Monday, 28 March 2016

Review: Demon Road by Derek Landy


Demon Road by Derek Landy
Published by Harper Collins Children's Books UK 2015 (E-Book)
507 Pages

Thank you to Harper Collins Children's Books UK for sending me this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Full of Landy’s trademark wit, action and razor sharp dialogue, DEMON ROAD kicks off with a shocking opener and never lets up the pace in an epic road-trip across the supernatural landscape of America. Killer cars, vampires, undead serial killers: they’re all here. And the demons? Well, that’s where Amber comes in...Sixteen years old, smart and spirited, she’s just a normal American teenager until the lies are torn away and the demons reveal themselves.

Forced to go on the run, she hurtles from one threat to another, revealing a tapestry of terror woven into the very fabric of her life. Her only chance rests with her fellow travellers, who are not at all what they appear to be…

Thoughts

A book about Demons, cannibalistic cars, serial killers, witches and vampires? I'm sold! I have never had the pleasure of reading any of Derek Landy's work before, but I had heard a lot about him, so I was rather intrigued and excited to read Demon Road, the first book in a new trilogy. This book was unlike anything I had read previous, and it takes you on one hell of a ride!

Demon Road is about sixteen year old, Amber Lamont, who until now has lived a normal life, despite not having a close relationship with her parents and lacking friends; instead turning to online forums for comfort. That is until one night when she finds out her parents are actually demons and in order for them to grow stronger and keep up a deal they made years ago have to eat her. She is forced to run away if she wants to live and go on a roap trip across supernatural America with the mysterious Milo, and later on, sweet, but slightly annoying Irish teenager, Glen. During the trip the trio encounter many supernatural, and quite shocking sights, including a city run by vampires, a serial killer with a weird obsession and witches.

This book is certainly fast paced and full of action and like I said at the start is unlike any book I have read before. As soon as you open the first page, I promise you you will not want to put it down! I loved finding out about the supernatural beings they encountered, and I admit I did jump and get startled at some parts. I've read many books about the supernatural before, but none of them quite live up to what I read in Demon Road.

There were a huge range of characters in this book, some you love, some you hate and some you just wish weren't there at all. Amber isn't your typical YA heroine. She's awkward, overweight, average looking and tends to make wrong decisions almost all the time, but despite that she is strong, determined and very tough (especially when she's in her demon form). I loved her from the moment I was introduced to her and I was always rooting for her and hoping she pulled through from the situations she found herself in. Milo, I found it hard to warm up to him at first but as I got further and further on into the story I started to understand why he was the way he was and I'm glad we found out about his past. Glen, oh I had a soft spot for him! Although he seemed like this annoying teenager who just wouldn't shut up, I really just wanted to give him a hug and just be his friend. It does seem like he was trying too hard to please Milo and Amber at times, but all he really wanted was to be part of something. 

There is a lot of gore, blood and pretty scary happenings in the book, which may scare some readers, there were some pretty graphic parts that made me question if this should really be appropriate for young readers, but it all depends on what scares you I guess. I didn't really get scared, just a little bit grossed out at some of the descriptions. However, that doesn't take away anything from the fantastic storyline.

Demon Road was a really interesting, original, fast paced read that takes you on an epic journey. I was drawn into Landy's world of the supernatural, and I really wish I'd discovered him sooner. He's a real talent to the literary world and Demon Road just goes to prove that.

Rating




Amy

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Sinners in the Dark Book Blitz


Sinners in the Dark
Inger Iversen
(Running in the Dark #2)
Publication date: March 25th 2016
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

War is coming between vampires and humans, and the Vampire Nation will stop at nothing to eliminate their enemies. Former assassin, Echo sees the Nation for what it is – a corrupt organization with its sights set on destroying the Sect, a group formed to eradicate all things vampire. Now Echo is a Ghost, a traitor of the Vampire Nation, determined to build a new life with the Sect. But choices he’s made in the past might cost him the one person who could truly redeem his soul.



EXCERPT:
Chapter 1
Present Day
Give as Good as You Get
Via crept slowly along the back wall of the seedy motel, keeping her body out of the light. Quietly, she tucked her lucky silver cross in her shirt and reached to her side to pull her queb, a weapon made from wood, from her belt. With her other hand, she palmed her gun and released it from her side. She studied the two hoodlums with intense disdain as they eyed the mom and pop diner. Via knew the owners, and ate there often back when she was a dollar away from being homeless.
Gang vampires were a tricky bunch. They often traveled in groups, and more times than not, had two or more lookouts. Via glanced around the back alley in search of anything amiss, but was greeted with nothing. Turning back to the group assembling before her, she noted their clothing; the red and gold shirts of the vamp-bangers told Via two things. First, they were not generals in the gang, but mere henchmen. And second, they were stupid as fuck, as this was their rival’s territory. She’d had many encounters with both gangs, on account of them liking to kidnap and rape women; enjoying their screams as she gutted them like a fish with her queb.
The sound of glass shattering pulled her out of her thoughts. Now would be the time Via should pull her cell from her pocket and dial up her dhampir partner, Echo. Her stomach roiled at the thought, and though Austin believed it a good idea to partner a human with a trusted dhampir, Via wasn’t feeling the love. Using the excuse of having her hands full, she didn’t make the call and inched closer to the opening leading out to the main street. She darted across the street and damn near ninja dove into the window. Once she cleared the glass and debris, she smoothly rolled under the nearest table for cover.
Via was no fool, with vamps’ excellent hearing and sniffers, they’d easily discover her in the café, but she was banking on one thing to help her out. She took a quick peek at the bottom of her queb for reassurance. The stake-like rod was thick as a baton, the tip sharp as a razor’s edge, and it gave a faint glow from the rune placed on it by an enchantress. This particular rune obliterated Via’s human scent. A handy tool when hiding from vamps.
Like with any mission, sanctioned or unsanctioned, Via had a plan: attack, kill, and repeat, until all vamps were dead. Ordinarily, Echo had point and took out the lookouts. His superior vision and hearing had often given him and Via an advantage, but since he wasn’t with her, it’d be like old times.
Vamp number one, who she’d decided to call Lefty, since he was missing his right eye, slid to a halt in front of the broken window. Ambient light from the streetlights filtered into the small café, creating shadows across Lefty’s perplexed face. Via inched her gun up—loaded with silver nitrate bullets—and readied her queb just as the pale faced vamp turned. The first shot rang out like an explosion in the night. Seared flesh, blood, and pieces of Lefty’s remaining eye showered around Via.
Standing to take care of the second vamp sliding around the corner, she lost her balance in the blood and fell to the floor. In a second, she made the choice to drop the queb, and aim the weapon. To her surprise, instead of one vampire, there were now three. These were more than some run-of-the-mill gangbangers, breaking and entering. The one she’d aptly named Blue, for his intense electric blue eyes, held a few boxes in his hand, and not one of them had made their way to the cash register, or the wall safe.
Blue’s eyes widened at the sight of her. “Hey, baby.” His voice held a sickening slimy quality. He handed the boxes to Tyson, who she’d named Mike Tyson since they both had those stupid matching face tattoos. “Did you come to play?” Licking his lips, his eyes did a perusal of her body, taking time to linger on her breasts.
Slowly, Via stood and placed her empty hand on her hip while keeping her gun aimed. “Stop, in the name of the law.” None of the vamps spoke. The silence filled the room and Via tensed. Okay, so these guys didn’t like her joke.
The three vamps, Blue, Tyson and Shit Eater—no explanation for nickname needed—stared at her longer, before there was a blur of movement, and one of the three stooges knocked the gun from her hands. Next came a gut-crushing blow to her stomach. Bile rose in her throat as she hit the ground.
If Via lived to tell this story, she would say that in seconds she was up again ready and raring to take on the vamps—which would be a lie. Those who had called her hardheaded would be happy to know that too was a lie because as her skull hit the floor with a deafening crack. Via’s body refused to listen to her command to get the fuck up. Even with skill such as Via’s, taking on three vamps in the middle of the night, with no damned back up, was something akin to suicide.

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About Inger

Inger Iversen was born in 1982 to Anne and Kaii Iversen. She lives in Virginia Beach with her overweight lap cat, Max and her tree hugging boyfriend Joshua. She spends 90 percent of her time in Barnes and Noble and the other ten pretending not to want to be in Barnes and Noble.

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Amy

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Friday, 25 March 2016

Top Five Friday: Couples

So it's Friday, which means its another Top Five Friday! I hope you all enjoyed last weeks look at my top five children's books. This week is all about my Top Five Book Couples. These aren't my OTP's, these are genuine couples that have been put together in books I have read. Enjoy!


5) Katniss Everdeen & Peeta Mellark: The Hunger Games Trilogy


I love Katniss and Peeta and have done ever since I read the first book in the trilogy. I never really understood Katniss and Gale and I always knew that she'd end up with Peeta. I know at first they were just faking a romance to get sponsors and for publicity, but further down the line you realised that they did truly care for each other. Despite her doubts, you could tell Katniss knew where her heart lay. They are proof that love can survive anything.

4) Sam Roth & Grace Brisbane: The Wolves of Mercy Falls Trilogy

I love this series and I loved Sam and Grace as a couple from the get go. The fact that they have known each other ever since Sam saved her as child just adds to it. It's almost as if they were destined to be together. I adored reading about their relationship blossoming and throughout the series I was genuinely rooting for them to stay together. I love how Sam would do anything to protect Grace, and vice versa. It is a sign of true love and I am so glad they got their happy ending.

3) Cath Avery & Levi Stewart: Fangirl


Cath and Levi - what a sweet couple! Yes their relationship was a very slow burner and at times you questioned if they'd even get together. However, when they finally do you feel an overwhelming sense of joy. I love how Cath helped Levi when he was struggling with his assignments and I enjoyed seeing how Levi helped pull Cath out of her shell slightly. They had some rocky moments throughout the book, but in the end they realised their true feelings for one another.


2) Ron Weasley & Hermione Granger: The Harry Potter Series


They say opposites attract and this was definitely the case with Ron and Hermione. From the first book you have an inkling that these two will end up together and for the first few books it is a slow burner. At times you just want to shout 'get together already!'. In the Goblet of Fire we start to discover how they feel about each other and it is finally confirmed in the Deathly Hallows when they finally kiss! You can hear everyone in the fandom shouting 'well it's about time'. I love these two as a couple as Hermione keeps Ron grounded, whereas Ron encourages Hermione to break the rules at times and be a little bit reckless. It's the best of both worlds.

1) Hazel Grace Lancaster & Augustus Waters: The Fault in Our Stars


The Fault in Our Stars is one of my favourite books of all time and Hazel and Augustus are my number one favourite book couple. Yes their love story is short and tragic in the end, but they go to show that making every minute count is what it's all about. From the moment they first met at the support group you could see a spark and I loved seeing that spark grow, it melted my heart, literally. I loved Augustus' lease of life and I loved seeing Hazel slowly fall in love with him. When they finally kissed at the Anne Frank House my heart burst with pride and joy. They only had a short while together, but that was all they needed.

So there are my top five book couples! Stay tuned for next week's countdown!

Amy

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Thursday, 24 March 2016

Maneater (A Love in 80's Novella) Book Blitz (Including Excerpt & Giveaway)


Maneater
Cambria Hebert
(A Love in the ‘80s Novella)
Publication date: March 25th 2016
Genres: New Adult, Romance

Watch out, girls. Here she comes.
There’s always that girl. She’s popular, beautiful, and has everything together. The one with the perfectly teased hair, arms full of colorful (but coordinated) bangles, and expertly painted bright-pink lips.
A teacher’s pet. Daddy’s girl.
Everyone loves her.
Because everyone is afraid to challenge her.
Kelly Ross is that girl. She uses her powers of popularity for good… her own good. She doesn’t care who she hurts.
She always gets what she wants.
Including your man.
When she walks down the hallway in her hot-pink heels and ruffled denim miniskirt, all the boys’ heads turn. And all the girls start whispering.
Man-eater.
There hasn’t been a single guy Kelly hasn’t been able to chew up and spit out.
Until now.
Kelly has finally met her match. He’s been there all along, and he’s the exact opposite of everything you’d expect.


Excerpt
Eric
Do people change?
Or do they always stay the same?
That’s more of a philosophy question. I’m more of a science guy.
I like tangible theories that can be measured, questions with answers that have irrefutable proof. I’m not much for matters of the mind with no exact equation, therefore without exact answer.
I’ve heard it said that the more people change, the more they stay the same.
That statement is confusing. Whatever “great” mind came up with the saying probably was a philosophy major and had no knowledge of scientific reasoning.
It’s a false notion.
A mathematical and scientific fact. In an equation, a + b = c. If even just one variable is changed, the entire equation changes, the answer does not remain the same.
If math and science don’t give enough irrefutable proof, the world I live in does. In the universe of high school and growing older, everyone changes. It’s a natural evolution of life.
I see her every day. Even without my glasses, my eyes would still make out her shape.
She’s one of those girls the eyes must look at, just like the lungs must breathe oxygen. Her presence is loud in the hallways of Edward Little High.
Yet her reputation is quiet… at least the real one anyway.

Whispers. I hear them. When you are invisible, or thought to only think about equations and charts, people think you don’t listen. But I hear.
I listen.
It’s how one learns.
The Choice thinks they know everything, but the people who know the most in this school are the ones who are known the least.
I’m practically a shadow, practically a ghost.
“Beat it, losers!” Tad yells from across the hall. My friends and I look up, surprised he’s talking to us.
Okay, maybe I’m not as invisible as I thought.
I glance at Kelly as we scurry off.
Or maybe, I’m only visible when my presence is useful.
I knew Kelly once, a long time ago. Practically in another life. We aren’t friends. She probably doesn’t even remember my name. I remember hers.
I remember the way she used to twist her Oreos in two and hand me the side with the most cream. The way she would grab my hand and pull me off to play before who we were got in the way.
I remember when she was nice.
As I walk to class, my two friends by my sides, I tune out their conversation and wonder. I saw the way Kelly was looking at Tad, her best friend’s boyfriend. It was a sign. Kelly was gearing up to take down another one. It was a pattern. Patterns always repeat themselves.
This time, I wondered if she would go too far.
Kelly was the reason I was spending my time on an internal philosophical debate. Do people change? The theory was no.
I was seeing evidence to the contrary.
The girl I knew all those years ago would never act the way she does now.
But she does.
The whispers follow her around the hall.
People do change.
MET2
About Cambria
 Cambria Hebert is an award winning, bestselling novelist of more than twenty books. She went to college for a bachelor’s degree, couldn’t pick a major, and ended up with a degree in cosmetology. So rest assured her characters will always have good hair. 

Besides writing, Cambria loves a caramel latte, staying up late, sleeping in, and watching movies. She considers math human torture and has an irrational fear of chickens (yes, chickens). You can often find her running on the treadmill (she’d rather be eating a donut), painting her toenails (because she bites her fingernails), or walking her chorkie (the real boss of the house).

Cambria has written within the young adult and new adult genres, penning many paranormal and contemporary titles. Her favorite genre to read and write is romantic suspense. A few of her most recognized titles are: The Hashtag Series, Text, Torch, and Tattoo.

Cambria Hebert owns and operates Cambria Hebert Books, LLC.

You can find out more about Cambria and her titles by visiting her website: http://www.cambriahebert.com.

Giveaway

Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card (worth roughly £17 and €22)


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Amy

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Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Review: The Last Kiss Goodbye by Tasmina Perry


The Last Kiss Goodbye by Tasmina Perry
Published by Headline Review 2016 (Paperback)
376 Pages

Thank you to Headline Review for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

Everyone remembers their first kiss. But what about the last?

1961. Journalist Rosamund Bailey is ready to change the world. When she meets explorer and man about town Dominic Blake, she realises she has found the love of her life. Just as happiness is in their grasp, the worst happens, and their future is snatched away.

2014. Deep in the vaults of a museum, archivist Abby Gordon stumbles upon a breathtaking find. A faded photograph of a man saying goodbye to the woman he loves. Looking for a way to escape her own heartache, Abby becomes obsessed with the story, little realising that behind the image frozen in time lies a secret altogether more extraordinary.

Thoughts

A story about long lost love with twists and turns? Yes please. As soon as I read the synopsis for The Last Kiss Goodbye I knew I had to read it. I'd never read any of Tasmina Perry's books before, so it was good to be going into this book with a clear head not knowing what to expect. I was looking forward to getting stuck into this love story (as you know if you are a big reader of this blog, is that I do love a good romantic story).

The Last Kiss Goodbye is a dual-timed story, set in 1960's and the modern day. The story is based around a photograph that archivist Abby Morgan finds in 2014, showing a couple in what appears to be a last goodbye. The photograph is featured in an exhibition and is later titled 'The Last Goodbye', the photograph grabs the attention of the press and is soon captivating audiences. Dealing with her own heartache, Abby looks into the photograph further and soon finds out that the people in it are explorer and man about town Dominic Blake and journalist and activist Rosamund Bailey. She soon discovers that Dominic was heading off on an adventure in the photograph and never returned home. 

The story travels back and fourth and we soon learn how Dominic and Rosamund met in 1960's, where parties, excitement and women's views were all the rage. In the midst of all this we also visit a darker side to this decade with the Cold War. The balance between these themes is handled very delicately and I applaud Tasmina for it. 

The idea behind the story did captivate me, I just wish I had felt myself engaging more with the characters that I met throughout. I loved Rosamund, I found her to be a highly intelligent, opinionated and determined to fight for what she saw was right. As a political activist turned journalist this is what I expected for her character. She would be great role model for any young woman. I also had a bit of a spot for Dominic Blake. I loved his charismatic aura and the way he could charm anyone on the spot. He did have a bit of a reputation as a playboy, but as he fell in love with Rosamund he knew where his heart lay. On the other hand I found Abby to be, quite frankly, a bit of a dull, wet character. I feel like she went on a bit too much about her heartache and at times I just wanted to give her a shake and bring her back to reality. Oh and don't get me started on Elliot Hall. I knew he was going to be a sleazeball of a character from the moment he was introduced and I literally screamed when Abby fell for him. 

As I loved Dominic and Rosamund so much, I definitely enjoyed their parts of the story to Abby's. I'm a girl that wished I'd grown up in the sixties so I loved reading about it and imagining. Also, the fact that we visited many different locations across the story such as London, Paris and St Petersburg, which really brought depth to the entire story.

The Last Kiss Goodbye was a really interesting read that had me captivated. I loved the love story and the several mysteries that we encountered. It was just the weak characters that let it down slightly. Don't get me wrong though, it's a great book to curl up with for a few hours.

Rating



Amy

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Bookish Identity Tag

You may know that I love doing tags and quizzes on this blog and I came across this one recently which I thought would be really interesting to do! It's the Bookish Identity tag and basically you have to answer a few questions about a specific bookish universe!

  • What dystopian/fantastical world would you live in?
  • Who would your partner be?
  • Who would be your godly mother/father? (Percy Jackson)
  • Would you be a Downworlder or a Nephilim? (Shadowhunters)
  • What house would you be in? (Harry Potter)
  • What faction would you be in? (Divergent)

Questions

What Dystopian/Fantastical world would you live in?


I would definitely live in the Harry Potter universe! It was the first fantasy universe that I fell in love with and the idea of being able to study magic in all it's forms fascinates me! I would love to study in Hogwarts castle and explore every inch of it.


Who would your partner be?

If we are talking about love interests, it may be a bit shocking but I would go with Caleb Prior from the Divergent Trilogy. I feel that we both have a lot in common and yes, although he did betray Tris, I feel that he redeemed himself in many ways. He is also very smart and I could imagine us to have lots of intellectual conversations.

Who would be your godly mother/father? (Percy Jackson)

I've only read the first book in the Percy Jackson series, but I think my godly mother would be Athena. She is known, from my knowledge and the goddess of wisdom, the arts, courage and inspiration. Things that I feel like I am known for. I can't really say much else as I would really need to read the other books in the series to know more.

Would you be a Downworlder or a Nephilim? (Shadowhunters)

I would be a Nephilim! I would enjoy being part angel and protecting mundanes from demons and downworlders. Plus I'd get to hang out at the Institute, have some awesome runes and use some amazing weapons.

What house would you be in? (Harry Potter)

I would be a Hufflepuff! I have taken several sorting hat quizzes, including the official Pottermore one and I have got Hufflepuff each time. Some people would be upset about being sorted into Hufflepuff, but not me. I'm proud of it. I definitley share some of the traits of Hufflepuff house such as; loyalty, kindness, hard work and dedication. I would relish in being a member of this house and would show my pride each and everyday.

What faction would you be in? (Divergent)


I would be in Amity, also known as the peaceful faction. I'm known as a pacifist and I hate any kind of conflict and when I can I always try to keep the peace. So I feel like I would fit in very well with this faction. They also value kindness, trust and forgiveness. All traits which I think I do have.


Feel free to do this tag if you so wish, but make sure to tag me in it so I can check out your answers.

Amy

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Monday, 21 March 2016

In the Hope of Memories Excerpt

Happy publication day to In the Hope of Memories, to celebrate here is a short excerpt which I hope you all enjoy! Thanks again to Xpresso Book Tours for setting this up.



In The Hope of Memories by Olivia Rivers

Wait!" I slam my hand against the door to stop it from clicking shut, wincing as the splintered wood digs into me. "I'm looking for Hope. Hope Jackson. She said she'd be here."
The dude shakes his head. "She's dead."
My heart stutters a fast and hard beat, like it does right when I get tackled on the field. "No. No, she's not. She's the exact opposite of dead. Today is her eighteenth birthday. Her birthday party is about to start right now."
Official Reason Number Infinity it Sucks to Be Going Blind: When you can't see right, you can't stop a fist from colliding with your face. The dude’s knuckles crash into my jaw, and I yelp, more out of shock than pain. I'm about to pound my own fist into the freak when he starts talking again, this time in a tone that’s actually kind of pissed.
"She's dead, you jerk! You really think it's funny to joke about that?"
"I'm not joking!" I rub at my jaw with the back of my clenched hand. Part of me is itching to mess up this guy's face, but a larger part is starting to panic. "You're the one with the wrong info," I say, silently praying I'm right. "Hope isn't dead."
The dude stares down at his hand and slowly curls and uncurls his fingers, like he can't quite believe he just threw a punch. Then he whispers, "You're not messing with me?"
"No! What kind of sick joke would that be? Like I said, I'm just trying to find her birthday party. I got an invite from her, I swear. It said to come here."
"Oh."
Apparently, this conversation isn't weird enough for him, so he has to add in some awkward silence. Fan-freaking-tastic. Just when I’m starting to think he's slipped into a coma, he says, "Sorry I punched your face."
I take a deep breath. "Just tell me where her birthday party is, okay?"
"I told you, there is no party. Hope is dead."
"Christ, are you seriously going to make me explain this again? She’s not dead. It’s her birthday today. As in the day when you celebrate a person being alive."
"It would have been her birthday," the dude says, slipping back into his strange monotone. "But now she's dead."
The seriousness in his voice makes my gut twist, and for a moment, I wonder if maybe he hurt Hope. My hand edges toward my pocket, but just as I'm considering grabbing my cell phone and dialing 9-1-1, I see a tear trickle down his cheek. It looks strange on his expressionless face, but another tear quickly follows, and then a third. He sniffs and turns away, wiping his right eye on the battered sleeve of his hoodie.
"What happened?" I ask, my voice a cracked whisper. All sorts of scenarios rush through my head—Hope’s plane crashing on vacation, a car accident, getting caught in a wrong-place-wrong-time shooting...
"You don't know?" the dude asks.
"No. Was it in the news?"
The smallest beginning of a frown tugs at his lips. "Of course not. Why would the news report about a stroke victim?"
"Stroke?” I repeat. “She had a stroke? What...why? What triggered it? She’s a health freak."
He blinks slowly and then says again, "You don't know?" 


About Olivia


 Olivia Rivers is a hybrid author of Young Adult fiction. Her works include the independently published novels “Frost Fire” and “In the Hope of Memories,” along with the traditionally published novel “Tone Deaf” (Skyhorse 2016.) As a certified geek, she enjoys experimenting with new publishing technologies, and her online serials have received over 1,000,000 hits on Wattpad.com. When Olivia isn’t working as a writer, she’s a typical teen attending college in Northern California. Olivia is represented by Laurie McLean of Fuse Literary, and nothing thrills her more than hearing from readers.


Amy

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In the Hope of Memories Giveaway

Today is the Publication day for In the Hope of Memories by Olivia Rivers. To celebrate this the lovely guys over at Xpresso Book Tours have hooked me up with a giveaway for one lucky person. The giveaway is for an Ebook version of the book and is open internationally, so anyone from anywhere can enter, which I think is pretty good! 

To enter all you need to do is follow the instructions below! The winner will be notified on 12th April and will receive their prize after 14th April. Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you need persuading to enter this giveaway here is a quick synopsis of the book up for grabs below.


Hope is dying.

Hope Jackson has lived her short life to the fullest, but her four closest friends are dangling on the brink of disaster. Right before dying of a rare heart condition, Hope sets up a scavenger hunt across New York City using her graffiti art. The directions she leaves her friends are simple: Solve the clues hidden in her art, and they’ll solve the problems haunting their lives.

Hope is dead.

Two days after her heart fails, Hope’s friends are thrown together:
Aiden, her best friend, whose plans to attend college have been scattered by his OCD.
Kali, her foster sister, whose last ties to sanity are as razor-thin as her anorexic waistline.
Erik, her high school crush, whose success as an athlete is based on a lie with no end in sight.
And Sam, her online pen-pal, whose perfect life exploded into chaos in the aftermath of a school bombing.

Together, the four teens take to the streets of New York to complete Hope’s scavenger hunt and fulfill her dying wishes. But in order to unravel the clues hidden in Hope’s graffiti, her friends will need to confront their personal demons head on.

Hope is within reach.


Good luck again!

Amy

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Friday, 18 March 2016

Review: Jakob's Colours by Lindsay Hawdon


Jakob's Colours by Lindsay Hawdon
Published by Hodder & Stoughton 2016 (Paperback)
309 Pages

Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

Austria, 1944: Jakob, a gypsy boy—half Roma, half Yenish—runs, as he has been told to do. With shoes of sack cloth, still bloodstained with another's blood, a stone clutched in one hand, a small wooden box in the other. He runs blindly, full of fear, empty of hope. For hope lies behind him in a green field with a tree that stands shaped like a Y. He knows how to read the land, the sky. When to seek shelter, when not. He has grown up directing himself with the wind and the shadows. They are familiar to him. It is the loneliness that is not. He has never, until this time, been so alone. "Don't be afraid, Jakob," his father has told him, his voice weak and wavering. "See the colours, my boy," he has whispered. So he does. Rusted ochre from a mossy bough. Steely white from the sap of the youngest tree. On and on, Jakob runs. Spanning from one world war to another, taking us across England, Switzerland, and Austria, Jakob's Colours is about the painful legacies passed down from one generation to another, finding hope where there is no hope, and colour where there is no colour.

Thoughts

I am trying to try out new genres of books, as I feel like I need to branch out and try new things, so when the chance came for me to read Jakob's Colours I jumped at the chance. With it being a Historical Novel about a little known subject during World War Two it was definitely different to anything I had read previous. However, I kept a clear head and soon dived right in.

Jakob's Colours follows Jakob an eight year old half Roma, half Yenish gypsy boy who is wandering the woods, fending for himself. How did he get there? and where are his parents? Throughout the book we find out how he got there and what really did happen to those that he loved. The book moves back and forward in time 'Long Before', 'Before' and 'This Day' from the perspectives of Jakob, himself, his mother, Lor and his father, Yavy. We learn about their struggles in life, how they became the people they are and how they battled being Gypsies through the war. 

Although I found it really hard to get into this book to begin with I was soon engrossed in each characters story. Although it is fiction, I found it hard to believe that the things I was reading about actually did happen in real life. I loved Jakob as a character, although only being eight, he was wise beyond his years. I feel that he is seen as a sign of hope to other characters he comes across, especially Cherub and Loslow. His relationship with Markus, who hides him for several months is something of a Grandfather/Grandson relationship. Markus's caring side really shone through with Jakob and you could tell that he thought greatly of him.

There are some harrowing and upsetting scenes throughout the book and I admit I did shed a tear or two at some of them. The scenes that got to me the most however, were the scenes where Lor was in the Institute. It really got to me how they treated mental health in that time, and I found myself feeling deeply sorry for her. I almost leapt for joy when Yavy came and rescued her and took her away from that dreadful place.

The colours mentioned throughout the book I feel were to distract Jakob from fear and also to bring a slight brightness to a somewhat bleak time of life. Whenever a colour was mentioned I felt myself perk up slightly, sensing hope and tranquillity. 

Although it wasn't my typical genre I did enjoy Jakob's Colours thoroughly. I'm not sure if I would re-read it, but it really brought to my knowledge about how Gypsies were treated during World War Two, something that I didn't know anything about, which I'm sure I'm not alone with. It will make you cry, but it will also bring you hope, hope for Jakob. 

Rating



Amy

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Top Five Friday: Children's Books

So, I've been debating for a while whether to start a weekly segment on this blog and after thinking about what to do I finally came up with the idea of 'Top Five Friday'. Every Friday I will count down my top five book related things. It could be Top Five Book Couples or Top Five Male Authors etc. For my first Top Five Friday I decided to share my top five children's books. My love of reading began when I was a child so I thought I would share the books that I loved and still do love to this day.

5) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl


A book about a chocolate factory! What child wouldn't love that!? I read this book countless amount of times when I was younger and I just couldn't get enough of it. I loved reading about Charlie's adventure at Willy Wonka's chocolate factory and I remember always wanting a bar of chocolate whilst reading it. This book made me laugh a lot, especially when the other children got their comeuppance. It's a pure work of genius and I'm sure it will live on forever.

4) The Stray by Dick King-Smith


Most people will know Dick King-Smith as the creator of Babe the Sheep-Pig. However, the book I will remember him for is The Stray, one of his more unknown pieces of work. I never owned this book personally, but I remember borrowing it from the library time and time again. I think I found the idea of an elderly lady leaving her nursing home to go on an adventure quite comical. I haven't read it since I was younger, but I think I will need to track it down and relive it.

3) Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling


I first read Harry Potter when I around eight years old and although I was young I will never regret the decision as it introduced me to one of my now all time favourite series. I remember being wowed as I read about Harry and Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. I was hooked on the book and I remember wanting my Hogwarts letter so I could go and learn magic. Harry Potter was a big part of my growing up and I owe it all to this book that kick started it all.

2) Matilda by Roald Dahl


Yes, another book by Roald Dahl makes this list, but hey he was an amazing storyteller! I absolutely adored Matilda and I think my copy got so battered as I read it so much. I think I loved it as it was about a young girl who loved to read, and as I was at the age where I'd just discovered reading I felt like I could relate. I enjoyed reading about Matlida's life and I wanted her powers so much that I kept trying to move things with my eyes in real life. Sadly it didn't work! Her relationship with Miss Honey was so heartwarming and I was so happy that she got her happy ending. This is a book that every child needs to read at least once.

1) The Story of Tracy Beaker by Jacqueline Wilson


The Story of Tracy Beaker is honestly my favourite Children's book of all time! I was so hooked on it as a child and read it constantly. I thought and still think that it was a work of genius. Tracy is such a strong character. She's witty, she's funny, she's tough and she's not afraid to follow her dreams. Her different stories had me laughing for ages and sometimes I felt like I actually wanted to be in The Dumping Ground with her. This book will always stay with me and I hope to show my future children it (when I have them).

What are your favourite children's books? Let me know and stay tuned for my next Top Five Friday next week!

Amy

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