where our team of writers love to talk all things books, sharing reviews, features, lists, interviews and more.

Getting lost in a book is escapism at it's finest and it's what everyone who contributes here thrives on.


Kata Golda's Hand-Stitched Felt | Kata Golda | Review

Wednesday 30 April 2014

Kata Golda's Hand-Stitched Felt | Kata Golda | Review

hand stitched felt

All of the projects in Kata Golda’s Hand-Stitched Felt have that real handmade feel to them as do the hand drawn templates and instructions provided.

There are all sorts of ideas to be found here from handy storage to cute toys, accessories and other little gift ideas. Although they weren’t all to my taste projects I most liked the look of included the perfect for a child’s room ‘Picture Perfect Bunny Patch’ which features framed applique bunnies and the practical for storage ‘Holds Everything Bucket’.

This little book would be great for those looking for simple project ideas to help practise basic sewing skills but may not suit more experienced crafters.

*Review copy c/o Netgalley, image via
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Blogger’s Bookshelf Review Round Up #16

Saturday 26 April 2014

Blogger’s Bookshelf Review Round Up #16

Review Round Up #16
It’s that time of the month again! Check out the posts you’ve missed below…

Niina also shared her thoughts on Travel Guide Books and recommends some of her favourites. We also caught up with our bloggers as they shared their first update on their 2014 Reading Goals.

For April’s group post, our contributors got debating and voiced their opinions on Series vs. Standalones!

Our next group post is all about putting yourself in the shoes of a protagonist! We're going to be discussing which characters we would want by our side through our journeys in the form of a best friend or sidekick and we want your contributions!

Drop us an email, tweet us or post to our GoodReads page by 14/5/14 to have your answer included in the post!
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Night School | C.J. Daugherty | Review

Friday 25 April 2014

Night School | C.J. Daugherty | Review

Allie Sheridan’s world is falling apart. Her brother’s run away from home. Her parents ignore her. And she’s just been arrested. Again. This time her parents have had enough. They cut her off from her friends and send her away to boarding school, far from her London friends. But at Cimmeria Academy, Allie is soon caught up in the strange activities of a secret group of elite students.
When she’s attacked late one night the incident sets off a chain of increasingly violent events. As the school begins to seem like a very dangerous place, she finds out that nothing at Cimmeria is what it seems. And that she is not who she thought she was.

I’ve always enjoyed boarding school books. I adored Malory Towers and St Clare’s as I grew up. I’m always drawn towards boarding school books. I think that equates for a lot of the reasons that I chose to pick up Night School.

I didn’t know too much about it going in, and I actually expected a paranormal novel of some kind. The synopsis and plot makes it seem that way, however it has no paranormal elements whatsoever. To be very honest, this was a nice change from my somewhat monotonous reading routine.

One of my main issues with the book is that Allie’s “rebellion” disperses pretty much as soon as she gets to Cimmeria. Before Cimmeria she is troubled, acting out and being arrested and expelled all over the place. While she is sent to Cimmeria to be “sorted out” if you will, her personality changes quickly and we lose the rebellious, feisty main character for one that is solidly average. While I like Allie more in later books in the series, much of Night School was made strong by the supporting characters.

Due to the nature of the school all the plots were so cloaked in mystery you got absolutely no resolution about anything that happened until the very end, which could be frustrating. Even then, due to the bigger story arc of the series, you’re left with more questions. It can be a frustrating experience, although that is ultimately what made me read the next one in the series almost straight away.

C.J. Daugherty’s writing is so smooth and beautiful, transitioning easily through different settings and scenes and this definitely made up for some of the somewhat flawed, content.

This post was written by regular reviewer Kath, get to know her here.

*Image c/o Goodreads
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Guest Review | The Universe Versus Alex Woods | Gavin Extence

Thursday 24 April 2014

Guest Review | The Universe Versus Alex Woods | Gavin Extence

Image via Goodreads

Alex Woods is a wanted man. We’re first introduced to him as his car is stopped at the UK border, Dover. His car just happens to contain a bag of pot and the ashes of a dead man. Alex’s crime is unclear, but what is clear is that it’s big news.

The story, told from the perspective of Alex, then flashes back to when he was five and had his first taste of infamy. Alex is hit by a solid metal meteor that comes crashing through his bathroom ceiling. Hitting him square on the head, the chances of this happening, never mind him surviving, are extremely low so when he does he feels as though the universe has picked him out for something. And fate is an important part of The Universe Versus Alex Woods. Circumstances set in motion by the astral mishap lead Alex to meet Mr Peterson, who, as it happens, becomes one of the most important people in Alex’s life.

As in most young and old buddy stories (think Pixar’s Up) Mr Peterson is a reluctant partner. He is grumpy, a bit of a loner and extremely set in his ways but Alex is undeterred and soon a shared love of reading bonds them. Mr Peterson introduces Alex to the works of Kurt Vonnegut which take on significant meaning in their relationship. Gavin Extence has very cleverly used the works and symbolism of Vonnegut to imbue The Universe Versus Alex Woods with meaning. The reader is allowed to contemplate the significance of the references without it being forced or heavy-handed.

The Universe Versus Alex Woods certainly tackles some challenging and controversial subjects. Mr Peterson falls ill and Alex is forced to consider what it means to be able to live a life of quality and to be in control of your own destiny.  At its core, The Universe Versus is about life but due to Alex’s narrative voice, it never falls into the overly ponderous category. Due to his accident and “alternative” upbringing, Alex has a unique perspective on life. He is bookish, logical and has learnt a high level of self –discipline so the emotion and lack of control of Mr Peterson’s situation presents him with a huge challenge.

Gavin Extence has written a spectacular debut in The Universe Versus Alex Woods. Alex is a truly unique hero, elevating the tried and tested coming of age story with intelligence, determination and fierce loyalty. Touching, humorous and thought-provoking, you can help but be pulled in by this novel to the very end, and what feels like only the beginning of the remarkable life of Alex Woods.

This post was written by guest reviewer Ali who blogs over at

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Travel Guide Books | Review

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Travel Guide Books | Review

What I look forward to the most every summer is that I finally have some time (and hopefully some money) to do some traveling. I’m one of those people who like planning and organizing, you know one of those people who get by in life by making lists. So yes, I admit that travel planning is a big part of the joy of traveling for me. Travel planning is a lot about being prepared and knowing your destination but it’s also about inspiration. So I thought I would write a post about my favorite travel guide books. I think the purpose of travel guide books has changed during the last twenty years. Back in the days I think the purpose of travel books was to give as much information as possible, what to do, where to stay and where to eat. But today we can easily find that information and so much more online. So t I think the most important purpose of a travel book today is to inspire rather than inform.


I love the New York Times 36 Hours travel books! The books consist of columns that tell you what to do, see and eat if you only have 36 hours in a city or destination. It’s not a full travel guide but I find this concept really fun and inspiring! You quickly get a good feel for the place you’re reading about and most of the sights in the books are different from the obvious ones you read about in other guide books. You can get the book with 150 weekends in United States and Canada or one with 125 weekends in Europe. There are also a few smaller books with weekends in different areas of the United States and Canada. You can also read the 36 Hours columns online.

The Discover series by Lonely Planet are my favorite travel guides! I’ve always liked the regular travel guides by Lonely Planet for finding a lot of information but they’re pretty boring with their few and black and white photographs. Considering that travel guide books are mostly for inspiration for me I’ve never found them that inspiring. But the Discover travel guides on the other hand are everything I want in a travel book. They feel new, fresh, updated and are a good mixture of nice pictures and useful information. There are also a lot of inside tips from locals and people that know the area and that’s always interesting and helpful.

I think a lot of people have the Eyewitness Travel Guides as their favorite travel guides. Because let’s face it; it’s more inspiring to read a travel book with a lot of pictures. I like the Eyewitness Travel Guides because they’re usually cover many aspects of the destination and have a lot of information. But I have to admit that I think that a lot of the photographs in the Eyewitness Travel Guides feel a bit outdated and could need an update but overall they’re really good travel guides.

The Rough Guides also make travel guides that are worth checking out!

This post was written by regular reviewer Niina, get to know her here.


Monday 21 April 2014

Confessions of Georgia Nicolson #1-5 | Louise Rennison | Review



This series of books covers the trials and tribulations of life as a teenage girl in the UK as Georgia Nicolson details her dramatic life through journal entries. The first book in this series has been previously review here and much like Taylah's review this book was my childhood favourite. So therefore when I spotted the entire set of books (all 10) on offers for just £20 I had to grab them and of course re-read from the very beginning. I had previously read the first 4 or so books (from what I can remember from all those years ago) but started write back at the beginning, however rather than reviewing 1 book at a time I thought I'd split the book set in 2. So here's the first part of this review...

This series of books retells Georgia's teenage years in the form of journal entries, not long and boring entries, but usually quite short, witty and entertaining entries which mostly detail what is going on in her head. Readers come to experience everyday events in her life but also how her brain is processing the information or rather how it's having a meltdown.

This series of books I find absolutely perfect for the young adult age range in which it is targeted at. It's light-hearted and easy to read but also tackles some serious issues which every teenage girl has in their minds at some point, including boyfriend issues, body issues, crazy family members, divorce, school issues and feeling like nobody else understands. 

The main focus of course is around the theme of luuurrveee, Georgia always has her eye on someone and also... everyone. Of course it is Robbie 'Sex God' who cat catches her eye to start with, the older 'man' having a big appeal as he stares in a local band called The Stuff Dylans. As we move through this series of books we then meet Masimo the Italian luuurrrrvvve God and of course Dave the Laugh appears to save the day in every book so far! 

I was jubious about reading these books again as an adult and reading the next book in the series however I have enjoyed them just as much as when I first read them. They make me laugh, reminisce and they remind of what life as a teenager was like (I think we'd all agree we'd rather not go back there again!). I would definitely recommended and I'm looking forward to reading the next 5 in the series. 

This post was written by regular reviewer Laura, get to know her here.
Image from Goodreads
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Group Collaboration | Series vs. Standalones

Saturday 19 April 2014

Group Collaboration | Series vs. Standalones


This month we asked for your opinions on the great series vs. standalones debate. We received quite a mixed response with lots of readers finding it hard to choose between the two. Here's what some of our team had to say...

"Recently I have preferred to read standalone books, although this is only after having a massive binge on Trilogies. The change in direction is mainly because I would find that generally with trilogies; the first book got you interested, the second was exciting, followed by a third which felt the story was being dragged out. Upon recommendations, my standalones began with ‘Ketchup Clouds’, which was a distinctly original, and then I moved onto ‘Cruel Summer’ which was an intriguing and exciting murder mystery.

I am progressing with the standalones at the moment as I feel there is too much emphasis on books needing to be a series, for example, after the success of ‘Twilight’ and ‘The Hunger Games’, we are seeing more and more Young Adult Fiction being created into film, such as the forthcoming ‘Maze Runner’ and ‘Divergent’ series’." - Cat

"I love both series and standalones, and I find it hard to choose between the two. I love series a lot, because I love knowing there are more exciting things on the horizon for characters, and it’s the most exciting thing to pick up book two and continue on. The Harry Potter series are my favourite books ever, but at the same time, there is something really nice about picking up a book and knowing that that’s all there is; there is nothing after this book. Books like Jodi Picoult’s incredibly well written novels are individual books, and that’s all they need to be. You wouldn’t need a continuation on those stories. John Green, too. I loved The Fault in Our Stars, but, even if the ending wasn’t how it was, you wouldn’t need - you wouldn’t want - another book after it. Some stories are meant to end sooner than others, I think." - Anjali


"I love the series give you more time to get to know the characters! Sometimes it can take a whole book to really understand a character, so getting a second book is a treat. Sequels allow you to jump right into a comfortable setting and get down to the story. That being said I HATE reading a really great book and then waiting a year for the sequel. I always have to re-read the first book when the sequel comes out so that I remember everything." - Alexandra 

"For years I was very much a fan of series. Getting sucked into a whole new literary world and getting to know all its characters can feel like the best thing ever. Not to mention the fact these book series tend to last years, so whole communities and fandoms can spring up from them!
Recently I've been loving my standalones so much more. There's no waiting around for a sequel - which can be absolute torture! - and you get the instant gratification of having a beggining, middle and end of a book straight away. Plus if you hate how it ended you can just forget about it instead of having that sinking feeling that you need to find out what happens next." - Ria

"Book series are great – they give the author more freedom to allow the plot to take them where it will; characters are more fully developed and given the chance to grow organically; readers aren’t put off by a mammoth novel and it’s pretty much the only time a book will receive the kind of buzz films enjoy. Buuuuut, this is all if you know you’re getting into a book series. Yep, I’m that person who judges a book by its cover, who only skim reads the blurb (if at all) and makes rash decisions in the bookstore. Publishers, please make it obvious on the cover when a book is part of a series! Sincerely, the girl who bought The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood (A.K.A. book number 2 in the MaddAddam series) in the airport and had a confusing and disappointing journey ahead of them." - Ali


"My vote on this one goes to standalones. That's not to say that there hasn't been some good series, but for me standalones are better. For me I'm always disappointed if I love a book and find out there's another in the series, because the first book is always the best therefore what is the point in any others being in existence? You wait months and years for the next book, your expectations are built up and then suddenly it all goes down the drain and you turn back to that first book and promise never to betray it again! A little dramatic maybe but you get the point!" - Laura

"I think I'm Switzerland with this debate. With a series, you get to continue on new adventures with your favourite characters and learn more about them. An example of this would be the Peter Grant series where in each book you are taken to a new story with new adventures while knowing a good chunk of the character's past from previous books. Sometimes, I really love knowing a book is the first in the series because by the end of it, I will just want to find out more about the characters and how the story will change. The A Song of Ice and Fire series is a prime example. But standalone books are also awesome! I personally think that there is a lot more effort into the story and the characters so by the end of the book, you feel completely satisfied with it and you feel like you've known the characters all your life. I also like standalone books which have a cliffhanger because it will leave you wondering what happens next and yet, you feel like you're better off not knowing and just letting your imagination wander over the many possibilities. I definitely think More Than This is a perfect standalone book and would not wish for a sequel to be made because it is just perfect the way it is." - Lucy 

"Recently I have been enjoying standalones like Cruel Summer (James Dawson), Forgive Me Leonard Peacock (Matthew Quick) & Genesis (Bernard Beckett). I do however also enjoy reading a series although there always seems to be one book that, after a long while waiting on a cliffhanger, isn’t as good as the others which can leave you wishing the first had been a standalone! It is sometimes nice to follow a familiar character but I think it all depends on whether their story can be told in just one book." - Erin

*All images via Goodreads
As always thank you to all of our lovely contributors this month :)

Don't forget to leave us a comment below with your opinions on the debate - we'd love to hear from you!  


Our next group post is all about putting yourself in the shoes of a protagonist! We're going to be discussing which characters we would want by our side through our journeys in the form of a best friend or sidekick and we want your contributions! Drop us an email - - or tweet us @blog_bookshelf by 14/5/14 to have your answer included in the post!

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2014 Reading Goals | Update #1

Tuesday 15 April 2014

2014 Reading Goals | Update #1

Back in January we shared some of our reading goals for the year and today's post is the first in our update series sharing how we're all getting on so far. Read on to find out who's on target, what books we've been loving and what we'll be reading (and reviewing) next!


Ria... 5/50 books read, 1/5 books vowed to read
I'm oh so behind on my book goal (7 books behind according to Goodreads!) though I do blame University priorities for this! That being said the first five books of 2014 have been my most diverse set in terms of genre, authors and writing style and the two I've enjoyed the most - Eleanor & Park and The Elites - have some of the most diverse sets of characters too (so 10 points to me on keeping up my diversity pledge!). The only book ticked off on my books to read challenge is On The Road, which I was pretty disappointed by. I'm hoping this isn't a sign of things to come, as I'm pretty excited to get back on the reading bandwagon and start on Marukami's and Gaiman's novels soon!

Anjali... 13/45 books read, 1/5 books vowed to read
Out of my 5 vowed to read books, I've only read one so far, which was The Elite by Keira Cass. In regards t my other books, I have three of them sitting on my bookshelf right now, I just haven't managed to get around to reading them yet (so many books, so little time!). Other books I've enjoyed this year have been The Magicians by Lev Grossman and also Shift by Em Bailey, both of which I have given four stars to. Was a bit disappointed in The Bell Between Worlds by Ian Johnstone. The description sounded so cool, but I found it to be a real let down.

Cat... 7/25 books read, 3/5 books vowed to read
My favourites for 2014 have been Cruel Summer and Ten which are of the murder mystery variety, I loved these (as an avid fan of anything Cluedo-like) they were intriguing, exciting and fresh. I would highly recommend! I am currently reading Yes Man, which took me a while to get into as it was such a different genre to what i had been reading, but I am thoroughly enjoying now. I look forward to completing all my vowed books soon!

Laura... 7/30 books read, 1/5 books vowed to read
It's been well so far, Goodreads informs me I am on track. I am currently reading 4 different books so if I get my bum in gear and actually finish them then I'll be nearly half way! I've enjoyed most of the books I've read apart from the previously reviewed A Tiny Bit Marvellous. I'm looking forward to getting stuck into more of my 'vowed to read' books too.


 Ali... 5/20 books read, 1/5 books vowed to read
I'm happy to report that I am on track to meet my 2014 goal of reading 20 books (according to my Goodreads challenge widget anyway). I've only read one from my TBR list but I've just bought Lighter Than My Shadow by Katie Green which I plan to read next. It's a beast but looks beautiful.
My favourite so far is Before We Met by Lucie Whitehouse - turns out I'm a big "marriage thriller" fan! I'm also really enjoying my current read, Layla by Nina de la Mer, but I'm only two chapters in so could go either way.

Niina... 6/30 books read, 2/5 books vowed to read
I've read 6/30 books so I'm a bit behind schedule. I read 5 of the books in January and February but have only read one book in March. But I'm still hopeful about my chances to read 30 books this year.
I've read two of the books I've vowed to read, Delirium by Lauren Oliver and Time Riders by Alex Scarrow. My favourites of the books I've read so far this year are Delirium and If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch. I haven't read any 5 star books yet though.

Erin... 24/50 books read, 3/5 books vowed to read
I definitely haven't been reading as much over the last month or so but thanks to a few short reads (mainly craft books!) have still managed to make it to almost halfway to my goal for the year. Although I haven't read as many novels recently I have found a few that I really enjoyed - favourite reads so far have been Yes Man (Danny Wallace), Forgive Me Leonard Peacock (Matthew Quick), Ten (Gretchen McNeil) and Genesis (Bernard Beckett).

Kath... 25/75 books read, 1/5 books vowed to read
I'm continuing my love of Young Adult fiction this year. Most of the books that I have read so far have been Young Adult, but I'm especially trying to read more by UK authors - I'm celebrating our homegrown talent! My favourite reads of the year so far have to be The Year of the Rat by Clare Furniss and The Eye of Minds by James Dashner. I've only read one out of the five books I have vowed to read - The Crack-Up by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It's a beautiful confrontation of the pressures of fame and life in general, and were entirely appropriate for the period of life which I'm in at the moment. Most of my books have gone into storage for a couple of months, so I'll have to continue on with the books I've vowed to read later on in the year! 


Thanks to everyone who contributed to this update post - see you in a few months for the next one!


Now it's your turn to share! We'd love to know how you're getting on with your own goals and what books you've been loving in 2014. Don't forget to leave us a comment below!

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Anna and the French Kiss | Stephanie Perkins | Review

Friday 11 April 2014

Anna and the French Kiss | Stephanie Perkins | Review

I don’t read romance. Most of the time, I think of relationships and romance in the books that I read as an unfortunate by-product of the story that I could probably do without. Anna and the French Kiss might have changed that.

In Anna and the French Kiss Anna is shipped off to Paris for her senior year, which she is less than happy about. That is until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Hot, charming, welcoming – he’s everything Anna wants, apart from available.

Stephanie Perkins creates perfectly imagined characters in the beautiful city of Paris. Anna is undoubtedly real, unashamedly so – she’s impulsive, she’s emotional, and she’s selfish at times. What more would you expect of a teenager whose parents have sent her half way around the world to finish school in a country with a language that she doesn’t even speak. And I’m yet to find a person who has read this novel that isn’t at least a little bit in love with Étienne St. Clair.

Admittedly, if you’re trying to take a “deep read” of the novel, you can find plenty of flaws with it. It’s not ground breaking, it’s cliché, it’s not profound – it’s light and funny and cute. It’s likeable and the characters are likeable and I enjoyed almost every moment of reading it. I’m not ashamed to say that I added it to my favourite’s shelf, because I could easily read it again and again. I undoubtedly give it five stars.

This review was written by regular reviewer Kath, get to know her here
Image c/o goodreads
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Dark Inside | Jeyn Roberts | Review

Wednesday 9 April 2014

Dark Inside | Jeyn Roberts | Review

“They knew this—survival came at a price. Over the past few weeks they’d all survived a Bagger attack. Or two. Or three. They knew the consequences. Not everyone got out alive. They’d seen loved ones die. Even worse, some had watched the people they cared about turn on them. But as long as they stuck together in a group, they were still human. As long as they were human they were still alive.” - Jeyn Roberts, Dark Inside

A series of earthquakes rock the world and for reasons unknown people start to turn on each other. People start moving in packs killing and destroying everything on their way. The people who're not affected by the earthquakes have to start hiding and running from people who once were their friends, neighbors and family members. In this new terrifying world four teenagers, Mason, Aries, Clementine and Michael have to do their best to survive.

I started reading Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts thinking it was going to be a zombie novel. Not that it's that different, it's an apocalyptic novel about people trying to kill other people. The difference is that the monsters in this book aren't dead, they're alive but gone crazy. If you've read a few of my previous reviews you probably know that I'm a big fan of apocalyptic stories. They're alway fast-paced, action filled and I find the concept of people surviving and dealing with extreme conditions interesting. Dark Inside does live up to those things. It's fast-paced, action filled and tells the story about people trying to survive in a world gone mad. So yes, this novel was a fun read according to me. I also enjoyed the slightly unique concept of living people turning to crazy murderers.

Even if I really enjoyed reading Dark Inside there was one thing that really bothered me. I had a pretty hard time keeping the characters apart. The chapters in this novel are narrated by different characters, so the story line jumps between the four main characters. If the concept of jumping between different narrators is going to work you need to have unique characters that are very different from each other. I had a hard time remembering which one of the characters I was reading about at the moment (that the two main characters Michael and Mason have pretty similar names is also bit of an issue). This wouldn't have been a problem if the characters would've been a bit more unique and had a bit more depth to them so I go to know them better.

Over all this is a fun, fast an enjoyable read and I'm pretty sure I'm going to pick up the sequel. But the novel does lack in character building. I didn't quite feel for the characters and I had a hard time keeping them apart from each other. That's a shame because with well written characters this would've been a really good apocalyptic young adult novel. But I still think that you should give this a go if you like the genre! I give Dark inside 3,5/5 stars.

This post was written by regular reviewer Niina, get to know her here.
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Monday 7 April 2014

Wedding Night | Sophia Kinsella | Review

Lottie has been desperately waiting for her perfect boyfriend Richard to pop the question, hints have been dropped, a restaurant has been booked and a ring has been bought (by her... not him). The night however does not go as planned, the night ends in a disastrous break up instead of wedding bells. Lottie is known for making rash decisions when her relationships end but luckily her sister Fliss is around to keep her on the right path...

I had been looking forward to this book for so long ever since I wrote my rave review of Kinsella's previous book I've got your number. Finally it reached the top of my to read pile and I was excited to begin reading it.  Sadly by the time I got to around 100 pages in the excitement has dwindled and passed and I reverted to skimming the lines rather than taking in any kind of detail from the book.

We are introduced to the character of Lottie who I did really like as a character, I think we all have that one friend who goes to the extreme when there's a break-up whether that's an extreme hair cut, tattoo or quitting a job. Lottie is one of those friends which makes her likable. The other main character through this book is her sister Fliss, now this is where my problem started, I don't like Fliss. She is annoying, controlling and the kind of friend you ditch for taking over your life. She was the first issue I had with this book.

The plot in itself has potential but actually didn't really get going, I wanted a spark, some romance, humour and something to keep me wanting to read more but it just didn't. I kept going through a sense of desperation, I wanted it to pick up, I wanted it to work, I wanted to like the book so much but I just didn't.

In the end of skimmed through most of the chapters from Fliss' viewpoint and read in slightly more detail Lottie's chapters and eventually I got to the end and was excited to move on to my next book!

This post was written by regular reviewer Laura, get to know her here.
Image from Goodreads
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Sunday 6 April 2014

Ecliptic | Sara Lunardi | Review

Ecliptic tells the story of teenage twins Izie and Sam, in the year 2035. Mysterious signs suddenly appear on their arms one day in June, and they grow to learn that they have special powers and an extremely important role to play in the impending doom that is the end of the world. In the past, 12 Celestial beings were sent to Earth to live as humans, reawakening after each life span until they were needed, with little to no knowledge of who they really are. These 12 beings represented the 12 signs of zodiac, and now, Izie and Sam are sucked into a world that they don't remember or recognise. Grouping together with half of the Guardians (the Celestial beings from the zodiac), Izie and Sam are thrown into a war they didn't realise was all around them. The Guardians are split down the middle, half want to save the humans of Earth from the end of the world, and half just want to let it happen so they can return home to their planets.

When I read the description for this novel, I was very intrigued. I thought the concept was a very cool idea and I was excited to read it. For the most part, I really enjoyed it. The characters all had very different, unique characteristics and I grew to like some and hate others. They were 'real' enough in that they made mistakes, fell in love, laughed and joked, cried and died. But having said that, there were just so many characters. Being that there are 12 signs of the Zodiac, and each Guardian had at least one (if not two) 'Keepers' (people who were like...their side kicks), that's a lot of people to keep a track of. I often found myself stopping and thinking 'wait, who?'. It was only until I got to the very end of the book, that I discovered Lunardi has written a character list of who's who and what their zodiac signs and powers are. If you read this, note that that is there. You might need it.

In regards to plot, I really enjoyed the main story line, and thought the overall concept was a very cool one. However there were quite a few mistakes, which was a little bit distracting from the story, but that's something that probably just needs tweaking here and there. Something else that I found a bit distracting (and at times, very confusing) was the point of view. The books starts off with a prologue, which introduces the reader to Daniel, and is written in third person. Then it jumps to Thomas, also in third person. Chapter one begins the novel how I thought it would continue, with Izie's character, in first person, but it didn't continue like that at all. Throughout the book, it changes between Izie's first person voice, and other chapters or sections in third person. This would be semi okay in itself, but in the parts when it was third person, there wasn't a clear point of view. It was very much third person omniscient, in that even the reader knew what each character in scene was thinking, feeling etc. This made for some very confusing reading at times, and I think that the overall story line would have flowed better (for me anyway) if there were at least sections dedicated to one character, rather than Izie's chapters/sections and then everyone else's all in one. I hope that makes sense.

However, it was a very good story, and despite it taking me a little while to get through it (due to the things I've just mentioned) I really did enjoy it. If you're looking for a fantasy/supernatural sort of story with a bit of romance, almost alien-like creatures, and a whole lot of star constellations, and an epic battle, give Ecliptic a go. I'm giving it a 3 stars.

Thank you to Sara Lunardi, who sent me this copy for an honest review.

Image from Good Reads. 

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Friday 4 April 2014

More Than This | Patrick Ness | Review

This was the first book I read this year and what a way to start 2014!

More Than This is about a boy who drowns in a horrible sea. The waters are crashing all around him and its a horrible fight to survive. Eventually the boy drowns and all is black.

But then the boy wakes to a strange and deserted land. He is thirsty and bruised, but he is alive! The boy wonders how this is possible. He just died! This strange beginning starts a story which is so filled with twists and turns you'll not believe what is coming next.

I had read the Chaos Walking Series which was a brilliant series by Patrick Ness so when I heard of More Than This, I was quite excited to read it. I got the book for Christmas and within one whole week I had read the whole thing which is a quick time for me!

I loved the story of More Than This. At first it talks about this boy and then as you read along there are so many interesting plot developments which had me gripped and as we read a bit more on the actual book, there are flashbacks to this boy's life before he "died" and I found it really interesting and wanted to read more to get to another flashback just to piece together the reason for why he died. I don't want to give any more away because then I'd be spoiling it for all of you.

The way the book ended though was really good. It kind of makes you think that it could lead to another book which I would like. Although it could just be a cliffhanger for a standalone novel which I don't mind either.

I loved this book so much that I went and got it for my friend's birthday. Before that month was over, she had read the whole thing and said she loved it just as much as I did!!! I admit while I've been reviewing it here, I've been thinking of already rereading the story.

So this book gets a five star rating. I would recommend this book to anybody because it is an amazing story! Thank you for reading!

This book was reviewed by regular reviewer Lucy, get to know more about her here!
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Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald | Therese Anne Fowler | Review

Wednesday 2 April 2014

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald | Therese Anne Fowler | Review

*image via GoodReads

“Marry me, Zelda. We'll make it all up as we go. What do you say?”

Growing up in Montgomery, Alabama, Zelda Sayre was destined to grow old as a Southern Belle debutante, married off to a well-to-do man who would expect her to hold down their household. 
Barely out of school she happens to meet handsome, young Lieutenant Fitzgerald, who sweeps her off her feet with poetic phrases and promises of a glittering life as the wife of a soon-to-be legendary author. After a brief break in their engagement, the two eventually wed and set off into the sunset to live their happily ever after. 

If this was a fully fictionalised book this would've been the end to their story, but ‘Z’ follows the Fitzgerald’s lives through Zelda’s eyes as they navigate their way through the early roaring 20’s and the jazz age, during which Zelda was dubbed ‘the world’s first Flapper’, and lived in seemingly wedded bliss. 

The novel also follows their strained relationship as they travelled through Europe and America, dealing with jealousy, the birth of their daughter Scottie, chronic alcoholism and depression in a world that begs them to join the excess and partying that ultimately leads to their downfall.

So what’s my verdict?

Going into this book and knowing nothing of the Fitzgerald’s lives, I was intrigued by everything that happened in this story. In a world that focuses so much on celebrating the literary genius of F Scott Fitzgerald, Zelda is often left towards the sidelines as the ‘first flapper’ or ‘crazy wife’. ‘Z’ does portray her as both, but there is a depth to her character that is deeply rooted in her – later diagnosed – bipolar disorder. 

This book is just as much about her relationship with Scott as it is about her and her struggles. We see her deal with his rising and falling literary career, his lapses in his alcoholism and the strain of their marriage. At times it did feel like I was reading a train wreck ready to happen, and it is true that the two Fitzgerald’s perfect bubble of a life burst eventually, but I had to keep reminding myself this is a dramatisation of reality. 

There was also a point, mid-novel, when the story seemed to slow down into a repetitive cycle of Zelda or Scott screwing up the relationship, then magically making it up to each other with no resolve. One lasting conflict I did, however, enjoy was Zelda’s tense relationship with Ernest Hemingway, and her paranoia that Hemingway was attempting to prise Scott away from her. 

Overall the writing is fairly poetic, to fit with the dramatisation, and it did feel like Fowler transported you back to that time period. However, it’s in Zelda’s voice that Fowler really shone as she captured both the euphoria of young love and heartbreak of Zelda’s conflicted mind. 

Though at times she may seem so, Zelda is not a tragic character. She’s was a woman who was, perhaps, ahead of her time. Damaged and broken, but pushing for independence, had she lived in another age she may have thrived, but would she have had the same mystique that surrounded her as ‘muse of F. Scott Fitzgerald’? Who knows?

Reading Soundtrack:

Starring Role: Marina & the Diamonds; Love Is Blindness: Jack White; New York City Heat: Dead Heart Bloom; Temporary Bliss: The Cab; Why'd You Only Call Me When Your High: The Arctic Monkeys; The Bad In Each Other: Feist; Sky: Joshua Radin

For lovers of

The Great Gatsby, The Bell Jar (Sylvia Plath) & Next To Normal

This post was written by regular reviewer Ria, get to know her here.
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