30 June 2010

Waiting On Wednesday: THIS IS WHERE WE LIVE

I've recently come across Janelle Brown's next book and I fell in love with it immediately! I bought a copy of her previous book, All We Ever Wanted Was Everything (awesome title is awesome), but I have yet to read it - they both sound fantastic!
Oh and I've decided to post the UK edition (I believe the US one is out already anyway), which will be publisher later, but I really prefer this cover - it's absolutely gorgeous!

by Janelle Brown
[3 February 2011]
A novel about subprime mortgages, ruthless Hollywood economics, and the unraveling of a young marriage.
This Is Where We Live tells the story of Claudia and Jeremy, a young, artistic married couple (she's an aspiring filmmaker; he's an indie musician) who are on the verge of making it. Her first film was a sensation at Sundance and is about to have its theatrical release; he’s assembled a new band and is a few songs shy of an album. They’ve recently purchased their first home — an adorable bungalow with a breathtaking view of the city of Los Angeles — with the magical assistance of an adjustable rate mortgage. But a series of seismic events — the tanking of Claudia’s film, the return of Jeremy's ex-girlfriend (a manipulative, self-destructive, fabulously successful artist), and the staggering adjustment of their monthly mortgage payments—deals a crushing blow to their dreams of the bohemian life and their professional aspirations, and makes them question their values and their shared vision of the future.

28 June 2010

Review: THE FINISHING TOUCHES by Hester Browne *****

Every girl should know what the finishing touches are.
That dash of gloss on the cheekbones to lift your complexion.
High heels for poise, and a luscious lipstick for the perfect pout.
It’s the spritz of perfume on the pulse points and the...
....ability to stand on your own two feet?

When 21st century girl Betsy is called in to rescue an exclusive finishing school from financial ruin, she knows she must change the school drastically, if it’s ever to survive.
So it’s out with debutante decorum and in with modern manners and man-management.
But before she can teach the girls how to walk in high heels, Betsy may just have to remember how to wear them herself.
With the added bonus that her gorgeous friend Jamie and the surprisingly hunky bursar Mark both seem to rather approve of her new stilettos...
When I started reading this book, I had absolutely no idea what 'finishing schools' are about (in my defence, I'm not from the UK and this concept doesn't exist in my country) and when I learned about them in the book, the feminist in me was so enraged that I honestly nearly gave up on the book after like 50 pages - I just couldn't handle reading about a finishing school in the modern times ... But then I figured I might as well try reading some more and see what happens - about 50 pages later, I started loving this book so much that I just didn't want to put it down and ended up totally loving it!

The story opens on 21 July 1981, when a baby is found in a marmelade box in front of the Tallimore Academy, an exclusive finishing school in London. The baby is brought to Lady Frances Tallimore, whose husband owns the school, and she names her Betsy and she's determined to give her the best upbringing possible.
The next chapters opens 27 years later at the funeral of Lady Frances. We learn that Betsy grew up at Tallimore Academy, but wasn't 'allowed' to take classes with the other girls, which hurt her so much that she moved to Scotland and completely turned her life around.
After the funeral, Lord Tallimore tells Betsy that the academy has gone through some rough times and he asks her to have a look around and maybe propose some changes - he thinks Betsy is a management consultant when in fact she manages a shoe shop.
Nonetheless, Betsy takes up the challenge. She moves in with her best friend Liv and comes up with some great ideas on how to bring the Academy more up to date and start some new classes that might appeal more to the modern girls - she thinks it's time to ditch Table Etiquette and Literary Appreciation, and instead she decides to bring in classes on how to deal with money, look good in photos, park properly, wear the right things, walk in heels and a whole lot of other practicall skills that a modern woman needs to know.
There are a few twists and turns and I'm sure you can smell a love story from a mile away, but that's roughly it without giving too much away.
Oh and there's also the sub-plot of Betsy searching for her birth mother, which was quite touching and it didn't end quite like what I expected - which is a good thing, because I had a far more corny ending in mind, heh.

I'll admit I wasn't blown away by the plot as such, but what really made this book were the characters and the writing. Betsy wasn't really the most exciting character, but others certainly made up for it! This book had me hooked as soon as I 'met' the current pupils of the Academy - this quote sums them up quite well (p. 151):
[Jamie] pretended to rub his hands like a Victorian maiden-abductor. 'Tell me more. What delicious young debutantes are currently being finished?'
'Well, at the moment, there's Clementine the Goth, Divinity the footballer's daughter, Anastasia the Russian squillionaireness and Venetia, the ...'
I wasn't sure how to describe Venetia. I suddenly realised I didn't know much about her at all, other than that she had her hair extensions done at Richard Ward and that she didn't carry cash.
'The trainee Bond girl,' I finished.

As soon as I was acquited with this lovely bunch, I knew I was in for a fun ride, haha.
Honestly, most of the characters were absolutely adorable - I loved Liv, Jamie, Mark, Lord Tallimore and others, what a fantastic set!

As I mentioned before, the writing was also brilliant - beautiful and oh so witty, especially the dialogue had me cracking up all over the place! This was the first book I've read by Ms Browne, but it certainly won't be the last!

All in all, in my humble opinion, this is chicklit at its best and I had SO much fun reading the book! The story and the characters and the writing just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy and you'll just want to hug this book as it's just too damn adorable for words. If you don't believe me, you can certainly trust Sophie Kinsella, the queen of romcoms, who blurbed it saying, 'What a delicious, entertaining book. I loved it!' - I couldn't have said it better myself!

overall rating:
plot: 4/5 | writing: 5/5 | characters: 5/5 | cover: 4/5

27 June 2010

Book Trailer: THE DISTANT HOURS by Kate Morton

I know I've already featured one trailer for THE DISTANT HOURS by Kate Morton in my Waiting on Wednesday post a while ago, but the awesome Ms Morton posted a brand spanking NEW book trailer last week and it deserves its own post because it's just so amazing! See for yourself ...

If you're not familiar with this book yet, you can check out the summary and the two covers in my Waiting On Wednesday post.

To conclude - I've said it before and I'm saying it again: I NEED THIS BOOK IN MY LIFE RIGHT NOW!!! Honestly, I'm too excited for words and this is definitely my most anticipated historical release of the year, no competition! I can't wait till October or November, noooo ... :(

26 June 2010

In My Mailbox #48

Wow, I've had a fantastic book week - I got seven books and bought only one of those whereas the rest were sent for review, how amazing is that?! I've never had anything like this happen before - it's usually the other way around, i.e. I always buy more books than I get for review!

Sooo let's get down to business, shall we?
Firstly, here are the adult books I got ...

  • SAINTS v SINNERS by Katie Agnew was sent from Orion and I just loooove the cover, it's really eye-catching and the book sounds like a fab bonkbuster - perfect for the summer!
  • MY NAME IS MEMORY by Ann Brashers arrived for review from Hodder - I've heard so many great things about this one and I can't wait to read it! It's just been published actually so I'm hoping to review it soon!
  • SECOND HAND HEART by Catherine Ryan Hyde was sent by Transworld and I was sooo happy to receive a copy since the book doesn't come out until September! I've featured it in my WOW post a couple of weeks ago and quite a few of you agreed that it sounds like a very interesting read. :)
  • SUFFRAGETTE GIRL by Margaret Dickinson is the book I couldn't help buying as soon as I saw it. I'm quite fascinated by the suffragettes and very eager to read everything that's been written about them (so far I've reviewed Falling Angels by Tracy Chevalier and Crooked Pieces by Sarah Glazebrook, but I have a couple more books to read).
And here are the YA books I got:

  • DON'T KNOW WHERE, DON'T KNOW WHEN by Annette Laing was kindly sent to me by the author herself and it sounds like a fantastic time-travelling adventure that takes place in modern times as well as in Wartime England - very excting!
  • DEAR DYLAN by Siobhan Curham was also kindly sent to me by the author and based on the reviews I've read recently, I expect great things from it! It's written in emails between a young girl and her idol, an actor, and people say they were quite surpised by how this novel turned out and what an impact in had on them so I can't wait to see what it has in store for me, heh.
  • WORLD CUP WAGS by Anonymous is the third and last installment of the WAGS' WORLD series, which I've read recently and reviewed here. I loved the first two books and I expect this one to be just as awesome. In fact, I'm off to start reading it right now, if you'll excuse me. ;)

Lastly, I'd like to thank all the lovely authors and publishers who have kindly sent me such amazing books and I hope to have the reviews up asap!

Hope you've all had a great book week too!
Have a great weekend, everyone! :)

25 June 2010

Guest Review: THIRTEEN REASONS WHY by Jay Asher ****

A bit of an intro this time:
I've recently been contacted by the lovely Ch'aska, who asked me if I could review Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher as she's read it herself and she thought certain bits were too old for her. I told her I currently don't have a copy to review, but I invited her to send me her own review and I could post it her for people to discuss the book and she kindly agreed to do so.

Ch'aska says she's a 'tween, going on 12', but that she's always enjoyed books that were written for people older than her, so she's decided to give this book a try ... You can read her thoughts below, but first here's a quick plot description and the two covers - which one do YOU prefer? :)
Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker--his classmate and crush--who committed suicide two weeks earlier.
On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list.
Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

Ch'aska's review:
Thirteen reasons why follows Clay Jenkins, a boy in high-school, a normal boy that does all the normal things. Studies, hangs out with friends... that is until a pack of tapes turns up on his doorstep.
The story is split in two, Hannah and Clay. It starts in a post-office, with Clay mailing off a package... a package full of tapes. Then it goes back to the beginning.
This story doesn't happen over a long period of time, it takes Clay a night, 1 night, to listen to these tapes. Hannah explains the point of the tapes to show what a snowball effect these 13 people had on her life.
The snowball effect which eventually led her to end her life.

The girl, Hannah actually frustrated me through the book because it felt like she could come back... Clay was really thoughtful and it really pulls you into the book, the book pretty much is trying to say that the way you treat one person can have a snowball effect and lead to fateful mistakes.

I felt like the end was to be expected, if you pay close attention, and even though I did re-read it, it doesn't seem like a book I would usually re-read. Some of the reasons were a bit old for me, and I could have done without.
The book did make me cry, only twice, but after that, it more left me... somber, I don't know if it was because of the subject (suicide) or because of the way it was written, so straight-forward.

Also, I want to add, if you do read the book, read Thirteen Reasons Why-Between the Lines, it will explain some pretty interesting stuff about how the book started.

overall rating:
plot: 5/5 | writing: 4/5 | characters: 4/5 | cover: 3/5

Thanks so much, Ch'aska!
Have YOU read this book? If so, what did you think of it?

23 June 2010

Waiting On Wednesday: Blindness ...

Today I've decided to spotlight two YA novels that I've recently come across - and they happen to tackle the same subject (in a different way, obviously): blindness. Yes, they both sound terrifying, but I can't help finding them rather interesting too ... What do you think?

by Priscilla Cummings
[8th July 2010]
In many ways, Natalie O’Reilly is a typical fourteenyear- old girl. But a routine visit to the eye doctor produces devastating news: Natalie will lose her sight within a few short months.
Suddenly her world is turned upside down. Natalie is sent to a school for the blind to learn skills such as Braille and how to use a cane. Outwardly, she does as she’s told; inwardly, she hopes for a miracle that will free her from a dreaded life of blindness. But the miracle does not come, and Natalie ultimately must confront every blind person’s dilemma. Will she go home to live scared? Or will she embrace the skills she needs to make it in a world without sight?

by April Henry
[28 September 2010]
Sixteen year-old Cheyenne Wilder is sleeping in the back of a car while her mom fills her prescription at the pharmacy. Before Cheyenne realizes what's happening, their car is being stolen--with her inside! Griffin hadn’t meant to kidnap Cheyenne, all he needed to do was steal a car for the others. But once Griffin's dad finds out that Cheyenne’s father is the president of a powerful corporation, everything changes—now there’s a reason to keep her. What Griffin doesn’t know is that Cheyenne is not only sick with pneumonia, she is blind. How will Cheyenne survive this nightmare, and if she does, at what price?

21 June 2010


(WAGs' World #1)
An ordinary girl thrown into an extraordinary life . . . Amy, sixteen, has moved to London for the summer to be near her eighteen-year-old boyfriend, Damien. He's just been signed to a top premiership football club and is getting a taste of the no-limits lifestyle – and he wants Amy to come along for the ride. She soon learns that the other wives and girlfriends are playing games too, but theirs are strictly off the pitch . . . Will a normal girl ever be able to cope in this fast and furious WAGS' world?
(WAGs' World #2)
An ordinary girl thrown into an extraordinary life . . . Amy Thornton is sixteen and planning a perfect summer in London with her lush footballer boyfriend, Damien. But things turn nasty when a fellow WAG threatens to blackmail Amy. Scared of ruining things with Damien, Amy accepts the demands and gets caught up in a whirlwind of celebrities and scandal. As Amy starts meddling in other people’s lives while hiding her own secrets, she realizes that dealing with gossip is about more than scoring points . . .

I've decided to do a double review of the first two books in the WAGS' World series (both written by an ANONYMOUS author, ooh la la) - I wasn't planning to, but as soon as I finished the first one, I *had* to start reading the second one and I thought I might as well review them together! Oh and if you're wondering what the hell WAGS means, it should be clarified that it's a synonym for Wives And Girlfriends (of sportmen, namely footballers). It's a HUGE thing in the UK, where this series is also set.

I'll admit that this isn't quite something I'd normally pick up as I've never been too keen neither on football nor WAGs, but I was offered to review these books and I thought I might as well give them a chance ... Well, guess what happened? Yep, I totally ended up loving the series, ha!

These books tell a story of Amy Thornton, a normal 16-year-old girl who's boyfriend Damien has just been signed to a top football club (Premiership League or something like that, big stuff and all). He's moved to London and after she's done with school, she decides to join him for the summer - which turns out to be nothing like what she's imagined ... She doesn't fit in with the rest of the super glam WAGs (Rosay, Paigle, Claudette, Kylie etc), the paparazzi are following her every move and she barely sees Damien as he's always either training or partying.

So then we follow Amy as she goes from the girl next door to a WAG in a matter of days, hehe. She quickly learns that nothing is what it seems and that she cannot trust anyone. She finds out why some of the other WAGs fell apart and of all the scandals that had happened before her time. Her relationship with Damien hits rock bottom as she suspects he's cheating on her - with another WAG. She's spending money she shouldn't be spending and she's seeing people she should be avoiding, especially in public - which is why is ends up being a victiom of blackmail. On the bright side, she seems to have become somewhat of a style icon and at least her best friends, Susi and Asha are there to support her - well, sort of ... Then she gets her GCSE result, uh-oh ... How will Amy get out of this mess that she's gotten herself into? Luckily, she's managed to dig up some dirt about her blackmailer and she's not scared to use it to her advantage ...

Well, that was a bit rambly there, but I just wanted to very quickly sum up some of the key events of the first two books, hehe! As you can see, there were just so many things going on that I couldn't help being completely sucked into the story and I cannot wait for Book 3 to see how it all ends!

What I liked about this series is that it's quite scandalous while at the same time it's still very innocent - meaning that there is scandal and gossip and betrayal and dark secrets, but it's nothing obscene; no drugs, no drinks, no sex etc., which may sound hella boring, but it's actually far from it! Yes, I'm aware that these books don't paint a terribly realistic picture of WAGs and I imagine that the real world of WAGs is far, far worse, but I actually liked how these books managed to remain sort of innocent, but still very interesting!

Furthermore, the books were really well written and the story (with all the twists & turns) flew really nicely - as I said, I was completely hooked myself! The book has its fluffy moments (unavoidble - this is the WAGs we're talking about), but there are also some quite serious topics thrown in for got measure, and I have to say I quite liked this.

The dialogue was fantastic and so were the characters. OK, I admit Amy and Damien were possibly slightly too perfect and thus a wee bit boooooring, but luckily the rest of the characters were a much more lively and hilarous bunch! I love Asha & Susi and Kylie (hey, it's a good thing she can keep a secret, wink wink :p) and Rosay (like the wine!) and Barbie and Paige and oh, the list goes on. I wasn't too keen on people like Claudette or Lauren, but I suppose that was the point, heh.

I'm not saying this is the best series ever, but the books are a fantastic read and I was really pleasantly suprised with them. As I said, it's possibly not the most realistic portrayal of the mad world of the WAGs and footballers, but maybe that's a good thing and besides, the books were just so much fun to read! No masterpiece or anything, but certainly a fabulous quick read!

Definitely recommended whether you're a tween or a granny, you're bound to get into sucked into this cute story, especially with all the World Cup fever going on! Speaking of which, I cannot wait to read the third and sadly the last part of the series (World Cup WAGs) to see how it all ends! Stay tuned for the review and possibly even a giveaway and an interview with the mysterious anonymous author, ooh! ;)

overall rating:
plot: 4/5 | writing: 4/5 | characters: 4/5 | cover: 4/5

19 June 2010

In My Mailbox #47

I've had a slightly book week this time, but there are still a loooot of books I'm waiting for and I'm getting a bit worried since they still haven't arrived ... Anyway, let's focus on the positive and here's what *did* arrive in the past week:

ENCORE VALENTINE by Adriana Trigiani and PICTURES OF LILY by Paige Toon are review copies from Simon & Schuster UK (thank you!) - aren't these two covers just incredibly beautiful? I loooooove them and I'm so excited about these books, especially Pictures of Lily, woohoo!

PRETTY LITTLE MISTAKES by Heather McElhatton is a do-over novel, meaning you can choose your next step (so to speak), like a choose your adventure thing for adults, and the back cover says you can become a "homemaker, heartreaker, cake baker, drug taker" among other things, heh. I love the sound of it and I've actually just featured the author's book (written in the same style) in my latest WOW post.

I've been wanting to read THE PERFECT MAN by Sheila O'Flanagan since it came out last year, but I decided to wait for the paperback, which was finally published, yay! Sounds like the perfect summer read!

So that's it - awesome books, don't you think? :)

Looking forward to seeing what everyone else got!

17 June 2010

Review: PIECES OF SKY by Kaki Warner ****

Fall in love with the first book in the Blood Rose trilogy-a romance of the Old West by a phenomenal new talent

On a stagecoach traveling through New Mexico Territory, Jessica Thornton is a long way from the cool mists and lush gardens of her native England. An authoress and milliner, she carries the weight of a scandalous secret - a horrible shame that has brought her to the West on a desperate search for the only family she can trust: her brother.

No one prepared Jessica for the heat and the hardships. And no one prepared her for a man like Brady Wilkins. For, despite the rancher's rough-hewn appearance and her own misgivings, Jessica must put her life in his hands after their stagecoach crashes. And she begins to see the man behind the callused hands and caustic wit. A man strong enough to carve out a home in the wilderness, brave enough to fight for his own, and passionate enough to restore her faith in herself - and in her heart.
I quite like historical romance and late 19th century is my favourite period to read about but I'll admit it - when I heard this book was about cowboys, I was a bit worried that would put me off so much that I wouldn't be able to enjoy the book properly - I'm just not a huge fan of cowboys and I've never seen a single Western film, but since I was offered a copy for review, I thought I might as well give it a go, why no. So guess what happened? I ended up loving the book - and swooing over the cowboy in question, ha!

As I mentioned above, the novel is set in the 19th Century and it mostly takes place on a ranch in New Mexico Territory. Our main characters, the primer and proper Englishwoman Jessica and our cowboy Brady, happen to travel on the same stagecoach and when it crashes, most of its passengers end up recovering on Brady's ranch, the Rosa Roja. Jessica has nowhere to go anyway until she finds her brother and so she quickly settles in at the ranch. She makes friends there, but as happy as she may be, there's still a dark cloud looming over her - she's carrying the child of the man who raped her. What will happen when people at the ranch find out about her shame? Meanwhile, Brady has some dark secrets too and he's trying to end the feud with a madman called Sancho, who ruined his family and he'll stop at nothing to ruin Brady too ...

Honestly, I loved this book. I never expected I'd enjoy reading about the life at a ranch so much, hehe, but I found myself completely sucked in into Jessica's story at settling in at the ranch and Brady's neverending feud with Sancho. I expect this is mainly to the fantastic writing (hats off, the book was really well written!) and the amazing characters that just felt so alive and real - that includes everyone from our main characters to the brothers, Sancho and everyone who worked at the ranch. The story isn't lacking either and it's not all rainbows and butterflies either - it gets quite gruesome at times and I was terrified of Sancho myself, eek. I enjoyed the sparkling chemistry between our main characters, I loved how they changed and developed throughout the book and I liked the twists and turns in their love story - although I have to say that even if someone was managing the cheese meter, the book had some seriously cheesy moments, heh; but that's alright, I suppose that comes with the territory of historical romance. :)

Overall, I have nothing but praise for this book and I'll admit it took me by surprise! Thus I was happy to hear that this was only the first book in the Blood Rose Trilogy - the second book, Open Country (left) is out already and the last one, Chasing the Sun (right) comes out in January 2011. Both books will focus on Brady's two brothers, Hank and Jack, but I hope we'll get to learn more about Jessica and Brady too! To learn more about the author and her books, visit her website, and you can definitely expect to see more of Ms Warner on this blog! :)

overall rating:
plot: 4/5 | writing: 5/5 | characters: 4/5 | cover: 4/5

ps: Don't forget to watch the lovely trailer for the book!

16 June 2010


I've decided to mix my three favourite genres into my current Waiting On Wednesday post again - so we've got a YA title with a historical twist and a chick lit novel, yay!

by Alexandra Monir
[11 January 2011]
When her mother is killed in a car accident, Michele Windsor has no choice but to move in with the wealthy grandparents she's never met in New York. Disillusioned by their coldness, Michele retreats into her room, where she discovers her great-great-aunt's journal--and, once she touches its pages, finds herself hurtled back in time.

In the glamorous Gilded Age, Michele learns that a wedding is coming up between the Windsors and another prominent family, the Walkers. But when Michele attends a party, something miraculous happens: while almost no one can see her in this era, one gorgeous young man with sparkling blue eyes can. Drawn together by mutual attraction, the two bond over music and the parents they've recently lost. But when the party is over, Michele learns the truth--the man she just fell for is Phillip Walker. And she, unknowingly, has just inspired him to call off his wedding to her great-great-aunt, prompting a family feud that will last for generations.

As Michele travels back and forth in time, she and Phillip meet over and over, always frustrated by their inability to have more than a few hours together. Michele knows she should try to make a life in the present, but none of the boys at school can hold a candle to Phillip. Finally, Michele tries to end their romance altogether--spurring a tragedy that transcends generations. Has Michele destroyed her chances for happiness? Or is her love for Phillip . . . timeless?
Oooh, I love the sound of this one, although I'm not too keen on the cover - I'd prefer some of the Gilded Age glamour on it, hehe. But the plot sounds fantastic - it's a shame that 2011 is still so far away! :(

by Heather McElhatton
[2 September 2010]
A Million Little Mistakes is no ordinarly novel: it has one beginning and fifty different endings that will variously surprise, shock, and delight readers as they hunt for happiness.

Your story begins when you win twenty-two million dollars in the lottery. What happens next? It’s entirely up to you. Do you get out of debt? Quit your job? Travel the world? Go on the shopping spree of a lifetime? The possibilities are endless!

Twenty-two million dollars can buy a lot, but can it buy a happy ending?
This also sounds fantastic and I love these type of stories where you can choose your own plot - I've read them when I was younger, but I've never heard of anything like this for adults. After learning about this book, I immediately ordered the author's first book, Pretty Little Mistakes, immediately and I can't wait to read it!

What are YOU waiting on this week? :)

13 June 2010

Cover WIN / FAIL: A Hollywood Ending + Brontë video!

Firstly, sorry - there will be no IMM this week. I've only received one book and it feels sort of silly to feature one single book soooo I've decided I'll just post it along with the books I receive in the next week; trust me, I have some fantastic books on the way and I hope they show up in the next few days because I'm just sooo excited! :)

Secondly, instead of IMM, I've decided to do another Cover Win/Fail feature seeing how it's been a while since the last one. Today I'll be discussing the UK hardcover and paperback covers for A HOLLYWOOD ENDING by Robyn Sisman - have a look at them below ...

Cover WIN: the hardback cover
Personally, I think this cover is absolute PERFECTION and I adore pretty much everything about it - the illustration, the font, the colours etc. I haven't read the book yet, but it seems to fit the title well, don't you think? Beauuuutiful!

Cover FAIL: the paperback cover
As I said, I love the UK hardback cover so I struggle to understand why someone would want to change it at all, let alone to this pinkish mess. It's not terribly ugly, but for me it just doesn't work - the backgroud colour isn't too bad as it stands out nicely, but I really don't like neither the font nor the boring illustration. I wouldn't mind this cover too much if it was the original one, but having seen the hardback cover, the paperback one just fails (imho), end of.

So yes, that's why I bought the hardcover copy, even if it was nearly twice as expensive, but the fantastic cover is totally worth the money. I'm still confused about WHY they changed the original cover, hmmm. Oh and there's also the US cover, which you can see on the right (click to enlarge) and I have to say I like this one too, but not quite as much as the original UK one.

Lastly, I came across a fantastic video the other day and I wanted to share it with you all - it was posted on the Allison and Busby blog and it shows the awesomeness and kickassness of the Brontë sisters (in action figure form, heh). It's fantastic so check it out below. :)

10 June 2010

Review: GETTING OVER MR RIGHT by Chrissie Manby ***

Have you ever had your heart broken? How did you get over it? Did a tub of ice cream cheer you up? Did you delete his number and start again? Are you now friends with your ex? Perhaps you’re godmother to his children?
In which case, you’re a weirdo and this book is not for you.
But if you reacted with denial, begging or a spot of casual witchcraft, then you’ve come to the right place. This is one woman’s journey from love to lunacy and back again . . .
I've heard great things about Chris(sie) Manby, but I've never had a chance to read any of her books - until the lovely Book Chick City offered me her copy of Ms Manby's latest book to review. I was more than happy to accept to see what the fuss over Ms Manby was about, and I have to say that I got pretty much what I expected - a funny romcom. I wasn't disappointed, but I wasn't really blown away either.

This novel is pretty much about Ash, our heroine, coping with her sudden breakup with her boyfriend Michael and boy oh boy, does she do some craaaazy things. Yes, I know it was all exaggerated for the comedy effect - and yet, as silly and annoying and childish as Ash could be, I could help but chuckle at the things she came up with, heh. Although I couldn't help but agree with Ash's best friend as she tried to knock some sense into her, but it just didn't work, argh. I also couldn't understand what she saw in her boyfriend, who was a complete git and it simply felt wrong for her to be so madly upset over such an idiot.
I just couldn't hate her and I started to feel for her after her life *really* went downhill - she lost her job, destroyed a wedding and nearly burned her place down so she had to move back in with her parents, eeek! I liked her more and more as she slowly learned to have fun again - she may not be my favourite heroine ever, but overall she was pretty charming.

As I said, this is the first Manby book I've read (certainly not the last though) and I have to say that it was quite well written and certainly downright hilarious occassionally. The cover is alright, I suppose, but I supposed the characters could have a bit more dimension, especially Michael ...

All in all, this was a fab quick read and a cute romcom. It should certainly comfort those nursing a broken heart (I do hope your breakup reaction wasn't this bad, heh) or just cheer you up if you're looking for a funny read - I thought it couldn't *quite* compete with Sophie Kinsella or Jenny Colgan, but it was still a cute and enjoyable read!

overall rating:
plot: 3/5 | writing: 4/5 | characters: 3/5 | cover: 3/5

9 June 2010

Waiting On Wednesday: SECOND HAND HEART

I didn't do a WOW post last week so I believe it's high time to bring this tradition back! Here's my this week's pick ...

by Catherine Ryan Hyde
[16 September 2010]
One girl: Vida is nineteen, very sick, and has spent her short life preparing for death. But a new chance brings its own story, because for Vida to live, someone had to die.
One man: Richard has just lost his beloved wife in a car accident. He hasn't even begun to address his grief, but feels compelled to meet the girl who inherited his wife's heart.
Someone else's heart: In hospital Vida sees Richard and immediately falls in love. Of course he dismisses her as a foolish child. But is she? Can two people be bound by a second hand heart?
Smells quite a bit like Jodi Picoult, don't you think? :)

I haven't read anything by this author yet, but I've heard great things about her so I'll be looking forward to this one!

7 June 2010

Book Trailers: THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE + Winners announced!

I've great some great news to share today!

Firstly, the awesome amazing fantastic book called THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE (my review here) is out today and to celebrate its release, the fabulous people at Walker have put together a fantastic trailer - it's the cutest, check it out:

I love it - it's nearly as amazing as the novel itself! Furthermore, here are some fun facts about this book trailer:
  • the song used in it is This Boy by Erin K & Tash (I bet you were wondering! :p)
  • most of the outdoor scenes were shot at Hampstead Heath, London
  • Lennie is played by Georgina Leonidas and the actor who plays Joe is Plamen Kirtchev
The US trailer for this book has been out for quite a while - and here it is again in case you haven't seen it yet:

This one is BEAUTIFUL too, but I think I prefer the UK one ... What about you? :)

Secondly, the author of this amazing debut, Jandy Nelson, can now finally be found on Twitter - feel free to follow her.

Lastly, I have two winners to announce ...
The winner of a shiny new copy of THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE + a T-shirt + post-its iiiiiiiiis ... LAUREN @ I Was a Teenage Book Geek!
The winner of my (long overdue, but very successful) DELLA SAYS: OMG! giveaway iiiiiiiis ... blueicegal @ Fantasy 4 Eva!

Massive congrats to both girls - please email me your postal address so I can send out your prizes!
Thanks to everyone who entered and best of luck next time! :D

6 June 2010

In My Mailbox #46

Hey, everyone!
Apologies for being such a bad, bad blogger lately - it's just that I've had a very busy week & weekend and barely got any time to read or be online. :(
I've also had a bit of a disappointing week book-wise as only one book arrived - The Season by Sarah MacLean, finally in paperback, which I pre-ordered ages ago and it showed up on Friday.
Seventeen year old Lady Alexandra is strong-willed and sharp-tongued -- in a house full of older brothers and their friends, she had to learn to hold her own. Not the best makings for an aristocratic lady in Regency London. Yet her mother still dreams of marrying Alex off to someone safe, respectable, and wealthy. But between ball gown fittings, dances, and dinner parties, Alex, along with her two best friends, Ella and Vivi, manages to get herself into what may be her biggest scrape yet.
When the Earl of Blackmoor is mysteriously killed, Alex decides to help his son, the brooding and devilishly handsome Gavin, uncover the truth. But will Alex's heart be stolen in the process? In an adventure brimming with espionage, murder, and other clandestine affairs, who could possibly have time to worry about finding a husband? Romance abounds as this year's season begins!
I've heard fantastic things about this one and I'm really excited to read it! :D

Hope you've all been well! Enjoy the rest of the weekend! :)

ps: Don't forget to enter my giveaway for a copy of THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE along with some swag - open to UK only, ends tonight at midnight UK time with the winner (hopefully) announced tomorrow, along with the DELLA SAYS: OMG winner (whoa, that's long overdue, eek).

3 June 2010

Review: WHAT ALICE FORGOT by Liane Moriarty *****

Remember the woman you used to be ...
Alice is twenty-nine. She is whimsical, optimistic and adores sleep, chocolate, her ramshackle new house and her wonderful husband Nick. What's more, she's looking forward to the birth of the 'Sultana' - her first baby.
But now Alice has slipped and hit her head in her step-aerobics class and everyone's telling her she's misplaced the last ten years of her life.
In fact, it would seem that Alice is actually thirty-nine and now she loves schedules, expensive lingerie, caffeine and manicures. She has three children and the honeymoon is well and truly over for her and Nick. In fact, he looks at her like she's his worst enemy. What's more, her beloved sister Elisabeth isn't speaking to her either. And who is this 'Gina' everyone is so carefully trying not to mention?
Alice isn't sure that she likes life ten years on. Every photo is another memory she doesn't have and nothing makes sense. Just how much can happen in a decade? Has she really lost her lovely husband for ever?

I still cannot believe that I've actually and finally read this book! I've been waiting for this book *forever* - well, for almost a year! The first time I mentioned it was here and then again here, and in this time it kept getting postponed and the covers kept changing so I was starting to worry that this book will never actually come to be, but luckily it it's alive now, alive! I was beyond excited when my copy showed up and I started reading it the very next day and finished it in less than 24 hours - trust me, my expectations were very high and I certainly wasn't disappointed!

When we first encounter Alice, she's just waking up from a terrible fall and it seems that she's suffered a serious concussion, due to which she can't remember anything that's happened in the last 10 years. She's convinced that it's still 1998 and that she's happily married to Nick and expecting their first child, but she still learns that it's 2008, has three children (Madison, Tom and Olivia) she doesn't recognize, her once devoted husband seems to hate her and her sister Elisabeth looks completely miserable. She doesn't recognize her life at all and she feels like a 29-year-old trapped in her 39-year-old body. She's not the crazy busy and ruthless woman everyone takes her for, but she's once again the naive, easygoing and optimistic woman she used to be who refuses to accept the end of her marriage and is determined to fix everything ... But will she feel the same when her memory returns and she remembers everything she's been through?

The book paints a very realistic portrayal of life in the late 30s when the honeymoon stage is over and real life comes into play, and it's sort of frightening to read when you're in your mid-20s, hehe. I loved Alice's character when she was 29 and I felt like I could relate to her, but reading about her 39-year-old self felt like worlds apart. Anyway, the novel shows that even fairytales can go bad and that life in your 30s is bound to be completely different from what typically goes on in your 20s, eek! I think I now understand why most women panic when they turn 30 - goodness knows I'm in no hurry to lead that kind of life, heh.

The story itself is fantastic though - it's mostly told from Alice's perspective but in the third person (sounds confusing but it works). Due to Alice feeling like she's 29 again, the narrative voice is fresh and optimistic and occassionally quite funny, which is quite opposite Alice's current situation and it's a lovely contrast that makes the book less depressed than it could be, heh. This main narration is interrupted by some of diary entries, written by Alice's sister Elisabeth as a homework for her therapist. Elisabeth is struggling with fertility issues and while writing about her person problems, she also sheds some light on Alice's situation. Lastly, there are also some blog entries, written by Frannie, Alice's beloved great grandmother who's in a retirement home and dealing love problems of her own, heh. This may sound a tad confusing now, but I loved how the narrative voices changed from one to another, and they were easy to tell apart too, which is another plus.

I loved the character too - I felt they all had dimension and they felt so alive with their different personalities and each with a set of their own problems. I grew fond of each any every one of them - I shared their pain and cheered for them when they were happy.

As I said, I finished this read in less than 24 hours - I just couldn't put it down as I rushed to find out what happened to Alice and how it all ends. I'm happy to say that I wasn't disappointed and this really is a wonderful book - there's joy and there's heartbreak (and plenty of it) and everything is between, but that's what makes the story so real and touching. I absolutely loved it!

overall rating:
plot: 5/5 | writing: 4/5 | characters: 5/5 | cover: 4/5


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1 June 2010

Review: THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE by Jandy Nelson ***** + GIVEAWAY (UK only)!

Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulted to centre stage of her own life - and, despite her nonexistent history with boys, suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two.
Toby was Bailey's boyfriend; his grief mirrors Lennie's own. Joe is the new boy in town, with a nearly magical grin. One boy takes Lennie out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it.
But the two can't collide without Lennie's world exploding ...
That's the one word I would use to describe this book, but if I had to elaborate, I'd also say this book was BEAUTIFUL, AMAZING, HEARTBREAKING, INCREDIBLE, EXQUISITE, OUTSTANDING etc. I'm sure you get the picture, but I just can't praise this book enough - it completely blew me out of the window. Just wow.

I've heard great things about this book, but I was still unprepared for how astounding it really was. The characters are quite kooky and I was wondering for a bit where the story was going at first, but the writing is just so magnificent that I'd follow the story absolutely anywhere - but luckily, the plot soon turned out to be fantastic too.

The story is narrated by Lennie Walker, a girl who's just suffered the devastating loss of her 19-year-old sister Bailey, who was also her best friend. The two girls were abandoned by their mother when they were still very little and so they lived with their Gram and Uncle Big. After Bailey's sudden heart failure, the whole household have problems coping with her death, including her boyfriend Toby, who seems to be the only one who understands Lennie's pain ... Then Lennie meets Joe and falls in love for the first time (even though Bailey's death is always at the back of her mind). Just as she thinks she couldn't be happier, their budding relationship ends in a single moment and Lennie's already complicated life gets even worse ...

Yes, love is one of the main subjects in this novel and music plays a very important role too, but another perhaps even more prominent topic is grief - one of the touchiest subjects out there, yet it's dealt with beautifully. Not just Lennie's, everyone else's grief is tangible too and it just broke my heart. It felt so real, so poignant - and I blame it all on Nelson's masterful writing. It really shows that the author is a poet at heart as reading this novel was like poetry in prose.
The language is beautiful and vivid and just WOW - honestly, whatever I say won't do it justice. I can easily say this is one of the books with the best writing ever - it's right up there with Wintergirls, Speak, We Need to Talk about Kevin, The Time Traveler's Wife etc. Those are the kind of books where reading every single page or every single sentence has me gasping and wowing just because the words there so beautifully put together. I love love love it when authors show me that they really can write, that they master the words and not just tell the story - it doesn't happen often, maybe once or twice per year, but I'm just so happy when it does!

On top of a bittersweet story and outstanding writing, the book also features a fantastic set of characters, who really jump of their page with the kick of the aforementioed writing and plot. I loved Lennie, Gram, Big, Joe, Toby, Sarah - they were each very unique and yet what they all had in common was heartbreak of one sort or another. Their pain devastated me as well and I felt as if I was right there, experiencing it with them.

The only thing I'm not ecstatic about regarding this book is the UK cover - I've seen many, many people describe it as beautiful, and while I certainly can't call it ugly or wrong, I still think it's a bit boring and just a tad too blue to my liking (I just don't like the colour as such). It fits the novel though so I suppose it's alright.

But nonetheless, this book is a work of art in many ways. Firstly, the words, the characters and the story were amazing, and secondly, this book features pictures of handwritten notes and poems about Bailey that Lennie wrote on pieces of paper, on takeaway cups, on shoes, trees etc. - it was quite a unique thing and I loved it. You could get a taste of it in the excerpt that I posted the other day and here's another example on the right (click to enlarge) - awesome, isn't it?

I also loved that they used blue font instead of the usual black - I may not be a fan of the colour blue generally, but I think it looks great with the font.

To sum up, this is definitely the best book I've read in 2010 so far and one of my new all-time favourites. All the praise in the world can't do it justice though - it's the type of a book you have to experience for yourself and I strongly recommend that you read it - you'll thank me later. ;)

overall rating:
plot: 5/5 | writing: 10/5 | characters: 5/5 | cover: 3/5

To celebrate the UK release of the book (it comes out on June 7th!), the lovely people at Walker Books have allowed me to host an awesome giveaway where one lucky winner will not only win a copy of this amazing book, but also an awesome T-shirt and some lovely post-its (see picture on the right).

To enter, all you have to do is fill out this form.

Please note that this giveaway is open to UK residents only and it ends on June 6th! Good luck!
If you don't win, you can always get a copy on Amazon, Book Depository etc. :)


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