally impossible to keepeverybody happy, and trying can leave you spinning in unproductive little circles. Now I focus on writing what I love and think is funny, and just hope that the right readers will find it rather than worrying about pleasing everybody. I can only do what I can.  

Are friends and family supportive of your writing?

Incredibly so. They always have been, so I’m very lucky. Even when I was waiting tables and “writing my book” in between shifts, they believed I’d get there. Without their faith in me, I have no idea if I’d have kept going. Writing can be hard, lonely and very demoralizing.

How did you feel leading up to your publication day?

For the first one, I felt scared, excited and nervous. For the second, I feel that x 10,000. There’s more on the line this time: people are waiting to compare it to the first book. I just desperately don’t want to let anyone down: if they loved the first one I want them to love this one too!

Which other authors inspire you or are there any you particularly enjoy

I’m inspired by so many authors: Roald Dahl, L.M. Montgomery, JK Rowling, John Green, Judith Kerr… Everyone who creates something amazing that wasn’t there before they started… that’s inspiring.

Finally...what are you working on right now?

I’m just tying up the very last bits of GG2 – Model Misfit: all I have to do now is approve page layoutbefore it goes to print. My next job is to start researching for GG3, and frankly that’s going to be a big job. I’m moving out of my comfort area, which is exciting and important. It would be incredibly lazy to just stick to exactly what I already know!! It’s going to involve a trip to New York, though, so I’m not going to complain. I have the best job in the world. 

Thank you very much to Holly for doing this interview. If you haven't read Geek Girl get ordering it now, I have not one but 3 reviews of it here on the blog so you can tell I'm a massive fan! And don't further to pre-order your copy of the Geek Girl sequel Model Misfit-can't wait for this one!

Just Click the links to get your copies now...

If you want to see my review of Geek Girl just click here

Monday 23 September 2013

Review: Me and You by Claudia Carroll

I’m fine. I’m sorry. Please take care of him for me. And maybe one day I’ll get to explain.

Angie knows a lot about her best friend Kitty.
She knows Kitty is mad and wild and loves to wear clashing colours. She knows she’s incredibly funny and generous but also very unreliable.
And she knows that there is a perfect explanation for Kitty standing her up on her birthday.
She thinks she knows everything about Kitty, except she doesn’t.

Kitty knows that she is the happiest she has ever been.
She knows she’s so lucky to have a lovely boyfriend, Simon and a best friend like Angie.
But what she doesn’t know that on this night, her past is finally going to catch up with her and change everything.

Heartbreaking and uplifting, Me and You is a story about how hard it is to leave our old selves behind, the tough choices we sometimes have to make and how love and friendship can heal even the most damaged of hearts.

Review: this book has been sitting on my shelf since it was released and I've been desperately trying to get to it, I'm so glad that I finally did. I was hooked into this story right from the very first page. It is a dual narrative of sorts and in Angie's part of the story, her thoughts are written in a kind of diary style, with times and then what is going on in that time. I found this really compelling, diary style books always make me read faster! The other part of the narrative tells us what has happened to Her best friend Kitty in the past and also what is happening to her in the present. I sometimes struggle with books that jump around with times but I think that because this was already a dual narrative, I found it much easier to cope with.

I found myself drawn to the character of Angie right the way through the book, as if she was my best friend and not Kitty's. I have to admit that I didn't like Kitty very much at all in her past story or in the present time, I thought that the level of impulsiveness with which she did things was uncalled for and it just didn't sit right with me. kitty's boyfriend Simon is the main male character in this book, I had a bit of a mixed relationship with him, finding him strong and desirable at the beginning and end of the novel but really quite irritating in the middle section. So the jury is still out as far as he's concerned with me.

I thought the storyline was really interesting, something completely different. At some points it was a little to much mystery for me, and there was too much to find out, but there was enough action in the present, love stories and flashbacks to the last to balance it out, learning about Kitty's back story was really interesting but some parts were really quite graphic and therefore harrowing, I definitely skimmed over these bits, finding them a little too uncomfortable for me personally to read. 

I found this quite a quick read, I think because of all the flashbacks and the diary style writing. Although I finished it quite quickly, I still don't feel as if everything has been resolved and so therefore the ending, for me, was a little bit of a let down! Overall though, I thought this was a good pice of women's fictions and something slightly different from the norm that would definitely get people out of a reading slump or convince a reader that not all women's fiction is the same. Definitely a good book to end the summer with! 

To see for yourself, get your copy by clicking here

Friday 20 September 2013

Review: The Bookstore by Deborah Meyler

Impressionable and idealistic, Esme Garland is a young British woman who finds herself studying art history in New York. She loves her apartment and is passionate about the city and her boyfriend; her future couldn’t look brighter. Until she finds out that she’s pregnant.

Esme’s boyfriend, Mitchell van Leuven, is old-money rich, handsome, successful, and irretrievably damaged. When he dumps Esme—just before she tries to tell him about the baby—she resolves to manage alone. She will keep the child and her scholarship, while finding a part-time job to make ends meet. But that is easier said than done, especially on a student visa.

The Owl is a shabby, second-hand bookstore on the Upper West Side, an all-day, all-night haven for a colorful crew of characters: handsome and taciturn guitar player Luke; Chester, who hyperventilates at the mention of Lolita; George, the owner, who lives on protein shakes and idealism; and a motley company of the timeless, the tactless, and the homeless. The Owl becomes a nexus of good in a difficult world for Esme—but will it be enough to sustain her? Even when Mitchell, repentant and charming, comes back on the scene?

A rousing celebration of books, of the shops where they are sold, and of the people who work, read, and live in them, The Bookstore is also a story about emotional discovery, the complex choices we all face, and the accidental inspirations that make a life worth the reading.

Review: I was so looking forward to this book. It has all my favourite elements,bit is about books and a bookstore it is set in New York, it's about a girl in her twenties and I was actually really really disappointed and struggled to finish it. To begin with I was really enjoying reading this,in enjoyed finding out about Esme and her life. I loved the fact that she had come over to New York to carry on with her studies (an incredibly jealous of her) I loved the fact that she had her own apartment and was an independent women. To begin with, when she goes to tell horrible boyfriend Mitchell that she is pregnant and then he dumps her, it has all the good makings of a great chick lit novel, but then things begin to go downhill.

The books really slows down from this point onwards and the storyline itself becomes a bit dull. Esme turns into a indecisive character and some of the decisions that she does make really show her age, she seems incapable of thinking what is best for her and for her unborn child, she thinks instead about what other people think and what's going to make her look better to them. The storyline seemed to change entirely and not much really happened of note. There is a point where it seems she must move, Mitchell comes and goes from the pictures and she works in the owl chatting to people there but not much else had me wanting to read on.

The characters that come in a out of the Owl provide the most entertainment in the book, they are whacky and they are individuals, I thought this was really cool, but so much more could have been done with them. Store owner George and other shop assistant Luke really do have a heart of go,d and this is really lovely to read but I wanted to find out more about them and their personal lives and how the fitted into Esme's life.

Overall this was a bit of a struggle to finish, there seemed to be no concept of time in the book and I didn't find myself wanting to know what happened at all really. The ending was a it of a let down too, I expected more to be resolved but things seemed to be left pretty much up in the air, and I didn't feel like I was any further to knowing what was going to happen wit Esme than when I started the book. Normally there are things I am able to find in a book that other people will find entertaining but the only saving grace was the wonderful New York setting so I wouldn't confidently recommend this book to anyone-sorry!

To grab a copy and see for yourself click here

Thursday 19 September 2013

Cover reveal: Geli Voyante's Hot or Not

Very excited to be bringing you this cover reveal today-I love it and I can't wait to read it. Look out for my stop on the blog tour mid October!

From Elle Field, the author of Kept, Geli Voyante's Hot or Not will be released on October 17th in Kindle and paperback formats. You can add it to your Goodreadsshelf today!

'I think I will always be known as the Hot or Not girl, defined by it for the rest of my career. Even my tombstone will read: Angelica “Geli” Voyante, beloved trendsetter. Death? Not Hot.

Yet, it doesn’t sound right. Why won’t anyone realise that there is more to me than this fickle persona I have inadvertently become?'

Geli Voyante is bored of being the Hot or Not girl, even if it has the perk of sitting next to Theo, the newspaper's very Hot political columnist. She's also getting a little lonely being single.

When her arch-nemesis Tiggy Boodles gets engaged, and other loved ones start to settle down, it's time for Geli to convince Theo that she’s not as shallow as her column suggests and, more importantly, she’s the one for him. Geli should remember though that there are always two sides to every story, and that applies to people too...

You can find out more about Elle Field and her first novel Kept here:

Don't forget to check out my review of Kept and my interview with Elle earlier this year!

The Book Blogger Test (Tagged by Laura)

So I was tagged to do The Book Blogger Test, excited to be tagged because this test looks like fun!

1. What are your top three book hates?

I hate books that are bound really tightly, I'm a spine breaker so I like one that's easy to bend.
I hate when books get grubby-inevitable when they're in and out my handbag though...
I hate when books in a series don't match, make them all the same design!

2. Describe your perfect reading spot...

A big comfy chair where I can curl my feet under me but my back is supported, if this could be in the sunshine that would be awesome!

3. Tell us three book confessions...

I always judge a book by its cover. Books with small writing will always go to the bottom of my TBR. I arrive at work extra early so I can read at my desk before work.

4. When was the last time you cried at a book?

Last week reading The Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman.

5. How many books are on your bedside table?

I'm currently reading something on Kindle so almost 200 on there (oh dear) plus Love Letters of Great Men and Women, dipping in and out of that right now.

6. What's your favourite snack whilst you're reading?

 Does wine count as a snack? I love coffee and a book or wine and a book so what food stuff goes with both of those? CHOCOLATE!

7. Name three books you'd recommend to everyone...

One Day by David Nicholls
The Complete Notes by Bill Bryson
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

8. Show us a picture of your favourite shelf on your bookcase...

My shelves are double thickness so it'll have to be two photos...

Love my hardback shelf!

9. Write how much books mean to you in just 3 words...

I Heart Books!

10. What is your biggest reading secret?

I'm a lazy reader so I can't stand reading about people that are much older or younger than me, live on other planets or in other times-hideous I know!

I tag

Kerrie @readandrepeat

Amanda @onemorepage

Debbie @snugglingonsofa

Natalie @flutterbybat

Emma @emmaiswriting

Wednesday 18 September 2013

Review: In Bloom by Matthew Crow

Francis Wootton's first memory is of Kurt Cobain's death, and there have been other hardships closer to home since then. At fifteen years old he already knows all about loss and rejection - and to top it all off he has a permanently broke big brother, a grandma with selective memory (and very selective social graces) and a mum who's at best an acquired taste. Would-be poet, possible intellectual and definitely wasted in Tyne and Wear, Francis has grown used to figuring life out on his own.Lower Fifth is supposed to be his time, the start of an endless horizon towards whatever-comes-next. But when he is diagnosed with leukaemia that wide-open future suddenly narrows, and a whole new world of worry presents itself.There's the horror of being held back a year at school, the threat of imminent baldness, having to locate his best shirt in case a visiting princess or pop-star fancies him for a photo-op . . . But he hadn't reckoned on meeting Amber - fierce, tough, one-of-a-kind Amber - and finding a reason to tackle it all - the good, the bad and everything in between - head on.In Bloom is a bright, funny, painful and refreshing novel about wanting the very best from life, even when life shows you how very bad it can be. It is a novel about how to live.

Review: I was lucky enough to receive a copy of this gorgeous book in the post for review. The cover of it is just exquisite so naturally I spent quite a while stroking it before I got down to actually reading it but I was involved in the story right away. Although it has probably been said a million times before, this book does have a real feel of John Green's The Fault In Our Stars, not just because it deals with young people who are ill, but because the voice is very similar too. Francis's adolescent male voice comes through very strongly and so you can tell right away that this book is well written. 

I loved the fact this this book was set up north, there aren't enough books dealing with teenagers in the UK unless they live in leafy Surrey, and Francis's mum was a wonderful character too, strong and independent, I can definitely recognise her amongst mums that I know. I definitely had a real soft spot for the friend of Francis's brother-Fiona. I think it's good when a secondary character stays with you after you've finished the book, she didn't have much impact on the storyline itself but her presence and her input throughout the book was definitely fun and worthwhile! 

I enjoyed the storyline although I did find the pace a little slow, I found myself wanting to find out what was going to happen next more out of frustration than the fact that it was a page turner, but overall I found it a well rounded story and was pleased with the general progression and then the ending. With the subject matter being what it was, I thought that I would cry more than I did, but I found myself welling up more over the relationship between Francis and Amber than I did at some of the more poignant moments in the book. There was one particular scene between the two of them that had me slightly inconsolable. He says to her-"and even if you don't always love me, even if we don't always know each other, I think the world will be a more interesting place with you in it". *sniff*

Overall I thought this was a lovely book. It was a quick read and really well written. It definitely has all the features of YA so if that's not something you're into, don't pick this one up, but if you fancy a nice story about young people facing struggle and love triumphing then you should definitely give this one a go!

You can pre-order this gorgeous novel by clicking here

Tuesday 17 September 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books on my Autumn TBR list

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists over there at The Broke and the Bookish. I'd love to share my lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

There are so many great books out this autumn, Christmas books as well so this is going to be hard to narrow down to 10...

1. Model Misfit-Geek Girl 2 by Holly Smale, so looking forward to reading this one! 

2. Mad about the Boy by Helen Fielding. Cannot wait to catch up its Bridget Jones again! 

3. Finding it by Cora Carmack. Looking forward to finding out what happens to Kelsey. 

4. Step Back In Time by Ali McNamara. Her novels are always such fun and I love the cover for this one too! 

5. One Summer America 1927 by Billy Bryson. I love his books, they always make me laugh and I have heard a sample of this one and it's just as good as the others! 

6. Just for Christmas by Scarlett Bailey. I love this authors Christmas books and so I'm very much looking forward to read this and enjoying the beautiful sparkly cover too! 

7. Take a look at me now by Miranda Dickinson. So looking forward to another instalment from her and it comes out just in time for my holidays-an added bonus! 

8. I Heart Christmas by Lindsey Kelk. So excited for this one I could literally scream! 

9. Christmas as Rosie Hopkins Sweetshop by Jenny Colgan. The first novel about Rosie was so lovely and I so enjoyed reading it so I know I'm going to enjoy this one too! 

10. The next instalments of The Arcade by Kitty Charles. I love the day when this monthly serial comes out, I immediately download it and read it all at once. There are three left in the year and is so so hoping that Father Christmas will bring me an omnibus! 

I'm excited just talking about all of these books, not to mention the books that are already and on shelves and the others on my wish list-looks like I've got some serious reading to do. Let me know if you're excited for any of these-I love to hear your comments!

Just click the books if you are dying to pre-order these as much as I am!