30 July 2010

YOU WISH - Re-Create a Cover Contest @ Princess Bookie!

The lovely Princess Bookie is running another awesome Re-Create a Cover Contest, yay - read more about it here! I've always been a fan of these and I figured this time I might as well enter since I love covers and rambling about them. For this current contest, you have to re-create the cover for YOU WISH by Mandy Hubbard (which comes out on August 5th!) and here's what I came up with:

Not mind-blowing or terribly imaginative, I know, but it's the best I could do with Paint (true story, lol) and a serious lack of design skillz - it was all just a bit of fun! :)
To view the rest of the entries for this contest, click here and TO VOTE FOR YOUR FAVOURITE COVER, CLICK HERE!

Below is the super cute original cover as well as the plot summary, which explains my cover, hehe.
What if all your wishes really came true?
Kayla McHenry’s sweet sixteen sucks! Her dad left, her grades dropped, and her BFF is dating the boy Kayla’s secretly loved for years. Blowing out her candles, Kayla thinks: I wish my birthday wishes actually came true. Because they never freakin’ do.
Kayla wakes the next day to a life-sized, bright pink My Little Pony outside her window. Then a year’s supply of gumballs arrives. A boy named Ken with a disturbing resemblance to the doll of the same name stalks her. As the ghosts of Kayla’s wishes-past appear, they take her on a wild ride . . . but they MUST STOP. Because when she was fifteen? She wished Ben Mackenzie would kiss her. And Ben is her best friend’s boyfriend.

28 July 2010


by Kate Furnivall
[11 Novemer 2010]
Love and courage, revenge and heartache in the last days of the Romanov empire . . .
Russia, 1910. Young Valentina Ivanova charms St Petersburg's aristocracy with her classic Russian beauty and her talent as a pianist. She scandalises society when she begins a romance with Jens Friis, a Danish engineer. He brings to her life a passion and an intimacy she has never known.
Unbending in their opposition, her parents push her into a loveless engagement with a Russian count. Valentina struggles for independence and to protect her young sister from the tumult sweeping the city, as Russia is bound for rebellion. The Tsar, the Duma and the Bolsheviks are at each other's throats.
Valentina is forced to make a choice that changes her life for ever ...
It's been ages since I featured a historical book in this meme so I decided to fix that today! I really like the sound of this and I adore the cover - I can't wait for this one!

26 July 2010


When she was nine years old, Melody Browne's house burned down, taking every toy, every photograph, every item of clothing and old Christmas card with it. But not only did the fire destroy all her possessions, it took with it all her memories - Melody Browne can remember nothing before her ninth birthday.
Now in her early thirties, Melody lives in a council flat in the middle of London with her seventeen-year-old son. She hasn't seen her parents since she left home at fifteen, but Melody doesn't mind, she's better off on her own. She's made a good life for herself and her son and she likes it that way.
Until one night something extraordinary happens. Whilst attending a hypnotist show with her first date in years she faints - and when she comes round she starts to remember.
At first her memories mean nothing to her but then slowly, day by day, she begins to piece together the real story of her childhood. Her journey takes her to the seaside town of Broadstairs, to oddly familiar houses in London backstreets and to meetings with strangers who love her like their own.
But with every mystery she solves another one materialises, with every question she answers another appears. And Melody begins to wonder if she'll ever know the truth about her past.
I've heard many great things about Lisa Jewell's books, but up to now I haven't read any of them. I decided to start with Melody Browne since her story sounded very intriguing and I've heard nothing but praise about it. I can't say what I was expecting, but I was definitely completely unprepared for all the sadness and heartbreak contained within the pages of the book. Nonetheless, this was an absolutely fantastic and riveting read!

The story opens on the night of the fire when Melody was nine years and three days old and finds herself outside the burning house with her family.
After this blast from the past, we meet a 32-year-old Melody who now lives in Covent Garden with her nearly 18-year-old son Ed and works as a dinner lady. She's leading a simple life, but she cannot she cannot remember anything that happened to her before the fire. She also hasn't seen her parents or talked to them since she became pregnant at the age of 15; after that it was just her and her son in their council flat.
Things start to change one day when she wears a sleveless dress on the number 14 bus - that's when she meets Ben, who takes her to see a hypnotist and after she receives a dose of his magic, most curious things start to happen to her ... She slowly starts remembering things about the first nine years of her life. At first it's just random and seemingly meaningless memories, but they're enough to encourage Memory to start researching her past ...

The chapters alternate between now and then, i.e. Melody's childhood up to the fire. We learn that her parents were once happy together, but then tragedy struck, which caused her family to fall apart. After that, Melody's life was anything but ordinary - there were some happy moments, but mostly there was just heartbreak and pain. My heart broke for Melody with each discovery she made about her past and by the end I was not at all surprised that the only way for Melody to cope was to forget everything.

This is definitely a plot-driven book - there's a fascinating mystery at the heart of it that had me reading with my eyes wide open. I couldn't wait to get to the bottom of it and yet I was terrified to learn what else Melody had to endure during the first nine years of her life. The book tackles some very serious topics (child loss, divorce, depression, death, suicide, prison etc.), but there's also hope and love, even in the most extraordinary circumstances.

The plot and the writing and the cover were alright, no complaints, but this book really excels in plot, which was well structured - I loved how the prologue took on a whole new meaning after I finished the book and read it again. The book just blew me away and I still can't stop thinking about it. It's not an easy read as such, but it's certainly incredibly powerful and touching and gripping. All I can say is WHOA, I am amazed.

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

24 July 2010

In My Mailbox #52

Another slow book week - I only got one this time, but at least this one's fab, eh? :) It's HELLO, HEARTBREAK by Amy Huberman and I got it for review from Penguin. The book sounds great and it's just been released - you can read an awesome little extract here.
You'd think twenty-seven years would be enough time to wise up to the rules of love and loss, especially Rule Number 1: Do not, at any time, let him see how much he has hurt you.

But no, Izzy Keegan was probably off doing sambuca shots when that lesson was taught. So, starting with public humiliation (that infamous blow-up with her Ex and his new woman ... huge mistake), and taking in temporary insanity, rebound sex, and a night in a police cell along the way, Izzy has to make up her own rules for coping with heartbreak.

You'd think twenty-seven years would be enough time to wise up to the rules of love and loss. Make that twenty-seven and a bit ...

23 July 2010


So today I was pre-ordering some books that are coming out soon and one that I wanted to pre-order was also THE PERFECT COUPLE by Robyn Sisman. I've had an eye on it for months - the story sounded *fantastic* and the cover that was leaked looked really cute too. So I was all ready to pre-order my copy when, to my horror, I discovered that the cover has been changed - but sadly not upgraded ... So I figured we have a perfect pick for another installment of this feature!
As always, I mean no disrespect or offence, I'm just expressing my humble silly little opinion.

Cover WIN: The original cover that was posted on Chick Lit Reviews, but never confirmed
Cover FAIL: The official cover

I'll admit the original cover doesn't seem to be particulary true to the story as the couple hardly look like they're feuding all over the place, but but but it was so bright and cute and lovely - combined with the awesome plot it would totally make me pick the book up in a bookshop. I swear I would have bought it today if the cover hadn't been changed.

I'm sorry to say, but I strongly dislike the new cover. As you may know, I'm a huge fan of covers with drawings on them, but this drawing is just plain horrible to me - it's a nice concept that seems to fit the story, but terribly executed. As opposed to the previous draft (left), which screams Fun, the new cover tells me this is a story about Boring Old People and thus definitely not something I'd care to read. Which is strange, because I love the sound of the plot, but the cover just completely contrasts with it and thus puts me off too much.

Soooo I'm afraid it appears I'll have to wait for the paperback in this case and hope it gets a better cover before I spend my money on it.

Funnily enough, I've featured the covers of a Robyn Sisman book here before - remember my little rant about the paperback cover of A Hollywood Ending?

Seriously, why fix something that's not broken?

21 July 2010

Waiting On Wednesday: MINI SHOPAHOLIC!!!

As some of you may know, I love Sophie Kinsella's books with my heart and soul and she is, without a doubt, my favourite author - I've read all her works and adored each and every one of them! So why have I waited this long this long to feature this book here, you might ask??? Well, I was just waiting for the US cover to finally be released, which happened last week on Kinsella's website - I noticed it shortly I posted my WOW last week and then I had to wait the whole week for this post, torture! Anyway, now we can finally compare the two covers - and without further ado, here they are in all their glory ...

Soooo tell me, which one do you prefer?
I have to say I was rather pleasantly surprised by the US cover - it's just so nice and clean and too cute, whereas the UK one looks lovely and all, but a tad ... busy? Plus it certainly doesn't stand out as much as the other one so I just might have to get myself the US edition ... I haven't quite decided yet, but for now the US cover gets my vote, which is quite unusual indeed - but just look at it, it's too cute!
Both editions of this CHICK LIT BOOK OF THE YEAR will be out in SEPTEMBER 2010!

But regardless of the cover, we all know that this will be another mindblowingly FANTASTIC and utterly HILARIOUS read - after all, Ms Kinsella hasn't been crowned the Queen of Wit Lit for nothing! :D

Anyway, yes, this is guaranteed to be another fab installment in the magnificent Shopaholic series! I've had a chance to read the first chapter, which is set in a toy shop, and it honestly had me in tears and that's no exaggeration. My boyfriend can confirm that I was pretty much ROTFLMAO - Minnie (aka Becky's daughter in case you've been living under a rock!) is just priceless! I cannot wait to read the whole thing - you can read the plot summary below, but you all probably know it by heart anyway! I mean, how could somebody not be excited about this book?!
Nothing comes between Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) and her bargains. Neither act of God nor budget crunch can shatter her dreams of wall-to-wall Prada. Every milestone in her well-shopped life (travel, long-lost sister, marriage, pregnancy) inspires new vistas to explore in the name of retail therapy. But now she faces her greatest little challenge yet: Becky’s two-year-old daughter, Minnie.

While motherhood has been everything Becky dreamed it would be—Baby Dior, Little Marc Jacobs, and Dolce & Gabbana for toddlers—adorable Minnie is wreaking havoc everywhere she goes, from Harrods to her own christening. Her favorite word is “MINE!” and her penchant for Balenciaga bags, Chanel sunglasses, and online purchases has no rival under age five.

Becky is at her wits end. On top of this, she and her husband Luke are still living with her parents. Thankfully it appears house buying attempt number four is a go! Until a huge financial crisis causes panic everywhere, and nobody wants to shop—not Becky’s personal shopping clientele, not her friends, nobody. And with Luke in the doldrums, it’s time for Becky to step in—with a party: A surprise birthday party for Luke (on a budget) is the perfect antidote to everyone’s woes. At first.

Will Becky manage to keep the party of the year a surprise? Can she hire jugglers, fire-eaters, and acrobats at a discount? Will enlisting the help of Luke’s unflappable assistant to convince him to have another baby realize her dream of matching pom-poms? Will Minnie find a new outlet for her energetic and spirited nature (perhaps one with sixty percent markdowns)? She is, after all, a chip off the old shopping block. And everyone knows a committed shopper always finds a way.
Please excuse me while I take a moment to do a happy dance and jump and squeee - all the excitement is just too much to take! Can't you just tell that this book will be made of so much AWESOME!

You can also get a taste of the fabulousness that's in store for us by watching the clip below - it shows Ms Kinsella (nee Wickham) reading a hilarious ketchup extract from the book - featuring Becky and Luke and Suze and Tarquin and Minniiiiiieeeeee!

I absolutely love it - too hilarious for words as always! :D

ps: Excuse all the gushing, but it appears that I am unable to make a Kinsella related post without gushing all over the place. You know you can't blame me - and if you think you can, then you probably haven't read anything this amazing woman has written, which is your loss and you're missing out, ha! :p Honestly, Sophie Kinsella just rocks my socks off!

19 July 2010

Review: SINGLE IN THE CITY by Michele Gorman ****

It’s official. Hannah has left her friends and family in the US behind and is following her dream. To live in London. Unfortunately she's completely unprepared for what's in store. She’s going to find:
1. Her dream guy. A prince or Hugh Grant would be nice. Or does she have to settle for her half-naked Australian housemate or an "English gentleman" with terrible hygiene habits?
2. Her dream job. Something fantastic in fashion. So how has she ended up being the mini-me for an evil party planner who doesn’t even trust her to arrange the paperclips?
3. Her dream friends. But everyone in London seems to have known each other for years and Hannah’s having trouble getting to know nice people. Who’s she going to have fun with?
Dream life? Should Hannah just dream on? Maybe it would have been simpler and cheaper to just get a new haircut. Was she mad to move 3,000 miles away from everyone she knows? Will she ever find love and her perfect life in England?
I've been looking forward to reading this book for months - a book about a twenty-something moving to London (♥) with a gorgeous cover? It was just screaming my name and I had to pick it up asap. ;)

I expected the book to be funny based on Michele's awesome tweets, but I was in no way prepared for the hilarity that ensued - the book literary had me in stitches! To get a quick taste of what I'm talking about, click here to read the first few pages! :)

The plot wasn't exactly gripping - it's just the story of a twenty-something American expat who moves to London more or less on a whim and tries to make a fresh start and so we follow her on her journey as she searches for a new flat, a new job, makes new friends and hooks up with several (interesting) guys in the process.

It's a simple story really, nothing particularly ground breaking, but what *makes* this book is Hannah, the narrator herself. We follow the story from her point of view and she's just an awesome chick! Her thoughts are all over the place and she gets herself in the most embarrassing and hilarious situations, backed up with fantastic commentary. I absolutely adored her and you could hardly wish for a better narrator in a romcom! The supporting characters are fab too - Stacey and Chloe and Sam and the flatmates etc., and even the less positive characters were a lovely addition to the story.

All in all, this was a fantastic debut and a lovely light read - perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella or Jenny Colgan! I have to say the book was even better than I expected and I cannot wait to read more by Ms Gorman! I do hope she has a sequel in store - she damn well should as our Hannah is obviously embarking on another massive adventure and I wonder what happens next!

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

18 July 2010

In My Mailbox #51

A bit late this week, but it's IMM time again - as always, hosted by The Story Siren!

I only got two books this week:
They're both YA (one contemporary, the other historical) and another thing they have in common is that they both have GORGEOUS covers - wouldn't you agree? :) I absolutely love them and I know some of you are not too keen on those Bratzy dolls, but I think they're kind of awesome, lol.

That's it from me for this week - what did YOU get? :)

16 July 2010

WAGs' World winners announced + new giveaway!

Just like the World Cup, my WAGs' World giveaway ended a few days ago and it's high time I announced the winners too, isn't it? Sorry it took me so long, but the past few days were really busy ... Anyway, without further ado, the two people who get all three books in the WAGs' World series aaaaaaaarrrrrrreeeeeee ... *drumroll*
Congrats, girl! If you can, please email me your postal addresses so I can send out your prizes! :)

On a different note, I was recently contacted by Mandy @ Feminist Review, who found my review of The Finishing Touches interesting enough to post on the site. However, I suggested rewriting my review from a more feminist point of view as I felt the original one was too general. Mandy agreed and you can now read my additional thoughs on the book @ Feminist Review - in it, I mostly wonder if the new courses offered at Tallimore Academy are something feminists should immediately dismiss or perhaps use to their advantage? Read more here.

Anyway, as I ended up with an extra copy of the book, I figured this is the perfect opportunity for me to do a GIVEAWAY, don't you think? Sadly I don't have the time to create a Google Doc form right now so we'll make it more simple this time - to be entered, just leave a comment telling me your thoughts on feminism ... Do you consider yourself a feminist? Is this something you're concerned with or it doesn't really bother you much?
Also feel free to let me know if you're a follower or if you tweeted about this giveaway - that'll just make you even more awesome! :)
This giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY and it ends on Tuesday, July 20th at midnight your time!

14 July 2010

Waiting On Wednesday: Two book bloggers getting published!

While reading other people's blogs, I've noticed that quite a lot of book bloggers aspire to become writers themselves and I suppose this is hardly surprising since we all love books so much! :) Well, dreams have come true for two of the most popular book bloggers out there, Chelsea @ The Page Flipper and Steph Bowe @ Hey! Teenager of the Year, whose YA debut novels (RAE and GIRL SAVES BOY respectively) will be published in August this year - how exciting?! Well, done ladies! I can't wait to read your books and I wish you both lots of success as authors! :)

You can read more about the debuts below. Feel free to click on the covers to access the relevant Goodreads pages.

RAE: My True Story of Fear, Anxiety and Social Phobia
by Chelsea Rae Swigget
[2nd August 2010]
When you're fourteen and trying to deal with the highs, lows, traumas, and humiliations that go along with being a high school freshman, having severe anxiety can become all consuming. Chelsea Rae Swiggett's anxiety has affected every area of her life—school, family, friendships, and romance—ultimately pushing her to lose her voice, withdrawal from everyday life and school, and develop an eating disorder.

The sounds of planes flying overhead could spark a panic attack and something as simple as being called on in class could push her over the edge, convinced that everyone was judging her, mocking her. Faking sickness so she could stay home became her only solution, since she'd rather do anything than face the reality of what happened behind the school's double doors. Rae tells a story all-too-many teens today relate to—what it feels like to see the world through a lens of constant debilitating fear, anxiety, and stress.

by Steph Bowe
[30th August 2010]
The first time we met, Jewel Valentine saved my life.

Isn’t it enough having your very own terminal disease, without your mother dying? Or your father dating your Art teacher?

No wonder Sacha Thomas ends up in the lake that Saturday evening…

But the real question is: how does he end up in love with Jewel Valentine?

With the help of quirky teenage prodigies Little Al and True Grisham, Sacha and Jewel have a crazy adventure, with a little lobster emancipation along the way.

But Sacha’s running out of time, and Jewel has secrets of her own.

Girl Saves Boy is a hugely talented debut novel, funny and sad, silly and wise. It’s a story of life, death, love… and garden gnomes.

Don't you just love the sound of these two novels? :)

12 July 2010

Review: THE LIBERATION OF ALICE LOVE - Abby McDonald *****

Will the real Alice Love please stand up?
Alice Love keeps her life running in perfect order, so when her bank card is declined, she thinks it's just a simple mistake. But she soon discovers that someone has emptied every penny from her bank account, spending her hard-earned savings on glamorous holidays, sexy lingerie, and a to-die-for wardrobe and leaving Alice with thousands of pounds' worth of debt.
With her perfectly-organised world crumbling around her, Alice enlists the help of dashing fraud investigator, Nathan, and sets about clearing her name. But as she unravels the intriguing paper trail, she makes a shocking discovery: her thief is closer to home than she ever imagined.
Following the clues from London to Rome and LA, Alice edges deeper into a seductive new world, where honesty might not be the best policy, rules are made to be broken, and the power of a gorgeous cocktail dress shouldn't be underestimated. Perhaps her alter-ego's reckless, extravagant lifestyle is the one Alice should have been leading all along...
But as her little white lies begin to stack up, how far will Alice go to find the truth? And whose life, exactly, is she fighting for?
Abby McDonald's writing career started only last year, but she's already had four books published (including this one)! I've really, really enjoyed her previous three books (Life Swap; The Popularity Rules; Boys, Bears & a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots) so you can only imagine how excited I was about this one - I started reading it almost the second it arrived, hehe. And just like her previous books, this one too was an absolutely fantastic reading experience!

The plot is quite nicely summed up above so I won't discuss it more as I don't want to spoil it for anyone. I must admit I was slightly divided about the plot - while I thought it was definitely very original, fast paced and enjoyable, I also found certain bits a tad too far fetched ... I can't really complain though as the story itself really was great and I kept wondering WHY this person did this, what their reals story was and how it would all end - luckily, I wasn't disappointed and I quite liked the ending!

The writing, as always, is fantastic - Ms McDonald was just meant to be a writer. The story flows nicely and doesn't dwell on unnecessary details, there's a lot of attitude and the dialogue is just brilliant with plenty of sass and laugh out loud moments.

I can but give two thumbs up to the characters too. I thought Alice was a great character - independant, determined, funny and all around loveable. Occassionally, I struggled to understand her motives for following that trail and doing all those things, but I do admit I liked how she changed to a more daring and funloving person because of what happened to her. The book would probably be quite boring if it was just about her old life, but due to all the changes it was anything but!
I thought pretty much all the characters were well portrayed, but the one that also stands is Nathan - oooh, I certainly cannot be blamed for developing a tiny crush on him, he was just too ... awesome! I wasn't too keen on how he reacted when he found out the truth, but overall he was just amazing and funny and dashing and ooh. ;)

All in all, I really enjoyed this book and I think it would make a fantastic film - there's a lot going on and it was all described so well that I could just see the scenes in my head. I cannot wait to read more by Abby McDonald - sadly, we'll all have to wait for nearly a year before her next book (The Anti-Prom) is out, but luckily she's already signed another two book deal, woohoo!
If you haven't read anything by her yet, then you definitely should - she writes both YA and adult books and excels in both! Strongly recommended!

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

10 July 2010

In My Mailbox #50

Wow, I can't believe this is my 50th installment of In My Mailbox (hosted weekly by The Story Siren)! It seems like I just started doing this yesterday, but I guess this shows I've been around for quite a while now, heh ...

Anyway, I got an incredible bunch of books this week and I'm so excited to share them with you all! Here they are in all their beautiful glory ...


OMG, I've been waiting for these two for too long so no wonder I was over the moon when they arrived! :D
BOUGHT - part 1

I ordered all these on the Amazon UK marketplace (there was no other way as most of these titles are sold out) and sent to the awesome Luisa Plaja, who kindly agreed to collect them and send them to me - isn't she just the most amazing person ever?! :) Thanks a million, Luisa!
  • WISH UPON A STAR by Olivia Goldsmith is a title I came across on Novelicious a while ago and just had to have it, it sounds like a great read!
  • I learned about A HIDDEN LIFE by Adele Geras in a bookshop in Sardinia, but I didn't buy it as I thought I'll just order it online when I get home - where, to my utter horror, I realized that the book was sold out, eek! Well, now I got my hands on a copy and this one has an even prettier copy than the one I saw in person, yay!
  • LOSING IT by Sandy McKay came to my attention recently and I just ordered it immediately as it sounded just like my cup of tea. Not the most cheerful read, but sometimes I just crave poignancy over cuteness.
  • Last but definitely not least, I got a copy of CLUELESS by H. B. Gilmour, a book based on *the* film! Hands up who loves this awesome movie classic?! :) Yeah, me too and that's why I was so excited when I found out there was a book too, whoop whoop!
BOUGHT - part 2

Phew! So yeah, that's it from me - can't wait to hear what you all got! :)

9 July 2010

Interview with the ANONYMOUS author of WAGS' WORLD + GIVEAWAY!

Some of you may remember that I've recently & enjoyed a series called WAGS' WORLD, which features the infamous Wives and Girlfriends of footballers? Perfect reads for the World Cup season! You can read my review here and here in case you missed them.
Anyway, this fantastic series was written by an anonymous author and I got a chance to interview her - yay, how exciting!
Unfortunately, she still refuses to get personal, but at least she provides some other interesting information - so read on! :)
Oh and if you like the sound of these books, then there's a giveaway in store for you - just scroll down!
Enjooooooy! :)

- You've decided to remain anonymous as an author, but can you please tell us something about yourself?
OK, let's see... I live in the UK (not necessarily in London, though I've read that about myself in some author bios. Let me tell you that those bios are unauthorised! I have never actually said that I live in London... Or that I don't...)
I'm married and I have young children. I like football, swimming and dancing. And I love writing.

- Are you a WAG too? Did you base your books on your own experience?
The WAGs' World series is fiction. That's all I'm saying. :)

- Why do you think so many girls today aspire to be WAGs? Would you encourage that?
I think the coverage we see in papers and mags make being in a relationship with a footballer look like instant glamour: a ticket out of ordinary life, a rags-to-riches fairytale existence. In reality, of course, so-called WAGs are women who happen to date/marry footballers, and are as diverse as women who happen to date/marry men in any other profession. OK, footballing can be a very highly paid profession, but only at a certain level, and even then there's a downside - it's not all about money and glamour, as Amy soon learns in the WAGs' World books. I don't think I'd discourage anyone's hopes and dreams, but I'd like to think that women could pursue their own interests and develop their skills and talents to reach the kind of recognition and satisfaction they dream of in their own right.

- Can you tell us a bit about your writing process?
I do a lot of research, make a rough plan of what my characters need to go through, and then I set about putting the necessary action into writing. I often change direction as I write and sometimes surprise myself by uncovering unplanned juicy facts about characters and their motivation. Rosay and Trina have both surprised me in the past, for example, and I'm never completely sure what our Asha's going to come out with next.

- Can we expect more books in the series?
As far as I know, there are no plans for more WAGs' World books. I hope people continue to enjoy reading them, though! I certainly enjoyed every minute of writing them.

- The covers are gorgeous - would you happen to have any inside scoop on how they were designed?
I'm glad you like them! I don't really know much about their design, but I do have some idea of the cover model's top-secret identity.

- Who do you predict will win the World Cup this year?
Well, at the time of writing this, the world is gearing up for the final and all my previous predictions are out of the window! Maybe I vaguely expected things to unfold in a similar way to the World Cup tournament I made up! World Cup WAGs would be a very different book as things currently stand - can you imagine how exciting it would be to be in Spain right now? And could Johann and Kylie's big day have reached a whole new height of celebration?!

- Lastly, who's your favourite real life WAG and why?
I don't really have a favourite, but I must say that it's hard not to admire Ellie Darby, who normally stays out of the limelight, for her recent appearance on the BBC Three series WAGs, Kids and World Cup Dreams. You can see her talk about what she thinks of the WAG stereotype here.

Thank you very much for interviewing me, Bookalicious Ramblings!
- Not at all, thank YOU for agreeing to do this, Anonymous! :)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Also, in case you missed it the first time around, I'm also hosting a giveaway for TWO sets of the whole series (i.e. three books) ! The giveaway ends very soon so here are the rules if you'd like to enter:
  • the contest is open INTERNATIONALLY
  • it ends on July 10th at midnight
  • all you have to do is fill out this form
In the form, I also ask you some questions regarding your favourite WAGs and World Cup finalists. I've gotten some interesting replies so far so stay tuned as I post them in my winners announcement post - should be fun! :)

8 July 2010

Review: LAST LETTER FROM YOUR LOVER by Jojo Moyes ****

When journalist Ellie looks through her newspaper's archives for a story, she doesn’t think she'll find anything of interest. Instead she discovers a letter from 1960, written by a man asking his lover to leave her husband – and Ellie is caught up in the intrigue of a past love affair. Despite, or perhaps because of her own romantic entanglements with a married man.

In 1960, Jennifer wakes up in hospital after a car accident. She can't remember anything – her husband, her friends, who she used to be. And then, when she returns home, she uncovers a hidden letter, and begins to remember the lover she was willing to risk everything for. Ellie and Jennifer's stories of passion, adultery and loss are wound together in this richly emotive novel – interspersed with real 'last letters'.
I'm not even going to pretend - I was mostly drawn to this novel due to the beautiful cover, and I fell in love with it before I even read the plot summary, but luckily that turned out to be great too! I got an ARC a while ago and I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I'm sure you'll be pleased to hear that the book is actually out today.

As you can see above, the book tells a story of two women. It opens in the present time when Ellie, a journalist who is struggling with an affair of her own, comes across a love letter from the 1960s in which someone signed B. is asking some woman to leave her husband and run away with him.
Ellie wonders what happened to them and so we are transported to the year 1960, when a 27-year-old woman called Jennifer wakes up in a hospital with a mild case of amnesia. She was involved in a car accident that nobody wants to talk about and she tries to love her husband Laurence, but she senses something is not quite right. She seemingly leads a charming life and she's the perfect wife, but she's not as happy as she could be. Then she finds her love letters and is determind to find her lover, whom she doesn't even rememer and who may be gone forever ...
The chapters set in the year 1960 alternate - one describes Jenny's life as it is now and the other talks about the events before her accident and how she met her lover and they fell in love and what they had planned.
After the shocking conclusion of this part of the story, we are transported to the year 1964 and Jenny has changed quite a bit. I don't want to give anything away, I'll just say that there are more twists and turns in this part too.
Then one really wonders what happened to the two star-crossed lovers and the story switches back to now and focuses more on Ellie and all those love letters again, and now Ellie is determind to find out what happened to them and write a newspaper feature on them ... She does indeed find out the truth about them and so do the readers, that's all I'm saying. :)

I found the book to be a bit slow at first, but then things started happening and curtains started lifting and I raced through it to find out what happened to Jennifer and B. I actually quite liked how most of the book was set in the 60s as that's the period that's not often described in my kind of books and I found it really fascinating to read about and with Ms Moyes's fantastically rich writing I could really picture everything easily. I enjoyed reading the real life last letters between chapters too, they were a lovely touch.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book - it was one of the best love stories I've ever read, one that spans centuries and continents and finally comes to a touching but satisfying conclusion. An absolutely beautiful read, both inside and out.

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

ps: Don't forget to watch the fantastic trailer below! :)

7 July 2010

Waiting On Wednesday: Two new Sara Shepard books!

I haven't read anything by Sara Shepard yet (blasphemy, I know!), but in my defence, I am planning on watching the Pretty Little Liars TV series (someday) and I own a copy of her adult novel (All the Things We Didn't Say), which I also love the sound of!

I really need to get more acquainted with this author and luckily she has two new books coming out in the upcoming months (one YA and one adult) - and I am very excited about both! I especially love the sound of the first one and the cover of the second one is goooorgeous, don't you think?

by Sara Shepard
[18 January 2011]
New York Times bestselling author Sara Shepard’s new series weaves a mystery of long-lost twins, mistaken identities, a duplicitous circle of friends, and cold-blooded murder. Combining juicy plot lines, to-die-for lifestyles, a tangled web of friendship and romance, magnetic characters, and sharp-witted narration from the afterlife, The Lying Game is an alluring cross between Pretty Little Liars and The Lovely Bones.

Foster kid Emma Paxton has only just discovered Sutton Mercer, the wealthy twin sister she never knew she had, when Sutton drops off the face of the earth, asking Emma to cover for her at home, school, and with her friends—just for a few days. At first Emma enjoys trying on her sister’s fabulous life: her fiercely loyal friends, her adoring boyfriend, her close-knit family. But as Emma is drawn deeper into Sutton’s world she finds the friends are not so fabulous, the boyfriend is not who she wants to be with, and the family is clinging to long-buried secrets and a veneer of functionality. And worst of all, Sutton may not be coming back. In fact, someone may have made sure she never could…and that someone knows Emma is not who she claims to be. Emma will need all her wits to survive The Lying Game.

by Sara Shepard
[30 September 2010]

How do you choose between your family and your history? Emotional and compelling storytelling from Sara Shepard, author of All the Things We Didn’t Say.

A late-night phone call on a Sunday evening rarely brings good news. So when Sylvie, a recently-widowed mother of two, receives a call from the head teacher of the school she's on the board of, she knows it won't be something she wants to hear. The school was founded by her grandfather, and she's inherited everything he strived to build up - a reputation, a heritage, the school and the grand old family house. And with this inheritance comes responsibility.

So when her son Scott is whispered to be involved in a scandal that led to the death of one of the boys he coaches at the school, it throws the family into chaos: Sylvie has to decide between her loyalty to the school that has been part of her family legacy for years and her son who she feels wants nothing to do with her. She starts spying on the dead boy's father, making an unlikely connection.

Sara Shepard's compelling new novel tells how hard it can be to really, truly connect to people, how making quick, easy judgments can come back to haunt you, and how the life you always planned for - and always dreamed of - often doesn't always turn out the way you imagined at all…

What do you think?
And have you read anything by this author yet?

5 July 2010

Review: PICTURES OF LILY by Paige Toon ****

'Will you marry me?' I think of you, then. I think of you every day. But usually in the quietest part of the morning, or the darkest part of the night. Not when my boyfriend of two years has just proposed. I look up at Richard with his hopeful eyes. 'Lily?' he prompts. It's been ten years, but it feels like only yesterday that you left. How can I say yes to Richard with all my heart when most of it has always belonged to you? I take a deep breath and will myself to speak...

Ten years ago when Lily was just sixteen, she fell in love with someone she really shouldn't have fallen in love with. Now, living in Sydney and engaged to another man, she can't forget the one that got away. Then her past comes back to haunt her, and she has to make a decision that will break her heart - and the heart of at least one of the men who love her.

I know a lot of people absolutely adore Paige Toon, but I can't say I was particularly impressed by her debut, Lucy in the Sky. Sure, I thought it was an enjoyable read, but not quite as amazing as I'd expected it to be. I've bought her next two books anyway (because of the covers, but we'll get to that later) and decided to give Ms Toon another chance when I got a copy of Pictures of Lily (published 8 July 2010), which is too gorgeous to be overlooked anyway.

The story opens in the late 1990s, where our heroine Lily is forced to move to Australia from the UK to follow her mother's latest love interest. At first, Lily couldn't be more miserable about this move, but things get better after she starts working at the conservation park and becomes friends with Josh & his gang and Ben, who encourages her love for photography. She falls head over heels in love, but her object of affection is a) older than her, b) engaged and c) moving to a different country. Lily is devastated and she never got over this, not even ten years later when her boyfriend proposes. Then she has a proper blast from the past could seriously rock her word.

Yeah, the book can be summed up quite quickly and yet it's nearly 400 pages long. I have to say I really enjoyed the first part of the book that took place 10 years ago. I loved the young, sassy Lily as a teenager and the chemistry between her and the love interest was off the hook, like I could see sparks flying off the page, and even I was sad when things ended the way they did ...
Then there's the Now part, which I found rather boring - or at least the first 100 pages, which seemed completely pointless and far too detailed anyway. Yes, they included bits about Lily's life now etc., but I just didn't like the fact that some scenes were super detailed and yet completely unrelated to the big plot.
Theeeen the two lovebirds meet again after 10 years and the story finally took off again! The ending was predictable and a bit cheesy, but I quite liked it regardless, hehehe.

So obviously, the plot had its ups and downs, but overall it was a great read! The emotion was there and I could really feel Lily's pain and passion and everything. Oh and I also loved that the book was set in Australia. I don't really have any complaints regarding the characters, I thought they were all well done, but there were certain bits about the writing that I wasn't too keen on, like the short sentences or the too detailed descriptions of e.g. random actions. But that's all just personal preference, whereas on the whole I really quite enjoyed this book and there were moments when I was completely sucked into it.

What is truly mindblowing about this novel is definitely the cover! You can see a picture of it above, but trust me, it's even more stunning in real life (it sparkles, yay)! I hereby declare this The Cover of the Year and I can also say that all four Paige Toon's books have The Prettiest Covers Ever. I found it quite hard to actually read the book because I just couldn't stop staring at this incredible book jacket, which was designed by Rafaela Romaya, illustrated by Liane Payne and the lettering was done by Ruth Rowland. Well done, ladies - these covers are absolutely spectacular! The book was great, but the amazing cover is just the cheery on top - what's not to love?

overall rating:
plot: 4/5 | writing: 3/5 | characters: 4/5 | cover: 10/5

3 July 2010

In My Mailbox #49

Woohoo, another awesome book week - honestly, getting books in the mail just makes me SO happy I can't even describe it, lol. Here's what I got all excited over in the past week:

  • HALO by Alexandra Adornetto - I got the ARC for review, yay! Granted I'm not one for angel-themed books generally, but I'm so willing to give this one a try just because the cover is so pretty!
  • LIFE'S TOO SHORT TO FROST A CUPCAKE by Rosie Wilde - I've no idea why I haven't bought this earlier?! I've seen it around loads, but for some strange reason it just didn't intrigue me ... Then I read the summary properly and ordered a copy straight away - it sounds like a great read!
  • WICKED GAMES by Sasha Wagstaff - I got this one for review from Headline. I've heard great things about it so I'm definitely looking forward to reading it!
  • JULIET by Anne Fortier - Arrived for review from Harper Collins UK. I love the sound of it and the cover is lovely!
  • SCANDALOUS by Tilly Bagshawe - Another one I cannot wait to read! I've read Do Not Disturb by this author and it was fantastic so I expect nothing else from this one! Thanks, Harper Collins!
I'm very pleased with this week's contents of my mailbox and I'm quite excited for what's yet to come - I have some seriously AWESOME books on the way and they better be delivered soon! *fingers crossed*

Hope you're all enjoying the weekend, darlings - oh and don't forget to check out my WAGs' WORLD giveaway! :)

1 July 2010

Review: WORLD CUP WAGS by Anonymous **** + GIVEAWAY!

Sun, sand and (Luis Vuitton) suitcase of scandal ...

It's over a year since 17-year-old Amy Thornton's footballer boyfriend Damien was signedto a Premiership team and her life is more exciting than ever.
Ahead of the World Cup in Spain, she's off to film her new fitness DVD on the beach. But a last-minute injury in the England squad means Damien could be joining her.
As the other girls arrive in a whirlwind of rumours and gossip, the paparazzi seem set to blow the final whistle on the WAGs' World Cup.

Let the hottest games this summer begin ...
I've recently read and reviewed the first two books in the WAGs' World series and I really quite enjoyed them so I was very keen to read the third installment too. It's actually a perfect read for the current times what with all the World Cup fever going on and since I've recently been educated on how the World Cup works, I could actually make some sense of the football talk in the book, although you don't have to be a football expert to enjoy this book - I'm certainly not (au contraire!), but I found myself really enjoying this fab series!

As I said, I loved the first two books and the third one certainly doesn't disappoint either. Our girl Amy is now the nation's sweetheart and she's filming her fitness DVD Absolutely Amy on a beach in Spain together with her BFFs Asha & Susi and their trainer Josh (yes, THE Josh).
The World Cup is also starting in Spain and the paps keep asking Amy how she feels now that her boyfriend Damien hasn't been chosen to play and she's really fed up - until her Damien does get a chance to play and they are soon reunited in Spain.
The lovely couple couldn't be happier, but their relationship is soon put to the test - yes, again, but this time it's the most serious ... Damien is training all the time and it seems that someone hates Amy since pretty much her every move is sabotaged and the whole country turns against her as the media makes everyone think that Amy is a traitor to her national team - and then everything just goes downhill from there ... Meanwhile Amy's friends are also dealing with (mostly love) problems of their own and there's just so much going on for everyone that you're not too sure whether all of them will get their happy ending in this 'WAG-eat-WAG' world ...

Like in the previous two books, the characters are great. I've called Amy a bit boring before and she really is quite the Miss Goody Two Shoes, but I can't help admiring her for how grounded she remained despite all the chaos surrounding her crazy life. She got slightly carried away at first, but she remained true to herself and didn't forget her real friends, and she didn't turn into someone who's just famous for being a WAG and spending her boyfriend's money - she far better than that and thus a great girl to read about.

I've said before that these books are perfect for anyone, from tweens to OAPs, and they nicely show how it's not all glitz and glamour in the world of WAGs ...

The blurb at the back of the book calls the series 'wildly addictive' and that's certainly no lie! The books are just so easy & fun to read and yet so well written that you'll just find yourself racing through them! I read this one in one afternoon and now I'm sad that it's all over (especially since the ending was a little bit abrupt - I want more!) so I'm keeping my fingers crossed for more books in this series!

overall rating:
plot: 4/5 | writing: 4/5 | characters: 4/5 | cover: 4/5
The lovely anonymous author of the series has kindly donated two sets of all three books so yes, that indeed means that two lucky people will win the whole WAGS' WORLD series, which consists of Playing the Game, Knowing the Score and World Cup WAGs!
Here are the rules:
  • the contest is open INTERNATIONALLY
  • it ends on July 10th
  • all you have to do is fill out this form
Good luck! :)