Monday, 26 January 2015

I Was Here by Gayle Forman - Early Review

I Was Here by Gayle Forman

I Was Here
Title: I Was Here

Series: N/A

Author: Gayle Forman

Published: 27th January 2015 by Simon & Schuster Australia

Source: E-copy for my honest review from Simon & Schuster Australia



Synopsis:

From the bestselling author of If I Stay - this summer's YA blockbuster film.

This characteristically powerful novel follows eighteen-year-old Cody Reynolds in the months following her best friend's shocking suicide.

As Cody numbly searches for answers as to why Meg took her own life, she begins a journey of self-discovery which takes her to a terrifying precipice, and forces her to question not only her relationship with the Meg she thought she knew, but her own understanding of life, love, death and forgiveness.

A phenomenally moving story, I Was Here explores the sadly all-too-familiar issue of suicide and self-harm, addressing it in an authentic way with sensitivity and honesty.




My Review

As is the case with most of the books I read, I'd kinda forgotten what it was about when I started reading - I have too many books running through my head to keep track of them all! And I kinda like the fact that I didn't remember what was going to happen, it helps enhance the surprise and mystery elements.

I Was Here was a story about a girl trying to find out the truth behind the suicide of her best friend, and trying to cope with not knowing or seeing it coming. I've only read one other of Gayle Forman's books, If I Stay, but I noticed similarities between themes - coming to terms with loss and dealing with emotionally intense situations. These themes make for interesting and compelling reads and take you on an emotional ride.

It took me a little while to get into this book. The writing style made me feel detached from the main character and I found it hard to feel for her. The story idea was really interesting and I enjoyed reading the book but I wish I'd connected with the characters more.

The story threw a coupe of interesting curve-balls, I don't want to give anything away but I was quite shocked. Cody was ruthless in her search for the truth and some of what she did I thought was really stupid and reckless, her judgement was a bit off but I suppose you can forgive her because of her grief-strickenness. Overall I enjoyed the book but I wasn't blown away. If you're a fan of Gayle Forman I think you will enjoy I Was Here.

3.5/5 Whales

 

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Book Blitz: The Queen’s Gift by T.R. Allardice - Interview + Giveaway


The Queen's Gift

The Queen's Gift by T.R. Allardice
YA Fantasy
Published: 15th December 2014

Fifteen-year-old, late-bloomer Jean Elliott dreams of becoming a Genie like her mom. When her family relocates to Tokyo, Jean is forced to use sleight-of-hand tricks to fool everyone at school into believing that she’s a normal Preternatural or risk expulsion. When her power finally appears, it comes in the form of the Queen’s Gift–an unspeakable magic that strips power from all Preternaturals and heralds the arrival of the new queen.

After an absence of two hundred years, not everyone wants the monarchy to return and they’re willing to go to great lengths to keep the status quo. When buried secrets rip Jean’s family apart, she has a choice to make: Walk away and hope for the best or embrace the power that’s known to lead to madness in order to save her family.

Jean’s greatest dream has turned into her biggest nightmare and no matter how hard she tries, there’ll be no wishing the Queen’s Gift away.

Book Links



Interview with T.R. Allardice

How did you come up with the idea for The Queen’s Gift?
I actually came up with the idea after a trip to Tokyo, Japan. I felt so out of my depth there, yet utterly fascinated by the culture. I wondered what would happen if you sent a teenager there and she had to deal with school plus the cultural divide. Throw in some magic—or lack thereof, and you have a lot of potential conflict.

How many books will be in the series?
Right now, I have two more books planned, but honestly, it depends on what it takes to tell the story. I’d always planned for it to be a trilogy, but I knew there could possibly be four books in the series.

Are you working on any other books?
Yes, I’m currently working on two more young adult books that will be the start of two more series. They have boy lead characters and contain an ensemble cast much like The Queen’s Gift. One is set in Scotland and the other is in New York.

How do you pick the settings?
I tend to go with places I’ve been to so that I have a real feel for the location. Most of the time, I’m traveling someplace and suddenly a story idea comes to me. That’s what happened when I was in London last year. The story that came to me there is currently stewing in my subconscious.

Who are your favorite Young Adult authors?
There are so many great young adult authors out there. It’s going to be hard to name them all. Off the top of my head (and I know I’ll be forgetting some), my favorites are: Melissa Marr, J.A. Templeton, Holly Black, Tawny Stokes, Neil Gaiman, Rachel Caine, Richelle Mead, Rick Riordan, J.K. Rowling, Maggie Stiefvater, Rachel Vincent, and Jennifer Armentrout.

Which Winchester brother would you pick?
Dean, but I do love Sam’s dimples. LOL!

If you could be any character, who would you be?
Probably Superman, but I am tempted by Iron Man and Spiderman.

What do you do when you’re not writing?
I try to spend time with real people, though it doesn’t always work. Characters can be very demanding. ;)

If you weren’t a writer, what would you do?
I’d probably go back to school and finish my degree. Not sure what kind of job I could get with a mythology degree though.

Last question. If you could have lunch with any writer, who would it be?
That’s easy. J.K. Rowling. Hands down. Thank you for having me.



Author Bio - T.R. Allardice

T.R. Allardice writes young adult, new adult, and humorous horror stories. Most of what she writes incorporates several genres. The content won't always be 'safe'. What's the fun in that? She is a member of the Horror Writer's Association, Novelist Inc. and the Author's Guild. She has thirty-one books published under another pen name. To find out more about her upcoming work, go to: www.trallardice.com

Author Links



Giveaway

An e-copy of The Queen's Gift

-International
-Ends 14th February 2015

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Book Blitz: Isla’s Oath by Cassandra Page - Teaser + Giveaway



Isla's Oath (Isla's Inheritance, #2)

Isla's Oath (Isla's Inheritance #2) by Cassandra Page
YA Urban Fantasy
Published: 20th January 2015

Australia is a long way from the Old World and its fae denizens … but not far enough.

Isla is determined to understand her heritage and control her new abilities, but concealing them from those close to her proves difficult. Convincing the local fae she isn’t a threat despite her mixed blood is harder still. When the dazzling Everest arrives with a retinue of servants, Isla gets her first glimpse of why her mother’s people are hated … and feared.

But Isla isn’t the only one with something to hide. Someone she trusts is concealing a dangerous secret. She must seek the truth and stop Everest from killing to get what he wants: Isla’s oath.

Book Links






Author Bio - Cassandra Page

Cassandra PageCassandra Page is a mother, author, editor and geek. She lives in Canberra, Australia’s bush capital, with her son and two Cairn Terriers. She has a serious coffee addiction and a tattoo of a cat—despite being allergic to cats. She has loved to read since primary school, when the library was her refuge, and loves many genres—although urban fantasy is her favourite. When she’s not reading or writing, she engages in geekery, from Doctor Who to AD&D. Because who said you need to grow up?

Author Links



Giveaway

$50 Gift Card for Amazon or B&N

-International
-Ends 3rd February 2015

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Stacking the Shelves [52]

Hosted by Tynga's Reviews
Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews about sharing the books you've added to your shelves in the past week, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in a physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks. Click on the book titles to take you to their goodreads page.


BOUGHT:

Sabriel (The Old Kingdom, #1)    Lirael (The Old Kingdom, #2)
Abhorsen (The Old Kingdom, #3)

Sabriel (Abhorsen #1) by Garth Nix (paperback)
Lirael (Abhorsen #2) by Garth Nix (paperback)
Abhorsen (Abhorsen #3) by Garth Nix (paperback)

I've read these books before and really enjoyed them so when I saw them all stacked together in my favourite local bookstore, I couldn't say no! #IhaveaproblembutI'mokaywithit!

Friday, 23 January 2015

Cover Reveal: Vibrizzio by Nicki Elson


Vibrizzio by Nicki Elson
Adult Contemporary Romance
Expected Publication: 21st April 2015 by Swoon Romance

Lyssa Bates doesn’t need a man. Not when the world is fully-stocked with double A batteries and a wide array of options in Amazon’s health and sexual wellness category. After yet another failed relationship, the twenty-six-year-old investment analyst is convinced that real guys aren’t ever going to live up to her expectations—so why should she bother with them? She’s determined to keep her dating life purely electronic…though she occasionally fantasizes about Hayden King, the delicious new associate she just got partnered with at work.

While Lyssa manages her romantic risks by deleting men from of the equation, the ever-charming Hayden protects his heart by diversifying his love life across multiple women. As the two young professionals travel together around the country for business, their flirty working relationship develops into a close friendship that hurtles toward something more. Between hot tub confessions in Baltimore, an accidental kiss in Dallas, and an all-nighter in Chicago, Hayden proves himself to be better than any fantasy. 

Book Links



Author Bio - Nicki Elson

Nicki ElsonWriting wasn't something Nicki set out to do; it just sort of happened when she realized writing reports was by far her favorite part of her investment consulting position. She traded stock allocation and diversification for story arcs and dialogue and now weaves her creative writing time in with the other activities of her busy life with her family in the Chicago suburbs. 

Nicki writes with two goals in mind: #1 to keep the characters realistic, even when their circumstances are anything but, and #2 to make the reader feel. Watch for her new title Vibrizzio, coming in 2015 from Swoon Romance. Her published works include Three Daves, a light-hearted romantic romp through a 1980s college campus, Divine Temptation, a romantic novel of angelic proportions, and Hans & Greta: a Twisted Fairy Tale Novella. Her published short stories include “Sway” (available as a single), “I Don’t Do Valentine’s Day” (part of A Valentine Anthology), and “Impressionism 101” (included in the debut issue of Insatiable: The Magazine of Paranormal Desire

Author Links

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Honey the Dixie Dingo Dog: Champion of the Strays by Allen Paul Blog Tour + Giveaway



Honey the Dixie Dingo Dog: Champion of the Strays by Allen Paul
Published: 8th June 2014 by Allen Paul

Bestselling and award-winning author Allen Paul has created an endearing character in Honey, a swamp dog who gets rescued at the moment she's about to get shot. Taken to live at Banbury Cross Farm with other rescued Dixie Dingos, her quick cuts and darting turns soon draw notice; she's then trained for agility championships, the most popular of all canine sports. From the start, Honey forms a deep bond with Miss Jane, who saved her in the nick of time. Her trainer is Ace, a worldly wise black man who manages the farm's kennel. Honey forms another deep bond with Miss Jane's partner, Mr. Billy, a skilled horseman who delights Honey by quoting famous rhymes. 

The story is told by Honey in a charming southern voice. She's just turned one (equal to a 10-year-old girl or boy) when the story begins. At its center is a haunting mystery: Why are swamp critters turning up dead with a wild look in the eye? Many believe a big coyote named Geronimo scares them to death. When two dead dingo pups are found, Honey becomes convinced that her pack, which is still in the swamp, could be next. Somehow she has to get them out. The plot thickens when several small pets get killed in the nearby town. Rewards are posted and a group led by the trapper Topper Guy, who nearly shot Honey, head for the swamp. Twelve innocent dingos mistaken for coyotes get shot. Miss Jane confronts Topper Guy and demands that the killings stop. The upshot is a high stakes bet: Topper Guy wagers his guns against Miss Jane's favorite horse that Honey won't win at the Sportsman's Championship. How Honey fares in that contest, and how the mystery killer gets caught, make for a thrilling read that kids at heart of all ages will love. 

In the end, Honey learns an unforgettable lesson that her pack, which now includes humans, comes first. Based on a true story, this book will appeal to middle grade readers and adults. On July 17, 2013 a front-page article in the New York Times cited new genetic evidence suggesting that the Dixie Dingo (registered as the Carolina Dog) is the oldest breed in North America, predating European settlement by many centuries. They were Native American camp dogs but are not related to the Australian dingos. Many Dixie Dingos still live in southern swamps. With their antenna-like ears and muscular build, their look is quite distinctive. Dixie Dingos are excellent pets who form deep bonds with humans. 

Book Links



Author Bio - Allen Paul

Allen began his career as a reporter with the Associated Press in Raleigh, NC. Later, he wrote speeches in Washington for a congressional committee chairman, a member of the president’s cabinet and the chairman of one presidential campaign. He was in Poland gathering material for his first book when the Berlin Wall fell. That book – Katyn: Stalin’s Massacre and the Triumph of Truth – became a bestseller in Eastern Europe. It earned warm praised from the New York Times, the Washington Post, New York Review of Books and many other media outlets.

He was a Fulbright Fellow in Poland in 2010-11 and collected material there for a novel based on a daring mission of the Polish underground at the end of World War Two. It will be published in 2015. 

His first book for younger readers (middle grade) was inspired by his own dog, Honey, whose breed – the Dixie Dingo – is probably the oldest in North America.

Allen holds a B.A. degree in English with a minor in History from Guilford College, and a Masters of International Public Policy from Johns Hopkins University. He and his wife, Betsy, live in Raleigh and have two grown children.

Author Links



Giveaway


A signed copy of Honey the Dixie Dingo Dog: Champion of the Strays
A $20 Amazon gift card

-International
-Must be 13+ to enter
-Ends 9th February 2015

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Blitz: Love & Other Lies by Madeline Ash - Guest Post + Giveaway


Love & Other Lies

Love & Other Lies by Madeline Ash
Adult Contemporary Romance
Published: 20th January 2015 by Destiny Romance

Small town vet Abby Benson has fled to the country to put her shameful past behind her. She’s just beginning to find her feet again when handsome stranger, Rue Thorn, arrives in town and begins to stir things up. Rue is gorgeous, kind and thoughtful and the two share an instant attraction.  But convinced he’ll despise her if he learns about her history, Abby reluctantly keeps him at arms length.

Determined to win Abby over, Rue tries to reshape himself as the sort of guy he thinks she might be interested in. And for a while it seems his act is working.  But when he finds out that Abby has been lying to him, it isn’t long before everything start to unravel …

A moving story of trust, forgiveness and the power of love from the author of Uncovered by Love and The Playboy’s Dark Secret.

Book Links



Guest Post by Madeline Ash

Morally Dubious Heroine

Hello, and thanks for having me on your blog!

The heroine Abby in my latest release, Love & Other Lies, is a compulsive liar.

I had the idea for her years ago, but I had to work up the courage to write a morally dubious heroine. From what I’ve noticed, romance readers don’t like heroines that aren’t good for the hero. I’m including myself in that generalisation. I mean, the hero is our man – so the heroine needs to be worthy to receive his love on our behalf ;-)

But Abby called to me, and finally, I wrote her story. Now, I’m so happy that she’s found contentment.

Before writing, I asked myself, what would be the most unsuitable match for a (reformed) compulsive liar? Because I’m not going to make it easy on her. She has a past of lying – she’s got to suffer for love! And along came Rue.

A really, really good guy.

Abby is terrified of screwing up someone’s life again, let alone the life of a decent, honest man. He’s the worst possible man to share chemistry with (and boy, do they share chemistry). He thinks the best of people, so never suspects that she’s hiding a dark secret.

I’m not saying he’s a pushover. He’s just a gorgeous beta hero!

My writing buddies find Abby intriguing and strangely relatable. Despite her morally questionable past of lying, I do feel that she deserves Rue’s love.

Do you have trouble accepting characters whose morals have slipped in the past? Or does it all come down to what motivated them? I’d love your thoughts!



Author Bio - Madeline Ash

Madeline AshMadeline lives and writes in Melbourne. She is an author with Destiny Romance and Tule Publishing.

Online, she calls madelineash.net home, although she does have capricious blogging tendencies so might not always have fresh tea ready for visitors. That's not to say she doesn't welcome company.

She writes contemporary romance.


Author Links



Giveaway

An e-copy of Love & Other Lies
An e-copy of The Playboy's Dark Secret (a companion to L&OL)
A print copy of Uncovered by Love
$20 voucher for online book distributor of choice (Amazon, iTunes, etc.)

-International
-Ends 29th January 2015

a Rafflecopter giveaway