I am currently open for review and feature requests from authors or publishers. Please read my authors/publishers page for more information on what is available and my policies.


Interview with Fiona Ross

31 Jan 2013

Far Out by Fiona Ross



Far Out



Synopsis - from goodreads

In twenty-second century Britain, seventeen-year-old Saffron and her father, the astronautics engineer, live in Seaweed Slum. Nate the astrophysicist seeks her father's help to recover his space probe, but he brings trouble. They flee to Earth Station and are arrested when things go wrong. Saffron abandons her dream of becoming a herbalist to enter deadly Server City to rescue the men she loves.
 
 
 

Interview with Fiona Ross

Why did you decide to become an author?

I have wanted to do it since I was small and won first prize for a short story when I was seven.  I've spent most of my life humming the tune to "Paperback Writer" by the Beatles.

How do you balance writing with other things in your life?

With difficulty. I get up at six and go to my writing desk with a cup of tea. I write through until midday, with breakfast and shower breaks. I don't look at social media or emails until the afternoon.

What are your favourite books?

Passage to India - E.M. Forster, Pride & Prejudice - Jane Austen, Frankenstein - Mary Shelley, The RAMA series and 2001 A Space Odyssey - Arthur C. Clarke, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency - Douglas Adams,  The Shining, Pet Sematary, Misery & Needful Things - Stephen King, Interview With A Vampire - Anne Rice, His Dark Materials Trilogy - Philip Pullman, The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins and the Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich. I like China Mieville, AA Attanassio, Kim Stanley Robinson, Richard Morgan, Hannu Rajaniemi  (these are all sf writers) and I am discovering modern contemporary authors too, especially online, people like Amanda Hocking and others.

Are there any books/authors that inspired you to write?

At school I read most of the classics, as we all did.  W. Somerset Maugham, Anthony Trollope and Guy de Maupassant, these were the great 19th century masters, and Dickens, of course. Jane Austen made a huge impression. I read all her books when I was about fourteen. 20th Century: E.M Forster is my favourite and library-loads of post WW2 writers.  As a young adult I read all of Daphne du Maurier and later I moved onto Penny Vincenzi, Jackie Collins, Jilly Cooper, Joanna Trollope, Maeve Binchy, Faye Weldon. There were dozens of these five star authors - everybody would pack their suitcases with these to read on the beach and I used to think that I really wanted to do that one day. Now I read a mixture of contemporary authors and classics.

Describe your book in one sentence.

It's a YA, futuristic novel, 63,000 words,  that tells the story of Saffron, who lives in the Seaweed Slum with her father, one hundred years into the future.

Plot in one sentence

Seventeen-year-old Saffron must learn how to solve her problems and to trust people if she is to achieve her dreams, but first she must rescue her father from the alien Server City.

Where did you get the idea for this book, did anything inspire you to write it?

I'd been humming "Mellow Yellow" by folk singer Donovan, for months. Saffron appeared with her father, Nate the astrophysicist and Marianne the herbalist. They were all holding hands and Saffron told me their story. I enrolled in NaNoWriMo 2012, which gave me the immediate pressure to get it out.

What made you decide to write a book set in the future?

Most of my work is set in the future. The interaction between technology and humans fascinates me and I shall bang on about it until I die. I like to envision what the world will be like and how we will develop our future technologies, based on contemporary work. SF is my favourite genre in reading and writing.

What would you say makes your book unique and worth reading?

The way I have combined human themes and problems with technology and how I explore the way technology impacts them - real technology, as we are inventing it now. Of course, I hope I have developed a voice distinctive enough to be recognised as mine.

You have mentioned the use of technology in your book, how do you come up with these? Are they entirely your own ideas or do you research possible future technologies and use those?

I have two methods which I developed during my study course at uni. Method one: I take a piece of current research - for example, development of robot speech patterns. I do thought experiments on how they might develop, on what hypotheses the developer/researcher might come up with and then where it could go from there. I aim to keep it plausible. Method two: One idea I had for FAR OUT was, "In one hundred years time, will we have mobile phones or will they look as outdated as those earlier 'brick' style ones?" I decided we probably wouldn't and I devised a new send/receive device, based on the projections of eminent scientists of how human communication might evolve in the future.
I like fairies and dragons and I like to read about them, but not to write about them. I want my themes to be futuristic not fantastic. I want to predict real technologies. Once I've formulated my question/hypothesis, I do the research.

Is there any specific message you wanted to convey in the book?

Yes, for teenagers, that becoming part of a stepfamily is not necessarily something to be feared and also that fathers and daughters have to go through a (sometimes painful) process of redefining their relationships. I have "issues": The strategic planning of a country's electricity supply, the destruction of hedgerows, the 1% and the 99%, the resurgence of misogyny towards women. I could go on. I like to be satirical and I can't resist an opportunity for black humour if it appears and I like a thread of nostalgia, too.

What are your plans for future books?

I'm glad you asked. FAR OUT is not, strictly speaking, my debut. It was my Nano debut and I wrote it as a break from "the big novel" CODED, which explores developments in biotechnology. I've worked on it for three years and I'm doing the final revisions now. Both FAR OUT and CODED will bear a sequel and then I shall tackle the next technology theme that appeals to me. I also need to come up with an outline for Nanowrimo 2013. It's only January, you say. I know, but tempus fugit.

Do you have any hobbies and Interests unrelated to books?

Loads. I'm also an artist, mainly in oils and watercolour. I paint old boats and shorelines. I like the internet, travel, cinema and going to art galleries around the world if possible. I've had a lifelong interest in science and technology, especially the history of technology. I even went back to uni to do a degree in Information Technology. I'd love to do online gaming but I don't have the time.

Would you ever consider putting these interests into any of your books?

Absolutely. A writer must write about what fires them up, otherwise it's hard to sustain the effort over the long haul.

About the Author

Fiona Faith Ross lives in the beautiful south west of Britain, in earshot of the Dartmouth Steam Railway. She writes and paints and she does not live with several cats, or even one, but she might acquire her own "Nigel" before too long. FAR OUT is available free as an eBook from Smashwords here: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/251015. You can also find it on Kobo, Nook, Diesel eBooks and Apple iBookstore. It is not yet available in hard copy.

Waiting on Wednesday - Acid

30 Jan 2013
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and it allows readers to share the books that they are most looking forwards to reading.

This week the book i have chosen to feature is Acid by Emma Pass.




Title: Acid

Author: Emma Pass

Series: Standalone (for now :P)

Expected Publication: 25th April 2013 (UK) sometime in 2014 (US)

Publisher: Random House Childrens Books (UK) Delacorte (US)

Links: goodreads, amazon UK,





Synopsis - from goodreads

2113. In Jenna Strong’s world, ACID – the most brutal, controlling police force in history – rule supreme. No throwaway comment or muttered dissent goes unnoticed – or unpunished. And it was ACID agents who locked Jenna away for life, for a bloody crime she struggles to remember.

The only female inmate in a violent high-security prison, Jenna has learned to survive by any means necessary. And when a mysterious rebel group breaks her out, she must use her strength, speed and skill to stay one step ahead of ACID – and to uncover the truth about what really happened on that dark night two years ago.


My thoughts

Just read that synopsis and look at that cover! How could you not want to read this? I love books that have strong, tough heroines and i am also crazy for dystopian books. A dystopian world ran by a prutal police force, rebels and if the cover and synopsis is anything to go by (as well as what the author has said), a heroine who is seriously kick-ass. This book simply sounds perfect for me, i think this could easily be a 2013 favourite if it is a good as it sounds. I may go slightly crazy waiting for the release of this in April.

Cover reveal - The Only Exception

29 Jan 2013
So today the cover was revealed for The Only Exception by the amazing Magan Vernon. If you havent heard of Magan before, she write YA/NA books and i recently reviewed one of her books My Paper Heart here on my blog. So with out further rambling here is the cover and synopsis.


The Only Exception

Synopsis - from goodreads

**Due to sexual content and heavy subject matter, this book is recommended for ages 16+**

Fiercely liberal Monica Remy prefers to blend in. Despite her tattoos, piercings, and outspoken personality, she transferred to Central to escape—before she finds out that her next door neighbor is the uber conservative governor's son, Trey Chapman.

No matter how hard she tries to avoid Trey, he still finds a way to get under her skin. Monica can’t stand his crisp white shirts or his staunch views on women. But she can’t help counting every freckle on his face and wondering what it would feel like to have him stop talking politics and kiss her.

A class debate project forces the unlikely pair to work together, and the political lines are blurred in late-night make out sessions. But despite their fiery chemistry, Trey’s politics threatens to smother their relationship for good.



I love this cover! So sexy but also the two people aren't they main focus. I think this shows really well what is going to be included in the book. I am really looking forwards to reading this.

Review of Stitch and guest post - 10 random Stitch influences

28 Jan 2013

Stitch by Sanantha Durante


Stitch by Samantha Durante

Synopsis - from goodreads

Her heart races, her muscles coil, and every impulse in Alessa's body screams at her to run... but yet she's powerless to move.

Still struggling to find her footing after the sudden death of her parents, the last thing college freshman Alessa has the strength to deal with is the inexplicable visceral pull drawing her to a handsome ghostly presence. In between grappling with exams and sorority soirees - and disturbing recurring dreams of being captive in a futuristic prison hell - Alessa is determined to unravel the mystery of the apparition who leaves her breathless. But the terrifying secret she uncovers will find her groping desperately through her nightmares for answers.

Because what Alessa hasn't figured out yet is that she's not really a student, the object of her obsession is no ghost, and her sneaking suspicions that something sinister is lurking behind the walls of her university's idyllic campus are only just scratching the surface...

The opening installment in a twist-laden trilogy, Stitch spans the genres of paranormal romance and dystopian sci-fi to explore the challenges of a society in transition, where morality, vision, and pragmatism collide leaving the average citizen to suffer the results.


Review

Stitch started off as a nice, enjoyable book. It seemed like your average YA/NA contemporary book with a little paranormal romance thrown in. It was an entertaining read, but not anything special. And then….
WOW, just WOW! I have never read a book with such an amazing unexpected twist. This book went from being good to utterly amazing in just a couple of pages. Once I had read further into the book I also saw the beginning in a whole new light and the first half is just as good as the second
I have to applaud the author for writing this book; the idea behind it is so unique and original. I can honestly say I have never before read a book that basically changes genres halfway through. In fact it changes genres twice. Whilst the genre thing may sound a bit odd, trust me that it really does work and it makes the book incredible.
There is so much more I want to mention about this book but I don’t want to give anything away about the storyline so you will enjoy it as much as I did – I already feel kind of bad for mentioning that there is a huge twist. This is a book that you simply cannot miss out on.
There is so much left unanswered and so much more I want to know. I wish I could read the sequel now! Despite the book being quite action packed I can tell that the real excitement has only just started and the next book will give us so much more.

*I recieved a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an HONEST review, this has not affected my opinions in anyway*

 

10 Random Stitch Influences

As an avid consumer of media from books and TV to movies and the internet, it was impossible not to be influenced by the various innovative stories and shows I’d seen/read over the years.  Following is a random list of things that either directly or loosely inspired the plot of Stitch:
1. Twilight. 
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I loved this series.  And judging by its success, so did a lot of other people.  When I started thinking of ideas for the book that would eventually become Stitch, paranormal romance was the first genre I considered.  However, since I didn’t have a new take on vampires/werewolves to contribute, I decided to go with ghosts, which I thought offered a lot of neat possibilities.
2. The Hunger Games. 
I was no less than captivated by some of the classic dystopian books I read as a kid, but for some reason I never looked into finding more of this genre until The Hunger Games took the world by storm.  This series has singlehandedly ignited a new generation of dystopian lovers and I wanted to hop on that bandwagon!
3. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. 
There’s nothing I love more than a kick-ass female lead, and Buffy is the ultimate.  Other favorites of mine include: Lizzy Bennet of Pride and Prejudice, Hermione Grainger of the Harry Potter series, Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games, Arya Stark and Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones, Susan Pevensie from Chronicles of Narnia, Claire & Jill from Resident Evil, and many, many others.  I knew that my book would have a strong female protagonist who was confident and self-reliant, but who was also still grounded and realistic with her understandable moments of self-doubt, and Buffy and the valiant women listed above were my templates.
4. Lost.  
My next favorite thing after an awesome female protagonist is definitely a mind-blowing, out-of-left-field twist, and who did it better than Lost?  This show kept me on my toes for 6 great seasons, and – though I was as confused by the ending as everyone else – I appreciated all the care that had gone into weaving us viewers through this insanely complex and inventive plot.
5. Sharon Shinn's Samaria Series.  
This was the first book series I ever came across that featured a genre-bending twist that took the story from an angel romance all the way to futuristic science fiction without warning.  I totally was not expecting it, and it was totally AWESOME.
6. Reality TV. 
Despite my rampant addiction to The Bachelor, something about reality TV really just makes my skin crawl.  It seems as these shows get ever more extreme, the contestants continue to submit themselves to whatever degradations the producers come up with and we all sit happily glued to our screens.  What's wrong with this picture?  I also have to give a nod here to The Truman Show for raising this question before the reality TV phenomenon even really exploded.
7. Brave New World.  
It's been years since I read this, but it must have made an impression because I still very distinctly recall being creeped out by the concept of the "feelies" and the idea of controlling people through drugs and entertainment.  I hadn’t really seen this concept used elsewhere, so this was definitely one of the more direct influences on how things work in Stitch.
8. Battlestar Galatica.  
Here’s another amazing sci-fi series that did an admirable job of placing realistic characters in a frighteningly plausible futuristic world and mixing them up with compelling moral dilemmas and big ethical questions that really made you think.  I hope to achieve the same over the course of the Stitch trilogy.
9. College. 
Why are there so few books that take place at college?  I never understood it.  There are so many possibilities in a college setting, so many ways for characters to make mistakes and learn and grow, so many choices, so much potential drama…  Plus, college is a transitional period that unites readers both young and old.  I decided that Stitch would happen in a college setting since I felt this environment was inexplicably underutilized in books.
10. Zombies.  
Okay, there are no zombies in Stitch.  But I've always been intrigued by the whole zombie apocalypse thing, not necessarily for the zombies themselves, but for the way the outbreak happens (and the way that people react to it).  Pandemics are SCARY, and – as we're seeing with the flu in the Northeast US right now – very, very real.  A word of advice: don't take a Catastrophic Risk class in college if you worry about these kinds of things, because there are SO MANY WAYS the world can end and NONE OF THEM are outside the realm of immediate possibility.  Viral outbreaks (whether they cause zombie-esque mutations or just plain old sickness), are one of these possibilities, and this ended up being a key piece in the backdrop for Stitch.

By Samantha Durante

About the author

Samantha Durante lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband, Sudeep, and her cat, Gio. Formerly an engineer at Microsoft, Samantha left the world of software in 2010 to pursue her entrepreneurial dreams and a lifelong love of writing. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Jerome Fisher Program in Management & Technology, Samantha is currently working full time for her company Medley Media Associates as a freelance business writer and communications consultant. Stitch is her first novel. Learn more about Samantha at www.samanthadurante.com.
Social Media Links
Goodreads: Stitch | Author Samantha Durante

Twitter: @SamanthaDurante | Hashtag suggestions: #Stitch, #StitchTrilogy, #Shudder
 
Buy Stitch on Amazon or Borrow Free from Kindle Owners' Lending Library!

Stacking the Shelves/ Showcase Sunday (2)

27 Jan 2013
Showcase Sunday is hosted by Vicky @Books, Biscuits, and Tea and Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and they both give bloggers the opportunity to share the books they have received in the past week.

I am still feeling the effects of last weeks discovery of netgalley and the subsequent requesting of all of the books i NEED to read and review. I also had a couple more review requests so you should be seeing reviews of all of these books in the future.

To review

Scarlette

I recieved this book to review from the author. It is based on the traditional versions of Little Red Riding Hood and it sounds really dark and creepy. I haven't read anything based on a fairytale (or a story that inspired a fairytale) for a long time so i am looking forwards to reading this.









Caught Up In Us

You may have noticed that earlier this week i had Lauren Blakely on the blog doing a guest post about her new book. She also gave me a copy of the book to read and three more to giveaway. If you havent yet read the post and entered the giveaway you can do so here.








Netgalley

Hidden

I have been wanting to read this book since i first heard of it several months ago. It is a paranormal novel about angels - something i really love but haven't read for a while.




Point of Retreat

As you know i am a huge fan and supporter of NA books. Slammed by Colleen Hoover is one of my favourites and i loved the way it ended. Because of that i had been unsure as to whether to read this (the sequel) as i loved the happily ever after of the previous book. Lots of people have been telling me this was amazing and i should read it so i have decided to give it a try.


Quicksilver
The Sea Of Tranquility

I read the first book in this series years ago and it was really interesting, i loved the way it mixed real scientific/ biological phenomina with Sci-fi. I hope that this book is as good as the first.











This is an upper YA/ NA book that i have heard incredible things about. It is also the favourite book of one of my fellow NA book club moderators Ava. I know this book is going to be awesome and i really can't wait to start reading it.








Free amazon downloads

I downloaded two free books this weekend that are the first two in a NA series. I think they sound good.














I have been very good this week and not purchased any books, though this is mainly as my local bookshop doesnt have the ones i want.

What do you think of these books and what did you get this week?

Review of Tidal

25 Jan 2013
Synopsis - from goodreads

*New Adult Romance*

Now that Willow Avery is out of rehab, she's got one chance left to prove herself before she’s officially on every producer’s shit list. At least, that's what her parents and agent are claiming. She doesn't really give a damn if she never makes another movie or not—she just wants to get on with her life, get back to her friends, and find her next escape. But Willow is broke. And whether she likes it or not, acting is the only job she knows how to do.

When she accepts the lead in a beach drama, Willow finds herself in Hawaii. And in Hawaii, she finds Cooper, the gorgeous surfer hired to train her for her new role. With the bluest eyes she’s ever seen and the sexiest Australian accent she’s ever heard, Cooper’s different from the men she’s used to. He doesn’t want to use her. And he refuses to let her fail. But when an old friend re-enters Willow’s life—a friend whose toxicity she’s been drawn to time and time before and whose presence brings about the painful memories she's tried so hard to suppress—Willow will have to choose between the girl she was and the person she’s becoming. The lifestyle that helps her forget the pain and the guy she’s falling hard for.

Review

I enjoyed this book. It is the story of a girl who was once a child movie star known for making amazing films but has now fallen from grace and is remembered as “that actress who ended up in rehab”.  Willow has issues and things in her past that she would rather forget but she is just now learning that turning to drugs to forget about reality doesn’t help. Finding true love might just be the solution she has been looking for.
I loved how strong Willow was in the book, she is very vulnerable but she is also a fighter. She also has a very snarky humour that I found entertaining and made me like her. “Willow Avery. Actress, Cancer, and according to my team, on my last leg before porn.” I also liked that she is down to earth, she doesn’t want fame and to be followed around by paparazzi all the time, she just wants to get on with her life.
Willows surf instructor Cooper is charming, sexy and he has a few secrets of his own. They both know that a romance together would be a bad idea but neither of them can resist the attraction. In my mind they have the perfect relationship; they both make the other a better person and are perfect together. There are also some steamy but still sweet sex-scenes in the book.
This book doesn’t overly go into details about Willow’s drug problem other than the occasional mention of her wishing she could just take a pill and go back to not feeling anything. This book had the potential to be very dark but I found it to be a heart-warming and joyful read. Especially the ending; it was perfect.
I recommend this to all contemporary romance fans, especially if you like your heroes to have sexy Australian accents, toned bodies and tanned skin ;)
 


Giveaway and a Guest post by Lauren Blakely - How to Artfully Weave Pop Culture into Novels

24 Jan 2013
Today i have something exciting for you all - a guest post from Lauren Blakely the author of Caught Up In Us. She is also sharing an excerpt from her book AND she is giving away 3 copies of her book!

I think this book sounds really good. You all know i am a fan of New Adult books and this sits at the higher end of the age category with a recent college graduate as the main character so it should be a little different to most NA's.

About the book

Synopsis - from goodreads

Five years ago, Kat Harper fell into a dizzying summer romance with her brother’s best friend Bryan. It was a mad, crazy love full of kisses all through the night — but he broke her heart and she had to move on.

Five years later, Kat is finishing her graduate degree and building her business as a jewelry designer, when Bryan, head of his own successful company, walks back into her life. Bryan has been assigned to Kat as her new business mentor and the rules are clear. No hanky panky permitted. That works for both of them. Kat needs to grow her business to help her parents; Bryan needs to run a clean operation after his former business partner’s romantic scandal that rocked his firm.

Kat can handle that because she's totally over him... right? Except, he still makes her laugh. And he remembers all the things she likes. And he's more handsome now than he was then. Then there’s the spark between them — the simply undeniable chemistry.

Can they resist each other? Or are they willing to risk everything for a second chance at first love?


Hot To Artfully Weave Pop Culture Into Novels

By Lauren Blakely

There’s just something about a movie kiss.
 
You know what I’m talking about -- when you’re watching a great romantic comedy or an epic love-across-time tale. And finally - finally - the hero and heroine lock lips.
 
If it’s a good kiss, you kinda get a little tingly inside too. The Spiderman and Mary Jane Watson upside-down-in-the-rain-kind of kiss.

Swoon.

That’s why movies play a large role in my just-released novel CAUGHT UP IN US. The main character, Kat Harper, is a big movie fan. But she’s more than just a cinephile. She wants a love like in the movies. The kind where you make the big gesture, where you run through the terminal to stop the plane from taking off kind of love.

Naturally, movies are woven throughout the story. But, as a writer, I had to be careful and meticulous about which movies to mention. That brings me to the purpose of this post -- how to balance pop culture references like songs and movies in a novel. You want to have enough to give a flavor of the character, but you don’t want too many because that can overwhelm the story. You also want to pick the right ones.

For instance, in one of my earlier drafts of CAUGHT UP IN US, I was thinking of great love scenes from the movies. Titanic, Shakespeare in Love, Cruel Intentions -- those films all have some heart-stopping moments when the characters finally come together. And I’d originally mentioned them in one of the love scenes in my novel. But as I re-read the scene, the references to the movies “threw” me out of the scene. I was no longer thinking about the characters in the story. I was thinking about those movies. So I had to cut those references because I want readers to feel in the moment with the characters. Kat is now “feeling” that she’s experiencing that movie kind of passion, without naming specific films. The heat of the moment is just not the time to rattle off a long list of flicks!

The other thing to be careful of is finding the right movies to reference. I happen to love the film The English Patient. But yet I know that is a divisive movie. Some people love it, and some can’t stand it. So rather than risk ticking off the readers who can’t stand it, I left it out of the story. Kat might love the movie, but she never admits it in the novel! And, I also can’t just rely on the movies I personally like. I like a lot of movies from the ‘80s. But some of the readers of this genre aren’t necessarily Sixteen Candles fans. (What? Not  Sixteen Candles fan? Well, they just haven’t seen the movie then!)

What movies then are fair game to reference? My “litmus test” is that the movies must have broad appeal and be free of “cringe-worthy” factors, and that I be judicious in using them. In CAUGHT UP IN US, you’ll find references to Bridesmaids, Pitch Perfect, Casablanca, Babe and even The Hangover, among others. In the end, movie and music references should be like a good spice - use them sparingly, but use them well!
 
Excerpt
 
“Tell me where your love of movies comes from.”
 


 
          “I think it’s because of what movies have always meant to my family. All these big events in my life were marked by movies. When Nate was in eighth grade and won the election for class president, we all went to see the re-release of Raiders of the Lost Ark, because it was this great action adventure, and I gripped the armrest when Harrison Ford raced against the boulder. The time I was picked to design the cover of the junior high yearbook we went to see Ocean’s Eleven. That’s just how we celebrated things. I even remember when my grandmother died. We went to the memorial service. I was twelve and I read a poem at the service, and then we decided that we should see Elf. Which probably sounds like a weird thing to do after a funeral.”
 
            Bryan listened intently. “No, it doesn’t. Not at all.”
 
            “It was really the perfect movie to see, because I think we all just needed to not be sad every second, you know?”
 
            “It actually makes perfect sense,” he said. I looked at him and the honesty in his face and his eyes. He understood. He got it. He got me. I kept going.
 
            “But I guess it all started with my mom. She’s a huge romantic comedy fan, so she started showing me all the great ones. Sleepless in Seattle. Love, Actually. Notting Hill. You’ve Got Mail.”
 
            “And do you still love romantic comedies?”
 
            “I make jewelry. I drink caramel machiattos. I wear Hello Kitty to bed. Of course I love romantic comedies,” I said with a smile as we neared my house. But I didn’t just love them. I wanted to live within them. I wanted a love like in the movies.
 
            Bryan cleared his throat. “I think there’s a romantic-comedy we haven’t seen at the theater. Do you want to go again tomorrow?”
 
            “Yes,” I said, and I’m sure it came out all breathy sounding.
 
            We saw the movie the next day, and it was the kind where you long for the hero and heroine to kiss, and when they do, near the final frame, you feel this tingling in your body, and you want to be kissed too. I stole a glance at Bryan only to find he was stealing a glance at me.
 
            “Hi,” he whispered in that voice he’d used when he talked about Paris.
 
            “Hi.”
 
            He reached a hand towards me, slowly, his eyes on me the whole time, as if he were asking if it was okay. I nodded a yes. He ran his fingers through my dark brown hair, then his mouth met mine, and we kissed until the credits rolled, slow and sweet kisses. His lips were the softest I’d ever felt, and his kisses were of the epic kind, the kind that made you believe that movie kisses weren’t just for actors or for stories, that they could be for you, and they could go on and on, like a slow and sexy love song that melted you from the inside out.
 
 
It sounds great doesn't it? I am looking forwards to seeing how the movie theme will tie in with the rest of the book. I am also loving the cover as it has a beautiful simplicity to it (and anyone else recognise the cover models?). What did you think about the guest post? It is strange to think how much thought authors must put into these little details books but as a reader i know that hearing a character mention something i love makes me like them even more.

If you are interested in reading more about Lauren and her book you can visit her blog here i think it looks very pretty ;P
 
Lauren is also planning on doing a big Amazon gift card giveaway if Caught Up In Us reaches the top 1000 (or higher) on amazon. Fingers crossed for Lauren and i wish her lots of success with the release of her debut novel.
 
As Lauren is such a nice person you dont even need to wait for Caught Up In Us to get high in the amazon charts before getting a giveaway as she has 3 copies of the book to giveaway here. Enter using the rafflecopter below and the giveaway is open to anyone who can recieve ebooks gifted from Amazon or B&N.

You dont need to leave a comment to enter the giveaway but they are always appreciated. I am interested to know if you like the sound of Laurens book.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Waiting on Wednesday - Never Too Far

23 Jan 2013
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and it allows readers to share the books that they are most looking forwards to reading.

This week the book i have chosen to feature is Never Too Far by Abbi Glines





Title: Never Too Far

Author: Abbi Glines

Series: Fallen Too Far #2

Expected Publication: 26th February 2013

Publisher: Self published

Links: Goodreads







Synopsis - from goodreads

He had held a secret that destroyed her world.

Everything she had known was no longer true.

Blaire couldn’t stop loving him but she knew she could never forgive him.
Now, she was back home and learning to live again. Moving on with life… until something happened to send her world spinning once again.
What do you do when the one person you can never trust again is the one that you need to trust so desperately?

You lie, hide, avoid, and pray that your sins never find you out.


My thoughts

The reason i can hardly wait to read this book is that the first one was AMAZING. If you haven't yet read my review of Fallen Too Far you can see it here. Also the ending - whilst not a huge cliffhanger - ends very unhappily so i simply NEED to know what happens next with these characters.

Abbi Glines is also a very talented writer so any of her future releases always go automatically on the list of books i am really excited to be able to read


Review of My Paper Heart

21 Jan 2013

Synopsis - from goodreads

There are worse things in life than failing out of college- such as having your parents receive the letter that you’ve been kicked out. Now to appease her parents self-proclaimed sorority princess Libby Gentry is packing up her Prada bag and heading to work for her great aunt’s antique store in tiny Elsbury, Louisiana. She’s pretty sure she can tackle the swamp and deal with her great aunt and tom boy of a little cousin, but what she doesn’t know is if she can handle the local town playboy, Blaine Crabtree.

As Libby's feelings for Blaine grow, so does her need for acceptance and all of the insecurities she has kept inside are coming out. She may have survived the Louisiana swamp, but she may not survive Blaine's reluctance to say the 'L' word. When Blaine finally commits to the three words Libby’s been waiting for, she only hopes they haven’t come too late.

**This book does contain some mild language and sexual content. It is meant for upper YA readers**

Review

Having enjoyed reading this authors YA book - How to Date an Alien - I was excited to see how she would do with a contemporary NA story. I think the author did an excellent job with the more mature storyline and as a result My Paper Heart is a great example of an NA contemporary romance.

I liked how in this book the characters aren’t perfect; they don’t live perfect lives and things don’t always go the way they wish. The book starts with the main character being kicked out of college and being sent to live with her great aunt in Louisiana by her ashamed parents. In my eyes Libby is a perfect main character, she starts off as a nice girl but she is a little spoiled and somewhat shallow and during the book you actually see her grow up and become an adult. In my opinion this is what New Adult books are all about.

This book has a brilliant romantic element to it, the main characters are both having their first ever true serious relationship and we get to see all the drama that comes with that. From the worries and insecurities to meaningful sex and those all-important three words. Like many books I have read this has the - guy is a player but changes his ways after seeing the heroine only once aspect to it. This can annoy me slightly but I thought this book did it well and it made sense as to why Blaine chose to change his ways for someone he barely knew.

Libby is such a complex character, she is a rich college dropout and everyone just sees her as a dumb blonde but she is so much more than that. She has a longing to fit in, look perfect and to have everyone like her – something I think we can all relate to. It just takes people to treat her as if she is perfect the way she is for her to finally discover herself.

I really enjoyed this story of finding love and discovering who you truly are. I liked the ending so I was quite surprised to see that there will be a second book, I am interested to see what will happen next for these characters as it seems their story is not yet over.

Stacking the Shelves/ Showcase Sunday

20 Jan 2013
Showcase Sunday is hosted by Vicky @Books, Biscuits, and Tea and Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and they both give bloggers the opportunity to share the books they have received in the past week.

I have received a lot of books this week, partially because i have just discovered the wonder that is Netgalley and also because of a huge giveaway i had entered that finished this week.

The books i have got over the past week are -

To Review














From Netgalley















Won














I have been very good this week and managed to stick to my book "diet" which means i am trying to not buy anymore until i have read every single book that i have bought previously but not yet read as i kept putting review books first.

I am excited to read all of these books, the ones that stand out most to me are Strength as it is a paranormal NA that i have heard amazing things about, Closer as i have loved all the authors other books, Stitch as i have read the opening chapter already and it is AMAZING. I also can't wait to start reading the books i received from Netgalley as obviously i wouldn't have requested them if i wasn't desperate to read them.

Thank You :)

I want to say a big thank you to everyone who has followed and commented on my blog so far, it makes being a newbie blogger so much easier. I hope you all stick around as i have some really great things planned for the next few weeks.

Review of Girl Under Glass

18 Jan 2013
Synopsis - From Goodreads

What do you do when you’re trapped between death and the devil? To protect her young daughter from a madman and a tyrant, Rachel Pryne must trust an enemy—one of the alien warriors who conquered Earth.

It is 2032, the Ohnenrai—Earth’s humanoid alien conquerors—orbit the planet, and Terran reproduction is failing. Rachel Pryne, a trained medic, is struggling to protect her seven-year-old daughter, Pearl, from the sexual predation of their penal colony’s leader. Having fathered the girl by rape, he now intends to take her on her eighth birthday, only six weeks away.

Then Rachel finds her unlikely champion—an injured Ohnenrai soldier who appears in her yard one stormy evening. She knows she may be choosing death over the devil in trusting this warrior, but she doesn’t know that her trust, and her DNA, will make her one of the most important and endangered people to ever set foot aboard an Ohnenrai starship.

***

Equal parts science fiction, suspense, and romance, Girl Under Glass moves from a post-apocalyptic wilderness in the American Pacific Northwest to a high-tech world aboard an alien starship furnished with all the stolen comforts of Earth. Readers meet Rachel Pryne, whose parents' lifelong and life-ending connection to the Ohnenrai has set her upon a path she never wanted to travel. And they're introduced to Ehtishem, an Ohnenrai soldier who exists to save his dying people, but who faces enemies from within and without his own military.


The only possible solution to the Ohnenrai’s extinction lies within Rachel, but all she wants to do is protect her daughter and see Earth’s alien conquerors go straight to hell.

Review

I loved Girl Under Glass because it is unique and stands out; something that is quite an achievement what with the amount of books of all genres available. It is an amazing science fiction romance set in a post-apocalyptic dystopian world and this blend of genres gives it a wide appeal as well as making it different and interesting.

Rachel lives in the camp of suffer where she has been shunned due to unfair circumstances and only given minor acceptance due to her skills as a medic and most importantly her 7 year old daughter Pearl, a prize in a place where children are growing rare and girls even rarer. When an injured Stranger – the alien race that is Earths conquerors – turns up at her doorstep, she finally has a chance to escape the oppressiveness of suffer and its religious fanatic leader Cyrus who has been Rachel’s tormentor for many years. However, though she doesn’t know it, Rachel holds the key to the survival of the Ohnenrai and that means both her and her daughters lives are in danger.

In my opinion the world building was excellent and the romance is beautifully written and well developed. Normally it is quite rare for a book to have both a good romance as well as an in depth story but Monica has succeeded where many other authors fail. Girl Under Glass also has lots of depth and emotion caused by Rachel’s tragic past and it is nice to see her grow as a character and come to grips with all that has happened and be stronger because of it.

Unlike several science fiction books, the backstory and world building is not all just thrown in at the beginning but instead mentioned a little bit at a time. Some people might not like this as you could possibly get confused but I really liked the fact that there wasn’t a boring information overload at the beginning. If you would prefer to have all the backstory at the beginning the author has a free short prequel available on her website called A Sad Jar Of Atoms that has most the backstory nicely summed up.

The book had quite a lot of suspense and there is several unexpected twist that keep the reader engaged and some of them are very surprising, you will not guess at them happening and this only adds to the wide appeal that I believe this book has. Girl Under Glass definitely has something for everyone as it has so many elements in it. I definitely recommend it as a must read and I am excited to read the sequel when it releases.

*I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Waiting on Wednesday - Dance of Shadows

16 Jan 2013
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and it allows readers to share the books that they are most looking forwards to reading.

This week the book i have chosen to feature is Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black.





Title: Dance of Shadows

Author: Yelena Black

Series: Dance of Shadows #1

Expected Publication: 12th February 2013

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's

Links: Goodreads, Amazon UK, Amazon 






Synopsis - from goodreads

Dancing with someone is an act of trust. Elegant and intimate; you're close enough to kiss, close enough to feel your partner's heartbeat. But for Vanessa, dance is deadly – and she must be very careful who she trusts . . .

Vanessa Adler attends an elite ballet school – the same one her older sister, Margaret, attended before she disappeared. Vanessa feels she can never live up to her sister's shining reputation. But Vanessa, with her glorious red hair and fair skin, has a kind of power when she dances – she loses herself in the music, breathes different air, and the world around her turns to flames . . .

Soon she attracts the attention of three men: gorgeous Zep, mysterious Justin, and the great, enigmatic choreographer Josef Zhalkovsky. When Josef asks Vanessa to dance the lead in the Firebird, she has little idea of the danger that lies ahead – and the burning forces about to be unleashed .


My Thoughts

From the second is saw the cover i knew i wanted to read this book, when i read the blurb i wanted to read it even more and when i saw the trailer i wanted to read it NOW. The book sounds very mysterious and i also love dancing and reading books that involve dancers.

The first three chapters are also available to read on Amazon here. I haven't read these yet as i worry that reading them will make me unable to wait to read the rest of the book. About a week before release i plan to read chapters 1-3.

Luckily for me and everyone else who wants to read this book we only have 1 month now until it can be in our hands :)

What do you think, do you like the sound of this book and do you plan to read it?

Review of Mystic City

14 Jan 2013
Synopsis - From Goodreads

For fans of Matched, The Hunger Games, X-Men, and Blade Runner comes a tale of a magical city divided, a political rebellion ignited, and a love that was meant to last forever. Book One of the Mystic City Novels.

Aria Rose, youngest scion of one of Mystic City's two ruling rival families, finds herself betrothed to Thomas Foster, the son of her parents' sworn enemies. The union of the two will end the generations-long political feud—and unite all those living in the Aeries, the privileged upper reaches of the city, against the banished mystics who dwell below in the Depths. But Aria doesn't remember falling in love with Thomas; in fact, she wakes one day with huge gaps in her memory. And she can't conceive why her parents would have agreed to unite with the Fosters in the first place. Only when Aria meets Hunter, a gorgeous rebel mystic from the Depths, does she start to have glimmers of recollection—and to understand that he holds the key to unlocking her past. The choices she makes can save or doom the city—including herself.

Review

From the moment I first saw the cover and read the blurb to this book I just knew that I had to read it. The idea behind the book is brilliant and the synopsis compares it to two of my favourite dystopian books. Unfortunately it didn’t quite live up to my expectations. Whilst the storyline was as incredible as I thought it would be, one element was lacking for me and that was the characters.

Aria is the perfect example of the type of character I dislike; whiney, gullible and without the tiniest shred of intelligence. Without hardly any questioning she just believes anything she is told even when things don’t make sense, she needs people to fully explain every little detail to her to know what is going on. This wasn’t helped by the fact that the book is very predictable and it is clear to everyone (except Aria) what is going on from the very start of the book. Aria did grow slightly as a character towards the end so I hope that she is less innocent and naive in future books.
All other aspects of the book were excellent. I loved the dystopian world that is the setting to this star crossed love story; two wildly different social classes, a flooded future Manhattan and people with powers that despite being necessary to the city functioning are hated and feared by the rich. I also liked the political and rebellion aspects to this book.

One of the best things about this book was Hunter. He was mysterious, strong, romantic and everything else that makes a perfect love interest. I loved Hunter and Aria’s relationship, he definitely brought out the best aspects of her character.
Despite me having some dislikes I do think that overall this is a good book. If Aria had been more developed as a character this could have become one of my favourites so I have high hopes for the second book. I also want to find out more about the Mystics as they were one of the best parts of this book and I think there is so much more to discover about them.