Friday, December 02, 2016

Cover Reveal: The Reckoning

Now that everyone is still experience NaNoWriMo withdrawals (I know I am), it seems perfect to start the weekend with a stunning book cover.

Holly is a frequently written about friend on this blog and this time she's granting us the pleasure of having a look at the cover of her latest book.

Those of you who follow Holly a little bit know that there's somore behind this lady. Not only does she grant us with Christmassy stories that sparkle in the light but she's also treating our YA loving soul to an full series of books.

The Reckoning is the 4th book in the Sentinel Series and judging by the cover it looks like it'll be gooooooooooooooooooood.

So, feast your eyes because here it is!!


Still not convinced?
How about a blurb?

The clock is ticking… As The Sentinel, Eve knows she was created with a sole purpose in mind - to save the world from complete destruction. Over the past twelve months, she has trained to fulfill this prophecy. As Eve has grown stronger in her powers, so have the dangers around her. With threats coming from all sides, Eve has shown the ultimate resilience in survival, to live for this moment she was destined for. Now that moment is almost upon her But according to Eve's prophecy, she must find a way to work with her brother, Adam to ensure the world is saved. As the end of days rapidly approach, Eve is threatened at every turn. Even those closest to her are plotting against her including some of her most trusted Guardians and friends. But one constant has been her husband, Seth. Eve dreams of getting through this final battle to live a life that is normal where she and Seth and their friends and family will be free of danger.
 But can she save the world and save herself? Or will her destiny be to save everyone else, and lose her life as a result, never knowing what it is like to live in peace with the one man she loves. Will she even survive long enough to fulfill her destiny? Who can she really trust? And how will she find a way to work with her brother who hates her so much? What will she have to sacrifice to ensure that relationship?
 Time will reveal all to Eve. But time is running out…
 
Well, what are you waiting for? Go get it here:
UK http://amzn.to/2fFCHLaUS http://amzn.to/2fTsIzo 
GO GO GO GOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Book review: Christmas under a starlit sky

6/10 for Christmas Under a Starlit Sky by Holly Martin

Step inside a beautiful winter wonderland where love, laughter and cosy nights by the fire will make this Christmas one to remember.  
Neve Whitaker loves managing the Stardust Lake hotel. She gets to work alongside her wonderful family and she’s spending Christmas on the most enchanting, snow-covered island in Scotland. So why is her heart so heavy this festive season?  
It might have something to do with the gorgeous actor Oakley Rey, the man she finished with before he left for California and the man she loves more than anything. With Oakley’s career in Hollywood soaring, Neve is convinced she’d only hold him back. She had to end it with him – at least that’s what she keeps telling herself.  
But now she has a secret she’s struggling to keep, and when Oakley arrives on Juniper Island determined to win her back, Neve is thrown off balance. Will Neve’s fear of having her heart broken again push Oakley away for good, or is it time for her to take a leap of faith?  
Get swept away by this deliciously sweet and heartwarming tale, and spend an unforgettable Christmas on Juniper Island. 
Source: Goodreads 
 
 

Waheeey! Second part of the Juniper Island tour! Welcome back everyone!


Christmas under a starlit sky is the 2nd book in the series of A Town Called Christmas.
In book 1 we followed Pip and Gabe as they tried to rekindle their friendship and relationship (review here) and got a little glimpse of what was to come.

This time around we follow Gabe's sister, Neve, as she gets a surprise visit from her (ex-)boyfriend. The man she is utterly in love with. Oakley Rey, an American superstar, who flew to a tiny English island to fight for the woman he loves.
Neve and Oakley struggle when past, present and future don't seem to line up for them and their differences threaten to tear them apart rather than get them back together. They start to wonder if loving someone can truly be enough.

Next to Oakley and Neve, there's another blooming love affair in the village (seriously, maybe I should move there!). I'm pleased to introduce you to my favourites from the second book: Adam and Ivy. They are both lost and hiding their hearts. Pretending they are fine while burying themselves in their work.
Their passionate love story steams up any window in the village but can that be enough?
It seems that the men are all in way over their heads down there.

*

Love, passion, lust and relationships are some of Holly's greatest strenghts and this one is no exception. Reading about the blooming love, intense heat and cute fluff was an absolute pleasure as usual. And yet, this story failed to enchant me.
Humour is another one of Holly's best writing skills and one I enjoy thoroughly. It is what I missed a lot in this one. I missed giggling girlishly or bursting out in laughter at the unexpected twist.

Instead I was given a truck load of drama. Don't get me wrong, I love myself a bit of drama. But not so much so that it becomes predictable. I got frustrated at Oakley for always wanting to talk but never letting Neve speak. I got annoyed when the gazillionth thing went wrong and everyone overreacted. Everyone was talking and jumping to conclusions, but no one really listened (almost like real life!)
It had turned a little too much into a soap opera rather than a novel.
And I'd be able to forgive it if in the end all that tension got lifted with some laughs. But every time something got resolved, the next thing to go wrong was already lining up to happen. ARGH!

I absolutely love Holly and her stories but this didn't do it for me.
It was cute and a lot of things were 'awe worthy'. I adored spending more time in the quaint village of Christmas but this time there was too much going wrong. Having said that, my bags are still packed and ready to go live there!

I can't wait for what else Holly has up her sleeve and am eagerly anticipating her next story. They're always a little bundle of joy!




Monday, September 26, 2016

Book Review: Christmas under a Cranberry Sky

7,5/10 for Christmas under a Cranberry Sky by Holly Martin

This year spend a wonderful Christmas on Juniper Island, where love can melt even the iciest of hearts… 
Piper Chesterfield lives a glamorous life travelling the world and reviewing the finest hotels. She calls nowhere home, she works alone and that’s how she likes it. For long ago Piper decided that to protect her heart she should lock it away.  
So when Piper’s next assignment brings her to the newly opened Stardust Lake Hotel for the festive season, the last person she expects to face is Gabe Whitaker, the man who broke her heart so completely she could never love again.  
But Piper isn’t the only one who has been frozen in time by heartbreak. Gabe hasn’t forgotten the golden-eyed girl who disappeared from his world without a trace.  
Now fate has reunited them on Juniper island, can the magic of Christmas heal old wounds? And can this enchanting town be the one place Piper can finally call home? 
Source: Goodreads


I received a copy through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Holly Martin, we meet again! <3
It's always a pleasure to host a Holly review in my blog during the book tour and today is no exception!

It's almost the most festive season again and it wouldn't be the same if that didn't include another Christmassy series. This time we're transported to the appropriately named village Christmas and I'm delighted to say that we're spending two glorious stories there.

Book 1: Christmas under a Cranberry Sky
Book 2: Christmas under a Starlit Sky

I was so excited to start another book by my lovely friend. They're always a joy to read. They sweep me off my feet and make me forget about everything else in my life.

This time we meet Pip, Piper, who spends her life reviewing hotels after staying there as a mystery guest. She's about to do one more assignment before she starts a 6 month sabbatical. Pip is on her way to Juniper Island and a town called Christmas.
The last thing she expected to find at Stardust Lake Hotel was her former best friend Gabe. The one man who has broken her heart in thousand pieces. The one person she ran away from and never looked back at. And now he was standing in front of her. More so, he has a daughter and turns out to be the owner of the hotel she's supposed to review.
Pip is flooded with memories and feelings she was never able to put behind her.

Gabe never expected to see Pip again, let alone find her visiting his hotel. He has no idea why she's there or how she ended up here after being absent from his life for over 10 years.
He's torn with feelings for Pip ranging from anger to love. If he can't rekindle his friendship with her then he at least needs the answers to put it all behind him. With a daughter to look after and the opening of the hotel to worry about, he's struggling to add Pip to the equation.

The two of them find themselves in a whirlwind of emotions. Struggling to not let their past determine their present. They must try to see past their history if they want to have a future together.


I struggled a little getting into the story. The start was easy and you immediately take a liking for Piper as she's a girl filled with wonder and amazement. You can't help but feel for her the moment you find out about her tragic background and you want good things to happen to her throughout the rest of the story.

But then she meets Gabe and that's where the next few following chapters were a bit of a struggle to go through. I absolutely understand that these two characters had a past and that it needed explaining, that we needed to get to the core of it and make sure we understood both sides. I just felt that within that segment there was a little bit too much repetition of the feelings and doubts they both had.
When it got repeated a few times too many I started to get impatient with the characters, especially as their behaviour didn't match their thoughts.
They were like that Katy Perry song Hot 'n Cold. And though I get that as characters this was due to their complicated relationship, for me as a reader it was too early to sympathise with as I hadn't related enough to them yet.

After their initial shock the intensity of all that slowed down and I could finally ease into the story and that's when I started to get comfortable.
Christmas is a town so idyllic that I have packed my bags and am ready to move there! It sounds absolutely charming as do the villagers. The Stardust Lake Hotel sounds like a place I really would want to go to and might never leave again.

It was around the same time that Piper realised Juniper Island might just be more than another place to review and slowly finds herself considering staying for longer than planned.

Gabe also manages to settle himself in a comfortable place with Pip and is more than willing to mend their bond and show Pip how much of a home Juniper Island could be for her. Together with his daughter Wren he managed to charm his way back into Piper's heart (and mine!).
Talking about Wren....she might just be the cutest kid character I've ever come across! Can I have one too?

I personally did find the ending a bit too abrupt and would've preferred a little bit more to the story. I was just getting comfy! Luckily there's the second book to look forward too. And though this one will be mainly focused on Gabe's sister's story, I'm sure I'll see some more of Gabe, Pip and Wren.

All in all, after the initial hiccup, I thoroughly enjoyed this story. It was like a warm blanket that wraps itself around your shoulders on a cold day; cozy and comforting. Personally, that's something I could never get enough of!


Monday, August 29, 2016

Book Review: Melody Bittersweet and the Girls' Ghostbusting Agency

10/10 for Melody and the Girls' Ghostbusting Agency by Kitty French


Life’s tough for Melody Bittersweet.

She’s single, addicted to sugar and super heroes, her family are officially bonkers, and she sees dead people. Is it any wonder no-one’s swiping right on Tinder?
Waking up lonely on her twenty seventh birthday, Melody finally snaps. She can’t carry on basing all of her life decisions on the advice of her magic 8 ball; things have got to change.

Fast forward two months, and she’s now the proud proprietor of her very own ghostbusting agency - kind of like in the movies but without the dodgy white jumpsuits. She’s also flirting with her ex Leo Dark, fraternising with her enemy in alleyways, and she’s somehow ended up with a pug called Lestat.

Life just went from dull to dynamite and it’s showing no sign of slowing up anytime soon. Melody’s been hired to clear Scarborough House of its incumbent ghosts, there’s the small matter of a murder to solve, and then there’s the two very handsome, totally inappropriate men hoping to distract her from the job…

Welcome to Chapelwick, home of the brand new and hilarious Girls Ghostbusting Agency series, where things really do go bump in the night.
Source: Goodreads


Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a review copy.

Kitty, or Kat, French, is quickly climbing my top 5 of favourite authors. She has a talent for creating not only quirky and unique characters but also stories with the same qualities! Kitty French doesn't only follow her own way, she paves her own damn yellow brick road!


When we meet Melody Bittersweet at the end of her date ad the odds of sex almost literally pushed of the table by her eccentric grandmother, it sets the tone quite quickly.
Melody has just turned 27 and as she evaluates her life (single, eating her best friend's nonna's biscuits, and seeing dead people) she decides to do something of her own. She starts her own business. The Girls' Ghostbusting Agency provides a service to those who need it: unwanted ghosts or ghosts unable to move on.
Together with her best friend Marina and their newest member Artie, they are ready to rumble.

They find their first case on television. Let's ignore the fact that their case is already being handled and by none other than the notorious Leo Dark, and that Melody is slightly stalked by the annoying reporter Fletcher Gunn. You'd think that's enough to keep you entertained?
Throw in three or so more ghosts, a temperamental heir and a murder mystery.
That not enough?
Then I'm not sure what would be ;)

These characters are well developed in it that they each have a specific personality and background. They are diverse and some of them are ridiculously hot! I have loved spending time with them and reading about them. Some of them are completely bonkers, like Melody's grandmother who keeps her dead husband's ghost in her bedroom.

The story, as I mentioned before, has something in it for everyone and was an absolute pleasure to read. Not once during the entire story did I feel like I wanted it to move along already. There are so many things I want to tell you all about but I wouldn't want to ruin it, so I'll just invite you to also read it.
You'll find that this one ticks off many of your 'things I like' boxes and possibly exceeds them.

All I can say is that it's been a blast and I can't wait for book number 2!

Also check out my review for Kat French's book The Piano Man Project




Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Book Review: Panic

7,5/10 for Panic by Lauren Oliver
Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do. 
Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought. 
Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn't know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for. 
For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

Source: Goodreads


Panic is a game played in the little village Carp, NY. It's played by the high school seniors and there can only be one winner.
The game feeds off, you guessed it, fear; people's fear. And if you fail a challenge then you're out.
Heather, Dodge and Nathalie are three participants supported by their friend Bischop.
Bischop doesn't want his friends to enter, he thinks the game is stupid and wouldn't want his friends, especially Heather, to be hurt.
We follow Heather and Dodge in their journey as they learn about every topic in the YA shelf (confidence, love, family, , friendship, values, etc....) during the game and the decisions they make.

Considering the title  I had expected the fame to be featured more in the story (like 70%). There were definitely parts all about the game and it was always lurking in the background or on people's minds and influencing their behaviour. I missed the thrill and tension you should experience as a reader when it comes to a game like this.

I struggled a little to click with the characters too. I felt they were a little bit too manufactured. I know that when you would strip ever YA to their frame they all sort of have the same basis but this time I really picked up on it. Almost as if they had to tick off a list of character traits.
Lauren Oliver is a magnificent writer, I love her stories but this one feels a little too much like a 'Roll the dice' story with a set of given plot points. Even the small plot twist wasn't really a twist at all (her clever hinting had given it away too soon).

It wasn't until the final challenge that for one chapter I got to feel the tension that I had craved so much but then I reached the next one and it all became mellow again, which was such a shame. I really felt like that chapter was totally unnecessary.

I guess I had just expected this book  to be balanced differently that it was and that's where I tripped.
However, the writing is still of great quality and the characters had growth without too many loose strings and there was even a moral - though that felt a bit forced and unnatural. If you're looking for the next Hunger Games (I wasn't but I saw people comparing it to HG, making me think many people would pick it up just for that reason) then this isn't it, I"m afraid.

Panic is its own story about a boy and a girl growing up within a mad game and realising what's important to them.


Thursday, August 11, 2016

Book Review: Always With Love

7/10  for Always With Love by Giovanna Fletcher

The next much-anticipated romantic chapter in Billy and Sophie's love story from bestselling author Giovanna Fletcher.

Sophie's got used to being the girlfriend of Billy Buskin, the biggest movie star in the world. Sort of.

But when she and Billy take a trip to visit his family in Los Angeles, she quickly discovers she's totally unprepared for the chaos of Hollywood, the paparazzi and Billy's controlling mother.

And when Billy extends his stay in LA, leaving Sophie to fly home to Rosefont Hill alone, it seems there's more than just miles between them.

Now Sophie must decide if they can overcome their differences for good. Because not every love story lasts the distance . . .Source: Goodreads



It's nice to see Giovanna Fletcher grow with every book she writes. Just like her characters, she's evolved :D

In Always With Love we reunite with Sophie and Billy in the cosy village of Rosefont Hill. Having found their own little dynamic with living together and working in the shop, they seem happier than ever.
After so much time spent in England a trip to LA and meet Billy's family is inevitable. Sophie, usually full of anxiety at new things, is excited and nervous.
She finds herself enjoying being around this family of Buskins who are so different from her own little family in England. But when the emotions are rising and Billy's motther starts meddling, tension grows between the pair.

Eventually decisions are made and Billy stays in LA a little longer while Sophie goes back to England. They try to continue their life and keep up regular contact when removed so many miles from each other. Communicating not only through phone calls and texting, but also romantic love letters. 
Yet Sophie fails on many occasions to put her overthinking mind to rest and anxiety gets the most of her at different moments during Billy's absence.
While planning the wedding of the year and having found an extra hand to help in the shop Sophie also realizes that Rosefont Hill is her home and where she wants to stay but is that what Billy wants too?


Always With Love is the sequel that follows up Billy and Me (and the novella Christmas with Billy and Me). You can easily read this story as a standalone though, as most information is cleverly given within this book too, allowing both old and new readers to have a recap of the situation and the events leading to where the couple is now.
This book was a charm to read. I love Sophie and Billy together! And I have a big soft spot for Billy in general.
The story is split in four parts, breaking up the significant story plots in easy sections.
Though I've found that I struggled with part three for a few reasons. One of them being that Sophie was at the best of times having a few very irrational thoughts. I didn't mind at first but then there were other moments where she pushed it a little too far. I also felt like there was a bit too much of a repetition of certain worries. It almost felt like 'filling up of pages' because it needed to reach a certain page count. I know that probably wasn't the case but certain sections in part three definitely felt unnecessary. But it was just a minor nugget that - when I wanted the story to pick up and start coming together - bothered me a little.

Aside from that there was plenty of romance, love, friendship and happiness. Something Giovanna always has plenty of in her books. The fact I've just finished it and am still buzzing with gooey feelings, speaks for itself!

I've read this novel with a lot of pleasure and, also, as always, with love.



Friday, July 15, 2016

The importance of unplugging

Or at least trying to....

Cell phones, tablets, e-readers, laptops, notebooks, computers, VR-devices, Apple watches, digital television, Netflix, .... and so much more.
Books replaced into digital editions, texting has turned into whatsapp and imessage, etc.

Our lives are becoming increasingly more digital. From Facebook to LinkedIn, the options are immense and sometimes even a little scary.
I'm no stranger to them either. I often find myself going from laptop to phone to tablet and back. Constantly worrying that I might have missed something important.
I have friends across the world ranging from Australia to as close the UK and the World Wide Web is exactly what you need to keep in contact with them. It's probably the means that got you into contact with them in the first places.

If I were to calculate the amount of time behind my computer I think I'd be astonished. It's not like I feel guilty about this. Why would I. My computer is my baby and I need it both for work and personal life. I don't just browse cat memes. I use it for work, for my administration, to write on, to prepare, etc.

But lately, especially when my eyes hurt from all the screen time, I have felt the need to go on a digital cleanse. To unplug from the world and just breathe and (as cheesy as it sounds) enjoy the little things around me (or even, finally clean up the mess that my room has become).

I try to unplug once every two months for a week. And I'm not going to lie, I can't unplug 100%. I'll admit, it's more 'cutting down rather than fully unplugging. I need my phone and computer for my job. But what I DO do is that in my spare time I'll refrain from using them. I'll reply to the odd text I receive (but who receives texts still? All my messages seem to be sent through Whatsapp. Seriously why do I still pay for my phone subscription?)
I'll leave my tablet, computer and phone alone for the entire night. What will I do instead? Read or write. Or I'll watch some tele with the family. I know technically television isn't necessarily considered unplugging but at least I'm spending time with my family and thoroughly enjoying it.
Also, I'm surprised at the amount of other stuff I got done during that time.







So what I'm trying to do is not necessarily cut out all electric/digital devices my life but cutting down the amount of time I spent on them.



Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Flash Review: Alice and the Fly

5/10 for Alice and the Fly by James Rice

A spellbinding debut novel by an exceptional new young British talent. 
This is a book about phobias and obsessions, isolation and dark corners. It's about families, friendships, and carefully preserved secrets. But above everything else it's about love. Finding love - in any of its forms - and nurturing it. 
Miss Hayes has a new theory. She thinks my condition's caused by some traumatic incident from my past I keep deep-rooted in my mind. As soon as I come clean I'll flood out all these tears and it'll all be ok and I won't be scared of Them anymore. The truth is I can't think of any single traumatic childhood incident to tell her. I mean, there are plenty of bad memories - Herb's death, or the time I bit the hole in my tongue, or Finners Island, out on the boat with Sarah - but none of these are what caused the phobia. I've always had it. It's Them. I'm just scared of Them. It's that simple. 
Source: Goodreads

I was given a review copy through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I find it hard to judge this book  because it was so far off what I usually read. I love stepping out of my comfort zone when it comes to reading and coming across stories like this. But I'm not sure I was prepared for what it would give to me.
First of all the title threw me off.
Starting this I assumed that Alice was the main character. Only to find that it wasn't Alice but it was a boy named Greg. Total

The way this book was written was absolutely brilliant. Seeing through the eyes of the main character, following its thoughts and the way he perceived the world was spot on!

But I struggled to connect with the story. And for me that is the most important thing a book should be able to do.

Having said that, the world needs more books like this. Especially if they address a side of humanity that involves mental illness.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Book Review: Working It

9,5/10 for Working It by Leah Marie Brown

Falling in love is always in fashion…. 
With her trust fund and coveted job at Christian Dior, Fanny Moreau believes she has it all. But when her best friend finds a fulfilling new career abroad—and a dreamy relationship with a great guy, Fanny’s fabulous life suddenly feels empty. Inspired to find her true purpose, she trades her cushy lifestyle in San Francisco for an adventure in the Alaskan wilderness. 
Everyone thinks Fanny has gone off the deep end. What’s a girl with a Ph.D in Prada doing teaching in an Inuit village? Even Fanny is wondering, especially when she comes face to face with Calder MacFarlane. The Scottish search and rescue pilot is everything Fanny is not—selfless, heroic, and used to living on the edge. He’s also the man who once loved her best friend. Yet something in Calder’s sexy gaze has her believing that she’s a woman capable of great things—a woman who might just find her own happily-ever-after, in a place where she least expects it…. 
“Leah Marie Brown has a wily way of bringing her stories to life with sharp dialogue and drop-dead sexy characters.” —Cindy Miles, National Bestselling Author
“When it comes to crafting clever, intelligent, wonderful escapist fiction with a heroine every woman wants to know, Leah Marie Brown is a new voice to watch. Prepare to fall in love!” —Renee Ryan, Daphne du Maurier Award-Winning Author
 
Source: Goodreads

I received a copy through Netgalley in return for an honest review.

In all honesty, there were a few niggles with the book.
Them being
- I was constantly borderlining on disliking Fanny. She was judgemental and shallow at the best of times but what kept her straight was the way she could truly care about people once she got over her own prejudice.
- The time she actually spent in Alaska and what happened before were unbalanced. The Alaska time was rushed and it almost felt like watching a trailer of a movie rather than having an entire film. I don't know how this book kept its length without actually zooming in on the actual story plot.


Then why did I give this story 9,5/10?
Simple, because I loved reading this book!
There's something about Leah Marie Brown's writing that makes her stories like a soft fluffy pillow. You can't help but love curling up with them.
This is the third book in the It Series but it works perfectly as a standalone which is great for new readers. On the other hand it also has little hints for the people who have read the previous books.
And with this story I was happy to see an old favourite make a come-back: Calder McHottie!

As Calder manages to slowly thaw Fanny and make her more loveable (and horny), I also started to like Fanny more and more.
We also meet Laney and I feel like she was used as a middle person. The thing we needed to connect Fanny from the one event to the other and this being her only purpose. Which was a bit of a shame because she was an interesting character with more potential.

So When LMB said the next book will star Laney, I hope we'll get to find out more about her but also about the setting of Alaska of which we now only had a glimpse.

Despite the few issues I had with it, I enjoyed it rather a lot. This book is simply a perfect story to read during summer by the pool or under a blanket with a warm drink.


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Book Review: The Neverland Wars

9,5/10 for The Neverland Wars by Audrey Greathouse
Magic can do a lot—give you flight, show you mermaids, help you taste the stars, and… solve the budget crisis? That's what the grown-ups will do with it if they ever make it to Neverland to steal its magic and bring their children home. 
However, Gwen doesn't know this. She's just a sixteen-year-old girl with a place on the debate team and a powerful crush on Jay, the soon-to-be homecoming king. She doesn't know her little sister could actually run away with Peter Pan, or that she might have to chase after her to bring her home safe. Gwen will find out though—and when she does, she'll discover she's in the middle of a looming war between Neverland and reality. 
She'll be out of place as a teenager in Neverland, but she won't be the only one. Peter Pan's constant treks back to the mainland have slowly aged him into adolescence as well. Soon, Gwen will have to decide whether she's going to join impish, playful Peter in his fight for eternal youth… or if she's going to scramble back to reality in time for the homecoming dance. Source: Goodreads

I received a review copy through netgalley.

I adored this book. It was everything I hoped it to be and more.
So once I was halfway and couldn't believe finding out everything that I still needed to find in the second half, you can imagine how I felt to find this was in fact the first book in a trilogy.
(Okay, admittedly, I felt excited and frustrated. This means more Neverland but also a longer wait! And we all know I hate waiting).

This book is a little twist on the beloved fairy tale Peter Pan.
When Gwen's little sister is taken away by a stranger Gwen's family is distressed. Yet, trying to place this new development in her teenage life shows to be a struggle. When her sister Rose appears by her side with a strange boy known from her fairy tales Gwen rolls into an adventure bigger than her imagination.
A story filled with the magical creatures we all love from fairies to mermaids. Only this time Neverland and earth are in a war for magic.

This book is mainly Gwen's experience in Neverland and her encounter with the magical world. I missed the concept of 'war' a little. I'm assuming this will be more present in the following stories. All in all Audrey Greathouse has succeeded in making me question the reality around me and believe in the reality of magic around us again. And I think if a book gets you that far then it's doing a good job.

I wish this(these) book(s) came translated into Dutch as I'd love to read this with my kids at work.

Flash Review: Truth or Date

7/10 for Truth or Date by Portia Macintoch

Ruby Wood is perfectly happy playing the dating game – until she has a red-hot dream about her very attractive flatmate, Nick. He might spend every day saving lives as a junior doctor, but he’s absolutely the last man on earth that fun-loving Ruby would ever date! 
The solution? Focus on all of Nick’s bad points. And if that fails, up her dating antics and find herself a man! So what if she manages to make disapproving, goody two-shoes Nick jealous in the process… 
Only, after a series of nightmare first dates, there’s still just one man on Ruby’s mind. Maybe it’s time to admit the truth and dare to ask Nick to be her next date?
Source: Goodreads



I received a copy through Netgalley. Many thanks to the publisher.

FINALLY! Thank you Portia MacIntosh for proving that I have simply been reading the wrong books. It's been months since I was swept away by a story again and Truth or Date finally was the read I seemed to be waiting for.

It's not secret that I adore anything chicklit and many friends complain that those books are all the same. Yet, Truth or Date managed to shake up the well known cocktail a little and delivered a funny, lovable story that made me chuckle and swoon on many occasions.

This story has put a smile on my face and managed to restore my faith in finding a book I'd enjoy these past few weeks. A breath of fresh air that brightened up my day!


Monday, May 16, 2016

Book review: Summer at Rose Island

8/10 For Summer at Rose Island by Holly Martin
Fall in love with the gorgeous seaside town of White Cliff Bay this summer and enjoy long sunny days, beautiful beaches and… a little romance. 
Darcy Davenport is ready for a fresh start. Determined to leave a string of disastrous jobs and relationships behind her, she can’t wait to explore White Cliff Bay and meet the locals. 
When Darcy swims in the crystal clear waters of the bay, she discovers the charming Rose Island Lighthouse. But it’s not just the beautiful building that she finds so intriguing… 
Riley Eddison doesn’t want change. Desperate to escape the memories of his past, he lives a life of solitude in the lighthouse. Yet he can’t help but notice the gorgeous woman who swims out to his island one day. 
Darcy is drawn to the mysterious and sexy Riley, but when it seems the town is trying to demolish his home, she soon finds herself having to pick sides. 
She’s fallen in love with White Cliff Bay. But is that all Darcy’s fallen for? 
Pull up a deck chair, sink back with a bowl of strawberry ice cream and pick up the summer read you won’t be able to put down.
Links:Goodreads
Amazon.co.uk
I received a review copy through Netgalley.

There's a certain charm about Holly's book which I can't quite put my finger on but from the moment you start you know you're in for a good ride. You recognise Holly's books by easy relatable characters, witty writing and smouldering man. She's so skilled at making you feel at one with her characters that you route for them from page one (even when you don't know what you're routing for yet). It ensures that you are immediately pulled into the story and Summer at Rose Island was no exception.

SARI is the third book in the White Cliff Bay collection and it's the perfect mix of new story and reuniting with old favourites. This time we meet Darcy a marine biologist (how cool is that by the way!! It immediately peaked my interest) recently moved to WCB and ready to leave her failed jobs behind and get a fresh start. When she lays eyes on Riley. The quiet American that lives in the lighthouse (again, how cool is that!). 
In a town where everyone knows everyone's business, Riley finds it hard to settle in and then his eye catches Darcy. He's exactly what he didn't need. She has captivated him so much that he's stepped out of his comfort zone more than he'd like.

Admittedly SARI didn't manage to steal Snowflakes on Silver Cove of its 'my favourite' trophee, I was still completely charmed by it.

I loved reading about the blooming and passionate relationship between Riley and Darcy, smiling foolishly upon many occasions and secretly wishing I could jump into the story myself (Seriously, can Holly write my love life?!). But most of all I love this town that already feels like home.

I can't recommend reading the WCB books enough but be advised: once you start you'll be as invested in these characters as everyone else in the little town of White Cliff Bay ;)

If you're interested to find out more then you can read the first chapter here.
and find more information through the various links in this post.
Also don't hesitate on finding out what other people think during the rest of this brilliant blog tour!





Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Summer At Rose Island: First Chapter

I'm ecstatic to be in another Holly Martin book tour. They're always such a blast!
This time we're headed back to White Cliff Bay and meeting up with new and old characters.
I'm not going to give away too much just yet (I mean, aside from sharing the first chapter) but I feel like everyone's going to love this one ^^




 Blurb
Fall in love with the gorgeous seaside town of White Cliff Bay this summer and enjoy long sunny days, beautiful beaches and… a little romance.

Darcy Davenport is ready for a fresh start. Determined to leave a string of disastrous jobs and relationships behind her, she can’t wait to explore White Cliff Bay and meet the locals.

When Darcy swims in the crystal clear waters of the bay, she discovers the charming Rose Island Lighthouse. But it’s not just the beautiful building that she finds so intriguing…

Riley Eddison doesn’t want change. Desperate to escape the memories of his past, he lives a life of solitude in the lighthouse. Yet he can’t help but notice the gorgeous woman who swims out to his island one day.

Darcy is drawn to the mysterious and sexy Riley, but when it seems the town is trying to demolish his home, she soon finds herself having to pick sides.

She’s fallen in love with White Cliff Bay. But is that all Darcy’s fallen for?

Pull up a deck chair, sink back with a bowl of strawberry ice cream and pick up the summer read you won’t be able to put down.


Links
Goodreads
Amazon.co.uk


About The Author



Holly has been writing for six years. She was shortlisted for the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romance. Her short story won the Sunlounger competition and was published in the Sunlounger anthology. She won the Carina Valentine's competition at the Festival of Romance 2013 with her novel The Guestbook. She was shortlisted for Best Romantic Read, Best eBook and Innovation in Romantic Fiction at the Festival of Romance 2014. Holly lives in Bedfordshire.




Links
Website
Facebook
GoodReads
Amazon Page





Can't wait to find out more?
Here's the first chapter of this beautiful story!


Saturday, May 07, 2016

Flash Review: Outstanding

4/10 for Outstanding by Kathrynn Flett
Eve Sturridge, a high-flying divorcee and mother of two girls, is head teacher of Ivy House, an Ofsted 'Outstanding' prep school in Sussex. Eve is passionate about her school and its pupils. 
When Danish power couple, Stefan and Anette Sorenson, jet in and choose Ivy House over other schools, Eve is justifiably proud. The Sorensons are A-listers who bring an aura of style and power to Ivy House. 
Zoe is Eve's pretty seventeen-year-old daughter. Unlike her mother, Zoe's not so keen on school. She prefers sending nude selfies to her boyfriend. 
When glamorous Stefan Sorenson proposes that Zoe interns at his company and invites her to accompany him to New York, Zoe is over the moon with excitement, while Eve is too focused on her job to smell danger . . .

Review copy received through Netgalley, with many thanks to the publisher.

This book is difficult. I think I had all the wrong expectations about this book, expecting it to go in a completely different direction that it actually went. And though it was enough to hold my attention throughout the story. I found it too day-to-day, to be blown away by it. It almost felt like reading a biography or a non-fiction story.
There were a lot of characters and a lot of side stories all coming together into one big story, like life often does but for me it was too everyday to get that thrill of fiction.
However, props to Flett for managing the art of making something quite mundane into a story that people can love. Be it the right reader and I think I wasn't the right one for this story.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Introducing: FLASH REVIEW





It's time to introduce a new concept on my blog called 'Flash Review'.

Let me tell you how I came to this.
End of 2015: Silke went MIA on her blog due to internship responsibilities
January 2016: Silke announced she returned to her blog because she had graduated and wouldn't be so busy anymore.
March 2016: Silke unexpectedly got offered and started a new job and has been busier than ever.
2016: MIA all over again.

I'm annoyed at myself for constantly being convinced that 'this time I won't abandon the blog' and then end up doing it simply because life gets too hectic. Especially as I want to continue this blog and I want to continue writing about writing and reviewing books I've read.

But like many I have a busy job with long hours and I'm struggling to balance everything. Seriously, I don't get how other people do it! Tell me your secrets!
Anyway, because I have noticed that I tend to postpone reviews because of lack of time and then end up forgetting what I wanted to put in them 'cause I've already finished another book, I needed to find a solution.

Bring in: Flash Reiews.
What this concept mainly means to me is that by using the term 'flash review' the reader is aware of the short length of the review.
It will usually consist out of mostly one paragraph and include my main thoughts on the book and the reading experience.
Where with other reviews I would go into bigger detail and summarize the story, etc., Flash reviews will bring it back to its core.

It allows me to keep blogging even when I have a minimum amount of time. Besides, you know what they say....sometimes less is more.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Book Review: Carry On

6/10 for Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
Simon Snow just wants to relax and savor his last year at the Watford School of Magicks, but no one will let him. His girlfriend broke up with him, his best friend is a pest, and his mentor keeps trying to hide him away in the mountains where maybe he’ll be safe. Simon can’t even enjoy the fact that his roommate and longtime nemesis is missing, because he can’t stop worrying about the evil git. Plus there are ghosts. And vampires. And actual evil things trying to shut Simon down. When you’re the most powerful magician the world has ever known, you never get to relax and savor anything. 
Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story — but far, far more monsters.

Source: Goodreads

I've still not quite managed to make my mind up about this book. And that's what makes this review so hard.
First of, I love getting lost in magical worlds. I mean, I'm from the Harry Potter generation (then again, who isn't!) and enjoy myself a world of wizards and magic even if I don't read it that often.
However, the danger with writing a story so similar to a childhood classic makes it impossible for me not to start comparing it in my head and finding loads and loads of similarities.
Carry On was filled with these similarities and I struggled to get around of them.

Then there was also the issue that is Simon Snow. A main character who is in fact too stubborn, self-centered and frustrating that I struggled a lot to get into the story. I felt like the story was out of balance at the beginning, focusing too much on the ticking time bomb the main character was.
And if this book had just been about Simon and his sidekicks then I don't think it would have been enough for me.

Luckily enough there was Baz who saved the book. The moment he appeared on the scene, the story came alive. I'm not saying that I need a gay character to make the book interesting, but in this case it truly helped. It added a layer of sexual attraction and constant tension that added a pace to the story that hadn't been there before. Not to mention, that Baz's subplot in the book was so much more interesting than Simon Snow's bigger picture.

Baz and Simon's difficult and tense relationship is what carried this story for me and it just about managed to carry the weight of it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Book review: Reader, I dumped him.

5/10 for Reader, I dumped him by  Lorelei Mathias

This story is a celebration of the people that bring you back to life when your world closes in: your mates.

Relationships come and go, but the Break-up Club membership never truly expires.

Holly Braithwaite and loveable loser Lawrence have been together for five years. But the obvious cracks in their relationship can no longer be ignored and Holly soon finds herself saying ‘it’s not you, it’s me.’
 
In the shock aftermath of their break up, Holly finds unlikely companions in Olivia, Harry and Bella. Together, they form the Break-up Club, as they support each other through their mutual melancholy and find ways to love, laugh and function as human beings again. 
Break-up Club meets every Sunday. Each week, as the comedy and drama unfolds, they discover a new BUC ‘rule’. And, one by one, the rules become vital markers on their journey to recovery . . . 
‘BREAK-UP CLUB’
To our members, we’re the first emergency service
 
 Source: Goodreads

The Break-up club sounded like such a brilliant and quirky idea. And the one thing that intrigued me to pick up this book is eventually what was only present on the background.

The sound of the break-up club had me filled with expectations about what this book would be but the story that unfolded in front of me was completely different. And didn't quite deliver on what it promised.

For starters, I really struggled to get into it. The prose felt really heavy for this type of story. I usually expect light prose that makes it fluent to read but still can pack a punch. This time it seemed to slow the story down, couldn't capture me and also made it really hard to connect with the characters.

The characters itself were another bother. They seemed to have no real purpose, just like the plot itself didn't seem to have a direction it was going, and it felt like they were just muddling along. I was constantly waiting for a peak in the story line and it never came.

What it comes down to is that this story felt like too much of a portrayal of what happens in real life. And though fiction depicts some alternate version of real life its purpose it to make it sound exciting. Because we all know that we love to turn to fiction because real life can be dull (even when it's eventful). I swear this reasoning made sense in my head.

And I'm so disappointed to be disappointed because it sounded like such a promising read.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Disney Tag

Not a book tag this time but the DISNEY TAG!




Disney Tag:

1. A scene in any Disney movie you wish you could experience
2. An unforgettable experience you’ve had at the parks
3. Which Disney princess do you resemble most?
4. When was the first time you went to a Disney park?
5. If you could choose any of the characters to be your best friend who would you choose?
6. Who is your favorite Disney princess?
7. Name a scene/moment in any Disney movie that never fails to make you cry?
8. What is your favorite Disney movie?
9. Overrated Disney?
10. Underrated Disney?
11. Favorite Disney song?
12. Least Favorite Disney?
13. Favourite Disney villain
14. Favorite classic Disney/ favorite modern Disney?
15. Favorite Disney score?
16. Favorite live action
17. First Disney movie you watched

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Book Title Alphabet Challenge



Another challenge with Margo and I. And we're being very original as we are re-branding our alphabet challenge. Instead of book characters we're doing it with book titles.

The game goes like this:
We're going through the alphabet and we have to match a book with the letter (+ say the author). 'the' and 'a' don't count.

Follow Margo on twitter: https://twitter.com/livinginmyfantasy

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Book Review: After You + MBY Trailer!

4  stars (I really liked it) for After You by Jojo Moyes

“You’re going to feel uncomfortable in your new world for a bit. But I hope you feel a bit exhilarated too. Live boldly. Push yourself. Don’t settle. Just live well. Just live. Love, Will.” 
How do you move on after losing the person you loved? How do you build a life worth living? 
Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started. 
Her body heals, but Lou herself knows that she needs to be kick-started back to life. Which is how she ends up in a church basement with the members of the Moving On support group, who share insights, laughter, frustrations, and terrible cookies. They will also lead her to the strong, capable Sam Fielding—the paramedic, whose business is life and death, and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will’s past appears and hijacks all her plans, propelling her into a very different future. 
. . . 
For Lou Clark, life after Will Traynor means learning to fall in love again, with all the risks that brings. But here Jojo Moyes gives us two families, as real as our own, whose joys and sorrows will touch you deeply, and where both changes and surprises await. 
Source: Goodreads



Ever since the news of the sequel came out, I pre-ordered it immediately.
MBY is my favourite book out there. One of the few ones that have managed to make me bawl. I mean, even the little note at the beginning of After You was enough to choke me up. Just the mention of Will's name is enough to make me cry out in despair.
Then the book arrived and I put off reading it, scared of the emotional train wreck I might happen upon. But with the trailer out and the movie only a few more months away (and me being on holiday), there didn't seem a better time to start on this beauty.

I know the story has received mixed reviews and I get it.
If you're expecting a book exactly like Me Before You than you should stop, sit down and think about it. Ask yourself why the sequel would benefit from being like MBY?
It wouldn't.
I think if you start reading this book with that acknowledged, it will keep you from having the wrong expectations.
It's exactly what I did.

We follow Lou in her new life. Only Lou's new life isn't exactly what she had imagined it would be like. With the ghost of Will and his decision still hanging over her life, Lou struggles to find her own place in this world.
When an unexpected guest arrives at her doorstep Lou's life goes in fast forward as she finds herself responsible for another human being all over again. Only this one brings a new kind of troubles with her than Will used to and Lou finds herself more than often struggling to do the right thing.

If having to deal with a teenager isn't enough, she struggles with the arrival of a man in her life which she feels scarily attracted to. Can Lou allow herself to let anyone in again or has her past with Will changed her?

Let me start by saying how emotionally distressed I was from beginning to end. Where MBY was a train headed straight towards heartbreak town. After You is an emotional roller coaster with looping after looping. There are so many little factors present in this story, many small story lines that are entwined together that every time there was a new plot twist. A new tension to be worried about.
I caught myself constantly reading ahead in the hope of finding out what would happen.

It's been such a joy of meeting up with Lou again. She's a breath of fresh air and a pleasure to read about. But what makes me sad is that there wasn't much mention of Will. I mean, there is but not in the way I had hoped there to be. I'm still not over Will, I don't think I'll ever be. And the lack of him made me feel like even though Lou managed to move on I'm not sure I, as a reader, got closure on the subject of Will Traynor (does that sound totally lame?).

However, I wasn't a big fan of the ending. This story has all been about closure and moving on. Not only for the characters but also for the readers. Yet, the story finishes with -what felt to me like- another open ending. Somehow I would've preferred a 'and they all lived happily ever after' because that's what I felt After You was all about. Yet it became another open ending and I'm not sure how I feel about that. It almost felt like she did it on purpose because it felt a lot like the ending to MBY.

The book tells a beautiful story about grief, friendship, honour, values and family.

When you write a sequel to one of world's biggest tearjerker you're bound to bump against some expectations and prejudices from your future readers. But I think Jojo Moyes did a splendid job.

* * *

And what about this movie trailer? Surely everyone has seen it by now! Even people who haven't read the book have seen the trailer! I understand why. The trailer is perfection! If the movie is only half as good as the trailer then I'll know I'll be bowling my eyes out in the theater. (I seriously think I need to go watch this on my own due to a possible overflow of tears).
It looks absolutely perfect and I am really exciting to see what they did with the movie.


Saturday, February 13, 2016

Confessions of a Rookie Bloggger

It's officially been a year since I started this blogging adventure.
It involved:
- 36 read books
- an uncountable amount of bought books
- a hiatus or two
- a bunch of new friends
- 2 missed out blogger events
- 1 missed out book launch party
- 3 days of working at the Antwerp Book Fair
- 80% rate at Netgalley (mainly thanks to my hiatus)
- a new book shelf




I've been in this beautiful community for about a year now and it struck me as pretty amazing how much of a family the book bloggers are.
Sure, it's not always unicorns and butterflies as it is in every family.

Though I've been at it for a year, I still feel like the biggest rookie (and assume will be feeling like this for another 5 years or so :p).
I've lacked in posts or have neglected the blog ideas I wanted to create.
I prefer writing stories over blogposts (which I think is how it should be!) and suck at multitasking.
I love to socialize but am socially awkward.
And most of all, I struggle to keep up with a lot of what's going on.

Though I am comfortable in doing things my own way. And I am just incredibly grateful for all the new friends I met, the beautiful authors I have talked to and the brilliant new books I got to read.

Here's to another year of book blogging!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Book Review: Waiting For You

2,5 stars (It was ok) for Waiting for You by Catherine Miller

Waiting for You is an emotional and gripping debut novel you won’t be able to put down… 
You’d never guess that Fliss Chapron doesn’t have it all.
All Fliss wants is to see two blue lines telling her she is pregnant with her much longed for second baby. But as the negative tests stack up, dreams of completing her perfect family feel more hopeless every day. 
After years of disappointment, Fliss’s husband Ben is spending more time at the office than in their marital bed, and Fliss finds herself wondering who could be responsible for their inability to conceive another child. Yet, where do you lay the blame when it comes to having a child – and can anyone really be at fault… 
As Ben becomes increasingly distant, Fliss begins to question whether her desire for a baby is just a sticking plaster to save her marriage. Because in the end, how well can you ever know another person…even the man you’re married to? 
Source: Goodreads


I was kindly given a copy through Netgalley, with many thanks to the publisher.

I'm not sure why this story didn't catch on with me. It had some beautiful elements. It was honest, sweet and filled with love and compassion. Yet, it couldn't get me captured.
In honesty there wasn't anything I didn't like but it still wasn't enough.
I've explained before how there's books that you experience and books you read. This story was one I got to read rather than experience and I think that's why I feel so troubled about this one.

Fliss is trapped in a not so ideal marriage situation. With her husband living in London during the week and only visiting their house in Kent during weekends a strain has landed on their marriage.
This isn't helped by Fliss incredible desire to have a second child and the constant failure she's faced with. After a countless amount of negative tests and some convincing from her friends Fliss decides to sign up for a documentary.
During the months of filming and preparation Fliss finds herself falling in love unexpectedly, confused about her marriage, and finds out her husband has kept secrets from her that has been affecting them both more than she could've known.

There is a blooming relationship in this story that I really liked to read about and gave me the occasional butterflies. I've liked coming back to the two of them and see how things developed.
I just wish it had been enough to completely envelop me in the story.




Sunday, February 07, 2016

ALIVE AND KICKING! - I'm back!

Are you singing the song, 'cause I am!


I'm back!
Maybe my absence has gone by unnoticed and that's just fine but I felt an official return post was needed.

My silence is finally over and I'm am hoping to get more blogs posts written! Hopefully I'll manage to stick my intended schedule this time.
But you may or may not have noticed that it's been considerably more quiet on here lately due to educational responsibilities. As for the past 4 months I've been busy doing my internships. But that's all behind me and now it's turned 2016.
So what better way to start the year of with looking at last year's resolutions.

1. Get my book published
2. Figure out my future
3. Get back in shape
4. Keep writing

Well....I did 2/4.
I've kept writing (as it's almost impossible not to). Even finished another successful year of NaNoWriMo and am now trying to wrap my head around some WIP I started two years ago but then put aside.
And I've sort of figured out what I want to do! Obviously the book dream is still there but aside from that I've officially graduated and can now call myself a Speech and Language Therapist!
Not only that, I've also already landed a job and will be starting that soon. First I have to get all the paperwork and other adult stuff in order (which is frightening! School really needs to prepare you better for these administrative stuff no one seems to have a clue about but we all have to do).

Then the other two...
well...I've totally lacked doing exercise and watching my diet. I did fairly well until about April and then I gave up. But Another year, another go and maybe this time I'll manage to stick to it. Better to try and fail, right....

And then there is, of course, the fact I had aimed to publish a book by the end of 2015. Well, quite obviously I didn't.
HOWEVER, I am definitely on the way there.
The manuscript is written. Edited at least 4 times. Beta-read.
And I've even submitted it to a few publishers, who both rejected me.
(I might make a whole other blog post about this, hopefully somewhere next week)
And I've decided that I'll try a few more publishing houses before considering the road of self-publishing. (So, if anyone has any suggestions for brilliant editors etc., then you're more than welcome to drop me a message).

Anyway, 2016 has quite unexpectedly become a whirlwind of new chances and opportunities!
But most of all I'm excited for another year of BOOKS!

I hope you all will be joining me on the new adventure!

Until then, here's my track of the day: